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23 entries from October 2008

Welcome to the Kingdom Assignment

Introduction of our Assignment letter: Greetings: Servant of the Most High

I have an assignment for you that will change your life. A Kingdom Assignment. Before you say no, before you tell me you’re too busy, too untrained, or too ill equipped to handle one more assignment, think about this:

If you accept this assignment, you will take a small amount of money and increase it up to a hundredfold or more. You will have the means to help countless people – some with food and clothing, others with medicine or the gospel message- and in the process, no matter how much money your investment turns into, no matter how many people you will help, you will walk away with more than what your investment will ever make and more than those you’ve invested in. Interested? ~Denny Bellesi, The Kingdom Assignment

Enclosed is a small amount of money. This money arrives with three conditions. First, this money belongs to God; second, you must invest it in God’s work; and third, you report the results over the next 60 days to the Kingdom Assignment Page at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

Thus our assignment was born. Into the mail went envelopes headed for destinations across America, Canada, Mexico, into Europe and reaching Australia.

I realize that our world economy is terrible and there are so many people in need. I know that many find themselves with very little and nothing to share with someone else. But, I also know that we serve an amazing God. When you look around you, always you can find someone worse off than yourself.

This assignment is about loving your neighbor. What little you have can be much to someone else. Take your dollar and offer it to the Lord. Ask Him to multiply it and show you exactly where you are to serve.

A few years ago our church also handed out a dollar one morning in the bulletin. They were given this very assignment. To follow are first person stories of the results of this assignment.

One Sunday you had placed a dollar bill in every bulletin and instructed the congregation to give it away. Since we were visiting I decided to save my dollar and bring it back to Portland, Oregon and give it to a woman that gives meals on Mondays to a large homeless population. I gave her the dollar, explained the story behind it, and told her that whoever she gave the dollar to she was to tell them it came from a southern California church and that God loves them.

We prayed over the dollar and she left to give out meals. All night she kept looking for the right person to give it to and finally near the end of the dinner she gave it to a homeless woman. She told her the story and the woman had tears in her eyes.

Last Monday night when the meals were distributed, that same woman came up and wanted to be baptized. Quite a return on a 1 dollar gift! I am sure you have more stories that confirm the love of Christ, but maybe not one where a dollar from that Sunday went so far away to change a life for eternity.

God bless your ministry.

Okay, this story is phenomenal but the story that truly sticks in my mind was this.

A new believer took her dollar and simply noticed a woman alone. She bought her a cup of coffee. Nothing big. However, this ended up a profound meeting. This woman was lonely. She just wanted another human being to notice her and spend some time talking with her. I burst into tears as our church member told this story to our congregation.

There are so many lonely people. Perhaps our Kingdom Assignment is just to help the lonely. Perhaps it is the beginning of a new world-wide ministry.

Okay, now it is your turn. Big or small. It matters not. It only matters that you followed the Lord’s prompting and became a servant such as the one in Matthew 25: 22-23. Well done good and faithful servant.

I plan to post some of your stories for others to read. Please write to me and leave your story in the comments on this page. God bless you, Lynn

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Thankful Thursday

I have the stangest praise today.
 
Most of you know that I lead a Bible study on Wednesdays. Well today is Wednesday and guess what?
 
My Mother-in-law who was staying with us for a couple of weeks packed up her bags and was headed home to Northern California. My husband's brother packed up the car and set out early this morning to complete the eight-hour drive.
 
About an hour after they left, I started looking for my book bag which contains my study guide, bible and chocolate. (Chocolate is a must for a womena's Bible study.) Anyhoo, I quickly realized my Bible study was packed up in the car that was on the way to Sacramento.
 
Okay, I went to Bible study without my stuff. My sweet, unbelieving husband dug up his Bible and brought it to me to take along. You should have seen his face as he offered it to me. Priceless! (That is a story for another day.)
 
I was really worried I wouldn't have enough information to lead the study. I felt like such a goof showing up and telling my girls that my study was ont he way to Sacramento.
 
But!
 
We had the absolute Best study hour WITHOUT the study guide.... Testimonies of God's power were shared! We grew as a group and in the truth of the Bible.
 
God is so very good. I am praising Him for a Bible Study - without the study - that ROCKED!
Hope your Thursday ROCKS too! Be Blessed, Lynn

For more Thankful Thursday blessings, visit Iris at Grace Alone.

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A God of the Little Things

Hello dear friends! I can't tell you how happy I am to be with you today. We are home from the hospital. Leslie's recuperation from her surgery has amazed everyone. God is so good!

I want to share a post I did at our site at CaringBridge.org, which is an awesome site for those in medical situations like ours to stay in contact with updates to family and friends. We know we serve a great big God, but did you know he's a God of the little things too?

From October 25th...

OilverEarlier today while we were still in the ICU, I was looking through the movie and game closet near the nurses' station for something to get Leslie's mind off her discomfort. She didn't like my selection but said she wanted to watch Oliver and Company.

