The Fountain Day 324: Is it ok?

Sometimes as believers, I think we wonder if it’s ok to be successful.  We wonder if it’s ok to be established.  Sometimes, I have heard believers criticize successful people…but I know for a fact that those same people would feel happy as a lark to find that same level of success…they are criticizing from jealousy. 

This example and others, can cause us to wonder…is it ok to have success?

All you have to do is examine a little scripture and you will begin to find a treasure trove of evidence that not only is it ok to be successful, but God desires for us to be.

How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying His commands.  Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.  They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever.  Psalm 112:1-3

From Noah to Abraham, and Jacob to Joseph…David and Solomon…Esther…and the list goes on…

If being successful was wrong, then what about all these?

If success was wrong then how could any Dr., Lawyer, Judge, Politician, Actor…be godly?

I am bringing these instances to the forefront because I believe it’s time for us to be real with ourselves.  God is in a season of beginning to, strongly and firmly establish His people in key positions, but if we think every gain is sinful, then we could forfeit our opportunity to be used in wild and wonderous ways.

Let’s instead, embrace whatever it is that God calls us into…no matter how large or small it seems! 

I’ve had so many conversations with God lately about big and small success and desiring to become more secure in Him so that as life grows and contracts, I remain stable in Him. 

You just never truly know the plans God has for your life.  Yes, you may have a glimpse, but He holds the larger vision.  He shows us what we need to know, but He sees it in full. 

Are you open to His anointing and promotion on your life?  Are you open to it even if it seems small?  Are you open to it even if it seems larger than life?

I hope you answered, “Yes” to all. 

The hand that wrote your story, is the only hand to trust.  But we can trust Him just a little, or we can trust Him extravagantly.  I choose extravagance.  Do you?

Our success is something to celebrate…whether large or small.  Remember this…the enemy hates your success…but he can’t destroy you.  Praise the Lord!!

They share freely and give generously to those in need.  Their good deeds will be remembered forever.  They will have influence and honor.  The wicked will see this and be infuriated.  They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.  Psalm 112:9-10

The Fountain Day 323: Saul

I believe that not only do we need to stand and fight the anti-Christ spirit on the earth coming from the direction of the left, but also from within the church.  The Sauls of the day.  Those who are determined to persecute our own and from a spirit of religion, not righteousness.  These are the ones who have given themselves over to the spirit of the age, the woke spirit, if you will.  The ones who stand up and call out the real believers. 

God took care of Saul once, why would we think He couldn’t do it again?

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.  He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.  As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?”  “Who are You, Lord?” Saul asked.  “I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting,” He replied.  “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”  The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.  Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes, he could see nothing.  So, they led him by the hand into Damascus.  Acts 9:1-8

This story is amazing.  After arriving at Damascus, hands were laid on him by Ananias and he was saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.  Immediately after this he went out and began to preach in the synagogue. 

The Spirit of the Lord changes everything.  It still does today. 

We must stand with the truth.  God saves and changes lives and that fact will never change. 

Do you believe it or not?

We must pray over the Sauls of the land.  Those who have disappointedly stood against the Spirit of Truth.  Many in the church, from the pastors to worship leaders and Sunday school teachers have fallen into something that doesn’t look like God at all.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom…not religion.

We must pray that our eyes are opened, yes…but also that other people’s eyes are opened as well.  The church must pray for its own. 

I encourage you to take a moment today and ask God if there is anyone He wants you to pray over…someone who needs a Saul encounter.

Let’s go for the lost…those who don’t know the Lord and those who do but have fallen away.

The Fountain Day 322: Joy in Your presence

How do we hold onto joy every day?  When the world feels like it’s crumbling and the ground we stand on seems insecure…we can still have joy.  If you have conflict within your own family…you can still have joy.  Even if your marriage or relationships seems to be ending…you can still have joy.

Joy is an inside job.  Joy comes from the presence of God.  That is the way we know we can access it at all times.

Joy is not happiness.  Happiness is largely circumstantial and is an emotion.  Joy is from God.

I just really feel the need to release this word on the heels of what many are bemoaning as a disappointing election day last week. 

First off, I don’t feel like it was disappointing.  I feel like we’ve made good progress and I believe the great disappointed feeling many are feeling is coming from that same spirit of impatience that we’ve been discussing in previous devotionals.  Second, our hope is always in the Lord.  Always and in every circumstance. 

We must stop allowing the enemy to discourage us.  We must stop letting the church discourage us. 

When God is our only influence then we stand on solid ground.  The only solid ground is God.

