Monday, February 12, 2018

Grayson's Dedication

1 Samuel 1:27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
28 Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.
Our sweet little fifth baby blessing.  We love him so much! 

We wanted to do his dedication earlier so he could wear one of his big brothers' outfits.  Brody's outfit was way too small since it was size 9 months.  The white sailor suit that Evan and Mattox wore is 12 months in size so it was getting snug and was also a very summery outfit.  I thought this little mostly white sweater from Janie and Jack would do the trick.  He doesn't have too many opportunities to wear sweaters here. 

I then decided he should wear this little one piece outfit that also dated back to Evan and served as his Easter outfit.  It is a reversible jon jon that is blue and white gingham on the other side with an applique of Humpty Dumpty on it. 

My sweet baby. 

Big brothers wanted to get in the picture, and Brody even contributed a sweet sign that read "We love you." 

I love these boys and thank God for them every day. 

And Brody had to get silly. 

A few family shots before church. 

A surprisingly cooperative picture of Mattox with Grandma.  Definitely a sign he is growing up. 

He didn't want to be in this group shot though.  Grayson was not happy with Grandma, but Evan got him calmed down. 

Grandma with all of her boys. 

And one with Great-Aunt Dava who joined us for the occasion. 

The church got a few pictures of the service for us.  There were a few families participating. 

The whole family in attendance with Grandma and Great-Aunt Dava (Grandma's sister).  Our church does a sweet job of taking family pictures throughout the year.  We are very thankful.  Brody was holding the little Bible that Grayson received from the church. 

As I explained in previous posts about this special occasion with our children, we don't do baby baptisms in our church (or any of the churches we have belonged to since we have moved several times).  I really don't care what "title" you put on a church as long as it believes and teaches the full Word of God without watering it down or "changing" it.  Today that does seem to be harder to find.  In some churches, they want to stand too firmly on "old traditions" that really have no basis in scripture.  In other churches, they want to completely re-write scripture to satisfy the current "politically correct" trends.  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and His Word is eternal.  We can pick and choose what scriptures we want to use to try to justify ourselves, but if we follow the whole Word, it makes much more sense.  I think we could find one scripture to justify almost any of our behavior choices.  I mean, we could probably justify murder if we just read the story of Cain and Abel and other historical accounts in the Old Testament.  You know the old "well, it's in the Bible so it must be okay" argument.  I am so tired of hearing that one from people who have never even opened a Bible.  The Old Testament is a story of the rise and fall of creation, civilizations, and a nation of people who were imperfect and imperfectly led by human leaders who often did not listen to God.  It is first and foremost a historical record.  It shows a people who repeatedly turned away from God to pursue their own agendas.  And yes, it shows that many bad things happened to them.  Some may attribute those bad things to God as punishment, and I am not going to say that God never punished his people.  My current pastor preached a wonderful sermon recently on the differences between trials and temptations meaning that trials are just a part of everyone's life living in a sinful and fallen world.  God did not promise that choosing to live for Him would protect us from ever going through worldly trials, but He did promise that He would be with us during the trials and that we would be free from those trials in eternity with Him.  Temptations, on the other hand, are those "trials" that are specifically from God to test our faith.   As my pastor stated," Every temptation is a trial, but not every trial is a temptation."   So in other words, not every bad thing that happens to you is caused by God.  Sickness, death, financial problems, marital problems, etc. are not caused by God.  They are the trials of the world that result when the perfect world God created has fallen and broken.  They are a result of evil.  The temptations that God allows have more to do with our hearts and getting our hearts to turn to Him.  Like, we may be more focused on our worldly possessions than on our families and God so God may allow some of those worldly possessions to be lost to make us see what is most important.  

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  James 1:  2-4

Our "plans" may not be His plans, but His plans are so much better.  God's plans and trials for us are hard lessons sometimes.  Like when God allowed the nation of Israel to be exiled for 70 years in Babylon.  Sometimes, we need hard lessons to teach us that we need God in our lives just like the nation of Israel.  And just like God promised the nation of Israel He would be with them and would deliver them, He promises the same to us today.

