Friday, November 1, 2013

Breaking News for Daily Favor: So Long …

Have you ever noticed how words can be totally taken out of context?  We can make them fit into any situation that benefits us can’t we?  Sure we can, just like I did in this week’s title.  Let me show you what I mean.

On Thursday morning, October 31, 2013, I needed to go online for the URL to my blog (Daily Favor).  Funny, you would think I had it memorized, but I don’t.  Usually, I Google the words “Daily Favor” and click on the link from there.  When the subject came up as 288,000 other items using those words I got curious.  Apparently thousands of people are looking for or experiencing favor also.  There were a few that stood out though (besides mine of course).

One mentioned that 2013 was the year of God’s favor in daily confessions.  You could also see this at work over a cup of coffee, boasts the Daily Favor Café. The Abundant Life claims this is the year of accelerated favor.   I did not know that, and the year is almost over too.  Bummer!  Did you know God’s favor had a time limit?  Neither did I.

Another man professes how “Very Little Daily Favor” can change your life through doing five minute favors for people you work with each day.  He even goes as far as stating that in doing so your kids will get better grades, you will live longer and people will always want to do something nice for you.  Hmm … those are bold statements.

However, the headline that really got my attention was “News for Daily Favor … Beard trend-setter Jonny Gomes wings momentum back into Red Sox’ Favor.”  Even the World Series is in on it!

The Favor Wagon
More and more people are jumping on the “Favor” wagon expecting God to move mountains for them. 

If you know the scriptures, you know that God has moved all the mountains He’s going to move, and that our faith is what causes obstacles to be removed. 

The Lord God has given us all we need to be victorious in this life, including His favor.  There is a catch.  Favor of God doesn’t operate outside of His Wisdom. (See Mark 11:23-24)

God Why Aren’t You Doing Anything?
I’d like to share with you a bit of an interaction that took place at the end of last week between two Christian men.  One individual was having an awful week; let’s say he was the businessman. He was exhausted and being miserable to everyone he encountered.  Finally he said that he had a confession to make, and he felt the need unburden this information to the other man.  In a nutshell, this is somewhat how it went.

“I had it out with God last night.”  The other gentleman listened intently.  “I don’t understand what He is doing and I even cursed at Him.  I do everything myself.  I give a lot of money to His work, I give my time and I can’t get a break.  I’m so tired; why isn’t God blessing me with rest?” spouted the businessman.

It was like the conversation Moses had with God where he felt the Lord put all these burdens on him without any help from anyone else.

“So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You afflicted your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all these people on me?” (Numbers 11:11 NKJV)
Taking in all the information from the disgruntled believer, the other gentlemen began to dialog what his friend said, confirming he understood the complaint before giving any advice.

So, you are exhausted.  Let’s see, you were away on a volunteer two week trip doing “God’s” work, but it’s in your own field of expertise.  On your day off you did work for God and helped someone. Sunday after church you rushed off to help another poor soul. In a few days you are flying to another part of the country, because of some prestigious position you want to take, when you could easily do it by phone.  You have the money to do all these things, but now you say money is a little tight too? Is that it? 
According to the businessman, he did all the selfless work while God just sat back and watched.

A few days later the businessman was off on another trip against the gentleman’s good counsel. He didn’t even stop to pray with the other man he had confronted about the situation.  Unlike Moses, nothing changed for this person.

The wise man noticed a common thread to all this – self.  Even though the upset man was doing things he claimed were for God, he didn’t do them with the right heart or in wisdom.  He gave where he wanted, only did the things of God in areas that did not stretch him and then he told everyone about all the things he did.  God wasn’t glorified because no faith ever entered the picture.  The Lord didn’t need to extend favor to him or praise his actions, because he waved his own banner receiving his reward here on earth. 

When God gifts us with a talent, it is for His purpose and He expects us to do it out of His strength.  The man never called on God, because he knew what to do from his training never taking into consideration he could have done more or something better.  Our education can only take us so far, because we can only do what we know.  The favor of God will take us to places our talent or knowledge won’t.

God cannot give favor when we operate outside of His wisdom and in the flesh.  The man didn’t pray “Thy Will be done,” but expected God to show him favor toward his own desires regardless of what they were. (Matthew 6:10)
Now I don’t want you to get down on this guy, we all do it. “Lord, I want to do this, so bless it.”  When things don’t go as expected then we blame God for not showering us with favor, after all, we’re doing it for Him.

Make Me A Blessing (in things I want to do)
Many years ago I was involved in some Christmas events for our church.   You couldn’t really say I answered the call of “Will you do us this favor?” or even that I was roped into doing it.  Instead it was like, “Hey, I will do you a favor God by taking on this project too, and it will turn out perfectly.”

I did everything I could to help the event be successful, but when the day came it was less than I expected.  The church had put out a lot of money and I prayed my way through the entire process, only to be disappointed with the outcome.  It wasn’t until sometime later that God revealed to me what happened.

Just because you volunteer to do something doesn’t mean God wanted you to do it, and just because it doesn’t turn out the way you think it should doesn’t mean God didn’t do anything. 

God accomplished what He wanted that day for His purpose, including teaching this teacher a lesson.  To me this was a project where I could use my God given gifts, like I am supposed to do.  You know the kind of project I mean, where you do everything leaving nothing for others to do but get in your way? The thing is, there were a lot of people who by faith could have stepped up to the challenge with me filling in when they needed help.  If I followed God on this, He could have done a new thing in me and I wouldn’t be sharing another life lesson with you.

