Posted in theology

Ground Foolishness

By Elizabeth Prata

Though you pound the fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, His foolishness still will not leave him. (Proverbs 27:22)

Photo by TheMIS Photography on Unsplash

Proverbs is interesting. I don’t usually know what they mean, though. They take time to unearth the nuggets of wisdom embedded in each and every one.

I read the verse above and it stopped me. The visual was too vivid to just pass it by.

I remember being unsaved. I was 42 or so when I was regenerated so that means I had plenty of time to sin. I was a bad sinner, sinning and sinning more. I ran from God at every opportunity. I was brought kicking and screaming to the altar of repentance when He gave me the spirit of Repentance. Finally I caved when in His kindness He showed me how evil my sin was.

I remember telling a Southern Baptist lady (who believed in altar calls and our own free will to repent) that I was brought to the altar by the scruff of the neck resisting every second. She rejected that notion outright, saying, “No you did not.”

Oh but I was. Too many people think that we float elated down an aisle, content in our ‘decision’ to repent and enter the gates of the kingdom. The fact is, we are dead in sins and it takes the strong arm of God to graciously deliver a spirit of repentance to us before we even make a move toward God. Meanwhile, just prior to the repentance, He mashes our face in our sin like a wayward puppy in our mess.

Before His deliverance to me of that spirit, the Lord saw my vicious habits and worked to ground my foolishness from me with rods and chastening. Still I persisted in my foolishness. Until the day when the Spirit came and I saw the light and entered his love instead of His wrath abiding on me.

Oh yes, He pounded this fool!

But what does the Proverb mean? Mathew Henry explains-

Solomon had said (ch. 22:15), The foolishness which is bound in the heart of a child may be driven out by the rod of correction, for then the mind is to be moulded, the vicious habits not having taken root; but here he shows that, if it be not done then, it will be next to impossible to do it afterwards; if the disease be inveterate, there is a danger of its being incurable. Can the Ethiopian change his skin?

Observe, 1. Some are so bad that rough and severe methods must be used with them, after gentle means have been tried in vain; they must be brayed in a mortar. God will take this way with them by his judgments; the magistrates must take this way with them by the rigour of the law. Force must be used with those that will not be ruled by reason, and love, and their own interest.

2. Some are so incorrigibly bad that even those rough and severe methods do not answer the end, their foolishness will not depart from them, so fully are their hearts set in them to do evil; they are often under the rod and yet not humbled, in the furnace and yet not refined, but, like Ahaz, trespass yet more (2 Chr. 28:22); and what remains then but that they should be rejected as reprobate silver?

Source: Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1017). Hendrickson.

I am GRATEFUL that His grace in HIS will decided to stop short of rejecting me as reprobate silver. I am grateful that He used force buttressed with grace to shake me from my stupor. Sisters, never forget your salvation, and do not neglect it.

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every violation and act of disobedience received a just punishment, 3how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? (Hebrews 2:1-3a)

The End Time Blog Podcast Season 2, Episode 277

Posted in theology

Sin is no longer an ugly thing…

By Elizabeth Prata

Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down,” says the LORD.” (Jeremiah 6:15).

Therefore the showers have been withheld, And there has been no spring rain. Yet you had a prostitute’s forehead; You refused to be ashamed. (Jeremiah 3:3).

What is a prostitute’s forehead? When we are ashamed, we blush. The blush shows on the forehead. Those who are deep in unrepentant sin will not blush, like a prostitute, as the Bible asserts. When conscience is seared, sin makes no impression on the heart. Conviction is absent. So is blushing.

The absence of conviction and the pursuit of sin is a concern to God. Forehead occurs many times in the Bible. Revelation mentions forehead 8 times. Believers’ new names will be written on our forehead, says Revelation. Tribulation believers will be marked on their forehead. Tribulation betrayers will be marked by the beast on the hand or forehead. The Great Whore of Babylon will be marked with a name on her forehead. (Revelation 7:3, Revelation 9:4, Revelation 13:16, Revelation 14:1, Revelation 14:9, Revelation 17:5, Revelation 20:4, Revelation 22:4).

