Jesus Sees

Jesus . . . watched the crowd
Mark 12:41

These words are found within the account often referred to as “The Widow’s Offering.” Jesus watched a multitude of people putting their money into the temple treasury, but His attention was drawn to the widow who offered only two small copper coins. Why?

Jesus saw from two different perspectives as He watched this scene play out. Visually He saw a crowd of people giving what was required out of their material wealth and a lowly woman giving as much as possible out of her lack. While spiritually seeing the hardened hearts of men who gave out of pride, Jesus’ spiritual eyes were keenly attracted to the heart of one lonely, humble woman. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Jesus saw with physical eyes but He also saw with spiritual understanding. Many within the crowd wanted their actions to be seen while in actuality, they only gave out of necessity with a hardened heart. The widow did not want her small contribution to be noticed because she was embarrassed by how little she could give. However, Jesus saw her generous heart and was pleased. Paul gives us some guidance in II Corinthians 9:7, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

One of the names of God is El Roi, translated “the God who sees.” God’s eyes are never shut. He is awake and aware of everything and everyone He has created. He not only has visual perception but He also discerns our thoughts and intentions. His spiritual vision includes spiritual knowledge allowing Him to see with divine understanding. God is omniscient – He knows everything. We cannot hide anything from Him. He knows and sees everything about us – our thoughts, intentions, feelings, and desires as well as our actions. It has been said that we can fool some of the people some of the time but we cannot fool all the people all of the time. When it comes to our relationship with God, we cannot fool Him any time! I John 3:20 says, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.”

One additional definition of “to see” refers to meeting with someone. For example, I will see you at a specific location. With this perspective in mind, how can we see and meet with the Lord personally? James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

I ask myself the question, what does God see when He watches me? Does He see agreement between my actions and the desires of my heart or does He discover some discrepancy? These are sobering questions. Too often I may be more of a Pharisee while sincerely desiring to be like the widow. Jeremiah 17:10 says, “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.”

In conclusion, we can say that Jesus not only sees our actions visually but He also sees spiritually the intents our hearts. The amazing thing is that He is still willing to see and meet with us. May we be willing to fulfill Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Jesus watched the crowd, and He is still watching us.


 

 

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Definitions of Desires

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4 NKJV

Okay, I was an English teacher and some of the English language quirks still can affect me. Currently, I am thinking of definitions of words. My Reader, please bear with me as I share some teaching techniques with you today. Let me ask: How would you define the word “desires” – specifically in the context of Psalm 37:4? What are your personal desires?

heart-irridescent-mfThe desires of your heart” – Definition #1
What I want!

Psalm 37:4 became special to me many years ago when an eye disease caused me to lose a significant amount of my vision. One of the things I missed most was the ability to play praise songs on the piano. As a result, the Lord gave me the ability to write and play short choruses that essentially were words of encouragement to me from the Lord. This verse was the basis of the first song the Lord placed in my heart that transpired into a piano tune with words. That day, my interpretation of the phrase “the desires of my heart” was that if I delighted in, or found joy in, the Lord, He would then give me what I desired or wanted. My foremost wish at that time was for the restoration of my vision. James 4:2 says, “you do not have because you do not ask,” so I asked the Lord for healing while praising Him with my personal little song I played and sang at the piano. I experienced joy in my heart while praising God and I also knew He found joy in my melody of praise. However, I must admit there was an ulterior motive in my delighting in the Lord because I had a specific need at that time.

heart-irridescent-mfThe desires of your heart” – Definition #2
What God wants.

As time went on, my interpretation of “desires” in Psalm 34:7 took on a more inclusive meaning. Maybe the desires of my heart were not just what I wanted but what God wanted for me. In Isaiah 55:8, the Lord says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” Perhaps my hopes and desires were too short-sighted and God had greater things in store for how He was going to use my limitations. My comprehension of this verse now was that as I delighted in, found pleasure in, the Lord for who He was, He would change my desires into His desires. The closer I got to the Lord through praise, the more He was able to reveal His desires to me. I now wanted to please Him more than I wanted my own pleasure. My desires became God’s desires for me even though I did not fully understand what that might entail. I now prayed as Jesus did in Luke 22:42, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup (for me at this time it was the cup of lack of vision) away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” “The desires of my heart” now were to surrender to the will of God whether this meant restoration of my full sight or not.

heart-irridescent-mfThe desires of your heart” – Definition #3
God Himself!

As time has elapsed and I have grown in my relationship with the Lord, a new interpretation has evolved for me. We used to live near a place called Donuts Delight where we would occasionally get doughnuts. (our son used to call them “don’ters”) In a limited way, we delighted in these doughnuts, but today my greater delight is Divine. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts.” Wow! God has placed within my heart the desire to spend eternity with Him! My desires are not fulfilled with stuff or status or strength, but with my Savior! The desires of my heart” are no longer defined in relation to things, but now are defined by my relationship with God Himself. If I delight in, or find contentment in, the Lord by lining up my life with God’s will, then my delight is more on giving pleasure to God than receiving what pleases me. The best way I can please God is to glorify Him with my praises. Awhile back, I remember singing a song in church that included the words, “The more I seek You (Jesus), the more I find You. The more I find You, the more I love You.” It is not so much that I desire my circumstances to change as I desire to simply love the Lord. There is no longer an ulterior motive to get what I want regarding my vision or any other need. My physical vision is much better than it was years ago but it has not been fully restored. However, my spiritual vision has become much clearer. Zephaniah 3:17 is a scripture that blow my mind! It says, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Not only am I to delight in the Lord according to Psalm 37:4, but Zephaniah tells me that the Lord delights in me. Also, just as I sing songs of praise to Him, God sings over me. For me, this makes a complete circle of the significance of my delighting in the Lord and the interpretation of the phrase “the desires of my heart.”

