Posted in theology

Prata Potpourri: Disability, Prone to wander, Spiritual gifts, more

By Elizabeth Prata

Hello friends, I pray you are doing well today. I am sliding into the summer break from school and I am overjoyed it’s the end of the year. It was a good year, I love my job, but I enjoy the time off so much. I always have these grandiose plans for the 8 weeks I’m off. Usually I give myself a week to decompress then plan to read and craft and clean and hike and do all sorts…but then I don’t. LOL, I do accomplish stuff, but my plans are always more grandiose than either my energy level or the time frame permit. But I still have fun!

Our church’s summer series of TableTalks will begin in 2 weeks. These are super fun. We meet, eat, then have a lesson, then stay around and discuss it at our tables. It’s friendly, edifying, low key, and edifying.

Do you have summer plans?

I’ve rounded up some content I thought might be worthwhile to read or view. I hope you enjoy!

In this first one, my friend DebbieLynne offers some thoughts on the perks of disability. Thoroughly wonderful and totally convicting. “An unexpected perk of disability

Here, G3 Ministry has a wonderfully concise article about spiritual gifts!

Dr. Abner Chou is a linguistic genius and an all around genius…He has been a professor at TMS for a while, and interim President for a year. My friend attends there and he has lauded Dr Chou’s talents for two years since he has taken classes from him. Now, we read that he has been affirmed as The Master’s Seminary President. Yay!

Paul Washer with a 3-minute clip on hell. Buckle up…if you dare!!

We are Prone to Wander, oh we are prone!

Pastor Gabe with the truth, once again. He is on Twitter, and has a blog and a podcast / podcast.

I am autistic, I know people who are autistic, I know people who have been close with non-verbal autistic people. This is a powerful reminder not only to underestimate autistic people (and the principal’s comment hurt my heart) but also that no matter who we are, we are all made in the image of God and to treat each other with dignity. “Nonverbal autistic valedictorian delivers speech

Thanks for reading! Have a super day.

Posted in theology

Prata Potpourri: 2nd Commandment, JHP, Costi on Quiet Time, Dear Woke Christian v. Julie Roys, more

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

I updated my essay on The History of Quiet Time by adding this excellent 3-minute video of Costi Hinn explaining what Quiet Time IS. This is so good!

My essay “Why John MacArthur was right to say “Go Home” about Beth Moore” gained some attention and significant retweets. There is still a lot of interest in Beth Moore and of John MacArthur due to scandal reporters making up stuff about him, sadly.

It’s just a fact that discernment posts get more views than theology posts or encouragement posts. That is the way of it. And this holds true for a recent post I did on Jackie Hill Perry: Jackie Hill Perry rejects discernment talk about her false prophesying

Jason Whitaker AKA Dear Woke Christian has been focused lately in his ministry on reviewing scandal whipper-upper Julie Roys’ book, “Redeeming the Feminine Soul”. He found little Bible in it and a twisting of gender roles so as to be an unfit, unqualified, and an unbiblical tome to be avoided. He’s an insightful fellow and respectful in his approach to discernment as well as theology in general. I recommend him. He tweeted the following which I found funny:

Dear Woke Christian @MrJwhit
I like the “Fast & Furious” franchise. Someone told me they’ve made too many F&F movies. I told them that I would consider it when there are as many F&F movies as
@reachjulieroys articles on JMac. In the mean time pass the popcorn.
8:14 AM · May 1, 2022

It’s in reference to the fact that Roys has written to date at least 48 article against John MacArthur, Grace Community Church, or The Master’s Seminary. A lot. Some might even say this has become an obsession. Me. It’s me. I’d say that.

Maybe it’s time I catch up on the F&F franchise of movies…there are 9 now, right?

By the way, The BTWN guy (Tim Hurd) presented a short clip of John MacArthur from yesterday’s sermon, of which JMac providentially was in Ephesians 4:25-32. JMac answered about his online attackers citing also Romans 12, ‘Bless those who persecute you’ and Hebrews 10:30, ‘vengeance is mine’. As Tim said, “Much wisdom here.”

25Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:25-32)

Speaking of reporters who aren’t reporters, it’s easy to appear credentialed or to actually be credentialed, to write or speak in such a way as to confirm that credibility, but still be opposed to all that Christ stands for. That is where discernment comes in. Sometimes it’s hard to know who is telling the truth, but the Bible informs our conscience, our attitudes, and His word hones our discernment radar. So does prayer. Don’t forget prayer when you’re trying to work through an issue.

