Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Passion Week with Pilgrim's Progress: Vanity Fair

Christian and Faithful must go through Vanity Fair to get to the Celestial City.  In the Fair, evil men from every nation tempt the pilgrims to buy the sinful wares.  Christian and Faithful refuse and declare, "We buy the truth!"  Only one man will make it out of Vanity Fair alive, but they take comfort knowing that the one who is killed "will be arrived at the Celestial City soonest." 

Behold Vanity Fair! the pilgrims there
Are chain'd and stand beside:
Even so it was our Lord pass'd here,
And on Mount Calvary died.

There, therefore, they lay for some time, and were made the objects of any man's sport, or malice, or revenge, the great one of the fair laughing still at all that befell them.  But the men being patient, and not rendering railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing, and good words for bad, and kindness for injuries done [...]

But Christian and Faithful behaved themselves yet more wisely, and received the ignominy and shame that was cast upon them. [...]  This put the other party yet into greater rage, insomuch that they concluded the death of these two men. [...]

Now Faithful, play the man, speak for thy God;
Fear not the wicked's malice; nor their rod:
Speak boldly, man, the truth is on thy side.
~The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come 
by John Bunyan

Jesus said...
And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.
~Luke 9:21-27

From the Passion Week...
And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
~Mark 13:3-13

Monday, March 29, 2010

Passion Week with Pilgrim's Progress: On Meeting Talkative

Christian and Faithful, fellow travelers from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City, meet with Talkative -- a wanderer who loves to talk of spiritual things but has no work of Christ in his life.

This Talkative is not aware of; he thinks that hearing and saying will make a good Christian, and thus he deceiveth his own soul.  Hearing is but the sowing of the seed; talking is not sufficient to prove that fruit is indeed in the heart and life; and let us assure ourselves, that at the day of doom men shall be judged according to their fruits. [Matt.13, 25] It will not be said then, Did you believe? but, Were you doers, or talkers only?  and accordingly, shall they be judged.  The end of the world is compared to our harvest; and you know men at harvest regard nothing but fruit.  Not that anything can be accepted that is not faith, but I speak this to show you how insignificant the profession of Talkative will be at that day.
~The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come 
by John Bunyan

Jesus said... “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits."
~Matthew 7:15-20

From the Passion Week... On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. [...] As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
~Mark 11:12-14, 20-25

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Passion Week with Pilgrim's Progress: Pliable and the Slough of Despond

Christian has been convicted of his sin and flees the City of Destruction.  Obstinate and Pliable run after him to bring him back, but Pliable is persuaded by Christian to join him in his journey to the wicket-gate and beyond.  They travel together until they reach the Slough of Despond. 

Now I saw in my dream, that just as they had ended this talk they drew near to a very miry slough, that was in the midst of the plain; and they, being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog.  The name of the slough was Despond.  Here, therefore, they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt; and Christian, because of the burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.

Then said Pliable; Ah! neighbour Christian, where are you now?

Truly, said Christian, I do not know.

At this Pliable began to be offended, and angrily said to his fellow, is this the happiness you have told me all this while of? If we have such ill speed at our first setting out, what may we expect betwixt this and our journey's end?  May I get out again with my life, you shall possess the brave country alone for me.  And with that, he gave a desperate struggle or two, and got out of the mire on that side of the slough which was next to his own house: so away he went, and Christian saw him no more.
~The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come 
by John Bunyan 

Jesus said... "As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away."
 ~Matthew 13:20-21

From the Passion Week...And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
~Mark 11:7-10

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Day of Spring!

We are having a snow storm here in Oklahoma in celebration of the first day of spring. A friend of mine wrote this week, "It sounds like typical Oklahoma weather - consistently inconsistent." She was sure right. It was beginning to feel a little like spring outside this past week, but now that it is spring... the weather wants to act like winter again!

As far as an update goes, I am enjoying my “One Thing” Bible reading very much. The habit of daily Bible study has been so beneficial, and it has been great to be on the "same page" with the rest of my family as we grow in our relationship with the Lord. The Bible reading has been the jumping off place for meaningful conversations with Zachary as well. We even get to do some of our reading together! Every day confirms what a wonderful blessing Zachary is.

I do regret that although I have kept up with the daily reading, I have slacked off in the writing department. My One Thing Journal has not received daily attention lately, and I was basing my One Thing blog posts off of the journal. Oops!

Zachary and I were able to spend a grand time at my house yesterday evening with my family – even watching a home video from my second birthday. That was funny. I hardly said a word the whole time, but I did get excited about a new doll and potato head toy.

This picture is from around the time of my second birthday.
Shown are my brother David, my dad, and me.

My mom and brother David

I tried to stay inside as much as possible today after I got home from work, but I did go out quickly to get some first day of spring pictures. My mom and I were looking at a photo album yesterday, and there were some Massachusetts “white spring” pictures in there from 1991. I snapped a few quick pictures of it to share.

My sister Susanna and me

Happy First Day of Spring!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

One Thing: Set Apart

Wow, this is late!  Blogging hasn't been a main priority lately.  I feel like I am chasing my tail sometimes -- you know, running in circles with no hope of catching up.  I have taken two DSST exams since my last post (Principles of Supervision and Introduction to World Religions) and I am getting ready for another one this Friday (Public Speaking).  My coach gave me a list of speech topics to practice with, and I have a feeling there will be very few controversial issues I have not thought about by the time I finish the list.  Anyway, One Thing!

  • 12 February: Don't be controlled by the crowd; stand strong in the face of opposition.
  • 13 February: When I seek the Lord, He answers.  "Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." (Psalm 34:5) Be radiant.
  • 14 February: God expects me to give my best and make disciples for Him.  He protects those who fear Him and seek peace.  He will deliver me from all my troubles.  Don't be simple and give in to temptation.
  • 15 February: Just as the Levites were consecrated to God, we should take equal care that our worship is holy -- set apart.  Follow God.  Let His glory lead me.
  • 16 February: God asks for perfection.  Am I giving Him the best of my time and spending it in fellowship with Him?  Seek wisdom.
  • 17 February: I am not the only one affected by my actions and attitudes.  What do I value, and how do I stay consistent with my values?
  • 18 February: "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act." (Psalm 37:5)
This week's scripture readings were from:
Exodus 34:1-Leviticus 7:27
Matthew 27:15-Mark 3:30
Psalm 33:12-37:11
Proverbs 9:1-10:4