surrender

Roots & Reactions

I need to dye my hair roots, soon!  The brown is getting displaced by white & I could look like a skunk very quickly 🙂

This makes me think about how I react on certain things like when I’m impatient with my kids, or prickly with someone at church, snarky with person at the grocery store, etc. 

Here’s the important truth:  how we react is based on the roots in our heart. I say this based on Jesus’ words in Luke 6:45, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”

So let’s pay attention to what is in our hearts so that our reactions can be fruitful results of healthy heart roots 🙂

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

When Plans Don’t Work

Planning isn’t one of my natural strengths, so the Holy Spirit has helped me grow in this area over the course of many years.  I’ve come to appreciate that if I want to accomplish big dreams, then it’s important to develop some plans and structures for these dreams to become reality.  So what happens when the plans don’t seem to work?  Then what?

In the Gospel of Mark, I’ve been reading about how Jesus healed people, often not according to the human contrived plans, i.e,  the Syrophoenician woman whom Jesus calls a dog, the 4 guys who break through a roof to get a paralytic in front of Jesus & the blind guy whom Jesus spits on for his healing.  It seems to me that Jesus almost never follows our human plans, so it begs the question:  why plan?

When you have plans to seem to go awry, maybe these ideas could be helpful:

  • plans help us think in constructive steps to achieve goals & dreams.  No planning = no progress
  • planning with prayer is a massively helpful combination
  • consider Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”

Take a minute to order a copy of my newest book that can help you to stay

In Step with the Holy Spirit!

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

Enjoying Contrasts

I have a child who enjoys classical music & rap. For me, these contrasts don’t match up too well, but to each his own.

I also made an interesting blueberry pie a few days ago where the recipe called for goat cheese & chopped almonds / more contrasts. The pie was like a party in my mouth because of the complementing contrasts: tangy goat cheese & sweet blueberries as well as crunchy almonds & soft blueberries. These contrasts were super pleasant although not something I’d usually consider.

That’s the interesting thing with contrasts: we don’t normally put contrasts together because they often seem to compete rather than blend & complement. But alas, this is how much of following Jesus seems to play out.
For example:

  • Jesus applauded Peter for acknowledging Him as the Son of God but He rebuked Peter for shooting off his mouth;
  • Jesus demonstrates genuine love in the face of abhorrent & brutal humanity;
  • we are to each celebrate our unique gifts & talents while blending them into the Body of Christ for mutual benefit

Navigating contrasts for spiritual growth requires us to pay attention to the Holy Spirit & remain steady in our commitment to genuinely love 🙂

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

Disagreeing with Jesus

I’m deeply in love with Jesus, full stop. There are times, however, that I’m not so whippy on some of the things Jesus says & does. This used to rankle me, until I started thinking about Peter. One day in my prayer time, the Holy Spirit walked me through the various times & ways that Peter disagreed with Jesus: 

  • At the very beginning when he told Jesus to leave him because he was a sinful man (Luke 5:8, after Jesus used Peter’s boat to preach a sermon to a crowd along the lakeshore). 
  • A little later, even though Peter walked on the water to Jesus in Matt 14:30-31, Jesus reprimanded Peter for his doubt from watching the winds & waves & sinking into the water. 
  • In Matt 16:22, Peter rebukes Jesus for talking about His upcoming death. This seems pretty audacious to me, considering that Peter had just declared that Jesus was the Christ / Messiah. 
  • Peter again argues with Jesus on the whole betrayal thing at the last supper in Matt 26:33-35. 
  • Peter disagrees with God with the heavenly vision in Acts 10:11-19 about eating unclean animals & preaching Jesus to the Gentiles. 

Seems to me that it doesn’t make Jesus bite His nails when we disagree with Him, but let’s be abundantly clear that no matter what our opinion may be, Jesus has the final say, full stop. So let’s keep loving Jesus, even when we disagree with Him, from time to time 🙂

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

follow the leader

At some point, all of us have played Follow the Leader or Simon Says, most likely when we were kids.  The first few times, it took me some practice to get the hang of it, but rather quickly, I wanted to be the leader so I could make others do what I said.  That felt really powerful ,)

I remember one of my teachers telling me, “Sarah, if you’re going to be a good leader, you have to learn to follow well.”  Of course, this wasn’t the advice I was eager to hear, even though it felt right in my heart and I still hear these words bounce around in my heart & thoughts to this day.

