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24 entries from January 2009

Risk an Affair?

by: Amy Forbes
 
I'm currently reading a book by Jerry B. Jenkins called "Hedges - loving your marriage enough to protect it". Having personally been in the position where I've had to step back from a friendship with a member of the opposite sex I found this book to be easy to read, intriguing and convicting with simple examples and ideas to help me to step back.
 
The first chapter discusses two couples. The husband (John) of the first marriage works with the wife (Sue) in the second marriage. All four are friends but when John and Sue are away on a business conference they make the step to take things a step further and end up committing adultery.
 
The author likens this to the bible story of David and Bathsheba (who was married to Uriah):
  • While David's army was away at war he stayed in Jerusalem. One night when he couldn't' sleep he wandered around the terrace on his roof when he saw Bathsheba bathing through a window of her private residence. He saw her beauty and instead of turning around the seed of lust was planted in his heart.
  • He took it a step further and sent his servants to find out more about her. They answered that she was married to Uriah.
  • David took it another step further and requested her presence and they ended up sleeping together.
  • But it didn't end there, David was so enamored with Bathsheba that he sent her husband Uriah to be placed on the front lines of the battle and it was there that he was killed.
The saying "it takes two to tango" is a universal cliché. What David saw that starry night on his roof was the beginning of sin not just against God but against Bathsheba and her husband. It took Nathan the prophet to point out to David what he'd done and it was only then that David recognized his sin and was willing to make amends.
 
Ask yourself; are you like David and Bathsheba or John and Sue? Are you in danger of taking a friendship with the opposite sex further than it should? Jerry Jenkins in this book gives some worthy biblical ideas of how to put hedges around your marriage and protect it. In my next post I'll share what he suggests and give an example how I recently had to apply them to my own marriage

Amy is a born again Christian and a former wicca (story for another day). She is married with three children and lives in a small town in New Zealand. She works part-time developing websites. Amy is a frequent guest writer at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. She is faithful to share how God has worked in her life, her husband's life and in their marriage. You can find Amy at her personal blog, Home With Amy and I Love Vintage Things.

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Stories for my Grandchildren

I began reading my daily Bible in 1998. That was the beginning of my restoration and healing.

I have read through this Bible every year since. This morning, January 30th, I found myself in the story of Moses and Pharaoh. Exodus 10: 1-12. These words were underlined in the first verse.

The the Lord said to Moses, "Return to Pharaoh and again make your demands. I have made him and his officials stubborn so I can continue to display my power by performing miraculous signs among them."

Look at this photo. Can you see the writing? I scribbled a note above this verse as a prayer to the Lord. I often write in my Bible.

Imported Photos 00112

It says, "Lord do this for my husband." I wrote '00 for the year 2000.

Well, I am certain I wasn't praying, asking the Lord to make my husband stubborn. He already was there. I was asking for the display of His power and the miracles.

Today as I read that verse, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, "Are you ready?"

I am Lord. I am.

We serve a God who answers prayer. Oh, I am certain the Lord is moving. I will be able to tell wonderful stories to my children and grandchildren about the marvelous things the Lord is doing among the unbelievers. (Exodus 10:2 paraphrased by me).

We can trust and have genuine hope in God's word.The book of Exodus, written more than 5,000 years ago is relevant today, powerful today and life-changing, still today. Amazing!

What dangerous prayer are you praying. Oh, please let me pray along. I will pray for you this week. Be blessed, Lynn

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The Call to Fight

859675_book___ In my journey through the Bible, God’s showing me a constant thread of struggle and perseverance. From Jacob to Joseph to Moses and the Israelites.

In Genesis 32, Jacob is faced with a potential disaster. His brother Esau is coming with 400 men, and Jacob fears the worst. He even prepares for the confrontation by dividing his people and possessions into two camps. In verses 9-12 he revisits God’s promise of prosperity.

Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two groups. Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”

Jacob has struggled with God enough in the past to stop this time and remember God’s promise before reacting. He even reminds God of it. Back in Genesis 28 Jacob reached a turning point by claiming his faith as his own (see verses 20-22). And now, by revisiting God’s promise, Jacob’s faith is re-enforced.

Then there’s Joseph. I think this is my absolute favorite story in the Bible. I’ve imagined many a time the desolation Joseph must have felt to be hated by his brothers and sold into slavery. I’ve marveled at how God favored him and gave him success, even in prison. And then the anguish to see his brothers and not be recognized.

Joseph endured years of slavery and imprisonment to fulfill a purpose God set in place long ago. Amazingly, Joseph understands this and even tells his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20 NIV)

Here we see a glimpse of Romans 8:28 in action. Joseph’s story is truly one of perseverance and supernatural faith.

From Streams in the Desert: “Joseph had more sorrow than all the other sons of Jacob, and it led him out into a ministry of bread for all nations.” — The Heavenly Life

And now to Moses and the Israelites. In Exodus 5, the conditions for the Israelites have gone from livable to treacherous. And they blame Moses—the man who’s brought a message of freedom from God—for their worsening state. The phrase “darkest before the dawn” epitomizes the thickening of battle before the victory. When se stand up to evil and injustice, when we obey God in ways that offend the world (or our spouses), we will meet opposition.

We don’t like this persecution and our fist instinct is to back off. To cry for things to go back to bearable like the Israelites did. But to do so means losing the battle. And it is in the midst of this battle that faith is so critical. We must continue to believe we don’t fight alone.

In Exodus 14, the Egyptians are in hot pursuit of the Israelites, who despair they are to die in the desert. Moses reminds them who is in control with these profound words.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.”

This simple statement is so full of God’s love and pure intentions. Even despite the Israelites lack of faith, God is fighting for his people. He’s there in the thick of the fight and his promise still stands.

