Where Do I Go To Get God’s Favor?

 

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This gives me nightmares. Brrrrrrrrrr!!

 

Mark Twain said, “Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”   Notice he said “dog,” not “cat!” Cats are evil and would only get into heaven through God’s favor like you and me (and even then it’s an iffy proposition.)

God’s Favor: His promise to lead, feed, and protect me, for His special purpose in my life.

God’s favor is all over the Bible, and especially prominent in the Exodus. Someone once said, “You can do more in one second of God’s favor than you can in a lifetime of your labor.”

If you don’t understand God’s favor, it’s demonstrated in this remarkably absurd verse:

Now the LORD had caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the people of Israel. And Moses was considered a very great man in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s officials and the Egyptian people alike.  Exodus 11:3 (NLT)

“The Egyptians look favorably…”

Seriously?? Simply insane. The Egyptians just lived through plagues of locusts and gnats and all that other rot. I can just hear the Egyptians now:

“Moses, thank you for the boils and gnats and flies and bloody Nile and frogs! But especially the BOILS! The glorious boils! It’s like puberty times a thousand! How could we NOT favor you and your awesomeness?”

That kind of attitude adjustment is only explained through the miraculous favor of God. And it continues! In Exodus 12:36 the Hebrews ask for the gold and silver and the Egyptians just turn their pockets inside out loading them up!  How is that? It defies logic! Unless God’s favor brings it about.

God’s favor is a powerful thing. You don’t need anything else in the world if you have God’s favor.

Easter is proof of His favor.

If you are in Christ, you have found favor with God. Not a prosperity Gospel kind of favor that says that God wants you rich and healthy all the time. That’s pure rubbish. Sell that to a man or woman sitting in Mozambique dying of AIDS. ”You just have enough faith brother, have enough faith sister –you’ll be healed AND rich!”  Rubbish.

But His favor He will work in you for your purpose and His glory. 

Psalm 23 is my favorite “found favor” chapter in the Bible. I love the last verse that our extravagant God pours out to us: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6 (ESV)

The Apostle Paul said of God’s favor:

 But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out His special favor on me-and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by His grace (unmerited favor.) 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NLT)

God’s favor can find you anywhere.

God’s favor found the Hebrews in four centuries of slavery. God’s favor can be on you:

in the unemployment line,

in a painful marriage,

in a hospital bed,

in a gulag,

in the middle of your greatest depression.

God’s favor is not bound by circumstances. Because God is outside of time. Our circumstances may look like an awful now, God knows the end of the story. God’s favor found Joseph in the dungeon (Genesis 40) long before Joseph was found in Pharaoh’s palace.

So what?

So wake up every single morning, knowing that in everything you face – those things that worry you and stress you and keep you up all night and wear you out; He’s going to lead you through all that stuff, and He’s going to provide  the way, and He’s even going to protect you in the midst of it all.

Here’s the truth: Just like God’s favor found Moses and the Hebrews and Joseph in the dungeon and God’s favor finds every single person who is in Christ. That’s why the Bible says, “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

God’s rescue brings His favor. His rescue brought favor on Moses and the Israelites as they fled 400 years of slavery. His rescue at the cross brought His favor to you. In Christ, you can have this confidence:

“The Creator of All? He loves me, He is good to me. And He FAVORS me.”

Amen amen.

 

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Be In Love with Yourself and Get Happy?

We are all just like, more and more totally awesome, right? We have to be! 

Just Consider the Following:

a. Our own testimony (see any social media) indicates we are more awesome with each passing year.

b. Our cameras on our phones improve every year to take better pictures to broadcast our awesomeness.

c. Social media expands exponentially every year – from Facebook to Instagram, to Twitter, to Snapchat – giving us an almost limitless and infinite universe to broadcast our awesomeness!

d. All the experts constantly advise that the secret to happiness is to have a passionate love affair with our awesomeness (and as a culture, we will ride that wave to oblivion).

Here are two experts:

“To love yourself is a never ending journey.” – The Oprah
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha.

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Who says love yourself more? This jolly old elf! And Oprah. But not Jesus.
With a, b, c being true, and d being embraced from the top to the bottom of our society, we MUST be over-the-top incredibly happy right? Right? Right?

Wrong.

