Pilgrims ProGRESS in Kazakhstan!!!

Sometimes, living in Kazakhstan feels like we are living out John Bunyan’s classic Pilgrims Progress while darting and dodging the many spiritual minefields and obstacles.  Especially true in affluent Almaty which is very different from the rural areas of Kazakhstan.  Fortunately, we WILL preVAIL, according to a sermon I heard on Hebrews last week.  The pastor admitted being stuck in the book of Hebrews, he highlighted 2:1 “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.”   

He related while living in Kryzlorda, Kazakhstan that he and a friend of his swam across a seemingly slow moving river.  Though they reached the other side, he was very tired.  A half hour later they began swimming to join their families who were anxiously waiting for them.  Unfortunately, in the middle of the river he felt he was about to go under in the strong current.  He had fixed his mark on the river bank ahead of the jetty where they needed to land.  So swift was the flow and so low on strength was he, he cried out to God and he was miraculously saved. He looked to Hebrews 2:10 where Jesus is the author or “CAPTAIN” of our salvation made perfect through sufferings. 

What was heartening about these verses from Hebrews is first of all, Jesus is NOT ashamed to call us his brothers and sisters.  Second, He has also been tempted, but unlike Jesus in succumbing to temptation, we often turn our gaze away from Him while residing in Kazakhstan. (“For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Heb. 2:18) 

Recently, I’ve been returning over and over again to II Chronicles 14-16 where King Asa was a good king for 35 years but then he went adrift. He died in his 41st year of reigning Israel.  The Bible is replete with examples of those who started out well yet didn’t end so well.  The pastor’s theme of victory with having the captain of our ship in charge definitely hit a resounding chord with me. We ARE on the winning side!!!  “Looking unto Jesus, the AUTHOR (captain) and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:2 

The other morning I landed on the same pithy verse but from two places in the gospel accounts, Luke 7:35 “But wisdom is justified by all her children” which is the same in Matt. 11:19.  That is worth holding on to, to help me be a better pilgrim while residing in Kazakhstan. 

3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Signe said,

    There is an old song “I’m but a Stranger Here, Heaven is my Home”.

  2. 2

    Kazakhnomad said,

    When reflecting on rivers, I’m also reminded of the old song “As I went down to the river to pray” from the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” movie. Yes, we are sojourners and strangers on this earth.

  3. 3

    Erik said,

    I’m 33 years old and I finally read The Pilgrims Progress. I found this book to be gripping, convicting and very encouraging in my walk with Christ. I should have read this much earlier in my Christian walk. Now, I recommend it all the time! 🙂 By the way, what version did you read?


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