Expectation

What is the definition of the word expectation? Webster’s definition is – a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future; a belief that someone will or should achieve something; one’s prospects of inheritance. The web definitions include belief about (or mental picture of) the future; anticipation: anticipating with confidence of fulfillment; the feeling that something is about to happen.

What are you expecting – right now – as you’re reading this – right now? Have you quit expecting anything – good or bad? Are you just existing; going through the motions everyday not expecting or anticipating anything positive to happen to move your forward? Or…have you passed through this phase and put your faith out there on the line to believe, expect, and anticipate something wonderful to happen to you today?

Let’s say the wind has been sucked out of your sails this past week and here you are today, wondering what you’re going to do now. Actually, you have two choices: pity-party or move forward. Each choice takes about the same amount of effort to make; however, you’ll have extremely opposite results depending on your choice! Pity-party equals negative expectations, while move forward equals positive expectations.

I encourage you to choose wisely! Although the sails are down due to no wind, it’s only a temporary situation. As you know, the wind will blow again and to go forward, you must expect it to blow and be prepared when it arrives.

The Word says, “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise…” Micah 7:8. In life, you will get knocked down; that’s just part of it! But to be a success, just get up one more time! Start getting up right now by expecting good (or better) things to start happening for you today. Begin confessing what God has done for you, how He’s purified you from the situation so your perception of your life will began to change. He’s made you to be more than a conqueror – that means your situation will not conquer you!

You create an atmosphere absent from God by saying what you want to say according to emotions, feelings, ego, pride and old attitudes. Speaking in obedience to God’s Word, (what He says about you) instead of your own thoughts change situations and restores you to a position of victory.

It’s easy to say you believe and make positive confessions when things are going good; but sometimes you find yourself saying something negative because of where you are at the time. That’s when you put your mouth in time out! Change your thoughts and words from negative expectations to positive expectations by renewing your mind with God’s Word so you can say what He says about you and your situation. Speak faith-filled words instead of doubt-filled words. Think back to prior victories; prior situations He’s brought you through. He’s not brought you this far to let you stay in defeat or status quo! It’s time to believe again! Stir up a positive expectation right now so you can experience a positive manifestation!

Rest

Hebrews 4:1-3 in The Message Bible reads, “For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith…”.

To live the victorious life God created you live as a born-again child of God, you must believe that what God has promised, He is faithful to fulfill it for you, and then rest!

This doesn’t usually come automatically, but rather, you grow spiritually and learn God is trustworthy. As you learn about and come to realize where you’re positioned spiritually and the authority you possess, it becomes easier to rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

When you ask Jesus into your heart, and believe He saves you, then confess with your mouth He is your Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside you. Because Jesus ascended into heaven, said it is finished, and is seated at the right hand of Father God – the place of authority – He promised to send you a Helper, a Paraclete (the one who comes along side you to help you), an Advocate, Intercessor; all names for the Holy Spirit.

Because you’re in Jesus Christ, seated in the place of authority at the right hand of Father God, with your enemies as your footstool; you are also seated in the place of authority. So, every situation you encounter should be approached with the attitude that you are in authority and situations have to line up with the Word of God as you declare and decree them to be!

When you realize your authority and believe that you have entered the finished work of Jesus Christ you can enter into the rest mentioned above by knowing that what you are praying for will come to pass! It is already finished, Jesus did it for you. He won the battle for you.

When you get a revelation of the finished work of Jesus Christ, you can have so much peace in your heart that you may feel guilty that you’re not worried about the situation or the outcome. That’s the way it’s supposed to be!! When you believe God and take Him at His Word, you can enter into the rest of God and have total peace in your heart!

Recompense – A Covenant Promise

What has the enemy stolen from you? Has he stolen your health; family relationships with those you love; peace of mind; finances; jobs; has he brought shame to your life; has he stolen homes or vehicles from you; material possessions?

You name it and he has probably tried to steal it from you! That’s what he does – the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. The good news is found in the second part of that verse – but I (Jesus) have come to give you life and life more abundantly. (John 10:10)  God is a God of covenant and that covenant includes recompense, or restitution!

 When I heard this from my Pastor, I got so excited because I’ve had things stolen from me, and at the same time I wanted to know more about this word “recompense” so I did some research.  I found that recompense can be used as a noun or a verb with somewhat the same meanings.  I’ll share with you what I’ve found…as a noun it means: something returned or paid back.  Synonyms include amends, atonement, bus fare, compensation, cue, damages, emolument, expiation, gravy, indemnification, indemnity, overcompensation, pay, payment, propitiation, quittance, recoupment, recovery, redemption, redress, remuneration, reparation, repayment, requital, restitution retrieval, retrievement, return, reward, satisfaction, sweetener, tip, wages.

When recompense is used as a verb it means: pay back, make restitution. Synonyms include ante up, atone, atone for, balance, comp, compensate, cough up, counterbalance, counterpoise, countervail, do business, equalize, expiate, fix, give satisfaction, grease, indemnity, make amends, make good, make up for, offset, overcompensate, pay, pay for, propitiate, put out, reciprocate, recoup, recover, redress, reimburse, remunerate, repay, requite, retaliate, retrieve, return, reward, satisfy, spring for, square, sweeten the post, swing for, take care of.

Now, with those definitions in mind, think about your covenant with God.  If you are born again, you are an heir and joint heir with Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:17) What He has you have. As God’s child you need to know the integrity of the Word of God and that it will not fail you! (Jeremiah 23:28-29) So when the Word tell us that God is a God of recompense, He will fully repay. He will ensure the enemy pays you back. That is just one of God’s promises that you can meditate on and watch it come to pass in your life. “For the destroyer is coming against her, against Babylon, and her mighty men will be captured, their bows are shattered; for the LORD is a God of recompense, He will fully repay.” Jeremiah 51:56.

I like the promise found in Isaiah 61:7-9 from the New American Standard Bible (NASB), “Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs. For I, the LORD, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; and I will faithfully give them their recompense and make an everlasting covenant with them. Then their offspring will be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples. All who see them will recognize them because they are the offspring whom the LORD has blessed.” 

God monitors our injustices, and as you have just read, His covenant promise to us is to bring recompense to our lives! Now is the time to walk in your God-given authority as a child of God and demand recompense for what has been stolen from you. Rejoice in knowing that God will bring it to pass and become too expensive for the devil to mess with!

Create Your Future With the Power of Your Words

By Lucia M. Claborn

I’m excited about this topic and want you to know that I’m not the expert on it by any means, but I’ve learned what works for me and would like to share it with you. In Hosea 4:6, the Word tells us that “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” I want to not only bring knowledge, or information; but I want to bring revelation because knowledge alone puffs up with pride, (1 Corinthians 8:1) but revelation brings change to lives.

I’m going to share some tools that will help you fulfill your dreams so you can succeed by laying the foundation of your future; getting a plan; and speaking the Word of god over your plan to create your future.

How do you do this? The first step is to lay the foundation. We do this by getting a vision. King James says in Proverbs 29:18, “God’s people perish for lack of vision.”  The Message Bible reads, “If people can’t see what God is doing; they stumble all over themselves, but when they attend to what He reveals, they are most blessed.” You may not have lost your dream or your vision, but you may have let life crowd in on you and you’ve lost your focus.

That was me a couple months ago, and if that you, I want to encourage you that your life can get back on track. If you’re not in the struggling category, simply pass this on to a friend who may be struggling, or file it for later when life catches you off guard.

Have you lost sight of your vision, purpose, goals, dreams? Are you discouraged? Has the “I can’t” or “why try any more?” mentality crept in on you? Do you have a “settle for” mentality? Are you making excuses why things aren’t working for you? Are you procrastinating or have you become complacent? All these are tools Satan uses to keep you from fulfilling God’s plan for your life.

The good news is, God has given you a new song—whether you know it or not! Psalm 96:1 says, “O sing unto the Lord a new song for He hath done marvelous things. His right hand and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory.”

If you’re discouraged, sing a new song. If you don’t have one, ask God to give you one. Why not pull yourself up and try again? Do you know Satan loves to bring past failures and disappointments to your mind on a consistently, constant basis…especially when you want to try again and step out to reach your goals and fulfill your dreams?

As we look to renew our vision or dream, or create a new one, often times we look back to our past to get direction for our future. This is not the smartest thing to do because we can’t run into the future dragging our past behind us!

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. Imagine you have three huge pieces of luggage. I’m going to share about myself since I know me better than you.  However, you can recall things from your past to fit the examples I’m giving.  These bags are going to represent my past failures – wrong thoughts, wrong words, wrong actions.

When the enemy brings wrong thoughts, words or actions we have the choice to either accept them to reject them. In the past, you may have just accepted them. Up until now, you may not have known you have a choice as to what you accept from the devil, but I’m here to tell you , you have a choice!

Let’s talk about Bag Number One. It represents my wrong thoughts called lies that the enemy brings such as, no one likes me, look at what a mess I’ve made of things, I don’t like this person, she doesn’t like me, they’re talking about me, and the list goes on and on.  Imagine strapping that bag onto your back.

Bag Number Two represents my wrong words; thoughts that I’ve meditated on, put in my heart and allowed to come out of my mouth (out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks) – gossip, giving someone a piece of my mind, speaking contrary to what the Word of God says about me, putting myself down in front of others, and the list goes on and on.  Imagine putting this bag on your shoulder.

Bag Number Three represents my wrong actions; being rude, being offended, walking in strife, giving someone an ugly look, cutting someone off while driving, racing to a parking space, not speaking to someone, not honoring my spouse, children, or parents, entering into wrong relationships, mistakes in my finances that I think can’t be fixed, and the list goes on and on. Imagine putting this bag around your leg.

At this point you may be asking yourself, “How can I ever go forward without making a mistake again and then having more baggage pile on me?

We can’t move forward with the past holding us in bondage. We aren’t designed to carry out past failures and disappointment into our today.  Philippians 3:13b and 14 reads, “but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of god in Christ Jesus.”

It’s by God’s grace we move forward, and I’ll show you how to move forward. As you get into God’s Word, find His promises for your situation, learn it, meditate on it, and make it yours. Then you can speak that word with belief and conviction. Don’t speak it until you believe it with all your heart and your very being or Satan will eat your lunch! Jesus takes our old failures, shortcomings and disappointments away. Second Corinthians 5:17 tells us that “We’re a new creation in Christ Jesus, old things are passed away.”

We have to mentally draw a line in the sand so to speak. As you are standing right where you are with these bags hanging on your body, draw a line on the floor ad say, “Father God, it’s in the authority of the Name of Jesus that I choose not to act this way any more and I ask you to help me, give me grace to walk through this situation and get it out of my life. Now, take each bag off yourself, place it on the floor, and step across the threshold into your new found victory. It’s that simple! You’re free!

Back to 2 Corinthians 5:17, let me give you another illustration. I’m a new creature in Christ Jesus. I take off my old nature – my old thoughts, actions, shortcomings, failures, and disappointments – and I put on the new nature of Jesus Christ. My past is in the past and it’s not going to destroy my today or my future.

You see, we don’t need to take the lemons the devil gives us and pet them, stroke them, baby them, and watch them grow and produce a harvest of more lemons. Instead, we need to take those lemons, add some sugar – the sweetness of God’s Word – and make lemonade. As we drink that sweet lemonade, which is renewing our minds with the Word of God, we will gain strength and we can mentally draw a line in the sand, throw off that old baggage the enemy has put on us, and put on the new self!

Now that we have a new, clean foundation, you may ask yourself what’s the next step? The answer is easy, know what you want. The dictionary defines a goal as the purpose toward which an endeavor is directed, an end or an objective. Dream is defined as an aspiration or ambition. Before we can speak to our goals and dreams, we have to know what they are. On a side note, I like what Benjamin Mays says…”The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”

Just because your goals and dreams don’t match up with someone else’s doesn’t make them wrong, it simply means god has given you different goals and dreams specifically for you to fulfill. We all have different goals and dreams and we shouldn’t criticize someone else because they don’t have the same goals and dreams as we do. We need to encourage them to set their own goals and dreams, and pursue them.

Back to the question, “Where do I begin, how do I start or restart my dream?” It’s simple, get a plan. My solution to everything situation is “GET A PLAN OF ACTION!” The Four Step Plan of Success will work for you if you will stay focused. The first step is to know what you want. Get God’s promise – His Word, a specific verse – to base your success on and write it down. Two of my favorite verses are Habakkuk 2:2-3, “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision and make it plain upon tablets, then he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for the appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”  The Message Bible reads, “And then God answered: “Write this: Write what you see. Write it out in big, black letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming: it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on it’s way. It will come right on time.”

If you don’t know what you want, write down what you don’t want, determine the opposite and write it down!

The second step is to know what you are willing to give up temporarily – write it down. Deny the lesser to achieve the greater goal and know that when you give something up temporarily you will have more of it once you have reached your goal.

Step three will help you put the wheels in motion. Create a plan. Pray; ask God to help you create the plan to get what you want. Write it down!  Now that you have a plan, work your plan. Speak the Word over your plan and speak life over your plan.

Step four is to associate with people who are where you want to be in life. Step out of your comfort zone and talk to those people who know what you want to know and are where you want to be in life. You can do it! Be bold!

Once you get you plan, get focused! Focus on the prize – your goals and dreams. Begin each new day with a quiet time with the Holy Spirit who knows God’s game plan for that day. Write down what He tells you to do, and how he wants you to do it. Write it all down; clear your mind, use a daily to-do list, surround yourself with great (focused) people, and get rid of the hindrances in your life. You’ll want to check your list, your instructions, and then go back and re-read it, meditate on it, put action to your plan, and watch it come to pass.

Along with being focused, determine your self-discipline habits. It’s easy to do what you need to do when someone is watching over you, however, what do you do when no one is watching? That the real test of self-discipline and it goes hand in hand with creating habits.

Sow a thought and you will reap an act. Sow an act and you’ll reap a habit. Sow a habit and you’ll reap character. Sow character and you’ll reap a destiny.

To this point, I’ve talked about laying a foundation – laying aside past failure and disappointments to enable you to rekindle your vision, dreams and goals; I’ve talked about establishing a plan of action and getting focused. Now, I’m going to talk about the creative power of speaking the Word of God over your dreams and goals to create your future.

I said earlier that up until now, you may not have known you have a choice as to what you accept from the devil. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to accept anything from him. Ask yourself, “How do I know if this is from the devil?” I’m glad you asked! Here’s a simple test, run your thoughts or situations through John 10:10, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy; but Jesus come to give us life and life more abundantly.”    

Genesis Chapter One tells us God spoke a word and the world came into existence. In Genesis 1:28 God gives us the Law of Six when he blessed us, told us to be fruitful, multiply, fill, subdue and rule over the earth. This is the authority God has given to us.

