A True Self-Portrait of Jesus Christ

Being the wife of a teaching elder has the added benefit of learning about whatever he is studying during that season.   We discuss and debrief his teaching and enjoy what God reveals to us about various passages of the Bible. Currently, he is preaching through the first part of Revelation.

There are many portraits of Jesus that have been presented in movies, books, music, and pop culture.  You have the friendly Sunday school Jesus with children playing all around.  You have the Mel Gibson version of the bloody and crucified Jesus.  Then there is the domesticated Jesus, our buddy, homeboy, or boyfriend who we can just hang out with.

Then you read Revelation 1:1 “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants…”  These are the words of Jesus himself, written to the Church through the apostle John, of his glorious return and the future of the universe.  In this chapter Jesus gives us a picture of himself in verses 12-16.

“12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.”

This is the true self-portrait of Jesus Christ!  If we are to seek his face and anticipate his return, let us be careful which image of Jesus we envision as our Saviour.  Let us look to Scripture for the true pictures of our Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to help us embrace the One who was and is and is to come!

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What is Biblical Discernment and Why is it Important?

Grace to You

“Discernment — the ability to think biblically about all areas of life — is indispensable to an uncompromising life. It is incumbent upon the Christian to seize upon the discernment that God has provided for in His precious truth! Without it, Christians are at risk of being “tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14).”

Pastor John MacArthur gives this excellent definition in an article on his website, Grace to You.  This ministry is committed to spreading the Word through careful and responsible teaching of the Bible by a very gifted teacher.  On the website you will find links to a large variety of free articles, sermons, and answers to tough questions.  I suggest finding a sermon series on a theme or book of the Bible that interests you.  Use the search engine to explore by topic or Scripture.  Then choose a regular time to listen while you commute, exercise, or work around the house.  Trust me, cleaning your bathroom will feel way more enjoyable if you can soak up some Ephesians in the process!

You can check out this article and other great resources at Grace to You: http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA138/What-is-biblical-discernment-and-why-is-it-important

Listening to Lyrics…

Grace Has Come

When I travel, I enjoy tuning in to local Christian radio stations to hear the latest music or teachers being broadcast.  Sometimes I have to cringe at some of the lyrics I hear, making Jesus sound like our buddy or boyfriend we want to squeeze so tight (even cringing as I type that).  In reality, Jesus Christ is our Saviour, Great High Priest, and King!

Do you think carefully about the lyrics of worship music and Christian songs?  We should seek to be reverent and humble in our musical worship, giving our Great God the respect and adoration he deserves.  We should sing and meditate on our depravity apart from Christ, his sovereign plans for eternity, and our salvation as a gift by grace through faith.

One worship album that gives appropriate attention to these themes is Grace Has Come: Songs from the Book of Romans by Sovereign Grace Music.  Who knew you could sing through the book of Romans?  I love that this group has succeeded in this very endeavor!  When looking for Christian music to add to your collection, check out artists who are putting Scripture to music and focus on the person of Christ in their lyrics.  You can see this and other albums here:

http://www.sovereigngracemusic.org/Albums/Grace_Has_Come_Songs_from_the_Book_of_Romans

Finding a Good Read…

Crossway

Do you like to read?  Maybe you are one of those people who can’t get enough of reading and have a really impressive collection in your electronic library.  Or maybe you’ve got about five or six books on your nightstand that are half-read with pretty bookmarks all over the place.  Whichever type of reader you are, the important thing is that we do in fact read.  If we are going to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, reading Scripture is the best place to start.  In addition to this, God has gifted many in his Church with wisdom and insight to write books that can point us to and give us greater understanding of the person of Jesus Christ, the gospel, and the entire Bible.

A challenge we have today is to select reading choices for ourselves and our families that promote sound Scriptural teaching.  One way to develop discernment when selecting books is to familiarize ourselves with publishers.  One of my favourites is Crossway.  They seek to “publish gospel-centered, Bible-centered content that will honor our Savior and serve his Church”.  Everything I have read by Crossway is true to their mission and exalts Jesus Christ.  You can check out their great selection here:

https://www.crossway.org/

Praying the Scriptures

In order to develop our ability to be discerning, we need to be engaging with God’s Word on a regular basis.  One way to do this is to pray the Scriptures.  Often we can fall into a pattern of praying in the way we were raised, using familiar phrases and patterns without giving much thought to content or purpose.  If we want to develop our prayer life, we must first look to the instructions of Christ on this matter.  We all know this one by heart, Matthew 6:9-13.  I see six elements to this prayer, however we have tendencies to camp out in just one or two of these sections.  Jesus gave us a lesson in how to practice a full prayer to God the Father.  May we look beyond simply asking for “our daily bread” so that we might bring the most glory to the only deserving One.  Jesus said, “Pray then like this:

Matthew 6:9-13
Prayer Element
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name Praise God for who He is and what He has done
Your kingdom come Pray for Jesus to return
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven Ask God to help us to know and do His will
Give us this day our daily bread Pray for our needs
And forgive us our sins as we also have forgiven those who sin against us Confess sins and pray for help to forgive others
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Pray to be strengthened in areas of weakness and for protection from the devil