The Fountain Day 225: Communion

I was asked to write for a daily communion challenge, and I was so taken aback by what the Lord revealed to me that I just had to share it with you here, as well…Here is that posting.

As I take daily communion, I cannot escape thinking about its connection to perseverance…

Perseverance seems to be a largely lost art, as in the world, we so desperately cultivate the easy way…but scripture tells us that perseverance is completely necessary…

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4

I want to be complete and mature, lacking nothing.  The road to that is perseverance…the same road that Jesus walked as He was on this earth.  It was perseverance that gave Him the grace to walk with mercy in the face of mockers and those who tried to prematurely kill Him.  It was perseverance that stood within Him that longest of days when He was beaten…and eventually was nailed to the cross.  I cannot imagine the suffering of Jesus…I know that allowing myself to be beat beyond recognition, when I knew I could escape at any moment, like Jesus could have…well, the level of perseverance He had is unparalleled. 

Communion reminds me that no matter the cost, I will pay it.  And the decision to pay it happens now…in the day to day.  I will never have the courage in the heat of the moment, if I don’t cultivate that decision daily.

Communion and perseverance…I can’t seem to separate the two.

As one of my devotional readers, I ask if you too will join in on a communion challenge.  Set aside the next 30 days and commit to having communion each day.  It will be surprising how this practice grounds your heart…and also re-connects you with the greatness of Jesus’ sacrifice.

One thing is certain, we can never thank Him enough.  Another thing I’ve noticed is that He is always looking to deepen our connection with Him…but He’s looking for those who are willing.

I am willing, Lord.  Lead me deeper into Your heart and teach me what communion is all about.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you.  Do this in remembrance of Me.”  In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood.  Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.  1 Corinthians 11:23-26

The Fountain Day 224: Oily Fire

Many times, lately, I have had a vision of my piano…I keep seeing a fire in the bottom belly of the piano…and I saw from above oil pouring out over it…the oil was feeding the fire.

Day after day, I had this same vision. 

Day after day, God was calling me to worship. 

I love worship…but I have been coming out of a strange season…a season that left me wondering if leading worship was my main calling anymore.  The big question in my life, kept swirling around my mind.  I felt the enemy pressing against me and trying to cause me to question myself…causing me to question where my place is to be…causing me to wonder if I was supposed to be transitioning into another form of ministry.

The resounding answer was that worship is my heart.  It’s the pulse of my life.  I hear songs all day long.  Life is a soundtrack to me.  God has placed songs inside of me…songs He longs to hear.  The answer is that when I worship, things change.  Heaven hears.  Angels join the song.  God delights in it.  Worship is in my DNA. 

We are all made to worship.  But some of us are made to lead it. 

Basically, I’ve been in a season of coming to terms with who I am created to be and allowing God to move me forward in that place. 

I am a voice.  I didn’t ask to be…He told me I was. 

When I operate in the anointing that He’s placed on my life, then it releases a heavenly oil on my life and stokes the fire in my soul. 

When you find your sweet spot, you too will be releasing oil from heaven and stoking the fires of the Spirit…and this is exactly what the world needs right now. 

Believers on fire. 

I encourage you to take time over the next few days or even weeks and press into God’s heart asking Him to reveal to you what you are created to do.  What is the area He’s given you a voice to contribute?  Where does He want your focus to lie?  Then simply say, “Yes”…He’ll work out the details as you go, but your initial agreement is step one.

To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.  All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.  Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.  The Lord works out everything to its proper end- even the wicked for a day of disaster.  The Lord detests all the proud of heart.  Be sure of this:  They will not go unpunished.  Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.  When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, He causes their enemies to make peace with them.  Proverbs 16:1-7

The Fountain Day 223: Old Testament

I have heard many people speak about how confusing the Old Testament is when you look at the nature and goodness of God.  I want to encourage you today to not shy away from the importance of knowing both the Old and New Testaments. 

The Old Testament has so much gold to be found.  It also reminds us that it was Jesus alone Who made a way for us to enter heaven.  It’s His death and resurrection that paid our bill.  We are hard pressed to realize how sinful we are when we avoid the Old Testament.  It tells a great story of falling away and redemption.

It stirs up a sense of gratitude and humility. 

Don’t avoid the very thing that is a catalyst to being open to being changed…to seeing yourself in truth, not in vanity. 

We were born sinners into a sinful world. 

The New Testament is wonderful, and I love it so much, but I can’t rightly read and comprehend it without having also read the Old.  They are together for a reason.  To be joined. 

Never let anyone deter you from the importance.

I’ve heard pastors say they discourage new believers from reading the Old Testament and I think that’s such a shame…but I also now see that’s possibly one reason for the lack of maturity we see so often in the Christian community.  And why we see a generation now of those who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions. 

