Friday, September 26, 2014

Asking for Favor

“What is that noise?”

I kept hearing the sound of a motor. Going from window to window inside the house to see where the truck was, I still didn’t see it. 

Finally, I went back out to the kitchen and looked again for the vehicle.  Nope, no truck but strangely there were two men wearing bright yellow shirts walking up and down the back area of our house.

“Honey, there are men from the city in the alley.” I called to my husband.  “They’re cutting branches.” Not giving me much attention he blurted, “Probably clearing them away from the power lines.”
“Hey, do you think they’d take ours?” I asked. These huge branches were easily over twelve feet long and had been there for some time, because they were too big to move. They broke during a bad storm earlier in the year and we had dragged all the debris to that area piling it altogether.
For weeks I’ve wanted it cleared away so no snakes would gather thinking they had found a new home.
From the other room my not so sure husband called out, “No, I doubt it.  I don’t think they’re allowed to do that.” Of course I didn’t let it go and pushed the question a bit more.
Welcome new friends this week from:
See if your city/state/country made the list. 

New on DFB – Croatia, Serbia, Austria, India, Israel, New Zealand, Palestine, Ireland, Algeria, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Egypt, Argentina, Switzerland, Singapore, Finland, Venezuela, Bolivia, Fiji, Kenya, Myanmar, Suriname, Uganda, Madagascar and El Salvador.
USA Utica and Waterford, New York; Jefferson City, Missouri; Florence and Darlington, South Carolina. Thank you for your continued support.
I hope I didn’t leave anyone out; thank you for sharing this Outer Journey on Daily Favor.  (DFB - Daily Favor Blog)

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Don't miss out on this week's challenge and visit the Q & A.

You Have Not, Because You Ask Not
Seeing an opportunity to get those branches removed I was eager to find out if the men would indeed take them. That’s when I turned religious …
“How do you know unless you ask?  The Bible says, you have not because you ask not. So go ask.” I smugly said with a smile.
I watched the men gather the branches they trimmed and then throw them into a large dump truck.  Not waiting for my husband nor wanting to miss this chance, I quickly exited the back door and approached the gentlemen with a hearty good morning.
The best way to describe this is to briefly share the conversation I had with these fine workers.
Dashing toward our fence I called out, “Could you do me a favor and take the large branches by the tree? They came down in the storm and I don’t have a chain saw. I can clean up the small ones, but not those (pointing to the big limbs).”
“I don’t know,” said Billy. “We’re not supposed to I think.” He was tripping all over his words trying to be kind all the while denying my request.
When I asked for this to be done, I really wasn’t trying to use my husband’s recent illness as guilt bait, but saw an open door for a problem to be resolved.
“I wouldn’t ask, but my husband recently had a heart attack. I know that he’ll try to do it and he isn’t allowed to lift anything over five pounds right now.  Couldn’t you call someone and ask?” I questioned.  “After all we are to serve the community right?”  That was pushing the envelope a bit, don’t you think?
Billy pulled out his cell phone from his back pocket and proceeded to dial calling his supervision with my plea. With a shout of joy I expressed my gratitude as they began to clean up the branches from a storm.

If this was a cookie would you take it?
Practically jumping and bouncing with delight I swiftly went back into the house declaring my victory to hubby.  I usually have some baked goods ready or gift by the front door for people who serve and make deliveries, but this time the cookies weren’t ready. I knew they would be gone before they were done.
“What can we give them?” I asked my husband.  He didn’t hesitate in answering, “Money. Give them money to buy lunch.”
With money in hand I returned to the yard calling Billy to come to the fence. “Here, we want to bless you for what you’re doing for us. I can’t tell you how much this means.”
The men saw that I had money in both my hands gesturing that they come to get it. “That’s all right, I don’t think we’re allowed to take that.” Billy said as he looked over to his co-worker Sam.  I couldn’t help but laugh as Sam lowered his head responding to what Billy had said.  “I’m not saying a thing.” He smiled.
Seeing I was getting nowhere I asked, “If this were a home baked cookie would you take it?” They both grinned and said they would. I continued, “Then buy a cookie with your lunch.”  Neither needed any more convincing and expressed their gratitude as they reached out for their reward.
Doing a happy dance as we watched from the kitchen window my husband and I witnessed something we didn’t expect.  Billy and Sam cleaned up all the branches and debris, plus they tossed a mattress on the top of the pile carting everything away.
Resting on its side there was part of a bed we recently replaced. The city only picks up certain things during their clean-up weeks, and this was one of those items. We would have to pay for the mattress to be carted off, and they loaded it on their truck for free. I never even mentioned it to them.
“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” (James 4:2 NLT)
God allowed me to see those men at that given moment so He could show us favor. All I had to do was ask.  If I didn’t act at that time the favor which was already planned for us by God would have been missed.
The old me would have watched the men finish their work and leave, still wondering how I was going to get that mess cleaned up for my husband. I had to do something different, not follow my usual pattern for handling situations. Seeing what happened  gave me a new sense of boldness.

