To ask God for the abundant blessings He longs to give you? This repack meets the demand that continues to ask for the original bestseller—now with a stunning new look! Bruce and his wife, Darlene Marie, have three children and six grandchildren. They divide their time between Georgia and South Africa. David Kopp David Kopp is a writer and editor living in Oregon. The little book you're holding is about what happens when ordinary Christians decide to reach for an extraordinary life—which, as it turns out, is exactly the kind God promises.
My own story starts in a kitchen with yellow counters and Texas-sized raindrops pelting the window. It was my senior year of seminary in Dallas. Darlene, my wife, and I were finding ourselves spending more and more time thinking and praying about what would come next. Where should I throw my energy, passion, and training? What did God want for us as a couple? I stood in our kitchen thinking again about a challenge I'd heard from the seminary chaplain, Dr. Richard Seume. In the furniture business, for example, gimping is putting the finishing touches on the upholstery, patiently applying the ornamental extras that are a mark of quality and value.
Seume took as his text the briefest of Bible biographies: "Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers" 1 Chronicles Jabez wanted to be more and do more for God, and—as we discover by the end of verse 10—God granted him his request. End of verse. End of Bible story. Lord, I think I want to be a gimper for You, I prayed as I looked out the window at the blustery spring rain. But I was puzzled. What exactly did Jabez do to rise above the rest?
Why did God answer his prayer?
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I wondered. For that matter, why did God even include Jabez's miniprofile in the Bible? Maybe it was the raindrops running down the windowpanes. Suddenly my thoughts ran past verse 9. I picked up my Bible and read verse 10—the prayer of Jabez. Something in his prayer would explain the mystery. It had to. Pulling a chair up to the yellow counter, I bent over my Bible, and reading the prayer over and over, I searched with all my heart for the future God had for someone as ordinary as I. The next morning, I prayed Jabez's prayer word for word. And the next.
Thirty years later, I haven't stopped. If you were to ask me what sentence—other than my prayer for salvation—has revolutionized my life and ministry the most, I would tell you that it was the cry of a gimper named Jabez, who is still remembered not for what he did, but for what he prayed—and for what happened next. In the pages of this little book, I want to introduce you to the amazing truths in Jabez's prayer for blessing and prepare you to expect God's astounding answers to it as a regular part of your life experience.
How do I know that it will significantly impact you? Because of my experience and the testimony of hundreds of others around the world with whom I've shared these principles. Because, even more importantly, the Jabez prayer distills God's powerful will for your future. Finally, because it reveals that your Father longs to give you so much more than you may have ever thought to ask for. Just ask the man who had no future. Jabez doesn't stand astride the Old Testament like a Moses or a David or light up the book of Acts like those early Christians who turned the world upside down.
But one thing is sure: The little difference in his life made all the difference.
You'll find him hiding in the least read section of one of the least-read books of the Bible. The first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles are taken up with the official family tree of the Hebrew tribes, beginning with Adam and proceeding through thou-sands of years to Israel's return from captivity.
Talk about boring! The long lists of unfamiliar and difficult names—more than five hundred of them—are likely to make even the bravest Bible student turn back. Take chapter 4. But stay with me.
He stands head and shoulders above the rest! Clearly, the outcome can be traced to his prayer. At first glance, the four requests may strike you as sincere, sensible, even noble, but not terribly remarkable. Yet just under the surface of each lies a giant paradigm breaker that runs exactly opposite to the way you and I usually think. In the pages to come, I want to show you just how dramatically each of Jabez's requests can release something miraculous in your life. In fact, when was the last time you saw miracles happen on a regular basis in your life? If you're like most believers I've met, you wouldn't know how to ask for that kind of experience, or even if you should.
What I have to share with you has been opening up lives to God's mighty working for many years. Recently, I was in Dallas to teach on the Jabez blessing to an audience of 9, Later over lunch, a man said to me, "Bruce, I heard you preach the message of Jabez fifteen years ago, and I haven't stopped praying it.
