redemption

When You Fail

I’ve never met a person who enjoys failing & most of us avoid stuff that has a high risk for failing.  But there are LOADS of people in the Bible who failed, took risks and some had tremendous successes – usually after they had overcome some significant failure hurdles.  Some examples would include:

  • Jacob’s son, Joseph:  failed with his brothers, but became 2nd in command to Pharoah in Egypt & rescued his family from famine
  • Jacob:  tricked his brother & father, but went on to become “Israel” and the founder of the Twelve Tribes
  • Saul / Paul:  gave hearty approval at Stephen’s martyrdom & became the largest contributing author to the New Testament in addition to founding the majority of early churches on two continents

When you fail, keep in mind some helpful perspectives:

  • failing is a verb, but failure is a noun:  one can change but the other is more permanent
  • the greatest lessons often come from failing more than succeeding
  • failing can the essential fertilizer for redemption
  • no failure is beyond God’s power & love to transform into beauty, resurrection, abundance and divine success!
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Posted by Sarah in busy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, nightcare, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Good from Bad

I’m in Bangledesh at the moment, just beginning to explore the situation with the Rohingya, Muslim refugees who have very recently fled Burma to survive significant atrocities & even death. There are likely close to 700,000 Rohingya now in Bangledesh, living under plastic tarps & trying to make the best of a deplorable situation.
Admirable credit goes to the Bangledesh people for being gracious & generous with these displaced people. Everyone is trying to bring some good out of an horrific situation.
Here are some fundamental principles that are useful regardless of the atrocities:

  • Forgiveness isn’t optional – keep your heart poison free
  • Look for the positive
  • Keep your hearts tender to Jesus’ input.

These pictures show some beautiful people & the gorgeous countryside here.

 

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

God Makes a Way

Hard circumstances, unknown terrain, impossible journeys – these are all things in which God specializes.  As you read this, maybe you’re in a financial crisis & Christmas looks impossible;  maybe you’ve received a medical report that’s disturbing;  maybe you have some toxic relational challenges that seem to be never ending;  maybe you’re discouraged or depressed;  maybe you have some work or school difficulties that are bigger than your abilities, time or energy.

Be encouraged today, that God can make a way when there seems to be no way.  Remind yourself of how God delivered the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt:

  • providing a leader, Moses, who was educated & committed to their freedom
  • supernatural signs & wonders (10 Plagues) to break the slavery bondage
  • Passover to establish the relationship between God & the nation of Israel
  • plundering the Egyptians when the Israelites walked out of Egypt
  • split the Red Sea & drowning the enemies who were intent on dragging the Israelites back into slavery

God did lots more when He liberated the Israelites, so be encouraged that you’re not in a situation that exceeds God’s ability to transform nor redeem!  Feel free to share this with your friends to encouage them as well!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, Christmas, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, nightcare, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 1 comment

Redemption in Disguise

“I am Joseph, your brother.” I’ve been reading the story of Joseph in the last part of Genesis & I’m always astounded by the events that led up to these words. There are so many ways this story could’ve taken a bad turn.

  • Joseph could’ve let bitterness settle into his heart & he could’ve cruelly repaid his brothers for their malevolence.
  • Joseph’s dad could’ve died before learning that his son was alive & highly successful.
  • Joseph’s brothers could’ve continued to be the jerks they were with him when they sold him into slavery.

But none of these things happened & when Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers, he was fully committed to keeping his family alive & healthy, redeeming his family in a time of famine & desolation.
Let’s follow Joseph’s example in our daily living & relationships – committed to being agents of redemption, even when others may not recognize the redemption.

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

No Pretending

“The well is deep & you have nothing to draw with.” Little did the Samaritan woman know that her observation about the deep well would foreshadow the deep conversation she would have with Jesus in John 4. Initially, their discussion was about getting Jesus a drink of water, but in no time, Jesus went for the jugular when He told her to bring along her husband & then He read her mail about the litany of failed marriages she had. Clearly, with Jesus there was no pretending.
And I think this value rings true for us today as well. When it comes to talking wth Jesus, there’s no sense in posturing or pretending. It’s better to come to Jesus in full disclosure & entire access. This is an essential ingredient to live in the continual state of healing & redemption that Jesus has for us!! The Samaritan woman went back to her town & declared to them, “Come & see a man who told me everything I ever did!” And thus began the Jesus revolution that turned her town upside down!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, fasting, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Can Gory Be Glory?

