Waiting for the trophy.

 

220px-Trophées_des_Coupes_d'Algérie_1963_et_1964

Well, deer season in one state I hunt came and went. I saw some deer but didn’t shoot any as I kind of wanted one with big fancy antlers. Now I have no issue hunting for food and have in the past harvested does or smaller bucks. I like the taste of venison but am also at a place that I don’t HAVE to have it so if I don’t get a deer I really don’t worry about it. I enjoy just getting out in the woods so enjoy the time in nature. I hunt with an army buddy with whom I stood side by side during some pretty terrifying moments. We, and others we were deployed with, watched out for, took care of, one another. We had trucks blown out from under us and have been in multiple gun fights together. He is more a brother to me than any of my own kin. We talk some, about families, jobs, plans for future and such. Rarely about Iraq and if conversation goes there it’s never about the battles but about stupid situations that were funny.  And, just being able to spend time together doing something is good. We talk about church, his and mine, and how God did more for us than we deserve.

But, I digress yet again. While we were hunting, we texted checking to see if the other was seeing any deer. I saw several, mostly does, but he saw none. Now, he was hunting for meat and would have taken one while I was, as I mentioned, wanted some venison but also wanted a deer with nice antlers. I thought about others I had hunted with in the past who talked big talk about how they were going to bag a huge trophy buck and they would never shoot a doe. Yet as soon as they saw a deer, they shot it. While there is nothing at all wrong with that, they started complaining about using their deer tag on a doe. They got in a hurry and shot the first deer that came along. I remember one hunt, the guy had been scouting before season and there were some really large bucks in the area. He had one in particular he wanted to get. First day, he saw it, had it in his sights except the deer was inside the woods a little bit and he did not have a clear shot. He watched it as it moved around, but did not come out to where he could have a good shot. For 15 or 20 minutes he watched it, then another buck, much smaller, with very small antlers stepped out not too far away so he quickly took aim at got that one. Well, sometimes animals do strange things and as soon as he fired the other deer stepped into the open. I already had a deer but had hung out with him some. We go to the deer so he can clean it and all he did was complain, talked about how he made a mistake by not waiting for the one he really wanted. He could see it, but was not patient enough or willing to wait any longer, he was getting cold and decided rather than take a chance on not getting a deer at all he would take the easy way instead of trying harder to get the one he wanted. He had planned and worked hard to almost get what he wanted, but did not have the dedication to see it through. He seemed almost embarrassed about the one he got, knowing he had blown the chance, at least for that season. Would the chance come again the next season? I never found out as we never hunted together again after that year.

But, how many times do we all do that sort of thing? We plan, hope, dream of something, then after long effort stop short of obtaining what we want. I remember a couple people in my medical school class that had spent years getting into medical school; they studied hard in high school and college; they spent hours and hours preparing for the admission test; they applied to and were interviewed at multiple schools. Then, one towards the end of the second year dropped out. It wasn’t the grades, they were getting good grades, it wasn’t health or family issues, they just finally realized that it would be two more years before graduation and then 3 or more years of residency before they were a practicing physician and they didn’t want to wait that long, plus they had an offer for a job with a pharmaceutical company with good pay, not nearly what they would get as a physician, but better than average. They decided to go the easy route, forgetting all the effort they put into obtaining their dream. The other dropped out after the end of the third year. He didn’t like the long hours in hospitals and clinics, with the additional hours of studying afterwards. He had spent 10 years certain he knew what he wanted, he still said that was what he wanted, but he just did not want to put quite enough effort into fulfilling his dream. So, he found a job that he thought paid enough and quit.

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

 

24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.                                        1 Corinthians 9:24-27

People work hard, strive for something, dedicate hours, months or years to achieve something and when it is in sight but still not quite obtained, they give up, they take less than they not only want, but have almost obtained. Leaving themselves in a spot where they still have to, one way or another, pay for what they wanted but even though they had the opportunity to obtain their dream, their goal, get their trophy, they gave up on themselves and their dreams. It’s sad to see that happen, regardless of if it is a dream for their lives, trophy deer, maybe it’s something else, but when one dedicates time and effort to something, yet are not willing to see it through, it makes me think of how many times Christians turn their back on God because they are not patient, because they feel they have put all the effort into something for God that they can and are not willing to work harder or longer. Yet, they were, for all intents and purposes, steps away from the blessings God had in store for them. Maybe they don’t turn their backs on God, but instead of achieving all they could, for themselves and for God, they quit doing as much.

