Heavenly Help

The Intersection for Resurrection :)

GUESS WHAT?!?!?

Sunday is Palm Sunday, a time of great celebration!  I totally love celebrating this holiday and for this year, even moreso, given the global challenges we’re all going through in this season.  So I’d like to direct your attention away from the news, COVID-19 updates, economic concerns, regional lockdowns, etc.

Let’s take a pause on all that stuff and consider Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday around 2,000 years ago.  It’s interesting that all the Gospels document this important day, but John gives a unique account.  The other Gospels seem to focus on the donkey Jesus rode on, as well as the coats and branches everyone spread along the road for Jesus’ entry.

John, however, makes a different focal point that I think can be helpful for us today.  When you read the account of Jesus’ triumphant entry in John 12, he postured this noteworthy event immediately following Jesus having dinner at Martha, Mary and Lazarus’ house.  Furthermore, John makes special effort to mention several times that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and this resurrection was the culminating event from John 11.  Lazarus’ resurrection was a really big deal, so much that the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Lazarus because his resurrection was becoming a massive rallying point for people to follow Jesus.

I’m bringing this to your attention because Palm Sunday is the intersection point between Lazarus’ previous resurrection and Jesus’ future resurrection.  So let’s consider some points that we can apply for our own resurrection intersection:

  • Past: Lazarus was living proof that Jesus could reverse death and bring life again.  In our lives, it could be very helpful to take an inventory of Jesus’ work, looking over our past.  What places in your life were broken, dysfunctional, sick, unhealthy and even dead where Jesus came along and brought healing, life, health, functionality and vitality?
  • Personal: It’s important to remember that Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead came from the personal connection and relationship that Jesus had with this family.  In fact, Jesus’ relationship with this family started the first time when Martha was busy preparing dinner and her sister, Mary, was sitting at Jesus’ feet as He taught (Luke 10:38-42).  Additionally, when Lazarus got sick in John 11, Martha and Mary sent to Jesus and asked Him to come and heal, “the one You love.”  And as you read the narrative in John 11 when Jesus talks with Martha about Him being resurrection and as Jesus weeps with Mary in her grief and loss, it’s obvious that Jesus had a very personal relationship with this family.  Let’s remember to keep our relationship with Jesus personal, inviting Him to join us at meals, in our daily living and during some private prayer and fellowship with Jesus, since we might have some extra time on our hands.
  • Present: There was a present moment for Martha and Mary when they were very disappointed in Jesus because He didn’t heal Lazarus and He let Lazarus die.  In that present and grief-filled moment, Martha had an incredible conversation with Jesus about Him being the resurrection.  And Mary had an emotional connection with Jesus, in that grief-filled moment, as they wept together.  Let’s take our cues from Martha and Mary in this season, to call on Jesus, talk with Him and let Him join our emotions and concerns, in this present moment.
  • Future: Let’s anticipate Jesus’ resurrection, because Easter is around the corner, as we celebrate Jesus in this season!  There might seem to be a lot of death and  discouragement happening at the present, but resurrection is in the future!  Let’s keep our faith and confidence in Jesus today, praising, celebrating and welcoming Him into our lives!

Hosanna to Jesus!

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest!

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Health and Sanity Check

Well, the COVID-19 pandemic thing has come to the US and lots of us are required to stay at home for at least a few weeks. Yesterday, we had a family meeting with my three teenage kids to discuss what the stay at home requirement means to us.  As you would expect, the extroverts were a little jittery and the introverts were reflective.

As I type this, I’m concerned for each reader of this blog because you are forced to navigate this abrupt change and I suspect it could be difficult for you for various reasons, such as financial struggles, health challenges, social dynamics, future uncertainty and probably more reasons than I could list.  I also think that we might generally be ok with this stay at home requirement on some days and on other days, it might not be so good.  In order to stay healthy in these weeks, here are some key areas to consider:

