Posts tagged ‘Jeremiah’

August 23, 2012

843 Acres Reader’s Choice: God’s Promise Never to Forsake Seekers

by Bethany

Reader’s Choice* George Hritz | Why I like this post: We do not even need to seek God’s grace–only to stay alert for the experience, which comes not at every moment of every day but does come regularly and without (and sometimes even despite) our own efforts! How amazing is that!

843 Acres: God’s Promise Never to Forsake Seekers
Highlighted Text: Psalm 9:10
Full Text: Jeremiah 36,45Psalm 9

Message | From the moment we wake up in the morning, almost everything in our lives tells us not to seek God. The message, of course, is not explicit. The Evil One is more subtle and deceiving than that. Instead, he fills up our lives with enough activity and prosperity to keep God out of our minds. As Screwtape told Wormwood, “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds; in reality our best work is done by keeping things out” [1].

Search | In the midst of our busy lives, however, God makes a promise: “Those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you” [2]. We do not seek God, however, as though He were hiding. He is omnipresent and, therefore, always near everyone and everything. Moreover, He has made a covenant commitment with His people to stand by us and work for our good always.

Conscious | If we do not seek God as though He were hiding, then how do we seek him? Most of us know that the full presence of the Lord is not our constant experience. We have seasons when we lack intimacy with Him, giving Him little thought and forgetting His beauty. Therefore, we seek Him by consciously fixing and focusing our attention and our affection on the Lord [3]. We make this effort because, in our talkative culture that constantly sends us the message that Jesus is not valuable, we must set our minds to going around things to see His face. He is hidden behind cultural and personal obstacles. We must flee every spiritually dulling activity that blocks our way to Him.

Prayer | Lord, Give us discerning hearts that know what makes us sensitive to your presence in the world. Open our minds to know what dulls our affections and blinds our eyes from seeing you. Let us throw these things away if we must so that we may seek you. We cry out to you because we long for your promise to be true of us – that you will not forsake those who seek you. Amen.

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More about George: George Hritz has lived and worked in New York City for much of the 43 years since arriving here as a law student. He is a member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church and the New Canaan Society and has been reading the Park Forum blog for two years. In his free time, he enjoys reading, boating and spending time with his family.

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More about Reader’s Choice: This week and next, we’re featuring “Reader’s Choice” to promote our 843 new readers campaign. Different readers will share their favorite posts and why they liked them. We hope this blesses you … and perhaps encourages you to help us reach our goal!

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Help us reach 843 NEW READERS by Labor Day, SEPTEMBER 3! We now offer two ways to receive 843 ACRES by email: five times weekly – Monday through Friday (your friends can sign up HERE), and two times weekly – Monday and Thursday (your friends can sign up HERE). For more information on this campaign, click HERE.

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On the M’Cheyne reading plan, our reading today is Jeremiah 52 and Psalm 31.

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Footnotes

[1] Lewis, C. S. (2009-05-28). The Screwtape Letters (p. 16). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.  |  [2] Psalm 9:10 ESV  |  [3] 1 Chronicles 22:19 + Colossians 3:12 + 2 Thessalonians 3:5

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August 21, 2012

843 Acres Reader’s Choice: His Unrequited Love Never Stops

by Bethany

Reader’s Choice | This week and next, we’re featuring “Reader’s Choice” to promote our 843 new readers campaign. Different readers will share their favorite posts and why they liked them. We hope this blesses you … and perhaps encourages you to help us reach our goal!

Reader: Daniel Lee | Why I like this post: When someone loves you even when you refuse to love them back, you know they’ll love you no matter what. “[You're] a fool to love someone like me, a fool to suffer silently, but sometimes through your eyes I see ‘I’d rather be a fool’…And though time and time again I flee, I’m always glad to see you coming after me.” Song of Gomer, Michael Card.

