Thursday, February 11, 2016

favor comes from God

 Mary Agee, one of Polly's daughters, after a Peachtree Road Race, Atlanta, GA.

“ have found favor with God.”
Luke 1:30

God’s favor is so much like God’s grace. We don’t deserve such a heavenly gift. We can’t earn it. We can’t create it. We can’t buy it. Favor does not come from man.  

Sometimes we may think favor comes from our boss or our parents or our neighbors, but God still rules over our circumstances and orchestrates even the outcome of our conversations. He decides who will give us a raise, who will be kind and generous to us, or if the boss will fire us from our job. 

His sovereignty decides all of the outcomes in every area of our lives. Our responsibility is to be faithful in what He has called us to do. When we step off His path for us -- which usually causes pain -- He will work situations to get us back to the place where He wants us! He expects us to be where we’re supposed to be at the time we’re supposed to be there.  

Favor is a spiritual blessing from the hand of God. He decides how and when any of us receive His favor.  He loves to give it to His children. "If you then, even though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him" (Matthew 7:11).

In the book of Luke, the story is told of a very young woman named Mary. She was approached by an angel who said to her, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28) She was about to be told she would conceive a child and remain a virgin. God knew she was faithful and humble and He knew how she would respond. “'How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’” (Luke 1:34) Mary did not ask this question in unbelief and we see confirmation of that when she visited Elisabeth, who said to her: “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” (Luke 1:45) 

Mary obediently responded to the Lord’s instruction – through the angel – by saying, “'I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ’May it be to me as you have said.’” (Luke 1:38). She answered in such a way that God was glorified and His purposes would be accomplished. She was a very obedient servant of the Lord Most High and was given great favor. Through her body, the Savior of the world came to earth and changed humanity forever.

“Noah found favor in the eyes of God” (Genesis 6:8). God called Noah to a remarkable task; a father to a new mankind. God wiped out all mankind and all creatures except Noah, his family, and specific creatures. There were countless instructions for Noah to build the ark to God’s measurements, to count the breeds and pairs of animals who would come into the ark, and to hear mocking of unbelievers as he spent 100 years building it. God knew Noah would follow instructions and persevere to the end. He knew Noah was a faithful and true servant. Noah had the favor of the Lord. Period.

Over and over we see in Scripture, God chooses specific people to call His own and then grants them favor to accomplish His purposes! So cool, isn't it? When we're in the flow of God's favor, doors of opportunity seem to fly open and then at the God-ordained time He sends another one of His chosen ones to walk into your life...and all for His purposes and His glory...and of course, He blesses our socks off in the process. Yep. I've seen it in my own life. God brings amazing people in my life and He likes to blend our gifts together...for His purposes. And some of you reading this right now are some of the ones I'm talking about! Just know I'm so very thankful for you! Just sayin'. (I'm having fun with this, aren't I?)

Look what God did for Moses in Exodus 33! "Moses said to God, "If You are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is Your people. The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." (Exodus 33:15). FAVOR! GRACE! 

And how can we fathom the deep love the Father has for His children?  "...Your Presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth" (Exodus 33:16)! Moses knew God and was fully aware His God has set apart His people for HIS glory! How beautiful is that?

"And then God said to him, I will do everything you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name" (Exodus 33:18). 

There is a common denominator...these people put God first in their lives and sought His face and His glory at all costs. They knew God intimately and spoke with Him, sort of like we are able to do today.  We speak to God when we pray and worship...and He listens to our hearts when we are not speaking. Yep. And then He speaks to us when we read His word and when we will stay still, we can hear His voice through the Holy Spirit inside us. Supernatural. Spiritual. Awesome. Whew. Yes!

 "For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD” (Proverbs 8:35).  Finding favor with God does not mean we live in sinless perfection.  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Finding favor is finding grace and if we were sinless, we wouldn’t need His grace. These faithful servants needed His favor and His grace as much as we do today. “Let love and faithfulness never leave you. Bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:3-4).

God has purposes He wants fulfilled and lives He wants to transform and a world of people He wants to see come to Him, on their knees. He knows His faithful servants are not up to the task He has called them to do, unless His favor is poured out upon them…for His glory and the good of mankind.

For HIS glory,
"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together!"
Psalm 34:3

This devotion is a revised version of "Favor Comes From God" published in my paperback edition of Totally Devoted 2.
I am revising the entire book to publish as a Kindle edition.