Guest Writer-Testimony

A friend of mine was baptized this morning.  This is his testimony:­­

Hi my name is Mike and I’m a Christian …

I’m here today to be baptized as a public proclamation of my faith. Like many, I was baptized as an infant; but have never made the personal decision to partake in baptism.  I would say I was a peripheral believer my whole life, but never really personalized my faith until High School .  Even then though,  there were still some aspects of my faith that I continually struggled with and battled- pieces of the walk I never fully bought into.

About two years ago, shortly after moving to Muncie,  I really began to look deep at my faith – which aspects were important, and which pieces I was struggling with.  More and more I just couldn’t get past a roadblock that I had never crossed over – the one aspect of my faith that I’ve always battled: Forgiveness.

My entire life I’ve always been able to forgive others easily. It’s definitely a spiritual gift that God has blessed me with. But, there was one person I’ve never been able to forgive, that I’ve never let go; and that’s myself.  I’ve always held myself hostage to my past mistakes and former life, believing that I somehow did not qualify for the gift of grace.  To me it has always been too easy and I was too undeserving.  It was for everyone  else but not me.  I would lie myself constantly telling myself things like “If everyone only knew” or “it’s different for me.”

So today, I am not only here as a personal public proclamation of faith, but also to be washed anew in forgiveness.  After wrestling with this topic for my entire life I’ve finally submitted to the Grace that God has freely given to me. I’m opening my hands to the forgiveness that I have in Christ knowing that He is my qualification -not my former life -living  confidently in Romans 8:1 that there is no condemnation for those in Christ.   Today …I’m washing off my old self and moving forward, forgiven.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your constant grace and forgiveness.  Thank  you for the gift of life.  Thank you for raising us from the dead with the same power of the Resurrection.  Forgive us as we forgive others, and ourselves.  Show each of us that your love and forgiveness is unique to each of us individually. Baptize our minds, hearts, and bodies as we publicly and privately proclaim your name daily. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJMnoRC3l5k

 

On Approaching a Decision…

“Focus on Jesus and He will lead you.”

There are two approaches to decision-making.  Well, actually there are more than two; but there are two approaches I take to decision-making: slow and quick.

The slow approach:  I recognize the choice in front of me and pray for clarity, discernment, and an answer.  I wait for an answer.  When I get an answer, I pray again in order to understand that it is the answer.  This is not an indicator of lack of faith, it is a process that leads me towards certainty.  Some decisions should take time to make.  They should be prayed over, shared, and respected for their weightiness.  God is a God of waiting and sometimes in waiting to make a decision, we wait for God’s provision, timing, or blessing to fall before a move is made.  The slow approach is very comforting because once the decision is made, I know I am certain that it is the right one.

The quick approach: I recognize the choice in front of me and realize that it is immanent.  The answer is in the presentation of the choice.  Choosing is compulsory and inevitable, even.  Choosing not to do anything is just as much of a choice as choosing to make the choice is.  In contrast with the slow approach, these sorts of decisions need to be made in the moment they are given. God is a God of action, and in making the decision to trust Him, we expect His provision, timing, and blessing to fall as the move is made.  The quick approach is comforting only in our identity in Christ and in our confidence of knowing His voice.  With this confidence, we know that the decision to be made is the right one, because His voice is clear.

When a choice is given, the first thing one must do is choose to acknowledge that there is a choice in the horizon.  The second thing is to determine the urgency of the decision-making process.  Is this a decision I need to pray about and seek counsel about?  Is this decision something God is wanting me to make right this moment?

Is the decision supposed to be kept secret between He and I until or after it is made?

Ben Franklin had an excellent method for decision-making.  He would get a piece of paper and fold it vertically down the middle.  On one side he would write all of the pros; and on the other, the cons.  Whichever side had the longest list determined the outcome of his decision.  This method is very careful and self-protective, and it caters to the Type A personality.

However, does God want us to make all of our decisions in that way?  I don’t think He does.  I think when He presents us with a choice, His will is already in it.  The outcome of the decision could look completely foolish and reckless, or like blind faith; yet He will remain faithful.

It is in these decisions that God can be glorified.

In fact, every decision we make is an opportunity to glorify the Lord.

So, my question is: how do we make the decision on how quickly we should make a decision?

It depends on the choice.

It depends on His command.

It depends on our maturity.

It depends on His timing.

May the Lord bless you in your decision-making.  Just make His voice known by you, and His will be revealed to you in ways both great and small.  May you have peace in every decision you are presented with as the Lord gives you the gift of choosing Him daily.  Dwell in His promise, living faithfully to fulfill His purpose in each and every aspect of your life knowing that every situation, choice, person, and gift you are given is an opportunity to be obedient. Praise God in every circumstance, for it is He who gave it to you.  Trust Him and Him alone.  Be at peace with every decision you make; and if you are not, seek Him for peace.  Know when to seek counsel, when to wait, and when to move.  Always trust Him.