Worrier or Warrior?

Psalm 62:6, TPT For he alone is my safe place. His wrap-around presence always protects me as my champion defender. There’s no risk of failure with God! So why would I let worry paralyze me, even when troubles multiply around me?”

Proverbs 19:17, TPT, Every time you give to the poor you make a loan to the Lord. Don’t worry—you’ll be repaid in full for all the good you’ve done.”

Matthew 6:26, TPTLook at all the birds—do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food. Aren’t you much more valuable to your Father than they?”

“Worrier or Warrior?” my dear husband said to me the other day. “We have to make a choice.”

Which are you?’ If you depend on yourself and the world (and even, sometimes, other people, who are prone to error sooner or later), you are a worrier. But if you do Proverbs 3:5 and 6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths,” then you are a Warrior.

Trusting in the goodness and faithfulness of our INfallible (NOT capable of making a mistake!) Father God and His Son, the LORD Jesus Christ, makes us Warriors. As my pastor, Apostle Tracy Harris, states, “Peace is a force.”

When we keep our minds on Him, He keeps us in peace. When we choose to rejoice and praise God in the middle of junk, He sets an ambush against the enemy, and works victory on our behalf.

GOD IS FOR US and NONE can be against us and succeed! Let us remember, if GOD is for us–and He IS, if we have accepted His Son, Jesus Christ–then NONE can be against us for long. WE WIN!

My Faithful Father

“The same way a loving father feels toward his children— that’s but a sample of your tender feelings toward us, your beloved children, who live in awe of you” .Psalm 103:13  TPT

“But Lord, your endless love stretches from one eternity to the other, unbroken and relenting toward those who fear you and those who bow facedown in awe before you. Your faithfulness to keep every gracious promise you’ve made
passes from parents, to children, to grandchildren, and beyond.” 
Psalm 103:17, TPT

God is so very good! Every breath is from Him. Every good thing is from Him. He is good to all, even though so many people will never acknowledge His goodness, and many even curse and blaspheme them. Yet He has made the way for them to be free and go to Paradise with Him forever–if they will just agree.

Our dear pastor, Apostle Tracy Harris, said today that the highest title of our Creator is “Father.” I agree. Our congregation sang “Good, Good Father” a capella–and it was powerful.

He reminded us that, in Luke 15, when the prodigal son took his inheritance and left to waste it, then decided, in his shame, to return to his father and ask to be a hired servant so at least he would have food to eat, that the father (who’d been watching every day for him to return!) ran to meet him. He cleaned him up, put a royal robe on him, and threw him a party.

The father didn’t even talk to him about his sordid past. He had forgiven his son even before he left home–because he loved his son. No matter what wrong his son did, he would always be his beloved son.

That is like the gift of righteousness that the LORD our Father gave us when He sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay for all our sins, and rise again to give us new life (John 3:16).

God the Father chose to forgive us before we were ever born–knowing that every human is born into sin, because of the treason of Adam, when he agreed with the devil against the word of God (Genesis). He provided Jesus, the New Covenant, Who took all the curse–all the wrong, all the sin, all the junk–and made it so that anyone who agreed that they needed the power of Jesus’ cleansing blood could be free, and not have to pay the eternal penalty for their sins.

But God’s goodness doesn’t stop there! Not only does every person who agrees to come into partnership with God’s Son Jesus become pardoned forever from their sin, but also gets the current protection and supply, friendship, and healing, that only these adopted children of God are rightfully due! In addition–and best of all–there is the eternal life of the spirit in Heaven with God and Jesus forever, after the body dies!

The LORD our Father (once we receive Jesus as our Savior and LORD) is so good, and we can know Him personally. Wow.

We love You, Daddy God, Abba Father, and we bless Your holy Name forever!

Faith – A Poem by Deb

(from Tonja–Deb just shared this with me and I wanted you guys to be blessed by it. Also, be sure and check out her delightful art by clicking on this link!)

