“Now” faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality–faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. Heb 11:1 AMP
“Now” faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. Hebrews 11:1 TPT
“Now” faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 NASB2020
Just like the Word of God, (Heb.4:12) time is also like a two edged sword. One side cautions us about using our time wisely and responsibly, while the other side encourages us to seize the moment. Too often we take such cautions we never seize the moment.
Of course we need to understand there is only one entrance point to time. This entrance would be now, right now. So here is a statement to muse on, “You only have now” and “You always have now”. Is there anything wrong with being responsible? Absolutely not. We should use our time to be productive. However, we should not let this be our safe zone for not seizing the moment.
Right now, at this very instant, we can seize the moment to use all of the gifts, blessings and power that Jesus secured for us. When? Right now! Now, will always be our starting point. Right now, all of what Jesus’ death and resurrection has given us is available. All of His presence, power, and promises can be accessed right now.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you are. It doesn’t matter how long you have been a Christian, whether you are new at walking with God or you’ve been doing it for years because now, right now is always your starting point. So even if you’re unsure of your next steps then take small ones, baby steps, or maybe it’s time to take a big step, even jump toward where you believe God is leading you.
No matter where you are, as a Christian in life’s journey, taking a step with Jesus is always going to be now, right now, you need to take the step. What is it you are hoping for or desire to see happen in your life? Now is your starting point to exercise your faith. Right now start praying, believing, and speaking what you want to see God do for you. If things need to change then make the decision to do something now to change it.
Don’t wait but seize the moment right now to start. When can you pray, when can you be blessed, when can you forgive, when can you hear and talk to God, when does God heal, when can a person get saved, when does a person have abundant life, the answer is always “NOW”.
Remember, “Now” is your only entrance point to time. Do you want something new and exciting? Do you want to break up the status quo? Don’t let the past dictate your time right now, yesterday is gone, and don’t be so caught up with what may or may not happen tomorrow that you do not take fresh steps today. So answer the question of when, with NOW!! Right NOW. NOW is the entry point to all God has for you.
Has someone ever said to you “well what did you expect”, or “what did you think was going to happen”? Usually these statements are heard when something negative occured. There are probably countless times throughout your life you have heard these spoken by someone observing what happened either to you or to someone else. You may have even told someone this yourself.
A decision was made to go forward with something questionable which turned out wrong or bad, and then you say to yourself, “I knew that would happen”, “what did I expect”. Obviously you were expecting something completely different. Truthfully you were questioning moving forward and you were already thinking a negative outcome could happen, but hoping it wouldn’t. You honestly had a lower expectation of results.
Even now thinking back on raising my children I wonder how many times I said, “What did you expect”?. It’s funny to think of how many things if done a certain way, the right way, you know what to expect. Then there are those times you take an easier way, a short cut, and it doesn’t work, and inwardly you didn’t expect it to but you were hoping.
The actual definition of the word “expect” means you are considering the outcome with certainty behind it. You may even be anticipating or looking forward to the occurrences that are about to happen because you expect what will happen.
Now let me ask this, what do you expect from God? Do you expect Him to be faithful ? Do you expect Him to do what He says or are you just inwardly hoping? Yet, how many times throughout the Bible and through our lives have we seen God do exactly what He said He would? As a Pastor when people have asked for prayer, we pray and it happens according to our prayers and people seem surprised. The reason for this is they honestly were not expecting any result from the prayer offered.
I mean think with me here, “What Do We Expect”?. Did we get what we expected? You are wanting God to do various things and you were truly hoping, but it didn’t happen, you were sort of expecting it wouldn’t. You had wrong expectations of the Lord. You were not expecting the Lord to do what He said He would. Look at the following story from scripture.
