PART 12 ~ August 2015- God’s Gracious Hand Prepares Me for “Full Immersion Baptism”
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“We therefore were buried with Him through baptism into death,
in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father,
we too may walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)
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PEGGY CONTINUES HER TESTIMONY:
I attended many churches throughout the years, but none offered any other Baptism, but “Infant Baptism.” God knew he needed to educate and prepare me to receive “Full Immersion Baptism.” He did so in the following two ways:
1.) In April of 2015, Faye Aldridge sent me her latest book to edit. The title: “Real Messages from Heaven, Book 3- Presenting Evidence of His Presence.” There were some very powerful stories in that collection.
As I read them over in my little office, I often smelled a beautiful incense-like fragrance and I thought that it was a very special evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit, confirming the truth in the stories I read.
One story God used to prepare me was called “The Conversion.” The main person in the story had grown up in a loving family who was constantly in church. He thought he was “saved” because one time as child, he had quickly repeated a mechanical prayer. When he grew up, the Lord spoke to him and said, “Do you realize you’re LOST?”
Long story short is that he had a full conversion experience not too long after that and confirmed it with “Baptism by Full Immersion” in a nearby creek. That whole story was very new to me as well as touching and educational at the same time.
2.) Every so often, in the past several years, I had seen visuals of Pastor Debbie Baptizing those on her trip in the Jordan River when they went to Israel. Sometimes they showed clips of that on the big screen in the church. I had also purchased a DVD of one of their Israel trips and saw the joy of the Baptisms in the Jordan River on my own TV screen at home. I knew that one person, Linda K. had told me of a very powerful experience she had while being Baptized there in Pastor Deb’s group.
The two things listed above are examples of how God graciously prepared my heart with some familiarity, so that when decision time happened in August, I was prepared. Thank you, Lord!
Eagerly and gratefully, I continued to attend “Covenant Messiah Church” under the very anointed teachings of Pastor Debbie. That included “Tuesday Faith School” as well as “Friday Evening Shabbat (Sabbath) Services.”
One evening in August, 2015, the “Third Anniversary Church Picnic” was announced for yet another time. It was also announced again that whoever wanted to could sign up for “Full Immersion Water Baptism.” The Baptisms would be done at some point after the picnic in the lake located there, as a declaration of personal conversion and decision to be a full disciple of Jesus Christ.
Anyone interested in being baptised, would have to sign up for some classes with Pastor Debbie, in preparation for that experience. The announcements for the baptism also stated the deadline for signing up, but I really wasn’t considering being baptized or attending. I knew I was baptized as an infant, and I thought that “covered it.” I liked the fellowship picnic idea, but had a conflict with other plans for that date. I brushed it all out of my mind while sincerely praying that they would all have a wonderful time together.
About a week later, my friend Karin called. Karin has the gift of Words of Knowledge from the Lord. She often prays in the Spirit, and then receives interpretations which are Words of Knowledge for friends and strangers. Karin was excited and emphatic at the same time when she said,
“Peggy, the Lord says that you need to get Full-Immersion Water Baptized! Is there a way you could arrange for that to be done as soon as possible?” Well, I almost “flipped!” I found it hard to believe that an answer could be so readily available! Pastor Debbie’s Baptism offer sounded like the perfect solution. Now the amazing thing about this “word” was that Karin knew nothing of Pastor Debbie’s offer of Baptism to the congregation!
Karin also noted that often a person’s gifts and specific calling from the Lord was known to “kick in” after “Full Immersion Baptism” since it was so Scriptural. I was really surprised by this tremendous coincidence, but knew that Karin had a really good track record with her Words of Knowledge. I knew I had to obey this word from the Lord at all costs. I quickly cancelled the prior commitment for that date. Next, I lost no time in speaking to Pastor Debbie. I had faith that she would fit me in, even though, by this time, it had already been past the “cut-off” date for registration. I explained Karin’s Word of Knowledge about this to Pastor Deb and she graciously allowed me to register!
Very soon there was a meeting after church with Pastor Debbie, a woman named Grace, and myself to discuss Baptism. I think Grace and I were the late-comers to this request. Pastor Debbie gave Scriptural references for Baptism and explained more about it. Pastor Deb brought out the point that Infant Baptism was not Scriptural. Often, the church cites this Scripture in support of Infant Baptism:
“Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” ~ (Matthew 18:3)
The point, though, is that “become like little children” is basically symbolic for an open, receptive, and trusting attitude toward the Word of God. Personally, I like the concept of parents dedicating their children to the Kingdom of Heaven and making a personal public declaration of that.
I often looked at my Baptismal Certificate and was very grateful for it. In fact, I keep it in a very special place because I consider it a very important document. However, perhaps it should be called a “Dedication” rather than a “Baptism.” After all, the infant doesn’t have the capability of making a decision to be a disciple. The other thing is that the infant will one day stand before God as an individual. God has no grandchildren, just children. That “child”/person will have to give an individual account someday, and he or she will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven just because his or her parents were fine Christians. This is all about individual walks and personal individual decisions. It’s certainly something to seriously consider.
