I've gotta say, this was such an exciting weekend for me! Not only was there the joy of following the Lord in obedience and being baptized, but I watched 7 dear sisters and brother also take that step. All day, I couldn't stop thanking God for His marvelous gifts. His grace in salvation was forefront on my mind, but after the baptism, I was so overwhelmed by the love of Christ as shown by my church family. There must have been almost 200 who overran the pool area at the Best Western. As we prayed and sang together afterward, it felt as if I had been given a small foretaste of heaven.
Sorry for the bad picture quality, but I'll share a few here... :) If you want to read my testimony, I have copied it into this post - if not, just scroll down to the pictures. :) There was so much I felt I could have said, but I trust that God is able to use even my poor words to encourage someones life.
|Giving my testimony|
When I was younger, I would witness baptisms and think to myself how boring my own testimony was. Having been raised in a wonderful Christian home and coming to Christ at the age of six, I may not have had a dramatic conversion experience, but over the past few years God has been opening my eyes to see just how much I do need His salvation. God has blessed me so much with many Christian friends and family members and I want to thank everyone here for coming to support those of us who are being baptized today, as we “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Although I grew up in the church, it was not until I was 14 that I truly began to seek the Lord personally with my whole heart. It was at this time that I came to a more full understanding of just how much I needed a Savior. Because God is good, and I am a sinner, I cannot stand in His presence. God's goodness demands justice, and that means that He should rightly turn His face from me in eternal condemnation. As Ephesians 2:3 says, we “were by nature children of wrath.” Through the Bible I can see my own sinfulness and depravity. The gospel has become so much more real to me as I realize that it was my sin - my pride and rebellion and deceit - that Christ died for. It is truly humbling and infinitely wonderful, to see just how much I don't deserve God's grace. The love of Christ meant nothing when I depended on self-righteousness and lived in my sins, but in mourning and repentance for sin, His love is an ocean that makes me clean. There have been so many precious times, when I have come to Christ broken and with repentance, and have been so lovingly forgiven and held by the one who died for me. I marvel that I have been chosen as an object of His mercy. Truly, His grace abounds to me, and that grace continually grows as I understand the depth of my need of it. Christ set aside his heavenly glory to inherit the curse of death that was upon me - how could I ever reject the gift of his life to me? All He asked is that I gave up my filthy rags of sin and self-righteousness, so that I could be clothed in His blood-washed robe of true righteousness.
God has been so faithful in my life, to grow and preserve my faith even through times of difficulty, doubt, and uncertainty. Two years ago, He led my family to Valley Heights, and through the teaching here I have grown much deeper in my understanding of and hunger for scripture.
Right now I'm at a chapter in my life where the future is open and unknown to me. There have been times where I have given in to anxiety, and I have been convicted of my lack of trust. God knows the end from the beginning, and He will never leave me. I do not know what the future holds, but I know the goal to which I run, and I know that God will use every step and mis-step in between for my good and His glory. A few verses that really encouraged me are in Colossians 1:9-14, where Paul writes regarding the will and empowerment of God for the believer:
“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
God has been impressing on my heart that His ultimate will for my life is for me to glory in Him alone- to spend so much time thinking about him and worshiping him that he is fully and totally ENOUGH. I know that there are many things that I will never completely understand, but I rejoice that He has granted me faith. I once was a slave of sin, warring against God, but my soul is now His, because He gave His life to set me free. Whereas I was once a captive to sin, I now have the power and authority in Christ to fight against it and be victorious. Although I sometimes fall, the battle has already been won and the outcome is secure. God is my Master, and it is my desire to obey Him by being baptized today.