Moving to New Website–Simply One.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” — Ecclesiastes 3:1

A Year of Simply.

Last year on Thanksgiving Day I posted my first entry on this website. Almost one year has passed, and I have been so blessed with the opportunity to share with you my thoughts and the lessons God is teaching me through His Word and my life.

It all started with the nudging of the Lord to write—to testify—about His love and work in my life. Blogging wasn’t even on my radar. I didn’t even know what a blog was, to be honest. But God orchestrated His plan one step at a time, and I followed, knowing nothing and feeling completely unqualified to be a writer.

But thanks be to God! He gives us everything we need to follow His plan for our lives. And He has been so gracious to me. I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way. I’ve shed a few tears of frustration and doubt in my abilities. I’ve stared at the blank page and wondered why the words wouldn’t come. I’ve had a bad attitude some days and wondered how anything I might write could make a difference.

But God has been with me every step of the way. He lifts me up when I’m down and helps me to carry on in spite of my emotions and weaknesses. God’s calling is never about our abilities or qualifications. It’s only and ever about HIM. Sometimes I forget that.

This past year of blogging on Simply. has been a wonderful experience. I’ve learned a lot—about writing and blogging…about myself…about the Lord. And I still have so much to learn and share.

Moving on…to Simply One.

Back in the spring when we learned David wouldn’t be returning to teach in the classroom because of his disability (read post here), we knew God had another plan for us. He doesn’t  keep us on this earth without a purpose. So we prayed. And we waited to see where He would lead us.

And through the course of the last few months, the Lord planted a desire in our hearts to minister to husbands and wives through a new marriage blog. And in September, we launched Simply One. (www.simplyoneinmarriage.com).

After a lot of prayer and seeking the Lord’s direction, I have seen the need to stop writing on Simply. and focus my blogging efforts on Simply One. This will also free up a little time to work on other writing projects that I’ve yet to begin. So (with some sadness) this will be my last post on this website.

I’ll be transferring all the posts from Simply. to the new website, and the dates of the posts will be intact, so they can be accessed through the Search feature or Archives list.

But I’m not through writing. I’ll continue to share what I’m learning about life’s journey with the Lord about once a week—just in a new location. And the joyful part of it is I get to share it with my sweet husband. One in marriage…one in blogging.

Want to take a look at our new blog?  Just click on the image below to go to our homepage. Take a look around. Read our About page. Check out the Free Resources. And read a post or two.


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And if you’ve enjoyed reading Simply., might I ask you to subscribe now to our new website? It’s as simple as clicking the button below and entering your name and email address.

Subscribe Simply One. 2

Thank you for allowing me to share my simple thoughts with you. I pray you’ve been encouraged by the time you’ve spent here. And I hope to connect with you over on Simply One.

Praying the Lord will fill you with peace and joy!

Blessings to you, friends!
Sabra

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

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Filed under Change, Marriage, Moving, New Beginning

Joyful Start to a New Day

“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good an His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” – Psalm 100 (NIV)

It’s a typical start to a new day…but somehow this morning it has captured my soul.

One solitary bird is singing his praises to the Creator, saying “Good morning, Lord!”

I’m not even outside. The windows are closed. And yet, I hear his Hallelujah! as clear as a bell. It calls me to worship along with him.

 

Psalm 100-2

 

A new day. New mercies. New joy.

Can you hear him singing–praising?

Let us rejoice throughout this day with the glory of our God. May we never forget that we are His and He loves us and His love endures forever! Hallelujah!

 

Oh, precious Father, thank You for Your marvelous creation. How the smallest creature can shout Your praises and sing of Your glory…a call for all to worship You. Indeed, You are great and worthy of our praise! May we worship you today not only in word and song, but in our hearts and thoughts and actions. Let us shout to the world how wonderful You are. And may You be glorified–blessed–honored by our lives today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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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

Do You Need Some Help?

“I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:1-2

Hi, sweet friend!

What are you going through today? Has it been a hard one?

Some days can just be difficult. Current circumstances…past failures…future uncertainty. These can all lead us to a place where we feel helpless—maybe even hopeless. Like we’re left out in the middle of an open field–defenseless, alone, exposed–with no help in sight.

Texas Field
But take heart. When those days come, there’s something you need to know and remember…

You are not alone. You are not defenseless. You are not without hope. 

