Authentic: What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?

It all began in 2008. Somewhere…perhaps in a Bible study or a sermon…Romans 12:1-2 floated into my heart like an autumn leaf twirling to the ground. It was not an unfamiliar pair of verses, but neither were they sealed into my memory….yet.

Before long, these verses began popping up everywhere. In a sermon, in whatever Bible study I was doing, devotionals, on the radio…flitter, I fully expected to walk into a bathroom stall somewhere and find them scrawled on the wall. Seriously, it was comical how God was using repetition to force me to pay attention to these verses. The more I heard them, the more I realized that there was a message, a life message, in them for me.

In the eight years since, I have tucked these verses deeply into my heart and made them into an almost daily prayer for my life. I believe they are the key that opens the door to the authentic Christian life. Let’s start with verse 1.

 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (ESV)

 

As we think about authentic Christianity, about being a stand-out Christian in a world that tells us to shut-up, what possible help could this verse be? Sacrifice? Holy? It all sounds very antiquated, doesn’t it?

 

Authentic What Are You Willing To Sacrifice

 

Paul is doing a little bit of what I like to call ‘guilt trippin’ his brethren. He is saying something like this: “Look at what God has done for you. How in the world could you not give your all for Him? It really is what you should do.”

One thing that is important for us to understand is the context in which Paul wrote Romans. In that day there was a prevalent philosophy that said that the soul or spirit was inherently good, while the body was inherently evil. Because the body was considered to be evil and would die eventually, it didn’t matter what you did with or to your body. Your soul/spirit was what mattered. For this reason, many people participated in immorality, believing that as long as their heart/spirit was right, they were good. There was a huge disconnect between the body and the spirit. Might sound a bit like today, huh?

So, back to how this verse impacted me. One day while I was exercising I was deeply impressed by the Holy Spirit to begin praying this verse back to God. So I did.

Lord, I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice. I am yours. Change me. Use me. Make me into whatever you desire.

Now, this is not a prayer to be prayed flippantly, because sacrifices in the Old Testament did not remain alive. So, what I was saying to God is take whatever does not please you and crucify it, kill it, so that all that remains is holy and acceptable to you.

Vance Havner once said that the problem with living sacrifices is that they tend to crawl off the altar. This required an intentional, deliberate act of my will. I had to be willing open the doors of my heart completely to the Holy Spirit, holding nothing back….NOTHING BACK!  I had to be willing to allow Him to clean out impure thoughts and selfish desires. I had to be serious about crawling up on that altar and allowing my flesh to be crucified so Jesus could live through me. What Jesus has done in my heart since I began praying this prayer is stunning. He has given me an intense desire to be more and more like Him.

 

Authentic Havner quote

 

Authentic Christianity requires that we give God the ultimate sacrifice of self….body, mind, and spirit. The world needs to see Christ-followers who are walking out holy lives because they have offered their bodies as living sacrifices for the cause of Christ.

MEDITATION MOMENT: What would you need to do in order to make Romans 12:1 a reality in your life? What is hindering you from offering your body as a living sacrifice? I would love to pray for you in this regard. Feel free to leave a comment or email me at info@leahadams.org.

 

Have you heard about Journibles? They are a series of beautiful books that offer space for you to write out that specific book of the Bible. I love my Romans Journible. I scribed the entire book of Romans in it. The Word comes alive even more when you write it out. Here is my Amazon affiliate link to the Romans Journible. Order your copy today and begin writing out the book of Romans.

Trumpet 5 ~ A Fallen Star, Locusts and the First Woe

Mmm, mmm, mmm! What did you think about last week’s lesson where we began our look at the events precipitated by the sounding of the 5th trumpet? Mind-blowing, isn’t it? Today, we will plant our feet solidly in the same passage, so let’s remind ourselves what it says.

Revelation 9:1-12 (ESV)

1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.

2 He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft.

3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.

4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

5 They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone.

6 And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.

7 In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces,

8 their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth;

9 they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle.

