Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Jesus arrested with no cause
His own disciple betrayed Him
A robe placed on His shoulders
A crown of thorns made on a whim

Jesus was flogged and ridiculed
Instead of Him, a murderer set free
Jesus had to drag His own cross
As He marched uphill to pay our fee

Jesus paid the price willingly
He did it for me and for you
Many have been invited
But acceptance is by but a few

They placed Jesus in a tomb
A stone secured it tight
But the stone rolled away
Darkness couldn’t hold the Light

Jesus defeated sin and death
When He rose from the grave
It was out of pure love
That His one life He gave

I hope and pray that you have accepted Jesus into your life. If you haven’t, but you are ready to do so, see the prayer HERE. This will be the most important decision you ever make.

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas

Fasting

Please don’t skip this. I know the thought of fasting makes many of us groan with discomfort. Food is something our culture puts a lot of buzz around. Food is at the center of every social gathering. We see an abundance of food and drink pictures on social media. When we are eating something particularly tasty, we might take a picture of it and text it to our friends. We plan out our daily schedule around our meals. When we feel like we had a rough day, we treat ourselves with something sweet. Food has a strong presence in our lives and our culture.

I admit that I like to eat. And when we all saw empty shelves during the pandemic, this put a fear in me – a fear of not being able to find food when we need it. And in 2021 when I went through a lot of stress, I found myself eating more food, more frequently. I used food as a crutch. All of this makes the thought of fasting even more uncomfortable to me.

But my husband and I have been participating in fasts each January for the past couple of years. And I have learned so much each time we go through these fasts.

When we take the time to fast, and set aside our anxiety surrounding less food on our plates, the results can be amazing. The point of fasting is to draw closer to God. You might wonder how laying aside food can do that. When we are hungry, we have an opportunity to run to the Lord and seek His presence and comfort. When we do this, we learn that He is truly all we need.

Does fasting have to be only from food? I suppose this is a matter of opinion and you might have to pray about it to see how the Lord convicts you. I have heard one pastor mention before that he felt cutting back on food was the only real fast. Personally, I am a big advocate of fasting from anything that might hinder your relationship with the Lord – social media, television, radio, alcohol, video games, frivolous shopping, etc. There are tons of things in our lives that we might turn to as an idol or a crutch.

Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. – 1 John 5:21

Some questions you might ask yourself to help discover your idols or crutches:

Do I have to have this item or activity in my life?

What would happen if I had to do without it?

Do I run to this item or activity when I am feeling down?

Do I spend more time thinking about this / doing this than with the Lord?

Does this bring me more joy than the Lord?

Okay, I will be honest. I love coffee. This is something I don’t want to give up. But I have done so at times, just to prove a point to myself. I showed myself that I can live without it, if I had to.

However, I don’t believe God necessarily wants to deprive us of the joys of life. It’s okay to drink a cup of coffee each morning. We just can’t value it more than we value Him. We shouldn’t run to it for comfort, when instead we can run into the arms of Jesus.

But it goes deeper than the obvious things we see at surface level. Sometimes an item or activity might merely be a distraction. In my opinion, this can be even more dangerous than things we know have a hold on us. That is because we might feel this thing in our lives is innocent, and therefore we might not realize how much it keeps us from the things of Jesus. For example, I am convinced that our enemy is laughing over how much time so many of us spend with our heads down as we look at our devices. Social media and smartphones are completely destroying our society.

Perhaps you think I am exaggerating. I cannot blame you. I appreciate having my smartphone and tablet on hand when I need them. But I also know how much of a distraction they are. Many times I will reach for my phone just to do something. I don’t really need to check my email again, when I just checked it within the last hour. Yet I habitually still grab my phone and do so anyway.

Recently my husband and I were at a store. In the parking lot we saw a vehicle pull in and park. Out of the vehicle came the adults and their teenage daughter – all who had a phone in their hands and heads down. It was comical and sad at the same time. This is the kind of generation we are living in. Some people aren’t truly living. Instead they are stuck in a fake world of filtered pictures as they scroll and tap.

