Happy Birthday!

Today is my birthday!  Whoot!  Whoot!

I just love celebrating my birthday! It’s the one day of the year when it seems acceptable for people to make a huge fuss over me…to spoil me and treat me like a princess {or Queen for that matter}. I appreciate every minute of it!

What about you?  Do you love celebrating your birthday?  I’m always surprised that some people don’t get very excited when their birthday comes around each year.  I’m the type that begins the ‘countdown to my birthday’ about 30 days prior.  Some laugh because of my excitement over my birthday.  I personally believe that it is something that all of us should celebrate in a special way.  I believe that birthdays are God’s way of saying, “I still have a purpose for you on Earth.”  And doesn’t God say that long life is a blessing from Him? (Psalm 91:16, Proverbs 3:2)

I don’t know about you, but I am thankful for my blessing!

This morning as I was sitting quietly with the Lord, I began to ponder my life (my 30-something years here on Earth).  All of a sudden I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude towards God.  Why me O Lord?  Why am I deserving of this?  I thought about the years that I spent searching for satisfaction and meaning through people and empty things in this world.  I thought about all of years that I ignored God.  I thought about the time that I wasted on being selfish and seeking temporal things.  I thought about the times that I made really poor choices that could have ended my life. I considered what I deserve vs. what I have been given…and thought…I shouldn’t be here.  BUT GOD!!!  But God had another plan.  But God in His love and mercy chose to spare my life. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).  But God saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.  But God had a purpose for my life – a plan to use me for His glory!  Why me O Lord?

Then the Lord whispered, “It has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with Me.”  God doesn’t deal with us according to what we deserve, but according to His loving-kindness; His goodness.  His word says that He does these things for “His Name’s Sake.”

God also reminded me of how He loves to use the weak things of this world to shame the wise; the useless things to reveal His power.  It’s all about Him!  I am so amazed at the way He takes the despised things of this world and makes them into something great.

1 Corinthians 1:28 ~ the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are…

This is my story!  God took me with all of my flaws, failures and shortcomings and called me HIS.  Most importantly, He gave me a new heart and a new life.

It all began with one simple decision to invite God to live on the inside of me, through accepting His Son Jesus.  It all started with me coming to my whit’s end and realizing that there is no way that I could ever truly be fulfilled {alive} apart from Jesus Christ.

Today, more than celebrating my physical birth, I celebrate my spiritual birth.  I celebrate the new life that I have been given through Jesus Christ.  God chose to redeem me; to save me.  He chose to place His Spirit inside of me, clean out all of the junk (an ongoing process) and fill me with His goodness.  I celebrate these things!  I celebrate my new life!

While our physical birthdays are fun, the most important birthday is the one where WE BECOME BORN AGAIN SPIRITUALLY!  In John 3:3, Jesus says to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  THIS IS A REAL BIRTH DAY!

The Bible also tells us that the angels actually celebrate with us when we have a spiritual birthday.  Luke 15:10 ~ “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

If you have NOT had a spiritual birthday, you are {like a} zombie, aimlessly walking around Earth; dead.

Ephesians 2:4-5 ~ But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ.  We ALL need to be born again!

Would you like to join me in celebrating your birthday today?  If you have not already made Jesus LORD of your life and accepted Him as your personal SAVIOR, I’d like to invite you to do so today.  It’s quite simple.  God requires only two things (Romans 10:9-10):

1) That you {honestly and genuinely} believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, whose holy blood was shed for the sins of humanity (for YOUR sins), and that He raised from the dead.

2) That you confess with your mouth (the things that you already believe in your heart) that Jesus is Lord!

If you have done this, then I’d like to be the first to say – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!  I celebrate with you, and pray that you have a wonderful day as this TRULY is the beginning of a whole new life!

Love,

Melissa

What label are YOU wearing?

Have you ever thought about how many labels you wear?  I am not talking about clothing labels, but labels that are given to you by the world.  All of us have been given labels by either our parents, the government, society, our employers or by some other means.  Last year I had to fill out the form on behalf of our household for the 2010 Census.  As I was filling it out I thought about just how much the world tries to define us by labeling us.  Here are just a few that were included in the form:  Age, Sex, Race, Relationship Status, (Father, Mother, Brother, Sister, Son, Daughter, Cousin, Aunt, Uncle), Military, Civilian, Employed, Unemployed, Student, Owner, Renter…..just to name a few.

