Posted in theology

We have communion with the Father!

By Elizabeth Prata

John Owen wrote the following. Today is Sunday, the Lord’s Day. Please take a moment to contemplate the wonder of our being able to commune with the Father, in fellowship, love, and knowledge. Before we were saved, no such opportunity existed. No Light was in us. No possibility of peace. Yet, God loved us so He sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sin. Jesus died on the cross, was laid in the tomb, but no tomb could hold him and His Holy One did not see decay! He rose again, ascended to His Father, now our Father. We could not have designed a more perfect method for gathering a redeemed people to Him. God is sovereign, loving, and holy. He is pure and perfect. Worship Him today in truth and light.


BY John Owen 1657

Since sin entered the world, no man has had communion with God because of his sinful nature.
He is light; we are darkness; and what communion has light with darkness? (2Cor. 6:14). He is
life; we are dead. He is love; we are enmity. What agreement can there be between us? Men in
such a condition have neither Christ, nor hope, nor God in the world, Eph. 2:12. “Being alienated
from the life of God through their ignorance,” chap. 4:18. Now, two cannot walk together unless
they are agreed, Amos 3:3. So, while this distance between God and man exists, they cannot
walk together in fellowship or communion. Our first interest in God was so lost by sin, that no
recovery remained in ourselves. We deprived ourselves of all power to return to him. And God
had not revealed that there was any way to regain access to him. Nor did he reveal that sinners
could approach him in peace for any reason. Nothing that God made, and no attribute that he
revealed, provided the least hint of such a possibility.

The manifestation of God’s grace and pardoning mercy is the only door we have to such
communion. It is committed only to the one who atoned. He is the one in whom it is evidenced.
He is the one by whom grace and mercy was purchased. He is the one through whom it is
dispensed, and from whom it is revealed from the heart of the Father.

But in Christ we now have boldness and confident access to God, Eph. 3:12. The saints of old
were not familiar with this. This distance from God is removed by Jesus Christ alone. He has
consecrated a new and living way for us “through the veil, that is, his flesh,” Heb. 10:20. The old
way is sealed. “Through him we have access by one Spirit to the Father,” Eph. 2:18.”

John Owen. Source of illustration- Wikipedia

From Wikipedia:

John Owen
Born 1616, Stadhampton, Oxfordshire, England
Died August 1683 (aged 66–67)
Ealing, Middlesex
Occupation(s): Theologian, pastor, academic administrator
Notable work: Communion with God, The Mortification of Sin, The Divine Power of the Gospel, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ
Spouse: Mary Rooke
Era: 17th century
Tradition or movement: Nonconformist Puritan Reformed Theology

Posted in theology

The Lord took the lowest of the low and turned their words into the highest of the high – 3 Conversion stories

By Elizabeth Prata

Do you feel like you want to make an impact for the Kingdom, but you’re insignificant and what you’re doing amounts to nothing? Do you feel like the glories you share about Christ fall on deaf ears, passed over and powerless?

When we love Christ, we do our best to proclaim Him in whatever way the Lord gives us to do so, and as much as we can. But the Christian walk oftentimes is one of plodding, and as we tread through the days on our calendar, sometimes we might feel like though our hearts burst with love and dedication, our sphere is too small to make any difference at all. We are not a mighty redwood, but a small ant.

Continue reading “The Lord took the lowest of the low and turned their words into the highest of the high – 3 Conversion stories”
Posted in poetry, theology

Kay Cude Poetry: Be Killing Sin or it Be Killing You

I recommend John Owen’s works. Admittedly, his writing is dense and difficult, being 350 years old. However, there are many helps available to aid understanding of his writing, many notes and modern language updates. Here is one from Meet the Puritans. It is very much worth it to pursue a study of Owen’s monumental books.

Here is Texas Poet Kay Cude with her thoughts sprung from Owen’s work Mortification of Sin. Used with permission. Right-click to open larger in new tab.

Posted in poetry, theology

Kay Cude Poetry: Be Killing Sin or it Be Killing You

I recommend John Owen’s works. Admittedly, his writing is dense and difficult, being 350 years old. However, there are many helps available to aid understanding of his writing, many notes and modern language updates. Here is one from Meet the Puritans. It is very much worth it to pursue a study of Owen’s monumental books.

Here is Texas Poet Kay Cude with her thoughts sprung from Owen’s work Mortification of Sin. Used with permission. Right-click to open larger in new tab

Posted in theology

How’s your prayer life?

By Elizabeth Prata

We always pray for the weak and the hurting. That is good. But please also pray for the strong, whom the weak lean on and don’t usually ask to be prayed for. As more people hurt, more people go to the strong. In other words, let’s all pray for each other.

