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Marico Early

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Be Guided By His Light

Be Guided By His Light

One day last week I was talking with a lady who was telling me, that the night before our conversation,  there was a terrible storm in her city. The storm was so bad that they lost their power.  Although her children are approximately sixteen to over twenty years old, they came straight to her bedroom when the lights went out.  She told me, that she finally told them,” just go get your blankets and sleep in here tonight”.

My first thought was that we simply are not created to be comfortable living in the darkness of any kind.  Living in darkness should make us just as uncomfortable, as my friend’s children were when the lights went out due to the storm..   

There are times when Satan tries to lure us away from the Light,  and drag us into his sin-filled dark world.  Those are the times that we should turn, and run back to God, just as these young people ran to their mom and dad’s bedroom for comfort and safety.

The more time that we spend in God’s presence and in His word, the more we will realize the truth of Psalm 119:105 Your word is like a lamp that shows me the way.  It is like a light that guides me.  Psalm !!9:114 You are my place of safety.  You are like a shield that keeps me safe.  I have put my hope in your word.

We should never have a reason to worry or fret because, when our hope is in God, even the darkest moments in our lives will be guided by His light.  Praise God, that the God that we serve is the Light Of The World!

John 8:12
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Acts 26:17-18
17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
1 John 1:5
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
John 12:35-36
35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
John 12:44-46
44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
John 3:19-20
19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.
1 John 1:7
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[a] sin.
Revelation 21:23
23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

My Words For The Year

My Words For The Year

As we are now deep into the month of January, I am sure that many of you have already made your New Year’s resolutions by now.  Although I have made a few resolutions, I plan to do something that has really become popular in the last few years, and that is selecting a word for the year. 

However, instead of one word, I have selected two words for this year.  I have selected Obedience for my spiritual word, and the word Growth for my business.  As I am writing this, I just had the thought that maybe my words should be, Grow In Obedience.

 If I can be totally transparent with you, I don’t always obey God’s voice instantly, which to me is the same as disobedience.  Sometimes I wrestle with God.   And although I never win, it seems that my sinful nature always wants to have its own selfish way before I am willing to surrender to God’s will.

 I am writing about this today, because there may be others of you, who struggle with immediate obedience.  It’s not that I am willfully disobedient, it’s that I don’t say yes Lord immediately, and I don’t always respond to His promptings immediately.   My goal this year, is to say yes Lord more, and not to question Him, but to simply obey.  I know in my heart of hearts, that He always knows what is best for me, and I will trust that.

My goal this year is to joyfully serve God in whatever capacity that he asks of me.

 I am starting to notice that the more time that I spend in God’s word and in prayer and journaling, the easier obedience seems to be for me.  So,” Yes, Lord” is my new goal for the New Year.   If this is something that you struggle with also, I encourage you to join me in this goal. 

You may want to write yourself a note and keep it in your Bible regarding your new commitment to obedience.  As a reminder, I have written the word Obedience with a bold black marker on a bright orange notecard to keep in my Bible.   It will be a constant reminder throughout the year that my goal is not to question God, but to simply trust and obey Him.   Every time I open my Bible it will be right there to help me stay focused on the goal of obedience.

Prayerfully at the end of 2023, we will be much better in the area of obedience than ever before, and in the process, we will grow closer to God.  If we do this, I am convinced that we will see some incredible things unfold in our lives just because we were willing to say, Yes Lord!    Have a very Happy and very Obedient New Year!

60 I will hurry, without delay,  to obey your commands.

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.

23 This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’

46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus A Gift To The World

Jesus A Gift To The World

Isaiah 7:14
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: The virgin[b] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[c] will call him Immanuel.[d]
Matthew 1:23
23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[a] (which means “God with us”).
Luke 2:7
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
John 1:14
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
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.
Luke 1: 30-35
30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most  High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God.
Luke 2:13-14
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

John 3:16
16 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.

This morning as I look out of my bedroom window, I can see snowflakes gently falling to the ground.   There are only three days left until Christmas, and basically, the entire town has come to a silent halt.   For days now, the weather stations have been predicting, that the temperatures would plunge to very low and dangerous levels and that we would see snow.  It was also predicted that this would be one of the coldest Christmases on record, across forty-five states.

