Monthly Archives: September 2014

Making the Choice

“You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” — Ephesians 4:22-24

How many times have you heard the following words come out of your mouth?

“One of these days, I’m going to…”
“I really ought to…”
“Maybe when ____ is over I’ll get around to…”

I’m afraid they’re like a broken record playing over and over in my head and all too often they come right out my mouth. There’s just so much in my life that needs to change and yet is not getting done.

Unfinished Projects and Needed Change

I have so many projects in my home waiting to be completed. Some have been waiting a long time. Do you have any of those?

Needing to get organized a while back, I bought a beautiful new household binder and started filling it up with notes and planning forms and sheet protectors (because, of course, I wanted it to stay nice). That was…I can’t remember how long ago. I’m not even sure what happened or why I didn’t finish putting it together. And, frankly, I don’t know where that binder is right now. (Sigh.) Needless to say, I still need to get organized.

Then there’s those things that need changing. You know what I’m talking about. Those nagging little monsters like a few extra pounds and pudges around the middle. A closet that’s so chock full of stuff you’re afraid to open the door. The same old drab dinner menus. That crazy schedule!

And changes are not just needed in our physical lives, but our souls also need some transformation work. Maybe we need to spend more time alone with God, praying and studying His Word. Maybe He has revealed something we need to do differently and we’ve yet to take those steps. Maybe we just need to take time to be still and rest in Him.

Ready for Change

God’s Calling Us

Life in Christ is a journey of change. We are called to become more like Him by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. But we have to be willing to make the effort and work with Him. Ephesians 4:22-24 says: “You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

God’s will is to transform us to be like Him—righteous and holy. Are we working with Him on this or pushing Him away?

Now, not every change has eternal consequences. Household binders and organized closets won’t be found in God’s Word. But they can be used as tools to help us live a life that reflects the character of God and become more like Him. So while they may seem inconsequential, they can be very beneficial.

Make the Choice to Change

I’m guessing, just like me, you have a list rolling around in your head of things you need to change. So, my friends, what’s stopping us?

There are as many reasons as there are projects, I suppose. But the bottom line is: When it’s not thrust upon us, change is a choice.

We don’t change because we choose to leave things as they are.

Life is busy and things get in the way. We’re distracted by…well, everything. But if you’re like me, there’s at least one needed change nagging at you constantly, hanging like a weight around your neck. You’ve not forgotten about it. It’s always right in front of you. But making it happen will take effort. It may make you uncomfortable. It might even be painful. And so, you try to put it out of your mind and do something else.

The result? Life stays the same. Same problem. Same consequences. Same awful nagging.

You know what? I’m tired of the same.

I’m choosing TODAY to make ONE CHANGE.

There are plenty I could make, to be sure. But I can’t take them all on at once. And as I’ve often heard: The way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

So, I’m taking one little bite today. I’m going on a hunt for that household binder and finally finish it. And tomorrow I can start living a little more organized.

Found it! Now to put it all together...

Found it! Now to put it all together…

One nagging monster down. A little less weight hanging around my neck.

Will you join me?

What ONE CHANGE will you choose to make TODAY?

Let’s change our words to say…

 “Today is not going to be the same. Today I am going to…”

Grace and peace,
Sabra

Holy Father, we know there are so many things in our lives that need changing. Give us wisdom, Lord, to know what to change today and to take the steps to make that happen. Thank You for promising us strength and grace to succeed and for your transforming work in our lives. May we become ever more like You in righteousness and holiness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
This post is linked up with these wonderful blogs…
Coffee for Your Heart at www.HolleyGerth.com.
Woman2Woman at www.MeredithBernard.com
Click on the link to read more encouragement from other bloggers.
 
Scripture is from New International Version of the Bible, 1984.
Images by Sabra Penley.

18 Comments

Filed under Change, Deny Self, God's Works, New Beginning, Transforming, Work

Do You Need Some Help?

“I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:1-2

Hi, sweet friend!

What are you going through today? Has it been a hard one?

