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18 entries from July 2012

In Search of Worship

520021_chainedI’m on a mission right now. And no, my name isn’t Lexie Baltimore. (wink)

No, my mission has to do with figuring out how to hear God more clearly in my life. Does that resonate with you, because it’s a need that’s driving me a bit crazy at the moment.

Perhaps it’s the chaos that I’ve allowed to overtake my life with a wedding in the works, family in town visiting, an email inbox that greets me each morning with a snarl and just the constant mindset of barely keeping up.

I want more of God. I want to hear Him clearly in my quiet time and every part of my day. I want the Holy Spirit to be in charge of my life!

This isn’t the first time I prayed this, nor will it be the last I’m sure. Not in a world with an enemy bent on keeping us from pursuing and growing in our faith in God. But I will share with you something God spoke directly to my heart last year and I am so wishing I had paid more attention at the time.

In a quiet moment I’d prayed that I could hear God better and He answered me:

“You will find Me in worship.”

I know it’s true. It’s happened before. I’ll lose myself in the words of a song or the picturesque view of God’s creation. I fade away and God steps in. Clear, strong, loving, present.

Oh so present...

This ache launched me into God’s Word yesterday afternoon to finish the Bible reading that had been put aside preemptively that morning. And here is where God stopped me:

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. — Acts 16:25-26

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read these verses before. Noticed them, appreciated them, marveled at Paul and Silas’ ability to sing and worship in such circumstances.

But never did I look at it from the standpoint of answered prayer.

Let me take a step back. Did Paul and Silas ask God to rescue them? Did they pray to be released? Did they ask God to protect them? I imagine in some way they did but that is not what stopped me.

They were not only praying but praising too. In fact, the NASB translation says they were “singing hymns of praise,” which in Greek is one word, humneo.

These men worshipped God as they sat in an inner prison—which I’m guessing means no window, no fresh air—with their feet bound in wood stocks. And they were praising God!

And look what happened! The doors opened and the chains unfastened. Not just their prayers but their praise broke their physical bondage.

My friends, what if this is the way to break bondage in our lives? What would happen if our prayers turned more to praise and worship of who God is and what He is doing in our hearts? What would happen if our prayers shifted from asking God to save our pre-believers to thanking and praising Him for already saving them?

What would happen if our lives became a daily worship of God and what would that look like?

Praying & believing,
Dineen

*****

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Now Stand Back My Friends and Be Astonished

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comNow stand back my friends and be astonished. 

Throughout history God’s divine plan and purpose is to dwell with people. From Adam and Eve to this very day, His passion, His relentless purpose is to share His glory, for us to live in His perfect will and to experience the life of the divine. 

From the Heavenly Priest Melchizedek, through the Priesthood of the Levites and the High Priest of the Temple of God to: 

THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST, JESUS CHRIST! 

God has been bringing heaven to earth or making a way to dwell with us on earth. Jesus walked this earth to provide us with the training we need to step into the new era, His Priesthood. 

Now let this sink in: 

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. NIV 1 Peter 2:9–10 

We are royalty. 

We have been created to come out of darkness and into His wonderful light. And Jesus commissioned us to take this electrifying truth to everyone. We have been called to deliver God’s glory with authority. 

This is the core message of this entire series. 

Jesus is the Great High Priest. His life is our blueprint to live in the presence of God. We are called to live in His presence and share this experience as disciples with others. 

Deliver God’s glory with authority. 

That’s why we need a royalty mentality. If we have lived in the presence of the divine, we are changed, transformed and our mediocre lives become profoundly important. So grasp this now and at least begin to wrap your head around this truth because when you finally arrive and understand this, it changes your entire perspective on living. Your desires for what you want from life will change and even your thoughts and hopes about your husband’s salvation come into clear focus. 

So I guess I need to tell you that several months back, hmmmmm, like in April, God opened up a new path to travel with regard to my faith walk. It’s been a ride where I have felt uncertain at times. (I’ve share much of it with Dineen and she will echo that it’s a crazy journey.) 

God has pointed out some ugly things in my character and my beliefs that were flawed and in desperate need of changing. I’ve hinted at some of these over the last few months such as I’m done being the “Church Lady.” Also one night God told me I didn’t love people. 

Let me just say when God tells you that you don’t love people it shocks you to the core and shakes up everything you think you know. Now don’t be worried because I will explain more about all this as we move along. But, this new journey has been painful. Amazing. Shocking. Humbling. And every other “ing” word I can think up. But it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. 

As I continue to walk down this path, I will share with you what I discover because for the past six years as God leads me to new understanding of His Holy Word and His perfect Character. And as He teaches me, I have always taken you along for the ride. So I know there are many of you who are going to find this journey life-changing. 

Where to begin….. 

How do we receive God’s glory? Then how do we deliver it with authority? 

Worship. 

It all begins in worship. 

Victory in the Kingdom battles begins in worship. It’s where the power arises to change lives. It’s in worship that God releases His intentions, His warriors in the heavenly realms. It all begins in worship. 

Worship can mean many things to many people. So all I can offer you is what worship is for me. And for the first time, I will share with you here at SUM what I have experienced through worship. 

I want to insert here that music is often what most believers consider worship. And they are not wrong. I’ve experienced God in those moments of singing that nearly have lifted me off the ground. But the worship of God happens in many ways and different moments. And I have some stories to share with you about these moments. 

I think today I want to leave you with a recent story of worship. It’s still so very clear in my mind and if I can have this experience for the rest of my life, I’ve reached heaven here on earth. However, it’s fleeting in that God has work for me to do. So during my worship of Him, He touches me, empowers me, inspires me to go out and be a child of light. 

