Posted in encouragement, faith

The faith of Adam

By Elizabeth Prata

When Adam and Eve trusted the words of the serpent instead of GOD and stepped out into disobedience, they fell from grace.

To the woman God said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bear children; Your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” ” (Genesis 3:16).

Then God made His prophetic pronouncements to Adam (the ground is cursed because of you, labor will be painful, you’ll sweat and toil, the serpent will be bruised under the heel of the woman’s offspring)

When God was finished speaking, the man called his wife’s name Eve, “because she was the mother of all living.” (Genesis 3:20)

God Judging Adam, cropped, by Wm. Blake, 1795

Was Eve a mother yet? No. Adam’s naming of Eve was a step into faith based on the future promises of God.

If Adam’s faith was so great based on such little revelation, how much more faith should we have based on the incarnation of Christ, the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit, and the completed revelation of God?

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)

Are you living in faith? (am I?) With the great revelation we have in our complete Bible, revelation wisdom that we can turn to at any time, freely, let us today and forever live by the promises of God. His word will never fail. Whatever happens today is for our good (which is good) and His glory (which is best!)

Posted in encouragement, theology

How to obtain faith

By Elizabeth Prata

This post first appeared on The End Time in September 2011. It’s been slightly edited.


Many people believe in a god. If, as people say, ‘a god’ does exist, then it stands to reason He is far above us in ways and thoughts. And if He is far above us in ways and thoughts it stands to reason that He is perfectly holy, just, and wise. For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. (Ephesians 2:14).

It also stands to reason that if He is so far above us, then we are below Him in ways and thoughts and wisdom. We are not equals, that is for sure.

Now, the standout attribute of our God (not ‘a god,’ because He is the only one, of course) is that He is holy. Holiness is described as “A quality of perfection, sinlessness, and inability to sin that is possessed by God alone.”

What is it that makes Him holy and us not holy? Our sin. Sin is anything we think, say, or do that displeases God. It is cosmic treason, as RC Sproul said. It is disobeying His holy Law.

Since we cannot go through life perfect, then we sin, and we displease God. Our sins keep us from having a relationship with Him because He is holy and we are not. Every sin we commit is a brick in a wall between us and Him. If we die with that wall there, it stays there for eternity and we will go to hell and be separated from Him forever. There.we are punished for those sins we had committed while alive on earth.

But He made a way for us, sinful though we are, to have a relationship with Him. He desires communion with His people. The way He made, is through His son Jesus. He said to His Son, (Hebrews 5:5; Psalm 2:7) in effect, ‘I am going to ask you to set aside your divinity, pour yourself into human flesh, and live a life on earth, be accused though you are sinless, and die a terrible death on the cross. You will exhaust all My wrath for sin, being the sacrificial Lamb in the people’s stead.  Once your blood is shed, it will pay the debt humanity owes me for their sins and they will be covered.’ Jesus said ‘OK.’

After Jesus died on the cross and was buried, on the third day God made Him come to life again. He ascended and dwells with God in heaven. He welcomes believers home to Him when they die! (Hebrews 1:3) It is simultaneously a beautiful and a horrific plan.

What I just said is re-stated from Ephesians 2.

What a person has to do to find faith is to believe that Jesus was and is the son of God, died for our sins, and rose to life again. If you believe that then by default you also believe that you know you’re a sinner and you ask Him to forgive the sins. Because His blood covers you, your confession and belief will enact your pardon. The brick wall will come down. We are justified and regenerated.

Jesus says that once you believe, THEN He makes all the truths of the Bible come alive in your brain. The Bible will no longer be a dry, dusty, incomprehensible book but the Living Word from a Living God who loves us. You know what else He does for us after a you believe? He sends the Holy Spirit to be inside us to help us resist sin and temptation. Oh, we still sin, we’re human after all. But the more we submit to the Spirit’s leading, the less we WANT to sin, and the more He helps us resist it. Like I said, it is a relationship.

For that relationship to begin, you must first understand that you sin. Do you believe this?

How can a person obtain faith? “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“—Romans 10:17. Charles Spurgeon preached on this topic, “How can I obtain faith?“. Click the link to read the whole sermon. He began with saying this:

It is difficult to make men understand that the salvation of the gospel is not by works but entirely by grace, that it is not presented to men as the reward of their own endeavors, but is given to them freely upon their accepting it by an act of simple faith or trust in Jesus Christ.

