Word of the Year 2020

I have participated in developing a word of the year (WOTY) for many years now. It is a great exercise that helps me set my frame of mind for the year. I think it is scriptural to give a word a theme. It’s not that I am predicting the future, it is more that I am striving to live the year with a certain intention or frame of mind.

Some years I have put much prayer and thought into my word and it has been a sort of struggle to land on the word that just felt…right. 2018 was “consistency.” Last year my word was “grit.” This year choosing my word was relatively easy. I have a lot of things I want to accomplish in 2020 and I cannot get them done if I am not consistent in my actions.

Let’s do a short word study on my word for this year: EXECUTE.

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Let’s do a word study on my word for this year:

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines execute as: “Literally, to follow out or through. Hence, to perform; to do; to effect; to carry into complete effect; to complete; to finish. We execute a purpose, a plan, design or scheme; we execute a work undertaken, that is, we pursue it to the end.”

Key words from this definition that are defined:

C̵OMPLE´TE, v. t. To finish; to end; to perfect; as, to complete a bridge, or an edifice; to complete an education.

  1. To fill; to accomplish; as, to complete hopes or desires.
  2. To fulfil; to accomplish; to perform; as, the prophecy of Daniel is completed.

PERFORM´, v. t. [L. per and formo, to make.]

  1. To do; to execute; to accomplish; as, to perform two days’ labor in one day; to perform a noble deed or achievement.
  2. To execute; to discharge; as, to perform a duty or office.
  3. To fulfill; as, to perform a covenant, promise or contract; to perform a vow.
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FIN´ISH, v. t. [Arm. finiçza; Fr. finir; L. finio, from finis, an end, Ir. fuin, W. fin. Class Bn. No. 23.]

  1. To arrive at the end of, in performance; to complete; as, to finish a house; to finish a journey.
    Thus the heavens and the earth were finished. Gen. 2.
  2. To make perfect.
    Episodes, taken separately, finish nothing. Broome.
  3. To bring to an end; to end; to put an end to.
    Seventy weeks are determined on thy people, and on thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and make an end of sins. Dan. 9.
  4. To perfect; to accomplish; to polish to the degree of excellence intended. In this sense it is frequently used in the participle of the perfect tense as an adjective. It is a finished performance. He is a finished scholar.

PURSŪE, v. t. [Fr. poursuivre; pour and suivre, to follow, L. sequor; prosequor, or persequor. See Seek.]

  1. To follow; to go or proceed after or in a like direction. The captain pursued the same course as former navigators have taken. A subsequent legislature pursued the course of their predecessors.
  2. To take and proceed in, without following another. Captain Cook pursued a new and unexplored course. New circumstances often compel us to pursue new expedients and untried courses. What course shall we pursue?
  3. To follow with a view to overtake; to follow with haste; to chase; as, to pursue a hare; to pursue an enemy.
  4. To seek; to use measures to obtain; as, to pursue a remedy at law.
  5. To prosecute; to continue. A stream proceeds from a lake and pursues a southerly course to the ocean.
    He that pursueth evil, pursueth it to his own death. Prov. 11.
  6. To follow as an example; to imitate.
    The fame of ancient matrons you pursue. Dryden.
  7. To endeavor to attain to; to strive to reach or gain. We happiness pursue; we fly from pain.

Scriptures that apply

Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. 2 Cor. 8:6

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.  And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. Gen 2:2,3

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24

My definition

Execute: the act of bringing a thing to conclusion or completion using a deliberate plan of action.

Biblical principle at work: Principle of Christian character

In a future post I will share some outstanding resources that are going to help me get to the finish line at the end of 2020. I plan to share monthly the progress (or lack thereof) on a few of my goals.

Have you ever created your word for the year? Do you have one for 2020? Leave a comment and share it!

Words can mean so much

Ann has a splendid tradition of naming each new year. Last year I started that little exercise as well. You can read about that word here.

This year I have been carefully searching for the perfect moniker for 2012. It’s not an easy task, to be sure. Something about the process seems weighty and significant and it’s easy to become paralyzed as the word lies just out of reach.

Last year lives up to it’s name. I expect this year to as well. My word for this year is


Salient–standing out conspicuously : prominent; especially : of notable significance

It is my aim this year to focus on the salient in my life, to always pay closest attention to the things that are most important and significant. It’s not easy to do in this world where everything—even the trivial—seems urgent and important.  I pray God will help me filter the salient in my life and place it prominently before me.

By shifting our focus from what we do to what God does, don’t we cancel out all our careful keeping of the rules and ways God commanded? Not at all. What happens, in fact, is that by putting that entire way of life in its proper place, we confirm it.                       Romans 3:31 The Message


BENEDIC’TION, n. [L. benedictio, from bene, well, and dictio, speaking. See Boon and Diction.]

