Friday, April 25, 2014

Question Everything

"Worship God, not things."
Ed slipped quietly into the faculty room and sat beside Catherine.  She turned her head and began rattling a series of ideas off in search of a solution to a problem that baffled her for some time now. 

Gazing into her eyes he softly spoke,

“What if you’re taking something for granted? ... pausing before continuing ...

What if you question everything?”


Welcome new friends this week from:

Bolivia, Puerto Rico, Kenya, Ghana, Romania, Mexico, Singapore and Taiwan. USA: Charlotte, North Carolina; Chester, Pennsylvania; Lincoln, Nebraska and Ocala, Florida.  So happy you have joined us.

Keep our friends from China in prayer this week as you pray for all the followers of Daily Favor.

If I’ve missed anyone forgive me. Please share this challenge and invite more friends to join us.

Don’t miss out on this week’s challenge (below).  Q & A
 

Slapping her palm against her forehead Catherine giggled as if to mentally say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
She repeated Ed’s advice aloud,

“Look at it from an entirely different perspective! Question everything…” 

When Catherine flipped through her pages of notes she looked at Ed and said, "Uh-oh!"

As soon as she saw her error Catherine walked across the room to verify her findings with her uncle.
“What?... I know that look …” she stared at his puzzled face.  “What did I do?” 
With a shocked look he said. “I never saw it this way.”  Sighing, a disappointed girl walked off quietly muttering, “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Catherine realized that she had been going about her entire life’s work wrong, until she questioned her theory.  Was it her motive all along to outwit her uncle or was this a fluke?

OK, this isn’t a true story but a scripted scene from the film I.Q., however, the moral of it might as well be something from a page in our own life.

The Motivating Question
For several weeks now I’ve been questioning some of the things I do on a regular basis.  The reason this “doubting” journey began was because I didn’t see some results I had been expecting with my “believer.”  

When that happened I took a microscope to why I really wanted these things and what my motives truly were.  That trail led me to several lessons in the Bible.
First I had to determine the definition of the word motive in the Bible to see if it was even worth researching; it states:

“Something as a need or desire that causes a person to act.”
What I discovered is that our motives are usually based out of things we have a desire for or question.  They are motives to our acting out our desires or thoughts, and are often self-serving or deceitful.

Then I looked for examples in the Bible of people who had a motive behind their actions.  I didn’t have to go past Genesis to prove my case in point.

In Genesis 29 Laban’s motives were deceitful toward Jacob when he gave Leah as a wife instead of Rachel.  The switch was made on his wedding night.

Can you imagine Jacob’s reaction when he woke up the next morning and saw someone sleeping in his bed and it wasn’t the one he “thought” he married?  What did Laban actually think he could get away with that day?
I have to question …
“Wouldn’t God search this (motive) out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.” (Psalm 44:21 NKJ)

We think if people don’t know what our motives are we’re safe, but that’s not true. Someone does know – God.
“O God, You know my foolishness; and my sins are not hidden from You.” (Psalm 69:5 NKJ)

The Lord knows all things; there are no secrets from Him. He knows every thought that flows through our minds and the motive behind it. 
 
When Secret is Revealed
"Did I really think or even worse sing that?" 
A pastor recently made this statement in a church service that I took to heart.  “Suppose you were sitting in a service when suddenly your thoughts were displayed on the overhead screen for all to see, even the Pastor.” 
So I pictured what this would look like if it did happen.

You move your head from side to side while the message is being preached not realizing what is going on at the front of the room.
Casually glancing at the clock on the side wall your thoughts begin to wonder.
"Boy, is he ever going to finish?  The guys will be waiting for me. I’m so hungry … can’t wait to hit that salad bar…”

Your mind continues on its path totally tuning out the pastor’s voice.
“Sarah’s with a new guy today.  What’s she see in him?  Look at that chin, you could skateboard off it! I’ve got more going on than he does; he probably has money.  

There goes my reason for coming here. Next week I’m sleeping in; this church stuff is getting boring …”

Can you picture the look on your own face and the others if they saw this coming out of your head?
We might become judgmental and start some of our own questioning. Can you believe that guy?  What was his motive for going to church?  Sarah.

Instead of passing criticism, I might actually defend this chap.  I can sort of relate to this one, going down that same road in my teens. 
Even so, that doesn’t make it right.
“So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time – before the Lord returns. For He will bring our darkest secrets to light and reveal our private motives. 

(Wake-up call here!) Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.” (1 Corinthians 4:5 NLT) 

God knows our motives for why we do things.  It’s really scary when you think of it and should “motivate” us to change some of our actions.
“People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.” (Proverbs 16:2 NLT)


Motivated to Change Something

There was a rich elderly man who went to buy a hearing aid.  After two weeks use he returned to the store to share the results of his purchase.  He was pleased to announce that his hearing was so good that he could even hear the voices from a distance. 

