WE DID IT! We finally had our water baptism at the lake. The Lord blessed us with best of His creative majesty. What a great time of commitment and testimony for the Adventure and Expedition Rangers. I am absolutely certain it was an experience to remember for the 4 young men that took advantage of this opportunity to commit and or re-commit their walk with Jesus.
Thanks Jaxon for your testimony and performing the baptisms. Way to step up your walk with Jesus.
Next Wednesday night we will be joining the entire outpost at the counsel fire.
Tonight’s devotional focused on what happens next! It’s not what you might think.
What a great joy of having 4 young men water baptized tonight; each hoping to have a closer and more focused relationship with their lord and savior, Jesus. And what a great testimony before those family and friends that were there to witness it! While it would be a strong temptation to bask in the excitement and joy of that moment; and though I don’t want to diminish the power of that to change a person’s life, I felt compelled to look to the future.
I must admit that personally I find myself driven to change the odds. The truth of the reality that so many of our young people walk away from their faith by their mid 20’s. That here in America we are closing the doors on 10 churches every week. That one in two marriages end in divorce, and the truth that a living Christianity is failing to raise up the moral standard in our society, are of utmost concern. Even more, I can’t erase from my mind the names and faces of so many individuals I have worked with over the years that are no longer walking with Jesus.
My devotional focused not the excitement and joy of the moment, but on what comes next. None of us will stay on the mountaintop all the time. All of us will at some time walk in the darkness of the valley. We must be prepared.
I am so grateful that in the scriptures, God opens the vaults of His heart and lets us see the strengths and the weaknesses of His hero’s. So many times in my own life I have turned to the story of John The Baptist. If there is a Bible hero I can relate to the most it would be him. Not that I would even be worthy to wipe the dust from his sandals. (By the way that’s not what Jesus says.)
I want to call our attention to the words of Christ about John the Baptist.
“I tell you the truth, among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is” (Matthew 11:11). Of all the hero’s of the faith, Moses, Abraham, David, Solomon, Elijah, Noah! Jesus said John the Baptist is greater than them all!
John was a man that throughout his life was dedicated to fulfilling the call of God upon His life. The scripture tells us that just at the sound of Mary’s voice (Jesus’s mother) when she came to visit her cousin Elisabeth, that the unborn child jumped in the womb and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us that throughout John’s youth he “continued to grow in the Spirit of God”. John was a man that like no other was the fullness of the Holy Spirit pointing the world to Jesus. His entire life was for just one purpose, one sentence! “ Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world. “ John baptized Jesus and witnessed with his own eyes the Spirit of God coming from heaven and landing on Jesus. He heard with his own ears the voice of God proclaiming Jesus as His son, in whom He was well pleased.
Now I want to take us to another scripture, a place in the darkness of the world, a place of deep distress, and inner turmoil, a lonely and desperate place in the dungeon’s of King Herod where John the Baptist knows he is about to be beheaded for his faith in Jesus. Things are getting real for this great man and he calls from the prison cell one last time to a trusted disciple and out of the depth of his soul, he has to have this one most important question answered:
Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”
How pressed to the limit John must have been?
Brothers and sisters I tell you the truth, if this man had to ask this question, how then could we ever expect that we would not? Do we consider ourselves greater than him? Have we seen more than he? Have we lived our entire life as he had lived just to proclaim these words, “Behold the lamb of God”. I know in my heart as well as I am alive that at some point, each of us will ask of Jesus these very same words; “Are you the one, or should we look for another?”
I know that in this moment of great expectation for what God has done, and what God will do in your lives. At this time when this God is filling your lives with the joy of your salvation, and all you want to do is be baptized and testify of your great faith in Jesus. I know that for those of you that today that just died with Christ under the water and were raised up out of the water in the newness of the Spirit of God that these words are the farthest thing from your minds, but I pray that when the time comes and this excitement fades, that you will remember the story of John the Baptist.
Jesus didn’t rebuke John for his moment of weakness. Jesus didn’t condemn him for desperation and boldness to know for sure. Jesus didn’t reject John for his doubt. NORE WILL HE REJECT YOU. The crowd must have heard the question, they must have begun to murmur, they must have begun to judge John for his doubt, and so they will do the same of you.
I want you to notice that it was after John asked Jesus, “Are you the one?”, that Jesus goes out of His way to address the crowd about John the Baptist, “I tell you the truth, among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist. “
I pray that you will remember the story of John the Baptist; not for the weakness of his flesh, not for the question that he asks, but for the answer that he was given.
Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see, the Blind can see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. “Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His answer to John the Baptist is the same answer He will give you. The evidence of the truth of Jesus is the only answer that is able to keep us and sustain us even unto death. John witnessed the things that he saw, John was filed with the Holy Spirit, and John was the man that was called to baptize Jesus because John the Baptist was true to his calling. He fulfilled his work with complete and total dedication and faithfulness.
We must be about our fathers business. We must test the Spirit of God in faith to fulfill His calling. We can never depend upon these mountain top moments of excitement and joy, to carry us through the valleys. Jesus has to be alive in us and the ongoing evidence of His truth and glory is the only thing we can count on. Emotion has no place in the answers to the questions of our soul.
The blind can still see,
The deaf can still hear,
The lame will still walk,
The dead are still raised up,
And the poor still have the good news preached to them!