It is my opinion that we each might need to fast from different things in our lives periodically, in order to get back to basics. When we lay aside things that tempt us or distract us, we have a chance to run after the Lord and hold tightly to Him. When we do this, we will never regret it. He will fill us and satisfy us.

In the Bible, often times we see full fasts from food as a way of seeking God’s guidance or deliverance from a certain situation. This is something to keep in mind as we fast. You might want to bring a certain prayer request before the Lord. But don’t merely fast as a way of getting something from God. Fasting should draw us closer to Him, even if we don’t get what we want.

With all that being said and since tomorrow is the first day of Lent – I will be fasting from some things over the next several weeks. I will be fasting from social media completely. Also, I will not be posting here on my blog. I also plan to lay aside / cut back on anything that I tend to reach for out of habit.

(Side note – I used the words “cut back” here, but I will be setting specific guidelines for myself. And I suggest you do the same, if you plan to fast from anything. If we say that we are merely “cutting back” then in many cases we might wind up doing that “thing” more than intended and therefore get nowhere. I am just being a little vague because this post is long enough. Haha!)

You might recall that my word for 2022 is Abide. I want to abide in Jesus and His love. I don’t want to abide in food, social media, gadgets, or anything else that won’t truly fill me.

I encourage you to also prayerfully consider anything that you might fast from over the next few weeks. If you do decide to fast, let me know. I would love to hear about it and cheer you on!

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. – Anne Lamott

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© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas

God Loves You

Over the last few weeks I have been talking about showing others God’s love and kindness. But I think it can be a challenge for us to do that, if we don’t fully embrace God’s love in our own hearts. It’s ironic that many of God’s own children go through life without truly knowing how much He loves them. But it’s also completely understandable because God’s love is so great, and difficult for our human minds to grasp.

When writing about the love of God, Andrew Murray stated, “God is love. Love is His very being. Love is not an attribute, but the very essence of His nature, the centre round which all His glorious attributes gather. ”

How can we grow in this area? How can we firmly grasp His love and also extend love back to Him? There are some things we can do in our daily activities that will help.

1 – Spend time with Him. Reading the Bible, praying, and listening for God’s voice will strengthen our relationship with Him. As we spend time with Him, His love will become evident.

2 – Make gratitude and praise daily habits. These two practices will help us to focus on God’s goodness. When we see how good God is to us, then we will be able to better comprehend that He is good to us because He loves us. And when we see how good He is to us, we will overflow with love for Him in return.

3 – Don’t let the enemy win. The enemy will try to get in your head and tell you that you are not good enough for God’s love. He will tell you that your sins are too great. He will tell you that God’s love might be tangible for other people, but not for you. These are all lies. Stay strong against the enemy’s tactics.

4 – Invest in truth. Read books and find Bible verses that proclaim God’s love and goodness. Write down anything you find that speaks to you. As you keep feeding yourself truth, you will be able to push out the lies that you have believed for too long.

Here are some words of truth to get you started. Reflecting on the verses below will help you to embrace the love of God…
• For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him. ~ Psalm 103:11
• And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28
• Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. ~ Psalm 143:8
• For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16
• I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. ~ Psalm 121:1-2
• So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. ~ Genesis 1:27
• The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17
• For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:38-39
• For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~ Ephesians 2:10
• The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” ~ Jeremiah 31:3
• See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. ~ 1 John 3:1
• And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. ~ Romans 5:5
• Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. ~ John 15:13
• Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ~ Lamentations 3:23
• For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ~ Psalm 139:13-14
• But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. ~ Psalm 73:28
• You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. ~ John 15:16
• We love because he first loved us. ~ 1 John 4:19

I pray that every day we can remember just how much we are loved by our Lord. He loves us like no other. And when we cling to His love for us, we can more freely share that love with those around us.

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© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas

Showing Others the Love of God

My husband and I have an acquaintance whom we have known for many years. Recently, though, this person’s attitude has seemed to take a turn. Long story short, his communications have been vulgar at times. I told my husband he should stop communicating with him. But he hasn’t. When I asked my husband why he still talks to him, he explained that he fears for this person’s soul. He truly believes this person is not saved, and he hopes that his connection with him will help alter that. I must say that I admire my husband’s character to forge ahead, for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

When Jesus walked this earth, we see how He too often associated with people who were not believers.

