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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Expect The Best!

I started my study time this morning by reviewing a couple of the scriptures that I looked at yesterday.  Psalm 43:5 begins by asking: “Why are you cast down O my soul?  And why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God: for I shall praise him, who is the health of my countenance and my God.” (MKJV and KJV)  I had missed it yesterday, but realized today that the word “hope” literally means “to be expectant” or better said, “to put your expectancy in God.” (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions) 
Then a peek at 2 Corinthians 2:14 explains why this action is important.  The Contemporary English Version says “I’m grateful that God always makes it possible for Christ to lead us to victory…”  The Message Bible paints a very vivid picture of this process declaring “In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade.”
When I put those two verses together, I realized how much God likes to do things in big ways… to those who humbly and obediently follow His directions.  I think the key word in the latter verse is “leads.”  Some other translations state that God “causes” us to triumph.  Most of my commentaries agree that this is an incorrect translation in that the Apostle Paul is describing a parade that is giving Christ the credit and honor for the victory and not necessarily us!  A couple of the commentators explain their thoughts on how they see Paul imagining himself as the various members of the victory parade.
First he sees himself as Christ’s captive, then as one of the incense bearers and finally as a soldier marching toward the back of the procession loudly proclaiming “Triumph!”  At this stage in my Christian walk, I liken myself to one of those soldiers who, under the General’s leadership, fought valiantly and victoriously in the battle and gets to share in the victory accolades and spoils.  But I realize that without the General’s leadership, I would not be in this current position, and I give him all the honor and praises!
I know folks who would disagree with me, but when I read throughout Paul’s epistles, I get the clear idea that he also believed that God likes to do things in big ways.  He talks many times of the exceedingly, abundant goodness of His heavenly Father.  He not only likes to lead us, but also desires for us to participate in the victory parade that follows the battle.
With all this in mind, I got to thinking about the last five cars that we attained over the years.  I say attained because two of the cars were given to us.  The other three we were able to purchase through the goodness of God’s hand.  In each one of those stands of faith we received exactly what we believed for.  In the case of our 1989 Camaro, the Suburban, Buick and the new Mustang (which will be here in a couple of hours – whew… can hardly wait!) we went through a progression where our faith grew and what we were believing for upgraded along with it!
When I was attending Bible School it quickly became apparent to my wife and I that we needed another vehicle.  Finances were extremely tight at the time and we were outrageously busy with our demanding schedule, so we simply asked God for reliable transportation… and that is exactly what we got.  The Lord put it on a friend who was a fellow student and worked at the same place as me, to give me one of their cars.  It was a faded older Mazda with very close to 200,000 miles on it, but it was reliable and actually fun to drive with its five speed stick shift!
My point is that Papa God knew what was in our hearts and blessed us accordingly.  I firmly believe that God wants us to have nice things and honors our faith especially when our hearts are humble, obedient and loving unto Him.  Hebrews 11:6 informs us that “Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (KJV)  Many of the stories in the New Testament such as Jairus, the women with the issue of blood, the Centurion and blind Bartimaeus seem to confirm this truth.
All of these individuals got to participate in a victory parade and gave all the glory and honor to the One who had answered their prayers.  Their healings were visible proof of the goodness of God.  Yes, the recipients were blessed, but not just for their own satisfaction and personal pleasure.  They used their blessings as a tool to lead others to Christ and the ability to walk in their own victory parades as they learned to trust in Him.
I know that I always saw someone’s positive comment about one of our vehicles as an opportunity to share what Papa God did for us!  Many years ago, through a series of miracles and promotions at both of my places of employment, He had made a way for us to purchase a brand new $44,000.00 Suburban in order to pull the trailer that was given to us and transport our large family and friends around town, when a month previously to that we barely had enough to make our monthly budget.  Do you think that my wife and I let that go by without giving all the glory to God?  NO WAY!
God wants the world to know of His love and His goodness.  I believe that He enjoys using the blessings He bestows on His children who obey His command to “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift exalt you.”  (James 4:10 – James Murdock New Testament)  God is good!  So go out and serve Him with joy, a humble heart and an expectancy of His goodness being shed upon you.  Have a great day!  Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting today?”

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