Friday, October 25, 2013

How Do We Know We Are Favored?


I might as well confess it right now; I had a temper tantrum with God over the weekend because of a disappointment.  Well, maybe not so much as a tantrum, but a pity party without all the cool snacks.
You might even say I was a bit arrogant in my thinking with all this “favor” I had been talking about and receiving.  Would I say God put a stop to it?  No, but He did bring things to my remembrance that caused me to repent immediately.
If you would like to pick up your disappointment ticket, follow along with me.  Only one per customer, results may vary.
All week long I had spent much time in conversation with the Lord and in His Word.  We were tight, you know, so how this happened is strictly because I am human!  Thankfully, He knows that and wasn’t surprised about my behavior, but lovingly forgave me.

Spilling the Beans

Ok, so I guess you want me to tell you what happened?  I thought so. 
Last weekend I had the great opportunity to hold a baby lion. For a year I had been waiting for this moment, and it finally arrived.
My husband and I walked all around to visit with the other animals  in the traveling Safari. Finally we came to the place where the photographs were taken with the baby animals. 
This year there was a larger choice of animals such as a capuchin monkey, lemur, kangaroo (so cute) and the lion cub.  Usually you can choose between a baby lion or tiger, but I had already settled on the lion.  I figured I could tie that into Biblical writing easier.

Standing in line I noticed that the price was dramatically higher than last year.  Ooh, I started giving this a second thought.  I don’t know what happened to allow this doubt to come into my head.  We had come prepared so what was the problem?
Just to give me a better defense, take a look at just how cute this little guy was. 

 
My husband was totally confused by now and kept asking me, “What do you want to do?  In a quiet voice I said, “Hold the lion.” He went on to say, “Ok, so do it.” Instead I got out of line and we walked around the area several more times as I was contemplating what to do. 
Again he asked, “What do you want to do?” I looked at him and said, “It’s not what I want to do; I know what I want to do.  It’s doing it.”  So this is my fault?” he said. “Yes.”  Now it wasn’t, but he offered to take the blame, so I gave it to him.  Don’t get all excited, it was only a few minutes.
By now he was getting pretty upset because he didn’t care if I held the lion or not.  Don’t you want to hold it?” I asked.  No.” he replied.  You don’t, why?”  Well, it was pretty funny actually.
Back to the conversation. “What’s the problem?”  Then I explained what my issue was.  It hadn’t even entered his mind. To him, we were going to pet the lion, get some pictures and go shopping. Done deal.  Where did all this other stuff come from and why weren’t we in line?

$$$ vs. A Faithful God

There was nothing wrong with my wanting to hold that little creature. In my mind there was a problem of me paying $17.00 to hold him for 7 seconds while we needed a new heater.  I kept thinking, what if we were short $17 in paying for the heater? It would be my fault because I wanted to do something selfish.
My thoughts poured outside the box, in the parking lot and all around the area. On the way back to the car I was silently venting, “How is this favor God?”  There may have even been a little steam, but I’m sure only God saw it!  As he was opening my car door I still believe my husband thought we were going to get back in line.
I know, don’t even say what you’re thinking, I can’t believe it either.  Actually I’m embarrassed about it, but I promised to keep it honest.
You can’t manipulate God’s favor, especially if you want if for selfish reasons.  God didn’t care about my wanting to hold that precious cub. He did care about my attitude expecting His favor to operate on my whims.  What I didn’t realize is that I was already in His will, because I had what I needed in my hands and with His blessing.
My husband was still in the dark as to what was happening.  He isn’t a mind reader (so he says), but has learned to just wait it out and see where I’m going with something.  The night was young so he figured we had plenty of time and could come back later. Remember, this is going on in my mind with no tickets for onlookers to observe.
Before we left the area I was apologizing for my behavior, and thanked God for allowing me to watch kids with their parents share a great moment.  Besides, I was able to pet the other animals and last year I even rode the camel.
The thing is, I know God would be happy for me to have the desires of my heart and could have worked out the situation.  I had the money. The problem was I didn’t approach the situation correctly.  Why in the world did I even question if my God is more than enough and willing to supply my heater need according to His riches in glory?  I know better.
Despite this, were we still operating in His favor? Absolutely.  When we arrived at the store someone pulled out of the parking space that was the closest to the door. More blessings came that weekend, and we even had $40 left.  If I had trusted God I would have heard His voice saying, “It’s OK.  Go ahead, have a good time. I’ve got it covered.” Instead I was trying to justify spending money on a mere indulgence, when God wasn’t even doing that.  Boy did I squash a blessing that God had planned for me all along.
Feeling bad about my actions I approached my Bible time with some things on my mind concerning the blessings and favor of God.

