presence

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

Discourage or Encourage?

It’s interesting that the root for the words, “discourage” and “encourage” is the word courage, which traces to the Latin root for “heart.”  So when we are discouraged, this literally means, “away from the heart”.  And encourage, by contrast, means “into the heart”.  But the common ingredient for both of the words, encourage & discourage, has to do with the heart.

So let’s think about this:  what happens in my heart is only known between God and me.  People can observe the external results of that internal status, but the state of my heart and what happens there is known most clearly by God.  Maybe this is why Solomon said, in Proverbs 4:23, that we should guard our hearts, since this is where the wellspring of life starts.  With this verse in mind, let’s be certain that we are keeping our hearts wide open to God’s presence because this is how we can live in a state of encouragement rather than being discouraged by experiences, conversations and various other challenges that can arise.  Choose to live with God’s presence in your heart, encouraged and deeply loved!

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

Wrapping Presence

It’s defintely true that I can struggle with the right spelling of words from time to time.  But in this situation, the title for my blog isn’t a misspelling.  Instead, it’s an intentional play on words to catch your attention & maybe challenge you to some ongoing generosity with Jesus.

How so?  What Jesus likes more than your words, money, service, clothing, church attendance, etc. is your self.  When we give all of ourselves to Jesus, it seems to me that this gives Jesus the greatest pleasure!  So here are some wrapping ideas for your presence with Jesus:

  • time:  we can give Jesus time in all kinds of ways – as we drive, in those unexpected moments of pause with a cancelled appointment and in the morning / night to be present
  • words:  it’s always good to give thanks to Jesus (for daily things, miracles, unexpected blessings, rich conversations, etc ), as well as some worship for who Jesus is
  • attention:  let’s ask the Holy Spirit to increase our awareness of Jesus’ presence, since He said He’d never leave nor forsake us.  I ask, throughout the day, for help with my focus and attention to sense Jesus

Be sure to wrap your presence with time, words and attention, to give your self wholly to Jesus!

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Posted by Sarah in Christmas, family, Genuine love, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 0 comments

sitting with a friend

Job 2:13, “Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.”

These friends that sat with Job in silence for 7 days were the same friends who were not very gentle in their words to him for many chapters throughout this book.  Nonetheless, it gives me great pause to think that these guys travelled for several days to be with Job at the lowest point in his life.  When they saw how despondent he was, they sat with him for 7days without saying anything.

Their behavior really challenges me to consider if I’m this kind of a friend who could sit quietly with a friend in their greatest time of suffering.  This is the idea of keeping company with someone even when they aren’t very pleasant or enjoyable.  It begs the question, “Am I a ‘fair-weather’ friend, or am I reliable in the skinny / thin times?”  Consider Matt 26:38 & Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

It seems to me that we aren’t very comfortable sitting with someone when they’re suffering or struggling, but sometimes, keeping company with a friend in a hardship is a tangible expression of genuine love.

I like what Mother Teresa said, ““Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.””

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, listen, living, relationships, saving moses, values, watch, 0 comments

Christmas Presence

  
If you look carefully at this picture, you’ll see that Jesus is inside a transparent “box”, made to look like a present. And it’s not a stretch for us to see Jesus as God’s present to us. John 3:16 comes to mind with God loving & giving Jesus to us. 
But let’s think about this in another way: perhaps Jesus modeled for us God’s core desire – presence equals present or gift. 

When we give God our presence, this is one the greatest presents we can give God. Of course money, serving & worship are vital gifts that we give to God, but giving God our presence is the expression of whole hearted love. Let’s be sure to make time in this busy season to be present with God 🙂

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

STOP YELLING – maybe

I’ve learned that typing in all caps in social media is the same as yelling & I’m not attracted to yelling, full stop. Indeed, when I would practice piano & my dad would yell at me for something, I seemed to make more & more mistakes the more he yelled. 
The problem with yelling is that the listener can easily get distracted by the method & miss the message. With my dad, his emotions would get so intense that he’d yell but I can’t really remember what he said. 

  
With saying all of that, I shot this picture last night:  I was trying to concentrate on a really important writing assignment & I kept noticing that the sky was getting increasingly pink. Finally, I stopped my writing & man am I glad I did! As I took a pause to look at this unbelievable sunset, I heard our Triune God whisper, “Thanks for looking Sarah, We love you”. 

