Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Receiving Above and Beyond Our Expectations


Whenever we look to another person for something, what we get could be exactly what we asked for, less than we expected, or more than we ever dreamed. 

The book of Acts tells us about a crippled beggar who used to beg at the temple gate, called the Beautiful Gate. People who passed by usually gave him something. On one occasion, after Pentecost, Peter and John encountered this beggar on their way to the temple. As was his routine, the beggar asked them for some money. In response to their instruction to look at them, he looked up, expecting some money, but was in for a big surprise. Peter said to him, “I don’t have silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk.”  (Acts 3:6 NLT). Peter took him by the hand and helped him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were strengthened! He jumped up and began to walk.

The beggar unexpectedly got something he needed and wanted, but did not dare ask for or expect. After all, he had been crippled from birth and no one had been able to help him. At that age, he probably was not expecting any drastic changes in his physical condition. However, it happened; he was healed! He received far more than he had hoped for, or ever dreamed possible. He was so elated for that unexpected gift of healing, that he accompanied them into the temple: walking, jumping, and praising God.

In the same way, God gives us more than we ask for or dream we’ll ever get from Him. Let’s start with His intentions for us: “I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster; to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT). Knowing that His intentions for us are for our welfare, we can come to Him with confidence, a confidence dependent on the relationship (Father/child) we have with Him. He has redeemed us to Himself through the blood of His one and only Son, Jesus, and subsequently calls us His children. As His children, He gives us good gifts (see Matthew 7:11), and promises, “I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” (Isaiah 66:24 NLT) This is above and beyond all that we can ever hope for, because God owes us nothing!

Since God provides for us above and beyond what we can hope for, our response should be that of gratitude and love toward Him in all things and at all times. But how do we express love for God? The Bible puts it this way: “Loving God means keeping his commandments” (1 John 5:3 NLT). Let’s make obedience to the Word of God our highest priority at all times!  

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