Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

What are we all good at?

By Elizabeth Prata

(Podcast link below)

Sinning. Every human on the planet, no matter his or her age, is good at sinning. Hands down. Me included.

EPrata photo

Look at this example from scripture.

Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it. (Matthew 23:16-21).

What this section of scripture is about is Jesus pronouncing woes upon the Pharisees. The Pharisees were one of the two ruling classes in Israel, the Sadducees being the other. The Pharisees had twisted the faith into something unrecognizable, laying incredible burdens down on the people, (like over 600 laws!) failing to minister to sinners, making sons of hell twice as worse as they were, and being total hypocrites. When Jesus pronounced His many woes upon them, this particular set of woes involved swearing by the LORD and lying.

The Pharisees had cunningly devised a way to appear to swear by the Lord but be able to get out of it later. As Romans 1:18 says, we all know the truth but we suppress it in unrighteousness. They knew what they were doing but they were devising evil in rationalizing what they THOUGHT were clever ways to wriggle out of it.

They THOUGHT that if they swore an oath by the temple and not by the gold of the temple, they could break their oath later with no repercussions. Or swear by the altar and not the gift on the altar, or by heaven and not by the throne in heaven. As President Bill Clinton famously said when he was trying to avoid an answer, “It depends on what the meaning of is is.”

Photo cc.

Look how finely they were splitting hairs! They were dead wrong, as we read Jesus’ excoriation of their sly practices. All the hairs matter.

But you see how we as humans excel at sinning and rationalizing our sin. We’re really, really good at it. “It wasn’t that bad.” “It wasn’t a real promise.” “No one keeps promises anymore.” “I’m not gossiping, I’m sharing a prayer request.” “It wasn’t as bad as that other guy’s sin over there.” “No one saw.”

All rationalizations are simply self-justifications. And there is only One who justifies, Jesus. Our pitiful attempts to justify ourselves when we sin are just evil blasphemies and vain delusions. When we transgress God’s laws, we injure ourselves and dig ourselves deeper into the pit we will eventually fall into. (Matthew 15:14)

As I go through the day I ask Jesus to show me where I am sinning but I’m rationalizing it away. Where I am too ignorant or blind to see my own sin. I ask Him to help me sin less against Him tomorrow than I did today, by the Spirit’s conviction and strength. I am not only the Chief of Sinners, I am Queen of Rationalizations! Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I pray mine and your walk grows purer with each day and each step. Paul was so wise to pray this for his people:

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, (Ephesians 1:18).

Lord open the eyes of my heart so I may see and repent of the sins that lurk there.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit. (Proverbs 16:2).

Your eyes are too pure to look upon sin but my eyes are too depraved to see holiness. I need Your eyes, Lord.

Episode 438: There is no such thing as an ex-Christian The End Time Blog Podcast

Apostasy, or falling away from the faith as Demas did, is subtle and borne on the wings of false doctrines. Don't entertain false doctrines, which leads to heresy and apostasy and eventually, atheism. If you are truly saved, nothing can snatch you from the hand of Jesus, but don't drift away. If you are unsure of your faith, test yourself to see if you are in it, and repent unto salvation. If you are saved, stay close to Jesus in these turbulent times. It's the only safe place to be. You do not want to be that baby gazelle lingering behind the pack that's moved on when there are lions roaming up and down upon the earth.
  1. Episode 438: There is no such thing as an ex-Christian
  2. Episode 437: Sexual sins are worse. Here’s why
  3. Episode 436: But…There are gay penguins, aren't there?
  4. Episode 435: They Fell Down
  5. Episode 434: Do you have any Grey Poupon? A Sailing Story
Posted in poetry, Uncategorized

Kay Cude Poetry: What Manner of Man is This?

Presented by Elizabeth Prata

Kay Cude poetry. Used with permission. Right-click to open photo in new window

Artist’s statement:

After finishing this piece, the more I read and reread Mark 4:37-41 and Colossians 1:16-18, the more I was overcome with tears. The Holy Spirit is so faithful to teach, especially at times when I am too busy “doing things” for Christ (in my own effort). How many more readings of these verses will it take for me to attentively remember that Christ’s continuing patience with me, my fears and my sometimes feeble faith is unbelievably profound and so very merciful?

