Posted in encouragement, theology

How to hear God’s voice 100% of the time

By Elizabeth Prata

With all this darkness in the world and around us, where is the light? In Jesus! He is ALWAYS there, present and a very real help to us! His burden is easy and His yoke is light. But we must stay close to Him, and not drift away.

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. (Hebrews 2:1)

How do we not drift? Chris Rosebrough answered this way:

HOW TO HEAR GOD’S VOICE 100% OF THE TIME

Are you struggling to figure out if those whispers that your pastor has told you to listen for are really God’s voice or a case of gastrointestinal hallucinations caused by a bad batch of pepperoni pizza?

 

Are you tired of going through the whole rigamarole of filtering those voices in your head through a six point ‘discernment grid’ to try to ascertain if that’s the Holy Spirit speaking to you or proof that you need to make an appointment with a shrink?
Have you read and reread Blackaby and still haven’t got the foggiest notion as to how to tell where God is working in the world so that you can join Him?

If you’ve answered yes to one or all of these questions then I’ve got great news for you! I have discovered a simple and sure fire way for you to hear God’s voice. The best part is that its 100% guaranteed and totally Biblical.

Here it is.

1. Acquire a Bible. If you do not have a Bible then you can read it for free on the internet at BibleGateway.org. I recommend the English Standard Version for both readability and translational accuracy.

2. Open the Bible.

3. Begin reading it. Read it with your mind engaged. Pay close attention to grammar and context. Take notes. Set a goal to read 3 to 10 chapters per day.

That’s it. If you do those three things then you will be hearing God’s voice every single time that you open the Bible. No guess work, no need for six point ‘discernment filters’ and no nagging uncertainty about whether your hearing God’s voice or something else.
How can I be so sure and certain that this works?

I’m glad you asked. One day, while I was reading my Bible I read 2 Timothy 3:16–17. Here’s what it says: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

Let’s break this down.

1. This passage says ALL scripture is God breathed. That means that God, The Holy-Spirit, personally inspired every one of the Biblical authors. In other words, you can know with certainty that every word of scripture contains God’s thoughts and when you’re reading the Bible you’re hearing God’s voice.

2. This passage says that the man of God would be COMPLETE through the reading, learning, knowing and applying of scripture. Notice that this verse doesn’t say that the man of God would be incomplete through his reading of scripture and that he’d need to augment the scriptures through whispers, subjective feelings, internal voices, direct revelation, dreams or visions. No!

It literally says that the man of God would be COMPLETE. The Greek word that is used here is ἄρτιος and it means “complete and/or fully qualified”. There is nothing else needed for the man of God. The scriptures are totally sufficient.

3. If point two wasn’t clear enough, 2 Timothy 3:17 drives the point home by stating that through the written word of God the man of God is equipped for EVERY good work.

There are no good works that God would have you do that would require you to rely on anything other than His word to make you complete and fully equipped for the task. The Bible is sufficient to make you complete and fully equipped for every good work. You don’t need whispers.You don’t need dreams. You don’t need visions. You don’t need trances. You don’t need a glory cloud. You don’t need to figure out how to ‘experience God’. You don’t need contemplative mysticism. All you need is the written word of God. The Bible is sufficient to make you complete and fully equipped for every good work and because every word of scripture is God breathed, you can know with confidence that you’re hearing the voice of God.You may be asking yourself if it could truly be that simple.Yes, it really is that simple!”

It is not only simple, it is necessary. Because the stronger we are, the more we can help those who speak of suicide, the more we can be a help to those who are stumbling, the brighter we can be to those who have no hope, or who just need encouragement. Jesus is THE HOPE.

The ladies of our church are working through a Bible Reading Plan called #KeepTheFeast. You read a few chapters from the Old Testament and a few from the New Testament each day. It’s demanding but worth it. What could be better than feasting on the bread of life? Plus, I need it. I am a terrible sinner, prone to wander.

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:13)

The Holy Spirit is clear in His inspiration, so the Bible is not rocket science. We don’t need to hear Him on a prayer rug while magically reciting the Prayer of Jabez. We don’t need to empty our minds so we can listen to whispers. Whispers can lead to desperation and drifting away! We don’t need those things because, you know what? Once we are in Jesus, inside the Lighthouse, The Spirit illuminates the lighthouse and shows us the way with His light!

lighthouse east quoddy canada

Posted in prophecy, theology

When is the only time people like the dark?

