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16 entries from December 2012

Weekend Worship — From a Reader

My precious friends, I don't know about you but this girl is feeling a bit scattered and off track with all the fuss of the holidays and a house full of people. And I still have my daughter's bridal shower to get ready for next weekend!

So if you're feeling the same, sit a moment and drink in this wonderful message Bridget. I just love what she has to share about God's love: 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Amplified Bible (AMP)

4 Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

5 It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

8 Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy ([a]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].

The key is LOVE, not as the world loves but as God loves. I know that I cant love in my own strength because it does not work. It always comes up short and does not satisfy. I am tapping into the source of love and I am praying that God will so reveal his love to me that I operate in a new dimension of revelation and have the heart and mind of Christ.

My prayer for Dineen, Lynn and all the woman that are trusting the Lord to move in their lives, their families and their husbands lives is that we would be able to grasp the depth, height, length and breadth of God's love. God is calling us back to our FIRST LOVE so that we can spill over with His love to those around us.

Thank you, Bridget! 
Happy New Year, my friends!
Love you all so very much!
Dineen 

(Here's our weekend worship video, thanks to Heather Passuello!)

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Get Ready 2013

Hi Everyone, 

30 birthdayI’m a bit behind in posting this brisk Friday morning. I’m hopeful that your Christmas was wonderful. I was able to drive to visit my son and his new wife on Christmas day. My son turned 30 years old and we surprised him for this over-the-hill birthday. Yep, he is my Christmas baby. We had a great time but it was a quick trip. 

I wanted to give you a peek at what’s coming for the New Year. 

If you are new to our community, we want to invite you to our annual fast. Every January we, as a community, fast together for five days. This year we plan to fast Monday,  January 7th through the 11th. There are many ways to go about fasting. For me personally, I am planning a day-time fast. I fast all day until sundown and then have dinner with my family. 

During this fast we pray for God’s anointing upon the year ahead. We seek His Presence and His will for our lives. We pray for our spouse’s salvation and for our children. Rosheeda Lee leads us through this fast every day posting a prayer and/or instructions. 

I’m convinced there is great power in fasting. Jesus often fasted and He is our example. It is difficult to fast but when we humble ourselves and give our basic desires for food over to God, He moves the heavens for our petitions. 

So, if you have never fasted before ask God now if you are to participate in this week of fasting. And to read more about how to fast, visit this page as we have many resources about fasting. 

Here is the Link: Fasting. Does It Work?

Following our week of fasting we will launch right into a new series regarding the spiritual realms and how we recognize spiritual battles, how we fight within them and how we bring the authority and power Christ has given us into our lives. I’m positively psyched about this series.

My friends, 2013 is gearing up to be another exciting and fantastic year walking with Jesus. Our walk with God is ALWAYS the BEST ride of our lives. Love you much, Have a great day. Hugs, Lynn

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Romans 8:15  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 

I LOVE this verse lately. And it keeps coming at me from every direction. From teaching this morning. From email. I heard it on the radio. Whoa! Do you think God is being intentional with me? 

My friends, it’s Christmas eve. And I’m convinced that more than anything our Lord wants us to KNOW the truth of this verse. He wants us to know that He loves us and even more as my friend Susan recently shared, Jesus really “likes” us. 

Now receive this. He likes who you are. 

And because of tomorrow we celebrate that a child is given. A son is born. And because of that God has removed the orphan spirit form this world. He has place upon us a spirit of sonship, whereby we can say, Abba Father. 

And the amazing part of this verse? We are not of a spirit that makes us a slave to fear. 

Learning how much we are loved by our Great God changes our own love. So many of us struggle with loving ourselves. We can’t forgive ourselves for our past or even our current hang-ups. Well I can tell you that I still have hang-ups, sin that gets me bogged down and yet I have learned that God loves me. I so much want everyone of God’s people to KNOW this deeply in their heart. 

So today, receive this blessing from our Abba, Father: 

You are lovely
You are secure
You have a destiny
You have a purpose
God’s hand is upon your life. You will have great success for the Kingdom of God. Now hear these words:

“I love you.” Abba, Daddy.

 Merry Christmas. Dineen and I will be taking a break this week. But on Friday I plan to give you an update on the fantastic events that will be happening around here in January. If you want more of His Presence, His power, His purposes, His love and blessing, then stay tuned because I sincerely BELIEVE He wants to pour all of this into us who are part of this community. 

We love you so much, Lynn and Dineen

MerryChristmas-1

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I Cried For You, Sunridge

So, this is a difficult post for me to write. However, I’m following the Lord’s lead as there must be one other person, in addition to me, who needs this word. 

My home church where I have served and worshiped for 12 years is teetering on the precipice of a split. And I am grieved deeply in my spirit over this. The thoughts of people whom I love possibly now hating another person in our church stabs my heart in searing pain. 

Grief has sat heavily on me now for several days as I have prayed and ponder over the people of God. So this morning as I left for an early walk in the frosty wilderness, I was contemplating our church. I was carrying the heartbreak on my soul. 

Geese in DecemberI began walking and noticed the geese feeding in the field. Such beauty. And as I turned to head down a different road, that is when all of it hit me. The full spectrum of grief I’ve been carrying over this split came upon me with such a force that I started to bawl. I full on cried, out loud, while walking by the horse pasture. Big heaving sobs complete with snot bubbles and tears dropping from my cheeks. 

As I cried, I prayed, “O Lord, I am so sorry. I am so sorry this is happening to your people. I am so sorry.” 

