prayer

giant killing strategies

 I read this morning in 2 Sam 21 about the 4 sons of a Philistine giant – some of them were quite fierce.  One of them had 24 fingers & toes (6 on each hand).  Nevertheless, David’s men killed these giants, all members of the same family.  I haven’t read anywhere in the Bible about people killing giants, other than David & Goliath in 1 Sam.  Here are some of the take aways I noted when facing giants:

  • get around other giant killers – they’ll rub off on you 🙂
  • don’t let their size intimidate you – they probably move slowly & may not be very bright
  • giants often have alot of hot air (the devil goes around as a roaring lion)
  • only one place does it describe how anyone killed a giant & that was with David & Goliath;  method isn’t as important as results
  • be on the right side regardless of how things may appear to your eyes or thoughts – the giants were losers when they were confronted by David’s men
All of us have giants in our lives (jobs, families, employers, school, teachers, co-workers, relationships, emotional struggles, health challenges, etc).  I pray that you will intimidate these giants more than you’re intimidated by them.  Indeed, Jesus causes us to triumph in all things 🙂
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Posted by Sarah in living, prayer, spiritual, 0 comments

Soul Enemy

If there was an enemy to my soul (and I firmly believe that there is), what would be the methods he would use to sabotage my relationship with God? Here are some things he has tried to use on me:
*camouflage: blending into the culture around me to disguise himself as something normally acceptable, all the while attacking my identity, purpose & trust in God
*weakspots: looking for weaknesses that I have. These are different for everyone, but could be areas related to emotions, pride, relationships, forgiveness, independence and others
*persistence: the continual attack & ongoing waves of the negative
*distraction: getting me to focus on things that may seem important or big, but in the larger perspective are really quite irrelevant
*communication: trying to get me to listen to the enemy’s voice by making it seem similar to God’s voice, but off just a smidgen

These are a few enemy tactics that he may try to use in you as well. I pray that we remain in Jesus’ light & life to stay far removed from the enemy’s efforts, under the protecting wings of the Almighty 🙂

The enemy will not see you vanish into God’s company without an effort to reclaim you-CSLewis

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Posted by Sarah in enemies to intimacy, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, spiritual, 0 comments

overwhelmed

 One of my first experiences with swimming in the ocean was when I was about 9 yrs old.  I was really enjoying the sand & the waves but when I tried to go deeper one of the waves up-ended me & jammed me into the sand.  It was a really painful experience because I was slammed down on my head, spitting out sand, sea water with burning eyes & my sinuses were overloaded with sea water.  I was thoroughly discombobulated.

I’ve had a few repeats with this kind of overwhelming experience and sometimes, there can be things in our life that can be like my 1st ocean swimming experience – a physical challenge that is overwhelming, or a financial need that slams us into impossible situation, or a family / relational crisis that leaves us discombobulated.  I want to encourage you today that when we hold onto Jesus, He can help us through anything overwhelming.  Consider how my dad helped me with learning to swim in the ocean without getting hurt:

After my wave slamming, overwhelming, discombobulating & ocean swimming experience, I ran to my parents on the beach & they checked me over to see if I was seriously injured.  They saw that I wasn’t, but my dad noted that I was pretty scared to go back & try the swimming thing again & he didn’t want me to live with this fear.  So he took my hand & we slowly walked back into the ocean with the waves coming one after another & I remember being scared but holding onto my dad, super tight.  He was very calming, encouraging & super sturdy.  When a wave might have been too strong for me, I’d grab onto my dad & I knew that I wouldn’t get dumped again because he was so strong.  He coached me on how to walk into the ocean & to time my progress so that the waves wouldn’t be able to pick me up dump me.  Consequently, because of his help, one of my favorite places to swim now is in the ocean.

I’m not overwhelmed by the ocean because I held onto my dad & he taught me to not be afraid, to be strong & to work on my timing.  The same is true with our heavenly Father.  Perhaps this is what the Psalmist is talking about is Ps 42:7-8, “Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers & Your waves have rolled over me.  The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life.”

