Born Twice, Die Once!

Death and taxes!

Death and TaxesTwo things are certain in life: death and taxes!  Except for Adam and Eve and those who die in the womb, all human beings experience physical birth. That is a given. And, except for Enoch, Elijah, and those alive at the time of the Rapture, all human being die physically as well. The notion of physical life and physical death are universally accepted.  Today (September 23) is my physical birthday but now that I’ve accepted Jesus Christ into my life I have a “new” birthday.  My new or as I call it, “reborn birthday” is October 30th.   Scripture knows of two births, two deaths.  Everyone is physically born once and that each person will experience one or the other, but not both.. Those who do not undergo the second birth, the spiritual birth, also undergo the second death which is the permanent separation from God with eternal torment.  When a person is born again he will only undergo the first death, but the second death has no power over him: “though he may die [the first death], he shall live [be resurrected never to face the second death]”.

Jesus answered him,  “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born againhe 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.”  (John  3:3-7 ESV)

Two Births or Two Deaths?

When Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” Nicodemus thought that Jesus was talking about a second physical birth.  But the Lord went out to make it plain that he was speaking of a second birth that was spiritual. This spiritual birth, while clearly a second birth, is never specifically called the second birth in Scripture.  It is variously called being born of God (John 1:13),  being born again  (John 3:3)( 1 Peter 1:23),  and being brought forth by the word of truth  (James 1:18).  In the passage on the Great White Throne Judgment, where unbelievers will be judged and condemned, John says, “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life  was cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death” (NKJV).  Both the Majority Text and the Critical Text actually end verse 14 with “This is the second death, the lake of fire.” In other words, the experience of the lake of fire is the experience of the second death.  Unlike John 3:3-4, here we have no one asking the obvious question, “Will a person’s heart and brain stop a second time?”  No, that is not what is in view.  The resurrected unbeliever will have a heart and brain and they will continue to function properly forever.  The second death is not a second cessation of physical life.  It is an eternal lack of spiritual life, or, conversely, the eternal experience of separation from God in the place where those who have died twice will live, the lake of fire.

Sin Entered the World!

God had told Adam that the day he ate of the forbidden fruit he would surely die (Gen 2:17).  Adam sinning, his nature became guilty and corrupted, and so came to his children.  Thus in him all have sinned.  And death is by sin; for death is the wages of sin.  Then entered all that misery which is the due desert of sin; temporal, spiritual, eternal death.  If Adam had not sinned, he had not died; but a sentence of death was passed, as upon a criminal; it passed through all men, as an infectious disease that none escape.  In proof of our union with Adam, and our part in his first transgression, observe, that sin prevailed in the world, for many ages before the giving of the law by Moses.  Adam’s sin means that when Adam first sinned, that sin (and its blame) was rightly regarded by God to be our sin as well.

Eternal life in the Bible is for sinners who are the beneficiaries of the death of Jesus Christ on their behalf.  Had there been no sin, Jesus would not have died and no one would have received (or needed) everlasting life.  But once sin entered the world, two options were possible for all of the descendants of Adam: the second birth or the second death.  Everyone who experienced the second birth could not and would not experience the second death  “He who lives and believes in Me shall never die”.  Everyone who did not experience the second birth would surely experience the second death (Rev 20:14).  There is no third alternative!

So which is it for you?  Two births or two deaths?  If you have experienced the second birth, then thank God daily that there will never be a second death for you.

Lookin’ for love

Tennessee Williams wrote in the Glass Menagerie, “Time is the longest distance between two places” but looking back at where I was just a few years ago seems like yesterday.   Some times I think it’s just a dream, how can someone who I can’t see, can’t touch or hear put love into my life and change me!  Being a single man wasn’t easy and even when I was married I was still “looking for love in all the wrong places” but everything I did for love just got me into trouble.

5696_105460397006_93874507006_2675602_5503512_n“I’ve spent a lifetime looking for you, Single bars and good time lovers, never true. Playing a fools game, hoping to win, Telling those sweet lies and losing again”.

It wasn’t until I lost it all that I found a friend who I could turn too.  I still remember the night I asked Jesus to come into my life, and He did.  I have never been happier, my heart is overflowing with joy and yet there are still mountains to cross but I know I am not alone any more.

