Sow & Gather

Psalm

Let Me Hear You Shout!

New BeginningsMarci AnthonyComment
#sowandgather Shout with joy to God all the earth@

“Shout with joy to God all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious!” Psalm 66:1-2 NIV

When was the last time you shouted? Maybe you shouted today in your car at the driver who pulled in front of you without using a signal. If you’re like me, you shout anytime you have to use one of those automated voice answering services over the phone. My kids like to laugh at me as I fumble through the options yelling “CUSTOMER SERVICE,” over and over until I’m blue in the face and a live person answers my call for help! 

Ok, so there are many examples of negative shouting we can think of, but when was the last time you shouted for joy? Could it have been as recently as last week at your kid’s game when they made a great play? Was it in the privacy of your home when your favorite sports team won the big game?  

The word “shout” is found in 28 verses, 18 chapters and 13 books of the Bible. It is obviously an important word, used throughout scripture. More significantly, it’s a verb that communicates action. In this particular verse, the word “shout” is used in conjunction with the word “sing”. The author of this chapter is communicating his words through loud singing.  

Do you take time to stop and pray, giving a shout out to God and thanking Him for His amazing grace, and giving Him praise and glory for positive outcomes? Have you ever lifted your voice in song to God, praising and thanking Him for what he has done for you? 

We sing for joy all the time at church (some of us sing a little louder than others), but those songs the worship minister chooses each week are meant for us to use as our praise to God. Too often we tend to sing for our own glory so that others see our participation. Really the reason for us to lift our voices in song is to praise the One who allows us to sing His praises. We should be shouting our praises to God on Sunday morning, not worrying about what others around us will think. 

Have you ever noticed how when you sing your mood changes? Many times we can’t help how a certain song makes us feel. When you sing, you are not only listening to the song but now you are an active participant. God wants us to participate in praising Him. He wants to hear your shouts of joy. He wants you to sing His praises and most importantly, He wants you to make His praise known over all the earth. Let me hear you shout...AMEN! 

Dig Deeper |

Psalm 47:1; Psalm 35:27; Zephaniah 3:14

Action Item |

Give God a shout out or sing out. Give God the glory for all that He does for you. When you attend church or listen to the radio in your car, sing out to God praising His name.       

Prayer |

Most gracious Heavenly Father, You are awesome! I shout Your name above all other names. You alone are my Creator. I lift You up and praise Your name. You are Great and I stand amazed in Your presence. Thank You for Your grace which overflows. Amen.

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Treasure God's Word--Psalm 104:6-7

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

Is it sweet, salty, spicy, cold, hot? Terms you might not consider when you are reading God's word. God calls us to hide, treasure and taste His word. Join the contributors and readers of Sow & Gather in tasting and memorizing God's word this week.

Memorize It |

You covered it with the deep as with a garment; The waters were standing above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled, At the sound of Your thunder they hurried away.  Psalm 104:6-7

#sowandgather Psalm 104:6-7 The Waters Were Standing Above The Mountains

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Treasure God's Word--Psalm 147:4

scripture memoryMarci AnthonyComment

In the Midst of Love

Advent 2015Marci Anthony1 Comment

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17

As I reflect on the last 14 days, I am literally amazed my family lived through our schedule. Oh the joyful, crazy holidays! As I wrap up all of the activities and events, I am preparing my heart, home, and pocket book for many family celebrations. For our family, the holiday brings in our most favorite people of all, our family. I love to be in the presence of those I love so dearly.  

“In the presence of those I love” is a sentiment reflected in the Christmas story as well. God in His miraculous power, sovereignty, and wisdom had a plan to come into the presence of people on earth. He sent part of Himself, His son, to the earth to (as Zephaniah says) be “in our midst.” The Old Testament gives Jesus the name, Immanuel, which means in Hebrew, God with us. Because of God’s incredible love for us, He came into our midst. This love which is beyond our understanding. This love that reaches so far and so wide that we can never reach its end. THIS LOVE brought Him to our midst. 

Soaking in the truth that God is in my midst because of His surpassing love for me brings a flood of emotion. Sit for a moment with me and say it out loud: “The Lord is in your midst, He will quiet you with His love.” 

