Category Archives: Glory

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

Ready for Spring?

See! The winter is past, the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth, the season of singing has come…

Has springtime blossomed in your neck of the woods yet?

I’m happy to report that deep in the heart of Texas spring is in full swing. The daffodils put on their showy display a few weeks back, always the first to burst into bloom and give us hope that warmer days are just around the corner.

Well, warmer weather is here. We’ve already broken out the shorts and flip-flops, and spring cleaning is on the schedule. The buzzing sounds of lawnmowers and weed-wackers greet the early weekend morning and the smell of fresh-cut grass permeates the air. The earth is a sea of green everywhere we look, in every hue imaginable.

And then there’s the wildflowers. God’s great celebration of the new beginning, like crowning jewels on the landscape. And Texas has a beautiful array.

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I love the verse above from Song of Songs 2:11-12: “The winter is past…flowers appear…the season of singing has come….”

Indeed, it is time to celebrate. And all of God’s creation seems to be singing His praise!

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Back in January, in the dead of winter, my sweet husband and I wrote out a bucket list of sorts–things we wanted to do for fun this year. Money is tight, so we chose things that cost little or nothing. And one of the first things my husband mentioned was driving around to see the wildflowers when spring rolled around.

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Yesterday we had the pleasure of hopping in the car, driving out west of town, and hunting for these little beauties. And what a colorful bounty of blooms we found!

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Many flowers come and go so fast we can miss their beauty. Like a celebration of God’s goodness, we must plan and schedule and make time to enjoy them.

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These glorious treasures remind me that the same is true of the people in our lives. Often opportunities to spend time and celebrate life with them come and go so quickly we can miss them. How often are we so busy and distracted and our schedules so loaded that we miss the precious moments God is providing? Moments that may never come our way again. Moments like spending a Saturday afternoon with my wonderful husband rejoicing in God’s blessings.

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I look at my grown children and wonder how their childhood was over so quickly. I feel my dad’s absence and miss the days of his smiles and silly jokes. I visit my mom, who is having more difficulty these days, and realize the days are growing shorter that I will get to share laughs and hugs with her. And my own sweet husband–my miracle man. I remember just how close to death he came and how each day is a precious gift with him. I don’t want to miss any of it.

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Like flowers that burst into bloom and quickly fade, so are opportunities to celebrate life with those we love.

We don’t know if the opportunity before us will ever come again. But the Lord has given it to us now. Let us take hold of it and not let go!

The season for singing has come! Let’s celebrate!

Dearest Father, thank You for the beauty of spring! Thank You that new life springs forth from the earth and Your glory is seen across the landscape. Let us not miss any of it, Lord. Help us to celebrate this life You have given us with those you have placed in our lives. Let us lift up songs of praise to You and rejoice in Your glory!…In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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

This post has been added to a link-up with Inspire Me Monday at http://www.angieryg.com. To read other inspirational messages, just click on the link below…

Angie Ryg

 

 

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Filed under Celebrate, Glory, Joy, Love, New Beginning, Thankfulness

Success!

“…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Cor. 10:31

How do you measure success?

I’ve struggled with this question lately, especially in writing a blog.

Up until a few months ago, I was a technological dinosaur. Email was as far as I ventured in the social media realm. But blogging has me in places I never thought I’d travel—WordPress, Facebook, Twitter. I avoided them like the plague, not wanting to put myself out there for all to see. But God had other plans for me. And so, here I am…a blogger.

Articles will tell you followers and views and likes and shares are how to measure success in the blogosphere. Stats are plastered on each webpage—from blogs to Facebook to Twitter to every other online community. It can be overwhelming. And, sadly, I find I can’t look away from them.

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I peek to see how many people read my blog post and how many likes it receives. I eagerly await emails announcing a new comment and check the share buttons at the bottom of the page to know if people thought it was worthy of sharing with their friends. Frankly, this is embarrassing to admit—this obsession with approval.

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Do you find yourself doing the same thing—seeking approval?

This phenomenon is not just limited to the World Wide Web. It rears its ugly head in everything we do—our work, our home, our family, our friends, our church, our community. We crave attention, don’t we? I know I do.

The sad reality is too often I focus on myself. I wonder how my actions or words will be received. I get swept up comparing my work to others who are considered the best at what they do. A whirlpool of desire for acceptance, applause, and admiration sucks me in. And while spinning around and around in this inescapable vortex of selfish ambition, the joy in life is thrown out. I become trapped in a swirling circle of discouragement, insecurity and fear. Creativity gets sucked under and productivity drowns. And I have nothing to give.

Only then does it hit me—something critical forgotten: God is the reason for this blog!

The world’s definition of success screamed so loudly I bought into it and quickly forgot my purpose. This writing venture is a calling from the Lord. God has given me a story—the story of my life, yes, but much more. He has given me the story of life connected to the God of all creation– a testimony to His existence and His loving work in my heart. How profound the words sound or whether people are wowed should not be a concern. The purpose is bringing glory to the Most High God!

HE should be the focus–always. His truth…His calling…His outcome.

Only when we fix our gaze on God’s purpose in what we do can we bring Him the glory He deserves. Only when we prayerfully depend on Him to transform our meager efforts and humbly present them to Him as a precious offering will His true beauty shine through.

God’s own Word tells us:  “…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).

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Not our glory. God’s glory.

Ann Voskamp said in speaking to writers: “We need to be passionately uninterested in the outcome of our words beyond our faithfulness in writing them. Success in writing is faithfulness and obedience to writing what God has called you to.”

“Passionately uninterested in the outcome…”

A far cry from obsessively checking the stats and seeking approval.

We must commit the results to God–to be faithful in following His plan and leave the rest up to Him. He alone has the power to bring His desired outcome from everything we offer Him.

1 Corinthians 3:7 says: So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”

Only God…makes things grow. Only God…brings the outcome.

How, then,  should we measure success?

By living our lives each day in faithful obedience to His call–for His glory.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

Oh, how wonderful if we could fully grasp this truth. It would remove discouragement, dissolve insecurity, eliminate fear, and bring back the joy in serving Him.

The stats and worldly measures of success will always be before us, but we must strive to turn our heart’s eye away from them and focus on the LORD.

Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

Success is measured not in outcome but in obedience.

The glory is His. The outcome is His. The privilege to serve Him is ours.

Dearest Lord, help us to serve you in faithful obedience in all we do. Help us leave the results of our efforts up to you and seek only Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

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

Ann Voskamp, “Conversation with Ann Voskamp,” COMPEL Training, November 18, 2014.

Internet photos by Sabra Penley.

Trees photo by Jeannie Fletcher, licensed by CC BY-NC 2.0. Dark frame, overlay and text added.

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Filed under Glory, God's Works, Self, Success