Decrease – One Word 2021

“Decreasing” has NOT been what I have been doing this month. I seem to be “increasing” and barely recognizing that Christ is in my life lately. Definitely NOT the way I anticipated I would be headed almost half way through 2021. My growth in Christ is backwards.

I have been seriously pondering a major change in my life in the very near future. I have been praying. I have been reading God’s Word. I have been quiet before Him. Or so I thought.

But amidst the ways God wants me to go, I have been researching the change, dealing with banks, looking into options, sorting through things. Doing STUFF! All of the stuff I do before making a change. So when Lisa (@ Lisa Notes) posted that the 21st of May was coming up, time to link up our One Word 2021, I had not even thought about my One Word. Not even once! So today is the 22nd of May and I am typing these words of how my month has certainly looked to God while I have ignored this whole desire which I had purposed from the beginning of this year.

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

Today, the 22nd of May, is the day I married Kenneth 28 years ago. He went to be with the Lord almost three years ago on June 7, 2018. We had just celebrated our 25th anniversary as he was dying from cancer. We knew his death was imminent and very soon, by his condition. We just did not know the exact date and time, of course. Only God knows those facts. The doctors had originally given him 7-10 days in mid-January, 2018. God had blessed us with these months instead of days, for which we were so grateful. We felt that God knew we needed this time together. Kenneth helped me prepare to be living alone…how I needed to care for our house, what tools I needed to keep, and which ones I should sell on eBay, which ones were to garage sale. He was so fine to prepare me like that. We prayed together and we shared spiritual Truths together. Oh, the time was so sweet. I am ever grateful. At this moment, my eyes have welled up with God’s little wet blessings that go into a bottle in Heaven. I am humbled by this day, these memories and my sweet Kenneth. I miss him so. So very much!

And these memories draw me back to the One Who saved me. I know that one day I shall see my Lord and dear Kenneth for we both know our Jesus the Christ. And He is the One to increase…not me! Thank You.

May His name endure forever,
His fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in Him,
all nations call Him blessed!

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.

Blessed be His glorious Name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with His glory!
Amen and Amen!
Psalm 72: 17-19

I seek to be found with humility today. He is my Lord and my Lord forever.

Of the increase of His government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over His kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 9:7

I seek to be on my knees praising God in all His glory and releasing all of this STUFF that it would only be minutiae for me while God handles it as I obey Him.

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32

I know that You, Lord, are handling it all, only that I let You. May I be as small as the mustard seed and may Who You are in me show to be that tree. May I be so tiny and You be just so vast, Christ.

Lord Jesus, I seek Your forgiveness in trying to handle things myself. You have allowed things to go differently that I had “planned” or had “hoped.” You are showing me this day that You have this in Your hands. You also have me in Your gentle and yet strong arms. You reminded me of my beautiful marriage with Kenneth and how we sought to depend upon You in so very much. Thank You, Lord. You are guide me. You know my heart. Thank You for Donna’s words last night on the phone, especially her sweet words at the end, that I will entrust my plans, my life to You. Thank You for caring about her and drawing her back to be near You. I am ever grateful for Your Love. I lay this whole change at Your feet, my Christ. I want to be obedient to Your call upon my life. If I am to change, You will make it so and if not, You will make it so! You love me no matter what I do for which I am so thankful. May I continue to learn to decrease so that You increase. I desire others to see You in me and not me in me. In the Beautiful and Increasing Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

John 3:30: photo/graphic @ Pinterest

Psalm 72:19: photo/graphics @ Pinterest

Isaiah 9:7: photo/graphic @ Knowing Jesus

Mustard Seed on fingertip: “page not found” for photo

Audible

We know “Audible” as a membership from Amazon to listen to books read by the author or someone else rather than read them ourselves. But the “audible” I am writing about today is the voice of God actually heard. Not only could Jesus hear the Voice of God but at three points in the life of Jesus, the people around Him could also hear God’s Voice in some manner. God had something to say to those around Him on those moments. We know these because they are written in the Word of God. Yes, God spoke many other times in the Bible but these are the New Testament audible moments that are written down for us.

At the baptism of Jesus

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17

φωνή

phōnḗ – (fo-nay’)

  1. a sound, a tone
    1. of inanimate things, as musical instruments
    2. of wings, of wind, of thunder, of waters
  2. a voice
    1. of the sound of uttered words, (of declarations from heaven, heard though no speaker is seen)
    2. of crying, shouting, lamenting
  3. speech
    1. such as language tone, a tongue

I love the Greek word for this audible sound. Our English word telephone is rooted in this word as are phonetics and phonics, cacophony, symphony, saxophone, microphone, xylophone, megaphone, etc.

