You must be born again

You must be born again has been said so many times before; does it still have meaning?

I had a dream last night. I was sitting next to a small van when a man in uniform pinned up a poster saying, "You must be born again." There were crowds of people but I was only vaguely aware of them. Then I heard a voice cry out, "Bernard Preston will now preach on the text."

"Who me?" I said turning around to see who spoke. "I've nothing prepared," I gasped, knowing in my heart there was no escape.

Flamingo babe.

So this will not be a long prepared sermon, detailed with quotes and mellifluous notes. Rather it will be more like the word given by an uneducated black preacher in America on the same subject many years ago. Impassioned but poorly-scripted and presented, only one convert came forward and dedicated his life to Jesus Christ. History tells us his name was Billy Graham.

So I stood up and turned to the large crowd, with no prepared notes and simply spoke from my heart.

Jesus once said to a deeply religious man, "Nicodemus, you must be born again. Otherwise you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

The Kingdom of Heaven interests me, as I expect it does you. We all want to go there. Or do we? At this moment, as I write someone close to me is dying. He has spent his life mocking the idea. Rather, he has chosen the godless place. Such is his right.

But you, is your desire to spend eternity in the godless place? We really are not sure whether all the imagery of pools of burning sulphur is to be taken literally but one thing we do know; it is the place where Jesus won't be. Our heavenly Father will not be there either.

And God is love; so it won't be there either.

You must be born again.

The "Kingdom of Heaven"

You must be born again.

Ah, the Kingdom of Heaven is the only phrase mentioned twice by Jesus in the great prayer he taught his disciples.

  • Thy kingdom come
  • Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory

The Kingdom of Heaven is the place where Jesus rules; he governs and leads. He heals and wipes away every tear. I want to be there but my friend has no desire to be thus led and comforted.

Jesus is a different sort of king. His rule is not the nepotism that we are familiar with from princes and governors; prime ministers and presidents.

He is a king who says, "No longer do I call you servants but brothers and sisters." One who bends to wash our feet; who went to the cross for our sins.

You too can enter that kingdom but Jesus said, "You must be born again" to get there. It's the passport so to speak; without it, no entry.

So what did he mean? Simply, that the old self has to die; no longer responsive to the desires, wants and greed of this world.

He calls us to die to the old dominion where we reign and call the shots. And why should we do that, giving up our most precious right? Because Jesus makes a much better centre for my being, where I can find my real self. In my old life I was a despot, weak and very twisted.

A seed must fall into the ground; and seemingly then die.

A grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die

Hulled wheatA grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die.

The Peter principle states that a person rises to his or her level of incompetency. If we are very honest, we eventually realise that we are not able to rule our lives well. Time and again, we screw it up. But King Jesus won't. He will guide us to making the right decisions; if we are listening. "Be still and know that I am God."

Stillness is a vital part of the Christian faith.

Mysteriously new life appears.

Wheat emerging Lorraine

How can I say that with such assurance? Because it's now over fifty years since I made that decision as a young man. And I can testify that Jesus has been a far better king of my life, than I ever could have.

So like a grain of wheat, I have to fall into the ground; every day, it doesn't just happen once and then everything is hunky-dory. I have to die to self. Then for the first time I can speak with confidence to my Father, who is in heaven.

Fields of wheatThen spring up fields of wheat.

Why the first time, you may be thinking. Yes, because God only gives the privilege of being his children to those commit to two things.

  1. Believe in His son Jesus.
  2. And receive him into our hearts.

Those are the two very important steps; only then can one meaningfully say, "My Father who is in heaven."

Light of the world Hunt

Much has been made of this painting by William Hunt. There is no handle on the outside; only we can open the door from within on hearing Jesus' knock.

Jesus said, "I am the bread of life."

Wheat berries 50kg sacksA hundredfold, perhaps 60 or 30 times increase.

"He who believes in me shall never perish but have eternal life."

100pc wholemeal flour in hands.Food for life.
sourdough bread loaf

Believe and Receive. You must be born again.

Believing that Jesus is the Son of God or as the Bible says, the only-begotten one is central. Old words we don't use any more.

Beget and begotten simply mean of the same nature.

A cow begets a calf; it's fully bovine.

A Homo-Sapiens couple begets a human baby; and God the Father begot an only son who had his divine nature.

"One who is God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God."

- Nicene creed

All we have to do is believe that Jesus is the only divine Son of God.

And then receive him into our hearts by faith, thus joining His great family; his adopted children, the church. In some mysterious way the very Spirit of God will enter our hearts and change us. Slowly each day, like that grain of wheat the old self dies and a beautiful new person is created; 'tis mystery all.

You become a person who can confidently yet never arrogantly say, "I am a child of God." I belong to the Kingdom of Heaven. I have been born again. I will spend eternity with Him where there is light and love. Everlasting life is a gift, not something that can be bought or earned.

You must be born again.

Counting the Cost

There is a word of caution; one that Jesus gave. Before going to war, a wise king would first count his troops, visit Fort Knox and open the vault; and then figure out what this little venture would do to his economy not to mention his prospects in the next election.

Before building or buying a new house, a person should calculate whether he can pay the mortgage. So too, we should count the cost of surrendering all to Christ.

In the meantime how about spending today, or the next week reading one of the Gospels? That word means Good News. It really is, believe you me.

The Gospel of Mark is the shortest; you can read it quickly without stopping to ponder, just to get an overview in a couple of hours. Get a new translation; the old "Ye must be born again" is a bit heavy.

You must be born again.

Leap of faith

BP signing at Vilamoura.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: You must be born

This is a lovely story written by a gynaecologist to unborn twins. Enjoy you must be born.

Inspirational books

It's not easy for Christians to write inspirational books that speak to the truth but also in all honesty to the darker, inner side of their selves; and their ponderings.

Such is A Family Affair. I wrote it in new search of meaning and some things are indeed clearer; like if God grants us freedom to do stuff, perhaps we too should give each other that liberty.

Yet other parts remain equally mysterious.

You be the judge. One thing I can promise you; you will devour A Family Affair from beginning to end. And quickly, it's easy reading, though the content thought-provoking and probably disturbing; it unsettled me. 

Have you read my latest trilogy? Only $1.14 each. Hold onto your hat. Find A Family Affair by Bernard Preston at Amazon.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself and Mother Earth for future generations; and your family too, of course. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books.

Here are the back issues.

  • Lifestyle and ideal body weight
  • What are ultra-processed foods?
  • Investing in long-term health
  • Diseases from plastic exposure
  • Intensive lifestyle management for obesity has limited value
  • A world largely devoid of Parkinson's Disease
  • The impact of friendly bacteria in the tum on the prevention of cancer
  • There's a hole in the bucket
  • Everyone is talking about weight loss drugs
  • Pull the sweet tooth
  • If you suffer from heartburn plant a susu
  • Refined maize meal and stunting
  • Should agriculture and industry get priority for water and electricity?
  • Nature is calling
  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home
Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Then forward it to a friend. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.


56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa