Experiencing Jesus

"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."

-John 17:3, emphasis added

The mission that flows out of our loving fellowship, our spiritual growth, and our praise is that of being God's faithful and obedient instruments in His divine plan to redeem the world. That plan began in eternity past, before the foundation of the world. But it did not go into effect until Adam chose to sin, fell from fellowship with God, and was spiritually separated from Him.

Since that fateful day in the Garden of Eden, fallen, natural man has been trying to hide from God, and God has been redeeming men back to Himself. From that first time of sin, it has always been God who, solely out of His own gracious love, has taken the initiative to restore men to righteousness. God has always taken the initiative for man's salvation and restoration, from His first call to Adam, "Where are you?" (Gen. 3:9), to His last call in Revelation: "The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.' And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the Water of Life without cost" (Revelation 22:17).[4]

Revelation 22 ends the Word of God with the same themes of practical Christian living that have wound their way across most of God's Holy Scriptures: keep the Word (vv. 6-11); serve God (vv. 12-14); avoid sin (vv. 15- 16); and watch for Jesus (vv. 17-21).

The same Jesus that bids us come calls us to keep on the same path He starts us on, the path of grace through faith: "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (Colossians 2:6).

Make a Choice to Live in Hope: If you have not yet partaken of the Water of Life, choose to live in hope by drinking of Him, and you will find the first true satisfaction you have ever known in your life. I pray that if your garments are soiled with sins not atoned for that you would turn to the Savior today and say, "Your blood avails for me! Save me Jesus, and forgive me!"

If you already have a personal relationship with Christ Jesus the Lord, may you keep His Word, and serve Him faithfully from now throughout all eternity. Be careful to turn from any sin that weighs you down so that you may live watching for Christ's return. Ask God to continually fill your mind and heart with the wonders of who He is and to choose to live in such a way that you reflect His wonders in your life. When all is said and done, may He enable you to say, with all your heart, "Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!"

It is my deep prayer that you will fall in love with Jesus all over again as you reflect upon what He has in store for you-both in this age, and in the age to come. If we learn to live in hope by falling in love with Jesus over and over again we will be able to go through all the hardships, pains, and trials that life will bring.

One of my favorite songs is "His Eye Is on the Sparrow." The author of this hymn once described the inspiration for these precious words. Her account reminds us of how much earthly good comes from being heavenly minded.

When Civilla Martin, the author of this hymn, was visiting at a rest home she happened upon an elderly couple who shared that they were all alone on earth with no children, no family, and had outlived all their friends. But they had such radiance Civilla asked how they managed without despairing through such bleak days with no visitors and no events to ever plan for. They simply said, "How could we ever be discouraged when we know that if God's eye is on a sparrow-He certainly will care for us!" That became the basis for this sweet song of living hope! May the message of its lyrics bring as much comfort and joy to your heart as it has to mine.

His Eye Is On the Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

"Let not your heart be troubled," His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain:
I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

-Civilla D. Martin (1866-1948)


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