Tag Archive | trotter

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.

Living for the Lord

Just a few quotes deserving our attention today:

“The world might stop in ten minutes; meanwhile, we are to go on doing our duty. The great thing is to be found at one’s post as a child of God, living each day as though it were our last, but planning as though our world might last a hundred years.”  C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock

“I do this thing for God, not for success in the work, or for happiness in my soul or for anything else.  I am here for God.  Life is grandly simple when the spirit of calculating results and consequences, even spiritual results and consequences, has been left among the things that are behind, when obedience is the one thing that matters, when God Himself, and no mere ‘experience,’ is our exceeding great reward.”  Lilias Trotter, A Ripened Life

“Why, then are we here?  …that we may ‘live unto the Lord,’ and may bring others to know His love.  We remain on earth as sowers to scatter good seed; as ploughmen to break up the fallow ground; as heralds publishing salvation.  We are here as the ‘salt of the earth’ to be a blessing to the world.  We are here to glorify Christ in our daily lives.  We are here as workers for Him, and as ‘workers together with him’.  C.H. Spurgeon, Morning by Morning

“It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.  The motive is everything.  Let a man sanctify the Lord God in his heart and he can thereafter do no common act….’I want to live so fully in the Spirit that all my thoughts may be as sweet incense ascending to Thee and every act of my life may be an act of worship.'”  A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

“Whether then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  I Corinthians 10:31

“Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  Colossians 3:17

 

“For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; For if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord, therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”  Romans 14:7, 8

 

 

 

Look to Jesus–2

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
Hebrews 12:2

There couldn’t be a better hymn than “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” to partner with Spurgeon’s exhortation to turn away from ourselves and look to Jesus.  The lyrics were written by Helen H. Lemmel in 1922, after she came upon a gospel track by missionary/artist Lilias Trotter, entitled “Focused.”  Ms. Trotter wrote:

“So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full in­to His face and you will find that the things of earth will ac­quire a strange new dim­ness.”

Mary Barrett, Christian worship leader and cancer survivor, has recorded an acoustic version of this classic hymn, which you can listen to from my blue Music Box to the right.  Be blessed by her beautiful voice affirming the call to Turn Our Eyes on Jesus, and while you listen, meditate on the timeless words:

 Turn You Eyes Upon Jesus

[Chorus]
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.

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Chorus

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!

Chorus

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Artist and Missionary: Lilias Trotter

Lilias Trotter

1853-1928

My sister-in-law, Jenny, recently introduced me to the works and inspiration of Lilias Trotter.  It’s amazing that such a godly woman, artist, writer and devout missionary has escaped the notice and glory given to many other Christian pioneers and workers.

Publisher’s Weekly notes that, “sadly, the name of Lilias Trotter is no longer remembered by many people, except those 19th-century art experts who recall her as the painter who caused art critic John Ruskin to rhapsodically change his mind about the ability of women to be artists. Though all but forgotten now as an artist, Trotter [1853-1928] is venerated as a pioneering Christian missionary—she founded and funded a mission in North Africa where she served for nearly 40 years.

What the article doesn’t say, is just how dedicated Ms. Trotter was to the Lord.  The reason she may be “forgotten as an artist,” was the result of a life-changing, deliberate decision she made while under the tutelage of John Ruskin.  She said, “I see as clear as daylight now I cannot give myself to painting in the way he (John Ruskin) means and continue ‘to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.’” (1)

Some of Lilias’ exquisite paintings, coupled with her poignant writings and Scriptures, are recorded in A Blossom in the Desert: Reflections of Faith in the Art and Writings of Lilias Trotter, by Miriam Huffman Rockness.  Ms. Rockness also wrote A Passion for the Impossible, an acclaimed biography of this 19th century missionary and artist.  From the bibliography of the former, we find a literal legacy of journals, booklets, stories and parables all written by Lilias Trotter.   A remote few of these remain in print.

From her pen of long ago, comes meditations worthy of discovery today :

Act or Process?

is it an act, or a gradual process, this “putting off the old man”?  It is both.  It  is a resolve taken once for all, but carried out in detail day by day.  From the first hour that the layer of separation begins to form in the leaf-stalk, the leaf’s fate is sealed:  there is never a moment’s reversal of the decision.  Each day that follows is a steady carrying out of the plant purpose: “this old leaf shall die, and the new leaf shall live.”  So with your soul.  Come to the decision once for all: “Every known sin shall go–if there is a deliverance to be had, I will have it.”  Put the Cross of Christ, in its mysterious delivering power, irrevocably between you and sinning, and hold on there.  That is your part, and you must do it.”

The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God.  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 6:10-11 (1)

 

(1)  A Blossom in the Desert, compiled and ed. by Miriam Huffman Rockness, pg 106.  Discovery House Publishers (Grand Rapids, MI). 2007.