Posted in encouragement, theology

Faces: Fallen, and angelic

By Elizabeth Prata

One aspect of relationships I find difficult as an autistic person is faces. I don’t understand them, they convey too much emotion for me to process, and they’re scary. And forget watching singing, with faces stretched and askew from the effort to belt out a song. I always look away from faces, and thus, eye contact is hard.

But some faces are easier to look at. I often wanted to know why I find some faces tolerable while others are a drain on my mental and emotional faculties.

There are mature saints I admire. Some I know in real life, others I see online or distantly at a podium at a conference or other gathering. Some have the face of angels. Continue reading “Faces: Fallen, and angelic”

Posted in encouragement, theology

Enriched beyond measure

By Elizabeth Prata

It rained yesterday. In other news, the cardinals that used to hang round in my yard, are back. About 8 years ago a tenant on the property had an aggressive yard cat, a hunter. Of course I didn’t mind that he cleared the yard of the mice. But then he apparently killed a bright red male cardinal, as I horrifyingly saw when leaving for work the next morning. He was under the feeder, so I surmised that he had been grazing on fallen seeds and was caught unawares. Continue reading “Enriched beyond measure”

Posted in encouragement, theology

Light and Life

By Elizabeth Prata

During this Pandemic time, I’ve had opportunity to go through and look at and scan some of my old 35mm photos. I went to Italy a few times in the ’90s. I’d always heard that the light in the region of Italy called Tuscany was unique. My grandmother was from Lucca. Tuscany is deemed by Italians to be the “best” region. One reason is that it’s considered the cradle of Italy, since the Etrucscan Civilization was founded there in 900 BC.

Another reason is its light. It’s diffuse, soft, ethereal. It is as if the entire region has an Instagram filter over it. I can’t describe it, but if anyone looks up ‘Tuscany’ and ‘light’ there will be a lot of articles about it.

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Somewhere in Tuscany

When I went to Italy myself, I saw what the fuss was. It heightened my own sense of appreciation for the different qualities of light. The light trying to shine through fog in Maine, the diffuse, gentle light in Italy, the light here in my yard in the morning as it shines through all the leaves, separating it into beams, light at the beach as the sun goes down, the high bright clear light of noon.

blog light
The gray light of sunlit fog

What will the light of heaven be like? Revelation 21 has so much to tell us about what is coming, like this –

“The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass.”

Can you imagine the sparkle? Imagine Jesus’ glory light shining everywhere, undiminished, unhidden, unshielded. Bright and sparkling off the jewels he has built the city of. And Isaiah 60:19-

“The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”

In the New Jerusalem God continuously gives us light, spiritual as well as natural. What a refreshing time that will be. The yoke we feel is so heavy now will be gone. The weight of sin we strive against will be absent. Disappeared will be the heaviness of darkness of our world and that weighty stain on our souls.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Where is light is life, and where is Light is LIFE!

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 encouragement, theology

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

By Elizabeth Prata

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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 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!”

Posted in encouragement, theology

Moving, and mesmerizing sheep herding

By Elizabeth Prata

My friend Kay sent me this clip of sheep being herded to the fold. It appears to have been taken by a drone, or some type of mechanism which portrays the scene from above. It’s incredibly moving. Please watch the short clip and see what thoughts come to your mind. The below comment is what came to hers. It’s shared with permission-

It immediately reminded me about our beloved Shepherd the Lord Jesus and His ushering His entire flock onward from this present church age into His eternal sheepfold!   

Perhaps we could view the attending sheepdogs as representative of the Apostles and those countless saints of God who through the ages with unwavering faces set like flint, preached the exacting Word of the Gospel of Salvation by which we were saved! 

How serendipitous that in this video we see that the gate by which the sheep enter is also narrow! This to me for us, is so very lovely a visual allegory to Luke 13:22-25 and Matthew 7:13-14!! 

I believe that our “ushering” into that eternal sheepfold will be the millisecond we hear our beloved Saviour say to us His bride, “Come Up!” And so we will be with Him forever!!

Posted in encouragement, theology

God will take care of us

By Elizabeth Prata

I spent a lot of time outside yesterday watching the birds. There is an Eastern Phoebe nest under the awning at the patio, a Carolina wren nest in the underhang, and another wren nest at the other side of the lawn in the big birdhouse.

I watched the mom of that one go back and forth incessantly, bringing food to her babies. I’d hear the baby’s racket inside the birdhouse and I’d know that the mom was back with another bug. She always swooped around looking for a tasty insect and was never disappointed. She always had enough to feed her babies.

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The mama would fly off, and soon return with a bug, but not fly directly to the birdhouse. She would pause in a nearby branch, presumably to ensure that no predators were nearby. Then she’d quickly light on the birdhouse. I wanted to snap a photo of this process. I soon learned I did not have to keep my eyes glued to the birdhouse because when the mom landed, the inside of the house would erupt with chirps, lol. and I’d hear the racket. Chirp! Chirp! Chirp!

The Lord takes care of them. They have food. Jesus was hungry often, (Mark 11:12, Mt 12:1), but God feeds the birds. Jesus had no place to lay His head but the birds have a nest.

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20).

How He takes care of us! Not only meeting our physical needs but interceding for us in heaven and in prayer! We are so blessed to have been given the grace to repent. And being in Him, we are secure in knowledge that He will provide what He knows we need.

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God clothes the grass with wildflowers

26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:26-34)

yellow bird