843 Acres Reader’s Choice: His Unrequited Love Never Stops
Highlighted Text: Heb. 6:17-18
Full Text: Song 6Heb. 6

Rejecting | “Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter,” said Charlie Brown, “quite like unrequited love” [1]. Sylvia Plath mourned it as a loss: “When you give someone your whole heart and he doesn’t want it, you cannot take it back. It’s gone forever” [2]. Goethe’s young Werther became seriously depressed when Charlotte didn’t love him back: “I have so much, and without her it all comes to nothing” [3]. Miss Piggy advises patience: “Only time can heal your broken heart, just as only time can heal his broken arms and legs” [4].

Continuing | Although most of us know the feeling of unrequited love, we often forget that the Lord knows it, too. Under the old covenant, His people constantly rejected Him. As He lamented, “When Israel was a child, I loved him; out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away … I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love … My people are bent on turning away from me” [5]. Then, “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son … so that we might receive adoption as sons” [6]. But we betrayed and murdered him, too [7].

Convincing | Yet we do not worship a God who says, “I love you,” only when He knows that He’ll hear it back. He doesn’t shy away from expressing His love for His beloved. Instead, He speaks again and again – “in many times and in many ways” [8] – so that we will know and believe. His constant goal is to make sure that we know that we are co-heirs with Christ. As the writer of Hebrews put it, “When God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things [the promise and the oath], in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us” [9].

Prayer | Lord, You have demonstrated your love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us [10]. Thank you for not withholding your love from us and, instead, working to convince us that we are heirs of the promise and beneficiaries of the oath. Help us hold fast to our hope in Christ. Amen.

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More about Daniel:  Daniel Lee has lived in New York City for six years and works at Redeemer Presbyterian Church.  He has been reading the Park Forum blog for one year. In his free time, he enjoys reading and playing sports.

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Help us reach 843 NEW READERS by Labor Day, SEPTEMBER 3! We now offer two ways to receive 843 ACRES by email: five times weekly – Monday through Friday (your friends can sign up HERE), and two times weekly – Monday and Thursday (your friends can sign up HERE). For more information on this campaign, click HERE.

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On the M’Cheyne reading plan, our reading today is Jeremiah 50 and Psalm 28-29.

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Footnotes

[1] Charles Schultz, Peanuts. Image: here.  |  [2] Elizabeth Sigmund, “Sylvia in Devon: 1962,” in Sylvia Plath: the Woman and the Work, edited by Edward Butscher (Dodd, Mead, 1977), p. 108.  |  [3] Goethe, Jjohann Wolfgang von. The Sorrows of Young Werther. New York: Random House, Inc., 1971.   |  [4] Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life. Seehere.  |  [5] Hosea 11:1-2, 4, 7 ESV |  [6] Gal. 4:4, 5 ESV  |  [7] See Acts 7:51-52Acts 2:23.  |  [8] Heb. 1:1 ESV  |  [9] Heb. 6:17-18 ESV  |  [10] Rom. 5:8 ESV

August 20, 2012

843 Acres Reader’s Choice: His Resurrection Gives Meaning to Our Work

by Bethany

Reader’s Choice | This week and next, we’re featuring “Reader’s Choice” to promote our 843 new readers campaign. Different readers will share their favorite posts and why they liked them. We hope this blesses you … and perhaps encourages you to help us reach our goal!

Reader: Brendan Sullivan | Why I like this post: We have been invited by the God of the universe to participate in His sovereign plan for renewal.  As we read in 1 Corinthians 9, “[W]e are co-workers in God’s service.”  How amazing is that!

843 Acres Reader’s Choice: His Resurrection Gives Meaning to Our Work
Highlighted Text: Matthew 28:18-20
Full Text: Jeremiah 14Matthew 28

Commissioned | Jesus walked the Via Dolorosa alone and then died on the cross alone. After he was crucified, his body was prepared for burial [pic] and then laid in a tomb [pic]. Three days later, when the Jews were celebrating the Feast of First Fruits, Jesus was raised as the first fruits of our resurrection [1]. He appeared to his disciples, saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” [2].

