Friday, June 10, 2016

Growing in Favor

Emma was new to the neighborhood, but it didn’t take long for the little socialite to make her way around the community.   

When I first noticed her it was Sunday morning, early morning before most people were out of bed. Still in her nightgown and slippers, she was skipping from house to house knocking on all the doors trying to get a rouse out of anybody who would talk to her. 

It was Monday afternoon when I would finally meet our newest neighbor.  We had just gotten home and I was about to go inside when she appeared at my doorstep.  Her inquiry wasn’t about me, but the two cats who were circling my legs.  While I was telling her their names, she scooped one up and began to carry Marylin kitty off with her. 

Immediately I put a stop to her planning a take-away. “They aren’t my cats, so I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be doing that. You better put her down.” Bending over to release Marylin from her grip, our conversation continued as I distracted Emma from the fascination of our neighbor’s cats. 

Chattering on non-stop, she spilled all the information about her family and the kids on the street.  Emma was also delighted to share that she had a birthday coming in two days, in which she would be turning the mature age of seven! 

Welcome new friends this week from:
See if your city/state/country made the list. 

New on DFB‎Mazabuka, Southern Province, Zambia; ‎Mannersdorf am ‪‎Leithagebirge, Lower Austria; ‎Tenambit, Australia; ‎Waitara Taranaki, New Zealand; ‪‎Uster Z├╝rich, Switzerland; ‎Cambodia; ‎Syria; ‪‎Nairobi, Kenya; ‪Martinique; ‎Fiorano Canavese, Piedmont, Italy; ‎Toronto, Canada; Latvia; Slovakia; Columbia. 

USA Summerfield, FL; Mandeville & Slidell, LA; Niskayuna, NY; Broadway, VA; Chaparral, AZ; Randleman, NC; Madras, GA. 

I am so happy for your visit and hope that you come back each week to participate in the weekly challenges.  God has been faithful and we expect His favor to abound in the lives of those who chose to Journey with Jesus on Daily Favor Blog.
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Unmerited Favor 

“It’s your birthday?  Oh, I have a something for you.  Do you like roses?” I asked. Suddenly her eyes got bigger with excitement. 

“Yes!” Emma exclaimed with a smile that spanned from ear to ear. 

Grabbing hold of the screen doorknob I told Emma to wait and that I’d be right back.  When I returned to the porch I watched Emma spinning around merrily in her own world of joy.  Holding out a single yellow rose she reached up and took it from my hand.  As she was looking down at the flower I held out another gift. 

“These are glow in the dark shoelaces.  They tell us about how Jesus lights our way.” (The scripture on the laces reads: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” from Psalm 119:105 and God Lights Our Way from John 8:12.) 

Having given her instructions about going home to put the rose in water, Emma ran off in a flash. 
A few minutes later I saw her with a few kids from the street swirling the laces in the air around her head.  By late day she was still flaunting her special gift. 

How Fast She Understood 

On Saturday (five days later) Emma had invited herself over again, only this time she met my husband. 

“It’s my birthday.  You should give me a present.” Emma announced to hubby, only his response wasn’t like mine and one she didn’t expect. 

“It’s not polite to ask people to give you gifts.”  

“Oh?” She responded. 

Before he could answer, Emma kept firing away questions in which my husband wasn’t quick to show her favor. 

“Why don’t you answer your door?” Apparently she had been trying to gain more favor since Monday and we didn’t know it. 

“I didn’t know you knocked.” Hubby said politely. 

“Oh, why not?”  Emma said as she picked up a cat. 

Instead of granting favor, without hesitation hubby reprimanded my little friend. “Put her down.  She isn’t our cat but theirs (pointing to our neighbor’s house) and unless you talk to the lady that owns them you aren’t to pick them up anymore.” 

Realizing if she wanted to hold the cats she understood that she would have to knock on the door of the one who could give her that favor.  The conversation was abruptly interrupted as Emma dashed off to knock on our neighbor’s door.  (Hopefully she won’t read this post!)  Our little friend caught on quickly that she wasn’t about to gain any more favor talking with my husband. 

