John the Baptist had the distinct honor of preparing the hearts of many people for the coming of Jesus. He could have found great self-importance in that role. But Instead, he made a point to know his place and faithfully serve there. That is one reason his ministry was so impactful.
We can take on a similar ministry today. So many people in the world still need to hear that they can find forgiveness and a new purpose in life. But to be as effective as John, we have to keep our focus on helping people see more of the Lord, and less of us.
“There is nothing that will keep a person from Christ like a good opinion of himself.”
“He must become greater; I must become less. The One who comes from above is above all. “
Going through troubles will take us in one of two directions – toward God or away from Him. The way we choose will begin to show itself not only in how we carry ourselves through the trial, but also in our approach to other people while and after we suffer. Trusting in God during those times means believing He is working in our situation, and that He is somehow changing us for the better because of it.
“I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain.”
John Henry Newman
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
Thank you for this day, when we remember those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country. We pray that every spouse, every family member, every friend who has lost someone dear to them would feel a touch of Your comfort today. And Father, please help us to honor them by seeking ways to give of ourselves for the good of others and the communities we live in.
Is joy your natural state? According to Scripture, we are to have joy always. Not happiness, though, which can be fleeting. We can have a deep “abiding” joy in our spirit no matter what’s happening around us. How do we get it? Start with thanking God for sending His Son to save us, and see where that leads you.
“We need to discover all over again that worship is natural to the Christian, as it was to the godly Israelites who wrote the psalms, and that the habit of celebrating the greatness and graciousness of God yields an endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal.”
J. I. Packer
“With joy, you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.”
One of the great truths of God is that when we give of ourselves, we get back more. But it can be hard to reach out when we’re caught up in our own worries or difficult circumstances. I’ve found that one thing I can always do for someone is pray. That is a quiet yet powerful way to minister no matter what I’m dealing with.
“Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier.“
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”