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The Integrity of a Bold Vision, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
January 27, 2022 7:05 am

The Integrity of a Bold Vision, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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January 27, 2022 7:05 am

Walking with Integrity in Times of Adversity

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Pursuing success at any cost is dangerous.

Today from Chuck Swindoll. Sometimes we consider a restless spirit to be a negative trait. After all, discontentedness can stem from a lack of gratitude.

That's true. But sometimes our restlessness might be prompted by God to propel us into new territory. Maybe, just maybe, the inner churning we feel is a sign that God wants to broaden our world. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll teaches from 1 Chronicles Chapter 4 about a man named Jabez.

Along the way, you'll become equipped with three practical lessons for expanding your territory. Chuck titled his message, The Integrity of a Bold Vision. Isn't it interesting that the very first thing we read about him is that he's more honorable than his brothers. There's a man named Jabez who is more honorable than any of his brothers. Could mean his family, brothers. Could mean his Jewish peers who are often seen as brothers.

More honorable. Kahol is the Hebrew word. It means heavy.

We use the word weighty, as in weighty matters, for something significant, important. In fact, this particular word is used in Numbers 22.15 translated distinguished. Isn't that interesting? More distinguished.

Now we're getting somewhere. More than his peers. We admire people like that. And so for some reason, I'm drawn with admiration to a boy named Payne who the writer says outstripped his brothers by distinguishing himself, unlike any of them, more honorable than they. How could that be?

How could that have happened? What was it that caused Jabez to reach such admirable heights? Well, the secret's in verse 10.

Look for yourself. He was the one who called out. Literally, the Hebrew reads cried out. He cried out to God.

There's a desperation in it. He needed God to come to his rescue, to be for him what no one else has ever been. So he cries out. He asks, first of all, for divine engagement. Bless me with an overwhelming blessing.

Perhaps he's surrounded by mediocrity or mockery. And he rises above it in his prayer life and he says, oh, that you would come to my rescue, engage yourself in my life. I long for you to break through the cloud that has covered me and the pain and the shame that has surrounded me since birth. You could do that, God. I've endured these things.

I've gone on year after year. But now, Lord, I'm turning over to you. I ask for divine engagement in my life. And I don't simply pray it. I cry out for it. And having done so, he then called for divine enlargement. Look, look.

For what does he ask? Expand my territory. He's not looking for a landmass.

It's not that kind of territory. Broaden my world. Widen my vision.

Enlarge my direction. It's so easy to be satisfied with small. There's a little couplet that says, content to fill a little space if God be glorified. Well, that's a worthy sentiment if that's where God places us. But must all places be little?

I mean, is it only the little place where God is glorified? How about a large space? Expand my world, Lord. If it's a little space, I'm satisfied there.

But could you possibly broaden it? I've been in little all my life. I surround my life with little. Expand this territory of my world.

It isn't a head trip. This isn't JBS full of pride. He said, Lord, broaden my world. Surprise me with what you can do.

Place me wherever you wish, but I ask that if it's possible, it be a larger place than I've been able to fill thus far in my life. I need that divine enlargement. Please be with me in all that I do. And finally, ask for divine enablement. Notice what he asks.

That you would be with me and keep me from all trouble. And look at that. And pain.

Look at that. It's a play on words with his name. I've been pain all my life, but I pray that what you do in my life will be such a guiding presence and such a protective power and such an obvious work from your hand that clearly, Lord, I will outlive my name. I will get beyond the shadow that has hovered over me as long as I can remember. Don't let me live up to this name that has brought shame and heartache to me.

And God granted him his request. Look at that. No guilt. No, no, no, no. Jabez, watch out.

None of that. God heard his prayer. And like that Coast Guardsman that came down and rescued, God came to his rescue and said, I'm here.

I'll grant you this your request. How he did it were never told. Where he used him is not in the record. But you can be sure when it says God granted him his request, it means exactly that. This leaves me with several lessons to learn and then a story. True story. I want to tell you. The first lesson is a struggling start doesn't necessitate a limited life. I don't know your story. Most of you, I do not know, but quite likely you have lived a limited life. You've been told by many what you can't do, what you shouldn't do, what you ought not do, what you should not be involved in. That's a struggling start, but it limits your life. If you let it, Jabez wouldn't let it. Doesn't necessitate a limited life unless you allow it to.

Here's the second. No amount of success is safe without God's presence. That's why he says that you would be with me. I want to walk with you each step. I want us to be in lockstep, Lord, so that when you open a door and I go through it, I want you to lead the way through it. I want you to open the door.

I'm not going to manipulate this. The safety will come in your presence all the way and so I ask for that. Stay with me.

