Posted in advent, theology

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus, Day 10- the Boy Jesus at the Temple

By Elizabeth Prata

thirty days of Jesus day 10

With Him are wisdom and might; To Him belong counsel and understanding (Job 12:13).

Further Reading:

The Day Jesus Went AWOL
Second, in this account are recorded the very first words of our Lord Jesus. Naturally, no words were recorded from the birth and infancy of Christ. Many of our Lord’s words were recorded from His later ministry. But the words of our Lord in this text are His first recorded words, and very important words they are indeed.

Twelve-year-old Jesus goes to the Temple
After the host of witnesses to Jesus in Luke 1:5–2:40, Jesus now speaks for himself for the first time. This is the literary climax of Luke’s initial section and shows the sense of mission and self-awareness Jesus possesses. Jesus has a unique relationship to God and a clear sense of his calling, one that transcends his relationship to his earthly parents.

The Son of God at twelve years old

This is the only story in the gospels about Jesus between his infancy and his public ministry as a man. Some have argued that the story is a legend created by the early church to fill in some of the gaps in their knowledge of Jesus’ life. What shall we say to this claim?


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Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi Offer gifts & worship

Day 9: The Child Grew

Posted in advent, theology

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus, Day 8- The Magi Offer Gifts & Worship

By Elizabeth Prata

Many people worshiped Jesus during His earthly ministry. They bowed before Him and called Him the Messiah, Son of God, or other titles indicating they knew they were worshiping the one True God. Some people worshiped extravagantly. We think of Mary with her bottle of expensive nard, or David worshiping God with all his might before the ark processional.

No one came farther or brought more expensive tokens of worship than the Magi, known as the Wise Men from the East. Their journey of about 900 miles was difficult, fraught with danger, and took months. Their gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh were expensive. But that was nothing to them. They journeyed, they found the child, they knelt before Him in humble worship. Though they themselves were considered rulers of sorts, when they saw His place they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. (Matthew 2:9). They knelt before a little child and presented their gifts of adoration.

During this Advent, let us do the same. We do not have the blessing of an incarnated Messiah to bow to, that will happen later, but we can rejoice today with exceeding joy and present to him our precious gift: our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice. (Romans 12:1).

thirty days of jesus day 8

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child

Further Reading:

Grace To You: What the Magi Mean To Christmas
Just exactly who are they and why are they there? Well, the question as to why they’re there is answered in the text, and that is to worship Him. They came to worship. That becomes absolutely clear. In chapter 2 and verse 2, they say, “We have come to worship Him.” That is their point. Herod even acknowledges this in verse 8 and says, “Come back and tell me when you find Him, that I too may come and worship Him.”

Answers in Genesis: We Three Kings

The Magi Arrive
These magi followed the star, which moved ahead of them, bringing expensive gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus—who was now a young child living in a house (Matthew 2:9–11).5
They worshipped the Christ Child (Matthew 2:11).
Jesus is called a “young child” (paidion, Matthew 2) instead of babe (brephos, Luke 2:16) at the time that the magi arrived. Brephos specifically refers to a baby, whether born or unborn, while paidion refers to an immature child, possibly an infant (Matthew 2:11), so we should not be dogmatic about His age.

Love Worth Finding: The Gifts of the Wise Men and Our Gifts to Jesus
It’s that time of year again…time for gift-buying, gift-wrapping, and gift-exchanging. What are the gifts we could bring Jesus this Christmas? One way we can discover that is to look at Matthew 2:1-12, which tells of the gifts the wise men brought Him on the night when God became flesh and dwelt among us.

Posted in advent, theology

Advent- Thirty Days of Jesus: Day 7- The Magi Seek the Child

By Elizabeth Prata

The beginning flow of this Advent series is a presentation of 11 verses overlaid on photos depicting the life of Jesus from prophecy to birth and boyhood.

The next section (#12-16) will feature verses about the Son as an adult God-Man.

From #17-26 we will survey the Preeminence of the Son, His attributes, and His ministry.

From #27-36 we’ll look at His Resurrection, Ascension, & Return.

Yes there are more than 30 verses. I just couldn’t pare it down! There’s a postlude.

All photos are by EPrata unless otherwise noted.

There is no better refreshment for the soul than to meditate on Him. Enjoy!

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. (Psalm 119:15).


