My One Word

“As he (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he.” 
Proverbs 23:7

Toward the end of each year, I begin to think about my one-word selection for the coming year. I’m easily distracted, and I don’t do well with lists and New Year’s resolutions, so a one-word focus suits me.

But can one word change our lives?


Ask anyone who’s waited to hear “positive” or “negative” after a health exam. “Guilty” or “not” in a court of law. “Girl” or “boy” at a baby reveal. “Up” or “down” in a stock investment. “Pass” or “fail” on an academic test.

Scripture and science agree that our minds are powerful and that the things we meditate on can and will shape us. We have the power to change our reality by choosing to shift our focus.

“Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect”(Romans 12:2).

My path toward my one-word journey began in 2000 when I replaced New Year’s resolutions with the prayerful selection of a scripture verse for the coming year. I’ve continued to choose focal verses annually. Then in 2013, I jumped on the one-word bandwagon via the My One Word book written by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen. I now condense my chosen verse into a single word for a more concise focus. Throughout the years, God has amazed me by repeatedly bringing to my attention my word or verse and using it to affirm and lead me through situations that arose.

In the words of Mike Ashcraft, “Wouldn’t you love to do something about one thing this year instead of nothing about everything? Choose just one word that represents what you most hope God will do in you, and focus on it for an entire year. This single act will force clarity and concentrate your efforts. As you focus on your word over an extended period of time, you position yourself for God to form your character at a deep, sustainable level. Growth and change will result.”

Won’t you join me in the selection of a Scripture verse and one-word focus for 2020? Lose the long list of resolutions that leave you frustrated and defeated after a few weeks and embrace a single word that can transform your life. If you do, I’d love nothing more than for you to email me at with your selection. Let’s walk this out together.

“Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.”

Isaiah 55:19-11, MSG

Happy New Year!

-Starr Ayers

Is Your House in Order?

“There is a time to keep, and a time to throw away.”

—Ecclesiastes 3:6,NIV


TV reality programs showcase hoarders for our entertainment. However, hoarding is neither entertaining nor laughable. An excess of clutter in our homes can be the symptom of a severe psychological disorder. Hoarders not only cling to things of value, but they also cling to mounds of things that have no value at all. Most of us say we can’t comprehend this type of thinking, and yet we often replicate it.

The start of a new year is the perfect time to take inventory of areas we’ve neglected and rid our homes of items we no longer use. When I clean, I tend to concentrate on the rooms people see and push aside the cluttered drawers and closets (and heaven forbid, the attic). Out of sight, out of mind, right? Wrong. Because I know the clutter is there, it creeps into the corners of my life and disturbs my peace until I’m pressed to do something about it.

But clutter doesn’t only accumulate in the physical realm: it builds up in the spiritual aspects of our lives as well. Anything that disturbs our peace or blocks our pathway of communion with the Father is clutter. Let’s face it: no one wants to open the door of their prayer closet and meet an avalanche of shelved grievances, stored anger, or suffocating pride.

The prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover’” (2 Kings 20:6). We may think Isaiah was short on bedside manner, but the truth is, he delivered a hard message from the Lord straight to the proud heart of a king who had opened up his doors to the enemy. Isaiah’s message produced repentance, brought cleansing, and added years to the king’s life.

“It’s time to put your house in order” is not a declaration we want to hear. Those words from our doctor mean he believes our days on earth are few and that we need to attend to the important things before it’s too late—things that if left undone would burden and add further heartache to the lives of those we love. But what if hearing and heeding his words could add years to our lives, or at least enrich our remaining days? Wouldn’t you welcome them?

In church, we sing, “All to Jesus, I surrender; all to him I freely give.” This song is so familiar it’s easy to let the words roll off our tongues with little thought. However, surrendering to the Lord requires intentionally barring the door of our hearts to the enemy, giving God the keys to every chamber, and clearing a pathway to his throne room through repentance and prayer. Are you surrendering your all to Jesus or only giving him lip service?

Be intentional. Today is the day to set your house in order.



See You Later

“Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:11, NIV

sky-414199_640Several years ago, my husband and I moved our adult daughter with Down syndrome into a lovely new group home, twenty minutes from our door. Although it was hard to let her go, we knew she needed to adapt to the world without us, and we wanted to be around to help her with the transition.

Our daughter has adjusted well to her new home. She now has five new “sisters” to interact with, has gained a sense of independence, and is given numerous opportunities to participate in community activities, all while maintaining her long-time position in a sheltered work environment.

Jesus’s disciples walked with him for three-and-a-half years. They had dreams of serving alongside him in an earthly kingdom. Although Jesus tried to prepare them for his departure, they couldn’t imagine life on this earth without him. Then, in a moment, everything changed. He ascended into the heavens and was hidden from their sight. The disciples were left in a stupor, and their despondency would have spiraled into despair except for the words of two men dressed in white: “He will come back in the same way you have seen him go.”

Because of Jesus’s great love for his disciples, he laid the groundwork for his departure. Not only were they assured that they would see their Friend, Teacher, and Savior again, Jesus gave them specific instructions as to what they were to do in the meantime. They were to be his witnesses through the power of his Holy Spirit.

Our daughter is a young woman of few words—not because she can’t speak, but because she chooses not to. Conversing with her is difficult, especially over the telephone. When I tell her good-bye at the end of our very one-sided conversations, she’s silent. After I prod her several times to tell me “good-bye,” she finally voices a soft-spoken “see you later.”

The New Year may be uncertain, but the return of Christ is not. God was not silent about our future. He promises in his Word that Jesus will return. We don’t know the day or the hour or even the year, but we are not to idly sit by until he comes. In the interim, he continues to empower believers to share the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Christ’s final words to us were not “good-bye” but “see you later.” So, don’t just stand there—do something.

Happy New Year!