Where is the Proof or Evidence?

I was questioning and asking God to show me the “greater” things, but I kept coming up blank.
I knew blessings were always a part of God’s provision for His children, however there was something missing that I couldn’t put my finger on in trying to describe “How do we know we are favored by God?” How could I have handled that situation better and recognized I wasn’t out of God’s will? What was the evidence He was trying to show me?
In my studies the Lord directed me to a passage I had already used, but focused on another part of the verse.
There must be proof that as children of God we walk in His blessings and favor when He is pleased with us.  It also has to be something measureable and visible.  That is something I learned as a teacher with my students.  So what is that “proof” we need in recognizing favor has been shown to us regarding a specific situation?  God pointed me to this:

“…because our enemies do not triumph over us.” (Psalm 41:11 NKJV)

Wow, it’s so simple to miss isn’t it? The devil will try to blast away at us every chance he can get, but when we are walking in the Will of the Lord, our enemies always lose.  I had the proof ($17.00) in my hand and discounted it as the evidence He had provided for me earlier that week.
When we triumph over any situation, it is proof of favor and blessings in operation.  Our job is to recognize when it comes.  It is measurable and visible for all to see.
There was no victory here because I gave into defeat for no reason at all. I stole my own joy and gave it to the enemy, instead of going with the plan that God was perfectly fine with me following.
This situation reminded me of a friend of ours who didn’t give the victory to her enemy.
A Woman after God’s Heart:
Who can I show My favor to today?

The Vine’s Bible Dictionary states in order for a person to be blessed, it has to come from a superior person bestowing favor (blessings) on another person. 
In most passages of the Bible, the one bestowing the favor blessing is God Himself, or it is through Divine instruction (God directs the path of others).
The Bible tells us that King David was a man after God’s heart in Acts 13:22, but I know of many others that tug on the heart strings of the Savior as well.
There was a dear woman of God I’ll call Mrs. Rivers, who had wanted a new set of pots and pans.  She had saved for a long time for them and finally purchased a grand set.  When she found out that the church needed pans for a dinner, she gave them her set.  Oh, she didn’t give her old set, but she gave God her brand new set that she really needed.
God saw her heart, and she had so many blessings come into her house as a result of what she did unselfishly.  Sometime after that, the cause and effect equation took place that only God could have ordained.  (Read about it here).

 
Serious legal issues came up in the Rivers family and she asked us to pray in agreement with her over the problem.  A member of her family was destined to be sentenced for a long prison term and she had asked God for guidance as to what she needed to say in court. 
My husband gave her wise counsel, “Keep your mouth shut and I’m going to pray that God would close your mouth like he did Zacharias if you try to speak. (See Luke 1:22) The things she wanted to say would have hindered the case and only brought a greater judgment, because she was operating on her emotions. 
On the day of court, she really wanted to speak her peace, only when she did, she couldn’t.  Her tongue wouldn’t work and nothing came out of her mouth!  She realized God was doing something miraculous in the courtroom and followed what my husband had told her.  Also, she was never called to the stand as a witness. The Lord was extending favor to her, and her family member did not go to jail.  God turned the hearts of man, because this woman did something that turned His heart.
The enemy wasn’t able to have victory over that family, because God saw Mrs. Rivers heart and honored her actions listening to a man of God, obeying the voice of the Lord and in her giving.  She could literally apply the passage of Psalm 41:11 and say, 
“Lord I’m thankful you are pleased with what I did and you showed me that by having the situation resolved in our favor.”
 
