Release {One Word 2013}

So I have to confess again, that when I began to consider the One Word challenge for 2013, I found myself faced with a word I really would not choose. Whereas with the word “Less” from last year I admit I would not choose it but could see immediately the wisdom and also a verse came to my mind clearly (John 3:30).

This time I was driving my car and chatting with Jesus (please tell me I am not the only one who talks to God in the shower and while driving) and sharing with Him how I could see that Less could be my word for two years because it really is ongoing…this business of Him being greater and me being less. Instead He seemed to impress upon me that He had a different word and it was Release. Now I know He is my Lord. He is God. But me being mortal (even with immortality seed within) turned to that invisible but present passenger and with my best “your will not mine” attitude (which is not hidden to him by the way) thought to myself, “Um no”, and said nothing. I felt the Him, impress upon me, it was His will and word. Someday I know He will speak and I will say “Yes, Lord”. It is my heart’s desire. Yet, I still am mostly a kicking and screaming kind of disciple. I still in the deep areas of my inner most being resist Him. But I am also still willing. And He takes that willingness and molds it. So here we go again. I know there is wisdom in His choice. I surrender the many words I would choose that are swimming around my head and I lean and trust on the One who really is trustworthy and knows best.

I currently have no verse that comes to mind. Does one pop into your head for me? But instead of playing Bible  roulette, as I sought to write this post, I went to the dictionary, my second favorite book and hoped for enlightenment.

Below as appeared in The Free Online Dictionary I was immediately humbled. I am not sure what is ahead for me, but only know God has something good in it. For 2013 God has revealed to me my One Word will be Release. I surrender my will to His and say…Bring It!

re·lease  (r-ls)
    tr.v. re·leased, re·leas·ing, re·leas·es
1. To set free from confinement, restraint, or bondage: released the prisoners.
2. To free from something that binds, fastens, or holds back; let go: released the balloons; released a flood of       questions.
3. To dismiss, as from a job.
4. To relieve of debt or obligation.
5. To relieve of care and suffering.
6.
        a. To issue for performance, sale, publication, or distribution.
        b. To make known or available.
7. To relinquish (a right or claim).
     n.
1. A deliverance or liberation, as from confinement, restraint, or suffering.
2. An authoritative discharge, as from an obligation or from prison.
3. An unfastening or letting go of something caught or held fast.
4. A device or catch for locking or releasing a mechanism.
5.
    a. The act or an instance of issuing something for publication, use, or distribution.
    b. Something thus released: a new release of a software program.
    c. The condition of being available, in use, or in publication: a movie in wide release.
6. Law
    a. Relinquishment to another of a right, title, or claim.
    b. The document authorizing such relinquishment.
7. Linguistics The movement of a vocal organ or organs so as to end the closure of a stop consonant.

On my desk a Scrapbook Page Stand ( I love this!) 

My Planner for 2013- I made a Page Holder
 with the verse Ephesians 2:10.

                                   

Today I am consecrating my planning calendar!
If you missed that wonderful guest post by Kim Jackson, please see this post:
Happy New Year, Friends!

May your One Word be His good and perfect word for you this year and may it lead you closer to His good and perfect will for your life while He is glorified and magnified! Amen!
A special thank you to Bonnie @ Faith Barista, Alece @ One Word 365, and Melanie @ Only A Breath who make this Bloggy World a whole lot smaller in a really BIG, wonderful way! Thank you, Ladies!

Aiming to link at these places: 

On, In and Around Mondays, 
Create With Joy,
 A Holy Experience, 
The Better Mom
lowercase letters,
Mommy Moments Blog Hop

January 10th @ Bonnie’s for the first 
Faith Barista Jam of 2013! 

