Posted in theology

I’m ready to go

By Elizabeth Prata

There is no doubt that lately in the United States, things are getting more negative. Lawsuits, lockdowns, fires, riots, apostasy, false teachers, and so on. Things have been worse in countries before, think; Britain in WWII. Things have been worse for the church before: Think Spanish Inquisition. But here in the U.S. our circumstances have been continually blessed since almost our inception as a nation.

Lately though, the level of sin has increased so much it is hard to even look at Twitter, where only the headlines are shown, never mind the entire news story. John MacArthur made a great point this week.

“The slide is greased, and it’s rapidly going downhill at a warp-speed,” MacArthur continued. “And to try to intervene at some point and say, ‘That’s enough,’ you’d have to start a long time ago. This is just the next small step in the disintegration of an entire nation that has no conscience.”

Daily Wire: The Slide is Greased

In a recent sermon titled The Inescapable Corruption of Sin, he said the nation is so far gone it’s like a man that jumped off a 40 story building and began thinking about how to change his trajectory or the end result of his actions halfway down.

Ouch.

Things are rough and it hurts. But it makes me think of teenagers. You know when a teen has graduated from high school but hasn’t left for college? That in-between time? It is a huge transition, and it puts a strain on the family. It’s a tense transition. Bickering and fights break out daily, sometimes by the minute.

Why does this happen? Normally families love their children, and treat them with respect and love and care. But the fighting and tension during this period of imminent change is so prevalent and common, that Psychology Today wrote about it.

Leaving for college? Why families argue more right before the separation.

The weeks before my own child left for college were filled with battles that seemed to come from nowhere and enveloped our entire household. If he wasn’t arguing with me about something, he was butting heads with his dad; and if he wasn’t fighting with either of us, he was furious that we had somehow misunderstood something he said or were acting like he was a stupid child and always telling him what to do.

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Just when I was feeling that I would be very happy to see him go, he said, “You know what this is about, don’t you? It’s so that it won’t hurt you so much when I leave.” I had to laugh. He was right, of course. Fortunately, I had the good sense not to insist that it might be doing the same thing for him.

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It’s an actual phenomenon. The fighting helps the parents and kids let go, and makes parting easier.

I got to wondering if it is the same with Christians. Certainly, seeing the level of visible sin these days is grossing me out and making me want to leave all this behind even more. Maybe the Lord is using the fighting and riots and evil to help us put our eyes more firmly on Him and to release attachment to the place where we live, and make us long for the place we are going to even more.

It’s a thought.

Lord? Soon come…please.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

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Further Reading

I strongly recommend the sermon by John MacArthur The Inescapable Corruption of Sin. STRONGLY

Steve Lawson, 3-min video clip: I want to be with Jesus

Posted in theology

Remembering September 11, 2001

By Elizabeth Prata

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost 20 years since that day. Two decades. I remember it like it was yesterday.

I was editor of a local newspaper then. I was working in my newspaper office on the morning of September 11. Tuesday is a big paper day, we go to print Wednesday morning. I rented the office from my friend who lived a big farmhouse, and she called me from her living room. I thought it was unusual that she phoned, being just a few feet away from me in the same building. But her voice evaporated all other thoughts. She said said fiercely, “COME HERE NOW”.

The first plane had just hit the twin tower in NY. We watched her television with eyes open, breathing shallowly, standing with arms numbly at our sides…until the second plane hit at 9:03. Our eyes locked together, and we knew without saying a word that this was an attack. We also knew that nothing would ever be the same. We watched until another plane hit the Pentagon 34 minutes later. It felt like the world was coming to an end. It really did. We thought the world was ending. A knot formed in my stomach and coherent thoughts refused to gather in my head.

We got our purses and the first thing we did was walk across the street to the hardware store where we bought the biggest flag they had. We walked back to the office and put it up. Then we went to the bank to get money. Cash was going to be important if the electricity went out or we were ordered to evacuate. We didn’t know what was coming next and we wanted to be prepared. It could have been a nuke coming next, for all we knew. At the bank, they had the TV on in the break room with the door open and the volume up so customers could hear what was going on. A fourth plane had just gone down in PA. We saw the smoking crater. We knew that plane was part of whatever was happening. The day got even more surreal.

