Unrealistic Expectations

expectation

By:  Hannah Schelling

A couple months ago I bought a book called “The Best Yes” written by Lysa Terkeurst. I bought this book because at the time, I was troubled with knowing when to say “no” and when to say “yes” to certain people and certain situations. In the chapter I read last week, Lysa talked about the space between our expectations and our reality. Personally, I always try to see ahead of my current situation and what the outcome or future might look like. It’s a struggle for me to see ahead when making decisions because in my own mind, I have so many different expectations that I get stuck in the midst of it all. I try to decide which expectations are real, which expectations am I basing my decisions off of too much, and how do I let go of the expectations that are just simply unrealistic.

Psalm 23 is a whole chapter on God being the shepherd to his people.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

The word “want” means to lack something, to become empty, or to be without. If the Lord is our shepherd, we don’t’ have to lack, we don’t have to be without, and we most certainly don’t have to become empty. We don’t have to constantly be drained dry by our circumstances and expectations. Expectations of what we wish things could be, but they won’t be. A lot of times I get caught up in trying to live this “perfect” life. Being the perfect student, having a lot of friends, being the perfect Christian, and the perfect daughter. It’s all just not realistic though. If I am already perfect, and if I already am living out this great expectation of myself and my own life than how am I going to be used by God?

Expectations hold us captive, the unrealistic ones anyway. Having expectations and holding on to them, and living off of them will be the very thing that keeps you away from the reality that God has intended for you to live. So, you might ask, how can I know if my expectation is unrealistic or not? Ask yourself, does this certain expectation stretch you past your limits mentally and emotionally? Does it push you to some kind of breaking point? Does this expectation leave you feeling hopeless, stressed, does it feel forced; or do you lose yourself trying to fulfill it? If you can answer yes to any of those questions, then it is an unrealistic expectation. Don’t confuse yourself with the saying, “God won’t give me anything I can’t handle” because although it is true, he also wouldn’t give you such a sticky situation and unrealistic expectations to overcome if it didn’t glorify him. Evaluate your options, evaluate the expectations and don’t let them become something that they aren’t meant to be, because God is always in control not us.

You weren’t meant to become empty, dried out, and disappointed and when you get to that point, you weren’t made to stay that way. You were made to rise up, to live in truth and peace. It’s never easy to understand the expectations you had aren’t realistic. They aren’t easy to let go of. Having an idea of what your life should be like, what your relationships, and friendships should be like will waste all of your energy trying to make them reality. Nobody is perfect, and not everyone has it all figured out.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:2-3)

If Jesus is our shepherd, we can be at peace knowing that he will lead us towards good things. His reality is better than any of our expectations.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  (Romans 8:28)

All of the things that we try to fix and make happen by our own hands and in our own time just won’t work, because the God had his own expectations for our lives and he will continue to complete his good works in us until it is finished.

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Forever God is Faithful

faithful

By: Dawn Ashley

This morning I did not make it to church, instead decided to do “church” at home with the girls.  That may sound a little bizarre but that is what we needed today.  I am not discounting going to church because that is important but this is where God had us today and God spoke these two truths to me about it:

Now the LORD is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17)

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20)

So we gathered in His name and The Spirit of the Lord was with us and there truly was freedom.  We worshipped together and prayed together and read Gods’ Word together.  He literally put our service together and the girls got to see God do it – just for us.  This morning I want to share a little of that with you and pray that God can use where I am at to minister to you where you are at.

I am at a place where I have been “waiting” on God and yet not feeling his strength.  As we sat in Olivia’s room to do “church”  I looked up to these words that are on her wall.

Those who wait on the LORD will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)

I smiled and said okay God let church begin.  I am “waiting” on God in some areas of my life and have seemed to lose my strength. I feel weary and find myself losing hope.  I find myself wondering how much longer will my prayers go unanswered?  Then God reminded me:

“With God one day is a thousand years and a thousand years is one day.” (2 Peter 3:8).

God spoke to the depths of my heart through Isaiah and literally renewed my strength. I could feel my hope rising.  This strength from the Lord comes in trusting that  “His Love Endures Forever and Forever God is Faithful, Forever God is Strong, Forever God is With Us, Forever and Ever (which the girls and I sang over and over again). This morning we Sang Praise. In singing and proclaiming and reading this truth it overshadowed my circumstances and  the hope and strength that God speaks of in Isaiah 40:31 began to be renewed in me.  Where do you need your strength and hope renewed today?

In Isaiah 40 these events that are spoken of are the events Isaiah said would  occur after the captivity, to include releasing the remnant captives and allowing them to return to Jerusalem after Babylon was conquered.  What in the words of Isaiah 40 do you need to hear? What is God wanting to set you free from?  We can have confidence and hope in the future.  Where do you need to cry out from your desert place like I did this morning?  Where do you need to be reminded that God can raise up every valley and make low every mountain, make level every rough ground you walk and all the rugged places plain?

A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:3-5)

God has great plans for you and for me and we will fulfill the call God has on our lives regardless of the dessert we walk through today because God is faithful. Our voices matter because we carry the gospel of Jesus Christ.

