Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: Women’s Day, Fencing the Lord’s Table, Discernment thinking, Girl, again?? More…

By Elizabeth Prata

My friend the school secretary related a cute story. One of the staff is retiring. The office personnel were congratulating him. A little student was nearby, and she was asked, ‘He is retiring, do you know what retiring means?’

She piped up, “Yes. It’s when you don’t actually quit your job, you just get old and go home”.

Well then! Out of the mouths of babes…

On to Potpourri:

thornsThink the grass will be greener over there in those ministries? Not always so…A good essay from Michael Kruger.
Yes, There are ‘Thorns’ in Vocational Ministry Too

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Girl, you got problems… Rachel Hollis’s book(s) Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing lack a proper theological framework, thereby being unsuitable for Cristian consumption. And by the way, they also seem to be plagiarized from un-acknowledged sources, which render them unsuitable for anyone.

Jen Oshman reviews Hollis’s latest book: Girl, Follow Jesus

Buzzfeed presents some information on the allegation of plagiarizing in Influencer Rachel Hollis Is Facing Accusations She Is Plagiarizing On Her Instagram

Katelyn Beaty at Christianity Today adds to the conversation about Hollis’s books in Girl, Get Some Footnotes: Rachel Hollis, Hustle, and Plagiarism Problems

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The discernment lesson in this one is good. Hey, the whole thing is good.
The Servant Leader Shuns Unbiblical Thinking

How did Spurgeon fence the Lord’s Table, anyway? A view on the issue of open communion, or closed?

Open Book: Books by R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur have had a profound impact on so many people. But which books influenced their lives and ministries? Listen each week on Open Book as we hear about the books that shaped their thinking. This week- John MacArthur and A.W. Pink’s Spiritual Growth (Podcast)

Properly Celebrating Women’s Day at Delivered By Grace. “While we can certainly recognize progress of women’s equality in many ways in our culture, how should we as followers of Jesus celebrate women and the place of women in our lives, our culture, and our churches?”

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Table Talk Magazine examines individual and societal loneliness. I’ve been interested in this topic ever since I was a journalist in the early 2000’s, observing and reporting on society via sports events, civic meetings, clubs, and organizations. How do people interact these days? In 2001 Robert Putnam published his groundbreaking book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Society. I recommend it.

TableTalk article: All the Lonely People

I read this book by Wiersbe in order to review it, recommended:

Lonely People: Biblical Lessons on Understanding and Overcoming Loneliness Living Lessons from God’s Word, by Wiersbe, Warren

weary

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Julie-Ann Baumer in Maine has a nice folksy way about her. I enjoy her blog posts
In the Rear-view Mirror

Jessica Fisher at Good, Cheap Eats has an article on 8 Great Taco Fillings. I’ve been enjoying Mexican food a lot lately, so it’s on my mind. Maybe you’ll enjoy these too.

 

Posted in theology

Another good reason to develop discernment

By Elizabeth Prata

We’ve been commissioned by Jesus to share His Gospel with everybody and make disciples with those who convert. (Matthew 28:16-20).

And we do. But… There are some people, especially those close to us, who refuse to hear it, but we keep trying, for the sake of their eternal souls.

On the other hand we are told,

Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (Matthew 7:6).

How do we know when to stop sharing the Gospel with someone who refuses?  How many times do we share it? After all, we are supposed to forgive seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:20-22). Do we share it that many times with the reluctant hearer? How do we know when to leave the peson who refuses aside? This is hard to do when it’s your dad or yrou uncle or your brother.

Here is where developing our discernment helps us. Matthew Henry has some advice.

As a rule to all in giving reproof. Our zeal against sin must be guided by discretion, and we must not go about to give instructions, counsels, and rebukes, much less comforts, to hardened scorners, to whom it will certainly do no good, but who will be exasperated and enraged at us. Throw a pearl to a swine, and he will resent it, as if you threw a stone at him; reproofs will be called reproaches, as they were (Lu. 11:45; Jer. 6:10), therefore give not to dogs and swine (unclean creatures) holy things.

Note, [1.] Good counsel and reproof are a holy thing, and a pearl: they are ordinances of God, they are precious; as an ear-ring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is the wise reprover (Prov. 25:12), and a wise reproof is like an excellent oil (Ps. 141:5); it is a tree of life (Prov. 3:18). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible

Warren Wiersbe also has some good advice.

