Choose Peace and Find Favor

I hate getting lost. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, I know I’m in for a test. It seems like it happens when I’m in a hurry to get someplace. You know the feeling, I’m sure.

It was a Friday night and my son, Jon, and I were out celebrating his 30th birthday. We had just finished a lovely meal at a Spanish restaurant in Houston and were headed to a dance studio to take a salsa lesson at 9 pm. We had less than 30 minutes to get there. On the way to the car after dinner, I started to get excited about the evening. It would be the first dance lesson my son has had and perhaps I was more excited than he. I had found a coupon for free entry if we arrived before 9:30.

“This is going to be so much fun!” I exclaimed as I settled into his new Nissan with the homemade birthday cake on my lap.

Now, Houston is not exactly the easiest place to get around. The city is huge and so are the highways. Jon plugged in the address of the studio into his trusty GPS and waited. And waited. And waited. No response.

“I know where this place is,” he announced and pulled out of the parking spot.

“We’re looking for 59 north,” he said.

As we headed out of the city, it seemed we were going into nowhereland.

“I don’t see any signs for 59 north,” I said. After circling the side roads, we eventually hit a dead end. Jon’s tone was becoming firmer and the tension in the air was thickening by the minute.

“Doesn’t look like we’re going to make the lesson, so we might as well go home,” he announced. It was like someone stuck a pin in my balloon of anticipation and excitement.

“Ok, if that’s what you want to do,” I surrendered.

Then Jon says: “I think the enemy is trying to get us into a fight to ruin the evening. But he’s not going to get his way. Forget this GPS. I think I know how to get us there,” Jon stated with a renewed sense of determination. My hopes started to rise again as he found the way to a highway.

It was 9:20 when we pulled into the parking lot of the studio.

“Let’s take a few breaths,” Jon said and we both sat in silence for a few minutes collecting ourselves.

Peace must be fought for.

We knew we had avoided a close call and we both accepted that fact that we had missed the lesson.

“At least we made it in time to get in free,” I offered.

We stepped into the studio. The place was hopping with activity.

“I guess the lesson is over,” I said to the gal checking us in at the door.

“No, as a matter of fact, it is going to start in 5 minutes.”

Jon and I looked at each other in amazement. We both knew what had happened.

“That’s God’s favor,” Jon says quietly. “Because we didn’t get into an argument in the car,”.

I was grateful for both the unexpected blessing of the dance lesson and for the fact that Jon was so wise to have learned this lesson so young. It had taken me years to realize this.

So, next time you find yourself in a tense situation that is out of your control, remember to defuse it by surrendering. When we choose peace instead of conflict, we not only save our energy and our spirits, but God smiles upon us with favor.

Love to hear your feedback on this adventure and until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel

Fun With Favor

Everybody likes to have fun, yes? Working for the weekend, you know. What’s your idea of a good time? Getting together with friends? Attending a football game or concert? Or perhaps participating in your favorite sport or hobby? There are so many ways to have fun, but have you ever thought about what makes the difference between a good time and a great time? The answer is this: the favor of God.

Now, you may or may not be familiar with this phrase so keep reading. According to my beloved pastor George, if we have our priorities straight, and I so agree with him, God will grant us fun with FAVOR. Let me share a recent example so you get the idea.

Last week was Valentine’s Day, right? And, being a single lady in this couples world, I refuse to let the holiday go by without celebrating. So I made plans with a girlfriend to go out to dinner in Little Italy, a quaint section of Baltimore, famous for its atmosphere and good restaurants. I enjoy getting dressed up and going to a nice restaurant every so often and she was up for the adventure.

What an adventure it was too. Now I’m not keen on driving in the city, especially on a Saturday night and a holiday weekend, but her car headlight was out so I agreed to drive. As I was about to make the left turn onto Eastern Avenue, I began praying for a parking space. Yes, the Lord does care about these mundane things.

“Lord, please give us a spot close to the restaurant so we don’t have to walk far in this cold,” I said aloud. As I turned onto Eastern Avenue, what do I see but a space on the right side of the road!

“I think I can fit in here,” I said to my friend, Janis as I maneuvered into the spot.

“Wow, you know how to parallel park,” Janis commented.

We got out of the car & checked the parking sign. “I think we’re good to go here. Thank you, Lord”. Surveying our location, I realized the restaurant was on the street immediately to our left, only a few blocks down.

