Posted in thankful, theology

There is no love like that of Christ to and through His people

By Elizabeth Prata

One of my elders told me about a Jerry Bridges book that impacted him a lot, God Took Me by the Hand, so since I trust my elder greatly, I immediately put that book on my Amazon wish list. Then, a kind sister bought it for me, and it came today! Also came with it was The Glory of Grace: An Introduction to the Puritans in Their Own Words by Lewis Allen & Tim Chester.

I am really blessed! Christian people are really so kind, aren’t they. When I look at the hate in the world and the love of brethren, we can see starkly what a difference the Lord makes!

Take stock of all your blessings. I have so many… Walking back up the driveway from the mailbox today I was humbled before the Lord because I am such a great sinner, a miscreant, failing in my Christian duties constantly, yet the Lord loves me. He provides for me in wonderful, surprising ways. He doesn’t even have to, His blessings from being saved from God’s wrath, given an inheritance, given the Holy Spirit as the seal of our salvation and future in heaven, our justification, our adoption…already, so many gifts. He gave me Himself, yet His bounty continues.

Lord, thank you, and forgive any and all murmuring I ever do! It is totally unwarranted. Praise God from whom all blessings flow…

books

 

Posted in thankful, theology

A wonderful gift from a reader

By Elizabeth Prata

I’m just a puddle of tears and joy, you guys.

The internet is a wild and woolly place when discussing traditional, conservative, evangelical Gospel. The worst push back I receive is from people claiming to be Christian who just hate any talk of standards, holiness, or false teachers. (Especially if it’s their favorite teacher).

Of course, political talk is just as bad, which is why I don’t participate in it, but some of the people I follow online do. I try to avoid looking at the worst of the discussions.

Many compatriots in the faith are switching off Twitter or Facebook, or others grit their teeth and call it the devil…I agree some days are just pretty bad. But I have been fortunate in my 23 years online. I’ve found alternately from the bad, that people are also friendly and kind and generous and interesting and thoughtful. I’ve had good luck with people overall.

Since I started my Quiet Life blog (in Blogger and here in WordPress later) in 2006, I’ve had nice interactions 90% of the time with readers. They either comment on the blog or send emails. As my sanctification progressed, my blogging became less personal and more theological. I started a second blog called The End Time on blogger as well as here on WordPress).

Readers have been so kind. Sometimes they donate using the PayPal button. Often they comment intelligently, or ask probing questions that absolutely delight me. Sometimes they send a gift like a book. They send notes. Sometimes they send a hand made gift. I use the crocheted coasters a lady made me every day.

But I’ll save my favorite reader response for the end.

Today I received a package from an unknown address. What is this, I wondered up the driveway.

It’s THIS! Just LOOK AT IT!

It’s INCREDIBLE! Handmade art and paper art. Here is a bit of what the mom wrote:

Her 17-year-old daughter drew the bird knowing my love of birds. Her 18-year-old daughter created the paper craft knowing my love for teapots and teacups. Aren’t they just gorgeous? Such talent. Isn’t that incredibly thoughtful? The care, the patience, the love in those hand made gifts, and to me, someone they don’t even know in real life, I’m just overwhelmed.

She said some nice and encouraging things about the content of the blog, which is so terribly heartening. You bloggers know that we do what we do for Christ, as an audience of one. However we also do what we do in hopes that the brethren (in my case, sisters) would be edified or challenged or encouraged. It’s nice to know we are not working in an echo chamber, and it’s nice to know that any seeds we may send out into the wind land and flourish.

But here is THE BEST PART. She wrote,

In fact, you introduced me to the ministry of John MacArthur. We now own and study his New Testament Commentary series as well as the MacArthur Study Bible.

My goal is always to point to credible ministries led by credible men. Personally in this era, I don’t think there is any better ministry underway today than John MacArthur’s. I mean, he preached through the New Testament verse by verse. I believe he is the Spurgeon of the day. One person on Twitter recently wrote:

I wish young pastors would let it sink in that few people have had greater worldwide impact with the gospel than @johnmacarthur  He didn’t focus on having that impact, but on preaching the Word. “If you take care of the depth of your ministry, God will take care of its breadth.”

It’s awesome that my lovely reader was introduced to MacArthur, because that opens up a world of other credible ministries, such as Phil Johnson’s (who I am appreciating more and more each day), Steven Lawson, Paul Twiss, HB Charles, Alistair Begg, Abner Chou…and all the other men in JMac’s circle. Connecting women with good ministries is a heart-felt goal of mine. When it comes to pass I praise the Lord for His goodness in allowing me to minister at all, and also for being a part of the joy in connecting with other women who love the Word taught by good teachers and find delight in it.

