Tag Archive | [By Elizabeth Prata]

He is The Amen

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“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation’. (Revelation 3:14).

Please read Revelation. It’s a majestic book, filled with wonders and prophecies and promises and our future. It is the only book that reveals Jesus as He is. And, it is promised to the reader that he will receive a blessing for reading it. So…

To each of the churches in these opening chapters, Jesus greets them as a different aspect of Himself. He is the Alpha & Omega, He who walks among the lampstands, the first and the last, he who has the sharp two-edged sword, him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, and here in the last letter to the churches, the Amen. These are just a few of the titles Jesus expresses Himself as in the opening chapters of the book, which goes back to my statement, Revelation shows Jesus in all His glory and majesty.

From John MacArthur’s study Bible introduction to the book:

Revelation’s primary theological contribution is to eschatology, i.e. the doctrine of last things. In it we learn about: the final political setup of the world, the last battle of human history, the career and ultimate defeat of Antichrist, Christ’s 100-year earthly kingdom, the glories of heaven and the final state of the wicked and the righteous. Finally, only Daniel rivals this book in declaring that God providentially rules over kingdoms of men and will accomplish His sovereign purposes regardless of human or demonic opposition.

Those are some fantastic reasons to read the book!

In chapter 3, Jesus announces Himself as The Amen. What does that mean?

According to the MacArthur study Bible again, the Amen is a common biblical expression signifying certainty and veracity (cf Isaiah 65:16, “the God of truth”). As 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, all the promises of God are fulfilled in Christ, that is, all God’s promises and unconditional covenants are guaranteed and affirmed by the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Gill’s Exposition says,

Christ may be so called, because he is the God of truth, and truth itself; and it may be expressive of his faithfulness, both to God his Father, and to his people, in whom all the promises he either made, or received, are yea and amen; and also of the firmness, constancy, and immutability of Christ, in his nature, person, and offices, in his love, fulness of grace, power, blood, and righteousness; and is very appropriately assumed by him now, when he was about to give the finishing stroke to all covenant engagements, and to all promises and prophesies;

When we pray and say Amen, it is a verbal stamp on what has been said. Deepening the meaning of the Amen in this context, is that Jesus is the Word and is the living embodiment of all of God’s promises and works. We say Amen at the end of a prayer, Jesus IS the Amen.

We begin the New Year this morning with a hopeful look over the year’s calendar. All those days and weeks and months to fill up. It’s like empty scaffolding. We don’t know what’s ahead. We don’t know how these days ahead will be filled- with pain and tragedy, or joy and fulfillment, or a mixture of both, or… Whatever we do and whatever happens and however these days will be filled up and marked off, we do know one thing and it is certain.

Jesus is the Amen.

Isn’t it comforting to know that no matter what the New Year brings, what He has said is certain and utterly true. No matter what the world does to us, His faithfulness to His word and its exacting and sterling truth is the scaffold and framework for our days and weeks and months ahead. Grab onto it. Let it be your guide, your strength, your uphold, your protection, and your stronghold.

He is the Amen. He has said it. His titles of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation titles confirm the Lord’s faithfulness, sovereignty, and power to bring all things to their proper completion. Amen.

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Photo EPrata

Last day of 2017: Thoughts on time’s passage

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The year 2107 flew by. I turned 57. Since my birthday is at the very end of the year in mid-December, I usually count myself as that age all year. So all of 2017 I thought of myself as 57. When my birthday approached, I mistakenly thought I was turning 58. When I realized my true age, I was relieved and happy I’d ‘gained’ a year. It was like Daylight Savings Birthday, as a witty friend said.

During the mistaken period when I thought I was a year older than what I was, I was kind of sad. 58 is pushing 60 and that is a major milestone. It’s the old age retirement age decade. The seriously shortening lifespan decade. The years pile up. Our church is filled with young folks, even our pastor just turned from 29 to 30. A lot of the members are in college or graduate school. It is startling when you look at them all assembled and realize you could be their mother. It’s even more startling when you realize you could be their grandmother. Wut? Not me! Yes me.

