Radical Transformation

Acts 9 records the radical transformation of Saul to Paul. Most would have labeled Saul an impossibility. But God reached down in His grace and transformed Saul. God used three supernatural events to reach Saul. 1) On the way to damascus, a light brought him to his knees. 2) A voice confronted him. 3) God directed Ananias to visit Saul and instruct him what to do.

Everyone of us know those ‘impossible’ situations. A friend or relative or co-worker that would be impossible to reach. We need to use God’s pattern and pray those three supernatural events into their life. The light is an experience that is a ‘show stopper’. This is an experience that arrests a person’s attention. Ask God to do something that would grab their attention. Leave the means up to God.

Ask God to speak to the person thru the ‘voice’ of a person, book, sermon, impression, or even possibly God’s audible voice. The voice confronts the person with where they are, what they are doing, and what God wants to do in their life.

Finally, pray for a divine visitation. Pray that God would send a person to bring specific instructions.

Never give up on the person who has never come to the Lord. Never give up on the person who has fallen away from God! Use these three steps in prayer!

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Praying Like Jabez, Two

This article was written by my friend Sylvia Gunter:

One problem with familiarity with the Scripture is that we easily miss the raw and painful edge of a familiar story. As we sit in comfortable surroundings, reading the Scripture on the elegantly-printed pages of our leather-bound Bibles, the deep reality of the situation can be lost. Things that should elicit a painful wince become just an interesting fact that we skim over.

We find such a verse in 1 Chronicles 4:9 “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez, saying, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.’ “

Pause and really think about that. Jabez literally means “sorrow-maker.” Anytime his mother called him to dinner, he heard “Sorrow-maker who caused me pain, come and eat.” Each time he introduced himself he was saying, “Hi, my name is Sorrow-maker. I cause pain.” Think of the jokes that were made at his expense. Jabez’s theme song could have been that B.B. King hit “Nobody loves me but my mother, and she could be jivin’ too.” (copyright Riley King 1993) Feel the shame he grew up with as he was constantly reminded that his birth brought pain and sorrow. Can you sense the heaviness of having to carry that around with you?

From this beginning point, verse 10 follows. “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me indeed, 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.”

1 Chronicles 4:10 is a familiar verse. I have seen it printed on everything, including hubcap covers… I wish I were  joking. But this is not just a nice-sounding prayer to put on a greeting card. In light of the weight that Jabez carried his whole life of being the one who causes pain and sorrow, hear this prayer rising from Jabez’s spirit, the way I believe it was intended.

“Jabez cried out for help in a loud voice and pleaded, ‘Please bless me, bless me! And multiply many times my territory. Give me your strength and keep me from the painful evil, so that it may not grieve me or vex me.” And God gathered and brought together what he sought and begged for.”

Jabez was not a hoarder who was trying to just get more stuff from God. He was an honorable man, crying out to his Father to restore the fullness of what He had made him to be that had been tainted by everyone around him, including his mother. Every time someone called his name, it chipped away at the core identity that God created in him. Jabez was crying out for what was rightfully his in God.

We may not have grown up in the circumstances that are as painful as Jabez, but our spirits share a similar longing for all that God has for us. Let’s not settle for less, but join Jabez in crying out, Lord, bless me, expand my territory, be with me, keep me from evil, and thank you, God, for granting my requests.

Prayer

Jabez, knowing his continuing need, kept calling on the name of God,

1. Bless me indeed. Do in my life unhindered everything You had in mind when You created me (Exo. 33:12b).

2. Enlarge my life. Accomplish Your perfect will, unobstructed by me. Make my character match my assignment, and show me Your glory (Exo. 33:12, 16-19).

3. Be with me. I must have the touch of Your gracious presence. Go before me, carry me through, come behind me, give me Your words, give me Your wisdom and power (Exo. 33:13-15).

4. Keep me from temptation, and deliver me from evil (Matt. 6:13). Direct my steps away from all that is not of You (Ps. 119:133). Keep me in the fear of the Lord (Deut. 10:12-13) and the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and let me stand in the gap for others (Eze. 22:30). Let me not hurt others, nor their reputations, and thereby temporarily separate myself from Your pleasure (Exo. 34:6-9). I don’t want to feel Your intervention against me on behalf of others when I am their accuser. All Your covenant intervention that I count on for me is available against me when I lift my hands or my words to attack others.

5. Open heaven’s storehouses because I am fervently seeking You, Your presence and Your glory (Ps. 104:28). In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Lyrics to ‘I Need You’ by the Swift

Read the lyrics to the this wonderful song. It should be the heart cry of every saint:

My heart is restless in me
My wings are all worn out
I’m walking in the wilderness
And I cannot get out
I need You, Oh, I need You
Blessed Savior come
I need You, Oh, I need You
Fill the every longing in my soul

CHORUS
Oh, how I need You, Lord
I need Your perfect Word
With tearful eyes to see
The sin that I afford
I need to weep and pray
For all the thousand ways
That I have failed You just today

My bed is soaked with sadness
My sadness has no end
A downward spiral of despair
That I keep falling in
I need You, Oh, I need You

To You my soul shall fly
I need You, Oh, I need You
Yahweh, how I love You more than life

CHORUS

Your silence is like death to me
So won’t You hear my desperate plea

Today my soul is soaring
Way over mountains high
Though I can see the valleys
They’re all just passing by
It’s not that I am stronger
Look at my feeble wings
But I’ve been lifted higher
Yaweh’s lifted me in His own strength

Oh, how I love You, Lord
I love Your perfect Word
With tearful eyes to see
The God who always will endure
Now I will celebrate
For all the thousand ways
That You have shown me grace
And made my heart in grace to stay
You’ve made my heart in grace to stay
Lord, make my heart in grace to stay

I need You, Oh, I need You

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