Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested. (1 Chronicles 4:9, 10 NKJV)

So often I associate Jabez to his prayer of expanding his territory and growth – be that physical prosperity or spiritual. But today, it caught my eye the last part of his prayer, “… that I may not cause pain.”

Verse 9 tells us that he was named Jabez because he was a painful birth (like any of them aren’t…) and his mother named him a name that became a lifelong reminder of the pain he caused her.

What a curse.

I wonder if Jabez’s prayer wasn’t a cry out to God in desperation to get out from under that curse. “God – make me able to bless others and don’t let me become evil so that I won’t cause anyone anymore pain!”

What if his prayer isn’t a prayer based on prosperity, but on trying to break away from the constant reminder of the pain he caused.

I’m a nickname kind of guy. I shorten or morph almost everyone’s name that I know. It makes me wonder, as a father, what words have I spoken over my kids. What nicknames have I given them and what do my kids think of that nickname? Will they grow up with a complex always trying to get out from under that name? Or have I given them names that they want to live up to… names that strengthen and encourage them… names that call out the giftings that God has blessed them with?

I think I will reevaluate what nickname I call my kids, my wife, and my friends.

Day 8 – “whatever things are of good report”

Phil 4:8 (NKJV) Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Good Report.

Looking deeper into this word, I’m intrigued at what I think it means.  My best interpretation means blessings  – words of blessings.  The Greek word for it means “uttering words of good omen, speaking auspiciously.”  Auspiciously?  What the…. Huh?

I hate it when I have to get the dictionary out to define a word in a definition….  Auspiciously means “affording a favorable auspice : PROPITIOUS

Ahhh… got it.  It’s all crystal clear now…

(For those of you like me who are scratching your head and wishing you’d have paid attention in High School English class – “auspice” means “a prophetic sign, especially a  good sign” and “propitious” means “favorably disposed; a good omen; tending to favor” – Hmmm… why couldn’t they just say that to begin with?)

Wow – I don’t think I’ve ever intentionally meditated on spoken blessings.  I”ve received words from people that have encouraged and blessed me and I’ve given words to others that I pray had the same effect.  But I’m not sure I’ve often been intentional about meditating on those words – either those given to me or those to give away.

I can see how that could change my perspective… dwelling on encouraging things… looking and praying for encouragement for others…. Yes, that would be a good thing.  That would be a VERY good thing.

I like it.  Today I will meditate on those things of good report.

…Running After Papa