Sow & Gather

The Struggle Is Real

reviewMarci AnthonyComment

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

“The struggle is real!” Lately, this has become a common saying in my household over the hardship of cleaning dishes to not having a date to the prom. Neither of these issues is a true picture of a struggle, but we all face battles in this world that are real.    

Often times our struggles begin with those things that seem innocent enough but are actually disguised as temptations. Most temptation triggers never shout “WARNING – STAY AWAY!” Instead, they say, “That dress will make you look skinny,” “One bite never hurt anyone,” “It’s just a fiction book with some romance,” or "One more glass of wine with the girls.” We all have temptations; they just look different for each person.   

The problem with our temptations, if we are not aware of them, is that they can lead us down immoral, destructive, deceitful, and shameful paths. One small decision leads to another and before we know it, there is a fork in the road. Which way are we going to go? Are we headed down the path of destruction or do we take the path that God has created for us? This verse reminds us that when we are tempted (and we all are), God will provide a way out so that we can escape from it. The question is, will we take it? 

We have to remind ourselves that there is a battle for our attention, hearts, and minds. Daily we have to ask the Holy Spirit to cover us, to give us ears to hear the warnings and a heart that desires to obey those warnings. We need to spend time with God in prayer and in His Word to remind ourselves of His holiness and righteousness. When we do these things, we are arming ourselves for the battle.  “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NIV 

The battle of the spirit and flesh is real; temptations are real. The good news is that Christ came to end those battles. Jesus himself understands all of our temptations as He himself was tempted yet never gave in. When we give our hearts to Christ, we don’t have to give in to them either. The struggle is real; but, thankfully, God always gives us a way to stand up under it.  

Dig Deeper |

2 Peter 2:9

Action Item |

What temptations are leading you down paths of guilt and shame? Are you living in victory or are you living in defeat? Christ can set you free if you just believe in Him.   

Prayer |

Dear Father, may the Holy Spirit guard my heart and mind each day, warn me when temptation is calling, and open my eyes to see the door of escape You have provided. Please give me the heart to obey You and You only.  Amen.

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Treasure God's Word--Psalm 147:4

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

Is it sweet, salty, spicy, cold, hot? Terms you might not consider when you are reading God's word. God calls us to hide, treasure and taste His word. Join the contributors and readers of Sow & Gather in tasting and memorizing God's word this week.

Memorize It |

He counts the number of the stars;  He gives names to all of them. Psalm 147:4

Does God Love Me Less?

reviewMarci AnthonyComment

Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  James 4:2b

I have several kids and to be honest I love each of them differently; not more, just differently.  Recently, I was accused by a member in my family of favoring one of my kids. I didn’t say too much, but then, the “rumor” started spreading and before too long one of my kids complained about the same thing…I had a favorite child! It was pointed out to me that I did “special” things for this particular child. So, I really began to ask myself questions to see if indeed I did have a favorite?! 

No, I did not have a favorite, nor was I favoring this child. This child would ask for certain things and when I fulfilled the request, this one was very thankful. My other children never asked me for such things and if they had, I would have fulfilled their requests, also. The fact that they never even asked me for anything didn’t stop their assumption that just because I was doing something for one child, it must mean I loved that child more. 

Well, this got me thinking. How many times do I do the same thing with God? I look at someone else’s life and see all the blessings they have and think, “Wow, God must REALLY love them. He is not doing anything like that in my life!” The fact is that the other person is probably praying for wisdom, understanding, mercy, love, etc. and God is answering their prayer.  Have I prayed for God to give me wisdom in a certain area? Have I prayed for mercy? Matthew 7:7 tells us, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Also, Psalm 84:11 reminds us, “…The Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”   

The next time you are looking at someone else’s life and begin to think that God must love them more than you, ask yourself two questions:  Am I praying for those things? Is what I am asking for good for me? God’s word promises us that He will not withhold “any good thing” from us. Jesus “came that we may have life, and that we may have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10  

Instead of looking around and seeing all that Jesus is doing in everybody else’s life, open His word and spend some time with Him. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8 He is waiting for you right now…what is stopping you? 

