Sow & Gather

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One Year Of Sow & Gather - Online Devotionals for Women

encourage, harvest, New BeginningsSow & Gather - Tamera B.Comment
sow-and-gather-womens-devotionals-online-free #sowandgather

God gave the Women's Ministry at First Baptist Grapevine a vision for Sowing God's Word and Gathering Women's Hearts via online devotionals --- a blog. What started as a small seed of an idea over three years ago, has blossomed into a gathering place for women of all ages to share in nuggets of God's word. 

As I curate the devotionals each month, I am awed and inspired by how God is using this core group of 7 to 10 women to write such powerful words for His Glory. Be assured, each devotional comes from deep within the woman that put pen to paper. We do not take our calling to this ministry lightly.

I love that Sow & Gather allows talented women a creative outlet to express God's message. If spreading the love of Jesus via an online platform sounds like your calling, there's an opportunity for you to be a part of this ministry.

Our core group of contributors and editors are members of First Baptist Grapevine. That's where we started, but that's not where we end. This is an open invitation to any woman who acknowledges the Statement of Faith to contact us for more information on becoming a volunteer contributor or assisting us with out grass roots social media team.

May God bless you and keep you,

The Sow & Gather team

Medicine for the Soul

Cheerfulness, encourage, encouragementMarci AnthonyComment
A Cheerful Heart Is Good Medicine #sowandgather #proverbs

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22 (NLT)

Recently I was reminded of this little bitty Proverb. The day was gloomy outside and it was fairly gloomy inside. Irritation, frustration and lack of guidance engulfed that morning and then this little proverb creeped into my day. I must tell you the reading of it almost sent me into a rage.

A CHEERFUL HEART????? All I could picture was Tigger (from Winnie-the-Pooh) bouncing brainlessly around the room. Why in the world would God in His divine word, give us such a pronouncement? A Tigger- filled reaction is good medicine... really? My anger led me to a few books because I simply had to get to the bottom of this. In all of my gloom, what exactly was God asking me to do?

Much to my surprise, that rainy morning God had a very personal message for me. That message had nothing to do with personality or with bouncing around. Here is what my precious Jesus taught me in all of His incredible Grace:

  1. The word cheerful in this verse has nothing to do with our outward actions, but has everything to do with our inner heart. That word can be interchanged with words like joy, blessedness and happiness in the Bible. A deeper searching of the word reveals the most amazing definition, “inner peace that transcends circumstance.”
  2. This state of the heart, a cheerful heart, is medicine for something! It is literally the band-aid, the antibiotic, the ibuprofen for something in our lives.
  3. The verse goes on to tell us that the opposite of a cheerful heart is “a broken spirit.” It also reveals that a broken spirit (or better translated in the Hebrew, heartache) that is not tended to, that is not healed, will sap a person’s strength.
  4. Conclusion: Inner peace that transcends circumstance will heal heartache and prevent you from being completely crushed!

The rain continued outside, but the inside of my house was looking brighter. It was as if God spoke out loud to me and said, “Kelli, your frustrations and irritations are sapping your strength. Your heartache is trying desperately to crush you. Sit with Me here. Allow My spirit to fill you so that you can experience divine joy. Your circumstance may not change today, but you can prevent this from crushing you! A cheerful heart will be medicine to your soul.”

I have no idea what you are facing today, but I do know one thing: Women know a thing or two about heartache. Our roles, in the home and out of the home, bring about so many moments that quite simply crush our spirits. If you are facing heartache today, for whatever reason, I tell you with complete confidence that a heart that is filled with joy that comes from your creator will be good medicine for you. Take a moment and ask God to fill you with His perfect peace. This cheerful heart will prevent your heartache form crushing your soul.

Dig Deeper |

Matthew 5 talks about being Blessed. It is the perfect description of one who experiences divine joy. Read it and meditate on the details that Jesus gives.

Action Item |

Memorize Proverbs 17:22. I have memorized it with the definitions included. “A cheerful heart (a heart that is controlled by God and filled with His spirit giving me divine joy) is good medicine (will fix, heal or mend), but a broken spirit (heartache) will crush the spirit.”

Prayer |

Jesus, it is such a privilege to be able to speak with You each morning. Lord, I ask that you fill me today with Your complete and total peace. Lord, I ask that you protect my mind from being distracted by my circumstance. Lord, heal my heartache and give me the words to share with others who are also experiencing heartache today. 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 Ready to Run?

encouragement, encourageMarci AnthonyComment
run in such a way as to get the prize. #sowandgather #encouregement #encourage

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24

It’s an Olympic year! I get so excited when the summer Olympics air on TV. For two weeks my eyes are glued to the TV as I marvel at the physical and mental abilities of the world’s top athletes. So many of the athletes have trained for almost their entire life and sacrificed so much to have the opportunity to compete at the highest level in the world. It doesn’t get any bigger in sports than the Olympics.

