Sow & Gather

All You Need Is Love

loveMarci AnthonyComment
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Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1 NIV 

Love songs, we hear them everywhere. They are found in every genre of music from country western to rap and even contemporary Christian. One of the more familiar songs by the Beatles has a chorus which sounds like this, “All you need is love (dum, da, da, da dum). All you need is love (pause), love (pause), love is all you need.”  

This chorus is true. We all need, want, and desire to be loved. Therefore, we look for love everywhere in things, activities, and people. And our love is fleeting. We may love one thing today but tomorrow not so much. 

When God created us, He desired a loving, personal relationship with us and wanted all our love. (Genesis 1-2) After disobedience and evil came into the world, He continued to love us. And this time He gave His son, Jesus, to die for us and our disobedience so we could live with Him forever. (John 3:16) He gave Jesus’ life for ours all because He loves us. He wants us! 

And every day we can experience this love. It appears through His presence in our life, the blessings He gives, and His strength as we struggle through life’s challenges. And the best thing about God’s love is that it is eternal. It lives forever. It is not like the wind ever moving but is steady and strong. We can be confident God loves us and it will not change. 

So, here is a trustworthy statement: Jesus loves you!! 

Dig Deeper |

Psalm 136John 3Ephesians 3:16-19

Action Item |

Listen to a love song and think how much Jesus loves you. 

Prayer |

Dear God, Thank you for loving and wanting me. Help me to know that you always love me. In Jesus' name, 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--Psalm 136:1

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

Loving the Unlovely

loveMarci AnthonyComment
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If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.  Matthew 5:46-48 NIV 

I don’t remember when I first encountered the phrase, “extra grace required”. I think I first read it in a Bible study book that urged me to love the unlovely and to love people that are unlike us. I’ve since heard the phrase pop up many times at church. To use a cliché phrase, it’s usually used like this: “Bless her heart, she’s just one of those extra grace required people.”   

The “extra grace required” label is usually applied to someone who is maybe a little needy, maybe dominates discussions too much, and maybe is a little socially awkward. It’s the person that you perhaps don’t go out of your way to greet on a Sunday morning. It’s someone whose call you let go to voicemail because you don’t have an extra hour to listen to their un-ending monologue about their problems. 

Here’s the problem though …. we’re all "extra grace required" people. If God only poured His love on the lovely, on the kind, on the worthy, we’d all be left out of that loop. To judge someone else as “extra grace required” means that you may not realize how much grace you yourself require from God and from others.   

Romans 5:8 reminds us, “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” He didn’t love us because we were lovely.  We are utterly unlovely in His sight because of our sin. The astounding thing about grace is that we receive that love even though we deserve wrath and hate.  God loves like that, and we are urged to love like that. “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” It’s a tall order and impossible for us to do in our own strength. But with God’s help we can start to love more perfectly. 

It’s comfortable and easy to love someone who loves you back. But as Jesus pointed out in Matthew 5:46-48, pretty much everyone loved the lovely. The corrupt tax collectors loved people who loved them. The pagans (those with no connection to God) went out of their way to greet their friends.  

We are to be different from the world. How we can stand out from the world is not on how much we love our friends, but how much we love the unlovely. 

In this season where romantic love is celebrated, it's important to remember we are called to not just love our spouses, our families, our friends, our fellow believers, but to love and extend friendship to all…even the “extra grace required” and unlovely. Love sacrificially. Love without condition. Love as God loves you. 

Dig Deeper |

Matthew 5Ephesians 4:1-7 

Action Item | 

Take a hard look at your life.  Are there people you exclude from your circle of friends because they are “extra grace required”?  Ask God to open your eyes to your prejudices and help you love like He loves. 

Prayer | 

Father, I can never be perfect as you are perfect, Help me to see others through your eyes. Let me overflow with your love. Let that love transform the lives of all those I touch. I want to make you known. Amen. 

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Treasure God's Word--John 3:16

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

Put On Jesus

loveMarci AnthonyComment
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You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22, 24 NIV 

One of the simple pleasures in life is to acquire new clothes, whether they are purchased or received as a gift. And, if you are like me, you can’t wait to wear them. I usually wear my new clothes the day after I receive them. It’s crazy but when I put them on they actually make me feel fresh, stylish and even confident. 