I walked a little further, gathering myself down to sniffles and nose wipes and it was at that point, in that moment, I thought of Paul and how he grieved over the people of Israel. And I said to God the same thing Paul said and in that moment and I was genuinely sincere, “Lord, I would die to save the unity of these people.” 

And out of the blue I heard God immediately respond, “Lynn, My Son already died to save their unity.” 

Full on bawling again. 

“O, Lord, I am so sorry. Jesus died for our unity.” At this point, it’s complete blubbering. 

Through my tears God said to me, “Unity in my people is vastly important. It is in this corporate environment that my power is amplified. Miracles, healings, restoration happens. Remember the scripture, where two or more are gather, there I am also? Well, it’s in the united hearts and souls which brings my Kingdom power to earth and hinders the devil. That is why the enemy works so hard to destroy believers who unite to serve Me. 

Then I felt the Lord calm my spirit and speak directly to me again, “Lynn, you keep your eyes on me. You are to stay so intensely focused on me that you can’t be distracted by the dialogs and discontent happening around you.” And God went on, “Lynn, don’t you ever lose perspective that any ministry given to an individual to lead, including a church, has been given by Me. 

“You must hold your own ministry very loosely. There will come a day, possibly even as early as tomorrow that I will demand the surrender of your ministry. This ministry that you started is not your empire. This ministry is and always has been Mine. There will be a day when a younger woman will come along and she will take the reins and you must step away. You may lose the leadership of your ministry through deception or it could even be stolen from you. But, you are not to fight but to depart with all the dignity and honor of which I have bestowed to you.” 

“Lynn, and if you never serve Me again in any public manner, then you MUST KNOW that I AM all you need.” 

“I Am the Great I Am. I will always take care of you.” 

I finished my walk today with understanding and yet still with a broken heart.

However, I am firm in my commitment to hold this ministry in which the Lord allows me to serve with a very lose grip.

And one thing I know that is for certain. Dineen and I WILL ALWAYS BE all about what we are “FOR” in this ministry and not what we are against. And what is it that we are “for” you ask? The two things that matter the most to God. 

We love God.
We love People. 

Thank you for allowing Dineen and I to serve you. We love you more than mere humble words can say. And for those of you who live with unbelieving husbands or wives, a church split is devastating to their salvation. It affirms every lie they been told about church, faith and God. So armor up my friends because the enemy is prowling and the wounded and bleeding are falling everywhere. 

But, we serve THE GREAT I AM. 

So enemy, you are hereby put on notice.......   Expect some serious butt kickin’. 

We are going to step into the realms of the Spiritual battles in January. I hope you plan to be part of it because we are literally going to terrorize the devil. Love you so much, Lynn

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There Was Once a Man Who Didn't Believe In God

I love this story. I post it almost every year at Christmas time. Be encouraged my friends and Merry Christmas. Hugs, Lynn

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There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

Snow_church One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused.

"That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!" So she and the children left, and he stayed home.

A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then another thump. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet.

When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn't go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.

The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It's warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside.

The geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn't seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away. He went into the house and came back out with some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumbs trail leading to the barn, but they still didn't catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe.

"Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?" He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human.

"If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud.Geese winter

Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn - and one by one the other geese followed it to safety!

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind:

"If only I were a goose, then I could save them!"

Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to be like us? That's ridiculous!"

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese - blind, lost, and perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized!

As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come.

Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer:

Mangercross "Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!"

~Author Unknown

 

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I Wanted to Stop Praying

I wonder if you are feeling weary? 

I know this month we are writing about love and I do have so much more rolling around in my brain to share about love. God’s love, our self-love and loving others. But, now for almost a week, I’m just not in the “mood” to write about that. 

What I’m wrangling with this season is weariness. 

It crystalized for me last week when I actually heard myself whisper out loud to the Lord, these words, “Lord, I’m just so weary of constantly fighting the battle. I’m tired of always being on the front lines. I’m exhausted hoping and waiting for the salvation of my husband. I’m fatigued as I pray almost incessantly for my children.” 

As soon as this little prayer left my lips, the words then hit my brain and then my heart. In the moment I wanted to stop praying so badly. I want to stop with my worry and cease the battling with the devil over the people I love. 

When I add to this my demanding writing schedule, travel last week, the entire “getting ready for Christmas” demands and then pile on top the shooting at Sandy Hook, well, it’s just A LOT!

My spirit feels beat up and weak. 

What do we do when it’s A LOT and there is not an end in sight? I mean there is still so much to do to be ready for Christmas. I’m traveling again on Christmas day to see my son for his 30th birthday. (Shhhhhh, It’s a surprise.) And …. and…. and… I know you KNOW what I’m talking about. 

Right now, this hour, I’m not sure I know what to “do.” And I don’t have a wonderful story to share with you that God has arrived to make my life easier. 

However, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper this verse over and over into my ears for days now. 

Galatians 6:9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith. (MSG) 

Okay, it’s kinda a pep talk and it does help me refoces a little bit. But then I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Lynn, if you stop praying for your husband, your son and your daughter, who will be covering them with prayer.” 

I respond, “O Lord, no one. NO ONE.” 

“Exactly.” 

Me again, “O Lord that’s what the devil wants, itsn't it? My family needs my covering more than anything right now. Our community of SUM, the nation, Sandy Hook, needs my prayer covering.” 

“Lynn, I know your weary and I will give you rest soon. But, you CANNOT stop your battles in the prayer realm. You must persevere. You must know that your words are impacting the people for whom you pray. I have revealed some of the astonishing results already.You must be assured that if you were to quit, setbacks might happen.” 

