Posted in Uncategorized

Stop it!

By Elizabeth Prata*

I listened to a great John MacArthur sermon that discussed how sin starts and what happens when we allow sin to continue without ending it at its root. MacArthur’s sermon is titled “Hacking Agag to pieces” and you can listen to or read part one here, and part 2 here. I recommend it.

There is a section of the two-part hour long sermon that made me think of a Bob Newhart skit. In the skit from MadTV, Newhart is a psychologist seeing a patient for the first time. Now, here is the salient part of MacArthur’s sermon about sin: Continue reading “Stop it!”

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

I live a small life in obscurity. Can I really make a difference for God?

By Elizabeth  Prata

We see so many stories of people launching ministries, or selling everything to move into an inner-city, or striking off to a mission-receiving nation. They are doing Big Things for Jesus.

Sometimes I receive a comment where a Christian woman feels ineffective and insignificant for Jesus. She is either a stay-at-home mom, or works in a job in which she is not a decision-maker, a person droning away in a cubicle somewhere. She feels like she would like to make a bigger impact for His kingdom but is not in any kind of powerful position to do so. How can we make a Gospel-impact for Jesus where we are?

I’d first like to celebrate the fact that there are women who yearn and strive to obey her King and to make a difference in souls. Like David, there are many women who adhere to this verse from Psalm 119:59

I hastened and did not delay To keep Your commandments.

And yet, many wonder since their sphere is so small, how they can minister effectively? Are they making any difference at all? Could we do more?

By Genesis 39, Joseph has been sold into slavery by his duplicitous brothers. He is working in the house of Potiphar the Captain of the Guard, as a slave. He is a slave, remember. Bought with money as property to do a master’s bidding. Joseph had no say, no power, no sphere in which he wielded decision making capabilities. He was just chattel, slaving obscurely away in a palace of a captain of Egypt.

Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. (Genesis 39:1)

The Hebrew word sar is sometimes rendered chief (Genesis 40:2)

The “captain of the guard” or “captain of the body-guard,” both titles meaning the same thing, was responsible for the security of the king’s prisoners and for executing their sentences upon them. He was also the official guardian of the person, or body, of the king—the chief of the king’s bodyguard. Source: Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible.

From that Commentary we know that Potiphar was no low person on the totem pole. When Joseph arrived at “Potiphar’s house”, it wasn’t a bungalow. Perhaps Potiphar did not even see Joseph much at the beginning, or if he did, it was in passing.

The Bible is silent on Joseph’s exact circumstances, but much has been written about slavery in many different eras, especially Roman times. In the Roman era, as many as 10,000 slaves per day were auctioned off. The Master or the Master’s representative would buy them off the block, usually in bunches. Initially, the Master would not know what each slave was capable of. Their skills were a mystery. They were just faceless laborers, an unknown quantity. At first, they would usually be put to menial work and as the Master or his representative got to know the slaves better he would re-distribute them around the property or give them tasks according to their strengths. This is what happened with Joseph.

The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. 3His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. 4So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. (Genesis 39:2-4)

Joseph slaved away, and yet the LORD was with him. He was apart from his family, alone…but the LORD was with him.

Matthew Henry says of this situation in his complete Commentary,
His master preferred him, by degrees made him steward of his household, v. 4. Note, (1.) Industry and honesty are the surest and safest way both of rising and thriving: Seest thou a man prudent, and faithful, and diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings at length, and not always before mean men. (2.) It is the wisdom of those that are in any sort of authority to countenance and employ those with whom it appears that the presence of God is, Ps. 101:6.  Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible

And we know how the event ended. God used Joseph in a mighty way for His purposes. (Genesis 50:20).

If Joseph, a slave, persevered in Godly character enough to influence an entire household and then an entire nation, what can God do with us? Anything, no matter where we are or no matter how small our own sphere seems. Use your vocation for Godly influence, doing all as to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Even then, we don’t have to save an entire nation. The biggest things on the planet are influencing people with the Gospel, the true words of Christ. Even one soul impacted for the Kingdom is the highest work one can accomplish. In Zechariah 4:10 we read,

For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. “These seven are the eyes of the LORD, which range through the whole earth.”

What does that verse mean? John MacArthur comments,

In that case, the re-building of a temple smaller than the one smaller than Solomon’s may have been discouraging to some, (cf Ezra 3:12, Haggai 2:3), The Lord announced that His pleasure was upon this work, and that His omniscient care was watching over and taking pleasure in its completion. He said in effect, don’t despise what God is pleased with.”