Today’s verse: now that Jesus has been born, and the angels had announced His arrival to the Shepherds, who went to see with all haste this thing the angels had spoken of, now Jesus must flee. So we see from the first moments of His life, hatred against Jesus for who He is and what He has come to do. And so it will be for anyone IN Christ, as well. But His flight to Egypt did not happen before others made great efforts to come and see the Babe- namely the Magi from the East. It was their gift of gold which enabled the poverty-stricken Joseph and Mary to fund their flight to Egypt. God’s providence is perfect, and so is His timing.

thirty days of jesus day 7.jpg

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Further Reading

Bible Art: Adoration of the Magi by Giotto
his picture—at once austere and tender—belongs to a series of seven showing the life of Christ. The masterly depiction of the stable, which is viewed from slightly below, and the columnar solidity of the figures are typical of Giotto, the founder of European painting. The impetuous action of the kneeling king, who picks up the Christ Child, and Mary’s expression of concern translate the biblical account into deeply human terms.

GotQuestions: What Does the Bible say about the Three Wise Men (Magi)?
It is a common misconception that the wise men visited Jesus at the stable on the night of His birth. In fact, the wise men came days, months, or possibly even years later. That is why Matthew 2:11 says the wise men visited and worshiped Jesus in a house, not at the stable.

Answers in Genesis: We Three Kings
The original meaning of mάgoi is likely in view here—wise men who interpreted special signs. There are at least three reasons for this identification. First, they acknowledged that they were interested in signs in the heavens.

Grace To You: Who Were the Wise Men?
Vincent, who has written some very helpful word studies, says in regard to this, “Many absurd traditions and guesses respecting these visitors to our Lord’s cradle have found their way into popular belief and into Christian art.  They were said to be kings and three in number.  They were said to be representatives of three families of Shem, Ham, and Japheth and, therefore, one of them is pictured as an Ethiopian.  Their names are given as Caspar, Balthazar, and Melchior.”  You’ve probably heard that.  And their three skulls, amazingly enough, are said to have been found.  Yes, they were found “in the twelfth century by Bishop Reinald of Cologne.”  The bishop dug those up and knew right off they were skulls.  It’s very clear.  And their eyes were still in the sockets fixed toward Bethlehem.  Today, believe it or not, friends, they are on exhibit in a priceless casket in a great cathedral in Europe.

Introduction/Background
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

Day 5
Day 6

Posted in advent, theology

Advent – Thirty Days of Jesus: Day 6- The Glory of Jesus

By Elizabeth Prata

We’re in the section of the 30-day Advent flow of the prophecies of Jesus’ coming, his arrival, and his early life. Yesterday’s scripture picture was “The Babe has arrived” and the scripture was from Luke 2.

How can we go any further without pondering that He, the King of Glory, the Infinite, left glory to be wrapped in human flesh and dwell among sinners? To seek and save the lost, humbling himself not only as a God-Man, but departing His heavenly home of glory where He constantly received His due worship… To be rejected, despised among men, and killed. All for us, rotten sinners.

Our God is truly AMAZING!

thirty days of jesus verse 6

Further information

God’s Glory: Ligonier Devotional
We turn today to the first verse of the second chapter of James, wherein the apostle refers to Jesus as “the Lord of glory.” Even though this is an acceptable translation of the original Greek text, it is not necessarily the most accurate way to render the verse in English. As the note in the Reformation Study Bible indicates, it is also possible to translate “the Lord of glory” as simply “the glory.” In reality, it does not really matter which one we choose because the two translations are synonymous. However, to say Jesus is “the glory” is a good way to encapsulate a portion of the New Testament’s description of the majesty of Christ.

Thinking about Jesus: Owen on meditating on Christ’s glory
In his devotional work, The Glory of Christ, John Owen provided five useful helps to meditate on Christ as a divine/human Person. I pass these meditations along to you, hoping that they will increase your devotion to Christ (you can read the full section in Owen’s Works, 1:312-322).

John Owen’s quotes on Jesus’ glory (Goodreads)
“No man shall ever behold the glory of Christ by sight hereafter who does not in some measure behold it here by faith.”

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Posted in advent, theology

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus; Day 5- The Babe has arrived!

By Elizabeth Prata

thirty days of jesus verse 5

Answers in Genesis: Separating myth from biblical fact, No Room For an Inn
You probably recognize this scene:

Bethlehem (around 2,000 years ago): Joseph and Mary arrive at the sleepy town in the middle of the night. Mary, already in labor, remains on the donkey while Joseph frantically searches for a room at the local inns. Desperate, he begs one reluctant innkeeper for any place at all to have this baby. The innkeeper finally relents and makes room for them in a tumbledown stable with the cows. There’s just one problem. This isn’t what the Bible teaches.

Read more from Answers in Genesis at the link above.

GotQuestions: What does it mean that baby Jesus was wrapped in swaddling cloths?
Swaddling clothes are cloths and bands used in the practice of swaddling, or essentially “wrapping” an infant tightly in cloth. The idea behind swaddling is that it helps the baby transition from the womb (a very snug place) to the outside world. Swaddling clothes are still used today, but with some modifications…

Thirty Days of Jesus series-

Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Day 4

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus, Day 3; ‘Perfect Timing’

By Elizabeth Prata

We are in the section of my Advent thirty day flow where we examine PROPHECY, ARRIVAL, and EARLY LIFE of Jesus.

