Tag Archives: born again

Happy Re-Birth-Day


Reading about Purim in the book of Esther has me thinking. Thousands of years since God saved the Jews through Esther’s obedience, Jewish people celebrate the anniversary of that day every spring. It’s one of the biggest religious holidays in the Jewish religion. Costumes, singing, gifts, lots of food. It’s a party! Kind of like a birthday party.

And that’s what has me thinking.

Most of us celebrate birthdays every year with some kind of party. As we should. The day you were born into this world is reason to celebrate!

But most of us don’t give a second thought to our spiritual birthday, the day when we were born again into the spiritual kingdom of God, becoming His child through the blood of His Son Jesus. If Purim celebrates the day the Jews were saved, how much more should I celebrate the day I was saved, too?

Honestly, the date of that life-beginning event in my life is blurred in my memory. I was really young when Jesus saved me. And I’m really old today. But I have never celebrated my spiritual birthday.

I know of a couple of families who celebrate their children’s spiritual birthdays every year with the same fanfare as their physical birthdays. Cake and ice cream, or dinner out, or some kind of special event to celebrate the day their children were saved. I love that idea. If you’re a parent of a child who has been born-again, I hope you’ll consider doing this as well.

If you’re like me, and don’t remember the date of your salvation, why not celebrate today, September 15? Throw a party. Bake a cake. Wear a party hat. Celebrate the day you were truly born, whenever that was!

However, let me say that I know we have reason to celebrate our re-birth-day every day! God’s mercies are new every day! It doesn’t take a party hat to remind me how loved I am, or what it means to be born into the family of God.

I know we don’t need a party. But reading about how the Jews celebrated their salvation in such a festive atmosphere, and knowing they eventually died anyway, makes me want to celebrate by rebirth with the same fervor, knowing I will take that rebirth into eternity.

So, whenever it is you were saved…

Happy Re-Birth-Day!

(John 1-3) The Whosoever

There is a debate among Christians over the “whosoever” in John 3:16. The question is” did God put on human flesh and live on earth for 33 years to die a horrible death for a few “chosen” people He would draw to Himself, and leave the majority of people without hope? Or did Jesus come to purchase salvation for the world, for every man, woman, and child who draws breath?

God loves the world. God gave His Son so that everyone who believes will have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world – not to condemn – but to save the world. Anyone who believes in Him in not condemned. Anyone who doesn’t believe is already condemned because of his unbelief. The truth is, Jesus came to be the Light but some people prefer the darkness. (see John 3:16-21)

Some people will point to Matthew 22:14 where Jesus said: Many are called, but few are chosen, and John 6:44 where the Lord said: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and Ephesians 2:8-9 which says: It is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works so that no one may boast. These verses, they will argue, support the belief that God is selective in whose life He is working, that we as individuals have nothing to do with it.

Yet Jesus said: I will draw ALL PEOPLE to Myself. (John 12:32)

Here’s what I see according to Scripture:

  1. Jesus died for the sin of the world, for all of us without exception.
  2. God the Holy Spirit is revealing Himself, drawing to Himself every person – everyone! It’s not a question of “if” the Spirit moves in someone’s heart. The Spirit’s moving in all hearts. That’s a given.
  3. Now here’s where the “chosen” comes in. God chooses to save anyone who believes, anyone who is born again (John 3:5ff). God chooses to reject and condemn anyone who refuses to believe, anyone who prefers the darkness over the light He reveals to everyone.

C.S. Lewis said it best: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “Thy will be done.”

Think about that for a minute.

The Lord is “…not wishing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9b)

I think there is much more Scriptural evidence to support the fact that God, right now this minute, is working in the hearts and lives of all people everywhere, that He is seeking to save the lost, that God chose mankind to save and provided salvation for “whosoever” at the cross.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

If there are people to whom the Holy Spirit is not revealing Himself, if there are some who God deems expendable, if there are those God is not drawing to Himself because they didn’t make the list, they would have a right to sit in hell and say, “It’s not fair. God didn’t choose me.”

No. They will sit isolated in hell and weep over the fact they didn’t choose God, remembering all the times God wooed, drew, revealed Himself, and died, so had they believed, their eternity would be life instead of the agonizing death they suffer. They will sit there forever without excuse.

If you have yet to submit to God, to be born again, I can assure you God is working fervently in your heart right now. His desire is that you become His child through the blood of His Son. You.

If you have a loved one who seems far from making that decision, rest assured that God is working fervently in that heart right this minute, too. Keep praying. Keep living your faith in front of them. Keep trusting God because He loves that person even more than you do.

He will do everything He can to draw all people to Himself. Except making them come to Him. That is a choice they will have to make for themselves. That choice isn’t “works,” as some people believe. Paul tells us all to make that choice:

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9)

That is a promise to whosoever believes.

And when they make that choice to believe, they become chosen of God. He won’t turn away anyone who comes to Him.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

September 24 – Purim

Esther 6-10

Not being a Jew, and unfamiliar with Jewish customs, I googled “Purim” this morning after reading these chapters in Esther. I found that this holiday “is the most fun-filled, action-packed day of the Jewish year.” (chabad.org)

Jews go to the synagogue two times in two days to hear every word of the book of Esther read publicly. Whenever Haman’s name is mentioned, they twirl noisemakers and stamp their feet to “eradicate his evil name.”

The Jews give money and food to at least two needy people during Purim. And they donate to whoever asks, without verifying the need.