Three weeks ago, Sunday, I stood in our worship center as the band played. It was the third song in and all of a sudden a, let’s see, how do I describe this, a power like a forceful wind blew down upon me. I was standing in the auditorium in a row by myself. As this “wind” hit me I felt goose bumps run down my body from head-to-toe. It was such a strong feeling of joy, of God’s Holy presence, that I could no longer speak, no longer sing. I just stood with my arms lifted up and my face looking up. I started to tremble all over. 

This power intensified and I started to feel my knees buckle. I thought I was going to fall down from the sheer astonishing experience, however, because my church is not a charismatic place, I knew if I fell to the floor I would freak everyone out. So, I whispered, “O Lord.” And He knew I couldn’t take anymore without passing out cold in front of the large congregation. It would undo the morning. So He backed it down. I sat down. 

I will never be the same. 

Since that day, I walk into Sunday worship knowing I will stand and sing and worship. I can’t wait to get to church now just to have that happen to me again. 

Now this is just a taste of living with our God. So many other things have happened. Supernatural experience that if I share them would sound crazy. But that’s how I live. I live on the edge with Jesus. I want to live outside of the box, live in His power, and I am willing to pay whatever the price for Him to increase in my life. 

So on Friday, I want to share more of living edgy. What that looks like from one blonde-brained ordinary woman who has experienced the glory of God. 

My friends, do you want to live your life in the safe zone? Do you want to be assured that you know where you will be next week, a month from now, even years down the road? Or do you want to stand on the cliff, ready to jump, not fully knowing if He will catch you but hopeful, trusting that when you jump, Jesus will catch you with supernatural power and provision. 

Truly the believer’s life is not for the faint of heart. To experience ALL He has for you, takes all you have to give. But 

It’s, OH, SO, WORTH IT. 

And, just a side note, things are happening with my pre-believer husband. So, hold on and join me in this front row seat because life is really getting exciting. Scary but Lord, bring it on!!!!! 

My name is Lynn Donovan and I am standing in the Fellowship of the Unashamed. 

 

The Fellowship of the Unashamed. 

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, or back away. 

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future, is secure. I’m finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap giving and dwarfed goals. 

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, live by prayer and labor with power. 

My face is set, my gait is fast my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. 

I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, spoken for the case of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go ‘till He comes, give ‘till I drop, preach ‘till all know, and work ‘till He stops me. My banner is clear. I am a part of the fellowship of the unashamed.  ~Author Unknown

Who are you? Tell me in the comments. See you there. Have a victorious week and I praying you experience our God in ways that also ROCK your world. Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Weekend Devo — We Are Not Alone!

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On Wednesday I was on the Moms Together Facebook Page (special thanks to Suzie Eller for having me) and the most common comment I saw as the women there shared their hearts about being mismatched was their relief to find out they're not alone.

As I shared in our book, that was life changing for me, to discover that other women were walking the same path I was. There is just something uplifting and encouraging about finding others who are on the same journey and understand our challenges.

What I love most is God's heart in all this. He knew our need for community and support and put this ministry into motion for all of us to find encouragement and strength—to find God in the midst of our marriages and reject the enemy's lie that we are alone and God has abandoned us.

I love our SUM Community so much because here is where we get to see God in action in each other’s lives. I love how we pray for each other and cheer one another on. I love how our hearts are united in our desires to know God better, to understand His will for our lives and our marriages, and to see our pre-believers come to Jesus. Not for our benefit but for theirs—to know the amazing, loving and merciful God we know. 

Lynn and I consider this faith walk an adventure of a lifetime. We are so glad to be on the journey with you, dear friends. Let's celebrate this amazing community of believers as God's testimony to His deep love and care for our needs.

We are most certainly NOT alone.

Praying & believing,
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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What's The Point????

Part I     Part II     Part III     Part IV     Part V 

Where have we traveled on this journey so far?

  • King and High Priest Melchizedek. 
  • God’s presence on earth.Captivity, slavery. 
  • God is silent 400 years.
  • Moses appears on scene. A new covenant of the law is given. A tabernacle is constructed.
  • Priesthood is established. 
  • People see God’s miracles and provision. They worship God and offer sacrifice. God dwells among his people in and through Moses and the Priesthood. 

Man, I hope you read some of the comment in this series. A facinating comment was left on Monday about Jesus and His call into the Priesthood. Hope you caught that because it boggles my mind. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Onward.....

On Monday we visited Moses and the people on their way to the Promised Land. The limited priesthood was established along with the covenant of the law. God’s desire to dwell on earth came through blood sacrifice and through a temple. Simply fascinating. 

Please hear me now. I don’t even pretend to be any kind of Bible scholar so if I’m not doing a great job telling the story, forgive me. There is so much in our “family” history that I can’t include here nor do I pretend to be scholar enough to explain it competently. However, where we are going with this I do understand and have experienced, so stay with me because we are almost there. 

You know what I love about this study? Do you see the underlying story line? The most amazing, relentless and eternal desire of the creator of the Universe is: to live with us mere humans. It completely freaks me out. 

Now get ready because here we go. 

Dineen gave me these words and they resonate deeply within me. She said, “To fathom that God, the Holy Creator of all, ruler of time and space, humbled himself and chose to become a mere human. He allowed Himself to be taken captive by evil men, tortured, humiliated, naked, and to be nailed to a tree. All this to save us. For anyone who still needs more proof than that, I can only shake my head. What more could God do to prove His love and mercy?” 

