Posted in encouragement, theology

Drifting Away: A Sailing Story

By Elizabeth Prata

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. (Hebrews 2:1).

The question was raised at my Bible Group, how does a Christian prevent developing a hardened heart? One wise older man said by staying in the Word.

The Word is the only antidote for developing poor habits, shrinking our biblical worldview, and drifting away. I agree.

The word drift away used in the Hebrews verse in Greek means-

properly, to float (flow) alongside, drifting past a destination because pushed along by current. /pararrhyéō (“drift away from”) only occurs in Heb 2:1 where it refers to going spiritually adrift – “sinning by slipping away” (from God’s anchor). 3901 /pararrhyéō (“gradually drift away”) means to “lapse” into spiritual defeat, describing how we slowly move away from our moorings in Christ.

Paul often used nautical allusions and marine metaphors. They click with me because for two years I lived aboard a sailboat and traveled up and down the eastern United States’ seaboard and over to the Bahamas and back. We usually sailed during the day, unless we were on an overnight passage out in the ocean. But if we traveled down the Intracoastal Waterway, we’d find a snug spot to anchor in at night and went to bed after the sun sank.

The anchor becomes all-important. The anchor holds you in place, prevents you from drifting and damaging other boats anchored or moored nearby, and keeps you afloat rather than crashing into the rocks or going aground.

We spent a lot of time tending the anchor. When we initially set it, we’d take time to ensure it was set correctly. Is the rode taut and not tangled? Are the flukes digging into the ground? Is there enough depth under us for when we swing with the tide or current?

Then we’d watch it a while. We took reference points ashore to compare with our position. One reference point isn’t really enough. Drift is deceptive and incremental. You could be drifting away and still seem like you’re lined up with the same reference point. So we’d take two references. Three references are better so you can triangulate.

During the night, we’d sleep lightly, listening carefully for any change in the pattern of the waves slapping the bow, or any other untoward noises that meant there was likely a problem.

We spent a lot of time tending the anchor.

Do I spend an equal amount of time tending the anchor of my spiritual life, the Word? Do I treat it carefully, thoughtfully? Do I employ reference points to ensure I’m not drifting? Reference points in our spiritual lives that help us against drifting away from the truth are: visiting our prayer closet, studying His word, corporate worship, small groups, discipling and being discipled, and so on. Are we in position, standing firm in the center line of that narrow way, not going to the right or the left? Are we vigilant, listening for any variation in pattern of our sanctification in life?

We spent much time tending the anchor because our lives depended on it. We should take an even greater amount of time tending the anchor of our spiritual life because our spiritual life depends on it. When Paul says we must pay closer attention, the word in Greek means exceedingly, abundantly, vehemently.

When man sails upon the waters, he is not in his element. It is a foreign environment. It’s an environment that’s hostile, with many things in it either actively or benignly trying to kill him. Just so, Christian man on earth is not in his element. There are many things in this environment actively or benignly trying to kill him. We should pay the closest attention so we do not drift away.

Stay anchored to the Word, in position, with lots of reference points and a growing biblical worldview.

anchor
The Bahamian water was so clear we could see the anchor down 20 ft, at night

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Posted in encouragement, theology

Night Passages: A Sailing Story

By Elizabeth Prata

We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among those in full vigor we are like dead men. (Isaiah 59:10).

I lived on a sailboat for two years. We made a journey from Maine to the Bahamas and back, twice. We mainly followed the Intracoastal Waterway, a series of connected rivers, bays, channels, and canals that allow marine traffic up and down the coast without having to sail the open sea. Though, we did make passages “outside” too.

Sometimes we made overnight passages on the outside. If we wanted to get to a place more quickly. or as quickly as one can in a sailboat that goes 5 mph lol, we’d hop outside and make a 24 or 48 hour continuous passage. This was a carefully considered decision, because we did not have self-steering nor did we have GPS. Night watches meant you stood in the cockpit, which was open to the elements, and with hands on the wheel for hours at a time, you steered, maintained course, and watched, peering into the gloomy dark. It was full hands-on.

