Enlarge my territory…

Prayer of Jabez

I’m a firm believer in prayer. I know that God answers prayer, and for many years, I prayed the prayer of Jabez, intending that God would expand my territory. And he did. He has consistently enlarged my territory, be it my family, my circle of friends, or the space where I live, I feel the growth and expanse in everything I do.

But there’s more in this prayer that has kept me safe from harm, and free from pain over the same many years.

We all crave God’s blessing on our lives, and often times, we ask him for the blessing, but we forget the rest of that process. If we ASK for his blessing on our lives, we then must SEEK that blessing.

The waiting period between the request and the receipt of the blessing can be a short period of time, or a long time, depending on our perception of time. Or more, dependent on whether we begin immediately to expect and seek that blessing.

Be remarkableMy son arrived in a new community with enough money saved to last for three months, plus his emergency fund. I asked if he’d been looking for a job.  He said, “I’ve sent out a few resumes, but I wasn’t here, so I hadn’t specifically decided what I wanted. Now that I’m here and looking around, I know that what I was looking for before I got here isn’t the kind of job I really want.”

We worked through several days, with him passively posting resumes and details about the kind of job he wanted, while he continued to review different companies, worked a few one-time-shifts, and did several volunteer, or fill-in positions, until he decided which company and how he wanted to go back to work. Finally, he showed up in his dress clothes, ready to seek out the job he had decided he wanted, and said, “I’m going to go get that job this morning. I have my resume printed and in a folder, my lead letter is in there, and I’m ready to go, is there anything I should do?”

I said, “You’ve prayed about it. We’ve all been praying for the right job, and you’ve done your research, if this is it, go Be Amazing.”

He stood up, straightened his shoulders and walked out the door. I expected him back in a few hours, had no doubts he’d have the job when he returned, and didn’t worry about him. I did say a prayer, and sent him off with the knowledge that he could do anything he chose to do with God’s blessing.

He returned several hours later with his girlfriend, and they’d gone to dinner to celebrate his new job. He got the position he wanted at more than the salary he’d asked for, and would be working primarily from his home office, because that’s what he asked for. He prepared for that position, and already had the new computer and required equipment to do the job from home.

I was again reminded, ask, and then seek.

“Let your hand be on me, O Lord, that I be protected from harm, and do not cause you pain…”

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Jan Verhoeff – Online marketer, social media guru, and writer.

Water Walkers

Dennis BradleyI was thinking this morning about the narrative out of Matthew 18 where the disciples were out on the lake, caught in a storm, thinking they were all going to drown, and Jesus come to them walking on the water.

Peter says, “Lord, if it’s really you, command me to come to you on the water.” And Jesus says, “Come.” And, bless his heart, Peter takes that first step out of the boat, and then another. And things are going great. But then Matthew says “he noticed the strong wind.” He takes his eyes off Jesus and sees the next big wave headed for him.

Dennis BradleyAnd it dawns on him: “I can’t do this! What was I thinking?” Have you been there with Peter? I certainly have. If you’re a follower of Jesus, it’s a pretty sure bet that at some point in your life he will call you to step out of your boat, out of your comfort zone. Peter doesn’t begin to sink until he starts looking around at the wind and the waves. Taking our eyes off Jesus, and focusing on the difficult circumstances will cause us to get under our problems. But when we cry out to Jesus, he catches us by the hand and raises us above the seemingly impossible surroundings.

That’s the way he works. And when we respond to that call, when we begin to walk on water, that’s when fear hits us. We take our eyes off the Savior and that’s when we begin to sink like a rock.

Remember two things about this story. First, Jesus comes to us across the storms of life. No matter how dark it seems, no matter how alone we feel, Jesus never forsakes his own. At the moment we need him most, he will be with us. I know some of you are facing difficult storms right now. I pray that you hear the voice of Jesus saying to you, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

And second, remember it takes the power of God to walk on water. You can’t do it on your own. Are you a water walker? Here’s how you can tell. By identifying what you are doing today that you cannot do apart from the power of God. Think about that. If you cannot identify anything in your life that requires God, then you really don’t need God. If that’s the case, you’re still stuck in the boat. And your boat is sinking

So in what ways is God asking you to step out of the boat? It was Helen Keller who said, “Life is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing at all.”

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Dennis Bradley – Retired pastor, Army major, banjo player.

But God, Promises.

BUT GOD

I want you to concentrate on some of God’s promises that center around two words:
“BUT GOD.”

Dennis BradleyHave you ever stopped to realize that those two powerful words appear dozens of times in the Bible? “That phrase is used throughout Scripture as a turning point—as a line of demarcation between peril and rescue, chaos and control, fall and redemption.”

Thomas A Kempis, in his classic, The Imitation Of Christ, writes: “Men depend on the grace of God rather than on their own wisdom in keeping their resolutions. In Him they confide every undertaking, for man, indeed, purposes, but God disposes, and God’s way is not man’s.”

We lost it all.
God did it all.
We get it all!

Various translations and paraphrases of the Bible may use the word “and” rather than “but”—nevertheless (but), whether it is used as a conjunction, as a preposition or an adverb, it is using two ideas or statements where the second one is 180 degrees different from the first one.

Things may look bad as we project what is ahead for us. Evil forces threaten our peaceful existence. Our freedoms may be under assault. Christians may be in for a rough ride of persecution…BUT GOD…always has the last word.

“A man’s heart devises his way; but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Prov 3:5-6 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Dennis Bradley preaches God’s Word and plays the Banjo. Sometimes at the same time. His voice takes on the sound of country gospel, bluegrass, and twang from the pulpit – if you read like a southerner, you can almost hear him as you read… Take time to apply the lesson. 

The Great Iam. Iam God.

prayers go viral

“When life is too much and the load becomes heavy, pray.”

The message lifts me up to greater heights, and I know… I must leave it to God.

As my children grew, I experienced more than what I believed to be my fair share of struggles, and prayer became my constant answer. Those teen years when the battles were big, and I had to win – there is no option during those years for failure as a parent – you must win. I went to the battle in prayer first.

Sometimes the prayer was short, “God, help me.” But that was enough. God knew what I needed and he provided. Always my help in the darkest hour, God provided answers.

Now, my children are grown, and I send them out with a prayer to fight their battles. “God, help them.” Because I know he will.

A friend called yesterday asking about her daughter, and I prayerfully responded. Her daughter is mature enough to stand alone, yet her mother rushed to her side in a crisis, as parents often do. The daughter is taking advantage of mom being there, but in the wrong way. I lovingly recommended boundaries.

I knew at the time, that recommendation would haunt me.

Recommend nothing to others that you’re not willing to pursue on your own – as Grandma would say.

This morning, a childish game of fun triggered a bigger incident. I sat quietly at my desk allowing the program to play until the end, while I continued to focus on work. It wasn’t my party. I didn’t have to respond to the event. In silence I prayed for those involved and remained outside the situation, refusing steadfastly to get involved beyond prayer. After a lull in the storm, anger began to subside and life took on a less stormy look. I let a sigh of gratitude escape and glanced around the room. As peace once again took hold, I realized that God had stilled the stormy seas, and all was well.

Be still...I said nothing, and of me, nothing was asked. The storm clouds gathered, but I wasn’t in the eye of the storm. I was simply a bystander, waiting in prayer.

How often do we miss the opportunity to be still and know the great Iam. Iam God.

I know there are those who may say I’ve a typo in my meme, but the reality is that there is none… Iam God. In life, we must remember the great Iam.