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Marico Early

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Let’s Be Givers

Mark 12:41-44
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
1st. King 17:12-16
12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest, how would you rank your giving?  Most of us would probably feel that we give adequately.  Some would probably admit that they don’t give nearly enough.  And even fewer would say that they have ever given sacrificially.

I have come to realize over the years, that my level of giving is in direct correlation to my view of who God is. When I finally wrapped my head around the fact, that I own nothing, and God owns everything, I was able to release that which He had loaned to me more freely.  I am not the source of my provision, but God is.

It is one thing to be a good steward of that which God has entrusted to us, and it is totally another to be stingy. When I looked up the definition of the word stingy it said; unwilling to give or spend, to be ungenerous.  I personally would not like to have that label associated with my name.  What about you?

Could it be that those who are stingy, think that they are the source of what they have been blessed with.  With this thought pattern, it is easy to become a person who starts to worship and hoard their possessions instead of worshipping the God who is the source of everything.   We should always be mindful to worship the Giver instead of the gifts.

In Mark 12:41-43 Jesus speaks of the sacrificial gift that a poor widow gave.  She only had two small copper coins to give, which were only worth a few cents.  Jesus told His disciples that the widow had put more into the treasury than all of the others, because they gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty,  put in everything- all that she had to live on.  This would definitely be considered sacrificial giving.

In 1st King 17  the widow at Zarephath had only a handful of oil and a little olive oil in a jug. She made Elijah a loaf of bread with all that she had, even before feeding herself and her son.  Although the widow initially thought that after she and her son ate what little they had, that she would lay down and die.God honored her  generosity by promising that; “The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends the rain on the land”.  What incredible faith she had, sharing when she didn’t even know where her next meal would come from.

Giving is absolutely an act of faith.   It’s trusting that  some way, some how God will continue to provide more.

Please be clear,  I am not referring only to our financial gifts, but also your time, gifts and talents.  Any resource that God has given to us is to be generously shared with others.  Why not start today looking for more opportunities in which you can serve God by giving to others.  When you feel hesitant to share just be mindful to remember that you can’t beat God giving, no matter how hard you try!

Other Scriptures On Giving

Acts 20:35
35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
2nd Corinthians 9:7
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Luke 6:38
38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Hebrews 13:16
16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Proverbs 19:17
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,  and he will reward them for what they have done.
Proverbs 22:9
The generous will themselves be blessed,    for they share their food with the poor.
Proverbs 28:27
Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,   but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.

God Cares About The Little Things

God Cares About The Little Things

Luke 12:7
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Earlier this week I had to go to a doctor’s appointment that required me to receive two shots. The nurse that was going to give me the shots, informed me that I would have to wait for one hour after I had received the injections before I could leave the facility.  I was not expecting to be there that long at all.  It was a super busy day for me, and I was in charge of a meeting later that evening, that I had not finished preparing for.

That morning right before I left home,  I put some things in my bag that I needed to get in the mail.  I had fully planned to drive to the post office after my doctor’s appointment, sit in the car and work on all of the things that I needed to mail.

After hearing how long I would have to wait after my shot, I told the nurse that I had brought some things with me that I needed to work on.   I asked her if I could just stay in one of the empty rooms,  off to the side, and work while waiting for my hour to pass by.  She told me no that I would not be able to, in case they needed the room for someone else.

She then pointed to a seat out in an open area where everyone else was seated and told me that she could bring me a table and I could work there.  I really didn’t like the idea of setting up my little makeshift office right where everyone would be passing by me, and probably wondered why I was setting up an office in the doctor’s office.  I totally understood her reason for saying no and I calmly accepted it.

Before she went to get my medication that the pharmacy had sent up, I asked her for directions to the ladies’ room.  Now, this is where I saw God show up.  By the time she got back with my medication, and I showed back up from the ladies’ room, every seat had been taken by other patients.  They had come in during the brief time that we were away.

She looked at me after she glanced around the room and said, I guess you will have to wait in one of the private rooms, which was exactly what I had asked for in the beginning.   There was already a small table there for me to work on, and a big comfy recliner that I could sit in, and they even brought me some refreshments to have while I waited.  All I could think was Look At God!

