The Fountain Day 357: Burning hearts

Can you see it?

Flames of Heavenly fire.

Can you hear it?

The flaming chorus singing around the eternal throne of God.

Oh Lord, release the fire of Heaven into each and every one of our hearts today, in Jesus’ name.  Pour out the baptism of fire over us.  Release the embers from around Your throne over us, so they can burn away anything within us that is not in full alignment with You and Your plans. 

The walk of today is not for the faint of heart.  It’s for those willing to carry a flame so piercingly bright and fiery that it burns through every lie.  A fire so pure that hell cannot resist it and must flee.  Anointed people so consumed with the holy fire that they affect every atmosphere they walk into, and even those they only pray over.  Let even our sweat come out as molten lava, filled with the presence of God.

It’s time for the laid down lovers of God to make their move.  We’ve been waiting in the quiet place.  We’ve been refueling and relearning.  We’ve been healing and soaking.  We’ve been seeing the new thing God is beginning to do.  Now it’s time to move. 

Move out church!!!  Resist.  Occupy.  It’s time for the church to take over the 7 mountains.  We are to be the cultural influence. 

We hold the only thing that brings real life.  Real joy.  Real fulfillment.  Real peace.  Eternity is within our hearts and our words.  Release.  Release the living word of the Lord into the earth from our mouths. 

Let righteousness stir you deep.  Down in the deepest places of your heart, let righteousness stir and begin to boil…then let it boil over into the world burning away every lie and deception. 

The consuming fire of God is ready to fall upon the earth.

Can you feel it?

That stirring…the stirring you feel for the One you love.  Your first Love. 

There is a fountain in heaven that roils with burning fire.  The fires of true revival.  Revelation.  The revelation glory. 

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.  The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.  That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.  2 Peter 10:13

The Fountain Day 356: Failure

Sometimes I fail. 

Even with the best of intentions, a wonderful quiet time in the morning, and Jesus in my heart…I can head out to embrace the day and fall flat on my face. 

Sometimes I let my family down.

Even though I love them more than anything, but God.  Even though I have devoted my entire life to being a solid wife, raising my children, and cultivating a positive, peaceful atmosphere in our home…sometimes I lose my peace.

They say failure is not an option.  I say, failure happens.

We all fail sometimes.  It’s what we do next that matters.

Failure can be a launching pad for success, if we decide to learn from it. After you fail do you simply give up, or do you intentionally stop and reset?

This is key. 

Too often I see people who simply give up when all they really needed to do was humble themselves and start again. 

Failure is never permanent unless we decide to let it be.

Imagine being Peter.  You walked with Jesus, learned from Him, ate with Him, lived every day with Him…then at the last minute, when it seemed to count the most, you failed.

What would have happened if Peter let failure be permanent?  Imagine all that would have been lost…and the generational impact it would have made.  God had a redemption plan for Peter.  God knew that after being broken, Peter would be much stronger…and more humble. 

We all need to remember this… 

Our places of failure can be transformed into our places of greatest breakthrough and anointing.

“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with You to prison and to death.”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know Me.”  Luke 22:32-34

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love You.”  Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.”  Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?”  He answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.”  Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”  The third time He said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?”  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?”  He said, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”  Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.  John 21:15-17

The Fountain Day 355: Jesus is enough

As we head toward Christmas day, I just keep feeling drawn to Jesus…I keep thinking that He is enough. 

Jesus is enough.

In the midst of all the trees and gifts and social engagements, Jesus is standing there.  We proclaim He is the reason for the season.  As we head into Christmas week, I am truly trying to tune my heart that way.  Keeping Jesus first is intentional.  The world will do its best to distract from and distort the message of Jesus. 

This devotional is meant to encourage you to fully embrace the Savior this Christmas.  Remember this scripture as you head out to celebrate with family and friends. 

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.  See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.  Colossians 2:6-8

Our lives can be that simple.  Staying rooted and built up in Him…strengthened in the faith…overflowing with thankfulness.  Thankfulness is a constant theme in scripture.  So much freedom comes with and from gratitude.  It is a source for us…a place to access peace. 

With gratitude and thanksgiving…that’s how we are to enter His courts.

The second portion of the scripture is equally convicting…”See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”  These thoughts are the thoughts that I have been training my mind to focus upon.  What in my life is based on human tradition and worldly principles, yet has nothing to do with Christ?  This is a tough question that leads to the beginning of true change.  It’s been so shocking to see how much of my life has been based on what I was told, not what was actually Jesus. 

We can’t afford to be lazy Christians.  We must be diligent. 

