Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus Redux: Postlude 2, Like the Sun

By Elizabeth Prata

Christmas means baby Jesus. Everybody loves the baby. The swaddling clothes (so cute!) the manger (awww, really?), the Wise Man (distinguished solemnity). It is a tremendous story. It is THE story of all of history. God Himself came in flesh, incarnated solely to grow, live a perfect life, and die.

The baby grew up. He ascended to the Father, sat down, and reigns from heaven. He is coming again, as I wrote yesterday. When He comes again it will not be as a baby all swaddled and cooing. His incarnation continues, as it will forever, but today we look at Jesus as He is now. He is kingly, powerful. He is GOD.

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. (Revelation 1:12-15).

The verse continues into v. 16, today’s focus. It’s the last verse in the series. We have gone from prophecies announcing the fact of His coming, to the Babe, to His life, work and ministry, His death and resurrection, and now as He is in heaven and His soon return. He will come again to deal with sin- and sinners.

True believers will be gathered with Him prior to the bloodbath that the Second Coming will be. During that horrific time, it will be a blessed time also, because many will come to faith. It will be a time of blood, evangelism, faith, sin, horror, and martyrdom.

Praise God, Jesus will come again. He is great and mighty.

On to today’s verse:

thirty days of jesus final

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship
Day 9: The Child Grew
Day 10: The boy Jesus at the Temple
Day 11: He was Obedient!
Day 12: The Son!
Day 13: God is pleased with His Son
Day 14: Propitiation
Day 15: The gift of eternal life
Day 16: Two Kingdoms
Day 17: Jesus’ Preeminence
Day 18: Jesus is highest king
Day 19: Jesus emptied Himself
Day 20: Jesus as Teacher
Day 21: Jesus as Shepherd
Day 22, Jesus as Intercessor

Day 23: Jesus as Compassionate Healer
Day 24: Jesus as Omniscient
Day 25: Jesus’ Authority
Day 26: Jesus’ Sinlessness
Day 27: He rises!
Day 28: Resurrection is of central importance
Day 29: Ascension
Day 30: He sat down
Thirty Days of Jesus: Postlude 1, He is coming again

I hope you have enjoyed these verses and pictorial representations of the thirty-plus verses I’d selected. Feel free to use the photos as you will. All of them except two are my own creation, and the two that aren’t mine are issued freely under creative commons license at Unsplash.com. Be sure to visit the Further Readings links I’d posted under most of the Scripture pictures, too. I always want to connect readers with good, credible sources.

Happy New Year! May 2019 be the year Christ returns.

2 Timothy 1:10
And now He has revealed this grace through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the gospel,

Posted in christmas, theology

Solstice thoughts on Christmas Eve

By Elizabeth Prata

I was saved by Grace of God late in life, at age 42. But that doesn’t mean I spent the first four decades ignorant of God. His creation spoke to me, my conscience pricked me, and my soul longed to be filled even as I mused as to why it was curiously empty. Romans 2:15, Ecc 3:11).

I’d asked the big questions: Why are we here? What is life good for if it is so short and the earth so old? It seems pointless. Why did nothing satisfy me for very long? Money or travel or accolades work or marriage or accomplishments? What was the point of it all? If there was a God, why would he care about us? We’re so puny.

I finally acknowledged there was a God, because creation existed. I was a living example of Romans 1:19.

I could not, however, figure out who went to heaven and why, what the benchmark was that allowed some people in and others not. This was because I rejected the notion of my sin and Jesus’s blood in atonement for it. I was a living example of Romans 1:18.

During the time just prior to my salvation, while I was seeking actively, I fell in with a group of pagans and witches. I was invited to a solstice night gathering. This was in Maine and on December 21, it’s cold. The average low for that night is 17 degrees, with the average high just hovering above freezing, with an average of a foot of snow on the ground. That particular year there was a lot of snow.

I’d been familiar with Roman Catholic ceremonies, my husband was Catholic. There, the gravitas of the situation was impressed upon you by long-held shiny rituals and reverberating chants in another language. Mysterious. I didn’t understand it but it was obvious that other people did. One can see the attraction to this sort of thing.

The ritual or ceremony for the Solstice event was to simply go outside and stand around in the yard in shin-deep snow, looking at the pine trees. As the sun sank, we were told to think of something or say something that came to mind.

Like what? It’s cold outside? When can we go in and have the hot chocolate that was promised? Am I supposed to worship a tree? Where was the meaning in that?

Where was the framework to put this into perspective? What were we supposed to think? Or say? Or do? I just shifted feet and pushed my hands further into my pockets. Is this where eternal meaning was? If so, it felt so empty.

I now know that in addition to being a silly ceremony, if that’s what it was, it was empty because we were trying to find meaning in the creation when we were part of the creation itself. It went no higher than that.

The joy of Christmas is that the transcendent was made manifest, and on our behalf too. The problem with a solstice ceremony was that they “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (Romans 1:23). Honoring the creation but not the Creator who created it is foolish. And it felt so.

The Lord in His grace saved me a short while later. He opened my eyes to His glory and caused my heart to incline to worship of the Ancient of Days. He is living, His glory was shown in the image of His Son, (Hebrews 1:3) who was born that day in the city of David. (Luke 2:11).

By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

The Christian world rejoices tonight in the mystery of the incarnation, the babe, who lived as a lamb but will return as a lion. Praise God that “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5).

 

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus: Postlude 2, Like the Sun

Christmas means baby Jesus. Everybody loves the baby. The swaddling clothes (so cute!) the manger (awww, really?), the Wise Man (distinguished solemnity). It is a tremendous story. It is THE story of all of history. God Himself came in flesh, incarnated solely to grow, live a perfect life, and die.

