LAST WEEK WE BEGAN TO STUDY HOW TO USE WORD PICTURES
TO SPEAK TO OUR SOULS
DRAWING UPON THE PICTURES WE SEE “PAINTED” IN
SCRIPTURE AND IN GREAT HYMNS
WHEN THE WEEK HAD JUST DAWNED
YOU WERE THERE WITH YOUR PICTURES
I CANNOT MENTION THEM ALL — BUT HERE ARE SOME
ANNE HAD BEEN IN PSALM 18, WHEN “GOD HEARS OUR CRY FROM
HIS TEMPLE AND COMES THUNDERING DOWN TO OUR RESCUE”
AND DIDN’T WE SEE THAT LIVED OUT BEFORE US WHEN OUR OWN TAMMI WAS MISSING
AND THEN FOUND? OUR CRIES WENT OUT TO GOD — AND THEN OUR REJOICING!
Elizabeth remembered this picture of Jesus from Revelation 19, when He returns. She wrote, once, on this blog:
This picture moved me to tears. It brings this passage in Revelation to life. It is His coming to me – not just on that great day, but NOW. When I look up these verses I feel Him hoist me up on the horse, holding me, carrying me through my pain – out of my lost-ness and fulfilling that deep deep longing in my soul.
Renee remembered this portrayal of Aleonart from
The Song of Songs, “Awake South Wind” — and of God’s love for her
This amazing passage talks about thanking Him for the warm south wind (His Love)
and trusting Him in the cold north winds (Because He died for us we can!)
Angela, who has suffered so with Lyme’s Disease
remembered how God came to Job
in William Blake’s painting
Job portrays the Gospel —
for centuries later there was a greater Job who also suffered
but was not delivered
He did it for us
Julie told of putting Psalm 62 up near her desk when her husband was in Afghanistan
drawing strength from its word pictures: He is our rock, our salvation,
our fortress, our refuge
How can you see The Gospel in the truth that He is the Rock?
THERE WERE SO MANY MORE FROM YOU
BUT I WANT TO CLOSE WITH THREE — BECAUSE THEY HELP US “PEER INTO THE GOSPEL”
WHICH IS THE SECRET OF HELPING YOU TO
TRULY “PUT OFF” AND “PUT ON”
THE VERSE WE ARE INTENTLY HIDING IN OUR HEART
SO THAT WE CAN BE MADE NEW
Susan mentioned this portrait of Hosea, who was a Christ-figure, covering Gomer,
who was unfaithful to Him. Such a good picture of the Gospel and how Christ covers us.
Kim, who has been so freed by “peering into the Gospel” said this Rembrandt portrait impacted her so. God accepts her as He did the wayward younger brother, and even as He accepts the hard-hearted older brother.
LAURA-DANCER, WHO KEEPS TELLING US SHE HAS NO IMAGINATION,
FOUND HERSELF MOVED TO TEARS IN CHURCH
AS SHE CONTEMPLATED THE WORDS TO THE SONG “ABOVE ALL”
JESUS WAS TRAMPLED LIKE A ROSE — FOR US!
SO HOW CAN WE NOT LOVE HIM?
A common thread in all of your pictures, was longing to trust God’s love. We are going to continue in Ephesians, the book in which Paul prays that we might “comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth” of the love of Christ.”
It is in the Gospel that you see the height of His love — and peering into the Gospel can change you.
If you are new, follow the directions on the right on this homepage. You’ll need to be approved the first time. Then you’ll be able to make comments whenever. Many copy this into a word document and type their answers there first, then copy them here. I’ve made suggestions for how to move through the week, but you are free to go at your own pace.
Some of you have asked about how Tammi is doing. When she walked into the sheriff’s office, she was disoriented and didn’t know who she was. She is now hospitalized near her step-father and mother in Alabama. Please continue to pray for her as doctors try to understand what happened and for the Lord to heal and comfort her.
1. Of the above pictures from your sisters on the blog, choose one, possibly two, that help you see the love of Christ for you and explain why. Could one of these become, as Elizabeth said, your “go-to” picture this week to help you in overcoming a negative behavior?
