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 discernment, theology

Are you drifting toward only wanting your ears tickled?

By Elizabeth Prata

This essay first appeared on The End Time in November 2010.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires…” (2 Timothy 4:3)

Do you notice that word “endure”? The verse does not say “they will not like sound doctrine…” It does not say “they will not enjoy sound doctrine…” It doesn’t even say “they will not accept sound doctrine.” It uses the word endure. When you endure something, you writhe. You wish you were not there in the midst of it. If anyone has ever undergone physical therapy, you know that you have to endure it but if you could you would shoot out of the gym so fast you’d be like a speeding bullet. If anyone has ever had to get a root canal, you know that you endure it. You do not seek it, you do not like it, and if you could, you go away from it.

That is the process by which lukewarm Christians, fake Christians, and unholy pastors feel about the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. To be sure, the true Gospel of the Risen Savior is full of warm fuzzies. He loves us. (John 13:1). He prospers us. (2 Corinthians 9:8). He sends angels to us. (Hebrews 1:14). But the True Gospel is also full of truth, the unpalatable truth that the iniquitous lawless cannot endure: we are sinners. (Psalm 51:5). Rejection of the remedy for your sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) means you will spend eternity in torment, apart from God. That there is nothing good in us. (Mark 10:18). That we are fallen, craven, and deserve judgment. No, they will not endure that. So they don’t.

Instead they seek teachers to tempt us with what the devil has always tempted us with, and tempted Jesus too: health, wealth, fame. (Luke 4:1-13). They may find it in some “preachers” and in some “churches”, but it is for a season. Hebrews 11:25). Most do not find prosperity in health, wealth and fame. The only ones becoming famous and rich are the false pastors who urge the hapless and desperate to send money.

In his series, “Toxic Television: Unmasking the Prosperity Gospel part 1” Bible teacher John MacArthur spends a few minutes below of his one-hour sermon (linked above) explaining why Joel Osteen is false, dangerous, and unholy. He also spends time explaining why the Trinity Broadcast Network is also false, dangerous and unholy. MacArthur says, Osteen “is a quasi-pantheist where Jesus is a footnote that satisfies his critics and deceives his followers.” As for Osteen’s book, MacArthur says ‘Your Best Life Now’, the title, is a dead giveaway. The only way you can have your best life now is if you’re going to hell.”

Toxic Television: Unmasking the Prosperity Gospel part 1

A watered down gospel removes the book-end to the parts that they seek love and only ‘love’. The missing book-end is judgment. They will not endure sound teaching of His holiness involving love but also including righteous judgment.

“I have sworn by Myself,
The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness
And will not turn back,
That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.
“They will say of Me, ‘Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.’
Men will come to Him,
And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. (Isaiah 45:23-24)

A watered down gospel that removes the other book-end is less filling but it tastes great. The Bible shows us that the True Gospel tastes great, and also the watered down false Gospel tastes great. In the verses telling us of Ezekiel’s commission,

Then He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.” Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.” (Ez 3:1-3).

The true word absorbed by submissive believers is sweet. But it is also sometimes accompanied by a bitterness felt by even the most beloved of followers, even the most obedient of disciples. Sometimes the true word is hard to hear and bitter even for believers, because it reveals to us the true state of our sinfulness, our sorrow over our sin, and the fate of those who refuse His hand, those mockers and scorners whom we mourn over-

I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.” (Rev 10:10)

The only way to endure the knowledge of judgment that is coming is to rest on His truth and His promises. Those who do not rest in that truth, bitter as it sometimes is, do not endure it. Not only have they stopped asking the Spirit for wisdom, but they simply stop ingesting the sweet Words of the LORD and they flee away, being unstable in all they do.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8)

But we do endure! Paul said to in 2 Tim 2:3, 10. Peter said to in 1 Peter 2:20. The writer in Hebrews 12:7 advised us to endure. Endure what? Hardship. Beatings. Wrongdoing. Life. Hardship. Persecution. And there are those today who cannot sit still in a chair or a pew and ‘endure’ the Word of the Living God who loves them. They seek tickling instead. They are gaining the world only to lose their lives forever.

Has solid preaching become an endurance test for you? Or are the hard but truthful words uplifting to you and filling in every way? If you have recently changed churches because the pastor is “a little too Bible thumping for my taste”, or have drifted away from regular worship lately because the sermons are too long, too convicting, or demand endurance on the part of your deceitful heart, then ask yourself if you are really just trying to accumulate a teacher in accordance with your own desires, and are wanting your ears tickled with a less filling but great tasting sermon. If so, you may be at risk.

Why at risk? Because we all live forever in eternity in one of two places. The day will come when the eternity you are beginning will either not have the word endure associated with it, which is heaven, or it will have the word endure associated with it, for an eternity!

