Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Growing In Favour with Man & God (2)

HOW to attract God’s Favour

- From the example of Jesus

Jesus first increased in wisdom and stature and that opened him up to God’s favour and mans favour

Luke. 2: 52
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man”

What is wisdom?
The fear of God is wisdom. The Bible says:

Job 28: 28.
“And unto man he said, behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding”.

The fear of God means to have respect and reverence for God. We need to hold God in awe. He is the almighty God, the creator, the one that can make alive and can kill and the one who is a consuming fire. We express our fear of God through our love for righteousness and hate for evil.

Proverbs 8: 13
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward mouth, do I hate”.

So the wisdom that Jesus increased in was the hate for evil and love for righteousness which he had and that made God to anoint/favour him.

Hebrews 1: 8-9
“But unto the son he saith, Thy throne O God is for ever and for ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. 9Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with oil of gladness above thy fellows”.

When you walk in the fear of God, he will show you his favour, he will anoint you in a special way and enable you to achieve what you can’t by your strength.

What it means to grow in stature
Growth in stature deals with your physical built, height, or physique. And we see that Jesus did not only increase in wisdom, he also increased in stature.

God desires that we all move from being spiritual babies to spiritual adults, from carnal Christians to spiritual Christians.

1Peter 2: 2-3
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious”.

God like every father is pleased when we are growing spiritually and are developing muscles and are being rooted in the kingdom. He needs us to grow because there are certain benefits of the kingdom that we cannot enter into as babies. The anointing to receive them can only come on us when we grow to certain spiritual level.

Galatians 4: 1-2
“Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father”.

At what point can we say that one has grown spiritually.

1. When he has overcome things like envy, strife, division est. when he no longer can keep bitterness in his heart.
1Corinthians 3: 1-3
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men”.

2. When he starts to feed on strong meat.
Hebrews 5: 12-14
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil”.

By strong meat it means that:
a. The believer’s spiritual senses are now developed and he now has a good understanding of the things of God.
b. He now does not solely depend on what others teach, he is now able to feed from the word of God for himself.
c. Nothing from the word can choke him; he can now take in the rebukes, the corrections, the blessing and the call for holiness and sacrifices and not just the bless me, give me, deliver me e.t.c.
d. His behaviour is shaped by the word. And not by what somebody has said.

How to attract God’s favour

- from the example of Samuel

Samuel was another Old Testament guy that had great favour with God.

1Samuel 2: 26
“And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men”.

Samuel attracted favour because he grew before the Lord and served Him faithfully. Now let’s look at what they mean.

1. He grew before the Lord
1Samuel 2: 21
“And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.”

By growing before the Lord, it means that Samuel had and developed a relationship with God. He spent time not only knowing about God, but knowing God.

God desires that we create quality time to be with him, very few people in church really know God. There is a lot about him he wants to show us. He wants us to be able to know his voice, his ways and his acts.

There is favour that comes with relationship; there are people in your life that you treat differently and with special consideration just because of who there are to you. Deeper relationship with God attracts his favour.

The more intimate you get with God, the more of him you will experience. To develop an intimate relationship with him, you will need to love him more, learn to create quality time just to be with him, love nothing more than you love him and be willing to lay down just anything for him.

2. He served God
1Samuel 3: 1
“And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision”.

The word minister simply means to serve - Samuel served God. To serve God involves our willingness to offer unto God our time, our worship, our possessions and even our lives.

Every believer I have known says I love God more than anything but it is one thing to say it and it is another to have the heart and to really do it. I have seen very few people who will do anything for God irrespective of the cost, very few. If we cannot hold anything from God, he will want to bless us with anything.

True service is seen in our willingness and ability to lay down something for somebody. Gifts have a way of opening people’s favour up for you. If you know how to give, you will attract favour. When you give to God you attract God’s favour and when you give to man you attract man’s favour.

Proverbs 18: 16
“A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men”.

Giving is a way of serving and if you are a giver, it will sure make room for you and bring you before great men.

Jesus thought this principle of gifts making room before great men in the parable of the rich man and his steward in Luke 16: 1-9. Your gifts will sure make room for you. When Abraham ministered to God (the sacrifice of Isaac) God made a promise under an oath to him saying in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply you. Genesis 22: 1-18. When Solomon made sacrifices of burnt offerings to the Lord, the Lord appeared to him in the night and asked for what he wanted God to do for him Genesis 3: 3-5.

There is a blessing that comes with our willingness to give our all to the Lord.

How to attract God’s favour

- Loyalty

Proverbs 18: 24
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother”.

Loyalty is another virtue that attracts favour any where. But there are very few people who understand loyalty. You cannot count on many folks these days. When we are loyal to people we will sure attract their favour.

