I was born the first time during the midst of World War II. I was born the second time twelve years later. No, I did not physically die, nor was I reincarnated. But both births were miraculous. My first birth was physical in nature. My second birth was spiritual. I was directly involved in both births, but primarily as a participant. Someone else did all of the hard work for me.
My earthly mother carried me in her womb for nine months providing everything that I needed. Without her I would not have been born that first time. Inside of her I grew, kicked, rolled and generally made her miserable those last few months before I was born … nine pounds and fifteen ounces! … somewhat of a whopper I would say! My mother and father paid the price for my physical birth and willingly and faithfully provided for my care until I left home to marry my sweet wife. I am so grateful to my parents who taught me right from wrong, the value of hard work, the necessity for honesty and integrity, how to choose the right friends, and so much more. They provided me with all of my physical and emotional needs … cleaning my wounds, caring for me when I was sick, comforting me when I was upset, holding me in their arms when I needed assurance, helping me overcome my troubles and fears, disciplining me when I went astray, hugging me when I sought forgiveness, encouraging me when I was afraid.
I don’t remember my first birth, but I remember my second birth just like it was yesterday. You see, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord as a twelve-year-old boy and in the words of Jesus Himself (John 3:3), I was/am “born again.” The Amplified Bible (AMP) provides a wonderful translation of John 3:3 when it says in part ” … I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.” Jesus did all that was necessary for my salvation (the saving of the soul from sin and its consequences; the deliverance or redemption from sin and its effects). God loved the world so much that He did all that was required to pay the price for my sins. John 3:16 says it so simply. I will quote it from memory the way I learned it as a child: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life (KVJ).” But my second birth didn’t just stop there with forgiveness of my sins and the assurance of an eternal life with God in Heaven forever. No indeed! When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, God immediately sent the Holy Spirit to be my ever-present companion and to indwell me for the rest of my earthly life. The Holy Spirit is my constant companion. The Holy Spirit activates God in my life. The Holy Spirit convicts, restrains, encourages, serves as my intercessor, teaches, renews, walks with me. And lately, the Holy Spirit has accompanied this “born again” believer and my wife Charlotte as Our Comforter … a comforter that exceeds anything that can be provided by man. You might be saying to yourself right now: “How is that possible!” Let me explain, but first read these scriptures carefully.
Scripture: (all scripture AMP unless otherwise noted)
John 3:1-3 – 1 Now there was a certain man among the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler [a leader, an authority] among the Jews, 2 Who came to Jesus at night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know and are certain that You have come from God [as] a Teacher; for no one can do these signs [these wonderworks, these miracles—and produce the proofs] that You do unless God is with him. 3 Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again [anew, from above], he cannot ever see [know, be acquainted with, and experience] the kingdom of God.
John 3:16 – For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten [unique] Son, so that whoever believes in [trusts in, clings to, relies on] Him shall not perish [come to destruction, be lost] but have eternal [everlasting] life.
John 14:16 – And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter [Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby], that He may remain with you forever—
John 14:26 – 26 But the Comforter [Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby], the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall [will remind you of, bring to your remembrance] everything I have told you.
John 15:26 – 26 But when the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) comes, Whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth Who comes (proceeds) from the Father, He [Himself] will testify regarding Me.
Acts 2:1-4 – And when the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place, 2 When suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled (diffused throughout their souls) with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other (different, foreign) languages (tongues), as the Spirit kept giving them clear and loud expression [in each tongue in appropriate words].
John, one of the twelve men chosen by Jesus to be His disciples, records some very important promises spoken by Jesus in the book of John. The disciples were with Jesus during His entire earthly ministry. Among other things, Jesus taught them daily by example, ate with them, humbled Himself before them by washing their dirty feet, counseled them, empowered them and comforted them. Knowing that He would soon become the sacrificial lamb through crucifixion on the cross of Calvary, be gloriously raised from the dead through His resurrection thus conquering sin and death, and forty days later return to His Father in Heaven, Jesus promised His disciples that He would ” … ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever—” (John 14:16). That Comforter is the Holy Spirit, the third incarnation of the Almighty God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).
Jesus went on to promise that ” … the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you (John 14:26). While Jesus would no longer be physically present with them in bodily form, the Holy Spirit … the Comforter … would come and dwell within them to continue to serve as their teacher, counselor, helper, intercessor, advocate, strengthener. He would always be there … standing by them no matter the need, no matter the crisis, no matter the hurt, no matter the trouble.
Jesus further promised that the Comforter will “testify regarding Me” (John 15:26). The presence of the Comforter would be the affirming testimony that everything that God had promised through Jesus would be true and would come to pass.
