Turn Your Eyes On 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.
         These words echo in my mind, as I sing
the lyrics over and over.  A memory
flashes into my mind.  A man pulled a
half dollar coin out of his pocket.  That
was long ago, when such coins were as numerous as a dime or a nickel and larger
that a quarter.
         He placed this coin in my hand, and
asked me to hold it an arm’s length in front of me.   He asked, “What do you see?”  The coin disappeared and became a part of its
surroundings.  After I told him this, he
told me to close one eye, and hold the half dollar to the other eye.  He asked again what I could see.  “I see nothing but the coin.”  
         A simple illustration echoes in the
lyrics – ‘Look full in His wonderful
face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
.’ Where we place Jesus
in our mind and our heart determines how clearly we see Him.  The first word of the chorus is ‘Turn’. This
requires action on our part; this requires Repentance.  Turning away from everything that is tainted
and not spiritually clean.
And now, dear brothers
and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable,
and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are
excellent and worthy of praise. 
Philippians 4:8.   
         Jonah preached repentance, John
preached repentance, and Peter preached repentance. The first three words teach
us everything we need to know about repentance – Turn your eyes!  Where?  On
         Who is Helen Lemmel and how
did she write these lyrics?  Helen is a
daughter of Wesleyan Methodist minister and his wife, born in 1863 in England.
Her family moved to the United States when Helen was twelve years old. Her
parents recognized her musical talent and gave her lessons.  She spent four years studying music in
Germany.  In the early 1900’s she
traveled extensively in the Midwest and singing praises to God. Later she
taught voice at the Moody Bible Institute.
         Helen H. Lemmel, relates that one day,
in 1918, a missionary friend gave her a tract entitled “Focused”. The pamphlet contained these
words: “So then, turn your eyes upon
Him, look full into His face and you will find that the things of earth will
acquire a strange new dimness
. “
         These words kept repeating themselves
in her mind and made a deep impression upon Helen Lemmel. She could not dismiss
them from her mind. She recalls this experience following the reading of the
tract: “Suddenly, as if commanded to stop and listen, I stood still,
and singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus, with not one conscious moment
of putting word to word to make rhyme, or note to note to make melody. The
verses were written the same week, after the usual manner of composition, but
none the less dictated by the Holy Spirit.” During her lifetime, Helen
Lemmel wrote more than five-hundred hymns.
         She supported the evangelist, Billy
Sunday, and “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” was sung at one of the revivals.  When most people want to retire, Helen Lemmel
continued to write hymns. She lived to the age of ninety-eight. (1961)
         Old age is inevitable and clears our
vision of what is important.  As we grow
older we bring the ‘half dollar coin’ closer and closer to our heart and find
we are looking into the face of Jesus. 
He has been there all the time with His glorious Love for each of us.
         We see Jesus and all He is. We realize
His Love sustains us and gives us hope. His words become ever more dear to us.
Our faith in Jesus grows stronger in the Hope He gives us as the years pass by.
         Through all the pain and distress of
the process of growing old, Helen’s words reveal a continued faith and love for
Jesus Christ. She sat at a table, in her nineties, fingering the keys of a small
plastic organ, singing praise to God. 
When asked how she is, she replied. 
I am fine –  in all the things that count!
         We sing with Helen Lemmel –
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
replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that
people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and
turned to God to be forgiven. Luke 3:3
– Now someone greater
than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent. Matthew 12:41b
– Since you have been
raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven,
where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.  Think
about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this
life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.  Colossians 3:1-3
– Then Jesus
said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I
will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am
humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew
Let all
the world look to me for salvation!
For I am God; there is no other.  Isaiah 45:22

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