That is all there is. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. We obtain faith by grace. It is all His grace given to us.

Faith comes by hearing the Word. “For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14).

wall verse

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

What lurks within…

We read in Job that-

His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually. (Job 1:4-5).

What a sweet picture of Job, in these pre-Patriarchal times, performing his function as priest over his family. His ten children certainly had a father upright in integrity and faith in the one true God. Job was concerned not just with their behavior in terms of moral vs. sin, but their thought life. Have they cursed God in their hearts? Are they holding on to some sin for which they have not repented? Have they cursed God inwardly? Job continuously sacrificed to God as a cover for them.

As we know from so many biblical examples, people can appear as moral but inside, in their mind or heart, they can be holding on to many sins. The Rich Young Ruler claimed to have obeyed the commandments, yet he was revealed to be holding on to greed and materialism. The Pharisees tried to appear holy on the outside, but inside they were raging hypocrites, uncaring for widows and sinners and their fellow man in general!

The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life are hidden inside a person’s mind and heart. The bottom line is, people are good actors. There are some we will never know if they are truly saved or not, until the Day. (Matthew 7:21-23).

We can surmise that perhaps Job’s ten children were indeed faithful to Yahweh. They loved each other, didn’t seem to have in-fighting, liked to spend time with each other. They lived near by enough to partake of family doings on a regular basis. No prodigals, in other words.

We know Job was a righteous man. Ezekiel 14:14 declares Job one of three most righteous men (along with Daniel and Noah).

It’s Mrs Job that was a problem.

Job spent time covering his children’s sins with daily sacrifices…but what of Mrs Job? When the pressure became unbearable and the grief too deep, she showed her true colors. Rather than a gentle help-meet who encourages and supports her husband, she suggested to Job that he curse God and then die (by his own hand).

An excellent wife, who can find? (Proverbs 31:10). As Matthew Henry says of an excellent wife,

She can be trusted, and he will leave such a wife to manage for him. He is happy in her. And she makes it her constant business to do him good. … Above all, she fears the Lord.

Inward sin will not reveal itself until or unless there is pressure. Whether it is the pressure of too much unrepentant sin, or the pressure of circumstances, the sin will eventually be revealed. Mrs Job, and indeed Mrs Lot too, showed that despite living with biblically-declared righteous men, they had sin inside lurking within them. Their disdain for the Holy One, Yahweh was fatally revealed for Mrs Lot when she turned to look back at her life in Sodom, and in Mrs Job when her excellent husband needed her most.

What lurks within is ugly. We should take care of sin daily, by picking up our cross, slaying our sin, and repenting. (Matthew 6:12, 2 Corinthians 7:10).

Don’t be a Mrs Job or a Mrs Lot. Deal with what lurks within. Your husband and children need you.
mrs job
Illustration by William Blake

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Feeling weak and weary? It’s OK. Even Timothy needed urging

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:6-7).

Has your zeal waned? I’m not talking about the normal subsiding of a fervency that first ignites in the heart upon salvation but then matures to a steady fire. I’m talking about the day to day, month to months or year to year faith that, if left untended or un-nurtured, diminishes to an ember, with cold ashes all around. Or the faith that is timid and retiring, waiting for igniting or just fearful.

It happens.

As we see in the verse above, Paul was urging Timothy to fan into flame his gift (of faith). One who already has a flame doesn’t need someone to urge him to fan it. Only someone who is dimming needs such encouragement. Paul knew this was true of Timothy, so Paul wrote to encourage Timothy to nurture his faith.

Barnes’ Notes:

The idea is, that Timothy was to use all proper means to keep the flame of pure religion in the soul burning, and more particularly his zeal in the great cause to which he had been set apart. The agency of man himself is needful to keep the religion of the heart warm and glowing. However rich the gifts which God has bestowed upon us, they do not grow of their own accord, but need to be cultivated by our own personal care.

We all need that exhortation. Fan into flame the gift of God.

OK. How? What are the actions we should take when we sense our spiritual walk is slowing?

In the Spurgeon sermon Our Gifts and How to Use Them, we note that to stir up one’s faith requires action.  Spurgeon here has some ideas. The following are excerpts from the above link ‘Our Gifts and How to Use Them.’


And this brings us, secondly, to the consideration of HOW WE ARE TO STIR UP OUR GIFTS.

