Journey to the Light | Journey of Life

Understanding How To Activate God's Favor This Christmas

James Greer
Dec 19, 2021    33m
Join us in today's message as we discover how to gain God's favor and how to activate God's Favor this Christmas. When God chooses to use for His purpose, He gives you favor just as He chose and favored Mary, the mother of Jesus. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: [00:00:01] Morning, Journey Church. Man, that's what I like. I like to see a full house. Amen? Man, I love these next step cards. I don't know. I mean we have people join the church, we have people get baptized. I mean do you know this week during the week, we had somebody come up and get baptized? Amen? We had somebody a while ago just join a Journey group online. But these are fantastic. Everybody has a next step. So man, whether you want to get saved, whether you want to get baptized, whether you want to start tithing, I mean everybody has a next step. I got a next step. I'm just saying. I was sitting in line. They had road construction going on, and I was sitting stopped. And unfortunately, the man behind me, he didn't know we were all stopped, and he was going about 50-something miles an hour. Boom. The girl behind him didn't know that we stopped. Boom. And so anyway, I end up with a fractured vertebrae. And Monday, I get to go get my MRI.

James Greer: [00:00:59] I am such a wimp. I call open air and they said, we're full. I said no. They said, I'm sorry. We get you in, we get you in so-and-so. I said, I'm sorry, I can't go there. She said, well, we're full. She said, you want to talk to my boss? I said, yeah. She got on the phone, and she said, I’m sorry. We’re full. I said, listen, I can't, I got to have surgery Tuesday, but I got to have an MRI. She said, she said. I said, do you understand I'm a wimp? I said, do you understand I go and my wife holds my hand? I said, not only does she hold my hand, she said last time, your guy took me out twice and put me back in. She said, well, he's not here. I said, oh my God. She said, it's okay. He got promoted. But they're really good. I said, I really need to go here. She said, okay, well, we're going to open up at 7:00 in the morning Monday. I said, thank you, thank you, thank you. Then she called back the other afternoon and she said, hey, guess what? Somebody cancelled. You can come at one, and we'd rather you come at one. I said, thank you so much. I turned around and said, Debbie, praise God. I preached about medication and meditation. Make sure you got plenty of medicine.

James Greer: [00:02:11] Because I'm going to medicate. Amen? I just thank God. You know? There's a book that Tony Evans wrote and it's Divine Disruptions. And one of the verses, he says, I love it, he said, in Isaiah 66:9, he said, in the same way, I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, sayeth the Lord. I said, man, that's pretty cool, man. You know? So this is not only going to be a new year, we're going to have new dreams, new ministries, new hopes, but most of all, new insights. Man, I'm so excited about the new insights that I'm going to preach today. If you could really listen and pay attention, it would radically change your life. I'm going to tell you what they are before I preach them because you need to pick them up as I preach. And they're so profound, they're so simple, they're so profound that I'm telling you, if you would do it today, you'd never be the same. All right. Number one number one. This one I don't like. All problems have a purpose. I don't really like that one because I got a problem, and I have to say it's got a purpose. And you could better understand the purpose if you have God's favor. I bet, don't raise your hand, but if I said how many people in here today, upstairs, downstairs, and online, have a problem, most of you would raise your hand. Some of y’all are sitting next to your problem, and you'd really be in trouble. Just kidding. But anyway, anyway. So you got to, see, you got to understand. Till you understand that your problems have a purpose, you live in your problem. Everybody knows people that are just still living in the past or living [inaudible], there's a problem. So they still live it. That's not good. Second, second of all. That you get God's favor, you get the favor of God when you get saved. So understand, you get the favor of God when you get saved. But the problem is most people don't know how to activate the favor of God.