Sure enough, Ciao Bella was only a short walk away. We arrived on time. The host steered us to a cozy table for two right in front of the main window. “This is the best seat in the house,” I said to Janis as I settled into my chair.

“You’re right,” Janis agreed. That was two gifts of favor and the evening had barely begun.

“So have you been here before?” Janis asked.
“Yes, once – years ago. And I had the best chicken with crabmeat and sun-dried tomatoes dish,” I recalled.

As I perused the menu, I didn’t see the chicken dish anywhere. Well, they must have changed the menu.

The waiter soon approached and began telling us the specials of the day. “And we have chicken Annabelle: a chicken breast, topped with lump crabmeat in a sundried tomato sauce.” Janis and I looked at each other. That was favor #3.

The meal was delicious, the wine exceptional, and I had a Groupon to cover much of the cost. After dinner, we decided to stop by Vaccaro’s for a hot coffee. As we sipped on our hot Mochaccinos, the warmth of the sweet liquid felt so good against the brisk night air. “What a great time!” Janis bubbled on the way home.

“Yes, indeed it was,” I agreed.

And that, my friends, is fun with favor.

So, are you experiencing fun with favor in your life? If not, there may be something you can do about it and it all starts with having faith in God. It really is a simple process and there is nothing to be afraid of. God truly loves each of us as his own special Valentine. Until next time, put your trust in Jesus and remember to keep looking up!

The Favor of God

Have you experienced the favor of God recently? I’m sure you have but are you aware that you have? It wasn’t until a few years ago that I became familiar with the favor of God. A Christian friend of mine kept pointing it out whenever we were together and something good would happen.

A parking space, front row seats, finding a $20 bill in the street, a stranger providing directions at a timely moment, a package or unexpected gift showing up in the mail when I’m having a tough day; these are all examples of the favor of God.

Last night I was out to dinner with some friends. We were at a casual Italian place and the tables were few and far between as it was a saturday night. We had a party of 7. As we were greeting each other, a coworker of mine walked up to say hello. “What are you doing in this neck of the woods?” he asked. “We’re celebrating a friend’s birthday and then going dancing,” I replied.

Right about then, one of our party suggested we capture a table. There were only single tables that sat 4 people available. As we were pulling out extra chairs and trying to decide how to accomodate everyone, my coworker and his wife, who were in the middle of eating their dinner, pack up their food and plates and move to another table so we could pull the two tables together. Now what are the chances of running into someone I know, who lives in a totally different part of town, being at the same restaurant at the same time, offering to give up a table for us? I ask you!

Now some might call it serendipity, good luck or coincidence, but I know better. When it happens over and over again, it is not chance, dear reader. I know God’s hand in action and I believe in giving credit where credit is due, you know what I mean?

God loves us; that is the bottom line. When you are walking with God, it’s like Christmas everyday. You never know when he is going to surprise you with some blessing. Today I encourage you to look out for God’s favor. Be thankful and realize how much God truly loves you!

The Favor of God

Have you experienced the favor of God recently? I’m sure you have but are you aware that you have? It wasn’t until a few years ago that I became familiar with the favor of God. A Christian friend of mine kept pointing it out whenever we were together and something good would happen.

A parking space, front row seats, finding a $20 bill in the street, a stranger providing directions at a timely moment, a package or unexpected gift showing up in the mail when I’m having a tough day; these are all examples of the favor of God.

Last night I was out to dinner with some friends. We were at a casual Italian place and the tables were few and far between as it was a saturday night. We had a party of 7. As we were greeting each other, a coworker of mine walked up to say hello. “What are you doing in this neck of the woods?” he asked. “We’re celebrating a friend’s birthday and then going dancing,” I replied.

Right about then, one of our party suggested we capture a table. There were only single tables that sat 4 people available. As we were pulling out extra chairs and trying to decide how to accomodate everyone, my coworker and his wife, who were in the middle of eating their dinner, pack up their food and plates and move to another table so we could pull the two tables together. Now what are the chances of running into someone I know, who lives in a totally different part of town, being at the same restaurant at the same time, offering to give up a table for us? I ask you!

Now some might call it serendipity, good luck or coincidence, but I know better. When it happens over and over again, it is not chance, dear reader. I know God’s hand in action and I believe in giving credit where credit is due, you know what I mean?

God loves us; that is the bottom line. When you are walking with God, it’s like Christmas everyday. You never know when he is going to surprise you with some blessing. Today I encourage you to look out for God’s favor. Be thankful and realize how much God truly loves you!