Sow & Gather

Advent

How Do We Put God First in the New Year?

Advent, New BeginningsMarci AnthonyComment
Put-God-First-New-Years-Resolution #sowandgather #newbeginnings #freshstart

And whatever you do; whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 NIV

As the days after Christmas tick by, we inch nearer to a new year of promise and prosperity. The previous year is filed away as a mere memory and before we are able to ring in the New Year, we are confronted with that all too familiar question, “What are your New Year’s Resolutions?” If you’re like me, you need a couple of months to settle down from the hectic pace of the Holidays before thinking about your goals for 2017.

Retailers and health clubs are two of the biggest offenders of trying to make us feel guilty about not having resolved to do anything prior to January 1st. I love to work out but I avoid my health club like the plague for the first few months of a new year. It seems as if all of the equipment and classes are full of “Revolutionaries,” people who join a gym in January committing to get healthy and exercise only to quit a month later.  

Retailers are the second offenders, for they advertise even bigger sales after Christmas trying to recoup any lost revenue from the holidays. Retailers want your first thought after the holidays to be about that one gift you didn’t get for Christmas or about that newer model that wasn’t available until after the holidays. It’s as if they think we forgot about the gifts we had just opened three days earlier. Of course, there are those individuals that whatever you give them goes back to the store to be exchanged for something else. I call those people "the after Christmas opportunists." 

Yes, the New Year is full of opportunity, so with all of the choices of where to spend your time and money, how do you decide what you’re going to resolve to do this year? I have a thought the answer might seem obvious but perhaps rarely considered when thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. Pray. That simple word should be our first thought any time we consider action. Yet, it’s the one word we often forget. Colossians says, “And whatever you do; whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” We just spent the last two months thanking God for all of our blessings and celebrating His sacrificial gift of His Son, so why, when we are looking at the year ahead, do we suddenly leave Him out of the equation?  

What if, during this year, we resolve to put God first before making a decision?

I wonder what our resolutions would look like if we involved God in each and every choice. How many of our resolutions would we actually commit to follow through with versus falling short and quitting? This year allow God to guide your decision process and see what you are able to accomplish in 2017.

Dig Deeper |

Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 2:10

Action Item |

Whether you like to make New Year’s Resolutions or not, this year in all of your decisions commit to praying. Ask God what His goals are for 2017 instead of asking for your own plans. Make a list of all the areas God wants you to change; things He may bring to mind that He wants you to accomplish this year and keep it by your bible. As you go through the year, look back at the list and see how God has worked in your life.

Prayer |

Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessings and hardships of 2016. Thank you for allowing me to participate in yet another year and help me to be present and willing to follow your direction for my life. Allow Your will to be ever present in my daily living and help me to see areas where I need improvement. Amen.

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God Keeps His Promises

AdventMarci AnthonyComment
God keeps His Promises #sowandgather #advent

“...I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”  Genesis 17:6-7 NIV

The holidays are always a special time to spend with family and those you hold dear to your heart. It’s a time to celebrate and reflect on the past year and look ahead at what is to come. I love this time of year, because we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

The month of December is especially important in our family because we celebrate three other family members’ birthdays that were also born close to Christmas. I am so thankful that God created families.

What type of family do you come from? Do you come from a large family? When planning a family gathering do you have to rent out a stadium just to make sure you can accommodate everyone? Maybe you come from a small family where everyone could fit around the dining room table with room to spare? Whatever size family you come from, chances are you can trace your family origin back several generations. 

The Bible has multiple examples of different types of families -- some are large, and some are small. Some biblical families are Godly while other ones make the modern "dysfunctional family" look good in comparison. God loves families and He created these relationships to give us a past, a present, and to help us build on our future.

One of the most famous family stories in the Bible is the tale of Abram and Sari. Abram’s family tree is of course traced back to the most famous first family of the Bible; Adam and Eve. Although Abram’s family tree was distinguished, his own family consisted only of two people, himself and his wife Sari. All of that changed when God chose Abram to establish his covenant, thereby, changing Abram’s name to Abraham to become the father of many descendants.

