Growing Confidently in Your Faith by Carol Round

About the Book

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” ~ Romans 12:2

How can we become more like Christ? As women of God, we must recognize it’s a lifelong journey. Interruptions and demands on our time can interfere with our desire to know Jesus more intimately. To become more like our Savior and Lord requires us to be intentional—intentional with what and whom we allow into our lives. We have to set aside a time and place each day to meet with Him.

God’s desire is for His children to become more Christ-like. To do that, we must make a commitment to continual spiritual growth. The deeper our knowledge of Christ, the deeper our understanding of Him and the more like Him we become. The outcome? We grow more confident in our faith.

What does this require of us? We must spend time in scripture, examining our lives through the lens of faith. It is my hope this 52-week journey you are about to embark on will do just that.

Are you ready to begin?

This 52-week devotional, organized by month and theme, is designed to be used with a journal. Each Monday, you will find a devotional followed by questions for reflection. I suggest you read the devotional on Monday and scan the questions at the end. On the following days, work at your own pace, continuing to reflect on the questions and journaling your answers. You may need to reread that week’s devotional before answering the questions. You can complete the questions in one sitting or spread them out over the week. The choice is yours.

 

Book Excerpt

HOW ONE WORD CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”—John 1:1 (NIV).

If you’ve never made a New Year’s resolution, you’re in the minority. However, we all have one thing in common — time. In an article for Pulpit Helps, author Steven B. Cloud wrote, “As we look into a New Year, we look at a block of time. We see 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds. And all is a gift from God.”

Our lives have become so busy, yet we add to the burden each New Year by making a list of resolutions that most of us will fail to accomplish—quit smoking, lose weight and get healthy or save more money. This is just a partial list but some of the more popular ones. That’s why we see so many advertisements promoting products and gyms to help us accomplish our goals. Stroll through the aisles of a bookstore and you’ll find so many self-help books, it’ll make you go cross-eyed with confusion.

One book, however, has the power to change your life. The Bible is filled with words of wisdom and encouragement. In Luke 11:28, Jesus says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

In January 2007, Pastor Mike Ashcraft challenged his congregation to ditch their New Year’s resolutions and each pick one word to focus on that year. Embracing this new idea to approaching personal change and spiritual growth, church members realized the simple plan is more effective than making an overwhelming list of resolutions each year. Why? Called God’s instruction book for life, the Bible addresses every aspect of our lives—spiritually, physically, emotionally and financially.

Because we lead busy lives, we tend to focus on the surface-level of issues, forgetting God has numbered our days. Trying to manage our lives and our time, we fail miserably because we haven’t taken the time to seek God’s wisdom. Ultimately, says Pastor Ashcraft, that’s what the “My One Word” project is all about.

Willpower and self-effort only get us so far. When we’re overwhelmed with a long list, it’s even more difficult to achieve lasting change. That’s why, according to Ashcraft, the One-Word project works. To choose a word for the New Year, Ashcraft suggests asking the following questions:

• What kind of person do I want to become this year?

• What drives my desire to be this kind of person?

• What characteristics define this type of person? Make a list. • Reduce your list to 10 words or less, research those words using a dictionary and Bible.

• Choose one word from your list as your word for the year.

• Choose a Bible verse that speaks to you about your chosen word and memorize it. This will provide a foundation of truth you can continually return to and will fuel your hope to change.

• What initial expectations do you have regarding the impact of your word? One word can change your life when it is grounded in faith.

FOLLOW THROUGH

Renew: As you begin a new year, take the first week of January to reflect on the questions above and choose your word for this year. I have done this for several years now and I am always surprised when God leads me to select the right one for me. Some of my past words have been focus, grow and trust. I’m always surprised when the year is almost over and I realize how appropriate the chosen word was for me.

Recommit: As you begin your journey, recommit your ways to the Lord, leaving behind those things in the past holding you back from being your best for Him. Ask Him to reveal to you what you need to let go of to move forward. As Christians, we should always be moving forward.

Remember Paul’s words in Philippians 3:13-14: “Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus” (CEB).

Rejoice: After selecting your word, write it at the top of each page in your prayer journal to remind yourself of your commitment to spiritual growth.

 

 

About the Author

CAROL ROUND, self-syndicated international columnist, Christian author and inspirational speaker, began her journey with the Lord in October 2001 when she admitted her need for His guidance. Since that time, she has sought a deeper relationship with Him through reading scripture, Bible study and the personal discipline of keeping a daily prayer journal. She lives in northeastern Oklahoma with her spoiled rotten dog, Harley. She is mother to two grown sons and Nana to seven grandchildren.

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