Deb wrote: “GOD IS SO GOOD!!! I wrote this 14 yrs. ago at 2 a.m. after 48 hrs of no sleep and thought for over 2 years now the last copy I had was lost forever (I have prayed many times for the words to come to me)and today going through some old pictures I made for Zach I found where I was doing a copy to frame years ago. First time ever posted. It was published when I wrote it on an online poem site, I was invited to come to Florida to read it but could not afford the trip. I lost the information in a move soon after. This was written over a many, many years before I began actively seeking a personal relationship with the Lord.):

 
FAITH
Faith is not something you find on the street. 
It’s something you find when you search deep inside and release all your anger. 
It’s when you take a moment out of your own life to notice a complete stranger. 
Sometimes we all go about our own lives without noticing everything that goes on around us. 
Until something like September 11th happens and reminds us.
Life is fragile, peace is not easily found.
Mankind can be beautiful, all you need to do is really look all around. 
We are all the same no matter what we look like on the outside.
We just have to have faith and learn to look past our differences, to look deep inside each person to the fragile feelings we all hide.
My faith is what keeps me going from day to day.
But sometimes you have to remember just to stop and pray. 
We can’t do any of this all alone.
You have to remember there is someone waiting for all of us in a place we can all call HOME…
Deb Azalea April 30th, 2004

Thrust Comes With Trust

(This writing was inspired by Clayton, who spoke this phrase, “Trust comes with trust,” to me. Love you, Dynamite Darling!)

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”– John 3:17,MSG

Proverbs 3:5-6 Wisdom’s Guidance ] “Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go.”

This is the theme verse for our marriage–it has popped up from many ministers and ministries or other occasions when we’ve needed to make decisions and have been ‘spinning” about it. Of course we don’t want to grieve the LORD; we do not want to be deceived. It takes faith to trust in the LORD–and we’ve discovered it also takes faith to, as Apostle Tracy Harris, our dear pastor, states, “have faith in your faith”.

In other words, when we ask the LORD to guide us, we release our faith–we trust–that He does, then we must trust ourselves to be led by Him. So when we trust Him, and that we will be led by our Good Shepherd because we want to be and asked Him to, then we can thrust forward in getting Kingdom work done.

“Thrust comes with trust,” said my Darling Dynamite Husband, Clayton, a few months ago. “You have to trust the vehicle, the messenger–the LORD–to get you through.”

I agree with him. In fact, I wrote it down. Much revelation comes from this mighty man of God who is continually in the Word–reading it, watching it, listening to it, every day; and serving on the praise and worship team, running the camera, and doing whatever else needs to be done at our church. He does the same in this marriage and family and at every position he holds. He thrusts Godly excellence into every realm of his life, every day.

There are not many men like him! I am very blessed to be his wife, and I know the LORD has great things for him! Clayton has helped me learn (with God helping me) to trust, to love and receive love. True love is a phenomenal thing, and when one trusts the love of God, one can love others and thrust forward in life.

Growing in trust–in faith–to thrust forward in God’s will, is a lifelong process. One thing that really helps me is talking to God (prayers); also remembering God’s faithfulness and focusing my life on the Word; reading it daily; speaking it; listening to and watching programs about the Word. I ask the LORD to make me God-conscious. Just look back over your life and realize that every good things–even every breath–is a gift to you from our faithful Covenant God.

Forever He is faithful; totally trustworthy. He cannot be unfaithful and He’s always got your back. So trust Him and thrust forward into Zoe life! (John 10:10).

Joy Ride!

Galatians 5:22-23 TPT)
But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy  “that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.”

Psalm 5:12 (TPT), “Lord, how wonderfully you bless the righteous. Your favor wraps around each one and covers them under your canopy of kindness and joy.”

Psalm 9:2 (TPT), I will jump for joy and shout in triumph as I sing your song and make music for the Most High God.”

