What are YOU looking at?

“Oh, be careful little eyes what you see…”

Although it seems impossible to live a trouble-free life, since the unexpected crops up from time to time, there are some troubles we can and must avoid. 

It takes is a heart for God, vigilance, and diligence in controlling what we allow our eyes to focus on.

Scripture records the first time trouble entered mankind’s world. 

“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:5 – 3:6 ESV)

“…a delight to the eyes…” doesn’t necessarily make something evil. But when God says to leave something alone, we’d best heed His instruction. 

The things we keep before our eyes will be the things we ultimately gravitate towards. 

Good or bad. 

So what are you looking at? Where is your focus?

Instead of giving you a long list of things NOT to look at, here are a dozen things God’s word tells us TO focus on.

1. Look to the remedy God has prescribed for total cleansing and forgiveness. “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.” (Numbers 21:8 – 21:9 NASB) See also John 3:14-16

2. Look to the Lord for your Source of safety, strength, and salvation. “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night. The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever. (Psalm 121:1 – 121:8 NASB)

3. Look continually to God’s Word for direction, comparing your path with His. Make corrections as needed. “My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” (Proverbs 4:20 – 4:27 ESV)

4. Look to the Lord by faith when praying. Expect Him to hear and answer. “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7 ESV) See also 1 John 5:14,15

5. Look at God’s prophetic nation, Israel. “And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Luke 21:29 – 21:33 ESV)

6. Look to yourselves; self-examination. “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” (Luke 21:34 ESV)

7. Look beyond the “right now”, the temporal. Look to the eternal for true perspective. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16 – 4:18 ESV)

8. Look continuously for the Blessed Hope. “…looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:13 – 2:14 NASB) See also 2 Peter 3:12

9. Look to the Founder and Perfecter of your faith. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1 – 12:2 ESV)

10. Look after one another. “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” (Hebrews 12:15 NLT)

11. Look continuously into the mirror of God’s word; the perfect law of liberty. “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” (James 1:22 – 1:25 NLT)

12. Look for the mercy of God. For yourselves and others. “…keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 1:21 NKJV)

It is a proven fact...if we spend our time looking at the things we should look at, we won’t have time for our eyes to focus on things we shouldn’t. 

So be careful, pay attention; don’t live a sloppy life letting your eyes lead you around. YOU take control of YOUR eyes.

And you can believe God will help you, if you’ll only ask. 

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)

A Talking Turtle Named Wayne


Have you ever met a talking turtle? No, I’m not kidding. Have YOU ever met a talking turtle?

There’s an old cartoon character you may recall-Touché Turtle. I used to watch him and his pal Dum Dum after school. 

Then, of course, there are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 

But that isn’t what I’m referring to. 

I met one the other night. His name was Wayne. 

Wayne the talking turtle. 

It happened like this: I had driven out to a place in West Virginia, somewhere in the country, to see my wife who had been visiting her mom and siblings. 

As I pulled up to the house I was greeted by a rather large turtle, who had somehow managed to perfect two skills I’ve never known a turtle to do. 

Stand upright and talk. 

Yes, talk. 

As soon as I opened the door of my car, there he was, just as informative and polite as could be.

“Hello, you must be Jan. I’m Wayne, the talking turtle. I was asked by Mrs. Lloyd to meet you when you arrived and walk you to the garden where she and your wife are.”

Crazy, huh? 

And what’s just as crazy? I thought nothing of it. It made perfect sense at the time. 

Just like all dreams. 

Of course, when I awoke the dream faded and I realized there truly was no Wayne, the talking turtle. 

Too bad. I could have really gone somewhere, knowing a talking turtle and all.

As I thought about the dream, some scriptures about dreams came to my mind; especially the one in Acts 2. The one where Peter is quoting the prophet Joel:

“And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams…” (Acts 2:17 ESV)

Realizing I’m no longer a young man, the part that excited me the most was God’s plan for His “old men” who are filled with His Holy Spirit to dream dreams. 

The word “old” does not refer primarily to one’s age. The Greek word for “old men” is “presbyteros”; specifically an elder, overseer, bishop, etc. In other words, the Lord doesn’t spend a lifetime building a person’s character, wisdom, etc., to simply turn them out to pasture when they reach a certain age.

