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What Did You Expect? - A Devotion

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Colossians 1:4-6 (NLT)
For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News. This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.

The word “expect” means to look forward to, regard as likely to happen, anticipate the occurrence and to look for with reason. Expectation is a reasonable and logical feeling. Faith in Jesus Christ should promote a life of expectation. It is not based on a fairytale or random fate but on Truth. If we expect someone to come over for dinner, I will begin to prepare for their arrival. I may clean the house, buy food, and be ready when they come to serve them. I do all of this because I know that they are coming over. We have made plans. They have agreed to accept our invitation. Expectation in the Lord should be based on the same reasoning. Expectation is reasonable. It is logical. It is totally our right as Children of God. But many times, we do not expect anything from God even though we are asking all the time. What a frustrated life? Faith in Jesus Christ allows us to place all of our expectation in Him and remove it from this world. People do not have to act a certain way or do anything to promote our prosperity as the Glory of God is manifested in our life. Our expectation is not in anything we do or even how we live because it is a benefit of salvation that we could never afford. It is our gift. Confident hope in Jesus Christ affords us expectation which is given by His Grace. What do you expect?

Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

After our son’s third round of cancer treatment, he was doing great. Everything pointed to full remission and we were already beginning to rejoice. Testing confirmed at the follow-up that so far cancer did not appear in any of the findings. He looked great and felt great, too. The doctor rejoiced and sent us home with one test result not yet received. She promised to call the next day when it came in assuring us that surely something would have shown up in the other scans if there was anything to worry about. For the first time in two years, I let my guard completely down and began to rejoice that we had finally made it to the finish line although I knew some things the Lord had laid on my heart had not happened. I dared to move on in my mind to life after cancer treatments knowing in my spirit that we were not quite done. The next day, the doctor called and immediately I could tell her tone had changed. I was at work and walked into my office which has a wall of windows with people peering in. There was no time to close the blinds or even make it to a chair before she said, “It’s back and more so than ever.” I fell on my knees right in that place. I struggled to make into the chair and next breathe again. How could this be? Everything pointed to remission, but the PET scan revealed cancer throughout his torso in places it had never been before with higher readings than ever, too. How could this be? I didn’t expect this. I was devastated. I had moved my expectation from my God to the findings from the day before, I could feel the caution of the Holy Spirit but chose to move on. It was a hurtful blow. I cannot imagine being punched in the stomach could possibly hurt any more. But I learned a valuable lesson that day and one I will never forget – my hope is in the Lord. He has given me His Spirit to guide me, protect me, and teach me His Way. I must trust the Lord at all times even when I am tired of the problems and trails. He is helping increase my endurance so when the final stage comes I can push through to victory. Such activity produces character, it makes me confident in my salvation and nothing this world has to offer. Expectation based on confident hope will never lead to disappointment. Where is your expectation today?

2 Kings 5:10-14 (NLT)
But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.” But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the LORD his God and heal me! Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!

When Naaman went to Elisha, his hope was in the Man of God – no literally in the Man of God. He had created an image in his mind and had it all figured out how God would use this person to heal him of leprosy. Misplaced faith is a dangerous thing. Our faith must be solely 100% in the Lord and it can be a struggle to keep it there. The facts of life are so real and evident. You can reach out and touch them. You can read them, think about them, and makes some sense of them. But the Ways of God are higher than our ways, and so are His Thoughts. He is doing something on such a grand scale that we will never be able to fully comprehend what He is up to but still we try. When the prophet told the man how to be healed, he got mad. Naaman was so irate that he was not even willing to try it. Do you get mad when you trust God but things don’t meet your expectations? I am willing to admit that I do sometimes. God has a better plan for my life I know that but my humanity sometimes in content with compromise. When Naaman finally did try it the way that Elisha told him to do it, it worked. He was completely healed. God did not just remove the offensive sores and lesions but He fully restored and renewed Naaman’s skin to that of a “young child.”

