Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: Sleepovers, Singleness, Women moms/eva teachers, Church voting, Saints, more

By Elizabeth Prata

It’s November today. 11/12’s of the year 2019…poof, gone. Wow. Time passes quickly on earth. I often wonder what it will be like to watch the Great White Throne Judgment where every unsaved person who ever lived will stand on front of Jesus and make account for their life. That’s a lot of people. Will it go by in a flash, since we believers will be in glorified bodies by then? Will we even notice ‘time’ passing? One day is like a thousand years or a thousand years is like a day- to the Lord. Will it be like that for us?
Continue reading “Prata Potpourri: Sleepovers, Singleness, Women moms/eva teachers, Church voting, Saints, more”

Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: My friend is reading a bad book, Does God do miracles anymore? Depression, a painful weaning, more

By Elizabeth Prata

I love the ladies who change out their home decor to match the season. Lots of women at this moment are swapping out their beach themed front door wreath for a fall leaves or pumpkin decoration, laying tablecloths with harvest colors, and mulling over whether to put together a cornucopia as they stow away their jar of shells and dried starfish. I really love when ladies decorate.

It’s not my thing, though. I am of the mind where when I move in to a place, I look at the empty room. I decide in practical fashion its highest and best use considering the plug locations, windows, light, and size of my furniture. I set it up, and it stays like that forever.

This is the extent of my decor: I set up a table fan in the summer and I take it down when fall comes and put the tissues in its place. See, there are two seasons at my house; hot, and cold & flu season. To be honest though, I cry when I read the Bible, pray, and watch sad movies. I go through a lot of tissues.

I’m excited the fall season is here in Georgia, my adopted home state. It’s been cooler during the day and delightful at night. The AC is off. We are predicted to have a few more days of temps in the upper 90s but those will fade away soon enough. The heat is sputtering out now. The worst is over.

I’m even more excited at my adopted home country and its imminent appearing to my tired-of-this-world eyes. But until then, the Lord’s will be done, and may the seasons change smoothly.

Here are a few items I found interesting this week.

Mike Riccardi at The Master’s Seminary asks Can I Adapt the Gospel Message to Make Evangelism Easier?

My friend Savannah Rae writes wonderfully about a painful weaning

Shona Murray, wife of biblical counselor David Murray says she never understood depression and burnout until it happened to her.

God still performs miracles. Josh Buice explains that adherents to Reformed Doctrines believe this and why it’s often a spurious charge that we don’t.

I don’t have a smartphone. I only bought a flip phone recently for safety because I drive an old car that sometimes breaks down. Like the only person sober at the table watching friends slowly get drunk, I see smartphones as a sad trickster. Here US photographer Eric Pickersgill has created “Removed,” a series of photos of people holding phantom phones that have been removed from their hands to show us how disconnected we really are nowadays. Also of interest, Tony Reinke’s book 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You.

I always wonder how to broach the subject to a friend who is reading a bad book. Here Rick Thomas addresses this in a clear and helpful way. How to Respond to Bad Books and Those Who Love Them

Al Mohler explains that Jesus did descend into hell, and explains from scripture, and tells why the statement is included in The Apostle’s Creed. 3-min video. He Descended into Hell.

 

“Keep the positivity coming my way. I need as much as I can get.”

This lady is someone of whom I am unaware, but a Facebook friend posted this 9-minute video of a woman on Youtube whose channel was about makeup and fashion. She is a British lady who in recent days discovered that she has a terminal brain tumor and only a short time to live. Her video is titled My Final Farewell”. She does not appear to be saved, and it’s a video of her final goodbye to her subscribers.

I can’t hide it anymore. If any of you see me out and about, I won’t be my glamorous self. At the end of the day, the glamour, the makeup, all of that…doesn’t matter anymore.”

Heartbreaking to discover that your life’s passion was only striving after wind. At the end of the day what DOES matter? This woman appears not to know. We know. THE GOSPEL. Salvation from God’s wrath and eternal life in glory with the Glorious One, Jesus Christ. As you go about the day, remember what really matters.

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Posted in potpourri, theology

Ladies, a few more resources; new ones and reminders of established ones

By Elizabeth Prata

Laura and Sue have a blog at https://ordinarylifedivinetruth.wordpress.com. I became aware of it when Laura sent me a note through the Contact sheet on this blog. Their latest blog essay recounts a conversation they’d had with Lysa TerKeurst regarding some of Lysa’s concerning teachings and behavior. It was well written and sensitive, laced with grace.

These ladies are also concerned with false teachers of women and have other series describing issues with the various ones populating our Christian landscape. They also have written several series on the topics of Counseling/Abuse, Discipleship, Popular Christian Movies, and more.