First, we should do it by examination to see what gifts we really have. There should be an overhauling of all our stores to see what we have of capital entrusted to our stewardship.

The next mode of stirring up our gift is to consider to what use we could put the talents we possess. To what use could I put my talents in my family? Am I doing all I could for the children? Have I labored all I ought for my wife’s conversion; my husband’s conversion? Then about the neighborhood: is there nothing more that I could do for the salvation of my poor godless neighbors?

… Are you doing all you can for Jesus? Come, answer like an honest man! Having done so, I have more for your self-inspection! Will you examine yourself in every relation in which you stand? As an employer, stir up your gift in reference to those you employ; as a servant, stir up the gift towards your fellow servants; as a trader, and stir up your gift in reference to those with whom you come in contact… If our churches were in a right state of spiritual health, men would not first say, “What can I do to make money?” but, “What can I do to serve Christ, for I will take up a trade subserviently to that.”

But, next, stir it up not merely by consideration and examination, but by actually using it. We talk much of working, but working is better than talking about working. To get really at it, and to do something for soul-winning and spreading abroad the glory of God is infinitely better than planning and holding committees. Away with windbags! Let us get to acts and deeds! … Work, work, and the tool that is blunt will get an edge by being used! Shine and the light you have shall grow in the very act of shining! He who has done one thing will find himself capable of doing two, and doing two will be able to accomplish four; and having achieved the four will soon go on to twelve, and from 12 to fifty! And so, by growing multiples, he will enlarge his power to serve God by using the ability he has.

We have for years endeavored to stir up the young Christians of this congregation to educate themselves. … I think every man ought to feel, “I have been Christ’s man with a talent; I will be Christ’s man with 10 if I can; if now I do not thoroughly understand the doctrines of His gospel, I will try to understand them; I will read, and search, and learn.” We need an intelligent race of Christians, not an affected race of boasters of culture—mental fops who pretend to know a great deal, and know nothing! We need students of the word, adept in theology like the Puritans of old!

—that is a blessed way of stirring them up, to go before God and spread out your responsibilities before Him. … It stirs one up to preach with all his might when he has laid before God in prayer, his weakness; and the ability which God has given him, and asked that the weakness may be consecrated to God’s glory, and the ability accepted to the Lord’s praise. Should we not do just the same, whatever our calling is—take it to the Lord and say, “Assist me, great God, to live for You; …


End Spurgeon. Don’t you love his bluntness? ‘Don’t just talk about working, actually work. Away with windbags!’ Lol.

Does the flame of faith in your bosom need fanning? It is not sin, not yet. Fainting youths and weary soldiers give opportunity for stronger brothers to come alongside and exhort and encourage. Perhaps that strong soldier will need fanning one day, and you can return the favor. In addition, we are pitiful human creatures, stained with a sin-drenched mind always attempting to get the better of the Mind of Christ that is given to us. Or, our timid hearts stray to the back of the crowd. Or, our spotted souls seek to grow the spots instead of slay them.

The battle is long and the fight is tiring. It was for Timothy. What a blessing the Bible includes the weaknesses and flaws of our fainting brethren who came before us. See? You’re weak. I’m weak. It happens.

If you need fanning, no matter. Stir up your gifts, the basis is which is the gift of God of faith and repentance, the gift of knowledge of our own sin, and so seek to revive that flame to a burning love giving light and warmth to fellow soldiers and to the cold and wandering lost.


Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Nebuchadnezzar knew it was best to take the youth

James Montgomery Boice preached through Daniel. In his initial sermon of the series, Daniel 1: A Young Man Decides, he expounded on how liberals use language to change the meaning of words, and to inculcate a loyalty to the new definition by showing how Nebuchadnezzar did the same. (Daniel 1:1-7).

How does one change the loyalty of people who adhere to a different God, and make them loyal to him and the Empire? And as much as possible make them forget their loyalty to their homeland and all that was within it (including their God)? In the sermon, Boice noted that the originator of the word changes was Nebuchadnezzar.

We see of course that Nebuchadnezzar took young men, who at that age are more impressionable and perhaps have not come to a settled loyalty yet. Or who at least could moldable and be made to forget.

Next, you entice them. That was why the King offered the young men choice delicacies from his own table. Nebuchadnezzar was making the world attractive.

