Posted in supernatural, theology

Consider the supernatural, what it really is

By Elizabeth Prata

Did you ever stop to consider the supernatural in your everyday life? In 2011 and 2012, I wrote an update to the Leroy NY situation in which a bevy of teenage girls came down with a Tourette’s-like illness. They suddenly began twitching and having seizures, and no one could figure out why. The update I wrote about is that the final tests and examinations have finally been released, and still no one knows why the girls came down with this. They spent thousands of dollars and issued a 6,000 page report that said, “Er, we dunno.” Continue reading “Consider the supernatural, what it really is”

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 false christians, theology

The Worst Danger

By Elizabeth Prata

I’ve been in danger before. I’ve been stalked by a serial rapist. Gypsies surrounded me in Ecuador and and slashed my pants trying to get to my wallet. The Storm of the Century tossed my boat on its side like a matchstick. I’ve been trapped under a raft in white water rapids. I’ve been inches from a lightning strike that fused the sand on the ground into glass next to my feet.

Most of those dangers were unexpected and unknown. I didn’t see them coming. Continue reading “The Worst Danger”

Posted in theology

Pursuing wind

By Elizabeth Prata

I have seen all the things that are done under the sun, and have found them all to be futile, a pursuit of the wind. (Ecclesiastes 1:14).

How pointless it is to pursue the wind. But that is what the unsaved do. It is what I did for 40 years, and it was vain. I heard Billy Joel’s song Movin’ Out this morning and I remember when I first heard it. The song is basically about the meaninglessness of life. The main character in the song decided that everything was meaningless, pursuing life to get a big house in the suburbs, saving up for that special car, working all the time, paying overtime taxes to Uncle Sam…the guy asked, what was it all for? He was moving out. To where and to do what, is not stated. But the same meaninglessness will pursue him there too. Continue reading “Pursuing wind”

Posted in prophecy, theology

When God changed the calendar

By Elizabeth Prata

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2“This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. (Exodus 12:1-2).

In that verse, the LORD Is preparing the Hebrews for the grand finale, the last plague and their exit from Egypt. Upcoming is the Passover, where the LORD Instructs Moses and Aaron to tell the people to stay in their homes that night, eat only unleavened bread, and to take an unblemished lamb, slaughter it, and use a hyssop branch to daub the doorposts with its blood. The death angel would pass over any home so marked.

So in commemoration and in preparation, the LORD changed the month. Formerly Abib, corresponding to our April (roughly), the LORD announced the change. Continue reading “When God changed the calendar”

Posted in Uncategorized, word of the week

Sunday Word of the Week: Immanence

Last week the word was Transcendence. God is apart from His creation, different from it. This week the word is Immanent or Immanence,

God’s immanence refers to His presence within His creation. (It is not to be confused with imminence, which refers to the timing of Jesus’ return to earth.) A belief in God’s immanence holds that God is present in all of creation, while remaining distinct from it. In other words, there is no place where God is not. His sovereign control extends everywhere simultaneously. Source GotQuestions

Immanence: God’s presence and activity within the creation and human history. Source: Biblical Doctrine, MacArthur/Mayhue, p 931

God is so majestic! Mysterious! How can He be both apart from His creation, and present within it?! At the same time? It shows who our God is. It’s why I chose these two words one after the other to demonstrate His essential otherness.

One other notion that is important to emphasize.

Pantheism and deism twist many people’s view of how God relates to His creation. Pantheists believe that everything is God or is a part of God, making Him equal with His creation and unable to act upon it. Deists hold that God is distinct from His creation but deny that He plays an active role in it. Contrary to these and other false views of God, the Bible says that God is both different from His creation and actively upholding it.

We must not stress His immanence at the expense of His transcendence, and vice versa.

That they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, (Acts 17:27).

Note: Modern pantheism is seen in William P. Young’s The Shack, Oprah Winfrey’s promotion of Eckart Tolle, and in Ann Voskamps’s book One Thousand Gifts as an offshoot of pantheism, panentheism. It is easy to twist both immanence and transcendence, either by direct twisting or omitting one in favor of the other. It is why it is important to learn these terms so we retain a balanced view of God.

