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!

Embrace the New!

18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.
— Isaiah 43:18-19  (NIV)

To fully embrace the new, we must let go of the past. Why is that hard sometimes? We love the new things–but hurts and trouble from the past can be used by the enemy to try to dilute and discolor the wonderful new things the LORD is doing.

BUT GOD is our Help and our Shield, our Defender and Strength. When we ask Him, He loves to put His “super on our natural” and help us really get rid of the negatives, so we can enjoy all the positives!

God is a positive God, thank goodness! And Dr. Kenneth Copeland is quoted as stating that the LORD told him that, were it not for sin, He (the LORD) would never have a negative thought!

So, there are many reasons the LORD has to TELL us to forget the former things and to (on purpose!) set our minds on things above!

Sometimes the struggle to do this has surprised me, especially with all the teaching I’ve received through the years. And, it’s the struggle that we don’t like! In Heaven, there won’t be any struggle, and we’re not struggling with people, but within ourselves (usually, the root of the struggle is truly believing how much God has done for us and living it!) and with the (defeated, by the Blood of the Lamb, our testimony, and our knowledge of the Word and obedience to it!)

By the help of the LORD–repentance, forgiving others, prayyer, worship, reading and listening to and repeating aloud God’s Word, plus serving others and being an active part of a Bible-believing church–we can truly forget the past and set our minds on purpose to believe God and know that, for His kids, life just gets better! Amen and amen!

Let’s pray! Father, I want to enjoy all that Jesus died to give me–the wonderful John 10:10 life–the abundant Zoe life–and I need Your help! Show me how to get victory over everything that’s been holding me back, including hurts in my heart and other negative memories.

Help me to set me think about You continually, and to allow You to work in me and through me to help others know how very good You are, and that You are coming soon! Then I can enjoy the new things You are doing, and You will show me my part in them. Thank You, dear Father! I love You and thank You for loving me! In Jesus’ name, amen!

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!

We Are Confident!

We are certain, undaunted, confident, because He has overcome the world and deprived it of its power to harm us! John 16:33

We are also confident of this very thing: That He Who began a good work in us will see it through to completion until the day of Jesus Christ! Philippians 1:6.

Hallelujah!

We may not FEEL confident. I have not FELT very confident the past few weeks, but I know my God is FAITHFUL, and faith is NOT a feeling!

Praise Him!

So let’s pray: Father, our confidence–meaning our trust–is in YOU Who never fails. You cannot be unfaithful; You are forever faithful–You give us every breath, and we praise and thank and trust in You, forever! Please strengthen us with might in our inner selves today; give us grace to release all our worries and fears to You, for You love us, died and rose again for us, and ever live to pray for us and work all thing together for our best and Your glory, amen! THANK YOU!

Trust Him Totally

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.[a]  (Proverbs 3:6 Or “He will cut a straight path before you.”)

The Lord is with us always–even when we don’t feel like it! Thank goodness we don’t go by feelings!

This is a weird and sometimes trying time we’re in, as the LORD is shifting situations and people; rearranging us His own and bringing us into the most glorious Time ever–and what an honor that we get to be on planet earth in His will, partnering with the Most High to accomplish His Kingdom purpose!

Say this prayer to draw closer to the LORD and receive His help:

LORD, we ask You in Your gracious love and mercy to help us truly trust in You totally; to rest and rejoice, and know that, really, we are nothing without You and we can do nothing without You–yet we are Your precious children that You chose before the world was made to live now and love you and work with You. Hallelujah! We receive Your help! We love You, Father God!

He Will Help You

“In keeping with [the oath’s greater strength and force], Jesus has become the Guarantee of a better (stronger) agreement [a more excellent and more advantageous covenant]. 23 [Again, the former successive line of priests] was made up of many, because they were each prevented by death from continuing [perpetually in office]; 24 But He holds His priesthood unchangeably, because He lives on forever. 25 Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.”–Hebrews 7:22-25 (AMPC)

The LORD is so faithful! Thank Him that Jesus is alive and is constantly praying for us, that He sent the Holy Spirit to be with us always, and that He is ever aware of every moment of our lives–and sculpting them to do what’s best for us and bring glory to the LORD!

I’ve recently come through an emotionally tough season, and even though God is so good and faithful and there was really has not been any of what most people would call “disasters,” I’ve learned to rest more in the LORD and realize just how much care/worry/fear/doubt/unbelief I’ve had. YUCK!

