Bible Resources...
Welcome to part two in a three part series on how to make the most of 2018. Today's memo continues with our theme of purpose. It's an updated repost suggesting how powerful the focus of a single word can be.

Two years ago around this time, I wrote a post entitled Focus & Transitions. It was based on something I read by someone on the pastoral team at Pioneer Memorial Church in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Who had gotten the idea from Pastor Dwight Nelson. Who had read it in some other blog. Anyway, it resonated enough with me, that I posted my own version. Then I posted it again near the end of 2016. And now I'm posting it again.

The idea is to pick a single word that will inspire you to do your best, something specific to the coming year. Then create a picture based on the word, and put it where you can see it--to remind you of your word.

Some suggested words were INTENTIONAL, MOTIVATION, and PURPOSE. The blogger I read, chose the word FINISH. It came quickly to him as he had two big projects he wanted to complete that year.

I had been doing a lot of praying about my goals and plans for 2016--and my word came to mind quickly as well: DEVOTION. I ended up creating the following graphic and put it in a small frame on my desk. I kept it there the entire year.

That picture helped to remind me of the importance of personal devotion to the causes I pursue. And my life became been more focused and committed as a result. I also made serious efforts to grow in my personal devotion to Christ. It was a good word!

Last year, I considered several words for 2017. I thought about "fitness", "wellness", and "wholeness" as I felt a real need for that in my life. I ended up choosing the word JOURNEY. And not just because we launched a program by that name in 2017!

I wanted to remind myself life was a journey. The destination is important (our goal), but so is how we get there. To stay faithful over the long haul, we need to maintain balance in key areas. And we need to remember the loved ones closest to us, who share life's journey with us. And to avoid making wrong turns, we need to check in daily with God through prayer and study. JOURNEY ended up being a good word for me. Here's the image I put on my desk at that time:

This year, I'm in a very different place in my life. I've made a big transition from busy pastoral life, to doing FAST alone, something I've wanted to do for many years. I now have the freedom to pursue whatever God puts on my heart. We also purchased outright a small home in a quiet town in North Dakota. And for the first time since launching into ministry, we live close to family. I have a lot to be thankful for!

As a result I've chosen a new word for the coming year. It came to me quickly as usual, and expresses the life of praise and worship this new freedom makes possible. It also captures what I want to cultivate in my relationship with God. And for that matter, how I want to relate to family, friends, and even the FAST community. All these things I want to celebrate.

Anyway, here's the picture I've chosen for 2018:

What about you? What are your goals for the coming year? Can you boil it all down to one single word that will help bring focus to your life through the coming months? In past years, members came up with many great words: PEACE, COMMITMENT, REVIEW, TRANSFORMATION, etc. And I'm sure each person had great reasons for choosing the words they did.

Why not give it a try yourself for 2018. What word will you pick, and why?


What about you? Have a word that comes to mind? What word is it? Why did that word stand out to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Posted by Dan Vis on 01/01/18 - Coach
So many great words everyone! And I love reading all the reasons why you chose your words.

Great to see you online Thérèse! What a great sis. :)
Posted by Thérèse Gauvin on 12/31/17
(Surrender) is my word. Having enough faith in God to surrender all to Him. When I say all, I literraly mean all.. all my worries, cares, projects,problems, troubles , but most of all, my Will.
Posted by Sarita Mayhawk on 12/31/17
Surrendered is my goal always.
Posted by James on 12/31/17
Thanks for the opportunity to share and trusting is a very special word to me, trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding .Faith in God will move a mighty mountain. God bless. James
Posted by Raquel Reyna on 12/31/17
The word I have finally chosen is "TRUST" along with the song "TRUST and Obey" and the verse in Proverbs 3:5,6Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. . . . In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.. I want to TRUST in the Lord with ALL my heart and lean on HIM, not trusting to my own understanding. I don't know about everyone else, but I tend to be self sufficient and forget to let the Lord lead. So I want TRUST as my word for this year. I can see how God has made us all special with many needs and on different steps on the ladder leading upward. May God grant us the desires of our heart as we use these tools to continue to grow in Him in 2018. Jesus is coming soon!
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/29/17 - Coach
Wow, what a powerful word Nena! May God give you not only a great heart to give, but guidance and wisdom to know when and how. Quite a challenge...
Posted by Nena on 12/29/17
My word is Give.I want to remind myself that what I have is to give
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/28/17 - Coach
Hey Ron, no worries. The picture was a little wild for me too. Just something I through together quickly. :)

Love your word! So important! All the best in the coming year...
Posted by Ron Beaton on 12/28/17
Greetings Brother Dan and Everyone Else,

I finally got back around to viewing the website. Nothing personal Dan, but your word picture for 2018 reminds me of the “Psychedelic 60’s.” It’s interesting how our perception of things can be different. Anyway, this “one word resolution” sounds interesting. Without giving it too much thought I came up with the word “overcome.” A few verses of Scripture explains it for me:

Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”--John 16:33These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world..