I’ve Got this One God
It didn’t take much faith to do the things I knew how to do as an instructor, and it was easy to do the assigned task since it was in my field.  We tend to leave God out of things we think are “no brainers.”

What I learned is that where there is no faith there is no favor, because without faith it is impossible to please God.  Since my actions weren’t pleasing to God, He was not obligated to send out favor on my work.

In my thinking I did this selfless act for the Lord, but I didn’t really need His help.  As a matter of fact I don’t recall praying for wisdom, but directed my prayers to getting done on time and asking the Lord to bring in the people to get saved.   

God doesn’t need our help, but desires it. He is God all by Himself.

Sometimes we get caught up in details and overlook the obvious things.  What were those “other” things?  Taking on too much, not giving God time to work and thinking I was supposed to do it all.  Basically I was running ahead of God. I expected Him to catch up and drop blessings on the work of my hands as I go, all while He was supernaturally giving me the strength I needed as His humble servant.

God Doesn’t Set Our Schedules

There is a well-known evangelist that shared a similar story. She had spent some time in her prayer closet, except it was more of a sounding booth she explained … a place to sound off to God about not taking care of her needs physically.

This woman proceeded to “give it to God” so to speak, about not having enough time to do “all His work.”  Then one night in her prayer time the Lord spoke to her by name (in her spirit) and said, “I don’t set your schedule, you do. If you’re tired, change your schedule.”

It was like a light bulb went off in her head as to how God wasn’t sending her out to do all these things.  She wanted to do them and didn’t use wisdom in her booking engagements.  “Self” thought I can do it all and God will anoint it in the process.

Gaining Favor through Wisdom
There are a few things that I learned from the Lord in seeking wisdom in my walk as a Christian, so that I don’t become side tracked with “self.”

  • You’re not the only servant.  There are a few people in the Bible who were self-proclaiming “soloists for God.”  I don’t mean singers, but they had the mentality that no one else served Him the way they did.  When they confronted the Lord with their opinions He told them they were wrong.  God’s plan was to get others involved, but I was practically the solo act.  There were other things God wanted to do in my life, but “self” jumped in and I had my hands in something else making myself available for His work, but unavailable to Him. 

  • Jesus rested. If Jesus took time to rest that meant He didn’t take on every challenge, even though He was gifted to do so.  Wisdom taught Him to rest without feeling guilty in taking the time to refresh. When He did minister (going about His Father’s business), Jesus received favor from God and man.  How is this possible? The Lord tells us how, I only do the will of My Father.”(John 5:30) That sure frees up a lot of time and His schedule wasn’t overloaded with all the “wills” of others, including His own.

  • Don’t get overwhelmed; concentrate on one thing at a time. This is an area I have battled with for years.  I have a note taped on the top center of my computer as a reminder so I don’t get off track.  It keeps me focused on one thing at a time.  When I follow God’s plan, I don’t get overwhelmed, confused or tired because it’s always the right balance. The added bonus is following God’s plan leaves no room for feeling guilty about the things you once thought you had to do “for the sake of the cause.”

  • Take your time. I can’t find one place in the Bible that says, “And Jesus rushed to his side afraid He would be too late.” No, Jesus wasn’t in a hurry to do anything without checking in with the Father in Heaven first.

So many times when Jesus was on his way somewhere He got interrupted, but never side tracked.  Even His disciples tried to rush him, but Jesus didn’t waver in God’s plan. 
I know Jesus wasn’t really like this, but when I think of the character Pa Kettle, it reminds me of how the Lord never worried or rushed to “get ‘er done.”  God’s timing is always perfect.
  • Wisdom waits on God.  According to Proverbs 3:13, there is joy, happiness and God’s Favor when we operate in His Wisdom.  Plus we gain understanding when we find it. When we are waiting on God, it’s like a mini vacation from ourselves.  We can get out of the fast lane and just cruise a while as we wait for instructions. That’s something I should do more often, what about you?

The Breaking News for Daily Favor: So Long … Self. 
It’s time to part-company and distance your relationship with self. 

If you think about it, the two of you weren’t that good of friends anyway. Besides, self is the one that always gets you into trouble.  Don’t cry over the departure, but admit it … “Self, you’re no good for me.”

Yep, wisdom is telling us it’s time to move on and say “so long self.”  No more self-proclamations “I can do anything through me who gives me strength."  No more boastful celebrating “I did it my way.” (sorry Frank)

The days of taking on all the “will you do me a favor” pleas are over.  From now on I will seek God when asked to do something so that my schedule is balanced.  I will rest and not be rushed into decisions as I concentrate on one thing at a time. I will not make a move without seeking God’s wisdom first.  I guess these daily confessions are needed after all.

In making these changes we can stand before fellow believers and claim what the apostle Paul said,

“We are proud of the fact that we have lived before the world and especially before you with clear consciences, living holy lives mixed with genuine sincerity before God.  We have not relied on any human wisdom, but on the grace and favor of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:12 excerpt from the Voice translation)

So long self, it’s been fun, but I’ve found somebody else, Jesus. 
MercyMe - So Long Self 
Until next time, get to know the new favored you!

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Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by
Gateway Bible

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