Posted on Mon, Dec 3, 2007
What is your greatest expectation this season? Does it have anything to do with God's greatest expectation?
The Greatest Expectation
Luke Chap 1: 5-38 (NIV)
Isaiah 43:16-23 (NIV)
What are your expectations for this Christmas season? Do you have any? I wonder what you base your expectations upon?
Expectation is a wonderful thing! Without it you would really struggle in everyday life. Expectation helps you to look to the future with a sense of hope, a sense that tomorrow will be better than today. Sometimes-- perhaps many times, your expectations lead to disappointment. And we all hate the thought of being disappointed.
Kenn Kington, a Christian comedian said that we should expect nothing, be thankful for everything. Within the context he spoke those words, he was probably right. There is just one small problem with that analogy in regards to your life in general, you can find yourself a little depressed if you give up on all expectations.
Advent is a wonderful time of expectation, there are Christmas programs, and Christmas dinners or parties, there are Family gatherings, gifts to buy, and then there is that expectation of seeing your child, grandchild, or great grandchild’s eyes light up as they open the gift you had searched so hard to find.
Have you ever wondered what God expects? The Christmas season for some of you may not hold a lot of expectation, its just another Christmas. It seems as we get older we naturally lose some our child-like expectations for Christmas. You may have even wondered “why don’t I have that same feeling about Christmas I used to have?” Have you ever thought about God’s view of Advent and the Christmas season? What is God expecting from you this Christmas? Could he possibly be preparing you for something in the future that isn’t even on your radar screen for 2008? And if He is, will you be ready? Will you be ready when God calls?
In Genesis 3:15 God began to reveal his plan addressing the fall of mankind into sin. God knew His own children would continually fail to walk in obedience. As you study the Old Testament though, you soon realize God continually did all kinds of things expecting a response from His people…
1. He gave a promise to Abraham expecting to build an entire nation from one man and his wife. 2. He rescued the Jews (Israel) from bondage
3. He brought pain, disease and hardship into their lives expecting them to have a change of heart so that they would seek Him.
4. He brought blessings of good crops, good health, yet their was little heartfelt response. The worship of the people fell far short of God’s expectations. They went through the ritual of worship, but they were what we would call today, Sunday morning Christians. Their worship had little to no impact on their lives, and so God’s expectations for Israel resulted in the Gentiles showing the Jews the way of salvation. Jesus said “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how I would have loved to gather you under my wings, but you would not do it.”
A good parent has expectations for their child, its part of the process of helping the child become responsible. It also builds the child’s self-esteem. . What would it be like if your parents would have had no expectations of you? Our heavenly Father being a good parent obviously has some expectations for you
The Christmas story is more than just about God’s expectations for Zechariah, John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. God has expectation for you and me as well. The Beauty of the Christmas story is that the stars of the story are plain everyday people like you and me, they were people that were willing to be a part of whatever God’s plan included in their lives. We can learn 4 important actions God takes when He expects something from you.
What are God’s expectations for you? Have you considered God’s viewpoint and what he is expecting of you?
When God Expects… Luke Chap 1
1. He PREPARES His people. Are you being prepared?
Three kinds of people in the Christmas story—
1. Prepared like Mary
2. Unprepared like Zechariah
3. Unaware like Herod
Mary was prepared for God’s plan for her to become the mother of Jesus because she had learned to be a servant. Sevanthood is not a virtue that is highly recognizable in our society today. Many people are too busy with their own lives to be a servant for someone else. Imagine Mary, history reveals that she was a teenager when God revealed his plan to her. Think of a teenager you know today, are they preparing for God to reveal His plan for their lives? Mary was prepared for God’s plan, are you?
Of all the people that should have been prepared, Zechariahas a priest should have been after all, the tradition was that the priest would go into the holy of holies, while there, he would hear a Word from God, then He would bring what he heard to the people waiting outside the temple. Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth had been praying for a child for years, yet when God revealed that Zechariah would father a long-awaited son, Zechariah was caught in unbelief. Will you be unbelieving when God reveals His plan for your life? Will your lack of preparation stand in the way of true joy?
