waiting

The Recipe for Answered Prayer

If you’re reading this, then you might have some questions or challenges about some prayers you’ve made that are unanswered or unresolved – so we’re in this together 🙂

To this end, I was recently asking God to change someone & make them more flexible.  This could translate to mean that I want that person to be more compliant to my preferences and it could mean that God might want to work on some control issues in my heart, which is certainly food for thought 🙂

As we think about the prayers we make to God, it’s interesting to think about how God answers prayers.  I say this because of recently reading two exchanges between David and God in 2Samuel 5, when David asks God about attacking the Philistines.  In the first exchange, God tells David to attack in response to his first enquiry.  David obeys God’s direction and successfully defeats the Philistines.

On the heels of being defeated, the Philistines attack a second time.  And David asks God again about confronting the Philistines.  In response to David’s second enquiry, God tells David to circle behind the Philistines, wait for the sound of marching in the tree tops and then attack.  David obeys God’s instructions and defeats the Philistines the second time.  From my point of view, these are very explicit instruction & a stark contrast from the first battle.

So here are some ingredients for the recipe to Answered Prayer:

  1. AFDI:  Ask For Divine Input rather than depending on your own brilliance or willpower
  2. Unlimited obedience, served up with daily consistency
  3. Trusting God more than a method:  yeast goes with flour like trust goes with God;  God seems to work uniquely in each situation, so trusting in a method isn’t as helpful as trusting in God 🙂
  4. DBS:  Don’t Be Surprised when you have to repeat something, but with a different method

In addition to these ingredients, it’s also important to consider how these ingredients go together, some possible marinading time and what happens when heat is applied over a length of time.  To this end, when I asked God about changing someone and making them more flexible, like I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I received an interesting reply.

I felt God say to me, “Sarah, maybe the answer to your prayer is a combination of that person becoming more flexible and you being less controlling.”

I had to sit with that feedback and let that marinade for a little while.  And truth be told, I’m still ruminating on what God said to me.  Maybe I’m a little similar to meat marinating in a sauce.  Maybe it takes God a little time to break down the fibers of my resistance and self-deception so that God’s truth and loving flavor can influence my thoughts, attitudes, words, decisions and action.  Ultimately, this is what I want.  This is the ultimate answer to my prayers, even in the heat and fire of daily living.

In our quest to get our prayers answered, let’s be committed to allowing God to change us and help us grow.  Maybe the tasty outcome of God’s culinary efforts in our lives is the expression of genuine love, as we are wholly dependant on God’s presence yeasting into our core identity 🙂

Selah 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, cooking, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

In the Middle

Death is the pre-requisite for resurrection & today is that middle ground. Death happened on Good Friday & resurrection happens tomorrow. But the disciples didn’t know that Jesus would raise tomorrow, no matter how much He told them. And they knew He was dead with lots of uncertainty on the horizon. This is often how the middle feels – uncertain & tenuous.
I don’t think there’s anyone who is reading this now who isn’t in some middle place in life. We can find ourselves in the middle of: schooling, fighting a disease, a financial crisis, a relationship challenge, a difficult decision & heaps more.
So what do we do in the middle? Here are some suggestions that could be helpful:
1 – community: the disciples held together when they found themselves in the middle & waiting for what was next
2 – faith focus: let’s keep our attention on God who works all things together for our good, as we stay in love with Him
3 – purposeful farming: be sure to plant healthy seeds like patience, gratitude, diligence & others since we will reap what we sow 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, Pentecost, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

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!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, nightcare, prayer, relationships, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Thrills & Chills

Alas, I’m sitting on the floor of the DMV again so there are no thrills & chills here at the moment. My number is 101 & they just called number 75, so it’s going to be awhile but I’ll keep this blog pithy 🙂

I like quick projects & exciting experiences. But it seems to me that life is more about the long-term outcomes than the short thrills & shallow frills. Here are some good things to consider about thinking in more long-term outcomes:

  • Steady effort creates habits which reinforce endurance
  • Repetition is a necessary ingredient for excellence
  • Muscle memory – this happens when we do things repeatedly & it gives us the freedom to learn more things
  • Incremental progress often lasts longer than speedy results
  • Let patience have her perfect work that you may be mature & complete #nuffsaid
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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments

DMV

Ever have to wait at the DMV? It’s a lovely experience that equalizes humanity to those little number strips, as we all wait for our turn to go to the lady behind the window.  She knows everything & is all powerful. When I think about it, I want to be nice to her, bring her a peace offering & hope she’ll look favorably on my request. Maybe she’d like a donut with coffee, . . .
It’s possible that my DMV experience is a condensed practice for daily living with God  with one major difference: the lady behind the window is human. This means that she is flawed & disconnected from my human existence. Thankfully, God is more than human, integrated throughout our daily living & continuously loving. The DMV makes me appreciate that God is always available, no number required 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, travel, values, watch, 2 comments

Pentecost is this Sunday! Waiting not so patiently

Waiting doesn’t seem to be one of my strong suits.  Frankly put, I’m often impetuous, sometimes impulsive and infrequently patient.  So the idea of chilling out and waiting for something is not appealing to me.  And yet, this is exactly what Jesus told His followers in Luke 24:49, “‘ . . . , stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.'”  Thankfully, the disciples followed Jesus’ directive and I’m grateful to read about the fruit of their patience and waiting in Acts 2 – the Day of Pentecost.

