Notes from Sunday 28 July 2013..
Speaker: Pastor Austen Ukachi
If truly you waited on the Lord this whole month, I’m sure you will be excited that the Fast ends today!! If you want to continue fasting till the 31st of July, I will support you. God is good. We thank God for the strength and ability to fast. It is good to wait on the Lord. There are untold benefits, especially when we wait on the Lord as a congregation. One of the high points is the communion we will share. I believe the Lord will seal everything during the communion. He’s Alive Chapel centres in Lagos meet together three times a year, to break sacrament, and enjoy the mystery of the communion. It seems ordinary, yet holds extraordinary power. God will use this communion to bring healing, to lift people up, to heal relationships, to open the eyes of our understanding, and promote us.
It is the Favour of God, not the month of Fasting that will ensure we will in Divine Blessings. Lord, show us your favour! Thank God for the fast. However, there are those who fast for months, yet may not receive an answer. Let us not think that we walk in Divine Blessing by works or our effort. We can only enjoy Divine Blessing by the Favour of the Lord. We pray the Lord will release the grace for Walking in Divine Blessings today.
Three types of Favour
You need the Favour of God
You need the Favour of Men
You need the Favour of your Enemies
Even Jesus had to walk in wisdom, stature, the favour of God and of men while he was on earth (Luke 2:52). We need to do the same. May our enemies speak well of and show good to us.
Remember Laban, who wanted to hurt Jacob, but was warned by God not to do so: “But God had come to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said to him, “Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad” (Genesis 31: 24). May your enemies be touched by God to show you favour.
What is Favour?
Favour is an approving attitude. Favour is an act of goodwill and generousity. Favour means a bias at the expense of others. May God cause men to show goodwill to you. May God be biased towards you to lift you up from where you are. May you be the one chosen for favour in the midst of the crowd. May people see you, and ‘want to do you good’.
Through the scriptures, we see that God shows Favour. Many times you will not be qualified. Other times, you may meet requirements, and will be chosen from amongst a multitude. Romans 9:13 says : “As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated“. Does this seem fair? Maybe not, but who are we to question God. Can you explain why God chose to save you? Can you explain why God has showered more blessings on you than others? You cannot explain why. Whatever the situation, may you be the object of God’s love. Favour provides access, elevation and will be your portion in Jesus’ name. Favour will give you promotion in a strange land, as it did for Joseph, Esther and Ruth in the bible.
In Psalm 102: 13 says “You will arise and have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come”. According to this passage, there is a set time for Zion, and for her people”. Today is the beginning of your set time. As a son or daughter of Zion, may you enter the favour of God for today.
Favour! Favour! Favour! May the Favour of God follow us wherever we go, may it be our portion (Amen). Favour before God, Favour before men, and Favour before enemies. Your enemies will not hold you captive, they will release you in the name of Jesus.
Favour is Not;
Favour is not the absence of hard work. Favour is not the compromise of virtue Favour is not a justification for laziness. Favour does not mean the absence of suffering: a child of God may go through tribulations and trials. Nothing shall separate us from the love of God (Romans 8: 39). When Moses requested release of the Israelites to worship God, Pharoah instead increased the labour of the children of Israel (Exodus 5). However, little did the Israelites know that they would shortly leave the land of Egypt, plundering their former masters. They suffered, but God granted them favour and they were released from captivity.
Eccelesiastes 9: 11 says:
“I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time” (NLT).
May you be in the right place, at the right time (Amen).
Favour does not mean we should not study, or improve ourselves. An incompetent person may not be chosen for Favour.
Examples of the Power of Favour;
Ruth was a Moabite, a widow. Her world had collapsed, so she clung to her mother in law, also a widow and followed her to Bethlehem in Israel. She found that the law of the land permitted her to glean the remnants of the harvest. In Ruth 2: 7-9, we see that Ruth chose to go out and glean to get food. Providence took her to the farm of Boaz. The footsteps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23).
Boaz chose to show her favour; Boaz went over and said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain; don’t go to any other fields. Stay right behind the young women working in my field. 9 See which part of the field they are harvesting, and then follow them. I have warned the young men not to treat you roughly. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water they have drawn from the well” (Ruth 2:8-9).
Ruth 2:14: “At mealtime Boaz called to her, “Come over here, and help yourself to some food. You can dip your bread in the sour wine.” So she sat with his harvesters, and Boaz gave her some roasted grain to eat. She ate all she wanted and still had some left over”. Ruth did not only eat with Boaz, she had enough to spare.
Ruth 2:15: “When Ruth went back to work again, Boaz ordered his young men, “Let her gather grain right among the sheaves without stopping her“. Boaz commanded that Ruth be allowed to glean from the harvest, rather than the crumbs. Favour may not make sense to you, but it made sense to Ruth, a foreigner who was hungry. Ruth watched destiny unfold. For example, an unemployed person who gets a job with multiple promotions will wonder ‘is this office mine’? We will see that favour in Jesus’ name (Amen).
Ruth 2:16: “And pull out some heads of barley from the bundles and drop them on purpose for her. Let her pick them up, and don’t give her a hard time!”. Sometimes a person may choose to ignore unfavourable factors simply to bless you.
In Ruth 2: 10-12, we see how the testimony of Ruth paved the way for her to enjoy favour;
10 “Ruth fell at his feet and thanked him warmly. “What have I done to deserve such kindness?” she asked. “I am only a foreigner.”
11 “Yes, I know,” Boaz replied. “But I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers. 12 May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done“.
Ruth was a good, hardworking person: it was hard work that took her to the field of Boaz. If she was lazy, she may not have reached her blessings. If she was unkind, her mother in law would not have permitted her. Favour may take you to certain places, but if you have a bad reputation or character, it will expose you.
In Genesis 39, we see that Joseph possessed characteristics that enabled the enjoyment of the blessing of God. Whether we choose to admit it or not, the world is looking for successful people: “The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did” (Genesis 39: 2-3). If the Lord is with you, it will be evident to all. Look at the sequence: favour comes before success. However, favour should not stop you from trying to be successful.
Genesis 39: 4-6: This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. 5 From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. 6 So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat.
May the Lord show us his face, may he illuminate the path ahead of us, guide us, keep us and favour us all the days of our lives!