FREEDOM! What Easter Really Means

What does Jesus’ death and resurrection mean to us? The simplest definition is: Freedom! Freedom from death, the curse, the power of destruction. Freedom from lies to live and love the Truth. Freedom from fear, doubt, worry, stress–freedom to be who God created us to be, and to be glad about it!

Here are just three verses (from The Passion Translation) about our glorious freedom in Christ!

Psalm 34:22  “But the Lord has paid for the freedom of his servants, and he will freely pardon those who love him. He will declare them free and innocent when they turn to hide themselves in him.”

Psalm 107:14 “His light broke through the darkness and he led us out in freedom from death’s dark shadow and snapped every one of our chains.”

2 Corinthians 3:12  “So then, with this amazing hope living in us, we step out in freedom and boldness to speak the truth.” (TPT)

Galatians 5:1  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

It is for freedom we’ve been set free! If we humans desire for enslaved children and people to be free; if we desire animals to be free from abuse; if we desire creation to be free from pollution; if we desire our atmospheres to be free from stress and strife; how much more does the God of Heaven and earth want us to be and stay free–and enjoy it!

Freedom to live in Christ, to His Glory, is what I mean here. In submitting to His loving leadership, we are truly and forever free!

As He says in Galatians 5:1, “Let me be clear, the Anointed One has set us free—not partially, but completely and wonderfully free! We must always cherish this truth and stubbornly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past.”

If you have not received the freedom of Christ, or if you’re not sure, just choose to believe that God is real and good–He is the One Who created you and gives you every breath and every other good thing!

For God so loved the world–everyone–that He gave His only Son, Jesus, that whoever believes in Him should not die, but have everlasting life! John 3:16!

Say this out loud: “Dear Jesus, I believe you were crucified for my sins–what I’ve done against Your Holy Word–and I need You to please forgive and cleanse me. I believe You rose again after three days and live forever, ruling in Heaven and preparing a place for those who believe in You. Please come into my life and be my Leader and Savior and LORD, my best Friend for life. I receive You now and thank You. Amen!”

Now, if you just said this prayer out loud, the LORD is so good to hear and answer! All who call upon the Name of the LORD shall be saved (Romans 10:13)! He loves you and has been waiting for you to acknowledge and receive His loving leadership. Now, you have an eternal Covenant with Him, through your belief (faith) in what He did for you!

As Him to lead you to the right group of people who will help you truly grow in Christ, and to help you find the right Bible for you to study. He will. He loves you, and delights in you and will help you with every detail of life as you ask and trust in Him! As He says in Isaiah 65:24, “Even before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.”

Trust Him and be free. He is faithful forever!

JESUS Felt It!

Hebrews 13:8 (ESV) says, “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.” He never changes.

Praise Him! That being said, I believe in healing, for the LORD Jesus is alive today as much as ever. He healed on earth, and now lives in every Believer as the Holy Spirit, the Comforter Whom Jesus sent back to help us when He ascended into Heaven. He works His healing miracles through us who truly Believe and cooperate with Him in His multi-faceted ministry on earth.

A few years ago, I went up to our pastor, an apostle who operates in signs and wonders and healings, and received my healing for my back. He laid hands on me and I thought, Why didn’t I feel it? I had felt the healing power go into me on other occasions–like a warm pleasant electricity.

Then I immediately repented to the LORD for even thinking that. It didn’t matter–I was healed!

My Father Who knows all things–even every thought before we think it–graciously and quickly said, “You don’t have to feel it. JESUS felt it!”

When you consider Good Friday and our LORD’s Resurrection, remember, JESUS felt every lash, every slash, every sin, every burden, every pain–all for you. All for me. All for this world’s humanity.

He took the curse and paid the price so we could be free. His Kingdom is eternal, and not of this earth–He leads us to freedom, celebration, and to full restoration. He is the good King Who will soon return, and His mandate is Love!

If you are tired of this world’s pressured mess, there is something so much more: JESUS! He is the kindest, most patient, most loving, most thoughtful, most gracious, most generous Man and most faithful Friend there is-all God and all man–Who died and rose again to give YOU the life you heart has always wanted! (John 3:16)

If you want to have Him as your fearless Leader Who will never lead you wrong, just say this prayer out loud: “Dear Jesus, please forgive me of what I’ve done wrong. Thank You for dying on the cross for me to pay for all my sins. Thank You that You rose again to give me new life! I need You in my life to be my LORD and Savior and to teach me how to live to please you and enjoy the wonderful life You died to give me. I received You now and thank You. Amen!”

