Dearly beloved in Christ,
I greet you in the sweet name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Man wants to increase in every walk of life. He wants to be blessed by expansion in business, industry, and boundary. In the Bible we read about the prayer of Jabez: “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 Chr. 4:10). The Lord also heard his prayer and enlarged his territory. The Lord who enlarges and enriches is alive even today. He is the same.
The Lord who says that you will expand to the right and to the left will bless you also in a similar way.
I. AREAS WHERE WE NEED TO GROW
There are areas where you need to grow abundantly in your spiritual life, in your life in Christ. We are eager to grow in the gifts of the Spirit. The Son Jesus Christ out of love does this through the Holy Spirit. As we grow in these things, we have true peace and joy in Christ. We will examine some of the areas where we need to grow and increase.
1. Faith Should Abound
“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly...” 2 Thes. 1:3
Faith is very much necessary in our life in Christ. Our faith pleases the Lord. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Further the Bible says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6). This faith as it grows helps us to inherit the promises of the Lord.
We should believe the Lord as Abraham did. The Lord promised to him that he would be the father of nations. He believed it without any doubt. He obtained the wonderful blessing. We find that the power of the Lord works in us fulfilling His promises in proportion to the faith we have. As our faith increases, the Lord fulfils our wishes. If we believe, we will see the glory of God.
a) Faith Facilitates Deliverance
“Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” Matthew 15:28
Deliverance is essential to man. Where there is no deliverance, man has no peace or joy. He is burdened with worries. But Jesus Christ gives this deliverance freely. Only through Jesus Christ we can receive deliverance. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). The Canaanite woman through her great faith was able to receive deliverance for her daughter. Similarly, through faith we will be delivered.
b) Faith Redeems
“And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” Mark 5:34
A woman, who had an issue of blood for twelve long years, spent all that she had for treating the disease, but was not healed a bit. She heard about Jesus Christ. She made up her mind. She was determined to go after Him and to touch His clothes. She believed that she would be healed only if she touched His clothes. She followed Him and touched His clothing. Jesus Christ honoured her faith saying, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction”. She was instantly healed. She was redeemed through her faith.
When our faith increases, we receive a good heathy life without any affliction as she received healing in her soul. As our faith increases, we inherit a redeemed life.
2. Thanksgiving Should Abound For His Grace
“For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:15
It is the grace of God that preserves us. The immeasurable grace of God sustains us. This grace having spread out to many results in the increase of thanksgiving by many. Grace means the favour or mercy shown to us who do not deserve it. We can feel it abound in our lives several times.
a) Mercy Sustains Us
“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.” Lamentations 3:22
The Lord who shows mercy according to His riches of grace renews it every day and guides us. Because it is available every minute of the day, we are preserved and protected from afflictions and struggles.
When we humble ourselves saying that we are nothing, he gives us grace (James 4:6). To receive it commit yourselves. The God of mercy will extend His mercy so that we are protected as the apple of the eye. We need not be dismayed at anything. It may be your financial problems, or business crisis, or your children’s crippling misdemeanour. Whatever it may be. The Lord will make it into a thing of joy by His grace. Let us grow in this grace by committing ourselves. “... but he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him.” (Psalm 32:10). Let us be preserved by His grace.
b) Mercy Upholds
“If I say, “My foot slips,” Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up.” Psalm 94:18
At times of oppression and struggles, the Lord’s mercy upholds us. This grace preserves us from destruction in our lives. Once while travelling at night time, our car kept going to the edge of the road. When I asked the driver why he was driving like that, he did not answer me properly. We travelled about 200 km. Only at the end of the travel I came to know that he drove like that with a purpose. The brake did not function. It was the grace of God that protected us. This is the way His grace works in our daily lives.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever” (Psalm 23:6). This is the assurance we have when we have the Lord as our Shepherd to lead us and we should follow Him as sheep. Today let us take the decision to follow the Lord accepting Him as our Shepherd.
