Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Day After...A Baptism Story

I have been blessed to be in full time ministry for 28 years and I can honestly say that it's been an incredible ride and I have no regrets!
I love seeing people's lives being touched and changed forever by the gospel and I love being a part of helping them grow in their new found faith in God. 
Seeing a person accept Christ as their Savior and then follow Him in obedience is a wonderful thrill that never gets old.
When a person follows the next step with Jesus an gets baptized well, then it takes the excitement to a whole new level. That's exactly what happened at our church last Sunday as we saw five people proclaim their love for Jesus and do the same thing that He did while on the earth...Get Baptized!
Christine Hawley is one of the people who got baptized and I've asked her to be a guest blogger and share her reflections on what this awesome experience meant to her...

The Day After
My Testimony on the Day After being Baptized
By Christine Hawley

You have heard the testimony of those who were baptized on Sunday.  How God worked in their lives and changed them and brought them to make the decision to be baptized.  My testimony is neither greater nor less, it is just mine and I would be more than happy to sit and share my journey with you.  But today I would like to share my “day after” testimony with a little preamble about the “day of” being baptized and the events that made it happen.
You see, I had been feeling led to being baptized earlier, along with everyone else.  I had not yet written out my testimony and was feeling overwhelmed when thinking about writing it down in some format that wouldn’t ramble on forever or even make sense to anyone who heard it or read it.  The stress was too much, and I just decided that now was
not the time to be baptized, I needed to be stress free and have time to write down my journey in my time.  So, I bowed out that week and was ok with that.  Well, God surely wasn’t.  From the time Pastor Brent said that we didn’t need to have it all planned out and if we were being called to be baptized and believed in Jesus as our Savior then we could be baptized right then, I started to get a feeling like I could do this. But, I thought, I don’t have my bathing suit here and there is not time to drive back home to get it.  God continues to work; the pool has not been opened for us and we need to find a place to hold the ceremony.  I suggested our home since we have a pool.  Not even dawning on me that “Hey, we will be at my house, I can get my bathing suit and be baptized in the comfort of my own pool.”  Not until a dear friend excitedly pointed out that now I could get baptized.  Ok, Wow, you are right!  The realization hit me that God was making this happen because He knew I was ready.
From the moment Pastor Brent baptized me “In the name of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit” and I rose up out of the water, everything about me had changed.  Those were tears of joy at being born again, renewed completely.  I was ready to burst out of my skin.  To describe it I cannot do it justice.  My thought was that this is what it’s like to be overfilled with joy and happiness that only comes from the Lord.   
“But joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5 The day after held no less than the day I was baptized.  My love of God and Jesus had prompted me to journal that day, to write it down as a way to remember what I have been given.  Just as in Joshua 4:1-9 when the tribes were told by God thru Joshua to put down stones after the whole nation had crossed the Jordan to be a memorial to the Israelites, so have I been instructed to write this testimony and share it with others.  Below is my personal journal from that morning.  Uncut, uncensored.
Yesterday I was baptized.  God is an awesome God and worked the circumstances perfectly.  I was overwhelmed by His Spirit coming alive in me.  Filling that void that is only meant for Him.  I give my life to the Father, my will, my body, my mind, soul and spirit.  He orchestrated this event since before I was born.  He knew what would happen and worked it all for His good.  I was brought to life yesterday.  My old life is gone.  It is a new beginning that is Christ centered and focused.  I have always loved Jesus as my Savior and have grown in my walk with Him.  All of me feels like it does not belong to me anymore.  I was blasted ahead full force.  My focus is on Him and His will for me.  His will and not mine.  My life has changed.  He has been working in me and preparing me to do His work.  He has been equipping me with His word and changing my life in so many different ways.  He has forever changed it and there is no turning back now, not that I would ever want to.  My baptism is the beginning of a new chapter for me and my journey with Christ.  His love is over flowing, my heart is filled with joy and I am ready to do His work, whatever that may be and where ever that may lead me.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
I know He will always be working in me until He calls me home, but today I feel like He pushed me ahead and told me I was ready, He has made me ready, He has equipped me, and it was time to continue the journey with the Holy Spirit being my guide.  I know that the Holy Spirit is in you when you accept Christ as your Savior and I have felt Him there from time to time.  But never as I did when I was baptized.  My soul was on fire! (Quoting some from Third Day!)
I know parts of this next verse is used at funerals, but I feel He is using it for me today.
 “…well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”  Matthew 25:23
I do believe the Father is well pleased and the heavens are rejoicing.  I like to think that my earthly father is with Him rejoicing as well and smiling from ear to ear that his daughter finally let go and let Him in fully. 

“My food “said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.”  John 4:34
His will is my will. I praise God and thank Him for all the good work He is doing in me.  Feeling ready to follow His lead and continue His work.
My Prayer
Dear God,
 Today is the first day I am dedicating to making my life and body the temple you designed it to be.  Functioning the way you designed it and not sabotaging it.  I was baptized and was overwhelmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit within me.  Now I want to make sure that His dwelling place is fit for Him.  I need your strength and guidance and love to get me thru what I am sure will be difficult days ahead.  I am asking the Holy Spirit to use its power inside me to bring about these changes.  Let my will become your will.  Use me for your purposes, be the biggest part of my life.  Remove all apprehension and replace it with fortitude to walk in your light, removing all darkness.  I am a warrior for Christ, build me up to where I need to be, to the best I can be.  Fill me with your word and secure the armor of God onto me.  Make me new and whole.  In Jesus’s name I pray, Amen.

1 comment:

  1. For those reading this...I told you, you would need tissues! Christine, thank you for sharing so openly from your heart. I just love this. He has great things in store for you and I think you will be so blessed by following Him and what He has for you!!