welcome & thanks SO MUCH!

This is just a quick post to welcome everyone who has recently started reading this blog!  I’m loving reading your comments, feedback & thoughts & am just BLOWN AWAY by your insights, kind words & depth.  There is lots of richness in my soul from your interaction & comments – thank you so much for reading, reflecting & taking the time to respond w your comments!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!  You’re sharpening my walk w God & helping me to go deeper w Him.  I’m amazed, humbled & grateful!

I also twitter, if you’re into that (sarahbowling) & i’m on facebook if you dig that 🙂

Humbly, I say thank you

God is

I really dig my friends & i’m just rocked by God’s love that He expresses through these friendships.  i’m astounded at God’s patience w me as He helps me grow.  i’m astounded by God’s beauty expressed through the snow.  i’m astounded by Gods’ provisions that always find a way to meet me in all the places of need that i experience.  i’m astounded by God’s presence that i experience in a variety of ways, from flying on airplanes, to worshipping Him w my ipod, seeing Him through my kids & sensing His whisper to me in various conversations. 

contentment is in Him.

seek 1st God’s Kingdom & His righteousness

imported-photos-00018Ok, I’m speaking tomorrow night on Matt 6:33 – seek 1st God’s kingdom & His righteousness & all these things will be added to you.  The previous verses are when Jesus tells us not to worry.  So with that in mind, what do you think Jesus meant when He said to seek 1st the Kingdom AND God’s righteousness???  Please leave a comment – would enjoy getting your feedback! 🙂

limping to victory

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when Jacob wrestled w the angel / God in Gen 32.  This interaction always captures my attention & I find myself thinking about this wrestling match several times throughout any given year.  I was talking w a friend today about what happened to Jacob after his wrestling match that left him w a limp: 

  • he was reconciled to his brother & father
  • he returned to his homeland
  • restored & ramped up his walk w God
  • transformed his name – character

Rightfully so, no one likes pain or hardship.  But with God, hardship & pain can really be used by Him for some quite spectacular results!  Consider – all things work together for good to those who love God & who are called according to His purposes.  Our goal is to love God & stay in the groove w His pruposes in our lives.

ambition & presumption

I think God gets blamed for alot of bad decisions, egos gone awry, human initiatives draped in religious verbage and other silliness.  This morning, I read about the Israelites deciding to try & conquer the Promised Land after their royal disaster w the 12 spies & their bad report.  In Deut 1:43, it says, “So I spoke to you; yet you would not listen, but rebelled against the command of the LORD, and presumptuously went up into the mountain.”  The Israelites presumed they could conquer the Promised Land even though God wasn’t w them & they were thoroughly routed.  They thought they were something that they were not.  Sometimes ambition without divine intervention can do that to us.  We can get pretty high on ourselves – all of that & a bag of chips! 

After getting knocked down several times, royally screwing up from time to time & often sticking my foot in my mouth, among many other humorous antics too numerous & embarassing to enumerate, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is enough for me to aim at knowing Christ, full stop.  It is my ambition, my life goal, to know Christ and to know Christ in the context of daily living.  I think that’s enough. 

What about you???  What are your ambitions???

full of love

i awakened this morning to have a rich experience w God’s love.  He expresses His love to us in many different ways & forms – consider the beauty of a sunrise, the glories of Spring & new life, the crisp morning air that wakens your senses (ears, nose, eyes) to His abundant creation – all expressions of His love for you.  How about this – God expresses the variations of His love for you in the contexts of various relationships you have: friendships, family, kids, parents, spouse, etc.  Even more cool than that, if you are missing any of these contexts (spouse, parent, etc), He still invites you to experience His love in this context through His Word & presence in your life.  I’m simply astounded by the immensity & intensity of God’s love.  I pray that you would experience just a small taste of His love for you through this blog to entice you to be still for more.  🙂

an idea to combat worry

i did a message Wed night on worry & it fit EXTREMELY well into what i’ve been going through lately.  To add onto it, i’ve also been studying Philip 4:6-8 where Paul talks about some good strategies to combat worry.  He starts off in vs 6 telling us not to be anxious but to offer our requests to God w prayer & supplication with thanksgiving.