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 2:15-17

Jesus came so that all might be saved. And as His followers, we are to help bring people to Him.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

In the words of the late writer, teacher, and pastor, Andrew Murray, “What the Church and the world both need is this: men and women full of the Holy Ghost and of love, who, as the living embodiments of the grace and power of Christ, witness for Him, and for His power on behalf of those who believe in Him.”

Yet Jesus also warns us that if we are not accepted, it might be appropriate to move on. When sending out His disciples, He told them, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” (Matthew 10:14).

It is also important to not put ourselves in situations that we know are wrong or might tempt us to sin. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” So we have to be careful how we approach people or situations. For example, my husband might still talk to this person, but that doesn’t mean he will spend time with him in undesirable places.

So how can we know when it is right to persist and when we should move on? If we stay in tune to the Lord and listen to His promptings, He will lead us. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will lay a burden on our hearts for certain people. I believe that is what He has done with my husband in regards to this acquaintance of ours. And whether we continue to associate with certain people or not, we can always keep praying for them.

We can also be a witness to those around us, just by being ourselves. I have a coworker who has told me before that when we witness to others, it is not always with our words. And he is right. Just by being kind, we are showing people the love of Jesus. Eventually it will make an impact. Especially in our world today. When someone is always nice, it stands out.

Like my husband is in this situation, we can keep being nice to those around us. We are called to show others the love of Jesus. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)

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© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas

Be Kind to One Another

Due to being in the month of February, I am continuing on the topic of love. Mainly focusing on the love of God and how we can reflect that to those around us.

One of our dogs is prone to itchy ears. We have drops that we put in his ears at times. However, several weeks ago, we were running low. The vet is forty-five minutes away, and it was nearly five o’clock on the day before Christmas Eve. So our only hope was that the vet would be open the following day. I called the vet to see what their Christmas Eve hours would be. And I also wanted to make sure we could pick up these drops. Our dog wasn’t due for a check up yet, so I thought it should be fine.

I called and a young lady answered. Before putting me on hold, she said she wanted to ask the doctor about it first. Hold music … hold music … hold music. After listening to the hold music for a few minutes, the phone was disconnected. So I called back. This time a young man answered. I explained to him that a young lady had put me on hold and that I got disconnected. He too said he wanted to ask the veterinarian about the ear drops, and he put me on hold. Then pretty much the same thing happened. Hold music … hold music … hold music. Then I was disconnected again. I was now under the assumption that after being on hold for a certain length of time, their system automatically hangs up the line. So I called back a third time. Talked to the same young man. Hold music … hold music … hold music. Disconnected again. I called back a fourth time. The same young man said that he was about to pick up the line when it hung up. He told me I could come in to get the medicine. I thanked him for his help. Then click. The guy hung up on me! No “you’re welcome” and no “good-bye.” So I called back a fifth time. Luckily, it was the same boy that hung up on me. I said in the nicest voice I could muster, “Oh we must’ve gotten disconnected again before we were able to say good-bye. I just wanted to make sure I thanked you for your help.” Yup, I really did that! He kind of stammered a little bit and we ended the conversation peacefully.

I have to be honest though, getting hung up on hurt my feelings. He shouldn’t have hung up on me for so many reasons. (1) I was a customer. (2) He knew the phone system had already disconnected me several times. (3) I didn’t do anything wrong or rude to deserve it. (4) It was Christmas!! Those are just a few reasons why it was wrong. I am sure there are more.

But this made me think about how, as Christians, we should spread the love of God to those around us. And one way we can do that is to be kind. We are showing others the grace and love and mercy of God, through our kindness.

And kindness helps us to feel better. I know when I have been short with someone, I walk away feeling badly. But when I am kind, even if they don’t deserve it, it makes me feel lighter.

When we are kind to others, it stands out in this angry world we live in. I can tell you that this is true from my own experience. There have been numerous occasions when my husband and I have been greeted by an exceptionally pleasant person at the drive-thru (or wherever). And when we part ways, we mention to each other how nice the person was, and how nice it was to deal with them. It doesn’t take a lot to treat others the way Jesus would want us to. When we do, this helps the other people to see a tiny piece of the Lord’s love. Could it be that we might be the only piece of Jesus that some will see? Keeping this thought in mind will help us to be kind more often.