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” 7 Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.” 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith..” …….13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour. NIV
I am sure you have heard sermons on this story. It reveals the power of His Word, what the centurion believed about Jesus. However, what I want to point out here is where the centurion put his expectations. He expected when Jesus spoke the word of healing it would work. Jesus even states “it will be done just as you believed it would”. Jesus agreed with what the centurion was expecting. The soldier didn’t demand Jesus heal his servant but instead revealed what he expected would happen and how it would happen, and it did.
We just went through the year 2020 where not a whole lot happened on the entire earth. It was called a pandemic, where no one was allowed to do anything. Even the church was declared non essential, only essential commerce was allowed to stay open. (Just a side note, amazing how liquor stores were seen as essential) So much happened or really didn’t happen and pretty much everyone knew what to expect. This chipped away at our expectations, getting us to lower them.
Then things slowly began to lift, you ventured out to the store wearing your mask and making sure you didn’t come too close to anyone and not touching anything including doors unless absolutely necessary. Whenever you made your way out, you took your hand sanitizer and made sure to kill any germ that came came near you. As more and more restrictions were lifted, enabling us to do more and engage in more things outside of being locked in our homes, we learned to expect a little more. Then things opened up, no more face masks! We are even spending time in gatherings, and dare I say shaking hands instead of touching elbows or fist bumps and yes even hugging people!
In painting this picture I am trying to get you to see how our expectations work. So I want to come back to the question, what are you expecting from God? Did your expectations go down or up? What do you think He will do?
Here is an amazing fact, God did not change one bit through 2020. We need to be willing to evaluate our expectations of Him and make sure our expectations were not lowered. We need to expect the same and more every year no matter what happens. In fact let’s look at where we can raise our expectations of Him for this year.
What does scripture teach us? Read the following scripture and the various words used in the different translations as they describe how we should view Him.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us NIV
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, NKJV
20 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] —AMP
20 Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of-infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. TLB
20 Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination![a] He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you. TPT
Now let’s take a look at God.
We know God expects us to believe Him and I mean believe what He says. As I stated before we know He is faithful. We know He is always honest and only speaks the absolute truth. He is always willing to forgive. He is always loving you, and brings you life and life abundantly. We know He is always bringing light so that we may see the truth. We know He is able to save anyone, anywhere, anytime. He is the one who strengthens us and He gives us rest. He stands with us, beside us, protects our back, and lives inside of us. We know He causes our growth. He is our vindicator. He is our righteousness. He gives the increase. We know He wants to be with us always, and He is a good, good Father to us. He is always for us, never ever against us.
This list could go on and on and I do not know if you could come to an actual end with the list. We know the truth about who He is. So here is the question again, What Do You Expect From Him? He who did not spare His own Son but joyfully, willingly gave Him up for us so that we can expect Him to be everything He said He would be for us.
32 For God has proved his love by giving us his greatest treasure, the gift of his Son. And since God freely offered him up as the sacrifice for us all,[a]he certainly won’t withhold from us anything else he has to give.
32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? NLT
32 He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things? AMP
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? NKJV
32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? NIV
What Do You Expect From Him!!!
9 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! NIV
how much more will your Father Who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him! AMP
won’t your Father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask him for them? TLB
how much more ready is your heavenly Father to give wonderful gifts[b] to those who ask him?” TPT
What Do You Expect From Him!!!
Make no mistake about it, God will never be mocked! For what you plant will always be the very thing you harvest. The harvest you reap reveals the seed that was planted. If you plant the corrupt seeds of self-life into this natural realm, you can expect to experience a harvest of corruption. If you plant the good seeds of Spirit-life you will reap the beautiful fruits that grow from the everlasting life of the Spirit. And don’t allow yourselves to be weary or disheartened in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming! Take advantage of every opportunity to be a blessing to others, especially to our brothers and sisters in the family of faith! TPT
Let’s look at our expectations and properly evaluate them and if they need raising then let’s raise them. It doesn’t matter where you are with the Lord right now, I believe there is always room to raise your expectations of what Jesus Christ can and will do for you today, right now. Do you expect to reap the right fruit if you sow the right seeds of a Spiritual life? Let us go out and raise our expectations and plant the seeds of His Spirit expecting to see the spiritual fruit He promises.
13 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water.” 2 So I bought a belt, as the Lord directed, and put it around my waist.
3 Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time: 4 “Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Perath[a] and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.” 5 So I went and hid it at Perath, as the Lord told me.
6 Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.” 7 So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9 “This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt—completely useless! 11 For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the Lord, ‘to be my people for my renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.’
“A call to listen intently on the Lord“
The Lord will speak to you in any situation if we can listen. Just as Jeremiah had a dynamic relationship with the Lord, God desires the same with us. What would be the outcome to Jeremiah if he ended just with the waistband?
Ask yourself this, God tells you to go out and buy a car. It is not a question of finances or payment because you have enough faith to do what the Lord asked of you. It is not just any car but the finest car you can think of. Spotless all that the specs offer, everything that the dealer would throw at you, you take. God tells you, don’t wash this car because it has the finest polish on it and it just shines. So you go and get the car and you are driving around town. A week passes and then God tells you to go downtown to the worst part of town. Get out of the car, open the doors and walk away. At what point would you start to question what the Lord told you to do. If Jeremiah stopped at the wearing of the waistband he would have been just a guilty as Judah and Jerusalem, not only that but he would have declared the waistband more important than God. God gives us the Call to Listen to Him. What are the things in our lives that keep God’s word from coming in and what are we doing to overcome these things before they consume us?
We are the waistband of the Lord.
God desires that we adhere to Him just as a waistband adheres to the waist of a man. We are for the Lord. We are His praise, His Glory and His renown. Everything that we do should be a call to the weight and power of who God is. The waistband during this time was a symbol of wealth and prestige, it showed class and status. Jesus says “You are the light of the world, a city on a hill.” Jesus is the status and the class that is to be shown. It is important to remember that the most important part of evangelism is our relationship with the Lord. If we speak of repentance and salvation and don’t have the relationship with God, we are going to show whoever it is we speak to that it is ok to not listen to the Lord and thus become worthless to the call.
Stubbornness Kills the called.
What Jeremiah received in revelation was a wake up call to God’s chosen, You are to be a waistband for me but you did not listen and thus became worthless. And now I am going to release you to the very things that blinded you. You will walk thinking that you are in light but in darkness.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
Paul’s Charge to Timothy
You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
So what is the call for us men today? It doesn’t change. We are to stand our ground and listen to the Lord no matter what the situation is. It may be a difficult request from God and it might not be, but the reward and the relationship that follows is the Kingdom of God.
Real Believers know that they are not just drifting in life. They are SENT by God to represent Him in this world. When examining the scriptures you will see that God the Father sent Jesus, Jesus sent the 12, then sent the 72. He then told the 120 to wait for power to go and be His witnesses, so He sent the 120. We see that they went out and represented Jesus with His message. Through the book of Acts there were nameless men and women sharing His message of hope, life, and salvation everywhere they went. Some of them were even establishing churches. My point is simply this, all Christians are SENT. They are to represent their King. They are to do this with excellence. They are to do this with all their heart. This is not a part -time gig of, “When I get time I will be His witness”. No, everywhere at all times, with all of what we have in time, energy and resources are we to represent Him. It’s all for Him, it’s all for our King. He is worthy of it all, the whole of us, all we have, all the time. And real Godly men and women live their lives in this way. They live their lives with this purpose and this purpose only. They live it out loud in front of the whole world to see. Worldly people want to say they are Christians, but live their lives in front of the world their way, on their time frame. Selfishness is really the purpose for which they live, thinking of self first. Giving it all to Jesus is just a phrase they like but don’t really live it full time. But real Godly men and women know their King and give Him their all. They give Him their best. Even if they are afraid they get over it and move ahead for Him. They deal with the fear and selfishness by representing Him because He is greater than their fears or momentary selfishness. They live this way on purpose. They are more concerned with what Jesus, their King thinks than what people around them think. So go out with this purpose in mind, I’m SENT by the King of all Kings, God Almighty, the Lord Jesus Christ. He gave it all so He is worthy of me giving it all. I am on this earth here and now to represent Jesus Christ. I will represent You, My King, out loud and out front with no reservations as to what man may think. Live His Life On Purpose.