The Israelites were called to face a great challenge, as are we who are unequally yoked. But we need not fear. We need simply to obey God’s call, be still in Him, and let God fight the battle for our spouses. But we must do our part.

“God will give us the victory when we join Him in the fight.” —Upper Room Ministries, January 22

Join God in the fight. Pray without ceasing. Have faith. Trust. Believe.

And guess what?

God always wins.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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The Chronicles - What Will this Wacky Family do next?

I am sitting in my office at 3:07 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Less than five hours ago I was headed down the home stretch to the finish line of the Carlsbad Half Marathon.

Tada!

I did it. I ran 13 miles along the ocean with 8 to 10 thousand of my closest friends. Runners are a strange lot. I still can't figure out why I think this is fun....

Okay, I can barely move and my knee is throbbing but I DID IT. What amazes me further, I ran the entire way except to suck down water at each and every water station. Although, around mile ten I was tempted to call an ambulance. I hated mile eleven and thought I would surely die through mile twelve.

Have mercy!

My muscles are sore and I am a bit whinny so my family is constantly reminding me today that THIS WAS MY IDEA. My daughter looked at me over lunch and said, "Mom, let's remember this, shall we, the next time you talk about signing up again. However, I still feel.....good. I feel like I fought the good fight and prevailed.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

I learned a few things while on this journey.

  • Train early and train often. I had to prepare for this event starting in September. We trained early 5:30 a.m. Three short runs 3-5 miles, three mornings a week, followed by a long run on Saturday 7-10 miles.
  • Share the pain and the victories with a friend. Imported Photos 00009 These are my friends, Karrie, Jolene, and Tanya. I love these women. They put up with me and my slow running for months. My BFF, Pam was injured and knocked out last month but she took time to telephone me shortly after I finished with an enthusiastic - Congratulations! Beth my other BFF checked on me yesterday and after I arrive home. God has given me such great friends. Most of these gals attend church with me.
  • Don't give up when you're tempted, hurting, and just plain beat up. I began praying around mile nine. By mile eleven, I was whispering between breaths, Philippians 4:13. By mile 12 my prayers consisted of, "Help me Jesus, Help me Jesus, Help me Jesus." He listened.
  • Imported Photos 00010 Finally, there are many others out there who need encouragement, and a little help and there were those who helped me. The water station people ROCKED. Local bands were stationed on the course playing music and half the town of Carlsbad came out to cheer and clap. They ROCKED. The other runners ROCKED.

What an experience!

Hebrew 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

I wonder if you, like me, see these lessons dovetail into our faith walk?

Commitment to God often requires we rise early and often to read and pray.  

Share the journey.....the pain and the joys.

Don't give up when you are temped, hurting and plain beat up. There are others who encourage and help us and we must do the same.

If you ask me today, "Would you run another marathon?" I would say, "Not a chance. Period. The end."

Imported Photos 00013 But one certain thing all my years of living with Jesus has taught me, never say never. Love all of you. Hope your week ROCKS and God surrounds you early and often as you share your life with those in your world who are on this race with you!

God bless, Lynn

Also, Marriage Monday arrives next week, February 2nd. And it will be hosted HERE. I can't wait. So sharpen that pen, I mean fingers and start typing. The Surprise of Christian Marriage is our topic and I know everyone is surprised by marriage. I want to hear your story. Thanks e-Mom.

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Covetousness is a Mirage - Weekend Devotion

By Amy Forbes

I've been going through a period of unsettlement over the last few months. Too many times I've been unhappy with my marriage, unhappy with who I married and just generally unhappy with my life. My friends are better off financially and their relationships seem to be without problems but I was looking at what was going on from an outside perspective. I was so busy looking at what they had and wishing I had the same that I was failing to pay attention to what I did have. I can't count the number of times I whined to God "Why me God, why do I have to be stuck here when I want to be somewhere else?” I pointed and pointed the finger at my husband "He's the one with the problem God, he's done this and he's done that....look what he just did, it's not fair." I complained endlessly. 

Then a few weeks ago instead of changing my husband God once again changed me. He started showing me what I did have instead of what I didn't have. I have a husband who is a good father and provider who works his butt off for what we have. We aren't rich but we manage and we have lots to be thankful for. My children are healthy and we're alive.

God showed me that the times I looked at others and wanted what they had was when I was coveting. Coveting means:

As it says in Exodus 20:17

You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

This article I found has this to say about coveting: Covetousness is a mirage that produces wretchedness. It fixes our gaze on something we do not have, so that we don't praise God for what we do have.

That pretty much says in a nutshell what I was doing while I was coveting/wanting what others had. God doesn't want us to be unsettled and greedy. There's a reason why He wants us to feel contented with what we do have and that reason is so we can learn and grow in His wisdom not the wisdom of the world.

Amy is a born again Christian and a former wicca (story for another day). She is married with three children and lives in a small town in New Zealand. She works part-time developing websites. Amy is a frequent guest writer at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. She is faithful to share how God has worked in her life, her husband's life and in their marriage. You can find Amy at her personal blog, Home With Amy and I Love Vintage Things.

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Do you Have an Answer for the Hope You Have?

What Jersey are you wearing?
 
You know I am anxious to get rolling about this "Big" subject, defending our faith. You know, this subject is really about our identity in Christ. It is about courage, and how our faith grows over the years through study and real-life practice. I have been storing up words and thoughts since December to encourage you and help you navigate sharing your faith or at least standing confident in the truth. This is especially a sensitive area when answering the hard questions our spouse will ask.
 
Sometimes, however, I think as believers we could be better prepared to answer the questions about our beliefs. Because I was married to an agnostic for so many years, I know they need and honestly want answers that we are ill prepared to supply.
 
