While You Wait

All of us have prayers that we are waiting for God to answer. Such prayers can be related to job, school application, health diagnosis, relationship challenges, kid stuff, finances, etc. It seems to me that waiting can be a problem for us, so here are a few ideas for your consideration, while you wait:

  • Take this opportunity to let your trust in God grow – Prov 22:19
  • Increase your prayer focus – Phil 4:6
  • Do little things to make progress – Gal 6:9

Let’s stay encouraged that God is answering our prayers!

Hot Topic: Sometimes No

I really like to tell my kids, “Yes!” I like to tell them yes to eating salad, working out, studying, reading good books & hanging out with constructive friends. All of these get a hearty “yes and AMEN!” from me. But alas, they don’t always ask me for these kinds of things.

Sometimes they ask me:

  • to eat cake when it would be better to have some beets.
  • to sleep in when they need to go to school.
  • to hang out with a shady person when it would be better to do their homework.

Sometimes we ask God for stuff that’s not good for us & we often don’t like God’s answer. We can even deny that God is answering our prayers when we don’t like the answer. But alas, God answers prayer even when we don’t like the answer! Let’s trust that when God says no, it’s in our best interest & there’s a better plan or answer than what we’ve been requesting!

Hot Topic:  Gravity Prayers

I like to pray because in my mind, praying is simply conversing with God. Prayer is a dialogue between God & me, not just a monologue shopping list. From time to time, however, I sense God challenging me to make known my requests & not just stay in the listening mode. Over time, I’m learning to take very seriously what these requests can be for the simple reason that God answers our prayers. 
Consider these weighty requests:

  • Patience – when we ask God to help us be more patient, often the resulting journey to that destination can be tumultuous
  • Trust – help me trust You more / better; the places in our lives that need this work can get very uncomfortable from the Holy Spirit answering this request
  • Love – I’ve asked God to help me love better & despite some hotspots, the results are worth the risks

It’s not bad to make weighty prayers, but let’s be prepared to make the changes such prayers require. 

Birds, Flowers & the Future

Do you ever worry about stuff? Some people say they never worry & I’m happy for them. Other people, like me, we can sometimes get worried about various things. Seems like some common stuff that gets worried about includes finances, job / education things, relationships & health issues. Of course there are more things, but my point in bringing up the worry stuff is related to Jesus’ teaching about worry in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says that the birds have food provided for them & the flowers are beautifully appointed in their various displays. Furthermore, each day has enough challenges to keep us attentive to the present rather than borrowing worry for the future.  

Jesus tells us to look around & see how well our Heavenly Father manages the world in which we live. We can certainly trust our loving Heavenly Father to take very good care of us, as His children. Nestle into the Holy Spirit when you get tempted to worry 🙂

Hot Topic: more & better

Have you ever been mad at God for seemingly not coming through with one of His promises?  Have you ever prayed one God’s promises fervently & it didn’t turn out like you had prayed?  

This happened to me a few years ago on a group trip with my mom. We were leading a team of maybe 200 people in Romania & I had ardently prayed that no one get their airline ticket nor passport stolen / lost (pre- 9/11). Sure enough, one of travelers had her ticket & passport stolen. I spent the next 24-36 hours trying to get her a replacement passport & the US embassy wasn’t helpful. I felt like an awful failure when I let Sheila know that I wasn’t able to get a replacement passport & that she would likely have to stay several days in Romania & work with the embassy on her own for the passport thing. 

Needless to say, I was really ticked off with God – didn’t answer my fervent prayers, didn’t keep His promise, failed at a point of great need, etc. 
I was totally lit for several days until I learned that Sheila made it safely back to the US without a passport, just a Xerox copy of her passport (before the 9/11 attack). I was entirely dumbfounded, stunned & altogether speechless. When I tried to challenge God about keeping His word & promises, He totally arrested me with this question:  Sarah,  which method of answering your prayer was more glorifying to Me – the maintenance way that you asked or the miracle solution that I orchestrated?  
Let’s be mindful that God’s ways & methods far surpass anything we could imagine, suppose or propose. God does more & better than we can ask or think!
This is a picture of my friend Sheila & I this last weekend 🙂

Hot Topic: God’s got it!

