2019 Word

It’s time to announce my new Word of the Year.  This word has been jumping off the page to me for several weeks.  It’s a great word to think about this year — “Kind.”  One of the most common derivatives of this word, of course, is “kindness,” so I’ll be watching for both words.

The word first came to my attention while singing a worship song on a walk.  It brought tears to my eyes to imagine the kind heart of God.  We all need kindness:

You’re rich in love and you’re slow to anger.

Your name is great and your heart is kind.

For all your goodness I will keep on singing

10,000 reasons for my heart to find.

If you have never chosen a word before, I highly recommend it.  What word would you like to focus on this year?  Each of my previous words still stay with me to this day and jump off the page when I see them–Hold, Way, Trust, Refuge, Journey, Presence, Pain, Worship, Cast, Joy.  They’ve become deeply meaningful, personal and special to me.  Powerful!

Here are some quotes using my word, “Kind.”

He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgive our sins.  He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.  — Ephesians 1:7-8

Old-Ma sitting in her rocker by the fire, wrapped up in the coat that had belonged to Old-Pa, so long ago that those times were hardly a memory, a thick-set woman shrinking with the years, everything about her shrinking but her heart.  And that heart was as large as the mountains.  Larger.  Her whole life was nothing but kindness.  It warmed him, just the thought, and lifted his feet as surely as it lifted his spirits.  He knew he was home then, really home, and that all the rest of it was done now.  Because Old-Ma would be sitting there, maybe sleeping in her rocker, or maybe still working through a chapter in the Bible that had come to belong to her, as surely as her hands and feet did, a Bible marked and turned down and spotted with decades of touching every single page.  And she lived that way, if nobody else in the world did, nobody but her.  She lived a Christian woman’s life so that it didn’t even seem like there was any trying in it, as if it had been born into her, as if her kindness was natural as breathing.  On those days when his father’s hard face eased a little he was fond of saying that Old-Ma would’ve fixed a plate for Judas Iscariot, if he ever came by, and prayed him along on his travels.  — Owen Parry, Our Simple Gifts, pg. 105-106

When you give a word of kindness for someone who needs it, that’s an act of worship.  — Max Lucado

My wish this holiday season, is for people not to make assumptions about others, to put themselves in others’ shoes, to respect others as they wish to be respected, to respond with kindness even when they disagree, to live and let live.  — Julia Ioffe, Washington Post News Service, 12/25/18

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  — Colossians 3:12 (NLT)

What is your Word of the Year?

 

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Joy is Gone

Here are the final quotes from my Word of the YearJoy.  This has been a difficult but joy-filled year for sure.  I’m so thankful for great quotes like this that spread true joy!  If you read carefully, you’ll find the quote from which the title comes, but it’s also a play on words — nearly time to choose a new word!

You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance; you have taken away my sorrow and surrounded me with joy.  — Psalm 30:11 (GNT)

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.  — Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Joy is the serious business of Heaven.  — C. S. Lewis, The Joyful Christian, pg. 228

Give me the strength to wait for hope — to look through the window when there are no stars.  Even when my joy is gone, give me the strength to stand victoriously in the darkest night and say, “To my Heavenly Father, the sun still shines.”  I will have reached the point of greatest strength once I have learned to wait for hope.  — L. B. Cowman quoting George Matheson, Streams in the Desert

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing to Zion; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.  — Isaiah 51:11 (RSV)

What is the sign of a friend?  Is it that he tells you his secret sorrows?  No, it is that he tells you his secret joys.  Many people will confide their secret sorrows to you, but the final mark of intimacy is when they share their secret joys with you.  Have we ever let God tells us any of His joys?  — Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Remove from my heart, Lord, the spirit of pride and ego.  Make me your willing servant, and give me such a song in my heart, that I may do the humblest tasks with joy.  — Ruth Youngdahl Nelson, God’s Song in My Heart, pg. 49

Only with wisdom comes joy, and with greatness comes love.  — Harry S. Truman

I bless Thee for tempering every distress with joy; too much of the former might weigh me down, too much of the latter might puff me up; Thou art wise to give me a taste of both.  — The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, pg. 157

Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!  The LORD rescues them when they are in trouble.  — Psalm 41:1 (NLT)

The flowers live by the tears that fall from the sad face of the skies; and life would have no joy at all, were there no watery eyes.  Love the sorrow, for grief will bring its own reward in later years; the rainbow!  See how fair a thing God has built up from tears.  — L. B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert

We must remember to maintain within our hearts the spirit of Sabbath calm and peace, not fussy, not anxious, nor fretful nor impetuous; refraining our feet from our own paths, our hand from our own devices, refusing to make our own joy and do our own works.  — David Roper quoting F. B. Meyer, A Man to Match the Mountains, pg. 109