Matthew Henry on Matthew 3:17 in his Commentary on Matthew: “To explain and complete this solemnity, there came a voice from heaven, which, we have reason to think, was heard by all that were present. The Holy Spirit manifested himself in the likeness of a dove, but God the Father by a voice; for when the law was given they saw no manner of similitude, only they heard a voice (Deu. 4:12); and so this gospel came, and gospel indeed it is, the best news that ever came from heaven to earth; for it speaks plainly and fully God’s favour to Christ, and us in him.

Think about how often we have prayed to our God asking Him for an answer. We hope to hear from Him. We hope to get a sign. We want to know His will so that we do not stray. And often there is silence, but He hears us in our prayers, in our hearts and minds and souls.

And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15

We may rarely physically hear, see, or feel an answer from God yet He provides it at the appropriate time…His perfect timing.

Yet, God spoke audibly:

At the transfiguration of Jesus

He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” Matthew 17:5

Matthew Henry on Matthew 17:5 from his Commentary on Matthew:

  • There came a voice out of the cloud, and it was the voice of God, who now, as of old, spake in the cloudy pillar, Ps. 99:7. Here was no thunder, or lightning, or voice of a trumpet, as there was when the law was given by Moses, but only a voice, a still small voice, and that not ushered in with a strong wind, or an earthquake, or fire, as when God spake to Elias, 1 Ki. 19:11, 12. Moses then and Elias were witnesses, that in these last days God hath spoken to us by his Son, in another way than he spoke formerly to them. This voice came from the excellent glory (2 Pt. 1:17), the glory which excelleth, in comparison of which the former had no glory; though the excellent glory was clouded, yet thence came a voice, for faith comes by hearing.
  • What this testimony from heaven was; This is my beloved Son, hear ye him. Here we have, (1.) The great gospel mystery revealed; This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. This was the very same that was spoken from heaven at his baptism (ch. 3:17); and it was the best news that ever came from heaven to earth since man sinned. It is to the same purport with that great doctrine (2 Co. 5:19), That God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself. Moses and Elias were great men, and favourites of Heaven, yet they were but servants, and servants that God was not always well pleased in; for Moses spoke unadvisedly, and Elias was a man subject to passions; but Christ is a Son, and in him God was always well pleased. Moses and Elias were sometimes instruments of reconciliation between God and Israel; Moses was a great intercessor, and Elias a great reformer; but in Christ God is reconciling the world; his intercession is more prevalent than that of Moses, and his reformation more effectual than that of Elias.
  • This repetition of the same voice that came from heaven at his baptism was no vain repetition; but, like the doubling of Pharoah’s dream, was to show the thing was established. What God hath thus spoken once, yea twice, no doubt he will stand to, and he expects we should take notice of it. It was spoken at his baptism, because then he was entering upon his temptation, and his public ministry; and now it was repeated, because he was entering upon his sufferings, which are to be dated from hence; for now, and not before, he began to foretel them, and immediately after his transfiguration it is said (Lu. 9:51), that the time was come that he should be received up; this therefore was then repeated, to arm him against the terror, and his disciples against the offence, of the cross. When sufferings begin to abound, consolations are given in more abundantly, 2 Co. 1:5.

Before the Last Supper

“Now is My soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify Your Name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not Mine. John 12:28-30

In these verses from John 12, God speaks for the sake of those around, for my sake and your’s, even today. We are to glorify the Father in all we are and in all we do. A real reminder! Jesus reminds those around Him that He does glorify His Father and we are to be imitators of Christ. This is not some light and fleeting statement. This is what our walk with the Lord is all about…to glorify Him.

Matthew Henry writes of this glorification in his Commentary on John:

  • 1. How this answer was given. By a voice from heaven. The Jews speak much of a Bath-kól-the daughter of a voice, as one of those divers manners by which God in time past spoke to the prophets; but we do not find any instance of his speaking thus to any but to our Lord Jesus; it was an honour reserved for him (Mat. 3:1717:5), and here, probably, this audible voice was introduced by some visible appearance, either of light or darkness, for both have been used as vehicles of the divine glory.
  • 2. What the answer was. It was an express return to that petition, Father, glorify thy name: I have glorified it already, and I will glorify it yet again. When we pray as we are taught, Our Father, hallowed be thy name, this is a comfort to us, that is it an answered prayer; answered to Christ here, and in him to all true believers. 
    • (1.) The name of God had been glorified in the life of Christ, in his doctrine and miracles, and all the examples he gave of holiness and goodness.
    • (2.) It should be further glorified in the death and sufferings of Christ. His wisdom and power, his justice and holiness, his truth and goodness, were greatly glorified; the demands of a broken law were fully answered; the affront done to God’s government satisfied for; and God accepted the satisfaction, and declared himself well pleased. What God has done for the glorifying of his own name is an encouragement to us to expect what he will yet further do. He that has secured the interests of his own glory will still secure them.

