Posted in theology

Why the United States seems to have gone crazy

By Elizabeth Prata

Yesterday on the blog I asked the question “Is America Under Wrath?” The answer is yes. Humans have been under God’s wrath since the Garden. I noted, however, that there are different kinds of wrath. We think of eternal wrath, as in lost people enduring for their punishment for their sins in hell. We also might think of eschatological wrath, the fire and brimstone kind of holy fury poured out on the world during the end of the last days during the Tribulation. But there is also a sowing and reaping wrath, cataclysmic wrath, and for today’s discussion, the wrath of abandonment.

Continue reading “Why the United States seems to have gone crazy”
Posted in theology

The brevity of a long life

By Elizabeth Prata

Saturday morning on Twitter, Dan Phillips, author of The World Tilting Gospel and God’s Wisdom in Proverbs tweeted of the news of 90-year-old Sean Connery’s death,

Ohhh, no. Saddened. Don’t really know what to say. SUCH an iconic, one-of-a-kind actor. Loved his work since I was a kid. I wish he’d ever shown a glimmer of understanding of the Gospel, let alone faith in Christ. Did he even know a genuine Christian? Celebrity isolates badly.

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Continue reading “The brevity of a long life”
Posted in gospel

Peace, or trouble? Repentance is the key

Zechariah 14:9 says:

And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.”

The saints know Jesus is coming soon. We are excited to see what He is doing in the world. Not that people are in pain or distress, obviously, but rather that His name is on the lips of many. His glory and power are noticed, and His word is repeated between and among believers and non-believers alike. This ‘crazy time’ isn’t crazy. It is a controlled series of events from the Creator of people, the Creator of the earth and all that is in it. He is telling us something. How many warnings will there be? Not many more, I fear. He has been patient with us, kind and generous. That period of warning will end and after the rapture, the judgments will begin.

Continue reading “Peace, or trouble? Repentance is the key”
Posted in theology

The cost of rejecting Jesus

By Elizabeth Prata

It’s vacation week for much of America. I’m going to go a little easy myself this week and get a bunch of reading done. I thought for this week I’d bring forward some of the early essays I wrote.

With 5,200 essays written here since 2009, there are some you may have missed, lol. You can see my heart even since the earliest days of this blog. This one comes from November 2012.

Continue reading “The cost of rejecting Jesus”

Posted in theology

What was your first reaction to hearing the Gospel?

By Elizabeth Prata

The reactions of the different people in the Bible to hearing the Word of the Lord are wide and varied.

Abraham, upon hearing that in his old age he will father a child: he fell on his face and laughed in delight. (Genesis 17:17).

Sarai: upon hearing she will bear a child in her old age: laughed in herself, scoffing. (Genesis 18:12)

Zechariah was told he will bear a child in his old age, the forerunner to the Messiah. He asked the angel a question, betraying his doubting heart. (Luke 1:18).

Mary was told she will bear the Messiah as a virgin. She asked the angel a question, opening her puzzled heart. (Luke 1:34).

Nicodemus sought Jesus and cautiously cautiously inquired of Him as to the truth. (John 1; 4).

The Shepherds immediately hastened to the place they were told the Babe lay. (Luke 2:15).

Felix conversed with Paul on an intellectual level, but postponed his decision, alarmed at thoughts of judgment. He played along with Paul, hoping to get money from him. (Acts 24:25-26).

Demas initially heard with gladness keeping Paul company even in jail, but strayed off The Way, eventually apostatizing completely. (2 Timothy 4:10).

Me? I rejected talk of Jesus, because I did not like the cross or the blood or being called a sinner or the Judgment. Yet by grace of God and His foreordained plan, I knew, knew there had to be a creator. The world existed. It was too beautiful and complex to have banged into existence from nothing. The two spiritual ideas, that I knew I was a sinner (deep down, suppressing the truth in unrighteousness,) and also that it was obvious there was a creator, stayed in me causing tension and angst.  In His timing eventually He gave me the grace to believe in the Gospel.

