Friday, December 10, 2010

The High Cost of Favor

Mary’s pregnancy tests were not celebrated with little test strips turning pink, baby showers, toys or embossed birth announcements. The nursery for Jesus was not remodeled, papered, painted or furnished with the latest Jenny Lind furniture. His bassinet was a feeding trough. He was not born in the latest new tech birthing center with soft lights and the best of doctors, but a stable that was cold, uncomfortable and smelled of hay and manure.

Mary and Joseph’s first born was not brought home in designer baby gowns to a gathering of doting grandparents and family. Joseph and Mary did not read through all the latest baby books or consider their family tree in deciding what to name this mystery child.

This child was born in obscurity. His birth was announced only in the supernatural realm. Heaven had a mandate to protect Him from the murderous sentence that had been pronounced on all the male children 2 years old and under in Bethlehem and the surrounding districts by King Herod.

The most innocent of innocents burst through the Virgin womb with a death sentence around His neck. The place of His birth began the prophetic fulfillment that He was born to be slaughtered - Migdal Edar, “the tower of the flock”. In ancient Israel this was the exact location where lambs were raised for sacrifice and ceremonial slaughter. John 1:29 truly “He was to be the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world.”

His first outfit may have only resembled swaddling clothes, but in truth, He was clothed in the unseen mantle of Destiny. Only a select few of God’s creations recognized this Gift of God!

By social standards he was considered illegitimate, cloaked in shame. The nagging question always plagued Him, who really was the Father? No DNA testing was available. The only place I can locate any record of Jesus being celebrated during the 9 months of pregnancy, was by another unborn baby that had also been destined for a life of isolation, misunderstanding, rejection and premature death…John the Baptist, and his mama.

(1): friendly regard shown toward another especially by a superior (2) : approving consideration or attention

: BEHALF, INTEREST : in favor of
a : in accord or sympathy with
b : to the benefit of :

Much has been taught and written about the “Favor of the Lord.” The subject of favor has even been the foundation of ministries.

Psalm 5:12 (Amplified Bible) For You, Lord, will bless the [uncompromisingly] righteous [him who is upright and in right standing with You]; as with a shield You will surround him with goodwill (pleasure and favor). This scripture indicates that favor is a separate blessing to be desired, and bestowed by the Lord as a reward for the righteous.

How many times have we cried out and prayed for favor in every conceivable situation without much consideration for the cost of this grace?

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

Luke 1: 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
** Favor put demand on Heaven. ** Favor is not delivered by the lower echelon of God's army but, God's own messenger angel, Gabriel. **Favor may take generations to manifest.** Favor may require you to put on your seatbelt and a helmet. **Favor will require an extra measure of God's grace, mercy, and total faith that He will be with you in whatever He requires.

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel[e] forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
**This new found blessing was causing great turmoil in this child's soul. 

34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
**This teenage girl, with reckless abandon and faith, sealed her fate and that of her child's with her own words.**

Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
** If she could have been totally honest, I am sure there were times she wondered if she had made the right decisions.**

Luke 2:34-35 (New Living Translation) Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
** A bittersweet prophecy about  this child produced as a result of God's favor. A prophecy that would strike fear in the boldest of mother's hearts.**

Luke 2:40 (New Living Translation) There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.
**The same grace and favor that had come on the mother of Jesus the Christ had now come on her beloved child…..The same favor that cost the mother of Jesus her future would NOW cost her Son his.**

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