Third and chiefly, Nebuchadnezzar did it through changing their names. Their names had God within them. According to Daniel 1:6, the young men’s original Hebrew names were


Daniel and Michael have the name for God (El) in them, the plural name of El is Elohim which we may be more familiar with. In Hebrew, Daniel means “God is my judge”, Mishael means “Who is like God?”. The names were great reminders of their racial and Godly heritage. Hananiah and Azariah contain a shortened form of the name Jehovah. Hananiah’s meant “Jehovah is gracious”, Azariah’s meant “Jehovah is my helper.”

Nebuchadnezzar was intending to mold them by giving them names of local Babylonian deities in order to distance the men from their own God and inculcate a local loyalty.

We can apply Nebuchadnezzar’s tactic to our own day. Nebuchadnezzar did it then, and the world still does it. Changing words and meanings of words is a scheme that molds followers to a new concept or idea. Liberals change words within the Christian vocabulary. They don’t abandon the great concepts outright, they simply change the meanings of the words.

A word like sin is changed to mean: not any want of conformity unto or lack of obedience to the Law of God, which is the word as true Christians know it. Sin is changed to oppression that resides in the social structure to a word so that it’s not a personal thing, where you and I individually have rebelled against God, but is instead something ‘out there’ in the system that can be overcome by revolution.

The name Jesus according to traditional understanding is the second person of the Godhead, God the Son who became a man-God who died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead to be seated at the right hand of the Father.

The word ‘Jesus’ has come to be redefined in some liberal quarters, not the second Person of the Trinity, but is changed to mean simply a Person who is an example to us, not someone who achieved anything for us.

Salvation comes not as a word meaning not God’s deliverance to us by His grace instead of the penalty due us for our sins, but a word meaning we are freed from the world’s socially oppressive structures.

The word faith has been changed to mean not that obedient response of the heart to God’s declaration of what He’s done, but instead becomes something like “commitment”.

Change the word meaning, and you can change the mind. What’s important though, its that external pressures, liberals, or the world, cannot change the heart. What keeps the heart warm and moldable to God is reading His word and prayer. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah could not be swayed from their faith to God and in God. They remained actively attuned to Him and steadfast in their faith in both heart and mind and so were true to the end.

When you speak to people and they say words like faith, salvation, Jesus, sin, or any other common word, they might mean something totally different to that person from what your understanding of these words are. It’s always important to first, know what you believe and can define it. Second, when discussing Christian concepts, don’t take for granted that both you and the other person have the same understanding of the words you are using. Third, recognize that there is nothing new under the sun, and people opposed to the truth use and re-use the same tactics that are intended to incrementally sway you away from the truth.

One wonders what tactics were being used against the truth to draw the Galatians away from the Gospel. Paul was amazed it had happened so fast.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel (Galatians 1:6).

The word ‘quickly’ is tachus which means quick, fleet, speedy. We get the word tachometer from tachus. Tachometer is a measure of velocity of machines. I know right now you’re picturing a tachometer needle speeding up form first gear to top gear. Sometimes desertion of the truth can happen that fast.

Make sure your loyalty is founded on a solid rock and that you (and I) have a solid understanding of what word means what in the faith. Especially the moldable youth. I do not think it is an accident that over this last generation we have herded the youth away from the main church service and sequestered them all in one room or building. Nebuchadnezzar knew that the impressionable teenagers were best to remove from their traditional place and mold to a new thought by sequestering them, enticing them, and redefining what they used to know into new concepts.

Stay strong, Ladies, oppose redefinition of our words, which are precious to the faith and important to the mind and heart. Watch your teenage children. Don’t be satisfied when you superficially hear the Youth Pastor teaching them of Jesus, sin, faith and the like. Make sure you know that he knows what they really mean, and that your children do too.

And, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15).

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Faith of a child

I was in a non-church setting with some 7-year-olds recently. They were drawing a picture to go along with the story about pizza they had just read. When one boy finished his drawing he still had room on the page. He asked if he could draw a cross. I said sure.

Of course then the others wanted to draw a cross too. Most or all of them have been exposed to Jesus. As they drew their crosses they began to talk about Jesus. The original boy said, ‘Jesus died on the cross’. Another said, ‘isn’t He living now’? I chimed in and said His is living now, that He walked around on earth for 40 days after His death and resurrection and talked with His friends.
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