What is love?

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching.  Our hearts and minds are turning to love.  How do you celebrate?  Is it a time for just you and your sweetheart?  Perhaps you include your children in the holiday and make it truly about love.

In our family it is a day centered around love for everyone. We send cards to family and buy presents for our grandkids besides spending time for ourselves.  It is not just a romantic holiday for me and my hubby.  Our pets even get a new toy.

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When our kiddos were still at home we included them.  I remember making a red heart shaped cake or a red velvet cake to have for dessert.  They would get cards and a gift or money.  Sure the hubby and I carved out time for each other to remember our love, too.

Love should be lived, spoken, and shared everyday.  Do you agree?  I am talking about true, unblemished love.  Everyone flourishes when loved, even plants.  Where do we begin to find out just what love is if we want to do this right? The Bible in First Corinthians gives us the best answer.

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In I Corinthians 13 we are provided a guideline about love.  This scripture explains all about what it is and isn’t.  As we read what love is, think about the people you love.  Is your love in line with the definition?  Are you patient with them and not easily angered?

“Love is patient.

Love is kind.

It does not envy.

It does not boast.

It is not proud.

It is not rude.

It is not self-seeking.

It is not easily angered.

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects,

Always hopes,

Always perseveres.

Love never fails.”

How did you do on your check list.  Me, I could stand some improving.  For one thing, patience is something that I am constantly honing.  Certainly I have failed in many of the other areas, but after writing this blog it has given me a wake up call. I need to love others better, and I will.

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Jesus commands us (not suggests) to love one another as He has loved us in John 13:34.  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  Wow.  That is a high standard.  No, let me change it to the highest standard.  The gold standard.  Even though we are mere humans we can still strive for it.

God has always loved us and always will.  He has plans for each one of us and sent Jesus to redeem us.  Scripture says He loves with an everlasting love.  That is unending, pure, powerful love.  That verse is so sweet to my spirit that I drink my coffee out of this cup.

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Please join me in pondering this scripture and how we truly love others, even family.  As I ask these questions of myself, you could search for your own answers.  Am I patient, kind, hopeful, protective, and does my love persevere?  I’m not proud, envious, boastful, easily angered, rude or self-seeking, am I?  Do I keep track of when people do me wrong?  Has my love ever failed someone?  How can I improve and love others as Jesus did.

Enjoy this season of love and remember how loved you are.

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My 2020 Challenge for You

 

Happy New Year, my friends and welcome to 2020!  Are you excited about a brand new year with endless possibilities?  I know that I am.  Are there things you want to do differently this year than last?  Me, too.  Let’s work on that together.

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Contemplating the next twelve months, what would you like to accomplish?   Do you have things you really yearn to do or maybe stop doing?  I think some people call that resolutions.

Since I am a list maker, I took pen in hand and began.  My list started and soon became overwhelmingly long.  Immediately I felt discouraged.   I would encourage you to keep yours challenging but still attainable.  Don’t begin the year feeling defeated.  Asking God to hone your 2020 aspiration list will make it perfect for you.

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Tell me, do you have a strategically crafted plan to fulfill your dreams for this year?  The first thing on that list should be to pray for that plan.  Ask God to show you what to do and how to do it.  That is what I intend.  With His help it will be much easier.

Scripture tells us in Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

I find the above bible verse comforting.  God, the Creator, will teach me what I need to know to accomplish my plans.  Really?  Me?  God cares enough about me to do that?  Absolutely, and He cares that much for you, also.  He might place people in my life that will be able to help me.  Perhaps a book or article will be brought to my attention.  The ways He will help you and me are limitless.

My challenge for you for 2020 is to pray.

I want to challenge you to join me this year.  Commit yourself to daily pray over your 2020 goals.  Adopt a system using a prayer jar or journal.  Record your specific prayer requests in a prayer journal or place them in a prayer jar.  As your prayers are answered  and results seen, make notes by the request.

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Besides praying for yourself, add 20 people to your list.  Ask God to place those people on your heart for prayer.  Place these names after your list or in your jar.  Each day lift one or all of these people up to our Heavenly Father.  Maybe you are praying for health, healing, salvation, or financial issues.  Perhaps you don’t even know why Abba brought this person to your mind.  Just intercede for them in prayer.

