Celebrating 444 Episodes!
Before we get to my comments, I want to thank all the good folks who participated in the 444 donations.You are awesome. You rock. And you really gave me encouragement. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you value the podcast enough to truly participate in the value-for-value model. You get it, and that’s great.
As you know, those who gave $4.44 at support444.lifespringmedia.com received my recording of the NT as a thank you. And Sandra and David stepped up and gave $44.40. Not only did they get the NT, but also the Pentateuch, Ps and Prov, and a copy of my book Webb’s Easy Bible Names Pronunciation Guide. Thank you sooooo much for your generosity, you two. Very much appreciated.
Listen, if you missed out on making a 444 donation but would still like to help support the show, just go to support.lifespringmedia.com. You can make a one time donation or set up a monthly donation. There are thank you gifts for different levels of giving, and you can find all the details at support.lifespringmedia.com.
Oh, and it just occurred to me that show 456 is coming up soon. Maybe we can do something special with that. Stay tuned.
In chapter 4, verses 9 and 10 we read about a fellow named Jabez. Let’s take another look. “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez [Painful], because she said that his birth was painful. 10 Jabez prayed to the God of Israel, “Please bless me and give me more territory. May your power be with me and free me from evil so that I will not be in pain.” God gave him what he prayed for.”
We don’t know much about Jabez, but the fact that this prayer of his is recorded here in 1 Chronicles tells me something. It tells me that it is okay to ask God for things.
I don’t know about you, but I was brought up to put other people before me. I learned very early on that the world does not revolve around me, and “selfishness” is wrong. Not that I am never self-centered. I can be as selfish as the next guy, but I do know that it’s wrong to be selfish.
So it’s always been hard for me to ask God to bless me, to give me things. I’m just happy that he’s forgiven my sins. That’s enough. I don’t need to be rich or live in a big fancy house. After all, Jesus didn’t even have a place to lay his head. Who am I to ask for more than He had?
That’s been my approach to prayer for most of my life. I’ll pray for you, that God will bless you, but I never felt right about praying that kind of prayer for myself.
And then several years ago a little book called “The Prayer of Jabez” was published. It’s less than 100 pages. The author’s name is Bruce Wilkinson. The book became a best seller and I read it because it came highly recommended by a friend of mine. It really made me consider whether my attitude regarding asking God to bless me was right.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think God wants us to ask Him to make us win the lottery, or ask Him to be on the list of the top three richest people in the world, but that wasn’t Jabez’s prayer, either.
Listen, you can read the book for yourself. I’m not going to discuss all the points, because we don’t have the time here. Just know that when you ask God to give you more, and you ask out of a pure heart, and your request is pleasing to Him, that is a good thing.
I began to pray that prayer after reading the book. One of the results of the prayer is that when I asked him to enlarge my territory, God did it. How? Well, the book was published in 2000. I probably read it in about 2002. In 2004 I heard about this crazy thing called podcasting, and all of a sudden this guy who was in love with God, recording from his church in Riverside, CA, is talking to the world. Listen, podcasting is old hat now. But back then, we were still figuring it all out. This was a big deal. And guess what. After my very first episode, I got an email from a guy in Sweden, asking me how he could know that God was real. Long story short, he became a follower of Jesus. And there have been many other emails from people all over the world since then.
I asked God to enlarge my territory. Not for me, but for His glory. And He did it. Am I blessed? Of course, but in a much different way than I could have ever imagined. Certainly finances are still something that are a challenge, but the fact that God would use a guy like me to carry His message to nearly every nation on Earth is a concept I would have never in my wildest dreams imagined.
I would encourage you to look closely at Jabez’s prayer here in 1 Chronicles and see if it’s something you would pray.