Friday, June 29, 2012

Prayer of Jabez: Does God Answer It?

A few years ago, I was challenged to pray 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 for myself: "...Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory. Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." It is better known as the Prayer of Jabez. I was not prepared for what would happen next. Perhaps I didn't really believe God would act on His Word.
That's when I was approached by a stranger in Memphis, Tennessee and told about Rodan + Fields, the Doctors who created ProActiv (the acne remedy). The Holy Spirit wouldn't let me get the opportunity off my mind and I knew God was about to "enlarge my territory"; I just didn't know how or why.

Just over one year later, I've surpassed my television income and earned a Lexus of my choice paid for by Rodan + Fields. More importantly, my husband and I have been able to give like we've never given before to our church, our missionary friends and to those who need a financial increase in ways that only God can provide.

Whatever our gifts, education or career may be, our calling is to do God's work here on earth. We often call it living out our faith or ministry to others. Whatever you call it, God is looking for people who want to do more of it. For most of us, we're reluctant because we think WE know the territory God has in mind for us. Unfortunately, we don't realize what God can do through us. God told the Jews when they returned from capitivity to their bleak homeland in Zechariah 4:6, "Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit.."

God specializes in working through normal people, like me, who believe God will do His work through them. What He's waiting is the invitation from you.

When you begin asking, in earnest (or begging) for more influence and responsibility with which to honor Him, God will bring opportunities and people into your path. You can trust that He will never send someone to you whom you cannot help by His leading and strength. Yes, you'll feel fear when you begin to take new territory for Him, but you'll also experience a tremendous thrill of God carrying you along as you're doing it.

To pray for larger borders is to ask for a miracle. A miracle is an intervention by God to make something happen that wouldn't normally happen.



Someone took a look at my car tag and said, "You're missing a letter." No, that was intentional. When "I" take myself out of the equation, God can do His work. Basically, I must trust and get out of His way.

That last sentence in 1 Chronicles 4:10 says, "And God granted his request." God has granted mine, too.

Monday, June 25, 2012

How Can I Win?

I shared last week how living under God's grace can help us wage battle against spiritual warfare.  Over the weekend, the Holy Spirit gave me another component to winning the war.

When God tested Abraham in asking him to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac near the region called Moriah, if Abraham was human, I'm sure he wondered "God, are you serious? I will do what you tell me to do, but did I hear correctly?" Abraham took his two servants and Isaac, enough wood for the burnt offering and set out for the area God told him to sacrifice his son. In Genesis 22:5 Abraham said to his servants, "'Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.'"

While I've always believed Abraham was speaking his faith out loud which I discuss in my first book, Forecasts & Faith: 5 Keys to Weathering the Storms of Life, I'm now seeing a new key to winning spiritual battles. Here it is: Worship.

While worshipping the Lord may be the most difficult thing to do when we're going through a difficult season, I believe it is the most important stance we can take. How do I know? Look at what Abraham said after God provided a ram in the thicket and stopped him from sacrificing Issac in verse 14: "So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, 'On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.'" Abraham's worship of God was such a turning point at the most heart wrenching time in his life, God provided the victory!

If you're finding yourself going through a difficult time of questioning, wondering what decision to make, or if you'll ever receive the discernment you've been asking God for in solving your problem, start worshipping the Lord. God will provide the victory over the battle.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Under Grace

I recently shared how God has been convicting me of the importance of humility with several "God things" going on in my life. But I'm also noticing that spiritual warfare also increases at the same time when God is working on a certain area of your life.

So how do you win at spiritual warfare?

Ephesians 6:10 says, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." James 4:6-7 says, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

God cannot give power to win over spiritual warfare to a proud person. A proud person has already decided how to fight their battles. Someone under grace realizes they can do nothing apart from God. Grace causes you to win in spiritual warfare when you submit to God.

Every battle that arises in your life is a chance for God's manifestation of glory. When you're like me and you would much rather "do it myself", Satan gets the victory in your battle.

Living under grace is God's will for your life.

