Posted in scripture photo, wrath

Scripture photo: Rebukes ("Church Bulletin" series)

Church bulletins are great. They contain information the congregant will need during the week, such as which deacons are ‘on call’, who is going to staff the nursery next week, and what time the church supper starts on Wednesday. Some pastors include sermon notes, or a devotional.

The cover always contains a pretty picture and a lovely verse. The picture is always eye catching. One might see a meadow-covered mountain top or a close-up of a pretty flower. The verse is always likewise. Always. It’s encouraging, or it speaks of God’s love or a promise of God.

I’m irked by this.

Leave it to me to be irked by something pleasant, right? But just once I’d like to see a different kind of verse on the front of a bulletin, a verse that speaks of God’s wrath, or His justice, or something unpleasant. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” says 2 Timothy 3:16, so let’s not always focus on the verses that please us or encourage us. What about the verses that challenge us, or convict us, or make us think, or speak of an aspect of God that’s increasingly denied these days, such as His wrath?

Here is today’s entry:

In this Old Testament verse, God is prophesying against the Philistines. God’s promise here serves as a specific warning about the Philistines and a sort of comfort to the Israelites, whom the Philistines were harassing. Matthew Henry’s Commentary says of the general promise here,

Those who glory in any other defence and protection than the Divine power, providence, and promise, will, sooner or later, be ashamed of their glorying. Those who will not leave it to God to take vengeance for them, may expect that he will take vengeance on them. The equity of the Lord’s judgments is to be observed, when he not only avenges injuries upon those that did them, but by those against whom they were done. Those who treasure up old hatred, and watch for the opportunity of manifesting it, are treasuring up for themselves wrath against the day of wrath.

A parallel verse to the Ezekiel verse comes from Psalm 9:16: “They shall know Me, not in mercy, but by My vengeance on them.”

It is a fitting concept on which to end the imaginary “Church Bulletin” series. Far from presenting only one attribute of God, the “pleasant” side as most American worship bulletins do, it is comforting to see Him fully, including His wrathful side. His holy justice, His perfect rebukes, His righteous anger, these are comforting in their own way. Any persecuted Christian whose family has been slain would take comfort in knowing that future justice will be done to the persecutors. In Israel’s Old Testament days, that would be the Philistines. In our day, it is still the Philistines, though Middle East persecutors are not called that now.

“But what if there is a lost person in the church who reads these about His anger or wrath or holy justice?” Then I say “Good.” Sinners need to understand that God’s anger abides on them. The sword of vengeance is pointed at their heart and soul, to be released any moment at God’s good will and pleasure. Sinners must understand we have a loving and merciful God because we have a HOLY God.

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Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #1, Vulture

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #2, Anguish

Scripture photo: “Church Bulletin” Series #3, Hell

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #4, Lake of Fire

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #5, Wrath

Posted in god's wrath, scripture photo

Scripture photo: Wrath ("Church Bulletin" series)

Church bulletins are great. They contain information the congregant will need during the week, such as which deacons are ‘on call’, who is going to staff the nursery next week, and what time the church supper starts on Wednesday. Some pastors include sermon notes, or a devotional.

The cover always contains a pretty picture and a lovely verse. The picture is always eye catching. One might see a meadow-covered mountain top or a close-up of a pretty flower. The verse is always likewise. Always. It’s encouraging, or it speaks of God’s love or a promise of God.

I’m irked by this.

Leave it to me to be irked by something pleasant, right? But just once I’d like to see a different kind of verse on the front of a bulletin, a verse that speaks of God’s wrath, or His justice, or something unpleasant. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” says 2 Timothy 3:16, so let’s not always focus on the verses that please us or encourage us. What about the verses that challenge us, or convict us, or make us think, or speak of an aspect of God that’s increasingly denied these days, such as His wrath?

Here is today’s entry:

Have you heard this statement lately? God is a gentleman, He would never…” and fill in the blank with whatever you think God is too gentlemanly to do, usually like overcome your resistance to the Holy Spirit and regenerate you anyway. However from this verse we see that our God is a God of wrath. His wrath is not only stored up for the Day of Judgment, or has exhausted itself on Jesus while suffering on the cross, or is solely a historical thing such as on the Israelites when they were carried off in war and captivity to Babylon. No. God is angry every day with sinners, He displays His wrath every day says Psalm 7:11.

