Previous month:
August 2013
Next month:
October 2013

18 entries from September 2013

Chronicles of the Donovan Clan-The Experiment Continues

Okay, are you tuning in today to find out what happened with my experiment? 

Let me pick up from where I left off on Friday. I returned home from my walk n pray and was very, very nervous. Talking about God, the Bible, or any faith issues for that matter can be an invitation to an explosion. It’s interesting, at least with my husband, sometimes he can be very angry and hostile and at other times open to discussions about God. I just don’t always know what I’m going to get. However, remember I just spent an entire hour praying for him, over him and about him. So I KNOW God prepared a way for this conversation. 

So I peeked around the corner and stepped into his office. There is a bold and brave smile on my face. I was bold because I had just spent an hour in God’s Presence. “Good morning Sweetie.” 

“Good Morning. How was your walk?” 

“Glorious, it’s a beautiful fall day out there and I’m feeling great. Hey, I’m on my way to make eggs for breakfast. Do you want some?” 

It’s at this point in our typical morning conversation that I started out of his office toward the kitchen. Then I stopped and popped my head around the door frame pretending I’d just had this random thought occur to me and I said, “Oh, and what about my experiment?” 

“What?” 

“My experiment. Did you know what book of the Bible that verse was in?” 

His reply, “It’s like John or something.” 

I’m sure at this point the sheer shock of his accurate reply was written across my face. I recovered quickly and said with a smile, “And how did you know that? 

“Well it’s got to be in the same place where John 3:16 is at.” 

Say what? Now I’m completely thrilled and intrigued and decide to move immediately to phase II of my experiment. Phase II -get my husband to actually speak powerful scripture verses. So I reply back to him, “What does John 3:16 say? I’m curious if you know?” 

He leans back in his chair a bit uncomfortable but in a humoring mood. He smiles and starts waving his arms above his head in a way where it looks like he’s trying to help himself remember and he starts saying, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only – something only or begotten – son. Something like that.”

I look at this man and wonder what happened to my husband. I smile and I say, “That whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” 

He smiles. I smile. 

All is right with the world. 

The experiment continues. O Lord, have your way with the plow. In King Jesus name. Amen.

IMG_1169[1]

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Weekend Worship — Living in the Presence

IStock_000006935189XSmallMy friends, I hope you've had a week full of God's presence and revelations. I am feeling pulled of late to spend more time in God's Word and in His presence. A friend mentioned the same feeling this week too, which I find so very interesting.

Yet I also find "life" so full of distractions and interruptions that seem strategically targeted to keep me from doing this. Ack! Must read my Bible and read what I'm supposed to for that day. Must spend x amount in prayer and make sure I have everyone covered in prayer, but there are so many needs to pray for so how can I cover all of them when I could easily spend the entire day praying and there are things to be done! And...and...and...

Can you relate?

I can get so caught up in the shoulds of my faith walk that I forget what Jesus' wants most is our presence. When I think of His time here on earth with the disciples I can see more clearly that He was more interested in who these men were than what they did for Jesus.

A book I'm reading right now has inspired me with this verse:

Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You." — John 21:20

The author emphasizes the intimacy of John's friendship with Jesus, that he could lean on Jesus, perhaps even resting his head on the chest of his dear friend.

This is the closeness that Jesus inspired then, and I believe the closeness He desires with us even now. It is tender and sweet, because we are His friends. We are His.

I don't know about you, but sometimes, maybe even more times, I struggle to believe I can hold that place in my Saviors heart. Yet I want nothing in this life more than that, to be the one who leans on my Savior, on my Jesus, and can feel His very presence in my spirit and soul.

And what I love most about Him is that regardless of my struggle to believe, His love is constant and unaffected by my moments of doubt and feelings of unworthiness. He reminds me that even though I don't feel as if I walk in His favor, I do. He reminds me that His love is relentless and unceasing with the image of the Cross. He reminds me that He is my best friend.

What about you, my friends? Do you struggle in this place at times like I do? Then let me be the voice of truth for you today. Let me reassure you that Jesus hasn't stopped loving you, nor could He. Let me be the one to remind you that all He has promised and spoken for you is still there. Step forward in belief, obedience, or whatever it is He is asking you and trust Him. Then get ready to be blown away as His blessings pour out. 