Knowing her grown daughters have been hearing good sermons is part of the circle of life that extends to the next generation. By God’s grace, those girls won’t be following the IF:Gathering or Beth Moore or Lauren Chandler or Jennie Allen. They’ll know good Bible teaching when they hear it and they’ll have had meat to chew on and can distinguish that from the no-good fluff.

So it was a very good day. She ended by saying my favorite thing of all- “Thank you for always pointing the way to God’s word and how to properly apply it.” That is what it’s all about while we are on this earth, learning more about Him and applying what we know of Christ to life so that we glorify Him.

Thank you.

PS: I placed the curled paper art into a shadowbox so it wouldn’t get dusty and hung it up, and I hung the bird art with Psalm on the back where I can see it every day. The note I took out of the paper art and I’m keeping separately to re-read on difficult days. 😉

Posted in behold, bible, prophecy, thankful

Behold the man! And The Four Beholds

We know Jesus is the Man-God. His divinity was on display when He healed, did miracles, or taught with such authority that the hearers were astounded.

His human nature was on display when He was weary (John 4:6), hungry (Mark 11:12), or thirsty (John 19:28).

When Jesus appeared before the magistrate, Pilate said to the crowd, Behold the man. Here is the verse:

So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” (John 19:5)

Most of us are familiar with that phrase, and that momentous event in the life of Jesus. But did you know that Zechariah said it first? In one of the many visions God gave the prophet Zechariah, the phrase appears. Thus Pilate’s utterance was a fulfillment of an Old Testament picture pointing to a New Testament truth.

And say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. (Zechariah 6:12)

Though the vision actually shows Joshua being crowned, it is in reality a picture of the crowning of Jesus. The Jamieson Fausset Commentary explains further:

Behold, the man—namely, shall arise. Pilate unconsciously spake God’s will concerning Him, “Behold the man” (Jn 19:5). The sense here is, “Behold in Joshua a remarkable shadowing forth of Messiah.” It is not for his own sake that the crown is placed on him, but as type of Messiah about to be at once king and priest. Joshua could not personally be crowned king, not being of the royal line of David, but only in his representative character.

[Source: Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 723). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.]

Roy Gingrich’s outlines on the prophetic books are helpful here explaining Zechariah’s vision of Joshua’s crowning, and the Heavenly utterance “Behold the Man whose name is the branch!”

THE SYMBOLISM OF THE CROWNING OF JOSHUA 

The crowning of Joshua, a priest, with a regal crown symbolizes the future crowning of Christ, a priest (after the order of Melchisedec), with a regal crown (as Israel’s and the world’s, King) at His Second Advent. 

During Christ’s earthly ministry, He was crowned with a crown of thorns, Matt. 27:29; during His present sitting at His Father’s right hand, He is crowned with a crown of glory and honor, Heb. 2:9; at His Second Advent, He will be crowned with many crowns, Rev. 19:12 (as the King of Israel, Matt. 27:37, and as the King of all the earth’s Kings, Rev. 19:16). 

THE PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE MESSIAH (Zechariah 6:12, 13, 15) 

(Here we have one of the Old Testament’s most complete, yet concise, prophecies concerning the person, the office, and the work of the coming Messiah.) 

1. The Messiah will be the antitype of Joshua (6:12). 

To “behold the man,” Joshua, was to “behold the man,” the Messiah, for the one is typical of the other. The Jews, at Christ’s first advent, “beheld the man,” the Messiah, crowned with thorns, John 19:5. The Jews, at Christ’s second advent, will “behold the man,” the Messiah, crowned with many crowns, crowns of glory, Rev. 19:12.
See the four “beholds,” Zech. 6:12; Isa. 42:1; Zech. 9:9; Isa. 40:9.

[Source: Gingrich, R. E. (1999). The Books of Haggai and Zechariah (p. 34). Memphis, TN: Riverside Printing.]

Here are the four Beholds Mr Gingrich mentioned.

Behold the Man!

And say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. (Zechariah 6:12)

Behold the Servant!

Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
(Isaiah 42:1)

Behold the King!

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
(Zechariah 9:9)

Behold your God!

Go on up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”(Isaiah 40:9)

We’re entering the Thanksgiving season, and gratitude and thankfulness are much on our minds. I am thankful for the fact that I shall behold Him! All knees will bow and all tongues will confess, meaning all peoples will behold Him, their God. But I’m grateful I shall behold Him as one who is forgiven by His grace, not ashamed or crushed by fear – but worshiping Him rightly- in Spirit and in truth. My gratitude for Him having delivered the means by which to dwell in righteousness now and forever and to behold His face in love knows no bounds. Brethren, WE SHALL BEHOLD HIM, OUR MAN-GOD, Savior, Lord and King!