Abraham and his wife Sarah (formerly Sari) went from a small intimate family of two, to having descendants that number the stars. More importantly, Abraham became the earthly patriarch of Jesus, Son of the Almighty God, born of a Virgin Mary whose husband was Joseph.

With this promise or Covenant, God established a family tree beyond anything that Abraham or his wife Sarah could have imagined. Abraham didn’t live to see God’s promise revealed; but each of us living now can attest to the fact that we are all part of God’s Covenant that He made with Abraham thousands of years ago.

It is true that nations and Kings have been established through that original Covenant God made with Abraham; but, most importantly, was the Promise of His Son Jesus to be the Savior of the World. As we take time this December to celebrate God’s Gift of His Son Jesus, we also celebrate the Promise God established with each of us.

By believing in Jesus and accepting Him as our Savior, we are adopted into the biggest, oldest, and ultimate eternal family tree.   

Dig Deeper |

Genesis 15:2-5; Genesis 17:1-5; Genesis 22:15-18

Action Item |

Take time to thank God for your family. If it’s been a while since you’ve spoken to a particular family member, ask God to help you bridge the gap that has been wedged between you.        

Prayer |

Precious Heavenly Father, thank You for Your ultimate sacrifice of Your Son. I am humbled by Your grace and I am unworthy of Your forgiveness. Thank you for giving me not only an earthly family but an eternal family as well. Help me to appreciate each and every family member. AMEN

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Treasure God's Word--Luke 2:11

Advent, scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

Jesus Loves Me, The Real, Ordinary, Messed-up Me

AdventMarci AnthonyComment
#advent #sowandgather #forgodsolovedtheworld John3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16 (NIV)

Each December I look forward to stripping away the ordinary, everyday home decor so the holiday decorations can be displayed.  This year, however, my eagerness turned to anxiousness as I felt overwhelmed. I just wanted it done!  I spent a day climbing up and down stairs, going in and out of attics, opening every Christmas box and wishing I had done a better job of marking the contents.  With all the decorations displayed, the Christmas tree was the last to be put together. No ornaments adorned it as I decided to leave the tree in its natural, ordinary state, for a while anyway.   

As I sat there staring at the simple tree, I reflected back over the past few months.  I had been rushing through the fall, trying to learn a new job, heading different committees, and taking a class.  I had lost sight of what mattered.  What was important to me?  Sitting in the living room and staring at that simple tree reminded me of the extraordinary love that our Savior, Jesus Christ, has for me.  Like that tree, I don’t need to adorn myself with achievements, knowledge or good deeds for Jesus to love me. I don’t have to have my act together for Jesus to love me. 

The good news is that Jesus loves me, the real, ordinary, messed-up me.   

The Advent season is a time to reflect and prepare our hearts for the celebration of the birth of Christ.  For me, this particular season is about refocusing on what is important, specifically the sacrificial love Christ has for me.  This love isn’t the kind of love I can manufacture myself, but it can only come from Christ.

For God so loved the world, not just a few chosen “good” people, but the world, and that, thankfully, includes you and me! Because of His love for us, He sent His only Son so that anyone who believes in Him (Jesus) shall not perish, but have everlasting life.   This love is so wide and so deep I cannot fathom it, but I feel it every time God draws me to Him, every time He convicts me of my sin, and every time He nudges me back on His path.  God sent His Son to die for me--messy, broken, ordinary me.  His love has redeemed me and restored me.

Christ loves the real me, even without all those “adornments.”

Dig Deeper |

Luke 2:1-10; John 3:16-17

Action item |

Do you know the true love of Christ?  He loved you before the beginning of time and desires nothing more than for you to know and believe in Him.  

Prayer |

Dear Father, I’m so grateful You see the real me, and still love the real me.  I oftentimes don’t feel very lovable, but I know Your love for me is full of grace, mercy, and restoration.  Amen

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How Do We Love One Another? Advent 2016

AdventMarci AnthonyComment
#advent #sowandgather Love One Another

A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34 (NIV)

In a world that is full of angst and anxiety, where voices desire to be heard and differences divide, it is only the love of Christ that heals and unifies.   

