Tag Archives: baptism

symbiosis

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symbiosis

n. pl. sym·bi·o·ses (-sēz)

1. Biology A close, prolonged association between two or more different organisms of different species that may, but does not necessarily, benefit each member.

2. relationship of mutual benefit or dependence. 

As a self professed introvert relationships sometimes seem to be a lot of hard work. I mean, do you know how emotional people can get!? Its exhausting, almost nobody just says:

‘Hey, You take a nap while I bring you some wine and dark chocolate.’

I suppose that would fall under number one of the symbiosis definition, and that wouldn’t be very fair. Definition number two, the one that says a relationship is of mutual benefit, is probably the better deal though. 

While everyone has great capacity to be selfish, and lazy; absolutely no one was put on this earth solely to be served. Not even me. God’s own son (think about that) came not be served but to serve. Therefore, I can hardly expect someone else to leave me in introvert paradise, with only the occasional appearance of a loyal maid or butler. People, like it or not, need other people. We are designed that way.

Genisis 2:18  The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”  

Side Note Ladies: By ‘man’ I’m including the meaning ‘man-kind’.

Sure it’s work to have and be in relationships, but that’s because we’re a fallen people in a flawed world. If everything were the way God first intended us to be, then the best part of our relationships today could be considered but a glimpse, a shadow of the reality it could have been. What I believe we can expect in heaven.

In the mean time, we just need to continue to drown our old selves in our baptismal waters and allow our Christ renewed selves to fill the relationships we have.

Amen.

A Prayer in Remembrance of Baptism

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Lord God, I am your child.  I call you Father because you are my Father.  You named me with your own holy name even before I could speak.  You made me your own before I could move a hand to help or prevent you.  You insisted on having me even though you knew the end of my life as well as its beginning, its shame as well as its glory, its failures as well as its achievements, its bad as well as its good.

Why, Father, should I persist in resisting you?  Why should I insist on my own way instead of knowing your way of grace and love?  Why should I obey my own whims instead of letting your grace in baptism have its way with me?

Forgive me, Father, for so often wandering into a far country away from you, your forgiveness, your joy, your promises, your love in Jesus Christ.  Help me to live in the freedom of my baptism, by the faith you have given me, in the life which you daily renew by your gracious forgiveness.

I am baptized.  I belong to you, God.  Amen

Taken from the Lutheran Via de Cristo Pilgrim’s Guide

Image result for martin luther on remember our baptism

Tools of the Trade

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Image result for images of the armor of godWhen it comes to obedience, Satan is our enemy.  His wiles were behind the very first instance of disobedience in the garden, and he continues to lead us astray today.  However God has given us tools to resist the devil.  In Chapter 6 of Ephesians, the apostle Paul describes these tools and calls them “the armor of God.” (Ephesians 6:13-17)

When and how do we receive this armor?  I believe it comes with our baptism.  This is the day God claims us as His own, the day that we “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:14)  Only in Him do we become righteous and capable of true obedience.

Here’s what the Lutheran Catechism says about baptism:

“It (baptism) signifies that the old Adam in us, together will all sins and evil lusts, should be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance and be put to death;  and that the new man should daily come forth and rise, to live before God in righteousness and holiness forever.”

This is based upon Romans 6: 4

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised form the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

So here’s the question Paul poses:

“How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2)

You and I are new creations.  God gave us righteousness through Christ.  We have the armor of God.  Remembering this can help us to be obedient.

 

 

 

The Freedom of Baptism

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The following prayer is from the Via De Cristo Pilgrim’s Guide, given to each participant in the retreat weekend:

Lord God, I am your child.  I call you Father because you are my Father.  You named me with your own holy name before I could move a hand to help or prevent you.  You insisted on having me even though you knew the end of my life as well as it’s beginning, it’s shame as well as it’s glory, it’s failures as well as it’s achievements, it’s bad as well as it’s good.

Why, Father, should I persist in resisting you?  Why should I insist on my own way instead of knowing your way of grace and love?  Why should I obey my own whims instead of letting your grace in baptism have it’s way with me?

