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?”

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.