In this Romans verse, Gill’s Commentary explains what Paul is saying

By “the wrath of God” is meant the displicency [aversion] and indignation of God at sin and sinners; his punitive justice, and awful vengeance; the judgments which he executes in this world; and that everlasting displeasure of his, and wrath to come in another world, which all through sin are deserving of, some are appointed to, God’s elect are delivered from…

Though the covers of church bulletins are always lovely and nice to look at, and the accompanying verse is always encouraging and sweet, the importance of balance can’t be overstates. Through this verse we are reminded of an aspect of God’s holy character, His hatred of sin. What better place to be reminded that God hates sin and is angry with sinners than at church, where one comes to repent, to hear the word, be strengthened in the Spirit to go out and be renewed in our Christ-like character? What better place to be reminded that those who aren’t saved yet dwell under a mighty sword of anger, and we should be merciful to them and share Jesus with them?

Gill asks and answers the question as to where this wrath is seen?

This is said to be “revealed”, where? not in the Gospel, in which the righteousness of God is revealed; unless the Gospel be taken for the books of the four Evangelists, or for the Gospel dispensation, or for that part of the ministry of a Gospel preacher, which represents the wrath of God as the desert of sin, the dreadfulness of it, and the way to escape it;  

but this wrath of God is revealed in the law, it is known by the light of nature, and to be perceived in the law of Moses, and may be observed in the Scriptures, where are many instances and examples of divine wrath and displeasure; as in the total destruction of the old world by a world wide flood, the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt, the plagues of Egypt, and the several instances mentioned in this chapter. 

I’m not thrilled with sin or wrath, of course, but I love my God and I love all His attributes. Even His holy justice will be something to behold, in solemnity (Revelation 8:1) and in awe (Habakkuk 3:2). We should not hide it or omit it from Christian and Gentile public consumption.

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Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #1, Vulture

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #2, Anguish

Scripture photo: “Church Bulletin” Series #3, Hell

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #4, Lake of Fire

Posted in scripture photo

Scripture photo: Lake of Fire ("Church Bulletin" series)

Church bulletins are great. They contain information the congregant will need during the week, such as which deacons are ‘on call’, who is going to staff the nursery next week, and what time the church supper starts on Wednesday. Some pastors include sermon notes, or a devotional.

The cover always contains a pretty picture and a lovely verse. The picture is always eye catching. One might see a meadow-covered mountain top or a close-up of a pretty flower. The verse is always likewise. Always. It’s encouraging, or it speaks of God’s love or a promise of God.

I’m irked by this.

Leave it to me to be irked by something pleasant, right? But just once I’d like to see a different kind of verse on the front of a bulletin, a verse that speaks of God’s wrath, or His justice, or something unpleasant. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” says 2 Timothy 3:16, so let’s not always focus on the verses that please us or encourage us. What about the verses that challenge us, or convict us, or make us think, or speak of an aspect of God that’s increasingly denied these days, such as His wrath?

Here is today’s entry:

It does us good to be reminded of our former destination, before the call of God came to regenerate our heart and we repented. Keeping the fate of the unsaved ever before us should spur us to witness and to urge those who dwell in wrath and in bondage to sin to turn to Jesus. The Gospel is His permanent, ever-saving message. It should also remind is of the holy justice of our Holy God, rendering wrath unto those who rebelled and rejected Him. Church bulletin photos and verses only ever seem to focus on the holy blissful side of our stance with God and His love. His holy wrathful side and His justice are also important aspects of His wonderful Being.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says of verse 15

The blissful lot of the righteous is not here specially mentioned as their bliss had commenced before the final judgment. Compare, however, Mt 25:34, 41, 46

Faithlife Study Bible reminds us of the purpose of the lake of fire:

the lake of fire: This final death, which leads to eternal separation and judgment, is permanent and inescapable

I’ll finish with a comment from the great Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. How wonderful to be reminded of these things, from discomfort at the verse bringing to mind of the inescapable judgment of God, how sweet, then, is the reminder of His grace!

All those who have made a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell, shall then be condemned with their infernal confederates, cast with them into the lake of fire, as not being entitled to eternal life, according to the rules of life laid down in the scripture; but those whose names are written in that book (that is, those that are justified and acquitted by the gospel) shall then be justified and acquitted by the Judge, and shall enter into eternal life, having nothing more to fear from death, or hell, or wicked men; for these are all destroyed together. Let it be our great concern to see on what terms we stand with our Bibles, whether they justify us or condemn us now; for the Judge of all will proceed by that rule. Christ shall judge the secrets of all men according to the gospel. Happy are those who have so ordered and stated their cause according to the gospel as to know beforehand that they shall be justified in the great day of the Lord!

