Posts tagged ‘Lamentations’

August 28, 2012

843 Acres Reader’s Choice: On Outlandish Expectations and Strong Senses of Entitlement

by Bethany

Reader’s Choice* Tim Noble | Why I like this post: I am a millennial and I hate it when I fail at things.  But that’s because I forget that Christ’s victory over death far surpasses my inability to succeed at daily tasks.  Looking for my personal justification in the covenantal love expressed on the cross releases me from my “outlandish expectations.”

843 Acres: On Outlandish Expectations and Strong Senses of Entitlement
Highlighted Text: Heb. 12:3
Full Text: Is. 5Heb. 12

Millennials | Millennials comprise the largest generation since the baby boomers [1]. What are they like? Pew Research says that they are “confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change” [2]. Several years ago, however, Ron Alsop wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “[T]hese young people have great – and sometimes outlandish – expectations … an unusually strong sense of entitlement” [3]. He continued, “Where do such feelings come from? Blame it on doting parents, teachers and coaches. Millennials are truly ‘trophy kids,’ the pride and joy of their parents. The millennials were lavishly praised and often received trophies when they excelled, and sometimes when they didn’t, to avoid damaging their self-esteem.”

Glory | If Alsop is right, we have a huge opportunity to put God’s glory on display in our culture. In Hebrews 11, the writer lists the many Old Testament figures that chose faith over fear – e.g., Noah, Abraham, Moses [4]. All of them were persecuted, but none of them received what was promised – namely, their final perfection [5]. In light of their lives, the writer exhorts us, “[L]et us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely … looking to Jesus … who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” [6]. He continues, “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” [7].

Context | In other words, we can show God’s glory in our culture by clinging to Christ, not our self-esteem, for endurance [8]. Our “outlandish expectations” and “strong senses of entitlement” are tethered to the age to come, not this age! We don’t need cultural trophies because Christ himself is our trophy. We endure adversity by knowing that after the cross comes the crown. When we view the world like this, we won’t grow weary. Instead, we’ll endure until we come “to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and … to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant” [9].

Prayer | Lord, You have given us new hearts and new identities. We don’t need to be coddled by this world because you’re on our side! [10] Give us a confidence that is unshakable so that we can endure adversity with joy because we know what’s coming. Let us consider Jesus, who endured immeasurable adversity for our sake, so that we will not grow faint of heart. Amen.

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More about Tim: Tim has been reading The Park Forum for 2 years.  In his spare time, Tim likes to try new restaurants with his wife, Kyo, or go on runs through Central Park.

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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 Lamentations 5 and Psalm 36.

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FAQs

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Footnotes

[1] Most people consider the Millennials to be those individuals born between 1980 and 2001.  |  [2] Pew Research Center. Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next (various resources).  | [3] Ron Alsop. “The Trophy Kids Go to Work.” The Wall Street Journal. 21 October 2008.  |  [4] See Hebrews 11 (which is often referred to as The Roll Call of the Faithful).  |  [5] See   Hebrews 11:40 (noting that those who have gone before us “should not be made perfect” apart from us).  |  [6] Hebrews 12:1, 2.  |  [7] Hebrews 12:3 ESV  |  [8] The way that our culture views “self-esteem” is largely counter to the biblical perspective on how we should view ourselves. Yes, we should affirm people, but the problem lies in how we are affirming them or on what basis are we affirming them. For additional thoughts on this topic, see Sam Crabtree, “Is It God-Centered to Praise People?” 13 March 2012; Jonathan Parnell, “How Should We Think About Self-Worth.” 1 March 2012.  |  [9] See Hebrews 12:18-29.  |  [10] See Psalm 118:6Hebrews 13:6Romans 8:31.

August 27, 2012

843 Acres Reader’s Choice: When Suffering Seems Senseless

by Bethany

Reader’s Choice | This week, 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: Nate Sung | Why I like this post: Today’s devotional nails how we Christians should approach suffering.  As Oswald Chambers wrote, “God places His saints where they will bring the most glory to Him, and we are totally incapable of judging where that may be.”

843 Acres: When Suffering Seems Senseless
Highlighted Text: Job 37:13
Full Text: Job 372 Cor. 7

Purpose | Human beings are resilient. We can put up with a great deal of suffering, as long as we know the reason for it. If we don’t know the reason, however, we can easily become impatient and frustrated. As Nietzsche argued, “What really raises one’s indignation against suffering is not suffering intrinsically, but the senselessness of suffering” [1]. Yet life is full of seemingly purposeless suffering. The suffering of Job, from his perspective, seemed senseless. He didn’t know what was happening between God and Satan and he was all caught up in the mistaken belief that the righteous prospered and the wicked suffered [2].

