Friday, July 3, 2015

Connecting with Favor

Every so often I receive messages asking me how I gain favor from God.  It’s not an easy question to answer actually.  People tend to think that receiving the favor of God always has to do with money when in reality it doesn’t. 

Living in and with favor comes in stages or levels. The Bible describes it as increasing or “growing in favor” as Christ did.  When I asked the Lord to help me to be able to answer this better, the word “connect” was what He placed in my spirit.   

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In the Beginning
 
My research began with pondering. Yes, simply thinking on passages where God expressed and bestowed favor on an individual, situation or group.  Although there are plenty of examples, I didn’t have to thumb through the Bible past the first book – Genesis – in which God pointed out where His favor was given, passed over and lost. 

There were several people to whom the Lord had shown favor, but I dwelled on the accounts having to do with Abram and Lot.  As you read through the chapters, it is clear that something happened in this relationship.  How did one man turn out so blessed, and the other completely ruined?  Both knew about God, but only Abram believed to the point of obedience. 

You Can’t Be “Lot” 

From the start Abram took his nephew under his wing and treated him as a son.  Everything he had he shared with Lot.  Not having a son of his own at the time, his brother’s orphan boy was heir to his wealth. 

Reading down the pages we see how Abram obeyed God and left town with his family.  Along their travels he became even wealthier, because the Lord blessed him.  When family assets became so large that the land could no longer support all the livestock, Abram bid his nephew to separate from him so the families could live in peace. 

Lot was glad to take his uncle up on his offer.  Looking around he decided to grab what he felt was the best land, leaving the left overs for Abram.  No worries, Abe accepted the decision and let God do the rest.   

As soon as Lot and his family left for the “high” land, God blessed Abram with more than he could have ever asked or thought.  Not only would he gain more land and finally have an heir, but he was extended favor that would flow down to his descendants.  

If you are a child of God’s that favor is available to you.  Here is the kicker … you can’t be a Lot. 
 

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? 

It had been many years since the two parted.  Abram (now Abraham) was getting house calls from God, while his nephew was putting out “house fires” one after another.  What do you think was going through Lot’s mind now? 

Here's a hint,
it isn't Sidney Poitier.
The LORD thought so much of His relationship with Abraham that He wanted to spend time with him. Can you imagine being privy to what God was doing before it happened? 
 
What would we do differently if we knew what God was about to do?  Wait a sec …Oh, we do … so why do people act like God isn’t going to do what He said?  Unbelief in the Word of God as truth causes mankind to follow the path of Lot instead of Abraham’s. 

God wanted to visit His friend and tell him what was about to happen in the cities where the people were evil and had disobeyed Him. Abraham’s nephew lived in one of those cities. 

Once the news was out, a debate went back and forth between the two.  God informed His friend that He was going to destroy the wicked cities.  Abraham tried to intercede for Sodom but failed, because God couldn’t find ten people in the land that believed in Him.  However, the Lord kept His word to Abraham in sparing his nephew’s family. (Genesis chapters 8-20)

Stop Looking Back 

The plan of the Lord was carried out with the angels instructing Lot to gather his family and leave the city. When he confronted his sons-in-law they laughed at him because they thought he was joking.  His lifestyle with following Jehovah was so changed that they didn’t recognize Lot as a godly man. 

Come the next morning the angels literally took Lot, his wife and two girls by the hand at led them out of the city that was about to be destroyed.  Lot was aware of what the LORD was going to do to the city, yet the Bible says he still lingered.  God was showing Lot’s family favor even though they had not followed Him as his uncle Abraham did. 

Nephew Lot received favor because of who he was connected to despite his present way of life. He realized this also, but still had the nerve to go against what God said in his departure.  

“So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside (the city), that he said, Escape for your life!  Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain.  Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.” 

This is where Lot made another mistake that took him out of God’s favor and protection. 

“Then Lot said to them, Please, no my lords! Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die.  

See now, this city (Zoar) is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.” 

Looking back when God says look forward will
put a stop to all your plans. 
Luke 17:32
God was willing to save Lot and his family because his servant Abraham asked it of Him.  The Lord was also willing to let Lot make his own decision that went against better judgment. 
 
Sometimes we settle for second best when God has a much better plan for our lives.  We keep looking back at things the Lord is taking us away from, which proves our trust isn’t genuine. 

(If you're doing this, it would be a good time to pause and ask God for His forgiveness.)
 
Trusting the Lord and believing that His plans for us are good is a big part to our gaining greater favor.  Our eyes should be fixed on him, not looking at what could have been or what was. 

Apparently Lot wasn’t willing to trust the direction the angels pointed his family to for safety.  He believed in fear and not faith.  If we do not believe that God’s way is the best, our fear will always cancel out our faith and His favor. 

