Close In.

Last Sunday we closed in on a week full of fun ministry opportunities, it seemed like one of our busiest since the pandemic, still, I recall how much pleasure we derive from ministry and how blessed we are to get to do what we do.

Being part of building the church here on earth is a small picture of an eternity with the Lord, and right around the corner is an eternity of unhindered fellowship with Him!

Obedience to God’s call may have a cost, but in it is an unspeakable reward that none in this world can compare.

On one of our women’s leadership group meetings, we talked about John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, chapter 5 and 6. It’s comforting to have conversations with them that all of us need God’s grace, all of us battle the sinful nature, all of us lie at the foot of the cross.

Cross by Neal E. Johnson

As Christians, we are all in a spiritual battle, and we “haven’t yet resisted up to the point of death,” as Evangelist would say to Christian and Faithful before they cross Vanity Fair.

The road to the Celestial City passes through Vanity Fair.

Three things that stand out for me as Christian and Faithful walk across the severely evil Vanity Fair (and many evils offered to them) is that:

  1. They have a different raiment – they are wearing the armor of God, which is certainly unrecognizable to the Fair’s residents.
  2. They have different speech – they speak the words of the Lord.
  3. They will “only buy Truth” – they will purchase and have interest on nothing of the lusts offered in the Fair.

We certainly had a great discussion on this, us Christians could definitely be considered an “oddity” in this world. When others would tell you to seek revenge, we would forgive; others would succumb to worry and panic, we do have a lasting and unshakeable peace; when others would be stingy in trying times, we would be generous.

In my short military career, one of the cooler options (for me atleast) would be a close in security or medical team of the president.

I was too junior of an officer to get into that, but now, I have a better close in, I have Jesus in me, His presence is always felt and keeps me safe. He would envelope me in his embrace.

With that I take comfort in all challenges, specifically now, as I prepare myself mentally, physically, and emotionally for another homeschool year.

Recently, we’ve deemed it productive and soul-satisfying for us to go to Alona beach once a week or so, to spend about an hour or two just walking and playing. It’s cleaner, less crowded, and swimmable now, certainly one of the blessings of a halt in mass tourism.

Jd and I thought that it can be good exercise for all 4 of us too! We certainly hit our 5000 steps goal and more!

I’m reminded of the differences of the beach each week, one day its sunny & perfect, one day its super windy and almost stormy, on another, its closed for water testing by the Department of Natural Resources.

Just when I let them wear swimsuits, they don’t swim, but just run around and build sand art instead. Just when I let them wear casual clothes for “only” feet dipping, they end up swimming and frolicking their hearts out! What unexpected joy & adventure parenting brings.

All in all I’m grateful, and my heart is full. Praise God!

The Wisdom of Pilgrim’s Progress

Few books other than the Bible have been so reprinted as much as John Bunyan’s 1678 classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress: From This World to That Which Is To Come, Delivered in the Similitude of a Dream.

Why is that? Is it because of the long title? Paradoxically, it has been read by common folk in the evangelical protestant communities to their children through the centuries. Not only that, but it has also garnered praise by scholars as well.

It was surprisingly, and astoundingly written while John Bunyan was in prison, it is an allegory of adventure, trials, and triumph, of a Christian as he walks from the City of Destruction, toward the Celestial City. Its second part is about the equally perilous and exciting journey of his wife, Christiana.

What’s ridiculously amazing about it is that it is great at the literal “as it is” denotation level, and yet it refers and encourages too at its parallel spiritual connotation, meanings and equivalents.

In my personal copy of the book, it bears illustrations and biblical passages inserted inline for reference, and I have to say ” Wow! How biblical can a work of fiction be?!”

I have been at it for about two years now , repeatedly, and its so abounding in wisdom, there’s always something new to relate to and be encouraged with; especially now in the pandemic lockdowns, wherein everyone has more time to read.

Such a pleasurable read, it’s our steady topic in conversation & studies in my women’s group, and I am certain that my kids will grow up reading, hearing, and talking about it too!