Night passages are strange. You’re on the open ocean, but it’s busier than you’d think. You’re in a shipping lane, so often you’d see distant red or green navigation lights on another boat or a ship passing a mile or two away. There are whales below, who usually know not to breach up under the boat but you still hope they don’t. There could be a lost container that fell off a ship lurking just under the surface ready to sink you. This has actually happened to other mariners. A floating log or telephone pole ready to impale the boat and it goes down.

The ocean looks like a wide-open space but when you’re going along under sail at a full gallop over the bounding main into the dark, it’s disconcerting.

If you happen to be in a room you’re not familiar with and the lights go out, you grope your way around. You carefully place your feet, you wait for your eyes to adjust, you feel your way along the wall. You stagger and totter, unbalanced and unsure.

Do you stride confidently around in the dark? No, of course not.

But that is what the boat did, with us on it. And we never knew we were lost, blindly stumbling around this earth at the sufferance of our God who was angry with us every day. Our spiritual blindness was unknown to us and we strode around the earth as if we owned it, not even knowing we would fall into a pit.

The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble. (Proverbs 4:19).

But if anyone walks at night, he will stumble, because he has no light. (John 11:10).

Yet,

If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. (John 11:9).

How refreshing it was to spot the lighthouse! When we saw that bright beam slicing through the dark, we were relieved. We knew we were about to be safe, the light had come.

How much MORE am I now safe, now relieved, that I have the eternal Light. His Light is in me as the Holy Spirit, and around me as  fellow believers, and before me as His statutes and ways. The Light is above me as my future destination in glory, and I will dwell in the Light forever.

The lost know (deep down) they are lost. The unsaved know (deep down) they are in the dark. The mysteries of the visible universe are present before them, as it was to me, yet we suppress that truth in unrighteousness. It’s heartbreaking to see the lost stride confidently around in their dark, the blind leading the blind, heading for a pit and ignoring our cries and pleas to do the one thing that will open their eyes:

Repent.

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. (Mark 1:15).

Then you once were blind, but now you see. I see the Light now, by His grace, and when my hand reaches out to grope my way, it is His hand that takes me, sustains me, guides me. I have HIS confidence, HIS light. In the darkness no more, my eternal life with Jesus rolls out before me as ocean billows, sparkling, luminous, radiant.

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Posted in encouragement, theology

You say potato, I say potato: Feminism and the Younger Teaching the Elder

By Elizabeth Prata

Rachel Janovic (@lizziejank), put out a 4-min video on encroaching feminism, obedience, submission, and loving our homes. She specifically named Aimee Byrd and @BethMooreLPM as bringers of feminism and disobedience to scripture.

 

Beth Moore snarkily replied with a tweet and a photo.

 

@canonpress and Rachel Jankovic then issued a 2-minute video reply to Moore’s photo. It was brilliant.

 

@BethMooreLPM and her feminist hordes will not win (unless they submit to the Bible’s precepts for obedience and women’s roles.)

As for Moore, you say potato I say potato. It’s too little, too late. She has spent a lifetime in her career of writing and traveling. The Atlantic’s lengthy story on her stated flatly that Moore is “obsessively focused on writing”, traveled so much when her children were little that her children “ate a lot of takeout”, and that her husband picked up home duties. They mention her “publishing career” and her “writing career”, but not her ‘mothering career’. Instead, the writers noted that Moore “balanced motherhood with demanding professional ambitions.”

For a biblical women submissive to her designated role, her ambition should be wifehood/motherhood only, and nothing should compete with that. That was Jankovic’s point.

Allowing personal ambitions to encroach into Godly roles and even compete with them means one has formed her own god and succumbed to the Genesis 3:16b curse and Genesis 4’s warning that sin is crouching at the door and desires to have you. A woman’s ambition is to serve God, in the ways HE has outlined, not the ways we personally desire if those desires are against scripture (and scripture tells us those desires will be).

As for Moore, one look at her face and demeanor will show you instantly what a lifetime of rebellion against God will do to you. It’s interesting that a woman like Moore with 938,700 followers, almost a million, knows and cares what a woman with 3500 followers says about her. As an older women, Moore is supposed to be-

reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5)

It’s pretty sad that here the younger is teaching the older, and the older woman is not responding well. It is a serious, serious thing to rebel against God. One of the outcomes is that His word is reviled, as the verse says. Beth Moore has brought reproach upon Jesus every day of her life since she began teaching men and never stopped, and has only added other sins to her growing pile.

