Friday, December 30, 2016

The Hope of Christmas Favor

Christmas Favor Series: Part 5 

If there is one thing that really excites me it’s when Christmas Day falls on a Sunday.  Surely the churches would be packed with thousands praising God, and having favor with all the people as He added to the Body of Christ. How much more perfect could it get, right?  

On Christmas Day the carols of the birth of our Savior were flooding the halls of the church. Entering the sanctuary the instruments were silent as the voices of the Saints rang sweetly throughout the room.  In harmony we sang, raised our hands to give praise, prayerfully stood in agreement and attentively listened as the pastor spoke of the timing of God in the delivery of the promised Messiah that would come to save the world.   

The service closed with the congregation partaking of Holy Communion (The Lord’s Supper) in remembrance of a Savior who was born to die that we may live.  Slowly the sanctuary emptied into the corridor as each congregant was given a parting smile with words of encouragement from our earthly shepherd. 

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

New on DFB – Willemstad, CuraƧao; Yaro, Western Division & Suva, Central Division, Fiji; Trail, BC, Canada; Riyadh, Riyadh Region, Saudi Arabia; Perosa Argentina, Piedmont, Italy; Diemen, Noord-Holland, Netherlands; Ethiopia; Curacao; Kharkov, Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine; Kikinda, Serbia; Tel Aviv, Israel. 

USA Albertville, Balleyton, Berlin, Boaz, Cullman, Eva, Good Hope, Hanceville, Holly Pond, Hulaco, South Vinemont, Walter, Welti &  Wilmer, Alabama; Ionia, Kentwood, Grand Haven, Montague, Muskegon, Ottawa Center, Shelby & Whitehall, Michigan; Charleston, AR; Fort Myers, Ocala, Pensacola, Ponce Inlet & Winter Haven, FL; Campbellsville, Panther & Phelps, KY; Cumberland Center, ME; Asheboro, Greensboro, Jaars & Roxboro, NC; Oklahoma City, Muskogee & Poteau, OK; Salem, OR; Folly Beach & Hartsville, SC; Collin, Elmina, Houston, Sherman, McKinney & Prosper, TX; Farmington, UT; Auburn, Jamestown, Mexico, Niskayuna & Rochester, NY; Bluefield & Maurertown, VA. 

I am so thankful 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 Christmas favor to abound in the lives of those who chose to believe in His Son, Jesus all year round. 

You are welcome to leave comments or prayer requests below.  All are private. I would love to hear from you and how Daily Favor has worked in your life.  Contact me by leaving a message in the box at the bottom of this week’s post.  

Don't miss out on this week's challenge (below).
Be sure to visit Tell Me, Q & A or other sections.

The Woman in Red 

My husband and I were about to leave the building when I noticed the attractive woman who sat a few rows in front of us during the service.  She was a refined lady elegantly dressed in a beautiful Christmas red sequined poinsettia blouse and a slim line black skirt.  Her blondish hair was perfectly styled with poufy curls, and every strand was sprayed in place on the head of this lovely lady of seventy plus odd years. 

Turning around I walked over to her and spoke about how lovely she was in her “Christmassy” attire.  Not two seconds went by when she grabbed me by the neck and gave a full headlock hug, practically squeezing the stuffing out of me!   

Boy was she strong for an older gal!  I felt like a squirming cat trying to escape the gripping wrapped arms of a human showing their affection a little too vigorously.  

As I tried to regain my stance, with a happy grin she uttered, “Hardly seems like Christmas; it’s like it’s already over.” That was it; she didn’t have anything else to say.  Now how should I respond to her?  I didn’t, but simply smiled and bid her a Merry Christmas as I scampered toward the door. 

Where was hubby through all this?  When I told him what happened he said, “What lady?”  Thanks for being there Hon! 

Her statement left me a bit uneasy (or perhaps it was trying to recoup air in my lungs …), but I soon forgot it after we got back to the house. 