On Twitter the other day, one of the guys asked ‘what is your first life memory of a major news story?’ Most of them said the Challenger explosion. That was 1986. I was already teaching, married, and owned a house. My first memory of a news story was the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, February 1964, I’d just turned 3. The first major news story that impressed itself on my heart and psyche was the 1968 Democratic National Convention riots. I was 7 1/2.

When there are that many decade layers you swim down through in your brain to get to the memory, it sets a person back. Whoa, you think. I was a kid just yesterday. Memories I recall as recent are actually 20 and 30 years old. I graduated high school forty years ago. People you know start dying. If they die outside of Christ, it’s very sad. My ex-husband has died. A friend I’d worked with on town political issues has died. My father has died. Reading the obituaries becomes a regular habit.

I like demarcations. I enjoyed standing on the equator. I like the 45th parallel, the point halfway between the equator and the north pole. I liked being at the easternmost point in the US and the southernmost point in the US. Crossing the Rio Grande from the US to Mexico. Borders are good, they contain things, attempt to make the chaos orderly. Or at least manageable. Year end borders are good. So it’s New Year’s Eve now, and we’re looking at another year ahead.
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New Year’s Eve is an artificial demarcation of years in a progression of invisible days, which are artificial demarcations themselves. The Egyptians divided the day into two 12-hour periods, and used large obelisks to track the movement of the sun, says Wikipedia. Graduated candles, hourglasses, sundials, water clocks…all used to mark off time for different reasons in different ways. The first mechanical clocks were invented in Europe at around the start of the 14th century, and became the standard timekeeping device until the pendulum clock was invented in 1656, says Wikipedia again. Now we have an atomic clock that keeps time to the billionth second. And we have our calendars that tell us when one year ends and another begins.

To what end? Man in his whirring activity here on this blue ball, must seem very much like children to our Great God. And so believers are children, that is how God sees us. (Romans 8:17, John 1:12-13). To what end are we so active and energetic on this blue ball?  Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

It is the last day of 2017. Perhaps the Lord will come for us in 2018. I hope so, fervently.

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. (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

I don’t have any profound words of wisdom as the calendar page turns over from this year to the next.  No hopeful statements to uplift. Just this: there will be a last day. One. Last. Day. (John 6:39, John 6:40, John 6:54 )

The New Testament makes it clear that the coming of Jesus Christ was the critical event. His atoning death was God’s final answer to the problem of human sin and once that had been accomplished nothing could be the same again. For our present purpose the important thing is that Jesus ushered in a new state of affairs. He wrought the atonement that made it possible for sinners to be forgiven and to enter God’s kingdom and to be fitted to take their part in God’s final kingdom. That gives a different quality to all time after the coming of Jesus, and the scriptural writers bring this out by referring to all that is subsequent to the coming of Jesus as “the last times” or the like.

Very important is the fact that the final, great day will see the triumph of God. This is foreshadowed in the Old Testament, for example, in the great passage in which Job says, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God” (Job 19:25-26). But the important thing from the Christian point of view is that the saving work of Christ has altered everything. Sin has been decisively defeated and believers have already entered into salvation. However long or short a time it will be before the end of this world as we measure time, we are living in the last times as the New Testament writers understand it. Bakers Evangelical Dictionary

And on that last day when time shall be no more,

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And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:12).

For the Christian, this is good news. We are judged by what Jesus has done, and we know that God is pleased with His Son. (Matthew 3:17). For the non-believing dead-resurrected, being judged according to what they have done is very bad news, for their lives of evil and rebellion will be reflected in the books, and in the end, their punishment.

Scoffers look at the calendar’s pages turning over the years and the decades and-

They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:4).

He is coming. This blog is called The End Time because we must constantly be looking forward, up, to the future. We are in the last days and we look forward to His appearing. There will be a last day. Man marks time and confidently says, ‘Today is the last day- of 2017’. However, God has his own timing schedule,

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:8-10).

Where will you be on the last day? Where will your friend, your ex-husband, your father be? Will you and they be in the line to the right, with the sheep? Or to the left, with the goats? Today is the last day of 2017. Let this melancholy and sober recounting of time’s passage be a reminder of the true and glorious last day of all: the day of His appearing when He comes to judge the living and the dead. May it be in 2018.

