A Different Kind of Christmas

(This occurred Christmas 2015 or so–Tonja)

I went to the library today. Before I left the house, I picked up a couple of Christian books I’d already read, and a few peppermints, thinking I might have a divine appointment today, so I could bless someone with the love of Jesus—the true Gift, and the real meaning of Christmas.

I was not disappointed.

As I picked up my book, I waited and watched. When I left the library, there was a young couple, probably in their older 20s, and I felt a sadness emanating from them. They wore backpacks as if they were traveling.

“How are you doing?” I asked them, and they conveyed that they were not having the life they wanted.

“It’s Christmas,” I said, “and I brought a book and some candy with me to give away. God in so good. Would you like this great book by Max Lucado called, The Glory of Christmas? I believe you’ll really like it.”

The woman said, “I love to read.”

“Great,” I said, handing her the book and candy, “you’ll like it then.” Then I looked her in the eye. “Do you know the LORD Jesus Christ?”

They both said they knew Jesus as Savior, and I asked if l could pray for them. “We need jobs, and don’t have transportation,” the man said. “I have a couple of felonies, and it’s kinda hard to find a job.”

The compassion of Jesus rose up in me. “We’ve all messed up!” I told them. “If God wasn’t so good, I wouldn’t be here! Let’s pray!”.

So we grabbed hands and bowed our heads, with people going all around us. “Oh Father God,” I prayed, “Your grace is amazing! We ALL have had a criminal record—and only the Blood of Jesus can wash it away! Thank You for Your mercy, and thank You that our sin is never bigger than Your grace!”

I prayed several more things, including open doors for them to get jobs, and for God to restore them. I know they were strengthened and encouraged.

The woman hugged my neck, and all three of us knew that our good Daddy God had caused our paths to cross–so He could give all three of us a gift!

To be a channel of God’s mercy and grace is truly the greatest gift of all, and I praise my Father God for His marvelous Christmas gift to me that day!

Stop Trying to Please Him!

“But I will give all my thanks to you, Lord, for you make everything right in the end. I will sing my highest praise to the God of the Highest Place!” –Psalm 7:17, TPT

8 “,…For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.… ” Ephesians 2:8-10, TPT

This week, I was seeking the LORD more intensely than usual. I’ve always been a go-getter, and have spent most of my life involved in several activities at once. That can be both good and bad.

Anyway, the second of these days of seeking, the LORD impressed me early that I’d worked too much the day before, and He wanted me to rest the second day. “Okay, but HOW do you want me to rest?” I asked Him. I was honestly confused for a few seconds–till I felt His gentle Spirit showing me that there was a root of performance pressure in that question! In my heart, I truly was searching for the most efficient way to rest!

What an irony! So that was wrong thinking, with a root of fear (of displeasing Him, of not being “efficient enough,” which is performance–which is FEAR. We do NOT have the spirit of fear, but power, love, and a sound mind, when we are God’s kids!)

I also realized hours later that procrastination is linked to performance pressure/perfectionism (fear), so I repented for all that, and asked the LORD to “replace the wicked (fear/perfectionism/performance pressure) with the righteous (deeper understanding of His love, and peace)! He did!

The LORD’s had to remind me often to REST during the years! And, like most of us, I’ve been guilty of thinking that, when I’m DOING a lot of things for the LORD, that that is acceptable to Him. Truly, He knows my heart IS to please and honor Him–and to let my Light shine so that all may be drawn to Him (Matthew 5:16). Amen.

However–just as I love my darling daughter (now, almost 23 and a college grad, plus about to be married in the spring!) am am PLEASED WITH HER, completely apart from her performance–so I was reminded that my Daddy God loves me. (And I’ve had good parents who loved me through thick and thin, no matter what.)

So we know that our loving Father God loves us and delights to give us what we ask when we are close to Him, because, as I John 3;21-23 says, “…21 Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God, 22 and we will received from Him whatever we ask ,because we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and we should love one another just as He commanded us.…: Berean Study Bible

So, if you’ve been like me–thinking God is mad at you, or at least irritated, or even disappointed or such (although we CAN grieve Him with our disobedience, like any rebellious child can grieve a parent)–then just say this prayer to the Father:

Father God, thank You that You have loved me since the moment You created me in my mother’s womb! And, from the moment I was born again by my faith in the blood of Jesus shed for me on the cross over 2,000 years ago, You have adopted me as Your child to lavish Your love on me–and You see me as perfect and flawless and righteous! My mind can’t understand that! But, just like I received Jesus in my heart by faith, I now choose to believe Your love for me–that You are pleased with me no matter what I do or don’t do (Your Grace!)–because I am Your beloved child! Please help me grow daily in a deeper understanding of Your faithful love! In Jesus’ Name, amen!

Jesus is Alive!

John’s Vision on Patmos
17 “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. But He placed His right hand on me and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last, 18 the Living One. I was dead, and behold now I am alive. I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and of hades. 19. Therefore write down the things you have seen, and the things that are, and the things that will happen after this.…Berean Study Bible

Jesus the Christ, the ONLY Savior of the world, is alive! He was crucified on the cross over 2,000 years ago to pay for the sins of every person, and His pure blood paid it all! Then He rose again on the third day. He now lives in Heaven, forever praying for us to the Father, and He is returning to earth soon to gather all who believe in Him, that we may go with Him to live forever in the true Paradise!

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Call out to Him in sincerity, and He will answer! All who call upon the name of the LORD will be saved! Get a Holy Bible and ask Him to help you understand it. Go to a church that preaches the entire Bible and ask the leaders to pray with you and help you understand.

Pray this to discover God: LORD, although my brain says this is crazy, I choose to believe that You exist and that You are good. Me and all these people and this amazing earth did NOT just happen by accident! I am calling to You now to make Yourself known to me; to help me discover You. I want to know You. I need Your help to make it in this strange and troubled world! But I hear that You give peace and rest and safety. I need that and I thank You for all this now.

HE WILL ANSWER! It may be different than you think –But He is forever faithful!!!

Blessed be the LORD, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever!

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!

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!