Michelle Lesley and Amy Spreeman have started a podcast. It is called A Word Fitly Spoken, from the verse from Proverbs 25:11, A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Their podcast is on various platforms now. https://awordfitlyspoken.life/

Savannah Rae is a 21-year-old college graduate from our church. She started a blog called Vogue and Valor and writes very well. She recently made a decision to work at Echo in Ft. Myers FL as a way to care for those less fortunate, through her faith in Jesus. I’m so proud of her. I’m proud also of the other young men and women from our church who have made decisions and recently departed as faithful milkweed seeds to spread the Gospel through various organizations and means. When the elders founded the church almost 4 years ago they were prayerful about it being a raising-up-and-sending church, deeply focusing on missions. The Lord has been bountiful in aiding us, His flawed human beings, to accomplish this. May His name be glorified.

Here is a good reminder of some recommended resources that are still strong-

Equipping Eve, podcast by Erin. Latest edition, Episode 96: Faithfulness in the Little Things

The Master’s Seminary Church Search finds churches in your area pastored by or founded by TMS grads.

Alistair Begg, sermons at Truth For Life, aimed at practical Christian living.

Samuel D. James is an excellent writer. He posts thought provoking material on Christian life, culture and other topics at his blog, Letter & Liturgy. His, along with curated guest posts, are a worthwhile read. I liked this one from Caleb Wait, who as a young dad going through seminary looking for ways to save time, discovered that “productivity lit” is generally aimed at the unmarried and/or childless audience- but came up with some tips and aids on his own.

Ken Puls Music has a series on Notes & Commentary on Pilgrim’s Progress. I love the book Pilgrim’s Progress. I need the notes though. Lots of material online offer notes & commentary on this wonderful book. Here is a good series that I enjoyed. Part 1 here.

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Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: Angels, Spiritual Warfare, Lake of Fire, Apostasy, Moms, more

By Elizabeth Prata

Included in this edition of Prata Potpourri are some things that either aren’t talked about enough (Lake of Fire) or are talked about so much that the wackadoodles have gotten a-hold of the issue and twisted it beyond all recognition (angels, spiritual warfare). Here are some credible links to these and other topics.

Jim Osman and Justin Peters’ video series on Spiritual Warfare is excellent. Here is the 8-part series-

Show 1 of 8: Justin Peters & Jim Osman on the: Doctrine of the Sufficiency of Scripture as it relates to Biblical Spiritual Warfare. Justin Peters interviews Pastor & Author Jim Osman on the subject of Spiritual Warfare and Jim’s book: “Truth or Territory: A Biblical Approach to Spiritual Warfare”. Some examples of False Teaching on Spiritual Warfare are briefly discussed as well as some False Teachers are named. These issues will be discussed in greater detail in coming episodes. Jim Osman starts this series off by giving viewers a brief Testimony of how the LORD changed his thinking on this very important subject, then both Justin & Jim introduce viewers to the topic of the Doctrine of the Sufficiency of Scripture which is briefly defined and defended from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:3-4.

Show 1: Spiritual Warfare & Sufficiency of Scripture
Show 2: Spiritual Warfare: Truth or Territory
Show 3: Carnal Weapons: Hedges & Hexes
Show 4: Carnal Weapons: Binding & Rebuking
Show 5: Carnal Weapons: Spiritual Mapping
Show 6: Demon Possession & Sanctification
Show 7: Authority & Exorcisms
Show 8: Armor Of God: Spiritual Warfare – Ephesians 6

There have been some high-profile people proclaiming their abandonment of the faith this week. There have subsequently been a lot of response articles of various kinds. Here are two:

What to Do When Professing Christians Leave the Faith: Reflections on Joshua Harris and Perseverance

What in God’s Name is Happening in Christianity?

Are you surprised when you come across so-called Christians who claim to be followers of Jesus, but never ‘follow’ Him into a church? They say that attending church isn’t necessary to be a fully devoted Christian? I am. I am actually shocked when I deal with this among professing Christians. And it’s spreading.

Here is Derek Thomas with an essay about Loving the Church, For Better or Worse

What DOES the Bible say about angels, anyway? I love the thought of angels and I study Angelology (from credible sources). Here are two credible sources on a teaching about angels you might enjoy.

TableTalk Magazine: What does the Bible say about Angels? First in a series. I love angels and learning about them.

John MacArthur has a series on angels, called God’s Invisible Army. Here is part 1
Here is part 2

From Founders, something for Moms. Moms, you have a hard job and often it’s lonely. Hope this encourages you- Eight Lies Moms Believe.

From Media Gratiae: The newly released trailer of Puritan. Documentary coming soon, this summer they say!

From Nate Pickowitz, new book. If you’re interested in the American Puritans, this is a good one to pick up- John Cotton: Patriarch of New England

From Ligonier: The Final State of the Unbeliever. This will happen. Pray evangelistically and frequently! Romans 10:1 says, Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.

angel verse 1

Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: God’s Inner Work, washing dishes, Insta Manifesto, Breakfast Pizza, more

By Elizabeth Prata

flowers 5

We’ve had two weeks of intensely hot weather here. It started in May and just didn’t let up. The hot dryness meant withering flowers and browning lawns. But today it’s supposed to be cooler and rainy. I know the plants and flowers will drink up any moisture we receive.

