We have God’s favor

When we accept the Lord Jesus into our life, we have God’s favor.  That is because at the cross Jesus took all our sins, faults, failings, everything that displeased God upon Himself. How big and great a factor our Lord Jesus is in our lives, when we let Him! I am convinced that one of the battles of faith in our lives is to see the greatness of our God and Lord Jesus, to see and know that God surpasses anything and everything that we face in life. That we need to see Jesus and His greatness and not the problem! Because of Jesus all the blessings of Heaven are raining upon us and blessings are chasing us down (Deuteronomy 28:2). The key is our faith in this, our belief in this. Remember, because of Jesus, we are no longer ourselves but have Christ’s identity. We are now a new creation. God’s favor gives us an advantage.  With God’s favor the impossible things will become possible.  We read in Matthew 19:26, “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”.”  The key ingredient to unlock the favor of God in our life is faith and belief in Christ. Simply look to Jesus because He is the answer and the end of your struggles. God has a place and a plan for each of us.  It doesn’t matter how difficult a situation or how bleak it looks, just look to Jesus and know that He has the answer and that all things are under His feet!  God has a beautiful future for each one of us.  We can even find comfort in Job. He did not have Jesus to look to, but put his trust in God. In this manner, whatever we are facing, let us put our trust and our hope in the finished work of Jesus!

The book of Job runs 42 chapters.  We do not know how long Job’s suffering lasted, but we know that it was more than a week (Job 2:13), and possibly months (Job 7:3).  There is no question that Job went through great suffering.  Before his suffering, the bible says that he was the greatest of all the people of the East (Job 1:3).  What did he lose, what happened to him?

  • His oxen and donkeys were stolen by the Sabeans and his servants killed (Job 1:13-14)
  • Fire from heaven came down and burned up his sheep and servants (Job 1:16)
  • The Chaldeans took his camels and killed more of his servants (Job 1:17)
  • The house where Job’s children were was blown down, and all his children and the people who were with them died except one. (Job 1:18-19)
  • Job got boils from head to toe (Job 2:7) and he turned black with fever (Job 30:30)

What was Job’s wife’s reaction to this?  “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity?  Curse God and die”!” (Job 2:9).  Did Job get negative, did he get down, and did he curse or blame God?  No, his faith and trust remained with God!  It says in Job 10:12, “You have granted me life and favor, And Your care has preserved my spirit.”  Job remained faithful to God in the middle of the storm, in the middle of difficulty.  At this point I am sure that Job didn’t see an end to his troubles; he didn’t know what God’s plan was for him, yet he remained in faith.  Job wasn’t restored until the 42nd chapter.  He was restored because he remained faithful to God.  “11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful (James 5:11).”  What was the restoration of Job?

Job 42:10-13

10 And the Lord restored Job’s losses[a] when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold.  12 Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters.

Let us not fear, worry, or fall apart.  Let’s remain and abide with God.  Let’s carry ourselves with confidence, not because of what we do or have but because of who we have, Jesus!   Let’s always remember and declare in our prayer life and our whole life, the favor of God, not because of anything we have done, but because of what Christ has done.  God’s vision and plan for us will be accomplished.

Because of Jesus

Isaiah 54 is such a beautiful chapter of the bible. It displays God’s heart for us once we enter the new covenant made possible by our Lord Jesus. Because of Jesus we are loved, we have peace and our Father promises never to be angry with us. Consider Isaiah 54:9-10.

Isaiah 54:9-10 Amplified Bible (AMP)

“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me,
As I swore [an oath] that the waters of Noah
Would not flood the earth again;
In the same way I have sworn that I will not be angry with you
Nor will I rebuke you.

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,
But My loving-kindness will not be removed from you,
Nor will My covenant of peace be shaken,”
Says the Lord who has compassion on you.

God is saying that because of what Jesus did for us, He will never be angry with us, never rebuke us, that His loving kindness will never be removed from us. His peace will also never be shaken from us.
When trials and difficulties come, when we have doubts or fears, what a beautiful word to rest in. We are loved, we have peace and do not have to fear for God is with us! Rest in Jesus finished work for you at the cross, rest in the great love of the Father and the Son, all because of Jesus!
I pray that this understanding may create in you renewed peace and rest.

 

Ephesians 3:17-18Amplified Bible (AMP)

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love];

Bring your praise to God, not your problems!

Image

Praise

Mordecai Brown – Overcoming Setbacks and Discouragement

I have been reading “Everyday a Friday” by Joel Osteen.  In fact, I must be going through the book my fourth time.  In the book Joel provides an inspiring story of Mordecai “three-finger” Brown.  He sustained damage in his youth to his fingers on his throwing hand.  He turned this setback into his advantage.  This brings to mind the story of Joseph, shortly after his father Jacob died:

Genesis 50:14-21

Joseph Reassures His Brothers

14 After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. 15But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said. 16 So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us 17 to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. 18 Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said.   19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

Many times we look at a setback, a situation that we are facing and have fear and become discouraged.  When times like this come, let’s remember to keep serving God in faith.  Let’s remember that God allows everything for a purpose.  That at times we may feel disadvantaged when God doesn’t see a disadvantage, He knows that we are equipped and able to achieve His vision.  Mordecai Brown had it in his heart to play baseball.  He didn’t allow a setback to discourage him and loose his dream.  Joseph had many setbacks in his life, but always remained in faith.  Let us too remain in faith and know that God is in control.  Let’s focus on His vision for us and not let anything take away our hope or joy.