Do You Have Favor? 

Understanding the idea of favor is a pretty simple one that even kids can grasp.  When we receive preferential treatment from others that isn’t given to anyone else it’s recognized as “favor” or special privileges.  It’s generally bestowed on someone because the other party has come to like or approve of them for any number of reasons. 

In order to grow in something you have to have it in the first place. That is, we cannot grow in God’s favor if we don’t have it in our lives as a seed.  Emma received favor from me because I liked her from the first time I saw her buzzing from house to house to make friends.  She has spunk, is open to new things and ignites all situations she has anything to do with (both good and bad). 

When I eventually met her, Emma grew in favor with me because she made me laugh, accepted me without hesitation and wanted to be around me. She sought me out for friendship … the cats were a bonus.  I know this because when I told her to put down Marylin she did as asked and hung around for more fellowship.   

When Emma approached my husband she thought she would receive the same treatment but didn’t.  It’s not that he doesn’t like her or wouldn’t show our young neighbor abundant favor, because he does that all the time.  His encounter with Emma was demanding of favor and that doesn’t float his boat as he would say. 

Emma had favor from me but not my husband.  Sometimes it’s the other way around and other times we both administer favor on an individual, depending how God leads.  If my friend is to grow in favor with us it will be because the seed planted in her grows as our fellowship develops.  That can only happen if we choose to spend time together and get to know one another.   

Favored with Power 

When we receive Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit empowers every believer with favor or “grace.”  Unlike favor from man, spiritual favor is a gift from God through the blood of Jesus and cannot be earned.  This favor gives us access to the Heavenly Throne of God so that we can walk with Jesus for our entire earthly journey. 

Both Greek and Hebrew scriptures translate favor as grace, but in the New Testament grace and favor are almost always identified as interchangeable.  It is the unmerited favor, grace of God on our lives that gives us power to finish the race set before us.  We need this power gift of favor in order to become more like Christ and carry out the Great Commission given to believers by Jesus.  

In the past I have talked about the term grace (in Greek “Charis” or “Chen” in Hebrew) – favor as a salvation gift. It literally means the Lord takes action to bend or stoop in kindness as a Superior Being to an inferior one. Sadly not many access the power of God to receive more grace (favor) from the Lord.   

We read throughout the scriptures how people grew in favor or stayed in “good graces” with God, but how did they do it?  The Bible talks about how Jesus grew in favor with mankind and God.  What did Jesus do to grow in favor continually? (Luke 2:52-53)

The Root of Growing in Favor 

Like Emma most believers are innocent when it comes to comprehending the full power of favor from God.  If we are to grow in favor we need to understand its purpose and how to gain it. 

There is the reason we need salvation favor.  It is the access key to being in the presence of God in order to live the life of a Christian.
In an article I wrote called “Know to Grow” I explained how we can have knowledge of someone without actually knowing them personally.  Receiving personal favor from the Heavenly Father is His way of giving us permission to knock on His door anytime of the day or night (wearing jammies too!)  
If God wants us to live as Christ did, doesn’t it make sense that He gives us the power to do it?  Spiritual favor and grace allows us to mess up and receive forgiveness over and over throughout the learning process.  God never grows tired of our questions and delights in our fellowship through prayer, conversation and obedience. 

How to Grow in Favor from God 

Jesus grew continually in favor from Heaven and Earth because He sought out the will of God.  “… and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:53 NKJV) 

He then set a pattern to follow for our new way of living Holy so we could conform to His image. (See Hebrews 10:19-25) Without “inside” favor how could we possibly carry out this task? 

The Lord spent private time with God and received Daily Favor to finish the work He was sent to do. (See Luke 2:51-52)  If we are to grow in favor as Christ did (and we are to be like Him on this planet), our fellowship time has to get longer, deeper and more inquisitive of the nature of God. 

Like Christ, we have to have a desire to seek God and find out what makes Him tick (so to speak).  Jesus wasn’t trying to “get” favor; He “got” it because He understood how to live in the Will of God. 

