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

The Fountain Day 138: All the way

When God speaks to us, and gives direction, He desires for us to obey all the way.  He doesn’t want our interpretation of it, He wants our obedience.  We’ve read the scripture…

But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord:  your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to His voice?  Listen!  Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”  1 Samuel 15:22

But have you continued reading…

Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols.  So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.”  1 Samuel 15:23

I’d say that disobedience has a high price.  Disobedience took Saul from being God’s anointed king, to having God’s Spirit leave him and God releasing a tormenting spirit over him…and what did the spirit of torment look like?  Depression and fear.  Read it here…

Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and the Lord sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear.  1 Samuel 16:14

Once again, I am convinced that depression and fear are spirits.  This fact seems to be supported several times in scripture.  I am more certain than ever that when we take our eyes off of God (The Spirit of the Lord) then we are much more likely to experience the torment…of depression and fear.

When we obey God all the way, even if the odds seem to be stacked against us, we have assurance.  Assurance of things hoped for…we have faith…

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  Hebrews 11:1

We don’t need to see tomorrow, to follow God there.  We only need to see God.  We need to know where He is and stay close.

How do we know where He is? 

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.  For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  2 Corinthians 3:17

There is a special kind of freedom we feel when we obey God.  It’s unlike any other thing I’ve ever experienced…and once you’ve tasted that freedom, you would rather die than do anything to block it or fall out of sync with it.  The joy I’ve found in following Jesus is so far beyond anything of this earth, that I will not tell Him, “No”. 

Obedience.  The key to freedom.

The Fountain Day 137: Through You

As we all face daily challenges and push back from the enemy, as we see things in the world that just don’t make sense, as our own government has betrayed us, as we wonder where this is all going…I find my peace in scripture.  God breathed scripture.

Keep it simple today, lay aside the worries and uncertainties of the earth and look into heaven through scripture, to find His perspective…

Through You, we push back our enemies; through Your name we trample our foes.  I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but You give us victory over our enemies, You put our adversaries to shame.  In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise Your name forever.  Psalm 44:5-8

It is through Him that we do all things.  It’s His power that wins wars.  It’s His voice that gives us wisdom.  He alone brings victory or defeat.  We have no right to take the credit.  In Him we boast.  He alone is capable.  He alone is worthy.

We must return to this simple truth.

As I read through scripture and observe the faith of those long past, I notice how important it was for each to consult the Lord on their decisions…and how there were always consequences when they didn’t.  All throughout the Old Testament, we read of prophets leading the way with their words from the Lord, and kings rising or falling based on their willingness to consult God before going to wage war, etc.  This need has not changed.  We need to consult the Lord every day.

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.  For people will love only themselves and their money.  They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful.  They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control.  They will be cruel and hate what is good.  They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.  Stay away from people like that!  They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires.  (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.)  These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses.  They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith.  But they won’t get away with this for long.  Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres.  2 Timothy 3:1-9

I don’t know how anyone could read the above scripture and not see clearly that these are the very times we are living right now.  I know the “church” is coming out with so much wokeness, but we must remain steadfast and hold only to the Truth.  The Truth doesn’t change on a whim.  The Truth is a Spirit from Heaven.  The Holy Spirit.

“When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on His own but will tell you what He has heard.  He will tell you about the future.  He will bring me glory by telling you whatever He receives from Me.  All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever He receives from Me.'”  John 16:13-15

This is what we all need to lean into now.  The voice of Holy Spirit.  The voice of Truth.  It is through Him, we will know what is right and wrong, what is true and a lie.  We must cling to Holy Spirit as if our very lives depend upon it…because they do.

The Fountain Day 136: Nectar

For as long as I can remember, the Holy Spirit’s presence has been described to me as honey.  I felt that honey pour over me during one of the life changing encounters that I had with God…and a few times since then.  It’s the honey that brought revelation to me that God’s Spirit is within me.  Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit honey…is what I call it. This morning as I was sitting in the Presence of God, I heard the word, “nectar”. 

Nectar: a sugary fluid secreted by plants, especially within flowers to encourage pollination by insects and other animals.  It is collected by bees to make honey. In Greek and Roman mythology; the drink of the gods. 

When we receive the gift of salvation, we also receive the gift of Holy Spirit.  It’s your decision what you do with that gift.  Holy Spirit is inside of all the saved ones.  When Jesus left the earth and ascended to Heaven, He did so that the Holy Spirit could be released over the earth…over every one of us.  Up until that moment, Holy Spirit only moved in certain ones and at certain times, now we all have access to Holy Spirit, at all times. 

“But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t the Advocate (Comforter, Encourager, Counselor) won’t come.  If I do go away, then I will send Him to you.  And when He comes, He will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.  The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in Me.  Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no more.”  John 16:7-10

Now we are like flowers with nectar within us.  When we are filled with Holy Spirit, we become conduits of the heavenly nectar of Holy Spirit.  Everywhere we go, we should be leaving deposits of nectar to encourage hearts to pollinate…we carry within us the nectar that bees need to make honey.  When we carry Holy Spirit within us, we carry the source of the honey.  The drink of the only God.  God’s honey…God’s nectar.  God’s Spirit.

In scripture there were multiple instances when it was described that warriors were out in battle and they took honeycomb and ate it and were refreshed.  People should be refreshed by time spent with us, not depleted.  That’s something to really ponder…are you giving or taking?  Don’t get me wrong, we all need to take sometimes, but a majority of our time is best spent giving of the Holy Spirit inside of us. 

In this hour, we must avail ourselves of the Holy Spirit like never before.  The world is swirling and there is an opportunity to return to righteousness and truth.  Things are moving.  Shifting.  Many only see the negative, but I see a powerful explosion of Holy Spirit taking over the earth and reforming righteousness in and through each one of us.  God is on the move.

In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.  Psalm 4:3

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.  For surely, O Lord, You bless the righteous; You surround them with Your favor as a shield.  Psalm 5:11-12