The worst part was on NBC News when news host Katie Couric reported hospitals at the ready, the gurneys lined up outside at the emergency entrance waiting for victims…but we soon realized there would be no victims, only either survivors or the dead. We knew that rescuing the people above the strikes would be impossible. Our grief deepened.

We decided that with America under attack our freedom was also under attack. Running a newspaper which reported the news and offered a platform for the people to freely speak their thoughts on any political or civic matter, we resolved that our most patriotic thing we could do to support the Constitution that day was to get the paper out. The terrorists were not going to stop the presses. They were not going to stop freedom from ringing. And that is what we did.

Churches were full that Sunday, though a bit less full the following Sunday. By about four slim weeks, churches were back to their spotty attendance. Why is this? Why do people fly planes into buildings and kill others? Why is there murder? Why is there war? Why are there conflicts at every level? Because man is inherently wicked. Our hearts are evil above all things, who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9). Because man is basically evil. If we didn’t have laws and limits we would be killing each other at every moment.

Jesus is the hope we have to become good. Not on our own merits. We do not become good through our own efforts. No, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone.” It is not a popular thing to say, that we are not good, but we are not. [Click on the link for John MacArthur’s sermon the Sunday after 9/11/01 as he takes us through a biblical understanding of death, terrorism, and the Middle East]

I thank Jesus that He poured out His life so that we may live…and become righteous. “It is because of him [God] that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Even at that, our fleshly lives on earth are a struggle, a struggle against sin and growth in righteousness. I long for the day when flesh shall be glorified and sin shall be banished.

So people are evil, and we struggle against our nature. We want what we want and we sometimes terrorize or go to war to get it. Such will be the way, until the end. The end that comes before the beginning!

In the meantime, as we watch the death throes of this old world (which means the birth of the Glorious World!)…we mourn because also we love our nation America. Christians know, though,t hat our future is not America, but New Jerusalem.

The song you are about to listen to is from a Las Vegas Diamond Rio concert. They received an immediate resounding standing ovation, and continue to do so every time they perform it!

Here in America, In God We STILL Trust:

On the day of 9/11 there were people trapped above the strike zones who thought it would be preferable to hurl themselves out the shattered windows of the twin towers rather than burn to death. One photo in particular caught the world’s attention. It is called “Falling Man” and it seems that his graceful swan dive plummet was poignant in the extreme. Here is the back-story of that photo.

Five months after 9/11 the Superbowl came along, just as it always does. The Superbowl is noted for artful, funny, or avante garde commercial debuts, due to the high viewership of the game. Budweiser showed a commercial called “Respect” and showed it only once, then until now. Thanks to Youtube, the ad has resurfaced. It is sure to bring a tear to your eye. We remember American greatness, American products, American ways.

Jesus will return in glory with His glorified saints. He will institute new nations and new cities populated by sinless resurrected chosen ones. There will be no more war because our hearts will be made right with Him. There will be no more terror because we will want nothing, having been given it all by our Savior. If you bow low to the Savior, He will lift you up high. Please do it soon.

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Posted in theology

Error vs truth: Jesus takes the difference seriously, so should we

By Elizabeth Prata

And on that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more. And also I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness. (Zechariah 13:2).

By this point in 2020, given the various struggles Americans are experiencing, the promises of scripture seem all the sweeter. The more we see the evil and ugly in human hearts, the more we long for the purity and holiness of a clean earth.

And if anyone again prophesies, his father and mother who bore him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the LORD.’ And his father and mother who bore him shall pierce him through when he prophesies. (Zechariah 13:3).

Wait… what’s this?

After the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, (Jeremiah 30:7) also known as the Tribulation (Matthew 24:21), there will be humans left alive to enter what is known as the Millennial Kingdom. It is so named because it will last for 1000 years. (Revelation 20:2-6) (cf Isaiah 11:6; 65:20).