Psalm 13:5 (TPT), Lord, I have always trusted in your kindness, so answer me. I will yet celebrate with passion and joy when your salvation lifts me up.”

Psalm 16:9 (TPT), My heart and soul explode with joy—full of glory! Even my body will rest confident and secure.”

Psalm 19:8 (TPT), “His teachings make us joyful and radiate his light; his precepts are so pure! His commands, how they challenge us to keep close to his heart! The revelation-light of his word makes my spirit shine radiant.”

Psalm 25:8 (TPT), “When people turn to you, they discover how easy you are to please—so faithful and true! Joyfully you teach them the proper path, even when they go astray.”

Wow, I just had a “Joy Ride” (NOT stealing cars, of course (Where did they get that? Silly people!))! And you can have it too!

A TRUE Joy Ride is what I call a great time in the LORD–usually while I drive, windows down and hair blowing freely, singing and praying in the Spirit, and just rejoicing in HOW GOOD GOD IS!!!), while doing a search on these Scriptures and reading them to post! It has been hard not to list all 250 that came up (Search for yourself in www.BibleGateway.com!), but there is one more that came to mind —

3 John 1:4 (TPT): “It is the greatest joy of my life to hear that my children are consistently living their lives in the ways of truth!”

Another thing: I’m not just talking about our joy, but the joy of the Father God Who delights in us when we seek and serve Him. He gets pleasure out of ours. He is glad when we believe and receive and enjoy all that Jesus His Son died to give us (John 3;15-17, John 10:10; Eph. 3:20)!

Rejoice in the LORD always–if you are feeling down, just start asking the LORD to help you remember all the good things He has done for you, and you will start feeling better in no time! There is power in joy. Things may have gone wrong–but let us remember ALL that has gone right! And the LORD is so good; He is continually protecting us from much harm, that we may never realize till Heaven! (If you do these things and are still “down,” then you need to seek pastoral help, or help from a counselor whom you are sure is a Believer in the LORD Jesus Christ! There may be deep-rooted issues from which you need deliverance. Ask me how I know!)

“And it’s true: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Yahweh
    will be rescued and experience new life.”
(Romans 10:13, TPT)

– Ask the LORD Jesus to reveal Himself to you today! You need the New Life of Joy, and Jesus is Joy! Trust me, when you side with Him, you will begin the greatest Joy Ride of your life!!

Stirred to Give More

Psalm 9:4 (TPT), “For you have stood up for my cause and vindicated me when I needed you the most. From your righteous throne you have given me justice.”

Psalm 20:6 (TPT), I know God gives me all that I ask for and brings victory to his anointed king. My deliverance cry will be heard in his holy heaven. By his mighty hand miracles will manifest through his saving strength.”

2 Corinthians 8:10, 11 TPT), “So here are my thoughts concerning this matter, and it’s in your best interests. Since you made such a good start last year, both in the grace of giving and in your longing to give, you should finish what you started. You were so eager in your intentions to give, so go do it. Finish this act of worship according to your ability to give.”

John 1;16, AMPC, “For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.”

“Giving is God-like,” I heard one minister say years ago. I agree. When we give, it is Love Himself flowing through us!

This morning, I was studying for an exam, but I kept thinking of my friend, whom I’d just discovered had many needs. She’d been in my church for months, and I knew she was a single mom, a cancer survivor, and not on top of the world, so to speak. She had made me an exquisite necklace for Mother’s Day, and I treasured it. But I didn’t know the hardships she’d been experiencing. When we were able to finally spend time together, I learned and close to finishing her degree in art, but she’d also shared with me that the LORD had told her to slow down, take less classes, and spend more time with Him.

I could identify with some of her challenges and struggles. It had been along hard road, but the LORD had brought me far from the past and I had started living in the Blessing of the LORD. That is His Plan for all people, and we who are His kids are promised that Life (John 10:10) when we do things His way. He loved us all so much that He gave the Best of Heaven–Jesus the Christ, God’s only Son–so we could live the “above and beyond” life. All we have to do is learn His Word and listen to Him. He is such a loving, giving Father, and so patient and kind and merciful. He wants us to succeed and enjoy what He gave!

