The Fountain Day 155: Plans

We can make plans, and God gives them success.  We are warned that our motives may not be as pure as we believe them to be.  But we are promised that if we commit our actions to God, we WILL succeed. 

We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.  People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.  Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.  Proverbs 16:1-3

Commit all your actions to God…that’s the only way to move forward. 

I have spent so much time weighing my heart, examining my motives, being afraid to move forward…yet, when I read the above scripture, I see that all I need to do is commit my actions to the Lord.  I may not be able to trust my own motives, but I can trust Him.  I can lay all my plans at His feet and trust that He will set fire to those I don’t need and fulfill those He desires for me.  It’s a win-win.

When we hold our plans with an open hand and allow God to pick and choose for us, then we will see a lot more success and will operate in far greater peace.

The longer I walk with God, the more I see that though I fear myself in many ways…my fear of God eclipses that and brings me into the promise.  Fear of the Lord…as we’ve recently discussed, is the beginning of wisdom.

Alignment, our whole lives are about this.  Bringing ourselves into alignment with God.  Bringing ourselves into alignment with His timing.  His timing is perfect.  His ways are always right.

When we have our minds focused on Him then our desires will be aligned with His…

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God.  Romans 8:5-8

This scripture also reminds us why those without Him hate us and Him so much.  Their minds are on death…abortion, domination, etc.  Therefore, their actions shouldn’t be surprising.  They also shouldn’t intimidate us as much as they do…we have the King of the universe inside.  We hold victory in our hearts.  What do we need to fear?  I asked this same question the other day…I continue to provoke you with it today.  We have nothing to fear.

“But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, Israel, whom I have chosen.  This is what the Lord says- He Who made you, Who formed you in the womb, and Who will help you:  Do not be afraid, O Jacob, My servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.  For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants.  They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.”  Isaiah 44:1-4

The Fountain Day 154: Promise to obey

If we want to lay hold of the promises, then we must be quick to obey.  Oftentimes we focus so much on ourselves being blessed that we forget this key factor.  God prefers obedience to sacrifice…

And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.”               1 Samuel 15:22

We obey first out of love and second to be blessed!  There is nothing wrong with that.

Lord, You are mine!  I promise to obey Your words!  With all my heart I want Your blessings.  Be merciful as You promised.  I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow Your laws.  I will hurry, without delay, to obey Your commands.  Psalm 119:57-60

When we are in love with Jesus, we will rush to obey Him.  Obedience is a product of love.  Blessing is the reward. 

If you realize that you haven’t had cause to obey anything lately, then I question whether or not you’ve been listening very much.  When we listen to God…tune our ears to His voice, then obedience becomes a daily affair.  A daily blessing.  A daily joy filled sacrifice.  A pleasure.

It is my honor and privilege to obey God…even when what He asks is difficult.  No matter how difficult, the risk of having any separation from Him is far too great a sorrow to my heart for me to disobey.  I love Him too much.  I can’t stand the thought of being apart from Him.

So, I promise to obey…and as I do, I lay hold of His promises over my life.  I long to leave a lineage of obedience when I die.  I long to have children who rush to obedience because of their love for Him.

His good and faithful love.  His steady and comforting love.  His loving and generous love. 

When we have our hearts truly turned to Jesus, then obedience is like breathing.

Let’s read the rest of that section of Psalm 119…

Evil people try to drag me into sin, but I am firmly anchored to Your instructions.  I rise at midnight to thank You for Your just regulations.  I am a friend to anyone who fears You- anyone who obeys Your commandments.  O Lord, Your unfailing love fills the earth; teach me Your decrees.  Psalm 119:61-64

My closest friends are those who truly fear the Lord.  Those who obey too.  It’s good to have friends of all kinds, but it’s important that our inner circle be those who are equally smitten with the Father.  It will encourage our faith, bolster our hearts during trials, and help us to cultivate greater obedience.  We hold each other up…it’s important for us to surround ourselves with others who are passionate about loving Him. 

