Sow & Gather

Thanks

The World Needs Hospitality - - Not Entertaining!

ThanksgivingMarci Anthony7 Comments
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Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.   Romans 12:13

About this time of year, I start to get anxious about what to prepare for the family Thanksgiving meal. Thankfully, I only have to bring a few dishes to share with a sizable family of twenty-five.

One year I decided to depart from the traditional dressing and go rogue with an apple and sausage dressing. Sounds somewhat delightful – right?

Well, let’s just say that each year my family says a prayer of praise when they see the traditional corn bread stuffing on the table!

Why do we get so caught up in the meal, the presentation, and the spotless house? There have been so many times when my focus was on myself as the host and the presentation verses the true needs of my guests.

In this passage in Romans, Paul is reminding his readers how to live as redeemed people in this fallen world. When Paul says “practice hospitality,” he is not saying that we should esteem ourselves as the perfect host and throw the perfect party, but quite the opposite. How we view hospitality in the western world is not what this word in the original Greek (philonexia) meant; which is to entertain strangers.

Taking our eyes off ourselves and the entertainment and giving attention to our guests and their needs is practicing hospitality. These guests may be your neighbors, work colleagues, or someone God has placed in your path. Their needs may be a meal, shelter, childcare, elder care, mentoring, or just friendship.

The great news about hospitality is that it can be performed in the messiest of homes (I'm grateful), school playground, park, or wherever you happen to be.

Whether we are sharing with a believer in need or sharing our faith with the lost, practicing hospitality is a way we can live out our faith each day.

This year I pray that God will focus my heart on my family and guests and less on the presentation. May my guests be filled up with the love of Christ through me and less on the dish I prepare (even if it is the apple sausage stuffing!)

Dig Deeper |

Romans 12:9–21

Action Item |

Where is my focus this Thanksgiving season? Are you more caught up in being the perfect host or pouring attention into your guests?

Prayer |

Dear Lord, give me opportunities to practice hospitality to those you have placed in my life. Give me the eyes to see the needs.  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.

This post is part of the 100 Happy Days Linkup

And, Honored to be selected as "host pick" from the 100 Happy Days Linkup -- "I loved the message here about focusing on what’s more important – people or presentation. And especially at this time of year, I want to take time to slow down and focus on ministering to people’s needs rather than just appealing to their eyes. This beautifully delivered message pointed me in just that direction with an ever so gentle and encouraging nudge!”

 


Give Thanks In A Crowd Of Family

harvest, ThanksgivingMarci Anthony4 Comments
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Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife. Proverbs 17:1 NIV

What a wonderful time of the year!  It is autumn and the leaves on the trees are turning a vibrant red, yellow, and orange. The trees are glowing and the leaves are beginning to fall lazily to the ground waiting to be raked.  The days are getting shorter and the air is crisp in the morning and just perfect during midday.

It is a time to prepare all the yummy foods and indulge in treats only made once a year. The house smells of these tasty snacks and the décor of your house looks like a pumpkin patch. Even the clothes we wear are different comprising of long-sleeved shirts, flashy scarves and cute socks with boots.

Along with these changes of autumn, we have our family.  We not only have our spouse and children in our lives but we have parents, in-laws, our siblings and their spouses, nieces and nephews, grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles.  We have a myriad of family in our house and in our life.

From my experience with all this family comes periods of unrest, strife and just basic anger and exasperation.  Even though we love them, strife occurs. It is not always intentional but just happens with so many family members and so many personalities all in the same place. 

I desire peace, so every year during this season I begin to meditate on Proverbs 17:1. I start with asking Jesus to be evident during our family times and to help me to love my family as he does. Second, I try to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19) Being quick to listen for a talker like me is so difficult, but I will conquer listening with Jesus. Finally, I practice the fruit of joy, which comes from the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) With this fruit of joy, contention, anger, and bitterness cease.

Let peace begin!

Dig Deeper |

1 John 4:7

Action Item |

Decide now to be a house of feasting with peace! With Jesus peace can occur.

Prayer |

Dear Jesus, Thank you for seasons in our lives and especially this season of autumn. Help me to be aware of your presence, to love as you do, be fast to listen and emit a joyful spirit with my family. I know I am able with 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.

