Sow & Gather

Total Eclipse of the Heart

school/learningMarci AnthonyComment
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"He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.”  Psalms 104:19 NIV

Ok, so I know what question you’re asking yourself…what does Bonnie Tyler’s song Total Eclipse of the Heart have to do with a Bible devotional?  I’ll get to that in a minute. We heard a lot about the solar eclipse that happened on August 21st, 2017. It was amazing to witness the incredible events that occur when God’s forces of nature are thrown out of their normal daily routine. 

The path of totality, named for the area of the United States that was able to view a complete eclipse of the sun, demonstrated how much we rely on the sun and moon to help keep us regulated throughout the day. On Monday, August 21st, several unusual things happened along the path of totality during the full eclipse. First, many animals weren’t sure what time of day it was. Some animals slept, thinking it was nighttime, while others ran around crazy not knowing what to do. In Washington State, over 305,000 salmon washed ashore because of a strong tide brought on by the eclipse. Flowers that had opened their petals for the day to receive their daily dose of sunlight, closed, thinking that it was night, and then reopened after the sun came back out. In some areas the temperature changed more than 10 degrees in a few minutes because the sun was blocked out. 

In areas that were not along the path of totality, individuals were able to see only a partial eclipse, but the effects were still felt. For one thing, it felt strange to be outside. Although a total eclipse wasn’t visible, there was still an eerie feel to the sky and it was strange to drive around and see so many people standing outside, staring up at the sky. As humans, our day was interrupted by a natural phenomenon, and it seemed like everyone stopped and had to take a peek (hopefully with approved eyewear and homemade cereal boxes). 

We are such creatures of habit that God knew we needed something to help us regulate our body clocks. If you look in Genesis 1:3-5, one of God’s first tasks in creation was to separate the light from the darkness.  He called the light day and the darkness night. The sun, with its rays of light and heat reaching the earth, creates a powerful one-two punch, but the moon’s proximity to the earth also plays a dominate role in our everyday life as well. 

The moon is partially responsible for our seasons.  The Earth's axis is tilted 23.5 degrees. The angle tilt is responsible for the seasons. But, the tilt angle is not fixed. The moon's gravitational pull on the Earth causes precession, which is a small, 21,000-year cyclic change in the angle of the Earth's tilt. Basically, the Earth is tilted and it is the moon’s gravitational pull that keeps the Earth on that tilt, thereby giving us our seasons.   

I know you weren’t thinking that you would be getting a science lesson as part of a devotion today, but I think that sometimes it’s important to remember that God’s hand is in every aspect of our lives.  From His creation of the sun and moon, to the intricate angle of the Earth’s tilt and gravitational pull of the moon, He thought of everything. So why do we sometimes doubt His ultimate power when it comes to our lives? Well, it comes down to an eclipse of our heart.  I told you there was a reason for my title choice. Instead of allowing God to work in our lives, we cast a shadow over it, which blocks God out. Many times we act like the animals did during the eclipse and run in circles or become confused because we’ve lost our direction. Stop eclipsing God and let Him work in your life. 

Key Verses |

Galatians 4:10; Ecclesiastes 3:1 

Action Item |

Are you blocking God from working in your life? Open your heart and let Him in. 

Prayer |

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the Sun and Moon. Thank You for thinking of how the moon and sun affect our daily lives.  Thank You for events in the sky like eclipses that remind us of how vast the universe is and how powerful You are.  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 33:11

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 |

The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation. Psalm 33:11

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Trusting God With Your Children

school/learningMarci AnthonyComment
2.4.16 I Will Teach You The Fear Of The Lord Sowandgather.jpg

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. “  Philippians 1:6 ESV 

This week I send my firstborn to kindergarten. When I was a new mom, someone told me that the days are long and the years are short and I feel no truer words are spoken about the early childhood years. I look forward to watching him gain knowledge and independence yet if I’m honest, I actually have quite a few fears about this new journey he’s on. Did I pick the right school? Should I have homeschooled him instead? Maybe I should have been willing to pay private school tuition to keep him in a Christian environment. Will he make friends? Will he decide he hates school and be the problem child?  