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Posted by Sarah in Holy Spirit, living, prayer, spiritual, 1 comment

some advice for job interviews :)

 For various reasons, I get to be part of job interviews from time to time.  I was expressing some of my advice to my kids last night at dinner about some important things to do & not do, when interviewing for a job so I thought I’d pass along a few of these ideas.  You are, of course, welcome to disagree, comment & make adjustments with these ideas, but I thought I’d throw out a few thoughts:

  • you only get one opportunity to make a 1st impression, so be intentional about what impression you want to make on people (clothing, resume, intelligent, professional, helpful, etc)
  • be confident but not cocky – present yourself as a person who wants to add value & solve problems
  • if you interview by skype, look at the person on the screen as if you’re having a conversation because you are 🙂  If you fidget, look away, take phone calls, etc this makes the person doing the interview feel like you’re not interested
  • don’t be on time, be early, only if you want to seriously be considered for the job
  • research the company for whom you’re applying – this tells them that you want to work there;  find out what is important to the company
  • if possible, be prepared with samples of your work related to the job interview or with a plan of how you have thought about doing the job for which you’re interviewing
  • pray – everyone needs some divine help 🙂
Just a few ideas 🙂
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Posted by Sarah in living, prayer, 2 comments

i love summer fruit :)

 I totally love the fruits that we get during the Summer – I love peaches, strawberries, cherries, rhubarb, apricots, figs, blueberries, . . . . I LOVE these fruits!!  I love to use them in pies, tortes, grilled, fresh, with cream, . . . . .  There have even been a few occasions when I’ve eaten so many of these that I’ve gotten sick :/  Nevertheless, Summer fruits are delicious!!  These are season fruits that can be harvested in the Summer.  So I try to eat as many of them as I can while they’re available.

But I also think about these fruits in relation to the fruits of the Holy Spirit that Paul discusses in Galatians 5 – fruits like patience, love, peace, self-control, joy, gentleness, goodness, kindness and faithfulness.  I LOVE it when I have these fruits in my life – seems like life is more enjoyable & effective.  But here’s my challenge, I’ve tried to make myself be patient & boy was that a disaster!  I’ve tried to be more loving, only to find myself venting on someone who was undeserving of such wrath.  I’ve tried to be gentle, only to find myself bumbling through emotional land mines.  I’ve come to this conclusion – these things are the fruit of the SPIRIT, not the fruit of Sarah.  With this flash of brilliance, my main objective now, is to live increasingly sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  You see, the more I’m around the Holy Spirit, the more these consequences / fruits become observable in my life and the Fruit of the Spirit far surpasses any peach, strawberry, cherry, rhubarb, blueberry, apricot or fig ,)

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Posted by Sarah in cooking, fasting, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, spiritual, 0 comments

dealing with frustration

 I think our lives go through different seasons & timings.  Some of these seasons are easier than others.  But presently, I seem to find myself in a bit of a frustrating season.  It seems like wherever I look, there’s something messed up, missing or not going smoothly.  I’ve got some kid challenges – dentist adventures, back to school prep, behavior coaching, etc.  I’ve got some work challenges – some changes with how we do our work, some people changes, moving adjustments, etc.  Reece is presently leading a missions trip in Haiti, which is TOTALLY EXCELLENT for him, but adds some pressure on me.  I could continue with my list, but I think you get the gist & you probably don’t want any help to think about your own frustrations.

So here are some helpful thoughts:

  • some frustrations are temporary – when there’s a foreseeable end, it helps to remember that there will be a conclusion
  • deal with one thing at a time – when we pile frustration upon frustration they can get overwhelming;  looking at them one at a time makes them more manageable
  • lessons:  it’s important to ask yourself what ways God might be challenging you to grow in (stop procrastinating, self-discipline, time management, etc)
  • exercise:  there’s alot of merit to getting into some exercise routines to help release stress through physical exercise 🙂
  • escaping isn’t always the answer – sometimes there’s no better solution than to look a frustration in the eyes & deal with it head on;
  • prayer – this is probably my best tool to deal with frustration:  lifting up to God what’s happening or what I’m frustrated about & then listening & watching for His answers & help
May God help us to not be overwhelmed with our frustrations but to keep our confidence in His abilities, love & wisdom 🙂
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Posted by sarahbowling in family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, spiritual, 1 comment

silly fighting

Last week my husband & I did kind of a joint sermon at our church on Marital Martial Arts (MMA) – How to Have a Good Fight with your spouse.  It was a fun sermon to do & as we prepared for it, we had some good laughs at the conflicts we’ve had over 18 years of marriage.  In relation to conflicts, I was listening to my kids the other day & they were fighting about something super stupid.  I think they were arguing about who could sit in the front seat of the car.  They’ve also fought about water balloons, legos, pancakes, etc.  Now don’t get me wrong, our family isn’t always in a perpetual fight.  But as I was listening to the various topics of conflict, it struck me about how stupid are some of the things my kids fight about.  Then it hit me – maybe God thinks that many of the things we fight about as adults are equally as stupid.

