Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace

I think it is safe to safe to say that most people know the words of this famous hymn written by Mrs. Helen Lemmel. Some have even sung it while silently praying that they would no longer be held captive by the world and the many things in it. What even those people may not know is that the chorus of this hymn was inspired by the words of a woman by the name of  I.Lilias Trotter.

“Never has it been so easy to live in half a dozen harmless worlds at once — art, music, social science, games, motoring, the following of some profession, and so on. And between them, we run the risk of drifting about, the good hiding the best. It is easy to find out whether our lives are focused, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? Dare to have it out with God, and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His Glory. Turn your soul’s vision to Jesus, and look and look at Him, and a strange dimness will come over all that is apart from Him.”

The wording of this quote is different from how we speak today. And it was a completely different time when these words were written. But the gist of it is how effortless it is to drift in our walk with God. Also, how the good (the world) can hide the best (Christ). It can be so difficult to treasure Christ when this world is filled with “treasures”.

So how can we treasure Christ in a world filled with “treasures”? Practically speaking we can turn our eyes to Jesus by peeling our Bibles open. And then praying earnestly that God would show us His glory. That bright light that overcame darkness and the only light that can dim the light of the world. This is one of the means of grace by which we can see the worthiness of Christ. It’s only while reading our Bibles that then can we understand the reason the angels never cease to praise Him. We must consistently look to the Word so that the world will appear to us as it really is, dull and incomparable to Christ.

God delights in truth in the inward being. (Psalm 51:6)

We can be honest with God. We can weep and tell Him we know that He is the only treasure but we often get thrown off the path by little trinkets. We can tell Him that we know He is better than anything else we can behold but yet we find ourselves being held captive by lesser things. We can be honest and say that we have stopped following in His steps because of something that can’t hold a candle to Him. We are wretched things that don’t know our left hand from the right (Jonah 4:11). We know that Christ is better but we become hypnotized with various little shiny things. Our devotion to Him is like a morning dew, that quickly evaporates as it lands on the earth (Hosea 6:4). And yet, God still pursues us. He never ceases to draw us with His bands of love (Hosea 11:4). In the Bible, God says that when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). But, I have to be honest sometimes I haven’t even drawn myself near Him, and He’s already right there, near me.

When we read the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), even though Jesus isn’t saying this parable to highlight the father’s love for his son; but rather to highlight the behavior of eldest son. We can’t help but see the similarities between the son’s father and our own Father. The son had to make this one long, hard journey to his father. But I believe in our walk with God we may find ourselves needing to be embraced and kissed again. We will need to be re-robed and to have the same rings and sandals given to us again and again. But it is always better to be with the Father.

Last Things

I wanted to end this post by saying that I am so happy for the good work that God is doing in you. No one reads a blog post like this unless they’ve been drawn by God. He is doing an awesome work in your life, even though you aren’t yet where you want to be. And that is what it truly means to be a Christian, to be continually hungering and thirsting for more. A person in Christ has a ravaging appetite to be more holy and to be more like Jesus Christ. It is the good work of the Holy Spirit to point out how we are not like Him, and yet the Spirit gives us the desires to be like Him. So I am thankful for the work that the Spirit is doing within you, you can rest assured that God will complete this work and one day you will see Him as He really is (1 John 3:2). May you love the Lord with all your strength. And may you be true to the Heart that died for you.

Resources:

I am a huge fan of this podcast! It’s host Leslie Ludy is a godly woman, and I love the content she produces. This particular episode was a quick introduction to Ms. I. Lilias Trotter. I highly recommend that you check it out!

If this quote from Ms. Trotter has you wanting more, check out these links: 1, 2 and 3.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

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Why We Can’t Lose Our Salvation

I have never undertaken writing something on my blog that may be considered ‘heady or theological’. I am totally relying on the Spirit of God dwelling in me to write about God’s truth. I know that there are some Christian denominations who hold to the belief that we can indeed lose our salvation. But the Bible doesn’t say such things. I am afraid that this school of belief is taught by man. Some even assume that if we hold on to the belief of eternal security (or that we can’t lose our salvation) we use this belief as an excuse to live a life that is full of sin. I hope to present God’s own words to you and to make a defense for why we should believe in eternal security.

I think that when someone doesn’t believe in eternal security, that in their hearts they believe that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ wasn’t sufficient. That perhaps His sacrifice wasn’t as He said it was on the cross, “finished” (John 19:30). That maybe they must work or earn some righteousness of their own in order to ‘supplement’ the perfect sacrifice. They must think that in not believing in eternal security that they live their lives in the true fear of God. I hope to present this notion as man-made beliefs and perhaps self-righteousness. Moreover, I hope to prove that the belief of eternal security is no license to sin but in that belief is the proper way to think about God.

The belief that salvation can be lost affects not only those who I’ve already addressed but also those who do believe in eternal security. Often in the dark night of the soul or once again yielding to some temptation many will give Christ the permission to give up on them. They know that their names are already written in heaven (Luke 10:20) but because of despair and hopelessness, they will feel as if their salvation and sanctification is dependent on them. I hope to refresh every soul that holds to the truth of either belief. I will show that the only thing we’ve contributed to salvation is our own sins. And that our salvation is because of the works of the Son, we are preserved by the Father and we are being sanctified by the Spirit. Salvation is an act of the Triune God alone, and that He is sufficient for all these things.