(Barbie will be away the rest of this week to celebrate the ultimate healing God granted her grandmother, Sadie Atkinson, 1918-2012. She now has her hearing fully restored and she's worshipping with her husband, her daughter and others who have gone before her. Psalm 116:15 says, "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.")

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Path to Humility

I shared last week about my trip to prison a few weeks ago. While I was nervous at stepping into a realm that was uncomfortable for me, I was more afraid of being disobedient to the Lord's calling. After all, two-thirds of the word "God" is "Go".

The Lord has impressed upon me the importance of being humble. Being on television and having a growing business are worldly things that could easily make one think "God's favor is on me and not on anyone else. Therefore, I don't need to associate with people who are different than I." Or at least that's what Satan would try to make you believe. Psalm 25:9 says, "He (the Lord) guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way." Proverbs 11:2 says, "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom."

A window lets the sunshine in, along with pollen and lots of bugs, not to mention the dust and the sounds of birds chirping. But if you want fresh air, you have to be willing to live with a few flies.

When we are walking on the path to humility with the Lord, we will be open to the possibility that we may be wrong about someone or something. On that path, it is easier for God to correct us. Humility is the pathway to intimacy with God because he dwells with the humble. God is the only one who truly knows our heart as Jeremiah 17:10 says, "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."

When we embrace humility in associating with those who come from a difference place than us, economically, socially, mentally and spiritually, we will be able to hear the voice of God.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Prison of Loneliness

I was recently presented with an invitation to speak at the womens correctional facitity in Rankin County. While I was a bit intimiated (and fearful) of speaking to prisoners, I could not turn the invitation down.

After going through the security measures to walk to the "other side" of the razor wire fence, I found myself walking into a large room with empty chairs. I walked by each chair, placed my hand on them and prayed over the chair for the souls who would be sitting in them.

When the ladies walked in, I felt a heaviness I'd not felt in a long time. I immediately knew there those living in darkness with deceitful lifestyles, physical threats on some and others who blatantly didn't want to be in the same room with me. One common thread stuck out in my heart: loneliness. Each women in the room was dealing with extreme loneliness. No one had to tell me; it was spiritually obvious.

After listening to them sing a few hymns and an old Gospel favorite, "I Can't Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand", I got up to share. I felt the stares, I saw the nods of agreement and the tears of those who were broken. The loneliness there was unbearable.

One inmate told me, "When I get out here, I literally have nobody. I don't have any family, no parents, no brothers and sisters. Nobody. It's just me. And I can't handle it." The Lord gave me a vision which I shared with her and she was relieved. Story after story was similar.

John 14:18 says, "I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you." John 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

When you're lonely, it's hard not to lose hope. Loneliness is the prison bars; hope being able to walk through the other side of the razor wire fence in Jesus' name!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Do You Feel Rejected?

Rejection comes in all forms. Whether it's from family members who don't understand you or friends who talk about you because you take a stand, rejection hurts.

Christ followers are susceptible to rejection. It can lead to bitterness, negativism and self-pity--all things that make Christians useless in ministering to others. The greater the calling God has put on your life, the greater the rejection that can attack you.

Elijah hid in a cave and was ready to give up his ministry (or his prophetic calling) when the LORD spoke to him. In 1 Kings 19:9, the LORD asked "What you are doing here, Elijah?" Elijah responded in verse 10, "I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they're trying to kill me, too." Notice the bitterness and self-pity in Elijah's reply.

But Elijah was wrong as the Lord had told him there were 7,000 more people in Israel who had NOT bowed down to Baal, even though Elijah felt like he was the only one. (Remember giving your parents the old line as a teenager: "But everyone else is going!" or "Everyone else is wearing it!" Turns out, that wasn't the case after all.)

The bottom line is often good, spirit-filled Christians will be rejected while stagnant, luke warm, worldly Christians will be accepted.

We must learn to deal with rejection whether it comes from friends or those we don't know very well. And remember, hurting people hurt other people.

(Barbie's books are now available in local stores and on www.barbiebassett.com.)