Last week I celebrated my 50th birthday in Jesus and in His Kingdom. I was born again on February 19, 1971. I remember that time as if it just happened seconds ago. My friend Jeff and I were walking down Brinkerhoff Avenue in front of South Park. After quoting what seemed like the entire Bible to me, he looked at me and asked, “Julie, don’t you know that Jesus loves you”? And I can honestly say in that moment, I did know it beyond a shadow of a doubt. I didn’t know how I knew it, but I did.
He went on to tell me that I could be born again and have a new start at life. At 17 years old, I was very, very old due to my life style and a new start sounded wonderful, but at the same time impossible and unattainable.
But, could it really be true? I remember asking Jeff, “You mean to tell me I don’t have to be me anymore”?
He looked right at me and said, “Julie, you don’t have to be you anymore.” You will be a new creature in Jesus. Within an hour I accepted Jesus into my heart and was born again.
So as I look back over these 50 years, I am greatly, greatly aware of His great love for me and His great mercy that He has shown me.
Has it all been sunny days, days without storms, easy roads and smooth sailing? The answer is No! Have I made mistakes? The answer is Yes. Have I been discouraged, broken hearted and dismayed? The answer, again, is Yes.
But this is what I have learned: Jesus Christ is Faithful and His Word is true. And 18,250 days later, I am still standing in Him. In the Bible there is a Scripture in the Book of Jude that I have literally clung to my entire Christian life: “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless, before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…”
That is the only reason I am still standing. The only reason I am still here is because He has kept me. I am a kept woman. I am kept by my Heavenly Father. I am kept by Jesus who is seated on the right hand of my Heavenly Father praying for me. I am kept by the comfort, counsel and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.
And, I am kept by the miraculous Word of God, my Heritage.
The song that will always speak best for me is, “You Gave Me Love,” by B.J. Thomas:
“You gave me time when no one gave me time of day,
You looked deep inside while the rest of the world looked away,
You smiled at me when there were just frowns everywhere,
You gave me love when nobody gave me a prayer.
“That’s why I call You Savior….that’s why I call You Friend,
You touched my heart….You touched my soul,
And helped me start all over again,
That’s why I love You, Jesus…that’s why I will always care,
You gave me love when nobody gave me a prayer.”
I always said, “If I was a horse, no one would have ever bet on me.”
One time when I was giving my testimony, as soon as I heard myself say that, Jesus spoke to my heart and said, “It never was about the horse, but it’s about the owner.” Once again my life changed, because I knew in that moment in time, again, beyond a shadow of a doubt, through all the crazy years, no matter what anyone had ever thought about me, I was loved by my owner.
So 50 years later, this is what I know for certain: He loves me and I love Him, and His Word is the greatest treasure and love of my life.
Oh, and one more thing, I also know this for certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, HE LOVES YOU!