In my own life, it’s easy for me to claim Philippians 1:6. I am a work in progress. I know that God will continue to work on me and refine me until I stand complete before Him. Yet why is it so hard for me to let go of my child and trust that the same God will be faithful to work in his life? Every mom I’ve talked with in this same season of life has similar struggles. We hold ourselves responsible for how our kids turn out. We agonize over every little decision, secretly convinced that if we put them in the wrong activity, in the wrong school, or even can’t get them to eat a perfectly balanced healthy meal every single day, then their lives will end in abject failure and it will be our fault. 

This is what society teaches us. But thankfully, the bible teaches a much different story. We can trust that God will finish the good work He has started in our lives and in our children’s lives. We can and should prayerfully consider big decisions but realize that any control we hold is an illusion. God is in control. We can make all the wrong decisions and God can work it for good. We can make all the right decisions and still have a wayward child that we have to depend on God to draw back to the truth. 

So as you start this new school year, pray fervently for your kids. But leave your fears and anxieties at God’s feet. He’s the one really in control. 

Dig Deeper |

Romans 8:28Proverbs 22:6Hebrews 2:8-10 

Action Item |

When you find yourself worrying about your children, pray first for God’s presence in their lives and seek Him as you make decisions for them. 

Prayer |

Heavenly Father, you will complete the good work you began in me and in my children. Help me to trust you through hard circumstances and realize that you are in control of how my kids turn out, not me. 

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--Deuteronomy 6:7

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 shall teach them diligently to your children, 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. Deuteronomy 6:7

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Facing Failure? Persevere!

school/learningMarci AnthonyComment
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Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4 NIV

The title of Certified Public Accountant or CPA rang loudly and seductively throughout my college years. I dreamed of this title and the job opportunities it would give me, and I worked diligently to achieve it. At the end of my senior year, I sat for the CPA exam fully expecting to pass with flying colors. However, upon receiving my results, I realized I had failed miserably. I was shocked…upset…and cried buckets.  

I desired to be a CPA, but I failed.  I couldn’t believe it. What do I do now? 

As I began to deal with the failure, I found God was there helping and reviving me. He was with me. Immanuel, meaning God with us, is a name referring to Jesus. (Matthew 1:23 NIV) He was my strength, and I relied on Him during this moment of setback. 

After recovering from the heartache, I found God was telling me to persevere. I was to continue to pursue this dream and try again. 

Well, guess what? I did. 

I decided to retake the exam, and this time I studied. I placed myself on a study regimen and took a review course. I even limited my social activities. Bummer! But what helped me most was my prayers to and reliance on God. It was God who gave me strength to continue. 

Now, I’m sure you are expecting me to say I passed the second time. Well, no, I didn’t. In fact, it took me five times to fulfill that dream of being labeled a CPA. 

Yet, it’s true. God was with me every single time! 

Digging Deeper |

Hebrews 12:1; James 1:12

Action Item |

Never give up! 

Prayer |

Immanuel, You are the God who is with us and strengthens us. As I move through life and failures come my way, help me to rely on You and persevere. In Your name, 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.

Peaceful Families

Vacations/ReunionsMarci AnthonyComment
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“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:18 ESV 

Why does it seem that it’s easier to live at peace with friends than with your own family?  Family relationships seem fraught with tension, stress, and conflict.  My family got together this summer for a family reunion.  We rented a 6 bedroom home to share.  Three sisters, three husbands, four children, ages 3-7, and a grandmother.  It sounds blissful, right?  Or does it sound like a nightmare?  It all depends on your family dynamic. 

Our family comes with its fair share of baggage.  My dad passed away 7 years ago and my mother fell into a deep depression that never lifted. She also has early onset dementia.  It’s hard not to resent her for her illness and to mourn the mother/grandmother she should be.  I’ve struggled greatly with anger and disappointment on past family trips.  It’s hard to explain mental illness to your young children and to not blame the person suffering with it.  I spent time praying before the trip and intentionally sought harmony with her. 

That mindset of wanting to live peaceably made all the difference.  Instead of reacting with anger and frustration, I found myself responding with love and understanding that clearly had its root in God’s love and not my own selfish human love.   

