Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Little Word

This morning I read Hebrews 12:2 in the New King James Version. It says, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”

It was “unto” that first got my attention. I tried substitutes: “toward,” “up to,” “at,” and wondered how the different nuances might affect the way I looked to Jesus. Then I noticed my study bible had an explanation of “looking” from the Greek word, “aphorao.”

It is made of 2 words: apo, “away from,” and horao, “to see.” It denotes attention that is riveted to the object; undivided attention, without distraction, so the onlooker’s gaze is fixed on one object.

The New International Version translates the phrase, “Fix your eyes on Jesus.”

What happens when I rivet my eyes on Jesus? Or gaze upon His beauty? What if I lock in to try and absorb grandeur or power beyond my comprehension?

Is that how Jesus looked to His Father? Is that how He could stay on His Father’s track when hoards of people clamored for His attention and needed quick fixes?

I suspect Jesus’ early hours with His Father were extremely focused. He knew the value of the relationship, of locking eyes, focusing, and keeping the main thing the main thing.

I must try to remember this word -- aphorao (af-or-ah-oh).

Oh! Oh the wonder when I see Him, when I really look TO Him. It’s that look, that gaze, that persevering focus that keeps me encouraged. He endured past the cross and the shame. Because of His persistent focus, He pushed past weariness and finished His earthly assignment.

With His returned look, so will I.

For Your Consideration
What helps you fix your eyes on Jesus?
What helps you keep distractions to a minimum?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stop and Worship

We had lost 30 minutes waiting for a gate to open for our arriving flight.

Gail knew the Atlanta airport well and she recommended that the moveable walkway would be as quick as the train to the next gate.

However, it wasn't long before I realized I had to pick up my pace to make my connection, so I respectfully asked if she'd mind if I went ahead. I doubled my pace even on the moving walkway and was making great strides. That is, till I spotted some splashes of color on hanging canvases in the corridor ahead.

As I approached I recognized beautiful colored photographs of the universe, of its nebula, constellations, and galaxies.

They arrested me. I briefly forgot the flight and gazed at the configurations of color, the incalculable lights, and the unfathomable distances documented. I was filled with the awesomeness of their splendor.

Something deep within me called out to applaud and pay homage to the Creator.

I took a few long looks, my face wreathing into smiles as I observed the neon green, blue, and pink from the superimposed telescope images. I couldn't assimilate the incomprehensible distances they referenced, but I gawked, my mind stretching, my heart laughing with delight.

Before I had to move back into hurry mode, I wanted to flag down all who passed by.

Look at what our Lord created! Don't rush by so quickly. This is not the work of an amateur or of a small deity. Stop and worship. Absorb the grandeur as best you can.

This God knows your name, the hairs on your head, your dreams and your frustrations.

"O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens....
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
the moon and the stars you set in place—
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?"
Psalm 8:1, 3-4 (NLT)

While I couldn't linger in front of those pictures, they have lingered in me.

They remind me of the joy of relishing God's majesty and my need to stop and look for God's fingerprints wherever I see them... including in the Atlanta airport.

For Your Consideration

"Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Luke 12:6-7, NIV).

To what might you need to attend to celebrate God's thoughts toward you?

Is there anything you can do to develop attentiveness to God's majesty?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Unpretentious Worship

Have you ever been in a gathering where you notice people who genuinely worship, unrestricted by others around them? What a joy!

This Resurrection Sunday, we were worshipping Jesus who had publicly poured out His love for us on the cross. We were celebrating the power of the empty tomb.

I had the privilege of sitting behind Philip. Occasionally, I'd glimpse his face: eyes closed yet focused, expression peaceful but passionate. Tall and slim, this young man's unpretentious worship fanned the fire in my own heart. Unconcerned with people around him, it was as if just he and the Lord were in the sanctuary.

So I chose to be outwardly expressive also. It was appropriate, and he had led the way into the holy place.

When I observe a fellow pilgrim worship from that deep inner place, pouring out adoration like precious perfume, the fragrance of Christ fills my own heart. Then the fragrance spreads to others, and Christ becomes visible beyond our worship style, the length of our arms, or the color of our necks.

I dare not look long at those worshippers, because I seem to be intruding on their holy space. But beyond that, my own heart longs to join in the adoration so due our Lord.

Doesn't yours?

For Your Consideration

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." (2 Corinthians 2:14-15, NIV)

Are you able to abandon others opinions of you and publicly express honor and love to Christ who poured out His love for you? If not, what keeps you hostage?

How clean and lovely is the fragrance God spreads through you?