Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

“For love of you I left my Father’s side. I came to you who ran from me, fled me, who did not want to hear my name. For love of you I was covered with spit, punched, beaten, and affixed to the wood of the cross.”~~Jesus Christ to Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is a lazy Sunday morning, May 4, 2014. (Took a break for lunch, so it’s afternoon now.)

Today is Star Wars Day. May the 4th be with you. If you don’t get it, read it out loud. Maybe that will help. Unless you’ve never seen any Star Wars movies, in which case you can celebrate Petite and Proud Day, or Firefighters’ Day.

I succeeded in getting the oil changed in my car yesterday, and Christi spent more time with her mom and step-dad, helping them get the car they bought. Yes, they bought a used Hyundai (pronounced like “Sunday”) Sonata. 2012, I believe. Low mileage, too. Anyway, they are planning to move out of the “senior living” place where they are and move into a normal (but handicapped access) apartment. The reason they don’t like the “senior living” place is that there are too many “old people” there. Um. . . never mind.

We had our church service yesterday evening, as usual, and after that, Christi went out with the “huddle girls” (plus one lady who is not in our huddle), and they had dinner at Cotton Patch. She said that she had a fantastic time. Stephanie and I went home (after stopping at Whataburger) and I watched Thirteen Ghosts (the modern remake of the William Castle classic). I really wanted to watch O, Brother Where Art Thou?, but my DVD of that movie seems to be missing. Perhaps I loaned it to someone. Anyway, Thirteen Ghosts is great fun (somewhat gory and stuff, but still fun).

Today is pretty much wide open. A nice restful Sunday before going back to . . . hey, wait! I’m off tomorrow, because I have to so to a doctor’s appointment to get meds refilled. Huzzah!

This word just in! Christi is going up to the store to get some bacon, biscuits, and eggs to make breakfast! Double Huzzah!!!


(Source: Christian History Institute)

On this date in 1856, Dwight L. Moody, was granted membership at Mount Vernon Church in Boston, after having been previously rejected due to “complete ignorance of Christian truth.” Moody would eventually become a world-renowned preacher.

It’s the birthday of Audrey Hepburn, Robin Cook, and George Will. It’s also the birthday of Maynard Ferguson, famous jazz trumpeter. We were all completely awe-struck by Maynard, when I was in high school. In fact, I think our stage band played his arrangement of “MacArthur Park.” Maynard passed in 2006.

Does anyone else think he looks like Tim Robbins?


(From The Divine Hours)

God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!
God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.

Psalm 47:5-8
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
Psalm 67:3
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!
Psalm 96:10a
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:1-4
Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

Psalm 111

“For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.”

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33

When a great army was coming against Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles, instead of cowering in fear, he turned to the one source of his strength, God Almighty. In doing so, he recounted the great works that God had done for them. The final words of his prayer were, We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. (2 Chronicles 20:12) How many times have we been in situations where we knew not what to do? We may not have a great horde coming against us, but there are many times in our lives when we simply do not know what the answer is. In those times, we need to echo the prayer of Jehoshaphat. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. Later, Jehoshaphat said these words to the people of Judah: Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. (20:15) And then, in verse 17: You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.

How many times do we fight when we don’t need to? The Lord is with us. The battle is not ours, but his.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Experiencing His Love.”

During the winter of 1968-9, Brennan Manning lived in a cave in the mountains of the Zaragosa Desert in Spain. How many of us can make a claim like that?? On Decmeber 13, he writes about a “long and lonely hour of prayer.” This is what he heard Jesus say to him: “For love of you I left my Father’s side. I came to you who ran from me, fled me, who did not want to hear my name. For love of you I was covered with spit, punched, beaten, and affixed to the wood of the cross.”

Brennan says these words are burned on his life. Regardless of the condition he is in; regardless of his current emotional state, “that night of fire burns on.” The wounds of Jesus cry out to us: “This isn’t a joke. It is not a laughing matter to me that I have loved you.” No one has ever loved us, no one will ever love us as Jesus has loved us. Brennan writes that, after a length of time, contemplating what he had heard Jesus say to him, he went out of the cave, stood at the edge of the mountain, and shouted “into the darkness, ‘Jesus, are you crazy? Are you out of your mind to have loved me so much?'”

Only those who have experienced the love of Jesus Christ can know what it truly is. Once we have experienced it, “nothing else in the world will seem more beautiful or desirable.”

He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his banner over me
was love.

Song of Solomon 2:4

“My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, My Jesus ’tis now.

“I love thee because thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, My Jesus ’tis now.

“I’ll love thee in life, I will love thee in death,
And praise thee as long as thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus ’tis now.

“In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus ’tis now.”

My Jesus, I cannot thank you enough for loving me the way you do. I can easily understand my brother Brennan’s response to that momentary realization of the magnitude of your love for us. The ugliness of my sin makes it that much more incredible, because you already knew all of this before you went to the cross. My brain cannot comprehend the “breadth and length and height and depth” of your love! But I love you for it, nevertheless. I pray that you would take this love and permeate my soul with it. May the love that you showed me overflow into everyone that comes close to me. Take away my negative spirit. Take away the cynical, sarcastic side of me. Oh, sure, it’s funny, at times. But I don’t care if I’m funny. I don’t care if people laugh at me. My desire is to be a serious channel of your crazy, overwhelming love. I want to be crazy right along with you.

I pray for the rest of this day. It will be mostly a day of rest, in preparation for the week ahead. I pray that Christi will get some job news tomorrow, hopefully good news. May we work from our rest. I also pray for help in getting my rhythm of life back. I understand that it cannot be the same as it was before. But a new rhythm needs to be established. I need your wisdom in order to accomplish this. I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are upon you.

Your grace is sufficient.

When you don’t know what to do, simply 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.

Grace and peace, friends.