Posted in theology

Pursue!

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

I pray you all had a blessed Resurrection Sunday service yesterday. Those services on Easter are especially sweet. We leave refreshed and fired up.

Now is the time to capture that fervor and those raised up feelings of endearment to Jesus and pursue! The Christian life is one of pursuit.

We pursue sin in ourselves so as to mortify it.
We pursue holiness, the holiness that Jesus has graced us with in His propitiation.
We pursue His ways, walking the straight street that led from the narrow gate that we entered at salvation.
We pursue His word so as to hide it in our heart and meditate on it daily
We pursue prayer.

We do not run from anything. We face trials, we face temptations, we face the road to sanctification ahead. As we read in The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian faced Apollyon and was scared to death, but realized his armor was all in his front, there was nothing to cover his back!

But now, in this valley of Humiliation, poor Christian was hard put to it; for he had gone but a little way before he espied a foul fiend coming over the field to meet him: his name is Apollyon. Then did Christian begin to be afraid, and to cast in his mind whether to go back, or to stand his ground. But he considered again, that he had no armor for his back, and therefore thought that to turn the back to him might give him greater advantage with ease to pierce him with his darts; therefore he resolved to venture and stand his ground: for, thought he, had I no more in mine eye than the saving of my life, it would be the best way to stand. ~John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress

Isn’t it interesting that the Christian life is one of so many active verbs. Pursue, run, walk, strive, stand. Nothing about retreat, sleep, or rest.

There is no such thing as long as we are alive as a coasting Christian, a resting Christian, a sleeping Christian. In The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian fell asleep at one point.

Now about the midway to the top of the hill was a pleasant Arbor, made by the Lord of the hill for the refreshment of weary travellers. Thither, therefore, Christian got, where also he sat down to rest him: then he pulled his roll out of his bosom, and read therein to his comfort; he also now began afresh to take a review of the coat or garment that was given to him as he stood by the cross. Thus pleasing himself awhile, he at last fell into a slumber, and thence into a fast sleep, which detained him in that place until it was almost night; and in his sleep his roll fell out of his hand. Now, as he was sleeping, there came one to him, and awaked him, saying, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” Prov. 6:6. And with that, Christian suddenly started up, and sped him on his way, and went apace till he came to the top of the hill.

The roll or scroll Christian has is representative of his assurance of salvation. The arbor on the Hill Difficulty is supposed to provide a respite, a short one, not a long one. At first, Christian does what weary travelers are supposed to do in the Arbor, catch his breath, pause for a moment, and reflect on God’s graces. But self-satisfied Christian falls asleep. The Arbor is not meant for lodging.

In this verse we see another of those verbs, ‘press on’.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14).

Ken Puls’ Notes and Commentary on The Pilgrims Progress: “Earlier on the Hill Christian was running, going, or at least clambering, but now his inactivity and sloth give way to sleep until it is almost night. Jesus warns us“:

A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going (John 12:35).

By sleeping during a time when God had given him light that he might walk, Christian was guilty of presuming upon the grace of God and the Roll he so cherished fell out of his hand. He could not stay idly in one place, content with no more progress along the Way, and be assured that all was well with his soul.

Notice, however, that account of Christian’s failings also teaches us of God’s unending faithfulness and abiding love. Even as Christian lies sleeping, one comes and awakens him with wisdom from God’s Word:

Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise (Proverbs 6:6).

God is not content to leave His pilgrims in spiritual slumber and inactivity. His Word can be applied to the comfort and rest of our souls, but it can also come to warn us, arouse us and spur us to action. Christian hears the Proverb and realizes that now is not the time to sleep. He immediately arises and hurries up the Hill. End Ken Puls’ Notes and Commentary on The Pilgrim’s Progress

So, dear sister, pursue! Let the winds of refreshment from yesterday’s service propel you forward in our walk toward the Celestial City. We are content to walk, run, even clamber, but we must keep moving. Let the graces enjoyed yesterday at The Interpreter’s House (church) fill your soul with joy and awe for this life we have been given, here on earth and the one to come, forever and ever amen.

Posted in theology

Acceptable worship pleasing to the Lord

By Elizabeth Prata

Yesterday was Resurrection Sunday, also known as Easter Sunday. People of all stripes drove to their local church, enjoyed an Easter, and afterward people ate together in a Sunday Supper. I say people of all stripes, because it’s one day of two that unsaved family members can sometimes be pressed to join saved family members in the service. Also, Christians-in-name only attend, those would be the people who go to church twice a year, Christmas and Easter. Some people call them Chreasters, a word combining Christmas and Easter.

True Christians see the Resurrection Sunday service as a high point of the year. And why not? It’s the high point of our faith. It’s the high point of history. It’s the high point of eternity. I pray that the joy we felt in the service will be present in our hearts every day, all year. Remember the cross. Remember the resurrection. Remember the ascension. Remember He is coming again.

Continue reading “Acceptable worship pleasing to the Lord”
Posted in theology

He is Risen!

