Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Seed Time and Harvest

Seed Time and Harvest


God has ordered all creation to live after the law of sowing and reaping

Key Scripture: Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

In the beginning God set the laws of life in motion.

One of these laws is the law of ‘after it’s kind’

Genesis 1 KJV

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

God’s pattern of creation is

‘Seed in itself bearing fruit after it’s kind’

This is true with both man and animal, plants and trees, fish and sea creatures.

God created all living things to increase and reproduce by the seed sowing principles of His Kingdom.

After the flood, God restated His commitment to this law of life.

Genesis 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

So far tonight we see this law of life confirmed by three separate and very credible witnesses.

1. The creation story

2. The New World story

3. The New Testament Kingdom Principles

Let’s look at a familiar story in the Bible which confirms this law in a practical, yet miraculous way.

1 Kings 17 NKJV

1 ¶ And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word."

2 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying,

3 "Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.

4 "And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there."

5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.

6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.

7 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

8 ¶ Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying,

9 "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you."

10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, "Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink."

11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, "Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand."

12 So she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die."

13 And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son.

14 "For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’"

15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days.

16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.

One can imagine that this was quite a stretch for this woman to sow in her time of famine. In her desperate need, God made a way for her when He first created the world.

God’s law of sowing and reaping demanded that she participate in her miracle.

God demands that we participate in our miracle.

When God needs someone to be blessed, He often finds someone who needs a blessing to bless them.

This perpetuates the miracle and keeps the blessings flowing.

From the life sustaining body heat shared in the desperate cold of an artic winter to the forgiveness we give after we have been terribly wronged ---

We get when we give.

Just like this woman in Elijah’s day,

We have what we need to sow a seed.

For as long as the earth remains, this law of life will not cease.

Do you or someone you know need a blessing or a miracle from God?

Sow! Despite what we may think: We have seed for our need.

Job 42:10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Helping Others Understand

Helping Others Understand


Please turn in your bibles for our Key Scripture or, if you wish, you may read along with me on the overhead.

Key Scripture: 2 Peter 3:15a Remember, the Lord is waiting so that people have time to be saved. (NLT)

Hold your place in 2 Peter; we will be coming back there in a moment.

In 459BC Ezra the Scribe, led a group of about 5,000 Jewish exiles from Babylon in their return to Jerusalem. Ezra was more a teacher than a priest. He was well prepared for his work and over the next decade set in order the ecclesiastical and civil affairs of the nation.

In 446BC Nehemiah joined Ezra in Jerusalem and led a campaign to rebuild the city walls and establish security for the inhabitants. It took about six months for Nehemiah to complete a survey, assemble a work force and complete the wall. The wall was completed on the 25th day of the sixth month of the Jewish calendar, Elul.

The beginning of the seventh month, coinciding with the Jewish New Year, Ezra is asked to bring the word of God to all the people who have gathered in a public place, both men and women, all who were old enough to understand.

Nehemiah 8 Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for that purpose, and opened the book in the sight of all the people and read from the morning until midday and the people paid attention to the Word of God. (vs. 4,5&3)

All Ezra did was read. He stood on a pulpit and read from the Word of God while the people listened.

We are told in verses 6, 7 & 8, that the people responded by:

· Answering Amen

· Lifting Up Their Hands

· Bowing Their Heads

· Worshipping The Lord

Afterwards the message became the topic of the day in that leaders among the people took it upon themselves to make sure all the people understood what the Word of God meant and how it applied to daily life.

Nehemiah 8:8b they clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage. (NLT)

In light of this example, I would like to offer you a similar experience this morning.

I have long believed that there is no substitute for the simple reading of an accurate and understandable translation of God’s Word. No preacher, and certainly not me, has the ability to say it any better than it has already been said by those who said it in the first place.

I have chosen the book of 2 Peter to read this morning. It is a short and simple letter meant to be read in one sitting. It is the inspired Word of Almighty God to His Children.

Your part will be to play the part of the attentive congregation listening to the reading of God’s Word and to, when appropriate to you:

· Say Amen In Agreement

· Lift Your Hands As A Witness

· Bow Your Heads In Contemplation

· Worship The Lord In Amazement

· At The End Of Each Chapter, Discuss The Scriptures We Read, Clearly Explain In Efforts To Help Everyone Understand Each Passage. Be Ready!