Here is an excerpted entry for Forehead from Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary:

Part of the face above the eyes. Because it is so prominent, the appearance of the forehead often determines our opinion of the person. The Bible indicates that a person’s character can be determined by observing the forehead. A set forehead indicates opposition, defiance, and rebellion (Jer. 3:3). Hardness of the forehead indicates determination to persevere (Isa. 48:4Ezek. 3:8–9). It has been used as a representation of Satan (Rev. 13:16–17). The forehead is used as a very dishonorable word when read of the harlot’s forehead (Jer. 3:3), indicating utter shamelessness.

Like Cain whose countenance fell, or like the prostitutes and other deep sinners who don’t know how to blush, the face shows its sin. Isaiah 3:9 says,

The expression on their face testifies against them, and like Sodom they flaunt their sin; they do not conceal it. Woe to them, for they have brought disaster upon themselves. (Isaiah 3:9).

Puritan Thomas Brooks wrote,

“You have a whore’s forehead — you refuse to be  ashamed!” Jeremiah 3:3. Most sinners in these days have brows of brass, and whores’ foreheads — which cannot blush. They are so far from being ashamed of their sins, that they think it a shame and disgrace not to sin, not to swear, and whore, and curse, and be drunk! Yes, there are many who are so far from being ashamed of their abominations — that they even glory in them. They flaunt their sins as Sodom, and make a sport of sinning!  “Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No,  they have no shame at all; they do not even know  how to blush!” Jeremiah 6:15. (Thomas Brooks, “A Cabinet of Choice Jewels” 1669).

The following is from an author I do not recommend, but I thought the statement was concise and thought-provoking. When a society doesn’t even blush over sin anymore, it’s doomed. When a society actively pursues sin, it’s a marker of their lostness. When a society is actually proud of its sin, it will be near collapse, or worse- judgment.

These passages [in Jeremiah above] all have a similar context: They were written just prior to the fall and scattering of either Israel to the north or Judah to the south. Each shows a wealthy people unblinkingly focused on their pleasure. Giving no thought to God, they are casually uninterested in the moral welfare of their nation that is crashing into utter depravity. Shame for sin has disappeared. The Interpreter’s Commentary of the Bible states that the Bible shows that, in the period before these nations fell, their societies show significant breakdowns in two vital areas: in political and business leadership and in family life, with specific blame falling on women.

In these passages, the following characteristics are either directly named or strongly implied: rebellion, obstinacy, betrayal, distrust, shamelessness, and greed, comprising an audacious self-centeredness against God and fellow man. These are not the characteristics of a nation that would bring honor to God. At one time in the history of this nation, the overwhelming majority of people expressed a strong sense of shame when they sinned. Sin was an ugly thing, and due to this sense of shame, they did whatever they could to hide their moral flaws from others.

I look around today and I have to veritably peek between hands over my eyes, the sin is so rampant. It’s utterly amazing to me the pride that non-believers have in the sins they enjoy and promote. I am grieved, but then I think of HOW grieved Jesus must be!

We read the question in the Bible, ‘how long, O Lord?’ and it has passed from many lips. The Psalmist, the martyrs in Revelation, Abel’s blood, Moses…ask when will you avenge for sin, for death, for persecutors, for bloodshed? The state of America now, and also in many other countries like Canada, New Zealand, Australia, many countries, is one that deserves judgment. Sodom…Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim all were judged for as much, or even less.

As Ruth Graham said to her husband Billy, “If God doesn’t come soon and bring judgment upon the United States, He’s going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!”

The Unrepenting Cities
20 Then He began to reprimand the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that occurred in you had occurred in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades! For if the miracles that occurred in you had occurred in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment, than for you.” (Matthew 11:20-24).

Our God is longsuffering, patient, and measured in timing His judgment. He waited 400 years to judge the Amorites.

At the same time, Genesis 15:16 demonstrates God’s love, mercy, and above all His longsuffering and patience with sinful man. Rather than immediately wipe out the Amorites, God chose to wait for over four hundred years to bring judgment upon them. The enemies of God would be displaced as God settled His chosen people in the land He had promised them. Yet God’s enemies did not need to remain enemies. They were given ample time to turn from their wickedness, turn to God, and be forgiven. The Amorites had a chance to repent and be saved, just as the Assyrians in Nineveh did during in the time of Jonah. (GotQuestions).