Real men and women of God own their lives.
Owning their lives, means, no excuses. They take full responsibility for their lives. They are not looking or trying to blame others. Real believers don’t see themselves as victims, but as overcomers. This doesn’t mean things always go according to plan. This doesn’t mean that there will not be times things happen that are beyond their control. There are times bad things happen, your fault, their fault, nobody’s fault, something happened that was not the way it should have happened. So what? Get over it and move on. Are you a victim? Even if you are the victim, how long are you going to stay one? Real men and women of God won’t live in a realm where everything has to be fair or they won’t move on because it would make them a victim. They go to God draw on His strength and ability and move on by looking to overcome the situation or obstacle.
Things that happen to us are not fair sometimes. Big deal! Get over it and move on. Our society has slowly moved to a mentality where everything has to be fair, or everyone is some type of victim. Nobody is ever at fault and in turn they don’t have to take responsibility for their lives. Let’s say it wasn’t fair or they are the victim, a person still must cope with it and move on or they will remain a victim and eventually die this way. It’s like they quit living any quality of life anymore. What happens to them becomes their life story and this is where they sit.
But a man or women of God must go to God and pick themselves back up and get back in the game. God has so much more He wants to do with them and through them. A man or women of God can’t let setbacks, the hard knocks of life stop him. They must look to the future with the hope of God. However, often what we see in our culture today is the opposite. Because of what happened to them, they now believe they are entitled to sit around, circle attention around self, draw pity to self, whoa is me, poor me, they want everyone around them to see their situation is different. I think you get the picture. They think this gives them the right to be irresponsible. They now begin to make excuse after excuse and therefore never take true responsibility for their lives. I like what David said when confronted by Nathan, the prophet, about his sin, the sin David thought was hidden….wrong. David repents and says to God that against Him and Him only had he sinned.
It’s amazing how many believers today, blame their sin or inconsistencies of their lives on their circumstances, their special situations, their past, their parents, their childhood or whatever. It’s the internet, I was doing good until…, or my personal favorite, you just don’t understand. Real men and women of God don’t blame shift, or pull out some excuse to cover. Come on, we as believers need to break free of such nonsense and take full ownership of our lives. Take full responsibility for who we are and what we do. We are living for God not ourselves. If we are wrong then say so, if we are at fault then say so, say you’re sorry and mean it, and whenever its necessary, if possible, make it right. Show by words and actions that you are responsible for your life. Learn to get over things that don’t go right. Train yourself to move on, maybe we can’t change what just happened to us, but we don’t have to stay there either. Tell yourself I can change this by moving forward with God, I am not going to let what happen to me dictate who I will be tomorrow. I take responsibility for my life. If you find yourself starting to excuse or shift the blame off of yourself be quick to see where, and laugh at yourself for such nonsense. Own your life! With God there is always a tomorrow that has His love, goodness and favor working for us to move forward with Him into all that He has for us. Don’t excuse your life, OWN IT!
Real Men and Women of God are Dead to Self.
Real believers are dead to self. Jesus stated the two main requirements to follow Him was to deny self and pick up your cross. So for anyone who says they are following Jesus, these two ingredients should be visibly noticeable. Denying self means, you choose the path Jesus would choose. It’s not about what you want because self comes second to the will of Christ. Picking up your cross means you are choosing to remain dead to your will and your wants when these conflict in any way with what Jesus wants and what His will is for your life. So this is why I picked the term dead to self. Here is a short list of what this looks like.
