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Dilemma – Day 3 – The Middle

Today, 08:11 AM

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Lamentations is said to have been written by Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, even though the Bible does not specify the author. The timing is widely believed to have followed the fall of Jerusalem, though one Jewish site states:
In actuality, the widely accepted Jewish view is that Lamentations (or at least the bulk of it) was penned years before the actual calamitous events it depicts.
This site states that Jeremiah chapter 36 describes the destruction of the first writing of Lamentations, and Baruch’s rewriting the dictation by Jeremiah. Their explanation ends with:
And indeed, seventeen years later, on the ninth of Av in the year 3338 from creation, the Temple was destroyed and the Jews led into captivity—precisely as Jeremiah had prophesied.
Ever since, the book of Lamentations is read every year on the eve of the ninth of Av.
So, with such sadness, such mourning, do we find some of our most loved verses set right in the middle chapter:

It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 KJV)

Now, if you are a hymn-singing Christian, those four words should bring a tune to mind: Great Is Thy Faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
In the midst of storms in our lives, we do sing out that our Lord is merciful to us, every day.

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. (Lamentations 3:24-26 KJV)

That hope we have in our faith:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 KJV)

This entire chapter in Hebrews lists people who changed their lives and the lives of others through their faith in God. Some mock that faith – others would hear more. Luke describes this duality in his chapter on Paul’s sermon in Athens:

And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. (Acts 17:32 KJV)

The difference in Jeremiah and Lamentations seems to be that only Jeremiah and Baruch are shown to have that same faith in adversity. Each of these who demonstrated their faith in God’s faithfulness are remembered today. They are seen as examples who worked through adversity without deleting God from from their lives as abandoning them.

I have met people who did not make it through their adversity with their faith intact. And, others who appeared to have picked up faith in the midst of great pain – both physical and spiritual. I believe they learned to lean on the strength God has to offer. I would love to have that faith, reading and studying to help it grow:

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)

Keep these middle verses in our heart, for adversity never is a stranger, even to children of our God.

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Zechariah's Visions: One Candlestick, Seven Lamps, Two Olive Trees

Today, 03:00 AM

“I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.” (Zechariah 4:2-3)

This vision has three main messages. It represents &... More...EXUOJ6P2RT8


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Way Of Life - A Challenge For Bible-Believing Churches About Music Today

Yesterday, 09:10 PM

How is it possible in this day and age for a church to adapt contemporary worship songs without the young people going online to find out more about the songs and the musicians and thus coming into contact with and being influenced by the full-blown ecumenical rockers and the “real” renditions of the music?

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Dangerous Illusions—Chapter 1: An Unexpected Trip To A Catholic Monastery

Yesterday, 07:05 PM

LTRP Note: The following is from chapter one of Carolyn A. Greene’s book Dangerous Illusions (the sequel to Castles in the Sand). As far as we know, these are the only two novels ever published that delve into the evilness of the contemplative prayer/emerging church movement. The setting for Castles in the Sand is a […]

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Dilemma – Day 2

Yesterday, 07:07 AM

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Yesterday’s blog was just a thought received before our Sunday School lesson. Since I’m going (somewhat) in an orderly fashion, we’ll look at that lesson of poetry – Lamentations. Five chapters – four with 22 verses, the middle one with 66. Chapters 1, 2 and 4 have verses beginning with letters of the Hebrew alphabet; chapter three has three verses, in order, beginning with each of the letters; chapter five has 22 verses, though not beginning with the alphabet. It would take some planning and forethought to create such a funeral dirge:

How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary! (Lamentations 1:1 KJV)

From the analogy of widowhood, we move to abandonment:

She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies. Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits. (Lamentations 1:2-3 KJV)

Politically, we haven’t moved that far, have we? Jerusalem, as the center of Judah, had allies – which it worked well for them – who abandoned her – when it suited them better. I do believe that has occurred to individuals in politics, and to nations, in our world today.

Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths. (Lamentations 1:7 KJV)

In lamenting the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, David used a phrase that we still use today:

How are the mighty fallen (2 Samuel 1:27a KJV)

The feelings Jerusalem’s enemies felt was not sadness, but mockery, even for her religion. How could she have been abandoned by the God she had been extolling for generations? Even in poetry, Jeremiah defined the “How?”

Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward. Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembereth not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself. (Lamentations 1:8-9 KJV)

How happy enemies are when their own errors bring down individuals! That applies to nations, too. How said when an entire nation errs – and chastisement occurs.

They have heard that I sigh: there is none to comfort me: all mine enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that thou hast done it: thou wilt bring the day that thou hast called, and they shall be like unto me. (Lamentations 1:21 KJV)

And, that’s just the first chapter. There are four more. Tomorrow, we’ll look at the middle of this poetry. What do you expect?

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