Friday, March 6, 2015

5 Ways to Live in Continual Favor: Part 1

It won't be long before the big weekend to “spring ahead” and move forward into the better things the year has to offer arrives … right?  Another chance to follow through on those confessions we made, “I’m going to do it this year” agenda.  Some of us vowed that we would work out every day and told all our friends so we would keep our “commitment.” 

After about ten days the complaining started and so we quit, but we never told anyone we stopped.  We sort of avoid that part of a conversation when we meet up with our confidants. 

Isn’t that how things usually begin?  We tell God we’re going to be consistent in this or that, but our plans don’t seem to manifest past our verbalizing them in a prayer of confession.  So how can being consistent affect (and effect) the blessings and favor of God from coming daily? Continual focus! 

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Lather, Rinse, Repeat

I remember seeing commercials and comedy skits where the person is trapped in a cycle of repetitiveness.  They are in a shower reading the bottle of shampoo and never seem to finish what they started, because they keep doing the same thing over and over.

There are two ways to think about that silly action.  We can live our lives repeating the same bad habits over and over working ourselves into a frenzy, or we can create new habits to repeat … habits that will bring good change into our way of thinking and life. 

Do that again, Sherry

It’s not big secret that repetition builds character, but it also builds new habits.  Studies have proven that a change in behavior that is repeated daily for approximately three weeks will result in it becoming a part of a person’s regular pattern.

This week I was given a challenge to blog every day.  When I asked the person why they were posting this, he told me to get people to write consistently.  For those who want to be writer’s on any level, that is good advice. 

In all my English and Journalism classes I had my students keep journals in which they would write whatever was on their mind.  My reasoning for this assignment was two-fold.  It got the pupils that were aiming their sights on writing into doing it on a regular basis.  For the others, it was a way for them to vent and see how far they have come in their behavior or thoughts since their first entry.  It was a discipline I instilled hoping to form new life skills.

One of my seniors told me that the continual pattern of writing helped her when she was about to make bad decisions.  I asked Sherry how that was and she responded, “Because I can see what I was doing and how I got through that situation.  I feel better about myself knowing I’m not quick to do those things anymore." 

By repeating a good behavior continually, it prevented her from falling back into bad patterns.  Isn't forming better life skills what it is about anyway? 

What God is Saying?

In a conversation with my sister, she said that the Lord was dealing with her concerning consistency.  She wasn’t the only one that spoke those words to me these past few weeks.  It is a critical time in history when the unsaved will be looking for certain things to draw them to God in hope that He is true to His Word.  What the world is looking for in believers is consistency. 

If we are to be the church God needs for this period, we have to stay in continual blessings and favor to be effective servants of God.  The scriptures show us steps to follow consistently as children of the Most High King. 

Here are the first two steps we need to follow for living in continual favor from God.
Blessing in Continual Praise

“By You (GOD) I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You.

I have become as a wonder to many, but You are my strong refuge. 

Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day.” (Psalm 71:6-8 NKJV)

By learning to give God praise on a regular and continual basis our words speak blessings into our life.  There is no room for pointless chatter or empty words, but expressions of power and life poured over our journey.
I recall a story about a missionary/evangelist pastor who was in conversation with a fellow believer.  He paused in the middle and called out to the Lord, “Forgive me Heavenly Father for not giving you praise for fifteen minutes.” He had cultivated a lifestyle of continual praise to the point that it effected how he communicated with others and how long.

Blessings in Continual Sowing
The second way to flow in continual blessings is to be a constant blessing through sowing. 
King Solomon was wise to state that those who are bothered by clouds and wind (meaning they don’t work when things look bad) won’t put in their crops; therefore, they won’t have a harvest. 
“He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4 NKJV)

He was right, but scripture also tells us that our giving needs to be continual in many areas.
“In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand (give again); for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4,6 NKJV)
It’s hard to give up what we’ve been given sometimes, because our believer isn’t working the way it should.  We say we trust God will supply all our needs, but only if we have the money to cover it if He doesn’t. 
Inconsistent giving breeds inconsistent favor.
What are you breeding?

When God provides for us to be a blessing to someone we are to do it no matter how many times a day He may ask us to divvy up our goods.  In return He promises that our giving will not go unnoticed and will be rewarded. 

This Week’s Challenge:
Continual Focus on Proverbs

The hardest part of being consistent is remaining focused. That’s why it’s a good idea to have something that is stronger (that being God's Word) than we are when we lose our focus along our journey. 
If we are to believe God’s promises, we have to know what they are.  This week we’re going to focus on becoming patterned in reading the scriptures.  Proverbs is a good place to start for gaining wisdom for continual Christian living. 
Before reading offer up to God a song of praise. The challenge is to read one proverb a day.  That is we’re going to read the proverb that coincides with the day of the month.  For example, if today were March 6th, begin by reading Proverbs 6.
The next day read Proverbs 7 and so forth.  When you get to the end of the month, start over.  In shorter months, read the last chapters of Proverbs and begin fresh on the beginning of the next month. This is something that you will continue to do even after the challenge, because you believe what you are reading to be true.
I have done this for years and guarantee that if you do this you will read more of the Bible than just this one chapter a day.
By reading God’s Word daily, we will restructure how we believe, think and go about our day.
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My Word, you are my disciple indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-31 NKJV)
When *satan starts planting seeds of discouragement, doubt and despair into your head, the continual Word of God will sprout into belief thoughts.  The Holy Spirit will help you recall all you read, the things you have done for Christ and help you focus on the promises of God.  He will grant favor because you believed and obeyed Him.

Believe God's continual favor comes through:

1 - Blessings in Continual Praise 
2 - Blessings in Continual Sowing.

Read Part 2
We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise
Allelulia Singers

Until next time, continually focus on God’s promised favor.
Note: The word or reference to satan is not capitalized on purpose. 

“My Word is my favor.”

Jesus Christ

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A Handbook for Christian Living
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Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Bible Gateway
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image:  What You Do Matters  Repetition & Consistency  Sacrifice of Praise  Sowing and Reaping Crop
Disclaimer Notes: Results may vary due to lack of belief.