In my traveling days, my husband and I sought out places in the world that had perfect weather. We visited Quito, Ecuador for a variety of reasons and were pleased to discover that that second highest city in the world (at 9350 feet above sea level) boasts temps of constant 45 degrees to 75 degrees. So, no sleet or snow, and no heat. That suited us. But it came with a downside- thin air. So, no-go after all.

I wonder what the temps were in the Garden. I wonder what Jesus will consider earth’s perfect climate when He remakes the world and we are living on the New Earth. I can’t wait to find out!

Meanwhile, perhaps to distract you or edify you or at least interest you during this long wait for weather perfection on earth, here are a few things to read.

Women, Moms & Kids

Kim Shay at Out of the Ordinary with a wonderful essay on being ordinary.

I’m reading Christina Fox’s book Idols of a Mother’s Heart. I like it so far. Here’s the blurb-

Even good things can become idols if we give them central importance in our lives. Having children changes everything, and as mothers, we risk looking for life, purpose and meaning in motherhood. While being a mother brings its unique set of challenges, these years of raising children and helping them grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord provide an opportunity to grow in our own Christlikeness as well.

Someone else on Twitter mentioned Fox and recommended these books also by that author.

Sufficient Hope, Closer Than A Sister, A Heart Set Free: A Journey to Hope, Through the Psalms of Lament.

Ruth Clemence offers ideas on 5 Ways to Approach Washing Up, as in dishes. She wrote the following, and intrigued as to how to turn a mundane disliked task into glory for God, I read on-

Is there a household chore that you really don’t like? For me, the washing up is top of the list because it is never really done. We don’t have a dishwasher and it can be a real battle to stand at the kitchen sink throughout the day to be greeted with more dirty plates. But you know what I’m starting to realise? That means that my family have been fed. Rather than grumbling at the conveyor belt of utensils and the dance of the cutlery, I am turning soap-soaked hands into worship to the Lord.

Jen Oshman opines on the darndest things six-year-olds say, her daughter remarked on God’s gifts. Cute!

Abigail Dodds has A Manifesto for Women on Instagram

Most of us who are on social media didn’t put a lot of thought into it before joining–especially if we’re under 40. I jumped on because I wanted to connect with people, plain and simple. I thought it would be fun to share pics of my kids with people I love that live far away. Because none of us can see into the future, we didn’t really know what we were signing up for. We didn’t know how social media could rewire our brains and change the way we interact with the world. We didn’t know it would turn every experience into a spectacle to be consumed by our “followers” and ourselves, as Tony Reinke points out in his fantastic new book. [Ed. Note- The book is Competing Spectacles, I’m reading it too and it IS fantastic] We also didn’t know that Insta would become a place for words and massive influence. Micro-blogging, not merely pictures.

Susan Lafferty was at a conference in Thailand and while walking on the beach and seeing the sand-smoothed shells, mused on God’s Inner Work. I admire people who can take a mundane thought or scene and make a practical application out of it.

Church & Theology

Ligon Duncan opines about Serious and Sensitive Preaching About Hell. Hell and brimstone preaching is so important, especially in these snowflake-meltdown days. The Gospel has been watered to ‘accept Jesus” and ‘He loves you’ rather than ‘repent and believe because otherwise you’ll go to eternal punishment for your sins’.
Jenny-Lyn de Klerk on Owen on Church Discipline, (done in love) another topic that is pretty well abandoned these days
If you are following the controversy over women, preaching, and what seems to me to be the near collapse of the SBC then you will enjoy this one by Josh Buice on Egalitarianism and the Radical Role Dysphoria

Canadian pastor Darryl Dash writes about The Time Has Come for True Comfort. At the outset of his essay, he listed three terrible things that happened in his life in one week. Does it seem that way to you lately? Sudden tragedies appearing all over the place in people’s lives? He refers us to our true comfort. I think we all need to read this one…

Culture & Fun

World reviews Godzilla: King of the Monsters. I loved the original Godzilla, the 1954 movie. It had more heart than you’d think and was pretty interesting. It spawned a franchise of 43 further Godzilla movies, of which, this is the 43rd. Can spectacular CGI generated special effects enhance a movie that was originally made 65 years ago with a man stomping around in a rubber suit? Read to find out…

I finished watching the Australian series on Netflix called Clash of the Collectibles. I enjoy learning about what is collectible and why, and the Netflix show did not disappoint. As a bonus, it was low key, with soft music (no pounding Wagner to trump up drama) and the two men ‘competing’ were friendly toward each other.

Kovels is a go-to source for antiques and collectibles since 1953. Their newsletter is always interesting. In the vein of Clash, here is their summary of how to prepare for a visit to swap meets and flea markets this summer.

Kristy Kapp at Kapp’s Kitchen teaches how to make breakfast pizza. It looks yummo!

