Summary: The life of a Christian is a life lived by faith, and living by faith is,in everything, expecting God.
Good afternoon, I hope you all had a wonderful day on Friday and that you had a nice time celebrating the birth of our Saviour with your family. Another Christmas has passed and another year is coming to an end. And normally at this time of the year people tend to sit back and reflect upon the year just gone, evaluate it and see if it measured up to their expectations this time the year before. We check our 'lists' to see if we accomplished all the goals we set ourselves and look at our lives to see if we've changed, if we've developed, to see if we've progressed as people.
Not only is it a time to reflect but a time to project, a time to plan for the future. Now is the time to set goals and make lists, to set the bar as it were. It's an exciting time! Next week isn't just a new week; it's the start of a whole new year, a new beginning! If we want to change something in our lives, this is the starting point!! Throughout the year we say 'I'll go on a diet...tomorrow'; 'I'll start drinking less coffee...tomorrow'; 'I'll do everything...tomorrow' but tomorrow never comes!! But next week is more than just another tomorrow, it's another year!! Everything changes then!! People even write lists! 'Things to do in 2010- stop smoking; go to the gym 4 times a week, every week; cut out caffeine; work harder; play about less; learn to play a musical instrument; learn a new language; visit my parents more often; visit at least 1 foreign country; do something I've never done before; help those who are worse off than myself; give more to charity; be nicer to people etc.
But this year's a little different. Not only is it the end of another year but it's the end of a decade, the end of 10 years. Come Friday and we'll be starting a new one! And now when people reflect it not just for 1 year but for the last 10. And while we reflect for the last 10 years we also look ahead to the next 10 years and dream about where we'll be and what we would have accomplished by then.
I don't know how your year began nor do I know how it finished. I don't know if you met all your targets or if you failed miserably. I don't know if the year turned out the way you expected or if it all went a bit pear shaped. I don't know if you're looking forward to a New Year and a new decade or if you're dreading what is going to happen. I don't know what targets and goals, if any, you are going to set yourself or what you are expecting- but whether you year ended on a high or on a low, if you're setting high goals or none at all, if you expect good things or bad, as we leave this year and start a new one, in everything expect God!
Before we go any further I just want to make clear that I'm talking to the people who have set their eyes on Christ. I'm talking to the people who have purposed in their hearts to seek God and all His glory. I'm talking to the people who have started or are on the verge of beginning their journey down the road to maturity in Christ. Because it is you people who are led by the Spirit and not by the flesh. It is you people the Bible says are '...children of God'. It is you who are the just, the righteous and the Word of God tells us that '...the just shall live by faith' and living by faith means expecting God!
Abraham was just an ordinary man. There was nothing more special about him than any of the other men around him. There was nothing more special about Abraham than you and me. He had a father and he had brothers. He had a wife and sister-in-laws. We are told he was born into an idolatrous family (Joshua 24:2) so I don't know how much he knew of God or His faithfulness and power if he had any knowledge at all, he certainly wasn't a man of faith.
But a day came when God called out to him and said '"Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." ' and Abraham did! And he went expecting God! He didn't know where he was going, how he was going to get there, why he was going there or what he was going to do, but he packed up his things, gathered his family together and off he went, not knowing but expecting God!