Ladies He truly cares about everything that matters to us, no matter how small or large.   My question for you today, is do you see Him in the little things, or do you just look for Him in the big things because you don’t want to bother Him with smaller things?

Please know that He cares when it’s pouring down rain, and you need a closer parking space, He cares when you can’t find your car keys, or when you don’t have the funds to pay your bills.  He cares about every detail of our lives so much so, that He has counted and knows the number of hairs on our heads.  Today I want to encourage you never ever to think, that there is anything too small to consult God about. Remember, He loves us and He loves blessing us!

1st Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Matthew 6:8

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Lamentations 3:25-26

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

The Joy of Peace

THE JOY OF PEACE

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Do you tend to worry or feel stressed out a lot of the time, or live in a state of constant anxiety?  Well, I can definitely tell you, that when I was younger I had many stressful days and sleepless nights.  You see even though I was a Christian, and I prayed and read my Bible almost daily, I still worried when I felt like things were out of my control.

Over the years as I continued to spend time studying my Bible, and growing in the knowledge of God and His character, I truly came to realize that He can always be trusted no matter my circumstance.  As I look back over my past, I can clearly see that time after time, He came through for me, and usually in ways that far exceeded my expectation.

It is our human nature to want to be in control of our circumstances, but I am here to tell you, that we are not in control of anything at all. God runs the show, and He is the boss of you and me, and the sooner we realize that the more we can relax and live the peaceful life that He intended for us to live.

To live a life free of worry, stress, and anxiety, is to live a peaceful life, and the only way to have that life is to spend time with the Prince of Peace, God Himself.  He will give you peace in the midst of your storms, He will give you peace when the rest of this chaotic world is going crazy.

When you are wearing this peace that passes all understanding, others will know that God truly has imparted it to you.   They will notice that you go through life happy and joyful.  They will notice that you are smiling when most would be crying.   They will also notice that you don’t sweat the small stuff and rarely will anyone be able to rattle your cage because you are trusting God to work out your difficult situations.

The true joy of peace is being ok with whatever God’s will is for your life and knowing beyond a shatter of doubt that that His love for you, will only allow Him to do what is best for you at all times.  So continue spending time with the Prince of Peace and before you know it, you will be at peace.

Are you currently lacking peace in some area of your life right now?   Below I have listed some scriptures on the peace that are sure to bring you comfort.

John 16:33
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast,   because they trust in you.
John 14:27
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
1st Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Matthew 11:28-30
28 “Come to Me, all [a]who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is [b]easy and My burden is light.”
Romans 15:13
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 4: 8
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.
Psalm 29:11
The Lord gives his people strength.  The Lord blesses them with peace.
2nd Thessalonians 3:16
16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.
Isaiah 54:10 
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken  nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 9: 6
For a child is born to us,   a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.  And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor,[a] Mighty God,  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 53:5
But he was pierced for our transgressions,  he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

 

What Does It Mean To Live Holy

What Does It Mean To Live Holy

Recently my husband and I watched a video, regarding a new album that a famous recording artist has released.   This video was made by a Christian brother, who wanted to express his view, as to why Christians should not be supporting this type of music.  When he shared the lyrics that are on this new album, my husband and I were totally shocked at the level of vulgarity we were hearing.  It was absolutely appalling as well as disgusting.

 My heart broke first, for the artist who apparently, had no moral standards whatsoever.  My heart broke secondly, for our youth as well as adults, who will listen to this music and get caught up in the beat and may or may not even be listening to the offensive lyrics.  And thirdly, my heart broke for our society in general, and how far we have gotten away from what it means to live holy.

God’s heart has to be broken, as He looks down and sees this kind of thing.  After much thought about this, I decided maybe I should share straight from God’s word, what the Bible has to say about living holy.  You see how we live matters because we are ambassadors for Christ and we should hold this assignment as something sacred. 

What we watch and what we listen to matters.   How we dress and how we carry ourselves matters. 