Whatever tension and stress comes over you during a family reunion or trip, I encourage you to go to the Great Physician and ask for healing of the relationship and the ability to live peaceably with your family.  I’ve heard it said that your family is the best at pushing your buttons because they helped install them.  With God’s help, you can rise above the squabbles and annoyances and truly enjoy the family that God has placed you in. 

Dig Deeper |

Romans 12:16-18Matthew 5:21-24  

Action Item |

Spend time thinking about your family relationships and seek the Lord to know what actions you can take to live more peacefully with them. 

Prayer |

Heavenly father, help me to live at peace with my family. Help me to take responsibility for the tension that I may cause.  Help me let go of past hurts.

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--Proverbs 27:6

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 |

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.  Proverbs 27:6

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Is It Time To Throw Your Baggage Overboard?

Vacations/ReunionsMarci AnthonyComment
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Cutting Loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. Acts 27:40 NIV

Do you have a family vacation tradition? Maybe you had a favorite vacation spot as a child where your family would go every year and it became known as your family vacation spot. Every year my family goes to a small town on the Eastern Shore. It’s a sleepy town that was once a bustling port for ships traveling up and down the East Coast. It’s so small it doesn’t even have a stop light. It’s a calm relaxing town that harkens back to the days before technology and the hustle and bustle of urban life. I love it because it’s a great place to lie on the beach and watch the ships go by and do absolutely nothing!

This year in particular my family needed a break. We were spinning out of control with school schedules, sports activities, work commitments, travel, aging parents; just to name a few. Stressed out, run down and ragged is how I would describe our family life at the time just before our breaking point. Paul in Acts 27 describes an account of an actual voyage he took where things didn’t turn out as he thought, but by the grace of God he was saved.

Paul was a prisoner on a ship that had set sail towards Rome on what should have been a quiet and peaceful journey. Instead, it turned into a fight for their lives. Paul warned the crew that the voyage would be a disaster. The crew ignored the warning and when the storms came, the crew fought to keep their course but was driven back. They went so far as to tie ropes around the bottom of the ship to keep it from bulging. They threw important goods and merchandise overboard to lighten their load. Finally, in verse 40 they decided their only hope for survival was to head for shore.

My family was in the middle of a storm. We were trying to hold everything together but life kept pushing us back bombarding us with activities, meetings and commitments. Soon we were so over committed and stressed out that we began to neglect the important things like family time, sleep, and, let’s be honest, God. Summer vacation was like a shining beacon and we couldn’t wait for it to arrive. From the moment we set off on our trip towards relaxation, the stress and all of the baggage we had been carrying was tossed overboard. It was as if the seas of life had finally stopped rocking our boat and we were able to steady our course and set sail for a calmer way of life. Finally, I could sit on the beach,  gaze out on the horizon, and watch the calmness of the waves as they lapped against the shore.

Is your life in the middle of a storm? Do you feel the weight of the world crashing down on you? You may not be able to take a vacation but you can ask God for a break. Don’t be surprised if He suddenly throws what you’ve been holding onto overboard. Just relax knowing that he is in control and you are not. He may even tell you to drop anchor and rest. If he does, stop trying to steer your ship into the headwinds of life and let God guide you instead.

Key Verses |

Acts 27 & 28

Action Item |

If you are in the middle of a storm, ask God to take over your course. 

Prayer |

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for summer, thank you for vacations, and most importantly thank you for reminding us of our “real” priorities. Help us as we navigate life’s course and help keep us anchored in your word. 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--Exodus 23:9

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 |

You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. Exodus 23:9

What I've Learned This Summer

Vacations/ReunionsMarci AnthonyComment

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 

Learning doesn't just happen between Labor Day and Memorial Day each year. While those of us with kids adjust to the rhythm of the school year, I find the months of summer often yield the greatest growth. 

It feels like our child matures overnight during the summer. Each May I think he'll never grow up. By August, I'm asking myself what happened to my baby.  

God can use these warm (hot) months, where things move a little slower, as teachable moments. I've tried for this season of summer to focus and be present every day and not just slog through. In doing this, I've asked God to teach me these last few months. 