“And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”-- Revelation 12:11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death..

Jesus also said, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”-- Revelation 3:21To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne..

Blessings to everyone as we step into a new year!
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 12/28/17
You're welcome, John. :-)
Posted by John Gilmore on 12/27/17
Thank you, Fiona.
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 12/26/17
I have prayed today, John, that God may well guide you to make the right decisions. Sometimes decisions are very important, and it is crucial to make the right choice. May you be guided ...
Posted by John Gilmore on 12/24/17
Thank you, Fiona. I so need that verse fulfilled in my life.
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 12/24/17
Loss, Joy, is such a small word for such a huge emotion and time. I so empathise with you ...
May our heavenly Father fill us with His Presence and Love. What are we told? - "Jesus is my Comforter - this I have proved Him to be." Hugs, friend Joy.
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 12/24/17
I use Google Images, Joy, if you want another website to try. I think most of the pictures are free to use. Dan would probably know about that ...

That's a good word, John. May God guide you as you make decisions. I love that verse that says, "and thine ears shall hear a voice behind thee, saying, this is the way, walk ye in it..." (Isaiah 30:21And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.).
Posted by John Gilmore on 12/22/17
"Stewardship" seems to be sticking in my mind. I'm working toward retiring early next year from the position I've held for 15 yrs, and I'm praying that God will help me know how I may best serve Him.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/18/17 - Coach
Great word Elizabeth! And you are right, the secret to success in our various roles/projects is making sure we keep our eyes fixed on Him. Reminds me of Psalms 123:2Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.. Powerful verses you might enjoy learning...
Posted by Elizabeth on 12/17/17
my word is focus. towrads the end of 2017 the lord has been saying to me that its by his power and his ability alone that i can do all things. i raise the kids, do a commendable job at work, be a Godly wife and many more. i feel God has more in store for me than i am able to imagine. and therefore i have to keep my FOCUS on him. i desire for him to take his place as i yield totally to hi.
Posted by Joy Hank on 12/17/17
Thank you.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/17/17 - Coach
This is not an area I'm really strong in Joy. :) I just do a quick google search for an image and a simple graphic editor. There are several web-based ones out there that make it really easy. One program you might try is I think it is free for personal use.
Posted by Joy Hank on 12/17/17
Fiona Thank you. This past November it was 8 years but as the Koreans say, "You bury your parents in the ground and your children in your heart!" I really miss him whenever I'm busy with anything new and exciting, as he was such an encourager! Dan thank you. I really wish I had your ability to create such beautiful pictures to highlight my chosen word! God bless you and each one as we focus on our one word resolutions to the glory of the Father!
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 12/14/17
Dan says it so well - my deep sympathies too, for your loss, recent, or a while back, Joy.

I can empathise, Joy ... At the beginning of this year I chose the word "Trust", as my life had been one of change and loss and stress, and I needed a word to help carry me through the year to come, and to trust that God really was with me, despite the turmoil that was happening around me. The word did carry me through! I am grateful for God's mercies for the past year. For His carrying me through with His everlasting arms underneath me. It is so comforting to know that He is there.

For this coming year, I think I will choose "Choice". Sometimes I waver as to what to do - which is right, wrong, do nothing, do something - but what?, etc. ...   I know that in the year to come, God is giving me Choices. May I be guided in making the right ones, is my prayer.

Lovely words, everyone.
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/13/17 - Coach
Wow, more great words everyone!

A three word phrase is ok, Clarris. :)

Your word is especially compelling Deborah. I think you are a step or two ahead of me! I don't think I'm quite ready for that word... :)

Joy, I don't know if your loss was recent, but my condolences too you. What a treasured memory. And a powerful word...