1. The act of blessing; a giving praise to God or rendering thanks for his favors; a blessing pronounced; hence grace before and after meals.

Webster’s 1828

Many people offer thanks before eating. That’s common enough. But Webster suggests something more in his definition. Something more beautiful even than a prayer of blessing.

Saying Grace after meals? Who does that? I can honestly say I have never heard of doing that until I read Webster’s definition. But it makes sense. Think of the ten lepers that Jesus healed (Luke 17). Only one returned to say thanks. Only one offered his grateful benediction after his provision of healing was supplied.

Am I quick to offer my benediction after my needs are met, or do I just pray a  desperate prayer and then run off like a happy child with an ice cream cone when the moment has passed?

I like to try and write down things that I am thankful for in a notebook so I can recall them later. It’s another opportunity for benediction. For pouring. For quiet communion.

Paul understood this idea of benediction. His letters end with a lovely benediction and encouragement to the believers he is writing:

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.  Amen.

Jude 1:24,25

May my life be a continual outpouring of thanksgiving unto my God. My my days end in benediction and peaceful praise, for He is most worthy.

Its Pouring

I am trying to keep my word for the year in the front of my mind. Pour. I am a seeker, searching meanings and clues to what this word means in my life this year. I want to be truly transformed by this idea of pouring.

“Pour” denotes an activity, which is very different than emptying. Being emptied is passive, it can happen without your consent or participation. Things can happen every day to empty us. Tragedy and stress and life itself can tear holes and drain out most everything.

Pouring takes action. You can’t pour out of a container without first taking hold. Purposeful holding. I want to not just be emptied this year, but to be poured. I place my earthen vessel in the hands of Jesus and trust that I will be poured out as He sees fit, as He fills me with whatever He deems useful and worthy.

Enjoying a good word study

Word studies are hard. And dry. And time-consuming. At least that’s how some people see it. Even the title makes me chortle. Who ever heard of such a thing as actually being fun? Well, everything we do for our kids’ education can be something we enjoy. If not all of it, then at least some part.

You may not know what a word study is. Or you may avoid them. Or you may do them and not know them by that name. Whatever category you fit in, I think you can see word studies not as a necessary evil, but as an important tool in your home educating process. Any home educator can implement word studies, no matter what approach or curriculum is in use. It’s a powerful way to bring a subject alive for teacher and student.

…Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom,  and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach…   Daniel 1:4 KJV

A word study is simple and straightforward. One way to do one is as follows:

  1. Choose a key word from your study in any subject.
  2. Define the word from Webster’s 1828 dictionary.
  3. Underline key words in the definition and look those up in the 1828.
  4. When you feel you have defined it sufficiently, begin to find the words you underlined in a Bible concordance. Write down any scripture you deem relevant to the words and definitions.
  5. Using all this information, write your own definition of the word.
  6. Using the information you have gathered, deduce the Biblical principle from the study.

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty. Jer. 15:16 NIV

Now who wouldn’t like to do that? Seriously, there is something really exciting about learning something new about a word you assumed you knew the definition of. And it’s even more exciting to see what God has to say about that word. Or with that word.  Why do I want to do a word study?

  • To understand the English language better.
  • To have mastery over a topic/subject so I can teach it better.
  • To deepen my understanding.
  • To learn God’s thoughts on a matter.
  • To improve my scholarship.
  • To increase in wisdom.
  • To discover the Biblical principles on a matter.
  • As a springboard for a new/deeper study (AKA “rabbit trail”).

Some tips to enjoy your word study more:

  • Don’t do it when you are tired. Nothing is fun then.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. Do it in chunks even.
  • Pray for wisdom and discernment. Then expect amazing things to happen because God will show up right in the middle of your study.
  • Get your kids involved. Let them be your research assistants. Make it a family affair. (read: don’t be a martyr, studying alone for hours on end with frequent sighing and complaining.)
  • Don’t do them all the time. They are not necessary every week.
  • Don’t give independent word study assignments to young kids. This is a bad idea. When your kids are younger the word studies are for you to digest and give to them on their level. As they get older you can introduce the idea and start walking them through the process in small doses.
  • If you don’t like them, ask God to change your heart. Things you hate to do can actually become joyful times with the Lord. It is always delightful to spend time in His word.
  • Share what you learn with your spouse and anyone else who will listen. Don’t become obnoxious, but share what you learn liberally with others. They probably can use something you learned.
  • Reward yourself when you are done. (Ooooh, I hear M&M’s and a bubble bath calling me, but I digress…)
  • Invest in quality tools. A nice pen, clean paper, a Strong’s concordance will make you more willing to get the job done. And who doesn’t enjoy a nice writing pen?
  • Be willing to stop and enjoy what you are learning. Take a breath, sit back and Selah–think on these things.