James Greer: [00:04:18] Brother James, that's good. Today, if you’ll really pay attention, I'll tell you a simple way to activate the favor of God. Wouldn't that be something? Because a lot of y’all are saved and you can activate the favor of God. And if you're not saved, you could get saved and then activate it the same day. Amen? And then learn what the favor of God is. So there's four things that you really need to be watching for. Problems have a purpose, you get the favor of God when you get saved, learn how to activate the favor of God, and what the favor of God is. Y'all ready? Amen? Okay. The title of the message today is the Journey of Life. Now we've been doing messages that are called the Journey to the Light. But I tell you, in light of what I'm going through, I changed the message. It's a journey of life because life is a journey. Life is a journey. But you've got to remember this journey that we're on, this is not our home. We're going to find out that Mary in her Christmas story found favor is not always fair. Favor is not always fun. God's favor helps us understand and enjoy the journey though. If there's anybody that ever had favor, it was Mary. In Luke 1:26, it said now in the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent by God to the city of Galilee named Nazareth to a virgin. Say virgin. She had to be a virgin to birth Christ. Engaged to a man whose name was Joseph from the house of David. The Virgin’s. Say virgin. Name was Mary. And it's so important that you understand that because Mary was a virgin, she was setting herself up for the favor of God.

James Greer: [00:06:13] She was setting herself up to be blessed. In other words, it was always prophesized that Jesus had to be born from a virgin. Now today there's not much talk about women still being a virgin, but there are certain blessings coming to stay a virgin until you're married. Now, Mary was set up to be a virgin. So she was set up for the favor and blessings of God. My question to you, do you know how to be set up for the blessing? See, if you continue to do the wrong thing over and over and over, you're not set up for the blessings. Now I don't mean you don't mess up. I mess up, you mess up, we all mess up. That's one of our slogans. We know that we all, but you don't continue to mess up and keep doing the wrong thing. You begin to set yourself up for a blessing. You come to church every Sunday. Don't forsake the assembling of yourself together. You confess your own sin because He's faithful and just to forgive you. You read and meditate on God's Word and claim His promises. You give your tithe. In fact, I was trying to set up myself for a blessing when I was writing my tithe check this morning. I said, God, I wrote it for more than I normally do.

James Greer: [00:07:21] And I wrote Luke 6:38. Give and it shall be given to you a good measure. I said, God, I'm setting myself up. But my question is, do you set yourself up for a blessing? She was set up. 28, it says, and having come in, the angel said to her, rejoice, highly favored one. Say favored. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women. Can I tell you something? When you’re favored to God, God is with you and you’re blessed. But when she saw him, she was troubled. Listen, I preach this wrong, and I want you to get it. She was troubled at his sayings, considering what manner of greeting this was. Stop a minute. I used the preach this. I said, man, if an angel came and spoke to me, I'd be afraid too. Amen? That's not really what it says. It said that she was troubled at what he said. It says she was troubled because she would consider what manner greeting is this. What I'm telling you is you’re a favorite of God when you get saved. Some of y’all are troubled that you don't realize that you're highly favored and God's with you and God's wanting to bless you. And that's what troubled her, that she was highly favored and that God was with her. The angel said, don't be afraid. I don't want you to be afraid. Because if you're saved and you’re highly favored of God. And Mary said, Mary, for you have found favor with God. God wanted to make sure that she had found favor with God. She was highly favored, favored with God. And so you would think since she was highly favored and in favor with God, man, all her troubles are going to be gone. But they're not. And behold, you're going to conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and he shall be named Jesus. She was engaged. She was engaged to be married. Never been with a man. She has to tell her fiancée, Joseph. You got to believe this, Joseph. I'm pregnant. Not with another man. I want you to know the Holy Spirit came for me.

James Greer: [00:09:43] Yeah, try that. But I'm favored. I'm highly favored. I tell you this because you don't always understand. When you get saved and you’re highly favored of God, you still don't always understand what's going on. Favor is not always fun. Favor doesn't always look fair. But God's always faithful, and He always has a purpose. Because of the favor, all your problems now have a purpose even though you don't understand. There's no way that Mary could understand it because that's never happened before, and it'll never happen again. She couldn't understand that she would get pregnant by the Holy Spirit and she was engaged and she was going to have to go tell her husband. I couldn't understand, this guy comes and hits me in the rear end. God didn't make him hit me. He didn't make him hit me. We've got a fallen world and people get to make choices. He just made a dumb choice. And the girl behind him made another dumb choice. That just happened. But see, if I really believe that I have the favor of God, what I don't like to believe, but it is true, I got to believe that because it did happen, God’s got a purpose for the problem, and the purpose of the problem will ultimately be bring honor and glory to God.

