Sow & Gather

discipline

How Great Thou Art – Overcoming Loss

Father'sMarci AnthonyComment
How Great Thou Art. What is Man That You take though of him. #sowandgather

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Psalm 8:3-4 NKJV

I assured myself I was over it. My insides would not well-up and overflow the next time we sang "How Great Thou Art" at church. So much for that promise.   

It was a surprise punch in the gut. We were singing a completely different song and then plopped right in the middle of a chorus. Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, how great Thou art, how great Thou art. I stopped singing to choke back the sobs. My sister next to me keeps singing and I can hear our Daddy's strong voice along with hers. She stops, hugs me tight, and in a hoarse whisper I say, "This time I thought it would be alright." 

God has spoken clearly to me about giving Him my grief. Seven years after our father's death I am still raw with grief. If I learned anything from a grief recovery class, it's that we all grieve differently and for different amounts of times. Was there anything earth shattering about seven years? I've thought perhaps it was the biblical number 7 as a sign of perfection.  

I really think for me the length of time has been my lack of obedience to God. Letting go of my grief means I let go of one more piece of my father. Like sea billows roll . . . It's time. I know that grief can jump up at me like a big wave in the ocean and surprise me. That was today. I also know that God is big enough. He's big enough to wash the grief away. If I allow God to be in control, those waves will no longer crash into and over me, making me toss and tumble.   

Today, I feel the gentle lapping of the waves refreshing my spirit and whispering My God, how great Thou art. 

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation, and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart! Then I shall bow in humble adoration, and there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!
— How Great Thou Art

             

Dig Deeper |

Psalm 145; Psalm 8:3-4; Psalm 68:5 

Action Item |

Write down and share a praise today on how God has demonstratedHis greatness to you. 

Prayer: |

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being a Father to those without a father on this earth. Amen.

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A Father’s Love

Father'sMarci AnthonyComment
A Father's Love #sowandgather #fathersday

Because the LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father punishes the son he delights in. Proverbs 3:12 NIV 

There have been many lessons in my life that my rebellious spirit has caused me to learn over and over. As the saying goes, “how many times are you going to lap that mountain?” For me, too many! 

Growing up my Dad was the disciplinarian in our home. If my sister or I got into trouble, my Mom would say, “Wait till your Dad gets home!” The waiting was always the worst part because my Dad would often arrive home late. I could hear his pick-up truck coming about half a mile down the country road, then around the hill that led to our gravel driveway. Our nerves were gone by the time he finally got to us! 

Dad was swift and fair with his discipline. At least he put us out of our misery! He could have ignored our behavior or dealt with force as his father had done to him, but he didn’t. I had a healthy fear of him, and knew he meant what he said. 

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” (Proverbs 1:7) This fear is full of reverence to a holy God who knows what is best for me. It is a fear that draws me to God to know Him and His ways. The Bible tells us many times that God loves us as a Father loves his son, even more so. To those He loves, He also reproves as an earthly father would do. 

However, there is difference. My dad disciplined me as he deemed right, but my Holy Father disciplines me for my good so that I may share in His holiness. It is never easy to be disciplined, and sometimes it is very difficult. However, once you know that it is God training you, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrew 12:10

I’m thankful for a dad who cared enough to protect, guide and correct me when needed. I’m even more thankful for a Savior, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for me, paying the penalty for my sin. Because of Jesus, I can stand before a holy God and know that He loves me, even when He disciplines me! 

My “lapping the mountain” has thankfully lessened over the years. As I yield myself to my heavenly Father daily, I am grateful for the training that has changed my life. 

Dig Deeper |

Hebrew 12 

Action Item |

Do you see God’s discipline as punishment or training in righteousness? 

Prayer |

Dear Father, I am so grateful that you love me enough to train me in Your ways. Often the lessons are hard, but You are a merciful God who loves me and wants to produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness in me. Amen

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How Do We Walk In Love?

loveMarci AnthonyComment
walk-in-love-sowandgather.com #love

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning his command is that you walk in love. 2 John 1:6 NIV

I breathed in, out, and smiled. The five dollar kite that was not designed to fly in 20 mile an hour winds was soaring. It was puny compared to the big fancy kits on the beach. But the string kept unfurling and the kite kept climbing higher and higher into the crisp blue sky. It danced and dodged seagulls and rooftops on its ascent.

Wiggling my toes into the cool creamy sand, I tied the kite string to my beach chair and thought of my Daddy. I can see him rounding the back corner of the house with his blue work shirt stripped off, still wearing his undershirt, work pants, and boots. He'd grab a sheet of newspaper, some garden twine, and two reed-like dried weeds to make the cross bars for our kite. Those newspaper kites always flew. Maybe not as high as the kites on the beach today, but they still reached for the heavens. They were made with love.

I can't fly a kite without thinking of two things 1) making kites with my Daddy, and 2) switches. You see, those cross bars on our newspaper kites were known by another name every other day of the week - - a switch. A switch meant business.

I've had to "pick a switch" many times. A switch dispensed discipline. The worst part was the minutes picking the switch because you needed to be fast, but you did not want to rush anything. In a child's mind you're trying to process if one switch would hurt less than another while putting off the discipline as long as possible.

Those switches had a dual role: love and discipline.

Flying those kits was pure love and joy. In fact, I never remember picking out the cross bars for the kite. Daddy always did that because he knew which ones would work the best. When it came time for discipline, I was sent to the edge of the garden to retrieve my own switch. I think how God loves us so much he disciplines us, too. And how that walk down the yard to get the switch felt like an eternity of separation from my parents. That's how I feel now when I know I have sinned and I don't want the discipline. I'll walk slower and slower toward that patch of switches.

I know now that if I am obedient, the discipline is swift, kind, and loving. God allows us to walk alone down the yard so we can process the separation. Remember, God has never moved. We walked away from him in our sin. He's always drawing us back to him.

Do you need to "pick a switch" today? Take time to confess your sins to the Lord. In love and kindness he will discipline you if necessary and heal any hurts.

Join us this month as we take a look at all kinds of love. The contributors at Sow & Gather hope you will be inspired to love deeper and draw closer to your family and your God.

Dig Deeper |

Genesis 3

Action Item |

Do something today with your family that will make a memory filled with love. Here's a link with directions for making a newspaper kite. Kite Making

Prayer |

Dear Heavenly Father, everyday I fall short and sin. Thank you for the love and the instruction you imparted to my earthly father. Lord, give me the same wisdom in raising my child.

Join Us |

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