“There are many plans in man’s heart, Nevertheless the
Lord’s counsel—that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21).

We are embarking on a brand new year and a time for
self-analysis and resolutions. How determined we feel when
we step on the scales and declare they must be inaccurate.

We are reminded that we need to renew our mind with God’s
Word and improve our relationship with Him and others.

We can make a long list of must-do’s and be oh-so certain
that we will improve areas of our lives that seem to be
 deficit, but keeping that enthusiasm all year
 presents a problem.

Could the problem lie in the fact that we are making the
 determinations from our ability to succeed and based
 on emotional enthusiasm, which are inadequate and fickle?

The number one resolution we need to make is to base
 our ambitious thoughts of improvements on God’s choices
 for us and His ability to bring it to pass.

“ ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’
says the Lord, ‘thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give
you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go
 and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek
Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.’ “

Isn’t it time to raise our expectations to comply with the future
God has planned for us? When we work with His plan, allowing
Him to be the CEO and trend-setter of our lives, nothing can stop
the success of the Plan. It is insignificant to be successful in our
plan if it isn’t according to His. No matter what personal
successes we achieve they have a deadline and a termination—the
end of this age. The plan that God has for us spans into
eternity and the benefits will never end.

There is nothing wrong with making resolutions to improve
 our personal lives and relationships. Resolutions are admirable but seldom successful. We are fired up about them in the beginning,
 but the embers soon die and our good intentions are forgotten.

My paternal grandparents had what they called a “Motto”
 hanging on their wall that read, “Only one life; It will soon be
past. Only what is done for Christ will last.” To my knowledge
that is not a Bible verse, but it certainly is a biblical principle.
 We must not limit our expectations to our abilities and
ground them to this life.

When we embark on personal improvement and development
programs, it is usually with expectations of personal gain—a
promotion with a raise in salary (which will increase our
bank account and/or raise our standard of living), a more
 prestigious place in society, greater respect and recognition
 from our peers, etc. Our motive is purely personal toward
 “self.” Self-improvement is a good thing if we have
the right motivations.

If we were able to look into the future and see what our lives
could be like when we work with God and His plan, we would
probably be more enthusiastic about it. Guess what! We can!
Take a quick look at Deuteronomy 28 and “read the
 tea leaves of your future.”

Blessings will overtake you (rather than chasing them)

Blessed in the country (at home)

Blessed in the city (at work, business, shopping, etc.)

Blessed in fruit of the body (children)

Blessed in produce and ground (food supply to eat and sell)

Blessed in the flocks and herds (many healthy offspring, increase)

Blessed in the basket (harvest)

Blessed in the kneading bowl (daily bread)

Blessed coming in and going out

Blessed to overcome enemies

Blessed in the storehouse (for “tomorrow”)

Blessed in every thing you do

The Lord will open to you His good treasure.

You shall lend and not borrow.

You will be the head (above) and not the tail (beneath).

What a motivation to resolve to follow God’s plan!

All God asks is that we “Keep all the commandments.” Israel
 was told to “set up large stones and write on them
all the words of this law.”

But, wait! We aren’t able to consistently “keep all the
commandments,” and to break one is to be guilty of them
all. Does that nullify the promises? What can we do
 to live in all the blessings?

Just follow the Plan.

“ ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those
 days,’ says the Lord; ‘I will put My laws into their hearts, and
 in their minds I will write them…Their sins and their lawless
deeds I will remember no more’ ” (Hebrews 10:16-17).

It is true that we cannot keep “all the commandments,” and
there is a penalty—a serious one!—for breaking even the least
 one. But don’t despair; Jesus took care of that at Calvary! He
 bore on the cross every broken commandment for every one
 who will come to Him. Because He took the penalty upon
Himself, we are free from the responsibility of the
payment and are eligible for all those promised blessings!

Now, we can raise our expectations above the ordinary
that we have become accustomed to and look toward the
higher life of God’s plan. We have become complacent living the ordinary,  just getting by. We need to live there no longer!
We can let the past go. Having been born again, we are
 a new creation: we don’t have a past, only a future! We
 can raise our expectations to receive everything
 God wants to give.

It begins with us, individually. We first have to raise
 our personal expectations to become everything God has
 aspired for us. Give Him our desires and ambitions; allow
Him to weed out whatever takes up time and space in our
hearts but is detrimental to our growth. Give Him permission
 to peel our fingers off everything in our grasp that is holding
 us back. He will do a new thing that will be exceedingly
 above all we ask or think. He will enlarge our capacity
 to receive far beyond our expectations. He just
 requires that we allow Him to bring our expectations to pass!

Now we are ready to raise our expectations for our family. It is
 not God’s will that we give up or surrender any of our family
to the devil. It is not part of God’s plan that we lose any.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count
 slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any
should perish but that all should come to repentance”
 (2 Peter 3:9).

Expect restoration, unity and peace in the family. When we work
 with God’s Plan, we have a right to those expectations. Ask
“What expectations do I have for my family that are not in line
with the Plan?” Discard them. Raise all expectations to meet God’s promises and His provisions.

Joyce Meyer said when God was making major changes in her
 life, she told Him, “You show me, and I’ll go.” To which He
 replied, “You go and I’ll show you.” He wanted her to expect the maximum from Him as she obeyed.

When things are right with us personally and in our close
 relationships, the church, the work place, the community
will all benefit from it. And that is God’s Plan. He wants
to see our reflection in those we come in contact with,
and He expects that reflection to be Christ!

Take some index cards and write on them, “I am raising
 my expectations of God.” Put them in strategic places
where you will see them often. Make the resolution
every day to expect more from God than you have
in the past. Let Him fulfill it in your life.

Raise your expectations of God to bless you and watch
Him exceed all you expect!

December 12, 2004
Delores Adams
Copyrighted. All rights reserved.

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