In many ways, gory seems to be the antonym of glory and I don’t commonly associate these words together besides the rhyming sound they make.  But there’s a stark and startling place where these words converge into one place and that would be Jesus when He was crucified.

If you saw the movie by Mel Gibson, “The Passion of the Christ”, it showed with disturbing clarity the gory nature of Jesus’ death on the cross.  I’ll never forget how deeply moved I was to the core of my soul when I saw this movie the first time.  As I watched, I found myself repeatedly thinking, “please stop, that’s enough!”  And at the end of the movie, I was entirely unraveled because I couldn’t escape the reality that Jesus endured this excrutiating experience entirely on the pure motivation of genuine love, full stop.

Jesus was glorified in the gory mess of human suffering, sin and sacrifice.  And this continues to give me the assurance that Jesus can redeem human gore and transform it into divine glory, a truth that we would be wise to ponder throughout this weekend 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, missions, nightcare, prayer, relationships, saving moses, seeing Jesus, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments

Redeeming Messups!

I’ve been reading about King David in 2 Samuel lately & this morning I was struck by the severity of his shortfall with Bathsheba.  There are a boatload of things he did wrong in that scenario:

  • should’ve been out fighting with Joab, but he stayed home
  • secretly watched a naked woman bathing
  • continued his interest in her by inquiring her name
  • brought her to his palace
  • slept with her, knowing she was married
  • tricked Uriah, her husband
  • sent Uriah to be killed in battle

Bathsheba became pregnant after sleeping with David, their son was born sick and died after seven days.  This story is an epic tragedy full of death, pain, suffering, selfishness, deception and loads more!  It seems to me that nothing good could come out this whole mess, ever, never and in no way.

Enter Solomon.

Solomon was considered one of Israel’s greatest kings!  He built the temple in Jerusalem, wrote two books of the Bible and was one of the wisest men who ever lived.  Solomon was the son of Bathsheba and King David, after the baby died who was conceived from David’s sin.

Let’s remember that there’s no weakness or failure in our lives that God cannot redeem & make into something entirely glorious!

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, values, watch, 3 comments

Grace for Dingbats

Sometimes I’m smart, but more times I’m a dingbat. I forget stuff, don’t pay attention well, I’m insensitive & definitely say dumb stuff from time to time. But I deeply appreciate God’s grace. 
Indeed, God’s face redeems my dingbat & makes it into something good & helpful! When I try to camouflage my dingbat actions, it usually backfires & makes things worse. So i figures that I have a divine treasure in this earthen vessel (2Cor 4;7), being conformed to the image of Jesus through God’s grace & the redeeming help of the Holy Spirit!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, values, watch, 1 comment

Awful to Awesome


Here in Cambodia, I get to experience awful all the way to awesome & usually all in the same day. This particular trip is even more interesting on the heels of recovering from a concussion. I don’t like that my memory isn’t as reliable, I don’t like the sleep challenges that are more difficult than usual, I don’t like feeling my brain get tired & I don’t like feeling like I’m in continual slow motion. 
But here’s some awesome: I’ve never travelled with a more surrendered group of people committed to expressing Jesus, full stop. I’m experiencing heaps & heaps of grace that keeps me in a perpetual state of gratitude. Finally, I feel like I’m on the cusp of some explosive opportunities that God is about to open. 

Seems to me that redemption is all about take the awful & God turning it into awesome – for you life to be sure!!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, Cambodia, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, travel, values, watch, 1 comment

Thinking about Good Friday

TGIF takes on an entirely new meaning when I think about it in light of Good Friday.  This day marks not only the conclusion of a workweek, but more importantly, Jesus’ crucifixion which was humanity’s windfall.  Jesus’ death on the cross was:

  • the defining moment for humanity’s reconciliation with Heaven.
  • the conclusion of approximately 2,000 years of Law with human shortcoming & failure.
  • the ultimate expression of Genuine Love for an unworthy planet
  • the fertilzer for resurrection
  • the place where our lives receive ultimate freedom, redemption and acceptance

Truly, Good Friday is good and God’s ultimate expression of Genuine Love & I find myself in a state of awe, wonder, gratitude and overwhelming astonishment at such extravagant love.  May Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection work redemption into our hearts, through our lives and reconcile the world in which we live to our loving Heavenly Father.  Today is truly a Good Friday.

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