Proverbs 8: 34, 35
`Joyful are those who listen to me,
watching for me daily at my gates,
waiting for me outside my home!
For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the LORD.’
I am sitting in a cafe overlooking the water prepping for a conference coming up that I’ll be preaching at (let me know if you’d like to come or even drive me). I am actually up in Queensland hanging around until my sister arrives from Sydney so I can pick her up and head to my parents to celebrate my Dad’s 70th.
I was seated on the plane this morning next to a young 20 something chick and we made some small talk through the flight until the pilot announced our decent into Maroochydore.
As if we didn’t know..the ride down was just a tad bumpy and there weren’t even any clouds. I swear he had his L plates on the back tail of the plane so none of us could see them. Despite the beautiful view the landing was kind of scarey especially for the girl next to me. I have flown all my life but this pilot almost made us pee our pants. I decided to distract her with my marvelous wit. The young girl next to me was laughing so much by the time we landed, I think she was going to wet herself from laughing instead of fear. I’m not really a comedian but it worked and as we parted ways on the tar mac, I kind of wished I had engaged her sense of humour much earlier. I guess it comes down to the fact that I wasn’t Favour expectant. I have been diligent this year is being a Favour finder..seeking opportunities not just to experience God’s Favour but to pour it on others in ways they can not deny God is real but today I was in my own little world. She – watching her movie and me typing away with my ear phones in listening to the new Hillsong recording. I am or about to explain why you should or shouldn’t t as it took a different turn in my mind than that.
This time of year ..the middle of the year is not unlike the middle of a journey. This year we had a mandate to make our journey through this year one of finding Favour and my question for you today is how a you going with that???
For a number of months I have have been studying feet, steps, walking, and the significance of pilgrimage and journeys in the bible. As I sit here and reflect today on my journey of Favour this year I feel some parallels that I want to draw your attention to. The past few months have been crazy busy for our family and school holidays bring a beautiful reprieve from some of that but it can also be just as busy because being a mum is full time, regardless of there being school in the mix or not. To get to the middle of the year is almost done with a sigh, as if the climb to the middle of the year has been a pilgrimage. We made it to the middle with a sigh of relief.
Favour in the beginning: We all left 2011 with a sense of expectation and joy similar to what you feel when you start off on a long trip to a great destination. With this 2012 journey came a mandate for you to be a Favour finder. To actively pursue, seek, track down and expect the Favour of God for your life and your family and our church.
Favour at completion: The end of a journey often has a great feeling too. A sense of relief, a sense of achievement and completion but .Favour in the middle??? What about right now…the middle…the part between back there and the finishing line. As a runner it is not the beginning or the end that is the difficult part. It is in the middle that we get tired, weary, bored, distracted, uncaring, cold and we tend to want to give up, quit, or lose sight of the end and get side tracked. When I am out for a run…I love the beginning, I love the end but it is about half way that I feel like I don’t feel like going for a run anymore but I have no choice …I have to get home!! Right in the middle of the year you can’t start over and you can’t stop here you only in the middle. He who began a good work will complete it. But does that mean he goes on vacation in the middle??? I want to encourage you to keep pursuing God’s Favour. Activate the faith and stir up the expectancy factor. You need to get HOME…not dragging your feet behind you but hitting that finishing line with joy. So this blog is just are remind to stir up that zeal and enthusiasm and expectation for the Favour of God. Make some changes, shift something, do something to stir your faith.
God reveals his favour through his promises. That’s a sinch. What an easy way to discover his Favour. You need his Favour in the middle and where better to find it than in his word. If you want to get a fresh sense of his Favour then re-discover some life scriptures and promises he has given you, find some new ones. go digging into his word. A tip: if you ever want to hear the audible voice of God then read the bible out loud!!! It is chockers full of promise. Let his promises set the standard for your life and family. The middle doesn’t define favour for your life. The weather doesn’t define favour. His word does! Get into the word of God!!!!…pull those promises out, re-write them, stick them around your house, meditate on them, change your routine so that those promises can be fresh in your heart again. Remind yourself of the destination. What is it God has promised you. He who began a good work….the one who got you on this pilgrimage, the one who called you can get you through the middle. He is going to complete. He is not finished.
His favour is found his provision. Jehovah Jirer …the lord who provides is not just the provider at the beginning of the journey. He sustains and provides through out. What do you need…expect to find favour when you are ask. Ask and you shall receive. Expectation is the breeding ground of miracles. Disappointment steals your confidence. It will sabotage your faith. Keep believing!
His Favour is found in his presence…if his favour is found there why don’t we seek. You would think we would drop everything to be found in his presence….It is another simple but costly way to discover his favour. There is a difference. There is a difference between knowing about his presence and living and dwelling there! I can be with Steve physically but absent because my mind and heart a long way away. So too, when God is wanting to pour himself into us but our hearts and minds are not engaging with him we lose so much of what he has for us. His presence is with us all the time but to seek out his presence is different. There is a different between me seeking out Steve and being present. So too God is always present but I can also seek his presence. In his presence is fullness of joy. There is joy available in the middle. It is in the middle that we feel weak, weary and yet it is in that place that he wants to Favour us with his power and his strength and his enabling. It is in our weakness he is strong. It is as we wait on him he will renew our strength not when we simply read about waiting on him:)
It is in the middle that we need to remind ourselves that Favour is a position. Jesus paid a high price to bring us into a position of favour….This position does not change with the weather or with the challenges we face. Colossians 1 is a great reminder that we are positioned in the kingdom of God’s own son..the one who created all things and rules over everything. He has seated us with him in heavenly places. It is in the middle he asks us to set our minds on things above. t is in the middle of the the journey he tells us to set our hearts and affections on things above not on earthly things. t is in the middle when we are most like to set our minds on the things in front of us or around us. Guard your heart from the things and people that have the ability to grab the affections of our heart or an unseen offense to grab our hearts. Set your hearts on things above. It is there you find Favour. One of the Psalms that the of Pilgrims would sing as they trudged towards Jerusalem but had not reached their destination was this one…I love it…a focus in the middle can help get you through to the end.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber (Psalm 121:1-3 NIV)