Jesus Loves Me, This I Know :: By Gene Lawley

“…For the Bible tells me so; little ones to Him belong, they are weak, but He is   strong!” What a gigantic truth is couched in those simple words! In case you other octogenarians, like me, who might think that is “kid stuff,” remember what Jesus said: “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

Whether or not we will show up in heaven with the appearance of age is not a certainty, as far as I know; but someone has speculated that we may appear about the age of thirty years—but if there is any indication anywhere, let me know. The verse above says we are to “become as little children,” which implies “simplicity and uncomplicated.”

A friend mentioned recently that once the late Karl Barth (1886-1968), noted Swiss-German theologian, was asked what was his greatest theological thought he had ever had. He thought for a moment, then replied, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!”

I have felt drawn to search out and express, hopefully in some way, the simplicity of acquiring a relationship with Jesus, the Christ, the only begotten Son of God. The Bible declares that God is no respecter of persons, thus the often-used word “whosoever” shows up regularly in any invitation by God to come to Him. The most famous verse, or at least the most well-known one, is John 3:16, which tells us,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” No doubt many, many people have realized an emptiness in their lives, a sense of an uncertain destiny, and have come to Jesus just on that simple promise. It does not answer any questions of “why” or “how” or “when,” but it does say “whosoever.”

A similar, all-inclusive word of possibility shows up in Romans 10:13: “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Also a quote from Joel 2:32, thus telling us a great deal about a relationship with God during Old Testament times.)

Some want to say that Revelation 3:20 is out of context when used to picture the avenue to a relationship with Jesus, but I view the Word of God as basically eternal because He is eternal, unless it is specific to the context. For example, see how “anyone” has kinship with “whosoever” in that verse:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Some translations render it “live” rather than “dine,” thus indicating permanency of residence.)

Note that it does say, “I will come into him,” also revealing a major truth that Paul calls “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” a great mystery: “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

It is likely that many believers, and perhaps some non-believers, have experienced circumstances that seem to be the ups and downs of life; but looking back, we see the hand of God in them. A close call in an accident, an apparent missed connection on a plane flight which ended in a fatal disaster, or perhaps a rejection of an offer of friendship that would have compromised your witness for Christ are some examples.

In the mid-1960’s the lady who later became my wife shared a local ministry with a couple; and the husband decided he was to rejoin the Air Force as a B-52 pilot. Later on, the two women were arriving near the Omaha base where he was stationed to visit him when a plane took off as they approached, then was hidden by a rising, tree-covered hill. Suddenly, a plume of black smoke mingled with flames appeared from over the hill.

The two women gasped in horror, fearing they were too late to see him off, and that he had crashed on takeoff. Providentially, they learned, his plane was next in line for takeoff, thus he was spared.

A couple of years later, though, in the summer of 1969, he and his crew took off on a mission to the high skies of the far North. During the flight a short, clipped radio comment came through without clarity; and no more was ever learned of their destiny—no wreckage, no evidence of anything about the plane.

This, too, reminds me of another incident of the ancient past – that of Enoch, of whom it is said, “He walked with God and was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24).

Could it have been an incident of that nature? Perhaps, for no one knows – or at least it has not been revealed, any details of their disappearance. The sovereignty of God must be the foundation of our faith in circumstances not understandable.

I am thinking of the movie of the book titled “Forrest Gump” written by Winston Groom. Likely as not, the story line as done in the movie does not readily show what I have seen in it when the reader or viewer follows it through; but bear with me. A caution, too, is that one probably should not show it to children, as my pastor has observed.

Threaded through the story is the evident picture of the total degradation of humanity. The unspoken lifestyle by assumed necessity of Forrest’s mother; the bullying of Forrest by the other children when he was a crippled youngster; the girl Jenny’s despicable father and family life, evident by her hatred for him and her place of upbringing—these are some of the unspoken background scenarios that describe the utter destitute conditions that existed.

Forrest, a simple-minded and slow-to-learn kid, moves along in life, his needs providentially met, so it appears, as one who has an overshadowing guidance that his simplicity embraced without question. His mother gave favors of herself to provide for his progress and welfare. It reminds me of the woman, Rahab, whose character was questionable, yet she hid the two spies Joshua sent into the Promised Land to spy it out before the Hebrews came in and captured Jericho. Rahab later shows up in the lineage of Jesus, the Savior.

Forrest becomes a soldier and is sent to combat in Viet Nam where he has a buddy, a black man named Bubba. They developed a friendship that was like brothers, and Bubba gave Forrest a vision of shrimp fishing. Bubba was wounded and Forrest carried him to safety, risking his own life, although Bubba was fatally wounded. Their platoon leader, Lieutenant Dan, also was wounded, losing both legs; and Forrest went back into the jungle to rescue him as well, though the officer did not want to live as an amputee.