Meaningful | We are not merely forgiven in Christ; we are also commissioned in him: “We are the ones through whom the unique victory of Calvary is to be put into practice in all the world” [3]. When Paul wrote of Jesus’ resurrection, he didn’t say, “Christ is raised. Therefore, be assured that there’s life after death.” Instead, he said, “Christ is raised. Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” [4].

Work | How does his resurrection connect with our work not being in vain? N.T. Wright explains, “What was begun at the resurrection of Jesus will be continued until it is thoroughly finished … In the Lord, your labor is not in vain. When God’s new world is finally revealed, what you have done to bring healing and hope, beauty and joy to your bit of the world will shine out as a glorious part of the rich tapestry of the new creation. And the wounds and scars which result from announcing Jesus’ lordship in a world where other lords guard their territory with tanks, bombs and laws will be the sign that we have fought Jesus’ battles with Jesus’ weapons” [5].

Prayer | Lord, You call us to make disciples of the nations, living out the gospel in our lives. In Christ’s resurrection, we know that our present work is not in vain. Therefore, we work as your hands and feet to bring the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven, knowing that you are making our work into a beautiful tapestry that will be unfurled at the end of this age. Give us a vision of that tapestry so that we might endure in pursuing the great commission. Amen. [6]

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More about Brendan:  Brendan Sullivan has lived in New York City for six years and works in the venture capital industry.  He is a member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church and has been reading the Park Forum blog for two years. In his free time, he enjoys spending time in Central Park.
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Help us reach 843 NEW READERS by Labor Day, SEPTEMBER 3! We now offer two ways to receive 843 ACRES by email: five times weekly – Monday through Friday (your friends can sign up HERE), and two times weekly – Monday and Thursday (your friends can sign up HERE). For more information on this campaign, click HERE.

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On the M’Cheyne reading plan, our reading today is Jeremiah 49 and Psalm 26-27.

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Footnotes

[1] See 1 Corinthians 15:20 (where Paul calls Jesus’ resurrection the first fruits of our resurrection, directly calling into mind the Jewish high holiday of the First Fruits, see First Fruits, Wiki).  |  [2] Matthew 28:18-20 ESV  |  [3] Mr. N.T. Wright. The Way of the Lord: Christian Pilgrimage Today (p. 105). Kindle Edition.  |  [4] 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV  |  [5] Mr. N.T. Wright. The Way of the Lord: Christian Pilgrimage Today (p. 110, 117-118). Kindle Edition. For additional reading on how our work today will be seen in the age to come, see Richard Mouw. When the Kings Come Marching In.  |  [6] For a wonderful worship hymn in response to this reflection, see O Holy City, Seen of John.

August 17, 2012

The Future: A People Yet Unborn

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Psalm 22:30-31
Full Text: Jeremiah 45; Psalm 22

Answers | Recently, on the CNN Belief Blog, Tim Keller suggested that answers to the question, “Why me?” are generally inadequate. He wrote that people usually say one of four things: (1) “I guess this proves that there is no God.” – which is inadequate because “suffering does not go away if you abandon belief in God”, (2) “While there is a God, he’s not completely in control of everything.” – which is inadequate because “that kind of God doesn’t really fit our definition of ‘God’”, (3) “God saves some people and lets others die because he favors and rewards good people.” – which is inadequate because “the Bible forcefully rejects” this idea, and (4) “God knows what he’s doing, so be quiet and trust him” – which is inadequate because “it is cold and because the Bible gives us more with which to face the terrors of life” [1].

Suffering | Keller reflected, “God did not create a world with death and evil in it. It is the result of humankind turning away from him … But God did not abandon us. Only Christianity of all the world’s major religions teaches that God came to Earth in Jesus Christ and became subject to suffering and death himself, dying on the cross to take the punishment our sins deserved, so that someday he can return to Earth to end all suffering without ending us.”