So, praise the LORD, knowing something’s not right in my soul, I can ask Him to help me. I can ask Him to receive me and show me what I need to confess and be rid of. He will show me, then I can go to my High Priest, the LORD Jesus Christ, and ask His forgiveness for every word that I have spoken not in alignment with His Word–even every thought of my heart that has not been right–and receive His forgiveness and cleansing. There is nothing like it!

Then I can ask Him to help me find Scriptures and otherwise speak words in alignment with what He wants for my life–which is always the very, very best! He ever lives to help us–that is why He was born, crucified, rose again, and lives forever!

Ask Him today to help you. He delights in you, and helping you succeed–even if it’s different than you think it might be. Relax and trust His faithful, everlasting love!

Rest and Rejoice!

1 John 5:1,(AMPC), Everyone who believes (adheres to, trusts, and relies on the fact) that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah) is a born-again child of God; and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him (His offspring),”

2 John 1:3 (AMPC), Grace (spiritual blessing), mercy, and [soul] peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ (the Messiah), the Father’s Son, in all sincerity (truth) and love. “

“The LORD is faithful to His Promises,” the Holy Spirit whispered to me one day, when I was tempted to worry about finances and situations.

YES, HE IS! Or none of us would be here! He gives us every breath, every GOOD thing–and our lives are FULL of good things!!!

He helps and blesses and protects the just and the unjust–those born again and those not–and it is His faithfulness and mercy that keeps us all alive and heals and delivers and guides and provides–He is our good, good God and the good, good Father to all who believe in Christ Jesus His Son (John 3:16)!

If you don’t know the LORD Jesus Christ–what are you waiting for? He is the BEST Fried you will ever have, and He IS the all-powerful One Who can do everything you need Him to! He is so very kind and loving and generous and faithful! He wants to help you have the very best life you possibly can–and that is ONLY possible with Jesus Christ the Savior and LORD!

He is Love. He is Peace. He is Health. He is Direction. He is Protection. He is Restoration. He is Victory. He is the living Word of God. He IS Rest and rejoicing! He is all you really want and need, for in Him is true freedom and abundant Life! (John 10:10)

And He makes it so easy to become His Forever Friend–just ask Him right now to forgive you of your wrongs and save you from evil and come into your heart and be your Life Guide and King! He will, and you will never be the same!

Unchanging God

Malachi 6 and 7, Berean Study Bible says, Because I, the LORD, do not change, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed. 7 Yet from the days of your fathers, you have turned away from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of Hosts. “But you ask, ‘How can we return?’…

“It’s a new season,” we hear every few months. Or, “Change is in the air.” Sometimes we’re uncomfortable with that, especially if we don’t know what to expect. But when we know God–that He is faithful, even when we are not; that He gives us every breath and every good thing; that Jesus died and rose again to give us amazing Zoe life (John 3:16, John 10:10); that He is monitoring every moment of our lives and working through His Spirit and His angels to bring about the very best for our lives, because He loves us–then we rest. We rejoice. We release our child-like faith and trust in our Darling Daddy God, and expect His best!

For He never changes. Praise Him, or we–in our weak, carnal human flesh–would all be destroyed by His Glory, His truly awesome Power, the very Essence of Him, the Divine!

God is good, and all good, forever. That will never change! His plans for us are good and all good, forever (Jer. 29:11). Blessed be the LORD, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever! (I Chron. 16:34).

He’s Got Your Back

Psalm 66:9 (TPT), “There’s no doubt about it; God holds our lives safely in his hands. He’s the one who keeps us faithfully following him.”

Psalm 12:6, (TPT), For every word God speaks is sure and every promise pure. His truth is tested, found to be flawless, and ever faithful. It’s as pure as silver refined seven times in a crucible of clay.”

Psalm 37:3 (TPT), Keep trusting in the Lord and do what is right in his eyes. Fix your heart on the promises of God and you will be secure, feasting on his faithfulness.”

Psalm 69:13 (TPT), “But I keep calling out to you, Yahweh! I know you will bend down to listen to me, for now is the season of favor. Because of your faithfullove for me, your answer to my prayer will be my sure salvation.”

There is a God, and He is real, and awesome, and good! He is forever faithful, and that’s why we each have life. That’s why the world keeps turning. That’s why there is beauty. He gives us every breath.

And while He protects us from so much every day–things that would try to destroy us that we don’t even see–our choices also affect things. But He is a good Father that teaches us what is best, if we will just listen to Him. He loves us so much He sacrificed His only Son, Jesus, so we would go free and have an amazing, prosperous life (John 3:15-17, John 10:10)!