2. Challenge question (If you are just beginning, you don’t have to do this.) We are in the book of Ephesians, in which Paul prays we will begin to comprehend the height, the depth, the width and the breadth of the love of God. That can happen by “peering into the Gospel.” The pictures above are various reflections of The Gospel, and they are all based on various passages of Scripture. Amazingly, the Gospel can be found from Genesis to Revelation. Now — focus on the picture you chose (or another), find the Scripture behind it, and see what you can glean about the Gospel from it.
Monday-Tuesday: Review (If you just joined us, you may want to read last week’s post and listen to the free sermon.)
Putting Off and Putting On
Another way to say this is repentance and faith. There are two steps. This is from Tim Keller:
A. (Putting Off or Repentance)
Hating the sin/or itself. “Lord I see how repulsive this idol is. Lord, the thing itself is not what is evil—it is what my heart has done to it—elevating it—that makes it evil. I refuse to be controlled by it any longer. It wreaks havoc in my life. You justify me, not this. You are my master, not this. I will not be controlled by this. This is not my life (I don’t have to have it), but CHRIST is my life (I only have to have him.)”
B. (Putting On or Faith)
Rejoicing in the grace and work of Jesus. “Lord, I have been trying to earn my own salvation and weave my own righteousness. But you are my salvation and righteousness. I am accepted in your Son! All my problems come because I am forgetting how loved, honored, beautiful, secure, rich, respected, embraced, free in Jesus. And all other ways of finding honor, etc. are vain. Let me be so ravished with your love of me that no other love can control me.”
Meditate on this poem by John Donne. Make it a prayer —
Take me to you, imprison me.
For I, except you enthrall me, never shall be free, Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
HERE’S AN EXAMPLE FROM MY LIFE OF HOW I AM APPLYING THESE TWO STEPS TO ONE OF MY NEGATIVE BEHAVIORS. THEN I WANT YOU TO DO THE SAME WITH A NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR IN YOUR OWN LIFE
I wake earlier than I should and begin to worry about various things. I know we are told not to worry — so what do I do?
A. I must discern the idol and hate the sin. I am worried because I don’t trust God to be in control of my children, my ministry…
I ask myself, “What is the lie I am believing?” I think I can handle things better than God so I am trying to figure things out — a nice term for worry. But I can’t just stop worrying, even though I have discerned it is negative behavior and hate it. I must move to step B.
B. Philippians tells me to have no anxiety about anything but in everything, with thanksgiving, make my requests to God. It also tells me to set my mind on that which is lovely… Therefore, I can ask God to help me sleep (I often will pray Psalm 127:2: It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil, for He gives His beloved sleep.) But I also need to set my mind on that which is lovely — and the Gospel helps me with that. Many of the actual pictures above come to mind, as well as lines from hymns or verses. Usually, I do find myself turning from my control and resting in Him and going back to sleep. If I still cannot, I will continue in a classic I’m reading from my Kindle on my nightstand, and that can help me set my mind on Him.
3. Your turn: Name the negative behavior, discern the idol, and then your step of faith.
A. (Discern idol and repent — putting off)
B.(Move toward Him in faith — putting on)
Wednesday-Friday: Bible Study and Download Sermon. This sermon is 2.50, but well worth it.
Sermon Link: Link
If you cannot afford that, here is a substitute free Vimeo video that has some of the same points. Free Vimeo Link
Read (or say by heart) Ephesians 4:22-24
4. Putting off without putting on is ineffective and even dangerous. Give an example, hopefully, from your own life of why this either doesn’t work or actually can be hurtful.
5. There is a link in this passage between putting off and putting on in verse 23. What is it and what do you think this means?
6. Putting on without putting off is dangerous too. In the sermon, Keller talks about the danger of passivity, giving the example of masturbation. If you just ask God to take it from you but are not willing to die, what is likely to happen in time?
7. For those who have journeyed with us, give an example of a sister from this blog who you have seen put off and put on.
8. Listen to the sermon and share:
A. What does Keller say is unique about Christianity and why?
B. Keller talked about stealing as an example. Jay Adams asks, “When is a thief not a thief?” What is the answer and what does this illustrate?
C. Idols are an attempt to solve a problem. Give an example of this and how Christ is a better solution.
D. What else stood out to you from this message?
9. What’s your take-a-way and why?
If you can watch the movie Courageous in the next two weeks, we’re going to talk about its strengths and weaknesses in light of Gospel Transformation.