It is that time of year again. Most of you have already begun to think about what you hope to accomplish in 2023. I certainly have done the same and look forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for me. One way I do this is by choosing One Word https://getoneword.com/ on which to focus. As I wrote last year, I think about what my Word will be during the Season of Epiphany. Epiphany means “a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way”
I use the season between Christmas and the manifestation of Jesus https://www.britannica.com/topic/Epiphany to reflect and focus on what I think God wants my focus to be for the coming year. It is different than resolutions. In fact, I use my word to help me make the most out of every moment of every day. The last few years have seen me focus on Prayer, Generosity, Embrace to what I think was my most impactful word last year UNITY. http://thankfulinallthings.com/if-you-focused-on-one-word-in-2022-which-would-you-choose/ So many amazing things happened both personally and professionally because of concentrating on Unity.
I am grateful that the last 10 days of the year slow down from a business stand point. Like in the song from Rent, I use it as an opportunity to look back and measure the year https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/rentcast/seasonsoflove.html
525,000 moments so dear
How do you measure, measure a year?
Brad Caldwell who I hope to meet one day challenged folks this week to not be afraid to look back before you rush to set new goals and make New Year’s resolutions. He asked a legitimate question, “Now that the year is over, would your word be different than the one you set on January 1st? If you had known, “would you have crafted other goals than the ones you so confidently set for yourself for 2022?
I have no doubt God provided me an epiphany with the words from previous years and I felt the impact of my Uncompromised Never-ending Intensity Toward Yes (UNITY) this year. I am counting on the same with my word for 2023 as I endeavor to RISE to whatever circumstances come my way. I break down the word this way: Resolved Intentional Serving Expectantly and as I RISE UP/P my actions will be about Unleashing (God’s) Purpose/Passion for my life.
Matthew 13:33 says – “The kingdom of Heaven is like a yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.” The dough needs to be kneaded so the proteins begin to line up in such a way that strands of gluten develop and create a structure that allows for the trapping of gases and the dough to RISE.
I want God to kneed into me the yeast I need to RISE UP/P and be the person He can use for His good pleasure. May I submit my life to Him so in a way that The apostle Paul referred to our bodies as “jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV). To say that we are clay in the hands of the Potter acknowledges God’s handiwork as the Master Potter, or Creator, of our physical body. May it be in 2023.
I would love to hear what your One Word is for 2023. I can be reached by email at [email protected] If you haven’t already, please subscribe so that you can receive email notifications when new content is posted.
Will you choose to retreat or strive forward with a desire to impact others?
Last week I wrote about how we can live with Hope knowing from our past that God will be with us. Habakkuk tells us that, “ The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.” – HABAKKUK 3: 17-19. Notice the tense here is in the future. “He will make” not “He might” or “He probably” or even “He did” meaning it is only in the past. The picture above is not only beautiful but denotes a quandary. When I come into the presence of God, Will I choose to turn left or right, or will I continue to move forward even if I don’t know what the new day will bring? My friend Pamela Bunn gave me permission to repost her blog From this AM because she makes the point In such an eloquent manner.
Never the Same
“When the people of the land come before the Lord at the appointed feasts, he who enters by the north gate to worship shall go out by the south gate, and he who enters by the south gate shall go out by the north gate: no one shall return by way of the gate by which he entered, but each shall go out straight ahead.When they enter, the prince shall enter with them, and when they go out, he shall go out.” Ezekiel 46:9-10
Moses’ face altered in appearance with its heavenly glow. David was renewed with strength for battle with sin and soldier. Nehemiah gained clear direction for what to do next. Daniel and John had visions of their majestic God and His kingdom plans. Once before their Lord, these men of God never returned or saw the same way, but went ahead with Him in new understanding, passion, and power. (Exodus 34:29,34-35; Nehemiah 1:4-11; Psalm 32:3-5; Daniel 2:19-23; Revelation 1:10-11; 4:1-11)
Every time we come before the Lord, we have opportunity to retreat unaltered the same way we entered, or to go out different. Spending meaningful time with the Prince of Peace, the King of kings, the Ruler of the universe, changes us, and this is our holy God’s intention.
When we go before our Lord in devotion, what is our desire and expectation? If our hearts are not malleable, and our ears deaf to all but our own voice, we will miss the opportunity for God to have His way. Are we checking the “Quiet Time” box off our list, or are we seeking genuine worship and communion? Do we bring a list of requests we’ve tallied, or ask Him to search our hearts and speak to us with conviction and instruction? Do we allot a hurried amount of time, or converse, and wait, until He is finished with us? (Genesis 17:22; 18:33)
Do we approach the feast He has prepared and sup in such a way that when we enter weary, we leave refreshed? When we enter bitter and angry, do we leave cleansed and emboldened to forgive? If we enter confused over relationships, decisions, finances, future plans, do we leave trusting the Spirit to guide one step at a time?
What has God revealed about Himself and His manner of work in individuals, the church, and the world, in recent time together? How has He reshaped our thinking, or assuaged our fears? What niggling sins has He removed, what new resolve has He prodded, what changed attitudes and transformed affections has He created?
When we want much from Him, He will never disappoint. Our prayers may not be answered how and when we desire, but Almighty God will not fail to bring about His intentions for us and for His kingdom. (Isaiah 46:9-10)
Isn’t this so good? I can promise you God through adversity has revealed a great deal to me. 1st through my health challenges due to Guillain Barre Syndrome and 2nd with having to deal with staying healthy and away from any chance of coming down with Covid19. The closer you become to God the better person you will become, your life will have more purpose and and have a positive impact on those around you. I use the future tense “will have” because as Much Afraid learned in the book Hinds Feet, when you step out in faith, God promises an abundant life (John 10:10) and desires that it be full of Joy. (John 15:11)
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Thoughts on how to remain thankful
Bruce Pulver shared how he thinks of the word Hope. That led me to respond this way.
