Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Baptism and New Beginnings

          Revelation 21:1-5

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said,
“I am making everything new!”

Recently, I rededicated my life to Christ and the Church here in Rose Creek. I desired to have a new beginning. I wanted to be fully functioning in the church. I wanted to be completely surrendered to Jesus in all of what he expects of me as His Disciple and a part of His Body. I didn’t want to be drifting in a sea of unreality or laying on the shore like a beached whale, gasping for air and life. I felt my life needed a new start, I needed to draw a line in the sand and go forward.

So, I was baptised into Christ and the Church.

My earnest desire is to be fully immersed in this Body, the Church, and all God has for me here. I need a new vision to see and follow inside the church here. I believe that starts with an act of submission, namely baptism, and the laying down of everything that needs to die. I need a cleansing of my mind, will and emotions. I want to look at everything in my life that doesn’t line up with the will of God and be rid of it. I need that cleansing and renewal of the Holy Spirit to enable me to walk in righteousness towards God and His Church.

And the Church received me, prayed for a fresh renewal of the Holy Spirit to fill me and empower me to walk uprightly in the Lord.

In and through all of this, I need to walk in wisdom and truth every day. I want to possess and utilized a clean mind and a sound heart. I need to, and I desire to lead my family into all the righteousness of Christ, into following Him and obeying his commands. I need and want to be the example for them to pursue God's will without any selfish and personal gain, reputation or interests. I need and want to be the father all my children need, so they can to learn how to worship and obey our Heavenly Father.

I need to be the best husband to my wife that God desires me to be, leading and guiding her with wisdom and gentleness, considering her needs and providing a safe place for her. I want to love her as Christ loves His Bride.

I want my life to be used of God and sanctified in the doing of his will every day. I want a consistent mindset and spiritual outlook on every aspect of service to others in the church. I need my desire renewed to care for all who God puts before me, especially those of the household God.

I need to be led by the Holy Spirit in all matters of this life and not to grieve Him with my actions or thoughts. I need to be completely filled up and accepted into the Church by the outpouring of the Spirit, enabled to see, hear and act in accordance with His will. I need to be set free because where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Liberty.

I want to be of one heart, one mind, intent on that one purpose of following Christ with all of those who desire to believe in and walk in the Life of Christ.

As always, there are others who may feel like they need a new start. Even if you have been a Christian for a long time, there is an opportunity to begin again and re-dedicate your life to our King and Lord Jesus Christ. There is no shame in doing that. Your life may be like mine was. You may be feeling the weight of the past, of things gone wrong or things left undone. You may have fallen into sin somewhere in your walk and fallen into the ditch of despair. There is hope and salvation available for you. You have a choice you can make. You can do something different.

Don't know what or how to change things? That's ok. There is one thing you must do immediately before you do anything else. STOP! Stop doing what you are doing. Repent. Confess to the Lord what you have been doing, or not doing, and ask Him to change you. Cry out for His rescue and salvation. Weep, wail, holler out for Him to cleanse you and make you new. Seek Him with all your heart, mind and strength. Don't let go of that desire to be changed and cleansed from all you have done against Him. I spent a long time meditating on the cry that David made to God for his sin. This is one passage that is dear to me in many ways. One of my favorite musical artist (Keith Green) put this to song years ago. It always brings me to tears when I hear it.

Psalms 51
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit....

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

I believe God has spoken to me through the heart of David. His repentant heart and humility is where I began to plead for God to see me and make me new again. I need to know the joy of His salvation and clearly see Him walking before me, every day, so that I can follow Him as His disciple.

“I am making everything new!”

There is a new beginning for everyone who believes in the name and power of Jesus Christ. His mercy is plenteous and His grace is abounding. He will always fulfil His promises to those who honestly come to Him in all humility and sincerity for salvation and life everlasting. He has a new beginning for you, too.

Here is another song by Israel Houghton about Moving Forward in Christ as He makes all things new.  Just click here to hear his song.