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

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Day 24, His omniscience

By Elizabeth Prata

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

Now we look at His attributes. Today- omniscience.

thirty days of Jesus day 24

CARM.org: Definition of omniscience

GotQuestions: What does it mean that Jesus is omniscient?

CARM.org: If Jesus is God, then why did He not know the time of His return?

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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

Posted in encouragement, theology

Encouragement for you today

By Elizabeth Prata

As for these days of toil and hardness, “Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10.) Clarke’s Commentary on this verse from old King Solomon states, “The former days were better than these? – This is a common saying; and it is as foolish as it is common. There is no weight nor truth in it; but men use it to excuse their crimes, and the folly of their conduct. “In former times, say they, men might be more religious, use more self-denial, be more exemplary.” This is all false. In former days men were wicked as they are now, and religion was unfashionable: God also is the same now as he was then; as just, as merciful, as ready to help.” Continue reading “Encouragement for you today”

Posted in encouragement, theology

Let’s love each other

By Elizabeth Prata

I found this online. It’s a list that is sourced. Recently I’ve been a bit downcast by the in-fighting on social media. I guess after 24 years online going from BBS forums to CompuServe to commenting online newspapers to Disqus to blogs to Facebook to Twitter … I’m finally social media world-weary with the lack of grace and patience. Let’s love each other.

love verse 4

The 59 “One Anothers” of the New Testament

1. …Be at peace with each other. (Mark 9:50)

2. …Wash one another’s feet. (John 13:14)

3. …Love one another… (John 13:34a)

4. …Love one another… (John 13:34b)

5. …Love one another… (John 13:35)

6. …Love one another… (John 15:12)

7. …Love one another (John 15:17)

8. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love… (Romans 12:10)

9. …Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)

10. Live in harmony with one another… (Romans 12:16)

11. …Love one another… (Romans 13:8)

12. …Stop passing judgment on one another. (Romans 14:13)

13. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you… (Romans 15:7)

14. …Instruct one another. (Romans 15:14)

15. Greet one another with a holy kiss… (Romans 16:16)

16. …When you come together to eat, wait for each other. (I Cor. 11:33)

17. …Have equal concern for each other. (I Corinthians 12:25)

18. …Greet one another with a holy kiss. (I Corinthians 16:20)

19. Greet one another with a holy kiss. (II Corinthians 13:12)

20. …Serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13)

21. If you keep on biting and devouring each other…you will be destroyed by each other.

(Galatians 5:15)

22. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:26)

23. Carry each other’s burdens… (Galatians 6:2)

24. …Be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)

25. Be kind and compassionate to one another… (Ephesians 4:32)

26. …Forgiving each other… (Ephesians 4:32)

27. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. (Ephesians 5:19)

28. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)

29. …In humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

30. Do not lie to each other… (Colossians 3:9)

31. Bear with each other… (Colossians 3:13)

32. …Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. (Colossians 3:13)

33. Teach…[one another] (Colossians 3:16)

34. …Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)

35. …Make your love increase and overflow for each other. (I Thessalonians 3:12)

36. …Love each other. (I Thessalonians 4:9)

37. …Encourage each other…(I Thessalonians 4:18)

38. …Encourage each other… I Thessalonians 5:11)

39. …Build each other up… (I Thessalonians 5:11)

40. Encourage one another daily… Hebrews 3:13)

41. …Spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)

42. …Encourage one another. (Hebrews 10:25)

43. …Do not slander one another. (James 4:11)

44. Don’t grumble against each other… (James 5:9)

45. Confess your sins to each other… (James 5:16)

46. …Pray for each other. (James 5:16)

47. …Love one another deeply, from the heart. (I Peter 3:8)

48. …Live in harmony with one another… (I Peter 3:8)

49. …Love each other deeply… (I Peter 4:8)

50. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (I Peter 4:9)

51. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others… (I Peter 4:10)

52. …Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…(I Peter 5:5)

53. Greet one another with a kiss of love. (I Peter 5:14)

54. …Love one another. (I John 3:11)

55. …Love one another. (I John 3:23)

56. …Love one another. (I John 4:7)

57. …Love one another. (I John 4:11)

58. …Love one another. (I John 4:12)

59. …Love one another. (II John 5)

*From Carl F. George, Prepare Your Church for the Future (Tarrytown: Revell, 1991), 129-131.

