Author Archive

The Around of God

God often takes us around life scenarios and so thankful that He does!  The around of God is frequently dismissed or downplayed.   We learn from our early flannel graph days the miraculous parting of the Red Sea and God taking the Israelites through on dry ground. Miraculous indeed!  However, tucked in two short verses we have the potential of missing a quality of God.  In Exodus 13, we see God take the Israelites around, around a potentially icky outcome.  He had just delivered them from bondage in Egypt – Pharaoh finally releases the people.  Once out and about, the narrative states:  “God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”  So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.” (v 17,18  NIV – emphasis mine)

God took them around so they wouldn’t encounter the Philistines (yet).  They weren’t ready.  This was their first road-trip with God; He didn’t want to freak them out, didn’t want them to bolt and run.   Once deep in the wilderness, what is one of their main complaints, “WHY did you take us out of Egypt…”  When things got tough, they reached for what was familiar, what seemed safe.  It is also said of the Philistines that IF they had encountered the Hebrews at THAT time, they would see them as escaping from their masters and would not hesitate to attack them and make them slaves AGAIN.  We can liken it to suddenly encountering a dangerous animal, we are NOT to take off running; the running stimulates their instinct to chase and conquer.  The Philistines would have chased and conquered.

God took them around.   The principle for us, just like the Israelites, we may never know the around of God.  What He protects us from and what we may not be ready for.  God knows! It is HIS path, HIS when and where.  He leads – He protects.

When we see God pointing in one particular direction, in our freedom, may we not stop and look for the short-cut!  What is ahead on that path, we may not be ready for and there may – just may be another wanting to take us captive.

The around of God.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

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You Define the Depth

Have you ever felt compelled to get all spiffed up, put on your best clothes or perhaps slide into a nice warm jacket, then realize you have no destination in mind, ‘all dressed up and nowhere to go?’

Our relationship with God is like that at times, we read our Bible, write in our journal, say our prayers, be in attendance at church, (Check, check, check and CHECK!) yet that is as far as we get – as deep as it goes, possibly only snorkel-surfacy stuff.  I am guilty of this, floating on top as if I am waiting for God to make the first move, not that I am waiting for a burning bush experience or the blinding light of the road to Damascus.  But yes, I think I am waiting for God to shower me with lavishing love and blessings (said with arms thrown wide and head tilted back).   Don’t get me wrong He does!  But.   Come on, be honest, in this day and age we expect things to always come our way effortlessly –  we treat our approach to God like a divine-vending machine, push the button and expect blessings to tumble our way.

James clearly says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (4:8) One of God’s attributes that I strongly appreciate is that of His patience. Oh, His patience!  He longs for us to come to Him, He is waiting. The principle is the same in all relationships, if you want it to be strong and deep, you have to cultivate it, put in the time, the energy – PARTICIPATE in it.

We look to Jesus, (Matthew chapter 26) He leaves the crowds – leaves the disciples. Now with the beloved trio; Peter, James, and John, He tells them to stay and keep watch. Continuing on, the narrative says “Going a little farther, He fell to the ground and prayed, My Father...”  (v 39)  Yes, His circumstance was exorbitantly different, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)  Further still!

Do we simply wear the snorkel and mask for an expected shallow depth or do we prepare – position for a depth of divine proportions?  Don’t merely dip a toe or two, SUIT UP!   YOU define the depth!  Go deeper – may the narrative of our life say we too went further still.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)


We’re Celebrating!

We are celebrating 65k (65 THOUSAND) visits to Inspired Fountain!  Folks are reading, folks are hungry for more of God.  The platform we use keeps count of how many and where they are reading from – within the last 90 days, over 50 countries* have visited our site.  Thank you for reading, thank you for trusting us with your time and your investment in your desire to pursue God.

God is incredibly GOOD!

You can find us on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/inspiredfountain/

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

 

*Countries Reading: US, United Kingdom, India, Israel, Philippines, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Ghana, European Union, Nigeria, China, Belgium, South Korea, Peru, Vietnam, Burma, Malaysia, Kenya, Jamaica, Denmark, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, Netherlands, Pakistan, Egypt, Ireland, Uganda, France, Bangladesh, Brazil, Trinidad, Singapore, Turkey, Poland, Austria, Italy, Serbia, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Nepal, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Spain, Zimbabwe, Greece, Norway, Puerto Rico, Indonesia, Slovakia,  Finland, Hungary, Tanzania, Qatar, Mexico, Solomon Islands, Kuwait, and Honduras.


They’ve Been with Jesus

My best friend, Deanna (from grade school, Jr High, High School, coming to Jesus, marriages, and babies and now empty nesters) and I, LOVE what we call our ‘Playdates’.  Yes, we are 55 years old, (it’s true) but never too old to enjoy a good giggle perusing the aisles of Goodwill, it is fun and not to mention therapeutic in nature.  It is our goal to find the silliest of things, from woven baskets to face sucking ski masks and offering an impromptu guitar duet.  And OF COURSE, these have to be posted on social media.  Friends and family shake their head with a muttered: “Well, they’ve been to Goodwill again.”  Yes, yes we have.