Holy Father, I ask that You would draw nearer to me and that Your Holy Spirit would guide my thoughts and my ways.  I pray that I would have a deeper understanding of Your love and how Your heart — the heart of a loving Father — cares for me and for all people, equally.  I pray I would see those around me as You see them.  I pray You would give me Your heart for the poor, that I would see them as my brothers and sisters in Christ, and as co-heirs in the abundant hope and joy of Your love.  — A Compassion International prayer

Needless Gifts

Giving much needed gifts to children in poverty is such a great investment of your time and money, and can replace needless gifts we give to each other.  What will you give?  A goat?  A sewing machine?  Music or art lessons?  Soap and shampoo?  A baby’s medical care?  Bibles?  Fruit trees?  Mosquito Nets?  The possibilities are endless at Compassion’s Gift Catalog here, and will forever transform lives.

Thankful

Oh my — these kids are adorable! And thankful! By all means, if you have not sponsored a child yet, and you feel it’s right for you, please contact me. A child is waiting for this very special relationship to begin!

Specifics Can Be Funny

I recently shared the fact that as I read God’s Word each day, He gives me exactly what I need for that particular day.  When I read an assigned daily reading there it is–just what I need to cope, have courage, move forward, forgive, change my attitude or rest quietly in Him and trust Him.  Let me give you some specific examples from Eugene H. Peterson’s The Message, to illustrate what I’m talking about.  Some of these are pretty funny, actually.

May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God’s love and Christ’s endurance.  2 Thessalonians 3:5  (given on a day when I was praying about wrist sprains, internal injuries & bruises from a bad bike accident)

I’m letting you know what I need, calling out for help and lifting my arms toward your inner sanctum…Blessed be God—he heard me praying. He proved he’s on my side; I’ve thrown my lot in with him.  Now I’m jumping for joy, shouting and singing my thanks to him.  God is all strength for his people…Save your people and bless your heritage.  Care for them; carry them like a good shepherd.  – from Psalm 28  — (given on a day when I was weary and praying for wisdom)

But you’ve made me strong as a charging bison, you’ve honored me with a festive parade.  Psalm 92:10 — (given the day our high school (the Buffalo Bison) won state football, and returned to town with police and fire truck escorts leading the way)

Go ahead, examine me from inside out, surprise me in the middle of the night—You’ll find I’m just what I say I am…I’m staying on your trail; I’m putting one foot in front of the other.  I’m not giving up.  I call to you, God, because I’m sure of an answer.  Psalm 17:3, 5-6a  (given the day of Chris’ graduation from boot camp in 2001)

GOD met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.  Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him. When I was desperate, I called out, and GOD got me out of a tight spot.  GOD’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray.  Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good GOD is.  Blessed are you who run to him.  Psalm 34:4-8 (given at a time I was worried and anxious about something)

Keep your eye on me; hide me under your cool wing feathers.  Psalm 17:8  (given on a stifling, hot day)

I have a friend who was starting a new job as a middle school music teacher, and she was especially nervous about conducting the choir with her hands.  Her scripture reading at that time said, “Whatever happens, conduct…”  (Philippians 1:27–NIV).  We just had to laugh, how God added humor to the day and gave her the courage to do what He had equipped her to do.

I could give hundreds (or thousands) of examples like this.  Some are too personal to share.  These are just a few that I wrote down in my journals from The Message; I’ll share more in the future.  I read from various translations, and the same thing occurs with any of the Bibles I’m reading.  Seeing the same scripture from various translations helps me see the passage from different perspectives, and helps me understand God’s heart a little more each day.

I don’t share this to brag on my own faith or “goodness;” I am only human like anyone else — weak, failing, imperfect.  I share this to reveal how good and faithful God is.  He is always present and speaking to me in my daily needs.  It’s all about Him, not about us.

 

General Advice

Today’s quotes from Eugene H. Peterson’s The Message are some of the best general advice we find in the Scriptures.  I absolutely love the wording of these true and wise passages of Scripture.

It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone.  Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?  Psalm 127:2

…all prayer, pursued far enough, becomes praise…  from Living the Message

…failing in love is better than succeeding in pride.  from Living the Message

Then GOD promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God’s prayer.  Psalm 42:8

So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault.  Romans 14:19

You can’t force these things.  They only come about through my Spirit.  Zech. 4:6

The wise counsel God gives when I’m awake is confirmed by my sleeping heart.  Psalm 16:7

Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to His guests for their blessing…Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God…Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. God’s servants must not be argumentative but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. 2 Timothy 2:21-25a

It’s the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others.  1 John 2:10

God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight! Psalm 18:2