Carlota, I think sometimes we do need to retry a word if we don't make as much progress as intended. Don't forget to put a small picture on your desk, nightstand, or kitchen window sill--so you can see it every day. It will help! :)
Posted by Carlota Belmo on 12/13/17
I’m going to use the word “Intentional” again for 2018, I had purpose in my heart to be intentional in 2017 with witnessing, but that didn’t go as I planned. God had other plans for me, He knew I needed to focus on the Word, to hide them in my heart, to get closer to Him, to focus on my relationship with Him, before I went out to share with others, He wants others to not see me, but Jesus Christ in me. Yes, I will use intentional again and allow the Holy Spirit to teach and direct me this time.
Preserve me, oh God: for in Thee do I put my trust. Psalms 16:1Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust..

Peace & Love
Posted by Joy Hank on 12/12/17
FOCUS. I've decided that has to be my word for 2018. I often joke with people that I always thought I was ADHD but I've come to realise that I am just ED - easily distracted! Virtually the last words of my son to me before he was killed in a car crash was: We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. He is all that matters! So I really want to be fully focussed on Jesus that I can reflect Him in all I hope to do and accomplish in 2018. So help me, God. Hebrews 12:2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. My version reads: Now stay focussed on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. (The Voice)
Posted by Pamela Kendall on 12/12/17
I'm considering the word Steadfast - but haven't decided for sure. I want to be steadfast in my walk with God not inconsistent... I've been wondering how to be steadfast, but I don't want it to be something I'm striving and stressing about in my own strength.

Just found some great verses about being steadfast: Hebrews 3:14For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; steadfast in confidence ; Hebrews 6:19Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; steadfast hope ; I Peter 5:9Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. steadfast in resisting the devil (by faith!); Colossians 2:5For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. - steadfast faith ; Acts 7:55But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, Stephen steadfastly looked up and beheld Jesus and his glory ; I Corinthians 15:58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. - steadfast & unmovable - the more I look at these verses the more I like this word. I'll see how God leads.
Posted by Deborah Gutierrez on 12/11/17
I've been thinking of the word "others"....

"In forgetfulness of self, they will grow in grace." – {DG 19.2}

I want this experience and feel God is leading me in this way.. last year my word was "surrender" and it was a wonderful word for me I want to continue to think on it even in ththe coming year..

God's sweet blessings to all of you!
Posted by Nathaniel C Nwazue on 12/11/17
The word I treasure is relationship. As my friend, I want to maintain a daily walk with Jesus in 2018.
Posted by Clarris Magadza on 12/11/17
The one lesson that God has been reminding me a lot in my devotions and other bible lessons is that it's not about me, but about Him. That all glory and honour belong to Him. So what I have now now is a phrase "all about Christ" and I am still trying to figure out a single word to use instead of the phrase.
Any help will be greatly appreciated, even if it's a word in another language.
Posted by Leslie Caza on 12/11/17
Dan, I like your flexibility to change mid year. Gotta keep the tools that work. :)
Posted by Dan Vis on 12/11/17 - Coach
Wow, what great words everyone! So exciting to read your comments. This is one of my favorite posts each year because I get the chance to see how God is working in our various lives.

Leslie, thanks especially for sharing your word last year and how you are transitioning to a new word. Now that I am on my 3rd word (I actually chose a different word half way through 2017, which makes it 4) I can see the process God is leading me through in my life.

Blessings to everyone: Max, Ann, Marieanne, Betty, Valerie, Shanthi, Konni, Carole, Zewdi
Posted by Carole Bliss on 12/11/17
As I think about a "word" to live by, in 2018, two come to mind.
Abide and Faith. When we abide, we will have faith. If we have faith, we will abide. They go together.
I will settle for Abide. HE has told us, to Abide in Him.

Posted by Konni Plue on 12/11/17
"Wait" is the word that I choose for 2018. Isaiah 25:9And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. and Isaiah 64:4For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. come to mind. I "will" to have my eyes fixed on Him watching His every move, waiting intently for the fulfilment His glorious promises. I see in my minds eye a dog with fixed attention staring into the face of its master waiting!
Posted by Shanthi Solomon on 12/11/17
The word that comes to my mind is “Redeem”. I believe that I need to redeem the time God has given me as in Ephesians 5:16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.. The days are evil and the time we have is short. It is my prayer that the prioitizations I make will be led of God.
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 12/11/17 - Coach
The word that comes to mind for me is "Complete". It is the meaning of "perfect" that is used so often in the Bible. Christ said that we are to be perfect (complete) even as our Father in Heaven is perfect. I understand that to mean I am to have completion in everything which I begin. This is important to me for two reasons: 1) I want to be like Christ who finished all that He was to accomplish; 2) I have left too many things undone and incomplete which is not a reflection of Christian character. By God's grace and strength, I intend to be complete in all that I accomplish for Him.
Posted by Leslie Caza on 12/11/17
I like all of the word choices above! Last year my word was "Why?" Why was I doing/saying/choosing ?
I decided I needed to pray about this word choice since it was going to be my guiding word for a whole year. I think the Lord lead.

