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!

P.O.W.E.R.* Girl!

This video of Chapter One of The Adventures of Princess Pearl, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! (Purposeful Operations With Eternal Rewards) includes the P.O.W.E.R. Girl Creed, a Princess Pearl poem, and a preview of the book!

Click here to get a FREE PDF of P.O.W.E.R. Girl Book One! Please write us at Power@RiverRainCreative.com with your comments, and we’ll be happy to post them in Book Two (upcoming very soon!) and the rest of the series!

LEGACY: Crafting Your Child’s Future With Words – Part 1

Proverbs 18:20, 21 (Berean Study Bible), says, “From the fruit of his mouth a man’s belly is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied. 21 Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

So, we want to speak what we want, and the Word of God is what we want–especially concerning our children. We know that the Word of God, the Holy Bible, is the Word of Life, so we want to “Speak the Word (of God) only,” Amen!

A couple decades ago, the LORD taught me the importance of creating a legacy for my child (A financial and material legacy for our children is important, of course, but I’m speaking of the spiritual and emotional legacy here.) by speaking the Word of God over her. It became very important to her (and to me, especially as a single divorced mother for almost 7 years, from the time she was about a year old!) that I bless her–speak the Word of God over–her daily.

I would speak  a certain set of Scriptures that He led me to pray over her, including when I dedicated her publicly to the LORD at my church on Mother’s Day, when she was three months old!). I usually did this in the morning, before I took her to daycare or school.

The Roman centurion–a man without a covenant with God, a man of the “anti-Christ” people group in that day–understood the authority and power of speech, and Jesus marveled when he heard the man say, “Just speak the word, and my servant will be healed.” (Matthew 8:8, my paraphrase). The man obviously had faith in the authority of the words of Jesus, even if he did not believe in Jesus Himself. But our LORD Jesus honored that faith!

The LORD honors our faith, and He honors His Word. When we have faith in His Word and speak it, His angels go to work to make it happen–because the King Himself backs up His Word! 

So start shaping your child(ren)’s lives even more for God by speaking the Word of God over them today.  If you’re already doing so, HALLELUJAH!, and remember to ask the LORD for new Scriptures as your child(ren) mature. 

Also remember that, as the God-ordained parental figure, your words have power to shape your child(ren)’s lives! Even God parents and foster parents and of course Grandparents have authority to shape the lives of those in their family’s lives.

It is most powerful in the direct bloodline, but words move and change things!  So leave an excellent spiritual legacy in the lives of your children by speaking (including praying, of course) the Word of God over them, and watch what our good, good God, Who is the Living Word, will do! 

Also remember that, as the God-ordained parental figure, your words have power to shape your child(ren)’s lives! Even God parents and foster parents and of course Grandparents have authority to shape the lives of those in their family’s lives.

It is most powerful in the direct bloodline, but words move and change things!  So leave an excellent spiritual legacy in the lives of your children by speaking (including praying, of course) the Word of God over them, and watch what our good, good God, Who is the Living Word, will do! 

As Isaiah 55:10 and 11 say, For just as rain and snow fall  from heaven and do not return without watering the earth, making it bud and sprout, and  providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that proceeds from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and it will prosper where I send it…” (Berean Study Bible). 

HALLELUJAH, our God means what He says and says what He means, and we believe Him! 

Let’s pray: Father, I thank You for Your Living Word and the honor and privilege to speak it over my children and shape their lives for You. Please lead me to the Scriptures that You have for me to speak over them in this season of their lives. I thank You for Your help. In Jesus’ name, amen!

Be Adored!

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9, NIV

Who does not like to be adored? Every human I know likes to be loved, and sometimes we’ve gone overboard (okay, many times we’ve gone overboard!) trying to be loved by other humans.

Here’s a big clue: Mostly, humans adore themselves! And we learn to love. Yes, we have to LEARN to love, because we are each born with the sin nature of selfishness. As we grow and are taught correctly, we LEARN to replace that selfishness with love for God and others.

But here’s the real deal: Father God created us and loves us all anyway, since before He even made the world (and He made it perfectly!), and knew how we’d mess things up to be almost unfixable–BUT GOD. He sent Jesus to die for us and make things right again!