I love watching the track and field events, specifically the running events. The athlete’s muscular build, strength, and speed is truly mesmerizing. From the moment the gun goes off runners are focused on only one thing, the finish line at the end. The runners know that if they reach that line first they will receive the most coveted prize of athletes all over the world, the title of Olympic Gold Medalist.

When you think about all the time and energy that goes into becoming an Olympic champion, one has to wonder is it worth it? If you ask any athlete who has competed at the Olympic level, most would answer, “Yes.” Competing on the world’s largest stage with the world’s best athletes is the pinnacle of any athlete's dream. If I told you that Christians have a similar challenge given to us by God, would you believe me?

God’s challenge is for us is to run a race, but the type of race God requires us to take part in is a race of the soul. You see, each and every day from the time we rise to the time we lay our heads on our pillows, our Coach (God) is pushing us and molding us into the individuals he wants us to be. He has given us our training manual (The Bible) which has all necessary answers to life’s hurdles we come in contact with daily. To help us with our mental stamina God equips us with the Holy Spirit. Lastly, helping us to fight through the final yards to the finish, God provides us with prayer so we can accomplish and win the race.

The best part about the race we are running is that everyone who crosses the finish line wins! God pushes us hard to reach His goal. The prize we receive when we cross the finish line is better than any Olympic medal; it’s the promise of eternity. Are you ready to run the race?

Dig Deeper |

Philippians 3:14; Galatians 5:7

Action Item |

Are you running God’s race or your own? Where do you need to make changes in your life to get back on track?

Prayer |

God help me to run your race that you have set out before me. Help me to work hard and finish strong. 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.

Taming Your Cranky

encourage, Peace, ThessaloniansSow & Gather - Tamera B.Comment
he-sees-me-taming-cranky-sowandgather

Today we welcome author and speaker Suzie Eller to Sow & Gather. Suzie spoke to our Women’s Ministry one year ago on September 5-6, 2014. She graciously allowed us to use one of her devotionals from the 2014 conference here on the blog. So as a #TBT here are some timeless encouraging words from Suzie.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (ESV)

I thrashed the covers in the small bed, punching my pillow, trying to ignore the green numbers on the clock that flashed 2:00 a.m. Recovering from a recent illness, I was exhausted. My laptop was evidently just as sick as I was, for when I booted it up, numbers and scrolling messages exploded on the screen.

This normally happy girl was grouchy . . . overly sensitive . . . emotional. Earlier that evening I had been quiet. If I opened my mouth, I wouldn’t be happy with what came out. The last thing I wanted on this ministry trip was to be the girl with her cranky pants on. Yet here I was wearing them with a capital “C.”

As the numbers flashed to 2:30 and then to 3:00, I wrestled with God. Lord, what is wrong with me? Father, how can you use a girl who’s wearing such a giant set of cranky pants? That’s when the scripture came to mind.

Soft. Gentle. Like a whisper it played through my thoughts, filtering down to my heart: “The LORD your God is in your midst…” (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV). Right then. Right there. He was with me. “He will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by His love.” (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV). My spiraling feelings. My fatigued brain and body.

he-sees-me-sowandgather

He saw them all, and yet His gladness poured over me. He would quiet my whirling thoughts with His love. “He will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV). That’s when the tears came, because right there, even in my cranky pants, God saw me and was singing a majestic lullaby over His daughter. I curled up in the blanket, closed my eyes, and sleep finally came.

Maybe today you’re wearing your cranky pants with a capital “C.” You’re out of sorts. You’re biting your tongue to keep harsh words away from those you love. You’re tired spiritually or emotionally, or maybe it’s been a long time since you’ve rested physically.

He sees you.

He sees all of you. Not just the cranky pants, but your heart, and that you want nothing more than to be yourself again.

My prayer is that you hear that lullaby gently playing. That you sense Him drawing you close. I pray that you’ll remember that we all have those days when we are out of sorts, or when everything seems to be going wrong. But most of all, I pray that you remember that our Heavenly Father doesn’t turn away from us in those moments, but brings peace to our troubled thoughts when we hold up them up with absolute honesty.

