Daily Encouragement is an online ministry I subscribed to some time ago; the word today especially lifted my spirit. Monday afternoons, 4pm to be exact, are hard for me, for this is the one day and time each week I get to visit a loved one in jail. The visits are short, each visit is limited to 15 minutes, and it is hard to cram everything you want to say into those few minutes through a video screen.
Anyway, hope this encourages someone else today. Perhaps you’re going through a trial or have grown weary…or maybe you’re just having a bad day.
We usually awaken at 5 A.M. and turn the coffee pot on. I often check the news headlines; murders, violence, terrorism, sexual perversions pretty much are the headliners. This combination can cause some disjointedness in my spirit. But if I look hard enough I’ll find an article that speaks joy and peace to me. Of course when I open the Bible I find the inspiration not to despair over the bad news, but recognize that God is sovereign and He works in the midst of good and bad.
Today as I was pondering the fallen condition of our world, I listened to a beautiful instrumental rendition of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” and it began to lift my “weary and troubled” spirit. It redirected my focus which also changed my perspective. I am sure many of you face some disjointedness in life even as I confess to you that I do at times. We know where the pockets of peace are, but we can’t necessarily stay there. We must live and interface with the world as we go about the daily grind of working and living and hearing of that which is happening around us. But songwriter, Helen Lemmel, who wrote the song, gives sound spiritual counsel and also a remedy to weary and troubled souls in her lyrics.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.” The word translated “fix” is a very powerful word that means, “to look away from one thing and to concentrate on another.” It’s in the present active indicating a call to continue ongoing and actively taking a part. The Amplified Bible words it this way, “looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus.” We need to keep an eternal, spiritual focus in life and we do so by looking unto Jesus.
The Greek verb aphorao pictures a runner who is virtually oblivious to the thousands of onlookers, even as his attention is diverted from every consideration except that of running the best possible race. We’ve all seen runners and other top athletes who are “practicing focusing” prior to the race or event. Their attention is concentrated upon one thing to the total exclusion of everything else. . In a race if the runner turns his or her head even slightly toward their spectators or opponents, their speed will lessen. (Brooksyne’s note: Stephen pictured on right running cross country in high school.)
Today I declare along with the writer of Hebrews, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!” The world seeks to divert and destroy our faith. But the troubles of this world will diminish as the light of God’s glory and grace increase. Let us look to Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
Father, since we have been raised to new life with Christ Jesus, we set our sights on the joyous realities of our future home up in heaven. Focusing our attention and affection there cushions the painful realities we experience or see in other lives down here. We do not lose heart or allow sin to have dominion over us if we fix our eyes on Jesus, His promises, and our future home in heaven. We do not divert our attention to the world but devote our heart to You, dear Father, so that all will be well with our soul, even when trouble surrounds us. Many need that same hope today, so we must go to this world that is dying and tell of Your salvation to all who will hear this glorious message. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.