Proclamation | Where do we find this? Psalm 22. On the cross, Jesus quoted it: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [2] Yet neither the Psalm nor Jesus ended with abandonment. When Jesus made atonement, the Father raised him up. As Psalm 22 foreshadowed, “He has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him … Those who seek him shall praise the Lord! … Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it” [3].

Prayer | Lord, We may not know the reason that you allow evil and suffering to continue, but at least we know that the reason is not that you do not love us. In Gethsemane, Jesus chose to suffer for us and, on the cross, he atoned for our sins so that we need not suffer eternally. Therefore, we proclaim your righteousness in our generation and to a people yet unborn, that he has done it. Amen.

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Help us reach 843 NEW READERS by Labor Day, SEPTEMBER 3! We now offer two ways to receive 843 ACRES by email: five times weekly – Monday through Friday (your friends can sign up HERE), and two times weekly – Monday and Thursday (your friends can sign up HERE). For more information on this campaign, click HERE.

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Footnotes

[1] Tim Keller. “My Faith: The danger of asking God ‘Why me?’” CNN Belief Blog. 4 August 2012.  |  [2] Psalm 22:1 ESV. See also Matthew 27:46.  |  [3] Psalm 22:24, 26, 30-31 ESV

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August 16, 2012

The Future: Desires of the Heavenly Kind

by Perryn Pettus

Highlighted Text: Psalm 20:7
Full Text: Jeremiah 44, Psalm 20-21

Guest Author: Perryn Pettus

Legacy | When longtime editor of Cosmopolitan, Helen Gurley Brown, passed away at the age of 90 this week, the New York Times credited her with the 1960s transformation of the magazine into a source of sexual empowerment for women. Earlier in her life, amongst many controversies, she became a household name through the pursuit to make it known to America that unmarried women not only had sex, but thoroughly enjoyed it. When Ms. Brown stepped down from editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, she was even appointed an office with “pink silk walls, leopard-print carpet and a cushion embroidered with the maxim, ‘Good Girls Go to Heaven/Bad Girls Go Everywhere’” [1]. It’s hard to mistake the legacy she desired.

Earthly | As we reflect on the life of Ms. Brown, we’re given the opportunity to reflect on that which is in our own heart as well. Are we cultivating a life to pursue those things which are earthly or heavenly? What are the true desires of our heart? Are they merely things like fame, beauty and the recognition as someone who pioneered the way for such racy topics, as she did?

Heavenly | Now we must ask, what do we want our legacy to be as we stand before the Lord at the end of our lives? As David reflected, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God[2]. If our legacy is tied up in fleeting things, we will not be able to trust in the Lord to shape the desires and plans for our lives.

Prayer | Lord, We thank you for promising to grant our heart’s desires and fulfill all our plans [3]. We humbly ask that you would help guide those desires and plans to be in perfect alignment with yours. Give us a legacy that makes your name abound, and quell our own earthly desires and tendencies to trust in the chariots of this world. Amen.

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Help us reach 843 NEW READERS by Labor Day, SEPTEMBER 3! We now offer two ways to receive 843 ACRES by email: five times weekly – Monday through Friday (your friends can sign up HERE), and two times weekly – Monday and Thursday (your friends can sign up HERE). For more information on this campaign, click HERE.

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Footnotes

[1] Margalit Fox. “Gave ‘Single Girl’ a Life in Full (Sex, Sex, Sex).” The New York Times. 13 August 2012.  |  [2] Psalm 20:7 ESV  |  [3] Psalm 20:4

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August 15, 2012

The Future: Presumptuous Sins

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Psalm 19:13
Full Text: Jeremiah 43, Psalm 19

Presumption | David loved God. He reckoned God’s words as gold and honey [1]. He tasted and saw that God was good. Yet even David was not sinless. He knew that he was tempted to sin and, thus, he prayed, “Keep back your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me!” [2].