  • Mental Hygiene – In Proverbs 23:7, it says, “As a man thinks, so is he.”  To this end, we would be very wise to consider not only what we think about (taking an inventory of our thoughts), but to also be careful about what we watch and listen to, since the stuff we give our minds and emotions is what they will absorb and digest.  To upgrade your mental hygiene in this season, consider memorizing Philippians 4:4-8 for some life-giving nutrition.
  • Rental Hygiene – This is a little similar to mental hygiene, but still important because this is a proactive step we can take, to help us come out of this temporary situation with some good results.  What I mean by rental hygiene, is what we allow to rent space in our soul.  It can be tempting to do some Netflix binging, Star Wars or Lord of the Rings Marathons.  But maybe we could make some constructive decisions for this season, like learning a new skill.  What have you always wanted to learn or explore?  Maybe this is the time to drill down into some YouTube lessons for that skill, hobby, or side interest that you’ve wanted to explore.  Let’s also stay physically active with some situps, pushups or some kind of exercise regime because our bodies of the temple of God, so let’s take care of God’s rental property    Additionally, since we’re in Spring, rental hygiene could also include Spring Cleaning (windows, clutter clearing, refrigerator cleaning, culling through the closet, etc).
  • Dental Hygiene – Let’s remember to floss daily, along with brushing our teeth.  In addition, let’s pay attention to our words, what we say and talk about with neighbors, co-workers, friends and family in this season.  What we say is a good indicator of what’s going on in our heart, emotions and thoughts.  Jesus says this in Luke 6:45c, “’. . . . , for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.’”  To this end, let’s fill our hearts with life, genuine love, hope, truth and more than anything, the Lordship of Jesus.

With the unique opportunity that COVID-19 is giving us, let’s make active choices with our daily routines to grow and come out of this with stronger faith and greater confidence in God’s power and love!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, COVID-19, dental hygiene, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, YouTube, 6 comments

Virus Alert!!

It seems to me that much of the world has been taken by storm with the Corona virus.  I say this because of the mass quarantines in several countries, travel restrictions, stock market impact, event cancellations, grocery store raids and the general chit chat on the street with total strangers.  We are wearing masks, buying unfathomable quantities of toilet paper (even though it’s not a digestion virus), scouring our hands and maybe adjusting our work location, as I think about the personal impact this virus is making on our daily living.

To be fair, Corona is highly contagious and way more concerning for older people with health issues than younger people who are healthy with strong immune systems.  So there’s definitely some wisdom in paying attention to our health and being prudent about our interactions.

At the same time, I would suggest that there’s a more lethal virus than Corona spreading throughout the world at lightning speed.  This virus is even more contagious and changes our actions, conversations, attitudes and outlooks.  Furthermore, every human is susceptible to this virus no matter the precautions we take by drinking extra water, avoiding human contact, beefing up our vitamin C intake and regardless of where we live or the access to modern medicine.

This is the fear virus and left unchecked, without observation or awareness, fear can leave us debilitated, lifeless and constrict our lives to hermit existence.  Fear can also distort our perceptions and warp our decisions such that we don’t live out our divine blueprint.

One of the best biblical examples of the mutating and minimizing power of fear can be seen in the life of Saul, the king of Israel that preceded David.  After Saul was anointed by Samuel to be king in 1 Samuel 9, Saul had some initial successes as Israel’s king.  However, in a short time Saul let fear constrict his leadership in ways that prevented him from leading Israel to defeat the Philistines on several occasions, caused him to lie to Samuel and Saul attempted to kill David many times.  When I look at the entirety of Saul’s life and his tragic conclusion, I see a man increasingly controlled by fear which grew to infect every part of his life including his family, leadership and his relationship with God.  Saul died in battle against the Philistines in contrast to Samuel’s initial anointing on Saul to be king and defeat the Philistines.

I would suggest that fear can work in our lives in very insidious ways. When we let insecurity be a deciding factor with decisions, be certain that the fear virus is active in your life.  When we over-achieve to make up for weaknesses or shortfalls, maybe fear has infected our perceptions.  When we refrain from engaging with people (and not just from being more introverted or being super busy), it’s possible that fear is influencing our social interactions.

There are lots of ways that the fear virus infects our decisions, interactions and outlooks.  We can be afraid of failing, getting hurt, making a mistake or poor decision, being rejected and heaps more.  So it’s important to pause, from time to time, and ask Holy Spirit to help us take a fear inventory in our lives, looking at possible decisions that are fear based as well as perceptions that could be fear infected.  Let’s never forget that perfect love casts out fear!  So wherever we sense fear in our lives, let’s nestle into God, Who is perfect love and let God’s love immunize us yet again from the fear virus.

