Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Gess accepted Christ as her savior over a year ago. I don't remember the exact day but I do remember the circumstances. She was in trouble and sorry she had sinned. For the first time it really got to her and in tears she repented and prayed to accept Christ. With her having special needs I didn't follow up immediately with baptism. I wanted to make sure this was genuine. It's so hard to tell how much Gess comprehends sometimes. Sure she knows the answers she has been taught to say, but whether she understands the meaning is another thing entirely. We did begin to see some fruit in her life. She was beginning to deal with some behavioral problems in a more biblical manner and it's very easy to tell that she truly loves praising the Lord.
You may remember how I began explaining baptism to Gess way back in May of 2011.We had talked about baptism and what that means and I even wrote a book about it. Well her salvation was about a year after that post and while we mentioned baptism some after her salvation we had not been discussing it often. Then one day after a sermon at church Gess insisted that she wanted to go forward for baptism. Since it wasn't something we had been discussing recently we felt this was really from her heart so she went forward.
Baptism for Gess truly was a testament to her faith. Most people in our country can go forward for baptism and it cause no real conflict in their life. The early believers faced ridicule and often persecution for making that public profession of faith. To us here in America there is no real cost, just the honor of being faithful. In Gess' case though, it was different.
Gess has some extreme fears and the first time she attempted to be baptized she froze and wouldn't go through with it. While we had shown her where she would be and what they would do, when it came time to actually go in the water it was a whole different story. I think part of the problem was that you couldn't see the bottom of the pool. It was so dark it looked like there was none. Anyway, that service continued without Gess getting baptized!
Later that week we let her try getting into the pool while it had water in it. Gess learned that it was safe and did indeed have a bottom. When we tried again the following Sunday she started to freak out again, but then she just did it. That Sunday Gess was baptized! The fact that it was so important to her that she was willing and able to overcome something that frightened her was proof to me that her salvation was indeed genuine.
Anyway, back to camp. Because Gess wants so much to do what everyone else does she went forward at a couple of the alter calls. The first time she went on the side of those who were already saved. The second time though she went to the other side. As soon as he said if you want to go to heaven come and stand with me, she did. Of course she is already going to heaven but she still wanted to go stand there.
I counseled her both times when she went forward. The second time was truly from the heart more than from just wanting to be up there. She knows that she is saved but she still wants to repent of her sin. She, like all of us, still struggles with sin. She has trouble understanding why the spiritual battle continues. That's a tough one for all of us. So I had her read and memorize Galatians 5:16.
So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
The very next day our preacher spoke on that same passage and followed up with the verses on the fruit of the sinful nature verses the fruit of the spirit. It was not a sermon he had planned, it was something that God put on his heart to change. I am so glad that he did. So while Gess was already saved, she did make a commitment to walk in the spirit. As she prayed she said she wanted to be "more like Jesus." It was such a wonderful thing to witness and be a part of!
I might have also mentioned that Gess received the most points for doing her memorization and book work! I didn't have to modify any verses or help her in any way. Of course some of them Gess already knew. She can say all the books of the bible in order so that got her 2000 points alone. Then she memorized, or at least quoted, 12 verses. They were:
She truly is hiding God's Word in her heart! I am so proud of her and thankful that my little girl loves the Lord so very much. I am also thankful that she had this camp experience to learn more about Him. Gess is such a blessing! God is so very good!