Danger | What are presumptuous sins? They are sins done with forethought, rebellion and intention. They say, “I don’t care what God says because this feels good. After all, He’ll forgive me.” It is vitally important to understand the dangerous nature of presumptuous sins. In the Old Testament, there was no atonement for them: “The person who does anything defiantly … that one is blaspheming the Lord… his guilt will be on him” [3]. In the New Testament, we read, “If we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment” [4].

Mercy | If David, the man after God’s own heart [5], begged God to keep him from defiant sins, how much more should we pray, “Lead us not into temptation”! [6] Yet Spurgeon once said, “I shall close my few remarks this morning by just addressing myself most affectionately to such of you as are now under a sense of guilt by reason of presumptuous sins … If any of you feel, then, that you have presumed against God in sinning, let me just bid you look at your sin, and weep over the blackness of it; let me exhort you to go home and bow your heads with sorrow, and confess your guilt, and weep over it with many tears and sighs. You have greatly sinned … And then what next wilt thou do? Why, I bid thee remember that there was a man who was a God. That man suffered for presumptuous sin. I would bid thee this day, sinner, if thou knowest thy need of a Saviour, go up to thy chamber, cast thyself upon thy face, and weep for sin; and when thou hast done that, turn to the Scriptures, and read the story of that man who suffered and died for sin” [7].

Prayer | Lord, We’ll battle sin the rest of our lives, but keep us from hearts that treasure presumptuous sinning. Open our eyes to the seriousness of our sin and then embrace us, weeping and rejoicing in your glory. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] See Psalm 19:10.  |  [2] Psalm 19:13 ESV  |  [3] Numbers 15:30-31 NASB  |  [4] Hebrews 10:26-27 ESV  |  [5] See Acts 13:22.  |  [6] See Matthew 16:13 (The Lord’s Prayer).  |  [7] Charles Spurgeon. “Presumptuous Sins.” 7 June 1857.

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August 14, 2012

The Future: His Divine Interpositions

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Psalm 18:16, 23
Full Text: Jeremiah 42, Psalm 18

Choices | The American Beverage Association dismisses Bloomberg’s ban on large sodas, saying, “research finds that people consume what they want.” Yet research also shows that “what people ‘want’ has a lot to do with how choices are framed.” In this week’s The New Yorker, James Surowiecki writes, “In one well-known study, researchers put a bowl of M&M’s on the concierge desk of an apartment building, with a scoop attached and a sign below that said, ‘Eat Your Fill.’ On alternating days, the experimenters changed the size of the scoop – from a tablespoon to a quarter-cup scoop … The scoop size turned out to matter a lot: people consumed much more when the scoop was big” [1]. Under this rationale, Bloomberg is interposing himself in our soda choices. Now we’ll only be able to get the tablespoon size.

Salvation | Likewise, God interposes Himself in our lives, saving us from sin and its effects. As David sang, “He drew me out of deep waters … I have kept myself from sin” [2]. Does God have a “nanny-state mentality” (as some have accused Bloomberg for having) and are His actions “blatantly paternalistic” (as some have deemed Bloomberg’s plan)? Spurgeon preached, “I do pray that … we may be able to say, without any boasting, but in deep humility before God, ‘By His great grace, by trust in Jesus, I have kept myself from mine iniquity,’ because, if we do so, see what a blessing it will be to us, for it will be to us a reason for our being brought out of trouble … If you act thus, it will be a triumph of divine grace. Brethren, we want to show the world what grace can do, and every member of the church ought to feel that he is put upon his behavior to prove what the grace of God has done in him … We ought to feel that Christ’s honor is in danger by our ill behavior, and so live that we can glorify our Father who is in heaven by our good works, keeping ourselves from our iniquity” [3].

