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Marico Early

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A Change Of Breakfast Plans

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

For years we have treated ourselves to a big breakfast on Saturday mornings.  Because our schedules are so different during the weekdays, everyone is on their own for breakfast.  For that reason, we look forward to sitting down together to break a little bread and catch up on Saturday mornings. 

Last Friday night my husband decided that he would cook the sausage for breakfast the night before. This was so I wouldn’t have so much to do on Saturday morning.  The next morning as I was removing the bowl with the turkey sausage in it from the refrigerator, I accidentally dropped the bowl onto the floor.  The sausage went everywhere!   I stood there in shock and I just wanted to cry.   I was not feeling well that morning, and this did not help the situation at all.   I was mad, sad, frustrated, upset, and whatever else you can think of.  I had to stop everything and clean up the mess that was on my kitchen floor before I could go a bit farther preparing our breakfast. 

I came to the conclusion that our breakfast that Saturday morning, would have to be cereal and fruit.  It was not what was planned, but it would have to do.   So I started to prepare our fruit.  As I was peeling an orange, can you believe that half of the orange fell onto the floor?  Seriously, by this time I just wanted to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head. 

Called To Be Humble

Called To Be Humble

In light of all that is going on in our country today, I have seen 2nd Chronicles 7:14 posted several times on social media.  This scripture says:  If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

After reading this scripture several times, it made me wonder if people really know what it means to humble themselves, especially since we live in a world where everyone wants to exalt themselves.
The word humble means showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.  It is just the opposite of the word exalt, which means to take on a higher status or position. In other words to think more highly of yourself than you should.   To be humble is not a sign of weakness; actually, it is just the opposite.  It shows incredible strength.

Humility comes from the Latin word humiliates, a noun related to the adjective homilies which may be translated as humble.  Humility is behaving in a way that you do not think that you are better or more important than other people.

The more I thought about these definitions, I concluded that to be humble or to have humility is simply to be Christ-like.

Although He was the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, Christ did not enter the world in a flamboyant manner.   His first place to rest His head was in a stable where he slept on hay.  Certainly, if there was anyone that had a right to enter the world in all manners of royalty, it was Christ.  He did not ask to be served, He served others.  Again, He was royalty yet He served.   There are examples of His servant’s heart all throughout scripture.

When Christ asked us to humble ourselves, He was asking that we emulate Him.

Philippians  2: 1-18
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.In your relationships with one another have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,

What Is Your Vision For 2021?

What Is Your Vision For 2021?

Proverbs 29:18 KJV
18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Proverbs 16:3  NIV
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
Proverbs 20:4  NLT
May he grant your heart’s desires  and make all your plans succeed.

As 2020 draws to a close, this is a great time to look back over this past year and reflect on all that God has brought you through.  It is also a great time, to start looking forward to the new things that He is about to do in the New Year.

If God says the same, we are only days away from ringing in 2021.  This is a time to look forward with great anticipation and hope.   It is time to take a great look at your life and reassess some things that you may need to change.  Decide where you need to improve and decide what things need to be removed from your life completely.  With the beginning of a new year, you are being given a clean slate to make a fresh start.

I have noticed in the past few years that instead of setting goals, some people select a word for the year, and that one word may be their focus for the entire year.  Let’s just say the word is intentional.  Their focus will be on being intentional in all that they do for a year.

God Is In Control

God Is In Control

Isaiah 45:6-7
so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.
Job 12:10
10 In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.
Daniel 4:35
35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”

2020 has definitely been a year for the record books. With the arrival of Covid came a lot of changes for us all.  Changes especially, in the way that we live and do life. There have been changes in the way that we work, as well as the way that we worship.  Covid even affected the way that our children have had to learn this year.  Dining out and gathering socially was brought to a screeching halt, as well as many other things that we took for granted in the past.

It does not matter to Covid how much money you make, or where you work or live.  This virus does not discriminate, any and everyone can be a possible target.  Thousands of families have lost family members and friends that were very precious to them.  Almost everyone knows someone, who has died from Covid, or that has had Covid.   Our world is reeling from the shock of being shut down with no prior warning.  Every country in the world has been deeply affected by this virus.