In this verse from Ephesians we are actually commanded to put on new clothes. Really? The Bible is telling us to get new clothes? No! It means we are to take off the old self which is without Jesus and put on the new self with Jesus. It means we recognize that we are evil and need to turn to Jesus for cleansing and forgiveness. We put Jesus on by asking Him into our life and then loving Him and following His ways every day. 

As a result of loving Him, our lives are new. We should pray, study the Bible, and meditate on its verses. We should get into the rhythm of going to church every week and begin fresh relationships with others who follow Jesus. Maybe we could start serving Jesus by helping at a homeless shelter, working with ladies or even children at our church.  

So, as we begin this New Year, let’s adorn those new clothes. Let’s put on Jesus! 

Dig Deeper |

Romans 13:14; Colossians 3: 12; Job 40:10 

Action Item |

As you get dressed this morning, put Jesus on too. 

Prayer |

Dear God, It is a New Year. Help me to choose to put on You so that I am righteous and holy. Amen. 

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Treasure God's Word--Ephesians 4:24

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

The Paradox of a Christian Life

New BeginningsMarci AnthonyComment
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Here is a trustworthy saying: ”If we died with him, we will also live with him…” 2 Timothy 2:11 

The Bible is full of paradoxes. Many Old and New Testament stories contain twists and turns, making it important to delve deeper as you read to understand the meaning behind what is happening. That’s what makes the Bible so fascinating-- just when you think you have figured out the true meaning behind a particular verse, God shows you something new. There is not another published work that consistently changes your scope of thought and challenges you to push beyond your limits.  

Paul’s letters to Timothy are two of my favorite books in the Bible because they are chocked full of truths. These words of wisdom were not only true in the time of Paul and Timothy, but they also apply to today’s society as well.  The Bible is full of daily reminders to help us navigate through each day, but sometimes we have to think outside of the box to get at the true meaning. 

An example of one of these great truths lies in 2 Timothy 2:11:  “If we died with him, we will also live with him...” This is true because when we look at Romans 8:10 it says, “But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.” Translation: When we ask Jesus to come into our hearts and take over our lives, we are telling ourselves that we will no longer live the way we did in the past.  Our old soul dies to self, and we become filled with the Holy Spirit.  Our soul is revived in the manner of Christ Jesus. Therefore, because our soul is now washed clean, we can live eternally with Jesus. So here’s the paradox: we die, but because we have faith in Jesus, we have the promise of eternity. 

Sitting in church one day recently, we had a guest preacher who had more one-liners than I could write down.  But one that I did scribble down quickly was what he called the Paradox of the Christian Life, and it went something like this: 

          “To save your life, you must lose it. To live, you must die. To receive, you must give. To                  be made whole, you must be broken. To be filled, you must be empty.”

If you let these truths sink in, you realize how amazing our Lord is. As humans, our first thought is not to give of ourselves but to take back what is “ours.” We need to remove all of the selfish possessives out of the equation like “ours,” “yours,” “mine,” which are indicators of selfishness.  Instead, we need to substitute “His,” meaning all we are and all we have is God’s. When we realize that God created us and holds the universe in His hands, we realize how insignificant we really are. He doesn’t need us, but He wants to include us in His ultimate plan. I feel blessed to know that I am part of God’s plan. I certainly don’t think in paradoxes, but I’m learning to apply those truths in my life...sorry, I meant His creation.

Dig Deeper |

Read of some other paradoxes:  Philippians 3:7-8; John 12:24.

Action Item |

As you study the Bible, look for ways that God uses paradoxes and try to interpret their meaning.  Check your understanding against a Bible commentary and see how they compare.  You might be surprised at what God is revealing to you through your Bible study. 

Prayer |

Heavenly Father, You are so complex but You break things down for my simple mind to understand. Thank You for creating a Book to help me get a glimpse of Your power and glory. AMEN

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Treasure God's Word--Matthew 5:48

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

Words to Live By

New BeginningsMarci AnthonyComment
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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

Whenever a new year rolls around, there is always talk of New Year’s Resolutions, ideas of change and wanting to start over with a clean slate. Recently, I was asked to pick a word that would describe an area of my life I would work on for the coming year. At first, I thought this was a strange request. How could I possibly pick just one word? There are so many areas of my life that … “Well, let’s just say I’m a work in progress.”  

