Updated: Feb 23, 2022
I’d picked at the bible a few times in my life, but not made a commitment to fully reading it until April of 2018. I’d heard my first sermon on the Holy Spirit in June of the same year. This set of articles was written that August. But what I hadn’t mentioned yet publicly is that it was the true spark that not only started an unusual chapter in my life, it started a path of experiences that led to this series.
My baptism by water
I do not use stock images. This one is my own and you can see it in my personal portfolio.
To some, this type of baptism is arguable, but according to the records, it’s what Christ chose as the truest way to open the body, mind, heart and soul to the Holy Spirit. I’m talking about immersion, being dunked into water after acceptance toward a life on the path to God (baptism by immersion symbolizes the burial of the old self and the raising of the new self):
"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead."
I’d been baptized before, but not in this way. It was something to do with sprinkling something on me, then saying a few words. I was so young I don’t remember it and it certainly wasn’t my choice.
The baptism I’d experienced in my adult life, back in early 2018, it shifted my world around in ways I could have never expected. I believe it’s what opened me up to the Holy Spirit, the energy I first typed about in the main article of this series. Then, later, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, which was quite amazing and the subject of another article.
I’ve seen some pretty moving stuff in my life. There are incidents that have shaped me which were intensely powerful, emotional and unforgettable. I’ve come dangerously close to death several times. I experienced 13 deaths of friends and family members in about a 3.5 year period, one of which was a Grandfather, who’s hand I held as he died. I played a strong part in saving a child’s life, and at least two friends’ lives, all from suicide. Those moments, among many others like them have instilled pain, wisdom and even joy, the likes of which are hard to find words for.
Still, this baptism by immersion (and later the baptism in the Holy Spirit), just after my public acceptance of Christ, they were two of the most unique, moving, world spinning experiences of my life. If ever I’d found any moments when human language couldn’t clarify or justify an experience, these were it. And not only were they moving by themselves; to boot, my wife, Grace, was baptized by immersion on the same day I was, immediately after me. My child’s uncle; a family member, friend and support pillar watched in the audience as he held my daughter to witness her mother and father change their lives.
What changed after the baptism by immersion in water
What I strongly believe is this; the Holy Spirit, as he is supposed to, entered our lives in a dramatic way on that morning. I’ve been through a lot of therapy in an attempt to self-improve and deal with my past. I’d seen a lot of very smart, compassionate people in that process. But no book I’d read or therapist I’d seen had ever come close to this. Other moments of personal repair had taken years of picking things apart and replacing bad pieces. But after this baptism by immersion, some of my hardest habits instantly disappeared, something I’d previously believed was impossible.
I’m not going to go into too much detail about everything that changed, but there are some things I can share. My wife and I were made stronger as a team. Don’t get me wrong, we have our bad moments as it’s virtually impossible not to while living in the environment of, well, this planet. But the experience felt like some sort of indescribable bonding. lowered in the same tank by one of our favorite pastors, one right after the other, bathed in such a clear, bright, energetic water.
No stock images here. I shot this myself and you can see it in my photography portfolio.
The other major change was the gain of wisdom. There were so many crossroads before, that held questions of how to proceed, how to self-control and how to speak out. I now walk right through many of them without incident and with total trust that the Holy Trinity is leading me through. Before this, some of my most vital choices were darkened by fear and doubt. And while I’m still overly careful sometimes, I’m often now gliding right through such choices, holding my hand up for a divine high-five as I sail through with personal confidence and the pride my heavenly Father has for how far I’ve come in recent life.
What life is like now
Oh Lord, it’s a fight! My goals are clear, to make every piece I can of me more like Christ, but my path is still littered in some spots and completely overgrown in others. Sometimes I just need a small trash bag and a pick-up stick. Sometimes I need a bull dozer. At times it’s dangerous, often exhausting and very time consuming. Welcome to Earth. In other words, our human lives are often hard on all of us, with or without God invited in.
Still, I now cary a much brighter lamp through the dark spots. And then, there’s the spotlight from above. Sometimes it shines down when that lamp dims, sometimes it ignites my way even if I’m not desperate for it. The wisdom I have access to now, it dulls the memories of life without it.
I love photography. You can find this image in my personal portfolio.
Then there’s the energy, the feeling I get when I gather the Holy Spirit, the tingling, the calm, the joy that seems to come from nowhere. It’s powerful and full of things I can’t even describe.
If you happen to ask how to do it, it’s simple. First you invite Christ into your life, into your heart (as silly as it might sound, really… what’s the loss?). Then, take that list I put in the last article, the one that gives out the positive ways I invite the Holy Spirit. Start by doing one thing on it, then keep going with more, even add your own. The more you add, the more you’ll have the potential of feeling that power, that energy. It’s not always that easy, sometimes you have to clear out contaminants in your life, (read Sin, a Realistic View) but it’s there, available to anyone and might only take some practice.
I’d heard a saying once, can’t remember where from… Something someone said like this; “The worst parts of my life now, experienced in the light of Christ, are far better than the best parts before before I had him.” I have to agree. Because as bad as things can still get, the extremes work on both sides of the coin.
Now I see a wider spectrum when it comes to wisdom, strength and my emotional and spiritual states. That means I now have the chance to push harder toward the high end. Through the pain of life, I now also experience joy and hope like I never could have imagined before. So for every single whoever or whatever that tries to pull me over into the darkness, there are many more who can guide me to the light.
Stock images? No, not on this site. This is my own image and you can see it in my portfolio.
Gathering the Holy Spirit The human soul is incredibly powerful. I think most of us don’t know how strong our presence can be. We communicate hope, renewal, love and fellowship just by transferring that positivity and wisdom.
Gathering the Holy Spirit (Resources, supporters only) The following are resources that can help the reader reenforce the concepts covered in the last two articles.