I finished my Institute for Church Leaders course on the Practice of Prayer. It was excellent, so excellent! The ICL is online and part of The Master’s Seminary. Anyone can take classes, or take a certificate track (usually of 4 classes). The classes run $70 but at the end you take a survey and usually they give you $25 off the next one. Some classes are free. Other times they run a half-off sale. It is not financially burdensome to take any ICL course!

The idea is to help pastors raise up men for leadership, or lay-people interested in strengthening their walk. My prayer course was with Brad Klassen and was rich with truth and wonderful insights.

My next class I’m taking in the Christian Living Track for a certificate, will be Biblical Manhood and Womanhood taught by John Street.

Here are a few thoughts on Prayer. Even with all the joy I felt while learning these things, and the wonder of our opportunity to commune with the Triune God, and the conviction I felt that I don’t pray enough, I still don’t pray enough! But I want to be better.

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” (Ephesians 6:18).

What does prayer do? So MUCH. But here are a few:

It effects forgiveness and cleanses the conscience.

Prayer promotes holiness and mortifies sin.

Prayer taps God’s strength to meet daily needs.

Prayer gives opportunity to experience God’s goodness. (Gulp, this one really convicted me.)

JI Packer used to say, “The best way to diagnose one’s spiritual condition is to ask, ‘How’s your prayer life?'”

Prayer is not:

  • a wish
  • magic that “releases” God
  • mystical meditation
  • positive confession
  • self-help
  • a way to receive revelation

The impulse to pray is innate in humans and only in humans. We were created to have communion with God on a personal level. What a gift! What an opportunity!

We pray in gratitude for this great salvation, for a very present help in times of need, for our future with God… Prayers of gratitude in the Bible are–

2 Samuel 22:47-51, “The Lord lives, and blessed be my Rock; And exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation, 48 The God who executes vengeance for me, And brings down peoples under me, 49 Who also brings me out from my enemies; You also raise me above those who rise up against me; You rescue me from the violent person. 50 Therefore I will give thanks to You, Lord, among the nations, And I will sing praises to Your name. 51 He is a tower of salvation to His king, And shows favor to His anointed, To David and his descendants forever.”

Daniel 2:23, To You, God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, For You have given me wisdom and power; Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You, For You have made known to us the king’s matter.

Psalm 7:17, I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

Psalm 9:1, I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.

Romans 1:8, First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the world.

1 Corinthians 1:4, I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 1:15-16, For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;

I think I’ll end this here, so that I can go…pray!

Posted in theology

The only way to deal with sin is to mortify it

By Elizabeth Prata

Reading through 1 and 2 Kings is tough. The same patterns are shown, the sinful kings who did right, only … It’s like saying you’re sorry, but. Over and over we read the same refrain,

Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah became king…He did right in the sight of the LORD, yet not like David his father; he did according to all that Joash his father had done. Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. (2 Kings 14:1b, 2-4)

Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah became king. … He did right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. (2 Kings 15:1b, 3-4)

In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel, Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah became king. He did what was right in the sight of the LORD; he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done. Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. (2 Kings 15:32, 34-35).

We cannot let any part of sin remain. Remember when God told Saul to slay all the Amalekites, down to the last man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel, and donkey? But Saul disobeyed and let king Agag live, plus the better animals. (1 Samuel 15).*

Remember when God told Solomon to stay true to worship and not intermarry with foreign women, because they will lead him astray? Solomon didn’t listen. He didn’t stop at one foreign wife, either. He took 1000.

So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done. (1 Kings 11:6).

We can’t play with sin. We can’t pet sin. We can’t tolerate sin. We have to put sin to death. Completely.  Remember when God told Cain that sin was crouching at the door, wanting to have you? “But you must master it.” (Genesis 4:11).

John Owen is helpful here. His book “The Mortification of Sin in Believers” is all about the rules for and the activity of killing sin in our selves and through that process, not to have peace with the world, a great concern of Owen’s.

Do you mortify? Do you make it your daily work? Be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you. ~John Owen

Here is a Cliff’s Notes on Owen’s work, from an essay at Meet The PuritansThe entire article is good, I encourage you to read it.

Principles of Mortification
Mortification is the duty of all believers (Col. 3:5; 2)
Mortification Is by the Spirit
Mortification Is of Great Benefit

Explanation of Mortification
What Mortification Is Not
What Mortification Is

Rules of Mortification
Only Believers Can Mortify Sin
The Only Goal Must be Universal Mortification:

“He who truly and thoroughly seeks to mortify any disquieting lust, must be equally diligent in all parts of obedience” (53). We make a mistake if we think we can only fight against the few sins that trouble our conscience. ~John Owen

Owen is careful to note that we can never eradicate sin from our heart, mind, and soul completely in this life. Yet it is the wholehearted pursuit of its mortification (putting to death) that is the goal. David pursued sin when he pursued Bathsheba. Solomon pursued sin when he married 1000 foreign wives. Saul pursued sin when he failed to obey to the letter. The Kings of Judah and Israel pursued sin when they did right in the eyes of the LORD, and here’s that dreaded word…”only they did not…” They did right, only… They did right, but… There can be no buts about it.

