My one word for 2019

Several years ago I stopped making New Year resolutions, because, let’s face it, they were broken the first month (sometimes the first week!)–like walking again or eating healthier! I heard about instead, creating a #oneword and a Scripture verse(s) to go along with it.

One word

When I began to do this, I no longer felt condemnation that I was breaking my New Year resolutions so quickly. I also discovered that as I earnestly prayed to God about this matter, the #oneword always turned out to be a prophetic theme for the entire year.

joy
Red cardinals joy decoration

For example, my #oneword in 2018 was JOY. At times, last year was anything but joyful! There were many hard times. I have cried a lot the last several years, more than I ever have in my entire life.

pensive woman
pensive woman

We all have stress and battle worries–relationship problems. Business or ministry challenges. Health issues. Financial struggles. But joy is a choice. You can be joyful even in adversity or a major crisis! Joy is not the same as happiness.

Smiling child

God wants us happy, just as we do our own children. But joy, like faith, isn’t based on circumstances. The joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) We must choose faith, and we must choose joy.

Compass pointing north
Compass pointing north
Image source: Google

Usually, the last week of December of each year, I pray about the coming new year, for God to protect and bless me and my family and friends, for His guidance and presence with us, and for a #oneword and Scripture(s) for the coming year.

I ask Him to be mine and my family’s compass, our “true north.” (This expression comes from the great chick flick movie, Message In A Bottle, with Kevin Costner!)

Message in a Bottle movie
Message in a Bottle movie

God speaks in a myriad of ways to His children:

  • primarily through His holy word, the Bible;
  • by His still, small voice to our hearts as we pray and listen to Him;
  • from other people, sharing His words of truth and encouragement;
  • in nature (“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”–Psalm 19:1, NIV);
  • through signs in the sky, such as the sun, the moon, the stars, etc. (Luke 21:25);
  • in other signs, such as red cardinal birds, mourning doves, eagles, the wind, a billboard, a car’s bumper sticker, something said on a podcast, radio or TV show, a voice in a crowd, etc. Obviously, we can’t base our lives on these “signs,” but God can speak to His children however He wants to get His message of truth across to us. Sometimes it’s like He needs a two by four to get the message through our thick heads and stubborn hearts!

Just prior to January 2019 beginning, I noticed the words “humble” and “humility” in a couple of different places. First, the words Stay HUMBLE were inscribed on chapstick that I’d received in a gift box.

Stay humble chapstick
Stay humble chapstick gift

That’s interesting, I thought. The words “humble” and “humility” started popping up like Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter popcorn on Facebook posts.

popcorn popping
popcorn popping;
Image source: Google

Then I started seeing the words a LOT! A recurrent theme.

Oh no, I thought in dread. Uh oh—wait a minute! That’s my one word for 2019, isn’t it, God?

I knew what that meant (God was going to smash my PRIDE), and heck no, I did NOT want that word! Which is probably exactly why He is giving it to me!

Why couldn’t I get a nicer, easier, funner word like adventures? Or dream bigger? Or overflow, especially in our bank account? Or laughter?

But no. My words are humble and humility! Yes, I know humility is a beautiful, Christ-like virtue and God is doing this for my own good.

You and I know there is just no use fighting God. In the end, He’s going to get His way. Because He’s God!

Jacob wrestling
Jacob wrestling with God
Image source: Google

We can wrestle with Him until daybreak like Jacob did (Genesis 32:22-32), but we’ll walk away with a painful limp. God is bigger and more powerful than you and me, so we might as well submit and obey!

So I started researching the definition of humility to begin preparing spiritually for 2019. (Here goes nothing!)

  • freedom from pride or arrogance;
  • a lack of ego;
  • lowness; an attitude of service;
  • the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance;
  • serving others for their good, as well as your own;
  • a realistic appreciation of your strengths, as well as your weaknesses.

Synonyms for humility include:

  • demureness;
  • down-to-earthness;
  • lowliness;
  • meekness;
  • modesty.

You know, traits that are so unlike me! People who know me well would NOT describe me as demure–reserved, bashful, shrinking. Instead, my sister Maria describes my approach in life more like “a bull in a china shop.” 

Antonyms (the opposite) of humility are even more revealing–and alarming!

  • arrogance;
  • assumption;
  • conceit;
  • haughtiness;
  • huffiness;
  • presumptuousness;
  • pretense;
  • pride;
  • imperiousness (domineering);
  • obtrusiveness;
  • superiority.

STOP! Is anyone else getting uncomfortable here?! Well, I sure am. But then it’s my #oneword, not yours–unless God says so!

Remember that pride, and then rebellion, was Satan’s sin. We don’t want to be like the devil, do we? I don’t!

Humility and gratitude
Humility and gratitude

Mother Teresa said, “If you are humble, then nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”

No doubt that I have some family members, or even friends, who will remind me throughout this year of my #oneword humility and how I am being so NOT humble!

Maybe humility isn’t your strong suit, either. I have good news, dear friend. When we stumble and fall, as we surely will, we can get back up.

That is why Jesus died for you and me; nobody is perfect but Him. He’s teaching us to be more like Him each moment.

