VIDEO Decreasing for His Purpose

Decreasing for His Purpose

He must increase, but I must decrease. —John 3:30

If you become a necessity to someone else’s life, you are out of God’s will. As a servant, your primary responsibility is to be a “friend of the bridegroom” (John 3:29). When you see a person who is close to grasping the claims of Jesus Christ, you know that your influence has been used in the right direction. And when you begin to see that person in the middle of a difficult and painful struggle, don’t try to prevent it, but pray that his difficulty will grow even ten times stronger, until no power on earth or in hell could hold him away from Jesus Christ. Over and over again, we try to be amateur providences in someone’s life. We are indeed amateurs, coming in and actually preventing God’s will and saying, “This person should not have to experience this difficulty.” Instead of being friends of the Bridegroom, our sympathy gets in the way. One day that person will say to us, “You are a thief; you stole my desire to follow Jesus, and because of you I lost sight of Him.”

Beware of rejoicing with someone over the wrong thing, but always look to rejoice over the right thing. “…the friend of the bridegroom…rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:29-30). This was spoken with joy, not with sadness— at last they were to see the Bridegroom! And John said this was his joy. It represents a stepping aside, an absolute removal of the servant, never to be thought of again.

Listen intently with your entire being until you hear the Bridegroom’s voice in the life of another person. And never give any thought to what devastation, difficulties, or sickness it will bring. Just rejoice with godly excitement that His voice has been heard. You may often have to watch Jesus Christ wreck a life before He saves it (see Matthew 10:34).

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

We all have the trick of saying—If only I were not where I am!—If only I had not got the kind of people I have to live with! If our faith or our religion does not help us in the conditions we are in, we have either a further struggle to go through, or we had better abandon that faith and religion.  The Shadow of an Agony, 1178 L


The Decreasing Disciple

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Who Is This Really?

Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Luke 19:38

Imagine standing shoulder to shoulder with onlookers by a dirt road. The woman behind you is on her tiptoes, trying to see who is coming. In the distance, you glimpse a man riding a donkey. As He approaches, people toss their coats onto the road. Suddenly, you hear a tree crack behind you. A man is cutting down palm branches, and people are spreading them out ahead of the donkey.

Jesus’s followers zealously honored Him as He entered Jerusalem a few days before His crucifixion. The multitude rejoiced and praised God for “all the miracles they had seen” (Luke 19:37). Jesus’s devotees surrounded Him, calling out, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (v. 38). Their enthusiastic honor affected the people of Jerusalem. When Jesus finally arrived, “the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’ ” (Matthew 21:10).

Lord, I want others to see You in me and to know You too. 

Today, people are still curious about Jesus. Although we can’t pave His way with palm branches or shout praises to Him in person, we can still honor Him. We can discuss His remarkable works, assist people in need, patiently bear insults, and love each other deeply. Then we must be ready to answer the onlookers who ask, “Who is Jesus?”

Lord, may my life and my words express what I know about who You are. I want others to see You in me and to know You too.

We honor God’s name when we live like His children.

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt 

INSIGHT

Do you sometimes struggle with finding the right words and right time to speak about Jesus? Your concern and hesitancy may be from God. There is a time to speak and a time to be quiet (Ecclesiastes 3:7). The Spirit knows the difference. Sometimes He is in the quiet moments and thoughtful actions that prepare the way for words later. Sometimes He enables us to fill a silence so ripe for words that if we don’t gently express our confidence in Jesus, it might feel as if even “the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40).

Loving God by the Book

Psalm 119:105-112

“I just don’t have enough time.” That’s the primary reason people give me for not meditating upon Scripture. But in reality, we all make time for what’s important to us. A few years back, I photocopied the book of Philippians, cut it into sections, and taped it over my local newspaper. It only took up three columns of the front page. This proves that reading the book of Philippians takes about as long as reading our favorite parts of the newspaper or scanning articles on the internet.

In truth, we could probably all find space in our schedules for God’s Word. You could begin by opening to an epistle and asking the Lord to speak to you. As you read, pray over the words the Holy Spirit draws to your attention. As He lifts truths off the page and into your heart, ask Him for deeper understanding and application to your life.

Praying through a book of the Bible will elevate your spiritual life to a new level. You’ll find yourself wanting to progress past an elementary understanding of the faith as you learn to pray the Scriptures like David and Daniel. Moreover, you’ll desire to be obedient to what you’re reading, because you are falling deeper in love with the book’s Author.

As believers, we have been greatly favored by the heavenly Father. He has made us His sons and daughters, given of His divine Word, and promised to bless those who keep His commands. (See John 14:21.) If we’ll draw near to Him through meditation upon His Word, He will become our greatest joy and delight.

