Friday, April 08, 2005

Baptismally Beautiful

I have been on the phone with my Mom. She is making plans to travel here from Jacksonville to be present at Noah’s baptism on May 15th. This is such a special time for our family. When I think of how God has blessed us with this little boy, and when I remember how God saved his life when we had to take him to Vanderbilt Hospital a week after he was born, joy and thanksgiving fills my heart. We are going to make a really big deal out of this. It is just natural that we give Noah back into the Lord’s hands, and promise to raise him to know Jesus. After all, Noah is a true gift of God’s love to both Tim and I, and our extended family. We are so thankful for the opportunity to love him and take care of him and raise him.

Did you know that Jesus feels about you the way that we (Tim and I) feel about Noah? Sometimes we go into his room and just watch him sleep, amazed at how beautiful he is. This is how Jesus feels about you. You are His precious child, intricately created by Him in amazing ways. He is so proud of you, not for what you do, but because of who you are. You are a unique, creative expression of God’s love. And by giving you the breath of life, God has lavished His love through you on the world. Now this is true whether you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior or not. You are God’s precious creation.

Now just imagine what joy must fill God’s heart when you return His precious gift and creation, your life, into His care through baptism? The Bible says that all the angels in heaven rejoice when one lost soul is found, when one precious and unique expression of God’s life is returned to God’s care to prosper and fulfill its purpose. When you come to know Jesus as more than just a good man, as more than just a great teacher, as more than just a religious leader, when you come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, something cosmic in the universe changes, shifts, and all heaven rejoices. It is like God rushes in to your heart to greet you with arms wide open, a perma-grin plastered across the Heavenly face, and love oozing out all over. God is crazy about you, and when you honor Him by returning your life into His hands, to allow Him to guide and love and protect His precious child in the way that only He knows how, He just bubbles over with excitement and joy. He probably even weeps. The way I do when I realize that this little boy of mine, who once was so sick, is healthy and happy and full of love to give us.

In the core of who you are, can you honestly say that you belong to Jesus, wholly and indefinitely? Are you still holding out for something better? Oh He loves you. He so wants your joy and fulfillment. He so wants to give you His very best. But these things can only happen in their fullness when you completely relinquish yourself into His care. And here is how you do it:

Talk to Him the way you would talk to someone on your cell phone, knowing He is there and listening even though you cannot see Him with your physical eyes. Tell Him you’re sorry for not realizing how great His love for you is and for not coming to Him sooner. Tell Him you no longer want to get in the way of His blessings by ruling over your own life. Tell Him you want to give Him the care and guidance of the beautiful creation He created when He made you. Tell Him you want Him to live in your heart, to love you and guide you and care for you forever. Tell Him you are ready to be found by His love. And then . . . . Thank Him for coming to you and making you completely His own.

Because this is what happens when you invite Him into your heart like that. And if you haven’t been baptized, go find your church pastor and tell him or her you are ready to be baptized. (If you don’t have a pastor to baptize you, call me at 842-2880, or email me back, and we will make sure you get baptized!) Because there is something so beautiful about having the water of baptism poured over your physical body as a sign of what the presence of Christ has already done in pouring Himself over and into your life. It represents that you are washed clean: everything about you is made new; all your sins are forgiven; and now you can live with the fullness of God’s creative power making you every part of the beautiful creation He made you to be. It is so beautiful. And every angel in heaven celebrates with you.

You are all so precious to me. I rejoice every time I see each of you. For those of you whom I have not met, I still know that you are special and precious, because I know my Savior, and He doesn’t make any junk! I so want for all of you all that Jesus has to offer. It is a beautiful thing when you let Him make you His own. I promise; He is everything He says He is and more; He will give you His very heart. Know that you are so special and blessed.



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