A Christmas Thought

A Christmas Thought

 Matthew 1:18-23
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[b] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[d] (which means “God with us”).
Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
John 1:14
14 So the Word became human[a] and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.[b] And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

This past weekend it seemed that everyone in my family was exhausted from the busyness of the prior week.  We all needed some downtime, so we decided to watch Christmas movies.  Once we started watching them we were hooked.  We watched several in one day, and it had been years since we sat and watched movie after movie for hours like that.

God Wants To Protect You

God Wants To Protect You

The Lord will keep you from all harm—  he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going  both now and forevermore.
2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.
Isaiah 43:2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers,  they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,  you will not be burned;  the flames will not set you ablaze.

My eighty-four years old mother, shared with me recently, that a few weeks ago a storm came through and left sticks and brush all over her yard.  She had decided to gather it all up by hand to dispose of it.  About the time she was getting started, my cousin stopped by.

Spiritual Hydration

Spiritual Hydration

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Last week during a doctor’s appointment I discovered that the reason I had been feeling fatigued and drained of energy was due in part to dehydration.   It’s amazing how important water is to our bodies and to our physical existence.  While doing some research on water, I discovered the following benefits:   Drinking water reduces headaches, improves our memory and our mood.  Water flushes the body of waste.   Water reduces the risk of kidney stones and bladder infections.  Water also promotes healthy skin.  It energizes our muscles and it also lubricates our joints as well as helps to maintain our blood pressure.

While doing this research, the thought came to me, that we can be spiritually dehydrated just as we can be physically dehydrated.  I thought of the woman at the well in John 4:10.
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Give Thanks For Nature’s Beauty

Give Thanks For Nature’s Beauty

Psalm 107:21-22
21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.
Psalm 107:8
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
Psalm 95:2
Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
Nehemiah 9:6
You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

Last week my husband and I drove around town, to look at all of the beautiful trees.  We enjoyed looking at all of the various shades of golds, reds, yellows, and oranges on the trees.   My heart was absolutely filled with gratitude as I was taking it all in.  It was actually like seeing the fingerprint of God on every single tree.

I remember saying to myself, how could anyone deny that God existed, and especially this time of year when there is proof everywhere.

As I looked at the trees, and the warm sunshine was peeking through our car window, I couldn’t help but smile as I reminisced on the past Falls during the years when our daughter was a little girl.

You see I have always loved the Fall.  It is my favorite time of year.  When my daughter was in Pre-school, I would make a big deal over how beautiful the trees were, as I drove her to and from school.  During that time she was so young that she was still riding in her car seat.   It was important to me, that she grew up appreciating the extraordinary work of God.  I didn’t want her to miss it, so I brought it to her attention early.   I wanted her to be thankful that we get to experience the beauty and artistry of God’s awesome work through His creation.  I wanted her to love it as much as I do, and I am happy to report that she loves the colorful trees and Fall also.

During this season of Thanksgiving, remember all of the many things that we have to be thankful for.   Not only has God blessed us with eternal life through the sacrifice of Christ dying on the cross, but He has blessed us with our health and strength.  We have been blessed with our family and friends, as well as material blessings.   And if that wasn’t enough, He has surrounded us with the beauty of His creation for our enjoyment.

If for some reason you are having a hard day today, I want to encourage you, to get out of the house or office and just look at the beauty that surrounds you this time of year.  Take it all in.  I know that your spirit will be instantly lifted and your heart will say thank you, God, for His wisdom in all that He has blessed us with for our own enjoyment.  I am sure that you will join me in saying, what a mighty and awesome God we serve.  He is so worthy of our praise and our gratitude.   He is due to our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving!

PRAY WITH EXPECTATION

Mark 11:23
23 “Truly[a] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.
John 15:7
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Matthew 21:22
22 
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Matthew 7:7
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Luke 11:13
13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Recently I was talking to God, and I asked for something, not knowing whether it would actually happen or not.  It was just my desire and I shared it with God.  A few days later my prayer was answered with a yes.

Now we all know that yes is not always God’s answer, but it was this time, and for me it was huge!  Although it was something simple, it is going to make a big difference in my life. What I learned from this, is that we don’t know what
God’s answer will be when we ask for something, our job is simply to ask.  He takes care of the answer, as well as the when where, and how.  So many times we come to God tiptoeing and fearful, or just sharing our hearts honestly and asking for what we really need or want.  Remember, He already knows what we need before asking.  He loves for us to come to Him and ask because when we ask it is an act of faith.  It is saying that we know that He has the power and the ability to meet our needs and our desires.  When we ask we are also saying that we believe and trust Him.