James Greer: [00:11:15] That's just the way it is. I don't like that. I don't want to admit that. But it is. I don't understand it. You're going to have problems and pains you don't understand. But once you understand the favor of God, it helps you go through them. But because she didn't understand it, she did understand that she had a special calling from God. When Mary said to the angel, how can this be, since I've never known a man? You know? How do you get pregnant? She probably had the sex talk with her mama even though she was just a teenager. She said, hey, you know, it's a fair question. Mama told me there's only one way we get pregnant, and I'm waiting on that. I'm engaged. When me and Joseph get married, we're going to have sex and might have a baby. And so how can this be? Now, she asked, and God says, when we need wisdom, to ask God. The angel answered and said unto her, the Holy Spirit is going to come up on you and the power of the most high is going to overshadow you. Therefore, that Holy One who is to be born, He's going to be called the Son of God. Now, listen, now she understands. There ain't no way she understands. She doesn't understand that because it's never happened. God answered her, but she’s now at the point, she's just got to take Him at His word. In other word words, God's going to give you some things and ask some things, you're just going to have to believe it. You don't understand it. There's no way she could understand that. She just believed that God said it. So she believed it and through the favor of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, she just accepted it. She still didn't understand it. It was impossible to understand. And God said, let me give you another example. I love this one.

James Greer: [00:13:05] It's one of my favorite ones. Now indeed, talking to Mary, you know Elizabeth, your cousin, your relative? She's also going to conceive a son in her old, she's old, in her old age. She's in her sixth month. And you how old is she? She's called barren. They said she's so old, she can't even have a child. And then it’s talking about, listen, for with God, nothing is impossible. How many people use that? With God, nothing is impossible. How many people realize he was talking about Mary's cousin? So she is so old, she got pregnant. I love this because listen, listen, in your old age, you got pregnant. Mary got pregnant through the Holy Spirit, right? Elizabeth didn't. She had to have sex. She was old. Had have sex and got pregnant. That's a miracle in itself. Amen? She had a miracle. Her husband had a miracle. They both had a miracle. You talked about miracles. Amen. We love those kind of miracles. Come on, Jesus. And everybody that’s old said. Come on, man. I love that. God is in the miracle working business. Man, if He can make these old men, old women have kids, He can do anything. Amen? That was pretty good. Then Mary says, she said, God, if you can do that, God, if you can do that, I believe you. Let’s rock. No, she didn’t. Mary said, behold, the maidservant servant of the Lord. Okay. This is really, really key to the whole message. Listen. Let it be me. Let it be to me according to your word. And the angel departed after that. Okay. Y'all ready?

James Greer: [00:14:54] The key to activating the favor of God is what Mary just said. Let it be to me according to your word. She heard everything that God had to say for her. She heard everything through God's word. God inspired the angel to come and tell her. Today we have God's inspired word. It's called the Bible. Amen? And she was saying, everything that's in here, let it be done according to your what? Word. That activates the favor of God. I want to talk about it a little more, but let me give you some insights. First of all, Mary became pregnant supernaturally. She was just a natural person. Second of all, you need to understand what the favor of God is. The favor of God, when He takes the natural and He does the supernatural in a person, place, or thing. The favor of God is when He takes the natural and does the supernatural in a person, place, or thing. It can be big or it can be little. You ready? But it always brings honor and glory to God and it furthers His Kingdom. Not simply to favor the person, place, or thing. But to bring honor and glory to God. The favor of God assures you His presence, His provision, and His power to accomplish His purpose no matter what it is. God's presence and power to accomplish His purpose, it results in being blessed and being a blessing. So, Mary, even though she had a lot of pain, she still had a great blessing. Can you imagine? She brought the Son of the living God into the world? Amen? God, it's like this. You're singled out by God for a special blessing and responsibility. Mary was singled out. She was a natural girl. She was a virgin. God chose her supernaturally. She was singled out by God for a special responsibility and a special person. God not only called her, He favored her, He empowered her, He provisioned her for His purpose. She had to be willing to accept the favor of God. Guess what? You got the favor of God once you get saved. You're called out. He's got a special mission.