How many times has Scripture told me, told all believers, to pay attention to Christ and His Word, and to not allow the storms of battering and fearful trials or heartaches overwhelm us? That He is sufficient; that He will enable us to glorify Him in our lives; that He will supply us with the appropriate words needed at perilous times of persecution and impending death? Or to remember that all things are under His authority and that He is preeminent and sovereign and that he will supply us the wisdom and endurance to continue on? Or that His Holy Spirit sustains us!

I am so thankful, so grateful, that He knows the hearts of His redeemed so intimately, and so very thankful that He rescued me!

Poetry is by Kay Cude
Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Heaven Week #3: Heaven won’t have time

By Elizabeth Prata

Missionary to Vanuatu in the late 1800s, John G. Paton, writing about the death of one of his first native converts in his book Thirty Years Among the South Sea Cannibals, said:

“While staying at Aneityum, I learned with as deep emotion as man ever felt for man, that noble old Abraham, the sharer of my Tannese trials, had during the interval peacefully fallen asleep in Jesus. He left for me his silver watch one which I had myself sent to the dear soul from Sydney, and which he greatly prized. In his dying hour he said, “Give it to Missi, my own Missi Paton; and tell him that I go to Jesus, where Time is dead.”

That converted cannibal had a real and profound grasp of his position in Christ. I have read many times that in heaven sin will be dead, tears will be dead, sorrow will be dead, but I never read anything put quite like that. In heaven, time is dead.

Continue reading “Heaven Week #3: Heaven won’t have time”
Posted in theology

Jesus is…

By Elizabeth Prata

Jesus is greater than Moses (Hebrews 3:3)

Jesus is greater than the temple (Matthew 12:6)

Jesus is greater than Jonah Matthew 12:41,42

Jesus is greater than Solomon (Matthew 12:42)

Job Says There Is No Arbitrator between God and Man

1Then Job answered, 2“In truth I know that this is so; But how can a man be in the right before God? 3“If one wished to dispute with Him, He could not answer Him once in a thousand times. 4“Wise in heart and mighty in strength, Who has defied Him without harm? 5“It is God who removes the mountains, they know not how, When He overturns them in His anger; 6Who shakes the earth out of its place, And its pillars tremble;

7Who commands the sun not to shine, And sets a seal upon the stars; 8Who alone stretches out the heavens And tramples down the waves of the sea; 9Who makes the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades, And the chambers of the south; 10Who does great things, unfathomable, And wondrous works without number. 11“Were He to pass by me, I would not see Him; Were He to move past me, I would not perceive Him. 12“Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’

13“God will not turn back His anger; Beneath Him crouch the helpers of Rahab. 14“How then can I answer Him, And choose my words before Him? 15“For though I were right, I could not answer; I would have to implore the mercy of my judge. 16“If I called and He answered me, I could not believe that He was listening to my voice. 17“For He bruises me with a tempest And multiplies my wounds without cause.

29“I am accounted wicked, Why then should I toil in vain? 30“If I should wash myself with snow And cleanse my hands with lye, 31Yet You would plunge me into the pit, And my own clothes would abhor me. 32“For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, That we may go to court together. 33“There is no umpire between us, Who may lay his hand upon us both.

34“Let Him remove His rod from me, And let not dread of Him terrify me. 35“Then I would speak and not fear Him; But I am not like that in myself.

Job keenly felt the gap between himself as sinner and God as holy. He knew there was an insurmountable chasm between him and the Holy One in heaven. How to overcome this? Job could see no way. He pleaded for an umpire to be the bridge between man and God.

Jesus is that umpire. He is our advocate before God and defender against satan. The cross is His bridge that lays one hand on our shoulder and the other on God’s. Take a moment today to reflect on Christ’s work on earth and in heaven. Think of His unfathomable love for us, He who lived on earth with sinners, died an excruciating death, and ascended in flesh to live in heaven as man-God forever. When Job passed into glory, he finally met his umpire, the Christ. We will too. What a day that will be.

Posted in theology

Please…you need to know Jesus

By Elizabeth Prata

The entire point of having social media, for me, is to point to Jesus. It’s an opportunity to get the scriptures into the public square, to show who Jesus is and why people need Him. Although this video is ultimately a promotion for the G3 Conference, most of this video explains who Jesus is and why we need Him. It is only 2:44 long. The video is very well done.

