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Scripture: 11 “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

[Matthew 3:11 NLT] There is nothing like being near the water. The movement of the water and the sounds associated with that movement are soothing. Whether it the gentle flow of a stream or the crashing waves of the ocean, water can be mesmerizing. In the summer months it is not unusual to see people crowded around the beach, lakeside or riverside to enjoy the cool and refreshing waters on hot and sunny days. As a younger person, our family spent a lot of time around water. My family had a cottage on a lake in Michigan where I grew up learning to swim, boat, fish and water ski. I have incredibly fond memories of our time on or near the water. There was nothing like being able to walk out the front door and take 30 steps and jump in the water. One of my favorite parts of being in the water is being under the water. My parents always had to keep an eye on me because I spent more time under the water than above. I loved wearing a mask or goggles and exploring what was under the water. I loved the feeling of propelling myself through the water in what seemed like a totally different world. There was something very soothing and mystical about the water for me. What are your experiences with water? Our Scripture for today uses the imagery of water to help people understand the importance of the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist has been calling people to repentance and baptizing them as a symbol of their willingness to repent and turn their lives toward God. He would hang out in the Jordan River and people would come to him all day long to be baptized. He would put them under the water, most likely totally immersed, to symbolize their willingness to repent and die to their selfish desires. As they came out of the water they were raised to a new life of following God. As John states, “I baptize with water those who turn from their sins and turn to God.” The symbolism of the water was an important means to helping people understand what God was doing in their life. John goes on to say that there is one who is coming who will baptize differently. The One who will come will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. John, of course, is referring to Jesus. Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit when we accept God’s gift of grace by faith in Jesus Christ. The imagery doesn’t change, however. We are immersed in the Holy Spirit. When Jesus baptizes us with the gift of the Holy Spirit and the fire of His love, it fills us completely. We have received the Holy Spirit. We have been baptized, immersed. We then spend the rest of our journey of faith exploring and understanding this new immersed existence. Today you are immersed in the Holy Spirit, live like it. Yield your day to the presence of the Holy Spirit and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance. One way we seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance is through prayer. Carry on a continual conversation today with the Holy Spirit. It may be as simple as, “Holy Spirit help me know which projects are truly important today.” Or it could be asking the Holy Spirit to lead you to the people who need you most today. The second part of seeking the Holy Spirit is to listen. Spend time today stopping and listening for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Then when you have had the conversation in prayer and hear/feel the leading of the Holy Spirit … move. Do whatever you feel the Spirit leading you to do. Live today immersed in the Holy Spirit. Prayer: Holy God, thank you for filling me with your Holy Spirit. Empower me to live today in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. May you be glorified through all I think, say, and do. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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