A Word for 2017: _____________

A few days ago I started a discussion on choosing a word for 2017. What that means is, praying about and finding one word to focus on for the year. The purpose of this is to help find inspiration for prayer and purpose, motivation, and encouragement to stay on God’s path for the next 365 days. I’ve been praying and, honestly, was having a difficult time choosing a word. I really didn’t want it to just be a word I came up with on my own, it would not accomplish the purpose of the task. 

So, I came up with some words that I liked but I knew they weren’t what I was supposed to necessarily put my whole focus on. Then there are also the words that always come to mind as a new year approaches and I focus too much on myself. Words like, “success”, “motivation”, “accomplish”… wonderful words, but not the right words for my purpose. So, I continued to pray and listen, and write these words down. Words like “encourage”, “listen”, “pray”, “ask”, “focus”, and “consistent” were in my mind and I still was having a very hard time choosing. Seems like perhaps I was complicating the decision but in reality I was trying to make a slower decision so I knew it was from God. So, as I waited for my word, I decided to ask you all for your input to see what you were given and my goodness you all have some great words for 2017!! Some are “unplug”, “obedient”, “sabbath”, “create”, “intentional”…. I can’t wait to see how those words follow your year! Thank you for sharing with me. 

So finally, yesterday as I was driving in the car,  I heard a song I’ve heard many times before and it made me stop and realize I had my word. It is a beautiful song, one I can just shut my eyes and meditate on. (Perhaps I can have a song for 2017 too? Hmmm). 


Well, God that’s kind of an unexpected word. I definitely wouldn’t choose that on my own, and I don’t know how I feel about that, but I’m trusting you! 


Really, Lord? 

So, surrender my timelines and goals, my wants and ideals, and focus on what God has planned. I can feel the response from God might be something like, 

“Why is that scary? That’s like surrendering your pebbles in exchange for gold. Surrender.”

(Surrender must mean to have a lot of trust. It reminds me of a time when i surrendered to gravity during a trust fall at summer camp! Thank goodness my trust partner was reliable.)

So my prayer is, that as 2017 unfolds I remember to surrender what I personally want and open my life for God’s plans. Surrender in exchange for what is infinitely better than I can comprehend.

Here is the song that I heard yesterday. Enjoy. 
“To My Knees”
Hillsong Young and Free

In the Saviour’s love

I find joy beyond compare

Endless peace covers all of me

When You breathe within

You turn winter into spring

Grace dissolves every fear in me

Your Love brings me to my knees

Brings me to my knees

My King forever

You are all my heart desires

Until the end of time

My soul surrendered
In my vacant heart
Lord You came and made a home

You bring light to the dark in me

When I lose my way

I am beckoned into grace

You alone are my everything

Your Love brings me to my knees

Brings me to my knees

My King forever

You are all my heart desires

Until the end of time

My soul surrendered

All the earth sing of mercy never ending

I will worship with all that is within me

Holy Holy, Lord God almighty

King of Heaven, Your’s is the glory

Your Love brings me to my knees

Brings me to my knees

My King forever

You are all my heart desires

Until the end of time

My soul surrendered

Your Love brings me to my knees

Brings me to my knees

My King forever

You are all my heart desires

Until the end of time

My soul surrendered

Now, to decide on my verse for 2017. That may not be decided until January. 
What’s your word for 2017? How did you decide? Share with me! 

Day 31: Reflection and Projection

Day 31: the last day of December and the final day in 2016. For some, this is a day that feels significant as they prepare for another trip around the sun. For others, things don’t feel as if they’ll change a whole lot. I suppose it depends on if you’re feeling accomplished or determined or whatever you’d want to call it. I’ve always felt New Year’s Eve could potentially set emotions up for some excitement. A fresh month, new calendars, a new year… new is exciting, isn’t it? It can also be daunting. But in all reality, it’s another sunrise to a day we are here on earth to make the best of our time. So, we take some time (perhaps) to reflect on our past year and what we accomplished or felt, or perhaps some things that were difficult that God sustained us through. If you journal or mark your Bible, you can see the trail of the path you walked with God, which is pretty awesome to be able to do. I suppose the point I’m coming to is that we come to a day where we can look back and look forward and make some decisions. I would suggest that you consider praying about 2017 if you haven’t already. Ask God to give His guidance, to open the doors that He has blessed and to guide your thoughts and actions to line with His will. The best way to be in God’s will is to have daily prayer time and time in His word. Perhaps you’re already joining us for our 2017 Bible Journey (15 Bible Reading Schedules to Choose From), however if you are not, I invite you to come along for the journey! It will be filled with GRACE. Our theme will be “God meets us where we are at”. Join our launch event Here. Also, if you’re reading this and it’s NOT New Year’s Eve or anywhere close, just jump in with us in our daily readings! GOD MEETS YOU! Right where you’re at. This won’t be about perfection but rather about grace and our hearts lining with God’s will. So, here’s to 2017. 