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Knowing we are a target…

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; (1 Peter 4:12)

John MacArthur preached, The Fiery Trial, Part 1, 1 Peter 4:12-14 on Jan 7, 1990

There is definitely a price to pay because if you name the name of Christ, you will become a conscience to an evil world which does not welcome such a conscience.

As the world darkens before His return (whenever that will be, I pray it is soon), our work as the Holy conscience of the Lord’s people proclaiming repentance for sin, will become brighter against the cultural darkness.

We are in a war. Being a Christian and proclaiming Christ to a lost and dying world is an act of war. The General of the world, satan, takes issue with each and every volley, foray, and battle. He will marshal his minions to come after you (and me). Why? Bright people in a war are targets. It is counter intuitive when you’re battling, to stand up and get out of the trench. It seems wrong to light a fire in the dark so snipers will see you. It seems odd to be called to put lights in the window and put away the blackout curtains. We do not put up blackout curtains and hide in the darkness. We tear down the curtains, expose the light and megaphone the truth to the quiet and quivering streets.

In 1990 being a Christian in Russia meant the communist government took issue with you. Persecution and restrictions against all religion did not ease until 1991. MacArthur again from the same sermon

I had a Russian pastor say that to me right there one Sunday night not too long ago.  I said, “It must be difficult in Russia to pastor the church.” He said, “Not so, it must be difficult in America.  In Russia we know who the true Christians are.”

Do not be surprised when persecution comes to you. It is to be expected, and the result will be that you are strengthened, you will be shown to be a true believer, and God will be glorified.

Here is a list of the kinds of suffering that Christians endure, compiled in the MacArthur sermon above and taken right out of the New Testament. When you read the list, remember to think of the global church, not just the Christians in America.

Matthew 5:10, we will endure persecution for righteousness.
Matthew 5:11 & 12, endure revilings and slanders.
1 Peter 4:4, we will be evil spoken of.
Matthew 10, we will endure false accusations.
Matthew 10:17, scourgings for Christ.
Matthew 10:14, rejection by men.
John 15:18 to 21, hatred by the world.
Matthew 10:21 to 36, hatred by our own relatives.
Acts 7:58, some of us will endure martyrdom.
James 1, we will endure temptation.
Acts 5:41, we will endure shame cast upon us for Christ’s sake.
Acts 14:22, we will endure tribulations and troubles of all kinds.
Acts 4, Acts 5, Acts 12 reminds us that many Christians will endure imprisonment.
Some, according to Acts 14:19, might endure stonings.
2 Corinthians 11:24 & 25 reminds us that some Christians have endured beatings.
1 Corinthians 4:9, we will be made a spectacle to men.
1 Corinthians 4, we will be misunderstood, we will be defamed, and we will be despised.
2 Corinthians 6:8 to 10, we will endure troubles, afflictions, distress, tumults, labors, watchings, fastings, and evil reports.

If you are not enduring any of these now, you will. If you are just coming out of some of these, you will again. I personally have endured 5 of them. I mention that because I live comfortable in America, dwell in a religious area, have a small life, and don’t get out much. Yet there it is. Even unknown and small Christians like me who speak of sin and repentance, proclaim Jesus as holy and righteous, will be hated, slandered, rejected. I think of those brave Christians in the Muslim nations and missionaries in hostile territory. The towering men of the faith like John MacArthur, Steve Lawson, Sinclair Ferguson,… we will never know what they go through. Every pastor of every true church in the world fights battles ongoing and pitched, as pointed targets of satan. What they endure…

Yet we still do not hide our light under a basket. Soldiers of the faith, it’s counter-intuitive to make ourselves targets. But it is what we’re required to do.

So, the fiery trial here is not just any trouble. It’s talking about persecution for your faith, persecution for righteousness sake, persecution because of the identification with Jesus Christ. But God allows it to come.  Verse 12, “Which comes upon you for your,” what? “Your testing.” God allows it to come because it proves the genuineness of your Christianity.