Yes, read the New…but don’t forsake the Old.  

We must wake up!!  Believers must arise from our slumber and embrace the fullness of God…

We appreciate salvation so much more when we truly realize how wretched we are without it. 

Your Word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.  Your faithfulness continues through all generations; You established the earth, and it endures.  Your laws endure to this day for all things serve You.  If Your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.  I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have preserved my life.  Save me, for I am Yours; I have sought out Your precepts.  The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder Your statutes.  To all perfection I see a limit, but Your commands are boundless.  Psalm 119:89-96

The Fountain Day 222: Keep doing good

Quite often lately, I can hear these words ringing in my head…

“Don’t grow weary in doing good…for in due season you will reap a harvest of joy!” (Gal. 6:9)

I know that scripture well…there’s also this one…

Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.  Psalm 106:3

What strikes me most about this are the words following those above…

Remember me, O Lord, when You show favor to Your people, come to my aid when You save them, that I may enjoy the prosperity of Your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of Your nation and join Your inheritance in giving praise.  Psalm 106:4-5

I love scripture…it teaches us so much. 

How often have you wondered how much you can ask for from God?  How often have you toned down your requests to the Lord to make sure you’re “appropriate”? 

I have toned it down a lot over the years…but now, I boldly pray, and I know that if God wants to reign it in, then He will direct me. 

You have not because you ask not…those words ring in my mind a lot too.  Seems like God is truly desiring to teach me about effective prayer in this season, and I’m here for it.  Let’s look at the words after you have not…

You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.  James 4:2b-3

There’s the crux of it all…motives.  So, we must ask God to examine our motives…teach us to pray…give us faith to believe.  It’s all up to Him from start to finish.  Every part…

If we belong to Him, then what does that mean for how we keep plugging away and doing good?  It means we remember that we will receive a reward.  Guess what?  It’s ok to look forward to being rewarded…we’re made that way.  Motivated by seeing reward in the distance. 

It was for the joy set before Him that Jesus endured.  It’s for the joy I see coming that I persevere through my day to day.  So, we keep doing good.  We remember the reward will come in time.  We stay faithful to the God Who is forever Faithful.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9

The Fountain Day 221: Look to the Lord

What is the answer on days when you feel weak?  What do we do when weariness rules the day?  What do we do when we feel stretched beyond belief and can’t seem to escape the pressure?

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.  Psalm 105:4

Yes, it’s just that simple! 

The older I get…the longer I walk with Jesus…the more I see that no matter what happens, good or bad, I must look to the Lord, His strength and seek His face. 

When I am in turmoil, I seek Him.  When I rejoice in victory, I seek Him. 

He makes it so easy for us…when every answer is the same, then we always know what to do. 

Seek His face, look to Him and His strength. 

This is why worship is so crucial to our lives.  This is why walking with Jesus is best when it’s simply kept…simple…seek His face always and in all things…look to His strength and not our own.

Simple.

The gospel is the simplest thing there is…it’s such a shame that our minds work so hard to complicate it. 

What do we do when we’re weary?  

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-29

I had an encounter with God’s yoke exchange just the other day. 

I went out onto the deck to clear my head and focus my heart because I had an appointment with a client shortly…as I sat and breathed deep, I asked God to come.  Then I saw a large landscape…it lifted and when it did, I felt a burden come off me…and the Lord spoke, “It’s hard to look forward to the future when you are weighed down with today.”  Like an arrow, it shot straight into my heart.  I asked God to take my burden and give me His…and the exchange brought a long-lasting relief.

His yoke truly is easy, and His burden is so light.  It’s a joy to walk with the Lord.

What do we do when we are worried about the craziness in the world around us?

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  Psalm 46:1-3

He is our everything.  We can hide in Him.  Again, the above scripture reminds us that He is our strength.  Our ever-present help…our God is an awesome God.

The Fountain Day 220: White Dove

As a supplement to the devotional from yesterday, I wanted to share a deeper look at God’s benefits.  I am certain God is trying to teach us all something about being completely tapped in to all that He is and trusting Him more…

Today, while praying over something that I often pray about and have for the last several years…I asked God, “How do You want me to pray about this?  I want to pray prayers that are answered, I don’t want to just worry in prayer.”  Immediately, as I thought this…I saw my hand and in the palm was a white dove.  Then it flew away.  The Holy Spirit came down on Jesus in the form of a dove when He was baptized…I knew, this dove represented the Holy Spirit.

Still, I wondered, what does this mean about my prayers?  Then I heard the words, “Forget not His benefits,” in my mind.