Dig Deeper |

Ephesians 2:4, Psalm 86:15, Romans 5:8, Job 34:19 

Action Item |

Are you running to God or away from God? You will find Him in His Word! 

Prayer |

Lord, instead of looking at others help me to look to You, to seek You with my whole heart, soul, and mind. 

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Is God Enough

reviewMarci AnthonyComment

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. II Corinthians 3:18 NIV  

Eighteen months seems like enough time to transform. How about three years? 40 years? Or, even a 1000 years?  How long does transformation really need to take?  

I sometimes feel like my whole life has been spent trying to transform my body. I try not to, but I've bought into all the negative body image garbage the news media propagates. Thighs are too big; nose is too long; hair is too wavy; ankles are too this or that.  

I've always tried to be health conscious.  About three years ago I did get serious about my diet and joined the "clean eating" bandwagon. It's amazing how many times one person can fall off the bandwagon. Eighteen months ago, I committed to a tough but balanced exercise program. I keep falling off that wagon and occasionally rolling under the wagon and hiding. But, I get back up and get back on the program.  

I struggle every day with my choices of food and exercise. It's mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. While outwardly these struggles look like an issue of willpower or dedication, the true core of the issue is often the heart.   

Every day with every choice I make I'm asking: Is God enough?  

Is God enough to satisfy my longings and frustrations? Is God enough to encourage and support me? Is God enough to love me just as I am today?  

God doesn't love me more or less on days I exercise or eat a balanced diet. I'm not talking about earning God's love because I worked my plan perfectly. I'm talking about a God that loves me every day no matter what.   

God loves me because I am a work in progress.   

Over the last few months, I've read the first 1500 years of Israel's Biblical history. Talk about people that are a work in progress. The pages of the Bible came alive for me as tried to imagine why each person made certain choices. And, why God made the choices He did.    

I just finished reading the Old Testament book of Judges. It was too much. It was too hard. It was a time period when people just didn't believe God was enough. While there are glimmers of heart transformations in Judges, the last verse sums up the time period: In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit. Judges 21:25 NIV    

People did what they thought would satisfy their longings or frustrations. They looked for encouragement or support in themselves or others. The Israelites looked for love in something or someone other than God. The Israelites had a heart issue.   

Thankfully, this isn't where the story ends for the Israelites or for you and me. Our transformation continues because of the love of God, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. We don't have to be enough. We don't have to have perfect bodies and live in perfect homes with perfect kids and perfect marriages.   

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, our heart transformation begins in earnest. If you have questions about what it means to "accept Jesus Christ," please explore questions and answers at I Am Second. http://www.iamsecond.com/faith-questions/  

Dig Deeper |  

Romans 6; II Corinthians 3  

Action Item |  

Ask God to show you one area in your life where He wants to transform you. Write it down.  

Prayer |  

Dear Heavenly Father, today I give my transformation over to You. Amen  

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Gather with us by sharing your "Action Item" or "Prayer" by clicking on the Comment link at the top of the post. 

Treasure God's Word--Zechariah 2:8

Marci AnthonyComment

Is it sweet, salty, spicy, cold, hot? Terms you might not consider when you are reading God's word. God calls us to hide, treasure and taste His word. Join the contributors and readers of Sow & Gather in tasting and memorizing God's word this week.

Memorize It |

For thus says the LORD of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye. Zechariah 2:8

Our Confidence Comes From Christ

reviewMarci AnthonyComment

Being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 NIV

Be confident…sometimes these two words seem so unattainable. As women we can sometimes struggle with this idea not knowing who we are or who we’re supposed to be. I have to daily remind myself to look at the person staring back at me in the mirror the way God sees me not as the world sees me. In Philippians 1:6 Paul writes that we should be confident in ourselves because the God of the universe is at work in our lives.

The second part of the verse states that “He who began a good work in you…” This says that God has a plan for each of us. When we are walking in his footsteps with Him as our guide, we have nothing to fear. I don’t know about you, but this gives me hope. God not only has a plan, but that plan is good!