James Greer: [00:16:58] He gives you the power and the provision to do what He's called you to do. How do you do it? You activate the favor of God the same way Mary did when you read the Word, meditate on the Word, think on the Word, when you hear the Word, when you come to church and I'm preaching the Word. You say, God, let it be unto me as your word says. Amen, Brother James. Don't you want the favor of God? Let's do it. Then Mary said, behold, the maidservant. She is a servant of God. Let it be into me according to your word. They departed. See, she knew that she had favor. She knew her purpose. She knew that God had plans because of God's word. How does that apply to me and you? Let me tell you how it applies. The Psalmist says. He tells us in Psalms 5:12. He tells us this. For you, me and you, Journey Church, listen, O Lord, will bless the what? The righteous. Say righteous. What's He going to bless the righteous with? With favor, you will surround Him as with a shield. He said, I'm going to bless you with favor and I'm going to protect you. So this is what He's doing. First of all, He's going to bless the righteous and He's going to, and when you get born again, when you get saved, when you're a follower of Christ, you become righteous. 2 Corinthians 5:2 tells us, for He, God, made Him, Jesus Christ, who knew no sin for us, that we, me and you, might become righteous for God in Him, Jesus Christ.

James Greer: [00:18:38] Do you understand that when you accept Jesus Christ, you become righteous and the righteous get favor of God? So see, God’s saying, I want you to know that you have the favor of God. But most people don't realize you got the divine favor of God, you just never activated it. He wants you learn to activate and understand the favor of God. See, you're so natural that God uses you, you become supernatural. See, that's what you got to do. You got to understand really and truly, you're just ordinary and natural, and you can allow God to use you in a way that when He uses you, they know it has to come from God. Like for me. Basically, that's the story of Journey Church. I'm so natural and so unlearned, when they see Journey Church growing and be blessed, they said, it's got to be supernatural. It can't be Brother Hames. I know they do. They say I know him. He's never been to seminary. He barely got out of school. I mean I know him. It just can't happen. Just because I'm unlearned, it doesn't mean I can't surround myself with very sharp people. I mean everybody that's around me, they're educated. They're sharp. I mean they've been to school. Some have been to college. I mean some of them got unbelievable degrees. I mean thank God I surround myself with educated people. Amen? You know, matter of fact, we're fixing to come out with the new devotion. It’s called Unleashing Hope, and it's fantastic.

James Greer: [00:20:02] It'll come out in January. But you ought see. It took two or three people two or three times. I mean Darrell, Beverly, Joy, I don't know, Josh. It took everybody to try to correct it. And when you get it, it's probably still not corrected. But I surrounded myself with educated people. But what I'm telling you is I'm so ordinary, when God does extraordinary, God has to get the credit. Amen? What you got to understand is you're really ordinary too. Until you really understand how ordinary you are, God will never do the extraordinary in your life. Paul wrote three-fourths of New Testament. He was brilliant. But you know what he said? He said, I'm the least among the apostles who I'm not even worthy to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church. You know what he was saying? Hey, I see myself as just a regular person, and God used him to do the unbelievable supernatural in your life. He understood that he had a purpose. See, what we call problems, when we understand the favor of God, we understand it always has a purpose even when you don't understand it.