Amy Grant, one of my favorite singer/songwriters, wrote a song called “Grown-up Christmas List.”   She writes:

My grown-up Christmas list, not for myself, but for a world in need: no more lives torn apart, then wars would never start, and time would heal all hearts. And everyone would have a friend, and right would always win, and love would never end.

The last part of this chorus, “and love would never end,” always speaks so loudly to me. 

This verse, “Love one another,” has been quoted many times and is one that many remember.  So often we choose just to read the “love one another,” and not the part that says, “as I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  It is easy to love those who are like us, who share the same beliefs and values.  Loving others is hard when they are different from us, and/or their beliefs and values are in opposition to ours.  The command is for us to love as Christ has loved us, sacrificially and selflessly.  

 “We love because He first loved us,” 1 John 4:19. God, in His great mercy, loved us before we ever loved Him.  He loved us when we were rebelling against Him, when we didn’t believe in Him, and when we didn’t value what was right and holy.   How can it be that those who are beloved by God, justified by faith, and redeemed by His grace would not love others?   

This season, as we continue to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christ’s birth, let us remember the unimaginable love that was given to us.  It is a love that we didn’t deserve, but that God so graciously gave; love that we didn’t earn, but that is lavished on us.  When we love those who don’t love us, we are showing them the love of Christ.  Jesus was a living example of God’s love, as we are to be a living example of His love. 

In a world where people are hurting, searching and worried, let’s live out this command to love others so that “love would never end.”

Dig Deeper |

John 13:31-38

Action Item |

Is there someone you know that could use the love of Christ?  Be that friend for them. 

Prayer |

Dear Father, I am so undeserving of Your love, but I am so humbled by it.  Please forgive me when I don’t love those You have called me to love. Amen.

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Treasure God's Word--John 13:34-35

Advent, scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

How Is Our Joy Complete?

AdventMarci AnthonyComment
#joy #advent #sowandgater I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11

The Christmas Season is upon us! As I sit here this morning, the smell of pine is filling the air in my home.  As I glance across the kitchen, chocolate delights from dear friends cover my counter. Even my coffee creamer is flavored with the tastes of the season.    

From my experience, this season requires a plethora of smiles! And therein lies our problem, the smiles!  While much about the season forces a happy face, we all encounter times of mustering up smiles at times when it is a struggle. Do you ever find yourself faking it during this merriest of times? I DO!!  

It reminds me of one party in particular that my husband and I were hosting in our home at Christmas. To say that our preparation was crazy does not begin to describe the day of the party. From last minute trips to the grocery store to menu changes, there was a scurry of activity in our kitchen. All was completely thrown into bedlam when I decided it would be brilliant to turn on the dishwasher before the party AND USE LIQUID DISHWASHING SOAP. The bubbles escaped the dishwasher all over the floor. I cleaned up the mess quickly, threw on some clothes, lit some candles, and with the most plastered of smiles opened the door for my guests. That fake smile! 

Oh, my dear sweet friends, do you, like me have a desire to run from the fake smile this season? Do you have the desire to experience this season with a face that reflects REAL joy? God has given me a few thoughts on how to experience this complete joy that He spoke about while He was on earth. I invite you to meditate on these and allow God to use them to help you this season as they have helped me. 

 Recognize that happiness and joy are not the same.

Webster’s defines happiness as, “delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing.” Much delight is experienced during the holidays, but recognize that every day will not be one to celebrate. Excessive time commitments, financial struggles, memories of lost loved ones are just a few of the hurdles to gladness. While God’s Word mentions a happy attitude, His entire message is a message of joy; complete peace that transcends circumstance. Jesus literally came so that we could experience His complete joy. Happiness cannot be experienced all of the time due to circumstances, but joy CAN be experienced all of the time due to Jesus. 

Daily receive the gift of joy that God offers you.

Every single day, Jesus offers us a day walking with Him. Galatians 5:22, 23, 25 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control….Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Joy cannot be mustered and it isn’t even a response. Quite simply it is a result of “living in” and “walking with” the spirit of God. Receive that daily. 

Focus attention on receiving the gift of joy instead of creating happy moments.

There is such a tendency to focus on creating these magical moments for ourselves and our families during this season. Focus your attention on running to Jesus, rather than the moments of the season. Run to Him daily. Sit in the overwhelming covering of His grace, mercy and love every morning. Then, create all the happy moments you can. 

