Baptism Busters

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As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:14-17

On Saturday, July 20th our family was baptized.

Our children had been asking about getting baptized for some time, but we were not in a hurry because we wanted to be sure they had a clear understanding of what it meant. They had each asked Jesus into their heart and acknowledged and believe He is the Son God, came, died for our sins and rose again three days later. We didn’t want them to think baptism was required to seal the deal. So we explained it this way: When it’s your birthday – whether you have a big party or not ~ it’s still your birthday. The party is just extra, a celebration of your birthday. That is just like baptism. When you ask Jesus into your heart and believe in Him, it doesn’t take baptism to make it real – it’s just a celebration of your decision to follow Christ.

Myth – Man says – you have to be baptized to go to heaven

Fact – Scriptures says – you only have to believe in Jesus the Son of God and what He came and did for all of us, Jesus was baptized before He began His ministry as an outward way to show His adoration for the Father.

Jesus said to her [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:24-26

Matt and I decided that since we both had grown up in the Methodist church and had only been “sprinkled” we would be baptized (by submersion just as Jesus was) along with our children. Once baptized, we had the distinct honor and privilege of baptizing our own children. It was an incredibly special day. Filled with family, friends and loved ones cheering us all on.

Myth – Man says only a priest can baptize another person

Fact – Scripture shows us that anyone can baptize another who is choosing to celebrate the decision to follow Christ

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Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. John 12:44

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Vanilla Ice had it RIGHT!

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God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. Psalm 53:2 ESV

I was in college when the singer Vanilla Ice came out with his “Ice Ice Baby” song.  I remember recording  it on a cassette tape while it played on the radio. That’s old school, right?! Then my college roommates and I would listen to it over and over again, writing down all the lyrics and memorizing them. Stopping and rewinding to decode as we went. I heard this song again recently and the beginning caught my attention in a new way.

“All right stop, Collaborate and listen!”

These are the words that begin the song. They stuck in my head for the day and I began thinking how true that statement really was. (Yes, I can even find Jesus in a really old rap song). If we will STOP before we speak, act or worry, then COLLABORATE with the Lord on how to handle the situation or gain control of our emotions and LISTEN for His voice ~ we would be much better off. The world would be a more beautiful place. Our families would be more stable. Our neighbors would see Christ shining through us more often and God’s glory would be more evident in this dark temporary world we live in.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 ESV

It would be a difficult taste to find lessons in some of the remaining lyrics of this song, but oh, how Vanilla Ice had it right in this opening verse!  I pray we will all remember to stop, collaborate and listen to our Heavenly Father every minute of everyday, before every word, action and deed. If we are going to live according to His word, share His love with others and trust His ways, it will not be by our power and might, but by His Spirit that lives in us if we allow Him in.

Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 1 Chronicles 29:12 ESV

 

Quick, Look Up!

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At a certain point as you top Wade Avenue in Raleigh, NC you see a tall white church steeple stretching above the tree lines. Even though it’s 2.23 miles away  from this spot (yes, I actually mapped it), it’s always accented in the summer because of the beautiful contrast of dark green, carolina blue and white. I confess, I travel this route between home and Target often ~ so this is certainly not the first time I’ve seen it, but on this beautiful clear day it really stood out to me because my son was at this particular church attending a music camp.

Anyway, it looked so teeny tiny from 2.23 miles away, like a needle sticking up among a vast and dense area of green tree tops.  As I admired it (and watched the road, of course), I was reminded that even the midst of worry, trial, pain, uncertainty, judgement and all that other stuff that the enemy specializes in ~ God is there. Of course, on those cloudy, dark, stormy and foggy days it’s more difficult to see him (just like the steeple of this church), but He is there.

Sometimes, we just have to focus, keep looking and wait for a few clouds to clear so we can see Him clearly, but even while we wait to see Him at work – He is there! We can’t lose sight of that. What the enemy means for evil ~ God will use for His glory!

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20 ESV

BUT, and there is always one of those, right?! But, while we wait we can’t give up, we can’t believe the lie that He isn’t there just because we are waiting to see Him at work. When you start to doubt – Quick! Look up! When our eyes and hearts are on Him we, can see past the storm and have a more Heavenly perspective that can bring peace, growth, restoration and joy. It’s hard to imagine and difficult to remember to do this in the midst of pain and trials because we aren’t capable of bringing about the outcome we want on our own. Only God can turn trash and trials into treasure! Him alone!

Quick! Look UP!

*No the picture above isn’t from the church in Raleigh, but it was the best I could do. Even though I wanted to stop in the middle of the road and take the picture, I didn’t think it was the best idea.*