Need some gift ideas for artists? My Modern Met has a few and they are gorgeous.

My Modern Met also has some ideas for Father’s Day card ideas. Hurry, Father’s Day is June 16. Did you forget?

This summer, whether you’re washing dishes or going to the movies or hunting antiques or posting to Instagram or musing on God’s inner work in your heart,

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: RHE, divine order, false humility, book sale! more

By Elizabeth Prata

We are winding down the last school days of the year. The kids finish at our school here in the south on Tuesday, May 21 at noon, and the teachers exit the building for the final time in the 2018-19 school year on that following Friday. It’s a tiring but exciting time. We love the summer break, and we need it. We love to see the remarkable growth of the children from when they first entered our grade. We will miss them. It’s a poignant moment when they give us our last hugs and say goodbye. They’re not “ours” any more, but have moved on to bigger challenges, after the rest they deserve and family time over the summer.

I wish our growth in sanctification could be as evident as the kids’ growth in school. I wish there were benchmark tests we could take to externally mark our progress. I wish we could get a report card to let us know how we’re doing. Growth in our education in the Lord is more hidden, but if one compares our words and deeds to the Bible, then our progress is more easily seen. The Bible is our report card, and our progress can be compared by looking at where we were a year ago.

Are we gentler and more humble? That’s an A+. Are we more sacrificial and giving? That’s an A+ Are we able to control our tongue, offer wise counsel, retain more of His word? That’s an A+

Well you get the idea. Christianity is an upwardly mobile endeavor, both spiritually and someday, physically. Keep learning and growing, friends, as I also pray I am doing.

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If you’re not over-saturated with the Rachel Held Evans news of her death and influence, I found these essays to be thoughtful and helpful in putting the whole thing in context. One of the charges made to even the sensitively written essays and obituaries was that no one should “speak ill of the dead” and/or that it was “too soon” to write anything negative about her. These essays deal with these issues.

How should Christians respond to the death of Rachel Held Evans?

Rachel Held Evans denied the God of the Bible and, instead, created a god in her own image – a god that allowed her to exist comfortably alongside those who worship the sexual revolution. Out of all the tragedies surrounding her death, the most tragic thing is that all evidence points to the reality that Rachel Held Evans entered eternity under the wrath of God.

Should we stop calling Rachel Held Evans a false teacher?

At the same time, we must not pretend that her teachings honored the Lord.  Both Denny Burk and Allen Nelson IV have documented the serious errors in her theology, and I strongly urge you to read their articles.  Rachel Held Evans espoused a liberal theology that strips the Bible of its authority, thereby putting her followers in danger of becoming false converts.

RIP RHE

Over the weekend, Rachel Held Evans’ followers have been thanking her, in memoriam, for encouraging them to be gay, feminist, a woman pastor, to worship a female version of God, to not feel guilty about voting for a woman’s right to choose abortion, to celebrate doubt, and to cut essential doctrines out of the Christian faith. What she taught in life, she’s being celebrated for in death. And yet we who know the truth are expected to remain silent about the danger they are in? We’re supposed to hide our light under a bushel until—when, exactly?

This essay isn’t particularly about RHE specifically but its recent publication after her death and resulting reactions speaks to the state of Christian civil (uncivil) dialog that I found helpful.

Have you seen them?  There is a new kind of Pharisee today. Things like social media have paved the way for them. And they are not rare or quiet. Here is a partial profile of the new Pharisees:

Blaspheming St. Rachel Held Evans

Just so we’re clear: if you believe that it’s morally wrong for people to respond to the death of RHE by tearing into her legacy viciously, then I agree with you. There may be a time for doing that, but four or five days after she is dead is not that time. It’s a matter of respect. But if you believe that there is no morally acceptable way to write critically about her legacy so soon after her passing, well, we’ve got a problem.

In OTHER news:

A good one from TableTalk Magazine I found helpful in clarifying an issue I’ve long had with responses to encouragement.

False Humility

“Thank you so much for taking time to bring me dinner while I’m sick. I’ve noticed that you have a selfless, others-focused life, and I’m so grateful to be a beneficiary of that grace in you.”
“Well, glory to God!”
I see these sorts of exchanges often. Someone writes or speaks a word of encouragement, specifically pointing out God’s goodness in the life of a friend. The recipient of the kind message, perhaps not knowing how to respond, deflects the encouragement with a statement such as “Glory to God.”
Of course, it’s important and right to consistently acknowledge the Lord and not to take credit and glory for the gifts that God has provided or the opportunities you have, but it’s another thing to deflect all encouragement so that we appear humble.

Run, do not walk to this sale! I checked the prices of all the offered books and they are deep markdowns even from comparing to Amazon WITH a Wikibuy coupon. I happen to know that if you spend $50 or more, you will receive free standard shipping, within Continental USA. It is a limited stock and when they are gone, they’re gone.

Godly Women
Banner of Truth Trust’s sale on books about Godly women.