God has not put me through the physical agonies that others have endured. It doesn’t look as though I will be martyred (though you never know). I live well, quietly, and comfortably. Yet the bit I’ve gone through for His name is still difficult. Whatever you have gone through or will go through, means that will have more to rejoice in when He comes. I’ll forget in a moment all that happened when I see His face. I’ll feel such joy when I know eternity stretches before me as a peaceful, holy, beautiful life in Him.

Whatever we go through, big or small, Jesus is worth it. Oh, how He is worth it.

So stand tall, let the light of His glory shine.

Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. (Matthew 5:15)

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Thirty Days of Jesus: Day 5, The Babe has arrived!

thirty days of jesus verse 5

A drawing a second grade student did and gave to me 🙂

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Answers in Genesis: Separating myth from biblical fact, No Room For an Inn

GotQuestions: What does it mean that baby Jesus was wrapped in swaddling cloths?

Thirty Days of Jesus series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

Was this devoted Catholic man swept to heaven upon his death as the obituary states?

Here is the opening of an obituary that was publicly posted online.

On Monday night, May 18, 2015, the Lord swept Marcell “John” Moore, the dearly loved patriarch of our family, to Heaven, after he’d overcome enormous health challenges for years, valiantly cheating death again and again.

That is a sweet and loving opening sentence honoring a man who was obviously dearly loved by his family.

Who are swept to heaven upon death? We know from the Bible that those who go to heaven are people who do the will of the Father, repenting of sins and believing in the Son, in faith alone by grace alone. The obituary continues:

Alongside his wife, John was a devoted Catholic and his faith in Jesus Christ grew dearer and dearer to him. They were members of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Houston for many years then, after moving to the country beside their son and daughter-in-law, they became members of Saint Anne Catholic Church in Tomball, Texas.

Uh-oh. If a person believes in the dogmas of Rome, they are believing in a very different Jesus. The Roman Catholic beliefs are heretical, and aberrant.

This obituary is now so sad! It states that his wife is also Catholic, and I know that the man’s adult son is Catholic and so is/was an elderly aunt. Being a devoted Catholic for all one’s life does not bode well for the man’s eternity!

I hope and pray that someone is sharing the true Gospel of Jesus with this family, so they can repent and believe. Catholic men and women are a mission field, and should be treated with respect but told the truth. Their dangerous state should not be whitewashed over, nor hidden from them. Confident declarations about their entrance to heaven must definitely not be part of their spiritual landscape nor codified forever in a widely read blog obit.

Witnessing to family is the hardest mission, I personally believe. I’ve had most of my own trials with family, who range from Jewish to Episcopalian/Catholic to atheist to Unitarian etc. I know it must be hard to face a family member and share the Gospel with them as their growing realization dawns that the sharer is telling them the Gospel because they think he isn’t part of the family of faith. Truthful discussions with Catholic family members about Mary as co-redemptrix, purgatory, baptismal regeneration and the like will likely spark tension, if not fury. Anger ensues, heartache, perhaps even a family rift. No one likes that. But the alternative, an eternity possibly in hell if the Catholic does not repent and believe, is worse.

No I take that back. Just as bad is the family member who claims to be a Southern Baptist Bible teacher, writing an obituary that confidently asserts that the staunch Catholic loved one who passed is now being swept into heaven. That’s bad.

The Moore family being spoken of here is Beth Moore’s. Her beloved father-in-law John Moore, husband Keith’s father, passed away two years ago and the above obit was posted on Moore’s Living Proof blog.

Beth Moore’s assertions gloss over the hard truth that people who hold to heretical beliefs about Jesus and His Church are under His wrath, not His love. Their destination, if they do not repent, is eternal darkness. Do we ignore an entire mission field? Are the other Moore family members now assured of their own eternal destination because of the confident but sadly erroneous assertions of the wayward daughter-in-law, who, after all, holds an honorary Doctorate and has spent the last thirty years teaching the Bible?