Let me be specific. Most of us learn our faith from our churches. Our Bibles, the infallible word of God, is our final source and truth about all things. But, how can you talk with unbelievers when they deny the Bible as a viable source of evidence? Okay, sometimes we just say, it is a matter of faith. But, often times I think we can offer sound and principled arguments to support our faith.
 
One of the best examples of defending the faith in the face of unbelievers and remain credible was aired on NBC Nightline. Rick Warren of Saddleback Church offers a fantastic defense of marriage that holds water not only on a Biblical basis but also as to those who don't believe in the Bible.
 
I bring this video forward to help you be prepared for the next time you are in a place to stand up for the truth. The truth is God created marriage, it is ordained by God and it is the best thing for the individual, the family and our society. Although this video is titled, Rick Warren on gay marriage, what I found is this: It is not so much about gay marriage but is an intelligent and strong argument for the defense of traditional, Biblical marriage.
 
 
 
What do you think? Be Blessed, Lynn

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Thankful Thursday - It's A Girl!

I can't begin to thank all of you for your encouragement and prayers for my husband's salvation and his search for new employment. Overwhelmed, just doesn't cover it.

Imported Photos 00001 But today I want to share another special person with you. I rarely talk about her because my writing focus is marriage relationships but she is a gift from God, my daughter, Caitie.

She is thirteen going on twenty-eight, if you know what I mean and she has got the "Mom, I can't believe you said that" eye-roll down to an art form. But, she is a delight to my world. And a princess to her Daddy.

My daughter plays the flute in her Middle School band. This past week she moved up to second chair-flutist. She is now planning to tackle the number one chair, Annie, who has managed to cling to that spot the entire year. She plays beautifully and we make a wonderful piano-flute duet when playing Silent Night. Yum, wonderful memories.

Somehow she has caught this strange bug. A writing bug. It must be a contagion in our water around here. She has already prepared several chapters of her first fiction novel, AngoImported Photos 00008ra, and is sharing it around school with her friends.

I know..... She did not get it from me.

Although I am proud of her accomplishments, what I adore about her is - simply her. She is kind-hearted, funny, witty, and just so much fun to hang out with. We laugh together until I get the eye-ball roll. Then I just laugh louder. We hug and care for each other, comforting and encouraging, with a smile when the other needs it. She helps around the house and is a good student and citizen. She loves Jesus.

I do not deserve this kind of blessing and I know the mean-teen years are still ahead, but I am delighted the Lord sent this child into my life. She will always be my forever friend and beloved daughter.

Love you girl. Your Mom.

Be blessed, Lynn

For more Thankful Thursday blessings, visit Lori at Laurel Wreaths Reflections.

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God’s Umbrella

762664_paraguas_umbrella_ One morning an interesting thought struck me. All our trials and sufferings fall under the umbrella of God’s protection, but beneath that covering they diverge into two areas: consequences and circumstances.

Consequences are the result of our poor choices. Sometime we just make mistakes. It’s inevitable. Sometimes God allows us to experience them in order to learn from our mistake so that we can make better choices next time. We don’t like being in this place, but we learn and grow. And our character is strengthened.

Circumstances describes those events that upon first glance seem to come out of the blue and can even seem unfair (think of Job). We did not cause the difficult situation by making poor choices and we have little to no control over it. They just happen. God allows these times to mold us, to teach us vital understanding, emotions, and spiritual lessons, which He will call upon in the future. This is when massive connections are forged between past, present, and future. These are the experiences that God often uses to minister to others and bring comfort  (see 2Cor. 1).

Both sides converge together in a metaphorical handle in the shape of obedience and trust. In the middle (at the shaft) both feel the same to us, and sometimes we are unsure which side we are on. Spending time with God and in his Word is even more vital at these times.

In the end, the results are the same no matter which side we’re on, and we’ll inevitably be on both sides at various times. But we have the promise that God works for our good regardless of whether the situation is due to consequences or circumstances (Romans 8:28). We can choose to stay under the umbrella and learn what God is teaching, or stray and get extremely wet, downtrodden, and lost.

So if you’re in the rain, run back under God’s umbrella. It’s the best place to find God’s grace, mercy, and unconditional love.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Chronicles of The Donovan Clan

Friday was my husband’s last day on the job. It all began when I was finally able to pray earnestly “The” Dangerous Prayer, Lord, do whatever it takes to save my husband. Scroll down or click here to read Friday’s Post or click here to read the dangerous prayer that I prayed two years ago.

Friday I shared some fantastic events. Don't Worry God reached out to assure me that He was in this trial. He wants me to pray and not worry. So many scriptures rush to my head as I am now walking this very real path. The years of Bible reading and writing the verses upon my heart have reach maturity. It is a profound time to realize all the preparation God has done to enable me to walk confidently down this road without a pit of fear in my stomach.

This is what God is doing in me at this time. But, look what is taking place in my husband.

Last week my guy rose early, dressed, and headed off to church with me. To shock me further, he joined me on Wednesday night for a small group meeting. Okay, something is seriously up for my guy to attend two “churchy” type things in a single week.

Can I get an Amen?

I have waited many, long years for this time. I have dreamed, prayed, hoped for my husband’s day of faith and this could be the time.

With this said, I have been here before. In 2004 my husband was on a quest. He purchased a Bible, attended the Seekers Class at our church and then…… nothing.

I was crushed and for a while I was hurt and angry, not with my guy (okay, I probably was) but at God. I couldn’t understand how He could have ignored the years of prayers I uttered. I was devastated because the moment of truth arrived and my husband chose to reject Christ. Pretty worrisome stuff!

Do you suppose this happened because God wanted to work more on me and perhaps birth a blog for us to share our thoughts and help one another? Hmmmmmm.

