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Book Crook in the Lot: Living with that thorn in your side

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Crook in the Lot: Living with that thorn in your side

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Crook in the Lot: Living with that thorn in your side.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Thomas Boston(Author)

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First published in 1737 this book holds a special place among the tremendous amount of Puritan literature that was produced during that time. Thomas Boston was renowned for his clearly understood English and the manner in which he maintained that clarity while conveying messages of great depth. The Crook in the Lot is introduced to us by J. I. Packer. In an extensive prologue he shows how Boston's advice remains deeply relevant today. Boston was not preaching merely from his theological understanding, he was speaking from direct personal experience. Boston had real "thorns" to deal with himself, ranging from his wife's paralyzing depression to his own experiences living for years with what were probably kidney stones. He brings his own unique combination of wonderfully profound and yet immensely practical advice to bear to give us a work of lasting impact.

The pure Biblical wisdom of The Crook in the Lot is badly need by many of us, and so I am delighted that is being made available in this handy form. --J I Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, Canada

2.5 (9804)
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Book details

  • PDF | 160 pages
  • Thomas Boston(Author)
  • Christian Heritage; Revised edition edition (20 May 2012)
  • English
  • 7
  • Religion & Spirituality

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Review Text

  • By jeremy marshall on 7 June 2015

    This is a book that has been and is today exceptionally useful to me when I face or have faced, as we all do, very tough days in life. Through this quaint old book, written nearly 300 years ago, I have felt God speaking to me about why I was going through such difficulties and suffering. I hope that it will be of interest for both Christians and non Christians because the question Boston poses - why do we suffer - is as old as humanity. For the non Christian it raises the issue of "How can a loving God who allows such suffering to happen exist". For the Christian its the same issue but from a different angle "How can my loving Father, whom I believe exists, allow this to happen". Ultimately, a full and complete answer to that question is as mysterious as God Himself but that does not mean that all 66 books of the Bible are not packed with insights.The book of Job has a lot to say and so does the book of Ecclesiastes. Joe Dent our previous pastor at my church in Sevenoaks gave a fine series of sermons on Ecclesiastes which you can find on St Nicholas Church web site. http://www. stnicholas-sevenoaks.org/resources/sermon-recordings/by-preacher/. The title of the book "The Crook in the Lot" has nothing to with crime or property development! Its a verse in Ecclesiastes (7:13) which in the good old AV reads " Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?" and in the modern NIV is " Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?". Its "lot" as in what God allots to us, our life. The man who wrote this book was a Scottish pastor called Thomas Boston 1676-1732 who was born and lived in "the Borders" thats the part of Scotland that is right next to England. His father was also a pastor who was put into jail for preaching the gospel and the young Thomas went into the jail for a night "to keep him company". Thomas Boston became himself a pastor and lived a very obscure life in a tiny town in the Borders called Ettrick. Crucially, he was well acquainted with suffering and although there is no autobiographical part of the book, its permeated with deep wisdom from the many sufferings that came into his lot. He struggled with a hostile church which was deeply divided. His wife Catherine was a chronic depressive . Not surprising when one reads that of their 10 children 6 died in infancy. They had already buried one son called Ebenezer (which means "Up to now has God helped us") when they had another son born. Should they risk calling him Ebenezer also, given the tragically ironic nature of the name if he also died? They did name him Ebenezer and he was a sickly child and also died. So Boston writes this his last book from a deeply felt heart full of sorrow and sympathyHis style is unusual. What's good is the book is relatively short and the language is not too hard to understand. If you want to get into the C16 and C17 Christian writers known as "the Puritans" this is a good place to start. My father was always trying (with not much success sadly!) to get me to read the Puritans and I found many of them almost incomprehensible stylistically. Not BostonNext , his style chews over and over the same ground but in a way that moves you forward. Jim Packer writes on this book "Points recur in different connections as he moves along, in a way that makes one think of the spiral tunnels whereby trains in Switzerland and Western Canada gain height.The trains emerge almost directly above where they went in, but much higher up; and similarly the reappearances of Boston’s points, slightly re-angled and newly illustrated as they usually are, raise our understanding of them higher each time we meet them"What does Boston have to say? Boston argues that God deliberately allows each of us to have a "crook" ie something that pains us or causes us problems in our lot, our life. Slightly similar idea to the "thorn in the flesh' which Paul writes about. God often causes this "special trial" to be on the very thing that most rivals him in our life. So, for example if we are proud and self sufficient then it might be a dangerous illness which makes us trust in Him and realise our own utter helplessness. Or think of the rich young ruler whom jesus commanded to sell all he had - Jesus knew that money was the thing keeping him from faith. God, the loving father, trains us as it were, as a father trains his children, to make us more like Himself. It also reminds us of the temporary nature of this life when compared with the permanence of eternal life. And it causes us to be aware of the sin that is in us and needs removing. (None of this at all means that if we suffer its because we have been particularly sinful. that may be so, but rather Boston is in general arguing the exact opposite that ALL Christians will find a crook in their lot.)Whats the remedy? Firstly, praying for God to help. God put the crook in, he can take it out. God is so intensely loving and sympathetic to us in our sufferings - Psalm 103 "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children" God uses our "crooks" to draw us to Himself, to make us pray. I find that very true in my own life. God may want to straighten us rather than straighten the crook. he may require time. we (especially me) tend to be very impatient and want all our problems removed at once. But if God is speaking to us through our suffering we need to first listen to what he says - while praying of course that he will remove it. This is very far from fatalism (which is a danger we can fall into). We are not helplessly swept around by the currents of life, like a leaf on a river, but are being expertly steered by a helmsman who loves us and died for us.The answer is faith and humility. Faith in that we believe that suffering is NOT random but that God has a purpose in all that happens to us "A wise eyeing of the the hand of God in all that we find hard to bear". For some of us that truth is very hard to understand, it may only be for some of us when we meet the Lord face to face that we finally understand it. And above all humility. Perhaps the most used verse by Boston is 1 Peter 5: 6 & 7 "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. " The verses two friends are linked. If we realise that God is God of the whole universe, that we in the cosmic scheme of things are utterly nothing and are weak and sinful, then we will see God as he is and ourselves as we are. Then we will come to God in our time of need for help and will find him full of mercy. God most of all wants to make us like Jesus, who also of course went through the most terrible "crook" of all - that he, despite being sinless, had to suffer on the cross for our sins. You remember that in deep anguish in Gethsemane Jesus prayed "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’and ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.May Almighty God help us to be more like us His Son. This book is an excellent way of embarking on that journey.


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