I love the last part of this verse. It says that God will carry this good work until completion. You see, He already knows when we have so much going on in our lives that we can’t possibly handle anything else. What we don’t realize is that all of these “things” that we have going on are not necessarily God’s agendas. These “things” may be the world’s idea of what we need to be doing in our daily lives. I am comforted by the fact that God is in control of my destiny. 

I get goose bumps just thinking about the amazing things that God can do in my life if I let him. When I allow that thought to wash over me, I am struck with the realization that I have nothing to fear or be anxious about. When I look back over my past, I can already see his influence. No matter what poor choices I may have made, he has turned them into golden opportunities for me to succeed now and into the future. 

Be confident, put away all worldly agendas and gaze fondly in the mirror lifting your head high with the assurance that God has a plan for your life and it is good!

Dig Deeper |

Psalm 138:8; Jeremiah 29:11; Hebrews 10:35 

Action Item |

What areas of your life are you unwilling to let God control? Ask God to help you accomplish His goals for your life and have confidence that He is in control of every situation.

Prayer |

Dear Heavenly Father, As I examine my life, help me to be confident in knowing that You are in control. Help me to put aside my selfish ambitions and focus only on Your clear and perfect will.

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Jesus Is the "Easy" Button

reviewMarci AnthonyComment

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:4-5 

"The holidays made easy." "Press the easy button." All phrases I keep seeing from the grocery store to the office supply store.  

Each of us would like less stress. I think the world is selling us a concept of less stress by making us think an "easy" life equals a stress-free life. In this fast-paced, often challenging world we live in, we've decided easy equals less-stress and hard equals more-stress. 

I don't believe it. I've had times in my life where I'm cruising along with my job and home life and not under deadlines. Times when I should have it all together - when life was easy - and I was miserable. Compare that to days, weeks, months I'm under constant deadlines, traveling like a crazy woman, and my house is a wreck -- I'm content and sleeping easy.  

I think of Mary and Martha - two sisters that were friends with and followers of Jesus Christ. These two sisters come alive for me in the pages of the Bible when we see how they cope with the death of their brother Lazarus. Lazarus had been dead for four days and his body was prepared for burial. At last, Jesus arrives and Martha runs to him.  

Martha says to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”  

Martha's statement is not one of accusation, but simply of the facts. She knew Jesus could have prevented the death. She also knew Jesus could bring Lazarus back. Even more important, she accepted that what happened next had to be a part of God's will.  

In the grief, stress, and hardship of death, Martha found her "easy" button. Jesus never promised Martha (or us) an easy life. Jesus has promised us a joy-filled life if we trust him. Martha accepted that Christ was with her in the situation. That acceptance is what brings us a joy. 

When I present my prayers to the Lord humbly, with thanksgiving for all that God has provided, I receive a peace and joy that surpasses any "easy" button I might try to use.  

Life is hard. Jesus makes a hard life easy bestowing his followers with never ending joy. We just need to accept the joy each day. 

Dig Deeper | 

John 11:1-45; Philippians 4:4-7

Action Item | 

Write down one thing that is hard for you today. Then write out a prayer of thanksgiving and joy presenting your request for resolution to the Lord. 

Prayer | 

Dear Heavenly Father, life is hard. There are so many distractions pulling us away from you and from gratitude. Lord, you promise your followers joy if they follow your commands. May I follow your commands today. May I count my many blessings. May I live in today but, also, yearn for your return. Amen. 

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Treasure God's Word--John 7:38

Marci AnthonyComment

Is it sweet, salty, spicy, cold, hot? Terms you might not consider when you are reading God's word. God calls us to hide, treasure and taste His word. Join the contributors and readers of Sow & Gather in tasting and memorizing God's word this week.