The truth of the matter is that Beth Moore married into a situation where she is spiritually mismatched. She is unequally yoked. (2 Corinthians 6:14). Her husband Keith is a Catholic. Inevitably when one is spiritually mismatched one begins to compromise. This is one reason it says in the Bible not to do it. Believers and unbelievers (and Catholics are unbelievers if they hold to the doctrines of Rome) are opposites, just as light and darkness are opposites. They have nothing in common and indeed cannot become “one flesh” as Jesus said that married partners do become. Unless both partners are unbelievers. Then of course they are one flesh. Sadly, many think they are saved but they are not, as Jesus said will be revealed on His day (Matthew 7:21).

Regarding the unequally yoked,

Paul is drawing his analogy from the Old Testament prohibition against yoking an ox with a donkey (Deuteronomy 22:10). Related to this verse is Leviticus 19:19 which warns of breeding differing kinds of livestock. Animals that were yoked had a piece of wood used to connect them, each with their own collar, so that their combined abilities could more easily perform a particular task. Oxen, horses, donkeys, and mules paired in this fashion were good for pulling a load, plowing a field and so on. Farmers knew that it was not wise to unequally yoke animals together.

When people like Moore compromise, glossing over the drastic differences of the belief systems of believers and Catholics, it destroys hope. Here is John MacArthur at Ligonier:

Compromised truth has no hope of rescuing the eternal souls of men and women who have been unwittingly ensnared by the trap of devilish deception. … Furthermore, embracing those heretical systems falsely reassures their followers that all is well between them and God, when actually they are headed for eternal damnation. Partnering in a spiritual enterprise with unbelievers helps Satan muddy the doctrinal waters, and it cripples our ability to preach the need for repentance.

Now you know why Moore pushes for “unity” and includes that unity with the Catholic Church. And now you know why she has ‘visions’ from some person claiming to be Jesus of the global church which contains the Catholic “denomination”. Now you know why she teaches with a host of women from many denominations on her stage, including Catholics, and calls them all sisters. Now you know why Moore teaches Catholic practices like Lectio Divina and contemplative meditation and labyrinths.

LifeWay estimates that in 2017 alone Beth Moore’s Living Proof Live conferences plus her simulcasts reached 268,000 women. This figure does not include the impact her books & studies have, and her television broadcast.  Now you know where the real money is. Compare that below with LifeWay’s ministry to men. What a sad state of aberrant theological influence.

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It is a serious thing for a woman with this much influence to claim with certainty that her Catholic father-in-law is swept into heaven.

I pray someone shares the true Gospel with the Moores. All of them.

They were talking with Jesus

The Transfiguration

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. (Matthew 17:1-3).

The Transfiguration

Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. (Luke 9:28-31).

The disciples were heavy with sleep and initially did not notice the change in Jesus’ appearance. He was with them though, praying, and then, as He changed, talking with two men. The men were Moses and Elijah. The Bible identifies them for us.

Moss and Elijah had departed the earth centuries before. Moses had died (Deuteronomy 34:4) but his body was never found. Satan and Michael had been disputing over it so God just took the body and put it somewhere. Elijah the Prophet had personally been taken by God, bodily to heaven. (2 Kings 2:11). So these two men had been in heaven for many centuries, and Jesus was talking with them. Yet Jesus was bodily here on earth, too, and shortly before this had been talking with the three Disciples. When they awoke, Peter talked with all three of them- Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Then God broke into the conversation! What an amazing scene.

This is an example of the attribute of Jesus we call omnipresence.

Omni means all. Think of omniscient or omnivirous. And presence means presence. Jesus promised in Matthew 28:20b that he would always be with all His people.

behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

“For where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20).

Jesus was talking with two men who were in heaven, and He was also with the sleeping and soon-to-wake disciples on earth – at the same time.

No matter how alone you feel, or what you are going through, He IS with you and will be forever. It is an insanely difficult concept to grasp, that He is eternally in body form ascended in heaven, but He is also with each and every saint who is in His fold, even if they’re here on earth. We can trust His promise though. He is with you. We serve a great and loving God.

Linked below are a few resources for you on the Omnipresence of Jesus

What does it mean that God is omnipresent?

How is Jesus omnipresent?

The Omnipresent Son of God

God: What is He Like? (exploring His attribute of omnipresence)

“‘Do not I fill heaven and earth,’ saith the Lord?” (Jeremiah 23:24).