James Greer: [00:21:09] Part of our purpose. You ready? No matter what the problem is, it’s always to bring honor and glory to God and further His Kingdom for that person or place. Tony, when Janet got cancer, that was a problem. The first thing to do, he wanted her healed. Amen? And prayed for her to be healed. Janice, here last service, she's got cancer. Fred had cancer. First thing, we wanted all of them to be healed, right? Yes. But they weren't healed. Two of them weren’t. They're in Heaven right now. They're looking down on our service, saying amen because they say they're surrounded by so great a crowd of witnesses. But their purpose ended up being this. And I can say that with Tony being here for sure. To bring honor and glory to God. I can say to the very last of her life, she was trying to smile and bring honor and glory to God. Yes or no? Her problem, she didn't understand maybe her problem, but she did understand her purpose. The favor of God helps you understand your purpose, and I'm going to tell you, you want to change your life, y'all. Everybody in here has different problems. And you don't want to really admit that God, your problem has a purpose. I want this, I don't want to have a pain. I don't want to have a problem, and I sure don't want to say that this daggum problem has a purpose. I just want the sucker healed. Amen? But the truth is, it doesn't matter what your problem is. The problem has a purpose, and it always goes back to bringing honor and glory to God and furthering His Kingdom. Amen? Until you have the favor of God, you won't accept that and you won't believe that and you’ll live in your dadgum problem. Amen, Brother James. She had favor in her birth, right? I mean she had favor getting pregnant. Let's talk about maybe after that, maybe when she was going to have birth of Jesus. Maybe it got easier, right? I don't think so.

James Greer: [00:23:14] But in the days of Caesar Augustus, they issued a decree that there's going to be a census going to be taken in entire Roman world. Never done it before. Now they are. This is the first census taken. I mean never done one. But the governor said they're going to do it now. Yeah. You know, and everyone went in their own town to register. And you know, the governor and the wicked think he's in charge. So Joseph also went. He went from the town of Nazareth of Galilee to Judea to Bethlehem, the town of David, because he belonged to the household of David. Now see, you would think that Mary, she's favored. She's highly favored. Amen? Favor is not always fun. Can you imagine? I can't imagine. Don’t want to imagine. Don't even know. I've talked to them. Nine months pregnant. She either had to walk or ride a donkey for 65 miles. That don't look like too much favor to me. That probably was a problem. I don’t know. Y’all ask the women that are nine months pregnant. She was in pain. Even though she was in pain and had a purpose, you ready? God still chose not to remove the pain. Sometimes you can have God's favor, you can be in pain. You can know His purpose, and God still chooses not to remove the pain. When I went to church, I used to think, man, that pastor’s got it all together. He doesn't have pain. He doesn't have struggles. He just rocks. That's not true.

James Greer: [00:24:59] I don't have all the answers. I struggle just like you do. I wonder what's going on sometimes like you do. But I know one thing. I've got God's favor, and I know God's favor will see me through. And I know if you're saved, you've got God's favor. And I want you to activate God's favor. I mean let me tell you how powerful it was. There's never been a tax. The government thought they were in control. God used the tax to get married in Bethlehem where He had already prophesized years ago that that's where Jesus is going to be born. In fact, the primary reason, listen, the birth of Jesus Christ, you know why he was born in Bethlehem? Because it was prophesized in Micah. He said, and in Bethlehem, you being the least among thousands of Judea, out of you, He, Jesus, shall come forth, be born to me that is to become the ruler of Israel. In other words, there's this unbelievable, brutal Roman ruler that says, hey, I'm going to have y’all taxed. Seven hundred years ago, prophesized and now the government, the ruler, he says, Listen, I'm going to tax everybody for the first time, and everybody has to go to their hometown. And David had to go to Bethlehem, and they thought the government was in charge. The truth is God's in charge. Just like today. Some of y’all, everything that's going on in the world, y’all think the government is in charge, and that's not true. The government is nothing but a puppet in the hands of God. He can take anything and everything they do, and they'll turn it around to His good. Amen? God's in control. Not the government. Not your boss. Not anybody else. So just relax. Amen? He's in control. He went. Now, listen, then, Mary, they went there, and they finally, listen, here's the favor of God. They finally travelled 65 miles and she gave birth to the first born, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes. You know why? Because there wasn't any room. I doesn't sound like much favor. Let me ask you a few questions. And when you get to the end, what they said, there was no favor for Jesus the Savior.

