Sunday, February 21, 2016

Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus

Turn Your Eye upon Jesus

O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There's light for a look at the Savior, and life more abundant and free! 
Thro' death into life everlasting he passed, and we follow him there; Over us sin no more hath dominion-For more than conq'rors we are! 
His word shall not fail you-he promised; Believe him, and all will be well: Then go to a world that is dying, his perfect salvation to tell!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. 

When Helen Lemmel was only 12 years old, her family moved to America from England. Her father, who was a Wesleyan Methodist pastor, determined to strike out in a new area of ministry. After a brief time in Mississippi, the family moved to Wisconsin, where they settled. At her young age, Helen showed remarkable musical gifts and her parents saw to it that she received voice lessons from the finest teachers. After finishing school, Helen traveled to Germany for further vocal training and studied there for four years. Helen launched a ministry of her own when she returned to Wisconsin. She gave concerts in auditoriums and churches across the Midwest; She also was a member of a women's quartet that traveled on the Chautauqua Circuit, bringing concerts to small rural towns and villages that would otherwise have no opportunities to hear quality performers.  

Although talented enough to succeed as a professional singer, Helen Lemmel sought fulfillment using her musical gifts as a form of ministry for God. She joined the faculty of Moody Bible Institute where she taught vocal music. In 1918, when she was 54 years old, Helen Lemmel wrote the beautiful hymn "Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus." She had been visiting with a missionary friend who had shared a gospel tract by Lillias Trotter, titled "Focused." The pamphlet included the statement: "So then, turn your eyes upon Him, and look full into His face and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness." Those words seemed to repeat themselves over and over in Helen's mind during the following week. In her memoirs she wrote the following: 

"Suddenly, as if I commanded to stop and listen, I stood still, and singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus, with not one conscious moment of putting word to make rhyme, or note to note to make melody. The verses were written the same week, after the usual manner of composition, but nonetheless dictated by the Holy Spirit."

The song was published in 1922 by the British National Sunday School Union in a book called Glad Songs, which contained 66 other songs by Helen. Two years later, the hymn was first published in the United States. Although she is perhaps best known for having written this favorite hymn, it was only one of the 500 hymns to come from her pen. Mrs. Lemmel is well-known in musical circles for her contributions in the field of children's music. She was a gifted writer and composed and published several works of poetry, and authored a popular book for children entitled Story of the Bible.  It seemed that she made the words of her hymn her personal creed as she continually turned her eyes toward Jesus, serving him faithfully until her death, November 1, 1961, at the age of ninety-six.  

Hope you all have a good and godly week. 
Sincerely yours in the Lord,
Acts 17:27-29  
  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.


  1. This is so beautifully written. I love this song, and think about it and the words a lot. So beautiful! <3

  2. Thank you again for this information about how this was written. It is so wonderful when God speaks to people and they listen and share with us their thoughts. Hugs

  3. Whenever I hear this hymn I'm transported back to being a child. My mom always had a Christian radio station on and one of the morning programs always began with this hymn. Beautiful post.

  4. This was a precious post, Ashley! I loved reading about the author and how God used her from such a young age. I love this song....well, I don't think there is an old hymn that I DON'T love! LOL! I just love them all, and it is a huge blessing that you take the time to share the background of the songs with us. I hadn't had a chance to read your post yet, so Zach read it to me tonight, and I sang the chorus to him, as he didn't remember ever having heard it. Thank you for all you do! You are a blessing to us!

  5. What a wonderful story and commitment to Jesus Christ. She wrote a beautiful hymn, one of my favorites. Enjoyed visiting with you today. Blessings

  6. Good Afternoon Dear Ashley,
    I am so happy to meet you and to find such a beautiful, Christian blog filled with love and joy for our Heavenly Father.
    Thank you for stopping by today and joining us in our new Thoughts Of Home On Thursday.
    I'd like to send you an email but you are a no-reply blogger.

  7. That is a beautiful hymn! Glad she had so many years to live and create lovely music!

  8. Wow, that's such a pretty hymn!
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. This has always been one of my favorites! Thank you for sharing the story behind the beautiful words, Ashley!

  10. I'm off to find the song on YouTube now. Thanks for sharing the story. :)

    So glad you shared this with us at Thoughts of Home on Thursday.

  11. Thank you for sharing this with us at Thoughts of Home on Thursday. We are so glad you are here.

    And thank you for sharing your faith through this hymn- which is one of the most powerful ways I am touched spiritually.
    Have a blessed week.


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