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Expectations

 

“Unmet expectations breed frustrations.”

Lysa Terkeurst

I learned years ago that when my expectations are high, then there’s greater possible disappointment if the expectations are not met. If we have expectations of God, how we think He should act in a certain situation and He doesn’t, we can become offended.

Our expectations may encourage us to take on the role of a victim. Initially when John’s medical practice began to plummet, my expectations rose to the surface of my heart. I had believed our latter years would be easier, with less sacrifice involved. My expectation was to live in Omaha till we died and when it looked as if we needed to move to Wichita in order for John to keep practicing, I was not a happy camper! I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was offended by God and His plans for us at this stage in life. I needed to repent.

We can be offended by God because He didn’t meet our expectations. God didn’t do what we thought was best for us. He didn’t perform how we wanted Him to. The world doesn’t revolve around us; our lives are to turn around God and His desires. God doesn’t owe me or you anything. We’re the ones indebted to Him, for all He’s done for us.

God doesn’t just see the present, what is happening to us today. He’s the Alpha and Omega and sees the beginning and the end. The whole picture, not just one part, is His perspective. God knows what happened in our past and sees what will take place in our future. What if something you didn’t want to happen, in the long run, was actually better than what you originally desired, but at first glance didn’t appear that way?

It was no secret I didn’t want to move away from my family, friends, and church in Omaha. My heart grieved the loss and God stored up my many tears. But now that I’m on the other side of the view of what God wanted to do, I can see that my Father knows best. I’m grateful for all His goodness I’ve tasted as a result of the move to Wichita. He did and always does, have my best interest at heart.

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life” (Psalms 23:6a). No matter what our expectations are, this is the Truth, and we can expect that from God.

“If you give God your attention, He’ll always exceed your expectation.”

Steven Furtick

Relevant Reflection:

Are you offended by God for Him not meeting your expectations? If so, please repent.

 

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An Invitation to Trust

 

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” 

Corrie Ten Boom 

I have never been more grateful for the traffic in Wichita as I was a few weeks ago, while driving a rental car out of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, during rush hour traffic. I kept praying my daughter and I wouldn’t be in an accident. God on the other hand kept saying, “Look at what I can do for you! I can provide the strength, wisdom, and courage that you need and I will show Myself to you as your Protector.” 

In all of life, Jesus allows things to happen so that we get to know Him better. Each trial or fear that we face is an invitation to see who He really is and to catch a glimpse of another facet of the diamond called God. 

Jesus didn’t rush to his dear friend’s Lazarus’ side when He heard his friend was sick. A few days later when Jesus knew Lazarus was dead, He told His disciples it was time to go see His friend. In the Passion Translation of John 11:14, it says, “…because now you have another opportunity to see who I am, so that you will learn to trust in Me.” 

The trials we go through, is for the purpose to deepen our trust in God. It’s as if while we’re in the midst of a crisis, God is asking each of us, “Do you trust Me?” We learn about God’s nature in our daily lives and each situation is an opportunity to see God in action, so that we can trust Him more. 

When we trust God, our intimacy well deepens from which we can draw up pails of living water of remembrance. This gives us the security that He will come through for us yet again. Intimacy correlates with trust. The deeper our trust, the deeper our intimacy will be. This applies to our relationship with God and with people. 

In what scenario is God asking you today, “Do you trust Me?” Rest assure, this isn’t an opportunity to test you, but it’s an invitation to trust Him more by getting to know who He is. Allow Him to show Himself to you in ways unimaginable, so that you can look back and know He will be there for you again in the future. 

“Faith is a reasoning trust, a trust which reckons thoughtfully and confidently upon the trustworthiness of God.” 

John R. Stott 

Relevant Reflection: 

In your particular situation, what does trusting God look like? 

 

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Stepping Forward

 

“Courage faces fear and thereby masters it. Cowardice represses fear and is thereby mastered by it.” 

Martin Luther King Jr. 