A friend loves at al times, and a brother is born for adversity.  Proverbs 17:17

The Fountain Day 153: Promise

This week has been hard…for us personally.  Yes, there’s been a lot happening in the world around us, but it has also been happening to our household.  The deluge of enemy attack has been at a fever pitch.  When we feel this type of intensity, we have a choice…will we avoid it or will we sit in it and allow the Lord to teach us?  When emotions roil up and you feel the deepest things…those are the moments when you know breakthrough is eminent. 

But it’s what boiled up from the bottom of my soul that shocked me…I felt forsaken.  Yes, as I lamented the attacks we’ve been under, and the fierceness of the enemies focus upon us that I don’t understand…it’s been going on for so long in certain areas that I felt forsaken.

Jesus knows what that is like…my ever faithful Brother is never short on empathy.  He ALWAYS knows exactly what I feel, because He’s felt it and even worse.  

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  Mark 15:34b

When it finally came out of my mouth that I felt forsaken, then all the tears could come.  There was no more hiding, no more trying to be strong and good…I was laid bare and all I had left was tears and worship.  I spent hours at the piano.  Hours bringing God the most powerful worship.  Our worship during sorrow is a special offering we can only give while living on the earth.  When we worship Him in Heaven, we will have no more sorrow or tears…so we may as well, leave it all down here.  All the disappointment, all the fear, all the pain…this is the sweetest offering. 

As I worshiped it out, I finally worked my way back to the promise…

Remember Your promise to me; it is my only hope.  Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.  Psalm 119:49-50

There are some irrefutable promises that God has made to us.  These are things that we’ve known He will do, even when it looks impossible.  These are things that others bear witness to, agree they will come to pass.  They are solid.  They will happen.  I believe it with every fiber of my being…even on the hard weeks.  I live in the hope of the Promise…

We have promises of things to come while we are on this earth…and we have the Promise…Jesus…Who is our Savior.

What more do we need?  We have everything when we have Jesus.  It’s His great pleasure to lavish His love upon us.  He has storehouses of blessings for us…it’s His pleasure to lavish us with blessing.

The Lord will open to you His good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands.  And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.  And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down.  Deuteronomy 28:12-13a

We lay hold of these promises God.  Thank You for Your love.

The Fountain Day 152: Holy Faith

Times are challenging.  Things are feeling crazier every day.  The events that have occurred this week are horrifying…and devastating things are still happening in other countries…  The tug of war within the church feels appalling.  The political divide feels more like a canyon…everything seems to be showing it’s true colors…it’s a time of removing the chaff from the wheat…and some things we felt we could count on, have turned out to be chaff.

It can feel disappointing and very confusing, but…this is a time we must build ourselves up in our faith…and pray in the Spirit. 

I don’t know about you, but I have zero idea what to pray over these current events…it’s simply too much to comprehend.  When I’ve gone past my own reasoning mind and am at a loss, I pray in the Spirit.  When I feel like I’m overcome and can’t see a way through, I pray in the Spirit.  Even when I go for my daily walk, I pray in the Spirit…because it’s good to do every day…because it builds us up in our faith.

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.  Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.  Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy mixed with fear- hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.  Jude 20-23

I really love the way these verses remind us that we must show mercy to those who doubt…mercy mixed with fear.  That is such wisdom.  So often we feel like mercy must just be absolute.  Those with the mercy gifting often seem to struggle with the “mixed with fear” portion.  Mercy can be easily manipulated. 

I believe much of the “woke” culture is a product of perverted mercy.  Mercy must be tempered with much wisdom…and the fear of the Lord is the beginning of such wisdom. 

I believe it’s time for us to return to the root…to return to the basics of our faith.  We must re-embrace mercy but temper it with fear.  How would your world view change if you approached it with such reverence? 

We must hold fast to our most holy faith.  We must continually grow in that faith.  We need mercy.  We need fear of the Lord.  We need to be acutely aware that if we don’t maintain a healthy fear of the Lord, then we too can be swayed by the teachings of the world…the teachings that have become corrupt.  The teaching from pulpits that don’t even have a smidge of truth in them anymore. 