I went looking again, praying that if they had it that I'd actually find it in the chaos of this closet, but they didn't have it. I checked the hospital library list but didn't see it there either. Then I logged onto iTunes, but they only had the soundtrack. Finally I called a dear friend who'd planned to come up with another dear friend later in the day. Yes! She had it on VHS. We were in business.

Fast forward a few hours. Leslie is sent up to a room. We get settled in and enjoy the peace of a quiet room. Leslie finally sleeps for a while. My friends arrive with the movie as well as an array of DVDs for Leslie to look through.

After Leslie ate dinner, she asked to watch the movie. Her dad popped in a tape already sitting on the machine. I told him that wasn't the right tape—it was resting on Leslie's tray. He ejects the movie and guess what?

It was Oliver and Company. The movie was already here, in the VHS machine for her side of the room. Chills ran up my arms, and my friends and I looked at each other in amazement.

How like God to be in the little things—to provide a movie for a 14 year old girl recovering from brain surgery?

I am in awe of this great big God of ours. Again, he shows me how faithful he is. Even in the littlest of things.

I'm so excited to be a part of the Kingdom Assignment. Next week I will tell you a story of how my family and I became the subject of such an assignment between a complete stranger and a dear friend. Again, I proclaim, God is so good!

Praying, believing, and rejoicing!
Dineen

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My First Video Cast.

I hope it doesn't freak you out!

Hi, I don't know what I was thinking.. I can't share our Kingdom Assignment today. It would spoil all the fun. I don't think your envelopes will arrive until Tuesday or Wednesday. I feel really bad that I told you we would launch this great adventure today. So, I finally thought I would post my first video cast. This is a five minute video in poor lighting and poor visual quality but it is my short story about why I started this blog and about how God showed up in a big way in my marriage. I hope it doesn't freak you out to finally hear my voice and see my face. I know sometimes it is weird for me to hear people I have corresponded with. Without further ado.... Friday is our launch date. Stop in here for some great ideas to begin your Kingdom Assignment. Be blessed, Lynn

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Weekend Devotion—Resolving Conflict (Part 2)

Welcome to week two of a three part series from Purpose Driven Life, Daily Devotional about resolving conflicts with your spouse. Have a blessed weekend and enjoy your spouse!
Praying and believing,
Dineen

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How to Resolve Conflict with Your Spouse (Part 2)
by Rick Warren

If you’re going to pull together when you’re pulled apart, you have to:

Convene a peace conference. Conflict does not resolve itself. It must be dealt with intentionally. Conflict gets worse when you leave it alone. Jesus says don’t ignore it. Deal with the issue while you can. If you’ve got something wrong with somebody or they’ve got something wrong with you, God says you go to them.

When? At once. Postponed conflict only gets worse. Another verse in the Bible says, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26 HCSB). I think that means 24 hours would be the maximum amount of time you should let something go unresolved. You need to settle it as soon as possible, before it festers and turns into bitterness.

Consider my mate’s perspective. I can’t just look at my own viewpoint, my own situation; I have to look at your viewpoint too. This is very difficult because it’s not natural. It requires an intentional shift where I have to change my focus from looking at my needs to looking at your needs. It takes God to do that.

When you understand where people are coming from, it’s so much easier. The better you understand your mate, the less conflict you’re likely to have with him or her.

How do you learn to understand your spouse? Listen. Listen more than you talk. This again is not easy for many of us. It’s not easy for me. Some of us get so anxious to make our point, to tell our side, to defend ourselves that we don’t even stop to listen to the other person’s point of view or what they are saying.

You are most like Christ when you ask, “What are her/his needs and how can I meet them?” When you’re angry, you’re preoccupied with yourself. But when you’re like Christ, you look to each other’s interests and not merely your own. One of the most powerful peacemaking statements you can say to your husband/wife is, “I’m sorry. I was only thinking of myself.”

© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.

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It's In the Mail and...

Loving the Unlovely in our Lives

The Kingdom Assignment envelopes are going into the mail today. On Monday I will share the assignment here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage and some of the amazing stories of others who desired to honor Jesus and love their neighbor.

I hope you are moved and filled with ideas about your own assignment. Please (click here if you have not sent me your snail mail address.)

Loving the Unlovely in our Lives:

So , I have a question for you. Are you growing in your love for God and are you growing in your love for people?

Galatians 5:14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Mathew 7:12 12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

I submit this statement for consideration: You only love Jesus as much as you love the most unattractive person you know.

Is this true? If it is true, how do we love that person who is a child abuser, or an ex-husband, a boss who is critical, a mother who is cold distant or even cruel. What about a spouse who hates Jesus?

How?

Looking forward to your wisdom and your scripture verses. Be Blessed, Lynn

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Thankful Thursday

Praising God today for:

  • Email from Dineen at 3:20 pm about Leslie: She's in ICU. She did great. They got the whole tumor!

  • The Kingdom Assignment is about to launch and lives will be changed. I am so thankful for all of you who have decided to be part of this adventure. It's not too late (click here).

  • I am thanking the Lord for all of you, my wonderful friends here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. I know your time is precious, I am humbled that you spend some of it here with me.

    Love you... God is good... All the time. Praise the name of the LORD. Be Blessed, Lynn





    For more Thankful Thursday blessings, visit Iris at Grace Alone.