The Father’s answer to this address; for he heard him always, and does still. Observe, 

Three times, the voice was heard from above, speaking to Jesus, speaking about Jesus, speaking to and for the hearers of the Word. God came in ways that were not understood by some standing nearby. The voice was heard as thunder, as an angel, and in words telling those around just Who this Man was and is still today.

So often, we want to hear from God, know the exact answer, the exact moment, the exact person, etc. It is a rare communication we audibly hear with the physical ears that God, our Creator, gave us. Yet, our spirit hears. Our heart hears. There is communication by the Holy Spirit to our spirit from God. It reaches the very depth of our beings. It may come when we read His Word or when we pray or when we are silent before Him. God communicates with us by many paths. Our “inability to hear it cannot invalidate it. Our inability to understand it cannot void it. God’s phōnḗ sounds within His Son’s followers, saying, ‘You are known. You are heard. You are loved. You are mine. I, your heavenly Father, keep My promises.'” **

Jesus, the Son of God, heard His Father all of the time. Jesus is always with the Father. The two communicated continuously and directly with one another.

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. John 1:18 KJV

Dearest Father, Christ is my life as He is my Lord and Savior. Please open the ears of my heart because I want to hear You. I want to know You more and more. You know all about everything. You touch every piece of Your creation for always. You know the number of hairs on my head. You know where I am to be when. You know where every sparrow is and when they fall from the sky. Your Providence is magnificent. I want to be close to You that I can know and understand Your will for me. I desire to be obedient. I desire to be submissive to and for You. Guide me in the ways that You want me to go. If Your voice is not to be audible to my ears, please let me understand the inaudible sounds, the quiet words, and the silent guidance. Through Your Word, through silence, through others’ voices, through the beauty that surrounds me, through the love for and from those many ‘one anothers,’ I ask You to make Your message clear to my spirit by Your Spirit. Please block the many sounds of this world, Father, so that Your voice reigns in strength in my being. I want to hear You, Lord. I want to know You. I desire You and You alone. Continue to help me ‘decrease’ as You ‘increase.’ I bow before You this day, oh Lord. I love You so. I pray all in the beautiful Name of Jesus. Amen.

audible colors @ byjus.com

audible range @ yourwidlife.org

*root meaning of “phone” @ etymology.com

Photo/graphics of Matthew 3:16-17 @<a href=”http://Photo by <a href=”https://unsplash.com/@sotti?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>Shifaaz shamoon</a> on <a href=”https://unsplash.com/s/photos/sea?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>Unsplash Shifaaz shamoon on Unsplash / graphics added by me @ Pixlr

Photo/graphics of Matthew 17:5 @ Heartlight.org

Photo of Thunderstorm @ <a href=”http://Photo by <a href=”https://unsplash.com/@noaa?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>NOAA</a&gt; on <a href=”https://unsplash.com/s/photos/lightning-brandon-morgan?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>UnsplashNOAA on Unsplash / graphics added by me @ Pixlr

Luke 11:28 photo/graphics @ bible.com

**from “40 Days of Decrease” by Alicia Britt Chole

The Free Gift

Resurrection Sunday will be on April 4, 2021. As it nears, I sense, deeply within, the death and resurrection of Christ once again.

But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2:9

During seasons of Lent, I do not give up anything physical as many do during this time before “Easter Sunday.” I actually desire to dwell in the Word, Christ’s dying and His death, and His resurrection. Christ went to the Cross carrying all of my sins with Him, nailing them to that Cross, just as He was nailed there, nails through the palms of His hands, through His feet. He took my place. Although He nailed my sins to that Cross, I am still a sinful human being. I still do, think, and feel things that are of that original sinful nature.

“But Jesus took them. That is what you said, didn’t you?” you might be thinking to yourself.

Yes, He did, but that does not leave me to never sin again. I do sin still and always will…until I die. BUT…I am forgiven and have been given the gift of His mercy and His grace. I know that I have sought Christ as my Lord and Savior, receiving Him into my life. I have sought His forgiveness and He has forgiven me. I know that I am His and He is mine.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the One Who was to come. Romans 5:12-14

Jesus Christ is the Second Adam. He was the One Who was to come. And He is yet to come once again, the Second Coming! Hallelujah! He will come to take me Home if I have not already left this earth via death.

This chart below really clarified that which I sort of know but now know better:

There are two Greek words from Roman 5 that I am pondering this day: trespasses/transgressions and gift. Through these words, I see more clearly the gift Jesus gave to us by His death on the Cross.

παράπτωμα

paraptōma

(Some Bible versions use “transgressions” while others use “trespass.”)

