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Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 1

The Prayer of Jabez Challenge

1 Chronicles 4:9 And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called him Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.  10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested. 

Day 1 is here.  I was very excited about it yesterday when the idea came to my mind.  I was also really excited about it this morning when I woke up.

Not a whole lot to report today.  I did my daily devotionals and read.  I prayed.  I was very productive in other ways also.  I started doing my slight edge tasks again...but that's for another blog.

During my prayer time, I decided to do some meditation on the Prayer of Jabez.  It's very interesting how the book of 1 Chronicles mentions him in two verses.  They compare him to his siblings, and talk about why his Mother named him Jabez.  Then it goes into his prayer to God...and that's it!

There must be a reason why he's in the Bible.  Everything that's in the Bible is in there with purpose.  I wonder why God chose for this short--very short--story to go in the Bible.  Perhaps it's because He wanted us to know that when we pray fervently, He's faithful and will answer our prayers.  But there are places all over the Bible that can attest to this promise.  Maybe He just wanted us to see Jabez' example...

*I suppose the best thing for me to do is ask Him for His wisdom and understanding on this*

I have to say, there's something very intense about this prayer.  It's strange...the power that comes off the page when I read the prayer; but every time I read it, I get goose bumps.  It's like I know that Jabez, in that moment knelt before God and poured his heart out to Him.  It's like you can feel the depth of his prayer through his words on the page...

When I first read the book, The Prayer of Jabez, by Dr. Bruce Wilkinson, I confess I got so excited.  I was like, "What?! All I have to do is pray that prayer and God will show up and do something amazing?!  Suuuuuuuuuhweeeeet!"  Looking back, I think I missed the point.  It's about more than just saying the prayer.  It's about your heart and about really expecting God to show up and do something amazing.

But it goes deeper than that.  My initial thought of a blessing is something tangible.  For example, a car, or a house.  Hey, I'd even go as far as to say money--make that plenty of money in my pocket.

I don't think it's just about asking God to bless you so you can have all those tangible things, though.  After all, I have to remember that God is not a vending machine waiting for me to approach Him for a "snack".  He's my Heavenly Father, and He wants a relationship with me.

I'm not saying that God doesn't like to bless His children.  God loves to bless His children.  He is a giver.  I think that's the key.  When we ask God to bless us indeed, yes, we're asking God to bless us and bless us in a major way.  This doesn't only have to mean with tangible, worldly things.  This can also mean spiritual things. 

A blessing from God could come in the form of a brand new car.  You know the one you've always wanted.  A blessing from God could also come in the form of losing your home AND your job.  Doesn't seem like much of a blessing from where I'm sitting.  But we've all heard the saying, "God works in mysterious ways."  It's true.  We have to learn to open our eyes so we are able to see the blessings in the storm.

Don't take my word for it.  Let's look at scripture.  Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Maybe you lost your house and your job because God's got a job for you in another city and He knows that if you still had the old job and home, you wouldn't be willing to move.  And maybe by moving to this new city, He'll use you to be a blessing to several people that have been waiting on you and praying for you.

*Just look at how He used Abraham!*

During a sermon, my Bishop from my home church in Austin told us to look at the person sitting next to us and tell them, "I see you and I have your supply."  Maybe God created you with someones' supply; and that someone lives in another city.  If you have their supply, God needs you to go to them in order for them to get their blessing.

*When we allow God to use us to bless others, we in turn are blessed beyond comprehension.*

Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  Again, your blessing may be for spiritual growth.  Part of spiritual growth is having faith in God.  He may be working to stretch your faith.  Maybe He wants you to rely on Him more with faith.  Our faith in Him ensures we trust Him.  Perhaps He's preparing you for something in your life that requires you have a great deal of faith in Him...

Furthermore, when we show through our faith that we trust Him, it is an act of love.  Like a toddler falling back into her Daddy's arms with her eye's closed tight, we too should have that kind of unshakable faith and trust in God (that He will catch us when we fall).  In trusting Him, we show our love for Him.  That's what God really wants from us, He wants us to love Him.

Back to day 1 of this Jabez challenge.  I'm thankful for the avenue to be able to share my journey with whoever God sends forth.  I'm also thankful for the gift He has given me in my writing.  Today seemed to be an ordinary day.  But I know that God takes ordinary and makes it extraordinary.  So I'm thankful to Him for what He's doing in my life.  I may not see it today, but I know He's up to something!


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