This is a test that I encourage you t take.  When you are partaking in something that you don’t quite feel comfortable with, ask yourself if Jesus came back right now, would I want Him to see me like this?  If your answer is no, then more than likely what you are doing would not fall under the category of holy living.   Let’s commit to living in a way that God would be blessed and others would be influenced for good. When we live holy it allows God’s light to shine brighter in this dark sinful world.

Below I have listed the definition of holy as well as some scriptures that encourage us to live holy.

What does the word holy mean? According to the dictionary to be holy, is to be dedicated or consecrated to God, it means sacred.  A person dedicated to the service of God.   Will you choose to live holy today?

Holy Living

1st Peter 1:15-16
15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy because I am holy.”[a]

Romans 12:1
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

2nd Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Romans 13:14
14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.[a]

Ephesians 4:1-3
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

1st Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

2nd Corinthians 6:14-18
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial[a]? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”[b]
17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate,
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
 and I will receive you.”[c]
18 And,
“I will be a Father to you,
 and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”[d]

1st John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
1st Peter 2:11
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.
Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.
James 3:10
10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
Philippians 2:3
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
Romans 13:8-10Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Prayer + Praise = Power

Prayer + Praise = Power
Psalm 145[a]

I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;   they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works.[b]They tell of the power of your awesome works— and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, 
slow to anger and rich in love.
The Lord is good to all;  he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts  and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,  and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises  and faithful in all he does.[c]
14 The Lord upholds all who fall  and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,  and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,  to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

Have you been waiting to see God’s power released, regarding something that you have been praying for?   When you want to see things shift in your life, start praising God.  I am talking about authentic, sincere praise for who He is, and not just for what you want.  God knows our hearts and he will certainly know what’s sincere and what is not.

Praise may not always change our circumstances, but it can certainly change how we view our circumstances.  Praise takes our focus off of ourselves, and our situations and it puts our focus back on God.  Through our time of praise we will be given the strength, to wait a bit longer and to trust God’s timing for right solutions to our problems.

Praise is like a medicine for our souls.  It calms us down and removes our anxieties, it restores our joy and it reminds us how sovereign and mighty our God is.  It also reminds us that He and He alone, is in control of everything and that our total dependency should be on Him.  When we exalt Him, He exalts us.

Don’t fret and don’t worry, just pray and praise.  Remember prayer plus praise equals power!

Here Are A Few Great Scriptures On Praise

God Is Our Praise

Deuteronomy 10:2
I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Then you are to put them in the ark.”
Jeremiah 17:14
Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.

Give Praise To God

  Psalm 34:1
 I will extol the Lord at all times;  his praise will always be on my lips.
Psalm 147:1
Praise the Lord.[a]
How good it is to sing praises to our God,  
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
Hebrews 13:15
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
Psalm 150:6
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
Isaiah 25:1
Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.
Psalm 150:1
Praise the Lord.[a] Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Psalm 100:1-5
1 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[a];
 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 and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

A Thankful Heart Is A Heart That Praises God
Psalm 100:4
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Psalm 105:1
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
Psalm 7:17
I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;  I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
Psalm 106:1
Praise the Lord.[a]Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;  his love endures forever.
Psalm 108:3
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;  I will sing of you among the peoples.
Psalm 92:1
It is good to praise the Lord  and make music to your name, O Most High,
Psalm 109:30  NLT
But I will give repeated thanks to the Lord, praising him to everyone.

Praise Him Even In The Midst Of Trials
Acts 16:22-25
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

 

Will You Trust God ?

Will You Trust God ?

They will have no fear of bad news;  their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Job 13:15
15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;  I will surely[a] defend my ways to his face.
Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding;
Psalm 9:10
10 Those who know your name trust in you,  for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Isaiah 55:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,  so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Today as I sit to write, I do so with a broken heart.  You see in the past seven days,  two couples that my husband and I consider dear friends, have each lost a child.  I cannot express how hard it has been these past seven days,  knowing that our friends were suffering through such unimaginable grief.