Fear immobilizes and causes us to disobey God. But for those who put their brave face on, freedom is waiting to embrace them. The things I have feared the most, have become the greatest blessings when I faced them. I fear conflict, trials, failure, and success. And if I had it my way, I’d avoid them or hide from them, which is why I procrastinate. 

I am so grateful Jesus didn’t do that. Instead, He faced His fear head on. John 18:4, in the Passion Translation says, “Jesus, knowing full well what was about to happen, went out to the garden entrance to meet them. Stepping forward, He asked, ‘Who are you looking for?'” 

Jesus didn’t run away from the awful trial He was about to face in the Garden of Gethsemane. He didn’t let His fears get in the way of fulfilling His Father’s will for His life. Fear did not dictate His next steps. Instead, He faced what was up ahead, even though He had full disclosure what was about to happen. Our Savior knew He would be tortured, suffer, and die a criminal’s death on a cross. Jesus knew the loneliness and devastation He would feel when He became separated from His Father as He took all our sins upon Himself. Instead of retreating, Jesus stepped forward and went out to meet His enemies. 

We all have fears to face. Maybe you need to have a hard conversation with a loved one you’re in conflict with. Maybe you’re facing a challenge at your job, or with a recent health diagnosis. Whatever it may be, ask Jesus to give you the grace to step forward, to meet your fear head on, just like He did. And when you do, the blessing of freedom will be waiting for you on the other side. 

“God incarnate is the end of fear; and the heart that realizes that He is in the midst…will be quiet in the midst of alarm.” 

Frederick B. Meyer 

Relevant Reflection: 

How can you step forward and face your fear? 

 

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Memorial Day, 2018

 

No regular post today. May you have a special time with your family and friends as you honor those who have given much, so that we can have freedom. 

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Speaking in Tongues

 

“It’s only when I have been very deliberate to exercise the gift of tongues that I’ve seen advancement happen in my life.” 

Katherine Ruonala 

The Holy Spirit desires to pray for you and through you. He does that as you pray in tongues. When we pray in the Spirit, our minds become engaged in faith. I’ve become more intentional with praying in the Spirit on a regular basis since I read Katherine Ruonala’s Life with the Holy Spirit 

Speaking in tongues has not been emphasized, so I didn’t acknowledge the importance or the benefits that come from praying in the Spirit. In I Thessalonians 5:19, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not quench the Spirit.” To quench means “to extinguish,” as if we’re putting out a fire. I don’t want to do anything that may prevent the Holy Spirit from moving in my life. 

Years ago when I taught a weekly women’s Bible study, the Holy Spirit instructed me to pray in tongues when I didn’t know what He wanted me to say. So while folding laundry I prayed in the Spirit. Afterward, He gave me direction for the message. Currently, I pray in tongues prior to writing, for His creativity to be released.  

Sometimes I’ll pray in tongues while cleaning the house or driving. I’ve interceded in the Spirit to wage war against the enemy. Praying in tongues shows me how to pray when I don’t know how to pray for a loved one. It’s as if Spirit intercession clears away the cobwebs in my mind and looses the heart of God. I know how to pray specifically with words and my faith is built up to believe. It opens my mind to how God wants me to pray. 

Praying in the Spirit is for personal edification, to strengthen us. If I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed, that’s the time for me to pray in tongues. As I do, the Holy Spirit intercedes on my behalf and lifts me up. Speaking in tongues also deepens my intimacy with Him. 

When you’re at a loss for words and you don’t know how to intercede on behalf of a loved one, pray in tongues. When you feel confused and need direction, pray in tongues. When condemnation consumes your heart, pray in tongues. When you want to pray according to God’s will, pray in tongues. And when you desire to scoot a little closer to the Holy Spirit, pray in tongues. 

“You may pray for your own agenda, but when praying in tongues the Holy Spirit will pray what He wants. You can trust that His prayers are the will of the Father.” 

Katherine Ruonala 

Relevant Reflection: 

What benefits have you seen from praying in tongues? 

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Kingdom Investment

 

“You are your own mix of gifts, skills, and experiences God wants to stir up to serve His Son.” 