You may try to avoid enduring a convicting sermon from a ticklish teacher today, but the end result will be that you will have to endure an eternity separated from Him in torment. O, faithful one, let it not be so!

 

Posted in theology

Sin from the tongue stains our witness and corrupts our ambassadorship

By Elizabeth Prata

Yesterday I was shocked to read a certain tweet from Beth Moore. She had obviously had some kind of interaction on Twitter with a man who was saying some things about her husband, which she did not like. I tried to find the conversation, but could not.

Her tweet stated,

 

“If you make one more remark about my husband, whom you know nothing about, I will reach through this screen and punch you in the nose.”

I have three points.

1. Threats.

After being shocked at the violent language that, Moore, a Bible teacher representing Christ employed, I was more shocked by the sheer numbers of people who came out of the woodwork to defend her statement.

It is never appropriate at any time to state that if someone does not desist you WILL punch them. I recognize that the statement is probably hyperbole. It’s not likely that Moore will go to where the man is and actually punch him. Conscious of safety, Moore herself employs or has in the past employed a bodyguard.

But in this day and age, who can tell? Maybe her followers will do it. I know of people who were angered at someone mentioning Moore in a slightly negatively way online, but in real life some of her followers stalked the person in retaliation. We read of doxxing, too (where personal information and documents are deliberately leaked online, leading to identity theft and worse.)

In this cultural climate, such threats even from a secular person are not appropriate. It’s not “just” hyperbole (as many stated to me) and it’s not “just” defending her husband. If you say such things at the office, you’ll likely be talking to HR and enrolled in an anger management class. Twitter has a block button. If you’re getting angry with someone online, push back from the computer and go your way.

2. Comportment as Ambassadors.

To comport yourself is to conduct yourself or behave in a certain way. Though I appreciate that the world wide web isn’t regulated and is sort of a Wild West, we ourselves are not free to behave in any way we choose. We are Ambassadors of Christ. Self-control is the rule of the day. (Titus 2:5). What does this mean?

An Ambassador is supposed to be a mirror likeness to the one he represents. The definition of an ambassador is: an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country.

Regenerated people are Ambassadors for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).

that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s trespasses against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God.

Paul directly ties the ministry of reconciliation to our ambassadorship.

All believers should serve Christ as His ambassadors. Paul’s appeal was not a perfunctory pronouncement but an impassioned plea (“we try to persuade men” [v. 11]) addressed to the world on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God (cf. 1 Tim. 2:3–4). ~The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures.

What Beth Moore said was the opposite of a ministry of reconciliation. It was an extremely poor witness.

In the Roman Empire, there were two kinds of provinces: senatorial provinces and imperial provinces. The senatorial provinces were made up of people who were peaceful and not at war with Rome. They had surrendered and submitted. But the imperial provinces were not peaceful; they were dangerous because they would rebel against Rome if they could. It was necessary for Rome to send ambassadors to the imperial provinces to make sure that rebellion did not break out.

Since Christians in this world are the ambassadors of Christ, this means that the world is in rebellion against God. This world is an “imperial province” as far as God is concerned. He has sent His ambassadors into the world to declare peace, not war. “Be ye reconciled to God!” We represent Jesus Christ (John 20:21; 2 Cor. 4:5). If sinners reject us and our message, it is Jesus Christ who is actually rejected. What a great privilege it is to be heaven’s ambassadors to the rebellious sinners of this world! Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary

3. Scripture violation

The Bible, especially Proverbs, is rife with instructions about our language and the tongue. Here are just a few: Proverbs 15:4, James 1:26, Titus 2:5, Proverbs 21:23, Proverbs 15:1, and remember, teachers are judged MORE strictly- James 3:1.

Moore violated all of them, and there is no defense to that. Please understand ladies, this comment by Beth Moore is violent & doesn’t mirror behavior the Bible calls our women leaders & teachers to engage in as women of “noble character”. (Proverbs 31:10).

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26).

When we ourselves are tempted to say something like Moore did, and we all feel that way sometimes, please remember our Ambassadorship. We are not free agents. We are entrusted to carry a message of reconciliation to the world, in hopes that some will repent and believe.

Please remember our tongues are not our own, and take heed to follow the guides, instructions, and warnings about how we are to speak.

4. Sin spreads.

When sin goes unaddressed, it grows. Paul likened irreverent, empty chatter to gangrene. (2 Timothy 2:16-17). Gangrene spreads fast. Sin spreads fast, too. It is always crouching at the door, wanting to have you, but you must rule over it. (Genesis 4:7). Peter warns us in 1 Peter 5:8 to

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Hurling threats of punching is not being sober minded. Sin wants to devour and it must be addressed immediately.