THE LORD YOUR GOD IS WITH YOU!
 

Psalm 121

Look at this beautiful promise in Psalm 121…

1I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from?
2My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3He will not allow your foot to slip; Your Protector will not slumber.
4Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep.
5The LORD protects you; the LORD is a shelter right by your side.
6The sun will not strike you by day or the moon by night.
7The LORD will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life.
8The LORD will protect your coming and going both now and forever.

You are not alone. Your Lord is with you—right by your side.

You are not defenseless. Your Lord protects you. He is your shelter—all day, all night.

You are not without hope. Your Lord never sleeps. He is always watching over you. Every moment of every day. And He is in control of everything. He will not allow you to be overtaken. He preserves your life.

So whatever you may be facing today, lift your eyes up and see the One who can help you. Run to the shelter of His loving arms and find comfort in His strength. Rest in the joy of His presence and protection.

And never forget…Almighty God, the Maker of heaven and earth, is with you. You are loved. You are watched. You are protected. Always.

May you be filled with His joy and hope today!

Grace and peace,
Sabra


Precious Lord, we praise You for Your mighty power. How unworthy we are of Your love. Thank You, Father, for Your constant presence with us. Help us to lift our eyes up to You and away from the circumstances of our lives so we can live with joy and hope each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 
Linking up today with my friends at www.MissionalWomen.com. Just click on the link to read some of their inspirational words. 

Scripture from Holman Christian Standard Bible, 2010.
Images by Sabra Penley.

 

 

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Filed under Comfort, Encouragement, God's Presence, God's Works, Help, Hope, Loneliness, Love

Moments of Joy

“Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.” – Psalm 21:6

 

I used to go for short walks every morning and evening. My dog demanded it. (Nature calls, you know.)

But those daily walks stopped abruptly when my walking buddy died this summer. I took one last slow walk that morning after—leash and collar in hand—just to say goodbye. And crossing over that well-worn path we took each day, I remembered our times together—thanking God for bringing him into our family.

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A Reminder of Precious Times

Recently I came across a note I wrote after one of those morning jaunts around our neighborhood. It said…

“I’m amazed at how God always speaks to me when I’m walking the dog. Dog walkingGod talking.”

As I read that note from months before, I realized how much I miss those times. I miss my sweet canine friend. Twelve long years of walking together has left a hole in his absence—one that hasn’t filled in yet.

But this note reminded me of something else. Those walks held more than just companionship with my pet. They were also quiet moments with the Lord, for God was walking with us. As we followed our usual trail, I would pray…and God would always respond. His Spirit would speak to my heart—often His voice so clear I couldn’t wait to get inside to write down what He said.

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Needing to Walk

I miss those precious times. My four-legged buddy is no longer here. I have no responsibility to take him out anymore. No need to go out the door and down the path.

But my Lord is still here. The path is still here. And so are mornings and evenings.

And that note has stirred in my heart a longing to recapture those quiet strolls among the trees talking with my God and hearing Him reply.

Maybe I do need to go out the door and down the path each day again after all. This time, though, for me and for my Lord. Not nature calling…but God calling.

Sharing Joy

The words to my grandmother’s favorite hymn are rolling in my mind…

And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own.
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

Joy. Yes, that’s it. Pure joy.

God's sweet presence
Only God can fill the holes in our hearts with joy.

We need Him desperately, don’t we?

Let’s take time today to walk with our Lord and listen as He whispers what we need to hear. And let us also speak to His heart words of love and adoration as we share that sweet time together.

Precious joy.

If you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go for a walk…

Have a wonderful day!
Sabra

 

O Lord, thank You for walking with us each day and speaking to our hearts. May we be faithful to take the time to stay right beside You, to tell You how much we love You, and to listen to Your sweet voice. Thank You for the precious joy that comes from being in Your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Question:
Where is your special place with the Lord? We’d love to know. Please share with us by leaving a comment.

 

Linking up with my friends today on these wonderful blogs…
www.MeredithBernard.com – {Woman2Woman}
www.JenniferDukesLee.com – #TellHisStory
www.HolleyGerth.com – Coffee for Your Heart
 
Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984.
Hymn quoted is “In the Garden” by Charles A. Miles, 1913.
Images by Sabra Penley

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Filed under God's Presence, Joy, Prayer, Thankfulness

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

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.

Psalm146.1-2

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