Category Archives: Love

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.

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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

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

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

Don’t Wait Too Long

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

 

How could I have lost sight of it? That life can change in the blink of an eye. One moment all seems well. The next? Something breaks your heart and sends you reeling.

He was fine. Nothing out of the ordinary–his usual begging, whining, ploys for attention. How did we not notice?

He behaved a little strangely at first–laying in places and ways he never did before, his constant down and up, being away from where we were. But he suddenly plopped down, and I knew. Something was really wrong.

When I saw his almost lifeless body as my son picked him up and placed him in the car, I knew in my heart we would be coming home without him.

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He was just a dog…I know. But he was so much more to us. A faithful companion—a part of the family—for twelve years.

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As I tried to process what had suddenly happened, it struck me hard that we never took him walking on that trail we talked about. And now we never would. And as I looked through his photos, why were there so few of him with us? We had a lot of him alone, but where were the photos of our family with him? It was too late now.

Yes, in the blink of an eye, life can change forever. 

And when faced with that change, as we try to wrap our heads around what just happened, we think of things we wish we had done. Maybe things we had planned…maybe things we thought about doing…maybe a conversation we’d been putting off. But the reality sets in that we will never be able to do them now.

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Oh, how God is working to teach me this lesson! My Dad’s death, my husband’s life-changing illness, and now my sweet dog, Jerr-Bear. Somehow I keep forgetting.

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Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

We never know how much time we have with the ones we love. So let’s determine to do those things that are important now and not put them off for another day. Another day may not come.

God’s Word tells us that there is a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). But we don’t know how long those seasons will last. That is for God alone to know. We must, therefore, strive to live each day to the fullest and always let others know how much we love them.

Don't wait too long to do what's

So spend time together. Take those pictures. Have that conversation.

Don’t wait too long…do what’s important while there is still time. For we don’t know how many days we have.

Sovereign Lord, thank You for the time You give us with those we love. Help us to cherish every precious moment. Give us wisdom to do what’s important with them now, while they are still with us, for only You know what the future holds. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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

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Filed under Change, Enjoy Life, Expectation, God's Timing, Lessons, Love, Relationships

Why Wives Need to Unstop the Fountain

You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon. — Song of Songs 4:15

fountainblessing

My sisters, doesn’t it make you feel great to hear your husband call you a sweet name? To tell you how much you mean to him? How would you like to hear him say something like these words from Song of Songs…

“How beautiful you are.”
“How delightful is your love.”
“You have stolen my heart.”

I imagine all of us love to hear words like these from our husbands. They might not say it like Solomon, but isn’t it always a blessing to hear our husbands say we are delightful and beautiful? When they tell us how wonderful we are? When they whisper those sweet everythings in our ears?

These words are like a fountain that flows right into our hearts. And you know what? Our husbands need these refreshing words as well.

So, is your fountain flowing?

Today I have the blessing to guest post for a sweet friend, Meredith Bernard, on her blog http://www.meredithbernard.com. Please join me over there and read this post in full.

Simply click here: “Why Wives Need to Unstop the Fountain”

Hope to meet you there!

Blessings,
Sabra
Scripture from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984.
Image by Sabra Penley.

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Filed under Blessing, Doing Good, Encouragement, Grace, Love, Marriage, Wife, Woman-to-Woman

25 Ways to Live a Life of Grace — A Simply. Challenge

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”     — 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

Think about yesterday. Did you make a difference?

If you polled ten people who interacted with you, how many might say you were a blessing in their lives? What about your spouse? Your kids? Your coworkers? Or maybe the cashier? The waiter? The customer service rep? What would they say about how you treated them?

And what about God? He saw everything—every thought, every word, every action. Do you think He would say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant?”

It’s a question we should ask ourselves regularly, don’t you think?

We know God has called us to make a difference—to love others—to share His grace. For this is what He has done for us. (Read my post on God’s grace here.)

It should be easy living this life of grace, for God has poured out His undeserved love on us and we have Jesus’ perfect example to follow. But all too often, it isn’t easy. We get absorbed in ourselves, in the task at hand, in the busyness of life. We don’t notice the people right in front of us. And we miss the opportunity to share God’s love with them and make their day a little brighter.

GRACE

 

So, here’s a challenge…A Simply. Challenge — 25 Ways to Live a Life of Grace. This list can be used in two ways…

  • As an evaluation tool. While it isn’t an exhaustive list of ways to show grace, it could be eye-opening nonetheless. Identify the areas that need work, and offer thanks for the ways you have already been faithful to show grace to others.
  • As a checklist. Choose one way each day to reach out in love. Focus on that specific act of grace and strive to live it out all day long. Imagine how many lives you will have blessed at the end of the twenty-five days!

 

 25 Ways to Live a Life of Grace

  1. Help carry a load. (Galatians 6:2)
  2. Be there… in the good times and the bad. (Proverbs 17:17)
  3. Be understanding… because you’ve messed up, too. (Romans 3:23)
  4. Reach out to include someone—offer friendship. (Romans 15:7)
  5. Give up something for someone else—your plans, your desires, your time, your possessions. (John 15:13)
  6. Put someone else’s interests before your own. (Philippians 2:3-4)
  7. Listen. Stop talking. Just listen. (James 1:19)
  8. Do something special for someone. (Romans 12:10)
  9. Speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)
  10. Be patient. (Ephesians 4:2)
  11. Humble yourself. (Romans 12:3; Luke 9:23)
  12. Pray for someone. Better yet…pray with someone. (1 Thessalonians 1:2; James 5:13-16)
  13. Choose not to take offense. (Proverbs 17:9)
  14. Forgive. (Ephesians 4:32)
  15. Encourage. (Hebrews 3:13)
  16. Remind someone of God’s promises–offer hope. (Hebrews 10:23)
  17. Smile. (Proverbs 15:13)
  18. Speak kindly. (Proverbs 12:25)
  19. Be gentle. (Philippians 4:5)
  20. Remember we’re all works in progress. (Philippians 1:6)
  21. Filter what you say. (Ephesians 4:29)
  22. Be a peacemaker. (Romans 12:18)
  23. Have a thankful heart and express gratitude. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
  24. Tell someone about what Jesus has done for you. (Matthew 28:19-20)
  25. Share what you’ve been given. (Romans 12:13)

Okay…now that you’ve looked over the list, did you find some things you already do well? I did. And if you’re like me, you also found a number of areas that need some work. So let’s pray God will strengthen us in those areas and fill our hearts with more grace. For a heart filled with God’s grace can’t help but bless others.

So, are you ready to make a difference?

Well, then…let’s go be a blessing!

Precious Lord, we are so thankful for Your amazing grace. Help us see where we are failing to live out this grace-filled life. Strengthen us where we are weak, and help us to be a blessing to everyone around us. May we one day hear you say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” In Jesus’ name and for Your glory, Amen. 
 
What ways to bless others through God’s grace would you add to 
the list? Please share them with us in the comments below.    

And if you choose to take the second part of the challenge, 
we'd love to hear how it goes.
Blessings to you!
Sabra
 
Image by Sabra Penley.

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Filed under Blessing, Doing Good, Godly Living, Grace, Love