Looking Back ...
In most cases I tell people that they aren’t to focus on things of the past, but keep looking forward.  However, that’s what I would like you to do for a minute.
Is there anything in your life that you can look back on now and see how God totally turned a situation around in your favor?  I’m pretty sure you could just as I can, and you would probably think of it as “just answered prayer”.  Well, you are right, but it is also your proof of the Lord’s favor and blessing on your life.  When things turn out for our good so that it benefits the Kingdom (and not just us) it is evidence that God caused His shield of favor to surround you and the effect was victory over your enemies.
"By this I know that You (God) are well pleased with me, because my enemy does not triumph over me." (Psalm 41:11 NKJV)
If you aren’t sure God is really working on your behalf, remind yourself of this verse.  Say it out loud to remind the devil, “God chose to favor my situation, therefore, my enemy has not triumphed over me.”  Don’t talk your way out of it by rationalizing, debating or even logical thinking about the whys or why nots.  Simply thank Him for honoring His Word.
God is looking for hearts to bless and favor. I want to be one of those hearts, and I don’t want to miss it either. What about you? 
Let’s give God something He can work with this week by being a heart that seeks after the Lord.  Don’t worry, He’ll notice and somewhere His blessings of favor will show up for others to see.
 

Lord, You Have My Heart - Delirious?

 
Until next time, expect Favor over your enemies!

You can follow us on Facebook, TwitterYou Tube and Squidoo Articles as well.

Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.

Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy.
Image credit if not listed by Google Images Creative Common License
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by
Gateway Bible

Friday, October 18, 2013

Practicing What I Preach

At the end of last week’s post I gave a challenge to show someone loving favor.  I couldn’t do that unless I put the “loving favor” challenge to a test myself.  Did you accept the challenge?  How did you do? (You can leave your comments at the end of the post.)

It didn’t take long before I was tested to see if I really would do something that would bring the effects of favor into my life, based on my acting on the Word of God.  (I talked about the cause-effect factor in last week’s post.)

In short, I had to be willing to be a distributor of loving favor in order for it to make its way back to me based on my obedience to God.  I wasn't doing something just to receive favor, but to show God He could use me as His servant for whatever He needed.

For about five months my husband and I have been trying to go on a picnic.  Without fail something has come up or down every weekend, and this past Saturday proved the same.  We came close to having our romantic picnic last weekend and I even got the lunches packed.  When we saw the lightning, it sort of pulled the plug on the event.

It was raining when we got up Saturday morning, so I didn’t have picnic on my mind. As the morning went on, the skies cleared up and it was beautiful outside. We decided to give it a go.

On our way out the door we noticed our new neighbors were actually home.  They moved in about a month ago, but we haven’t been able to catch up with them.  I had prepared a welcome basket for them and wanted to drop it off before we left the area.

Meeting our new friends was great.  They are a lovely Christian family (which I prayed God would send our way) with two kids.  They have a little boy that loves tractors and wants a butterfly-like toy that lights up.  I never could figure out what he meant. Then there was a precious little girl who was about to celebrate her first birthday on the 13th of October. 

Our husbands got on together while I talked with the wife and her sister.  They were in the process of getting things together for the birthday party later that day.  We exchanged information and the gospel was shared before we left them to finish their duties for that evening’s event.  God allowed us to be able to sow loving favor into the lives of strangers, and we came away feeling very blessed.
 
Walking with Loving Favor

It took some doing, but we finally arrived at a nature park that was off the beaten trail (no pun intended).  I can see why not many people know about the place or want to share it. 

Tucked away in a remote area off a side road (that gives new meaning to “the long and winding road” by the Beatles), is this quaint little walking/nature park.  There isn’t much to it, but it offers a place of tranquility and has loads of hidden trails.

On our arrival we saw a few families with the children running about having a blast on the huge boulders.  One family was enjoying a cook-out, but mostly we saw a lot of people popping in and out of wooded areas.  I suppose they were off on their own adventures into the hidden treasures of the nature park itself.  At least that’s what it looked like from the way they were dressed with cameras and equipment they packed.  Obviously they knew what they were doing, while we had really only come to picnic. 

I think this is wetland?

After our meal in the pavilion, hand-in-hand we decided to follow one of the marked out trails.  Even though I am a teacher, Science isn’t my best subject. 

We saw some of this and a bit of that, if you get my drift.  I did recognize a few things though … well, my husband did most of the “recognizing” while I took pictures.  Hey, someone had to do it, besides I needed the photos for an article I was writing.  Our conversations were sweet but quiet as we leisurely walked along the trail and gazed into the muddy creek.  It was like we were the only ones there, even though we weren’t.