However, we have to CHOOSE to agree with Him, and receive Jesus as our Savior and LORD to be right with God!

We are, as humans that God (Elohim the Creator) made and gave life, already adored by Him! The only thing He hates is NOT us, but the sin that we’re all covered with–until and only when the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, washes it all away and gives us His covering of righteousness–which just means “being right with God.” (John 3:15-17, Romans 3, 5, 8 and 10; Isaiah 61).

Bottom line is, before we’re born, we are ADORED by our loving Creator, and even MORE when we receive Jesus, His Son, because then we become Jesus’s brother or sister, and part of God’s Royal Family!

God loves us whether we ever love Him back or not! And truly, He chose us so He could lavish His love on us! He already had all the angels in Heaven, but He created humans–and gave us a free will–so we could CHOOSE to love Him back and enjoy the most divine, sublime relationship possible! Knowing the LORD is truly Heaven on earth!

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. –Romans 5:8, NASB

So, having had my own struggles in trying to be loved or adored by other humans (which is really useless, because human nature changes quickly and even the people God puts in our lives are not perfect and won’t always love nor adore us the way we know we desire and deserve! Only GOD–Who knows allllll the yucky junk about us and loves us ANYway–can ever love us like we want! And we were created to both adore Him and be adored by Him!

Let’s pray! LORD, I want to know You more. I want to know Your Love more. Jesus, please come into my heart and fill me with Yourself, for You are Love! I want to adore You more and help others to know how You adore them. I thank You for Your amazing Love and help. In Jesus’ name, amen!

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!

God’s Special Touch When My Wife Flew to Heaven

(This was shared with me by Bro. Jess Nicola, our Guest Contributor for today. What a special touch indeed! He shared it with me and I asked him for permission to share it with on our site! God is truly THE COOLEST!! –Tonja)

Brother Jess says: “The LORD supernaturally arranged for the release of balloons at Barbara’s funeral. There was symbolism in every part of the balloons; even in the way the ‘wind’ took them up at the close of the service:

28 white balloons; 29 balloons (adding Jess’ pink one); 30 balloons (adding Harley’s yellow one).

The number 28 is the biblical number for “eternal life”. The number 29 is the biblical number for “departure”. The number 30 is the biblical number for “dedication”.

The color white means: the bride; purity; surrender; holiness; righteousness; light; joy; angels; saints; peace; triumph; victory; festivity; salvation.

The color pink means: pure heart of flesh; Messiah; glory; His children.

The color yellow means: celebration; joy; Shekina Glory; memorial.

The color blue (the ribbon on Shane’s balloon) means: Heaven, Holy Spirit, grace and mercy.

When the balloons were released, all but three flew up and away. The pink, yellow, and one white balloon hung up in the tree next to the graveside. At the end of the song, “Fly to Jesus,” the yellow then the pink released from the tree and flew up and away.

One white balloon remained nestled in the tree. When the graveside service was over and Bro. Orville said “Amen,” and the family began to hug…That one single white balloon amazingly weaved its way through the branches of the tree and soared slowly, straight up, remaining in sight for a long time as the family was visiting and saying their goodbyes.

It was like Barbara stayed until everything was done–and then, “Flew to Jesus.”

“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the LORD in the air; and sho shall we ever be with the LORD.” I Thessalonians 4:13-18

Gone Forever!

Isaiah 26:14, (AMPC) says: “They [the former tyrant masters] are dead, they shall not live and reappear; they are powerless ghosts, they shall not rise and come back. Therefore You have visited and made an end of them and caused every memory of them [every trace of their supremacy] to perish.”

And that is what came out of my mouth today, when I was literally burning several pieces of paper–upon which was written many things that had hurt me (since childhood!), that the LORD had revealed to me about 2 a.m. a couple of mornings ago, along with, ” Thank You, LORD, these bad memories, these negative emotions, and all their consequences, are powerless ghosts–GONE FOREVER, AMEN!! In the Name of Jesus, I forgive all these people of all their sins, transgressions, and iniquities against me, and I ask You to forgive me of all I’ve done wrong–or not done that I should have!–because of the hurts caused by enemy through these people! I forgive them, find no fault in them, ask You to heal them of any way I’ve hurt them, and declare Your perfect will over their lives!”