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A Last Word on Less {Goodbye 2012}

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I remember the initial challenge. One. Word. A word that sets your intention for the year. I am not one who struggles to find words. Words are the chariots of fire that roll through my mind in the dark of night. Words are the fuel that propel me onward through days that become one in a never-ending story. Committing to one word for me was like asking a kangaroo to lasso a great white shark, from a boat…during a blizzard…at night. On another planet. OK, maybe I exaggerate. Just a little. I think knowing that others were setting there intention and focus through these communities helped me feel less alone. But still…when God whispered to me in that still small voice the word Less, I was really not thrilled  exactly open to the idea. Yet, I knew there was wisdom in it. Though my flesh did protest, I listened and accepted this One Word for 2012. Less. 
He must become greater; I must become less.
John 3:30
So I pondered, prayed and wrote up that post and joined my one word with many one words and became one with a whole bunch of others…and asked God to answer me the question Could Less Be Best?
Because you know I tend to be a little slow and sometimes I don’t hear so well…that is when God is talking to me anyway. Fortunately He is fairly patient with me. I mean sometimes I get a little nervous and think He might just have the earth split and swallow me, but so far He shows me grace and mercy despite my stubborn sheep tendency. He does faithfully lead me beside the still water but occasionally He will also Take Me To The River  (so I can hear him better). 

I’d like to say I have it all together after walking a year with this word looking back at me from my desk, blog and heart. Instead I recognize it is this Living Word, very real Savior and Faithful Guide who leads me to His ultimate destination His way, in His time and by means that amaze and humble me. I know not the way He goes, but I know that there is no turning back. In all of it I learn to yield, trust, submit to that which I still do not fully grasp. In this process there is transformation, reconciliation and true salvation. All being worked together without my effort, acknowledgement or often, awareness. This holy path from which I will not depart but walk at exactly the right pace, as He allows it to widen or narrow before me. 

I still have much to learn…but this year as I pondered how much more Jesus needs to reign within my heart I was led to the verses which exemplify what love looks like so well. The timeless verses of 1 Corinthians 13. The Love chapter. I realized that less of me and more of Jesus might mean that love would be magnified in me. That Jesus would reign and be revealed. 

My paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 with the help of “The Message” Bible:

Love: 
Never gives up.
Cares more for others than self. 
Doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Doesn’t strut.
Doesn’t have a swelled head.
Doesn’t force itself on others.
Isn’t always me first. 
Doesn’t fly off the handle. 
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others.
Doesn’t revel when another grovels.
Enjoys truth’s growth.
Is never offended.
Trusts in God completely. 
Always sees the good.
Does not look back. 
Perseveres til the end.

This is a portrait of Christ. He lives within you and me and ultimately He will have His own look just like Him! Oh, Lord, I have so far to go. But I do hope in you!

The pursuit of Less led me to Love and authentic Love always leads to the One who is love and that is God. (1 John 4:8)

The Women’s Bible Study I participated  in wrapped up in December, and when I missed a class the leader  made sure to save me a special “challenge” card that each lady had received. On the front there was a bible verse and theme; on the back a specific directive to follow. It was no surprise to me that I got Ephesians 5:21. Submit to One Another. On the back: “Specifically this week consider where you fit in in the body of Christ or in family relationships. We are not always #1!” Ouch. Less of me Lord, more of You. I have always struggled with the fitting in. As a matter of fact, I mostly go through life feeling pretty much like I don’t fit in! But God says we all have a place and it comes in the submitting one to another that begins with considering where we fit in, only after we submit to Him. If we are not submitted to Him, we will not be ready to submit to those we love or others in a healthy, balanced way. Selfishness  reigns and He is dethroned. But if we submit ourselves to Him, He enables us to submit to one another. He is glorified.

 “Submit to one another<sup class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: 'Charis SIL', charis, Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; text-align: start; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> out of reverence for Christ.”
Ephesians 5:21

Less of me and more of Him…
I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Still learning.
Abba, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit, as I learn to fly…
I thank you for these lessons, your patience and your promises. 

“Take these broken wings and learn to fly
 All your life 
You were only waiting for this moment to arise…”
Paul McCartney

A special thank you to Bonnie @ Faith Barista, Alece @ One Word 365, and Melanie @ Only A Breath who make this Bloggy World a whole lot smaller in a really BIG, wonderful way! Thank you, Ladies!

Calendar Consecration (A Special New Year Guest Post by Kim Jackson)

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God’s handwriting is on your calendar. 

Well, not literally. But ponder this: 

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”  (Ephesians 2:10). 

If it’s true God has plans for me,  I want to know what they are. Don’t you? 

One way to show God we’re serious about discovering His handwriting on our calendars is to have a calendar consecration. I’ve been doing this every December for a decade. It’s always meaningful and powerful. Why not join me?