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Get a Prayer Partner

A prayer partner is someone that will be there for you to take your requests, thanks, and  praises to God.  My prayer partner lives many, many miles away but is ready within a few minutes of a text to pray.  There is a deeper level of prayer coming before Jehovah with another Christian.  She keeps me accountable, too.  If you do not currently have a prayer partner, I would encourage you to try it.  Ask at church or in your circle of friends.  Better yet, ask God to send you one.

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Let me know if you accepted my challenge and how you are doing.  I’d love to hear if you are using a prayer journal or prayer jar.  As always, if you have a prayer request for me, leave it below and I will most assuredly pray.  Thanks for spending some time with me today.

Philippians  4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

 

Goodbye, 2019, and Hello, 2020

Goodbye, 2019 and hello, 2020!  Here we are again. Another year is winding down to a close. Don’t worry. There is a brand new one just waiting to take 2019’s place.  The years seem to come faster and faster anymore.

How did 2019 treat you?  Whether this has been your best, worst, or just an average year, it is time to take inventory and plan for the next one.  Do you have expectations for this coming year, 2020, or yourself? A new year is exciting. It’s like getting a blank piece of paper to begin a new chapter in your story.  Exhilarating, isn’t it?!  The promises it holds are limitless.

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What are your plans to escort the old year out and the new year in?  Will you go out and celebrate or choose to party quietly at home?  The past few years we have opted for the latter.  Watching a movie and switching over to see the ball drop is exciting enough for my hubby and me.

The majority of people begin the year with a resolution or two.  Not a bad idea, but how many resolutions make it all year?  Grand plans and hopes turn to ashes when someone offers a piece of homemade fudge or favorite cookie. Even a 75% off sale can crash plans for saving money. My hubby made a resolution a decade or more ago that he continues to keep……”to stop making New Year’s resolutions.” Perhaps I should try that one. My resolutions don’t seem to make it very long.  How about yours?
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One tradition that I do at the end of each year is to review my prayer list.  On it is usually one item that looms greater than any of the others. If you have a prayer list you know the one I mean. It is the one you give over to Jesus to handle and take to the Father. Then later that day you start fretting over it again, take it back, and give suggestions to Him on how to work it out. You pick it back up and cannot seem to give it away.  It is your Velcro problem.  It seems to stick with you no matter what.

75346DE3-E11B-4BCA-877B-ABDC326C686AThe problem is so big and seems unsolvable. Oh, but I have great news for you. God is bigger and more powerful than anything. Period.  He is also in the business of miracles.

This is my solution to permanently give it over to Abba.  I take a piece of paper and jot down that problem which has now become a mountain. Then I pray about it, completely surrendering it to Jesus, throw the paper in the fireplace, and I watch it burn. As it is eaten up by flames and disintegrated, I give thanks that the problem is out of my hands and into His. I have totally relinquished it to my Maker.  He is doing what needs done according to His perfect will.  Before my prayer ends the paper has turned to ashes, tears stream down my cheeks, and my worry has vanished. I am at peace.  Shalom.

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Try it with one of your problems that has grabbed you and refuses to let go. God says not to worry. We can do that only by praying and turning things over to Him. He is good and He is faithful. God won’t let us down. In fact, He will give us His perfect peace.  Go into 2020 with one less issue hanging over your head, and with you holding onto Jesus’s hand.  Give it to Him.  Trust Him.  He has this, He has 2020, and He has you!

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Christmas, Cookies, and Memories

Christmas and cookies just seem to go together.  Kids of all ages love cookies.  Don’t you?  From the simple chocolate chip and peanut butter to fancier bonbons and cookie press spritz, a tray of cookies is always a welcomed delight at any home.

I remember making Christmas candy with both of my grandmothers but not cookies.  My mother and I made those along with treasured memories.  Mother is a wonderful cook and baker.  She is also a true Proverbs 31 woman even to this day.  I am blessed to have a Christian mother to teach me many things, especially about Jesus.