Love you are so very much, and I am praying for His strength to fill you with such courage and belief that you are transformed at this very moment!
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-

SUM Books 4


One Crazy But Fantastic Experiment

So’ I’m conducting an experiment. 

And it’s one of the boldest experiments I’ve ever participate in. When I reach the conclusion, the result may WILL be so utterly life-altering that I can scarcely think about it now. 

Let me share how this experiment started. 

A few days ago I was listening to a recent podcast by Bill Johnson. Bill was explaining something very interesting to me. You see, I love to garden. I love to plant seeds, nurture them and watch them mature into enormous harvest. Just take a look at the giant pumpkins I grew in my suburban backyard. They started from seeds. 

  IMG_1171[1]

 These pumpkins are really neat and if you want a few seeds, write me and I will mail you some. 

Anyhoo, I have an interest in gardening, seeds, planting and harvesting. Hmmmmm, must run in the family because my Jesus is interested in the same thing. He is the master planter and His entire purpose is the Harvest. 

Today’s modern farmer, of course, plows his field with machines in very neat rows that stretch for acres. After the plowing then the soil is ready for the seed. But, did you know in Biblical times the farmer first spread the field with seed and then the plow came after? 

My friends, in God’s economy, we plant the seed… AND THEN COMES THE PLOW.  Why is this significant? Because God’s Word will not return void. 

Isaiah 55:11 It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it. 

Do you understand that this is a fact. An absolute promise. When we speak to others, anyone about the truth of God’s Word, we have planted a seed. Even if the person is angry, upset, doesn’t believe what you shared…. You planted…

 And my friends…… THEN….. COMES THE PLOW! 

It’s a forgone conclusion; God’s Word will not come back void. It produces fruit. 

So, here is where my experiment comes in. I’m am absolutely convinced of the truth of this concept and the truth that God’s Word will not come back void that I decided to plant some new seeds in my husband. 

Yep, I knew I must give God the opportunity to bring the plow. So yesterday I contemplated, How do I get God’s Word planted into my husband. And this is what I felt the Spirit directing. I sent a text message. 

Here is the message: It started with a photo. See below.

IMG_1169[1]
Then I said: This is an experiment. Do you know what the book of the Bible this verse is in? Have you heard this verse before? I love you and thanks for putting up with my zany experiments and crazy. And thanks for putting up with my cold. I’m finally better. Hugging you.

Okay, I sent this text early in the morning before my husband was awake. I left on my walk n pray and I prayed up a storm over this man. I asked God to split the heavens open over Mike Donovan. That God would bring a plow to push this seed to open his heart. I prayed for an hour for this man and that God would bring him into a full encounter and relationship with Him and Jesus. In King Jesus name Amen. 

Returning home from my walk, I was quite nervous because as most of you know, sending our men scripture verses is often an invitation for conflict, hurt and pain. 

I walked in the door and my husband was sitting in his office. The moment was at hand. How had he received my text from earlier this morning? 

Ahhhhhh, now this is a good story. So tune in on Monday and I will tell you what happened and I will also let you know as my experiment moves on to stage II. 

I love you my friends. I believe every word God says and it makes all the difference in my life. BIG hugs, and know that I love you so very much, 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-

SUM Books 4


God's Not Done with Us

19380103_sOn my trip home from Indianapolis, I sat next to an older couple on the plane. I could tell they'd been together for years in the way they worked together to figure out her pills. I offered my set of eyes, glad to help them choose the right one.

As we settle into our flight, I noticed his hand reach for hers. She rubbed his, then they continued to hold hands and settled into a nap.

My friends, as I sat next to them I was struck at the simplicity and sweet familiarity of their relationship. And I felt the strong affirmation of what we are working and striving toward here at S.U.M.

The long view. The big picture. And are we willing to walk the journey to get there?

I find so often our willingness hinges on whether or not we truly believe the truth of Romans 8:28 and if we are willing to trust God to be THAT GOOD in all areas of our lives.