Now let’s get back to 2 Peter, remember … The Lord is waiting so that people have time to be saved.

2 Peter NLT

Chapter 1

1 ¶ This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to all of you who share the same precious faith we have, faith given to us by Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, who makes us right with God.

2 May God bless you with his special favor and wonderful peace as you come to know Jesus, our God and Lord, better and better.

3 As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness!

4 And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature.

5 ¶ So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better.

6 Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness.

7 Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone.

8 The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 But those who fail to develop these virtues are blind or, at least, very shortsighted. They have already forgotten that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin.

10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away.

11 And God will open wide the gates of heaven for you to enter into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

12 ¶ I plan to keep on reminding you of these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth.

13 Yes, I believe I should keep on reminding you of these things as long as I live.

14 But the Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that my days here on earth are numbered and I am soon to die.

15 So I will work hard to make these things clear to you. I want you to remember them long after I am gone.

16 ¶ For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and his coming again. We have seen his majestic splendor with our own eyes.

17 And he received honor and glory from God the Father when God’s glorious, majestic voice called down from heaven, "This is my beloved Son; I am fully pleased with him."

18 We ourselves heard the voice when we were there with him on the holy mountain.

19 ¶ Because of that, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. Pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a light shining in a dark place—until the day Christ appears and his brilliant light shines in your hearts.

20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves

21 or because they wanted to prophesy. It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God.

Now, what have you heard so far? Take a moment and tell someone

Chapter 2

1 ¶ But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach their destructive heresies about God and even turn against their Master who bought them. Theirs will be a swift and terrible end.

2 Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of them, Christ and his true way will be slandered.

3 ¶ In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction is on the way.

4 For God did not spare even the angels when they sinned; he threw them into hell, in gloomy caves and darkness until the judgment day.

5 And God did not spare the ancient world—except for Noah and his family of seven. Noah warned the world of God’s righteous judgment. Then God destroyed the whole world of ungodly people with a vast flood.

6 Later, he turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into heaps of ashes and swept them off the face of the earth. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people.

7 ¶ But at the same time, God rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a good man who was sick of all the immorality and wickedness around him.

8 Yes, he was a righteous man who was distressed by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day.

9 So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while punishing the wicked right up until the day of judgment.

10 ¶ He is especially hard on those who follow their own evil, lustful desires and who despise authority. These people are proud and arrogant, daring even to scoff at the glorious ones without so much as trembling.

11 But the angels, even though they are far greater in power and strength than these false teachers, never speak out disrespectfully against the glorious ones.

12 These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, who are born to be caught and killed. They laugh at the terrifying powers they know so little about, and they will be destroyed along with them.

13 Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They revel in deceitfulness while they feast with you.

14 They commit adultery with their eyes, and their lust is never satisfied. They make a game of luring unstable people into sin. They train themselves to be greedy; they are doomed and cursed.

15 They have wandered off the right road and followed the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong.

16 But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice.

17 These people are as useless as dried-up springs of water or as clouds blown away by the wind—promising much and delivering nothing. They are doomed to blackest darkness.

18 They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With lustful desire as their bait, they lure back into sin those who have just escaped from such wicked living.

19 They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves to sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.

20 And when people escape from the wicked ways of the world by learning about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up with sin and become its slave again, they are worse off than before.

21 It would be better if they had never known the right way to live than to know it and then reject the holy commandments that were given to them.

22 They make these proverbs come true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and "A washed pig returns to the mud."

Ok. What did you hear in Chapter 2? Explain it to someone now.

Chapter 3

1 ¶ This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory.

2 I want you to remember and understand what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles.

3 ¶ First, I want to remind you that in the last days there will be scoffers who will laugh at the truth and do every evil thing they desire.

4 This will be their argument: "Jesus promised to come back, did he? Then where is he? Why, as far back as anyone can remember, everything has remained exactly the same since the world was first created."

5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth up from the water and surrounded it with water.

6 Then he used the water to destroy the world with a mighty flood.

7 And God has also commanded that the heavens and the earth will be consumed by fire on the day of judgment, when ungodly people will perish.

8 ¶ But you must not forget, dear friends, that a day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.

9 ¶ The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and everything in them will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be exposed to judgment.

