Look Back and Be Thankful

by Rick

I only have two messages left for this year.  At the beginning of the year I told you that this year would be a “Year of Expectation.”  I trust that you lived 2018 with an ‘outstretched neck,’ with full expectation that God would do what He promised to do in your life.  One of the passages that we looked at in January is found in Acts 3. I want to go back to it this morning. The Bible says:

One afternoon Peter and John were on their way to the Temple for the three o’clock hour of prayer. A man who had been lame from birth was being carried along in the crowd, for it was the daily practice to put him down at what was known as the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, so that he could beg from the people as they went in. As this man saw Peter and John just about to enter he asked them to give him some money. Peter looked intently at the man and so did John. Then Peter said, “Look straight at us!

The man looked straight at them, expecting to receive something!

“If you are expecting silver or gold,” Peter said to him, “I have neither, but what I have I will certainly give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!

Then he took him by the right hand and helped him up. At once his feet and ankle bones were strengthened, and he positively jumped to his feet, stood, and then walked. Then he went with them into the Temple, where he walked about, leaping and thanking God. Everyone noticed him as he walked and praised God and recognised him as the same beggar who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate, and they were all overcome with wonder and sheer astonishment at what had happened to him.

(Acts 3)

So what does this mean to you today?  A few things.

1.  Life can get mundane.

a)  The man in our text (Acts 3) was born lame.  He had never walked a day in his life. People had to carry him to the temple daily.  He was laid at a gate called “beautiful,” but his life was far from it.  He could not work to earn a living, so he begged for money.  Since he was relying on people’s mercy, he strategically positioned himself outside of a place where he thought people would have mercy on him.  When he looked at himself in the mirror, I am sure he thought, “This is not the life I wanted.”  

b)  Maybe back in January you were able to identify with this man.  Like the man in the text, you were going through a daily routine that was not getting you anywhere.  You got up, checked email, went to work, checked email, did some meetings, came home, checked email, watched some TV, and then checked email one last time before you went to sleep.  The next you would get up, rinse and repeat. That’s not life. That is existing and not living. In 2018, as we went through series after series, I pray raised expectations, you opened your heart to God’s best, and you started experiencing the life you are destined to live.

2.  You must lift your expectations beyond the mundane.

a)  The text (Acts 3) says the lame man asked Peter and John for money.  At the beginning, this encounter was no different than the hundreds of encounters he would have every day.  He asked people for money, some would say “yes,” some would say “no,” (nicely or not-so-nicely) and some would simply ignore him.  He was not sure what Peter and John would say, but things changed when Peter said, “Look straight at us!”  When the lame man looked at the Apostles something happened on the inside.  The Bible says, “The man looked straight at them, expecting to receive something!”  Did you catch that?  He asked for money, but when he opened his heart to receive, he did not expect money.  He expected to receive “something!”  He elevated his expectation.  He opened his heart to something new.  As a result, he got his breakthrough. That day his life was changed forever.  Not only did he walk for the first time, but he left the encounter jumping, leaping and praising God!

b)  If you are not careful, life can get mundane to the point where you lower your expectations or you have none at all.  In this season God wanted us to LIFT our expectations. I pray that you did. If you did, you started to live an amazing life.  It is the life God planned for you to live before the world began.

c)  You will receive what you believe.  So be sure to believe God for His best.

d)  You will have what you say.  So be say to speak the Word only.  When your word agree with heaven, you get to experience heaven on earth!

e)  Close out 2018 strong.  Open your heart to the impossible.  There is nothing God cannot do. The impossible will be become possible for you when you start believing for it!  Close out the year EXPECTING TO RECEIVE SOMETHING FROM GOD!

Closing Confession:  

Father, this year has been a Year of expectation for me.  I opened my heart to believe and receive ALL You have planned to do in my life.  I removed every artificial limit I had ever placed on You. Nothing is impossible for You.  This year I started living like nothing is impossible for me. It has changed everything! You live in me.  I am ONE with You. You gave me Your best when You gave me Your Son. Your Word says, that along with Jesus, You will freely give me all other things.  That is what I have experienced in 2018, and for that I am thankful! There is nothing that You will withhold from me that aligns with my purpose. So Father, I continue to open to Your best.  I lift my heart in expectation. I enter this day and every day EXPECTING TO RECEIVE SOMETHING!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and prosper!

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