On another topic, I’ve been fascinated with Chris Koelle’s rendition of the book of Revelation since it came out in 2012. It’s a graphic novel, using all the scriptures and arranging them in order. I’m uncomfortable with monkeying with scripture and confused on the Second Commandment. So I’ve held off on reading it or looking at it until I gain clarity on the issue.

This morning I listened to a FANTASTIC podcast from Scott Aniol explaining why pictures of God, the Trinity, or heaven, whether the pictures are still or moving (i.e. TV/Movies) actually harm’s one’s ability to understand God and are forbidden in the Commandment for a reason. He uses the current popular movie, The Chosen, to make his point, but the point is well taken for all images of the Trinity. His explanation, so clear and helpful is here-

Don’t give in and watch The Chosen. Your imagination will forever be shaped by the visceral potency of a cinematic interpretation of Bible narratives, and it will therefore be much more difficult to allow the words of Scripture to shape your imagination.  God gave us words. Scott Aniol explains why using any visual images of the triune God is harmful to truly knowing and loving God.By the Waters of Babylon podcast, Scott Aniol

I can’t say enough how good and clear Aniol’s half hour was. I’m going to listen to it again, actually!

I translate my written blog essays into a podcast. It’s on Anchor and elsewhere. I started doing that last April, so it’s just been a year. I’m blessed to say that I’m coming up on 100,000 plays. Thank you! If you don’t have time to read essays then take a listen on Anchor, Google Plays, PocketCast, RadioPublic, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iTunes etc

Posted in theology

Prata Potpourri: Susie, Begging, Puritans, a marriage restored, more!

By Elizabeth Prata

How does it feel to be living in a time of obvious judgment of God? I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it sparks a lot of mourning in me as I see families falling apart, false teachers increasing, lusts indulged, perversion everywhere. But on the other hand, what IS of God, burns more brightly. Christians who stand for truth unwaveringly are more of a joy to see. As the world sinks, the believers rise. Christians who have the Light of Christ in them are more visible, starkly different than the easy believers mixed in with true believers of former generations who clung to a veneer of Christianity for social capital’s sake, persecution makes true believers more easily seen and then God is more glorified.

If you have a church where your elders are strong, where your fellows in the pew are loving, where truth is proclaimed without compromise or without plagiarism, then you are blessed. Cling to that, the Lord who raises up teachers for His name and a multiplying local church who evangelizes. They are things of beauty today that stand against the dark.

Begging: The Place to Start I disciple some younger women online and in real life. I often get the question, how should I study the Bible? I always begin with this answer: First, pray and ask the Holy Spirit for help. It’s my standard answer because that is ground zero of the place to begin. I was pleased to see Dale Ralph Davis explain this concept so well.

We are guilty of arrogance, not merely neglect, when we fail to beg for the Spirit’s help in the study of Scripture. We may have such arrogance even when we seem to be seeking the Spirit’s aid – I think of those times when in a light-headed tokenism we utter our slap-happy prayer ‘that the Lord would guide and direct us as we study this passage.’” Click on the link above to read the article.

G3 Ministries has published a beautiful article by Jennifer Buck on how the Lord helped her and her husband Tom in the early years of their marriage get beyond some anger and bitterness issues and make their marriage strong. Sadly, in the aftermath of its publication, some wicked people who are opposed to Tom’s candidacy for President of the SBC have used the article as a weapon to smear them. This activity has caused me to ponder very deeply the issues I wrote about in the first paragraph. Darkness and light…what the Lord is doing to glorify Himself, betrayal by professing believers (who maybe aren’t possessing believers) and so on.

Anyway, here’s Jennifer’s article: A Story of Restorative Grace

When G3 enlarged its ministry one of the things they committed to doing was generating study curricula for small groups and Sunday School. Here is a new, free teaching curriculum on the Sermon on the Mount by Ryan Bush. It is a 9-lesson Bible study was written specifically for small groups, though it could certainly be adapted to fit other needs. Sermon on the Mount small group Bible Study.

At Dash House we read the following:

It may be one of the most overlooked ministries we can perform for others: to struggle on their behalf in our prayers. The idea comes from Paul’s description of Epaphras in Colossians 4:12-13: “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis.” Struggling on Your Behalf in Prayers

I love studying about the Puritans. This summer I plan on buying the streaming version of the Puritan Documentary Plus, the documentary plus 35 short lessons on individual puritans. Here, Tony Reinke has a Puritan Study series and this link brings you to the index.