10 They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails.

11 They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.

12 The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.

 

The Fifth Trumpet A Fallen Star, Locusts, and the First Woe

 

There are three portions of this passage that I would like to highlight today.

The star

The locusts

The time period involved

 

First, let’s consider the star. Here is what we know about him:

  • He is fallen from heaven to earth
  • He is given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit

Commentators generally identify this ‘star’ as Satan. Satan was known as “Lucifer” prior to his rebellion against God. The name ‘Lucifer’ means ‘brightness’. In the account of his rebellion in Isaiah 14:12-15, Satan is referred to as having fallen from heaven. He is also called the ‘star of the morning’. Makes sense to me.

This star is given the key to shaft of the bottomless pit, or the Abyss. This tells us that he is not operating autonomously, but rather he remains under God’s control. Whatever happens as a result of this star having the key is all part of the plan of God for the world, we can be sure.

As we shift to verse 11, we are told that the demons/locusts who torment mankind have as their king the angel of the abyss, or bottomless pit. This angel’s name is Abaddon in Hebrew and Apollyon in Greek, both names carrying the meaning of ‘destroyer’. Is this angel the same being as the star in verse 1?

The jury is divided on this. Some think Abaddon/Apollyon is Satan, while others believe he is a high ranking angel in Satan’s army of demons. My personal thought is that this refers to Satan, who is clearly the destroyer of the souls of mankind. This is not one of those foundational concepts that we need to have a hissy fit over, though.

Now, let’s move to the locusts, or demons. The description of these beings is odd, to say the least, but we must remember that John continually described them as ‘like’ something else. Here is what we are told about them:

  • Came out of the abyss
  • Given power like the power of a scorpion sting to torment, but not to kill
  • They had specific orders to only torment those who do NOT have the seal of God on their foreheads
  • They were like horses prepared for battle
    • Crowns on their heads (the stephanos, or victor’s, crown, rather than the diadema, which Jesus wears)
    • Faces like human faces
    • Hair like a woman
    • Teeth like a lion
    • Breastplates like iron
    • Noise they made was like the noise of many chariots and horses rushing to battle
    • Tails that sting like scorpions

 

Whew! Impressive, huh? I believe John was completely undone over what he saw and simply did the best he could with the description.

While many commentators believe that the torment these locusts/demons inflict is a physical torment, there are some who believe the torment is spiritual in nature. Given that part of the restrictions for the torment include the physical, earthly realm of nature, I believe the torment of humans is both physical and spiritual. As many of us know, when our physical bodies are in pain or distress, spiritual attacks often follow. Physical pain has driven many people to commit suicide in order to escape, but spiritual torment has also moved people to take their own lives. It is reasonable to believe that the ‘destroyer’ would use both avenues to attempt to destroy humans as part of the fifth trumpet and first woe.

Let’s finish by considering the time period of the torment. Is there a significance for the five month stated period? We do not know, but for all we do not know about this reference, we can take comfort in the fact that there will be an end to this particular torment. It has a stated timeframe that reminds us that God is sovereign over the good and the evil.

This completes our look at the first woe. Next week we will take a look at the events surrounding the sounding of the sixth trumpet. Until then, keep your eyes on Jesus, friends.

Sharing Life ~ When Suffering Rings Your Doorbell

In the waning days of 2014, I experienced great losses. The particulars of what and how and why of the losses are not as germane to our time together today as the effects upon my soul. Like tidal waves, one loss piled upon another until I could barely breath or function. For months there were times I felt such despair that I prayed for Jesus to take me home. Never in my entire life have I experienced such suffering and pain. Not physical pain, although I was certain that my heart had been ripped to shreds and would never recover. The pain and suffering were emotional and mental. Two years later, my heart aches at the thought of it and tears still come easily, even though much healing has taken place.

No one seeks out suffering, yet everyone experiences it. There is not a soul on planet earth who has not endured some kind of suffering, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual.  Are we ever prepared for it? Is there even a way to prepare for suffering? Do we set our children up for failure and despair by not preparing them for suffering?

