Lessons We Learned & Expectations We Have

by Rick

As I provide the final message of the year, I will recap some of what I taught this year.  I will also give some thoughts about finishing 2020 strong and getting ready for 2021.

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

1.  This year, we learned that God is looking for faithfulness and consistency from us.

In April, I shared the following about being faithful and consistent.

(Hebrews 6:12 ERV)

We don’t want you to be lazy. We want you to be like those who, because of their faith and patience, will get what God has promised.

(Proverbs 20:6 KJV)

Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

What is Biblical patience?

What is patience?  Most people think of patience as simply waiting.  In one sense this is true, but biblical patience is more than simply waiting.  The word translated patience in Hebrews 6:12 is the Greek word hupomone.  This is a compound word, comprised of both hupo, which relates to one’s position and means “under”, and mone, which means to abide or remain constant and consistent.  A Bible dictionary defines this word as: steadfastness, consistency, endurance; the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith, even under the greatest trials and sufferings; a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance.

In light of this information, I define patience as:

a)  The ability to remain the same (internally), despite circumstances (externally).

b)  The force of consistency.

Patience is more than simply waiting on something to happen, but rather remaining consistent while you wait.  You can see how this ability, coupled with faith, is very important.  Hebrews 6:12 tells us that we need both faith (to believe God) and patience (to endure and remain consistent while we wait) in order to see the manifestation of God’s promises in our lives.  That’s what this series is all about.  Faith and Patience: The Wonder Twins!

God is looking for faithfulness and consistency from us.

People like to hear about God’s faithfulness towards us, but we also need to be reminded of His requirement for us to be faithful and consistent towards Him.  Solomon was the richest man on the planet during his day.  He had access to just about anything he wanted.  But what he considered to be hard to find was faithfulness (see Prov 20:6).  It‘s hard to find people who are truly going to be consistently the same, day-in and day-out, for the long haul.  But this is exactly what God is looking for from us.

2.  This year, we learned about the peace we can find in our knowledge of God’s foreknowledge.

In June, I taught a message entitled, “God’s sovereignty in chaos.”  Here in an excerpt.

— When things are seemingly going haywire in your life, take a step back and remember that God is still on the throne.  He still sits on the circle of the earth.  He knew what was going to happen before it happened, and He has made a way for you to continue to be blessed.  So no matter what you are facing this morning, remember that nothing important has changed.  God has not changed, His Word has not changed, and His promises have not changed; as long as those are intact, then everything else is just temporaryNever make permanent decisions based on temporary circumstances.

— God had foreknowledge of everything that was going to happen.  God knows the end from the beginning.  There is nothing that God doesn’t know.  When God spoke to you about your future, He did so with complete foreknowledge of everything that would happen in the world and everything you would have to deal with.  Understanding His foreknowledge should give you peace.  This is how Jesus was able to sleep through a storm!

— God did not put COVID-19 on us, He did not stir up the racial unrest, and He is not manipulating the markets, but guess what?  God already knew where we would be before we got here.  He has not been caught off-guard.  While God did not make it happen, He knew it would happen.  He is not surprised.  Therefore, every promise God ever made to you about your future was made with God’s foreknowledge of all the mess we are facing today.  This means that every promise is still valid.  Everything God said to you about your business, your finances, your health, and your family is still a valid promise.  Those things are still going to come to pass.  

Nothing has changed.  God is still God.  His promises are still true.  His power is still immeasurable.  His grace is still sufficient.  What God is looking for from you is FAITH and PATIENCE.  God has provided grace.  You must now provide the faith and patience.  If you do, you will hold on long enough to see everything God said come to pass in your life!   

The Bible says, “God is not man, one given to lies, and not a son of man changing his mind.  Does He speak and not do what He says?  Does He promise and not come through?” (Numbers 23:19 MSG).

God will come through for you!  Greater is coming because God said it, and He is not moved or fazed by what is going on.  He is sovereign, even in the midst of chaos!

3.  This year, we learned that GOD IS OUR SOURCE!

In October, I shared a message entitled, “Faith through the unexpected.”  Here is an excerpt:

The life of faith requires believing THROUGH the unexpected.

