As Paul and Barnabus were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things (the good news of Jesus) on the next Sabbath. When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them to continue the grace of God. (Acts 13:42-43)
People who realize they make mistakes and need a savior want freedom from their stress and forgiveness for their wrongdoings. Through their message of Jesus crucified, Paul and Barnabas offered them God’s grace—the mercy of God to give us favor we don’t deserve. Just as you pour favor on your loved ones, God wants to pour favor on us. This morning I listened to a message of Joel Osteen’s on favor. He reminded me of two Bible stories.
Zechariah said: “Ask the Lord for rain during the springtime rains. The Lord is the one who makes the clouds. He sends the showers and gives everyone green fields.” (Zechariah 10:1) Rain represents God’s favor. God wants to rain the favor he has stored in the clouds on us, but first we need to ask for it. Our grass turns greener when we ask God for favor.
God put a dream in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah was a humble servant, a cup bearer, for the king. This dream would seem impossible for one with no money. But Nehemiah was in God’s grace. He asked God for favor then boldly asked the king for time off and letters for protection, the gifts of supplies, and the needed manpower. After he traveled 1,000 miles to Jerusalem, he declared to the officials that the gracious hand of God was upon him. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” (Nehemiah 2:18) Once they began the wall was completed in only fifty-two days. (Nehemiah 6:15)
Paul and Barnabus tell us to continue in the grace of God. These Bible stories tell us we do that first by asking God for favor, then asking others for favor, doing what we can do ourselves, and declaring with faith that the grace of God is on us. Then God will rain favor on us, and we can complete the dreams in our hearts. He will also make our dreams happen in less time than we think. The wall around Jerusalem was built in only fifty-two days. We might expect that to take a year or two.
Father God, I praise you for storing favor in the clouds for me. Let that favor rain down upon me and my loved ones. Give me the power of the Holy Spirit and courage to be bold enough to ask others for the favor, gifts, and manpower I need to complete my dreams in less time than I think possible. I declare that your grace is upon me. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.