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One of our family’s favorite cookies is Spritz or Cookie Press Butter Cookies.  A hint of almond mixed with pure buttery goodness in small shapes of wreaths, Christmas trees, stars, and hearts give the kitchen a heavenly aroma when baking.  These are scrumptious any time of the year.  The best thing about them is the fun I have when making them with a loved one.

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Christmas memories don’t need to be about a gift you received.  Make sweet memories this year by making cookies for family and friends with your mother, daughter, sister, or friend.  Actually, that will be a gift in itself.  I still smile when I travel back in time to a little red brick house and am making cookies with my mother and little sister.   The smiles on faces of friends and family when we gave them a tin of homemade cookies warmed our souls.  Yes, the gift we gave became a gift returned to us.

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Need a cookbook for some great recipes?  Amish author Wanda Brunstetter has a Christmas cookbook that even has a recipe for these cookies:

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I love the Amish cookbooks.  If you are not familiar with Amish, they love to cook, bake, and eat!  Now that is a recipe for a great cookbook.  Get it at Amazon or wherever you normally buy books.

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Happy Birthday America! Patriotic Desserts for All!

Happy 4th of July to you and Happy Birthday to America!   This is the 243rd birthday for this country of ours.  The United States of America is the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.  Each year on this day we celebrate by throwing a big birthday party!

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What are you giving America this year?  Peace, harmony, and respect might be on her list.  She deserves all three and much more.

Usually the party ends up being a picnic or pool party.  Family and friends gather from near and sometimes far to celebrate living in the extraordinary country.  We celebrate freedom, our freedom.  Summer is in full swing.  The weather is hot with the nights warm.  Fireworks light up the skies to celebrate.

When my family gathers to celebrate we usually have a pitch-in.  Does yours?  We have some favorite dishes and try to make at least one patriotic dessert.  What are some that you make?  Here are a few from our recipe box:

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Recipe for above:

Take any flavor of cookie dough and spread in the Pampered Chef round white stone. Bake according to directions for a big cookie. Let cool. Frost with white icing and decorate with red, white, and blue M&M’s.

Below:

The following is a luscious, light dessert that pleases everyone.  It looks gorgeous, too.

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Flag Red Velvet Cakes:

These Red Velvet Flag cakes are really a hit at the party.  They are easy to make and eat!  Kids and adults love them.  They work for more than Flag Day.

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Today is about much more than red, white and blue desserts, fireworks, and picnics.  Far more.  It is about freedom, liberty, and justice.  Blood was shed so that we might live free.  Never take that for granted.  Our forefathers planned and organized to make certain this would be the best land for them and their descendants.  Their blood was given for it.

While you are celebrating the birthday of this land that I love today, please lift this country, her leaders, and her protectors up in prayer.  They need our prayers daily now just like our founding fathers prayed for them.  Our country and each one of us needs God.  Let’s start with prayer.  That would be a precious birthday gift for America.

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Memorial Day, Remember and Honor

The Memorial Day weekend is upon us.  Do you have big plans?  Living in Southern Indiana by Louisville there are many activities all weekend close by us.  My favorite is picnicking with family and playing games.

How much do you know about Memorial Day? It is much more than the Indy 500 and unofficial start of summer or three day weekend.  Even more than playing games and picnicking with beloved family.  The first Memorial Day was May 30, 1868.

This was a day for people to decorate graves of Civil War soldiers and originally known as Decoration Day. Unfortunately, grievously the United States lost many men during that horrible war against itself. Approximately 620,000 died during the Civil war. That is a staggering number. 620,000!

May 30th was chosen because no Civil War battles were fought that day and flowers across the nation would be in full bloom to decorate the graves.  It remained that date until 1971. Then it became a federal holiday known as Memorial Day and was changed to the last Monday of May giving people a three day weekend.

