Category Archives: Doing Good

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

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

Would He Marry You Again?

(Hi, friends. Today’s passage from God’s Word is once again about the excellent wife. So it is to all of you women who are married I address this post. But I pray the truths revealed might bless everyone.)
 
 

 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good. She rewards him with good, not evil, all the days of her life (Proverbs 31:11-12).

Why did you marry your husband? Or an even better question is: Why did he marry you? Why did he choose you, above all others, to be his life’s companion?

Couple holding hands

I’ve thought about this the last few days as I read the verse above and wondered just what these verses mean. I like how the New Living Translation puts it: “Her husband can trust her and she will greatly enrich his life.” Wow.

Could that be said about me? Could it be said about you?

What do you think your husband would say about that? Do you think he might say there is something missing in his life…in his relationship with you?

As I pondered this question myself, I thought about what I want from my husband…what I hope to have from him as his bride. See if this list matches yours:

    • To be loved
    • To feel as if I am the most important person in the world to him
    • To be held in his heart as his one and only sweetheart
    • To be appreciated
    • To be trusted
    • To be respected
    • To be his best friend
    • To have a partner in raising our children
    • To know I am valued in his eyes as priceless
    • To spend time with him to talk, to share, to enjoy
    • To be comforted and feel secure
    • For him to encourage and support my walk with the Lord

Your list may not be exactly like mine. But I’m guessing it is pretty close.

Now, go back and read the list again. This time, however, read it as the things your husband hopes to have from you. Go through each one and ask yourself if you are fulfilling that need well.  Is anything missing? Anything lacking?

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Proverbs 31:12 says, “She rewards him with good, not evil, all the days of her life.”

ALL the days…the good, the average and the just plain hard.

It’s pretty easy on the good and average days. But what about those hard days?

The days when you don’t feel very well…or you’re just plain tired…or the kids are out of control?

The days when your hormones are raging…you feel like you might burst into tears at any moment…and you feel bloated and gross?

The days when there’s not enough time and not enough money and not enough energy?

The days when you just want to be left alone?

The days when you want your man right beside you, but he has to be somewhere else…or he chooses to be somewhere else?

EVEN on those days, the excellent wife does her husband good and not harm.

HOW can this be done? Through CHRIST alone!

My life must be so consumed with the Spirit of Christ that everything I do is blessed with His fruit. Only then can my home and heart be filled with the wonderful aroma of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Only then will my husband trust that when he walks through the door he will be met by his beloved sweetheart and welcomed with open arms.

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Am I this kind of wife? This kind of sweetheart that my husband desired when he asked me to marry him? Are my thoughts, words, and actions showing him a heart of love and rewarding him with good, not harm every single day?

I long to be that excellent wife—that treasured jewel. And I bet you do, too. Let’s strive to be the kind of loving wives that would make our husbands say they’d marry us all over again…because it’s just that good.

Lord, please help us. We need You.

Blessings,
Sabra

 

This post has been linked up with other friends at 
www.TimeWarpWife.com 
Scripture from Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) and New Living Translation.
Images: Couple holding hands by Search Influence via flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Hanging Basket by Julie Falk via flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0) Porch by Sonja Lovas via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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Filed under Doing Good, Love, Marriage, Trust, Wife, Woman-to-Woman

Where Was Love?

“…Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:39

I just stood there.

I overheard the conversation. She had given him money for gas to get to work, yet he still needed money for food. He hadn’t eaten and wouldn’t be paid until tomorrow.

And I just stood there!

Didn’t I have money in my purse?  Yes.

Didn’t I hear…see…the need? Yes.

Then, what stopped me?

My cold heart…full of Me.

My cold heart stopped me from being compassionate…kind…giving…from sharing what God had given me…from loving my neighbor.

Did he go hungry last night?

Did I care?

My actions declared it. Shouted it! Screamed it! — NO! I DIDN’T CARE!

How could I be so callous…so selfish?

I saw him…noticed him…heard him.  It was obvious he was living a life of hardship. His gaunt frame declared his lack of food.

Where was my compassion…my kindness…my heart of love?

Gone. It was obviously gone.

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My heart of love had become a heart of stone. A big old ugly stone.

My heart was not devoted to the Lord. My heart was devoted to Me…to Self.

What would I have really given up to share some money for a meal? A few dollars?

What stopped me from doing good to this young man?

The Lord’s conviction to my soul revealed a few things:

Ugly Judgment!

Somehow I had judged him as unworthy. (Unworthy of my help?!)

I should have turned my finger back on myself—for being so hard-hearted.

HE NEEDED TO EAT.

Ugly Greed!

Wow. Did money—that tiny amount of money—mean more to me than filling the empty stomach of a hungry young man?

HE NEEDED TO EAT.

Ugly Pride!