As God’s people, we are privileged to handle the “holy things” of the Lord. He has entrusted to us the precious truths of the Word of God (2 Cor. 4:7), and we must regard them carefully. No dedicated priest would throw meat from the altar to a filthy dog, and only a fool would give pearls to a pig. While it is true that we must carry the Gospel “to every creature” (Mark 16:15), it is also true that we must not cheapen the Gospel by a ministry that lacks discernment. Even Jesus refused to talk to Herod (Luke 23:9), and Paul refused to argue with people who resisted the Word (Acts 13:44–49).

The reason for judgment, then, is not that we might condemn others, but that we might be able to minister to them. Notice that Jesus always dealt with individuals according to their needs and their spiritual condition. He did not have a memorized speech that He used with everybody. He discussed the new birth with Nicodemus, but He spoke of living water to the Samaritan woman. When the religious leaders tried to trap Him, He refused to answer their question (Matt. 21:23–27). It is a wise Christian who first assesses the condition of a person’s heart before sharing the precious pearls. Wiersbe, W. W. The Bible exposition commentary

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It’s imperative that we constantly train ourselves in discernment skills. Discernment is not only for the detecting of false teaching, but it is also an aid for helping us in witnessing, (among many other reasons!)

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebews 5:14).

Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: Parenting, Discernment book review, Prioritizing family, Songs of Lament, more

Hello and welcome to another edition of Prata Potpourri. I’ve found some interesting links and tossed them into the mix for your consideration. The week ended on a good note for me. To be honest it started on a good note, so all in all it was a good week! I hope it was for you as well. The rapture didn’t happen this week but since it’s always imminent, it could happen next week. What a blessing it will be to be in glory, seeing Jesus’ face, and rendering the perfect service and worship He deserves.

Meanwhile the dawn hasn’t broken and I’m sipping coffee in the quiet, with the vigorous rooster next door announcing the imminent arrival of Aurora. Later I will have to attend to some adulting by paying bills and choosing health care since Open Enrollment is ongoing. Maybe clean the apartment. But the precious moments between waking and arising, and heaving ho to the tasks ahead is the sweet spot of Saturday morning. I hope you enjoy a few of these during your down time, whenever you can find some.

Samuel D. James’s review of the book The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure and how it’s really about parenting. Man, this guy can write.

Founders talks about living the cessationist life

Keith Getty says that when only constant happy hymns are sung it further saddens the downcast since they cannot reach the joyful heights. He longs for congregations to sing a few songs of lament.

Aimee Byrd, the Housewife Theologian, remarking on how even the word sin is going out of style

Dallas Holm muses in his moving and stirring praise letter about Gospel Missionaries.

The always impressive Ayanna Thomas with a lesson on How To Apply Scripture.

Hannah Anderson’s new book All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment is reviewed by the ladies at Out of the Ordinary. I haven’t read the book and I’m not that familiar with Anderson. But I’m always looking for a good book on discernment. Let me know if you read it and like it.

Do you stint the Lord with the excuse that you must prioritize family? Meager with time or money or service for the Lord? Michael Coughlin had me at Spurgeon…and the Spirit had me at stint.

I love Bud Alheim‘s Puritan quotes:

puritan quote.jpg

This Britain’s Got Talent clip of the singers performing the classic song White Cliffs of Dover, a WWII song. The surprise at the end, had me in tears. It got me thinking about true bravery and sacrifice, and the endless wars our globe has endured and will endure, as we are promised (Matthew 24:6. Wars have scarred generations of humans from the beginning and has corrupted even the ground with blood, hate, and bones. But then I got to thinking about the end of war, and I began to long even more for Jesus’s great appearing.

Whoever the BBC Good Food photographers are, they kill me with their luscious pictures of food, expertly photographed. So mouth watering. Stills can get boring but these guys are endlessly creative. Follow them on Twitter, you won’t regret it. @BBcGoodFood
Now they add to my pain with this photo of weekend getaways for foodies. Look at this pub! Just look at it!

bbc good food

Winston Tseng’s parody trash posters have Christians and conservatives up in arms. I say, relax and chill, people. He is an equal opportunity parodist, taking on the NYC MTA, Christians, Trump, and the Red Sox. I’m not a fan of the sentiment but I’m not going to spend social media time or spiritual energy decrying that an unsaved person hurt my feelings with a poster.

This European City map will serve you well in any city in which you travel. It’s highly accurate, from my own experience, lol.

european city map

For moms. I opened with parenting and I close with mommying. Mattea Goff’s comic explaining to her husband why she is so tired in the morning has gone viral.

mom 1mom 2mom 3mom 4mom 5mom 6mom 7mom 8

Posted in book review, theology

More reviews on ‘Girl, Wash Your Face’

By Elizabeth Prata

The week that was. I’d reviewed a popular book called “Girl, Wash Your Face last week. It is an extremely popular book, sold as a How/To and published by an allegedly Christian writer, Rachel Hollis.

