“Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight…”
“For He foreordained us [destined us, planned in love for us to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]–“
“[So that we might be] to the praise and the commendation of His glorious grace (FAVOR and MERCY), which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
“In Him we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the remission (forgiveness) of our offenses, in accordance with the RICHES and the GENEROSITY of His GRACIOUS FAVOR.” (Ephesians 1:4-7 AMP)
As the writer of this blog for the past 11 months, I have become a very visual person. I have enjoyed inserting photos related to the subject of each blog and Handling THE FAVOR of God was no exception. I also have a great appreciation of music, both secular and Christian. So I decided to see if I could find some lyrics written to fit with God’s favor:
“The Presence of the Lord” by Kurt Carr
It’s my time for God’s favor
It’s my time to be blessed
Step in, step in, step in and be blessed
The presence of the Lord is here.
GOD’S FAVOR “IS HERE”! SO “STEP IN AND BE BLESSED”
Since I am writing this during the Christmas season, it was easy to find a great example of God’s favor in Scripture. Luke 1:28 is a good place to start, where the angel Gabriel is sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth giving a message to a young girl:
“And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace~literal translation]! The Lord is with you! Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women!”
Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Yeah, but I’m not Mary and no angel has ever said to me that I am favored.” Well, you are certainly not Mary but Mary didn’t have access to a Bible where you and I do. So lets look to Scripture and see if we can understand the favor of God and who He bestows it upon.
“For You, Lord, will bless the [uncompromisingly] righteous [him who is upright and in right standing with You]; as with a shield You will surround him with goodwill (pleasure and favor)” (Psalm 5:12 AMP).
The New Testament continues the theme of FAVOR by explanation: “Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe” (Romans 5:22 AMP).
God’s message in His Word says, the righteous are for all who believe, trust and confidently rely on Jesus Christ.
MARY’S STRENGTHS IN THE FAVOR OF GOD
Each on of us has strengths and weakness and Mary was no exception. In Luke 1:28, the wording simply meant that Mary was given much GRACE (unmerited favor). It’s a kindness from God that we nor Mary deserved. It has nothing to do with what we have done, nor can we ever do to earn this favor.
With Christmas rapidly approaching in 2011, giving and receiving gifts is definitely on most of our minds. The ultimate gift is of course is His Gift that God gave to us all, His Son Jesus. And that gift keeps on giving; a divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration and rebirth. A virtue coming from God, a state of sanctification enjoyed through His divine favor. A preacher once explained GRACE to me with this acronym:
Even with God’s FAVOR Mary would still suffer.
She was first, very young (13 or 14 years). She was probably came from a poor family and a female, making her unsuitable in the eyes of man to be used mightily of God.
However, God looked upon her qualities, her trust and obedience to the Word and not her circumstances. He knew she would willingly serve God in one of the most important callings given to a human being.
Just like Mary, God looks at our obedience and trust– not the qualifications that man might look upon; He sees our heart. As Scripture show us, God will often choose and use the most unlikely of choices. Look at Jesus’ disciples qualifications, their personalities, their human potential. From the outside, they didn’t much look like good candidates for ‘followers of Christ’.
LIFE LESSONS OF MARY’S EXAMPLE
She knew her submission to God would cost her. She would be disgraced as an unwed mother. Joseph would probably divorce her or worse–he might have her put to death by stoning.
But in her heart, she knew she had God’s FAVOR and she was confident on what she must do with “favor”. Mary was a willing servant; she trusted God; she obeyed His call.
“HANDLING” GOD’S FAVOR
“[Earnestly] remember me, O lord, when You favor Your people— That I may see and share the welfare of Your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, that I may glory with Your heritage” (Psalm 106:4-5 AMP).
In Psalm 106, I highlighted four key words for handling God’s FAVOR:
1. SEE and recognize that you as the righteousness of God have the Blessing and because of The Blessing have FAVOR!
2. SHARE The Blessing, your favor with others. You are blessed to be a blessing!
3. REJOICE in the gladness of God’s FAVOR in your life.
4. So that you may GLORY in God’s blessing and favor.
The word “BLESSED” means to cause [empower] to prosper and make happy. And because of the empowerment given to you in FAVOR, you are able to GLORY. “GLORY” is the “manifestation of God’s heaviness, His “weightness”; manifestations of who He is and does in whatever way He reveals Himself.”
Did you know and realize that God’s FAVOR— the prosperity we receive “in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favor”(Ephesians 1:7), is not only given but “lavished upon us in every kind of wisdom and understanding (practical insight and prudence)” for those who believe in Christ Jesus (verse 8)? “Lavish” means “without limits”! FAVOR without limits.
FOLLOWING YOUR HEART IN GOD’S FAVOR
So often, our current circumstances makes us forget about our heritage, our righteousness, our FAVOR. Ephesians 1:11 says it the best:
“In Him we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained, (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will.” That is FAVOR in a nutshell.
God has already blessed us, favored us in Christ with “every spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3). In Handling THE FAVOR of God, you will have to follow your heart with trust and understanding given to you by the Holy Spirit. You can’t let other people pressure you into being something that you’re not. If you want God’s FAVOR in your life you must be the person He made you to be, not the person your boss wants you to be; not even the person your parents or your husband wants you to be. You can’t let outside expectations keep you from following your own heart.
“I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; be merciful and gracious to me according to Your promises” (Psalm 119:58),
FAVOR Verses: Deut. 33:25, Psalm 5:12, Psalm 30:5, 2 Corinthians 4:17, Proverbs 8:34-35, Prov. 12:2, Prov. 18:22, Isaiah 60:10-11, Malachi 2:17.