He died for us. 

Jesus Christ the perfect son of God, sinless and perfect blood sacrifice died once and for all mankind (women kind too *grin*.) But my friends HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD. 

Now get this. The curtain to the Holy of Holies was torn in half supernaturally. I often ponder this event and can almost envision God taking this curtain in his two hands and saying “Enough” and splitting it right down the middle with tremendous power and emotion. No wonder there was an earthquake. 

Okay, walk this with me now. 

Hebrew 7:11-17 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared: 

         “You are a priest forever,

         in the order of Melchizedek.” 

 

It comes full circle. 

King Melchizedek was the heavenly priest, then disappeared, the earthly priesthood was established and sins were forgiven through the High Priest. But, my friends, 

Jesus is the GREAT HIGH PRIEST.

Christ Jesus, who died —more than that, who was raised to life —is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 8:34.

Blows my mind. Christ brings the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. He interceeds for us. Can you imagine Jesus meeting you at the foot of the throne? I have and you can read that story here

Now listen to this exchange between Jesus and one of his disciples: 

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”   

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.  Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. 

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (ESV) 

Jesus ministry was all about teaching his disciples how to bring God’s love and power and provision to earth. 

My question today: Do you truly believe what Jesus says in the above passage? If you do, are you seeing the miracles? Do you want to know more about how this passage is our passage today in the 21st century? 

Get ready because we are going to see it. Our journey to LIVE this passage begins on Monday. Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of what God is doing in His people. Can’t wait.

Okay, what are your answers to the questions? We are going to have some fascinating and empowering conversations today. See you in the comments. Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Welcome to the S.U.M. Community!

BetterTogetherMy friends, I'm chatting today with Suzie Eller on her Moms Together Facebook page. I hope you'll pop over and join the discussion. 

If you've found yourself here from Suzie's page, we want to welcome you to the Spiritually Unequal Marriage (SUM) Community! I hope you'll check out our Join Us Community Page there in the sidebar and learn more about this amazing community of believers sharing a common journey of faith.

If you are spiritually mismatched, your desire to love and walk with the Lord while being spiritually mismatched is precious! This desire is the spark God asks for so that He can supply the strength and wisdom for you to travel this path. It’s not an easy one, but I find the richest paths of life are often fraught with challenges and trials.

You play a very influential role in your husband’s life. I don’t know the circumstances of how you wound up mismatched, doesn’t matter now. What matters is that you realize one, your marriage is still blessed by God and two, God has a plan for you within your marriage. You are the closest person to your husband who can show him (not with words but with actions) who Jesus is.

During this time season of being spiritually mismatched, seek God for his direction in your marriage. Seek God also for your deepest needs, ones your husband really can’t and shouldn’t fill. This will prevent you from having unrealistic expectations of your husband, one’s he can’t possibly meet since he doesn’t share your belief system.

And finally and most importantly, trust God with your marriage and your life. I know this isn’t easy, and we learn how to trust God in steps as they pertain to certain areas of our lives, but God loves you, sees you, and knows you better than anyone. No matter how difficult certain times or situations may become, remember that God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

Dear friend, you are most definitely called to be on the front lines for your husband. God will show you what to do. And we are honored to be on the journey with you.

Praying & believing,
Dineen 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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LIft Up Your Face

In case you haven't figured this out yet, I'm a huge Third Day fan. I find their music so worship-filled and inspiring. And when I listen to music like that, I begin to hear God's voice. Seems to just work that way for me. For Lynn, it's her prayer walks. For me it's music.

Another song from the same album (Move) as the one I shared over the weekend is "Lift Up Your Face." I fell in love with this song first because it spoke to my heart about God's pursuit of us but then it became more. It spoke to me of God's pursuit of our prebelievers.

Lift up your face.

Lift up your face.

Salvation is calling.

Salvation is calling.

We've talked a lot about keeping our focus on Jesus, that our true hope lies in Him, not in our circumstances and not in our spouse's decision to accept Jesus or not.

As I listened to it again this weekend, I heard God speak even more clearly than what I had been sensing. He said,

"Tell them I'm calling."

God wants us to know He’s calling to our prebelievers with HIS salvation! We need only lift our face to Him and trust He's doing it. Listen to the words of this song, my friends. Can you hear Him calling?

Lifting up my face,
Dineen 
(I have to share that I prayed and asked God to confirm to me that I'd heard Him correctly. As I got in my car two days later and maneuvered rush hour traffic, this song came on the radio and flooded me with God's reassurance. He is so faithful!)

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Where Did It Go?

Part I   Part II   Part III   Part IV 

I have to say this has been one of the most empowering and purposeful series I have ever participated in. In the comments last week was this: 

Jennifer said...

After much contemplation in these passages, I and my sister have formed an opinion of sorts about King Melchizedek.

Okay, this is her first sentence and her comment was excellent but you know what I loved most about this comment?  Jennifer is reading God’s Word. She is contemplating God’s. Holy. Word…. And she is having conversations with others. Man, what I wouldn’t give to sit with them at the kitchen table and talk about King Melchizedek. 

Thanks Jen…. It thrills the Lord to the core that you desire to know Him more. 

And everyone who has been part of the comments, thank you. I’m humbled over your love for Jesus and for this community and your great insights into a difficult study. 

Okay so on with our story. Here we go……. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com
Darn it!!! 

Those Israelites reject God’s favor for the things of this world and languish in poverty, slavery and misery 400 years. 