I’ve been thinking of these words about following as they relate to Jesus following the Holy Spirit in Luke 4:1-2.  These verses describe how Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and led by the Spirit around in the wilderness for 40 days as He fasted & He was tempted by the devil.  When I’ve thought of these verses, they don’t feel particularly alluring nor enticing.  I’d prefer to not wander around in a desolate wilderness and fast for 40 days, nor be tested by the devil.  Yet that’s exactly what happened as Jesus followed the Holy Spirit.  Later in Luke 4, we read about Jesus being anointed by the Holy Spirit, speaking gracious & powerful words and we see Jesus start to walk in the fullness of His earthly ministry.  But all of that came after His committment to follow the Holy Spirit.

When we follow our flesh, it can briefly make us feel good.  But following the Holy Spirit has far better & longer lasting results than any flesh adventure we could choose.  Let’s be committed every day to following the Holy Spirit.

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

Remote Control

  
When my husband & I watch tv together, it’s an interesting adventure. If he drives, it seems that we wind up watching nothing to a conclusion. If I drive, we see too many commercials. Thankfully, we both enjoy watching sports & this helps us find some middle ground that we both enjoy 🙂
But before there were remote controls for changing the volume & channels on TV, we used to physically get up & turn the knob to adjust the volume or watch something different – a more tactile & active exercise than the modern remote control evolution. 

Let’s be sure, however, that we give Jesus “remote control” in our lives. Indeed, let’s allow Jesus to work in our lives so that we watch & focus on the things that are most pleasing to Him. Let’s allow Jesus to drive ,)

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Posted by Sarah in busy, Christmas, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, missions, nightcare, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, values, watch, 1 comment

Hot Topic: Ala Carte

“Extra pickles & no onions” – my burger, my way ala Burger King’s mantra: have it your way. So much of our daily living is structured around being a satisfied customer. This is true to the point that we can almost be conditioned to believe that we get to have everything our own way, including our spirituality. 
But alas, such a perspective in relation to following Jesus is inherently dysfunctional. Jesus said that whoever would follow Him must lay down their life & take up their cross. While there is tremendous satisfaction in following Jesus, walking with Jesus is also the path of total sacrifice. Maybe we can start our relationship with Jesus in ala carte mode, getting to pick & choose what we like, but becoming increasingly mature in Jesus is more about being consumed than being a consumer 🙂  

#selah

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, hot topic, Jesus Chix, listen, living, missions, prayer, relationships, saving moses, seeing Jesus, values, watch, 1 comment

compensate

I’m coming to appreciate what it means to compensate from dislocating my shoulder in early January.  When I injured my shoulder, I tore off some of the cartiledge from the bone so my shoulder muscles have been endeavoring to compensate and they’re getting very tired of doing extra duty for the last two months.  It seems to me that we all try to compensate in various ways for things that we perceive as deficiencies, shortfalls and weaknesses.  And here’s the honest truth:  none of us are all of that & a bag of chips.  We are all flawed, masterpieces in the making, rough cut & ragged on the inside & outside.

So rather than trying to compensate by amplifying our humanity, let’s lean into God, give up some control and trust that God is working in and on us, conforming us to the image of Jesus with the power & presence of the Holy Spirit 🙂

Let’s stop compensating and surrender more 🙂

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

Jesus, take the wheel

For some of us, being in control is kind of important. HA!!!! Who are we kidding?!?!!! Seriously?!?? Many of us have control issues & if you’re exempt from this challenge, then there’s a good chance that you know a few “control” impaired people. Here are some indications that you might have a little bit of a struggle with the control topic:
*if you’re not in charge, you don’t participate
*your idea of teamwork is when everyone does what you tell them to do
*obsessive is only a frame of mind & not a possible reality (this is called denial)
*meticulous is your best friend
*you struggle when someone doesn’t get it “right”
*sometimes “excellence” is a euphemism for control, sometimes

Let’s let Jesus take the wheel & be in charge. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, even though it may feel uncomfortable. There’s nothing wrong with imperfection – it’s called practice. And there’s nothing wrong with letting Jesus be Lord of our daily living 🙂
Jesus take the wheel!

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Posted by sarahbowling in Christmas, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, Martha, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, values, watch, 2 comments

Extreme Adventure

Happy Monday to you, or whenever you read this 🙂

I’m a big fan of having adventures.  I like adventures with food, travel, sports, reading & lots more.  There is, however, one area with adventure that I’m not very bold nor risky & that’s the area of relationships.  When it comes to food, travel, sports, etc, whenever an adventure in these areas gets a little over the top, I know how to manage the risks & how to back off or resolve most of the difficulties.  With relationships, those adventures are more tricky for me to manage.  But here’s something that I’m discovering & learning:  a vibrant relationship with God is the most extreme adventure for which I could ever join.  Indeed, genuine love is bold, risky, thrilling, scary, extreme and audacious!  And jumping into genuine love is like swimming in God’s presence.  So let’s say yes to this adventure and living in an ever deepening & growing relationship with God – the Ultimate Extreme Adventure 🙂

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