Before we realized it, the afternoon was spent and dark clouds had begun to roll in speeding up our departure.  Instead of going back the same way we came, we went in the opposite direction to check out another part of the town.  Along the way we soon came to dirt roads and some rather funny signs.  Still having to do some shopping we turned back and were on our way toward home. God had given us great weather when it wasn’t supposed to be clear, and I was walking in the loving favor of my husband as well. 

Has anyone seen this toy?

While gathering pet supplies and a few food items at the store, I felt led to get a gift for the little girl I had just met.  Most of you know that we don’t have children, so shopping for a one year old was a “loving challenge” all by itself. 

When I thought about it, I felt I needed to get something for the little boy as well and began looking for that special toy he wanted.  You know, the one I couldn't figure out what he was saying.

As we walked up and down the toy aisle I started asking every person that had a child tagging along the same questions.  It's rather easy getting kids to talk about toys.

First, I snagged some kids for an inquisition, “Do you know the name of a toy that starts with an “M”, looks like a butterfly and lights up?”  I had some takers after the second set of mini shoppers.  This batch of willing helpers even led me through the rows of toys, looking for this specific item my new little male friend had requested.  By this time even mothers, fathers and grandparents were on the hunt with me.  Well, we never found such a toy, but decided to welcome him to the neighborhood with a big fluffy toy pup.  It would be fine right, after all he's only two?
 

“I don’t know nothin' ‘bout birthin’ no babies.”

I can surely relate to how Butterfly McQueen felt in Gone with the Wind when it comes to babies.  Now back to the real reason I was in the toy department.  What in the world do one year old girls like?  Everything I found didn’t seem right for a child of her age, and she was a petite lass at that. 

Finally I put back all the things I thought would work and headed over to the baby department. With several things in mind I needed some guidance. Boldly confronting over a dozen people with baby in tow, I held up my choices. Every parent (both mom and dad) picked the same item, even though I kept pointing out that it says “Birth” on it.  Accepting all their reasons as to which one was the better of the two, I bought the gift.

My intentions were right, I was following the prescription of loving favor, but it took me the entire week to finally get the gift into the child’s hands.  I had it Saturday, but they weren’t around.  This made it difficult for me to follow through with my own instructions.

More than Flowers ...
I wasn’t the only one in the family that accepted the loving favor challenge. 

My husband read my post and also went in to action in his own way.  That’s a miracle most women would say. I have to give him credit though.

Since we’ve been married I have been blessed with having breakfast in bed every Sunday.  I can share with you that this kind of favor is something I have enjoyed to the utmost. 

Having it nicely presented is something he prides himself in each week, and he usually does something special.  He presented me with a few miniature roses from our garden, which was nice in itself only this time it came with a statement: “These are for you and only you.  No one else is getting these yellow roses.”  I think I got the point … he was reminding me of my words that I had written in the previous post.

Although I appreciated the breakfast and flowers, what I loved most was the fact that he was trying to operate in the loving part that activates favor into his own life.  It may not seem like much to you, but evidently it meant something to God.

Becoming A Vessel God Can Use
 
All week long my husband found himself in positions of showing loving favor to those around him.  Another vet was filling in for the doctor at the animal clinic while the owner was on a missions trip to Mongolia.  He learned that this man was highly allergic to poison ivy and gets it pretty bad.  While in conversation my husband told him about some products we have used for years that helped if someone is exposed to any of the woodsy poisons.  The visiting vet never heard of them. The next day my husband started to write down the names of the products, but never finished the list.  Instead he bought him the items and gave them to him.  In all, it cost under $10.

Now watch how fast God works with an obedient heart.  On his way out of the store my husband saw a man; he was waving his arm in the air summoning him to come near.  It was the man that mowed the lawn at the clinic, and he requested that my husband do some carpentry work for him.  He didn’t even give the visiting vet the products yet, but the sowing process had already begun. What he would sow to the visiting vet in loving kindness was far less than what he would make on the project.  It is proof that the harvest will overtake the sower just like the Bible says would happen in Amos 9:13.  So that we can really get a grasp on what God wants to do for His children take a look at this passage in the Message Bible.

“Yes, indeed, it won’t be long now.” GOD’s Decree.  “Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other.  You won’t be able to keep up.  Everything will be happening at once – and everywhere you look, (will be) blessings (and favor).”

