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The Ambition Factor

Are you ambitious?

That’s a really loaded question.  If we answer “yes” then we run the risk of being perceived as selfish, driven, neglectful, insensitive, demanding and lots more.  If we answer “no” then we might be perceived as unmotivated, lethargic, non-productive, aimless and inert.  No matter what your answer is, the external perceptions aren’t as important as your internal motives.  To this end, if insecurity, fear, selfishness, pride impatience, anxiety, etc drive our ambition, then the chances for a trainwreck and hurting others skyrocket.

I’ve been thinking about ambition as I’ve been reading about David being anointed to be king & then running from King Saul for ten years, just to stay alive.  In these ten years, David has some opportunities to kill Saul & take the throne which would be ambitious and easy to justify because Saul was a jerk & David was anointed by Samuel to be Saul’s replacement.  But David kept his ambition in check because he valued God’s anointing.

Furthermore, when Saul & Jonathon were killed in battle, David didn’t promote himself as king to save the day for Israel.  When David heard that Saul & Jonathon were dead, his immediate reaction was to grieve and write a lament about the loss of these important men.  In relation to David’s possible ambition to become the next king of Israel, it’s very insightful look at David’s words and action in 2Samuel 2:1, “Then it came about afterwards that David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up to one of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” So David said, “Where shall I go up?” And He said, “To Hebron.”

In this verse and the succeeding verses, I see several helpful keys for being ambitious:

  1. Seeking God:  raw ambition is often impulsive.  As a result, seeking for God’s input and direction is a very effective way to prevent the fallout from hasty, impulsvie and raw, unchecked ambition.  After mourning the death of Saul and Jonathon, David’s first action was to seek God.
  2. Clear Direction:  David had two questions for God.  The first was about action and the second was about location.  When we seek God, that helps to neutralize the impulsive nature of ambition.  Once we have some input from God, it’s helpful to pause for more clarity, direction and input from God.
  3. Be committed:  once David had God’s input and direction, he moved to Hebron, took his wives, kids and all of his loyal followers to settle down and reside in Hebron.  If we are driven by raw ambition, it can be very difficult to put down our roots and be committed in a community, in relationships, a church job, marriage etc.
  4. Get confirmation:  once David, his family and followers moved to Hebron, we still don’t see David being pushy, assertive, demanding nor self-promoting.  On the contrary!  In 2Sam 2:4 we read, “Then the men of Judah came and there anointed David king over the house of Judah.”  From my perspective, David waited for Judah to come to him.  Maybe we could say that ambition pursues but anointing pauses and waits.
  5. There’s more:  even though David was anointed to be King in Judah, the rest of Israel didn’t accept David to be their king until seven years later.  Unfortunately, human ambition settles for less than God’s best and fullest promise. Patience can vaccinate our human ambition so that we receive the full potential of God’s promises.

If God puts a dream in your heart for your life, let your highest priority be to walk with God even more than achieving God’s goal or dream. Walking with God will get you to the dream God puts in your heart, along with shaping your character, deepning your relationships and most importantly, knowing God with ever increasing intimacy.  Let’s make our life’s ambition to revolve around knowing God and letting God be known through our lives!,

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 1 comment

Being Hungry

When I come home from an Int’l trip, I’m often hungry for a hamburger or a salad – familiar food that are in my home culture. This isn’t to say that I don’t like ethnic food. I TOTALLY love to try new foods in various cultures. Some of the foods I’ve tried were not that tasty when I first tried them, but the more I ate them, the more I liked these different foods. 
Sometimes I think spiritual food can be similar. I find that there are some spiritual foods that are tasty & appealing. For example, we like where the Bible says that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us in Phil 4:13. But some verses aren’t quite as appealing. For example, James 1:4 says that we should let endurance have its perfect work so that we can be perfect & complete, not lacking anything. 

Let’s be certain that we let the Holy Spirit cultivate our appetites so that we eat spiritual food that helps us grow & become mature followers of Jesus 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in Angola, busy, Cambodia, cooking, Ethiopia, fasting, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, missions, nightcare, prayer, relationships, saving moses, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

how to practice trusting God

Practice is an interesting word:  it’s what we do to learn a new skill, it’s how we develop success, it’s how we make mistakes without quitting and practice has lots more benefits!  But sometimes I struggle to practice trusting God.  I struggle for lots of reasons:

  • hurts from the past,
  • my own weaknesses,
  • I can’t see the future,
  • I don’t trust people

So for me, trusting God requires practice.  In relation to practice, these are a few helpful tips:

  • form:  wrong form can create all kind of dysfunctions;  the form of trusting God is actively deciding to lean on nothing or no one more than we lean on God (Prov 3:5-6)
  • consistency:  I find that choosing to trust God is a daily & sometimes hourly decision;  when I switch my trust off of God & onto something or someone else, then I’ve stopped practicing
  • character:  it seems like we often trust based on outcomes & because God is sovereign, we don’t always get what we want & so it follows that we can have some resulting challenges to trust God;  rather than trusting God based on the outcomes & results which can change in a blink, let’s decide to practice trusting God based on God’s character – Who God is (kind, just, compassionate, loving, righteous, holy, . . . . );

The Bible is such an essential ingredient in trusting God because the Bible frames for us God’s character and helps us recognize God’s presence & fingerprints in our daily living – thereby helping us to practice trusting God 🙂

What suggestions would you offer to help us practice trusting God?

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, cooking, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, Martha, nightcare, prayer, saving moses, values, watch, 3 comments

Help to Succeed

 I don’t like to fail. Actually, I LOATH failing so much that I sometimes refuse to try something altogether to avoid the failure experience & feeling, but that’s a different blog. Here are a few things that help me with success:

*eliminate distractions: as I type this, I’m in an airport with my husband with as river of people, noise & activities flowing by me. I’m focused because I’ve got my headphones in & I’m actively disciplining my attention to write something that will help both of us 🙂
*maintain routines in whatever area you want success: writing, exercise, cooking, friendships, Bible time, church, etc; routines are fertilizers for success 😉
*frame failures, weaknesses, flaws & shortfalls in the grid of practice lest you be tempted to quit altogether
*pray & play – asking for God’s help & add some balance with a little bit of “play”
*dont quit, ’nuff said on that ,)
What are some different pointers that have helped you with success?  Feel free to share your constructive thoughts 🙂
 
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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

beep

Back in the dark ages when I was in high school, we had this film kind of thing in my US history class where the teacher would put on a cassette tape with a microfiche slide show & when the tape beeped, he’d advance the microfiche to the next slide.  Being the very intelligent & cheeky students that we were, we quickly learned that our teacher had a slight hearing impediment & we could fake the “beep” and he’d advance the film to the next slide, thereby finishing the pictures before the tape was done explaining what we were supposed to be looking at.  Needless to say, this was heaps of fun for us & quite flustering for him – oh the joys of being mischevious 🙂

Sometimes I think I try to do the same thing with God – beeping to move the lesson forward at a more rapid pace, so we can get finished with the lesson & move onto something more pleasant.  Beep.

Let’s trust that God’s timing, God’s lessons and God’s pacing are all working together good things in our hearts, for God’s glory & our maturity – smile 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, Martha, prayer, relationships, travel, values, watch, 0 comments