In Deuteronomy 30:19 God tells us to choose life. “I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today; I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live.”  This is your instruction to speak words of life!

In Mark 4:3-8 Jesus teaches about the Parable of the Sower. “Listen. What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among  the weeds and nothing came of it. Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams.”  This parable teaches about sowing and the principal is true for the Word of God, money, time, kindness, whatever you sow you will have a harvest according to the soil you plant the seeds into.

If you have ever doubted the power of your words, read Mark 4:3. “Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing n it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away.” Just as Jesus’ words had power over the fig tree, our words have power over our situations because Jesus has given us that authority.

In Mark 11:22-24, Jesus tells us we can have what we say. “Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. The mountain for instance: Just say, “Go jump in the lake; – no shuffling or shilly-shallying – and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking.”

If you are facing situations that make you struggle or are contrary to God’s Word you can “call those things which are not as thought they are.” (Romans 4:17) And finally, “Hold fast your confession of faith” as Hebrews 10:35 tells us to do, until you see your dreams and goals come to pass.

The final step is to walk in faith. Water your seed with your praising, rejoicing, and singing of His power and mighty deeds until it manifests in your life. You see the importance of words in our lives. Just act like the Bible is true and take Him at his Word.

Now, let’s put this information into action! Take a few minutes to get quiet before God. Repent, take off your old self, put on the new you! You are a winner in God’s eyes. Ask God to give you a new or renewed vision, dreams, and goals so you can work toward them. Make it bigger than you so you can see God do above and beyond what you think you can do in and of yourself.  This gets God’s anointing into your life! Write it down! According to a Harvard study, 95% of the things you write down come to pass.

You are a winner! You can create your desired future and make your dreams come true by the power of speaking the right words – faith-filled words!  Start now and fulfill the destiny God is calling you into.

A New Start – High Hopes

This is the beginning of a new year (or a new day). You get a new start. You can write a new story. You’re standing at a new opportunity, a new threshold. The past is past, and God is giving you a new place to jump off and start again. The world has bankruptcy to cancel all the bad debt; however, I believe God has a spiritual jubilee to cancel all the debts, past pains, and problems in your life so you can move on.

One Word from God can reposition your life forever! It’s time for you to step out of your past and run into your future today. God always does better. You don’t have to wonder if God is going to do better, He’s a God that always does better. He got rid of the Old Covenant and gave us a new covenant – with better promises. He got rid of the blood of goats, calves and heifers, and gave us better blood -The Blood of Jesus. When Jesus came into a town He found sick people and gave them better health, a better life. You never have to wonder if God wants you to do better or have more because that’s His will. God never leaves you in the same condition He finds you.

Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, we’ll be alright if it doesn’t any get worse?” That’s the wrong response! For things to stay the same would be worse! God’s a god of improvement. God’s a god who wants you to have better in life.

The Bible says the path of the just gets brighter, and brighter. It doesn’t say “darker and darker;” it says “brighter and brighter!” Today is the day you get to write a new story. You’re standing at a threshold of a new opportunity. As you begin this new year, (or this new day) you don’t want the only change you make to be the date on your calendar. If you don’t make any changes, or do things differently this year from what you did last year, the only thing that will change by the end of the year is you’ll be another year older!

As you read this, say “High Hopes!” Doesn’t that stir a glimmer of excitement on the inside of you? Hebrews 10:23 in the King James Version reads, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;”). Say “He is.” He is faithful.  If HE IS, then you need to believe that. The Bible says, “Let us hold fast our profession of faith.” Let’s look at two words. The word “profession” is translated “confession” and the word “faith” is actually translated “hope.” The New American Standard Bible reads, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” The NIV translation reads, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Say to yourself, “No more swerving!”

You may think hope isn’t important. That it’s not an important word, or an important subject, because you think “faith” is more important. However, hope is a very, very, VERY, important word. Say “HOPE.” Before people learned how to walk by faith, many of them only have a choice to live by hope. Hope won’t change your circumstances. Instead, it’s the power of faith released, that changes your circumstances. Hope helps you stay with it until faith changes whatever it is you’re hoping for.

For faith to work, it must have hope. Hope is the goal-setter and faith is the goal-getter. If hope doesn’t set any goals, faith doesn’t have anything to go get! Everyone should have goals. I’m sure you wrote down your goals for the year at the beginning of the year, or you’re going to do it after you finish reading this!! If you don’t have any goals, I guarantee they’ll come to pass, you’ll succeed every time!

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” —NASB. The KJV reads, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hope by itself has no substance. It’s faith that adds substance to your hopes. If you have hope but no faith, then your hopes can’t come to pass. And if you don’t have hope, then your faith has nothing for it to attain.

I want to challenge you to have high hopes. Set some goals for yourself this year. Think big. Think bigger, and know that some of them may not come to pass this year. I have some goals that I’ve been believing God to help me bring to pass for 17 years, and I know they will come to pass. I’m not giving up. Set some goals that you want to see come to pass. And once again, if you don’t set any goals, they will surely come to pass. A year from now, you’ll be where you are right now, you’ll just be another year older.

