Tag Archives: Trials

Scorned by the World

Mrs. Timorous and Neighbors

So Mrs. Timorous returned to her house, and Christiana betook herself to her journey. But when Timorous was got home to her house, she sent for some of her neighbors: to wit, Mrs. Bat’s-Eyes, Mrs. Inconsiderate, Mrs. Light-mind, and Mrs. Know-Nothing. So when they were come to her house, she fell to telling the story of Christiana and of her intended journey. And thus she began her tale:

Timorous: Neighbors, having had little to do this morning, I went to give Christiana a visit; and when I came at the door I knocked, as you know ‘tis our custom. And she answered, “If you come in God’s name, come in.” So in I went, thinking all was well; but when I came in, I found her preparing herself to depart the town, she and also her children. So I asked her what was her meaning by that; and she told me, in short, that she was now of a mind to go on pilgrimage, as did her husband. She told me also a dream that she had, and how the King of the country where her husband was had sent her an inviting letter to come thither.

Mrs. Know-Nothing: Then said Mrs. Know-Nothing, “And what, do you think she will go?”

Timorous: “Aye, go she will, whatever come on’t; and methinks I know it by this, for that which was my great argument to persuade her to stay at home (to wit, the troubles she was like to meet with in the way), is one great argument with her to put her forward on her journey. For she told me in so many words, the bitter goes before the sweet. Yea, and for as much as it so doth, it makes the sweet the sweeter.”

Mrs. Bat’s-eyes: “Oh, this blind and foolish woman,” said she; “will she not take warning by her husband’s afflictions? For my part, I see, if he were here again, he would rest him content in a whole skin, and never run so many hazards for nothing.”

Mrs. Inconsiderate also replied, saying, “Away with such fantastical fools from the town—a good riddance, for my part, I say, of her. Should she stay where she dwells, and retain this her mind, who could live quietly by her? For she will either be dumpish or unneighborly, or talk of such matters as no wise body can abide. Wherefore, for my part, I shall never be sorry for her departure. Let her go, and let better come in her room: ’twas never a good world since these whimsical fools dwelt in it.”

Then Mrs. Light-mind added as follows: “Come, put this kind of talk away. I was yesterday at Madam Wanton’s, where we were as merry as the maids. For who do you think should be there, but I, and Mrs. Love-the-Flesh, and three or four more, with Mr. Lechery, Mrs. Filth, and some others. So there we had music and dancing, and what else was meet to fill up the pleasure. And I dare say, my lady herself is an admirably well bred gentlewoman, and Mr. Lechery is as pretty a fellow.”

Notes and Commentary

Thus far in the story we have seen the first stirrings of grace in Christiana as well as in Mercy. Now, as Christiana and Mercy make preparations to leave the City of Destruction, Bunyan draws our attention to one who is determined to stay.

Mrs. Timorous, as her name implies, is one who is driven by her own fears and apprehensions. Thoughts of taking a journey, such as Christiana and Mercy are planning, cause her trepidation. Think of the friends and family they will leave behind! Think of the unknowns and uncertainties! Think of the dangers they will face (dangers confirmed by the stories she has heard about Christian)! A journey to search for a Celestial City—Mrs. Timorous will have nothing to do with it. The thoughts of leaving her present comforts and familiar surroundings are too much to bear. 

Christiana once thought this way. And so Mrs. Timorous was aghast when she stopped by to visit and discovered Christiana preparing to embark on such a journey. How could Christiana so suddenly change her mind? Has she lost all reason? How could she now be willing to risk all (even the well-being of her children) to set out on the Way? It makes no sense! Mrs. Timorous tried her best to discourage Christiana from going, yet Christiana could not be dissuaded. And now, even Mercy is persuaded to join her.

Continue reading Notes and Commentary

The text for The Pilgrim’s Progress and images used are public domain.

Notes and Commentary for Part II ©2014, 2022 Ken Puls

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from 
the New King James Version (NKJV) ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc
.

Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Part 2

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He Does All Things Well

Sunrise in the Valley

Often in this life we face circumstances that make no sense. Difficulties arise that we don’t expect. Trials come our way that overwhelm our thoughts. Friendships, jobs, ministries, vocations—in which we’ve invested our time and efforts—can vanish. In such times, we need to remember to trust God and acknowledge Him. Though we don’t understand why we must walk through such troubles, we can look to God and know He will guide us. God’s Word tells us:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5–6)

God is sovereign and wise. He understands all things and directs all things according to His will. Though we may not understand, we are exhorted to rest our faith in Him (trust in the Lord) and give Him praise (acknowledge Him). Though we may not see the pathway ahead, we are urged to trust Him completely (with all your heart) and praise Him always—in times of sorrow and pain as well as in times of joy (in all your ways).

God is accomplishing and completing His perfect plan. He is at work in ways that are beyond our thoughts and far above our prayers. 

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
(Isaiah 55:8–9)

The following song is a reminder to trust God and give Him praise, even when life doesn’t make sense. We cannot comprehend all He is doing in us and around us. We often don’t know what to think, what to say, and how to pray. But our God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” His ways are sure. His Word is true. We need only watch with eyes of faith. Behold! His perfect plan will indeed unfold. 

Listen and download a recording of this song from Bandcamp:

He Does All Things Well

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20–21).

God is faithful,
God is near.
He’ll not leave you,
So do not fear.

All around you,
Everyday,
He is working,
So watch and pray. 

With eyes of faith,
Look around, behold.
His perfect plan
Will indeed unfold.
Far beyond our thoughts,
More than we can tell,
Far above our prayers,
He does all things well.

God is sovereign,
God is wise.
Don’t be downcast,
Just lift your eyes.

All that happens
Serves His will,
Even hard things,
So trust Him still.

With eyes of faith,
Look around, behold.
His perfect plan
Will indeed unfold.
Far beyond our thoughts,
More than we can tell,
Far above our prayers,
He does all things well.

When the changes comes,
He knows what is best.
When you’re beaten down,
He will give you rest.

When you’re tossed and turned,
He’ll steadfast remain.
When the wound is deep,
He will heal your pain.

When the door is closed,
He will show the way.
When the path grows dark,
He shines bright as day.

With eyes of faith,
Look around, behold.
His perfect plan
Will indeed unfold.
Far beyond our thoughts,
More than we can tell,
Far above our prayers,
He does all things well.

Yes, wait and see
What the Lord will do.
His ways are sure
And His Word is true.
Far beyond our thoughts,
More than we can tell,
Far above our prayers,
He does all things well.

Words and Music ©2021 Kenneth A Puls

Download the lyrics and free sheet music for this song.

More Hymns and Songs by Ken Puls

Visited by Secret

Christiana visited by Secret

Next morning, when she was up, and had prayed to God, and talked with her children awhile, one knocked hard at the door; to whom she spoke out saying, “If you come in God’s name, come in.” So he said, “Amen,” and opened the door, and saluted her with, “Peace be to this house!” The which when he had done, he said, “Christiana, do you know why I am come?’ Then she blushed and trembled; also her heart began to wax warm with desires to know whence he came, and what was his errand to her. So he said unto her, “My name is Secret. I dwell with those that are high. It is talked of where I dwell as if you have a desire to go thither; also there is a report that you are aware of the evil you have formerly done to your husband in hardening of your heart against his way, and in keeping of these your babes in their ignorance. Christiana, the merciful One has sent me to tell you that He is a God ready to forgive; and that He takes delight to multiply pardon to offenses. He also would have you know that he invites you to come into His presence; to His table; and that He will feed you with the fat of his house, and with the heritage of Jacob your father.”

“There is Christian, your husband that was, with legions more, his companions, ever beholding that face that does minister life to beholders; and they will all be glad when they shall hear the sound of your feet step over your Father’s threshold.”

Christiana at this was greatly abashed in herself; and bowed her head to the ground, this visitor proceeded, and said, “Christiana, here is also a letter for you, which I have brought from your husband’s King.” So she took it and opened it; but it smelt after the manner of the best perfume. Also it was written in letters of gold. The contents of the letter was, That the King would have her do as did Christian her husband; for that was the way to come to His City, and to dwell in His presence with joy for ever. At this the good woman was quite overcome. So she cried out to her visitor. “Sir, will you carry me and my children with you, that we also may go and worship this King?”