In a congregation it also must be addressed immediately. Either an individual in his or her prayer closet of a pastor enacting church discipline, sin has to be dealt with or it will grow to proportions with tentacles spread far and wide, as it obviously has in Beth Moore. Undisciplined, coddled, and applauded, her witness has grown increasingly tarnished. Let her unacceptable comportment be a lesson to me and all of us. There is no such thing as stasis. There are only two directions for growth, more like Christ, or less like Christ. There is Cain, and there is Abel. Upward in sanctification, or downward into sin.

Moore is demonstrating the latter. Her life as an object lesson is hard to watch, but instructive for all of us. Deal with your sin. Right away.

Final Thoughts:

I truly believe that most people, Christians included, have no clue as to the depth and the power of our sin. God is sovereign, of course, but sin rules this world. Satan is the god of it (2 Corinthians 4:4).  Satan likes sin, incites sin, and doesn’t have to work too hard to get our flesh to sin. Sin’s power in us must be reigned in and mastered, and it begins with the mind and extends next to the tongue. I sin in this area as do we all.

Just because we live with it all around us, don’t become inured to the failings and corruptions of the tongue. Don’t excuse it. It’s easy to dismiss sinful behavior because we do it ourselves, or we’ve become the frog used to hot water, or any of a thousand reasons. Sin’s power was so great that God sent His Son to die in order to break it. (Romans 6:6). We are SAVED from the penalty of sin and the power of Sin, thanks to Christ’s death and resurrection and the indwelling Holy Spirit. We are heirs with Christ.

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 12-17)

Posted in theology

Prayers for El Paso, anguish at the world’s brutality, hope in Christ

By Elizabeth Prata

I have read that an active shooting situation is occurring at an El Paso, TX mall and Wal-Mart. A shooter has shot and killed multiple victims, (early reports say up to 21 killed, including 4 children) with more shoppers injured and transported to local hospitals. So far a suspect is in custody.

More information will be forthcoming as police conduct their investigations. On the news brief, the Policeman said that the crime scene area is quite large, and they were still going through to sort victims from potential suspects, and retrieving people who sheltered in place.

The news reported an eyewitness saying the man went from aisle to aisle shooting, with rage.

Last week there was a shooter at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California. A video of the event showed people running in a herd toward the camera man. “Why are people running?”, we hear on the video. Bystanders didn’t understand what was happening at first, and a women who was told, said “Who shoots up a Garlic Festival?”

Sin doesn’t make sense. We just have to live with it, and with the people with blackened hearts and depraved and futile minds who perform these deeds.

The constant barrage of sin coming against us tests our faith. I read tweets from folks saying they are devastated, when will it stop, they are sick to their stomach. I feel the same. Of course I prayed.

I also remember having those feelings I’d had before I was saved when this kind of thing would happen (admittedly less frequently back 40 years ago). In addition to all the questions noted above, I  felt confusion, fear, and alarm.

Having the Spirit in me to open my eyes to why these things happen doesn’t reduce my sadness for the people experiencing the fear and panic of this kind of tragic event, but it does help in other ways. I understand why it happens. It does bring home the shortness of life especially compared to the longness of eternity. It does instill an ever growing gratitude to the Savior that I have peace and assurance, and that without Him, who knows what sins I might have been doing that hurt people.

Why does this happen? We are told why, humanity in its sin rebels against a holy God. I can’t imagine the spiritual anguish the alleged 21-year old shooter felt to shoot the man in the doorway at point blank range, then go up and down shooting others, including children. The brutality and unholiness noted in the list in the verse below will grow and grow and spread to more and more people as sin overtakes more and more people.

Difficult Times Will Come
3 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.

That is quite a list of sins we have to live with. Did you know we are in the end times now? The “last days” are between Jesus’ first and His second comings.

In the article linked above, it ends with noting that as the evacuees from the Mall lined up on the sidewalk, a man with a Bible went up and down the line asking people to pray with him. As the darkness grows, our Light which is Christ in us should glow more brightly. We have the answers.

Sin forgiven, souls redeemed, familial adoption, a heavenly inheritance, an eternity of joy. All for the price of repenting. Call out to Jesus who saves, give up your sin, and be remade as a new creation, born again. (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Christians still feel anguish, but it takes on a new flavor. It’s not spiritual anguish, that’s calmed when the Spirit comes in and we are at peace with God. (Romans 5:1).  No longer His enemy, we now look outward upon the anguish of the world that is without God.

No one on this side of the veil knows the date of their death. It could come in 80 years or it could come today. For the poor folks inside the store when the shooting began, some will never be the same, others who were killed met eternity. I pray that at least some of those were true believers, now rejoicing with Jesus for their life in Him. Others who are not in Christ, learned of their mistake, but will pay for it through all of the rest of time, forever. Ultimately, that is the anguish Christians feel when we read of news like this.