These are only a few things that happened and they may seem minor, but in God’s eyes they aren’t.  There will be times when the challenges are just that, “challenges”, but there are also times when the Lord is looking for us to do something simple.  If we aren’t willing to do even the smallest of things, like giving a child a toy, how can God trust us with the outpouring of his overflowing, abundant favor?

God’s Favor Shield took Charge


Loving favor given to others also comes back to us in ways we couldn’t have imagined.  Sometimes it is the “reap what you sow” method, but often times it’s not.  People share with us the many ways God had surrounded them with His shield of favor.  One man was on a major highway when his car spun out of control with a tractor trailer about to plow over him.  He knew he was going to be hit, but God’s favor shield showed up on that fast lane highway.

“For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:12 NKJV)

Suddenly, the vehicles moved away from one another and the man’s life was saved.  He knew it was the direct hand of God showing favor on his life, and claimed it as that.  It was more than a blessing he said, and it was a result of his acting in loving favor that week.

Howdy, nice to meet you.

There is a sweet 78 year old woman named Beulah that we met in September at one of our events.  She has been on our mind and in our prayers ever since. 

On Sunday the Lord led us to visit a church to welcome a new pastor into the area.  He had been in the position for a while, but we haven’t been able to officially welcome the family.

It was during the “meet and greet” that we spotted this woman at the front of the church.  We had entered “Beulah land!”  As we were making our way around the sanctuary shaking hands with people we didn’t know, our eyes fell on one another at the same time.  Her face lit up as if she had encountered her best friends.  I greeted and wrapped my arms around her. 

Praises to God came pouring from her mouth as Beulah proclaimed she had been praying for us!  We received loving words of encouragement, acknowledgement and warmth that everyone longs to hear, “You blessed my heart!” She was glowing and smiling from ear to ear. Our showing up in her church that day was a blessing to her.  How often do we hear that?

…and their names are …

We returned to our seats and the service continued.  A few minutes later I glanced over to where she was seated, and Beulah was gone!  At the time the congregation was standing while singing; I didn’t even realize that she had slipped into the pew next to me until I went to sit down. With a big grin on her face she said, “I don’t want the pastor to miss meeting you.” 

A few minutes later she leaned over to me and whispered, “Exactly how do you want to be introduced to the pastor?”  We weren’t expecting to be introduced, but planned on talking with the pastor after the service. I handed her information with our names on it and went back to listening to the service.

With a leap, Beulah popped to her feet and was waving her right hand high in the air like a banner shouting, “Pastor, Pastor!  She wanted everyone to know that the people she had been praying for had showed up that day and it filled her heart with joy.  Her actions definitely surprised us, but with introductions being made, we sheepishly stood for the acknowledgement as the pastor called out our names stating that we were in the House that day.  It wasn’t how we planned on meeting the pastor, but God wanted to magnify his servants and show off faithful hearts.  We were so honored and shown such loving favor from a lady that had briefly met us.

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches. Loving Favor rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1 NKJV)

Beulah had shown us favor because of seeds of love we planted back in September.  The cause and effect equation always works, for good as well as evil.

Actions of Choice
I’d like to ask you something. 

Has your faith grown this week? Have you seen a difference?   If not maybe you are not looking at the right things, just as I didn’t in the past. To me, favor only looked like blessings, not as actions of choice made by others toward me.  I didn’t know the difference between blessings, favor or promises from God.

Now that I do, I actively look for and expect to see the Lord showing up in my life here on earth as Psalm 27:13 proclaims. 

“Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness, while I am here in the land of the living.” (NLT)

My friend, if you aren’t looking for things to be different and aren’t doing anything different, nothing will be different in your life.  One of my life sayings is, “Change isn’t change until you’ve changed.”  Have you changed the way you are looking at your life and what God is doing in it for you?  Did you wake up this morning?  Of course you did if you are reading this.  My point … what were the first words out of your mouth, when you realized God caused breath to come into your lungs today?  The effect should have been, “Hey – I’m still here! Bless the Lord, all my soul and all that is within me bless Your Holy Name!”

When I asked my husband to describe the week this is what he said. “We have had a peaceful week in the midst of a troubled world full of turmoil.” He is right. We had a peaceful tranquil walk in a nature park. I’ve made new friends, and God sent a young Christian couple into our neighborhood. God caused our name to be exalted, blessed the work of our hands and demonstrated that He does care about His children.