This is how we overcome–by forgiving and praying for those who have hurt us. (satan can never be forgiven; I just mean we forgive those people he has used, who SEEM to be our enemies!)

Clayton and I have been telling the LORD we yield to His Spirit for revelation and cleansing. We want to be free of all contaminants and be vessels He can use for His Glory in these last of the Last Days!

2 Timothy 2:21 (AMPC), “So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, conscrated and  profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work.”

(This is a verse the LORD showed me as a 20-something, when I knew I had been born again, but that there was very much wrong in my life! I didn’t know how to fix all of it, but I knew that the Word of God was the answer! So the LORD has helped me persist in reading and meditating and living the Word, and The Word IS my life!)

I had been surprised at how many things I’d written (after hearing a female minister on a local Christian radio station say to write down all the things that make one angry, then act out the anger towards the people who hurt you; i.e., write a letter to them that you NEVER mail; or put their photo on something and throw darts or hit it with a bat……seems a bit radical, and the host was (to me) obviously uncomfortable with her advice.)

But she did, if I remember right, exhort us that we must forgive and that we’re NOT fighting people. The enemy just makes it seem like it.

But, “…we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. 13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. (Eph. 6:12-13, AMPC)

Far greater is JESUS the HEALER in us; El Shaddai, the LORD our Comforter; Dr. Rapha, the LORD Who heals us; Jehovah Nissi, the LORD our Victorious Miracle Banner Who forever fights for us; Jehovah Mekadisshem, the LORD our Sancitifer (Cleanser; Purifier); Jehovah Shalom, the LORD our Peace and Restoration; and Jehovah Tskidenu, the LORD our Righteousness! And these are just some of the many names of our one true God Who is ALL we need, every time, every season of our lives, amen!

So, although I had thought there might be more, that I was not finished with this horrid list, the LORD prompted me to BE DONE WITH IT; to MOVE ON; to GO FORWARD!

So, I joyfully took it to the back porch, held it up to Him (my Father Who loves me forever, beyond what I can fully comprehend!), and proclaimed that these things and their effects are GONE FOREVER! Then I tore the papers to shreds, and took the (red!) lighter that we keep to burn brush, and set them on fire!

Honestly, these shreds of the past were NOT burning fast enough, so I set them on fire in more places to speed up the process! I rejoiced as the past literally went up in smoke! I sang of my freedom and worshiped the LORD. Then, I stomped the ashes to nothing, and so is my past–nothing!

“I’ve got the Revelation; I am a New Creation!” rose up in me; a Spirit Song the LORD gave me years ago. Hallelujah!

I heard a pastor say once that everyone needs to be healed in some way. If something has continued to bother you during the years, there is a hurt there, an offense, that will NOT go away until you fully deal with it and receive your healing and restoration!

Even if you think you have nothing holding you back; no jags; no offenses; no place where the enemy could possibly mess you up, it won’t hurt you to say this prayer. Or, at least pray it for someone you know that could use some help. (Your words are more powerful than you may know!):

Dear Father God, I know You are a Gentleman and You only reveal things to us that are hurtful in ourselves, and that others have done to us, to help us be free of them and their bad consequences. I ask You to show me and (name of the person(s)) any place the enemy has hurt us (for we know we don’t fight people, and almost all the time, when we get hurt, the people are not trying to hurt us!), and help me and them to be free and healed and restored, so we can fully receive all the wonderful things You have for us, LORD! I know You hear me, for I pray in Your will as I John 5:14-15 says, and I receive Your answers! Also, please give us grace and wisdom and encouragement as You reveal yucky stuff to us that needs to be changed. We know You love us and only have our best in mind! In Jesus’ Name, amen!

How to Experience God

10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [a]overflows). John 10:10 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

We are created to experience God and live the abundant life (“Zoe” in Greek) that Jesus died for us to have!