I enjoy Derek Thomas’ series going through Pilgrim’s Progress lecture series. He gives explanations of the different scenes in Bunyan’s allegory, and also biographical and cultural information for background context. This helps e understand it a lot more. The series is currently free on Ligonier. (I don’t know how long Ligonier will keep the series on the Free side of the ministry.) I’m going thru it a second time, I enjoyed it so much..

The numbering is a bit confusing.

The first video is The City of Destruction.
The Wicket Gate
The Interpreter’s House
The Cross & the Sepulcher
The Hill Difficulty
The Palace Beautiful
The Valley of Humiliation
The Valley of the Shadow of Death
The Godless City: Vanity Fair
The Castle of Giant Despair
The Delectable Mountains
The Celestial City

A friend is going through the book Susie: Life & Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon with her book club group, she said the book is terrific! Here is an interview with Ray Rhodes, the author.

The slowly disappearing doctrine of hell: hell was created good for the destruction of evil

I hope any of these links suit you, help you, or provide any edification!

Posted in theology

Prata Potpourri: Activating the Holy Spirit? Raising hands in worship, Creation curriculum, Dressing mercifully, more

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

We are in deep throes of winter. There are blizzards up north, there are frigid temperatures down south, it’s a January morning. I like winter in Georgia, but many Georgians do not. They are used to the hot summers, whereas I, being from New England, am not fond of 100 degree heat.

But the LORD created seasons each for their time. I love to see the progression of seasons and their changes through the calendar and I think of Jesus sustaining it all with the power of His word.

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. (Hebrews 1:3).

While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)

Let’s be grateful that the LORD created it all, upholds it all, and,

He has made everything beautiful in its time. … (Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV).

This past October, the United States pulled out of Afghanistan, a war that we had entered and ended in a defeat for us. Our pullout was chaotic, and it left behind a good many Americans stranded and alone. Worse, the pull-out also left behind some Christians who are now at the mercy of hostile religious forces. I saw this tweet and it had been retweeted by noted missionary Paul Washer, so I believe it is credible. Our brothers and sisters are still in Afghanistan, even if we have forgotten them or moved on from this news cycle.


Justin Peters has begun another great series. It is called “Why are Charismatics So Weird?” The introduction video is about 15 minutes long and includes a segment about “Holy Spirit Activate” which many Charismatics chant or sing. “Holy Spirit activate”?! They forget Ananias and Sapphira. They forget that the Spirit told the Antioch church to set aside Barnabas. The Spirit told Philip to speak to the Eunuch. Spirit needs no one to “activate Him”! Every regenerate Christian on the face of the planet has been touched by the Holy Spirit. Activate? He IS busy!


This blog post from Team Pyro is an oldie but a goodie. By the way, the Pyromaniacs have years and years of great content. This one was re-posted recently and it concerns men’s eyes, and how women dress for church.

“[U]nless I’m happily mistaken: some good Christian sisters will not dress as helpfully as they could.” Read the post for more good thoughts from Dan Phillips.

“Sister … Show Mercy!”


Sometimes us Baptists are called the “frozen chosen” because we don’t move or dance or raise our hands when the singing comes on. Or the praying. Or anytime, really. We are accused of limiting our personal worship experience by not ‘letting loose.’ Some even go to an extreme and claim that ‘raising holy hands’ is mandated from the Bible. But is it? Is it really? Here is Chris King from G3 Ministries with a look from the Bible on the issue of raising hands during the church service. I found it interesting, I hope you do too. It’s an issue that is rarely explored, biblically, so here’s your opportunity!


I love all things creation. I used to be an adult pagan who looked at the world, and knew, just knew, it wasn’t made by an impersonal bang. But I was confused as to its origins. My, how I was spiritually relieved and completely satisfied when I learned the truth! God made it. So I am of course a fan of the creation ministry Answers in Genesis. Ken Ham, founder of AIG, recently wrote a family curriculum/devotional I’d like to bring to your attention.

Creation to Babel By Ken Ham.
“In a society mired in godlessness and humanism, parents are given the high calling of raising children who will know the Truth, live the Truth, and take the Truth into the next generations. In Creation to Babel, today’s Christian family will find a unique commentary on Genesis 1 – 11 to ensure the biblical foundation is established in their children’s hearts. Perfect for family devotions and Bible studies, Creation to Babel:

  • Offers parents a powerful combination of apologetics and doctrine.
  • Instills biblical answers to contemporary issues such as gender, gay “marriage,” abortion, racism, and others.
  • Provides answers to the most-asked questions people have about these passages with applications to personal living.
  • Helps families put themselves under the authority of the Word, and not over it.

