Archive for the ‘ Born Again ’ Category

Re-17 but not 17 Again

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Today is my amazing mother-in-law’s birthday.

Also, it is what I call my Re-birthday.

17 years ago today, in a small Nazarene church in Bloomington, IL, I realized that I believed the Gospel message. Jesus got a firm hold of me, and that is when everything began to change for me. It took about six more months for it to really mean something to me, but the change was evident even then. (Ask my parents, who, at the time, were annoyed with my sudden music choices and leaving radios on around the house.)

The point of all of this, then, is that Jesus is Lord. And the picture above shows that I celebrate by baking a cake, and I serve it to others.

Why?

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
Luke 15:7, 10, 24

Just like the song says, this wretch was lost and dead, but now I am found and alive. This calls for celebration!

Therefore, I finish with the full reason for this post by quoting Jude (3):

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

Let us celebrate our common salvation and share this faith with our fallen world!

 

Groundhog Day, again …

While there may be nothing new under the sun, one constant we can trust is God’s wisdom. Get a taste at Proverbial Thought!

As I type this, the world has been reminded time and again about what groundhogs across the United States have said about the coming of Spring (or the extension of Winter). While the first official day of spring is March 20 (which happens to be six weeks from February 2nd), a lot of people are really wondering if there is going to be six weeks more of snow and cold or if it will come to an end soon.

What has been the primary mode for people reminding each other on social media of this grand revealing by a groundhog of the start of Spring?

Groundhog Day (1993) Poster

Groundhog Day (1993) poster, from IMDb.com

Talking about Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day.

The basic premise of this film is that a bitter man (played by Bill Murray) keeps waking up on February 2nd, the same day, over and over again. It is not until he learns to appreciate life that he can break the cycle.

The Bible touches on this, as well:

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9, ESV

The Bible gives similar, albeit more focused, advice for breaking the cycle of repeating the same things over and over:

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

But this life is not the end. As Proverbs 1:7 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” so we need the full story.

This little story out of Acts 16 (vv. 24-34) demonstrates where the fear of the Lord should lead us:

Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

My Soul’s Quinceañera? (My 15th Re-Birthday)

For starters, I know that a Quinceañera is a celebration for young Latinas becoming women at the age of 15!

In reply, I refer you Paul’s words in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

That being said …

Fifteen years ago today, at 6:47 pm (CST), the Holy Spirit got a hold of me, and to the glory of the Father I knelt down for the first time to make that blessed confession (see Matthew 16:15-16):

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” [Daniel M. Klem] replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Has your soul been wrapped in the arms of the Savior?

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 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?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 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.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 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. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
John 3:3-21, ESV

Wholly Yours with the David Crowder Band

Make sure you read David’s wise words on Proverbs 26:23 at Proverbial Thought!

Last week we listened to Five Iron Frenzy’s song “Dandelions” and looked how we are like weeds, plants out of place, but the most beautiful flowers in God’s sight when we are in Christ.

Here is another look at who we are, this time through the lyrics of David Crowder.

Consider the following passages:

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Genesis 2:7

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Matthew 13:3-9

43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Luke 6:43-45

God created us from the earth, and we are frequently referred to as soil or plants (which grow from soil).

Earth is soil which can support life.

Dirt, on the other hand, is misplaced soil. While things can grow from dirt, usually all you get are weeds or weak plants.

Only with soil do you get strong plants which are capable of producing good fruit. Good fruit are good deeds, good speech, and praise of God.

Weak plants and weeds do not give good fruit. Any good deeds from people like this are tainted by pride or do not have lasting or good results. There is a lack of, if any, praise to God.

And the thing that needs to be remembered is that only God by the grace shown through work of the crucified Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit can make us clean soil, fertile soil capable of growth and good fruit.

Listen to David Crowder and his band worship God for His creation and grace. Read the lyrics, and I pray grow in some understanding of just how much our God has done for us out of His love for us.

