Beholding Him

And we, who with unveiled faces are beholding (Gk. gaze at and mirror) the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  

2 Corinthians 3:18

The things we say, think, and do, are a direct result of our focus.  If we stare all day at TV pundits and fall asleep with ‘breaking news’ as our last mental meal of the day, then our thoughts, both conscious and sub-, easily steer into a deep ravine of fear, despair, and dread.   If we target our spouse, children, boss, or co-workers, zeroing in on their shortcomings or ‘failures’, we give way to dissatisfaction or discouragement.   Even if we gaze intently on ‘spectacular’ Christian teaching, unless it’s clearly centerend on Jesus and Scriptures, our security may unravel, our faith may shake.  Whoever or whatever we focus on becomes a frame of reference, with negative and positive images stamped alternately on our mind, like old film photography.  

Lilias Trotter noted this in her meditation, and pointed to the absolute necessity of “beholding” our Lord:

“If every fraction of a second tells in the film in the camera, while ‘unveiled’ it faces the light, must not something of the same unseen work go on upon our spirits in every moment of unveiling before the Lord?  When Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he took the veil off.  Bare absolute contact with God’s Presence–if our times alone with Him were but that all the time, they would be mighty in their outcome.”  1

We are exhorted to “gaze upon and reflect, as a mirror” with unveiled faces, the image of Jesus.   

How do we do that?

We should allow His image to be impressed on us, as an image is reflected onto film–by exposure!  Place ourselves before the Lord in prayer and meditation, exposing not only our fears, sorrows, or sins before Him, but our very mind—let Him renew our minds, clothe our thoughts with praise in exchange for heaviness, and adorn us with His beauty for our ashes!  When we place ourselves before the Lord and intently seek Him in His Word, HE does the work.  His Spirit will begin to transform us into His image, so we will reflect to others, the very likeness of the Lord–and such will truly be mighty in outcome!  

In his book, The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer refers to this focus as the“gaze of the soul upon a saving God.”  He discusses the need to develop an “inward habit of beholding God.  A new set of eyes (so to speak) will develop within us enabling us to be looking at God, while our outward eyes are seeing the scenes of this passing world.” 2

The Scriptures also speak of Beholding God: 

They looked at Him and were radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalm  34:5

“To thee lift I up my eyes, O Thou who are enthroned in the heavens!  Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He shall be gracious to us.” Psalm 123:1-2

[Jesus,] “looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves he gave them to the disciples…”  Matt 14:19

We need to ‘fix our eyes on the Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith’, not only to receive hope and mercy, but to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us into His image, that others may see Jesus stamped on us.  We are to be a reflection, a photograph, of Jesus to a world without Hope.

Tozer always adds a brief prayer after his writings, and today, I think his prayer can be ours:

“O Lord, I have heard a good word inviting me to look away to You and be satisfied.  My heart longs to respond, but sin has clouded my vision till I see You but dimly.  Be pleased to cleanse me in Your own precious blood, and make me inwardly pure, so that I may with unveiled eyes gaze upon You all the days of my earthly pilgrimage,  Then shall I be prepared to behold You in full splendor in the day when You shall appear to be glorified in Your saints and admired in all them that believe.  Amen.”  2


1.  Miraim Huffman Rockness, A Blossom in the Desert, Reflections of Faith in the Art and Writings of LIlias Trotter, Grand Rapids: Discovery House, 2007. Page 181.

2.  A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Camp Hill: Christian Publications, 1982. Pages 83-91.

Life is Loud

The Grinch

“Oh, the Noise! Noise Noise! Noise! Noise!”, cries the Grinch!!!  

There’s so much noise, or unwanted sound, that blasts our brains, and bangs on our eardrums.  Noise of traffic, TVs, and toys, whirs of computers and air conditioners, other’s music, drumming and humming…and that’s just a start.  The drone of the crowds, the boisterous ego of the media, and sounds we’re unaware of.. Then there’s our thoughts, constantly correcting, accusing, or directing us, here, there, everywhere.  Life is loud!

A quiet rural setting, a library, or a walk along a lake, offer some repose, but we can’t turn off all the noise completely, especially our own thoughts, convictions, or musings.  That’s why I like this prayer of A.W. Tozer, from his book, The Pursuit of God:

Lord, teach me to listen.  The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them.  Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said, “Speak ,for Your servant hears.”  Let me hear you speaking in my heart.  Let me get used to the sound of your voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of your speaking voice. Amen.” 

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them  and they follow me.”  (John 10:27 )

Thank you, Lord…

Resting in Jesus

Time to relax, rest, and be refreshed.   I could share more about issues, concerns, and on being strangers in this world—but I don’t want to stray from the primary purpose of this blog, to minister Grace to the hearers!   The following is a beautiful hymn recorded in A.W. Tozer’s book, The Christian Book of Mystical Verse, and speaks for itself:


Jesus, I am Resting, Resting

Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what Thou art,

I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.

Hear I gaze and gaze upon Thee, as Thy beauty fills my soul,

For by Thy transforming power, Thou hast made me whole.

O how great Thy loving kindness, vaster broader than the sea;

O how marvellous Thy goodness lavished all on me

Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved, know what wealth of grace is Thine,

Know Thy certainty of promise, and have made it mine,

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, I behold Thee as Thou art,

And Thy love, so pure, so changeless, satisfies my heart,

Satisfies its deepest longing, meets, supplies my every need,

Compasseth me round with blessings: Thine is love indeed.

Ever lift Thy face upon me as I work and wait for Thee;

Resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus, earth’s dark shadows flee.

Brightness of my Father’s glory, sunshine of my Father’s face,

Let Thy glory e’er shine on me, fill me with Thy grace.

by Jean Sophia Pigott, 19th c.

