Developing a Spirit of Expectancy

“Then Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!”
1 Kings 18:41

         At this point, the region was under a great drought. They hadn’t seen rain for quite some time and they found themselves in desperate need of water.  Could you imagine Ahab’s face when Elijah told him that there was a mighty rainstorm coming?  I guess I could see the face of a shock and surprise or great speculation. Regardless, Ahab obeyed Elijah and Elijah went about doing his own business. 

“So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees. Then he said to his servant, ‘Go and look out toward the sea.’  The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, “I didn’t see anything.’ Seven times Elijah told him to go and look.”
1 Kings 18:42-43 

Notice, Elijah sent his servant out seven times to see if there was rain on the way. Elijah did not lose hope when the servant came back the first time. He began to develop a spirit of expectancy.  He wouldn’t have sent the servant out seven times unless he knew it would happen.  It would have been easy for him to give up and say “I have tried so many times and still I haven’t seen it come to past. I might as well give up.” Instead, Elijah sent his servant out again.

“Finally, the seventh time, his servant told him, ‘I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.”
1 Kings 18:44

I sense some sarcasm here. Wouldn’t you? I can’t read between the lines, but I wonder if Elijah’s servant had enough of this running back and forth to see if there was any rain coming. Then again, it could be that he was so full of faith that he believed that the very small cloud was an answer to prayer. Elijah, perhaps, knew best;

“Then Elijah shouted, ‘Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’”

Now – that is powerful! Can you imagine the look on the face of the servant? There was probably a shocked expression. You have to admit, you’d be shocked too. And God did not waste His time on responding to their faith. 

“And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel. Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel.”

 What does this all have to do with you and me? We have to become like Elijah. We have to become the servant who ran and looked for rain. We have to become Ahab who, even before he saw the cloud, go eat.  We have to get to the point where when we feel that God is speaking greatness and a dream in our heart that we don’t doubt but that we develop a spirit of expectancy.  Right now as I write this, I would love to tell you that I have perfected this.  I would love to say that I am developing a spirit of expectancy.

I have to be honest with you. This past year has shaken me to my core. Though I have been in peace through most of it, I have a hard time dreaming and believing that the rain is coming. I don’t believe that Elijah was without doubt.  He was human. Just read the next chapter! I believe that even in our own disbelief that we have to build that spirit of expectancy.  In Mercy Me’s Even Ifthere is a line that reads “They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain. Good thing, a little faith is all I have right now.” Just imagine if faith the size of a grain of mustard seed is enough to move mountains (see Matthew 17:20 ). 

I believe that we have to believe that we will see our dreams come to past in our lifetime. We could all have a theological debate and split hairs over what each of us believes in. I want to propose this to you; would you rather expect something big and get something small or expect something small and receive nothing? 

I love this song from Elevation Worship and I hope it ministers to you!

William J. Howell

The Day of Small Beginnings

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”
Zechariah 4:10 NLT

I used to hate these words; “Don’t despise the day of small beginnings.” Geeze. How long do I have to wait for this small beginning to become big? When will that breakthrough occur? When will I see the day of plenty?! I know, you being holy, have never uttered these words. But I have and plenty of times. Recently, I walked out of a testing center for an exam that I was taking and just failed it. I had studied so hard only to find out that I had flunked it. Really?!

What I felt at the time was utter defeat. I am not going to lie. I was upset. But one thing that I went back to was this, in my earlier days I would have just given up. Now, I see it as a challenge. I will not despise the days of small beginnings. Just think about Jesus.

At 30, Jesus was an unknown son of a carpenter. No one knew who He was. He hadn’t performed any documented miracles. He laid low. So low that he lived in a town that people would ask “can anything good come from Nazareth?”* One day, Jesus was at a party and the people had drunk up all the good stuff. His mother, knowing who He really was, said that it was time. Time? Time for what?

Jesus would respond to his mother ““Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”** His mother knew that the time was coming and instructed the servants to do whatever he said. Little did she know that Jesus would step into the miracle that would solidify His ministry on this earth. The servants did just as Jesus had told them and the rest is all history. 

But what would have happened if Jesus had gotten stuck in the days of small beginnings?What would have happened if His mother hadn’t felt the nudge to tell Him? I challenge you today to get beyond the day of small beginnings. Prepare for the day of plenty.

*John 1:46


The Seed Does Not Return Void

A while ago, we pulled into the church parking lot and I was prepared to drop everyone off at the door when all of a sudden the hood filled with steam. It is never a good sign to see the steam fill the hood and the thermostat reading hit overheated. I parked the van just to watch it drain coolant down the parking lot ramp. I went inside and got our seat for church then headed to get our classroom set up. I had our tithe in my pocket and needed to fill out the envelope. Here’s the crazy thing; I didn’t second guess myself in giving our tithe. Why? It’s not mine to keep. It is holy unto the Lord and I refuse to rob Him of it.

It may come across as being extreme for some who read this. However, I learned very early on in my journey as a Christian that when I put the seed in the barn, I will have plenty left over in the end. I am not saying that you should be irresponsible with your finances. What I am saying is that there will be times that you will find yourself in a place where you just know that you have to plant the seed.

Not long after this occurred, we were given money above and beyond what we needed to repair the van. Never wavering, we have seen God move mountains with our little faith. There are times where I know it would be easier for me to doubt God than to trust Him. Then, He shows up and shows off.

5 Keys to Success and They Aren’t What You May Think

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.  I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

Do you ever feel like you have no direction in life? Do you ever wonder what’s the point? So often, we get caught up with our purpose in life that we forget the One who created that purpose in us. I am guilty of this for sure.

Right now, I am working on finding my purpose in life. For over 20 years, I worked in the same field finding myself frustrated with the direction that I should take.  An entrepreneur at heart, I had several business ideas that failed and a few that were successful. Because I have a family, I have had to put a lot of those ideas on the back burner until something changes in our situation.  Does that mean God doesn’t have a plan or purpose for me? Absolutely not.

“Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.”
Proverbs 16:3

 As we commit our actions to God and give it to Him, He puts the process into place for success to occur.  I haven’t quite seen that in my life yet. However, I have seen it in the lives of several people that I personally know.  They wouldn’t have seen that success unless that followed the heart of God’s word.  Success doesn’t come to those who just want it. The natural flow of success found in God’s word can be seen in the following scripture;

Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and proseper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord Trust him, and he will help you.
Psalms 37:3-5

The steps to success are as followed:

  1. Trust in the Lord and do Good. The word trust here in the Greek means to have confidence in the Lord. We don’t just simply believe that He has our best intentions at heart. We are confident in it. As we find that confidence, we are to do good which translated is to do better.
  2. Then You Will Live Safely in the Land and Prosper. You cannot have the safety in the land and prosper unless you are confident in Him.
  3. Take Delight in the LordDelight in this scripture was a little strange to me, but it has two meanings. 1) to be delicate and 2) to be happy about.  The translation from this Hebrew attribution can be read as the following “to live softly and delicately for the Lord.” In addition, it can be read as “to be happy in the Lord”.
  4. Commit Everything You do to the Lord. To commit is to trust everything that you do for the Lord.
  5. Trust Him. It all comes back to having the full confidence in the Lord. You cannot have success unless you have full confidence in God.

Just in this simple scripture, we have pulled out five keys to success in fulfilling the life that God has for us. We all have a different definition of success. One might find themselves successful if they have a lot of money. Another person might find that having children is successful. The list could go on and on. The question now lies with you. What is your definition of success?