December 26th, 2016 

Someone is sharing the Christ-mas in their community.
Christmas was over technically, but the season was still in full swing … so I thought.  In an attempt to lengthen the holiday, the next day we decided to drive around town to see the lights.  Oh my, it was like the lady from the church was speaking prophecy! 

We drove down street after street, and almost all of the Christmas lights and decorations were already down.  The atmosphere was as if people just wanted it over and had a “Let’s get on with the next thing” kind of attitude. 

When we got home we turned on all our Christmas lights to remind people that the hope and joy of Christmas not only came, but is still here. 

… and the song plays on … 

Continuing in our Christmas Favor series, the celebration in song doesn’t end with Mary, Joseph or the angels during the first Christmas season.  God moved on the hearts of two seniors that have been looking for signs of promises of the Lord to unfold.  Take a step back in time with me as we glance into the lives of these individuals who served the Lord with gladness.   

The Time Has Come   

There is one more song to be sung, that of Simeon, an aged man possibly with signs of weathered storms upon his brow.  His voice is softened, yet not heavy with sadness or despair.  In holy garments he sings joyful praises of hope to Jehovah.   

Serving in the temple at that time was an aged prophet, named Simeon who was a Bible translator of the Septuagint besides a psalmist in poetry and music.  In hope and by faith, he was waiting for God’s promise to be manifested to Israel, and that salvation to all mankind both Jew and Gentile would come. 

God has proclaimed him to be a just and devout man, who at night in the Temple sang praises to the LORD.  He faithfully looks toward the Heavens for the “Consolation,” which is the coming of the Promised Messiah with salvation to be revealed to his people.  

At some point in his life, the prophet was promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ with his own eyes.  That day had come … the timing of God to fulfill His promise was at hand. 

Now imagine the event as it unfolds before Simeon.  There is no evidence of the actual age of this servant of God, only that he had served the Lord and was really up in years (some even believe almost two hundred based on the favor of God on his life).   

Do the Math 

Anna the prophetess is the second person we see has entered the picture.  For all of her adult life she never left the temple area, but served God 24/7 with fasting and prayers.  (Luke 2:35-37) 

The Bible describes her as an elderly lady, but let’s do the math shall we?  Scriptures tell us that she was married for seven years before being widowed for eighty-four years.  This would bring her to the age of ninety-one, except that we’re forgetting something.  

How old was Anna when she got married?  Making a general guess around the same age as Mary or at least in her teens which was customary, Anna would be a good old age of one hundred and five plus years (give or take a two).  It’s highly unlikely that she would have waited until the age of twenty to marry in that culture, but if she did …. Anna would be a whopping one hundred-eleven years old.   

So could it also be true that Simeon was much older than we even believed?  Long life is a promise from God to those who obey their parents; it’s actually the first law of God with promise and is mentioned as such in over twenty-five verses in the Bible. 

Examples such as:  

I will satisfy him with a long life and show him My salvation. 

Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12) 

Follow the whole instruction the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live, prosper, and have a long life in the land you will possess. (Deuteronomy 5:33) 

Although in Genesis 6:3 God specifies the number of days for mankind to one hundred and twenty because of sin, extended years could very well have been part of God’s favor on their lives based on their faithfulness and service to Him.   

The Hope of Favor 

Just what was so special about this ancient of days prophet they called Simeon?  How was it that God extended grace to him and not the other prophets?  It was because of God’s plan on his life, so that all would come to believe on His Son Jesus. 

Something we need to clarify is that the work of the Holy Spirit was different in this passage. Simeon was an Old Testament prophet and like the religious leaders or prophets of that time period, the Holy Spirit was “on” him and not “in” him as John the Baptist, Elizabeth and Mary. 

Simeon was told through the Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the LORD’s Christ in person.  He had no idea how this would come about, but stood on the favor promise of hope that it would in his lifetime. 

Favor - A Spiritual Gift  

When Simeon was given word from the Holy Spirit about being able to see God’s Christ, he received a special gift that only a few have been blessed with throughout biblical history.  The word pneuma means Spirit in Greek and “ruach” in Old Testament Hebrew, always referring to the Holy Spirit as the giver of spiritual gifts.   