Women preaching seems to be all the rage these days. Own Strachen has a few thoughts about that.

Divine Order in a Chaotic Age: On Women Preaching

Our culture today does not embrace divine order in either scriptural form or natural form. Our culture is anti-order. Think of what Christopher Hitchens once wrote: “We atheists do not require any priests, or any hierarchy above them, to police our doctrine.” In Hitchens’ mind, the greatest evil is not the priest, but hierarchy–another word for divine order.

The Pyromaniacs have some thoughts on Thinking Like a Slave. It’s timely for me, I was surprised a few weeks back when I posted that Christians must regularly attend church, I received several vociferous replies that I was quite wrong. Dan Phillips here explains/rebuts/destroys the very reasons I received that are often given as justifications for failing to worship corporately. In other words, he nailed it.

Combined with the essay above regarding the rebellion of the ‘saved’ Christian against a divine order & hierarchy, it’s a nice bookend piece. Here’s Dan-

But no. I can roll them all together, and deal with them all in one. Every one of these excuses, though presented in great deal and with great conviction, shares the very same fatal flaw. Every one of them views the Christian life as a process of negotiation.

A good article on why music is becoming increasingly derivative and less creative

The Tragic Decline of Music Literacy (and Quality)

Besides the decline of music literacy and participation, there has also been a decline in the quality of music which has been proven scientifically by Joan Serra, a postdoctoral scholar at the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute of the Spanish National Research Council in Barcelona. Joan and his colleagues looked at 500,000 pieces of music between 1955-2010, running songs through a complex set of algorithms examining three aspects of those songs:

The advent of drones makes aerial photography easier to produce for anyone without a pilot’s license and a plane. This series from My Modern Met depicts our connection with water. Beautiful photos

Stunning Aerial Photos Reveal the Natural Human Connection with Water

From the ocean, lakes, and rivers to hot baths and swimming pools, people are drawn to all types of water. For many, these bodies of water are cool, warm, comforting sanctuaries. Even from the early days of humanity, people sought out large expanses of water for survival, but also because it simply feels good to be in and around it.

These really ARE the Best Black Bean Burgers You’ve Ever Had. The secret is to briefly bake the black beans first, drying them out a bit. I am making these this weekend. Along with some yellow rice and an avocado it will be a delicious Saturday lunch!

I have been enjoying Netflix’s old BBC show Dad’s Army. A comedy about the WWII Home Guard. Clean and actually funny as well as heartwarming.

Enjoy your weekend!

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Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: Mocking, Notre Dame, Good Friday, more

By Elizabeth Prata

Good, Good Father on Good, Good Friday. He was pleased to crush His Son, so that we may live. Enjoy your holy weekend, whatever you have planned.

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I agree with this article, and also include photography in the ‘no mocking’ standard. There are ethics that go along with online communication, whether you’re a blogger or a tweeter or a facebooker… We should not mock people for their name, appearance, or disabilities. In addition, I have known journalists who, instead of ethically choosing a photo that is a standard profile pic, or a photo that shows the person in a good light, deliberately choose the worst photo in order to visually mock them. Brethren, don’t do it. Michael Coughlin at Something To Think About has more-

Be Careful with Your Mocking

There is no excuse for mocking someone’s God-given looks, disabilities or impediments, or incidental things like the name their parents gave them. It is not only ungodly behavior, but it is ineffective even from a pragmatic point of view. It sends the wrong message to anyone we are trying to convince of our religious views, as well as any onlooker to the conversation.

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The Notre Dame fire wasn’t the only tragedy…as French citizen Eric Davis explains-

The Tragedy of Notre-Dame de Paris

As a French citizen, I, along with many, felt that Notre-Dame was a rich part of our heritage. Needless to say, the burning of the cathedral on Monday was a tragedy. However, as tragic as the fire of this great structure was, there is a greater tragedy concerning Notre-Dame de Paris.

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I don’t mind that there is heightened religious activity around Good Friday. I was evangelized by a third grader today as she invited me to her church’s play Friday evening and explained what it all meant, lol. Our own church is having a Good Friday worship night with songs and scripture reading. However, I DO agree that if the Week or the Easter weekend becomes rote, then it becomes devoid of meaning and a rite that would anger rather than please God. Spurgeon with more-

Good Friday Is No Funeral

Charles Spurgeon was no fan of Good Friday. Too many people in his day ignored the church until “Holy Week,” a week so sacred that attendance on Good Friday and Easter apparently atoned for neglecting the church for the remainder of the calendar year. (Sound familiar?)

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Rebecca Stark reminds us, as the Hebrews did, how to courageously and joyfully chose a path that we know would bring more trials to us-

Look for the Helper

I knew a young man who embraced the gospel joyfully (or so it seemed), began to attend church, but then rejected it all when his old friends rejected him. His friends thought he’s gone nuts, especially when they found out what Christianity teaches about sexual morality. Their insults and ridicule were too much for him to bear, and before long he chose his friends’ approval over Christ’s.

