Saturday already again! Since I am currently hanging out in the sunny south, I will enjoy the 70 degree weather and maybe make a trip to the beach. What does our day look like? Do you have expectations for what you might accomplish on the weekend? Maybe it’s your day off and you have a long list of to-do’s.

No matter what your day brings you, I pray that it might be filled with joy. Enjoy whatever comes your way knowing that very little of what we do is eternal. Hug your kids. Kiss your grandchildren. Have coffee with a friend. Go to the beach. Or for the northern folks, light a fire….roast a marshmallow in the house.

Reading: Psalm 117

Tomorrow we get to worship with other believers. What can you do today to prepare for this wonderful opportunity?

Reading: Psalm 62:5-8

This is the last day we will read this psalm but there is one more really important principle I want to draw from these verses.

In verse 5, I find these words: “for my hope is in him.” 

The same concept is repeated in verse 6 with these words: “He ALONE is my rock and my salvation.”

Again in verse 7 it says, “My victory and honor come from God ALONE.”

And finally in verse 8 it says, “trust in him at all times.”

Here is what I want you to take away from this passage today….as long as we put our trust in humanity to satisfy our longings and meet our needs, we will be disappointed. When we put our hope in God and his love for us we will NEVER be disappointed. I know. Never is a big word and it means never. But I believe it.

Other people will not able to meet our longings, fulfill our expectations or anticipate our needs. But our Creator, the God of heaven and earth can do just that.

Oh wait! I hear that rumbling. God has already disappointed you. He didn’t fulfill your expectations. Life has brought trouble and God didn’t come through for you in the way you expected. I have experienced and thought those very same things! Check out my blog post “When Life Gets Real.” for more on this topic. But I stand by what I said. God will always come through for you.

Today take a step back and ask, “where am I putting my trust?” Is it in God? In humanity? In yourself?

Put your hope in him for he alone is your help and salvation; your victory and honor come from him alone. So put your trust in him at all times!

Blessings on your Friday. And, oh yeah, it’s my birthday!

Reading: Psalm 62:5-8

I know. I know. This is the same reading as yesterday. Maybe you decided not to read it today for that reason. I encourage you to stop and read it again. Because there’s a chance you are like me and you didn’t read every word. Take another pass through it and see what stands out to you this time.

I want to focus on verse 8. Here it says, “Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.”

When disappointment from unmet expectations rolls through your body, stop and tell God about it. Pour out your heart to him, and then listen for his encouraging voice as he redirects your thinking and surrounds you with his compassion and strength.

I also find it completely necessary and so helpful, to talk with those close to me. Admitting that I had expectations has been a game changer for me. Just saying the words helps me to realign my thinking and get back on track.

The expectations aren’t wrong. Perhaps they are just ill-timed. But getting it into the open is an important step for me. If you aren’t in a situation where sharing with the people involved is an option, you can still pour your heart out to God. He will hear and understand. Because his understanding has no limit. (Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40: 28)

Don’t let unmet expectations derail you or discourage you. Acknowledge their presence. Talk to God and others about them. Realign and continue moving.

Blessings on your day! May it be filled with joy and purpose without end.

Reading: Psalm 62:5-8

What does this psalm teach you about expectations, translated here hope? The first phrase that jumps out at me is “Let all that I am WAIT QUIETLY before God.”

When chaos swirls in my head, I need to sit quietly with the Lord. I ask him what is causing the chaos and wait to see what he shows me. Often, I see unmet expectations I didn’t even know were there.

When I desire, or expect, a certain outcome from an event, I set myself up for disappointment if it isn’t grounded in reality. Often my expectations involve the response of other people and that is something I just can’t realistically predict or control. The event might be a family dinner, an outing with friends or the order of my day. When the wished for outcome does not happen, my mind fills with chaos. If left unchecked, it drowns me in disappointment.

What is disappointing you today? Was your initial desire based in reality? Did something pop up in the day to derail your good plan? Take it to God and wait quietly before him. Ask him to help you see things from his perspective. It’s so safe because he loves you so deeply and there is no judgment attached to his love for you.