During that time, the earth renews from the devastating judgments rendered unto the Israelites and pagans, quickly, just as it did after the Flood. Satan will be bound in the pit with his cohorts. Peace will reign on the earth and Jesus will be bodily among His people. Holiness will be paramount. Holiness and truth will be so supremely important, that as we see in the Zechariah verse, even parents will run their own relative through if they prophesy falsely.

Because of the salvation of God which has cleansed God’s people and made them love him and His truth, hatred of false prophecy will overrule normal human feelings, causing even a father and mother to put their apostate child to death (cf, Deuteronomy 13:6-9, 12-15, Deuteronomy 18-22). This is a stern reminder of how God feels about and will eventually treat those preachers who misrepresent the truth.

John MacArthur Study Bible, Zechariah 13:3

As a Christian to whom the Holy Spirit has given the gift of discernment (1 Corinthians 12:10), I feel a heightened emotional and spiritual pain when I come across false teachers. It hurts when I receive emails from women who have been ill-used by these false teachers. It is sad to have women asking questions about how to cleanse themselves from the tentacles of these insidious doctrines wrapped around them from. It actually hurts to see the corruption and lies thrown on the name and Person of Jesus, all done in His name!.

Too many people react with anger toward me and other people who point out false teachings from these false teachers. The most common comments are, that I’m not to judge, that the feelings of the (false) teacher matter, to be nice, to ignore it and Jesus will take care of the problem, or that I’m wrong and the teacher isn’t false at all.

Jesus takes His truth VERY SERIOUSLY. We see that in the Zechariah verses. We see that in many other verses. I am not advocating for parents running their children through if they prophesy falsely, of course. But the picture of hatred for lies and love of the truth is in view. We see this in the New Testament also.

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:6).

The picture is of a love of His truth so much that in comparison it seems that we’d hate our mother and father and wife and children. He is not speaking of actual hate, for that would violate the Fifth Commandment to honor thy parents (Deuteronomy 5:16).

Rather, the love of His truth must be so paramount in our eyes that by comparison, everything else fades into the background. That when we come across liars of His truth, we hate what they say and what they do. That we love our Jesus’ truth with all our strength, mind, heart and soul, and that by contrast, we strongly repudiate all that contradicts it.

If we are involved with a teacher’s teachings, we must examine ourselves to see if that they are saying is so, and if they are found to be false, we must repent of our association with him or her. The truth is just that important.

Posted in theology

A proper response to the Word of God

By Elizabeth Prata*

I had been reading Nehemiah 8. It is a short book in the Old Testament, and it is good. Nehemiah was the fellow who supervised the rebuilding of Jerusalem and alongside Prophet Ezra help to purify the Jewish community that had re-gathered there. Nehemiah was governor and Ezra was the priest and the scribe.

The day came when Ezra called all the adults, and all children who could understand, to come and listen to the reading of the Law. They stood and listened. The Levites were there to help them understand what they were hearing. Soon there were tears, weeping, and crushed hearts. They fell on their faces. “For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.” The people realized how far they were from God. But Ezra said not to weep, for it was a day of rejoicing. The Festival of Booths was born, and the people celebrated, giving gifts to those who had nothing, and went their way eating and drinking. It is a short chapter. I recommend reading it.

Continue reading “A proper response to the Word of God”
Posted in theology

If the earth isn’t solid, where is true security?

By Elizabeth Prata

I used to follow news of sinkholes and earth cracks. I am fascinated by them. I think my fascination stems from the fact that the earth sees so solid, so permanent, but when the earth cracks or shifts or liquefaction occurs, it shows us that it isn’t.

EPrata photo

The earth seems so eternal, even more so to an unsaved person as I was for most of my adult life. The ground is always there to uphold us, put our homes on, traverse its roads and byways. When a geo-physical incident occurs like a sinkhole opening or a crack appearing, it scared me. This earth is all I’ve got, if it isn’t permanent, if it isn’t safe, what is? I don’t think I was the only one to feel that way. We all seek a sense of permanence and safety. The biggest, most obvious safety to an unsaved person is this world that we live on and the ground we walk on.

We see the earth cracking and splitting and opening in the Bible.

Korah’s rebellion comes to mind. “As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah’s men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, ‘The earth is going to swallow us too!‘” (Numbers 16:32).

