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.

The Fountain Day 145: Thief of Joy

Today while walking, I was pondering how comparison is truly the thief of joy…but then I dove deeper and realized that comparison is the thief of many things…

Comparison is the thief of joy.  Confidence.  Peace.  CONTENTMENT.  Family.  Marriage.  Success.  Creativity.  Growth.

When you really think about it, comparison is a game ender.  It literally kills good things.  There isn’t really a time that comparison has helped me in any way…even when comparing made me feel I was doing better than someone else.  “Why?”, you may be asking.  Well, because pride is the fruit of winning in the comparison battle…and pride is the root of many sinful things.  Pride is root killer, honestly.  It goes in and perverts, tangles, and corrupts our root system. 

We have got to stop comparing ourselves to others.  We simply must.

Imagine your life now…without comparison.  What would you do differently?  Where and how would you feel more free?  I would wager that many things would change for all of us. 

As I press into family, more and more, I also am pressing further into eliminating the comparison trap.  To do so, I’ve disconnected from a lot of unhealthy things.  I’ve even had to sweep out my social media followers and those I follow.  If I realize that seeing a certain person’s posts begin to make me feel bad about myself on a consistent basis, then I simply click unfollow and move forward.  I only follow accounts of strangers that make me feel encouraged to embrace this new life we are reaching toward.  Doing these two small actions, is making such a difference in my life.  What I really learned was I don’t owe anyone access to my life.  Access to my family is a privilege, likewise, I am privileged to receive access into lives of those I love.  Since realizing this, I hold all relationships as more sacred.  Which makes all of us feel more valuable.  It’s a win-win.

Have you allowed comparison to steal from you? 

It’s never too late to make changes and take back your joy!

Today is as good a day as any to start cleaning out and re-prioritizing.  I promise it will be ground-breaking. 

God, forgive me for allowing comparison to steal from me.  Forgive me for not always realizing that You are my only gauge in life.  Your thoughts are all that matter.  Please teach me to walk in freedom.  Lead me with Your vision for my life.  I lay down all my fears and embrace Your strength.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.  Galatians 6:4

But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.  1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12

The Fountain Day 144: Butterflies of Creativity

The fruit of obedience in my life is very often…creativity.  I love the way God moves in me when I surrender to Him.  I don’t do it for the gift, but I sure do love it!  It’s something I can count on.

One morning this week, the day after I took a step of obedience, I woke up and felt butterflies of creativity fluttering all around me.  My insides were literally whirling with creative juices.  The times in life that I felt most fulfilled, are times when I feel creative.  It’s like life breath to me.  Are you like this too? 

Right now, I leaned back and closed my eyes.  I saw God’s heart…and I saw my hand reach out to touch it.  When I did, I could feel it coursing with creativity and compassion.  Full of grace, brimming with mercy.  I want to be a woman after His heart.  I want to care about what He cares about…and hold fast to what He holds fast to.  I want to know Him better.  Don’t you?

This is the single-minded pursuit of my life.  Laying all else aside to pursue Him.

I don’t ever want to forget the First thing…my First Love.  It’s so easy to get distracted by everything else in life.  But the reward of pursuing Him is far greater than any earthly accolade or reward.  He is my first priority.

When we place our life in the position of God first…all other things after…it sets us up for a deluge of blessing.  It places us in the waterfall of His presence, and we never thirst.  It seats us at His banquet table, and we never hunger. 

I pray that today you take time to re-focus your heart and mind on Him.  Lean in and ask if there are any steps of obedience you could be taking…but are avoiding.  If there are, commit to just doing it!  Do it and then reap the reward of blessings.  Do it because you love Him.  Do it because you trust Him more than yourself.  When God shows you a step to take…just take it.

When we step where He says to step, we find that He is already there.  He goes before us. 

We are a privileged people.  A royal priesthood, a holy nation.  We need to remember that.  We also need to remember that with great privilege comes great responsibility.  We are responsible for obedience. 

God, please highlight any steps You’re wanting me to take.  Give me wisdom.  Lead me in peace.  Give me the courage I need to face each day.  I desire to follow You in every way.  I don’t ever want to grieve You with my disobedience.  Please forgive me for any time I’ve walked in disobedience.  I adore You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Do you see someone skilled in their work?  They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.  Proverbs 22:29

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10

Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft.  Exodus 35:30-33

The Fountain Day 143: Anchor

We have an Anchor.  One Who is stronger than any storm.  One Who is larger than any wave.  One Who is secure.  He holds the world in His hands.  We can trust His strength to never fail.  He is power…

We have an Anchor.  Not built with earthly hands.  Not contrived from any imagination.  No, He was and is and is to come.  He was before… 

We have an Anchor.  He knows exactly where we are and what we need.  He is in our every moment.  He hears every word and prayer.  He knows every thought.  He knows…

To this Anchor I hold fast every day.  To this Anchor I return, knowing I can never drift away.  He is the Anchor of my soul. 