If you want to read more about Mordecai Brown here is a link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordecai_Brown

Psalm 136:23-26 (The Message)

23-26 God remembered us when we were down,
His love never quits.
Rescued us from the trampling boot,
His love never quits.
Takes care of everyone in time of need.
His love never quits.
Thank God, who did it all!
His love never quits!

‘Before they call, I will answer.’ (Isaiah 65:24)

I came across this wonderful story recently.  I was told that it was written by a doctor who worked in South Africa.  I hope it warms your heart as it did mine.

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator). We also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). ‘And it is our last hot water bottle!’ she exclaimed.

As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

‘All right,’ I said, ‘put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.’

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children.   ‘Please, God’ she prayed, ‘Send us a hot water bottle today. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, as the  baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.’

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, ‘And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?’

As often with children’s prayers, I was put on the  spot. Could I honestly say ‘Amen?’ I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren’t there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses’ training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the veranda was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes.

I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box.  From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas – that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.   Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the….could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, ‘If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!’ Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted!  Looking up at me, she asked, ‘Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she’ll know that Jesus really loves her?’

‘Of course,’ I replied. That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child  five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it ‘that afternoon.’

‘Before they call, I will answer.’ (Isaiah 65:24)

The Lord is watching and guiding you to blessing!

Psalm 139:7-10

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.

Our God is all seeing and all knowing, and He is with us at this moment.  Sometimes we may not feel that way, but yes He is with us.  The evil one wants to make us feel alone, forgotten, forsaken.  Let’s not fall into his trap.  Let’s remember and keep alive the saving power of the Lord in our life.  Let’s continue to reach out to Him.  He is our great God, our deliver and our Savior.  I love what it says in Job.

Job 22:23-30

23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; You will remove iniquity far from your tents.  24 Then you will lay your gold in the dust, And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks.  25 Yes, the Almighty will be your gold[a] And your precious silver;  26 For then you will have your delight in the Almighty, And lift up your face to God.  27 You will make your prayer to Him, He will hear you, And you will pay your vows.  28 You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways.  29 When they cast you down, and you say, ‘Exaltation will come!’ Then He will save the humble person.  30 He will even deliver one who is not innocent; Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands.”

This describes what our great God will do!  We only need to turn to Him and seek his path of righteousness.  The evil one wants to cast us down, he wants to make us feel that there is no hope, no future.  But the future for us is bright and secure.  Remember the three boys who were cast into the furnace.  They had sustaining faith that saw them through their difficult trial.  The King presented them with a challenge.  Were they going to serve our Lord God, or bow down to an idol?

Daniel 3:12-15

12 There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”  13 Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”

They had a high position working for the King.  They had power and comfort, a good life in comparison to many.  They could have maintained this life with one simple act, bow down to the golden idol.  They did not forget their belief in God, that the Almighty was their gold!  They had been in difficult times before and chose to serve God.  He sustained them.  Now they needed to have sustaining faith!  They had no assurances as to how this would turn out, yet they placed themselves into the hand of the Almighty.  Here is what they said:

Daniel 3:16-17

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

We know that these boys were delivered from the furnace.  However, even if they had not been delivered from the physical pain and death, they still would have been delivered for their eternal life.  We need only look at the example of Jesus who endured suffering and pain and now sits at the right hand of God.  God’s purpose for Christ was not to dwell any longer on the earth.  God’s purpose for the three boys however, was still on the earth.  He used an impossible situation to glorify His name.  Their test became a testimony!  We are still here; God is not finished with us yet.  He has a purpose for us, a path of blessing and prosperity.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Let’s follow the example of these three boys and put our trust in God even though we do not know how it is going to work out.  Let’s activate our sustaining faith!  Even though the knowledge and wisdom of the earth from the evil one says there is no hope.  Let’s hold on to the knowledge and wisdom of our God!

Matthew 19:26

 26But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Our God is with us right now at this moment.  He is leading us down a path of greatness and brightness.  When it becomes really difficult, He even carries us.  He will never give up on us or leave us.

 One night a man had a dream.

He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.

Scenes from his life flashed across the sky
and he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
one belonging to him and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life had flashed before him,
he recalled that at the lowest and saddest times of his life
there was only one set of footprints.

Dismayed, he asked, “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you’d walk with me all the way.
I don’t understand why, when I needed you most,
you would leave me.”

The Lord replied, “My precious child.
I love you and I would never leave you.

During your times of trial and suffering
when you saw only one set of footprints…

That was when I carried you.”

 – Footprints in the Sand

When we start to feel alone or forgotten, that there is no hope, let’s reach out to the Lord even more.  Let’s activate our sustaining faith and declare His promises over our life.  Let’s put away our thoughts and ideas and put our full trust in Him.  Let Him carry and take us to where we need to be.  We can be assured that the place He takes us will be a place of brightness, prosperity and blessing!