If you’re a person with no influence, a small sphere, or seeming insignificance for the Kingdom, you’re not. Don’t despise the small things. It is the Lord’s work and He is pleased with it. To Him, it is big things, especially when He fills them to perfection on His Day of glorification when ALL things come to completion. Use your vocation for Him in any way, large or small, that you can. His eyes range through the whole earth, and He sees you, and loves you and is with you.

This light isn’t a mighty lighthouse guiding thousands to port safe from the storm, but its light sure means a lot to the one family trying to get home.

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Postlude 2, Like the Sun

By Elizabeth Prata

Christmas means baby Jesus. Everybody loves the baby. The swaddling clothes (so cute!) the manger (awww, really?), the Wise Man (distinguished solemnity). It is a tremendous story. It is THE story of all of history. God Himself came in flesh, incarnated solely to grow, live a perfect life, and die. Continue reading “Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Postlude 2, Like the Sun”

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Postlude 1, He is coming again

By Elizabeth Prata

thirty days of jesus postlude 1
Further Reading:

GTY blog/sermon link: Christmas Future

Spurgeon: Watching for Christ’s Coming

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship
Day 9: The Child Grew
Day 10: The boy Jesus at the Temple
Day 11: He was Obedient!
Day 12: The Son!
Day 13: God is pleased with His Son
Day 14: Propitiation
Day 15: The gift of eternal life
Day 16: Two Kingdoms
Day 17: Jesus’ Preeminence
Day 18: Jesus is highest king
Day 19: Jesus emptied Himself
Day 20: Jesus as Teacher
Day 21: Jesus as Shepherd
Day 22, Jesus as Intercessor

Day 23: Jesus as Compassionate Healer
Day 24: Jesus as Omniscient
Day 25: Jesus’ Authority
Day 26: Jesus’ Sinlessness
Day 27: He rises!
Day 28: Resurrection is of central importance
Day 29: Ascension
Day 30: He sat down

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Day 30, He sat down

By Elizabeth Prata

We are coming toward the end of our look at the life of Jesus through scripture. The first section of His life was seen through verses focused on prophecy, arrival, and early life.

The next section of verses looked at Him as the Son, second person of the Trinity. Continue reading “Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Day 30, He sat down”

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Day 29, Ascension

By Elizabeth Prata

We are coming toward the end of our look at the life of Jesus through scripture. The first section of His life was seen through verses focused on prophecy, arrival, and early life.

The next section of verses looked at Him as the Son, second person of the Trinity.

We proceeded into looking at Jesus as the Son’s preeminence, His works, and His ministry. Under ministry & works, I chose verses showing His attributes and aspects of being servant, teacher, shepherd, intercessor, and compassionate healer; and His attributes of omniscience, having all authority and power, and sinlessness. Continue reading “Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Day 29, Ascension”

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Day 28, Resurrection of central importance

By Elizabeth Prata

Christmas advent. We are coming toward the end of our look at the life of Jesus through scripture. The first section of His life was seen through verses focused on prophecy, arrival, and early life.

The next section of verses looked at Him as the Son, second person of the Trinity. Continue reading “Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Day 28, Resurrection of central importance”

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Day 26, Jesus’ sinlessness

By Elizabeth Prata

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

thirty daysof jesus 26

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading:

The Cripplegate/Nate Busenitz: In what way was Jesus ‘made sin’ on the cross?

GotQuestions: Why does Christ’s righteousness need to be imputed to us?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship
Day 9: The Child Grew
Day 10: The boy Jesus at the Temple
Day 11: He was Obedient!
Day 12: The Son!
Day 13: God is pleased with His Son
Day 14: Propitiation
Day 15: The gift of eternal life
Day 16: Two Kingdoms
Day 17: Jesus’ Preeminence
Day 18: Jesus is highest king
Day 19: Jesus emptied Himself
Day 20: Jesus as Teacher
Day 21: Jesus as Shepherd
Day 22, Jesus as Intercessor

Day 23: Jesus as Compassionate Healer
Day 24: Jesus as Omniscient
Day 25: Jesus’ authority

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Day 24, His omniscience

By Elizabeth Prata

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

Now we look at His attributes. Today- omniscience.

thirty days of Jesus day 24

CARM.org: Definition of omniscience

GotQuestions: What does it mean that Jesus is omniscient?

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship
Day 9: The Child Grew
Day 10: The boy Jesus at the Temple
Day 11: He was Obedient!
Day 12: The Son!
Day 13: God is pleased with His Son
Day 14: Propitiation
Day 15: The gift of eternal life
Day 16: Two Kingdoms
Day 17: Jesus’ Preeminence
Day 18: Jesus is highest king
Day 19: Jesus emptied Himself
Day 20: Jesus as Teacher
Day 21: Jesus as Shepherd
Day 22, Jesus as Intercessor

Day 23: Jesus as Compassionate Healer