That being said, isn’t amazing how God chooses to slow things down.  I consider this a huge blessing, especially this close to Christmas.  What a great opportunity to enjoy spending time with God, focusing on His birth and His sacrificial stay here on earth.  This is a wonderful time to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate or hot tea and spend hours reading, journaling, and studying His word. It is also a great time to refamiliarize yourself with the story of the birth of Christ. 

Also, take a moment and think about all that Mary and Joseph went through in preparation for Jesus’s entry into this cruel world in the form of flesh.  I encourage you to put yourself in Mary’s shoes for a minute.   How would you have responded to the Angel that brought Mary the excellent news, that she had been chosen to be the mother of Jesus?   How would you feel knowing that you were indeed carrying the Savior of the world?   How would feel knowing that you were bringing a child into this world, knowing that He would be crucified? You see even though she understood the purpose for His coming, He was still her son. 

It may be a little difficult for you to focus on all that I am asking you to do If you have not finished your Christmas shopping.  You are probably going into panic mode right about now, wondering when the streets will be cleared enough for you to finish your Christmas shopping.  I want to encourage you to take some time to release yourself from the commercial side of Christmas, relax, and just for a few minutes simply bask in the spiritual side of Christmas.  After all, it is what truly matters.  Everything else will work out one way or the other.  I know that when you do, you will feel a sense of peace and you will be blessed for being in God’s presence.  You will also be focusing on what Christmas is really about and that is Jesus!    May you and your family be blessed with a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

He Is The Real Gift!

Originally Posted December 4, 2016

Matthew 1:18-25
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

Just a few days ago I was visiting with a lady who was very close to full blown panic mode, because she had not yet decorated her home for Christmas.

I was happy and skipping through life, virtually carefree until I spoke with her. All of a sudden, I started to feel a little stress creeping in, because I began to think at least your tree is out of the box.  My tree was still in the box and very much unassembled.

Of course I didn’t share that with her. Things started to rush through my head, such as, where are the Christmas lights, and what box are the decorations in?  You see we moved in the past year, and there are still boxes stored away. Let’s just say, I’m glad I am not the one who will have to look for the lights.  I am sharing this story with you today because it became quite clear to me, that I was starting to assume her stress and anxiety.

 Ladies during this season we can get so caught up in the presentation of everything that we miss the things that are really important. So let’s just breathe slowly, breathe in and breathe out.  Just take a moment to slow down inside, and just breathe.

Now that I have your attention and you have calmed down let’s talk about what’s really important. Let’s talk about the precious souls that we will scurry past, if we are not carefully watching for those who are truly in pain, and hurting during this season.

Who will you bless?  There are those who will have no one to share Christmas with.  So why not set an extra place at the table and invite someone over to partake in a wonderful meal, and just to feel as a part of your family. Pick up an extra pair of gloves or a devotional, or something that you can wrap and share with them. So that as your family gathers around the tree they will feel like they belong as well.  Why not send a special card of encouragement, or call someone who may be struggling  with their first Christmas after losing a family member. Become a Christmas Angel  to a family that can’t afford to purchase toys for their little children. Volunteer at a shelter.  Reach out to someone this season and give a gift of love, not to someone who will then rush out and buy you a gift also, but to someone who is deeply in need of help.

Look for the opportunities to share Jesus with those that you come in contact with. You are their link to hope, as you share the true story of Christmas, and remind them why Jesus came  you are giving them hope. Hope gives them a reason to keep living and to keep trying here on earth.  Most importantly you are sharing the eternal hope they have in Christ for a life with Him eternally.

It doesn’t matter how much is under the tree.  What matters is that we see a glimpse of Jesus this season and that others see a glimpse of Him too, because He is the real Gift and the Reason for the Season!

Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

10 Tips On How To Have A Strong Prayer Ministry

I am happy to say, that I am blessed that I come from a praying family.   All of my life I have witnessed what it looks like to see God powerfully working as a result of prayers going up.  There is a saying that I have heard over the years, and you probably have heard it too ” When prayers go up blessings come down”.