In his sermon The Heart of the Gospel, Charles Spurgeon opened with the following:

THE heart of the gospel is redemption, and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. They who preach this truth preach the gospel in whatever else they may be mistaken; but they who preach not the atonement, whatever else they declare, have missed the soul and substance of the divine message. In these days I feel bound to go over again the elementary truths of the Gospel. In peaceful times we may feel free to make excursions into interesting districts of truth which lie far afield; but now we must stay at home, and guard the hearths and homes of the church by defending the first principles of the faith. In this age there have risen up in the church itself men who speak perverse things. There be many that trouble us with their philosophies and novel interpretations, whereby they deny the doctrines they profess to teach, and undermine the faith they are pledged to maintain. It is well that some of us, who know what we believe, and have no secret meanings for our words, should just put our foot down and maintain our standing, holding forth the word of life, and plainly declaring the foundation truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Who is Christ? Here is the video-

Posted in theology

The Carpenter

By Elizabeth Prata

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of reading old books. I’d found out about a 1900s missionary William Borden, and in a biography Borden mentioned attending a sermon by Campbell Morgan. Curious about Morgan and the sermon that impacted this burgeoning missionary, I followed up. What I found was wonderful. I wrote about the evangelist Campbell Morgan yesterday, but today I’d like to share with you about the sermon he preached, one of hundreds I’m looking forward to learning about.

I think we’re all curious about Jesus in his “hidden years at Nazareth” as Morgan called them. We see much about the baby when he was born, and then when he was about two years old when the Magi worshiped him in the house. We see nothing else of Jesus until he was twelve and at the temple questioning the priests and listening to them. That was the incident when the caravan left Jerusalem to return to Nazareth but Jesus wasn’t among them. Joseph and Mary had to return and look for the boy. Then…nothing until he stepped foot in the Jordan at John the Baptist’s baptism of Him.

What was Jesus like in the in-between? In his sermon, Morgan said there were two verses from which we could glean much. The Hidden Years at Nazareth is based on his sermons from Mark 1:11 and 6:3, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”, and “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” we learn of man’s view and God’s view. Morgan said that the 18 years between Jesus entering manhood and seen questioning the elders at the temple, and his step into public ministry at the baptism are the hidden years, but that we have much to learn from the silence and the one or two Bible verses about it.

We think of the triumph of the cross but that would not have been a triumph if Jesus had sinned along the way. With Easter just passed we rightly focused on the cross, but we often gloss over the import of the part where we say “He lived a sinless life.”

Morgan wrote: “Let us, then, try and see Him in those eighteen hidden years. The two verses that I have read are the only two that give us any definite or detailed account of what Jesus was doing from the time He was twelve until He was about thirty. Take the two statements and fix them on your minds for a moment: “Thou art My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  “Is not this the carpenter?”  These two passages supply the story of the eighteen years. Jesus was a carpenter pleasing God.” end Morgan quote.

Jesus was baptized, overcame the temptation in the wilderness, then returned and ascended the teaching seat in the synagogue and read from Isaiah. The men assembled in that solemn Sabbath day said, “Is this not the carpenter?”

As Jesus stood between the dividing line of his hidden life and his public ministry, God spoke from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Was God’s pleasure in Jesus on the cross? It was yet to be. Was it of his temptation in the wilderness? That was still to happen. Morgan makes the case that what God was pleased with was Jesus’ daily life in common work- as a carpenter.

Campbell Morgan again: “For the greater part, then, of the life of Jesus, He worked with His own hands for His own living. That brings the Son of God, in living, pulsating life, close to every man who works. The man Jesus rose at daybreak, and, picking up His tools, made yokes and tables in order that He might have something to eat, and that, not for a brief period, but for eighteen years. He was an apprentice boy, a young man improving His craft, a master in His little shop with the shavings round Him and the tools about Him.”

Picture this scene in Nazareth 2000 years ago. Note that the men in the synagogue said is this not THE carpenter? It was not likely that a small town such as Nazareth would have had more than one carpenter. Jesus was THE single carpenter, toiling in this manual labor daily.

