Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Baptism

Prayer: Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord. We will wait upon the Lord. We will wait upon the Lord. Our God, You reign forever. Our hope, our Strong Deliverer. You are the everlasting God. The everlasting God. You do not faint. You won't grow weary. Our God, You reign forever. Everlasting God I want to thank you for laying on my heart the need and desire to get baptized last night. I want to thank you for the wonderful glory that you have given to me and blessed me with. I want to thank you for giving your son to pay for my sins. I am not worthy to have been given such a wonderful gift and I so wholly desire to make you proud with what I do with the second chance that you have given to me. Please help me to keep me eyes affixed on your perfect plan. 

The beginning of the prayer that I just prayed is the lyrics to a song by Chris Tomlin. They have been sitting on my heart and my mind today. Often times songs help me to keep my eyes and path affixed on the Lord's perfect plan. My head runs through so much in a day but somehow there is always room for music.

Last night I was baptized along side my husband. Let me tell you it was an amazing experience.

Shane and I preparing together for baptism!

We got to church early last night and we were able to sit and chat and really connect, which we haven't had a whole lot of time for recently. When service started you could tell there was a different energy and excitement among the group. The songs were sung louder and with more enthusiasm. Since March in our church is Ministry Month (you can sort of see the flags in the background of the picture below) we did a 10 minute activity in small groups to pray for people serving in the ministry overseas that our church supports with resources. 

Shane and I post baptism, and post dry warm clothes! BUR!

Finally the Pastor began is talk about the importance of water baptism. Much of what he said is in the previous post, so I wont continue to reiterate the same points. He also spoke about the importance of salvation and the means to salvation. I also wont go as in deep about that because I am planning a whole series on that when I finish my Genesis series (which I am still actively working on, I promise, I just want to be thorough!). Anyways, he made several good points and analogies that I would like to share with you. 
Romans 6:14 - For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
 This verse is used to focus on the fact that you are saved and governed by grace and grace alone. In order to be right with God, to ensure salvation, and to live in eternal life within the kingdom of heaven, you must fully accept the Lord's grace. God has infinite patience with us as his creation. He does not demand that you live a good life or even a great life, he demands that you live a perfect life. Can that be done my a mere man? No, it has only ever been done by the living God, Jesus Christ. So, does that doom us to fail? No, because the Lord has saved us from an eternal life sentence of soul separation by sentencing his son instead.

Shane being prayed over before his baptism. 

My pastor used a wonderful illustration to drive this point home.
Imagine you are standing in front of a judge to be found guilty or not guilty of a crime. In your heart you know you are guilty. You are hoping for a not guilty verdict, but you know that you committed the crime. All of a sudden the judge says "You have been found guilty". Your heart drops. That is it, you have been condemned. Now the sentence. You know you are guilty, the judge knows that you are guilty, the entire courtroom now knows you are guilty. The best you can hope for is a light sentence. Then the judge says "You have been sentenced to life in prison in solitary confinement". Your heart drops to the floor. That is it. That is the end of your life. All of a sudden the judge stands up, takes off his robe and says "You know, I can tell you are a good kid. You are remorseful. You can do better. I want you to go out and do better, but someone must pay for the crime you committed, so I will live your life sentence in prison. Make me proud."
Wow, That really drove home the way that God put Jesus up for our sins. We are guilty and we know it, but when we repent and show remorse he recognizes that we can do better. We must do better. We must make him proud.

Shane and two of the pastors at church praying with me and over me before my baptism. 

So that story helps to explain why we need to be saved. We need to be repentant of our sins in order to show remorse and thank Jesus for taking our punishment for us so that we may live a better more eternal life. So we do that. Then it is time to be baptized. Refer to the previous post for a more detailed description of why you need to be baptized after accepting God as your savior of your own free will as an adult. Why is this important? It is a symbolic way of cleansing your sins, being born again as a new believer in Christ's kingdom, and it is the first step in your own discipleship and ministry. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus sends out the great commission of 
Matthew 28:19-20 - "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. 
Being raised from the baptismal pool a new, renewed, fresh disciple for Christ

We are commanded as followers of Jesus Christ to make disciples and to teach. Jesus was given this same commission by the Father when he came to earth. He began his ministry forthright by getting baptized. Until his baptism seen in Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, and John 1:29-34. My favorite telling of this monumentous event comes from Luke's gospel.
Luke 3:21-23 - When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased." Now Jesus Himself began his ministry...
I like this telling because Luke shows very mater-of-factly that Jesus was baptized and immediately stood and began his public ministry.  So, when Jesus tells us in the great commissions to "go therefore and make disciples..." he is telling us that it is our time to begin our public ministry. For me, I felt the call prior to my baptism and thus starting this project to bring the Bible to myself and others who may think in a different less linear way.

Shane coming up from his baptism a spiritual warrior for Christ

The experience that Shane and I shared yesterday was one that we will never forget. It is right up there with September 3, 2014 (the day we were saved standing side-by-side holding hand) and October 12, 2013 (the day we were joined as husband and wife before family, friends, and God even though we didn't truly know Him yet). On the way out of church and on the way home we both had trouble expressing how we felt. It was a lightness. Like weight had been lifted from our shoulders. I felt, even though I had previously know, that Jesus physically took my worries and pains and concerns and was shouldering them for me. I physically felt that all I had to do was have faith in His plan and I would be okay. 

Will I have worldly concerns and worry? Yes. Will I have struggles and pains and discomfort? Yes. I know that I will stumble, I know that I will fall, but I also know that no matter what happens to me that my Savior and my Lord has my back. I have acknowledged Him publicly, and He will now acknowledge me before His Father.
Luke 12:8 - "Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before man, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God."
Matthew 10:32 - "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven." 

Post baptism joy and celebration in the goodness of God

As I write this post I am reminded of a song we often sing at church and that I sing to myself on a regular occasion during my private time with God. I truely love this song. It really spoke to me before last night; however, it was playing in the church right after I was baptized and it had a completely new meaning to me. I just wanted to tell God all of these things because it was so heavily laid on my heart. I want to do His will and honor His wishes in everything that I do!

Take these hands
I know they're empty
But with You they can
Be used for beauty
In Your perfect Plan
All I am is Yours

Take these feet
I know they stumble
But You use the weak
You use the humble
So, please use me
All I am is Yours

I give You all my life
I'm letting it go
A living sacrifice
No longer my own
All I am is Yours
All I am is Yours

Take this heart
Set it on fire
Shine it in the dark
I wanna tell the world
Of who You are
All I am is Yours

I give You all my life
I'm letting it go
I live in sacrifice

No longer my own
All I am is Yours
All I am is Yours

I give You everything
To You I belong
Every beat of my heart
The breath in my lungs
All I am is Yours
All I am is Yours

I lift my hands up
God I surrender
All that I am
For Your glory, Your honor, Your faith
I lift my hands up
God I surrender to You

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