— When God speaks to you with a certain level of clarity, you tell your friends (or your spouse) that you have heard from God, that you are standing on a WORD from heaven, and that it is only a matter of time before you SEE what God SAID!  While that sounds good, the truth is, you have no idea how God is going to do it.  And while you clearly don’t, the mysterious nature of God actually helps fuel your non-stop speculation.  While you try to tell yourself that you should be patient and simply wait on God to DO IT however He wants it DONE, it is hard to stop imagining, speculating and anticipating.  

— If you are anything like me, you start to imagine a way that God will give you your breakthrough, you get excited about it, you get your hopes up, and you then experience a tremendous LET DOWN when it does not happen the way you speculated it would.  After your LET DOWN, the Holy Spirit reminds you that He never said anything about the wild idea you formulated in your own mind.  And this process repeats itself, over and over again, until you finally hold on long enough to receive Gods’ promise.

— So while you are getting your hopes up and speculating about this-and-that, God sent me to remind you (and I am reminding myself) that His plans will manifest in His timing, and they will happen HIS WAY.  God does not have to explain Himself.  But if you hold on long enough, He will reveal Himself, and you will receive what He said.  That’s what faith and patience is all about!  And that’s why GREATER IS COMING FOR YOU!  Not because you know what is going to happen.  But because you refuse to give up until it does!   

*** I wanted to close, but the Holy Spirit wants me to make one last point.  GOD IS YOUR SOURCE!  

— This means YOU are not your source and OTHERS are not your source.

— If you think YOU are your source, you will take on the pressure to perform.  You will say things like, “How am I going to this?  How am I going to take care of this?”  You were not designed to deal with that type of pressure.  God called you to a life that forces you to rely on Him.  If you try to rely on yourself, you are going to stress yourself out because you don’t have all the answers.

— If you rely on OTHERS, you will be disappointed because they will let you down.  You have to rely on God.  He is your source and supply.  Keep looking to Him, and you will be just fine.  He will see you through the unexpected!      

4.  Final thoughts about 2020 and getting ready for 2021.

This year taught us:

— Life is not always going to be easy… God never promised an easy path to our purpose.

— God reveals things to us well before He plans on manifesting them.  This puts us in a position that requires both faith and patience.

— If we hold on long enough — like Joseph, Joshua, Caleb, David, and others did — we will SEE what God SAID!

—  Even when things externally may be going crazy (like the economy, racial tension, a global pandemic), If we spend time with the Holy Spirit and allow God to show us what is to come, we can sleep through the storm like Jesus did.

—  When you know that God is your source, and your job or business is NOT your source, you are not moved by a shift in the economy, sales, numbers, or anything else.  You know God has kept you thus far, and He did not bring you this far to fail now.  

Looking back over 2020, we can now open our hearts for 2021:

— God is a God of progression and not regression.

— When you walk with God, despite challenges, you enter every day looking up and not down, looking forward and not backward, and expecting God to do what He said He would do in your life.

— If 2020 taught you anything, it is that God is with you every step of the way!  He will never turn His back on you.  He will never give up on you.  He will never relax the grip that He has on you.  He is more committed to you than you are to Him.  God is faithful!

The last thing I will say, as I sign off for the year, is… GREATER IS COMING FOR YOU!

Declaration of Faith:

Father, I thank You for teaching me a great deal about faith and patience this year.  You reveal things to me well before the time of manifestation.  This puts me in a position to believe and also to wait.  I have learned to do both. It is through faith and patience that I will obtain the manifestation of Your promises in my life.  No matter what comes my way, my eyes are on You.  No matter what my future holds, I know You have already been there, and since You are not moved, I am not moved by the events of this world.  You are my source and my supply.  You supply all my needs.  You make all grace abound towards me, to the point where I have all sufficiency, in all things, at all times.  I am able to meet the needs of my household and also to give to every good and charitable work You lead me to.  You are my source!  You get me to the point where I understand money as a ministry, and You bless me to fund Your Kingdom projects all over the world.  

I thank You for the lessons You taught me in 2020.  I am excited about 2021.  I will finish this year strong and keep my heart open for what’s next.  Because You have already been to 2021 and I know it is going to be good!  GREATER IS COMING FOR ME!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

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