The Missing Piece

Hello my friends!  Are you settling into 2020 and finding all of the pieces coming together or do you perhaps have a piece that is not here?  We have given the new year a week’s testing.  Have you found it measuring up or lacking?

Our answers will be as varied as we all are.  For some of us, this first week has been a delight.  Bring on 2030!  We are ready to see what this year holds.  Others of us find fault with anything.  Delight is found in complaining.  Nothing ever brings joy.  Do you know someone like that?

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I have a friend who was constantly searching for something.  There was a piece missing in his life, without whatever it was he could not be content.  He tried hard to buy that piece.

Cars were always being upgraded and replaced in hopes that one would finally please him.  Lexus, Jaguar, Porsche, and Mercedes Benz left him wanting.  Automobiles that most of us only dream about owning weren’t good enough.

Adult “boy toys” were purchased.  Boats, horses, helicopter, exotic dogs, and homes, but still there was something lacking.   True happiness eluded him.   He was a prominent professional with a high degree, but that did not satisfy him.  A more prestigious career with additional majors was earned.  Still no satisfaction was found.  His hunt continued.

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Yes, my friend was still looking for what would complete him.  He had a wife, in fact he had gone through a few, and had children.  Many people called him friend.  What he didn’t have was Jesus.

Psalm 34:10b says “Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”

After trying everything else, he turned to the Lord.  After a few Sundays at church he answered the pull on his heart.  The ache and emptiness was gone.  His half empty glass was now full.  The missing piece had been found and he was now complete.

What about you?  Do you feel like you are searching for something that is missing from your life?  Are you yearning for something?  Maybe that something is your Creator.  We were made by and for Him.

If you don’t have a relationship with Him or know someone who needs Him, reach out in prayer.  God will hear you.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

 

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Words for 2020

As I begin each new year, God gifts me with a word or two for that year.  Do you have a word for your year, also?  It becomes something to ponder and work on making or doing better.

In the past I have had family, hope, victory, and other words.  For 2020 my words, there are two, are pray and love.  I was totally surprised.  God will reveal in His time why He gave me each word.  I might not even know until the end of the year when all of the pieces fall into place.  What I do know is that for this year I will make a concentrated effort to pray more and love better.

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Where do you get your word

People have asked me how to get a word for the year.  Since it comes from God the first step is to pray for one.  Then listen and look.  I hear Him gently whisper my word to me.  My best friend is inundated with her word.  She sees and hears it multiple times after praying so it is hard to miss.

What to do with your word

I find it a place to start working, a goal for the year.  Let’s take my word pray.  In an earlier blog I challenged readers to pray for twenty people this year.  I am taking extra time for intercessory prayer.  Everyday I read prayer requests on Facebook or have a phone call requesting it.  Honestly it did not take long to list twenty people.

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My family is always on my list.  Their safety, health, Walk or salvation are prayed for daily.  I pray for my grandchildren, nieces, and nephews everyday, too.  Asking God to watch over their future spouse is another prayer of mine.  When we pray there is no limit to what we can bring to the Father.

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Love is my other word.  I am praying about the significance of this word for me.  Perhaps I do not love my enemies and just think I do.  There are so many types of love that I need to refresh my memory and read up on them.

Jesus has called us to love.  In Matthew 22:36-39 it says: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  That is pretty simple.  Love is what we need to do.  Right?

What is your word

I would love to hear your word if you received one for this year.  Please tell me so that I can pray for you as you learn from it.  Let’s make 2020 a year of learning, doing things for the Lord, and helping each other.  Are you in?

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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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Heaven Help Us!

Heaven Help Us!  That was the name of the Independent Christian Bookstore that I owned for ten years.  It was truly a labor of love.  I loved the atmosphere, the customers, our employees, and the service we provided.  Oh, and the books!

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We hated having to close our store, but the time had come.  Our competition was Amazon, e-books, and big box stores.  In December 2012 with tears we locked the doors for the very last time.

