Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

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

By Elizabeth Prata

We are in the section of my Advent 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

Ten Bible verses about God’s Timing

As we go about our daily lives, we often become discouraged by the many difficulties and challenges we face. Life can be stressful sometimes, posing unprecedented demands on our faith and trust in God. You might find yourself wondering how things could be different – why God has put certain obstacles in your path. Why this, why now? Bible verses offer all the answers. This post covers useful Bible verses about God’s timing to help you cope during difficult times. 

Challies: Five verses on adoption

The word “adoption” (Greek huiothesias) occurs only a few times in the New Testament, and each time it refers to God choosing a people for himself. Though there are not a lot of references to this word, there is a good deal we learn from them about the doctrine of adoption.

Ligonier: Adoption into God’s Family by Iain Campbell

Among the blessings God bestows on us in Christ is the blessing of adoption. We have been brought into God’s family and made God’s children. From God we have received “the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father’” (Rom. 8:15). As far as our status is concerned, we are no longer “strangers and aliens” to the people of God but “members of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19). The Christians in Ephesus may have no natural affinity to the descendants of Abraham, but God in His grace has addressed the issue of their spiritual alienation from His covenant by making them His sons and daughters.

Answers In Genesis: Adopted into God’s Family by Rod Martin

Every once in a while, I am asked, “What’s it like to be adopted?” I was two days old when my parents chose me to be their son. Being adopted is an amazing thing. I was taken from a situation that probably would not have turned out well and was given the opportunity to grow up in a loving Christian home. I became a member of a new family. I had a new identity, a new name, a new opportunity, and eventually a new inheritance. I was chosen!

Editor Note: All scripture-pictures were made by me, photos in the series are mine with just 3 exceptions.

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

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

By Elizabeth Prata

Thirty days of exalting Jesus through 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

History tells us this is exactly what happened, with David’s royal dynasty all but dying out as a result of God’s judgment of His people through Assyria and Babylon. Nevertheless, Isaiah also saw that while the Davidic line would seem to be dead, life would remain within the stump. A shoot—life barely detectable at first—would emerge. But once this shoot went forth, it would become a mighty tree.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Isaiah 11:1

 He comes forth out of the stem, or stump, of Jesse. When the royal family, that had been as a cedar, was cut down, and only the stump of it left, almost levelled with the ground and lost in the grass of the field (Dan. 4:15), yet it shall sprout again (Job 14:7); nay, it shall grow out of his roots, which are quite buried in the earth, and, like the roots of flowers in the winter, have no stem appearing above ground. The house of David was reduced and brought very low at the time of Christ’s birth, witness the obscurity and poverty of Joseph and Mary. The Messiah was thus to begin his estate of humiliation

All the Named Men of the Bible: Jesse

Jesse [Jĕs’se]—jehovah exists or firm. The son of Obed and father of David, and grandson of Boaz and Ruth, and an ancestor of Christ (Ruth 4:17, 22). Jesse had eight sons and two daughters by different wives (1 Sam. 17:12-14, 25). Isaiah speaks of “the stock of Jesse,” a phrase indicating that it was from Jesse the Messiah would come. The humble descent of the Messiah is contrasted with the glorious kingdom He is to have (Isa 11:1).

Posted in theology

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus; Day 1

By Elizabeth Prata

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

More information and background on this series, here

Charles Spurgeon on the prophecy of the virgin birth: “And, first, we see here, in speaking of this birth of Christ, a miraculous conception. The text says expressly, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son.” This expression is unparalleled even in Sacred Writ! Of no other woman could it be said beside the Virgin Mary, and of no other man could it be written that his mother was a virgin.

