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
Gateway Bible
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