You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” (Isaiah 40:9)

God has not forgotten us. He can’t we are his children and God carries all his work to completion, that includes his work in us.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:11)

Look up my friends at the beautiful canopy of stars on a clear night.  Who created all this?  He brings out the stars one by one and calls each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing (Isaiah 40:-25-26)  If God is this deeply involved in the stars and their creation what do you think He thinks of us? How well does He know us by name and do you not think for a moment He would take his eye off us and let us go missing?  We are not forgotten by God.  God gives us strength and power to face the days while He is completing his work in us and while He gathers us in his arms and comforts us.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. (Isaiah 40:29)

So as we walk through our current circumstances let’s remember the truth of who our God is and the truth of who we are to Him and walk forth in His power and His strength. Let’s give him praises in the dessert because when all else fails around us our God will never fail us, forever God is faithful, forever God is strong, forever God is with us, forever and ever. This is something this Thanksgiving we can be thankful for. We may face adversity but we will always find God’s comfort as we face it.

The Jesus Season

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By: Holly Haglan

I wanted to write a short yet effective devotion because I know this time of year is busy for all.  Short reads packed with good content are the way to go ☺.   This time of year is without a doubt one of the most stressful times of the year. For students, we are trying to get our grades up as high as we can before finals , and parents are trying to make it all come together for their family to have a good Christmas. There are a lot of days during this time of year that I feel like giving up.  Maybe you can relate?  As Christians, we need to remember the true reason for the season and focus accordingly after all we have the assurance that our footsteps have been ordered by the One that keeps this world revolving.

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way;  (Psalm 37:23)

It is our job to remember this and carry this truth in our heart  through this season and remember the true reason for the season is the celebration of our Lord and Savior’s birth.  The enemy will do his best to stress us out and turn “The Jesus Season” into “A Stressful Season”. Don’t let him.  Refuse to allow things like  anxiety, stress, and negativity to cloud your heart and mind, instead allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with peace and guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

When you feel yourself losing focus on the true meaning of this season and the worries of this world start to creep in remember a few of these truths from God’s Word an mediate on His Truth.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Rest easy in His arms tonight. Free yourself of the stress and anxiety the enemy has been trying to cloud your mind with and remember the reason that we have this season is Jesus!

God is Good

 

By: Tanya Staton

I’ve been sitting here thinking this morning about how good God is and how he is always faithful to his children. So many times we lose faith in him because the storm becomes bigger in our eyes then the bigness of our God. But God is not small so He cannot be compared to the storm. He cannot be compared to the problem. He cannot be compared to a man’s way of thinking when he is not thinking in the Spirit.

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Numbers 23:19 KJV)

God is capable to perform and do whatever He says He will do. He has not written a bunch of fake promises to us. He has not spoken to us and lied. When God said He is for us (Romans 8:31) and not against us it means He is totally and completely for us. He is on our side. He will never turn his back on us. He will never walk away. Because God is and will forever be faithful to perform his word in our life.

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: (Isaiah 55:10 KJV)

In the natural the problem always seems to be bigger than our God, but in truth and what is true reality our God is and will always be bigger and greater than any problem, any storm we will ever face. He is faithful. His will concerning things is not always our will. But that is where we have to learn to trust him. We do not always know why we have to go through things. We do not always know why we suffer or why we get hurt, but God will never change toward us. He is faithful to see use through every storm we face.  He may not always talk to us the way we think He should but he will always talk to us through his Word for He is faithful. So if you’re facing a storm today or a problem or you just struggling with hurt turn your eyes towards Jesus He will see you through this. God never promised us to use a magic wand to make everything disappear but He did promise us that He was faithful to see us through all things. So I would like to encourage everyone to remember the God you serve is greater and more powerful. He is Omnipotent and Omnipresent. Always remember the greater the storm the greater the problem the greater is your God. Nothing, absolutely nothing compares to him. He has promised to deliver us and He will do just that. It may not be in your timing but it will always be in his timing and his timing will always bring good into your life.  He would take anything and everything that the enemy has meant for bad in your life and He will turn it around for your good. Because He loves you, He cares for you and you are the apple of his eye. So take heart that God will walk with you every step of the way. He will not leave you nor will he forsake you not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

Where Does Your Faith Lie?

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By: Tina Coble

The Lord has recently pierced my heart when with a desire to learn more about the Holy Spirit. Having faith in the Holy Spirit and not faith in ourselves is sometimes a challenge. When we have faith in God, we are focusing on the Holy Spirit, and we can walk the way God wants us to walk. But if we choose to have faith in ourselves we are stopping the flow of God’s power in our life.

In the book of Galatians we learn read about faith. They had faith in their own works and were shutting the Holy Spirit out of their lives. If we shut the Holy Spirit out of our lives, we are not allowing God to use us. My heart grieves to know, that I sometimes choose to have faith in myself which means I am useless to God. The Holy spirit give us council, strength , power, direction for God to work mighty in our lives. God gives us free will to choose to have faith in ourselves or through him. We must choose moment by moment where our faith lies.

A few ways to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us is by praying and getting into the word. This allows our spirit to know his voice in our hearts.  This will help us  learn how to truly listen to Him.   Who do you rely on, who do you trust in- yourself or the Holy Spirit?  Your choice will determine if you are used by God?

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:16-26)