Being Saved, Being Smart, Uncategorized

I get so annoyed with the “blessed and highly favored” response church folks use to answer to a simple “How are you?” It comes loaded with a sense of self-righteousness, entitlement, snobbery, and a good dose of deceitfulness. Ma’am, just because you’re wearing a suit and hat from the Churchgirl Boutique does not mean you’re favored by God. Same thing goes for you, Mr. Pointy-toe Shoe Wearer. It’s foolish to brag on something that we can’t provide for ourselves. I haven’t always had God’s favor in my life, but I noticed a change two years ago, and again in the last six months. favor has really begun to overtake me.

How do I  know? My prayers are answered almost immediately. Then when I’m out and about, people bless me with things that I specifically ask God for— not with a bunch of stuff they don’t want, but with their time, their help, resources. They don’t know why they’re giving it, but they turn around, look at me, and pass it right on. And I can do nothing but praise Him in that moment!

Here’s I’ve learned about favor through my process of having none to really enjoying its perks.

Favor is a natural response to our obedience to God and His Word.

For many years things were going wrong for me. I seldom received blessings but always prayed for them, so I prayed and asked the Lord to show me why I wasn’t being blessed. Not too long thereafter I drove past a very nice car with a young woman inside. Her license plate read “Obdnt1”. OBEDIENT ONE!!! You’d think I would have been more aware of my heart’s condition, but I had really forgotten about the man I was sleeping with against God’s commands. How deceitful our hearts can be! Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commandments.” The fact of the matter is sin is ugly to God and when we partake in it, we become ugly spiritually and soulishly. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, people respond negatively to this ugliness, and our lives cannot be blessed when our hearts are far away from God.

When you start to favor God just as a child favors his parent, people will favor you.

One of the coolest things about watching a child grow is seeing how their personality and features change over time. Children start to FAVOR one parent and as a result draw the attractions of those who favored that parent. When Little Leroy starts looking like Big Leroy, momma loves on him all the more along with daddy and granny and Big Leroy’s cousins. As I walked through a grocery store one day, the Lord spoke to me softly and said “The reason you have favor on your life is because you favor Me.” In other words, because I’ve started to favor Him, i.e., act like Him and think like Him, His grace and beauty is ON me. People are ALWAYS attracted to God’s beauty whether they know it or not. That’s why I can stand in line behind someone and they pass me a stack of coupons or pay for my entire cart of party food or give me extras without my asking. When you carry the presence of the Lord, or’s become and’s. People are drawn to God ON you and show favor…. even when they don’t want to!

Favor causes the blessings of the Lord to overtake you.

I received a prophetic word in 2010 saying that blessings would trickle in at first, but over time would rush out and overtake me. I’m beginning to see the overtaking. Not only have I moved and been assigned a job that I love, I’ve also been asked to contribute to an international project, co-author a science skills book, edit a text by a friend, and continued in several other projects. These opportunities are blessings and there are so many (I still want more) that I’m overwhelmed by the impact of them!   God’s Word says Deuteronomy 28:2 “all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God.” All which blessings? Read the rest of Deuteronomy 28 to find out!

The scripture says that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature AND in favor with God and man, and He did so by hearing and obeying the voice of the Father. If we want to be overtaken with God’s blessings– and you should want this– then do the simple things you already know to do. Read your Bible. Pray. Open your heart and mind to receive from Him. Accept the fact that the way you may be doing things is wrong and allow Him to change you from the inside out.

Love God for who He is, and not for the benefits that He gives, and favor will cover and lead your life.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Side note: Just thinking of the many ways we use the word favor… Party favors and wedding favors are given as a “something to remember us by.” When you enter a room does your presence cause those around you to experience or recall what they know of God? You are (or should be) Heaven’s party favor!!! LOL!

Being Saved, Fine Oil Initiative, Uncategorized

I’m Not One to Brag, But…

I’ve just come out of what was a very trying and dark season in my life, not because of my own personal choices per se, but because sometimes we have to walk through the valley with the Lord. He takes us to the depths to experience the fullness of Him then brings us out with new giftings. That’s what this year has been for me. A super long sauntering stroll through the valley of shadow of death… Some things I can’t wait to forget!

Funny thing about God, not passing is not an option as long as you continue to move forward. Even what others perceive to be failure (Peter denying Christ) causes us to experience grace when we feel least deserving. The only way to fail is to give up. And how many times did I just wanna lay down and die in the valley? Sweet merciful Father…

But on August 31st the tides turned. I was FINALLY offered a job (though I’m not sure why feet were dragged). That night I went to bed spiritually tired and inquiring of the Lord about what needed to be done next.

That night I dreamed of a gift box. I knew in the box there were 100 different gifts for me inside. I reached in to pull out the first present– a silver apple. I had NO clue what this meant, but I knew that the next day I was to drive to Falls Church, open a bank account, and look for an apartment.

Sure enough the name of the credit union was none other than… What? No Guesses? APPLE!

Not only did I open an account, I was able to get the funds I needed to make the move with NO interest, but my car was also refinanced and monthly payment lowered by $155! I walked OUT of the bank with my debit card in hand and ready to make the move.

That’s just the beginning of the blessings!

As I searched for apartments I realized the places I found online were subpar. I whispered a prayer to the Lord and made two turns (without navigation you understand) and found the rental office to a reasonably priced, homey, apartment complex. My children’s school is within one third of a mile from our home, and they have OUTSTANDING TEACHERS!