Sometimes life is stressful:  bills, decisions, planning, obstacles, expectations, future, work, relationships, etc.  I find that in my life, there’s kind of an ebb & flow to this stuff – seasons that have more stress & pressure in contrast with less stressful seasons.  No matter if you’re totally stressed out & you feel like you want to jump ship or if you’re in a really chilled time, enjoying a less pressure season, God’s got it:

  • the wisdom to help you make decisions.
  • the resources to supply various needs in your life.
  • the peace to calm your anxious mind.
  • the solutions to various problems that you may be dealing with.
  • the relationship help that you need for various hot spots.
  • the healing for your broken heart &/or physcial body

God’s got it!!  Your needs can never outstrip God’s provisions.  Your problems can never exceed God’s answers.  Your brokenness can never overwhelm God’s healing.  God’s got it!  So let’s continue to align our lives with Jesus’ words in Matt 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you!”

God’s got it!!

And don’t forget to check out what Saving Moses is doing in December – it’s A-Mazing!! 🙂

Hot topic: big storms

The eastern part of the US has been overwhelmed with snow this week, creating massive amounts of chaos, hardship & even some death. I saw a picture from inside a persons house with the door open & snow all the way to the top of the door!
Generally, we don’t like storms for lots of reasons (harmful, destructive, inconvenient, etc). But I’d like to propose that sometimes storms solve problems. Take for example Jonah’s storm – the storm solved his problem of disobedience. Or the storm when Jesus walked on the water. This storm helped Jesus’ disciples to get better at believing & move away from doubting. Sometimes storms can give us some very helpful solutions. Here are a few pointers that might help you with getting solutions from storms:
*focus – keeping our eyes on & confidence in Jesus helps us not to become storm victims
*solution oriented – is a storm a helpful way to reorganize your priorities?
*future – after the storm, consider that God may have brought you to a place of hope & promise 🙂

IMG_0239.JPG

Jesus wept

My son & I were talking this morning about being sensitive to people and their needs.  In our discussion, I was reminded of the story when Jesus came to Martha and Mary after their brother Lazarus had died, landing in possibly one of the darkest moments of their lives.  If you remember, Martha & Mary had sent to Jesus before Lazarus died, asking Him to come & heal their sick brother.  Despite receiving this information, Jesus waited where he was and purposely came to Martha & Mary after their brother died.  Jesus’ delay was extremely disappointing to Martha & Mary (“If You had been here, he would not have died”).  Nevertheless, Jesus had a really insightful conversation with Martha about resurrection & if you have some moments, I’d encourage you to read John 11 to look into that chat between the two of them.

After talking with Martha, Jesus connected with Mary who was a virtual basket case from her grief, disappointment, anxiety and loss.  Jesus listened, watched, observed everyone’s grief and didn’t reply with a cliche’ quick fix answer – “Oh he’s in a better place now,” nor did Jesus try to change the subject, distract everyone with a miracle,  discuss theology with the attending religious leaders, or do the All Knowing God answer.  After taking everything in, Jesus wept.  When you read to the end of John 11, we see that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead so there’s a really unexpected and extremely happy ending to the whole story – but Jesus didn’t raise Lazarus from the dead before He experienced the grief through which everyone was going with the death of Lazarus.

Jesus wept.