Mercy and fear.  It’s foundational.  Solid building blocks for our most holy faith.

To Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father- to Him be glory and power for ever and ever!  Amen.  Revelation 1:5b-6

The Fountain Day 151: Knowledge of God

What does it benefit man to know of God? 

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who though the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours.  Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  2 Peter 1:1-2

Just the introduction of 2 Peter is life altering and revealing.  In the opening prayer he releases grace and peace…through the knowledge of God and Jesus.  The Prince of Peace.  Just knowing of God and Jesus brings grace and peace. 

It strikes me in this moment that maybe this is why so many churches are filled with those who still don’t have Jesus in their hearts…yet we think they do because they are there all the time.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s because they have been in relationship with so many of those who have the knowledge of God and Jesus that they are experiencing a measure of the grace and peace. 

Have you ever been around a group of really steadfast and holy people?  I have, and when I am around them, I feel the peace they carry.  I feel the grace. 

Fortunately, I too carry the Prince of Peace inside…but even before I did, I gravitated toward those people because they made me feel so comforted.  People with the Spirit of God inside are very attractive.  They are attractive because of that peace and assurance.  We can feel the grace they carry inside…the knowledge of grace. 

Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them.  And this is how we know that He lives in us:  We know it by the Spirit He gave us.  1 John 3:24

If you are a believer, you carry that too.  Whether you feel like you do or not. 

We carry the answer inside. 

We have been given the opportunity to share grace and peace with a lost and dying world.  We are to be ambassadors of His grace and peace, through sharing the knowledge of Him.  Through sharing the gospel. 

I know we keep circling around to the gospel of Christ…but is there any more important thing?

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.  Dear friend, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.  Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins.  And in Him is no sins.  No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.  1 John 3:1-6

And this is the testimony:  God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.  1 John 5:11-12

The Fountain Day 150: Honor

The Bible gives us so much wisdom.  It’s unbelievable how much we can glean from absorbing its words on a daily basis and allowing Holy Spirit to make us wise.

Here we again read that our posture must begin with humility.  Wisdom walks humbly…

Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor.  Proverbs 15:33

You know, one of the first thoughts I have in regard to that verse is, I want to be honored with His Presence.  Above all things, I desire His Presence.  What if humility precedes us having the honor of His Presence?

When a person has true wisdom, they are able to walk humbly…it’s those who have put on false airs that are so prideful.  When a person has tried to elevate themselves, then pride must stand as the wall that supports them.  It’s the insecure that are prideful.  Pride is a major indicator of insecurity…it reveals a wall of cards.

Remember that next time you’re dealing with a challenging person.  When you see through someone’s pride and discover the root, it’s much easier to be kind. 

I’m not gonna lie, prideful spirits hit me like the stink of rotting flesh.  It’s a major turnoff.  It repels me.  I struggle to be around it.  But Jesus constantly walked into crowds of prideful ones and always maintained His peace.  That’s convicting.  He always spoke truth, while maintaining peace. 

I want to be honored with His presence when I face challenging people.  I want to walk through life so soaked in the Presence of God that prideful spirits are drowned when they come near me.  So soaked in His Presence that it floods every space before and behind me. 

Come like a flood, God.  Come like a flood and wash away all my enemies.  I surrender to the flood of Your Presence.  You are the only Way.  You are the only Truth.  You are the only Life.  Without You, I have nothing.  Everything is loss compared to Your Presence.  Consume me.  Consume me with Your fiery Presence.  Don’t send me away without it.  Don’t hold it back from me.  I am completely desperate for You.  I will honor You with my whole life.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you:  God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.  1 John 1:5-7

Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does- comes not from the Father, but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.  1 John 1:15-17

The Fountain Day 149: Lead us to truth

As believers we need to understand that apart from God giving each of us a revelation of Who He is, then we will never know Him…Unbelievers aren’t looking for Him.  They don’t recognize Who He is…

Remember this scripture…

If you love Me, obey My commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, Who will never leave you.  He is the Holy Spirit, Who leads into all truth.  The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him.  But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.  John 14:15-17

We, as believers, do know Him.  We can act like Him and follow Him and share Him with the world, but if they don’t have an encounter with Him, then they will never really know Him.  It’s up to us to spread the gospel…sure…but it’s up to Him to save.  He calls hearts.  He softens hearts.  He calls to those who will be His. 