But most importantly, when folks see me (outside of silly 2nd hand store laughter) I want them to see that I have been with Jesus.  Not just when I am up front teaching the women, but when I greet them at the store, sit next to them at church or chatting when I am picking my granddaughter up from school.  WHAT do folks see, is it evident that I have spent time with God, in His word, His Spirit strong in my words and seen in my countenance?

We see this in the book of Acts (chapter 4) with Peter and John, they were brought before rulers and religious leaders, it is said of Peter (being filled with the Holy Spirit) he spoke boldly and clearly about Jesus.  The leaders, although critical and skeptical were amazed, knowing these were ordinary men, with no special training, but they were full of confidence and courage, “they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (v13)  Yes, it was noted these men were associated with Jesus of Nazareth, but their demeanor radiantly, righteously spoke of Him.

Can you imagine that being said of us?  May we too get to know Jesus so intimately that we know His words, we know His purpose, we speak clearly and although we also are ordinary, we confidently and filled with the Holy Spirit present our God to others and their response being,  “They’ve been with Jesus.” (Yes, yes we have).

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)


The Goodness of God

At church, we sing a great song, I love it!  Of recent, I am humming it, singing the chorus; “All my life You have been faithful – All my life You have been so so good – With every breath that I am able – I will sing of the goodness of God.”(Jenn Johnson)

Most often when we think of our worship, it is contained within the four walls at church.  Singing and exalting God corporately with one voice is GOOD and right, but we are also to ‘sing of the goodness of God’ out in our world.  Our expression of worship to God, service to Him, is service to others.

When Moses humbly asked God, ‘Show me Your glory’ (See Exodus 33 & 34) he was, in essence, asking, ‘Who are you God, show me.’   God answers by tucking Moses in the cleft of the rocks and passes by – He proclaims of Himself, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…” (34:6) some translations, ‘Abounding in goodness, mercy, and truth.’  THAT is our God!   God is not what we think He is – He is what He says He is.

God is compassionate, full of goodness and mercy.  Throughout history God has been answering Moses, He has been showing mankind who and what He is.  Compassion is ‘coming alongside-ness’,  differing from sympathy – sympathy we feel for another, our heart hurts for them, compassion feels what the other feels, our heart hurts with them, alongsideness, (Spell-check is having a FIT!) it is being with them in action, coming to their side, “Let me help.”

Throughout history, Israel would take off in its own direction, mess things up and God was continually coming alongside.  Fast forward to Jesus, there is NO better way to express compassion, the goodness of God to a messed up people than sending His very best – Jesus.  Jesus was compassionate; He healed and fed the people. Because of His compassion, He authorizes the disciples for deliverance and healing and sends them out (Matthew 9:36-10:5).  Paul, numerous times,  tells us to ‘put on…’ we are to put on Jesus; put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, forgiving one another…” (Col. 3; Gal. 3; Eph 4; Phil 2; Ro. 13:14).  Folks, God is continuing to answer – we are His continued answer.  Through us, the world sees God, sees His goodness, graciousness, His mercy.  Remember the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matt 18:21-35)  the one who received huge (HUGE) compassion, mercy, and forgiveness, turns around and denies the same to another, Jesus closes the parables message with Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?”  How we treat others is our response to how WE have been treated.

Withholding the goodness of God is lazy, (OUCH!) it is selfish, (OK!  THAT hurt!) selfishness is rooted in the thief’s tactic of ‘stealing – killing and destroying’ (John 10:10) Let’s not play into his hand, let’s not withhold the goodness of God, HIS mercy extended through us, HIS love and kindness – let the world see God answer!

All my life You have been faithful – All my life You have been so so good – With every breath that I am able – I will sing (unselfishly) of the goodness of God.”

*This is an excerpt from last night’s teaching at my local women’s bible study.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

Have a listen: [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0FBb6hnwTo  ]  listen to the end, close your eyes, throw your head back, raise your hands!


From the Sidelines to the Seat

Have you ever felt a shrug of heart, you know that ‘Blah’ feeling, perhaps leading to anxiety or even agitation?  The only way to put it into words is ‘I’m off, just… off.’  May I offer – something may have shifted – shifted from the sidelines to the seat; something/someone is now sitting on the throne of our heart, pretty weighty isn’t it!  This, my dear friend, is found deep in the factory setting in the design of man, a component known as the Peace Barometer.  (Ok, maybe not – but that is what I call it).  Peace.

In the Old Testament, (Hebrew) the word for peace is shalom, (in short) meaning tranquility, harmony, wholeness.  It has been referred to as evidence of the absence of strife or war.  I would define peace not necessarily in what you do not have, but what you do have.  In the New Testament, the word for peace (in Greek) is eirene, which literally means to set at one.’  The picture is something that was once set in place has either been removed or toppled over – (think of the game Jenga, remove foundational pieces & over it goes) chaos, strife, irritation even war are the results.  Once it is set back in place, PEACE reigns.

