Recently I was out shopping and came across a display of decorative mantle books. As I stopped to browse through the selections, one title was highlighted to me. The book was "Great Expectations", a novel by Charles Dickens. When I saw the title, "Great Expectations", it was as if the Lord smiled and said, "Take note of this, for this is how you are to set your heart for this season".
As I have sought the Lord for His heart on this, He has spoken several things to me about cultivating expectancy in our hearts for this season and all He wants to do. Here are some things I am hearing Him say:
1. Allow yourself to dream or imagine the thing that you are expecting. When our hearts are healthy and free we are able to dream and thus allow God to use our imagination to partner with Him to see His will accomplished in our lives. God is bringing freedom to many hearts that have been in captivity and unable to dream. They will be like those in Ps. 126:1-2, "When the LORD brought back the captive ones of Zion, We were like those who dream. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy."
I declare over you that it is a new season and a new day to begin dreaming with God. The Holy Spirit is releasing a grace to step into the "River of Possibilities" with Him.
2. Make preparation, "by faith" that the thing you are expecting will become a reality. When you get the report from a doctor that you are "expecting" a baby you make preparations like preparing a nursery, buying diapers, and taking childbirth classes. God is saying, "Prepare the way! Make preparation for My coming!"
The widow in 2 Kings 4 was told to gather jars to collect the oil that Elisha prophesied would flow. Because she expected that the oil would indeed flow as the prophet had said, she and her sons gathered all the jars she could find. We know that the oil stopped when there were no more jars to fill. The jars represented her expectation. The supernatural flow of oil would most likely have continued had there been more jars to fill. In this hour, God is encouraging His people in a big way to EXPECT BIG, DREAM BIG, THINK BIG! He is encouraging us to find MORE jars and BIGGER jars. He will often come in proportion to our expectation. It's a time to enlarge the tent of our expectations and lengthen the cords of our thinking.
3. Burn the bridges of your lesser expectations. Many times we are unable to fully see all that God is asking us to step into when we believe He has spoken His promises to us. It takes courage and faith to step forward into the unknown, and sometimes it is tempting to keep a plan B in the background, just in case our expectations are unmet. But, a "plan B" or lesser expectation can chain you to the past and actually keep you from fully engaging with the new thing that God is wanting to do in your life.
When Elisha had been mantled with Elijah's cloak, he was plowing the land where he lived with his parents. He initially left to follow Elijah, but then asked to go back to say goodbye to his father and mother. Elisha was feeling the tension and pull between his old season and his new season. But, he went back and then slaughtered the yoke of oxen and burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat. Elisha's act is a picture of an altar and burnt offering to the Lord. I believe this is the place where Elisha fully surrendered to the new season and new call on his life. He burned the bridges of his past so he could fully step into the new.
Many of you will feel led to build an altar in your heart to the Lord. This will be your place of sacrificing your "lesser expectations" to Him, and purposing to believe Him fully to be faithful to lead you into this new season of "GREAT EXPECTATIONS".
4. Keep your eyes on the Promiser. We often hear that we are to keep our eyes on the promise that God has given us. This is a good thing to do, but, an even better thing is to keep our eyes on the Promiser, our Father.
Elisha had an expectation that he would receive a double portion of Elijah's spirit. He closely followed Elijah around every where that he went. Elisha's tenacity to pursue was tested three times when Elijah told him to stay put while he went to Bethel, Jericho, and then the Jordan. But, each time Elisha persisted "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." (2 Kings 2:4) Then when Elisha tells Elijah of his desire to inherit a double portion of his spirit, Elijah counsels him, "...yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours--otherwise, it will not." (2 Kings 2:10) Elisha was to keep his eyes on His promiser, Elijah, and in doing so he was present when Elijah was taken up to Heaven in a whirlwind.
This has been a time of much distraction and confusion as so much is in transition around us. There have been many things that would seek to obstruct our focus. With the same tenacity that Elisha stayed with Elijah, it is a strategic time to lock eyes with our Father, the Promiser and refuse to let Him out of our sight. He has so much in store for each one of His children and is encouraging us to keep our eyes on Him and believe Him for more in this season.
5. Repent of orphan thinking. The enemy's plan is to cut off the children of God from their inheritance. But, Holy Spirit is exposing the lies of orphan thinking that have permeated the thinking of many and releasing revelatory truth from Heaven. He is preparing His Bride to step into His original intent for Her that was in His heart from the very beginning. As the lies are exposed, the boundary lines of our thinking will be enlarged to greater and greater capacity. We will be able to step more fully into our place as Co-heirs and Co-laborers with Him. As we embrace our place, seated with Him in Heavenly places, our perspective will enlarge to think and dream differently with Him.
The Holy Spirit is blowing right now on the hearts and minds of His children, causing us to release the shackles of orphan thinking. He is arresting hearts and causing us to embrace His Holy desire that we would come to Him with awakened hearts full of GREAT EXPECTATION.
"Never doubt God's mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you."