The Fountain Day 22: The Pruning

I have thought a lot about what my response should be when people don’t receive me.  What do I do when I come into a church or friend group and my walk with Jesus is more than they can handle?  Do I water myself down to accommodate others comfort levels?  Do I just stay quiet?  Those are my natural responses because I never want to be a bother to people, but I’m discovering that is not a godly response.  It dishonors not only myself, but God.

For years, I’ve wrestled with how people do or don’t receive me.  I have taken it on myself and tried to be less.  I’ve been told by at least one pastor that I have to reign it in around the main church population because they won’t understand me.  But in this late hour, I see the time for that type of behavior is over.  It was honestly never appropriate to “reign it in”, but the church (universal) demanded it from too many of us for far too long and look where it got us.  I never should have compromised…I won’t again.

This is a pruning season. 

As we discussed yesterday…the narrow way is the way to Heaven.  Why should we assume that narrow way behavior would be widely accepted?

What’s being pruned from me in this season is a deeply rooted and ingrained fear of man, particularly pastoral leadership.  Over the years, I have been under multiple pastors who were abusive to the body they led.  Some talked negatively about everyone in their “flock”.  Others made crude jokes before heading out to lead worship or preach.  I don’t understand these types of behavior.  And, when I took an honest assessment of them and had many discussions and listening sessions with God about it, I discovered I don’t have to tolerate that, I can walk away.  Walking away doesn’t make me prideful, it doesn’t mean that I think I’m better than someone; it simply means that I am guarding my heart and mind.  Staying under leadership that is riddled with gossip, slander and inappropriateness is not healthy for anyone.  In this season, God has been really revealing to me the importance of who we are under.  I’ve spent time looking back at every pastor I’ve ever had and have been asking God if I was led to be part of their flock because He led me there, or if it was because I had some habits birthed from woundedness that needed to be resolved.  The answer for several was, woundedness. 

Let me stop for a minute to say this.  I am not saying that pastoral staff must be perfect or even the most spiritual part of their church body.  I am saying that I will no longer be participating in a church that doesn’t have a culture of honor.  Because if a pastoral staff can’t honor their flock, then they will inevitably not be honoring God. 

It’s time for God to heal a deeper part of me.  A part that suffered at the hands of earthly men and never recovered.  Even after many years of deliberate heart healing, there is more coming to the surface.  The process of heart healing happens in interesting ways.  We can be healed of many things in a season and think, “Wow!  Now I’m good, and ready to forge my way in life.”  Only to be met with another layer of needed healing years later.  Why is this?  Well, because we are often healed a layer at a time.  The ones who walk a lively walk with God, are the ones who are always willing to be healed at the next deeper level.  I am willing.  Are you?

God, I forgive every pastor that has mistreated me in the past.  I do not go to church to worship man, I go to worship You.  Help me to stay centered on that.  I rejoice in my salvation.  I long to live a life of honor.  Lead me to leadership that also lives with a high priority of honor.  Lead me to those who are not jealous leaders.  Lead me to those who are true shepherds called by You to operate as pastors.  Lead me to my flock.  Forgive me of my sins.  Thank You for the cross.  I love You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

As you read the following scripture, I want to point something out.  A vine never stops needing to be pruned.  In the same way, we never stop needing to be healed.  We also never stop learning.  These are very important qualities to remember.  The scripture following these verses goes on to remind us that if we do not remain in Christ, we will be like a branch that’s thrown away and after it withers, is thrown into the fire and burned.  We must remain willing to be transformed and pruned to stay alive in Christ.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the Gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in Me, as I also remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.”  John 15:1-4

The Fountain Day 21: Never Enough

There are two things that I’ve learned are never satisfied, the religious spirit and the liberal spirit.  Somewhere in between lies the true heart of Christianity.  Somewhere hidden between extremes, is Jesus.  The Bible reminds us that…

“You can enter God’s kingdom only through the narrow gate.  The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14

These are words written in red.  Words that Jesus spoke.  As I’ve walked out this life that has drastically changed for everyone over the last two years and have seen so many people that I assumed were solid believers just cower in fear and/or cave to the mob mentality or pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ, the above verses ring truer than ever.  As I listen to the constant flow of lies coming from the liberal machine, obvious lies, that it appears anyone should recognize, I’m seeing so clearly that the liberal stronghold is fierce.  Both mindsets hold one thing in common that points to their being demonic in nature…they are NEVER satisfied.  In the eyes of religion, I am never good enough.  But I know that it’s Jesus’ blood that makes me righteous, not by works lest I boast.  According to liberalism, nobody is ever “green” enough, anti-racist enough, accepting enough…and the list goes on and on. Can’t people see they are only trying to destroy the moral fabric of America?  One nation, under God, indivisible. 

