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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.

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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)

Are You Reading ‘Jesus Calling’?

I want to come and sit next to you and share something on my heart. My passion is Jesus, which spills all over His written word. I would like to offer something that I have been drawn to. When I walk into a Christian bookstore, it is there. On the shelves at Wal-Mart, Target and other department stores, it is there. I have heard so many ladies claim of its inspiration, full of guidance, considering it strong enough for the day’s journey. Over the years every time I pick it up I get a HUGE check in my spirit. I do a quick ‘thumb through’ and still …red flags and put it down. It is the book ‘God Calling’ and the newer rendition, ‘Jesus Calling’ by Sarah Young.

Many use this book for their morning devotions rather than the Bible itself or alongside the scriptures. I decided to take a closer look. As I researched the origin of this book, (sorry this article is quite lengthy) I was shocked. ‘God 9f6106ac2f8847040089ea2d5a2c6788Calling’ was written by two women known as ‘The Listeners.’  They wanted to remain ‘anonymous.’ This is NOT a book full of ‘allegory’ the intent is ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ It is written (as is ‘Jesus Calling’) in the First-person perspective. Meaning a personal story, or a running commentary of thoughts. We the reader are not watching this from the outside but through their eyes. We see what they see and hear what they hear. So, in essence, the authors are claiming these are Jesus’ words. With a strong declaration, they state they would sit down with pen & paper, empty their minds and then begin to write. Write messages, messages they claim were from Jesus Himself. The messages are peppered with bible verses or a slight glimpse that is referenced at the bottom of the page.  The content is primarily the ladies poetic sway.  They eventually took the whole collection of these messages and sent them to the Oxford Group, where the book was soon published via the Oxford Group (In England) and came out in 1935.

Who and what is the Oxford Group?  The group is now called Moral Re-Armament (MRA). Members of the Oxford Group primarily find their guidance from within rather than the Bible.  Even though a follower of MRA attempts to follow moral standards from the Bible or of any religion, his primary light is that inner voice and his primary goal is self-improvement. No cross is necessary; no shed blood is required. Each member is encouraged to sit with their journal, pen in hand, empty their minds and write whatever ‘God’ tells them, then act on it.   This ‘method’ of listening/writing is known as “automatic writing.” An alleged psychic ability allowing a person to produce written words without consciously writing. The words are claimed to arise from a subconscious, spiritual or supernatural source.  (Sounds New Age does it not? This is a very dangerous thing!)

Sarah Young, author of ‘Jesus Calling’ states that her inspiration first came from reading the book ‘God Calling.’ She was so enamored by the idea, that she began the pursuit of ‘listening’ as well. She states: (quote) “This practice of listening to God has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline, so I want to share some of the messages I have received. In many parts of the world, Christians seem to be searching for a deeper experience of Jesus’ Presence and Peace. The messages that follow address that felt need.” Notice that her solution to addressing the desire for Jesus’ Presence and Peace is not Scripture or any other means of grace, but what appears to be the very messages she provides in her book. In her writings, she speaks seldom of sin and repentance and even less of Christ’s work on the cross.

A common denominator of all mysticism, (just cutting to the chase) acclaimed Christian or not, is the journey inward. The idea is to quiet the mind (soul) so that the result is space where one supposedly meets God within. According to Young’s citation of Jesus from her journal, this is what He wants as well, remember the “I” or “Me” is supposedly Jesus speaking: “I meet you in the stillness of your soul. It is there that I seek to commune with you. . . . Stillness of soul is increasingly rare in this world addicted to speed and noise. I am pleased with your desire to create a quiet space where you and I can meet.” (April 4)

Her main focus is ‘awareness.’ Awareness of Presence. Excerpt: “Let Me infuse My Presence into your thoughts. As your mind stops racing, your body relaxes and you regain awareness of Me. . . . There are actually more than four dimensions in this world where you live. In addition to the three dimensions of space and the one of time, there is the dimension of openness to My presence.” (May 24) Awareness, consciousness, and openness as described by Young are substitutes for faith in the promise of God of the Bible. “When My Presence is the focal point of your consciousness, all the pieces of your life fall into place.” (January 28th) One more,  BAD theology: “Most of mankind’s misery stems from feeling unloved.” (August 1)

Oh please do not get me wrong, I am fully persuaded that the prophetic is true and Holy Spirit DOES speak to us, through us, guides us and worthy of writing it down in our journals. HOWEVER, to apparently set aside the Holy written word and make the main focus on our ‘personal revelation’ is a very dangerous and wrong place to be, let alone someone taking that word, publishing it and others potentially reading THAT in place of God speaking from His holy scripture. One thing rings so true, the Holy Spirit NEVER contradicts the ‘Word’ nor does He contradict Jesus or the Father. The Holy Spirit points to Jesus and Jesus points to the Father.

