Raising our expectations

Expecting to Receive More from God

by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Summary: Most Christians experience just a small fraction of what God has provided for us. Let the word of God today dramatically raise your expectations to receive God’s bounty for you.

Revelation 4:1-2  After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.

•• Come up to a higher perspective. Don’t see things just through your human vision, but from God’s standpoint. The essence of the verse above is “Come up higher!”
 
•• Raise your expectations. Don’t just settle for “same-old-same-old”. God has spread a banquet table of blessings for His people. But too often we just “snack” at His table and fail to receive much of the abundance He has freely promised us.
 
•• Let’s examine four areas where Christians typically desire more of God in our lives, but too often fail to receive it. May the Scriptures stimulate us to believe God to receive in far greater measure than we have in the past.

• Healing —

Exodus 15:26  [The Lord] said, ‘If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.’

•• For those who serve and obey Him, He is “the Lord who HEALS YOU.”
 
•• What is your expectation of Him in the area of divine healing? Raise it!
 
Exodus 23:25  Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away disease from among you.
 
Matthew 8:16-17  When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all who were ill. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He [Jesus] took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.’
Jesus has already borne our infirmities and our sicknesses, as surely as He has borne our sins.
•• My late wife Mickey had a medically diagnosed infertility condition. After we had been married for six years without children, a lady in our church had a clear revelation from God for us. God had spoken to her to tell my wife: “Your barren days are over.” Our faith and our expectations soared. A year later the first of our four now-adult children was born.

Romans 3:3-4a  For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar.

•• My paraphrase: “Let God be true, but every man[’s contrary experience] a liar.” If your experience is not consistent with God’s promises in the Bible, don’t lower your faith to line up with man’s faulty experiences. No! Rather, let God’s word raise your expectations to line up with the truths of the Scriptures.

• Souls Saved —

•• Are we currently seeing many souls saved here in Springfield? in Oregon? in America? Sadly, no. But rather than just adjusting our faith downwards to expect minimal results, let’s increase our expectations.

Romans 10:1-2  Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.

•• It’s good to pray specifically for people to be saved. The apostle Paul in his prayers targeted his fellow Israelites for salvation. I encourage you to think of family members, relatives, friends, coworkers who don’t know the Lord. Specifically pray for their salvation, as the apostle Paul did in his day.
 
•• In addition to targeting individuals in prayer to be saved, be open to the sovereign leading of the Holy Spirit to those whose hearts He has prepared. Be open, as Philip was (see below), to be led by the Spirit to a hungry soul.
 
Acts 8:26-27, 29  Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”).... 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” And the rest of the chapter showed the man willingly inviting Philip to tell him about the Savior Jesus, and then to baptize him in water. Like Philip, raise your expectations for heaven-inspired soul winning.

• Hearing from God —

Romans 8:14  For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

•• Are you saved? Are you born again? Are you then a “child of God”? Yes? Then raise your expectations to hear from God and to be led by God.

Isaiah 30:21  Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

•• God promised to give guidance to His people (here, the people of ancient Jerusalem), even when they might be making wrong turns. Have you made any wrong turns? Raise your expectations to hear from God: “This is the way...”

1 Kings 19:11-13  The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

•• The Lord was not in the wind, the fire, or the earthquake, but in the “still small voice” (KJV). God’s voice generally comes not as a loud shout, but as a gentle whisper.
 
•• Quiet yourself, seek God, get “in the Spirit”, and raise your expectations to hear God’s gentle whisper.

• The Supernatural Realm —

John 16:13-15, KJV  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he WILL shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and SHALL shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

•• (vs. 15) The things of God come to us from God the Father to His Son Jesus, then to us via the Holy Spirit. Notice the full involvement of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). And what comes to us? — “ALL things that the Father hath”!
 
•• Raise your expectations:
• For the full range of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-10)
 
• For the “demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
 
• For supernatural signs to follow us who believe (Mark 16:17-18)
•• What can we do to open ourselves up to receive from God in these areas?
• Pray, worship, be in the Word, of course. But also...
 
“Covet earnestly” the gifts of the Spirit, to edify the church (1 Corinthians 12:31; 14:12).

Isaiah 6:8  “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

•• Healing ... souls saved ... hearing from God ... experiencing the supernatural — God has promised these things to those who love and serve Him. Don’t limit God. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t just leave these things to others. Be ready, willing, and seeking to be used by God in greater and greater measure. Let your attitude before Him each day be: “Here am I, Lord; send me!”

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