Jude 1:5-13 reminds us that the specific example of Korah is an example of what WILL happen to the ungodly. Revelation 12:16 may show us a picture of a similar event: “But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth”. Gill’s Exposition says “and the earth opened her mouth; as it did when it swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Numbers 16:30; to which history this may have some respect.”

Isaiah 24:19 says that “The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is thoroughly shaken.” In the end, the earth cracks up. Isaiah 24 shows the same judgments in Revelation 6. The earth opens its mouth…and swallows what is above. The sinkhole and earth cracking incidents that are happening in the world lately are good examples of reminding us that the LORD is in control of the earth.

By the end of the Tribulation, the earth is devastated. Almost three-quarters of the entire population are dead. The geo-physical form of the surface of the earth is unrecognizable. The Tribulation is the orderly uncreation, a reversal of the creation as the Lord systematically takes down mountains, sinks islands, burns the things upon the earth like homes, trees, and grass. And so on.

Now as a saved person, I don’t rely on a false solidity of the earth, nor do I panic when that seeming solidity is cracked or liquified. The earth is not my home. I know from whence my solidity comes. The eternal word of God, the Man-God Jesus, the everlasting Savior. My salvation is eternal, His life is eternal, His heaven is eternal. Nothing is more solid than being in Christ.

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:28.

Posted in theology

The Christian and the 2020 Presidential Election

By Elizabeth Prata

It feels like God is definitely putting us to the test these days, doesn’t it?! At least it does to me- politically, economically, spiritually…even physically. I feel surrounded!

We want to do the right thing as a citizen of the USA but ultimately we want to do the right thing even more by our Lord & Savior as citizens of heaven.

The first Presidential election in which I ever voted, was in 1980 as an unsaved 19 year old. I was scared of Reagan, disillusioned with Carter (the Iran hostage situation etc.) so I voted for Independent John Anderson. I’ve always liked third party or outsiders-from-Washington, and these days even more so as the two main parties over the decades have gotten less stark in what they stand for.

Continue reading “The Christian and the 2020 Presidential Election”
Posted in theology

What does ‘grace upon grace’ mean?

By Elizabeth Prata

“One of the most wonderful statements about our Lord is that He was “full of grace” (John 1:14) and “of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace” (John 1:16). “Grace upon grace” speaks of accumulated grace—one grace following upon another. Such grace is ours each day. It is unlimited and sufficient for every need.” ~John MacArthur

The picture here is of waves on the beach. We can’t detect where one wave ends and another begins. Waves of grace simply roll in, endlessly, eternally, one connected to another. And so it is with God’s grace upon His believers. We receive endless waves of grace because our lives in Christ are of His grace and in His grace.

Posted in theology

What will happen to unbelievers upon death, and why?

By Elizabeth Prata

Adam and Eve ate of the fruit they were told to avoid. This was sin. Sin is anything we think, say, or do that is against God’s law. Their disobedience is called the Fall. They fell from their lofty position of perfection and intimate, personal relationship with God into a low position of guilt and disobedience. When Adam and Eve did that, God withdrew since sin had become a barrier to walking with Him personally in the garden.

Forever after that moment, all humans born on earth (except Jesus) had an innate sin nature. Their first thought is sin and they cannot escape their own nature. Just as a lion is a carnivore by nature and would not consciously choose to change his nature to vegetarian, so humans are sinners and cannot choose to change their nature to holiness. It has to be done outside of man. God is outside of man and thus is the agent of that necessary change. Continue reading “What will happen to unbelievers upon death, and why?”

Posted in theology

Reader Prophecy Question: What about seeing visions and prophesying in the last days?

By Elizabeth Prata

A reader wondered about the verse in Acts 2:17, where it is said,

And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;

And how that verse reconciles with the cessationist position. Cessationists believe that the sign gifts such as miracles, tongues, healing, and visions/prophecy ceased (hence the title of this position) some few years into the end time after Jesus’ ascension. The end time, or latter days, is the period between Jesus ascension and His return in the Second Coming. Therefore we are in the end time now (hence the title of my blog). Continue reading “Reader Prophecy Question: What about seeing visions and prophesying in the last days?”