• Jason Wade


6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;

call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-9

There is so much that we all hope to accomplish in this world. So much hope and expectations that we wake up with every day to change the world or to make an impact. We have expectations that push and drive us to see new ways to live our lives in hopes of seeing transformation in the world. How the day begins and it ends is definitely two very different scenarios. I know that I have watched people really popping in the morning that looks as if they have gone through a battlefield by the end of the day. I have also seen the opposite. I have seen people who have regretted the fact that the day is starting, but at the end of the day it completely blows their mind how events unfolded. It all comes back to attitude and expectations. What do we truly believe will happen and how does our daily lives truly unfold. With me, I really wish that I could say that I am able to separate each day and that when my feet hit the floor the old is gone and the new day arrives. But just like you I am human and just like you I experience the true reality of the mental battle of expectations versus reality. It is not something that is easy to step into, but it does provide for all of us a new opportunity to learn and grow.... even if it is not in the way we were expecting.

In saying all of that, I really love seeing people do the expectations vs reality challenges. Whether it is with food that they have seen on Pinterest that they want to immolate and it goes drastically wrong, or the images that they create when they think they can imitate a fashion style or look from a favorite celebrity. As I have heard many times, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Yes, that does not mean that we are going to get it right all or any of the

time, but that should never stop us from trying and hoping to move forward. As we mentioned yesterday, each day is an opportunity for self-reflection and allows us a chance to fully see our personal fortitude, but it also does bring about a sense of reality. We are capable sometimes of getting into this zone where we truly miss the whole point of the journey that we are on. We have these expectations that everything is going to be prim and proper and perfect once we become a Christian. We believe that everything is going to go our way because Jesus loves us a little more than the other person that we just passed on the street. We create these false realities that we are better than someone else because of our lifestyles and situations. The reality is that God loves us all. The reality is that God loves the saint and the sinner. The reality is that God hates sin and desires for us to have a better response to people in this world than trying to position ourselves on a rung of a ladder in competition to find our place in heaven. Our expectations versus God's realities are very different and I am thankful that I have learned that valuable lesson at an early age so that I could get out of the cycle of Christian expectations versus God's reality.

We see this so clearly with Isaiah's words today. There is a direct command that we are to seek the Lord while He is found. Seek God while He is near. I know that the expectation begins by us having this understanding that we are capable of doing everything for ourselves and only seek God when we are in desperate need. That is the picture of expectations versus reality that God sees every day. We want to be like God and be in control of every situation, but the reality is that God is ALWAYS in control and is wanting us to live out His daily expectations for growing His kingdom on earth. We see it even more clearly when Isaiah states that, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord". We have placed these high expectations on the fact that we can understand God and the way that God would handle every situation, and that is truly where we get ourselves into trouble the most. We are NOT God but followers of God. We have been given an opportunity ,through grace and humility, to experience His direction and not to add or change it in any way to fit our expectations. The Church has struggled in this area as well in our interpretations and expectations of how the Bible should be read. Do you think that God wanted so many different denominations? I mean, YES it does offer opportunities for the Gospel to be spread around the world, but I fully believe that His expectation was that we would be together and unified as one body. The reality is that we took the one body and made it many parts and in the end God's plan still comes to fruition, but why do we have to make it so difficult for ourselves and not just follow God's plan?

Closing today, I just wanted to give you encouragement to know that we have ALL fallen short of the glory of God. We all have dreams of grandeur and expectations that allow us to see the greatest scenario possible where we can save the world. The reality sets in when we recognize that we have to be willing to me malleable and allow God to reveal how we can be a part of the greater plan that He has prepared for us in advance. We must be willing to continue to shoot for the heavens and realize that the only way we will reach perfection is

through Christ. I know that for all of us that may be a tough pill to swallow, but that is the reality of God's call in our lives and for the world. In the end we are not to receive the glory, but to give all of the glory to God. In the end we are all able to receive the same sacrifice of God's love, grace and mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ. The question is how much longer will it take for us to realize that we cannot save ourselves, but it was Christ who gave the ultimate sacrifice. I still do wake up each day with the Hope of God's glory in my heart. I may feel the physical hurt or pain from living a long life. I may wake up each day with spiritual battles ready to steal God's joy. But regardless of what my expectations may be for each day, I live in the reality that God has called me and uses me to change the world in the name of Jesus. I am not my own. I am not perfect, but I have been called to make disciples and help change the world one day at a time. My expectation is found in the perfection of Christ, and my reality of eternity is clear because of His sacrifice.

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