Centrality Of Easter

Tomb and crossEaster, the death and resurrection of Christ, is an event that altered the fabric of humanity.

Easter is the centrality of love.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. —John 13:35

As I consider the love in the heart of Christ that He willingly offered Himself to be beaten brutally for me and nailed on a tree. I’m moved with emotion and purpose to love others, to forgive freely, to speak life and not death, to include, to be the hands, feet, and voice of my Father. Christ paid a very high price.

The profound implication of Easter is far greater than most believers set aside time to reconcile. Powerful and life-changing gifts were bestowed upon our generation through the covenant that Jesus sealed for us on the Cross. We are honor bound as benefactors of the spilled blood of Christ, knowing who we are and whose we are, to love well.

What does love look like?

Love is longsuffering.
Love is kind.
Love is humble.
Love is forgiveness.
Love is vulnerability.
Love always places connection with another as the highest goal.
Love is brave communication.
Love removes condemnation and releases honesty.
Love is the wellspring that flows from our heart.
Love is laying down my need to always be right.
Love is giving away my heart with the risk of betrayal.
Love heals, love restores, love triumphs and love is our foundation.
Love is everything good from the Father’s heart.
Love restores a single life and love redeems nations.

This Easter, let us lock arms together because we have something our spouse, our neighborhood, our country and this world is desperate to experience. We are the Beloved of Christ, His ambassadors of love, beginning within, then outward to our family, our communities and to the ends of the earth.

I pray you are deeply touched by the love of Christ this Easter. Lynn Donovan

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 & vs. 13 New International Version (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Easter is the greatest love story ever told. And our SUMite Nation is founded upon the love and grace of Christ Jesus.


Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Very Good Figs

FigsHi everyone, Ann here.

My husband would freely admit that the chances of him turning ‘exuberant Christian’ of his own doing are a great big zero. I’m laughing. It’s a funny thought to him and to me. 

It’s impossible. And yet I believe with all my heart it'll happen. I’m not the sort who goes around being sure about things, but ... I just have my reasons. Today I can't resist sharing just one: 

Some time ago, I had a dream. In it I held a fig. I wanted to plant it, but I couldn’t. I didn’t know how. That was it, the whole dream. ‘Exciting dream,’ I hear you say!

Not exactly exciting, but it did strike me as unusual and so I wrote it down in my journal along with the date. I even looked up figs in the Bible, but nothing gelled. 

Imagine my excitement when a few short weeks later (in our January fast, 2016), Dineen posted that the Holy Spirit had told her our spouses were like the figs from Jeremiah 24:7! Her word laid out for us an enormous promise of our spouses’ salvation. I'll paraphrase it here, but you can click here to read the whole word:

He will return our spouses to Him, He will give them a heart to know Him.  He will plant them and not pluck them up.  He will build them and not tear them down. And this is a promise: Salvation is coming.  

Even the word ‘plant’ was in there, just like my dream. It was striking. But that was just the beginning.

Months later, 4 July 2016, Dineen wrote another inspired post for us. We were being lavished with promise as a community. This time, she felt God was saying that He is constructing the SUM community into a spiritual house and that latter house will be better than the former. Some of you will remember that Dineen was building an actual house and so there was an exciting series of posts where her house-building reflected what she was hearing spiritually. In fact, the very day I read Dineen's first house post I’d woken with a picture of a house in my head. Yet another ‘coincidence’, but that’s not even the part I’m coming to.

The part I’m coming to happened on a bad day, I’m afraid. One day, while on holiday the aloneness of my faith overwhelmed me, and I ended up hitting my pillow in a desperate mess. “Please,” I called to God, “I am really struggling here. Please help me.”

He helped me. The next morning I woke with a single word in my head: Bethphage. 

I grabbed my iPad and typed ‘Bethphage’. I discovered it was the place Jesus took the Palm Sunday donkey from. But mm, that wasn’t quite it. “Let me just look up the name meaning,” I thought. And here’s what Bethphage means ……{drum roll}:

House of figs!

True story!  

A few weeks later, I was skipping along, much happier. ‘Bethphage’ had helped. “What shall I pray for?” I asked God. This was an improvement on the paralyzed ‘help’ prayer that I had only prayed weeks earlier. Now I was strong enough to do something productive. As I asked that question, my eye caught something on the ground.  What’s that?  I peered over it. And then I realized: It was a fig! A lone fig. My eyes lifted upwards, there was no fig tree in sight. Only later would I realize that it wasn’t even fig season: it was the middle of winter. I picked that fig up, popped it in my pocket, and held it all day. It felt like I’d just been given a bunch of flowers.

What should I pray for? His answer: Pray for the figs.

So here’s a prayer for us today:

Lord God, I dare to believe that you will do the impossible for with You nothing is impossible. 

