Posted in theology

Just thinking…about my Bible reading the other day

By Elizabeth Prata

Virgil Walker and DB Harrison have a podcast called “Just Thinking“. They discuss cultural issues of the day and instruct listeners how to think about them biblically. They are big on thinking. The men do an excellent job of showing how to think through biblical concepts.

I am big on thinking too. We should read the Bible every day. And not just read it but at least some of the time we should think deeply about what we read. Meditate on it. To do that we ask questions as we read. Why is that phrase there? What does that word mean? What does an acacia tree look like? What does this metaphor about an ox being muzzled mean? And then spend some time finding the answers. I like BibleHub, GotQuestions, looking up parallel verses, and reading a larger context before and after the pertinent verses, to help me.

Other times, we just read it and then RE-read it. Then stop to think. This is what I did the other day and here was my thinking process.

Genesis 14:12-14

They also took Lot, Abram’s nephew, and his possessions and departed; now he was living in Sodom. Then a fugitive came and told Abram the Hebrew. Now he was dwelling by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner, and these were in a covenant with Abram. So Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, and he led out his trained men, born in his house, 318 in number, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.

In Genesis 13, just one chapter prior, Abraham and Lot had separated. One took his flocks one direction and the other man took his in the opposite direction. They settled. The Bible is 7000 years of actual history and in order to put it all in one book, the timing of things is conflated. We read chapter 13 and go to 14 and think it’s a few days later because the events being described are successive. What we might visualize in our minds is Abraham and Lot not much older or not much time had passed. But there IS a clue to how much time had passed.

In the passage above, there is a phrase we should pay attention to. “Born in his house.” Let’s put 2 and 2 together. Abraham sent his trained men out to rescue Lot from the king that had grabbed him. The men who were trained had been “born in his house”. Three hundred and eighteen men had been born under Abraham’s headship and had been trained and were ready to go out to battle. So that means these men must have been at least 15 or 20 years old. THAT’S how much time had passed.

And indeed Abram was 70 when he got the call from God in Ur, and 86 when the covenant between God and Abraham happens (seen in the next chapter) so that at least is a passage of time of 16 years when Uncle Abraham goes out to get Lot.

I find the best way to put insights together is to read slowly, or several times. And to think about what I read and what it means. The very best way to gain insight into what you read in God’s word is to pray to the Spirit for wisdom and illumination. He will give it.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)

But ask in confident trust that God will deliver it.

But he must ask in faith, doubting nothing, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is dignified, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, consider these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Posted in Uncategorized

Does “only God know the heart”? Or are there cases when we do too?

By Elizabeth Prata

Peoples’ responses to calling out a false teacher often (depressingly often) involves a statement such as this:

“You don’t know their heart!”

God is sovereign. God knows the heart. But there are specific times that we do too.

If a teacher’s doctrine has been proven false by comparing it with the Bible, then we DO know their heart! The Bible tells us this. Only God knows the hearts of the people, but if their teaching is not of the Lord, then the God who sees hearts has exposed those hearts to us by the verses of His word!

Their hearts are full of deceit. Colossians 2:8
Their hearts are filled with their own appetites. Romans 16:17-18
 For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34 
Their hearts are disguised with light. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
Their hearts are full of greed. 2 Peter 2:3
Their hearts are ravenous. Matthew 7:15.
Their hearts are inwardly full of sensuality. Jude 1:4
Their hearts are full of secrets, such as destructive heresies. 2 Peter 2:1
Their hearts are full of intent to exploit. 2 Peter 2:3
Their hearts are full of fleshly passions. 2 Timothy 4:3
Their hearts are puffed up with conceit. 1 Timothy 6:4
Their heart understands nothing. 1 Timothy 6:4
Their hearts are cunning and crafty. Ephesians 4:14
Their hearts serve the creature. Romans 1:25
Their hearts are slaves of corruption. 2 Peter 2:19.
Their hearts deny the Master who bought them. 2 Peter 2:1
Their hearts prophesy lies. Jeremiah 23:26

People undiscerningly reject discernment and accept false teachings, even after confirmation by Bible verse, by thinking that a person can utter blasphemies but still have “a good heart”. No. Do we think that a person can utter falsities or even blasphemies from a pure heart? No, of course not. Out of the heart the mouth speaks.

God does know the heart, that’s true, but He has shown us the heart of the false teacher in His word. He taught us this in His word for the purpose of being mature, discerning, and so we can learn for ourselves in truth and also teach the younger to be edified and strong.

The End Time Blog Podcast Season 2, Episode 276

Posted in theology

What we have to look forward to

By Elizabeth Prata

I love beginnings and endings, borders, edges. I love to see how things begin and how they end. That’s why I love Genesis and Revelation as my favorite books of the Bible.

Did you know that those two books are the only books of the Bible that have no sin in them? Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21-22. No sin. Bask in those chapters, my sisters, because those are a glimpse of what is to come. The rest of the Bible displays man’s sin-sin-sin all over the place. But Genesis 1 & 2 and Revelation 21-22 are pure and beautiful.

In Genesis 1 and 2 we have the honor of watching God create the world. His intellect is stupendous, the variety of the landforms, flora, and fauna are incredible. Even more so to know God did it all in 6 days. Even more so to understand He did it with a word.

Revelation 21-22 are even better than Genesis 1 & 2. Why? The glory of the LORD shines even brighter in people who have been redeemed by His son, and who have no more chance of sinning. The Sword of Damocles no longer hangs over Adam and Eve, and the glorified Bride shines in sinlessness in a place where no sin ever touched. How good is THAT?

In fact, the only man made thing in heaven will be the nail scars on Jesus’ hands.

Both the aforementioned chapters of Genesis and of Revelation have the Tree of Life. Eden had a river flowing out into the world past the Tree of Life, but New Jerusalem has the River of the Water of Life flowing past the tree! There was a marriage in Genesis 2, (Adam and Eve), but in Revelation 21 there is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!

This world is terrible. It has been since Genesis 3:1. Sin gushed in. I looked for named or blatant sins in Gen 3-9. We have the Original Sin: Disobedience to God’s word. Then shame and blame. We have murder, mocking God, lying. We have polygamy, violence, and threats of violence. And I’m only up to chapter 4. When God told Cain that sin was crouching at the door waiting to have him, He wasn’t kidding. Give sin an inch and it will take the world. And it did!

But the world will be remade so there will be no death or bones or sin. Everything will be pure, holy, and joyous.

What a day that will be.

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”