And THEN….. God reminded me of a few things to set my soul back in order:

He is the First and Last,
The Beginning and the End! 

He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all!
He is the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all times.
He always was, He always is, and He always will be ...
unmoved, unchanged, undefeated, and never undone!

He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom!
He was dead and brought life!
He is risen and brings power!
He reigns and brings Peace!
The world can't understand him,
The armies can't defeat Him,
The schools can't explain Him, and The leaders can't ignore Him.
Herod couldn't kill Him, The Pharisees couldn't confuse Him,  and The people couldn't hold Him!
Nero couldn't crush Him, Hitler couldn't silence Him,
The New Age can't replace Him, and the media can't explain Him away!

He is light, love, longevity, and Lord.
He is goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God.
He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure. 

His ways are right,
His word is eternal,
His will is unchanging, and His mind is on me.
He is my Savior,
He is my guide, and He is my peace!
He is my Joy,
He is my comfort,
He is my Lord, and He rules my life! 

I serve Him because His bond is love, His burden is light, and His goal for me is abundant life. 

I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the ancient of days, the ruler of rulers, the leader of leaders, the overseer of the overcomers, and is to come. And if that seems impressive to you, try this for size.

His goal is relationship!
He will never leave me,
never forsake me,
never mislead me,
never forget me,
never overlook me and
never cancel my appointment in His appointment book! 

When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am blind, He leads me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution, He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me!
When I face loss, He provides for me!
When I face Death, He carries me Home! 

He is everything for everybody everywhere, every time, and every way.
He is God, He is faithful. I am His, and He is mine!

Wow, it's amazing how our Great King always knows what we need.
Merry Christmas, Lynn

Wisemen

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Let Us Tell You a Story...

There once were two ordinary women who said yes to God and their lives have been an adventure ever since. Yep, that's the story of Lynn and I but the story I really want to tell you is about our publisher, Regal Books (aka Gospel Light).

 

IMG_1915
Lynn and I with our amazing editor, Kim Bangs, who is truly one of the most godly women I've ever had the pleasure to meet and learn from.
Lynn shared some of our adventures visiting them last week on our Facebook page as we met their sales team. Lynn and I were humbled and so blessed to meet this amazing team of men and women who see their jobs as part of their service to God and work tirelessly to bring the messages of the books they represent to stores. We also met the rest of the amazing Team Regal, who has caught our vision for this ministry.

 

Why am I telling you all this? Because Lynn and I can barely put into words what this amazing group of people have come to mean to us. Before we left on Thursday, they gathered around us (we were also blessed to meet two other authors whose work we hope to share with you down the road) and prayed over us, blessed us and made a covenant with us to help support us in our service to God.

They are part of our SUM community and Lynn and I stand in awe of how God has worked in all of this. That's why we want to share it with you, our SUM community because you are an integral part of all of it. You asked us for a Bible study about being spiritually mismatched and we prayed. God opened our hearts to the idea of a book and Winning Him Without Words was born, an unexpected part of the adventure.

And now we will start another adventure, one that includes you, our SUM community. You've asked us about a book about raising kids to faith in a spiritually mismatched marriage. Lynn and I started praying over this idea around the summer of 2011. Then God gave us the go just a few months ago and we brought this idea to Regal too.

That is why we went to visit our dear friends there, to bring God's vision of this book to their sales team so they know what our SUM community is all about.

NotAloneCoverMy dear friends, we are so excited to tell you that Not Alone: Trusting God to Help You Raise Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage is slated to release next Fall. We have a lot of work to do and we need your help. Which is right and good because you are so much a part of this journey! We need your prayers that we listen faithfully as God gives us the words AND we need your input. Over the next three months we will probably be asking for your stories and thoughts about how we do this—trust God to help us raise Godly kids.

So here is our first question for you:

How has God helped you share your faith with your children and still respect Dad in doing so?

Answer in the comments because you will most likely help other moms as you share with us. So join us in this next chapter of the crazy adventure we call mismatchdom and let's find out where God takes us!

And finally, thank you, thank you, thank you! Lynn and I are so grateful for this community. We are truly just two ordinary women who said yes to God and the rest is all to His glory, praise and a testimony of how God provides when we cry out to Him in our time of need. And the truly beautiful part is that all of this is the overflow of His amazing love. This is what it means to be in a God-loving community. Can you imagine what Heaven will be like?

Thank You, Lord Jesus. This is truly You working with us to bring wisdom, hope, and healing to needs and hurts of others. This SUM community is Your legacy and we say "yes!" to whatever You are calling us to next. Thank you, Abba, we are so very grateful for Your love and grace. Holy Spirit, fill and guide us on this great adventure. We love You, Lord! Amen!

With all our hearts, gratitude and love,
Dineen & Lynn

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Weekend Worship — A Testimony

IStock_000017809995XSmallMy precious friends, I can't believe Christmas is so close! As the day draws closer, I'm trying to keep my heart and mind wrapped around the miracle that God brought so long ago and keep my eyes open for the ones He's doing right now. 

I want to share one with you. My rep at a magazine publishing group that I 've worked with sent me a Merry Christmas message by email, and I almost didn't reply back out of "busyness." I'm so glad I obeyed the nudge to reply back, because it opend a dialogue for a brother in Christ to share his story and offer encouragement to our SUM community. 

My friends, read this and receive the wonderful encouragement that God, our Abba Daddy, wants to you. I know this will speak to at least one woman out there who needs to read this. My friend, God brought you here to read this today for a reason. Believe it and know that your Lord has not missed a moment of your pain or your faithfulness. Whatever He is calling you to do, trust Him for the results. Just take that first step of faith and let Him do the rest.

