Within the last ten days or so I have read two small books with powerful messages. Go back just a few posts and you will see notes from The Prayer of Jabez and Secrets of the Vine. Very challenging little books!
The first one discussed various aspects of Jabez's prayer to the Lord which included enlarging his borders or territory. The author likened this to our prayer for more ministry or influence to further God's kingdom.
And then in Secrets of the Vine, I was reminded how all the good works I do for God are meaningless and empty if I am cut off from the Root. If my relationship with God suffers, then the other stuff will be worthless. How beautiful is a flower that is cut from the root? The beauty fades as the flower dies because it is no longer nourished by the root.
So it was really "funny" that just this week I also read an article in a publication which I receive each month. Here is what caught my attention:
"God calls us to enlarge our vision of the family. . . . In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Lord calls us out of our family compound down to the highway, where a stranger from another ethnicity and religion lies bleeding."
"He commands us to love this stranger -- our 'neighbor' -- as ourselves." The author reminds us that "our truest family" are all those who have been adopted into the family of Jesus Christ. Her challenge is for us to look past our children and reach out and love others as well.
So that was the reminder from The Prayer of Jabez. But this next thing was a reminder from the other book.
"I know an even greater call: to know and love God with everything in us. That's where we always must begin. . . .When I pursue the Lord first and am satisfied with His love, I am freed. . . . . I'm no longer looking to [my children] to fulfill what only my Father in heaven can provide: my identity, purpose and significance. I am freed ... to see beyond the walls of my home to the world outside and to spend time and effort there, serving my neighbors. Even serving with my children." ~ by Leslie Leyland Fields