I began to think of other labels that are put on people, and here are just some that came to mind…

Black, White, Latino, Foreigner, Asian, European, American, Native American, Pacific Islander, Bi-racial, Multi-Racial, African-American, Bald, College Graduate, Uneducated, High School Graduate, High School Dropout, Widow, Rich, Poor, Middle Class, Lower Class, Upper Class, Old, Young, Single, Married, Organ Donor, Unwed Mother, Single Mother, Fatherless, Alcoholic, Minority, Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal, Christian, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Muslim, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, Agnostic, Licensed, Redneck, Hippie, Gangster, Professional, Promiscuous, Overweight, Short, Tall, Prep, Jock, Goth, Punk, Thug, Supervisor, High-Risk, Senior Citizen, Employee, Laborer, Student, Mentor, Over the Hill, Teacher, Leader, Colonel, President, Manager, Secretary, Mother, Father, Orphan, Good, Bad, Enemy, Hyperactive, Normal, Not Normal, Disabled, Step-father, Step-mother, Niece, Step-child, Half-brother, Half-sister, Divorced, Pedophile, Victim, Infected, Failure, Citizen,Homeless, Patient, Prisoner,Felon, Drug Dealer, Prodigal, Drug addict, Latch Key Kid, Evangelical, Athlete, Multitasker, Self-Motivated, Smart, Stupid, Non-Hispanic, African, Menopausal, Senior Citizen, Toddler,Teenager, Adult, Nerd, Cool, Nephew, Grandmother, Grandfather, Engaged, Separated, Suspect, Veteran, Big-boned, Thin, Adulterer, Con-artist, Middle Eastern, Canadian, Consumer, Participant, Active Duty, Volunteer, Customer, Mentally Retarded, Autistic, Indian, Genius, Director, CEO, Assistant, Vice President, Business Owner, Groupie, Yuppie, Negro, Japanese, Samoan, Filipino, Junkie, Light-skinned, Dark-skinned, Red-boned, Scholar, Professor, Petite, Plus-sized, Average, Hawaiian, Mid-western, Southern, Country, Yankee, Racist, Bigot, Homophobic, Radical, Episcopalian, AME, Heterosexual, Homosexual, Bisexual, Criminal, Irish, Italian, Protestant, Religious, Non-religious, Geek, Presbyterian, Non-denominational, Charismatic, Retired, Dependent, Parent, Licensed Driver, Resident, Client, Smoker, Non-smoker, Diabetic, Cancer Survivor, Witness, Recovering Addict, Naturalist, Evolutionist, Scientologist, Existentialist, Urban, Lazy, Hick, Hillbilly, Over Achiever, Caucasian, Insured, Welfare Recipient, Illegal Immigrant, Executive, Pregnant, Sterile, Post-abortive, Unstable, Anglican, Unitarian, Californian, Advanced, Roman Catholic, Apostate, Pastor, Deacon, Usher, Alumni, Invert, Extrovert, Spouse, Chauvinist, Feminist, Rebel, Capitalist, Communist, Naturist, Tax Payer, Voter, Greek, Australian, Preteen, Friend, Graduate, Episcopalian, African Methodist Episcopal, Mexican, Spanish, Seventh Day Adventist, Pagan, Entrepreneur, Self Employed,  Independent, Green, Anti-social, Undocumented, Old School, Sexy, Ugly, Opinionated, Reserved, Worldly, Biblical, Well-spoken, Jamaican, Brazilian, Blue-eyed, Brunette, Freckled-faced,  Blind, Blond, Amputee, Rapist, Supporter, Oppressor, Critic, Baha’i, Occultist, Guru, Wesleyan, Jewish, Anti-Semitic, Theologian, Mexican, Ethnic, Juvenile Delinquent, Premenstrual, Bi-polar, Depressed, Protegee, Tenant, Roommate, Fraternity Brother, Sorority Sister, Lawyer, Defender, Judge, Apologetic, Irish, British, Statistic, Official, Bi-lingual, Tri-lingual, Neighbor, Sexually Active, At Risk Teen, Suicidal, Survivor, New-Ager, Liar, Free Spirited, Physically Fit, Japanese, Obese, Spiritual, Elite, Famous, Loser, Popular

