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With grateful hearts, we share our thoughts on redemption through Jesus Christ and His saving blood and what it looks like in our daily walk.

We gladly welcome your comments and input.
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AND since we hold our conservative values dear, we might have a thing or two to say about politics... and we can almost guarantee it won't be politically correct.



Monday, September 17, 2007

Keep Looking Up!

My son doesn't like bathwater to get in his eyes. In fact, he cries (loudly) whenever I'm trying to rinse out his hair and water runs down his face. So I've tried to teach him to look up, since when he's looking up, his head is tilted back and thus the water runs down his back instead of down his face.

It's taken a long time for him to grasp the concept of "look up." But this week he finally got it. Unfortunately, he doesn't look up long enough for it to matter. After a quick peek upward, he rapidly goes back to whatever toy he was playing with and WooSH! the water goes back down and into his eyes (scream!). Smart mom that I am, I soon realized that I needed to clarify and now I tell him, "Keep looking up."

Each day brings its own trouble. The Lord told us this was so. Open a newspaper and you can read about the troubles of this world, nation, and local community. Open your eyes and you can see the troubles facing your family, friends, and coworkers. Faith in Jesus doesn't eliminate trouble. Nor does faith deny that the trouble exists. Rather, as Christians we are to see the trouble around, but we're to ALSO see the Lord our God. We're supposed to look up.

It won't take long, however, for you to realize that "looking up" isn't enough. In moments of trouble, I've been guilty of quickly looking to Jesus only to soon return my gaze to whatever I was looking at before---my physical symptoms, my financial situation, the uncertainty of my future, the rockiness of my relationships---and my quick look to Jesus didn't amount to much as I was once again consumed by all that surrounded me.

Ever try to block out the sun with your thumb? You can do it, you know. Your thumb is bigger than just about anything...when your thumb is nearest to your eye.

Whatever is nearest our vision becomes the biggest thing we see. If Jesus appears small to you, and the troubles you're facing seem huge, perhaps it's because the troubles are closest to your eyes. It's time to look up. And KEEP looking up.

In the Numbers chapter 21, multitudes of Israelites were dying from poisonous snake bites, because of sin the people had committed. God's solution as given to their leader Moses was for them to make a bronze serpent and put it up on a pole. Those who looked upon the serpent would be healed and live. This was a type and shadow of things to come: that Jesus would be lifted up on the cross and those who "looked" on Him would be healed and live. The notes in The Amplified Bible explain the Numbers passage the following way:

"Jesus said that as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 'that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life' (John 3:14-15). Obviously, this implies that the look that caused the victim of a fiery serpent to be healed was something far more than a casual glance. A 'look' would save, but what kind of look? The Hebrew text here means 'look attentively, expectantly, with a steady and absorbing gaze.' The look that saves is not just a fleeting glance; it is a God-honoring, God-answered, fixed, and absorbing gaze!"

Last week, I was dealing with some angst and decided to share my feelings with my husband, asking him, "What about this in my life and what about such and such in me that I don't like? What about this problem and that thing I want desperately to fix? Hubby told me, "Stop looking at your life and at yourself. Stop looking around at all the problems. Look at Jesus."

And I defensively said, "I HAVE LOOKED AT JESUS!"

Immediately, a gentle voice in my heart asked, "For how long?" And I knew that I had only looked at Jesus long enough to feel some relief. Long enough to regain my footing. Long enough to renew my hope. And then I went right back to trying to fix my life, my problems, and myself all on my own. Of course, it didn't take long for Jesus to recede in size and my trouble to loom large.

This post is written for me. It's something God's been trying to tell me. The topic has come to my mind a lot lately---with my son and bath time, in the recent talk with Hubby, and yesterday through the message at church. It's something important. So important in fact that right before Jesus died on the cross, He spoke to His disciples about it. Jesus warned us that there will be trouble in this world. Trouble in our personal lives and trouble worldwide. Bad things are bound to happen, so bad that people will actually die from fear alone. But Jesus didn't stop with a warning. He gave us the solution. The solution to every problem we face is found in Luke 21:28:

"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

Jesus is your Redemption, from whatever you're facing. So look up. And KEEP looking up!

6 comments:

Hubby said...

Thank you so much for your ministry today. I thoroughly enjoyed your message. I particularly thought the part about the gentle voice speaking to you was most profound and touched my heart.

I think it's a concept with God that is often overlooked. You can't just do something once, and never do it again and expect tremendous results. If we want great outcomes in life, we have to apply biblical patience to them, which is doing the same thing over and over and over.

Blessings!

Jane said...

Thanks for the encouragement.

dreamlady said...

I had two very good friends who were a couple back in my younger, indecisive days. They were very active in the denominational church we attended then, and I was struggling with my marriage, raising children and discontent with my life in general. I wanted more out of life than I was experiencing, and had a lot of angst about how to realize my own personal dreams and needs. Church was just a place to go for a few minutes of peace and quiet, and searching for some direction to my inner turmoil. They became my role models, as they seemed to have it all. His favorite saying was "Keep your eyes on Jesus". It was like his mantra, he never left you without saying "Keep your eyes on Jesus", sort of like one would say 'goodbye'. Mostly because of their support and friendship, my husband at that time, came to be saved and joined the church. Life became more clear for us.

A couple of years later, this man surrendered his life to the ministry, quit his job and took his family to Bible school. We supported and prayed for them as they completed his education, early pastorates, and several moves around the country. He still never changed his favorite reminder to you, "Keep your eyes on Jesus". He counseled me during a painful divorce, and several years later, performed my marriage to my present husband. We wound up living within 50 miles of each other, while we were in Bible school, so we were once again close friends as couples. He was taken away too soon in his life, but I have always felt he is in that great company, cheering me on from heaven, still saying to me, "Keep your eyes on Jesus".

mlm said...

Hubby: I have to have patience?!? Agh!

Jane: Thank YOU for reading.

Dreamlady: What a great and touching story, and what a wise, wise man you had for a friend and mentor. Thanks for sharing!

meems said...

mlm: this is a great reminder to us to remember where our help comes from every minute, every hour for every situation in life. thanks for the great analogy and the clear encouraging message.

interesting note to dreamlady's comment... i knew this man as well and he said those words to me on many occasions as i was growing up.

it was later in life when i surrendered my heart to God that those very words sustained me through some difficult times involving people. as i kept my eyes on Jesus i was able to get past the wrong-doings of people and my gaze was fixed on the Master. to this day i hear those words in my heart when the circumstances of life get difficult.

MLM said...

Meems: It's SO EASY to get distracted by looking AROUND instead of UP. You wrote: "as i kept my eyes on Jesus i was able to get past the wrong-doings of people and my gaze was fixed on the Master." What a great thing to remember! (Hint to myself!)