Liberalism and religion are most definitely spirits. 

Its impossible, in my opinion, to not see that.  What markers of a demonic spirit have you noticed in both of these camps?  Have you ever taken time to really address this?

Any belief that refuses to acknowledge absolute truth is obviously demonic.  Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father, except through Me.  John 14:6

The enemy is called the father of lies.  You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  John 8:44

Any belief that desires to kill innocent lives is demonic in nature.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.  John 10:10

Any belief that is puffed up with pride and haughtiness is demonic in nature.  (The following scripture is describing Leviathan) It looks down on all that are haughty; it is king over all that are proud. Job 41:34

Any belief that eliminates true grace and is rigid and unforgiving, is just as demonic as a belief that allows for a perversion of grace by saying everything goes.  Both extremes are innately demonic. 

I wonder when the world will stop being “woke” and instead be awake?

And do this, understanding the present time:  The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.  So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:11-12

The Fountain Day 20: The Future is Unknown

Years ago, when we moved into our home I couldn’t decide what to put on the walls in my bedroom.  Then one Valentines Day, Chris gifted me a painting.  It is so special to me.  When we got married we eloped, so the only pictures we have of that day are the polaroids that the Justice of the Peace had her husband take for us.  Chris found a company that takes photos and makes them into paintings.  You can imagine my shock and delight when he presented me with this heart felt gift.  Immediately, I knew I wanted it on a certain wall in our bedroom.  But the other side of the wall was still bare and really needed something.  I thought about it all the time.  Then one day, I realized (or was inspired by Holy Spirit) to find old windows to hang there.  I kept seeing it in my mind.  Two windows.  Imagine my delight when a year or so later, one of my sisters had a large white framed old wooden window to give away.  I knew right away I wanted it!  We brought it home and hung it on the wall.  I still knew I wanted an additional window to hang next to it, so I kept looking and waiting.  Then another sister randomly asked if I’d like an old window she had.  “Yes!!”, I replied.  When it arrived, I discovered it was a single window but the frame created four spaces in it.  When I hung it next to the first window…the Holy Spirit began to speak.

“Look at the painting of you and Chris, it’s a picture of the past.  Now look at the first window with one solid pane.  That’s a picture of the future I have for you and Chris…and it’s unknown.  Now, look at the final window that’s divided into four sections…that represents the lives of your children, and is also unknown.  There is a future for you all, but what it is, is still unknown to you.”

In a beautiful collision of years of planning and action toward simple decoration, God taught me something truly significant.  While I had been worrying and wondering about where we are headed and what it’s going to look like when we arrive, God has been planning a great adventure and is simply asking for my trust.  The windows demonstrated that we DO have a definite future, but it’s to His pleasure to ask for us to embark without knowing it all.

Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not seen.  Hebrews 11:1

This scripture has never been more relevant to me.  Thank You, God for Your promises.

I wonder, do you trust Him with your future without knowing what’s in store?  Today, I invite you into the collision of faith and trust.  Where the unknown becomes an invitation to adventure and a full life.  Leaving the control of the past and surrendering to ride the waves where He takes you.  Will you pray with me?

God, thank You for planning a grand adventure for my life.  I love that You take so much pleasure in creating it.  I choose to accept Your promise that good things are coming, even if I see no evidence yet.  I know it’s Your loving kindness that wraps around my life’s adventure.  I trust You.  I choose today to leap into the unknown, trusting that is where my fullness in You will be found.  Thank You for loving me.  In Jesus name, Amen.

The Fountain Day 19: The Dark, Messy Place

There has been a lot going on in my heart lately.  God has been uprooting some things I thought were long ago dealt with.  Things I have received heart healing prayer over and have forgiven others for, again and again.  One day as I lamented to God about my feelings, I had this thought, and it hasn’t left me since…I feel like I’m in the dark, messy place. 