  1. to fall beside or near something
  2. a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness
    1. a sin, misdeed
  3. a side-slip (lapse or deviation), i.e. (unintentional) error or (willful) transgression:—fall, fault, offense, sin, trespass.

I transgress. I fall. I offend another. I trespass upon another by not living correctly, and not being a light in this world. I sin.

Yet I am forgiven.

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that One Man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the One Man Jesus Christ. Romans 5:15-17

χάρισμα

charisma

  1. a favour with which one receives without any merit of his own
  2. the gift of divine grace; the economy of divine grace, by which the pardon of sin and eternal salvation is appointed to sinners in consideration of the merits of Christ laid hold of by faith,
  3. the gift of faith, knowledge, holiness, virtue
  4. the economy of divine grace, by which the pardon of sin and eternal salvation is appointed to sinners in consideration of the merits of Christ laid hold of by faith
  5. grace or gifts denoting extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy Spirit

Merriam-Webster Dictionary included the following: The Greek word charisma means “favor” or “gift.” In English, it has been used in Christian contexts since about 1640 to refer to a gift or power bestowed upon an individual by the Holy Spirit for the good of the Church. (This sense is now very rare.) The earliest nonreligious use of “charisma” that we know of occurred in a German text, a 1922 publication by sociologist Max Weber. The sense began appearing in English contexts shortly after Weber’s work was published. Today’s English definition of charisma is: A rare personal quality attributed to leaders who arouse fervent popular devotion and enthusiasm; n. Personal magnetism or charm.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Jesus came to die in my place, giving His all to save me from going to hell where I would be separated from God for eternity. Had I not accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at age 45 (or at any age, for that matter), I would have been living this life on earth away from God (which I truly did for the first 45 years of my life, although I did not understand that reality during those years). Then that would have extended for all of eternity. Oh my! But I have been forgiven! Thank You, Jesus.

Christ, the Righteous One, the sinless One, gave Himself to die for my sins….your sins, my friend.

Hallelujah!

Romans 5:12-17

Thank You, Jesus, for loving me, for drawing me to Your breast. You have given me life through Your death on the Cross. You paid the ultimate price for one such as I, for many such as I. Thank You, Lord. By Your righteousness, Jesus, You justified me, acquitted me of my sins, pardoned me of all my unrighteousness. Thank You does not even say all that I feel in my heart towards You, for You are The Gift that God gave to me so that I may drink from the Living Water and eat the Bread of Life forever and for always. You are my life. I am with You forever. While saddened that You had to die for me, I am rejoicing in You for the hope, the love, the grace, the peace, the faith, and the life I have in You. I am decreasing in this life while You increase in my life. I cherish You for You are my Gift. You are the Light of my life. Thank You, my Lord. I am so grateful to be Yours. In the Holy Name of Christ Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Photos and Graphics:

Romans 5:8 @ Flickr/Joshinpowers

Adam – Christ @ Bible Book Club

Purple-Wrapped Gift @ PublicDomainPictures

Cross/Romans 5:12-17 ~ created by me @ WordArt

Lighted Gift @ FreeImages/Tracey Brown

One Word 2021: Decrease ~ February Connection

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

I am an East Texas resident at this time of my life. After two back-to-back harsh, cold winter storms, I have water again after 36 hours without. I only lost power very sporadically and very temporarily. Just got internet back Sunday afternoon. I see power trucks all around Lufkin. The city water is back up and just, minutes ago, got a message that calls off the city boil-water mandate. I feel extremely blessed to have what I have, and truly lost so little compared to many others. And so many are still without.

You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to You, O LORD,
for though You were angry with me,
Your anger turned away,
that You might comfort me.

“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song,
and He has become my salvation.”

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.

“Sing praises to the LORD, for He has done gloriously;
let this be made known in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
Isaiah 12:1-6

A friend sent this chapter of Isaiah to me during the week and all I could do was bow to my Lord and whisper Amen and Amen. He has kept me near, in the cleft of His rock, in the fold of His arms, in the warmth of His love, in His beautiful mercy and grace.

How can I be anything at all when He is so magnificent?

Father, thank You for sending so many (via phone, text, a knock) to check on me no matter how far or near away they live. I am so grateful for their love and care. Please watch over all of those in Texas, Oregon and everywhere else who is without power, water, food, shelter, whether it be a temporary problem or an ongoing concern. Please hold them near and provide their needs, O Lord. I ask that they will come to know Your Son, Jesus, in the midst of all they are going through. May they hear His Name and seek forgiveness, calling upon Jesus. May they know Him as their Lord and Savior. Oh, God, I pray this in Your Son’s Holy Name. I am learning every day what ‘decreasing’ means for it is a real process. In the midst of this process is just where I want to be…decreasing! Yes, I still hold onto lots of parts and pieces of me, but I desire to let go of me even if just a little bit at a time. You are my Guide, my Refuge, my Fortress. During the storm, I stayed in Your hands. You protected me. Thank You, Lord. May Jesus be ever so much while I become ever much less. May He be all of Whom I depend upon each and every day. Praising You and loving You, Lord. In the Mighty Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Me? Decrease?

