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Summary: A discussion of expectations for the New Year

WHAT ARE YOU “LOOKING FOR”?

SCRIPTURE: Titus 2:13 “Looking for (4327 wait for) that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;”

Hebrews 10:26 “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for (1561 from expectation) of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking (872 to consider attentively) unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

II Peter 3:12 “Looking for (4328 to anticipate in thought, hope or fear) and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”

Jude 1:21 “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for (4327 wait for) the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

INTRODUCTION:

Behavioral scientists have discovered that we usually see things that we are prepared to see, & that this is all centered in a network of nerve cells called the "Reticular Activating System." And everybody here today has a "Reticular Activating System." Did you know that?

The Reticular Activating System works like this. Once something has been brought to our attention & we have been prepared to see it, we'll see it virtually everywhere we go.

For example, if you decide to buy a new car & you make up your mind that you are going to buy a certain brand, a certain body style, & a certain color, all of a sudden you'll see those cars everywhere. You'll see them on the roads, in TV advertisements, in newspapers & magazines. They're everywhere.

(Sometimes we may think this is an indication of the will of God. Beware!)

Now what has happened? They were always there, but the moment you were prepared to see them, your Reticular Activating System kicked in, & suddenly you saw them everywhere.

It happens in other areas of life, too. We see what we are prepared to see. If we are prepared to see doom & gloom in 2003, that's what we'll see. If, on the other hand, we have prepared ourselves to see sunshine & opportunities, then that is what we are going to see. Melvin Newland

Are you looking for clouds or sunshine? Are you looking for failure or faith? Are you looking for despair or hope? Are you looking for cruelty or mercy? Are you looking for judgment or Jesus?

Many people never succeed in life because they believe they can’t change. They never enjoy life because life to them is just one big failure after another. They face a new year with regret rather than the joy of knowing that God has given them the opportunity to make a difference in their own lives with the help of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jim Mooney

I. ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A CHANGE?

Someone said insanity is doing the same thing over and over and each time expecting a different outcome. Will you continue doing the same unproductive things this year that you did last year? (Vicious Cycles?)

A. Change Your Attitude

1. What are you saying?

I often hear people say things like, "Why, I can't do that." Or, "That's just too hard." Others say, "I know I'm hard to get along with, but that's just the way I am. Lord knows, I've tried, but I can't seem to change." Melvin Newland

Stop saying, "I can’t" and start saying, "I can". The person that believes that they can change with the help of God will change. Jim Mooney

2. What does the Bible say?

The Bible says that when God's Holy Spirit comes to live in our lives He can bring about dramatic & drastic changes, if we will let Him. Melvin Newland

Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his

good pleasure.”

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

That means there’s nothing I’m going to hit in the next 365 days, no problem, no situation, no circumstance, no hassle that I can’t handle, that I can’t manage, that I’m not competent to handle with the help and strength God gives me. Jim Mooney

John 5:30 “I can of mine own self do nothing (Subjection to, and dependence upon, God the Father): as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”

II Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the

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