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

Window Washing

I’ve been thinking about some Spring cleaning around our house and this includes some hefty window washing, which isn’t my favorite cleaning activity.  Nevertheless, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me, as I look out the picture window by my morning quiet time chair, our windows desperately need some cleaning attention.

From my point of view, window washing is double work.  When I look at my smudged and dirty picture window, I see the smudges on the inside as well as the dirt and dust accumulated on the outside from the Winter weather.  This also reminds me about some windshield cleaning that I should work on in my car with the same principle.  I’m frequently using windshield washing fluid to clean the outside of my windshield.  But when I take a towel to wipe down the inside of my windshield, I’m often appalled at how dirty the inside can get, although I’m often unaware of the dirt.

This window cleaning necessity can be a parallel with my soul and how my interior can affect my perspective or point of view.  Jesus gives a perfect illustration of this challenge in John 8:1-12, when the Jewish leaders brought Him a woman caught in adultery.  They interrupted Jesus’ teaching in the temple by throwing this woman at Him, shaming and accusing her, demanding that Jesus answer the Mosaic Law, which required that she be stoned for her sinful behavior.  These Jewish leaders were publicly exposing the dirt on this woman (but not the man who had participated in her adultery).

Jesus’ quiet reply to these leaders was a loud depth charge, requiring them to assess their own souls. “He who is without sin can throw the first stone.”  With these few words, Jesus confronted the interior dirt in the souls of these leaders.  In essence, Jesus was requiring the accusing men to take an inventory of their souls before they could externally throw rocks at this “dirty” woman.  In Jesus’ reply to the woman, after the leaders had walked away from recognizing the dirt in their souls, He said that He didn’t accuse her and that she could go free and stop sinning.

This exchange between Jesus and the woman caught in adultery, along with her accusers, has caused me to think about my soul and how I see people around me.  For example, I was playing pickleball at a public rec center and found myself thinking critical and judgmental thoughts about some of the players.  I was thinking about how some of them are mean, snooty, aggressive and even hostile.  Suddenly, I felt Holy Spirit confront me with the question:  Is your point of view distorted or dirty because of what’s in your soul, or are these players really as bad or evil as you think?  This question has been echoing in my soul and helping me question the clarity of my perspective.

It seems to me that Jesus is the only “human” who has lived with clear and truthful perspective and He sees us through the lens of genuine love, because Jesus is love.  So if I want my perspective to be clear, clean from the dirt of accusation, deception, condemnation and fear, I need Holy Spirit to help me walk together in truth (because Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth) and I can ask Holy Spirit to pour into my soul genuine love (Romans 5:5), so I can see people around me accurately through the lens of love.

Window cleaning is reminding me that my soul need love cleaning, to wash off the dirt that my humanity can accumulate, unknowingly from listening to the enemy whisper lies and accusations.  Here’s to window and soul washing!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 1 comment

Next Level Spirituality

I hear lots of talk about going to the next level in a variety of contexts, such as: exercise, cooking techniques, snowboarding proficiency, work commitments, teenage adventures, etc.  It seems to me that when people use this terminology, it’s to emphasize an improvement,  increase intensity or make something more extreme.

So what could going to the next level look like with spirituality?  Maybe “next level spirituality” first requires an honest assessment of our current level.  Who am I now?  What are my present comfort zones?  What do I naturally gravitate to?  It’s hard to go to the next level if we don’t even know what our current level is.

This makes me think about the first time Jesus met Peter, in Luke 5, when Peter was mending his net after a discouraging night of fruitless fishing.  While Peter was net mending, Jesus borrowed Peter’s boat & preached to a big crowd.  When Jesus finished, He told Peter to put his boat out to catch fish, which Peter did & caught a boatload of fish!!  I think Peter recognized a stark contrast between Jesus’ teaching & his own spirituality because of how he replied to Jesus after the miracle catch of fish.  Peter said to Jesus, “Away from me, for I’m a sinful man.”  And I love that Jesus invited Peter to the next level of spirituality, by answering, “Follow Me & I’ll make you a fisher of men!”