Can we trust the Bible as a historical document? You bet we can! Here is the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM.org) with the answers:

“Can we trust the New Testament? Many people do not believe that the Bible is a reliable document of history.  But, the fact is the Bible is very trustworthy as a historical document.  When we compare the biblical documents to any other ancient historical document, we would see that the Bible is in a class by itself regarding the number of ancient copies and their reliability.  Please consider the chart below.” More here.


I hope you find these edifying, interesting, or otherwise worthwhile. Thanks for reading!

Posted in theology

Prata Potpourri: Orderly account of the Plagiarism scandal; The Wonder of Advent; Fairytale Weddings; 12 Spice Mixes- more

By Elizabeth Prata

I’m looking more and more forward to the return of Christ as each day passes. Aren’t you? I don’t even really read the news anymore, and I’ve quit even looking at headlines. Men turning into women, murderers getting bail while trespassers languish in jail for months with no trial, vaccines that kill and a virus that doesn’t, a president who is cognitively impaired is somehow worse than a fully intelligent president who’s morally impaired… Ack

The world literally does not make sense, and there’s no point in trying to understand why or how or wherefore…it just is a fact. So I look to Christ. I look at Him in His word, I think of Him and the coming Kingdom, I think of eternity. Ahhh, MUCH more pleasant. If you are in Christ, you are destined to dwell forever in glory light with the risen Christ, in love and where no sin dares to creep. Perfection awaits. So hang on, friends, it’s coming.

EPrata photo

Gabe Hughes chronicled the plagiarism scandal that broke this past summer, as Southern Baptist Convention Presidential candidate Ed Litton was campaigning just before the vote. I was distressed to see how little gravity it was given by the people to whom it should have mattered most. I was a member of a church whose pastor had been discovered to have plagiarized every word he spoke from the pulpit, even the supposed personal anecdotes (as Litton had). I was grieved, felt cheated, betrayed, mourned the spotless name of Jesus being muddied, and felt I’d lost years of spiritual advancement that the worthless shepherd had stolen from me and from his other members.

It takes a long time to organize such a voluminous content, and I’m grateful to Pastor Gabe Hughes for doing it.

The Ed Litton Plagiarism Scandal by Gabe Hughes


Preacher Steven J. Lawson the Death of a Society, as Romans 1:18-32 depicts. Buckle up, it’s not a pretty picture…


We read at 2BeLikeChrist some Ways to Be Critical of Your Church. Good advice, because sometimes we do disagree with what is being taught, legitimately, but there is a way to disagree and a way not to disagree.


DebbieLynne Kespert has some wise thoughts about planning for the wedding vs. living the marriage. Fairytale Weddings And Happily Ever After Marriages


Are we a faithful friend? I have been blessed to have friends stand by me even when it was difficult for them. I’ve been forgiven by faithful friends, hosted in faithful friends’ homes, and loved by them. Are you a Faithful Friend? The author at the Women Encouraged site has some thoughts.


The Shack movie has hit streaming services now, and it’s good to remember that though the movie is well made, with known actors, and addresses the love of God in an appealing way, the representation of the Trinity is so out of the realm of God’s revelation it taints the rest of the movie. And there are other issues too. Here is one review that explains more


The Wonder and Joy of Advent
It’s no mystery why we start looking forward to the Christmas season even before the first leaf falls in autumn. Amid all the tumult and strife of our weary world, we long for peace. Bombarded by cynicism and sarcasm we seek for simple, childlike wonder. Drowning in heartache and pain, we hope, however faintly, for joy.


What are you looking at this Christmas?
It’s a week to go until Christmas Day. In the build up to Christmas, our attention seems to be here, there and everywhere. Everyone may celebrate differently, and for some, they may not celebrate at all. Regardless of what Christmas Day means to you, I can guarantee you’ll be drawn in. The question is: what to? What will have your gaze and attention?


From Good, Cheap Eats we have 12 Spice Mixes to have at home or give as gifts
Making your own spice mixes for home or to give as gifts is a great way to save money. When you do, you’re also tooling up to add great flavor to your cooking with little work or expense.