When a child goes to his/her father and asks for something, there is never a doubt about whether or not they will receive what they ask for.  They ask fully expecting to receive, exactly what they ask for. They believe and they trust.  It is no wonder that God says that unless you come to Him as a child, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  It is their innocence and their ability to trust and believe without question, that pleases the heart of God.  We must trust and have that same type of faith, and expectation that a child has when we pray.  When we bring our petitions to God, we must remember that He is our Father, and just as our earthly fathers want to bless us with good things, so does our Heavenly Father.

If you do not have a consistent prayer life, I encourage you to make a decision today, to start communicating with God.  It will truly change your life for the better!

Here are a few things to consider when praying:

1.  We must ask.  It’s never too small or insignificant to come to God in prayer over.  If it matters to you, it matters to God.

2.  No problem or concern is too small or large for God.  In a crisis remember, that God is far bigger than any problem that you or I could ever have.

3.  Don’t assume that God won’t answer your prayers. Every prayer is always answered in one of three ways. The answer may be waiting, or yes, or even no. Have faith and know, that even a no is what’s best for you. God will only do what is best for you.

4.  Trust that God’s timing will be what’s best for you. He is always right on time.

5.  Trust God’s judgment on how He chooses to answer your prayers.  Answers don’t always come in the ways that we expect, but again they will be what is best.

6.  Make praying a daily habit.  Talk to God regularly throughout your day.   He is your best friend and He loves to hear from you.

Have a prayerful and joyful day!

 

Kindness Makes All The Difference

 Proverbs 19:17
17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.
Colossians 3:12
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Galatians 6:10
10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Acts 28:2
The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.
Romans 12:10
10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Twenty-six years ago this past August my husband and I moved to the town that we currently live in.   Our move came with mixed emotions.  We were excited because this move was due to a promotion that my husband
had received, and we had prayed and prayed for this.  It would mean more money for our family, and since I was seven months pregnant with our first and only child it would definitely come in handy.  We had decided beforehand that when and if, we were blessed with a child, that I would stay home to care for our little one.

Although the promotion was what we had prayed for, we really missed our church family in Texas that we loved so dearly.   We had so many wonderful friends there, that we actually grieved being away from them.   These were established friendships that we had enjoyed for several years.  Our church family was such a big part of our life.  We not only went to church with these people, we did life with them outside of the church as well.

When my husband and I moved we knew that we had to get plugged into a church immediately.   One Sunday night after visiting a church here in town for a few weeks, a couple came over to us and said that their Life Group was going to be stopping by a local Braums for ice cream.  They asked if we wanted to join them.  Well, they had us at ice cream, so of course, we agreed to join them.  This was our first invite to anything, and we were excited to make new friends.

When we arrived at the restaurant, my husband sat with the guys and I sat with the ladies and visited.  Everyone was so kind to us.  That night they also invited us to come one Sunday evening to check out their Life Group Bible Study.  We joined them the following week, and we decided that it was the perfect group for us.  We didn’t have to look a bit further.

Until this day, twenty-six years later we are still friends with the people who were in that Life Group.  All of this started with one simple act of kindness.

Many times we go through life rushed and in a zone, focusing only on ourselves and our own agenda, and we fail to look around at the opportunities to extend a little kindness and joy to someone else.  You never know what your one act of kindness can mean to someone else’s life.

I encourage you to seek opportunities to extend kindness to someone each and every day.  By doing this, you become the difference-maker in their life.  Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference to others.

That simple invitation to have ice cream that Sunday night, has blessed my family over and over again.  Who will you choose to be kind to this week?    I know that we are all having to practice social distancing right now due to Covid,
but we can make phone calls, we can zoom and we can send sweet cards in the mail.  Why not make a list of the many things that you can do, that will not require physical contact during this strange season that we all find ourselves in right now.   When you see an opportunity your list will be ready, for you to select the appropriate act of kindness for that particular situation.

Remember, the wonderful thing about spreading kindness is that you can’t bless others without being blessed yourself.  Have a great week spreading kindness everywhere you go!