Category Archives: Work

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.

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

Overcoming Discouragement

“Forgetting what is behind, and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14

I get excited when I think about God’s calling on my life. Don’t you? To think He has chosen us to do specific work that He designed just for us—for our unique personalities and abilities. It can fill our hearts with joy.

So why is it that we so easily become discouraged? Sometimes the littlest things can bring us down and plant seeds of doubt in our minds. Did I hear God right? Does He really want me to do this? What if I mess up? What if I fail? Do I really have what it takes?

I’ve asked myself all those questions this last month. And every one of them threatened to stop me in my tracks.

That’s what discouragement has the potential to do—get our focus off our God-given goal and render us useless.

Discouragement is a temptation to give up. It takes courage to move forward—to strain toward what is ahead—when what is ahead is difficult or frightening or unknown. And that courage comes from our faith in the Lord.

Philippians3.13-14

Paul’s declaration in Philippians 3:13-14 above is given after many years of pressing on through immense hardship and suffering for His devotion to Christ. In 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 he mentions prison, floggings, beatings, stoning, shipwrecks, treading water in the open sea, constant moving from one place to another, dangers from nature and dangers from people with evil intent, hunger, thirst, nakedness, hard work, and sleeplessness.

I look at this list, and I am humbled. It takes so little sometimes to get me down.

But Paul did not let any of those hardships keep him from pressing on toward the goal of completing God’s call on his life. There is no doubt he was tempted by discouragement. How could he not be with all he went through? He is an inspiration to us all when we face our own discouraging feelings.

Even greater than Paul’s example are his specific instructions on how we too can overcome discouragement and keep pressing on with God’s work. He encourages us to…

Pray, Be Alert, Be Thankful

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” – Colossians 4:2

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” – Ephesians 6:18

Put On God’s Armor and Stand Firm

“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” – Ephesians 6:10-11

Do Everything for God’s Glory

“Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” – Colossians 3:17

Trust God to Do His Work in You

“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen!” – Ephesians 3:20-21

Trust God to Supply Everything You Need

“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

Trust God to Give You Strength

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13

Trust in God’s Sufficient Grace

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Trust God to Work Good Out of Every Situation

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Trust God to Show You What to Do

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Give Your Worries to the Lord – Rejoice in Him

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7

Focus on God’s Truth and Promises

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

If we follow these words of wisdom, we should be able to carry on in the work the Lord has called us to do, even when we face hardships or obstacles that threaten to take us down, including our our doubts and fears.

Discouragement
When the pressure of discouragement threatens to overwhelm you, press on with the sure Word of God’s overwhelming love and grace.

I’ve prepared a PDF printable of these scriptures, just to have for easy reference. If you’d like to have a copy for yourself, you can download it by clicking the link below. And the next time you start feeling discouraged, pray through these verses and ask God to encourage you with His truth.

Using Scripture to Overcome Discouragement (PDF)

Using Scripture to Overcome Discouragement

Do you have certain scripture verses that help you? How do you overcome the temptation to give up or stop working when discouragement comes your way?  Please share your answers in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.

Precious Father, thank You for all Your promises and Your faithfulness. Thank You that You are working in us and through us by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Help us, Lord, when we face feelings of discouragement to keep pressing on in the work You have called us to do by placing our trust in You and relying on Your strength and provision. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Blessings to you,
Sabra

 

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

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Filed under Discouragement, God's Works, Success, Thankfulness, Trust, Uncategorized, Work

Could You Use a Nap?

“Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” – Mark 6:30-32

 

When I read Michael Hyatt’s blog post “5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Nap Every Day,” I was elated.

Finally–statistical research that validates my desire to nap.

I’ve taken Sunday afternoon naps as long as I can remember—on God’s ordained day of rest. But napping every afternoon always seemed too self-indulgent…lazy.

Now, it seems a nap might actually be beneficial to our work, as long as we do it for the right reason and apply safeguards to keep from napping too long.

I’m a morning person. So I set my alarm for 5:00. This is my most productive time, so I try to schedule accordingly. By early afternoon, though, my energy level drops, like some wind-up toy that slowly winds down until it gives out. Not good when there’s more to do than time to do it.

Do you ever feel this way—sluggish and sleepy?

Could it be that taking a 20-30-minute nap every day could be just what the doctor ordered? Oh, say it’s true!

napping-2

Michael Hyatt’s research supports this. But does God’s Word?

Proverbs 6:9-11 says:How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest–and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.” I often use this passage to remind myself not to be lazy and it seems to speak against sleep during the day.

But Proverbs 6:6-8 gives more of the picture: Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”

This tells the difference between being lazy and being productive. A nap, taken in this context, would only be sinful if the purpose is to keep from doing work. But if a nap is for restoring energy and alertness to be more productive, it would be beneficial and, therefore, not sinful.

Taking an Afternoon Rest

Song of Songs 1:7 mentions sheep that rest at midday. This sounds like a nap to me. And God’s Word often calls us sheep.

Then in Mark 6:30-32, Jesus tells His disciples, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” They had just told Him about all the work they did, so this rest followed a productive time.

So, taken together, these verses suggest hard work should be followed by rest to renew our energy and be refreshed…and not only at night.

Thanks for Naps

To nap right, though, we need some guidelines…

  • Work hard first
  • Lay down in a quiet place
  • Give thanks for the work you’ve done and ask God to refresh you
  • Set a timer for no more than 30 minutes
  • When the timer goes off, get up!
  • Give thanks for rest and ask God to bless your work
  • Refreshed, go get busy again

God’s Word doesn’t say we must rest each afternoon. But when those dragging moments come, it’s nice to know God provides a quick way to rejuvenate.

A rest following hard work allows more hard work to follow.

So what do you say? Could you use a nap?

Dearest Father, thank You for providing the ability to work and time for needed rest. May we be faithful to serve You and Your purposes in both. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Blessings to you,
Sabra
 
All Scripture from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984.
Napping image by Meredith Bernard at www.meredithbernard.com. Used 
by permission.(Thanks, Meredith!)
Other images by Sabra Penley.
 

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Filed under Rest, Work