Happy Birthday! (To Me)

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Actually, I don’t remember being born. You probably don’t either. My birth just happened, no-one asked my opinion, there were no instructions about “How to be Born”. My mother and father married, joined together in love, and I happened. There I was, warm and safe in Mom’s womb (it was January). getting fed without having to eat. But then suddenly, and without any warning to my unsuspecting self, things started moving around, the calm fluid became a surging stream, there was pressure and pushing and out I came. I gurgled and sputtered, and drew my first breath. It wasn’t warm anymore. My life line to Mom was severed, and there I was, a brand new human ready to go. Too bad I didn’t have an iPhone to snap a selfie and take some notes about the experience.

Now if someone had asked me beforehand, I might have had a few suggestions, like let’s make it May, so it’ll be warmer outside and the flowers would be in bloom, plus my birthday wouldn’t be so close to Christmas so I’d get more presents. And how about that tall gene? Let’s go for about six foot one inch at maturity. (On a good day I could stretch to five nine, and at this late date it’s more like five eight.) The brain size was OK, but I could have used an improved attention span. A little better hand-eye coordination, and that attention thing would really improve my golf game. But nobody asked, so here I am.

But that’s not the birthday I’m celebrating this week. No, last Monday morning, I had a little private celebration with my Father, the one who is in heaven. This birth I remember.

“…one Saturday morning I was at the bus stop in front of my grandparents’ house. Dan Plitt drove up in his 1952 Ford convertible with the top down. “Hey, we’re going to see Billy Graham again tonight. Want to go with us?” I said, “sure,” and that was that. It was August 31, 1957, the very last night Mr. Graham would preach in the Garden.

II do not remember one word that Mr. Graham spoke, but I do recall the large banner above the platform that proclaimed, “Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life.” At the end, when the invitation was given and with the choir softly singing “Just as I Am, Without One Plea,” I looked at my friends indicating that I wanted to go. They smiled gently and nodded as I turned to make the long trek from high up in the arena to the front of the platform. There were tears in my eyes as I confessed my sin and received God’s gift of salvation in Christ Jesus.

When I returned home late that night, Mom was still awake. “I’ve been born again!” I said and told her everything that had happened. She told me years later that my face was shining that night. I had been in the presence of the Living God, convicted by the Holy Spirit and saved by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus. This was and is the biggest save that God ever worked in my life. Nothing would ever be the same after that night.”

Excerpt From: Robert Frohlich. “Aimless Life, Awesome God.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/aimless-life-awesome-god/id1129891739”

You don’t hear the term “born again” much these days, but according to Jesus, every Christian is born again.

‘Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again.” John 3:5-7 (CSB) 

Now for some Christians, this comes at a time of crisis, when confronted by their sin, their eyes are opened and God works a miraculous change in them. For others, the moment is barely a whisper. Just a sweet working of the Holy spirit in them that moves one from death to life. And for many of us, it’s somewhere in between. But it is always a work of God who moves us from death to life.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously lived according to the ways of this world, …But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:1-9 (excerpted)(CSB)

So if you’re a Christian, you’ve got two birthdays. One you celebrate with cake and candles and presents and friends and family. The other you celebrate quietly with your Father, thanking Him for the best present of all. Even if yours was not the Hollywood blockbuster event, but just a still small breath that you hardly noticed, take just a minute to say, “Thank You”, because for you and me fellow Christian, it was the most earthshaking event we will ever experience. Until Jesus returns that is.

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