A few years ago – okay, so it was about 15 – I had a birthday party for myself. My husband was out of town and I invited a few of my closest friends for dinner and a sleep over. Not everyone was staying the night, but I planned where everyone would sleep and shared those plans early in the evening.

Guests arrived and dinner was served. I found myself doing the serving and shuffling food from here to there. And a cloud of disappointment began to appear on the horizon. This is my birthday party. Why don’t they help?

Clean up progressed, with me doing most of the work – after all, I was the hostess. The disappointment grew tinged with hurt. We watched a movie, played some games and then I was ready for bed. I had to be up early for my daughter’s music competition so I needed to get some sleep – I thought.

I crawled into bed and the ladies joined me so we could talk. I tried my best to go to sleep, but was unsuccessful. Disappointment and hurt grew with annoyance appearing around the edges…

So, I moved to a different bed and the ladies dispersed downstairs. Noisily, I might add. Still unable to sleep, I returned to my own bed and attempted to block out the laughter, chatter and noise. (They really were having the best time!) Sleep eluded me and the cloud of disappointment morphed into a storm of annoyance, About 4 a.m. everyone decided to quiet down for a few hours of sleep.

My alarm went off as I had planned and I confess, I was not a happy hostess when I got up. Frustrated, and quite honestly, annoyed with my friends for disregarding my birthday celebration and upsetting my basket. I was ready for them to go so I could lick my wounds.

You might wonder why my friends would be so uncaring and thoughtless, disregarding my birthday to have their own girls’ night sleepover. Well, it wasn’t them. It was me.

You see, I HADN’T TOLD ANYONE THIS WAS MY BIRTHDAY PARTY! I know, that sounds pretty dumb. But that is how expectations are sometimes. We set them up in our head, without letting anyone else know. Then we are disappointed when others don’t cooperate and our expectations don’t come to fruition.

I didn’t plan to have a birthday party for myself when I invited my friends. It just sort of happened. And before I knew it, I was looking forward to sharing my special day with these special women. And I anticipated being the guest of honor – celebrated and pampered.

I also hadn’t told my friends about my Saturday plans. I was sure I had conveyed the expectation they would sleep a full night – after all, I told them where they would sleep, but they didn’t get it. And I didn’t flex well.

I am going to guess that this same thing has happened in your life. Perhaps it centered around the holiday we just came through or maybe a birthday that slipped by unnoticed.

I don’t think we can completely avoid disappointment when expectations aren’t met. Sometimes we don’t realize they are there until the disappointment is curling around our hearts. Then comes the chaos, frustration, annoyance, lashing out, withdrawal, hurting and being hurt.

Yesterday when my heart turned into a chaotic mess, I had to stop and acknowledge the expectations. I noticed they were based in what I hoped would happen, not anything that was a guarantee. And when what we hope for involves others, disappointment often follows.

Expectation in scripture (often translated hope) is very different. The word itself is deeper and richer than our word and is settled in God. When we have expectations for the future and that expectation is in God, it is a guarantee. There will be no disappointment when our hope is in God and his promises. They are sure!

David says it well in Psalm 62.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.

Psalm 62:5-8

I invite you to read the whole psalm today. What does it say to you about your hope? In the next couple of days, I will share what I see in this psalm, but for today, take your disappointments to Him. Talk to him about your hopes and dreams. Let him settle them in reality.

Until next time…

May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

This is my birthday week. Fifty some years ago my mom waited in expectation of a sixth child. She already had five children ages 7-10 and a one year old. She anticipated I would be a good playmate for my brother. Only time would tell if that expectation became a reality.

Expectations are funny things. What happens when expectations aren’t met? Does disappointment set in? Can we adjust? How can we be realistic when we set expectations? Do we really set them or do they develop on their own?

The Bible has a lot to say about expectations and often refers to it is hope (sometimes as longing or thirst). What do these scriptures teach you about setting expectations?

