Be Explicit!!

“*&$)%^#@*&)^#**!!”

I’m using these symbols to replace the actual words spoken to me in an extremely coarse exchange I had with a person who was upset with me.  Initially, I was a little taken aback with the vocabulary, but at the same time the explicit words helped provide abundant clarity for what this person was expressing.

In contrast, I’ve also had exchanges with people whose communication was super unclear and vague.  In these kinds of interactions, it can be challenging to know exactly what’s being said.

What style of communication would you prefer?  Do you like explicit and overt?  Or do you prefer indirect and maybe obscure?

I think it’s important to think about communication in these ways, not only for our human to human interaction, but moreso for the communication that happens between God and us.  I say this because it’s very natural to assume that God communicates with us similar to how we communicate with each other using words, conversations, dialogue, etc.  Thankfully, God has given us the Bible for some concrete words to help us know and recognize God not only in human history but also in God’s character and heart.

However, we would be wise to pause and consider that God is Infinite and we are finite.  To this end, communication from and with God does not always follow the same patterns and expressions that we experience in our human to human dialogues or communication.

For example, in 1Kings 19, there’s a fascinating exchange between the prophet Elisha and God.  This exchange happened after Elisha had seen God move dramatically in 1Kings 18, confirming God’s power and judgment against the idolatry of the King and Queen of Israel.  After this dramatic demonstration, the Queen of Israel threatened to kill Elisha and he fearfully ran for his life.  God sent an angel to provide food and rest for Elisha, who then ran into wilderness where he was hiding in a cave for the culminating events of 1Kings 19.

In this chapter, Elisha looks out from the cave and sees a massive wind that is strong enough to smash rocks, but God wasn’t in the wind.  Elisha sees an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake.  Elisha sees fire, but God isn’t in the fire.  When Elisha hears “a still small voice” he recognizes this is God speaking with him and heads out of his cave.

If you’re like me, I want God to speak to me in clear, explicit and direct ways.  I would like it if God would dialogue with me with definite words, clear discussion, obvious interactions and overt engagement – maybe not quite as extreme as an earthquake or rock crushing wind.  And to this end, I’m massively grateful for the Bible because it gives me God’s Word in black and white.

Let’s appreciate, however, that God communicates with us not only in explicit and definite ways, but also in ways that are more subtle, like the gentle whisper or still small voice.  God can communicate with us as a gentle whisper, a tender reminder, the beautiful sunrise or sunset, through the comment or hug or a friend, in a sermon or blog, in a dream at night and many other ways.  Consequently, we would be wise to ask God to help us recognize the massive variety of ways that God communicates with us everyday, appreciating that Infinite has innumerable expressions for communicating with us who are finite.

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

3 Benefits to a Saul Grinder

Ever feel like you’re going through the ringer, like life is just hard & almost nothing is going right?  I’ve been reading about David in the Bible & how he spent more than a decade running away from King Saul who was trying to kill him. Maybe a little like a meat grinder, David was in the Saul grinder for a long time. When you read the Psalms that he wrote in the Saul grinder season, these Psalms are overflowing with David crying out to God to be his shield, comfort, strength, shepherd, provision & so much more!!

Maybe David went through the Saul grinder to help us today, when we go through various difficult seasons. Let’s allow Holy Spirit to encourage us in the grinder times that Holy Spirit is with us, walking alongside us.  These seasons can have tremendous benefits for helping us:

  1. grow closer with God,
  2. develop stronger trust in God,
  3. see God do miracles & sharpen our focus on God rather than the challenges  & problems that seem to be so difficult.
Posted by Sarah in busy, fellowship, Genuine love, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, 0 comments

Not My Home

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of ministering in Baltimore at my friends church. As I’m sitting in the airport now, waiting for my flight back to Denver, there’s lots of things here that are different from my hometown. They seem to really like crab here & that’s pretty uncommon in Denver. There’s also the prominence of Baltimore Raven football clothing, a huge melting pot of ethnic cultures, way more diverse than Denver & i don’t see the marijuana thing here that’s so pervasive at home.

I’m familiar with my home culture, so the contrasts stand out here. Maybe we could also say this for our heavenly home. Perhaps we know in our hearts our heavenly home & this earthly existence sometimes feels foreign to us. And maybe some of the reason for our earthly life is to bring the culture of heaven to earth, letting our relationship with Jesus define our outlook, attitudes, conversations & priorities. Let’s not forget that heaven is our home & let’s be committed to bringing  heaven to earth, genuine love in our daily living 🙂

Posted by Sarah in busy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Watching People

One of the things I really enjoy about traveling is watching people. It’s interesting to see the seasoned traveler, organized & generally relaxed in contrast with those who don’t travel as much & maybe a little more anxious. And of course there’s the ever enjoyable TSA adventure that makes all of us do the carry-on jig, not very pleasant.