Will God judge America tomorrow for her sins? Will it be another 200 years? 400? Will He wait till Judgment Day and the Judgment of Nations? (Matthew 25:32). Only God knows when the clock started ticking the countdown to our own judgment. But when a nation wholesale and wholeheartedly begins to perversely absorb, instruct and co-opt young children into terrible sin, we know the time must be near. Matthew 18:6-7 says

but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea. “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to the person through whom the stumbling block comes!

EPrata photo
Posted in theology

This body of death/This body of life

By Elizabeth Prata

For the wages of sin is death, but the gracious gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23).

We all have a sin-nature. Every person born on the planet (except Jesus) has inherited the sin of their Federal Head, Adam. All humans are sinners, and therefore all people are worthy of death, according to God.

After our salvation, when we repent of our sins and trust in Jesus, we are no longer under the penalty of death. We have been transferred to the gift of eternal life. Jesus absorbed the wrath for all who would believe when He was on the cross, and more than that, HIS righteousness was imputed to us who would believe. So we no longer have the death penalty hanging over our heads. His death and resurrection cleared those who would believe back to zero on God’s books. In addition, we do not remain at zero, for we would naturally sink again. Being sinners, even forgiven sinners still sin. We have the plus of His righteousness, which launches us from zero to infinity and beyond. Thus when God looks at a believer, He sees the righteousness of His Son.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24).

It was Jesus who delivered us from this body of death.

I have read that in the ancient days, a penalty for a murderer was to strap the dead body of the person he had killed to him. As the dead body putrefied, the corruption would seep into the convict’s pores and soon he would begin to decay as well. The dead consumed the living person’s life. Perhaps this was what Paul had in mind when he cried out for deliverance from “This body of death” in Romans 7:24.

Every person alive today has one of two types of a body ‘strapped’ in him. The unsaved person has a body of death, he IS a body of death. The saved person has a body of Life. Every genuinely saved person possesses the Holy Spirit indwelling him or her. God resides IN us!

We have a body of life strapped on us: we have two persons of the Trinity with us at all times: the Spirit IN us (indwelling) and Jesus with us never forsaking us

the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you. (John 14:17).

The Spirit is in a believer and the Lord is with us, never to leave or forsake us. Two Persons of the Trinity are with us and in us at all times.

Therefore,

  • Knowing that we have been given deliverance from the body of death,
  • and knowing that we have been given Jesus’ righteousness,
  • and knowing that two persons of the Trinity are in and with us at every moment…

then…

Is what you’re doing right now honoring to Him? What you’re saying? What you’re watching? What you’re thinking? Just as the putrefaction of the dead body strapped to the murderer seeps in, so does the holiness of adhering to the statutes of Jesus. What pleases Him will seep into us. The Spirit holy thoughts and holy words and holy acts to expand our righteousness, further cleanse our sin nature, and wash our conscience.

It’s truly simple: sin corrupts … holiness cleanses.

EPrata photo
Posted in theology

You cannot pet sin, it will always bite you

By Elizabeth Prata

Then Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the city of David to the house which he had built for her, for he said, “My wife shall not live in the house of David king of Israel, because the places where the ark of the LORD has entered are holy.” (2 Chronicles 8:11).

Ohhh, Solomon /smh/. But aren’t we all like Solomon? Dancing with a bit of sin over here, rationalizing that because we’re doing such and such correctly over there, this little bit over here will be OK. Petting a bit of sin, forgetting that it is a lion that will bite us in the end. Let’s go back a bit for context:

Continue reading “You cannot pet sin, it will always bite you”
Posted in theology

True Freedom

By Elizabeth Prata

Political freedom is great but…

Freedom can be defined in different ways and has been, at different times in history. But as we celebrate our freedom today, 4th of July Independence Day here in the US, we celebrate the fact that on July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson, says History.com. We declared our separation from Great Britain, and from the oppressive taxes and micromanagement of the King’s governing of us. We wanted to be a free people.

For 246 years we have been enjoying the civic and political freedoms our Constitution has afforded us. But Christians know that the only true freedom is in Christ. Non-believers are slaves to their sin, there is no escaping the bondage to which they are joined. Believers are freed from our past sins, and freed from the power of sun as we progressively become sanctified, thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus’ life, who died on the cross.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25)

Christ freed us!

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1).

Slavery to sin is the worst slavery of all. But you do not have to be subject to its laws and its oppression. Repent, believe on the Son, and be free today!