Even though we have to be the most in-love-with-ourselves people in history, we seem to be the most unhappy people in history. Just one study (and there are many supporting this) reports that there is a 20% increase in diagnosed rates of depression per year (link here).
We live better than kings did 500 years ago (we’ve got flushing toilets, deodorant, Spam!).

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Pharaohs didn’t have this! But you do! So get happy!!!

We are our number one lover, but the statistics say we’re so unhappy. Why?

The answer is as old as mankind. Happiness is not found in self-love.

It certainly seems like self-love and self-promotion would create a happier me.

The Greeks knew better. They had the story of Narcissus. He fell in love with his own reflection in a pool, couldn’t take his eyes of himself, and in one version, drowned. Wade through Instagram one day. You’ll find lots of Narcissus’ offspring – drowning themselves in selfies.

But even more significant, Jesus warned against a self-centered, self-seeking, self-serving life. He said If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. 

Lose it? How is that even possible? If I’m all about me, then I stack the odds in my favor!!

No. If you make it all about you, at least two things happen:

1. No one will like you. You will drive away all the normal healthy people (sycophants and emotionally unhealthy folks will stick close).

 
2. God and His creation will not cooperate with you.
When reality (universe doesn’t revolve around you)
smashes into your expectation (universe does revolve around you),
you will experience depression, anger, frustration, anxiety, etc.

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. 

The reality is this: The universe revolves around God. He created it and He keeps it going.

It really is all about Him.

So when I tune my life and tune my heart and tune my mind to reality (it’s about Him, not me), He promises great success, great freedom, and a great future.

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. BUT if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. Matthew 16:25 (NLT) 

It’s a simple truth: Self-love and self-promotion are the paths to self-destruction.

While God opposes pride (the self-centered, self-seeking, self-serving), He is ridiculously extravagant with the humble. He exalts the humble (I Peter 5:6) and He lives with the lowly and revives the contrite and lifts their spirits (Isaiah 57:15). As opposed to the proud as God is, He is loving and extravagant with the humble.

So you don’t have to get loud and proud and focus all your attention on yourself, you just have to get and live this: HE > i.

And when we get that and live that, HE pours HIS awesomeness on us.

And THAT is real awesomeness.

My prayer? That more and more I “get over me” and “get all about Him”.

 

 

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I’m a little drunk and I need you now.

That’s one of the lines from the Lady Antebellum song “I Need You Now.” The complete line says, “It’s a quarter after one, I’m a little drunk and I need you now.

The song is quite haunting and most folks can identify with the idea of having lost love, being alone and that aching feeling of desperately wanting to get it back (not necessarily because you’re drunk and it’s late at night.)

Lost your first love. 

A song that fits the idea with more precision is “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” by The Righteous Brothers and Hall and Oates, but I don’t like it as much no matter who sings it. There’s also “All Out of Love” by Air Supply. It’s not bad, but a little 80s – ish. As in parachute pants, pastel suits and guys with wings in their hair – like Farrah Fawcett.

But you know that feeling. You lose that loving feeling over time and quit holding hands Valentinesand kissing goodbye. Valentine’s Day becomes a chore invented by a fat baby with wings. You quit doing those things that stir your affection for one another, and you do those things that rob you of your affection for one another. And you lose that loving feeling.

True story  – Daily Telegraph, September 2007. Husband and wife BOTH secretly seek out an affair. They BOTH meet someone online who is PERFECT. They set the date, show up, and guess what? They’re BOTH engaged in an affair with…wait for it, wait for it…each other!!!!

Happy ending right? WRONG Einstein! They BOTH feel betrayed. What a crazy response!  Embarrassed I could understand. Ashamed I would get. A little stupid, I’m all in. But betrayed? Really???

But they each lured the other by treating a stranger online the exact way they had treated each other years before they “lost their first love.”

And Jesus tells the church at Ephesus, “You’ve lost your first love. Repent. Remember the works you did at first. And do them again.” Revelation 2:4

What about you? Did you at one time have a powerful, energizing love for Jesus? And have you lost it? Then Jesus says to you, “Get it back!

What a wonderful call from the King! “Come back, do those things you did in the beginning. Come back to Me, for you are My love, My child, My son, My daughter.”

Go back and do those things that stirred your affection for Christ in the beginning, and run to the arms of your King. And experience the newness of His love again.

 

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