Posted in christian living, theology

Take a Tour of my Office with Me!

By Elizabeth Prata

I often see folks’ photos of their bookcases or their offices or their podcast studios. I like to see where it all happens. Maybe you would like to see how I manage here, living tiny, and what my office looks like. Let’s be casual for a moment here on The End Time before I return to weightier topics next week, as the holidays end and we all get back to ‘reality’.

I have always liked living in smaller spaces. In the 1980s when the motto was “Greed is good” and the American dream was to have a large house, I bought a three story raised ranch with a yard. And filled it with furniture and stuff. After a while it got to be too much of an albatross around my neck, and I sought a better way of living. I’m glad I saved for, purchased, and owned a house. It taught me that I don’t want to own a house. Continue reading “Take a Tour of my Office with Me!”

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Biblical Doctrine: Ladies, Study along with Jessica Pickowicz, & #ReadWritePlan2017

Ladies, Jessica Pickowicz, wife of Nate Pickowicz, who authored Why We’re Protestant and Reviving New England, wrote a Bible study to go along with MacArthur’s and Mayhue’s tome, “Biblical Doctrine.”

I have a dear friend who is attending The Master’s University. He returned home for summer break and arrived at my door in July with a surprise gift of this wonderful book. Even more wonderful, it is signed by John MacArthur and a verse was selected to include with the signature!

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I can’t figure out if the verse is an encouragement or a warning to me. Hmmm. Likely both, since I need both!

I love that he did this and I put it proudly on my theological bookshelves. And there is sat, all 1000 plus pages of it. Once in a while I’d look at it as I passed my shelf, and mourned its size and how I was going to approach this study.

Providentially, Jess had been writing a study guide and lessons to go along with the book, and announced it about a month after I’d received the book! The study began this week.

Concurrently, an internet annual organization plan for writers is going on. It’s by Alexandra Haughton and it’s called #ReadWritePlan. What you do it post one photo a day for a month, according to their schedule, showing your favorite pens, planners, papers, highlighters, bulletin boards, desk area, etc. In other words, what does it look like where you write and study?

I love this stuff! But I missed the first week of ReadWritePlan2017 and decided to forgo it until next year. Then the Biblical Doctrine study came up, complete with its choice of binder covers (color, or B&W), papers to be printed, and pads and pens and highlighters suggested. So now I’m back in on ReadWritePlan.

Here is my first post, the preface to ongoing thoughts about the Biblical Doctrine Study I plan to post, combined with a ReadWritePlan once for all post. This is my place, the spot where I study the Bible, read the Bible, listen to sermons, and write my blog essays.

I live in a 425 sf apartment. Mainly it’s two rooms with a small kitchen and a tiny bathroom. I love it. My dining table was a garage sale find of one of those 1950s with formica top and metal legs. Since everything HAS to be both organized and available, yet fit into the tiny space, here is what I did. The dining table has become my office with the laptop prominently located. Next to the table is a bookcase containing a good light, speakers, and office supplies as normal. It is all within reach without me having to get up out of my office chair.

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Coffee, tea, or water is always on the coaster, out of the way of the cat who likes to jump on the table and curl up on his bed. Below, take a tour of my bookcase with me. Top shelf, printer, pencil and pen cup, brown leather notebook I take to church. Second shelf, MacArthur Study Bible and smaller Bible with Grant Horner bookmarks for my ongoing Reading Plan.

Next to that is the laminator and the scanner. Bottom shelf, notebooks, legal pads, printer paper, binders of ongoing studies, like the Biblical Doctrine textbook, and books I’m currently reading.

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The weekly Biblical Doctrine Pickowicz Study is issued on Thursdays but my Thursdays are straight out 14 hours, and I don’t arrive home until about 9:30pm. So I dedicate Friday evenings for delving into the week’s study. It’s perfect. I come home, take a nap, awake refreshed and settle in to the quietude with a cuppa and all the time in the world.