…freedom in Christ is best
Posted in theology

Putting your thumb on mercury

By Elizabeth Prata

When I was a kid I liked to do science experiments. Once, my parents got me a microscope kit with slides containing amoebas and stuff. Another time I took a pill from one of the prescription bottles in the bathroom and put it in the sink with water to see if it would melt. I had no idea that the capsule contained the medicine powder inside. THAT would have been fun to break apart and see.

Continue reading “Putting your thumb on mercury”
Posted in theology

Run Away From Temptation Island

by Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

Purposeful Temptation

Just the title of this new reality show is enough to tell you all the Christian needs to know: “Temptation Island”.

The TV show blurb states: “Temptation Island is an American reality dating show, in which several couples agree to live with a group of singles of the opposite sex, in order to test the strength of their relationships.”

Four unmarried but long term dating couples are separated and the 4 women live on one side of a tropical island with 12 men, and the 4 men live on the other side of the island with 12 women. The odds are stacked against them from the start.

The UK Guardian described it like this, lol: “Temptation Island, which launched on Fox TV last night, centres on four couples who test their fidelity on a steamy tropical island overrun with scantily clad singles. It is the latest example of what observers are dubbing ‘reality TV’.

The producers say the show isn’t about sex, it’s about ‘exploring the dynamics of relationships’. Apparently relationship dynamics comes with speedos and bikinis.

The show itself engendered controversy from conservatives and religious groups when it initially aired in 2001. It lasted 2 seasons and was canceled. But then it was brought back a few years later. Apparently all a TV producer needs to do is wait a few years for the society’s moral deterioration to deepen, and then re-start your morally corrupt program, and it will fit right in.

The product it is selling is lust, pride, and voyeurism. Lust for obvious reasons, pride for anyone who thinks they can withstand temptation in their own strength, and voyeurism of those watching and by extension, participating in the same sins.

The Bible tells us to FLEE sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). It also warns not to test the Lord. Yet what does the world do? Creates circumstances purposely for men and women to run *toward* sexual immorality. Then voyeuristically entices more people to participate in it by watching.

Better title for it would be ‘Dances with devils’.

but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28).

“Don’t tempt me!”

Temptation is common to man because every person born on this planet except Jesus has a sin-nature. Sin is part of us. We have no free will to escape it. We only have a choice on which sin we will perform and to what degree. Sure, you might not be a murderer, but are you a thief? A liar? A coveter? Do you engage in what Jerry Bridges calls ‘respectable sins? Gossip at lunch? Jealousy over a friend’s vacation trip? Anger? They’re all sins. Pick your flavor.

We all have a nature that is drenched in sin, saturated through and through (the Doctrine of Depravity). Our natural moral condition is one of total inability to do anything righteous for God, and instead, we only sin. We only ever think about sinning. We only ever sin, continuously. (Genesis 6:5).

Paul explains this in Romans. Romans is relentless in showing us humans how awful we really are. Oh, we try to convince our selves that “I’m not really that bad.” Or we rationalize, “I’m not as bad as THAT guy over there.” But those rationalizations fail because we compare ourselves to other sinners. Sure, not everyone sins as bad as they could, and some sin more than others, but that’s not the point. To make the comparison we have to compare ourselves to God, who is Holy. He is the one who is sinless. He is the one who sets the standard.

In Romans 3:12 we learn that no one is good, and that no one seeks after God.

Worse, any thought not in accordance with God’s standards is sin. That is why even looking at a woman or man in lust is adultery, because sinful thoughts are still an affront to Holy God, even if you never went through with the physical act.

One Sin Feels Lonely

The Bible says to flee from sexual immorality. (1 Corinthians 6:18). Joseph fled, He turned his back on Mrs. Potiphar and ran out of the room. His reaction should have startled her conscience into repentance. But see, temptation just means one sin feels lonely. Without the object of her desire to satisfy her sin, she turned to another sin, lying.

We must not engage in anything impure, not greed or debauchery or anything unrighteous. (Ephesians 5:3). Sin is an almost alive thing, crouching at the door waiting to have you. Unsaved people are at the mercy of the tsunami of sin engulfing them, but as Christians we have a door to shut it out: the Holy Spirit indwelling us.

Here’s where it gets good

We can evacuate Temptation Island. We do not have to succumb to the charcuterie board of sins satan is serving up! 

Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones preached,The fourth thing we go on to is something that we should consider with adoration, praise and worship, and it is this: the three Persons of the blessed Trinity took part in this plan and purpose of redemption. There can be no question at all but that the Scriptures teach that before the foundation of the world a council with respect to man took place between the three Persons of the Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And there in that eternal council they seem very clearly to have divided up the work of redemption, so that we can describe the Father as the originator, the Son as the executor and the Holy Spirit as the One who applies what the Son has achieved.

The lifeboat has arrived to take God’s children off the island of temptations and to give us armor to battle it with! Praise God and bless Him! He rescues us from our swim in the putrid waters of sin!

God’s rescue is a perfect example of how Christianity is countercultural: it’s the opposite of the world. What a gift. He gave us to not only know what evil IS, but to give us the Spirit to help us kill the sin that remains in us and to help us resist the temptations that we DO NOT seek but do come our way.

Think about the monumental gift He has given us. He regenerates sinful hearts, gave us His word to follow, gave us His Spirit to help us in killing sin. He gave us everything! We don’t HAVE TO sin. We don’t have to participate in the increasing moral deterioration of society! We can come to our Father, repentance in hand, and lay it at His feet. We are dressed in righteous robes, and given powerful aids to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Someday we will be freed totally from even the presence of sin. What a day that will be!

Lars Justinen, “Robe of Righteousness”

Posted in theology

For What It’s Worth

By Elizabeth Prata

Buffalo Springfield. 1966. For What It’s Worth. An anthem that captured a moment, a movement, a revolution. And it wasn’t about the Viet Nam war.

For What It’s Worth (Stop, Hey What’s That Sound) (often referred to as simply “For What It’s Worth”) is a song written by Stephen Stills. Performed by Buffalo Springfield, it was recorded on December 5, 1966, released as a single on Atco Records on December 23, 1966. … The song is a staple of period piece films about 1960s America and the Vietnam War, such as Forrest Gump, and often used as a common shorthand to quickly establish the atmosphere of 1960s counterculture movement and protests.” (Wikipedia)

Continue reading “For What It’s Worth”
Posted in theology

Why the Jennifer Buck issue is a watershed moment for the SBC

By Elizabeth Prata

We are looking at a watershed moment. We are seeing it happen in real time. We see who, and we know why. It’s not often we understand that THE turning point is happening when it is happening, but we do today.

A watershed moment is defined:

an event marking a unique or important historical change of course or one on which important developments depend plansponsor.com

a turning point, the exact moment that changes the direction of an activity or situation grammarist.com

A scandal erupted recently involving some executive higher ups in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and Tom Buck and his wife Jennifer Buck. I won’t go into all the details because others have and they have explained more fully what happened. My indignation is deeply grieved over the details, but is also more universal than that.

Brief recap

In 2018 Pastor Tom Buck’s wife Jennifer wrote up a testimony of what Jesus had done in their marriage 25 years ago when they were newly married. This testimony had been verbally delivered many times to members of their church in counseling sessions and other places. Locals knew of the great work Jesus had done in uniting a drifting couple from years ago, dampening building resentments, and handling anger issues between them. Mighty is He to save…marriages!

The Bucks often lauded Jesus all these years for His intervention and in creating a beautiful picture over time of the Gospel and its power. So in 2018 Jennifer and Tom thought others might be encouraged by their testimony, and Jennifer wrote it up.

Not being a writer per se, Jennifer contacted someone in the literary world known for her writing and editing skills, and that person was asked to review the testimony and share constructive criticism with Jennifer so she could make a final draft. This person was the sole possessor of the draft and the person was told it should remain that way until it was finalized.

The chosen editor was in a bad car accident and dropped out of public life for a while to recover. Jennifer’s writing project stalled and stayed on the back burner, almost forgotten … until this month.

“Somehow” the draft resurfaced, was passed around to executives and higher ups in the SBC, gossiped about, and maliciously used as a weapon to try and discredit Tom (an outspoken critic of the leftward drift of the SBC). It had been published without her permission, the early draft that contained information that in the end, Jennifer did not want made public…but “somehow”, it was.

Questions to ponder

Whether the draft was consciously and knowingly held for 4 years because opponents recognized its value as a weapon, (?) or whether it was rediscovered recently and consciously and knowingly used as a weapon, (?) the fact remains, it was used as a weapon. It was circulated without permission, it was used to discredit a brother and a pastor in the faith, and it was used to embarrass a married couple in the faith.