This year I earned my certification in Christian life coaching and so my mindset is to ask questions to stimulate thinking. Maybe that's why I felt lead to have another question for 2018: "Outcome?" I guess that's sort of like "Why?", but thinking about the consequences of all of my choices in words, thoughts, and deeds will help me to focus on the positive outcomes that God has planned for me and for those whose lives He wants me to touch. If I'm too timid to speak when the Lord says, "Speak," what might be the outcome? If I choose my comfort over my calling, what might be the outcome? BUT the flip side is exciting! If I choose to go/do/pray/speak/etc as the Lord directs, what could be the outcome?! :)

May God bless Max, Ann Marieanne, Betty and all of you as you design your word and then let God work!
Posted by Betty on 12/11/17
My word is Abide. It is my prayer for 2018 that I will abide in Christ and that Christ will abide in me.
Posted by Marieanne on 12/11/17 - Coach
Loyal, there are so many distractions in this world that Satan brings before us to take us away from the preparation and the work that we are to be doing in these last days. My prayer is that the Lord will keep me loyal and faithful to Him till the end.
Posted by Ann Lavenburg on 12/11/17
Commitment, my word is commitment. I want to follow through, be committed to seeing several things through to the finish AND, of course, total commitment to God's pain for my life.
Posted by Max on 12/11/17
My word is Abound- I want to pray for growth , to abound daily until that day.
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/10/17 - Coach
Fascinating word Janice! Don't forget to make a picture of that and post it somewhere with the words on it, so you can see it and be reminded of it throughout the year!
Posted by Janice Hill on 01/09/17
Thank-you all who are willing to share. My word for this year is BE STILL. I like to be in motion most of the time, so this will be interesting to see unfold.
Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 01/06/17
So many beautiful stories and words. I have been blessed reading them all. :)
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/03/17 - Coach
What a beautiful word, Mercia! Forgiveness is so powerful, and so important. Happy this post could be a blessing to you.
Posted by Mercia Goredema on 01/03/17
Thank you Dan for the forum.. I am going to use the word Forgiveness. A lot has happened in 2016 and I need to forgive as the Father forgave us. For Jesus taught on the Mount of Sermon about anger, we should reconcile with everybody before we offer sacrifices. What happened to me in 2016 should not be blamed on anybody but myself. Thank you Dan
Posted by Terri Garnett on 01/03/17
Thank you Dan. I know the enemy doesn't want any to gain the abiding relationship with Jesus that we have access to and there will be a false revival as well as the true. I recognize FAST uses Spirit of prophecy and Bible mostly which I trust so sometimes I get thrown off with other methods. Day 3 was such a blessing this morning with the many posts as well. It was very encouraging with tools for growth spirituality in my walk with Christ. Thanks again for this forum
Posted by Dan Vis on 01/03/17 - Coach
Yes, this is a good question Terri. And we do have to be careful about adopting mystical practices not in harmony with Scripture.

Spiritual formation has become a catch phrase for a bunch of questionable practices, but it is also sometimes used as a synonym for discipleship--which is vitally important. The goal of "developing religious maturity that leads to Christian devoutness" is certainly good, but we just have to make sure the methods used are biblical.

I have found having a single word focus for the year personally helpful, and just offer it as a suggestion to others. Nor does it seem to violate any specific principles. Actually, it reminds me of verses like Psalms 27:4One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. and Philippians 3:8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,, which both show single-minded focus.

Anything can be misused, of course, but to me being spirit-filled is akin to being purpose-filled. See Colossians 1:9,11For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; . . . Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;. That's certainly my desire--to live a life filled with a strong and clear sense of mission.

Hope this helps some!
Posted by Terri Garnett on 01/02/17
I have a question that has popped up on my mind since doing this exercise and day two of revival 2017. I know pastor Dwight Nelson practices spiritual formation and the one word resolution is taken from his ideal. Not knowing much about it I looked up what it's about and question is this not spiritual reformation practice. Definition is Spiritual formation is an intentional Christian practice much like that of Eastern Mysticism, which claims as its goal the development of religious maturity that leads to Christian devoutness which has it roots in the ancient practices found in those of Catholic religious orders, Ascetics and others.

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