Ok sisters, let’s fight for joy this season. May your season be filled with REAL moments! 

Dig Deeper |

John 14-15. Understand while reading this, that these are the last words that Jesus spoke before He was crucified. These are the words that Jesus spoke so that we could experience His joy. 

Action Item |

Will you fight for joy in the presence of Jesus? or just be satisfied with happy moments instead of joy? 

Prayer |

Dear Jesus, I desire to experience your real joy. I know that you came so that your joy could be in me. Please protect my mind from the distraction of the season. Give me the courage to fight for time with You! Amen.

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A Christmas Wish For Joy

AdventMarci AnthonyComment
#joy #advent #sowandgather Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

Last night I put together my Christmas card for the season. As I am sure you understand, that required a huge undertaking of investigation through loads of pictures. As I reflected back on the year, I experienced a myriad of emotions. Oh, there were exciting moments this year and some that literally tore my heart out (You will be happy to know that my card reflects the happy moments and not the sad ones[Symbol]). 

As I chose pictures and began to think about my wish for my family and friends, I ran across this verse, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  While I used another verse in my card, this morning I cannot shake the depth of this verse. 

Walk with me in this moment while I unpack it’s incredible wish. 

The God of Hope

I recently was in a conversation with someone and he explained that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament seem very different to him. While my initial reaction was defensive, the thought intrigued me to dig a little. My probing God’s word led me to understand and accept one truth, THE GOD OF THE BIBLE IS THE GOD OF HOPE FROM BEGINNING TO END. He was the hope for Adam and Eve as they understood their mistake. He was the hope for Noah, the only man of faith.  He was the hope for Abraham and Sarai as they waited for a child. He was the hope for the Israelite nation as they continually rejected Him and His blessings. He was the hope of King David as he reflected on his horrific mistake. He was the hope for Gomer as she came back from slavery. He was the God of Hope when He sent His son to the earth. He was the God of hope when He offered His son to die for the sins of the world. He is the hope for the world as He offers a relationship with Him. 

Will Fill You

The Greek word for fill is pléróma. In reviewing the Biblical definition, you will find that this word indicates fullness and completion. It is so very difficult for each of us to understand God completely, but for just one moment picture with me, if you will, your Thanksgiving meal. You know that feeling when all is said and done and you simply cannot put one more piece of turkey in your mouth. Or that moment when you think you never want to see pie again! The literal feeling of fullness is exactly what God desires to do when He gives us something. He doesn’t sprinkle just a little of his gifts. No way! He gives to the fullest. He gives so much that it is complete.   

All

God doesn’t exaggerate! Yep, it says all. 

With Joy and Peace

Joy and peace are like peanut butter and jelly. They simply cannot be separated. What God gives is peace that transcends circumstance. Contentment. Calm.   

As you trust in Him

Trust. Trust. Trust. Trusting in Jesus requires something that is difficult for many. It requires believing in something that you can never touch or see. It requires hearing the word of God, accepting the word of God as true, and then making the truth of God our own truth. That friend that finds himself questioning the truth of God that I referred to earlier, is really struggling with trusting God. I know of that struggle myself at times. Even when I teach the word of God, there are times that believing and trusting God to be in charge of my life is difficult. When I find those moments difficult, I try to look back in my life and remember what God has done for me in the past. Remembering His work in my family and those that I love always brings me back to Him. Then I simply ask Him to help me with my unbelief. 

So here is my Christmas wish for you:   

May the God of Hope (The eternal giver of hope) fill you (to fullness and completion) with all (no exaggeration) joy and peace (peace and contentment that transcends circumstance) as you trust in Him (believing that God is who He says He is!). 

Dig Deeper |

Hebrews 11

Action items |

Make a list of all of the heroes of the faith that James lists in Hebrews 11. Next to their names, list why they were faithful. Ask God to give you the faith that each of those demonstrated. 

Prayer |

Dear Jesus, help my unbelief and my lack of trust. Soften my heart so that I can relax into your plan. Lord, as I go through this season, fill me with your joy and peace so that I can experience all of your hope. Amen.