If you just said this prayer, an eternal spiritual transaction just took place: You are now a child of the King of kings, with a Blood Covenant that gives you many excellent and powerful rights that you did not have before! And you did NOT have to work for it–it’s a gift from God by faith (believing) through grace (the gift of God Who WANTS you to enjoy this new abundant life! John 10:10)! The next step is to ask God to direct you to the right Bible for you, and to the right Body of Believers (church) where you can continue to grow in the Truth and have friends who also follow Christ!

I’m the Money!

  • “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, tI AM hath sent me unto you.” – Exodus 3:14 NASB

A few weeks ago, my daughter needed some work shoes for her new job. I had already decided I’d spend about $50 to save her money. When we got to the shoe store, she told the associates that she was there to get shoes. “I’m the money,” I told them.

It felt good to be able to say that. I love to bless my daughter, and it’s the love I have for her that, when she’s around, just flows up from my heart and wants to give and give and give to her–and a lot of that involves money.

Even though she is 22 and almost a college graduate and making her own money, I still just want to lavish her with blessings.

She tried on a couple of kinds, and then eyed the top-of-the-line work boots (Timberline, I think). “Those are soooo comfortable,” she said. “That’s what I really want.”

I looked at the tag. They were twice what I intended to pay. I had a weak moment, and said, “You could get those later, and let me get you some about $50 for now.” I felt a little guilty. Where was my faith? I was thinking about getting them for her anyway. I really wanted to, and I knew they would last for years, being such a good brand. It would be worth it.

I had been listening to messages about breaking out of small thinking, and extending my faith to think more like the Covenant woman that I am, through my faith in the Blood of Christ Jesus. My daughter tried on a couple more pair, and, still eyeing the boots, said, “Hey, can you get them for me today and let me pay you back half?”

I was thrilled! I was pleased with her using her faith in my love for her— in my desire to bless and help her—to go for what she really wanted, and to be bold enough to ask!

“Yes, Baby,” I said, and smiled. “You are using your faith and that is great! Good for you!”

She smiled and pulled the boots she wanted off the shelf. When the clerk brought the other boot, she put them both on. “Aaaah, that feels good!” she said. I had her walk a bit to make sure they were just what she wanted.

“Mom, can I have some socks too?”

“Of course, Baby,” I said (She still likes those endearments, after all these years.). “I’ll pay for the socks, and you just pay me half the boots when you can, okay?”

“Thanks!” she said, and happily went off looking for the socks. I knew she was thrilled that, since she had a job, could pay for half the boots herself, and that we would not pressure her for the money.,

If I had this much pleasure in being able to provide something my darling daughter wanted–even though she just needed something not that good–that would be a blessing to her, then how much more does our amazing loving Daddy God–the Great I AM Who owns all things and has provided all things for us through the Covenant of Blood with His Son, Jesus get satisfaction our of providing for us?

Our delight is in our giving. And I Timothy 6:17 (NASB) says, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”1

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”: (NASB)

Every good and perfect gift is from the LORD. He gave the LORD Jesus Christ, His only Son, to die for us so we could have abundant life! (John 3:16)

It is actually Him–the Great I AM–Who is “The Money,” “The Peace,” “The Joy,” “The Strength,” “The Wisdom,” and everything else that is good in us and through us.

He is the One Who supplies us with everything we have to give. He supplies, leads us to give, them blesses us for giving. HOW GREAT IS OUR DARLING GOD!!!

The Light Outshines the Darkness–Every Time!

The Light Outshines the Darkness–Every Time!

John 1 The Passion Translation (TPT)

The Living Expression (www.Biblegateway.com)

In the very beginning[a] the Living Expression[b] was already there.

And the Living Expression was with God, yet fully God.[c]

They were together—face-to-face,[d] in the very beginning.[e]
And through his creative inspiration
    this Living Expression made all things,[f]
    for nothing has existence apart from him!
Life came into being[g] because of him,
    for his life is light for all humanity.[h]
5 And this Living Expression is the Light that bursts through gloom[i]
    the Light that darkness could not diminish
![j]

I believe it was Dr. Creflo Dollar whom I heard say, “Darkness will never outdo the Light.” Darkness will never outdo the Revelation of the unfailing, unchanging, unstoppable Truth of God–His Living Word.