And thank you to Jeff for serving God so faithfully and being willing to share so openly:

I saw the Q&A you did on FamilyFiction.com and your website www.SprituallyUnequalMarriage.com. As someone that put my wife thru HECK for a number of years till I surrendered to God. My heck was not normal heck—sexual addiction, anger issues, spiritual dysfunction issues. Encourage women that no situation is too tough for God. I was so far gone, yet it was my wife’s love and prayers and tough love that got me to the place I wanted real change to happen. The result is I am in Bible school at night, and we adopted 2 kids from Ukraine in 2010. That is the fruit of a life yielded and a marriage transformed!

God is so good! Is that not amazing? 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. — Ephesians 3:20-21

Our Lord is Able!
Merry Christmas, my dear friends. I love you so very much!
Dineen 

 

Love this music video from Third Day. This song is actually based upon a true story. The song the man heard on the radio was a Third Day song!

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Can You Pray "Good Morning Daddy?"

I want to say a couple of things before we move forward in this series. Reading the comments left after the last two posts, it’s obvious to me that God was right (like always). There many of us who He is revealing His desire to move our love relationship into a deeper intimacy. 

I think the past couple of posts have brought us to a reality we didn’t understand. It’s our ability to call our Lord, Daddy, and to accept all of the implications that come with naming our God, with that name of complete intimacy. 

Now to those of you who don’t struggle with this Daddy issue, please be patient with the rest of us. And I also want to assure you that I’m not trying to overly feminize God. Because I KNOW without doubt that our God is a warrior and fighter a brilliant commander of millions upon millions of warring angels. We will talk more about that side of our Triune God in January. But in order to grasp the warrior side of God we need to become intimately familiar with the love of God. Because out of that love, everything else flows. 

Well, let me explain how this Daddy thing began. While I was at Bethel, the woman Maria, who I’ve written about before, gave me a list of books to read and a few movies to watch. One movie in particular is, Father of Lights. This movie profiles several amazing believers and one man in particular. I won’t give away much about this movie because ALL OF YOU need to rent it, buy it, or borrow it and then watch it. I will tell you this….. The end….. It’s a mind blow and a total “God” set up. If you watch it, email me and let me know your thoughts. 

Anyhoo, one of the men profiled literally “hears” the audible voice of his “Daddy,” our Daddy and Lord. As I watched this movie, I was filled with a desire to KNOW God in this way. So, the next morning is when the Holy Spirit said to me, “Call me Daddy.” 

For me, and likely for many of you, this is the last (at least I hope it’s the last) blockade in our love relationship. When I’m able to name my Lord, “Daddy” it changes everything. This is where miracles happen because it’s where utter blind trust lives and thrives. It’s where the Holy Spirit can ask anything and I will do it because there are people who need healing and I’m the one He will work through. This intimate place is where fear is decimated and left impotent. It’s where wild courage is born to share with my spouse, my kids, my family, anyone and everyone the truth. It’s with my Daddy that I will be awakened in the night to receive my assignment for the next day, to witness my God’s love and His purposes unfold before my very eyes. It is with my Daddy that I will be so cocooned in his love that the devil and all of his minions can’t touch me and in fact they are scared out of their minds because I know and love my Daddy and I live in His favor and authority.

This is what it looks like this promise of God’s, Perfect love casts out fear. (1 john 4:18) 

So today, cry out just as Teresa T. did on Monday in the comments: Abba! Father. It does sound so personal that we don't think it as reverent. So I did some research and found this. 

Romans 8:15

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “ Abba, Father!”

 

Our Great King speaks to us with such a love that I cannot fully understand it, but He says to me and to you, “Cry out, Abba, Father!”

So right now I’m going to share a snippet form my prayer journal where I first prayed, “Good morning, Daddy.” 

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Sit with your Daddy and allow Him to make you the object of His affection today.

On Monday we will take our Daddy love and watch how that turns into self-love and the power it brings into our lives. Choosing love and thrilling in the power it brings to mortal man. Hugs, Lynn 

PS. On Sunday I woke from an afternoon nap. And as I came awake, there were two words that were on my lips and I was whispering softly. I kid you not, they were, “Abba, Father.” O, how He loves me. O, how He loves you. O, how He loves you and me.

*****

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Who’s Your Daddy?

IStock_000018122105XSmallOkay, I’m totally ripping off Lynn and some tacky song thing, right? But it’s what popped into my head and those are usually my best lines. (wink)

With that said, I’m going to share a few tidbits of my past that, well, I really didn’t plan or want to but God’s giving me the nudge to be even more authentic with you. And I blame Lynn. LOL!

Just like Lynn shared about her “daddy” issues, I’ve had the same challenge as well. My mother and birth father divorced when I was two. I did see my birth father periodically, but it wasn’t an easy situation because he was mentally ill (later diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic).

I don’t remember a whole lot, but I know my mother had it rough keeping food on our table and remarried when I was around four or five, mostly for security. Didn’t work out for very long (it was clear to Mom and I both he wasn’t too keen on having a kid around).

The man I called “Dad” up until two and half years ago when he passed away from cancer was actually my step-dad. He and my mother married when I was eleven. I’m so grateful for this man. Though his own father walked out on him when he was a young boy, he did a good job filling the gap of father in my life, especially without having a good role model. It wasn’t easy for him though. He was always dad, and I was always his daughter, and my girls’ Papa. No "steps" about it.

Whew! Done with the backstory. And please don’t think I share this for attention or pity. I admit in my past I had times of sharing this for that reason but not anymore. I share it because it’s important to the rest of this story.

