Thursday, December 11, 2008

With Scripture, how can you go wrong?

For the last 4-5 years I had made it a practice to have a "life verse" for the new year. I choose a verse that relates to what I feel God has laid on my heart for me to accomplish. It replaces New Year resolutions. I have never been too good at those.
I write this verse('s) out and place it where I will see it throughout the year (car visor, journals, Bible, etc.). I carefully choose a verse to work through for that year for I know I will be met with challenges from within it's content and meaning. Plus, satan sees it as a challenge and does everything in his power to make me fail in it. However, I can rest knowing and believing that in the end, God has always prevailed, maybe not as I had thought when that new year started but in His Way. I also choose a piece of scripture for any conferences or special retreats I may be involved in. I connect a piece of scripture related to what I hope to accomplish personally from that event. I will share from this past year how it has worked for me...

For 2008 my life scripture was from Isaiah 61 (Amplified)

[1] THE SPIRIT of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound,
[2] To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor]
and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
[3] To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion--to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit--that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

This past year, God laid on my heart a desire to help others who have been afflicted because for the first time I was accepting the beauty that had come out of my own past afflictions and adversity. This desire He placed on my heart is still there and He has used this past year preparing me in this ministry. I have grown stronger in Him, He has placed hurting souls in my path and challenged me to use His grace, love, and forgiveness in reaching out for Him. As predicted, satan has attack me in this journey, but he did not prevail. And so I go forth, through the next door, armed and equipped for more of what God has for me.

This past summer God provided a community service award of $1000 that allowed me to go to the She Speaks conference offered through the Proverbs 31 Ministry. My desire to go was strong but I was not sure why. Instead of choosing to go through just one of their tracks offered (they have three to choose from), I experienced a variety of topics as I felt God leading me to do this. It was all jsut stepping stones in this journey of faith and ministry and I was so blessed! I chose the following verse for this trip since I was not sure what God had in store for me but I knew He would show it once I got there and He did!

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.~Rev. 3:8 (NIV)
I posted the transformation of my mind, heart, and spirit from this conference experience here. At the close of the conference I left clutching a verse I had received when I emptied myself at the foot of the cross during the Saturday evening session. The verse on the card was randomly handed to me-it was from God and left me with chills, left me humbled, left me secure:
"Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders."~Deut. 33:12 (NIV)
When I need a piece of scripture to carry me, I look up a key word. I have felt the "desert" of my call in women's ministry this past year...I found this scripture just this morning regarding this:
The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place."~Deut 1:30-31(NIV)
Yes, He has carried me many time this past year as I have journeyed through His TRUTH and His plans for me. My heart has been so burden these last few months over two areas (as I stated in my last post). I talk to God all throughout the day but my private prayer time, in my room, with the door closed, on my knees (Matt 6:6) is lacking. It is my goal to change this. Outside of our youth ministry, the women's ministry I am leading in has not been producing fruit, not as I have desired. The ministry has been hit with resistance and lack of participation. My pastor even encouraged me to let the ministry rest as the church works through it's own loss and growth process.


But the burden is still on my heart. As women in this church we need to bond, encourage each other, and lift each other up and it is not happening. Considering my pastors words and through events of other church's throughout the United States I have randomly read about, the thought has been planted that maybe, just maybe, God is calling me to step outside the church walls to minister to the "unchurch" (like we do with our Thursday night youth group. 80% of these kids are the kids from within our community and "unchurched").


I presented this concept in our monthly Women of Grace meeting this past Monday and the few women that were there confirmed this is indeed what God wants us to do. They too expressed a desire to step outside the church walls and reach out to those who need to know about God's love and grace. One lady even expressed that is how she bonds with others-by serving. So with this in mind, after praying and searching scripture, I think I have my 2009 scripture. Of course, a blog post, sermon, or radio broadcast may present another piece of scripture between now and the New Year that will take my breath away. But for now, I had a hard time choosing between Col 1:9-14 (personalize the scripture by placing your name, I, me, etc. into its verses and it becomes a beautiful prayer) and Col 4:2-6.
Considering the goal God has placed on my heart, I will be claiming the Col 4:2-6 (Holman Christian Standard Bible) for 2009:
[2 ] Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. [3 ] At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah—for which I am in prison— [4] so that I may reveal it as I am required to speak. [5] Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the time. [6] Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.