So, I went to my Bible and found this Psalm…

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.  Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits- Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, Who satisfies your desires with good things so that Your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.  He made known His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel:  The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.  He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.  As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.  As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.  But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children- with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.  The Lord has established His throne in heaven and His kingdom rules over all.  Praise the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding, who obey His word.  Praise the Lord, all His heavenly hosts, you His servants who do His will.  Praise the Lord, all His works everywhere in His dominion.  Praise the Lord, O my soul.  Psalm 103

Sometimes when we pray, we are to contend.  Sometimes, we need to partner long term with a request and refuse to let it go.  But there are other times, when God says to release, so that’s what we should do.  If you want to pray answered prayers, then you absolutely must partner with Holy Spirit.  Ask how to pray for each thing, and then tailor your prayers.  It’s not really one size fits all…it’s about relationship and intimacy.  It’s about listening, learning, and growing.  Right now, I have things I’ve prayed for a long time and its now time to fully release them to God.  I’ve done the work of petitioning, but if God shifts the focus, then we have to be attentive.

Knowing all the benefits God listed above, makes that easier.  It’s a comfort.  I can rest upon them.  I can trust.  If God is Who He says He is, then I can also trust that He’ll do what He says He’ll do…I can trust His benefits…and so can you.

The Fountain Day 219: Acting on Truth

I love it when God uses everyday situations to speak a deeper truth to my heart…I had one such instance just yesterday.  We had company and when one person was about to sit a hot dish on the counter, she asked me if she needed to use a potholder.  I said, “No, it’s safe to sit hot things on the counter because it’s granite.”  She replied, “Well, so is mine, but I’m always worried so I put something under the hot things before I sit them down.”  In my mind, I was thinking, this totally defeats one of the best benefits of having granite…not worrying about cracking, burning, or scarring the countertop.  Then it hit me…

If we have something with great benefit, it only matters if we use it…if we are always afraid of being let down, then we will never experience the joy and ease of the benefit.

What do I mean?

A relationship with Jesus carries many benefits, and I wonder if you’re taking full advantage of them…or are you afraid they might not be true, and you might be let down…so you operate within a boundary that God never intended?

Freedom comes through Christ…walking in freedom comes from trusting He is Truth.

There is no such thing as your truth and my truth…there is only the Truth…which is actually a wonderful thing because it means that we can know with certainty what is true and what is a lie.  The Spirit of Truth gives us wisdom.

We’ve read this recently, but I feel God is really trying to soak this in…

But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.  He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.  He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you.  All that belongs to the Father is mine.  That is why I said the Spirit will receive from Me what He will make known to you.  John 16:13-15

When we want to know truth, we must be connected to Holy Spirit.  When we hear the Truth, our next step is to act on it.  Act like we believe what we have been told.  Act in faith.  Truth is truth regardless of your belief…but truth becomes powerful when we act in agreement with it.

Does this make sense?

God is constantly looking for agreement.  He’s looking for people who will partner with Him.  Here’s the secret…if we aren’t agreeing with God…then we’re agreeing with the enemy.

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.  2 Chronicles 16:9a

Remember, there was another time in scripture when God was moving, and the world was trying to distract with lies and accusations…Nehemiah and the wall.  (If you don’t know the story, I recommend you go read it.)  What I love about Nehemiah is his unwillingness to be threatened into responding as they wished…rather he saw the truth through the threats…

I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”  They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”  But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”  Nehemiah 6:8-9

I’ve heard pastors use Nehemiah as an excuse to be uninvolved in politics…but I see it as an encouragement to be fully under the direction of Holy Spirit in all matters.  Even when dealing with politics, we don’t respond as they require or expect, we respond from the Spirit of God…and pray also for Him to strengthen our hands. 

Nehemiah is all about acting on truth. 

God, let us always know the Truth.  Lead us into all truth and guard our hearts and minds from deception.  Fill our homes with Truth.  Let our marriages and parenting be led by truth.  Spirit of Truth, we invite you into every part of our lives.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Fountain Day 218: Troubled

I have felt troubled for the last week or so.  I can’t tell you exactly why, but it’s been a nagging feeling that I have to face every day.  All the pressures of regular life combined with the extra pressures of our crazy government right now…it’s troubling.  I find myself constantly asking God for peace and guidance.  This morning has been full of trouble…then I came across this…

Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.  John 14:1-4

When my day started today, I heard a strange water sound coming from my water heater closet.  I knew we had a problem.  Let me tell you a secret, the first thing I did was leave the room, sit down and focused my heart on the King.  I prayed and waited until all negative feelings were gone from my heart, asked for wisdom, then about half an hour later, I began making calls and figuring things out.  When the plumber came by and announced we need to replace our tank, I went to the piano and began to worship.  I’m dead serious.  I poured my heart out at the keys…and praised God for His faithfulness. 

