Sow & Gather

hope

Hope in Freedom - We Can Be Free From Fear

freedomMarci AnthonyComment
#freedom #love #sowandgather We can be free from fear

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Galatians 5:13-14 (NIV) 

Free from fear. Free from critique. Free from guilt. Free from all the terrible things I have thought of myself. Growing up, I aspired to being perfect or as close to it as I could get. I had to make all A’s. I spent hours practicing voice. I wanted to be accepted and affirmed by those I esteemed. I planned every outfit down to the last detail. I woke up extra early to fix my hair, and when I got a little older, my makeup, too.

The focus was on my outward person. I feared not doing well, not looking pretty, not making the right decisions, not saying the right thing. I was bound by my nagging thoughts of not being good enough. This should not go without saying: I was surrounded by positive people who encouraged and loved me. However, from a very young age, I developed a fear of not being valued.  

It took me a long time in my walk with God to begin to release these fears. I still struggle today, but I now lean on a better understanding of God’s love and purpose for me. I have learned to shift my mindset from unreasonable expectations of myself, and to realize that my identity lies in Christ. I still have my moments of not knowing what to wear or thinking that I had a bad hair day, but I try not to measure my value by the absolute need for perfection in my appearance. I still prepare for presentations, performances, hosting events, but I try not to measure my value on the perceptions and opinions of others.  

Ultimately, I have come to realize that when I am absorbed in the fear of not being [fill in the blank], I miss out. I make it so much about me and about not God or others. There is hope in the freedom of God’s love for us. Within this freedom, we can find purpose and fulfill the command to love as God has loved.  

Dig Deeper |

1 Corinthians 7:23; Ephesians 2:4-9 

Action Item |

How has your walk with Christ freed you? How are you able to love others through this freedom with Christ? 

Prayer |

Dearly Heavenly Father, thank You for the freedom that You have given to us through Your Son, Jesus Christ. May we be ever mindful of Your love and sacrifice. I pray that we may be freed from our insecurities and doubts, that we may be able see ourselves through Your eyes, and that we may be able to better love others. Amen.  

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How Do We Look Forward With Hope?

New BeginningsMarci AnthonyComment
God's-word-fills-us-with-hope-sowandgather

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. Psalm 130:5

What were you hoping for on January 1, 2015 that you realized on January 1, 2016 didn’t happen? Was it something good that you were looking forward to with anticipation? Or, was it something you were dreading and it never happened? 

Are you waiting for a spouse? to get pregnant? to deliver the baby? a new job? a new house? or a new car? What about waiting to hear back from the doctor regarding your test results, or waiting to hear from a loved one that they made it home safely? There are many moments throughout our life that are spent “waiting”. If we only knew what the end result would be, the waiting might not seem so bad. What do you do when you are in the “waiting” season? 

During those times am I waiting on what the Lord has for me, or on what I want to happen? That makes a big difference in the choices I end up making. Do I want a spouse so bad that I’m willing to marry a man who isn’t a strong Christian…or even a Christian at all? Am I so sure that the news from the doctor is going to be bad that I end up planning my funeral in my head as I wait? Psalm 130:5 tells me I need to wait on the Lord and as I wait for Him, His word will give me hope. 

Hope that even if I stay single, I can be happy. “But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord – how he may please the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:32. “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving kindness and mercy.” Hosea 2:19. Can I be satisfied living my life in singleness if that is the Lord’s will? 

What if the news from the doctor isn’t good, instead it is my worst fear? His word says, “Fear thou not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will keep you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10. Will I still be able to praise Him? 

The world can only offer empty words, they may be sincere and sound nice, but they can’t sustain us. Only God’s words can fill us with hope. Hope that can sustain us through those hard times of waiting. Psalm 16:9 says, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope.” 

This year as we all anticipate what 2016 holds for us, the good, the bad, and the unknown, let’s rest in God’s word. Where we know our hope is safe because our hope is in the Lord. “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.” Psalm 39:7 

DigDeeper |

Romans 8:24-25; Galatians 5:5; Psalm 62:5 

Action Item |

Where do you look when you are waiting? Next time, go to God’s word and seek Him, find your hope as you wait on Him. 

Prayer |

Lord, You are my hope and strength. Help me to take refuge in You and Your Word where I know I will find peace and wisdom. Amen 

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Treasure God's Word - Lamentations 3:24

scripture memory, Advent 2015Sow & Gather - Tamera B.Comment

Hope Is Not A Feeling - It's Security In Christ

Romans, HebrewsSow & Gather - Tamera B.2 Comments
hope-is-security-in-christ-sowandgather-romans15

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.  NLT

As my children are growing older, I find myself holding my breath and sometimes simply “hoping for the best.”  Women face a multitude of issues that keep us in that same place of hoping. 

It is exhausting at times to Just. Keep. Hoping.  Webster’s dictionary speaks of this hope. It defines it as, “a feeling that events will turn out for the best.”  Oh my, my future outlook rests on my feelings so many times!

In His word, God speaks to us about a different kind of hoping, a hope that is not at all based on feeling or emotions.  God sized hope is a strong and confident expectation.  This hope has nothing to do with feeling, but is based on truth - the truth of God.  Oh how my soul desires to have confidence, to not simply wish but to know.

Romans 15 reminds us that the hope of God begins with Him and is received through trusting.  We trust when we give our hearts and lives to Jesus daily.  Trusting in Jesus has a result or benefit.  That benefit is joy, peace, and a confident hope.  Sit with Jesus today and trust Him!! 

Dig Deeper |

Hebrews 6; Hebrews 11

Action Item |

Think about how you have experienced joy, peace, and hope from God.  Trust Him today.

my-hope-is-in-christ-sowandgather

Prayer |

Dear Jesus, trusting you is difficult at times.  Forgive me for my lack of faith.  Give me the strength and courage to trust you in my life.  I desire to have confident hope.  I desire to be able to look at the future and smile.  Give me your hope today for all that lies ahead for me.  Amen.

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