Friday, October 25, 2013

How Do We Know We Are Favored?

I might as well confess it right now; I had a temper tantrum with God over the weekend because of a disappointment.  Well, maybe not so much as a tantrum, but a pity party without all the cool snacks.
You might even say I was a bit arrogant in my thinking with all this “favor” I had been talking about and receiving.  Would I say God put a stop to it?  No, but He did bring things to my remembrance that caused me to repent immediately.
If you would like to pick up your disappointment ticket, follow along with me.  Only one per customer, results may vary.
All week long I had spent much time in conversation with the Lord and in His Word.  We were tight, you know, so how this happened is strictly because I am human!  Thankfully, He knows that and wasn’t surprised about my behavior, but lovingly forgave me.

Spilling the Beans

Ok, so I guess you want me to tell you what happened?  I thought so. 
Last weekend I had the great opportunity to hold a baby lion. For a year I had been waiting for this moment, and it finally arrived.
My husband and I walked all around to visit with the other animals  in the traveling Safari. Finally we came to the place where the photographs were taken with the baby animals. 
This year there was a larger choice of animals such as a capuchin monkey, lemur, kangaroo (so cute) and the lion cub.  Usually you can choose between a baby lion or tiger, but I had already settled on the lion.  I figured I could tie that into Biblical writing easier.

Standing in line I noticed that the price was dramatically higher than last year.  Ooh, I started giving this a second thought.  I don’t know what happened to allow this doubt to come into my head.  We had come prepared so what was the problem?
Just to give me a better defense, take a look at just how cute this little guy was. 

My husband was totally confused by now and kept asking me, “What do you want to do?  In a quiet voice I said, “Hold the lion.” He went on to say, “Ok, so do it.” Instead I got out of line and we walked around the area several more times as I was contemplating what to do. 
Again he asked, “What do you want to do?” I looked at him and said, “It’s not what I want to do; I know what I want to do.  It’s doing it.”  So this is my fault?” he said. “Yes.”  Now it wasn’t, but he offered to take the blame, so I gave it to him.  Don’t get all excited, it was only a few minutes.
By now he was getting pretty upset because he didn’t care if I held the lion or not.  Don’t you want to hold it?” I asked.  No.” he replied.  You don’t, why?”  Well, it was pretty funny actually.
Back to the conversation. “What’s the problem?”  Then I explained what my issue was.  It hadn’t even entered his mind. To him, we were going to pet the lion, get some pictures and go shopping. Done deal.  Where did all this other stuff come from and why weren’t we in line?

$$$ vs. A Faithful God

There was nothing wrong with my wanting to hold that little creature. In my mind there was a problem of me paying $17.00 to hold him for 7 seconds while we needed a new heater.  I kept thinking, what if we were short $17 in paying for the heater? It would be my fault because I wanted to do something selfish.
My thoughts poured outside the box, in the parking lot and all around the area. On the way back to the car I was silently venting, “How is this favor God?”  There may have even been a little steam, but I’m sure only God saw it!  As he was opening my car door I still believe my husband thought we were going to get back in line.
I know, don’t even say what you’re thinking, I can’t believe it either.  Actually I’m embarrassed about it, but I promised to keep it honest.
You can’t manipulate God’s favor, especially if you want if for selfish reasons.  God didn’t care about my wanting to hold that precious cub. He did care about my attitude expecting His favor to operate on my whims.  What I didn’t realize is that I was already in His will, because I had what I needed in my hands and with His blessing.
My husband was still in the dark as to what was happening.  He isn’t a mind reader (so he says), but has learned to just wait it out and see where I’m going with something.  The night was young so he figured we had plenty of time and could come back later. Remember, this is going on in my mind with no tickets for onlookers to observe.
Before we left the area I was apologizing for my behavior, and thanked God for allowing me to watch kids with their parents share a great moment.  Besides, I was able to pet the other animals and last year I even rode the camel.
The thing is, I know God would be happy for me to have the desires of my heart and could have worked out the situation.  I had the money. The problem was I didn’t approach the situation correctly.  Why in the world did I even question if my God is more than enough and willing to supply my heater need according to His riches in glory?  I know better.
Despite this, were we still operating in His favor? Absolutely.  When we arrived at the store someone pulled out of the parking space that was the closest to the door. More blessings came that weekend, and we even had $40 left.  If I had trusted God I would have heard His voice saying, “It’s OK.  Go ahead, have a good time. I’ve got it covered.” Instead I was trying to justify spending money on a mere indulgence, when God wasn’t even doing that.  Boy did I squash a blessing that God had planned for me all along.
Feeling bad about my actions I approached my Bible time with some things on my mind concerning the blessings and favor of God.

Where is the Proof or Evidence?

