Posted in theology

Week’s recap, & Calming-Down Techniques

By Elizabeth Prata

This has been an interesting week, hasn’t it? I’ve watched political events unfold at lightning speed, my mouth metaphorically hanging open. In my 60 years I’ve been witness to some of the most amazing events in history, but this past week, rather since November 3, 2020, has left me speechless.

If the Big Tech Oligarchs have their way we conservatives & Christians will be left literally speechless soon, right? I’ve tried to write essays this week that encouraged, that referenced some events obliquely without delving. I read a tweet from a missionary friend who wrote, “Husbands, guard your wife against information overload. She may not want to hear you constantly talk about how the US is falling.” So true.

I have to guard myself against that, and I LOVE information. The relentlessly bad news, coupled with near-impossible ability to assess its credibility, means I have to push away and do some calming techniques. I’ll lay those out below, but first ICYMI, a recap of the week’s essays:

Continue reading “Week’s recap, & Calming-Down Techniques”
Posted in theology

Christ’s glorious name is upon us, let us show why we’re different

By Elizabeth Prata

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:15-17)

Christ called us to be different. To be salt, which is a preservative, and light, which is shining to show our works in His name and give Him glory. We cannot be hid. Though you may have lost your job and want to hide, you cannot. You must not. Though your brother may have wronged you, you cannot hold a grudge and hide from fellowship. You must not.

NOW is the time for which we have been put on the earth, for just such a time as this. We should be seen singing praises, hosannas, psalms to Him and about Him with all joy! We need to have peace with each other and in our hearts. Everything we do, let us do for Jesus, He who became sin and died for ours. Even now, especially now, the kind of Christians Paul was urging the Colossians to be, let US be!

Posted in encouragement, theology

Guest post from younger sister: The Amazing Exchange

By Elizabeth Prata

I’d mentioned in yesterday’s blog post that some of the younger people were seeking answers to the mayhem that is everywhere today. They want to sort out what is happening. Their consciences are tender and their heart moves easily. So I’d compiled a list of theologically solid podcasts so that anyone seeking answers would hopefully be steered to good resources.

Yesterday I was contacted by one of the younger sisters in my church asking for a review of a post she intended to publish. She wanted it looked over to see if it contributed to the discussion, was absent any virtue signaling, and was faithful to scripture. She’d also listened to the recommended Just Thinking podcast. My heart immediately soared. There are still young people who care deeply about being a dew drop of grace in His name, and not a clamoring, shouting secular rioter, and who proceed with caution before speaking. Continue reading “Guest post from younger sister: The Amazing Exchange”

Posted in encouragement, theology

Seeking His face as the solace for turbulent times

By Elizabeth Prata

We live in scary times. This isn’t anything new…the ’60s were scary, a civil & societal revolution took place between generations. Plus, there was the Viet Nam war. The 40’s were scary, WWII. The Great Depression and the Great Migration in the decade before that. And before that, the Great Influenza. And so on. Any times we have of peace and prosperity are illusions that exist between the turbulence. It’s the turbulence that’s normal. Continue reading “Seeking His face as the solace for turbulent times”

Posted in encouragement, theology

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace

By Elizabeth Prata

The other evening I was standing at the edge of the hayfield, and the blue cornflowers gave a wonderful tinge that mirrored the sky, and the burnt sienna hay tips rustled in the breeze, showing where the wind had been. The birds swooped over the field looking for insects and I thought, how peaceful, how peaceful. This is my life, and it is wonderful.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16) Continue reading “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace”

Posted in encouragement, theology

I don’t want to go back to my normal life

By Elizabeth Prata

These days are certainly strange. Mandated home sheltering, no going out except for minimal and pressing reasons, economy shuttered, the world staggering from a virus that sweeps through a population like wildfire.

For many people, it’s strange to be at home for these lengthy times. No school, no work, being apart from extended family, uncertain financial future.

People say, “I want my normal life back!” Continue reading “I don’t want to go back to my normal life”

Posted in encouragement, theology

Encouragement for those alone: You are not alone

By Elizabeth Prata

“May you live in interesting times”.

You may have heard this phrase attributed to the Chinese as an ancient blessing. It’s actually a curse, that living in UNinteresting times is more of a blessing than so-called interesting ones, which usually involve war, famine, or other disruption of some kind.

It never was a Chinese saying at all, whether curse or blessing. The closest the phrase came from is remarks made by Frederic R. Coudert at the Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science, 1939: Continue reading “Encouragement for those alone: You are not alone”

Posted in theology

How could Paul Sing in Jail?

By Elizabeth Prata

In Acts 16, Paul was followed by a slave girl who made much money for her owner by telling fortunes. She kept hollering after Paul and his group, and vexed Paul very much. Finally he cast the demon out of her, and that was that.

Or not. For when her owners saw their means of gain was gone, they beat Paul. Magistrates threw him and Silas in jail. (Acts 16:19-24). Not just jail, but “inner prison”. Continue reading “How could Paul Sing in Jail?”

Posted in theology

Peace and War, War and Peace

By Elizabeth Prata

When people say, “There is peace and security,” destruction will strike them as suddenly as labor pains come to a pregnant woman, and they will not be able to escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

The world will always be seeking the increasingly elusive quality of peace and security. The word security is from the Greek compound word, meaning not and totter. The notion behind the word is they will be looking for a ‘firmness that equates to security.’ There is nothing on the earth that offers a foundational firmness that equates to security. There is no treaty, no house, no nation, no leader, no idea, no government that will offer the security that God does. The only security there is, is God. That is why the drive to find peace and security ratchets up at a frenzied pace as time marches on, because as the world crumbles into not-peace (war) and not-safety (chaos), they look toward something, anything, that will provide security.