Peter responded to Jesus’ invitation by dropping his net, leaving his boat & following Jesus for almost three years.  I’d venture to say that Peter’s spirituality went into hyper-drive, getting to spend 24/7 with Jesus for these years.  In Peter’s next level spirituality, he had some incredible experiences like walking on water, distributing miracle provision bread & fish, seeing innumerable healings, along with some resurrections and heaps more.  At the same time, Peter’s next level spirituality also included some defeats, such as arguing with Jesus about denying Him, sinking into the water when he was distracted by the winds & waves, falling asleep in Gethsemane when Jesus most needed him, along with cutting of a servants ear when Jesus was arrested.

But I would suggest that the best way we can evaluate our spirituality and go to the next level is seen in Jesus’ conversation with Peter, in John 21, after His resurrection.  This conversation happened within a few days of Peter vehemently denying Jesus, Peter failing to keep watch with Jesus in Gethsemane because of being sleepy & after he cut off somebody’s ear.  Shortly after these failures, Jesus shows up on the shore of Galiee.  When Peter knows it’s Jesus, he  throws himself into this sea, so he can swim to Jesus, who is waiting on the shore with a toasty fire, fresh cooked fish and bread, a ready breakfast for hungry fishermen.  The subsequent  conversation that occurred between Jesus & Peter was all about genuine love.  And in my thinking, the highest level of spirituality is rooted in living genuine love.  I say this because of Jesus’ words in John 13:35, “People will know that you follow Me by your love for one another.”

Let’s be careful to appreciate that miracles are cool, character is vital, but genuine love is essential for next level spirituality.

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Posted by sarahbowling in fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Divine Provision

“What do you need?”

Last week, I returned from a whirlwind journey to Thailand and Bangladesh with Saving Moses.  It was a phenomenal trip, getting loads of things accomplished, meeting new people, catching up with established friendships, seeing the work we’re currently doing and looking at possible new places.  The trip was very successful in the sense of accomplishing lots of work.  In terms of the physical and emotional grind for me, it was a very difficult trip, with lots of overnight flights, significant time changes, funky food (which I LOVE) and seeing and experiencing very horrific things relating to babies and toddlers.  By the time I landed back in the US, I was entirely exhausted, having travelled non-stop for more than 30 hours, 5 flights and navigating a 12 hour time change.

This isn’t a “poor me” blog, but rather I hope to give you some fresh perspective on God providing for us.  When we think about the question, “What do you need?”, it seems to me that we’re often quick to answer with some kind of money response.  In our answer, it’s often  automatic that we think about paying off various loans, paying our bills, buying something necessary or helpful.  But if you asked me what I needed last week, I would have immediately replied that I needed time and rest.

I needed to catch my breath and that’s exactly what God gave me last week.  When I landed in the US, my schedule was organized such that I had two nights away from my home to accomplish some important business meetings, which weren’t long or grueling.  This time was massively helpful for my body and sleep to make some initial adjustments for getting back into my home culture and time zone.

In relation to divine provision, it says in Philippians 4:19, “God supplies all of our needs, according to His riches in glory, . . . “  This verse can encourage us in several ways.  To begin, it’s very helpful to establish and remind ourselves that God is our provider and the ultimate source for everything we need.  To this end, we must consistently remember to see God as our provider and not our paycheck, job, intellectual abilities, relationships, physical strength, etc.

Additionally God can give us what we need in lots of different ways: money through our job, wisdom through a conversation, book, blog, podcast, time through a cancelled appointment, creative solutions to a problem and inner strength to carry on.  How God supplies our needs is best left in God’s hands for God’s methods.

Finally, it gives me great confidence and comfort to recognize the divine timing element for divine provision.  I bring this to your attention because of God providing a ram in the thicket for Abraham at the exact moment of his greatest need, in Genesis 22:10-13.  The timing element was very clear to me last week, when God gave me some breathing room to recover from a very intense and effective trip.

Regardless of what you need, make the decision to keep your eyes focused on God and choose to trust that God is good, timely, creative, loving and abundant in divine provision!

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

New Day, New Year, New You!!

“I got a new car!!!”  I’ll never forget my first new car nor my enthusiasm and commitment to take very good care of my new car!  I was massively devoted to doing the regular oil changes, using good fuel, doing a routine fuel injector and driving to loud music and the sunroof down to accentuate the cool factor.  This car was really special to me because I had a chance to do everything right that I’d done so wrong with my first car.

