What Does “Born Again” Mean?

Today is Monday, August 15, 2016. FOUR more days until S turns 23!

Quote of the Day

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw

Word of the Day

Whigmaleerie – 1. a whim; notion. 2. a whimsical or fanciful ornament or contrivance; gimmick.

Today is Relaxation Day. Somehow, I don’t think my boss is going to buy that.

Yesterday was a nice day. After a great worship gathering, I called in an order for S and me, at Lee’s Grilled Cheese. We swung by there and picked it up on the way home, after which C jumped in her car and headed to Denton to pick up R. I cranked up the PS4 and started exploring No Man’s Sky. I stopped after a couple of hours and picked up the trombone to practice for a bit. After figuring out James Pankow’s lick at the end of “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is,” and working on a couple of other hard spots in another piece, I put it up and went back to the game. I also took out trash and did dishes somewhere in there. So I didn’t waste the entire afternoon playing games.

C got home around 6:00 PM or so, maybe closer to 6:30, not sure. They had a great time together, which is one of the reasons I decided to stay home. It wasn’t totally selfish. I really thought R might be needing a little “Mom Time.”

We watched a TV show, then headed on to bed. I was tired from not getting enough sleep the night before.

Tonight, I have band practice, so it’s another late night.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Then he brought out Israel with silver and gold, and there was none among his tribes who stumbled.
Egypt was glad when they departed, for dread of them had fallen upon it.
He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light by night.
They asked, and he brought quail, and gave them bread from heaven in abundance.
He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed through the desert like a river.
For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant.
Psalm 105:37-42

In nature, the strong survive. But in the world of grace, the weak are preserved, as well as the strong. “Escape from Egypt is not a horror story of desperate scrambling, but a salvation story of gracious providence in which God gathers all his people to new life.”

“‘Lead kindly Light, amid th’ encircling gloom, lead Thou me on; the night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on: keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene–one step enough for me’ (John Henry Newman, ‘Lead, Kindly Light’). Amen.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

Signs of the New Birth

You must be born again. John 3:7

Nicodemus asked the question, “How can a man be born when he is old?” The answer is, “When he is old enough to die.” When we are old enough to die our “rights,” to the virtues that we think we possess, and to receive a life that was not there before. “The new life manifests itself in conscious repentance and unconscious holiness.”

Our knowledge of Christ cannot be simply that which we have heard from others. It must be “born of internal spiritual perception.” Big words, but not so difficult to understand. The Spirit must be present, teaching us about Christ, giving us something within that connects us with Jesus. “To be born again means that I see Jesus.”

We must be able to discern God’s rule in his Kingdom. It was always there, but now we can see it; now we can discern it. “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.”

Regarding sin, being “born again” means that we have the supernatural power to stop sinning. This is the toughest part. We should not sin. We do. Because we do not faithfully practice the disciplines of the spiritual life, we allow our bodies, our flesh to have too much control. The Bible doesn’t tell us that we can’t sin, because we most certainly can, but it does tell us that we don’t have to, any more.

Father, teach me these truths; teach me your ways. These are things that I have known and seen in Scripture for years and years. Yet I struggle with them to this day. I believe I have “seen” Jesus. I believe that the Spirit has taught me things about Christ, personally, not just things that I have heard from other people. I believe that I have discerned your rule in your Kingdom. However, I still sin. Will I ever stop? Only you know that. The standard answer is, not until I see your face, and I still believe that to be true. As long as I am in this flesh, I will continue to struggle against sin and temptation. But I pray for the disciplines to make me stronger, to put my life in a position where you can be more in control.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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