But I want to circle back to joy…

David said about Him: “I saw the Lord always before me.  Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Therefore, my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices; because You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will You let Your Holy One see decay.  You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence.”  Acts 2:25-28

It takes self-control and courage to continually tap into the joy of the Lord.  It’s always available, but it is also a choice.  We choose joy.

And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared.  This is a sacred day before our Lord.  Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”  Nehemiah 8:10

The joy of the Lord is a strength.  It’s so important to tap into this secret weapon.  We have something that the world can’t steal and neither can the enemy…JOY!!!

Choose joy today!!

The Fountain Day 321: Country house, city house

Sometime over the last two years, I began to have a dream of owning a home in the city and the country.  At the time, I felt this strong friction as two dreams kept rubbing against each other.  The Lord kept leading me to drive down my favorite road in Fort Smith where large homes and properties reside.  I kept dreaming of owning one of them one day…yet a farm and farmhouse still felt like my hearts true desire for our family.  I just couldn’t shake these two seemingly conflicting ideas.

Over time, I just let both ideas go to God.  We are still here in OK trying to wait on God to move us forward.  We are so ready, but clearly, He isn’t.  So, we are trusting.  And waiting. 

This morning while spending time with God, I saw both homes and properties in my mind, almost simultaneously.  Then I saw the city house was huge and looked like it could facilitate a school, and live-in students.  Then it hit me. 

The city house fulfills God’s dream over our family, of having an orphanage.  I saw live-in staff gently guiding a small group of children and us homeschooling them there.  I also saw them riding in vans out to our country property where they worked the farm with us.  Learning about gardening and raising livestock and riding horses. 

I want to stop here and mention something very significant…

When I originally had the dream of two homes and properties, I mistakenly shared it with one person who completely shamed me for it.  They accused me of being more into things than family.  They were wrong.  Now, can you see that the entire focus of this dream IS family…and its increase?  If I had allowed it, that person could’ve stolen the dream God was planting in my heart.  A dream that, at this moment, seems completely impossible…yet I know will unfold in time. 

Never let anyone shame you for dreaming about anything.  Ever. 

That person was ignorant to God’s voice that only I was hearing…and I was the only one hearing it because He was sharing His dream for me, with me.  I took the dream to what I thought was a safe place, and it wasn’t.  So, I forgave.  I intentionally forgave this person, and took the shame they laid on me, to God and asked Him to forgive me if I had sinned against Him.

I don’t need others to be on board with God’s dreams over our lives.  I just need God to be. 

The same goes for you.  Friend, if anyone has attempted to rob or shame your dreams, today is the day to forgive them and to reinvest in God’s voice over your life.  All He needs is your “Yes.”

“Enlarge you house; build an addition.  Spread out your home and spare no expense!  For you will soon be bursting at the seams.  Your descendants will occupy other nations and resettle the ruined cities.”  Isaiah 54:2-3

So follow the steps of the good, and stay on the paths of the righteous.  For only the godly will live in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it.  But the wicked will be removed from the land, and the treacherous will be uprooted.  Proverbs 2:21-22

The Fountain Day 320: Faithful

I strongly desire to be faithful to God.  I try every day, and sometimes I am successful and sometimes I fail.  I really do want to be called faithful by Him.  But I do find such relief in knowing that even when I am unfaithful, He is still faithful because He cannot not be faithful.  He is God and there is no shadow of turning in Him.  He is the same…today, yesterday, and forever. 

Even when we struggle, He remains faithful.

What a wondrous and magnificent God we serve. 

Isn’t it amazing that God loves us this way?  Isn’t it humbling?

We deserve nothing.  He gives everything. 

I continually turn to this point…like a ballet dancer, who is spinning and keeping her head whipped around to focus on one spot in order to not become dizzy.  Knowing these things about God keeps me steady.  They hold my focus and keep me from getting dizzy with the swirl of the world. 

That’s what knowing the truth about God’s character does for us.

If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is.  2 Timothy 2:13

He is who He is.  There’s such comfort to be found in realizing these facts. 

In a way, it should give us freedom to step out and try things, because we know that even if we make a mistake…even if we truly believe we are doing right…He will cover us.  He’s not out to get us.  He’s out to bless us. 

His desire is that all His children would be prosperous. 

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.  3 John 1:2

Prosper…again, this isn’t just financial…it’s a life of abundance in all things…relationships, family, and yes, financial prosperity.  It’s not prosperity gospel, it’s just learning what real prospering looks like.  We can’t use an earthly standard to debunk a godly principle.

Answer this…Why wouldn’t God want us to do well?  Do you desire that your children would not be successful?  Of course not.  I think the glorification of some who serve money, has thrown a shadow over the Father heart of God. 