The pressure is on His shoulders.

He alone can lead us to Truth.  When we share about Him, it’s so important to share the full gospel.  The entire, politically incorrect gospel…and then allow Him to do the rest.  We should never shy away from the Truth.  If people are offended with the Truth, they are offended with God.  That’s between them and God.  We have got to stop making the gospel about us.  It’s all about Him. 

We will never convince anyone to accept God into their hearts…God does that. 

We must pray that the world…those who are lost…will begin to seek Him.  If they seek Him, they will find Him. 

We know who and Whose we are…and because we do, we must act like our Brother, Jesus.  This was His response to knowing Who He was…

Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God.  So, He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin.  Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him.  John 13:3-5

He knew He had all authority and He came from God, and His response was to wash His disciples’ feet.  As believers and leaders of any kind, we must return to this humble posture…

We are called to serve.  In all that we do, we serve.  I’ve noticed an upside downness in the church culture that places pastors and leaders as celebrities…I believe it’s time to flip that and draw our hearts to serving again…laying down our lives for friends.  The change can begin here, now.  It can begin with you and me.  I am willing to be changed, are you? 

Let’s hold each other up as we surrender to being servants again. 

God, forgive me for any time that I have preferred myself over others.  Forgive me for any time that I have set myself higher than others.  Lead me in Truth.  Show me how to live each day and each interaction with others.  I belong to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Fountain Day 148: Better with friends, bitter with enemies

After spending years allowing God to decide who I have intentional friendship with, I have discovered the true importance of who I spend my time with.  We all tend to meld toward those who are in our daily circle.  Our friends influence us and we influence them…so it’s important to be really careful.

There have been many times that I have desired a meaningful friendship with a person, but they didn’t seem to desire to know me.  Over time, I realized that each of those unrequited friendships ended up being with a person who turned out to not be good for me.  God was protecting me by keeping them distant.  What felt like rejection, was actually the shadow of His wings keeping me safe.  Other times there have been people that I didn’t really notice much at first but end up being fantastic friends. 

These are just a couple of examples about the importance of allowing God to link together all the relationships in your life…not just your spouse.  It is always baffling to me how everyone wants God to lead them to the right spouse, but they never even consider needing to be a diligent with friendship. 

All of this leads me to this verse…

A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate.             Proverbs 15:17

I would definitely enjoy any meal with someone I love over a steak with any of my enemies. 

Did I say enemies?  I can just hear you gasping…well, there are some people who really don’t like me.  Am I to call them friends, or can I just be honest that they hate me, therefore they see me as their enemy.  I don’t seek to consider anyone my enemy…but when a person in your life treats you with hostility and back biting and slander…what are they?  They are an enemy.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Psalm 23:5

What a comforting thought. 

Even when a person undervalues you or treats you with contempt, you can trust that God will prepare a table for you.  You will never be excluded by Him.   He keeps a place for you at all times.

It’s really good to start looking at your circle of relationships and evaluate how many people you engage with regularly that you can tell dislike you.  Then ask God if there are any people that you are free to walk away from.  Also, ask Him if there are good friends in your midst that you have not yet noticed?  Allow Him to guide and direct your eyes to notice those who are meant to be part of your squad. 

This is a season of deliberate relationship.  Begin with family, then look out at your nearest friendships.  It’ll be so worth it.  I promise. 

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  Proverbs 17:17

The Fountain Day 147: A little or a lot

There are many references in the Bible to the pointlessness of having a lot when you have nothing relationally, emotionally, and spiritually.  That is exactly what we are seeing manifested on the earth right now.  The anti-Christ spirit is perverting those with a lot to attempt a hostile takeover against the world.  They are pushing their one world agenda daily.  They have moved past democratic ways of grasping it, to completely overt grabs.  It’s sickening.  It’s confusing.  It can be scary.