  • In Pursuit of the Pink Wig

    Leslie_2My daughter has instructed the surgeon to shave off all her hair for her surgery Wednesday. I was surprised. He grinned and said to give the girl anything she wanted.

    She wants a light pink wig, long and without bangs. We've begun the search. Oddly, this pink wig is turning into a kind of symbol of our journey. We know there's one out there somewhere, but it ultimately comes down to perseverance and persistence, waiting and trusting.

    Just like this journey we're on. Leslie and I have the peace of knowing God's in control of the whole thing. Yet we keep moving, striving to reach the next step as whole and balanced as we can. Knowledge and understanding alleviate the fears and give purpose. Hiding in the unknown leaves us vulnerable and fearful.

    Keep moving. Keep looking for that pink wig. Keep looking upward.

    We spent the day cleaning and getting the house ready this past weekend, and mainly cleaning her room thoroughly. It's been quite messy and dirty lately. Not a good environment for someone soon to undergo radiation and chemo. Now it's clean and organized. Funny how just doing simple things like cleaning your house can take on special meaning and purpose.

    Just another step on the road, in pursuit of the pink wig. And healing.
    Praying and believing,
    Dineen

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    The Expert - Could that be Me?

    Okay, I am overwhelmed! I have heard from so many of you who want to Love people and honor our Jesus. Across America, through Canada, Mexico, Europe and Australia. We are part of this fantastic story about to unfold, The Kingdom Assignment.

    It is not to late to join us. Click here to sign up and let Jesus change you, your kids, your spouse and let all glory fall upon the name of Christ. Thank you everyone who has written to me. I have so much to share with you as we move into this assignment. Hold on! The envelopes are almost ready to go into the mail.

    The Parable of the Good Samaritan

    Luke 10: 25 (NIV) On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

    Do you remember that last week I asked you to revisit this parable of the Good Samaritan with a fresh perspective? For many of us, this parable’s familiarity has reduced its impact in our lives. Beginning today and through out the next few weeks of our Kingdom Assignment, we will travel this road with Jesus at our side as our Narrator. We will witness the beating, the narrow road, the travelers who pass by, their motives, their conflicts.

    We will listen in as Jesus talks to the “Expert in the Law.” We will discover what the loopholes are and hear what Jesus does not say.

    I wonder how much of ourselves we will discover through this retelling of this fascinating story filled with robbers, deception, beatings, healing, heroes, and villains.

    The Living Word of God is astonishing in that it is fresh, it still applies and it is life changing. I need to warn you this study will make you uncomfortable. For the word of God is living and active. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

    This passage will perhaps reveal some of our preconceptions and the tension between our orthodoxy and what it means to love others. Certainly it will challenge us to see our neighbors in a new light. I pray with fervor, your heart, my heart, will be softened by the Word’s of Jesus. Mostly I pray that when we finish this trek, Jesus will look upon our lives and say, “Well done good and faithful servant. You have loved Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And you have loved your neighbor as yourself.”

    Let’s get started:

    Look at the Expert in this passage. This is a man who is well educated in the teachings of Torah and the prophets. It is likely he attended training at the Synagogue in his childhood or early adult years. I wonder if he was sincere when addressing Jesus and asking this question in which he already knew the answer? I wonder if he realized he hadn’t figured everything out yet.Oldjewishman

    I wonder if we might just share a little more in common with this man than we are willing to admit. He read his bible every day. He prayed, he really loved God. He served at church. He found it rewarding. He also talked with his friends about God and encouraged them in their daily walk. On his blog, he offered encouraging scripture passages and prayed for his visitors. Hummmm.

    Do we ask Jesus questions knowing we already have the answer? If we are honest, we do. I do. Sometimes I am just not ready to live with the answer. I am not ready to give up that tiny little (or big) thing in my life the Lord has asked of me.

    I wonder if you read these words and that “one” issue you are dealing with popped into your mind? Perhaps this is the one issue God wants to deal with these next few months. Are you willing to listen? Do you want to move into a new intensity with the Lord but He is waiting for you to listen? To obey?

    Did I not say this journey might be uncomfortable? As I type these words, God is speaking to me of an issue he has called me to surrender and I have refused. Perhaps this is our time, our journey, our moment.

    Oh Father, Abba,

    I know you have called me to a new height in service and you are waiting for me to reach out and take your hand. Lord, I am afraid or unable to let go of this thing in my life. Beginning today Lord, you change me. My heart, my body, my very soul to take steps to become free from this bondage. I am unable to do it myself. You do it for me. I surrender and will look for those around me who you send to help me.

    Lord, thank you for Jesus and for his teaching and example. Thank you for redemption through the blood of Christ.

    Lord, change me. Change me through this journey. Teach me to love my neighbor like Jesus loves. In my Savior’s powerful name, Jesus. Amen.