“Sometimes we have overshadowed the carpenter’s shop with Calvary’s cross. We have no right to do it. We have come to forget the fidelity of the Son of God in the little details of life as we have gazed upon His magnificent triumphs in the places of passion and conflict.” ~Campbell Morgan

It means that for all those 18 years between 12 and 30, Jesus never once did “shoddy work.” It was always his best work for the customer. He never once became impatient with a customer. He never cut a corner. He was never late with an order.

Morgan said in addition to His common work, Jesus was perfect in his relations with his community. “In the second place, the divine approval meant that the influence of the life had been pure and bright and good. You all know the effect of influence. What sort of influence has He exerted? Pure and strong! But he would have lived a bright, strong, glad life before Him, for no life ever touched the life of the Son of God but was the brighter and purer and stronger for the contact; and so, when the years of the carpenter’s shop are over, God sets His seal of approval upon them, first, because the work has been well done; and secondly, because the influence of the life has been true and right and noble.”

It was Jesus’s delight to do the will of His Father, and for those 18 years the will of God was for Jesus to labor in obscurity in the carpenter’s shop…to live a perfect life, and to produce good goods, be pure in heart, and honorable to all. Why? Why not incarnate and go right to the cross? No! It was the daily accumulation of the steps toward that pinnacle that Jesus must tread. He had his foot on the neck of every sin, every day, as he toiled.

Morgan: “Let me put it superlatively, and say, Calvary’s cross would have been nothing but the tragic ending of a mistaken life, it had not been for the carpenter’s shop! In that carpenter’s shop He fought my battles. My hardest fight is never fought when there is a crowd to applaud or oppose, but when I am alone. There was necessity for it, and because of Nazareth’s shop there came Gethsemane’s garden and Calvary’s cross, and so, abiding in the will of God, by victory upon victory, He won His final triumph, and so opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. The carpenter’s shop made Calvary not a battle-field merely, but a day of triumph that lit heaven and earth with hope.”

Let us not dare to think our work in the common hours is meaningless. Our tentmaking jobs, the jobs in which God is pleased to serve us as His will, are the steps t the place of triumph. Stay at home mothers, for you, as well, the daily grind of overcoming temptation to impatience, to sloth, to shoddy work, are the jewels in the crown that Jesus shares with you.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15). Does this verse now have more meaning as we picture Jesus in his carpenter shop, toiling daily for years upon years, living the grind of life, step by step climbing over the temptations as he exudes purity and honor among all who see Him? It pleased God to station us as cleaners, plumbers, manufacturers, stay at home mothers, God having served up to us a daily toil in obscurity where we meet life with honor and purity and overcoming temptations. Let us be walking daily toward our reward in heaven, living the common life in our toil, toward the Carpenter who will receive us with the words that show He, also, is pleased with us.

Further Reading

Christian Tentmaking

Campbell Morgan’s Hidden Life at Nazareth, a .pdf

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

The Babe

By Elizabeth Prata

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

Think of Jesus, divesting Himself of His majesty agreeing to become flesh. To incarnate. He lowered himself from His throne as King of all the universe, to be born as helpless babe, in poverty, in obscurity. He didn’t come as a boy, able to run away from danger or to feed and manage for himself. He didn’t come as a man, able to protect himself from dangers all around. He came as a newborn baby. Totally helpless. Total reliance on others.

Continue reading “The Babe”
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Advent- Thirty Days of Jesus: Day 24, His omniscience

By Elizabeth Prata

This section of verses that show Jesus’ life are focused on His earthly ministry &attributes. We’ve seen Him as servant, teacher, shepherd, intercessor, and healer.

Now we look at His attributes. Today- omniscience.

thirty days of Jesus day 24 Definition of omniscience

GotQuestions: What does it mean that Jesus is omniscient? If Jesus is God, then why did He not know the time of His return?


Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

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

Posted in theology

What does “Dayspring” mean?

By Elizabeth Prata

During this Christmas season you might sing the old hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” The hymn is thought to have originated in the 1100s! The 1861 translation of this ancient hymn from the Latin contains the verse about a Dayspring.

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

Continue reading “What does “Dayspring” mean?”