Becoming A Pilgrim

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I got a Kindle eReader for Christmas.  I really didn’t think I would like it, since I’m just one of those people who don’t easily embrace technology and I like paper (sorry, trees).  So I downloaded a couple of books, and to my amazement, I actually do really like it.  It saves my place automatically so I don’t have to earmark pages or search for a bookmark (that inevitably, one of my children removes), and it is silent (again – no pages), so the hubby doesn’t get so annoyed when I read in bed.??

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Anyway, that isn’t the point of this blog.  One of the books I have downloaded is The Pilgrim’s Progress, written by John Bunyan and published in 1678.  I’m only 21% finished (yes – the Kindle keeps track of that, too), but the book has had a profound effect on me thus far.  A brilliant analogy for the Christian walk in this life, it is about a Pilgrim (by the name of Christian), who is leaving his home in the city of Destruction, carrying a large burden on his back.  During his travels, the Pilgrim meets many characters – Evangelist, Obstinate, Pliable, Mr. Worldly Wisdom, Patience, Passion, among others. He gets trapped for a while in the Slough of Despond; makes a wrong turn and almost follows Legality.   His family would not follow him and he had to leave them behind.  He was traveling on his way to find Zion, “an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away; and is laid up in Heaven”; a place he read about in his Book.??

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So many false teachers today try to persuade those seeking peace in their lives by promising that God wants them to be happy; God wants them to be wealthy; do “this” and you will have everything you want.  God has never promised that.  Yes – God does have great plans for our lives, but we are not to assume that this plan equals good times, no pain, no suffering.  If fact, the Bible clearly states that, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23, NIV).  Absolute surrender to Christ; willingness to die for Christ.  To me, this doesn’t necessarily sound like happiness in this life, but the promise for life eternal is great. ??

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Like the Pilgrim in John Bunyan’s book, we are all on a journey.  Our decision to follow Christ may come in a single moment or be a process.  But once this decision is made and the Holy Spirit is dwelling within us, we are guaranteed to keep growing, keep learning, and keep facing challenges in our lives.  It isn’t a sudden switch and we’re done.  Living a Christian life is a process, and while we undoubtedly will experience great joy and peace in our travels with Christ, we are equally guaranteed to experience pain and frustration in one form or another.??

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Pastor Dave will be talking about some of the things in this life that can drain us spiritually in his four week teaching series beginning on January 9th.  He will be talking about the “characters” of worry, anger, fatigue and guilt.  Please join us in this teaching series, and learn what the Bible says about avoiding and overcoming some of these pitfalls on your spiritual walk.??In the meantime, I am going to continue reading about the Pilgrim.  I want to find out how he removes the burden from his back.   Wishing you all peace in the New Year.

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Kris Milashus

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