When I travel, I see a beautiful variety of God’s creation, in all shapes, sizes, colors, political affinities, ages & expressions.  This reminds me that God loves each person wholly bc God is love.  So no matter how a person acts or what they look like, when I remember God is love, it helps me appreciate each person uniquely since they’re fearfully & wonderfully made in Gods image!

Posted by Sarah in busy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, listen, living, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

5 Values of Process

I like to achieve goals & accomplish stuff. And I recently read about David killing Goliath which was a huge achievement!!

Sometimes I think we can get so goal oriented that we miss or neglect the value & maturation that we gain in the process to achieve such goals. Indeed, David went through lots of process to culminate in the Goliath victory: 

  1. he killed a lion & a bear: don’t belittle “small” victories 
  2. he became super proficient with a slingshot: sometimes what is a hobby or “play” has powerful application in our future 
  3. he knew that Sauls armor didn’t fit a shepherd persona: don’t be anyone but yourself 
  4. he was scrappy with his brother & most importantly: feisty can helps us confront bigger giants
  5. he was confident in God:  let’s not trust anything nor anyone more than we trust God

Let’s value the process & journey not just the outcomes & destinations!

Posted by Sarah in busy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

The Bee Sting

I think this is a bee sting, but it could be a wasp or maybe a blasted flying red ant!! I was sitting on my porch, enjoying a beautiful day when out of NOWHERE some demonized insect stung my big toe & it’s been a no bueno walk.

This is one of the ways that Satan does his demonic work. He comes out of nowhere & tries to sting us to leave residual pain, swelling & compromised mobility. Satans stings can be a health challenge, traffic accident, financial emergency, etc

Here’s some helpful points to neutralize the enemy’s sting:

  • Get the stinger out: recognize the enemy’s attack & take out the main poison
  • Wash the site: clean up any ripple affects with honest dialogue w God
  • Be timely: don’t let an enemy attack linger but deal with it as quickly as possible so it doesn’t fester & spread into other areas

Let’s allow Holy Spirit to help us smoothly walk in life into Gods divine design!

Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, spiritual, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Interior Decorating

Decorating isn’t my strong suit & neither is clothing fashion nor color coordination. So I’ve come to terms with wearing shirts inside out & clashing patterns / colors.  In terms of my house, I was thinking about doing some interior painting & how a color change could possibly improve the ambiance.

Thinking about the whole decorating thing has made me also think about what’s inside me.  I’ve been thinking about this because what’s inside me is what gets expressed externally.  To this end, I get to chose what’s inside me, what I allow to grow in my thoughts, how I see things & my attitude.  This helps me behave & talk proactively rather than reactively. So my interior decorating in my soul is very important 🙂

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

Having Jesus Relationships

I just finished a really wonderful phone call & I’m enjoying the settled & exciting residue of that conversation. As I’m thinking about it now, I’m recognizing God’s fingerprints on both the chat & this friendship.  To recognize & appreciate God friendships, here are a few pointers:

  • differences are delightful but conformity is bland.  Enjoy the journey to discover different perspectives & ways of doing things!
  • trust and transparency are interdependent.
  • communicate for depth & connection, not just information
  • keep forgiveness as a core priority, fresh and authentic
  • pray over your friendships to discern God friendships and natural friendships

David & Jonathon are a great model for a God friendship!  Feel free to read about this friendship for some interesting insights – 1 Samuel 18-20.

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

Being Exclusive

There’s lots of appeal to being exclusive, particularly when we’re included in something “exclusive.”  But if we’re excluded, it’s not very pleasant.  For example, remember the middle school cliques?  Or how about the “process” to be included in a fraternity / sorority?  There’s lots of good feelings to being included & lots of bad feelings when we’re excluded.

I’ve been thinking about the words “include” and “exclude”.  In latin, include literally means to shut in while exclude means to shut out.  I’m bringing this to your attention because God wants to include you in the family of God – to adopt and graft you into the family.  And I think this inclusion can make us all feel warm, fuzzy, loved and accepted!

To this end, if we’re in God’s family, then as a family member let’s continue this value and include people instead of exclude them.  Maybe this would be an authentic way to express genuine love: to be more inclusive than exclusive 🙂

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

Some Sherpa Help :)

A few years ago, I read a book about a guy climbing Mt Everest & what really caught my attention wasn’t the significance of his achievement. Instead, I found myself very interested in the sherpas that make such expeditions possible. Sherpas are individuals who carry the mountain climbing gear along the way, to enable a climber to make it to the top.

From reading that book, I began to think about how God wants to carry my burdens in my daily living. In Ps 68:19 it says, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation.”

Let’s allow God to be our daily Sherpa as we go through

Posted by Sarah in busy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 2 comments
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