Friday, May 29, 2009

My Journey with Jabez: Part 1

1 Chronicles 4:9-15 (New International Version)

9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, [a] saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.

I recently did a bible study on the Jabez prayer. I decided to actually do what the book said; focus on the above prayer and that book for a month. WOW! The Lord has been amazing! First it started with joy, our Sunday School class is learning the fruits of the spirit and last month happened to be joy. I searched the bible for something on joy and found, what I thought, was the perfect prayer to close with. So every week our closing prayer was:

Psalm 51:11-12 (New International Version)

11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation

and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

A good friend came by with a book one day called "Thy Word". This book is full of prayers that the author obtained from the bible. I found the above prayer in the book and "restore to me the joy of your salvation" just wouldn't let me go! So, as I lay there trying to fall asleep I kept repeating that verse over and over in my head. I was immediately flooded with joy so great that I almost didn't stop myself from yelling out loud! It was amazing. That joy didn't leave me again through a hospital stay with my son or my husband being laid off at work. Which is completely amazing for me cause I can be a "woe is me" person on occasions.

When we got my son home from the hospital I was on the phone with a friend, telling her all that I've told you and how I felt the Lord was with me just keeping my spirits up. For the first time I was experiencing true joy....then I hung up with her walked into the hallway, there stood my daughter who says, "Mom, I think I have a fever..." I felt it leave me, the joy, it didn't slowly leave it was just gone, like that (snapping my fingers). I said a prayer, the Jabez prayer and immediately I knew what the problem was...I was running on empty. I needed some time with the Lord. You see we are live a car, we can fill up but "our gas" burns out the more we use it. We need to "refuel" on a daily basis in order to be full of the Lord's grace and joy.

So that's where I ran to. I prayed that day for him to make me crave His word, make me just WANT and desire studying His word, let me not to be able to get enough of it....Wow, has he EVER!! I haven't missed a devotion or time with the Lord in two weeks!! Last night I studied for my Sunday School lesson and was going to sleep. The lights were out; I was laying in bed....I HAD to get up, do my devotion, read my Jabez, do my Jabez journal and read my bible. It took about 30 minutes ,if that, but WOW, I'm so thankful to the Lord for His hand that never leaves me!

