Answer the question below and email your answer, together with your name, physical address and cellphone number to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could receive one of two copies of The Power of Favor by Joel Osteen that we are giving away this month. The deadline for participating in the book giveaway draw is 6pm on Tuesday December 17.Question: What was the name of the orphaned girl who later became known as Queen Esther?
Book Review by Neziswa Kanju
How did a slave and a former prisoner rise to become prime minister? How did a man who was once betrayed by his brothers, was thrown into a pit, was wrongfully accused and ended up in jail serving a sentence for something he did not do…how does someone with all these obstacles end up being the second most powerful and influential man in the land?
An orphaned girl Haddassah, after a nationwide search for a queen to replace Queen Vashti, goes into the palace and is coached on how to be the queen. A young Jewish girl whose narrative and dreams would never include becoming the Queen of Persia is chosen to lead and influence a nation. She becomes Queen Esther who saves her people from destruction. Her heroic acts are still told to this day to generations of not only young Jewish women but her story is shared to inspire women of all races to take up positions of influence and to own their voices because like Esther they do not know if they have “come to the royal position for such a time as this” (Esther4:14)
An unknown shepherd boy who is looked down upon by his father and brothers, who spends his time looking after sheep, how does he surpass all the distinguished men in Israel to become king?. As the youngest of his brothers he is not seen as a leader but this young shepherd overpowers a giant in battle. Unskilled in combat, David manages to kill Goliath and secures himself a place in Israel’s history as a respected Israelite warrior who eventually becomes king.
What was it about these individuals, who, judging by their circumstances should have never occupied positions of influence and yet they are some of the most influential Jewish leaders whose names and impact is affecting today’s generation? What set these individuals apart from being unknowns to being at the forefront of shaping history? Joel Osteen the New York bestselling author and senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas says what propelled these biblical heroes was a force called favour. He says that favour will take you where you cannot go on your own.
He details in his book examples from his own life of how favour played a part in shaping who he has become. He shares how it was because of favour that they were able to acquire the Compaq Center and turn it into a church. God took an unknown church in the rural part of Houston, a part that was looked down upon, to a prominent visible part of the city. From helping his father and faithfully serving behind the scenes to now having more than 10million viewers watch Osteen’s weekly televised services in the US plus millions more weekly viewers in 100 nations around the world. He can also be heard 24 hours a day on Joel Osteen Radio Sirius XM channel 128. He is the author of 11 national best-selling books and has been named by numerous publications as one of the most influential Christian leaders in the world. Favour took him from the background to the forefront.
In his latest book Osteen seeks to prove that its readers should not give up on life, saying that their dreams will never come to pass because of a lack of resources. They should rely on God to be their source. He reminds them that they only need one good break from God to make their years of toil a thing of the past.
Osteen says that what God wants to accomplish through you, you cannot do on your own. The places that He wants to lead you to will have obstacles and you need favour from God to propel you to the greatness that He has for you. You are going to need assistance for where you are going. Good news is that God has put something on you that gives you an advantage. Something that will open doors you can’t open. Something that will make you stand out from the crowd. It’s called favour. Favour will take you from the background to the foreground. When God breathes His favour on you, things will happen that you couldn’t make happen. One touch of favour is worth more than a lifetime of labour.
Osteen talks of biblical heroes such as Noah who did not have any experience in building an ark, who suffered ridicule for building the gigantic structure but who was saved by the mighty hand of God. God could have wiped out the whole earth but the Bible says that Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord. Noah continually followed God’s will and did what was right. Noah could have compromised to fit in and done what everyone was doing but he made the choice to walk in obedience. When you honour God, when you keep Him in first place, you will find favour in the eyes of the Lord. We are all called by God to do mighty exploits and many a time we do not have the resources to carry out the vision that God has for us. Osteen says all we need is the favour of God to do the seemingly impossible. God will never ask you to do something and not give you the favour to do it. You have favour. The question is: do you have the faith? You might not have the resources. You might not know the right people. You have something that makes up for all of that…favour.
He deals with the question of: If I have favour why am I having these difficulties, why are these people coming against me? Osteen says that having favour does not mean you will not have challenges. Favour is what is going to keep the challenges from defeating you. There’s a blessing on your life that will push you up when others are going down. Sometimes God will put you in a situation so He can show you His favour. Osteen reminds readers of Daniel, who faced challenges in his life that could have ended his life but because of favour, God brought him to prominence and notoriety.
God will thrust you from the background to the foreground. Joseph spent 13 years in the background being overlooked and mistreated but he didn’t get bitter. He kept doing the right thing. The more the enemy tries to pull you back, the more you are going to go forward. Just like with a bow and arrow, the devil might think that He is pulling you back to hinder you. He does not realise he is setting you up to shoot you further than you have ever imagined. Don’t be discouraged by where you are.
The book talks about the very uncomfortable subject of separating yourself from the crowd. Osteen says one needs to disconnect from people that are hindering one’s growth, limiting one’s potential, causing one to compromise, and find who he calls “favour connections” — people that are going places, people that are at another level, people that have what you are dreaming about. He says: “You need some eagles in your life. You cannot hang around with chickens and reach your destiny.”
Joshua served Moses in the background and was faithful and God promoted him to lead the Israelites to their promised land. God wants to make you an example of His goodness. If you will walk in humility and always give God the credit there is no limit to how high He will take you. You may be behind the scenes, God has something bigger. He is going to use you to accomplish something significant. You are going to stand out. People are going to see the greatness in you. Favour will take you to where you do not have the qualifications. And will cause opportunity to come to you. Esther was not looking for that position. The position came to her. She went from the background to the foreground. There are set times where God will thrust you from the background you accelerate your dreams and make things move faster than you thought. You need to get ready.
When you realise that you have been marked for blessings you will feel the force of God’s favour and overcome challenges that you can’t face on your own. You have been called out, set apart and chosen to live what Osteen calls “a distinctively favoured life”.