March 17, 2015

Blessing and Favor

What is favor? What is blessing?

You don't have to look very far on the Internet to find these words today. They are written on cute graphic images, pasted on social media, and generally, bandied about in blog posts and other status updates. I am guilty of posting "blessing and favor" posts too, and sometimes I wonder if it is overkill. I mean, should I be posting about my blessing and favor? Or should I, instead, acknowledge it within my heart, and let it pass by without mentioning it to anyone else or without drawing any attention to myself? It is a difficult choice to make, especially when I feel that I am blessed and I am favored. In fact, in John 1:16 we read, "From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another." This verse gives testimony regarding the coming Messiah, Jesus the Christ. John the Baptist was preaching to his followers and was telling them that someone was coming who would bring grace (unmerited favor and blessing) to our lives. Jesus, was coming, and John was telling the people about His goodness, His favor, and His blessing.

Grace is a magnificent thing. It is the best gift we could receive, and in it an through it, we are able to have faith in Jesus, to fully engage in this life, and to find hope in the resurrection to come. Ephesians 2:8 states "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God" and reminds us that grace is a gift from God and not of any works on our part. Furthermore, we read in verse 9, "Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it."

God's marvelous grace is presented in this excellent post taken from the late J. Hampton Keathley, III's archive on the revelation in the Bible. In reading through this article on grace, one cannot help but realize that God's grace provides everything the believer in Christ needs to live a victorious life -- from the moment of salvation on through to eternity. God's grace comforts us, assures us, provides for us, enables us, and affords us the opportunity to experience a full and satisfying life living in and through the will of God. It is marvelous, indeed.

Today, as I consider God's grace, I come to the conclusion that if the world needs to hear a word of encouragement, then the world needs to hear about God's grace. Therefore, let no one be dissuaded from sharing the testimony of God's goodness, His grace and favor and blessing, because in this day and age when the world is wrought with pain, with sorrow, and with suffering, the message of salvation, the good news of the Gospel, and God's unending supply of grace provide hope, provide health, and provide healing to a hurting and desperate world.

Lately, I have been struggling with doubt regarding the plans the Lord has for me. I have tried to refocus my energy into more positive lines of thought, but daily I find that I am conflicted over the details for my life in 3-6 and 9 months. I struggle to "know" what the Lord wants or desires -- where He wants me to go and what kind of work He wants me to do. I have blogged about my frustration, my lack of clarity of vision, and my general unwillingness to abide in His grace (His sufficiency for my needs). I feel better today, thankfully, and I am more comfortable with the "not knowing" part. However, I still desire to know, and that is a slippery slope, so to speak. I have this deep need to control the outcomes in my life, and as a result, I find that if I am not in control of the details, I stress, I strain, and I strive to figure out what is missing. The funny part (as in seriously erroneous) is that what I want to know is the mind of God (LOL!) Yes, the Word clearly reminds us that we are not able to know God's thoughts outside of those that the Holy Spirit reveals to us. In short, we are human, but God is God.

1 Cor. 2:11 - "No one can know a person's thoughts except that person's own spirit, and no one can know God's thoughts except God's own Spirit."

Romans 11:34 - "For who can know the LORD's thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice?"

1 Cor. 2:16 - "For, "Who can know the LORD's thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?" But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ."

Isaiah 40:13 - "Who is able to advise the Spirit of the LORD? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?"

Selah! (pause and calmly think about it!)

There is this part of me that wants to know everything, every detail, every change or wind, in order to feel in control of my life. Yet, my life is no longer my own (Gal. 2:20, 1 Cor. 6:19-20, Acts 17:20), but rather it belongs to the Lord who is Master, Ruler, Savior and King over all the details, the beginning, the middle and the end of my days. 

Why must I continue to strive, to struggle against the Lord?

Psalm 46:10 - "Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world."

Oh, yes, Lord! May it be, may it be so as your word encourages this good day!

It is a good day today, and there is much work to do. In fact, my to-do list is fairly long. I have 17 essays to grade, a book to finish reading, a website to analyze, some responses to write to peers, and a trip to Walmart. All of this is work that needs completed by EOB today. It is now 11:19, and praise be to God, I am ready to start tackling these items. The Lord has graciously allowed me a free week, thanks to GCU's Spring Break, and I am bound and determined not to waste it. I am resting, of course, resting physically, but also mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. I need to recharge, and this is my week to do it. The Lord's has graciously provided a break for me right in the midst of a difficult semester. I am challenged, and I am overwhelmed, but generally, I am feeling positive that whatever the Lord has in mind for me will come to pass according to His word and His will for my life. I must look to Him as my Provider (Jehovah-Jireh), and I must remember that my trust is not in my own hand or in the merits of a job (no matter how nice, good, or profitable that might be). My hope, my praise, and my reliance are in the finished work of the RISEN AND EXALTED Lord Jesus Christ. He is my King. He is my Shelter. He is my Rock, my Refuge, and my Salvation. 

Psalm 18:46 - "The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation—"

I rest today in the security, the blessing and the favor of the Lord. His grace abounds, and because of His finished work, my needs are met with sufficiency, with goodness, and with mercy this good day!


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