A friend and I were talking last night about how much we love to read, how much we love books- buying them, owning them, reading them, organizing them. Sadly, life intrudes sometimes and we do not get as much reading time as we would like. That doesn’t stop us from accumulating more books though, lol. Here is an article from Country Life UK (a FANCY magazine!) advising those of us who are fortunate to own a magnificent manor in the British countryside, of the necessary things to stock our libraries. Now pardon me while I go purchase that $6,000 bookcase…

Everything you need to transform your library into the most decadent room of the house: from a £6,000 bookcase to a secret games table


Fulfilled as we rest with the Word with us
In all the extra work of the season, I forget that true rest is only found in the Savior I’m working so hard to celebrate. He offers us rest for our souls when physical rest is elusive. 


It is a season of great joy. I pray you seek that joy and hold on to it, and savor the season of Emmanuel – God With Us…and soon enough, we will be with HIM!

Posted in theology

Prata Potpourri: Show Me The Father review, Lyrical Encouragement, God Gave this to Me, KJV language, more

By Elizabeth Prata

School year 2019 was hard, and 2020 was as well. But this year is harder, we all think so, and we can’t figure out why. We’re stressed, sometimes feel defeated, we crawl toward Friday. God is graceful in allowing me to go to #G32021. I need Christ so badly, hearing about him for 3 days straight, ahh. I plan to blog Thursday and Friday, but my plans may go awry if the internet service at the place we’re staying is too slow, or I’m too tired. Well see. 😉

Here are some links you may be interested in:

Continue reading “Prata Potpourri: Show Me The Father review, Lyrical Encouragement, God Gave this to Me, KJV language, more”
Posted in theology

Prata Potpourri: Art, Music, Books, Food, Movies, More

By Elizabeth Prata

For a lot of people in the US, summer is only just getting started. For me, I go back to school on August 2, so my summer break is winding down, fast! It always flies by quickly, but this year more than ever. I moved from one town to another on June 1, and it took a good 3 weeks to get settled. That, plus some other issues happening, made this year’s summer break seem like a blink.

The SBC Annual Meeting didn’t go well, and that took energy from me, and then the plagiarism scandal pushed me over the edge. I hate sermon plagiarism because it is deception, lying, laziness, and offends God severely. Pastors are given a high position in God’s economy. They are to share the word of God with the people divide it rightly. When pastors deliberately fail at this repeatedly, in my mind it’s a sin of the highest order. So that wearied me too.

Let’s take a break. Here are some nice, wholesome, pleasant links for you that have nothing to do with any scandal.

BOOKS: Carrie Graham Koens and her husband adopted 5 children from Latin America a few years ago. The children didn’t know English, or much of anything outside their home country. The oldest was sullen and resentful. Carrie relates a beautiful story of striving to find common ground with her newly adopted kids, through reading aloud. Here she reviews The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in an Age of Distraction, and offers a beautifully written personal experience story, here.

Shaker Village. EPrata photo

SHAKERS: I lived in southern Maine for almost 30 years, near the last remaining active Shaker Village at Sabbathday Lake. The Shakers were an offshoot movement of the Quakers in the 1780s. Here is a story from the Portland Press Herald about that peculiar place of the past with only a toehold in the now. A 21st Century Shaker Story: The Three People Living in the World’s Only Active Shaker Community Plan for the Future. Beautiful photos.

FOOD: Here at Good, Cheap Eats, Jessica reviews her experience with the subscription of Imperfect Produce (changed to Imperfect Foods). In my area there’s Misfit Market, and there are many other subscription boxes you can try. While it was available in my area, I belonged to a produce co-op where you went to a location and picked up your ordered box. You ordered a box, but accepted whatever came in it. It was a frugal alternative to full price produce at the supermarket, and I was introduced to produce I had not heard of before. I now have too many food allergies and a much more limited range of produce (and foods in general) I can eat, so subscription boxes wont’ work for me any more, but I thought Jessica’s review of this particular subscription was fair and honest. Check out her other essays for great information on a range of food-related and kitchen topics.

MANSION: Want to buy an 11-acre mansion set on the cliffs of Dover, (In England) complete with its own lighthouse? Only 4.25 million UK pounds. Can’t quite pull that out of your pocket? Then take a virtual tour and enjoy the beauty, and dream a little.

MOVIES: Need a pleasing, feel-good family movie to rest your eyes and not blight your soul? I enjoyed Blue Miracle with Dennis Quaid. Here, The World reviews it positively, if you want to find more about it. On Netflix.