This post is part of Kelly Balarie and Friends #raralinkup.

purposefulfaith.com

God Doesn't Exaggerate - Thank God For All Of Them

ThanksgivingMarci AnthonyComment
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I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 1 Timothy 2:1 (NLT) 

“Mom, I think you remember that story very differently from how it happened!” Those are words I have heard a few times from my children after they have listened to me recount a family story. It is somewhat of a family joke that I have a tendency to exaggerate a bit. Of course, I call it thinking big. I love to use words like most, always, biggest, all, and every, bringing incredible drama to my stories. 

I find it so interesting that God also uses words like always, all, and every. As a matter of fact, you will find those words peppered all through the word of God. There is a huge difference, however, to God’s use of those words and mine. GOD NEVER EXAGGERATES!  Every time he says all, he means all. Every time he speaks always, he means it. When he says every, it means every single one! 

Understanding and grasping that God never exaggerates has given me enlightened eyes as I approach His Word. You see, because Thanksgiving is approaching, I have been doing some searching for verses about thanks (I will, as always, quote these scriptures for my kiddos and force them to have a grateful heart.)  Through my search I stumbled on this one, 1 Timothy 2:1. Timothy’s instruction is a tall order. Pray for all people and give thanks for them. By “them” does he seriously mean ALL people? I believe he does as God never exaggerates. 

At this time of year, we find ourselves listing off the many blessings we have in our lives. We thank God for our protection, our safety, our life, our families, His word, and the list could goes on and on. There are many people that have been incredible blessings in my life and I treasure a season that reminds me to tell them how grateful I am for them.

But this phrase ALL people is throwing me for a loop. Seriously, does God want me to be grateful for those who are a thorn in my flesh?  Does God want me to be grateful for those who repeatedly discourage me? Does God want me to be thankful for those who don’t even like me?

God said ALL PEOPLE. GOD NEVER EXAGGERATES! So the answer is YES! 

God’s instruction for us is to pray for ALL people and to give thanks for them. This Thanksgiving season, as you list the many obvious blessings in your life, make sure to look around at the people that surround you.  Notice the people with which you work. Recognize the people that sit on committees with you. Take note of the people that live close to you. No matter who they are and how they respond to you, thank God for ALL of them!    

Digging Deeper | 

2 Timothy 2:1-8

Action Items | 

As November approaches, take time to make a list of all of the people in your life.  List them by category (i.e. family, co-workers, friends, etc.). Take time each day to thank God for the blessing of encouraging people. Then, take time to thank God for people who are not encouraging. Thank God that He is teaching you through those people.  

Prayer | 

Dear Jesus, thank you so much for your word. I thank you that you care enough about me to give me instruction in your word that makes my life more relevant, useful and contented. God, give me the courage to thank you for the people in my life that don’t love me. God, give me the strength to see those people through your eyes. 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.

How Can We Give Thanks Daily?

ThanksgivingMarci AnthonyComment
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Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus I Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

If you had to rate yourself on a scale of one to ten, how grateful are you? Do you express your thankfulness to Jesus on a regular basis or only on holidays? And how well do you convey thanks to others? 

This past New Year’s Day I was reading the newspaper and I noticed an article on gratitude. The article spoke of a gentleman who conveyed thanks every day by hand writing a short note to an individual who had served him. Needless to say I was awed.  He wrote a note of thanks every day! I began to think how often I showed or even stated, “Thank you,” and I realized I fell very short. 

I was reminded of the above verse which states to give thanks always. So, I decided to implement gratitude in my life. 

Every day I began to thank Jesus for one thing, person, or event and I kept track of it by listing it on a calendar. I have started to hand write short notes of appreciation once a week to someone in my life who has served me or just showed care for me.

I have even become more cognizant of the waiters at restaurants, customer service representatives, landscapers or those that regularly provide a service for me and say, “Thank you.”  

It’s a beginning and I still struggle with communicating gratitude, but I’m glad I have begun to exercise this “command” in my life. 

Dig Deeper | 

Psalm 136; Psalm 100

Action Item | 

Do you express gratitude to Jesus on a regular basis? Do you convey thanks to others?  Begin to take steps to live a life grateful. 

Prayer | 

Dearest Jesus, thank you! Thank you for being my God and for loving me. Thank you for the people in my life and the many activities, privileges, and blessings you have given me. I am so grateful and I love you. 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. 

This post is part of the weekly #raralinkup with Kelly Balarie & Friends.