I know we've talked about sacrifice here many times and I am walking this path right now in my own marriage. But I am discovering that as I let go of and "sacrifice" control of my needs, this releases an abundance of God's blessings like I have not experienced before. I’m learning to stop worrying about my provision and choose to trust God. I have chosen to walk this path as far as God wants me too. And I am astounded by the little things God has set in my path to provide for my needs.

And the people He has set in my path to bring them.

I shared last week that while I was in Indianapolis I had the amazing blessing of spending an hour with a fellow SUMite. I'd asked God before this conference for lots of divine appointments and He didn't disappoint. But this one blessed me so much—to sit with a sister in Jesus and share our hearts. And to discover again how similar our mismatched paths are and though we both are walking through some intense trials, we could rejoice and sit in awe of what God is doing through it all.

This is the sacrifice God calls to. To give our hearts—to Him. To relinquish control of our lives—to Him. To release the salvation of our spouse—to Him. To entrust our children—to Him.

We strain at the perceived enormity of our undertaking. We cry out at times at the seeming unfairness of what Abba asks. We yearn for deeper understanding. And there stands Jesus with His flesh and His blood poured out on our behalf, asking if we will truly taste and see that He. Is. Good.

My friends, we walk in the profound presence of God's kingdom in and around us. What we see with our human eyes and hearts is not the full picture. Will you trust Him with yours? Will you take a step of faith to the edge and ask Abba for all He has for you? Will you choose to stand even in that perceived chaos with the expectation that God will move mountains, oceans, hearts and feet on your behalf no matter how long it may take?

We stand at a pivotal time. God is moving people into places to carry and speak His truth in stunning unity. I have never seen anything like it in my lifetime. Every person we meet and every place we go is an opportunity to either receive or share God's kingdom.

Time is short but God is long in His love. Join Him, my precious friends. Ask the Holy Spirit to put a hunger in you for more of Him. Ask for His presence daily and bask in it.

I am overwhelmed and stand in awe of His goodness. He has shown me that He hasn't forgotten me, nor is He through with me. Far from it actually. And I am so thankful because even though His work in me may pinch at times, I KNOW the outcome will be good and I will be more like Jesus on the other side. And I will be closer to Him—the lover of my soul and best friend of all time.

And this is true for you, dear ones. Abba hasn't forgotten you and He is far from through with you. Taste Him deeply and see just how good He truly is.

Love you so very much!
Dineen

Image credit: obencem / 123RF Stock Photo

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


A Day of Remembering

Hi Everyone,

Lynn here. Still a bit under the weather so today's post is short and sweet. Before I get to that I want to give you a head's up that in my heart there is a series brewing, Open Heavens. I want to talk about what this term means and how an open heaven changes everything in our homes, our hearts, marriages and lives. 

It's going to be cool.

But for today, I think we must take moments to remember. 

StoneConsistently throughout the Old Testament, God directs people to set up memorial stones. I think of the crossing of the Jordan toward Jericho. Does anyone have that scripture handy and can post it in the comments?

We must take active measures to remember and focus on God's Presence inour lives because the devil is continually bringing before us our irritations, our anger, dissapointments and failures.

ENOUGH!

We take every thought captive to Christ and live in victory.

So today I want to do two things. I want to hear about your top three moments where you KNOW God showed up in your life. Let's take a minute to remember the good things and how God was Present, active and changed our circumstances. (list them in the comments)

I also want to remember praises for our husbands. When we live spiritually mismatched, again, we tend to focus on everything that is wrong in our spouse. Today, share three things that you admire and are thankful for about your spouse. (list them in the comments)

I hope to be back on top of the world on Friday and we are going to ...... OPEN THE HEAVENS. Love and 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-

SUM Books 4


Weekend Worship — Jesus Gives Us the Words

20067644_sHello my friends! I hope your week has been full of God encounters and sweet moments in His Word. I have a nugget to share with you before we launch into worship. I just looooooooove this one too, because even though Jesus told this to the disciples, explaining the resistance and persecution they would come against as they shared the gospel, it applies to us today. Take a look:

"And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict." — Luke 21:12-19

SUMites, I have found this to be true. I love the first part where Jesus tells them NOT to figure out how they will defend themselves ahead of time. Think about that a moment. Logic tells us to be prepared, right? But Jesus is saying don't. He, through His Holy Spirit, would give the disciples words and wisdom and He does this for us today as well. It's up to us to trust Him for this and ask for it. And He will give us the words we need!