Today because I believe so strongly in the power of prayer, I would like to share 10 Tips that I think will give you a strong Prayer Ministry.   If you do decide to start your own personal Prayer Ministry, you can be sure that God will be honored and you will be blessed.

10 Tips On How To Have A Strong Prayer Ministry

1.  Keep a small notebook and an ink pen in your purse at all times, to write down prayer requests.  Be sure you not only write down their request but try to get their contact info also.
2.  Set aside a few minutes each day to pray over the prayer request in your notebook.  Continue praying over these requests, until your prayers have been answered.  Put a heart or star by the name of the person that you were praying for.   It will be encouraging to see how many prayers are being answered.
3.  Follow up with a call or text to see how the person you are praying for is doing, and how you can better serve them through continued prayer.
4.  If you have their mailing address send them a card of encouragement.
5.  If a prayer request is anonymous or unspoken.  Respect the privacy of the person requesting the prayer.  God knows who they are and their circumstances.
6.  Find a scripture that applies to their situation and share it with the person that you are praying for to encourage them.
7.  When their prayer has been answered, call them and ask them if they are ok with you praying a prayer of praise and Thanksgiving.  This will encourage them to remember to give God the glory for their answered prayer.
8.  Some prayers are not answered quickly.  It may take months even years to get an answer.  In this case assure the person that you are praying for, that God hears their prayers and that they are not in this alone.  Let them know you are willing to continue praying until God sends their answer.
9.  Depending on the severity of the prayer request, you may consider asking the person if they are ok with you sharing their request with other prayer warriors that you know.  Only share if you have been given permission to do so.
10. I personally use the ACTS method of praying.  I even use this method in journaling my prayers.  I think that you may like it as well, and it is something great to share with the person you are praying for.

   A- Adoration
  C- Confession
   T- Thanksgiving
  S- Supplication
May God richly bless you, as you go to Him in the prayer on behalf of those who need to hear from Him. Your example of praying may lead someone to Christ. Remember prayer changes things and it changes people.  We definitely love and serve a God who answers prayers.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[a] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[b] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
2 Kings 6:17
17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
1 John 5:16
16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that.
1 Samuel 12:23
23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.
Job 42:10
10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.
James 5:16
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Colossians 4:2
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Thanksgiving Inquiry

A Thanksgiving Inquiry


Psalm 69:30
I will praise God’s name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.
1st Chronicles 29:13
Now, our God, we give you thanks and praise your glorious name.
Psalm 9:1 
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
 I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 107:1 
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
 his love endures forever.
Psalm 95:2-3
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.
1st Thessalonians 5:18
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 136:1-3
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
Psalm 107:8-9
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
1st Chronicles 16:34
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Psalm 106:1
Praise the Lord.[a] Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: his love endures forever.

November is traditionally a month that most people celebrate Thanksgiving. Families all over the country will gather around dining room tables, to eat, laugh, and enjoy spending time with each other. For some this will be the first time gathering since the pandemic, and boy what a joyous reunion that will be!

Today I would like to do something a little different. I have formulated some questions for you to answer, regarding the things you are grateful for this year. Please allow yourself some alone time to think and really ponder the questions as well as your answers. Take this time to be in God’s presence, and praise him through thanksgiving and gratitude.

1. What are you most grateful for this year?

2. How has God shown Himself faithful to you this year?

3. What is the largest thing that you prayed for this year, that God blessed you with?

4. What is the smallest thing that you prayed for this year, that God blessed you with?

5. What prayers were not answered the way you wanted this year, and now looking back, you are grateful that God said no?

6. How will you express your gratitude back to God?

 

Be blessed and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

A Change In Perspective 

A Change In Perspective 

I am going to physical therapy treatments, for some issues dealing with my sciatic nerve.  My sessions are actually in an Oncology center, right across from where patients are receiving their chemotherapy treatments.

A few days ago, after I had finished one of my sessions, I was waiting for the doors to an elevator to open, when I saw an older gentleman approach to catch the elevator as well.  He looked like he was exhausted from his chemo treatments.  He walked with a cane, and it was clear that he was ready to go home to rest. We spoke briefly and he was quite kind.

