Monday, November 25, 2013

November 25, 2013 … Enlarging Our Territory

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 329

 Devotional Song: Go to this link  – Please take your time to see a video I’ve posted a number of times to illustrate our faithfulness, … a powerful song, performed by Steve Green, Find Us Faithful, a prayer of commitment to go forth, being faithful to follow Christ in all things. … And then on this link - for the powerful song, written/sung by Laura Story, Blessings, which reminds us that God’s blessings in life may be disguised as trials and troubles.

Highlight Passage - NLT: 1st Chronicles 4: 9-10…  
9 There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful. 10 He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.  
Highlight Passage: 1st Chronicles, Chapter 4… GO TO THIS LINK … [NLT] 

Reference Passage #1: Matthew, Chapter 25: Verses 14-30… GO TO THIS LINK … [NLT] 

Reference Passage #2: 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 12: Verses 6-10… GO TO THIS LINK … [NLT]

My Journal for Today: We don’t know a lot about the man named Jabez, described in 1st Chronicles, Chapter 4, verses 9-10, yet we know a lot more about him than we do all of the others listed in that chapter, where the tribes of Israel were being chronicled by God’s word.

In fact, a modern Bible teacher, Bruce Wilkinson, wrote a little book about Jabez and his prayer a few years ago, … a book which practically became a modern Christian industry due to its popularity. And though not much was written about this man in the Old Testament, as Wilkinson points out in his book, what was written spoke chronicles about the man.

Yes, Jabez was the only Israelite listed in the chronicles of God’s people who had any descriptors mentioned at all about him; and he was described as “… more honorable than any of his brothers.” And going on in that passage, we see that this, so-called HONORABLE man, was seen by God as quite special, because Jabez prayed to be shielded from trouble and pain; and God is said to have granted Jabez his desire. And that was one point of Bruce Wilkinson’s very popular book was making, … i.e., that if we can be seen by God as “honorable” in His sight, and our desires seek and follow God’s will, we will be “blessed” with the desires of our hearts which are fully in line with God’s will.

This, of course, sparks some theological and practical discussion on what faithfulness and blessing are all about in God’s word. The Apostle Paul was certainly a faithful man, wasn’t’ he? Yet, we read in 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 12 that Paul prayed and prayed and prayed to have a painful “thorn” lifted from him. And how did God honor Paul’s prayer? He allowed Satan to keep visiting Paul with the pain of that “thorn.”

So, what’s up with that?

Well, as Laura Story sings in the song, “Blessings,” Christians need to know that God is going to BLESS His children based on their faithfulness and our needs, .. not our own selfish desires. Some, like Jabez, may be blessed with trouble-free living. Others, like Paul, will be “blessed” by God’s grace, being disguised in painful trials. But no matter what the shape of the “blessing” might be, God’s grace, when we pray for it as Jabez and Paul prayed, will be granted … based on our faithfulness AND our needs, … NOT our selfish desires!!

If and when we grasp that truth, we’ll live far more fruitful lives in Christ; because in our faithfulness, God will provide us with EXACTLY the “blessings” we need to grow us into Christlikeness (see Matt. 25: 14-30 – the parable of the talents). So, let’s pray to remain faithful, as Steve Green sings [linked above]; and to have God expand our territories as Jabez prayed … so that we can obey and serve God as did both Jabez and Paul – as honorable servants of their LORD.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I pray to remain faithful and for You to expand the territory of my service for Your glory; … and that I may grow ever more faithful in serving You, in spite of any pain I may experience. Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online blog entitled Today God Is First [TGIF], authored by Os Hillman. If you GO TO THIS LINK  on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read Hillman’s TGIF blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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