I know that for all the times we've been carried away You deem us and our spouses 'very good', we are sanctified. 

I believe that You will give us all a heart to know you, we will be Yours, You will be ours.  

Help me to know how to pray for my life partner, and help me to never stop praying - 24/7.

In Jesus' name, I receive these promises gladly. Amen.


Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Via Dolorosa, Walk With Jesus

Via Dolorosa SUMVia Dolorosa, The Way of Suffering:

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” —John 17:13-19

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”— John 16:33


Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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The Lord Saw - The Lord Compensated

By Martha Bush Honor

Praise and Worship was over, the offering had been taken, announcements had been made - time for my pastor to begin his sermon.

As he walked toward the pulpit, I readied myself to listen to his sermon by positioning my Bible and notepad on my lap. Yes, I am antique - I still carry my big Bible to church. Ipads and smart phones do not allow for the sweet sound of pages turning on an open Bible, plus seeing all the notes written on the pages from years past as the pastor speaks.

All of a sudden, from the pulpit, I heard the pastor say, "There's a lady I want to honor this morning for the ministry she has led the past several years. She doesn't know I am going to do this, but Martha Bush, stand up!"                                          

Obviously, I was taken back as I stood up trying to hold onto all the stuff I had placed on my lap, almost dropping all of it on the floor. Okay, okay! For surprises like these, small pieces of technology would have served me better.

From there, he began to explain what the SUM ministry is all about and issued the invitation for those interested to contact me. Once again he reiterated, "Martha Bush, we honor you today for leading this ministry."

The following week as I reflected on the recognition of the SUM Ministry, my heart was touched. I knew there was a BIGGER PICTURE going on with its recognition and the honor the pastor had given to me for leading it.

And so, I sat down and wrote my SUM group the following email.



The word, "HONOR" that Pastor used in introducing me has taken on a special meaning. First of all, I was not the only one being honored - I was standing up before the church for all of you. I was just the one for whom the blessing of honor flowed through. I was your representative.

One of my favorite Bible stories that has touched me time and time again is the story of Leah, Jacob, and Rachael. Leah was not Jacob's preferred wife; it was Rachael he loved. Leah went through turmoil living in the same house as the forgotten, invisible wife in an unloving marriage with Jacob and Rachael.

But, my favorite scripture in this story is found in Genesis 29:31: And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb, but Rachael was barren.

The key words in that verse are "The Lord Saw." What did the Lord see?

  • He saw Leah was hated.
  • He saw she was not accepted.
  • He saw she was not affirmed.
  • He saw she was not appreciated for the beautiful woman she was.
  • He saw she had been an invisible woman to Jacob and her father, Laban.

The question is "What did the Lord do when He saw all the things Leah went through?"

The unloved Leah, the forgotten one, the loser's prize, the one totally rejected was compensated with Motherhood.

Certainly, we don't experience the kind of behavior from our spouse as Leah did. At least, we don't live in the same house with his other wife. (Can you imagine that?)

But, think about those words "The Lord Saw," as they pertain to hurts you have experienced in your own marriage, and fill in the blanks.

  • The Lord Saw _______________
  • The Lord Saw _______________
  • The Lord Saw _______________ 

Yes, we all have had our share of problems in some form, as we have walked the path of the "spiritual mismatch" in our home, and perhaps have cried many tears as we prayed. But, on this Sunday, I believe the Lord gave us a wink and said, "I saw the things you have gone through." 

As a result, just as He compensated Leah with motherhood for her troubles, I believe He compensated us with HONOR. That honor was exhibited in at least two ways.

  1. He compensated us with HONOR for the role we have had to play as the spiritual leader of our homes. We've been positioned on the front line of duty, if you please.
  2. He compensated us with HONOR before men - our pastor and church body. No longer are we the forgotten, invisible ones. We are now recognized as an important role of service to the Body of Christ.

And so, I say to you, "Ladies, receive the HONOR that the Lord has given to all of us through our pastor.


And now, to all of you reading this blog on the world-wide web, receive this compensation of honor from the Lord for yourself. After all, Lynn and Dineen stood up and represented ALL of us before the world years ago.  

Perhaps, there are other ways you feel honored in your marriage than the two I have mentioned.  How about sharing your thoughts in the comments.

Be blessed.  



Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Testimony Springboard & Powerful Conflict Tool

Hey SUMite Nation:

Today I shared two powerful perspectives on the SUM Facebook page. I want to share these with you and to celebrate 26 years of marriage and how this is important to your marriage.

Let's Talk Live is moving to Wednesdays at noon Pacific. Please make time to listen to this broadcast as it offers some powerful perspectives to THRIVE in your faith and marriage. 

I love you. Lynn


If you can't view this video in the email blast, click here. :)


Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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