Several times, I tried to overcome distraction today and study, but thoughts of my friend and what I could give would not go away. I got up and gathered a few household goods. “Thank You, LORD, You have given us soooooo much! Thank You that we have something to give! Thank You LORD for giving me generous parents who taught me to give!” I told Him. So I gathered a few things and put them by my purse, intending to take them to her tomorrow.

I tried to study again, and after about four rounds of this, I kept being stirred to give more. So I rose to gather more and more things that He showed me to give her–with the joy increasing–I finally just texted her and told her I was bringing it today. I did, and she and her son were thankful. I gave her quite a bit of stuff, but I really wanted to give more! It is the heart of God to give, and He answers that cry of our hearts to help us be like Him.

After that, I just spent some time worshiping and thanking the LORD, and praying in the Spirit. It was a lovely day–and made more lovely by the fact that I allowed the LORD to give through me! Okay, finally, I will be able to concentrate, I thought, and sat down at my desk.

I have been overwhelmed many times realizing that Christ has given me so much–and that billions (with a B!) of people through the earth would love to experience just one day, just one part of my abundant life! I don’t mean I live in a mansion nor drive a Lamborghini (yet, anyway), but I have so many priceless things money can never buy–because the LORD our God was so faithful and loving to give Jesus His Son for me, and for you, and for all who will just agree with Him.

My search of “give” in The Passion Translation (TPT) revealed 618 verses–more about how God gives to us that we give to Him or others. But to experience the highest reward in life, ask the LORD to show you how to give (Acts 20:35: “…it is more blessed to give than receive.”). He will. And on top of the fact that He gives us the desire to give to bless others, He provides the money and resources, time, energy, skills, and everything else that we give others–then He gives even more to us by giving us sublime satisfaction of sharing–and He causes our giving to be multiplied and come back to us, so we have even more to give the next time (2 Cor. 9:8)!!

He is and forever will be stirred to give more! We can never outgive God, and truly, all that we have, as King David says, comes from Him and we give Him and others only what comes from Him! (I Chronicles 29:6-18)

How amazing and wonderful and beautiful and good is our truly awesome Daddy God (Psalm 34:8)!

Good and Stubborn

Acts 19:9, TPT But some of them hardened their hearts and stubbornly refused to believe. When they spoke evil of the Way in front of the congregation, Paul withdrew from them and took the believers with him.”

Proverbs 3:35 (TPT), Stubborn fools fill their lives with disgrace, but glory and honor rest upon the wise. “

Psalm 32:8-9 (TPT), I hear the Lord saying, “I will stay close to you, instructing and guiding you along the pathway for your life. I will advise you along the way and lead you forth with my eyes as your guide. So don’t make it difficult; don’t be stubborn when I take you where you’ve not been before. Don’t make me tug you and pull you along. Just come with me!””

Normally, being stubborn is a bad thing. When we are stubborn, we are going our own way–and/or the devil’s–and no matter what we think or feel, we are not free. (Ask me how I know!) The LORD says that true freedom comes from following Him and loving others:

“Beloved ones, God has called us to live a life of freedom in the Holy Spirit. But don’t view this wonderful freedom as an opportunity to set up a base of operations in the natural realm. Freedom means that we become so completely free of self-indulgence that we become servants of one another, expressing love in all we do. Galatians 5:13, TPT

However, I just want to put in a plug for “good stubbornness”– for God first; He “stubbornly” refuses to quit loving us–even knowing we may never love Him, may even curse and scorn and refute Him. As 2 Timothy 2;13 says, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.”   Also Jeremiah 31:3 says, “The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.Jeremiah 31:3, ESV 

And there are some other examples of “good stubborness” that I have come to appreciate much more: The “stubborn” Covenant love of my husband through the years; the “stubborn” love of my parents and daughter through the years; and the “stubborn” insistence of my 2014 Toyota Camry in not locking when I’ve (1) left the engine running (it’s so quiet I can barely hear it); (2) left the gear in something other than park; or (3) left the keys in the car. (Yes, I’ve tested this blessed vehicle on all three of those–and thank goodness for it’s “good stubborness” in not allowing itself to be locked! Rather, I give the thanks to my “stubbornly” faithful Daddy God!)

