May 2, 2021 Refocus and Meditate
It feels like a long while since I reminded you of your one word. Did you forget about it or have you been faithful in keeping it a daily focus? I must admit my journaling has gone off the rails – but I did say it wasn’t something I was good at. The beauty is that this is between God and me and I can continue to practice and grow in this area. I have been good at keeping my word before me. My word is WAIT. Isn’t life full of opportunities to practice that!
I encourage you to go back over your key verse and see if it still works for you. Has God shifted the focus of your word from what you may have thought it was about in the beginning? Does your verse still fit or do you need to look for a second verse? Did you try and memorize your key verse? Maybe you should. The more we meditate upon God’s word the more it benefits us. Remember Proverbs 4:20-22 My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.
February 7, 2021 See through the lens of your one word.
So we are 1 month into our transformational journey. I hope you have been able to keep your ONE Word in view, keeping it in your minds and applying it as the Holy Spirit guides. The beautiful thing about this endeavour is that although we think we know where things are going we really don’t have a clue as to how God will use this word for us in this year. So our next effort is to allow the word to expand. What I mean is this: begin to look at the different aspects of your day through the lens of you one word. Consider how you word might apply to your work life, your home life, your family life, your hobbies, friendships, dreams, health, finances, reputation and your faith. Allow your one word to begin to train your perspective. When we see differently, we will live differently. Change is inevitable!
Read from book pg 112 start “Let me show how that might work. Imagine you chose the word LIGHTEN because you wanted to lose some weight this year. Terrific. But as your year progresses, considered applying your word to aspects of your life beyond your weight.
What about you mind? Do you need to lighten your stress? To cast your cares on Christ and worry less?
Do you need to lighten your home? Could it use a serious decluttering? Is it time to downsize?
Is there regular conflict in your marriage or in your workplace? What can you do to lighten the tone?
What about your finances? Is there a debt that is weighing you down? What can you do to lighten your debt load this year?
When you begin seeing your world through the lens of your one word opportunities for action and growth abound. Don’t get overwhelmed by the opportunities you don’t’ have to take them all remember you just have to do something about one thing this year. This isn’t about perfection abut progress
But as you get a handle on one aspect of your one word, keep looking. Keep seeing your life through the lens of your one word. God is doing and plans to do far more than your eyes can now see.”
Be blessed and enjoy the journey!
January 10th Keep the Word in front of you!
The God who created you is the God who now works to transform you – a good work He has begun in you phil 1:6
In order to help keep your one word in front of you I will give you a reminder on the first Sunday of the month. I may also give you an exercise or question to help in this transformation process.
Since the attention of your eyes focuses the affection of our hearts. Where we look determines the direction we will go. So if we look to Jesus we will become more like him and that is the ultimate goal! We need faith in order to see what our eyes can not. Transformation can be slow and sometimes we may feel discouraged especially if we have a set-back. So be encouraged that we walk by faith and not by sight When we fix our eyes on Jesus and walk by faith we will see the change we are believing for!
New Year with My One Word
So officially we are on day 3 of our transformation! I hope that you have found the one Word God wants you to focus on in this transformation. The key now is not to forget to use it.
God, the master designer of your life, may give you a “next step” in this transformation process. Something he wants you to do next, so pray about it and listen for God. People get nervous about this because they say “how do I know I am hearing from God?” Well, Mike Ashcraft , the author of MY ONE Word offers 4 criteria to “test” what you hear to affirm it is from God. I have tweaked these tests and will post them on the website so you can refer back to them as needed.
1 Hearing from God is easiest when you are walking with Him. God speaks to us all the time, out of love. But if we move away from God it becomes harder to hear His still small voice – He wants us close! So be sure to draw near to God and He will draw near to you!
2 Hearing God is easiest when we have some clarity on God’s purpose. God’s ultimate goal for our lives is to transform us to be more and more like Jesus. As we embrace the transformation of My One Word God will speak to us out of this context, and with His purpose. So test what you hear, “Does this line up with God’s purpose in my life?”
