Here are the questions I received based on the weekend message.
Q – What is the prayer book you mentioned? While we shouldn’t compare our progress to others, should we compare it to where we were?
A – The prayer book is called The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett. I love this book. I have to read most of the prayers several times before they sink in, so I stay on one prayer for most of one week. And these kinds of prayers are an acquired taste. They are theologically rich. You have to give it time. Even then they are not for everybody.
Regarding the second question, I think it is very appropriate to compare where you are now as a believer to where you were before you turned to Christ. In fact, it seems to me that the Bible encourages it when it compares our lives in Christ to our lives outside of Christ (e.g., Colossians 2:13; 3:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:5). But when it comes to comparing, say, this year’s maturity to last year’s, I think we have to be careful. I don't have a chapter and verse on this, but I think it it’s best to focus on greater love for God and not on greater obedience when it comes to comparing where we are now to where we were. And I think, in general, the greater our love for God grows, the more we see the depths of our sin.
Back to the prayer book. Here’s a portion of the prayer I’ve been planted on for a few days now. I think it illustrates part of what I was talking about in the message.
need to repent of my repentance;
I need my tears to be washed;
I have no robe to bring to cover my sins,
no loom to weave my own righteousness;
I am always standing clothed in filthy garments,
and by grace am always receiving change of raiment,
for thou doest always justify the ungodly;
I am always going into the far country,
and always returning home as a prodigal,
always saying, Father, forgive me,
and thou art always bringing forth the best robe.
Every morning let me wear it,
every evening return in it,
go out to the day's work in it,
be married in it,
be wound in death in it,
stand before the great white throne in it,
enter heaven in it shining as the sun.
the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
the exceeding righteousness of salvation,
the exceeding glory of Christ,
the exceeding beauty of holiness,
the exceeding wonder of grace.
Q – Learned a lot from the message Sunday, thank you! Ya kinda left us hangin tho, over your special favorite corn dog stand. Are you willing to share your discovery with the rest of us?
A – I’d love to share the location. To me, they have just the right amount of corn meal to hot dog ratio and just the right amount of crunchiness. Of course, I haven't tried all the stands, but when I've veered from this one, I've regretted it.
It’s the Corndogs/Lemonade stand not far from the Midway. It's right up the street from the Scotch Eggs (mentioned at the Saturday service) and homemade pretzels. We tried the pretzels for the first time and I think it may be the start of a new yearly tradition.