Stop me where I'm going too far. In the third lesson, when God blesses a life, there is no reason for guilt. Let me speak to a group of you I seldom address. A few of you may have quite a bit of this world's goods.

I don't know who you are. Your wealth is between you and the Lord. Let's say you are very well healed, maybe better off than your parents ever dreamed of being. Most of us live in homes nicer than our folks could imagine. But let's say you're unusually blessed.

There's no reason for guilt. Your wealth isn't evil. It's given by God. He has prospered you. You've earned it the hard way.

You've been honest and faithful and look at what God has done. If you have more than you need, obviously, one of the things you can do with it is give it away. Be of help to others. I was just sharing with Cynthia a story I was told just this past week from a friend of mine who was having lunch with apparently a very wealthy individual and they were talking about a particular need and the man smiled and said, yeah, that'd be wonderful. I'd love to give them 15 million. It was almost an afterthought. I go 15 million.

How many zeros is that? But you know what? For those who are really, really wealthy, that's not a shock. The shock is in the giving of it. How unusual it is to find someone that wealthy, that generous. But how wonderful. Every ministry I'm aware of is able to be sustained by those who faithfully give their gifts and on occasion, God brings in a large gift from someone who just has a heart for what they're doing. It's just out of the blue. It's marvelous.

So there's no reason for guilt. God is full of surprises and he does great things and mighty things and he's to be glorified in it all. Now my story. One of my close friends in ministry is a man some of you know. His name is Mark Young.

Dr. Mark Young. Mark was born and raised in Putnam County, West Virginia in the town of Hurricane. He taught me to say it right because I said hurricane.

He said, no, that's that's the way Yankees pronounce it. It's called Hurricane. Hurricane. Say it right.

Okay. Hurricane. He's very proud of being raised in Hurricane, West Virginia.

He had nothing. His dad was a banker in a moderate community and faithfully served there all of Mark's life right there in Hurricane. He said to him one day, he said, Mark, you ought to think about going to college.

You'd be the first one of seven generations of youngs that would ever graduate from college. Turned the light on in Mark's mind and he as a young man thought, well, I could do that. And sure enough, he went to Marshall University and graduated the first in seven generations coming out of nothing.

Mark was a graduate of Marshall University. I forgot to tell you that his family, it's just a hilarious story after hilarious story. When he would go, I think it was his grandmother, when you go to visit her, she lives in a log cabin just beyond the holler. The holler.

Yeah. And he said, you can drive only so far, then you got to get out of your car and then you walk, go down to a ravine and back up. And he said, you get near the log cabin, you hear, boom, it's a shotgun. And he goes, it's Mark.

Boom. He said, she always shoots twice before anybody comes to visit her. And she goes, is that you, Mark?

Yep, that's me. So Mark comes out of the holler and he makes his way up to this spotless log cabin where she lives her life all alone, has a garden. And one of the brothers brings food in on occasion, but mainly she raises her own food. He comes from that kind of background. And here he is a graduate university.

Now you might think, done. Nope, not Mark. So he realizes the Lord wants him in ministry and he knew of a school in Dallas where he could get his training. So he came to a place called Dallas Theological Seminary where he earned his Master of Theology degree.

I mean, another four years. And boy, that was unusual. But the best part of coming to Dallas, as he would tell you, is that he was at Dr. Howie Hendrick's office one day and he noticed the secretary. They called him secretaries back then.

Now it's an executive assistant. But that's what she was. And Priscilla was there and Priscilla caught his eye. And well, long story short, they got married.

It's not like the way a guy would tell a story, doesn't it? He met her and then afterwards married her. And he and Priscilla are now going through life together. She was from missionary parents. Well, they decided that the Lord wanted them on the mission field.

That was before the Iron Curtain was lifted. So they went into Europe, of all places into Poland, and there he ministered, there he served faithfully, and there he helped found a seminary. This is the little boy raised in the holler in West Virginia, in Hurricane. And so he founds a seminary. And in doing so, he realizes, you know, after a number of years of serving, he really needs more education.

He really needs to up it another level. So he comes back to the states, he and Priscilla and the family, and he attends Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, where he earns his Ph.D. About that time, I'm at Dallas Seminary as part of the leadership and someone says to me, you know, we need to interview a man named Dr. Mark Young. He's finished his work at Trinity and we need someone in cross-cultural, intercultural studies and world missions. And so we interviewed Mark and Priscilla. Priscilla really wanted to go back to the mission field and Mark did too, but they were torn and he thought, well, maybe the Lord wants me here. So I was just thrilled we got Mark to say yes and maybe I should put it spiritually, the Lord led him to say yes. And he became a part of our faculty for several years and also joined our staff and was part of our staff in strategic planning and working with students to mentor them for ministry. And while he was here in Dallas, as well as at our church, Denver Seminary, of all things, began looking for a new president. And guess who they thought of? And guess who they were led to? You're right, Mark Young. It was my privilege to deliver his inaugural challenge when he was made president of Denver Seminary.