Then said the visitor, “Christiana! the bitter is before the sweet. You must through troubles, as did he that went before you, enter this Celestial City. Wherefore I advise you to do as did Christian your husband. Go to the wicket gate yonder, over the plain, for that stands in the head of the way up which you must go; and I wish you all good speed. Also I advise that you put this letter in your bosom. That you read therein to yourself and to your children, until you have got it by heart. For it is one of the songs that you must sing while you are in this house of your pilgrimage. Also this you must deliver in at the further gate.”

Notes and Commentary

Upon awakening, Christiana begins the morning in prayer. She knows it will take divine strength and courage if she is to embark on a pilgrimage and leave the only life she has ever known. She then tries to comfort her children, who had heard her distress in the night as she dreamed. Christiana’s dreams bring to mind many grave concerns.

Continue reading Notes and Commentary

The text for The Pilgrim’s Progress and images used are public domain.

Notes and Commentary for Part II ©2014, 2021 Ken Puls

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from 
the New King James Version (NKJV) ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Part 2

Return to A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Main Page

His Unmistakable Hand

2020 has been a difficult year! Along with many troubles in the world (COVID19, hurricanes, wildfires, political unrest, protests, …), it has included personal challenges: classes cancelled that I had hoped to teach over the summer, a car accident, and falling off a ladder. There have been many opportunities to be downcast and discouraged. But in and through every difficulty, there was always grace. It became increasingly evident that God’s kind hand was working all things for my good and His glory. His goodness was everywhere—in relationships, in encouragements, and in His constant provision.

This song is a testimony to God’s kindness in my life this year and a reminder to trust the Lord, even when, at least in the moment, we cannot understand why He would bring such trials into our lives. We need only look above and beyond the trials to see—

His unmistakable hand
Is guiding all we do     
Clear evidence of His grace
In all He’s brought us through
Don’t ever doubt the path He’s set
The journey He has planned
With grateful eyes behold each day
His unmistakable hand

Check out the Lyric Video on youtube:

Listen and download a recording of this song from Bandcamp:

His Unmistakable Hand

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.”
(Proverbs 3:5–8)

I find each day a thousand ways
Your kindnesses abound
In trials and in joys alike
Your goodness can be found
For You work all things for my good
To You belongs all praise
Safe in Your hand through ev’ry storm
You care for me always 

Your unmistakable hand
Is guiding all I do         
Clear evidence of Your grace
In all You’ve brought me through
I cannot doubt the path You’ve set
My journey You have planned
So give me eyes each day to see
Your unmistakable hand

God fully orchestrates each day
I live and move and breathe
He works His will when I rejoice
As well as when I grieve
No wasted pain or needless grief
He stays my hand from sin
He weans me from a dying world
and draws me near again

His unmistakable hand
Is guiding all I do         
Clear evidence of His grace
In all He’s brought me through
I cannot doubt the path He’s set
My journey He has planned
With grateful eyes each day I see
His unmistakable hand

So trust the Lord with all your heart
You need not understand
Acknowledge Him in all your ways
He’ll guide you with His hand
Do not be wise in your own eyes
Flee sin and fear the Lord
This is the way to strength and health
When you believe His Word.

His unmistakable hand
Is guiding all we do     
Clear evidence of His grace
In all He’s brought us through
Don’t ever doubt the path He’s set
The journey He has planned
With grateful eyes behold each day
His unmistakable hand

Words ©2020 Kenneth A Puls
Music ©2013, 2020 Kenneth A Puls

Download the lyrics and free sheet music for this song.

More Hymns and Songs by Ken Puls

Treasuring the Gathering of the Church

Bible and Hymnal

These past few weeks have reminded me again how much I treasure the gathering of the church. I don’t so much miss going to a building, though buildings can be beautiful places to gather. I miss being with the gathered people of God—coming together to pray, sing, fellowship, and hear the preaching of God’s Word. It is a great kindness of God to allow us to walk together through this life, to share one another’s burdens, to comfort and encourage one another. 

I’m praying that God will bring a swift end to the pandemic in days ahead, so we can once again gather as a church without fear of inadvertently doing one another harm. But even more, I’m praying that God will remind us how beloved the church is, that we would learn more deeply to treasure one another in Christ.

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

Psalm 122:1

How Dear and Treasured in the Church

How dear and treasured is the church,
With voices joined in praise and prayers,
For God has made us one in Christ, 
To share our sorrows, joys and cares. 

