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Bright Expectations

Bright Expectations


Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Tomorrow is as bright as the promises of God.

Lamentations 3:22-23
22It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

These sayings are as inspirational as they are true. So, as we move into a brand new year, it’s helpful to turn our minds to the thoughts like these because they encourage an outlook on life that motivates us. I believe that we can attain higher goals to overcome the habits and failures that have held us back in the past.

I would encourage everyone, no matter how good or bad the last year has been, to enter the new year with bright expectations. This could be the year that Christ returns. We all need inspiration and hope. They act as spiritual sparks. Inspiration helps us throw off the shackles of past limitations. Hope devours despair.

The new year ushers in a new beginning filled with fresh promises of rebirth and restoration and renewal. As the new year begins, you may be facing situations and circumstances that may cause you uncertainty. There is one fact on which you can absolutely rely: God has a specific plan and purpose for you.

Another certainty is that Satan, your spiritual enemy, is scheming to frustrate and discourage you from fulfilling God’s plan for your life. Each day is new and we all have the same amount of time. We can use it, waste it, or use the time allotted to us to invest in something that would be of value in eternity. Although you nor I can undo or redo the past, but with God’s help, we can make a real effort to live life today to the fullest. We can accept life as a gift from God, that it is, and live it one day at a time, as The Lord opens up the way before us, one step at a time.

Thought:
The twilight of THIS NEW YEAR is beginning. Soon the sun will set. Before its books are closed and placed on the shelves of eternity, let us examine what we have written here.

As we leave another year behind us, it is good to take spiritual inventory in our lives. Let’s not become too attached to earthly things because they will pass away. Let’s be reminded that our Salvation is “my most precious possession” and all the money in the world could never buy the joy in my heart that Christ has brought into my life.

Thought:
He, who puts God first, will be truly happy at the last.

Psalm 90:12
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

We are to place each day in the balance and make it tip the scales to “weigh” in a way that will bring glory to God. It has been said, “It’s not how long we live that is important, but how will we live.” If we realize the value of our days and spend them profitably, we will find that years will take care of themselves.

Rich fruitage, both now and in the days to come, will result from daily applying our hearts unto wisdom. Life’s journey is fleeting and death sometimes terminates our best efforts. Let’s use each hour as a jewel of great value and use it to the best advantage.

Thought:
Don’t just mark time; use time to make your mark.

Salvation is a gift, not a loan or a purchase. A mechanic can take $5.00 worth of material and produce needed results. That’s skill. The government can stamp a piece of paper and it becomes a hundred dollar bill. That’s money. An artist can take a cheap canvas and paint a picture worth one thousand dollars. That’s art. A poet may take a piece of paper, write a poem worth two thousand dollars. That’s genius. A rich man may sign his name to a check and make it worth a million dollars. That’s capital.

God can take a single life, transform it, and make it an asset to humanity. That’s Salvation.

Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

So, no matter what else The Lord has burdened your heart to do, this should be a major goal and driving force in your life…to obey His written Word.

While our government and military continue to fight terrorist at home and abroad, your testimony of faith and hope are needed more than ever. If you truly want to renew your vision and become all you can be for God, then you must make time to read your Bible and pray; your day will go a lot smoother when God is in it, from start to finish. Step out in faith and start making a difference in the world around you.

Attempt great things for God and He will use you to accomplish great things. Resolve as you begin this new year to renew your vision to reach the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.

In the Bible, we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.

First of all, this command is in the imperative text. The Scripture says, “Be filled…” It is not optional. It is not something you should think about; neither is it one of those things when you get to a certain level, you feel good about yourself. No matter how long we have been saved, it is commanded for us to be filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit.

It is a command not in the plural form, but in the singular: a command given to all of us: to pastors, to the deacons, to staff members and to the spiritual giants. This is a command given to the entire church, the entire body of Christ. We cannot fill ourselves. It comes from outside us. We are to put ourselves in a position where the Spirit of God can Himself fill us and control us and we must have a desire to be filled, a holy hunger to walk at a different level than where are currently walking.

John 7:37, 38

37In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Matthew 5:6 (Jesus speaking)

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Psalm 42:1, 2
1As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. 2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

Do you have that thirst for God?

2 Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

We cannot be filled with the Spirit if there is sin in our lives. We must come to the place where we are willing to say, “Lord, I want You to take control of my life.”

Romans 12:1, 2
1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

God is all-wise and He knows better than anyone what is best for my life. He is almighty and has the power to accomplish that which is best for me.