He is Risen indeed!

easter verse

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. (Luke 24:2-3)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all. (Acts 4:33 )

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)

Though Jesus is enthroned, becrowned, reigning in love and wrath, seated next to the Father, today is a day we remember what He did. Today is the day we know death is dead, but the Lord lives.

Happy Easter everyone.

Love,
Elizabeth Prata

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

“O that there were a mediator between us!”

For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, That we may go to court together. There is no umpire [daysman] between us, Who may lay his hand upon us both. Let Him remove His rod from me, And let not dread of Him terrify me.” (Job 9:32-34).

Job is thought to be one of the oldest written books of the Bible, and its events some of the oldest as well, its events occurring possibly pre-Exodus during the patriarchal age. Possibly 2000BC.

We know Job was a righteous man (Job 1:1, 1:8, Ezekiel 14:14). He abhorred sin. He mediated for his family in priestly functions, He devoted himself to the one True God. He knew Yahweh, and Job knew enough to be terrified.

Job is complaining that though he knows the depravity of his sin, God is so far above man and so terrifying that Job wished there was an arbiter, or an umpire, between them to advocate for him in God’s holy court. Yet who could that be? A mere man might be a good arbiter for Job but no mere man can stand before God. So, who? Who can lay his hand on both man and God?

We know that it was God’s providential plan to send Jesus, the God-Man. The cross is that bridge which re-unites man and God after the dreadful separation that occurred in the Garden. It is Jesus who lays His hand on both man, and God. Amen!

Jesus was fully man, but not an ordinary man. He had to live a sinless life so that His sacrifice at Calvary would be perfect, his blood shedding for man in obedience to God. He did so. He fulfilled it all and it was finished at the cross.

They laid His body in a borrowed tomb. It lay there scarred and wrapped and alone in the dark. Then on resurrection morning, He arose! It is finished, and there He comes, ascending back to glory, having fulfilled ALL.

daysman—“mediator,” or “umpire”; the imposition of whose hand expresses power to adjudicate between the persons. There might be one on a level with Job, the one party; but Job knew of none on a level with the Almighty, the other party (1 Sa 2:25). We Christians know of such a Mediator (not, however, in the sense of umpire on a level with both)—the God-man, Christ Jesus (1 Ti 2:5).

Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 318). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

God. Let us not make ourselves equal with God, but always eye him as infinitely above us. [2.] That there was no arbitrator or umpire to adjust the differences between him and God and to determine the controversy (v. 33): Neither is there any days-man between us. This complaint that there was not is in effect a wish that there were, and so the Septuagint reads it: O that there were a mediator between us! Job would gladly refer the matter, but no creature was capable of being a referee, and therefore he must even refer it still to God himself and resolve to acquiesce in his judgment.

Our Lord Jesus is the blessed days-man, who has mediated between heaven and earth, has laid his hand upon us both; to him the Father has committed all judgment, and we must. But this matter was not then brought to so clear a light as it is now by the gospel, which leaves no room for such a complaint as this.

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 675). Peabody: Hendrickson.

Praise God for His Gospel, His mediator, His plan! Praise God that He resurrected Jesus from the dead, forevermore to be our Savior. For He is no longer in the tomb, He is alive, He is not there, He has risen!

risen easter

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

He will not let the Holy One see corruption

Therefore he says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.'”  (Acts 13:35).

Oh, to think of His precious body, broken, speared, beaten, nailed… wrapped in a shroud and and now laid in a grave!

Chris Powers of Full of Eyes ministry (fullofeyes.com) drew this wonderful illustration today:

Joseph took The Body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb… (Matthew 27:59-60).

I can’t fathom what grief the disciples felt as the death happened and the precious body was brought to Joseph’s tomb…and the rock slid shut. How alone they must have felt! How perplexed and upset. Their lives must have seemed devoid of meaning. After all, Peter said to Jesus when Jesus had asked “Are you going to leave me too?” and Peter uttered his words, “Where would we go? You have the words of life”. Now the Word of life was dead. Or it seemed so. Where would they go? What would give their life meaning, now?

They must grieve for a few more agonizing hours, before all would become clear.

However, the wondrous Father will not let Jesus molder in the tomb. Jesus rose before that could ever happen! Oh, the joy of Sunday!

Our Savior lives!!

Good Friday the most evil day in all of history. Saturday the most grief-stricken day in all of history. Sunday the most joyous day in all of history!

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

He is Risen!

Jesus accomplished the work God sent Him here to do. He did it perfectly, sinlessly, and died on the cross after absorbing all God’s wrath for sin. He even endured a horrific separation from the Father. Jesus had only ever known perfect harmony with God and love and sweet communion. O! To be cruelly dismissed from His presence! Jesus was not afeared of the pain of the crucifixion as much as he was dreading being separated from God. It was the loneliest moment in history forever.

He endured that separation and bore the wrath, so we would never have to. We can come into sweet communion with the Father, justified, sanctified, and someday, glorified.

God was pleased with His Son, and resurrected Him from the dead.

God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. (Acts 2:24)