PS… have you decided on a word or scripture verse for 2017 to focus on? I’ll be sharing mine later today. 

Happy New Year’s Eve. Enjoy this final day in 2016. We only get this day once. 

Our Final Reading for December and 2016

Here we are on our final reading of our Christ focused December. Tomorrow will be a day of prayer and reflection and preparation for January 2017. I do hope you find a passage to read for some reflection time, that of course will be up to you to decide to pick. 

Today’s reading:

John chapters 20 and 21

Here we reflect as we finish out the last chapter of John, the final gospel. What have we been shown as we have flipped through these pages? For me, it has been the first time ever reading through the entire gospels together. And, I’ll say I do have a few chapters I missed that I will finish reading tomorrow. It’s been such an awesome experience to read through the stories of Christ and see all the pieces put together. God has spoken in many ways for me, and prayerfully I hope for you as well. As we finish the gospels today, the last couple sentences made me contemplate and hold my breath. 

John 21:25

25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Can you imagine if we knew everything that Jesus did while he lived? I can’t fathom how our hearts would explode with the knowledge and hope and excitement. I supposed I’ve never read the last verse of John. I absolutely love it. 

What did December bring for you? I hope it brought peace, joy, love, thankfulness and more. If it was perhaps a difficult month, I am praying it ends well. Remember, circumstances do not have to encompass your emotions; and you can be filled with grief or hardships and also have peace (in Christ). 

Here’s to 2017, let’s go together.


Day 29

Day 29- Christ Focused December Gospel Reading

 [] John 17-19

John 17 Jesus prays to be glorified
John 18 Jesus Arrested
John 19 Jesus sentenced to be crucified 

I pray your December is blessed with these readings. Are you prepared for 2017? Why not join us in reading through the whole Bible? Check out 15 Bible In A Year Schedules and choose the one that fits you! 
Have a great day, 


DAY 28: “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away”

We are wrapping up our Christ focused December with the last part of John (the final gospel readings). I hope you’ve had a great December and you’re looking forward to January with positivity and encouragement. If you haven’t seen it yet, I wrote a blog post 15 Bible-In-A-Year Reading Plans so you can decide how you’ll read through your bible in 2017! So, now, onto today’s Gospel reading!

John 14-16 (click links below for online Bible readings)

John 14

John 15

John 16


15 Bible-In-A-Year Reading Plans 

As I have been preparing to launch for our “Read the Bible in 2017“, I have been putting a lot of thought and consideration into which Bible reading plan I wanted to suggest for reading together. The problem is that there are several wonderful options to choose from! Also, what I personally may be drawn to for a daily reading schedule isn’t what everybody else would necessarily enjoy. I’ve finally (FINALLY!) come to the conclusion I will share the best year long plans that I have found, and let you decide which one works best for YOUR daily readings in 2017. I have narrowed it down to plans that are one year long, fairly simple and have a printable list for you to tuck into your Bible and check off each day.

 The Divine Mentor Twice through the New Testament, once through the Old Testament. This goes along with a book I highly recommend called The Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro.

She Reads Truth New Testament, Old Testament, plus one day of psalms each week. 

5 Days a Week Read through the Bible with 5 days a week plus 2 days of rest (or to catch on missed days) I love the flexibility of this plan!

Self Paced Bible Reading Chart If you like to go at your own speed, this minimalistic, yet beautifully designed, is a great way to track your reading over 2017. 

Water for the thirsty Daily readings of New, Old, plus a Psalm or Proverb each day.

Discipleship Journal Reading Plan Four different readings each day add variety. This bible reading plan begins in Genesis, Psalms, Matthew and Acts.