It Comes Down to This …
If followers of Christ don’t get together and start acting on what we believe, we will not experience the fullness of God’s blessings, mercy, favor and grace that are needed for the end time harvest.  It’s time for us to really get serious concerning changing the way we think about God. 

As you go about your work this week, I’m exhorting you to go into your prayer closet and ask God to reveal to you where you have held back on your believing Him at His Word.  Take down all the barriers, boundaries and walls you have put up because of fear. Recommit your life to Him and serve Christ like you believe Him.

“I will answer them before they even call Me.  While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” (Isaiah 65:24 NLT)

Once you have repented, ask the Lord to remind you of things you have done and haven’t done that stopped the favor of God and man from coming into your life.  Prayerfully ask Him, “Lord, help my unbelief.  Teach me things I didn’t know about You and Your promises.  Lead, guide and direct me into all truth so that I might be blessed to be a blessing.”

We serve a great and mighty God who has good plans for His children. Since scripture declares the Lord’s loving favor is better than silver or gold, isn’t it something we should desire?  It’s time we experience what God has already positioned us for … His favor.
With All I Am (By Hillsong)  
 
"With all that I am Lord, I will worship You and give you my love. Jesus I believe in You.  I will trust You to lead me in the path you want me to go.  I'm ready now for Your favor."

You can follow us on Facebook, TwitterYou Tube and Squidoo Articles as well.
 
Until next time, expect Favor in the land of the living!

Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.

Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy.
Image credit if not listed by Google Images Creative Common License
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by
Gateway Bible
Image credit: Amos 9:13  Favor Shield  Congregation  Psalm 22:1  Prayer Closet

Friday, October 11, 2013

Loving Favor


Last Thursday my husband got home a little early and decided to trim the bushes for our fall yard clean-up. 

When he was finished he saw that we had quite a few flowers still in bloom in our yard. He cut a bouquet assortment and selected our “love” mug for the display, then placed it in the refrigerator.

At the time I was working in the other room and he summoned me to the kitchen with an invitation to look inside the refrigerator.  He was like a little kid sitting by watching how I would react to his surprise.

Responding to the call I opened the fridge with the intention of getting a drink of tea.  As I reached for my cup, I noticed a lovely flower arrangement sitting on the shelf.  Was I surprised?  You could say that.

Aww, they’re so pretty.” was my response when I first gazed on the gift that was left for me to enjoy.  That was such a kind thing for him to do. Was I blessed? Sure, but it was more than that. I really can’t explain how I felt other than, what loving favor he showed me that day.  It was something he wanted to do only for me – not someone else.  Experiencing that kind of outpouring of affection reminded me of how precious this is according to God.

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches. Loving Favor rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1 NKJV)

What is Loving Favor?
Loving favor is what God wants to show all of His children, but not all receive this gift. Oh, it’s not for lack of want on God’s side, no … the outpouring of blessings and favor is conditional. 
I’m sure some are disagreeing with that statement right now, but it’s true. Unlike grace that is available to everyone that believes on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, favor depends on our actions.  Nowhere in God’s Word does He bestow loving favor on anyone who has not already done something that got His attention. Somewhere along the way I must have demonstrated something that caught my husband’s attention.  I guess if you’re a man you can figure that one out, because the only thing I remember was saying hello to him in the school hallway in ninth grade.

Ok then, am I saying that favor is based on works? No. Then what is that “something” that God longs to see?  Faith and belief in Him alone as the One and Only God.  When we really believe God, our faith takes on a mode of action, based on our love for Him. 

Having faith in God warrants His loving favor, and when you have that, there is nothing greater.  Riches, silver or gold do not compare to what walking in God’s favor can do for you.  Loving favor is based on the covenant God made to and for His family.  He just shows it in many ways based on the individual and His plans for their future.

When we receive salvation it is based on faith alone in God’s grace.  Having someone give you a blessing of favor is based on how you act on the Word of God you said you believed. It’s not works, but doing something because you believe in it (or God as in this case).

