Posted in encouragement, theology

Encouragement, listen!

By Elizabeth Prata

Sisters, you have the keys to the kingdom in your heart, the deposit of the Holy Spirit which guarantees entrance into that great city: the New Jerusalem and the city of God. He will sustain you with strength, grace, and perseverance until the war is over. Our war against sin, our plodding journey toward that golden shore, will be achieved in His strength. He has you in His hand, He will not let you go.

Whatever you are dealing with, and I know it’s a lot these days, Jesus is overseeing every minute, every minutiae, even the hairs on your head, the days of your life, the clothes on your back.

I know circumstances can be overwhelming, but if you’re drowning, do you look to the waves crashing over you? Or do you look to the sky to see if the helicopter is coming? Look up to Jesus, the Savior of our souls, the preserver of our lives. When you look do you also look forward? To what’s coming for us? Read, read what He has revealed to us-

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia.d Its length and width and height are equal. 17He also measured its wall, 144 cubitse by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. 18The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

22And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

(Revelation 21:10-27)

Gentle pure glory light forever, no sin forever, perfect worship of the Lamb forever, we will speak with Jesus and the saints, loving and praising, forever. Think on it! What peace! What glory! What rest! What relief! This present trouble will fade into a far distant memory, if we remember at all.

Christ is yours forevermore. Life abundant is yours. Life eternal in glory is yours.

We might be weak, but never crushed. Bent but never broken. (Isaiah 42:3)

Praise His name and pray for thanks, whatever the circumstance, because all of the above is already yours!

glory

Posted in books, theology

Sale! Sale! Sale! All things Puritan

By Elizabeth Prata

Here are a couple of sales to alert you to right now. They are too good to pass up.

I love the Puritans. I grew up in Rhode Island, founded by exiled Puritan Roger Williams, and Anne Hutchinson, exiled Puritan woman who founded Portsmouth RI (next to Newport). Our 4th grade field trip was to Plymouth to visit the replica Mayflower, the ship that transported the Puritans to New England in 1620. Some of my friends lived in homes built in the 1600s. Others attended Harvard, founded by Puritans. You couldn’t get away from the Puritan shadow of these mysterious and incredible people (to me, growing up). I have long been interested in them!

Only God knew that He would save me from His wrath and bring me into the faith of these selfsame Puritans, and how great is the grace that He gives me to learn about them with Christ’s mind. And, someday to be with them in glory.

Here are some good, solid resources for you if you’re interested in learning about these particular forefathers and mothers.

The American Puritans, by Perry Miller (Editor). Published in 1956, this book was the standard until interest very recently revived and modern books and anthologies have been published looking at the Puritans again, at long last! (see below). Yet still recommended, it stands the test of time.

Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, Arthur Bennett. One way to get to know the Puritans is to read their collected prayers and devotions, giving insight into their love and fervor for the Lord. They way they thought about Christ, their Christian Life, and others is amazing to read.

The Puritan Paperbacks Series at Banner of Truth includes some of the most classic Puritan works published by the Banner of Truth. These books are selections of larger works from the Puritans, published in small paperbacks to make them more accessible and affordable. Notable titles include The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes, The Mortification of Sin by John Owen, and The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs. Other notable Puritan writers in this series include Thomas Goodwin, Thomas Watson, John Flavel, Richard Baxter, and John Bunyan, et al.

The Pocket Puritan Series is a collection of short, accessible writings from the Puritan, again offered by Banner of Truth. Small enough to fit in your pocket, these books cover topics ranging from sin, to heaven, to growing one’s love for Christ. These are great works of ‘spiritual theology,’ and can go with you as you travel. Some notable titles include a collection of Prayers on the Psalms and selections of the writings of John Flavel, titled None but Jesus.

The Pilgrim’s Progress (Penguin Classics), John Bunyan, Roger Pooley edition. In continuous print since first published in 1678, it is considered a masterpiece of the English Puritan tradition. After The Bible, Valley of Vision and The Pilgrim’s Progress are two most loved books by Christians and are definitely the top two Christian books in the English Language.

Sale! Sale! Sale!

If you were excited about the documentary Puritan, but sad at the price (I totally understand) then this is the sale for you! The deluxe edition of Puritan: All of Life to the Glory of God, is half off at Ligonier today (I don’t know for how long, it’s part of the Friday Sale).

This feature-length documentary (6 DVDs) and hours of accompanying teaching sessions feature several of our Teaching Fellows and other gifted scholars and leaders. The Deluxe Edition includes a special, decorative, exclusive hardback book by Dr. Joel Beeke and Dr. Michael Reeves and the Workbook. The DVDs, Book, and Workbook are offered for $75. That’s less than $10 per item in the bundle.

The Puritan Combo: Puritan Theology and Meet The Puritans is on sale at Reformation Heritage Books! These two hardcovers are bundled to include A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life, a systematic theology by Dr. Joel Beeke a professor at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; and Meet the Puritans, a collection of mini-biographies and book reviews that also includes helps on which reprinted editions are best. The two together are on sale where you save $58. You can also buy either of them separately on sale too. I bought Meet the Puritans.