11 ¶ Since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives you should be living!

12 You should look forward to that day and hurry it along—the day when God will set the heavens on fire and the elements will melt away in the flames.

13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world where everyone is right with God.

14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to live a pure and blameless life. And be at peace with God.

15 And remember, the Lord is waiting so that people have time to be saved. This is just as our beloved brother Paul wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—

16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters around to mean something quite different from what he meant, just as they do the other parts of Scripture—and the result is disaster for them.

17 I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends, so that you can watch out and not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people. I don’t want you to lose your own secure footing.

18 But grow in the special favor and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be all glory and honor, both now and forevermore. Amen.

Ok, once again, what is Peter talking about? Make sure each person around you understands.

May God add a blessing to the reading of His Word.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006




The Story:

The Pilgrims and America's First Thanksgiving

 The Pilgrims, who celebrated the first thanksgiving in America, were fleeing religious persecution in their native England. In 1609 a group of Pilgrims left England for the religious freedom in Holland where they lived and prospered. After a few years their children were speaking Dutch and had become attached to the Dutch way of life. This worried the Pilgrims. They considered the Dutch frivolous and their ideas a threat to their children's education and morality.

 So they decided to leave Holland and travel to the New World. Their trip was financed by a group of English investors, the Merchant Adventurers. It was agreed that the Pilgrims would be given passage and supplies in exchange for their working for their backers for 7 years.

 On Sept. 6, 1620 the Pilgrims set sail for the New World on a ship called the Mayflower. They sailed from Plymouth, England and aboard were 44 Pilgrims, who called themselves the "Saints", and 66 others ,whom the Pilgrims called the "Strangers."

 The long trip was cold and damp and took 65 days. Since there was the danger of fire on the wooden ship, the food had to be eaten cold. Many passengers became sick and one person died by the time land was sighted on November 10th.

 The long trip led to many disagreements between the "Saints" and the "Strangers". After land was sighted a meeting was held and an agreement was worked out, called the Mayflower Compact, which guaranteed equality and unified the two groups. They joined together and named themselves the "Pilgrims."

 Although they had first sighted land off Cape Cod they did not settle until they arrived at Plymouth, which had been named by Captain John Smith in 1614. It was there that the Pilgrims decide to settle. Plymouth offered an excellent harbor. A large brook offered a resource for fish. The Pilgrims biggest concern was attack by the local Native American Indians. But the Patuxets were a peaceful group and did not prove to be a threat.

 The first winter was devastating to the Pilgrims. The cold, snow and sleet was exceptionally heavy, interfering with the workers as they tried to construct their settlement. March brought warmer weather and the health of the Pilgrims improved, but many had died during the long winter. Of the 110 Pilgrims and crew who left England, less that 50 survived the first winter.

 On March 16, 1621 , what was to become an important event took place, an Indian brave walked into the Plymouth settlement. The Pilgrims were frightened until the Indian called out "Welcome" (in English!).

 His name was Samoset and he was an Abnaki Indian. He had learned English from the captains of fishing boats that had sailed off the coast. After staying the night Samoset left the next day. He soon returned with another Indian named Squanto who spoke better English than Samoset. Squanto told the Pilgrims of his voyages across the ocean and his visits to England and Spain. It was in England where he had learned English.

 Squanto's importance to the Pilgrims was enormous and it can be said that they would not have survived without his help. It was Squanto who taught the Pilgrims how to tap the maple trees for sap. He taught them which plants were poisonous and which had medicinal powers. He taught them how to plant the Indian corn by heaping the earth into low mounds with several seeds and fish in each mound. The decaying fish fertilized the corn. He also taught them to plant other crops with the corn.

 The harvest in October was very successful and the Pilgrims found themselves with enough food to put away for the winter. There was corn, fruits and vegetables, fish to be packed in salt, and meat to be cured over smoky fires.

 The Pilgrims had much to celebrate, they had built homes in the wilderness, they had raised enough crops to keep them alive during the long coming winter, they were at peace with their Indian neighbors. They had beaten the odds and it was time to celebrate.

 The Pilgrim Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native Americans. They invited Squanto and the other Indians to join them in their celebration. Their chief, Massasoit, and 90 braves came to the celebration which lasted for 3 days. They played games, ran races, marched and played drums. The Indians demonstrated their skills with the bow and arrow and the Pilgrims demonstrated their musket skills. Exactly when the festival took place is uncertain, but it is believed the celebration took place in mid-October.