ART: The bustling NY City Tribeca art scene is as far away from here, a rural county with cows and pastures and farmers trundling up the road on tractors, but that’s why I’m fascinated with it. People in America live vastly different lives from each other in vastly diverse settings. Here is an art essay on the Tribeca gallery scene and the realtor who helped bustle it.

CATS: I’ve been missing having a cat lately. Not enough to get another one, and my lease forbids animals anyway, so I’ve satisfied my need to see kitties with watching Youtube videos. Of those, thousands abound! I watched a short series from wife and husband Rachel & Jun, who had pity on a starving, injured cat, caught it, and brought home to foster in their small apartment in Japan.

WRITING: We’ve had art, books, and now writing. Next will be music, thus completing my surf today of the arts I enjoy. I agreed with Doug Eaton who says that writing can be and often is a spiritual discipline. It is for me. I found this on Challies’ roundup links so a hat tip to him. Writing as a Spiritual Discipline

MUSIC: At Grace Community Church, there’s a media section of Hymnology. Opera singer Phillip Webb introduces a hymn by giving the backstory of the author, then he sings it. It’s a relaxing, educational, sweet 4 minutes. You can watch for free but need to sign up with email to get in. GCC doesn’t spam you. Hymnology from Hymns of Grace

Posted in theology

Prata Potpourri: Adding and subtracting, Plagiarizing pastors, being workers in our homes, developing children’s work ethic, Proverbs series, and more

By Elizabeth Prata

What an interesting week at work! A tornado touched down a few miles from school. We spent a good while in the hallways ducking and covering while that nearby event happened. Then as the storms swept through, lightning zapped the school transformer to our adjacent building housing 4th & 5th grade. The next morning, early arriving teachers found no lights to half the building and no air conditioning! So that meant the 5th grade that was scheduled to take the State End of Year Assessment had to be moved to our building housing the K-3rd grades, and some of the K-3 classrooms reshuffled. Since they had to use the Library and other Activity rooms for the test, the K-3 Activity time had to be shuffled, and then that change announced to everyone. Plus there was more stuff that happened…and in between all the emergencies and contingencies, our Principal still managed to provide the Staff & Teacher appreciation week gifts…including Popcorn Bar on Monday, Charcuterie Box lunch on Wednesday, and Ice Cream Sundae bar on Friday. Phew!

The kids are getting antsy for the end of the school year and summer to start. I am too. We have 11 1/2 days of school left. I was pretty tired when I got home on Friday. I was nodding off at the table at 5:30 so I went for “a little lie-down” as my British grandma used to say. So… 11 hours later I woke up!

And here I am preparing another Prata Potpourri for you. I’m ‘Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport … the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat … the human drama of athletic competition, This is “ABC’s Wide World of Sports!” I’m showing my age here…that was the opening spiel of Jim McKay’s long-running Wide World of Sports. In the late 1960s when the show began, it was a magazine format showing viewers the history, culture, and of course the sports in countries where new jet travel and satellite linkage was just beginning to provide to audiences. Capitalizing on the people’s curiosity about the wide world now opening up to them in ways previous generations hadn’t seen, the montage showed lots of different kinds of sports, and then went on to cover these once-exotic competitions.

It’s the same with Prata Potpourri. I like to scan the globe to find edifying material that readers may not come across, and present them to you in case you have time to read, listen, or watch. There is a lot of bad out there, which is more easily found. I like to find the good, and show that despite where you may be living may have a dearth of accessible Christian material in real life, the world is not a Christian desert. The globe is full of Christians writing, speaking, offering good and solid biblical material to the saints. We are blessed to be living in a time when the internet affords us this availability.

So without further ado, here are some links for your perusal.

ESSAYS

Paul Twiss at The Master’s Seminary advises recent graduates to write, write, write. He said that “Writing Clarifies, and Writing Influences”. That second part is aimed at future pastors, who want their congregation to think like him (he presents biblical concepts and soon they will begin to think biblically too). I concur on both aspects of writing. I write to clarify my thoughts, and though my goal isn’t to influence, by default my presentation of essays and podcasts does end up influencing in some ways. My goal then, is that hopefully the material here influences to the good; solid, credible, and biblical.

At Media Gratiae they say, “This week, we’re sharing Part II of one of the most unusual and beneficial messages we have had the privilege of hearing. It was preached by a man named Paris Reidhead, and it has the strange title “10 Shekels and a Shirt.” It’s based on the account of a young priest, an idolatrous Jewish family, and the tribe of Dan, from the 17th chapter in Judges.” You can listen here, or read the sermon here.

