Anchor Verse 2013 ~ Reconciliation


I read his words in the early morning hours of 2013, beginning words about new things, new hopes, new desires (especially as it pertains to those who busy themselves with resolution list-making):

“They believe that a good intention already means a new beginning; they believe that on their own they can make a new start whenever they want. But that is an evil illusion; only God can make a new beginning with people whenever God pleases, but not people with God. Therefore, people cannot make a new beginning at all; they can only pray for one.” (Bonhoeffer, God is in the Manger, pg. 80)

And so, I bow my head and heart and pray for one . . . a new beginning, knowing that anything I might conjure up impulsively will ultimately fail if God is not in it. I ask for a new heart, a new approach to living with the older history that resides inside my aging flesh. And I pray for eyes to see this new beginning as it arrives, to lay hold of it, and to fully live it, even when it’s uncomfortable . . . especially then. To receive a new beginning from God only to reject it in the end is to squander the blessing—ultimately, to make a mockery of the gift so earnestly sought after, so divinely given.

Don’t ask for a new beginning from God if you don’t want one, because to receive one and to waste it is irreverence at the highest level.

Accordingly, I tread humbly, yet willingly toward the Father on this first day of 2013 as I ask for my “new.” I cannot perceive it, not yet. I can only believe that it awaits me, knowing that as I ask for this bread, my Father will not respond with a stone. He will answer me with his “much more”—good gifts from his God-heart (see Mt. 7:7-11).

Along these lines, and for the past several years, I’ve made it my practice to choose an anchor verse that would serve as a foundational guideline for my comings and goings throughout the year—a “go to” word from the Word when other words fail . . . when my heart and soul lose focus. Last year’s anchor was rooted in Phil. 3:12-14 and the phrase “movement wins.” I cannot begin to chronicle for you the many ways these verses and that phrase have pushed me, fortified me, and encouraged me in 2012. Movement wins stands as forever strength for me going forward. I pray the same power to be present in and through the anchor verses that I’ve selected for the New Year. For the past few months, I’ve known that these would be God’s watchwords for my 2013.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:17-20)

The ministry and message of reconciliation—the Greek word katallage meaning “exchange, adjustment of a difference, restoration of the favor of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the atoning death of Christ.”

God has placed me, placed all Christians, in the middle of a sacred exchange between himself and his created, between his holiness and man’s sinfulness. He has commissioned us to stand as a bridge linking the dying, fear-filled soul to the living, faithful God. What trust! What responsibility! What privilege!

Accordingly, I tread humbly toward the Father on this first day of 2013. To be a reconciler in the kingdom of God—to no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view—is to ratchet up faith’s commitment. With the responsibility comes accountability, of this I am certain. And so, I cannot ask for this “new” with only good intentions to fuel my well-doing. God must be the energy behind this undertaking. He is the author and finisher of my faith; it all begins and ends with him. So must my bridge-building. Bridges built by good intentions will ultimately collapse. Bridges built by God’s intentions will stand forever, eternally upheld by the heart and hands of his love.

This is where I am this morning, kneeling on a bridge, and praying for strength enough to be one of God’s. He, alone, knows where these verses and this prayer will take me in the next twelve months.

What about you? What is the prayer of your heart on this first day of 2013? What leading from God is leading you to ask for your new beginning? What strength do you find in his Word? What anchor will be your “go to” word in coming days? I pray one finds you—a verse or an entire chapter of holy writ that will work its way into your soul and serve as a strong foundation for your faith in coming days. Think on it; pray on it, and as it arrives, inscribe it upon your heart.

Don’t waste your new beginning; live it like you mean it. I’ll meet you on the road, and I’ll link arms with you in prayer for the steps ahead.

God will see to it all.

36 Responses to Anchor Verse 2013 ~ Reconciliation

  1. “Don’t ask for a new beginning from God if you don’t want one, because to receive one and to waste it is irreverence at the highest level.”
    Amen! More than any other year, we (my family) have the opportunity for new beginnings, and I having asked for just that, I certainly don’t want to waste it!
    Happy new year!

    • Excited to see where God will take you and your family this year, Deborah. I’m praying for my family as well!

