I Make The Pancakes

One bright Sunday morning in October of 2018 I woke up and was feeling much more awake than I normally do on any given morning. I bounced out to the kitchen, started the coffee, and decided to do something I had only done a handful of times in my life.

I made pancakes.

They were only just alright. (But when are pancakes actually “bad” anyway?)

The next Sunday morning rolled around, and my wife came out to the kitchen and laughed, “you’re making pancakes again? OK!”

It was on the third Sunday in a row at the breakfast table that I boldly proclaimed, “I have decided that I will make pancakes each and every Sunday henceforth.” (Yes, I really did say “henceforth.”)

My wife and friends gave me an exaggerated “oookkk” and called me goofy.

But you know what? I have faithfully made pancakes each and every Sunday since.

You may be wondering why I am writing about making pancakes and my silly Sunday morning routines. The reason is that in this situation, as with every other situation in life, I am learning a lesson.

The lesson is, growth takes time, but it is very rewarding.

You see, when I first started out I couldn’t quite get the right consistency in the batter. The hotcakes were either too thin and floppy or too thick and dry. I also was a novice in the flipping department. And, worst of all, I was impatient and either turned the heat too high or flipped prematurely before the first side was even fully cooked.

Thanks to my wife and friends for eating those inferior pancakes without complaining.

This last Sunday I was able to make the best batch of pancakes that I have ever made…and I hope that next week will only be better.

You see, growth is a process. There are bumps and bruises along the way. You don’t start off perfect (or even close to it) but eventually, with time, you are able to grow. The goal is to be better than you were yesterday. And when it comes to our relationship with Jesus, our goal should always be to be closer to Him tomorrow than we were today.

My love for Jesus is stronger today than it was five years ago, and I pray that five years from now I will love Him even more.

2 Peter 3:18 says to “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

Hebrews 6 encourages us to leave the “elementary” things and move on towards maturity in Christ. And Hebrews 5 warns against staying in the childish immature stage of spiritual development.

We need to grow spiritually.

While it does take time to grow and it certainly is a process, (it’s called Sanctification) we need to realize that we do have a part in the process. In Luke 17 the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith. And I suggest that we do the same.

We cannot expect to grow spiritually if the only time that we talk about Jesus is on a Sunday morning. We cannot expect to increase our prayer life if the only time we pray is before a meal. And we cannot expect to know God better if our exposure to the Bible is only from the “verse of the day.”

I have heard the following statement before from many sources, so I will simply repeat it here…

We must have three daily conversations:

  • We must talk to God (prayer)
  • We must let God talk to us (read our Bible)
  • We must talk about God (sharing the Gospel)

We cannot expect to grow deeper in our faith if we fail to practice it. Just like I could not expect to make good pancakes if I didn’t practice,  17 weeks in a row might I add. (And counting!)

So, friends, I encourage you, just as I am encouraging myself. To make an extra effort this year to be more consistent in your walk with Jesus.

Say no to spiritual immaturity.

Grow closer to Him.

We Pray

I once had a professor tell the class, “I am not really sure how prayer works. But what I do know is that it really does work.”

Think about it for a minute. God, the God who created you and me, along with countless galaxies, the same God who is so big and vast and beyond our wildest imaginations…that same God cares enough to listen to our prayers. Not only does He care to listen, but He loves to listen. He delights in hearing from us.

Is your mind blown yet? How about this one…The same God who tells the planets to keep on spinning takes the time to listen and care about you when you pray and ask, “Lord, please help me find my keys.”

Yep. There is no problem too big or too small for Him. Our trivial problems don’t annoy God, He loves it when His kids talk to Him.

We can do nothing in this life, that is of any beneficial significance, apart from prayer. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 reminds us to “pray without ceasing.” The reason for this command is that our power and strength do not come from within ourselves. Instead, God is the source of any strength, any power, and any good that we can do. 1 John 5:14-15 reminds us that God hears our prayers and answers them.

God moves and works in concert with our prayers, but only when our prayers are in-line with His own perfect will. James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly.” This is a stark reminder that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts not our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

But, if God were to only act whenever His people prayed correctly (in accordance with His will) then many things would never actually come to fruition. That why God acts independently and is subject to no other being’s actions. God is free to act on His own. As the almighty, most Holy God there is none above Him.

With that said, God does delight greatly in the prayers of His people. (Proverbs 15:8) Psalm 145:18-19 says, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.”

It is very apparent all throughout the Bible that God both desires and delights in the prayers of His people. There are so many examples of God moving and working because of the prayers of His people. For example, in Acts, chapter 12 records a prayer meeting of believers who were praying for Peter’s release from prison. The result? A recently released Peter knocks on the door before their prayer meeting was even over with! God not only listens to prayer, He also answers prayer.

Prayer is our communication with God, it is the way that we talk with our creator and savior. There is no other thing; no program, philosophy, or natural strength that can surpass its power in our lives.

We know that God does not have to listen to our prayer, He is not bound by our words. And yet, He chooses to listen to us.

God listens, and prayer works. Praise Him for that simple and yet profound truth.

So, what do we do?

What do we do when we face uncertain times? We pray.

What do we do when the car breaks again and we don’t have money to fix it? We pray.

What do we do when we are frustrated with our overbearing boss? We pray.

What do we do when we feel distant from God? We pray.

What do we do when we look at the empty seats on a Sunday morning? We pray.

What do we do when tears come to our eyes when we think about our son, or daughter, or friend, or sibling, or spouse, or co-worker who does not know Jesus and His love?

We pray and know that God is listening.