God, forgive me for anytime I’ve lost focus on the cross.  Draw my eyes to Yours all day, every day.  Jesus, be the center.  You are my hope.  You are my firm foundation.  You are all I need.  Fill my broken and empty places.  Be my friend when I feel like I don’t have a friend.  Be my choice when I can’t decide what to do.  I place all that I am, and all that I will ever be squarely in Your hands.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  Colossians 4:2

The Fountain Day 354: Manger

I see it now, can you?  In the still of the night, in a shelter built for animals, there was a manger filled by the King of kings.  It’s like at this moment I can see myself kneeling next to baby Jesus.  Seeing Him in such a vulnerable state.  It reminds me that I should never be afraid or ashamed to be vulnerable with others. 

Honestly, in this day and age, genuine vulnerability seems to be some sort of superpower.  Everyone seems to avoid it like the plague. 

Vulnerability is not the same as being a victim. 

It’s being open to sharing.  It’s not having to lord over others.  It’s allowing people to see you.  Giving them an invitation to also be seen. 

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful Christmas gift to those around you, if you allow yourself to be more vulnerable? 

Maybe with your spouse…maybe with your kids…maybe with your parents and siblings…or trusted friends. 

The other thing I feel while imagining myself next to the tiny manger is…simplicity. 

I just can’t seem to get away from that…the simplicity of how He came.  The simplicity of the Gospel.  His invitation to continue to press into the simple.  I feel it every day.

Every time I turn toward my family and focusing on our smaller, yet more focused life, I can see how this invitation will grow over time.  Now that I’ve been consistently focusing on us…I am seeing new vision for our future.  Things that are so close to God’s heart that the only way to access them is from this place. 

God has been spending years calling me closer and closer still.  Every time I felt like I’d gotten closer…He’d whisper…come closer still. 

He’s inviting you too.  He longs to hold you closer to His heart.  To share His secrets with you and whisper love into your ears.  He longs to show you the deeper dreams that He has for you. 

Can you hear it?  The sound of His heart beating over you.  Can you see it?  The gleam of His eyes shining as He takes in the sight of you.  Can you feel it?  Heaven shining over you.  He is nearer than near. 

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 confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Therefore, My dear friends, as you have always obeyed- not only in My presence, but now much more in My absence- continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.  Philippians 2:9-13

The Fountain Day 353: Group dynamics

As a person who is largely an introvert, I often find being in a large group a real challenge.  Large groups exhaust me and often leave me feeling overwhelmed, confused, or even ashamed from interactions that I feel others misunderstood.

This includes when my family is all together…there’s almost 30 of us…it’s a lot for me to process and I’ve learned over time that if I am going to successfully be with all of them, then I’m going to need moments when I can step away for a bit and clear my head…moments when I can reconnect with my own family unit (Chris and the kids) and remember who we are separate from the extended family group.  The entire family coming together requires an enormous amount of compromise.  My children inevitably have a lot to process with me during and after these times.  Foods they had to eat, but don’t like.  Dynamics with relatives that are not their favorite.  Feeling looked over because they are older, and more emphasis is on the younger kids.  It’s hard.  I would be doing my own children a disservice if I didn’t allow for them to process and have pockets of time when we get away and focus on them…and remind them that to us…they are the most special children in the world. 

The group overwhelm is something that I also must deal with when I go to group parties and work events with Chris.  Those are really hard for me because…I’m suddenly thrust into a group who I only see once a year.  I don’t really know any of them and we are very different. 

This last weekend we had a work party to attend.  It went far better than those of the past though because Chris and I remained connected and focused on each other, over the group.  We chose to use it as a chance for us to get away.  Then when I needed to speak with others…strangers…I could feel Holy Spirit guiding me.  I chose to take a slower pace and allow my ears to hear Him guiding my tongue.  This made it far easier to engage…though some of those people will never really understand me.  That’s ok.  I kept reminding myself that I don’t need their approval or to even be understood by them…I simply needed to be lovely.  To let our kindness be seen over time.  To allow others to see Chris and I live through many seasons, staying steady and faithful to each other.  Basically, I felt God invite me to allow our lives to testify.

I don’t know how you feel about group dynamics, but I wanted to use today as an opportunity to lead you into being intentional.  Intentionally set the dynamic in your heart first.  Then, intentionally head into the Christmas weekend.  Be kind to yourself, so you can be kind to others.  Consider your family first, then extended family and others after.  Be a touchstone for your children.  They might not like groups either.  Be aware of their cues and how they may be communicating discomfort with you.

We honor God when we honor those He gave to us as our first ministry.  The ministry of family. 

The Hurst huddle will be set in stone and all other interactions are secondary.  I believe that if we all focus this way first, then the season will be so much more successful. 