“And he said to him (Lot), “See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken.  Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything, until you arrive there.” (Genesis 19:21 NKJV)
 
At one time Lot was connected to Abraham and his God. We know that based on his reaction when the angels made their visitation to Sodom. Something changed, something became more important. 

God had blessed Lot along with his uncle and they became very rich.  Sadly Lot didn’t know what to do with his wealth and followed after unrighteousness. He fell out of favor when he took his eyes off God.   

Lot made bad choices not staying in relationship with the Lord. The place he begged God to “flee to” turned out to be a place where he lived in continual fear.  Consequently, he lost everything including his wife, and ended up living out his days in a cave.   

Connecting with the favor of God isn’t for ourselves, but so that we can continue the work of the Lord. All else will be lost. Lot’s life story is a good reminder of becoming disconnected with the One who distributes blessings, mercy and favor. 

Staying in the FOG 

People say that if you want to get rich, hang out with rich people.  There is a flaw in their belief.  Hanging out with people who have wealth won’t make you rich.  You have to Do Something!  In other words, you have to be willing to do what they did. 

It’s the same with accessing Heaven.  If you want to understand the F.O.G. (favor of God) you need to be hooked up to people who have it. 
 
You will notice that those people all have something in common with Abraham.  Besides spending time fellowshipping with the Lord, they are considered righteous friends because they believe Him.   

“And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God.” (James 2:23 NKJV) 

There are a lot of people who say they want to hang out with God, but they still do their own thing and don’t believe there will be consequences.  That means they don’t believe their “friend”.  Who would want to share something with anyone who doesn’t believe a word they say?  Not me. 

Something we can be sure of is when God choses to include a person in His plans (as with Abraham), it effects more than just that person.  His favor follows those who totally give their heart to the Lord, because of the responsibility they now bear in carrying out the will of God. 

What I’ve gained from this particular study isn’t so much about Abraham’s walk with the Lord, but the activity of the Lord in his life.  It’s something we should all strive for in building our relationship with God. 

Sorry, you’ve been disconnected. 

Receiving the favor of God isn’t always wealth, but could be protection, deliverance or anything like we read with Lot. It comes in various levels (amounts) based on where you are in your faith, belief, obedience and fellowship with the Lord. 

We have learned that we can disconnect from God and His favor through greed, fear and unbelief.  Those things will lead us to a land we don’t want to go to after all. 
 

This Week’s Challenge:
Re-connect with Favor 

In order to understand the plan of God, we have to understand His character and nature.  The only way to do that is to spend time with our friend in His word and those who have walked with God by faith. 

The call of God on our lives should be our motivation for doing anything, and that brings me to our challenge this week.  It will have us re-connecting with friends of faith who have walked in the blessings of the Lord, but before we do that there may be some things we need to change in our life style.  

First we’ll take a look at what activities we’re participating in on a regular basis, and stop doing things that take us out of fellowship with the Lord and others of like faith. 
 
Remember to seek the Lord concerning matters, otherwise you may miss something.  Give yourself a break here and let God help you “work out your salvation.”  Stop looking back dwelling on guilt or the past, and focus on the fact that you are forgiven. 

Next connect with mature believers who are experiencing the hand of God on their lives. It won’t be hard to spot them.  Don’t limit your quest to those you know; do some research.  You may find articles, blogs, videos, books or broadcasts that will be of assistance.   If you don’t know where to look, try reading some of my archive articles for a start.  Each one has a resource to assist you in growing in God's favor by faith.

We’re going to watch, listen and learn what the person(s)/people did to receive or hear from God.  Do you see the pattern in their lives that reveals God? 

Unless we see things how God does in an individual, we won’t be able to receive the blessing.  There is a purpose for God allowing us to connect to His favor. It will bring Him glory, accomplish His plan and is eternal. 

“The LORD of host has sworn, saying, surely, as I have thought,
 so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed,
so it shall stand.” (Isaiah 14:24 NKJV) 

You can receive God’s favor.  When you continue in fellowship with the Lord, you will hear from Him, because He knows you want His will to be accomplished in your life.  

Are you a friend of God? What does He call you?  What do you call Him?
 
God will share with His friends things that others want to know, but don’t. Staying connected to favor is to believe Jesus, the One who calls you friend.
 
 

 

Until next time, re-connect to God’s favor!

 

Check Messages throughout the week.
 

“My favor is purpose driven.”
Jesus Christ
 

Note: The words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives.
Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness. 

What’s New This Week: Click on book or link

 

Lessons from the Life of Abraham
by Henry T. Blackaby 

Available in Paperback, eBook & Audiobook
 
 

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.
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Gateway Bible
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image:  Communicate Effectively Levels Chart  Not to Do List  Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?  Remember Lot's Wife  Living in the F.O.G. Favor of God
Disclaimer Notes: Results may vary due to lack of belief.

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