My Journey with Jabez: Part 2

"Oh, that you would bless me indeed"
When I read in "Jabez" that the Lord had blessed the author so much that he needed a break to take it all in, I thought, I could use some of THAT! I want to know what it's like to be so blessed by the Lord that those blessings just overwhelm you!! Where do I sign up for that?
The other night while doing my Jabez journal, I decided to write down all the blessings that I could recall which took about two pages to do basically 2 days worth. NOPE, I'm not kidding! And I didn't even add stuff like I made it to work safely or we have a roof over our heads. The only thing that made the list were "gifts" we had received from others. Gifts that were tangible, gifts that were truly given freely by others to my family. And NO it isn't any of our birthdays!!
This list included actual money (a tax return that came in when I was down to $100 in the checking account and the house payment was due) or love offerings (try $350) to our family when we needed it the most (my husband is currently unemployed for the first time in 20 years). I can't tell you the amount of free plants I've received while doing this (gardening is one of my favorite things to do :), we were actually given enough seeds and plants to plant our very first vegetable garden and are currently eating fresh radishes that WE grew :) and I haven't even mentioned the flowers we've received!! We were given a water pump so that now we can water our plants free of charge with a well in our back yard. Not only were we given the pump but the person who donated it to our family spent two days at our house helping my husband prepare this well. One of my other favorite things to do is read, I've received a total of 5 or 6 books since I started the prayer. I love playing games on the computer and I've received two free games and I'm not talking about the daily freebie from Cooking is not something I enjoy doing, at all, so I've been blessed with people just bringing me meals (they were their leftovers but HEY I'm not picky). After helping clean up from a church function we went home with a HUGE pile of veggies, which we made stir fry with, and two pies. We now have health insurance for my children and with a hospital visit and a daughter that needs $200 meds for her asthma treatment, I'd say that's a HUGE blessing. I've even been blessed with a new friendship and work opportunity that just popped up recently. Whew! I just know I'm forgetting some too.
After looking over my list that night, I realized that the biggest blessing in all was the KNOWing that the Lord has it under control and HE loves us enough to take care of it. It's not the Jabez prayer that's brought me all these blessings, it's a loving God that's blessing us because we need it and because I'm asking Him. God sees the needs we have and provides them.
I have a certain friend whose husband was out of work for months and they have aLOT of kids ;) Her husband was getting down because he wasn't able to provide for his family. One of our mutual friends made the statement to me, "He's getting down because he's under the impression that it's his job to provide for his family but it's not. It's God's job to provide for us, He's the Great Provider!!" Those words of wisdom stuck with me and now God is proving them to me.
In "Jabez" the author tells this story (this is written in my words):
One day a man dies and goes to heaven where Saint Peter greets him, then takes him on a tour. He shows him the streets of gold and all the buildings made of precious stones but there's one building that Saint Peter doesn't take him in. That's the one the man wants to go in. Saint Peter says," I think we should go see this instead." "Can we please go in that building?" the man asks. With a sigh, Saint Peter takes him into the ten story high building. The man walks in and sees boxes upon boxes stacked from the floor to the ceiling. Upon closer examination, he notices they are in sections with names. Getting excited, he asks Saint Peter if he has a section. Saint Peter says , " Yes, but I don't think you really want to see it." " Oh please!!" the man says in his excitement. So Saint Peter shows him his section and the man gasps when he sees how high the boxes are stacked and how many rows he has. With excitement he grabs a box and opens it. Confusion spreads through him and he turns to Saint Peter and says, " I don't understand." Saint Peter sighs and says,"These are all the blessings God had for you but you never asked."
God wants to bless us, I believe that, He wants to bless us big. Have you asked God to bless you lately? Go spend time with Him, pray that he would bless you and while He's at why doesn't he bless you INDEED! Amen.

