Monday, December 8, 2008

27 Years of God's Grace!

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him." 3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." 4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" 5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

“9 Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" 10 Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” -John 3:1-15 (ESV)
Today, I celebrate my 27th birthday. Twenty-seven years of God’s grace! I praise God for the gift of life. I praise Him for the gift of family. I praise Him for the gift of friends. Most importantly, I praise Him for Jesus Christ!

The passage I quoted above was not by accident. At the age of 21, God radically changed my life. I finally understood that I could not make myself happy with relationships, parties, alcohol, good grades and so forth. The Holy Spirit convicted me of the sin in my life. I understood that Jesus Christ died the death I deserved. As both God and man, He could do just that. He rose on the third day and ascended into heaven. I placed my entire life in His hands. I was His. I had no idea what this would mean for me, but I was ready to find out. I was “born again.”

I thank the Lord for His grace in my life. He provided me with a wonderful mother (who chose to give birth to me in the first place). His safety net has surrounded me through spinal meningitis, a horrible car accident in ’94, a dangerously high fever in a 3rd world country, pregnancies and so forth. His love has surrounded me with His every day patience, encouragement, provisions, etc. His comforting arms held me during the death of my father in 2000, the loss of our second child to miscarriage, and numerous family issues. His joy has lifted me in praise as I think of who He is, witness His kindness, see His miracles, and thank Him for a wonderful, godly husband and our sweet daughter Hannah.

Am I getting older? Of course… Does it bother me? Only momentarily. When I think on the things the Lord has done in my life over the last 27 years, I have nothing but praise to offer. I once read another lady reflecting over her 50 somethingth birthday. She rejoiced at each birthday for the same reason I rejoice today – God’s grace!

Praise the Lord – I’m another year older and another day closer to seeing Christ in His glory!

In Him,

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