Repent and be reconciled, for we do not know what tomorrow brings.

And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, (Colossians 1:20-22).

cross

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 theology

On Every High Hill…

By Elizabeth Prata

‘Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD’.

For they also built for themselves high places and sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and beneath every luxuriant tree. 24There were also male cult prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD dispossessed before the sons of Israel. (1 Kings 14:23-24).

Reading through 1 Kings is just killing me. I mourn, cry the sins of Israel & Judah, and then take a look at myself and my own sins and idols and mourn some more. We’re no different than the folks in that book, but when such abominable sins stain from the bottom right up to the top, the kings and rulers, it’s a sure course toward judgment, individually and nationally. And it sure came. Reading the book, remember this really happened. God really judged King Jeroboam and the result surely came to pass.

you also have done more evil than all who were before you, and have gone and made for yourself other gods and molten images to provoke Me to anger, and have cast Me behind your back— 10therefore behold, I am bringing calamity on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male person, both bond and free in Israel, and I will make a clean sweep of the house of Jeroboam, as one sweeps away dung until it is all gone. 11″Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city the dogs will eat. And he who dies in the field the birds of the heavens will eat; for the LORD has spoken it.'” (1 Kings 14:9-11).

I think I exclaimed out loud when I read it. Woe! Any individual failure to follow the commands of God resulted in judgment. Any failure of the nation to follow the commands of God resulted in judgment. Any failure of the Kings God had raised up to follow the commands of God resulted in judgment.

One part of the above verse in the chapters I read this morning really got to me: “on every high hill”. They worshiped their false gods by building altars and pillars and poles on the high places, which they thought brought them closer to heaven.

Do we individually here in America, or as a nation, or think our rulers and judges and governors will escape judgment as they not only turn their backs on God but applaud themselves for doing so? Here in America we have abominations ON EVERY HIGH HILL. Planned Parenthood facilities (baby killing stations), false religions welcomed and spoken of highly, homosexuality flags waving from high places and more and worse.

My friend Pastor Phil wrote this morning:

“In my reading of Romans 1:18-32, I believe we as a nation are not aware of that God’s judgment is upon us. How? First, God has given us over to the “lusts of our hearts.” Second, God has given us over to “dishonorable passions,” specifically homosexuality. Third, God has given us over to a “debased minds.” Moreover, those who give their approval to those who practice these unrighteous actions are just as guilty. The only hope for our nation and those who do not honor the Lord is to repent of these sins and to turn to Jesus Christ for His forgiveness and new life.”

I pray for individuals to be saved by being given the spirit of repentance, and I pray for leaders. But I also pray for the Lord to soon come. It’s hard to see so much sin & evil every day ON EVERY HIGH HILL.

But I am also grateful and joyful. He has given me eternal life. He has given me knowledge of the Savior. He has given me the mind of Christ, a mind that was once as debased as all the others on the high hill. He has given me life, joy, purpose, and illuminating wisdom from scripture.

As Paul ruminated, we are torn. We decry the evil that’s in the world, it feels almost like it must have to Noah, but again, we remain on earth to do His work and His will, which is also good. I’m grateful the world did not end before I myself was saved. Others being saved today and tomorrow and the next will no doubt feel the same. So as Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21-24,

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

I don’t know for whose sake He is keeping me here, lol. The work I do for Jesus is certainly not as significant as Paul’s was, but if the Lord is pleased to keep me here on earth to do His will and work, then I am relieved I have the Spirit to pray to for help in withstanding the woes and griefs and traps of the sin and evil all around.

What a Savior. His ways are transparent but inscrutable. This we know though: The evil on every high hill will not stand in the end. The idols and poles and altars will melt away and righteousness will reign. Jesus is higher than every high hill and His power exceeds the evil that satan can do. Hallelujah.

high hill

Posted in encouragement, theology

“He is coming soon” – Thoughts on sin, the world, and Jesus

By Elizabeth Prata

Word of the week: Sin. Societal, cultural, financial, economic, political. The world as we know it is winding down. (It has been this way since the Garden). Each week we see a precipitous decline, lurching forward in slow to great bursts, bringing the world ever closer to the consciousness that things will not remain as they have been. And still, as much as the world sees that the events we are experiencing for the worse, and perhaps never to be the same again, the world still insists that this has nothing to do with Christ. They say, ‘Oh, the world is changing, and the Zombie/Mayan/Cayce/Nostradamus apocalypse may be near, but it has nothing to do with that guy, Jesus.’

A prophecy from Peter: “They will say, Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation. (2 Peter 3:4).

