Posted in theology

How did satan become so evil? Where did evil come from?

By Elizabeth Prata

The most asked question and the most offered objection to Christianity are the two in the headline. Philosophers have struggled for eons to describe and resolve “the problem of evil”. Sproul called it “The Mystery of Iniquity“. If you expect an answer to the questions above, I don’t have them. Not because I haven’t thought about them, nor because I am too dim to understand philosophy, but simply because the only revealed truth we have about satan, the Bible, is silent on the subject. And that’s good enough for me.

Continue reading “How did satan become so evil? Where did evil come from?”
Posted in peace

The inconsolable darkness of the lost

By Elizabeth Prata

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:12)

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 1:13)

Mankind who is without Jesus, grieves. They don’t know why, but they mourn and grieve and have an internal black hole in their heart.

the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16)

We see how the world acts and we are troubled by it and we mourn too, but at least we know why it is the way it is. We know why brother is against brother and the love has gone cold. We know that it will end. The lost do not know this, and they cry out in their inconsolable darkness.

Jesus is the solution for every single problem in the universe. He came-

-“to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:79)

Peace from this desolate distress the lost feel and must endure. Peace from this endless seeking and stumbling in the dark.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6).

What a joy to share the Gospel, to see the light come on in eyes and hearts of stone turn to flesh. We have hope. The lost do not. For that reason alone, never mind their eternal destiny if they remain lost until death, we should have compassion and patience with them. They know not what they do. They know not who Jesus is.

Posted in theology

Marriage

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

From the Center for Christ and Culture, we read from the article published in 2006, “Why is Marriage Important?

“Marriage is far more profound than our contemporary culture would lead us to believe. It is a life-long commitment that restrains self-centeredness, self-indulgence and self-gratification. It is the one relationship that effectively prepares and conditions us for community. By restraining self-centeredness and promoting love of another, marriage becomes the foundation for social order. When this commitment labeled “marriage” is reduced to nothing more than a mere contract between two consenting persons, or worse just another option, it ceases to restrain our self-centered passions. Self-centeredness harms not only that relationship but also others as well until it spreads throughout society like ripples in a pond. Abandoning the “others before self” concept of marriage for the self-serving concept of contractual relationships between autonomous individuals makes us increasingly narcissistic, ultimately leading toward moral and social collapse. Across America the institution of marriage is being assailed, reduced to nothing more than a sentimental ceremony between consenting adults, radically redefined, or simply abandoned altogether.”

Yup. All that abandonment is contained in the article we read above and what we see enacted every day.

In the distant past, we were given biblical verses about how the world would be in the far future. There are specific prophecies about the coming perilous times, and there is no doubt we are living in those perilous times now. Conditions that we see all around us that did not exist at all or didn’t exist to the degree we see them today, such as the blatant and constant pressure to dispense with traditional marriage, are all around us. This disposal is a tragic and irreversible mistake.

That satanic urge to dispose of marriage the way God intended does not come only from the homosexual agenda but from all quarters, as we saw above. Once the foundational block of society is done away with then all else can crumble. Is this not happening now? Of course it is. The excessive narcissism that homosexual or triadic or polygamous or adulterous marriage definitions promote lead inevitably to societal collapse. And thus, society is collapsing. Paul wrote of the conditions we were to expect in the last days, and the last days are the time between Jesus’ ascension and His return.

“Godlessness in the Last Days”

1But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

You notice the last part of verse 5 says “having an appearance of godliness”. The people perpetrating the perilous acts will be people who seem good, having a godly appearance, pious and sincere. Yet they will be in the inside, brutal, selfish, without-self control. Even people claiming to be within Christendom are muting the boundaries of the biblical standards for marriage.

The article about marriage I linked to above concludes:

“Marriage is simply the highest of all human relationships and therefore must never be entered into lightly. It is the means of procreating humanity, nurturing and training subsequent generations, producing social order and for the Christian, the best means for perpetuating the Gospel. … If marriage is allowed to die in America as it is in other Western nations our posterity will inherit a godless culture.”

I maintain that this generation is a strong candidate as the inheritor of the godless culture. The constant barrage of marriage redefinitions (among other horrifying conditions) hath wrought godlessness in the last days. The only good news to this statement is that as the culture becomes ever more like it was in the Days of Noah and the Days of Lot it means the Day of the Lord is even closer. We draw closer with each passing day. But for the sinner, The Day of the LORD is near, said Zephaniah! Consider his words, ye sinners!

The great day of the Lord is near,
near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter;
the mighty man cries aloud there.
A day of wrath is that day,
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities
and against the lofty battlements.
I will bring distress on mankind,
so that they shall walk like the blind,
because they have sinned against the Lord;
their blood shall be poured out like dust,
and their flesh like dung.
Neither their silver nor their gold
shall be able to deliver them
on the day of the wrath of the Lord.
In the fire of his jealousy,
all the earth shall be consumed;
for a full and sudden end
he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.
(Zephaniah 1:14-18)

Posted in theology

Gratitude

By Elizabeth Prata

I want to spend a few minutes recording some things I’m grateful for. I wrote these down in a journal I keep of short mementos of things for which I’m grateful. I’ve been writing about heavy topics, and there are heavy things going on in the world … so perhaps to brighten the atmosphere (even briefly) might be in order.