What I do know is that God continues to relentlessly pursue my husband. He will not quit. He will never give up; He desperately loves my stubborn mate and will never stop. Because of this, God still commands me to pray and never surrender hope.

NEVER!

I can only wait on the sidelines and see what unfolds in the months ahead. The Lord delights me almost weekly now with an intense intervention in our lives. As I watch the miraculous happen around me, I will share them with you. It is vitally important for us to encourage one another with our stories of God moving in our lives. So, I will keep typing if you will keep stopping. *grin*

The battle is not over but the battle is the Lord’s.

1 Samuel 17:47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands."

Thank you everyone for your prayers, your words of encouragement and hope. Your words spoken for me are the jewels which glisten in my tiny crown that I place at the feet of Jesus as I thank Him for your friendship and love.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man (or woman) who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

I pray that when your trial comes, you will consider me your friend who will walk side-by-side with you holding you up before our King. Have a fantastic week. I hope you see Jesus at work all around you and have an intense encounter with the Divine this very day. Be Blessed, Lynn

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Team Marriage - Weekend Devotion

He doesn't notice her new sweater, says nothing about dinner, and turns the television on as soon as dishes are done. She wants to throw something at him to induce his attention. Instead, she produces his smile as she plops herself on the couch next to him, remembering an important fact.

He is on the same team.

Because she asks him to, he stops at the grocery store on the way home. Often he is in a hurry when she calls and he doesn't write down her list. She knows he's done it again as she unpacks the bag, missing one item. She starts muttering under her breath, getting ready to chastise him for his inability to get a simple job done right until she is forgetting too.

He is on her team.

She disagrees with him and secretly rolls her eyes at his suggestions. Resentment and anger try to poke their heads out. "He doesn't get it," she thinks, "How can he not see?"

If she were pumping up the pastor or encouraging her child's teacher, she would have kind comments. She would speak respectfully, choosing her words deliberately. She scolds herself as she recognizes he deserves the same courtesy, whether they see eye to eye or not, for one simple reason.

He leads her team.

Some days they seem so far apart, he in his world, she inhabiting her own. "Who is this man, this alien, who thinks so differently than me?" she wonders. How can she trust him? There is no choice. He is God's gift to her, the mate specifically provided for her. She recalls God's defining statement, "Two shall be as one."

He IS her team.

An insult to him belittles her as well. When she snubs him, she ignores herself. If she attacks him, she puts a chink in her own armor.

But forgiving him heals her hurt. Prayers for him cover her too. Loving him nurtures her heart.

They won't always think the same, want identical things, or even understand the other, but as husband and wife they are one.

A team.

Tami Tami shares her life with her husband of 22 years, Kevin, a Creative Arts Pastor, and their four children in Beatrice, Nebraska. Tami keeps busy staying on top of her kids and their activities, leading Ladies Bible studies, writing, singing in choir and worship team, playing clarinet and saxophone, lunching with friends and hanging out with her husband. Get to know Tami at her blog, The Next Step.

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Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

After 17 years, today is my husband's last day on the job.

Gulp!

We are one of the families who are joining the ranks of the unemployed.

But,

Girls and guys, don't worry about us. So much is happening.

Many of you know that I am a contributor to the devotion site, Laced With Grace. On February 2, 2007, I wrote a devotion titled, Dangerous Prayers.

That was the day! On that date God set in motion the events that have led us to this very day. I knew as I typed those words almost two years ago that our path to answer this dangerous prayer would be about finances. I just knew.

We have known for the last two months about my husband's employment. And my friends, this knowledge, has indeed had an affect on my man. Extreme challenges tend to drive men to or away from God. Girls and Guys, my man is walking toward the cross. He is still not there but God is in this. GOD IS SO IN THIS.

My husband is actively looking for new employment. I am actively trying to be supportive and just sitting back and watching my man and my God meet. I can honestly tell you I AM NOT SCARED. I am not worried.

God, Himself has assured me He has our back. How do I know?

On Monday of this week at 7:45 in the morning as I was combing out my daughter's hair before school, an email popped up on my screen. It was astonishing. One of my writing projects is moving a step further. This was completely out of left field. Unexpected doesn't even cover it.

Five minutes later, the phone rang. "Lynn, come work for us." Humbly I admit I was offered a fulltime job with benefits.

Astonished, I hung up the phone. I heard the Lord say to my heart, "Lynn, I have been working behind the scenes and you have nothing to worry about. I will take care of you. I arranged these assurances to fall upon you within five minutes of each other so you would KNOW it was Me. When you or your husband needs a job and the time is right, I will call you."

So today, I rest and trust. I thanked my very good friend for the job offer. I am humbled in this economy she would think of me. I told her I must wait this thing out. I feel very strongly the Lord wants me to remain in ministry. This "thing" is all about my man and God. What a glorious privilege to have a front row seat to this fantastic most important drama ever. The salvation of someone I love.

Thank you Jesus that you love my husband so much. I love you Jesus. You are the reason I live.

Okay crowd. Game on. I have so much more to tell you about what happened this week but this post is already too long. Do you want more of the Chronicles or more of the series on Monday?

I love each of you. So many of you have faithfully prayed for my man, please pray a little longer. God will be glorified in this trial. I love you with an eternal love, Be Blessed, Lynn

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Thankful Thursday

Where does the time go? I usually have my Thankful post up at least 12 hours earlier than this. Too many things cooking on the burner this week.

Have mercy!

But, it is all good. In fact, I have so much to tell you about the Donovan Clan! Our Lord is so faithful. I have some astounding stories to share and they happened all in one week.