Entrusted with the truth of God,
Called out to make the gospel known,
We boldly as His church proclaim:
There’s grace and hope in Christ alone!

God fashions us as living stones; 
Assembled as His dwelling place.
Though we were dead, He gives us life,
Each soul a miracle of grace.

Built as a buttress of the truth,
A pillar rising to the sky,
God sets His church before the world,
His Word and name to magnify.

To all the world we testify,
Our lives display in word and deed
The matchless worth of knowing Christ,
The boundless depth of our great need.

Brought near to God by Christ’s shed blood,
Loved and adopted as His own,
A household built upon the Word,
With Christ Himself the Cornerstone.

Built on this Rock, the church will stand,
The gates of hell shall not prevail,
All who are Christ’s shall be raised up,
The Word of God will never fail.

Words ©2017 Ken Puls

Download the lyrics and free sheet music for this hymn, including an arrangement of the tune ERHALT UNS HERR for classical guitar.

More Hymns and Songs by Ken Puls

The Certainty of God’s Word

Open Bible on a Rock

Everything God has said in His Word will most certainly come to pass!

This is an axiom, a truth upon which you can trust your soul. What God says will happen.

This is an anchor for your soul when your life gets stirred up and clouded by things you were not expecting.

Yet too often, (I know I find this true of myself) when temptations come and they whisper their enticing promises, I am prone to hear and pursue the false promises, rather than resting in the sure and proven promises of Scripture. When troubles come, I am too quick to be fearful, when I should be trusting; too quick to doubt, when I should cling to truth.

I have often wondered in the midst of my own struggles with doubt and sin, in the times when I am reeling in my own failures and capriciousness,… I have often wondered how much sin and misery I could avoid if I would just simply learn to take God at His Word.

The Word of God is abundant with promises. It teaches us, reproves us, corrects us, and instructs us in the path of righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

No matter what situation we may find ourselves in, God’s Word is an ever-present help and guide.

  • If we are tempted to sin, God teaches us in His Word: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  • If we are lonely, He promises: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
  • If we are weak, He tells us: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in your weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
  • When we are enticed to sin, He warns us: “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
  • If we fall into sin, He tells us: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
  • When we need wisdom, we are told: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).

This list could go on and on as we think through the rich and abundant pages of Scripture.

And all God says in every verse is true and sure. We can believe it. We can trust in it. We can treasure it in our hearts and count on it.

[This excerpt is from a Sermon on Genesis 1:1–5 entitled “The Certainty of God’s Word.” You can read the full Sermon  here.]

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Hopeful’s Testimony Part 3 Growing Conviction

Christian: Then, as it seems, sometimes you got rid of your trouble.

Hopeful: Yes, verily, but it would come into my mind again, and then I should be as bad, nay, worse, than I was before.

Christian: Why, what was it that brought your sins to mind again?

Hopeful: Many things; as,

  1. If I did but meet a good man in the streets; or,
  2. If I have heard any read in the Bible; or,
  3. If mine head did begin to ache; or,
  4. If I were told that some of my neighbors were sick; or,
  5. If I heard the bell toll for some that were dead; or,
  6. If I thought of dying myself; or,
  7. If I heard that sudden death happened to others;
  8. But especially, when I thought of myself, that I must quickly come to judgment.

Christian: And could you at any time, with ease, get off the guilt of sin, when by any of these ways it came upon you?

Hopeful: No, not I, for then they got faster hold of my conscience; and then, if I did but think of going back to sin, (though my mind was turned against it), it would be double torment to me.

Hopeful's growing conviction

Though Hopeful initially rejected the gospel and resisted the conviction that was weighing upon his conscience, God continued to pursue him. He remembered his own mortality and frailty. He was reminded of his sinfulness and failing before God. He could not escape thoughts of the coming judgment. These reminders were all around him:

  • When he heard about or saw someone doing what was right and good
  • When he heard the Word of God read or mentioned
  • When he became ill or heard of others who were ill
  • When he heard about someone who died, especially if the death was tragic or unexpected (or unjust as it was with Faithful in Vanity Fair)
  • When he thought that he would die and stand before God in judgment

Though he tried to put thoughts of death, judgment, and God out of his mind, all of these things were aimed at his conscience. God would not let him alone to rest comfortably in his sin.

