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 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.

Your Hope Will Not Be Disappointed

You will be rewarded for this;
   your hope will not be disappointed.
Proverbs 23:18

Could you imagine this promise from God’s word coming to pass in your life? Knowing that if you don’t give up and if you persevere, that your hope is going to be rewarded should be the catalyst of your faith that God will fight on your behalf.  I love the fact that God, in His infinite grace, brings us out of the despair and in the hope that we will overcome.

What is this hope that is talked about all throughout scripture?  The best definition that I have heard is the “confident expectation of something good.” I am not just expecting something good. I am confident that it will happen. I am grateful that we are given the expectation of something good in our lives otherwise we would be doomed to sorry for the rest of our lives.


Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
  but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life
Proverbs 13:12


If God’s word is so explicit on what hope is and how it affects our lives, would not the God who put the word into action fulfill that very promise?


This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.  Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 6:19-20


       Hope isn’t something that is flippantly written throughout God’s word. It isn’t a “well I hope it happens” or “I hope that it comes through.” Hope is a powerful word that we can be assured that God will fulfill in our lives.  Will it happen automatically or quickly? I won’t yes because that is not entirely true. More often than not, hope fulfilled takes time. Patience is at practice here because we don’t always see it happen right away.   I have seen in my own life that it came to pass sooner than it should have.

       I have always wanted to be married and a dad. It was my dream growing up which I looked forward to. For a while, I thought it would never happen. I eventually swore off dating and decided that I was destined for singleness. A bit extreme, but that is how I felt at my young age. Not long after I moved to St. Louis, I met my beautiful bride in an unexpectant way and not in my timing. Not long after we met we were married and began having our family.  Sometimes, God will use a move or something unexpectant to fulfill the hope that is in your heart.

       If you are losing hope or feeling hopeless, know that you are not alone. Even now as I type this, I have struggled with having hope that anything better could happen for our family. Just like you, I have to remember God’s word and pray.

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?

Must I Suffer?

“After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. ”
Acts 14:21-22

In the true art of reading God’s Word, I found a portion of scripture that we’d all like to skip over. You know the ones that I am talking about- the ones that make you wonder about the whole package that you signed up for when you became a Christ follower. When I came across this, the question that arose in my heart for the title was “must I suffer?”  Do I have to go through the trials of life and deal with all of the disappointments that come with them?

It is easy to get sold on the fact that if we follow Christ that we will get our Rolls Royce, gold watch, and a million dollars in the bank. Unfortunate as it may sound, these promises that many teachers give for coming to the altar, are simply not true. If that is the case, I need to know who lost my contract with God on this.

In all seriousness, when we go through these trials in our lives, I believe that it makes us appreciate our lives even more as we are going through it. The believers in the passage in Acts were going through the great tribulations of life. However, they knew that if they stood the test that they would be able to see the treasure on the other side.

It has helped me to read God’s word to see that we are not alone in these trials. As a matter of fact, in James 1, we read where the church was encouraged to persevere because their faithfulness would pay off.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James 1:2-4

Can you imagine that there will be a time that we will find ourselves in a perfect state, complete, and needing nothing? It is hard to fathom the simple truth that we will see a day where these things will come true. While you and I are going through these things, our hope is that we will come out stronger and find ourselves in a better place.


Is Your Trust In The Famine or the Feast?

 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
2 Corinthians 9:8 NLT

In the difficult times, it is truly hard to be reminded Who is our Provider. When the bills come in and the money goes out and the names are changed to protect the ignorant, I find it hard to believe that God has provided for every single need. There are times we have to place our hands in the air and just say, “Thank you God that You know what is going on and that you have a plan in place for it.” For Sara and me, it has been difficult for us in this area. Our marriage has been awesome and has been filled with many blessings. However, people are not aware of the financial blows we have had in over a decade of marriage. We weren’t drowning in debt when we got married, but we weren’t swimming in the vault of cash either.

I don’t pretend to have all of the answers when it comes to God.  I love the saying, “Results May Vary” because, in our lives, it certainly has varied.  Many people know that six months after we were married, I lost my job and we were stranded in Memphis after a trip with no money because my car quit. I can remember my dear bride in tears worried that we were not going to get home. I remember the Lord saying to “tell no one.” I remember being frustrated with God and asking why were these things happening because being the man of the house, I should be able to least provide for my family. Of course, when you are in the middle of the field and it’s storming, you can’t see the growth of the seed beneath your feet.