What it involves:
a. Loyalty involves sticking with people when it is going well with them and when its turns sour. You cannot be loyal when you keep changing your allegiance.
b. It is about sticking out for people and defending them even when you know they are in a mess and they caused it. The people you believe in will always make mistakes, but don’t join others to stab them. That is loyalty.
c. Loyalty is about being available for people when they need us most.
d. It is about making sacrifices for people even when it is costly to do so. You see, loyalty is not seen when things about the person you say you are loyal to are looking great and attractive. It is seen when things have turned sour and you are still sticking out with the person.

It is always costly to be loyal, but when you are loyal to people, they will want to do anything for you; that is favour.

If I may ask, how would you treat people who when you need somebody helping out with something, they are always there? How would you treat the people who when you need someone going the extra mile, they are the ones doing it? How would you treat people that you know have your interest at heart and will always be there for you? How would you treat people that you know are not going to jump out of the boat and leave you stranded when it’s rough? How would you treat people who will always create time for you when you need them and every now and then they make contribution to increase your worth? How would you treat such people in comparison to others? Surely preferentially isn’t it?

As a pastor, I know that there are people who can call me and have at 4am and it does not matter what time I went to bed that night, would jump up for them. Why, because one good turn deserves another. Loyalty attracts favour.

How to attract God’s favour

- Walking in mercy and truth with man

Proverbs 3: 3-4
“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man”.

When you are merciful towards people, you will always find favour. Don’t be hard on people, always show mercy, kindness and give a little help when you can and God in turn will surround you with his favour.

Be good to people and I mean everybody you come in contact with, and who knows, you might be doing good to the angel of your destiny; The person you are being good to today may be in a privileged place tomorrow and in a position to do you a little favour.

Proverbs 12: 2
“A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.”

Also, don’t live a false life. Be honest with people; deal with them with truth and integrity. If people can trust you, they can recommend you, they can speak for you. And if they are in a privileged position, they can be of great assistance to you simply because the other day you dealt with them with integrity.

Don’t think because you are very coning and deceptive and are getting away with it you are being clever. No, the bible says you are being foolish. It will eventually work against you. If you want to attract favour to your life, you’ve got to be truthful to people.

Proverbs 19: 1
“Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool”.

I close with a story about the boiled seed:

Once there was an emperor in the Far East who was growing old and knew it was coming time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or one of his own children, he decided to do something different.

He called all the young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, "It has come time for me to step down and to choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you." The kids were shocked! But the emperor continued. "I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One seed. It is a very special seed. I want you to go home, plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring to me, and the one I choose will be the next emperor of the kingdom!"

There was one boy named Ling who was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the whole story. She helped him get a pot and some planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Ling kept going home and checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by. Still nothing.

By now others were talking about their plants but Ling didn't have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by, still nothing in Ling's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn't say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she encouraged him to go, and to take his pot, and to be honest about what happened. Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace.

When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by all the other youths. They were beautiful, in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, "Hey nice try."

When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the emperor. "Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!"

All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified. "The emperor knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!" When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. "My name is Ling," he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, "Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!"

Ling couldn't believe it. Ling couldn't even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor? Then the emperor said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grown, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!"

Growing In Favour with Man & God (1)

Esther 2: 15-17
“15Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king's chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her. 16So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti”.

We note from the above passage that king Ahasuerus did not choose Esther because it said she was most beautiful of all the women. Note that it did not also say that she was chosen because the king saw that she came from one of the most important families in his kingdom. Esther became queen in Vashti’s place because she obtained grace and favour more than all the other virgins.

One favour can transform your life and change your testimony. Favour is good deed or an act of kindness to somebody who does not deserve it. It involves treating somebody preferentially. This is what happened to Esther.

To walk in man or God’s favour means that both man and God will do good deeds to you or show you kindness beyond what you deserve. It means that amongst others, you will be preferred.

When you operate under favour, your achievement, your promotion, or your increase will not be based on your qualification or on what you can do or cannot do. Your qualification will be immaterial, your gender will be immaterial, your background will be immaterial and the things you’ve been through will not count.

That is not to say we should not work hard to have qualifications. It is good to have qualifications, but where God’s favour is concern, your qualifications wont matter, and wont determine the extend which you are going to rise in life.

With your qualifications without favour, you can get stocked. With your qualification without favour, you can have enemies who will try to make your life a misery. With your privileged background without favour, you can have depression and make a ship wreck of everything.

Yes it is good to be hard working. It is good to be connected to the right people in life. And it is good to have all the qualifications. But it is better to walk in favour with it. Favour will make all the difference and we all need it. There are things that hard work can’t give you but favour will. There are places that qualification can take but favour will bring you there. Through God’s favour, you can enter into that realm that you naturally don’t qualify for. For instance, Israel lived in cities they did not build.

Psalms 44: 1 – 3
“We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old. 2 How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out. 3 For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them”.

