John

He Must Increase

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

Can you imagine being one of Jesus’ relatives living in His shadow? Especially during His adult years. In fact at one point, some of them thought He was crazy (Mark 3:21). Then when they wanted to talk with Him, He said “Who are my mother and my brothers?  …those sitting in [this[ circle… are my mother and my brothers!” (Mark 3:33-34) From their perspective, it must have been hard to watch a member of their family do and say the incredible things Jesus did. Fortunately, the New Testament and church history tell us that some of those in His earthly family believed after His resurrection.

John seems to have been different, though. From the beginning, John had an honest understanding of his role within God’s salvation plan. Jesus had to be front-and-center. “One who is more powerful than I am is coming. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals.” (Luke 3:16) “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) John did not seek fame and spotlight. His mission was to be “a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord.” (John 1:23)

God, help me have a true understanding of my role within Your kingdom work. Moment-by-moment, day-by-day, help me “lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares [me and] run with endurance the race that lies before [me], fixing [my] eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of [my] faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

The Source of My Mistakes

“Jesus answered them, ‘You are mistaken because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God.’ ” ~ Matthew 22:29

Source of My Mistakes
Some of the Sadducees approached Jesus with questions regarding the Resurrection. The text appears to indicate their questions were insincere as they wanted to catch Jesus in a theological trap of denying the Resurrection (HCSB Study Bible notes). Jesus’ strong rebuke of the Sadducees was likely due, in part, to the absurdity of their questions since they didn’t even believe in the Resurrection. In response Jesus explained that they had an erroneous starting point because they did “not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” Not only were they wrong for their unbelief in the Resurrection, but their unbelief was ignorant of the Scriptures they prided themselves on understanding.
As I think about the sin and wrong-thinking in my own life, my error always seems to stem from my ignorance of what God’s Word says about a matter or my lack of trust in God’s power to apply what He has said. I, too, am guilty of “not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God.”
Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32) Our knowledge of the truth is directly tied to our study and application of Scripture in our lives. We will not be free to fully live the lives to which God is leading us if we do not actively read, study, memorize, and apply the Word of God.
God, increase my hunger for Your word. Give me the diligence and perseverance to make reading, studying, memorizing, and applying Scripture to my life a high priority.
Jeremy Carroll

The Lord Is My Deliverer

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“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2 (CSB)

Sometimes we reduce our salvation to going to heaven when we die. Of course, heaven is part of our salvation, but the depth of our salvation is vast. Psalm 18 mentions several key attributes of God regarding in our salvation: Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, Refuge, Shield, and Stronghold.

Each of these attributes are meant to be help us as we go through life. Life has a lot of ups and downs, and at different points in life, we have specific needs only God can fill. In difficult times, for example, we rely on God to be our refuge, or when circumstances or people come against us, we need God to be our fortress or deliverer. 

Jesus said “I have come to give you life to the fullest.” Other translations say “life abundantly.” Part of God’s plan for giving us abundant life is His provision and protection for us during this life. This shouldn’t be misunderstood, however, as protection from bad things or difficult circumstances. In fact, Jesus said much to the contrary: You will have suffering in this world. (John 16:33, emphasis added) Even here, though, Jesus immediately followed this warning with a victorious statement that should bring peace and comfort to every follower of Jesus: Be courageous! I have conquered the world.

God, help me to rely on You when I face troubled times as my Protector because You have conquered the world.

Living Water


“Jesus said, ‘Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.” John 4:13-14 (CSB)

Living Water

Have you ever been really thirsty? Maybe after a long workout or run. Maybe working out in your yard on a hot summer day. Maybe you’ve been oversees or in a desert area of the US. Do you remember what it was like when you finally got that first sip of water? For most of us, that feeling of quenched thirst is an incredible relief. What’s interesting, though, is that as relieving as that drink of water was, at some point afterwards your thirst returned. You needed another drink of water.

Our bodies were created to yearn for water. In fact, water is a necessity for life. It’s no surprise that Jesus used water as a metaphor for Himself, calling Himself Living Water. Ever since humanity’s relationship with God was broken by sin, our spirits deeply yearn to be reconciled with their Creator.

David cries out “God, you are my God; I eagerly seek you. I thirst for you; my body faints for you in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.” (Psalm 63)

What a picture! For me, too often my spiritual thirst wanes. I long to be close to God, but the things of the world distract my attention away from the only One who can completely satisfy.

God, may my spiritual thirst for You match the intensity of my physical thirst.

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