My response/add on
Having Hope allows us to remain
Having this kind of mindset allows me to make the most of each day so I, by God’s grace, can be a better person tomorrow. Another way I look at it is with the two words RISE UP which comes from the verse Isaiah 60:1-3
60 “Rise up and shine, for your light has come. The shining-greatness of the Lord has risen upon you. 2 For see, darkness will cover the earth. Much darkness will cover the people. But the Lord will rise upon you, and His shining-greatness will be seen upon you. 3 Nations will come to your light. And kings will see the shining-greatness of the Lord on you.
God calls us Each and every day to RISE UP/P
Resolved Intentional Striving for Eternal things. W Unbelievable Purpose/Passion. Over this past month or so, I have been trying to live out Gregory Boyd’s Exhortation to live out my life knowing “God is in the Now” and when I do it makes the [Present Perfect] (the name of his book)
When I can stay in the moment it pushes away all the distractions, discouragement, and challenges so that I can live a life of gratitude. It is not that the adversity disappears. The story of Peter walking on the water In Matthew 14:22-33 illustrates this very point. The storm was raging while he was out there. It wasn’t until he took his eyes off of Jesus that he realized the wind and the waves. When he did, he immediately sank. Isn’t that just like us. When we start trying to do things on our own power the stuff comes flooding back in leaving us discouraged and defeated. We just need to choose to remember that God loves us and that is all that matters. When We go out into the world virtually or in person with that thought process it is much easier to be thankful and as Miles McPherson encourages, strive to honor those who cross our paths.
How do we stay in the Now? Here are a couple things I have done.
1) I have set a reminder on my phone at 6am, 9am,noon, 3pm, 6pm, and 9pm. It comes up at BSKIG. Be still and know that I am God. When I see the notice, I stop and recite The Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23. I try to add things into both that bring up things that are going on in my life at that point in the day. An example is below.
2) I try to commit to honoring every person I encounter whether on the phone, via zoom, or in person. A quick prayer, “Lord, let me honor this person in this interaction so that they might see You in my conversation with them”
These simple things have helped me greatly in remaining thankful during these mind boggling times. I hope they will in some way help you as well. If it has, please forward it to others and ask them to subscribe so they can receive an email when Impost new content. You can reach me via email at [email protected]
My Quarantine version of Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
As I navigate the lonely paths of Covid19, The Lord will be my guide and His presence is all I need
Whether I think it is needed or not, I will use this time for rest and quiet reflection.
So that my soul can be refreshed
As He guides me where He wants me to be used bring Glory and honor to His name.
Even though I walk
through the valley of people wearing masks
I will fear no evil,
He gives my faith confidence so that I can go or do wherever He feels the need to send me.
Knowing even in self-isolation you are with me and won’t forsake me.
Like the shepherds’ rod and staff, your Word and the Holy Spirit will teach and comfort me.
Even in the midst of my adversity, You will abundantly provide all that I need so that I will it be afraid.
Like an anointing, You will bless and protect me from whatever evil that wants to prey on me.
You will fill me with your spirit so that cup of love you want me to share overflows.
I count and trust on the contentment of your love for as long as I am to live.
This assurance brings joy knowing that I will be welcomed and will forever dwell in the house that you went and prepared for me.
My One Word for 2020 will be ……..?
Several years ago I read a book titled, One Word. It was written by my friends Dan Britton and Jimmy Page with help from well known author Jon Gordon. It is quite simple. It provides you a “how to” on how to boil the upcoming year into a One Word focus. You spend time thinking about where you are in your life and what One Word can help you become a better you in the coming year. If you have been a follower of my story here, you know 2019 was quite the year. If you are finding this blog for the first time, you can read previous posts here or go to https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie to find out about my year dealing with Guillain Barre Syndrome. The journey I embarked on 10 months ago was one I never expected when I made the decision to choose Prayer for my One Word focus in 2019. I chose prayer because of my desire to be more diligent in my own prayer life. I wanted to trust God more and felt through an enhanced prayer life, i would draw closer to Him as I watched how my prayers would be answered for me and for the others who i committed to pray for regularly. Instead, through my illness, I learned that I was the one who would need everyone else’s prayers. I can’t even number how may folks lifted Dottie and me up not just once but over and over again. The bible says, “Make your requests know to God and you will experience a peace unknown to man” . It also says, “the prayer of a righteous man has great power to prevail” . I am grateful for the multiple of people who have consistently prayed for me and my family from Day one and throughout my continued recovery. There is no doubt that it has given me the power and strength to prevail. My renewed health is an answer to those prayers and for that I am thankful. This thankfulness leads me back to what my One Word will be for 2020. and that word is……..
Generosity! It is my turn to give back. I look back and am astounded by how many people stepped up to care for the Guthrie crew. I have written about this in previous posts. The list of these acts of kindness have continued and are much appreciated. This year I want to be intentional in my generosity. True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. By its very definition, I want to be a someone who “shows a readiness to give more of something (like money or time) than is expected” like so many have done for me. My One Word is Generosity but I want my focus each day to be a commitment to RISE UP! It reminds and exhorts me to be Resolved Intentional Striving for Extraordinary things with Unbelievable/Unique Purpose/Passion
There is so much hurt and struggle in our world. So much of it makes no sense at all so we become discouraged and cave in to the thought process that there is nothing we can do. My hope is you will join me in Rising Up with a desire to make a difference in your part of the world. If 2019 taught me nothing else, it taught me one’s generosity can make a positive impact as time and time again, it sure impacted mine. Happy New Year everyone!