Fast forward to 2002. I’m at a Women of Faith conference, having a blast with my two best friends from church. We’re singing and worshiping and bam! It’s like my life zips right in front of my eyes. All the rejection I’d experienced as a child and teenager flashed across my mind's eye like a depressing movie from the ‘70s (Am I the only one who hates movies from that time period? So depressing. Blech!)

Anyway, it’s not the past I thought would have “scrolled” through the dank dungeon of my past—you know, all the school yard junk and issues with school and not fitting in, etc.) Nope, it was to do with the three men who’d played the roll of father in my life.

Needless to say it wasn’t pleasant. Thank goodness it happened fast! As it reached the end, Jesus (my first encounter with Him, though I was saved and had recommitted my life to Him almost 10 years prior) spoke to my heart these words:

“I will never reject you.”

Like the story I shared of what happened to me at Bethel, this ripped something out of me that God didn’t want festering there anymore. But more importantly, He knew I needed to hear this/know this/believe this because otherwise I would never be able to trust Him.

My friend, this was the beginning of God working things in my life so that I could one, learn to trust Him, and two, begin to grasp how deeply I am loved by Him. I’m still grasping it.

I know many of you out there reading this have similar stories. That’s the sad part, so many of us do. When we have a broken image of our father here on earth, it’s hard to grasp that our heavenly Father is nothing at all like an earthly father.

I will even go as far as to say this (and feel free to correct me if you think I’m too far “out there): We know the enemy of our soul targets marriage in huge ways, namely because it is something God designed to reflect our relationship with Him. What if the enemy is doing the same thing with our relationships with our fathers? With our children’s relationship with their father?

We see a growing trend in our culture today of absentee fathers. Of men struggling to stay in the church, to be in the church, to be the spiritual leaders of our families. I believe the enemy is attacking this area too because this father image is something else God uses in the Bible to reflect our relationship with Him.

Think about it? The biggest symbols used in the Bible—marriage and fatherhood—that show God’s love for us are the two areas most at risk. And the recovery from this takes time, as Lynn and I have shared. God has had to work in us to undo the lies and replace it with His love and His truth.

So this is what we want you to know, more than anything, right now, right here. God loves you. He made you. He can’t make things He doesn’t love and He doesn’t do shoddy work either. Nor does His love rest upon our performance because if it did then we wouldn’t need grace and Jesus suffered and died on a cross for no reason at all.

Know in your heart of hearts that you were fashioned by His hand out of a love that is all encompassing, unimaginably perfect and so incredibly powerful and passionate that we won’t fully understand it until we are with Him in Heaven. Nor can we be separated from it.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:38-39
God wants you to grasp this now. Right now. Because until we do, we will use everything and anything to fill this gap to find fulfillment. Our husband, our children, our friendships, our work, the opinions of others—I know this because I’ve lived it.

Our Lord and Savior wants us to walk in freedom and victory (It is for freedom that He came to set us free. Gal. 5:1). Not when all our problems are solved. Not when our prebelievers finally accept Jesus into their heart. And certainly not when we think we’ve got it all together.

He wants this for us right now, right in the middle of all our imperfections and all our trials and challenges. And we can do that with Him through His love.

My prayers started with asking God to heal me and make me whole. I prayed to understand His grace better. I prayed for Him to help me love Him more, to free me from my fears, and to make me a bold and confident person, because I was so tired of my insecurities. I want more of God than anything else in my life. Not an easy prayer but I promise you it is one He will honor and love to hear come from your heart.

So my friends, I will leave this too long post right here with what I hope will encourage you to pursue God like never before. It starts with prayer and if you’re not sure what to pray for first, ask the Holy Spirit to show you. Pray and then believe He’s doing this in you. It won’t be something you can do on your own, make a plan to conquer, or figure out the missing key and, viola!, it’s fixed. (Trust me, I tried!)

No, the healing, deliverance, and change will come when you least expect it because it will be totally and completely God doing it. Rest in Him. Trust Him. Let Him do it.

And He will love you all the way to freedom and beyond. Because really and truly, He is our Father, our Abba, our Daddy.

Praying and believing for you!
Dineen

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I Can't Say THAT To God

He said to me, “Call me Daddy.” 

Gulp! 

Wordle: Daddy

I sat on the couch on an early morning a few months ago, stunned. The Holy Spirit speaking these words to me was almost too much. There is no way I would DARE to call Him - my Lord - Daddy. 

What I’m about to share with you is deeply personal and I may not do a very good job in my explanation. But God has made it clear that I am to disclose this journey I’m on because there are others of you who need to walk it with me. So, please be patient as my telling may be a bit disjointed. 

I have walked with the Lord for a number of years now. And I enjoy a very real and vibrant love relationship with Him. It is personal. It is tender. God is gently correcting. He is firm yet so filled with grace. He delights in me and sends me tiny love notes continually. 

So, you can imagine my surprise since returning from our time at Bethel that God is calling me to a deeper love relationship. What is truly surprising is that I didn’t know I could have a deeper love than I already have. I really believed that I was completely, totally loving my Lord with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. 

But, my Great King has more for me. 

And He has more love for you. 

So share with me my story and see if the Lord is calling you to a deeper love relationship. 

First, I guess I need to explain why God would ask me to call Him Daddy. Well, to put it bluntly, I have daddy issues. And now please hear me. I hold my earthly father in the deepest love and respect. 

