Category Archives: Comfort

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

Smiling Through the Tears

Such a beautiful day–full of sunshine. Why, then, does it seem so cloudy?

A pleasant walk with my sweetheart. A nice rest by the waterfall. A soft breeze. Any other day, I would file it under “perfect.”

But not today. Something is amiss.

The stinging in my eyes won’t stop. And I realize that the slightest thing might just send a flood of tears pouring out.

I don’t want to cry. I don’t want to give in to this lack of peace…this unrest in my soul.

I want to live rejoicing in the Lord and giving thanks for all His wonderful blessings in my life. But somehow today I feel frozen. Like the world is swirling around me and I am so dizzy I can’t see straight.

Have you ever had one of those days? They can take us by surprise.

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I suppose it started yesterday, visiting our sweet friends at the hospital. The hospital. Once again. On Easter Sunday.

Meeting her in that empty cafeteria only accentuated the emptiness I knew she must be feeling. This past year’s barrage of cancer treatments has taken its toll on her husband’s body. And now things don’t look good. So much is uncertain…about what is causing his condition, about his life, about their future. Listening as she shared her broken heart, waves of sadness washed over me, remembering what it feels like to be sitting by the bed of the man you love watching him suffer and not knowing…anything. All I could do was listen and hug her and pray that God would bring a miracle.

Then this morning, when my husband got up, he seemed more quiet than normal. It was as if a cloud had settled in over us. I can usually hold it together when he is strong, but when he gets down? I start to crumble.

We went for our walk. And it was lovely. But quiet. Somber.

It is obvious to me now. Thinking about our friends and their struggle led us to focus on our own struggle of what the future holds. Our thoughts settled on what used to be and what won’t be again. But these thoughts are not where they need to be.

We need to keep our eyes on the One who is leading us forward–the Lord Jesus, to put our hope in Him and give Him praise. We must be still and simply rest in God’s loving arms…one. more. time….and never give in to worry or sadness. For God is always with us. He promises to never leave us. He will take care of us. He keeps His promises.

Psalm 56:3 reminds me to trust Him: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” For the Lord God is faithful and my life is in His hands.

My mind flows to the psalmist’s comforting words in Psalm 23:“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

Psalm 23.2-3

I need to lie down in those green pastures and allow the Lord my God, my Shepherd, to lead me beside still waters. Only He can restore my soul with His wonderful peace and joy. And make my heart smile.

Our feelings are very real. They come and go with the violent twists and turns and ups and downs of a rollercoaster. Jesus also had very real feelings…of sadness, of grief, of fear. These feelings are not sinful in and of themselves. But like Jesus, we must not let them master us or dictate our actions. What is important is to take those feelings that threaten to bring us down and lay them before the Lord. He will fill our hearts with His truth and remind us of His love and goodness and faithfulness. He will keep the smile in our hearts with the knowledge of who He is and that He is in control.

So on those days when the clouds roll in and tears begin to form, turn your focus to the Lord and lay it all before Him. Remember that He is in control. He loves you. And your heart will smile in the midst of your tears.

Help my soul rest in Your green pastures, Father. Restore my soul with Your quiet waters. Help me simply be still and know that You are God. In this is my peace. Help me to keep my eyes on You, the Great Shepherd. For in You is my soul’s rest.
 
The tears may yet flow. But I will smile through the tears, for I know You hold my heart in Your mighty hand. And You are here! O thank You, precious Lord!
 
 
This post has been added to the #inspireandgrow link-up at
www.echoesofmyheart.com. To read posts by other bloggers, just
click on the link above.
All Scripture from New International Version of the Bible, 1984.
"Sheep, Field, Clouds" by Ingrid Taylar via flickr (license: CC BY 2.0)
"Sunlight on Water" by John Shortland via flickr (license: CC BY 2.0),
cropped, text added.

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Filed under #inspireandgrow, Comfort, Faith, Love, Peace, Prayer, Trust, Worry

Lord, hold me together…

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.