Think about it. From the obscurity of Hurricane West Virginia, near the Holler, coming out of that to Marshall, beyond that to Dallas, beyond there to the mission field and founding a seminary, from that back here to earn a Ph.D., come to the faculty of his alma mater, serve here, and now president of the seminary in Denver. God does great things, doesn't he? And the great part of this whole story is not so much about Jabez or about a man named Mark, it's you. The story is preserved for us, for all of us. You're on this page.

I know, I know. You feel like a number, just another unknown in this obscure place that you call home. But you have no idea what the Lord's plan for you is, so ask him.

Call on him. Lord, bless me indeed. Enlarge my world. Broaden my vision. Give me the courage to act on faith and to go beyond the expected, that I might serve you and represent you in a way that not even my own parents would have ever believed. May your hand be with me, that it might not harm me and that I might not bring pain to you or to anyone else. Grant me my request, I know.

It's the integrity of a bold vision. I encourage you to develop it. Start today. Will you bow your head with me, please? My message has ended, but I think it really goes on for a while. Through lunch today, maybe through the afternoon, maybe overnight or next week, could it be that the Lord is prompting you to move from where you find yourself to where he wants to send you?

Or if not sending you personally, using your gifts, financial or otherwise, to reach a broader world than you've ever reached? Don't limit it. Don't be afraid. Don't hesitate. God is ready to grant you such a request. If you've never met the Savior, of course, coming to the cross is the beginning point where you and he can get on speaking terms, shall we say, and you can begin to walk with him and know a relationship with the living God you've never known before.

It all starts there. Come today to Christ. Thank you, dear Father, for speaking to us through a life we would otherwise have passed up and overlooked.

Thank you for saying to us exactly what some of us needed to hear, for lifting us from the shackles of many, many years of heartbreak, disappointment, discouragement and misery, to realize that you want to use us in a broader, greater way than we've ever thought of before. Give us the faith to trust you for that, even a large place for your greater glory. I ask in the name of the Savior Jesus, our enthroned Master. Everyone said, Amen. The congregation where Chuck Swindoll serves as senior pastor audibly agreed with the vision cast in his message.

The presentation is squarely founded on the biblical account of Jabez and his bold prayer. This is Insight for Living, and to learn more about this ministry, please visit us online at insightworld.org. During the teaching Chuck shared over the past few messages, it's become quite evident that integrity is a virtue that must be forged out.

It doesn't come naturally. Well, along those lines, we're recommending a book Chuck's written that will be helpful to you. It's called Joseph, a Man of Integrity and Forgiveness. Chuck believes that if we fail to protect ourselves, at some point our integrity will be at risk. This book will equip you with the tools to prepare for the inevitable pressures that come your way.

Again, the title is Joseph, a Man of Integrity and Forgiveness, and it's available for purchase by going to insight.org slash offer, or call us if you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. It's possible you've been following Chuck's teaching for several decades. In the early days, perhaps you had little financial margin because of the demands of rearing a young family. During that season, it was the generous giving of others that made it possible for you to hear Chuck's teaching.

Today, you're likely in a stronger position. Let me encourage you to step forward and become one of our monthly companions. January is the perfect time to start a new discipline of generosity. By giving a monthly donation and the amount of your choice, you can do for someone else what others did for you in the early days.

You can sign up online at insight.org slash monthly companion, or to give a one-time gift, call us if you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888. Those who support Insight for Living with a monthly gift truly have a ministry all their own. His amazing grace is our overarching theme every day on Insight for Living. In fact, it's quite possible that God has used our daily program to extend His grace to you. And I know, as your Bible teacher, I have been a grace recipient as well. Our monthly companions are first recipients of God's grace. But when you begin to give monthly, God is deploying you as a courier of His grace. Today, we're inviting you to join the team. Please jot down our contact information and follow the Lord's prompting. When you do that, you'll become an elegant bouquet, a sweet fragrance of God's grace here at home and all around the world. Do for some unsuspecting person what someone once did for you.

Become a monthly companion. If you're listening in the United States, call 1-800-772-8888 or go online to insight.org slash monthly companion. Join us when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe the integrity of waiting, not worrying, Friday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, The Integrity of a Bold Vision, was copyrighted in 2021 and 2022 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-17 09:51:54 / 2023-06-17 10:00:02 / 8

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