Expecting

As we close out 2019 and enter into 2020, we’re reminded of a principle in God’s Kingdom. You reap what you sow. One does not sow corn and expect watermelons to grow. One does not sit around thinking about all of the bad things that has happened to them in the past and expect joy. One does not work day and night and expect to live in poverty. One does not drive their car like they stole it and expect to never receive a ticket for speeding or reckless driving.

Quite often, you receive what you are expecting.

If you walk into the church expecting to see hypocrisy – you’ll see it.
If you enter into a service expecting it to be the same old routine – that’s exactly what it will be.
If you begin into worship wandering if it’ll be over soon – it’ll be the longest and most annoying experience ever.

You reap what you sow, you receive what you are expecting.

If you walk into the church looking forward to seeing your brothers and sisters in Christ, you’ll be glad you came.
If you enter into a service expecting a fresh word and revelation from God, you’ll be left in awe.
If you begin into worship in adoration of who Jesus is, you’ll have a powerful encounter with Him.

You reap what you sow, you receive what you are expecting.

Now, God is God and He may take you by surprise, but this general principle is true more often than not.

What are you expecting?

For many, 2019 was a turbulent year of challenges and difficulties.

What are you expecting?

The Lord says:
Isaiah 66:9 (NCV)
…”I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,”
(repeat)

I remember Becky reading through the book often while pregnant with Nathaniel, “What to expect when you are expecting.” It helped prepare her for some of the new experiences that she would likely encounter while expecting her firstborn son. It assisted her in navigating her way through all of the changes, excitements, fears, surprises, joys, and scares of pregnancy.

The Bible is such a book for us who are born again. It teaches us what to expect while we’re expecting. It teaches us some of the ups and downs, joys and oppositions, successes and failures that we might experience while expecting to receive the fullness of our salvation. It reminds us of the promises of God which we can put our hope, faith, and trust in and what we can expect on the journey to their fulfillment.

God’s promises come to us in a seed form much like a newborn baby. We go through seasons much like the trimesters of pregnancy. We experience pain and fear much like childbirth. We receive what has been promised just like the joy experienced while cuddling that new baby for the first time. We learn to steward and explore those fulfilled promises in new ways just like every first moment in that child’s life as they grow and mature into adults.

2019 may have been a turbulent year of challenges and difficulties, but God will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.

What are you expecting?

If you’re not sure, just ask those around you to be honest with you. What you speak of and how you speak of it reveal the meditations of your heart and mind – they reveal what you are expecting.

It’s time to trade in our disappointments, our failures, our grumbling, our everything and trade them all for the Lord’s promises. It’s time to lay down on the altar those things that we think are right, those things that we do out of obligation or tradition and truly humble ourselves before the Lord.

Isaiah 66:2-3 (NCV)
2 …“These are the people I am pleased with:
those who are not proud or stubborn
and who fear my word.
3 But those people who kill bulls as a sacrifice to me
are like those who kill people.
Those who kill sheep as a sacrifice
are like those who break the necks of dogs.
Those who give me grain offerings
are like those who offer me the blood of pigs.
Those who burn incense
are like those who worship idols.
These people choose their own ways, not mine,
and they love the terrible things they do.

It’s time for us to stop going down the path that we think is right – even the path that we think is Godly – repent – and begin our journey on the path that Jesus is leading us down illuminated by His word.

It’s time to pick up the promises of God and make them our hope once again. It’s time to believe in the power and might of our great God to make the impossible our reality again. It’s time to rediscover our true selves at the foot of the cross where we lay down our old self and allow Jesus to resurrect us again. It’s time to cast off doubt and rise up in faith once again.

What are you expecting?

How does a new mother speak of the newborn that she’s expecting? Rarely do you hear a new mother cursing their child, right? Rarely do you hear a new mother speaking poorly of her unborn child. Rarely do you hear a new mother expecting her unborn child to be a lazy bum who is going to make nothing of their lives. Rarely do you hear a new mother expecting her unborn child to be a wild rebel who makes her life hell on earth.

No, you usually hear a new mother wondering in awe of what her unborn child might become and achieve. She dreams big dreams for that child before they even take their first breath. She speaks encouragement to that child and prays for them. She laughs and rejoices as that child grows and begins to roll around and kick and respond to her.

Sure, she may get impatient and irritable near the end of her pregnancy, but often even more so then is she eagerly expecting the birth of her child. She prepares the house, packs her bags, plans the hospital trip, and has her phone ready to call and text about the birth long before the moment it begins.

So ought we be preparing the way in expectation of God’s promises to be fulfilled in our lives. So ought we prepare our hearts as a place for the Lord to find rest.

So ought we be eagerly expecting good things for our own lives – dreaming in awe and wonder. Believing that our best days are still ahead of us. Believing that together with God, all things are possible! Expecting the impossible to become our reality. Enjoying the good days together and clinging in trust, faith, and hope during the difficult ones.

The whole context of Isaiah 65-66 are the days in which we are living and those about to come. They are about Jerusalem, but not that city of David located in Israel. The context is the new Jerusalem and all the people of the world who turn to Him – even those nations who were not previously seeking after Him.

God promises:
Isaiah 65-66 (NCV):
My servants will eat
My servants will drink
My servants will be happy
My servants will shout for joy
My people will be given a new name
The troubles of their past will be forgotten
Their troubles will go away
They will be blessed by the faithful God
People will not remember the past or think about it
The people will be full of joy and the Lord’s delight
No longer will a baby be born only to live a few days
One who lives 100 years will be young
They will enjoy the work of their hands
Their needs will be provided for before they even ask
They will be helped by God while they are still yet asking Him for it
They will be comforted
They will be satisfied
They will receive good things and enjoy wealth
He will give us peace that will flow like a river
We will be nursed, held in His arms, and bounced on His knee
We will grow
We will see His power
We will be marked by Him and sent out to save the nations who have not yet heard about it
We will tell of His glory
There will be a new Heavens and a new Earth

We can expect all of these promises to come to pass in our lives. These are all found in just a few simple chapters of God’s word.

There is more, so much more, that we can expect from our God. God’s promises are like a vast ocean that we can lose ourselves exploring. Every day can be a new day for us to see a new revelation of who God is. Ever day a new adventure together with Him!

So as we journey through the new year together, have hope. Eagerly expect good things to come about – the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Even when challenges arise, as you face them, always end the meditations of your heart and mind, and the words of your lips like David did. Things are rough right now, but God isn’t finished yet. Things aren’t looking the best right now, yet I put my trust in the Lord. I don’t know how this is going to end, but I know my God is here with me and is already where this is heading.

This year, this 2020, what are you expecting? Cast off the past and renew your hope, expecting great things from a great God. Expecting fulfillment in His faithfulness. Expecting power from His Presence. Expecting goodness from His grace.

Hope again. Believe again. Trust again. Expect again!