 

Posted in discernment, theology

The train is still coming down the tracks

By Elizabeth Prata

train coming 2

 

Growing up in my town in the 1960s, there was a train track running along the shoreline. Behind the tracks there was a busy wharf with fishermen, moorings for recreational boaters, and shoreside homes and their children running about. There were a lot of train crossings, and many of them weren’t guarded by automatic gates and warning signals.

Sadly, we frequently read in our local paper of crossing fatalities, both vehicular and pedestrian. To my impressionable ears it seems like almost a weekly occurrence. It wasn’t that frequent but I do remember my father, who was on the town Zoning Committee for a time, talking about the Town Council’s plans to automate and/or close some of the crossings to reduce potential for fatalities. Continue reading “The train is still coming down the tracks”

Posted in theology

The Beauty of the Almond Tree

By Elizabeth Prata

Published on The End Time in April 2014

Most of us aren’t farmers. Many of us don’t garden. Having lost our connection to the land, sometimes the biblical symbolism of certain agricultural meanings are lost to us. Let’s look at the almond tree.

Flowering almond trees, Wiki CC, by Daniel Sancho

The almond tree is mentioned in scripture several times and always in interesting contexts. Almond tree twigs are mentioned as early as Genesis 30:37 and Genesis 43:11. In Exodus 25:33, God is describing how the Golden Lampstand in the Tabernacle should look.

Source
Sweet almond tree branch with blossoms. Wiki CC

three cups made like almond blossoms, each with calyx and flower, on one branch, and three cups made like almond blossoms, each with calyx and flower, on the other branch—so for the six branches going out of the lampstand.

Calyx is the collective name for sepals of a flower. Easton’s Bible Dictionary explains,

A native of Syria and Palestine. In form, blossoms, and fruit it resembles the peach tree. Its blossoms are of a very pale pink colour, and appear before its leaves. Its Hebrew name, shaked, signifying “wakeful, hastening,” is given to it on account of its putting forth its blossoms so early, generally in February, and sometimes even in January

The International Standard Bible encyclopedia says,

The masses of almond trees in full bloom in some parts of Palestine make a very beautiful and striking sight. The bloom of some varieties is almost pure white, from a little distance, in other parts the delicate pink, always present at the inner part of the petals, is diffused enough to give a pink blush to the whole blossom.”

Did you know that there are sweet almonds and bitter almonds. Bitter almonds are toxic. It becomes cyanide when crushed and mixed with other enzymes inside the almond, as this link explains.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez once wrote poetically about the scent of bitter almonds and the fate of unrequited love as a lead-in to murder by cyanide poisoning. And in bitter almond oil as in a tragic romance, the sweet and the toxic are inextricably entangled.

Benzaldehyde is made by the decomposition of amygdalin (named for Prunus amygdalus, and in turn responsible for the bitterness that gives bitter almonds their common name). The other decomposition products are glucose (sweet) and hydrogen cyanide (toxic). … The utility of amygdalin to the plant is for defense, specifically as a deterrent to grazers from eating the valuable seed as well as the dispensable fruit. Inside the cells of the almond kernel, amygdalin is sequestered from the enzyme that breaks it down: amygdalin hydrolase. Crushing, as happens when the plant is grazed upon, brings the enzyme and amygdalin together, and cyanide is produced as a result–as much as 4-9mg per almond.”

Aaron’s rod famously budded almond leaves, blossoms, and fully ripe fruit. The LORD did this to prove that Aaron was His designated spokesman, with Moses.

On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds. (Numbers 17:8)

As with Aaron’s rod, Jeremiah 1:11 use of the almond as a symbol. Jeremiah 1:11-12:

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.

Pulpit Commentary says of Verse 12. – I will hasten my word; literally, I am wakeful over my word; alluding to the meaning of the Hebrew word for almond. The LORD will hasten to perform His judgments of Jerusalem which He proclaimed in His word to Jeremiah.

It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, ‘Love in the Time of Cholera”.

