Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 4: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

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Matthew 14: 25-31

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost,' they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"


It must be Peter week. I already talked about his miraculous escape from prison on Day 2, and as I considered what to write for today's hymn I was drawn to this earlier episode from Peter's life.

I try not to look down on Peter too much for his lack of faith; I'm pretty sure if I had been there I would have still been sitting with the others on the boat, terrified.

I wonder what it would have been like for Peter to have had those few moments when he was perfectly focused on Jesus. I can't decide if it's because I'm getting older or because I've so entrenched myself in the digital age that I have no attention span, but I find it harder and harder to focus on the things that really matter. My minds drifts so easily. One minute I'm praying and .0897 seconds later I'm remembering that I forgot to run the dishwasher last night. Or I'll be listening to the sermon in church when I look down and notice that Grace's hand-me-down shoes are too worn to even be donated and need to go straight in the trash, which then reminds me I haven't paid the trash bill yet and I wonder if trash day is a day later for Columbus Day or is it not a big enough holiday and when is Columbus Day anyway, which then reminds me I'm supposed to help coordinate the class Thanksgiving party this year so I need to go on Pinterest and look for inspiration, which reminds me ... oh, forget it! Once my brain enters Pinterest Land I'm a goner!

So what can be done to help my wandering mind? I think God is already working on me. I don't think it's a coincidence that in my first year back in Bible Study Fellowship, after a seven-year break, we are studying Matthew. He knew that I needed to spend this year one-on-one with Jesus.

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.

I'm also surprised that even though I'm just four days into this series, I can already see a difference in my days. I am constantly humming or singing hymns, which then helps me to focus on Him throughout the day. It's not like I never spontaneously hummed or sang the hymns before, and I often listen to Christian radio, but it's a different intensity this week. Perhaps writing about these hymns (or thinking ahead to what I will be writing) helps too. My mind is saturated with His truths this week. I used to write a lot of devotionals or do research for various Bible-related writing, and it does have an impact on the rest of your day.

Finally, I can follow Peter's example: cry out to God! "Lord, save me!" I often pray for God to forgive my wandering mind, but I don't ask for His help as often to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, turning your eyes upon Jesus. I'll still be here with more hymns, but probably a bit less writing. Feel free to share in the comments section any thoughts you might have about keeping focused on Christ -- I'd love to hear from you!

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

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!

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.

Thro' death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over 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!



  1. Have you heard of "if you give a mom a muffin?" It's a poem written as a spin off of the books like if you give a pig a pancake, etc... Google the poem...I can so relate. Mom and I are always referring to it. : ) I do the same with my iPhone. I turn it on to check the radar because someone said we might get rain. The four wheeler is not parked in the shed. I notice I have a new email message, see that I need to add a new activity to my Calendar that is on google drive, add it, get a text from one of my kids that we are out of something so I then add it to my grocery list on my "notes"...notice one of my grocery items is Kale and am reminded to look up on Pinterest a salad recipe for Kale. Get sidetracked on Pinterest, hear thunder outside and think, "oh, I was going to check the radar. I sure hope the four wheeler doesn't get too wet.

    1. I never heard of that poem until now -- too cute! Glad to know it's not just me. ; )