I wonder if you are like me. Have you ever read some of the stories in God’s Word and just want to throttle these people? There are times I wish I could have kicked Eve’s butt in the garden. How about you? But I tell you what? Would we have chosen differently? Would we have remained faithful if we had experienced God first hand? 

Just think about times in your life where you absolutely knew God intervened and yet months later you doubt it was really Him. I think I’m exactly like every other human being and have failed like those of ancient times. However, I also have learned that when I truly trust and believe what God says, I’m always, ALWAYS better off. I can be a little slow at times on the learning curve but thankfully not 400 years slow. Sheesh. 

So let’s pick up our story. 

  • A fascinating disappearance of King Melchizedek.
  • Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
  • Abraham’s family leave the area of Bethel.
  • His descendants are enslaved 400 years.

Now let’s behold our Lord God's continuing story. Let us continue with...

Moses 

Now get this: Moses was born in slavery but raised in royalty. 

Whoa. 

I’m not going to recap the entire story of this man but only point out that God chose him to deliver His people to the Promised Land. God chose him to teach the people how to love God and worship Him again.

Moses reestablishes God’s covenant. God says to Moses: 

“Then have them (Hebrews) make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you. Exodus 25:8-9 

God again dwells on earth. Can you imagine what Moses saw? Do you think it was the Heavenly Temple of God. Gives me goose bumps. 

So, the Priesthood is established through Aaron and his sons. After 40 years God’s people settle in the Promised Land. We could spend months in a study as to why it took 40 years to travel a distance that should have taken eleven days. I wonder if we can relate that to our own lives. 

Perhaps: The lessons I need to live in God’s perfect will would likely take eleven days. However, because of my arrogant pride, reality is, it will actually require the majority of my adult life and the challenges of a spiritually mismatched marriage to bring me to the Promised Land. 

Anyone??? 

Okay, so the Arronic Priesthood is established. Let’s have some discussion in the comments. What was its function? Who were the Levites and why are they different than the Priesthood of Aaron. How did this bring God’s presence to earth? 

Also, what was the Priesthood like at the time of Christ? How were they chosen? Did you know they were the only people to retire? What age? Were they powerful or of influence. Were the feared by the people? By Rome? 

Ahhhh, now we’re getting somewhere and on Friday it’s going to come together. I wonder if you can read between the lines and see the big picture????

Who is up for a little searching and can find some of these answers? I will meet you in the comments. Hugs, Lynn 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Weekend Devo — The Sound of Your Voice

I just have to share this song with you, my friends. It's by Third Day, and brings me to my knees everytime I hear it. Listen to God's voice as you listen to the words. 

Praying & believing,
Dineen

 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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God's Kingdom Come to Earth

Part I

Part II

So why is King Melchizedek vital to our story?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com
If you remember from Monday, Abram conquered a vast army with a mere 318 men. Men who were “trained” by Abram to pray, to worship to know and serve the one true God. My friends, Abram didn’t doubt that through his prayer, worship and the training of his sons and grandsons that God would show up. He knew God was in this kingdom battle.

How did he know this? This is where I think things begin to tie together. You see Abram came from Bethel. He traveled through this city and camped near it. Bethel when translated is House of God. Beth = house and El = God. (Side note Beth le hem. House of bread… interesting tidbit.)

Now remember is was at Bethel where Jacob saw the heavens open.

Read this: (NIV) 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. p 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

Okay, now take this all in. Heaven comes to earth in this place. Bethel. Abram knew this. Jacob knew this. King Melchizedek who was without beginning nor end, a heavenly being, was King in this place.

Holy shivers….

Was this a period in time where literally the Kingdom of God and the physical earth were joined and in continual connection with one another.

In my humble thoughts, possibly yes.

Well then what happened? What changed?

Why don’t we see stairways and see God’s Kingdom conquer like the 318 men witnessed? Ahhhh, now that is a fascinating question to ponder and boy howdy do I have some answers.

Let me first, however, share with you what happened. Let’s read from Genesis 15:

12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him. 13 Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know this for certain, that your offspring shall be aliens in a land that is not theirs, and shall be slaves there, and they shall be oppressed for four hundred years; The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989

This was a scary vision. In the King James it reads horror. Do you know why? In this vision Abram saw that his children were going to turn away from God. They would lose their Holy Royalty to become slaves in every way. They became slaves to the Egyptians and they offered themselves to the ways of the world. They embraced the golden calf of which the Egyptians worshiped.

ConsequencesAbraham saw God’s Kingdom shut off from earth. Gone. God’s covenant with all people came through his covenant with Abraham. The ancient people of earth chose slavery and God left them for 400 years.

What bugs me is they “KNEW” God. They knew better and yet they gave themselves over to the world. Oh my friends, can I just say that I live here too at times. In fact, just this past weekend I became all worked up again with anxiety over money when my broken shower turned into a thousand dollar bill. Ouch and I have more to say about this in a later post. This is a continual battle for me. And it’s one I CHOOSE to surrender again to God because I want to live in His power and presence.

I refuse to return to the ways of the world (worry and anxiety over money) because I have access to God’s Kingdom come to earth through Jesus Christ. And once you have tasted that and know its power, you never want to leave.

So my question for you to ponder today: Do you believe God’s Kingdom is on earth today in 2012? Why?

I am SOOOOO looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this. See you in the comments my friends. And stay tuned because we will explore this question further in the weeks ahead. The answer has everything to do with your life.

Big, Victorious, Kingdom hugs, Lynn

*****

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A Step of Faith

IStock_000020754228XSmallIn the last week I’ve come across two kinds of believers. The first is an older widow who has walked some challenging roads of life and loss and has become a very special influence and inspiration to me. We were discussing our loved ones who are still resisting God—my husband, her grandson. Our prebelievers.