It’s so simple and basic.  A parent always wants the best for their kids.  Sometimes, my desiring the best for my kids, means I allow them to struggle.  But I see that struggle as prospering.  It strengthens them.  Other times, I am humbled to witness them walking in the abundant blessings and favor of heaven.  When I see that, I’m equally grateful.  I consider both scenarios to be prospering.

In a world that holds up faulty standards, I wonder what would change in our lives if we took it all back to scripture.  Investigated God’s heart and discovered He is in all things. 

All things work together through Him.

The Fountain Day 319: Leaven

I can’t stop having the vision of leaven.  I keep seeing, in my mind, sourdough starter when I’ve activated it, and the bubbles just begin to invade the entire thing and it grows exponentially.  The Bible mentions leaven in two different ways…one is positive and the other is negative.

The bottom line is that leaven is going to be present…and because of that, it’s so important that we are the ones releasing it into culture and the world.

The earth needs us to stand firm on the gospel.  America needs us to stand focused on immovable truth.  If we refuse to be the leaven, then our children will grow up in a world that is invaded with the pervasive leaven of the devil. 

Let that sink in because it is the truth.

There is never a time when things are neutral.  An influence is present in all things…be it negative or positive. 

I know it’s a popular thought to say that lots of things are gray…but if we are honest, that’s largely untrue. 

It was not with passivity that our nation was established on God.  No, it was very intentional.  It’s also not with passivity that the enemy has been warring against us ever since.  It was with aggressive agenda that the enemy has been attempting to actively weaken our country by feminizing men and perverting practically everything.

Let us set out today to be Holy Spirit filled leaven in first our homes, and then the community.  Let the goodness of God permeate everything we do and say. 

The places where believers have refused to stand firm…will always become the places were sinfulness abounds.  The places where the body of believers stand firm on Christ, will be areas of massive miraculous power and healing and hope.  We decide. 

Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread.  Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”  Matthew 13:33

Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other.  Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees- their hypocrisy.  The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.  Luke 12:1-2

The Fountain Day 318: I can’t wait

Years ago, God began to convict me when I would use the phrase, “I can’t wait…”  To this day every time I use it, I feel a little nag inside.  I am actively attempting to change the statement, but it’s taking time because it’s such a common phrase.

You may be wondering, “What’s the big deal with the phrase?  Why would it be a problem?”

Well, first…because God has been convicting me…but the second reason is this…

The phrase, “I can’t wait,” shows a lack of patience.  We use it to show eagerness, but it can take hold of our hearts and increase our feelings of dissatisfaction and also it can cause us to have unrealistic expectations that also result in disappointment.

Have you ever thought about this before?  I still find it very convicting.

Wait patiently for the Lord.  Be brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14

So many scriptures direct us toward patience.  But I love the one above because it shows that to be patient it takes courageous bravery.  It’s not easy.

Honestly, I feel like part of what we are fighting is the attitude that I was raised hearing…”Don’t pray for patience.”  I say, “Ask God for patience.”  Why are we so afraid to be uncomfortable?

I ask all the time, “God please help me to be patient and wait for You.”  This is a great thing to pray.  The result of it has been so refining.

Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.  Psalm 105:19

Isn’t this verse amazing?!

God had big plans for Joseph and his position would be important for many people, so God used all the things the enemy tried to do in his life, to test and develop his character.

I don’t know about you, but I really want to make sure that my character is strong.  Strong enough to hold firm when God releases the fullness of His favor over my life.  Don’t you?

So, next time you are about to say, “I can’t wait,” instead try this, “I am so excited for..” or “I look so forward to…” 

I bet you’ll begin to experience some of the changes that I’ve been experiencing if you choose to do so!

God, please fill my heart with a willingness to wait on You.  I am sorry for anytime that I have let the root of excitement bear the fruit of impatience.  Teach me to walk in Your ways.  Show me how to be steady.  I want to be filled with patience.  I love You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Fountain Day 317: His promise to care for us

Sometimes I wonder how many blessings from God we forfeit because we don’t trust Him to care for us.  I have considered this a lot, especially because our family is in this prolonged season of transition. 

Many who look at our situation might ascertain that we have caused delay…which we haven’t…or that we are dragging our feet…which we aren’t…because we have still not been able to move forward in our journey toward moving to Arkansas. 

What has actually been happening, is that God has been leading us…and because we trust Him and His promise to care for us…we are not pushing past Him.  We are waiting. 