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Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #1, Vulture

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #2, Anguish

Scripture photo: “Church Bulletin” Series #3, Hell

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #5, Wrath

Posted in scripture photo

Scripture photo, Hell ("Church Bulletin" Series)

Church bulletins are great. They contain information the congregant will need during the week, such as which deacons are ‘on call’, who is going to staff the nursery next week, and what time the church supper starts on Wednesday. Some pastors include sermon notes, or a devotional.

The cover always contains a pretty picture and a lovely verse. The picture is always eye catching. One might see a meadow-covered mountain top or a close-up of a pretty flower. The verse is always likewise. Always. It’s encouraging, or it speaks of God’s love or a promise of God.

I’m irked by this.

Leave it to me to be irked by something pleasant, right? But just once I’d like to see a different kind of verse on the front of a bulletin, a verse that speaks of God’s wrath, or His justice, or something unpleasant. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” says 2 Timothy 3:16, so let’s not always focus on the verses that please us or encourage us. What about the verses that challenge us, or convict us, or make us think, or speak of an aspect of God that’s increasingly denied these days, such as His wrath?

This week will be scripture photos of ones you never see on a church bulletin or online as a scripture picture. But I love these just as much as the flowery ones or the encouraging ones. So get ready for scripture photos, Prata-style. If anyone needs a church bulletin lady, I’m available…

EPrata photo

The Matthew 10:28 verse is saying, as Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary explains, is:

Our Lord warned his disciples to prepare for persecution. They were to avoid all things which gave advantage to their enemies, all meddling with worldly or political concerns, all appearance of evil or selfishness, and all underhand measures. Christ foretold troubles, not only that the troubles might not be a surprise, but that they might confirm their faith. He tells them what they should suffer, and from whom. Thus Christ has dealt fairly and faithfully with us, in telling us the worst we can meet with in his service

Gill’s Exposition says,

this is peculiarly solemn, “I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear,” even Him.
which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell—A decisive proof this that there is a hell for the body as well as the soul in the eternal world; in other words, that the torment that awaits the lost will have elements of suffering adapted to the material as well as the spiritual part of our nature, both of which, we are assured, will exist for ever. In the corresponding warning contained in Luke (Lu 12:4), Jesus calls His disciples “My friends,” as if He had felt that such sufferings constituted a bond of peculiar tenderness between Him and them

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #1, Vulture

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #2, Anguish

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #4, Lake of Fire

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #5, Wrath
the-end-time.blogspot.com/2016/01/scripture-photo-wrath-church-bulletin.html

Posted in bible, jesus, scripture photo

Scripture photo: Anguish ("Church Bulletin" series)

Here’s a change of pace for your next church bulletin cover. Pain and anguish. In the verse, Paul is about to discuss the judicial hardening of the Jews’ hearts to many of their souls’ eternal destruction. As Jamieson Fausset Brown Commentary explains,

the bitter hostility of his nation to the glorious Gospel, and the awful consequences of their unbelief, weighing heavily and incessantly upon his spirit.

Paul’s response to God’s sovereign election and His judicial work among the people is an appropriate one. Our response to sin and rejection of Jesus should be the same. If all scripture is sufficient for teaching, reproof and correction, then it’s my dream that someday the church bulletin people will include some verses that do just that, as the Romans 9:2 verse does, illustrating a response to sin that is as much human as it is proper. Instead, we get a continual drip of insipid love and encouragement verses which is my opinion only serve in some cases to deepen the complacency of the self-satisfied Christian and most times, are ignored by the rest. How about some balance here, people?

OK, this is me pursuing the impossible dream… Soapbox over for today.

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #1, Vulture

Scripture photo: “Church Bulletin” Series #3, Hell

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #4, Lake of Fire

Scripture photo: “Church Bulletin” series #5, Wrath

Posted in scripture photo, vultures

Scripture photo: Vulture

Church bulletins are great. They contain information the congregant will need during the week, such as which deacons are ‘on call’, who is going to staff the nursery next week, and what time the church supper starts on Wednesday. Some pastors include sermon notes, or a devotional.

The cover always contains a pretty picture and a lovely verse. The picture is always eye catching. One might see a meadow-covered mountain top or a close-up of a pretty flower. The verse is always likewise. Always. It’s encouraging, or it speaks of God’s love or a promise of God.