ESV Bible Reading Plan Four daily readings taken from four lists: Psalms and Wisdom Literature, Pentateuch and History of Israel, Chronicles and Prophets, and Gospels and Epistles.

Chronological Order Read through the entire Bible in the order the events happened. 

Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan Read the New Testament and Psalms twice and the Old Testament once.

Daily Immersion A selection from 7 different parts of the Bible for 7 days of the week. Separated into Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy and Gospels. 

NKJV Bible Reading Plan Read through the Bible in a year with morning and evening reading selections.

American Bible – Through The Bible Stories From Genesis to Revelation in short story like chunks of the Bible.

Bible Unity Reading Plan Chronologically placed but with extra time in the NT, psalms and proverbs. Minimal page flipping (usually 2 readings each day), plus extra make up days. 

Eat This Book (Blackhawk Church) Following aspects of the traditional Jewish order in the Old Testament, this Eat This Book reading plan offers a sustainable reading pace. Each day, you’ll explore an average of four chapters, and you’ll close your time in prayer by reading a Psalm. 

BONUS: (highly recommended addition!) Want to read with your kids in a plan that’s especially targeted for them? Download the Kid’s Plan (Eat This Book)

Whichever plan YOU choose on following for your year in the Bible with JCM (Jessica Campbell Ministries), I highly encourage you to devote specific time each day to your bible readings. Try to set aside 30-45 minutes each day that you can keep consistent for yourself. (If that’s just not doable, even five minutes a day will change your day!). For me (right now) that is early morning with a big (BIGGGGGG) cup of coffee and some worship music..and a lot of prayers to get out of bed. However, in years past my study time has varied from late night to daily naptime. Whatever time you decide works best for you, be thoughtful in prioritizing your time. I will say, the absolute best and most fruitful time has been since I have added my 5am wake up call to meet with God. I am NOT a morning person….. so that’s all Him! So, if you’re praying and you hear God saying “give up your snooze button”, trust me, it will be worth it! Whatever the case, choose a time that works for you and pray to be able to prioritize it above the next item on your checklist. Remember: time spent in God’s Word is never wasted nor regretted! 

 I’d also love to encourage you to read your Bible purposefully and consider to SOAP journal with us this year. Just reading through the Bible is wonderful (In theory; I’ve actually not ever read through in one year, ever! I’ve always done topical or book bible studies. I’m sharing my first journey around the sun in the Word with all of YOU!!). Adding intention with journaling will record your year, prayers and thoughts adds a way to look at everything God will show you in 2017! I HAVE been a student of SOAP journaling and prayer journaling and can testify it is a phenomenal way to grow your spiritual journey and faith.

A few more things as we preparing for 2017:

1: Be sure to Follow FIRST on Facebook and share your personal verses each day with us as we share this journey together! 

2: While the GOAL is to read through our Bibles “in a year”, the biggest goal is learning the discipline of daily time with Jesus and in God’s Word. Life happens and days may be missed… don’t let Satan get you overwhelmed and ready to quit! (YES, Satan will be trying his hardest to distract, discourage and disengage you from your biggest weapon against him). This will be a year filled with GRACE! While many of these bible reading plans have days to catch up, I will strongly encourage you to jump into whatever day is on your reading checklist– don’t try to overwhelm yourself if you “fall behind”… read the day you’re on and move on. If you have time to read more, that’s even better- and totally not required! Also, you do not need to start on January first- if you’re just reading this for the first time and it’s well passed January, just jump in today!! The best time to start reading the Bible IS TODAY!

3. Invite your friends! The best way to have some encouragement and accountability is to have some sisters (or brothers) right next to you in this journey.

So, which Reading Plan will you choose? I’m still deciding on that! Comment below with what your decision is and what drew you to it, I’d love to hear! 



Day 27: Jesus never stops surprising us 

Day 27- Christ Focused December Gospel Reading
Jesus weeps, raises the dead, the plot thickens, Jesus arrived on a donkey, Jesus prays, most do not believe, Jesus washes the disciples feet, Jesus claims the betrayal, gives the new commandment and tells Peter about his denial. 

