Posted in G3, theology

Last impressions of G3: Conclusion

By Elizabeth Prata

Sitting here in the rainy dark, I have unpacked from my three days away at the 2020 G3 Conference in Atlanta. G3’s tagline is Gospel-Grace-Glory. It is a heavily Christian conference, focusing on preaching, doctrine, and more preaching. The theme this year was “Worship.”

I attended with two younger ladies from our church, and also attending from our church was our teaching pastor and his wife, and one of our teachers in the church. Also a friend who I haven’t seen in a long while who I used to go to church with but is now a pastor somewhere else. He brought his son to the conference on the last day. The young boy wore his best suit coat, held his Bible tightly, and asked “Can we meet John MacArthur?” Continue reading “Last impressions of G3: Conclusion”

Posted in encouragement, theology

Why didn’t God stop Eve from eating the fruit?

By Elizabeth Prata

I was listening to a Grace Community Church Question and Answer session. I always appreciate how John MacArthur can sum up complex theological thoughts and issues so succinctly. I also enjoy the variety of questions. There came a question from what sounded like a very young boy.

Q. [W]why didn’t Jesus stop Eve at the garden of Eden when she ate the fruit? Like, I mean, pow, He can just stop it like that. Why didn’t He?

The audience laughed in delight at the boy’s voice, obviously filled with pique and awe, and the profundity of his query. The answer was equally profound. Follow the link above to listen or read.

I got to thinking more about that moment. We often field a question such as that one. We also tend to ask why didn’t God erase Adam and Eve and start humankind over again? But it occurred to me that this next question isn’t always asked, ‘After the Fall, why did God continue to reveal Himself?’

After the Fall He could have turned His back on humans, and returned to His perfect communion within the Trinity. He could have shrugged, left us to our own devices on earth all our lives and then pow, when we die we wake up in hell, not knowing it even existed.

God didn’t do that.

We often field the question, ‘If God is so loving why does he send people to hell?’ He does that so that His power and holiness and justice and righteousness can be magnified. But He doesn’t do so as a bait and switch or a trick. He has revealed Himself to us in His word, in His creation, in His Son, and in His elect through the Spirit. They know hell exists. They know they deserve to go there. (Romans 1:21-23).

Our God, your God whether you believe He exists or not, loves His world and continues to work His sovereign plan of salvation in it upon those whom He has foreknown. He will be glorified. (Isaiah 49:3, Ezekiel 28:22, Haggai 1:8, John 12:28).

He will be glorified. And He chose to do it starting with a snake, a piece of fruit, and a woman.

Therefore glorify the LORD in the east. Extol the name of the LORD, the God of Israel in the islands of the sea. (Isaiah 24:15).

Further Reading:

Sermon related to this issue: From Dust to Glory

 

Posted in theology

First Impressions of G3 Conference

By Elizabeth Prata

My church generously paid for my admission and the hotel for two nights. We are blessed to have elders who are so approachable and willing to subsidize further learning for their members. They buy boxes of books for the church members to take for free, they pay for scholarships to men’s conferences and other learning opportunities like us 3 ladies going tot he G3. They themselves are great examples of generosity in their sanctifying walk. They trust us, knowing we will not squander this opportunity to learn and grow and will come back refreshed to the edification of ourselves and hopefully the Body. None of this would be possible without their generosity.

When the schedule came out I saw how aggressive it was. You go bang-bang-bang from one session to another all day. I awoke yesterday at 4:30am, arrived at the venue at 7:30, stood in line to get in to the main session for almost an hour, and didn’t return back to the hotel until 9:30 that evening. It was a long day, a day of hard listening and pitched spiritual emotions, and a day of strong sensory input. I had prayed before and during the day for help in the Spirit to last until the end. He helped me 🙂 and I was still vertical at 10pm when I tweeted my thanks to the brethren I’d met that day.

As for the conference itself, it is well planned. Everything went according to schedule with no overruns. People said they would be where they said they’d be and spoke for as long and no more as the schedule indicated. There was a variety of speakers from different denominations and paths, but the joy amongst each other was evident, as was the joy and unity among the people who attended.

I was especially pleased to be with two younger ladies from our church, whose excitement and humility was plain to see, and whose joy in learning strong doctrinal truths was refreshing. I was a proud spiritual mama. At one of the sessions there was a group of about half a dozen young men, from late teens to early 20s, from Grace Community Church, Their joy in the word was so adorable, they sang, laughed, prayed in tears, jostled each other over truths they were delighted to confirm. Folks, the global church might be polluted with cultural garbage and professing people might be falling away at an alarming rate, but the pure ones the Lord has in His hand are beautiful and many.

And the sermons! I love my teaching elders to pieces and they preach at a high level, but these men at G3 have been preaching for decades and their wisdom and depth of knowledge was truly encouraging to see what the Spirit has done in the lives over the long term for the gory of Christ and His Body. About 5500 people were in attendance from all 50 states and 12 other nations. What a JOY!! The global church, I say it again, is alive and well.

The men who preached of course trod on familiar ground in some spots, The Woman at the Well, Psalm 24, Genesis 3, but each one brought out a new and timeless truth that my mind was unknowing of and ready to receive, confirming over and again that the word is truly eternal, living, and timeless. What a tremendous gift the Lord has given us to be able to plumb its depths and yet remain in the shallow end, never coming to a finite end to what we can learn.

I attended a Q&A hosted by Allie Beth Stuckey, Rachel Jankovic, and Martha Peace. These ladies answered 12 questions (maybe more, we left because our driver was getting positively bleary…) I thank them for their concise and articulate contributions to the Q&A at the conference last night. I enjoyed their responses and I’m grateful for them as sisters in the faith speaking truth against culture.