Beth Moore 

God doesn’t give us spiritual gifts just to keep them all for ourselves. He gives them to us to share them with others. What we do with what has been given to us, determines whether we receive more in the future. If we’re faithful with what He gives us and share what we’ve received, then God will multiply what we’ve been given, and we’ll be given more. The parable of the talents in Luke 19:11-27 portrays this kingdom principle. 

In this passage, a noble man, soon to become king, gave ten of his servants the same amount of money, which was about three months’ wages. He told each of them to “Put this money to work,” in other words, invest it. (vs. 13) When the king returned, one of his servants had earned ten more, while another increased what had been given to him by five. The king was pleased with the returns on their investment and gave them more responsibility over cities. 

Likewise our faithfulness to invest in God’s kingdom will result in increase. God will bless the gifts we’ve shared by giving us more to share. We’ve all been given something from God. But what happens to that, whether it’s multiplied or not, is determined by us-what we’ve done with it. If we’ve hid it or have kept it to ourselves, we will not hear “Well done,” from our King. 

For years I hid what God gave to me because of shame and fear of man. But just like a parent encourages their children to share, God encourages us to give away what we’ve received from Him. Sharing what we have is a form of investment. And when we give away what we possess, then we’re investing in God’s kingdom. 

I became convicted while I studied this passage. I realized my emotional healing and restoration, are not just for me. I’m to share what has been given to me in hopes that God will use it to bring wholeness to others. Rebekah Lyons in You Are Free writes: “Freedom is never just for the freed. Freedom is a gift that’s meant to be shared.” I’m retrieving the emotional wholeness manuscript I worked on a couple of years ago. I want Luke 10:26a to be fulfilled. “But to all who have been faithful, even more will be given them.” (Passion Translation) 

Let us each take what God has given to us and invest it back into His kingdom! 

“Stewardship is the acceptance from God of personal responsibility for all of life and life’s affairs.” 

Roswell C. Long 

Relevant Reflection: 

What has God given to you and how are you investing it back into His kingdom? 

 

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Judgmental Walls

 

“People can always sense when you are judging them, and it causes them to put up walls to defend themselves against your judgments, hindering the possibility of personal connection.” 

Katherine Ruonala 

Last week’s post was on a rebellious son and a religious son. I have struggled with being religious, performing and following the rules, to puff up my pride and feel better about myself. The end result is being judgmental in my heart and mind. Even though I may not say anything, I believe people pick up on it. When people feel judged, they shut down and cannot be their authentic selves. 

Personally I have been affected by this. Jealousy breeds judgment and it prevents the freedom to be who God has created us to be. I have also experienced the opposite. When others see me like Jesus does and expects His gifts to flow through me, I rise to their level of acceptance and flourish. Our thoughts, judgments or acceptance, somehow defines people. I want God’s thoughts to define others and to free them to be all that He’s created them to be. 

I remember on one of my dad’s visits, I so desired to receive my father’s blessing and I prayed for that to take place. One day, early on during Dad’s time with us, God interrupted my thoughts: Why do you need your earthly dad’s blessing when you already have Mine? At that point I released my dad from having to give me his blessing. I let go of any expectation. I no longer needed that since I was secure in my heavenly Father’s acceptance. 

I believe Dad sensed the change in me. Even though I had never said anything to him about my desires, some how there was a shift and he knew it. He was no longer expected to give me something, instead, he was accepted as he was. He ended up saying it was the best vacation he had ever had. 

Another reason why I don’t want to be judgmental, is because I don’t want to be judged. “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” (Romans 2:1) If I sow judgment, I will reap judgment. (Galatians 6:7) 

People tend to judge others in the areas they judge themselves. Don’t let your judgments undermine your relationships. Let’s love and accept people, as well as ourselves, so that all of us walk in God’s freedom. 

“Who judges others condemns himself.” 

Anonymous 

Relevant Reflection: 

In what area do you judge others? Ask God to see them through His eyes of acceptance. 

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