Below, doing the first week’s lesson, yay!

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Jessica offers tips on highlighting for various study-reasons. However, I never, ever, ever, ever write or highlight in any of my books. Ever. Instead, I buy thousands of transparent Post-It arrows in neon colors and put them happily all around. I love my Post-It arrows.

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I encourage you to look into the Biblical Doctrine Bible Study. Jess has not only created a Study Guide but also a Facebook Group of like-minded women who are participating in the study, which is expected to last two years. Women from their 20s to their 70s have been added, women who are homeschooling or not, married and not, disabled and healthy, living rural or citified. We are all different but have Christ in common.

Here are the pertinent links for you.

Jess Pickowicz at Beautiful Thing: Biblical Doctrine study, articles

Beautiful Thing’s Biblical Doctrine Facebook Study Group

Biblical Doctrine the book for purchase at Grace To You

For purchase at Amazon, it’s $20 off right now.

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Revelation 101

So often I hear that people are scared to, or worried about, reading the Book of Revelation. It’s this monolith at the end of the Bible that people stay away from because it’s too hard, too mysterious, too difficult to understand. Yet the book itself says otherwise.

Believers cannot afford to ignore the immense truth this book contains. In fact, we’re commanded not to; Revelation 22:10 says, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.” ~John MacArthur

It’s actually one of the easiest books to understand.

By the way, the book is called “Revelation” singular. It’s not “Revelations.”

Daniel is dense. Pound for pound, Zechariah has twice as much prophecy than Revelation. Some of the minor prophets are hard to understand because of the time frames and the history. Romans is heavily philosophical. If I was to pick a book that is hard to understand, I’d choose any of those over and above Revelation. Revelation is actually one of the easiest book in the Bible to understand.

How can I say this?

Two reasons.

1. It is the ONLY book in the Bible in which the reader is promised a blessing if he or she reads it. The. Only. Book. That’s something worth paying attention to. The promise is stated at the beginning and at the end of the book.

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. (Revelation 1:3).

How can we keep what is written in it, if we do not read it?

And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelation 22:7).

Clipboard04Did Jesus promise a blessing, and in a cosmic ‘gotcha’, then make it intellectually or spiritually too difficult to understand? Or is it because it’s one book that proclaims Jesus in His full glory, promises a great ending for His people, and wants us to look ahead for the encouragement?

2. It has its own built-in study guide. Despite the chaos it reveals, it is actually a very orderly book. I’m not kidding.

The first three chapters are greetings and letters to churches, which we would do well to study. To each church, Jesus identifies himself in a different way, revealing a certain aspect of Himself that matches the warning or commendation He gives to the church. It also shows how intimately He is involved with His church as its Head and its Priest.

In Chapter 4 the scene shifts to heaven. In Chapter 5 we’re still in heaven, but now heaven is readying for the “things to come”, meaning, the global judgment.

Chapter 6-18 are those judgments. Again, it’s orderly. A series of three (perhaps four, if the Seven Thunders are judgments) each containing 7 judgments are unleashed, one after the other. The time frame is fairly chronological. It’s also rapid. The events take place mostly within three and a half years (7 total) so reading this main portion of Revelation can be compared to reading the Gospel of Mark. Mark reports quickly, covers a great time frame in short order, and uses muscular language and a rapid pace. It’s the same with this portion of Revelation.

The judgments, in addition to being judgments, are also working to UNcreate the world. Compare Genesis 1-2 with Revelation 6. Genesis shows the creation, Revelation is the UNcreation. As the LORD deals with sin, He is also preparing the world for its upcoming regeneration (“The New Earth.”). Mainly the story proceeds chronologically with an occasional glimpse back to heaven or a parenthetical comment.

Chapter 19-22 is the wrap-up- the new heavens and new earth, New Jerusalem, the Marriage Supper, the final strings to tie up, the last encouragement.