Now that we understand that every believer receives a measure of favor upon salvation, what are we doing with the favor we already have? If we don’t access the power favor of salvation through seeking God on a regular basis how can we expect to grow in favor daily? 

It is through fellowship, stewardship of favor and distribution of it that we are granted more favor, grace, mercy and blessings from God. Sadly many Christians get off the chosen path and forsake their journey with Jesus. They wonder why they never receive favor from the Lord or man to fulfill their dreams. Without favor it is impossible to be all that God desires. 

We Determine Our Increase 

People have no problem with the concept of increase when it comes to wages. With more productivity we expect to be compensated for the “little extras” we do, and rightly so.   

Some pay scales increase with time invested, others based on quantity or quality determine the pay scale.  All in all, it’s something we don’t question as we position ourselves for raises throughout the years or time period of the task.

However, when it comes to stewardship of the favor we’ve been given by God, we don’t take it as seriously therefore we don’t invest time in trying to grow favor in our lives.  At work we are constantly in the office or “face” of our bosses or supervisors trying to gain favor in their sight, but rarely seek God’s face for how He wants a job done. 

The first time Emma approached me it was in boldness and purity not seeking anything in return.  When I told her to put down the cat she took correction and continued sharing her life story.  She didn’t know I would show her favor in the giving of gifts. 

However her second self-invitation didn’t play out well with my husband, because her motives were selfish.  When he corrected her, Emma left to seek favor from our neighbor. 

Our little visitor returned to our home over and over seeking a relationship.  Sometimes she was granted favor but not always, depending on her reason for fellowship.   

When was the last time you tried to get in God’s “good graces”?  As His children we are already there and don’t have to do anything else to be in His presence.  On the other hand, God doesn’t want us to stand before Him merely to get something, but to declare we have done something for Him. 

Jesus prayed to the Father: “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” (John 17: 4 NKJV) 

Seven year old Emma is still learning as she grows physically, mentally and socially. What is our excuse for wanting favor from the Lord?  Is it for personal gain or to finish the race we’ve been given to run? 

This Week’s Challenge:
Grow in God’s Favor 

It is true that all believers have the same measure of favor, but not everyone utilizes the favor in which they’ve been given through prayer or fellowship.  In other words, when was the last time you “hung out” with God like you do your friends or family?  We determine the increase of favor by the amount of time we spend with God besides going to Him with petitions. 

Our challenge this week will have us spending time with God so we can grow in favor from Him and others. Simple one-on-one with nobody else. 

Here is an example of how one woman I know does this.  She literally sets up regular “dates” as she would call it with Jesus.  Scripturally she is spot on because the Lord said He would be a husband to the widow. 

She sets aside specific times to hang out with the Lord, separate from her daily prayer or Word reading schedule.  During that time she doesn’t focus on anything else but God.  Her fellowship includes singing spiritual songs of praise, joyful dancing as King David expressed before the Lord, laughing, reading the Word and carrying on conversations out loud as if He were physically in the room with her. 

As a result of her intimate fellowship seeking the face of God, He has increased her favor allowing her to grow in grace/favor from Him and others. She has been a good steward of that favor so it continues to grow.  

“You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace (favor) and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:17-18 NKJV) 

For me, I spend loads of tea time with my Savior on a regular basis.  As for you beloved, no matter how you plan to spend time with God make sure that it revolves around Him. 

Relax in His presence and just enjoy being there.  The rest will come in due season as you grow in grace, favor and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

If this article has encouraged or helped you, please consider sharing it by using the social media icons provided at the end of this post. 

Until next time, I pray you continue to grow in God’s favor!

 “Seek My face for My favor.”
Jesus Christ 

*Unless noted, the names in articles are changed to protect the individual(s) privacy. 

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. 

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A tangible reminder to grow in grace, favor and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Description: Indoor/outdoor 5” x 5” square cement garden planter engraved with “Grow in Grace.” 

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.

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