I have a vivid recollection of seeing scenes from the book The Pilgrim’s Progress portrayed on screen using glass hand-painted slides in a large, unwieldly projector. (Yes, I’m that old!) When John Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress, he could never have imagined that it would have an impact that spanned centuries.
At one point in the story, while en route to the Celestial City, Christian and Hopeful are seeking to avoid rough terrain and opt for By-path Meadow. In short order, they’re caught in a storm, eventually finding themselves in the hands of Giant Despair and imprisoned in a dungeon. This finds Christian asking, “Who could have thought that this path should have led us out of the way?”
It’s a relevant illustration of the warning given by Paul to the Ephesians: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise” (5:15). Many of you have children or grandchildren heading off to college later this summer. It may be a good time to offer this helpful counsel, reminding them that the decisions they make will have lasting impact. For this reason, it’s important that those decisions be made in relation to God’s instruction. His Word will be a lamp to their feet and a light to their path and will steer them clear of many storms and dungeons when they rely on it to guide their thinking and their actions.
I well remember my father telling me, “Son, if you go with the crows, you will be sure to be shot.” That was really his version of “Bad company corrupts good morals.” No doubt his perspective was undergirded in prayer. We can do more than pray after we’ve prayed, but we cannot do more than pray until we have prayed.
Our program series later this month goes along with this. Paul instructs young Timothy to “follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:13). The study, called Useful to the Master, examines the way in which Paul passes the baton to the next generation through his protégé, Timothy.
We also have two book offers this month. Derek Thomas’s Strength for the Weary offers insight drawn from the second half of the book of Isaiah, which is often called the Book of Consolation because it speaks to trusting in God’s promises through challenges and hardships. Our other book is a topical selection; it’s titled Addictions and is written by Ed Welch, a long-time counselor. Ed presents a roadmap to freedom for those trapped by harmful cravings that seem impossible to escape. Both come highly recommended.
With my love in the Lord Jesus,
The Exceeding Sinfulness of Sin
Our Faith During Uncertain Times
When God Presses the Mute Button on Our Prayers