Sow & Gather

Praise & Worship

Where Do You Get the Perfect Gift?

Praise & WorshipMarci AnthonyComment
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“He did not leave Himself without a witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”  Acts 14:17

Don’t you love the bright yellow and orange colors of fall?  As a southern girl living in New England, I was amazed at the beauty of God’s nature at Thanksgiving.  The leaves of the maple trees turned from green to golden before my eyes.   The sun shining on the golden leaves was spectacular!  Weekend outings were rewarded with a bounty of pumpkins and apples from the orchards.  Our hearts were full. 

Isn’t it interesting that a season in nature can produce such feelings of joy and fullness within us?  In Acts, Paul says, “He did not leave Himself without a witness”.  Nature and the miracle of changing seasons are part of that witness.  We can see that God gives us rain and fruit in season.  Paul goes on to say God “fills our hearts with food and gladness”.  God provides us with food not only for our tables, but also with nourishment for our hearts.  God delights in giving.  The family, fellowship and food we enjoy should remind us of God’s goodness.  As we break the bread of Thanksgiving, be reminded of our constant dependence on God.  No matter what we receive from God, be humbled this season by Him, the source of all blessings.

Digging Deeper |

Acts 14:8-17 

Action Item: |

Remember that the bread and the blessing are from God’s hand.  Search for something new to include in your Thanksgiving prayer this year.  Is there something that you had not previously counted as a blessing? 

Prayer |

Dear Heavenly Father – We know that every good and perfect gift comes from You.  We thank You for Your bounty.  We are humbled that You provide for our physical needs and the condition of our hearts.  Lord, we gather as family and friends to give You praise and thanksgiving.  Amen

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Be Thankful…or…Suffer Indigestion!

Praise & WorshipMarci AnthonyComment
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You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Psalm 118:28 NIV

As my kids were growing up, my husband and I wanted to teach them how to pray before meals.  We started with short, repetitious prayers, and then led them to longer, more personable ones. Our intent was to teach them how to be thankful to God for the food He had provided. However, if we forgot and began to eat without praying, my husband would jokingly say that we would all have indigestion because our food wasn’t blessed. 

Well, it wasn’t long before my kids started scoffing at my husband’s remarks. They informed him that the Bible clearly does not say you must pray and thank God before you eat .And, furthermore, you will not acquire indigestion!! 

The Bible doesn’t specifically address praying before you eat, or suffering consequences if you fail to pray. However, we do read how Jesus prayed and thanked God before He ate his last meal (Matthew 26) and in I Thessalonians 5, we are told to give thanks in all circumstances. 

God wants us to thank and praise Him in everything. He desires us to be thankful before we eat, for our spouse, for our children and for simple pleasures like air conditioning. We should also thank Him for his love, joy, everlasting peace and forgiveness. And during those times of suffering and pain, thank Him for His provision and His strength, which helps you in those moments of crisis. 

So, give Him thanks because He is God!! 

Dig Deeper |

Matthew 26:17-30, Luke 9:12-17 

Action Item |

Intentionally pray and thank God before you indulge in breakfast, lunch and supper today. 

Prayer |

Jesus, You are God. Thank you! Thank you for the material blessings you have provided and for those blessings which will last forever. In God’s name, Amen 

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Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So

Praise & WorshipMarci AnthonyComment
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Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,     for his steadfast love endures forever!   Let  the redeemed of the Lord say so,      whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, 
    from the east and from the west,     from the north and from the south
.  Psalm 107:1-3 ESV 

As we approach  Thanksgiving, most people focus on giving thanks for the blessings in their lives that year.  As we lead our children in family prayer time every night, we always start with praises.  They usually come up with “thank you for fun with brother, thank you for fun at school, thank you for fun with our cat.”  We try to prompt them to think a little deeper about what God has done for them but at four and six, they’re great at focusing on just the immediate things in front of them. 

As adults, isn’t that our natural mindset as well? If our circumstances are tough, we can find it hard to find things to thank God for.  As we look back over the year, is our mind drawn to the hard times or to the blessings?  It seems to be human nature to focus on the bad.  It takes a real effort of the will to think on blessings. 

Is your testimony this year that the Lord is good?  Do you see his steadfast love enduring forever?  Or are you mired in difficult circumstances that make you doubt His goodness?  It is ok to be honest with God, and to express that you are having trouble embracing His goodness.  He already knows! 

But this psalm gives you the imperative…”Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.”  If you are redeemed, if you have accepted the sacrifice that Jesus has made on your behalf, then you are commanded to give thanks.  No matter how difficult your circumstance, God loved you enough to send His son to die for you.  If that is the only good thing in your life, you can give thanks to the Lord.  You can acknowledge His goodness in saving you from your trouble, in saving you from an eternity separate from Him. 

God is good.  Circumstances can be hard.  God is still good.  As you enter this holiday season, take time to share with your loved ones how good God has been in your life this year.  Don’t gloss over it or focus only on the very temporary circumstances in your life.  Thank God for his goodness! 

Dig Deeper |

Psalm 34:8Psalm 107

Action Item  |

If you’re in a very difficult season of life, start a thanksgiving journal.  Every night before you go to bed, find something to thank God for.  It can change your entire outlook if you can refocus on gratitude. 

Prayer | 

Heavenly father, You are good!  I thank You for your steadfast love.  I thank You that You have rescued me from an eternity without You.  Give me the courage to share Your goodness and Your love with people who need to hear about it. Amen. 

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In A Gentle Whisper

Praise & WorshipMarci AnthonyComment
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Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 NIV

Kaboom!!!  

I awoke with a start! Where was I? What was that noise? I was frightened. My hands were shaking and my heart was pounding. As I reached for my husband (who was snoring away), I realized in that moment I was in bed and rain was pounding on our rooftop. The noise was….thunder and it sounded very close to our home.  

I took a breath and I heard a gentle whisper ...”Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart.” I rolled over and immediately went back to sleep without a thought. 

The next day I began to consider the events of the night and I was struck that it was God who spoke this verse to me sharing peace. It’s funny I did recognize it as God’s word, butI had to look for it in the Bible since I had not read it in months and have never memorized it. 

Aren’t God and His word awesome? 

God desires a relationship with us. He wants us to abide in Him (John15:4) and passionately study and read His word. And, the more we study, pray, and mediate on Him and His words, His truth will be in us. So, when we experience these rough or even scary times, our minds will be able to recount these words and hear His voice speak strength, direction, and love to us and, in my case, peace. 

So, press into Jesus and His words and listen for that gentle whisper. 

Dig Deeper |

I Kings 19:9-18 

Action Item |

Spend time reading the Bible today. 

Prayer |

Dear God, thank you for the Bible so we can learn about You and Your ways. Help us to study and meditate on it. I will be listening for You. 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.