Matt. 2: 1-8 and 2:13-18 Herod had no interest in God’s expectations, except that he might stop them. Little did Herod know that even though he attempted to stand in the way of God’s expectations, he was actually fulfilling them. Herod was being used of God and he didn’t realize it, what a sad commentary on one’s life, to be touched by the hand of God, and miss it!
You and I need to be aware of God’s ways of preparing us for what He is expecting of us. If you are not preparing for God to work in your life, you will easily end up like Zechariah or Herod. Many players spend time practicing with a team, often they spend some time on the bench before they actually get some playing time. The players that the coach will play the most, are the ones who are developing their potential to do well on the playing field. If God “expects” of you, then you need to understand how important it is for you to be preparing. When you expect God to work in your life, you will be ready like Mary.
Ways God prepares us….
A. God prepares you through the health problem you are experiencing, or some other difficultly in your life. God never wastes an experience. Is there something that has “suddenly” become a part of your life that makes you wonder “what is God up to?” Quite likely He is preparing you for the plan yet to be revealed to you. Have you ever noticed that you praise God much more for your health after you have been sick? Too often you miss the next step, you get healthy and quickly forget that God was preparing you. Then when God reveals his plan to you, your preparation time is forgotten and so you fail to recognize his plan.
B. God prepares you through blessing you—Both “curses” and “blessings” were a part of God’s preparation for His expectation for Israel. Since God is unchanging in what He intends to accomplish, you can be assured that just as he prepares some people though difficulty, He also prepares some people through prosperity. (we would all prefer that method) The important thing to realize is that often the “sudden” changes in your life, that seem to come from nowhere, are actually God’s preparation and expectation in your life. Greater Awareness of undeserved blessing should stimulate you to be preparing for God’s next step or plan for your life.
2. He PRESENTS His Plan
Notice that when Gabriel presented Zechariah with God’s plan, the details of John the Baptist’s life were already worked out. You would think Zechariah would be so excited about being the father of the man who would turn people back to God. I wonder if Zechariah’s lack of preparation prevented him from hearing the exciting news? We know it kept him from telling about it. Lack of preparation for God’s plan for you life, can easily lead to not being attentive when He presents His plan.
God’s plan is specific, but not necessarily original with you. The best way to understand God’s plan in your life is to understand the ways He has worked in people’s lives in the past.
The biggest problem you will have in understanding God’s plan is that you will attempt to convince God that he has got the wrong person. Zechariah thought he was too old, Mary wondered how she, a virgin could give birth to a child. When God has a plan for you it isn’t a plan that he cooked up the night before he gives it to you. God is sovereign, accomplishing his purposes in several different people at once.
3. He PROVIDES the Particulars.
Zechariah and Mary both wondered--How can this be? God’s expectations for you come with a plan. Zechariah and Mary wanted to know more details, --a common concern. Did you notice that every time they brought up a problem,--God had already thought of it and resolved the problem. God will provide the particulars; your main concern is saying “yes” I am God’s servant.
4. He PROPAGATES Praise.
Luke chapters one and two record Mary’s Song Of praise and Zechariah’s Song of praise to God. You see when you are aware of God’s preparing you, you are ready for the revealing of God’s plan. You will no doubt have some questions regarding the particulars, that’s OK, most people in the Bible needed to come to the realization that God provides the particulars.
Did you notice the response when Zechariah and Mary realized they were fulfilling God’s plan for their lives? ((Luke 1:46-55&Luke 1:67-79) Would you say they were kind of subdued in there response? No, they were ecstatic with praise for God!
You need to understand that whatever you may be going through today, God’s preparation in your life will ultimately propagate praise in your heart, and in the hearts of other people. Every time I read Mary’s song it causes me to praise God as well. Imagine the millions of people who are prompted to praise God because of His expectation completed through Mary.
What are you expecting this Christmas? Do your expectations have anything to do with what God expect this Christmas?
What is the greatest expectation? It’s God expectation of you!! God’s greatest expectation wasn’t for the Jews, you might think if was for Jesus, yet even Jesus told His disciples “you will do greater things then I will.” According to (Isaiah 49:22 (NIV) See I will beckon to the Gentiles, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their shoulders.) The “Gentiles” are you and me; God’s greatest expectation is for you and me is to bring people back to Him, including the Jews.
My prayer for you, is that your expectation will include preparing for the Greatest Expectation
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