The Word of God sheds Light–revelation, understanding–in our minds when we read it and hear it, and all the more as we think about it and ask the LORD for clarification. He is faithful!

I am so amazed and thankful that He has given us His Living Word, His Living Expression. The answers for successful life are ALL in there.

I’m about to go read more myself. No matter how many Scriptures I have memorized or how many messages I’ve heard from the Word, I want more. It is at once deeply satisfying and creating an insatiable hunger for more.

Jesus the LORD IS the Living Word. He is our Teacher, our Salvation, our Hope, our Peace, our Joy, our Love, our Strength, our Victory, and He eternally speaks through His Word.

If you have thought you could not understand the Bible, you may be right. This holy Book is only truly understood if you have the True Teacher, Jesus Christ, within you. You must be born again by His Spirit, and then He will enter your life and start helping you understand His Victory Book, the Bible.

Life can be hard, very hard. But Jesus makes it simple. Just find out what He says and do it.

With that, I’m going right now to get more instruction for myself!

Fear For Life

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27 Reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.Proverbs 14:27, AMPC

I was meditating on Proverbs 14 this evening after work, and realized afresh that, as I’ve been drawing closer to the LORD and trusting–and truly resting–in Him, while living a consecrated life as much as possible, that I have been enjoying more Zoe. This is the abundant life that Jesus speaks of in John 10:10.

God’s original Plan was for us to have perfect life, Heavenly life, with constant sublime companionship and communication with Him; unbroken fellowship. Sin corrupted that, but Jesus won it back. On earth, we have to relearn what we already would have known–that experiencing His Presence, His Word, His Spirit, is the ultimate satisfaction and joy, the whole purpose of man. (I John 2:29, I John 3:7)

So He Who has known us from before time was is helping us to know Him, to draw near, to relish and receive the revelation of His wonderful, incorruptible, eternal, unchanging Truth!

King Jesus–the Covenant of Yahweh!–is returning soon to reward those faithful to Him, those who truly fear the LORD by reverencing, respecting, and worshiping Him in obedience to His living Word.

Will you be found by Him?

Revelation 22:7, AMPC (Jesus says) And behold, I am coming speedily. Blessed (happy and to be envied) is he who observes and lays to heart and keeps the truths of the prophecy (the predictions, consolations, and warnings) contained in this [little] book.

James 1:18, AMPC  And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] by [His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself].

Hebrews 11:16, AMPC But the truth is that they were yearning for and aspiring to a better and more desirable country, that is, a heavenly [one]. For that reason God is not ashamed to be called their God [even to be surnamed their God—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob], for He has prepared a city for them.

Clothed With Rich Apparel

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. — Isaiah 61:10, AMPC

For a New Year’s Eve service, I was in the bathroom at a church and had dressed in a lovely tunic emblazoned with many small “diamonds” on the front and the sleeves that sparkled in the light. I had even put on fake nails that I’d bought months before for a special occasion.

I was celebrating the anointed words we would hear from a highly anointed apostle that I knew heard from the LORD. I was excited about what King Jesus would say and do–and what His Spirit would tell us about 2019. I had dressed up to celebrate Him and had even put on comfortable black boots with low heels. The Spirit of God had led me to dance at the altar for Him many times, and I sensed tonight would be no different.

A more mature woman came in the bathroom and “complimented” my outfit. It sounded nice, but I sensed something not pure about it.

The enemy loves to try to create offense and distract us, especially when the LORD is doing great things. I was so glad I had prayed and worshiped before the service, and the wisdom of the LORD came out of my mouth. Probably, things had been hard financially for this woman and her missionary husband, and only the LORD knew the sacrifices they had made. Although she always seemed well dressed, there may have been a dart thrown at her about clothing, or something else.

The LORD helped me to take no offense, although I was aware of the potential for it. The LORD put His words of grace in my mouth. “I’m love it when people give me clothes,” I responded, and smiled. “I’ve sown clothing for years, and now it’s coming back to me!”