I’m irked by this.

Leave it to me to be irked by something pleasant, right? But just once I’d like to see a different kind of verse on the front of a bulletin, a verse that speaks of God’s wrath, or His justice, or something unpleasant. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” says 2 Timothy 3:16, so let’s not always focus on the verses that please us or encourage us. What about the verses that challenge us, or convict us, or make us think, or speak of an aspect of God that’s increasingly denied these days, such as His wrath?

Two weeks ago my scripture photo verses were all on the theme of flowers. All the photos were flowers and the verses they contained were encouraging. Last week the theme was love. All the verses spoke of love and the photos were of pleasant scenes. But this week will be scripture photos of my dreams. They’ll be ones you never see on a church bulletin or online as a scripture picture. But I love these just as much as the flowery ones or the encouraging ones. So get ready for scripture photos, Prata-style. If anyone needs a church bulletin lady, I’m available…

EPrata photo

PS if you’re wondering where to see these scripture pictures, occasionally I put them here on the blog but I post one a day on my Facebook The End Time page, here, https://www.facebook.com/The.End.Time.Blog and I also tweet one a day here, https://twitter.com/elizabethprata

PPS: I know that the vulture photo is extreme. Not even I would want that on a bulletin. I’m just doing my best to make a drastic point, and speak of parts of God’s character that are neglected in the public square and also bring to mind events of the Bible that people don’t discuss much these days. Like judgment.

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #1, Vulture

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #2, Anguish

Scripture photo: “Church Bulletin” Series #3, Hell

Scripture photo “Church Bulletin” series #4, Lake of Fire

Scripture photo: Wrath (“Church Bulletin” series)

Posted in encouragement, praise, scripture photo, worship

Scripture photo: Love unmerited; and a praise to the Lord

I attended a church service today that was so sweet, so fresh, so fine, it sparked my thirst for seeing Jesus face to face all the more. Heaven’s worship is going to be so wonderful, I can hardly think on it!

The service began with five baptisms at the middle service. The pastor said there were several baptisms at the early service and several more would be conducted at the later service. Upon stating their desire for baptism, the prospective baptizees must complete a four week ‘new member’ course prior to being immersed. Baptism at this church is a serious thing, being a weighty ordinance of the Lord, and it is not undertaken casually. Therefore, knowing this, I celebrated their obedience into the faith all the more! I always tear up at baptisms, and this one was so beautiful I did have many more tears than usual. The elderly lady sitting next to me put her arm around me and said “Is one of them yours?” I said “No, but yes, they all are, now. They are my family.”

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

What a blessing to see new believers step forward and openly declare their intent to follow Jesus. Some of the baptizees were adults, some were college aged, some were younger. One man was an exchange student from China. What a wondrous display of the Holy Spirit’s move, to bring a person here to be baptized into the faith and when his school term ends, will return to plant his own seeds.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:6)

After some good music, “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God almighty…” the pastor said that next Sunday the congregation will come together to vote on purchasing a house and 4-acre parcel adjacent to the existing 16-acre campus, it will complete their long-term vision. They believe they are meant to be in that spot, stay in that spot, and to grow disciples who in turn go out and plant churches in the neighborhood, county, state, nation, and the world. And they are doing this. They are committed to this biblical model, and it is a joy to see their obedience to it and the Spirit’s working through them in it.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)

The sermon was at once Jesus-exalting and personally humbling as the pastor exposited the word of God and gravely and lovingly explained a parable from Matthew. What a balm to receive the word from a mature preacher who understands the scripture and is eager and sober in explaining it to his flock.

And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. (Jeremiah 3:15)

After the sermon we had the privilege of praying over and commissioning a couple with their baby who are finishing their furlough and are returning to their mission field into East Asia. Anyone who wanted to pray aloud for this humble and obedient couple was invited forward to do so. Hands were laid upon them, tears were shed, and hope was ignited that many living in darkness would hear the Gospel and be saved.

And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. (Mark 5:19-20)

I know the state of the visible church and it is not good. But the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church that Jesus is building and where there IS a solid visible congregation, it is a beautiful thing.

Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22)

The worship of the Holy head of our church, Jesus Christ, no matter where you are, is a life-affirming, sobering, joyful, glad thing, and something we have privilege to do each day for all eternity when we arrive en masse at New Jerusalem at the rapture. O blessed day.

Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. (Psalm 111:1)