Her answer is simply it’s a matter of time because we know we are praying God’s will. It’s as simple as that for her. No doubt, no questioning. At some point our prebelievers will step into belief because it’s God’s will.

The other is a gentleman whose wife and he have suffered more loss than I can imagine. He walks the road of faith but I see his discouragement, his despair. His wife turned away long ago. He expressed a kind of “what’s the point” perspective to me in regards to Bible study because it just seemed to make things more difficult.

I could only answer him that as we walk in this world we can know two things. One, this is not our home, and two, the closer we draw to God, the harder the enemy works to pull us away. Even Jesus said we will have trouble in this world, but I confess, at times, like this man, I have wondered how much I will have to endure.

I believe it’s normal for us to have doubts. God does not expect us to have perfect faith. Hebrews 12:2 tells us Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. And the key to running this race is the keep our eyes fixed on Him in order to persevere.

Even the man who exclaimed to Jesus that he believed asks Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief in the very same line (Mark 9:24). My translation: “I believe but I want to believe more.” I think this is the path many of us are on, or dare I say all of us?

A while back someone on Twitter replied to my tweet about Big Faith with, “I don’t need to have big faith, I have a big God.”

He’s right, but in a way, he was also wrong. I can’t fully put into words yet what this all means. And I’m not saying our degree of faith determines whether God will answer us or not. That’s completely untrue and if it were, we’d have no stories of how God has met his staunchest resisters with love and acceptance. Or saved the lost ones whom others assumed unsavable.

As I said, God does not expect us to have perfect faith but He does want us to believe Him. Not just in Him but to believe Him when His Word tells us things like not to worry, that He’s with us always and not to be afraid.

Perhaps the difference in these two kinds of believers I mentioned is where their focus is. The first is set on Jesus, the second is fixed on trials. The first is a constant reminder of promise and the second of despair.

In the end, we make the choice of what to believe and what (or Who) to focus on. Think of it like going to see a movie. We can sit in the theater watching the people around us talking or texting during the show, noticing the gum stuck to the seat in front of us, or the garbage strewn on the floor from the last showing. Or, we can focus on the movie playing on the big screen, waiting in anticipation for what’s going to happen next.

Despair or expectation.

When we focus on God we will see miracles, the impossible become possible and faith the size of mustard seeds sprout into the strongest of trees. I know it’s not easy. There are days that I seem to see more of the gum stuck to the floor than the story playing out in front of me. I am so very thankful God is patient with my times of unbelief and waits patiently for me to lift my eyes back up.

The enemy wants us to walk in despair, discouragement and discontent. Then we become the victims of our own bitterness. God desires us to walk in hopeful expectation, truth, and knowledge of Who He is. Then we are no longer defined by our trials but by the confidence of knowing we are totally loved by God and that He is in complete control.

Closing the gap between doubt and belief takes a step of faith, and when we take that step, we release the power of God’s Holy Spirit. And that, my friends, is when we begin to walk in victory and joy!

Praying & believing,
Dineen

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The Royalty Mentality

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comIn our post on Friday I hope you caught a few different things. 

  • There are Kingdom battles.
  • We can win those battles even when facing insurmountable odds just like 318 men faced a vast army.
  • Training is key to victory. 

Let’s pick up our story with Abram. He returns from his victory and is greeted by the King of Sodom. But here is where I think the story becomes fascinating. Listen in: 

Genesis 14: 18-20 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, 

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,

   Creator of heaven and earth.

And blessed be God Most High,

    who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

 

Here are some of my thoughts: First isn’t it fascinating that we remember the death and resurrection of Christ through communion by receiving bread and the wine??? So interesting. Also, Abram knew this King and knew what to do with him. He gave him a tenth of everything. 

Why is that do you think? 

Who is this King Melchizedek? 

He is a King and a priest of God Most High. Don’t lose the significance of this fact. Paul gives us another look at this King in Hebrews 7: 

Melchizedek the Priest

This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever. 

Okay, this gets weird here. Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning or end of life, resembling the Son of God. 

What do we do with this? I have searched my Bible commentaries and read a ton of stuff this past week to wrap my head around this King. Some believe Melchizedek was the preincarnate Christ. Some believe he was the first King of Jerusalem. But I ask you to go with me here and let’s just look at the scriptures. 

He was a king of peace, of righteousness and Abram knew him and knew his authority over the land (Kingdom) and offered him a tithe. My thoughts are that this was a King/Priest of God Most High. A King that represented God’s Kingdom…… here on earth…. 

God’s Kingdom here on earth. 

God’s Kingdom come to earth. 

I believe God delivered His authority, his word, his will through this Kingly Priest -Melchizedek. At the beginning of time the Kingdom of God was here upon earth. Through this High Priest God’s power and presence was on earth and God did great things through people, people who were trained in the ways of the Lord. People who prayed and worshiped El. 

Could it be that King Melchizedek was actually a heavenly priest? Something to ponder? 

Okay, recap. The first established High Priest was Melchizedek. The next priestly line was established through Aaron and his sons, a Levitical Priesthood. 

Read this from one commentary:

The writer of Hebrews made several references in chapters 5–7 to Jesus’ priesthood being of the “order of Melchizedek” as opposed to Levitical in nature. The author of Hebrews cited Ps. 110:4. For the writer of Hebrews, only Jesus, whose life could not be destroyed by death, fit the psalmist’s description of a priest of “the order of Melchizedek.” ~Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. 