A Dead Person Does Not have Any Rights:
I never saw a dead person exercising their rights to something. Think of how many people we meet who state they are Christians but are living large for themselves.They still have all their rights intact and following Jesus is a second thought. They exercise their rights first, then if it’s convenient they do something for God. They have never spent the time and taught themselves scripturally what it means to “deny self” and “pick up your cross”. They still have what they want and their will is still in charge. Self is who they are still following. Real men and women of God do not think this way. To follow Jesus, all rights were turned over to Christ, the minute they decided to follow Him. The only rights they have now are the rights which God gives them. All decisions now made are based upon this choice. The Bible reveals that Jesus gave up all of of His rights to do the will of His Father. He suffered and died because it was the path laid out for Him. That doesn’t seem fair now does it? Scripture states that He did it with joy. This is the example for us to follow when it comes to our rights. Real believers follow Jesus, and the only rights they have, and the only rights they need are the rights Jesus gives them.
A Dead Person Does Not Have Any Options:
I’ve never seen a person with any options. Christianity is not some kind of game show like Let’s make a deal. Well I don’t like the way God is dealing with me in this certain area, so I want door number two. We are suppose to be following, not leading or being dragged. We think that if we don’t like the way God is leading that we have a plan B. No, plan B is usually what you make up for yourself. When a leaf falls off a tree and into a stream, the leaf has no options but to go with the flow of the stream. Real men and women of God flow with the stream. In case you have not learned this yet, you’re dead to self so there is only plan A and you must flow by following. Remember, you’re dead to self. Plan A is always going to be God’s best for you even when it’s not comfortable or the way you wish it to be.
A Dead Person Can Not Voice Their Opinion
(Opinion:) a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
You hear this one all the time, “well in my opinion”. It’s funny, but whatever opinion a person has about whatever, when they are dead that opinion means nothing anymore.So often with this statement comes the attitude that the world is suppose to stop and agree wholeheartedly. It’s as if their opinion is the only one that counts. Your opinion is just that, your opinion. If you haven’t noticed, everyone has an opinion. My two year old granddaughter has an opinion. Our opinion should never be so lofty as to project that it is the only one that is right. Real believers speak the truth with conviction, the real weight that backs up the words, is God. Now, I am not saying you don’t or can’t have an opinion. But I am saying, that when asked, it should be what the scriptures reveal, not our opinion.
A Dead Person Can Not Draw Attention To Themselves
Anything they could do for fame and glory is over. They can’t get any glory for themselves any longer, they’re dead. They are no longer self-seeking or self centered. They are no longer able to get that pat on the back, you know, the look at me and what I’ve done. They are not getting any self gratification anymore, because they are dead. Real men and women of God have made the decision that is no longer about themselves but about Jesus, their King and Lord. Its all for His glory. It is about drawing attention to Him and His life.
I believe the list could go on, but I wanted to address a greater issue about believers today who say they are living for God, but have also picked up their lives and are living for themselves. They live in a compromised state, or they still think its okay to be a little worldly, even carnal. Their commitment is to self first, simply because they don’t or won’t die to self and follow Jesus. They are giving their lives to God when its convenient, or when they get a chance, Jesus is really second, their life is first. But true believers, when they have made the decision to follow, give it all, and they never look back or go back to what they may have given up. They are in the King’s service, and loyal to Him, by denying themselves and picking up their cross, they follow Him. It is not always easy, there are going to be real trials and tests, the Bible tells us this. By keeping this position of death to self is what obviously makes this easier. As Christians who have picked up their cross, the decision has already been made. Throughout history real men and women of God, when push came to shove, they stayed with plan A. They remained faithful to Him to follow Him and Him only. I think the missionary Jim Elliot, who gave his life as a martyr serving indians of Ecuador, stated it best, “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”. As men and women of God may we have the same attitude of heart. We have decided our lives are fully for the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. We are dead to self but alive for Him and His service.