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Cosmic slot machine...that was good! I think that prayer doesn't have to always be a request. Sometimes I simply have a conversation with God about a fear, an event, or a person that I love...always makes me feel better. I can also relate to the Proverbs reading today and I am very glad I did not "lock out" the friendship with harsh words or actions. Wasn't easy, but it was worth it. God bless!

Mike,

I enjoy reading your comments each day; however, when you "go off" on a tangent as you did today, I feel you miss the mark.

In your commentary, you personally overlooked the Jabez passage and instead discussed Bruce Wilkinson's interpretation of it. If, as you state, you "don’t think Bruce Wilkinson’s book advocated this idea necessarily("the more we pray, the more blessings / stuff we will get), why mention it at all?

Further, rather than listing a commentary which discussed the passage, you linked to one which discussed, again, the pro's and con's of Wilkinson's book.

I sincerely feel that since so many people have obviously read the book and have been inspired by it, the community would have been better served by your simply commenting on the passage and leaving the book alone. After all, every day you could find some book with which you disagree and list its pro's and con's. Why today's passage and why this book?

Hi Sammy - thanks for the comments! I do greatly appreciate feedback on my posts as I know that much of what I type each day is definitely not the Gospel truth by any means. :)

I guess it's just the nature of a blog. I try to stay focused on the Text, but I do bring in my "tangents" too, which I know not everyone will agree with.

You do bring up a great point on the Jabez book. I know many people enjoyed it and were blessed by it. So, anyone who enjoyed the book is very welcome to post up in the comments where I missed the mark in my tangents about the book, and tell us what you enjoyed / appreciated about the book.

Grace,
Mike

Hi Colleen - I have to confess that I got the "cosmic slot machine" terminology from Donald Miller's book Blue Like Jazz. He writes how in his youth he initially prayed to God as if he was a cosmic slot machine. Check out this book if you can.... great stuff. I'm currently reading his first book, Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance, and I think I'm liking it even better than Blue Like Jazz. (which is saying a lot) He just throws in some zingers throughout his books, like the cosmic slot machine, that just stick with you and make you think about your relationship with God.

Grace,
Mike

Mike,

You know I’m one of your biggest cheerleaders and going off on a tangent may be missing someone else’s mark but maybe not yours. I have seen other sides to a particular subject, problem or issue from your tangents. I for one have never read Bruce Wilkinson's books; however, in the beginning of my Christian walk I did subscribe to his Ministry’s magazines, Walk Thru the Bible (Old Testament in a Year); Closer Walk (New Testament in a Year); and Family Walk (A family devotional) for many years. By the way I believe he no longer has those particular ministries and has moved to South Africa as a missionary which is funded by the revenue received from his books.

As a 50 plus I’ve learned when folks ain’t calling your name, don’t answer and if they don’t know your name they can’t call. In other words what you think is not meant for you and thus unnescerry may be necessary to someone else.

Grace and peace for know. Will be back to journal and give my 2 cents latter tonight.

Ramona

Mike you wrote:

“Why do you pray? How do you pray? What should we pray? Does God want us to pray? Did Jesus pray? Should we model Jesus in praying?”


I have concluded at this time in my life that prayer for me is communicating with God, both listening and speaking. Praying should be more about listening then rattling off my laundry list to God for the things I think I need but in reality are wants. I hope my prayers are from the depths of my heart and not some ritual. I desire true intimacy, a relationship that is substantive, and not just talking to be talking.

Because my delimitation of prayer is “communicating with God,” and God knows my needs even before I do, I want to hear from God what He wants me to do. Jesus’ heard from His Father in his time of prayer and he always spent time with God right before something big was about to happen. May I strive to model my Lord and Saviors’ behavior.


I Chronicles 4:5-5:17
Since my habit ‘till a year ago was to read thorough the first eleven chapters of I Chronicles, like I read through the beginning of Numbers and Ezra, going 100 miles per hour, I don’t really remember when Jabaz’s prayer stopped me in my tracks, but it did. It was like hitting a speed bump going 60 on a wide opened highway then suddenly seeing this thing, this bump pop up in the road ten feet ahead. I figuratively flew in the air.

Every time I come to this section, I see something I’ve never seen before and am always amazed by the depth of this text. I’ve come to realize that Jabaz’s name is my name, is everyone on this board’s name. We all have been conceived in pain and scarred by the names given to us. Names like: You’re no Good, Just Like Your Father, Stupid, Dumb, Ugly, Why Don’t’ You Act Like Your Brother/Sister, and the names go on. These names define who we are from our childhood, reining us in and keeping us confined to the valley of despair and limited potential.

Jabaz, I believe, was more honorable than his brothers because he asked God to remove the limitations placed upon him so that he could be what God had called him to be and not what men told him he was.

I love how the Amplified translates this passage:

9 Jabez was honorable above his brothers; but his mother named him Jabez [sorrow maker], saying, Because I bore him in pain.

10 Jabez cried to the God of Israel, saying, Oh, that You would bless me and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and You would keep me from evil so it might not hurt me! And God granted his request.


Acts 25:1-27

I just realized the ruling officials of the day were also the judges. I’ve read this many times, but never noticed the political leaders having the dual role of judge and ruler. So Paul’s admonishment to Timothy (1 Tim. 2:1-3),

1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior,

Now has greater weight and depth of meaning because I realize these political leaders weren’t just politicians that could be voted out of office. They were appointed to carry out government business, oversee the citizens and inhabitants as well as judge their behavior and actions at trial.

I wonder what that would look like today in the USA if our elected officials ran the courts.


Psalm 5:1-12

Although using different words and more of them, David, like Jabaz, is asking God to remove the boundaries that have placed him in danger. Hmm, maybe God has already removed those boundaries, maybe we just need the vision to see past the cardboard walls and flimsy fences, smoke and mirrors the devil, and folk have built around us.


Proverbs 18:19

I went looking for the Hebrew word translated “offended” or “offend” in this passage and the primary English usage is not offend or offended but transgress and transgressor (26 times). Offend or offended is translated only once and it is in this verse. [Pasha` to rebel, transgress, revolt—Strong’s Number 06586]. This is not some little bit of rudeness or terse remark; this is a major breech or violation against another person. So I’m not so sure that this verse is saying not to allow an offence or slight to break up a relationship so much as it is a warning stating, “Don’t sin against a brother or close friend”. I will have to explore and study this further.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Mike, Thanks for your hard work and dedication in writing the daily blogs. I've been trying to catch up with my daily readings. Something in your July 7th comments popped out to me. In your blog, "I just think we should be cautious to not view prayer as a "magical" thing that will produce "magical" results in our life." My father was diagnosed with premature cell leukemia 5 years ago. At the time of diagnosis, his prognosis was recovery was below 50%. Our minister at the time had all the family join hands in a circle around dad's hospital bed. At the same time, our minister got down on his knees, prayed the most powerful, "magical" prayer we've ever witnessed. We believe beyond all doubt that the prayer offered to God that day was the beginning of my father's healing. I very, very much believe that if a prayer is lifted up to God in faith, believing in His power and might, that wonderful "magical" things can happen. Dad is in full remission to this day. As the old beautiful song says, "Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door." That is very "magical" to me.
I believe we cannot limit the power of God. We have to pray for God's will, but there have been numerous times in the Bible when His people have prayed for God to "change His mind", and God answered them by doing so.
Thanks for your diligence in providing us with insightful comments.
Keep the faith!
Dee

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