Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Wonders of God – A Seaside View

“Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods…. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.” — Psalm 95:1-5
 

There’s something so appealing about the sea. I always get excited to see the beach and the waves and the line where the vast blue water meets the sunlit sky. And here I find myself–at the water’s edge. I breathe in the salty air and watch as the pelicans swoop across the water’s surface and hear the cries of the gulls as they pass overhead. The sand feels cool and comforting between my toes as the waves gently wash over my feet. As I look out to sea, I breathe deep and take it all in. And in that moment, I sense His presence.

Our GREAT and MIGHTY GOD.

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“Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His sanctuary.” — Psalm 96:6

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“Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” — Psalm 98:7

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“How many are Your works, O LORD! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number–living things both large and small.” — Psalm 104:24-25

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“And God said, ‘Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.’ So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” — Genesis 1:20-21

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“The LORD reigns, He is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Your throne was established long ago; You are from all eternity. The seas have lifted up, O LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea–the LORD on high is mighty.” — Psalm 93:1-4

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“Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty. He wraps Himself in light as with a garment; He stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of His upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds His chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.” — Psalm 104:1-3

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“I will praise You, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is Your love, higher than the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let Your glory be over all the earth.” — Psalm 108:4-5

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As I watch the setting sun, I feel the warmth of His love and this Scripture touches my heart…

“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens… When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him?” — Psalm 8:1, 3-4

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“Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.” — Psalm 113:1-3

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“Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are His deeds, and His righteousness endures forever.” — Psalm 111:2-3

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“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display their knowledge. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” — Psalm 19:1-4

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The next morning, looking out toward the sea, I suddenly notice the three trees. And my heart remembers Calvary and God’s amazing love!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16

The glorious wonders of God are all around us. So often I miss them in the sights I see every day. But getting away to the seaside–miles away from home–I remember to notice. To see God’s majesty in His creation. To read about them in His Word. And once back home, to be more aware of the beauty that surrounds my every moment and brings praise to the Lord.

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What beauty surrounds you? What amazing wonders are evident in the place you live? Do you have a special place that draws you deeper to sing of God’s glory and majesty through His creation?

O precious Lord, how great You are! Your creations shouts Your praise and declares Your majesty. Thank You, Father, for the blessing the world with such beauty. Thank You for revealing Your glory in Your creation. May we always sing Your praises and worship You, for You are the LORD God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. You are our salvation–our very life. We offer to You our grateful hearts. In Jesus’ most precious name, Amen.

Grace and peace,
Sabra

 
All Scripture from New International Version of the Bible, 1984.
Images by Philip Penley and Sabra Penley.

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Filed under Creation, Enjoy Life, Glory, God's Presence, God's Works, Joy, Light, Love, Thankfulness

Overcoming Discouragement

“Forgetting what is behind, and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14

I get excited when I think about God’s calling on my life. Don’t you? To think He has chosen us to do specific work that He designed just for us—for our unique personalities and abilities. It can fill our hearts with joy.

So why is it that we so easily become discouraged? Sometimes the littlest things can bring us down and plant seeds of doubt in our minds. Did I hear God right? Does He really want me to do this? What if I mess up? What if I fail? Do I really have what it takes?

I’ve asked myself all those questions this last month. And every one of them threatened to stop me in my tracks.

That’s what discouragement has the potential to do—get our focus off our God-given goal and render us useless.

Discouragement is a temptation to give up. It takes courage to move forward—to strain toward what is ahead—when what is ahead is difficult or frightening or unknown. And that courage comes from our faith in the Lord.

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Paul’s declaration in Philippians 3:13-14 above is given after many years of pressing on through immense hardship and suffering for His devotion to Christ. In 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 he mentions prison, floggings, beatings, stoning, shipwrecks, treading water in the open sea, constant moving from one place to another, dangers from nature and dangers from people with evil intent, hunger, thirst, nakedness, hard work, and sleeplessness.

I look at this list, and I am humbled. It takes so little sometimes to get me down.

But Paul did not let any of those hardships keep him from pressing on toward the goal of completing God’s call on his life. There is no doubt he was tempted by discouragement. How could he not be with all he went through? He is an inspiration to us all when we face our own discouraging feelings.

Even greater than Paul’s example are his specific instructions on how we too can overcome discouragement and keep pressing on with God’s work. He encourages us to…

Pray, Be Alert, Be Thankful

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” – Colossians 4:2

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” – Ephesians 6:18

Put On God’s Armor and Stand Firm

“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” – Ephesians 6:10-11

Do Everything for God’s Glory

“Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” – Colossians 3:17

Trust God to Do His Work in You

“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen!” – Ephesians 3:20-21

Trust God to Supply Everything You Need

“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

Trust God to Give You Strength

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13

Trust in God’s Sufficient Grace

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Trust God to Work Good Out of Every Situation

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Trust God to Show You What to Do

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Give Your Worries to the Lord – Rejoice in Him

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7

Focus on God’s Truth and Promises

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

If we follow these words of wisdom, we should be able to carry on in the work the Lord has called us to do, even when we face hardships or obstacles that threaten to take us down, including our our doubts and fears.