However, my daddy issues have stood in the way all these years to the intimacy that God wants for me. Let me explain. My earthly father is a good man. He was a provider for our family and a great businessman. He was a believer I think to some degree but I don’t recall much more than Sunday church attendance in his life. I grew up in a safe and loved atmosphere. But, I also grew up in a home where little girls weren't always a priority. Okay, I’m just being honest. 

The message I received as a child was that I was loved but I wasn’t cherished. Now for all women reading this, you know what I mean. We as women, it’s our greatest desire to be cherished above all other people and things by the significant man in our lives. For the guys reading this, its’ also true that your Father’s treatment of you growing up directly impacts your self-worth. 

Now I could go on and on about how my insecurity and daddy issues affected my decisions as a young woman but that would be boring. But it is crucial to help you understand how scary it is for me to place a person into my heart who has that kind of power or to be utterly vulnerable to someone who could disappoint me or hurt me at my core. 

Hang in there. Sheesh, I’m getting personal. 

But, for me to name someone Daddy in my heart and mind implies GIANT connotations. It’s the deepest intimacy I can experience. Because in my mind my Daddy is my ever-present protector, he is one who wants to twirl with me in the kitchen. My Daddy, (now get this) He WANTS to listen to me, spend time with me. He wants to know what upsets me, what makes me giggle, what is exciting to me and he desires to share my secrets. 

Good grief, I promise I don’t need therapy but I realized that morning that I need a Daddy which is different than a Father. Are you understanding what I’m saying here? 

And as I sat there stunned looking at my prayer journal, I could NOT write the beginning of my prayer, Good morning Daddy. I battled within myself to give Him that kind of trust. I battled with a lifetime of religion that I’m to respect the Lord God and be reverent in His presence. Which we are but……. 

But, here is God, Almighty who is asking me to crossover to Him into a new intimacy and a love relationship that seems unfamiliar, and a bit scary. 

Dineen and I are writing about love in December, and isn’t it interesting that God has decided to teach me about what it’s really like to be loved by my Daddy. He wants all of you to know what it feels like to be loved by a Daddy. So in the next few posts, I’m going to share what it looks like to me. How my love relationship is changing and how that’s impacting everyone around me. It’s going to blow your mind because it’s blowing my mind. 

So stop back on Friday, as I will tell you what I said to our God when He asked me to call Him Daddy. 

I wonder if you are in a place where you need to cross over from the God who is stern, distant, absent, or uncaring. Do you want to call Him Daddy? 

I love you my friends. I really love you. Hugs, Lynn

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Weekend Worship — Let Your Love Loose!

HandHoldingCrossLike Lynn said in yesterday's post, love has the power to conquer all. As I read that a fuller impact of what it means really hit home. This is something I've known since a child. Not sure how other than God just wired me that way, but I never fully understood what kind of love can do that until I began walking with Jesus and studying the Bible.

The mind blowing part of this is the beauty in the way it works. It's part of the beautiful mystery of who God is and how He works. His love funnels down to us through His Son, Jesus, so when we invite Christ into our hearts, that love now dwells in us. 

I mean, think about it. First John 4:7-21 is one of the most powerful pieces of Scripture, my humble opinion. It says repeatedly that God is love. If Jesus is living in us, that means this powerful love, this agape love that's so strong and sacrificial that it drove Jesus to the cross to save us, lives in us as well. This is what I believe, again in my humble opinion, is meant by what Paul says in Ephesians 1:18-21 where he speaks of the very power that raised Jesus from the dead.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (emphasis mine)

That's the most powerful kind of love I can even being to comprehend! The kind of love that brings the dead back to life! A dead heart, a dead marriage...

This is the miraculous part of walking with Jesus and this is the power that lives in us—to love with a miraculous and supernatural love that defies the world, that defeats the enemy of our souls and shines like the brightest beacon in the darkest places.

So, my precious friends, let your love loose! Let that love that God has placed in you free. Ask Him to bring it on and let love flow through you to everyone in your home and everyone you meet. Do this and watch your world change and when  you change your world, you will impact those around you. 

Through God's love living in us, we have the power to change our lives, our marriages and the world. So let your love loose!

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. — 1 Cor. 16:13-14

Loving with you and loving YOU!

Dineen 

Now let's WORSHIP!

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It's a Weird Journey That We Are Traveling

Hi Everyone, 

Radio1So, it’s kinda weird for me to listen to myself talk on radio. 

But it’s even weirder to listen to myself talk on the radio with my husband standing right next to me. Sheesh! But, my guy did listen to the portion of the broadcast where Dennis spoke to him over the airwaves. 

Dennis said something like, “Hi Mike. It’s pretty cool that you are not threatened by your wife’s faith.” 

Then Dennis followed up with a few more statements. As I watched my husband’s face while Dennis was speaking, I felt strange. So, I stopped the recording and asked, “So what do you think about what Dennis said that there is a book titled Winning Him Without Words and that “him” is you?” 

Well my low-key husband replies, “Well it certainly is much better than badgering me.” 

Vintage Mike Donovan, folks!!!! 

I just had to laugh. I then pressed a bit further and asked him about where he is on his faith journey. THAT is always scary and I rarely ask. And as you might imagine I received a non-committal shrug. 

Ugh!!!!! 

This journey of the unequally yoked is sure an emotional one. Some days I’m convinced it’s only a matter of hours and then some days, his salvation is way, way off in the distance. 

It’s a back and forth between convinced hopefulness and disappointment. 

And I’m finding I’m not alone in all this.… There are those who have emailed me recently who are so discouraged by the victories they read about in other’s marriages. Then there are those who have emailed me recently who are discouraged because they are not reading about many victories in other’s marriages. 