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Treasure God's Word--Isaiah 65:18

Advent, scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

Overcome with Peace At Advent

Advent, PeaceMarci AnthonyComment
#advent #sowandgather And The Peace Of God Which Surpasses All Understanding Will Guard Your Hearts and Your Minds In Christ Jesus. Philippians 4;7

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (NIV) 

Parties, food, church, decorations, cards, a nativity, lights, candles, advent wreaths, family, concerts, cookies, carols, traveling, presents ….. The sights and sounds of Christmas!!! 

These activities are wonderful, enjoyable and exciting, but at times these good things are … just … overwhelming. There are so many activities in such a short period of time and I often wonder why we can’t transfer some to January. I move through events, at times frazzled, contemplating which ones I can eliminate from this season.  

But if I shift my thoughts and focus my mind on whose birthday I am celebrating, Jesus’ peace begins to encompass me. In John 16:33 Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV) Jesus came to give us peace, not only during those truly troubling times but also during these seasons of fun when we get tired. He has overcome, and He gives us peace in seasons of both lows and highs.  

So, take heart! Relish the sights and sounds of Christmas. Focus your mind and heart on Jesus, the peace giver, and the peace of God will surpass all your understanding. 

And, as Paul exhorted in many of his letters to the believers, I exclaim, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:2 (NIV) 

Merry Christmas!!!! 

Dig Deeper |

John 14:27

Action Item |

Focus on the peace giver. 

Prayer |

Dear Peace Giver, Thank you for your peace and for overcoming the world, so I may experience it. I need you! Help me to focus my heart and mind on you this Christmas. In the name of Jesus,  Amen. 

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Experience the Prince of Peace This Christmas

Advent, PeaceMarci AnthonyComment
#sowandgather #advent #peace You Will Keep Him In Perfece Peace, Whose Mind Is Stayed on You Because He Trusts In You Isaiah 26:3

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV) 

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the music. Christmas is one of the only seasons during the year that has its own music. It starts right after Thanksgiving (sometimes earlier) and continues for the whole month of December. It is heard everywhere-- in all the stores, restaurants, businesses and on several radio stations around the clock.  

And have you noticed? There is such a variety. There are songs about Santa Claus and having a white Christmas to carols such as “Silent Night” and “The First Noel”. I catch myself humming and singing at every opportunity. 

But my favorites are the songs about Jesus and His birth. These songs recapture the words in Isaiah 9:6“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (NIV) Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He brings peace!!  

Now, if you are like me, your mind is going crazy during this season. There are so many activities and people to meet. There is not a dull moment and it is definitely not peaceful.  

However, when I begin to sing or even hum these wonderful songs about Jesus, I experience Him. I encounter His joy, love and especially His peace. The more I focus on the words about Him, the more my mind becomes peaceful. I discover the Prince of Peace. 

So, are you looking for peace? Let’s sing!!! 

Dig Deeper |

Colossians 3:15-16 

Action Item |

Sing the song, “Silent Night”. 

Prayer |

Dear Prince of Peace, Thank You for coming into the world as a child. Thank You that we are able to celebrate Your birthday and sing songs of Your love, joy and peace. Help us to encounter Your peace.  In the name of the Christ child, Jesus.  Amen. 

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Treasure God's Word--John 14:27

scripture memory, AdventMarci 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 |

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.  John 14:27

Speaking a Message of Hope and Truth

Advent, HopeMarci AnthonyComment
#advent #sowandgather Romans 15:13 May The God Of Hope Fill You With All Joy and Peace As You Trust In Him

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13 (NIV)  

Today more than ever Christians need to speak out about hope and truth.  It is not enough just to speak about hope.  Hope without Christ is the false and empty hope the world offers us everyday. The same can be said of just speaking truth. It can be hard to hear the truth. Sometimes hearing the truth spoken without hope and the grace of Christ can make you feel helpless.  Hope and truth MUST be spoken together with the love of Christ. 