So what happened? God’s Kingdom on earth disappears. Do you know how and why? 

Oh, the plot thickens. And each piece of the story absolutely has everything to do with us today. We must press on in this journey to see the puzzle pieces come together. 

My question today. Who in the heck was King Melchizedek? Read Ps. 110:4 and then Hebrews 7:1-10. Share your thoughts. Remember in this place there is no judgment, only love. If you disagree, please do so in love as we travel to the end of this journey.

I promise you the best still awaits. It’s our turn to be written into this grand story. Stay tuned. Leave your answers today and I will see you in the comments. 

Friday: What happened to the Kingdom of God here on Earth? Our story will quicken in it's pace as we will soon discover why all this is critical to us today. See you Friday, Hugs, Lynn

*****

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Weekend Devo — All the Fishies in the Sea

FishI saw this SUV on the freeway the other day and had my daughter take a picture of the back. I wish you could have seen me trying to catch up with this vehicle to snap a picture. I promise no animals, people, or fish were harmed in the process. 

Seeing these symbols made me wonder all kinds of things though, and in just the flash of a moment.

Did these symbols encompass the entire family?

Did you earn your fish and place above the bumper once you said yes to Jesus?

Did this family "swim" in harmony and faith?

What did this family of faith look like?

Yeah, lots of questions and most of them not really important for me to know. I was suddenly in that place of comparing and wondering how my family measured up. That old ach and longing tried to make a come back, but I fended it off with the truth that God created all the fishies in the sea to swim in thier own unique ways.

And you know what, that includes our unbelievers, or as I'm coming to think more of my hubby—prebelievers. He's a fish. He just doesn't know it yet. LOL!

So instead of this now being an image of what I don't have, I choose to see it as a promise of what's to come. And I'm planning on some of those little fishies being my future grandchildren because I trust God to continue the legacy of faith in my family that He started with me.

Let's dream big, my friends. God style—for all the fishies soon to be. 

Praying & believing,
Dineen 

 

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Kingdom Authority... But how do I get it?

Hi Everyone, 

KinofI’m filled with so much I want to share with you that I’m fit to be tied. I want to blurt it all out all at once because it’s so exciting. I’m bouncing in my seat to share with you what I know about God, His Kingdom and much, much more. 

So what I need to ask of you is to walk patiently with me through this story because we have a ton to learn along the way. And I promise you that it’s the ending, when all we have learned, will suddenly pull together in a giant astounding crescendo, which will freak you out. So when there are posts that seem not to move you or appear insignificant, hold on to them. Read them carefully and remember all that we cover because each is a stepping stone that builds upon one another. Okay hope that helps. 

Do you have a royalty mentality or a poverty or slave perspective? 

Can I just stop here. Let me try to put into words at what happened in the comments on Monday. Honesty…. Authenticity…. Hope….. Love….. Support… A real desire to grow closer to God. All of that and more came through in your answers to the question above. You, my friends, are amazing people of God who are tired of living mediocre lives and are willing to be honest and authentic to throw off all that hinders you to discover the great things God has for your life. 

I’m overwhelmed at what you shared. At your honest answers. I took every one of you to the throne room with me, pleading with Jesus at my side for you to receive a fresh glimpse of God’s power and love in your life. So hold on because He will not disappoint. 

Okay onward. 

A royalty mentality is a person who knows their authority. They expect to be respected and things to happen when they are present. They also know their place and responsibilities and they obey. 

A poverty perspective or slavery mentality is a person who can struggle at times with authority, priority, and would likely to have an excuse or hesitation to execute responsibility as well as an aversion to take a risk for the Kingdom. 

Now I think we all struggle in and out of both of these and I have so much more to share about our royalty. But, to set the stage of why royalty mentality is so important we must first understand that there is a Kingdom. There is a heavenly Kingdom of God that has existed since before time began. Every kingdom has a king, it has a people, it has an army, it has laws, it has a religion and a priest and it has a language. 

And if you have read any amount of the Old Testament you will quickly realize kingdoms battle. Since the beginning of time the kingdoms battle and it is no different today. Except our kingdom battle is not against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12) we battle against pornography, alcoholism, anger, infidelity, lies and much more.   

So I ask you today. What kingdom battle are you fighting for yourself or your family? 

What I want to explore over the next several weeks is how we fight these kingdom battles with power and authority. I want us to discover in God’s Kingdom what brings victory to our battles and how we tap into that? 

It starts with a royal mentality. And what does that look like? Well to answer that question we need to go way back into time. All the way back to Genesis 14. To make this study personally powerful, open up your Bible and read this chapter. 

What is happening in this chapter? A Battle between kingdoms. Lot, the nephew of Abram, and all of Lot’s family and belongings are taken as plunder by the four kingdoms at war against the other five united kingdoms.  

Why is this important? Because these united kingdoms are comprised of thousands and thousands of men. And Abram sets out to rescue Lot with 318 trained men born in his household. 

Trained men. Trained when translated is disciple. These were men of God trained by Abram who prayed and worshiped God. So what happened? Abram, attacked, defeated and then recovered all the goods including Lot and his possessions and family. 

A mere 318 men defeated this vast army. Do you think they acted with authority? Do you know whose authority? Did you know that today, believers such as us, also have this kind of authority? 

We, in fact, do have this kind of authority but we have been deceived to believe otherwise. We are going to learn and experience how we grab this authority to win our kingdom battles. 

Darn it! I’ve already run way long and haven’t even touched on the King of Salem. I promise, promise on Monday we will talk about him. 