I have found myself praying for them numerous times, throughout the days and nights since I heard this sad news. I know that there are no words that I can say to them, that will really help at this time.  So I have chosen to simply pray, and ask God to give them strength, comfort and peace during this difficult time.

When things like this happen, it is really hard for us to wrap our heads around it.  Our human minds want to understand it.  We want to know why?  Tragedies are always a challenge for us to accept, especially something like an unexpected death of a child.   It reveals to us that no matter how much we think we are in control, we really aren’t.

During times like this,  we can choose to trust that our God is sovereign, and that He is still in control.  We can also choose to believe that He is the same loving Father that He has always been, and that whatever He does is with purpose and for purpose.

Our other option is that we can choose to become angry and  bitter and turn away from God, because we resent what He has allowed to happen to us or to others.  Some may choose to change their view on who God is, but be clear He has not changed.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He is loving and compassionate and faithful.  And no matter what you or those that you love are going through,  He really does still love you.

Today as I deal with these sudden losses,  I choose to encourage myself with the word of God.  I also choose to trust Him remembering that His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts are higher than mine.   My question for you today is; Will you trust God no matter what?     Remember no matter how hard it gets, He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us.

I choose to trust God, will you?

The Benefits Of Being In The Presence Of God

The Benefits Of Being In The Presence Of God

Today I would like to share just a few of the benefits that I have been blessed to experience, by being in the presence of God.  My prayer is that you will faithfully spend time in His presence every day, and experience for yourself the rich blessings that come with having an intentional intimate relationship with God.  Make every effort to cling close to Him and never ever doubt His love for you.

1. There is hope in the presence of God.
     Jeremiah 29:11
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.
 Romans 15:13
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
 Isaiah 40:31
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
2. There is love in the presence of God.
     Romans 8:35, 37-39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Psalm 5:11-12
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; 
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
     Proverbs 3:11-12
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.[a]
3.  There is joy in the presence of God.
     Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
4.  There is peace in the presence of God.
      Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:6
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast  because they trust in you.
Proverbs 1:33
But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”
5.  There is protection in the presence of God.
     2 Thessalonians 3:3-5
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
Isaiah 54:17 
17.
no weapon forged against you will prevail,
 and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.
  Psalm 121:7-8
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.
6.  There is comfort in the presence of God.
     Psalm 23:4
4. Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Isaiah 12:1
In that day you will say: “I will praise you, Lord. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.
2 Corinthians 1:4
who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
7.  There is the provision in the presence of God.
     Philippians 4:19
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
 Luke 12:24
24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!
  Psalm 84:1
1 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
9.  There are possibilities in the presence of God.
     Matthew 19:26
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Mark 9:23
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
  Genesis 18:14
14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
Jeremiah 32:27
27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
10.  There is compassion in the presence of God.
     Psalm 116:5
The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
Psalm 103:13-14As a father has compassion on his children,  so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed,  he remembers that we are dust.
11.  There is strength and power in the presence of God.
      Isaiah 40:29
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
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.
Philippians 4:13
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
12. There is mercy in the presence of God.
      2 Samuel 24:14
14 David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”
Lamentations 3:22-23
22 It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Psalm 23:6
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
13. There is grace in the presence of God.
     2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
Ephesians 4:7
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast.
14. There is healing and restoration in the presence of God.
       Psalm 147:3 
He heals the brokenhearted
 and binds up their wounds.
  2 Chronicles 7:14
14 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.
 Psalm 103: 2-3
Praise the Lord, my soul,  and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
15. There is forgiveness in the presence of God.
     Psalm 103:10-12
He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
   1 John  2:1-22
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
  Micah 7: 18-19
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

A GOOD FATHER

A Good Father
Since Father’s Day is right around the corner, I thought I would share a few scriptures on the role of a good father.

 I hope that you are making special plans, to celebrate and honor the fathers in your life this Father’s Day.  Whether it is your dad, your husband, son, or brother, if they are a good father, they deserve to be celebrated, for the many sacrifices they make on a daily basis.   Good fathers are always working hard to protect, support, and to provide for their families.