Forgive me, Father, for so often wandering into a far country away from you, your forgiveness, your joy, your promises, your love in Jesus Christ.  Help me to live in the freedom of my baptism, by the faith you have given me, in the life which you daily renew by your gracious forgiveness. 

I am baptized.  I belong to you, God.  Amen

Joan’s Journey of Rebirth, part 1

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I read a book once (and those who know me well, know almost anything significant I want to tell you will start that way) about some of the saints and their experiences with God. At one point, the author asks an Abbot in the catholic church how he had met God in his life. “After . . . embarrassed silence the Abbot admitted he had never had a direct experience of God. Yet, he said, there was nothing surprising about that. God himself said to Moses in the book of Exodus, ‘you cannot see my face.’ But God also taught Moses that he could see God’s back as he passed by, so looking back over his many days, the Abbot could see clearly God passing through his life.

 

My experience is like that Abbot’s. I had no road to Damascus conversion experience. But looking back over my life I see God’s fingerprints everywhere. He has molded and touched me through people and churches and my life circumstances over and over again.

 

When I was a child, my family didn’t go to church. However, I was baptized in the Lutheran church when I was three years old. My baptism was due to the influence of my great-grandmother. By the time I knew her she was elderly and did not get out much, but in her younger days she had been a devout Lutheran. I remember being baptized and going to her house afterwards. She asked me if the pastor sprinkled water on my head.

 

Then when I was in elementary school, a co-worker of my grandmothers’ took me to a Lutheran church with her family. I don’t know why Mrs.Stitely suggested it. She had no children my age; she and my grandmother were not close friends; she had no reason to take me to church other than a desire to see a child get to know Jesus. If she were still alive I would thank her because there I learned the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, Bible stories and Christian songs. Neighbors took me and my siblings to Vacation Bible School each year also.

 

As a teenager, I stopped going to church regularly and was never confirmed. Now and then I would attend a service, or even go to Luther League meetings because I had school mates who belonged to the church. Eventually, influenced by what I was reading, I decided I was an atheist. Looking back on my behavior I see a relatively obedient teenager trying to shock. In spite of my professed disbelief I continued to attend church sometimes and even read the Bible. I remember daring God to do something to make me believe in Him.

 

And He did. I said I was done with God but He was not done with me. I went off to college. I was assigned to a roommate based on two things we had in common: we were nonsmokers and undecided about a major. Despite the purely “negative” reasons we ended up together, we are still friends after over forty years. And guess what, Nancy was a serious Christian. She never tried to argue with me about my beliefs. She just became my friend. Nancy has been a big influence on my spiritual life. Other than my husband, she is the first person I go to for prayers, encouragement and spiritual advice. Nancy is one of the greatest blessings God sent to me.

to be continued ….

Spiritually Reborn in Baptism

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Most Lutherans, like Michele, would say their faith story started with baptism, usually as an infant or small child.  We believe that in baptism we are reborn as God’s child through the action of the Holy Spirit. It is God’s work, not ours. Here is what Luther says about the spiritual benefits of baptism in his Small Catechism:

What is Baptism?
Baptism is not just water, but it is the water used according to God’s command and connected with His Word.

What is that Word and command of God concerning Bap­tism?
Jesus says: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:18-20.

The Blessings of Baptism

What does Baptism give or profit?
Baptism effects forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, just as the words and promises of God declare.

Which are these words and promises of God?
Christ our Lord says, Mark 16:16: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

The Power of Baptism

How can water do such great things?
It is not the water that does these things, but the Word of God which is in and with the water, and faith which trusts this Word of God in the water. For without the Word of God the water is simply water, and no baptism; but with the Word of God it is a baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says, Titus 3:5-8: “According to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; that having been justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying.”

The Meaning of Baptism

What does such baptizing with water mean?
Such baptizing with water means that the old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts; and that a new man daily come forth and arise, who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?
St. Paul writes, Romans 6:4: “We are buried with Christ by baptism into death, that just as He was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

 

 

 

 

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