Posted in encouragement, theology

How to hear God’s voice 100% of the time

By Elizabeth Prata

With all this darkness in the world and around us, where is the light? In Jesus! He is ALWAYS there, present and a very real help to us! His burden is easy and His yoke is light. But we must stay close to Him, and not drift away.

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. (Hebrews 2:1)

How do we not drift? Chris Rosebrough answered this way:

HOW TO HEAR GOD’S VOICE 100% OF THE TIME

Are you struggling to figure out if those whispers that your pastor has told you to listen for are really God’s voice or a case of gastrointestinal hallucinations caused by a bad batch of pepperoni pizza?

 

Are you tired of going through the whole rigamarole of filtering those voices in your head through a six point ‘discernment grid’ to try to ascertain if that’s the Holy Spirit speaking to you or proof that you need to make an appointment with a shrink?
Have you read and reread Blackaby and still haven’t got the foggiest notion as to how to tell where God is working in the world so that you can join Him?

If you’ve answered yes to one or all of these questions then I’ve got great news for you! I have discovered a simple and sure fire way for you to hear God’s voice. The best part is that its 100% guaranteed and totally Biblical.

Here it is.

1. Acquire a Bible. If you do not have a Bible then you can read it for free on the internet at BibleGateway.org. I recommend the English Standard Version for both readability and translational accuracy.

2. Open the Bible.

3. Begin reading it. Read it with your mind engaged. Pay close attention to grammar and context. Take notes. Set a goal to read 3 to 10 chapters per day.

That’s it. If you do those three things then you will be hearing God’s voice every single time that you open the Bible. No guess work, no need for six point ‘discernment filters’ and no nagging uncertainty about whether your hearing God’s voice or something else.
How can I be so sure and certain that this works?

I’m glad you asked. One day, while I was reading my Bible I read 2 Timothy 3:16–17. Here’s what it says: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

Let’s break this down.

1. This passage says ALL scripture is God breathed. That means that God, The Holy-Spirit, personally inspired every one of the Biblical authors. In other words, you can know with certainty that every word of scripture contains God’s thoughts and when you’re reading the Bible you’re hearing God’s voice.

2. This passage says that the man of God would be COMPLETE through the reading, learning, knowing and applying of scripture. Notice that this verse doesn’t say that the man of God would be incomplete through his reading of scripture and that he’d need to augment the scriptures through whispers, subjective feelings, internal voices, direct revelation, dreams or visions. No!

It literally says that the man of God would be COMPLETE. The Greek word that is used here is ἄρτιος and it means “complete and/or fully qualified”. There is nothing else needed for the man of God. The scriptures are totally sufficient.

3. If point two wasn’t clear enough, 2 Timothy 3:17 drives the point home by stating that through the written word of God the man of God is equipped for EVERY good work.

There are no good works that God would have you do that would require you to rely on anything other than His word to make you complete and fully equipped for the task. The Bible is sufficient to make you complete and fully equipped for every good work. You don’t need whispers.You don’t need dreams. You don’t need visions. You don’t need trances. You don’t need a glory cloud. You don’t need to figure out how to ‘experience God’. You don’t need contemplative mysticism. All you need is the written word of God. The Bible is sufficient to make you complete and fully equipped for every good work and because every word of scripture is God breathed, you can know with confidence that you’re hearing the voice of God.You may be asking yourself if it could truly be that simple.Yes, it really is that simple!”

It is not only simple, it is necessary. Because the stronger we are, the more we can help those who speak of suicide, the more we can be a help to those who are stumbling, the brighter we can be to those who have no hope, or who just need encouragement. Jesus is THE HOPE.