 The following year the Pilgrims harvest was not as bountiful, as they were still unused to growing the corn. During the year they had also shared their stored food with newcomers and the Pilgrims ran short of food.

 The 3rd year brought a spring and summer that was hot and dry with the crops dying in the fields. Governor Bradford ordered a day of fasting and prayer, and it was soon thereafter that the rain came. To celebrate - November 29th of that year was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. This date is believed to be the real true beginning of the present day Thanksgiving Day.

 The custom of an annually celebrated thanksgiving, held after the harvest, continued through the years. During the American Revolution (late 1770's) a day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress.

 In 1817 New York State had adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving. Since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday of each November as the holiday. (Source: Copied from

The Truth:

Psalms 65 NLT

1 ¶ What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion. We will fulfill our vows to you,

2 for you answer our prayers, and to you all people will come.

3 Though our hearts are filled with sins, you forgive them all.

4 What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts. What joys await us inside your holy Temple.

5 You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas.

6 ¶ You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength.

7 You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations.

8 Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.

9 You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The rivers of God will not run dry; they provide a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so.

10 You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops.

11 You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.

12 The wilderness becomes a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy.

13 The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain. They all shout and sing for joy!

The truth is, Our God deserves thanks!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Upward Call

The Upward Call


Key Scriptures: Philippians 3 NKJV

7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,

14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Christianity is a journey that begins when we say yes to Jesus.

Many people love Jesus but feel that their past somehow excludes them from being used in His service.

We will be going to the book of Luke in a moment, Chapter 5.

In 63BC, a Roman military commander and political leader named Pompey, allied with Gaius Julius Caesar, laid siege to the Temple Mount and conquered the city of Jerusalem thus expanding the Roman Empire to the East. For the next four centuries Rome ruled Israel.

It became the practice of Rome to appoint the Jewish High Priest from among those religious leaders who collaborated with the Roman government. It was also a part of the occupation strategy to hire Jews who were sympathetic to the Roman rule for key positions throughout Israel.

One of the most important and powerful positions in the land was that of a tax collector. At certain established sites of commerce and trade, customs receipt houses were set up and operated by Jews who were often unscrupulous in their practice of assessing taxes.

The common Jew held great contempt for the tax gatherers and viewed them as traitors to both their country and their God. The King James New Testament term, Publican, refers to the person who ‘farmed’ the taxes from the Jews and then paid the Roman government a certain percentage of what was collected. These Publicans hired tax collectors from the local population so as to not be tricked or deceived by the local inhabitants.

These often corrupt tax gatherers were the most hated of all. They were considered to be sinners of the worst sort.

It was about the year 26AD or thereabouts, when Jesus began His public ministry. In Luke 4 we see Jesus preaching in His home church in Nazareth. After being dragged out and almost thrown off a cliff, Jesus departs for the Sea of Galilee. Luke 5 introduces Peter and James and John and tells about the healing of multitudes that came to Jesus.

Continuing in Luke 5 Jesus is teaching in a filled house in Capernaum when a few men tear a hole in the roof so they can get their paralyzed friend to Jesus. Jesus heals the man and astonishes all who witness. The people of the city are shocked at His doctrine.

Luke 5: 26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, "We have seen strange things today!" (NKJV)

They were shocked alright, but not as shocked as they were about to be. Look at what Jesus does next!

Luke 5 KKJV

27 ¶ After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me."

28 So he left all, rose up, and followed Him.

29 Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them.

30 And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, "Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"

31 Jesus answered and said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.

32 "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

This Levi is none other than Matthew, Apostle of the Lamb, and writer of the first book of the New Testament.

What must it have felt like for Jesus to walk by and, knowing who and what Matthew was, to nonetheless look beyond his sinful past and offer him a God-filled future.

Jesus called Matthew to become a disciple.

Jesus is calling some of you today.

What can you expect if you answer the call?

What happens after you say yes to Jesus?

It may not mean a job change as it did in Matthew’s life, but it will certainly mean a life change.

Here is what you can expect if you want to be a follower of Christ.