Feast or Famine

Shortly before we got married, God dealt with me on giving. I hadn’t been much of a giver with exception of material things. I wouldn’t mind giving someone a piece of gum or a pencil if need be. I began to see that the Lord had a law in place in the area of giving. I also saw that the enemy had an attack in place in the order of giving. Many would say, “We are not under law.” Friend, you are always under a law. The law of gravity says what goes up must come down. The law of the land states that if you speed, you get a ticket (unless you are a smooth talker or great at getting out of it). The law of the land states to steal will land you in jail. Just as the law of the land, God’s word tell us if we give it is given back to us (see Luke 6:38) which is the law of sowing and reaping.

The Lord began to teach me that in order to reap a harvest; I had to begin planting seeds in my life.

Now, it’s not just a money thing but a heart thing. To give just to get is pointless. If you give to meet a need having the confident assurance of the return on your investment, then that is something totally different. The rich man was not denied entry into heaven because he didn’t give his money and processions; it was because his money and processions became his god. He relied on the harvest instead of the one who provided the seed and rain for the harvest.

God began to work on my heart in the area of giving in 2006. I moved from Memphis to St. Louis because I had a “feeling” that God was moving me. At that time, I had no real knowledge of the Holy Spirit but I knew I was home when I pulled into St. Louis. I had taken a job at a well-known university in the area and had secured my home near the Lambert International Airport. This is important so follow along. My wife and I had been dating for a short period of time and were getting ready to get married in a few months when the Lord began to change my heart on giving to the church. I never was a big giver like I mentioned either but I had knowledge of Malachi 3 where the Lord called the people thieves for withholding the tithe. I began tithing after that message. Not out of fear but out of respect for the Lord and what was truly His. That week three major events happened. I know, this is where I tell you that I ended up getting the biggest raise of my life, a new car, and a Rolex. This could not be farther from the truth.

At some point during the next few days, my tires were going bad on my car. I was driving down I-270 on my way to my part-time job and my tire blew. No big deal, I got it fixed and moved on. The next night I had gone shopping to pick up some groceries and someone followed me home. I thought nothing of it. I came out the next morning and my car had been broken into with contents missing. A few days later, I found myself outside again with yet the other tire on my car flat.

I know that this is to be encouraging to you but I need to be sure that you don’t get fooled into thinking that whenever you give your money to the church that things don’t happen. I hear a lot of well-meaning teachers of the word of God who says things like “you’ll never have problems if you tithe.” It’s not the truth. If it were, then I wouldn’t have had these things happen. My point is this; was this my ordeal or God’s? God owns it all and if He wants it working properly or whatever, He will take care of it. He will give me wisdom. In this famine, I found that God will supply all my needs according to His riches, not mine.

Over the next several years I watched my wife and I struggle. Most people would have given up by the time this was written after all the mess we had to happen to us. We had to decide that our seed was worth the harvest. We have seen time and time again God comes through in our lives in so many areas. We heard God in this area and knew He wanted us to trust Him in feast or famine.

In the season that we are in, we are waiting for that harvest to come in. We have sowed many a seed and thought that this could be the bumper crop that we have been waiting on to catapult our dream into reality. I recall being in the worship service at church and we took up an offering for the cameras in our church. This isn’t something of the ordinary for our Pastor to have this happen so I know it had to be from the Lord. At some point in this season, we both complained to the Lord about always giving and not receiving the full blessing. In this service, the Lord spoke to me in response to this complaint; “I provide seed to the one who sows. Don’t grow weary in doing what is right for in the due season, at that appropriate time, you will reap a harvest if you faint not. The farmer is always planting his seed. He doesn’t plant the seeds just once. He is constantly planting his seeds because he expects consistent years of harvesting.” The point of this is if you aren’t going to trust God in the famine – you’re not going to trust Him through the feast.”

What are you doing today to inch closer to trusting God in the famine?

Parents Do Not Always Understand…

“I don’t think that we’re meant to understand it all the time. I think that sometimes we just have to have faith.”
Nicholas Sparks

Just when you think that Murphy couldn’t do any more damage, he decides to side swipe you. You just can’t seem to get a break, yet there’s complete peace about what is going on all around you. I have heard it best put this way; “chaotic peace.” Recently, this is where we found ourselves. It seems like we can’t escape this cycle that never ends. But I know one thing that is for sure is that He never ends either.

Perhaps, I should start from the reason that I decided to write this. For ten years, Sara and I have seen some of the weirdest things happen in our lives. We have had car trouble, house issues, health woes, financial hardships, etc.  One may bring up the fact that we are tithers and according to Malachi 3, the one who devours is rebuked for our sake. It would be easy to question God and wonder. It would probably be even easier to doubt than it would be to know in faith that God has taken care of it all.

In a previous post, I referenced the time where I came to God and made the statement that I just simply did not understand. God’s response in my heart was that He did not call me to understand, but to trust Him.

The response honestly took me off guard.  Aren’t we, as human beings, designed to understand all things and learn them? Then I recalled a scripture that I have always remembered since I was a child. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” In some translations, it reads “and He will make it plain and straight.”  Our trust is not in the government nor people, our trust is not in ourselves or our own ability to provide, but our trust is in Him.

 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:13 NLT

This is one of the most quoted scriptures that you will find in the Christian vernacular. The problem with this is that we find ourselves reading it as I can do everything. The intention of this passage was not that we can do everything, but that we rely on Christ’s strength to do everything.  I am so grateful that during these trials that we are seeking our true Provider. Our trust is the ultimate Father. I believe it’s so important that our children see that our trust is in God regardless if we understand or not. When they become older, our hope is that they will trust Him. Sure, it would be easier for you or me to automatically go into the woe-is-me mode. I will tell you one last thing before I leave you and it’s found in Ephesians 6:13;

“Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].”

Having done all that you can possibly do that the crisis demands…stand. Stand firm. Don’t quit. Press into what God has in store for you and not what the enemy tries to throw at you. Regardless of your understanding or lack thereof – stand! 

When I Fear

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Nelson Mandela

The year 2012 was one of the  worst years on record for our family and we just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. You know about those, I am sure. At one point, our van was completely disabled and I just totaled my car, we were having trouble making ends meet, the food was on the table but it was kept to a minimum because we were trying to get the van repaired. I remember the day like it was yesterday where Sara and I sat on the couch in our living room in tears because we were exhausted from all the mess that had been going on. She was folding laundry and I had just got done meeting with the guy who was fixing our van (I should say the 2nd guy who “fixed” our van).  At this point, I completely felt useless as a husband and a father. Most men can relate that you feel that you are the provider of the family and it rests on your shoulders but when you can’t provide the necessities of life and the sky keeps falling on you, you tend to see yourself as a failure.

It was here that I had to fight the spirit of fear and inadequacy. As a man, I began to fear my importance in our family and the reason why we were here. I seriously began to wonder if I had “missed God” in what we were doing in our lives. There was a sense of “what’s next” in our house and we were sinking. God really began to minister to me during this time. It was a great thing that He had a wonderful woman who was my support because I don’t know how I would have managed to get through this without her.  God started showing me in His word that He’s the One that I have to trust and not the money or the job.

My prayer to the Lord at the time was “I just don’t understand” followed by the usual rant about how we were givers and we tithe, etc. I remember clearly the Lord speaking into my heart and reminding me of this scripture.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

And without missing a beat, I heard in my heart “I have not called you to understand, but I have called you to trust.”  Man. That spoke volumes as a father to me. The Ultimate Godly Father asked me to trust Him.

One weekend we took the girls roller skating with the church.  None of our kids have ever done this and we thought it would be great for them to interact with other kids their age. I took Maleah and Joanna out onto the rink and without missing a beat, they fell down. Joanna completely wasn’t thrilled with it. Maleah, on the other hand, is the type that loves to learn, wanted to go out and try more. All the way, my hands were in front of her to keep her from falling. I told her that if she fell, to grab me and she would be fine. She fell at least a dozen and then some more times. But she never forgot that I was there waiting to catch her when she fell. By the end of the night, she was skating on her own, not like Tanya Harding but skating nonetheless. Joanna, on the other hand, was afraid to do it. We found out that they have special skating shoes for ones her age and we got her a pair. I remember the look on her face when I first put her down. At first, she wasn’t going to do it. With instruction, the fear began to leave her face as she realized that with help, she could, in fact, do it. For the next two hours, Joanna was on her own skating with these special skates. I could only imagine what would have happened if Joanna had decided that because of her first experience with skates that she would never skate again.

Dad and Mom, I see you out there concerned about how things are going to work out in your circumstance. There’s a wolf at the door and you see no way to get it away. I want to encourage you to “trust in the Lord with all of your heart” today. Not with just some of your heart but all of your heart. He’s got it.