 

When Suffering Rings Your Doorbell

 

 

Even though I experienced intense suffering of the heart, there were some things that I knew to be true; things that I held onto with everything within me. It was those thing that kept my faith from being ‘greatly shaken’. I would love to share those with you today and next week.

The first thought is one that we hear pretty often in the Christian world, but it really is true.

 

LIFE IS HARD, BUT GOD IS GOOD

We do our children a huge disservice by not preparing them for the inevitable suffering they will experience. Whether it is another child at school making fun of them or the loss of a special grandparent early in the child’s life, we must prepare kids for the fact that life is hard. Flitter, we must prepare ourselves for that fact.

In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.”

So, what do we do with that? Trouble does not come to us because God is vengeful or sadistic. The fact is that we live in a fallen world and because of it hard and painful things happen. We don’t need to walk around like Eeyore always bemoaning the misery of life or blaming our troubles on other people, although sometimes they are a result of other people’s actions or words. We do, however, need to have a proper perspective on life.

My Daddy developed polio at the age of 16. The doctors told him he would never walk again. He overcame those predictions and walked, with the aid of crutches and a full leg brace, for the rest of his life. Life was not easy for him. He could not do many of things that young men do. He could not run, play sports, ride a motorcycle, or even walk normally. Yet, he knew that God had spared him from death for a reason, and while certain parts of his life would be hard, God was good to him. He became a successful businessman, married my mom and had two daughters. Sure there were times when he would physically fall, but he always got back up and went on. He had a proper perspective on suffering that kept him from losing his faith or feeling sorry for himself.

Throughout my 2014 ordeal, I always knew that God was good and that He was with me. The faith muscles that I had developed over the course of the years of my walking with Jesus gave me a solid foundation on which to abide even when so much of my world was shaken.

Christ followers can be assured that nothing, absolutely nothing, happens to them that has not been sifted through the will and purpose of God’s divine knowledge. Yes, life can be hard, but God is good and He will never allow anything to happen to us that is not part of His ultimate good for us. I liken this to a parent taking their sick child to the physician. The sickness is miserable and painful, both for the child to experience and the parent to watch. The physician diagnoses the problem and suggests an injection of antibiotics.

Queue up the hysterics! Crying, flailing about, screaming. Anything to avoid the injection.

Yet, the physician and the parent both know that the injection is what will restore good health. It may require bringing in back-up to help hold the child still, but the injection is given and health is restored.

So it is with our good God. Sometimes when He allows pain and suffering in our lives to accomplish His will for us, He knows there is no other way to bring about what is for our good. In those times, we must remember that life is hard, but God is good.

Next week we will consider two other very important lessons we must learn in order to properly walk through suffering. For now, would you share your thoughts on suffering? What are some lessons you have learned during suffering seasons? 

Dr. Charles Stanley has written some excellent books on the topic of suffering. I’m giving you my Amazon Affiliate link for one of them so you can check it out if you feel led.

Authentic: Being a Stand-out Christian in a Shut-Up World

I am married to my dentist. Several years ago, at a regular check-up, my dentist-husband looked at my x-rays and declared that one of my back teeth had a tiny crack in it. This news did not bring great rejoicing in my heart. I knew what it meant. The word crown became very real to me, and it was not the kind of crown that a queen would wear.

I scheduled an appointment with him for a few days later. On the appointed day, I came into the office, sat down in his chair, and submitted myself to the skillful hand of my husband. He took his drill and ground down the offending tooth to make space for a crown…a porcelain tooth that would be cemented onto the remains of my previous tooth. He measured, checked the color match, and created an impression of that area so the new crown would match and fit perfectly. Before I left the office, he fabricated a temporary crown and placed a bit of cement in the spot to hold the temporary crown in place until my permanent one was created by the dental lab.

