July: A Month of Birthdays and New Beginnings
July is an extraordinary month, filled with celebrations and significant milestones. For one, it marks the birthday of America, a time of patriotism and fireworks. But for me, July holds an even deeper meaning—it’s my spiritual birthday.
What Is a Spiritual Birthday?
Now, you might be wondering, what exactly is a spiritual birthday? Well, let me explain. You see, everyone has a physical birthday, the day they were born into this world. Mine happened on November 25, 1953, at Brooke Army General Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.
However, a spiritual birthday is different. It’s the day when a person experiences a profound transformation, accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and embarking on a new spiritual journey.
My spiritual birthday is July 11, 1977, a date etched in my heart forever, when I was “born again” and found salvation at the First Baptist Church of Lakewood in Tacoma, Washington.
Allow me to share with you the story of my own spiritual awakening, the day that changed the course of my life forever.
Back in July 1977, I was a second lieutenant serving in the United States Army at Fort Lewis, Washington. Life seemed to be going splendidly. I had a loving and intelligent wife, and we had welcomed our first child earlier that year. Professionally, I was excelling, receiving accolades for my work and even being offered a regular army commission. Yet, despite all the achievements and blessings, there was an unexplained void, a sense of emptiness deep within me.
In my pursuit of fulfillment, I tried various avenues. I indulged in drinking, sought solace in relationships, chased material possessions, and immersed myself in the social scene. But no matter what I did, that elusive something remained absent from my life. I sensed that there had to be more, something I was missing.
It was during this time that I became involved with a group of men at my church who seemed to possess a profound sense of purpose and contentment. Intrigued, I joined them for a Bible study. Little did I know that this encounter would lead me to the answers I had been desperately seeking.
Through the study, I discovered that God had provided us with a guidebook for life—the Bible. It held the key to addressing the problems we face and filling the void within us.
I learned that I was not here by accident, but rather, I had a purpose. Most importantly, I discovered that Jesus loves me and desires to have a personal relationship with me. However, sin had created a separation between us.
I realized I had a sin problem.
Coming to terms with my own sinfulness was a crucial turning point. The Bible states,
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”Romans 3:23
I realized that despite my best efforts to be good and virtuous, I couldn’t save myself. Good deeds alone wouldn’t secure my place in heaven.
I learned there was a penalty to be paid for my sin.
The Bible also teaches that there is a penalty for sin—
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 6:23
It was clear to me that I needed a solution, a way to bridge the gap between my sinful nature and God’s righteousness.
I learned God provided a promise.
Thankfully, God provided a promise—a way for us to be saved.
“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.”John 3:16
This verse revealed to me that God’s love is so immense that He sacrificed His only Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for our sins.
I learned that God made provision for me.
In light of this revelation, I learned that I could receive God’s gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”Romans 10:9-10
It became clear to me that by acknowledging my need for a savior and accepting Jesus into my heart and life, I could experience the transformative power of His love.
I prayed to accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus.
In a heartfelt prayer, I embraced this gift of eternal life through Jesus. I acknowledged my sins, believed in His sacrifice on the cross, and invited Him to be the Lord of my life.
It was a moment of surrender, a surrender that would forever shape my journey.
What came next?
From that day forward, my life has been far from perfect. I’ve stumbled and made mistakes along the way, sometimes veering off course. But amidst it all, I’ve found direction, purpose, and unshakeable peace.
The Bible has become my compass, guiding me through life’s trials and offering timeless principles for daily living. I’ve never been alone on this journey, for the presence of God has been with me every step of the way.
What About You?
Now, I pose a question to you: Have you experienced your own spiritual rebirth? Have you been “saved” and found solace in a higher power?
Just as I did, you too can find salvation and peace.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. … For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”Romans 10:9-10, 13
Why would an intelligent person believe in Christianity?”
But perhaps you are skeptical, wondering if an intelligent person or an intellectual can truly believe in God. The answer is a resounding yes!
Many brilliant minds have found faith in God and embraced Christianity. The real question should be, “How can an intelligent person believe in Christianity?” or “Why would an intelligent person believe in Christianity?” The truth is, faith and reason can coexist harmoniously.
As I reflect upon my spiritual journey, I can’t help but marvel at the extraordinary transformation that took place.
That tired, weary face you see in the photo taken in February 1977 holds a story of profound change and hope. It captures a moment in time, a snapshot of a young couple embarking on a path filled with uncertainties and new beginnings.
So as we celebrate the birth of America this July, let us also remember the significance of personal rebirth, the power of salvation, and the transformative journey of faith.
About the photo
It was taken in February 1977 in my military quarters at Fort Lewis, Washington. In the photo in Miss Benita, my bride. We have been married since 1974. Also in the picture is our first child, Kristopher. Yes, I look tired. I had just returned home from a fourteen day training exercise. I had not had sleep in over 72 hours at the time the picture was taken. I was very tired. The picture was taken by my late father-in-law William Clarence Breeding, Sr. He and my mother-in-law had came to Washington State to help Miss Benita with our new son Kris.