Here’s how to consecrate your calendar: 


·   Set aside a block of uninterrupted time. 
·   Write Ephesians 2:10 somewhere in your new calendar. (If you use a technology-based calendar, tweak these ideas as needed.)
·  Place your calendar before God. 
· Pray. 

I pray along these lines: 
Dear Jesus: 


I praise You for giving me life. Thank You for the promise in Ephesians 2:10 that says You have good works for me to do. I want to know what those good works are and be faithful to perform them. 

I’m looking at all these pristine squares on my calendar. Soon they’ll be covered with scribbled appointments and reminders. I believe You have good works planned for me, so don’t let me miss Your handwriting on my calendar because I’ve already filled up my days with my plans.

I commit the days You have given me on this planet to Your purposes. I want to live a life that makes You smile. I want to be on Your schedule, fulfilling everything You have in mind for me to do in the minutes and months of my life. 

I ask that You would guard my heart from distractions that would hinder me from doing the good works that you prepared for me to do. Keep me aware and awake to Your Spirit’s promptings. 

Jesus, if I run ahead or behind of Your perfect plan, I claim the promise of Romans 8:28 that even in my missteps, You will work all things together for good. 
Please teach me what it means to“number my days that I may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Jesus, empower me by Your Spirit to live my life with my eyes focused on what matters to You. 

Lord, if You tarry and I am still walking this earth on January 1, 2014, may I be able to look back over the filled-in pages of this calendar and rejoice, knowing that I have lived well for Your glory. 

I love You, 

Kim

I want to give Kim a very special thanks and shout out for allowing me to share her writing here today! My prayer is that you will be as blessed as I was when I read her Calendar Consecration Post. She has been officially inducted as an Honorary Member into the Inspiring Women Series based on this wonderful New Year Post which will help us all start and end our 2013 well. 
  

Kim Jackson is a writer, speaker and advocate for homeless elderly in Romania. Her Wow Dee Wow blog, from which this post is used with permission, is a weekly Brag on God Blog. Follow links within her blog to learn more about her work, Elder Orphan Care, and her speaking ministry,Kimmunicator.!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js”;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,”script”,”twitter-wjs”);









Missional WomenBlog Post Hop



Finding God In The Hobbit by Jim Ware {Book Review}

If I had to choose one word to describe Jim Ware’s “Finding God In The Hobbit”, I would have to say the word that fits best would be delightful. As the movie “The Hobbit”  which was released earlier this month claims to be “An Unexpected Journey” so I found this read to be wonderfully unpredictable in conclusions and insights along the spiritual path.
Each chapter brings us a portion of the journey from J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic tale of adventure. Mr. Ware brings us to a pivotal moment of the tale and whets the appetite even to know more about Bilbo, Middle Earth, dragons, Hobbits, Elves and the Shire. He leads us along a perilous road and in the end right into the light of a serendipitous moment, and the undeniable “Ah – ha!” of God’s permeation, power and presence throughout the story. I found myself continuously surprised and delighted by the ultimate “reflection” and conclusion or insight that was shared. I have often appreciated the ability of this story to convey such powerful truths- the reality of good and evil, the beauty of divine providence and the impact  and influence people have on one another. But the fact is I loved that each of the short chapters had a delightful insight or conclusion I had not so keenly perceived myself as is presented in this book. It is like going off on a mini adventure with the author to see what one might see…your own unexpected journey, so to speak. I also appreciated the perceptive peeks into the characters- as we are introduced to them again or for the first time.  You do not have to have read The Hobbit to enjoy what is offered in this rich treasure.
Full of quotable quotes (which I am a fan of for sure!), fresh insights on revealed truths, encouragement, wisdom and inspiration throughout, I would encourage you to read this book in January as a start to the new year. If you are a fan of The Hobbit, I believe you will find it a refreshing endeavor. If you have not read the Hobbit, you will appreciate it just the same, but may come away with a strong desire to read the original adventure for yourself!
I would say this has to be my one of my very  favorite books from my 2012 reading! Perfect way to end the year or start the next!
I received this book for free for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Thank you Tyndale for the opportunity!