Here are a few ways that you can truly experience God:

  1. Thankfulness. You have much to be grateful for, and every good thing comes from our good God!
  2. Prayer. What a privilege and honor to be able to communicate in a personal relationship with the Creator and Sustainer of Heaven and earth, through Jesus Christ, His Son! Prayer is basically talking to God. There are many ways to pray, for various purposes. God hears our prayers when we pray in His Will (I John 5:14-15).
  3. Praise and Worship. God is worthy of all honor and glory. And, praise and worship is not nearly as much for Him (He already has all the elders and saints in Heaven, and all the holy angels, worshiping Him forever!), as it is for us–to make us thankful and aware of His Presence, and because when we magnify Him, it gives Him greater access to work wonders among and for us! Praise and worship can involve singing; playing insTruments; raising hands; dancing to His Glory; rehearsing His goodness to you; reading His Word out loud; serving in the Church and community and wherever you are to His Honor; giving finances and prayers and encouragements and possessions…
  4. Reading His Word. The Bible is God’s Library of Love Letters to you! It spells out His will, and is the Answer for successful life. When you read it out loud, it is even more powerful!
  5. Listening. First of all, we should stop our business and rest and listen to God. More than one pastor has stated that “God is always speaking, but we need to listen.” We also show respect when we take time to truly listen to others; God usually uses other people to minister to us!
  6. Enjoying God’s Creation. Even one tiny ant, one tiny leaf, has so much amazing creative thought and design and power in it! Elohim (the Hebrew name for God the Creator) is infinitely wise and the Master Creator, Artist, and Engineer of all things good! Can you imagine what the world must have been like BEFORE the Fall?!). Go sit in the gentle sunshine in a peaceful park or other place and just rest. The LORD often speaks through nature, and truly, as Psalm 19:1 states, “The Heavens declare the Glory of God and the earth shows forth His handiwork!”

Of course, you must be born again by faith in what Jesus did on the cross (John 3:16) to be able to be part of this Royal Family and partake of this sublime life! If you’re not, just tell the LORD JESUS out loud to forgive you for your sins, come into your heart and cleanse and save you, and be your LORD and Savior. HE WILL! All who call upon the Name of the LORD will be saved! (Romans 10:9-13)

Then go tell someone whom you can trust to rejoice with you. Next, ask Him to lead you to a good Bible-believing Church, and to the right Bible for you, if you don’t have one. He will!

If you would like more information on any of these things, or need prayer, or want to have us rejoice with you at your salvation, contact us at ministry@RiverRainCreative.com!

FORWARD!

5 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.–Proverbs 3:5-6 AMPC

This has become a theme verse for my husband and myself. So many times, when we were starting to wilt a bit in our faith, the LORD would send a minister or a radio announcement or a magazine article (Note: Of course we were watching, listening to, and reading things that glorify God, for this wisdom does NOT come from the world!) or even a person across our paths to remind us of this verse!

So, He was encouraging us to KEEP THE FAITH, to KEEP ON BELIEVING, KEEP ON WALKING WITH HIM; KEEP ON DOING RIGHT!

He is a Rewarder of us who seek and follow Him, and when we obey and serve, we spend our days in prosperity (which includes finances but is much more than that!) and our years in pleasures, amen (Job 36:11)!

You may not believe me, but once, the LORD spoke to me, and said, “….Full speed ahead!” and another time, when I was just tired and weary physically and emotionally (and spiritually?), He said to my spirit, “Keep moving forward.”

Now is NOT the time to slow down. NOW is the time to keep doing all the right things you’ve been doing, and ask for His wisdom to do more. He can help us do more.

I don’t mean wear yourself out trying to perform. For you see, when GOD is the Author of what we do, there is a Grace and an ease and a sweetness to it, not to mention deep satisfaction, amen!

Serving our Father God, the Father of the LORD Jesus Christ, is SOOOO worth it!

Let’s pray:

Father, I love You and I thank You for Your wisdom in Your Word and through other avenues that You bring across my path. Thank You that You keep teaching me Your ways to help me become more and more obedient–and thus more and more blessed with the Abundant Life (Zoe, John 10:10) that Jesus the Christ died to give us! Forgive me for allowing my faith to weaken. LORD, keep drawing me and keep me strong in You, and thank You for it! In Your name, amen!

