Posted in theology

The seasons are changing

By Elizabeth Prata

I was born in December 1960. My first memory is when I was a few weeks past 3 years old, when the Beatles performed on Ed Sullivan Show on television in February 1964.

So I grew up in the turbulent 1960s. Day by day, week by week, year by long year, TV viewers were shown images of war, never before seen in such gruesome vitality. Live shooting in an incomprehensible jungle and a nightly count of the deaths and wounded solemnly intoned by Walter Cronkite. Other newsworthy scenes we were subjected to were of mayhem, marches, chaos, angry feminists, open homosexuals, riots, Kent State, constantly on the news and in newspapers, the only widespread sources at the time. Once, my mother asked my brother if he would go to Viet Nam as a soldier when he turned 18 or if he’d object and go to Canada. He was six. It felt like the war would last another 12 years until he turned of soldier age.

Continue reading “The seasons are changing”
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus, Day 3- ‘Perfect Timing’

By Elizabeth Prata

We are in the section of the thirty day flow where we examine PROPHECY, ARRIVAL, and EARLY LIFE of Jesus.

In this section I chose verses that reflect the prophecies that predict His coming. Prophecy warns of coming judgment but it also comforts in that it foretells the holy and wonderful resolution of all things for the believer. This resolution didn’t begin with Jesus’ incarnation as a babe in the manger, it began before the foundation of the world when the God-head held an intra-council discussion and Jesus voluntarily chose to become the sacrificial Lamb.

Introduction & Background to this series here

thirty days of jesus verse 3

Introduction/Background
Day 1 post
Day 2 post

Challies: Five verses on adoption

Ligonier: Adoption into God’s Family by Iain Campbell

Answers In Genesis: Adopted into God’s Family

Posted in theology

Where are all the discerning women?

By Elizabeth Prata

Here is a good article by Lauran Robinson at LauranLou blog. She asks a good question and it’s timely. When I talk with the younger women in the faith who seek and apply discernment, they acknowledge that it’s hard to really trust anybody (without doing significant pre-vetting before buying a book, subscribing to a podcast, liking on social media, etc). I was asked just this week ‘who is out there that we can trust?’ (Note: not blind trust, discerning trust).

It’s a grief to ask this question because it’s a grief to see friends and even women we don’t know follow false female teachers. (Or any false teacher). Won’t it be a relief and a joy in the eternal state with no sin and perfect trust in all whom we meet! Until that day, we must ask the question Lauran Robinson asked, ‘Where are all the discerning women?’

When I was brought to a Beth Moore Living Proof weekend I mourned over the tens of thousands of women filling the arena and the picture of all of them adoring Moore haunts me today. We ask the question not because we’re smarter than anyone else, frankly, many of us discerners have a woeful tale of having squandered time in sanctification because we followed the wrong crowd or teacher. It’s one of the reasons we’re so fervent about being discerning. (I myself followed Joel Osteen for over a year at the start of my walk!). It’s because we have been graced with a spiritual gift that allows us to spot false teachers (and good teachers).

The Holy Spirit dispenses gifts as He pleases. (1 Corinthians 12:11). One of them is “distinguishing between spirits” (1 Corinthians 12:10) known in modern times as discernment. The people given this spiritual gift in the global body, operating within local churches, are the church’s early warning system.

There are discerning women out there putting out great material in blogs, papers, lectures, studies, and podcasts. Michelle Lesley, DebbieLynne Kespert, The Woman’s Hope podcast co-hosts Dr Shelbi Cullen & Kimberly Cummings, Lauren Hereford of Tulips & Honey (and Facebook group here), Susan Heck, Amy Spreeman, Allie Beth Stuckey, and others. But admittedly, the field is narrow and more full of false teachers.

Recently a young woman asked me to recommend any good Christian books by Godly women or about Godly women. I turned to Banner of Truth books because I know Iain Murray had written a short bio of Amy Carmichael and BoT had also published the bio of Selina Countess of Huntingdon. Banner of Truth lists 293 authors. Fourteen were women, comprising 4% of the list, if that gives you any idea of the ratio of solid male theologians to female. I believe this ratio holds in the wider global church, too, given the number of false women teachers we see running around.

So Lauran Robinson’s question Where are all the the discerning women? is a good one. I recommend reading Lauran’s thoughts on the issue, linked just above.