This phrase is from a children’s book that I once read to my babies.  It describes the way the Gardener plants a seed.  The seed is so scared and calls it the dark, messy place.  Eventually, the seed feels things changing inside of him and one day suddenly he pokes up through the ground.  Finally, he becomes a giant tree.  I feel like that seed right now.

When God needs to do deeper work in your heart, it can feel super messy.  That’s why many just avoid it, but I refuse to do so.  I know He is doing this out of love for me, so I will surrender to His process…again…back into that dark and messy place because He’s working on deeper parts of me.  This is what happens when you pray daily that God will move deeper within you.  I have been praying that prayer for months, as well as, asking to be deeper in His heart.

But with every move closer and deeper there is always a cost.  This time the cost is confronting some deep wounds and really deep patterns of behavior.  This is the intimate work of sanctification.  The refining.  We don’t just get saved and then that’s it.  On the contrary, salvation is step one in a lifelong process. 

Yes, some Christians get their fire insurance and call it good.  But who wants “just good enough” when you can have so much more?!  I want more…a lot more. 

So, I have resigned myself to being in the dark, messy place.  I’ve done this because I know the growth will be worth it in the end.  

Are you willing to be uncomfortable?  Are you willing to be planted again?  To develop new growth and discover deeper places in God’s heart?  If so, pray with me.

God, I surrender to whatever growing season You have planned for me.  I lay down my pride for the sake of a closer walk with You.  You are worth it all.  I invite You into my whole heart.  I won’t hide anything from You.  I give You full access to me.  Come and fill me.  Change me.  Transform me.  I belong to You.  I only ask one thing, take me deeper into Your heart too.  Show me secret things.  Speak to me and bring me close.  I love You so much.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord, O my soul, I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.  Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.  When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.  Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them- the Lord, Who remains faithful forever.  He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.  The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.  The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but He frustrates the ways of the wicked.  The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations.  Psalm 146

The Fountain Day 18: What’s In A Name

The final part of the Abram/Abraham story that I want to discuss, Abram and Sarai’s name change.  It’s in the scripture below…

What’s more, I am changing your name.  It will no longer be Abram.  Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations.  Genesis 17:5

And

Then God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife- her name will no longer be Sarai.  From now on her name will be Sarah.”  Genesis 17:15

When they had their redeeming moment with God, he not only confirmed His intentions with them, but also changed what they would be called.  How beautiful is that?  He didn’t even refer to their pre-redeemed selves any longer.  What a beautiful reflection of the coming redemption we would all have access to through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

All throughout scripture, we see that names are very important to God.  He closed Zechariah’s mouth during Elizabeth’s entire pregnancy, until it was time for the baby to be named.  God had told he and Elizabeth the name the baby would be given, and at the right time, Zechariah opened his mouth and spoke, “His name is John.”  God changed Saul’s name to Paul after he had a redemptive moment.  God Himself, is given many beautiful names in scripture, each one affirming another part of His nature.  Names are important. 

When we find ourselves realigning our lives and allowing the redemptive power of Christ to flow through us, we may just find ourselves with a new name. 

Names are a way of saying, “This is who you are to Me.”

My name means: Consecrated to God or God is my oath.  I live out this name daily.  I think about it all the time.  In fact, right this very moment I’m in a season of consecration.  God spoke to me about laying some specific things down for the year, and as I did so, He spoke to me that I was consecrating myself.  What a lovely thought.  It drives me to hold onto my word and gives me motivation to live out what He’s asking of me. 

God also gave me a new name when I really gave my life over to Him as a young adult.  That name was, Mama.  I’ve loved living out that name.  What a gift.

What’s in a name?  A lot. 

Today would be a good day to research your name and find out what it means.  If you already know, then it’s a great time to ask God to help you live up to your name.  Your parents may have seemingly given you the name you have, but I think God has a hand in it every time. 

What’s in a name?  Often, you will see people do live up to them, for good or bad.  When we are walking with Jesus, we live up to the good insinuations of our name.  When we are living for the world, the opposite is true.  I’ve seen it time and time again.  I am always looking up the meaning of a person’s name when I pray for them.  It gives real insight.

So, take a minute, look up your name and pray for God to help you live up to it.  Determine to set your heart in that direction.  You may be surprised what happens.  And if you’re like I was years ago and feel so changed that you desire a new name, then ask for one.  Pray and ask for a new name, then spend your life living up to it.  It’s worth it.

Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:9-11

The Fountain Day 17: Renewed Promise

After considering the impatient actions of Sarai and Abram, I wanted to highlight the next thing that God emphasized to me…the renewal of the promise.

Yesterday, I feel like I glimpsed a deeper look into our hearts, as humans.  We are flawed.  We always will be, this side of heaven.  But what about God’s perspective? 

Read here…

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai- ‘God Almighty.’  Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.  I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”  At this, Abram fell face down on the ground.  Then God said to him, “This is My covenant with you:  I will make you the father of a multitude of nations!  What’s more, I am changing your name.  It will no longer be Abram.  Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations.  I will make you extremely fruitful.  Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them!”  Genesis 17:1-6

Obviously, this is a wonderful promise…but to me, it’s made 100 times more glorious because it’s a re-affirmed promise.  Remember this in Genesis 12:1-3?

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation.  I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.  I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt.  All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

Between these two groups of verses, is the story of Sarai and Hagar.  The birth of Ishmael happened, and it may have seemed that all was lost.  Can you imagine what Sarai and Abram must have thought after their bungled plan backfired in their faces?  Look at it in the lens of reality.  Meaning, these events literally happened, it’s not just a cinematic story.  This is an account of their real lives.  From that perspective ask yourself, “Would I still believe God would fulfill His promise to me after such a huge mistake?”  If you’re honest, the answer is more than likely, no. 

Yet, here we see later in Abram’s life, when his wife is beyond childbearing age and he is beyond his fruitful years…God restores the promise and this time puts a time stamp on it a little later…”one year time.” 

I hope you will read all the scriptures that I haven’t typed out here, because they include Abram attempting to give the blessing to Ishmael because he and Sarai are so old, but God replied, “No- Sarai, your wife, will give birth to a son for you.”   (Gen 17:19)

It’s a spectacular look at the redemption of God.  He held onto His promise, when they had let go.  Wow.  Let this side of the story sink in.  I wonder, is there a promise over your life that you feel you’ve screwed up far too much to receive?  This moment has a powerful capacity to bring healing and the redemptive power of Jesus.  Don’t be afraid to press in.  Take a moment.  Reflect on your promises.  Is there one that stands out as particularly painful?  If so, then I ask, “Will you pick it up?  Take a look at it…and ask God what He has to say about it today.”  Please pray with me now.

God, I want to thank You for Your promises to me.  I am so thankful that You are far larger than any mistake I could make.  God, help me to never hold the promises as more sacred than You.  But at the same time, help me to not discount any promise You’ve given me, as too far gone.  I believe every single word You’ve spoken over me.  Help me to live like I do.  Breathe, Oh breath of God, over my entire life story.  Let every promise You seek to fulfill in my life, be completely fulfilled.  When I lay down for my final rest, let my life be known as one well lived within Your promise.  I repent of any missteps I’ve made while walking out my life with You.  You know my faults even better than I do.  Please forgive me and set my feet in motion to walk more soundly with You.  I give myself to You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Fountain Day 16: Just Wait

Today begins a 3-day devo series on lessons learned from Abram/Abraham…This was originally a one devo idea, but every time I wanted to pen it, I had a new way of looking at things…so here we go…3 days on Abraham.

As we discussed yesterday, sometimes, I believe God waits on us.  He waits to include us in what He is doing.  Today, I want to discuss the times that we need to wait on Him.  If He is kind enough, as God of all that exists, to wait on us, then we must also learn to wait on Him.  Take a look at this…

Now, Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him.  But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar.  So, Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children.  Go and sleep with my servant.  Perhaps, I can have children through her.”  And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal.  Genesis 16:1-2

I’ve read this story hundreds of times, but you know how Holy Spirit sometimes allows things to hit a little different?  This time what kept leaping off the page was this, “So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children.”

Wait a minute?!  Immediately, I thought, didn’t God already promise Abram a legacy?!  So I looked back at Genesis 12:2 and lo and behold, here it is.  “I will make you into a great nation.  I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.”

God had previously promised to make Abram into a great nation.  That to me, indicates him having a family line of his own, right?

Then God began to show me the audacity of Sarai’s words and actions.  She had literally accused God of denying her/Abram what He had promised to them.  She blamed Him for the waiting.  I think I’ll let that rest on you spirit for just a second.  Wow.  Big time conviction flooded over me as I wondered how often I had been guilty of the same thing. 

