Have you ever heard any of these
expressions: "If you'd just open your eyes, you could see
it;" "He sure went into that with his eyes closed;" "She is
so blinded that she'll never see it"? Keeping our eyes
open is an important action. In business, open eyes
usually spot the opportunity. In driving, open eyes
usually avoid the accident. In research, open eyes
often find the answer. In education, open eyes notice
where the difficulties are in learning. Someone made
this observation: "The great need of the hour in the Lord's
church is this: for Christians to open their eyes and really
see" (Turner). Here痴 a challenge for you: take your
bulletin, and then pray for two of these concepts per day
during this next week.
On Sunday, pray that we値l see our true hope and power and
our divine help. The apostles Paul 1:18-21 prayed this
prayer: "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are
the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us
who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far
above all principality and power and might and dominion, and
every name that is named, not only in this age but also in
that which is to come." Paul wants these brethren at
Ephesus to see clearly their hope, their reward, and their
power. The hope is based on God's calling through the
Gospel. By obedience to the Gospel, all people can be
freed from their past sinful lives in order to live a new
life! The reward will be that holy inheritance known
as heaven. Christians have a living hope right here
and spiritual riches awaiting them in the hereafter.
But then notice how Paul bears down very heavily seeing
God's power. Notice how he describes that power as
being mighty and exceedingly great! It is the power that
not only brought Jesus back to life but also exalted Him
above all spiritual forces and all human names! Our
superior God has superior power, and nothing is impossible
for Him! We need to see our true hope and power!
We need to see our divine help. Remember once when
Elisha was surrounded by an army, and Elisha's servant was
about to panic. Now listen to what happened: "So he
[Elisha] answered: 'Do not fear, for those who are with us
are more than those who are with them.' And Elisha prayed,
and said: 'Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.'
Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw.
And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of
fire all around Elisha" (2 Kings 6:16-17). We too have
been promised divine help. Jesus said that He would be
with us always (Matthew 28:20), and angels are sent to serve
us (Hebrews 1:14). So why should we be fearful of
anything with those kind of teammates assisting us?
"For He Himself has said: 'I will never leave you nor
forsake you.' So we may boldly say: 'The Lord is my
helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me'"
(Hebrews 13:5-6). Abraham Lincoln once said: "I believe the
will of God prevails; without Him, all human reliance is
vain; without the assistance of that Divine Being, I cannot
succeed; with that assistance, I cannot fail" (in Rowell).
We need to see our divine help.
On Monday, pray that we値l see our final objective (or Jesus
coming again) and our final reward (or heaven). In
Acts 1:10-11, some angels declare: "Men of Galilee, why do
you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who
was taken from you into heaven, will so come in like manner
as you saw Him go into heaven," and Revelation 1:7 affirms:
"Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see
Him, even they who pierced Him." When Jesus comes
again, it's not going to be in some secretive way. He
is going to be extremely visible. "For the Lord
Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the
voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God [that
sure doesn't sound secretive]. And the dead in Christ
will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord
in the air. And thus, we will always be with the Lord [this
is the greatest homecoming that you don't want to miss].
Therefore comfort one another with these words." We need to
see our final objective葉hat great reunion when Jesus
We need to see our final reward. John the apostle
writes in Revelation 22:3-4: "And there shall be no more
curse, but the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it,
and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His
face, and His name shall be written on their foreheads."
In heaven, God's curse that we read about in Genesis 3 will
no longer be in effect. God and Jesus will be ruling, and
we'll be serving them. Now I can't tell you exactly
what that service will be, but I can tell that it will be
satisfying. The old hymn has it right: "Face to face!
O blissful moment! Face to face葉o see and know. Face
to face with our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who loves us so!
Face to face will we behold Him, far beyond the starry sky.
Face to face in all His glory, we shall see Him by and by" (Breck).
We need to see our final reward!
On Tuesday, pray that we値l see our adversary and our
faults. "Be sober. Be vigilant; because your adversary
the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he
may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith,
knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your
brotherhood in the world" (1 Peter 5:8-9). Satan would
just as soon we not think about him. He likes working
undercover and not getting the rap for so much evil that
takes place in the world. How often do we ever think
that the devil is behind some of the natural disasters, and
great tragedies, and accidents that occur? Remember the
havoc and heartbreak that He caused in the book of Job?
Someone made this correct observation: "The devil takes no
holiday; he never rests. If beaten, he rises again.
If he cannot enter in front, he steals in the back. If
he cannot enter at the back, he breaks through the roof and
digs a tunnel underneath. He labors hard until he is
in. He uses great cunning and many a plan. When
one miscarries, he uses another and continues his attempts
[to bring about destruction]" (Plass in Swindoll). We
need to see our adversary and be on constant guard!
We need to see our faults. "And why do you look at the
speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank
in your own eye. Or how can you say to your brother:
'Let me remove the plank from your eye'; and look a plank is
in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the
plank in your own eye, and then you will see clearly to
remove the speck from your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:3-5).
Self-judgment is our first duty, isn't it? Let's quit
being so nitpicking! Let's pray that we can clearly
see our own faults!
On Wednesday, pray that we値l see our obstacles and our
short-comings. Look now at Numbers 22:28-34: "Then the
Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam,
'What have I done to you, that you have struck me these
three times?' And Balaam said to the donkey: 'Because
you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my
hand, for now I would kill you!' So the donkey said to
Balaam: 'Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever
since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed
to do this to you?' And he said, 'No.' Then the
Lord opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord
standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he
bowed his head and fell flat on his face. And the
Angel of the Lord said to Him: 'Why have you struck your
donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to
stand against you, because your way is perverse to Me. The
donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times.
