Sow & Gather

Philippians

Do You Value Others?

PhilippiansMarci AnthonyComment
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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourself, not looking to your own interest but each of you to the interest of others.  Philippians 2:3-4

International speaker and author, John C. Maxwell writes, “The success of my day is measured not by the harvest I reap but by the seed I sow.”  Who doesn’t want their day to be successful?  Too many days we measure our success by the accomplishments on our “To Do” list.  Maybe we feel accomplished if we exercise or eat a salad for lunch.  I like viewing today’s success in relation to the hope of a harvest tomorrow, as in Maxwell’s quote.    

There are so many seemingly small opportunities in our day to add value to others.   A tense work situation is softened through one encouraging email.  A warm greeting in a new and uncomfortable situation opens a door to community.  Remembering to follow up with someone who has shared a personal struggle or hardship strengthens connections. Pastor Doug Page challenges us to have the “touch of the Gospel” in everything.  How do we change our touch to those around us?  As we incline our hearts toward the Lord and shift our focus, others begin to see the Gospel touch.   We allow God to sow the seeds in our daily lives.    

Dig Deeper |

Philippians 2: 13Joshua 24:23 

Action Item |

Consider the old adage, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care”.   Be generous with the touch of the Gospel to those around you. 

Prayer |

Dear Lord of the harvest, thank You for the opportunity to touch others with Your love and encouragement.  Please give me a humble heart so that others may see You.  Help me to trust You enough to step out of my familiar circle for Your glory.  In the precious name of Jesus.  Amen 

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Unlikely Hero

PhilippiansMarci AnthonyComment

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. Philippians 4:2-3

More than ever women are making headlines all over the world. Some women are standing up for themselves when no one else would. Some are making history running in the political arena. Others may be marrying into a famous family across the pond. There are those who celebrate their differences and continue to fight for equality. Whatever the news story, it’s a great time to be a woman.

While most discussions and coffee talk tend to lean toward current events, it's more important than ever to teach our next generation of women leaders about the women who helped shape Christianity in the Bible. What touches my heart is the special emphasis God has placed on females throughout the Bible. In story after story you read about brave female individuals willing to risk everything for the sake of their heritage or beliefs. These women, many of whom came from simple origins, God used for His glory. 

One woman named Lydia, was instrumental in helping the early ministry of Paul, one of the greatest missionaries of the early church. We first read about Lydia in Acts 16:14-15. In Acts we read about her conversion and how, as a successful businesswoman, she showed hospitality by opening her home to all believers of the faith. Lydia’s house may have been the meeting place that started the first Church of Philippi.

Lydia was one of the first women CEO’s of her time. She was a successful seller of purple cloth. What’s even more impressive is that she realized where her success came from and used that success as a springboard to support Paul’s ministry. She willingly supported Paul’s ministry and sent money and gifts to help him as he traveled to different cities spreading the message of Christ.

Throughout Paul’s letters to the church of Philippi in Philippians, we read about his references to females as sisters as well as referencing two females by name. Although Lydia is not mentioned by name, I believe that throughout the book of Philippians, many times Paul made secret references in his letters to individuals like Lydia who supported his ministry. Christianity was not a popular topic. In many cities Paul visited along his missionary journey, he had to depend on loyal supporters to help him by providing him a place to stay and by assisting him financially. Like Lydia many supporters risked their own reputation and life by supporting those spreading the message of Jesus Christ.

Having two daughters I feel a huge responsibility to my girls to help them understand how important their female heritage is. Even more important is the need to teach the girls about biblical examples of women breaking boundaries for the sake of Christ.

Dig Deeper |

Acts 16:14-15; Acts 16:40

Action Item |

Take some time to look through the Bible and read about the fascinating women God used for His glory.

Prayer |

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Lydia and her willingness to step out in faith by showing kindness and hospitality to Paul. Help me to bring this example to life in my daily walk this week.

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Do You Shine Like the Stars?