James Greer: [00:27:13] If you're not careful, you’ll go through Christmas and you hadn't made any room for the Savior. Now, the reason I said Savior, it tells you that Jesus was born for to be our Savior. And the greatest thing about a savior is that it means you're no longer the savior. You can't save your wife, you can't save your kids, you can't save your job, you can't save anything. And so whatever you're so worried about that you're trying to save, you ready? Turn it over to the Savior and just relax. Now make sure He is your Savior as Lord, that you're giving Him your time, your talent, and your tithe. But He's the Savior, not you. If you have a problem right now and you don't understand it, it's okay. God has a purpose for it. And even though you don't understand it, believe in God's favor, and He'll give you the provisions and the power to go through it. Maybe you don't understand why you're not married, why you don't get the job that you wanted, why you're where you're at in life. If you would simply understand the favor of God, you can begin to enjoy the journey of life like you never have before.

James Greer: [00:28:28] Knowing God's in control and has a purpose for you and where you're going and when you get there, it's one of the most important things you can do. There's always a purpose. I don't really like it. But I want you to learn it. There's always a purpose for your pain. There's always a purpose for your problem. That's why I'm preaching today. I didn't want to preach. I wanted you to know I believe what I'm preaching. And I want you to know that I know a lot of y’all are in worse pain than I am. I know a lot of y'all are having worse problems than I am. But the ultimate goal is this. Either get saved today or activate the favor of God. Or even though you don't understand the power and the presence, the Holy Spirit to come upon you so strong that you know that, hey, the purpose of this is to bring honor and glory to God, not me. And as you do that, He gives you the provisions and the power to go through whatever you have to go through, even if He doesn't remove it, even if He doesn't remove the pain. See, you either need to get saved or activate it, and you activate it simply the same way that Mary did. Let it be unto me according to your word. You might change the word. Maybe you want to call the word surrender.

James Greer: [00:29:58] If you don't surrender to Christ, you surrender chaos. There's no two ways. Surrender is not the best way to live. It's the only way to live. Any other approach leads to frustration, disappointment, self-destruction. There's really only one reason that you don't surrender or you don't activate the favor and power of God, is you want your will and your way instead of God. You want to be in control of your life and self. Why wouldn't you surrender today? Why wouldn’t you activate God's favor today? Even way back in Joshua 1:80, he tells them. He told them in the Old Testament how to do it. It was a picture and a type how to do. He said, listen, the book is the law. But he said, listen, if you would meditate, if you think about God's Word day and night, if you observe to do it and let it be done unto you as it's written, just like Mary said, if you'll do what it says, then I'll make your way prosperous and you'll have good success. That's the favor of God. I don't know why anybody would leave today. You either need to get saved or you need the favor of God or you need to give your problem over to God and let Him have a purpose in it. It’ll radically change your life. It does not matter what it is. He is the Savior, not you. So let it go. Would you stand and let me pray with you?

James Greer: [00:31:25] God, you're so powerful. I thank you for your Word. I thank you for your favor. It’s hard to thank you for the problems, but I do understand they have a purpose. And because we have your favor, you give us the power, whatever we need to go through it. God, I pray for those that are here today, upstairs, downstairs, and online, first are those that aren't saved. See, they don't have God's favor. If you're not sure you're born again, if you're not sure you're going to Heaven today, that you would just surrender your life and say, hey, I want to know for sure. I believe I sin. I believe Jesus died for my sins. And you just want to settle it today. Maybe you want to join the church or follow through in baptism. Just surrender today. Maybe those that hadn't let Him be the Savior, and you're trying to handle your marriage, you're trying to handle your finances, you're trying to handle everything on the job, you're trying to handle your kids. You're not the Savior. Relax. Turn them over to the Savior, and you just let Him be the Lord of your life. For those that have a problem, I think everybody in here has different problems. But today, you say, God, I want your favor on my problem. And maybe you want to come to the altar as a way of obedience and give your problem to God and say, I don't understand it, but I know you have a purpose. And God, I’m going to surrender. I’m going to surrender and let you have your will and your way. I want it to be honor and glory to God. It’s in the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Bruce Goulart: [00:33:04] On behalf of Pastor James, I just want to say thank you for joining our online experience this morning. Y'all, what an amazing week three it was to our new series, Journey to the Light. Y'all, we are getting ready for Christmas so I just want to say Merry Christmas, and I hope that y'all have a great week and I hope that y'all have a great Christmas Day coming up this Saturday. But again, I just want to say thank you for joining our online experience this morning, and I hope to see y'all next week.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360