I was questioning and asking God to show me the “greater” things, but I kept coming up blank.
I knew blessings were always a part of God’s provision for His children, however there was something missing that I couldn’t put my finger on in trying to describe “How do we know we are favored by God?” How could I have handled that situation better and recognized I wasn’t out of God’s will? What was the evidence He was trying to show me?
In my studies the Lord directed me to a passage I had already used, but focused on another part of the verse.
There must be proof that as children of God we walk in His blessings and favor when He is pleased with us.  It also has to be something measureable and visible.  That is something I learned as a teacher with my students.  So what is that “proof” we need in recognizing favor has been shown to us regarding a specific situation?  God pointed me to this:

“…because our enemies do not triumph over us.” (Psalm 41:11 NKJV)

Wow, it’s so simple to miss isn’t it? The devil will try to blast away at us every chance he can get, but when we are walking in the Will of the Lord, our enemies always lose.  I had the proof ($17.00) in my hand and discounted it as the evidence He had provided for me earlier that week.
When we triumph over any situation, it is proof of favor and blessings in operation.  Our job is to recognize when it comes.  It is measurable and visible for all to see.
There was no victory here because I gave into defeat for no reason at all. I stole my own joy and gave it to the enemy, instead of going with the plan that God was perfectly fine with me following.
This situation reminded me of a friend of ours who didn’t give the victory to her enemy.
A Woman after God’s Heart:
Who can I show My favor to today?

The Vine’s Bible Dictionary states in order for a person to be blessed, it has to come from a superior person bestowing favor (blessings) on another person. 
In most passages of the Bible, the one bestowing the favor blessing is God Himself, or it is through Divine instruction (God directs the path of others).
The Bible tells us that King David was a man after God’s heart in Acts 13:22, but I know of many others that tug on the heart strings of the Savior as well.
There was a dear woman of God I’ll call Mrs. Rivers, who had wanted a new set of pots and pans.  She had saved for a long time for them and finally purchased a grand set.  When she found out that the church needed pans for a dinner, she gave them her set.  Oh, she didn’t give her old set, but she gave God her brand new set that she really needed.
God saw her heart, and she had so many blessings come into her house as a result of what she did unselfishly.  Sometime after that, the cause and effect equation took place that only God could have ordained.  (Read about it here).

Serious legal issues came up in the Rivers family and she asked us to pray in agreement with her over the problem.  A member of her family was destined to be sentenced for a long prison term and she had asked God for guidance as to what she needed to say in court. 
My husband gave her wise counsel, “Keep your mouth shut and I’m going to pray that God would close your mouth like he did Zacharias if you try to speak. (See Luke 1:22) The things she wanted to say would have hindered the case and only brought a greater judgment, because she was operating on her emotions. 
On the day of court, she really wanted to speak her peace, only when she did, she couldn’t.  Her tongue wouldn’t work and nothing came out of her mouth!  She realized God was doing something miraculous in the courtroom and followed what my husband had told her.  Also, she was never called to the stand as a witness. The Lord was extending favor to her, and her family member did not go to jail.  God turned the hearts of man, because this woman did something that turned His heart.
The enemy wasn’t able to have victory over that family, because God saw Mrs. Rivers heart and honored her actions listening to a man of God, obeying the voice of the Lord and in her giving.  She could literally apply the passage of Psalm 41:11 and say, 
“Lord I’m thankful you are pleased with what I did and you showed me that by having the situation resolved in our favor.”
Looking Back ...
In most cases I tell people that they aren’t to focus on things of the past, but keep looking forward.  However, that’s what I would like you to do for a minute.
Is there anything in your life that you can look back on now and see how God totally turned a situation around in your favor?  I’m pretty sure you could just as I can, and you would probably think of it as “just answered prayer”.  Well, you are right, but it is also your proof of the Lord’s favor and blessing on your life.  When things turn out for our good so that it benefits the Kingdom (and not just us) it is evidence that God caused His shieldof favor to surround you and the effect was victory over your enemies.
"By this I know that You (God) are well pleased with me, because my enemy does not triumph over me." (Psalm 41:11 NKJV)
If you aren’t sure God is really working on your behalf, remind yourself of this verse.  Say it out loud to remind the devil, “God chose to favor my situation, therefore, my enemy has not triumphed over me.”  Don’t talk your way out of it by rationalizing, debating or even logical thinking about the whys or why nots.  Simply thank Him for honoring His Word.
God is looking for hearts to bless and favor. I want to be one of those hearts, and I don’t want to miss it either. What about you? 
Let’s give God something He can work with this week by being a heart that seeks after the Lord.  Don’t worry, He’ll notice and somewhere His blessings of favor will show up for others to see.

Lord, You Have My Heart - Delirious?

Until next time, expect Favor over your enemies!

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