ἐλαττόω

elattoō

Decrease (Verb): signifies “to make less or inferior, in quality, position or dignity;” “madest… lower” and “hast made… lower.” It is used in the Middle Voice, in John the Baptist’s “I must decrease,” indicating the special interest he had in his own “decrease,” i.e., in authority and popularity. 

Lower (Adjective, and Verb, to Make), Lowest: denotes “to make less” (elatton, “less”), and is used in the Active Voice, “Thou madest (Him)… lower,” and in the Passive, “was made… lower,” “(I must) decrease,” (lit., “be made less”).

  • to make less or inferior: in dignity
  • to be made less or inferior: in dignity
  • to decrease in authority or popularity

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

Who do I think I am? ~ Am I an important person, or do I think I am? Am I desiring or needing praise for things I do, how I act, what I look like or do not look like? Do I look for attention from those around me? Do I need to be the center of attraction? I can answer, “No” to some of those questions but certainly not all.

God sees me for who I am. He sees who I am becoming. He desires to see more and more of Christ in me. When I am in the world, I am not to be of it…only in it. The light of Christ should be emanating from me, reflecting Him to the world. There is work to be done. It is not about me giving things up in order to decrease or be less of me. It is about me being obedient to the One Who created me. There will be humbling, teaching, guiding, and more obedience. God calls for my heart and spirit to be His. In order to come to Him, my spirit needs to be broken and contrite (crushed) so that I may be made new.

For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17

And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. Deuteronomy 8:2-6

Yes, decreasing is not something I can or will do alone. I must depend upon the One Who will be increasing to help me. I will need discipline for my ego will mostly likely get in the way. Things of this world will get in the way. I think of Alice in Wonderland shrinking to go down the rabbit hole. I cannot know exactly where I am going but I actually want to go there. There will be testing, and hunger, and fear, yet I will have the arms of the Lord wrapped around me when I trust Him. He will be with me, will be providing the manna all along the way. He will be quenching my thirst. He will be keeping my feet from swelling on this journey. Worry should not be anything for me when I trust Him to hold me near as He guides me. Yes, I must take one step at a time in a forward motion towards “decrease.” That is my goal. I will need to learn more about humbling, being obedient, reading the Word more regularly, being in prayer consistently, knowing that He will hear me no matter how small I become.

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on John: He (John) owns it highly fit and necessary that the reputation and interest of Christ should be advanced, and his own diminished (:30): He must increase, but I must decrease. If they grieve at the growing greatness of the Lord Jesus, they will have more and more occasion to grieve, as those have that indulge themselves in envy and emulation. John speaks of Christ’s increase and his own decrease, not only as necessary and unavoidable, which could not be helped and therefore must be borne, but as highly just and agreeable, and affording him entire satisfaction. 

  • [1.] He was well pleased to see the kingdom of Christ getting ground: He must increase. You think he has gained a great deal, but it is nothing to what he will gain.’ Note, The kingdom of Christ is, and will be, a growing kingdom, like the light of the morning, like the grain of mustard-seed.
  • [2.] He was not at all displeased that the effect of this was the diminishing of his own interest: I must decrease. Created excellencies are under this law, they must decrease. I have seen an end of all perfection. Note, 
    • First, The shining forth of the glory of Christ eclipses the lustre of all other glory. The glory that stands in competition with Christ, that of the world and the flesh, decreases and loses ground in the soul as the knowledge and love of Christ increase and get ground; but it is here spoken of that which is subservient to him. As the light of the morning increases, that of the morning star decreases.
    • Secondly, If our diminution or abasement may but in the least contribute to the advancement of Christ’s name, we must cheerfully submit to it, and be content to be any thing, to be nothing, so that Christ may be all.