Wholly Yours by David Crowder Band

I am full of earth
You are heaven’s worth
I am stained with dirt, prone to depravity
You are everything that is bright and clean
The antonym of me
You are divinity
But a certain sign of grace is this
From a broken earth flowers come up
Pushing through the dirt

You are holy, holy, holy
All heaven cries “Holy, holy God”
You are holy, holy, holy
I wanna be holy like You are

You are everything that is bright and clean
And You’re covering me with Your majesty
And the truest sign of grace was this
From wounded hands redemption fell down
Liberating man

You are holy, holy, holy
All heaven cries “Holy, holy God”
You are holy, holy, holy
I want to be holy like You are

But the harder I try the more clearly can I feel
The depth of our fall and the weight of it all
And so this might could be the most impossible thing
Your grandness in me making me clean

Glory, hallelujah
Glory, glory, hallelujah
You are holy, holy, holy
All heaven cries “Holy, holy God”
You are holy, holy, holy
I want to be holy, holy God

So here I am, all of me
Finally everything
Wholly, wholly, wholly
I am wholly, wholly, wholly
I am wholly, wholly, wholly Yours

I am wholly Yours

I am full of earth and dirt and You

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 07/14/2013

Live in a life of wisdom by reading the thoughts at Proverbial Thought!

We have been offered new life in Christ, but sometimes we can forget and let our old life govern.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:14

 my zombie  

i killed myself when my God called me
my old self is now deceased
but as i live this life i have
the death i lived in tries to come back
it is like voodoo has been done on my flesh
making the old me an annoying pest
though that life is dead and gone
it seems to forget a new life has begun

Celebrating Re-birth

Before you read whatever I have to say, get some wisdom from Proverbial Thought!

Last year, I explained that this particular day is important to me. It is a day I celebrate with my friends and family.

To re-cap, I call it my Re-Birthday. It is the day I celebrate Christ getting a hold of my heart and my life! It has been 13 years to the day!

I make a cake. I share it with my loved ones … and even some I do not know particularly well, if at all.

Here is the thing …

I do not want presents on this day.

I do not want to go out to a restaurant on this day.

I do not want someone to make my favorite meal on this day.

I do not want an extravagant party thrown in my honor on this day.

Because …

Christ calls each of us to be a new creation.

Christ commands us to give up our own desires for His desires.

Christ asks us to be His ambassador of life, peace, and servanthood to this world.

Christ only wants to move through us to a lost and hurting world, to draw them closer to Him.

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:17-24

Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says,

“In the time of my favor I heard you,     and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:13-16

While I take a day every year to focus on the gift of grace, forgiveness, and life our Lord has given me, this is really a daily thing. We should all be ready each day to thank Jesus for loving us so much. People should be able to tell that you have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

We should thank Him through our devotion to sharing His grace to the rest of the world, with every person we know.

Christ is the Light.

Let Him shine through you!

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 10/21/2012

[Your usual reminder to check out Proverbial Thought]

My wife and I had our first date at a church dedication ceremony, and we started our relationship by dedicating it to God. Good start, eh? (Yes.) We built our relationship for the next year and a half, and then we got married establishing a lifelong commitment. Now we are working on decorations and reinforcing our foundation and walls.

That is not the point, though. The real point is that God sets things apart in eternity, then builds and establishes them in their proper time.

Including us. This poem talks about me, but it is about each and every person who comes to God in faith.

daniel michael klem
Designed: Before Eternity Past – I think it was a Saturday
Constructed: October 26, 1983, 6:03 am – Wednesday
Established: January 9, 2000, 6:42 pm – Sunday

established date

thought of in eternity past
loved and thought of through all time
held in His arms until
the moment had become right
now created and moving
but merely existing
the big change to come
true life yet to begin
finally years after construction
the Truth gets inside
the real change beginning
to make things right
while it has taken time
to get from what was made
when Christ enters in
that is the established date

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 177.