Today, in the comments share with me your kingdom battle. You can leave your name or be anonymous. I will share with you I’m fighting a battle with my stomach and discipline or lack thereof in this area of my life, wich is so puzzling in that I’m highly disciplined in other areas. This is one of my Kingdom battles.

I want to pray for you and I also ask you to pray for the person who leaves a comment before you. If you are first, then pray for me. If you are second, pray for the person who prayed for me… Okay… Please do this as part of the process, learning to pray with power and intercessory prayer. Trust me on this okay. 

So, King Melchizedek… Who in the heck is King Melchizedek? I don’t even know if I’m pronouncing his name correctly. But on Monday we will talk in detail about this king and add another piece to our growing journey as we step one more step closer to God’s Kingdom here on earth and the authority of Christ. 

I love you. I will be fighting for you and your kingdom battles today. Be filled with His Spirit because WE WIN!!!!!!  BIG hugs, Lynn

*****

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A Little Marriage Humor

Sometimes we need to laugh at ourselves. Please receive this with all the smiles and laughes intended. Enjoy!

 

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Answer This One Profound Question

Woo Hoo!!! I’m home. My friends, I love to visit family but I also am so happy to come home. I visited my mother in Grand Junction, CO. My daughter, son and his girlfriend joined us. My mom’s tiny house was filled with people. We had 10 days, crammed-packed with adventures. Below is a photo I took while we rafted the Colorado River. Can you see the Bald Eagle in the tree with its young?

P1000588
Neat! 

Anyhoo, while visiting I attended Canyon View Church and met June Fellhauer who was the guest speaker. She Rocked it. My visit with her was a divine appointment. God has impressed upon me to share her insights. So, we are going to take a journey through time. 

We will visit some of our favorite people in the Bible while on our voyage. We will also visit some who are obscure and talk about some pretty deep spiritual truths. At the end of our travels we will understand with new revelations our vital role in the Kingdom of God. We will see things differently and we will understand why we struggle in our relationship with God at times. And what’s exciting is we will learn how we can turn that around and live in the power and authority of Christ. 

We will do great things. GREAT THINGS! 

All for Him. 

Finally we will grasp something fantastic. God’s Kingdom come to earth. We will recognize when He moves in our lives. We will see miracles. We will be vessels of His healing, real Biblical healings. We will see people saved from an eternity in hell. And we will understand how we, the ordinary people of God, are interracially involved. We will have God’s healing power and ability to love people and change lives in the power and name of Jesus. 

God has called this community to step up and step out. So get ready my friends for one of the most astonishing explorations you have ever walked with the Lord. This summer you will leave this journey changed. 

Let’s get started then.

I have a single question for you to ponder today: 

Do you have a royalty mentality or a poverty perspective?

 

Be honest with yourself as you answer because this is where we start. 

Now in the comments I want you to leave me your answer. There is NO JUDGMENT in this place, only love. Your honest assessment will bring healing and truth that God is desperate for you to have. 

Tell me what immediately came into your mind as your answer. If you don’t understand this questions or whatever your thoughts, share with me in the comments. 

More than anything I’m asking you today to commit to Jesus to travel this summer to the conclusion of our quest. Commit to remain faithful to the process and revelations ahead of you. So leave a comment with your answer, your thoughts, prayers and then tell me…. 

I’M IN! 

Let’s rock this world with God's healing. 

Let’s set the captives free with life-changing truth. 

Let’s worship God with such power that people will look upon our face and KNOW we have stood in the very presence of God. 

Amen.  AMEN! 

 

Are you ready? 

I love you with BIG, GIANT, powerful, amazing God sized hugs, Lynn

Be back Friday as our first stop is in an ancient Kingdom where we will meet a King who is a mystery. We will step into the Kingdom of Salem. 

Woo Hoo, Can’t wait. See you in the comments. 

*****

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News and Updates!

Lynn-Dineen

Just a couple of updates, dear friends. See below:

 

From Dineen: So many of you participated during the week of The Soul Saver unveiling. Well... (drum roll please) I've written three new scenes as part of my new e-book, The Making of The Soul Saver.

Just like DVDs have that extra disc with special features, The Making of The Soul Saver has lots of extras. Some you've read, much you haven't, like those three new scenes about what's going on in Hugh and Lexie's life now, how Nate is doing in China and what's happening with Jenna and David.

It's my gift to you for signing up for my mailing/newsletter list. This is a separate list from our SUM newsletter and good way to keep in touch with me about what's going on with my fiction writing. That way I don't take valuable time and space from our SUM site here.

Just click HERE to join my news list (I promise to treat your information with complete respect and only send an occasional newsletter), confirm your email address in the email you receive (California requires I do this), then you will be taken to my thank you window which has the link to download the e-book.

I hope you love the new scenes! Let me know what you think! 
Love you all dearly!
Dineen

 

From Lynn: I'm still traveling and missing you all! Monday I have something profound to share about how God sees us as His priests on Earth. Do you know who King Melchizedec was and why he matters to us today? Come back Monday and be prepared to have your socks knocked off (if you're wearing any. Grin!) I can't wait to share this with you!
Love and hugs!
Lynn

 

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"Why Can't You Trust Me?"

TrustMugA terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were about to capsize. They woke Jesus: "Master, Master, we're going to drown!"

Getting to his feet, he told the wind, "Silence!" and the waves, "Quiet down!" They did it. The lake became smooth as glass.

Then he said to his disciples, "Why can't you trust me?"

