Planting Seeds with Anne Wilson

Trusting God to Bring About the Harvest

Anne Wilson, a contemporary Christian music artist, said, “Everything I’ve been taught as a little girl is really true.”

In a recent interview with Family Life Radio, Anne shared how her parents planted seeds of faith in her life from a young age. They raised her in a Christian home and instilled Christian values in her. But, it wasn’t until seventh grade that Anne had a personal encounter with Jesus that changed her life forever. Looking back, she realized “God had used all of those church services and Sunday Sermons to kind of build me this deep foundation of knowledge and His Word and who He is.”

Planting seeds of faith in the lives of others is an important part of your faith journey. You are called to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and to help others grow in their knowledge of Him. But what happens when those seeds don’t seem to take root? When it feels like your efforts are in vain and you’re not seeing the results you hoped for?

Let Anne’s story encourage you that even if you don’t see the results of your efforts immediately, God can still use them in ways that you may not even realize. In Matthew 13:3-9, Jesus tells the parable of the sower, where a farmer goes out to sow seed. Some of the seeds fall on rocky ground or among thorns and are unable to grow, but some fall on good soil and produce a crop. Jesus shared this story to emphasize not everyone may initially receive the message of the Gospel, but it’s important to keep planting seeds of faith, trusting that God will bring about the harvest in His own time.

Maybe you’re a parent who’s struggling to instill Christian values in your children. You take them to church, you pray with them and you try to live out your faith in front of them, but it feels like they’re just not getting it. Don’t give up hope! In Galatians 6:9, we are reminded, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (ESV). Keep sowing those seeds of faith and trust that God will bring about a harvest in His own time.

Anne Wilson

Anne’s song ” Sunday Sermons” encourages people to keep planting seeds of faith in the lives of others, even if they don’t seem to be listening or accepting. The song is a reminder that sometimes it takes time for the seeds you plant to grow and that you may not see the results of your efforts for many years.

In 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, the Apostle Paul writes, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (ESV). Your job is to plant and water the seeds of faith, but it’s ultimately up to God to bring about the growth. Anne said, “You’re actually planting seeds in their walk. And I believe that they’re going to come back to that some day and find Jesus in their own way.”

But what about our own faith journey? Have you ever felt like you’re not growing spiritually? Maybe you’ve been going to church for years, but you don’t feel like you’re learning anything new. It’s important to remember that spiritual growth is a process and that it takes time. In 2 Peter 3:18, we are encouraged to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (ESV). This growth comes through reading and studying God’s Word, prayer and fellowship with other believers.

Anne said, “It’s about having a personal relationship with Jesus.” Going to church and listening to sermons can help build our knowledge of God, but it’s not enough. We need to take the time to get to know Him on a personal level. In John 14:6, Jesus tells us, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (ESV). He is the only way to have a personal relationship with God. You must believe in Him and accept Him as your Savior.

Anne Wilson

Anne had gone to church her whole life, but it wasn’t until seventh grade that she had a personal encounter with Jesus. She realized that all those years of going to church had helped build a foundation of knowledge in her, but it wasn’t until she had a personal relationship with Jesus that everything came together. We can’t rely solely on our knowledge of God to have a true relationship with Him. We must also spend time with Him, praying and listening to His voice.

So, what can we do to continue planting seeds of faith in our own lives and in the lives of others? We can stay committed to attending church, reading and studying God’s word and spending time in prayer. We can also look for opportunities to share the Gospel with others and to serve those in need. In doing so, we not only plant seeds of faith in the lives of others, but we also deepen our own faith and grow closer to God.

As you choose to plant seeds of faith in your life and into the lives of others, you become a light to others and help them grow in their faith as well. As it says in Matthew 5:16, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (ESV).

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Family Life Radio is listener supported. Those who listen give to make the music and content possible to shine God’s love, peace and encouragement into hearts, revealing truths that direct people in the way they should go.

If you feel led to give a gift today to help others draw strength, gain wisdom and experience peace through Family Life Radio click here.

Stop Holding Your Breath

Stop Holding Your Breath

Shanna D. Gregor

 

Winter is not my favorite season; it never has been. I crave sunshine and would rather it be 110 degrees or more, than to drop below 70 degrees. And whether I like a season or not, I believe God created seasons on the earth to reflect the seasons of our hearts.

Thomas Wentworth Higginson wrote, “How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!”

