party

What Is Love?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Do you remember the Valentine’s Day parties in Elementary school?  I’m not sure why, but these parties stand out in my memory, not only for the candy or sugar hearts or oversweet punch, but for the cards and feelings that ranged from warm fuzzies to disappointment or indifference.  I also enjoyed getting the themed variety mini-valentine cards that I’d carefully select to be friendly and lite, but not too sappy.  I figured if I wanted to add any emotional content I could sign, “Love Sarah” and not just “Sarah.”   Of course I had classmates who were very emotional and they always signed, “Love _________.”

I always wondered what these classmates meant when they signed Love with their name.  Did they mean that they loved me?  Did they mean that they loved everyone?  Did they mean that they had warm and fuzzy feelings?  Did they sign love with their name because that’s what they thought they were supposed to do on Valentine’s Day?  And why sign your name with “Love” if you don’t mean it?  Clearly, I had a lot of thoughts about the “love” stuff and felt that this word had an immense amount of weight and importance to it.  Consequently, I was very careful about using the “love” word.

I still feel strongly about this word, regardless of it’s popular usage on Valentine’s Day or how it can be casually used for stuff like chocolate, Chuck Taylor shoes, coffee / tea, reading, Chris Pratt, flowers, NCAA basketball, fireplaces, beaches, Chik Filet, fast cars, etc.  I’m also not overly enamored with the general celebration of Valentine’s Day constricted to merely a romantic perspective of love.  Indeed, this holiday is named after a Christian priest in the 3rd century who was martyred for his devotion to Jesus.

So if Valentine’s Day is when we celebrate love, it seems appropriate to ask, “What is Love?”  I’d propose that Genuine Love is Who God is, based on 1 John 4:8 and Genuine Love is the core motive in God’s choices, priorities, actions and outlook.  To that end, God’s essential mindset toward you is grounded in love, full stop.  This says to us that the original and most accurate love story is experienced in God loving you.

So here are some interesting questions for you to consider for Valentine’s Day:  Do you let God love you?  Do you hide from Genuine Love or see yourself as disqualified or unworthy?  Do you believe that you deserve for God to love you because you’re good or because of your successes and achievements or because you haven’t screwed up too much?

Maybe Valentine’s Day is when we allow God to fully be Genuine Love to us, not allowing ourselves to receive calibrated love by our actions or “goodness.”  This reminds me of what Paul says in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

So let’s choose to celebrate Genuine Love on Valentine’s Day!  You are deeply loved and treasured!!

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Posted by sarahbowling in fellowship, Genuine love, grow, listen, living, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 0 comments

The Christmas Hangover

My house looks like heaps of people threw a party and didn’t clean up after themselves.  We’ve left dishes on the couch, tissue paper on the floor, trails of wrapping paper residue, cups and mugs on end tables and snacks litter the kitchen counter from us grazing types.  When I scan our family room and kitchen, it looks like we had a magnificent party, enjoying everything!  And rightfully so because we celebrated the birth of the Savior of the world!!  We celebrated that God entered human existence as a baby, along with shepherds and magi discovering God’s genuine love displayed in human skin!

How could we not celebrate and party!?!?!!!

So the day after Christmas, my house looks like a party hangover and maybe there’s also some food coma hangover from the sugar, treats and tasty delectable that we enjoy on this special celebration.

Once we get some helpful caffeine in the bloodstream, we’ll begin the clean up and recovery process, restoring order and more healthy eating choices.  And while we sweep, rinse, restore order and prevent bug infestations, I don’t want to throw out the baby with all the cleaning.   Because Jesus’ birth isn’t merely for Christmas and then it’s over.

Jesus’ birth is a great reminder of many things that we’d be wise to continue cherishing in our daily living and pondering moments.  While we clean up from Christmas, let’s keep these treasures readily accessible for our attention:

  • Genuine love:  no one expresses genuine love better than Jesus so it’s good to stay in His love which helps us stay loving.
  • Pervasive peace:  one of Jesus’ titles is the Prince of Peace.  Having Jesus in our hearts can keep us peaceful inside when the world around us could be sheer chaos or deadly silence.
  • All knowing:  having wisdom in our daily living is essential, so looking to Jesus helps us have solutions for problems, answers for questions and provisions for needs.
  • All powerful:  reading through Jesus’ life in the Gospels gives me great assurance that nothing in my life is impossible for Him, including me!
  • Ever present:  maybe one of Jesus’ greatest Christmas presents to us is His presence and He never leaves nor forsakes us!

As we wrap up this Christmas season and begin to close out this year’s activities and responsibilities, let’s be sure to carry over Jesus’ life into our daily existence.  We can do this by grabbing some time in the Bible (maybe read a Psalm per day or grab a daily Bible reading plan from a quick google search), making a playlist on our phone with our favorite Jesus songs, using red lights as reminders to look for Jesus when we’re driving, put a helpful Bible verse on the lock screen on your phone, make a pact with a friend to do daily reciprocal prayer for each other, join a small group at church and heaps more ways!  Instead of a Christmas hangover, let’s have a Jesus carry over, being purposeful to find Jesus in meaningful ways throughout each day!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, Christmas, cooking, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Why is March Important?

Lots of great things happen in March:  Spring Break, NCAA basketball tournament, my brother’s birthday, Spring Equinox & lots more!  So here’s something super fun for everyone who has a birthday in March!  Please check out the link here to see how your birthday could give genuine love & even life without making a giant dent in your time or budget:  heaps of fun!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, family, Genuine love, grow, listen, living, missions, nightcare, relationships, saving moses, values, watch, 0 comments

A God Smile

The other day I surprisingly arrived early for a party & was waiting on the fringes for the festivities to begin. There weren’t many people there yet, which was good for me, so I could get my introvert self in socializing mode. As I was prepping myself, this random dude walked over & was super friendly. Initially, I don’t think I was very cordial, doing that introvert porcupine thing. But as we talked, I learned that the guy had studied Biblical Greek – YAHOOO!!!! Furthermore, as we talked, I learned that he’d also studied Biblical Hebrew – an added boon!!!! He was WAY smarter than me & I totally enjoyed talking with him & learning new stuff. 
The party turned out to be totally enjoyable &

when I finally left, I felt God wink at me with a pleasing smile. 

Seems to me that God enjoys blessing us with stuff He knows that we will uniquely enjoy – making a deep connection with us not only in big things but also in seemingly small perks along the way. 

Remember that God smiles on you this day!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, values, watch, 1 comment

Party prep!!!

In about 2 weeks, we will host a party at our house to thank all of the volunteers at our church for their incredible service & help throughout the past year. So this is a really important party & as such, we make a REALLY MASSIVE effort to be sure that our house is nice, the food is tasty & that we do our best to ensure that everyone feels welcome & appreciated. To that end, we begin our preparation early because it takes a good quantity of work.
Getting ready for this party has caused me to think about what it means to get my heart ready for Jesus’ birth during this holiday season. This kind of makes me think about what it says in Is 40:1-5 about getting ready for Jesus’ arrival. Isaiah talks about 4 things to get ready for Jesus: bring up the low places, bring down the high places, make straight what has been crooked & smooth out the rough spots. So over the next few weeks I’m planning to blog about these items to explore what they can mean & look like in our practical living. Be sure to come along for the ride & watch for Getting Ready #2!!

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Posted by sarahbowling in Christmas, family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, 0 comments