Find God and Get a Second Birthday (Born Again!)

By Dianne Neal Matthews:

When born again as children of God, we become part of his family.

 

Image by tiverylucky / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by tiverylucky / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Recently I celebrated my birthday. I’m certainly not the only one to celebrate that. It’s estimated that approximately eleven thousand babies are born each day in the United States alone. Estimates of the birthrate for the entire world go as high as 370,000 daily. On any given day of the year, there are thousands of people receiving cards and gifts, enjoying dinners and parties with friends, and blowing out candles on cakes.

While I annually celebrate my physical birth, I also acknowledge a much more important anniversary—my spiritual birthday. Jesus told a teacher of the law that in order to be part of God’s Kingdom, we must go through a second birth. Confused, Nicodemus asked how an old man could be born again, since he was unable to enter his mother’s womb (John 3:4). Jesus replied,

“I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NLT)

Jesus explained that this second birth is of the Spirit, not another physical birth. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, God places his Spirit within us. We are then born again as children of God, and we become part of his family. That moment in time marks the beginning of our new, eternal life and transforms us into a brand-new creation.

Everyone who has ever lived has a birthday on which he or she received the gift of life. Believers have a second, greater birthday—the day they chose to receive the gift of eternal life. So when I’m spending time with family or friends and enjoying the blessings of the day on my birthday, I’m most grateful for the gift I received on the day I was reborn!

© Dianne Neal Matthews. Dianne is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books. This material is adapted from On This Day: 365 Meditations on Holidays and Historical Events. Visit Dianne at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Enjoy the beautiful imagery and song “Born Again” in this video from Third Day:

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Finding God in a Lincoln Wheat Penny

By Laurie Winslow Sargent:

I think sometimes God uses tiny objects in our lives–even a simple Lincoln wheat penny–just to show His presence, and remind us of His love for us.

 

Today I read a wonderful blog post by Tim Burt, at his Fresh Manna blog. He told a story about a  man who picked a mere penny up off the sidewalk–in this age of disposable pennies–and why. I think you’ll enjoy reading it: A Penny for Your Thoughts.

That blog post reminded me of a way God used a penny in  my own life in a strange and wonderful way one day.

On my birthday a few years ago, I was doing ordinary chores: bed-making, clearing counters and cleaning the bathrooms. If you’re like me, you tend to feel a little above such chores on your special day. However, they still need to be done. I recall having a fleeting thought… Does anyone remember that it’s my birthday today? My spouse had remembered, and I knew my grown kids would. But it made me ponder for a moment my place in this world.

As I moved books, papers, and miscellaneous small items from my dresser so I could dust it, I saw two pennies lying  there.  One was face up, showing Lincoln’s face. The other was face down and I noticed it looked a bit odd.

That’s because it was a Lincoln wheat penny (sometimes called a wheatback penny). Most pennies these days don’t have those wheat symbols on the back.  I picked it up for a closer look, but it was quite dark. It made me curious about how old the penny was, so I grabbed my magnifying glass to get a better look at it, including a look at the date.

The date was 1957. My birth year.

What were the odds of that? Finding a penny minted the same year I was born, only moments after I had pondered about God’s purpose for my birth?

I’ve since learned that the Lincoln wheat pennies were minted from 1909 to 1958.  It’s strange to think about how on the very day that particular penny was minted, God knew  I was to come into this world that  same year. It makes me think about another object in my life, which showed me that God knew–many years before I did–that I’d live in a particular house.  (See Finding God in a Sailboat Weathervane Ornament.)

I laugh at myself when I remember yet another year on my birthday, when at the grocery story I was shopping. I knew no one at the store knew it was my special day. That is, until the clerk looked puzzled, then grinned at me. He showed me the date I’d written on the check: 1957!

Enjoy this video from YouTube, titled Lincoln Wheat/Memorial Cents: US Coin History & Facts.  You will not find any such video on the historical Laurie Winslow Sargent 1957 check, written in 2010.

 © Laurie Winslow Sargent. Laurie is the editor for this Finding God Daily blog, a multi-book author/contributor and magazine article writer. She blogs for parents at  ParentingByFaith.com and for writers at  SellYourNonfiction.com .  Join her on Twitter as @LaurieSargent.

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Find God on Your Birthday

By Karen O’Connor:

Photo from Savoir-Faire

Yesterday was my friend Grace’s birthday. And I noticed on Facebook a list of other people celebrating their special day. I wanted to shout to each one I hope you find God on your birthday! I did many years ago when I hit the big 40! It was then my life turned in a new direction. My husband left our family. I was in the midst of a spiritual crisis, without a paying job, and had three children depending on me to make wise choices—which I did not always do.

But that year I did find God in a fresh way, not only on my birthday, but everyday––as his Holy Spirit met me in my crisis with these words from the Bible in John 14:6: “Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

The moment I read this verse I made a commitment to Jesus Christ as the Lord of my life and I’ve never been the same since. He has guided and guarded me all the days and years since. Now when I celebrate each new birthday I am reminded that I wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for his grace and goodness through all the ups and downs of life.

May you find God on your birthday this year and may it be the happiest because of this discovery.

Be inspired with this YouTube video, featuring Chris Tomlin singing “How Great is Our God”.

Also, just for fun, enjoy this tutorial on how to make creative birthday cards, by Wendy Nasmith. (See her terrific blog with more ideas at whimsical-wendy.blogspot.com. That way you can bless someone else by recognizing their special day!

©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the FindingGod blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com

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