He can’t forget me because I’m the apple of His eye.  He knows me better than I know myself.  He hears my thoughts before I think them.  He is the only Constant in life.  The only One I can always count on.  He will never leave me. 

I belong to Him…and He belongs to me.  What an amazing concept!  What a humbling idea. 

He is a fountain of grace.  His mercy is pure.  He is the only One with no agenda.  Jealous only for my heart.  My beautiful Anchor.

Where does your hope lie?  Where are you tethered?  Who do you turn to?  Who do you trust?

We trust in You, God of the universe.  You alone are worthy.  We trust in You, Alpha and Omega…only You are the beginning and end.  We trust in You, for You never lie.  Lying would be outside Your character…It is impossible for You to lie.  What security it is to know the One Who never lies. 

You are Truth.  I adore You.

I hope that today you will read the following scripture out loud.  Remind your own heart how great our God is, and tell your mind to be still and rest in His power.  He makes your way.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.  Matthew 24:35

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.  Hebrews 6:19

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.  Psalm 62:5-6

Bless the Lord, O my soul!  O Lord my God, You are very great!  You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering Yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent.  He lays the beams of His chambers on the waters; He makes the clouds His chariot; He rides on the wings of the wind; He makes His messengers winds, His ministers a flaming fire.  Psalm 104:1-4

The Fountain Day 142: Cultivate

Whatever you sow into daily is what you will reap.  If you sow into busyness and distraction, then you will reap from that field.  But what if you chose to step away and cultivate things that take time?  What if you chose to step out of the walk of the world and chose a more simple way of life?

In doing so, I have zero regrets…except wishing we’d done this sooner. 

My hope in writing these devotionals is that you will learn how to lean in and discover God’s best for you and your family.  No, it doesn’t need to look like mine.  We aren’t all created to fill the same space.  But I do hope that as you continue to journey with me, you learn how to listen to God’s unique rhythm over your own life. 

If by reading and praying with me every day, you begin to disconnect from unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of “them”…and tap into your authentic heart, then that is what I consider success. 

Cultivate: 1. prepare and use (land) for crops or gardening. -break up (soil) in preparation for sowing or planting.  -raise or grow (plants), especially on a large scale for commercial purposes.  -grow or maintain in culture.  2.  try to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill.  -try to win the friendship or favor of (someone).  -apply oneself to improving or developing (one’s mind or manners).

Wow, the definition of cultivate is ripe with analogy.  It’s actually unbelievably pertinent.

In this final half of the year, I hope that you will truly lean into cultivation.  Our hearts need to be broken up and made ready for planting. 

We all need to acquire and develop new skills.  Actually, I have been really leaning into this facet of the word.  My brain needs the healthiness that comes from creating new neuropathways that occur when learning new things.  I find myself constantly looking around to see what I want to learn next. 

Creativity is like breath to me.  I need it all the time.  No matter what I’m doing in a day, I do it better when I feel creative.  I was born to create.  My soul bursts with the desire.  Doesn’t yours?

Holy Spirit is creativity.  When we are filled with Holy Spirit, we can’t help but want to create and learn.  When the Source of all things is churning within us, it drives us to find newness all around. 

What are you cultivating?

When is the last time you learned a new skill?

No matter what season you are in, I guarantee you will find fullness when you incorporate learning.  It is life. 

Like a plant growing roots in the ground to drink in more of the water that it needs to grow and thrive…that’s what we are like when we commit to learn new things.  Cultivate new talents.

Cultivate. 

I encourage you to lean into this word today.  Pray over it and ask God what He is desiring to cultivate within your heart. 

Trust in the Lord and do good; live in the land and cultivate faithfulness.  Psalm 37:3

The Fountain Day 141: Habitation

I closed my eyes and asked God, “What do You want to say?”  Immediately, I heard the word “Habitation”.

Habitation: the state or process of living in a particular place.

We are His habitation.  We carry His Presence.  Jesus is in our hearts.  What does it mean to you that we carry the Holy Spirit within us at all times? 

I believe it’s time for us to truly flip the script.  The enemy roars and gnashes his teeth.  He’s loud and intimidating.  He demands.  He accuses.  But friend, we literally carry the God of the Universe inside.  What do we have to fear?  What should be able to intimidate us?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

When we walk in the righteousness and habitation of God, we are assured that we will always be provided for, have a safe home and peace.  This is a beautiful promise.

And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.  My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwelling, and in quiet resting places.  And it will hail when the forest falls down, and the city will be utterly laid low.  Happy are you who sow beside all waters, who let feet of the ox and the donkey range free.  Isaiah 32:17-20

When we truly know the Word of the Lord, then we will live different.  We become bolder, more certain, unshakeable, a force to be reckoned with…we become brave.

The world needs believers who are truly convinced of their position in the kingdom.  Believers who are secure in their Hope.  The world needs believers to live out their identity.

Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways.  You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.  Psalm 128:1-2

Over and over in scripture we are assured that we are blessed, yet so many of us act like we’re not.  Believe me, I understand that our thoughts on this are always being challenged.  Listen, this month has been hard regarding work and finances…and several times I’ve wondered where this blessing is…but when I return to the truth, I am fully confident that no matter what things look like, God is making our way.  He is not behind.  He is not short on cash.  He hasn’t stopped loving us, knowing us, or caring for us.  No.  It’s just the enemy roaring at us in an attempt to turn us away from our promised land.  We are taking strides to move forward, and the gnashing of teeth has been severe, but we refuse to relent.  We will see the goodness of God in the land of the living.  We will not stop.

This is when it’s important to know and believe that you are a habitation of Holy Spirit. 

If God is in me then I cannot fail.

What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  Romans 8:31

Let’s live like we believe this!

The Fountain Day 140: Changing of the guard

Where is the Lord right now?  How could the wicked be ruling and the righteous be called evil?

The Bible makes it clear that in the last days they will call good evil and evil good.  It also talks about wars and rumors of wars…all things we are currently experiencing.  It should be clear to every believer that the current rule of the land is not godly…yet, somehow, many seem to be falling for it. 

Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom.  And He healed every kind of disease and illness.  When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  He said to His disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.  So, pray to the Lord Who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields.  Matthew 9:35-38

Now is the time to dive deeper into God’s word, be steeped in His Presence, share the full gospel of truth…this is the harvest season.  I certainly don’t want to be found lounging in the shade when the sun of the harvest is shining bright. 

I feel myself in a constant state of urgency.  It’s deep within my spirit.  An urge to make the most of my time, doing things that are real.  To walk away from every worthless task and focus in on what is eternal. 

The Lord’s hand is on America.  He established our nation for the advancing of His kingdom on earth.  Whether people want to admit it or not, it benefits all godly, in every nation when America is strong.  America.  One nation under God.

This is where the Lord led me this morning…

The scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous, for then the righteous might use their hands to do evil.  Psalm 125:3

I believe the time of the wicked ruler will be cut short and the transfer to the righteous is eminent.  The Lord is calling on His people to rise up in prayer.  To agree with His Spirit.  To enter into a deeper walk with Him and learn to hear and obey His voice.  All of the things being done to sabotage and squeeze the American people, are just serving to strengthen our resolve. 

One thing I know about the American people, is that we are an industrious people.  We are not only survivors, but thrivers.  We adjust, adapt and are not easily defeated.  We are wise.  We are stable.  We see.

God is now stirring up this within us.  Don’t fight it.  Turn toward it.  Is He calling you off the beaten path?  Follow.  Is He directing you to create something or start a new business?  Don’t fear, start it.  Is He pulling you into discipleship or evangelism?  Don’t doubt, start walking it out.  This is the hour of stirring.  This is the hour to see and hear the One.  The Voice that knows all things.  Ignore the screeching of the earth and tune your ear toward heaven and embark.  Embark on the journey of your harvest.

This is the season when we the people will rise.

The Fountain Day 139: Enthralled

Recently, while spending time with God, He spoke to me that He was enthralled with me.  I knew the word, but really didn’t know the specific definition, so I looked it up.

Enthrall:  Capture the fascinated attention of.

Then I searched the Bible to see if the word “enthralled” was contained within it…

Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.  Psalm 45:11

This Psalm is listed as a wedding song…

What a beautiful picture.

Isn’t it just like the Lord to lavish upon us such a beautiful word?  He is gracious.  When I consider it, I realize that we do choose whether or not to allow Him to be enthralled with us…just like the Psalm says, “Let the king be enthralled…”.  I believe, even though I don’t fully understand, that we can hide ourselves from God.  Being seen is a choice. 

Now, don’t get me wrong…God is Sovereign.  He knows all things, can see all things…but as we saw in the garden with Adam and Eve they hid from Him.  Now, I am very certain He knew exactly where they were, but He also knew they were hiding from Him.  He calls us out.  He invites us into His Presence, to be seen. 

Are you willing to be seen?  Will you also allow the Lord to be enthralled with you? 

I became enthralled with God years ago.  I have since been desperate to stay in His Presence.  I ask Him to be in every day.  I sit with Him every morning.  He is my first choice.  My most certain choice.  Walking intimately with Him for this long, has led me to feel comfortable in His gaze.  I invite Him to see all of me.  I never hide from Him.  Even on my darkest day, I come fully to Him, and invite His gaze.  I stand naked and unafraid before His Presence. 

His gaze is alarmingly assuring.  His gaze is never something that causes me to feel insecure.  Quite the contrary, when I feel Him looking upon me, I only feel loved and accepted.  The King of the Universe…when His attention is on me, it’s an honor.

The Lord is gracious and righteous, our God is full of compassion.  The Lord protects the simplehearted, when I was in great need, He saved me.  Be at rest once more, O my soul for the Lord has been good to you.  Psalm 116:5-7