Favor is Cause and Effective
 
Favor is shown because of something.  It is the effect of the cause.  My husband shows me favor because it is based on something I have shown only towards him.  That favor was a result of our covenant to one another in marriage.  If you are receiving favor and blessings, it is the effect of some “cause” (something you did in the past to bring a favored result).  Receiving favor effects or “is effective” on the way we look at life, others and God.

Examples of levels of favor.

When we operate in “intentional loving favor” it is demonstrated in a number of ways.

A man was in the grocery line behind me when I saw that he had only a few items.  I let him go ahead of me, showing him favor.  You have probably been in this situation as well and have done the same thing. This isn’t favor based on my love for that individual as I do my husband; it was because of grace (unmerited favor).  It was a kindness favor.  The man didn’t ask me to do let him in front of me, but he benefited from my action. He did nothing to gain my blessing or favor, it was a gift.  I wouldn’t rank this as a high level of favor toward someone on my part actually, but what God saw was that I acted on His Word in doing kind things for others. 

Someone left a large piece of scrap metal in a dumpster where my husband was working last week.  He was able to sell it for $8.00.  God allowed him to be the recipient of favor based on the fact he had given someone a few dollars for lunch the previous week.  This is restored favor, when God gives back because you fed and gave water in His name.

We never know how God will bless us with His favor, but can be sure it will be manifested.

I’d like to share with you a few exceptional stories of what loving favor looks like according to the passage you just read.

You Are So Beautiful to Me
As I am writing this my sister Jeanne should be celebrating her 3rd wedding anniversary, but her husband’s home going has prevented that.  What they shared together was a storybook marriage that every girl would have loved to live.

My sister was showered with her husband’s favor every day they were together, and it was very visible for all to see. In his last moments with her, my brother-in-law lavished my sister with loving words telling her that she was beautiful, even though she was exhausted from caring for his every need.  He looked beyond the outward appearance and saw the beautiful woman that she was to him.  That drew my sister even closer to her beloved she refers to as her “sparkling gem.”

Jeanne’s husband’s on going expression of love was to make sure she was taken care of after his departure, having everything in order like the Bible commands of a spouse. 

Although their time together was brief, their relationship was exceptional.  Every day they represented what a godly marriage should look like, with loving favor being poured out on one another.  We never had an argument.”  Jeanne shared with me.  What loving favor they must have bestowed on one another to be able to make such a statement.

A Rose A Day

In our research this week, my husband read an article about another outstanding love relationship.  It surprised me that it was about a Hollywood couple.  Actor and comedian Jack Benny is probably not remembered most for his accomplishments on the television screen, but instead is famous for his “stinginess”.  However, wife Mary Livingston would have a different opinion of her husband of 57 years. 

It has been reported that every day of their married life Jack had a single long stemmed red rose delivered to his bride.  After his departure another rose was yet delivered to Mary (aka Sadie).  When she inquired about this to the florist, the widow was informed that her husband had made arrangements for her to continue receiving a rose daily from her beloved until the time she joined him.  Nine more years (after his December 26th, 1974 home going) brought her relationship with Jack to 66 years of loving favor, with 3,200 roses being sent after he was gone.  If the reports are true, there was a whole lot of loving going on in that marriage. Can you imagine 24, 090 red long stemmed roses delivered to one person over a lifetime?  What did Jack Benny know about relationship favor that most of us don’t?

Defining Favor as Blessings

 Some of you are tired of hearing or reading about “favor” and think of it as a totally selfish character trait others have of themselves.  I’d like to help you understand why I use this word synonymous with “blessings,” and not to be confused with partiality or being a respecter of persons.

God is not a respecter of persons, nor does He show partiality.  He does however bestow blessings and favor for obedience. They are totally different and separate from one another.

Let’s go back to the basics for this and break it down so we all can grasp the concept of loving favor.

Webster’s College Dictionary defines a favored person as: “One that receives unfair partiality, favoritism, approving good will to someone in an unfair partiality.”  Hmm, that sounds really biased doesn’t it?

Then I cross referenced it to the word “bless” which they refer to as: “Bless means to favor or endow with blessings; blessings as a gift of Divine Favor; anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune.”

In Hebrew or the original context that favor was written in the Bible for this passage of scripture, it is defined as: “Graciousness, kindness, favor, shown grace, pleasant, precious, well favored, being merciful to.”

