Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Turn Your eyes upon Jesus

Our pastor spoke of this song's history in his sermon Sunday.  The story of this song and the quote that Pastor Wilson shared really spoke to me.  I thought I'd share it with you.

The author of the song was Helen Lemmel.  Helen was the daughter of a Methodist Pastor.  Even though she was a very talented musician and could have used those talents to become famous, she instead used them for God's Work.  She did marry a wealthy European man but continued to teach voice at the Moody Bible Institute and then later at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles.  Later in life, she became blind.  When she became blind her husband abandoned her.  How awful!  She could have focused on that rejection and retreated to a life of self-pity, but she didn't.  She continued serving the Lord until she died at the age of 98 years old!

The inspiration for her song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, (originally titled The Heavenly Vision) came from the writings of author and artist Lilias Trotter.  Lilias was an artist but she loved missions work.  Eventually Lilias decided that she must put aside her art in order to focus solely on Christ and His Work in her life.  She then served for 38 years to the Muslims that lived in Algeria.  Helen Lemmel's song was influenced by the following quote of Lilias':

"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."- Lilias Trotter
Wow, Lilias I think you nailed it there!  I couldn't help but think to myself about how Lilias felt there were so many distractions in her day.  "Never has it been so easy to live in half a dozen harmless worlds at once...."  Really?  No internet, movies, cell phones, yet she felt it a struggle to stay focused on Christ?  This proved to me that our struggle is a very real one because we DO have those distractions and even more today.   How hard is it to focus on Christ amidst all of that?  Where do my thoughts fall to when things calm down?  Is it to Christ?  I'm ashamed to say, most often not. 

What about 'the good hiding the best'?  Am I involved in things I shouldn't be?  Things that are good, not 'bad' but that are not God's BEST for my life?  The last few years, Andy and I believe God has shown us many things like that in our lives that we've gotten rid of.  Things that He showed us were not 'bad' but were keeping His Best from us.  Entertainments, clothing choices, relationships, activities, even some service opportunities that we saw were robbing us of God's Joy in our lives.  Things that we enjoyed and sometimes even desired, but knew He had better things for us.

I have often heard different variations of the following thought:  Satan knows that he has already lost Christians to Christ.  They are won for the Lord so he cannot get them.  However, what he CAN do is to keep Christians distracted so that they are unable to do God's Work and to win others for Christ.  This is so true, y'all.  I always joke that I have ADD and it's hard for me to focus on anything-I'm very, very easily distracted.   Many of us are.  The distractions of the world are very real.  But that should never be my excuse for not focusing on Christ. 

This quote was a challenge to me to turn my eyes upon Jesus and make that an even greater priority throughout my week.  To 'dare to have it out with God' to see where my shortcomings are.  Where I waste my time.  On the computer?  The telephone?  In my own selfish thoughts?  It was a challenge to let Christ work in me to limit my computer usage, texting, selfish thinking, time-wasting, and turn my eyes to Christ even more.
(Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Alan Jackson singing)

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
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!

Refrain:
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.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!

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!

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2

1 comment:

RobandKathy Gandy said...

Kathy, all of your posts are so good. This is one of my favorites so far! I love hymn stories. I wish they were shared more in our churches. You can find more on the internet. I know that we have a book of hymn stories. I'm going to find it and start reading it again. You are SO wise for your years, little girl. Love you bunches!! Kathy (Rob sends his love, too.)