Monthly Archives: July 2014

Cheering for You!

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” — Hebrews 10:24-25

 

My friend Meredith called me a great cheerleader the other day. It made me laugh.

You see, in high school, the cheerleaders were the popular girls. The ones who could do splits and flips and jumps. The ones who seemed to have rhythm in their every move–who always looked so cute in their little purple and white uniforms and pony tails. They were the ones the guys always paid attention to, and they were always front and center.

Next to the cheerleaders I felt small and insignificant. They were the ones most teenage girls compared themselves to…and silently wished they were.

I’ve never been able to do splits or flips or jumps. And I’m more known for klutziness than rhythm. You’d never find me in one of those little uniforms (not then, and especially not now). Staying in the background is my comfort zone, and that’s often where I’ll be.

Me…a cheerleader?

I knew Meredith didn’t mean that kind of cheerleader. But the thought was funny nonetheless.

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Thinking more about it, Hebrews 10:24-25 came to mind. For indeed, we are all called to be cheerleaders…to encourage one another in our walk with the Lord.

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We as believers are to support each other as we tackle the difficulties of this life and the work God has for us to do. Sometimes we cheer each other on from the sidelines, and sometimes we encourage one another in the middle of the action ourselves.

We need each other. We’re all in this together. We’re a team.

100_6176So, yes, I’ll pick up my pom-poms and cheer on my brothers and sisters as we fight against our opponent in this world and seek to be victorious for the Lord.

But I won’t just cheer. I’ll put on the player’s uniform as well and get out there and fight the good fight myself. Only then can I know how best to cheer the players on and encourage those in the stands to do their part.

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Sometimes I’ll be on the field and need encouragement. Sometimes I’ll be on the sidelines, cheering you on. And other times I’ll be in the locker room getting instruction and motivation from the Coach. But no matter where I am, my heart will be for our team—Jesus’ team!

Prayer CircleI’ll not be timid, sitting in the stands all alone, not paying any attention to what’s going on in the game. I’ll be a part of it–in whatever way, at whatever time–player, learner, cheerleader. All for His victory and glory!

So my fellow cheerleaders, are you ready for action? Let’s pick up our pom-poms, put on our uniforms, and get busy encouraging one another to live for the glory of the Lord.

Heavenly Father, thank You that we don’t have to fight this fight alone. You are with us always. And we have each other. Help us to be supportive, to cheer each other on and do our part as we press on to bring You glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 

Cheering for you today!
Sabra

Scripture from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984.
Images by Sabra Penley

A BIG THANKS to my sweet brothers and sisters at Lamar Baptist Church in Arlington, TX for their patience with my picture-taking. They were so kind to hang around after choir. Not all the pictures were blog-worthy or needed. So, here are some of the others. (Photography is definitely something I need to work on!)…

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Filed under Blessing, Encouragement, Friendship, Relationships

Don’t Wait Too Long

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

 

How could I have lost sight of it? That life can change in the blink of an eye. One moment all seems well. The next? Something breaks your heart and sends you reeling.

He was fine. Nothing out of the ordinary–his usual begging, whining, ploys for attention. How did we not notice?

He behaved a little strangely at first–laying in places and ways he never did before, his constant down and up, being away from where we were. But he suddenly plopped down, and I knew. Something was really wrong.

When I saw his almost lifeless body as my son picked him up and placed him in the car, I knew in my heart we would be coming home without him.

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He was just a dog…I know. But he was so much more to us. A faithful companion—a part of the family—for twelve years.

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As I tried to process what had suddenly happened, it struck me hard that we never took him walking on that trail we talked about. And now we never would. And as I looked through his photos, why were there so few of him with us? We had a lot of him alone, but where were the photos of our family with him? It was too late now.

Yes, in the blink of an eye, life can change forever. 

And when faced with that change, as we try to wrap our heads around what just happened, we think of things we wish we had done. Maybe things we had planned…maybe things we thought about doing…maybe a conversation we’d been putting off. But the reality sets in that we will never be able to do them now.

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Oh, how God is working to teach me this lesson! My Dad’s death, my husband’s life-changing illness, and now my sweet dog, Jerr-Bear. Somehow I keep forgetting.

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Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

We never know how much time we have with the ones we love. So let’s determine to do those things that are important now and not put them off for another day. Another day may not come.