King Jesus, we want to follow You and do what You say, just as You did with the Father. Give us words and wisdom in our marriages, at work, with friends—any place we encounter resistance to You and our faith. We love You so much, Jesus, and our hearts desire is to share Your love with others as You guide us to do so. In Your Holy and abundant name, amen!

If you haven't checked out our new forums at our new MismatchedandThriving.com site, please do. Teresa is leading a Bible study there for us, using our book, Winning Him Without Words, to launch from. It's a great place to join discussions and grow in faith! Her first question is a great one! Click HERE to check it out.

Have an amazing weekend, my friends! Remember, trust and believe!
Dineen 

Image credit: pupess / 123RF Stock Photo 

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


A Miracle Perhaps???

So my friends, I issued a kissing challenge on Monday. And I arrived home from traveling on Sunday and found myself with a giant cold. Achew! 

So there wasn’t any kissing happening around here. Bummer. I hope I start to feel better next week. And I have another challenge on Monday that will bring a smile to your face as it’s a challenge in our faith walk as well as our marriages. 

But today, I want to share with you a couple of fun stories from my travels this past weekend. Sometimes I’m simply overwhelmed by God’s favor. He delights showing up in the little things. I shared this particular adventure on my Facebook Page last Thursday. 

Here is what happened. 

I was traveling to Topeka, Kansas as my mother was being honored by Washburn University as an Alumni Fellow for 2013. It was a big deal and I’m glad I attended. 

I made my flight reservations and seat assignments several months ago. My mom, sister, and niece who were flying together also made reservations and seat assignments separately. The only plan was to meet in Denver and fly on the same plane to Kansas City. 

The day of the flight arrives and due to weather my flight from San Diego to Denver was late. I was barely able to make the connection and boarded the flight from Denver to Kansas City. I boarded the flight before my mom, sister and niece not knowing their seat assignment. 

Well low and behold. I’m seated waiting for the plane to fill up and looking for my mom and wondering where she will be seated when I spot her coming directly toward me. And guess what? Her seat assignment was right next to me. The very seat next to mine. My nice sat next to her and my sister was one row forward. 

Say WHAT??? 

God loves to delight me…. Every….. Single….. Day… 

And He wants to delight you too. It’s learning to give all of your life to Him and then watch as He displays His glory. 

Oh and a P.S. On my return flight, I stopped in the bathroom in the Denver airport. I stepped into the last stall in the bathroom and this is what I found on the floor. 


IMG_1161[1]

All I can say….. Amen… Jesus Amen. 

Have an amazing day living in His Presence. I’m off to the couch with my cold meds. Achew! Love you… Achew! 

 

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Blessed to Wash Feet

3179092_sMy friends, many of you have sent me messages of congratulations on winning the Carol Award in the mystery/suspense/thriller category for The Soul Saver at the ACFW Conference this last weekend. Thank you for sharing my joy! To say that this is the realization of a dream is an understatement. I am so blown away at how God did all of this.

The amazing thing is, God did so much more than even this over the week I was there. He met my every need during this week. He affirmed me in every way and showed me like He never has before how much He loves me. I truly have never felt more loved by Abba than I do now. The award is part of this story, but there were so many other "awards" that came from this week. I want to tell you about one of them.

I shared on our Facebook page before my trip that I was in Indianapolis. A fellow SUMite, Jennifer Beckler, reached out to me to ask if we could have coffee while I was there. I looked at my work schedule (I managed the registration desk for the whole week—God's provision to get me there as being on staff took care of many of my expenses) and saw as small window of time Friday evening.

This didn't work for Jennifer as she is not only a homeschooling mom but a working mom too. I contemplated suggesting Monday but thought it might be too stressful to work out with my crazy schedule.

This year's ACFW Keynote was Robin Jones Gunn and on Saturday she told this amazing story of how a reader wrote her the last day of Robin's vacation on Maui and shared how one of Robin's book had brought her to Jesus at age twelve. Ten years later she wanted to share this with Robin and how Jesus had given her so many of the desires of her heart. But one she hesitated to ask Him for since she lived so far away on the island of Maui! Just hours before Robin was to fly home, she and this dear reader met.

