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Before I explain my key words for 2020, I want to share with you what I discovered through my verse for last year. While working through interpersonal and situational issues, God gave me the verse, “Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart” (Psalm 31:24).
I decided to be intentional in keeping this verse in mind. I began a new process of reviewing every month my experiences and growth. I summarized discoveries and scriptures to understand more clearly what God was doing in and through me.
Then towards the end of 2019, I read both my journal and summary notes. This was an important step, because in the rear-view mirror of the year, I discovered that God was doing a larger and deeper work in me. Patiently step by step, He guided me in ways I didn’t always see at the time.
From There to Here: Discoveries
Receiving an instruction and a promise: My verse came in two parts—I was to work at becoming strong, and God promised to give me strength, wisdom, and insight. Throughout the year He also stepped in with many encouraging words and promises.
Waiting on God: It took time, concentrated prayer and journalling to discern what was askew and to absorb what God was teaching me. I needed to wait in God’s presence. God was working in me to develop my character and maturity, to sink my roots deeper into God, and to find Him in the broken places of my life. I was amazed to discover just how specific and detailed were God’s solutions, solutions that had previously eluded me.
Focusing on God instead of my worries: In October I visited persecuted believers in Egypt. They reminded me how important it is to look to Jesus. “The enemy wants us to live in fear,” one leader told our group. “We focus instead, not on the persecution, but on our Faithful Father.” They were enthusiastic about God’s vision for their lives and ministry and what God was doing, rather than their persecution. What a wonderful model for me!
Forgiveness: How well I remember David Jeremiah’s words, “Forgiveness is always our turn.” As an important component of developing strength, extending forgiveness to others is becoming part of my prayer time. It’s not always easy, but it’s necessary.
Intercession: I discovered deeper lessons in interceding for persons and situations, and appreciated how much the Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t know how to pray.
Helps to others: Towards the end of the year, others began asking me for advice in the particular areas I had struggled with. God does extend our struggles into ministry to others.
Gratitude: I look back in gratitude for this year. I have seen God do what seemed impossible, and this leads me into my words for 2020:
God is the Lord of the Impossible.
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I include with a prayer, which includes my prayer for you:
Dear Father, I invite you into my word or verse for the year. I long to accomplish Your plans and purposes for me. Shine Your light into what You want me to do and accomplish this year in both my life and writing. Build my faith to: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God” (William Carey). As I thank you in advance, I will give You my praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.