Friday, June 2, 2017

Signs of God’s Favor

Having received a good report from the surgeon that he didn’t need another operation, my husband decided we should celebrate with hand dipped double scooped ice cream.  Hey, when you hear a smashing idea you go with it right? 

Chocolate and raspberry cheesecake flavors go so well together … how yummy.  As we were leaving the store hubby handed me his ice cream saying, “It’s dripping, so keep licking it.” 

I didn’t know why he placed his treat in my hands, but being an obedient wife I geared up for the task.  Holding a cone in both hands I did my best to adhere to his request.  Oh the things we wives have to endure for our husbands!  

Welcome new friends this week from:
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New on DFB – Centurion & Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa; Bijlmer, Noord-Holland, Netherlands; Maria Ellend, Lower Austria, Austria; Kathmandu, Bagmati Zone, Nepal; Uganda; Brazil; Romania. 

USA Cooper City, Gulfport, Lady Lake, Palm Bay, Palm Springs North, Sorrento & Sarasota, FL; Winnemucca, NV; Chambersburg, PA; North Hartsville & Pine Ridge, SC. 

I am so thankful for your visit and hope that you come back each week to participate in the weekly challenges.  Join us in our new series as we spend time in the study of Daily Favor Prayers. 

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Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign 

Giving his reason for having me hold his dessert hubby explained his action. 

“There’s a sign I want to get a picture of that says: Unattended children will be given espresso and a free puppy!”  

Smiling I said, “That’s so funny?” Turning around I watched him walk up to the cash register.  Picking up the wooden sign he put it in position to take a snapshot. 

As he rejoined me I started to return his ice cream when I noticed another sign that was nestled on a top shelf of a cabinet near the entrance.  Asking hubby if he could take a photo of it as well, I continued to carry out my duty to conquer the dripping ice cream!  Little did I know it would be a “sign” from God for us to carry out what was written on it the next day. 

Guts and Courage 

It was the first of June and the day was pretty well booked with things to be done along with finding time to run errands somewhere in between.  We finished our monthly pet food run and needed to get something to eat before heading off to the next two appointments. 
The traffic light turned green and we left the shopping center parking lot.  Heading through the intersection we noticed a young man on our right holding a sign that read, “Struggling Family Needs Help”. 

This wasn’t the first time we’ve seen people standing on this corner with a heartbreaking message scratched out on cardboard, but something seemed different about this guy.  Not being in a position to stop, as we slowly passed by him I noticed his attire wasn’t shabby. In fact, his Khaki shorts alone looked better than anything my husband had in his wardrobe.  

Still I couldn’t help but wonder about “his story” being true, or if he was some putz trying to pull on heart strings using a sad kids in need plot to suck us into the drama.  In my spirit I heard, “Regardless of the situation, it took a lot of guts and courage to do what he’s doing.” 

Wake Up, Do Good, Repeat 

It didn’t really matter what the story was; the man said he had a need. Knowing what the scriptures say about helping others when you have the power to do something good you are to do it, our thoughts quickly turned to what we could do for this fella. 

“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it,
 to him it is sin.” (James 4:17 NKJV) 

Pulling into a fast food restaurant (the only one that sells veggie burgers!) we started discussing the situation.  The plan was to eat and ride to save time, but God had a different agenda for us.   

I waited in the car while my husband went inside to order our meals. As he shut the door I called out, “Do you have any cash on you?”  Extending his arm in the window he handed me the three dollars in his wallet, and I began rooting around in my pocketbook for something that might have sunken to the bottom of this treasure trove of mine. 

Words of Hope 

Looking over my shoulder I could see the man across the street standing on that busy intersection corner.  By now it was mid-afternoon and the temperature was rising in the upper 80’s.  I perceived he must have been hot and tired at that point. Cars came to a complete stop and it didn’t appear as if anyone was tenderhearted about his dilemma.  

Earlier that week I had stashed a little emergency money in a side pocket of my wallet near a few one dollar bills that I keep on hand to give to kids caught doing good deeds.  Along with some cash, we felt led to buy him something to eat and drink. 

Handing me the items hubby got back into the car.  I looked at the visor above my head and sticking out was a colorful tract bookmarker.  “Count your blessings” was the message on the front.   

Not sure if it was appropriate for this situation I turned it over to read the reverse side.  Yep … words of hope that always encourage me.  Along with counting the ways God has already blessed our lives, the message ended with a verse from the book of Philippians. 

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His
riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:19 NKJV) 

Recognizing that this was a God thing I placed it inside the bag for the man in need.  We prayed for his salvation and the entire situation he was facing. 

Telling the Story 

Reversing our direction, we went back through the intersection and into the shopping center parking lot.  As my husband was driving I asked him,  

“Could you do what he’s doing?”  

Quickly glancing to his right humbly he said in a soft voice, “I don’t know.”  

Surprised by his answer I didn’t say anything else, because he has done hard work many people wouldn’t do in order to put food on our plates over the years.  I admired his openness and honesty all while thinking how he must have felt in similar situations. 

Pulling alongside the curbing Hubby motioned for the young man to come over to the car.  Handing the food and money out the window we were introduced to Michael who began to tell his story.   

He had a family … a wife and little boy.  A few weeks ago, around the time of the flooding in our city and the surrounding areas, he was in an accident and his truck was “totaled”.   

Since he couldn’t get to work (about 15 miles from where he lives) his employer fired him.  Now out of desperation and love for his family, Michael swallowed his pride and stood by the side of the road hoping for favor and kindness from strangers.   