Source | Even though Job didn’t know the purpose of his suffering, he knew its author. When fire consumed his livestock and wind killed his children, he said: “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” [3]. His final friend to speak, Elihu, pushed Job beyond seeing God as the cause of his suffering only and into seeing Him as the source of mercy in his suffering as well: “He loads the thick cloud with moisture … Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen” [4].

Trust | Knowing that God is sovereign and, at the same time, loving and merciful, we can be patient in our suffering as we trust Him – even when we don’t understand or even agree with Him. As James wrote, Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” [5]. Thus, like Job, we can find comfort and security and hope and truth in God and His sovereign mercy.

Prayer | Lord, You are the author of mercy – whether it comes in the form of prosperity or adversity. We confess that our eyes often see wrongly in the midst of our suffering. Yet, because we trust You (and we long to trust You more and more every day), we’ll wait for your goodness and patiently persevere in Christ. Thus, even if we don’t understand you right now, let us one day look back on today and say, “Now, we see. Now, it all makes sense. Nothing was wasted. We stand in awe of the fabric of your glorious ways.” Amen.

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More about Nate: Nate is a NY Giants and Yankees fan currently living behind enemy lines in Dallas.

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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 Lamentations 4 and Psalm 35.

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FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

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Footnotes

[1] Nietzsche. On the Genealogy of Morals.  |  [2] Moreover, since Job is limited in his own time, he does not know that, through the testimony of his suffering, God is preparing a people ready to receive the righteous and innocent Messiah who would suffer greatly.  |  [3] Job 1:21  |  [4] Job 37:11, 13 ESV  |  [5] Jms. 5:11 ESV

August 24, 2012

843 Acres Reader’s Choice: On Whether God Keeps His Promises

by Bethany

Reader’s Choice* Mary Beth Hritz | Why I like this post: I like this post because every day, if I’m lucky, my world ends in some way because I come to an end of myself. This is also, however, where my life begins. For I can experience endings and beginnings with freedom since I exist forever and God’s promises can be trusted because my heart is already at home in Him.

843 Acres: On Whether God Keeps His Promises
Highlighted Verse: 2 Peter 3:8-9
Full Reading: Isaiah 222 Peter 3

Myth | As it turns out, the Mayans never thought that the world was going to end this year [1]. Archeologist William Saturno recently debunked the apocalypse myth when he discovered the oldest known Mayan calendar in existence. Although 10 percent of the world’s population apparently subscribed to the myth, Saturno found hieroglyphs that show the Mayan calendar reaches far beyond 2012.

Delay | Unlike the Mayans, we – as Christians – don’t guess the date or hour when the world will end [2], but sometimes our belief in the second coming seems no less mythical than the Mayan calendar. After all, it’s been over two thousand years since Jesus left his disciples, saying, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” [3]. Peter knew, however, that some would ask, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation” [4].

Reminder | Yet Peter answered, “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” [5]. What evidence do we have that the Lord will make good on His promise to return? Jesus Christ. One thousand years before Jesus was murdered on a cross, David prophesied, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”Yet that was not the final word for David or Jesus. David’s psalm ends, “All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. 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” [6].

Prayer | Lord, We praise you because you are a promise-keeper, which we know because all of your promises find their Yes in Jesus [7]. We confess, however, that we grow impatient with you. Forgive us, Lord, and remind us that you’re not slow in keeping your promises, as we understand slowness. Instead, your seeming delay in returning is rooted in a deep love for us – that we might repent and turn to your great mercy. Amen.

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More about Mary Beth: Mary Beth practiced law for 23 years and is a member of Redeemer and lives in Connecticut with her husband George, who was our Reader’s Choice yesterday.

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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!

____________________________________

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 Lamentations 1 and Psalm 32.

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FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

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Footnotes

[1] See John Noble Wilford. “Painted Maya Walls Reveal Calendar Writing.” The New York Times. 10 May 2012. New Mayan Discovery: The World Isn’t Ending! 10 May 2012. The Daily Beast.; Andrew Couts. Apocalypse never: Newly discovered Mayan calendar further disproves doomsday myth. 10 May 2012. Digital Trends.; John Noble Wilford. Painted Maya Walls Reveal Calendar Writing. The New York Times. 10 May 2012.  |  [2] See Matthew 24:36Mark 13:32.  |  [3] Matthew 28:20 ESV  |  [4] 2 Peter 3:4 ESV  |  [5] 2 Peter 3:8-9 ESV  |  [6] Psalm 22:29-31 ESV  |  [7] 2 Corinthians 1:20

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