Let’s take a few minutes and dive in and see, what the scriptures have to say about the role of a good father.  If this is something that blesses you, and you think that it could be a blessing to a young man who did not have a great role model, please feel free to share it with him.

A Good Father Fears The Lord
Proverbs 20:7
He who walks in his integrity is righteous; happy are his children who follow him.
A Good Father Leads His Children
Joshua 24:15
15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Titus 2:2
2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

A Good Father Prays for His Children
1st Chronicles 29:19
19 And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, statutes and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided.”

A Good Father Protects His Children
Deuteronomy 1:29-31
29 Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. 30 The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”
Proverbs 14:26
Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress,  and for their children it will be a refuge.

A Good Father Provides For His Children
Proverb 13:22
A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.
1 Timothy 5:8
8  Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

A Good Father Trains/Teaches His Children
Proverbs 22:6
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9
6  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Proverbs 1:8
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

A Good Father Disciplines His Children
Proverbs 3:11-12
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.[a]
Hebrews 12:7
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?
Proverbs 13:24
Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

A Good Father Encourages His Children
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

A Good Father Has Compassion For Their Children
Psalm 103:13
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
Luke 15:20-24
20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

A Good Father Will Not Provoke His Children To Anger
Ephesians 6:4
4 Fathers,[a] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Colossians 3:21
21 Fathers,[a] do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
Matthew 18:6
6“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
A Good Father Sets A Great Example Of How To Love, By The Way He Loves And Honors His Wife.
Ephesians 5:25-37
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
1 Peter 3:7
7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8…
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails. …..

A Good Father Is Blessed By His Children
Psalm 127:3-5
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.
Proverbs 23:24
The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.
Psalm 128:3-4
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine   within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
4 Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord.
3 John 1:4
4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

When Life is Uncomfortable

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 146:6-8
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,  the sea, and everything in them—  he remains faithful forever.He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, 8  the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, and the Lord loves the righteous.
Psalm 56:9
Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this, I will know that God is for me.
Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Romans 8:28
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. 

Today there may be some of you, who are going through trials and you may be asking,  why me Lord?   It may be that you are going through an illness, marital issues, a problem child, or work issues, or you may simply be in God’s waiting room.

What I can tell you today for sure, is that no matter what your uncomfortable situation is, God is for you and not against you.  He is on your side, even as you go through uncomfortable difficulties.   I know that it may not seem like it at times, but He only allows what will grow us closer to Him, and make us better.  So, in other words, whatever He is allowing in your life right now, will ultimately work out for your good and His glory.So cheer up my sister, take a deep breath and ask God a new question.   Your new question will be; Lord what are you trying to teach me, as I am going through this valley, and what am I to learn from this experience that will help me and someone else?  When you turn from frustration and anger and shift to seeking the heart of God and His desires for you, the answers will start to come. And guess what?  They will be clear and they will make sense.

So if you are currently in an uncomfortable place, take some time each day to humble yourself, get still and seek God’s face.  In His time, He will start to unravel the pieces of thread that are weaving your life coat, and you will start to see how it all will fit together.  Now, I must tell you that there are some things that we may go through, that we may never get answers to on this side of heaven, and that’s where faith and trust in our God have to come in.  Trust that no matter what, He truly does know what is best for you. Also, trust that He really is a Good God!   He is compassionate and loving.  He is faithful and true.  He is a keeper of His promises, and He is the source of all that is good in your life.

His word will be your anchor during the tough days. Each morning when you wake up run to His Word and let Him feed your soul for that day.  When you are going through hard times, it is easy to get frustrated and lose hope.  His word will nourish your soul and keep you on the right track spiritually, as well as mentally.  His word will also encourage you and give you a fresh ray of hope.  Just be still and know that He is God.
Trust me, He’s got, you my sister!   

Look for the good in your uncomfortable journey.   There will be beautiful blessings along the way, even in the hard times, but you have to stop focusing on the bad to see them.  Start looking each day for the good only, and then be willing to express your gratitude to God in those moments.   When you can do that, you will be moving closer to graduating from your uncomfortable situation.   May God bless you and keep you in His loving care, my sister. You will get through this!