Strangers, Aliens and Exiles

Election year, high blood pressure, elevated emotions, regretable rhetoric!  These all go together, and it takes extreme discipline to maintain a Christ-like perspective of it all!  Try as I may, I get too caught up and, worse, too emotional, as I watch listen online to news, whether it’s “fair and balanced”, or the most listened to talk show on earth, or “just in” from the “situation room.”

I am compelled, for mental and spiritual survival, to immerse my thoughts and renew my mind in God’s Word.  With the utmost gratefulness, I’m never disappointed, and my spirit is refreshed.  I’m reminded that there is MORE!

“You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:  for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God,; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts (sin!), which wages war against the soul.”  I Peter 2:9-11

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us, we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God!” 2 Corinthians 5:20

“So then, you are no longer strangers and aliens (!), but you are fellow-citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you are also being built together into a dwelling of God in the spirit!:  Ephesians 2:19-22

“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.  For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own!  And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”  Hebrews 11:13-16

A.W. Tozer, one who is already in a “better country,” wrote and sternly warned believers of the position and mindset Christians should have in the midst of our present turmoil.  Though he penned this over 45 years ago, his counsel remains true:  

The issues that divide our leaders are so important that few Americans can remain neutral.  Almost everyone has a pronounced opinion, and is sure he is right.  That men equally wise and good take the opposite side does not seem to occur to any of us.  Felling is running high, and most of our thinking is being done with our emotions…..Liberty as used by the American founding fathers meant freedom to do good; many today conceive it to mean freedom to do evil, and they work it for all the traffic it will bear.

“One thing must be kept in mind:  We Christians are Christians first and everything else after that.  Our first allegiance is to the kingdom of God.  Our citizenship is in heaven.  We are grateful for political freedom.  We thank God for democracy as a way of life.  But we never forget that we are sons of God and citizens of another city whose builder and maker is God.

“For this reason, we must not identify the gospel with any political system or make Christianity to be synonymous with any form of government, however noble.  Christ stands alone, above and outside of every ideology devised by man.  He does not join any of our parties or take sides with any of our great men except as they may come over on His side and seek to follow Him in righteousness and true holiness.  Then He is for them, but only as individuals, never as leaders of some political faction.

“The true Christian will be loyal to his country and obedient to those in authority, but he will never fall in to the error of confusing his own national culture with Christianity.  Christianity is bigger than any country, loftier than any civilization, broader than any human ideology.

“Any form of human government, however lofty, deals with the citizen only as long as he lives.  Ant the graveside it bids him adieu.  It may have made his journey a little easier, and if so, all lovers of the human race will thank God for that…

“So let’s keep cool [yeah–he said that!], and let’s think like Christians.  Christ will be standing upright, tall, and immortal, after the tumult and the shouting dies and the captains and the kings lie stretched side by side, the “cause” that made them famous forgotten and their whole significance reduced to a paragraph in a history book.”

from The Next Chapter after the Last, ed. Henry Verploegh, pps,47-50

Since we have received a “kingdom which cannot be shaken,” let us live for Him and to Him, and “offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe: for our God is a consuming fire!” (Hebrews 12:28, 29).  Nothing should shake us!  He appoints leaders, He lifts, and puts down.  We must trust our Lord in the political arena as well as in the personal one.   Our trust is in the Changeless One, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

Driving with Our Brakes On

This morning I read an article by A.Z. Tozer on driving a car as it relates to our spiritual walk.  I found it rather interesting that I wrote on a similar theme just a couple of weeks ago (under my ‘heart thoughts’ category).  It makes sense, however, that we would find spiritual correlations throughout our life, for after all, that’s what Jesus’ parables were made of–moral lessons, examples, and guidance based on daily events and routines common to people of that time.

Tozer’s article compares resentment, as well as other things we harbor, to the brakes of a car–hindering our progress, halting our forward motion.  Here’s some excerpts found in the book, The Next Chapter after the Last:

“Many Christians live like a man driving with his brakes on.  The car running with its brakes set is not standing still–not quite, but it is making a hard job out of an easy one.  It is labouring unnecessarily, using more fuel than it should and sending up a stench from its overheated brake linings.  And if the situation isn’t corrected, it will not be going anywhere very long.

“It is, of course, friction that retards the car’s progress, for all brakes work by friction.  The car is temporarily at odds with itself; one surface wants to revolve and another surface in contact with it wants to stand still.  The clash of purposes set up friction; and friction always wins at last.  Nothing can continue to move if it is opposed by enough friction….

“…there is kind of friction which retards spiritual progress and does real injury to the soul.  It is the friction created by inward maladjusment.

“Our Lord had this in mind when He spoke of the value of the “single eye,” and James referred to the same thing when he told of the wavering man of double mind who was unstable in all his ways.  While the heart is at cross-purposes with itself, there can be no inward harmony, only discord and carnal heat that slowly wear out the life.

“One source of friction is resentfulness.  To hold bad feelings against another is to put the brakes on; no matter how sincerely we desire to go on in the holy way, we are held back by the grinding of resentment within us.  Resentment is static and will brake to a stop any soul that will harbor it.  It is vitally important to remove the pressure that is checking forward motion.  This we can do by forgiving our enemies, and taking pardon and cleansing from the Lord.

“To name all possible causes of inward friction would be to list the works of the flesh in their entirety.  The flesh wars against the spirit; that is, it seeks to stop the motions of the growing heart and bring it to a standstill.  Or, failing that, it will put as much pressure as possible on the life and slow its progress as much as it can.  The sad thing is that so many of us seem willing to let things go on that way.  We ‘grovel here below’, creeping forward painfully and at a snail’s pace, when we might be racing unhindered toward the prize.

“Let’s check up on ourselves.  Possible we may need to take the brakes off.”