hot topic

Hot Topic: Elections, Candidates & Politics

In America, we are in the full season of politics, elections, candidates, ballots, etc.  Two years ago, this space was toxic, combative & divisive on a good day.  I’m grateful that this political season isn’t quite as venomous as the one two years ago and we would be wise to pause and reflect.

Regardless of your political affiliations or bend, I’d like to propose a few questions for your consideration:

  • Have you educated yourself on the issues, candidates, platforms, etc?
  • Are your thoughts and emotions based around genuine love? Is there fear, greed, power, insecurity lurking in your soul that could influence your voting?
  • If someone votes or thinks different than you, can you maintain a respectful conversation?
  • Have you prayed for this election, the candidates, ballots, our nation, etc?

Regardless of how the elections turn out, let’s be committed to express genuine as followers of Jesus!  I say this because of His words in John 13:35, “They will know you follow Me by your love for one another.”

Have an AWESOME weekend!

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

Hot Topic: Successful Outcomes!!

” . . . . and the Lord brought about a great victory.” 2Samuel 23:12
I read this morning about some dude, Shammah, defending a field of lentils. Initially, a lentil field doesn’t sound like something to get really upset about, let alone turn into a major military engagement. But alas, Shammah picked the lentil field & that was his “line in the sand.” This verse also says that Shammah took his stand in the field, defended it & struck down the Philistines. After Shammah’s three actions, taking his stand, defending the field & striking the Philistines, God gave him a great victory.
It seems like we often want to know that God will give us a great victory before we make the commitment to a lentil field or put out the effort to fight for something.
Sometimes I think that God waits for us to be fully engaged & committed before giving us a great victory.
Might there be a few areas in your life to which you could increase your commitment so that God would provide a great victory? This is something worth considering today!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, hot topic, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments

Hot Topic: Inauguration Day

Our nation is extremely divided along many lines:  economically, politically, socially, in morals and loads more.  And tomorrow’s Inauguration is a reflection of these divisions.  I’ve been thinking and praying about this for quite some time, asking God for perspective, wisdom and compassion.  In my prayers, I was reminded of the bloody transition in 2 Samuel from the house of Saul to David.  This transition took many years and was not just a little tulmutuous.  Then I also remembered reading Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.  I was deeply moved by his words & would strongly encourage you to read this

very powerful, insightful and sobering speech.

Let’s be sure to pray these points every day:

  • pray that our nation would experience an outpouring of genuine Jesus!
  • pray for our new President, based on 1 Timothy 2:2
  • pray for yourself to know Jesus’ love for you & to let that flow from you without flaws or distortions

Be sure to share this with your friends by email, FB, etc 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, hot topic, listen, living, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments

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!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, hot topic, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments

Hot Topic: Pivot Gratitude

 

Happy Thanksgiving! In the US, we celebrate being thankful today, enumerating our blessings & acknowledging the abundance that we have. But alas, sometimes the mindset that looks for abundance can get disappointed. Indeed, on this day, we often turn a blind eye to the deficiencies we have, choosing to ignore lack or gloss over the absence of things we want.

Let’s pivot this thinking. Today, I’m not only thankful for what I have, but I’m also thankful for what I don’t have.

I’m grateful that God doesn’t give me everything I want because this would be very destructive to my soul. I’m grateful for struggles & hardships because I don’t develop patience & persistence without such struggles (James 1:2-4). And let’s not forget Paul who was thankful for the thorn in his flesh in 2Cor 12:9ff because this thorn cultivated reliance on Jesus like nothing else in his life.
Let’s not only be thankful for abundance but let’s be grateful for some difficulties as well. And of course, let’s always be mindful to encourage & love the people around us! We can’t always understand their decisions but we can always chose to be loving & encouraging!
Be super clear that I’m thankful for you! Feel free to pass this along to friends & family today! It could be really helpful to lots of peeps!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, cooking, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, hot topic, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments

Hot Topic: Election Day

Seems like today will be a significant day for the political scenario in the US. It feels like our nation has been through a divisive meat grinder & it will be nice to have some reprieve from the political adds on tv, at a minimum. While you & I are likely tired of the disrespectful tone this election has evoked throughout our nation, may we never grow weary of praying for our leaders, no matter who wins this presidential election. Here are three verses you might consider praying everyday for our leaders, regardless if they’re male or female:

  • 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”
  • Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord;  He turns it wherever He wishes.”
  • 1 Samuel 10:6, “Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man.”