Jeremiah 29:10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

When we claim that "everything" that happens is caused by God, we get ourselves and our faith into trouble.  God didn't cause sin and death to enter his perfect creation.  It happened because we as his people have the freedom to choose whether to follow God or to follow our own selfish desires.  God, of course, wants us to freely choose to love him.  Is love real if it isn't freely given?  Would you want to be "forced" to "love" someone?  I mean, if someone held a gun to your head and threatened to kill you, you would probably say you loved them if that is what they wanted to hear.  But would you really feel it?  I doubt it.  

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned,but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Even though God knew that we would sin and turn from Him because we would love the "darkness" of the world, He still set His ultimate salvation plan into motion to send His son, God in the flesh, as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins so that all we have to do is "believe" in Him to receive that gift.  

Ephesians 2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time,gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

So salvation is God's ultimate plan for our lives.  Not to save us from the trials and temptations of this world but from the eternal death we would suffer for our own sinful choices and transgressions.  We deserve God's wrath for turning away from Him to serve our own selfish desires.  However, He gave us a chance for redemption because He loves us that much.  It is only by God's grace and love that we can be saved.  We can't do this by our own works.  God created us, and He has to do the work of changing our hearts so that we will want to come back to Him.  So when we think we can just obtain salvation by having some water poured on our heads as infants or even as adults, we kind of go back to that philosophy of thinking we can save ourselves.   

In our interpretation of biblical theology, baptism started when John the Baptist began offering the service as a way for Christians to profess their faith and as a symbol of their beginning a new life.   Read Matthew Chapter 3 to see the account of John the Baptist baptizing those who professed faith in God.   He also warned those who just wanted to be baptized because they thought that act alone would save them: 

Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 3 goes on to tell of Jesus's baptism.   John recognized that he was not really worthy of baptizing Jesus as he already professed belief that Jesus was the Son of God, but Jesus led by example and showed the importance of baptism as a profession to the world of our faith in God and that we would live a changed life.  

Matthew 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
No where in the Bible does it ever show a child or infant being baptized.  Why?  Probably because there is no need.  We follow Jesus's example by choosing to be baptized like Him just as we partake of sacraments like communion because we "do this in remembrance" of Jesus.  Young infants and children have not reached the age when they can make the choice on their own to accept God, and of course, we believe babies who pass away young are always welcomed into their heavenly home.  

Again, all of the gospels reveal several times the importance of little children to God and Jesus:

Matthew 18:3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 19:13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.  14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

Mark 9:36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

Mark 10:14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Luke 10:21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.  Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

Luke 18:16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

These revelations from Jesus's own disciples and closest followers all concur that little children will always have a special place in God's kingdom and that there is no human act that needs to be done to insure their eternal salvation.  It never says "only those children who are baptized with water can come to me" does it?  There is no need to feel you have to baptize a young child with water to get them to heaven.  There is no saving power in that water, and I actually think it is again our own arrogance that we can "do something" on our own to insure our salvation that led to the belief and practice of infant baptism.  Salvation comes from God and from Jesus who gave His life for us "so that no man may boast."  So instead, we do "dedications."  This is a special time when we affirm our commitment to raise our children to know God and to follow Jesus' example in their lives because the Bible does expressly say:

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers,[b] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

I liked that our last church actually called the service a "parent dedication" instead of a "baby  or child dedication" since it is us as the parents choosing to dedicate our lives to the very important task of raising our children to know God.  Our other previous church called it "Covenant Promises" which was also a special way of recognizing the important promises we are making as parents.  We also ask our church community to assist us with their prayers and support through the parenting journey. 


  1. What a special day for all of you.

    We also practice child dedication in our denomination. We believe that just as Jesus was baptized as an adult, baptism is an adult choice.

    1. I also love how you've laid it all out theologically here.


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