3. Multiplication of Descendants
“blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.” Genesis 22:17
This promise was given to Abraham when he had no child. This promise that was given at the age of 75 was fulfilled at the age of 100.
a) Prayer with a Vow
Then she made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.” 1 Samuel 1:11
Hannah was subjected to ridicule and dishonour as she had no child. She went to the temple of the Lord and prayed with a vow. The Lord heard her prayer and gave her a male baby to put an end to her ignominy. Not only that, she gave birth to five more children. Thus the Lord blessed her.
Dear Brother/ Sister, you may also be like Hannah without a child and as a result undergoing oppression and depression in the midst of others. Others may insult you and set you aside. If you pray like Hannah with a vow, He will bless you to deliver you from this situation and give you joy that abounds. He has the power to do that.
b) To Be Remembered By the Lord
“Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.” Genesis 30:22
For the fulfilment of the promise of the Lord regarding our multiplication, He should remember us. “The LORD has been mindful of us; He will bless us...” (Psalm 115: 12). Rachel was without child and so was under humiliation. But the Lord remembered her and answered her prayers. She received a double blessing.
Dear Brother/ Sister, when the Lord remembers us, He will answer our prayers. Once at night time I was led by the Lord to go to the neighbouring village. I went to a known person’s house. He received me joyfully and extended me hospitality. I wanted to know why the Lord led me there and so I asked what was special in that place. That brother shared with me about a family that had no child. When they went for medical examination, the doctors had told them that the woman had a cyst in her womb and that the uterus should be removed. So they were in agony. Then the Spirit of the Lord made me understand the purpose of the visit. At 12:30 that night we went to that family. The husband and the wife were talking to each other in sorrow and the light in that house was on. The question why they should live agitated them. I shared with them the fact that the Lord sent me there only because He remembered them. I consoled them and assured them that the Lord would definitely bless them with a child within a year. As the Lord was mindful of them, He heard their prayers and blessed them with a child.
Dear Brother/ Sister, do not be dismayed at the medical reports of something lacking in you or in your spouse. The Lord who hears prayers is still alive. He does not change. Live a life worthy to be remembered by the Lord. Commit to live with good qualities. When He remembers you, He will hear your prayer and remove all obstacles in the way. He will make up all that you lack and turn your tears to joy.
4. Multiplication of Years of Life
“For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you.” Proverbs 9:11
Man has the fear of death in various situations of life. There is this fear even before a disease strikes him. Fear induces harm in his body. Jesus Christ says, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). The Bible says, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). He delivers us from this fear of death.
As He extends the days of life, we can live with the Lord and can grow in His love.
a) Prayer With Tears
“Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.” Isaiah 38:5
King Hezekiah was diseased and came to know about his impending death through Prophet Isaiah. He wept and offered his prayers to the Lord in tears. The Lord listened to him and extended his days. Thus his prayers with tears brought an answer from the Lord. Yes, for you also it can work.
Jesus Christ will remove all that you lack and transform your affliction into joy. He will quench your thirst and wipe away your tears. “You shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.” (Isaiah 30:19).
b) Presence in His Shadow
“With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” Psalm 91:16
Psalm 91 tells us that He will satisfy us with long life when we are in His shadow. He will do a miracle in your life to heal you. You may have lost hope. But the Lord Jesus Christ will give a new lease of life. He has borne your sickness. If you accept Him as your Saviour and come under the shadow of His wings, He will satisfy you with long life.
5. Growth In Love
“But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more” 1 Thes. 4:9, 10
As there is lack of love in the family, there is no joy, peace or fellowship. Being broken-hearted, they even commit suicide. Even small things lead to big problems. This is what we see everywhere and in nations. When we grow in the love of Christ, there would be peace and joy everywhere.
a) Love Casts Out Fear
“...but perfect love casts out fear...” 1 John 4:18
People today live in constant fear. It causes so many problems in life. “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” (Matt.14:30). Fear disregards the power of the word of God. It is also the way for the devil to enter our lives. This we know from Job 4:14-15. In Hebrews 2:15, we read that Jesus Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice only to “release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:15).
