Christmas season can inspire us on many levels. For children especially, anything seems possible at this time of year. A lot of kids will even rush to bed much earlier than normal because they are so excited about the possibility of what may be under the tree when they wake up the next morning.
What I love so much about young kids is their hopeful expectation. They dream big and can easily expect miracles. Perhaps this is part of why Jesus desires for all of us to have childlike faith (Matthew 18:2-5).
How about you? What do you anticipate this Christmas? Anticipation has always been a huge part of Christmas, because when you think about it, Jesus was the most anticipated gift ever received!
For a moment, try and put yourself in Mary’s shoes. She must have experienced months of anticipation as Jesus, the Messiah, grew in her womb. The Jewish people had been taught for centuries to earnestly await the One who would save them. And now, Mary was about to give birth to the Son of God, the Savior of the world!
We also read that the Magi traveled a long distance to see Jesus because they expected Him to be the king of the Jews. In the book of Daniel, we learn that the Magi were among the highest ranking officials in Babylon. When they arrived in Jerusalem, they began asking, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” They had not seen Him, but expected to see Him. There was some serious anticipation going on in their hearts.
Imagine for a moment what the Magi had to be thinking and dreaming. They must have been a bit overwhelmed with excitement at the possibility of finding God … in the form of a human baby. His name was Jesus, Savior of His people. He was also called Immanuel, which means, “God with us”.
They had this anticipation largely because they believed that God’s promise was more than possible. It was absolute. They believed God’s Word was the final authority. They couldn’t afford to think ‘small’ or they may have never made that trip to find baby Jesus. They had to think big. If God has said it…that settles it.
When you and I believe God’s promises in the same way the Magi did, we too, will think with anticipation. We can have the same expectation and anticipation when we learn what God has said in His Word and then believe it. But like them we must remove the limits and think big.
Small thinking and small expectations limit God’s ability to maximize His blessings on your behalf. That’s why He often asks His people to raise their sights right before He does something totally awesome.
God wanted to do great things for and through Abram, you may recall. While Abram was just looking for a small plot of land to pasture his flocks, God had plans to give him all the land stretching out beyond the four points of the compass.
Abraham also prayed for a single heir, but God desired to make his descendants as innumerable as the dust of the earth. God instructed him to “lift up your eyes.” In a very real way I believe God is saying to, “Raise your sights! Look up. Think big. You’re thinking too small.”
Abram literally believed God and caught His vision for his life, and what God spoke to him came to pass.
This Christmas season, I think it is apparent that God is desiring all of us to raise our sights. Let us not think small. Let’s allow ourselves to dream about the possibilities that come along with believing in God’s plans…God’s best.
We don’t have to wait for the new year either; God is waiting to do more for you right now—in this season. Our job is to build our faith and then to trust in His promises.
Raise Your Expectations
As long as you’re willing to live without God’s best, guess what will happen? In short, you will. In order to raise your expectations, you must look to God’s Word and His promises. Those promises, and nothing less, can be…and should be your expectations.
Keep Your Eye On His Promise
Here are a handful of promises from God’s Word that every believer should have his or her sights on:
God’s best for you is healing (Isaiah 53:5). So, don’t expect sickness or disease.
His best for you is financial prosperity (Psalm 35:27, KJV). Work hard, train hard and be super responsible. But don’t settle for less than you deserve. Yes, be humble, sure, but don’t accept lack or poverty for long periods of time. Usually going without is not God’s best. There are times of pruning, yes but God has much in store for His children.
Believe for favor in each area of your life. And you don’t always have to earn it or be qualified for it in the natural! Since God’s Word provides much better promises than anything this world has to offer, your and my expectations should be much greater than unbelievers’. We are HIS children!
There are conditions for God’s best for you. Yes it is good to dream big and receive big…but you and I must be obedient to His Word.
A case in point, if you are believing for health and healing, you must combine your faith (found in Isaiah 53:5) with obedience in taking care of your body (found in 1 Corinthians 6:19). Whether that be eating properly, reducing stress, exercising, or any other specific instruction that our Lord has given you personally—obedience is key.
The people I often talk to tend to associate obeying God with drudgery and pain. But the truth is, obedience is always to our advantage. We need to change our expectations accordingly. When, in answer to the call of God, you leave behind your old lifestyle, your old habits and especially your old patterns of thinking, you experience great advantage.
Don’t Allow Fear
Once you have begun to expect more and walk in obedience, I can assure you that Satan will send in doubt and fear in order to try and steal from you. He’ll try to rob you of God’s blessing. This is a critical moment in receiving all that God has made possible for you.
You’ve learned by now that faith and fear are opposing forces, so keep in mind you can’t have both at the same time. This requires an intentional effort to reject fear and only speak words of faith. James 4:7, KJV, says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” That means, the devil has to go when you resist him. Fear cannot stay when you fight with faith. Use His Word as your offensive weapon.
Let’s Remove the Limits On God
All of the wonder, hope and expectation that is felt at this time of year is to be in the heart of the believer each and every day. Purpose to live expecting great and exciting things in your life every day. So here’s my challenge.
This Christmas look for ways to exhibit that same childlike faith in God and endeavor to “lift up your eyes” to greater things. Try to identify an area where you have somehow been limiting God. Look up verses to support God’s promise for you. Confess to God where you’ve been thinking small, and tell Him that you believe His Word over your circumstances. Have faith in God, and expect Him to move accordingly.You can do it.
With God nothing is impossible
Dale and Paula
“I just received your words of encouragement and hope. I was moved to tears. Thank you so much!! I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your support and prayers, and when I think of how incredibly busy you must be with the Movie, your ministry, and your personal lives, I am astounded that you took the time to minister to me messages of faith and encouragement. I pray God will bless all of your good works.” Jean C. Canada
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