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus, Day 2; He will come!

By Elizabeth Prata

Thirty days of exalting Jesus though selected verses with pictures representing the prophecy, life, death, resurrection, and Second Coming of our Savior.

More information and background on this series, here

thirty days of jesus verse 2

Day 1: The Virgin Shall Conceive

Ligonier: A Shoot from Jesse’s Stump: Devotional

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Isaiah 11:1

All the Named Men of the Bible: Jesse

Posted in theology

Dawn song

By Elizabeth Prata

Every morning at 6:58, the first bird welcomes the day. CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP, I hear. At this current season in my little spot on earth, first light is 6:51 am, and sunrise is 7:18 am. During this week of quietude home from school on Thanksgiving Break, me and that bird have made friends. He doesn’t know it of course, but I do.

I sit at my table, sipping coffee and reading or writing. I look at the clock and wait for his first chirp. It’s a Carolina wren, and boy, that tiny body emits a sound that carries far and wide.

Photo by EPrata. Taken at another time

Usually on the dot (or thereabouts) I hear the wren. I smile, the day has officially begun when the tiny bird sings. It’s good to be connected to the outside world. The creation is amazing in its turnings and doings, and I’m pleased to know the wren is the one who greets the day first. He is the only one singing up the sun, the crow, the cardinal, the robin wait a bit before chiming in.

How does Wren know to do it every day, at the same time? A mystery of God. His creation is intricate and wondrous. All creation might be groaning together till now (Romans 8:22), but it’s singing, too.

Posted in theology

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus

By Elizabeth Prata

Thirty Days of Jesus

Christmas is coming. It’s a blessed time of year.

We always think of the Savior, all the year, every day. (Philippians 4:8). But the Christmas season is a special time when we think more pointedly about His incarnation, life, ascension, and return. Who is this Jesus? He was born, lived, died, rose again, and promised to return, to bring eternal life to those who believe and eternal death to those who reject. He tore the veil of human history, parted it into BC and AD, and changed everything.

I use my photographs of God’s beautiful creation and overlay a verse on them, and for Advent, the theme is Thirty Days of Jesus. Thirty verses, thirty photos of God’s creation that reflect His life and ministry.

I chose three mini-themes for this month’s scripture Advent photos that I believe will flow.

PROPHECY, ARRIVAL, and EARLY LIFE, 15 verses.

In this section I chose verses that reflect the prophecies that predict His coming. Prophecy warns of coming judgment but it also comforts in that it foretells the holy and wonderful resolution of all things for the believer. That resolution will be in Christ and through Christ.

Then the beautiful verses that announce His arrival on the blessed morn.

The third sub-section are verses that mention Jesus as a child and boy, before He began His ministry.

PREEMINENCE OF THE SON, HIS WORKS & MINISTRY, 15 verses

The Son 5 verses over 5 days

Beginning with verses that declare the Son, are verses that focus Him as the Second Person of the Trinity. His sonship is integral to His ministry as the subordinate Person to God the Father. These verses reflect that reality.

Works & Ministry, 10 verses

This section, published over ten days, will present verses that detail His attributes while He was on earth; Jesus as servant, teacher, shepherd, healer, and so on.

RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, & RETURN

This last section Christ is unique in that He is the firstfruit of resurrection. He is unique in that He descended from heaven and ascended to heaven. Of the John 3:13 verse, says that only He is qualified to speak of heaven, being the only One who has been intimately involved with all its doings, and only he has seen the Father and come down from there and returned.

Jesus was raised to life and brought back to heaven, and several verses in this section will illustrate what He is doing while we wait the long centuries for the fulfillment of the end of all things, His glorious return. The last verses will present Jesus in His glory, as He is in heaven now.

The flow mirrors the Revelation 1:8 verse, where it is declared,

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Let’s enjoy the season. I pray that it does not become a hectic, shopping slog, frantic with focus on gifts and cleaning houses and to-do lists, though given family obligations and work colleague expectations, some of that is always inevitable. But don’t let it encroach more than it has to. Jesus is the reason for this season. If you’re a believer, this season is a gateway to a new year filled with many reasons each day to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. (Psalm 86:9)

Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21).

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

or you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:20).

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11).