Yesterday, at my request, My wife, Michaelene wrote her first blog post for the website so we could keep these devotionals a TRULY daily post. She thought she did terrible, rambled, and was all over the place, but it was a wonderful success. To be quite honest, I don't think our blog has had so many views, likes, or shares as when she wrote (as of this writing, it's up to 60). At my best, I've not had so many views or reads on my blog posts. And, if I can be quite honest, I'm jealous. At my best, I have not seen so many views on the things I have done.
If I'm completely honest with myself (I know, I was honest with myself a few sentences prior to this, also), I'm jealous because a part of me, whether small or large, views these blogs as a personal accomplishment, as opposed to what I say that I intend them to be. I need to check my intent, which was to write something almost every day. When I first began these (almost) daily devotionals, I was really after myself. I get disappointed with the results quite often, and God has taught me something about the "success" of my wife's first one, versus the apparent lack of success of my 220 other devotions that I have written. What it comes down to is that I wasn't honoring God completely, I was seeking after my own success. The reason why I have felt like a failure, is that I was depending on myself, and the reason I was so jealous was because I made it about me, and not about the God I serve getting honor and glory!
So what am I to do? Do I give it up? Do I lay it aside? Maybe. But only if I keep making it about me, and not about the God who saved me. To quiet my jealous heart, I must seek God to remove my jealousy, my need to be appreciated and liked, my need to feel valued, and indeed, what I need to do is take on the attitude of John the Baptist as Jesus' ministry was on the rise "He must increase, I must decrease." God is the only one with a right to jealousy: He does not want to share me with anyone else. Therefore, I must humble myself, and seek Him out. I must quiet my soul, and ask the Lord's forgiveness (And my wife's), and seek, then, His Kingdom, and His Righteousness first. That is the only way to quiet the jealousy in my heart, to remove everything else but my love for Him. I'm going to rest, and try and be still a while, I admit to you, I'm still a little sore and hurt. But as I focus on my God, I will not seek myself anymore, or at least I will try not to. Therein lies all of my disappointment, frustration, and jealousy. I will seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and then accept whatever He brings to me as a result. Pray for my humility, that as I serve the Lord, I do not get caught up in myself, but keep my focus on Him. Pray that He places godly men and women around me to remind me of this truth. I'll pray the same for you. John 3 English Standard Version
You Must Be Born Again
1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2This man came to Jesusa by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born againb he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.c 7Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘Youd must be born again.’ 8The winde blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but youf do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.g 14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.h
For God So Loved the World
16“For God so loved the world,i that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
John the Baptist Exalts Christ
22After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24(for John had not yet been put in prison).
25Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26And 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.” 27John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29The 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. 30He must increase, but I must decrease.”j
31He 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. 32He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Footnotes: a 2 Greek him b 3 Or from above; the Greek is purposely ambiguous and can mean both again and from above; also verse 7 c 6 The same Greek word means both wind and spirit d 7 The Greek for you is plural here e 8 The same Greek word means both wind and spirit f 11 The Greek for you is plural here; also four times in verse 12 g 13 Some manuscripts add who is in heaven h 15 Some interpreters hold that the quotation ends at verse 15 i 16 Or For this is how God loved the world j 30 Some interpreters hold that the quotation continues through verse 36