In honor of those who died, the American flag should be hung at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day. It should then be raised to the top. Since 2000, all Americans have been encouraged to stop for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. IMG_3842Red poppies are a symbol of remembrance for those who died in war. People, men and women, wear them to honor those who died in war. Especially on Memorial Day you will see a lot of red poppies.IMG_3850Scouts can be seen placing flags on the graves in the National Cemetery. What a great honor for a young scout to do this.  I have a grandson that does this.  His Dad is a former Marine so he is very respectful of our military.

This Memorial Day think about your life, your freedom, and how you are privileged to live. Without those that unselfishly gave their lives defending our country, our freedom, and us, what would our lives be? Very different indeed.

Memorial Day is a time to remember those that gave all for our country, for us. It is our responsible to take care of what and who was entrusted to us and honor our military and especially God. We need to keep remembering and pass those memories on to teach our children. Children need to learn about our holidays… that they are more than a day off and that our country and freedom were paid for with the blood of brave men and women. There is a price for freedom.IMG_3846We live in a great country with strong roots. Many people have lived and died for this land of ours. Let us always remember you brave soldiers. Those that stood and stand between us and the enemy. Pray for them, our leaders, and our country. May God continue to bless America.

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“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” Proverbs 14:34 NIV

Tongues of Fire Celebrate Lit Book and Giveaway

Greetings from my stop of the Celebration Lit Book tour for  Tongues of Fire, 50 days of celebrating Pentecost devotional book.  There is information about the book, tour stops, and Giveaway.  Don’t forget to enter!

My Thoughts

Tongues of Fire is a 50 day devotional celebrating Pentecost.  The book opens and asks why we don’t celebrate Pentecost?  We celebrate Christmas and Easter.  It goes on to explain the importance of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit.

There are fifty devotions to help better understand Pentecost by giants of faith both classic and contemporary.  I knew most of them but a few were new to me.  The devotions are all different and inspiring.

A great number of the devotions are about speaking in tongues.  This Methodist raised gal is unfamiliar with that.  I am open-minded and have heard various thoughts on it.  Another topic given a lot of  days was healing.

Some of the devotions spoke to me more than others.  I agree that we all need to welcome and accept the Holy Spirit into our lives.  Jesus sent Him to us for a reason.  One devotion said “when you receive the power of the Holy Spirit, you become someone you could never be on your own”.   I totally agree.

Another devotional said “Simply by paying attention to what He is doing and cooperating  with Him, we come to understand God better.  Who doesn’t want to know God better?  I certainly do.

This was a devotional that is meant to be read over a period of 50 days.  I read it in just a few days in order to write this review.  Some of the days spoke straight to me and I was inspired.  Other days were hard to understand.  I felt chastised in a few places rather than enlightened.

I did not receive answers to some of my questions.  It is a hard to read at times devotional and not exactly uplifting.  It felt more scholarly.  Scripture is plentiful.  This is definitely biblically based.

I would recommend this for anyone wanting to delve deeper into the Holy Spirit and Pentecost.  It is good for learning a little about speaking in tongues.  I would not recommend it for a young person, simply because I had trouble in some parts.  I rated it 3 out of 5 stars.  Celebrate provided an e-book but I was under no obligation to write a review.

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About the Book

Book: Tongues of Fire
Author: Various Authors
Genre: Christian non-fiction, Pentecost Devotional
Release Date: April 19, 2019
Tongues of FireA fifty-day devotional for Pentecost featuring the words and teachings of writings of faithful men and women of God, both classic and contemporary authors, regarding the miraculous power available through God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. Includes excerpts from Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake, William Seymour, Aimee Semple McPhearson, Maria Woodworth-Etter, Andrew Murray, E. W. Kenyon, R. A. Torrey, John Wesley, Mary K. Baxter, Guillermo Maldonado, James Goll, Bill Johnson, and many more. Let this collection of charismatic classics help you to celebrate the wild tongues of fire that signified the coming of Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and be filled anew with the powerful presence of God.

Blog Stops

Mary Hake, May 10
Artistic Nobody, May 17 (Spotlight)
Power of Words, May 18 (Spotlight)
Simple Harvest Reads, May 20 (Spotlight)

Giveaway

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To celebrate the tour, Whitaker House is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbucks gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e318/tongues-of-fire-celebration-tour-giveaway