You may be thinking or saying, “I’m just going through a rough season, or a rough time right now.” Time has nothing to do with the seasons of your life. Your words and your decisions are what determine the seasons of your life and the time you live in. Let me add to this, that God is a God of abundance and He can do exceeding abundantly above what you think or imagine. Don’t back down because you don’t want to limit what you can do…that would be wrong. Set goals, but don’t set them so high that you lose hope. A good example of this is that you may be believing God to pay the insurance on your car, and at the same time you’re wanting a Rolls Royce. You need to develop your faith to the level of your hope. Don’t set your goals so high that it discourages you and makes you hopeless because you can’t see yourself attaining your goals.

You’re standing at an awesome place today; at the threshold of a new year, a new day, a new, clean slate. Habakkuk 2:2-3 says, “…Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.” What if I told you everything you wrote down will come to pass? What would you write down? What goals have you set for your family this year? For yourself? Your needs, your desires, your dreams, for your health this year? What if I asked you to write down seven of your lifetime goals. Could you do that?

Think BIG when you write down your goals. You serve a big God who wants you to think bigger than you are right now. You may have big goals, but God wants you to think bigger! He has better for you this year! Let me give you a couple ideas to get you thinking…How about no sickness in your family this year? As a Christian, that’s part of your covenant with God. You don’t have to surrender to sickness in your body. How about all your family members getting saved this year? A mortgage-free home? All your debts paid. How about spending more family time together? Would you like to be a more gentle person. How about associating with people who are where you want to be in life? Do you want to mentor someone this year? Write it down. What have you written down for your 12 month goals? Let me ask you the most important question. What if all your goals come to pass? Who are three or four people that it would impact the most? What if, you were a debt-free parent — how would that affect your children and grandchildren? If your business was profiting way out there in the black, how would that affect your employees’ benefits and bonuses? If every check that came into your home, all you did was tithe off it, how would that affect your family, your church, and the people you see that need help?

Don’t treat January like September. If you just set a small goal, and reach it; any improvement is improvement. Don’t think so much about what you’re doing, instead, think about what you’re becoming…as a wife, a mother, a mentor to your children, you may be a teacher at your church – these are all what you do, but what are you becoming this year? More gentle? More patient? More understanding? Many times, people are only interested in what they’re going to be doing, but God’s more interested in what they’re becoming, so what they’re doing becomes more meaningful to those around them.

So you need to develop your faith. Look again at Hebrews 10:23, “…hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;”). What this is really saying is “hold fast to your confession of hope.” Notice he says, “hold fast.” This means get a grip on your hopes and don’t let them go. Let me give you some insight to encourage you…just because your dream hasn’t happened, doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen!

First Corinthians 15:58 say, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” I want to point out a word that will help you as you go into this new year. “Steadfast.” This means “constant.” I would say one reason you didn’t get to where you wanted to go in the past is that you quit on your dreams. That may sound harsh, but think about it for it minute. Look deep inside yourself. Your dream is still in there because God doesn’t give dreams that die. Do you see it? Reach down in there and by faith turn your dream machine back on. Stir it up! Let it come alive again on the inside of you. Make this the year you see your dream come to pass. Remember, any action will always create progression. Remember, “steadfast” which means “constant.” I believe the proper English word is “spasmodic.” Some people are spasmodic Christians. Have any of you got behind a spasmodic driver? They don’t set their cruise control so they’re not at a constant, steady speed. They’re behind you one minute, then they speed by you, then you pass them because they’ve slowed down? They’re doing 50 mph one mile, up to 70 mph then back down to 55 mph. They’re holding up all the traffic and then all of a sudden you see them zoom by you doing 80 mph. They’re inconsistent. That’s how it is with inconsistent Christians…they never reach their hopes! Their dreams never come to pass. If you fit that description, take a minute and ask the Holy Spirit to help you get focused. Ask Him for multiplied grace to get you where God’s showing you He wants to take you…where He wants you to be!

Look again at this verse, “but be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain.” Think about not laboring in vain. What he’s saying is, if you’ll be constant, and don’t move off your goals and dreams, the labor you put into something will not turn up empty or be in vain. It will come to pass if you don’t quit. Say “un-movable.” Don’t be on one minute and off the next minute. Don’t straddle the fence. Jesus said that he would rather you be hot or cold, not lukewarm. You see, the devil hates hotness and God hates luke-warmness. You may be asking yourself why God would rather someone be cold or hot instead of lukewarm. It’s because if someone is lukewarm they don’t know it. They are just right, they’re comfortable. God doesn’t want average people.

As you set your goals and dreams, and begin pursuing them, persecution, pressure, and circumstances arise from the world — the devil and his system — to try and get you to back off and stop your activity. It’s all designed to stop you. You have to reach a place in your life where you can confidently say, “Me and God, by myself can pull this off. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, what they do or don’t do. I can make my dreams and goals come to pass!”

Second Corinthians 4:8 reads, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed. We are perplexed but not in despair. Persecuted but not forsaken. Cast down but not destroyed.” This is part of the warfare – troubled on every side but not distressed…perplexed, but not in despair. Notice the word “perplexed.” You probably haven’t said that word all year. Go ahead and say it – “perplexed.” This word means to be at a loss mentally. To be at your wit’s end. This is talking about the natural realm when a situation arises, your mind can’t handle it and doesn’t know what to do with it. But, as you walk and talk with the Holy Spirit and listen to what He tells you, you’ll have inside information.

You will, or have already run into situations in your life where your mind has failed you. If you fail in a situation it’s because you began listening to your mind instead of listening to your heart. As you renew your mind with the Word of God, He’ll speak to you and tell you what to do. When you’re steadfast, deliverance always comes. What you should do to avoid this is have goals for your desires, and goals for your deliverance. Things you desire to see happen, and things you are ready to get delivered from…those things that have been following you around far too long.

If you allow the devil to scare you off from what God has for you, and give into the pressure, you’ll give up before the deliverance comes. You have to get to a point in your life where you won’t accept anything but winning. We serve a God who always causes us to triumph, not sometimes triumph. Say that out loud, “I won’t accept anything but winning!” In life, we don’t just play four quarters, we play until we win! The game of life is not over until we win. I encourage you to get to a point in your life where you say, “We’ll turn the lights on and play it out to the 24th quarter if we have to, but we are going to play until I win!”

Some people say it’s not over until the fat lady sings…she may be warming up, but it’s not over yet! I base this confession on 1 Corinthians 2:14 which says, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” You win!! I win! Either His Word is true or it’s not! I choose to believe it’s true, and I’m not giving up until I win!! How about you! Stir up that bulldog tenacity God put on the inside of you. Stir up that fire to win! Don’t let the devil beat you another minute! Tell yourself, “I look like a winner! I’m a winner! I’m a champion!” We’ve all won and we’ve all lost. Winning is definitely better! Anything lost can be found. Anything empty can be filled. Anything bound can be loosed. Anything stolen can be restored! In 2 Timothy 3:10, Paul says, “But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it.” God doesn’t love Paul more than he loves you! If He delivered Paul out of them ALL, He’ll deliver you out of all your persecutions and sufferings.

Paul boldly said in 2 Timothy 4:18, “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” This tells me that I have deliverance out of every situation until I go to the kingdom or the kingdom come to me! That covers it all. Again, you need to have High Hopes, but in order to have High Hopes, you must learn how to walk by faith.

Many people call their goals New Year’s resolutions, but some should call them New Year’s revolvalutions because it’s just a revolving of the same thing they’ve said they’ll do in the past. The world can make resolutions, but when you have promises and have Bible hope, faith will go get your hopes. It’s time to become a focused person.

Second Corinthians 4:17 says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are
not seen are eternal.”

What Paul’s saying is the things you can see are temporary, they’ll change. However, the unseen, spiritual things that can be seen with the eyes of faith will last forever. Hope sets a goal, but the physical eye can’t see the hope because it hasn’t come to pass yet. Therefore, we need to see with the eyes of faith. How do you look at things which are not seen? You look through your spirit man. Notice what it says…”while we look not at the things which are seen.“ He didn’t say you’re in denial. He didn’t say you don’t look at those things which are seen and pretend they aren’t there, or that they aren’t real and they don’t exist. He said while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen. He said you’re not denying they aren’t there, you’re just saying, what I see is not the guidelines or the prophecy of my life that’s going to take place, or what’s going to happen. He’s looking at something else.

In Philippians 3:14, Paul said, “forgetting those things which are behind, I press on toward the mark for the prize of the upward call.” He didn’t say I press toward the prize. He’s pressing toward the mark, or the goal. Imagine you’re in your kitchen and you’re going to move from where you are right now to your bedroom. You wouldn’t just jump up and be over there. You’d need to mark a path. It’s the same with our goals.

What’s the prize? It’s abundant life! If you’re not experiencing abundant life, get mad about it in a good way, because John 10:10 says that “…Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly.” Not just exist, but to have life more abundantly. The Amplified Bible says “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” That’s the prize! Until it overflows into your marriage – so you can go a week without fussing! Until it overflows into your family – so you enjoy being with each other and there’s joy and laughter in your home. What would change if you would just sit down with your family and laugh today, instead of fussing with each other? Would that be representative of the abundant life?