The first car I bought had about 65,000 miles on it and was more than ten years old.  It was a stick shift and the color was burnt orange – pretty ugly, but good for a sixteen year old.  On this car, I learned about grinding gears because I’d never driven a stick shift before.  I had no clue about fuel choices nor regular oil changes.  I accidentally drove over a concrete parking stop but didn’t know enough to look at the oil pan for a possible leak, which of course became a costly repair after most of the oil had drained through the leak.  I learned a lot about car maintenance on my little burnt orange treasure and I’ve put my mistakes and lessons to good use ever since.

I’d like to suggest that we could use the same strategy from last year’s lessons for this new year.  Before we leave this year and close the chapter on this decade, we would be wise to ask Holy Spirit to teach and show us lessons and mistakes so that this upcoming year and new decade can be better or at least different.

When I think about a new start, it reminds me about Jacob in Genesis 32 and his experience of leaving Laban (his father in law) after working for him for twenty years.  In this chapter, Jacob is making a fresh start in his life, having closed out the preceding two decades.  In his fresh start, Jacob had an all night wrestling match with the Angel of God.  Jacob was overpowered in this wrestling match, having his hip dislocated, but he refused to let go of the angel, who changed his name from Jacob (deceiver) to Israel (one who wrestles with God).  With this name change, I’d propose that Jacob became a new person, in a new place and settled in his homeland.

Looking at this new beginning for Israel, I see that he deeply valued God’s presence even at great physical expense to himself.  I also see that he let go of Laban and any expectations or links he had with him – he totally closed that chapter of his life.  When Israel looked forward into starting a new chapter, he came to terms with the wrongs he’d done to his brother twenty years earlier and we see him walk in a steady commitment with God for the rest of his life, no matter the twists, pains, joys nor losses.

There are lots of lessons we can learn from the past and good lessons, if we let Holy Spirit be our teacher.  But if we don’t let Holy Spirit be our teacher and just settle for self-education, it’s very possible that we could learn the wrong lessons.  Additionally, no one knows you better than your Maker, so letting Holy Spirit teach you is essential to being your true self – the real you!    As we finish out this year and decade, let’s make two resolutions:

  1. To let Holy Spirit be our teacher, being committed to learning lessons from Holy Spirit
  2. To stay committed to God, no matter what the future has. We can do this by taking one day at a time.

Feel free to share this blog on your social media stuff to help others have a great new start!

Happy new day, Happy New Year, New Decade and New You!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 1 comment

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

Proper Care and Feeding for an Introvert at Christmas

There are many fantastic things about Christmas, including:  wonderful music, festivities, eggnog, generosity, beautiful lights and lots more!  Of course, the best thing about Christmas is thinking about Jesus coming into human existence as a newborn and the whole Christmas story.  When I ponder Jesus’ birth and the surrounding events, like the angelic visitation to the shepherds and magi following a star, I’m deeply awed when I consider all of this as a vibrant expression of God loving humanity.

But alas, sometimes Christmas can get swallowed up in the frenzy of parties, cookies, concerts, caroling, wrapping, decorating, shopping, baking and heaps more.  And coming from an introvert’s point of view, sometimes Christmas can be overwhelming.  So if you know an introvert (coworker, family member, spouse, neighbor, classmate, etc.), here might be some helpful suggestions that could sooth that introvert and keep them less prickly.

  • Space:  whenever introverts have heavy obligations or frequent demands (office parties, school programs, Christmas concerts, secret Santa exchanges), they will need space (breathing room) to offset these expectations.
  • Quiet:  loud Christmas music, raucous parties and blaring noises can necessitate some quiet for your introvert.  They can struggle if noise (background TV, carols, concerts, programs) seems to be endless.
  • Solitude:  Christmas is a social season and while introverts can be social, it’s helpful to remember that they recover and get refueled with solitude or quiet company
  • Depth:  Lots of times Christmas overflows with superficial conversations about the weather, getting shopping done, being ready for Christmas, kids activities, reindeer accessories, etc.  Introverts flourish in deep conversations and shrivel in the shallow exchanges.
  • Feeding:  sometimes you can lure an introvert from their den with a plate of cookies, or their favorite snack J

My daughter and I were talking about the whole introvert and extrovert Christmas experience and we both enjoyed chatting about these respective viewpoints and how we process Christmas.  No matter if you’re an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, Christmas is the celebration and evidence of God expressing genuine love for humanity.