The Bible records for us the varied reactions to the Word of the Lord through His Gospel. We have seen and are to expect this variety of reactions. The Bible records the behaviors of many individuals who match these reactions. Judas hid his unbelief so well the other disciples thought Jesus was speaking of them when He announced one wold betray Him, rather than suspect Judas.

Matthew 13:18–23
The Parable of the Soils Explained

Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.

The same is true today. When we share the Gospel, some mock, some consider, some question, some reject…but keep on persevering in sharing the Good News. Some of those seeds will land on good soil. We will see them in heaven.

Further Resources:

Parable of the Soils (Ligonier devotional)

Truth For Life/Alistair Begg sermon (36-min) Parable of the Soils

parable of the soils weeds photo

Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: My friend is reading a bad book, Does God do miracles anymore? Depression, a painful weaning, more

By Elizabeth Prata

I love the ladies who change out their home decor to match the season. Lots of women at this moment are swapping out their beach themed front door wreath for a fall leaves or pumpkin decoration, laying tablecloths with harvest colors, and mulling over whether to put together a cornucopia as they stow away their jar of shells and dried starfish. I really love when ladies decorate.

It’s not my thing, though. I am of the mind where when I move in to a place, I look at the empty room. I decide in practical fashion its highest and best use considering the plug locations, windows, light, and size of my furniture. I set it up, and it stays like that forever.

This is the extent of my decor: I set up a table fan in the summer and I take it down when fall comes and put the tissues in its place. See, there are two seasons at my house; hot, and cold & flu season. To be honest though, I cry when I read the Bible, pray, and watch sad movies. I go through a lot of tissues.

I’m excited the fall season is here in Georgia, my adopted home state. It’s been cooler during the day and delightful at night. The AC is off. We are predicted to have a few more days of temps in the upper 90s but those will fade away soon enough. The heat is sputtering out now. The worst is over.

I’m even more excited at my adopted home country and its imminent appearing to my tired-of-this-world eyes. But until then, the Lord’s will be done, and may the seasons change smoothly.

Here are a few items I found interesting this week.

Mike Riccardi at The Master’s Seminary asks Can I Adapt the Gospel Message to Make Evangelism Easier?

My friend Savannah Rae writes wonderfully about a painful weaning

Shona Murray, wife of biblical counselor David Murray says she never understood depression and burnout until it happened to her.

God still performs miracles. Josh Buice explains that adherents to Reformed Doctrines believe this and why it’s often a spurious charge that we don’t.

I don’t have a smartphone. I only bought a flip phone recently for safety because I drive an old car that sometimes breaks down. Like the only person sober at the table watching friends slowly get drunk, I see smartphones as a sad trickster. Here US photographer Eric Pickersgill has created “Removed,” a series of photos of people holding phantom phones that have been removed from their hands to show us how disconnected we really are nowadays. Also of interest, Tony Reinke’s book 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You.

I always wonder how to broach the subject to a friend who is reading a bad book. Here Rick Thomas addresses this in a clear and helpful way. How to Respond to Bad Books and Those Who Love Them

Al Mohler explains that Jesus did descend into hell, and explains from scripture, and tells why the statement is included in The Apostle’s Creed. 3-min video. He Descended into Hell.

 

“Keep the positivity coming my way. I need as much as I can get.”

This lady is someone of whom I am unaware, but a Facebook friend posted this 9-minute video of a woman on Youtube whose channel was about makeup and fashion. She is a British lady who in recent days discovered that she has a terminal brain tumor and only a short time to live. Her video is titled My Final Farewell”. She does not appear to be saved, and it’s a video of her final goodbye to her subscribers.

I can’t hide it anymore. If any of you see me out and about, I won’t be my glamorous self. At the end of the day, the glamour, the makeup, all of that…doesn’t matter anymore.”

Heartbreaking to discover that your life’s passion was only striving after wind. At the end of the day what DOES matter? This woman appears not to know. We know. THE GOSPEL. Salvation from God’s wrath and eternal life in glory with the Glorious One, Jesus Christ. As you go about the day, remember what really matters.

gospel green wood background

Posted in evangelism, theology

The Gospel is advancing

By Elizabeth Prata

Though the world is dark and satan prowls, the Gospel’s power to transform lives and enlarge the kindgom is advancing!