These are some of the most exciting parts of the gospel again today. It’s a quick moving couple of chapters and you learn a lot about what Jesus prioritized. What I see here (as always) is that Jesus prioritized people and prayer. Let’s reflect on what God speaks to our hearts today and pray we can focus on that all day. 
Read our daily gospel reading By clicking here
[] John 11-13

Day 26- Going Deeper

Going deeper ~optional~ gospel readings day 26-31

Congratulations! You’ve stayed in the Word in December! I hope you enjoyed your Christmas weekend and made some great memories with family and friends. 

We have officially completed our 25 day “Christ Focused” reading and are finishing with the gospels to end December on a great note. If you’re reading this, you’ve likely stayed with us for a good part of December! Whether you missed a few days (like myself) or stayed on track, know that your time spent with God in the Word is a wonderful investment. Let’s finish out the year with the rest of our gospel readings and prepare for 2017- reading through the Bible together (stay tuned for the schedule!)

Day 26- Christ Focused December Gospel Reading
[] John 8-10

Day 25: Merry Christmas… you’re invited 

Day 25 – Resurrection, ascension, and invitation of Jesus

Christmas! At last, it’s here. We’ve waited the whole year… or at least we’ve been excitedly waiting or steadily anticipated it. So today we celebrate the birth of our savior. Maybe we have children (like us) who have gifts to open and had trouble sleeping last night. Maybe today is the day we’ve been holding our breath for as we had a hectic several past weeks. Or maybe, today is a little sad as you perhaps are remembering those who you’ve lost this year or in years past. 

Whatever the case may be, today is a special day for many. Some may see it as a day to celebrate family or reflect on how blessed we are. I do agree: it’s a family celebration! Especially for those who are in the family of God and followers and believers of Jesus. We celebrate the birth of Jesus and reflect on his invitation: follow him and have eternal life in Heaven. 

Sometimes I wonder why so many would celebrate our Christian holiday if they don’t believe in or follow Christ?  There are many traditions of the holidays and seems even those who are not Christians play along and leave Jesus out. And then God teminded me of grace and purpose: what an opportunity for those who may not know Jesus, to be able to celebrate this day. Perhaps seeds are being planted as they gather with family and follow other Christmas traditions that may or may not shine the spotlight on Jesus… but seeds are always being planted by God. We never know who may have seeds of scripture and love being planted and wateterd for seasons and seasons before ever coming to know Jesus. I have been reminded many times to extend grace to those who celebrate the holidays in a way that may not even involved Christ…. this is a time for joy and love and peace, and may I even suggest, a time for planting seeds for salvation!

As we get to our reading today we are reading the resurrection and invitation of Jesus today. The invitation is there and the choice is yours, God will not force you to do anything because he gave us free will.  But he will provide many opportunities because He loves us and wants no one to perish. I pray you reflect on these things and tuck them into your heart. 

John 3:16-17 ESV (emphasis added)

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Merry Christmas,

I pray each of you have a wonderful day- however you are celebrating! I pray you feel the love of God and your family surrounding you as we celebrate this joyous day. Remember to slow down and cherish this day.

[] Luke 24 [] John 3:13-17 
[] Psalm 16:10 [] Numbers 21:6-9
[] John 5-7

Day 24: Christmas Eve

So, we’ve been reading together for 24 days in December. I’ve missed some days here and there and I know the days I’ve gotten my early quiet time in for are so much better. Getting up early to have some quiet time helps me to prioritize my thoughts for the day and connect with what really matters: Jesus. So, how are you spending your days? Are you so overwhelmed with life that you skip time with Jesus? If so, I encourage you to pray to ask God to help you find time and energy to have some quiet time. I promise it will brighten your day. Don’t worry about perfection, God will always  meet us where we are at and fill us with His peace and guide us to do His will. After a day like yesterday filled with the chaos of the upcoming festivities (read: a trip to the big superstore), I was feeling empty by the end of the day. So today I am prioritizing Jesus to fill my spiritual tank up again.

Here is today’s reading… quite profound for Christmas Eve. Most do not believe in Jesus… that seems to be relevant to Christmas sometimes. How many go through many Christmas traditions only to leave out Christ- the center of Christmas. I pray that we can focus on Christ… Christmas has many wonderful things about it and Christ is the center of this awesome time of year. So, we believe. We reflect. We pray. We thank God. Let’s center our hearts on Him today and tomorrow (and every other day).

Day 24 – Most of the people do not believe in Jesus
[] John 12:37-43 [] Zechariah 12:10 
[] John 2-4