Continue reading “Gratitude”
Posted in berean, bible, end of days. prophecy

Paul: What does it mean to be a Berean?

By Elizabeth Prata

“In Berea”

As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.(Acts 17:10-12).

How many times have we heard some celebrity caught in a traffic stop or in an indiscretion and when called to account on it, says “Don’t you know who I am?” They balk and they yell and they squirm and try to escape accountability due to their position. Quite often, their ego is inflated to a large enough degree that they never expect they’ll be asked to support their views or explain their mistake. Even more often, the person calling them to account are seen as the ones with the problem. “Don’t you know who that is?” they are told. “Don’t ask him to explain himself!” as if there ever comes a point when someone is above the law.

Continue reading “Paul: What does it mean to be a Berean?”
Posted in holy spirit, martyn lloyd-jones

The Holy Spirit’s work through Common Grace explained by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

By Elizabeth Prata

I listened to a wonderful sermon recently. I’ve been enjoying and savoring Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ series called “The Great Biblical Doctrines.” The one I’m referring to was called Creation and Common Grace.

Jones was a preacher in the UK in the last century. The bio states, “

“David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh Protestant minister and medical doctor who was influential in the Calvinist wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 30 years, he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London.”

It’s only 27 minutes long, because unfortunately the beginning portion has been lost. Nevertheless, you can easily understand the points this great pastor is making from the jumping off point where the sermon does open.

I was struck by the multi-layered aspect of the sermon. The sermon puts so many pieces together. The Bible is one great, unified work. It’s the revelation God wants us to know about Him and His work among the people and of earth. It is THE TRUTH, not a truth and not many truths. As you study to understand it precept by precept, a jot here, a tittle there, you begin to see a large picture emerge.

This sermon explains the work of the Holy Spirit through His ministry of common grace, and through understanding common grace, you’ll understand how when the restraining ministry of the Spirit ends at the rapture, this will be a dramatic moment as the Tribulation begins. (2 Thessalonians 2:7). You’ll understand how men could be so sinful that without the common grace of the Holy Spirit’s restraint we’d all kill each other immediately. You’ll understand why Jesus said that unless the days of the Tribulation were cut short, no flesh would survive. (Matthew 24:22). You’ll understand that the Holy Spirit has been working on earth since before earth was created. You’ll understand that it’s the Spirit who sustains all, Jesus does it through the Spirit. (Colossians 1:17).

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. (Acts 7:51).
The Spirit is the conscience that exists in all men. Though Jones’s sermons sadly are not transcribed on the site, someone took the time to publish long excerpts of this particular sermon here.

Jones said of man’s conscience,

You will remember that we are told in the prologue of John’s Gospel about ‘the true light which lighteth every man’ (John 1:9). It does not matter how you translate that verse – ‘the light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world’ says the Authorised Version; ‘the Light that lighteth every man was coming into the world,’ says another. We are not concerned about that. We are interested in the phrase ‘the light which lighteth every man’. And there is such a light. It is a kind of natural light, as we call it, natural understanding. It is the light that is in the conscience and there is that light of conscience in every person born into this world. Now that is one of the operations of the Holy Spirit in what is called common grace.

You will remember that in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 it is written, For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. When the Spirit lifts his retraining hand from man’s conscience, sin will be loosed in such a way that it is today impossible to comprehend. No man will have a conscience. Sin will reach its full expression. The horror of the few believers who come to faith in the Tribulation and live long enough to see these horrors will be permanently scarred by what they see, save the promise that God will not allow them to remember. (Isaiah 65:17).

Dr Lloyd-Jones’ delivered this sermon in 1954, and already back then he could see the decaying effects of a society being given over to its sin. That was 68 years ago, and how much more we see the accelerating effects of societies being given over to sin now. He said,

God, through the Holy Spirit, restrains the foulest manifestations of sin, but there are times when He gives people up to them. Are we, I wonder, living in such an age? Compare the twentieth century with the nineteenth. It is obvious that the moral level is very much lower today. That does not mean that everybody was a Christian in the Victorian era, but it does mean that even people who were not Christians were better men and women, speaking generally, than people now. Why? It was because of the general influence of the Holy Spirit. But it does look as if again, today, God is giving humanity over ‘unto vile affections’ as Paul outlines in Romans 1.

The Holy Spirit’s influence in the world and upon the world is not to be underestimated in light of the more visible qualities of the Messiah Savior and Father God. Please listen to the sermon and its part 2, The Significance of Pentecost, where the Spirit’s ministry dramatically changed when the Church was formed.

EPrata photo
Posted in poetry, theology

Kay Cude poetry: Treasured Memories

To all the mothers out there reminiscing over the time that has passed and your sons and daughters are now older, perhaps having left the nest, flying off to new skies and making nests of their own. The sweet time of little hugs and recious moments fly by. Cherish them.