  2. wifeforthejourney:

    From old year and now into the New, I wrestle with my desire to control my “beginnings” and “endings.” Rather than recount things we have already talked about, I want to use this forum to let your other readers know what a blessing I find in having you (Elaine) to talk things through with me.

    When you write “Bridges built by good intentions will ultimately collapse” that is a sound reminder for all of us. While not all of our intentions will necessarily be “good” I think we all would do well to examine our motives for trying to control circumstances in our lives that should belong first to God. As another pastor friend recently told me, “I think God is more concerned with my character than He is with my comfort.”

    May this New Year become one of godly submission, and not just another season of me trying to manipulate outcomes. Thanks for helping us stay anchored in what matters most!


  3. Elaine, I loved reading your Billy’s comment to you. What a guy! How wonderful to share life with one who walks closely with the Lord. I love that 2 Corinthians verse. We are new creations in Christ. Now may I walk in that day by day.

    Happy New Year to you and your Billy!

    Blessings and love,

    • I loved reading it too. He is a grace-filled addition to my life. I cannot imagine walking this road without him.

  4. Beautiful, Elaine. A few weeks ago, while I was having a random conversation with a friend, God impressed upon my heart the word He has for me in 2013 – DIRECTION. This past year saw me move from my home of almost 29 years – and I left family, friends, and all things familiar. I know He has brought me to this (literal) mountaintop for His purposes. I just feel a bit set adrift, wondering what it is that He wants me to do.

    When this word came to me, I looked up several verses that I have posted on my blog. They will serve to anchor me in this coming year. Including my life verses, Proverbs 3:5-6. I know that He will provide direction as I continue to seek HIM first.

    I can think of few people who would make a better bridge-builder than you. I pray that God will continue to provide you with the *tools of HIS trade* as you seek to be a reconciler in His Kingdom!


    • Oh that I would be as intentional to seek God’s direction for me! Too often, I’m quick to jump ahead of his schedule. Working on it, sister. Glad to see you here.

  5. I don’t have an anchor verse. I feel a little like I’m drifting around and perhaps that is one reason why. This is a different year than I’ve had in many. A new church. Fewer responsibilities. A quietness. In fact, now that I’m typing this, that just may be what God is telling me for this time in my life….to be quiet. Not sure if I’m hearing Him correctly on every aspect of it just yet.

    So love how you can awaken so many thoughts and feelings in my heart through the words you pen.

    God bless you my faithful friend Elaine!


    • No pressure to have one, Marilyn. It’s interesting you should mention “rest.” I’m part of a year-long mentoring program this year, and the first mandate to us was “Ready. Set. Rest.” Yes, this just might be what God is after in both of us.

  6. What a wonderful post! Reconciliation! How desperately our world needs it. I spent some time yesterday talking to Jesus about fresh starts and new opportunities. I love to do that in the new year, but the beautiful thing about Jesus is that we can do it anytime. Praise God!!

    I wrote about my guiding words…my anchor words on Monday and they, too, will be what I run to in 2013 when my heart and/or/ feet tend to wander. Sweet new year blessings to you, dear friend.

  7. Beautiful words, as always. Words to ponder this morning. Our pastor preached a great sermon on Sunday about ‘second chances’. Much to think about today.

    Love your heart!


  8. I choose a theme word rather than an anchor verse, but I’m like you, Elaine — my theme word for 2012 helped guide me in so many ways last year. I posted about my theme word for 2013 today. It is finish. Am looking forward to how the Lord will use it in my life this year. Love your focus on the ministry of reconciliation, and I’ll look forward as well to hearing more about it as the coming months unfold. God bless you in 2013, my friend!

  9. LOVED this. Beautiful words my friend. Meaningful and thoght provoking, as usual. I think what your hubby says about not wanting to manipulate the outcome for this year was a perfect addition to my heart this year.

    Oh, that I wouldn’t always think my way is the best way.


  10. I love your words and now your sweet husband’s, it’s heart-warming coming here! {I have so enjoyed God in the Manger this year too!!!}

    And it’s this from you that I want to remember: “God has placed me, placed all Christians, in the middle of a sacred exchange between himself and his created, between his holiness and man’s sinfulness. He has commissioned us to stand as a bridge linking the dying, fear-filled soul to the living, faithful God. What trust! What responsibility! What privilege!” ~OH MY YES!!!