Many in our day are feeling the pangs of conscience like Hopeful, but they have yet to turn to Christ and find rest and relief. Hopeful’s testimony offers encouragement and instruction as we pray for friends and family who are still clinging to sin and resisting grace.

1) We need to remember that our lives are on display. We need to walk before others with integrity, loving what is right and good, and doing what is right and good.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (Philippians 1:27).

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear (1 Peter 3:1–2).

2) We need to be bold in speaking the Word of God, even to unbelievers. The Word of God is the Word of life!

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life (John 5:24).

Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed (Acts 13:48).

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:14–17).

3) We need to trust in God’s good purposes even through times of difficulty and hardship. God often uses trials and sickness to remind us of our own frailty and need for Him. But God’s good purposes may well extend beyond ourselves. God can use tragedy, sickness, even death, as a means of grace to bring conviction to others and cause others to ponder the state of their soul. Our trials may be the very means that God is using to draw friends and family to Himself. He indeed works all things together for good, to those who love Him, “to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Let us live so that our lives, even in the midst of trials, help and not hinder others to look to Christ and find hope in the gospel.

We need to pray for those around us who are resisting God’s Word, who are hesitating or outright rejecting the truth. Pray that God will not leave them to their sin, but will use all means necessary to pursue and draw them to Himself. And pray that God’s “means” would include even us as He providentially directs our lives for our good and the good of others around us.

A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress
See TOC for more posts from this commentary

The text for The Pilgrim’s Progress and images used are public domain
Notes and Commentary ©2018 Ken Puls
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version (NKJV) ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Be Still and Know That Thou Art God

Still Waters

A prayer for those facing suffering and affliction.

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
(Psalm 46:10)

Let me, Thou sovereign Lord of all,
Low at Thy footstool humbly fall;
And while I feel affliction’s rod,
Be still and know that Thou art God.

Let me not murmur nor repine
Under these trying strokes of Thine;
But while I walk the mournful road
Be still and know that Thou art God.

When and wherever Thou shall smite,
Teach me to own Thy sovereign right;
And underneath the heaviest load,
Be still and know that Thou are God.

Still let this truth support my mind,
Thou canst not err or be unkind;
And thus approve Thy chastening rod,
And know Thou art my Father, God!

When this afflicted soul shall rise
To ceaseless joys above the skies,
I shall, as ransomed by Thy blood,
Forever sing, “Thou art my God!”

Amen.

“Be Still and Know That Thou Art God”
Words by Samuel Medley (1738–1799)
Music by Tom Wells, 2001
Words ©Public Domain
Music ©2001 Tom Wells (Used by Permission)

Tom Wells (Heritage Baptist Church in Mansfield, Texas) composed the tune for this hymn. Download free sheet music (PDF), including a guitar chord charts and an arrangement of the hymn tune TROUT for classical guitar.

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More hymns arranged for Classical Guitar

 

Before the World I Now Confess

Remembering Christ died for me

For many in this world, it is costly to follow Christ. Being identified as a Christian can mean the loss of friends, loss of fortune, loss of employment, even loss of life. But Christ exhorts us:

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24–25).

“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38–39).

We are called to live for Christ and declare the good news of salvation in Him. We are called to follow Him and unashamedly acknowledge our sinfulness and need for His abundant grace.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

The following hymn is a confession of faith in Christ. It includes publically professing Christ through baptism (verse 3) and corporately remembering Christ in the Lord’s Supper (verse 4).

The idea for the hymn came from a message on Matthew 10:26–33 entitled “Declaring Our Allegiance to Christ” preached on Sunday, February 25, 2018 at Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, by our associate pastor, Jared Longshore.

The message began with a quote from Rosaria Butterfield’s book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into the Christian Faith. In the book she describes the cost of becoming a follower of Christ and turning away from her old lifestyle. She said, “I was driving away from the place, the life, the career, and the people that I knew and loved. But Jesus Christ was more real to me at that moment than any of these material things.” As I thought about her words, I wrote what became the final lines of the hymn:

More real to me is Jesus Christ
Than all this world can give,
More than this world, I need His grace,
For by His grace I live.

The hymn is set to a familiar tune: CLEANSING FOUNTAIN, the tune often used for “There Is a Fountain.”