Prayer | Lord, Sometimes your rules seem paternalistic because we are rebels by nature and because we know few leaders who rule with love. Yet you act for our best and your glory. Therefore, take us and draw us out of deep waters. Guard us from our iniquity so that your name may be glorified in us. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] James Surowiecki. “Downsizing Supersize.” The New Yorker. 13 August 2012.  |  [2] Psalm 18:16, 23 ESV  |  [3] Charles Spurgeon. “Kept from Iniquity.” 29 September 1895.

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August 13, 2012

The Future: Our Home

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Psalm 17:15
Full Text: Jeremiah 41, Psalm 17

Housing | “A little patience can go a long way,” wrote Alexei Barrionuevo in the New York Times on Thursday. “At least that’s the lesson to be drawn from developers who have crawled from the ashes of the housing crisis – or from behind the barricades where they waited it out – to a Manhattan high-end market that has become a first-choice destination for the cash of the world’s wealthy” [1]. Yet what has their patience really gained? They may be building bigger condos, but are they making better homes?

Future | When David fled from his enemies, he fixed his eyes on his future home. He proclaimed, “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness” [2]. As Spurgeon once preached, “The Psalmist looks beyond the grave into another world; he overlooks the narrow deathbed where he has to sleep, and he says, ‘When I awake.’ How happy is that man who has an eye to the future” [3].

Patience | Spurgeon continued, “So says the Christian. I ask no royal pomp or fame now; I am prepared to wait … I want not a pitiful estate here – I will tarry till I get my domains in heaven, those broad and beautiful domains that God has provided for them that love him. Well content will I be to fold my arms and sit me down in the cottage, for I shall have a mansion of God, ‘a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens’” [4]. How do we know that we have such a home? Jesus promised his followers, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” [5].

Prayer | Lord, You are the ultimate developer. Not only have you created our current home out of nothingness by your mere word, you have also prepared an eternal home in glory for us. Therefore, let us not long for ultimate satisfaction in any earthly home. Instead, by your Spirit, fill us with patient endurance in this life so that we hope in your home, where we will be satisfied in your presence. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] Alexei Barrionuevo. “The Rewards of Patience.” The New York Times. 9 August 2012.  |  [2] Psalm 17:15 ESV  |  [3] Charles Spurgeon. “The Hope of Future Bliss.” 20 May 1855.  |  [4] Id.  |  [5] John 14:2-3 ESV

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August 10, 2012

God’s Promise to Protect the Poor

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Psalm 12:5
Full Text: Jeremiah 38; Psalm 11-12

Abstraction | “In the 13th century,” writes James Surowiecki in his recent article about the history of money, “the Chinese emperor Kublai Khan embarked on a bold experiment … Khan’s daring notion was to make paper money [instead of coins] the dominant form of currency. And when the Italian merchant Marco Polo visited China not long after, he marveled at the spectacle of people exchanging their labor and goods for mere pieces of paper. It was as if value were being created out of thin air. Kublai Khan was ahead of his time: He recognized that what matters about money is not what it looks like, or even what it’s backed by, but whether people believe in it enough to use it. Today, that concept is the foundation of all modern monetary systems, which are built on nothing more than governments’ support of and people’s faith in them. Money is, in other words, a complete abstraction … Money is a social creation, just like language” [1].

Poor | God knows that the world defines “the poor” by the abstraction of money; they possess less of the social creation than others. Into this situation, He promises, “‘Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,’ says the LORD; ‘I will place him in the safety for which he longs’” [2]. This is why Jesus strongly and repeatedly opposed money-driven mentalities throughout his ministry. When we love an abstraction, we are building our lives on sand, not rock.

Invitation | How does God protect the poor? Jesus told a parable: “When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just” [3]. In other words, He tells us, “Give to the needy; provide yourselves moneybags in heaven. Be generous. Don’t pad your life with luxuries and comforts. Look to the resurrection and the great reward in God in whose presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore” [4].

Prayer | Lord, We praise you for placing the poor and needy in safe places. Open our eyes to see them and invite them into our lives. Help us protect them, as we proclaim your great name in our cities. Guard us against craving the abstraction of money and keep us tethered to your reality. Amen.