There is the finite and the Infinite, there is the mortal and the Immortal, corruption and Incorruption, the manhood and the Godhead, time married to eternity! There is God linked with a creature, the Infinity of the august Maker come to tabernacle on this speck of earth—the vast unbounded One whom earth could not hold and the heavens cannot contain—lying in His mother’s arms! He who fastened the pillars of the universe and riveted the nails of creation, hanging on a mortal breast, depending on a creature for nourishment! Oh, marvelous birth! Oh, miraculous conception! We stand and gaze and admire. Verily, angels may wish to look into a subject too dark for us to speak of! There we leave it, a virgin has conceived and borne a Son“. A sermon, The Birth of Christ

Charles Spurgeon on Christmas: “Though creation may be a majestic organ of praise, it cannot reach the compass of the golden canticle—Incarnation! There is more in that than in creation, more melody in Jesus in the manger, than there is in worlds on worlds rolling their grandeur round the throne of the Most High.” Sermon “The First Christmas Carol“, A sermon by Charles Spurgeon, Dec 20, 1857

Further Resources

Ligonier Devotional by Derek Thomas: Christmas: Prophecy and Fulfillment

GotQuestions: How many prophecies did Jesus fulfill?

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, death, burial, resurrection, 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 to publish every day, 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 earthly 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 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).

Posted in cornucopia, encouragement, horn of plenty

Happy Thanksgiving: Jesus is the horn of plenty

By Elizabeth Prata

Romans 8:14-17:

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

The Westminster Larger Catechism succinctly explains the verse’s benefits of this adoption as sons of God-

What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of the free grace of God, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ, whereby all those that are justified are received into the number of his children, have his name put upon them, the Spirit of his Son given to them, are under his fatherly care and dispensations, admitted to all the liberties and privileges of the sons of God, made heirs of all the promises, and fellow-heirs with Christ in glory.

Think of that for a moment…how great and bountiful this gift is.

At Thanksgiving we often see the American symbol of the ‘horn of plenty’ also known as the Cornucopia. The horn is filled to overflowing with harvest items from this time of year, such as this depiction from American Greetings freebies:

Adoption is an act of the free grace of God, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ, whereby all those that are justified are given gifts from HIS harvest of plenty. Picture the overflowing cornucopia of plenty from Jesus with His harvest treasures:

–received into the number of his children,
–have his name put upon them,
–the Spirit of his Son given to them,
–are under his fatherly care and dispensations,
–admitted to all the liberties and privileges of the sons of God,
–made heirs of all the promises, and
–fellow-heirs with Christ in glory.

All Christians have these and so much more to be thankful for. I know I am grateful for the opportunity to be grateful to Jesus forever.

Posted in theology

The glorious promises of God

By Elizabeth Prata

Originally tweeted by B&S (@_B___S) on November 17, 2022.

Bear: RAWR I’M A BEAR 🐻 Dog: I DON’T CARE 🐶

I saw this clip on Twitter. I laughed. I got to thinking about how we should respond to sin and satan. I was reminded of Jesus’ exhortation to Peter when Peter said no, Lord you won’t die, and Jesus said,

Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s purposes, but men’s.” (Matthew 16:23).

It also reminded me of the scene in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress where Christian was met by two lions on a narrow path. The lions were chained, but Christian saw not the chains. Christian halted his way, and paused, thinking to turn back, but the Porter above at the House Beautiful said:

Fear not the lions, for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is, and for discovery of those that have none: keep in the midst of the path, and no hurt shall come unto thee. Then I saw that he went on, trembling for fear of the lions, but taking good heed to the directions of the Porter; he heard them roar, but they did him no harm. 

The Porter quoted Mark 4:40, And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Faith includes trust. We must trust the Lord when good things happen and when (to us) bad things happen. We trust the promises of God.

What is promised to the believer

Salvation is the greatest promise. If you are saved, rest in this magnificent blessing. If someone you know is not saved, pray earnestly for their salvation.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written: “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS ONE WILL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Romans 1:16–17)

Are you weary?

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:31).

Trust God to do what He said He will do in you:

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work among you will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6).

HE HEARS US

He hears your night cries from your prayer closet! He hears your appeals from the hospital bedside! He hears your supplications through the sobs.

LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will make Your ear attentive. (Psalm 10:17).

HE GIVES US HIS COMPASSION

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

The LORD makes promises. He does not have to interact with the people He created, but He does. He doesn’t have to make promises to us, but He does.

“by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:4)

I think this is remarkable. We have an incredible Father.

HE DELIVERS US

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. (Psalm 86:13)

HE SENDS THE SPIRIT

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (John 15:26)

HE GIVES PEACE

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27)

HE SEES TO OUR NEEDS

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. John 6:35

“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. (Matthew 11:28-29)

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

HE GIVES GRACE

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

HE GIVES LOVE

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)

HE GIVES TENDERNESS

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are so many more promises, too, than can even be recorded here. He supplies all that His children need for a joyful, grace-filled, loving life here and forever in eternity. He delivers us, cleans us, makes us righteous, removes His wrath from our shoulders, fulfills our needs, grows us, sets an inheritance in heaven for us…through and because of His Son- the biggest gift and promise of all. (Genesis 3:15).

Because He is God, and there is no deceit in His mouth (1 Peter 2:22) every promise given to His children in the bible will come true.

Stand on His promises!

Put sin behind you, never mind the lions roaring at your feet. Move forward in joy and security, sister. Hold tight to His promises, lift your eyes above circumstances to see the glory that is above and will soon be ours in person to dwell with forever.

Tomorrow I’ll post a Thanksgiving blog and Friday I am starting the Thirty Days of Jesus, an advent series I post each year. May the Lord bless you today and every day.

Posted in theology

If you think you can ‘bind satan’, think again

By Elizabeth Prata

Some people think they can ‘bind satan.’ They strut around uttering words to the effect that they’ll ‘tie up the strong man’ while busily casting Jesus’ name before them like a magic charm.

Other people don’t take satan seriously. They rely on senses to ell them what’s true, and thus, since they can’t see satan they underestimate satan’s strength. Either kind of thinking causes too many people to rely on their flesh to conquer sin.

Underestimating satan, or worse, inflating our own power to deal with sin, the devil’s lies, and his thievery, is a woefully inadequate way to handle one’s walk in Christ. Let’s take a precise look at the power that satan possesses (power which is at Christ’s behest and allowance)-

When the devil strutted into heaven and the LORD asked satan where he had been, satan said roaming up and down upon the world. He isn’t omnipresent. That is, satan can’t be in all places at once like Jesus is, but he is a supernatural being who can in a second be in Australia, then Thailand, then Kansas. He really does have free rein at the present time to wander at will upon the earth and perform his evil plots (again, within limits of God’s plan and purposes).

The LORD asked satan to consider Job, and the devil was immediately incensed with how the LORD protects Job. Note that the devil knew of Job, there was no extended explanation as to who Job was and where he lived. Satan knew immediately of whom the LORD was talking.

Satan said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.” (Job 1:9-10).

Job had a lot of possessions, so it’s obvious satan had been watching Job for a long time if he knew of how the LORD had blessed Job by increasing Job’s holdings.

Observe, Satan knows who the super worshipful are. He may or may not know personally of the minor Christians like me, but he definitely knows the super Christians. He knew of Paul, (Acts 19:15) and he knew of Job. The conversation went on, and the arrangement was confirmed.

Now, to the meat of it- satan’s power. Job had 7000 sheep. Satan caused fire from above to kill all 7000 at once! The servants were killed too, with 1 survivor. Think of the power of satan to cause lightning powerful enough to slay thousands of sheep all at once, and the precision to kill all the servants, except one. Just ponder that for a second!

