Category Archives: Attitude

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…
 
 

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

Waiting in Expectation

 

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” – Psalm 5:3

Our life is a journey filled with expectations.

Expectations of where we’re headed…what’s around the corner…how God will provide along the way.

While we can’t know exactly what lies ahead, the very act of moving forward compels us to wonder what we will face.

Each day, we have our schedules and make our plans. Woven into those plans are expectations for the outcome. We run ideas through our minds of how things will go, hoping for the best.

But what happens when those things don’t turn out according to our plan?

One such time happened last year. After my husband awoke from a coma, the muscles in his throat were too weak to swallow. The only way he could get food was through a tube in his nose. Following a week of therapy, he was to have another test. Oh, how I had been praying that God would give him the ability to swallow again! The Lord had blessed him over and over, and I expected this time to be no different. I was so confident that God’s glory would be seen in David’s ability to swallow and eat again that very day.

But instead, David had failed the test. No food, no water, no ice chips for at least another four to six weeks! It was a hard blow, as if someone had punched me in the stomach. I was devastated. And my spirit was crushed.

I was so sure. What happened? Why did it turn out this way? Where did I go wrong in my thinking?

Bottom line? My expectations were misguided. My focus was on my desired outcome, my timing, and my wisdom. Instead, my focus should have been on the Lord’s sovereign will, His perfect timing, and His infinite wisdom. I should have trusted in His love and grace and His promise to work out everything for our good and for His glory. I should not have determined in my mind what the outcome was to be.

Psalm 5:3 says we are to lay our requests before the Lord and “wait in expectation.” But how and what we expect makes all the difference.

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If we follow our own expectation, the result will be discouragement, fear, grumbling, and questioning God.

If we follow biblical expectation, the result will be peace, security, thankfulness, and honoring God.

Biblical expectation is birthed in prayerIt begins as we lay our requests before the Lord, asking for His help and provision.

       Expectation is a product of prayer.

Biblical expectation grows from a heart that seeks to know GOD. It comes from remembering that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are so much greater than ours. God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20-21). God is sovereign, and there are facets and unknowns that our minds cannot comprehend.

       A heart that seeks God is an expectant heart.

Biblical expectation embraces waiting. God is working in our times of waiting. We may not see what He is doing, but He is working behind-the-scenes to bring about His plan and will. We must trust in His perfect timing and embrace the waiting.

       Waiting in expectation is easier when we expect the waiting.

Biblical expectation requires trusting in God. We must trust His unfailing love and mercy. We must trust His power and desire to work everything out for our good and for His glory.

       We rest in God when we trust in God.

Biblical expectation leaves the outcome up to the Lord. Our expectation should not include determining in our minds what the outcome will be. That is for God alone to know.

       God answers His way…in His will…in His time…for His glory.

Four weeks following that swallow test, my husband was back for another one. This time, however, my heart was focused on God’s will and His purposes. While I once again prayed that David would pass the test and be able to eat normally, I didn’t have any preconceived outcome in mind this time. I simply went with hope in my heart and trust in the Lord. I was full of peace, knowing that whatever the test would show, God was at work and His glory would be seen. (By God’s sweet grace, David passed this test and began eating again.)

Dearest Father, when we are faced with challenges and difficulties on this road of life, help us to remember to seek You with all our hearts. And as we lay our requests before You, may we trust You and wait in biblical expectation for Your answer, Your guidance, and Your deliverance…for Your glory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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

 

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Filed under Attitude, Expectation, God's Purpose, God's Timing, God's Works, Hope, Peace, Prayer, Thankfulness, Waiting

The POONAPON Principle

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

Denying self is hard work!

When God revealed my four focus themes for this year (denying self, sacrifice, humility, and love), I knew I was in store for a bumpy ride. After all, I’ve mastered the art of self-focus. Giving in to my heart’s desires is my default setting, my natural tendency. It is where my thoughts, words, and actions flow when I’m not making a conscious effort to follow Christ.

Denying self, this act of humility and sacrifice, is the center of living a life in devotion to God. It encompasses everything!

Giving up my own desires for the sake of Christ or the sake of others should be a part of all I do. It requires a constant remembrance of Jesus’ command (Luke 9:23) and the knowledge of what actions must be part of it. Effort and determination are required. It will not happen just because I want it to.

Change is never easy, and I find this to be especially true in learning to be sacrificial. It stretches me beyond my comfort zone into the realm of discomfort and sometimes pain. But as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, this is my calling. Indeed, it is the calling of all of us who proclaim Him as Savior.

What does denying self look like?

It is described in Ephesians 4:22-24 as a three-step process. Something I like to call The POONAPON Principle. Why that name? Because it helps me remember the steps and, frankly, I just like the way it rolls off my tongue.

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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.”

The three steps are:                                                                                      (1) put off your old self                                                                                   (2) be made new in the attitude of your mind; and                                           (3) put on the new self.

P…Put

O…Off

O…Old

N…New

A…Attitude

P…Put

O…On

N…New

P.O.O.N.A.P.O.N.

Simple. Right?

Oh, yes, the principle is simple enough. But putting it into practice? Not so much!

Let’s break it down into the different steps:

Step One: Put Off Old

First, we must identify what belongs to our old self and choose to stop doing those things.

But while we’d like to just say, “Stop it!”, and it be done, it doesn’t happen that way. We must make the determined effort to not do those things any longer. And then we must replace them with the right attitude and action.

Step Two: New Attitude

Once we recognize the old self, we must understand what we are striving for. What does being conformed to the image of Christ look like?

For this, we must go to God’s Word. God makes it clear how we are to live, what is right and wrong. We see God’s character in the person of Jesus Christ, and His very life and death teach us His ways.

Writing down or memorizing Scripture verses that speak to following Christ’s example and the ways of God can help us to change our thoughts, our mindset. The more we meditate on God’s Word, the more it will transform our thinking. We will come away with a new attitude—one centered on the ways of the Lord.

To complete this process, we must take action on what we have learned.

Step Three: Put On New

A void is made when we put off the old self. To avoid falling back into it, we must fill the void with the new self of living righteously. We have to make the effort to practice the ways of Christ so that we will in essence change our default setting—or at least be closer to it.

And let’s never forget that it can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. We cannot do this on our own. God doesn’t ask us to. He gives us the sufficient grace to be successful! We must depend on His strength.

The POONAPON Principle. It’s that easy…It’s that hard.

We have our plan to follow, and now we need to get busy. Transformation awaits!

Do you struggle with this putting off the old and putting on the new? What ways have you found to help you to remember this biblical principle and follow it? Would you share them with us? Please leave a comment below.

Dearest Father, thank You for giving us a plan to follow in striving to become more like Your Son. Help us to put off the old self, to change the attitude of our minds to be filled with Your ways, and to put on the new self. May we not succumb to our weakness, but rely on Your strength. Transform us, O Lord, we pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

All Scripture from New International Version of the Bible, 1984.

Photo by Sabra Penley, 2011

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Filed under Attitude, POONAPON, Self, Transforming