The American Puritans by Nate Pickowicz is a new book out by this Gilmanton NH pastor and writer of Why We’re Protestant: An Introduction to the Five Solas of the Reformation, Reviving New England: The Key to Revitalizing Post-Christian America, John Cotton: Patriarch of New England

(The American Puritans Book 1) and others, recently published The American Puritans with Dustin Benge. This book tells the story of the first hundred years of Reformed Protestantism in New England through the lives of nine key figures: William Bradford, John Winthrop, John Cotton, Thomas Hooker, Thomas Shepard, Anne Bradstreet, John Eliot, Samuel Willard, and Cotton Mather. It is on sale at Reformation Heritage Books.

The super saving sales are at Ligonier’s $5 Friday sale, Reformation Heritage Books. You can also find these items at Banner of Truth Books, and of course Amazon. Enjoy!

 

Posted in theology

If Tuscany is THIS beautiful, then…

By Elizabeth Prata

…Just think, the New Earth (Revelation 21:1) will be so much MORE beautiful than this-

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San Quirico d’Orcia, Italy. Photo from unsplash by Giuseppe Mondi

Peace in the valley! Remember, any person can be with Jesus in the gorgeous New Earth. He wishes for all to join Him there. (1 Timothy 2:4). All one must do is repent and believe- “and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

Posted in theology

Discernment sources, including a webinar scheduled for Thursday, May 14

By Elizabeth Prata

Discernment is so important. The original New Testament Bible authors wrote about its importance and urged its honing, in every NT book except Philemon. The Old Testament dealt with the failure to listen to Prophets and the Wisdom literature is rife with warnings about being wise regarding God’s word and ways.

Yet it seems that Christians are falling for any old doctrine, teacher, or faddish movement these days. The failure in discernment is a failure in biblical literacy. And Christians who are weak in biblical literacy ire targets for satan’s wiles, schemes, and traps. The result is that one loses their effectiveness for Christ and worse, are drawn away into myths and then, sin. Continue reading “Discernment sources, including a webinar scheduled for Thursday, May 14”

Posted in encouragement, theology

How is doing good to widows and orphans a pure & undefiled religion?

By Elizabeth Prata

orphan1

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27)

How does pure and undefiled religion have anything to do with widows and orphans?

This is the section in Chapter 1 where James is explaining being a doer of the word and not just a hearer. The Bible urges us to always be doing good. In Bible times, widows and orphans were often destitute and without any sort of societal safety net, help, or support. In many cases today, it is the same. Widows and orphans need help. Continue reading “How is doing good to widows and orphans a pure & undefiled religion?”

Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: How to spot a conspiracy, top ten preaching pastors today, good cheap eats, Dr. Lori, more

By Elizabeth Prata

blog flowers
I absolutely love fresh cut flowers. I think they are so pretty. But they fade quickly, so usually I admire them in the grocery store aisle and leave them where they are. At Kroger they have a marked down section for cut flowers that are a bit wilted. Once in a while I see a bouquet in the sale aisle that aren’t TOO far gone and I buy a bunch, like I did last Wednesday.

For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. (James 1:11a) Continue reading “Prata Potpourri: How to spot a conspiracy, top ten preaching pastors today, good cheap eats, Dr. Lori, more”

Posted in mothers, theology

Motherhood

By Elizabeth Prata

When we think of mothers in the Bible, no doubt Jesus’ mother Mary comes to mind. Rachel and Rebekah, matriarchs of the tribes. Eve, who lost her son Abel. Sarah, who waited so long after the promise of a son.

Does Hannah come to mind?

Hannah, who yearned for a child so much.

Hannah, who was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. Continue reading “Motherhood”

Posted in encouragement, theology

It’s hard work to rest, part 2

By Elizabeth Prata

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. (Ecclesiastes 7:14a).

Yesterday I related a story of how I turned from anxiety and discontent, to contentment and peace in the Lord. In a nutshell, I prayed, turned to the Word, cast my anxieties at His feet, and asked the Spirit to take it from there. He did.

My reasons for getting personal were that I wanted to share that I’m not Mrs Perfect Spiritual, that I do worry and I have to work hard to return to a restful state. Also to be transparent once in a while, and confess my sins as the Bible says to do. Thank you to the many people who responded! Continue reading “It’s hard work to rest, part 2”

Posted in encouragement, theology

It’s hard work to rest

By Elizabeth Prata

It’s hard work to rest part 2 here

Yesterday I wrote on my various social media platforms,

The Savior who conquered the grave can handle your budget. The God who sustains the universe every moment by a single word can help your anxiety. Focus on how powerful and perfect Jesus is, not how minuscule your budget is or how empty the streets are. Lift your eyes to see a heavenly scene of Jesus interceding for us, providing for us, rejoicing over us with singing, preparing a place for us. The future is bright.

And a little while later I wrote, Continue reading “It’s hard work to rest”

Posted in encouragement, theology

Keep running the race!

By Elizabeth Prata*

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Paul talks about running the race. In 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul talks about finishing the race well. The race, or the course, is referred to several other times,

1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us Continue reading “Keep running the race!”