By Elizabeth Prata

My favorite verses. They have been since I was converted in 2004 and remain so to this day. I like the language of the KJV.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1:1-5).

We like the light. When we enter a dark room, what’s the first thing we do? Reach for the light. If a town or city-wide blackout occurs, it’s an emergency. Standing watch in a ship sailing through the inky night, we breathe a sigh of relief when sunrise peeks over the horizon. Bright kitchens sell houses. There is even an interior design job called lighting planner, to help illuminate the home in functional and beautiful ways.

“Ahhh, the light! It’s so much better!” Let’s get a little light on the subject!” we say.

I think everyone would agree with these statements. Everyone loves light; sunlight, tanning bed light, lamp light, candlelight.

Except the lost. They like the darkness.

I switched from speaking literally to speaking metaphorically. Lost folks do not know they are in the dark.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:19).

But they sort of do know they are in the dark. Does anyone sit at an internet cafe with their tablet or laptop to watch porn? Do they beat their wives in the restaurant? Do they brazenly steal office supplies in front of everyone? No. Those sins are done in the dark. They love their sins.

While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. (John 12:36).

Reach for the Light! Seek the Bright glory of Jesus! Those who prefer the dark will be given outer darkness forever, for the future of those who prefer the dark is to be cast into outer darkness forever!

Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 22:13).

lightdark

Posted in theology, word of the week

Sunday Word of the Week: Light

By Elizabeth Prata

The thread of Christianity depends on a unity from one generation to the next of mutual understanding of our important words. Hence the Word of the Week.

This is a repost from September 2018

8341e-word2bcloud

Normally I write about a little-used word but one that we as believers need to know (and use in our vocabulary). I’ve written about aseity, omnipotence, and justification, for example. But this week’s word will be Light.

It seems like it is an easy word, and it is, but as with all things in the Bible, there are layers of meaning.

The word Light is used in the Bible in several different ways. There is created light, as when God said “Let there be light”…and He separated the light from the dark. This is literal. There is miraculous light, as in the glory light of Jesus when He transfigured. And there is figurative/symbolic Light, as in the Word is a light or when we are ‘in the light’ as opposed to those sinners who are ‘in darkness’, or ‘don’t hide your light under a bushel’.

Once you see the different ways the word light is used you can’t unsee it, nor would you want to, lol.

In the ATS Bible Dictionary, we read,

One of the most wonderful, cheering, and useful of all the works of God; called into being on the first of the six days of creation, by his voice: “Let there be light;” and there was light. No object better illustrates whatever is pure, glorious, spiritual, joyful, and beneficent. Hence the beauty and force of the expressions, “God is light,” 1 John 1:5, and “the Father of lights,” James 1:17; Christ is the “Sun of righteousness,” and “the light of the world,” John 1:9 8:12. So also the word of God is “a light,” Psalm 119:105; truth and Christians are lights, John 3:19 12:36; prosperity is “light,” Esther 8:16; and heaven is full of light, Revelation 21:23-25. The opposite of all these is “darkness.”

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia explains

The word “light” is Divinely rich in its comprehensiveness and meaning. Its material splendor is used throughout the Scriptures as the symbol and synonym of all that is luminous and radiant in the mental, moral and spiritual life of men and angels; while the eternal God, because of His holiness and moral perfection, is pictured as “dwelling in light unapproachable” (1 Timothy 6:16). Every phase of the word, from the original light in the natural world to the spiritual glory of the celestial, is found in Holy Writ.

The ISBE even goes on to further separate the different concepts of Light into Natural Light, Artificial Light, Miraculous Light, Mental, Moral, Spiritual Light; and explores its symbolism, expressive terms, and more. Check it out!

We first read the word light in Genesis 1:3 and the Bible closes with it in Revelation 22:5. Light. It’s such a simple word, but such a complex theme.

light 1 sunday

Further Resources:

Q&A: What Does it Mean that God is Light?

Devotional: Walk in the Light

Study: Light and Darkness

Blog post: Light of the World

Posted in theology

Light is the cause of beauty

By Elizabeth Prata

In the beginning…what was the first thing recorded that God ‘saw’?

Light.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the watersAnd God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.(Genesis 1:1-3).

What was the first thing recorded that God said?

Light.

In my Spurgeon morning devotional, Spurgeon wrote that “Light is the cause of beauty.” Isn’t it funny when a seemingly simple phrase sends you off on a direction of deep pondering.