Then I remembered a recent conversation I had with someone, and they had said, “Well, God promised me (such and such) and it still hasn’t happened.”  I remember when they spoke this, that I was aghast at the tone of accusation in their voice.  They wanted that bit of fame and influence God had promised, and as their later actions revealed, that promise was far more important to them than an actual relationship with God.  It makes me step back and re-assess my view of many leaders I’ve seen or been in close proximity with.  I wonder if I’ve ever held God’s promise over Him in such a bold way.  A way that completely invalidates the process, and the wisdom of His timing.   Self-promotion is a dangerous animal. 

Today is a heavy lesson, I know.  But that doesn’t mean it should be avoided. 

My objective today is that you would take an honest assessment of your own life.  Are there things God has promised you that have not yet been fulfilled, or are there places where you have taken matters into your own hands, out of impatience? 

Sarai regretted taking herself out of God’s timing.  In fact, we all still live under the effects of her actions, don’t we?  A whole nation came from Ishmael, and that nation has been challenging.  Tomorrow, we will discuss where we go from here, but today is a moment for revelation and repentance. 

Have you made this mistake of impatience?  If so, take time now and repent to God.  Ask Him to redeem your out of turn actions, and make them beautiful in His time.  If you’ve been angry with God because of, as of yet, unfulfilled promises from God, then take this time to repent of that and hand it all over to Him again.  Thank Him for His goodness and perfect timing.  Thank Him for using this wait to develop deeper character in your heart and mind.  He doesn’t withhold to taunt.  He’s always using every moment for our good.  Now that’s a promise to hold onto.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

The Fountain Day 15: He Waits

Earlier last year one of my sisters gave birth.  This was her second child, and as with her first, she invited me to be her birth coach.  As you can imagine, I was thrilled!  There’s nothing quite like being in the room when a new life enters and takes it’s first breath outside the womb. 

One evening as I was rolling over to go to sleep, she called.  It was time!! I was so excited, but prayed the whole drive from McAlester, OK to Little Rock, AR because I didn’t want to miss the birth.  Something inside of me knew the baby would come quickly this time.  So, as I drove, I prayed.  When I arrived and walked into the hospital room, I knew we were moments away from seeing this baby born.  I only had time to say hello, use the restroom and then suddenly all the nurses and doctor came rushing in and a beautiful baby was born after a few pushes.  It was intense.  A whirlwind of sorts.

Later, my sister told me that she had remained still and hadn’t done certain things until I arrived because she also knew the baby was coming quickly.  She too was praying I wouldn’t miss it.  What an amazing gift.

As I have pondered these events, I have realized some ways that this scenario coincides with the way God invites us to partner with Him.

He can do everything on His own, but He chooses to include us.  I wonder how often we feel like life is delayed or held up, but really, He is just waiting for us to arrive in the exact place He wants us to be to birth our miracle.  He could do it without us, but He loves partnership.

My sister didn’t have to have me present for the baby to come, but she wanted me to be there.  Isn’t that how God is too?

I implore you today to look around and see if there are any places in your life that God is trying to partner with you.  Have you arrived yet?  Are you stalling?  Have you simply not taken enough time to notice His invitation? 

He’s worth the wait for us, can you see today that He thinks you’re worth the wait too?

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.  The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.  Lamentations 3:22-26

God, draw me into position to partner with You in the creating of the miracle moments You are desperate to release into my life.  I say, “Yes.”  I will follow You anywhere.  I long to partner with You, just as You long to partner with me.  Help me to always be aware of the places You are moving.  Show me the open doors and lead me through them.  I receive the fullness of Your blessings now and forevermore.  I adore You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Fountain Day 14: Lock Eyes with Him

As one who has walked through many seasons of war and has been under spiritual attack so fiercely in this last season, I have learned one thing that is crucial to victory…to lock eyes with God. 

The times when I feel as if all may be lost and I just might not make it through, are the times when I realize that I’ve lost eye contact with God.  Just like Peter on the water, I must maintain full and focused eye contact with the Father, if I’m to make it through life’s battles unscathed. 

I lock eyes with Him in a storm.  I lock eyes with Him when I’m at a crossroads.  I lock eyes with Him when I wake up in the morning, because He knows that every day, I need Him. 

He is there. 

Every morning, every evening, all day long.  He’s there when I lay down and when I rise.  He’s there when I’m high and when I’m low.  He’s there when I succeed and when I fail.  I can choose to lock eyes with Him at all times. 

