A Word For The New Year

Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I've Got Peace Like A River"1 (Lyrics)

Psalm 46:10a – Be still, and know that I am God. (NIV)

A praise team leader at church mentioned that he and his wife asked God for a word, specifically for them, each new year. It caught the attention of both my husband and me. We knew that it was for us.

We were curious to know what word God would have for us. We devised a test, if you will. Whoever received the word first would write it on a slip of paper and keep it hidden until the other heard. Then we'd compare. That way, we would know without a doubt that this was the word from the Lord.

I must admit that I was a little miffed when my husband stated that he knew exactly what the word was, without a doubt, within a few hours. The next day passed, and the next. Still, I hadn't heard the word. In fact, I was beginning to guess, to pull words out of the air. "Is it blessings?" "Is it faith?" He shook his head and refused to show me the paper.

On the third day, I suddenly knew. I can't explain how, but I knew the word. I couldn't wait for my husband to come home. Still, I was afraid that I was wrong. I tentatively suggested that the word might, possibly, could be, praise?

He took the paper from his pocket and slowly opened it. There was the word in capital letters: PRAISE.

I didn't understand why it had taken so long for God to tell me. One word is all that I'd asked for. I looked back in my Bible journal and couldn't believe my eyes. There was the word praise in every verse that I'd meditated on for the past three days!

I'd been so busy asking, demanding, clamouring, that I couldn't hear when God spoke to me. I wasn't listening. I should have learned this lesson many years ago when my mind was in turmoil and I was questioning God about what I should do. Suddenly, I heard the audible voice of God telling me to be still. It sounded to me more like be quiet, a command. Stop. Settle down. Years later, I discovered that that is exactly how that verse is to be translated. Obviously, I hadn't learned much over the years. It's a trait that I must still guard against today. I suspect that it might even be a universal problem.

We honoured God's word by purchasing a large PRAISE decal for the wall, and sheets of stickers. Whenever I come across one of those stickers, I'm reminded to stop and pay attention to God's voice. Throughout the year, no matter what happened, we remembered to praise God anyway.

Since then, we've received various words for the new year. Sometimes, we each receive a different word. Sometimes, we get the same word two years in a row: God hasn't finished teaching it to us. For 2017, I would encourage everyone to ask God for a personal word. I can assure you that you'll be blessed by it.

Prayer: Father, so many voices clamour for our attention. Help us to be still and listen for Yours. May Your word be power and light to us this new year. Amen.

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About the author:

JJ Ollerenshaw <sandjollie86@gmail.com>
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the encouraging word JJ. Have a Happy New Year.

    Thanks JJ for this word for the coming year. Praise! Yes! Blessings.

    Great idea JJ. And l already have my 2017 word!

    This will be my third year of asking God for a word. Thanks for sharing this today and may you be richly blessed in 2017!

    Dear “JJ”,
    What a wonderful story….and so true. Thank you so much for sharing this with the Daily community. It sure brightened my day.

    Thank you for today’s devotional. I like that idea of a Word For The Year”, I have asked God to give me the Word he thinks I need to concentrate on all year. Have a Happy New Year as you walk through the year Praising God.

    What a great idea for everyone. Another reader suggested it in somewhat the same fashion. What does Jesus want to give me and what can I give Jesus. Blessings as 2017 comes closer.
    Thanks to all writers.

    Wow, that is powerful, just in one word.
    Like you, I will have to listen and watch with determination, I pray about that a lot. Hope it’s loud enough. Still listening and will wait for His timing.

    Thank you for this encouraging devotional. God tries to speak to us daily and we often times are too deaf and blind to hear His voice. You’ve captured the frustrating process so well – I can relate for sure. I look forward to a future devotional revealing how this year of Praise impacts your lives. God is good! Blessings.

    I really liked your devotional today. I related to it.
    I was on a retreat a few years ago and the leader told us that God was always trying to communicate with us. We don’t hear Him and need to pay attention and learn how to listen. Kind of like having a radio but not tuning it to the station. The music is playing over the airwaves, but until we tune in, we miss it.

    Thanks for this devotional. I love the idea of asking God for a new year word! God bless you.


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