We know war does come. There is no peace. The Tribulation opens with a horseman riding on the waves of war, unleashing it upon the world. (Revelation 6:3-4). Damascus is destroyed, (Isaiah 17), The Middle East goes to war (Psalm 83), Iran attacks Israel (Ezekiel 38-39), and the rest of the world is drawn into war after war (Matthew 24:6).

Jeremiah 8:10b-12 speaks of conditions that mirror ours today,

“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the Lord.”

The Old Testament priests and prophets spoke of superficial things, not getting to the heart of the matter, which was their sin and their failure to repent. We have that today, preachers refusing to speak of sin but instead treating the people with a bandage when what they need is a tourniquet. They dress the wound as if the people are not dying. They focus on stamping our social ills, proclaiming a ‘woke theology’ which is no theology,  refraining from speaking true Gospel words such as sin and repent.

The false prophets speak of peace (“God loves you”) but there is no peace, none inside themselves with God and none outside themselves with each other. They are so seared with sin that they don’t even blush anymore. They have no shame at their deeds, and they will be brought down and punished. As it was then, it will be again.

Jesus is the author of time, the conductor of events, the creator of all the universe. He knows what will happen because He created the plan for it happening, and He told us about it. We can trust it because He cannot lie. The stunning thing is that He shares His intentions with us at all! He did so in the Bible, and if you own one, read it. It will make you love our Savior all the more.

If you are not saved, then the Bible will never make sense to you but you can turn on the linguistic translator almost instantly, by repenting and submitting to Jesus as Forgiver of your sins. He will send the Holy Spirit to you to indwell you and reveal the truths of His word. Then you will understand it.

And what of us, still here, still walking in His light on this side of the veil? Well, we continue to do what we do. We raise our children, we love our families, we share His name and His truths where He has planted us. Until He uproots us through death or catches us up through rapture, we persevere, fighting the good fight. These are exciting times, because His word is vibrantly flowing from His book to life and beyond. The true prophets (in this ea, pastors and teachers) are going aobut their business and fulfilling their ministry.

Praise Him that we have His word, can read it, cling to it, and through it, look toward the most important person of the Universe: Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected. And soon to return.

What a day that will be!

peace 4 verse

Posted in theology, word of the week

Sunday Word of the Week: Fruit of the Spirit, Peace

By Elizabeth Prata

On Sundays I usually post a theological word with its definition, then an explanation, and use it in a verse. I also use a picture to represent the concept. This is my effort to maintain a theological literacy among the brethren and between generations, something I believe is critical. We have to know what we believe, why, and know the words to express it. Words like Justification, Immanence, and Perspicuity have all been a Sunday Word of the Week.

Similarly, when we discuss other words representing the fruit of the Spirit, such as love, peace, and joy, we think we know what they mean, but often times these culturally embedded words have a totally different flavor when used from a biblical context. It is true of the words pertaining to the Fruit of the Spirit. Even these ‘simpler’ biblical words are misunderstood.

Therefore, over the next few weeks the Word of the Week will be one of the Fruit of the Spirit. Previously I published short essays about Love, and Joy. This week it’s Peace.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

What does ‘peace’ mean? I hear people saying in their decision-making, “I have a peace about it.” Is Galatians talking about that kind of peace? Or, is it the peace that comes after a war or a struggle with someone?

The Greek word as it’s used in the verse is (they think) from eiro. It means in this verse, a harmony and an accord.

Once we possess the Spirit, we are no longer at enmity against the Lord. (Ephesians 2:16). We have peace with Him since we are no longer rebelling against Him. We have relational peace. Strong’s defines it partly as:

According to a conception distinctly peculiar to Christianity, “the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoerer sort that is”: Romans 8:6; namely, is used of those who, assured of salvation, tranquilly await the return of Christ and the transformation of all things which will accompany that event,

John Gill Comments on the two kinds of peace, peace with God and peace with each other, on the Gal 5:22 verse,

which is another fruit of the Spirit: and designs peace with God in a man’s own conscience, produced there by the Spirit of God, in consequence of peace being made by the blood of Christ; and that through the application of the blood of Christ for pardon, and of his righteousness for justification to the soul of a sensible sinner by the blessed Spirit, the effect of which is peace, quietness, and tranquillity of mind; also peace with men, with the saints, and with all others; for such who are under a work of the Spirit of God, and are influenced and led by him, seek after the things which make for peace and edification among the brethren, and are desirous if possible to live peaceably with all men: hence appears another grace in them,

But beyond that, as the verse in John 13:34-35 says,

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

We cannot have peace with one another if we are feeling less than loving.

What was “new” about this commandment? Love wasn’t new, it is in the Ten Commandments. What was new was the depth and the extent of the love Jesus commanded His people to do. Jesus loved His own to the end, fully and consistently and completely. He gave the sop to Judas. Giving the morsel to someone at a dinner was a manner and custom in Israelite banquets. The host showed utmost respect and love to a person, by personally handing him a morsel, sometimes even placing it in the recipient’s mouth himself. Judas was to betray Jesus in mere hours, but Jesus still loved Judas to the end. He gave him the sop. THAT is the new kind of love.

The fruit of the Spirit is all one fruit. It isn’t that we work on peace one week and then patience the next… The first fruit mentioned is love. ALL other fruit stem from this one fruit. If we are loving we will be patient, we will be joyful, we will be gentle, we will employ self-control, and so on. Jesus was at peace relationally with Judas the Betrayer and demonstrated that peace through His loving act of giving the morsel.

Peace with one another is to be sought because we love.

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Here is a wonderful 45 minute sermon by Harry Walls at Grace Community Church about the kind of love Jesus expects from us.
Connecting with Quality Love by Harry Walls

Here is an article about Peace from Compelling Truth:
In What Way is Peace a Fruit of the Spirit?

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EPrata photo