“Your family must be so glad that you can hear now.” said the manager.  The gentleman replied, “I haven’t told them yet. I’ve been listening to their conversations this week and have changed my will three times!”
“But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10 NLT)

I think his relatives will be in for a rude awakening upon the time of his departure from Earth don’t you?
Unlike this man, God always hears our prayers and knows our motives.  He sees us through the eyes of grace.  He won’t change His will or love toward us even if our motives are not exactly the best.  The good thing is that He will gladly listen to the prayer of repentance.

Everything, doesn’t mean everyone.
"Hmm ... why am I doing this?"

This is something I have been guilty of in the past … questioning God about everything that didn’t go my way.
Our Inner Journey is leading us to take (A New Approach) A.N.A. concerning our motives.
Questioning everything doesn’t mean we are to question everyone about their motives, and it especially doesn’t mean we are to question God about His decisions.

 
Question everything refers to
our own heart motives.

Instead of questioning God about everything, remember He already knows the end from the beginning and promises He will always be with us no matter what.
 

This Week’s Challenge

Question our motives
through testing.

Psalm 26:2 is a personal request that allows God to test “my” or shall we say, our motives.   
“Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart.”

Here’s what we’ll question in our motives:

·      Do we have the courage to do this?  Can we focus on our motives and actions by questioning if they are legitimate or selfish? 

·      We will also question the motives behind our prayers.

“And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong – you want only what will give you pleasure.” (James 4:3 NLT)

·      Why do we give or not give to God’s work?

·      Are we doing this for gain or self-promotion?

“I know, my God, that You examine our hearts and rejoice when You find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched Your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously.” (1 Chronicles 29:17 NLT)

·      Why are we doing this? Are we betraying Jesus with the reasons we do things like Judas did? 
“So You can see we were not preaching with any deceit or impure motives or trickery.  For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NLT)

God always hears us and because of grace, mercy and favor He doesn’t change how He feels.  There is nothing about us that He doesn’t know and understand.  
“You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts
even when I am far away.
 
You see me when I travel (comprehend my path) and when I rest at home.  You know everything I do.
 (and are acquainted with all my ways).
You know what I am going to say, even before I say it LORD."
(Psalm 139:2-4 NLT)
Heavenly Father, may we no longer have to question our motives as we take a new approach on our Inner Journey, and that this becomes our confession.


Until next time, God’s motives are always FAVOR-able.

 

Check Messages throughout the week.

What's New this Week:  
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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. A.N.A. logo by J.C.Penney, Inc.
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by GatewayBible
Image credit: GoogleImages or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image: Question Everything  Couple in Church  If Everyone Knows Cartoon  Cat
Film Credit: I.Q. 1994 Paramount Pictures

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mind Buddies

“I wish you would rethink about what you write each week, because we have to live it.” ... my husband said as he leaned over the kitchen sink while I was washing dishes. 

He’s right, at least when it comes to the weekly challenges on Daily Favor. 
I don’t know how your week went, but did you find the spirit of offense was more visible than usual?
There’s something else that became a constant companion to offense this week, can you guess what it was?

Welcome new friends this week from:

Belgium, Sweden, Mexico, Serbia, Montenegro, Taiwan, Thailand, Brazil, Pakistan, China, Botswana; USA: Delaware, West Virginia, Tennessee, Hawaii, New Jersey (22 cities with Vineland at 45 this week).  Glad to see you all here.
Keep our friends in South Korea in prayer this week as you pray for all the followers of Daily Favor.

If I’ve missed anyone forgive me. Please share this challenge and invite more friends to join us.  

"But he's over the line!"
I have been blessed to have met in person and online some really terrific people over the past seven days. 
They have shared some things they’re experiencing on their Inner Journey, and of course one of those encounters was when I was in the middle of a challenging situation with my husband over a parking space at Walmart. 
My spouse realized we were about to say something that would open a door to offense, so what did we do? We went somewhere else.

From the time we left that store and went to another, some lady took over my voice box, because surely I wouldn't say a thing like this.

Dropping me off at a flower shop, as I stepped out of the car words came out of  my mouth I’ve never spoken in my life … “I’m going to spend your money so you can say what all husbands say about their wives!”  I closed the door and he drove off to a hardware store.  Do you think I was upset?

Fifteen minutes later he was outside the flower shop door waiting for me.  After I got in the car he looked at me and said something like this, “Who were those people?  Sounds like they have offense issues.”  We kissed then laughed and that was the end of the incident.
Do you know what really happened?  My husband expressed his opinion in the parking lot and raised his voice to me in public because he was frustrated.  I was embarrassed and didn’t let it go, even though he apologized to me before he got in the car.  Something else emerged that day besides being offended.

We were on guard the whole weekend until Monday.  A new ingredient was added to the mix and my husband was the one who pointed it out to me.

My Dog’s Better
View the commercial here.
Do you remember the old commercial for Ken-L Ration Dog food where the kids debate over who has the better pet?  It’s a cute advertisement, but the main issue is overlooked.  Pride.