You Have Not Because You Take Not
No, that’s not how scripture reads, but that is what happened. Monday after my husband was released from the sleep study test (read about it in the update) I wanted to see how his stamina was holding up so we ran some errands.  One place we needed to go was the grocery store for pet food.
As we were getting ready to check out, a worker from Auntie Anne’s approached us with a cup of pretzel nuggets. She was giving out samples of their new cinnamon pretzel bites and asked my husband if he would care for one. Since it didn’t have salt on it he told her yes.
With tongs in her hand she dipped into her container and pulled out another treat asking me the same question. Not saying a word, but looking directly into her eyes I took hold of her hand that was stretched out toward me, and gently pushed it back to her taking the cup out of her other hand as a joke.
“OK.” She said with a confused look.  I still haven’t spoken. She started to walk away when I asked her, “Can you do that?” referring to her letting me have the entire container.  Now my husband was laughing, though embarrassed by my peculiar actions.
The young lady turned around and beamed, “I don’t know, this is my first day!” Hubby leaned over to her and quietly said, “We’ll keep this between ourselves then.” She handed him some coupons and walked away.
Cackling like hens we wondered what happened. I was about to hand the cup back to her when she vanished.  I was kidding!  Now I felt bad and hid the cup in my pocket so she wouldn’t get in trouble.  Some people don’t know how to take a joke and others take it too far. I’m not sure, but I think this falls somewhere in the middle and it’s not a pattern of behavior I follow.
Now I’ve given my husband ammunition and ever since he’s deliberately messing with my head trying to make me feel bad saying over and over, “I can’t believe you did that to that girl.”  In my defense, I didn’t mean to …
… but God, it’s easier this way!
“You have not because you take not” opens a whole new way of thinking doesn’t it? This week my behavior has been from one extreme to another stepping out of my normal way of handling things.
It all stemmed from the last lesson where the Lord challenged me to think beyond just “being still” but to remember that God is still the almighty powerful Lord who wants us to step out into the world of possibilities.
I know that both these incidents are extreme, but doesn’t that prove my point? We are afraid to take new opportunities God sends our way so we miss out on His blessings and favor. Instead of being bold and believing God will make a way, we fall back into our old patterns because they are familiar even though they don’t work.
Asking God for His favor on a situation works when it lines up with His Word. Collectively we prayed for an opening for my husband’s sleep study test. There wasn’t one until November, but God changed a two month waiting into a two day waiting because we asked.
If you’re in the habit or pattern of waiting, change that way of thinking and go ahead and ask God for whatever you need.  He is still God and impossible isn’t in His pattern.  Stop watching opportunities go by you and start acting on them by faith.

This Week’s Challenge:  
Our New Pattern - Possibilities
No doubt you have some things that you really need to change.  The old way of doing things didn’t cut it so all your possibilities for stepping out seem to have dried up and disappeared.  Let me assure you, they haven’t.  With God, all things are possible!
“Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NLT)
Gleaning off of the last challenge to sow a new crop of word seeds, we’re going to add to the soil boldness and courage for changing our thinking patterns. 

As you approach a situation ask God to give you what you need to succeed and the boldness to follow through until you receive favor from Him and man.  Expect things to change as you pattern your actions differently.

I don’t recommend taking things like I did with the young girl in fun, it wasn’t meant to be a suggestion that you should pattern for yourself.  However, I do expect you to be bold and not afraid to ask for something when an opportunity presents itself.

When the devil whispers in your ear that nothing is going to change, redirect your thinking pattern believing that “all things are possible, because I can do anything through Christ who gives me the strength.” (from Philippians 4:13 NLT) 

Then pray ...

Heavenly Father,
I ask that You give me Your strength in every situation I face. Give me insight into my life concerning the failing patterns that I have followed. 
Holy Spirit put before my eyes the people, places and things that will lead me in the direction of new opportunities and possibilities for a good end in my journey.  Help me to be willing to change even though it isn't comfortable, knowing that You are Lord over all my steps.
Grant me favor in decision making that Your will may be accomplished in my life.  Let my life be one that glorifies You.
In Jesus' name I pray,  Amen.

Begin a new pattern in life that is full of possibilities and favor.  It all begins by asking.

Until next time, may you find God’s favor by asking.

“Go ahead … Ask me.”
– Jesus Christ

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