‘Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”’ ~ Mark 10:27 (ESV)

Iris, perfect, PERFECT scripture verse for today! I will interrupt my new series tomorrow, What Jersey Are You Wearing, to expand on this scripture and to tell you about our great God, His amazing plans, His work in my life (and others - hint), and how God is a God of provision. Stop back!

Today, I give thanks for one of my most favorite things, Bible Study. We resumed study with the brand new book by Beth Moore, Esther... It's tough being a woman. I have one word for her first video...

HILARIOUS!

To prepare for the study, Beth Moore, polled women at her blog with this question: What are the three toughest things about being a woman?

The majority answered: 1) hormones 2) hormones 3) HORMONES!

Is this right? OR IS THIS RIGHT?

We are in for a great ride. God sent 16 women to my group and more will join us next week. It was awesome. I could feel the Holy Spirit so very present in the room. Lives will be changed. I can't wait.

Off to tackle breakfast now. Have a blessed and beautiful day with the Savior. I will try to stop by and do some visiting. Be Blessed, Lynn

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

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God's Promises: Abraham Believed

859675_book___ The best way I know of getting closer to God and getting to know him better is to read God’s Word daily. Abraham came to know the God of Israel well enough to be called “friend.” This year I’m returning to reading the Bible in a year* to glean more nuggets about God and to know him better. I’m already finding myself journaling about what the Holy Spirit reveals and would love to share those with you.

Here’s what I gleaned this past week:

Genesis 22 tells the story of Abraham called to sacrifice his son, Isaac. In verse 5, Abraham tells the servants to wait. “We will worship and then we will come back to you” (emphasis mine).

Abraham is portrayed as a man of great faith and a friend of God. Either he was lying to conceal what he intended to do, preventing the servants from interfering and scaring Isaac, or he truly believed he and his son would return. Though my human tendency is to believe the first, my faith calls me to believe the last.

Abraham trusted God’s first promise that He would make a great nation from Abraham’s offspring. Even though the current circumstances seemed to contradict God’s promise, Abraham continued to trust God’s plan and was obedient. Abraham knew God well enough to know that He wouldn’t go back on his promise.

Then there’s verse eight. “Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ And the two of them went on together.” This line is prophetic. Abraham not only spoke of the current sacrifice, but He was also giving a picture of the final sacrifice. The Lamb of God—Jesus. God’s promise for us and our loved ones today.

So often God sets examples in which He builds upon and uses as reference points. He knows how limited and doubting we can be in our faith, especially when it comes to praying long term for our unbelieving spouses. Thus He gives us connecting points to use to propel our hearts to belief. These are the points we need to return to continually to remember God’s promises. Again, look at Abraham and Sarah and how long they waited. Yet they had the memory of God’s visit and promise to return to again and again as a reminder. And God kept his promise.

For Abraham, God was truly enough—he trusted God completely and believed.

Praying and believing like Abraham,
Dineen

*A one-year reading plan can be found in the Upper Room and Our Journey (WalkInTheWord) devotionals. Many Bibles have a plan in the back index or you can use Google to find a plan that works best for you.

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What Jersey are you Wearing?

1 Peter 3:15 Always be prepared to give and answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have.

Okay, the Chargers lost yesterday. (Queue theme song: So You Had a Bad Day)

Sigh!

Our poor Southern California boys just didn't know what to do with the snow and cold of Pittsburgh. (This is my defense and I am sticking to it)

Most of you know I live an hour away from San Diego. So by default, I am a fair-weather fan. However, my true loyalties lie with my beloved Denver Broncos. Don't even go there! I know how terrible they were this year. However, for me each year I am always hopeful. No matter what happens I watch the games with fingers crossed praying for a playoff berth.

Sigh! Queue theme song again.

All my neighbors know I am a fan. I hang blue and orange streamers from my garage during the good years. When the team performs poorly, everyone on my street loves to heap on the abuse as I walk to retrieve the mail. (I think they keep watch from their window just so they can "accidentally" meet me at the box.) This haranguing has gone on now for way too many consecutive years. But, I remain loyal.

Once many years ago, when our insufferable rival, Oakland, was still playing in LA, I was invited to attend a game when the Broncos were on top of the heap. My Dad, also a fanatic, had a friend who had season tickets on the fifty-yard line in the heart of Raider season ticket holders.

I arrived at the stadium proudly wearing my blue and orange jersey. Of course I received a ton of abuse as I started down the aisle. Now if you have never been to a Raider game, I will caution you, never wear a Bronco jersey and venture into the heart of Raider Country.

I unwittingly was taking my life into my hands. I thought the guy sitting next to me was going to do me injury when I jumped up to cheer for a Bronco touch down! Queue: We Are The Champions!Scary Raider Fanpp1

So, with the threats and harassment pouring all over me that day, I should have been scared. I should have quickly put on my jacket to hide the bright blue and orange. But, I didn't. Rock on Broncos! I withstood the remarks, the abuse, the threats. I defied them all. By the way, the Broncos lost that game so I skulked out of the stadium with thousands of Raider fans screaming Booyah! (check urban dictionary for definition. It's not nice)

I have only one thing to say, I DON'T CARE!  I am a fanatical fan and I love my team. I will be buried proudly sporting blue and orange paint on my gravestone.

So my question for you today is: Whose jersey are you wearing?

Why is it so difficult to wear a label, Jesus follower? Why does it matter so much to us what other people think? Why do we shy away from our faith under the scrutiny of our spouse?

Well, we are going to explore these questions which are extremely relevant to all believers but even more compelling to those of us who live every day with someone we love but that someone makes us feel uncomfortable about our faith.

Do you want to know how to stand firm in your faith in the face of abuse? Do you want to be known as a man or a woman who wears the jersey: Jesus Follower?

I hope that over the next several weeks we can discover how we can navigate the pressures of claiming Christ and loving a hostile unbeliever. Are you up for this? Do you want to be renewed in your faith and have concrete answers for their hard questions?