And as we think about Jesus’ birth, I’m often riveted by the shepherd’s experience in Luke 2 because maybe they were introverts, keeping watch over their sheep in a field at night.  Shepherds at this time in history lived a more solitary existence, since sheep required abundant pastures for foraging, along with quiet brooks for clean water.  And when their work had become the most quiet and settled, in the night watches, they were freaked out with an angelic visit, complete with God’s glory shining around them.  Of course, the angel, Gabriel, told them not to be afraid, because they were astounded!

Furthermore, after Gabriel’s announcement, heaps more angels popped onto the scene with singing and celebration – an incredible divine interruption and display of jubilant revelry!  The shepherds responded to this experience by hustling into Bethlehem to find the baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger.  I’m pretty sure that Mary, Jesus’ mom, was somewhat surprised to see these strangers celebrating her sons’ birth and maybe she was also an introvert, pondering these things in her heart.

Whatever your personality is, let’s remember that Jesus’ birth is the crosshairs for Christmas and let’s stay in grateful awe of God’s extravagant genuine love for us, personified in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s Son.

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, Christmas, cooking, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, relationships, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 1 comment

The Healing Journey

I have a friend who sustained a concussion a few months ago and as I watch him recover, I’m reminded of my own concussion recovery journey from a few years ago.  My concussion happened from a bad fall when I was snowboarding and the healing process took far longer than I anticipated, so I learned a lot about this over the duration of this journey.  Of course we all prayed and asked God to instantly heal me or at least make the healing happen super fast, but alas, my healing took longer than I anctipated.  And the healings that happen immediately or on the fast track speed, we revel and celebrate such miracles!  But what about a healing journey, that might not be the speedy miracle?

When I think about a healing journey and the healing process, I’m reminded of Jesus healing the man who was born blind in John 9.  This dude was begging at the temple gate in Jerusalem when Jesus happened upon him.  The “Spark Note” version of this healing is that Jesus told him to go to a pool and wash off some mud Jesus had put on his eyes.  He did this and was healed!  For the first time in his entire existence he could SEE!!!!

Not only did Jesus heal blind eyes, crippled legs, leperous skin, deaf ears and lots more physical maladies, Jesus also healed broken hearts, fragmented personalities, poisoned emotions, dysfunctional thoughts and hopeless mindsets.  So in our healing journey with Jesus, let’s be open to Jesus being our Healer in not just physical ways, but throughout all of our existence!  Our journey with Jesus can be a healing journey, regardless of the speed of that healing.

Returning to the man born blind, just because this seemed to be a speedy healing, doesn’t mean there wasn’t a journey for this man and maybe we could learn about this journey for our own healing!  Here are a few things to consider for a healing journey:

Jesus:  I certainly can recognize the value of modern medicine, education and nutritional wisdom, but let’s keep in mind that Jesus is the ultimate healer.  Let’s acknowledge that Jesus is our healer and He can heal us in lots of different ways / methods.

Journey:  Jesus told the blind man to wash at the Pool of Siloam and this was quite a bit of distance for the blind man to walk.  We don’t know the path he took to walk more than half a mile, but I’d suggest that his journey was part of the healing process.  In my own healing journey, I’ve found that sometimes there are huge steps forward and sometimes there are some unexpected setbacks, twists along the journey and maybe some hairpin curves.  No matter what, I just figure that I’m moving forward and I’m getting better 🙂

Time:  In our instant society, our appetite for slow, methodical, steady and incremental can evaporate in seconds.  It’s unfortunate that we’ve grown accustomed to getting what we want now!  Maybe we would be wise to think about time as an essential ingredient for the healing journey, since we don’t know how long it took the blind man to make his journey to wash off the mud on his eyes.

The blind man was healed by following Jesus’ directions, regardless of the time and difficulties he experienced, And let’s consider that our healing journey might go through some setbacks and take a little longer than we anticipate.  But no matter what, let’s keep walking with Jesus into His magnificent healing in our lives!

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