The standard for truth is the Word of God. Satan wants you to believe that popular opinions or even whatever you think is best is the standard for truth. Satan is so good at twisting the truth and turning it into a lie.  We’ve seen it happen; don’t let it happen to you!  Stay alert and intentional!  It says in 1 Peter 5:8, “Stay alert!  Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.  He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 

The world will tell us the lie that we can do anything we put our minds to accomplish.  Then,  when we are unable to accomplish what we set out to do, we feel like failures.  The truth is that "we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us"  Philippians 4:13.  When I am at my weakest, that is when Christ is able to accomplish the impossible, that is when my hope is firmly fixed on Jesus, and He gives me His strength.  That is what Paul meant in 2 Corinthians 12:9 "...My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness..." (NLT) 

God has warned us and has given us what we need – but YOU have to be intentional!  

Today, it is not enough to give hope and point others to Jesus.  We must also speak the truth; we cannot stay silent any longer!  “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?" (Rom. 10:14)  We must speak the truth so that others can turn to Jesus, the only true Hope!  We need to start loving others enough to tell them the truth.  It is not our responsibility to make others believe the truth (that is the Holy Spirit’s job) but it is our responsibility to tell others the truth.    

What are our excuses today for not speaking hope and truth?  Fear of not being liked?  We don’t know the Bible?  Being politically correct?  Will God not hold us accountable?  Spend time with God today in His Word and in prayer, and ask Him how you can give hope and truth to people He puts in your path.    

Today, “at just such a time as this”, we need to be women who speak the truth, in love and without apology, and point others to the only true hope there is – Jesus! 

Dig Deeper |

Hebrews 11:1; Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 42:11 

Action Item |

Write a note or email of hope to a friend today.

Prayer |

Lord, help me to be Your hands and feet and point others to the only true hope there is, Jesus!

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Finding Hope During Advent

Advent, HopeMarci AnthonyComment
Finding Hope During Advent But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7 #sowandgather #advent

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.  Micah 7:7 NIV

What is the difference between hoping, wishing, and wanting? I think I use these words interchangeably when I talk, somehow thinking they all mean the same thing. However, they are very different in meaning. I looked up the words on Dictionary.com and this is what it said: 

  • HOPE – A person or thing in which expectations are centered. Belief, confidence, dependence, expectancy, faith, and security were all synonyms of the word hope. 
  • WISH – To want; desire; long for. A few of the synonyms were, longing, request, thirst, and whim. 
  • WANT – Deficient in some part, thing, or respect. The synonyms were, absent, bankrupt, bereft, and devoid. 

When I looked at the definitions, I noticed that of the three words only hope was dependent on someone else, not me. I like that. My hope isn’t based on anything I can do. It is totally and completely based in someone else – Jesus, and what He already did! 

Before I knew Jesus as my Savior, I knew I wanted something more in my life, that something was missing. I just didn’t know what that void was, much less how to fill it. So I tried filling that void with other things.The more I tried to fill the void, the bigger it felt. Solomon, who was the wisest man that ever lived, said, “…Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”  Ecclesiastes 1:2 This was true for me. On the outside my life seemed very full, but in my soul and spirit I was empty. I didn’t need something, I needed someone! 

During the time that I was searching for something more, I noticed a friend of mine that seemed so “satisfied” and I longed for that in my life. It wasn’t that she had everything all together. She didn’t. But she had a peace and a joy that didn’t depend on her circumstances.  That is what I was missing and I didn’t know what I could do to get it.   

Have you ever felt that way? Longing for something more, wanting peace in your life? Trying to fill that void with everything imaginable? Is that where you are?  Guess what?  You can have that today!!  Right now, at this very moment! The really great news is that you don’t have to do ANYTHING. It has already been done! I know you’ve heard about it and probably even celebrate His life.

Luke 2:11 tells us, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  We celebrate His birth every year on December 25th!  All you have to do is believe! Believe that Jesus is who He says He is. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9

Dig Deeper |

Lamentations 3:24, Psalm 25:5Romans 5:5                                            

Action Item |

During this first week of Advent take time to bring Hope to others. Consider donating food to a local charity or sponsoring a child from an Angel Tree.

Prayer |

Lord Jesus, thank you that you died so that everyone who believes will be saved.  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 -- Isaiah 11:1

scripture memory, AdventSow & Gather - Tamera B.Comment