Challenge 2021

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Day #18

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The Right Perspective

“He must increase, and I must decrease”. John 3:30

In the Gospels, we read that crowds had been flocking to John the Baptist seeking a baptism of repentance and soaking up the words of this new stirring prophet. We notice in John 3:7, that John had even gotten the attention of both Pharisees and Sadducees – two very influential groups in that period. His ministry was in full swing and God was obviously working in his life. In fact, the Holy Spirit had been working in John’s life even before he was born; and his ministry was making quite a stir in the region.

It is interesting to note that John’s disciples started getting concerned with another prophet, Jesus, who was beginning His own ministry. In their eyes, their prophet John was getting competition. John’s disciples had connected themselves to a prophet whose influence was diminishing, while another prophet’s ministry was thriving. Concerned that John was losing disciples to Jesus’ ministry, John’s disciples approached John with a serious problem. They thought Jesus was stealing John’s followers.

However, John assured his disciples that the people were now following the right one. In John 3:30, John made it clear that Jesus must become greater; while he himself must become less.  John made it clear that Jesus’s influence must increase no matter what even if it meant the end of John’s ministry. Jesus has to become greater and John must move in the background.

I love John 3:30 -- “He must become greater, and I must become less.” John put into words the attitude that every follower of Jesus needs to have. In every situation and circumstance, we point to Jesus. He is God, and God does not yield His glory to another according to Isaiah 48:11. It’s a tragedy when our service points to us and not to Him. It’s wrong when our words give glory to human beings and not to Him. We should never stand in the way of people seeing His glory.

Prayer for Today: Jesus, be the center of it all. Give me the right perspective. Help me to always remember that my life is to bring glory to You and You alone.  God, remind me often of John’s words that You must increase; and I must decrease.

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Day #19

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Laying Our Lives on the Altar

“I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship”. Romans 12:1

I have been thinking about what it means to lay your life down on God’s altar. In some early tribal cultures, when a person would save another person’s life; the person rescued would give the rest of their days to the person who saved their life. When you think about it, why wouldn’t they? If not for the rescuer, that person would be dead. Their life justly belongs to the one who preserved it. They would spend the rest of their days devoted to the one who gave them those days.

So, it is with us and our Heavenly Father. We were lost and practically dead as far as a quality of life. That is not the way we like to see ourselves, but it is how the Bible describes us before Christ. Without Him, we would have been lost forever. But hallelujah – He rescued us! In His kingdom, our lives now belong to Him. We should live out the rest of our lives – the lives He gave us – devoted to Him.

I think that is the living sacrifice Romans 12:1 is talking about. It’s praying for your enemies, turning the other cheek, loving the unlovable.  Jesus calls us to give all we have – our time, talent, money, and desires. We are to surrender them to His work. We do not have the right to decline. We are not our own. We were brought with a great price. We owe Him our all – our lives! 

Prayer for today: Father in the same way that Jesus laid down His life, help me to lay my life down for you. I would not have a life had it not been for the salvation you gave to me so freely. Help me to be a living sacrifice, not living for myself; but for your Kingdom. Because I have been redeemed for such a great price, I offer myself as a living sacrifice – holy and pleasing to You.

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