Memorize It |

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. John 7:38

Can A Change In Perspective Takes Us From Lost To Found

reviewMarci AnthonyComment

Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days, Judah will be saved.  Jeremiah 33:14,16a (NASB) 

In June 2001, I was joyously engaged and only a few days from being married to the man I loved. After a whirlwind of planning and bucket loads of stress, it was finally time. I drove to downtown Dallas to pick up my fiancé and parked at a little lot where I could walk to his office. He worked in a massive 787 feet tall building with sixty stories. The impressive structures distorted my directional senses so when I exited the parking garage on the wrong side, I didn't realize it was a different route. About twenty minutes into the journey, I ascertained I was hopelessly lost.  

I was certain I could retrace my steps back but the more I tried, the more twisted I became. I passed fancy shops, wealthy people, then vagabonds, and desperate people. Fear gripped me, and panic rose up inside swallowing my hope. Hours had passed and by now I knew my fiancé would be wondering what had happened to me. Crying started deep in my chest and I shook uncontrollably. Then I had a thought. If I could only see the building in the right perspective, then I might be able to find my way. I had hope. I walked until I was on the outer limits of the downtown and began the long trek around the circumference of this area. Finally, the buildings lined up and I found where I was supposed to be and also found my wonderful man. A few days later, I walked down the aisle and said an "I do" that has lasted twenty-five amazing years. 

Similarly, this life causes a hopelessness with its tall demands that confuse us. We try so many ways to get to God but get twisted in our own efforts to find Him. Perspective is what we need, God's perspective. We are desperately lost and need His help. Though Jesus Christ was born a tiny baby, He came with a purpose. He came to find us. We must choose to believe that we have sinned, that sin has a cost, the cost is death, death must be satisfied, and Jesus made the payment by dying. When we ask Him to forgive us and choose to trust His death for us, He makes us right with God. That is the perspective where we are found and God sees us as His.  

This is a hope that will not disappoint. 

Dig Deeper | 

Jeremiah33:14-16; John 14:6; I Corinthians 15:3-4

Action Item | 

Take time to remember and dwell on what it cost Jesus to come as a baby and live and die on the cross. 

Prayer | 

Father, thank You that You had a plan from the beginning on how to save me. Thank You for sending Jesus to come to earth to live and die so that I might be made right with You.  Please help me not to forget what it cost You to pay for my life. May Christmas this year remind me of the hope that I have in You. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Desperate for Grace – Meeting Jesus At The Throne

RemindMarci AnthonyComment

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) 

“I can’t face this day,” my first thoughts on a drab Monday morning. 

The struggle to place my feet on the floor was intense.  As I walked through the bathroom, I avoided my reflection.  It simply was not a good weekend.  Speaking frankly, I messed up a lot.  I wasn’t a great mom and certainly not a great wife.  

I kept trying to tell myself, “It’s a new day!”  I wasn’t convinced.  I felt the pull in my soul to sit with Jesus, but I just couldn’t do it.  Guilt surrounded me as I went through the motions of making lunches, starting laundry and getting ready to workout.  Morning became noonday, and the ache in my spirit remained.  I desperately needed some grace.  I desperately needed a rescue.    

In my very own translation of scripture I was reminded that Jesus tells me to approach Him in my time of need.  Oh dear sister, I was in a great time of need.  I finally sat.  I began my approach.  “I’m sorry,” I whispered. 

Approaching the “throne of God’s grace” sounds intimidating, but if you have ever had a morning like mine, than you can think of no better place to be.  How amazing that the God of the universe offers a place I don’t deserve (grace) and a place where HE withholds what I do deserve (mercy).  The place where grace abounds is the only place we can run when we need forgiveness, hope and instruction.  Sitting with Jesus was truly my only hope of rescue on the Monday afternoon. 

My instinct was to stumble timidly to Jesus as I got ready to confess my sin.  As I meditated on Hebrews 4:16, Jesus, oh so clearly, told me to do the contrary; to run to him with incredible confidence.  That confidence, I discovered that day, did not resemble proud stomping, but a quiet run filled with the knowledge of rescue ahead. 

And so it began, with tears running down my face, I poured out my deepest, truest thoughts, feelings, and confessions. In my time of need, on my knees before Jesus, I found the grace I had avoided throughout the day.   