Speak to doctrinal or biblical living expectations, and the hits are low. Speak against a hugely popular “Christian celebrity” and the hits are high. But that is OK, because if any woman learns something that crosses the line for her, biblically, and avoids yet another Christian-ish celebrity author, than I’m happy. Essay views for the day before and after I’d reviewed Girl, Wash Your Face:

Rachel Hollis’s writing is great and her stories are affecting, but that’s often the issue. Engaging and skillful writers who connect with an audience over a slim veneer of Christianity are rife these days, to the detriment of women who need and want depth of scripture for life’s issues.

Sadly, many of Hollis’s ideas are not based on a strong Christian foundation. Thus, her book and its advice fails to rely on the atoning work of Jesus on the cross for our sins, and instead promotes a secular worldview of self-sufficiency. It’s about raising our self-esteem, which I am good and plenty sick of reading about from supposed Christian authors. The book is mainly grrrrrl power self-bootstraps advice, so I gave the book a thumbs-down.

Hollis’s theology should give you all you need to know about whether to take her advice in Girl:

 

Tim Challies reviewed the book, saying it is not only not good, but is antithetical to the Bible. Read more here.

Sheologians writer Summer White Jaeger published a review of the book. One thing I like to do when I write, or speak, or come to believe something based on my faith is to check it against the word, of course. But I also like to check against what other Christians are saying. I don’t exist in a vacuum, and I always need to ensure that my narrow center line of life & doctrine is still on the center line, not varying to the left or right.

I was pleased to see that Jaeger’s concerns in part 1 of the review were similar to mine. She noted that Hollis is giving out life advice to the general Christian female world from her vantage point of all of 35 years old. She noticed Hollis doesn’t mention much about sin. And so on. Read part 1 here and Jaeger’s part 2 is here. Final thoughts here.

Also: Katie at Uncomfortable Grace (on Facebook) wrote a short review, also, here

Alisa Childers writes What Rachel Hollis Gets Right…and Wrong.Alisa’s review here, reminds us, against Hollis’s advice to chase money and fulfill ambition, that,

Jesus never called us to chase after power, money, and fame (and He actually had quite a bit to say about those things). He called us to lay our pursuit of all that stuff down and follow Him. He said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)

The Theology Gals reviewed Girl, Wash Your Face and spoke of Hollis’s faith in general from a discernment aspect, here.

Michelle Lesley reviewed it here in a larger essay that recommends or doesn’t recommend various teachers.

Rebekah Womble at Wise in His Eyes reviewed Hollis’s book. She held it to the light of scripture and found it lacking, as did the other reviewers. I love how the different women raise different issues, though, but all of them compared the book  to scripture and find it fails the test. I liked Womble’s review quite a bit.Womble wrote:

I want to start by acknowledging that Rachel does have some good things to say in the book. In particular, she shares poignant episodes from her life that brought me to empathize with the trials she has endured, and I could appreciate her speaking out of her own personal experiences.

But unfortunately, much of Girl, Wash Your Face is fraught with contradictory statements. Since most of what Rachel writes are her own ideas and opinions—not originating in the Bible as the objective standard of truth—this is to be expected. As fallen human beings, each one of us is prone to accept as true only what we want to believe.

Here are some examples of the book’s antithetical creeds:

I wrote 2 companion pieces to my book review of Girl, Wash Your Face, about the problem of and solution to Christian Celebrity Moms like Hollis, here-

Many Christian Celebrity Moms are Distorting Biblical Motherhood; Part 1

Many Christian Celebrity Moms are Distorting Biblical Motherhood; Part 2

Posted in book review, theology

Girl, Wash Your Face (Book Review)

By Elizabeth Prata

1. HOW (CHRISTIAN-ISH) PEOPLE GET FAMOUS

It’s no longer just movies or television that launches the latest It Girl celebrity. It’s social media. A person who starts a blog, web page, Instagram, Twitter or myriad other social media platforms, if they hit the right note, the right moment, and persevere with quantity (and hopefully quality content) they can gather thousands if not millions of “followers”. From there, Publishers take note. Someone who already has a built-in audience is more attractive to them as a potential client than someone who is not.