Not that we need a scientific explanation for obviously supernatural occurrences like satan’s slaying of 7000 sheep and many humans at once- except 1- but this doesn’t normally happen. Here is some lightning strike and animal kill info from John Jensenius of NOAA. Jensenius is a lightning expert-

Animals do tend to group together in storms and huddle under trees. If lightning strikes the tree or somewhere nearby, the entire group can be killed. We don’t know how common this is because it’s hard to track, though usually it’s herds of 10 or 20 animals that get killed. When animals or people are in groups, most are being killed by the ground current. First, there’s a direct strike — this is what most people think of when they think of lightning — that hits the tree or maybe the ground nearby. The energy then spreads along the ground surface, and if you’re anywhere near that lightning strike, you absorb it and get shocked.

Job had 3000 camels. Camels need about 2 acres per camel. They can eat a variety of vegetation but they need 5 ounces (140 grams) of salt every day. They must be groomed and checked, just like any other cattle. That’s a lot of camels requiring a lot of care and guarding, so there must have been many servants. Satan simultaneously incited the heart and mind of three bands of raiding Chaldeans. Satan possesses great quantities of power to be able to incite so many men so quickly and get them organized to the extent that they raided all the acres where camels grazed at once.

Habakkuk 1:6-7 says of the Chaldeans,

“For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans,
That grim and impetuous people
Who march throughout the earth,
To take possession of dwelling places that are not theirs.
7“They are terrifying and feared;

Job had 1000 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, which the Sabeans took all at once and killed the servants with the sword. (1 lone survivor again). Note the language in the verses, “While he was still speaking” over and over.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says, “I alone am escaped—cunningly contrived by Satan. One in each case escapes (Job 1:16, 17, 19), and brings the same kind of message. This was to overwhelm Job, and leave him no time to recover from the rapid succession of calamities

Satan knew where Job’s children would be. Think on that for a moment. He knew they’d be together and which house. He killed all 10 of them at once, by raising up a mighty wind. Note the language in the verse from Job 1:19, “a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house.”

Wind usually comes from one direction at a time. A tornado would swirl and direct wind from all 4 compass points. Satan caused what was likely a tornado within seconds of being allowed to do it by God, and it was strong enough to smash the house to bits and kill everyone inside. He did this in succession with raising the Chaldeans, inciting the Sabeans, and pouring out fire from heaven (likely lightning).

And people think they can raise a puny fist and bind this powerful being?

And people think they can handle their sin in their own power? Satan caused killing thoughts in the Chaldeans and Sabeans, thousands of men all at once. You can resist your own flesh in your own strength?

There is one being who is more powerful than satan. Jesus, the Lion of Judah! He has conquered satan, all the demons, death, and hell!

And one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to be able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5).

Jesus is worthy, powerful, magnificent, and perfectly wise. His Spirit will aid us in slaying sin and resisting the devil. We must rely on our God every moment for all our helps. We are stupid sheep, stuck in a ditch, rescued, only to dive into the ditch again! (have you seen that clip? It’s funny and sad at the same time!) If you think for a minute that “I’ve got this!” you don’t. Jesus does though. If you are IN CHRIST, in Him, he is your very present help in times of trouble, which means every day. Sin troubles us every day. Rely on Him alone. He is perfect.

FURTHER RESOURCES

Sheep clip (video) This is exactly us! We are stupid.

Does Satan have the power to control the weather? (article)

What are cherubim? (article)

Angels: God’s Invisible Army (sermon)

Satan: How does he operate? (sermon)

Posted in theology

Facing Trials with Joy?

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

Joy is not our natural response to trouble, so deeming a trial joyful requires discipline. The Christian must make a conscious commitment to face each trial with a joyous heart. When Paul said in Phil 4:4 he had learned to be content in all circumstances, he was a prisoner in Rome. He had learned to be content in the midst of his trials. That doesn’t happen by accident.” John MacArthur, Benefiting from Life’s Trials.

The critical thought to take away is that this joyful stance must be consciously nurtured every day, and can only be done by growing in the Word. WHEN trials occur in your life it will be too late to stand on joy, we must practice it all the time, and thus, we will be ready WHEN the trial comes.