Now personalize it with me like this: 

My soul is racing today, yet He whispers, “I am here to quiet you with My love.” My body feels weary, yet He proclaims, "Come to me, my child, I adore you and desire to give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) My brain races through list after list, yet Jesus washes over me these words, “I am with you.” (Psalm 23) My emotions try to dictate how I react and yet God says to me, “I will fight for you, you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14

My dear sweet friends, For God so loved you and me that that He sent His Son, wrapped in clothes, lying in a manger. He is Immanuel! God is in our midst and He desires to quiet you with His love. 

Dig Deeper |

Psalm 23; Matthew 11 

Additional Liturgical Advent Readings | 

Micah 5:2-5a; Psalm 80:1-7; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45, 46-55

Action Item |

Literally force yourself to sit down for a moment. Ask God to quiet your body, mind, and soul with His unbelievable, gracious love. 

Prayer |

Dear Jesus, thank you for your love. Thank you that you had this plan to come into our midst. Jesus, please quiet my soul today so that I can experience your peace. Please quiet my body so that I can rest. Lord, quiet my mind to be fully committed to thinking your thoughts. Amen. 

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Praise the Lord Always!

Thanksgiving, PsalmMarci Anthony2 Comments
even-the-trees-praise-the-lord-sowandgather

Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do His bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds. Psalm 148:7-10 NIV

Vacations are so thrilling. It is so wonderful to leave the routine and drudgery of daily life and just get away. Whether you have a “staycation” or a travel vacation, there is nothing more rejuvenating than a change from the day-to-day routine.

In October, my husband and I decided to travel to California and and visit Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. The national parks system in the United States is so awesome and as you can imagine, both of these national parks are true to their name. Yosemite is full of roaring waterfalls, rugged gray granite cliffs and mountains ready to be conquered with long arduous hikes. Sequoia is just as awesome but also so . . . inspiring.

Sequoia is covered with the huge, red-barked redwood trees. One of the largest and oldest trees is the General Sherman.  He is 275 feet tall, 79 feet in diameter and about 2000 years old. As I gazed upon this beautiful tree and others around him, I was awestruck. I stared with my mouth open attempting to comprehend the beauty and size of this tree. It just goes up and up and up. The branches reach to the heavens. I stopped and thought, “This tree was probably around when Jesus walked the earth.” Wow!!!

But the most remarkable thing about the redwood trees is that they appear as if they are praising God. These trees stretch toward the sky with their branches waving. They stand straight and strong as if praising God and glorifying His name. They are singing to Him. And, at that moment, I realized I should be declaring and praising His majestic name as well. Jesus is worthy to be praised! What a God! 

Well, vacation is over but life is not. I can’t physically see the trees anymore, but in my mind’s eye, I still visualize the majesty and splendor of those beautiful creations. Just as I praised and thanked Jesus in the park with those incredible trees, I can praise and thank Him here in my home, at work and even as I run errands.

Today I will stand like General Sherman praising the LORD from the earth.

Dig Deeper |

Psalm 148Psalm 136

Action Item |

Take time to thank and praise our wonderful LORD. Write down three things you are thankful for today.

Prayer |

Dearest LORD, I praise and worship you. I thank you for who you are and the wonderful blessings you have given me. I don’t want to miss a day without giving thanks and praise to you. Amen. 

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This post is part of the Shine Blog Hop.

The SHINE Blog Hop

Treasure God's Word - Psalm 37:24

scripture memory, PsalmMarci AnthonyComment

Treasure God's Word - Psalm 119:11

scripture memorySow & Gather - Tamera B.Comment

How Do We Humble Ourselves In Prayer?

PrayerSow & Gather - Tamera B.4 Comments
humble-yourself-before-the-Lord-sowandgather

In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. Psalm 5:3 (NASB)  

I can almost picture David in His vast palace with a myriad of servants, arrayed in his kingly garments on his throne with a scribe beside him recording these words.

David had the trifecta:  power, fame, and fortune.

One of my favorite things about him, though, is he recognized who he was in light of who God is. There he was with a vast kingdom and ultimate authority, but he perceived that all he had was granted to him from the only true King. He says that he "ordered" his prayers. In Hebrew, it means he "prepared" them.    

Do I do that? Do I prepare my heart as I go into God's presence? Do I humble myself to His will or do I rush in thinking I am deserving? Do I treat Him like a servant instead of a master? More often than not, I causally pray as though God should mold Himself to my will. I fail to realize that I'm speaking to the Creator, Holy, Mighty God. Truly, I don't even deserve a second glance from Him. He doesn't need me, and there is not one thing I can offer that could measure up to His acknowledgement that He is the great I AM.  