Can you feel Him right now?  I suddenly am very aware of His abiding presence in the room right now.  I hope you can feel it too, wherever you are.  He is offering you an opportunity.  A chance to move toward a deeper connection with His heart.  Will you accept?

As He moves toward me, my heart stirs.  His Presence is exciting and peaceful all at the same time.  Can you feel it?  He extends His hand to me, and I place my hand in His.  I accept His invitation.  Will you?

I’ve learned that so many things about God are presented as invitations.  As a Gentleman, He always asks.  Invites.  Waits.  Stands attentive. 

I didn’t plan for this devotional to go this way, but as I kept pressing in, all I could think about, see and hear was Him inviting you into something more.  Do you want more?

I long to be like Enoch.  I long to walk so closely with Him daily, that one day I’m just whisked away with Him.  Don’t you?

It all starts with these invitations.  Opportunities to move closer to Him.  Opportunities to draw near.  Choices.  Life is full of them.  This one is most important. 

It’s always in God’s heart to bless us, it’s us that are not always poised to receive. 

Let that sink in.

It is us that sometimes are unable to receive a good thing.  I’ve been pondering this for months.  I’ve been intentionally posturing my heart to be receptive to the blessings.  This can be hard when you’ve had a lot of disappointment.  But I’ve been striving to return to the original place of joyful expectation.  When I first entered into the deeper places of God, I expected good things to come.  I watched so many doors open.  Then it was time for me to mature, and the way God does that is through walking us through the trials of life.  We must guard our hearts in these times, lest we forget His goodness.  He allows the trials to mature us, so we are complete and lacking nothing.  But in the midst of the trial, we must still lock eyes with Him and remember His goodness. Remember what it feels like to be blessed.

Today, imagine yourself leaning back on the Father.  Let Him wrap His arms around you and pull you tight.  Then look up.  Do you see them?  His eyes.  What reflection do you see in them?  It’s always something beautiful and lovely…it’s you!

You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.  The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock- the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.  Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.  You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.  The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you.  They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.  The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to.  The Lord your God will bless you in the land He is giving you.  The Lord will establish you as His holy people, as He promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in His ways.  Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you.  The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity- in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground- in the land He swore to your forefathers to give you.  The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.  You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.  The Lord will make you the head, not the tail.  If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.  Deuteronomy 28:3-13

The Fountain Day 13: All Storms End

I don’t care what battle you are in the middle of, I don’t care what trial you are pushing through right now, one thing is assured this storm will end.

Praise Jesus that no storm lasts forever.  I breathe in that reality and watch as it clears out the fog in my heart that says this isn’t ever going to end.  I soak in the truth that no storm has ever lasted forever, and I have power and authority through the name of Jesus to speak peace to anything that I come across.  I rest in the arms that protect my life.  I lean into the chest of the One Who breathed life into my lungs, and I listen to the steadiness of His heartbeat, and it gives me courage to face another day.  He alone makes the crooked paths straight.  He Who has written my entire life in His book, will show me the way into my next chapter.  I can confidently rest on these thoughts.

I will make peace your governor and righteousness your ruler.  No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.  The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.  Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your sorrow will end.  Then will all your people be righteous, and they will possess the land forever.  They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor.  The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation.  I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.  Isaiah 60:17b-22

No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate.  But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah, for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married.  Isaiah 62:4

Today, I simply want to release a prayer of endurance and hope over you.  Will you join me?

Abba, I adore You.  Thank You for always being everything I need.  Your Spirit is perfect, and Your ways are true.  I lean into Your heart to receive the peace that I need today.  God, today I truly need hope for tomorrow.  I need hope that things will not always be this way.  I need hope that no matter what, You will never leave me and I will always be held.  God, I ask for a glimpse, a vision of the future.  Would You please release a vision of the future over me to help sustain me? To give me direction.  To give me hope.  I choose, this day, to believe You.  I believe that every word, every promise You’ve spoken over me will be carried out as You have said.  I refuse to deny Your promises.  Your promises are truth.  Wrap me in a blanket of Your promises and let that warm my heart in the midst of this long winter season.  I look forward to spring with joyful expectation.  I am surrendered to Your seasons.  I trust You.  Thank You for loving me.  Help me to love You even more.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so, they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.  Isaiah 61:7