Recharge Your Batteries
Recharge batteries

My kitchen counter is starting to resemble an electronic gadget shop.

Every evening I plug all my devices into electric sockets.

  • Cell phone.
  • Laptop.
  • Tablet.
  • The dogs’ training collars.

Yes, training collars. My wild and crazy boxers are now wearing electronic training collars to gently persuade them to refocus on my commands instead of their impulses.

But the other day I forgot to charge the collars overnight. Hoping there was a bit of power remaining the next morning, I optimistically buckled the collars on the dogs. No charge. Not even the slightest tingle. The collars were useless without having been connected to their power source.

Some days I wish it were just as easy to recharge my own batteries. Days when my to-do list outlasts my time and energy. When I’m feeling depleted. Exhausted. Empty.

How do you recharge yourself? Do you take a nap? Have a snack? Go for a walk? Play with your dog? Maybe your go-to energy source is caffeine. Or a high protein diet.

But energy depletion is not limited to the physical realm. We can be depleted emotionally, especially if we’re enmeshed in stressful relationships. We can also be mentally drained. Just ask any student who is facing final exams in the coming weeks.

And we can be depleted spiritually. Often our physical state affects our spiritual condition. Consider the prophet Elijah. In I Kings 19, Elijah had enough. He told God to take his life…and then he fell asleep.

Before God addressed Elijah’s mental, emotional, and spiritual issues, the Lord provided for his physical needs. Yahweh Jireh, Elijah’s Provider, provided food and water. Then He allowed the prophet to sleep some more.

God was also concerned with Elijah’s emotional and spiritual condition.

Elijah complained about being the only one left who was a true worshiper of Yahweh, the Living God. But the Lord reminded the prophet to listen for the gentle whispers of divine leading. Then He commissioned Elijah to fulfill God’s purposes and identify a successor. The message? Elijah, you’re not finished yet…and you’re not as alone as you think.

What about you and me? In this world of constant connectedness, when do we disconnect from our devices to rest and reenergize? With many of us keeping our cell phones on the nightstand, which do we open first in the morning: our Bible or our text messages?

Our spiritual refreshment comes in several ways:

  • Forgiveness

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19 ESV).

  • Dependence on God

“They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 ESV).

  • Community

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

How do we know if our schedules are overly full while our spiritual tank is empty?

Perhaps we find ourselves more prone to discouragement. We might allow relationships to slip—either with God or with other people. Maybe we’re doing so much for others that we’re not taking care of ourselves—eating right and getting enough sleep. Perhaps we’re rushing from one obligation to another without taking the time to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit to learn if these obligations are our idea, not His. Good ideas are not always God-ideas.

Let’s learn from the lessons God taught Elijah. Recharge by reconnecting with the Lord in our daily quiet time and staying connected to Him throughout the day: the original wireless connection!

The Prayer of Jabez Revisited
The Prayer of Jabez

Do you remember hearing about the prayer of Jabez?

When Bruce Wilkinson’s book, The Prayer of Jabez, was published almost 20 years ago, it took the Christian community by storm. Quickly propelled to the bestseller lists, it encouraged Christians to daily pray the prayer of an obscure man found in I Chronicles 4:9-10. In fact, that’s the only place in the Bible where this man—or his prayer—is mentioned:

“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!’ And God granted what he asked” (ESV).

I had been praying my personalized version of this prayer daily since I first learned of it. But I’ve recently revised how I pray this for two reasons:

  • I realized I was asking for things God was already doing
  • I was ignoring the importance of my own obedience for each request

So these days my prayer is revised to reflect those two concerns. Here’s the original post with the updates in bold italics:

Heavenly Father, I ask for today:

Your blessing as You define it…

Some Christians today limit focus their definition of blessing on material provisions. I hear Christians say things such as:

Of course, God is not against wealth. But nowhere in the Bible is material wealth His priority for His children. If anything, material comforts often get in the way of His process to conform us to the image of Christ. God is more concerned with wealth that will last for eternity. Spiritual growth. The fruit of the Spirit. And of course, the most valuable provision He has already given me is the gift of salvation—a restored relationship with Him.

So when it comes to asking for blessing, I’d rather leave the definition to Him.

Now I’m asking for the ability to recognize those blessings as God defines them. To take the blinders off and to stop being influenced by what I want rather than what I need. And to call them blessings even if they don’t initially appear that way.

Your use as You decide it…

Jabez prayed for victory to expand his territory. I don’t know what territory God has for me. Is it to be a greater influence in my family, church, or social circles? Is it to teach His Word? To publish books?

While I have hopes and dreams regarding how God might use me in the future, I never want those desires to prevent me from recognizing how God wants to use me today. Whatever He decides is fine by me!

Now I’m specifically asking for a spirit of contentment with what God has decided. To be content if God doesn’t use me in accordance with my own agenda. For contentment if He has chosen a new direction for me.

Your leading as You provide it…

Over the years, I’ve watched many Christian leaders shipwreck themselves on the rocks of their own grand plans for larger ministries and media empires. God’s plan for them might have been to toil in obscurity, but that wasn’t their plan for themselves.

I can strategize and I can plan. But without the Lord’s leading, my ideas may not be His plans for me. I need to trust Him to direct me onto a straight path (Proverbs 3:6). The Bible often speaks of our “walk” with God. Walking with someone requires that we move in the same direction and at the same pace. I don’t ever want to run ahead of God or lag behind Him!

Now I’m specifically praying for immediate obedience to His leading. Because I know delayed obedience is ultimately disobedience!

And that You would keep me from both giving and receiving pain.

Jabez prayed for protection from harm and pain. Some scholars believe that verse can also be translated to mean that he was asking to be kept from giving pain to others.

I know, from experience, the pain caused by other people. Betrayal. Insensitivity. Negligence. Temptation. But I also know I’ve caused pain, too. How can I pray for protection from pain if I’m not willing to pray that God would keep me from causing it?

Now I’m asking for increased sensitivity to how I might be causing pain for others. It’s a cop out for me to excuse my behavior as “this is who I am.” I need to ask the Holy Spirit to take who I am and make me more like Christ. But for that to happen, I need to surrender to the Holy Spirit, not just day by day, but minute by minute!

So, my personalized prayer of Jabez is:

Heavenly Father, I ask for today:

  • To recognize Your blessing as You define it,
  • To be content with Your use as You decide it,
  • To obey Your leading as You provide it,
  • And to be sensitive to how I might be giving pain, harm, and temptation to others even as I ask for God’s protection from those things for myself.

The change in the way I pray has had a significant impact on the way I approach the events of each day.

How about you? What are your thoughts about the prayer of Jabez?

Moms – World’s Toughest Job

I hired thousands of people during my career in Human Resources in New York City over 20+ years.

Some positions were considered “plum” jobs with a high salary, good benefits, and a clear career track. Others were temporary, dead-end, hourly positions that barely paid enough to make the commute worthwhile.

There’s one position I never tried to recruit: mothers. The job description would fill a book. With long hours and no pay, applicants would be few, despite the fact that no experience is necessary. But rather than try to describe the position, I invite you to check out the video below for a fun perspective.

Then, if you’re able, call your mother, wish her a happy Mother’s Day, and tell her “thank you” for working the world’s toughest job!

And if you are a mom, please know your efforts are noticed and appreciated!

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