You did not believe me

How in the world could the Lord possible say to Moses that he (Moses) did not believe Him (the Lord) in Numbers 20:12 (NKJV)? For 40 years Moses led the Lord’s people through the wilderness toward the promised land; for 40 years Moses taught the people the Lord’s way; for 40 years Moses prayed and sought guidance from the Lord—how could the Lord say that?

That Moses did believe and trust in the Lord is obvious to any reader of Scripture, but it must have been the case that in Moses’ frustration with the rebellious people of Israel, in his weakness, he exhibited a degree of rebellion (unbelief) himself. It has been suggested elsewhere that Moses was unsatisfied with the Lord’s remedy of the situation, and he expressed it in his actions before the people.

Whether this is the case or not, one thing that can be learned is this: to him whom much is given much is expected. Moses was given much, very much. The Lord expected better of him, and Moses failed Him on this occasion. How much have you been given?

#expectations, #frustration, #moses, #responsibility, #unbelief

Patience

Patience is a part of the fruit of the Spirit. Patience is also a two-edged sword…or at least a two-way street. There’s patience that we need to show to others, but then there’s the patience we need to have with our self.

There’s nothing wrong with having expectations. In a roundabout way there’s almost everything right with having them. The danger comes from having expectations that go above and beyond what’s reasonable.

I don’t expect my daughter to know how to do math right now – she still has to get a grasp on saying her numbers. For me to expect anything else would be ridiculous. She needs time. She needs to be taught. She needs patience and so do I! Is it a contradiction to put a “!” next to the word patience?

Along those same lines we need to be patient with those whose knowledge about Jesus isn’t as great as our own. We should encourage others to study, we should encourage others to look to Jesus for their example and we should be ready to help if needed, but we must remember that at the beginning people need to learn to take “baby steps” as they learn about the gospel.

At the same time we need to remember to have patience with our self. I know we’re not promised tomorrow, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s true that there is huge peril in not progressing, but there can also be huge peril in being too hard on one’s self. Patience is not an excuse for sin, but there is no sin in having or showing patience. In many ways patience shows maturity for maturity owns up but does not quit.

The Bible is too clear to miss the importance of spiritual expectations, but the Bible is also just as clear when it comes to the importance of spiritual patience. Patience is a virtue that carries a lot of “wait” but patience is what God shows us so we can show it towards others.

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

PS: In a ironic turn of events, for some reason the title of “Patience” won’t post at the top of this article – even after I tried five times.

#christian-maturity, #christianity, #expectations, #fruit-of-the-spirit, #patience, #spiritual-growth

The elephant in the gospel meeting

The elephant in the room must be introduced: gospel meetings are not what they once were. What’s different? Some of the more common observations are: less participation by members, less attendance by visitors, and fewer apparent “responses” to the preaching.

A couple observations are in order. First, we should ask ourselves, “What is the purpose of the gospel meeting?” Is it part of our evangelism efforts? Is it an effort mainly to edify the church? Is it an effort to open our doors to the community? Is it to inform on a specific issue? Is some combination of these? Has the congregation been clearly informed and unified around that purpose?

Second, we should be more concerned about facing reality than just dreaming about the ideal. The realities are symptoms of something, but what? If attendance is lower, then why? If less visitors attend, then why? If fewer responses, why? Do these things need fixed? If so, how? What will we do so that we can achieve, or even exceed, our expectations of the meeting?

If we want our gospel meetings to be successful, we are going to have to speak of expectations and define success. Surely as we aim at nothing, that’s precisely what we’ll hit. But if we establish goals and strive together to meet them, the numbers will mean far less. We’ll know that we’ve done our part in God’s work, and will remain confident that He’s doing his (cf. 1 Cor. 3:6).

People will usually live up to the realistic expectations set for them. If nothing’s expected, can we complain when we get it?

Rick Kelley, Prestonsburg KY church bulletin

#evangelism, #expectations, #gospel-meetings

Recognize Your Limitations

Expectations and what our bodies will allow are frequently in conflict.

Someone expects us to get a certain level of work done and we are fearful that we cannot meet that goal. As a result, our fight or flight response elevates our blood pressure and our bodies experience great stress. In time, they begin to break down from the overload of chemicals in our bodies.

These expectations can be deadly if we do not manage them properly. We do that through exercise, breathing techniques, quiet time and connecting with God in prayer and Bible study. We rise above the stressors and find calm through Christ (Psalm 37:14; Psalm 46:10).

We must realize our limitations. We can only do what we can do. For those who suffer from health problems, this is even more pronounced. We constantly feel guilty if we are not able to do as much as we need to do. Yet, we cannot help our families or our Lord if we can’t function at all.

