Sunday, December 21, 2008

Birthdays... Advent of Joy #21

Today is my birthday.

Today is also my son, Peter’s birthday.
He was born on my 30th birthday… what a birthday present!

But an even better birthday present was one that God gave me on April 25, 1993. That was the day I celebrated my new birth into a living hope.

I don’t think I realized the significance of it at the time. At least not fully. I just knew that my life was radically changed. I began a new life with Jesus. A new life that slowly began to transform me from the inside out.

That change has happened in starts and spurts, and with painful bumps and falls along the way. But through it all God has been with me.

In the book of John, Jesus is talking to Nicodemus.
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
John 3:3-6

Even more important than my physical birth 35 years ago, was my spiritual birth almost 16 years ago. That is what I want to impart to my son. And to my daughter. I want them to know that it is wonderful to celebrate their birth into this world. But I want them to know that more importantly,

“In [God's] great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”
1 Peter 1:3-5

I want them to know that God loves so… He loves them enough… loves all of us enough that He sent His Son here as a little baby, to grow up as a boy, to full grown man, to heal and bless and touch peoples lives and hearts and to teach them who God is. And then Jesus as His Son, gave up His life to die so that we could live.

I want my children to know that. I want them to celebrate that this year, and all their years to come. I want them to make a decision to fully follow God the rest of the days of their lives. I want them to find the joy and love that can overflow from God into their lives.
Christmas is about Christ’s birthday. Because of His birthday, we can have a spiritual birthday!

I want to be able to share that joy with not only my children, but anyone, in any way that God calls me to. I want to spend the rest of my earthly life sharing the joy of Christ with others.

I honestly don’t care what that looks like. I may be waiting now, but when God gives me the “go,” I want to jump at the chances He gives me and run through every door He opens for me. Women’s ministry, writing, friendships, singing, praying, worshiping, retreats, ANYTHING.
I may have missed something that God might have me do. But He knows that I love Him, and that as He has healed me in this year, I am ready to follow Him with much less hesitation than I have had in the past.

This birthday may be a better one than I have had in many, many years. Because I am experiencing it from a much more healed heart than ever before.

And that is true JOY!!!
Coming from Him alone!!!

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