We cannot let a little sin remain, or pursue righteousness and ignore the dark corner in our heart over there. We can’t deceive ourselves into thinking that just because we’ve done good over here, that the little disobedience over there will go unremarked.

Sin wants you. No matter how small it is, it will grow and master you. We see that endlessly through the books of the Kings (And Judges. And the whole Bible). Sin’s tentacles will creep and grow and strangle. Then those tentacles will drag you and encircle you and lead you where you do not want to go but you will go. So we must master it. Don’t let there be an ‘only’ in your life.

Prata Corner Graceful Garlands 1 Slay sin

On the Agag issue:

*It’s hard to reconcile the loving God with the wrathful God when we read passages like the one where God told Saul to kill all the men, women, and children. Here is an explanation.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

Now go and smite Amalek,…. This was one of the three things the Israelites were obliged to do when they came into the land of Canaan, as Kimchi observes; one was, to appoint a king over them, another, to build the house of the sanctuary, and the third, to blot out the name and memory of Amalek, see Deuteronomy 25:19 and this work was reserved for Saul, their first king:
and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; all were to be devoted to destruction, and nothing remain to be made use of in any way, to any profit and advantage; living creatures were to be put to death, and everything else burnt and destroyed:

but slay both men and women, infant and suckling; neither sex nor age were to be regarded, no mercy and pity shown to any; they had shown none to Israel when weak and feeble, and by the law of retaliation none was to be exercised on them:

ox and sheep, camel and ass; though useful creatures, yet not to be spared; as not men, women, and children, through commiseration, so neither these through covetousness, and neither of them on any pretence whatsoever. Children suffered for their parents, and cattle because of their owners, and both were a punishment to their proprietors; an ox, or any other creature, might not be spared, lest it should be said, as Kimchi observes, this was the spoil of Amalek, and so the name and memory of Amalek would not be blotted out.

Posted in poetry, theology

Kay Cude Poetry: Be Killing Sin or it Be Killing You

I recommend John Owen’s works. Admittedly, his writing is dense and difficult, being 350 years old. However, there are many helps available to aid understanding of his writing, many notes and modern language updates. Here is one from Meet the Puritans. It is very much worth it to pursue a study of Owen’s monumental books.

Here is Texas Poet Kay Cude with her thoughts sprung from Owen’s work Mortification of Sin. Used with permission.

kay cude mortification.jpg



Posted in theology

Indwelling sin and beaver dams

By Elizabeth Prata

John Owen’s treatise on indwelling sin is a devastating look at our internal selves, both regenerate and unregenerate. It’s devastating because he draws out the reality of our sin, something, to be honest, most of us would rather just glance at then away, than study for any length of time.

It’s worth it though.

Owen uses the picture of ‘streams’ in several ways when describing sin or grace. Either way, when he uses the word-picture, it’s potent. In his last three chapters, which I believe to be his best, Owen remarks about the situation for the Christian why he at first was fervent but then as time goes on loses his oomph so to speak. Here are a few excerpts.

Decays in degrees of grace caused by indwelling sin

Upon the first conversion and calling of sinners unto God and Christ, they have usually many fresh springs breaking forth in their souls and refreshing showers coming upon them, which bear them up to a high rate of faith, love, holiness, fruitfulness, and obedience; as upon a land-flood, when many lesser streams run into a river, it swells over its bounds, and rolls on with a more than ordinary fulness. Now, if these springs be not kept open, if they prevail not for the continuance of these showers, they must needs decay and go backwards.

What would cause the springs to decay and go backwards?

Some great sin lying long in the heart and conscience unrepented of, or not repented of as it ought,

Neglect your great sin at your peril.

If it be neglected, it certainly hardens the heart, weakens spiritual strength, enfeebles the soul, discouraging it unto all communion with God, and is a notable principle of a general decay. … His present distemper was not so much from his sin as his folly, — not so much from the wounds he had received as from his neglect to make a timely application for their cure.

Back to the streams-

But now, if the utmost diligence and carefulness be not used to improve and grow in this wisdom, to keep up this frame, indwelling sin, working by the vanity of the minds of men, will insensibly bring them to content themselves with slight and rare thoughts of these things, without a diligent, sedulous endeavour to give them their due improvement upon the soul.