Before the World I Now Confess

“So everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).

Before the world I now confess
Christ Jesus as my Lord.
The scorn of men, I will not fear,
Nor danger, nor the sword.
Though friends and loved ones turn away,
Possessions all be lost,
To lose this world, if I gain Christ
Is not too great a cost.

Before the world I humbly bow
To Jesus as my King,
Acknowledging so all will know
He’s Lord of everything!
No flood so great or tear too small,
He knows my thoughts and ways,
My life I fully trust to Him
And give Him all my praise.

Baptism

Before the world I here confess
That Christ has made me new.
He gave me life, now I believe
His Word is sure and true.
Through baptism I now submit
Unto my Lord’s command,
My old life buried, new raised up,
Upon His Word I stand.

Lord’s Supper

Before the world I take my stand
With Jesus and His bride
To cleanse His church and bring us near
He suffered, bled and died.
His body broken on the cross,
His blood He freely shed,
Remembering Christ died for me,
I take this cup and bread.

Before the world I sing His praise
That all the world may hear.
I give allegiance to my King,
Whose Kingdom now is near.
More real to me is Jesus Christ
Than all this world can give,
More than this world, I need His grace,
For by His grace I live.

Words ©2018 Ken Puls
Music ©Public Domain

Download the lyrics and free sheet music for this hymn, including an arrangement of the tune CLEANSING FOUNTAIN for classical guitar.

More Hymns and Songs from Ken Puls Music

More Hymn tunes arranged for classical guitar

The Plain of Ease

Then Christian and Hopeful outwent them again, and went till they came to a delicate plain called Ease, where they went with much content; but that plain was but narrow, so they were quickly got over it.

The Plain of Ease

Have you ever wondered: Why does life have to be so hard? Admittedly, we are sinners living in a fallen world. But we have come to Christ whose “yoke is easy” and whose “burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). So why does “the way which leads to life” have to be “difficult” (Matthew 7:14)? Why do we have to walk through so many troubles and trials in this world?

Many times in The Pilgrim’s Progress Bunyan has made it clear that the life of a Christian is not easy. Already Christian has faced many difficulties. We have seen him weighed down with his burden, mired in the Slough of Despond, diverted by Worldly Wiseman, slowed by Hill Difficulty, confronted by Apollyon, confounded in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and tried in the town of Vanity. Now Christian and Hopeful come to the Plain of Ease. Here the Way is simple and they walk “with much content.” At this place in the allegory Bunyan emphasizes his point through brevity. All too quickly the pilgrims cross the plain and it is past.

The Plain of Ease represents times in life when all seems well and troubles are few. Spiritual warfare is at an ebb and peace and contentment abound. God grants such times for our rest and refreshment, but even with ease there is attending danger. Bunyan identifies this danger in his description of the plain.

The plain of Ease is delicate. In other words, it is subtle, not prominent. When crossing the plain, the plain itself is hardly perceptible. Unlike trials and troubles that disrupt our lives and demand our attention, ease doesn’t intrude or interrupt. Ease leaves us alone to settle in and relax in our comforts.

The plain is also narrow. It is short-lived and quickly traversed. Days of ease are fleeting—gone before we really notice them or appreciate them. It is easy to drift through days of ease. Our determination wanes, our guard comes down, and too easily we begin to forget just how much we need God.

Scripture exhorts us to remember:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits.
(Psalm 103:2)

Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,
(Psalm 105:5)

In Deuteronomy Moses warned Israel not to forget God when they enjoyed the ease and comforts of the Promised Land.

“So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full—then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (Deuteronomy 6:10–12).

We are always desperately dependent upon God for His grace and mercy. But in times of ease we can too easily forget our dependence on God and fail to thank Him for His mercies as we should. In times of trouble when the way is steep and hard, our need is more evident. Because the Plain of Ease is delicate, God, in His mercy, often makes it narrow.

The subtlety of ease is a danger. But there is another danger that lies close to ease. In the next post, we will examine a second hazard that threatens the pilgrims: a little hill at the further side of the plain called Lucre.

A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress
See TOC for more posts from this commentary

The text for The Pilgrim’s Progress and images used are public domain
Notes and Commentary ©2017 Ken Puls
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version (NKJV) ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.