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When the pressure of discouragement threatens to overwhelm you, press on with the sure Word of God’s overwhelming love and grace.

I’ve prepared a PDF printable of these scriptures, just to have for easy reference. If you’d like to have a copy for yourself, you can download it by clicking the link below. And the next time you start feeling discouraged, pray through these verses and ask God to encourage you with His truth.

Using Scripture to Overcome Discouragement (PDF)

Using Scripture to Overcome Discouragement

Do you have certain scripture verses that help you? How do you overcome the temptation to give up or stop working when discouragement comes your way?  Please share your answers in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.

Precious Father, thank You for all Your promises and Your faithfulness. Thank You that You are working in us and through us by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Help us, Lord, when we face feelings of discouragement to keep pressing on in the work You have called us to do by placing our trust in You and relying on Your strength and provision. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Blessings to you,
Sabra

 

All Scripture from the New International Version of the Bible, 1984.
Image by Sabra Penley.

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Filed under Discouragement, God's Works, Success, Thankfulness, Trust, Uncategorized, Work

Five Minute Friday – {fill}

“Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” – Psalm 81:10

 

I need you, Lord. Show me my wayward self.

O God, fill my heart…

…with Your love

…with Your truth

…with Your peace

…with Your direction

…with Your amazing grace

…with humility

…with obedience

…with hope.

Lord, You are speaking. Fill my ears to hear Your voice.

Lord, You are here. Fill my eyes with Your perspective.

Lord, fill me with You and empty me of me.

All for Your glory.

In the holy name of Jesus, Amen.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” — Psalm 139:23-24

 

Praying the Lord will speak to Your heart today and fill you with all His goodness.

Blessings,
Sabra
 
Joining Five Minute Friday today with Kate Motaung and friends at
the link below. We write for five minutes--raw and real--no 
editing. The word for this week: fill.

 

All Scripture from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984.

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Filed under Five Minute Friday, God's Presence, Grace, Healing, Humility, Love, Prayer, Self

Could You Use a Nap?

“Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” – Mark 6:30-32

 

When I read Michael Hyatt’s blog post “5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Nap Every Day,” I was elated.

Finally–statistical research that validates my desire to nap.

I’ve taken Sunday afternoon naps as long as I can remember—on God’s ordained day of rest. But napping every afternoon always seemed too self-indulgent…lazy.

Now, it seems a nap might actually be beneficial to our work, as long as we do it for the right reason and apply safeguards to keep from napping too long.

I’m a morning person. So I set my alarm for 5:00. This is my most productive time, so I try to schedule accordingly. By early afternoon, though, my energy level drops, like some wind-up toy that slowly winds down until it gives out. Not good when there’s more to do than time to do it.

Do you ever feel this way—sluggish and sleepy?

Could it be that taking a 20-30-minute nap every day could be just what the doctor ordered? Oh, say it’s true!

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Michael Hyatt’s research supports this. But does God’s Word?

Proverbs 6:9-11 says:How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest–and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.” I often use this passage to remind myself not to be lazy and it seems to speak against sleep during the day.

But Proverbs 6:6-8 gives more of the picture: Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”

This tells the difference between being lazy and being productive. A nap, taken in this context, would only be sinful if the purpose is to keep from doing work. But if a nap is for restoring energy and alertness to be more productive, it would be beneficial and, therefore, not sinful.

Taking an Afternoon Rest

Song of Songs 1:7 mentions sheep that rest at midday. This sounds like a nap to me. And God’s Word often calls us sheep.

Then in Mark 6:30-32, Jesus tells His disciples, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” They had just told Him about all the work they did, so this rest followed a productive time.

So, taken together, these verses suggest hard work should be followed by rest to renew our energy and be refreshed…and not only at night.

Thanks for Naps

To nap right, though, we need some guidelines…

  • Work hard first
  • Lay down in a quiet place
  • Give thanks for the work you’ve done and ask God to refresh you
  • Set a timer for no more than 30 minutes
  • When the timer goes off, get up!
  • Give thanks for rest and ask God to bless your work
  • Refreshed, go get busy again

God’s Word doesn’t say we must rest each afternoon. But when those dragging moments come, it’s nice to know God provides a quick way to rejuvenate.

A rest following hard work allows more hard work to follow.

So what do you say? Could you use a nap?

Dearest Father, thank You for providing the ability to work and time for needed rest. May we be faithful to serve You and Your purposes in both. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Blessings to you,
Sabra
 
All Scripture from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984.
Napping image by Meredith Bernard at www.meredithbernard.com. Used 
by permission.(Thanks, Meredith!)
Other images by Sabra Penley.
 

6 Comments

Filed under Rest, Work