Here is the watershed moment that upsets me so greatly:

EPrata photo

THE CHOICE

Someone or Someones held that draft in their hand. They looked at it, with the author’s emotions laid on the page, her raw feelings poured out and her heart opened bare. All for the cause of Christ and to extol Him who saves souls and restores marriages. The Someone or Someones had a CHOICE.

They could choose to use the draft for the glory of Jesus’ name, its original intent, or they could use it in a gross political game to push forward a fleshly agenda and in the process deliberately hurt or even destroy a brother and sister. They could have called up Jennifer and helped her finalize the draft and happily publish it to the edification of many in their own denomination, or they could darkly connive to use it in a way that did the most damage to someone they disliked. They could glorify God, or they could exalt themselves.

You know what they chose.

Now, these are people who lead a denomination. They are people who help others lead the denomination. The denomination was founded for the name of Christ and all its doings are supposed to be for the glory of Christ. Yet, they chose sin, not Christ.

They chose sin. Publicly, unquestionably, shamelessly. Are these the sort of people you want leading you, representing you?

NO.

That brings us to the fifth way God is glorified, which is not in parts, but in the whole of our lives. Just as God’s own glory is the fullness of His being, so must our response of glorifying Him be found not in limited actions but in the whole fabric of our lives. “We may think that God wants actions of a certain kind, but God wants people of a certain sort,” C.S. Lewis wrote. In other words, we glorify God by consecrating the whole of our lives—every hour, every relationship, every conversation, every possession, every endeavor, with faith and repentance, starting and stumbling and beginning ever anew—to Him. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31, emphasis added). ~Source TableTalk Magazine

DEAD

What ‘sort of people’ are these, anyway? Dead. Too harsh? We’ll see.

He who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, and yet you are dead. (Revelation 3:1)

The SBC had a reputation for a long time of being ‘people of the Book.’ Of being stalwart in their pursuit of God, of being conservative, of aligning with the Bible in all its precepts. At times there was even a whiff of smug satisfaction that those other denominations were drifting, becoming liberal, but the SBC remains the lone city on a hill shining its beacon abroad. Hm.

Yet at some point, the loose conglomeration of people in this organization, and I won’t even call it a denomination anymore (for I fear it has nothing to do with Christ, at its highest, decision-making levels), became infected with rot. Trees suffer from something arborists call heart-rot, and it’s apt. The reputation went on in front of the SBC, its deeds became known so they seemed to be alive, BUT ARE DEAD.

Too harsh? Well the church at Sardis was told otherwise in Revelation 3. It IS possible for a church to seem to be thriving, active, and performing many deeds, but inside the heart-rot was killing it all along. It happened to Sardis. In my opinion it happened to the SBC.

McLaren’s Expositions of Revelation 3:1

One characteristic of their death is that they have forgotten what they were in better and happier times, and therefore need the exhortation, ‘Remember how thou hast received and didst hear.’ They have fallen so far that the height on which they once stood is out of their sight, and they are content to lie on the muddy flat at its base. No stings from conscious decline disturb them. They are too far gone for that. The same round of formal Christian service which marked their decline from their brethren hid it from themselves. ~Source McLaren’s Expositions of Revelation 3:1

Someone or Someones held a document in their hand. It could exalt the name of Christ, or it could be used to try and destroy brethren. You know what they chose. Now they are lying in a muddy pigpen at the base of a mountain whose apex they can no longer see. And worst of all, they seem happy there.

For nothing is concealed that will not become evident, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. Luke 8:17

Posted in encouragement, grace, repentance, salvation, sin

The Most Terrifying Thing God Can Do: In which I testify to God’s grace in saving me

In the past, Tim Challies posted an article titled The Most Terrifying Thing God Can Do. It’s a terrifying article. It crushed me reading it and apparently it did for many others as well. I saw this article referred to and re-posted numerous times.

The most terrifying thing God can do is to turn an unsaved person over to his sin. Having just gone through Romans 1 in my Sunday School class, I was starkly reminded again of God giving them over to their sin. It’s stated three times at the end of the chapter. This again clutched my heart with terror and grief. Sin is such a powerful drug, a terrifying trap.

Continue reading “The Most Terrifying Thing God Can Do: In which I testify to God’s grace in saving me”