Rachel Hollis is a Los Angeles event planner turned entrepreneur turned podcaster turned TV guest commentator, social media darling, and author. Almost ten years ago she started her blog, The Chic Site. Her honest voice and her winsome (and savvy) ability to connect through writing and speaking about lifestyle, has launched Hollis to front place on bestseller lists, top entrepreneur lists, and most any other list you can list.

Though Hollis has written several novels in the Romance genre, her latest book has hit the bestseller lists like a tsunami. It’s a How-To/Advice book called Girl, Wash Your Face. Seventeen weeks ago, it vaulted to the top of the Advice/How-To NY Times bestseller list and has stayed there. Published 6 months ago as of this writing, the self-help advice book has over 4,000 reviews, 96% of them 4 or 5-star. It’s currently #4 on Apple’s iBooks list.

2. ABOUT CHRISTIAN PUBLISHING

Thomas Nelson Publishing published Girl, Wash Your Face. Thomas Nelson writes of the book,

With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of TheChicSite.com Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have.

So, according to Hollis, I’m supposed to be having a joy filled life of exuberance but the world has lied to me and I’m not living that life but Hollis is going to help me achieve it with her advice. Rachel Hollis is 35 years old.

Publisher’s Weekly says,

Hollis implores readers to stop worrying about external pressures to always do more and, instead, to find fulfillment by getting in touch with their own desires and feelings.

Wasn’t getting in touch with her desires what got Eve (and Adam and all of humanity) into trouble with God? (Genesis 3:6).

Longer ‘About the Book’ from Thomas Nelson:

As the founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Rachel Hollis developed an immense online community by sharing tips for better living while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own life. Now, in this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the twenty lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t even hear them anymore.
With painful honesty and fearless humor, Rachel unpacks and examines the falsehoods that once left her feeling overwhelmed and unworthy, and reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them. In the process, she encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be.
With unflinching faith and rock-hard tenacity, Girl, Wash Your Face shows you how to live with passion and hustle–and how to give yourself grace without giving up.

Do you see the problem? As the book blurb describes, as we women grew up, the world lied to us. We believed it. So now we cannot live productively or joyfully unless we give ourselves grace, use our own strength and tenacity to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and be who we were meant to be.

All without a solid mention of Jesus in the book.

What is Thomas Nelson’s Christian mission?

Thomas Nelson is committed to one central mission: inspiring the world by meeting the needs of people with content that promotes biblical principles and honors Jesus Christ.

3. MY THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK

I read the introduction, Table of Contents, chapter 1, 2, and 3, the end notes/acknowledgements, and the study guide.

Mrs Hollis is definitely a skilled writer. For those of you who are moms, especially millennial moms, this book may well appeal to you. Hollis structures her book by titling each chapter with one of the “lies” women “have been told”, spends the chapter discussing that “lie’s” impact on her upbringing and life, and concludes with ‘helpful tips’ on what helped her overcome the “lie”. I’m placing the word “lie” in scare quotes for a reason that will be discussed in the Conclusion. Here are the chapter titles.

Introduction: Hey Girl, Hey!
1. The Lie: Something Else Will Make Me Happy
2. The Lie: I’ll Start Tomorrow
3. The Lie: I’m Not Good Enough
4. The Lie: I’m Better Than You
5. The Lie: Loving Him Is Enough for Me
6. The Lie: No Is the Final Answer
7. The Lie: I’m Bad at Sex
8. The Lie: I Don’t Know How to Be a Mom
9. The Lie: I’m Not a Good Mom
10. The Lie: I Should Be Further Along by Now
11. The Lie: Other People’s Kids Are So Much Cleaner/
Better Organized/More Polite
12. The Lie: I Need to Make Myself Smaller
13. The Lie: I’m Going to Marry Matt Damon
14. The Lie: I’m a Terrible Writer
15. The Lie: I Will Never Get Past This
16. The Lie: I Can’t Tell the Truth
17. The Lie: I Am Defined by My Weight
18. The Lie: I Need a Drink
19. The Lie: There’s Only One Right Way to Be
20. The Lie: I Need a Hero

I hesitated to include these chapter headings that represent ‘the lies’ we as women have been told, (or that we believe on our own impetus) because they speak to the common experience of many women. It’s not that to which I object. It’s the fact that she fails to identify the “lies” as a secular worldview with all that entails, and her solutions are self-sufficient and not Jesus-oriented.

The section on her brother’s suicide brought tears to my eyes. Rachel is transparent, holding nothing back about her own foibles and mishaps. She is real. She’s engaging, and that is always the trouble with popular female speakers and authors. Sometimes, being empathetic and nurturing, we women focus on how winsomely the story is told and how it made us feel rather than comparing it to the Bible to see if it is so.