God’s Word tells us that there is a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). But we don’t know how long those seasons will last. That is for God alone to know. We must, therefore, strive to live each day to the fullest and always let others know how much we love them.

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So spend time together. Take those pictures. Have that conversation.

Don’t wait too long…do what’s important while there is still time. For we don’t know how many days we have.

Sovereign Lord, thank You for the time You give us with those we love. Help us to cherish every precious moment. Give us wisdom to do what’s important with them now, while they are still with us, for only You know what the future holds. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Scripture from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984.
Images by Sabra Penley.

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Filed under Change, Enjoy Life, Expectation, God's Timing, Lessons, Love, Relationships

How to Thrive, Not Just Survive

Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” – John 7:37-38

Do you feel drained, like your energy and strength has evaporated, and you wonder how you’ll get through the challenges of the day? Maybe you’re going through a difficult period in your life, and it’s taking more out of you than you ever dreamed. Would you like to know how to have renewed strength and not just survive, but thrive?

Drink water.

That’s right. We all need it—a lot of it.

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Without water our bodies can’t function. We slow down. It becomes hard to think straight. We get weak and our emotions get the best of us.

Oh yes, we need water.

Recently my daughter and her friend—both beautiful twenty-somethings—were singing the praises of drinking three liters of water a day and the smoothing effect it had on their skin. Feeling like a dried prune next to them, I thought, “I really need to drink more water.

Water. Oh, no! Suddenly I remembered I had forgotten to water the plants on the patio that morning. Not good. We’re in melting season here with afternoon temps close to 100. I was afraid when I got home my plumbago would be well-wilted. If I don’t water it every morning, the heat of the day causes it to wither and those beautiful blue blooms close up and fall to the ground.

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Sounds a lot like me some days–when life weighs heavy and I start to wither. I feel drained of energy, lifeless. I close up and whatever was beautiful in me falls off. It’s in those moments I realize I need more water…the Living Water. I need Jesus.

Oh, how we need Him—a lot of Him–throughout the day.

While plants can usually make it okay with a morning watering, we need more. Our bodies must be replenished with water all through the day to function properly and flourish. And in the same way, our spirits need to drink in the Living Water throughout the day to not just survive, but thrive.

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We know our daily quiet time with the Lord is vital to our spiritual health. But to stay vibrant and able to withstand the pressures of the day for God’s glory, we need a constant refilling of His life-giving water.

Here are some ways to drink in more of Him throughout the day:

  • Stop and pray.
  • Read, listen to, or quote Scripture.
  • Write down thoughts of what God is teaching you.
  • Be still and take time to enjoy His presence.
  • When He reveals something you need to do, do it.
  • Pray constantly—through all your activities.

Don’t wait until you feel thirsty for God. Drink Him in throughout the day.

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So how about it? Will you join me in a new commitment to drink more water, both for our bodies and our spirits?

Precious Lord, some days are just difficult. So often we press through trying to make it on our own and we end up drained, with nothing left to give. These are times You remind us how much we need You—the Living Water. Fill us, Jesus. Help us be faithful to drink in more of You and stay strong and vibrant…all to Your glory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Blessings to you,
Sabra
Scripture from Holman Christian Standard Bible.
Images by Sabra Penley.

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Filed under God's Presence, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Overwhelmed, Prayer, Strength, Transforming

Why Wives Need to Unstop the Fountain

You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon. — Song of Songs 4:15

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My sisters, doesn’t it make you feel great to hear your husband call you a sweet name? To tell you how much you mean to him? How would you like to hear him say something like these words from Song of Songs…

“How beautiful you are.”
“How delightful is your love.”
“You have stolen my heart.”

I imagine all of us love to hear words like these from our husbands. They might not say it like Solomon, but isn’t it always a blessing to hear our husbands say we are delightful and beautiful? When they tell us how wonderful we are? When they whisper those sweet everythings in our ears?

These words are like a fountain that flows right into our hearts. And you know what? Our husbands need these refreshing words as well.

So, is your fountain flowing?

Today I have the blessing to guest post for a sweet friend, Meredith Bernard, on her blog http://www.meredithbernard.com. Please join me over there and read this post in full.

Simply click here: “Why Wives Need to Unstop the Fountain”

Hope to meet you there!

Blessings,
Sabra
Scripture from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984.
Image by Sabra Penley.

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Filed under Blessing, Doing Good, Encouragement, Grace, Love, Marriage, Wife, Woman-to-Woman