The Power of a Word


power of word

 

In 2014, my good friend Gennie* challenged me to select a word (and a verse) to focus on for the year, a word God would lay on my heart. 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 difference. I repeated that challenge again this year and selected the word perseverance; Hebrews 12:1 is my verse for 2015.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

I chose the word because perseverance is more than determination. It means “a steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose…especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.” It also means “continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.” God is full of grace and love – He shows it constantly. Grammatically, perseverance is noun, but to me, it’s a verb. It’s a word that requires action. It means to constantly remain focused on the plan God has for me, and for me to work toward achieving that plan.

My verse for the year, Hebrews 12:1, reminds me that my brothers and sisters in Christ are available to support and encourage me, if I need it. One of the beautiful benefits of fellowship is knowing you can go to your brothers and sisters for prayer. We encourage each other.

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.”

 The year is still young. You can pick a word or a theme for your year, one that will bring you closer to God. It will give you spiritual refreshment, strength, and peace, and give Him glory.

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

 

Blessings on your day.

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images

Confidence


confidence

Sometimes I struggle with being confident in my abilities, despite recognition and accolades about jobs well done. Sometimes I compare my successes with the successes of others. Perhaps you do too. God has given each of us gifts and talents (Romans 12:6-8), and we know He is with us always (Matthew 28:20). So why do we often lack confidence?

I ran across a passage in the Book of Job that holds a key to that answer – surrender. It seems counterintuitive to surrender ourselves, but God is the one who gives us strength, hope and renewal.

 Job 11:13-19 (CEV)

Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer,
and give up your sins—even those you do in secret.
Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless.
Your troubles will go away like water beneath a bridge,
and your darkest night will be brighter than noon.
You will rest safe and secure, filled with hope and emptied of worry.
You will sleep without fear and be greatly respected.

Surrendering to God is a Christian concept I struggle with. How do I let go and give it all to God? The word surrender is associated with the military idea of giving up and being taken prisoner, but is that all that the word means? I turned to the dictionary and found an additional definition “to yield or resign and office or privilege in favor of another” (dictionary.com). When we surrender, or yield, to God we are placing control of the problems in the hands of the one infinitely more qualified to handle all matters. It’s so hard to let go and let God handle our situations, but we must remember He is the only one who is qualified to bring about the right solution.

As I pray for the courage to surrender every problem to God, I feel a renewed sense of confidence in the ability to handle various situations because I’m not dealing with them alone. I have the infinite power of God by my side in everything I do. If I let Him take control, the outcome to every problem is sure to be the right one.

Blessings on your day.

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: Google Images

 

 

STONE JOURNEY


It’s good to be back to my blog after a devastating hard drive crash. It’s just amazing how we come to rely on electronics. When those electronics are absent, we feel totally hopeless. But we can emerge stronger than before. This brings me to a book recommendation.

One of my dearest friends has just published her children’s book. It’s about feeling hopeless. For those who have “tweens” I highly recommend it.

stone journey

STONE JOURNEY STORY SYNOPSIS:

“There isn’t a more hopeless, lonely or panicked feeling than being lost. And we all get lost, in one way or another, sometime in our lives.” These are the words of 14-year old Cheyenne, describing her struggle to survive in the wilderness when she becomes separated from her dad and brother while on a family trip to Yellowstone National Park.
But Cheyenne’s struggles go beyond the daunting physical challenges that nature has in store for her: she’s buckling under the guilt that’s weighed heavily upon her since her mother’s accident. And, since she’s given up on God, it seems that she literally doesn’t have a prayer. Somewhere, in all the darkness and difficulties, though, Cheyenne discovers a path that takes her on the journey that we all must take at some point in our lives… the time when each of us suddenly finds that we’ve somehow gotten lost, and wonder if (and how) we can ever find out way back home again.”

http://www.amazon.com/Stone-Journey-ebook/dp/B00BVWNK6W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1373835432&sr=1-1&keywords=Stone+Journey


two-wolves

One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’

The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’

A Tale of Two Wolves

Carrots, Eggs and Coffee


A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up; she was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘ Tell me what you see.’

‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, mother?’

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean,
when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

-Author Unknown

coffee2

 

The Butterfly’s Struggle


Emerging monarch

Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.

The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!

The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.

But neither happened!

The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly…

As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.

As you go through school, and life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.

-Author Unknown