Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

The Beginning and The End

Today we finish reading the Bible. As I read Revelation over the weekend my mind was filled with beautiful images of the Savior, and His Holy City, and the last days.

But my heart was captured by the theme.

I have not noticed it before, perhaps because I have not read through the entire Bible so quickly.

The ending comes full circle.

The message that was with us as we began is the same message we are left with at the end, and I am reminded of His name... "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." (Revelations 22:13)

The theme is the constant invitation that He continually extends.  Come.  It is there at the first, and here again at the end.

Let me be your God.  A God who will feel after you, speak to you, lead you safely through.

Choose me... over idols, over Babylon.

Choose me.

My heart remembers the beginning.  The twelve tribes.  The wilderness.  The wandering.  The choosing, every day, the choosing.

I can't forget the wilderness.  The parched ground.  The manna from Heaven.  The water out of the rock.

Still, at the very end of the New Testament, the invitation is the same, "Come.  And let him that heareth say, Come.  And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."  (Revelation 22:17)

And I ask myself, How thirsty am I?

"And he said...I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely."  (Revelation 20:6)

How thirsty am I?

Thirsty enough to turn to Him?  To Choose Him?  To be healed by Him?

I remember verses and words and kings and disciples and each individual out of every tribe and the one question that overrides every chapter of every book within this entire volume...will I follow Him?

Will I choose to drink from the Living Water?

The Bible began with the twelve tribes in their infancy.  The history captured their struggle to know the Lord.  Our mind reflects on the wilderness.  Parched.  And we thirst.

The Bible ends with the twelve tribes in their gathering.  The celebration that waits for those who come to know the Lord.  Our mind reflects on the glory...

"That great city, the holy Jerusalem...twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel...and the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.  And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones...and the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.  And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.  And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it."  (Revelation 21)

Each time I read Revelation my heart gets caught up in the excitement, the beauty, the anticipation.  I read the words, "Behold, I come quickly..." (Revelation 22:7) and I pray that it is true.  I can't wait.

The book of Revelation reaffirms my desire to choose Him.  To come unto Him.  To follow Him.

To the end.

Did you noticed in the last chapter of Revelation there is a small foreshadowing, an introduction to the book of scripture we will read next?

"In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."  (Revelation 22:2)

The tree of life, which yielded her fruit every month...and the leaves, which were for healing.  The tree of Life, which Lehi bore testimony of, which Nephi bore testimony of.

And so the story continues...from one book, to the next, to the next.

Each volume bearing testimony of the one before and the one to follow.

Each a witness of Him.

This week we will lay down the Bible and begin the Book of Mormon, another Testament of Jesus Christ.

Is there someone you know who is thirsty?  Who is in need of healing?  Who longs for the refuge that can be found in the shade of the Tree?

If so, perhaps you might invite them to join us this week as we begin this next book of scripture.  It contains the personal ministry of Jesus Christ.  It testifies of the great things the Lord hath done.  It builds upon that which was written before.

The Book of Mormon...a 75 day journey.

I can't wait to begin.

 

As a side note...this morning I received this email from a friend in Oregon:

My friend and another friend are joining with me today in celebration of finishing the New Testament.  We wanted to do something a little different.  We talked about how much of the New Testament talks of Christ's ministry unto the people, and how we are asked to do the same. The 3 of us decided to prayerfully pick two people that we could visit. We are writing a card and giving flowers to each of them. Last night I was praying and trying to just listen to the spirit, to learn what the Lord wants me to tell these dear sisters. Then this morning reading your post I felt strongly that I needed to invite them to read the Book of Mormon. And testify that when we read the scriptures, the word of God, that we grow closer to Him each day, and that by doing so we find true joy, true happiness, love, guidance, inspiration, answers to prayers, and many other blessings. I have testified over the last 8 months about the truthfulness of the scriptures because my life has dramatically change by reading each day.

I LOVE THIS IDEA!!

So I have decided to do something similar in FHE tonight.

A challenge to prayerfully consider someone whose heart needs lifting... A heartfelt note and treat from the store down the street... And a secret porch drop off (my kids love stuff like that)

In celebration of finishing the New Testament.

On the Lord's errand.

 

Emily Freeman