My spirit was so stirred. I immediately reached out to Jennifer again to try to make our meeting work. I prayed for God to put the pieces in place to make it work. He would help smooth out the stressful places—why hadn't I trust Him for that to begin with? She messaged me back that Monday worked and we set a time.

Sunday evening after the awards gala, I had a chance to tell Robin Jones Gunn about this beautiful story and how her story had inspired me to try again. And Robin told me something so profound as she congratulated me on my award. She said she found that from a great blessing comes an opportunity to wash feet. I took that to heart as great wisdom from the Holy Spirit.

The next day, Jennifer and I met and she brought her precious teenaged daughter with her. We sat at a table with our coffees. Jennifer’s daughter listened to music while Jennifer and I shared our hearts with each other.

I heard a splash and realized her daughter had spilled her coffee, drenching her leg and the floor below. I jumped up and grabbed handfuls of napkins to help this sweet girl get cleaned up. Her jeans and her shoes were covered.

My hands stilled a moment as I realized—I was wiping down her shoes. Her feet.

My friends, even as I write this I am overwhelmed by God's profound goodness. I confess that at times I’ve still battled with feeling like I’d been overlooked or that God didn’t love me as much as everyone else. Now I truly know differently. He brings such precious wisdom, grace and meaning to our lives if we just stay in intentional awareness of His constant presence. And those tender places—He affirms at just the right time with His love and provision.

And He doesn’t stop there because He knows that the full benefit of the blessing comes when we are given the chance to share it and bless another, to serve another.

As Robin Jones Gunn shared this weekend, God doesn't show up. He's already there. 

And His love is absolutely relentless.

Love you all so very much,
Dineen

Image credit: velkol / 123RF Stock Photo

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Marriage Challenge No. 1

So, I’ve been inspired by a friend of mine Courtney Joseph who has a new book coming out, Women Living Well. I will share more about that later. It’s a really great book. I was privileged to read it before its release and she has a couple of chapters that are Marriage Challenges. 

One of the challenges is a kissing challenge. Okay, for many of us who have been married a number of years there are statistics out there that indicate that 40% of married couples will go an entire week without a kiss. I’m not sure about this but I do think that as we settle into marriage, are raising children, working and become increasingly busy and distracted, we miss the opportunity to connect with our spouse through an intimate kiss. Yikes, I know this is true in my case. 

CoupkSo, this week, I’m throwing down the gauntlet. It is your challenge to kiss your spouse on the lips for five seconds or longer, every…. single ….. day this week. 

I can bet some spouses are going to freak out. Some may be put out but I am hopeful that this small gesture releases a gentle, kind and loving spark in your relationship with your spouse. 

Okay, take the challenge and pop back in here and let me know how it went for you today? 

SUMNation: Practical help and encouragement to THRIVE in your Spiritual Mismatched Marriage. 

Dineen and I love you. Have a fun and playful week. Break out the lip gloss and pucker up. *grin*

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Returning To Our Roots

Hello my Friends, 

Greetings this Friday! Dineen and I are both on the road, traveling to different events. But before we jumped on the plane, earlier this week we had a great talk about where we want to go with our writing here and at Mismatched & Thriving in the coming months. 

After a lot of thinking, praying and discussion, we were reminiscing about how all of this ministry was started. Years ago, two ordinary wives who, only by the power and love of Jesus Christ, came through the lonely, difficult and challenging years of marriage to our pre-believing spouses. Our triumph became our passion. 

We didn’t want one other person to waste another minute stuck in the lonely and struggling years of marriage when we knew our faith could pull us out of that place. 

It became our hearts purpose to help others on this journey with us. 

With everything in us, we want others to discover hope, help and healing for their spiritual mismatch. 