Regarding the spiritual aspects of the material I’d read, I did not see much mention of Jesus as our only aid. Nor His grace as the strength we need. His word wasn’t appealed to as the source of wisdom and truth. Of the practical life’s how-to aspects, I read a lot of self-effort, self-care, and self-truth. For example:

The truth? You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are. That’s the takeaway. (Girl, Wash Your Face, p. xi, preface)

I wish she had written that the takeaway for the book was that Jesus is our Lord and Master and that I am ultimately and solely responsible for my sin and my response to it. Or that I am responsible for obeying Jesus and it is obedience to Him that brings joy. But, she didn’t say either of those things nor anything close to it in the parts I read.

As a little girl (a preacher’s daughter, no less) the fruits of the spirit were drilled in early. For those of you who aren’t familiar, one of the apostles (Jesus’ BFF’s) listed out these nine attributes that Christians should have. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22. But the thing is, these are attributes we should all have regardless of where you grew up or what you believe in. And so I wanted to make fruit of the spirit bracelets and I thought that we could all wear them as a reminder of the attribute we most need to work on in our own lives. Source: The Chic Site

I’ve personally never heard a Christian writer refer to the Apostles, on whom the foundation of the Church is laid (Ephesians 2:20) as “Jesus’ BFFs”.

That aside, it is error to say that love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are attributes we should all have regardless of what one believes in. We all do not have those attributes. People who are unsaved mimic those attributes. It is only a mimic because the genuine article comes from Jesus. If one is unsaved the goodness one displays does not please God because it is born of the flesh, not borne of the imputed righteousness God sees when He looks at us and our works. (John 15:5). The two are night and day.

Judging each other actually makes us feel safer in our own choices. Faith is one of the most abused instances of this. We decide that our religion is right; therefore, every other religion must be wrong. Within the same religion, or heck, even within the same church, people judge each other for not being the right kind of Christian, Catholic, Mormon, or Jedi. I don’t know the central tenet of your faith, but the central tenet of mine is “love thy neighbor”. Not “love thy neighbor if they look and act land think like you.” Not love thy neighbor so long as they wear the right clothes and say the right things. Just love them. (Girl Wash Your Face, p. 40)

This paragraph teaches blasphemy and idolatry. One cannot call one’s self a Christian and accept the false religions as part of the pantheon. Worse is to dismiss the differences. The central tenet of Christianity is faith in Jesus and repentance of sins. It is-

that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

Sadly we women are told repeatedly that judge not and love thy neighbor IS the faith. This is simply more claptrap from Hollis.

In sum, the book is about lies women have been told by society, media, family, or the devil and author Hollis dispels those lies by assuring women they are strong and courageous and beautiful and warrior and made for more, and all that.

via GIPHY

CONCLUSION

Takeaways from this essay:

1. Just because someone calls themselves Christian and is really, really famous right now, doesn’t mean they have an orthodox Christian message to share. As a matter of fact, the warning in Luke 6:26 indicates just the opposite.

2. While there are many good Christian Publishing Companies (Westminster Books, Banner of Truth, etc), Christian Book Publishers for the most part…aren’t. Just because a company calls itself “Acme Christian Publishing Company,” doesn’t mean they are selling you edifying books. Discernment is important. Usually, the more popular a book or author is, or the more the secular world knows about him or her, it means the opposite. See #1.

3. The “lies” Hollis claims to be busting is simply the secular world view. That’s normal, the whole world is in the sway of the evil one (1 John 5:19). The world lies to us. Always. That Hollis is giving you engaging self-help tips on how to deconstruct those lies and push on toward higher/better/more clear living, absent the Bible’s instruction, is just more lies. She is sending you from one end of a secular world view, to another. You will come full circle.

Picture it this way. Being inside her world is like being in a balloon. She is sending you all around inside it, from one end to another. But it’s always the same view because you’re always inside that balloon. ONLY the Bible is the sword that pierces soul from spirit. (Hebrews 4:12). It punctures that false world view and exposes your eyes and mind to the truth, which is outside the balloon (flesh).

Look at Hollis’ Twitter bio. What’s missing? And what’s there?

Nothing about being a mother. Nothing about Jesus. The ‘Ms.” speaks volumes.

When you wash your face and look in the mirror, do you see a sinning but forgiven, meek, humble woman with a Christ-like countenance of Jesus reflecting back? Or do you see a strong, empowered, warrior princess grrrl, living a life of self-sufficient ‘passion and hustle?’ If you see the latter, you’re being lied to.