The ladies of our church are working through a Bible Reading Plan called #KeepTheFeast. You read a few chapters from the Old Testament and a few from the New Testament each day. It’s demanding but worth it. What could be better than feasting on the bread of life? Plus, I need it. I am a terrible sinner, prone to wander.

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:13)

The Holy Spirit is clear in His inspiration, so the Bible is not rocket science. We don’t need to hear Him on a prayer rug while magically reciting the Prayer of Jabez. We don’t need to empty our minds so we can listen to whispers. Whispers can lead to desperation and drifting away! We don’t need those things because, you know what? Once we are in Jesus, inside the Lighthouse, The Spirit illuminates the lighthouse and shows us the way with His light!

lighthouse east quoddy canada

Posted in encouragement, theology

Change is Inevitable

By Elizabeth Prata

When the Lord comes into your life and you are born again, you change from the old creature to a new creation. This change is evident and observable among those who know you. It’s also noticed by you, yourself.

1. Prayer

See the change in the disciples from before the Holy Spirit’s coming, to afterward. Before, they didn’t pray that we readers could see. They had to be taught by John the Baptist, and they asked Jesus to teach them also. (Luke 11:1). Jesus asked them to stay awake and pray with Him in the garden of Gethsemane, but they fell asleep. (Matthew 26:40-41)

Barnes’ Notes observes:

As he was praying – Luke has taken notice of our Saviour’s praying often. Thus, at his baptism Luke 3:21; in the wilderness Luke 5:16; before the appointment of the apostles, he continued all night in prayer Luke 6:12; he was alone praying Luke 9:18; his transfiguration also took place when he went up to pray Luke 9:28-29.

Teach us to pray – Probably they had been struck with the excellency and fervor of his prayers, and, recollecting that “John” had taught his disciples to pray, they asked him also to teach “them.”

Afterward, they never stopped praying!

All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. (Acts 1:14).

2. Humility

Before the Holy Spirit’s coming, the disciples were selfishly proud, as all of us are. You remember that Jesus chided the Pharisees for always wanting the honor seats at the feasts and the best seats in the synagogues? The disciples were like that, too! (Matthew 23:6). In fact, worse, because they wanted the best seat of ALL!

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” (Mark 10:35-37).

And again, at the Last Supper, they argued among themselves, selfishly in pride:

A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. (Luke 22:24).

Afterward, Peter wrote an emotional tribute to humility, something he himself had learned. Treat others as higher than yourselves, lovingly, not as a bully-leader seeking best seats and honor, but as a servant in humble entreaties, by example even through sufferings, he wrote:

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:1-4).

Before salvation, Paul was at the top of his career, a Pharisee of Pharisees, from the best tribe, faultless, and doing the best work: killing Christians as a favor to God. (Philippians 3:4-6). Afterward, Paul was totally humble, as we read in Jerry Bridges’ article from Ligonier:

Paul’s humility is most clearly seen in his own self-appraisal. Writing to the Corinthians in AD 55, he calls himself “the least of the apostles unworthy to be called an apostle because [he] persecuted the church of God (1 Cor. 15:9). To the Ephesians about five years later, he refers to himself as the very least of all the saints (Eph. 3:8). Near the end of his life, he considers himself the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). That is quite a progression in his self-awareness, from a proud, self-righteous Pharisee to the foremost of sinners. Only a person of genuine humility would describe himself in such terms.

The dramatic change in us from one kind of creature to another should be stark. Think of the change from a caterpillar to a butterfly. A caterpillar’s DNA changes as the old creature literally melts away inside the chrysalis and he emerges totally different in every respect.

We are the same. The God of the universe in the person of the Holy Spirit can’t dwell IN us and there be no change. No matter how fast or slow (and wouldn’t it be nice that it was as fast as 2 weeks like the butterfly), we transform into His likeness by His power and our striving walk.

How have you changed over time since before your regeneration to now?

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