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Swap Shop

Swap Shop is a place to exchange ideas for activities in Sunday school; share your success stories in teaching the Bible to children; and provide ways to foster a love for the Bible.

What do you want?

Have you really asked God to bless you since we discussed last month that it is absolutely OK to ask? Remember, that was just the first part of Jabez’ prayer. Let’s talk now about the second part of this one sentence prayer: “and enlarge my territory.” Those are probably some pretty big words for you, so let’s play a game.

Here is a chart showing two columns; on the left is a list of words that mean the same thing as “enlarge” and on the right is a list that could be considered different kinds of “territory.” You probably already understand them, but maybe you have never thought you could use them when you ask or call God for help.

   
 
Enlarge Territory
Make Bigger Talents, skills, abilities
Widen Wisdom
Broaden Knowledge
Deepen Understanding
Heighten Friendships
Lengthen Influence for good (peacemaker)
Enhance Supply
Improve Quantity
Increase Quality
Make abundant Customer base for sales job
Grow Resources (for that essay or project)
Add to what you already have Capacities
Stretch Perception
Extend Vision, dreams, goals
   
 

Now you can draw lines from the left hand column to the right hand column. They may criss-cross, or go in any direction. You can have several lines going to one word in the other column. Every single answer is Right. You cannot make any mistakes. The neat thing is that you are always the winner because you are asking for exactly what you want or need.

Perhaps you want to improve your skills in soccer (or any sport), in dance (in a group or as a couple), on a musical instrument, or taking tests at school. Maybe you would like to have some very close friends to do things with. That would be a desire to deepen those friendships. This prayer is all about being very specific and direct as to what we are asking for. Obviously, territory does not just mean having more land. I have used this prayer very often to ask God to increase my understanding and skills in training my horses, and, boy, do I get some very clever answers that really work. This is how we break through limitations, barriers or obstacles that would block our path to accomplishing our heart’s desires. Yes, you will be moving out of your “comfort zone” to new and exciting experiences you never thought would come to you. Just like baby birds who must spread their wings to fly out of the nest.

What friends in the Bible do we know who were specific in asking for their ideas to bless others?

Joseph was not very delighted to find himself tossed into a deep pit by his own brothers. Even when he had been sold and was taken to a different country, he had a tough time being recognized for the good he was supposed to be doing. Ending up in prison did not seem to be such a good place either. However, each chapter of his life was a step in progress until he was promoted to a high position. His territory was expanded to help not only the people in that foreign country but also his own brothers who came to buy food. (Gen. 37-45)

Moses had some really big challenges while taking the children of Israel out of Egypt and guiding them through the wilderness. He had to grow in patience because the people were not interested in obeying the Ten Commandments. Yet he knew that those laws came from God and absolutely had to be obeyed. Also, he had to feed thousands of people, and that’s when God brought the manna (which was good for just one day or it spoiled) and also a supply of water in the desert. There was no McDonald's or Taco Bell! (Ex 14-20)

Elisha asked for a double portion of wisdom and understanding, and it was given to him. Elisha ended up doing more “big” things than Elijah did, and his good deeds were a preview of coming attractions for what Jesus would do. He purified water; he increased the supply of oil that the widow had so her sons would not be sold as slaves; he raised the son of the Shunamite woman, to name a few things. (II Kings 2-8)

In the New Testament, as Peter and John were going into the temple, a man, lame from birth, was begging for money. These two disciples of Jesus turned to him and healed him right there on the spot. The man went leaping and running into the temple, praising God. He did not have to go to a rehab clinic for therapy. The healing was done, complete! Now that is expanding your territory! (Acts 3)

Paul, who used to be Saul—the one who did mean things to the Christians, needed to have his eyes opened to see, to understand what Jesus had been teaching. He ended up healing, teaching, traveling, and helping a lot of people in different countries. He even survived a shipwreck and a close encounter with a poisonous snake. (Acts 27-28)

We might not think we want such adventure stories for ourselves, but let’s be willing to at least ask to increase our patience and abilities to do what we must do as well as what we dream of doing.

So daily play the game and Win!

Email BibleWise your Sunday school success stories. We are always interested.

   
 
   
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