"... the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Neh. 8:10)
We Need To Be Like The Christians In The Book of Acts:
A. Just What Did Jabez Do to rise above the others? --- To be more honourable .....
Why did God answer his prayers?
B. Notice, Jabez is still remembered Not for what He Did, but For what He Prayed --- and for what Happened Next.
1. Jabez's prayer brings God's Power To Bear Upon Your Life.
2. Your heavenly Father Longs To Give You Much More than you have ever Imagined or Thought to Ask for.
C. There is really Very Little Difference Between People --- but that little difference Makes A Great Deal of Difference.
1. When was the last time God Worked Through You in such a way that you Knew Beyond Doubt That God Had Done It?
2. Do you Desire To Reach For That Life that will be More Honorable For God? --- If so, then Why Not Ask?
3. The Reason some men and women of faith rise above the rest is that they Think and Pray Differently than those around them.
I. "Oh, That You Would Bless Me Indeed !"
A. Is this Not a Greedy and Selfish Prayer?
1. Does not the Bible say:
James 4:3, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
2. Keep an Open Mind --- Jabez's prayer may Not Be As Selfish as it, on the surface, may seem.
3. Is there anything Wrong with Praying For God To Bless Yourself? --- Especially the Urgency with which Jabez prayed --- "Indeed".
4. Joshua --- Joshua 14:12, "Now therefore give me this mountain, ..."
5. Moses --- Exo. 33:15, "... If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence."
B. What does it Mean to ask God to bless you?
1. Is it like something a friend says when he hears you sneeze? --- "God Bless You"
2. Is it like saying, "Have A Nice Day".
3. No! --- we are Not asking for more of what we Can Get For Ourselves.
4. We Are asking for God to impart His Supernatural Favor upon us.
Rom. 15:29, "And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ."
Prov. 10:22, "The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it."
C. Jabez Left it Entirely Up To God to decide What the Blessings would be and Where and When, and How Jabez would receive the blessings --- Does That Sound Like A Selfish Prayer To You?
Can You Trust God's Good Intentions Toward You --- Like Jabez Did?
D. We should want for ourselves --- Nothing More And Nothing Less --- Than What God Wants For Us!
God's Blessings Are The Ultimate Value of Life! --- This includes His Will and Power and Purposes for our lives!
E. If You Didn't Ask God For A Blessing Yesterday, You Didn't Get All That God Had Planned For You!
Matt.7:7, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
James 4:2, "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not."
1. Prayer Is Much More Than The "Sincere Desire of The Heart."
2. One person said: "Prayer is the soul's sincere desire Un-Uttered or Expressed, the motion of a hidden firfe that trembles in the breasts." He goes on to say: "Prayer is the Christian's vital breath."
3. God Is Saying, "Talk To Me!"
F. Your Heavenly Father Is Delighted to Respond Generously when Hs blessings are what you desire the most --- and Ask For Them!
1. The very Nature of God is to have Goodness in so much Abundance that it Overflows into our unworthy lives.
2. Jabez was blessed simply because he Refused To Allow any Person or Opinion to get Between Him and God's Nature --- and God's nature is to Bless.
3. It is Not Who you are, or What your parents decided for you, or what your were Fated to be that matters --- What Counts Is Knowing Who You Want To Be And Asking For It!
G. Can you pray as Jabez, "Lord, Bless Me Indeed"?
II. "Oh, That You Would Enlarge My Coast !"
A. "Enlarge my Coast" --- Territory --- Homestead --- Business --- Ministry --- Impact --- Influence.
1. When was the last time you prayed, "Lord Enlarge My Life So That I Can Make A Greater Impact For You!"
2. Jabez wanted more Influence, more Responsibility, and more Opportunity to make a Mark for the God of Israel.
3. Jabez is saying, "Surely, I Was Born For More Than This!"
B. You Business is the "territory" God has entrusted to you, by which you may have a significant opportunity to Touch Individual Lives For God.
1. Asking God to Enlarge that opportunity only bring God Delight.
2. It is Rare Today to hear people pray --- "God, Please Bless Me" --- "God, Please Give Me More Ministry."
3. As your Opportunities expand, --- your Ability and Resources will Supernaturally Increase.
4. You will begin to sense the Pleasure God Feels in your request --- and His Urgency to accomplish great things through you.
C. Most Christians seem to Shrink from Living At This Level of Blessing and Influence!
1. We tend to look at our Abilities --- Experience --- Training --- Personality --- Appearance --- Our Pass --- Others Opinion of Us --- etc.
We Base God's Ability To Use Us Upon These Things.
2. God looks at our Willingness and Weakness Plus His Will and Supernatural Power.
God Bases His Ability To Use Us Upon His Ability And Our Availability.
III. "Oh, That Your Hand Would Be With Me !"
A. Now You Have Done It! --- Ask God to expand your coast and Now You Cannot Handle It.
2. The Teenagers who have started gathering at your house seem to be influencing your family more Negatively than you are influencing them Positively.
3. The New Ministry Opportunities you prayed for and received are turning out to require a person with Much More Ability Than You Will Ever Have.
4. You often feel Afraid, Misled, Abandoned, Weak, Out of Control, even a little Angry.
5. You can't shake the feeling that you are the "Wrong Man For The Job."
B. That feeling you are fearing and running from is called "Dependence."
1. It means that you are beginning to Walk With The Lord.
2. Actually, the moment you're Not Feeling Dependent is the moment that you've Backed Away from truly Living By Faith and Walking With God.
3. That feeling that you just can't do it --- Is What You Are Suppose To Be Feeling.
4. It is a Frightening and utterly Exhilarating truth.
C. As God's children we are Expected to attempt something large enough that Failure Is Guaranteed --- Unless God Steps In.
1. It goes against Common Sense.
2. It contradicts your previous Life Experience.
3. It seems to disregard your Feelings, Training and need for Security.
4. It set you up to look like a Fool and a Loser.
D. Yet, It Is God's Plan For His Most Honored Servants.
1. Dependence upon God make heroes of ordinary people like Jebez and you and me.
2. "Oh, That Your Hand Would Be With Me."
E. You do Not Become Great; you become Dependent on the strong hand of God --- He Becomes Great Through You!
1. God's Power Under us, In us, and surging Through us is exactly what Turns Dependence Into Unforgettable Experiences of Victory.
2 Cor. 3:5-6, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament;"
2. Tragic as it might sound, the Hand of The Lord Is So Seldom Experienced even by mature Christians that they do Not Miss It and Don't Ask For It.
a. The "Hand of The Lord" is a biblical term for God's Power and Presence.
Joshua 4:24, "That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever."
Acts 11:21, "And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord."
b. Only God at work through them could account for the Miracles and the Mass Conversions that followed.
F. The Christian's Priority should be:
Eph. 3:16, " That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;" --- V. 19, "And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."
G. God is Watching and Waiting for you to Ask.
1. 2 Chron. 16:9, "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him."
2. By His touch you can experience Supernatural Enthusiasm, Boldness, and Power --- It's up to you.
3. For the Christian, Dependence is just another word for Power.
IV. "Oh, That You Would Keep Me From Evil! --- Not Grieve Me !"
A. Jabez did Not pray, "Keep me Through evil" --- but rather "From" evil.
1. Success brings with it Greater Opportunity For Failure.
Blessedness is the greatest of perils because it tends to Dull Our Keen Sense of Dependence upon God and makes us Prone To Presumption.
2. An important Strategy for defeating the roaring lion is to Stay Out of The Arena.
3. Joseph --- Genesis 39:12, "And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out."
4. Most Christians seem to Pray For Strength To Endure Temptation --- for victory over temptations --- we don't seem to think about simply praying for God to Keep Us Away From temptations.
5. The Model Prayer --- Jesus taught us to pray:
Matt. 6:13, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."
B. We make a huge spiritual leap forward when we begin to Focus Less On Beating Temptation And More On Avoiding Temptations.
1. When Jesus was tempted in the Wilderness, He Refused to engage Satan in a Discussion about his enticing offers.
2. The most effective war against sin is to Pray That We Will Not Have To Fight Unnecessary Temptations.
3. A tiny indulgence of Pride or Self-confidence can spell Disaster.
1 Cor. 10:12, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
C. Through Christ, we can live in triumph --- not in temptation or defeat.
V. "Jabez Was More Honorable Than His Brethren --- So God Granted Him What He Requested !"
A. Do you think that God Has Favorites?
1. Jabez's prayer earned him a "More Honorable" award from God.
2. Equal Access to God's favor does Not add up to equal Reward.
B. You are Living In The Spirit when you Strive To Receive God's Best.
1. Phil. 3:14, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
2. 2 Cor. 5:9-10, "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
3. I do not want to get to heaven and hear God say:
"Travis, let me show you what I had planned for you and tried repeatedly to accomplish through you ..... but you wouldn't let Me."
C. There are Very Few Supersaints listed in God's Hall of Fame in Hebrews Chapter 11.
D. Does God Have Favorites? --- Yes! --- God Favors Those Who Ask! --- Jabez Asked!
1. "So God Granted Him What He Requested."
2. God has Opened The Windows of Heaven because someone Prayed.
3. God will release His miraculous power in Your Life Now, and
For All Eternity, He Will Lavish Upon You His Honor And Delight.
There Is No Second Chance After Death!
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