Tuesday, August 14, 2018

My 60th Birthday Wishlist ~ Wish Number One

Well, my third wish for my 60th birthday was fulfilled last night with a fun time of ice skating at the Merritt Arena. I think this is the earliest in August I have ice skated since maybe the early 70’s when I participated in hockey schools as a young teenager. It was a great time.

Wish number two is somewhat uncertain as we scheduled a water fight for this afternoon but everything is literally “up in the air” given the smoke from wildfires has been so thick the last couple of days. If it clears enough by this afternoon, it may give us a green light to proceed with the plan. Otherwise, it will be an indoor snowball fight to hold us over for a nice clear and hot day.

Wish number one needs no special conditions except for meeting people who wonder about life as much as I do. This would potentially open the door for me to do my favourite thing in the whole wide world, which is to talk with others about the significance of knowing and loving Jesus Christ, our Creator and Savior.

Since childhood, I have not only had big questions about life, but I have had to answer them in the midst of conflict regarding the answers. I was not brought up in a home where one worldview surrounded me and I simply slipped into the family beliefs and values.

Rather, I grew up aware that my parents had opposing ideas about life, and this forced me to process what I believed from a young age.

However, what I came to believe about life did not solidify through any kind of personal skill at uncovering and answering the biggest questions we face. It was more like constantly discovering that someone was actively pursuing me to show me the truth, and every facet of truth I discovered settled the most serious of the who, what, when, where, why and how questions of life.

My first recollection of being pursued by God was when I was around seven years old. I was standing by myself in the front yard of our home in Sandspit, and as I looked up in the eastern sky, I was suddenly aware that someone was looking down with a keen interest in this little child. Simply put, I knew God was watching me, and somehow I knew that was a good thing.

The next spiritual marker was when I was twelve years old sitting in a boys' Sunday School class. At the end of that day’s lesson, our teacher explained what I now understand to be the gospel, the good news of salvation. As he explained how Jesus died for our sins in order to secure our forgiveness from God, it clicked. I got it. Even a good kid like me was a sinner who could never claim to have loved God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, or loved my neighbour as myself. Jesus came to find me and save me.

In a small way, I understood that my early awareness of God watching me now had an explanation. God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life.[1] He led me to believe in him, and so I began to understand that his watching over me was not only a good thing, it was also a loving thing.

A few years later, I had another step forward in my relationship with God. The churches of the Abbotsford, BC, area had brought in a speaker by the name of Barry Moore to share the good news about Jesus with anyone who would listen. Our youth group went for one of these evening sessions in the MSA arena, and during that night’s message, something else became very clear.

What I understood that night was simply that Jesus’ death for my sins was a once-for-all event, and I only had to receive it in a once-for-all kind of way. Because I grew up thinking I was invisible and stupid, every time I heard someone repeating the gospel message in a sermon, I felt like a worthless worm who needed to ask God’s forgiveness all over again, EVERY! SINGLE! TIME!

It was such a relief to get this, that when God leads us to faith in his Son, we receive a new life in which we live forever. God does not give us the Holy Spirit as a spiritual paramedic who has to do CPR on us every time we hear the gospel because somehow we died since the last time we came alive.

Rather, there is life in God’s Son, and when we enter that life by grace through faith, we have eternal life. Period.

By the time I as in my late teens, I knew that knowing and loving Jesus Christ was the most important thing in life. Jesus is our Creator, so how could we ever find anyone better to know?[2] He is the only Savior of the world, so why would I want to look to anything or anyone else for a sense of security regarding my present experience and my impending death? He is also the judge before whom we all will stand, so the discovery that God was determined to save me from his own judgment against my sin by pouring out that judgment on his Son, priceless!

I will likely use the coming days to elaborate on these things. In fact, I am sure I will use the rest of my life to share the same good news about Jesus that brought me to know and love him as my God, my Savior, my Creator, my King, and even my firstborn brother.

I understand that I have not necessarily shared enough to convince anyone of the validity of knowing and loving Jesus Christ. My real birthday wish is that anyone reading this who does not already see the supreme value in a relationship with Jesus our Creator, that you would please give me the opportunity to share with you in a personal way.

The bottom line is that every which way I have seen Jesus and his Book challenged, criticized, scrutinized, even mocked and slandered, it has always come out that the challengers don’t stand up to the wisdom and knowledge of God’s word (or his Word, if you would let me explain over coffee). I would simply like the opportunity to explain this in a just-between-me-and-you kind of way.

So, in conclusion (I just had to say that), I don’t need anything else for my birthday; an opportunity like this would do me just fine!

© 2018 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

[1] This is a paraphrase of John 3:16
[2] Yes, in spite of all the false claims of the evolutionary religion, science loudly confirms that Jesus Christ created all things. 

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