As you shake your head is dismay at the darkness that is covering the world, remember the Light is advancing MORE because Jesus is the power! I offer you this trailer from the DVD Dispatches from the Front series and I’m sure you’ll be moved by the Gospel’s power and awed at the grace and love of our Savior. THIS is what it is all about: salvation. There are more at the link below.

“Frontline Missions is an amazing ministry that produces the Dispatches from the Front DVD series. Here is what the ministry is all about: Frontline’s key objective is to advance the Gospel, forming vibrant, Word-centered, disciple-making churches, especially in those regions of the world that have the least Light. We are driven by the same desire that animated the apostle Paul who said it was always his ambition to preach the Gospel where Christ was not known (Romans 15:20). We pursue this goal by equipping Christians on the frontlines to reach their own people for Christ, by forming strategic partnerships with them, and by developing creative platforms in countries closed to traditional missions.”

Please support missionaries with your prayers and your money. They are on the frontlines. And lives are being changed, eternally.

Posted in encouragement, theology

Those who reject are putting themselves in grave danger!

By Elizabeth Prata

As witnesses to His Gospel, in sharing with other people, I’m sure you, as have I, experienced the gamut of reactions. Some are curious, some are polite but have closed ears, and some, sadly are like wild pigs who turn on you ferociously and tear you to pieces.

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast
ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them
under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Matthew 7:6 (KJV)

There is an example of such a ferocious rejection in Acts 13. Paul and Barnabas had reasoned with the Jews in Antioch. Some were persuaded to stay and follow Paul and learn more. Others rejected. But when Paul went to give the Gospel to the Gentiles, the Jews became jealous and when they began opposing Paul all the harder, they blasphemed. Paul’s response was this:

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing you put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, see, we turn to the Gentiles. (Acts 13:46).

Those who reject put themselves in grave danger. Felix rejected. Though he was curious and listened to Paul then became alarmed to hear of the judgment, ultimately he remained apathetic. Stalling for a decision, he sent Paul away ’till a more convenient time, (Acts 24:25) putting off what he should do today. (2 Corinthians 6:2). How different from the reaction of the Philippian jailer who rushed in to Paul asking, “What must I do to be saved?”

Those who reject ferociously are in the greatest danger of all. Here is an excerpt from Barnes Notes on the Acts 13:46 verse. What does it mean when Paul said they judged themselves unworthy?

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Ye put it from you – You reject it.

And judge yourselves – By your conduct, by your rejecting it, you declare this. The word “judge” here does not mean they “expressed such an opinion,” or that “they regarded themselves” as unworthy of eternal life – for they thought just the reverse; but that by their conduct they condemned themselves. By such conduct they did, in fact, pass sentence on themselves, and show that they were unworthy of eternal life, and of having the offer of salvation any further made to them. Sinners by their conduct do, in fact, condemn themselves, and show that they are not only unfit to be saved, but that they have advanced so far in wickedness that there is no hope of their salvation, and no propriety in offering them, any further, eternal life. See the notes on Matthew 7:6.

(1) When people, even but once, deliberately and solemnly reject the offers of God’s mercy, it greatly endangers their salvation. The probability is, that they then put the cup of salvation forever away from themselves.

(2) the gospel produces an effect wherever it is preached.

(3) when sinners are hardened, and spurn the gospel, it may often be the duty of ministers to turn their efforts toward others where they may have more prospect of success. A man will not long labor on a rocky, batten, sterile soil, when there is near him a rich and fertile valley that will abundantly reward the pains of cultivation.

——————–end Barnes’ Notes——————–

 

I’ve shared the Gospel with people once, twice thrice, but when I see the reaction is hardening them more than producing a softening effect, I stop sharing. I stop talking about it. Withdrawing, I pray for them.