Well, stay tuned. We are on this path now. I have so much to share with you and at the end of our journey, you will be able to take that Jesus jersey out of the back of your closet and wear it for all men to see (including Raider fans and unbelieving spouses).

Matthew 15:6 Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Be Blessed, Lynn

See you Friday. I have a post that will equip you to defend marriage. Can't wait!

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Weekend Devotion — Isaiah 58

55446_catch_the_light This past week, 1Peter 3 and many readers here have spent a week fasting for our loves ones. It's been a very powerful and promising week for many of us. New things have been revealed and promises reinforced. God is so faithful and good. This weekend is truly a celebration of our God who is so personal and intimate in his love for us that I am just overwhelmed by it! He's so tender!

To close our week, I'd like to encourage you to read Isaiah 58 next time you fast. It's an amazing piece of Scripture that I've seen God use in amazing ways in my life and the life of others. These two verses in particular hold special meaning to me. God used them in my life to show his presence and give reassurance during a critical time in my life several years ago. I pray they bless you as much as they have me.

8
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
       and your healing will quickly appear;
       then your righteousness will go before you,
       and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
       he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
       and will strengthen your frame.
       You will be like a well-watered garden,
       like a spring whose waters never fail.

Have a wonderful weekend, rejoicing in God's faithfulness and goodness. He's the best rear guard you could ever ask for.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Time To Celebrate

Biblehands Our prayer focus today is our relationship with our spouse. That's all! Pray however the Lord leads.

This is has been an amazing adventure. The Lord looked down and saw our efforts to humble ourselves and pray like Daniel. The Lord is well pleased and our words did not fall upon deaf ears.

I am convinced our prayers Rocked the heavens. I am convinced Satan is trembling with fear. I am convinced that salvation is at hand!

There is something special waiting for every one of us and I am glad, glad, glad that we did this together.

The fast officially ends at whatever time your next meal is for those who have given up lunch or breakfast, and at midnight for those who have given up dinner.

Break with something good!

Worship Him, Praise Him, Thank Him, Adore Him. Please share your experience. Tell me what the Lord has taught you. Be Blessed, Lynn

Also, A shout out to my Sister Rosheeda for leading the gang at 1Peter3Living. Ro, YOU ROCK! Thank you!

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Thankful for Prayer and Fasting!
Day Five

I missed last week's Thankful Thursday so I am so glad to be back this week. Some of you know that the readers here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage and the gang at 1Peter3Living have been fasting the evening meal every night this week. Already, God has done amazing things. I invite you to fast tomorrow with us. If you scroll down you can read about our fasting efforts, how to fast effectively and why we are fasting this first full week of the year.

This Thursday I am thankful for God prompting me to fast and pray. I have been so close to the throne room I absolutely felt as if I was sitting in the lap of the Lord as I spoke with Him. I am thankful for experiencing the presence of the Lord in a powerful way.

It is my hope that in the months ahead I can share with you how my prayers from this time of fasting and prayer were answered and how God exceeded every expectation - and girls, I can have high expectations!

If you are fasting along with me this week, tonight let us bring prayers to the Lord in Corporate worship. Praising the Lord and worshiping Him for His grace in our lives.

NOW, I want to share something else that is really cool. I have a question for you. Have you had an encounter with an angel. Maybe you have and you didn't know it. At Laced With Grace today I am sharing a story about Judith. Pop over there to read this miraculous account of two woman and a stately gentleman who meet in a park, titled: Entertaining Angels Unaware!

Be Blessed, Lynn

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

 

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Day Four: Perseverance, Persistence, and Peskiness

Praying One of the hardest aspects of praying long term is perseverance. Especially in today's society of immediate results, our patience muscle is sorely lacking exercise. Our food, our clothing, our shopping, our work—everything is structured to be quick and easy. You can even watch your favorite TV shows on one site condensed to about five minute clips. Cliff notes for TV. Who would have thought?

Well, persevering in prayer isn't easy. It takes constant commitment and recommitment. And the key to praying long term for our unbelieving loved ones is persistence. Even to the point of peskiness, if need be. Most of the parables have an underlying theme of perseverance, persistence, and even peskiness in some cases. (Check out Luke 18 for the parable of the persistent widow.)

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. — 1Timothy 4:15-16 (NIV)

On day four of our fasting journey, ask God to help you to persevere in praying for your loved ones in 2009 like you never have before. Sit down with a notebook and write down the names of those you feel led to pray for (putting your spouse at the top of the list, of course!). They pray, asking God to show you what to pray for. Then pray and believe it—every day. When you doubt, go back to that notebook, remember sitting and praying for this leading, and hold on to that simple moment as truth that God is working. Why else would he tell you to pray what he did?

At the beginning of our fast, God impressed upon me to pray for my hubby to become the godly man God created him to be. I will move forward praying this prayer, even when circumstances seem unchanged or even more disparate between us. And if I have to, I will become pesky, asking God for this. After all, he told me to.

Lynn will be back tomorrow with more wonderful advice about praying and fasting. Be sure to check out the links in the sidebar if you need guidance. And let me just say, it's an honor to be praying and fasting with and for you this week. Seeing the body of Christ in action is an amazing thing—one my family and I have witnessed frequently over the past few months and just recently in regards to a homeless family. But that's a story for another day.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Day Three: Believing Like Abraham

55446_catch_the_light Welcome to day three of our week of fasting and prayer. I know many of you have joined us in praying and even fasting for your spouses. I'd like to encourage you to continue, in whatever form God is leading you, to keep your vigil going.