    Okay, I can’t wait for our next lesson: There is a loophole clause we must uncover. There are underlying tensions, and belief systems. We are gong to have a blast in the discovery. Hang on because it is God’s will we do not remain unchanged. Be Blessed, Lynn

    *****

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    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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    Weekend Devotion - Resolving Conflict

    For the next three weekends, Lynn and I would like to share a series provided by Purpose Driven Life, Daily Devotional about resolving conflicts with your spouse. Have a blessed weekend and enjoy your spouse!
    Praying and believing,
    Dineen

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    How to Resolve Conflict with Your Spouse (Part 1)
    by Rick Warren


    You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. James 4:2 (NIV)

    Sometimes the biggest conflicts in marriage are over the most trivial issues. One of the silliest fights Kay and I ever had was over bath soap.

    If you’re going to pull together when you’re pulled apart, you have to:

    Call on God for help. Pray about it. Before you go to your spouse about the problem, discuss it with God. This may solve the problem right there. Practice what I call “ventilating vertically.” Many of you are very good at ventilating horizontally, but ventilating vertically is when you come to God and say, “Here’s how I feel,” and you just lay it out.

    James 4:2 teaches, “You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God” (NIV). Conflict often occurs when we expect other people to meet needs that only God himself can meet in our lives.

    Confess your part of the conflict. Before I start attacking and blaming, I need to do a frank evaluation and ask, “How much of this conflict is my fault? I need to do an honest checkup and admit my part. When you’re wrong, admit it. And when you’re right, shut up!

    Be honest. Matthew 7:3-5, Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck in another’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? … First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly” (GNT).

    I need to ask, “Am I being unrealistic? Am I being insensitive? Am I being overly sensitive? Am I being too demanding? Am I being ungrateful?”

    Tomorrow we’ll look at two more steps to resolving conflict with your spouse.

    © 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.

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    Love Your Neighbor -
    Kingdom Assignment

    Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

    I sat on my couch Tuesday morning with my steaming coffee and my bible. The sky outside was holding a tiny hint of light. It was early but I met my Savior to talk about what it means to really love our neighbor.

    As I sat quietly, listening, the Lord said to me, “Make this real Lynn. Show the world that you, my children, love your neighbors. You know what to do.”

    Whoa!

    You know what?

    I DO know what to do.

    I immediately knew what to do.

    We are all going to do it.

    We are going to love our neighbor in such a blatant, radical way that the people in our home and our friends will always remember this assignment. Most importantly, we are going to love the world in such a way that the Name of Jesus is honored.

    So get ready. We are going to be practical and real. Beginning November 1st we will affect change in our sphere of influence. You can involve your kids, your spouse, your community or keep this completely priviate between you and God. He will show each of us what, where and who.

    Right now Jesus has prepared a Kingdom Assignment for you: It is in an envelope and ready to be mailed to your home. Inside this envelope is something very simple and very life-changing. This simple assignment will prompt you to show love to your neighbor.

    This envelope contains a note from me which will take a couple of minutes to read. The Love Your Neighbor Assignment is simple and short. It will take as little or much time and effort that you are able to give.

    This assignment is a surprise and I don’t want to share it here yet. Not until everyone has received his or her letter. The assignment is the same for each of us. However, I can assure you the results will be vastly different for all of us. I promise you this. If you accept this assignment, you will be used by the very hand of God and be forever changed by this experience. Don’t be worried or scared, trust the Lord to make, loving your neighbor, very real to you.

    Are you willing to at least find out what it is? All you need to do is click here and email me your mailing address. I am the only one who will have your address and I promise I will not use it for anything other than to mail you one envelope.

    We are approaching the Thanksgiving and Christmas Season. This assignment is subtle yet a powerful witness for Christ. We will thrill our kids and they will be in awe of our Lord. This is an opportunity to experience God. I promise, you will not be disappointed.

    Your assignment is on the way. Email me today.

    The catch? When you have completed your assignment, you are invited to share your experience with everyone here. Log on to the Love your Neighbor, Kingdom Assignment Page here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage and share what God does with this simple assignment. (Page will go up on November 1st.)

    Let’s share how God moves in our lives. Share how God has affected your children's heart, your spouse, your friends and mostly your neighbors.

    I will continue this series beginning Monday with some amazing teaching from; The Parable of the Good Samaritan.

    God is so very good. Let’s let His light shine out through us in the Holiday Season. Be blessed, Lynn

    Envelopeka_2

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    Thankful Thursday


    As I type these words, I am humbled by the goodness of our God. I thank Him for watching over Dineen and Leslie. Scroll down to read their story.

    I am thankful that I ran 15 miles last week and I am on schedule to complete my training for the half marathon in January. What was I thinking? I don’t know but I am really into this running thing… Go figure..

    Mostly, I am thankful the Lord is teaching me about what it really means to love my neighbor.

    Tomorrow, I invite you to join me in a very unique and first time event in our online history. We are going to impact our world through loving our neighbor. Who is our neighbor? How can we really impact our sphere of influence?

    Stop by here tomorrow if you are up for an adventure you will never forget. Your kids will always remember it. Your life will be changed by it. If you are praying for unbelievers in your life, they will witness first hand what it means to see love in action – in you. Loving people like Jesus loves. I can’t wait.. I tell you… I just can’t wait.

