by Pastor E.A. Deckard
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times
“I have a motto on my bedroom wall: ‘Obstacles are what you see when you take your eye off the goal.’ Giving up is not my style. I just want to do something that’s worthwhile.” – Chris Burke
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou
1 Chronicles 4:9-10
9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez,[a] saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
Forward Thinkers, many people will look at someone who has achieved a certain level of success and admire them for where they or for what they have, but I have learned to celebrate a person’s total journey. We never know all the hell someone had to go through to make it to this point in their life. The problem with admiring or judging someone is that we only see a small sample of their entire journey. Forward Thinkers, we come into contact with people at certain seasons of their life and try to understand them based on that season without taking into consideration their total life experiences.
Forward Thinkers, I’m still in awe of God when people began to talk about me in praiseworthy terms because, I remember my whole story and I know if it were not for the grace of God I would not be here. We should never forget the fact it was the Lord that gave us the ability to create wealth and success.
Forward Thinkers, as I operate in the favor of God I tell other Pastors and people who call me lucky during this season of my life yes you’re right, I am lucky. Forward Thinkers, I’m lucky enough to be lied on, lucky enough to grow up confused on why my parents didn’t raise me, lucky enough to have a church I spent years building up get flooded out with no flood insurance, lucky enough to have a daughter die while I’m up preaching, lucky enough to experience swine flu, acute arthritis, and vertigo all while leading God’s people. Forward Thinkers yes I’ve been real lucky.
Forward Thinkers, in spite of all that and that was the short version of my story, I never gave up because I always knew if a battery didn’t have a negative side it couldn’t produce any power to move anything. Forward Thinkers, everything negative you’ve experienced was not assigned to your life to destroy you but to empower you to reach your full potential.
Forward Thinkers, stop complaining and start moving into your season of success. The favor of God is waiting on you to move in faith so it can turn things around in your favor.
Forward Thinkers, let’s look back at verse 9 and rearrange it in the correct order of time: Jabez mother named him Jabez. The first thing we should notice here are Jabez humble beginnings. The Biblical meaning of the name Jabez is: sorrow and trouble. In Hebrew, the meaning of the name Jabez is: pain and in the Old Testament, Jabez was named so because he was born to his mother in pain. Jabez had a difficult start like many of us today but he didn’t throw in towel because in spite of it all he still believed it was not over for him. Forward Thinkers, there was a time in his journey that Jabez was probably voted most likely to fail and no one would have questioned him for giving up with the hand life had dealt him. Truth is someone reading this today is feeling like Jabez tired and weary from all the negative issues of life being thrown at them. Forward Thinkers, I’m sure there is a crowd reading this today wanting to cry out, “Why Me Lord Why Me Lord”.
Forward Thinkers, I’m encouraging you today not to give up but be encouraged that the favor of God has the power to turn this negative situation in your life around in your favor.
Forward Thinkers, I need you to notice Jabez showed us how to respond to a bad hand. Notice he does not cry out why Lord but he cries out Lord bless me right where I am. Forward Thinkers, Jabez had enough faith in God that he requested for the Lord to do something great/something big with his life while he was still in a negative place.
Forward Thinkers, I challenge you right now right where you are in life to declare Lord bless me and Lord use me to do something great.
Jabez also said Lord keep your hand with me; I don’t know about you Forward Thinkers, but I need the Lord’s hand with me all day every day.
Forward Thinkers, I need His hand to pick me up when I stumble and fall, I need His hand to push me forward when I feel like giving up, I need His hand to cover my mouth at times so I won’t respond to life the wrong way, I need His hand to hold my hand as I walk through the valley of the shallow of death, I need His hand to dry up my tears when life has me down, I need His hand to cover my eyes so I won’t lose hope in a evil world, and finally I need His hand to anoint my head with knowledge and wisdom.
Forward Thinkers, shout because the outcome of Jabez prayer was the Lord granted his request, shout because the same God of Jabez is your request granting God also.
Forward Thinkers, the favor of God turned it in Jabez favor and I’m living proof if you don’t let your faith fail you, God will cause His favor to turn your situation around in “your” favor. Jabez went from being called painful to being called honorable.
Forward Thinkers, remember the synonyms of Jabez, “painful, sorrowful, and trouble” but now the favor of God has turned Jabez into being called “worthy of honor, good, upstanding, illustrious, distinguished, eminent, great, glorious, renowned, acclaimed, prestigious, noble, and admirable”.
In conclusion, forward thinkers, God turned Jabez story around and today God is waiting on you to trust Him to turn your story around also.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church located, 16711 Ella Blvd. Houston, Texas, 77090. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or the church website www.ghic.net.