But, when you boil it down, they are the exact ones God references in the Bible, time and time again. 

They have a lot, and nothing all at the same time.  Riches don’t bring fulfillment.  Sure, they can add to the richness of life, but only if your heart is pointed in the right direction.  Otherwise, they pervert and cause people to have false importance.  We see this played out by Hollywood elites every day.  Riches don’t make you more intelligent.  That’s for certain. 

Better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil.         Proverbs 15:16

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom we are told in scripture.  This is the unmitigated truth.  For our existence to have any true significance we must surrender it to Christ.  Otherwise, we are just a resounding gong. 

I have had a little.  I have had a lot…not a lot in some standards, but more than I had ever known before. 

What I have found is, happiness and joy have nothing to do with what you have financially.  It is a position of the heart.  Sure, it’s fun to have the things that money provides…vacations, fun toys, etc…but those things don’t define joy.  Joy is an inside job.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through Him Who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:11-13

Contentment is far too often forgotten.  We serve ourselves best when we learn to press into contentment.  It’s a key to joy…and joy is our strength…so contentment is like strength training.

In a world that glorifies more and wanting more…we fight best when we learn to be content. 

I am content with God.  Pressing in for more of His spirit, I am content at the same time.  It’s a glorious collision.  Contentment and holy hunger.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  Matthew 5:6

Let’s allow our desire to be pointed in the right direction.  Let’s hunger for Him…not things of this world.  Let Him bring abundance to you as icing on the cake, not out of a false sense of entitlement.  Let Him give as He will according to His glorious riches.

As we enter the season of God shifting the wealth of the wicked to the righteous, let us remain content as we receive…and let our hunger only be for righteousness. 

The Fountain Day 146: Attitude is everything

Two people can experience the exact same set of circumstances and respond on completely different ends of the spectrum.  One can face trials and find strength they’d never known before.  They can come through the trial with gratitude and reaffirmed faith in God.  While the other person can come through the same thing and see only the problems.  That person can spend all their time reminiscing on how terrible life is for them and see themselves as a victim.  They only see the negative.  They see life as something that happens to them and causes them trouble. 

What is the difference?

Position of the heart.  We daily make decisions about how we will view our lives.  We each wake up with an opportunity to live a full life and take advantage of each moment.  We are all given the same chance to live the fullness, no matter where we are and what our circumstances are at the moment.

For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.             Proverbs 15:15

When we decide to look for the good, we will find it.  The opposite is also true.  When you search for the bad and negative, you will surely find it.  Life is what you make of it.

Life is largely about attitude.  With a “can do” attitude, nothing is impossible.  With a “can’t do” attitude, self-sabotage reigns.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  Proverbs 17:22

Our health is directly influenced by our attitude as well.  That’s something to really stew upon.  Positivity has enormous repercussions in our lives.  In so many different ways. 

I want to take today to again, reinforce the truth that when we focus on God over circumstances, our lives are much more peaceful and secure.  When we take our eyes off God and look around at earthly things, we are much more likely to begin to feel fear and anxiety…and lose trust.  When we ask God to give us His view of life, we will find victory.  No matter what, victory is always possible in one way or another.

When God reigns over our mind, our attitude is more heavenly aligned. 

I encourage you to take time today and assess where the majority of your thoughts are focused.  Have you lost sight of God?  Have you glorified earthly problems over God’s sovereignty?  Do you truly know and believe that nothing surprises God?  Do you truly know and believe that God makes a way for you no matter what? 

Take a minute and ask Him what He thinks about the situations that are causing you to feel fear.  Then live like you believe in His goodness.

Our hope is God.  He alone can untangle this earthly mess.  So, what if instead of hitting away His hand and staring at the mess while fretting; we keep our eyes, hearts, and minds focused on Him?  Then we will see that He has made a way for us.  In all things, He makes a way for those who love Him…who are called according to His purposes.

He is the Joy set before us.