I have heard from many well-known preachers of the Word that even fellow believers are not always glad when we their brothers and sisters in Christ prosper. I used to have that challenge too. It’s called envy!

The LORD tells us to be content with those things that we have, for He will never leave us nor forsake us. Hallelujah! He says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”” — Hebrews 13:5, ESV

He also tells us to not compare ourselves to others; that is never wise!

LORD, help us to set our minds on things above, and rejoice when others in the Royal Family prosper, in Jesus’ Name!

The Christmas Surprise

James 5:16 : Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (ESV)

I had planned a very quiet Christmas, with just my Beloved and myself, sleeping in, exchanging gifts, and having time to rest and do other things I wanted to do today.

But the enemy had other plans. He loves to try to steal our joy and interrupt our peace. Clayton and I were dreaming deeply last night when there was a loud pounding on our door. My darling daughter had stopped by to tell me my dear mom, a widow less than two years ago, who’d suffered many afflictions, was once again in the hospital. Somehow we’d been unable to hear the phone.

Mom had fallen and fractured her hip and pelvis, even though a caretaker was with her 24/7. Bless her heart! The ambulance had rushed her on Christmas Eve to the hospital, and there she lay. So I was up at different times during the night checking on her.

However, God is never taken by surprise! What the enemy means for evil, the LORD Who knows all things always works for good for us who love Him and are the called according to His Plan.

This morning, I rose and made her some delicious peanut butter balls that she likes, determined to go bring her some cheer on this Christmas Day.  As the LORD often does, I figured He might have other things in mind too, and I knew there were hurting people everywhere at the hospital. So I took a Christian magazine, some Jesus’ Christmas Tree bookmarks (JCT bookmark_TKTaylor ), and an invitation to our church New Year’s Eve service. I asked Him to show me whom to sow them to.

Mom let me pray for her but was hurting too much to read the magazine and even had me take her treats back home till later. I spent some time helping her, then felt led to visit the ICU floor, where my Dad had died less than two years before, and where I’d spent a long month with Mom before that.

As I entered the ICU waiting room, there was one man there, asleep. I quietly left the materials, then went to the bathroom across the hall. The LORD impressed me to ask the man if he needed prayer. He woke and said, ‘Sure!” I told him my husband and I were lay ministers and he said he was a local pastor too, and was there for his mom. He gave me details of her afflictions and he and I prayed together.  I told him at the end that I expect a good report, even if I don’t know about it till Heaven!

Then I handed him theinvitation to our church’s NYE service, which is the 29th this year. Perhaps he and his family will come. Anyway, I know this was the LORD–and it was His surprise gift to me. Later that day, I received some delightful and very thoughtful gifts from my Beloved husband. However, the gift of the LORD directing me to be a vessel through whom the LORD ministered to my dear mom and the pastor and his family was the very best gift of all!

Ask the LORD how you can receive more of the priceless gift of being a vessel through whom He works to bless others this Season that we celebrate the living Christ!

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Suffer Like This to Expand God’s Kingdom!

13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.   14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.  — Mark 10:13-15, KJV

I am so thankful for the King James Version of the Bible, for it was the version the LORD used to cause me to start reading and loving  His Word when I was in the Southern Baptist Church in a small community about 45 years ago!  There were many words in there that I did not properly understand, such as “suffer.” I only knew it to be a negative word, and didn’t want to do any more suffering than I had to.

However, I’ve since learned that “suffer” also means “let.” Thus, when Jesus says to “suffer the little children to come to (Him), He means to let them, to not hinder them, to not discourage them, and, I truly believe, to purposely  encourage them to follow Him and to be examples of disciples of Christ.

As a teacher, it is natural for me to encourage children, and I am working at being a better example of Christ daily, so that they will be drawn to Him.

Children are not just leaders of the future; they are leaders now, and their pure spirits can easily receive the higher things of God. Let us be living letters of the love of Christ for them to read and understand–and to go and do likewise!

He is Keeping You!

23 The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step].
24 Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him. — Psalm 37:23, 24 (AMPC)

Our Daddy God is so very faithful! Every moment, He is watching over us, blessing and keeping us! His angels and Holy Spirit are guarding us moment by moment–and with eternal perspective, for He Who was and is and is to come knows all things, sees the end from the beginning, and thus goes ahead of us to thwart the plans of the enemy, as we observe and obey spiritual laws. And still, even when we are ignorant and disobedient many times, His grace and mercy cover us!