Kay Cude did just that, revising a poem she had written long ago as she remembered just such a moment treasured in her heart.

Artist’s statement:

I had written this poem for my son many years ago to recount our sweet time together when he was a two-year old.

SWEET MEMORIES TENDERED FROM LONG-AGO

Kay Cude is a Texas poet.
Used with Permission.

Posted in theology

Prata Potpourri: Disability, Prone to wander, Spiritual gifts, more

By Elizabeth Prata

Hello friends, I pray you are doing well today. I am sliding into the summer break from school and I am overjoyed it’s the end of the year. It was a good year, I love my job, but I enjoy the time off so much. I always have these grandiose plans for the 8 weeks I’m off. Usually I give myself a week to decompress then plan to read and craft and clean and hike and do all sorts…but then I don’t. LOL, I do accomplish stuff, but my plans are always more grandiose than either my energy level or the time frame permit. But I still have fun!

Our church’s summer series of TableTalks will begin in 2 weeks. These are super fun. We meet, eat, then have a lesson, then stay around and discuss it at our tables. It’s friendly, edifying, low key, and edifying.

Do you have summer plans?

I’ve rounded up some content I thought might be worthwhile to read or view. I hope you enjoy!

In this first one, my friend DebbieLynne offers some thoughts on the perks of disability. Thoroughly wonderful and totally convicting. “An unexpected perk of disability

Here, G3 Ministry has a wonderfully concise article about spiritual gifts!

Dr. Abner Chou is a linguistic genius and an all around genius…He has been a professor at TMS for a while, and interim President for a year. My friend attends there and he has lauded Dr Chou’s talents for two years since he has taken classes from him. Now, we read that he has been affirmed as The Master’s Seminary President. Yay!

Paul Washer with a 3-minute clip on hell. Buckle up…if you dare!!

We are Prone to Wander, oh we are prone!

Pastor Gabe with the truth, once again. He is on Twitter, and has a blog and a podcast / podcast.

I am autistic, I know people who are autistic, I know people who have been close with non-verbal autistic people. This is a powerful reminder not only to underestimate autistic people (and the principal’s comment hurt my heart) but also that no matter who we are, we are all made in the image of God and to treat each other with dignity. “Nonverbal autistic valedictorian delivers speech

Thanks for reading! Have a super day.

Posted in eternal, God, martyn lloyd-jones, sovereign

Spiritual Journey, MLJ & the Eternal Decrees of God

By Elizabeth Prata

There’s a meme going around where people post photos of the men who have been part of your spiritual journey. It’s interesting. Of course the moment I posted mine, a person came on and commented “How about following Christ, not men?” Sigh. There’s always one.

Anyway, mine went like this:

Joel Osteen, Adrian Rogers, John MacArthur. Some didn’t know who Adrian was, I posted part of his bio that he was three time President of the Southern Baptist Convention, was conservative and stood for those theological principles, his ministry was Love Worth Finding and you can still tune in and hear his sermons today, and was a four point Calvinist or sometimes confused Arminian. He had his own theological journey, lol.

Of course someone immediately came on and started crabbing about Calvinism. I replied a few times then just deleted her comments. There’s always one. Sigh.

But they represent a journey that’s apt for me. I was new to the faith. Osteen was at the height of popularity. I listened to Osteen because I loved the arc of his rhetoric, because I thought with such a large church he must be THE guy, and because his man-pleasing speeches touched me. But as I grew and opened my Bible more and more along with what he was saying I saw pretty quickly thanks to the Holy Spirit that he was far from it. I ditched Osteen.

I loved Rogers’ clear delivery and deeper theological concepts. His focus on the sovereignty of God was a balm to my increasingly sanctified soul.

Yet as I studied it became clear that God was sovereign also in salvation, that He pre-ordained whom He would choose for salvation, and once I heard MacArthur confirm what I’d been learning from my study of the Word, that was it for me. I’d found my guy.

Not to say that I wasn’t also influenced by my own pastor, or by other men. There’s Sproul and the men at Ligonier. There’s The Master’s Seminary and the men under JMac. In the discussion on my Facebook page of who we enjoy listening to, someone mentioned Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The Doctor, the man of Logic on Fire. I agreed he was a good one also. Aren’t we blessed in this day and age to have such opportunities to hear such men of God expound the word?!

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

When the commenter mentioned Lloyd-Jones, it reminded me of a blog post I’d published a few years ago on MLJ’s sermon series on the Eternal Decrees of God. It’s the best sermon I’ve ever heard on the “Eternal Decrees of God”, and one of the best sermons I’ve heard on any topic, ever. It is by UK preacher from the last century, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and it’s 50 minutes long. This is the first sermon in his wonderful series, Great Biblical Doctrines. Please take a listen, I know you will be edified.

Blurb: “Scripture: The character of God’s activities; antinomy explained; the importance of understanding the harmony of the Biblical doctrines; God’s unchanging plan; the decrees of God are unconditional and sovereign; problems in understanding this doctrine; God is not unjust.

The Eternal Decrees of God

MLJ’s other sermons are at the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Trust, here. I recommend him. Who do you enjoy listening to?