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Recently I received a call asking “is this Heaven Help Us?”  After I explained that we had previously owned it and now it was closed, the caller moaned and replied “oh, I don’t know what I will do now.  I went there all of the time.”  Hmmm, she called almost seven years after we closed and had no idea it happened yet she frequented the store “all the time”.  That was the last of many calls I have received identical to it.  Everyone shopped there all of the time but had no idea we had gone out of business years earlier.

Time has a funny way of slipping up on us, doesn’t it?  What seemed like just yesterday to some people was actually years.  Big difference.  When we think we recently phoned someone to check in with them in reality it might be a lot longer.  Visiting with family or dear friends could appear to be “all of the time,” but maybe it has been months or even years since the last one.

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Don’t let precious time slip by.  Time waits for no one.  Carve out some to spend with loved ones making memories and reminiscing about treasured ones.  They might be sitting and waiting to hear from you.

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How about talking to your Heavenly Father?  Do you really do that as much as you think?      Make it a priority to start and end your day with Him.  Do not just plan to do it, actually do it.  You will find the pieces of your day fall into place with daily prayer.   Don’t know what to pray sometimes?  Try “Heaven help us or Heaven help me.” We can all use help from above.

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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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Strike the Mark Book Tour & Giveaway by Celebrate Lit

Today on my blog is a stop on the book tour for Strike the Mark by James W. Gill.  There is information on him, his book, the other stops, and his giveaway.  Don’t forget to enter so you might win.

My Thoughts

Strike The Mark is a no nonsense book on prayer.  Its subtitle says “Powerfully targeted prayers for victory and breakthrough.”  This nonfiction book says “prayers that strike the mark are specific prayers authorized by the Holy Spirit and endowed with divine power to accomplish the will of God in your life and for the needs of the world.”  Wow, heavy reading here.

The author included scripture as well as person stories to make his point.  I particularly liked that each chapter was closed with a prayer.  His writing was concise and for the most part easy to understand.  However, at times I felt like I was in a theology class and my mind wandered.

There are twelve chapter in this book.  Dealing with a wide variety of topics such as confessing our sins and praying for others there are some chapters that touched me more than others.  I did learn a lot but sometimes I did not personally agree with his line of thinking.

I would recommend this book on prayer.  It would be perfect for a small group on prayer.  There is much to ponder and discuss after reading Strike the Mark.  I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but I was under no obligation to write a review.

About the Book

Book: Strike The Mark

Author: James W. Goll

Genre: Christian non-fiction, prayer, spiritual warfare

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Strike the Mark CoverPrayers that strike the mark are specific prayers authorized by the Holy Spirit and endowed with divine power to accomplish the will of God in your life and for the needs of the world. On the cross, Jesus fulfilled the ultimate answer to all of our prayers, but He awaits our invitation to come into our situations and circumstances. When people of prayer intercede, they create a meeting place between the heavenly Father and His children. God comes upon the person who is praying and moves them from the natural to the supernatural. Empowered by God, the intercessor has the authority to cut down enemy forces and pick out “targets” for God’s lightning bolts of glory, bringing victory and breakthrough.

Intercession could be called “extreme prayer” because it links extreme needs with the extraordinary power of God. Inserting ourselves into the gap between God and a need, we call upon the Holy Spirit, our Helper, who is ready to move us from finite ability to infinite ability, take hold of difficult situations, and help accomplish the will of God. We have the great honor of being called to “paint targets” on cities, churches, ministries, family members, contemporary “Sauls” (those who persecute or cause difficulty), and even ourselves. Our believing, persistent prayers will Strike the Mark!

He covers His hands with the lightning, and commands it to strike the mark” (Job 36:32 NASB).

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

James GollJAMES W. GOLL is the president of God Encounters Ministries and has traveled around the world sharing the love of Jesus, imparting the power of intercession, prophetic ministry, and life in the Spirit. He has recorded numerous classes with corresponding study guides and is the author of more than forty books, including The Seer, The Discerner, Releasing Spiritual Gifts Today, Passionate Pursuit, The Lost Art of Intercession, and The Lifestyle of a Prophet. James is the father of four wonderful children with a growing number of grandchildren, and makes his home in Franklin, TN.

 

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, James 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/e2ac/strike-the-mark-celebration-tour-giveaway