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:34 ESV *bolded for emphasis

Anyone who is Bible literate knows about the Old and New covenants made by God with His people. In the Scripture mentioned above, God is speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, he is prophesying of a new and better Covenant through the blood of Jesus Christ. In this particular Scripture, we see that the New Covenant is not like the Old, also that this covenant cannot be broken as the first one was by their forefathers. Unlike the Old Covenant where God’s law was carried in the Ark of the Covenant. In the New Covenant, His laws would be within the believer and written on their hearts. Also that they wouldn’t have to go into a temple to worship God, but that they themselves would become temples of the Holy Spirit. At the Passover when Jesus was eating with His disciples’ He broke the bread, which represented His body, and took the cup which He explained was His blood, ushering in a new and better Covenant (Luke 22:19-20).

I believe at the very heart of this belief of conditional salvation or security is disbelief and not understanding that God is sovereign. When we believe that salvation is conditional we think that God is not able to save us. We even go against the Bible, which says, ‘Christ is able to save to the uttermost’ (Hebrews 7:25). We reckon ourselves not united to Christ in His death, but that we are a hard nut to crack. In other words, we believe that we are such a challenge to God that it is impossible for Him to complete sanctification us.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

1 Peter 1:3-4  *bolded for emphasis

This belief in eternal security is not a license to abuse God’s grace. But it is one of those promises that compels us to become like God or to share in His divine nature. In fact, anyone who believes that their eternal salvation is an excuse to sin may need to do some self-examination. Because those who are God’s children though they may sin and yield to temptations cannot live a life of sin (1 John 3:9).

If you are yet not fully convinced that anyone’s salvation can’t be lost I ask you these questions:

1. Do you believe that God can lose His grip or that anyone can snatch away from His hand (John 10:28)?

2.Do you think that God cannot keep you even to end (1 Corinthians 1:8: 1 Thessalonians 5:23)?

3. Do you believe that God’s purposes of saving you can be thwarted ( Job 42:2; Isaiah 14:27; Proverbs 16:1)?

4. If God saved Paul (Acts 9) who called himself, ‘the chief of sinners’ (1 Timothy 1:5), why do you believe that God is unable to complete the good work He has started in you (Philippians 1:6)?

5.Do you believe that anything in the Bible hints at the fact that God doesn’t keep His promises?

Prayer: Lord while I don’t feel quite sufficient to write this post, and I am almost sure I didn’t mention everything pertaining to this topic. You, however, are sufficient for all these things. I ask that you would give these readers ears to hear. And give their souls rest from the busy work of self-righteousness. Say to their souls that, ‘I am your salvation’ (Psalm 35:3). Show them that the basis of salvation is dependent totally on You, on Your character and Your power. I say this prayer in the only name under heaven that saves us (Acts 4:12) and gives us true life, Jesus. Amen.

God is the God of Another Chance

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing— grain and drink offerings for the LORD your God.

Joel 2:12-14 NIV (1984)

With God, there is always an “even now”. In chapters one and even two, God pronounces His judgment against the nation of Judah for their disobedience. God through his prophets pleaded for the hearts of His people. Today if you’ve walked away from the Lord, or if you’ve found yourself far from Him because you’ve slowly but surely drifted away from Him. God is compassionate and He is forgiving. This is our reason for returning, because of who He is. And we return because He promises to return to those who return to Him (Malachi 3:7). This is God! A holy God who must punish wickedness, and also has compassion on all He’s made (Psalm 145:9).

God tells us how to return:

FASTING: It maybe fasting from what has consumed your attention or affections. It may just be taking a significant time to purposely draw near Him.

WEEPING: Don’t hold back, consider how committing sin has wounded the heart of such a loving God. A God who dwelled with us (John 1:14), died for us that He may rescue us. Weep for sorrow. Weep because you see nothing else in all this earth that is worthy of hurting His heart or disobeying His law. Weep because you know you were wrong. Weep but know that after repentance you are forgiven by Him.

MOURNING: Mourn because it is a bitter thing to forsake God. Mourn because you see the error of your ways. Mourn because you feel foolish, but know that He doesn’t call you fool, He calls you, “Beloved.”

There are endless examples in the Old Testament of God loving and pursuing undeserving people. People who didn’t deserve His grace didn’t deserve to be called by His name. Yet because He loved them and He keeps His covenant, time and time again He’d send His prophets to a stubborn people. The book of Hosea vividly describes the rampant idolatry of God’s people. How they even believed that their idols were the givers of their food, water, grain, oil, and wine. How does God respond to all this?

“Therefore I am now going to allure; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” (Hosea 2:14)

God will separate ‘her’ (the people of Israel) from gods and in the desert or wilderness and ‘she’ will finally come to her senses and love the Lord. ‘She’ will see that all this time it has been the God of Israel who has given her necessities and luxuries. God would restore Israel in this desert and join them to Him forevermore (Hosea 2:19).

We are not like the people who shrink away from God or completely despair of life itself. We are people who draw near to Him with our backsliding and He heals us (Jeremiah 3:22). We come to Him bare-handed with our broken and contrite hearts. And He will not despise us (Psalm 51:17).

                                                                 ———————

I encourage you to never get weary of repentance. To never get weary of coming to Him broken for your sins. He will not get weary of forgiving us and reviving us to life again. And do not cease to be in awe of such a God. A God who is offended and yet forgives. Forgiveness is not a hint that God takes sin lightly, but rather how serious sin is. And don’t be deceived, you can live a life that is pleasing in His eyes. When you hear a whisper saying, “You can’t overcome this ________ .” Know that this is a lie. You can overcome any besetting sin. You don’t need to be “stronger” you need a stronger love of God. Read the Word continually and see how worthy this God is of all your affections. Note how His promises are better and truer than anything sin promises you. Cling to God and don’t let go.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.