Friday afternoon I was tired, after a full week at school. I had reached my home city, and was at the light in the left turn lane ready to make the last turn before a couple blocks to my driveway. I was looking down, writing a note about something, and wishing the light would change. I was first in line. I glanced up a few times. Still no green. (Sigh.) I wrote again.

Then when I looked up, the left arrow was green.

Finally! And I bet the people behind me wish I would go! I thought.

Then, just before I started to turn, a car thrust through the intersection–through the red light–wayyyy past when it should have entered that area!

In other words, God protected me from what could have been a horrible wreck! If I had been impatient, or even not looking down writing, I would have been in the wrong place!

He is faithful to help us every moment, if we will let Him and be sensitive to His leading. I fully believe, upon reflecting about it, that He brought those thoughts to my mind–knowing I would want to write them down so I wouldn’t forget. He orchestrated even those tiny details to preserve me from evil; to keep me safe.

HE LOVES ME!! And HE LOVES YOU TOO!  Why don’t you look up and THANK HIM TODAY FOR HIS FAITHFULNESS!!

 

Choose Joy

22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, 23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [[a]that can bring a charge]. —Gal. 5:22-23, (AMPC)

“It’s joy!” I said, and laughed gently some more, watching my sweet fourth grade students giggle and look around at each other, delightfully confused. They had just come into my afternoon  class, and some started laughing for no apparent reason.  I could tell that they were not trying to be disruptive, nor were they scorning one another–I just let the LORD have His wonderful way!

Happy tears  came to my eyes also, and they noticed. “Look at Mrs. Taylor! Her face is red!”

Indeed it was, and I my heart felt so good. I could not stop smiling, and the kids smiled back.

As I’ve told them, we feel better when we smile. We get more oxygen, and it’s just so much better than a frown!

Part of my joy was thankfulness;  it is so wonderful to have the Presence of God with us always!

Many of us laughed gently a few minutes, then they started to settle down.

“What is joy?”one asked.

I love it when Daddy opens doors like this!

“It’s part of God,” I said. “A fruit of the Spirit!”

“Oh!” he said, and smiled. A few had not laughed, and my heart ached for them to experience the freedom and lightness that comes when the true Spirit of Joy, the LORD Jesus Christ, rises among us.

Truly, this Season, we have so much to be joyful about. Let us sing for joy to the One Who is faithful forever, for He died so we could live with joy!

Sing for joy, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth, and break forth into singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people and will have compassion upon His afflicted.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy, yes, sing praises!

Flags for America!

The LORD opened my eyes recently to pray these verses over America!
They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the Lord’s majesty.
So [as the result of the Messiah’s intervention] they shall [reverently] fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him and put him to flight [for He will come like a rushing stream which the breath of the Lord drives].
            Even more recently, I was honored to hear teaching by an apostle from South Africa, who said that she and her team pray and fast for America–for they know that what happens in America affects the world.
            So let us humble ourselves and pray and proclaim, and our good God Who founded and keeps and has had great mercy on our country will hear and answer!
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the Lord’s majesty.
So [as the result of the Messiah’s intervention] they shall [reverently] fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him and put him to flight [for He will come like a rushing stream which the breath of the Lord drives].

 

Secure or Not?

I have noticed, as I’ve been posting on my blog and otherwise building this River Rain Creative Arts site, that at times, the screens I’ve been on–although they look exactly the same otherwise–have sometimes shown the words, “Not secure.” I could not figure that out for a couple days. Then the LORD gave me wisdom and  I realized that, as Apostle Tracy Harris preached to us yesterday, there are various doors, and we must be careful to come through the correct ones.

Obviously, there were times when I would transition (unknowingly, till the LORD made me aware of this and showed me how to prevent it) from a “Secure” page where I could modify the site, to a “Not Secure” page, where others might oversee the sensitive information.

That will not happen anymore, however, because the LORD has made me aware of the difference and now I make sure to only enter my information on the Secure pages.

It all has to do with coming through the correct doors, and in order. It was when I tried to “save time” and not come through the correct channels that the “door” (or, portal, which is what computer websites are) led to a place that could be compromised.