Some days can just be difficult. Current circumstances…past failures…future uncertainty. These can all lead us to a place where we feel helpless—maybe even hopeless. Like we’re left out in the middle of an open field–defenseless, alone, exposed–with no help in sight.

Texas Field
But take heart. When those days come, there’s something you need to know and remember…

You are not alone. You are not defenseless. You are not without hope. 

THE LORD YOUR GOD IS WITH YOU!
 

Psalm 121

Look at this beautiful promise in Psalm 121…

1I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from?
2My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3He will not allow your foot to slip; Your Protector will not slumber.
4Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep.
5The LORD protects you; the LORD is a shelter right by your side.
6The sun will not strike you by day or the moon by night.
7The LORD will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life.
8The LORD will protect your coming and going both now and forever.

You are not alone. Your Lord is with you—right by your side.

You are not defenseless. Your Lord protects you. He is your shelter—all day, all night.

You are not without hope. Your Lord never sleeps. He is always watching over you. Every moment of every day. And He is in control of everything. He will not allow you to be overtaken. He preserves your life.

So whatever you may be facing today, lift your eyes up and see the One who can help you. Run to the shelter of His loving arms and find comfort in His strength. Rest in the joy of His presence and protection.

And never forget…Almighty God, the Maker of heaven and earth, is with you. You are loved. You are watched. You are protected. Always.

May you be filled with His joy and hope today!

Grace and peace,
Sabra


Precious Lord, we praise You for Your mighty power. How unworthy we are of Your love. Thank You, Father, for Your constant presence with us. Help us to lift our eyes up to You and away from the circumstances of our lives so we can live with joy and hope each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 
Linking up today with my friends at www.MissionalWomen.com. Just click on the link to read some of their inspirational words. 

Scripture from Holman Christian Standard Bible, 2010.
Images by Sabra Penley.

 

 

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Filed under Comfort, Encouragement, God's Presence, God's Works, Help, Hope, Loneliness, Love

Moments of Joy

“Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.” – Psalm 21:6

 

I used to go for short walks every morning and evening. My dog demanded it. (Nature calls, you know.)

But those daily walks stopped abruptly when my walking buddy died this summer. I took one last slow walk that morning after—leash and collar in hand—just to say goodbye. And crossing over that well-worn path we took each day, I remembered our times together—thanking God for bringing him into our family.

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A Reminder of Precious Times

Recently I came across a note I wrote after one of those morning jaunts around our neighborhood. It said…

“I’m amazed at how God always speaks to me when I’m walking the dog. Dog walkingGod talking.”

As I read that note from months before, I realized how much I miss those times. I miss my sweet canine friend. Twelve long years of walking together has left a hole in his absence—one that hasn’t filled in yet.

But this note reminded me of something else. Those walks held more than just companionship with my pet. They were also quiet moments with the Lord, for God was walking with us. As we followed our usual trail, I would pray…and God would always respond. His Spirit would speak to my heart—often His voice so clear I couldn’t wait to get inside to write down what He said.

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Needing to Walk

I miss those precious times. My four-legged buddy is no longer here. I have no responsibility to take him out anymore. No need to go out the door and down the path.

But my Lord is still here. The path is still here. And so are mornings and evenings.

And that note has stirred in my heart a longing to recapture those quiet strolls among the trees talking with my God and hearing Him reply.

Maybe I do need to go out the door and down the path each day again after all. This time, though, for me and for my Lord. Not nature calling…but God calling.

Sharing Joy

The words to my grandmother’s favorite hymn are rolling in my mind…

And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own.
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

Joy. Yes, that’s it. Pure joy.

God's sweet presence
Only God can fill the holes in our hearts with joy.

We need Him desperately, don’t we?

Let’s take time today to walk with our Lord and listen as He whispers what we need to hear. And let us also speak to His heart words of love and adoration as we share that sweet time together.

Precious joy.

