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Chasing Endurance, Issue #006 -- The Enlarge My Territory Edition
March 27, 2016

Greetings ,

Have you noticed that the “prosperity message” is all over the airwaves? Do you ever wonder if God really wants us to be successful?

In a word: yes. But don’t be surprised if God defines success in an unexpected way.

In this edition we'll have:

What Does Success Really Mean?

Jabez: The Man Who Did Not Want to Cause Pain

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What Does Success Really Mean?

Jeremiah 29:11 is often quoted by persons as evidence that God wants us to be prosperous. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” And it’s true. God does want us to be prosperous. But it’s also true that His definition of success may not look like ours.

Just look at the context of that verse. After years of doing wrong and years of warning about the consequences of unrighteous living, it had finally happened. The children of Israel were exiled to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. Can you imagine the shock that they must have felt? They were taken from the Promised Land. Away from their homes and their temple and some must have felt away from their God.

But in the midst of it God was telling them, “Look, you’re a captive in a foreign land but don’t lose heart! Get married! Have babies! Plant vineyards! Build houses! You’re going to be there for a little while, so get comfortable.” I don’t think any Israelite at that time could have taken comfort from those words.

“Don’t be fooled by fortune-tellers and prophets,” God continues. “This isn’t a short exile. It’s going to be for seventy years. Some of you are going to die there in Babylon. Some of you won’t return to Jerusalem until you’re very old. But after seventy years … I’ll come looking for you. I have big plans! These plans are for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

See what I mean? God had great plans for the children of Israel but He knew that at the place they were at right then, it wouldn’t have been in their best interest to follow through on them. They needed a wake-up call. They needed to be in a place where they had no choice but to depend on God. Only then would He be able to prove Himself mighty on their behalf.

Success – in God’s eyes – means depending totally on Him. It means giving up self and allowing Him to lead in every situation. But when we do that? My friends, He will do so much more than we ever hoped or dreamed of. Our territory will be so enlarged we’ll wonder how we ever dreamt of less.

Jabez: The Man Who Didn’t Want to Cause Pain

I will name him Jabez the young mother decided. “I bore him in pain so it means that he will cause pain for others.” Can you imagine growing up with a name like that? ‘Hey Pain! How’re you doing today?’ ‘Don’t play with him, he’s going to cause you pain.’

I’m sure nothing in our imaginations will come close to the reality of this young man’s life. The pain of that name was such that as a man he cried out to God: “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain! (I Chronicles 4:10 NLT)” And God listened to him and granted his request.

Here’s the thing though, in verse 9 we are told that he was “more honorable than his brothers.” Did the unwanted attention that came with his name result in his decision to live an upright life? Like, if he hadn’t been called “He Will Cause Pain” would he have been the same drive to live a life pleasing to God?

Are there any things in your life that have resulted in you making a conscious decision to serve God? Things that the enemy wanted to use to destroy you but God used for your benefit?

Here’s my challenge for us: This month, instead of complaining or trying to wish it away, let us pray and thank God for loving us enough that He tries to save us.

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The most recent articles are:

The Widow’s Mite
Leah: The Unloved Wife
Blind Bartimaeus: Broken But Not Silent

That’s it for this month's Chasing Endurance. Keep praying that God will enlarge your territory ... and then open your eyes to the blessings He sends your way. Walk good!

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