God’s message & methods are altogether riveting & I’m entirely addicted to the divine love experience, no yelling needed 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, values, watch, 2 comments

presents and presence

I haven’t wrapped a single Christmas present yet & a few years ago, I didn’t wrap any until 11pm on Christmas Eve – what was the point in that?!???  I don’t think I’m generally a procrastinator, it’s just tricky to remember & find time.  Maybe this year, I’ll wrap our presents soon, maybe.  One question worth a little consideration is what will you & I be giving Jesus this year, to celebrate His birthday.  It seems kind of counterintuitive to give everyone but Jesus a present on Christmas, the day when we celebrate His birth 🙂

So going with the 5 Love Languages idea, here are some gift suggestions for Jesus:

  • affirmation – take some moments to sing one of your favorite praise / worship songs  directly to Jesus or make a brief list of reasons why you love Jesus and tell Him
  • touch – consider giving someone a hug that would appreciate that;  sometimes when we touch someone with genuine love it’s a nice way to communicate genuine love to Jesus (when you do this to the least of these, you’ve done it to Me – Matt 25:40)
  • gifts – think about giving a coat, hats, mittens, socks, etc to a homeless shelter or discretely helping a needy family in your church, maybe make an extra donation to a charity (Saving Moses is awesome – smile)
  • service – every church has extra services, usually, to support the Christmas season:  consider volunteering a little extra to share some love 🙂
  • quality time – consider dropping by a park and taking a brief walk with Jesus or waking up maybe 10min earlier just to give Jesus your presence, which is possibly the ultimate present He desires 🙂
  • coffee – that’s all I have to say on this one ,)

Merry Christmas!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, Christmas, Genuine love, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, seeing Jesus, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

coffee with Jesus

10174921_803160386399804_598511222473935002_n   Coffee, tea, hot water, soda, . . . . . whatever floats your boat, in this holiday season, let’s be sure that we dial in some time and attention to hanging out with Jesus.  Here are a few ideas for your consideration:

  • go through the drive through coffee place, collect your coffee / beverage and then pull into a parking space for a few minutes to enjoy some pause and fellowship with Jesus
  • go to a concert or Christmas production that you have nothing to do with for the simple purpose of being present with Jesus in this season
  • wake up 10-15min before everyone else to be still and quiet – giving Jesus your presence as a present
  • ask the Holy Spirit to help you to pay attention and increase your awareness of Jesus’ presence in your daily living
  • pray with someone, briefly and sincerely, who expresses a need
  • take a walk at night (in a safe neighborhood or park) and think about the shepherds in the field who received the angelic announcement about Jesus’ birth – what a SHOCKER!!!!!
  • be in church – there’s a good chance that someone there will be talking about Jesus during this month ,)
  • do something nice for someone who doesn’t have the ability to repay you 🙂

Coffee with Jesus: God’s divine gift to humanity is Jesus, love in skin                #lookforJesus

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, Christmas, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, seeing Jesus, values, watch, 0 comments

Jesus wept

My son & I were talking this morning about being sensitive to people and their needs.  In our discussion, I was reminded of the story when Jesus came to Martha and Mary after their brother Lazarus had died, landing in possibly one of the darkest moments of their lives.  If you remember, Martha & Mary had sent to Jesus before Lazarus died, asking Him to come & heal their sick brother.  Despite receiving this information, Jesus waited where he was and purposely came to Martha & Mary after their brother died.  Jesus’ delay was extremely disappointing to Martha & Mary (“If You had been here, he would not have died”).  Nevertheless, Jesus had a really insightful conversation with Martha about resurrection & if you have some moments, I’d encourage you to read John 11 to look into that chat between the two of them.

After talking with Martha, Jesus connected with Mary who was a virtual basket case from her grief, disappointment, anxiety and loss.  Jesus listened, watched, observed everyone’s grief and didn’t reply with a cliche’ quick fix answer – “Oh he’s in a better place now,” nor did Jesus try to change the subject, distract everyone with a miracle,  discuss theology with the attending religious leaders, or do the All Knowing God answer.  After taking everything in, Jesus wept.  When you read to the end of John 11, we see that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead so there’s a really unexpected and extremely happy ending to the whole story – but Jesus didn’t raise Lazarus from the dead before He experienced the grief through which everyone was going with the death of Lazarus.

Jesus wept.

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, Martha, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, values, watch, 1 comment

Daily & Divine

You & I have lots of responsibilities & things we have to do. Every day we have the “must do” stuff & even the daily mundane. Sometimes my days don’t seem very divine & yet when I’m attentive, I can see & sense God’s presence. When I ask God to help me in my daily living, I begin to be more aware of God & I see God doing stuff & catch glimmers of God’s influence.
Daily + Divine = Incarnation 🙂

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