Category Archives: Blessing

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

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.

Thumbs Up

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

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

25 Ways to Live a Life of Grace — A Simply. Challenge

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”     — 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

Think about yesterday. Did you make a difference?

If you polled ten people who interacted with you, how many might say you were a blessing in their lives? What about your spouse? Your kids? Your coworkers? Or maybe the cashier? The waiter? The customer service rep? What would they say about how you treated them?

And what about God? He saw everything—every thought, every word, every action. Do you think He would say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant?”

It’s a question we should ask ourselves regularly, don’t you think?

We know God has called us to make a difference—to love others—to share His grace. For this is what He has done for us. (Read my post on God’s grace here.)

It should be easy living this life of grace, for God has poured out His undeserved love on us and we have Jesus’ perfect example to follow. But all too often, it isn’t easy. We get absorbed in ourselves, in the task at hand, in the busyness of life. We don’t notice the people right in front of us. And we miss the opportunity to share God’s love with them and make their day a little brighter.

GRACE

 

So, here’s a challenge…A Simply. Challenge — 25 Ways to Live a Life of Grace. This list can be used in two ways…

  • As an evaluation tool. While it isn’t an exhaustive list of ways to show grace, it could be eye-opening nonetheless. Identify the areas that need work, and offer thanks for the ways you have already been faithful to show grace to others.
  • As a checklist. Choose one way each day to reach out in love. Focus on that specific act of grace and strive to live it out all day long. Imagine how many lives you will have blessed at the end of the twenty-five days!

 

 25 Ways to Live a Life of Grace

  1. Help carry a load. (Galatians 6:2)
  2. Be there… in the good times and the bad. (Proverbs 17:17)
  3. Be understanding… because you’ve messed up, too. (Romans 3:23)
  4. Reach out to include someone—offer friendship. (Romans 15:7)
  5. Give up something for someone else—your plans, your desires, your time, your possessions. (John 15:13)
  6. Put someone else’s interests before your own. (Philippians 2:3-4)
  7. Listen. Stop talking. Just listen. (James 1:19)
  8. Do something special for someone. (Romans 12:10)
  9. Speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)
  10. Be patient. (Ephesians 4:2)
  11. Humble yourself. (Romans 12:3; Luke 9:23)
  12. Pray for someone. Better yet…pray with someone. (1 Thessalonians 1:2; James 5:13-16)
  13. Choose not to take offense. (Proverbs 17:9)
  14. Forgive. (Ephesians 4:32)
  15. Encourage. (Hebrews 3:13)
  16. Remind someone of God’s promises–offer hope. (Hebrews 10:23)
  17. Smile. (Proverbs 15:13)
  18. Speak kindly. (Proverbs 12:25)
  19. Be gentle. (Philippians 4:5)
  20. Remember we’re all works in progress. (Philippians 1:6)
  21. Filter what you say. (Ephesians 4:29)
  22. Be a peacemaker. (Romans 12:18)
  23. Have a thankful heart and express gratitude. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
  24. Tell someone about what Jesus has done for you. (Matthew 28:19-20)
  25. Share what you’ve been given. (Romans 12:13)

Okay…now that you’ve looked over the list, did you find some things you already do well? I did. And if you’re like me, you also found a number of areas that need some work. So let’s pray God will strengthen us in those areas and fill our hearts with more grace. For a heart filled with God’s grace can’t help but bless others.

So, are you ready to make a difference?

Well, then…let’s go be a blessing!

Precious Lord, we are so thankful for Your amazing grace. Help us see where we are failing to live out this grace-filled life. Strengthen us where we are weak, and help us to be a blessing to everyone around us. May we one day hear you say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” In Jesus’ name and for Your glory, Amen. 
 
What ways to bless others through God’s grace would you add to 
the list? Please share them with us in the comments below.    

And if you choose to take the second part of the challenge, 
we'd love to hear how it goes.
Blessings to you!
Sabra
 
Image by Sabra Penley.

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Filed under Blessing, Doing Good, Godly Living, Grace, Love