This was very good news for me. 

It’s so easy to regard myself as too old to matter anymore. Too old to live an exciting life, a kingdom of God kind of life. 

Too outdated to believe something as nutty as a talking turtle. 

I do understand dreams the Holy Spirit wants to give elders probably have nothing to do with talking turtles. Though that’s not saying he wouldn’t or couldn’t do that. Stranger things have happened. 

Nor does one have to be sound asleep to receive a dream from Father God. 

But we need to be very careful not to shrug off God’s dreams like they’re as ridiculous as a turtle who talks. They may seem just as impossible, but if God is their author, they aren’t crazy. 

We’re being foolish if we don’t pursue them.

Ecclesiastes 5:3 says (in the KJV) that “a dream comes through the multitude of business (or much work)…”. Though other translations read much differently, the KJV really speaks to me about pursuing whatever dream God gives. 

It is extremely important we do our part, as we are enabled by God, in not only dreaming the dream but in seeing it come to pass. 

God gives the dream and gives us the tools and His Spirit to do what we must do. To do our part in seeing the dream fulfilled. 

Yes, even those of us who may dream up such bizarre things as Wayne, the talking turtle. 

People who sincerely want to see His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as in Heaven. 

Why Am I Me?


So, tell me…have you ever wanted to be someone else? Have you spent time wondering why you are you? Has your life been frustrating at times, all because you ARE you, and not some other person?

Like many people, I’ve had my fair share of questions. Such as, “Why was I born into my particular family?” “Why didn’t I get a better lot in life?” “What did I do to deserve the parents I was given?” 

Or maybe, “Why couldn’t I have parents like so and so has?”

I remember as a kid wishing my good friend Bob’s mother was my mom (usually immediately following an argument with my parents).

Right or wrong, it was a wish. (Though I’m not at all saying I was squeaky clean…)

There have been other times throughout the last 60+ years I’ve asked similar questions. 

But I’ve recently learned something. Maybe it will speak to you as well.

God had the complete and final say regarding all the things in which I had no say. 

Everything.

Even though bad things sometimes happen, things which aren’t His will, we’re placed into our specific families. 

God, Who knew me even while I was in my mother’s womb, had the final say. 

It was God who gave me, and you, life in the first place.

So, with that in mind, I’ve had to move on and not let those “why”, “why not”, and “what if” questions drive me crazy.

In John chapter nine, the disciples asked Jesus a question about a man who was born blind. I can almost imagine the blind man pulling Peter aside to see if Peter would ask Jesus the question he had been wondering about for quite awhile. 

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins.” (John 9:1 – 9:2 NLT)

Somewhat like the questions I’ve had throughout my life…”Why?”

To read Jesus’ answer (in many translations) it can appear that God doesn’t mind seeing just how bad He can make someone’s life become. 
That doesn’t sound like the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

It doesn’t sound like my Savior, either.

So this time, read it from “The Message” translation:

“Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?” Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.” (John 9:1 – 9:3 MSG)

“You’re asking the wrong question…” What a great response! 

For them, and for me. 

And, quite possibly, for you.

The Lord doesn’t want any of us attempting to find out why we got the short end of the deal when we were born. He’s not exactly pleased with the way some parents have treated/raised their kids. He’s not happy about the child abuse some kids endure. Or how many people have to find a way to cope with all the scars well into their adult life. 

We’ve all been given a life to live. And we can’t live it to the fullest when we’ve buried ourselves beneath the rubble of “Why me?” questions.

Blaming someone never corrected anything. No matter who is to blame, we must still look at what God can do. 

“With Me, all things are possible.”

Maybe you’ve accumulated a lot of baggage, maybe tons of garbage, growing up in your not-so-perfect world. I did. But my life need not, better not, be consumed by looking for someone to blame. 

There’s too much life to live to waste time doing that. 

So, to end this post on a positive note:

God uses less-than-perfect people from less-than-perfect homes, who have less-than-perfect parents, siblings, and circumstances. Why not let Him help give us purpose, direction, and, where needed, the emotional, mental, and physical help we may have missed while growing up.

Let’s get away from the blame game, and instead, get on with life; the life God has in store for all who will embrace His ways and thoughts.

“Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. ‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'” (Isaiah 55:7 – 55:9 NLT)