“Pastor Hesham, I cannot take it anymore. I want to be baptized,” Lateef, a refugee from the Middle East told me. “I feel crushed under the burden of my sins,” he added.
Lateef who is almost sixty is a devoted attendee at Salam Christian Fellowship. He has marked every chapter in his Bible with different colors, and avidly writes notes and questions while listening to every sermon.
Lateef left his extended family in the Middle East and in Chicagoland in order to follow Jesus. “I was a stranger among my people in the Middle East. I did not belong to any important clan there, and my last name in Arabic means stranger. No body accepted me. But I thank God for all what I went through, because my suffering brought me to this great country; USA. It lead me to Salam where I knew Jesus and found a family of faith,” he said. At Salam we learn the Word of God and see Jesus in the compassion and mercy we see from the pastor,” he concluded.
Lateef had been coming faithfully to Salam for a year, but he was encouraged when he saw people being baptized last November.
He kept talking about it, but did not ask for it.
Last month, he saw Jesus in a vision. His home was filled with light. He came to me the next day, and said: “I cannot sleep Pastor Hesham. I am sinful, and feel that my sins crushing me.”
After Lateef was baptized, he raised his head and thanked God adding: “Today I can sleep well. All my burdens are gone.”
What greater comfort could God offer than to announce that we are forgiven?
What would ease our soul’s pain, no matter what types of sin; no matter how many sins trouble us at any point in time , what would alleviate our hurting heart more than to hear God reiterate, “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. [1John 2: 2]
Can anything more effectively ease a troubled mind or relax a restless soul. Can anything more effectively comfort an anxious spirit than to see & to hear again that Jesus “who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”? [Romans 4: 25]
Yes, Jesus was raised to life the third day, as promised, as God his compassionate Father declared me; declared you, ‘Forgiven – freely forgiven; fully forgiven!’
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God.” [Romans 5: 1-2]
Note: The picture attached is taken at a previous baptism.