Many times people get tired physically, mentally and spiritually causing them to lose their focus. A good example of this is found in 1 Kings 19 where Elijah had just won a great battle, called down fire from heaven, destroyed all the prophets of Baal, and then a woman said something to him. In verse one, we read “Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done and how he had slain all the prophets [of Baal] with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” (Have you every worried about anything in your tomorrow?) “Then he was afraid and arose and went for his life and came to Beersheba of Judah [over eighty miles, and out of Jezebel’s realm] and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a lone broom or juniper tree and asked that he might die. He said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers.” That was not a good day for Elijah!! Have you felt like you’ve had enough?!! Verses 9 and 10, “And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.“

Elijah started looking at himself. Look at all the “I’s” in this passage. I…I…I, I’m the only one. This is a great example of what happens when we start looking inward at ourselves with an ‘oh, poor me’ attitude! In the verses I skipped, you see that while he was having a pity-party under the juniper tree, God sent him food and he sent him an angel…and they strengthened him. Elijah had just had a great victory, but he went and sat down under the tree and said, “God, I want to die. I’ve had enough. I’m the only one that does things anyway.” And God sent him strength from the spirit world by an angel and strength from the natural world by food because Jezebel told him, “tomorrow…tomorrow it’s going to be over for you.”

God always gives you strength and replenishment today to get you through your tomorrows, but your focus gets off when you’re wore out. God gives you strength today so you can handle the voices of Jezebel in your tomorrows. A lot of people can’t face their tomorrows because they didn’t let God give them their strength in their today’s. Elijah began to run from what God called him to do, just as today’s unfocused, worn out person who listens to other voices, always run from what God has called them to do.

When you’re spiritually exhausted, just as with the physical realm, life comes from the spirit world to quicken your mortal body. When you’re exhausted, even the smallest battles become the hardest? On your strongest days, when you’re ready to take on the biggest devil in hell and all his cohorts and know you would win, you never in your wildest imagination thought you would be ready to tear your spouse apart today just because he looked at you the wrong way!

God is a god that brings spiritual resources through friends, church family, CDs, books, online seminars, and people to pray for you so you can be strengthened. He’ll do all this for you so you don’t find yourself in a place of challenge with your strength being small. The Bible says we should consider the ant. They’re wise and gather in good weather so when the cold weather comes they have a supply for their tomorrows.

When you get unfocused and spiritually weak you begin to doubt that the God of your past, is now the God of your present and your future. Jezebel was just a woman that came up against Elijah. He had just called down fire from heaven, been fed by ravens, and had seen a woman’s pot of oil not end. Because he got unfocused and worn out, Elijah forgot that the God of his past was the God of his right now, as well as, the God of his future! Wrong focus causes you to give up in the fight. He got afraid and started running. He forgot what God had done for him and he said the same things you are saying today, “Lord, nobody else will help me. These kids won’t help me. My husband doesn’t care. Nobody cares. My boss doesn’t care, nobody’s called me. I’ve been over here mad and frustrated for a month and no one has called me to check on me. I’m just having a pity-party here by myself!”

Wrong focus and spiritual exhaustion make you feel sorry for yourself. Anytime you begin to feel sorry for yourself, know the devil is at work in your life. You’re listening to the wrong voice! Do you know anyone that’s ever felt sorry for themselves? I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being around other people when they’re feeling sorry for themselves, and I certainly don’t like it when I’m feeling sorry for myself. I’ve not always been like this, but I’ve had to train myself to praise God even when I don’t want to so I can quit feeling sorry for myself. I don’t let my children or husband feel sorry for themselves either, because they’re playing right into the enemy’s hands when they have a little pity-party. We change our attitude and the atmosphere in our home by praising God and thanking Him for everything He’s blessed us with. If you ever start to feel sorry for yourself, know it’s time to stop what you doing, refocus and get replenishment because the devil is trying to get you to run from your hopes, your dreams, and your desires, as well as your calling.

As you read further in that chapter, you’ll see that Elijah’s wrong focus and feeling sorry for himself caused him to lose six years of what he was called to do. Little goals, small goals, great goals, gigantic goal, times zero effort is zero results. But effort and focus, plus the smallest goal and hope produces results. Mark 8:36 says, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” Your soul is your mind, will and emotions. Your imaginations. Your thought life. Don’t go for so many goals that you miss God’s life goals for you which causes your soul not to prosper. According to 3 John 2, your soul prospering is what makes you be in health, as well as every area of your life prosper.

I encourage you to come to a point in your life that you’re like Paul on the road to Damascus in Acts 9 when the Lord showed up and knocked him off his high horse. Paul said, “Lord, what would you have me to do?“ That’s what’s important in goal setting…”Lord, what would you have me to do?” Then go one step further and say “Lord, show me three people that would benefit from these goals coming to pass.” That doesn’t mean you don’t have personal goals, career goals, financial goals, business goals, or relationship goals, but ask God, “Lord, what would you have me to do?”

As you read Philippians 3:14 Paul says, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” I believe God’s going to continue, and complete, the good work in you that He’s started, because God will never, never, –never– give up on you. He won’t do it. He won’t give up on you.

As you make plans to go on into this year, there’s two things you should know to help you. Jesus was hanging out with his disciples and He asked them what people were saying about him. Peter spoke up. His reply was “thou art the Christ.”

Because Peter didn’t have a filter, if it was in his mind, it came out of his mouth. (How many of us, if we would be honest with ourselves, have been like Peter at one time or another.) Jesus answered Peter and said, “Peter, I know flesh and blood did not reveal that to you, but my Heavenly Father revealed that to you. And thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I’m going to build my church.” He was saying the first thing you need to know is who Jesus is, and who you are. Because Peter knew who Jesus was, Jesus turned around and told Peter who he was.