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Busy? John Calvin preached several times a week, had a house full of kids, pastored, was trying to reform a city and work on a magnus opus in two languages? Here’s how he did it, and we can too-

John Calvin, Teething Children, and Serving Christ in the busyness of Life

Probably not, and here Calvin leaves us such an encouraging example. Timothy George reminds us that, “For most of his life Calvin’s house was full of little children.” [3] When Calvin’s wife Idelette died in 1549, she left him two children from her previous marriage. He assured her he would care well for them after she passed, and he did. Beyond these two, Calvin’s brother Antoine and his family, including eight more children, also lived with Calvin. Other friends and relatives would stay periodically at Calvin’s “modest dwelling.” [4] Despite the picture often painted of Calvin as the stoic intellectual, “we should not imagine that . . . his life was free from the rush and bother of daily domesticity.” [5]

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I am a fan of talking about the blood. My favorite praise song is The Last Blood. There is a fountain, filled with blood. So anyway, Samuel D. James talks about the blood and does it well, as usual-

Blood Calls to Blood- Why I am a Christian

When we checked into the hospital I brought in all sorts of romantic ideas about watching a life come into the world. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I now know that most of these ideas were sterile, almost offensively so. I expected to see a beautiful infant glide effortlessly into the room. I expected to hear cries as soft as whispers break my mental rendition of Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open.” I looked forward to the moment of my son’s birth as a moment that I knew would transform me in its greatness, exorcise my demons and balm the proud callouses of my soul. I was going to be a different person just for having seen this, I thought. What really happened was blood.

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In these racially charged times with all the wokeness and whiteness and blackness, here is a movie review of The Best of Enemies where, according to this true story, two people who opposed each other found out that sitting down and spending time together changes hearts.

A time to embrace

It’s so simple yet so marvelous: Spending time with someone can radically change your opinion of him or her—for the better! The new film The Best of Enemies is based on the true story of C.P. Ellis, a Ku Klux Klan chapter president, and Ann Atwater, an African American community organizer, who couldn’t stand each other until they sat down together.

Friday happened, but Sunday’s comin’!!!

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Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: The Mind, the Sneakers, The Spirit, The Botanical Garden… more

By Elizabeth Prata

@PreachersNSneakers is a hilarious new Instagram account that reposts photos of preachers’ selfies, focusing on their sneakers and apparel. Apparently it is possible to purchase sneakers that cost upwards of $1000 to even $4000 dollars. The site features the online picture with price of the sneaker/footwear, along with a funny comment. Here is one example featuring Steven Furtick

footwear

Reactions in the comments range from complaining to approving-

–What’s the point of this account?
–Why are they all so rich? Don’t answer, I already know.
–I bet lots of traditional churches pastors wear $1000 suits…

Preachers from Levi Lusko, Louis Giglio, Furtick, Judah Smith, Chad Veach, Erwin McManus and others are, ahem, ‘featured’ on the page. Ladies, it’s not only doctrine that sheds light on who may be a false teacher, it’s their lifestyle too. Not that one pair of sneakers makes a false teacher, but it’s a piece of evdence to be taken into consideration. Doctrine AND life, as Paul said to Timothy in 1 Tinothy 4:16…

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I love art and I love to make art. However the chasm between seeing good art and making my own is a gulf that is fixed, wide and not overcomeable, if that is a word. I started The Sketchbook Challenge in January and didn’t last a week. I’ve been trying on and off for 40 years to draw, or at least make some recognizable art, but I am simply no good at it. My brain and my hands have a disconnect.

However here is My Modern Met’s recommendations on the Ten Best How to Draw Books.

There are countless publications that say they’ll teach you to draw, so how do you choose? We’ve done the hard work for you and sifted through many of the best sellers. Some of the books on our list are decades old—one is even from the 1950s—but are still regarded as fantastic resources. It’s a reminder that the fundamentals of drawing will never change, and that owning one (or more) of these books will prove useful months and years down the road.

Sketch on, ladies, do it for me…

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Speaking of ten best, here is Travel Channel’s picks for Ten Best Botanical Gardens in the US. It’s spring, that time of year where our eyes want to see green, vivid color, and maybe some bees.

Entries include desert gardens, many in the midwest, also the north and the south are represented. Maybe one of these will be in your area. I personally also like the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota FL, and the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, a part of the University of Georgia in Athens.

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Delivered By Grace reminds us that The Holy Spirit is Not Casper the Friendly Ghost.

When we hear people talking about the Holy Spirit, it’s not uncommon to hear people talking about the Holy Spirit in terms of an evangelical version of Casper the Friendly Ghost. At other points, evangelicals derail by putting all of their focus upon the Holy Spirit to the marginalization of Christ. When the Holy Spirit is cartoonized or overly emphasized and brought to the forefront of our worship—we grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

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Justin Bullington at Things Above Us shares Three Attributes of God to Fight Depression, part 2

depressed

If you find yourself in a battle with depression today, understanding God’s sovereignty is critical. If God is sovereign, there are no limits to God’s rule. This is part of what it means to be God. He is sovereign over the whole world, and everything that happens in it. He is never helpless, never frustrated, never at a loss. And in Christ, God’s awesome, sovereign providence is the place we feel most joyful, most secure, most free.