When the love of Christ gets multiplied in us, whatever may be the fear you habour it will not in any way affect you. On the other hand, we will have hope in Christ that will set aside all fears and enable us to see miracles. “Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.” (John 20:1). She could go to the grave even while it was dark as she was filled with the love for Christ. When there is such love, there is no scope for fear. No evil thing can overcome us.
b) Love Makes You Do Ministry
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died” 2 Cor. 5:14
“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs” John 21:15
The Lord Jesus Christ before He was lifted up to heaven after resurrection taught His disciples how to continue His ministry on earth. As He was preparing them for ministry, He asked this question whether Peter loved Him more than the others. On the basis of his commitment, He offered him the important mission of tending His sheep.
How much do we love Jesus Christ who offered Himself to be crucified on the cross and shed His blood for our sake? According to the love you have for Him, He gives the gifts, talents and power to do His ministry with authority and His grace. The same question He posed to Peter is put to us today. Shall we commit ourselves to grow in His love and to do His ministry? We would have exaltation and blessings.
Thus the Lord blesses us to extend our boundaries to the left and to the right.
2. BLESSED BOUNDARIES
A) PROTECTION OF THE LORD
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go...” Genesis 28:15
The Lord God appeared to Jacob in a vision when he fled out of fear of harm from his brother and was staying for a night at a place, and He gave him this promise. As He had promised, the Lord protected him wherever he went.
We too may stay in various places according to the circumstances of life. There the Lord protects us and takes us along. He does not change. What He did in the life of Jacob, He will do in our life also.
B. PROVISIONS OF THE LORD
“But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.” Rev. 12:14
The Lord not only protects us but also provides for us. He makes way for our provisions in the places we go. As we go through difficult times and phases of life, He would guide us in a wonderful way.
a) Our Obedience
“Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 1 Kings 17:3,4
As Elijah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to the place where he was commanded to go, the Lord commanded the ravens to feed him. The way He provides for us is beyond our comprehension.
b) His Favour
“You have granted me life and favor, and Your care has preserved my spirit.” Job 10:12
When we have the favour of the Lord God, He upholds us and protects us. When we love the Lord, He is faithful to honour His covenant and favour us (Deut. 7:9). Let us also love the Lord and thus win the favour of the Lord and be provided for.
3. MULTIPLICATION OF PEOPLE
“And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” Genesis 26:22
Because of famine, Isaac went to the Philistine King. There he sowed and had hundred per cent increase. Even though the people of the place quarrelled with him for the well he dug, the Lord was with him and he prospered in all that he did. Then the people stopped quarrelling with him. Then he realized that the Lord had made room for him to be fruitful.
a) Because of His Love
“And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you” Deut. 7:13
Because the Lord Jesus Christ loved us, He gave His very life for us. He will bless us in all ways and extend our boundaries.
b) His Protection
“I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies” (Gen. 32:10).
Jacob worked for his father-in-law for 20 years. God protected him in various situations and brought him back to Canaan. He had crossed the Jordon with nothing except a staff. But the Lord blessed and protected him that he came back with two companies.
Dear Brother/ Sister, today you may feel an emptiness in your life and you may be working in various places. But the Lord will make you return with blessings as He is powerful.
4. PLACE TO WALK
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘ If you will walk in My ways, and if you will keep My command, then you shall also judge My house, and likewise have charge of My courts; I will give you places to walk among these who stand here.” Zechariah 3:7
By the grace of the Lord I was led to do ministry in Hong Kong. It was an unknown place to me and I did not know where to stay. I was confused as to where to stay and so was whiling away my time there in the airport itself. Then a British man told me that Indians were staying at a particular place there. So I went to Chungking Mansion and stayed there. Daily something wrong happened. By the grace of God the number of those who accepted Jesus Christ increased. Then the question where they should meet arose. Then the word of the Lord came: “I will give you places to walk among these who stand here” (Zech. 3:7). The next time I went there, I found a man with whom I was close from my early days occupying an important position in the police service there. He made me stay in his house to do ministry there. As he cooperated with me for ministry more than 150 were met by the Lord. They began to work together as Living Water Fellowship.
The Lord who opened the house of Lydia for Paul and Silas will open the doors for us also.
When we are faithful to Him, He will create places for us and bless us.
May the Lord bless us!
In the service of Christ Jesus,
Bro. C. Ebenezer Paul.