Pastor Deb also explained that standing in the water symbolized death, being immersed under the water symbolized burial, and coming back up symbolized the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Death in this case implies a gradual “dying to the self ” or dying to “selfie” as Pastor Debbie so aptly says it.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
Pastor Debbie also mentioned the same thing that Karin had mentioned when giving the Word of Knowledge: it is very likely that after “Full Immersion Baptism” as a sign of conversion and discipleship, that God will allow one’s ministry to “kick in” or gifts to manifest. It didn’t have to happen, but it was highly likely that it would. This is what happened with Jesus. Right after His Baptism by John the Baptist, his 3 year ministry officially began. She said that it was meant to be a sign of true conversion. She explained that in the Baptismal waters, we would state our name, the date and place of our conversion, and answer the question, “why now?”
Pastor Debbie closed in prayer, and immediately after, a tremendous amount of sunlight seemed to suddenly appear through the skylight directly over where we were sitting. It was like a search-light with a warm blessing on the three of us, and we all noticed it and took it as a very positive sign. It seemed to be more than coincidence!
I was interested in sharing my decision about Baptism with my close friends. They were all very positive and affirmative about this decision. Faye was raised in the Baptist faith, and had undergone the full immersion. Linda, a Methodist, had done so as a teenager at a Methodist Summer Camp Meeting. Karin, a Pentecostal, had also experienced it. I mentioned this to my Mother, and although this was not practiced in her denomination, she was very kind and supportive of my decision. The Lord even sent a little surprise confirmation for me: The day of the Baptism, I was outside loading my car with picnic supplies for the occasion.
A Catholic woman in the neighborhood stopped by at that very moment to ask me a question. I said that I really had to go, but I explained where I was going and why. She expressed in a very heartfelt way that she thought that was “so very beautiful”!
August 17, 2015 was the date of the Church Picnic and Baptism at “Bells Lake.” The loving group of Believers was gathered under a large tent, and everything was very beautifully set up and prepared, as is usual for this church. At about 3p.m., the lake was cleared of all bathers and swimmers to make ready for the Baptism. There were probably about 5 of us that were ready to do this. Pastor Debbie gathered the entire church group around her on the beach, with the 5 of us up front near her. She gave an absolutely beautiful talk on what Baptism meant. An added bonus was that Pastor Deb explained that when they take frequent trips to Israel, they bring some water in a small plastic bottle back with them.
She explained that she was going to pour just a little of that into the waters in front of each person just before they would be Baptized “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” I thought that would be such a beautiful “touch.”
I went in first with Pastor Debbie and her husband Ray on either side of me. I explained that my conversion experience happened in August of 2012 in my sunroom at home as I was doing “The ABC Challenge” for the first time. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and knew that the Bible was completely true and the only true and sufficient guide on earth and in Heaven. I explained that now was the time for me to be Baptized especially because I had received a direct Word of Knowledge from a friend with an outstanding “track record” about the importance of this right now. I also explained that I felt that the Church Age was quickly coming to a close and that we were in the “end times.” I mentioned that I knew that there was no time to waste in being 100% sold out and surrendered to Jesus Christ.
I spoke loudly from the water. I knew that the Believers heard me, and what was even more wonderful, I knew that many of the bathers and swimmers were standing by, watching, and listening to the testimony! Many could have been unbelievers or among the luke-warm Christians. I knew that seeds were being planted in their hearts!
The others gave their conversion experiences and testimonies as I did, and then, one at a time returned to the beach. Each of us was greeted and hugged by so many of the other Believers. They had beautiful words of affirmation and encouragement for each of us. I know my face looks rather serious in the two pictures. I will assure you, however, that it wasn’t long after that I broke into a very big smile which continued for the rest of the day!
It was truly a refreshing experience in so many ways. I had complete confidence that this act of obedience of Baptism would possibly be “my part” in my partnership with God, and that I had expectation that He, in turn, would do His supernatural part to bring me into alignment with His will and planned destiny for me in the coming days and months. It was an exciting thing to ponder! Thank-you Holy Trinity for orchestrating all of this so perfectly for me!
Baptism and “Full Immersion Baptism” cannot save a person. Only a daily on-fire, fully surrendered, one-on-one personal relationship with Jesus can do that. He is the Way.
This Baptism is a sign of public declaration, but is at the same time very Scriptural through this Scripture and many others.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
“Full Immersion” is also Scriptural as we know with Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan River and as is indicated in this Scripture: (notice the words “much water”)
“John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized” (John 3:23)
To be fully immersed in Baptism doesn’t make one better than anyone else, either.
“And opening his mouth, Peter said: ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality.’ ” (Acts 10:34)
The important thing is that you have been FULLY Converted and are not presently in a lukewarm state.
“But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I (Jesus) will spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:16)
Be absolutely certain that you are not on the broad road that many, even most people travel:
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
Okay, “destruction” above does not refer to being annihilated, and ceasing to exist after your last breath. It certainly doesn’t refer to the manner in which your earthly body may possibly at your moment of death cease to function. “Destruction” means an eternity in hell.
Conversely, “life” refers to an eternity in Heaven. Which destination do you want to travel to and remain in FOREVER? Are you willing to pay the price? Keep in mind that this is a short fleeting life. You will not have to live and/or endure this phase forever, and it is good that it is so.
“You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
It would be an intelligent choice to say “Yes,” and then be willing to follow Jesus at all costs.
“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him” (Luke 14:27-29)
Side Note: While typing the Scripture above, I just saw a multi-colored light that flashed in confirmation.
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