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"On Saturday, about midnight they began to pray and continued in prayer 'til almost break of day. Now a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, broke out in a passionate speech.

"What a fool am I, to lie in a stinking Dungeon, when I may walk in liberty.

I have a key in my heart called Promise that I am persuaded will open any lock.

Then Christian pulled it out and the door flew open." - Pilgrim's Progress

Isolation is no fun. The novelty of it if there ever was any, quickly wears out. Some of us are isolated by choice and some of us are forced into isolation. The man that penned the above words had given up his freedom by choice. It was the time of Cromwell , and religious persecution and turmoil was rampant in England. John Bunyan found himself faced with the choice of recanting his faith or being thrown into prison. It was during one of his periods of isolation a great book was born. It would become one of the most beloved books of all time.

John was an uneducated man barely educated in the rudimentary essentials of reading and writing. For many years the literary elites scorned the book and finally due to its tremendous success it was begrudgingly assigned among the literary classics of all time. It was translated into 200 languages.

Full of an artistic temperament he crafted a home made violin out of metal and constructed a flute out of a four legged stool while in prison.

You could confine the body but not the soul of a man.

The heavenly university of Jesus Christ had educated him.

Out of years of isolation and persecution came a gift of great beauty to the world.


A stocky man of middle age struggled as he climbed the hill on his road. He held a walking cane. As he climbed making his way to the small chapel, the villages lay sleeping below in the beauty of the early morning. The corn fields were motionless in the sunshine and the rising heat of the day. He loved the solitude as his mind was swirling with the message he was preparing to give to his people for the Sunday service.

He was distracted by a woman standing at the door of a small cottage house he was passing. Upon seeing him she came to him with anxiety.

"Have you any keys on you? I have broken my key to my door and I can not get in."

He said, "I have no keys and even if I did they would not fit your door. Someone else will have to open it for you."

"However," he said, grabbing the opportunity. "Have you ever heard of the key to the gate of heaven?"

"Oh yes!" she said. "I have gone to church long enough to know that if I work hard enough and follow the commandments the gate will be opened."

"Oh no! That is a broken key. Your works are useless and can not open the gate. The best of your works have been soiled with sin and the key is broken. They will not open heaven's gate."

Your works are the thorns filling your pillow and when you lay your head on that pillow at night they will cause you to toss and turn filling your heart with anxiety and fear. For every good work you do will be overshadowed by the bad deeds that appear in your mind and they will haunt your heart at night.

In the quiet of that lovely morning, the good man explained to that fortunate woman about the key of faith that would open heaven's gate for her.

The Key of Promise that opens every gate is the key that opened the gate for me. Jesus Christ is the key Every other key is a broken key.

Will I offer a broken key?

A key of laws and rules and good works?

I must offer what I have been given.

I simply opened my hand and took the key.

I had nothing to give but myself, broken and spilled out because He was broken for me.


"Nothing in my hands I bring

Simply to Thy cross I cling

Naked, come to Thee for dress

Helpless, look to thee for grace" - Augustus Montague Toplady


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