In Need of God’s Favor 

Leaning in front of my husband I said to Michael, “This must be hard for you isn’t it?  It took courage for you to do this.   

Bending over to see my face he replied, “More than you know.  Some people will ride by and throw quarters trying to hit me.” 

When Michael said that it reminded me of the account in the Bible of the Good Samaritan, and how even believers passed by and left the man who was beaten, robbed and left for dead lying along the road.  Only one had compassion enough to take action and used his power to do good when he had the opportunity. 

Michael continued to tell us how he walked three miles from where he was dropped off and was grateful for the meal.  Thanking us he was anxious to sit down for a rest and have something warm to eat.   

He was willing to work, but couldn’t find any.  Without a vehicle his options were limited, so Michael was out doing what he had to do despite how hard it was emotionally. 

Having compassion on his circumstance my husband began writing down information on a possible job lead.  You see, since the flooding in April dozens of businesses have shut down and frankly there aren’t many jobs.   

According to FEMA, insurance companies and contractors being able to access the disaster area, it could take months or a year before the town is rebuilt so they can reopen.  Michael needed more than work … he needed the favor of God. 

Seeking God’s Kingdom 

On the way home my husband shared something that he had prayed that morning.  He said, “I asked the Lord to help me be a blessing to someone today and be a benefit to the Kingdom of God.  I didn’t know how it would happen.” 

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33 KJV) 

Our plans were made, but the Lord was the one directing our steps causing us to be at that end of the parking lot.  Normally we exit the shopping center on the opposite side, but that day God placed us in position to be a blessing to someone.  My husband’s prayer was answered because it lined up with the Word of God.
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
(Proverbs 16:9 NKJV) 

Become a Blessing 

There’s an account in the Bible recorded in Second Kings chapter seven that tells of the city called Samaria who at the time was under siege and in such a sad state that the people were starving.  God had sent the prophet Elisha to give them hope that things were going to turn around the next day, and they did. 

At that time four lepers hung out at the city gate begging for food.  Thinking that there was no hope for them they ventured into the enemy camp.  In their minds, even if they were killed at least it would be better than starving. 

To their surprise, when they crossed the enemy line they discovered that the entire camp was vacated.  God caused them to hear a sound of a huge army of chariots and horses. 
They were so frightened they skedaddled as fast as they could, leaving their possessions behind including food, clothing, supplies, bucket loads of silver and gold! 

It didn’t take long before their consciences got the best of them.  This discovery was good news for the city and something they should be sharing, not keeping to themselves.  God had supplied their needs abundantly. (2 Kings 7:9) 

God’s grace and favor was to bless His people so they could in turn be a blessing to others.  We find this truth in Zechariah 8:13 when the Lord declared, “I will save you that you may become a blessing.” 

As God’s children, we are blessed with favor to bless others, not to keep the blessings to ourselves.  God’s promise to supply all our needs isn’t just so that our bills are paid and we have plenty to eat.  He graces us with provision so that we can pour out blessings on those who have lost hope and are in need of salvation. 

When the people of Samaria learned of what God did it restored their faith and praise was given to God for His goodness.  Right now there are millions of people starving physically, financially, emotionally and most of all spiritually. 

That morning in prayer my husband asked the Lord to place him in a position to be able to “do good” and be a blessing to someone who needed the favor of God.  As always, God was faithful and did just that with putting Michael before our eyes. 

This Week’s Challenge:
Do Good, Repeat Daily 

As Christians our utmost desire should be that we are vessels God can use for His glory and Kingdom.  Each morning when the Heavenly Father pours out His “new favor” on us, our prayer should be that our path crosses the “Michaels” in need. 

Our challenge this week is to get in position for the Lord to use us to do good and be a blessing to someone in need of God’s favor.  Consider how to handle the call of the Lord by taking these four steps. 

1 – Feed the Hungry.  Those who have studied the Bible know that Jesus said about those who are hungry, “Feed them.”  Following our Master in a situation like this, if it’s possible we give the person something to eat and drink. 

2 – Give a Financial Gift.  We try to help meet their financial need in some way by giving them a gift of money.  It’s not a loan or something to be repaid. It is a gift of love and favor from the Lord carried out by His servant(s). 

3 – Direct Their Path.  If we know of any jobs in the area, we will tell the person about it providing as much information as we can.  In this case, hubby knew of a lumber mill that is almost always hiring.  He gave this young man the name of a contact person and permission to use his name (Hubby’s) to gain access to the Human Relations Department.   

4 – Pray for the individual(s) God has placed in your path.  Pray for their salvation and the needs they have at that time. 

God had heard our prayers and the good report for my husband was an outward sign of His favor on the situation.  Faithful prayers and fellowship with the Lord delights Him and encourages those in need of His favor. 

There is something I didn’t reveal to you. Two days before this someone favored us with a money gift and a cooler full of food.  God had blessed us so that we would be in position to bless Michael later that week.  The Lord knew our plans through prayer, and ordered our steps so that His will would be done for a soul we never met. 
No doubt the Lord will place a sign before your eyes this week? It may not be a physical sign like He did with us, but then again sometimes we need them to get the message (an when chocolate is involved it sure gets my attention).   

One thing I’m sure of though is that the good blessings we receive are to be shared repeatedly, and when we seek the Kingdom of God His favor shows up daily.   

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, look for signs of God’s favor.
My favor is spelled out in My Word.”
Jesus Christ 

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

Note: 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. 

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By John Eckhardt

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