So in our fast-paced, microwave popcorn and warp speed living, let’s take a step back & consider some of the benefits of waiting for the Holy Spirit:

  • waiting in a community affords the opportunity to build relationships and grow in our fellowship with other believers
  • waiting enforces a healthy discipline on a personal level that defies instant gratification
  • waiting teaches us to let Jesus be the Lord of our time and how we resolve our desires
  • waiting to be clothed with power and the Holy Spirit is what our world desperately needs from us, as followers of Jesus

Take a minute to grab a copy of Heavenly Help and as you read it, let the Holy Spirit speak into your heart about Pentecost becoming more real in your life!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, Pentecost, prayer, relationships, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments

waiting & wanting

Cormon,_Fernand_-_Cain_flying_before_Jehovah's_Curse  Have you ever waited to acquire something you wanted?  It seems to me that waiting & wanting go together like peas & carrots, almost complementary.  Things that I’ve waited for & wanted include:  a new coat, a camera lense, opening nightcare in India, surgery on my shoulder & lots of other stuff.

Recently, I read about sin waiting for & wanting Cain in Genesis 4, related to the tension between Abel & Cain about their respective sacrifices.  God confronted Cain in verse 7 and told him, “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”  Sin was waiting for & wanting Cain but God told him that he needed to master sin & not be mastered by sin.

I honestly think that sin also waits for & wants us as well.  Sin wants to control us, creating chaos & destruction in our lives if we cave in to it’s desires.  Cain surrendered to sin and lived a vagrant and tormented life.  Let’s learn from Cain’s downfall & master sin rather than let sin master us.  Indeed, Romans 8:6 says, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace”  Just because sin is waiting for & wanting you doesn’t mean that you have to be it’s victim.  Let the Holy Spirit strengthen you on the inside to overcome the seductions of sin!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, Cambodia, enemies to intimacy, fasting, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, listen, living, nightcare, prayer, saving moses, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments

tick tock

In an effort to counter-balance my post yesterday with, “stop waiting”, in all fairness, maybe God is doing the pick & shovel work of cultivating patience in my heart with some fertilizer augmenting, maybe.  The reason I’m thinking about this possibility is from some recent experiences in a trip to Cambodia for Saving Moses.  In this extremely brief trip, I found myself becoming really tense about accomplishing much – a very long way to travel for such a really short trip to get massive amounts of stuff done.  Did we accomplish some things?  Absolutely!!

But in those conversations I had in Cambodia when someone would say, “I’m happy to do this in the next three months”, or “Let me pray about it” or “Let’s see how this this plays out with some time”, I found myself becoming increasingly uptight.  And then I heard this small voice in my heart, “What’s your hurry?  Why are you in such a rush?”  In my natural thinking, those questions sound like fertilizer augmenting – they smell bad, feel yucky, look revolting & have the greatest resurrection potential for me to grow at this time.

Here are some things to consider about patience, tick tock:

  • slow change often lasts longer than quick fixes
  • patience develops roots and roots often last longer than flashy
  • roots are the groundwork for abiding which facilitates fruit
  • patience takes my focus off of situations and puts it back on God
  • patience can be the good side of stubborn

tick tock

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

an important lesson from tire pressure :)

I’m trying to be more proactive about taking care of my car so that Reece has fewer things to think about and so I’m learning lots of wonderful new things, which of course I enjoy for the simple pleasure of the love of learning 🙂

With that being said, I drive my car almost everyday & I don’t give much thought to the pressure in my tires until something goes wrong.  Of course it’s best to maintain consistent and optimum pressure because my car is easier to steer and drives better when the tire pressure is in the right zone.

I think the same can be true for us with Jesus:  pressure is part of life and when we keep our eyes on Jesus, He keeps the pressures of our life in balance so that we can live in optimum performance, but the key for me is focus.  Keeping my eyes on the pressures in my life can be overwhelming, but keeping my eyes on Jesus helps me to stay in synch with Jesus so He can make pressure adjustments as He sees fit 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, saving moses, spiritual, 2 comments

good things come to those who wait – really???

I’ve had an interesting few days and it’s been a bit challenging to keep a good attitude while waiting.  On Friday I had a few challenges – I was working on a really big project for Saving Moses and came to a place where I had to wait until Mon for the decision of another person.  Also on Friday, I was walking home in the snow from dinner at our neighbor’s house, slipped, fell & super messed up my ankle (nothing cool like I was snowboarding in a terrain park & messed up a jump or missed a rail).

So it was an interesting weekend – waiting and hoping for a good answer & an improved ankle and I’m thinking that Mon will be a great turning point for these brief, but important challenges.  When Mon rolled around, my ankle wasn’t better so  I decided to get it checked out.  The Dr said that if it was broken, that I probably wouldn’t be able to go to Cambodia for Saving Moses next month – grrrrrrrr.  Nevertheless, the xray results in the afternoon would let us know something more definite, which meant more waiting.  By 8pm Mon, I hadn’t heard anything from the Dr nor anything on the Saving Moses project.  Still waiting.  Grrrrrrr.

Tues morning rolls around & still no answers & now I’m getting jittery.  But when I would turn my heart to the Holy Spirit on these 2 topics, I felt peace.  Since this story has now been too long, here’s the short conclusion:  no broken ankle and the Saving Moses project has an affirmative answer!  And in all of this, I felt God tell me that if I will trust Him, He will meet the points of my needs with His provisions.  Luke 21:29 – in patience, possess your soul 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, 0 comments