When I finally grasp the depths of these concepts, I am overcome with emotion. Feelings whirl around inside of me and I am left sensing the awe of the presence of a God that calls me worth it! He says I was the joy set before Him to endure the cross. He loved me enough to clothe me with His righteousness! HE HEARS ME! He has given me the opportunity to be a priest that serves Him, someone that carries my prayers into the Holy of Holies and present them as gifts before the Lamb that was slain. HE SEES ME! What a sweet gift to spend time in His presence. I love who He is and I love who I am when I am with Him.  

Dig Deeper |

Psalm 10:17; James 4:6; Isaiah 40:10-14  

Action Item |

Do you go to prayer casually? Do you treat God like your master?  Practice humbling yourself before Him before you pray by recalling His characteristics.  

Prayer |

Oh God, open my eyes to Your greatness.  Help me to remember who I am and how You made a way for me to pray directly to You by Jesus' sacrifice. Forgive me of ungratefulness and pride.  Help there to be less of me and more of You. Amen. 

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Get A Grip On God

Prayer, Psalm, ThessaloniansSow & Gather - Tamera B.Comment
get-grip-on-God-sowandgather-psalm119

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Of course God wants me to have what will make me happy.

Those words crossed my mind in a flash. My eye, like Eve's was on the apple and Satan was saying, "Do it; it feels good. God wants you to be happy."

This was a reality check about coffee.  People, coffee.  I have ongoing discourses with Satan about stopping coffee. (Drinking coffee is fine. I just have a little bit of an addiction issue that God is working on when it comes to me and coffee).

If Satan is going to tell me lies about coffee - you know he's got some whoppers for other issues.

Or, maybe they aren't whoppers. Perhaps Satan works best in the small things.  The seemingly innocent day-to-day events where we make choices. They aren't bad or illegal. But, still individual choices that don't honor God.

I think we've all been caught on a "path" called a "slippery slope." Once you start down a path that's a little off course it gets harder and harder to recover. Subsequent decisions just keep you sliding down that slope. I've been on a few slippery slopes - literally. If you don't have traction or something to cling to, you will start to fall.

As a hiker, I know I need boots with rugged grooves on the bottom to get traction on a slippery slope. I even need trekking poles to put out in front of each step to guide my path. I use these tools to navigate the less than ideal path.

When I start down the slippery slope of thinking, "It will make me happy; of course God wants me to be happy." I need to find my spiritual hiking boots and trekking poles and change course.  My spiritual traction comes from God's word. I've got to get a grip on God or I'll be tumbling head first down that slope. God gives us tools to avoid that slope or change course if we've started sliding.

We're to treasure His word in our hearts. At first I thought that verse was only about scripture memory. It's about so much more. Friends, we need to marinate in God's word. We need to soak it in and taste it. Yes, taste it. Roll it around in your mouth, breathe deeply the aroma of God's goodness.

Have a chat window open to God at all times. Pray continually. This is sometimes harder for me than soaking up His words. Satan seems to always be pinging me for a conversation (and my inner voice seems to chat it up with him). 

As soon as you recognize you are on that slippery slope, stop and grab God. God is your traction. Keep the line of communication open at all times.  Pray and listen to God's response. He will always provide a way out, over or thru the obstacle you are facing.

Dig Deeper |  

Psalm 119

Action Item |

Ask God to help you recognize your slippery slopes. Marinate on a verse from the Dig Deeper section and write out the verse in your own words.

Prayer |

Dear Father, You know I'm human and I have human cravings and desires. Desires for things that may not be bad, but perhaps are not the best choice for me today. Give me the awareness to avoid ever stepping foot on a path the takes me away from you. If I am already on that slippery slope, help me to recognize it immediately and grab you for traction. Amen.

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P.S. As of the date of posting the author has been off caffeinated coffee for two weeks. She keeps having to begin again. Fortunately, no loved ones or co-workers have been injured in the withdrawal.

This post is part of the "A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up."

And, we joined Kendra at A Proverbs 31 Wife.


The Twenty-five Cent Bible

Psalm, Prayer, seekSow & Gather - Tamera B.Comment
twenty-five-cent-Bible-pray-God-answers-prayerssowandgather

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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What's the Source of Your Strength for the Race?