After reading this account again, two things remind me that I must constantly evaluate my expectation. First, what do I expect? Where is it coming from? “Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5:3) It will require constant effort and attention to be sure that I continue to trust the Lord with my expectation. I cannot allow myself to fall into the traps of immediate gratification and human logic. The other thing that stands out is do I really want what God wants or do I want what I want? “The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand. I pant with expectation, longing for your commands.” (Psalm 119:130-131) People will always let you down. They are human just like we are but sometime we expect more out of them than is possible. God wants us to place all of our expectation and desire in Him. I “pant” for expectation longing for your commands implies an earnest hunger, desire and passion for the Word of God to come to pass in our life. Why? It tells us what to expect from God. Let’s be reasonable. Imagine if someone just shows up at my door and says, “Hi, we are here for dinner” but we never discussed it or planned anything. Maybe we just mentioned, “Hey, we should get together sometime” in passing. What just happened? They arrived but we were not ready to receive them. When we live in godly expectation, we will be ready when He comes. The Word tells us what to expect from Him. If we invite him, He will come. We prepare the way of His Coming by walking in right standing and close communication. Otherwise, when He comes it might not be what, who or how we expected.

Acts 3:4-6 (NLT)
Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

We must learn to expect more than we see. The beggar expected money to make it through one more day. God wanted to change His Life forever. We must learn to expect God to do more than is naturally possible. We call on the Lord for “things” we want, but He wants to change us and our lives forever. He wants to increase our faith so it will become confident hope. Confident hope causes us to endure. Those who endure will make it to the end of the race of faith and be saved. God is looking at your life as a total package. He has already provided what you need for this day. You have to want what He has for your future that is unseen. That is the purpose of hope to hold the faith until the reality of what we expect comes into our life bringing Glory to God! The lame man did not expect to walk home that day but that was God’s Will for His Life way more than just a few coins to buy stale bread. God wanted to heal, restore and renew his life. That is exactly what happened, and it is exactly what He wants to do for you!

James 1:6-8 (NLT)
But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Is your faith in God alone? Expectation in anything or anyone else will not yield the results that will satisfy your life. If you ask the Lord to do something in your life, are you willing to wait on Him to do it? If you expect the Lord to be faithful in His Promises to you then you will. Otherwise your heart is divided. We must strive daily to put all our trust in the Lord for everything we need, want and desire. We must spend time in the Word so we know what our inheritance is and prepare our life to receive it. Our confident hope must become a real and tangible substance in our life. It will be a shelter in the storm keeping us strong until the light shines through the clouds. It is a place. Hope can be the impenetrable strong tower that will not move even when everything around us comes crashing down. (Romans 12:11-12) Faith is not just a word but the tool we use to build up confident hope as a sound structure in our life. You have the right to expect Heavenly things in your life now because you are a Child of God and resident of the Kingdom of God. (Colossians 1:4-5) You have His Spirit that entitles you to every promise. Such confidence will produce boldness in your life as His Glory fills it, you will not struggle to tell others what the Lord has done for you because it is too good not to share. (Philippians 1:20)

Ephesians 1:18-20 (NLT)
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

The last few years have been very difficult on our family but the faith that we have found is incredible. It has changed our life forever and will benefit us long after this journey gives way to the next. The confident hope that I have in Christ makes it possible to share what He is doing waiting for the next great thing that He will do. In the last week, twice we have asked the Lord to move. Our son’s blood pressure was way too low. We prayed and asked our prayer warriors to pray – within fifteen minutes it started going up and at thirty minutes was perfect. Our son had a large quantity of blood passing in his urine post-transplant. We prayed. He stood up went to the restroom and it was completely cleared astounding doctors who were prepared to administer medication to correct it. But it would have taken at least 24 hours. Two days ago, our son was fighting fevers. Everyone prayed. They are now gone. We have been praying his counts would begin to recover and show signs of new bone marrow growth. The first day we prayed and spoke life to his cells, the blood test showed baby cells forming. Next test, he has an ANC of 240 which is very good and a higher than normal boost. The doctors and nurses of this hospital who have worked with us will tell you that our son does not have normal outcomes. It is documented. What is making the difference? When medicine and man failed to keep cancer from coming back, I finally turned it all over to the Lord. Every detail belongs to Him. All I know in my heart is that in the end, when it matters most he will live! God promised I believe it and no setback, delay or change in plan will change my mind. My hope is in the Lord – I am confident He will do exactly what He says that He will do, when He has determined is the best time to do, exactly as He planned all along! Why? I know beyond any doubt or fear that God loves me and will use the greatness of His Power on my behalf. What do you expect today? Let me encourage you to put all your energy, effort and expectation in the Lord today! You will not be disappointed!

Romans 15:13 (NLT)
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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