My temporary crown looked like a real crown, and in fact, would serve several purposes: it was a place holder to keep the teeth on either side from moving; it protected the remains of the original tooth that was cracked; and it would allow me to chew on that side if I stayed away from hard or crunchy foods. But, the truth of the matter is that it was not the real thing and would never be the real thing. The key to a healthy, functioning tooth would be to go back to the dentist’s office in a couple of weeks and have the permanent porcelain crown placed in my mouth.

 

Authentic Being a Stand-Out Christian in a Shut-Up World

 

In the 2014 Religious Landscape Study performed by the Pew Research Center, the percentage of adults who describe themselves as ‘christian’ decreased dramatically from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. A Gallup poll published in late 2015 showed that 75% of Americans identified with a Christian religion. As I consider these statistics, I find it nearly impossible to square the fact that 70% of Americans identify as Christians, yet the recent presidential election was the most hateful and vitriolic in America’s history. Blistering, viscious words were hurled from voters of all stripes, including those who call themselves Christians. There is a huge disconnect, people!

A good and right question to ask ourselves is whether our talk and our walk match up.  The apostle James said that the Christians of his day were using their mouths to bless and to curse people, much like the Christians of our day. James likely shook his finger at his contemporaries and said, “This should not be.”

I agree! It should not be, but if I examine my life and heart, I find that I am guilty of sometimes walking out a type of Christianity that looks nothing like the life of Jesus. And Lord, have mercy, our world does need to see authentic Christianity. Am I a Christian who stands out as a Christ follower in a world that seeks, more and more, to shut us up? When unbelievers view my life, do they see things that draw them to Jesus or push them away?

A good question to ask right here is this: how do I know what a real-deal, stand-out Christian should look like?

What should the authentic Christian say?

How should they live?

What actions should they engage in?

 

Authentic Stand Out for IG

 

Over the next several Wednesdays we are going to delve into the profile of a true Christian, a stand-out Christian, and see if our lives measure up to the profile of a true believer in Jesus Christ. I hope you will join me.

MEDITATION MOMENT: Has there been a person or people in your life who lived out the definition of a true Christian? Would you share a bit about them in the comments?

 

Dr. Adrian Rogers wrote a marvelous little book about the things that every Christian should know. It is packed full of practical advice and plenty of Scripture to encourage your walk with Jesus. You may click on my Amazon affiliate link to check it out and purchase, should you feel led.

The Trumpet Judgments of Revelation ~ Trumpet 5

Happy New Year! We find ourselves in Revelation 9 as we begin our journey through 2017. In 2016 we studied Revelation 1 through 8, and I hope you learned much to encourage and strengthen your faith. I am grateful for your patience as we study. I had anticipated getting through the book of Revelation in one year. Ha! Was I ever naïve? We will likely not even finish in 2017. I’m thinking more like 2018, should Jesus not come back first. If He does, He can teach Revelation much better than I!

Would you like to go back and read some of the past teachings? I have created a page on my website where I link to each post in this series chronologically from the beginning of 2016 to the end (Revelation 1-8). CLICK HERE and you will be taken to that page. Once there click on the picture associated with each post and you will be directed to the specific teaching.

 

The Fifth Trumpet of Revelation

 

 

As we return to our study we pick back up with the trumpet judgments. The first four trumpet judgments were found in chapter 8, but at the end of chapter 8 we were given a dire warning by an eagle flying overhead. Let’s step back to the end of chapter 8 and refresh our memories:

Revelation 8:13 (ESV): Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”

 

We cannot say that we have not been warned. Things are about to go from bad to worse, and we have a bird’s eye view. Let’s read our passage from Revelation 9:

1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.

2 He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft.

3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.

4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

5 They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone.

6 And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.

7 In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces,

8 their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth;

9 they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle.

10 They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails.

11 They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.

12 The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.

 

This would be a great place for you to stop for a moment and download the drawing of Revelation 9 by my friend Lisa. I think it might give you a visual of a very busy chapter.

 

 

Let me give you a brief overview of what goes on in these verses, then next week we will really dive in.