As Dr. Bill Winston says, we in the true Church must “rise with no compromise.” We must come through the correct door, at the correct time. We must stay in the right place, then we will be secure.

Prayer: LORD, help us be sensitive and obedient to Your Voice! Spirit of Truth, lead us into all truth!

I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, he who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way (elsewhere, from some other quarter) is a thief and a robber.

Jesus Himself is The Door (the only one!) to the abundant life of peace on earth, and eternal life in Heaven after this body dies.

I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture.

FREE PDF for You!

And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
            There are certain ways that royalty are trained to walk and talk. Our young people (and those a little older!) need to be trained and reminded (myself included) on how to operate in this world to the Glory of God.
             Here is a link to the article, and a FREE PDF of “The 7 Ps of Prince and Princesshood,” which the LORD gave me in 2014.   Feel free to share it, as you keep the copyright information intact.
             Have a peaceful Thanksgiving!
Tonja

Elaborating on Covenant Culture

John 3:3-6, and 1 6-18, AMPC

Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother’s womb again and be born?

Jesus answered, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a man is born of water and [[a]even] the Spirit, he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God.

What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.

16 For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([d]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.

17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.

18 He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation—he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.]

What is Covenant Culture? It is a spiritual thing. It is living out of one’s spirit (the true, eternal, real you!). It is living in the Covenant of Grace, provided for us by LORD Jesus Christ, when He shed His pure blood for us on the cross over 2000 years ago, to pay the penalty (that we could never pay!) for all we would ever do wrong in our lives. He did this so that we would not have to suffer in any sense, because He loves us. Never did He want us to experience pain nor hardship nor lack of any kind! He came to restore to us what is ours, through the perfect Plan of God. But we must ask Him for it, and know that He is good and wants us to have it.

So Covenant Culture is living in the Original Plan of the LORD, the abundant life (John 10:10). This is the overcoming life, where we have peace and joy in spite of being in this world and experiencing less-than-heavenly circumstances. It is the life where we know that the Word and Spirit of God alone are our strength, and our faith (believing His Word, both in the Bible and as He speaks to our spirits from within us) are our victory!

The verses below will help you understand more.

Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)

[ Place Your Life Before God ] So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Also, Proverbs 18:4, AMPC: 

The words of a [discreet and wise] man’s mouth are like deep waters [plenteous and difficult to fathom], and the fountain of skillful and godly Wisdom is like a gushing stream [sparkling, fresh, pure, and life-giving]. 

Ask the LORD Who is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:15-17, John 15:26-27, I John 4:4-6) to teach you more about Covenant Culture, and how to live in it, for it is your privilege, honor, and right, when you receive Jesus as your Savior and LORD!

Our Words, Our Country, Our World

I am so thankful that the LORD truly orders our steps and directs our paths (Proverbs 3:5,6) when we trust in Him!  Today, I had the privilege to be with my dear husband and receive deep revelation on prayer, and our responsibility to pray for America. The anointed apostle who taught us is from another country, and says she and others pray and fast for America–for they know that the condition of America and our leaders affects the rest of the world.

We have a great responsibility to not only pray for America and our President and other rule-makers, but to repent for our sins, those of our ancestors, those of our leaders, and anyone else for whom he LORD leads us to ask forgiveness.

 

I Timothy 2:1-4 (AMPC)

 First of all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men,

For kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way.

For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior,

Who wishes all men to be saved and [increasingly] to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the [divine] Truth.

             We have a responsibility to live as the Covenant people we are; ambassadors of the Most High God, the LORD Jesus Christ.

We have a responsibility to use our words in prayer, in praise, in proclaiming His Word, and in the rest of our speaking, to speak in agreement with Him.

Who are we? Yet here we are–chosen and called and saved and being drawn by the Holy Spirit to go deeper and higher with the LORD, to ask and allow Him to continue to sanctify us and shape us into the image of Christ.

LORD, help us to awaken to the truth of the wonderful honor of serving You, our truly awesome God; our LORD, our King, our Savior–our everything!

Restoration: Daddy God Cares About Details!

And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

I have been proclaiming and believing that the LORD is faithful to His promises–and He is–about restoring to me everything that has been stolen through the years; from what the enemy has done, what others have done to me, and even what I’ve done to myself.

