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  • Writer's pictureShannon Bryant

Raising Expectations!

The holidays have so quickly come and gone. Like a flash, the holly jolly days of Christmas have passed us by and for some so did the holly and the jolly. For a lot of people, it felt like the holly lost its jolly. Many including me longed for the good old days of Christmas past. You know having the fuzzy, warm, and joyful Christmas “spirit”. The “feeling” I'd get when I heard Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, or Silent Night was lacking. The excitement, expectation, and anticipation fizzled. The various smells of delightful desserts, songs, savory dishes, and dazzling lights just didn't do it for me.

I don’t know about you but this year was just different and no matter how much I tried to recreate an atmosphere of joy to the world by listening to a reminiscent song or watching an old favorite Christmas movie I just couldn’t get that “feeling” back.

I’ve heard many convey the same sentiment. It just didn’t “feel” like Christmas. One reason for me was this was my first Christmas without my grandmother. I’m sure that contributed to it, but it was more than that. Maybe some of you have experienced loss and it was very difficult around the holidays, but it’s more than that. Maybe you’re right now going through a hard trial and experiencing anxiety, and can’t get any peace but it’s more than that. There's confusion and conflict in your family but it's more than that. Do you sense that all that is going haywire in your life right now, is more than that? The onslaught of trials, uneasiness, and disruption?

That's because oftentimes it is more than that. We are in a heightened time of spiritual warfare, an ongoing battle and we the Body of Christ are the enemy’s primary target. It seems that just when we’re coming out of a trial, there is another right after. Sometimes ambushed on many sides. Whether it’s your health. Marriage. Children. Finances. Battling in your mind etc. The enemy is on a ferocious rampage and is attempting to brutally steal, kill and destroy at a rapid pace and shorter intervals between. So much so that it can get to the point that you expect another fiery dart after the other.

Have you ever just anticipated his warfare tactics and attacks and braced yourself for what he sends next? Because you already know that there is going to be a next and that there will be another strategized attack coming your way to attempt to rob you of your faith, distract and wreak havoc in your life? Maybe you've even come to recognize His filthy hand, schemes, lies, accusations, wickedness, and orchestration of confusion, trials, and chaos. A certain in this life is that we can expect the enemy to do what he does.

Now I ask you this, do you have a sure certainty and even greater expectation and anticipation that God will do what He does?

Do you ever brace yourself and eagerly expect and anticipate the goodness of the Lord in your life?

Do you really expect Him to fight for you and demonstrate His faithfulness without fault?

Do you really expect God to show Himself strong when you are weak?

Do you eagerly anticipate Him to work all things out for your good even when things don’t look good?

Do you await with confidence for Him to save your loved ones even when it looks like there is no hope for them?

Do you expect Him to fight for you even when it seems like the whole world is against you?

Do you expect God to bring you out when it looks like there is no way out?

Do you expect Him to really keep you in perfect peace when all that is going on in your life has you bent toward worry?

Do you expect Him to supply your every need when there are reports of lack?

Do you really expect Him when you're burrowed deep in the valley, in the real muck and mire, heart-wrenching places to be with you? Comfort you. Strengthen you. Carry you.

Do you have an unshakeable assurance that God never leaves? Never forsakes you even when it feels that He has.

Are you fully convinced that when you're in the fiery furnace God is in the furnace with you and though it feels like you are being burned alive you're not going to because God won't allow the fire to consume you?

When you are sinking in the rivers of difficulty do you have faith to believe that God will be your Lifeline and not allow you to drown in your, adversity sorrow, and pain?

Are you fully persuaded and wait with eager anticipation that when you pray God hears you and will answer, even if the answer tarries long?

Do you really believe that all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us?

It’s in my heart to challenge you, to challenge myself to raise our expectations. In the times we are living in our expectation from God and all we know of Him and will know Him to be has to rise to higher heights. We just can’t know what He says, we've got to know Him and really believe what He says, that He will do what He says, and do what He says.

