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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Know when to run

How do you know when to stay in a difficult situation, or when to walk away, or even run?

You ask God.

Kenny Rogers, The Gambler Photo source: Google
Kenny Rogers, The Gambler
Photo source: Google

 

Kenny Rogers is one of my husband Ray’s favorite country music artists. I saw him years ago in a little restaurant-bar in California, but didn’t know who he was then. I really like one of the songs he sings, The Gambler. It is very prophetic about life and has wise advice. Some of the refrain’s lyrics are:

“He said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run.”

I believe there’s 4 spiritual principles to these lyrics, that I’d like to share with you today:

  • Hold ’em. That we as believers in Christ are in a spiritual battle every day is a given. Ephesians 6:12, NASB, says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” There is a raging, unseen war around you and me every day. Sometimes we get tired and worn out, but we must never give up or give in to our enemy Satan, as Christ has the victory. Ephesians 6:13, New Heart English Bible, says, “Therefore, put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand.” This is what “hold ’em” means when you’re fighting a battle , to stand your ground and not let the enemy advance or conquer you, despite being fired at by guns, tanks, and helicopters, a blockade cutting off food, water, and supplies, guerrilla attacks,, walking through mine fields, or more : in military terms, stand fast.
  • Fold ’em.  In a card game, you fold by laying down your hands and stop playing the hand. You give it up and are out for that hand. You don’t place any more bets. In life, we fold ’em by surrendering. Not, and never, surrendering to the devil, but to God. You learn to let go of all control, let Jesus take the wheel, and allow God to have His way in and through your life. You die to self. You allow Christ to increase and you decrease for His glory. You trust God knows best for your life in this hard situation, and take it one step at a time, day by day (John 3:30)
  • Walk away.  If you were on Facebook at all since last year, you saw how the presidential election caused a storm of controversy, even dividing Christian family and friends. It was a shame, and grieved God’s heart to see so many of His children attacking each other, when the real enemy in this world is Satan. Titus 3:9, NASB, says, “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.” Sometimes we just need to walk away from a situation, and not engage in strife or drama because it will just result in division, hurt feelings, offenses, and more. Be wise and walk; walk toward God!
  • Run. In boot camp, soldiers are trained to follow orders, be tough, and the long term strategy is to defeat the enemy, not to run away in fear and hide. However, there is a concept in battle called “withdrawal,” which is retreating forces back while maintaining contact with the enemy or totally disengaging for a moment.  A withdrawal may be used as part of a general retreat, to consolidate forces, to occupy ground that is more easily defended, or to lead the enemy into an ambush. It’s risky, requiring discipline to keep from turning into a disorganized rout (a chaotic, disorganized retreat resulting in the enemy’s victory) or at the very least doing severe damage to the military’s morale. (Source: Wikipedia) There IS a perfect Biblical example for running from the enemy, though: Joseph, who ran from Potiphar’s wife who was seducing him to come to bed with her. (Genesis 39:12). Instead, Joseph did what was right and winded up going to prison for his faith, later being raised up by God to be second in command in the land. At times we need to run from temptation or a situation that is not good for us or our loved ones.

Pray to God and ask for discernment and His wisdom in your specific situation and what you should do. No matter what the hard circumstances are that you’re facing right now, remember that you are more than a conquer through Christ.

The Hands of a Woman
Buy it now at Amazon:
http://hyperurl.co/coqmyz

You can read my book on spiritual warfare, eight women’s stories of their greatest spiritual battles through faith in Christ, The Hands of a Woman: Everyday Women in Everyday Battles, by clicking on the link below:

http://hyperurl.co/coqmyz

You can hear Kenny Roger’s song The Gambler by clicking on the video below:

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