Isaiah, PsalmSow & Gather - Tamera B.4 Comments
jesus-strength-for-race-sowandgather-isaiah41

I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away.  Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:8-9 NLT

Believe it or not, I love to run.  I don’t always do it but I love it.  Several years ago, I decided I would take on a half marathon in the city of Dallas, Texas.  As I prepared for the race physically, I also researched the race online.  Every single article I read about this race said, “Beware of mile 8!”  You see, mile 8 was on an incline. 

All the way through the first 7 miles of the race I kept thinking I would have to save a little extra strength for the dreaded mile 8.  I must say that incline felt like a gigantic mountain.  As I was putting one foot in front of the other I seriously did not know if I would make it to the top.  About half way through, one of the spectators looked straight at me and said, “Don’t give up, this incline is almost over!”

say-it-out-loud-god-is-with-me-sowandgather

Life is much like that race isn’t it?  We sail along, reserving strength for the hard times, knowing they will come.  However, when we get there, it is simply hard to put one foot in front of the other. 

God knew this would be true about life and through His word He gave us words of encouragement to keep us going.  One of those encouragements is the verse above. 

As you are running through life, and the going gets rough, listen in your spirit and you will hear from the sidelines, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.”

Dig Deeper |

Psalm 46

Action Item |

Say it out loud, God is with me!

Prayer |

Dear Jesus, thank you for being with me always.   Sometimes I am desperate to see you and hear you.  Give me the strength to please you and live life according to your word.  Amen.

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purposefulfaith.com

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


Treasure God's Word - Psalm 46:10

scripture memory, PsalmSow & Gather - Tamera B.1 Comment

Is it sweet, salty, spicy, cold, hot? Terms you might not consider when you are reading God's word. God calls us to hide, treasure and taste His word. Join the contributors and readers of Sow & Gather in tasting and memorizing God's word this week.

Memorize it |

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10 ESV

be-still-psalm46-sowandgather

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Treasure God's Word - Psalm 119:11

Psalm, scripture memorySow & Gather - Tamera B.Comment

Be Still Before The Lord

Isaiah, Peace, PsalmSow & Gather - Tamera B.Comment
be-still-before-lord-sowandgather

Be still and know that I am God . . . . Psalm 46:10 NIV

When something is troubling me or I am worried or anxious, I can’t sit still.  I need to pace back and forth or start cleaning out a closet or drawer.  I just need to DO something, anything.  I wonder if instead of pacing and moving around if I could just sit and be still for a moment? 

What if the feeling of restlessness is actually God calling me to spend time with Him?  Just to stop for a moment in the midst of all the noise and activity so that I could hear the whisper of God telling my soul, “be still and know that I am God.”  Not simply to think, wonder, or wish, but to KNOW:  God is God, and He is in control!

dont-worry-run-to-jesus-psalm46-sowandgather

The definition of know is “to perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty; to have established or fixed in the mind or memory.”  Is God’s word so fixed in my mind that I know it to be truth?  If it is, what does His word say to do when I am anxious?  1 Peter 5:7 says “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”  God knew that you and I would have anxious times, and He tells us what we can do. 

But HOW do we do it?  What does that mean “cast all your anxiety on Him?”  He is not physically here.  It means to bring our burdens, cares, and concerns to Jesus in prayer.  Talk to Him about it, tell Him what’s on our heart, what’s bothering you…and then, LEAVE it with Him.  Every time you start to worry or get anxious, go straight to Jesus and talk to Him again. 

The second part of 1 Peter 5:7 says “for He cares for you.”  That means that Jesus literally cares about your concerns.  He WANTS us to come to Him so that He can quiet us in our soul.  He tells us “I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28.  It is when we are still and spending time with Jesus that we find His joy and peace.  Once we have been with Him in prayer and in His word, even though the situation that caused us to be anxious hasn’t changed, the way we look at it will. 

Dig Deeper |

Read Psalm 37:7, Psalm 62:5, Psalm 91:1-16, Exodus 14:14, Isaiah 32:17, and Isaiah 41:10-13 for more encouragement.

Action Item |

Ask the Lord to help you identify what is causing your anxiety and give it to the Lord in prayer. 

Prayer |

Lord, when I am worried or anxious guide me to rest in You.  Help me to draw so close to You that I can hear you whisper;  “Be still my child and know that I am God.”  Let me know Your peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding.

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