We must learn to pace ourselves and place ourselves in God’s hands (Matthew 11:28-30). Being honest with ourselves and with those around us is a scary proposition. We don’t want to disappoint others. Nevertheless, doing the best you can with 60% is better than falling far short of 100 %

We work smarter, not harder and within the limitations of our bodies. This requires great trust in God (Hebrews 11:6). We must also realize that fallible humans are not as understanding as our infallible God.

However, we only need to be concerned with what we can control, as frightening as that sounds. This requires a lot of faith!

Finally, those who depend on us may have to change their expectations and allow us to reorient ourselves to our new reality.

Health problems are what they are and they create new parameters that we must live within or face perpetual frustrations and failures. The choice seems clear.

Trust yourself and be hones with what you can do. However, we must be courageous not to sell ourselves short. Pushing towards our limits builds character. Yet, we cannot become carried away.

Be wise in everything.

#disability, #expectations, #work

The Pygmalion Effect

While attending Illinois State University and pursuing a degree in Mathematics Education, I was required to take several courses on curriculum and instruction. During one of the lectures, my professor referred to the Pygmalion effect.

This effect, named after the ancient myth of Pygmalion and his statue, can be summarized quite simply as follows: People tend to behave as you expect they will.

In 1968, two psychologists published a book entitled Pygmalion in the Classroom. This book revealed data from experiments where teachers were told that certain students showed unusual potential for intellectual growth. The names of the students were given to their teachers, though in reality, the students were of average intelligence. However, by the end of the school year, the chosen children showed significantly greater gains in IQ than the other children of average ability. Why did the randomly chosen children have significantly greater intellectual gains? The only reasonable conclusion is that the teachers, believing that these students were capable of greatness, in some way treated them differently. These teachers may have given more attention to or challenged these students to a higher level than students they believed to be average. The bottom line is that what each teacher believed about his students affected his expectations for each of them. The ones of whom great things were expected seemed to rise to the occasion.

Our professor discussed the Pygmalion effect with our class because he wanted us, soon-to-be teachers, to realize the power of our expectations to affect our students’ lives.

My purpose in discussing the Pygmalion effect today is to emphasize a simple, yet important, spiritual truth: People typically live up (or down) to our expectations of them. Admittedly, this is not an absolute truth, but we can see it true in other places besides a secular classroom.

This principle is seen in the home. If we expect great things of our children, we will more than likely encourage them continually and work to instill the necessary confidence and skills for them to be successful. If we don’t expect much of our children, we won’t do what we can to help them excel or challenge them to reach their potential–and most of them won’t. Our expectations of others can have a powerful influence for good or bad.

This principle applies even in the church. Teachers, what kind of expectations do you have for your Bible class students? Do you expect them to grow spiritually in your class? Do you communicate your expectations to them? Do you challenge them both in and out of the classroom? Or, do you think they’ll never amount to much as students of the word, and they’ll always be spiritually immature? There is a good chance they’ll prove you right, either way. And, whether you realize it or not, your expectations will affect your actions toward them for better or worse.

Our Lord once said – “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). It is true that Jesus spoke these words in the context of performing a miracle–specifically an exorcism. It is also true that men and women are no longer performing miracles today. Nevertheless, the principle is still true. If we genuinely believe, anything is possible via the power of God.

Friends, do you believe in others? What kind of expectations do you have for your children? What kind of expectations do you have for your students in Bible class? What kind of expectations do you have for yourself? Expectations matter–so set yours accordingly.

#expectations, #pygmalion-effect

Our binding religion

I have noticed that some have a binding capacity (component) to their religious faith. It goes something like this: Some have expectations that are as binding as God’s commands. We are so easily offended that we demand of others that they walk on eggs around us. God pity the foolish one who cracks, much less breaks, one of those multitudes of eggs! It is our expectation that another should know exactly (or nearly so) what it is that I think and in this knowledge they are to have (that I EXPECT them to have), they are to tread lightly around my sensitivities.

To complicate the handling of this binding religious dogma, the one who offends me in not knowing my sensitivities, these people are guilty. It does not matter that they opine that they do not know anything about having done me wrong, because they should know! They are SUPPOSED TO know and act accordingly.

Do you know anyone like this? Are you the one that someone would name when they are asked this question? It is very difficult to be around Christians like this; in fact, many do not.

Perhaps you have an idea about handling a person like this?

#expectations, #sensitivities

Deception in marrige, suffering and prayer etc.

From my blog post today:

Not a few young brides and husbands say of their disappointment in marriage that their mate “deceived” them. That’s possible, I suppose. More likely, however, there was a rush to the altar with no time to really know the other, or romantic blinders kept them from seeing the obvious, or they told themselves that they could change their mate after the vows. “All young women begin by believing they can change and reform the men they marry. They can’t,” said George Bernard Shaw.

Eight items, in all, right HERE.

#deception, #expectations, #marriage

Don’t wait for your “ship to come in”…

Don’t wait for your “ship to come in” and feel angry and cheated when it doesn’t. Get going with something small.

Irene Kassorla

#expectations