The Bible dictionary calls favor: “A covenant act of the Superior to an inferior individual.”  In other words, to be favored places one in a position superior toward one person above others.  We would think of it as “I like them best!” or “I want to do something special just for that person.”  It’s easy to see this when we look at the stories I have shared here isn’t it?  Each spouse was favored by the one they chose to love, therefore it was easy to bless them.  We all like to bless those we love and think highly of in our circle of friends.  It’s the people outside our circle that we have difficulty showing favor to right?

The Favor “Fact”- or

What we need to understand is that grace is a gift that isn’t based on merit nor is it rewarded.  It’s free.  Favor on the other hand, may be given or bestowed because one has been shown grace or mercy.  Grace causes favorable regard.   Does that make sense?

The first time grace was used in the Bible in this manner (as favor) was in Genesis 6:8, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” The fact is, Noah found (obtained) favor and it was extended to his family, because he was the only one to believe God at His Word. He preached about the flood and God’s wrath upon sin for 120 years, but no one repented or believed the message of God through Noah. Talk about a preacher getting discouraged.  He didn’t win one soul to the Lord in all those years and still remained faithful to the message! Has anyone topped that record?

Noah not only had faith to believe, he acted on what he believed. No wonder Noah found God’s favor in saving his life; and I’m sure he was glad he did instead of receiving a bag of gold. Divine Favor surely gave him happiness and prevented misfortune like the scripture says, wouldn’t you agree?

When we believe the Lord, God blesses or favors that kind of faith.  I can’t answer for anyone else, but it makes me feel good when someone believes what I say. 

The phrase Loving favor (from God) is used the same way in Proverbs 22:1 meaning “found favor in God’s sight” as it was in Genesis.

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches. Loving Favor rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1 NKJV)

For a person to receive loving favor they must be held in high esteem by the one giving the blessing. Well, to quote a line from the movie “The Tooth Fairy”, “Where can I get some of that?”

Digging into Favor
I decided to dig a little deeper into the ways “favor” was used in the Bible, just so I could really be sure I wasn’t making or perceiving it to be something it wasn’t. 

Would you like to know what I found based on the King James Version (this varies considerably with other translations)?

The word favor itself is used 80 times.  Favorable = 4; Favored = 14; Favorest = 1; Favoreth = once and “favored with love (as loving favor) = 3 times!  One hundred and three times God refers to the concept of favor being given to an individual over someone else for a specific reason, because of obedience.  This number doesn’t even take in account the times when “blessed, blessing or bless” are used with favor. Are you beginning to understand that “favor” is a Godly concept and idea?


The Loving Favor of God will do for you what riches, gold or silver can’t.


By the time this is posted it will be my sister Lynne’s wedding anniversary of 30+ years being favored with love. 
October 11th is the day they chose to separate from others and “cleave” one to another. 
From this day forward” they vowed to operate in covenant showing loving favor for their spouse, and they have done so.  According to God, a wife brings favor to the marriage.

Through the years I have witnessed God’s favored and blessings on people, when it didn’t make sense and when it did. I’ve also seen that it doesn’t matter how I see others or what they do in my sight that counts, but what they do in God’s “eyes” is what causes Him or man to bless them with favor.  It’s the “because I want to” kind of blessings that only God understands, but we are thankful for them whatever His reason.

I Want that Loving Favor

If you haven’t experienced this kind of favor you can through a relationship with Jesus Christ. You don’t have to be married either to receive the blessings of the Lord.  God’s loving grace and mercy (unmerited favor) is for everyone who believes.
There is something special though about receiving loving favor from God. His loving favor doesn’t stop in this lifetime or ever, but is eternal.  Somewhere along the line the red roses stopped for Mary Benny, because the relationship ended here on earth.  Sure it’s nice to have a great name that brings its own blessings, but it cannot match the loving favor of our Heavenly Father.  Our relationship with Him gives us access to the Name above all names, Jesus and His Loving Favor will never end. 
This week I’d like to challenge you to extend the kind of favor God tells us about in Proverbs 22:1, the loving kind that goes beyond a simple act of kindness.  Make a show of how much you appreciate those who have been faithful to you by acting in loving favor as God has with you. Why do it?  Because you can!

For my family with loving favor.
 Jim Reeves - I'd Rather Have Jesus

 Until next time, show someone Loving Favor!
 

Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.
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Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by
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