But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.   James 1:4

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.  James 5:11

I suppose to me it means that one should know what they want, and if they made a decision to work for it, they should stay the course. Oh, there may be extenuating circumstances, but tossing aside one goal for another, over and over, as the one guy did, saying he was after a trophy buck and would never settle for less, yet every time he would shoot the first deer that came along and later complain about it. When you set your goals, work hard to reach them and He will reward us. Just because one faces hardship at times, does not mean something can’t be done. Nothing that is of high value and precious is easy. A Christian walk is not always easy but it’s not difficult, it takes dedication, faith, sacrifice but oh, the rewards are valuable beyond anything.

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.   James 1:6

A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways.  James 1:8

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

1 Peter 4:12-13

 

God inspires us to strive for things to make ourselves better people, better providers for our families, better Christians and servants for Him. He doesn’t promise all things will be easy, but that if one loves God and remains dedicated that He will deliver. He tests our patience and dedication to achieving goals and to serving Him. He knows that if we give up on a challenging task because it will take more patience, more waiting, that we will give up on Christ in some manner.

 

Lord, I praise Your Holy Name and am amazed at how You teach me things, how You never forgot me regardless of how far I wandered from the path You had set for me. I thank You for seeing better in me and for drawing me back to You. I thank You for the struggles and hardships I have endured over the years that taught me patience, endurance and dedication. I ask in the name of Jesus that You continue to help me remain dedicated to things I feel lead of You to strive for and in my Christian walk. Help us all know the true prize that awaits us and to help us reach the fullness of Your will and grace. Show us all the walk You plan for us and how we must remain steadfast in our efforts and not decide to fall short and accept less than You plan for us. Remind us that the prize is worth the struggles and that eternity with You is reward far greater than we will ever see on earth. I pray that You work in hearts and minds of loved ones to draw them to You and help them seek the salvation You have ready for them.

Amen

 

Thank you all for the time you took to read my thoughts. I hope that things make sense to others and that He uses me to bless someone else. Remember, try to be a blessing to at least one other person today.

 

 

 

 

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Expectations

Well, the auction is over and the amount of money generated didn’t meet what I hoped or expected. Obviously, I am disappointed by that fact; that the amount of time, effort and money invested did not produce as much as it cost me. Oh, there were intangible returns on the investment of time and effort. I was able to live and relive some very happy times; remembering this or that event tied to various items. The memories sometimes so vivid that it was like living them all over. And, now that the house is empty, the items gone, I also realize that the memories will never be gone. They can’t be sold or hauled off. People may at times try to say or do things to denigrate the memories, saying the things I remember have been tempered with time and things were not that wonderful. Well, they can say what they will and maybe there is a certain sort of nostalgia that makes things look better in memory than they really were when living through them but that doesn’t matter. The events are, in my mind, as I remember them now. But, I digress, my apologies for that.

Back to the expectations: I really expected more of a return and thought I had realistic expectations but also hoped for even more than I expected. So, that being said, what is the difference between hope and expectation? Are they similar or a lot different from one another. Well, they are sort of the same, and sort of different.

From merriam-webster.com:

(there are other examples, but for this, the following are most appropriate)

Expect

a: to consider probable or certain
expect to be forgiven
expect that things will improve
b: to consider reasonable, due, or necessary
expected hard work from the students
c: to consider bound in duty or obligated
they expect you to pay your bills

 

Hope

(verb):  to cherish a desire with anticipation : to want something to happen or be true

(noun): desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment

 

So, to expect is to have some sort of fact, promise or obligation where a certain thing or event will occur while hope is the desire for that thing to happen. We all have expectations and hopes throughout our lives. We expect to have to work to make a living; we expect to be paid for our efforts at work; we expect the lights to come on when we flip a switch. We hope to find a job we like, we hope to get a raise, we hope that the bulb isn’t burned out or for some other reason the power is out. We expect our children to go to school and study hard, we hope they get good grades and do well, in school and in life.  We also expect that others will treat us the way we treat them, to be honest, to mean what they say and to honor their promises. Others expect the same from us. So, once a promise is made, we expect others to behave in a way that is consistent with the promises they made. Someone promises a certain action, or promises to not do something, yet they fail to do as promised or they do something that they promised they would never do. We should be able to expect honesty from others. Of course, they have the right to expect honesty from us as well. But, what about hoping? Well, we all hope that others will treat us the way they expect to be treated. Sadly, that is far less common than I once believed.