So what scripture will you claim for 2009? Try it!!

I shared my process to hopefully encourage you to do this and just be amazed where it takes you. Whether through seasons of storms or rest, or periods of being in a desert or a forest, my prayer for us all is that we will find the most amazing spiritual growth and experience a seasons of producing fruit for God like never before.

In Him~Pamela

14 comments:

Lelia Chealey said...

Excellent post Pamela!! Really loved this idea and will do it this next year instead of resolutions.

Also...loved what you wrote here:
I can rest knowing and believing that in the end, God has always prevailed, maybe not as I had thought when that new year started but in His Way.

Especially that last part...beautiful!
love you much,
Lelia

Beth in NC said...

This was a beautiful post and a wonderful idea about choosing a scripture for the year.

I pray you see great fruit as you step out into the world as a light shining in the darkness!

God bless you!
Beth

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

This is an awesome approach to the new year, Pam! I, too, want a verse focus for the new year. I will be praying about it in the weeks remaining and let you know what the Lord lays upon my heart. I'll even do a blog post about it, connecting back to here. Keep me accountable, friend.

Have a beautiful weekend with family and friends.

peace~elaine

much2ponder said...

You've been tagged over at my place...stop by for details~!

LynnSC said...

Wow... what a great post Pamela. I love the idea of choosing a verse for the new year. I cannot wait to search this out. I will have to let you know what I come up with...

Thanks so much for your great words. I am always blessed when I visit.
Lynn

Mariel said...

what a great idea! I will definately be praying for God to show me my year verse. This year He has really revealed Prov. 31:26 to me often...I DO need to open my mouth with wisdom and GET some wisdom. So maybe it was the 2008 verse.

Thanks so much for sharing this!

Carol said...

Pamela,

I love this idea, I'm going to share it with my family, and on my blog, may I link them to you?

I neeevveerr keep my resolutions, but this is so much better.

I also share with you regarding the women' ministry, we have none in our church, and I'm praying for God to show His will in this.

Thank you.

Carol<:)

Jill said...

Good words Pamela - I have enjoyed following your journey. I too am planning to select a verse for the year. So many to choose from, but I know God will put the right one in place.

Yolanda said...

I'll be keeping my eyes open for the next 2 weeks or so, for my 2009 life verse.

Love ya Friend,
Yolanda

Laura said...

You are an inspiration, Pamela! I love the Isaiah scripture, it has played a big part in my life as well. If you have ever done Beth MOore's Breaking Free Bible study you know that it is written around those verses. We spent a lot of time memorizing and meditating over them...

You bless me with your heart for His word!

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Loved the scripture you picked for next year. Love the testimony of God working and changing things in your life.
Love,
Paula

Pat said...

Pam,
This was a beautiful post. Filled to the brim with God's Good Word and inspiration.
I have followed this course for many years as well, of choosing those certain scriptures that light the way into the new year
I have joined Beth Moore scripture memory with Psalm 139 but have not really received that special guiding verse for the year yet!
You are a sweet blessing. Thank you for the challenge!
pat

Joyful said...

Happy New Year Pam! I don't get around to visit often, but I often think of you and remember time spent with you at She Speaks.

For the past 10 years or so the Lord has also directed me to a verse/scripture passage as my focus for that year. Sometimes it's about an aspect of His character that He wants me to learn, other times it's an aspect of mine He wants to refine. This year He has drawn my attention to 1 Corinthians 2:2, For I resolve to know nothing this year except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Simply Jesus is my goal.
His will be mine in 2009.

Blessings,
Joy

hkudla said...

Hi there...
Its been a while since i have commented, but I have been reading!

I came back to this post today to let you know that God impressed a scripture on my heart for this year.... doesn't normally happen for me.
A life verse for me is Is. 43:1 "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine"

But my anchor verse for this year came to me as I was getting ready to start the scripture memory challenge by Beth Moore on the LPM blog.

Is. 33:2 "Oh Lord be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress."

Already He has been using it in my life! Amazing how that works, isn't it?
God bless, and thanks for the idea. I would have never picked that verse w/o someone challenging me to keep my eyes out for one!
Heather