Your Eternal Holy Calling

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:9)

There appears to be an apparent conflict between God’s salvation, which was determined “before the world began,” and our present need to persuade men to believe the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:11). Jesus urged whoever was burdened to “come unto me” (Matthew 11:28), while insisting He had chosen His disciples rather than the other way around (John 15:16). Scripture often expresses this paradox.

Ephesians 2:8-9 states that our salvation is “not of works” but comes to us by the grace of God through faith—and even that faith is God’s gift. Few would argue that salvation is some sort of cooperative work between God and man, since there is no question that our salvation is not due to our efforts. Many passages verify that teaching.

Today’s text insists that our salvation was “according to his own purpose and grace.” Our salvation must meet the requirements set by God’s standards. Just what does that demand?

God must be holy and just while justifying the ungodly (Romans 3:26). His holiness cannot be compromised. Thus, the incarnate and sinless Redeemer had to be sacrificed in order to reconcile sinful man with a holy God (2 Corinthians 5:21 and Revelation 13:8b). Then, the absolute sequence of redemption through grace had to be determined for those “who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 and 1 Peter 1:2).

The result of the sacrifice and the sequence had to be fixed so that the redeemed would be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). Praise God for His “unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15). HMM III

He hath visited and redeemed His people

Luke 1:58-80

The time soon arrived for John to be born, and Elisabeth became a joyful mother.

Luke 1:58

This is a very beautiful way of stating the case, “The Lord had shelved great mercy upon her.” Family events should be looked at in this light, and made the occasion of pious thanksgiving.

Luke 1:59, 60

or the Lord’s gracious gift.

Luke 1:62

For he was deaf as well as dumb, a double chastisement for his unbelief, which was now to be graciously removed.

Luke 1:63

And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John.

He had not heard what the mother had said, but he confirmed her wish, and obeyed the divine command which had been brought by the angel.

Luke 1:64

The dumb man in a moment not only spake, but sang for very joy. The Lord is a God of wonders.

Luke 1:75

So that there is not a word in this noble song of Zacharias concerning John, or his own relationship to him; he reserves that until he has poured forth his whole soul concerning the Lord’s Christ. Jesus must be first and foremost in his peoples hearts; even our highest spiritual joys must stand second to him. Him will we praise with our best music.

Luke 1:79

Delightful is the object of the Saviours coming; no longer need any believer be in bondage through fear of death. Light has sprung up in the vale of deathshade, and peace smooths our pathway even there.

Luke 1:80

Great minds are reared in solitude. Lone places are fit nurses for God’s heroes. We should be all the better if we were oftener alone; in the solemn silence of nature sanctified spirits find a congenial atmosphere.

 

Light of those whose dreary dwelling

Borders on the shades of death,

Come, and by thyself revealing,

Dissipate the clouds beneath:

 

The new heaven and earth’s Creator,

In our deepest darkness rise,

Scattering all the night of nature,

Pouring day upon our eyes.

 

Still we wait for thy appearing;

Life and joy thy beams impart,

Chasing all our fears, and cheering

Every poor benighted heart.

 

Save us in thy great compassion,

O thou mild pacific Prince;

Give the knowledge of salvation,

Give the pardon of our sins.

 

Do Conviction and Pain Go Together?

Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? (John 3:9)

I consider it a good sign that some people are still asking questions like these in our churches: “What should happen in a genuine conversion to Christ?” and “What should a man or woman feel in the transaction of the new birth?”

If I am asked, my answer is this: “There ought to be a real and genuine cry of pain!”

That is why I am not impressed with the kind of evangelism that tries to invite people into the fellowship of God by signing a card. There should be a birth within, a birth from above. There should be the terror of seeing ourselves in violent contrast to the holy, holy God!

Unless we come into this place of conviction and pain concerning our sin, I am not sure how deep and real our repentance will ever be.

The man whom God will use must be undone, humble and pliable. He must be, like the astonished Isaiah, a man who has seen the King in His beauty!

 

Refreshing Sleep

“When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.” Prov. 3:24

Is the reader likely to be confined for a while to the bed by sickness? let him go upstairs without distress with this promise upon his heart — “When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid.”

When we go to bed at night, let this word smooth our pillow. We cannot guard ourselves in sleep, but the Lord will keep us through the night. Those who lie down under the protection of the Lord are as secure as kings and queens in their palaces, and a great deal more so. If with our lying down there is a laying down of all cares and ambitions, we shall get refreshment out of our beds such as the anxious and covetous never find in theirs. Ill dreams shall be banished, or even if they come, we shall wipe out the impression of them, knowing that they are only dreams.

If we sleep thus we shall do well. How sweetly Peter slept when even the angel’s light did not wake him, and he needed a hard jog in the side to wake him up. And yet he was sentenced to die on the morrow. Thus have martyrs slept before their burning. “So he giveth his beloved sleep.”

To have sweet sleep we must have sweet lives, sweet tempers, sweet meditations, and sweet love.

 

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