When we are kind, we also remember how kind the Lord has been to us. We don’t deserve His kindness, yet He freely gives it to us. Every day.

I pray that we can keep in mind how kind God has been to us. And I pray we can learn to spread that kindness to those around us, as we reflect the love of the Lord.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32 ESV

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© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas

Love One Another

Hi Friends! With Valentine’s Day approaching in a couple of weeks, we have officially entered the “love month.” So with that in mind, we are going to talk about love over the next few weeks. Mainly I want to focus on God’s love for us, our love for Him, and how we show that love to those around us.

I want to start with a story that occurred a few months ago when my husband and I celebrated our fourteenth wedding anniversary. I am thankful to say that my husband and I don’t usually put a lot of hoopla into things like our anniversary, Valentines Day, etc. We usually recognize them. But there are no expectations, which means there are no disappointments. I think our culture often puts too much into these things. Some people (often women) get mad when the day is accidentally forgotten. I used to be that way years ago too. But I am thankful that I am not like that anymore (for the most part).

Anyway, back to the story. My husband wanted to go out to the store the night before our anniversary because he hadn’t yet bought a card. It was late, and I told him not to worry about it. And I jokingly mentioned that he could make a card. A little while later he asked if we had any generic cards around the house. We did have some blank cards, but I had a better idea. I had already bought my husband, not one, but two cards. I knew one was addressed generically, meaning it wasn’t addressed to “my husband.” It was something like “my love.” So it could go either way. Well on closer inspection I discovered that both cards were generically addressed. I really didn’t realize that when I bought them. Since they were in the “husband” area, I didn’t notice that the card didn’t actually say “husband.” Luckily I had not signed the cards yet. So I mentioned to my hubby that I had bought two cards and I could give him one of them to give to me. And that is what we did.

I am giggling as I write this, because it is quite comical to me. But I am sure some of you out there are quite aghast at the atrocity.

Here’s the thing… A card, flowers, or a box of chocolates. Those things are nice and it is fun to be surprised with them at times. But that is not love. Love is seen in the day in and day out of our routines. Love is getting out of bed when you don’t feel like it, to make breakfast. Love is taking out the trash without complaining. Love is saying thank you for the cup of coffee you didn’t have to make yourself.

During the days surrounding Valentine’s Day, many people are focused on worldly love. Unfortunately worldly love doesn’t last. So during this month (and beyond), let’s focus on showing those around us the love of God. It can be displayed in our actions, big and small, every day.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:12

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© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas

The Importance of Winter

In the U.S.A. we are currently in our winter season. I know some of you reading this are in summertime. But winter doesn’t necessarily have to mean literal timeframes. Sometimes in our lives we feel like we are in a winter season, no matter what the temperature is outside. I was recently reflecting on the value in winter and wanted to share some thoughts with you.

As you might know, winter is good for nature for several reasons. Plants actually benefit from shorter daylight hours and lower temperatures as they become dormant. This helps the plants to store up energy for new growth. And strong winters also help get rid of bugs, as the severe cold kills them off. (1)

But this made me ponder how our spiritual growth can also benefit from a winter season, whether literal or figurative. We need time to rest and recuperate, especially after a busy season. This helps us to flourish and create new growth in our lives. If we always kept moving at a fast pace, our bodies would eventually burn out. And winter can also be a good time for us to use as a reflection period. If we slow down for a bit, we have the ability to evaluate our lives. What “bugs” need to go? And what do we want to “plant” in the coming months?

This ties in to last week’s post in which I talked about Learning to Let Go. A little over a week ago, my area had a couple of days that were filled with gusty winds. After the windy days were over, I saw many large tree limbs lying on the ground. The weather helped the trees to shake free dead branches that had become a hindrance.

Similarly, in our lives we too can take this time to reflect on the “buried” areas of our lives, and let them go. Or maybe we even might want to resurrect something. It is not just about letting go. During this time, you might also need to rest and restore your soul. Or perhaps you might want to set goals and prepare for new growth in the coming months.

