The Power of ONE Word Reminders

Persevere YW MtPERSEVERE.

What do you need most in your life right now? It is a question I ask myself and my clients often. Do you want to be healthier? Is your biggest challenge with a relationship within your family or at work? For whatever reason, I’ve been confronted several times this week with conflicts—from people’s expectations to struggling with trying to please people to my own detriment.

Several months ago I gave my small group a challenge to persevere as we experimented with a new coaching process I developed called “Simplify to Satisfy*.” The inspiration was from Hebrews 10. Little did I realize at the time how much I needed to pay attention to the WORD to persevere…

Every December, I seek the Lord for a guiding life verse for the New Year. I ask God for “ONE WORD*” as a theme for the new season. I’ve been memorizing Bible promises for over 35 years but along the way I began focusing on ONE WORD with Scriptures to bless me with what I need most from God. This year God led me to James 1:2-4, 12: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Aha! This verse gripped me because last year my ONE WORD focus was completion with the Bible promise from Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

But wait a minute, I definitely want more joy in my life but I don’t want any more trials– enduring suffering has been a life long past time. Enough is enough! I would prefer to focus on “joy” and experience “love sweet love.” As I searched the Scriptures and prayed it became very clear that the answer to what I needed most was to persevere.

To persevere in my relationships…yes I value my FAMILY & friends.
To persevere in my work…yes I enjoy coaching, teaching and ministries.
To persevere in my writing…yes I want to complete several projects.
To persevere in my growth…yes I want God to develop my character.
Oh yes, I desire to lack in nothing and be complete in Christ!

The hardest part of character refinement is the chiseling brought on by fiery trials with people—especially those you love and trust. The WORD tells me it is a work that will continue until the day Christ Jesus returns. The WORD reminds me to remain steadfast, as I persevere in faith.

So this week was no different…there was relief from pain, there were unexpected problems and there was peace in spite of criticism. There is deep abiding joy as I am a work in progress with many unfinished projects.

God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them. We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. C.S. Lewis

“Blessed is the person who remains steadfast and perseveres under trial, for when she has stood the test she will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

If you would like more information about the ONE WORD process or Simplify 2 Satisfy send me an e-mail: caroljsmith12@gmail.com or connect by Facebook

Although I write daily either by prayer journaling, preparing sermons or coaching workshops as well as all the little communications via text/e-mail—it is not enough. I am compelled to consistently share some WORD of encouragement. Today I am striving to complete my simple monthly goal to blog. Right now I am determined to complete this blog as it is the 12th day of the month. I’ve started it several times, changed my mind on the topic, edited and deleted numerous times. So here goes…this is ONE WORD for the answer to what I need most. 2-12-16

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Imperfect Prayers: Spirit of Hope

How I desire to be infused with a spirit of hope on this bleak gray overcast chilly winter morning. After another fitful night without restorative sleep there is no comfort for my pain. Why do I wake up in anguish? Oh how I struggle with the winter blues—Lord bless me with your healing and graciously fill me with the light of your presence.
Father-God I’m trying not to let the troubles of those I love keep me in despair. I fear for my children, my family and friends. As I listen to their concerns, receive multiple prayer requests, scan the headlines, I confess my worries about the evil oppression that surrounds us. I must look away from my weakness and let go of the burdens. I will focus my thoughts on your promises* to deliver us from this world. I seek you early as I renew my mind continually in your Word. Transform me from the inside out so that I might live in peace with hope.
Although I feel vulnerable in today’s desperation I trust it will not be like this always. There is hope even in the darkness. The faithfulness of God’s love continually returns as tender mercies with every prayer. I could not live without His comfort and strength.
There is relief for my soul—the present discouragement fades as I pray:
“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.” Psalm 42:5 NASB
“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” Lamentations 3:22-24 (NLT)

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38
There is nothing that can defeat the rising of hope. There is nothing that can separate us from His love and from one another. I will keep the faith and keep my hope in God.

1.12.16 – I made a new year’s commitment to blog again after a grief recovery hiatus. Although all I can offer for now are bits and pieces of my brokenness; I will do my best to imperfectly blog every 12th day of each month in 2016.

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OVERCOME by Renewing Your Mind

Romans 12:2

I need victory over my thoughts every day…I wake up and know immediately I am empty. Sometimes I get a great start and then boom! I am bombarded with bad news or stressors. I fight the battle of allowing circumstances or people to drain my energy and take away my power. I don’t want to let fears or worries entangle me. Most of the time, it isn’t even about me—it is about precious people I love—their pain and struggles. Or it is broken people behaving immaturely or spewing their emotional trash.

Do you have problems controlling your thoughts? Perhaps you struggle with negative, ungodly thoughts. It is vital not to carry the burdens, nor to give in to the suffering in this world. What you think determines where you end up in life, so it’s vital that you learn to master your mind. But how do you overcome the hurts in this life?

Time after time, I have to learn to be content by allowing God to “transform my focus.” I know I need “to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 If I give in to my troubles then I am even weaker. If I choose to focus on God’s mercy and power then I gain strength. If I ask for wisdom He is more than willing to give it to me generously.

So I pray with my gut-wrenching cries…Lord help me—God have mercy on us! Especially when we feel abandoned and the difficulties seem to multiply. Father I know you are present…let my dear friend experience your love, your compassion and your love. Give us wisdom to make the best choices.

Oh Lord grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
the courage to change the things we can and your wisdom to know the difference.

Hear our prayers and more importantly open our minds that we may hear your answers.

How many times have I patiently listened, counseled or coached someone who needed to vent but who really needed to receive God’s gracious favor. What can you say or do when someone is unable to experience God? All I know to do is to intercede and pray for them. All I know is to remember WHO God is and what He has done for all of us.

There is great power in listening to God through His WORD. When the hidden scripts of the past or the insidious lies creep in it is time to stop and transform your focus. First you have to come to an awareness of what you are proclaiming. Is it truth? Or is it an accusation, condemnation or a lie? Do you know the truth? Can you change the circumstances? Possibly or maybe not; but you can change your thought patterns. If it is a conviction from God’s Spirit then pay attention. Admit your weakness, confess your bad attitude or your transgression. Do you need to forgive or be forgiven? Do you need to release you anger and guard your reactions? Do you need to let go of your self-pity and loathing? Stop blaming and take personal responsibility in God’s strength.

If you’ve done something wrong, the key is to turn away from the temptation and by God’s grace do whatever it takes to make it right. Let us turn to the Bible which clearly reveals the vital importance of allowing God to control our thoughts and to transform our focus.

This is a spiritual exercise that I have used to renew my mind:

1.  “Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-10

2. Be aware of your “Mistaken Thinking”: deceptions, lies, hidden messages, life scripts

“You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God.” Matthew 22:29

3. Search God’s Word for TRUTH: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16,17

4. Identify the Stronghold: What is keeping you from trusting God, confess the lie, repent and turn away from whatever it is…

5. The TRUTH: what does God’s Word say regarding this…what is the truth?
“We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.  We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Example: Why should I fear days of adversity or times of trouble?

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? Psalm 27:1-3

He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. Psalm 145:18-20

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:9-11

Your turn: What “stinkin thinkin” is holding you captive?
Let God renew your mind with His truth…

As the Holy Spirit empowers us… we can set our minds on the things above, not on the things of this earth. Colossians 3:1-3 To have the mind of Christ means that we share His values and begin to think like Him 2 Corinthians 2:16 We can be renewed in the likeness of God as we hold our mind captive to His Word and surrender our will over to God.

We must prepare by being alert

“Sow a thought, reap an action;

 Sow an action, reap a habit;

Sow a habit, reap a destiny.”

1 Peter 1:13

FOCUS: Gratitude

FOCUS:  Gratitude

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I am in, therein to be content.” Helen Keller

I woke up this morning thankful for many Sabbath blessings: beauty, worship; special time with precious children at church: singing Acts 16:31 and sharing Bible stories. Then we shared a healthy meal with family, a beautiful walk in a garden setting and a soothing warm soak in a natural hot spring…yes I had plenty to be thankful for!

But there is always something to draw us near to God, to our knees for prayer and today was no different. My Mother-in-law, sweet Ila was admitted to the hospital this afternoon with pancreatitis; she is in good hands with the great Physician, stabilized with medical treatment, and very much loved and supported by her family and friends.

This powerful promise reminds that us that God understands: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  (Philippians 4:6)

I just came home from the hospital, so I’m write a new addition to this message from what I wrote earlier.  I was preparing to facilitate a group meeting this coming week. I chose the topic gratitude because I know it to be a true remedy to life’s woes. I read many different things about “gratitude.” I found it interesting that many of the stories about gratitude kept referring to problems but in the context of being grateful. Here are a few paraphrases from some of the quotes:

Even the darkest of moments can be faced with a grateful heart; not for the problems but for the growth it can evoke with the help of Jesus.