Here’s my take away on this:  whatever we’re worried about, we need to take to God ALONG WITH at least one thanksgiving, something for which you’re thankful.  I think this is an interesting dynamic to keep the proper balance between requests & gratitude.  So all that being said, here are a few things I’m thankful to God for:

  • His grace – overwhelms my brokenness
  • His patience – again
  • His love – boundless & without condition
  • a fresh hair cut
  • nitrate free hot dogs
  • God’s invitations to me, throughout the day, to be with Him
  • His tenderness & willingness to help me grow
  • His immensity with gentleness

Got anything to be thankful for??? 🙂

worry & solutions

Worry is a big deal – everyone has struggled w worry to varying degrees.  If you are presently in a good frame of mind, its easy to say, “don’t worry, just have faith.”  However, if you’re having any struggles w life issues, then it doesn’t seem to be quite so simple, at least not for me.  Something that I’ve found helpful is in Matthew 6:25-32 when Jesus talks about not worrying.  In these verses, Jesus singles out worrying about clothing, food, drink & time – but I think that His main thought in these verses deals with us not worrying.  When Jesus tells us not to worry, He points our focus to God’s creation (birds & lillies) – thereby taking our attention off of the thing(s) we worry about.  But even better, in verse 33, He tells us to focus our attention on God. 

Personally, I find this to be really helpful when there are worry issues that try to plague me.  While I think its really important to not bury my head in the sand & ignore problems, I also know that if various problems make me worry, this isn’t good either.    It is very important that my thoughts are surrendered to Jesus’ Lordship – 2 Cor 10:5.  So if you’re struggling w sorry, consider memorizing Philip 4:6-8 to help immunize you against the worry disease.  🙂

ever worry about anything???

Today, these are some of the things I worried about:

  • Isabell having a sore throat
  • David’s bday party this weekend
  • my message on worry that i’ve been working on (now that’s funny!)
  • work & people issues
  • getting my schedule mixed up (i was trying to remember what day of the week it was at 530pm – that’s sad)
  • the baked chicken being raw (long story)
  • finances

Most of us have our list of “concerns”, worries, uncertainties, etc.  Here’s something interesting to consider, of the things that we worry about:

40% — are things that will never happen

30% — are things about the past that can’t be changed

12% — are things about criticism by others, mostly untrue

10% — are about health, which gets worse with stress

8% — are about real problems that will be faced

 

There are many places in the Bible where we’re told not to worry but to trust God.  So with this directive, what are some things that you’ve found helpful in learning not to worry?  I understand that we’re all growing & not so many of us have achieved “worry-free” living – but if you could share some of your ideas, they could probably help others who read this blog – just leave a comment above.  Thanks!! 🙂

Lord’s Prayer & forgiveness

Everyday, we get the chance to practice forgiveness in both quantity (lots of “small things”) & quantity (some really hefty, weighty & serious interactions).  Here’s the black & white truth:  all relationships remain shallow without forgiveness.  The deeper the relationship, often times, the greater the need for forgiveness.  Forgiveness, for me, is most important because I want my relationship with God  to be deep, genuine & transformational.  I find that when I’m bent out of shape with someone, it affects my walk w God.  Consequently, if I’m going to nurture, guard & be part of growing my walk with Him, I need to continually practice forgiving, even if the person doesn’t apologize for their actions or is unaware of how they hurt you.  Forgiveness isn’t based on what the other person does or doesn’t do – it comes from your heart & most of all from receiving forgiveness from your heavenly Father so you can let it flow through you. 

Something helpful I’ve found in the forgiveness adventure is to forgive quickly – the longer I wait the harder it becomes to forgive.  What helps you to be forgiving???