Category Archives: God’s Presence

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

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

Five Minute Friday – {fill}

“Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” – Psalm 81:10

 

I need you, Lord. Show me my wayward self.

O God, fill my heart…

…with Your love

…with Your truth

…with Your peace

…with Your direction

…with Your amazing grace

…with humility

…with obedience

…with hope.

Lord, You are speaking. Fill my ears to hear Your voice.

Lord, You are here. Fill my eyes with Your perspective.

Lord, fill me with You and empty me of me.

All for Your glory.

In the holy name of Jesus, Amen.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” — Psalm 139:23-24

 

Praying the Lord will speak to Your heart today and fill you with all His goodness.

Blessings,
Sabra
 
Joining Five Minute Friday today with Kate Motaung and friends at
the link below. We write for five minutes--raw and real--no 
editing. The word for this week: fill.

 

All Scripture from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984.

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Filed under Five Minute Friday, God's Presence, Grace, Healing, Humility, Love, Prayer, Self

How to Thrive, Not Just Survive

Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” – John 7:37-38

Do you feel drained, like your energy and strength has evaporated, and you wonder how you’ll get through the challenges of the day? Maybe you’re going through a difficult period in your life, and it’s taking more out of you than you ever dreamed. Would you like to know how to have renewed strength and not just survive, but thrive?

Drink water.

That’s right. We all need it—a lot of it.

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Without water our bodies can’t function. We slow down. It becomes hard to think straight. We get weak and our emotions get the best of us.

Oh yes, we need water.

Recently my daughter and her friend—both beautiful twenty-somethings—were singing the praises of drinking three liters of water a day and the smoothing effect it had on their skin. Feeling like a dried prune next to them, I thought, “I really need to drink more water.

Water. Oh, no! Suddenly I remembered I had forgotten to water the plants on the patio that morning. Not good. We’re in melting season here with afternoon temps close to 100. I was afraid when I got home my plumbago would be well-wilted. If I don’t water it every morning, the heat of the day causes it to wither and those beautiful blue blooms close up and fall to the ground.

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Sounds a lot like me some days–when life weighs heavy and I start to wither. I feel drained of energy, lifeless. I close up and whatever was beautiful in me falls off. It’s in those moments I realize I need more water…the Living Water. I need Jesus.

Oh, how we need Him—a lot of Him–throughout the day.

While plants can usually make it okay with a morning watering, we need more. Our bodies must be replenished with water all through the day to function properly and flourish. And in the same way, our spirits need to drink in the Living Water throughout the day to not just survive, but thrive.

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We know our daily quiet time with the Lord is vital to our spiritual health. But to stay vibrant and able to withstand the pressures of the day for God’s glory, we need a constant refilling of His life-giving water.

Here are some ways to drink in more of Him throughout the day:

  • Stop and pray.
  • Read, listen to, or quote Scripture.
  • Write down thoughts of what God is teaching you.
  • Be still and take time to enjoy His presence.
  • When He reveals something you need to do, do it.
  • Pray constantly—through all your activities.

Don’t wait until you feel thirsty for God. Drink Him in throughout the day.

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So how about it? Will you join me in a new commitment to drink more water, both for our bodies and our spirits?

Precious Lord, some days are just difficult. So often we press through trying to make it on our own and we end up drained, with nothing left to give. These are times You remind us how much we need You—the Living Water. Fill us, Jesus. Help us be faithful to drink in more of You and stay strong and vibrant…all to Your glory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Blessings to you,
Sabra
Scripture from Holman Christian Standard Bible.
Images by Sabra Penley.

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Filed under God's Presence, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Overwhelmed, Prayer, Strength, Transforming

Where is God?

What do you do when the hard times come? The really hard times. The ones that leave you so scared you can’t catch your breath. When the what-ifs are screaming so loudly all you can see and hear is your desperate situation. Do you wonder where God is? How do you keep going when it just seems hopeless?

I read this the other day in 1 Kings 19:4–I’ve had enough, LORD…Take my life.”

Wow! I didn’t expect to hear those words from Elijah. I mean, this was the strong, faithful man of God who just stood up against all those prophets of Baal and showed them who the real God was, with water and wet wood and calling down the Lord’s consuming fire. God had just used him in a mighty way. Yet now he cries out for God to end his life?

Okay, so he was in a tough place. (You can read all about it in 1 Kings 18-19.) Queen Jezebel, consumed with rage, was out to have him killed. So he ran…ran for his life…out of fear. But, fear? Elijah? What happened? Where did his courage go? Where was his faith? His trust in the Lord?

100_6099 Truth is, I’ve faced some hard times myself. I’ve known that gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach and wrapped my arms around my ribs, thinking it would somehow hold me together. Felt the tears well up and threaten to pour down my cheeks at any moment…barely able to breathe because the fear was choking me. And I’ve wondered if life would ever be good again.

Where was my faith? My trust in the Lord? I’m no Elijah…but I sure can relate.

In those moments, all I wanted was relief. And I couldn’t see it. Is this what it was like for Elijah? Is this what it is like for you when those frightening times come?

What do we do with it? This fear…this desperation…this near panic?

At first glance, it looks like Elijah crawls up into a fetal position under that broom tree and tells God, that’s it…he’s done…enough already. We see a man running away—yes. But looking closer, we realize he’s running away from danger and running toward God. Alone Elijah runs into the desert and cries out to the Lord, for He desperately needs Him.

I’ve felt that way, too. Alone. Scared. Desperately needing God—needing His presence with me. Can you say the same? But here’s the thing–what we see and feel in those moments of fear is not real. For we are never really alone…not any of us. God’s powerful presence is always there…in those moments…in that darkness.

So why can’t we see Him? Why don’t we feel He’s there? Because we are too focused on the trouble surrounding us. We can only focus on one thing at a time. And everything else becomes a bit blurry. Even God. Especially God.

When you can’t see God, change your focus.

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He’s there. Oh boy, is He there! He never leaves our side. He watches over us, provides for us, leads us—all the way to where we can finally see Him.

God sent angels to tend to Elijah’s needs and keep him moving on his journey. And so he was able to keep running—forty days and forty nights. All the way to the mountain of God. And there Elijah finally found Him.

Not in the great wind, not in the earthquake, not in the fire…not in the fear, not in the worry, not in the desperation. But after all those things…in the quiet stillness. Then Elijah heard it–that gentle whisper. That still, small voice. The Lord God Almighty—the all-powerful God. He revealed Himself in the quiet.

Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

Oh, how we need to remember this verse! And that’s the key, isn’t it? Being still when the storm is raging? Remembering His promise to never leave us or forsake us? Trusting in His unfailing love and faithfulness? God sees. God knows. God is there. And He’s got this—whatever this is. So the next time you feel like running away, run right into the arms of our loving Father, who is always with us. Be still and focus on His powerful presence, trusting Him. And I will, too. He is God Almighty, and He’s got this!

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your constant presence. Thank You for watching over us and providing for us. And thank You for answering our cries—even when we want to give up. You never give up on us. You just draw us right back into Your loving arms—right where we belong. Help us to be still and trust in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

All Scripture from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984.
Images by Sabra Penley.

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Filed under Faith, God's Presence, Holy Spirit, Hope, Overwhelmed, Peace, Remember, Trust, Worry