Sow & Gather

Life Of Christ

Is It Okay to Not Belong to the World?

John, Life Of ChristMarci AnthonyComment

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates youJohn 15:19

For the last several years, I've kicked off the year by selecting one word and verse of scripture to apply to my life for the upcoming twelve months.  It's often challenging to discern where God wants me to place my focus. It can be even harder to see how to apply the word to my everyday life. 

God placed a big word on my heart for 2016: W-O-R-L-D. I didn't particularly like or want that word for the year. Primarily because of the sentence, "That is why the W-O-R-L-D hates you." 

When we look at verse 19 in context, we realize that Jesus was having His final meal and teaching time with His disciples. Imagine all the men reclined around the table, relaxing during their Passover meal. You have a close-knit group of friends enjoying one another over a long dinner and listening to their teacher speak. He is praying for His disciples. Jesus knows what comes next. Life gets real and gets hard for the disciples after His death, resurrection, and ascension. 

How do we apply this scripture to us today? Teacher and author Jen Wilkin https://www.jenwilkin.net/ recommends two questions to analyze and apply scripture to your life: 

  1. What does the text teach me about God?
  2. What does the text teach me about myself in relation to God?

What does the text teach me about God? 

God is bigger than the world I know, see, hear about, or read about. If you are a Christ-follower, you simply do not "fit in" to the world and are not the "property" of the world.  God chose you and me out of this world. Listen, we are chosen. We are all looking for a place where we fit in, where we are loved, and liked just as we are. John 15 tells us just how much God loves each of us individually. 

What does the text teach me about myself in relation to God? 

I am the property of God. Being someone's property can be a little unnerving. As independent women living in today's world, nobody, including me, wants to say they are the "property" of someone else. But, for me, there is so much freedom in knowing to whom I belong.  

I am defined by who has chosen me. Belonging and identifying with Christ is the ultimate in acceptance and comfort for me. The world can hate me, but it cannot define me. Not being defined by what is happening around us is challenging. The world will hate Jesus Christ. But Christ taught, "The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil." John 7:17 Yes, we are in the line of fire because we are chosen. God will always protect us. 

Dig Deeper|

John 15 

Action Item |

Read John 15 or a few select verses from the chapter and ask yourself: 1) What did the text teach me about God? 2) What did the text teach me about myself in relation to God? 

Prayer|

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for choosing me. Thank You for protecting me from the hate of this world. Help me to be the light shining in the darkness. 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. 

Living Water, More Than Just Refreshment

John, Life Of ChristMarci AnthonyComment

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. John 7:38 NIV 

Do you love water? Have you ever thought about how water affects your daily life? The thought crossed my mind the other day as I was casually taking a sip. I rarely give a thought to the significance of one of the most important resources we have. Did you know that water comprises more than 71% of the earth’s surface? Over 60% of our bodies are composed of water, and we need roughly 2-3 liters of water to survive every day.   

One of my favorite ways to relax is to sit and watch water. When I’m at the beach vacationing with my family, I love to find a shady spot and watch the ocean waves break over the shoreline. The sound water makes, whether it’s the roaring of the ocean or the trickling of a quiet stream, can be relaxing and peaceful. 

Water sounds and looks much different during a powerful storm or flood. It’s amazing to think of the power and strength behind one of God’s most versatile resources,  yet the simplicity behind this amazing powerhouse confirms that this is God’s design. The simple chemical compound of water, H2O, provides energy and fuel which packs a one-two power punch combination! 

So how does water relate to the Bible? Water is very important; it’s mentioned over 722 times and it bookends the Bible, beginning in Genesis 1:2 and ending with Revelation 22:17. In the Old Testament we see water mentioned mostly in its physical, tangible form-- rain, flood, and rivers. In the New Testament, Jesus uses it to describe spiritual salvation or “living” eternally with Christ. 

Jesus says in John 7:38, “Whoever believes in me…rivers of living water will flow from within them.” This passage illustrates how our belief in Jesus changes us. I love the imagery in the verse; it doesn’t mention a trickle of water, but instead says rivers of living water will flow from within. This spiritual water is cleansing and healing, it washes away the dirt and odors of our past and freshens and renews us, filling us with more than we could ever need. The image I picture is of a dam overflowing with water, unable to contain it within its concrete wall. 

When we are filled with living water and are living life the way God is directing us, that living water overflows and spills into those we interact with each day. The living water, as Jesus defines it, is contagious; it permeates every area of our lives. So as you drink that glass of water today, stop and think of Jesus and His example of living water. How can your joy for Christ spill over like living water today? 

Dig Deeper |

Read the story of the Samaritan Woman:  John 4:1-16 

Action Item |

Has your Christian walk hit a dry spell? Maybe you need some refreshment? Look for opportunities where you can serve or give back. This is a tangible way to stop focusing on yourself and instead, put the focus on others. When we see all of the needs around us, God can give us a renewed sense of purpose. Maybe you need some relaxation time. Put on some relaxing music (maybe it has some water sounds in the background) and peacefully sit and meditate on John 7:38.  

Prayer |

God, thank You for Your living water. Thank You for providing for my needs every day and for giving me what I need to survive physically and spiritually. God, help me to come into contact with those who need to be filled with Your living water.     

Join Us | 

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

Palm Branches Swaying

John, Life Of ChristMarci Anthony1 Comment
#sowandgather #palmsunday #lifeofchrist

The great crowd heard that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel! John 12:12-13 NIV

One of my favorite things about the beach is the tall and slender but noble palm trees. They are usually in a cluster or lined up along the road beckoning you to the glistening beach. Often the palm branches gently flutter in the breeze until a large wind arrives and they stand straight up like your hair on a windy day. 

Interestingly, similar palm branches were used by a great crowd on one particular day to honor Jesus as He was riding a donkey through Jerusalem. The people began to spread their cloaks on the ground in front of Him and wave palm branches shouting, “Hosanna! Alleluia!” which means save or rescue. They were praising Jesus with loud and ecstatic voices using that ordinary icon of victory, the palm branch. What joy!! 

So, as we move through this Lenten season waiting impatiently for Easter, we, too, should be praising and singing to our dear Lord and King, Jesus. Why? Because we know He has already rescued us by dying on the cross and forgiving our evil deeds. And, we know He has given us victory by rising from the dead after three days so we can live with Him forever. 

So…Hosanna and Alleluia!! Thank you, my God! Praise Your name, O my soul, and sing to Him a new song! 

Dig Deeper |

Mark 11:1-11; Psalm 149 

Action Item |

Praise the Lord using Psalm 149 as your guide.

Prayer |

Lord and King of Israel, Blessed is Your name. I glorify You and thank You for saving me and giving me victory to live with You forever. In the exceptional name of Jesus, 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.