PhilippiansMarci AnthonyComment
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Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:14-16 NIV 

While vacationing in Hawaii, I visited the Mauna Kea Observatory on the big island of Hilo. Upon reaching the summit, the view of Hilo was amazing and the expanse of the sky was breathtaking. The darkened sky was filled with an immeasurable amount of stars. Some of the stars shone brightly, while others were just a speck of light. There were stars from one horizon to the other. I have never seen so many. It was awesome! 

Just like the stars in the heavens at night, we are to sparkle, too. We are to shine like stars, as children of Jesus in a world that is “warped and crooked.” As stars, we should glow every day and glisten through the darkness in our lives. The light of Jesus should radiate to everyone we encounter just as His life radiated light when He lived as a man. 

So, how can we twinkle to others? 

We can start by praying for them and their needs. Given the opportunity, we can share Jesus by telling of our experiences with Him or by sharing verses from the Bible, the Word of life. We can take the time to listen to those we may meet for a few minutes or those who we know deeply and personally. Or, maybe it is time to volunteer at church or other organizations that meet the needs of others. Whatever we do, our actions should be intentional.  

We should glow like stars of Jesus! 

Dig Deeper |

Matthew 5:14-16 

Action Item |

Gaze at the stars tonight and remember you too are a star of Jesus.  Spend a few minutes and sing the children’s rhyme, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” 

Prayer |

Dear Creator, Thank You for the stars at night. Help me to dazzle so that others may see You in me. My desire is to shine brilliantly with Your love. I love You. Amen. 

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Welcome To Sow & Gather - Time for Transition

Peace, Philippians, MatthewSow & Gather - Tamera B.2 Comments
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Change makes me anxious. What will happen next? Will the change be good? Why is there so much to do? Change is good! That's what I tell myself.

Does August really mean the end of Summer? (Hard to believe as it is 105 degrees outside as I write this post). August always signals change for me. Even when I was out of school and had no kids I still bought school supplies. There's just something about a new notebook, multi-colored pens and the waxy smell of a fresh box of crayons to smooth out any rough edges of transition.

Even if you don't have kiddos heading back to school, you'll wake up one morning and wonder why the school zone lights are blinking and your commute increased fifteen minutes.  You might even start to experience a little frustration or anxiety - because of the change.

Join us at Sow & Gather for the next few weeks for encouragement, stillness and contentment as we all begin the transition to a new season in our lives. Your first dose starts below.

I’ll Get There When I Get There

I am not saying this because I am in need; I have learned to be content in all circumstances. Philippians 4:10 NIV

If the plane doesn’t take off in forty minutes I miss my speaking presentation – the one for a high-profile, national organization. Yeah, that one. God is teaching me about waiting. I know God is good and sovereign and in control.  It's the stress on me and the stress on the folks planning the conference.  “Lord, I pray for their peace, too.”  Waiting is hard on all of us.

I feel like my whole life has been about waiting. When will I be tall enough to ride the ride? When can I drive? When can I date? When can I get married? When will I get to this point or that point in my career? Always waiting for the next thing to happen.

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Every time I need to be on time and I'm running late, I tell myself, "I will get there when I get there." You know what? I need to apply that phrase to my whole life.  "I'll get there when I get there."  The world calls that "living in the moment."

It goes back to the Apostle Paul being content in all situations. Jesus taking time to stop when the woman touched his garment. It's realizing we need to just breathe. That's hard for me. God does not want us to be stagnant. He wants us to experience growth in all areas of our lives. For me it's finding the balance between constantly pressing forward to the next great thing and being still enough in my soul and mind to hear God's voice as He directs my footsteps.

At last, the plane is taking off. I trust "I will get there, when I get there."

Dig Deeper |

Matthew 9: 20-22; Philippians 4:10-13

Action Item |

Take a moment just to breathe deep and relax.  Ask God to identify an area of your life where you need to be content and enjoy the moment.  Or, maybe God has called you to action and you're scared to take the next step.

Prayer |

Dear Heavenly Father, help me to slow down and hear your voice. I know you want a conversation with me. Make me aware of your creation and allow me to soak it all in.  Help me to take a deep breath and have every confidence that I will get there when I get there.

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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.

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This post is part of the weekly #RaRaLinkup over at Kelly Balarie & Friends.