For the sake of simplicity for my family as we continue through the final stages of my daughter's treatment (and she's doing great, praise God!), I chose to fast through my first meal of the day and devote my morning quiet time to seeking God's will for this next year. The emphasis of course is for my sweet hubby, who seems even more set in his atheism than ever. My faith choices have even come under more scrutiny of late.

So, I'd like to share some of what God is showing me through this time of fasting to encourage you to keep going, and most importantly, to keep believing. I've signed my posts with the words "praying and believing" since I joined Lynn here (still such an honor!) and I will be honest, there have been times typing those words didn't come easy.

Sometimes disbelief has a way of sneaking in. Then we find ourselves doubting, wondering if we ever really had things straight, heard God correctly, or missed the mark somehow. It's so easy to find ourselves in these dry places when we keep praying and don't see any changes.

For two days I've been hearing God say, "Believe like Abraham." And I believe this is a message for all of us. I sense deeply that God is calling us to take our faith to the next level and truly believe Him for the things we're asking in his will—for the salvation of our loved ones, and many other things.

You know, we can have great faith and trust in certain areas, yet doubt in others. I'm realizing I have great faith when it comes to trusting God for my loved ones—for my husband's salvation, for my youngest daughter's complete healing from cancer. Yet my faith wavers a bit in the small areas. The little things.

But God is calling us to believe like Abraham in all things. To take that step of faith and say, "Yes God, I believe you are in the middle of this, and I am praising and thanking you now for what you're about to do." To pray for a unbelieving spouse as if he or she were already saved...

Spend your fasting and prayer time today first, confessing any unbelief that has found it's way into your heart. Like the father asking for his son's healing said to Christ, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24)

Then ask God to grow your faith. Ask Him to show you a Scripture for this week that you can memorize and use as a reminder that Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith, and will therefore increase it. We need simply to ask.

Praying is the beginning of the journey, belief is the completion. Let's make 2009 the year we believe like never before.

Praying and believing (and typed with trust),
Dineen

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Day Two

Tonight as we fast through the evening meal, let's bring our prayers to our spouse. I know many of us are facing financial hardship this very hour. So, tonight let's pray for financial wisdom. Ask the Lord to be very clear with you and your spouse when it comes to spending money. More importantly, let's ask the Lord what things we need to surrender.

Pray for our spouses to have discernment and the ability to make hard decisions. Pray the Lord guides our spouses concerning finances. Ask for protection from deception and all evil regarding money and spending. Seek the Lord to discover what are only wants and what are true needs.

Look up scriptures regarding money. The Bible speaks a great deal about finances. Let the Lord lead our discovery.

Side note: Yesterday I found fasting through the evening and through the night less difficult than expected. I was also pleasantly surprised at how my spouse has been supportive.

I also know that some of you are so discouraged about your current situation that you are unable to pray. Oh, do I know that place well. Let me pray for you tonight. Write me.

Thank you to everyone who is sharing this unique journey, whether your are fasting or not. From this journey I pray all of us are brought closer to the heart of Jesus and His name is glorified. Be blessed, Lynn

If you need to read some prayers for inspiration, click on prayers in the sidebar. Thanks everyone from 1Peter3Living for contributing to our prayer page. Hugs~

Also, a shout out to my friends who are contributing to Marriage Monday. Today's event is hosted by Denise at Shorty Bears Place. Next month... my turn and I can't wait. Thanks e-Mom at Chrysalis for leading our on-line community to focus to marriage.

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I am Fasting at the foot of the Throne

It is 7:05 pm. I am only an hour into our first night of fasting and already so much has happened.

Through unusual circumstances our Great God has worked it out that I am home alone. I have been playing praise music - loudly - and I just found myself in the most unusual place.

Somehow the music was cranked to ear splitting and Paul Bouche was belting out Our God Saves. When the song was over I opened my eyes and found myself on my knees in my hall where my tiny office resides with my hands in the air and my little dog staring at me eye to eye.

The Lord's presence is so real and powerful right now I literally feel I am at the foot of the throne. Oh I pray everyone of you will fast at least once this week and find yourself this close to our Jesus.

I am praying for you now and I want to tell you I love you.

1 Corinthians 13:5-7 Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Always, always, always!!!

Rejoicing

Be Blessed Lynn. I will write more in the morning. Tell me what happened with you.

 

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What Is Fasting?

By: Pastor, Rick Warren

Fasting is a spiritual discipline that is taught in the Bible. Jesus expected His followers to fast, and He said that God rewards fasting. Fasting, according to the Bible, means to voluntarily reduce or eliminate your intake of food for a specific time and purpose.

“When you give up eating, don’t put on a sad face like the hypocrites. They make their faces look sad to show people they are giving up eating. I tell you the truth, those hypocrites already have their full reward. So when you give up eating, comb your hair and wash your face. Then people will not know that you are giving up eating, but your Father, whom you cannot see, will see you. Your Father sees what is done in secret, and he will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18 (NCV)

WHY FAST?
There are many good reasons, and even health benefits, for fasting. We give the following as three primary reasons:

1.    Fasting gives you more time for prayer. You can use the time you’d normally spend eating as time in prayer for what God wants to do among us. In the Bible, fasting is always connected with prayer.Thumbnail

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” Acts 13:2-3 (NIV)

2.    Fasting demonstrates the depth of your desire when praying for something. It shows you that you are serious enough about your prayer request to pay a personal price. God honors deep desire and praying in faith.


Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.” Joel 1:14 (NIV)
Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Joel 2:12 (NASB)

3.    Fasting releases God’s supernatural power. It is a tool we can use when there is opposition to God’s will. Satan would like nothing better than to cause division, discouragement, defeat, depression, and doubt among us. United prayer and fasting has always been used by God to deal a decisive blow to the enemy!

