Video I included this week, in the Chapel email. Worth watching!

IF HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW

My title is inspired by the gospel song of the same name — a most loved Christian song made famous by Ethel Waters.

“His Eye is on the Sparrow” was written by Civilla Martin, who described how she came to write the song. “In the spring of 1905, my husband and I were in New York. We developed a deep friendship with a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—true saints of God.

Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for over twenty years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheel chair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them the secret of their joy in the midst of pain. Mrs. Doolittle’s reply was simple: ‘If His eye is on the sparrow, then I know He watches me.’

The beauty of this expression of simple faith gripped my heart and that same evening I wrote the words for the song.” The rest, as they say, is history.

If you’re discouraged, afraid of the future, or struggling with the problems of today, listen again to the words of this beautiful song: “Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come? Why should my heart feel lonely, and long for heaven and home? When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches over me. His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me. I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’m 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.”

Those lyrics are taken from the words of Jesus, who was recorded in Matthew 10:28-31 as saying:

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Jesus starts by saying, “Don’t be afraid,” and He concludes with the same. Are you afraid of anything? God has a message of reassurance and hope, and Jesus gives us three powerful reasons why you can say, “I’m not afraid.”

(1) I’M NOT AFRAID, BECAUSE THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN IN THIS LIFE IS THE DEATH BECAUSE I AM AN ETERNAL SOUL!

Jesus sent out His disciples but warned they were going out like sheep among wolves, that enemies would arrest them and perhaps kill them. But He said, “Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body.”

Fear can be can a debilitating force in your life but Jesus told the disciples not to be afraid even in the face of death. Most people have a fear of death. Jesus says don’t fear those who can kill the body.

There are many verses in God’s Word encouraging us not be afraid. A favourite is found in Psalm 27 **“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” **(Psalm 27:1-2)

C.S. Lewis wrote: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” Our soul lives inside our body. It’s who we really are, our personality. Physical death cannot destroy our soul, because our soul will live on long after the stars have burned out and the universe has faded away.

Jesus said to fear just one thing. We should have a reverential awe of God because He has the power to destroy both body and soul in hell. To fear God is the beginning of wisdom, but fearing God doesn’t mean cringing in abject terror before Him—it means having a loving respect for Him.

Did you know that many more people believe there is a heaven and that they will go there, than people who believe there is a hell , where people could go?

Jesus believed hell exists, so that settles it for me! Having Jesus as my saviour, my deliverer, also means I have no fear of hell. The actual reason we share our faith with others is simple: we don’t want anyone to spend eternity separated from God. Never be afraid what man can and does do, for we have a holy, awe-inspiring God who is all-powerful. Reverence Him.

(2) I’M NOT AFRAID, BECAUSE IF GOD CARES ENOUGH TO NUMBER MY HAIRS, HE CARES ABOUT THE OTHER DETAILS OF MY LIFE!

We all know the verse that says ‘for God so loved the world’—but do you know the same God who put the stars in place loves you personally? Yes, you! Jesus said He has numbered the hairs on your head. Do you know how many hairs are on your head?

Hair are some statistics: If you are blonde you have around 145,000 hairs; if you have black or brown hair you have about 120,000 hairs and if you’re a redhead you only have 90,000. And God knows exactly how many.

I read that we only see a maximum of seven items before we count them. If I’m watching over three children, I can look and know there are three without counting. I can look at six or seven and know they are there without counting. But with 12 or 20 children to watch I have to stop and count. My point is that our omniscient Father can look through this crowd and say, “94,894” without counting or “114,925” without counting.

If God can number something as trivial as my hairs, then He can also know everything else about me as well—but not only does he KNOW—He cares. The Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Sometimes we think things are just too trivial to bring to God in prayer. ‘He is not interested in my small thing’. Yes He is, and we make a mistake when think it is too small or insignificant to bring to the Lord. If He cares about your hair, He cares about EVERYTHING in your life. The point is that God knows things about you even you don’t know. In other words, God knows you better than you know yourself!