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A special note to supporters of The Park Forum: As I was preparing this reflection, I came across this excerpt from a sermon by John Piper and it made my heart infinitely happy in you and in your support: “I’ve heard some compare those who preach for free and are supported by Christians to a man who refuses payment from his employer and then mooches off his friends. There are two ways that this comparison breaks down. First, those who hear the gospel are not in the position of an employer, and those who preach are not in the position of employees. That kind of contract does not exist between a preacher and hearer, and the expectations attending it should not be applied to gospel preaching. Second, and most importantly, the ‘friends’ who support the preacher do so, not because they are constrained by a moocher, but because they love the radical commitment to take risks in order to make the gospel free … Partnering with them in the cause of making the gospel as free as possible is a beautiful thing.” From Money, Markets, and Ministry: Giving and Selling in the Mission of Desiring God by John Piper with Jon Bloom. 16 April 2007.

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Footnotes

[1] James Surowiecki. “A Brief History of Money.” IEEE Spectrum. June 2012.  |  [2] Psalm 12:5 ESV  |  [3] Luke 14:13-14 ESV |  [4] See From Money, Markets, and Ministry: Giving and Selling in the Mission of Desiring God by John Piper with Jon Bloom. 16 April 2007.

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August 9, 2012

God’s Promise to Strengthen the Afflicted

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Psalm 10:17
Full Text: Jeremiah 37; Psalm 10

Promise | As we have seen this week [1], God makes amazing promises to His people. Today, we see another one: “O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart” [2]. This is astounding – that even though He is the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity [3], He hears the desires of the lowly and strengthens their hearts.

Worthy | When the prophets saw the glory of God, they were often at a loss for words. For example, when Ezekiel describes his vision, Tozer explains, he “must employ such words as ‘likeness,’ ‘appearance,’ ‘as it were,’ and ‘the likeness of the appearance.’ Even the throne becomes ‘the appearance of a throne’ and He that sits upon it, though like a man, is so unlike one that He can be described only as ‘the likeness of the appearance of a man’” [4]. Tozer warns us against thinking too lowly of God: “The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him” [5].

Response | Even though the Lord is so great that the prophets grasped for words to describe His glory, He nonetheless hears the desires of the afflicted and strengthens their hearts. As we see in the ministry of Jesus, the Lord hears and strengthens the sick, the lame, the brokenhearted, the hungry and the thirsty. Then, on the cross, although Jesus was in very nature God, he chose to be the afflicted. He saved others, but he did not save himself. Today, as we see great afflictions throughout the world (e.g., slavery, genocide, famine), we may wonder how God is strengthening the hearts of the afflicted. Yet we must confront this reality – He strengthens the afflicted through us. The Lord commissions us to be His hands and feet, listening to the desires of the afflicted and strengthening their hearts.

Prayer | Lord, Although you are high and lifted up, you humble yourself to meet our needs. You hear the desires of the afflicted and you strengthen their hearts. Since you have chosen to proclaim your name through us, give us ears that hear and hands that heal so that, by your Spirit, we might make your glory known on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

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Help us reach 843 NEW READERS by Labor Day, SEPTEMBER 3! We now offer two ways to receive 843 ACRES by email: five times weekly – Monday through Friday (your friends can sign up HERE), and two times weekly – Monday and Thursday (your friends can sign up HERE). For more information on this campaign, click HERE.

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Footnotes

[1] 843 Acres. “The Promise of God in the Morning.” 6 August 2012. 843 Acres. “God’s Promise to Save the Upright in Heart.” 7 August 2012. 843 Acres. “God’s Promise Never to Forsake Seekers.” 8 August 2012.  |  [2] Psalm 10:17-18 ESV  |  [3] See Isaiah 57:15.  |  [4] Tozer, A.W. (2010-10-20). The Knowledge of The Holy (Kindle Locations 158-160). Kindle Edition.  |  [5] Id. at 104.

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