Have Your Way, LORD

2Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21 (AMPC)

The LORD always knows what needs to happen, and when we are yielded to Him, He orchestrates our lives into something more wonderful than we could imagine!

Take today, for instance. I partnered with a dear sister and her husband to present workshops on Your Holy Health (Get your FREE copy of my book by the same name by clicking here). It was in a public facility, and although they are very supportive of nonprofits, and although (of course) the base of my teaching would be the Word of God and what He created in nature to help us, I had determined to “stay on task” and focus mainly on how to be healthier by using natural, organic, and Non-GMO products, that was not really God’s Plan.

Instead, His Plan was for us to pray for people and otherwise encourage and minister to them–while teaching them many things about health. Hallelujah! We go with His Plan!

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!

Acknowledge vs. Submit

I was listening to “Rivers in the Desert” Scriptures on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imJZlhOsPKM&t=9031s (WOW at the magnificent waterfall!!) today, and although I have listened to them many times the past few months, I heard “submit” instead of “acknowledge.”

The verse (Proverbs 3:5 and 6) says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”

I had taken this to mean that, when we recognize (that’s what “acknowledge” meant to me) the LORD and thank Him for having directed us, and for directing us in the future (We can totally trust Him!) , then that opens the way for Him to direct our paths–because we are thankful and trust Him and want His direction.

All of this is good. However, when I heart the word “submit” I had a different thought, for to me, “submit” means bowing the knee; giving up my plans for His; doing things His way; and also, “putting it all on the altar” and being willing to give up whatever He wants to change–even if it is never restored.

So, today, Proverbs 3:5 and 6 took on even deeper meaning, and that’s the way the Word works–deepening Revelation, as we continue to sow His living Word into ourselves! So, with His help, I am truly submitting to Him in all my ways, and then, because I am willing to do whatever and change whatever and agree with Him, He is able to help me understand the straight Path for my life. Hallelujah!

He is Joyfully Faithful!

Psalm 6:4, TPT, “Yahweh, return to me and deliver my life because I know your faithful love is toward me.”

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 22:5, TPT, “Every time they cried out to you in their despair, you were faithful to deliver them; you didn’t disappoint them.”

Psalm 25:8, “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.” ( I really love this; He JOYFULLY teaches us the proper path, even when we’ve had to repent for going our own stubborn way. Ask me how I know!)

Psalm 25:10, “All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who follow the ways of his covenant.”

Psalm 25:21, TPT, “Your perfection and faithfulness are my bodyguards, for you are my hope and I trust in you as my only protection.”

We don’t like to wait, especially in America. But God is faithful, and always working. We bless the LORD forever! He never slumbers nor sleeps, nor grows tired nor weary. What the enemy meant for evil, He is
always working \ together for our good (Genesis 50:20)! HALLELUJAH!

Psalm 6:4Yahweh, return to me and deliver my life because I know your faithful love is toward me.In Context | Full Chapter | Other TranslationsPsalm 12:6For 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.

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!

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!

Forget the Feelings!

“7 for we live by faith, not by what we see with our eyes.” TPT, 2 Cor. 5:7

What we see usually causes us to feel. This can be good or bad; we only want to choose those things that please the LORD, so what we see will cause us to have feelings that glorify Him. (2) to understand that believing in God (faith) does not depend on what we do or do not see, nor on what we do or don’t feel.

Years ago, I went up and received instant healing for my arm that had been strained. I marveled at the miracle as I walked back to my seat. I knew my arm had been healed, but wondered in my mind why I hadn’t felt it–like I had before when I’d received an instant physical healing.

The Holy Spirit, Who knows all things–including every thought we’ll ever have, every word on our tongues before we speak it–said immediately inside me, and emphatically–as if I should have already known this–“You don’t have to feel it. JESUS felt it!”

Wow, forgive me, LORD!

Pray this: LORD, please help me remember that Jesus felt everything I’d ever suffer–spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, socially, even financially–and that because He suffered, I don’t have to. Thank You! Also please help me remember that faith is not a feeling, and I walk by faith and not by sight, meaning, I don’t have to feel like my faith is working to know it is. I go by what Your Word says!

Rain On Me

Although some people don’t like rain, rain the in Bible often represents the refreshing of God, the sending of His Spirit to help His people.   (That is one reason we have named our business River Rain Creative Arts, and our ministry River Rain Ministries. Also, when my husband and I were first dating–definitely divinely brought together!–it rained our first four times!)

Psalm 68:9 (TPT), You, O God, sent the reviving rain upon your weary inheritance, showers of blessing to refresh it.”

Psalm 72:6 (TPT), “Your favor will fall like rain upon our surrendered lives, like showers reviving the earth.”

23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord, your God; for He gives you the former or early rain in just measure and in righteousness, and He causes to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, as before. 24 And the [threshing] floors shall be full of grain and the vats shall overflow with juice [of the grape] and oil. 25 And I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten—the hopping locust, the stripping locust, and the crawling locust, My great army which I sent among you. 26 And you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord, your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you. And My people shall never be put to shame.”27 And you shall know, understand, and realize that I am in the midst of Israel and that I the Lord am your God and there is none else. My people shall never be put to shame.

The past couple of days have been so refreshing to me–the weather is cool, as the gentle rain has fallen day and night. This has greatly cut down on the traffic and other noise in our neighborhood, and it’s been excellent to open the doors and windows and let the breeze blow through the screens. It has been very peaceful, and conducive to creativity!

This has been a long, hard, dry season for many Believers–sometimes not even our faults. It has been a time of testing, but the LORD is good and is using all things to strengthen and prepare us for the amazing RAIN of His Presence and Glory that is coming upon the earth! So draw near to Him and let His Word and ways RAIN on you, for the times of refreshing have come!

Now THAT’s the right kind of rain! And you can pray for the refreshing of the LORD right now: “LORD, thank You for Your presence, even when I don’t feel it. Please rain on me right now Your refreshing Grace, Your Holy Spirit. I receive it and thank You for it. In Jesus’ name, amen!”

Truth Wrapped in Mercy

“Moses gave us the Law, but Jesus, the Anointed One,
    unveils truth wrapped in tender mercy.”
— The Passion Translation, John 1:17

Don’t you love that? God through Jesus loves us enough to tell us the truth (always!), but is very merciful and kind, compassionate, patient, and understanding; always leading us deeper into loving relationship with Him. 

HALLELUJAH!!!  HOW GOOD IS OUR GOD!!!

And, if you don’t know Jesus Christ, here’s a secret: Jesus is truly the most easy and loving Person to know–and He is eager and excited to help you and become your Friend for life! If you want to have Him in your life from now on, just say this prayer: “LORD, I need You to please forgive me for all I’ve done wrong. I know You are holy and in Your amazing Love, You wanted me to be free and cleansed and fit to live with You in Heaven. I ask that Jesus come into my heart and be my LORD and Savior and very best Friend, so that I may know Him on earth and get to live with You and Him in Heaven after my body dies. I receive Jesus now, in Your Name, amen! Thank You!”

And, when you ask in the Name of Jesus (meaning whatever is His will when you use that name), YOU GET! So now, Jesus and the holy angels are having a party in Heaven–over YOU coming into the Royal Family! And the next step is to find a Holy Bible, and a church that really lives it. If you need prayer or guidance about any of these things, write us at Ministry@RiverRainCreative.com!

He Has Made Us Glad!

Psalm 126:3 is one of my favorite verses! “The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!”

It is such a favorite that it became the theme verse for our marriage ceremony (14 years ago, October 1!).

If you’re having a challenge being positive, start saying this verse out loud. Better yet, sing it! I do that often–sometimes as I’m overcoming, sometimes for sheer joy and thankfulness.

Truly THE LORD IS GOOD! Every good thing that has ever happened in our lives is from Him, our darling, faithful, loving, kind, merciful, generous, beautiful Daddy God! Amen!

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!

Learn to be Wise!

Never stop learning. Actually, every day that you live, you may even accidentally learn something, like how to take a different route to work, how to be more efficient at something, or whatever. But when you learn intentionally, that’s when you enjoy the most and are the most engaged.

