“Give a man a fish and he will eat for day, teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” (Learning how to pray and not just eating once a week….church service)
Father, I Belong to You
1. “Empty me.” – This is Fasting
2. “Fill me.” – This is Feasting
3. “Increase my capacity for You! “– This is Flowing
Last week I made some statements – I want to help start a movement in your life today. I am going to dare you to take a step toward a life like you have never had it or remind you of the old days or take you even deeper than you have ever known!
You may not want that! (At least you don’t think you do. Or you once did– but it got lost in minimalism and maintenance.)
John Piper says it this way in Don’t Waste Your Life….
You may not be sure that you want your life to make a difference. Maybe you don’t care very much whether you make a lasting difference for the sake of something great. You just want people to like you. If people would just like being around you, you’d be satisfied. Or if you could just have a good job with a good wife, or husband, and a couple of good kids and a nice car and long weekends and a few good friends, a fun retirement, and a quick and easy death, and no hell—if you could have all that (even without God)—you would be satisfied. That is a tragedy in the making. A wasted life. (pg.45)
If I set before you two options: (think blue pill and red pill from the Matrix) A life that is Peaceful and Predictable or Passionate and Powerful, which would you choose?
I already know the instinctive, uncompromising answer you would give based on the movies you love to watch and the stories you love to read. And yet as we look at the constant goal of our days we are always aiming at predictability, safety, peace, security.
(Now when I say passionate and powerful do not assume that I define them as a large stage and thousands of followers. No, I define greatness and legacy by impact and influence. Does your life matter? Do you make a lasting difference? We are all haunted by the life of Jesus, the early church, and the scriptural definitions of a life well lived! As much as we are inspired and drawn to true greatness we avoid the Bible for its sheer weight. We avoid Christian history. We don’t want to hear of the exploits of Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, Jonathan Edwards, or Corrie Ten Boom. And yet we do! We do love those stories! But then we shrink back and say, “I can’t do that!” But as Eldredge has taught us, “The Bible is not a book of exceptions, but a book of examples.”)
God does the whole red/blue pill thing too.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,  loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.  And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14-15)
This next miniseries fits perfect with the three prayers we have been praying.
The Prayer of Jabez – 1 Chronicles 4
Last week we looked at it in parts: (Let me quickly review and overview)
1. Oh, that you would bless me indeed,
2. And enlarge my territory, (border, coast)
3. That your hand would be with me,
4. And that you would keep me from evil
We are praying this every day in March!
(Build first part of prayer) 1. Oh, that you would bless me indeed,
a. He asks for it! Matt 7:7 Need to ask!
b. He asks with desire! INDEED – 5!!!!! Capitalized, bold and underlined He is serious about this prayer! Not flippant or casual.
Seeking God’s blessing with fervency has everything to do with need and want, desperation and desire!
(From The Pursuit of God Tozer) Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found Him the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking. Moses used the fact that he knew God as an argument for knowing Him better. “Now, therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight”; and from there he rose to make the daring request, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” God was frankly pleased by this display of ardor, and the next day called Moses into the mount, and there in solemn procession made all His glory pass before him.
In the midst of this great chill there are some, I rejoice to acknowledge, who will not be content with shallow logic. They will admit the force of the argument, and then turn away with tears to hunt some lonely place and pray, “O God, show me thy glory.” They want to taste, to touch with their hearts, to see with their inner eyes the wonder that is God.
I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.
Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.
If we would find God amid all the religious externals we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity. Now as always God discovers Himself to “babes” and hides Himself in thick darkness from the wise and the prudent. We must simplify our approach to Him. We must strip down to essentials (and they will be found to be blessedly few). We must put away all effort to impress, and come with the guileless candor of childhood. If we do this, without doubt God will quickly respond.
Gen 32:26 (Story of Jacob… “I will not let you go until you bless me!”
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. (Isaiah 55:1-3 ESV)
c. What does he want? What does bless mean? Overuse and misuse. Bless missionaries and sneezes. God bless America! “Bless this meal to our bodies and our bodies to Your service.” “Bless the gift and the giver.”
He wants God’s supernatural favor!
Basically, “fill me!” Eph 3 and 4 “filled with all the fullness of God”
d. God’s disposition is to bless! God’s bounty is limited by us!
Psalm 78:41 Limited holy one
Matt. 13:58 Did not do many miracles
Malachi 3:10 Prove me
e. Sounds selfish!
Yet, we have to start here! I cannot fulfill my responsibility to you or anyone else until I am filled first. I can only love you out of the measure I love God and I love myself.
I am urging you you increase your hunger and thirst and desire by staying in your fast. And when you are hungry come to God alone with your need and want. Find Him and be satisfied. Seek Him fervently and He will be found by you. Then you can pray the second part of the Jabez prayer more effectively because you actually have something to give.
(Tozer again) O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, any love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow T Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.