Look up and see Jesus

Published 8:41 am Friday, March 22, 2019

Last week, early one morning before work, I was watching the eagle webcam, and I happened to tune in at the right time. I watched an eaglet hatch, and it was a very wonderful experience that I won’t soon forget. To watch the shell crack and break apart and see this tiny bird with a head too large for its body step out was amazing. The first thing this eaglet did was look up and open its small mouth. At that very moment, the father eagle swooped in and dropped food into the eaglet’s mouth. As I watched the scene unfold, I heard the Lord speak to my heart and say, “You just need to look up!” This eaglet knew that what it needed to survive came from above, and it opened its mouth in expectation. I began to study the Bible looking for scriptures that command us to look up, and what I found was interesting. I first came across an article by Mark Jordan about the word up. Here is what he had to say.
“The word ‘up’ is one of the most interesting words in the English language. It is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word. It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special. And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about 30 definitions. If you are UP to it, try building UP a list of all the UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it gets the earth wet and often messes things UP. When it doesn’t rain for a while, things dry UP. One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so it is time to shut UP about up!”
I had truly never given much thought to the word “UP,” but it is a small word with many meanings. The meaning I want us to be most familiar with is, “Toward a higher place or position.” We must decide to stop looking around us at all the confusion, doubt, discouragement, frustration, drama, and that list could go on because that will only cause us to look down in despair! It is so easy to allow Satan to direct our attention on the things around us every day that instill fear within. David says in Psalms 5:3, “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” The Bible has a universal appeal to man about the direction of our gaze. We are constantly encouraged to look up instead of down. Evidently, David knew something about this fact. David also says in Psalm 121:1, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” If we look to the hills, we are looking up towards our help and comfort! Today’s church must start looking up! The direction of the church is never down. The calling of God never leads us on a downward path. God will never put you down, push you down, keep you down or let you down. Any interaction we have with God always lifts us up to a higher plane of existence. He picks you up, holds you up, sits you up and fixes you up.
After Stephen spoke the word of God to those around him, he began to face some troubled times. Here is what the Bible says about this in Acts chapter 7 verses 54-60, “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Instead of looking at the individuals biting him and those throwing the large stones, Stephen looked steadfastly into heaven and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Once he saw this phenomenal scene, it did not matter what those around him had chosen to do. He asked God not to hold those individuals accountable, and then he fell asleep. If we truly want God’s peace to rest upon us, we must decide to stop looking at those that are hurting us, lying on us, biting us, and starting drama, and begin looking up toward Jesus the author and finisher of our faith! Looking to Christ is not only a sight that brings rejoicing; it is also a sight that brings renewal. Seeing his glory not only makes our souls happy; it makes our souls holy. We are not changed by beholding our self, and the antics of others, but by beholding Christ our Savior. If we want to see Jesus, we must choose to look up!
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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