Light and beauty are companions. Beauty might exist, but it cannot be seen and appreciated until there is light.

God didn’t have to make the world beautiful, but He did. But if it was dark, we would never know.

In photography, there is the Golden Hour. It’s when the sun has slid down the sky to an angle where its rays that touch all things turn them gold. It happens the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. The light is special then, bathing the world in a gentle blanket of golden light.

During the Renaissance the artists discovered ways to play with light, shadow, and dark. It’s called chiaroscuro (clear-dark).

Chiaroscuro in art, is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition. The underlying principle is that solidity of form is best achieved by the light falling against it. Artists known for developing the technique include Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio and Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Goya. It is a mainstay of black and white and low-key photography. (Wikipedia)

The Renaissance painter Caravaggio is known for his mastery of the play of dark against light. Here is his Annunciation (1608):

We all know we can’t really have beauty if there is no light, but I had not thought about how light is the cause of beauty, as Spurgeon wrote.

The root of all this is of course Jesus. He IS the Light. (John 8:12). We cannot have anything, including beauty, unless it was made by Him, and for Him, and through Him. (1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16).

If we say “Light is the cause of beauty” then we might as well say “Jesus is the cause of beauty”, then we might as well say “Jesus IS beauty”. Since He is the root of all things, the cause of all things, and the sustainer of all things, He is light and beauty itself.

His Light will soon, on that blessed day, be the only Light.

And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5).

Imagine a world where it’s is always the Golden Hour, everything is always beautiful, and we can always gaze upon the root and cause of it all: Jesus.

Light is the cause of beauty.

Posted in encouragement, theology

Panting after more light

By Elizabeth Prata

light
A little light

We’ve all got our favorite metaphors from the Bible and mine’s the “light”. Just before I was converted, I first understood sin and redemption as concepts of darkness and light. Afterward, I loved the idea of Jesus as the Light, his glory brightness, and the glittering heaven where His light is shining forever.

As I lived aboard a sailboat for two years (pre-conversion era) there are now many metaphors that I gravitate to through that life experience that I cherish. Like lighthouses, anchors, the storms of life, waves buffeting, etc. But especially the lighthouse with the light!

Yesterday I read the following in the Valley of Vision, the Puritan devotional prayers (Ladies, get this book! I mean it!!)

Let not “Satan and my natural abilities content me with a little light, so that I seek no further for the Spirit of life. Teach me what to do.” ~Valley of Vision, God the Spirit

How often are we content with ‘a little light’? Half the time I think I’m content with it because I have allowed my eyes to adjust to the dimness and that has become my comfortable status quo. And how I do love the status quo. The other half of the time I think it’s because if I allow full-blast Light into my life it’d expose too many idols, sins, and pet behaviors I don’t want exposed. It’s a brave thing to ask for “more light”. I need to be braver.

Then a short while later I read this-

Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law.
Psalm 119:18

Open mine eyes – David was not blind, his eye was not dim. He could read the Bible from end to end, and yet felt that he needed more light. He felt that he needed to see deeper, to have the eyes of his understanding opened. He felt that if he had nothing but his own eyes and natural understanding, he would not discover the wonders that he panted to see. He wanted Divine teaching, the eye-salve of the Spirit, and therefore he would not open the Bible without this prayer, ‘Open Thou mine eyes! ~Robert Murray M’Cheyne, The Believer’s Joy

Not content with a little light, David yearned for and even begged for more light. It is the Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to receive more Light (i.e more understanding of who God is through His word). David was a grievous sinner as we know, but he repented fully and threw himself upon the throne of grace asking for forgiveness and as we see here, understanding. This is why he was a man after God’s own heart.

More light also means more love. As we grow in understanding of who God is, we love Him more. Doctrine inspires love for the one who wrote it as we strive to live it.

More light also means, gulp, more obedience. As we grow in understanding of who God is, we love Him more and we want to obey him more- because of who He is.

It’s a brave thing to ask for more Light. Do I have such courage? I must. And even if I don’t, I must.

sunshine beams in yard
More light
Posted in theology, word of the week

Sunday Word of the Week: Light

By Elizabeth Prata

The thread of Christianity depends on a unity from one generation to the next of mutual understanding of our important words. Hence the Word of the Week.

8341e-word2bcloud

Normally I write about a little-used word but one that we as believers need to know (and use in our vocabulary). I’ve written about aseity, omnipotence, and justification, for example. But this week’s word will be Light.