We are not professional counselors. We are only women who are living in the trenches that have gained much knowledge and hope through our experiences. Every week it’s our desire to help people thrive in their marriage. Our ministry is for every marriage where faith and spiritual beliefs are absent in a spouse or not faith growing at a similar pace in both the husband and wife. Our writing is to serve those who are committed to making their marriage better and for the believing spouse to grow in his or her faith walk. Our writing is directed toward the positive actions we can take in our marriages within the context of a healthy relationship that is outside of physical, emotional abuse, addictions and behavior such as uncontrolled anger, etc. 

So as we talked about our roots earlier in the week and thought it would be great to revisit some of the ideas and suggestions from the early years of our ministry. Things like Captivating Your Spouse. Going the extra mile to make his or her day easier. Spoiling them when they least expect it.  How to love your spouse with the love of Christ. 

I realize that for some, these topics feel uncomfortable as your marriage is dealing with some of these tough issues such as addictions and such. Please hear our heart. We will pray for you and love on you. But we also want to remain steadfast to the purposes of this ministry. 

We CAN THRIVE in a spiritually mismatched home. So beginning next week, we are going to do some fun stuff, some practical stuff and move into this wonderful fall season with some real tips to try at home to spice up the romance. Tips to affirm our spouse. Tips to show the love of Christ to our pre-believers and so much more. 

And over at Mismatched & Thriving we have decided to post once a week on Tuesdays, as we don’t post here on that day and once a week we will post Parenting tips there in preparation for the release of our new Parenting book, Not Alone. One of my favorite tips is up there now, Teaching our Kids Respect in a Social Environment. 

So, what say you? Are you up for some unconditional and sacrificial loving? Do you want to see your spouse respond to that kind of love? We become irresistible over time when we love our pre-believer with the love of Christ. 

And, thank you everyone for giving us ideas for future posts on Monday. We will work through those in the coming months as well. 

Thank you for being part of this family. Remain focused on the love of Jesus. Because love changes everything. Hugging you tight. See you next week. 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-

SUM Books 4


Change Your Atmosphere

HandHoldingCrossMy friends, I’ve been on a journey to understand the mystery of the kingdom of God. Would you like to take a trip with me?

It starts with John proclaiming Jesus’ coming, that the kingdom of God was “at hand,” which translates from the Greek to mean near, approaching, to come near.

Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’ — Mark 1:14-15 (NASB)

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” — Mark 1:14-15 (NIV)

Then Jesus came and preached the same thing:

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” — Matthew 4:17 (NASB)

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” — Matthew 4:17 (NIV)

The enemy took away our identity as children of God in the Garden of Eden. Jesus came and reconnected us so that we could be God’s children once again through Him. Total shocker for the enemy so he had to change his game plan. If he couldn’t in truth keep us separated from Abba, he would make us believe we are separated from God’s kingdom by making us think we are just biding our time here on earth until we die and we step into our inheritance in Jesus (power and authority) in heaven.

I love this next one, because Jesus is literally standing among these men who have claimed to be experts about the Torah and are now asking when the kingdom would come. Jesus’ reply is classic “read between the lines” in response. He’s saying, “I’m right here. I’m the kingdom.”

Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” — Luke 17:20-21 (NIV)

There’s even more meaning here as well. The older NIV translation actually says “because the kingdom of God is inside you.” And if you look up the Greek translation of the word “midst,” it means within, among, inside.

Now look at these:

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. — Colossians 1:27 (NIV)

This is nothing new, right? We understand that Christ is in us. But what I’m beginning to grasp more fully is that if Christ is the Kingdom of God and Christ is in us, we carry the Kingdom of God in our midst—within us! There is no separation.

Abba spoke these words to me during worship Sunday: “You are established in Me.”

My friends, we are established in Jesus, the kingdom of God and the heavenly realms. That is powerful! Believe this and you will no longer feel ineffective in your faith walk. Ask the Holy Spirit to transform your mind with this truth (Romans 12:2)

Now I’ve frequently heard the verse that says faith like a mustard seed can move mountains. Did you know Jesus also compared the kingdom of God to a mustard seed as well? Take a look:

Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” — Luke 13:18-19 (NIV)

Just as our faith is meant to grow stronger, so is the kingdom of God. As we grow in faith and share our faith with others, we are helping to expand and grow the kingdom of God that is within us, because Christ is in us.