The answers will look different for all of us. And the answers might change for each of us from season to season. But perhaps you’ll want to prayerfully consider these things in your own life.

During this season do you need to take time to rest and remove unnecessary tasks from your plate?

During this season do you need to remove any old habits from your life that are hindering your growth?

During this season do you need to plant new growth in your spiritual life by spending more time with the Lord?

During this season do you need to pull an old dream out of the grave and make it come to life?

These are just a few generic questions you might reflect on. Ask the Lord to guide you and to open your heart to anything He might be asking you to do (or not do) during this season.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him… – Psalm 37:7

Rest in God’s arms
Let your body replenish
Soak up His love
The fruit will flourish

Let go of the past
Don’t be afraid to be bold
The broken pieces float away
As you release the old

New things are coming
Good can be found in change
Hold tightly to the Lord
Open your eyes to all you gain

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© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas

Learning to Let Go

Entering into a new year fills us with hope. We think about the things we want to accomplish in our lives, dreams that are in our hearts, or goals we want to work towards. Often times we look at what we can add to our lives, such as exercising more or learning something new. But we can also approach it from another aspect by analyzing what we might let go of.

A few weeks ago I was reading from If We Could Have Coffee which is a devotional by Holley Gerth. I highlighted something that spoke to me. She said, “…life is not meant to be so full of burdens that you can’t enjoy what your heavenly Father wants to give you. When your arms and heart and life are so full, how can you receive from him? Let some of it go. Just lay it down.” (I love this devotional, by the way. Each entry is short, yet full of meaning. It has helped me to draw closer to God and remember how much He loves His children.)

The next day I read a blog post by Caralyn Collar, over at Beauty Beyond Bones. She said something that also jumped out at me. In her post The Liberation of Less, Caralyn talked about one weekend when her mom was visiting her and they tackled the daunting task of cleaning closets. (As a wannabe minimalist, this post immediately pulled me in!) But the line that really jumped out at me was this, “If we’re clenching our fists around things of the past, either out of fear or another unhealthy attachment, it prevents us from living with hands open to receiving what God has to give us.” (And by the way, this blog is one that I always get insight out of. Caralyn has a true gift with words, as she discusses an array of meaningful topics. Best of all, she stands up for TRUTH in our wayward world.)

This was one of those times when I felt that the Lord was nudging me. These two quotes spoke to me and reminded me that we need to let things go in order to receive what God has in store for us.

Letting go will look differently for each of us. And in the changing seasons of our own lives, letting go will have different facets as well. So it’s important to approach this prayerfully. Ask God to reveal to you what you might need to let go of.

Are you clinging too tightly to having control over certain things?
Are you holding onto pride or perfectionism?
Are there any idols in your heart that need to go?
Is your past a roadblock in your life?
Do you hang onto worries instead of handing them to God?

These are just some examples. There are so many things that we might hold onto a bit too tightly. But as noted in the two quotes above, if our hands are wrapped around the wrong things, we can’t grab hold of the things that God wants to hand us. He always has the best in store for us. I hope you will join me and prayerfully seek God’s guidance on anything that you might need to let go of in your life.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

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© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas

My One Word for 2022

Many of you have heard me talk about this before. But for anyone who is not familiar with this, picking a word for the year is a way to anchor yourself through the days ahead. The word you pick could be something you want to focus on or something you want to keep in mind, as you step into each new day. Just to give you an example, my words from the past three years were: seek, grace, and cultivate.

And in 2022 my one word for the year is … ABIDE!

Some years the word is easy to pick. You just get a feeling inside that this is the word. And that’s how it was for me when I picked Abide. As a matter of fact, I knew in mid-November that my word for this year would be Abide.

According to Merriam-Webster, Abide can mean to remain stable or fixed in a state; to continue in a place. Specifically in 2022, I want to learn to Abide in Jesus. I want to remain stable and fixed in Jesus. I want to continue in the Lord. I want to abide in Him and He in me.