They say such things because they believe them. Satan has blinded the lost to the things of Christ. It has always been so. The Israelites taunted Jeremiah with the same:

Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now. (Jeremiah 17:15)

And why do they believe the Zombie/Mayan/Cayce/Nostradamus apocalypse and not the Christian Revelation of the promised Apocalypse? Because the aforementioned are from satan. Now satan, they’ll believe, because the world’s children are satan’s children. (1 John 4:5).

Technically, the world has been ending since Genesis 3, but the feeling of chaotic flying apart has increased dramatically of late. Remember Obergefell v. Hodges? It was a landmark civil rights case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, according to Wikipedia’s summary.

That was in 2015. I can’t believe that was four years ago! Yet since then we have endured the Planned Parenthood undercover videos controversy, third-trimester abortion controversy, post-birth abortion controversy, advance of homosexuality and now pedophilia normalization, racial disharmony in the form of social justice and wokeness, and the beginnings of evangelical acceptance of and redefinition of the sin of homosexuality. Wow.

I remember the verse in Romans 1:30, where Paul is explaining God’s wrath upon sin. The passage describes the downward spiral of men as individuals but especially collectively. Paul lists tons of sins, and though the list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, he says

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful. They invent new forms of evil…(Romans 1:29-30).

Let that sink in. They invent new forms of evil. The extent of man’s sinfulness really knows no bounds. The only reason we are all not ravening madmen, slobbering over performing the deepest depravity, is due to the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit on the world in the form of God’s general ministry of common grace and the specific Holy Spirit ministry of restraint in His elect.

Barnes’ Notes explains inventors of evil quite well:

This doubtless refers to their seeking to find out new arts or plans to practice evil; new devices to gratify their lusts and passions; new forms of luxury, and vice, etc. So intent were they on practicing evil, so resolved to gratify their passions, that the mind was excited to discover new modes of gratification.

When the Holy Spirit releases his restraint upon the world after the rapture, watch out! Man’s inventiveness will no longer be toward beauty, art, music, science; it will be toward depravity, sin, and evil like the world has never seen before. (Matthew 24:21).

Though it’s disheartening to experience living in the world like this, the Bride is still resplendent, evangelism is still occurring, souls are being redeemed, the Church is still growing…and God is still on His throne.

I’m enjoying the Spirit’s sweet presence every day. Do you? I hope so. I enjoy my walk with Jesus in increasing amounts of awe and joy. I am encouraged by knowledge of the sovereignty of the Father. Seeing these world events and understanding where we are on the timetable of God’s prophetic clock, I’m struck with wonder at the vastness of His intelligence and the scope of human history- and grateful that I am a part of His kingdom.

Yes, the days are difficult, and I mourn for people who are lost in sin and I mourn for my own sins. But though the events we read about here and elsewhere far from saddening me, make me think of Exodus 15:11

Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

In the current phase of Christianity, many have lost that sense of awe. I think it is because many popular teachers and preachers have taught and preached a raised up man. The excessive focus on our prosperity, our self-esteem, our pits, our problems, combined emphasis of His love to us, His friendship with us, His “romance” of us the Bride, downplaying majesty, wrath holiness, and reverence, has resulted in a lowered God. With our eyes on man, we lose focus. Man is not awe-inspiring, man is ‘awe-ful’! Look to Christ.

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:22).

Too often Western Christianity looks to Him as a friend, (which He is) but in looking at Him only as friend, through that one facet, and not so much as Sovereign King, Judge, and Holy God. This looking exclusively at Jesus through one facet has allowed many to devolve His status in their minds from friend to ‘old buddy, pal o’ mine.’

Quite simply, western Christianity by and large does not have a transcendent view of God anymore, and thus a sense of awe is lost. This particularly applies to prophecy.

Only a Sovereign God expressing His will upon the world knows the end from the beginning. Only He at His will and pleasure states what will happen in a thousand years, or six thousand years, and it comes to pass exactly as He said!

Habakkuk finally got it, saying in chapter three:

Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. Then he said,

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.

No matter how low the world gets, the Lord makes me tread on high places. Let our Holy awe of Him be a mixture of love, reverence, and fear.

He is coming soon. (Revelation 22:20).

coming again verse

 

Posted in theology

What does a seared conscience look like? America

By Elizabeth Prata

Eight years ago, Naomi Wolf wrote an article for CNN asking the question, CNN-is porn driving men crazy?

It is hard to ignore how many highly visible men in recent years (indeed, months) have behaved in sexually self-destructive ways. Some powerful men have long been sexually voracious; unlike today, though, they were far more discreet and generally used much better judgment in order to cover their tracks.Of course, the heightened technological ability nowadays to expose private behavior is part of the reason for this change. But that is precisely the point: so many of the men caught up in sex-tinged scandals of late have exposed themselves – sometimes literally – through their own willing embrace of text messages, Twitter, and other indiscreet media.What is driving this weirdly disinhibited decision-making? Could the widespread availability and consumption of pornography in recent years actually be rewiring the male brain, affecting men’s judgment about sex and causing them to have more difficulty controlling their impulses? … The hypothesis among the experts was that pornography was progressively desensitizing these men sexually.

She asks a good question, especially in light of the fact that the past 8 years has seen a precipitous plunge into depravity at a speed one would not have guessed. Same-sex-marriage, trans-gender, the advent of ‘non-binary’, even many Christian pastors unveiled as plumbing the depths of all kinds of sexual sin.

Wolf offers a different possible answer to it than I would. I say it is the fallen-ness of our sinful world and the fact that satan inhabits it, provoking our own sin-nature He is actually the god of this world and operates within it through the boundaries that God sets. On the other hand, Wolf could be unknowingly exactly right when she speaks of ‘desensitizing’, because Paul spoke of some people who, “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”

The full verse from 1 Timothy 4:1 is: “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron“. The Matthew Henry commentary on this verse explains,

 It is done by their hypocrisy, professing honor to Christ, and yet at the same time fighting against all his anointed offices, and corrupting or profaning all his ordinances. This respects also the hypocrisy of those who have their consciences seared with a red-hot iron, who are perfectly lost to the very first principles of virtue and moral honesty.

We get desensitized to sin. The ‘desensitization’ Wolf noticed is the seared conscience of a sin-scarred soul. Once engaging in it, unless we repent and confess immediately, presenting ourselves for a spiritual bath by the Holy Spirit, we remain unclean in that little spot, and we get used to the unclean feeling. We decide that it wasn’t really so bad, and we do it again. And again. Until we’re so strewn with scar tissue from the searing of our consciences, we become inured to the effects of sin and never even feel its pricks any more. And before long we have men exposing themselves publicly in ridiculous ways that they have convinced themselves are fun because they have lost any ability to feel shame.

God told Jeremiah to tell the Israelites:

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. (Jeremiah 8:12).

God spoke that to Jeremiah for His people at the end of a long list of sins they were committing, which also included deceit, straying from the ways of God, listening to false prophets who say all is well, being greedy, and rejecting God. He punished them. Will He do less with us here in America? Surely not!

Edward Gibbon wrote the book The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He spent twenty years researching it. Through his research Gibbon realized that all great nations, Rome included, have fallen for the same reasons. Those reasons can be boiled down to just five, usually occurring in sequence-

1. The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
2. Higher and higher taxes; the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace.
3. The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting, more brutal, more immoral.
4. The building of great armaments when the great enemy was within; the decay of individual responsibility.
5. The decay of religion, fading into a mere form, losing touch with life, losing power to guide the people.

So is there any good news?

Though there is much to be mournful about, there is also much to be joyful about! Each day we are not raptured is a day closer to when it happens. Each day we are on earth is a day we can obey the Lord, celebrate the Lord, proclaim the Lord, and do the work of the Lord. Each day that passes is another day in which the Holy Spirit regenerates us more into His likeness. Each day that passes is a day we can thank Him for the many, many blessings we receive from Him, beginning with salvation. And each day that passes and our country and the world dies a bit more, we know that it is one day closer to when our new home will be ready to receive us. We celebrate worship, His glowing church, and His sovereignty.

Take heart, as Jesus promised Simon,

Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:17).

What rock is Jesus talking of? Peter’s confession! He knew, as we do, that Jesus is the Christ, (the Rock), the Son of the living God. And nothing thwarts the Living God’s plans and decrees.

We can work hard in obedience and repentance and prayer, not to spark a seared conscience in ourselves. We can be strong and bright lights for His name. We can anticipate the day of our homecoming, whether by death or rapture.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 13:4).

Keep praying, keep confessing, keep loving, even though it gets hard sometimes. Keep thinking of the lovely things. “”Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)”

And one day when we least expect, we will suddenly be clothed in new flesh, glorified and able to see Him as He is!

unspeakable glory

Posted in theology

About “Aunt Becky”: The fragility of reputation and the devastating consequences of sin

By Elizabeth Prata

aunt becky
Lori Loughlin as character Aunt Becky. Source

 

The iniquities of a wicked man entrap him; the cords of his own sin entangle him. (Proverbs 5:22)

Yesterday I’d written a few thoughts on the massive college admission cheating scandal uncovered in in the US. You can read that essay here.

One of the people indicted in the scandal is actress Lori Loughlin. Loughlin has been an actress for many years, appearing in television shows such as Full House and its reboot, Fuller House, (as ‘Aunt Becky’), Hallmark TV series such as When Calls the Heart and Hallmark movie series Garage Sale Mysteries, Hallmark’s Christmas films, and family movies such as Moondance Alexander.