If you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go for a walk…

Have a wonderful day!
Sabra

 

O Lord, thank You for walking with us each day and speaking to our hearts. May we be faithful to take the time to stay right beside You, to tell You how much we love You, and to listen to Your sweet voice. Thank You for the precious joy that comes from being in Your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Question:
Where is your special place with the Lord? We’d love to know. Please share with us by leaving a comment.

 

Linking up with my friends today on these wonderful blogs…
www.MeredithBernard.com – {Woman2Woman}
www.JenniferDukesLee.com – #TellHisStory
www.HolleyGerth.com – Coffee for Your Heart
 
Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984.
Hymn quoted is “In the Garden” by Charles A. Miles, 1913.
Images by Sabra Penley

22 Comments

Filed under God's Presence, Joy, Prayer, Thankfulness

Do You Have a Blessing Room?

“Above all, love each other deeply…. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:8-10
 

Have you ever had your heart set on something and faced giving it up for the sake of someone else? It’s not easy, that’s for sure. Even if you choose to show love to another person by sacrificing what you desire, you can still struggle with self-pity and grumble in your heart. You might feel pulled in different directions—joy in giving and sadness in giving up—a feeling hard to shake.

Hard to Give It Up

I dealt with this feeling recently. Our son was leaving home for graduate school and his bedroom would soon be empty. What would we do with it? Without giving it much thought, I just named it and claimed it—it was going to be MY writing space. My refuge—my quiet place to read, study, and write.

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But I forgot God often has other plans. And so He did with this room.

Our sweet daughter asked if she could move back home until her wedding in May.  And, of course, we said yes. Just as we have enjoyed our son being home for a year after college, we will enjoy our daughter being with us these last months before she marries and settles in a home with her new husband.

And while excited to spend more time with her, my heart struggled to let go of MY writing space. Lord, this was supposed to be my quiet place, I whined. But God didn’t let me get away with grumbling and self-pity.

He showed me His plan. He gently whispered, “This isn’t meant to be YOUR room. This is meant to be a blessing room. Right now and always.”

A Blessing Room!

I never saw it that way before. And no wonder! My heart was so filled with a room for myself I couldn’t see a room for blessing anyone else.

When our hearts see only from the desire of our eyes, we cannot see God’s perspective and are blind to His blessings.

The Blessing Room

Asking the Lord’s forgiveness, I started to see this room with His eyes, and the excitement inside me grew. As I recognized the beauty of its purpose, all those negative feelings melted away and turned to pure joy.

A blessing room is a place of love, generosity, and hospitality. A place to bless all who enter.

This room will be a blessing…

                …for our daughter to live in until she marries.

                …for us to spend more time with her now.

                …as a guest room for visitors later on.

                …as a quiet place for study and writing when empty.

Who knows all the ways God will use it in the future.

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But here is the key. It is God’s room. It is to be used for His purposes. And He desires to bless everyone through it.

It’s the same with our hearts. They belong to God and He has created us to bless others with all the blessings He has given us.

When you make room in your heart for others, your heart itself becomes a blessing room. Always open, always giving, always full of love and grace.

And that’s the heart of God, isn’t it?

Bless All Who Enter

How to Let Go and Fully Give

So when we’re faced with those unwanted feelings that wreak of self, let’s take them captive and confess them before the Lord. He will whisper just what we need to hear to see our situation from His perspective and guide us to a new understanding. And as we surrender, our hearts will be filled with joy and peace and open to pour out God’s abundant blessings.

Do you have a blessing room?

Dearest Father, how we need to see Your perspective on every part of our lives. Reveal to us where our hearts are closed to loving others. Help us to open our hearts to You fully so we may shower Your love and grace on all those around us and be the blessing You created us to be. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Blessings to you,
Sabra
 
 
All Scripture from New International Version, 1984.
Images by Sabra Penley.
 
Linking up with my friends today on these wonderful blogs…
 
 

24 Comments

Filed under Attitude, Blessing, Change, Deny Self, Doing Good, Giving, God's Purpose, Grace, Joy, Love, Sacrifice, Self