The Psalmist declares: “Oh Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar…How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.” (Psalm 139:1-2, 17-18)

Not only does God count your hairs, He thinks about you many times each day, the number exceeding the grains of sand on the beach. Let’s move on to another reason Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid!”

(3) I’M NOT AFRAID, BECAUSE IF GOD CARES ABOUT A SPARROW WHO FALLS, HE WON’T STOP LOVING ME WHEN I FAIL!

Sparrows plentiful, worldwide—where there are people, you find sparrows because they are scavengers of leftovers. They aren’t known for beautiful colours or a sweet song. Jesus said two sparrows sell for a penny. Actually, it was more like ¼ of a penny, two sparrows would sell for ½ penny. In Luke Jesus said, four sparrows are sold for a penny, and the merchant throws in the fifth one for free, like a baker’s dozen—cheap and common.

Maybe it would have made more sense if Jesus had talked about golden eagles? There are about 440 pairs of them in the UK today, we know because we count them, they are endangered—but Jesus was making a point that God cares for the most common, unnoticed birds—who cares enough to count the sparrows? Only God.

They must be born, live, and die in their millions, but Jesus said not a single sparrow is forgotten by God. Jesus used this illustration to demonstrate how valuable we are to God. He says we are worth more than sparrows to God. That’s good to know!

Jesus didn’t say God knows when a sparrow flies, He said God notices when a sparrow falls. Sometimes we fail and fall, and think we have disappointed God, that He no longer cares for us. But God knows when you fall, and He still loves you.

The Bible says, “The Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24) Remember teaching children to walk? We did not plonk them on the lawn and point to the other end of the garden and tell them to go there. We had to coax the, coax them, pick them up when they fell down, encourage them to try again … and then when they were suddenly independently mobile, we started a new habit of holding their little hands. If they stumbled, our grip tightened to stop the fall.

This is exactly how God treats all who fully trust Him. We will stumble and fall, but He has promised to uphold us with His hand. When we stumble He grips us even stronger and that’s when we need to grip His hand even tighter.

God is not a sinister tyrant—watching you just waiting for you to make a mistake He can punish. He is a loving Father who wants the very best for you. You don’t have to be afraid, because God has promised He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. He watches over every sparrow that falls, so you can be certain He is watching over you!

How many times have you faced a scary situation and given in to fear? Wouldn’t it have made a difference if you had know God was right there with you? Well, He is!

CONCLUSION

God has made it very clear, in His word: do not be afraid, and that when we are afraid, He wants us to remember that we are so special to Him that he knows everything about us. Who we are, what we have been through, how our mind works, what we have to contend with in life, what is in the past and what is still to come our way. Do not be afraid, Jesus says, it is going to be OK as you put simple trust in me.

There is only one way to find out of this is true—test it out for yourself. It might be your health, your finances, problems in your family, a relationship, or it might be a fear of dying—but God says, ‘Don’t be afraid?’

Said the robin to the sparrow; “I’d really like to know; Why these anxious human creatures rush about and worry so.” Said the sparrow to the robin, “I guess that it must be, that they have no Father such as cares for you and me.” But we DO have a loving Father who cares about every detail of our lives.

So what is it that you’re afraid of today? Jesus knows, and Jesus cares He is never going to leave you or forsake you. You can leave your fears behind and say, “If His eye is on the sparrow, I know he’s watching over me!”

I’M NOT AFRAID, BECAUSE:

  1. THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN IN THIS LIFE IS DEATH OF MY BODY—AND I AM AN ETERNAL SOUL!

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1-2

  1. IF GOD CARES ENOUGH TO NUMBER MY HAIRS, HE CARES ABOUT THE OTHER DETAILS OF MY LIFE!

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

  1. IF GOD CARES ABOUT A SPARROW WHO FALLS, HE WON’T STOP LOVING ME WHEN I FAIL!

“The Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24

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