3. Hearing God requires confirmation in the Word. God will never ask you to do something or lead you in a way that goes against His Word. God is very consistent in that. God also speaks to us through His Word so pay attention when you are reading to hear from God.
4. Hearing from God can be affirmed through the council from wise godly friends. Sometimes we just aren’t sure what God is doing or where he is guiding us and so God uses our godly friends to shed some wisdom. For example, when my previous church restructured the youth program and left me without work, I was devastated and a little angry at what I thought was there short sightedness. My godly friend suggested that perhaps I was too comfortable in that role and God was shaking me out of the nest so He could use me elsewhere. My friend gave me some wisdom that helped my perspective.
The main thing is that you have a willing heart to hear from God. Remember this transformation happens through and by God. We aren’t trying for behaviour modification but real transformation.
So do you have a word or are you still wrestling for one? I had a few words I was trying to sort between and then settled on a different one altogether. I had to quiet what I wanted in order to hear what the Holy Spirit was saying. An sure enough God spoke to my heart. My word is WAIT I tend to jump in quick, to decide fast, to be impulsive sometimes. God wants me to wait and to allow for His opportunities to open up. I think we can cut off God’s best for us when we move too quickly on things. So this year I am excited to WAIT. Before every decision I will WAIT upon the Lord. I will get into His timing instead of the hurried pace I tend to live at. How about for you? What word has God given you? Was it what you expected? Now that you have your Word the next part is easy. You need to find a Bible verse that connects to your words and that verse will be a source of grounding and encouragement for you. The easiest way to find a verse is to google search your word followed by bible verse. If you see the website “openbible” pick that option. You will be given a long list of verses. The non techie way is to open your Bible to the concordance and hopefully find your word there. Pray about, activate the Holy Spirit and read through the list. Write down every verse that speaks to you. Then from that short list read them over, maybe read different translations and settle on one verse. Write it down in your journal, memorize it if you are inclined – you do have it for a year!
It is possible that the verse God directs you too won’t contain Your Word but it will fit perfectly. My verse is Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. The real task now is to keep your Word in front of you to remind you – especially in the beginning. Maybe you want to use post it notes or index cards. Tell others what your WORD is – this adds a little accountability. You can write it in the comments on our youtube video for Advent 4.
If you are still struggling to find Your Word – give it another week. Don’t give up!!
So the work of transformation has begun. By now if you have been travelling along with me on this journey you have two lists. One list of the behaviours, or characteristics about yourself that you would like to see changed and a list of the traits, characteristics, and qualities of the person you want to become. If you have been praying in this process than God is very much a part of this list. Today begins an exciting time of this journey. we are going to choose our One Word.
This is what I want you to do: if your list of good qualities you want to adopt is particularly long, I want you to trim it down to no more than 10 words. From that ten study the words and see if any can be grouped together because they are similar. Get familiar with this list, go to a thesaurus and look up the words on your list because out of this process that you are prayerfully entering into God is going to percolate up a word that will mean something to you. It may not mean anything to anyone else but it will fit you.
There are words that are picked often in this process and you may end up with one of these words and that is fine. Here is the list of the 10 most popular words:
Trust ,Patience, Love, Discipline, Focus, Faith, Surrender, Peace, Listen, Joy.
Here is an example from the book I have been using My One Word by Ashcraft & Olsen. It is found on page 49
“I asked God for a word. For about four days, as I thought about it my word was LIGHT. Safe. Doable. I thought God would be so proud that I chose such a wonderful word after all Jesus is the capital “L” light and we should all be lowercase lights that point to him. Good, except that tonight God did that things he does every single time I ask him, he delivered. He delivered a word hand picked for this child: SHHH. SHHH means I don’t have to verbalize every thought that is in my head at that moment. SHHH means my quiet time in the morning is more about waiting on the gentle voice of my Saviour than me spouting off a laundry list of my needs for the day. SHHH means that there will be less opportunity for me to gossip, hurt someone’s feelings, sound boastful or prideful. Less opportunity to sin. Thanks, Dad, for delivering.” -Rebecca
The way this One Word works is that throughout the year this one word will keep coming to us almost like a mantra. We will think about it and immediately focus on Jesus, because Jesus is the power and the source of our transformation. It is not about our ability or effort or will power. It is about engaging Jesus and recognizing our need for Him.
