A Word, Not A Resolution


speak words

A few years ago, my friend Gennie* challenged our Ladies Bible Study group to do something different than make resolutions for the New Year. She suggested we focus on a single word for the year, a word that would guide us; a word God would lay on our hearts. Within moments God gave me that word – perspective. I prayed and worked on having God’s perspective in all matters, and I think the challenge made a positive difference that year. I also selected a verse to focus on.

I repeated that challenge again last year, and selected the word persevere and  Hebrews 12:1 was my guiding verse for 2015. When I selected the word persevere I did not know what challenges 2015 would bring to my family. We had to persevere through many difficulties, including a move that took us more than 1000 miles away from dear family and friends.

This week I’ve been reflecting on 2015 and have also been planning for 2016. I’ve prayed that God would lay a word and verse on my heart to prepare me for the coming year. That word is “roots.” We’re in a new city, and it’s time to make that city home. We need to set down new roots so we can flourish, and contribute. My verse for the year is Jeremiah 17:7-8:

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Whatever 2016 brings my way, I will trust in the Lord and remain confident that he will work to help me bring glory and honor to Him.

A personal word for the year is not a unique concept. Several bloggers have used the same technique and their posts further explain the value of this exercise:

Focusing on a theme, or word, is important and helpful because it gives us a clear purpose and direction. If we remain focused on what God has in mind for us we remember our work and trails are for God’s glory, and we don’t spin our wheels focusing on something that doesn’t matter. It also puts the focus of our life back on God and reminds us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Focusing on what God has planned for us reminds us that we are not alone in the journey; He is constantly by our side.

Finally, focusing on a word affects your thoughts. Frank Outlaw wrote:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

If this exercise interests you, I’ve listed a few suggestions below. However, I believe God will give you your word, if you only ask Him.

Personal Word Ideas

Adapt Courage Empower Integrity Optimism Shine
Adventure Create Faith Invest Organize Simplify
Appreciate Curious Fearless Joy Peace Soar
Balance Dare Finish Learn Persistence Thrive
Believe Declutter Focus Listen Possibility Transform
Brave Diligence Generous Live Purpose Truth
Commit Direction Grace Love Rebuild Unstoppable
Confidence Discover Growth Minimize Risk Write
Connect Embrace Health More Sacrifice Yield

*Gennie’s blog is “journey to the hills.com.” I highly recommend it.

May your 2016 be productive and richly blessed.

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: Google Images

rock words

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A Gift for Jesus


7017522-holiday-gift-present-box-red-tape-ribbon-christmasSeveral years ago my family started a new Christmas tradition. Each of us writes a letter to Jesus, telling Him what we will do for Him in the coming year. It is our gift to Christ. We put those letters in a beautiful box and place the box under the tree after Christmas Eve Services.

After the presents are opened on Christmas morning, that box remains under the tree.  Sometimes we have guests over, and they remark on the unopened box. This is an opportunity to share our faith.

Those letters stay in that box until we begin decorating for Christmas the next year. We can then look at our letters and see if we met our goals in how we were going to serve Christ during the year.

This exercise has been a great way to help my children understand the great gift of Jesus, and the real meaning of Christmas. It also helps me to focus my service for Christ.

Matthew 2:11

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Have a blessed Christmas Season.

The Season Of Light


john-8-12

At this time of year I look fondly at Christmas memories, my heritage, and holiday expectations. There are so many traditions to enjoy, including food, enjoying certain activities, and decorating our homes with lights. Both a tradition and expectation are the lights we see at this time of year. Our homes, businesses, and even the streets shine brightly with millions of white and colored lights. We enjoy decorating our homes and driving around to look at all the light displays. Why do we have such a fascination with light?

I won’t attempt to answer this question from a scientific perspective, although I think we are probably wired to be interested in light. I believe our love of light is explained within the pages of our Holy Scriptures.

Light is a common metaphor for God throughout the Bible. The first thing God created was light (Genesis 1:3) and He separated light from the darkness (Genesis 1:4). Interestingly, He created light before He made the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day (Genesis 1:14-16). Isaiah 9:1-7 predicts the birth of our Savior, calling Him a great light.  As Jesus was born He was called light (Matthew 4:16 and John 1:5). Jesus told us He is the light of the world (John 8:12 and John 12:46) and we’re also told that God is light (1 John 1:5). More exciting is that we are children of God; therefore we are children of light (Ephesians 5:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:5). At the end of the Bible God tells us Jesus will be the light for the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:23).

There are more references in Scripture to light than are practical to post, but I think you get the idea. Jesus is light. Therefore decorating with light is fitting, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

James 1:17

…Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights…

May your Christmas be richly blessed by the Light of the World.

 

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images

50+ Reasons I’m Thankful For My Husband


wedding (1)

My husband and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary today. I thought it fitting to reblog my post from our 18th anniversary, with a few changes. My prayer is your marriage is as richly blessed as ours is.

50+ Reasons I’m Thankful for My Husband 

Twenty years ago I said “I do” to the most wonderful man I have ever met. I would do it all over again. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, joys and heart breaks, but our love and faith in God has sustained us. Today, I thought I would let you know why I love my husband so much. I pray blessings on your marriage, as you read about mine.

  1. I’m grateful he shares my faith in Jesus Christ.
  2. I am grateful to have a teammate as we face the challenges of life together.
  3. And reminisce over the life we have built together.
  4. I’m grateful he chose me to be his wife.
  5. I’m grateful he is an excellent father.
  6. And provider.
  7. And comforter.
  8. I’m grateful he’s good at things I’m not, like fixing computers and knowing what to do with the cars.
  9. I’m grateful he shares my love of cooking, and wine.
  10. And travel, and adventure.
  11. We love the same music.
  12. I’m grateful he maintains a few of his own interests, and lets me have a few of mine. It keeps life interesting.
  13. He fretted over me when I was pregnant and our children were born.
  14. He helped change the diapers.
  15. And care for the kids when they were little.
  16. He appreciates and defends my role as a mom.
  17. He encourages me.
  18. His sense of humor.
  19. His service to our country.
  20. He’s a great role model.
  21. He helps with the laundry and dishes.
  22. He helps the kids with homework.
  23.  He’s a human jungle gym for the kids.
  24. He’s romantic.
  25. He spoils me.
  26. He always holds the door for a lady, not just me.
  27.  He’s a man of integrity.
  28. He doesn’t complain.
  29. He handles the yuckies in our house.
  30. He pumps the gas for me.
  31. His willingness to sacrifice.
  32. He knows how to talk to anyone.
  33. He doesn’t mind when I’m home for the night, comfortable and don’t look all that great.
  34. He volunteered to teach our son to drive.
  35. His willingness and encouragement to try new things.
  36. His loyalty (even to a losing sports team).
  37. That he calls me a couple times a day just to check on me.
  38. He always puts up the Christmas lights.
  39. And takes us to see fireworks (that can be metaphorical).
  40. He’s the most patient person I know.
  41. He supports me and my goals.
  42. He respects and loves his parents.
  43. And puts up with my family.
  44. Because he always remember special days, like today.
  45. Because he rubs my feet after a tough day.
  46. Because he will go shopping with me.
  47. And he shops for me; he really puts thought into gifts.
  48. The house is decorated pretty much the way I wanted it.
  49. So many little things he does that make me feel loved.
  50. I would rather be with him than anyone else, even if we aren’t doing anything.
  51. And because of things I won’t post on a public list. 

Ephesians 5:31

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

May your marriage be richly blessed.

Scripture: openbible.info