encouraging

Deeply Rewarding

It’s 5:30pm here in Bangledesh & I’m listening to happy little voices singing & chattering in the room behind me. So everything in me is smiling & deeply fulfilled. 

Last year, I came to Bangledesh four times & we worked really hard to open nightcare for the largest brothel in this country. Tonight, I’m sitting in our nightcare center & enjoying the sights & sounds of our firsts nightcare in this country. Nightcare is one of the things Saving Moses does, where we look after the babies & toddlers of sexworkers while they work. Without our center, 80% of these kids would be on the bed with their mom as she works. 

And this is the nature of nightcare – it’s deeply rewarding & painfully tragic, a roller coaster of rich satisfaction & abysmal horror. 

And tonight I’m celebrating progress & the power of genuine love. 

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

Bring Out the Best!

I was in a parking lot today and watched the drivers from two cars get in a honking battle.  They concluded their exchanges with middle fingers, yelling and mean looks.  I would suspect that perhaps these drivers have different sides to their personalities, such that they don’t go through their lives everyday with expletives, middle fingers and combative behaviors.

Just because someone is hostile or cranky with us doesn’t mean that we have to repay the same acrimony.  Indeed, such moments are opportunities to do a quick heart check on ourselves and choose better.  Furthermore, we can go the extra mile & look for constructive ways to bring out the best in people.  Here are some suggestions for your consideration:

  • encouragement, gratitude and polite words make a comfortable runway for others to be gracious
  • a soft answer turns away wrath – Prov 15;1
  • forgiveness is a decision to reflect God’s DNA in us, since we are liberally forgiven even more than we realize
  • what a person “deserves” is best left in God’s hands, since we are commanded by Jesus not to judge in Matt 7:1

Let’s endeavor to bring out the best throughout our daily exchanges!

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

Brush Your Teeth :)

A few months ago, I was in Angola with Saving Moses & I forgot my toothpaste, so I bought some Angolan toothpaste & it’s not my favorite.  I can appreciate that you might think I should know better than to forget toothpaste, but that’s a conversation for another blog ,)

A few helpful thoughts about tooth brushing:

  • Halitosis / AKA:  bad breath – when some people open their mouths, bad things happen.  Nothing sweet comes out in words or smell.  So let’s put good things in our heart, so that sweet comes out of our mouth, based on Proverbs 10:11
  • Furry Teeth:  brushing off the plague and residual food helps our smiles be warm rather than unnerving or distracting.  And Proverbs 12:14 speaks to the importance of mouth maintenance
  • Bacteria removal:  bad things happen when bacteria builds but & removing it daily from our teeth preserves our ability to continue using our teeth.   Proverbs 12:19 helps us appreciate the importance of keeping truth in our mouths 🙂
  • Preventing enamel & tooth decay:  hurtful & destructive words set into motion negative things in our lives, so let’s be mindful of James 3:1-12 to keep our lives overflowing with love & life!!

Feel free to send this to your friends & share it on FB as a helpful reminder about keeping a sweet mouth with life-giving words!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, 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

A Little Sugar


The proverbial sugarbowl

I like savory over sweet but in my family, certain members prefer sweet to savory. For example, if I set out a jar of dill pickles some of us could empty that jar lickety split. On the flip side, I could easily forget about some ice cream in the freezer for months while other members of my family wouldn’t let the ice cream survive until the morning. 
Regardless of your taste preferences, there are occasions when a little sugar is always nice:

  • When someone is having a bad day, being sweet can sometimes make the day better for them
  • When someone is angry, Proverbs says that a soft answer turns away wrath
  • Encouragement is a little bit of sugar & I have yet to meet a person who abhors encouragement
  • Soft, gentle, sweet & sincere words can be helpful in any relationship, but perhaps we can the most benefit from giving sweet words more than receiving them

Let’s add some sugar to our interactions today 🙂

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

A Little Sugar


The proverbial sugarbowl

I like savory over sweet but in my family, certain members prefer sweet to savory. For example, if I set out a jar of dill pickles some of us could empty that jar lickety split. On the flip side, I could easily forget about some ice cream in the freezer for months while other members of my family wouldn’t let the ice cream survive until the morning. 
Regardless of your taste preferences, there are occasions when a little sugar is always nice:

  • When someone is having a bad day, being sweet can sometimes make the day better for them
  • When someone is angry, Proverbs says that a soft answer turns away wrath
  • Encouragement is a little bit of sugar & I have yet to meet a person who abhors encouragement
  • Soft, gentle, sweet & sincere words can be helpful in any relationship, but perhaps we can the most benefit from giving sweet words more than receiving them

Let’s add some sugar to our interactions today 🙂

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

Hot Topic: Get HELP!!

Changing a tire, smoke alarms, sermon advice, editing with writing, parenting struggles, matching clothes, staying patient, . . . . these things barely scratch the surface of areas where I need help.  Admitting that I need help is a very big struggle for me.  So when Jesus said in John 14, that He would send His followers another Helper, I always thought, “That’s nice.  I hope some folk benefit from that help.”  I never really thought I needed “help” until I began digging into Jesus’ words to His disciples at the Last Supper in John 14-16.

Having studied and prayed about Jesus’ words in these chapters, I have become unraveled and undone, full stop.  So I wrote a book about this & you should buy it, now (pre-order) before it becomes back-ordered.  Actually, order at least 5 books because it’s awesome for small group discussions, book clubs and giving away as gifts 🙂

Here’s some helpful resources to look at:  Heavenly Help

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Posted by sarahbowling, 1 comment

this is super encouraging & short!

Take a minute to watch this really heart-warming & very encouraging video 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in Angola, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Jesus Chix, listen, living, missions, saving moses, travel, values, watch, 1 comment

doubting & believing

This morning, I read the story of Doubting Thomas & how he didn’t believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he had physical proof for himself.  Despite what Thomas’ friends told him, he made the adamant position that unless he saw the nail prints in Jesus’ hands, put his finger into the nail prints & touched Jesus’ side where He was pierced, he wouldn’t believe.  Thomas’ belief had 3 pre-qualifiers, all based on physical evidence.

It’s interesting to me that we don’t read about any of Thomas’ friends getting cranky with Thomas for his unbelief – despite all of them following Jesus for 2+ years and seeing all kinds of crazy miracles.  But no one criticized nor chastized Thomas for doubting – maybe they accepted the truth that Thomas was on a journey of faith, not much different from their own journey.

Just because someone is at a different place in their journey of faith doesn’t give us the right to be critical of their lack of faith, anymore than we would want someone to criticize us for some faith deficiencies & shortcomings.  Let’s decide to encourage each other in our journey of faith & not throw rocks when someone is struggling with unbelief – indeed, faith works by love ,)

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments

cheering!!!!

With some maternal encouragement (always the sports enthusiast that I am), my daughter decided to play soccer this Spring for the 1st time & she has really come to enjoy the experience.  While her first game was absolutely traumatic, it’s been an awesome learning curve for both of us.  Possibly her greatest take-away so far (we might be in the playoffs), is to not quit.  There’s lots to say about that, but that’s her story 🙂

For me, probably the greatest take-away is to stay positive.  My sideline role is to cheer, be encouraging, stay positive & upbeat, even when it seems discouraging.  Another take-away that I TOTALLY love is that while I’m limited to a sideline role of cheering, the Holy Spirit in our lives doesn’t have to stay on the sidelines, but can have an active & integrated role in helping us with our daily living.  Of course the Holy Spirit cheers for us, but let’s know that there’s lots more that the Holy Spirit can do in our lives, particularly when we let down our preconceptions, guards and boundaries 🙂

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