However the word “pneuma hagion” is used when speaking of Simeon referring to the favor of God Himself spiritually given to an individual. 

It was the favor of God spiritual gift “pneuma hagion” and not the Holy Spirit the “giver of gifts”.  God’s faith and/or power to believe was working in Simeon’s life and that’s why he never got depressed or discouraged having to wait so long. 

The Song of Simeon 

In the early evening the Holy Spirit guided Simeon to enter the Temple.  As he waited, in walks Joseph and Mary cradling baby Jesus in her arms.  They didn’t utter a word, but the prophet knew immediately what he was about to experience. He would behold the Christ-mas child. 

Taking Jesus in his arms Simeon begins the customary Jewish blessing on a child.  Making a declaration he breaks into his farewell address song referred to as “The Nunc Dimittis”, a traditional canticle night prayer. In Latin, it translates as “Now, Master, You can let Your servant go (rest and be relieved of duty and depart) in peace being fulfilled, just as You promised.” 

Singing his last duty as a soldier of the Most High God this is Simeon’s Salvation Song: 

Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said:
 Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace,
as You promised.
 For my eyes have seen Your salvation.
 You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples—
 a Light for revelation to the Gentiles
and glory to Your people Israel.
Luke 2:28-32 (HCSB) 

By faith Simeon rejoices declaring that because of the promise fulfilled he could now die in peace, knowing that salvation was secure through Jesus.   

How Christmas Favor Came to You and Me

Notice in verse thirty how Simeon uses the phrase “Thy Salvation”.  Translated from the Greek word Soterion, it’s not the usual word “Soteria” which means nothing broken, nothing mission. 
The word here (Soterion) is used of Jehovah Himself, not merely of salvation. God Himself has come … Immanuel, God with us. (Matthew 1:23) 

In verse thirty-two Simeon spoke of a Light to the Gentiles and Israel, meaning the revelation by unveiling and manifestation that could be viewed or seen.  In other words, hey guys this baby is the One! 

The “glory” spoken of in the last part of the song was a fulfilled promise to the people of Israel who were waiting for the glory; that special blessing from God and the Christ-mas child was that miracle. 

Hope Has Come 

At the same moment Simeon began sharing the prophecy with Mary and Joseph, the widow Anna that served in the church entered the room.  She waited as Simeon finished his message that the Deliverer has come like the prophet Isaiah had said in chapter 49 verse 6.  

Now it’s Anna’s turn to speak about Jesus to all who were looking (hoping) for the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:38)  She would also share in the favor of God by witnessing this promise being fulfilled. 

A forty day old baby was the promise Deliverer for the Jewish people, and Messiah to all nations who would come to believe in Him as the Savior.  The Christ-mas light is here and shines throughout the earth with good tidings of great joy to all mankind.  The hope of God’s favor for salvation was marked for eternity when Christ was born in a "cattle’s" cave in Bethlehem. 

Throughout the years Simeon continued to believe, without knowing how God would work things out for his good.  He saw a baby physically, but spiritually Simeon saw the solution that would repair the breach that sin caused between God and man. 

In wisdom Simeon prepared the young couple for what would become of the Christ child.  The sword that would pierce the Son of God would do the same emotionally as Mary would one day observe this prophecy before her own tear filled eyes. (Luke 2:34-35) 

Gender to Generation 

As we have walked through the lives of those who received Christmas Favor in this series, it isn’t surprising how God has done so.  He has crossed generations and gender using a young virgin, a barren woman, a working class man, an elder in the priesthood, an old prophet and a prophetess. 

Elizabeth, Zechariah, Joseph, Mary, Simeon and Anna trusted God’s plan and remained faithful and receptive to the Holy Spirit.  Their faithfulness allowed God to give them His favor and be a part of something great that others only witnessed or missed out on altogether. 

What did they all have in common (besides a song in their heart)?  Not knowing how things would play out for their future, they surrendered their all to the Spirit of God, reminding us that we are never too young or too old to be used for God’s plan. 