Girl, Wash Your Face: Not recommended.

 

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Hate Week Essay #5: Jesus said to hate our family? Can this be true?

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26).

This seem harsh. This seems contradictory to the God of Love that we know Jesus to be. So what can it mean?

By the way, that its the first question we should ask when we see something we don’t understand in the Bible, or when we see something that seems to contradict. There are no contradictions in the Bible. If we can’t reconcile two verses, i.e. ‘God is love’ and ‘hate your mother’ or ‘Honor your mother and father’ but ‘hate your mother’ then there is something I must do to understand it, because I’m wrong.

I like Gill’s Commentary. Many commentaries are available for free at biblehub.com. There are concordances, lexicons, devotionals, and more.

Gill’s says of the Luke verse:

and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple: not that proper hatred of any, or all of these, is enjoined by Christ; for this would be contrary to the laws of God, to the first principles of nature, to all humanity, to the light of nature, to reason and divine revelation:

but that these are not to be preferred to Christ, or loved more than he, as it is explained in Matthew 10:37

Ohhhh! Getting clearer now.

A parallel verse was mentioned so let’s take a look at it. Scripture interprets scripture. Commentaries are helpful, but scripture is best. That’s where parallel verses come in.

He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37)

Christ should be primary in life and love. Paul carries this sense of highest love for one, that by comparison it’s hate for the other in Romans 9:13-

As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

The verse to which Paul was referring is from Malachi 1:2-3. GotQuestions is helpful here,

So, considering the context, God loving Jacob and hating Esau has nothing to do with the human emotions of love and hate. It has everything to do with God choosing one man and his descendants and rejecting another man and his descendants. God chose Abraham out of all the men in the world. The Bible very well could say, “Abraham I loved, and every other man I hated.”

Yes, context is king when studying scripture. The Malachi/Romans verse isn’t referring to one man, but nations from one man.
There’s one more parallel verse to the Luke verse I’d posed at the start. John 12:25-

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

S Lewis Johnson of Believers Chapel Dallas had preached on this verse. He’s a preacher I like.He explained

What does he mean by that? Why, you know he means that it is possible for us to be so desirous of life as we want to live it that we actually are unfruitful in our lives. We may desire the kind of existence that we desire, we want the world’s wealth, we want the world’s power, we want the world’s pleasure, we want the world’s glory, we want to live our lives as we wish to live them and that’s right, you may live for a time but you abide alone. … In other words, if you want to keep your life you can keep it, but you’ll lose it. And if you’re willing to lose your life, if you are willing to have your set of priorities such that Jesus Christ is first in your life, then you’ll gain it. And furthermore, you will gain it unto life eternal and fruitfulness.

Hate is complicated, isn’t it? There’s things God hates, things we should hate because God does, the world’s hate, our hatred of even our parents or our own life in comparison to the life we should live in Christ…

The Bible is an endless wealth and treasure of precepts and doctrines, all pointing to the One alone who is worthy: Jesus Christ. Emmanuel, God with us. Our love for Him should be the primary orientation of our lives.

prickly 5

Posted in Uncategorized

Bible Reading Plan thoughts: Eliphaz claimed to have been given a word

Our Bible Reading today brings us to Job 3-4. The speeches have begun. Job’s friend Eliphaz reproves Job for insisting on his innocence. To bolster his argument, Eliphaz claims to have had a vision or dream coincidentally on just this topic, coincidentally just recently. (Job 4:12-16). In relating this information, the words Eliphaz chooses to use are interesting. He said, “Now a word was brought to me stealthily; my ear received the whisper of it.” Barnes’ Notes explains word, secretly, and little-

And mine ear received a little thereof – Dr. Good translates this, “And mine ear received a whisper along with it.” Noyes, “And mine ear caught a whisper thereof.” The Vulgate, “And my ear received secretly the pulsations of its whisper” – venas susurri ejus. The word rendered “a little,” שׁמץ shemets, occurs only here and in Job 26:14, where it is also rendered little. It means, according to Gesenius, a transient sound rapidly uttered and swiftly passing away. Symm. ψιθυρισμός psithurismos – a whisper. According to Castell, it means a sound confused and feeble, such as one receives when a man is speaking in a hurried manner, and when he cannot catch all that is said. This is probably the sense here. Eliphaz means to say that he did not get all that might have been said in the vision. It occurred in such circumstances, and what was said was delivered in such a manner, that he did not hear it all distinctly. (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Some say Eliphaz did not really have a revelation from God, that he was simply using this claim to bolster his argument. Others say he truly did have a revelation, that it was truly from God. Here are two stances, yea and nay.