I understand both and I want to hug every one of you. I think at SUM we must be real enough about the real struggles and yet we MUST continue to focus on the victories. We need people who are finding power and authority in Christ to lead us forward. In this place we will always have some at both ends of the spectrum. 

For example, a few weeks ago Dineen shared a wonderful story about her family Thanksgiving. For her it was as if she was able to catch a glimpse, a reward, for all of the hard years of pouring into her children. She experienced a new level of peace and love with her husband. Well, honestly, that was difficult for me to read. And you know why, because after my son left on Wednesday, Thanksgiving Day dawned and my husband and I launched into a fight, complete with me screaming and lots of tears. Sheesh! 

I have to say that it’s been a long, long time since we have struggled in that kind of a conflict. It surprised me. It hurt. It was awful. Thankfully, we’ve moved forward. 

Anyhow, all this to say that there is a place here for all of us. Dineen and I are far from perfected. We still struggle with our marriages, with raising our kids to faith, even in our own faith journeys at times. But, it does get easier. The pain doesn’t last as long. Mistakes are forgiven more quickly and more than anything we learn to love better, deeper through the power of Jesus Christ. 

So, today I want you to receive this special encouragement. I want you to own it. To KNOW it. To let it live inside of you with such truth and passion that the fiery darts of the enemy just bounce off because of it. 

Say this with me now:

I am treasured by God.

I am beautiful to God.

I am loved by God, His son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

God always has His best for me. I will lack nothing. I will rise above all things and soar on wings like eagles. I will taste of the good life just because I am His. I will live in victory, love, peace and will fulfill my purpose and His plans. I will be happy and will proclaim the gospel is the living hope of the world. 

My friends, we are so loved by our Lord. And I’m convinced that we must truly KNOW this in our bones. So, for the next few weeks we are going to be talking about love. It is a power that can conquer all things and we have it within us. 

Come back Monday because it’s time to talk about an area so many of us struggle with. How do we love ourselves? Ooooooh, it’s going to be good. Because when we figure this out, our husband’s unbelief loses all power and authority over us. 

And then stay tuned for January because we are going to be on the F.B.I. watch list…. *grin* More to come on that. You will love it. 

I love you my warrior friends. Choose love this day and tell someone you love them. Hugs, Lynn

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How Much Does Jesus Love You?

Heart&CrossFor the last several months I’ve heard a constant theme about love from Christians all over the world. God is speaking very loudly to His children right now and the message is about His love and His call to love people.

The message is everywhere and, in my opinion, is unmistakably a sign of His presence at work, shifting the family of God to a new awareness that I believe is about becoming more about what we are for than what we are against.

And what we need to be about, my friends, is God’s love. The agape kind of love that isn’t possible on our own steam. But we can pray for it. We can ask God to help us love others like Jesus loves them. If you want to know how to love people, study the Bible and “watch” how Jesus interacts and loves the ones He met.

One of my favorite stories is of the rich young ruler. As this man questions Jesus again about what he must do to gain eternal life, before Jesus even answers him, He loves the man.

Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." — Mark 10:21

In order to love like this I believe we need to first understand how deeply God loves us. This has been true for me because I don’t have a dramatic salvation story. I was a good and obedient little girl and teenager. I didn’t get into trouble. I was an overachiever. I did everything “right,” for the most part. (I feel like Paul here when he says he was the most zealous of Pharisees. And I could have easily been one.)

God reached me when I needed Him emotionally. But I had a long journey ahead to really understand how deeply God loved me. Sometimes we get so used to hearing the crucifixion story that we lose our appreciation of it. But when we begin to appreciate the full scope of what we’ve been given without having done anything on our part, we begin to grasp the depth of God’s love in the barest sense because I don’t think we are even capable of fully understanding it this side of heaven.

Let me share something that hit me this week. John 1 speaks of who Jesus is:

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. — John 1:3

Then we come to verses 10-11:

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

“His own” is a reference to the Jews, but this goes even deeper than the Jews and Gentiles. The first part of John 1 tells us that nothing was made without Jesus, that all things were made through Him. That includes you, me and every single person who has ever lived on this earth and ever will live on this earth. The people He walked among, the ones who rejected him, persecuted Him, the ones who plotted against Him—He made every one of them.

So here’s where my writer’s brain took a trip. As Jesus walked among the people, did He remember creating each one? Did He remember the thought and care as He crafted each person? What He intended each one to be and the potential He placed in each one? What was it like for Him to walk among the very beings He created only to have them reject Him?

Jesus knew why He was coming. Knew what He would face as He walked as a man, yet still fully God. And He still loved everyone He met.

He still does. He doesn’t ask us to change first or to become acceptable in His sight (as if we ever could). He doesn’t give us a list of requirements and expectations to meet first and then decide if He loves us.

He just loves us. Completely, totally, whether we know Him or not. That is “agape” love. That is the love that Jesus gives us. That is the love Jesus wants to do through us to love everyone we meet because He lives in us. To love our spouse, our children, our neighbor and even that stranger at the grocery story. God wants to give us His eyes of love so that when we look at others, when we truly stop and see them, we will love them. Even the difficult ones.

It’s the whole reason Jesus stepped down from His throne of power, entered the world as a helpless baby, subjected himself to rejection, torture and death from the hands of the ones He created, so that we would have no doubts of how deeply we are loved.

Why else would He endure all this unless He loves us that much? The more we embrace what Jesus sacrificed and endured to save and show us the depths of His love for His creation, the more we begin to love those in our lives and those we meet.