The cracks started appearing quickly in my comfortable little world.

I didn’t recognize them as such at first. My husband’s flu-like symptoms. Weakness. But as the evening rolled around, I could see them becoming clearer, more pronounced…growing.

By the time we reached the hospital, those cracks had become so large, my comfortable little world starting breaking apart. Piece by piece.

Then, just like a hammer blow, I heard those words: “He has a slim chance of survival.”

And I started to fall apart from the inside.

It was as if my heart was breaking, crumbling, and there was nothing I could do about it.

But in that moment, when I thought I would completely break with no hope of repair, my Hero came to the rescue.

Jesus.

He was there. At just the right moment. Before it was too late.

My Lord Jesus was the one that picked up all the pieces of my heart that had started falling apart and put them back together. HE was the glue that patched me up. He wrapped His bandage of love around me to keep me whole. While the forces that caused the cracks and fissures kept pounding away, Jesus would not let them do permanent damage.

I held onto Him tightly as He held on to me.

And the most wonderful thing about the way He mends our broken pieces? We come out stronger than we were before. A bonding agent that gives strength to the weak places—making them greater than before the cracks appeared.

Psalm 147.3

 

Jesus held onto me and drew me close to Him during many long days of pressure and new cracks that formed. He kept me from falling apart. He was the glue that held me together.

Those pressure days have passed. My husband, by the grace of God, is alive and well. Things are not like they were before. Lasting changes came into our comfortable little world. In many ways, it isn’t as comfortable as it used to be—by worldly standards. But, oh, the comfort of having the Lord by our side…on our side…holding us, mending us, making us stronger so that we may be more useful to Him and bring Him glory.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for being the glue that holds us together. Thank You for providing peace and strength and the comfort of your loving, healing hands holding us close. You are our Hero—the One with the power to make the broken whole…stronger. May we give You all the glory for the mighty work You do in our hearts and in our lives. Oh, thank You, Lord.

 

I’ve linked up this post with Five Minute Friday at www.lisajobaker.com. The prompt today: GLUE. These are supposed to be five minutes of writing. Well, I’m a little over, I must say. But it gets me writing and sharing. Hopefully, someday soon I’ll be closer to the five minute mark. Click on the link below to read Lisa-Jo’s post and many others. I’m always amazed at how one word can bring so many different thoughts.
 

Five Minute Friday

Beginning scripture - Psalm 28:7.
All Scripture from NIV, 1984.
Image by Sabra Penley.   

 

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Filed under Comfort, Five Minute Friday, God's Works, Healing, Hope, Jesus

Bearing in Love

Ephesians 4:2 – Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

I used to have a picture of a teddy bear that said “Love bears all things.” As I read the verse above, I immediately thought about that little framed picture.

Teddy bears still, to this day, make me think of comfort.

Teddy Bear

And that’s the word that came to mind when I read this verse—comfort.

Who isn’t comforted by someone’s humility and gentleness and loving patience?

Loving patience…bearing with one another in love.

Such a beautiful thing. But how often do I find myself instead getting irritated or annoyed with someone, just because they aren’t moving fast enough or doing things the way I would do them or maybe they messed up again?

That is not such a beautiful thing. In fact, it’s downright ugly. Ugly self.

Self…that inward focus that says I am most important and my desires supersede all others.

But what is it that Jesus said? “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

Deny self. Put others first. Isn’t that what Christ did on the cross?

I am to follow His example.

Put off self. Put on humility, gentleness, and loving patience.

Loving patience…bearing with one another in love.

This kind of patience is wrapped in gentleness and clothed in humility.

Jesus was gentle.

Jesus humbled Himself, even to death on a cross.

love bears all things

Jesus bore the weight of all our sins, endured the cross, in love…for us.

Us!

We who turn away from Him over and over…we who often don’t follow His ways…we who mess up time and again.

He, who was perfect, bore it all in love…loving patience…for us.

What comfort this brings!