I have seen Him do so much already that I am amazed and tears of joy and thankfulness often occur; Daddy God is just SO GOOD!

Our dear apostle, Brother Tracy (Harris, www.experiencehim.org) has been preaching that the LORD wants to restore not just most of our lives, but 100%. I choose to believe that, and started proclaiming this a few days ago–when I misplaced a flash drive with lots of writing on it. I asked the LORD to restore i, thanked Him for it, and sent my angels to get it.

My mind doubted, but I told it to shut up in Jesus’ name!

I cast my cares on the LORD; I released it to Him. Sure enough, my darling Daddy God–the Creator, Sustainer, and LORD of Heaven and earth; of the universe, and all life!–had His angels restore the flash drive to me.

How great and GOOD is our amazing, darling Daddy God!!

Today, ask Him to restore to you all that has been stolen–even if you don’t know it all. He does. He keeps the books. And He has only YOUR GOOD in mind!

My Students’ Thankful Hearts!

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!
           It is a wonderful thing when adults are thankful. We very well should be; we’ve had a lifetime to learn to appreciate goodness. But it’s another when a child is truly understands what it means to give thanks.

My darling (most moments!) fourth grade students have grown in the art of being thankful–and in expressing that thankfulness, during two projects we have done lately for our English class.  it is a priceless joy to see them realize more about how blessed they are (and these are kids in a school that gets 100% free lunches!).

First, after an overview of how blessed we are in America and, no matter how rough my students and I may think our lives have been, I explained to my students that we have not experienced the horrors and poverty experienced by at least some of the children  rescued by Dr. Ron and Mrs. Anna Sherman at La Casa Hogar Del Corazon De Rey ( http://www.whitestone.ws/index.html ).

I have been careful to not share the worst of the scenarios, but my students have truly started to understand that, as native Americans, they are considered wealthy by much of the world.

My students wrote letters  introducing themselves and telling what they enjoy, and also asking questions about what the children like. My sweeties drew pictures, and some even created art about the flag of Mexico to honor the kids.  Some even wanted to buy canned goods and such to send them. (I explained to them that they could give online, for it would cost much more to mail things than to send the money for the directors to buy products themselves. My kids were shocked that we have to pay to mail things. However, I told them, we need to be thankful that American postage is the most economical in the world!)

The second project the students did to promote and deepen thankfulness was to write 100 statements starting with, “I am thankful for….” and they could part whatever and whomever they wanted at the end of those sentences. Most of them took off and truly enjoyed the project.  I had them leave a space between each statement, so they could cut them into strips (after re-reading the entire list!) and put them into a “Thankfulness Time Capsule” bottle that I gave them, along with stickers with which to decorate it. I suggested that, especially if things seem to be going wrong, that they take some of those strips of things they are thankful for and re-read them; weeks, months, even years later. I shared with them that my husband and I do the same! (That reminds me; I have several more things to add to our big jar!)

A third project to enhance our understanding and practice of being thankful is to write a thank-you letter to the professor who invited our fourth grade class to a “Teaching and Learning Fair” at a nearby university, where my students were thrilled to participate in seven stations of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and brought back unique treasures they had crafted themselves in the learning process.  This is also a second reinforcement of them learning to write a proper letter, of which I am thankful.

I am so thankful the LORD has sent me to this school to be part of these precious little ones’ lives, and to help shape them for the future. Blessed be the LORD, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever!

Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.

Double Glory!

I love how the LORD speaks in nature and other things in His world (some call them “signs”). Him speaking this way to us is part of His Glory, His goodness– and He will speak this way to anyone who truly wants to see and know.  You can ask Him to speak to you–and to help you make sure you know it is Him. He is good, and His mercy endures forever. He will help you!

Yesterday afternoon I was headed home from my position where I teach at a public school over a half hour away. As I admired the clouds along the way, I saw a slice of a rainbow, high in the sky. It delighted me. “Thank You for the Covenant!” I said. “You are so good!”

I enjoy driving (most moments), especially because I can get quiet and listen to Him, pray, worship, and enjoy His beautiful creation. As I quietly prayed and worshiped, I enjoyed His peace.