  • A star falls from heaven
  • Star (demon) given the key to the bottomless pit and opens it
  • Smoke and locusts boil out of the pit
  • Locusts torment unbelievers for 5 months but cannot kill them
  • Description of locusts
  • This is described at the ‘first woe’

The sounding of the fifth trumpet brings a serious escalation to the judgments that take place. In all likelihood John uses significant symbolism to describe what he sees, because no less than ten times does he say that what he is seeing is ‘like’ something else. He simply used what he knew to describe something that he probably had no idea about.

Next week we will return and peel back the layers on this fifth trumpet judgment. Until then, friends, stay faithful. Jesus could return at any moment!

I would like to offer you a link to one of the commentaries I use in my study of the book of Revelation. Warren Wiersbe’s “Be Victorious” is an easy to read commentary that adds so much to my study time. Here is my Amazon affiliate link in case you would like to pick up the book.

Sharing Life ~ Getting Wisdom From a Pig

I want to be a wise woman, and I bet your desire is for wisdom, as well. Mentoring is all about sharing life and wisdom with another person. Sometimes there is just no easy way to say a thing, and the writer of Proverbs offers us one of those times as we think about getting wisdom. It is as if the writer of Proverbs just couldn’t hold his tongue in check and blurts out the first thing that comes to his mind in the verse at which we are looking today at Sharing Life.

 

Sharing Life Wisdom from a Pig

 

Warning: prepare for your sensibilities to be assaulted as you join me in Proverbs 11:22.

“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful face on an empty head.” (The Message)
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~
“A woman who is beautiful but lacks discretion
is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.” (NLT)
~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Beauty in a woman without good judgment
is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.” (GNT)

I was the poster child for this proverb for many years. Not the beautiful face part. I was a woman that lacked discretion and good judgment, and my choices bore witness to it. Consider the definition of discretion:

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary says that discretion is ‘the quality of being discreet; cautious reserve in speech; ability to make responsible decisions.”

Sweet Moses! ‘Cautious reserve in speech’ did not characterize me for many years. If a thought came to my mind, it came out my mouth. For many years I excused my lack of discretion by saying,

“that is just how I am—I say what is on my mind.”

The problem was that I did not use good judgment or love in what I said, or in how I said it. I stepped outside the boundaries of God’s love many times with my words and deeds.

I made some horrendously stupid choices in my young adult years that were a result of not using proper discretion. Choices that adversely affected my physical, spiritual, and emotional health. It wasn’t that I did not know better. I did. I simply did not use discretion, nor did I consult Jesus about those choices. Because if I had, I would have made different and better choices.

Placing a ring in a pig’s snout has a purpose….it keeps the pig from rooting around and destroying the ground. But a gold ring in a pig’s snout….well, there is no reason to use gold. What a waste of precious metal!

Discretion assures that we will not root around in the ground of sin, wasting the preciousness of the salvation that Jesus offers us. Discretion leads us down the path of purity, holiness, honesty, and trustworthiness. Just as the ring in the nose of the pig is painful when it roots in the ground, discretion should cause a person to think twice about their actions.

So, are you using discretion in your daily life? In your speech and your actions?

If not, there are three things you can do to get wisdom and discretion:

  1. Ask Jesus for it
  2. Study the Bible
  3. Find a godly mentor to walk beside you and speak into your life

The use of discretion causes us to make good character choices, which in turn, helps us leave a godly legacy for the generations that come behind us.

Get Wisdom! Get Discretion!

 

When Your Heart Has No Peace And Eggs Are Everywhere

Our Thanksgiving family vacation was over. Greg and I, along with his parents, were nearing the end of our 8-hour road trip back home to the North Georgia mountains. We had spent the week in Orange Beach, Alabama with Greg’s entire family. As we sped along the interstate about an hour and a half from home, I saw tail lights of cars up ahead. Traffic began to slow and whatever had happened was clogging up the interstate around a sharp curve in the road.

Traffic moved at a snail’s pace, but move it did, which is a reason for praise in the mess that is Atlanta traffic. Thankfully, it was Saturday and not Friday, which meant a much lighter traffic volume on the highway.