    I am a humble and thankful servant. I love each of you who spend your valuable time here with me. Thank you! Your friendship is a rich and eternal blessing. Be Blessed, Lynn




    For more Thankful Thursday blessings, visit Iris at Grace Alone.

    Ready to Graduate

    Leslie_2I want to graduate from the unequally yoked club. I bet you do to.

    In January of this year, God had me write something important down. He gave me a specific word about my future. Part of what he said was, “this is the year I will do great things in your life.”

    Now I will honestly say I knew these “great things” didn’t necessarily mean complete success and all my dreams coming true. I know God well enough to understand that what I consider great and what I want may not necessarily be in agreement with what God is shooting for.

    And I’m a firm believer in Romans 8:28. I have no doubts that everything God does has a purpose, nothing is wasted, and anytime we, his children, are included in these events, he always has our best interest at heart. So even faced with a difficult road ahead of us, I know God has a plan, a reason, and I trust him.

    But looking back at his words during this time with my daughter has illuminated a new aspect for me. What God considers great can have much deeper ramifications. And more difficulties than we anticipate.

    Sometimes “great” has farther-reaching ramifications than we can ever imagine. “Great” then takes on deeper meaning than the casual usage implying better than good. Great can mean significant, important, earth-moving and life changing.

    What do we do in those times?

    Hang on to God. I can tell you from experience, he’s very faithful. He’s certainly not letting go of you. And if you’re a control freak like me, the best thing you can do is spend a lot of time with him, especially in his Word. The better you know God, the more you will understand his will and find peace in acceptance and trust. God speaks, we just have to listen.

    Look beyond ourselves. There’s always a bigger picture there, I promise you. I can look back over the last seven years and see ways God has been moving us to this point, AND preparing us for what we face right now. Those times are significant. Those times were great. Struggles, difficult decisions, set backs, failures—all of these have equipped me to deal with we are facing now. In this viewpoint, I can be grateful to God for all he’s done to get me ready. And I see it’s really not about me. It’s about God and his plan, which he set in place from the beginning, and he’s completely in control of it all and knows the outcome. I can’t do any better than that, so leaving it all in his most capable hands brings me tremendous comfort.

    Join God. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned recently regarding ongoing issues is that much more is accomplished when I seek to join God in the process instead of demanding God just fix it and make it go away. Does it seem like God’s not hearing your prayer in a particular situation? Are you praying over and over again for God to change/fix/remove this problem, but nothing’s happening? Change you prayer. Instead of asking God to deal with it for you, ask him how you can be a part of the solution. God doesn’t need our help but he wants us involved as part of our growth. And that growth is what brings us closer to him, allows us to know him better, and even gives us a glimpse of what God has planned in his perfect will.

    So much has happened in my family these last few weeks. And we still have more to face. We learned yesterday the tumor is cancerous. She will need more surgery, weeks of radiation, and months of chemotherapy. I know there will be days that I will wonder why God has taken us down this path.

    But for now, I’m holding onto God’s promises for my daughter and for my husband. I can see that there is so much more going on than just the visible. God’s allowed this time for a greater reason than ourselves. Lives will be touched and changed. One in particular… God’s presence is being and will be revealed.

    I want to be a part of that. I want to walk alongside God and participate as he’s calling me to. The big picture is salvation and relationship to God. That’s what this is all about.

    And I can’t wait to see the culmination. I’m ready to graduate.
    Praying and believing,
    Dineen

    *****

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    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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    Loving the Unlovely in our Lives. Are you a Pharasee?

    The Parable of the Good Samaritan
    25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

    26"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"

    27He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

    28"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

    29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

    30In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'

    36"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

    37The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
    Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

    I wonder if the story of the Good Samaritan has become too familiar. Is there a possibility that we, the believers in Christ, have become Pharisees?

    You probably figured out we would eventually land on this scripture. The posts and comments regarding Edgy Christianity have brought this conversation full circle. I am convinced that as believers married to unbelievers we must be extra sensitive to how we are viewed. Our spouses are watching. Are we walking the talk or just talking?

    With that said, let’s look at this passage in the days ahead. What does it mean to love our neighbor? And by this question I mean, really love. Honestly, authentically, radically.

    Are their loopholes in this passage? We are going to examine what Jesus says but more importantly what he does not say. So, buckle up and tune in on Friday. It is my sincere prayer that after this journey, our husband or wife will see us with new eyes. I want them to see Jesus and that He works. He is for real and can really change lives – OURS!

    I want our spouses to see that we love people. The good, bad, and ugly. It is my deepest desire that we experience a radical change in our heart which is blaringly evident. So much so, that it rocks our spouse’s world. I am praying for this for you and for me.

    Get your Bible out. Don’t let this story be familiar and get ready for an expedition into a new territory. A place where Jesus wants us to dwell. It is about love.

    Be Blessed, Lynn

    See you Friday!

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    Weekend Devotion - Guidance

    *Guidance

    When I meditated on the word Guidance, I kept seeing "dance" at the end of the word. I remember reading once that obeying God's will is a lot like dancing.

    When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn't flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky. When one person realizes it’s not working and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music.