Lori Loughlin has built her career on ‘wholesomeness’. Some actors always play the ‘tough guy’. Clint Eastwood comes to mind. Others have built a career on playing the goofy sidekick, or the strong silent type. Steve Buscemi is typecast as a smarmy weirdo, Samuel L. Jackson is typecast as hard-core fierce. Others, such as Loughlin, were blessed with the ability to pick and choose, and Loughlin consistently chose roles depicting her as “wholesome” and “heartwarming”.

The Hallmark Channel brings to mind holidays, happy endings and now, incongruously, a college admissions scam that involves one of the channel’s favored actresses. Lori Loughlin’s surprising arrest this week poses a challenge for the family-friendly brand with heartland roots. The allegation that Loughlin paid bribes to gain her daughters’ college admissions is unconnected to Hallmark, but her career and the channel have become intertwined, [as the article explains].

Though Loughlin played wholesome characters for most of her acting life, we know from both the Bible and from experience that an actor’s life is often very different than their carefully crafted camera persona. When “wholesome, family-friendly actress” meets alleged “cheating bribery fraudster” it’s a clash that wounds. The wider the gap between inner and outer man, the worse the fall.

“[Hallmark’s] a feel-good, family values-type channel, and obviously scandal is the opposite of that,” said Atlanta-based market strategist Laura Ries. “Will people get past that to love the character on screen and not the real person?” (source again).

It did not take long for Hallmark to drop Loughlin. I really like Loughlin in Garage Sale Mystery. Last week I was looking at Internet Movie Database for the release dates of the Garage Sale Mystery movies I knew were in development, and if I remember right, there were 4 of them in production or post-production. I’d give you a screen shot, but the IMDb actress page for Loughlin has been quickly changed to reflect Hallmark’s decision to fire Loughlin, and those movies have been deleted from the list.

Loughlin has also been dropped from Hallmark’s Christmas movies and Netflix’s comedy Fuller House. Loughlin reportedly will not appear in the last season of Fuller House, as of this writing. Her appearance as Abigail Stanton in When Calls the Heart has also been pulled.

All this in one week. Hallmark’s statement:

We are no longer working with Lori Loughlin and have stopped development of all productions that air on the Crown Media Family Network channels involving Lori Loughlin including Garage Sale Mysteries, an independent third party production.

When Calls The Heart statement:

The series will not air this Sunday March 17 while we are evaluating all creative options around the When Calls the Heart series. #Hearties please keep checking back to our social for all updates related to the beloved When Calls The Heart. (Statement here.)

Loughlin’s alleged corruption and involvement in fraud and bribery immediately destroys the fragile bubble she has built. She has squandered all her “reputation capital”. Hallmark, “As the country’s leading destination for quality family entertainment,” stated in their ‘About Us’, trades on wholesomeness, too, & does not want to be tainted by Loughlin’s taint. Hence, Lori is dropped like a hot potato.

Simply put, The Situation Between Lori Loughlin, Netflix & Hallmark Is A Mess.

 

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Lori Loughlin describes herself as a Catholic, which we know means if she believes the dogmas of Rome, she is not saved. Her inner man is not being daily sanctified to reflect the face of Jesus.

They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. (Ephesians 4:1).

The unregenerate inner man can only fake it for so long. One’s sin will always find you out.

But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out. (Numbers 32:23).

Sin is hard enough to master with the aid of the Holy Spirit, it’s a daily battle. Without the Spirit, one has zero chance of reforming one’s desires for very long.

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you refuse to do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires you, but you must master it. (Genesis 4:7).

Reputation and trust are fragile things. In Christendom, when someone we look up to like a pastor or leader falls ‘below reproach,’ that trust is broken and he can never lead or shepherd again. Sin happens among Christ’s people, of course. We’ve seen the fall of Art Azurdia, (adultery), RC Sproul Jr, (adultery, and also drinking), Tom Chantry, (child assault) and Mark Driscoll, (financial malfeasance, sexist comments, bullying, more…). However, the forgiving Jesus will forgive the sin but He does not forget that the line was crossed. They forfeit their role forever.

For us Christians, it’s doubly important to daily call upon the Spirit in us to continue mortifying sin. We have to be active and focused on putting off that old man-

to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, (Ephesians 4:22).

Undealt-with sin will cause a Christian to ‘fall.’ (Though we can never again be lost; John 10:28). Our fall is worse than an actress’s wasted reputation, because it’s the reputation of Jesus that we besmirch. We’re ambassadors of His name and character. We are trophies of His grace.

In the secular world, celebrities and actors whose reputations were shattered overnight include Mel Gibson, Paula Deen, Martha Stewart, Miley Cyrus. Sometimes the brotherhood of sinners will eventually forget and forgive. Sometimes not. Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s acting career never recovered from his 1920s scandal. It does not look like Roseanne will recover from her racist tweet. Matthew McConaghey’s reputation failed, started to come back, failed again.