When you are covered in guilt and shame and are desperate for some grace and mercy, take it from a fellow sojourner, quietly run to the throne of God’s grace knowing rescue is ahead.

Digging Deeper |

Psalm 51 

Action item |

What are the actions in your life that keep you in a cycle of guilt?  Make a list of those items and confess them at the throne of grace today. 

Prayer |

Dear Jesus, I thank you for your grace and mercy.  I thank you that you provide a place of rescue.  Jesus, give me the strength to run to you confidently.  I confess my mistakes to you.  Amen.

Join Us |

Gather with us by sharing your "Action Item" or "Prayer" by clicking on the Comment link at the top of the post.

Treasure God's Word--Psalm 16:11

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

Is it sweet, salty, spicy, cold, hot? Terms you might not consider when you are reading God's word. God calls us to hide, treasure and taste His word. Join the contributors and readers of Sow & Gather in tasting and memorizing God's word this week.

Memorize It |

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.  Psalm 16:11

Who Can Fix My Misery?

Women of the BibleMarci AnthonyComment

When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. Genesis 29:31 

Have you had a season in your life when the only word you could use to describe it is MISERY?  I have had a few of those.  Seasons when my soul was completely fragile, my tears were but a moment away from falling and time seemed to stand still.  If you have ever found yourself in such a place as I have, let this story of a woman in the Bible bring you incredible comfort. 

Let me set the stage:  Once there were two sisters, Rachel and Leah.  A young man named Jacob deeply desired to marry Rachel, the beautiful sister.  Leaving out many details, let me just say that when Jacob asked Rachel’s father, Laban, for her hand in marriage, he was told that he would have to work for 7 years to receive her. (All I can think is that this girl must have been something amazing to look at!).  Jacob worked the 7 years and then was tricked into marrying the “other” sister, Leah.  As I read this account in the book of Genesis, my heart breaks as I read of how incredibly unloved that Leah must have felt.  Jacob did work another 7 years and was allowed to marry Rachel, his dream.  Precious Leah then found herself married to a man that she knew didn’t love her…MISERY! 

We then stumble upon these verses: 

When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” 

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon. 

Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi. 

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children. Genesis 29:31-35 

Does this story bring tears to your eyes as it does mine?  Here we have a women right in the middle of a season of misery!  I am so grateful to God that He gave us this ever so small account so that we could learn the following. 

 The Lord sees us in our pain and He has not forsaken us.  God saw Leah.  He saw her misery of being unloved and He gave her a child.  It is interesting to me that He did not speak audibly to her, He did not give a sign across the sky, but He simply moved in her life to encourage her. 

In our misery, we will never find complete happiness in our circumstance.  The saddest sentence in the story is, “Surely my husband will love me now.”  While Leah recognized God’s love for her, she believed that her misery would somehow end if only her husband loved her.  I am convicted by that statement as I reflect back on times of pain.  Our thoughts many times lead us to thinking that acceptance of a person, a change in circumstance or a need met, will be the answer to our pain. 

Only worshiping God will bring complete and total inner contentment and peace. After 4 children, (which had to be at least 3 ½ years) Leah finally utters the words, “This time I will praise the Lord.” She understood, after all of that time, that God was the giver of the gift of her children and that no man would give her the happiness she desired. 

Talk about a beautiful story.  If today is miserable, run FROM desiring others to help you and run TO the God of the universe!

Digging Deeper |

Read the whole chapter of Genesis 29.  As you read, write down all of the circumstances surrounding Leah’s plight in life.  Then, read Ephesians 3:14-19.  God loves you so!

Prayer |

Dear Lord, thank you for the story of Leah.  Thank you for the reminder that you see me in my happiness and my pain.  Lord, show me how and where you are working in my life.  Lord, give me the courage to rely only on you and to resist the urge to desire the approval of others.  Today, Lord give me your peace, your joy and your contentment.  Amen.