Just as they are and just a little more like Jesus does.

I love you, my friends, with the love of Jesus!
Dineen

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Open Arms - FamilyLife Today -

Hi Everyone,

FLT-banner
We are psyched to be on the FamilyLife Today broadcast Monday, today, through Wednesday. In Regal photo on FBthe broadcast Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine welcome Dineen, me (Lynn) and another guest, Darla Stone, to share our stories. I think today is also when Dennis stops the broadcast to say something to my husband over the airwaves. I’m still freaked out about it and I will share more on what my husband thought about that later in the week. But today, Dineen and I just want to welcome listeners and wrap our arms around you. (To listen to the broadcast online or find a station, click here.)

My friends, those of you who are part of our amazing community and all of you who are just finding us today, we love you. Dineen and I, Lynn, are walking in the trenches with you. We are just ordinary wives and moms who love our pre-believer spouses, our kids and we love Jesus with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength.

If you are reading this today, it’s not an accident that you find yourself here. God has heard your cry to know Him more and to grow in His love. Some of us have been part of this community for years. I myself, have been married to my pre-believing spouse for over 20 years. Some of us are relatively new to this group of amazing believers and some of you may be joining us for the first time today because you heard Dineen and me on the radio.

All of us who call this little place on the web home, we want you to know that we are honestly here to pray for you today. So many of us have come through the fire and are now waiting to take you by name to the mercy seat of grace in prayer. So my friends find your courage, your Joshua courage, and leave your prayer request in the comments, click on comments below this post.

If you are new here, please spend a few minutes here and get to know us. Click on the links in the sidebar, Join Us, which is a short description of our ministry. Also, visit the Community Map and see where we are all located around the globe and add your name.

Please click on the New Here link. There are a ton of resources to help you take real steps forward in community and in your marriage. Listen to some of the videos. Join us on Facebook. Visit our book website, Winning Him Without Words, there are free resources there as well (resources).

Mostly ask the Lord now to ignite in you a renewed passion for Jesus and for your spouse. Allow the Lord to begin a new work in you and then my friends….. STAND BACK and be astonished at all that God is going to do in your life.

Today I want to remind all of us in this community about one thing. One truth that changes everything….

Jesus.

The Anointed One, the Messiah

Jesus makes all the difference in every circumstance. When you feel defeated and so alone in your mismatched marriage that your heart physically aches. When you feel like there isn’t one soul who knows your pain. When you are facing tremendous trials and feel that no one in the world is praying for you, that you are all by yourself, I want you to remember this and never forget it.

JESUS IS praying for you. He is standing before the Father beseeching His favor, grace, love, joy and comfort for you.

...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

It’s never about, why is this happening to me. It’s ALWAYS about, what are You showing me in this.

Jesus is always with us. Jesus never fails. Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us. Dineen and I are living, breathing testimonies to these truths.

So link arms with us today and defy the enemy and his lies. We are people of God. We have victories ahead for us, for our marriages, our children and for a world in desperate need of our Savior.

We love you. We REALLY love you. Please share a little about yourself with us in the comments and let us know how we can pray for you this day. Love and hugs, Lynn and Dineen.

Photos from our adventures with the FamilyLife Broadcast:

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One of my favorites from our trip

 

 

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Darla Stone and Tonda Nations, Research & Guest Relations, FLT

 

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Max Lucado, Lynn Donovan

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Dineen Miller, Max Lucado

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Dennis, Bob and Max (They recorded before us)

 

 

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In the production room

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Family Life

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Joanne Kraft, Dineen Miller, Lynn Donovan: Dinner at Crackerbarrel

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A Peek Into What's Coming

FLT-banner
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Lynn and I will be on FamilyLife Today. You’ll get to hear Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine ask us some pretty direct questions. And we loved every minute of it because one, we were able to share our hearts for our husbands and marriages and two, our readers here at SUM and on our Facebook page were on our hearts as we spoke, as well as those who will come seeking this ministry for the first time.

 

UswithDarla 103156107But today, I want to some of the most amazing parts of our time at FamilyLife. We had the wonderful opportunity to do this interview with Darla Stone, author of In Christ Alone. Darla has some very crucial things to say about our identity in Christ and finding our security there. Plus she’s a great storyteller! We loved getting to know Darla.

 

On day two you will hear Dennis Rainey speak about how we are heroes in our marriages:

“I think there’s going to be a lot of heroes in Heaven. I think one the biggest heroes is going to be those spouses who hung in there and loved the one they made a covenant with and raised their children with in the midst of unspeakable differences, disagreements and difficult times.”

I kid you not, I looked at Lynn and she looked at me and we both had tears in our eyes. What a powerful and affirming statement from someone we respect so much. My precious friends, you have to hear Dennis say this for yourself! And don’t miss what he says about sanctification. Walk away from this broadcast and KNOW that you truly are a hero in your marriage. We carry a high calling and are in our marriages for such a time as this. Know that you serve God in a mighty way!

And if you are new to the SUM community, let the wonderful women here wrap you in God’s love and His unfailing message that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! We are a strong community of believers who know this walk—its challenges, its heartache and the amazing adventure it can be when we walk in God’s presence daily.

No, you are not alone. We stand together firm in our faith and trust in God that He is good, He is in control, He is an equipper and He is a redeemer! Amen!

Holding you all tight with hugs and prayers!
Dineen

Here's a fun picture of Lynn and I outside of a Cracker Barrel pretending to play checkers. LOL! This was Lynn's first introduction to Cracker Barrel. Wish you could have seen how well she embraced some good homestyle southern cookin'.

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