Hopes and Expectations Devotional

Hopes and Expectations
New Year's Devotional

Julia Bettencourt

Posted December 29, 2015

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

My husband and I were talking about not seeing any slogans or mottos for 2016.  For years there was always something out there that Christians would grab on to and take as their motto for the new year.  

I'm sure some of you know what I'm talking about.  There were challenges and sermons on them.  They were printed in bulletins and put on church signs.

Remember in 2004—we were all going to "do more"?  We were going to do more for Christ.  In 2005 we were all going to "strive".  We were all going to strive to be better Christians.  In 2006 there were lists of things we were all going to "nix".  In 2007 we were all going to "focus on heaven".  We were going to live with those eternal values in view.  If I remember right, I think we were all going to "get things straight" in 2008.  We were going to line things up spiritually.

I'm not sure what happened.  I haven't heard many New Year's slogans these past few years.  Maybe because in 2010 we were all going to "stomp out sin" so we don't need those slogans anymore.  Okay, maybe it is really because these teen years are hard to rhyme with.

This year I thought I would think up some slogans for myself for a little self-motivation.  You know how I like to play with my words.  So here is what I came up with.

Let Christ be Seen in 2016.

What better way to start the new year than to make it all about Christ and less about us.  It is how we are supposed to be living anyway. Isn't it?

He must increase, but I must decrease.  John 3:30

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  Matthew 5:16

Get Fit and Lean in 2016.

You knew I would have to throw a healthy one in because that is what people think about for any new year.  I hope I can be fit and lean where my Christian life is concerned.  I think we all could probably do with some more working out—spiritually.  Perhaps working on adding more "fruit of the Spirit" into our diet that is for sure.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Ephesians 6:10

On Christ I'll Lean in 2016.

This is an area I know I need to concentrate more on.  I need to rely on Christ on a deeper level.  I need to love Him more and trust Him more.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  Proverbs 3:5,6

Help me be Keen in 2016.

I'm not talking about being keen on something and liking it.  I'm talking about the other meaning of keen.  That is to have that sharp mental awareness.

I'd love to have a keen mind especially where God's Word is concerned.  I'd like to be able to understand it more, to be able to discern it better.  I know to do that I have to be in the Word more and live a holy life.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  Romans 12:1, 2

Don't be Mean in 2016.

Now don't be laughing.  I can hear you.  I know I can't be the only one that could use this advice from time to time.  Why ya gotta be so mean? 

We could all stand to be a little nicer.  The meanies don't play a part in that love Jesus told us to be showing.  It's kind of hard to "Let Christ be seen" if we are going to be mean.  Maybe we should remember that rhyme.

I just recently watched that Glen Campbell documentary on Netflix.  Any of you remember that Glen Campbell song?

You've got to try a little kindness. Yes show a little kindness. Yes shine your light for everyone to see. 

That's great advice.

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 
Colossians 3:13,14

Take Time to Dream in 2016.

I want to do something big and great.  Don't you?  There is nothing wrong with dreaming.  I think we should all have some goals.  I think we should have goals for all parts of us—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  One thing I know I need to do is forget what is past and just concentrate on the future or it will drag me down.

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.  Philippians 3:13


What I love about a new year is that it is a clean slate.  I want to leave my mark on it.  I just wonder what kind of a mark I am going to leave this year.

I read through Philippians chapter 1 today and those words in verse 20, "expectation" and "hope" stuck out to me because that is what New Years are all about—expectations and hopes.  We are hinging on those as we enter the new year.

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

Paul's hopes and expectations were that he wouldn't be ashamed of anything he did.  He wanted to magnify Christ with his life.  That's how we have to be.  We have to want to live in such a way that Christ is magnified through what we do and say.

We have to make that a priority no matter what comes along.  Paul says, whether "by life, or by death".  In other words, it doesn't matter what comes along and makes marks and stains on our beautiful white and crisp New Year of 2016, we just have to magnify Christ in everything we say and do.

I'm not much for grand New Year's resolutions because I think they are hard to live up to but I like a catchy slogan or motto that will make me think and encourage me to do better and to live better.

I think if I can just get a handle on these areas of my life it will total up to a "grand" change in me.  I can use all the help I can get because my main goal should be to magnify Christ and that requires some work.

So, what are your hopes and expectations?

Copyright ©2015 Julia Bettencourt
Scripture References are from the King James Version.

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