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A Life Lived on Mission

Women of the BibleMarci AnthonyComment

The churches of Asia greet you.  Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their home.  1 Corinthians 16: 19  NASB

Have you ever had a sense of sadness knowing that a great book is coming to an end?  When each detail lures you back for more, and causes you to drift off wondering what the people in the story would be like in real life?  There is nothing like a great book to transport you to another time and space.  It is one of the amazing joys of reading.  

This is also true when reading about people in the Bible.  Unlike a fiction story, the Bible shares real people with us, but often not to the detail one might desire.  One person that is intriguing is Priscilla, a woman who lived in the early church.  Her story is captured in Acts 18:1-26, Romans 16:3-4, 1 Corinthians 16:19 

Priscilla is fascinating for many reasons, but primarily because she is a woman with whom the New Testament writers were inspired to include.  We know that in the early church culture women were viewed as inferior to men, but not to Jesus.  Jesus was pretty radical in His time as He spoke to women, He had women who followed Him, and He used women as the first witnesses to His resurrection.   Paul the Apostle also held this high view of women as he writes, “Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow-workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.”  Romans 16:3-4.  Priscilla (or Prisca) was known to Paul as a fellow-worker or co-laborer in the faith.  She meets Paul when she and her husband leave Italy to find refuge in Corinth.  It is here that this couple opens their home to Paul and to the believers in Corinth.   

Priscilla and her husband seem like a couple one would be drawn too.  While they opened their home to the church, they also spent their time making tents.  They follow Paul when he leaves Corinth to find themselves in Ephesus where they would again use their home to share the love of Christ.  Priscilla’s life can be described as a life lived on mission for the faith.  She was the equivalent of a missionary in today’s world.   While this reader wishes there were more details about her life, the one thing that stands out is that she lived her life for the faith.  There is no detail more important than the fact that she lived her whole life for Christ.

Dig Deeper |

Acts 18:1–26; Romans 16:3-4; 1 Corinthians 16:19

Action Item |

If someone were to write a story about your life, how would they describe your life on mission?

Prayer |

Dear Father, give me the desire to live my life on mission every day for You and Your glory. Amen

Join Us |

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Treasure God's Word--Luke 1:45

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

Is it sweet, salty, spicy, cold, hot? Terms you might not consider when you are reading God's word. God calls us to hide, treasure and taste His word. Join the contributors and readers of Sow & Gather in tasting and memorizing God's word this week.

Memorize It |

“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”  Luke 1:45

How Do We Demonstrate A Life Of Sincere Faith?

Women of the BibleMarci AnthonyComment

You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:7 

For years I thought my job as a mother was to make sure my son accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. I was wrong. You see, I had my job description and God's job description all wrong. 

God has called each of us -- mothers, aunts, grandmothers, step-mothers, family friends, teachers, leaders – to teach our children about God, about his son, Jesus Christ, and demonstrate for the child how to grow in their own personal faith. 

The Bible sets out my job description when it comes to my child. It's really very simple. Jesus summed up the life we should be modeling and teaching to our children: 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  

Love your neighbor as yourself.  

Mark 12:28-31 

We find a mother-daughter duo in the New Testament of the Bible named Lois and Eunice that were recognized as fulfilling this God-given job description. In the book of 2 Timothy, the Apostle Paul writes to a man named Timothy and says, "I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." 2 Timothy 1:5.   

Eunice could have had every excuse for not demonstrating and teaching her children the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament or the two commandments Christ gave in the New Testament. You see, Eunice was a Jewish woman married to a Greek man. This was an inter-faith relationship. Eunice may have been treated differently by other Jews because of her husband. She lived in a town where many of the people worshiped in the temple built for the Greek god Zeus. Everyday, in her home and her community, she had forces working against her ability to demonstrate her love and obedience to the Jewish law of the Old Testament and eventually the teachings of Jesus Christ.  

Paul makes a point to comment that "sincere faith" lived in Eunice. Eunice's lifestyle must have demonstrated her love for God and her love for her neighbor. Eunice got it that her job was not to make sure her children "found Jesus." Rather, her job was living a life that reflected Christ's love.  

