Turn your eyes upon jesus

Many of you are still healing from the trauma that institutionalized religion created in your lives. Maybe you just can’t read your Bible right now, or can’t listen to Christian music, or you must avoid your ex-church friends . . . Allow the Lord to lead you, guide you and HEAL you. He’ll bring you back to those things in His timing.

It took me around 12 years of growing in grace before I could really delight in Christian music again. It took that long to recover from the false “praise and worship” methodology that American non-denominational churches impose on their members.

TRUE praise and worship is to live a life of trusting in and resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ. And as He fellowships with us, He may actually speak to you through music! 

😃

He’s done this with me twice recently.

Last night, unable to sleep, feeling anxious and uptight, He suddenly spoke to me by “dropping” this song in my brain. It was exactly what I needed to hear!  He is such a wonderful friend. 

❤

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

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

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

God’s Righteousness

anonymous religious hasidim jews during pray near western wall
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

I was told once that Christians can be divided into three groups:  Modern-day Pharisees, Christian Eeyores, and lastly, the Grace Community.  And I was told that I was the modern-day Pharisee type.  A lot of you were as well.  You know, the really annoying, judgmental, legalistic type?

 

But, c’mon, unless you used to be an Ultra-Orthodox Jew, you were nothing like a Pharisee. Neither was I.

 

The Pharisees were hard-core religious zealots who devoted every minute of their lives to being righteous; they were sincere and serious. Their zeal was based on the Laws that God spoke to Moses.

 

“For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” Romans 10:2

 

Not according to knowledge?

 

The apostle Paul goes on to explain in Romans 10 that their religious practices were “their own” attempts at righteousness, and had nothing to do with God’s.

 

Yes, God gave the Law to Moses, but He did not give it so that it would lead us to Him.  To a life of faith, of reality.  The Law was given to increase the knowledge of sin and to lead us to despair and to the feet of the Lord God. (Romans 5:20)

 

So, if you desire righteousness and holiness, your efforts at being ‘good’ will not succeed. The Bible is so clear.  Again and again we are told that, to be righteous in God’s eyes, you must have FAITH.  Before Jesus came, one had faith in God and the words He spoke to one’s heart.  After Jesus came, one puts their faith in the death, burial, and resurrection.  It is THAT that spells out the good news, the gospel; it is that that saves a soul from hell.

 

Paul calls the gospel “the word of faith.”  The gospel is “the word of faith” because it has to do with assenting to what God reveals to your heart, it is about saying yes, having faith, and telling God, “yes, I believe that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead.”

 

The Christian life is a life of faith.  “From faith to faith,” as it is written.  We are saved through faith by grace, and then we grow to know Jesus through faith by grace.

 

Faith is the noun form of the verb “to believe.”  Faith is about trusting God.  It’s about        believing Him. You trust Him for salvation and you continue to trust Him every day afterwards.

 

. . . yet with most of us, there was a slight detour into “works.”  For me, it was a 15 year detour.  Although we were not as serious and sincere as the Pharisees, we church addicts were still nonetheless trying to establish our own righteousness based on “law.”  Our lives were guided by rules and principles and standards (not by the Lord.)

 

But God brought me back to Himself.  He asked me to quit church, to give up my religious idols. To surrender my pride to Him. He asked me to stop TRYING to be righteous.

 

It’s great news because anyone can do this; the gospel applies to anyone and everyone!    God’s idea of righteousness is attainable.

 

We don’t have to be modern-day Pharisees to be righteous in God’s eyes.  I’m still blown away by that!  So, thanks for listening. 🙂

 

“Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4

Christian Dream Interpretation — God shares the Gospel with a gay waiter — Part 1 of 3

Fort Lauderdale Hotel & Marina Commands $163M

Darren and Darryl were two gay guys that I once worked with at Café 66, the intracoastal restaurant located on the property of Pier 66, a 4-star-hotel and resort in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  They were both waiters. Darren was my best friend at that job, but Darryl didn’t like me at all.

Darren accepted me because he too was a Christian, but Darryl gave me these intense, scowling stares during our staff meetings in the kitchen.  Other than the creepy looks, Darryl avoided me.  Except for the day of his dream.

Disturbed by a dream he had the previous night, Darryl went from employee to employee asking their opinion.  Finally, he approached me.  He told me the dream and then asked if I had any idea what it meant.  I was honest and said no.

I worked as the Administrative Assistant to the restaurant’s Executive Director, Steve Silverman.  A highly polished and manicured Jewish man who had a legendary reputation for having his secretaries quit on him.  After I got hired, I heard this phrase numerous times from employees all over the resort, “Oh, you are Steve’s new secretary?  He’s awful to work for!  You’re not gonna last long.”

However, I lasted a year and a half; I seem to have a knack for getting along with difficult people.  I did quit, but it was to pursue my Biblical education in another state.

My office was down in the basement, but on the day of Darryl’s dream, I was up in Café 66 filling in for an absent hostess.  After I told him I had no idea what his dream meant, I went back to my station at the hostess stand . . . and prayed.

I said hesitatingly, “God, if you want to give me the interpretation of his dream, you know, that would be cool.”

And then suddenly, with an almost physical sensation of something being dropped on my head, the meaning of the dream was downloaded into my brain.  It was clear.  And it was cool!  God was preaching the gospel to Darryl!

So, I sheepishly walk over to Darryl.  “Umm, this has never happened to me before, but like, God totally gave me the interpretation of your dream.”

In his dream, Darryl was driving a car.  In the passenger seat was a toilet bowl filled with poop; it was raining out, and the steering wheel was shuddering. There were other details that I don’t remember (this happened almost 30 years ago), but the basic message was this:  “Darryl, you have sin in your life, and you are trying to control your life with your own effort, but you are headed for destruction and therefore God wants to save you, and be the One who ‘drives’ your life.”

Darryl was thoughtful, but unsure.  He said “okay, thanks,” and then I walked back to my station.

About an hour later, he excitedly came up to me and said, “I finally figured it out!  I ate pizza late last night, and the pizza is what gave me the weird dream!”

“Oh.  Okay, thanks,” I said.  But, of course, I didn’t believe that for a minute; I knew that God had preached the good news to him through that dream, hoping to save him.  Hoping to give Daryl new life and to begin a relationship with him.

I believe God occasionally speaks to us through our dreams.  And I believe that God Himself gives the interpretation.  I was thankful to be used by God to give Darryl this message about sin and salvation, about death and life.  It is now 30 years later, and who knows, maybe by the time of this writing, Darryl has surrendered to God, and been reborn with the life of Jesus Christ.

To be continued . . . Part 2 here.