Posted in theology

Buy Truth

By Elizabeth Prata

Listen to your father, who fathered you,
And do not despise your mother when she is old.
Buy truth, and do not sell it,
Get wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

(Proverbs 23:22-23)

“Obtain the truth at all costs, then never relinquish it at any price.”

John MacArthur Daily Bible, August 22

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells everything that he has, and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44).

“That of the treasure hid in the field. Many slight the gospel, because they look only upon the surface of the field. But all who search the Scriptures, so as in them to find Christ and eternal life, Joh 5:39, will discover such treasure in this field as makes it unspeakably valuable; they make it their own upon any terms.”

Matthew Henry Commentary

I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, white garments so that you may be clothed and your shameful nakedness not exposed, and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. (Revelation 3:18)

“Buy” does not imply that we can, by any work or merit of ours, purchase God’s free gift; nay the very purchase money consists in the renunciation of all self-righteousness, such as Laodicea had (Re 3:17). “Buy” at the cost of thine own self-sufficiency, and the giving up of all things, however dear to us, that would prevent our receiving Christ’s salvation as a free gift- for example, self and worldly desires. Compare Isa 55:1, “Buy … without money and price.”

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Scripture testifies to its worth. What is it worth to you?

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Kay Cude Poetry: The Light of Our Salvation

Artist’s statement:

For me, the lone tree speaks of God’s wonderful handiwork, not only representing His gift of nature, but brings to mind that His redeemed are not alone, but safely tucked within His Might eternally. And as the brilliance of the sun pierces boldly through the dark-ending of the storm, one thought leads me to another — remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection. Then speaks to His beloved redeemed: the “things” of this world are now more clearly seen through the light of His Salvation! We must daily pause to remember…

REMEMBRANCE
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Kay Cude: The Light of Our Salvation

Artist’s statement:

For me, the lone tree speaks of God’s wonderful handiwork, not only representing His gift of nature, but brings to mind that His redeemed are not alone, but safely tucked within His Might eternally. And as the brilliance of the sun pierces boldly through the dark-ending of the storm, one thought leads me to another — remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection. Then speaks to His beloved redeemed: the “things” of this world are now more clearly seen through the light of His Salvation! We must daily pause to remember…

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

East is from the west: cardinal directions in the Bible

By Elizabeth Prata

People don’t refer to cardinal directions of north, south, east, west very much any more. If someone asks for directions and you tell them to go north three blocks, they look at you like you just lapsed into Hindi.

In the days before we were too reliant on GPS, people traveled by using the sun, moon, and stars. They spoke of cardinal directions.

In the Bible there is a lot of talk about the east and the west. (Of course, north and south is also spoken of but I’m concentrating on east-west today).

East is a major direction in the Bible and not just for the directions, but for the symbolism.  Let’s look at a few examples.

The Garden of Eden was planted toward the east. (Genesis 2:8).

The scriptures specify the LORD placed cherubim  at the eastern entrance of the Garden, to protect it and the tree of life.

After God drove out the man, He placed a cherubim with flaming sword to protect this eastern entrance. (Genesis 3:24).

The tabernacle faced east. (Numbers 3:38).

When God’s glory comes/came to the Temple, it comes/came from the east:

Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. (Ezekiel 43:1-2).

The wise men followed the star which had risen in the east.

Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. (Matthew 2:2 KJV)

The Lord will return from the east. (Matthew 24:27):
For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

The sun rises in the east and its rays shine from that direction. John 1:5 says God is Light, in Him there is no darkness at all. The west is where the sun sets, bringing darkness. The east is where the Light is.

When the sun rises, the light comes from the east. When the Son returns, His Light comes from the east.

There is much more that can be studied on even so mundane a topic as cardinal directions. The wonder of the Bible is that you can take practically any topic, any word, and explore. And do you know what you will come up with?

Jesus.

That’s why the Bible is so great. All scripture points to Jesus.

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39 KJV)

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Posted in theology

If you give a mouse a cookie: How I get sidetracked from Bible study

By Elizabeth Prata

I was reading through 1 Kings this morning. I came across a reference to the Millo, and made a quick note to follow that up later. Then I read of Ahijah the prophet, and made another note. Uh-oh! My ink ran out. Oh, no, this is my favorite pen! It’s hand made from beautiful wood and has super beautiful fittings. I must replace the ink cartridge right now even though I have another favorite pen right here!

Continue reading “If you give a mouse a cookie: How I get sidetracked from Bible study”
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Kay Cude: The Light of Our Salvation

By Elizabeth Prata

Kay Cude is a Texas Poet. Used with permission.

Artist’s statement:

For me, the lone tree speaks of God’s wonderful handiwork, not only representing His gift of nature, but brings to mind that His redeemed are not alone, but safely tucked within His Might eternally. And as the brilliance of the sun pierces boldly through the dark-ending of the storm, one thought leads me to another — remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection. Then speaks to His beloved redeemed: the “things” of this world are now more clearly seen through the light of His Salvation! We must daily pause to remember…

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Posted in theology

When the Word of God isn’t Enough

By Elizabeth Prata

The scriptures say they are enough. To use a fancier word, the scriptures are sufficient.

All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; (2 Timothy 3:16)

That about covers all of life, doesn’t it? At least it does for the Christian. See Romans 15:4 also. Yet women believers in Christ are bombarded with testimonies from alleged ‘teachers’ of the Bible, and authors and speakers, who claim that the word is not enough. They want more.

But there is nothing more than the completely sufficient word of God. As Peter said in John 6:68, Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.”

Sarah Young is famous for starting her cottage industry of false devotionals and books for women and for children with the words “I yearned for more.”

Continue reading “When the Word of God isn’t Enough”
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Kay Cude Poetry: The Light of Our Salvation

Artist’s statement:

For me, the lone tree speaks of God’s wonderful handiwork, not only representing His gift of nature, but brings to mind that His redeemed are not alone, but safely tucked within His Might eternally. And as the brilliance of the sun pierces boldly through the dark-ending of the storm, one thought leads me to another — remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection. Then speaks to His beloved redeemed: the “things” of this world are now more clearly seen through the light of His Salvation! We must daily pause to remember…

REMEMBRANCE
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 encouragement, theology

The word of God is living

By Elizabeth Prata

To the Christian, the word of God is like a green lawn, undulating, rolling out blade after blade of perfectly manicured grass, thriving and living, each blade a perfect truth to be discovered, examined, applied, praised.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12).

Underline is mine, it’s what I’m focusing on in this essay. Continue reading “The word of God is living”