That next day I woke up tired physically, but rested on the inside, and my cranky pants were nowhere in sight. I know they’ll pop up again. Life does that sometimes. But when it does, rather than hide from God, I’m going to run to Him instead . . .  cranky pants, and all.

Dig Deeper |

Zephaniah 3:17; Philippians 4:6-7.

Action Item |

God’s grace is needed on good and bad days, but it’s often sought only on those days when you feel worthy and approved. But whose approval are you looking for? Yours, or the One who knows you best? When you have your next cranky pants day, ask this question: Will I live today ACCUSED or will I be RESCUED by my Heavenly Father who promises to quiet me with His love?

Prayer |

Dear Father, some days I stay away from You because I am ashamed of my feelings. Thank You that I can rest in Your grace as You pour out peace and quiet my thoughts with Your peace. 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.

Suzie-Eller-Proverb31

Suzie is an International Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and author, former radio co-host, and Bible Gateway blogger. She’s a woman who believes that our past shapes us, but does not limit us! She is an author of articles, columns, and seven books including her most recent books:  The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness and The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places.  Join Suzie and her sisterhood of brave girls on Thursdays as they celebrate #livefree.

Most important, she’s a mom, wife, and “Gaga” to five beautiful babies.

Suzie lives in NW Arkansas and when she’s not writing or speaking, she’s with her family, or hiking, or filling the kitchen with smells of her love language of cooking.

Focus On What Is Excellent And Praiseworthy

Peace, encourageSow & Gather - Tamera B.Comment
noble-right-pure-praiseworthy-sowandgather

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

Does your mind wander?  Do your thoughts cause you anxiety, worry, irritation or even pain?  Is your mind in a state of confusion or absorbed with the circumstances of life?   

Often, I let my thoughts get carried away and I have to stop and force myself to think on Jesus.  I begin to think on the command in Philippians 4:8 and ponder what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable and praiseworthy.  Okay, Lord!  Your precious words from the Bible are true and King Jesus on His throne is noble.  The laws given to us in your word and through men are right.   A precious newborn baby is pure and the first colorful flower of spring is lovely.  A preacher teaching your words and actions is admirable and the love between husband and wife is excellent

I have to pause in my day and take my thoughts captive. For a time my mind will be at rest. When I pause and "think about such things," God is training my mind to look for His beauty in the world and in my mind. 

Finally, I praise the Lord!  Let every breath I have praise God for He is praiseworthy.

focus-on-praiseworthy-sowandgather

Dig Deeper |

2 Corinthians 10:5; Colossians 3:2

Action Item |

What is your focus?  What thoughts consume you or cause anxiety, worry, irritation or pain?  Ask God to show you the steps you can take to focus your mind on Him and His ways.

Prayer |

Jesus, I must confess my mind is always spinning and not focused on you and your ways.  Help me to train my thoughts to contemplate what is good and worthy.  Keep me in your Word as that helps control my thoughts. Thank you for your help.  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.

Sow & Gather - Devotionals That Connect

seek, honor, encourageSow & Gather - Tamera B.Comment
sow-and-gather-devotionals-blog
Sowing God’s Word. Gathering Women’s Hearts.

The Women of FBC Grapevine yearn for connection with God's word and other women.  Devos - in a blog format - allow us to connect with one another over a virtual cup of coffee. 

Our gathering place is for you and your neighbor - from across the street, the town, the state or the country.

As part of the SHE Women's ministry, the contributors to Sow & Gather strive daily to Seek, Honor, and Encourage.

Seek |

The contributors of Sow & Gather wholeheartedly SEEK Him through prayer and Bible study. Our eyes are fixed on eternity so we may

discover Him (Jeremiah 9:13)

be blessed by Him (Psalm 119:2)

be strengthened by Him (Psalm 105:4)

bless others (Psalm 122:9)

and seek good for our brothers and sisters in Christ (1 Corinthians 10:24).

Honor |

The contributors of Sow & Gather wholeheartedly live to HONOR Him.  Because of who He is we will

honor Him with our resources (Proverbs 3:9)

join those unseen in honoring His name (Revelations 4:9)

humble ourselves to honor others so they know we are His disciples (Romans 12:10).

Encourage |

The contributors of Sow & Gather wholeheartedly live to

walk beside the fainthearted (I Thessalonians 5:14)

build one another up (I Thessalonians 5:11)

encourage each other to remain true in faith (Acts 11:23).

We pray you will gather with us and share God's word with your sisters, friends, neighbors and co-workers.  We also ask for your prayers that we will always Seek, Honor, and Encourage.

Love and Blessings,

Sow & Gather Contributors (August 17, 2015)