Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cruise Control

I have listened twice this week to a Sunday sermon on faith by Eric Johnson at Bethel Church. The Hebrews 11 faith we read about in the scriptures.  During his teaching he asked this question ~ are we living our lives on cruise control?

When Joel and I went to a conference in CT in 2013 we quickly realized that even after spending our lives believing and serving, there was so much we still needed to learn about God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, faith, healing, and more.  It is now 2016 and we are still in the process of learning more. It is a life long process.  Some of what we have learned has come through sitting under the teachings of others, whether online, in church or in a book.  Some of our learning has come through seeking God, and some has come as a result of circumstances and challenges that have caused us discouragement, confusion, and more.  In Eric's sermon he said that when challenges from the enemy come into our lives, we need to ask God to "increase our faith".  If we are feeling defeated, turn that around and use it as a motivator to move forward in our faith journey. And don't make continually living on "cruise control" an option.  Increase our faith, Lord. As we learn, as we seek, as we face challenges.......increase our faith.

Eric's teaching reminded me of the book "The Prayer of Jabez" by Bruce Wilkerson.  It has been around for many years but recently God brought it to light once again..  We were at my sister Jan and BIL Lanny's home in Mesa and Joel was looking for the magazine he kept in the bathroom.  I had confiscated it to read for myself, so he picked up a small book on the back of the toilet.  It was the book, "The Prayer of Jabez".  He began to read it once again with new eyes and was so drawn in that when we got home he took it our copy off the bookshelf to read.  We have been going through it here at home for devotions, while praying the prayer of Jabez on a daily basis.

"Oh that You would bless me indeed!  
and enlarge my territory, 
that you hand would be with me, 
and You would keep me from evil
that I may not cause pain."
I Chronicles 4:9,10

This is a simple prayer that seeks God and desires to live beyond any limits.  It is an insightful, deeply honest request from a Biblical character who is only mentioned once and who's name means "to cause pain". Jabez felt he was living a life on cruise control, and he wanted more.  He was seeking more of God.

I believe we all have an inner desire to seek God.  An inner desire to have a closer relationship with Him, on all levels.  But life gets in the way.  Fear gets in the way.  I feel the need to repeat that one......fear gets in the way.  False Evidence Appearing Real gets in the way. I think pastor Eric Johnson is right on when he says to use those challenges or difficulties as a motivator, asking God to increase our faith as we walk forward through life.  No more cruise control!  Increase!  And like Jabaz we can pray.......Oh that you would bless me indeed!

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