But you don’t have to believe me. Get a Bible and ask the LORD if He’s real. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. He will! And then, you’ll be in for the most exciting adventure you’ve ever known!

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).

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!!

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!”

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)!

Your Prayers Change Things!

1 John 5:14-15 The Passion Translation (TPT) says, “14Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before him, for if we present any request agreeable to his will, he will hear us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we also know that we have obtained the requests we ask of him.

Today, May 2, 2019, is the National Day of Prayer. There are many groups meeting around the country, but you can just take a few minutes and pray to the LORD wherever you are, for you are never alone! “And he answered, Fear not; for they that are with us are more than they that are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16, ASV)

It’s easy for us to think that our prayers are not doing anything. But that is not correct. When we pray in faith–believing that God is, first of all, alive in us; then, hearing us (as a father hears his beloved child); next, wanting to answer our prayers; and finally, able to answer them–then we know that (even if it takes a while in human thinking) He will do it!

There are various factors that can affect those answers, such as other people’s free wills–but we can ask the LORD to influence their wills–and our own hang-ups that can sometimes prevent Him from answering prayers as fast as we would like, or as totally as we’d like. If things are not changing noticeably, we need to ask Him if we need to correct things, and to give us the grade to persist.

But our Father is faithful. Thank the LORD He is a good God, slow to anger and abounding in Love, remembering that we are weak, and dust (compared to Him!), yet with Jesus the Christ in us if we have received Him as Savior and LORD. Our Father God loves us and wants us to trust in Him and ask Him to change things. In fact, He is waiting for us to do that!

So let us get busy. On this National Day of Prayer, let us lift up the United States of America, our President, all the Government, and our spiritual leaders, to name a few!

Somewhere I read or heard this short prayer, which I will repeat here: Father God, please give President Trump the wisdom he needs to lead this nation so Christ can be preached throughout the world! Amen and amen!

Dead or Alive?

Proverbs 18:21 (NASB), says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

The LORD has been helping me be more aware than ever of what I’m saying, and the power of it. So many things I’ve said wrongly most of my life have come to my attention, and He is helping me correct them.

I have a question: Why do we say, “deadlines” instead of “lifelines”? I have become aware that, even as Christians, we have spoken this. The other day, it occurred to me when I read that word about a Believer having to meet a “deadline” to get a book finished, that we should exchange that word for “lifeline”–which is exactly what a book truly born of the LORD is–a lifeline to the abundant life of Christ (John 10:10)!

On this same subject, especially as a teacher of elementary-age kids for the past 30 years or so; Why do kids play “hangman” instead of “build-a-man?” With a few minutes of free time one day at the end of class, one student asked if they could play that game. I told them that was negative, but they could play “build-a man” (which is really what they are doing anyway; drawing blanks for someone to guess the word, and putting part of a “person” on the board every time the guesser got a letter right.

“...1speaking the truth in love, [g]we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,” says Ephesians 4:15. Love is the key word here, and the LORD is helping me with that too. I can see so many ways I have not walked in Love in the past–including through wrong words.

But we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us, praise the LORD. As Gloria Copeland says, (quoted recently by Sarah Pearsons), we just “keep on walking,” and allowing the LORD to speak words of life to us–and through us.

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!

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!

Our Faithful God!

2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.

Our Faithful God reigns. He is faithful, even when we are not. He cannot be unfaithful, thank goodness!

God is faithful–or we wouldn’t be here! As I prepare to attend the amazing, life-changing-in-so-many-good-ways New Year’s Eve service at my church, I am so thankful at the faithfulness and mercy and grace of my darling Daddy God–Who knew me before the world began, and sent me here for such a time as this!

He loves me. He loves you. His love is perfect and true. And, praise Him! He is not mad at any person; we are His creation that He loves so much He gave His perfect Son, Jesus Christ the LORD, to be the ultimate sacrifice, who paid the price of the cross and hell and the grave, so we get to go free–and be restored to Heaven, from which we came–all for simply becoming Jesus’ Friend.

Simply by admitting that we need help–the Help of Jesus, our Savior–and asking the Father to forgive us of our wrongs, our sins–we get to be transformed into new creations, with new life, and the ultimate assurance of Heaven later–and some of Heaven now, as we learn His Word and abide by it!

But you don’t have to believe me. I’m living it, and my life gets better every day. Jesus IS the true Reason for all that!

Find a Holy Bible. Ask the true God to teach you the truth. He will!

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!

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.