Let me share with you some of the things that can happen to you when you have favour and are walking in it:
1. Doors will open for you where it is shut against others. In other words, when they said no to others, they will say yes to you. What was not possible for someone else will become your reality.
2. You will make little effort and reap in abundance even where others have laboured before and reaped nothing.
3. Things will just work out for you where others are finding it difficult.
4. You will walk in God’s provisions - Needs in your life will be met supernaturally.
5. Strangers will bless you. I mean STRANGERS, people you do not know, and do not deserve assistance from will be there for you.
6. You won’t have to worry about the favour of man. He will make even your enemies be at peace with you. Proverbs 16:7.

Naturally, Egypt should not be blessing Israel the night they left Egypt. They had just lost the first born of man and beast. And all because of Israel; they should be stoning them instead. But they blessed them. Why? Because God gave them favour.

Genesis 3: 21
“And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty”.
Genesis 12: 35-36
“And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: 36And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians”.

7. And when enemies set trap for you, their trap will only be a stepping stone to the next level.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

A foretaste of glory

Hebrews 12: 2
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”.

What empowered Jesus to endure the cross and to despise the shame that goes with it was the foreknowledge he had regarding what the outcome would be. A little glimpse into the future is empowering.

You need to pray for God to show you a little into his plans for your life. You need to know the plan; you need a little journey into the future before it happens for you to be able to endure now. I pray God will take you to that place where you can see and touch destiny before it happens.

I agree that you cannot know all nor have a full picture of your life as it will be in the future. If you do, you will stop walking by faith. But a little picture of your future now will make you confident about life, will make you aware that you are heading somewhere and not just beating about the bush. An insight into destiny gives a meaning and purpose to life. Don’t live a life not knowing what it is about and where God wants to take you to or what is there, made available for you to.

If you don’t know what is available for you, you are going to accept anything that life throws on you, Peoples comment can stop you, you will throw in the towel because of a little failure, and the challenge of life will break your spirit. And believe me, challenges will always come. You will be tested and tried. Sometimes trials come to test your conviction or persuasion. It comes to check what you know or stand for. And the decisions you make not in good times but in challenging times are the ones that show your true convictions.

A good number of people, who have attempted or committed suicide, did that because they could not see into the future, nothing motivated them anymore. What they went through put a veil on the future and broke their spirit. Some people have moved out of some cities, changed jobs, ended relationships, walked away from people that matter and some have left churches for lack of foresight.

The ability to see a little of what lies ahead is power. It makes you a fighter. You are able to fight for a thing if you are confident of the outcome. And God wants you to see a little of the future - That kept Jesus Going.

Hebrews 12: 2-3
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds”.

That was what God wanted to achieve when he described to Moses the type of land he was going to give to Israel - He wanted the picture of a city that has milk and honey flowing in it, and a land with vineyards and pomegranate painted on Moses' mind so he can stir in Moses a desire for it and to create a warrior inside him.

Exodus 3: 17
“And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey”.

Wonder why God did not tell mosses exactly what kind of battle he was going to have with Pharaoh, he did not tell him about the red sea experience either nor the Jordan experience, the wilderness challenges and the battles with the enemies. Wondered why? God did not want Moses and Israel to be bothered with them, he did not want them to be the issue, he wanted the destiny to be the focus and motivation.

When you know what the end looks like, then you know that is not over, you know God is not done with you yet, despite what you are experiencing and what people are saying about it until it happens.

God gives a glimpse of the future in many ways, and one of the ways he does it is through a foretaste experience. You see, sometimes, or at some points in a man’s life, God brings him into his dream place for just a season and he takes him out. He brings him there before he is prepared or ready for it only to give him a foretaste experience. That was what God had in the mind when he instructed Moses to send out spies to Canaan land and to bring back some fruits.

Numbers 13: 1-3, 17-20-27

That short encounter is only to give a taste of what is to come. God wants him feel it, develop a deep desire and passion for it, and so he can start to walk his way towards it.

A foretaste experience can be a short trip abroad – to help you develop desire to live there in the future, One time preaching breakthrough - so you can start to see a preacher in you, a ride in a car of your dream - so you may want to pay the price for it, a visit to a company, hospital est. - may develop desire to work there, an invitation to somebody’s graduation - to renew the zeal for further studies. If God brings you to a place of your dream and he takes you out, it’s not your season yet, it is for a foretaste experience.

If you've enjoyed something in the past, you can walk into it. He that started this good work in you is able to complete it. If it stirs passion in you, if it is now a dream, if there is a witness inside you, you can achieve it.

If you’ve tasted it once, you can achieve it.
If you can think it, you can achieve it.
If you can dream it, you can achieve it.
If it is now a passion, you can achieve it.
If you are willing to pay the price, you can achieve it.
Yes you can. Go for it.

For God is able to do exceeding abundantly, above what you can ask for or imagine.

Hay! Don’t let the wilderness experience blur what God has shown you that is ahead.