Perhaps the LORD also continues to be “stubborn” in politely insisting you do a certain thing (or stop doing a certain thing). This is good. He knows all things. He created you and loves you and has only your best interest in mind. If you are being stubborn and not obeying Him (This is bad.), ask Him to help you be courageous and obey. He will, and you’ll be so glad you did.

Ask me how I know! Great is the faithful “stubbornness” and goodness of our God, always leading us to our BEST selves!!

Are You Grafted In?

Romans 6:5 (TPT), For since we are permanently grafted into him to experience a death like his, then we are permanently grafted into him to experience a resurrection like his and the new life that it imparts.

  Romans 11:17 (TPT), However, some of the branches have been pruned away. And you, who were once nothing more than a wild olive branch in the desert, God has grafted in—inserting you among the remaining branches as a joint partner to share in the wonderful richness of the cultivated olive stem. “

John 15:1Jesus the Living Vine ] (TPT), “I am a true sprouting vine, and the farmer who tends the vine is my Father.”

 (TPT) John 15:4, So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine.”

The LORD is so funny–He has a great sense of humor, and He knows just how and when to comfort us. One of His names is, after all, The Comforter. Some versions use this term. Otherwise, BIFF (Best Invisible Friend Forever, as Princess Pearl, P.O.W.E.R. Girl calls Him, will work!)

John 14:16-17 “And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Savior, the Holy Spirit of Truth, who will be to you a friend just like me—and he will never leave you. The world won’t receive him because they can’t see him or know him. But you will know him intimately, because he will make his home in you and will live inside you.”

For some reason, I was thinking about hurtful things people had said about how slim I was. Being tall and slim has served me very, very well. It really is a blessing from the LORD. However, I’ve had some people through the years actually hate me for it, and some say hurtful things to me about my slimness–while some of them, at least, I knew were trying to achieve the same slimness. Sigh. Don’t you wonder how the LORD ever puts up with the carnality of us humans?

Anyway, I have learned to overcome through the years, and not be distracted by such temporal things (an excellent article on this is at Jesus Online), although it has not always been easy. (First, forgive those making fun of you; they know not what they do, so to speak…).

So I recognized these fiery darts (although slight, they were still darts), and spoke out loud (you cannot fight thoughts with thoughts; you must speak the Word, or Word-based truth, to shut them down. If they keep coming, you may need to check your heart to see if you have truly forgiven. Ask me how I know! But the enemy has no new tricks, so he’ll try to use the same things on you, even if you are free!), and said out loud, “Interesting that those who have called me a “twig” have been trying to become a “twig” themselves!” And I kept peeling my potatoes.

“A twig on the right Tree!” my sweet Daddy God said immediately to my heart. Joy bubbled up and I laughed for several seconds, with happy tears. “Yes! I am a twig that’s part of the Right Tree, amen!”

The Spirit of Truth is the Spirit of Joy, Who is the Comforter, Who is the Savior Jesus Christ, Who is our BIFF. Why would you try to do life without Him? Get a real Life (John 10:10) today–just ask Jesus the LORD to forgive you of your sins and come into your life and do something with it. He will! (John 3:15-17, Ephesians 3:20).

The Road Less Traveled

Psalm 119:105 [Full Chapter]  TPT 
[ Truth’s Shining Light ] Truth’s shining light guides me in my choices and decisions; the revelation of your word makes my pathway clear.

