My learning to know the Lord began when I was a child. Growing up, my mom was the first person to introduce me to who Jesus was. She exuded a strength, patience and love that only comes from the Lord. I saw her on multiple occasions with her Bible open, digging into the Word for guidance.
As I got older, she was intentional in placing Bible verses on my dresser or mirror depending on what was going on in my life or a trial that I was facing. She shared about who Jesus was to her, but at the time, I didn't know what it truly meant to have a "relationship" with the Lord.
My husband, Shane, was the first person, other than my parents, who "pursued" me and "chose" me. He showed me that I have value and a reason to be sought after. Through that and our continued relationship it has opened my eyes more to who Christ is, how Christ seeks, how He cares, how He forgives and how He provides.
Our 5 children have been the greatest testimony to the love of God in my life. They shine the Lord in their own unique way, each reminding me that God is good, prayers are answered, grace abounds, and miracles happen.
I am still growing in my knowledge and relationship with the Lord, but throughout my faith journey, there has always been a feeling of being "called."
There have been times where I have felt very distant from the Lord. Wondering if He is actually present. Questioning what His motives are and why I may be struggling with an aspect of my life.
But despite these times of questioning, He has always pursued me. He has always placed the right person or event in my life to turn my attention back to Him.
I have often felt like the lost sheep in the parable. The Lord finds so much worth in me that He leaves the 99 to find me. I know that the Lord loves me because of how he pursues me. He desires a relationship with me. He sees me. He seeks me. He knows every detail about me. He gives me hope. He gives me value. He loved me so much that despite all my flaws and failures, He died for me! I may not always feel worthy, but because of who Jesus is and what He did, I have a place being prepared in Heaven for me.
So today and every day, I want to give God all the glory and proclaim His goodness in my life.
Sunday was a Holy Day of obligation, I rarely missed going to mass on Sunday. I fulfilled my obligation. But, what about the rest of the week? I began to question, am I living a life that reflects the image of God, but I must admit, I continued as I have done all these years, going through the motions, with no changes.
One of the wonderful benefits of being a dad is the blessing of learning from your children. Dads are supposed to have all the answers, right :) I was on one of my many conference calls not long ago and rec'd a text from my daughter Emily Anne. The message was clear, it was concise. It was direct (but with love) as only Ms. Emily can deliver with the sole intent to provoke thought, an assessment, a look in the mirror - "Dad, what is your faith in God?"
Fast forward, a change to attending LEFC, Pastor Tony's messages about reading scripture. The desire to follow Jesus and lead a godly life.
My training, my background in Science and Medicine, we use a guiding principle that is "evidence based." It took me a while, but I have come to the conclusion ... Where do I find the "evidence" to base my faith on? It's the bible. It's scripture.
I have learned the importance of your Oikos. My family and their influence. Nancy, my wife of 40 years, the example of how she leads each day with her faith in the Lord. Her grace, her kindness.
My friend, Mr. Charles, I am convinced God has placed him next door to share his faith in the Lord with me. The many talks he has been kind enough to take the time to guide me.
I often listen to Christian music. There is a song by Brandon Lake that resonates with me, called "Gratitude." Part of the song say's "I throw up my hands and praise you again and again cause all that I have is a Hallelujah. I know it's not much but I have nothing left fit for a king except my heart singing, Hallelujah. I've got just one response, I've got just one move, with my arms stretched wide, I will worship you."
A beautiful song with a beautiful message.
Baptism will identify me with Christ and the Church.. a symbol of a new life.
I am here to renounce my sin - to give myself completely to Christ.
To be the light of Christ in the example I lead, through my thoughts, my actions, my words, my kindness to others. Through the grace that God has offered me, one day at a time. One interaction at a time. I realize now it is not I, but through Christ in me.
(Acts 22:16) What are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.
Hi, my name is Josiah Clark. I am 10 years old and in 5th grade at Kissel Hill Elementary School. I currently enjoy wrestling, running, reading, playing football at recess, riding my bike, and playing outside. I live with my Mom and Dad, sister Gracie, and brother Wesley. I also have a cat named Hector and a golden retriever named Kobe.
At a very young age my parents began reading the Bible to me and praying with me. At around the age of 7 I began to pray before falling asleep about the things I had done that day. Around that same age I asked Jesus to be my Savior. I knew that I needed Him to cleanse me of all my sins. This started my relationship with Jesus.
Over the last few years God has helped me when I have been anxious or nervous before big school or sports events. I like to read, and have read many books, but the Bible is a book that I feel a desire to keep reading over and over again. The Bible can be applied to everyday life more than any other book.
God is the author of the Bible and His words are always true. I have had disappointments, where I have been told "no" for things I really wanted or lost in a game or match, and I have had to learn that those things don't matter.
My value comes from the Lord and who He is and made me to be. My favorite verse is John 15:5: "I am the vine and you are the branches, the one who remains in me and I in Him will produce much fruit because you can do nothing without me. I love this verse because it reminds me that God created me, and that I desperately need Him for all things in my life. I know that God is always with me in the good and hard times and that He is using both experiences to make me into His person. I am being baptized today to publicly declare that I am a committed follower of Jesus.