Here are a few things I've learned: 

If I don't Rest, God Will Force Me

In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves. Psalm 27:2 

The hamster wheel of life spins faster and faster. If I don't take intentional actions to slow down and enjoy this life, God will slow me down. My body will give in to the overload of stress – the laboring in vain. I'm constantly working for things that are good, but not of God. In those times of rest, I have to remember to seek God's will and prioritize my actions. 

I'm fortunate that during the summer months my business slows down. In the past, I've not accepted this as an offering of rest from God, but rather worried about the financial consequences. This year, I've gotten better about accepting the rest and knowing that God always provides. 

Eating Good Fat Makes Me Full Longer 

Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Romans 14:3

Name the diet and I've been on it . . . several times. I try and remind myself daily that as a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives within me. My body is God's temple. Why do I act in such a way to destroy the value of the temple?  

Every day I make choices that are hard for me regarding food, exercise, and rest. Even when God shows me the path He wants me to follow, I still want to take a trail to the right or the left. This issue doesn’t just come up with food, but in all kinds of matters where clear direction is received, but I don't like what God is telling me to do. Even when I feel like I am not maintaining the temple, I know that God's mercies are new each morning. God allows me to begin again. 

Garbage In Equals Garbage Out

Ears to hear and eyes to see--both are gifts from the Lord. Proverbs 20:12 

No longer is summertime TV viewing limited to re-runs. Many programs actually run a short summer season of new episodes. I love TV and I love books. Both are amazing modes of transportation for me to pursue a grand adventure in far-off lands. Well-done media tugs on my emotions. I find when I'm not resting and I'm not eating healthy, I tend to binge on TV and books.  

I have to back up and ask myself, why do I feel the need to binge watch or binge read? Is there something that is stressing or frustrating me that I need to take to God in prayer? Am I avoiding something? 

Then I have to assess the impact of what I'm doing. Am I consuming media that does not align with my values? Writing that sentence challenges me. Where are my eyes and ears focused? How am I using the good gifts that God has given me? 

As I'm writing this, summer is not over yet. I've still got about four weeks to enjoy before the grind of the next school year is in full swing. God has challenged me to grow in trusting Him with three areas of my life. Growth can be uncomfortable, but I'm ready to embrace the change. 

Dig Deeper |

James 1:1-18 

Action Item |

Ask God to show you what He's been teaching you over the last few months. Jot those items down and find scripture to support your journey. 

Prayer|

Dear God, You are the giver of good gifts, the provider of warm summer evenings and refreshing rain showers. Help us to see the lessons You have for us in the everyday things we do. Guide our choices and help us to honor You with our lives. 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--2 Corinthians 5:17

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 |

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

Watch for the Rock

Vacations/ReunionsMarci AnthonyComment

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2 NIV 

Summer is my favorite season! It is the season to enjoy the outdoors, wear summer dresses, hang out with your kids and go on vacation!! Every year my family attempts to travel to a new destination and last year we had the privilege of visiting Yosemite National Park. The mountains, waterfalls, trees and rock formations were amazing. And as you can imagine, we saw several signs along the park roads which stated, " Watch for Rocks." Yes, in this park, rocks, big and small, are everywhere including on the road. 

Actually, these signs began to make me think about “the Rock”. (No, not Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Yikes!!) but the true Rock, Jesus. Yes, Jesus is truly the Rock. I know because he has been with me throughout my life. When I have struggled in life’s lowest moments like the death of family members, loneliness, and failures, the Rock has been my refuge and fortress. I have depended on Him and He has never let me down. And, even in the highest moments like my marriage, a new home, children and just going on vacation, I know the Rock is there providing strength and stability. 

He is strong, solid, and dependable. The LORD is waiting to be our refuge, fortress, shield and especially deliverer. 

So, start today and watch for “the Rock.” 

Digging Deeper |

Psalm 18

Action Item |

Search for rocks in your yard or park and meditate on Jesus. 

Prayer |

Jesus, Thank you for being the rock. Thank you for abiding with me during the lowest and highest moments in my life. Help me to always seek your strength. I love 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--John 14:6

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 |

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6

Follow Me

Marci AnthonyComment

“And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”  Mark 1:17 NASB

As a mom of a senior in high school, there is plenty of talk of what this senior will do after high school.  These conversations aren’t always productive, and often end with the senior emphatically stating, “I don’t know!” 