Father God, Mr. Henry says what I have tried to say so very eloquently. I want to be a light in this dark world. I want to shine in order that others might see the light of Jesus the Christ in and through me. Show me Your way, O Lord. Show me Your way. Teach me what it is to “decrease” so that Christ may “increase” … to be all that others see when they are with me in the physical sense. I bow before You and ask Your forgiveness for the times that I will be disobedient, not be humble nor teachable, nor revere You as You so deserve. Show me the way. Help me to learn from the tests and lessons taught, the struggles and sufferings which I will face. Help me to see Your gifts. I desire to be all who You want me to be. I need You, O Lord. Thank You, now. In the blessed Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Psalm 51:17 graphic: by Phil Ware & Heartlight @ https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/psalm/4/

Deuteronomy 8:2 graphic: https://livingwordofgod.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/deuteronomy-8-remember-the-lord-your-god/

Quotes: Matthew Henry’s Commentary on John

Both photos of weaving with graphics: the weaving, photo and graphics created by Linda Gill

Decrease – One Word 2021

I have not made resolutions for many years. I never kept them for long so gave that whole idea up. In 2007, I happened upon “One Word 365” and decided to pick one word that I could study in God’s Word, thereby seeking His face as I desired to draw closer to Him. I chose “love” that year. I rowed steadily on this annual river until 2016. I found that after ten years, I was moving into a similar “resolution” stream so I called a halt to this when it was time to pick a 2017 word. Four years have passed and I am very ready to begin again. I am choosing “decrease” as my 2021 word from which to dwell, ponder, study, seek guidance. I pray that my wings will spread and that I will draw nearer to my Christ in the process.

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

Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification.  And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you across the Jordan, to Whom you bore witness—look, He is baptizing, and all are going to Him.”  John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.  You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him.’  The one who has the bride is the bridegroom.  The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.  He must increase, but I must decrease.” He who comes from above is above all.  He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way.  He Who comes from heaven is above all.  John 3:25-31

Oh, to understand this, to acknowledge this Truth, to walk this out not just for 2021 but for the remainder of my days, to love the outcome no matter the trials and pain, no matter the joy and beauty in this journey.

Blessed be His glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with His glory!
Amen and Amen!
Psalm 72:19

Father God, may the things of me, my selfish ways, my need to be in charge, all of me that shades out Christ from view to this world, that places His light in me under a bushel basket, may all that and much more decrease in me in order that You may increase. May Your holiness overwhelm me that I will glorify You, O Lord. May all of You become all of me. May my light be Your’s in this ever so dark world. I pray all in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

P.S. I will purpose to write of my journey with “decrease” once a month.

Weaving by ~ lindawoven; photo and graphics by ~ linda

Weaving by ~ lindawoven; photo and graphics by ~ linda

Up and Down arrows: Wikimedia (graphics added by me)

Do You Want to Go Away As Well?

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So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.  Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.  As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on Me, he also will live because of Me.  This is the Bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died.  Whoever feeds on this Bread will live forever.”  Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as He taught at Capernaum.

When many of His disciples heard it, they said,  “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”   But Jesus, knowing in Himself that His disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?  Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?  It is the Spirit Who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.  The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray Him.) And He said,“This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

After this many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”  John 6:53-67

ὑπάγω

 hypagō

to lead (oneself) under, i.e. withdraw or retire (as if sinking out of sight), literally or figuratively:—depart, get hence, go (a-)way

 

Do I want to go away as well?  Jesus asks me too.  His teachings are hard.  They are sometimes things I don’t understand, maybe don’t want to.  Yet I do believe.  From the definition of this Greek word, I have the choice to walk away, to sink out of sight.  Those five words…to sink out of sight…seem to be what Peter did as shown in God’s Word.  He denied Jesus three times as Jesus prophesied and, each time, he sank a little further away from his Jesus. I do not want to walk away from my LORD.  I do not want to deny Him.  I do not want to sink out of sight, depart, withdraw.  Dependency upon Jesus is life…my life, my devotion, my dedication, and my obedience to the One Who died for me, took away my sins.  No, I don’t want to go away as others have, as others do, as I once did too.

I read these verses and am pierced by such a question. Yes, it is so easily possible to run far and wide with the others. Facing my Savior’s death is facing my own. Yet denying Jesus, turning away, causes me to lose the beauty of the Cross, to lose the ability to kneel before Him willingly, to miss the empty tomb, to not have the burning in my heart as I walk with Him, to lose the joy that comes with trials and piercing questions. Oh, I don’t want to go away from my Jesus.

Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life, 
and we have believed, and have come to know, that You are the Holy One of God.”  John 6:68-69

Oh, no! L
ORD, I do not want to go away. I am Yours. Your flesh is my true food, my nourishment. Your blood is my true drink, the quencher of my thirst. I am counting the cost by this question and choose to walk with You to the Cross. I was given the word “commit” this year and am committed to You. I am pierced by Your question, but more so by Your death … ’twas for me. I am touched deeply by walking with You and knowing that some turned away from You. I do not want to be double-minded, LORD. Peter understood Your question, yet he said he loves You three times, but had denied You three times as You went to the Cross. You died for him too. Oh, I am sorry when I left You, LORD. I have asked and received Your forgiveness. May I humble myself and seek Your Holy Face, Father. May my whole being be contrite towards You. I love You. I follow You; I abide with You. You are my strength that I may go with You to the Cross, that one meant for me. In my daily journey, You provide the cross for me to carry. I am carrying it with me as I pray. You provide the joy that I can count as I face the trials in this world. Thank You, LORD Jesus. You are my One and Only Savior. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.  Psalm 51:17