    One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another. It's as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other.

    My eyes drew back to the word Guidance.

    When I saw “G” I thought of God, followed by “U” and “I.”

    “God, “U” and “I” dance."

    God, you, and I dance.

    As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would receive guidance about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

    My prayer for you today is that God's blessings and mercies be upon you. May you abide in God as God abides in you. Dance together with God, trusting God to lead and guide you through each season of your life.

    I Hope You Dance!

    Be Blessed, Lynn
    *Author Unknown

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    On The Edge - NO MORE

    The little boy shimmied off the tall bed down between Mom and Dad. He glanced over. Mom’s hands were folded together and resting on the quilt. Her eyes stayed closed as she leaned against the bed, crouching on her knees. A quick glance to the other side revealed
    Daddy. His eyes were also closed, patiently waiting. He covertly watched Daddy from the corner of his eye and noticed Dad popped one eye open watching him settle into place. Daddy grinned as he finally settled on his knees.

    Squeezing tiny eyes shut, the small boy spoke in a clear voice, “Dear Lord, please make all the bad people, good.

    And Jesus please make all the good people, kind.”

    Whoa!


    Conditional or Unconditional… On the Edgy and Edgy…. Emerging and Finding.

    Over the past few weeks the Lord set me on a path to reveal a few character issues I didn’t believe belonged to me. I began this journey a couple of weeks ago with a post regarding the newest books in the Christian book world. (read the original post, On The Edge…. click here)

    The next thing to hit was a crash course on the Emergent Church. (click here)

    The readers here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage – YOU- just amaze and inspire me in so many ways. I read each of your comments with an open heart. I found wisdom and much passion behind your words. You love Jesus and your ultimate purpose is to follow Him and honor His name.

    It is a privilege to serve the Lord along side you. If you have written a post on these subjects, I plan to stop over next week to finish my reading. Can you leave me a link?

    God is incredible. This journey culminated with a message this past Sunday from the pulpit. Pastor Greg, from Sunridge Community Church, delivered words written just for me. Or at least they seemed to be.

    His message: Loving God is Not Enough…

    Once again….Whoa!

    “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

    Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” --Matthew 22:36-40

    Pastor Greg put forth an observation from all his years in ministry. “I have observed at every church I have pastored over many years a truth about those who have been believers for years. They travel down one of two paths. Some become very knowledgeable, maybe a tiny bit self-righteous. Of course, they don’t think they have everything figured out but compared to the guy sleeping in on Sunday morning they are doing pretty good. They may be a little less loving and a little more judgmental. They can be some of the most unkind people in the church.”

    Pastor Greg went on to say, “Then there are others who move down the path of living and become more loving. They love people. No matter who they are. How stinky, disgusting, or uncomforting.”

    The good, bad and ugly. As I sat listening to Pastor Greg’s experience, I squirmed. If I am honest with myself, I can be judgmental. Ouch!

    God met me on Sunday morning, as I was squirming in my seat, my face turning pink under the scrutiny of self-examination. The Lord said to me, “Lynn, I KNOW you love me. But loving me is not enough. I want you to love people, practically, with an earnest heart.”

    “Begin today to see all people as I see them. Your neighbors, the girl covered in tattoos working the coffee machine at Starbucks, the idiot driver who is oblivious to everyone else on the road, your husband who does not know me yet. Lynn, I love them. I love them as I love you. Now, you go and love them too.”

    I will Lord, I will. Father, forgive me for being judgmental and a bit prideful. Help me to see unbelievers and all people through your eyes and Lord, teach me to love them. Lord, from this day forward help me to show kindness to people, all people. In Jesus name, Amen

    To hear the entire message from Pastor Greg Sidders, click here.

    Be Blessed, Lynn

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    Thankful Thursday - A Lot


    I have so much to be thankful for this week. My cup runnith over.

  • My first church Newsletter was well received. Whew! I guess I was nervous. Everyone loved the recipe. (see below)

  • Cooler weather is FINALLY on the horizon. Indian summer in Southern California can be HOT.

  • We have yet to endure a major Santa Ana wind event. Praise God and keep praying that we are spared this year. To view photo’s from last years fires and my own personal story click here (story at the Internet Cafe, Christian Women Online) (photos at Spiritually Unequal Marriage). UPDATE: I typed this at 5 o' clock. My husband and I just went to walk the dog at 6:30 pm and smoke has filled the sky. *sigh* Fires again. I am praying we see nothing like last year.

  • And mostly I praise the Lord Jesus Christ for His presence in the lives of Dineen, the co-writer here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage and her daughter, Leslie. For those of you who don’t know, Leslie was diagnosed with a brain tumor last week and went into surgery earlier today. Here is a text message I received from Dineen today:

    The procedure was a complete success. Leslie did great - no issues. They got 3 biopsies of the tumor too. We'll get to see her in about a half an hour.

    Praising the Lord today!

