2 Corinthians 3:8-10 (NLT)
Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way.
I bought a new t-shirt yesterday. At first I thought it might be my next gym shirt, but I am almost certain I am going to wear it to work. It says, “Nope. Not today.” I will not continue to whine about the hardships at work but rejoice in the fact that the Lord (yet again) has blown me away with His Overwhelming Grace, Love and Mercy for me. I have been dug into a bunker of files and frustration, but holding on to the promise that there has to be more to my life than this and well…there is. We should live in a constant state of expectation and we do. We expect life to be hard. Days to be long. We expect to wait. We expect to suffer and struggle. We expect the tough times in life but have difficulty holding on to the hope we have been given in Christ. Why? Because we know our own heart. We know how many times we have let God down. Wandered from His Presence. Lost our temper. Said some choice words. We know us. Therefore it is easy to expect little from God where we are concerned much less the unexpected.
When our son got sick a few years back, I barged straight into God’s Presence demanding His Attention in this matter. My son was an innocent who love the Lord. How dare the enemy or anything else much less cancer try to steal his future and destroy his destiny? I expected my son to grow up, go to college, graduate, get married and give me at least two grandkids. I was counting on this and when it became compromised by a devastating diagnosis I naturally said, “Nope. Not today!” I expect more for my children because I love them and see them through that love not their many faults and failures. I see the potential in their life. I know the prayers that I have prayed and the promises that the Lord has given them. I value them. Treasure them. They are precious to me so I refuse to let go of these things. Who will do that for me?
When our son recovered from his bone marrow transplant last year, I decided that it was now a good time to take a deep breath and breathe. After our daughter’s wedding, I knew it was going to be a more peaceful less traumatic time for our family. Little did I know that all hell would break loose at work and the kids would be called 21 hours away? As the hits seemed to just keep on coming, I settled into a brief state of acceptance that maybe this was how life would be for our family. How could I argue? Our son was alive and well. We had our miracle now I needed to suck it up princess and deal with the rest. I wasn’t doing so well. I crawled into God’s Presence and discovered that I was able to expect God’s Glory and Best for the rest of my family but somehow was having trouble believing for me.
Matthew 11:2-6 (NLT)
John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen— the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.’”
Everyone has days like that. Days when we wonder if Jesus is really who He says He is and willing to do what He says that He will do. After all, we cannot see, feel or touch the Lord and have to go on faith. With a fickle heart, we often waver back and forth between faith and fear especially when facing great challenges in our life. John the Baptist knew in his heart what was about to happen. I truly believe that he knew that his life would soon end as a result of following Jesus. He needed the Lord to encourage him one more time. Things were not turning out as expected. Let’s face it in our current culture preaching the gospel without prosperity, blessing and rewards does not fill churches. We live in a seeker sensitive world afraid to tell people to suck it up, walk it out and live in great expectation. Nobody wants to wait on God or do their part to have His Promises, we want it our way in our time or we give up all together accepting much less than God’s Best. For those who truly believe and want God’s Best there will still be days that we wonder God are you there, can you hear me, and are you going to help me?
Matthew 11:7-11 (NLT)
As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began talking about him to the crowds. “What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind? Or were you expecting to see a man dressed in expensive clothes? No, people with expensive clothes live in palaces. Were you looking for a prophet? Yes, and he is more than a prophet. John is the man to whom the Scriptures refer when they say, ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way before you.’ “I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is!
I love this. I never noticed this before, how many times do I say that in a day in His Word? John had just asked the Lord to affirm His Identity again. This implies doubt or uncertainty. The man was on the edge of fear and faith teetering precariously between life and death. Now Jesus could have been offended or mad that John would send his disciples with such a question but the Lord wasn’t mad at all. He goes on to say, “Of all who ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is!” The Lord sees our heart today. He is more impressed by our weak reaching for just a little more faith to hold on to that tiny seed of expectation than boasting about Him to the world when we do not believe at all. He is more interested in us, our faith and future than anything else. If we will just hold on to that tiny mustard seed of faith as if it is all we have to go on, He will cause it to grow and flourish in our life without condemnation but lavishing us with unfailing love and ridiculous favor that produces His Glory in our life. I guess this is what it means when the Word of God says, “When I am weak, I become strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) It is by His Grace that we are saved through faith and it is that very same grace that gives us more than we could ever think to ask for.
Luke 12:39-40 (NLT)
“Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”
Many, many years ago, our home was burglarized. What a violating experience! I have never been an overly cautious person who was fearful of such things. I did not expect to be robbed because I assumed that the Holy Spirit had things covered by faith. The crooks were very smart and watched our home as well as others observing our routines to come when everyone was gone. When I opened the garage door that day, my daughter pointed out that the door leading into the house was ajar. I didn’t really think anything of it as many times the kids would not close it tightly on the way out and our little dog would open it looking for us. I checked the mail and leisurely strolled in the house to panicked children immediately noticing the missing television and computer. I never expected that to happen. We were believers. Strong and faithful Christians. I know now that bad things still happen to good people even God’s People.
Jesus comes when we least expect Him. Many times in the midst of great hardship when it feels as though our faith is running out and hope has lost its grip. We must live in constant expectation of Christ’s Arrival in our life. Where has He been? Perfecting our way. (Psalm 138:8) Working all the details of our past, present and future for our good. (Romans 8:28) He never left us but was working out everything around us. We cannot let go of the hope that we have in the Lord to pursue lesser things but hang on until He completes the work that He has
Begun in our life. Bad things are going to happen sometimes. The unexplainable will be made plain one day but that may not be today. We just have to believe that Jesus is who He said that He is and will do exactly what He promised to do.
Proverbs 10:28-29 (NLT)
The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing. The way of the Lord is a stronghold to those with integrity, but it destroys the wicked.
What a wonderful revelation today? There is happiness in our hope alone. It doesn’t even have to happen to give us peace and joy. We just have to believe. The Lord offered me a glimmer of hope that this season of life was changing. I grabbed it and held tightly to it while trying to finish strong in my current position. It has been hard because the enemy comes at you like a rabid dog trying to rip your faith and hope from your tightly clenched hands and breaking heart. With each step closer, the enemy became more aggressive and vengeful in his attack against my future. I cannot share all the details but hope is becoming a reality even today. To God be the Glory. I have not been the happiest person the last few weeks. I have been struggling with my attitude and apologizing a lot. I did not expect the phone call that I received yesterday and had fully placed the situation into the Lord’s Hands just two days before. I had dug in for the wait. Truthfully, I had enough to worry about without adding that to the list. I knew God was working. I had received His Promise but I had to keep moving to not be overwhelmed. But the Lord had something else in mind and said, “Nope. Not today.” Your wait is over. Change is here. Step in it, embrace it, and celebrate it. God is good! Jesus loves me. I am a Child of the Living God who sees my heart and ignores my shortcomings by His Grace offering me His Glory. Proverbs 11:23 says that the godly can look forward to a reward. Sometimes that has to be enough to keep going and believing in the midst of not seeing anything more than a tiny light at the end of a long, ominous tunnel. What will you do today? When the enemy comes to steal your promise by stealing your faith and trying to take your hope – tell him. “Nope. Not today!” Live in expectation today. Expect God to move in your life today. Keep that Word hidden in your heart and fight the good fight of faith to protect it. If God said it, He will do it even if we struggle with disbelief. He is coming! Expect Him today! There is promise and purpose in each moment or you would not be alive today.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.