He loves to delight me with cool things, unusual things, and I am always ready to see them.  As I drew near to the airport, which is right around the curve from my church, I saw two trains on the tracks–not a phenomenon in itself, but these were: Both were moving; with lights on, they were pulling many loaded cars–and they were parallel to each other; both headed the same direction, at the same time, only one was a few cars behind the other!

I knew this was a sign from my dear Daddy God to me about how He has double Glory for me (and you and everyone else)–if we will just believe and receive it!

Truly, this is the time for the double Glory–including double restoration; the restoration of what we should have had, and the restoration of ourselves to His original intent for us! The LORD is pouring out His Glory–as He promises us in Joel chapter 2 (and several other places!). Ask Him to help you believe and perceive and receive the double Glory!

          23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord, your God; for He gives you the former or early rain in just measure and in righteousness, and He causes to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, as before.

            24 And the [threshing] floors shall be full of grain and the vats shall overflow with juice [of the grape] and oil.

           25 And I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten—the hopping locust, the stripping locust, and the crawling locust, My great army which I sent among you.

          26 And you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord, your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you. And My people shall never be put to shame.

          27 And you shall know, understand, and realize that I am in the midst of Israel and that I the Lord am your God and there is none else. My people shall never be put to shame.

from AMPC, www.Biblegateway.com

Check out Kim Potter’s article on “The Month of Kislev 5779″ for more about this, on her site for A New Thing Ministries!

 

Growing Into the Clothes

Because of this, brethren, be all the more solicitous and eager to make sure (to ratify, to strengthen, to make steadfast) your calling and election; for if you do this, you will never stumble or fall.
[For it is He] Who delivered and saved us and called us with a calling in itself holy and leading to holiness [to a life of consecration, a vocation of holiness]; [He did it] not because of anything of merit that we have done, but because of and to further His own purpose and grace (unmerited favor) which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago].
So then, brethren, consecrated and set apart for God, who share in the heavenly calling, [thoughtfully and attentively] consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest Whom we confessed [as ours when we embraced the Christian faith].

 

The LORD laid it on my heart to sow a lovely fuschia formal dress to a young lady at my school. She was very grateful, but told me that her mother said she couldn’t wear it yet; it would be kept for her to wear in high school.

So it is with the “clothes,” or mantles (callings, destiny, or whatever name you give the Plan of the LORD for your life and the gifts which He gives you to share Christ with the world and bring Him glory); we must grow into them. As we take step after step in obedience, the LORD is faithful to grow us up into Him, so that, when the time (and our spirits and souls!) are right, the spiritual clothing He has so graciously given us will fit just right, and be lovely to behold!

I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you].

With this in view we constantly pray for you, that our God may deem and count you worthy of [your] calling and [His] every gracious purpose of goodness, and with power may complete in [your] every particular work of faith (faith which is that leaning of the whole human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness).
I therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service,

Back to the student: This young lady, who is a very smart, sweet, and respectful person, is growing daily. She has the Favor of God upon her, for the LORD kept speaking to me to give her that dress. i had intended to wear it myself for P.O.W.E.R. Girl! workshops (More on that very soon!).  But He gave us all that we have; everything is His. And when He leads us to redistribute His wealth and we obey, we are always both blessed and a blessing, and He is glorified.

I know the harvest off the lovely dress will come back to me in a harvest in the form that I need, for the LORD is faithful. Meanwhile, the young lady’s spirit was strengthened and delighted, and i believe she understands more about how her right attitude and behavior bring unexpected blessings!

Part of her calling as a student, and a daughter of God, is to display this righteous behavior, and already He is working in her life in tangible ways.

Part of my calling as a Believer is to be obedient to His Spirit to sow, and as I do (and as you hear and obey!), we are walking worthy of our divine callings and correctly wearing the clothes of Righteousness.

Isaiah 61:10, AMPC:   I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Dear Deb’s Amazing Art!

(Deb sent me her bio this morning. She will very soon have her own page and be uploading photos of her amazing art! Meanwhile, I have an exquisite necklace she hand-crafted for me. Watch for pics!–Tonja)

 I am a 44 year old single Mom who has with the Grace of our Heavenly Father gone from a 5th grade drop out to having a College education with honors!

The greatest decision I have ever made is to seek him, learn to know him, and Love him. With God all things are possible and all I want to do is live my life for the Lord and share the gifts he has given me with the World.