“You came a’knocking at my heart’s door, You’re everything I’ve been looking for”

I know most of you don’t like “religion” and until a few years ago I was one of you!  Wikipedia describes Religion this way…

Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values”.

Jesus might be the symbol of being a Christian but religion has nothing to do with what happens when thing change in your life.  Religion didn’t save me, Jesus did and it’s not religion that changed my life, it’s a Relationship!

When I was alone then, no love in sight and I did everything I could to get me through the night. Don’t know where it started or where it might end I turn to a stranger, just like a friend.

You don’t have to be alone, their is a love that’s so real that nothing you can do will change your life no matter how wrong or bad it might be.  It can start today and is forever and little by little you’ll find like I did you are loved!  Jesus is no strange, He’s been waiting for you and He’s the love you’ve been dreaming of.

You are loved!

This past week we had a young lady take her own life by jumping off a bridge in Iowa City onto Interstate 80 on Tuesday morning, where she was hit by a semitrailer and killed. I know what it’s like to feel so overwhelmed that you just can’t see any hope for living. Yes, I have been to that point in my life where I wanted to end it all. I felt so alone, no hope for tomorrow but that was before I found the love of Jesus Christ and my local church. I didn’t know this young beautiful lady at all but her death touched me in a way that I can’t express! That night, I just keep saying, “she didn’t have to do this” and how sad I was for her family, friends, the driver of the semi and the first responder and Law enforcement officers.

As I was on my way to church this morning, I felt God calling me to step up and talk to our congregation about what I was feeling. When we are feeling depressed, sad or what ever, we can’t go it alone and covering it up doesn’t help. I you think the person you care for knows how much you care for them, don’t just think they know! Tell them, show them ever day how much you love them no matter how bad they feel. If your dealing with depression and can talk about it, DO IT! Let’s not hide it any more, show others who are facing the same thing that they too are not alone and can come to you if they want too. Life is so wonderful, and Jesus died on the cross to give us new life and no matter what you have done or what your going through, his family of believers love you and you can trust them.

I know this is my calling to help others dealing with depression and showing them the love that Jesus Christ offers us. I am so thankful that the good Lord gave me new life and new hope so I can try to touch life’s that are hurting. Just hearing people thanks me for sharing my thoughts and experiences is nice, I hope they can take from it that it’s OK to let people see who they really are, and that’s a child of God who loves us so much that He sent his only son to die for us.

Your not alone and if you think that ending your life is all you have left, please don’t! Let me know, I will do every thing I can for you. You are loved more than you know and better days are ahead.

God bless.

Starting over

Well it’s been a week since I last saw Julie and she’s now moved to Waterloo.  I have been doing good, got a lot of work to get my apartment looking good.  Thanks God I saved most of my things, like dishes, pans, microwave etc.  Julie wanted me to get ride of them, she called it “all my junk”  but now I need it.  Got to clean it but it will come in handy.  It’s kind of quiet around here, Toby my dog is night next to me, it’s his unconditional love that keeps me going.  I have a empty spot in my heart now, I loved Julie more than she knew but I also am finding out that I am so much more that what she wanted.

I think she was holding me back and even though I miss being with her, I love my freedom.  Now I can worship the Lord any and all times.  I went to worship service list night and it was fun and went to another tonight and it ROCKED!  I am looking forward to doing more things like this and getting stronger and stronger with the word of God.  I not doing this for me as some of you may think,  God will bless me with just what I need.  I give all the praise to him and all the control too.  If I was to die tomorrow, I would die a happy man and know I’d be in his kingdom.

The Cross: The Irony of God’s Wisdom

When we are born, we don’t have any idea what we are going to do.  As we get older we think we know what’s going on around us and when we see what others are doing we want to be like them.  They may have a big home, nice car, or a pretty girlfriend or may even be rich.  Most of us think we are smart, we don’t need any body to tell us how to think or act.  It’s when we try to keep up with the “Jone’s” and greed sets in that we start to get lost.  We try so hard to get people to see us as smart and successful and we are willing to pay a high price to be a “somebody.

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

If we turn to God to lead us and trust the he will give us what we need, we can lead a better life.  Don’t let greed steel your joy, God is calling you. Trust in God’s wisdom to open the door to right thinking and right living and get a fresh start to a relationship with Jesus Christ.