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Samuel D. James at Mere Orthodoxy reviews The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, with a reminder that The Public Square Is about Parenting.

Parenting is arguably one of the last remaining cultural institutions in which we are constantly invited to feel worse about ourselves and yet better than other people. Everyone acknowledges that parenting is difficult, yet many today cannot shake the nagging suspicion that it hasn’t always been this difficult.

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DB Harrison of Just Thinking with a piece on the raging Battlefield of the Mind.

If I were to ask you where does Jesus rank among your daily priorities, how would you respond? Would your first impulse be to give a “spiritual” answer—that is, to say what you think you’re supposed to say as a Christian—or would you reply with what you know in your heart to be true? These questions aren’t in any way meant to be presumptive or accusatory. Not at all…

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Well, those were a few items that I hope catch your fancy, stir your affections for Christ, or simply challenge your thinking. I hope you enjoy your spring wherever you are, and enjoy your days here on earth. It is not our home. Let’s long for our permanent and eternal abode, together-

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: Women’s Day, Fencing the Lord’s Table, Discernment thinking, Girl, again?? More…

By Elizabeth Prata

My friend the school secretary related a cute story. One of the staff is retiring. The office personnel were congratulating him. A little student was nearby, and she was asked, ‘He is retiring, do you know what retiring means?’

She piped up, “Yes. It’s when you don’t actually quit your job, you just get old and go home”.

Well then! Out of the mouths of babes…

On to Potpourri:

thornsThink the grass will be greener over there in those ministries? Not always so…A good essay from Michael Kruger.
Yes, There are ‘Thorns’ in Vocational Ministry Too

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Girl, you got problems… Rachel Hollis’s book(s) Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing lack a proper theological framework, thereby being unsuitable for Cristian consumption. And by the way, they also seem to be plagiarized from un-acknowledged sources, which render them unsuitable for anyone.

Jen Oshman reviews Hollis’s latest book: Girl, Follow Jesus

Buzzfeed presents some information on the allegation of plagiarizing in Influencer Rachel Hollis Is Facing Accusations She Is Plagiarizing On Her Instagram

Katelyn Beaty at Christianity Today adds to the conversation about Hollis’s books in Girl, Get Some Footnotes: Rachel Hollis, Hustle, and Plagiarism Problems

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The discernment lesson in this one is good. Hey, the whole thing is good.
The Servant Leader Shuns Unbiblical Thinking

How did Spurgeon fence the Lord’s Table, anyway? A view on the issue of open communion, or closed?

Open Book: Books by R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur have had a profound impact on so many people. But which books influenced their lives and ministries? Listen each week on Open Book as we hear about the books that shaped their thinking. This week- John MacArthur and A.W. Pink’s Spiritual Growth (Podcast)

Properly Celebrating Women’s Day at Delivered By Grace. “While we can certainly recognize progress of women’s equality in many ways in our culture, how should we as followers of Jesus celebrate women and the place of women in our lives, our culture, and our churches?”

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Table Talk Magazine examines individual and societal loneliness. I’ve been interested in this topic ever since I was a journalist in the early 2000’s, observing and reporting on society via sports events, civic meetings, clubs, and organizations. How do people interact these days? In 2001 Robert Putnam published his groundbreaking book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Society. I recommend it.

TableTalk article: All the Lonely People

I read this book by Wiersbe in order to review it, recommended:

Lonely People: Biblical Lessons on Understanding and Overcoming Loneliness Living Lessons from God’s Word, by Wiersbe, Warren

weary

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Julie-Ann Baumer in Maine has a nice folksy way about her. I enjoy her blog posts
In the Rear-view Mirror

Jessica Fisher at Good, Cheap Eats has an article on 8 Great Taco Fillings. I’ve been enjoying Mexican food a lot lately, so it’s on my mind. Maybe you’ll enjoy these too.

 

Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: Christmas, depicting Jesus in art, music, old Movietone reels

By Elizabeth Prata

Time for another edition of Prata Potpourri, the ever popular phrase made famous by the game show Jeopardy! host, wherein I put forth various and sundry links on a variety of topics. I like using the words potpourri and sundry in the same essay.

I’m a public school teacher’s aide and so I live by the school calendar. Hard to believe we are at the mid point, with second quarter report cards to be issued this week. Our school district gives us a two-week break around Christmas, with our return a day or two after New Year’s.

By this time of year we really look forward to an extended time off. No one knows the tired you get with managing hundreds of kids a week before Christmas, never mind keeping track of the Elf on the Shelf, admiring their blinking reindeer antlers and Santa hats, scraping half eaten sticky candy canes off the desks, (or out of their pockets) and trying to teach about adjectives and three digit subtraction amidst it all. There’s no tired like teacher tired, and there’s no teacher tired like a few days out from Christmas Break!