We like to think of a soft and seeking Jesus who pursues to the end (or woos as the lady snowflakes would have us believe). It is more probable, to use Barnes’ word, that once they reject, they likely put the cup of salvation away from them forever. When their conduct in so rejecting makes them act like unreasoning animals, they show themselves condemned.

This is one of the most heartbreaking things to watch, especially when it’s a family member or colleague or a friend. Even if it’s the guy at the gas station you’ll never see again…when you see them reject the Gospel, it’s sad. When it’s ferocious, the I get the haunting feeling that they have just sealed their coffin, and that is nearly unendurable.

In the coming year, I pray that your sharing and witnessing and loving will fall on fertile soil. I pray that the Lord gives you and me strength when we have to watch their rejection of You, the most beautiful person in the universe, casting away the only salvation that exists. I pray that many come through Your door, Jesus, in 2019.

manton ark

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Hate Week Essay #3: The World will hate you

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. (John 15:18)

The kind of hate we discussed on Monday was the kind of righteous holy hate that God has against sin, divorce, lying, and the 6 other things the Proverbs listed. On Tuesday I followed that up with looking at our hate against those things that God hates, which, mirroring our God, is also a righteous hate (hopefully).

But the world’s hate comes from a completely different fountain. It comes from satan’s river of hate, and the world not only drinks from that fountain, but is immersed and submerged in it.

For what reason does the world hate Jesus? He explained that in John 7:7b

but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.

The Gospel is a command. It is a command for repentance and to obedience to God. People are commanded to repent because, as the other part of the Gospel so clearly says, people’s works are evil and do not please God. They will be judged one day.

No one likes to be told they are sinners, evil, and judged as wanting. In fact, the reprobate mind (as the unsaved possess) cannot understand those things. Therefore they will hate the one who tells them. They hated Jesus for it, and they hated it so much they killed Him.

Gill’s Commentary: how they had expressed their hatred, not only by words, calling him a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a sinner, a Samaritan, a madman, one that had a devil, yea, Beelzebub himself, but by deeds; taking up stones to stone him more than once, leading him to the brow of an hill, in order to cast him down headlong, consulting by various means to take away his life, as Herod did in his very infancy;

And as Paul alluded to here, they will hate the Apostles and disciples for it.

Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? (Galatians 4:16).

Stephen told the Jewish leaders the truth, and they were cut to the heart, but as Ellicott’s Commentary explains, it wasn’t a righteous anger over their own sin, it was a hatred of the one who told them.

They were cut to the heart.—Literally, were sawn through and through. The word describes a keener pang than the “pricked” of Acts 2:37, producing, not repentance, but the frenzy of furious anger.

The world has a killing hatred of Christ and His people.

Some Christians think that if we make the church friendly, those who are seeking will eventually relax into repentance. But it is not so. There is no one seeking after God, no not one, Romans 3:11 says. Therefore there are no seeker friendly churches. And secondly, the Gospel is tampered with to make it palatable to those whom people think are seeking. But the Gospel is a violent thing, it commands what doesn’t want to submit, it reveals what doesn’t want to be revealed. It judges, it forces. Any Gospel that’s changed in any aspect is no Gospel at all.

Paul said in Galatians 1:8,

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

No, we must carry the exact message the King sent to His Ambassadors, whether it’s received eagerly or in rejected in hatred.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible reminds us not to be deterred.

If the world hate you – The friendship of the world they were not to expect, but they were not to be deterred from their work by its hatred. They had seen the example of Jesus. No opposition of the proud, the wealthy, the learned, or the men of power, no persecution or gibes, had deterred him from his work. Remembering this, and having his example steadily in the eye, they were to labor not less because wicked men should oppose and deride them. It is enough for the disciple to be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord, Matthew 10:25.

They hated Jesus. At some point, someone will hate you (and me) for sharing the Gospel, or for witnessing with our life and deeds. And that is good, for we would be like our Master. It’s hard to slough off the world’s hatred, but this world is not our home. We are from a far country, where no hatred exists, only love and devotion to our Master.

prickly 3