So this week look over your list, pray about it ,play around with the words and let God raise up for you your one word.
If you want more help in finding your word go to the website http://myoneword.org/
Have you ever read a self-help book? I have read several – oh they flood you with great ideas on how to change and how to improve yourself. Maybe your experience has been different but what I have found is that they always require our effort and commitment to see change. The minute we get “lazy” we quickly lose our ground and slip back to our old ways. All we ever manage on our own is behaviour modification. We can not approach our personal growth and transformation as though it were up to us. God’s Word is NOT a self-help guide to better living but rather a living Word of transformation! God has given us His Word so that we can be changed in our being, changed to our core. Not behaviour modification but life transformation!
Last week you were asked: What are some things you would like to change about yourself? When we consider what we want to change we often focus on specific behaviours and frame them in a negative. For example: I want to stop … or I need to stop … When we make a resolution, we tend to frame it in a positive statement like: I am going to …. The problem with this method is that it lacks real vision. Proverbs 29:18 says Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint. In other words, vision keeps us focused.
So lets gain some vision, instead of focusing on regrets of the past or specific behaviours lets spend some time with this question. How do I really want to be? Or What kind of a person do I want to become? Take your time with this question. Let God enter the equation and show you where to start. Be patient in this process. Dive deep. Resist the pull to provide a surface level answer but go deep. Consider the condition of your heart, your character, your soul. Write a description of the characteristics of the kind of person you want to become. For example if you want to become the kind of person who gets along well with everyone, describe what characteristics that person would display. Describe their traits and motives. Include nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. “doing “words and “being” words. Make a list. Add to this list as you revisit it through out the week.
What we are after is character formation not just to stop doing this or start doing that. This is a matter of the heart. Proverbs 4:23 says Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Engage with this question and invite God into the process.
How do I really want to be? Or What kind of a person do I want to become?
Write a description of the characteristics of the kind of person you want to become.
As 2020 begins to wind down I want us to look ahead into the new year. I would like for us to journey together into a year of personal transformation or spiritual growth. I would like for us to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to change our life. The method I feel lead to use is called My One Word.
I think we realize that our salvation is a gift from God. But somehow we got to thinking that our transformation is up to us – meaning that in order to become more like Jesus we have to work hard at changing us. Paul called this thinking foolish in Galatians 3:3 since we couldn’t live without sinning and save ourselves why do we think we can change ourselves? We can not. But what we can do is cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
Each Sunday of Advent I am going to offer you some questions to ask yourself and wrestle with. These questions will be available on our website as well as your weekly email. The more honest you are the better the results. Take your time with this, dig deep. The goal at the end of the 4 weeks is to have one word. This one word will become the lens with which you examine your heart and life for the entire year. Your single word will force clarity and concentration. As you focus on this word you position yourself for God to form your character at a deep level. I encourage you to trust this process.
If you are like me there are so many things you need to do to improve on. The beauty of My One Word is that we shed the long list and find focus in one thing. Through Spirit led questions of our soul, God will percolate up for us that one thing. Then for the year we will use My One Word to focus us and concentrate our efforts to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. So join me in working through these questions. You may want to journal your thoughts. Revisit these questions throughout the week .
What are some things you would like to change about yourself? Why?
What methods in the past have you used to try and change yourself?
Read Philippians 2:12-13; 1 Corinthians 15:9-10; Galatians 3:1-5. How does change or transformation happen? Is it by our efforts? If you are journaling you may want to write out these verses.