The first time a mom holds her baby in her arms, the dreams of all the amazing things that child will do in his or her life are so big.  As that child grows and begins to leave the nest, it can be hard to step back and allow them to make decisions about their lives, especially ones that don’t fit into those dreams.   

While reflecting on which path this child may walk, this verse in the book of Mark came to mind.  Here the author Mark, describes Jesus walking by the Sea of Galilee and seeing Simon and Andrew (brothers) casting nets, as they were fishermen.  “Jesus says to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’  Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” (Mark 1:16–18)  

Simon and Andrew were young men working in the family trade of fishing.  In that ancient culture, if a young Jewish boy was not strong enough in understanding the Scriptures, they went to be trained in the family trade.  If they had an ability to interpret the Scriptures then they progressed on for further training, and then they would ask a Rabbi if they could follow them.   

Jesus was a Rabbi, a teacher with authority.  To have this Rabbi say to these young Jewish men, “Follow Me” was quite incredible.  Jesus went to ordinary men, doing ordinary tasks and told them to follow Him.  Jesus would now be their teacher and they would be His disciples. 

Isn’t that part of the Good News?  Ordinary men and women can be called by Christ to follow Him.  There is no seminary degree needed, no knowledge of the Bible needed, and no list of good deeds that must be performed.  Just a heart that has received Christ as Lord and Savior and a desire to follow Him! 

There is no greater dream a parent can have for a child than to have given their life to Christ and to chase Him with all their heart.  They may not know what to do or where to go, but if they know Who to follow --- then everything else will fall into place.  

Dig Deeper |

Mark 1:16–20; Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 5:2–11

Action Item |

Who are you following?  Do you need to hold loosely to your child as they make their own decisions?

Prayer |

Dear Father, You already know the path You want my child to take.  Please give him/her the desire to follow You wherever you lead and give me the strength to let go.  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--2 Corinthians 9:15

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 |

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15 ESV

When God Has a Better Plan

reviewMarci AnthonyComment

The Pharisees said to Him, "Do you hear what these are saying?"  And Jesus said to them, 'Yes, have you never read, "Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise"?'  Matthew 21:16 (ESV) 

As a mom, my most exciting moments have been seeing spiritual markers in my kids’ lives.  It gives me joy, peace and hope to see my kiddos walking with Jesus. 

One such time happened when my son was only nine.  We had set sail on a cruise from Florida, expecting to have a fabulous, fun-filled trip.  We had already experienced disappointment since I was unfamiliar with cruises and had missed the deadline for signing up for the dolphin excursion.  My six-year old daughter did not receive the news well and had spent some time crying about that lost opportunity. 

On day two of our seven-day cruise, we learned that there were not one but two hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and the danger would force our captain to make the decision to reroute the trip.  I remember returning to the cabin as the news sank in that all previous plans had been cancelled and any new on-shore activities were uncertain.  We were pretty down and my daughter again began to sob. 

I can still see my sweet son's face full of hope, joy and child-like faith as he spoke fourteen little words.  "Maybe God has something better planned for us than we had planned for ourselves."  At that moment, my breath caught in my chest as I realized that he could be right. 

Now, I know that God does not give us everything we want, because He is at work through difficult situations just as He is in the good times.  On this occasion, though, He chose to affirm my son's faith and confirm his belief.  We experienced everything we wanted to, including a swim in the ocean with dolphins that had not previously been possible. 

This spiritual milestone in my son's life became a mom milestone in mine.   Even when I am not where I need to be, God is still working in my children's lives.  He will be more of a parent for them than I could ever be.  I just need to move out of the way and trust Him to do what I cannot. 

Dig deeper |

1 John 3:1-2, John 16

Action Item |

Are you trusting your child's future to God?  Or, are you trying to protect them from difficulties that are God's fertile ground for teaching?   

Prayer |

God, help me to trust Your ways are best for my child even when they experience unfavorable situations.  Help me have wisdom to know how to guide them through these times and teach them to lean on You.  In Jesus name, 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. 

