11 Mar Celebrating 50 Years in the Faith!
My 50th Spiritual Birthday – Sharing the Grace and Blessings God Has Given
50 years ago, On February 18, 1969, at 19 years of age, I was baptized into Christ. It was the beginning of a God-given, wonderful life. Looking back over the decades, I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I recall the amazing grace, faithfulness and guidance that God has given me.
Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.
I certainly can’t share with you everything God has given me in my life, because, as David says in one of his Psalms, God gives us so many blessings that it is impossible for us to declare them all!
I am going to share with you some of my long history as a disciple of Christ. Please understand that I am hoping it will encourage you, and that my heart and purpose in doing this is to bring glory to God –not to myself!
At the moment of my baptism, I was saved by the grace of God that he gave through Jesus on the cross. One of the greatest blessings in my life has been coming to know more and more how much God and Jesus love me – more than I can ever imagine! The longer I have lived in Christ, the more I have come to see and believe in God’s love through the ongoing mercy and countless blessings he has continued to show me. And I decided at the time of my baptism to not only accept Jesus as my loving savior, but to make him my Lord – and I have seen that both of those aspects of the nature of Jesus – being my Savior and my Lord – have been, and are, the source of amazing blessings in my life!
I am going to give a list below of bullet points with a short description of some of the blessings God has given my by grace in my life of 50 years as his son. As I said earlier, the reason I share them is to praise God and give him glory, and hopefully, to encourage you!
- Just after my baptism on February 18, God brought me together a few weeks later (on April 11) with the young woman that I would one day marry – Geri Guba. We met at a college retreat, and she decided soon afterwards to move so that she could come to the church where I was a member, and that had sponsored the retreat. She got baptized, and we started dating. God then graciously guided us as to how to have a pure relationship, and how to build it on love for him and each other.
- We both graduated from college and got married. God then graciously began to teach me how to grow and become the husband he wanted me to be, and that Geri needed me to be. Thank you, God for giving me my wife, and for teaching me how to love her! Thank you for graciously, mercifully teaching and helping me to overcome my weaknesses as a husband – and for her patience with me through it all!
- Then, after several years of marriage, he gave me and Geri four children! And, once again, just as he had done previously in teaching me how to be a better husband, he now taught and enabled me to be a better father. I would have never known how to be a good father, or been able to be a good father, without the grace, guidance, teaching, and power of God!
- God also gave me many more blessings as a young man in his kingdom than I can ever put into words. Some of the greatest ones I recall are the ways that he gave me wonderful fellow disciples as my friends, and how he used them to encourage and guide me spiritually.
- God also graciously used me to help my close friends, and many other disciples as well. He taught and enabled me to encourage them, and to help them grow in their faith and closeness to him.
- God has also used me to go and share the gospel with others, to help them become disciples, and to baptize them into Christ. Those are some of the greatest and most precious memories in my entire life!
- Throughout my life, God has taught me how to get closer and closer to him – to come nearer to him in heart, in prayer, and in listening to him as he speaks to me through his word. The closeness to him that he has given me is the heartbeat of my life!
- He has graciously brought me through times of temptation, and even when I have stumbled, he has helped me to repent and overcome it, and draw near to him once again.
- He has brought be through many times of trial, showing me that his ultimate plan is to use these times to bless me and to train me to be more like Jesus, even though they are difficult at the moment.
- I have faced many new and unique challenges as I have entered into different seasons in my life. The good news is that God, through his Spirit, in each new and different season, has graciously guided and taught me how to make Jesus Lord once again. He has lovingly done that throughout my life, and is still doing it now!
All of the stories above, and the massive numbers of blessings God has continued to give me throughout my life, have proven to me that God is loving and faithful, and that he keeps his promises. Thank you God for being my loving father, and thank you Jesus for being my loving savior all the days of my life! Thank you God, that you are willing and able to help us all!
And let me say it again: All of these blessings I have experienced and have shared are a result of the mercy and grace of God in Christ, and not because I have earned them by living a perfect life!
Folks, let me assure you that as you continue to live in loving faithfulness to God, he will work out whatever challenges you are facing, will help you overcome any temptations that are coming your way, and will give you the wisdom you need as to how to actually live out your life in the way he calls you.
This is just me as an older disciple assuring us all of the grace, wisdom, patience, power and blessings that God will give us as we lovingly seek to remain faithful to him and to his loving son. I hope it encourages you to stay with him all of your days, knowing that whatever you have faced before or may be facing now, God is with you, and is going to graciously bring good from it!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose…What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:28, 31, 32