“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”  That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is untied to his wife, and they become one flesh.  Genesis 2:24

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.  Mark 1:35

The Fountain Day 352: Out loud

There are moments when God leads us right into the release that we are searching for, yet He does it in a very unexpected way.  I had one such moment last week.

I had been feeling “off”. 

For days I had felt a little sad and just couldn’t shake the feeling of being stuck where we are in our family’s moving process…basically, I was facing a lot of feelings of frustration.  I grabbed my Bible one morning as I prepared for my daily reading, and I felt a Holy Spirit nudge to read scripture out loud.  I complied.  After one or two words, I found myself sobbing.  I mean really sobbing.  As if a dam had broken in my heart, all the frustration and pain of the last several years came tumbling out.  I thought of different people and situations of pain from years past, and the grief came freely flowing.  It was a huge release. 

As most of you know, I read the Bible in a year…so I never know what scripture I’ll be reading each day…and this particular day, as I began to read aloud, it was Joel 1…about the many different kinds of locusts and how they had devoured everything.

That was not a coincidence. 

I could feel the devastation of the last few years…the first devouring happened in 2016.  Then things turned around and we felt we were finding our way out…then 2019 came with a striking vengeance to lay waste to what was left.  Wave after wave of locusts have come.  There is no denying it.  I was still deep in this release of sorrow when Chris called me, and I just couldn’t stop the crying.  Our entire conversation was accompanied by moments of me breaking down sobbing, and saying, “I don’t know what’s happening, but I can’t stop crying.”  Chris met me with enormous kindness.  It was actually very beautiful. 

The release I needed came.  Unexpectedly.  Provoked only by reading the Word of God aloud. 

God’s mercy is amazing to me.  He never loses His ability to “wow” me with His relevance.  He sets me up to receive healing.  He sets me up for blessing.  He is so loving.

When we respond to the slightest nudge from Holy Spirit, we will find freedom we never imagined.  That’s the crux of this story…obedience.  I felt the nudge…and I didn’t even think about it…I just obeyed. 

Oh, that I would be so obedient every day and in every way. 

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Galatians 5:25

At the end of this release of sorrow, I felt spent.  Then the joy came.  Pure and glorious joy.  Oh, God, Your mercy is so unending.  Your love is more than I could ever fully imagine.  I am struck by severe gratitude.  Thank You.

Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!  Philippians 4:4

The Fountain Day 351: Work

I feel like many of us have come out of the last few years wondering if our priorities have been in line.  I see a lot of people feeling the draw to farming, homesteading, and generally leaning more into a simple way of life. 

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I do believe God used the full stop of 2020 to create a moment of new awareness in His people.  We were all laid bare and were forced to reconnect with our families…which was a wonderful blessing!

Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.  Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.  It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to His loved ones.  Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.  Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.  How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!  He will not be put to shame when He confronts His accusers at the city gates.  Psalm 127:1-5

I think these verses really put things into perspective.  These are the moments I am leaning into these days. 

What is wasted work in my life?  If I’m feeling constantly tired, then where have I left an opening in my “city” walls?  If I’m feeling anxious in making ends meet, then where do I have a breach in the walls around my life?

We are called to more.  We are meant to live in God’s fullness.  I believe we can come to a place where we walk in the constant fullness of God.  I want to live that way.

If I am going to work hard, I want it to be for the right things.  I want to be working where it counts. 

I have learned that we are fully capable of wasting our whole lives working for what ends up being nothing.  I don’t want to waste anymore time. 

I’ve had to work hard to remove my “yes” from being automatic.  I now pause, consider, and pray…then make decisions.  Our time on earth is far too fleeting to be wasted.

Lord, help me to work at the right things.  Give me clear vision for the things You desire for me to build.  Take my hands off anything that You don’t desire for me.  Lead me.  I will follow.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.  But whoever obeys the law is joyful.  Proverbs 29:18 

The Fountain Day 350: Declare

There are times in life when we must take hold of God’s truth and begin to openly and vocally declare it!!

There are moments when you can change the momentum around your life by declaring the promises that God has given you in Scripture.

When the Lord brought back His exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream!  We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy.  And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”  Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!  What joy!  Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert.  Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.  They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.  Psalm 126:1-6

Years ago, God gave me a wonderful and kind vision.  I remember where I was standing when it happened.  It is just as real to me today, as it was then…and the above scripture relates to it.

I was crying while interceding…I don’t even remember what I was troubled about…but I was crying a lot.  God spoke to me, “I am holding all your tears in My hand and I’m using them to water the fields of your future.”  I said, “Well, I’m crying a lot so it better be a big field, or it will be too much.”  I saw a field and then it expanded.  He said, “I am increasing your fields.” 