Do you consciously or unconsciously change the word ‘when’ to ‘if’? Jesus said trials will come, everyone whose name is identified with His will endure trouble in this life (John 16:33). But too often if a period of time goes by when our comforts are steady and our life is tranquil, we begin to think that this status will always be the quo.

It will not.

For anyone undergoing a trial or helping someone undergoing a trial or watching someone undergoing a trial or is about to undergo a trial- which covers ALL of us, just know that it will happen.

Sometimes a trial comes in slowly and incrementally like the tide and you can see the end won’t be well, as with a monthly shrinking bank account or rolling layoffs at work. But other times it comes in like a surprise comet, blasting into your life with a suddenness that startles and shocks. Be ready to confront it with joy, by having nurtured such equanimity all along. When you see the blazing comet appear, it will be too late.

In his book “A Token for Mourners” (retitled Facing Grief as a Puritan paperback) Puritan John Flavel said,

TO be above the stroke of passion, is a condition equal to angels: to be in a state of sorrow without the sense of sorrow, is a disposition beneath beasts: but duly to regulate our sorrows, and bound our passions under the rod, is the wisdom, duty, and excellency of a Christian. He that is without natural affections, is deservedly ranked amongst the worst of heathens; and he that is able rightly to manage them, deserves to be numbered with the best of Christians. Though when we are sanctified we put on the Divine nature, yet, till we are glorified, we put not off the infirmities of our human nature. 

So Flavel affirms the understanding that the Christian can and should grieve, we are human after all. His treatise though, warns about excesses which destroy our witness in the Gospel. Launching off the verse from, – Luke 7:13- “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said to her, Weep not,” Flavel continues,

Yet the words are not an absolute prohibition of tears, and sorrow; he doth not condemn all mourning as sinful, or all expressions of grief for dead relations as uncomely; no, Christ would not have his people stupid, and insensate; he only prohibits the excesses, and extravagancies of our sorrows for the dead, that it should not be such a mourning for the dead as is found among the heathen, who sorrow without measure, because without hope, being ignorant of that grand relief, which the gospel reveals.

And that is the key. Our reaction to trials, whether they involve dread illness, loss, grief, drastic change in life’s circumstance, and so on, will be laced with the human emotion of shock and grief, but should also exhibit the joy and strength we have in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And that is something that doesn’t just appear at the moment, but is nurtured in us every day by our spiritual practices.

A well-disciplined Christian will respond to God’s trial-laced outworking in his or her life with grace and joy through tears. One who is not prepared may allow sorrow to become sinful and excessive, when, “It causes us to slight and despise all our other mercies, and enjoyments as small things, in comparison of what we have lost”, when we become insensitive to “public evils and calamities which lie upon the church and people of God”, when such sorrow interrupts our communion with heaven, and so on, says Flavel. And that is precisely the opposite of the purpose of trials.

The only way to display the joy and confidence in the Lord is to nurture the Gospel seed in us daily, watering it with the word, providing shade for it through repentance, shedding Light upon it through prayer.

Trials will come. Are you ready?

This was episode 281 (season 2) of The End Time Podcast

Further Resources

Women’s Hope podcast: Is it Well With Your Soul? part 1, part 2 with Susan Heck, part 3. Synopsis- “Why do we suffer as Christians? Where is God in times of pain? And how are we supposed to respond? These and other questions are the topic of this next series. In this episode, Kim and Shelbi introduce the topic of trials, offering a biblical framework for thinking about suffering and its purposes in our lives.”

The Priceless Gift in Every Trial, article by Dave Mathis

A Token for Mourners, ebook by John Flavel (.pdf)

Benefiting from Life’s Trials, scripture workbook by John MacArthur.

Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God, book by Tim Challies

Posted in creation grace, rock, sand

Creation Grace: Build Your House on the Rock

By Elizabeth Prata

Do not build your house on the sand. Do not rest on the sand but always stay on the Rock

EPrata photo

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27

EPrata photo