It’s one thing to know from the Word what to do, but to do it is to take victory! We must put the principles of the truths learned from God’s Word into practice and watch God work. The thing is, it’s hard to put into practice the things learned when you’re under duress but it’s critical that we execute the instructions given to us in God’s Word by His Spirit and put on the whole armor of God. I mean put it on, because the armor can't work unless we put it on.

Let’s resolve to lift our expectations and believe God to be who He says He is and walk in the victory that Jesus already accomplished on the Cross of Calvary.

Let’s live like his sons and daughters with blessing and authority with the exceeding greatness of His power living in us toward us who believe.

We are living in times that can get heavy and are hard to deal with. This is why we must raise our expectations by sowing to the Spirit. What you sow will grow so sow to the Spirit by spending time with God. Spending time in His Word. Meditating on it day and night. Praying without ceasing. Wholeheartedly seeking the Lord while He may be found, garnering an atmosphere of holiness. Putting our hands to the plow. Putting on the whole armor of God so that we may be empowered to stand. Glorifying God.

Dear and precious friends this is what it’s going to take in these perilous times. We've got to go all in with God. We must see that we walk wisely, redeeming the time because the days are evil, really believing God to be and do what He says He will be and do, according to His will, for our good, for the good of those we are believing Him for.

We must be serious and watchful in our prayers. Expecting God to answer. Not being utterly crushed, deterred, or distracted by every ambush. We've got to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Raising our expectations trusting God to do more than we can ask or think. Looking unto Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

When the trials come and the enemy comes in like a flood many can be quick to say the devil is busy and quote the beginning portion of John 10:10, "the thief comes but to steal kill and destroy", but the prevailing portion and most precious promise and highlight is the latter portion of the scripture when Jesus says, I have come that they might have life and have life more abundantly!

The word “abundant” in Greek is perisson, meaning “exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, more, a quantity so abundant as to be way more than what one would expect or anticipate.” Our anticipation and expectation in any and every season must be Jesus and the abundant blessing of all He accomplished on the Cross. Eternal life and a growing trust in Him must be our heart’s aim.

Jesus is the reason for every season and keeping our eyes on Him, on things above is imperative. The anticipation of the eye has not seen nor ear has heard the things God has in store for those who love Him has to be the "fuel" that keeps us going. The temporal will not do.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1

The expectation even now in the midst of all that is going on in the world or in your life must be in God’s immeasurable faithfulness to His children and the bedrock on which we build our lives. The just must live by faith.

So let’s together raise our expectations of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! He is so worthy of it all and so much more!

Let's lift the Name of Jesus higher and higher! I’m reminded of something my grandmother said, “I don’t talk about the devil, he gets enough publicity!”

On many occasions, I would sit with my grandmother in her cozy comfy, and warm living room, and she would reflect back over her life and think about the goodness of the Lord and all He’d done, and all He'd brought her through, and unbridled heartfelt praise would flow from her lips and she would clap her hands with thanksgiving and appreciation and she would raise praise and say, “Thank You, Jesus”!

Her favorite song was His Eye is On the Sparrow. Jesus was truly her portion and she knew who watched over her and she praised Him for it.

I invite you today to magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together!

Lift up His blessed Name!

Thank You, Jesus!

Raise our shields of faith!

Raise our anticipation!

Raise praise!

Raise worship!

Raise our expectations of the True and Living God to work all things out for our good because we love Him and are called according to His purpose!

Lifting up our banners of glorious praise and exaltation believing Him, the victorious all-powerful King of Kings by His Spirit to lift up a standard on our behalf! Expect Him to keep us from falling! Eagerly anticipating Him to cause us to triumph in Him!

Let’s lift up our voices and shout with a voice of triumph that He reigns! He reigns! He reigns forever and ever!

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Scripture references: Ephesians 6:12 2 Corinthians 1:20 Proverbs 15:29 Isaiah 62:10

1 John 5:14 Ephesians 1:19-21 Galatians 6:8 Ephesians 5:15-21 Romans 8:28

2 Corinthians 2:14

© Prayer Matters Ministries

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