He must become greater

He must become greater. I must become less.

These words are words from John the Baptist himself. A man who had a thriving ministry paving the way for the Messiah.

He had his own disciples that followed him, learning from him. Hanging on is every word.

He was known. He was somebody. He was something else.

Then Jesus arrived. The Messiah. And he began baptizing.

John’s disciples went to him and said “Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.” John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’
(John 3: 26 – 28 NLT)

This man did not seek his own fame, but sought to make known the name of Jesus. Sought to make much of Jesus. Sought, in doing so, to make himself and his own fame fall to the wayside.

I love this passage and train of thought, because it reminds me that nothing is about me, it all comes down to him. He’s the one I follow. He’s the one who gives meaning to my days and teaches me the best way to live. He’s the one who chased after me when I was far away from him. He’s the one who gave me the choice to turn from my wicked, sinful desires and to seek after something better (him). He’s the one that forgives my wretched sin and makes me right with God. It’s all him.

Here in the United States, it’s very easy to make it all about me. Too easy. Sickeningly easy. But to make much of Jesus? That’s hard. It goes against my nature. Because I love to be seen, praised, honored, glorified. But that’s an empty, hollow path. No good comes from the elevation of myself. Only good comes from the elevation of Jesus Christ.

May I be like John. May we be like John. Faithfully serving our God and paving the way for his name to be known, while we humbly, happily, fall to the wayside.

The Bible doesn’t always make sense to me

This morning I wanted to study a specific passage of scripture in the New Testament. But instead of gaining insight and revelation, I felt like I was hitting a rock. None of it was making sense.

A well of frustration bubbled up inside of me.

Out of that frustration I turned back to my chronological reading plan — back to the Old Testament and into Psalm 25. This is what I read:

“Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” —Psalms 25:4-5 NLT

My frustration began to subside. Maybe the passage I wanted to study didn’t make sense to me and left me feeling uncomfortable because of that, but I have to be ok with not understanding everything. God will lead me by his truth and teach me in due time.

One thing I’ve learned through this reading plan I’m doing is that the Old Testament gives a necessary foundation to what is written and chronicled in the New Testament. I can’t understand one without the other. So while I am eager to get to the good news of Jesus the Messiah, I need to be patient and submit myself to the process.

Show me the right path…point out the road for me to follow.

I also need to trust that God will show himself through his word. That each day I’ll learn a little bit more. That he’ll lead me by his truth. I just need to show up and be teachable.

You are the God who saves me.

My hope is in the Lord. He is my shepherd who leads me, corrects me, protects me, provides for me. I am nothing without him. He is everything without me.

When I don’t understand, my default will be trust.

When I’m frustrated, my default will be trust.

When all else fails, my default will be trust.

Frustration is going to happen as we read the Bible. We’re fallen sinners trying to comprehend the kingdom of God. But remember, God wants us to be a part of his kingdom – that much is crystal clear to me.

This is a good reminder to submit to the process of learning and being made new by him layer by layer.

All day long I put my hope in you.

Nothing else

The first time I heard this song was about a year ago at a Kari Jobe concert my friend brought me to, which was more of a worship service than a concert. We were a year into the pandemic and everyone was spaced out. But we were on our feet, on our knees, worshipping the God who never changes.

I loved this song immediately. It gave words to a prayer in my heart I couldn’t give words to myself. Isn’t that one of the most beautiful things about music?

Fast forward to now. I turned 34 this month. Looking back on the last year, I’ve learned a lot. It was a huge year for my husband and I. And one of the best things God developed in me was a desire for prayer.

Before this year, I never really tried too hard to pray outside of moments of crisis and little mental prayers through my day. Of course God had my devotion and my heart, but still the concept of sitting down just to pray was too overwhelming for me…I would always ask, “What is prayer?” It felt like too big a question. Untouchable. But honestly…is it? Is it really that complicated? Do we make it harder than it has to be?

I think so.

I did.

When I sit to pray now, to seek wisdom from God, I think about all the stories of him I’ve read in the Bible. How he created this planet I live on and everything in it and around it and outside of it. I think about how he parted a sea for a nation to walk through. The laws of physics, economics, social standards… all submit to him. That is who I’m talking to.

And he meets with me about my life. My mundane, small, sometimes seemingly too small life. Yes, he meets with me about my life. I ask for wisdom with my money and he gives it. He advises me. I ask for help on behalf of my loved ones and he helps. He sees how my heart aches as they go through their own battles. Nothing is too big for him, and nothing is too small. Consider that incredibly true fact each and every time you meet with him.

Daniel Henderson recently spoke at our church, and he said something that finally broke down the walls surrounding prayer. He said no one is good at prayer. That phrase set me free. Because that’s exactly what held me back for too many years… I wasn’t good at it.

No one is good at prayer. There’s not a bar we have to reach. We can’t fail at this. Prayer isn’t even about our skills of conversation or knowledge of theology anyway – it’s about God and his love for us.

So how does all this tie in with this song? This song starts with God. There is nothing too big, to small, too complicated or too simple. And it’s not about us. Sure, it’s about us in the way that we’re the ones needing his help. But it’s only God that can truly help. And he knows the best way to help.

This is how I want my life to be. Starting first with God. Coming boldly and humbly before him in prayer each day. Good at it or not.

Nothing else. When I start with God, all other things flow from there.

I'm caught up in Your presence
I just want to sit here at Your feet
I'm caught up in this holy moment
I never wanna leave
Oh, I'm not here for blessings
Jesus, You don't owe me anything
More than anything that You can do
I just want You

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