Finally, the elevator doors opened, and we got on.  As the door to the elevator was about to close, a woman hurried to catch a ride down with us.  When she got on, I cheerfully spoke and said, “How are you doing today”?
Oh, my goodness why did I even ask?   Her response to me was “I can’t be doing too good if I am here, can I?”.   She did not smile, and there was quite a bit of bitterness in her tone.  When that was the response that I got, I noticed the older gentleman lift his head slightly, and looked at me in disbelief at her response.   

I responded to her by saying, “I think that we are all doing good.  We woke up this morning, and so many people didn’t”.   I also told her that we were blessed to be able to receive the healthcare that we needed.  Her response back to my comment actually surprised me.   She said, “ma’am you are right”.   I need to change my perspective.  I need to look at things differently”.

I am sharing this story because, we all have been guilty at one time or another of forgetting that even when we are going through challenging or difficult times, we still have so much to be thankful for.

I don’t know what you may be facing today but trust, that no matter how hard things may be, someone, somewhere, is dealing with something that will make your situation pale in comparison to theirs.

One way to combat the feeling of despair and hopelessness is to take a few minutes at the end of each day and write down the things that you are most grateful, for that day.  When your focus shifts to a place of gratitude, it is amazing how much better you will feel about your situation, even though nothing has really changed.

God is blessed when we are grateful and when we sincerely express our gratitude to Him no matter our circumstances.

Remember when our attitudes change our perspectives change, and the secret to all of this is gratitude.  

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Chronicles 16:34
34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Psalm 50:20

20 You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son.
Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Psalm 107

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

 

 

 

Let’s Be Givers

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 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, 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 in some way, somehow God will continue to provide more.
Please be clear,  I am not referring only to our financial gifts, but also to 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 be mindful to remember that you can’t beat God’s 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 Lordand 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.

Girlfriends and Birthdays

Girlfriends and Birthdays

It was a beautiful sunshiny September day, and it was just perfect for an outdoor Birthday celebration.  As I sat outside on my girlfriend’s patio, eating the best salad that I think that I have ever tasted, that was followed by the best chocolate cake that I think that I have ever tasted,
I felt complete gratitude. 

My gratitude was not because the food was so good,  but because my two girlfriends and I, could be together again, for our yearly Birthday celebration. This year was really special, because we had missed the last two years, due to the pandemic and also due to some health issues. 

We were so excited to be together again in person.   It was great for the three of us to catch up on how things were going in our lives, and to just sit and enjoy each other’s company.  We had some serious heart sharing moments, and some giggles too of course.  More giggles than heart sharing probably.  God had blessed all three of us to see another birthday and our yearly Birthday tradition was back on track.  God is good!

When I returned home I reflected on the time that we had spent together that day,  and it made my heart feel warm.  There is nothing like having great friends!   

God in His infinite wisdom,  knew that we would need to be connected to one another.   Our connection to one another gives us  support, relationship, accountability and  recreational fun and enjoyment with one another.

 My prayer is that you are not choosing to live life isolated from the great friendships that you could be enjoying.

If you are a person who struggles with  building friendships, I encourage you to get connected to a local Church in your area, and attend a few of the events that they are having for the congregation.  At first it may feel a little awkward but keep going, slowly you will start to make friends and the quality of your life will become so much richer.

Both of the friends that I share my birthday with each year, are women that I met at church almost thirty years ago.  They both have been such a blessing to me and I hope that I have been the same to them. 

If you are in need of a great friend, I encourage you to pray today and ask God to bless you to meet a good Christian friend, and He will certainly bless you with one.  Before you know it,  you will have traditions that are special to you as well.  Most importantly remember this,  to have a good friend, you have to be a good friend.

If you already have great friends, but you have not connected with them in a while,  I encourage you to reach out to them, even if only by phone.  Stay connected!   Remember great friends are like jewels.  They are rare, so cherish them.  May God bless you as you start to experience the richness of true friendships!

Proverbs 18:24
24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 17:17
17 A friend loves at all times,  and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 27:9
Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,  and the pleasantness of a friend
springs from their heartfelt advice.
John 15:12-13
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Ecclesiastes 4:10
10 If either of them falls down,   one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
1 Thessalonians 5:11
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Romans 12:10
10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

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.