And Anne Bradstreet said, “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

Spiritual winters, at least for me, are tied to storms in my life and a season of loss.

Job 36:33 says we feel God’s presence in the storm (TLB).

Job 37:1 says, “Whenever this happens, my heart stops— I’m stunned, I can’t catch my breath” (MSG).

Sometimes storms knock the wind out of you and can bring you to your knees in a way that you just forget to breathe.

January 4, 2022, my mother died from COVID. It was unexpected and quick. And immediately an ice storm arose in my soul.

The tempest [storm] comes out from its chamber,

    the cold from the driving winds.

The breath of God produces ice,

    and the broad waters become frozen (Job 37:9-10 NIV).

Something about those verses is comforting to me. In the wake of her death, the pain and shock rested on my chest – a heavy numbness that felt as big and solid as an iceberg. Some days I would catch myself holding my breath against the bitterness of this spiritual cold winter.

Death is shocking because we weren’t created to die. I knew at some point my mother would go to Heaven, but her father lived to be 95, so I had an expectation for so much more time on earth with her, since she was only 75. My soul felt severed. I didn’t feel connected to anything or anyone. I didn’t feel any less spiritual or less loved by God, but I didn’t feel close to Him.

It was as if a frigid winter snow had fallen on my heart and then smothered me with a driving hard ice storm that hardened over the top of it.

I wanted to be still, to be quiet and let the chill overtake me.

The enemy tried to tell me that I was disconnected from God, that He wasn’t there, but I knew He was. Then more lies … he tried to twist it into a performance issue, condemning me with thoughts that I wasn’t praying like I should, that I wasn’t reading my Bible or participating in church.

Wisdom from a friend

As I shared my feelings and thoughts with a good friend, she comforted me with her words of understanding. “It’s like a dark winter in your spirit,” she said. “And winter isn’t bad. Sometimes we don’t like the lingering cold, the messy snow or the lingering dark clouds that bring days or weeks of no sunlight. But it’s not bad,” she said again. It’s a season and every season serves a purpose.

Under the blanket of spiritual coldness, God was doing something. I couldn’t see it; I definitely didn’t feel it, but I had to trust that in my stillness, things were happening that would prepare me for the next season – a season of new; a season of fruitfulness in my spirit.

If you’re going through a winter season in your soul, take a moment and reframe your view.

Just like the natural winter season, a spiritual winter is not permanent, but a time of preparation for spiritual spring, where growth, renewal and revival can occur.

Max Lucado encouraged, “Reframe the way you see this season of winter. Recast the struggle for what it is, an opportunity for God to do again what He does best: flip a story on its head and resurrect life out of death.”

This past week, my husband, Blaine looked out our back window. It’s an empty lot with a few trees and shrubs. In the winter, all I see is a bleak canvas with ice cold sky, dead looking grass and naked trees. But he said, “I love this time of year because I can look out there and immediately see the red cardinals against the gray backdrop of winter.”

God is at work in all the seasons of our lives. It just seems harder to see Him at work sometimes in the winter seasons.

8 Tools You Can Use to reframe your view of the season you’re in:

  1. Identity the source.

For most, the storm comes after some type of loss. More than 40 different losses people may experience have been identified. My loss personal, and I was grieving.

      2. Become aware of your view.

I was standing in a place of isolation; a place I didn’t recognize. I had known loss, but every loss is different. I couldn’t really see or feel anything.

      3. Examine your thoughts and consider the voice.

At some point, I was able to think / breathe again. As I examined my thoughts, I realized some thoughts were mine, some were the Word of God (brought to my remembrance) and some were lies, trying to keep me isolated and alone.

      4. Realize God is there no matter what you feel.

By faith and remembering what God had brought me through in other dark winter seasons of my life, I KNEW He was there – with me in my pain.

      5. Ask for what you need.

I needed help. I needed someone to talk to. Someone who loved me but would tell me the truth.

Now, it’s important to also know that some people just can’t help you, no matter how much they love you and that’s okay. So many close to me were also under the ice.

      6. Accept help from those you trust.

I slowly began to thaw with the words of my friend, reminding me of the things I once knew but seemed to have forgotten while frozen.

      7. Believe God is bringing you through, and spring is on the way.

Listen for His Good News (two words for this season – SURRENDER and GRATITUDE). Blessings rise through the melting ice like a snow orchid.

For me, the news of a sweet baby grandbaby girl coming later that year began to thaw me out as I worked through the layers of grief.

      8. Begin to move in faith (for a 360 view) and you’ll start to see the signs of growth and life.

Take baby steps if you need to but move forward. You may not see results, but they are coming. Trust God is at work underneath it all, working all things for you good.

8 tools to reframe your view

 

Shanna D. Gregor

Editorial Content Manager, Family Life Radio

Nothing More Powerful

Pulling others from the brink of death with the hope of Jesus

by Evan Carlson, CEO & President

What is life without hope? Hope gives us something to look forward to, something to strive for and something to cling to when things are dark.

When you lose hope, like Daniel had, life can feel pointless – even driving a person to consider ending their life. Daniel lost his job, then his family. He felt that he’d lost control of his whole life.

In this dark time, Daniel says, “The devil was trying to tell me that if I committed suicide then I’d be in control one more time.”

God worked a miracle when Daniel couldn’t get his radio to tune in to the country station. Instead, the Family Life Radio station in Albuquerque, New Mexico, kept breaking in.

Daniel's Story

Thanks to the support of friends like you, Family Life Radio was on the air ready for Daniel to hear. And God used it powerfully to save Daniel’s life! Read more of Daniel’s story here.

That’s why I am so thankful for you. Because your support of Family Life Radio broadcasts the hope of Christ across the nation through powerful messages, warm conversations and inspirational music.

Jesus is the only source of true and lasting hope – and you’re sharing that hope with so many people who need it, including Daniel!

So thank you for your partnership. And thank you for continuing to share hope. You are a blessing to me – and to all those in your community and beyond who you’re reaching with the hope of Jesus.

Evan Carlson, CEO & President

The Importance of Memorial Day

Importance of Memorial Day

by Sarah Nichols

Growing up, camping made the top of my list as some of my favorite family vacations — and my husband’s too. His family traveled to the mountains every Memorial Day for a four-day weekend full of wiffle ball games, fishing and campfires. I was thrilled to receive an invitation to this tradition about a year after we started dating.

I know this wasn’t just their tradition; Memorial Day is a popular camping weekend. Sometimes you have to book a campsite months in advance. Or, if you prefer to camp in remote places like my father-in-law, you must trek up the mountains days before the holiday weekend and reserve your spot by setting up camp. For non-campers, Memorial Day is a time when community pools open, and a sign summer has begun.

I learned about Memorial Day years ago, as a child behind a desk, under fluorescent lighting in my school room. But it wasn’t until we became a military family that I understood the heaviness of the long weekend. After all, it’s a day to honor American Veterans who sacrificed their lives for our nation.

First married, I worked as a secretary at a pediatric center. During my time there, I checked in countless numbers of kids. Some were sick, and some were there for routine well-child checks. I remember a set of twins, just babies. As I reviewed paperwork and protocols with their mom, I learned their dad, while away at war, had just died.

My heart broke for this family I didn’t know, but there was a naivety. I didn’t fully grasp the sacrifice military members and their loved ones made every day. I never stopped to think about the selfless acts men and women were doing every moment of every day to ensure our nation’s security.    

A year and a half later, I was pregnant with our first child, and my husband joined the Air Force. I was no longer naive, just proud and maybe a little fearful. It was important to me that our kids felt that same pride I did, and learned to appreciate those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

I spent over a decade as a military spouse, and when we lived on base, it was easy to do this. Music greeted us throughout the base three times a day. Before the sun rose, it began with Reveille, signaling the start of the duty day. Around dinnertime, we heard Retreat, followed by the national anthem.

In our midwest backyard on Tinker Air Force Base, our kids learned from a young age to stop what they were doing and face the music. A few hours after the Star-Bangled Banner and the sun had set, the day would end with one last song, Taps. It indicated the day was over and reminded us of the service members who died and paid the ultimate price.

Teaching my children the importance of Memorial Day started with the songs that flowed through our cookie-cutter base housing. They quickly learned to place their little hands over their hearts for the national anthem.

When they were a little older, we were stationed just outside D.C. I’ll never forget taking them to the Arlington National Cemetery, and seeing rows and rows of loved ones whose lives were lost. Or the many memorials throughout the city, covered with inscriptions of names representing them.

We haven’t lived on a base in years, but our family took a trip last fall and stayed at a Navy Base on Coronado Island. Even during vacation mode in the middle of barbequing on the beach, when the national anthem started to play at five o’clock, the kids stopped and faced the music, as did the neighboring families also on vacation.

