By Elizabeth Prata
Yesterday marked the day when the counter on my blog showed 10 million views. Ten million times eyes have passed over something written here. Over ten years of daily essay publishing (4,955 of them) and now 10 million views.*
Ten. Million. Views.
How did this happen? What was the origin? How can I celebrate the Spirit’s work through me and not make it about me? I hope to celebrate His sustaining grace in this piece. Please bear with me if I am clumsy about it. I want to boast in Him.
Origins of The End Time blog
I was saved by God’s grace, His massive and perfect grace, in early 2004. Eighteen months later my life changed in Maine and I was able to move to Georgia. I began attending church and studying the Bible.
It was a thrilling time. The answers I’d sought all my life were revealed to me by the illuminating and gracious Holy Spirit. Ha! I knew the earth didn’t just bang open! Yesss! I knew there was an absolute moral code, somewhere. Voila! There is a reason for our existence! These questions had plagued me for years. The futility of life’s big questions without the answers clouded my mind with a persistent overarching darkness all along. I was captive to the darkness of the evil one. I kept seeking the Light, but I’d never found it. When He came in His timing, the Light dispelled that darkness and offered reasons, satisfaction, and the rhythm of sanctification. I was relieved to hand over my life to the One who knows me better than I do, and leave living my futile Ecclesiastes life behind.
Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Westminster Shorter Catechism
I was so thrilled with learning all about Jesus that I began writing email newsletters to my friends sharing what the Spirit was illuminating in my mind from scripture. I loved connecting the dots, in the Old Testament and the New to the new outlook that Christ gives us. My worldview changed from the one I’d held for 42 years to the one the Lord was now knitting in me. The email list grew. More people wanted to be added. I sent the newsletter on Saturdays, filled with the rush of knowing why there was evil in the world, why the world hated Israel, why Jewish people were hunted and persecuted throughout the ages, why earthquakes and tornadoes happened. Entropy was real, i.e., the gradual decline into disorder, but the reason was sin. It was all so clear now. Though disorder exists, there is no such thing as chaos. What relief to learn that God was in control.
I looked at the news and I looked at the Bible and it was just so amazing. In my email newsletter, I did some newspaper eisegesis, matching the news that was turbulently flowing through America at the time and also the world. Remember Arab Spring? Remember the collapse of the Fourth Estate journalism in the 2007 Obama campaign for President? Journalists’ skewed political reality presented to Americans combined with the failure of diligence in what was supposed to be a watchdog for the voiceless American caused great turmoil. That was the time in which I was thrust, looking at the events occurring before me and then seeing the Bible’s prediction of it all (in theme and concept, not in details).
I began writing publicly on my The Quiet Life blog, of these and other Christian things. My personal blog was turning Christian, and I was posting more and more of these thrilling theological concepts.
If you listen to early John MacArthur (1969-1971 or so), he also engaged in some newspaper eisegesis. I understand the urge. I don’t apologize for mine in the early days. How can I? The Lord was opening my eyes to the evilness of the secular worldview and instilling in me His glorious eternal worldview. Suddenly everything all made sense! But I’m also glad that He grew me out of it. I’ve noticed over time the more one sticks to newspaper prophetical eisegesis the more wonky the ministry gets. I was happy to eventually turn to straight theology covering all God’s doctrines. My eyes need to stay focused on Jesus. I am definitely sinful and frail human.
With my personal blog filling up with theology, by January 2009 I decided to start another blog devoted to it completely. That was the beginning of this blog The End Time. I named it so because we are in the end time, the time between the first and second coming of Jesus. The time is near. The world will end, and all the unforgiven souls with it. I feel the urgency. I do not want to forget that in the next moment of time we could be taken to heaven and the wrath of God that has been promised, will unleash. He tells us twice in Revelation that the time is near.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. (Revelation 1:3).
Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near.” (Revelation 22:10).
I was still thrilled and excited. I wrote every day. I still write every day. The way the Lord structured my life at that time, I didn’t need to work full time for about two years, though I was writing freelance feature articles for the Athens Banner Herald. I could and did devote myself at every spare moment to study and learning His word and on writing the blog. I felt the Lord pouring into me the concepts he wanted me to learn and retain, and a firehose rate. This was good, I spent 43 years in the dark. I had lost time to make up for.
I started listening to Adrian Rogers, Woodrow Kroll’s Back to the Bible radio program, and to John MacArthur. I was learning knotty theological concepts like election and Old Testament prophecy. I read all the OT prophets, from Nahum, Zephaniah, and Amos and the rest, to Isaiah and Jeremiah and Daniel. I learned later that people usually turn to the New Testament first, but the Spirit had a different path for me.
Since January 6, 2009 I’ve written an essay at The End Time every day. Including this essay, I’ve written 4,955 compositions. Every day. Only in the recent year have I even repeated any material. Unbroken, each day (if I remember correctly) I’ve written about Jesus and His ways.
But can a human think up almost 5000 ideas for essays? All based on the same book? No, at least I know I would not ever be able or even want to do that. It is not me but the strength and wisdom and creativity of the Holy Spirit that aids my brain in composing what I hope are glorious exaltations of Christ and His precepts. It is not me, but Him. I’m writing this as a celebration of His sustaining work in giving a person a ministry and carrying it through to perform His intended works.
I marvel at the Spirit’s work. I’m just an anonymous, old lady in an obscure part of a southern state in declining America, writing tiny essays of my thoughts and reactions to the Word of God, and yet the Spirit sustains it daily.
I’ve wrestled with whether to even note the milestone of 10 million views, because I want this to be about the Spirit’s work, but if I don’t celebrate the milestone, then how can the Lord be praised for it? He gave me the grace to be regenerated, the mind to understand His word, the life to have time to write, His word to read and study, His spirit to illuminate, the skill to write…it’s all Him.
At various times I’ve thought I should stop. Haven’t I said all what the Spirit wanted me to say? After nearly 5000 essays what more can there be to say? Goodness, He has shown me more of His intellect, brilliance, and infinite-ness in continually providing understanding of the word on the page. Nothing has shown me more of the word that is living and active than to have been granted an opportunity to delve into it and see its life go forth in my heart and out to the world every day for ten years.
The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to show us Christ. ~John MacArthur
This week I’ll be posting some of the most viewed essays at The End Time. Meanwhile please read this Ligonier essay about the ministry of the Holy Spirit and His marvelous grace in illuminating the word to our minds s that we may see Christ and what He does with that information he brings alive in us through the various permanent gifts.
*The ten million views occurred on The End Time at Blogger. When I created this mirror WordPress blog, there was a limit of how much you could transfer, so the first year of material didn’t upload to WordPress.