When things seem their bleakest, I can choose to seek the courage and strength and hope accessible in my Lord and Savior for the light of understanding and gratitude.

For “when it gets dark enough you can see the stars.”

Just for today, I will practice gratitude. I will choose to accept the gift of gratitude, receiving the things that come my way. Knowing I can trust my Heavenly Father, I will be content and let the peace of Christ keep me. I will cultivate thankfulness. I will be thankful for an attitude of gratitude.

2012 Transforming Focus

Every year I ask God for a special “Rhema” which is an inspirational WORD to guide my choices and direction for the coming days. This year I couldn’t identify one verse so I was impressed to choose 12 Scriptures for 2012…some are special verses from past seasons, all relevant to my life journey and so very applicable to my present-future. Take time to pray, search God’s Word and let Him speak His special Rhema to you this season…share it and see how He continues to develop, enfold and shape your life.

I don’t like resolutions when they don’t come to completion…good intentions are not enough.  Whatever your next steps… my prayer is “we stay on God’s course.” BE focused and follow through for action and transformation!

If you already made some resolutions—good we hope they are going well. There may be some that have already gone by the wayside. Don’t give up, never give up, keep moving forward. Stay the course, remember your direction determines your destination!

It is not about perfection, rather process and progression. If you miss your target get right back to it and results will happen. Remember if don’t try at all you will never reach your goal. The way, the truth and life is found in abiding in His presence.

So where is God leading you? Are you willing to go the distance with Him? What or who motivates you? Do you have enough support or help to achieve the goals that are most meaningful to you? What will be your reward when you achieve these goals? Can you see yourself at the “finish line” having achieved some of these goals? Are you smiling, exclaiming, proclaiming & PRAISING?

 2012 Transforming Focus

Stay on course, keeping your focus on God and His life-map for abundant living.

1. Focus: Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:22 NLT

2.  Focus: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:4-6 NKJV

3.  Focus: “My grace is sufficient; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.  I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2 Corinthians 12:6-8

4.  Focus: May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:5-7; 13

5.  Focus: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-8

6.  Focus: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12

7.  Focus: “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 5:1 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

8.  Focus: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 NIV

9.  Focus: “You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set…” Psalm 119:1-3 The Message

10. Focus: “So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.” Philippians 3:14-16 The Message

11.  Focus: “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. Now he who supplies seed to the sower …will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”  2 Corinthians 9:11-15

12. Focus: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned…Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

Ways to Experience God

Overflowing Grace

Open your heart and let His abundant grace overflow into your soul.  There is nothing like a connection with God in nature. Breathe in His presence and enjoy! Look up and experience His creative power…abundantly overflowing for us. Some times we have to get away and be in awe of His creative beauty. It is both peaceful and powerful to embrace Him. God gives us so many good gifts, Lord help us to receive.

These are a series of waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge along Historic Highway 30 in Oregon. Can you name the different waterfalls? Could it be Bridal Veil Falls or Horsetail Falls?

It took us thirty years to return to the Multanomah Falls bridge, where my husband proposed during the summer of 1980. Ah, so much life in between. We met in Tennessee and after over 25 moves we made it back to Oregon. It was good to go back to celebrate our special memory of our commitment to love.  Our love endures because we continually seek God’s love, grace, forgiveness, patience and presence. We spend more time apart in the daily survival of work but we cherish the moments of quality. We nurture our time together as we find pleasure in nature: walking in the woods, along the ocean shore or high in the mountains. Love is being together.

God calls us to come away and be with Him, wherever we are, just as we are. Yes, I want to choose moments with God in nature in some way every day.  Most of the time we spend quality time within my home. It doesn’t really matter where. He wants us to experience spiritual wellbeing by being with Him in a relationship—the joy of sharing in His presence.

Breathe in the fresh mist and pure air of His Spirit. It is His desire to be with you…rest in His presence and experience God throughout your day. Receive His blessings of peace, joy and love right now.

Pause for a moment, just be still and soak in His love:

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in  him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:16-19

Reflection: God reveals Himself in many ways; have you seen His works in your life and around you?  Write how has God blessed you today…

Prayer: Seek God, He is waiting. Speak to God, He hears. Prayer is “talking to a friend” in conversation. Lord I want to connect; I want more than talk, I want to hear you and receive you in my whole being.

Feel free to share your prayer requests on our prayer link.