In Genesis 43:11 one of the ‘best gifts’ of the land that Joseph’s father Jacob urged his sons to bring to Egypt (unknowingly, to Joseph) were almonds.

In Plants of the Bible, it says, “The almond, Amygdalus communis, is a medium sized tree with narrow, light green leaves. Unlike the fig and olive, the almond does not live to a great age. The almond is a well-known symbol of resurrection because it is the first tree to flower. The white, five-parted flowers are up to two inches across and come in the late winter before the leaves of the tree develop. Because they may flower as early as late January or early February, it is sometimes possible to find almond flowers with snow.

Charles Spurgeon preached on the lessons of the Almond Tree. He says here,

“While I have felt compelled to speak of these solemn Truths, I am glad to turn to the other part of the subject which is this—that God is quick in performing His promises. They are like the almond tree—they blossom and bear fruit very quickly. “What sort of promises,” you ask, “are thus speedily fulfilled?” Well, first, the promise to give salvation to all these who believe in the Lo rd Jesus Christ. Listen— “The moment a sinner believes, And trusts in his crucified God, His pardon at once he receives, Redemption in full thro’ His blood.” I see “a branch of an almond tree” here. The Psalmist says, “His word runs very swiftly,” and I am a witness that it does. Many years ago, I, a poor sinner, went into a place of worship to hear the Gospel preached. The preacher repeated the Lord’s command, “Look unto Me, and be you saved.” I looked to Christ and I was saved that very instant. It takes no longer to tell the story than it did to work the miracle of mercy. Swift as a lightning flash I looked to Christ, and the great deed was done! I was a pardoned and justified soul—in a word, I was saved! Why should not the same thing happen to you who are here? It will happen to everyone who shall now be led to believe in Jesus Christ.”

We look to Christ as our all in all, forgiver of sins, Lamb of God. You, also, look to Christ – and be saved. The almond tree blooms, quick with promises. The most wondrous promise of all is the resurrection of the Son of God.

Aaron’s rod budded, sprouted, and offered fully formed fruit, all at the same time. “According to the law of nature, all living things have a beginning and an end. However, this was not the case with Aaron’s rod, for God gave it a new lease of life. This miracle hinted at the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even though death came to the world because of the actions of the first man, Adam, resurrection would come about on account of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:17–22). Hence, when Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, He told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (Jn 11:25). … the flowering rod served to quell Korah’s rebellion and re-affirmed Aaron’s position as high priest. Furthermore, this wondrous sign hinted at the future Messiah and His status as the firstfruits of resurrection (1 Cor 15:20).” (source)

————————-
Further Reading

The Sign of the Almond Tree

The Lesson of the Almond Tree

Daily Bible Study: Almonds

 

Posted in theology

A Restless Evil

By Elizabeth Prata

But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. (James 3:8).

That’s pretty dramatic. You think of Hitler as evil. Child molesting as evil. Abortion as evil. But the tongue? Sticks and stones can hurt my bones but names will never hurt me?

Yes. The tongue.

But it goes beyond that. The tongue is a restless evil. It is restless. Restless means its evil never stops. It is always moving.

As our pastor was teaching on this section of James in our weekly Bible Study, I thought of some other verses that brought the word ‘restless’ to mind.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8).

The evil adversary prowls. Prowling is a relentless movement, always looking, scanning, seeking.

I thought of this from Job 1:7,

The LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”

Roaming is a restless movement. Its evil is always skulking, scavenging.

And this from Genesis 4:7b,

And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.

Crouching brings to mind the coiled movement of a pounce like the lion prowling above. Ready to spring into action. In other words, ‘a restless evil.’ Back to the beginning of the essay.

I think we vastly underestimate the potency of sin. We disregard the immediate and always-near danger that satan and his minions present. I think we terribly minimize our fleshly desires for unrighteousness. Satan never sleeps. Our sin always lurks.

Jeremiah 17:9 asks a rhetorical question,

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

And James 3:8 also asks another rhetorical question about a body part, the tongue. Who can tame it?

We know the answer to that, Jesus. We stay in the Word, and we pray and we repent, and we be mindful of His precepts as we go through the day. We have to. Evil is restless.

restless