    Now the recipe from my first Newsletter. Thank you Katie:

    Newsletter first recipe:
    Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting:
    Yum... yumPumpkin_bread

    This is one of my favorite recipes - it is so easy and yummy!! Also a bonus is one for your family and one to share! Hugs, Katie Hougen

    1 C canned pumpkin
    1/2 C vegetable oil
    2 eggs
    1 1/2 C sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    1 2/3 C flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 C chopped pecans

    Combine pumpkin, oil and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well to blend. Pour batter into 2 greased (yes 2!) and floured loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hrs till done when toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool 10 min before removing from pan. Serve with cream cheese spread.

    Cream Cheese spread:
    4 tbsp softened butter
    4 oz softened cream cheese
    3 c sifted powdered sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 tbsp milk
    1/4 c chopped pecans (optional)

    With electric mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese till smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk. Mix well. Fold in pecans if desired.

    Be Blessed, Lynn




    For more Thankful Thursday blessings, visit Iris at Grace Alone.

  • The Most Amazing of Times

    Leslie_2Many of you know my youngest daughter (14) was diagnosed with a brain tumor last week. Thank you all for the wonderful and encouraging comments you left last Thursday, for the emails, and most importantly for your prayers. I am so very grateful and thankful for this amazing online community here and at 1Peter3Living.

    Never did we imagine such an outcome when her headaches increased. What I want to share with you is how God worked in the midst of this before we even knew. He is so very good, and very, very, very faithful.

    When her headaches started, we wondered if it was caused by her anxiety over starting high school. This particular school is large and after a year of homeschooling, we thought it might just be a time of adjustment. But then the headaches got worse, and she missed more school. We weren’t sure what to believe.

    Go back to the summer. My daughter went on a youth trip to Hume Lake. I’d prayed God would encounter her there in a major way. He did. She even wrote what he told her in the margin of her journal—words of reassurance that he was always with her, looking out for her. And at a Christian writer’s conference in mid September, through the prayers of others, God reassured me he was taking care of my girl.

    But about a week before we found out, as I was praying for my daughter, God spoke these words to me:

    “Believe her.”

    I’ll admit, I wondered at those words and even struggled with them. But then just a few days later, God said, “she’ll be okay.” I knew he was getting me ready for something and that following week, God seemed to constantly 'be there.'

    Finally, we had the first MRI done, and when the doctor’s office called the next morning, asking us to come in that day, I knew something was wrong. As we drove there, I turned on the radio (love AIR-1) and “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns came over the airwaves. I’ll never forget that moment because I was at a traffic light, staring at the rolling hills that look like tan suede this time of year. These are the first words I heard of that song:

    I lift my eyes up to the hills
    Where does my help come from
    My help comes from the Lord
    Maker of heaven and earth

    I knew right away God wanted me to praise him in this storm and remember he would be there all the way.

    All this—all before I even walked into the doctor’s office to find out our sweet girl was sick.

    Since that day, God has hovered ever so close. A dear friend sent me a link to a song on You Tube. As I listened to it, God said, “I’m here.”

    The morning we were to meet with a neurosurgeon, this was in my devotional verse for that day:

    “…the Lord will do amazing things among you… This is how you will know that the living God is among you…” — Joshua 3:9-10

    So when people ask me how we’re doing, I can only say “fine.” God has us so tightly in his hand, we’ve not had the sense to fear or worry.

    We’re not out of the woods yet. Surgery (Wednesday) will be the beginning of an ongoing journey. But I know Leslie will be just fine.

    God told me so.

    Praying and believing,
    Dineen

    *****

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    Marriage Monday - 10 Tips for Frugal Living

    1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis

    It's Marriage Monday and today's topic: 10 Tips for Frugal Living:

    1. Finances: Learn to live on one income.

    2. Finances: Learn the word “no” and say it to yourself often.

    3. Happiness: Keep positive, and you will strengthen your immune system, and have less trips to the doctor.

    4. Healthy Living: Avoid recreational eating. Maintain a healthy, stable weight. Have more energy for the things you want and need to do, and avoid excess spending on clothing because of weight fluctuations.

    5. Holidays and Celebrations: Establish family traditions with your celebrations. Spend your money on the things you will really enjoy. Visit those less fortunate with your children to help them appreciate their blessings during the holidays. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to make a batch of cookies and deliver them to someone who will appreciate both your visit and the cookies.

    6. Sale: Just because it is on sales doesn’t mean you need it.

    7. Joy: Laugh out loud every day. It releases anxiety.

    8. Marriage: “I’m sorry” are the two most powerful words spoken between spouses.

    9. Prayer: Pray for your kids every day by name. It’s free and is the best investment you will ever make.

    10. Heart: Love Jesus, every day in every way. You will ENJOY a full and abundant life.

    John 10:10 …. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. ~Jesus
    Tightwad Treasures:
    My Family
    My Faith
    My Freedom...
    Freedom of Choice,
    Freedom from Debt,
    and the freedom to be a Happy Tightwad! *

    Be Blessed, Lynn

    * Tightwad Treasures from All Things Frugal.

    For more Marriage Monday, visit Chrysalis.

    *****

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    Weekend Devotion - It is an Order... *grin*

    Some of you recently learned I joined my local church staff. I have worked in the office a total of 2 ½ days. But, Whoa! My eyes have been opened.