All these things My hand has made,

and so all these things came to be,
declares the LORD.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at My Word.  Isaiah 66:2

BW sig dark blue

 

Photo:  Walking Away in Mist @ http://davidkanigan.com/ https://davidkanigan.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/walking-away-in-mist.jpg

 

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Commit — One Word 2016

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Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in Him, and He will act.  Psalm 37:5

גָּלַל

galal

a primitive root; to roll (literally or figuratively):—commit, remove, roll (away, down, together), seek occasion, trust, wallow

To roll: a reproach being rolled off or removed from someone:

Take away from me scorn and contempt,
for I have kept your testimonies.  Psalm 119:22

To roll:  one’s ways and works rolled onto (committed to, entrusted to) someone (especially God):

Commit your work to the LORD,
and your plans will be established.   Proverbs 16:3

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Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”  Matthew 16:24

ἀπαρνέομαι

aparneomai

to deny

to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone

to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests

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Commitment to Jesus Christ is a lifetime commitment, one which requires time, work, and determination.  Commitment also requires faith, trust, hope.

Commitment can build faith and trust, and can develop character.

I made a commitment to Christ Jesus July 17, 1993.  I have left my cross on many-a-path since then, yet have picked it up again and again.  I have not stopped following Jesus, but, when I relinquished my cross those times, I would be singing la-ti-da without a full commitment.  I thought I was denying myself, yet I was denying the fact that I had even dropped my cross.

Commitment feels rather scary.  Yet I know that I am heaven bound because I laid my trust and hope in the One and Only Lord Jesus, the One Who came to this earth to save me, Who died for me, and Who was resurrected for me.  He will return for me one day.

In 1993, I chose to marry my husband and am so very committed to this wonderful man, to our marriage, to our walk with Jesus.  I am not afraid of this earthly marriage.

‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’  So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”  Mark 10:7-9

I am wholly committed to Jesus, following Him as He has called me.   LORD, I will do my best.  I thank You for picking me up when I fall and for loving me when I am wayward.  I am still Yours.   

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, “For Your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35-39

“Being killed all the day long….”  Teach me, LORD, Your way in this life.  I am not of this world, but am in it.  I want to be separate.  I want to be the sojourner in this strange land because I am Yours. 

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

Jesus prayed for His own (John 17), committed them/us to His Father:

When Jesus had spoken these words, He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You, since You have given Him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. …. “I have manifested Your Name to the people whom You gave Me out of the world. Yours they were, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  Now they know that everything that You have given Me is from You.  For I have given them the words that You gave Me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.  I am praying for them. …. I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.  …. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know You, I know You, and these know that You have sent Me. I made known to them Your Name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

I want to memorize all of this prayer this year and know the very love that Jesus has for me.  I want to know it deeply.  I want to delve into The Word, Jesus Christ, to know Him more and more.  I am recommitting my life, Jesus, to You.  My life is Yours.  I am Your sheep. You are my Shepherd.  I am Your child.  You are my Father, my Abba Father.  I want to be obedient to You.  I am wholly Yours.  Guide my every step.  Please hold me near.  Forgive me when I stray.  In Your Name, I pray.  Amen. 

befuschiasig

 

 

31 Days of God-Woven Moments – October 21

 

31 days PNG

As I write this month about God-woven moments in and through my tapestry of life, I want to spend this day weaving my 2014 word, “Honor” into this piece of art.  I chose to ponder “honor” this year for I want to remember that God is the Head and I am part of the body, His church.

And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.  Colossians 2:19

I am nourished by God with His Living Waters and Bread of Life.  Jesus is my Redeemer.  God knit me together and knows me.  I grow as I spend time in His Word, feeding upon His daily food for my soul.  I dwell in the stillness of His love and grow to be more and more like Christ.  Christ is my focus.  I am honored to know that I am His, part of His church, His Bride.  I honor Him and desire to honor Him in all I do in this world.  I honor Him in all that I am before man.

May I be an image of Christ before all those who do not know Him, a guide for those who do but are wavering right now.  May my voice be honoring in all that I say, LORD.  I desire much.  Through You, and only You, can I be strengthened to do any of this.  You are my Strength.  I am blessed to honor You in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.  

 

To catch up on the previous days of this 31 day challenge, you can find them listed here.

One Word ~ Still

From OneWord365, January-2012,

“One word can change everything.

….Choose just one word.

One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live or what you want to achieve by the end of 2012.