Time will tell of Loughlin’s reputation. However, one must ask, was it worth it? The half a million she allegedly spent on her daughter’s bribe, plus the $1M she spent on bail, plus the $1M her husband spent on bail… all for naught, as apparently their daughter Olivia Jade “didn’t know how much time she was going to spend in class” because she “doesn’t really care about college, as you guys know.”

I am personally disappointed, because I like Lori Loughlin’s work. I’m sad that her sin not only crouched at the door but entered and eventually opened the door wide for all of us to see the seaminess of her heart and mind. I’m disappointed, but not surprised. Sin is what sinners do. I think of the earnest college kids and their honest parents whose way was perverted by allegedly unscrupulous people like Loughlin and the others who were indicted.

The wicked accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the ways of justice. (Proverbs 17:23).

But it did not stay a secret.

Woe to those who bribe. God said that bribery engenders His wrath. (Proverbs 21:14). My prayer is that though she claims to love God (as a Catholic), this event that’s shattered her reputation and career will cause her to do some introspection and hopefully, repentantly, call upon Jesus as her savior.

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

Only Jesus ever satisfies. All else is vanity.

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Further Reading

What Does the Bible Say about Bribery?

Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin sued for $500 billion over college admissions bribery scandal

As Hallmark fires Lori Loughlin, here’s why her alleged role in the college bribery scandal hit a nerve

I used to listen to radio personality Howie Carr when I lived in New England.

Howie Carr: Ruh-roh! College scammers ooze entitlement

The original FBI affidavit. 204 pages. It recounts the credibility of the primary investigating officer, lists the methods of investigation, the colleges and universities participating, transcribes phone conversations, and presents other evidence.

AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF CRIMINAL COMPLAINT

Posted in theology

The devastating consequences of jealousy

By Elizabeth Prata

The Bible is replete with examples of real people living real lives. Since the Bible people are real people, AKA sinners, they sin. The Bible doesn’t shy away from showing that.

In thinking over some of the more famous cases of bad acts, the brotherly jealousy/sibling rivalry issue formed in my mind. It happened a lot.

Cain, jealous over God favoring his brother Abel’s sacrifice more than his own, he slew Abel. (Genesis 4:4, 8).

Happy little Joseph awoke one day and told his brothers an amazing dream he’d had. (Genesis 37:4-5). The brothers hated Joseph because their father favored Joseph. When Joseph told the brothers his dream, one that showed how he’d rule over them one day, the brothers were jealous of him all the more. (Genesis 37:11, Acts 7:9). Then they plotted to kill him. (But God intervened and providentially saved Joseph).

David and his brothers. We read of that whole process where prophet Samuel comes to David’s father asking him to assemble all the sons. (1 Samuel 16). He is going to anoint a new king. The sons must have felt great excitement! One by one, though, they were rejected. Only after little David was brought in from the fields, too young and small to even be considered in the original lineup, were the halted proceedings resumed. In front of the father and brothers, Saul, on behalf of God, anointed David.

After that, the brothers were in the encampment awaiting the day when someone, anyone, would come forward to slay Goliath the Philistine. Errand-boy David arrived with provisions for the brothers, but was angrily mocked and scorned instead. What had David done to merit such treatment? He’d spoken up against Goliath.

And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? (1 Samuel 17:26)

His brother Eliab heard and became angry. Presumably he was embarrassed. I mean, it had been 40 days of listening to Goliath taunt them and not one Israelite had stood up to fight. Not one. Certainly not Eliab. Then comes little David and he makes a bold statement immediately.

Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” (1 Samuel 17:28).

The jealousy between Jacob and Esau is well documented. Esau was favored by the father, Jacob by the mother. Instead of enjoying this unique relationship, mother and son plotted to get an upper hand. Esau helped by throwing away his birthright for a bowl of soup. Then Jacob tricks father and brother into gaining the blessing. Thus began a decades-long separation due to anger and rivalry.

Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 4:4)

Being jealous of another is a sin. And please don’t cite “God is jealous so I can be, too”. God’s jealousy is for us, not against us. His perfection makes His jealousy righteous.

God’s jealousy is always a product of his perfect, self-sufficient love (Exodus 3:14; Psalm 50:9–15; Isaiah 40:28), which provides the opportunity for him to feel deeply jealous about the people with which he has freely covenanted. Source

How to overcome this sinful emotion?

Here is an article from Desiring God about jealousy (also quoted above). Hey, Jealousy

Here is a one-minute audio from Grace To You’s ‘Portrait of Grace’ series, Overcoming Jealousy

What Does the Bible Say about Jealousy?

snake