It seems like it is an easy word, and it is, but as with all things in the Bible, there are layers of meaning.

The word Light is used in the Bible in several different ways. There is created light, as when God said “Let there be light”…and He separated the light from the dark. This is literal. There is miraculous light, as in the glory light of Jesus when He transfigured. And there is figurative/symbolic Light, as in the Word is a light or when we are ‘in the light’ as opposed to those sinners who are ‘in darkness’, or ‘don’t hide your light under a bushel’.

Once you see the different ways the word light is used you can’t unsee it, nor would you want to, lol.

In the ATS Bible Dictionary, we read,

One of the most wonderful, cheering, and useful of all the works of God; called into being on the first of the six days of creation, by his voice: “Let there be light;” and there was light. No object better illustrates whatever is pure, glorious, spiritual, joyful, and beneficent. Hence the beauty and force of the expressions, “God is light,” 1 John 1:5, and “the Father of lights,” James 1:17; Christ is the “Sun of righteousness,” and “the light of the world,” John 1:9 8:12. So also the word of God is “a light,” Psalm 119:105; truth and Christians are lights, John 3:19 12:36; prosperity is “light,” Esther 8:16; and heaven is full of light, Revelation 21:23-25. The opposite of all these is “darkness.”

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia explains

The word “light” is Divinely rich in its comprehensiveness and meaning. Its material splendor is used throughout the Scriptures as the symbol and synonym of all that is luminous and radiant in the mental, moral and spiritual life of men and angels; while the eternal God, because of His holiness and moral perfection, is pictured as “dwelling in light unapproachable” (1 Timothy 6:16). Every phase of the word, from the original light in the natural world to the spiritual glory of the celestial, is found in Holy Writ.

The ISBE even goes on to further separate the different concepts of Light into Natural Light, Artificial Light, Miraculous Light, Mental, Moral, Spiritual Light; and explores its symbolism, expressive terms, and more. Check it out!

We first read the word light in Genesis 1:3 and the Bible closes with it in Revelation 22:5. Light. It’s such a simple word, but such a complex theme.

light 1 sunday

Further Resources:

Q&A: What Does it Mean that God is Light?

Devotional: Walk in the Light

Study: Light and Darkness

Blog post: Light of the World

Posted in Uncategorized, visual exegesis

Visual Theology: Jesus is the Light of the world

Chris Powers is creating visual resources for the global church. His resources are free and meant to be shared. Chris creates tract cards, visual exegesis that can be shared separately or through his book Visual Exegesis Vol. 1, study guides and lessons, animations, and more. Please visit his website at fullofeyes.com. He is also on Patreon, and you can donate to his ministry just once or on a recurring basis. He needs $2,000/month to be self-sustaining, and currently the level of giving is $1,947. Won’t you consider being the patron who puts him over the top?

Thank you for reading and if you’re led, sharing his work and/or giving.

Here’s Chris’ explanation of the drawing:

This verse picture is drawn from John 8:28 which has HUGE implications for our understanding of God….essentially, Jesus says that His divine identity will be made known to the world WHEN He is lifted up on the cross.

John 8:28, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He…”

When Jesus says that He’s the Light of the World in John 8:12, I think we are to understand that most primarily as Him being the one who communicates God to the world. Why do I say this? Because in John 1:4, we are told that the (eternal) life that has forever been in the Son is the “light” of mankind. So there we see eternal life and light linked.

Well, what is eternal life? Jesus defines that for us in John 17:3, it is to know the only true God and to know Jesus (which, as John 8:19 or 14:9 make clear, is not knowledge of two different beings, but to know Jesus rightly IS to know God). So, eternal life is to know God, and this knowledge of God–John 1:14 says–is the light of mankind / the light of the world.

This is why I say for Jesus to be the “Light of the World” means that He is the revelation of God to humanity. He is the one who communicates God to us. And in John 8:28, Jesus is saying that we will know Him most perfectly as this revelation of God when He is lifted up on the cross….that is where we will know that He is “I Am” (the “he” is added in English texts, the Greek simply says “εγώ ειμι” which is the wording that you’ll find in the Greek Old Testament’s recounting of Moses meeting YHWH at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14).

So–as I hope I will never tire of saying–if we want to know God, we look to His Son, and if we want to know the Son, we look most definitively to the climactic work of revelatory redemption: the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

click to enlarge
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

God is light

God is many things. His attributes are infinite. We know that God is love. Did you know that “God is light” too?