Pastor Gabe Hughes (the WWUTT guy) writes an excellent essay dissecting the errors of A Typical Beth Moore Study. It’s clearly written and I believe an important essay to read, since it covers so much of what we see today as errors in many ladies’ ministries.

Tom Buck writes, Preachers, Don’t Add or Subtract. I thought this one also was important, for the men who are pastors and their congregants. We see so much adding to scripture these days with claims of direct revelation, and so many subtractions with timid preachers neglecting to preach the hard concepts, or make the bold, biblical claims that we must declare to the world. (For example, homosexuality is a sin. A woman should strive to be a submissive wife. There are only two genders, He made them man and woman. Hell is real. And so on). Buck writes, “He must handle God’s word in a way that makes it clear that he is not the authority, but is one under authority. The preacher’s words are only authoritative in so far as they are evidenced to come from the biblical text, and not simply his own ideas.” As laypeople, ladies, we need to be discerning so that if the preacher adds or subtracts, we will know it.

Pastors who plagiarize is a bigger problem than we know. I sat under such a one who not only plagiarized every sermon he delivered for at least 4 years, he even stole the original pastor’s personal life anecdotes and passed them off as if he’d lived them. Did it start out that way? No. Plagiarizing is incremental. It starts out with a preacher failing to go to scripture first, but going to another pastor’s material first. He says “I’m adapting another pastor’s outline”. Soon enough, he then uses the entire outline’s points and subpoints. After a while, he just copies the other pastor’s sermon. This “adaptation” creeps bigger and bigger and inevitably the pastor is just ripping off other pastors’ material wholesale. As a congregant, I want to know what the Holy Spirit says to THIS pastor for OUR church. The 7 letters of Revelation aren’t “adaptations of another pastor’s outline” swapped around and around, they are unique messages tailored to each church’s successes and failures, inspired by the Holy Spirit saying what Jesus wanted them to know. Using other pastor’s outlines, examples, or even whole sermons denies the preacher’s congregants from hearing from the Holy Spirit and cheats them by giving them another guy’s words instead. Here is Jared C. Wilson at For The Church with 4 Reasons Pastors Plagiarize.

Darrell B. Harrison writes “The Old Testament provides an excellent, though rather disturbing, example of the distinction between equity and equality.” It’s a good rumination based on the two prostitutes vying for the same child in front of King Solomon. It’s called Equity or Equality?

Rick Holland at Expositors.org asks a timeless question, are you gaining information about God? Or are you gaining knowledge of Him? “It is easy to think that because we’ve heard and appreciated the information presented in a sermon, our responsibility is complete. However, unless that information takes root in our hearts as something we really know (knowledge), we’ve merely been amused by divine truth. It’s interesting that the Bible writers do not speak much about gaining information about God; instead, they emphasize gaining knowledge of Him.” Here we read about Turning Information into Knowledge.

Mary Beeke at Reformation Heritage Blog has an essay Four Ways to Teach Children to Work. I applaud this. As a former teacher and now a teacher’s aide, I’ve been in education on and off since 1984. I see a severe decline in children’s work ethic. Mary Beeke says, “How do we build a positive work ethic in them? At what age should children begin to work? What does it take to train them to be responsible adults? From conversations with families who have successfully made this journey, I have observed four common traits.” Read to find out!

PODCASTS

In episode 416 of Relatable, Allie Beth Stuckey examines “Once Saved, Always Saved?” and also answers some questions about the differences between Mormons and Christians in this Q&A episode.

Dr. Shelbi Cullen and Kimberly Cummings bring hope and encouragement through 25 years of combined experience in biblical discipleship and counseling as ACBC counselors. At their Women’s Hope podcast, the latest lesson is Ep. 119: Teaching What is Good – Being Workers in Our Homes (With Special Guest Marci Ferrell). Take a listen 🙂

This is timely from Founders Ministry: on The Sword and The Trowel, Tom Ascol and Jared Longshore talk about our current season of political instability, civil unrest, governmental overreach, godless ideologies in our churches and the question that many Christians are facing of “to move or not to move”? When is it right to leave a church, job or city? What are biblical principles to apply when navigating these decisions? Building your life around the church: To Move or Not to Move? (also in video).