Wow, that’s a lot isn’t it?!?!  I am sure that all of us have been placed under one or more of those categories at some point in our lives.  From the day we are born, we are labeled.  People want to be able to identify us somehow; to put us in a category.  While some of the labels are important, because they were God-given, such as male and female, others are not.  As a matter of fact, it is my humble opinion that other labels can many times hold us back in life, and even more important, hinder our relationship with God.

For example….Say you were born to a family that associates themselves with a certain religious group and you have been told your entire life that is who you are since you were born into that family.  You just accept that as being the “way it is” and begin to identify with that.  You never venture out to find out if what you’ve been told about the religion is even true. You’ve accepted the label that was given to you.

Another example may be a young girl who becomes a teenage mother.  Many times people assume (and will tell her) that she will be just another statistic.  They also say that she will need to take advantage of the government welfare system. They tell her that she will most likely be a high school drop out, and will definitely not be able to go to college.  People will typically assume (and tell her) that she will not be very successful in life.  People will even go as far as to say that her children will most likely become teen parents as well (labeling her children before they are even born).  If she believes what people tell her, she will most likely end up wearing those labels.

When Jesus clothed himself in human flesh and came to Earth, the world didn’t recognize Him.  The Bible says in John 1:10 that Jesus was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew him not.  Why didn’t the world recognize Jesus for who He was?  Why didn’t they see that He was the Messiah that was prophesied about in the Old Testament?  I believe the reason they didn’t is because they had already made up in their minds what the Messiah was going to be like.  They decided what He would look like, how He would act and what kind of clothes He would wear.  They expected the Messiah to be from some famous, well-to-do family, dressed in royal clothes (royal according to their standards), and be extremely wealthy.  Jesus was the total opposite of what they were expecting, but they had already labeled Him.

In John 1:46 a man named Nathaniel was told about Jesus being the Messiah and he responds by asking, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”  Today, this would be the equivalent of someone asking if anything good could come out of a poor, rough, drug infested part of town.  They had already labeled Jesus based on where He was from; His home town.

Isn’t this exactly what the world does to us?  They look at where we live, what clothes we wear, what kind of car we drive, where we work, how much money we make, what politician we vote for, whether or not we have children and what we look like to determine who we are.  Then they put those labels on us and guess what?  We believe them.

Romans 10:11-13 says this…For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.

Isn’t that awesome!?!?!  God is telling us here that there is no difference between people, whether they be Jew, Greek, White, Latino, American, Chinese if we are in Christ Jesus.  The only label that matters in life is whether you are SAVED or NOT SAVED.  Another name for being saved is being BORN AGAIN.

Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that He came to Earth to give us abundant life.  The Bible tell us in John 3:3 that in order to have this abundant life, and to live a life free of labels we must be born again.

John 3:3 ~ Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

The titles and the labels that the world gives us are of no eternal importance.  We may think highly or poorly of ourselves based on the labels we’ve been given here on Earth, but God isn’t concerned one bit with those things.  The only thing that He is concerned with is whether or not you accepted His Only Begotten Son as payment for your sin. The only thing that matters is whether you know Jesus Christ or not.

1 Samuel 16:17 ~ …for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart

I like to think of Jesus as the ANTI-LABEL.  He came to break all types of barriers between the religious and non-religious, the righteous and unrighteous, the Samaritan and the Jew…and most importantly the barrier between God and man.  Jesus came to do away with the world’s labels and give us the one label that truly matters, the one that says “BORN AGAIN & SAVED BY CHRIST”.

Romans 6:10 ~ For the death that He died, He died to sin once for ALL; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

If you are interested in knowing Jesus Christ personally, please send me a message at melissasbeehive@yahoo.com.  I’d love to hear from you!