My Journey with Jabez:Part 3

Jabez Prayer Pictures, Images and Photos
"Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!"
Oh that you would enlarge my territory to me means enlarging my little world. New experiences, divine appointments with others and revelations. These are harder to see than the blessings, for me anyway, but when I really started to pay attention, I was astounded to realize just how much territory He had enlarged for me! Some are subtle and some are miraculous.
I revealed in another blog (I think, didn't I? Hmmm, anyway...) that I don't enjoy cooking. I never have and believe me, my mom truly tried to make me a cook. She even gave me a night that I had to cook the meal when I was in high school. I made Parmesan Chicken every night that it was my night until she finally gave up. (It just hit me, I don't make that anymore...hmmmmm, I make Chicken Parmesan but not Parmesan Chicken....OH sorry it's the ADD) Well, for Christmas, my in laws gave us a waffle iron for Christmas. We made some waffles, ya know, they were tasty, no biggy. I got an email from church and they were having a waffle dinner for Relay For Life and I signed up to help. I actually didn't even think about it, I just signed up. I'm thinking I can mix up some batter or make sure we have plenty of syrup on the table. THEN the email came...they were needing waffle irons. Cool, I have one and it makes 6 waffles at a time. Still, no problem, there will be plenty of people there to do the cooking and they can use my waffle iron :) I'm so generous, pat myself on the back and hit reply. The night comes and as I'm standing there cooking waffles for a horde of people I just burst out laughing....God was using ME to cook for a crowd!!!! Don't tell me the Lord doesn't have a sense of humor. He's put me cooking for church two more times since that, I just had to bring a covered dish but still there's enlarged territory right there.
I can think of two divine appointments with two different people. The Lord just put words in my mouth that were a revelation for them and ME cause wherever did THAT come from? That's enlarged territory, for me.
The Lord has shown me what true joy is, he's shown me what true peace is....enlarged territory.
He's enlarged my study of His word. I started this with the intention of reading some of Jabez and keeping a journal. That was MY idea, HA! The Lord had other ideas, I currently do a devotion, read some out of the bible, journal, and pray out of "Thy Word". That's every night but the past two nights he's given me MORE to do, I am also doing a worksheet on "the enemy" that Chele brought back for me from the Jabez bible study. Some nights He says it's time to study for the Sunday School class, some nights He just wants me to read more out of His word. So I guess letting Him lead me closer to Him, now THAT's enlarged territory right there!!
Chele and I have finally started our Emmaus reunion group (if you are wondering what Emmaus is, let me know and we'll discuss it cause it's AWESOME!!!) The Lord is using that to open up my borders and helping me discover new things I need to go to Him for and there was once that it was my divine appointment.
Then there's the one that He tried to enlarge but I didn't listen (head hanging down in shame). I was doing my study one night and I thought, I need to start going to the Women's Prayer group. Then I thought, that's a great idea, I'll talk to my friend about it and that was that. The next morning was the morning they meet and while I was in the shower, my friend that I wanted to talk to about it called. We played phone tag all morning, I missed prayer group and guess what? That friend NEEDED me desperately that day. I was supposed to be at prayer group!! I didn't hear the idea from myself, it was the LORD and I didn't listen...shame, shame...Lord, forgive me for not hearing your voice...and I know He has. BUT I will start going to prayer group and I'll have to be there by 8AM, two enlarged territories right there!
I've sent get well cards...okay, I've sent one, BUT it's a start right? That's rather big for me cause I'm such a procrastinator that generally I think about doing it but never do.... Okay, fine, I have to confess, remember the wise friend we was her idea BUT I did it....Enlarged territory AND my friend met her divine appointment; me! :0 Beautiful!!
I started this...not sure if it's helping anybody, well, possibly Chele or Marci? Maybe it's helping me to write it all down to see just how the Lord is growing me? Anyway, that's enlarged territory, for me. We'll see where the Lord takes it.
Okay, I think I'm through, I've written a book and I'm sorry. I've said all this to say...Ask the Lord to enlarge your territory; you'll be amazed at where He takes you :)

Safe in His Hands

I have noticed the Lord puts themes in my life. For instance, once a month our praise band at church, has a praise night where anyone can come join them in a practice type setting. If you go, you must participate, by singing or playing an instrument. My husband is in the praise band and the leader is a great friend of mine. She invited me to go...which meant since I don't play an instrument I would have to sing....oh dear! Anyway as I'm standing in front of the piano and my friend is singing beautifully...I start singing too. The first song we sang was this:

This song has stayed with me ever since, it's just constantly playing in my head. This song has truly been my life lately and God IS amazing! Although I was a believer and was struggling to wrestle the unseen before Jabez...NOW I feel that the Lord has awakened me to the battle. He's truly put me in my Godly armor and is showing me constantly that the battle is waging.

My husband recently lost his job, my son went through an emergency room visit and an eventual hospital stay which is all leading to a tonsillectomy. No big deal unless you don't have health insurance and you only work part time. Which just so happens to be my case. The Lord has truly calmed the storm inside my soul. I'm not worried, which for me is HUGE! My mom called me last night and I could hear the panic in her voice worrying about what my husband was going to do. I just couldn't feel anything but peace. That could ONLY come from the Lord. That is NOT me. I tend to be a worrier and a dweller but the Lord has given me the freedom of joy and peace and I AM amazed. I think she was a little bit stunned; not sure that my attitude did anything but make her worry more however to God be the Glory because He has calmed the storm inside my soul!!

Oh that we would all fall in the hands of God! He DOES give us rest, we CAN stand tall, and there IS freedom there!!

Yesterday, I went to my reunion group at Chele's house. She started telling me about a song that had truly touched her on the ride home. She was jamming OUT to this song and praising the Lord. Then she started telling me the lyrics of the song that touched guessed it!! It gave me chill bumps then and it gives me chill bumps now. You're amazing Lord and we praise You for what Your hands have done! Amen.