For my break, I’ve got some books lined up to read, upcoming naps to take, Netflix binges on Fellowship of the Ring and Blue Bloods, and friends to spend the holiday with. It’s all good. For your consideration here are a few sites with content you might find interesting. Enjoy!

~~~~~~~Christmas~~~~~~~

Here is Allen Nelson IV with A Christmas Gift for Youa reflection on the promise of Christmas.

Josh Buice on some thoughts regarding the prophecy of Jesus in his essay, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. We sang the hymn Come Thou Long Expected Jesus in church yesterday. It’s a beautiful song.

Elizabeth Barnes goes on a ‘Holiday House Tour- a Giant Fancy Christmas‘ and if you know Elizabeth Barnes, this will be funny

~~~~~~~Social Media~~~~~~~

Social media can be aggravating but it is also here to stay and a mechanism to get the Gospel and its truths out widely. Ligon Duncan outlines his social media strategy and it’s a helpful list.

Another list offering ways on How to be a smarter Christian with social media

From 2010, a useful look back at when social media came to the fore to aid us in Understanding social media

~~~~~~~Art~~~~~~~

I love art, and one particular piece I enjoy at this time of year is the piece by Gari Melchers, The Nativity. I wrote about it several times in past years, and for me, it is a powerful piece.

Michelle Lesley asks, Is it irreverent or disobedient to depict Jesus in nativity scenes?

For a longer exploration of art, Christianity, and reverence, here are a few links-

Modern Art and the Death of a Culture, by H. R. Rookmaaker and a review of this book by the gang at Discerning Reader

Artist and video animator Christ Powers has goals with his visual media,

Animations and pictures are the primary way we do this. The visual media are an uniquely effective tool the Lord has given us for communication, especially in the 21st century’s image-laden culture. My goal is to use these visual media as a way to pierce the heart and to haunt the mind with scripturally-informed imagery of Christ.

Powers adds this disclaimer to his videos and website fullofeyes.com. He’s thought long and hard about it and decided in the end to continue making the images and add the disclaimer.

Art and the Bible is a classic on the topic by Francis Schaeffer & MichaelCard.

And another good one on the topic, both these books are short, btw-
Art for God’s Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts, by Philip Graham Ryken

~~~~~~~Music~~~~~~~

Dallas Holm, songwriter, on the genesis of his song Lord, I’m Waiting. It’s thoughtful.

Daniel Smith writes about Timeless Truth in an Ancient Hymn, “Hail, Gladdening Light.” It’s unclear how old this hymn exactly is, since our earliest references to it in the 4th century refer to its antiquity, but we do know that it was relatively widespread throughout the early church in its first few centuries.

Speaking of Nobody Knows, here is a book with that title, about a forgotten musician, Harry T. Burleigh. Singer and Arranger of Negro Spirituals, Burleigh made an enormous impact to American song, yet few people know of him now. Hopefully this book will bring his name back to light.
Nobody Knows: The Forgotten Story of One of the Most Influential Figures in American Music, by Craig von Buseck

~~~~~~~Women~~~~~~~

Jess Pickowitz writes of Princess Charming, from her series Portraits of Superstition, and says, “As I share these verses, I want you to think on how much stock you are genuinely putting into various types of “lucky charms” or idols in your life. Maybe none. Maybe just a little. Think on what it is in which you are putting your faith and trust.”

Ayanna Thomas bangs the drum reminding us that while devotionals and Bible studies can be worthwhile, You don’t need another Bible study. Study the Bible on your own this year, see how it goes!

Sharon Lareau both reviews Tim Keller’s book Prayer and teaches how to be discerning when choosing a book, which is always helpful. Here is her introduction and here is the stand-alone page with the Keller book review

~~~~~~~Fun~~~~~~~

Our favorite nannies, in fiction and in film, from the always lush UK website The Country Life

Inspired by art, physics, math, light, and technology, the incredible art installations of HYBYCOZO have been an absolute sensation since they first went viral after the 2016 Burning Man Festival. By laser cutting intricate patterns into large polyhedrons, artists Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu have created a striking visual identity through their collaboration. Over the past several years, their work has appeared across the globe—in civic installations in Singapore and Dubai to exhibitions at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery.

 Check out the interview with the artists!

Archive of Motion Pictures has this clip (among many thousands of others) of Chelyuskin crewmen rescus in dramatic scenes. Filmed in 1934. Description

Various scenes from the Soviet expedition rescued in the arctic, including a seaplane landing, shots of the crew, the SS Chelyuskin, sleds and dogs in the snow, sea ice, a man with a movie camera, and of the Russian script. Edited Fox Movietone News story, “First Pictures of Soviet Expedition Rescued in Arctic.” Includes voiceover describing the scenes.

Enjoy your week!