Sow & Gather

faith

And Then There Were Others

school/learningMarci AnthonyComment
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Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) 

The hurricanes of 2017 will most definitely go down as catastrophic.  I was recently in Houston and it actually looked like a war zone as I passed through the streets.  Home after home was completely emptied of its contents.  Cabinets, furniture, floor coverings and clothes lay on the curb as a representation of a lifetime of memories created in one place. 

As I saw such devastation, I couldn’t help but wonder why God would allow a catastrophe of this level?  As God always does, He nudged my spirit straight into His presence through His Word.  Hebrews 11 begins with some precious words, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”  The chapter proceeds with a list of many heroes of the faith that God used to accomplish great and mighty things.  God performed miracles for them and He protected them in many ways.  Then, almost at the end of the chapter, comes these words, “And then there were others.”  The writer of Hebrews continues to speak of these others who were beaten, mocked, killed and tortured for their faith.  “The world was not worthy of these” the writer states.  ALL of these were the heroes of the faith…those who experienced miracles and those who didn’t.  It wasn’t the outcome of their circumstances that proved their faith, but their simple faith in God, who was with them. 

In God’s tender voice, He reminded me through this scripture that your faith cannot be in things that you see.  God reminded me that my faith is not in a circumstance, an action, or an outcome.  My faith is in the one and only God…the God who can do miracles, who can accomplish great things and who can be present with those who are suffering. 

So, my encouragement for you today:  resist the urge to use your eyes to measure the work of God.  Know that the ways and movement of God cannot always be seen.  Whether God delivers you in a miraculous way today or whether He simply is present with you in your suffering, know that He is God and He loves you! 

Digging deeper |

Hebrews 11

Action items |

Do you find yourself evaluating the movement of God by observing the circumstances in your life?  If so, use your smart phone or even a piece of paper and write down Hebrews 11:1 as a reminder to keep your eyes upward.  Are you in a storm today?  Is that storm causing you to question God?  Allow God to gently remind you today that you cannot see all that God is doing.  Place in your faith in Him and not the outcome! 

Prayer |

Dear Jesus, it is so very hard not to question You at times.  Make my faith strong, Jesus.  Give me the courage to place my faith in things not seen.  God, give me peace in my storms and deliver me when it is Your will.  Amen. 

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My Faith Is So Weak!

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#sowandgather #obedience

Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s.  II Chronicles 20:15B   NIV

I find it amazing that God has to remind me often that He wants to be involved in my daily life.  I don’t know about you, but I simply forget that He’s standing by, just waiting for me to turn to Him and let Him guide me through my problems.  He constantly has to remind me that if I’m willing, my battles are not mine….they’re His!  

In II Chronicles King Jehoshaphat hears that three armies have united and are on the march toward Jerusalem!  He knows his army has no chance to stand against them, so he makes an appeal of protection to the Lord.  “O Lord, God of our fathers…we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”   

God’s reply is immediate and wonderful:  They don’t need to be afraid or discouraged because the battle is His.   

But.....”Go out to face them tomorrow.”  What?!  God says He will fight the battle, but we still have to march up against an army that’s at least three times our size?!  

For King Jehoshaphat and all his fellow soldiers, it becomes a distinct matter of faith.  Is their faith in God real….real enough to march toward an army that will surely decimate them, unless God keeps His promise and enters the battle Himself?   

The way they respond is exemplary!  First, they all fall down and worship the Lord, then early the next morning they march – straight toward the enemy.  But then they set the bar really high for all believers who would follow in centuries to come (that’s us!), for not only do they exhibit great faith by marching toward this vast army, they also appoint a men’s choir to lead the way!  And as they march, with the choir in front, they sing praise to God for the splendor of His holiness!  Now that’s faith.  Simply amazing, life-on-the-line faith!    

Of course, God was faithful to His promise.  He ambushed the enemy armies and caused them to completely destroy each other.   

And I must remember that those soldiers were people just like me.  Same fears, same struggles.  But they sure stepped up to the plate and showed me what it means to put my life in the hands of my faithful God!

Dig Deeper |

II Chronicles 20:1-30; Ephesians 6:16

Action Item |

Do you sometimes feel that a vast army is coming up against you?  Do you truly believe God is willing to act on your behalf?  Pick up our shield of faith each morning before the day begins and allow Him to guide you throughout the day.

Prayer |

Lord, many times my faith is so weak.  Please help my unbelief.  Help me to take that first, hard step, believing that you will carry me the rest of the way.  And, Lord, help me to sing your praises as I go!!

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How Do Our Seeds Bear Fruit?

harvestMarci AnthonyComment
the supplier of seeds will increase the harvest sowandgather.com

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 2 Corinthians 9:10 NIV

My beloved California church was quickly outgrowing the worship center, children’s classrooms, and parking spaces. This is a great problem to have, except when you are in California, and by the Pacific Ocean! Land is a precious commodity and difficult to come by where the desert meets the ocean. 

The church began a Capitol Campaign to raise funds for building more space and acquiring more land for its growing congregation. The Pastor held “Town-hall” meetings to discuss the plans and ask for our prayer, and provision.  

During one of the meetings he asked us what we were doing with the seed or resources God had given us? Would we be willing to give to God something beyond our imaginations, not expecting a return for ourselves, but a return for the kingdom and glory of God?  

After much prayer, my husband and I were led to commit to an amount that we did not have at the time. We believed that God would provide the seed to sow.   

A few weeks later, my husband lost his job. This was not news we were expecting and immediately felt the burden of our commitment to our church and our own personal finances.    

It was during that time that God showed up in a miraculous way. My husband received a settlement package that not only covered our commitment to the exact amount but provided for us as well.   

Matthew Henry says “He can cause us to have a sufficiency in all things, to be content with what we have, to make up for what we give and to be able to give yet more.” 

I didn’t see my husband’s job loss as provision, but it was what God used to show us that He supplies the seed for the harvest. The honor of seeing God’s seed bear fruit is everlasting and the reward is eternal.  

Dig Deeper |

Isaiah 55:10, Hosea 10:12 

Action Item |

When we invest what God has given us in his work, He will provide. Where are you investing?

Prayer | 

Dear Father, thank you for all that you provide and give me the eyes to see where you want me to invest your resources. Amen

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