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As for the symbolism, scripture interprets scripture. The symbols are not a lot harder to interpret than other analogies and symbols in the Bible. Jesus being the vine (we know He is not ACTUALLY a vine). Or when the angels pour out the bowls of wrath, we are reminded of Jesus drinking the cup of wrath. The dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads is a similar kind of symbol to the ram with long horns of Daniel 8, which is interpreted for Daniel right in the same chapter.

 

I’m not saying everything about Revelation is easy. It still takes study. What I’m saying is that is is not harder than any other book of the Bible and in some ways it is easier. Please do not be intimidated by it.

On sale now at Grace To You through June 25 is a booklet for $1.50 called A Jet Tour Through Revelation. It is adapted from a sermon MacArthur gave a while ago. Even when the sale is done the booklet only costs $2.00. Of course, you can listen to the sermon for free at any time. The booklet-

-helps take the mystery out of a portion of Scripture many people consider too difficult to understand. Yet, the book of Revelation promises blessing to those who read its words and heed them. This Jet Tour booklet will help you make sense of the symbols, imagery, and significance of this amazing prewritten history. It will increase your appetite for heaven—or give you a needed dose of concern about your eternal future and point you to Christ, who alone can save you from the wrath He will one day bring.

One of my favorite books on Revelation is another of MacArthur’s -“Because the Time is Near”. This book is also on sale now for $8.25. I found it not only to be clear, non-academic and useful in laymen’s terms, so encouraging. Yes, the Book of Revelation is encouraging. Seeing all that wrath poured out is hard on the heart, but it is also encouraging knowing Jesus took that same wrath for His people. This in turn inspires a profound relief and love for His work on the cross. It’s one thing to know about the cup of wrath He endured, it is another to understand it. Revelation helps you understand sin and wrath, and by contrast, grace. In this way, reading Revelation helps you love Jesus even more.

Far from being a dense, mysterious, non-understandable book, I have always found it to be encouraging, amazing, and inspiring. It shows Jesus as He is now, in full glory, power, and beauty. It is one of my favorite books of the Bible, Genesis being the other!

Please don’t be intimidated by Revelation, just start reading it. You will be blessed. That is a promise from Jesus.

Posted in Uncategorized

“Study the Bible using stickers!”

A female blogger named Rachel wrote about Bible stickers. She wrote that there were 4 reasons you ladies need stickers in order to study God’s word.

1. Studying a favorite passage using stickers provides quick visible images to help you memorize a verse
No, the verse is a visible image to help you memorize the verse. (1 John 2:27, John 14:27).

2. Using a tangible item that I can feel with my hands provides a sense of reality to relate to God’s Word.
If you don’t already have a sense of reality to relate to God’s word when you study, stickers are not going to help. (Romans 12:2).

3. Adding colored or designed stickers draws attention to how God is speaking to my heart.
No, obeying His word in life is how the Spirit draws attention to the Word He applied to your mind. Stickers are just stickers. (1 John 4:12, Romans 8:3-4)

4. Meditating on God’s Word while using stickers actually gives me a faith that sticks!
No, stickers don’t give you eternal faith. Jesus does. (Romans 8:30Romans 8:38-39)

You see all the methods and reasonings that are designed to distract you ladies from studying the word in a credible, consistent, Spirit-filled way. In the earlier part of the blog, the lady had said that she needs to frequently vary her studying methods in order to remember what she had learned. Hmmm. This lady’s method is a method that turns you from the wordto a purchasable item.

Can you picture yourself telling an aborigine Kimyal from Papua New Guinea that they need stickers to study the Word? Tell these people their faith isn’t complete unless they buy stickers. Or maybe, they should tell us what it’s all about:

PS: The reason I discovered the sticker lady is that BibleGateway, who sadly claims they are the most read bible site, promoted it on Twitter. I’ve seen them lately promote some very uncredible teachers, sites, and ideas. I have to say now, of BibleGateway – use heightened discernment.