Greg’s Mom and I mused about what might have happened as we inched forward. We could see several police vehicles stopped in the left lanes, and policemen were directing traffic into a single right-hand lane. Three fast moving lanes of traffic, plus a lane that merged from a perpendicular road, suddenly bottle-necked into one lane that moved about as fast as a herd of turtles.

Within a few minutes we approached the disaster that caused the traffic angst. A large truck loaded with eggs had gone into the sharp curve at a high rate of speed and, oops, did not emerge from the curve upright. A clean-up crew with a front-end loader was dumping the remains of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of eggs into a dumpster that sat on the side of the interstate. Scrambled eggs poured out of every crevice of the dumpster and ran down the road. It was gooey and gross.

 

Eggs and Peace

 

After we got home and settled back in, I began to think about the egg mess on the interstate. Sin that is allowed to live in my heart is very much like the mess of eggs on the interstate. As long as I stay in close relationship with Jesus, peace flows in my heart and life. But, when I allow sin and disobedience to set up residence in my heart and life, the proverbial egg truck overturns and things begin to go awry.

Peace becomes a distant memory.

Unrest nags my soul.

The free-flow of grace and mercy come to a grinding halt, and it seems like my relationship with Jesus has been sabotaged.

Sin creates a gooey, gross mess in my heart and hinders my intimacy with Christ.

 

There is good news, however.

The job of the Holy Spirit, who lives in the heart of every Christ-follower, is to convict us of sin. If I will listen to His prompting, confess my sin to the Father, and turn from it, that gooey mess of sin will be cleaned up and the intimacy of my relationship with Jesus will return. Peace begins to flow freely again! Sweet peace.

Do you feel like there is a mess of eggs all over the road of your heart?

Are you harboring sin and disobedience to God’s Word in your heart?

Has the flow of peace in your life been dammed up?

 

In any relationship where something has come between two people, the need for reconciliation looms large. Our relationship with Jesus is no different. Sin and disobedience just flat out throw up a wall between you and the lover of your soul. The only thing that will tear that wall down and allow you to feel peace again is to admit that you messed up and ask God for forgiveness.

No matter the size of the disobedience, there is grace for it from the Father. You cannot out-sin His love and grace. Trust me, over the course of my 52 years, I’ve tried. But there was always grace for the moment and forgiveness for my heart. I don’t know about you, friends, but for me, there is no sin that is worth sacrificing the peace of God.

I am linking, via my Amazon affiliate code, to a wonderful book by Dr. Charles Stanley entitled, Finding Peace: God’s Promise of Life Free from Anxiety, Regret, and Fear.  

How is your heart today? How may I pray for you?

Linking with:

OneWord365: When God Uses A Word to Rock Your World

A few years ago I hopped on the OneWord365 bandwagon. I did not join lightly, however, but with great anticipation and much prayer. Beginning in early November I would seek the heart of the Lord about a word that might be my guiding word from Him for the upcoming year. I tried very hard not to suggest a word to Him, because I knew that He knew what the coming year would hold and I did not. Some years my Word came quickly, while others took more prayer and pondering to capture.

 

OneWord365 When God Uses a Word to Rock Your World

 

Here are my Words for the past few years:

 

2012 – Trust

2013 – Jesus

2014 – God gave me 2 words – Loss and Others

2015 – Renew

2016 – Rest

 

Each time, God gave me a word straight from His heart that would challenge and bless my heart. None, however, were more challenging and required more of me than my 2016 word ‘rest’. During the course of the year I have posted several times about what God has taught me through focusing on ‘rest’. I imagine those lessons are not complete just because the calendar will soon say ‘2017’.

May I recap a bit of what God taught me, just so I can have it all in one place for future reference?