In this section I chose verses that reflect the prophecies that predict His coming. Prophecy warns of coming judgment but it also comforts in that it foretells the holy and wonderful resolution of all things for the believer. This resolution didn’t begin with Jesus’ incarnation as a babe in the manger, it began before the foundation of the world when the God-head held an intra-council discussion and Jesus voluntarily chose to become the sacrificial Lamb.

Introduction & Background to this series here

thirty days of jesus verse 3

Introduction/Background
Day 1 post
Day 2 post

Ten Bible verses about God’s Timing

As we go about our daily lives, we often become discouraged by the many difficulties and challenges we face. Life can be stressful sometimes, posing unprecedented demands on our faith and trust in God. You might find yourself wondering how things could be different – why God has put certain obstacles in your path. Why this, why now? Bible verses offer all the answers. This post covers useful Bible verses about God’s timing to help you cope during difficult times. 

Challies: Five verses on adoption

The word “adoption” (Greek huiothesias) occurs only a few times in the New Testament, and each time it refers to God choosing a people for himself. Though there are not a lot of references to this word, there is a good deal we learn from them about the doctrine of adoption.

Ligonier: Adoption into God’s Family by Iain Campbell

Among the blessings God bestows on us in Christ is the blessing of adoption. We have been brought into God’s family and made God’s children. From God we have received “the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father’” (Rom. 8:15). As far as our status is concerned, we are no longer “strangers and aliens” to the people of God but “members of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19). The Christians in Ephesus may have no natural affinity to the descendants of Abraham, but God in His grace has addressed the issue of their spiritual alienation from His covenant by making them His sons and daughters.

Answers In Genesis: Adopted into God’s Family by Rod Martin

Every once in a while, I am asked, “What’s it like to be adopted?” I was two days old when my parents chose me to be their son. Being adopted is an amazing thing. I was taken from a situation that probably would not have turned out well and was given the opportunity to grow up in a loving Christian home. I became a member of a new family. I had a new identity, a new name, a new opportunity, and eventually a new inheritance. I was chosen!

Editor Note: All scripture-pictures were made by me, photos in the series are mine with just 3 exceptions.

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus, Day 2; He will come!

By Elizabeth Prata

Thirty days of exalting Jesus through selected verses with pictures representing the prophecy, life, death, resurrection, and Second Coming of our Savior.

More information and background on this series, here

thirty days of jesus verse 2

Day 1: The Virgin Shall Conceive

Ligonier: A Shoot from Jesse’s Stump: Devotional

History tells us this is exactly what happened, with David’s royal dynasty all but dying out as a result of God’s judgment of His people through Assyria and Babylon. Nevertheless, Isaiah also saw that while the Davidic line would seem to be dead, life would remain within the stump. A shoot—life barely detectable at first—would emerge. But once this shoot went forth, it would become a mighty tree.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Isaiah 11:1

 He comes forth out of the stem, or stump, of Jesse. When the royal family, that had been as a cedar, was cut down, and only the stump of it left, almost levelled with the ground and lost in the grass of the field (Dan. 4:15), yet it shall sprout again (Job 14:7); nay, it shall grow out of his roots, which are quite buried in the earth, and, like the roots of flowers in the winter, have no stem appearing above ground. The house of David was reduced and brought very low at the time of Christ’s birth, witness the obscurity and poverty of Joseph and Mary. The Messiah was thus to begin his estate of humiliation

All the Named Men of the Bible: Jesse

Jesse [Jĕs’se]—jehovah exists or firm. The son of Obed and father of David, and grandson of Boaz and Ruth, and an ancestor of Christ (Ruth 4:17, 22). Jesse had eight sons and two daughters by different wives (1 Sam. 17:12-14, 25). Isaiah speaks of “the stock of Jesse,” a phrase indicating that it was from Jesse the Messiah would come. The humble descent of the Messiah is contrasted with the glorious kingdom He is to have (Isa 11:1).

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive

Posted in theology

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus; Day 1

By Elizabeth Prata

Thirty days of exalting Jesus through selected verses with pictures representing the prophecy, life, death, resurrection, and Second Coming of our Savior.

More information and background on this series, here

Charles Spurgeon on the prophecy of the virgin birth: “And, first, we see here, in speaking of this birth of Christ, a miraculous conception. The text says expressly, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son.” This expression is unparalleled even in Sacred Writ! Of no other woman could it be said beside the Virgin Mary, and of no other man could it be written that his mother was a virgin.