I find nowhere in the Bible we are to ’empty’ our minds, rather we are to ‘think on these things’ (Paul lists in Phil. 4:8) We are exhorted over and over to “Mediate…” which in God’s economy, (in short) is the filling of our minds with His word and chewing on it! Paul exhorts “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor 10:5) Also… “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Ro. 2:2) The Pastor of Hebrews, “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (4:12) Paul to Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16) If God’s word is inspired and useful for equipping for every good work – what more do we need, outside of instruction of the Bible to lead our personal revelation of our God?   If we keep seeking the ‘other’ we become like Eve in the garden, distorting what God has said and listening to what sounds pleasing to us.  If not kept in check, this new revelation would soon replace the authority of scripture, creating new standards that we live by.

Paul said to Timothy, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” (2 Tim. 4:3-4) This is rampant today, we want to tickle our ears, massage our heart and soften our pain. In doing so we reach beyond Jesus. Reach beyond His words grabbing for something else. As a dear friend shared, “This happens when we know other books better than we know the word of God, we are easily deceived.”   How many folks are underlining, circling and highlighting Sarah’s words rather than opening their Bible and reading His words?

shutterstock_132299630I would offer balance of course.  And if you do read these books and any others similar, to please prayerfully take this information to Jesus. Align it with scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what is next.   When choosing a devotional, make it come-along side (not in place of) the bible,  may it be based on scripture, with sound theology. I LOVE devotional books, my favorites are Our Daily Bread, My Utmost for His Highest and Praying the Names of God, Praying the Attributes of God, by Ann Spangler.

Devotion is defined as,  “The fact or state of being ardently dedicated, relating to, or characterized by.”  What is it we want to be dedicated to, or characterized by?  The word of God or someone else’s empty-minded personal revelation. I don’t want someone putting words in God’s mouth when He speaks to me.  Thank you for reading this monstrous article, it is only written with a heart of love and desirous of the very best for you. You are loved dearly.

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

There is MORE!

I am remembering a time my husband and I were visiting a church when the pastor, full of Pentecostal energy shared vigorously from Psalm 136.  Twenty-six times the Psalmist declares, “His mercy endures forever.” Oh, it does!  God’s mercy is unending. Matchless in every way, it can be seen from the beginning of mankind’s existence and has no vanishing point in the future.  Within the 15 minutes of sharing, the pastor repeated the blessing of God’s mercy, then “In closing…”  He said, “His mercy endures forever.”  As the folks stood to leave, preparing for the trek home to the roast in the Crockpot, I wanted so BADLY to stand to my feet and yell, Tell them!” (All eyes on the crazy visitor lady in the back.)   There’s more!  Pastor!  Don’t stop here!

Tell them that the Hebrew language is full of imagery, YES mercy! But there is more.  Just like there is ‘sunrise’ with just a glimpse of light peeking over the horizon, then there is SUNRISE with colors so vibrant you stare in unbelief at the magnitude of the brilliance of His creation. Colors spilling over each other as it dances across the sky in tones that if we are still enough, quiet… it could be heard.  Today, with the Pastors’ sharing, we were just …peeking.

His mercy endures forever. Mercy is ‘hesed’ (in the Hebrew)  Scholars find it extremely difficult to translate into English because there really is not an equivalent word. The King James Version alone uses 15 different words in an attempt to express its meaning in each context.  Words such as lovingkindness, steadfast love, loyal love, kindness, faithful love, mercy and yes, grace.  Grace. God’s mercy is withholding what we do deserve, where His grace is giving us what we do not. One hand pushes forward in giving, while the other holds back in restraint.  Divine coordination -THAT is our God!  Because of His love for us, His commitment to covenant, His value of relationship, our God interacts with hesed. It is deep, wide and continuing.

Jonah knew God’s hesed, saying to the Lord, “O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love (hesed), a God who relents from sending calamity.” (Jonah 4:2)  Ok, maybe Jonah needed an attitude adjustment, (Thus the large fish story) but he knew, he understood, experienced and observed how God operates.

Yes indeed, it is worthy of repeating in twenty-six verses, “His mercy endures forever.”   His lovingkindness, faithfulness, love and His grace.  It is enough to make us bow our head, eyes closed with groanings that cannot be uttered!

Stand in the glow of His brilliant sunrise!

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