Fix Your Eyes

Our adorable puppy has perfectly illustrated another truth: once you’ve fixed your eyes on something, it is possible to not be distracted from it.

As Minna proceeds throughout her day, many mesmerizing motions captivate her: the flash of a shiny pan drawn from the cupboard, the swish of the curtain drawn across the sliding door, and the sway of long coats as girls rush out the door to school.

She notices everything.

But there is one thing she absolutely refuses to turn away from: the lit flashlight.

What began as a desperate attempt at occupying our rambunctious Rottie has quickly progressed to become her favorite activity.

She will lead us to the drawer she knows contains it.

She’ll nose under the cushion under which we try to conceal it.

And, this gentle girl gets assertive when she hears the ‘click’ of that delightful device turning off. She actually runs over and places her paws on it, as if attempting to turn it back on.

When the light is shining, her eyes track it. Whether its tracking racing movements or patiently watching as it simply sets on one spot.

Loud noises, the tantalizing aroma of cooking beef, or the sound of her favorite people’s voices can not distract her concentration from that light.

We are encouraged in Hebrews 12:2 to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” Most of us might agree it’s easy to become distracted from Christ.

It’s easy to prioritize a work deadline,  ill family members, or sometimes, even a dirty floor.

While thing in this world need some of our attention, it’s the peace of Christ and the assurance we have in Him that should reign in us. I know I am often missing that peace as I try to accomplish everything captivating me.

How can I experience that peace?

We need to not only  take the time for Jesus, but make the time for Jesus.

Like Minna with the flashlight, I need to fix my eyes on Jesus, never allowing my gaze to wander.

Thank you Minna, for reminding us to stay focused on the Light!

Missing the Mark

Instant replay caused him to instantly recoil.

Ah, the director’s right! In that scene, he’d missed his mark. The taped “X” seemed to suddenly glow as he felt his face flush.

How could this have happened?

He knew. Although he’d rehearsed it a dozen times, he’d taken his eyes off the mark. He’d assumed his mind knew where to lead his feet. He was so confident, he never even looked.

Now the director needed to reshoot the entire scene, all because the lead actor missed his mark. He knew that the end result of not being completely on his mark meant the cameras couldn’t catch him in complete focus. The strength of the story might be lost. Not only the story lines blur but the actors themselves are often unseen or distorted.

Living as a Christian can be difficult, especially when we take our eyes off the mark: Jesus.  Lines of right and wrong can become blurred or distorted when we take our eyes off Christ. Hebrews 12:2 reminds us how to live life, with our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Thankfully God doesn’t record our errors so adamantly and rematch our actions so blatantly.  Unlike a TV director, He doesn’t often employ the instant replay either.

Instead of lashing out at His children He redeems what they’ve done.

Romans 8:28 promises us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to 
His purpose.” (NIV)

He doesn’t need us to redo decisions in life to make everything turn out right. While we need to carefully consider our choices and fully expect consequences when we choose folly, God promises to weave good into everything, even the not-so-good things.

He doesn’t highlight when we missed the mark. Instead, He extends mercy and grace, and yes, even blesses our mess. He uses our choices to create a marvelous testimony that He indeed is Lord of all.

Scorning the Shame; Discovering the Promise

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

If you have ever been the subject of gossip you know the pain and the shame which accompanies that revelation.  The above verse underscores that Jesus also knew this misunderstanding and shame.

Yet while we often chose to wallow in humiliation, Jesus simply chose to scorn it, not accept it.  We too, should realize we do not need to accept anything the world places upon us.  We can choose to scorn the shame, and keep ourselves right with God, even when the world does not understand.

While we are mentally fighting back defending ourselves, our heavenly Father is reaching out to us, to ease the hurt and comfort us.  Sometimes, in screaming our defense, we miss His soothing whispers of comfort.

A dear friend was once praying fervently, asking God to keep her from becoming prideful.  She was at a crossroads in her life.  A career dream she had pursued for more than a decade was just in reach.  One desire she shared with her close friends was that her dream was for God and God alone.  Although her work was bringing her into the limelight, she desperately wanted it all to be about God – not her.   Over the weeks that followed her closest friends prayed for her to remain humble: to give all glory to God.

She confided that someone in her life seemed to have an uncanny ability to denounce and demean her efforts, no matter what she did.  Unkind words were spoken to her face about her abilities, her appearance, and her shortcomings the other person perceived.  Amazingly, at least to her prayer partners, she was not ready to whack her offender, as we all thought might well be deserved!  Instead she humbled us all, by reminding us of her prayer request the past several months: her prayer to remain humble.

You see, she realized that the gift in those hate-filled words was that she did remain humble.  And while she would have rather spent more time in prayer or  had God use some other method, she allowed God to answer her prayer through words intended to scorn, to hurt, to intimidate.  Instead of paralyzing her, halting her work, or causing an emotional breakdown, she allowed God to use those painful words to help her in her quest to combat pride.

All of us in her prayer group were stunned, and deeply humbled ourselves.  Her story was yet another testimony of seeing Romans 8:28 in action. (And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28)  God does use everything in our lives to bring about good!  We need only to open our eyes to look for it.

Reflection:

1) Do I block out the many voicing vying for my attention, and listen solely to God, focused on His opinion of who I am?

2) Do I really believe the promise in Romans 8:28?  Do I look for evidence of that promise in my daily life?

3) Am I ready for God to use anything to fulfill that promise?

Thank you all for reading, for “liking” this blog, and for forwarding it on to others. Please return on Monday, March 19, for the next post.