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Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 8

Prayer of Jabez 30 Day Challenge
Day 8

Prayer of Jabez

And Jabez was more honorable than his brothers: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with much sorrow.  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.  (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)

7 weeks ago, our Woodland Hills church campus began a spiritual boot camp.  One of the things as a church we were encouraged to do was pray about how we could be more intentional for Christ and for God's kingdom. 

Each week, we were encouraged to make sacrifices.  The first week, we were all challenged to give up eating out.  The second week, we were challenged to give up drinking sodas, coffee, etc. while dining out.  During week 5, we were challenged to pray for a revelation of our own sacrifice. 

Marcus and I prayed and prayed...and weren't sure what we were supposed to do.  Finally, one day Marcus brought up the idea of using one of our businesses to be a blessing to others.  We are independent distributors for Herbalife.  We both have a passion for health and wellness, not only for ourselves, but for all people. 

After we talked about what that would look like, we got on our knees and began praying about it even more.  For me, at times, it seemed like we were praying to no avail.  I still had no clue how the idea would look once put into action. 

One of the outreach programs at Shepherd of the Hills Woodland Hills is a Christmas Eve dinner and service.  It is the biggest event that our campus puts on each year.  Dinner is at 5:30pm, followed by a service.  All people are invited.  The church members are encouraged to invite friends, family and strangers.  We are also encouraged to invite homeless individuals. 

A few weeks ago, we were asked to bring items to contribute to homeless packs.  In addition to feeding homeless individuals physically and spiritually, the church desires to send them away with useful items (ie. combs, brushes, toothbrushes, toothpaste....) 

At this point, we still hadn't figured out how to use our business to be more of a blessing to individuals.  I was beginning to get antsy.  But continued trusting God would, faithfully, answer in His perfect timing.  After church that day, while discussing our possible contribution to the packs, Marcus suggested we use the money we make from Herbalife to purchase the products. 

I said something to him like, "That's a great idea.  I'd like it even more if we were consistently making money from Herbalife right now."

We continued praying.  He then suggested we ask our friends and family to purchase products for themselves, and let them know that the monies would go toward purchasing items for the homeless packs.  After that conversation, we didn't go any further with it.  A negative voice in my head reminded me of how sceptical some of the people we know can be.  I further thought, several people have purchased the products and don't use them.  As I stated earlier, I am very passionate about health and wellness.  I love being healthy, and want for all people to take the initiative to lead more healthy lifestyles.  I"ll admit, I enjoy making money.  But the last thing I want to do is sell products to people that won't use them.  I'd rather not make money from people if the products, only, sit on their shelf.

With that, we continued in prayer, not sure if we were supposed to do actions taking place.  Finally, last Friday, Marcus saw a Facebook post from a mutual friend.  She and her Husband bought a couple of burgers for a homeless guy.  As they were walking away from him, they noticed a homeless woman approaching that wasn't with him.  She said there's got to be something more we can do for the homeless population, and talked about an article that suggested providing homeless individuals with healthy nutrition shakes. 

Marcus shared this information with me sometime Friday night; but it kind of floated into the back of my mind.  Yesterday, he brought it up again, and even showed it to me.  He then shared the idea with his Mom, who said we've been thinking about what to do and our minds and hearts began going in that direction.  The post from our friend was God's way of telling us we need to go ahead and do it. 

My Mother in law further said that sometimes God will give us our answer.  Rather than reacting to His response, we spend time pondering His answer and whether or not we heard Him correctly. 

Last night, we made the decision to go ahead and put it into action.  We prayed about it.  This morning when I woke up, I had a nervous feeling.  Part of me didn't want to do it.  That negative voice in my head told me that it was a dumb idea and no one would ever go for it.  I was then reminded that "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." Luke 18:27.  God can do anything, if He wants to.  I just have to put my trust in Him. 

I prayed about it once more: that God would bless our idea and give me the courage to put action behind our plans.  I finally got on Facebook and updated my status with the information.  I put the information in a note.  I created an event inviting everyone on my friend list to participate in it.  Finally, I sent an email out to friends and family members that are not on Facebook.  Talk about getting completely out of my comfort zone. 

Upon checking out the response thus far, there were 5 "No", 1 "Maybe" and 2 "Yes".  Both yes responses were from me and Marcus.  I began to get discouraged.  "Oh my gosh!  How embarrassing!  I put myself out there, and I get rejected..."   Proverbs 18:21 states that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue..."

Additionally, God made this promise to each of His children, "Ask and it shall be given you....for everyone that asketh receiveth..." Matthew 7:7-8, so I changed my attitude.  I reminded myself to trust God.

The Prayer of Jabez not only asks for God's "blessing indeed".  It also asks for God to "enlarge my territories".  Expanding your territory is not always comfortable.  Enlarging of territory requires some growth.  With growth, there are growing pains.  Stepping out of my comfort zone is definitely a growing pain. 

The thing is, I asked.  I made my request known before God.  I don't believe my request for God to expand my territory was made with impure intentions.  I believe my request was made out of the desire to see how God could be glorified in my life if I put my trust in Him and let Him do His work.  Jeff Olsen wrote in The Slight Edge, "Time will either promote you or expose you."  So may God expose me and my true motives if my heart's desire isn't for Him to be glorified in all this...

In the mean time, " is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1, so I can't allow my feelings and what I see with my carnal eyes to effect my faith in my belief of what God can do. 

God is so much bigger than all the negative thoughts I've been experiencing.  If I allow my mind to focus on the negative thoughts,  I'm basically saying I think those thoughts are bigger than God.  If this is truly God breathed, and there's a way for Him to be glorified in all this, it will happen.  It will come to pass and it will be a blessing "indeed".

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