You and I can breathe again, and be thankful that God’s mercies are new every beautiful morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

 

Humility book
Humility book

This week, I ordered a used copy of Andrew Murray’s book Humility from Amazon to start off the year right and plan to do other studies on this topic as well.

My Scripture verses for 2019, based on these words humble and humility are:

“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33, ESV)

“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6, NKJV. The NLT translation says, “And He gives grace generously.”)

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:6-7, NKJV)

This last Scripture shows me that I need to be alert in Spirit this year. Satan wants to cause destruction in mine and my family’s life, to devour and kill us. I thank God that Jesus Christ is more powerful and the battle belongs to the Lord, who has the victory already!

The great news in all this? If we humble ourselves before God and cultivate a lifestyle of humility, depending on and trusting solely in Him, the Bible says God will give us HONOR and EXALT us! (Good surprises for us, for HIS glory!) Isn’t that exciting? 

Do you have a #oneword, Scripture verse(s), and/or theme for the new year 2019? Please share it below with me! And let’s pray for each other this year to walk it out with God’s grace and help!

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Do you struggle with hate? My new book is on Amazon!

Do you struggle with hate? I confess that I’ve battled this evil thing for my entire life. 

Can someone who is a Christian hate someone? Of course! 

You may be surprised to know that Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and others in the Bible addressed this topic of hatred with God’s own people! We are all just human, and we struggle every day with sin. That is WHY we need Jesus! I’m so thankful for His grace and mercy that He showered upon me!

God is Love and He will teach you and me how to unconditionally love others.

I’m so excited to announce that my newest book, Metamorphosis: Transformed From Hate to Love, is now live at Amazon, as an ebook for your Kindle! 

https://www.amazon.com/Metamorphosis-Transformed-Hate-Beth-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BTYBB8G/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

This book is about my life-long struggle with hatred. You may think, “What in the world? Christians aren’t supposed to hate! Especially a Christian speaker and author!” But I keep things real! 

In this book, I share spiritual warfare tactics and practical tips for overcoming one of the enemy Satan’s powerful weapons against God’s people–hatred.

Hate is what made Satan deceive Eve, bringing sin into the world. Hate is what nailed Jesus Christ to the Cross. Hate is rampant in the world today, because Satan is doing all he can to steal, kill, and destroy in the lives of God’s people.

You can find out more or buy the ebook by clicking on the link at Amazon below. Please be sure to share with your family and friends. If you buy this book, please leave a review as reviews help authors to build credibility and make more sales.

https://www.amazon.com/Metamorphosis-Transformed-Hate-Beth-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BTYBB8G/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

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Love anyway

Valentine's Day Image source: Google
Valentine’s Day
Image source: Google

Valentine’s Day is around the corner. The other day when I was eating chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant, I heard a man griping to his (male) friend that Valentine’s Day is “just a made-up holiday to force men to buy flowers and candy for their girlfriends or wives.” In my head, I was thinking, “Actually, no, it’s a perfect opportunity for a man to show his wife how very much he loves her!”

In my recent blog post on love, I shared how God has called us as Christian believers to love as He loves–not to hate. 

The way we learn to love God, others, and ourselves is by spending time in the presence of the One who is the epitomy of love–God. God is love. (1 John 4:3) By praying. Worshipping and praising Him. Meditating on His Word, the Bible. Having fellowship with other believers. Operating in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Crucifying our flesh daily. (Romans 6:6) Repenting of sin. (Acts 3:19)

God’s anointing–the presence of His Holy Spirit–teaches us all things, including love. (1 John 2:27) 

Jesus at well with woman
Jesus at well with woman

I guess it’s easy for God to love because, well, He’s God! But what about us mere humans, we who are fragile jars of clay, so prone to sinning and who eventually return to the dust from which God made us? (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)

Asian woman praying
Asian woman praying

Let’s face it. Some people are not easy to love. In fact, sometimes they are downright unloveable. 

They can be:

  • Rude.
  • Hateful.
  • Mean.
  • Spiteful.
  • Harsh.
  • Cruel.
  • Arrogant.
  • Indifferent.

And let’s face it; you and I can be very unloveable, too. 

Unhappy couple
Unhappy couple

What to do with these kind of people?

You and I make an intentional choice to love anyway. 

Jesus on the cross
Jesus on the cross

The way God does with you and me. He loves and gives first. The way Jesus looked down at those who crucified Him and mocked Him and said, “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 22:34, International Standard Bible)

Jesus DIED for them, the same as He did for you and me! Love lays down one’s life and prays for others–even those who hate and despitefully use you. (Luke 6:28)

couple holding hands
couple holding hands

Love is a decision. Love is an action. Love is a verb. 

Is it easy? NO! I really struggle with this at times. I constantly have to ask God to help me to love others the way He does. (Sometimes this is hardest to do in your own family!)

Is it what God desires for you and me, to be vessels of His unconditional (agape) love? YES!

*******

eBook cover
eBook cover

I’m writing a new book now, Metamorphosis: Transformed From Hate to Love. 

If you sign up with your name and email address for my personal mailing list, you’ll be first to hear about its release for sale for your Kindle on Amazon. You’ll also get a free gift when you sign up. 

Just sign up at the top of the page on the right hand side.

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