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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Find God in a For Sale Sign

By Dianne Neal Matthews:

Even with stress and anxiety in preparing to move cross-country, I still find God . . . in a For Sale sign in my front yard.

 

 Image: artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Image: artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s been five weeks since THE SIGN appeared in my front yard. Even though our house is only two and a half years old, I spent three weeks working feverishly to get it in tiptop shape, obsessively cleaning spots no one would ever see, and even touching up paint with a Q-tip. After that a photographer snapped pictures for a virtual tour to be posted on YouTube. Two days later an Open House was held.

Since then I’ve been in “Maintain” mode, ready to leave the house immaculate in minutes whenever I get a call from our realtor. Polishing the sinks and faucets till they shine, taking out every last scrap of trash, throwing my bath towel in the car, and last step: vacuuming myself to the back door, then stowing the vacuum cleaner in the garage.

I’m not only obsessed with the house I’m leaving; I’m also obsessing over the house I’m searching for. There’s no way to estimate the number of hours I’ve spent looking at houses online. I also can’t count the number of times I’ve felt discouraged. About the houses that had fantastic landscaping but were old and needed updating. Or the many homes that lacked just one thing we were looking for. And of course, sometimes the price was the one thing that wasn’t right.

 Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Recently I realized how skewed my priorities have become. It’s only natural to want a nice, comfortable home, but I need to remember that everything in this earthly life is fleeting and will soon pass away. What’s more important are my perfect eternal home that Jesus is preparing and the opportunity to lay up treasures in heaven. I can’t expect to find the perfect house to buy, but as long as I keep a heavenly perspective I’ll be finding God in the For Sale sign in my yard.

[Jesus said] “There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:2-3 (NLT)

Is Jesus preparing a place for you? He promises eternal life and a home in heaven to anyone who trusts Him to be their Savior. Learn more by clicking on God Test in the upper right corner of this page.

© Dianne Neal Matthews. Dianne is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books including Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation. Visit her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Spend a few moments thinking about your heavenly home as you listen to the classic song “I Can Only Imagine”:

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Find God in a Tumbleweed

By Dianne Neal Matthews

The Bible tells us that God reveals Himself to us through His creation, but what can a tumbleweed teach us about our Creator?

 

tumbleweed

An icy breeze stung my face as I stepped out of the grocery store. Glancing up at the pale sky, I thought about how this late fall weather resembled what I’d grown used to living in Illinois the past twenty-five years. Then something scratchy brushed against my leg, reminding me that I’d moved out west to high desert country. A tumbleweed blowing across the parking lot had wedged itself against my shopping cart.

That evening I decided to do a little research and was surprised to learn that tumbleweed is not one particular plant. According to this article on Wikipedia.org, “a tumbleweed is the above-ground part of any of a number of plants that, once mature and dry, disengage from the root and tumble away in the wind.” I soon got used to seeing these round skeletal objects that often get stuck against fences, fall down window wells, and sometimes end up in flower beds.

Recently on my morning walk I encountered an usually large tumbleweed rolling down the sidewalk. And I decided that God must have created tumbleweed to remind us of an important spiritual truth.

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7 (NLT)

Thanks to the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, God offers to forgive our sins and give us eternal life with Him. Once we accept that gift, our eternal destiny is secure. But if we want to live an earthly life of joy, peace, and fulfillment, we need to sink our roots deep down in Christ. Unless He is the foundation of our life, we can be blown around by circumstances, by our emotions, or by the world’s thinking.

The Christian life isn’t a matter of following rules or rituals; it’s a matter of guarding our relationship with Jesus. Keeping it intimate and vibrant through prayer, Bible study, worship, and obedience. Then our faith will grow strong and we’ll be grounded in Him. If we’re not firmly rooted in Christ, our life will resemble a tumbleweed—and we may get tossed around a bit.

© Dianne Neal Matthews. Dianne is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books including Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation. Visit her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Enjoy this beautiful song that describes the security and peace that comes from living our life firmly rooted in Christ:

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