1. A Calling

* Called to follow

Matthew 16:24 ¶ Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

2. An Equipping

* Equipped to lead – it’s basic discipleship

Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (NIV)

3. A Sending

* Sent to serve

Matthew 20:26 … but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.

Matthew 25 NKJV

34 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;

36 ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. …

Christians are simply:

Called to follow

Equipped to lead

Sent to serve

Without regard to our past, Jesus wants to use each one of us.

He has a special place just for you. His plan includes you.

Won’t you answer the upward call. Say yes to Christianity. Jesus is calling. Let Him know you will follow Him today.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lord, Teach Us To Pray Series: Part 7 - The Prayer of Jabez

Lord, Teach Us To Pray

Series: Part 7 The Prayer of Jabez


Key Scriptures: James 5 NKJV

16b … The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.

18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

The Model Prayer which we have been studying is not meant to be a rote, stale, memorized chain of words which are to be uttered in a rehearsed ritual as we check off the box, “I prayed today.”

There exists no single key or prayer that will automatically give a person audience or favor with God. However, there are patterns of prayer throughout the Bible, prayed by sincere men and women of God, which God evidently heard and answered.

These Holy Spirit inspired and biblically preserved examples of prayer have some things in common. The similar elements contained in each example serve to give us key ingredients we may include in our prayers and petitions to God.

Some key ingredients which we have not already discussed in this series as yet, are found in 1 Chronicles 4 in what we have come to know as:

The Prayer of Jabez

1 Chronicles 4 NKJV

9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, "Because I bore him in pain."

10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!" So God granted him what he requested.

There have been sermons preached, seminars taught, books written and clubs formed around the tenants of this Prayer of Jabez. The elements of this prayer have been broken down into a step by step formula, said by some to guarantee audience and favor with God.

I make no such claim tonight. I feel that this prayer is a description of how one man prayed an effective prayer that got God’s favorable attention. I see this prayer as a pattern and not a prescription.

Effective prayer goes deeper than mere words and formula.

Prayer which gets to the heart of God comes from the heart of man.

So, let’s look behind the scenes of these uttered words and into the heart of this man Jabez to feel what he must have felt in his hour of need.

Jabez is only mentioned here in these two verses in 1 Chronicles. All we can understand about him and his circumstances of life have to be taken from this passage. So, what do we know about Jabez?

His Name

* Jabez means affliction.

* Each time he or others spoke his name it was a confession of his future and a reminder of his past.

* It was not the future he wanted.

His Character

· Jabez is introduced as being more honorable than his brothers.

· We take this to mean that he was a man who chose to live the right way and do the right thing. He was a man of principle, character and integrity. He was right with God.

· A person who is right with God has God’s ear.

Psalms 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.

His Hope

· Jabez called on God.

· This is a recognition that God and God alone was his source.

· What Jabez prayed for might be less the point than the fact Jabez prayed.

Jabez’s prayer is the same prayer that we all pray: “God, change my life!” “Help me” “Change my circumstances.”

Change what life has planned for me and give me what You have planned for me instead.

I believe that it is right and reasonable that we ask God to bless us.

I also believe we are expected to attempt something large enough that failure is guaranteed unless God steps in.

This was Peter’s prayer request in Matthew 14:

Matthew 14:28 And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."

Peter asks Jesus to command him to do something impossible for Peter to accomplish without heaven’s divine intervention.

This is the same type of prayer we find in Jacob’s Bethel Prayer.

Genesis 28 NKJV

20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on,

21 "so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God.

22 "And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You."

Gideon’s prayers: If you want me to save Israel, first let the fleece be wet and the ground dry … and it was so. Then another prayer:

Judges 6 NKJV

39 Then Gideon said to God, "Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew."

40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.

These all show - heart felt prayer, earnest prayer, sincere prayer, - prayer from the heart of man to the heart of God.

People needing to do something they themselves cannot do or know something they themselves cannot know, all asking God for help from a heart of honesty, integrity and sincerity. Their hope was in God.

Jabez’s prayer worked because he was a righteous man, so did Gideon’s, Peter’s, Jacob’s and Elijah’s. There is no magic in the words but power in a heart of hope and results in a sincere effort to trust in God and accept His answer.

Get right with God. Be more honorable than the world around you.

Put your hope in God and earnestly ask Him to do the impossible.