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“Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus”
Helen H. Lemmel, 1864-1961
 
Helen Howarth Lemmel was born November 14, 1864, in Wardle, England.  She was the daughter of a Wesleyan Methodist pastor, and she came to this country with her family at the age of twelve.  Helen lived briefly in Mississippi before settling in Wisconsin.  Soon she developed a reputation as a brilliant singer, even studying private voice in Germany for four years.  She traveled widely throughout the Midwest during the early 1900’s giving concerts in many churches.  Later, Mrs. Lemmel taught voice at the Moody Bible Institute and then at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles.  In 1961, Helen Lemmel settled in Seattle, Washington, where she remained active with Christian activities, as a member of the Ballard Baptist Church of that city, during the last days of her life.
 
“Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus” has become a familiar hymn, that has been widely used in Christian circles to challenge believers musically, with the necessity of making Christ the paramount priority in their lives, and then living each day with eternity’s values in view.  Mrs. Lemmel relates that one day, in 1918, a missionary friend gave her a tract titled “Focused.”  The pamphlet contained these words: “So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness.”
 
She goes on, “Suddenly, as if commanded to stop and listen, I stood still, and singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus, with not one conscience moment of putting word to word to make rhyme, or note to note to make melody.  The verses were written the same week, after the usual method of composition.”
 
How easy it becomes even for those of us who profess to be faithful followers of Christ to get caught up in the “things of earth,” such that our heavenly vision and values become blurred and dull.  This often happens even when we are active in our Christian activities, we become so involved in merely doing things for God that we miss the real blessing of enjoying the personal fellowship of Christ Himself in our daily lives.