Sow & Gather

Matthew

Are All Seeds Good?

TransformationSow & Gather - Tamera B.Comment
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But He said to them, “Why, are you fearful, O you of little faith.”  Matthew 8:26 NKJV

With spring almost here, thoughts of cleaning up the yard, working in the garden, and spring cleaning fill my mind.  It’s the time of year that seems like the earth is waking up and signs of life are everywhere.  People are talking about what kind of plants they want, and it seems like every nursery is having a sale. 

The possibilities are limitless . . . tulips, daffodils, roses, tiger lilies?  They are all so pretty and would enhance any garden.  On the other hand, I doubt any gardener is considering planting ragweed, deer tongue, bull thistle, or even dodder, which are all common invasive weeds. If they did, it would destroy and take over the otherwise beautiful garden they have tried to cultivate. 

All gardeners know they have to work in their garden every day.  They must be ready to pull up any signs of those nasty weeds that are trying to grow in that good soil.  As a Christian, I must do the same thing.  I must spend time with Jesus in prayer, study His word for wisdom, and try to understand His character and who He is. 

I have determined and purposed to cultivate my life so that I will be more like Him.   

Why then do I plant seeds of doubt and fear in my mind?  They can be just as invasive to my life as ragweed or deer tongue is to a garden.  When I allow doubts and fear to grow, it destroys my peace and causes me to second guess God’s promises.  

Just because I spend time with Jesus, talking to Him in prayer or reading His word, doesn’t mean those doubts and fears won’t sprout every now and then.  I need to be watchful and ready to pull them out at the first sign.  How can I do that?  In a garden, it’s easy-- just pull the weed and throw it away.  Fear is sneaky; sometimes you don’t even realize you are being fearful until you have worked yourself up.  Then, what do you do?  You call it what it is…and replace it with the truth of God’s word.  You keep on doing this until that particular weed is gone.   

Don’t let fear overtake you; cry out right now for Jesus to save you!  Jesus can save you not only from your fears and doubts, but also from the penalty of your sin.  In this season of life springing up from the ground, cry out to the only One who can give you new life.  “There is no name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)  It is only by the name of Jesus!   

Dig Deeper |

2 Corinthian 9:6Philippians 4:6-7Hebrews 13:6Psalm 131:1

Action Item |

In what area of your life are the seeds of fear and doubt growing?  Will you cry out to Jesus today and let Him save you? 

Prayer | 

Lord Jesus, help me when I am fearful to run to You.  Show me the areas in my life where I doubt You and give me more faith to trust You. 

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How to Give Thanks When We Are Overwhelmed

ThanksgivingMarci Anthony2 Comments
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. . . make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:21

Have you ever felt overwhelmed?  Had too much on your plate? Wanted to erase every filled box on your calendar? That’s where I was!  I just wanted to crawl on the couch, turn on the T.V. and pull a blanket over my head, hoping no one would see me! How can I do EVERYTHING that needs to get done? They are all things I love and agreed to do and truly felt God had placed on my plate. So why am I so frustrated??

In Hebrews 13:21 the word “complete” doesn’t mean “perfect” it means “prepared.” This verse is telling us that God is equipping us by way of adjusting, shaping, mending, restoring, or preparing us by what He has put “on our plate." God is preparing me in every work to do His will so that I will be well pleasing (through Jesus Christ). WHAT??? 

This means I need to get on my knees and ask God to give me strength, energy, wisdom, discernment, and even the ability to do the things I need to do. He had me exactly where He wanted me, where I needed to be...unable to do it in my ability and strength so that I would seek Him. I can get so distracted by what I am supposed to be doing that I forget WHY I’m doing it.

God never expected me to do ANY of it in my own ability – He knew I couldn’t; but He had to show me that I couldn’t do it. It is when I seek Him that what seemed like an overwhelming schedule, actually turns out to be opportunities to minister to others and to see Him working in my life.

What was once an overwhelming mess, in God’s hands becomes a way to reach out to others with love, joy, and peace. It is in those moments that I realize it is all through Him, and then He gets the glory and praise instead of me hurting my arm by trying to pat myself on the back for “all I did."

The holidays are upon us! You can choose to be overwhelmed, frazzled, and maybe even a bit angry. Or you can get on your knees and ask God where He wants you and what He wants you to do. Then, do it in His strength so that others can see the fruit of the Spirit manifested in your life. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” 

What are people seeing in you, someone who is overwhelmed or overjoyed?

Dig Deeper |

Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 3:17; 2 Corinthians 13:11

Action Item |

Write down three things you are thankful for today? If you are overwhelmed, write down why you are overwhelmed and give it to God in prayer.

Prayer |

Lord, help me to seek You in everything I do.  In Your hands even the smallest gesture can have life changing results.  Help me to remember that it is all about You not me. Amen.

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Resting in the Lord Is a type of Harvest

harvestMarci Anthony2 Comments

Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest: even during the plowing season and harvest, you must rest. Exodus 34:21 NIV

Sunday is one of my favorite days of the week. Sure I enjoy Friday or even Saturday with all the activity, but Sunday is the best!