Reading: Psalm 42:1-2; Proverbs 10:28; Isaiah 64:3-4; 1 Peter 1:3-4

When I woke up today, my internal chaos meter was off the charts. As I drove to my Barre3 workout, I sorted through the swirling thoughts and I identified expectations – my expectations that were not met, my husband’s expectations that were in danger of being crushed, and expectations I perceived others held for me today. All these whirled around inside my head (and heart) creating chaos. As I submitted my chaotic thoughts to the Father, he led me to a quiet and peaceful place. It involved adjusting expectations, honest conversation and a few compromises. But once again, I am in a place of quiet trust.

May your day be filled with the knowledge of God’s presence in spite of any chaos you may be experiencing today. May your hope be set on Him!

Be still, and know that I am God!

Psalm 46:10

He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

Psalm 107:29-30

Sunday! I have an additional reading for today. I am so challenged by David’s awareness of the effect of sin in his life and the key to living with pure hearts – God desires a broken and repentant heart. I wish for you a meaningful time of worshiping with other believers where you can find community and family.

Reading: Psalm 51

Photo by Chad Kirchoff on Pexels.com

Can you believe it is Saturday already! Where does the time go?

The reading for today is almost too important to put on Saturday, but here I go.

There are times – well, too many times – when thoughts morph into temptations and temptations grow into sin and consequences soon follow. It might be broken relationships, financial losses, internal torment. What happens now?

Earlier we talked about the importance of confession and repentance. And that’s just what needs to happen when sin overtakes us.

Read: Psalm 32

I know the reading is a bit lengthy today, but it is an amazing and magical psalm. David writes so clearly about the internal torment of unconfessed sin and the joy and lightheartedness of forgiveness and restoration in relationship. There is so much hope in this psalm.

My encouragement today is to take your thoughts, temptations and sin to Jesus at the cross. He understands completely and is ready to talk about all that is going on in your life.

May your weekend be blessed beyond your wildest hopes!

The battle begins in the mind.

Have you heard that before? Does it seem simplistic? Can we think ourselves into a better place?

Read: Romans 13:14; Philippians 4:8-9; Colossians 3:1-2

It seems like, according to these scriptures, the battle not only begins in the mind, it ends in the mind. When we think about ways to indulge in sin, we will sin. When we think things that are true, lovely, pure and worthy of praise, we will be people who are true, lovely, pure and worthy of praise.

That seems pretty simple, but many times it feels quite difficult. Last week I struggled getting on top of my thoughts. I kept imagining the worst all the while slipping deeper into a pit. I reached out to friends for prayer and one of the women immediately challenged me to change my thinking.

Is there anything running through your mind that needs to change? Is there someone you can share it with because we are better together!

Read: John 3:16-21; Proverbs 20:9; Proverbs 28:13

You are in good company today. Why? Because we have all sinned. We have all missed the mark. There is not a single person who has managed to live perfectly. Not even that person you kind of hate because they seem so put together. Everything is always just right, smile in place, perfect children, great hair, tidy house.

Behind all of that is a human being who has failed just like the rest of us. They just haven’t admitted it yet.

So what do we do when we fail? A few weeks ago, I held a woman as she sobbed because she had failed. Her failure meant job loss and tarnished reputation. She was devastated.

But at the cross everything is made new. I’m not making that up. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The old life is gone and a new life has begun. I don’t know how he does it, but he makes all things new.

What is required of me? Confession, repentance, receiving.

Confession simply means to say the same things Jesus already knows. It is agreeing with him.

Repentance is turning 180 degrees and going the other way. It isn’t feeling bad we were caught. It is sorrow for what we have done and who we have hurt.

Receiving is accepting forgiveness and the new life he promises. There is no limit on his grace, no cap on what we can receive.

Pause for a few minutes. Is there anything you haven’t talked to God about because it felt like too much? Or maybe it seemed to small? Talk to him about it now.

Remember…we are better together!