I have been honest with all of you about our families continued struggle to get back on our feet, so most of you know…this was a hard way to start the day.  Yet, I surrendered completely in worship…then I heard a noise and realized we were receiving some much needed rain and looked outside…to discover a rainbow.

A rainbow.  How beautiful is that?  God’s promise shown like a prize from heaven and reminded me, yet again, that He is present.  Oh, how I love Him.  How could I not?  He is so loving and kind.

Troubles come and troubles go…it’s how we treat them that matters.  Do we allow them to take us over or do we command them into submission?  I have taken authority over my emotions.  I have taken authority over every menacing demon attempting to sabotage our family.  I’m not letting anything keep me down. 

God is faithful.  He’s just as faithful today during this challenge as He was yesterday.  He’ll be faithful tomorrow.  He also provides.  He has already and I’m so humbled and grateful. 

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27

The Fountain Day 217: Humble

I recently heard someone say that God is so much more humble than us.  That statement struck me in the deepest places, as I realized the truth of it. 

Imagine how much humility it takes to look at each person, full of their own issues and pride…and still lay down your life for them.  Accepting those who reject you over and over again.  Imagine being mocked and accused of not existing and still blessing those people.  Imagine being hated and still loving so much you laid down your life for a person.

Yes, God is way more humble than us. 

It’s a rather convicting thought, isn’t it?

I wonder how much humility we are to present to the world?  We all know the answer.  We are to be like Him…and He never holds back.

His way is the humble way.

I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.  He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you.  All that belongs to the Father is Mine.  That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is Mine and make it known to you.  John 16:12-15

Isn’t it beautiful that even toward the end…when Jesus knew His crucifixion was near He prayed for us…

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent Me.  I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them.”  John 17:25-26

No matter what was happening, Jesus’ thoughts were for us.  He was always thinking about drawing us near.  How great is our God.  It’s unreal.  It’s truly humbling. 

Even after dying on the cross, Jesus took time to come back and meet with His disciples.  He broke bread with them and instructed them.  His every thought was about drawing us near and giving understanding. 

It’s baffling.

Oh, how I hate every bit of pride in my heart.  Pride is the enemy of presence. 

I love how scripture says…

For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”  1 Corinthians 1:19

What have we to be prideful over?  We are nothing without Him.

The Fountain Day 216: Ruler

Who rules over you?  The president?  The governor?  The mayor?

It’s easy to get so distracted by earthly rulers that we forget our real Ruler is the Lord.  There is no ruler on earth who can usurp the Rule of God.  His Rule stands firm. 

God rules over me.  When Jesus became my Lord, He also began to rule over my life…if you have Him in your heart, then He rules over your life also.  I look only to Him when I am discerning the next step.  I don’t wait to hear from doctors or the government or even pastors…I lean into my Ruler.  With that in mind, let’s read this scripture…

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.  Isaiah 61:1-3

This is the portion of scripture that Jesus read in the temple.  This is describing Him.  We can look to Him for all of these things.  In this portion of scripture, we see many of His intentions.  Isn’t it wonderful that our King thinks about us so much?  Earthly kings and queens, emperors and princes undoubtedly think about themselves more than others.  They are raised in a sort of bubble.  People catering to their every need.  They don’t ever go out among the “common people”.  Our King not only walked among us, He first came as a baby in the womb…the most vulnerable position on earth.  It’s a marvel and a wonder, how much He loves us. 

Let’s not forget that we are subject to God, above any man.  The political landscape doesn’t inform us, He does. 

Why am I highlighting this?

Because I see the propaganda machine attempting to ramp up things ahead of the mid-term elections, and I am imploring you to get your news from God alone.  I believe we are to actively resist.  That machine is a machine of the enemy, don’t be fooled.  Listen to the Spirit and make decisions from whatever He tells you.  The greatest source of my peace has come from doing this.  I have stepped away from all mainstream news and have tuned my ear toward heaven instead.  This is the only place where truth resides. 

When we declare that God is our Source, we are hidden in His wings.  When we hide in His Presence, we become invisible to the enemy.  Hide away.  Hide away in Him. 

This doesn’t mean hide out and don’t interact with the world…I mean, even while doing your normal business, you can be hidden.  I stay subject to God everywhere I go.  I remain focused on Him even at the grocery store.  When I get gas, I’m praying.  As I interact with my family, I stay centered on Him.  The only way I can make it in life is to stay centered.

Find peace and let that guide you…Jesus is the Prince of peace.

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end.  He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.  Isaiah 9:6-7