—Luke 8:23-25 (The Message)

I love coffee and I love coffee mugs. The one in the picture is may latest find. The mornings I feel myself struggling to trust God are the ones I reach for this mug as a reminder that it's all about trusting God.

So let’s talk about trust. Trusting God is our greatest challenge in the life. I believe it’s something you and I will grapple with on a daily basis for the rest of our lives. We begin to trust God in one area of our life only to find ourselves facing new challenges or an entirely different area of our life that we’ve yet to completely place our trust in God. It’s just the way it works. It’s our training ground. It’s how God works.

Trust isn’t easy though, especially when we’re dealing with the unknown. But that’s the whole definition of trust, isn’t it? Accepting the truth of something without evidence? (Heb. 11:1) Isn’t it about trusting God so completely that we know that we know that we know that whatever we are facing or will face, God is right there in the middle of it working for our good because we love Him and are called according to His purpose? (Rom. 8:28)

The amazing part of all this is Jesus is asking us to trust the truth. Want your mind blown away?

Jesus is Truth. (John 14:6) He is the ultimate and unchanging Truth, the most reliable Truth we have in our lives. We live in a world that loosely defines truth as whatever works in the current moment. The world’s truth is always changing and is completely unreliable. What may be true for one person isn’t true at all for another. What was true ten years ago, or even last year, for that matter, isn’t true today.

But Jesus is true for everyone, all the time. No matter what, we can trust Him for anything and everything in our lives and until we begin holding onto this, we will continue to be thrashed around by the storms of life.

What I love about this piece of Scripture is the clear example of Jesus in action. The rocking boat, the raging water, the rain and the wind are all the trials, challenges, struggles, bad news and set backs we will ever face in this life.

The disciples calling out to Jesus is exactly what we’re supposed to do in those storms. And just like then, Jesus is right here now to calm the waters, comfort us, and then challenge our faith, “Do you trust me? Can you trust Me more?”

This is His gentle rebuke when the boat rocks and we cry for help—His reminder that He’s always been right there. So what does He want us to learn?

Jesus wants us to know without out a doubt that He is the one in control. He wants us to stand boldly in that boat as the storms are about to hit and affirm that our Jesus is bigger than anything we will face. He is the one in control, and He wants us to trust His Truth above all else—trust Him above all else.

Then when the raging storms of life hit—and even the little ones—we can be the ones sitting calmly in the boat of our lives knowing that we have nothing to fear. 

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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Sacred Marriage?

Today it's my great privilege to welcome back for a second time Janet.

Janet resides on the East Coast with her high school sweetheart turned husband and their three daughters. She begins and ends her day with God and strives to still be in constant dialogue with Him between. 

Thank you for being part of our amazing community. Hugs, Lynn

*****

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI’m often asked the secret to my marriage.  We were the first to marry, and the last still married.  Marriage certainly is not the glass slippered story I read about as a child.  It’s actually hard work.  Those of us in mis-matched marriages know it’s even harder work. 

Our marriage has certainly never always been this easy going.  We have been shaken with such force I can assure you any loose rocks in our foundation ricocheted out.  But the beauty is God filled those holes and crevices of impossible, solidifying them, with His grace and mercy.

Sometimes I’m bold declaring my secret is the “biblical principles of marriage I always keep in the forefront”.  And other times my message, though still honest, yields an eloquent and gentler response.  I considered my answer honest and forward, until I read a recent quote.

"What if God's primary intent for your marriage isn't to make you happy. . . but holy? And what if your relationship isn't as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?"—Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

Could my marriage really not be more about my husband and I, rather more about God and me? Is it less about “biblical principles”?  Should my answer really be “God”?  For days I have pondered this quote.  There is ample to feast on in those two sentences.    

I know God wishes me happy.  Of course a 30’ boat to navigate our local waters every weekend would make me happy.  But I can accept that is not the superficial “happy” God desires for me.  “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit;” Romans 14:17 NIV.  I imagine the “happy” God ordains for us is the result of the Holy Spirit.  “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” Galatians 5:22 NIV

I have not read the book to reveal how Mr. Thomas defines “happy”.  But I do know and trust God’s plans for me.   “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11   

I know He does, can and will take the bad and transform it with power to exalt and encourage.  “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  “God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:4

Friends, we all have in some form been victim to the ugliness of criticism, harsh repercussions, bitterness and more from our spouse.  Jesus too endured these same reactions and a response to what he also knew was truth.  But through Lynn, Dineen, 1Peter 3 Group, the Facebook page and this site, we have seen, lived through and are carrying out His powers and promises in those three scriptures.   This may not be our ideal vision of happiness, but we are undoubtedly being conformed to the image of Christ, transforming us into His holy children. 

To be His children, His holy children, a response is required of us too.  Isn’t it?  Wouldn’t we need to be in relationship with Him?  “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 NLT If we all can agree one of the very fundamental cores of God’s pursuit of holiness within us begins with a personal relationship with Him, then I would have to confess I probably wouldn’t be where I am in my spiritual journey and personal walk. 

If my husband were a believer, and I navigating my personal faith walk, I envision a lot of myself asking him questions.  Not myself seeking God.  Not myself insatiably digesting scripture.  Not myself firmly convicted of my beliefs.  Simply put, I very well may have a shallow, kiddie wading pool of belief and holiness, riding on the coattails of my husband’s faith.

What if this marriage is the valley you are travelling through as you make your way to stand upon His mountain?  Just what if it really isn’t about you and your spouse, but God and His will of relationship and purpose?  I don’t know about you, but I’m rationalizing through scripture and experience that Mr. Thomas just may be onto something good here.  

Janet

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