June 9, 2024 - Episode #4943

Music

Conductors: Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy

Organist: Richard Elliott

Announcer: Lloyd D. Newell

“Scatter Sunshine”
Music: Edwin O. Excell
Lyrics: Lanta Wilson Smith
Arrangement: Ryan Murphy

“The King of Love My Shepherd Is”
Music: Ryan Murphy
Lyrics: Henry Baker

“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (Organ Solo)
Music: John Wyeth
Arrangement: Dale Wood

“How Bright Is The Day”
Traditional Hymn
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Because of Him”
Traditional Hymn
Lyrics: David Warner
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Sing!” from “Toccata”
Music: Charles-Marie Widor
Lyrics: David Willcocks
Arrangement: David Willcocks

The Spoken Word

Increase in Devotion to Him

June 9, 2024
By Lloyd Newell

John the Baptist caused quite a stir with his preaching in the wilderness. Not only did he attract a large following of humble disciples, but he also drew the attention of powerful figures of the day.[1] Multitudes came to be baptized by him. Soldiers and tax collectors sought his guidance. Religious leaders demanded, “Who art thou?” (John 1:22). Not bad for someone who wore clothes of camel hair and lived on wild honey and locusts.[2]
When Jesus of Nazareth started teaching too, John’s disciples were concerned. Would this new teacher draw followers away from John? But apparently John did not savor notoriety or crave attention for himself. Instead, in all his efforts and actions, he directed people to Jesus Christ, the long-awaited Savior of the world. His attitude toward Jesus was captured in one humble statement: “He must increase,” John said simply, “but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Perhaps it was, in part, this humility and loyalty that prompted the Savior to say, “There is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist” (Luke 7:28).[3]

Is there a message for us in the life of John the Baptist? Could it be that in order to increase the Savior’s holy influence in our lives, other things will need to decrease? Maybe our feelings of pride and self-importance must decrease so that His meekness and mercy can increase in our hearts. Perhaps anger and contention must decrease in order to make room for more kindness and compassion.

All of that requires change, and change can be difficult. We may need to let go of things we’ve been holding for a long time. When that seems impossible, it helps to remember that John the Baptist’s mission was to prepare the way of the Lord, to prepare the people to receive Him. And part of his message was that “every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth” (Luke 3:5).

In other words, Jesus Christ can change things that seem permanent. He can fill our emptiness. He can move mountains. He can straighten what is crooked and smooth out our rough ways. To receive these miracles, we decrease our distrust and doubt, and we increase our devotion to Him.

[1] See Luke 3:1–14.

[2] See Matthew 3:4.

[3] See Justin Collings, “He Must Increase,” Light Reflections (newsletter), Jan. 2024, unpublished.