Psalm 25:12, (TPT) “Who are they that live in the holy fear of God? You will show them the right path to take.

Psalm 25:8 (TPT) When people turn to you, they discover how easy you are to please—so faithful and true! Joyfully you teach them the proper path, even when they go astray.”\

TPsalm 25:9, (TPT), Keep showing the humble your path, and lead them into the best decision. Bring revelation-light that trains them in the truth.”

Our Father God is so faithful! I was in another city headed home, but it was about 5:00, time for rush hour traffic. I had planned to return the faster way via interstate. But the LORD impressed me that I really did not want to be on that road at this time. So, I took the road less traveled–and was I ever glad!

It turned out to be a delightful, relaxing trip, with a much slower pace, rare traffic, and a wonderful time of worshiping and just fellowshipping with the LORD. I enjoyed His sweet Presence in some high praise, the lovely sunshine, blue sky and fluffy clouds, and the serene and verdant farmlands. God is good!

The book of this same title by M. Scott Peck is famous. I have not read it, but from reading reviews it seems based on real Christianity–facing and working through problems; part of human existence. I do not know if the author credits the Word of God, Jesus Christ, as the Answer.

As far as this world goes right now, Jesus Christ IS the “road less traveled,” although HE ALONE is the True Path to all you ever need and want; He alone is the Door to eternal Life.

22 Jesus ministered in one town and village after another,[a]teaching the people as he made his way toward Jerusalem. 23 A bystander asked him, “Lord, will only a few have eternal life?” Jesus said to the crowd, 24 “There is a great cost[b] for anyone to enter through the narrow doorway to God’s kingdom realm. (Luke 13:22-24, TPT)

John 3:15 (TPT), “…so that those who truly believe in him will not perish but be given eternal life”

John 3:36 (TPT), “Those who trust in the Son possess eternal life; but those who don’t obey the Son will not see life, and God’s anger will rise up against them.”

But I know in Whom I have believed–and it is Him! He is real, He is good, and He is Truth.

You don’t have to believe me. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. He will!

Forgiven

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36, ESV

New American Standard Bible 
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. Galatians 3:29

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,  that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3;14-16, Berean Study Bible

The man driving the semi truck in front of us was sharing the good news, that he was “FORGIVEN”! The fish symbol Ichthys used by Christians throughout the world containing this one huge word says it all: If you have believed on Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, and that He shed His blood to pay for the sins of every person, and received Him as your personal Savior and LORD, then you also are FORGIVEN–FREED. You don’t have to pay for your sins!

How can it be that simple? Don’t ask me. Just be glad that I’m not God. I am sure I would have made it much more complicated to be free and get to Heaven to live forever in Paradise with God!

But the LORD is good, and His mercy endures forever (Psalm 129:4). He created mankind, then, when man betrayed God and bowed to the devil, He sent Jesus to die and give His life to buy mankind back, forever (Galatians 3:13) .

The Gift of true Life is yours. Choose Christ today, and live! (John 10:10)

Victory Rests

30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord. Proverbs 21:30,31 (NIV)

Every time I see a hawk soaring, it reminds me of this verse. “Yes, I have the victory, and victory rests with the LORD!” I say. I see these hawks often–no matter where I travel in this region!–and I believe the LORD puts them directly in my path overhead, causing them (or one) to glide directly over me as I pass down the road. God’s timing is impeccable.

Once while I walked with my husband in a local park, we saw a hawk perch on the pole close to us. As he sat there, smaller birds dived at his head. He ignored them, serene and undisturbed. That is how we are when we dwell in the Secret Place of the Most High (Psalm 91); the true peace and confidence that we are right with God when we have believed in and received His Son, Jesus (John 3:15-17).

He is our Victory! He commands and helps us to trust in Him, and not ourselves (Proverbs 3:5,6). He is our faithful loving Daddy, and responsible for us. He delights in us because we hope in Him and fear Him. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and always makes a way, where there seems to be no way. AMEN!