VIDEOS

I’m very excited to have found this series from Paul Washer at HeartCry going through Proverbs. It’s aimed at the young adult but the adult can learn from it too. I am fascinated by Proverbs, but find it my most difficult book to understand, because I’m so literal. It’s hard for me to understand examples, parables, allusions, and, well, proverbs. These short lessons at 15-20 minutes each are just right. Start here- Studies in Proverbs, Lesson 1

Justin Peters presents a video of Franke Preston, a friend of both Kathy and himself, was saved out of homosexuality. Justin would like you to hear her testimony. The video is 13 minutes. Saved From Homosexuality

Speaking of that, Polite Leader (Alan Hunter) presents information on “What is the G*y Christian Movement?” part of an ongoing series looking at Progressive Christianity. Video is 8 minutes.

Open Hearts in a Closed World Justin and Brooke Bartz ask, “How can Paul say that our afflictions are light and momentary? Join them on the LIT podcast as they look at how we as Christians, endure affliction faithfully knowing that an eternal weight of glory awaits us. Seeing Affliction as Light“. 20 minutes.

I snapped this photo this morning of a cardinal enjoying the seeds in the seed ball I’d hung, only to be disturbed and fly to a higher branch because of the yard cat stalking him. I’m not going to hang any more seed balls, three yard cats are now aroused to the hunt. I do not want the seed balls to lure unsuspecting birdies to their death! Yard cats do a good job clearing the yard of mice and snakes :), but also are a menace to other cats, birds, and similar friendlies. 😦

Have a good day everyone!

Posted in theology

Prata Potpourri: Walking, Thinking, Staging, Hating, Witnessing, Dying, more

By Elizabeth Prata

I thought this photo of the dogwood in my yard is a good example of how spring SPRINGS up, seemingly reaching for the sun, in joy and boundless energy

EPrata photo

It’s been a busy work week here in my world of public elementary school. We are entering the last phase of the year, the time of final reviews, state testing, longer recesses, ‘fun packets,’ and huge lines at the water fountain. It’s getting warmer day by day, and the pollen is finally blowing away until next year. At home, my cat Sully likes to sit by the open window and watch the activity in the yard. There are lots of chipmunks, squirrels, birds, and neighborhood cats to keep an eye on. My mind is turning to summer, when I have two months of summer vacation. Remember when you were a kid, summer seemed soooo long? LOL, it is still pretty nice to have the time off. I value it.

I was thinking the other day how the Lord re-created my life down here in Georgia after I moved from Maine at age 45. After a brief stint writing for the daily newspaper, I returned to education, this time as a teacher’s aide instead of as a teacher that I’d been in Maine. I enjoy the lower levels of stress as an aide, and less responsibility than a classroom teacher has. That aspect has turned out to be important as I enter my 60th decade. I like the time off when the different breaks come around on the school calendar, also important as I age, because my energy stutters and hiccups and isn’t to be counted on from one day to the next. The job has just enough of a salary to sustain me so I can concentrate on my ministry. On the practical side, I have health care coverage, yet the job also gives me personal joy and professional fulfillment. My church is wonderful. It’s really quite perfect. Looking back over this last 15 years I can clearly see the providential hand of Jesus working in my life.

We often can’t see His providence at the time, but in hindsight we look back and see how our decisions matched up with His plan and how He works things for our good and His glory.

Now on to some edifying content from the brothers and sisters that I’ve found this week for your reading and listening pleasure-

Continue reading “Prata Potpourri: Walking, Thinking, Staging, Hating, Witnessing, Dying, more”
Posted in theology

Prata Potpourri: Behave and Hush; Influencers and Influencing; Pray for What We Own Already; Good Cheap Eats; More

By Elizabeth Prata

It’s the little things that make me happy. Children giggling. Birds splashing in the puddle. Sunbeams stirring up dust motes. Morning mist making the blossoms look soft. It’s spring here in my part of the world and the change of season is welcome.

It was a busy week. We had a tornado touch down near us while we were at school. That is always exciting. Spring Break is nearing, and everyone is dragging their bodies toward that much-anticipated finish line. I plan to do some spring cleaning inside and outside. I’m looking forward to Resurrection Sunday! I’ve already started reading blog essays and listening to sermons focusing on the event. It brings me to tears every time. I’m grateful for that. The moment I don’t have tears in thinking of the agony of the cross, the wonder of the imputation, and the glory of the resurrection, I will know my heart has drifted from Jesus. These matters are eternal matters and the ONLY thing that matters.

Here are a few links to edifying material you may enjoy.

Continue reading “Prata Potpourri: Behave and Hush; Influencers and Influencing; Pray for What We Own Already; Good Cheap Eats; More”