Here’s a brief (VERY brief) explanation:  Remember God and man (and Eve) in the Garden, their relationship was good and whole (peace-filled). Then there was a sin outbreak, the relationship was broken, toppled over.  For generations (begetting) generations there was a missing element – what was, is no longer.  Later Isaiah speaks of the coming of the Prince of Peace and the government resting on His shoulders (9:6).  Fast forward to Luke chapter 2, the angels announce, “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace…” (v14).  Peace was back on earth among man.  Jesus is the missing piece, He came bridging the gap (which was big & ugly) between man and his God – He set it all back in place, God the Father planned it, God the Son accomplished it, God the Holy Spirit applied it, the God package delivered – PEACE REIGNS.

Paul writes, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” (Col. 3:15) Here’s where the peace barometer comes in: If God is not ruling on the throne of our heart, be assured another will occupy it!  We will know peace to the degree that we YIELD to Christ, the Prince of Peace, if NOT – chaos, strife, irritation.  Paul again, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, PRESENT YOUR REQUESTS TO GOD, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts & minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7, emphasis mine) ‘Present your requests to God’ (KEY!) We are NOT to go looking for solutions elsewhere, if we do, we can potentially be placing things on the throne that shouldn’t be there, (thus the ‘off’ feeling).  Our peace barometer will TILT if Jesus is not the center of our life, the One residing and reigning on the throne of our heart.  Peace is not about peaceful circumstances, it’s about the applied authority of Christ.  Let’s cut to the chase: God doesn’t come to take sides (help sort our stuff) He comes to TAKE OVER.  It is His design, His throne.

May God Himself, the God (of Peace) who makes everything holy and whole, make YOU holy and whole, put you together – spirit, soul, and body.” (1 Thess. 5:23 The Message) God the Maker – God at the center – God on the throne.

Taking inventory of my heart. Peace.

*This is an excerpt from my teaching at our local women’s Bible Study.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)


God ONLY!

When I was in college, there was a book on the required reading list.  It impacted me. It wasn’t so much the content of the book, but the title – ‘The Kingdom of Self’ (by Earl Jabay).  The summary of the message was; by divine design within the heart of every man & woman is a throne – and WE are not to be on it.  That is all I remember (it has been 35+ years).  The throne of our heart.

God spoke to the children of Israel through Moses, telling them (I paraphrase) you were once captive and I took you out (of Egypt) we are family and within our family, we are not like other nations, we have family standards. (Queue conversation in your head “But Mom, everyone’s doing it!”)  May we take note; God does not give suggestions – He gives commands, family commands.  He opens with “You must not have any other gods before me.” (Ex. 20:3) Continuing: “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind… you must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.” (vv 4-5 NLT)

Oh, we may not erect a stone statue in our back yard these days and bow to it – but we do create, buy and harbor gods of the heart.   When we think of an ‘idol’ we tend to think of controlling stuff, stuff in the ‘bad bucket’ – you know abusive things like drugs, alcohol, pornography, adulterous affairs… (The list is long, these have to be addressed!) BUT, what about ‘GOOD’ stuff?  An idol is anything that takes the place of God in our heart.

While teaching this to the women at church, I pulled out a tie, representing my husband.  He is a good man, our marriage is good, and it is God ordained GOOD.   HOWEVER, I can elevate him to such high status that he takes the prominent place on the throne of my heart and God is moved aside.  It is the same with all relationships, with our children, friends, even our leaders.  The same with position, dreams, endeavors and yes, our ministry or vocational careers.

I pulled out a calendar (we are busy-bustling people) does our calendar reflect the PURPOSE God has for us? The central motivating plan of our life as designed by God or does it center around MY stuff. (OUCH! The throne of my heart – cluttered to overflowing).  The same is true with (as the women groan aloud) when I pulled out my cell phone.  THIS technological gadget is the leader among all distractions.  It distracts us, making us pay with our time, attention and yes affection, elements we are potentially allowing our phone to be stealing from God. We can tell of its importance when we panic when just one block from the house and we realize we forgot it and screech on the brakes.  Remember how Jesus describes the enemy of our soul, ‘the thief whose ONLY aim is to steal – kill – destroy’ (John 10:10) folks one of his tactics is to distract.  (Enough said)

I then pulled out a miniature whirly metal windmill, it was created with an erector set.  Using a screwdriver twisting a bolt, a gal asked me what I was doing – “I’m building.” I said, “Building my expectations.”  Our creation is never complete; we are continually tweaking and adding to it.  It seems to always be with us, we take it to church, work, family gatherings and when visiting with others we force them to ‘hold it’ – putting in their hands all the bells and whistles to make us happy.  THIS too can be a ruling attitude of the heart factor.

God is either taken off the throne or He is added to. Numerous times, it is said of the Israelites ‘they worshipped God AND they served others gods…’  TOTALLY getting them in trouble. It is not God and… It is God ONLY.  Jesus tells us to ‘seek FIRST His kingdom, His righteousness…’ (Matthew 6:33)  AND (the only ‘and’ in God’s economy) we get all the stuff we need.  To be very frank, all the ‘other’ has to be at the feet of Jesus, at the feet of the throne, NOT on it.

Move over throne cluttered mess – God is coming for more of our heart!

*This teaching is from our current local women’s Bible Study, titled ‘No Other Gods.’

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)