The more I thought about it the more I wondered if Jesus had a word? Is there one word that describes His ministry and defines what He came here on earth to do? When I looked at the words related to the fruits of the Spirit that Paul wrote in Galatians, the word that jumped out at me was “Love.” The word, “Love,” to us is such a simple four-letter English word, but in the Greek language, the word, Agape, is used to describe Jesus’ love. The Greek word, Agape, is not simple at all but describes a complex, selfless, sacrificial, devoted love. When you look at the verse above, you see that first and foremost “Love” is the first word mentioned and with good reason. Without “love” none of the other words are possible. You can’t have peace without love. You can’t be patient without love. You can’t be kind if there isn’t love. This applies to every fruit of the Spirit.  

In Matthew 22:37 when asked what the Greatest Commandment was, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” When you look back in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy, you don’t see a commandment specifically with the word “Love” written as one of the 10 commandments.  What Jesus meant in Matthew is that “Love” is the basis behind every law of the 10 Commandments. The type of love that Jesus requires of us is not our version of the word love; the superficial, self-serving, non-committed, simple love. The word that Jesus requires of us is the Agape, selfless, sacrificial form of love.   

So, what is your word? I know it’s hard to pick just one to try and live by for an entire year. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve already failed more times than I’ve succeeded with the word I chose and I’m only nine days into the new year. If a word seems too daunting, try just setting a goal to read a daily devotional or set time aside each day to pray and ask God what word He wants you to work on for the day. 

Dig Deeper |

Deuteronomy 5; Deuteronomy 6; Mark 12:30

Action Item |

As mentioned above, try picking out a word to work on for the year; and if you need to simplify, set a daily goal to read a verse in the Bible or just pray and ask God for direction.

Prayer: |

God, thank you for loving me with Agape love that you showed when you sent Your Son to die on this earth so that I may be saved. Thank you for helping me to be more like You and help me to show Your love to others.

Join Us |

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

How Do You Know When It’s Time for a Change?

New BeginningsMarci AnthonyComment
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But if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as my dwelling for my Name. Nehemiah 1:9 NIV

Several images come to mind when I hear the following words:  worn, peeling, cracked, stained, broken, tattered, torn, and chipped. Now, let me throw some other word pictures at you: desolate, exiled, burned, buried, ruined, and destroyed. Given a choice between the sentence which decribes a more desperate situation, the second sentence would get my vote every time. You may or may not be surprised to know that these words in the second sentence were used to describe the state of Jerusalem after the temple had been destroyed.  The walls had been broken down, and its gates were burned. Not much was left that could be salvaged, but God had a plan. 

God’s plan included a man named Nehemiah, who was a cup barer to the king. Nehemiah was in a perfect position to be God’s chosen deliverer, and a man who would bring glory back to Jerusalem.  Jerusalem had been through one of the worst periods in its history. It was a city without a temple at its center; it lacked direction. Jerusalem’s people had been sent away, it had no protection and it was completely vulnerable and exposed. The city desperately needed someone to step in and take charge and rebuild the desolate walls of the city. In verse 9 of Nehemiah 1, Nehemiah prays that if God would allow him to rebuild the walls, he would reestablish Jerusalem and God would have a place to dwell because the walls would protect the temple. Nehemiah was a servant to the king and he went before the king to plead his case. Nehemiah turned a desperate situation into divine inspiration. 

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am not physically or mentally capable of building up the walls of any city.  Nor do I have the patience it would take to draw up all the plans and see something like this through from start to finish. But recently our church took on the task of adding on to our existing structure to build a brand new facility dedicated to the teaching of the children and youth of our church.  

Our once vibrant and thriving church was beginning to see the pains of years of wear and tear on our current building. So we did exactly what Nehemiah did in the first chapter of Nehemiah, we prayed. We prayed that God would open the hearts and minds of our members so that we might be able to build on our existing property and create a building that might impact generations to come. 

The more we prayed, the more we felt God calling us to remain at the same location in the heart of our city. It was important to stay and not leave. Many wanted us sell our current facility, and build on a new piece of property. God instead directed us to stay, and He provided the guidance, which was no easy task. There were meetings and building approvals and permits, and inspections, and contractors and equipment and the list goes on and on.   