It’s easy for pride to creep into our thinking and actions without us realizing it. 
Actually, I wasn’t sure how it would go over, but I wanted to plant a seed in your minds that would be a good lead to this teaching.  Did it work?  Could you sense an underlying bit of offense in the response?  My writing was under attack, so pride stepped in attempting to counteract the comment.

So many things popped into my head that could have offended me, but thankfully the Holy Spirit kept reminding me not to give into those insecure feelings (which are prideful).

Proverbs 16:18 gives us a clear description of what happens when we give into pride.  “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  In other words, something is going down and it is a result of our prideful actions.  
God hates the spirit of pride that exalts itself over Him.  The Amplified Bible says it like this in Proverbs 16:17, giving a definition to what sinful pride is:
 “the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others.” (like satan thinks)

The reference isn’t referring to the pride we feel with family or being honored for an accomplishment. 
 
This brings me to an example that I asked my husband if I could share with you, which happened to him this week. Remember, he’s taking this journey with all of us as well.  Here’s what he “confessed” to me when he got home from work. 
 

Freeze Proof?  I don’t think so.
He was hardly in the door when my husband sat on the edge of the couch and made this statement.

“I’ve got a confession to make.  I knew what was happening and did it anyway." 

You can imagine how my thoughts went wild about then as I eagerly listened to what he was about to admit. Giant warning signals and stop lights came into my head not being sure I wanted to hear what he was about to unburden. This is what happened.
The outside freeze proof water hydrant did not live up to its name.  It had been leaking for at least six years despite several people trying to fix it.  If you positioned the handle a certain way, the leak would stop, but only for a short time.  

One man in particular (who is considered the “Mr. Fix-it-all” by some) had worked on it and it still leaked.
My hubby was told that “If Mr. Fix-it-all couldn’t repair the hydrant, I doubt it can be done, but you can give it a try.”  Well, that didn’t go over well with him. 

The challenge had been issued and his pride took over; he had to stop the leak. In less than an hour he repaired the hydrant.  It was just about the same amount of time that he realized how prideful he had been.
What man wants to be made to look small in front of another man?  He told me that his mindset was, “I’ll show them I can fix this.”

That was only part of the problem.  Recognizing pride was on the scene was one thing, but he told me that he knew it and still wanted to prove the other man wrong.  His actions were intentional, because his feelings were hurt.  Once offense is present, it doesn’t take long for pride to join in on the situation.
 
At the Foot of the Cross … Where forgiveness begins.

 
Now don’t judge my husband, his actions are no different than some of our own.  Yes, the leak was fixed and I was relieved it wasn’t something else. However, the good thing is that he took this situation to the Lord before sharing it with me, getting back on track in his journey.
Today is Good Friday and a perfect time for us to remember why Jesus died on the cross for us.  He loved us while we were still sinners and is always willing to forgive. (Romans 5:8 NKJV)  It’s where we lay everything at His feet of mercy.

Although we have to meet Christ at the foot of the cross to of repent our sins, we don’t need to stay there.  Jesus rose from the dead and conquered everything we will ever encounter in life including our pride. 
Being able to overcome our sinful nature through Christ is part of the “forget not all His benefits” in Psalm 103 that Jesus provided for those who will faithfully seek and love Him. 

Being forgiven of sin is another way the Lord gives grace, mercy and favor to those who follow after Him (like on this Inner Journey).


This Week’s Challenge:  
De-friend sinful mind buddies.
We’re going to do a reality inspection to see who our mind has been making friends with lately.

Check to see if you are boasting about anything other than the cross (Galatians 6:14 NIV), and if a critical spirit of pride has entered your journey.  (See example list below.)
Make sure your actions are not validating prideful behavior.  Have you said or done something to trigger a prideful response in your words or deeds? 

Don’t let offense get comfortable with pride in your thinking.  You not only want to keep these mind buddies apart, you want them totally gone from your life.

Recognize you’re on a journey of favor in God’s heart as you lay down every burden of pride at the foot of the Cross.
 

Until next time, remember pride cancels favor.

 
Recognizing Pride:  De-friend these feelings
- Are you judgmental or critical of others?
- Look down on less educated people?
- Do you judge people by their lifestyle?
- Don't admit when you are wrong?
- Talk too much about yourself?   
- Argue or comment on everything?
- Think you are more spiritual than others?
- Spend too much time on your appearance?
- Seek approval from others and not God?
- Think you are above following rules and regulations?
- Have a hard time giving a compliment to others?
- Poor listener  because you think others are boring?
- Find it difficult to give your testimony or pray in public?


What's New this Week:  Songs of Resurrection & Life



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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. A.N.A. logo by J.C.Penney, Inc.
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by Gateway Bible
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image: Kitchen sink  Car parked  Ken-L ration Galatians 6:14 NIV