When you engage in learning more about the LORD, that’s the ultimate life experience! He is always with us and never-ending, endlessly creative, and His wisdom is beyond our comprehension. Yet He loves us so much, and delights to teach us His ways!

If you don’t know where to start, ask Him to help you learn that too. He will. He’s THE Master Teacher!

Learn to Play the Piano With P.O.W.E.R.!

NOW is the time! If you’ve wanted to learn to play the piano, especially for God’s Glory, then what are you waiting for? Starting early this month, Tonja will be recording and uploading many videos for you to access FREE to learn to play the piano and have fun doing it!

You will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is for you to learn and play!

And very soon, you’ll be able to access Tonja’s LIVE online coaching, for piano and many other subjects, in the P.O.W.E.R. (Purposeful Operations With Eternal Rewards) classes!

Check out more info here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW31xsRh0biHOBdWPxkewNQ

Believe Anyway!

AMPC, I Cor. 10:13: For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ablity and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. “

Yes, these are strange times, if you’re aware at all of what’s going on in the Spirit! And we who know our God (and believe Him anyway) are strong and do exploits! Yes, no matter what happens, we choose to believe anyway!

Only by HIS power and strength and wisdom and grace, though! Sometimes we think WE are strong and can do anything. We KNOW GOD is for us, and that NONE can be against us. We believe anyway–we know our faithful God has ALWAYS got our backs!

But that’s not the way we have always felt, is it? Thank the LORD we cannot trust feelings; they lie! But the Word of God is true, infallible, and unchanging, The Word of God, our Holy Bible, IS our Rock. It is the written Covenant of Jehovah, that He made by blood with the LORD Jesus Christ, for us–all for us; mankind; humans created in His image to be in His image, to be His loving forever family!

I have, for various reasons (most of them spiritual or emotional) felt physically and emotionally weak lately. That’s because my dear Daddy God–Whom I have asked to help me be cleansed and whole and free of anything that had still been holding me back from the fullness of all He’s called me to do and be–has been answering my prayers. But although I’ve felt very weak–weaker than in a long time–I have chosen to believe anyway!

My God is faithful, forever! He will not and He cannot be unfaithful! My circumstances and feelings have many times NOT agreed with that, but I have chosen (with His help! He is the Author and Finisher of our faith!–to believe anyway!

He is so very loving and merciful, generous and kind–and He knows what we can handle. The verse in I Corinthians 10:13 that talks about Him not giving us more than we know we can bear now has a deeper meaning for me: Besides tests and trials that we encounter because we live in this sin-sick world, it means (for me, at least!) that He will not reveal to us the ugly truth about ourselves in such depths that it would destroy us! He IS the Spirit of Truth, but He is also our Daddy God Who loves us without fail, no matter how great our sin!

So no matter what you’ve done (If you know you’ve sinned, repent–ask God to forgive you. He WILL!) or how you feel; no matter what even those closest to you say (meaning if it goes against what the Word of God says), choose to believe anyway!

If you think you can’t believe, ask Him to help you, and believe anyway that He will! (HE WILL!)

Romans 5:9 (TPT), And there is still much more to say of his unfailing love for us! For through the blood of Jesus we have heard the powerful declaration, “You are now righteous in my sight.” And because of the sacrifice of Jesus, you will never experience the wrath of God.”

THAT my dear reader, is what “Agape”–UNconditional Love!–is!!

And the world–even Christians!–has no clue about it, unless they’ve encountered Christ! So now that YOU know the truth and believe, go and help others. Help them to believe anyway!

Kids, Get Your Swords Out!

National “Bring Your Bible to School Day” is October 3! Kids have the freedom to bring their swords–their Holy Bibles, the living Word of God!–to their public schools, and talk about them! Now is the time for your child(ren) to make a statement and uphold the freedoms and values upon which the United States of America was founded! For more information, click on the Focus on the Family link below!

https://focusonthefamily.webconnex.com/co-oct3-bybts2019?refcd=779601&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIm57N98rv5AIV0MDACh1EvQmyEAAYASAAEgLZyvD_BwE