Are You Gentle?

reviewMarci AnthonyComment

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5 NIV 

What is the first thought that races into your mind when the word “grandmother” is uttered? I immediately think of gentleness. Gentleness means kind, soft and even tender. My own grandmother displayed this great gentleness. 

When I was a child, she would plop me on her lap and squeeze tightly exclaiming how much she loved me. She would sew cute clothes for me and always prepared a matching set for my dolls. She would bake sweet-smelling cinnamon rolls and other yummy favorite foods. She would even sit and listen as I sang silly songs written just for her. As I grew into adulthood, she continued to encourage me, showed interest in the activities of my life and displayed even more love. She exhibited gentleness. 

There is another person who is the perfect example of gentleness. Throughout His earthly life, Jesus showed this trait to many in His path. He would gather the children into His arms and bless them. Women like Mary Magdalene and the woman who had bled for 12 years of her life were healed by Jesus. And, when his friend Lazarus died, He wept. He grieved over his friend’s death with Lazarus’s family.  

Presently, Jesus continues to show gentleness to even me. He provides me with a home for rest and food to eat on a daily basis. He is with me and loves me despite my many weaknesses and even times of disobedience. He is merciful and shows amazing grace. He exhibits gentleness. 

With such an ideal example, I am to let my gentleness be evident to all, too. I am to be kind, soft and tender with my family, friends and those I connect with every day. I should exhibit gentleness.     

Digging Deeper |

Mark 10:13-16, Luke 8:40-47, John 11:17-44 

Action Item |

Be gentle! 

Prayer |

Lord, Thank You that You are gentle, God. Thank you for showing Your gentleness to me. Help me to be gentle toward others. I want to be like You. Amen. 

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Treasure God's Word--Psalm 23:1-2

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 |

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. Psalm 23:1-2

Failure Only Defeats Us When We Quit

reviewMarci AnthonyComment

He said to Simon, 'Put out into the deep water and let down your net for a catch. Luke 5:4 NASB

My mom is probably the best cook I know.  She is a country cook but her food is delicious and when there is a potluck, people actually ask her what she made so they can get a taste.  Unfortunately, I did not inherit that gene.  I remember one day when I was about twelve, my mom was gone for some reason so I was determined to make my dad dinner.  I decided to make biscuits, which I had never done before.  

I found my mom's recipe and began mixing in the ingredients.  I read the words "baking powder" but thought “baking soda”.  The little teaspoon was easy; it was the biggest spoon on the ring, or so I thought.  I mixed everything together and placed the biscuits in the oven.  They were so beautiful when they came out, but a little more yellow than my mom's.  I was so pleased.  I decided to taste my creation because I just knew it was going to be heavenly.  To my surprise, I was not even able to get the first bite down because the over-powering bitterness drew my mouth shut. 

So back to the beginning; I made a second batch.  This time I used less baking soda but, as before, they were bitter too.  My poor dad ate two even though they were awful. 

Though that day I had set out with great hope and determination to accomplish my goal, I failed.   

Peter experienced something similar.  Early in his walk with the Lord, Jesus told Peter to let down his nets.  Peter, being unconvinced, said to Jesus, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets." Luke 5:5.  Immediately, the nets were so full that the boat began to sink.  What if Peter had given up? 

Failure in a moment does not equal failure for a lifetime. 

From the roots of my own failure have sprung the tendrils of future success.  I believed that my failure was equated with my identity. But I am reminded that my identity now rests in Christ.  So I am encouraged to cast long and hard for whatever God has called me to do.  

Failure can only defeat me when I quit, but if I use it as a spring board of motivation, then accomplishment could be right around the corner. 

Digging Deeper |

James 1:2-42 Peter 1:5-8 

Action Item |

Where has God asked you to go deeper?  Decide to take the first step toward that calling.  Have you experienced failure at something you thought God wanted you to do?  Don't quit pursuing that goal. 

Prayer |

Precious Lord, help me when I don't want to go on.  Give me the grace to push forward, the courage to pursue You, and the wisdom to know what You desire for me.  In Jesus name, Amen. 

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