….

 “But since we are halfway there, let’s check in with each other for a One Word 365 update.”

“If you haven’t chosen a word for yourself yet, it’s not too late. It’s never too late to choose to live each day with intentionality and focus. So choose a word, blog about it, and dive right in with us.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So here I am…

I actually did choose a word in December, 2011, for this year of 2012, but never knew about this “One Word 365” so am joining this conversation in July-2012:  My word is still.

   Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.  Selah  Psalm 4:4  NKJV

LORD, please take all that I am this day and hold me until I become still, quiet, calm in Your arms.  May my heartbeat be in rhythm with Yours.  May I slow to the pace of Jesus, my LORD.  Love me into stillness.  Caress me still.  Surround me with Your Stillness.  Open me to be still in You.  Amen. 

This year of 2012, I want to slow down, to smell the Texas Mountain Laurel.  I want peace; I want to stand still so God can show me His creation, His beauty, His lessons.  I desire the calm so that I can contemplate all that He has done in this world, and what I might do for Him in this world (and all that I do in the names of pride and selfishness so I can turn from that, repent, change).  I want the moments to stroll by the eyes of my heart and give Him the glory each day.  A morning appointment with Him will direct me to His path for the day.  For any of this to happen, I must be still, breathing in His breathe for life in me, His life in me.  I can and I shall be still for I love Him so and desire to walk with Him, be still for Him, be loved by Him.  I came to Christ by faith and through that door, I entered His rest.

  For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.  Hebrews 4:10 NASB

Entering His rest requires some steps on my part…obedience and faith.  I pray for a Sabbath Rest and feel a stillness, am brought to a standing still, a peaceful calm, a quiet place.  I can slow down, be still in an earthly sort of way… and know my God.

    “Be still, and know that I am God.
        I will be exalted among the nations,
        I will be exalted in the earth!”
(Psalm 46:10 ESV)

I have wanted to slow down from concern and worry over my mother, my 98 year old mother in the nursing home.  I want to enjoy each moment I have with her from now on.  That happens more often than not these days.  I love my time with her on most days.  We may spend the time talking, chattering.  We may watch a Cubs game together.  We may not be communicating because Mama is sleeping but I sit in her recliner and watch her, pray over her, journal of things said before, of thoughts crossing my mind that moment.  I may just be there in the room with her.  Night’s like tonight where Mama was extremely hyperactive, talkative, glad to see me, never allowed a moment of silence to occur between us, still just does not happen unless I can allow her to be her and allow me to be in the moments as they roll by.  Sometimes, I succeed; other times, I just do not.  Tonight was a hard night for “still”.  Activity, mind-boggling words and moods, a visitor of hyperactivity, talk, and bias…I was able to let it all float through and by, then drift away giving me at least partial “still”, more so after I left the nursing home!  I could absorb His still.

Being still may take me to a green chair in our spare bedroom where I read God’s Word and soak in a bit more than when I am not still and trying to read the Bible.  I have found that there is a difference between reading in God’s stillness and trying to read.

Being still may take my mind to a quiet stream in the mountains.  I see God’s creation and rejoice as I can hear the ripple of the water, or feel the cool breeze rushing through my hair.  Still soothes me.  I have lived in the place of motion where I notice nothing, hear nothing, feel nothing.  I do not want to live there anymore.  I want still so that I may feel, hear, see, touch, contemplate, adore, rejoice, glorify God, and adore Him.  What better place than this still place, this resting point, this quiet order.

I have had three surgeries during the past year.  My body has been through a lot of stress.  My mind has been on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.  Stillness is where I need to be as the healing process continues.  Even though I chose this word in December, and had two surgeries ahead of me, one unknown, God knew what I would need in the days and months ahead.  Stillness has ebbed and flowed these months as pain and struggle made it difficult to even remember that I wanted to be still this year, to sit in the stillness of God, in His cloud.  Yet, He always meets me, waits for me when I get distracted and forget.  He is so wonderful and His Still is so beautiful in all.  They are a calming balm to me.

Johnny_Jump_Up_by_kitkat878

Just as Jesus rebuked the wind and calmed the sea, peace is amidst the wild when the LORD is there in the midst.  That is what I am learning through this “still” year.  Keeping my whole self focused upon Jesus and not upon the situation, the circumstance, the pain, the noise.  I am learning to allow myself to know the peace of the Lord, the stillness of God.

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  Mark 4:39

 


Johnny Jump-Ups
photo:  KitKat @ DeviantArt  Link: http://fav.me/d277000   http://kitkat878.deviantart.com/art/Johnny-Jump-Up-133016256

Peace, Be Still graphic:  John Bell, July, 1999; http://www.jrbell.com; http://www.heartlight.org