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.

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.

Giving Up?

Have you ever felt like giving up? Elijah did. The Lord had just used him to show the nation of Israel that the Lord is God (1 Kings 18). Yet, the threats of Queen Jezebel so alarmed him that he ran to Beersheba, 100 miles south (19:3). Then he walked another 150 miles south to Horeb, the mountain of God.

I alone am left; and they seek to take my life. —1 Kings 19:10

Twice God asked Elijah what he was doing there (vv.9,13). Both times he answered with identical words—“I alone am left; and they seek to take my life” (vv.10,14). He had become so preoccupied with his own fears that he had forgotten what God had done through him at Mount Carmel. Despite his great victory, Elijah plunged into the depths of discouragement. How easy it is for us to do the same.

God did not accept Elijah’s notice that he was quitting. Instead, He commissioned his tired servant to handle three major tasks (vv.15-17). And by the way, Elijah was wrong when he said he was the only faithful one left. God had 7,000 others who had not bowed to Baal (v.18).

Perhaps, like Elijah, you are despairing at the circumstances in your life. Let God speak to you (v.12). Instead of allowing you to quit, He will show you what you can do through His strength.

Not Enough

The writer of Ecclesiastes said that pleasure, material possessions, and even great knowledge do not bring lasting satisfaction. Jesus went even further. He said that a person who possesses everything this world has to offer but doesn’t prepare for eternity is spiritually destitute. We all need more than fun, finances, and fame to be fulfilled.

What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? (Luke 9:25 NIV)

The world in which we live has many things that appeal to us. Apart from what is sinful, we can and should enjoy its pleasures. A delicious meal graced with the good fellowship of friends warms our hearts. The beauties of nature inspire and fill us with wonder. Good music refreshes our souls. And work itself can be fulfilling.

John 4:13-14
John 4:13-14

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”  (John 7:37-38 NIV)

Because we were created in God’s image, our lives do have meaning for both time and eternity. God made us for His glory and placed us on earth to honor Him. We have the remarkable ability to reflect on Him and on eternity.

Believing that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the grave meets our need for meaning. Salvation brings assurance that we’re forgiven. We have an eternal purpose and the hope of heaven. This is enough to bring deep peace and joy to our lives. Have you found this to be so?