Go where there is favor

Their descendants will be recognized and honored among the nations. Everyone will realize that they are a people the Lord has blessed.” Isaiah 61:9, NLT

Ask any of my closest friends and they will tell you that one of my mantras in life is, “Go where there is favor!” In my opinion, life is too short to spend time with those who do not celebrate you and the gifts God has placed in your life.  Think about this for a moment.  You are God’s unique creation in Christ and even during hard times, God’s favor rests upon us, as we trust in His Word.

When we choose to live for God and follow His plan for our life, we cannot help but experience supernatural favor. Our scripture above tells us that not only will we be seen as God’s favored but our descendants will also be recognized and honored among the nations. And did you know that we are promised to obtain favor even with our enemies?  Proverbs 16:7 states, When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.

There was a situation a few years ago where I clearly was in the wrong place at the wrong time and there was no sign of favor anywhere.  I felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.  Nothing I did worked, which I came to realize was a clue that I had somewhere, somehow, gotten off track.  I had become so accustomed to receiving God’s favor everywhere I went that when it wasn’t there, it was a bizarre experience for me and one that I do not want to repeat anytime soon.  It did not take me long before I realized that I unknowingly had stepped out of God’s path for my life.  I was swayed by man’s opinion rather than seeking God for where I needed to be for such a time as this. Hence, I made a change as quickly as possible and I found myself once again living where God’s favor reigns.

I do believe there are times in each of our lives when God allows us to walk through difficult places to stretch us and show us what is really within our hearts (Deuteronomy 8:2). Yet when God leads us to a valley, He promises to provide us everything we need, including His rod and a staff to comfort us (Psalm 23). The question is, has God led us to this valley or did we unknowingly step out of the path of life and lead ourselves there? Selah (pause and think about this for a moment).  If this is the case, then we can run to God and trust that He is bigger than every circumstance in our life.  He loves us and will show us His path of life.

It is my prayer that we continually live in God’s favor and that when people see us coming, whether at the grocery store or in our workplace, they will declare, “Surely they are BLESSED of God.”

Prayer:

“Lord, show me Your path.  I long to be where Your favor is for me and my family.  Forgive me for the times when I trusted in anything other than You.  You are my God and when I follow Your path I cannot help but walk in the favor of God.  Make every crooked place straight in my life and may everyone around me see supernatural favor on my life.  Amen.”

Friendships

“Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” Proverbs 17:17, The Message

Has God ever shown you that you needed to let go of a friendship, but instead of following His lead, you intentionally held onto them too long until it resulted in conflict?  As a counselor, I often tell my clients, “When you set a boundary, someone will be hurt.” And although none of us like this truth, what we fail to see is that by not setting a boundary – we are the ones who are continually being hurt!

I have found in my life that there are three types of friendships:
1.    Friends for a lifetime.
2.    Friends for a season.
3.    Friends for a moment.

All three types of friendship are just as important as the other.  You may be thinking, “Come on Tracy, surely a lifetime friend is more valuable than a friend for a season or moment!” I beg to differ with you – each type of friendship is valuable in its own right.

A friend in the moment can impact you for eternity. I will never forget sitting in a Chapel service at Mid-America Bible College.  A young African American student presented the gospel.   I don’t even know his name, but through his message and invitation, I accepted Jesus as my Savior – he was a friend for a moment that impacted my life for eternity.

A friend for a season can also impact you more than you know. I had a best guy-friend during my college years.  He greatly prepared me for my husband.  His friendship brought healing and restoration in my life – he was a friend for a season that impacted my life for such a time as this.

The thing about friendships is that we too often try and put the wrong people in the wrong place.  Or how about this one – how many of us expect everyone we are friends with to act like our friends for a lifetime? I will never forget when my feelings were hurt because a friend failed to ask me about a recent speaking engagement.  She knew about the event, but never inquired about it.  After much prayer, God clearly showed me that I was wrong by expecting her to act like my friends for a lifetime  – who ALWAYS pray for me and ask about my speaking engagements...knowing where a friend fits into our life can not only bring tremendous peace but also keep us from frustration and disappointment.

As women of God, it is time for us to let go of the childish things (offences, jealousy, back-biting, gossip, cliques, he-said-she-said conversations and every evil thing) and grab onto God with all of our might! God is the One person I can declare is your Friend for a lifetime!  Selah (pause and think about that for a moment).  Jesus is the One who is always on our side.  He is cheering you on from heaven and intercedes for you when no one else does.  Jesus is the friend that you are all longing for – grab onto Him and trust that He will give you wisdom in all your friendships.

Prayer:
“Lord, thank you for being my friend and Savior for a lifetime.  You are always with me and I love you.  I give you my friendships and ask that You forgive me for placing my hope in them rather than in You.  Show me who my friends are for a lifetime, season and moment.  I acknowledge today that each level of friendship is important in my life.  I let go of childish things – offense, rejection, trying to defend myself, he said – she said conversations, gossip, criticism, and the such and grab onto You – the author and finisher of my faith.   Amen.”

*An oldie but a goodie.  This was originally published back in Spring of 2009 on Tuesdayswithtracy.com.

It’s that time again…for a “Friend Check”

“Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, here’s what you do –
Say nothing evil or hurtful; snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to do what he’s asked; but he turns his back on those who do evil things.” 1 Peter 3:10, Message Translation

Whenever I am around people who gossip, I always leave their presence feeling dirty and in need of a spiritual shower. Yet, as much as I hate gossip, occasionally I find myself listening with interest and even participating. Whenever gossip first begins in conversation, my spirit feels uncomfortable and I always try to change the subject. Nevertheless, at times I get pulled in and fall prey to this evil sin. This is why we must be careful with whom we spend time and allow in our inner circle. Our inner circle consists of individuals we socialize with on a regular basis. *The truth is: If these “friends” are talking about others with you, then they are talking about you with others! Are you hanging out with people who gossip and say evil things about others? Are you that person? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal if this is true about you or the friends you associate with.

Once a year I do what I call a “friend check.” This ritual allows the Holy Spirit to show me if someone, for various reasons, needs to move from my inner circle. Although this is hard for me, I have learned to trust the hand of God. God will often remove someone who is a wrong influence in my life and bring new friendships, which will encourage me to fulfill my destiny in Christ. Don’t be afraid to ask God to do a “friend check” in your life – I’ve had the same best friends for ten plus years. But they are people who run after peace and speak well of others. God simply longs to fill our days up with good and look upon us with his approval as the scripture states. He is a forgiving God and is always looking out for our very best.

Prayer:
Lord, help me to be a woman who runs after peace and cultivates good wherever I go. I give you permission to show me if I have fallen prey to gossip and speaking evil of others. Please forgive me Jesus and cleanse me of this sin. Help me to speak only good of others and hold things in confidence. Give me wisdom about who is in my inner circle. I give you permission to remove anyone out of my inner circle and to bring in new friends for your purposes in my life. Thank you for looking upon me today with approval from heaven. Thank you for loving me. Amen.

*Today’s Devotional was taken from “Tuesdays with Tracy: Real-life Devotions that Touch the Heart of a Woman,” Xulon Press, 2008.

Point to ponder: The people you hang out with today will determine who you become in five years!