See the verse.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5).

I like thinking of Jesus as Light. It’s one of my favorite ways to think of Him. I use a lighthouse quite often in my blog banners and avatars.

God is light. What does that mean? We know what it means on a surface level. We understand and can read the words on the page. It’s easy enough to understand the fact of the sentence. But what does it mean, spiritually? How can it inform me of His attributes and increase my knowledge of Him so I can love Him more and worship Him properly?

The word light in this verse is from a Greek word meaning phós. Strong’s Concordance says it is defined this way-

in the NT, the manifestation of God’s self-existent life; divine illumination to reveal and impart life, through Christ.

When were saved, our citizenship transfers, from being children of darkness to children of the Light. (1 Thessalonians 5:5). Light does reveal, doesn’t it? It reveals all. What glorious light He is!

God is light—What light is in the natural world, that God, the source of even material light, is in the spiritual, the fountain of wisdom, purity, beauty, joy, and glory. As all material life and growth depends on light, so all spiritual life and growth depends on GOD. As God here, so Christ, in 1 Jn 2:8, is called “the true light.” Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

As a matter of fact, look how many times Apostle John referred to Jesus as Light- (John 1:4–5, 7–9; 3:19–21; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35–36, 46; Rev. 21:23). One cannot walk in His light and also be walking in darkness (sin). One cannot serve two masters. Light is Light and darkness is darkness, and the two can’t dwell with each other. If we claim to be in the Light but are holding on to sin without repentance we are lying that we’re in fellowship with the Light. Disobedience is dark indeed.
God is purity itself. He is holy without blot or stain. Is there anything on earth that is pure? I think not. Gold has dross which must be extracted. A newborn babe, though innocent looking, has a sin nature. Even the light through which we see vistas and each other, is polluted. The cleanest and clearest thing on earth swill is subject to the curse.
God’s glorious light must be ablaze with stunning purity and glorious illumination. Sometimes  at church where the lights are a bit dimmer, a lady’s diamond ring might catch the light and sparkle for just that flash of a moment. I always try to hold onto that flash but it’s momentary. As beautiful as it is, it cannot be captured.
Matthew Henry wrote,
This report asserts the excellency of the divine nature. He is all that beauty and perfection that can be represented to us by light. He is a self-active uncompounded spirituality, purity, wisdom, holiness, and glory. And then the absoluteness and fulness of that excellency and perfection. There is no defect or imperfection, no mixture of any thing alien or contrary to absolute excellency, no mutability nor capacity of any decay in him:Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible
Picture the glittering brightness of this scene, our prophetic future: (Revelation 22:1-5).
1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
His morally perfect sinless soul will illuminate the entire universe. His light will blaze out in uninterrupted glory, in a purity so clear that God, who IS light, will be our light. What a day that will be.
Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

East is from the west: cardinal directions in the Bible

People don’t refer to cardinal directions of north, south, east, west very much any more. If someone asks for directions and you tell them to go north three blocks, they look at you like you just lapsed into Hindi.

In the days before we were too reliant on GPS, people traveled by using the sun, moon, and stars. They spoke of cardinal directions.

In the Bible there is a lot of talk about the east and the west. (Of course, north and south is also spoken of but I’m concentrating on east-west today).

East is a major direction in the Bible and not just for the directions, but for the symbolism.  Let’s look at a few examples.

The Garden of Eden was planted toward the east. (Genesis 2:8).

The scriptures specify the LORD placed cherubim  at the eastern entrance of the Garden, to protect it and the tree of life.

After God drove out the man, He placed a cherubim with flaming sword to protect this eastern entrance. (Genesis 3:24).

The tabernacle faced east. (Numbers 3:38).

When God’s glory comes/came to the Temple, it comes/came from the east:

Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. (Ezekiel 43:1-2).

The wise men followed the star which had risen in the east.

Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. (Matthew 2:2 KJV)

The Lord will return from the east. (Matthew 24:27).

For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

 The sun rises in the east and its rays shine from that direction. John 1:5 says God is Light, in Him there is no darkness at all. The west is where the sun sets, bringing darkness. The east is where the Light is.
When the sun rises, the light comes from the east. When the Son returns, His Light comes from the east.

There is much more that can be studied on even so mundane a topic as cardinal directions. The wonder of the Bible is that you can take practically any topic, any word, and explore. And do you know what you will come up with?

Jesus.

That’s why the Bible is so great. All scripture points to Jesus.

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39 KJV)

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