Only God would take a heartbreaking moment, met with an honest reply from me…and meet me with increase.  God is increase.  He multiplies.

Today, I call on the God of multiplication and ask for Him to multiply things in our family…to the point where we can move forward with victory and success.  I ask, God, that today You would turn things around.  I am asking You for “suddenlys”…an immediate deluge of answered prayers.  I have prayed many years over things we are contending for now.  I ask for delay to be laid to waste and no longer able to interfere.  A succession of sudden suddenlys is what I am asking for God.  Let it be so.  Lord, I know that sometimes angels are held up, warring in the heavenly places.  Lord, if that’s the case for us, then I ask that You would send in reinforcements.  Lord,  release release over our lives.  Release release.  I call heaven into earth now, in Jesus’ name.  I ask all of this in Jesus, name…Amen.

How joyful are those who fear the Lord- all who follow His ways!  You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.  How joyful and prosperous you will be!  Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home.  Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table.  That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear Him.  May the Lord continually bless you from Zion.  May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live.  May you live to enjoy your grandchildren.  May Israel have peace!!  Psalm 128:1-6

The Fountain Day 349: Covered by the blood, hidden from sin

I have spent some time lately, reflecting upon what it means to have all my sins forgiven.  You know, Jesus died on the cross before any of us were ever even a thought…He died in advance of our sins…though He already knew them.

He already knew every sin we would commit when He died.  He saved us when we came to Him, though He knew that we would still sin.  It just blows my mind.

What also blows my mind is trying to imagine how God sees me.  I’m always covered in Jesus’ blood.  I believe that when I asked Him into my heart and for forgiveness of all my sins, it was finished. 

I kept having this vision recently…

I saw myself in a sin, yet Jesus’ blood was between me and the Father.  I wondered if this was how God sees us? 

Only God really knows.  That’s the real answer.  But this vision was powerful.  I can’t get it out of my head. 

I then imagined that every time I sinned, God saw my innocence instead…as far as…what wounding I was acting out from, what level of maturity He was working out within me at the time…the things that show where my heart really is in that moment. 

Does this make sense?

At different times, I’ve had different levels of understanding and have been in differing stages of process…working things out while trying to move further from sinful ways…yet, still sinning in one way or another.

These are all complex thoughts, I know.  But they are provoking none the less.

None of this is me condoning sin.  None of this is me saying we shouldn’t try to lead blameless and holy lives.  All I’m saying is that sometimes I wonder.  I wonder about the covering Jesus provides and if I truly am understanding it fully. 

I know this is a good thing to process because it always leads me to Jesus.  It leads me to my dire need of Him.  Any thought process that reminds us of our desperate need for Jesus, seems like a good thought process to me.  It is good to be reminded of His absolute greatness.  He is so loving and kind.

God, I ask that You forgive all of my sins…those I know of and even any that are hidden.  Please forgive my unbelief and lack of faith.  Forgive my stubbornness.  Forgive my doubt.  Forgive my frustration.  Forgive me of anytime that I have been ungrateful.  Thank You for the cross.  Thank You for pouring Yourself out for me.  I adore You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you and your hope will not be cut off.  Proverbs 24:14

The Fountain Day 348: Resistance

As I was in prayer about what believers and conservatives should be doing now…I heard one word, “resistance”.

Resistance.  This is our new posture. 

Resistance: the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument. 

There is so much fraud going on in our government, cities, states, educational systems.  The voting machines are a joke.  The cheating is so blatant and unrepentant…and also unprosecuted…and it’s causing the weak at heart to despair and start giving up. 

But we are being called to the Resistance!!!

Arise church!! See the season and respond accordingly.  What type of a warrior would give up in the middle of a war?  A dead one, that’s who.  If we desire for our Constitutional Republic to last, then we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and go fight another day. 

God has been calling His warriors for quite some time now…but I’ve been shocked to see so few responding to this call.

It’s time for the Resistance.

Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  James 4:7

This conveys continual action…resistance.

God didn’t give us the prophecies in the Bible, the ones about what is to come…for us to just pack it up and head for the hills at the first sign of trouble.  There will be a time to head for the hills, but this certainly isn’t it.  There are a lot of things that still must occur.

Don’t misread or try to accelerate the times.  God holds the time in His hand. 

We are called to be the Resistance.  We do it for the Lord.  We do it for our children.  We do it for our children’s children.  We can’t be so self-centered that we don’t care what kind of world we leave behind for those we love. 

Wake up church!  It’s time to Resist. 

Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers; and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.  Proverbs 16:20

A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.          Proverbs 17:24

If a man pays back evil for good, evil will never leave his house.  Proverbs 17:13