The Self-Help Myth

In the Bible, I always enjoy reading about Peter, Jesus’ disciple, because he always seems to have an answer for everything. Some of his answers are good but some of them are beyond stupid. Nevertheless, he seems to always have some kind of answer, reply or solution, except when Jesus looked at him after he had denied Jesus three times. At that point, he was speechless & left the situation weeping bitterly.
While I’m a firm believer in helping each other, giving each other wise counsel, improving ourselves, growing, getting better, etc there are definitely situations, challenges, struggles & hardships that are far beyond the human abilities.
Consider:
*some needs are only met with divine provision
*some questions only have divine answers
*some problems only have divine solutions

Hot Topic: parking tickets

The bad news: I’ve had a problem with parking tickets, in the past
The good news: I figured out a solution to prevent the parking ticket “challenge”
The quick story: I never have change for parking tickets & I’ve struggled to figure out how much time to put on the meter when it can accept a credit card. Most of the time when I earned a parking ticket it was because I didn’t have enough money on the meter.
Solution: fill up the meter to its maximum regardless of how long I plan to stay. This fixes 2 things at the same time – no parking ticket & blessing someone after me with some free parking.
Moral of the story: being stingy is expensive ,)

more and more

More and not less!!!!  As humans, we have this thinking that more is better than less.  We want more time, more money, more success, more achievements, more recognition, more help, more, more, more, more, . . . . . . .  I’m not sure that we ever have a really clear sense of “enough” and perhaps this is by divine design.  Perhaps we can never get enough because we are divinely designed for Infinte and thereby never genuinely satisfied with that which is finite and limited.  Think about your desires and how they may be shaped by God for God.  Perhaps your desire for more is only met in an authentic, ongoing and deep intimacy with your Creator, the Triune God 🙂

please give me your input

Greetings & happy Wed to you!

I’m doing some work in 2 Bible verses on which I’d like to get your feedback.  Here are the verses where Jesus says:

John 16:23-24, “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. 24″Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”

So here are some questions that I have & I’d be keen to hear your thoughts or feedback:

  • have you ever asked God for something & didn’t like the outcome of your request?
  • what do you think Jesus means when He says, “ask & you will receive so that your joy may be full.”?
  • what do you do with any disappointment you may experience from various requests to God that may not get answered in the way you wanted?

I know that I usually try to write encouraging things in my blog, but if you’d be inclined, I’d be super interested to hear your thoughts on these questions 🙂

Thanks muchos!!

Unanswered Prayers

“We are far too easily pleased”- CS Lewis

Sometimes I think that God doesn’t answer some of our prayers because are prayers are misdirected. I think that sometimes we settle for “good” when God has something more “magnificent” for us than what we are requesting. Unfortunately, I tend to be selfish & short sighted when I don’t get my way, like an immature child who doesn’t trust their parent to make choices for them in their best interest. So rather than packing up our toys & going home to play by ourselves, lets keep living with & loving God, trusting that God is fundamentally good & is Genuine Love 🙂

Advice for hostile situations

From time to time I have the opportunity to be involved in situations that can be volatile, hostile & combative. I can’t say that I enjoy these types of situations but I am learning a few things that you might find helpful:
*Proverbs says that a soft answer turns away wrath – answering with gentle words & replies can be super helpful to turn a hostile conversation into a constructive conversation
*volume, pace & pitch are important in our verbal replies because they can increase or diffuse the hostility
*seek to understand before being understood – this always helps me to grow & learn more
*pray: seems to me that we need God more than we frequently recognize 🙂

What have you found to be helpful? Thanks for your input!!

The answer

I find myself in a season of life where I have lots & lots of questions & not just about the weather. For me, it feels like many of my questions seem to either have no answers or they have very difficult answers and this can be really challenging. But as simple as it sounds, I’m finding that Jesus is the answer. Jesus is the answer for my need for wisdom, direction, strength, assurance, security & so much more. Jesus is my answer of peace for a troubled heart. Jesus is the answer: full stop 🙂

I don’t like that answer

 I’ve been having some interesting conversations with God lately & I can’t say that I’m all that thrilled about some of the answers to a few important questions.  So what do we do when we don’t get the answers that we want?