The baby grew up. He ascended to the Father, sat down, and reigns from heaven. He is coming again, as I wrote yesterday. When He comes again it will not be as a baby all swaddled and cooing. His incarnation continues, as it will forever, but today we look at Jesus as He is now. He is kingly, powerful. He is GOD.

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. (Revelation 1:12-15).

The verse continues into v. 16, today’s focus. It’s the last verse in the series. We have gone from prophecies announcing the fact of His coming, to the Babe, to His life, work and ministry, His death and resurrection, and now as He is in heaven and His soon return. He will come again to deal with sin- and sinners.

True believers will be gathered with Him prior to the bloodbath that the Second Coming will be. During that horrific time, it will be a blessed time also, because many will come to faith. It will be a time of blood, evangelism, faith, sin, horror, and martyrdom.

Praise God, Jesus will come again. He is great and mighty.

On to today’s verse:

thirty days of jesus final

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship
Day 9: The Child Grew
Day 10: The boy Jesus at the Temple
Day 11: He was Obedient!
Day 12: The Son!
Day 13: God is pleased with His Son
Day 14: Propitiation
Day 15: The gift of eternal life
Day 16: Two Kingdoms
Day 17: Jesus’ Preeminence
Day 18: Jesus is highest king
Day 19: Jesus emptied Himself
Day 20: Jesus as Teacher
Day 21: Jesus as Shepherd
Day 22, Jesus as Intercessor

Day 23: Jesus as Compassionate Healer
Day 24: Jesus as Omniscient
Day 25: Jesus’ Authority
Day 26: Jesus’ Sinlessness
Day 27: He rises!
Day 28: Resurrection is of central importance
Day 29: Ascension
Day 30: He sat down
Thirty Days of Jesus: Postlude 1, He is coming again

I hope you have enjoyed these verses and pictorial representations of the thirty-plus verses I’d selected. Feel free to use the photos as you will. All of them except two are my own creation, and the two that aren’t mine are issued freely under creative commons license at Unsplash.com. Be sure to visit the Further Readings links I’d posted under most of the Scripture pictures, too. I always want to connect readers with good, credible sources.

Happy New Year! May 2018 be the year Christ returns.

2 Timothy 1:10
And now He has revealed this grace through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the gospel,

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Repost – From swaddling cloths to grave cloths to…

First posted December 25, 2015.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From swaddling cloths to grave cloths…to…

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

The Anunciation, Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1898

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. (John 20:6-7)

 

and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. (Revelation 1:13-16)

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (1 John 5:11)

Merry Christmas!

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Examining Christmas traditions #1: Do angels sing?

It’s the Christmas season and the lights are up inside homes and all over the neighborhood. Children are having photos with Santa and moms and dads are hurriedly finishing their shopping lists. Kids at school are doing Christmas crafts with paint and Popsicle sticks and teachers are counting the days until Christmas vacation. Churches have cookie swaps and families enjoy the annual classics, “It’s A Charlie Brown Christmas”, “Frosty The Snowman”, and “It’s A Wonderful Life”. In the south where it is warmer and more rural, many places host a live Nativity, where animals roam in an enclosure and a manger is set up with shepherds, Joseph, Mary, and a baby (or a doll) for the enjoyment and interest of the locals. These are some of our annual traditions here in America.

There are traditions regarding the Christmas story within the faith, also. We have Christmas carols with lyrics that say that angels sing, set up nativity scenes with Wise Men, erect Christmas trees, and more.

Do these traditions have any bearing from scripture? If not should we care? If not, should we abandon them? Accept them? Are we disrespecting Christ by perpetuating them? Or not?

In this essay from Answers In Genesis, “Hark! The Herald Angels Said?“, the author wrote,

The idea of angels singing on the night of Christ’s birth has become so common that many are surprised to learn that the Bible does not unequivocally state this. This example provides a good opportunity to discuss traditions. In and of themselves, traditions are not wrong, but they must be based on and consistent with Scripture. If they contradict Scripture, then they must be rejected. …

One of the points of this series on misconceptions is to lead us all to look closely at what the Bible teaches. Far too often traditions have been the basis of our thinking, and we end up believing things that are not found in Scripture. We have heard and sung about angels singing on that night so often that many do not bother to look closely at the text.

Looking at the specific issue of whether angels sing, we do know there are a great many Christmas carols saying they do. However, scripture never indicates once that the angels sing. They shout, proclaim, and praise, but not sing. However, given the various contexts in which they are rejoicing, such as on the night Jesus was born, it is possible they they sang, also.

Answers In Genesis explains things from their view:

As we wrap up this Christmas article (pun intended), you are probably wondering if the angels did sing to the shepherds. In light of the fact that there is a strong connection between praising and singing in the Bible, and since angels, in all likelihood, are capable of singing, there exists biblical support for the tradition of singing angels found in the Christmas hymns.

GotQuestions thinks they do. Robin Schumacher thinks they do. John MacArthur thinks they do. J. Vernon McGee doesn’t think so. Phillip Holmes at Desiring God doesn’t think so either.

Since scripture doesn’t say one way or the other if angels sing, we are not being unscriptural by singing carols that say they do. It’s a tradition that isn’t harmful to a person’s faith if they want to believe angels sing. The point of the season is to focus on Jesus, His incarnation, and respond with song, praise, and worship.

AiG finishes this way:

In any case, when we think about God’s amazing gift of a Savior to mankind on that night, we should glorify and praise God, whether in spoken word or in song, just as the shepherds did on that incredible night after they had seen the newborn King.