So we fasted and prayed about these concerns. And he listened.” Ezra 8:23 (Msg)
God says, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6 (NIV)

THE IMPORTANCE OF FASTING
Often in the Bible, God’s people fasted immediately before a major victory, miracle, or answer to prayer. It prepared them for a blessing!

•    Moses fasted before he received the Ten Commandments.
“Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant–the Ten Commandments.” Exodus 34:28 (NIV)

•    The Israelites fasted before a miraculous victory.
Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.” 2 Chronicles 20:2-3 (NIV)

•    Daniel fasted in order to receive guidance from God.
So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.” Daniel 9:3 (NIV)
While I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, ‘Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.’” Daniel 9:21-22 (NIV)

•    Nehemiah fasted before beginning a major building project.
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 1:4 (NIV)

•    Jesus fasted during His victory over temptation.
For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.” Luke 4:2 (Msg)

•    The first Christians fasted during-decision making times.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” Acts 13:2-3 (NIV)

Begin your fast today. Our effort is to fast the last meal of the day. This represents the biggest sacrifice as we will not eat for over 12 hours. We are giving up our evening food. Also, I would ask you to consider forgoing television each evening.

Aaaah, you didn't know about television. Fasting is not for the faint of heart. But, if I can do it so can you. It is the least we can do for six days to seek the Lord for our year, for our spouses, for our lives.

On the first evening of fasting I believe we need to begin by praying for ourselves. Confess our sins, seek God's presence and ask God about our future. Have your Bible in hand and read from it. Allow worship to fill your prayer time. Play music if you desire.

If you need suggestions for what to do during this time alone with God, click here.

May God bless you during this amazing time of growth and challenge. I can't wait to hear what the Lord does in your heart during this fast. Write me tomorrow and tell me how your first day went.

Be Blessed, Lynn

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Searching for Satisfaction

Where do you look to satisfy your emotional longing for affirmation, love and acceptance? We’re told that nature abhors a vacuum. Our human nature hates emptiness. So, what do you do?

If your day goes well and your husband tells you he loves you and your children are obedient; great.

But what if… the car won’t start or your child’s teacher calls to inform you about his disruptive behavior or your husband insists he doesn’t want to hear about the sermon you know he needs to hear?

When the people in your life aren’t meeting your expectations and you feel emotionally empty; what do you do?What is your preference?

·         Food

·         Shopping

·         Romance novels

·         Keeping a perfect home

·         Accumulating material possessions

·         Social status

·         Career

Do you place high expectations on your husband, children or friends to meet your needs? But is it really fair to expect other people and things to fill your emotional void?

People and things can satisfy for a time. Choosing to eat a bag of chips may provide immediate pleasure until you realize how many calories you consumed. The new house is great until you see how your neighbors have decorated their home.

Earthly satisfaction can provide only temporary relief.

Let me tell you a secret that I had to learn the hard way. Only the Lord can satisfy that deep need within you that wants to be loved and cherished. No person or possession can ever fully meet that need. And it’s actually unfair to expect them to do so. I believe God created us with a hole or vacuum that… only He can fill.

Biblecoffeecup

May I suggest that you begin each morning in a quiet time?  Spend time with the Lord; reading His Word, praying and listening. Think of an empty coffee mug that you’re holding out. Ask Him to fill you to overflowing with His love. Ask Him to satisfy your thirst as only He can do. He will provide contentment. I love to read the Psalms aloud and substitute my name.

When I begin my day with a quiet time, I find that I’m less dependent on others to affirm me. If things go well in my day and my loved ones say the right words, that’s great but I’m not so needy. It is simply overflow.

Now it’s your turn…

·         How do satisfy your emotions?

·         What’s worked for you?

·         Do you have any of your own suggestions that might help other women?

Copy_of_Debbie_face 

Debbie Petras is our guest blogger today. She is a Christian and has been married to her husband Greg for 24 years.  She has more than 20 years of experience as a cardiovascular nurse specialist. Her interest in this field began when she had open heart surgery as a child to correct a congenital heart defect. More recently, she has changed directions to learn all about consumer generated media and the power of word of mouth to help with a startup technology company.  In the process, she discovered blogging and has a personal blog called Heart Choices.

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Who Do You Want to Come to Faith in 2009?

It's a new year.... a new beginning.

The Lord has granted each of us another 12 months. Every January excitement exudes from my spirit. I am expectant about what the year will bring. Every year the Lord is faithful to change me. He molds my character through challenges, struggles, and opportunities to watch Him work in my life. The journey is always an adventure and never boring.Thumbnail

To start the year differently Dineen and I, along with the gang at 1Peter3Living, will corporately fast and pray for a week. Beginning Sunday, January 4th we plan to fast the evening meal or at least one meal a day and use that time for concentrated prayer for our future, for our spouses, and others who are in need of Jesus in their lives. We will fast at least one meal each day through Friday, January 9th.

Join us.

If you have never fasted in prayer before, this will be the perfect time to begin. If you don't know much about fasting, we will search the scriptures together and discover why Jesus fasted and why fasting is relevant today. If you have fasted before then you know the power behind prayer with fasting. Join us  - beginners and lifers. We will pray down heaven and claim 2009 the year of the Lord's salvation in the lives of many.

Thumbnail Beginning Sunday, and each day for a week Dineen and I will be posting about prayer and fasting. We hope to encourage you with teaching, scripture, and prayer specifics for our spouses.

Let's seek the Lord's will through this remarkable effort. We will encounter His strength in our weakness, learn in humility, and discover our dependence on the Most High as we sacrifice some of our physical comfort.  

Who do you know that desperately need Jesus? Do you need a miracle in your own life? This is your invitation to a new beginning and your chance to claim 2009 as the year of the miraculous!

See you Sunday, Be Blessed, Lynn

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