All Men

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There is an old Gaither band song titled “The Longer I Serve Him, the Sweeter He Grows.” That is a truth. But I am finding the same thing can be said about the Scriptures. Many years ago I was, I thought, well versed in the Bible, having sat under the excellent teaching of several serious Bible students and expositors.

In recent months I am finding gems hidden in plain view as I read the Word daily. I am learning to read each verse, each passage, slowly and carefully, asking questions as I do. No longer do I read quickly because “I know the story.” Somewhere along the way I started paying greater attention to what Jesus said. If He said it, He means it then, now and forever. It is truth. I have noticed that some of what He said has been taught or interpreted to have a general religious meaning somewhat different than the straight forward no-interpretation-needed understanding. Jesus is not confused. He knew what He was saying. I choose to believe it, and in that choice I am discovering riches beyond measure.

One example is found in John 12:32. “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

This has been explained as being evangelistic. The preaching of the cross, talking about Jesus’ death, will draw people to faith and conversion. We just need to lift up the story of the cross to those who have not heard, and they will be drawn to Jesus.

That simple explanation does not account for “all people” being drawn to himself. He said “I will draw all people…” Who will? Jesus. When? When He is lifted up. When was that? Good Friday. Where did this take place? On Calvary.

So to take Him at His word, all men, all people, were drawn to Him at the time of the Crucifixion. This makes perfect sense when you consider His death was once for all mankind. By incorporating all people, past, present and future, into Himself His death than became the one death for all. The huge sin burden and debt of everyone was loaded on to Him. Therefore His death, carrying all peoples of all time and everywhere to the grave, made it possible for anyone anywhere to walk free of sin.

He did indeed die for the entire human race. It is accomplished fact before we ever heard any preaching. Our part? Believe Him. Acknowledge our sin is now dead and forgiven. Rejoice that we were included on that day, that day above all others, when He was lifted up from the earth. If He had not actually done that, our salvation would be based on words alone, a shaky concept at best.

We can rest on the authority of His word. “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” It is finished, indeed.

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Winter is Reading Time

Winter is reading time.  Never mind the beach with its sand and flies and barking dogs.  Shut-in-from-the-cold winter is the time for books.  As usual, there is more than one in process piled on my table.  Current list:

Just finishedEverybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them” by John Ortberg.  Funny as ever, with a serious message hidden midst the laughter.

“The Priestly Bride” by Anna Rountree – lifts the God-hungry heart to a place of intense longing, almost to a point of pain.  Beautiful word painting of our Beloved.

“Redefining the Role of Women in the Church ” by Dr. James T. Davis.  The best I have ever read on what Scripture really says about the role of women, and how distortions over the years have kept 50% of the Body of Christ in bondage.  Excellent Bible study as well.

“Pen on Fire” by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett.  Clearly written encouragement for would be writers, with excercises at the conclusion of each chapter.

New Additions to the Pile:

“The Throne Room Company “by Shawn Bolz

The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind” by Bill Johnson.

“Soul Tsunami” by Dr. Leonard Sweet (a gift this Christmas)

“Growing Old Ain’t for Wimps” (gift from my housemate, Margaret.)

Some time I want to get to “Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard.  Guess we could use a long winter.  Put the coffe on and another log on the fire….and maybe even unplug the phone!