Doctor Luke records the specific time when God fulfilled the promises of Jesus with regard to the Holy Spirit, Our Comforter. After the Ascension of Jesus back into Heaven, the Apostles (the remaining eleven Disciples of Jesus) gathered in the same upper room where they shared the Last Supper with Jesus. They steadfastly prayed and selected Matthew to replace the betrayer of Jesus, Judas. Shortly thereafter on the Day of Pentecost they were all gathered together in one place and suddenly with a great sound from Heaven, “… they were all filled (diffused throughout their souls) with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). Afterward Peter preached a mighty sermon telling the huge crowd gathered that day that if they would repent of their sins and accept the gift of salvation offered through Jesus that they too would receive the promise of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-41). Three thousand people responded to Peter’s message that day and were “born again.” From that point on, every person who is “born again” receives the Holy Spirit, Our Comforter, at the same moment they are saved. (Note: Not all Christians believe this, but the Bible is clear that there is no second work of grace where the Holy Spirit descends on a believer separately from the salvation experience. I will discuss that in a future article but in the meantime if you are interested go to this link: Being Filled with the Holy Spirit by Dr. Charles Stanley.)
Let me share a personal and pertinent testimony of how the Holy Spirit has been Our Comforter over the past few months.
Many of you already know about the situation with our granddaughter. Ashlyn and her husband Josh Murphy are expecting their first child, Baby Murphy, with a due date of under three months. Over many previous weeks specialists in the Atlanta area determined that Baby (boy) Murphy has serious and rare abnormalities with his heart [Tetraology of Fallot (TOF) with Absent Pulmonary Valve] and potentially with his lungs. After a lengthy round of tests the specialists at Egleston Children’s Hospital referred Ashlyn and Josh to internationally known specialists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (CCH) more familiar with the combination heart and lung issues to do further analysis.
Ashlyn, Josh, and Ashlyn’s parents Amy and Keven Davenport (our son) made an immediate trip to Cincinnati for the additional recommended testing and consultation. Specialists at CCH confirmed the existence of the congenital heart defects. Thankfully they have ruled out the potential for the suspected lung problems. This is good news for Ashlyn, Josh and Baby Murphy. Ashlyn will now be able to remain in the Atlanta area to deliver Baby Murphy. Egleston will be the primary facility overseeing the case and determine the proper timing for the necessary heart surgery which will occur after birth. All of Ashlyn and Josh’s immediate family can more easily provide continuous physical and emotional support through the difficult days that lie ahead.
To say the least, Ashlyn and Josh have been on an emotional roller coaster for the past couple of months. With the aid of modern social media there are thousands of concerned people and prayer warriors all over the United States praying for the situation. From day one Ashlyn and Josh have been surrounded with the love of their family and friends. But even greater than this demonstrated human compassion is the evidence of God’s loving-kindness and grace provided by their ever-present indwelt Comforter, God’s Holy Spirit, who has provided them strength, courage and assurance beyond human understanding.
The story of Ashlyn, Josh and Baby Murphy has already been a marvelous witness to thousands of people. To God be the Glory! Great things He has done! If you want to follow the story further as it continues to unfold, use this link and then click on “Follow by Email” on the right side of The Murphy Family blog.
Additional Scriptures related to this article for further encouragement and study:
Psalm 103:10-12 – 10 He (God) has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 147:3 –He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows].
Isaiah 40:29-31 – 29 He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted; 31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.
Psalm 119:28 – 28 My life dissolves and weeps itself away for heaviness; raise me up and strengthen me according to [the promises of] Your word.
Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.
Related Links and Articles:
- The Murphy Family – Ashlyn’s Blog regarding Baby Murphy
- Tetraology of Fallot (TOF)
- Absent Pulmonary Valve
- Being Filled with the Holy Spirit – Dr. Charles Stanley
- Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
- Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – aka Egleston Children’s Hospital
Related Articles by Jim Davenport:
- God Will Provide
- In His Time
- God’s Solution for Anxiety
- Facing Tough Times
- Is Anything too Hard for God?
- Do Not Fear
- An Anchor in the Time of the Storm
- His Grace is Sufficient for Me
- Become A Christian
Related Southern Gospel Music by The Good News:
- Listen to The Good News – over 2 hours of music are contained on this page; once you are there scroll down and click on the tune you want to hear. Share the good news from The Good News with your friends.
Books by Jim Davenport: Please purchase Jim’s books to help support his writing ministry.
- Christian Devotions & Quick Studies – Hardback, Paperback, eBook
- Thanksgiving Day – Religious to Secular – Paperback, eBook
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Praying for Baby Murphy and family. Thank you for words for life!
Thank you so much, Liz. There is still a lot of uncertainty. But of this we are absolutely certain: God knows, God cares, God will provide! Blessings, Jim D.
You out did yourself on this one, Jimmy! Please keep writing as I always learn so much from your Bible Study information. We will continue our prayers for Ashlyn, Josh, Baby Boy Murphy and all the family. We love you! Haven
Thank you Haven. Please do continue to remember the Murphy Family in you prayers.