Pride. Thinking of myself more highly than I ought. Once again—putting myself before someone else.

HE. NEEDED. TO. EAT.

Guilt and shame are pouring down upon my sorry soul.

“…love is kind…it is not proud…it is not self-seeking…Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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I was unkind. I was too full of pride. I was self-seeking. I failed.

(Silence.)

Where is he now, Lord?

Will he have to face working today weakened from a stomach left empty all night?

Because I was too callous to care?

How do I make this right, Lord? CAN I make this right, Lord?

I don’t have his phone number. I don’t know where he lives. I don’t know where he works.

The opportunity to help him last night has come and gone.

And with all this ugly, I failed.

Failed to love.

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Oh my precious Father, please forgive me. One. More. Time. I have sinned against You with a callous, selfish, and prideful heart. I have hurt this man. I let him go hungry when I could have filled his stomach. I’m ashamed, Lord. I cannot undo what I have done. The hurt remains. But I can move forward, even today, to show love…to remember not to judge, to be generous with the blessings you have given me, and to be humble before You and others. Soften this stony heart of mine and remove all the ugly, O Lord! Please help me! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

Stone Heart photo by Janet Ramsden via flickr, license: CC BY 2.0

Other photos by Sabra Penley

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Filed under Compassion, Doing Good, Humility, Love, Pride, Self

Thoughts Are Not Enough

“Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.” – Titus 3:14

Do you ever make plans to do something and somehow it just doesn’t get done?

In certain parts of the South, we have this saying: “I’m fixin’ to…”

It means we are getting ready to do something. Or at least we’re thinking about getting ready to do something.

“I’m fixin’ to make dinner.”

“I’m fixin’ to go to the grocery store.”

“I’m fixin’ to take the dog for a walk.”

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You get the idea.

The problem is “fixin’ to” just might be as far as we get.

We may have a good intention of completing the task. But often we get sidetracked by other things needing our attention or we procrastinate or something we’d rather do comes along. And our “fixin’ to” doesn’t get done.

I might be intending to exercise right after the morning dishes are washed, but I don’t.

I might be planning to tackle that pile of bills when I get home, but go to bed without getting it done.

I might think I’ll read my Bible right before I go to sleep, but my eyes won’t stay open.

Oh, I’m so guilty of this!

It’s often my fixin’ to doesn’t quite make it to doin’.

This happens with things I need to accomplish for my family and our household. But even more so it happens in doing things for other people.

I can come up with many good ideas for showing kindness to another person. But somewhere between the thought in my mind and the doing with my hands and feet there’s a disconnect.

I think it would be nice to take a meal to a sick friend, but it never gets delivered.

I plan to take cookies to a new neighbor and a month later it hasn’t been done.

I tell myself to write a note of encouragement to a hurting friend and it never gets written.

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There’s an epidemic in me of fixin’ to and not enough follow-through.

Good intentions won’t get things done. They never have. They never will.

And in this regard, the thought just doesn’t count.

Good intentions are a good start. But there has to be a plan to put those thoughts into action. Discipline and determination are necessary to carry out these steps for the idea to become a reality.

Think about it like making supper for your family. You start with an idea of what you want to serve them for dinner. And, if you’re like me, you have a recipe to follow. That recipe will list out everything you need to make the dish— ingredients, items needed for preparation, and step-by-step directions.

The recipe is great. But you have to follow each step in order to have a wonderful meal to serve.

The same is true of good intentions. Once we have the idea of what we want to accomplish, we also need a plan to follow and the perseverance to see it through to completion.

With such busy schedules, we need guidance in order to achieve what is important for each day. It is often difficult to fit in doing good for others when there is so much we need to do at home. But God calls us to do both.

Titus 3:14 says we should “…learn to devote [ourselves] to doing what is good, in order that [we] may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.”

In order follow this biblical wisdom, we need a plan to follow—a recipe.

Here’s one we should try:

Recipe for Doing Good

The Lord wants our good intentions to become reality—to make the thoughts count by putting them into action.

Galatians 6:9 says: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

If I’m going to reap a harvest, I need to get busy following this recipe for doing good.

I’m fixin’ to. How ‘bout you?

Dearest Lord, we need Your help. Our schedules are so busy, it’s hard to get everything done we need to do. Father, help us to be determined to do what is good…to be faithful in each task you set before us. Help us move beyond the thought of doing good to putting it into action. May You be glorified, O Lord, in our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Recipe card edited from “Printable Recipe Cards for Your Fall Food Gifts,” a free printable from www.liagriffith.com. Used by permission. (If you like crafts, decor, and entertaining, check out Lia’s website. She has lots of great ideas.)
 
 

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

Photos by Sabra Penley.

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Filed under Busyness, Doing Good, God's Purpose, Love