MARCH 13
   
Today's Bible Readings
     Exodus 24
     Job 42
     John 3
     II Corinthians 12
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''Jesus answered and said to him, ''Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)
 
THE NEW BIRTH
            It was on July 5, 1958 at a rustic youth camp between Macon and Louisville, Mississippi.  I was part of a good Christian family and a fine evangelical church. A tall lanky student from Bob Jones University read to us from John 3 for his evening devotion. It was then for the first time I heard what Jesus said to Nicodemus. That night I could see myself in the shoes of this ancient religious man. Not only was Nicodemus a religious man, a ruler of the Jews, but he also had a head knowledge of Jesus Christ. He knew all about His miracles and had great respect for Him as a teacher sent from God. But Nicodemus, with his questioning spirit, was spiritually blind. He could not see (understand) the Kingdom of God.  He represented me in every way, and I stood indicted and convicted by the Word of God. That night I had a two-foot conversion, from my head to my heart. I experienced a new birth and my life was radically changed. Immediately, I begin to love the things I had once hated and to hate the things I had once loved. Did it ever occur to you why Jesus compared the experience of salvation with physical birth? The reasons are simple:
A birth is a point in time. No one is saved by a process.  Many have said to me, ''I have always been a Christian."  I know immediately that they have never been saved. My birth certificate indicates a specific date, hour and minute when I was born physically into this world. The best I can determine I was born spiritually into the family of God at 10:35 p.m. on July 5, 1958.  It happens at a point in time.
There is no repeat with a physical birth. A person is born physically only one time, and a person is born spiritually only one time. With physical birth there is no past. How often have we observed a beautiful newborn child and commented, "this baby is as fresh as the fallen snow." We mean there is no past; he is carrying no baggage. When a person is born into God's family, the past is wiped clean.
A physical birth requires agony and pain.  Ask any mother and she will tell you of the agony she experienced to give birth to her child. Our Lord Jesus, however, faced even greater agony on the Cross to make your spiritual birth possible.
            Being born again by the Spirit is the unmistakable work of God, as mysterious as the wind and as surprising as God Himself. Jesus said, “Just as you don't know where the wind comes from or where it goes, so it is with those who are born of the Spirit.” I have never seen the wind, but I have seen the results of the wind. So it is with a new birth.
Are you born of the Spirit today?
            There are several ways you can become a part of a family. One is adoption and another is by marriage. Both of these speak of intimacy.  You become a part of the Bride of Christ. But in John 3 Jesus emphasizes the birth. When you are born into the family of God, old things are passed away and the birthmarks will be obvious in your life. You will favor your heavenly Father and have a growing appetite for the milk and the meat of His word. You are indeed a new species.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
The Kingdom of Denmark is our prayer focus today. This nation of five-million people lives in an area of 43,092 sq. km. This is the most southerly of the Scandinavian countries. The spiritual needs in Denmark are indeed great. Denmark needs a fresh visitation from God; 90% of the population has membership in the Lutheran People's Church. Church attendance varies between 1% and 4% in most parishes, yet many Danes still hold to their Christian identity (50% regularly pray). Pray that the Spirit may make Christ real to Danish Christians who have turned to secular or New Age thinking. Western missionaries are in decline, and part of the reason for that is our inability to train the national leaders who are present in that country.  Pray that God will raise up some people who can go in and train the nationals in Denmark.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''They asked John Wesley, after preaching several nights, consecutively, on the new birth, 'why do you preach so often on ''You Must Be Born Again?'' His simple answer was, 'because you must be born again'."
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