We didn’t know these people, but we participated in this solem act of respect and thankfulness together. And I appreciated the sentiment.

Not all of us have served in the military or personally know someone who gave their life for our country. Regardless, it’s essential to teach our children the importance of Memorial Day.

3 Ways to Teach Your Children the Importance of Memorial Day

  1. Talk to your children about Memorial Day. Consider those who paid the ultimate sacrifice throughout Memorial weekend and the day itself. Turn these conversations into prayers for the service members’ families.
  2. Visit a local Veterans cemetery or war memorial and pay tribute. Decorate soldiers’ graves with flowers and flags. (At the Arlington National Cemetery, they have a wreath-laying ceremony. We didn’t get to attend this, but participating would be an honor if we ever find ourselves back in the area on Memorial Day.)
  3. Celebrate intentionally. Whether you are attending a parade, camping or welcoming summer at your community pool, be sure to honor those who have protected our country with their very lives. Share a moment of silence or sing a song.

Enjoy your weekend, but most importantly, remember the fallen and their families, lifting them and our country up in prayer.

Sarah Nichols

 

Sarah Nichols is a writer who loves encouraging women by sharing hope-filled stories that point others to Jesus. She lives in Tucson, AZ, with her husband and four kids. You can find more from Sarah at sarahnicholswrites.com

God’s Comfort in the Midst of Pain and Loss

Anne Wilson talks about God’s how Christian music helps

Anne Wilson, a contemporary Christian music artist, understands firsthand the power of music in times of grief and loss. In an interview with Family Life Radio, she shared her personal story of finding comfort in a song by Mercy Me after her brother’s tragic death in 2017.

Two or three days after his car accident, as Anne and her family were on the way to look at the truck and see the damage, they stopped to get a drink at fast food restaurant. It was then she says, they turned on Christian radio for the first time since he had passed away. Anne said, “We heard a song. It was by Mercy Me. We had never heard it before, and that was our family’s moment of ‘WOW!’”

The perfect song at the right time became the moment in which Anne and her family let go of their anger and frustration. “We decided to just fully commit ourselves to the Lord and the plans He had with this loss,” Anne explained. “Christian radio has such a big impact on people. There’s going to be these moments where people are going to hear a song. It hits them and speaks to them at the perfect moment.”

Music has the ability to touch our souls and speak to us in ways that words alone cannot.

As a Christ follower, your faith journey can be filled with moments of joy and pain. Whether you are struggling with doubts, navigating trauma or seeking a deeper connection with God, it is important to remember that you are not alone. By focusing on music and an intentional pursuit of God, you can find comfort, healing and renewed faith in even the most difficult of circumstances.

Through music, we can offer our praise and worship to God and find comfort and peace in His presence, especially in those times when we feel disconnected from God or are struggling with faith and trauma. In those particular moments, Anne suggests the intentional pursuit of God as a way to find our way back to Him. In the interview, she shared, “You have to also intentionally spend time with him … And if I’m feeling disconnected or I’m struggling through faith or whatever it is, I’m like, Lord, would you help my heart to understand more? Would you help me to understand what it is that I’m walking through? And then I always find out, by the end of the time with Him, my heart has been softened by Him, and I’m back in connection with Him.”

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (ESV). Through prayer, meditation and reading the Bible, we can intentionally seek God’s presence and guidance in our lives. In Psalm 63:1-8, David writes, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water … My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night” (ESV).

God is always present and willing to meet you where you are, even in moments of doubt or frustration. Anne reminds us “it’s not about a proper prayer or coming to Him in a certain way at a certain time. It’s a conversation just like you would with any other person. It’s having a conversation with God.”

God desires a personal relationship with you, one that is built on honesty, vulnerability and genuine conversation. In Psalm 34:18, the psalmist writes, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (ESV). God meets you in your brokenness and offers you comfort and healing.

Jesus invites you to come to Him with your burdens, saying, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (ESV).

Your pursuit of God and intentional relationship with Him could be a source of inspiration and comfort for others who may be struggling. When you feel overwhelmed, you can turn to God and find rest in His loving arms.

Want more? Check out our on demand resources

Go!

—–

Family Life Radio is listener supported. Those who listen give to make the music and content possible to shine God’s love, peace and encouragement into hearts, revealing truths that direct people in the way they should go.

If you feel led to give a gift today to help others draw strength, gain wisdom and experience peace through Family Life Radio click here.