  • We fight about control & power, when the reality is that God is all powerful & in complete control.
  • We fight about money & finances, when He is our ultimate Provision.
  • We fight about relationships & love, when He is the ultimate source for our need for love.
  • We fight to feel important & significant, when the only real path to self worth is through Jesus.

Let’s put our energy into growing in our relationship with Jesus rather than fighting about things that often don’t have what we really want & need 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling, 0 comments

time

It’s easier to make money than time – indeed, one could argue that we can’t make time.  So how we use the time that we have can be a direct reflection of our values & priorities.  We all spend time doing the normal things of life:  school / work, family interactions & investments, friendships, working out, reading, etc.  Some of the things in our life are mandatory time demands & other things are discretionary time demands.

In relation to the discretionary time demands, I’ve watched many families over the years fill up their time with sports, activities, etc & every so often, they seem a little frazzled.  Now please don’t jump to the conclusion that I’m opposed to sports, activities etc.  We have our kids in several different things over the course of a given year.  But I think we have to be careful to make decisions with our time that reflect our values & priorities.  For example, my husband & I don’t see our oldest son being an NFL recruited football player.  As such, we have him in flag football over this Summer, but its primarily for the purpose of getting him some exercise & increasing his sports exposure.  My point is that its important for each of us to use our time as a reflection of our priorities & not allow it to be frittered away into oblivion.

I want to give my time to the most important priorities in my life & may God help me to make decisions with how I use my time in ways that are pleasing to Him.

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Posted by sarahbowling in family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, spiritual, 0 comments

how do you think about yourself?

When I was growing up, my parents say that I was generally a pretty easy kid to correct.  I was super sensitive & eager to please my parents, so they often didn’t have to get emotionally ramped up for me to be obedient.  They didn’t need to yell at me or threaten or take extreme measures because I was generally very compliant.  While this was great for my parents, it has been difficult on me from time to time, as I can be SUPER hard on myself.  When I make mistakes or poor decisions, its easy for me to grind myself into the ground & I have to really watch my thinking to prevent a depressing meltdown.

So here’s something God has encouraged me with in the last few days.  In Prov 30:10, it tells us not to slander the servant of another master.  Because I’ve given my life to God, I am His servant and as such, He commands me not to slander His servant – not just others, but also myself.  Does this mean that I ignore my shortcomings & areas that need growth?  Of course not.  But what I think God intends by this verse is that we keep our eyes on our Master, letting Him correct & grow us: sensitive to Him but not slanderous of ourselves 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, spiritual, 0 comments

faith fuel

 Honestly, I’ve been thinking about this blog for a few days because I’m wanting to encourage you & your faith in God.  I think we all need encouragement to our faith at various times.  For example, today I was running some errands & talking with God about some struggles that I’m wrestling with & I was just expressing some honest discouragement to Him.  You, as well, might be able to find an area in your life that has some discouragement – maybe even more than 1 ,)

Anyways, I felt like God encouraged me that walking with and obeying Him require faith.  In my “better moments”, my faith is solid & I’m confident in God.  But I don’t always have, “better moments.”  So for those “non-better moments”, here are a few verses to consider praying each day for the next month to strengthen your faith & fuel those “better moments”:

  • 2 Chron 16:9 “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.
  • Matt 19:26  And looking at them Jesus said to them, ” With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
  • 2 Cor 3:5-6 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as  servants of a new covenant,
  • 2 Chron 20:12,  For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”
  • Rom 8:28,  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose

Be encouraged my friend – God is working in you, as well as on your behalf 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in Holy Spirit, living, prayer, spiritual, 1 comment