We have the power to “just choose to believe,” as I heard Minister Jeremy Pearsons state years ago. So I ask the LORD to help me to choose to believe, and He does!

Psalm 33:4 (TPT), “For God’s Word is something to sing about! He is true to his promises, his word can be trusted, and everything he does is reliable and right.”

Psalm 13:5 (TPT), Lord, I have always trusted in your kindness, so answer me. I will yet celebrate with passion and joy when your salvation lifts me up.

Psalm 21:7 (TPT), For the king trusts endlessly in you, and he will never stumble, never fall. Your forever-love never fails and holds him firm.”

Psalm 31:24 (TPT), So cheer up! Take courage all you who love him. Wait for him to break through for you, all who trust in him!”

The Winning Coach

Jesus is the ultimate winning Coach–and the Bible is the ultimate “Play Book”!

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:1,NIV

1 Timothy 2:2 (TPT), And pray for every political leader and representative, so that we would be able to live tranquil, undisturbed lives, as we worship the awe-inspiring God with pure hearts.”

“Life is simple unless you make it hard,” the LORD told me months ago. He is our fearless Leader, our Good Shepherd, our all-knowing Coach Who always has the Strategy for victory! His Strategies always and forever will come from the Word of God, the Book!

He is our Good Shepherd Who always leads us in right paths, for our best and His glory. He is good, good, good, and only good, and will never lead us wrong.

In other words, if we follow Him, we will win–every time. Circumstances and the enemy’s lies may may it seem like we are not winning, but the LORD is the Master of turning messes into miracles; ask me how I know!

17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go. 18 “If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your [h]well-being would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isa 48:17,18 NASB)

We need coaches. Some call them mentors, or spiritual mothers or fathers. There are differences that technically distinguish those roles from one another. But we can know this: Jesus is the Winning Coach, and if we listen to Him–through prayer (which sometimes involves just listening!), reading His Word, worshiping Him, making corrections as He leads us to, and otherwise doing what we know He is leading us to do, we win too! Jesus the LORD will never–and I mean never–coach us to do anything that does not align with His Word, for He and His Word are One!

This article forwarded to me by Larry from JesusOnline.com (a cornucopia of resources to teach you how to know and love Christ!) will serve as a vessel through which The Coach Himself will speak to you–simply and effectively, to help you win! https://jesusonline.com/keeping-an-eternal-perspective-in-a-temporal-world/

Check it out!  

Fear, You Don’t Exist!

2 Timothy 1:7: For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Amen! (ESV)

Years ago, I was really stressed about finances.

I had a nightmare that I lost my job, and had to run and hide because not having a job was against the law. I had gone to a friend’s home, secretly, and sat down to rest. Two bad guys from ‘the government’ burst in and the taller grabbed my leg and stuck a huge needle in it, supposedly as punishment for not having a job.

(Listen to the audio version of this at https://anchor.fm/rainwater )

But instead of screaming or writhing in pain, I just looked at the guy and calmly said, “Fear, YOU DON’T EXIST!”

The guy jamming the needle in my leg looked totally shocked, and almost choked. “What?!” he said–then disappeared!

The smaller guy looked shocked as well. “If he doesn’t exist, then I don’t either!” he said, and disappeared as well.

The LORD has not given us fear. Jesus has given us the spirit of POWER, and LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND (DISCIPLINE)! And The Govenment is upon HIS Shoulder (the Church! Isaiah 9:6)

Hallelujah!

Son or Sin?

I John 5:1-5, states: “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—[a]our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? And verses 11 and 12 from the Word of God state, “11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has [d]life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Do you have the Son–Jesus Christ? If not, then you have sin, you are without God’s protection, and your spirit will go to hell forever when your body dies (Matt. 7:21)

God makes things simple: We either agree with Him and come into the Royal Family and enjoy His blessings and benefits–including amazing protection from evil–or we stay outside and try to do this complicated, pressure-filled life on our own. If we do not know the LORD Jesus as our Savior and become friends with His Son (Jesus), then God is not our Father, and we don’t have relationship with Him. We are on our own.

