genuine love

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 🙂

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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

That’s INCREDIBLE!!!

We have a seemingly insatiable appetite for stuff that’s spectacular, miraculous, outrageous, unexplainable and supernatural.  To this end, we are often mesmerized by miracles, scintillated by supernatural, fascinated by phenomenal and entranced by enigmas.   We revel in God’s supernatural intervention in the impossible and rightfully so!

At the same time, let’s also have awe and gratitude for stuff in our lives that’s not quite so riveting, but essential nonetheless.  When we’re patient, forgiving, encouraging, selfless, . . . . demonstrating genuine love, let’s celebrate that God has done something supernatural in and through us!  God’s work deserves gratitude, recognition and applause even when it’s not quite so scintillating or dazzling!

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

The Encouragement Factor

You can do it!!”  When we do difficult stuff & go through challenging seasons, receiving encouragement can be really helpful!  I see a great example of the power of encouragement when Jonathan went out to David, when David was discouraged & really pressed to the wall. Jonathan’s dad, Saul, was chasing David & trying to kill him, so I suspect that Jonathon’s encouragement was all the more helpful to David. Basically, Jonathan told David that David would become king & Jonathan was very supportive of David.

When someone is in a tough spot, seems discouraged, going through a challenging season or is experiencing setbacks & hardships, let’s be committed to encourage them!  Speaking life & giving hope is what God does for us & can do through us as well!

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

3 Mistakes to Avoid with Friends

As I write this blog, I’m painfully aware that I’ve made more than my share of mistakes with friendships.  I’ve fallen short in terms of being consistent, not expressing myself well, being impatient, insecurity struggles & loads more.

And because I’ve been reading Job for a few weeks now, I’m watching his friends and their interactions with Job, noting some stuff to avoid.  Here are some things that might be helpful to you:

  1. Listen to understand more than reply:  Job’s friends sat with him for 7days before they ever said a word.
  2. Presence trumps absence:  Job’s friends didn’t run away when his life went into a cataclysmic meltdown.  Let’s be careful that we’re not fair weather friends
  3. Compassion is better than criticism:  Job’s friends looked for his secret faults as a cause for his suffering, but they were skinny on compassion.  When our friends go through horrendous experiences, it’s more loving to be compassionate than look for & point out their flaws & failures.

Here’s to friendship & how God helps us grow in “iron sharpening iron” friendships, based on Prov 27:17 🙂

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

Is It Better?

In Cambodia, every year I come to the same neighborhood to check in on some of my friends. Last year when I popped in, I was shocked to see the whole place had been demolished. Furthermore, all of my friends had been relocated several blocks away & now they are living in tin shacks rather than the wood lean-tos precariously perched on rotten wood planks & piers.

So this year, when I visited my friends in their tin shacks I was asking myself if this is a better arrangement?

When we think about change, some of us are more nimble with change & others of us struggle to navigate new stuff. But in order for something to be “better,” I would suggest that it’s helpful to consider our perspective.  If we stay anchored in the past, it can be difficult to see change as “better.”  If we look for the negative in the change, we will most certainly find negative. And maybe it would be helpful to consider that change is one of the methods God uses to help us grow.

Where my friends live now, in some respects, is much better than the past.  But they still face the daily choice to make the best of what they have. This holds true for us as well 🙂

After:

 

Before

 

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

Senses & Values

Presently I’m with our annual Saving Moses team trip to Cambodia & it can be entertaining to watch people’s first reactions to various smells. Some smells like durian, fish paste, roasted garlic & some body odors can be shocking & repugnant. Also, some of the things we see in the slums we visit can be disturbing & challenging to process. So when I person is introduced to a foreign culture, it requires adjusting the senses & some adapting footwork.

In these times, it’s important to keep one’s core values in the cross hairs so that we process the sensory inputs through our core values.

I want my core values to be grounded in genuine love, compassion, grace & encouragement.

So no matter what’s happening with our senses, let’s ask Holy Spirit to help us be value-minded & not merely sensory stimulated.

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

Weak Coffee

My dad used to say, “Weak coffee makes you sick.”  So whenever I can see through coffee, it reminds me of my dad & his helpful observations 🙂

Let’s also think about our Heavenly Father & His helpful observations, particularly about each of us. Here are some of God’s observations that can help us today:

  • God sees you through the lens of genuine love.
  • God says that nothing in your life is impossible.  
  • God has peace for your soul no matter what’s happening around you.

I’d encourage you to listen to God’s observations during this day & you’ll be very encouraged!

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

Working for Good :)

In your life, what seems to be “not good?”  This can be stuff like getting fired from a job, a bad report from the doctor, chronic pain, a bad test grade, broken relationship & lots more. We would prefer to avoid the bad stuff & reasonably so. But bad stuff happens & what should we do about that?

It helps me to remember what Paul said about bad stuff in Romans 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.”

To this end, when we have bad stuff, let’s stay in love with Jesus & true to His purposes in our lives.  Leave the good stuff up to God to work out in your life 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, listen, living, prayer, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, 1 comment

On Being Gracious

There is much to be said for being gracious & all the more so in our snarky & sarcastic society, imo.  There are many times when witty banter is fun & enjoyable. But if our motive is to be superior, dismissive, belittling or caustic, then we should take a pause & adjust. While we can definitely make improvements in our communication, it’s even more powerful when we consider why we might have these negative motives.

What happens on our interior is where Holy Spirit can be illuminating & instructional.

To this end, let’s endeavor to be gracious & give Holy Spirit lots of permission & access to work on our interior living 🙂

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

Measuring Spirituality

In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees, scribes & religious leaders considered themselves to be very spiritual. They ate the right stuff, kept religious holidays & the weekly Shabbat, meticulously observed social protocols, wore proper clothing, prayed with public observation & lots more. From a casual bystander, these leaders paid rigorous attention to religious details, procedures, pious particulars. By the  measures of these religious leaders, they were very spiritual.

Jesus didn’t agree nor did they agree with Him. Jesus was a friend of sinners, drunkards & tax collectors. He didn’t keep to religious protocols nor comply with fastidious piety.

If we measure our spirituality by Jesus’ standards, we’ll be loving, generous, compassionate, encouraging, forgiving & welcoming.  Let’s be careful about what we use to measure our spirituality!

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