In The Discipline of Mercy, pastors and counselors Eric Kress and Paul Tautges take us deep into the book of Lamentations where we are exhorted to place our hope fully in the faithful mercy and loyal love of a gracious God—no matter the extent of our suffering
The Discipline of Mercy (The Book of Lamentations for Pastors and Counselors)
Endorsement 1: Paul Tautges and Eric Kress have given to us a wonderful exposition of the often neglected book of Lamentations. Not only have they brought the full meaning of the text to the surface, but they have filled the commentary with practical suggestions of of ways in which this much needed teaching on how to act in the midst of deep suffering can be carried out to the glory of God and the personal enrichment of each individual believer. I heartily recommend this book for those who are in times of deep distress and for the body of Christ that needs to be prepared for every possible form of suffering that may come our way, or that may come in the lives of those we need to reach out to for the glory of God.—Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. President Emeritus Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Endorsement 2: Books by Bible teachers that combine solid exposition, theological depth, and pastoral wisdom are very rare. They might include one of these strengths, seldom two, but almost never all three. This book on Lamentations, however, is just such a book! It is a tremendous accomplishment. It is at one and the same time a verse-by-verse commentary, a rich devotional treasury, and a very capable biblical counselor’s guide. I cannot say enough good things about it. Seasoned shepherds, Eric Kress and Paul Tautges are uniquely qualified to write on this somewhat unfamiliar Old Testament book. They combine the skill of preachers, the acumen of theologians, and the sensitivity of counselors. For both pastors and laymen alike, this book fills a great need. I am grateful for this addition to the Kress Biblical Resources line of volumes. It will surely do its part to edify the church of Jesus Christ.—Lance Quinn Pastor-Teacher Pastor-Teacher The Bible Church of Little Rock
Endorsement 3: Rarely is a divinely inspired work, especially when endowed with such beauty fully crafted poetry, so routinely ignored by Christians. Yet that is the lot of this work by Jeremiah. Employing a combination of acrostics and unusual meter, this “weeping prophet” intricately intersperses his despair and lament with astonishing songs of solace and thanksgiving. Fortunately, authors Kress and Tautges have brought this small prophecy to life for us, pulling it out of the shadows of neglect and drawing us irresistibly to its timeless lessons. Plumbing the depths of the prophets is not always simple, yet these authors, with their distinctively pastoral style, make it easy to access the truths of this prophecy and apply its eternal principles. And in doing so, they have remarkably captured both depth and breadth. Whether for Bible student, pastor, or counselor, the authors have unlocked the treasures of Lamentations to preaching and teaching the text of this extraordinary prophet. Multiple outlines, study guides, and insights for counseling provide unique entrées into understanding the text, making this a must-have tool for every library.—Irv Busenitz Vice President for Academic Administration Professor of Bible Exposition and Old Testament The Master’s Seminary
As it was in Jeremiah’s day, so it is in ours. When we respond properly to the sorrow our sin has caused, it produces a deep repentance that leads to a firm commitment to please God from that day forward. Unfortunately, many people suffer greatly under great sorrow but never get to this point. Instead, they remain sad and bitter about all they’ve lost, filled with grief over the destruction in their life, their marriage, or their family, but they fail to reach the point of admitting, “This is my doing. This is my fault. God is chastening me. It is I who have brought this misery into my life.” As a result, God’s mercy seems to elude them. As miserable as the realization of our sin is, it is a necessary step to our being restored to God. Without a full acknowledgment of the depth of our sin against Him, any remedy God offers us will seem cheap. True hope is born out of deep repentance. This type of confession and repentance—faith, hope, and prayer—is not a recipe to make the temporal consequences of sin go away, but it is the path to recovery, faith, and a restored joy and testimony. Immeasurable comfort can be found in the glorious gospel truth that the sinless Messiah suffered the infinite and eternal consequences of sin as our substitute (Isaiah 53; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24–25)! Many sufferers have been encouraged by the Word of God recorded in the first chapter of Lamentations. We learn that we must not run from God in shame because of sin’s misery, but rather run to Him with our misery if we desire His mercy.
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Eric Kress is a graduate of The Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley, California. Dr. Paul Tautges has served as a pastor-teacher since 1992. Paul is also a biblical counselor certified with NANC.
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