We just opened our new facility in December of 2017 and I have to say that it has been an amazing experience to see the current families get excited over what God is doing and will do in this new space. I know we’ve all heard the saying “If you build it they will come.” This was certainly true in Nehemiah’s time, as many families came back to rebuild their lives around the gates and walls of Jerusalem. We are hoping at our church that God will bless our obedience and bring new families into our doors and that we might see the impact of our message of Christ reach outside our church walls into the city center and beyond. 

Are you struggling with whether to rebuild and start over in your life or stay the course? It’s never too late for a new beginning. Ask God to help you determine what His plans are for your life. Be willing to accept the challenge and be obedient to his calling. 

Dig Deeper |

I would encourage you to read the entire book of Nehemiah from Chapter 1 – 13.  It’s a fascinating story of how God had a plan and used ordinary people to do the extraordinary. 

Action Item |

If you are searching for answers, pray and ask God to help you overcome your struggles and rebuild your character into His likeness.  He can take a desperate situation and turn it into divine inspiration. 

Prayer |

Please God help me discover what my direction is.  Help me to rediscover Your will for my life. Help me to tear down the walls I have built up and rebuild based on Your biblical principles. 

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--Nehemiah 1:9

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

It Isn’t Over Yet!

New BeginningsMarci AnthonyComment
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On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. Matthew 2:11 NIV 

One of my dad’s favorite holidays was Epiphany! To celebrate, he would diligently turn on all the Christmas lights in our home exactly twelve days after Christmas. Our house glowed! In fact, it was the only house on the block that still had its Christmas lights on and shining. Personally, I was quite embarrassed. 

But what is Epiphany? 

It is the celebration of the wise men coming to visit and worship the King, Jesus. They had followed a star from a foreign land, inquired of Herod and the people of Jerusalem and finally found Jesus in Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph. And what did they do? They bowed down, worshiped Jesus and gave gifts--actually treasures.  

Now, what about us?  

It’s the New Year, and our goal should be the same--to worship Jesus and give gifts. But Christmas is over! No, it isn’t over yet! In fact, it has just begun. We can begin by giving Jesus gifts of time to pray, study the bible, meditate, go to church or even listen for God. Maybe we can give Jesus our talents and skills to sing at church, encourage a friend with a card, lead a mom’s group or cook a meal for a shut-in. Finally, we can give a gift of money by just developing good financial management skills. 

So, whatever the gift, let’s begin this new year. 

Dig Deeper |

Matthew 2:1-12

Action Item |

Begin the New Year by giving of yourself with your time, talent or money. 

Prayer |

Dear God, Thank you for the example of the wise men. They searched and found You to worship and present gifts to You, the King. Help me to do the same in this New Year. 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--Matthew 2:11

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

Establish the Work of Our Hands

New BeginningsMarci AnthonyComment
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May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us -- yes, establish the work of our handsPsalm 90:17

“Do you want the job or not?”  

Sitting on my second-hand couch in my small apartment in Irving, Texas, I desperately searched for the answer to this question. I had just finished my student teaching and had been offered a job at the school two weeks before. Unsure of what to do, I had avoided answering, hoping that someone would point me in the right direction.  But here it was: a phone call from an impatient HR representative from the school, demanding my answer.  I requested 30 minutes to think and hung up the phone. 

My husband, who had recently enlisted in the Army, was not around to help me talk through my options. My parents, who often offered wise counsel, wisely directed me to prayer and scripture. At the age of 23, I had prayed about things before and had used the Bible to guide my decisions, but this seemed different. I needed a direct answer, and I needed it now. I was a jumble of emotions. While I had enjoyed my student teaching, I did not feel comfortable taking a full-time position at that same school.  My own father, however, had been laid-off nine months before, and I felt like I was being foolish and picky turning down a real, hard offer of a job after watching him search in vain for one of his own.  What was I supposed to do? What if this was the job for me, and I said no? What if I turned this down, and no other offers came? What if I took the job, and it wasn’t God’s plan? 