It’s all about

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Posted in theology

How to Visit Heaven

By Elizabeth Prata

I visited heaven last Sunday.

Am I going to write a book about it? No. A book has already been written about what I saw there. It’s called the Bible.

I’m fascinated with glimpses of heaven. I love to read the visions Ezekiel had, and Isaiah, and John. (Ezekiel 1, Isaiah 6, Revelation 1, 4, etc). Interestingly, the details all three men recorded are consistent with each other. None of the details that other alleged visitors to heaven who allegedly visited there are consistent with each other nor with the Bible.

I read and re-read those glimpses because that is our home! It is where we believers are headed and will dwell for eternity!

Though I’ve read through Exodus before, I had overlooked (or the Spirit just now applied the words to my mind) the little nugget nestled in  Exodus 24:9-11.

Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, And they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

WUT???

Well how beautiful, another glimpse of His holy habitation! Jamieson Fausset Commentary says,

sapphire—one of the most valuable and lustrous of the precious gems—of a sky-blue or light azure color and frequently chosen to describe the throne of God.”

Let’s compare that scene with Ezekiel’s in chapter 1:26,

And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance.

Barnes notes says of the Exodus scene, “The pure blue of the heaven above them lent its influence to help the inner sense to realize the vision which no mortal eye could behold.

When I read these and get to the jewels part it’s hard to visualize (how did he know it as sapphire when it’s clear?) but I envision sparkle, brightness, and purity. With the world becoming more and more wretched, I delight to ponder the purity that awaits.

One final thought, Nadab and Abihu saw, supped, and were blessed to behold. Yet that was not enough! They still failed to do as the LORD commanded and they offered strange fire in worship. They got lazy and would not worship as He had commanded. Perhaps they took their eyes away from the LORD, though it’s so hard to believe, since they had seen Him, or at least, His majesty.

Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them. 2And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. (Leviticus 10:1-2).

How easy is it for us to do the same, we who have not seen? O, keep your eyes on the Lord! Behold Him always. And when you need a pick-me-up, read of the visions of heaven as recorded in the Bible. What a wonderful day awaits us believers!

blog heaven

Posted in theology

Transcendence- what is it? How is God transcendent?

By Elizabeth Prata

Transcendence of God

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)

The transcendence of God is closely related to his sovereignty. It means that God is above, other than, and distinct from all he has made – he transcends it all. Paul says that there is “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:6). Scripture says elsewhere, “For you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods (Psalms 97:9; cf. 108:5).

Jesus is creator of creation but not part of creation.

He made the water. He walked ON the water.
He wasn’t deterred by the locked door in the Upper Room in which He appeared suddenly. (Luke 24:36-37).
He was inside the tomb with a heavy stone closing it off. He wasn’t there. (Mark 16:4-6).

For more information on Transcendence of God-

Essay: What does transcendent mean? How is God transcendent?
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1-Min video clip How would you describe the majesty of God?

 

Posted in G3, theology

We made it to Atlanta for the G3

By Elizabeth Prata

We traveled to the G3 conference today. It is my first big conference. About 4000 believers will be in attendance, all here to learn about worship and to glorify God. It’s hard to think of what it will be like to sing and pray and learn among such a large group of people who love Christ.

We arrived early enough to check in and retrieve our badges for the conference tomorrow, so we will not have to wait in the long line tomorrow. The drive in to Atlanta was perfectly smooth. Finding the Georgia Convention Center was easy. Checking in was a breeze. We saw Paul Washer talking with a small group of people. Finding the hotel afterward was a 5-minute drive and also smooth. The hotel announced to us that they upgraded us to a complimentary suite. It’s a beautiful suite, with a living room, kitchen and two beds.

The Lord has been so gracious to me in organizing this trip. I am blessed to be experiencing this with two adorable and intelligent women who love Christ, and meeting up with our pastor and his wife tomorrow. I’m humbly grateful for the opportunity and I can’t wait to see how He uses me this weekend and afterward for His glory.

Here are the girlies checking in with their loved ones to say we made it in safely. And giggling.

g3

Posted in providence, theology

Many mercies go unnoticed in the course of providence

By Elizabeth Prata

This video has been going around for a while. I might have even commented on it before.

Bear sneaks up on oblivious elderly couple, 55 seconds

Before I was saved, I used to wonder about providence a lot. I didn’t know that was what it was called at the time, though. I just used to wonder about near misses- the kind I knew about and the kind I didn’t. Continue reading “Many mercies go unnoticed in the course of providence”

Posted in sing, theology

There’s singing, and there’s singing

By Elizabeth Prata

Paul was going about doing his business preaching the Gospel and ministering, and a demon-possessed slave girl kept following them and shouting that they were from God showing the way to salvation. Irked at having a demonic forerunner, Paul finally exorcised the demon from her. However, her owners seeing that their hope of gain was gone, had Paul and his companion Silas arrested and beaten. Paul and Silas were thrown into the inner prison. Continue reading “There’s singing, and there’s singing”

Posted in discernment, theology

Passion Conference: Parents barred from attending, errant teachings introduced, false teachers lauded, and more. Linkapalooza inside

By Elizabeth Prata

The Atlanta Passion Conference is a Christian conference aimed at older teens and college-aged students. I live not too far from Atlanta, and I live near a University town. Lots of young folks around here flock to the annual Passion Conference in Atlanta at this time of year. This year’s conference just closed. I have received several questions about the conference from friends in real life and online. Here is some information about this conference I’ve written in the past. Hopefully it will bring to light the major concerns with this conference. I do not recommend it for several reasons, which are explored in the links below. Continue reading “Passion Conference: Parents barred from attending, errant teachings introduced, false teachers lauded, and more. Linkapalooza inside”