Argument that Eliphaz really had the revelation and that it was from God:

Some indeed have thought that this was a mere fiction of Eliphaz, and not a real vision; yea, some have gone so far as to pronounce it a diabolical one, but without any just foundation; for there is nothing in the manner or matter of it but what is agreeable to a divine vision or to a revelation from God; besides, though Eliphaz was a mistaken man in the case of Job, yet was a good man, as may be concluded from the acceptance of a sacrifice for him by the Lord, which was offered for him by Job, according to the order of God, and therefore could never be guilty of such an imposture; nor does Job ever charge him with any falsehood in this matter, who doubtless would have been able to have traversed and exposed him; (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

Argument that Eliphaz really did not have the revelation and/or that it was not from God:

Apparently the words Eliphaz claimed he heard in his dream are given in these verses. For three reasons it is doubtful that the words were a revelation from God:
(a) “a word” (v. 12), not “a word of the LORD,” came to Eliphaz;
(b) the word came “secretly” (i.e., in an elusive manner, v. 12); and
(c) the message seemed to picture God as unconcerned about man (vv. 17–21).
Zuck, R. B. (1985). Job. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures

Personally, I tend to the latter, that Eliphaz did not receive a revelation from God. The above 3 evidences are pretty compelling to me. Going back to Barnes’ Notes, that the word Eliphaz uses indicates some of the message slipped away before he could catch it, Does God mumble? No, He does not. But one cannot be dogmatic. In the end, it doesn’t matter, because the words are recorded and there they shall remain.

However, a caution for us today. We know the canon is closed. God is not speaking now, except through His Son, the word (Hebrews 1:1-2). However, plenty of people who claim to be elders or teachers, august persons as Eliphaz truly was, say they have a received a word, or even a “fresh word” which they use cravenly to bolster their arguments.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap“. (Galatians 6:7, KJV). If you use God as a cover to imbue some sort of status or honor or importance to your words, you will reap a whirlwind which will rain down upon you. God spoke to people frequently in the former days, and Eliphaz’s claim of direct revelation went unremarked by Job. But as Hebrews shows us, today is another matter. Be careful.

 

eliphaz whisper

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

A year end thank you for all that Grace To You has done for me

A letter I wrote to GTY regarding thanks for the radio ministry. The ministry means SO MUCH to me.

Dear Grace To You,

I want to take a moment to share how God used John’s radio broadcast in my spiritual life.

I was saved at age 44. Before salvation, I spent my life as all sinners do, for myself, rebelling against God. New England is a dark place, and an adult can go a lifetime and not run into anything Christian, or a Bible, or a preacher. I was ignorant of anything related to Jesus. I was certainly ignorant of my own sin, except for the conscience that pricked me.

me with abby one copy1
Camping in FL. 20 years ago, I didn’t know Jesus.

My husband and I liked to travel and we decided to take a long cross-country camping trip in our pop-up camper. We listened to the radio all along the way. We enjoyed talk radio and searched for programs that would help us pass the time as we drove. As we entered the southern part of the United States, we inevitably came across the radio dial of typical southern preachers with their funny accent and pulpit pounding exposition, yelling “JAY-sus! We’d laugh and tee hee about those silly Jesus people. And then we’d hurriedly change the dial.

Whenever we came across John’s Grace To You broadcast, and the introduction music soon became familiar as his program was on many stations, his voice was different. It was logical, soothing. The content of what he was saying intrigued me, as much as it repulsed me. My conscience was pricked even more. I always lingered a bit, listening. But then my husband would change the dial away from the “Jesus stuff” as we called it, I’d feel both relieved that the spiritual pressure was gone but curious for more, too. I didn’t understand this push-pull.

Five years later, the Lord saved me. The internet offered a wealth of sermons, devotionals, and biblical instruction. But which one to pick? Then one day I heard that music. “I know that music!” I said. I heard John’s voice. “I know that guy!” I said. And now that I was saved, the content of what John was saying made sense. More than that, the content of what he was saying inspired me, illuminated my mind, and soothed me. I quickly devoured sermon after sermon. Having no church baggage to unlearn, John’s sermons went straight into my soul. He taught the Doctrine of Justification, and moved to the Doctrine of Election.