If possible, I also like to have a Bible verse for the year that coincides with my word. And this year my verses will come from John 15:4-5, where Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

In 2019 and in 2021 I loved having the words seek and cultivate, respectively. To me, these two verbs feel very active. And while Abide is also a verb, it feels a bit more passive or peaceful.

One night I was laying in bed thinking about the fact that I have been working for Jesus, learning about Him, writing about Him, seeking Him, cultivating for Him, etc. Yet I feel that I still don’t have the deep connection with Jesus that I should have. I want to know deep down that He loves me and I want to extend a lasting love in return.

I know there is more of Him that I can have in my life. But if I am being honest, then I also know that I am the one who gets in the way. He is always there, waiting for me.

Honestly, I stumble daily. I am far from perfect. There are many things in my life I would like to improve and many things I would like to change. And I feel that if I can truly learn to Abide in Jesus, this could change everything.

What will abiding look like? In January, I never know for sure how the next 12 months will play out. But from here, I plan to lay aside things that distract me from the Lord. And I want choose Him as often as possible. Each moment of each day we are making decisions, whether we realize it or not. When we are turning on the television, we are choosing not to pray. When we are scrolling on our phones, we are choosing not to read our Bibles. Therefore, in an effort to abide, I am going to try to lay aside many of the things that keep me from Jesus.

I also plan to read the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) repeatedly throughout the year. When I am done, I will start over. (This doesn’t mean I won’t read any other parts of the Bible in 2022. But the gospels will be my main focus.) I have a new journaling Bible that contains only these four books. I am currently reading a devotional by Andrew Murray called Abide in Christ. And I am also reading Sarah Young’s latest devotional, Jesus Listens. I am excited to see what 2022 holds as I learn to Abide in Jesus.

And if you have a word for 2022, I would love to hear what it is.

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© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas

Cultivating My Way Through 2021

As you might recall, my one word for 2021 was cultivate. I loved this word and feel that it really helped me to focus on the right things.

Here on the blog we cultivated prayer, gratitude, time with our Savior, reverence towards God, forgiveness, and so much more.

In my own life, I also cultivated trust in God, a deeper faith, praise, fasting, and walking with God. But on the other hand, I also cultivated a slower pace, time for the little things, and embracing contentment.

There is one habit that I started this year, in relation to my one word. Each time the month changed, I had a “check-in.” Basically I would look at the month that just ended to see how I did. I wrote down the things that went well and what I focused on. But I also wrote down areas where I wanted to improve. This helped keep my one word in mind all year, and it gave me 12 opportunities to make adjustments. I got value out of these check-ins, so I plan to keep it up.

As is often the case in my life – I did not do a perfect job, but God stepped in and helped me out. There were many changes in my life in 2021, and clinging to God was my lifeline.

We had a lizard living in our house for several weeks. He mainly stayed in one particular bedroom, but sometimes ventured out to two other rooms. We don’t know how he lived for weeks without food or water. My husband tried to catch him a couple of times, but the little guy was fast. One day the lizard was just hanging out in the hallway. I spotted him and alerted my husband. My husband slowly made his way to the lizard. The lizard didn’t try to escape this time, so my husband was able to grab him and set him outside. (Ironically, this was Thanksgiving Day. Imagine how thankful the lizard must have been and what a feast he had when he got outdoors!) On the first few attempts to catch the lizard, he didn’t recognize that we were trying to help him. He saw us as a threat. Finally, either he realized we were safe, or perhaps he was just too weak to move. But either way, in the end, we were able to set him free. And perhaps our little friend was able to recognize the blessing.

This incident with the lizard reminds me of my 2021. Many changes in my life seemed like a threat. But as I clung to God and trusted Him, I could see that He was there. God always has a plan and a purpose. Nothing comes into our lives by mistake. We just have to learn to hold tightly to Him through it all. And He will work all things together for good (Romans 8:28).

And cultivating my way through the year helped me to stay intentional in my life. This was a strong word and one that has taught me a lot. If you had a word for 2021, I would love to hear how it played a role in your year.

Next week I will reveal my word for 2022!

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. – Isaiah 43:19

Image by Marco de Winter on unsplash.com

© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas