This is the Year| By Jasmine Beard

Year after year, people make resolutions, set goals, and even come up with a plan to change for the new year.

I am all about plans and goals, but I definitely do not think they have to be designated just for the beginning of the year.

Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV)

It is never too early or too late to evaluate your life and start again, dream again, and redo something you have failed at in the past.

For the past two years I have planned to read the One Year Bible. And both years sometime around March, I have gotten so far behind in my Bible plan that I forfeit it all together and settle for shorter more attainable Bible reading goals.

You would think this year I wouldn’t even put reading the One Year Bible on my goal list.  But come November of 2019, I had already purchased the one year Bible and by December I was already questioning my decision. I would think to myself, “why did I even buy that?”, “I probably won’t finish it, just like every other year.”, “maybe I should have committed to reading the One Year Bible on my phone, that way it would be easier to face defeat when I don’t complete it.”

It was in that precise moment that the Holy Spirit quickened me, He said, “with that way of thinking and speaking to yourself you will fail, change your thinking.”

Phew! 

Past failures can leave us hopeless and can stop us from even setting goals.

We think to ourselves, “maybe I am just meant to be fat”, “maybe I am always going to deal with fear and anxiety”, “I will never be able to follow a budget”.

And believe it or not those words have power. I mean God used words to create the earth and all its livelihood. And even Adam created the names of animals by his words.

So, do not discredit the power of your words. Whether spoken out loud or inwardly they can have a major effect on your mind and can be the demise of you not finishing or accomplishing the goals you so desperately need to.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue..” Proverbs 18:21 NKJV

This is the year.

It is the year that you can accomplish that goal and can be free from what you have always wanted to be free from.

Some of my biggest accomplishments goal wise have been because of God’s grace carrying me to the finish line, amazing accountability, and mindset.

Today, if you know that you are not capable of achieving that goal. Change your way of thinking to think “I don’t have to achieve this goal, but God can through me.”

If your goal involves better health, a better financial state, a life free from anxiety, guess what? God desires that for you too and will give you the grace to complete it.

So trust God, change the way you speak about those goals, and surround yourself with community that will hold you accountable to your goals.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Reflecting for the New Year|By Heaven Harris

The Christmas season is the perfect time to reflect on the year as it comes to a close, and the perfect opportunity to dream for the year ahead. Every year, I pray that God blesses me with a word and/or scripture that will mark the year and season I am stepping into or still walking in. Every year, He is exceedingly faithful in my request. For 2018, my words were JOY and ROMANCE, and my scriptures encompassed those very words.

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” -Hosea 2:14

“He brought me to the banquet hall, and he looked on me with love.” -Song of Solomon 2:4

This year, my divorce was finalized. As that part of my life was coming to a permanent close, I struggled to understand how joy and romance could possibly be what God was trying to incorporate in my life.  I felt empty and void of either. However, God knew the place He wanted in my life. He wanted to be my husband and show me a different side of His perfect and true love.

For the entirety of this year, I let Him pursue me and allure me through every high and low. I let Him romance my heart straight into the healing I was longing for. As my heart healed, my joy was daily renewed in ways I never experienced. It has not been easy. It has taken intentionality.  It has also taken honesty. There have been days when I have thrown my hands in the air yelling, not wanting His love or presence.

My intention is never to hurt Him, but in the humanity of it all, sometimes I feel I have nothing to give or even the energy to receive. Can we just take a moment to be thankful that even in those vulnerable moments, He never leaves or forsakes?

Actually, it has been the most vulnerable moments that He shows Himself a strong tower, and I can be nothing but thankful.

As the scripture goes, His grace is sufficient, and His strength and power are made perfect through our weaknesses. My heart simply desires that He shines bright through my pain and weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9 paraphrased)

That wilderness spoken of in Hosea 2 was lonely at times, yet I never felt more surrounded. As I reflect on 2018, there were so many opportunities for me to let God in and romance me more.  Yet, I sit with contentment that He has my heart in a way that He never has. I sit knowing that there are worldly desires I never thought would be quenched that He miraculously replaced with an urgency for Him and His touch. I find myself hungry more for a touch of Heaven and less for pleasing people. I want eternity to be my mark.  

My prayer for you in this season of reflection is that you can see His hand in everything you have encountered this year, even those hard parts.  Even more, I pray that 2019 has your heart fluttering with hope for what He will continue to do for and in you.

My word for 2019 is MARVEL. My scripture is Isaiah 54 (NLT).

In this chapter, it speaks about a barren and desolate land. One that has been riddled with storms. I too have battled many storms in my life. But, God has a promise for this city as He has a promise for you and me.

11  “O storm-battered city, troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you with precious jewels
   and make your foundations from lapis lazuli.


12  I will make your towers of sparkling rubies, your gates of shining gems,
and your walls of precious stones.


13  I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace.


14  You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies will stay far away. You will live in peace, and terror will not come near.


15  If any nation comes to fight you, it is not because I sent them. Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat.

16  “I have created the blacksmith who fans the coals beneath the forge
and makes the weapons of destruction. And I have created the armies that destroy.


17  But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!

Read the rest of Isaiah 54 here.

I will walk into 2019 clinging to such a love letter, and I choose to begin this year with pouring out into your cup the overflow of mine. I believe these scriptures are for some of you, and the shaky ground you stand on. Embrace His heart for you in this upcoming year. He is ready to give you every desire of that precious heart of yours.