Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Happy Birthday!"

I recently celebrated a birthday and after finishing my devotional and prayer time, I sat in silence waiting upon the Lord. After a few minutes I asked the Lord for a word of encouragement for the day. His response to my heart was "Happy Birthday!" Needless to say this was not what I was expecting. I began to wonder, Happy Birthday? What was this all about? As I began to meditate on this curious response, the Lord impressed upon my heart the significance of my birth and birth in general. We are all familiar with the traditional events that take place on any birthday including the parties, cake, ice cream, and presents. But what about the spiritual significance of our birthday? The Lord who is the Creator of all life places a high value upon His creation and that includes you and me. Many of the clients I have counseled often struggle with their significance and worth. I will tell them that their value begins and ends with God. They cannot obtain their worth from what they do, what they own, or what others think about them. The mere fact that they exist speaks to their value. God is never forced to create anything or any one but does so out of His desire and love. Birth to God is so significant that it is emphasized throughout the Scriptures. The very first book of the Old Testament, "Genesis" is derived from a Greek word, geneseos, which depending on its context can mean "birth." We see a number of significant births in the Old Testament such as Isaac, the son of promise who was conceived when Abraham and Sarah were well advanced in age. (Genesis 21) There was Moses whose birth came about under very dangerous circumstances but who was later called by God to lead the people of Israel out of bondage from Egypt. (Genesis 2-12)  Samuel was born after the perseverance of a praying mother, Hannah, to whom God extended His grace and blessing. (1 Samuel 1) Esther when confronted with the choice of risking her life and going to the king or allowing the Jews to be annihilated, took the risk, resting on her uncle Mordecai's words, "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this." (Esther 4:14) In other words, Esther was "born" for that moment. We continue to follow the succession of births and are ultimately led into the New Testament. There we see the significance of the birth of John the Baptist who prepared the way for the Messiah (Luke 1) and the most significant birth of all, Jesus Christ. (Luke 1) When Jesus was born heaven itself celebrated, so much so that this "good news" had to be shared with humanity. (Luke 2) Unfortunately there are certain groups who forbid the celebration of birthdays and many of the children of these parents fail to realize how important their birth is to God. So, when your next birthday rolls around, praise the Lord for another year of life and the great gift He has given to you. It's the best birthday present of all!
Happy Birthday!
Pastor Sheree

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