These now citizens of Heaven responded to the call of God on their lives when their day of salvation came.  Their hearts weren’t hardened, but surrendered, ready and willing to do “whatever it takes” to get the message that Christ-mas Light, that the Messiah and saving grace (favor) had come.  

Today many Christians continue to sing the songs of Christmas past but fail to remain a beacon of light so all would come to believe, because they are not willing to be led.

Are you allowing the Spirit of God to lead you so that you remain righteous and a devout servant of Christ?  Perhaps it’s time to surrender to the plan so that the Hope of Christmas Favor will flourish in your life every day. 

As we come to the end of this series, believe and receive what you have heard on this day.

God’s Greatest Hope 

Driving to church on Christmas morning, I noticed that the church parking lots weren’t full, and sadly the hope of the Messiah didn’t reach as many souls as it could.  It made me wonder:
“Have God’s people forgotten about the Hope of Favor we received when the Christ-mas child was born into our own lives?” 

This Week’s Challenge:
Surrender to the Christ-mas Light  

The Christ-mas Light message is still shining bright, and the hope of salvation favor to all who will believe is very much alive!  

On December 27th, 2016 we received an aerogramme from a man in Indonesia.  My husband asked me if I knew who he was, but I informed him that I did not. 

Although physically our Christmas lights can only be seen a short distance, the Light that brought us salvation reaches from sea to sea around the world.  This devout man of God wrote a letter of thanks to us for helping them in their outreach missions so other Indonesians would learn about the Christ-mas Child Jesus, and the hope of salvation (through God’s Daily Favor) was now theirs by faith.  Praise God for the Light of Christ-mas! 

Our challenge this week is not one that should end for any believer, but one of spiritual favor for all to witness as Simeon and Anna did.  

As you prepare to set goals and resolutions for the upcoming year, through prayer surrender your life plans to the Lord no matter how young or old you are.  If you’re still here, God has favor designated for your life plan. 

Let this year be guided by the Holy Spirit so that He can work joyful wonders of His love through you, and grant you more favor then you’ve ever experienced. 

Your life matters to God. There is a promise behind that hope of Christmas Favor set aside just for those who dare to believe. 

Let me leave this thought with you as to why God is willing to show favor to those who will shine the Light of Christ-mas not only on the holiday, but all through the year. 

“The people are living very much below poverty line, and in part living in fear, anxiety and are desperate.  They very much need the news of peace, joy and eternal life through salvation.”  Letters of Hope from Indonesia 

Remember what you’ve learned this year, and take it to the next step. Shine the Light of the Hope of Christ-mas Favor with others each and every day God grants you life.   

“For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the Saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God. 

While, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ,
and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 

and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace ((His favor and mercy and spiritual blessing which is shown forth) of God in you. 

Thanks be to God for His indescribable free gift of eternal life through salvation! (2 Corinthians 9:12-15 NKJV emphasis mine)

All To Jesus Surrender led and sung by Robin Mark 

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 Jesus comes, share the message of Christ-mas Favor!

“The Holy Spirit is waiting to give you Christ favor.”
Jesus Christ 

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

Note: Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB).  Emphasis is given in some scriptures to show clarity or understanding and is not to take away from the inspirited Word of God. 

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 the photo or link.
Spirit Filled Life by Charles Stanely on Daily Favor Blog
Discovering the Joy of Surrendering to the Holy Spirit
Large Print by Charles Stanley 
Also available in eBook, paperback, audio and MP3 

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:  Christmas Service  Christmas Light on House   Anna the Prophetess  Immanuel God with Us  Hope Has Come  Led by the Holy Spirit
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The Hope of Christmas Favor, Christmas Favor, Christmas Lights, Charles Stanley, Holy Spirit, Christian Living, Birth of Jesus Christ, Simeon the Prophet, Daily Favor Blog, Favored1, Christmas Favor, Christmas Service, Anna the Prophetess, Immanuel God with Us, Led by the Holy Spirit, Christmas Favor Series, Communion, The Lord's Supper, The Nunc Dimittis of  Simeon, The Spirit Filled Life.