How much more, then, should we (our imperfect, sinful selves) be lovingly patient with those around us? How much more should we treat others with gentleness and humble ourselves before them?

The next time I think someone is going too slow, let me remember how Jesus endured the cross…and lovingly wait.

The next time someone is doing something other than my way, let me remember how I am supposed to follow God’s way…and humbly and simply smile.

And the next time someone messes up, again, let me remember how very many times I have messed up myself and graciously help them clean up the mess.

Next time, I want to be like Christ Jesus and bring comfort to those around me through loving patience.

For “love bears all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Gracious Lord, thank You for being so patient with me. Thank You for loving me and leading me by Your example how I am to live. O Lord, help me to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow You each day. Every time I start to get irritated or annoyed or impatient, help me remember all that You have given to me and how many times I have failed You. In humility and gentleness, Lord, help me to lovingly show patience to everyone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Today I'm joining a link-up on Woman-to-Woman Wednesday at 
www.4hisgloryblog.com. Today's topic is patience. If you have 
time, we'd love for you to hop on over and read what more 
women have to say about this much-needed quality.

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

Wooden Christian Cross by Ian Britton via flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0.
Teddy bear photo by Sabra Penley.

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Filed under Comfort, Deny Self, Gentleness, Humility, Jesus, Love, Patience, Sacrifice, Self

Wrapped in His Love

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” — Psalm 4:8

Tucking me in and kissing me goodnight, my mom walked to the door and turned out the light. With the click of the door behind her, I was alone. All alone…in the dark. There were things in the dark. Scary things. Unknown things. Things that wanted to get me. Every noise conjured up a frightening image in my young mind. So I wrapped my blanket up around me, careful to cover every inch of my body…protection from what was out there…in the darkness…that I couldn’t see. Somehow being shrouded in this cottony cocoon comforted me and made me feel safe and secure.

I’m no longer afraid when the lights go out at night, but I must confess, I still like having a blanket wrapped up around me when I lay in bed. It is, even now, somehow soothing.

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That childhood fear of the dark may be gone, but now my fears tend to run much deeper. I know there are scary things out there in this dark world. I’ve seen the hurting, the suffering, the hard times that people go through. I’ve gone through my own share. And, at times, I find myself afraid of the future—the unknown.

I bet you do, too. It’s ingrained in all of us, isn’t it? Fear of the unknown. We conjure up in our minds scenarios of what might be—those things that scare us. And anxiety, worry, and stress settle into our souls.

We want to feel safe and secure. We want to feel protected from whatever hardships might come our way. We want peace. But unlike a security blanket to a child afraid of the dark, we can’t just pull the covers over our heads and be soothed.

There is only one place where we can find the comfort we seek—in the presence of our loving Lord.

Psalm 4:8 says “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”

The Bible says we have no need to fear the unknown. God is not surprised by anything. He sees it all—past, present, and future. And everything is under His control. No matter what we may face, God is right here with us and He will never leave us.

Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy31.6

Like a frightened child hanging on to her security blanket, we must hang on to God—trusting Him to rescue us from all our fears.

The Lord will cover us with His comforting presence and tuck us in with His loving hands. In Him we can rest secure and find calm and peace.

So when those ugly fears arise, let the following words of comfort wrap around your soul and envelope you in peace as you trust in Him.

Psalm 32:10:  “…the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.”

Psalm 91:14: “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3 : “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

Psalm 32:7: “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”

Psalm 27:5: “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent…”

Psalm 1:6: “For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous…”

Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 46:4: “I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

Isaiah 51:16: “I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand.”

When fears arise, be comforted with the blanket of God’s presence. The One who is to be feared above all else will wrap you up in the safety of His love.

Dearest loving Father, thank You for Your loving protection that brings us peace and comfort. Help us to trust in You at all times so we may rest in Your everlasting love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

Comfort photo: By Sabra Penley, 2014.

Woods photo: “Shadows” by Chris Barry, licensed under CC-BY-2.0, text and dark frame added.

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Filed under Comfort, Love, Peace