Later that week as I searched for movers, I came to a screeching halt to the tune of $1200. I snotted, cried, and prayed. Found a fella who quoted me $800. He sent his two finest young gentleman movers who favored me so much, they didn’t even charge me for the full trip. I paid $600 to move my things from Richmond to Northern Virginia. The next day two of my close girlfriends showed up to help me move the last of my things. Everywhere I turned there was a blessing down to one of them driving the ten-foot truck because I couldn’t! Listen… I know I’m not anointed for driving big vehicles, so I thank God for them!

After I moved, the position that was originally offered to me changed to the position I really wanted. Do you not understand that I stood in the courtyard and shouted after I hung up the phone? B&B did a little shout with me before even asking why I was so thrilled. God is faithful!

Everyone talks about how expensive it is to live up here. The rent is high, BUT what I paid for child care monthly in Richmond, I’m paying for the entire school year in NOVA. A full tank of gas lasts me two weeks, and I can easily fill up where it’s cheap when I take the kids to their dad. Food here is better quality, and surprisingly, much cheaper.

I have NO classes to teach so my work day ends around 2pm, but I stay longer by choice. The kids beg me not to pick them up because they’re having fun with their friends, so I go home and relax… I mean exercise… before cooking dinner, checking homework, ironing clothes, making lunches, the list goes on…

He gave me my life back!!!

Yes, I know I’m bragging. But not on me! ON HIM!!! If I had one thing to shout from a mountain top it would not be that I love Him but that “HE LOVES ME!!” And if He loves me, in all my faults and nastiness, then surely He loves you in yours. Don’t get me wrong… I stand in need of many things, but I trust Him so much more this year than I did last year. Did I mention how good it feels to be free from the limitations and expectations of other people?

I’m not one to brag, but this time I just couldn’t keep it to myself. If you’re willing to walk through the dark places with the Lord, endure hardship, and carry His burdens, the blessings He gives will far outweigh any suffering you’ve endured. Don’t believe me? Then read my posts starting six months ago…

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for you future!

 

Alana

 

 

 

Being Saved, Uncategorized

Red-flagging Your Prayers

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So many books are written about this, but I feel impressed to share why God is pouring so heavily into my life.

The past few weeks, I’ve been bragging about His love for me. That’s the only type of bragging the Word of God permits, and its purpose is to provoke you to jealousy. I want you to think “Why is she experiencing so much but I’m not? What do I have to do to have every one of my prayers answered by God?”

And when I say every prayer….

  • I prayed about this website, and within a few day’s time I had it paid for, up and running, without ANY knowledge as to how to build a website. God sent people with resources and skills to help me and they literally showed up when I had  a question. Thank you,  Brother Dizard.
  • I asked the Lord for some quality time with my father last week when I was travelling from Maryland back home. I called him, and he was five miles away from where I was when I expected him to be another hour down the road. We had lunch, and he comforted me in one of my struggles.
  • This week at church we had conference and I wanted to greet one of the ministers. I had attended his church during my college years but never got to speak to him. Not only did someone bring him to me, but he held my hand and agreed with me on a personal matter. AND his wife was brought over to me and we embraced. After service I took my children to McDonald’s where the couple showed up and greeted us again and loved on my children.
  • In addition to all that I received two prophetic words that provided comfort and guidance to me. I’ve said this before, but April has always been a hard month for me and this year proved to be the same.

 

Yet, God’s favor has kept and comforted me. We define favor as God’s unmerited grace, but I’m not so sure I agree with the definition. When we try to reduce words to a simple meaning then the understanding behind it is lost. No, I don’t deserve His favor, but I did do something to qualify for it.

 

Every morning I lie in my bed and talk to the Lord. I tell Him how much I truly love Him and offer myself to Him. I ask Him what’s on His heart, then I listen. I pray the things that He tells me to pray. Then I obey Him.

This is why my prayers are marked “priority.” They are marked with a red flag and when God sees that flag I believe He says, “This person really believes and trusts in me. I’m going to see about her right now.”

Now many of us have reduced God’s goodness to simply waking us up in the morning, but to be honest, there were some mornings I’d prefer to be dead. Why wake me up, Lord, if I have to deal with this same mess? This same pain? This same situation? Fix it, Lord, or kill me! Yet His grace sustained me through those times… Now I have something to look forward to in my day.

 

To close, I want to share a few short points with you to help transform your prayer. I guarantee Heaven will move on your behalf if you  seek God with the following in mind:

  1. Praise and thank Him before you pray anything else! Don’t just thank Him for superficial things, but dig deep. If you’ve got to thank Him for someone else, then do that too.
  2. Repent. The word says in Psalm 66:18 that if you regard (give place to) iniquity in your heart, then the Lord wIll not hear your prayer. We cannot pray with sin on our minds. Surely we all have sinned, but to hold what you did in your heart as if to keep it on the throne where only Christ should be… God will not hear that prayer. Simply repent, and think of it NO MORE.
  3. Believe that He hears your prayer. Jesus said “Father, I know you hear me when I pray.” When I started saying that in my prayers, I started receiving answers immediately.
  4. Seek His face. Before asking Him for anything, ask Him what’s on His heart. And pray whatever He reveals. I find that it’s easier for me to pray for others than it is to pray for myself, and so I do that. And in so doing, my needs are met.
  5. Be sure of His love for you. Sometimes we don’t know how to pray for a thing, but if we are certain that He loves us, than we know He will work a situation out to our best.

 

Oh, I can’t wait to hear the testimonies pour in. I know God is bringing us to a place of complete confidence and reliance on Him. Why not start now??? Let’s see if you can get those prayers marked priority and being walking in His finest blessings!

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: Attribution Some rights reserved by Victoria Reay