Now, when I have been disappointed by others who do not live up to my expectations based on their promises, is it because I had legitimate cause for the expectations or was it more that I was hoping that they do certain things? Well, it is probably a combination of both having expectations and hoping. But, as with many experiences with other humans, I find that they do disappoint me. Some is possibly unrealistic expectations or hopes, but other times it is because they fail to honor their commitments. That being said, such is the fraility of humans, we allow ourselves to put too much faith in the promises of others or in our own wishes and at times everyone gives others expectations to which they don’t live up. Thus, setting ourselves and others up for disappointment.

I, like others, don’t like facing certain facts about myself but, I know I have disappointed others: my parents, friends, family, coworkers, and the list goes on, but the truth is that they were disappointed by things I did, or did not do. I did things they did not anticipate or expect me to do other times I didn’t do things they expected of me.

However, there is someone who won’t disappoint anyone, EVER. I may at times disappointment God because of my actions, but He will always do what is best for me. Even if I don’t see it at the time. I have expectations of God. I expect him to be all that He has promised He would be for me and I expect Him to comfort me, forgive me, make me a better person. Of course, those things are conditional on my serving Him. The thing about God is that He will live up to the expections. I know He will, because He promises to do so. He is my hope (the noun type) and my salvation, my strength and comfort in difficult times. Now, this hope is actually an expectation that is anxiously anticipated because He promises to be all those things for me, for us.  Christ is the hope for my mfuture. I have hope in Christ that He will give me a better life, an eternal life with Him. I have the expectation He will do so but the positive thoughts those hopes come from is the knowledge and expectations based on His word. What a wonderful God we serve.

 

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.  Psalms 62:5

For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.              Proverbs 23:18

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Jeremiah 29:11

According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.  Philippians 1:20

 

There are a lot of scriptures that talk to the expectations that we can have of God if we follow Christ and serve Him. Expectations of blessings and rewards, some here on Earth, but more importantly rewards we can’t imagine in eternity.

But, He also warns us that we can expect other things if do not serve Him and instead live a life of sin and otherwise fail to follow Christ as we should follow Him.

The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.  Proverbs 11:23

When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.  Proverbs 11:7

The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.  Proverbs 10:28

 

We have hope in Christ as well. This is the noun hope, the hope of a expectation of pleasant, cherished things happening.

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Romans 5:2

24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.      Romans  8:24-25

(Romans Chapter 8 is a good read, I would suggest all take a few minutes to read the whole chapter)

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.  Romans 15:13

That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:7

 

He promises us that we can have hope in Christ that we will be spending eternity with Him. That we WILL have salvation and that we WILL be rewarded for living for Jesus. I thank God that He gives me that type of promise that I can expect that from Him. I can rejoice in the hope of that time to come. He warns us that we can expect punishment for our sins if we do not come to Him who made forgiveness possible through the sacrifice of His son, through the suffering and blood of Christ when He died on the cross for our sins.

Lord, I praise and worship You. I thank you for the hope and expectations of my rewards in eternity with You. I pray in the name of Jesus that You help me better understand what I need to do, how I need to live, in order to have those things that are promised. I ask that You work in the hearts and minds of loved ones that they see the expectations they may have if they do as You have instructed, and that they realize that they may also expect eternal suffering for their failure to follow You and Your word. I ask that You draw us all to You that we may enjoy those rewards. That we all seek the forgiveness You offer and the salvation You have for us.

Amen

 

I do appreciate the time that all take to read what He puts on my heart. I hope that while He teaches me things that You are blessed as well. Please, try to be a blessing to others today as well.