I knew how to pray, and I knew God could speak to me through the Bible, so even though I had no clue how he would furnish the answer in less than half an hour, I prayed out loud and opened the Word. I honestly and earnestly spoke to God about my situation. At the time I was in a year-long study of Moses, and that week I had read his prayer found in Psalm 90. At the end of his prayer, I found mine. It wasn’t a clear directive about my question; instead, it was a way to pray and ask God for direction, and it was a reminder that He is in charge.  After meditating on the verse, I prayed and asked God if I was supposed to take the job. The Holy Spirit quickened in my soul, and I had my answer as clearly as if I had heard it aloud. I called the HR department back and turned down the job. The sense of “Now what?” that swirled in my head was quickly overtaken by the sense of peace that rested in my soul. Gaining an experience of how to listen to and trust the Holy Spirit was a much more valuable life experience than any job I could take. I was unsure of the next step, but I was confident that the Lord would guide it. 

Now, as we approach the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, we must consider what it is that the Lord has established for us to do. While it is easy to make resolutions that will benefit us personally or even our fellow man, our focus should be on what it is that He has for us in the coming year. 

Digging Deeper |

Read all of Psalm 90, focusing on Moses’ reminders that God is big and we are not. 

Action Item |

What plans have you set for next year?  Have you checked to see if they are from the Lord? In what areas do you need direct guidance from the Lord?  Prayerfully ask Him to establish what you do with your life, listening to the “yes” and “no” from the Holy Spirit. 

Prayer |

Dear Lord, As I consider what I am supposed to do with (my job/my family/next year), please establish the work of my hands. Go before me and provide direction.  Help me to remember that you are in charge; you are the creator and sustainer of the universe. Help me to see what you have for me to do, and give me the strength to step out and complete the tasks you set before me.  Let my hands do the work of you, my Father, rather than keep busy with what I think is important.   

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 90:17

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

The Love Gift

Celebrations & traditionsMarci AnthonyComment
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Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV

A friend of mine recently shared something special that they do on Christmas Eve every year and it touched my heart. Every year her family draws names for different family members. The name on the card is designated as your “Love Gift” recipient. Every year on Christmas Eve the family looks for their name with the special “Love Gift” tag. What’s unique about these gifts is that they are not really gifts at all; instead, each specially wrapped package contains a unique sentiment or message for each individual in the family.  

When the kids in the family were young, the message may have said, “You are special!” or “Mommy and Daddy love you.” As the family grew older, so did the messages, “You’ve worked so hard in school. Way to go, we’re proud of you!” “Sis, I really appreciate the way you always look out for me.”  

When this idea began, my friend made each person in her family a “Love Gift” box that they would keep their messages in year after year. Every year before they open their new “Love Gift,” they will read all of the other messages in the box. Some make them giggle like, “Brother, you are really good at the Mario Bros video game but please let me win once in a while.” Or, “I’m really glad Daddy took off his beard; it was really scratchy.” As the kids matured, so did the subject matter. “Son, you have had a tough year." "I’m sorry you didn’t make the team." "You showed a lot of courage and maturity when you congratulated your friends." "God has a plan for your life and sometimes it’s hard to trust someone else with that plan.” Or, “Mom, you seem really tired lately. I know I don’t say it enough, but I love you and appreciate all that you do for us.” 

Every year the family still draws the names of a family member and writes a special message of love or encouragement. What started as a simple idea has become the highlight of Christmas. There is a buzz around the house in the days preceding Christmas Eve with everyone trying to figure out who drew their name for the “Love Gift.” The actual presents wrapped up under the tree are nice, but those 

things the kids have received in the past fade in their minds and they forget what they received year after year. But the “Love Gift” is a meaningful expression of what the true meaning of Christmas is all about.  

God sent his Son because we needed encouragement. We needed His message of hope and most importantly we needed His “Love Gift.”   

Dig Deeper |

1 John 4:10John 3:16

Action Item |

If you’re struggling as a couple or as a family, maybe you all have lost sight of the importance of encouraging one another and really showing that love. Start by writing a note of encouragement for a specific family member and hide it somewhere for them to find. You might be surprised at how it changes their outlook on the day and might even help them see you in a different light. 

Prayer |

God help me to focus this season on what is eternal and not what is temporary. Allow me to slow down and enjoy this special time with my family instead of feeling rushed and pulled in different directions. Thank You for sending your Son as my special “Love Gift!” 

