Posted in theology

A Gratitude Morning

By Elizabeth Prata

God thank you for the rain. Thank you for the refreshment from the skies of your bounty, and even as the rain drops fall I am reminded of the Living water that is Jesus. He refreshes and renews all the time, not just the ground but the soul. He who drinks of His water will never be thirsty again. (John 4:13).

Thank You for the beautiful creation, which will be greened after this refreshment. But even as its current beauty is marred by the curse of sin, I long to see Your creation in its full glory. Today I am grateful for the pastures and the rain and the beauty, even so, I know I am seeing through a glass darkly. On Your day I will see everything clearly. (1 Corinthians 13:12).

I awake this morning in the world this morning but I am not of the world. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

I’m grateful to God the Father, Jesus the Messiah and the Holy Spirit for my future with Him, my salvation, my sanctification, for hearing prayer, for the saints here on earth. How long this message would be if I listed all for which I am grateful! He is my All in All.

Posted in providence, sovereignty

Acknowledging God’s providence yields gratitude

By Elizabeth Prata

One of the ways God intervenes in the world is providence. The quote below is from a sermon titled “Secrets of Contentment“.

“There are two ways God can act in the world: by miracle and by providence. A miracle has no natural explanation. In the flow of normal life, God suddenly stems the tide and injects a miracle. Then He sets the flow back in motion, just like parting the Red Sea until His people could walk across and closing it up again. Do you think it would be easier to do that—to say, “Hold it, I want to do this miracle” and do it—or to say, “Let’s see, I’ve got 50 billion circumstances to orchestrate to accomplish this one thing”? The latter is providence. Think, for example, of how God providentially ordered the lives of Joseph, Ruth, and Esther. Today He does the same for us.”

I find it incredibly restful to dwell in the knowledge of His sovereignty and His providence. It doesn’t mean I kick back and drift like a twig down a river, doing nothing. I still pray, study, and diligently perform all the things the Bible says we are to do. But I know that He is directing my steps. His providential care of me is in the best hands. What a great and glorious God we serve who providentially orders all events simultaneously to come together at every given moment to ensure His works come to pass!! How can I NOT worship a God who, from the moment He breathed life into Adam, has superintended every event at every moment to accomplish His divine will?

More importantly in terms of our worship, no one is self-sufficient, and everyone is answerable to God. Nebuchadnezzar praised God, saying,

all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth;” (Daniel 4:35)

The sermon I linked to above concludes,

Contentment comes from learning that God is sovereign not only by supernatural intervention, but also by natural orchestration. And what an incredible orchestra it is! Appreciate the complexity of what God is doing every moment just to keep us alive. When we look at things from that perspective, we see what folly it is to think we can control our lives. When we give up that vain pursuit, we give up a major source of anxiety.

That God is ordering our steps, and doing so for all 8 billion people on earth, and every creature, and every storm, and every tide, and every cloud, and heaven’s hosts, and so on, should yield a gratitude that we can know this magnificent and powerful God. In your gratitude and prayers and praise, consider the providence of God. He preserves His own, down to the minutest detail.

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.” (Matthew 10:29)

I think if we were allowed to see God’s providence in real form and in real time, how He connects everything to be consistent with His will and His glory, it might look like this photo by Steve Irvine for NatGeo, called Moth Trails at Night

moth

Puritan Thomas Manton wrote of providences as one portion of our heritage. Here again we shout in gratitude-

“It is a full heritage, and nothing can be added to the completeness of our portion; for in the promises here is God, heaven, earth, providences, ordinances, all made ours, and all inward comforts and graces they are a part of our portion; and what can a soul desire more? Here is God made over to us; the great blessing of the covenant is, I am thy God. Other men say (and they will think it a great matter when they can say), This kingdom is mine, this lordship is mine, this house, these fields are mine; but a believer can say, this God, this Christ, this Holy Spirit is mine.”

God is great.

Posted in gratitude, praise, thanksgiving

Tis the Season of Thanksgiving

By Elizabeth Prata

Next week is Thanksgiving, a time when we traditionally celebrate the blessings we enjoy in life. Many families have a tradition of sitting around their table and each guest or family member saying what they are thankful for.

I’m thankful for my salvation. For that to be possible I am thankful for the Holy Spirit drawing me to Jesus. For that to be possible I am thankful to Jesus for obeying the Father and dying on the cross. For that to be possible I am thankful for God who created all the world and who is so Holy that His Son obeyed Him and took all the wrath that was destined for me on that cross. I am thankful He revealed Himself to us in His word, and that we have the privilege of prayer, the Bible, the gifts, the fruits, and eternal life. I am thankful for the promises of prospering us in the regenerative process of growing in Christlikeness, for treasures and rewards in heaven, for the promise of rest and peace.

Continue reading “Tis the Season of Thanksgiving”
Posted in encouragement, theology

Gratitude in the Days of Chaos

By Elizabeth Prata

giver

These times have become chaotic, disruptive, and perplexing. It helps to concentrate on Jesus in daily life. Intentionally concentrate. To do this, I find ways to purposely thank Him, this keeps His name and focus in front of my eyes like phylactery. Where Paul says he has “learned” to be content, for me, gratitude is one way I can learn to be content. I translate the day’s events into a lesson that includes gratitude (among other things), so as to propel my sanctification in cooperation with the Spirit.

I’m not writing this because I’m so super duper, or holier than thou. In fact, the opposite.  have to, must, work on ways to not let days slip by without a nod to the Shepherd of my Soul, and I easily can. I can get lazy, apathetic, and selfish in a heartbeat.
Continue reading “Gratitude in the Days of Chaos”

Posted in theology

From whence our mercies come

By Elizabeth Prata

In The Pilgrim’s Progress, Part 2, there is a scene with Christiana in the House of the Interpreter. The Interpreter was showing Christiana, Mercy, and the boys some things happening in different rooms of the house.

He had them into another room, where were a hen and chickens, and bid them observe a while. So one of the chickens went to the trough to drink, and every time she drank she lifted up her head and her eyes towards heaven. See, said he, what this little chick doth, and learn of her to acknowledge whence your mercies come, by receiving them with looking up.

Of course the Interpreter is making reference to something by using a picture. Chickens actually need to drink by tipping their heads back.

Often times in late medieval literature, the author used emblems to convey an idea. An emblem is not a symbol, exactly.

According to Wikipedia, “although the words emblem and symbol are often used interchangeably, an emblem is a pattern that is used to represent an idea or an individual. An emblem crystallizes in concrete, visual terms some abstraction: a deity, a tribe or nation, or a virtue or vice.”

Just a paragraph above in this section of Pilgrim’s Progress, author John Bunyan had directly referred to an emblem. As the Interpreter showed Christiana a robin eating a spider, he proceeded to explain its meaning.

A few moments later in the scene, we come upon the chickens. It’s a vivid word picture. Not much needs to be explained about what we see here. The picture is good to ponder. Do we acknowledge from whence our mercies come? Are we thankful to the Father who gives all good gifts to His children?

chickens

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Thankful

Why did the turkey cross the road?
To prove he wasn’t chicken!

Enjoy your meal, breaking bread with friends and family.

For 43 years I rebelled against Christ, and He plucked me from my mire and saved me anyway. Today I’m thankful for grace.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope your travel goes smoothly, your meal is delicious, and your family is tame.