A Voice in the Wilderness
John the Baptist’s assigned calling, the purpose for his life, was to be the “forerunner” of Jesus. A “forerunner” is a person or thing that precedes the coming or development of someone or something else. But when the new person enters the scene, the forerunner’s influence decreases so that the new person will increase. For John, he was to point people to the Messiah. He prepared the way for Jesus to come onto the scene of history. Had the people paid attention to the prophet Isaiah, who lived about 700 years before the birth of John and Jesus, they should have been able to recognize John for who he was. Isaiah foretold that John would come before the Messiah. Isaiah 40:3-5 says:
“A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Matthew 3:3 clearly identifies John as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy. “For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” So if the people had connected the dots and recognized John as the prophesied forerunner for the Messiah, then they should have also recognized Jesus as the Messiah.
John knew his ministry would decrease once Jesus began his ministry
John was six months older than Jesus and he was Jesus’ cousin. Before Jesus began his public ministry, John’s job was to point the people to the coming Messiah. He had been preparing them and baptizing them, calling them to repent of their sins. Once Jesus stepped on the scene, John’s job would decrease while Jesus’ job was increase. However, for a time, their ministries overlapped. Then some of John’s disciples came to him and said that people were going to Jesus to get baptized. John was quick to respond that he was not the Christ and to point people to Jesus as the Christ. Because Jesus is Christ – the Messiah – the people should be going to Him to be baptized. John then said that he must decrease so that Christ would increase.
The more we surrender to Christ the more He increases and we decrease
This same statement is true for us today. As we surrender more and more of our lives to Christ, growing spiritually, we should be decreasing and Christ should increasing. As Christ increases in our lives, the result should be our lives reflecting more and more of Him and less and less of us. If Christ is increasing in our lives, then our old sinful nature should become less noticeable as Christ transforms us into a new person. This means that old habits (such as cursing, lying, drinking, abusing drugs, stealing, adultery, etc.) are put away while new habits (such as attending church, worshiping, singing praise songs, Bible study and prayer) replace the old.
As Jesus increases in our lives then our lives should take more and more shape from Him. His characteristics will become evident in our lives. We will begin to forgive like He forgives and love unconditionally like He loves. We would enjoy spending time in His Word, studying it and applying it to our lives. And we would spend time in prayer, not as a requirement, but as the opportunity to talk to our Savior.
Who is on the increase in your life: You or Christ?
Take a moment to reflect on your own life. Would you say that you are decreasing and Christ is increasing in your life? How has your life changed since you became a Christian so that Jesus is reflected in your life? What areas still need work? Would you confess those to God now and surrender them to Him?
Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template
Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.Verse Mapping
Download our Free 2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan
We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.2021 Memory Verse Plan
Download our Free 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan
With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out!One Year Bible Reading Plan
Download our Free Self-Care Wheel
The Self-Care Wheel provides ideas for practicing self-care in six dimensions of yourself: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Sensory, and Social. NOTE: You will need 11X14 paper to print the wheel.
Want to know more about self-care? Our Self-Care blog series targets people who serve in any ministry position and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.Self Care Wheel
This week’s featured Christian Tees designs:
Our freedoms come from the sacrifice of many. Memorial day is the day we remember and honor those who sacrificed. It’s also a good time to come together as a nation and pray for God to Bless the USA.
See our graduation tees and products:
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The slide show below highlights some of our favorite Christian Tees designs available in our Spreadshop and Teespring stores.
Canvas art and posters are available in the Teespring store. Many of our Christian Tees are also available at Teespring.
To see the collection of Canvas and Poster Prints
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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce
What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?
God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:
- Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
- Conversation Starters.
- Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
- Romance Builders.
- Relationship Builders.
- Personal reflections.
- Date ideas.
- Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.
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