God isn’t mentioned in these incidents, but the acts of brotherly love shown by Forrest are that thread that continues in the story. Forrest’s love for Jenny without restriction by her own moral struggles is a picture of the love described in 1 Corinthians 13.

Later, when Forrest and Lt. Dan are struggling with their shrimp boat business, Lt. Dan is perched up in the boat’s crow’s nest, railing at God because of his legless condition. Forrest is narrating the scenario of how Lt. Dan is badgering God to appear, and says, “Pretty soon God showed up,” and it took the form of a cloudburst and thunder storm that tossed the boat all about.

That is how God shows up, sometimes in dramatic fashion, then again in quiet, simple indications of His presence. This picture, though, reminds me of the poem and hymn by William Cowper that vividly portrays the power and majesty of God in this way:

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm!

If you watch the movie with these things in mind, perhaps the presence of God in their lives will show through. Only God can take people out of degradation and despair and turn them into vessels of honorable service to Him. And it is a truth that God has to use imperfect people for His service, for there are no perfect ones that He can choose from, just as this Forrest Gump story seems to imply. Those of us who think we are really something must come to the realization that we are totally poor, spiritually, without Jesus.

Humility is not something we can be proud of, for it can only come to us when we look at Jesus and understand who He is and what He has done for us. Another song that touches me begins this way: “Wonder of wonders that thrills my soul, Jesus loves even me.”

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Does God Really Fill All Things? :: By Gene Lawley


Yes, the Scriptures affirm that truth, and Paul’s astounding declaration to the philosophers at Mars Hill in Athens brings us face-to-face with a depth of reality that’s hard to comprehend. Luke recorded this:

“Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:


“Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: ‘God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.

“‘Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.

“For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.

“‘Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead’” (Acts 17:22-31).

I have made this lengthy quote in order to give perspective to the statement in its context. The particular phrase is “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” John puts words to this concept that helps it make sense: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).


God is “Spirit,” not “a spirit,” an interesting specific that goes by somewhat unnoticed, I suspect. If you have never thought of that truth before, consider what it means that God became a man in the flesh to identify with His creation in the mortal, physical realm, as well as in their future, eternal relationship. Consider what Stephen, that first martyr, who cried out as he lay dying from the stoning he had received, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:56).

It is that attribute of God called omnipresence, or everywhere present that we are talking about, and Psalm 139:7-12 describes it so very well:

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

“If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

“If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.

“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.”

And now we can come to the Scripture that captures Christ as “all in all,” Ephesians 1:22-23: “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

But there is much more. In John 1:1-3, John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

Hebrews 1:3 tells us that He (Christ) is “upholding all things by the word of His power;” and Colossians 1:17 says, He is before all things, and in Him all things consist (are held together).” Think of the power encased in that statement! How is it so?

Hebrews 11:3 unveils that to us: “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”  What this means in simple language is “what God has said will stay in place until He makes it unsaid.” Of course, evolutionists will not accept this, but this faith described in verse 1—the evidence of things not seen—is vindicated by things that are now seen.

The latent power in this Word-produced reality is exemplified in other Scriptures, such as when Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. As Jesus came along, the people were praising Him as their King, and Luke 19:39-40 tells us how the religious leaders reacted:

“And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, ‘Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out!’”

No wonder that the whole creation awaits that awesome power, as Romans 8:20-23 tells us:

“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”

In connection with those thoughts, look at the witness of the power of His crucifixion and resurrection recorded in Matthew 27:50-53:

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”

Jesus is the “firstborn of the resurrection,” so when that power exploded in Jerusalem and He died and then rose from the tomb on that third day, some of those in the graves also followed Him in their resurrected bodies. These were not of the Raptured saints yet to come, for they had not been indwelt by the Holy Spirit, as at Pentecost. It is the climatic effect of His death and resurrection that changed the spiritual realm forever.

The veil covering the Holy Place in the temple was torn open to show its emptiness—Jesus embodied the Holy Place then, and after Pentecost, true believers would be the abiding place of the Spirit of God. An earthquake split the rocks in the city; and after His resurrection, those saints burst out of their graves, joining their spirit and soul from Paradise to be seen walking about. (And the religious opposition scrambled to cover up the truth!)

So does God fill all things? Can God be put in a box and set aside? Not ever!

In conclusion, let’s look at the double meaning of that declaration made by the angel Gabriel to Mary, the uncertain chosen-to-be mother of Jesus: “For with God nothing will be impossible!” (Luke 1:37).

As the word “nothing” is used here as an adjective, it means “all things are possible” for God, just as Matthew 19:26 affirms. But read that word “nothing” as a noun, as this: “For with God it is impossible for there to be nothing.”

Thus God fills all things…except for one place, the heart of one born of Adam and not born of God—that is, having not allowed Him to enter his life and transform him into a new creation in Christ. Someone has couched it this way: “The human heart is a vacuum which only Christ can fill.”

The simplicity of how that is done is expressed in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and live with him and he with Me.”

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