I’m trying to coach my kids that when I give them an unwanted answer, that they still maintain a good attitude.  Maybe this is God’s way of coaching me to greater maturity as well – even when God gives me answers that I don’t want.  Perhaps part of becoming more mature is understanding that the source of our life is a daily & dependent relationship with God & not just a shallow “getting my way” quick fix.  I’m reminding myself that God’s ways are higher than my ways 🙂

do you need an answer to prayer?

Over the last month of so, I’ve been really purposeful about asking God for input on a very specific request.  I’ve made intentional time & been very fervent about my request to God, but I’ve been rather frustrated thus far with what seems to be me to a lack of God’s input.  I was sharing my frustration with some friends this morning & one of them had an interesting observation.  After graciously listening to me express my frustrations, she simply said, “Maybe God’s answer isn’t for now.  Maybe you’re not hearing an answer from God at this time because the answer is for a later time & not now.”

The thought that God has timing for the answers for our requests is a super helpful insight & has really encouraged my faith & trust in God.  While we may want God’s answers now, God knows exactly when to answer our requests, as well as how 🙂

Please be encouraged :)

Well, I’m just incredibly amazed by the wisdom & goodness of God. I came to Cambodia with the hope that we could finally get our 1st nightcare up and running & I’m leaving in less than 24 hours with seeing this hope turn into a reality. In a very short amount of time, I’ve see God’s hand working to secure a facility for nightcare, staffing needs, supplies and of supreme importance, the babies and toddlers who will be receiving care, protection, nurture and genuine love.
I’ve seen Gods hand move with such astounding confirmation in the last 24 hours that I’m almost speechless, almost ,)
Dear friends, please do not give up in the hopes and dreams that God has put in your heart. Please trust God for His timing, revel & relish the fellowship that we share w God. He is truly worthy of praise.

why pray?

 I’ve had an interesting recent 48 hours.  Sunday evening, I was doing our family grocery shopping & I was chatting with God about something that was really bothering me.  At the end of our chat, I basically asked Him to either help me accept this challenging situation & make adjustments or to change the situation.  Within 24 hours, I found myself in a conversation that was immediately addressing the situation that God & I had just discussed.  Needless to say, I’m thanking God for His speedy work!

Furthermore, this morning I was looking for a file on my computer & became frantic when I couldn’t find it because there were other people who are relying on this document!  So over the course of lunchtime, I shot up another quick prayer asking God to help me find this file & voila – I found it!

While these things may seem small to you, for me they’re indicative of God who listens & is engaged in my daily living.  What I like most about prayer is that its the place where I get to wholly be with God – where I eliminate distractions, tune into His presence & interact.  I love sensing God’s presence, voice, direction, etc.  Prayer is also a fun adventure to see the different ways that God answers our requests & needs.

silly fighting

Last week my husband & I did kind of a joint sermon at our church on Marital Martial Arts (MMA) – How to Have a Good Fight with your spouse.  It was a fun sermon to do & as we prepared for it, we had some good laughs at the conflicts we’ve had over 18 years of marriage.  In relation to conflicts, I was listening to my kids the other day & they were fighting about something super stupid.  I think they were arguing about who could sit in the front seat of the car.  They’ve also fought about water balloons, legos, pancakes, etc.  Now don’t get me wrong, our family isn’t always in a perpetual fight.  But as I was listening to the various topics of conflict, it struck me about how stupid are some of the things my kids fight about.  Then it hit me – maybe God thinks that many of the things we fight about as adults are equally as stupid.

  • We fight about control & power, when the reality is that God is all powerful & in complete control.
  • We fight about money & finances, when He is our ultimate Provision.
  • We fight about relationships & love, when He is the ultimate source for our need for love.
  • We fight to feel important & significant, when the only real path to self worth is through Jesus.

Let’s put our energy into growing in our relationship with Jesus rather than fighting about things that often don’t have what we really want & need 🙂