Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus and Off of Your “Waves and Billows”

Good morning. It’s Sunday, August 26, 2012. Today is “National Dog Day.” Be nice to your dog today. If you don’t have one, be nice to someone else’s dog. If you hate dogs, well…I just can’t help you.

On this date in 1939, the first televised Major League Baseball game was broadcast on station W2XBS. The game was between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers.
On this date in 1959, the British Motors Corporation debuted the Mark I Mini. And here we all thought the “Mini” was a new car…
On this date in 1920, the 19th Amendment was officially adopted into the United States Constitution. This amendment gave women the right to vote.
On this date in 1968, the Democratic National Convention was besieged by anti-Vietnam War protesters. This prompted a song by the rock group, Chicago, included on their first album.

Lyndon B Johnson was nominated to run for President under the Democrat Party.
On this date in 1974, Charles Lindbergh died at the age of 72. He was the first man to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean.

Stephanie had her first date with Michael last night. He is a young man that attends The Exchange Church, where we go. They had a great time, and it appears that more future dates are in order. What really impressed me was that he arrived at the front door with flowers for Stephanie, and, when they went out to his car, he opened her door for her. They don’t make ’em like that any more.

Christi continues to feel better. It still hurts when she walks, but, she says, the pain is getting less each day.

Father, I pray that you show me something today that will help me live this day looking to your grace. Teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 87. This psalm is by the “sons of Korah.” It begins with praise of Zion, the holy mount of God.
On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God.

The psalm speaks of spiritual birth, which begins in Zion, the dwelling place of God.
The LORD records as he registers the peoples, “This one was born there.”
Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.”
Only the “springs” of God’s dwelling place can satisfy spiritual thirst. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)

My Utmost For His Highest
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. John 14:27

“…inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus.” Can this be true? I’m betting that there are people who would argue this point with me. “I’ve got inner peace, and I don’t believe in Jesus.” Frankly, I don’t really believe that, because I believe in Jesus, and still find “inner peace” to be quite evasive. I agree with Chambers, who says, “There are times when our peace is based upon ignorance.” The peace that Jesus gives “comes from looking into His face and realizing His undisturbedness.” I love how Chambers makes up words. 🙂

At times, we get so disturbed that we are distracted by the “waves and billows of God’s providential permission.” I like that phrase, “the waves and billows of God’s providential permission.” You see, nothing comes your way that he doesn’t allow. And he allows everything for a reason. Our problem is that we get so caught up, having our eyes on those “waves and billows,” that we don’t trust God, and, therefore, that “inner peace” remains evasive. “Reflected peace is the proof that you are right with God because you are at liberty to turn your mind to Him. If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind anywhere but on yourself.” I think that last sentence bears restating. “If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind anywhere but on yourself.” We must not allow anything to hide the face of Jesus from us!

Whatever is pressing in on me at the moment…am I looking to Jesus and receiving his peace? If not, if I try to “worry it out,” I block out his face and, frankly, deserve what I get. “We get disturbed because we have not been considering Him.” What does Jesus say at the beginning of this chapter? “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” (John 14:1) This becomes difficult because we focus on ourselves and on our “waves and billows.” What does the old hymn say?
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.

Those are some of the most calming words ever written by man.

Father, I pray that I might truly turn my eyes upon Jesus each day. I certainly attempt to do that, and, I believe, quite successfully. In the morning. Before the drive to work. Unfortunately, it is at that point that everything begins to fall apart. It’s easier to stay focused on those days that I pray while driving to work. But I truly prefer getting my prayers in at home, where I’m not distracted by the task of driving. As I (hopefully) grow closer to you and closer to the man you want me to be, I pray for eyes that see Jesus constantly. I’m always praying, at the beginning of my devotions, for a glimpse of your face. And my desire is that this glimpse might carry me through the day. Each day I ask for only enough grace to get me through the task at hand. I try not to worry anything beyond today. Actually, I would do well not to “worry” about anything. Poor choice of words, there.

I pray daily that I am “right with you,” so that I might be able to look outside myself. I know this attitude of which Chambers speaks. I know that when I am not right with you, I tend to focus on me. But it is so much better to be able to look at you and focus on Christ, and not worry about things. I pray, Father, that when those “waves and billows” come into my life, I will trust your “providential permissions,” and know that you have my life firmly in your grasp and all is under control. I will not be disturbed. I will heed the words of Jesus, “Let not your hearts be troubled.”

I pray for this day. I pray for the worship celebration that is about to happen. I ask that everyone in attendance today will be able to shed their distractions, their disturbances, as they walk in the door of the school where we meet. May they be able to focus on your face for just one hour, and worship you with reckless abandon, through singing, prayer, Scripture reading, and the proclamation of your word. May you speak to us through our pastor as he brings your message to us. I pray that he speaks only the words that you have given him, and that you open our ears to the words that the Spirit would say to us.

May the remainder of this day be a day of peace and rest as we prepare our hearts, minds, and bodies for the week ahead.

Consider Jesus as you look at your “waves and billows.”

Grace and peace, friends.