There is the finite and the Infinite, there is the mortal and the Immortal, corruption and Incorruption, the manhood and the Godhead, time married to eternity! There is God linked with a creature, the Infinity of the august Maker come to tabernacle on this speck of earth—the vast unbounded One whom earth could not hold and the heavens cannot contain—lying in His mother’s arms! He who fastened the pillars of the universe and riveted the nails of creation, hanging on a mortal breast, depending on a creature for nourishment! Oh, marvelous birth! Oh, miraculous conception! We stand and gaze and admire. Verily, angels may wish to look into a subject too dark for us to speak of! There we leave it, a virgin has conceived and borne a Son“. A sermon, The Birth of Christ

Charles Spurgeon on Christmas: “Though creation may be a majestic organ of praise, it cannot reach the compass of the golden canticle—Incarnation! There is more in that than in creation, more melody in Jesus in the manger, than there is in worlds on worlds rolling their grandeur round the throne of the Most High.” Sermon “The First Christmas Carol“, A sermon by Charles Spurgeon, Dec 20, 1857

Further Resources

Ligonier Devotional by Derek Thomas: Christmas: Prophecy and Fulfillment

GotQuestions: How many prophecies did Jesus fulfill?

Posted in theology

Advent: Thirty Days of Jesus

By Elizabeth Prata

Thirty Days of Jesus

Christmas is coming. It’s a blessed time of year.

We always think of the Savior, all the year, every day. (Philippians 4:8). But the Christmas season is a special time when we think more pointedly about His incarnation, life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and return. Who is this Jesus? He was born, lived, died, rose again, and promised to return, to bring eternal life to those who believe and eternal death to those who reject. He tore the veil of human history, parted it into BC and AD, and changed everything.

I use my photographs of God’s beautiful creation and overlay a verse on them to publish every day, and for Advent, the theme is Thirty Days of Jesus. Thirty verses, thirty photos of God’s creation that reflect His life and ministry.

I chose three mini-themes for this month’s scripture Advent photos that I believe will flow.

PROPHECY, ARRIVAL, and EARLY LIFE, 15 verses.

In this section I chose verses that reflect the prophecies that predict His coming. Prophecy warns of coming judgment but it also comforts in that it foretells the holy and wonderful resolution of all things for the believer. That resolution will be in Christ and through Christ.

Then the beautiful verses that announce His arrival on the blessed morn.

The third sub-section are verses that mention Jesus as a child and boy, before He began His ministry.

PREEMINENCE OF THE SON, HIS WORKS & MINISTRY, 15 verses

The Son 5 verses over 5 days

Beginning with verses that declare the Son, are verses that focus Him as the Second Person of the Trinity. His sonship is integral to His ministry as the earthly subordinate Person to God the Father. These verses reflect that reality.

Works & Ministry, 10 verses

This section, published over ten days, will present verses that detail His attributes while He was on earth; Jesus as servant, teacher, shepherd, healer, and so on.

RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, & RETURN

This last section is unique in that He is the firstfruit of resurrection. He is unique in that He descended from heaven and ascended to heaven. Of the John 3:13 verse, says that only He is qualified to speak of heaven, being the only One who has been intimately involved with all its doings, and only he has seen the Father and come down from there and returned.

Jesus was raised to life and brought back to heaven, and several verses in this section will illustrate what He is doing while we wait the long centuries for the fulfillment of the end of all things, His glorious return. The last verses will present Jesus in His glory, as He is in heaven now.

The flow mirrors the Revelation 1:8 verse, where it is declared,

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Let’s enjoy the season. I pray that it does not become a hectic, shopping slog, frantic with focus on gifts and cleaning houses and to-do lists, though given family obligations and work colleague expectations, some of that is always inevitable. But don’t let it encroach more than it has to. Jesus is the reason for this season. If you’re a believer, this season is a gateway to a new year filled with many reasons each day to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. (Psalm 86:9)

Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21).

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

or you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:20).

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11).

Posted in theology

Thirty Days of Jesus Advent Series, all posts in one place

By Elizabeth Prata

Thank you to everyone who messaged me that they were enjoying my Advent Series, “Thirty Days of Jesus”. I had the idea a few years ago to distill Jesus’ prophesied coming, His early life, His adult life, Ascension, and prophesied return all in one flow using just scripture overlaid on a photograph.

It was hard to choose but I narrowed it down to 30 pics and 2 postludes. On most of the posts I included a few links for people to follow up the theme of the scripture in a credible ministry.

Some folks said they missed a day here and there so I said I’d put the entire series together in one post. Here it is!

Click on the picture you want to see, it will enlarge. These are in order from Day 1 to Postlude 2. Thanks and have a Happy New Year!