Six years after that, I listened live as John finished preaching through the New Testament. It was a historic moment. Even more personally for me, it was a poignant moment. Before I was even saved, God had used John to spark my conscience as a sinner curiously repulsed by the ‘Jesus stuff’ he was preaching, through to salvation, to growth by the Spirit, to burgeoning maturity and becoming a Titus 3 church woman to the younger ladies. God used John through it all. He is still using John in my spiritual life as I read many of his books and still listen to the wonderful sermons.

chisos mountains
Camping in Texas. One day in the future, I’d hear the GTY music and my mind and soul would light up

God used John to preload me in readiness for the moment I would in His timing, come into the kingdom and begin learning the glories of God. John’s familiar voice, the familiar music, led me by His grace to this solid ministry upon which God laid the foundation of my growth.

Thank you John MacArthur and all of you at Grace To You. I praise God for the men He has raised up.

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But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” (John 5:17)

God is always working in the lives of those who He will eventually call into His kingdom, and continues working in our lives after that, forever and ever.

 

Posted in bible study, Uncategorized

“What does this verse mean to you?” Not manifold meanings, but one

bible“What does this verse mean to you?” is a phrase oft-heard at Bible Study groups and the like. It suggests that Bible verses and passages can be interpreted variably, or that there can be multiple meanings to one text.

This is not so. The question should be “What does this verse mean?” Period.

The Author intended one meaning to any verse, any passage, and to all of scripture. There might be many applications the Spirit puts in our mind as He illuminates it, but there is one meaning and one meaning only.

As RC Sproul says in his course Knowing God, a 12-part lecture series on interpreting the Bible:

There is only one correct meaning of any biblical text.

The Westminster Confession states,

IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

The implications of this understanding about how to interpret the Bible are as follows:

Some say there is a rapture. Some say there is no rapture. Only one interpretation is right. It’s not both. It can’t be.

Some say the rapture will happen prior to the Tribulation. Some say it will happen afterward. Only one interpretation is right.

Some say that the Church is the new Israel. Others say that the Church and Israel’s destinies are separate and distinct. Only one interpretation is right.

Some say that any person can, on their own initiative, ignite an internal faith in Jesus and be saved. Others say that faith is ignited by the Sovereign alone, and it only comes upon those whom He has chosen since before the foundation of the world. Only one interpretation is right.

Some say that there will be a 1000-year Kingdom on earth after the Tribulation. Others say there will not be any such literal Kingdom. Only one interpretation is right.

Some hold to believer’s baptism (credobaptism) and state that only those who make a credible profession of faith ought to be baptized. Others hold to infant baptism (paedobaptism) and believe that the children of believers ought to be baptized. (Challies). Only one interpretation is right.

The doctrines noted above from eschatology or covenant theology or ecclesiology are diametrically opposed. One cannot believe both at the same time. It is unwise to believe the Bible projects both as true. Therefore, if a person believes one interpretation is true, by necessity, one must reject the other as false.

Here is a booklet you can order if you never contacted Grace To You before, or purchase for $1.50, or just read for free online to help get you started on interpreting the Bible correctly.

How to Study Your Bible

Learn specifically how to read, interpret, meditate on, and teach the Bible in this life-changing study!

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

4000 essays

Dear Reader,

As of yesterday I have published 4000 essays at the End Time. My goal has been to share thoughts on the three general topics of prophecy, discernment, and encouragement. Of late I added Poetry and Visual Exegesis. I’ve published daily (with only 3 exceptions) since January 2009. It’s a privilege to study God’s word and then write about it. It’s even more of a privilege to have a sister in the faith click on the links to credible ministries that I offer, and become edified as a result.

This is one of my goals – to point to solid ministries led by men so sisters can find good commentaries, sermons, and other material.

Another goal I’ve had is to provide explanations about prophecy that aren’t wacky. It’s discouraging when I google prophecy ministries and the search results yield such a plethora of date setting, conspiracy theorist, downright insane websites. Prophecy is important, edifying, and interpretable. I hoped to add to the internet archive of reasonable and thoughtful essays exploring this most delightful and thrilling topic, in a way that honors God and teaches the sisters.

Another goal has been to present discerning essays exploring troubling teachings and the teachers that bring them, without snark or mocking. I hope I’ve succeeded in this, but sometimes I know I haven’t. Please forgive me.

I also seek to encourage. Just speaking of Jesus and His wonderful attributes is a privilege and doing so lifts me up. I hope it does you as well.

4000 essays is quite an accomplishment, and I thank the Holy Spirit for giving me the mental capacity, the physical energy, and the spiritual insight to persevere in this ministry. I’ve enjoyed it, and I plan to continue, Lord willing. Thank you for reading The End Time. Tune in tomorrow for another essay, #4,002, as we persevere and do not become weary in doing good.

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