God's person and His favor are not synonymous

I mentioned a few months ago that I’ve decided to go back through some of my old Bible study workbooks as part of my morning Quiet Time. In the past, I’ve gone through a study, gotten all WooHoo! and Gung Ho!, then when it’s over, I forget all about it.

That’s not going to cut it, folks.

I want to absorb God’s truths like a sponge, but I want them to STAY PUT, not get squeezed out the next week (or day or hour). And I want to APPLY them. And SHARE them. And remind myself of where I’ve been and where God has taken me and all that.

I started with Beth Moore’s A Woman’s Heart. I did the study at our old church from 9/08 to 11/08. Then I went back through it (with a black pen instead of purple) from 11/08 to 2/09. It was amazing. I looked up all the verses and circled and underlined and scribbled all over. The Holy Spirit just reinforced all kinds of stuff I’d already learned. And illuminated a whole slew of new stuff. And I hope and pray that I’m putting it into practice.

Two weeks ago I started my review of Stepping Up (I’m pretty sure this is my favorite study I’ve ever done). I first did the study in June/July of last year. And oh, my goodness. God’s getting me again. Convicting. Compelling. Ouch.

Psalm 30:6-7 talks of David “somewhere along the way mistakenly placing his security in the blessing of God rather than God Himself.” I have a tendency to do that.

Listen to this–“Even if our security is in something God has given us–our gifts, talents, loved ones, church family, consistent victory, passion for His Word–our seemingly secure mountain ultimately will fall into the sea.” And my favorite two sentences–“We can grow secure in the favor God has shown us, but God’s favor and His person are not synonymous. If our trust is in manifestations of God’s favor rather than God Himself, we will crumble like dry clay when He calls us to walk a distance of our journeys entirely by faith and not by sight.” (Stepping Up, 69)

I just need to stop and breathe for a minute.

Do you do this? I do this. I equate God’s favor with who He is. Is He blessing me? Then He’s my loving Father. Do I feel all alone, like He’s not answering a single blessed prayer I’m praying? Then He must not love me. Or I’m a worthless sinner undeserving of blessing.

God is God is God. He never changes. Sure, He blesses His kiddos. But not all the time. And especially not when there’s something eternally valuable they can learn during a time of not-blessing. But blessing or no, His love for me never changes. Not a lick.

Much to think about.

Now, about yesterday. THANK YOU, friends! The Books 4 Cambodia Campaign was heaps of fun! I didn’t sell a single book for the longest time, and I really dreaded telling all of you it was a bust. But then I sold one. Then another one. Then three more. Then another one. And another one. And I’m meeting a local gal (who I don’t know) in the Target parking lot tomorrow with three more books. She wanted to save me shipping/paypal fees. Sweet, huh?

Here’s the BEST part though! Two darling gals asked if they could contribute money directly to the orphanage without buying books. OF COURSE! That’s even better! So, with very little help from me, we’re going to have over $100 to send to these sweet kids. I’ll let you know the final amount tomorrow.

So, thank you! (especially those of you who worked so hard to get the word out) And if you didn’t get a chance to watch it yesterday, here’s a 5-minute video of the kids introducing themselves and singing a little song. It is beyond precious.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday! And if you think about it, please pray for me. Tonight I’m speaking to several engaged/just-about-engaged couples about why it’s so important to not have sex before they’re married and then why it’s so important to have a whole lot of it all the days (months, years) thereafter. Whew. Should be a hoot!

14 thoughts on “God's person and His favor are not synonymous

  1. Conny

    Thank you for sharing your heart….I somewhat recently pondered this concept myself – blogged under I AM NOT WORTHY (or something like that)…..I am NOT worthy; God is.
    So glad to hear about the $ raised for the orphanage!! I am sure $100+ can do so much for the children in Cambodia!! “Little is much when God is in it” – although me personally, $100 is VERY MUCH 🙂 God bless, C.

  2. Carrie-clearance sticker issues

    I am often convicted that I cling to the “stuff” in my world (husband, kids, material possessions) more than I do my Savior. He is so patient with me as I grow more mature in His Truth and who He is-not just what I read or study but who He is. I wish there was some kind of hormone I could take to speed up this growth process because often times it is painful and really quite humiliating that I could be so dumb!
    I will be praying that your audience tonight will hear your message so that they can preserve the purity of Gods gift to them — each other!
    Please let us know how it goes!

  3. Kimberly

    Alright, so like I said I KNEW we were going to be friends! This is just what I was posting about yesterday as God is drawing me out my comfort zone to ask some really hard questions about my own faith. Isn’t it great that He provides others along the way? I need to keep repeating that concise little phrase, “God is God is God.” Period. No matter where I am! Hmm, that reminds me of a song. You’ll be in my prayers tomorrow!

  4. Sarah McGalliard

    i love that i’m not the only one out there that does this… i always feel like i forget what i’ve learned a few weeks after i finish a bible study and i always hang on to them so i can review.. it’s amazing how much more God reveals to me the second time around. might i suggest john piper’s don’t waste ypur life – it is great.

    also, you will definitely be in my prayers as you speak to these people- it’s a very important truth you will be sharing and i pray they will be open to hear how God is speaking through you!


  5. Joy

    Marla, where can I find the “Stepping Up” study? I’d like to do it, but I’ve never heard of it before. It sounds really good. These are truths I’ve had to face over the past difficult years with Elli, and slowly but surely it’s beginning to sink in. Thank you for sharing.

    Also, I love the blog design. Very fun!

  6. Jane

    What you’re talking about with requiring us to walk a while by faith without sensible favor dovetails very nicely with the “dark night of the soul” most mystics experience at some point, or a “dry spell.” Sometimes those last for years, but they’re not a sign of losing God’s love. Only a sign that God is deepening our attachment to HIM rather than what He does for us.

    thank you for this.

  7. Sharon

    Marla, I love what you said about “wanting to absorb God’s truths like a sponge.” I do too, Sister! As a matter of fact, prior to reading your blog this morning, I pulled out my old workbook of “A Woman’s Heart” (done 9/2007 thru 11/2007) for a quick review concerning the Levitical Priesthood. Minutes later I was so tickled to read on your blog that you were reviewing the very same workbook! I thought that was very cool.

    I will be praying for your speaking engagement tomorrow night!

    God Bless you. Enjoy your day!

  8. Holly B.

    Thanks for sharing thechallenge about trusting in who God is–how essential(I too struggle with this).Praying for your time with the engaged couples tonight! I know it will be fabulous!

  9. Joyce

    Oh, I meant to also say I will be praying for you as you speak to the newly engaged. I have daughters, 18 and 20, so this topic is very close to my heart right now.


  10. Joyce

    Thanks for your post today. I could so relate…I did Psalms of Ascent last year and it was one of my favorites too. After reading your post I feel promted to go back and look at it again.

    Have a good day…Joyce

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