But thank God this earthly life is NOT all there is!

So there are two choices: God, or not God; Son, or sin.  Today, you choose–life, or death. The LORD Jesus Christ and the abundant life (John 10:10), where “the Good Life” truly does happen (and all the more as we learn God’s ways and follow them, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever! Psalm 118)–or doing life on your own, where things get harder and harder, and you wind up at the end of it all, going to literal hell (Luke 12).

But the LORD is ever ready to pardon, to forgive; that is why He sent Jesus! God is a good God. He is Love (I John 4:8). He made the way for all to know Him and have a wonderful life–then literal Heaven after the body dies on earth (Acts 26:18), with freedom from everything negative, the loving wonderful Presence of God with you always, interesting and productive things to do, and a beautiful, literal home all your own!

He says in John 14:1-3 (NKJV), “1 Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many [a]mansions; if it were not so, [b]I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

You can choose to remain as you are, in your sin, separated from God. But why would you do that? The God-life is amazing, and it just gets better. God is all good, and very kind and gracious and merciful! He is holy; His Standards are high, and no person can meet them, except to be covered by the Blood of Christ, which covers us when we receive Jesus (Rev. 12:11.

Jesus the LORD is returning to earth soon, to claim and receive and take to Heaven all of us who are His. Will you be going with us? If you think the earth-life is bad now, understand this: Without Christ and true Christians in the world, there will be no light. You must choose for yourself; no one can choose for you.

Even if you’re not sure this is real, don’t you want a better life than you have? Call to God and ask Him to help you find Him and know Him. Ask Him to prove to you that He and His good life are real. He will, for all who call upon the name of the LORD will be saved (Romans 10:13)!

Spill Your Guts and Rest

Psalm 34:18 (MSG) says, “If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.”

 Here’s the same verse in The Passion Translation (TPT): “The Lord is close to all whose hearts are crushed by pain, and he is always ready to restore the repentant one.”

I’ll take both of those. I’ve been both–kicked in the gut (even by those very close to me, including leaders from whom I least expected such!), and repentant. It has amazed me how, even though I felt totally like I was the one to whom others should repent–that the LORD had me be the “bigger man” and approach others first to apologize for “being rude” or “whatever you think I’ve done wrong.” It usually took Him a couple days to get me to agree with Him, but He knows all things and I’m sure that was part of my overcoming healing process!

If anyone knows what it feels like to be “kicked in the gut” emotionally, and betrayed by leaders and those closest to Him, it’s Jesus! Even though the Disciples spent three years with Him, there were still many things recorded that He told them that they just didn’t get. I doubt He “spilled His guts” to anyone but the Father–especially since He only did what Father God told Him to say (John 12:49).

Don’t we feel better when we “tell all”? Sometimes–many times–it’s flesh, our carnal nature, just wanting the satisfaction of talking negatively about someone or something. It’s a kind of “vindication,” even if we don’t do or say anything directly to that person.

And it’s hard not to do that, especially when we feel righteous indignation, and have no idea of what we did or may have done wrong. I’ve gotten much better through the years about not sharing all the junk with anyone, not even my spouse (although he is a good and patient and understanding listener), for it really doesn’t do much but drag us both down. It doesn’t solve the problem.

Also, as sometimes has also happened, more offense can occur, which can create more problems!

The LORD tells us to set our mind on things above–good things–for a reason. He knows us better than we know ourselves!

And, He tells us in Psalm 62:8 (ESV) to “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.” 

Jesus has experienced every emotion, rejection, and torment that anyone ever has or will experience, so He totally understands. So “spill your guts” to Him, and He will comfort you in amazing ways. Trust in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6) to work everything out for your best and His glory, and He will. Ask Him to help you relax in His faithful love!

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!

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.