Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On Pilgrim’s Progress, Fanning Flames and Eyes Fixed

First editionPilgrim’s Progress, the classic work printed in 200 languages, written by John Bunyan and published in 1678 is probably the favorite book, next to the Bible, of my father.  We had the children’s version when I was a little girl and it was read to me before I could read it myself.  My Dad and my husband went through it together soon after we got together and my Dad has used it in numerous Sunday School classes of all ages.

Tried and true.  A place to go when you need perspective, grounding and a great place to be at the start of a new year.

So, I was delighted when the visiting minister, named Jared, like my husband {I have never met a Jared I didn’t like:} referred to the classic allegory in his sermon on New Year’s Day.  My husband and I turned to each other and smiled.

Jared, the pastor, had been reading the book to his children and referenced a part that I didn’t immediately remember.  Leading me to mention right then to my Jared that I NEEDED to get it into my new Christmas-present Kindle.  And as I re-focused, capturing me all the more as the reference was all about fanning flames.

It is in the house of ‘the Interpreter’ which occurs early in the story. It is the scene of a fire burning against a wall and one continually throwing water on it.  BUT the fire still blazes higher and hotter.  Here is the interpretation:

“The fire is the work of God’s grace in the heart.  The person throwing water on it is the devil.  Still, you see, the fire burns brighter.  Come around the wall here and you will see why. (On the other side of the wall was a person secretly pouring oil in the fire.) This shows why it is hard for the tempted to understand how God’s grace is maintained in the soul.  This is the way Christ continues to supply grace in the soul of the believer through all of the cold showers of the world and temptations of the devil.”

And Jared {the pastor} emphasized Christ IS THE ONE pouring oil onto the fire of our hearts.  And as the sermon concluded our Pastor, Jeremy, spoke further into the heart of Christ quoting a favorite of mine:

“Consequently, {Jesus, the Great High Priest} is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”

~Hebrews 7:25 {emphasis added}

The whole focus of this wonderful sermon was the sure promise of He who calls.

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

~I Thessalonians 5:23-24 {emphasis added}

Our entire destiny rests on His work and that is sure.  Surer than sun rising and setting and planets orbiting and stars shining and ALL of the galaxies’ orchestrated motions.  And that commands our vision and propels our gaze at the beginning of a year and at every righting step.

The Risen One who LIVES on High to make intercession fanning the flame of my heart and yours.  Such glory and freedom and though I could name a million character deficiencies and specific improvements I’d like to enact as resolutions, this one will do:

To fan the flame right here with you this year as we purpose to see more and more that it is all Him. His surety bound in His full nature and work, promising He knows who we are becoming and will forever be.

{p.s. my word for the year is…SECURE.  I’ll be posting more on it soon!}

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Praise You God who holds all surety, security:

  • For a new year promising to have You continually fanning the flame
  • For a new day 366 {1 extra} times to pick up the truth again—that it ALL rests on YOU
  • For chances to be reminded of classics and images that stick
  • For all that is coming together in Your Perfect Timing
  • For the little ones:
    • Baby Girl constantly reminding that she is indeed ‘two’;}
    • Buddy Boy still jumping up and down whenever excited about something
    • For sensitive hearts in both to reprimands and correction
    • For shining eyes that brim wonder and ever engage
    • For new Bibles and playing ‘bible study’ and ‘church’
    • For delight held deep within and brimming over in the moments
    • For the lavish grace of being their mama
  • For {finally} finishing 400 hand-written Christmas cardsWinking smile
  • For so close to the end and knowing we WILL move soon
  • For window shopping flats in Budapest on-line
  • For Grace as close and constant as I have ever known it and a peace that is pure gold
  • For His surety & promise in all : THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

#1689-1705

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