“Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!” John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
John 3:25-30 NKJV
All to Jesus
I love to hear about answered prayers. Through the years I have had the opportunity to see God work many miracles, large and small, as prayers have be answered. A disease taken away, a marriage saved, a long lost child returning to the fold, and the saving of a wayward soul.
Sometimes the prayers are raised by people who do not seemingly follow the Lord. It is easy to look upon the work being done by others and scoff. I have learned, however, that the Lord will use whomever He desires.
As my time on this earth is waning, the Lord has honored me with the ministry of intercession. I bow my head and I have the opportunity to use the access that the Lord Jesus has afforded by His death, burial and resurrection.
I have gone from serving in a wide range of capacities to doing few, and I have watched as others have been raised up to do what I used to do. There are moments when I find myself mourning over the loss of place, of opportunity, and of ability. It is in those moments that I am reminded that it is not about me, but the Lord Jesus and the furtherance of the Good News.
Reading in John this morning, I can almost see the disciples of John the Baptist coming to him complaining of this Jesus drawing all after him, and expecting John to respond badly to the news. John reminded them that this Jesus was the One they were waiting for, that He must increase, even as John decreases.
I think of Paul, nearing the end of his life, bound in chains and under guard, forgotten by many and abandoned by more. He had glorified the Lord Jesus in his ministry and was finishing the race. He found it favorable to suffer if the Gospel was advanced.
“Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”
II Timothy 2:8-13 NKJV
Both John and Paul knew that it was all about Jesus. I do what the Lord has given to me and I do it with joy. I bow my head to pray for the saints, I send out messages to encourage, and write this short blog in the hope that it encourages at least one person to press on. As I do these things, I know that I really have an audience of One.
One thing that I regularly pray for those who still have the ability, is that they do whatever they did with great passion, seeking to glorify Jesus and not self. We are but servants of the Most High God, and all that we do should point to Him.
In the conduct of ministry, one does run into low points, when there is doubt of the truth of the mission that we have been devoted. I think of John, jailed and feeling abandoned.
“And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.””
Matthew 11:2-6 NKJV
Sitting in my own cell, that is my body, I rejoice in the things I see the Lord doing. I live vicariously as others go and tell, as others grow in the faith, and take those baby steps in fulfilling the will of God for their lives. I pray for them, that they have the opportunity to reach just one more soul for Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, may we be a people that rejoice in all the Lord is doing. May we remember that it is about Jesus, and not about us.
There is coming a time when only the true of heart will stand for the Lord. Many will fall away, as the bible says, for they will not want to endure what is to come.
Some will be imprisoned, some even beheaded like John and Paul. Let us rejoice in the understanding that we have not wasted the effort, that we have found the One who must increase, and who will return again soon.
Have a fabulous Friday!