The second thing you need to realize is your humanity. In Acts 14:15, Paul said, “also men of like passions.” The Amplified Bible says, “human beings.” Paul said we are men of like passions as you. The Bible says, “Elisha was a man of like passions like us, and he prayed it wouldn’t rain for three and a half years, and it didn’t rain.” Sometimes we know who we are in Christ, but we’re so afraid of being human around someone. We need to be ourselves, we need to remove our masks, and be real with people. We need to learn to be spiritual without being superior. We need to learn to not “toot” our own spiritual horn. The Bible says to let another man praise you and not your own lips. It’s not fair to make everyone around you think you’re a super human-being all the time.

Have you ever been around people that act like they have it all together all the time? That they don’t have any problems; everything in their life is perfect. You can’t relate to them. And, on the other hand, if you think you’re perfect and always give off the impression of having it all together all the time, people won’t be able to relate to you. You won’t be able to give them hope. It’s time to get real with people. Give them hope from your own life as to what God has done for you. Use your life as an example of how God has helped you change and overcome challenges in your life. Give them hope that He’ll do the same thing for them since He did it for you!

Sinners and lost people can not relate to perfection, nor can hurting people relate to perfection. However, they can relate to loving, Christ-like people. As the world gets darker and darker, as Christians, our light is going to shine brighter and brighter for them. We’ll be their beacon of hope. We have their answer of Jesus Christ in our earthen vessel. Second Corinthians 4:7 says, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” God could have put Himself, or in other words, His glory, in a steel vault or in a gold chamber, but He decided to put it in clay vessels because they’re fragile, and they’re very natural. These vessels are our example of being touchable.

Hebrews 11:32-35, “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again…”

These were not perfect people. I love verse 34, “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong.” I love the NIV translation, “whose weakness was turned to strength…”

These were people that stopped mouths of lions, quenched fire, and raised the dead, but they were imperfect people. God likes to take weak things and make them strong. God likes to do things in you and through you so that when it gets done, He gets all the glory. Moses and Jesus are the only two people in the Bible that are called meek. Moses, the one who bashed in the head of an Egyptian; the one who, when they were wanting water from a rock got mad and hit the rock instead of speaking to it; the one that was up on the mountain in the presence of God to the point that his face glowed; He had God’s holy law for holy living when he came off the mountain. He saw them having a party and he got mad and threw it down and broke it! That was meek Moses, but he was a deliverer.

Look at the example of Peter, the one that said “you are the Christ,” and Jesus said “you are the Rock,” the Mr. Stick-your-foot-in-your-mouth, Peter. When he was asked, “Were you with Jesus?” He said, “No.” Are you sure you weren’t with Jesus? “No. No, ma ‘am, that wasn’t me.” Are you sure that wasn’t you with Jesus – your dialect is the same as his? And Peter said, “No, that was not me!” Three times he said no! And what about Abraham, the father of faith? He called Sarah to him and said, “Honey, here’s the plan. When we get down here to town, tell them you’re my sister so they don’t kill me. Forget about you, just make sure they don’t kill me!”

You may be asking yourself if there is a point to all this! Yes, there is: We’re all growing and God uses imperfect people so He gets all the glory. Don’t let anybody disqualify what God has qualified to keep you from reaching your highest hopes; your highest dreams. Think about Samson. He wasn’t an action figure with muscles upon muscles. The Bible says when the Philistines looked upon him they asked, “Where does his power come from?” He was an imperfect person, but he did great exploits for God.

When people look at your life – you want them to know there’ll be no shadow of a doubt that God did it for you. When people look at your marriage, they’ll say, “I know God fixed it.” When they look at your destiny, they’ll say, “I know God did that for them.” When they look at the turn around and the changes in your life, they’ll say, “I know God did that, not Oprah, not Dr. Phil. It was God that did that for them.” They’ll know that it was the Alpha and the Omega that turned your life around and gave you victory.

Keep your hopes high as you continue to go on into this new year. Your hope is your goal-setter, and your faith is your goal-getter. Be real with others so they can have an example of high hope for their life. God uses the weaker things in life to show forth His strength and His power so He’ll get all the Glory for what’s happened in your “turn-around,” or the good things that have happened in your life!

Pray this prayer: “Lord, I ask you to give me supernatural strength to stick with my goals and dreams so I can see them come to pass; whether it be this year, next year or on into the future. Lord, in regards to my goals and visions, Habakkuk says, “though it tarries, wait for it, for it will surely come to pass if you don’t give up.” Give me High Hopes so my faith can bring my goals to pass. Give me stick-ability. Help me remember and do what the Message Bible tells me in Hebrews 10:22, “…keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going because God always keeps his word.”

A special gift for you to help build your hope.  Download my free Verses of Hope e-book.  As you read and meditate on the Word of God, it will build your faith to receive the destires of your heart.