And, like most people, I have a Sunday routine. I arise later than normal to drink coffee with a special aromatic creamer as I hastily get dressed. After dressing, my family and I jump into the car and dash off to church. We arrive to participate in Bible study with our small group of friends and stroll to Sunday service conversing. During the service I am privileged to worship my sweet Jesus, listen to His profound, inspiring words and be encouraged by my friends sitting around me. After the service we enjoy lunch with friends at a tasty restaurant and share our lives together.

After meeting with Jesus and talking with friends, we come home. My final activity for the day is to hop onto the comfy sofa and take a long-awaited nap. Ahhhh… It’s just wonderful. It is truly incredible to rest.

However, on Sunday I am not only participating in physical rest during that long-awaited nap, but I am also able to rest mentally and spiritually at the Bible study and during the service. I soak in God’s word and communicate intimately with Him during worship. I am filled by Him; therefore, I feel more at peace and at rest. I worship Him through music and prayer. I am encouraged by my brothers and sisters in Christ, and in turn, I try to be an encouragement to others.

The verse in Exodus requires that we rest. It is a command to work on six days and on the seventh, rest. Even during the busiest or most active time of the year, plowing and harvest, or for us, the fall school activities and the upcoming holidays, we are commanded to rest. Just as God rested on the seventh day after creating all things, He wants us to rest too.

So, come and rest.

Dig Deeper |

Genesis 2:2-3, Matthew 11:28-30

Action Item |

In what ways do you rest? On what day of the week do you have a routine of resting? Are you resting not only physically but mentally and spiritually? Practice resting this week.

Prayer |

 Dear God, Thank you for being an example of rest and for commanding us to rest. Help me to rest every week. I know by resting, I am rejuvenated and refilled by Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

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How Do We Watch and Pray?

PrayerSow & Gather - Tamera B.1 Comment
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Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41 (NIV)

Please tell me you saw that amazing Disney movie “The Incredibles.” The movie is filled with one liners and funny moments. I think my favorite character is Violet Parr. She is the daughter of Mr. Incredible himself and she possesses miraculous powers. Every time she is in the middle of a crisis, she protects herself with a force field or becomes invisible.

I so want to be Violet Parr when I grow up! As a wife and mom I find myself continually in moments of crisis. The moments represent gargantuan crises and small insignificant problems. Whether large or small, being able to produce a force field to cover my family and protect them from certain life issues sounds really appealing.

You can imagine my overwhelming joy when I discovered in God’s word we have the tools to do exactly that -- cover our families with a force field. Jesus gives us two words while he is talking to his closest friends in a garden.

He tells his trusted friends, unless you want to fall into temptation, you better watch and pray (of course that is my own wording of the verse above). Jesus told his friends to cover themselves from temptation by watching and praying.

A life of watching and praying for ourselves and our families protects us from temptation.

So many theological books and commentaries are written about prayer and yet as I look at the words of Jesus in His word, I am astounded at the simplicity of communicating with the Father.

Prayer -- Just Jesus and me in conversation. 

Of course, prayer does have a few requirements.

  • Set aside time alone!
  • Talk to him throughout the day.
  • Tell Him everything!
  • Take time to listen.

Simple conversation with the real you is all Jesus desires.

Dig Deeper |

Matthew 6:5-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Psalm 85:8

Action Item |

If you desire to protect yourself from temptation today, you must take time to watch and pray. Find a place alone and be real before the Father.

Prayer |

Dear Jesus, you are my only protection from temptation. Protect me today from the thoughts, lies and temptations from satan. Protect my family from him, too. Give me the strength to talk to you throughout today. Keep me alert and watchful. Amen.

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The Twenty-five Cent Bible

Psalm, Prayer, seekSow & Gather - Tamera B.Comment
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Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 

In a world of fast food, Amazon Prime, and smartphones the skill of waiting is hard to practice.    

A couple of years ago a dear friend of mine was in need of a new Bible. The Bible, given to her when she began her Christian walk, was coming apart at the seams, literally. 

She checked into having the binding restored, but it cost as much as a new Bible and her tight budget didn’t allow for either one. She knew that God would provide a Bible for her in His timing so she prayed and waited while carrying that Bible with rubber bands keeping it together.  

Pray till prayer makes you forget your own wish, and leave it or merge it in God’s will.
— Frederick William Robertson (1816-1853) English clergyman

The library in her local town also sold books. One afternoon while she was there gathering books with her children, she decided to stop off at the library book store. On the shelf in the “Religion” section sat a brand new, burgundy leather, New Living Translation Bible for twenty-five cents.  She couldn’t believe her eyes as she knew who had provided that Bible for her. 

To this day she carries around that Bible with the twenty-five cent sticker on the inside cover as a reminder of the Lord’s provision. She never misses an opportunity to glorify God every time she opens it! He always provides what we need when we need it. We just have to wait and pray for the eyes to see it. 

Dig Deeper |

Matthew 21:22; Psalm 62:5-6; Luke 11:9-10

Action Item |

Believe that God will supply all your needs, pray, and wait on Him.   

Prayer |

Dear Father, in the morning I will pray to You and eagerly watch and wait. Amen.

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