Every Jew gives food gifts to at least one Jewish acquaintance. They enjoy a festive meal with family, complete with a beautifully decorated table, and dressed up in their finest clothes or in cheerful costumes.

They eat, and laugh, and sing, and pray. They enjoy remembering the day they, as a nation, were saved thousands of years ago.

Which got me thinking. My own salvation was only a few decades ago. And I can’t begin to tell you how many days, or weeks (or years) go by when I don’t even give that glorious day a thought. Oh, I’m aware of it, and thankful for it. But I don’t think I celebrate that day like it warrants.

As I sit here today, I remember. I remember where I was sitting in the sanctuary of Westwood Alliance Church that February evening. I was a teenager among others in our youth group. I remember the evangelist who played beautiful music by using his fingertips to rub the rims of crystal glasses filled with water to different levels. I remember sitting there, while the congregation sang an invitation hymn, and trying to tell God that my friends would think there was something wrong with me if I went forward. I didn’t want anyone to think I was a bad person. Besides, hadn’t I asked Jesus into my heart when I was in pre-school?

I remember watching my sister go to the altar that night, and knew I had no excuse. God was asking me to take that step, to make Him Lord of my life once and for all. And I did.

I feel like singing!

That day changed my life. I wonder why I don’t celebrate my second birth like I do my birthday. It wouldn’t hurt! I have reason to live generously, lovingly, joyfully because I was born again. Sounds like a party!

God, thank You for this lesson in Esther, and for the Jewish tradition of Purim that has me remembering the day I was saved from my enemy. Thank You for that evangelist, and the words he spoke that night that penetrated my heart. Thank You for forgiving me, for paying my sin debt, for living inside of me all these years later. And because of that day, I can have a fun-filled, action-packed life walking with You. I love You!!

The Name of Jesus

Have you ever read something in the BIble that spoke to you, then later had that very passage be reaffirmed in something that happened or something that was said later on? That’s what happened to me today.

I was reading in Numbers 9 this morning and, as usual, wrote in my journal about something that stood out to me. I thought about posting it here, but talked myself out of it. Then in church today the pastor spoke on John 3. It’s the same message God gave me in my own time in his Word. So I thought I would go ahead and share it with you. Here’s what I wrote this morning:

“The Israelites were getting ready to celebrate Passover in the desert. Some of the people were ceremonially unclean because they had touched a dead body. So they went to Moses and said, come on Moses. We are good guys. Can’t we do the Passover thing with everyone else?

“So Moses went to God and God said no. God made provisions for them to celebrate Passover at a later date but he made no exceptions to his rules. And just because he made it possible for these people to celebrate Passover later it wasn’t a provision for just anyone who didn’t feel like observing the celebration at the appointed time. In fact, anyone in that latter category were to be killed. It was that important that God’s rules be followed.

“Once again, God is reminding us that he makes the rules. It doesn’t matter how nice you are, how helpful you are, how much money you give to charity, or even how spiritual you think you are. If you don’t follow God’s rules – you die. And it’s an eternal death, separated from God forever.

“Like it or not, Jesus is the only way to the Father. Except a man is born again he will not see the kingdom of God. You can believe what you want to believe. That’s up to you. But unless you believe the Bible is true, that there is no other name under heaven through which anyone can be saved, unless you accept this same Jesus as your Savior and are born again, your beliefs will lead you straight to hell.

“I didn’t come up with that. God did.”

That’s what God impressed on my heart in my personal devotional time. And that is the message that Jesus impressed on Nicodemus in the passage from John 3 that my pastor spoke about this morning. Dear one, if you haven’t confessed your sin and accepted the wonderful grace of Jesus, I pray you will do that today. Your loving Heavenly Father loved you while you were still a sinner. He died for you so that you can enjoy life, and have life eternal. Unless you accept him as your Savior you will never see God. You will never go to heaven. Your death will take you from this life to a horrible eternity. You can try to make up your own rules. You can reject God’s. But it won’t change God’s mind.

At the Name of Jesus every knee will bow in heaven, on earth and under the earth, every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

Some will do that while standing before him in glory, surrounded by millions of people who knew him in this lifetime according to his rules. Others will be forced to confess Jesus from the lake of fire. But believe me when I say, there will be no unbelievers in eternity. Not in heaven. And not in hell.

Gracious Father, thank you for your plan of salvation, for wanting us to come to you, for going to the cross so that we can know you as our Savior. May all who read this bow before you and be born again, born into your kingdom. And may we share your truth with others who need you, too.

December 1

2 Corinthians 2:5-6:18

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

When you hold an infant in your arms, aren’t you struck by his innocence? His complete lack of a past? That child can look at you without a hint of regret or sorrow for something he’s done. He has no memory of disobeying, because he’s never disobeyed. He doesn’t carry guilt because he isn’t guilty.

Dear One, that’s how God looks at us when we are born again. When we confess our sins, he forgives, cleanses, and forgets! The old us is gone and we have a new beginning, just like that infant.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (5:21) 

Jesus did that for us and it is ours for the asking. Is Jesus Lord of your life? Have you repented of sin? If you have, you have a clean slate. Understand that God has forgiven you, has paid the price for your past sins, and has forgotten them.

If you have not accepted the Lord, I pray you will ask Jesus into your life and become that new creation. And if you know the Lord as your Savior, but need to speak to him about some unconfessed sin, I pray you will do that today. Let Jesus do what he came to do and make you the righteousness of God through his blood. 

I’m praying for you today.