These are three great verses to pray everyday for our leaders! Please consider sending this blog to three people who will consider praying these verses for our leaders!

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Posted by sarahbowling in Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, hot topic, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments

Hot Topic: Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton

Last night, I had a friend who tried to give me an earful about one of these presidential candidates. This person asked me for my opinion & I said, “I am choosing not to express my thoughts on either of these candidates because I’ve watched so many friendships burn up from the conflicts ignited by this political inferno. The only thing I’ll say about this topic is that our nation needs prayer like we’ve never needed it before.”

My friend tried to keep talking about the various candidates & I didn’t take the bait, nor will I.
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you have an opinion about the upcoming election & who should be our president. But let’s keep three things at the front of our conversations on this topic:
1 – Are your friendships worth torching because you might disagree about politics?
2 – What happens to your friendships when the election is over?
3 – God is on the throne in heaven no matter who wins or loses in this election

Finally, let’s agree to pray more than worry or fight 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, hot topic, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, values, 8 comments

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. 

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

Hot Topic: Be An Olympian!

I seriously love watching amatuer athletes obliterate records and defy conventional thinking.  In this year’s Olympics, I’ve dropped my teeth on more than one occassion:

  • watching Ledeky become la pescada with her 800m swim that left me speechless
  • seeing Simone Biles defy gravity, celebrating her epic tenacity & talent
  • observing the winning exchange between Nikki Hamblin & Abbey D’Agostino in the 500m qualifying race

The Olympics this year have been very incredible in many different ways.  As I’ve thought about some of stand-out moments & athletes, I asked myself the questions, “In what way would I want to be an Olympian & not just in an athletic context?  How could I be an olympian person in a spiritual context?”  As I thought about these questions, I remembered the story of Perpetua, a third century martyr, who died as she said, “stand fast in the faith and love one another.”  I applaud the athletic achievements that have marked the Olympics this year, but may our love for Jesus and others be every bit as olympian, with the help of the Holy Spirit!

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Posted by Sarah, 0 comments

hot topic: Orlando Massacre

It is very disturbing to read the unfolding news about the mass shooting yesterday in Orlando.  A muslim security guard, armed with a semi-automatic machine gun, entered a gay bar in Orlando and began shooting.  He was confronted by an off-duty police officer and manuevered into the bathroom where he maintained a stand-off for three hours while the Orlando police and emergency services worked to protect and rescue victims from the carnage and violence.  Of course this story is continuing to unfold in the news and I have no doubt more information will come to light over time.

In the political world, various leaders are advocating better gun control laws, some leaders are rallying support for the LGBT community and many leaders are blaming the immigration struggles with which the US is wrestling.

As a follower of Jesus, it is my sincere prayer that my community rallies around the words of Jesus more than the world of hate.  There are some people who would try to explain that because this was an attack on a gay bar, God is expressing His judgement and wrath on the homosexual community.  There are other folk who would seek to ostracize muslims because of this violent atrocity.

Seems to me that when Jesus was hanging on the cross, He didn’t ask the Father to get revenge on these wicked, violent and undeserving sinners.  He asked the Father to forgive the people who violently beat, condemned and hung Him on a cross – the most innocent and pure human to ever grace the human race.   May our words and actions be overflowing with the grace and love that have been so richly lavished on us.  Let us freely give what we have so abundantly received.  We need the Holy Spirit to work into our thoughts and actions the redeeming life of Christ.

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