We have to live so that others see our love for Jesus and our love for your neighbor. How are you demonstrating sincere faith today? 

Dig Deeper |

Acts 16:1-3; 2 Timothy 1:1-18 

Action Item |

Pray that God will show you one action you can take this week that visibly demonstrates love and kindness for someone. Now, do that action. 

Prayer |

Dear Loving Father, modeling love and kindness toward you and toward others can sometimes be tough. We feel like the world is pushing in on us and removing our options. Help me today to know that my source of strength comes from you. Guide me in living a life demonstrating love and kindness daily. 

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Got Skills? Use Them!

Women of the BibleMarci AnthonyComment

Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah in Ephraim, and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided. Judges 4:4-5 NIV

Have you ever wondered what your name means? Well, I was curious about mine so I decided to google it and discovered that it means “youth.” I’m not quite sure it fits me, but it is definitely an interesting fact and a potential conversation-starter. 

There was a woman, Deborah, whose name meant “bee, like a honey bee” who was a wife, prophetess and judge over Israel.  God would speak to her and reveal Himself and His will; Deborah would then relay His judgments and commands to the people. One such command was given to Barak, the military commander. He was told to destroy the enemy who had oppressed Israel for 20 years. However, Barak would not go without Deborah to engage in battle. After some thought, she consented to go and Barak was able to obliterate the enemy. 

What an amazing story.  

God used a woman whose name means “bee” and gave her the perfect skills and talents for this situation. She was able to discern God and His ways, be a judge who held court under a palm and go to battle to support the commander. Wow! 

And we are just like Deborah. God has given each of us skills and talents as well. True, we might not be a judge or a leader but we are commanded to use those gifts God has given us. You might be skilled in singing, writing letters of encouragement, visiting shut-ins, preparing a meal, leading a study or just babysitting children. 

Whatever skills God has given you, use them just as Deborah, the bee, did! 

Digging Deeper |

Judges 4-5 

Action Item |

Use your talents and skills. 

Prayer |

Dear Skill and Talent Giver, Thank You for those gifts You have given me. Help me to use them to serve others. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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Treasure God's Word--Psalm 139:13-14

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

Happy Morther's Day from Sow and Gather!

Is it sweet, salty, spicy, cold, hot? Terms you might not consider when you are reading God's word. God calls us to hide, treasure and taste His word. Join the contributors and readers of Sow & Gather in tasting and memorizing God's word this week.

Memorize It |

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14

Go Tell!

Women of the BibleMarci AnthonyComment

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the risen Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.  John 20:18 NIV

Isn’t it fun to share great news with your family and friends? I get all excited and feel like I am about to explode with joy. The news may be about a new job, an engagement, a baby, an excellent score on a test, a new car or even an encouraging word received from a teacher or boss. I want to share the news with everyone so they can experience it with me. 

Mary Magdalene had a similar experience. Mary was from the town of Magdala, which means tower or castle. She was a lady of means and encountered Jesus when He healed her of seven demons. After being healed, she followed Jesus, listening to His teachings and even supporting Him with her wealth. She watched when He was hung on a cross for our wrongdoings and followed Jesus to His own grave. Her grief was unthinkable!! 

But after three days, she went to His tomb and found it empty. And suddenly Mary came face to face with Jesus, the risen Savior. He was alive and appeared to her first, a woman. He comforted Mary and told her to go tell the good news of His resurrection to His followers. Jesus, her friend and God, was alive!!! 

Well, guess what? 

Just like Mary, we have the privilege of telling others about Jesus’ death, the forgiving of our wrong-doings, and His resurrection, the victory over death and the ability to reside with Him in heaven. This message is for everyone! 

My part is to recognize that Jesus did die and rise for me personally. Upon this realization I can place my faith in Jesus and also experience Him as my God and friend. 

Digging Deeper |

John 20:10-18 

Action Item |

Place faith in Jesus and go tell others!! 

Prayer |

Dear resurrected Jesus, You are God and You died and rose for me. I recognize You as my Savior and place my faith in You. Help me to share Your life with everyone. Amen. 

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