December 12, 2008
“Nicodemus said, "But if a person is already old, how can he be born again?”
John 3:4 (NCV)
If there was ever a woman who fully displayed the hope of Jesus, it was my dear friend Anne Belk. Anne was a beautiful wife, caring mother, and gifted woman in ministry. Around Proverbs 31 Ministries, she was not only a beloved board member but she was also an inspiration to us all. Earlier this year, Anne received the fulfillment of her promise of eternal life. She went to be with Jesus after a painful battle with cancer. This month Anne would be celebrating her 46th birthday.
Even through her illness, Anne spent her life living with an eternal point of view. She did not focus solely on her own promise of eternal life. Anne longed for others to receive the gift of eternal life too and celebrate their own spiritual birthday. Her ways of sharing her faith were quiet and gentle, yet powerful and significant. Her influence carries on. It is the reason for this devotion, to celebrate Anne’s devotion to her Savior. Anne had the hope she carried because she was born again.
Like Nicodemus in today’s key verse, perhaps you are asking, "How can a person be born again?" Being born again simply means you experience a spiritual rebirth. Maybe you are making it more personal, "How can I, a woman with my past, be born again?” Maybe you believe the guilt of your past is too much. Or, that the Lord won’t welcome you because of sin in your life. Friend, these are lies.
It is because of God’s grace we can be born again. Grace is the unmerited kindness of God. This free gift was demonstrated on the cross, when God gave His only Son Jesus as a sacrifice for your sin. He paid the ultimate sacrifice so that you might live free from the bondage of your past sin, the stronghold of present sin, and the allure of future sin. Later in today's key passage Jesus tells Nicodemus this, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16, NLT).
Eternal life is our spiritual birthday gift from God when we are born again. How do we receive this gift? By following what God tells us in His Word: confess and believe. His Word says "if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9, NIV).
As we celebrate our dear friend Anne today, we’d like to share a part of her eternal point of view,
"I woke up in the middle of the night Wednesday singing, ‘This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.’ I had not heard that song in a month or two so I know it was God reminding me of it. It is so important for us to recognize God’s power. It is so important for us to recognize the Holy Spirit. That Holy Spirit is the light shining within us. When we allow the Holy Spirit to direct us that light can be seen by others. They see it in the deeds we do…in our attitudes… in the way we share the gospel…in our care of others…. in the truths we speak…in our longing to be closer to Christ…in our desire to do His will. And the wonderful thing about letting our own light shine is that it encourages others to do the same.
(Excerpted from Anne's journal, used with permission.)
Anne would have no greater joy than knowing that our celebration of her physical birthday led to the celebration of your spiritual birthday. Today is your day! Will you confess with your mouth "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart He came to save you?
Dear Lord, Thank You for the promise of a future full of peace and contentment and free of pain and suffering. That You would sacrifice Your only Son for me takes my breath away. It is my desire to live my life allowing Your light to shine through me so that all may be drawn to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
We would love to celebrate this day with you. Please follow this link to share with us your decision to be born again, or to recommit your life to Christ.
Perhaps you already have the light Anne spoke of but you know someone who does not. Would you consider shining your light by forwarding this email to them? Like Anne, you can let your light shine and share the gospel.
How do I let the light of the Lord shine through me?
What can I do to show my devotion to God?
Acts 13:38, “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” (NIV)
Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (NIV)
© 2008 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 12 December 2008.