That means we are atmosphere and game changers, my friends. Wherever we are and wherever we go, we carry the Kingdom of God with us. And as we ask Jesus to increase in us, we are also expanding the kingdom as well and becoming more and more influential in the atmosphere around us—our homes, our families, our friends, etc.

Make sense? Let’s go just a little bit further. Look at this piece of Scripture:

And raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. — Ephesians 2:6

So as I’ve taken this journey, the Lord’s prayer has totally changed in its meaning for me. If we are in Christ and Christ and His kingdom are in us and we are seated in the heavenly realms with Him, then when we pray this prayer I believe we are literally praying open the heavens in whatever situation we are praying about.

Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. — Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB)

I am now praying this prayer over my family, situations, over myself and over many of you, my friends. For my husband, I pray that God’s will for his life as He ordained it in heaven will be released and present here on earth now. I pray this for my daughters too.

Over situations I pray God’s will be done exactly as He has planned it in heaven. The light bulb is going on in and over my head, and I think I’m getting it. So much of what we pray and how we pray it comes from what we truly believe inside, my friends. Ask the Holy Spirit for revelation from God’s Word and for Him to transform your mind and what you believe. Then watch how your atmosphere changes as you are transformed!

Praying for radical transformation for all of us, SUMites!
Dineen

(p.s. This week I'm at the American Christain Fiction Writers Conference in Indianapolis. Forgive me if I'm slow to reply to comments and emails. Love and treasure you all! Hugs!)

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


What Do You Need?

My friends,

It's been quite a few adventurous weeks. And now as I sit down to visit with you, I'm thinking it;s time to turn to some practical topics. Topics such as how to THRIVE in your spiritually mismatched marriage.

So today, I would like your ideas and opinions as to what topcis you would like to visit in the next few weeks. I know so often we seem overwhelmed with difficulties in our marriages. I would like to take the power of God and turn to the positives that we as the believing spouse can bring about in our love relationship with our husbands.

What would you like to talk about? Let me know in the comments and let's grow our marriages through the power and love of Jesus.

Have an amazing week. I love you, 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-

SUM Books 4


Weekend Worship — What did Jesus do?

Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast." — Luke 5:34 (NIV)

My friends, I hope this week has been pivotal to you. I just want to reassure you that even if you didn't feel or see anything "earthshaking" that doesn't mean nothing happened. I believe that much of the outcome of these special times of prayer and fasting culminate and are revealed days, weeks, months and even years later. One day something will show up and you will know that this week is where the seed was planted, the miracle was placed, or the healing began. Just trust Jesus and believe.

Because we are doing the very things He told us to do—fast and pray. Why would He tell us these things and not respond to them? Okay, as Kris Vallotton says, that was a good word! I heard it in my heart as I typed it. Woohoo! Wow, is Our Lord God Almighty amazing or what?!?!

On our forums we have an areas for testimonies now and there is one specifically for sharing about this week. If you feel led to share, please do so! Our testimonies are powerful (Rev. 12:11) and when shared they release the power of the Holy Spirit in others because it increases our faith. Isn't that awesome? That's just how Jesus works. That's why He told the stories He did. He revealed the possibilities in impossible situations. 

Okay, whoa! There's another good word from the Holy Spirit. I personally love the clarity I get when I fast. It's an amazing time of revelation. So go over share your testimony here:

Testimonies from Our Spiritual Spa Week and Rosh Hashanah Fast

As we end our week, reflect on all that God has done this week. Write it down in your journal or Bible so you go back and remind yourself of what God spoke to you this week. And praise and thank Him for His relentless and abundant love. 

It has been my joy and honor to pray for you this week, SUMites! I want you to walk in all that Abba has for you!
Love you so very much,
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-

SUM Books 4


A Day for Healing

I am that woman!

When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”—Mark 5 

IStock_000012497323XSmallI am that woman who is desperate for healing. And I know you are this woman too. And even our men readers, you are in need of a Jesus who heals. 

What I love about this story is this woman was so desperate that she pushed her way through to Jesus in a crowd, forcing her way forward. She was sick. She was tired. She was sick and tired of being sick and tired. She was desperate. Can you relate? Are you this woman too? 

