Increase Your Decrease

”Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to fight against my will.”’  Acts 26:14 (NLT) 1242968_puppet_2

   This hit me like a ton of bricks (which hurts by the way).  Whose way am I following?  Am I like Saul?  Am I unknowingly fighting against God and His will or am I working with God?Saul was a priest, and a devout one.  He truly thought persecuting the early Christians was the right thing to do.  He believed in the cause.  He rallied to his holy crusade.  The problem was he was wrong.  He was WAY off the course God wanted him to take.  But God stepped in and knocked him to the dirt and asked him, “Saul, hey Saul!  What are you doing?  Why are doing the exact opposite of what I want?  You are actually persecuting me.  It is tough to fight against me and serve me at the same time.”

So this begs the question, what am I bringing into my relationship with God that is in reality going against His will?  What attitudes, preconceived notions and great ideas do I have that would make God tell me, “It’s hard to fight against My will Shawn.”  When I read the Bible, what context am I reading with?  My American upbringing or am I trying to read it through the eyes and mind of God?  What type of prayer am I praying?  Is it in humble supplication to God or is it full of “I wants” and “I needs”?  What great ideas do I have to change the world for Jesus?  Are they really His will or are they my selfish desires to make my ego grow? 

John, the cousin of Jesus, said in John 3:30 that “I must decrease so that He (Jesus) can increase.” 

This is my prayer,

“Dad, I MUST decrease, it must become less about me.  I must decrease, it must become less about what I want.  I must decrease, it must become less of my ideas.  I must decrease, so that You can increase.  Amen.”

Increase your decrease so that He may increase in your life!


It’s all about Him,

Shawn

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Bleeding

A lot of us are going through rough times right now. The economy is reeling, relationships are strained and bleeding-heartfriendships are falling apart. It feels like our hearts are bleeding. Is this you or maybe someone you know? I know someone who is hurting like this right now. He is fighting loneliness and feels the spectre of depression hovering beside him.

I was watching an old UFC fight last night and something happened that ties in. I know, UFC and Jesus, doesn’t sound like they go together but stay with me. I don’t remember the names of the fighters but I do remember what happened.

The fight began and both fighters were trading blows, testing each other out. One of the guys makes a mistake and the other fighter catches him on the nose with a kick. His nose splits open and starts gushing blood. The ref stops the fight so the ringside doctor can look at it and stop the bleeding. He gets the bleeding stopped and the fight resumes. Not twenty seconds later the cut opens again and the blood flows. This happens over and over. The ref wants to stop the fight but the fighter says no. The next time the fight is stopped the ref again wants to stop it but the fighter literally begs to keep fighting. The ref allows it. At the end of the fight both fighters are covered in the hurt guys blood. He is bloodied, battered but still standing. He finished the fight. He lost, but he finished. By staying in the ring he earned the respect of the announcers and all of us watching. The next time he fights none of us will remember he lost, but we will remember he finished.

Paul writes of something similar in 2 Timothy 4:7-8;

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.  (New Living Translation)

davisspratt0069_fightWhat’s important is what you don’t see in this passage. You don’t see the word “win”. Paul doesn’t claim to win the fight, only to finish it. He doesn’t claim the checkered flag, for you NASCAR fans, but he does claim to finish.
When your heart feels like it is bleeding, keep going. Find friends and loved ones that can help stop the flow but you must continue. You will eventually get to the prize whether it is the healing of your heart or taking your place in heaven.

If you are in last place, finish the race. If you’re fighting and get knocked down, get back up. Claim the prize that God has waiting for you.


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