Yielding your life in dedication to God means desiring to be filled with the Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5:19
Do not quench the Spirit.

How do we not quench the Spirit? By not doing something He tells you not to do.

Ephesians 4:30
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Also, we grieve the Spirit when we don’t obey His teachings; therefore, we must depend daily on the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:16
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

The Bible teaches that the result of being filled with the Spirit of God is that our love, our fellowship, will be different. We will be filled with Joy when we worship. When we are Spirit-filled, we have a spirit of gratitude. We need to take each day as an opportunity to be grateful to God for His blessings. In

Ephesians 5:20, 21
20Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21submitting to one another in the fear of God.

A Christian doesn’t always have to be first, does not have to be out in front.

Galatians 5:22, 23
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

These attributes make up the character of Christ. When we are filled with the Spirit, we will be victorious over temptation. One of the last promises Jesus told His disciples before His crucifixion concerned the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

John 16:12
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”

Jesus promised the disciples that when the Holy Spirit comes He would guide them into all truth. The Spirit will speak not of Himself, but of Christ. Who else could reveal the mind of God better than the Spirit of God? The Spirit knows God. He is God. He has the mind of God and it will be His ministry to unfold to their understanding the mysteries of God.

1 Corinthians 2:10
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

If we want to know the deep things of God, the Spirit of God has to be involved. Spiritual illumination will give us the spiritual discernment we need to apply the Bible knowledge we have gained.

God’s Word comes to us as the Spirit of God makes us understand and apply it.

John 14:26 (Jesus speaking)
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

That is an amazing promise!

Have you ever had someone ask you about a subject that you had no recollection of studying or knowing about and all of a sudden, you are able to give them wise counsel and advice from the Scripture? It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The more we read God’s Word and store it in our minds, the more the Holy Spirt has to work with when the need arises. It would be nice if life presented neat little packages with plenty of advance notice. Sometimes we are able to pray and study over a decision but most of the time life throws crises at us where discernment is needed. So, the Spirit’s ministry of illumination and guidance is dependent on our having the truth of God in our hearts.

Here is another ministry of the Holy Spirit.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

So that we can face life in a different way than the average person, He gives us a kind of discernment and discipline we wouldn’t otherwise have in our own hearts. The Spirit comes to guide us into the truth. Spiritual discernment always deals with applying the content of the Word of God.

1 John 2:20-27
20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 21I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 24Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is the promise that He has promised us eternal life. 26These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. 27But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

There is not a chapter and verse in the Bible for every problem we will face in life, but there are principals in the Word of God which, with the Spirit’s illumination, will give us direction so we know what to do.

In John 14:26 Jesus made an incredible statement for His disciples regarding the Holy Spirit.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

Colossians 4:6
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Many people go out to win people to Christ and by the very way in which they present the Gospel, they turn people off. We don’t usually get people to know and love The Lord when the conversation begins by telling them they are going to Hell. The Lord Jesus was full of truth and grace. Everyone He spoke with on a personal level seemed to enjoy being around Him. Is that true of us? Are we full of truth and grace?

When so many don’t believe in the One that Jesus said He would send to fill and empower us, the Holy Spirit of God, the Church, as a whole, manifests the indwelling and lifestyle of Christ. When Christians were surveyed, 60% agreed on or confessed that the Holy Spirit was a symbol of God’s presence, but not a living spirit!

Prayer is the very breath of spirituality. When we begin the day in prayer, we have turned our lives over to the power of the Holy Spirit to face whatever comes our way. Paul tells us in Colossians 4:2-6 how to pray.

Colossians 4:2-6
2Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Prayer is to be a priority in the Christian’s daily life. It’s not a religious interlude or a spiritual happening or an emergency measure to be used in a crisis. It’s communion with God, personal and precious.

Prayer is to be continued. When we read the New Testament, we will see that this was the testimony of the people who walked with God in the early church period.

The enemy knows our weakness and he understands that some types of “land mines“ do more damage to us than others.

There are, I believe, no fewer than 10 different weapons in his arsenal – pride, jealousy, insecurity, sexual sin, compromises, an unforgiving spirit, slothfulness, discouragement, covetousness and fear.

Pride is particularly subtle and is a dangerous trap. That is why the Bible warns us in

Proverbs 16:18
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

When you pray often and sincerely, you will see your relationship with God deepen and live a life more pleasing to Him.

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