    THANK YOU! My word is Apprehend and it is for that ^ very reason…that I may fulfill the commission. 🙂

  11. Thanks Elaine. I love Bonhoeffer’s writings.
    “Therefore, people cannot make a new beginning at all; they can only pray for one.”
    Love this.

    Will be praying for you this year, your year of Ministry and Message of Reconciliation.

    My Word for this year is Faith. To grow stronger in my Faith and to be more faithful.

    Excited to see what God has planned for us. 🙂


    • Me too, Marita! Grateful that you are here. May God grant you his power, grace, and endurance to live out your faith most fruitfully in coming days.

  12. My anchor verse: Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices. ~ Hebrews 13:16 (HCSB)

    My word: “Diakonos”-sevant living!!

    Happy New Year Elaine!!


  13. This year I feel a sense of obligation (in a good way) to use the story God gave me in losing my baby Evie to reach others for Him. The story of the servants in Matthew 25 is my theme for 2013. I want to faithful and multiply God’s blessings for His glory.

    • It takes some time to move into this degree of focused ministry. I know that God will bless you and others as you reach out. I imagine he already has. When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, the word “entrusted” became my word for 2011 (really for the rest of my life). Cancer is a part of my story; I do feel a strong sense of obligation to allow its witness a voice through me.

  14. Your faithful pen never ceases to make me want to know Christ more. Pondering much on my word for 2013…though not yet fully committed, there is one God seems to be whispering to me now. I heard it even as I read your post. Thank you for the beautiful challenge my friend. Praying God’s abundant grace upon you and Billie.


    • As it arrives, I’d love to hear about it, Tracy. Thank you for all you’re doing for the kingdom.

  15. Just in case you think I won’t be in touch by email… think again! I can’t begin to tell you how meaningful your words have been so many times to me. I hear your heart, and I am encouraged and challenged by what God has directed you to write. I will be emailing from time to time, and please do the same, just to share what is going on and to say hello. I am not really sure what the direction of this year will be, but I am ready to see what God wants to do, and as always, there will be new lessons in all of it. Thank you Elaine, you are such a treasured friend.

    Love you!

    • Wherever you travel this year, I know that God travels with you, Sonja. I will miss your posts, but I’ll be checking in with you from time to time. You mean so much to me . . . please know this!

  16. “To receive one and to waste it is irreverence at the highest level.” Realizing that every day I wake up is a “new beginning” – every breath I TAKE is a new beginning – I repent of my “irreverence at the highest level” and pray for God’s mercy and grace.

    Thank you for being one in my “great cloud of witnesses”. I value just about every word that comes from your “pen” and heart. ♥

  17. Daily, I praise His name and give Him all credit and glory, and daily, I ask that His will be done. I will ponder the concept of my go-to anchor word/s. For the most part, I think they will continue to be “in the name of your precious Son.”

    • Precious words to live by, Brenda! Let’s talk soon. Give me a jingle at your convenience. I can’t wait to hear about your comings and goings.

  18. Elaine, wonderful post. No need to comment or reply unless of course you want to. It is always a pleasure stopping here, always something to digest. Happy New year to you and your wonderful family! Lori

  19. Excited to see what God has in store for 2013. Reconciliation such a powerful word and ministry. Thank you for reminding me.

  20. Elaine,

    What a wonderful thing to have an anchor verse. I am praying for our Abba Father to provide me with a verse for 2013.

    He is so awesome to provide whatever I need.

    Love you my sister. I truly respect and admire you.

    • Elaine,

      Just a follow up. God has given me my verse this evening. This is where my anchor will be in 2013.

      “For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. Phil. 4:8

      My anchor word is “think”. God is teaching me to fix my mind on Him. I’m looking forward to all that God will be teaching me this year.


      • So many of our battles are won and lost in the mind, Sheryl! “Think” and Phil 4:8 is an incredible passage to anchor your thoughts this year. Prayers.

  21. Elaine and Billy, these are beautiful posts from you. You are both humble, effective beacons of light; you enrich the lives you touch with Christ’s message of love, mercy, and forgiveness. May 2013 be a year of continuing awareness that you are “blessed to be a blessing.”

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