Tyndale Blog Network

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Not A Christmas Fairy Tale {but maybe a tangled tongue tale}

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The holidays. 
You prepare, anticipate, agonize the details and hope all will go smoothly on the day all come together to celebrate. Often we see people we may not see all year, but through family or friendship we find ourselves in their company once, may be twice a year. Although we love our family, there may be one or two people who just challenge us. Like nails on a chalkboard, they offer the opportunity to smile and not cringe, despite the level of discomfort they bring us. Well, this is a story about one of these. Bear with me if you will, and I will share a bit of holiday pain, which may turn out to provide a lesson for you as it did me. Unless of course you are already so pious. If so, move along, move along. I am here to be authentic, and those of you who know me already know, sometimes it just ain’t pretty. But God can work with the mess of me. And you too… if you will allow Him.
As we drove home from visiting family this Christmas, the words I wanted to speak about a certain person were swirling around my mind just waiting for the opportunity to emerge. I knew these words would not have passed the Ephesians (4:29) or Philippians (4:8) litmus test for proper conversation, so I tried to keep my tongue. You know that thing behind the lips that speaks murderously and betrays the heart. Our words reveal our heart AND furthermore, if it is in the mind, it is as good as said aloud. However, this is one of those things that if it’s not said you can confess and deal with it discreetly with God before you damage and poison those around you. Unfortunately, I was not wise with my tongue and I went ahead and gushed forth my complaints about the person before my family. I was stopped when my daughter called me out. I knew she was spot on, too, especially after my defensive response was spoken. The fact was, even if what I said had some validity, it was not loving. It was not kind. It certainly was not gracious, to the person spoken of nor to my family, who had to hear it. Oh, I was guilty as charged and I did not like it…I knew I had chosen poorly and sinned. My tongue had turned against me and now I was tangling with my own child over it!
 I was reminded this holiday that God loves those who I might otherwise find rude, annoying, difficult or just plain mean. I know this, already, right? Yet apparently I needed yet another reminder. 
How about you? Can you think of anyone for whom you can relate to what I am saying?
God has called me to a life of prayer, not complaining about the un – lovliness of others. He has called me to kindness, not criticism. Even, if at first glance it appears justifiable. Jesus spoke the truth, in love.The truth should not be spoken, when it is not laced with grace, but instead accusing attitude and critical spirit.
One of the ways I glorify God is by sacrificing my preferences for His, through yielding my will concerning others. There is no greater challenge to the core of my Christian faith than when I say not my will but Yours, Lord. This is the first and final battle in the walk of faith. It does not come easy, but it has already been won, for we who believe.
What is God’s will for me concerning this person? Firstto recognize that despite my annoyance with the person, that Jesus loves them completely and is pleading for them before the Father. He wills that they should not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus calls me his friend. Friendship requires humility, grace and submission. I must consider that my “friend” Jesus,  laid down His life that I might not only gain eternity but learn to live life with a holy order, rising above petty annoyances which distract me from His divine purposes and  plans. SecondlyI need to pray for this particular family member and ask God to change my heart attitude, which is wrong, and let God deal with it through the intimate time we share in holy conversation. When I do this He may lead me to pray more specifically, once I get beyond the superficial, raw prayers like:
“I confess I can’t even stand this person, Lord…but you tell me to pray for others and because I love and esteem your will more than my own – or at least desire to- I confess my lack of love and likeness to you and ask you to allow me to pray with your heart and mind for this person, teach me your ways, Lord.”
Yes, I really sometimes start there. I’m honest with God because he already knows my yuckiness. Now you know. Aren’t you lucky! If you can’t be real with God, dear one, I fear you are not real with anyone. And that is much worse than just being a little rough around the edges. He knows all, friend. Keep it real with Him. He will take care of the rest!
We talk in cliches all through the season.
The fact is that Christ came that lives would be transformed, and that we would be born into a Kingdom of Righteousness, one heart at a time. 
By His Grace, for His Glory.
Amen.
PS: On a side note I apologized and was forgiven by my family! My daughter patted me on the shoulder after I reluctantly admitted my sin and told me so.
God is good. 

Originally shared on December 26th, 2011 as A Twisted Tongue Tale.

*This post is the final of The 12 Days of Blog Posts, Weekends and Wednesdays in December!*

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