THURSDAY THE THIRTIETH OF AUGUST, 2018
* John Bunyan *
Write your blessed name, O Lord, upon my heart, there to remain so indelibly engraved, that no prosperity, no adversity shall ever move me from your love. Be to me a strong tower of defence, a comforter in tribulation, a deliverer in distress, a very present help in trouble and a guide to heaven through the many temptations and dangers of this life. Amen.
( Thomas à Kempis, 1380 – 1471 )
Who would true valour see, let him come hither;
one here will constant be, come wind, come weather.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent;
his first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.
Whoso beset him round with dismal stories,
do but themselves confound; his strength the more is.
No lion can him fright, he will with a giant fight,
he will have a right to be a pilgrim.
Hobgoblin nor foul fiend can daunt his spirit,
he knows he at the end shall life inherit.
Then fancies fly away, he will fear not what men say,
He will labour night and day to be a pilgrim.
( John Bunyan, 1628-1688 )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
John Bunyan: grace abounding on a humble tinker
John Bunyan was born in 1628. His father was a tinker, a maker and mender of metal pots. He received little schooling and soon took up the tinker’s trade like his father. Bunyan was on the road much of the time, for a tinker travelled from town to town plying his trade. When the English Civil War broke out, Bunyan served on the Parliamentarian side in the army from 1644 to 1647. The war led to the execution of Charles I, and the establishment of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth broke the monopoly that the Church of England had on worship, and after marrying in 1650, John has a religious awakening and joined a Baptist congregation and in time became a lay preacher. When the monarchy was restored in 1650 under Charles II, Bunyan was arrested and jailed for twelve years in Bedford Prison. It was during this time that he wrote “Grace Abounding.”
He was released in 1672 but then rearrested in 1675. During this time in jail, he conceived of his masterwork, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” which for many years was second only to the Bible, in popularity. It recounts in allegorical form the experience of a person (called Christian), from his first awareness of his sinfulness and spiritual need to his personal conversion to Christ and his walk as a believer. He is shown as a pilgrim in this world on his way to the Celestial City, which will be his true home forever.
Bunyan was released after a few months and ended his days as pastor and preacher to the small Baptist flock at Bedford. He died on the thirty-first of August, 1688.
Quote: “Let everyone therefore prize a little with the fear of the Lord; gifts indeed are desirable, but yet great grace and small gifts are better than great gifts and no grace.”
Scripture. In "Psalms Forty-Nine," verses ten, eleven and fifteen, we read.
When we look at the wise, they die; fool and dolt perish together and leave their wealth to others. Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling-places to all generations. But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me.
... for peace in the world.
... for those imprisoned because of their beliefs; for those who are persecuted because of their faith.
... for the people of Kazakhstan, Tatarstan and the Turks and Caicos Islands, who celebrate their national days today.
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From "The Acceptable Sacrifice" by John Bunyan:
The sum then is, that men that are converted to God by Christ, through the Word and Spirit (for all this must go to effectual conversion) must have their hearts broken, and spirits made contrite. Yes, and all decayed apostatised and backslidden Christians must, in order to their recovery again to God, have their hearts broken, their souls wounded, their spirits made contrite and sorry for their sins.
Come, come, conversion to God is not so easy and so smooth a thing as some would have men believe it is. Why is man’s heart compared to fallow ground, God’s Word to a plough and his ministers to ploughmen if the heart indeed has no need of breaking in order to the receiving of the seed of God unto eternal life? Who knows not that the fallow ground must be ploughed before the husbandman will venture his seed; yes, and after that oft soundly harrowed, or else he will have but a slender harvest?
Why is the conversion of the soul compared to the grafting of a tree, if that be done without cutting? The Word is the graft, the soul is the tree, and the Word, as the scion, must be let in by a wound; for to stick on the outside, or to be tied on with a string, will do no good here. Heart must be set to heart, and back to back, or your pretended ingrafting will come to nothing. I say heart must be set to heart, and back to back, or the sap will not be conveyed from the root to the branch; and I say, this must be done by a wound.
Why is Christ bid to gird his sword upon his thigh and why must he make his arrows sharp, and all, that the heart may with this sword and these arrows be shot, wounded, and made to bleed? Yea, why is he commanded to let it be so, if the people would bow and fall kindly under him, and heartily implore his grace without it?.
Alas! men are too lofty, too proud, too wild, too devilishly resolved in the ways of their own destruction; in their occasions, they are like the wild asses upon the wild mountains; nothing can break them of their purposes, or hinder them from ruining of their own precious and immortal souls, but the breaking of their hearts.
"A broken heart, a contrite spirit, God will not despise," but both you and all your service he will certainly slight and reject, if, when you come to him, a broken heart be wanting.
Wherefore here is the point: Come broken, come contrite, come sensible of and sorry for your sins, or your coming will be counted no coming to God aright; and if so, consequently you will get no benefit thereby.
God of peace, you called John Bunyan to be valiant for truth. Grant that as strangers and pilgrims we may at the last rejoice with all the faithful in your heavenly city; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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