 

  • God knows best and He will not ask me to do anything for which He does not have purpose
  • I can bend my knee to what God asks of me, or He can break my legs (figuratively, or maybe literally) to get me to where He desires me to be
  • My unwillingness to cease my activity (mental, physical, blogging, etc) shouted with a megaphone that I did not trust God
  • God knew I needed to learn to embrace physical rest for the good of my body and mind
  • I am physically and emotionally stronger now because of my times of rest
  • He was calling me not only to physical rest, but also to a blogging rest, which I desperately needed. Before I bent my knee to a blogging break, I was to the point of walking away from writing completely
  • God is willing to renew my strength, but I must do it on His terms, not mine
  • When I FINALLY ceased striving and embraced rest, He met me in such tender, beautiful ways that I would have, otherwise, missed
  • As part of this year of rest, I have learned, and am still learning, to lean into Sabbath (One of the tools God gave me to help with this was Shelly Miller’s wonderful book, Rhythms of Rest. I’ve linked to it at the bottom of this post via my Amazon Affiliate link. I promise, it is money well spent.)

 

So, here we are, and I have been seeking hard after my word for 2017. I knew there was the possibility that there might be a continuation of the focus on rest for the upcoming year, and if that had been the case, I would have embraced it. I will not forget the lessons of ‘rest’ and will continue to carve out times and seasons of rest.

I believe, however, that the Lord has given me a new OneWord365 for 2017. As with each of my words, I walk into 2017 not knowing how the Lord will use it in my life, but trusting His sovereignty and wisdom. I am trying to not even speculate how this word will impact me, because God is a God of creativity and surprises.

My heart’s desire is to lean into my OneWord365 for 2017 and embrace the lessons God has for me in it. My OneWord 365 for 2017 is:

 

One Word 2017 Come

 

Friends, if God has given you a Word for 2017, I would love for you to share it. Leave me a comment sharing your OneWord365 for 2017. Thanks for stopping in.

Sharing the Most Popular Posts of 2016

Y’all, it’s only hours away from being New Year’s Eve. Where in the world did the year go? So much has happened this year in my life, your life, and the world around us. Some of it has been good, while some has been blech! I wanted to take a few moments today to offer up a listing of the most popular posts here at LeahAdams.org. I’m actually offering two lists:

  • The most popular posts by number of views
  • The most popular posts by number of comments

I’m giving you the top ten in each category and I hope you will take the time to visit a few that you missed in 2016. Okay, here goes.

 

Most Popular posts of 2016

 

 

Top Posts by Views

 

Meet My Friend, Jan Morton

The Rider on the White Horse from Revelation 6

It’s My Birthday and I’m Giving You A Gift

John’s View of Jesus, A Printable and A Giveaway

Mentoring: Lessons From An Older Woman

The End! Intro To Revelation 

I’ve Reached My Limit

The Throne Room of God

What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What To Do?

It’s Time to Get Rid of Stinkin’ Thinkin’

 

Top Posts By Comments

 

I’ve Reached My Limit

The Throne Room of God

Can You Discern Right From Almost Right?

The Loft Link-Up ~ Fall Recipes

The Loft Link-Up ~ Contentment

Sharing Life ~ Someone Needs You to be Their People

The Loft Link-Up ~ Listen

Encouragement for When Life is Hard

How Strong Is Your Core?

It’s Time to Get Rid of Stinkin’ Thinkin’

 

Thank YOU so much for your presence here. You are why I write…well, you and Jesus. I’d love to hear from you about what blessed you at LeahAdams.org this year. AND about what I could do better to serve you. My goal is that my writing would encourage you to draw nearer to Jesus and walk out the Christ-life for the world to see.

I have some new things planned for 2017 and am seeking the heart of Jesus for all of them. Have a Happy New Year, friends, and I will see you back here on Monday.

Wishing You A Blessed Christmas!

 

Christmas card 2016

 

Dear Friend,

My heart is so full this Christmas because of the love and grace of Jesus. The Giver became the Gift, and because of that, I am rich in His love and care. I am also rich because of your presence in this community. Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing. I am blessed each time one of you reaches out, either through a comment or an email.

Merry Christmas from my family to you and yours. I pray you are profoundly aware of Jesus and His love for you this Christmas season and beyond.

Captured by His Grace,

Leah