The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn’t believe His promise to care for them.  Instead, they grumbled in their tents and refused to obey the Lord.  Psalm 106:24-25

Waiting is a highly controversial thing to do, apparently.  In a world of quick gratification and instant access to most things, learning the art of waiting is very aggressive.  I also have to fight the fear of man displayed in misunderstanding.  I know that some people judge a few of the things we have stepped away from, and believe our motivations in doing so, are different than what they actually are.  But God is moving me away from the fear of being misunderstood.  He is breaking those chains off my life, and He is using this process to do so. 

In this season, being misunderstood is an exchange I’m making in order to obey God. 

Even when I run into people who I know don’t understand us and have negative thoughts toward us because of our changes…I’m learning to just walk away…I don’t have to explain myself.  This is a HUGE victory for me because I have always felt the need to explain myself.  What God has shown me is that I don’t owe anyone anything.  All I have to do is follow Him. 

At the end of the day, two of the most valuable things I’ve learned over this season are this…

Being misunderstood isn’t the end of the world.  I don’t really want people in my life who always think the worst of me.  I want to draw closer to people who believe the best for me. 

And…I would rather live in an extended period of transition than to run ahead of the Lord or forfeit our pleasant land.  He will do what He said He would do.  I believe Him…and I believe that He wants the best for me.

Do you see? 

When we worry about the things I listed, we are actually doing the same thing to God. 

Ask yourself these questions…

Do you trust God enough to be misunderstood?  Do you trust God enough to wait on Him?

So, God has given both His promise and His oath.  These two things are unchangeable because, it is impossible for God to lie.  Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.  This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.  It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.  Hebrews 6:18-19

The Fountain Day 316: Be the answer

How do you know the area that you are supposed to minister?  How can you decide what purpose you were created to pursue? 

We can often discern the area that God wants to use us by finding what area we feel the most passion about. 

I began doing the six-month journey of the heart discipleship classes because I kept feeling burdened by God that there is not enough discipleship within the church.  Day after day, I would feel this acute burden.  Then one day, as I lamented to God about this burden…I told God that the church was largely absent of true discipleship.  And He said, “Why don’t you do something about it?” 

In a matter of days, I had the complete download for the six-month journey of the heart classes, and shortly after that, I began to teach individuals.  I began to disciple them. 

Isn’t that wonderful?!

I had a deep burden that most people don’t know real and authentic worship, and over time I began to offer that at my home…both here in OK, but before that I was doing it in PA.  I even did worship at our Christian school in PA.  Where I saw the need, and felt the burden, I was also being qualified by God to fill in that space.  To be the answer.

You too have space to fill. 

Where are you burdened?  Have you ever asked God if that’s where He desires to use you? 

It’s not like I felt totally equipped to do either thing in advance…I just stepped out in faith and then God did the rest.

The world needs who you are.  You, uniquely.  The church needs you too, whether it realizes it or not.

We all hold a special piece of the puzzle. 

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.  Proverbs 23:12

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.  He who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who looks after his master will be honored.  As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.  Proverbs 27:17-19

The Fountain Day 315: Self promotion

I have had several conversations with people about avoiding the pitfall of self-promotion.  It’s a dangerous pitfall that I have witnessed many people jump into.  In our impatience, we can simply decide that if we are to experience the things that God has promised us, then we must push forward now…otherwise it’ll be too late.

Sound familiar?

Abraham did this and bore Ishmael.  David waited for God to promote him as king, even though he had been long anointed to be so.  Even when everyone around him encouraged him to kill Saul and take the throne, he waited on the Lord.  A man after God’s own heart, for sure.

Which would you rather be?

I have committed to eschewing self-promotion at all costs.  It’s hard to step so far back, but the reward is beyond worth it.  Deeper levels of intimacy with God are always worth it.

When we avoid promoting ourselves, we are actually following in Jesus’ footsteps.  Read this…

And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor.  He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was.  That is why Christ did not honor himself by assuming He could become High Priest.  No, He was chosen by God, Who said to Him, “You are my Son.  Today I have become Your Father.”  And in another passage God said to Him, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”  While Jesus was here on earth, He offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the One Who could rescue Him from death.  And God heard His prayers because of His deep reverence for God.  Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered.  In this way, God qualified Him as a perfect High Priest, and He became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey Him.  And God designated Him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.  Hebrews 5:4-10

If it’s good enough for Jesus, then it’s good enough for me.  If Jesus needed to walk through suffering to learn obedience, then I will too.  If Jesus knew enough to wait on God to promote Him, then I can submit to the same process.  You see?

This is all so convicting…but it’s worth it.

God, please forgive me for any time that I have sought to promote myself.  Help me to see the difference between Your promotion and my own.  I long to walk more like Jesus.  Teach me.  I will wait on You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.