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An encouragement on fixing our eyes on Jesus

Our Church is Reformed Confessing. Prior to the sermon, we have a time of confessional led by one of our Elders. We have 4 elders. One is the main teaching elder, though any of the men can teach at the pulpit. The other three men rotate in leading the confessional. The Confessional-teaching elder gives a short talk based on what the upcoming sermon will be and then stands silently as we individually confess and repent in our pews. Then he closes in an audible prayer. I appreciate the opportunity to set my heart and mind aright, and to confess, particularly when it’s a Lord’s Table Sunday.

This past Sunday, our elder gave  a confessional talk that had so many wonderful points. Well, each week the confessional is always good, but this week I really enjoyed some things that stood out to me. I’m paraphrasing, but-

If You want to look like Jesus, look at Jesus.

Our elder made the statement that we should fix our gaze upon Jesus, not the latest comedy or sports teams. I ended up focusing on the phrase “fix your eyes upon Jesus” from Hebrews 12:2. I looked up the word “fix” and the Strong’s says

872 aphoráō (from 575 /apó, “away from” and 3708 /horáō, “see”) – properly, “looking away from all else, to fix one’s gaze upon” (Abbott-Smith).

How helpful. I should not glance, not peek, not glimpse, but FIX my GAZE upon him, looking away from all else and steadily drinking in all that He is.

I need to spend more time with Jesus to look more like Him. What a great line. Moses only got to see God’s ‘back’ and His face after being with God was so bright it had to be veiled. We have the privilege of looking at Jesus’ “face” as it were, through His word. I want my face to be shining, to have my being conformed to Him, to have my mind transformed. But it won’t happen unless I read the Bible.

I was convicted because I found a new comedy that I got involved in binging this week and let my Bible reading go. I excused it by saying I was tired from the last week of school. All I wanted to do when I get home in this record heat was plop down and not think. But it’s not an excuse. Not at all. I must look away from all other distractions and FIX my GAZE on Jesus. A Bible skim won’t even do.

If you’re interested in hearing the Confessional, here it is, in all its 13 minute power. I pray it convicts you as it did me, in some way that will honor and glorify the Lord as a result. I know what I’m going to be doing when I get home.

May 13, 2018
We become like what we behold.


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Bible Reading Plan thoughts: The Women in the Genealogy

In our Bible Reading Plan we come to Matthew 1-2 today. Don’t hate the genealogy. Don’t skip the genealogy. Since we are told that all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work, (2 Timothy 3:16-17), it means that the genealogies are also instructive. Here are a couple of thoughts that came to my mind as I read it.

1. Women are mentioned. In a society so patriarchal as to render the women invisible, the feminists say, here are some women added to the holiest of genealogies, the line of Christ.

2. The particular women mentioned by name. In Matthew 1:3, we read: “Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar” verse 5 has both: “Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab”, verse “Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth”, and verse 6b has “And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah”.

These women are outcasts, as John MacArthur’s commentary calls them. Tamar was a Canaanite daughter-in-law of Judah who dressed as a prostitute to trick Judah for various convoluted Old Testament reasons. As the Commentary concludes her story, “God’s grace fell on all three of these undeserving persons, including a desperate and deceptive Gentile harlot.”

Rahab was a Gentile and a professional prostitute. However, she feared God and protected the spies when they came to Jericho. As a result, God rained down grace by including her in the Messianic line, making her the mother of Boaz, King David’s great-grandfather.

Ruth was also a Gentile. She was a Moabite and a former pagan, who had no legal right to marry an Israelite, but God’s grace swept her into the family of Israel and into the Royal line through Boaz and she became David’s grandmother.

3. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah. Did you catch that? Bathsheba is mentioned, but not named. That jumped out at me.

Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and later, Mary are mentioned by name. Not this one. Of course we know she is Bathsheba, who bathed naked on the rooftop under the lascivious eyes of David. Incited, David contrived a way to put Bathsheba’s husband Uriah at the front lines, David committed adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah was killed at the front lines, David took Bathsheba for his wife, and then the son from this illicit union died in infancy. Their second son was Solomon. But God’s grace was sufficient to keep ‘the wife of Uriah’ in the royal line and she became ancestor to the Messiah.

The genealogy of Jesus Christ is immeasurably more than a list of ancient names; it is even more than a list of Jesus’ forebears. It is a beautiful testimony to God’s grace  and to the ministry of His Son, Jesus Christ, the friend of sinners… If He has called sinners by grace to be His forefather,s should we be surprised when He calls them by grace to be his descendants? The King presented here is truly the King of grace! ~John MacArthur

Don’t skip the genealogies. 🙂



matthew 1 verse1