If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would have
killed you by now, and let her live.' And Balaam said
to the Angel of the Lord: 'I have sinned, for I did not know
You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it
displeases You, I will turn back." Isn't it amazing
that the donkey actually saw the danger before Balaam?
Obstacles can be overcome, but we have to see them. We
need to see our obstacles!
We need to see our short-comings. "I counsel you to
buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich;
and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame
of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes
with eye salve, that you may see" (Revelation 3:18). The
church in Laodicea had an unrealistic view of itself.
They were so disillusioned thinking that they were all fine
and dandy. But Jesus said they needed some eye salve
so that they could truly see how sinful they were. If
we don't see our own short-comings, how can we ever improve?
We need to see our short-comings!
On Thursday, pray that we値l see our resources and our
strengths. "Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing
a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip:
'Where shall we buy bread that these may eat?' But
this He said to test him, for He knew what He would do.
Philip answered Him, 'Two hundred denarii worth of bread is
not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a
little.' One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's
brother, said to Him: 'There is a lad here who has five
barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so
many" (John 6:5-9)? And with those few loaves and
fishes, what a miracle Jesus performed? How many
baskets of leftovers were there? Yes, it was 12! What
an abundance Jesus provided from those few resources!
Jesus can multiple our resources as well, but it might be
good for us to take an inventory like Andrew did. Did
you know that we know have four resources for teaching the
Gospel that were all produced by brethren within about the
last three years? We have some current materials that
you can use to teach others the truth! These are great
resources. Why not take advantage of them? We
need to see our resources!
We need to see our strengths. In Revelation chapters
2-3, Jesus compliments all the churches, with the exception
of one. He says that they had done things like the
following: they had kept the faith; they had persevered
under persecution; they had rejected false teaching, they
had done more works recently than they had done in the past.
He was showing them their strengths. Aren't we often
prone to look at the negative and talk about our weaknesses
and short-comings? Yes, we all have them, but also we
have our strengths. There are some things that we
really do well. Prayer, generous fifth Sunday
contributions, showing concern in a crisis or disaster, and
operating in the black are four that immediately came to my
mind. Our strengths glorify God because they show
others how He has shaped us and developed us towards showing
excellence in those areas. Jesus wanted these
congregations to know their strengths. We need to see
our strengths as a congregation as well!
On Friday, pray that we値l see our direction and our goals.
"Then Peter opened his mouth and said: 'In truth I perceive
[or see] that God shows no partiality. But in every
nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted
by Him" (Acts 10:34-35). It took the Spirit awhile to
get Peter to see that all men could be in Jesus' kingdom.
Allowing the Gentiles to become members in the church was a
whole new direction for Peter. He finally understood
that obedience to Jesus was what God wanted all people to
practice, and they no longer needed to be bound to keeping
the law of Moses (Acts 15:7-11). Do we know the
direction that our congregation is going or are we like a
ship without a rudder going around in circles?
Direction provides focus, and focus helps to give us
momentum towards achievement. We need to see our
We need to see our goals. "Jesus answered and said
unto him: 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and
blood has not revealed [or shown] this to you, but my Father
who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are
Peter and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates
of hell shall not prevail against it'" (Matthew 16:17-18).
Jesus' goal was to build His church. He knew that
steps to accomplish this would be painful, brutal, and
shameful. He was determined, however, to make
universal brotherhood come into existence, even if He had to
pour out His own blood to make it happen. He knew that
He had to make that trip to a Roman cross in order that the
church might be born. Without His blood, there could
be no brotherhood. Despite marching into a
rattlesnakes' den, He kept His eye on the goal and endured
all the suffering in order to get that goal achieved!
What are our specific and measurable goals for 2012?
One member said: "I think that our goal is just to keep the
doors open each week." Brethren, is that really all
that we're trying to do this next year? We need to see
On Saturday, pray that we値l see our limited time and our
opportunities. Jesus said in John 4:35: "Do you not say:
'There are still four months and then comes the harvest?'
Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the
fields, for they are already white for harvest!"
Brethren, our time is limited; we are going to die soon!
We need to live with a sense of urgency. The old hymn
has it right: "Swiftly we're turning life's daily pages,
swiftly the hours are changing to years. How are we
using God's precious moments? Shall we reap glory or
shall we reap tears? Into our hands the gospel is
given, into our hands is given the light. Haste, let
us carry God's precious message, guiding the erring back to
the right" (Carruth). We need to see our time as
limited and live with a sense of urgency!
We need to see our opportunities. Let's look at two
passages. The first is Luke 10:33: "But a certain
Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was. And when
he saw him, he had compassion" (Luke 10:33). The next
is Acts 11:28-30: "Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up
and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great
famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the
days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, each
according to his ability, determined to send relief to the
brethren dwelling in Judea. This they also did, and
sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul"
(Acts 11:28-30). The Samaritan and the disciples both
saw situations in which others needed help, and then they
got involved personally. How many opportunities did
God send us in 2011 that we just failed to see and to take
advantage of? Brethren, let's work smarter in 2012.
Pray daily that God will help us to see and to take
advantage of those opportunities that He places before us.
We need to see our opportunities!
"The great need of the hour in the Lord's church is this:
for Christians to open their eyes and really see" (Turner).
You have a great opportunity right now. Jesus extends
His invitation once again. Won't you confess your
blindness or disillusion if you've failed to see clearly?
Or won't you become Jesus' disciple and stop living in fear?
Lord, open our eyes that we may see!