Hang In There Moms

Hang In There Moms

Leviticus 19:32
32 “‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.
Exodus 20:12

12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
1 Timothy 5:1-3
Never speak harshly to an older man,[a] but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.Take care of[b] any widow who has no one else to care for her.
Ephesians 6:2-3
“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Proverbs 23:22
22 Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old.

Mother’s Day is a day that is traditionally set aside to give honor to mothers, for their hard work, love, and dedication to their families.  As my family honored me with a nice meal and gifts this past Mother’s Day, I reflected back on those long hard days as a new mom.  I remembered the fear that came over me as my husband and I left the hospital with a newborn baby.  The thought of keeping a baby alive was so scary to me.  A million “What ifs” ran through my mind?

Our daughter was a colicky baby, so there were many sleepless nights and this went on for months.   As the months went by, I became more confident as a mom, and with lots of prayers, God gave me the strength for each new day. 

By the time our daughter was seven years old, she was on a basketball court.  Her dad was her very first coach.  She played the sport for ten years.  When she got to Junior High School, she played on a traveling team during the summer months and on her school team during the school year.  When she played on the traveling team, it seemed like we were out of town every weekend.  We played teams in Missouri, Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. The expense of staying in hotels almost every weekend, not to mention food and gas was quite expensive.  It was a sacrifice that we were willing to make since she enjoyed it so much.

I cannot even begin to count the hours that I sat in my car, or in a hot gym waiting to pick her up from practices.  I was in a weekly Bible Study at the time, so I always made sure that my Bible was in the car.  I knew that I would have plenty of time to complete my assignments while waiting for her to get out of her practice.

Did I happen to also mention, that she was in a youth choir for the university here in our town, as well as she took piano lessons for about 8 years, and was very active with the youth in our church.  There were times when I felt like I was living out of my car.  During those years I worked from home running a home-based business, and I thank God that because I owned my own business, I had the flexibility to be present and a part of my daughter’s life and her activities.   Our lives were crazy busy and full during those years.  As I look back on it now, we were probably too busy. 
I hope that you do not think that I am complaining because I am not. I am simply sharing this so that you will know, that I truly understand what it is like to be a tired, busy working wife and mom.  I am here to give you hope, and to encourage you that you will get through those hard days, just as I did.  I have had people tell me that they don’t know how I did it, and all I can say is; But God!    I prayed and asked Him to give me strength for each new day as I still do. I stayed in the word daily and that seemed to be a huge source of encouragement to me. It was an encouragement to me, especially on those days that I didn’t think I could do another thing, and dinner still had to be prepared and dishes still had to be washed.

My daughter is an adult now, and looking back I am thankful for every mile that I  had to drive her, during those super busy years. We were able to have great conversations as we drove from place to place.  I am thankful for every basketball practice that I had to wait through, and every game that I had to attend.  I am thankful for every piano lesson and every piano recital.  I am thankful for the choir rehearsals, the summer church camps, and too many birthday parties to count, that I drove her to.  You see I realize that all of these things were the experiences that contributed to her becoming the woman that she is today.  I thank God that He helped my husband and me, not only survive those years but to enjoy them also. I am grateful that He guided us in guiding her.  I can honestly say that it all was well worth it.

Therefore, if I could give you any one piece of advice, it would be to pray.  Pray daily for the strength to be the mother that your child needs for you to be, and the mother that God is calling you to be.  Pray over your children each and every day. I prayed a prayer of protection over my daughter every morning, as I drove her to school.  She did not exit my car until we had prayed.  Pray with your husband regarding your children.  Pray for God’s directions for their future to be crystal clear to them.  Pray that God will bless them with friends who desire to do what is right.  Pray for their future mates.  Most importantly pray, that your children have a receptive heart for God at an early age and that they will hear and know his voice when He is speaking to them.   Pray that their desire will be to please Him, by being obedient to you as well as to Him.

Hang In there moms God has you, and you will survive this thing called motherhood.  You may even find out that you enjoy it.  Remember you can do All things through Christ who strengthens you!