Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Jesus Loves You: This I Know

Jesus loves me! This I know
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

(Words by Anna B. Warner 1860; Music by William B. Bradbury 1861)
(Whitney Houston singing Jesus loves me: click here)

Is this simple song familiar to you? Did you ever sing it as a child? Kenneth Osbeck writes in 101 Hymn Stories, “Without doubt the hymn that has influenced children for Christ more than any other is this simply stated one, written in 1860 by Anna Bartlett Warner. Miss Warner wrote this text in collaboration with her sister Susan as a part of one of the best-selling novels of that day, a novel written by Susan entitled Say and Seal. Today few remember the plot of that novel…but the simple poem spoken by one of the characters, Mr. Linden, as he comforts Johnny Fox, a dying child, still remains the favorite hymn of children around the world to this day.” Osbeck writes that William Bradbury “composed the music for ‘Jesus Loves Me’ in 1861 especially for Anna Warner’s text and personally added the chorus to the four stanzas.”

Ah, the simple faith of childhood. Jesus loves me. How do I know?
Because the Bible tells me so. End of discussion.

Do you ever feel that, while He may love you (in a general sort of way because, after all. He IS God and maybe He HAS to love us), there’s always a certain amount of disapproval you sense from Him. Sure, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world…” and I’m a part of the world, so maybe His love is sort of a group thing–like saying “I love people, but there are some persons I’m not too sure about. Am I one of them to Him? Is God’s love like the love I show: sometimes yes and sometimes no? Do I feel God saying to me, “Okay, I love you but I really don’t like you.”

Maybe there’s something specific in my life that I feel keeps God from accepting me fully, or maybe there isn’t. Sometimes it’s just a general feeling that maybe He would love me completely, if only I’d start… or if only I’d stop…

Remember, I’m not talking about all the things we know and say to each other: “works” won’t get us there; we are saved by grace and grace alone, and so on and so on. We sing “Nothing you could do could make Him love you more. And nothing that you’ve done could make Him close the door.” We know that Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

But do you know it experientially? Be honest, with yourself, and with God. You may be someone who is confident of God’s love most of the time, or you may have a real problem in feeling for even a moment that God could possibly love you at all. If you’re in the latter category, please take some time to ask God to show you the truth. Approach Him with a sincere heart and persistent determination and be willing to be led by the Holy Spirit into an ever-growing love relationship with the Father.

There is a blessing in the certainty expressed in “Jesus Loves Me.” This I know because the Bible tells me so. It’s what Paul prayed for the Christians in Ephesus, and for us, when he wrote:

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)

This is also my prayer for you.  And remember Jesus loves you: this I know for the Bible says so.


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