I asked God to meet me in His Word a week ago on Sunday morning, July 5th. As I rose early in the morning to spend time with Him, I asked Him to simply meet me in His Word...in a special and clear way. Our children had expressed a desire to be baptized. We were now vacationing for a week in Ocean City, New Jersey, where one of our sister churches (Calvary Chapel of Ocean City) "just happened" to be having an Atlantic Ocean baptism the one Sunday afternoon we were there (which they only do twice a year -- once in the summer and one on New Year's Day).
Jim and I had prayed with and for our cherubs. Jim had spent time explaining to them the importance of being baptized and the significance of being immersed under the water and then being lifted up out of the water. We shared with them the deeply meaningful moment that baptism is to a Christian. We told them we had dedicated them to the Lord when they were babies, and that their decision to be baptized represented their own personal dedication to the Lord.
They were ready. They wanted to be baptized.
When I woke last Sunday morning, I was asking the Lord to confirm for me that our children being baptized that day was His will and His timing for our children. As I opened His Word, He met met IN ABUNDANCE! This year as I am reading through the NIV One-Year Chronological Bible, I have been beginning my daily quiet time in my chrono Bible. My chrono Bible was open to July 5th and this is a portion of the scripture appointed for July 5th:
(Various portions of scripture from July 5th - 2 Chronicles 29:3-31:1)
"Now I intend to make a covenant with the LORD, the God of Israel...the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him and serve Him, to minister before Him...consecrated...purify...following the word of the Lord...purified...prepared and consecrated...sanctuary...singing to the Lord...the whole assembly bowed in worship...so they sang praises with gladness and bowed their heads and worshipped...You have now dedicated yourselves to the Lord...thank offerings...willing hearts...all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for His people...celebrate...submit to the Lord...come to the sanctuary...serve the Lord your God...for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate...the hand of God was on the people...following the word of the Lord...May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God -- the Lord, the God of his fathers...they celebrated joyfully...God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, His holy dwelling place..."
Once again, I was overwhelmed by God's goodness by meeting me richly and clearly in His Word. Why do I sometimes doubt that He will meet me there? Last Sunday morning, I sat with my chrono Bible open, my jaw dropped and my heart gushing forth with thankfulness. Thank You, Lord. Thank You for meeting me. Thank You that Your Word is alive and active. Thank you for the peace and surety of Your confirmation through Your Word. "You have now dedicated yourselves to the Lord." 2 Chr. 29:31
When the children awoke, Jim and I sat with them again. Through tears and with a lump in my throat, I was able to read to them the scripture God had given us for July 5th. July 5th...the day of the ocean baptism. They have seen time and time again how God meets us so personally and intimately through His Word. Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness.
I have to confess something. Although I accepted Jesus into my heart in 1979, I had never been baptized. God, in His grace, gave me this moment to be baptized with our children...by a dear friend of ours who is the pastor in Ocean City. My heart is so deeply humbled and thankful. (And you might remember that Jim was baptized in the Jordan River this past February when he was in Israel.) We are all celebrating joyfully!
It was a special day on the beaches of Ocean City, New Jersey, as over 70 people were baptized. Our dear friends were visiting for one night, which made it extra special and meaningful for us. Here are a few photographs:
Also part of the July 5th daily chrono Bible reading was