Devotional – With A Nature Like Ours

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O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me.  ~ Jeremiah 20:7 ESV

We may be tempted to think that the heroes of the Bible, such as the prophet Jeremiah, were invincible, even indefatigable spiritual giants.  Servants of God who never worried, were consistently fearless, and never tired of the Lord’s work.

We can easily grow discouraged, even depressed, in our service for the Lord when we think we have failed Him. “Why am I afraid to witness?” “Why didn’t I speak up and give a word for the Lord?” “Why did I go along with crowd and do what I knew was wrong?”

However the Bible does not portray the heroes of the faith as superhuman or super-spiritual.  Absolutely not. The Bible never glosses over the failures, shortcomings, or weaknesses of His servants.

Consider the following:

  • Elijah became depressed and suicidal ~1 Kings 19:4
  • David committed adultery and murder ~ 2 Samuel 12:7
  • Paul had his thorn in the flesh ~ 2 Corinthians 12:7
  • Thomas doubted the Lord had risen from the dead ~ John 20:25
  • Peter denied the Lord Jesus Christ. Three times. ~ Luke 22:61
  • Noah drank to the point of intoxication ~ Genesis 9:21
  • Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways after a fierce argument ~ Acts 15:39

Jeremiah often grew fearful and discouraged. At times Jeremiah questioned his calling—even accusing the Lord of using deception to lure him into the ministry (Jeremiah 20:7).

Clearly the heroes of the Bible were neither superhuman nor super-spiritual. Rather they were men and women “with a nature like ours.” James 5:17.

Lord, help me to go forth today in the power of Your strength.   Thank you for Your deep and abiding love!  Help me to ever keep my eyes squarely focused on you, that I may not grow discouraged.

———

 

Editorial note: Originally published March 26, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Jottings – The One Who Doubts is a Double Minded Man Unstable in All His Ways

“James“


Commenting on James 1:5-8 ~

 

Changeableness is an evidence of an unsubdued will and generally, too, of an inflated ego, which leads one to be occupied unduly with the importance of his own affairs.



 
H. A. Ironside, Expository Notes on the Epistles of James. (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1947), p. 15.

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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Jottings – The Power Of The Old Nature Will Manifest Itself Through The Tongue


Commenting on James 3:8 ~~

 

Such is the power of the old nature that unless there is constant watchfulness and unceasing identification by faith with Christ in His death to sin, it will manifest itself through the tongue long after other evil propensities have been brought into subjection through the power of the cross as applied to the flesh.”

 

 H. A. Ironside, Expository Notes on the Epistles of James. (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1947), pp. 36–37.

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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Jottings – Who’s Crying Now?

Like Jesus and Paul, Jeremiah wept over the sad spiritual condition of the people... it’s unusual today to find tears either in the pulpit or the pews.

Commenting on Jeremiah 9:1-6 ~~

“Like Jesus (Luke 19:41) and Paul (Rom. 9:1–5), Jeremiah wept over the sad spiritual condition of the people, and this is one reason he’s known as “the weeping prophet” (see Jer. 9:18; 10:19; 13:17; 14:17; Lam. 1:16; 2:11, 18; 3:48). It’s unusual today to find tears either in the pulpit or the pews; the emphasis seems to be on enjoyment. Instead of evangelists and revivalists, the church now has “religious comedians” who apparently have never read James 4:9–10.”

 

Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Decisive (p. 48). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

 

 

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Should Local Assemblies Have Recognized Elders?

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Brother Gary McBride has an excellent post today on the assemblyHUB blog entitled Should We Have Elders Today? In his article brother Gary outlines why he believes local assemblies (churches) should have elders. He supports his position by looking at relevant scriptures passages and by exploring a few real life considerations.

While this topic may seem strange– most Protestant church groups practice some form of eldership and the New Testament seems to clearly teach eldership– there are some groups who hold to the teaching that elders are not for today.

Gary writes in part:

The premise of this article is that the office was introduced at the beginning of this age and is applicable for the whole period. In the epistles there are at least six references to elders. The references are as follows: Philippians 1:1, 1Timothy 3:1-7; 5:17-20; Titus 1:5-9; James 5:14; and 1Peter 5:1-4. To these could be added Acts 20:17 and 28, though Acts is narrative and not necessarily normative. Paul is giving a discourse that includes doctrine. There are also four verses that reference those who rule or who are in authority: 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13; and Hebrews 13:7, 17.

and…

A plurality in leadership, elders or overseers is the most likely expectation of the reader of the New Testament. Most individuals reading through the Bible would assume that the pattern seen and the topic spread thoughout the New Testament would be visible today. It may be true that the church in the Western world is far from the simplicity and spirituality of the early church, but that is not necessarily true in the entire world. In addition, there is no scripture either stated or implied that indicates the office of elder is to cease.

and…

Experientially I have found that with or without recognition someone has to take leadership. Regardless of the size of the assembly and the mechanics of decision making, someone or a plurality has to take the lead. In assemblies without designated elders either the majority of the men take leadership or only certain men are invited to be in leadership. It seems to me that in many ways it is merely a matter of semantics – there are men in leadership but the word “elders” is not used.

I encourage you to read Gary’s full article here.

 

——————–
Full disclosure: I am a member of the assemblyHUB.com leadership team.
——————–

 

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WWW Wednesday: Oh Be Careful Little Fingers What You Tweet!

Why We Web

Dr. Phil— the popular television psychologist— recently found himself in the middle of a self made firestorm. He tweeted something that many found to be very offensive.

He quickly deleted the tweet, but it was too late. The firestorm had already begun.

Check out my WWW article for more on this unfortunate event, and a reminder from God’s Word that we would do well to remember…

Link: Oh Be Careful Little Fingers What You Tweet!

 

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Entry Level Theological Truth [25]

Graveyard

“…Lest you die.” Genesis 3:3

“There’s nothing certain except death and taxes” says the familiar adage, but why is that so? People of every race, nationality, socioeconomic and educational level die. One out of every one dies in our world today; these are easy statistics for the mathematically challenged (like this author.) How does one account for the ubiquity of death in our world? Genesis 3 gives the answer.

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Entry Level Theological Truth [23]

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman,’Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’” Genesis 3:1

Among human beings, it is a common sin to discount the goodness of their Creator. Often when God is brought into any conversation, it is merely to complain about what’s wrong with the world. Many people live under the misconception that God wants to rob them of any enjoyment they might have on this woeful planet. This brings to mind the journalist H.L. Mencken’s definition of a Puritan: someone who fears that somebody somewhere is having a good time. Many people think God is like that. Not surprisingly, therefore, the first temptation to Adam and Eve came in the form of a question ascribing harshness to the Almighty’s provision for His creatures.

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Entry Level Theological Truth [18]

Cole Thomas The Garden of Eden 1828

“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:25

This verse takes us back to the idyllic time before the fall of mankind. It closes the more detailed account of God’s creation of human beings. We may look back and derive certain lessons from the first two chapters of Genesis.

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Entry Level Theological Truth [13]

Apple

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17

People sometimes caricature the rift between Adam and Eve and their Creator as being a matter of stolen “apples.” Of course, this betrays an ignorance of the Scripture’s sophisticated narrative of the history of mankind’s progenitors. The tree was not an apple tree, but rather “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” What is more, people often criticize God for seemingly overreacting

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