A very good post, with an important message at the end.
By Elizabeth Prata
I grew up in a family of means, where the breathless rush of the ‘new’ was king. We bought the first and newest of everything. Color TV? Got one. Remote control? First on the block to have it. 27″ TV? Over there in the living room. Pong just came out? We played it. Central vacuum? Installed. And so on.
When I met my husband in 1990, I decided to switch gears, and we went the frugal route. Downsize. No debt. Use things till they break, and then if possible, fix them instead of buying new. I sold my new house with its mortgage, and he sold his. He owned a camp by a lake that had been in the family since the 1950s. Thus, it had no mortgage. “Camps” were the name for a summer seasonal dwelling by the lake to which the family would…
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I still get push-back when challenging the popular eschatological narrative: that a seven-year tribulation period is coming, that the Jews will build a Temple and resume animal sacrifices with God’s approval, that there will be a seven-year peace treaty, that God will seal 144,000 Jewish evangelists who will win countless souls to Christ during this “tribulation period,” and so forth. It pains me to repeat this foolishness. People who make this stuff up have made the eschaton into a comic book and have done a HUGE disservice to the body of Christ.
Today’s little rant won’t start with Revelation, but rather at the other end of the Bible’s chronology. Many scholars believe the oldest book in the Bible is the book of Job. Most of us are (hopefully) aware of it. Job was a fabulously rich man who lived in the middle east at about the time of Abraham. Satan…
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By Elizabeth Prata
We started in-person school Friday and I’m so happy. I love being with the kids and I love my school. I used to teach elementary school in Maine and since I’m a native New Englander, all my school life whether as a certified teacher, substitute, or student, I was used to the Post-Labor day start. We had a September to June schedule. I’ve never gotten used to the South’s August to May schedule, but I love the job anyway.
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By Elizabeth Prata
Thank goodness for historians. In ancient Rome during the last days of the Apostle Paul, Sallust and Livy, for example, wrote of the notorious jail in Rome known as the Mamertine, dubbed so in the medieval period. It’s originally known in history as the Carcer, or the Tullianum, or at least, the lower half of the underground dungeon was. History does not record for a definite fact that Peter and Paul were at different times held there, but tradition and Roman practice indicate it was a strong possibility.
This essay is constructed in three sections:
Section 1: The prison itself. What was it like?
Section 2: Paul in Prison
Section 3: Facing Death
What was the Mamertine Prison like?
The Mamertine prison was a prison in the Roman Forum where high-profile prisoners…
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Eden, fresh from the hand of the Creator. Beautiful beyond imagination. Self watering and weed free. Every tree bearing delicious fruit, just for the picking. Yes, there were two special trees in the very heart of the Garden. The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
There was only one prohibition. Do not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
They why plant it there? To see if man would choose life.
Then from His loving heart, the Creator put the man into a deep sleep, took one of his ribs and closed the flesh. Out of the rib, He made a perfectly matched and fitting together, helpmate. A woman. And the man was “wowed!”
Naked and unashamed the roamed and worked the Garden, eating fruit as they desired, learning about each other. Heaven on earth.
One day, walking together, the woman laughing and frolicking, her toes treading deep in the soft dewy grass, they came upon a magnificent tree.
“No, Eve. Let’s go on. We aren’t to eat the fruit on that tree.”
“Why not?” she asked her husband.
“The LORD God said so,” Adam told her.
“But why not?” she said again, walking toward the tree, her eyes wide with wonder.”
“He said we would surely die.”
“What does ‘die’ mean, Adam?” she said circling the trunk of the enticing tree, delight on her face.
“Why, hello there,” came a silvery voice from the heavily laden branches. “Did God actually say ‘you shall not eat of any tree in this lovely garden?”
The woman peered closer and saw a beautifully colored serpant weaving before her. “We may eat of all the trees here except this one. He said we would ‘surely die’ if we did. We may not even touch it,” she added coyly.
“You shall not surely die,” came the sensuous, deep voice. “For God knows that when you do eat of it, you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
He paused then continued, “Here, try one. It is sweeter than any fruit you have ever eaten.”
The woman saw that the fruit would be good for food, and wasn’t that her tummy growling?
It was a beautiful fruit as well, so shining and deeply hued. She fancied she could even smell the warm fruitiness. Her mouth began to water.
And, if eating the fruit would make her wise, well, why wouldn’t anyone want that. She reached up, touched one of the fruits, and it fell into her hand. She put it to her mouth and took a bite. It was so sweet and juice ran down her chin. “Ohhhhhh!” she moaned in pleasure.
“Here, husband, you must have one too!”
And Adam also ate.
Instantly the eyes of their soul were opened and the knew they were naked and they were ashamed. They crept into the trees, hands and arms covering the parts of their bodies they had deemed beautiful before. The half-eaten fruit lay in the grass, already beginning to rot. Flies hovered nearby.
Later, in the cool of the evening when they always walked and talked with their Creator, they heard His voice. That voice that had inspired such great joy within them, now struck terror.
“Where are you, my children?”
Adam crept out from the bushes, the hastily woven leaves covering his genitals. “I… we…heard your voice and were afraid because we are naked.”
“WHO told you, you were naked?” thundered the voice of God. “Have you eaten of the tree which I commanded you not to eat?”
“The woman you gave me to be with, she gave me the fruit and I ate.” Adam answered his voice quavering.
God turned to the woman, “What have you done?”
“The…the…serpent deceived me… and… I ate,” her voice barely a whisper.
The God of the Universe turned to the serpant and roared, “You are cursed above all things. I will put enmity between you and the offspring of the woman. You shall bruise His heel. But HE, He shall crush your head!”
“And as for you, woman, you will have pain now in childbearing. Your desire will be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
Majesty turned then to Adam. And in a still but intense voice, He said, “Because you listened to your wife, cursed is the ground because of you. In pain you shall eat of it all your days. Prickling, painful thorns will it bring forth for you, to tear your flesh. You will sweat and toil and in the end you will return to the dust from which I made you.”
Then in saddness and anger the Creator drove the humans He’d created out from the Garden He’d made for them. He placed one of His myriads of cherubim with a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the Tree of Life.
Lest the man and woman now eat of it and live eternally in their SIN.
The picture represents Eve in shame before Mary who is carrying the promised offspring, the Son of God, who will indeed die by the serpant’s wiles, but who will rise from the dead triumphant to crush death and Satan forever.
LORD, help me to seek Your face and Your ways, and to love and obey you with my whole heart. Lead me not into temptation and deliver me from the Evil One.