2017/04/28

Confession of Faith and Baptism service on Easter


 
Confession of Faith    16 April, 2017    by Y. Y.
I’m grateful that I have made it this far being supported by many prayers.
In God's Plan, past 57 years of my life was just a prologue before starting new life. I have deep emotion while feeling strange to be baptized, but "Let us go over to the other side (Mark 4:35)," Jesus is standing beside me and accompanying me to the other side no matter how big storm comes. 
Once I saw the verse from bible in TV drama: "he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear (1 Cor 10:13)," and it was my first encounter with bible. I was introduced IJCS by God's arrangement and attended Sunday service for  the first time on 1st June 2014. However, I regretted coming soon after the service started because I felt I was out of place. I missed my chance to escape while sitting and standing during the service, then sermon on Genesis by Pastor Ito had started. Genesis Chapter 1 says, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good" - I got to know the magnificent story of God's creation and God created us and saw that we were good. I was encouraged by this story and I wanted to enrich my life by knowing more about bible. Therefore, I started attending IJCS's Sunday service and found comfortableness in worship songs, as if I'm floating in the ocean gracefully. 
As studying bible, I have realized that the desire to know God's Words only to enrich my own life is selfish thought. Rather, I noticed that God let us live rich life by teaching His Words. 
Sometimes I found it difficult to accept certain verses in bible: "You shall not commit adultery" for instance. In New Testament, having mere lust without any action is already considered as sin, however, it is natural for Adam to have affection towards women who are Eva's descendants, so as to have desire to them. I felt this covenant is impossible for me to keep.
Also, we Japanese have rich spiritual culture based on the spirit to worship nature, which was nurtured by accepting Buddhism, Confucianism and other cultures. Though we seem atheist, faith in spiritual culture has become part of our custom through the history. I felt I could not just renounce this culture and could not believe in God in Trinity as only God to become Christian. Meanwhile, I was also aware that my life had been certainly enriched than before, so I was content to stay as just one of "fans" of Jesus without becoming a part of flock of His lamb.

Then, one day, the encounter with this verse suddenly opened my eyes: "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)" 
What was I waiting for? God loves us, He loves us as much as He sent His only Son to wash away our sins. This is everything, there is nothing more to ask for.

"You shall not commit adultery" - no human being can keep this stringent "regulation" and only God can make it. This mere fact already tells us we are all sinners before Lord.

I can still cherish the heart of Japanese while believing in God as our only God. What is more important and necessary for us is to respond to God's love, as He loved us first, He created us and saw good.

As I decided to accept God's unconditional love and I was forgiven, I hereby declare that  I walk together with Jesus Christ, the savior.

Lord, please bless all people and family here today.
Lord, please encourage us not to be afraid when we hesitate to take a brave step.
Lord, please discipline us when our faith is shaken.
Lord, let us rest beside you when we are hurt and weary.
I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.


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