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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--2 Corinthians 9:15

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

Just Do It…

Celebrations & traditionsMarci AnthonyComment
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When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Matthew 1:24 NIV 

As you listen to the story of the birth of Jesus, is there one person who fascinates you the most? Obviously, it is Jesus! It is His birthday and He is the Son of God and Man! But what about the heavenly host of angels, the plain shepherds with their cuddly sheep, the royal wise men from afar, loving Mary or Joseph? 

Joseph, who is this man? When we view him in a nativity, he is the man standing in back of the stable looking at Jesus. So uneventful! However, Joseph is so much more. 

Joseph is described as a righteous man who was the fiance of Mary. When she became pregnant, he decided to divorce her quietly so she would not be disgraced. But an angel of the Lord appeared and he told Joseph that Mary was pregnant from the Holy Spirit, or God, and she was carrying God’s son. Now I would have freaked out, but Joseph believes the Lord and takes Mary home as his wife. 

Wow!! This man has such faith and is so obedient. And Joseph didn’t stop at this one event. He was visited by an angel of the Lord three more times and each time Joseph did exactly what the Lord told him to do. He didn’t grumble, ask why or even hesitate. He just did it! 

Now if you are like me, you have trouble obeying. My insides actually scream no and want to rebel at every command. But when I really look at Joseph, I know I need to be like him. I know I need to say “no” to myself and “yes” to God every time, without complaining or hesitating.  

So, when God asks me to love my unlovable coworker, listen to someone without interrupting, prepare food for a funeral or a new baby, work at the homeless shelter or lead a Bible study, I should just do it. There should be no balking or questioning. I should be obedient just like Joseph. Like the man standing in back of the stable waiting for his next task from God.  

Dig Deeper |

Matthew 1:18-252:13-14; 2:19-21; 2:22-23 

Action Item |

Just do it! Wait for your next task from God and be obedient 

Prayer |

Dear Father, I am your child but I confess at times I am disobedient. Please forgive me. Help me to listen for Your commands and follow them every time.  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--Matthew 1:24

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

A Christmas Tree? A Picture of the True Meaning of Christmas?

Celebrations & traditionsMarci AnthonyComment
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"Let the heavens rejoice and be glad. let the fields be jubilant and everything in them.  Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy." Psalms 96:11-12 NIV

Trees: green, gold, silver, tall, short, fruit, pine cones, all a special gift from God, the Creator.  One of God's trees is a reminder of everlasting life, yes, the green Christmas tree. (Green is the color for life.) 

For many years of my life, beginning as a child, I lived without a Christmas tree in our family home.  One of my parents did not believe in a decorated tree. They thought it a form of idolatry.  As a child, I did not understand how this could be possible. A dead, green tree Idolatry?  We know idolatry is when we love something great or small, living or dead more than God. 

Unfortunately, Christmas tends to draw us away from God with all the lights, hustle and bustle of activities, gifts, and yes, even family and friends. So, how can a Christmas Tree draw our attention back to the true meaning of Christmas?  

On the tree hangs a manger, a symbol of the first Christmas. Our God, who loved us so much, placed His Son, Jesus in that manger. The green tree illuminates the room with light, a reminder that Jesus is the light of the world.  Our eyes rest on the top of the tree. We may see a star!  In Philippians 2:15 we are told to shine like the stars in the world.  As the star led the wise men to Christ, so our light will lead the lost in the dark world to Christ.   Nearby we may see a crown of thorns. Yes, Jesus died on a tree, but greater still is His crown.  Resurrection!   Jesus our Savior is alive today. Imagine, a green Christmas tree with all the Lord's trimmings. 

As you look at the Christmas Tree this Christmas season, may it bring about a new message, as it did for me.  Joy to the World, the Lord has Come.  Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!  

Digging Deeper | 

Matthew 12:33; Exodus 20:4; I Peter 2:24; I Corinthians 10:14; Isaiah 44:9; Matthew 2:2; 2 Peter 1:19; II Samuel 22:29; Psalms 18:28; Matthew 5:16; John 1:7 

Action | 

Be purposeful this Christmas. May the light in you shine bright as you share the love of Christ in all your activities. 

Prayer | 

Lord, help me to focus on the true joy and meaning of Christmas so I will be ready for Your coming. Amen  

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