My Reader, will you join me in fulfilling Psalm 37:4?

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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I See!

I see” is a statement composed of only two words. These two little words make a complete sentence but they can be interpreted in two different ways. One meaning for “I see” relates to being able to “see” with one’s eyes while another meaning relates to being able to “see” with one’s mind. I can see visually without being able to see with understanding. There is also the possibility of one being blind visually but still able to see with understanding. Today I am searching for scriptures that help me understand what I am saying when I utter, “I see.”

eye-1-mfDo you see this woman?
Luke 7:42

In this scripture found in the book of Luke, Jesus asks Simon if he sees a particular woman. Jesus goes on to describe in detail the woman’s past and present actions and feelings. Simon may have been able to visually see this woman while Jesus not only saw the woman as a person but he also knew and understood her background as well. My Reader, who and what do you see when you encounter a particular person? Your description may be entirely different from mine while both descriptions are accurate from our own perspectives. In his book Cast of Characters, Lost and Found, Max Lucado  shares an experience he had with a friend while in rural Pennsylvania. Both men saw a drifter who knocked at the door of a church where they were holding a conference. Listen to a quote by Lucado, “We both saw the man. I saw right through him. Stanley saw deep into him. There is something fundamentally good about taking time to see a person.” His friend helped the man in need while Lucado simply saw the man. His friend saw the man with a compassionate heart while Lucado merely saw the man with his eyes. I have to ask myself, “When I see people, do I really see them? What do I see when I see them? Do I understand why I see what I see? Do I comprehend why what I see exists? Max Lucado challenges us to “look at the face until we see the person.” I believe Jesus was presenting Simon with this challenge as well. There is so much more for us to see about a person than what the naked eye first beholds.

mirror-2-mfFor now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,
even as I am fully known.
I Corinthians 13:12

When Paul wrote this verse to the Corinthians, he was not referring to the physical reflection we see in a mirror, but to our spiritual reflection. We will only experience full clarity of vision when we come into the Lord’s presence and personally see the Lord face to face both physically and spiritually. The New Living Translation gives me a fascinating picture of this verse, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” Referring again to Cast of Characters, Lost and Found, Max Lucado interprets this verse as referring to our “trying to see God through shattered glass.” While here on earth with our limited understanding, we simply cannot have complete comprehension. Everything is distorted through the lens of the human eye. I appreciate the imagery Lucado uses because there are times when my life appears to be shattered and my perspective distorted.

Another author who refers to sight as being spiritual revelation is Steve Fry.  In his book I AM, Fry quotes J. George Mantle from Beyond Humiliation and then comments, “Our deepest self is revealed by our attitude towards the cross. Only when we see what sin has done to the heart of God can we be truly grateful for God’s ultimate sacrifice.” (my emphasis) I also agree with the lines of a prayer by Steve Fry when he asks of the Lord, “Give me eyes to see what you are doing even when I don’t understand. Help me to trust you.”

I look forward to the day when I can proclaim “I see!” more accurately regarding people and the Lord. These verses of scripture have challenged my vision regarding both my physical sight and spiritual sight. However, my insight is stimulated even more as I ponder the significance of another verse in the Bible.

eye-of-god-maybe-link-pd

She gave this name to the LORD
who spoke to her:
“You are the God who sees me,” for she said,
“I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Genesis 16:13

I become aware that not only can I see but that God sees! Since God is spirit, He does not see with physical eyes like I do but He still has the ability of seeing me both visually and with understanding. His view of me is perfect without any distortions.

This verse from Genesis is spoken by Hagar when she encountered the Lord. She had been treated harshly by Sarai and sent away. The Lord saw what had happened to Hagar and the angel of the Lord came to her with encouragement and direction. She then gave God the descriptive name of El Roi because of the revelation she has received. He came to her at a specific location and met her personal needs. She went on to announce that she had “seen the One who sees her.” A depth of understanding had been revealed to her and she was able to say, “I see!”

Kay Arthur has a wonderful book entitled To Know HIM by Name in which she describes the names of God through the mediums of words and art. When portraying El Roi, “the God who sees,” she delineates incredible characteristics of our God. His eyes are never shut. He knows us by name and He knows where to find us. He understands us! Since God sees all, He sees our sins and our failures as well as our positive accomplishments. Because He sees with understanding, He forgives when He sees that our hearts are repentant. Kay Arthur says, “He knows where (we) have come from and where (we) are going. He knows what (we) are thinking and feeling in the deepest part of their heart. He sees it all. Right now. At this very instant. You can’t, but He can.”

music 3 mf

I see” is a statement consisting of only two simple words, but they are powerful words. My Reader, what do you see? Are you able to see on more than one level? What do these two words mean to you? Reflect upon these questions as you meditate upon the lyrics of two songs. The first was written by John Newton in 1779 while the second is by Michael W. Smith, a contemporary song writer. Both song writers say “I see” from a spiritual perspective.

Amazing Grace
by John Newton
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

Open the Eyes of My Heart
by Michael W. Smith
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.
Open the eyes of my heart.
I want to see You,
I want to see You.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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