As men decay herein, so will they assuredly decay and decline in the power of holiness and close walking with God. The springs being stopped or tainted, the streams will not run so swiftly, at least not so sweetly, as formerly.

Some, by this means, under an uninterrupted profession, insensibly wither almost into nothing. They talk of religion and spiritual things as much as ever they did in their lives, and perform duties with as much constancy as ever they did; but yet they have poor, lean, starving souls, as to any real and effectual communion with God. By the power and subtlety of indwelling sin they have grown formal, and learned to deal about spiritual things in an overly manner; whereby they have lost all their life, vigour, savour, and efficacy towards them. Be always serious in spiritual things if ever you intend to be bettered by them.

As I was reading this wonderful book, I thought of the Christian’s failure t repent and keep his streams flowing afresh, of a beaver building a dam.

The power of the Holy Spirit allows us to resist sin, but we fail to make as much use of Him and His power as we might. Add onto that, our choice to sin, we pile it on and pile it on,m as logs onto a fire. Or as a beaver onto a dam. Soon the streams of grace are hindered, diverted, tainted, and we wither and dry.

Watch this beaver for a couple of minutes and see the lengths we go to indulge our sin and the decays it causes the streams of grace.


Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Killing sin, Kay Cude poetry, and John Owen

Killing sin in ourselves is a tricky and delicate operation. How to slice marrow from bone without damaging the bone? The Holy Spirit is in us and He is the glory and purity we need, but surrounding Him inside us is all our depravity. We are so dark inside that often, we can’t even see our sin!

Puritan John Owen wrote a monumental book addressing this very issue. It’s called The Mortification of Sin. (1656). Mortification means, “The action of subduing one’s bodily desires.”

Owen wrote another monumental book called The Nature, Power, Deceit & Prevalency of Indwelling Sin In Believers. (1675). They are scriptural, convicting, towering books of the faith. They are also dense, difficult, and full of antiquated language. Sadly, for many people these books aren’t read, because they are just too difficult.

But they need to be read. To that end, Kris Lundgaard wrote a book called The Enemy Within. He said that reading Owen was difficult but he stuck with it. He said he benefited greatly from Owen’s treatment of sin in us, our sin nature and the Christian’s duty to slay it. He knew though, that the many Christians would likely not read Owen, of if s/he started, would probably give up. It’s a slog. (I can testify to that, I tried to read Mortification of Sin and stopped).

Fervently believing that the important treatment of killing sin in ourselves, principles Owen had outlined in his book, should be available to the widest audience, Lundgaard wrote a sort of Cliff’s Notes to the Owen book on Indwelling Sin. It’s an adaptation of Owen’s work, modernized and synopsized. Hence his title, The Enemy Within. This and other books by Lundgaard are –

adaptations of works by English Puritan John Owen [1616-1683]. Someone has suggested these books should be subtitled: “John Owen for Dummies” (not to be confused with John Owen’s original works that simply make most of us feel like dummies).

I had to read with a dictionary in one hand and Owen in the other, and until I got the hang of his style I had to read many sentences several times over. But the value of Owen had been undersold: I was underlining more than half of every page. In his works on Temptation, Indwelling Sin, and Mortification, my heart was being laid bare. How did he know me so well?

But he didn’t just cut me up and leave me to pick up the pieces. He offered help, strong medicine—lots of strong medicine. And by God’s grace things began to change for me. I’ll always be grateful to Owen for that—I hope to tell him so when I see him.

Owen’s ability to exegete my heart overwhelms me. He exposes my flesh’s defense strategies, which leaves me vulnerable—vulnerable to the gospel. He doesn’t just tear down; he builds up. And he helps me to see Christ more clearly, so that I may adore him more fully. Lundgaard in an interview with Tony Reinke

I have read half Lundgaard’s book. I’m 6 1/2 chapters into a 13 chapter book. It’s highly readable, and it’s helpful. It actually makes me want to read Owen! I’ve got both of Owen’s books queued up at Amazon for purchase. Killing sin in ourselves, an essential subject.

Meanwhile, my friend and poet Kay Cude had sent me her latest piece. She didn’t know I was reading The Enemy Within. The topic of her poem is about indwelling sin. How perfectly providential! She wrote,

A “take heed” to my fellow beloved redeemed in Christ from my personal experience of walking in the flesh and being caught in its snare. The immediate results were heart-wrenching and slammed me to my knees. And that is good place from where to repent and examine myself as I look up into the face of the forgiveness and mercy of God.

I was quite taken by her poem. This is a wonderful piece of poetry inspired by scripture reading and life application. Please take a moment to bask in this quality work. There are further resources at the bottom of the picture.


Kill your sin, or it be killing you.