My “One Word” and Scriptures for 2016

Several years ago I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions because they don’t work anyway; 1/3 of resolutions don’t make it past January because of no commitment.

Resolutions lack a foundation of meaning. Life Hacks’ article on resolutions by Steve Erry says that:

“What you need is something more fundamental, more central and more important to you. What you need is something that comes from the inside, something that’s based on what’s important and what matters to you. That’s the only way to get behind it, have confidence in it and keep the motivation and commitment going.”
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That is why before the beginning of each year, I pray to God for the coming year, for His wisdom, guidance, protection, and blessing over me, my family, our loved ones, the U.S. and Israel.

Several years ago I heard about asking God for a theme or a “one word” for the year. I also pray to ask God for a meaningful Scripture and a song that will carry me through the year.

In December 2015, I attended iBloom‘s Planning Virtual Retreat. It was a wonderful conference that filled me up, encouraged and refreshed me. During team member/speaker Betsy Ringer‘s session on getting a new “theme” for the year, she allowed time for everyone attending to pray to get quiet before God and ask Him for the theme.

While praying, I had a vision from the Lord  A vision is not some woo-woo, out-there-in-left-field, New Agey thing (although they can be if you’re not a true Christian and it doesn’t line up with God’s word). A vision is part of the gift of prophecy, which is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You can learn more about these gifts in Lester Sumrall’s book at Amazon, Gifts and Ministries of the Holy Spirit.

I describe visions as like a running picture (like a movie) in your head. Your eyes are open physically but you see it with your spirit.

deer on mountain
deer on mountain

In my mind as I prayed, I saw a picture of a female deer in a grassy field in the woods by a creek. The waters were graceful and peaceful, flowing gently. 

The doe was eating the green grass, and lifted her head. She looked around her alertly,watchful, and listening, with her large, gentle brown eyes. That was it.

I immediately felt impressed that my “one word” for 2016 was “DEER.”

Then I believe God gave me an acronym for it:

D- Do what God says.

E – Each morning God has new mercies, new things for me. (Isaiah 43:19)

E – Enter the land.

R – Rinse and Repeat; Renew. 

When I shared about the picture I received during the prayer time in the chat room, Betsy immediate typed that before iBloom’s virtual retreat began, God had given her a Scripture:

“The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as sure-footed as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:19, NLT)

I believe this is my Scripture for 2016, as well as Psalm 23, specifically verses 2 and 3:

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

Hinds' Feet on High Places

I felt led to re-read Hannah Hurnard’s book, a gift given to me by my friend Wendi and which I read years ago, Hinds’ Feet on High Places. At that time I was bound by many fears, and related much to the main character Much-Afraid.

I confess I still struggle with fear about various things (don’t we all), but God doesn’t want you or me to be afraid–just to TRUST HIM.

With this vision and Scriptures, I feel led to study the deer to learn more about them, specifically the hind that is the character in Hinds’ Feet On High Places. The hind is known today as the red deer.

I’m going to continue blogging as I study Scriptures on the deer (as many as 26 verses are on the deer in the Bible). 

I felt like God led me to this song about the deer, too (As The Deer by Eddie James), and am searching for other meaningful ones for 2016, as part of my 2016 “theme.”

Do you make New Year’s resolutions and goals, choose a theme or a “one word,” or ask God for a Scripture at the beginning of the year? Please share in the comments below.

And my prayer is that you’ll experience a wonderful year filled with God’s wisdom, guidance, protection, blessings, and goodness–your best year yet!

If you’re like me, 2015 was a HARD year and I’m so glad it’s over. Each new year provides a “clean slate,” a fresh, new start for you and me. God has good things planned for us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Never stop dreaming

Never stop dreaming“Forever is composed of nows.” ~ Emily Dickinson

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost the end of this year; they seem to be getting faster and faster!

I want to encourage you today to look back over this year and to pray about the coming 2016 year. Here’s a few reflection questions:

  • Is there anything God has told you to do–or not do–in 2015? Did you obey God? If not, repent and ask His forgiveness. Ask Him for His help. We fall, we get back up. “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” (Proverbs 24:16, NLT) Whatever God has told you to do (or not do), obey Him. Go into your “War Room” and pray. Ask Him to intervene in your situation, to change your heart to become more like His and to be faithful in obedience. Pray about everything. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (Philippians 4:6, NLT) Seek to please God. Don’t leave any loose threads n 2015. Finish strong! 
  • Do you need to forgive someone (including God)? One of the things I love about God is that He gives us new mercies each morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), and a fresh start each year. Let’s not go into a new year with a rollerboard of unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, hate, anger, envy, jealousy, spite, malice, and all those ugly things that create distance between us and God and other people. Let it go. That is really hard to do sometimes, especially if someone has deeply hurt you. But unforgtiveness keeps you and me a prisoner. Forgiveness will set YOU free. My sister Maria has often given me a visual picture for this. Each morning and evening, wipe the slate clean. Don’t have a trash pile of unforgiveness and hurts that you keep hanging onto. Life is much too short for offenses and grudges. Go into this new year being free.
  • Is there something on your bucket list–something you’d really love to do–that you haven’t done yet? It’s not too late! Right now I’m writing a new book, the second one in my Cinderella Story series, The Cinderella Story: The Power of Dreams. My goal is to have it uploaded to Amazon as an eBook for the Kindle by January 1, 2016. Based on the beloved fairy tale Cinderella, in it I share how I believe God is the one who puts big dreams inside our hearts (when they align with His word and His will), and He’ll help you and me to fulfill them. It’s important to dream. If you feel the enemy or someone else has just stomped all over your dreams, it’s time for God to breathe fresh life into your dreams and you to dream again. The year 2016 can be your best year yet! Your dreams are very important. You can achieve them with God’s help. NEVER STOP DREAMING!

To be first to hear about the release of my new book, The Cinderella Story: The Power of Dreams, be sure to sign up on my personal mailing list with your name and email address here at BethJones.net. I’ll have the pre-order page up soon!

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