Ladies, I know that home life is sometimes hard. Scrubbing, cooking for hubby, picking up endless toys, changing diapers, wiping noses, isn’t the most glamorous job in the world. We often feel marginalized, that we are missing out, and we’re lonely at times. But it is the most important job in the world. It is a high calling, one that doesn’t show instant rewards, but offers long-term benefits for us all.

Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace. (Psalm 144:12)

Fulfill your ministry, model the role with integrity, love the Lord, serve the home, and reap glorious rewards when Jesus looks you in the eye and says “Well done, good and faithful woman.”

Further Reading

What does the Bible say about Christian Mothers?

God’s High Calling for Women

 

Posted in encouragement, theology

Things are hard. Jesus is there

grace
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16

This week I’ve been praying for and struggling with the sad circumstances that have been presented to so many of my sisters online and friends in real life too. People are going through hard things, very hard. I mourn with them and for them, sometimes with tears. Through reliance on the Holy Spirit, they have been persevering, even praising God, but it’s difficult times for many of us. Continue reading “Things are hard. Jesus is there”

Posted in encouragement, theology

The Sand and the Rock

By Elizabeth Prata

I grew up in The Ocean State, Rhode Island. Yes, it’s small, really small. You’re never far from the ocean. My grandparents had a summer house on Narragansett Bay and we were there constantly in the summer, every weekend. When I got older my mother let me ride my bike the 3 miles to their house. I’d spend all day in the water or on the sand. Continue reading “The Sand and the Rock”

Posted in encouragement, theology

Saturday encouragement

By Elizabeth Prata

This was a good week, full of sun and laughter and good work and good food and healthy sleep and friends. My week also had back pain and financial pinch and car worries and personal irritation and professional busyness and spiritual ups and downs. But I don’t talk about those. I don’t mention them. I don’t write about them. I don’t think about them. I don’t choose to focus on the latter. I choose to focus on the former! Continue reading “Saturday encouragement”

Posted in encouragement, theology

Word of the Week: Fruit of the Spirit, Goodness

By Elizabeth Prata

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23).

What is goodness? If you ask most people, they would declare that they “are a good person.” But is man’s view of goodness the same as God’s? No. Continue reading “Word of the Week: Fruit of the Spirit, Goodness”

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 encouragement, theology

Whispers from the Dust: Isaiah and Necromancy

By Elizabeth Prata

I’ve been reading Isaiah through the Advent season. This time I’ve been appreciating the poetic language Isaiah uses. Isn’t it amazing how, each time you read through a book of the Bible, the Spirit orients our mind toward a different aspect? He can and does do this infinitely, eternally. The Word is living and active and eternal, so it’s a refreshing and lively journey through the scriptures every time, and every time is different.

The following verses stopped me in appreciation of how the language is used. These are in the NASB because that is the translation my study Bible is in- Continue reading “Whispers from the Dust: Isaiah and Necromancy”

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Day 26, Jesus’ sinlessness

By Elizabeth Prata

This section of verses that show Jesus’ life are focused on His attributes & earthly ministry. We’ve seen Him as servant, teacher, shepherd, intercessor, and healer. We looked at His attributes of omniscience, His authority, and now His sinlessness.

thirty daysof jesus 26

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Further Reading:

The Cripplegate/Nate Busenitz: In what way was Jesus ‘made sin’ on the cross?

GotQuestions: Why does Christ’s righteousness need to be imputed to us?

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Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship
Day 9: The Child Grew
Day 10: The boy Jesus at the Temple
Day 11: He was Obedient!
Day 12: The Son!
Day 13: God is pleased with His Son
Day 14: Propitiation
Day 15: The gift of eternal life
Day 16: Two Kingdoms
Day 17: Jesus’ Preeminence
Day 18: Jesus is highest king
Day 19: Jesus emptied Himself
Day 20: Jesus as Teacher
Day 21: Jesus as Shepherd
Day 22, Jesus as Intercessor

Day 23: Jesus as Compassionate Healer
Day 24: Jesus as Omniscient
Day 25: Jesus’ authority