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In , Michael Newdow filed suit challenging the phrase on behalf of his daughter, a public school student in California. Newdow , reached the Supreme Court in , but the justices did not ultimately decide whether the phrase was acceptable. Instead, the court ruled that Newdow lacked standing to bring the suit because he did not have legal custody of his daughter. While the issue never reached the Supreme Court again, it continued to be litigated in the lower courts.
In Myers v. Loudoun County Public Schools , the 4th U.
Religion in the Public Schools
Circuit Court of Appeals upheld recitation of the pledge in Virginia, but a U. However, the 9th U. Circuit Court of Appeals in reversed the district court decision, ruling that the recitation of the pledge did not constitute an establishment of religion. The courts have drawn a sharp distinction between officially sponsored religious speech, such as a benediction by an invited clergyman at a commencement ceremony, and private religious speech by students.
The Supreme Court made clear in Lee v. Judges usually reach that same conclusion when school officials cooperate with students to produce student-delivered religious messages. But federal courts are more divided in cases involving students acting on their own to include a religious sentiment or prayer at a school commencement or a similar activity. Some courts, particularly in the South, have upheld the constitutionality of student-initiated religious speech, emphasizing the private origins of this kind of religious expression.
As long as school officials did not encourage or explicitly approve the contents, those courts have upheld religious content in student commencement speeches. In Adler v. Duval County School Board , for example, the 11th U. Circuit Court of Appeals approved a system at a Florida high school in which the senior class, acting independently of school officials, selected a class member to deliver a commencement address. School officials neither influenced the choice of speaker nor screened the speech.
Under those circumstances, the appeals court ruled that the school was not responsible for the religious content of the address.
HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY
Other courts, however, have invalidated school policies that permit student speakers to include religious sentiments in graduation addresses. One leading case is ACLU v. The 3rd U. Circuit Court of Appeals nevertheless ruled that the high school could not permit religious content in the commencement speech.
The court reasoned that students attending the graduation ceremony were as coerced to acquiesce in a student-led prayer as they would be if the prayer were offered by a member of the clergy, the practice forbidden by Weisman in Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Similarly, in Bannon v. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Florida school officials were right to order the removal of student-created religious messages and symbols from a school beautification project.
Courts have long grappled with attempts by school boards and other official bodies to change the curriculum in ways that directly promote or denigrate a particular religious tradition. Opponents favor teaching some form of creationism, the idea that life came about as described in the biblical book of Genesis or evolved under the guidance of a supreme being.
A recent alternative to Darwinism, intelligent design, asserts that life is too complex to have arisen without divine intervention. Lower courts consistently have followed the lead of Epperson and Edwards. As a result, school boards have lost virtually every fight over curriculum changes designed to challenge evolution, including disclaimers in biology textbooks. One of the most recent and notable of these cases, Kitzmiller v. After lengthy testimony from both proponents and opponents of intelligent design, a federal district court in Pennsylvania concluded that the policy violates the Establishment Clause because intelligent design is a religious, rather than scientific, theory.
Kitzmiller may have been the last major evolution case to make national headlines, but the debate over how to teach about the origins and development of life in public schools has continued in state legislatures, boards of education and other public bodies.
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Courts have also expended substantial time and energy considering public school programs that involve Bible study. Although the Supreme Court has occasionally referred to the permissibility of teaching the Bible as literature, some school districts have instituted Bible study programs that courts have found unconstitutional.
Frequently, judges have concluded that these courses are thinly disguised efforts to teach a particular understanding of the New Testament. In a number of these cases, school districts have brought in outside groups to run the Bible study program. The groups, in turn, hired their own teachers, in some cases Bible college students or members of the clergy who did not meet state accreditation standards.
Such Bible study programs have generally been held unconstitutional because, the courts conclude, they teach the Bible as religious truth or are designed to inculcate particular religious sentiments. For a public school class to study the Bible without violating constitutional limits, the class would have to include critical rather than devotional readings and allow open inquiry into the history and content of biblical passages. Christmas-themed music programs also have raised constitutional concerns.