I was the close to middle child in the family, and often called the "black Sheep" of the family.  Though I never knew why I was referred to in these terms, I did eventually end up doing some really bad things.  Hey' it was my destiny… Dad defined me that way and later in life, I became someone that He nor my mother or family had influence over.  I also had little to do with them in the end.  Though I couldn't see the reason for the labeling, I became a rebel. I decided I wanted to be saved, and that the family church was not all there was.  (I had read the scriptures.)  No one could dissuade me from this purpose.  Through offense they had lost all influence over me and my activities.

Finally God stepped in and I received the Holy Ghost, dragging four (4) out of the remaining five (5) siblings with me, and out of my parent's Church.  Much like the offended Absalom, I uprooted the kingdom, to the joy of my brother and sisters who loved having this new joy and peace of the Holy Ghost, but to the dismay of my parents.  Even though I had the precious gift of the Holy Ghost, I was still stony ground.  I cared not that this new way of life offended them, especially my Dad.

I grew stronger in the Lord as the rebel of the family; until the Lord slowed me down tremendously with trial, tribulations, sickness and rejection.  I cratered in my spirit, descending into the darkness of depression.  Through this the Lord began to teach me to love those who despitefully used me.  Even not to hold a grudge against God himself for my life shattering illnesses.  I learned to smile and love back and smile when others hurt me, which was a humongous job!!!  I did not realize that the smile on my face would attract others to myself.  It was just the joy that Jesus gave after removing SO MANY STONES OF LIFE.  I learned to love my dad who had persecuted me all of my life, and finally realized reasons for his disgruntled behavior.  I was like him, eyes, brown skin, hair texture, tall, the works.  Daddy had to look in the mirror when he looked in my face, and was reminded of much rejection in his own life. I forgave him, and truly love and miss my dad, whom I found out was not a bad person at all. 

But I was still not much, even with the joy of the Lord, and when the Lord began to pressure me into Spirit to become something, I felt like I was nothing and insignificant.  I balked often at the commands of the Lord in my life, adding rebellion to my low self-esteem.  I learned through the stern hand of correction, to obey God.  I am discovering that I do have something to offer, though the road isn't easy.

The scripture says we a
fearfully and wonderfully made and created in the image of God.  So for all of us, we must not think that we are something when we are nothing, but we must realize we are what the Lord says we are, and not feel that we are nothing, when indeed He says, we are something. 

All Glory be to God, for His unspeakable gift!

By Deborah Garcia


Water has always been among other things a method of cleansing.  As a person approached the interior of the temple, he would find the brazen laver, or basin of water in which he was to wash in order to began the cleansing process for his or her sins.

We find in the New Testament that the process of water cleansing took on a new exposed meaning as John the Baptist baptized men and women for their sins.  In order to have them washed away. 

The scripture says that they were baptized by John "confessing  their sins".

Though many today say that this is just symbolic, and is not a necessary thing that must be performed in accordance with the plan of salvation, the Bible gives a completely different assertion.

Jesus said to Nicodemus, except a man be born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot even see the kingdom of God.  He went on the say
the wind bloweth where it listed and you hear the sound thereof but you don't know where it came from, or where it's going.  So is everyone who is born of the spirit.  This statement indicated that being born of the Spirit, and being born of water is two entirely different things.  Both are needed to see the kingdom of God.  As Jesus approached John the Baptist in the river Jordan, Jesus said that John's baptism must be done to fulfill all righteousness not that it was a symbol that was optional.  You must be born of the water and the Spirit.

John himself was speaking to the Pharisees and Sadducees, religious sects of the day.  As they came to the baptism, he asked them who warned them to flee from the wrath to come. This is showing that baptism is in attempt to flee the wrath to come.   Jesus asked the question, and  gave the following message concerning baptism. 
Mk:11:30: The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.  Mk:16:16: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Not he that just believeth.  If baptism is of God, then we need to pay earnest heed to it.

1Peter 3:  20: Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21: The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us..
This scriptures states that just as the waters that Noah and his family road over was their salvation, it was just a symbol of baptism, which NOW saves us.

Baptism was always for the remission of sins.  When John the Baptist preached, when Jesus affirmed it, and when the Apostles started the church of Jesus Christ, it was for the remission of sins.  It was to apply the blood sacrifice to each individual seeker.  We are baptized into His death, that blood sacrifice.  And His death (Jesus Christ's) was the sacrifice for sin.  There is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Jesus said he that believeth, and is baptized shall be saved. It is essential, it is mandatory, and in the name of Jesus Christ, it doth save us.