    I know many of us who live in unequally yoked marriages often are angry that our church does nothing specific to address our specific struggles. I know for a long time I felt isolated and condemned to non-service just because my husband was not a believer. This may be true for you today. I will tell you this. It is wrong and I am sorry your church has limited you because their spouses don’t believe.

    I am fortunate my church is not hung up on this issue and considers me able to contribute to equipping the women in our body.

    Okay, but back to my point. I have only worked less than a total of 10 hours and I have seen enough to change my perspective. What the leadership of a church must deal with is enormous and far-reaching. Divorce, child abuse, drug addiction, spiritual warfare, one church member mad at another. The list is long and….. disturbing.

    So,

    Tomorrow is Pastor Appreciation Day. I don’t care if you have to drive to the store and purchase a card or make one from paper and crayons, give a card to your pastor and one-other staff member in ministry at your church.

    Forgive them for being human. Offer them love and support.

    For more ideas on how to encourage your pastor, click on this link to Christianity Today.

    Be blessed, Lynn

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    On The Edge and Knee Deep in the Hoopla!

    -Part Deux

    Wow, I guess I am not the only one who is thinking about the implications of Edgy Christianity. Many of you have offered your thoughts. You have also shared you passion about this phenomenon currently swirling about in our faith media. To read the original post, click here.

    This subject sure can rile up the Godly on the internet. In fact, I know a few of you have been motivated to research and write about this topic yourself. I can’t wait to read Iris’ post at Grace Alone tomorrow.

    Can I first say that your words and your perspective have enthralled me.

    Secondly, this subject has also stirred an interest in my husband. He read Monday’s post and all the comments. Interesting. I’m not sure what to think about that? I'm not sure he kows what to think about it.

    I also talked with one the pastors from my church. Our leadership can sometimes be edgy. (Not always a bad thing… here I go again) His thoughts about this very subject were unexpected and also enlightening.

    But today, as I sat in the church office working, a conversation developed regarding the Emergent Church. Okay, I must be living under a rock. What is the emergent church and what is it all about. Somehow does this all tie up together?

    What is also fascinating is this: Why is God is bringing all this info to me in a crash course beginning last weekend at the writer’s conference and now…. well… everywhere and everyday from different people and sources.

    Monday I went to Barns and Nobel and pickup two of the books listed on Monday’s post. I read them praying for discernement and with my Bible at my side.

    I am overwhelmed with the countering strong passionate beliefs in our own Christian community over these books and the Emergent Church.

    What I KNOW to be true is this: God is God. The Bible is His word and that is that. Period the end. But why all the controversy among His people?

    So, write me. What is the emergent church? Are Christian Publishers putting forth these books into our Community because God wants to reach people the church has alienated?

    More importantly how does this look or affect non-believers… my husband?

    Can’t wait to hear from you…. Be Blessed, Lynn

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    Thankful Thursday -

    A Day Like today... Can you give thanks?

    It is Thankful Thursday. Today is one of those days where you really find out what your faith is made of. It is on days like this you can truly realize who you are and who God is and be brought to your knees with a thankful heart.

    One of my closest friends and co-writer here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Dineen Miller, spoke to me a few hours ago. An MRI at the hospital detected that her daughter, Leslie, has a brain tumor. The mass sits near/on a gland, which is in the center of her brain.

    How do you give thanks in moments like this? This is what Dineen just wrote in an email:

    Amazingly, God is so here.

    He has been for the last two weeks. Over a week ago when I prayed for Leslie, feeling helpless to get her well and back to school. My husband and I have both struggled with how much we push her. Was it school avoidance or was she sick. God told me "believe her." Three nights ago He said, "She'll be okay."

    Dineen is leaning on our Lord and she told me today she has a calm about this. This is the power of God! Right here! Right now!

    Tomorrow the family will meet a neurosurgeon at noon. They will scan this mass to determine exactly what it is. I humbly ask everyone who reads this to pray for one minute at noon tomorrow for Dineen, Leslie and Dineen’s husband.

    God has his hand in these lives. There is something to be accomplished here. Pray that His will is accomplished and this family is protected in the very palm of the Master.

    Can we be thankful in the difficulties of life? Ask Dineen. Her answer – a resounding YES! – because we know God.

    Today I sign off using Dineen’s words: Praying and believing, Lynn

    If you would like to leave a prayer for Dineen, please do so in the comments and I will make certain she receives them. Thank you.




    For more Thankful Thursday blessings, visit Iris at Sting My Heart.

    A Grand New Day! ~ Women of Faith Conference

    Most of you know that I am a contributing writer to the devotional blog, Laced With Grace. The team of writers have joined with Women Of Faith Ministries to offer two premium tickets to attend a two day conference at any venue in the United States.

    Tickets include admission for two, boxed lunches and other neat stuff.

    I attended my first Women of Faith event in 1998. It was there I found a new passion to begin reading my Bible every day. My life was forever changed because of Women of Faith.

    What do you think God could do in your life through a Women of Faith conference?

    Hop over to Laced With Grace and enter the contest today. Be blessed, Lynn





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