I’m desperate and I know so many of you are as well. We have tried to face our demons, our sins, our struggles, our failures in our own power and self-will but can’t help ourselves. We need to be desperate because a desperate heart pushes forward to touch even the hem of His robe for healing. 

And the best part of this story isn’t that she was healed. You know what it was? It was our Lord Jesus in His tenderness and love, stopping the entire procession to find her. 

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” 

Many a scholar has puzzled over this particular story. Why did Jesus ask who touched me? Didn’t he know because after all He is God. But, you know what Dineen and I think? Jesus wanted to hold her in His tender eyes of love. She was that desperate for Him that He stopped everything to affirm her. To encourage her…….. My friends, TO HEAL HER. 

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering. 

If only we could begin to understand the tender love of Jesus, the healing power that is ours and our full identity in Christ, our world would drastically change. But, as we struggle in this long journey toward the Promised Land, we know that our Shepherd will lead us. He will bandage us. He stops everything to affirm our hearts and He will heal us. 

So today as we have our last full day of community prayer, it’s our day for healing. Ask the Shepard to be tender. Ask Him for healing of the broken places in your soul, life and heart. Ask Him to make your paths straight and to give you a glimpse of His glory. 

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.— Isaiah 40:11 

Our prayer and fasting yesterday was extraordinary. And as we gather in the House of SUM today, I pray that many of you found healing. That you encountered the Jesus of the Bible. The powerful Jesus who by His stripes, we were healed (past tense). 

But, if you are still waiting for your healing you can join me as we reach out to our Jesus. Ask for healing and leave your healing requests in the comments. Let’s pray in the comments to bring healing, as we are that woman. 

I love you, 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-

SUM Books 4


Rosh Hashana - Sanctified

  • א׳ בְּתִּשְׁרֵי תשע״ד

Today is the first of Tishrei 5774. 

SUM Prayer and Fasting
That is today's date on the Jewish calendar. It is also the Jewish High Holy Day of Rosh Hashana. 

I don’t know about you but I’m fascinated by the Jewish culture ancient and current. And for some reason Rosh Hashana, The New Year, has a draw on my soul and pulls me into learning more about my Jewish heritage. And I am of Jewish heritage. Jesus, my family redeemer, was born into the line of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph. And by the way, Jesus is your family redeemer too! 

So as I ponder our Papa, the Lord of All, I wonder how He views this New Year. I like to ponder about God. I recall that the Jewish people believe this is a time of accounting of mankind. That people pass before the Lord and He takes an account of their life over the past year and He also sets in order certain things for the coming year. Now I don’t know much about that but it’s still fascinating to consider. God is God of the Jews and the Gentiles and I wonder, does he make an account of our lives once a year? 

Fascinating. 

On my walk n pray yesterday, I asked God about this holiday and the fasting we are doing as a community and He said to me, “Lynn, for you and this community, I desire for you to become Sanctified. You are to become sanctified for two reasons. One, you are the harvesters and you are the seed planters. I give seed and you plant it into the hearts of many. And two, you have great favor and I want to give you gifts of bread. You are my sons and daughters and I want to live in the details of your life and delight you.” 

Whoa! My friends. 

So today, let’s take this journey with our God and discover what it means to become sanctified and have the favor of God. And the favor of God is precious as God loves everyone the same but He favors those who are sanctified. 

And why does God want us to be sanctified? To receive His favor and to bring our families into this realm of sanctification. 

So who is Jehovah-Qadesh? The Lord your sanctifier Lev. 20:8 

In Hebrew, the word for sanctified is qadesh, and many scholars submit that it originates from another word that means "to cut." When you combine the word qadesh with the divine name Jehovah, it opens our eyes to yet another aspect of His nature. Jehovah-qadesh, or "the Lord who sanctifies you," speaks of God's divine influence upon His people. It speaks of the manner in which He takes those who are His and purifies and sanctifies them, or separates them, from the world they were once a part of. 

God calls us to be different than those of the world. After all, if we as followers of Christ aren’t different, why would anyone want to follow Christ? People hunger for the powerful Christ of the Bible. And those of us with God’s favor, bring Him into the world. 

That is the seed planting. 

But my friends, the bread... It's is a glorious gift from a Father who loves us. And eating of the bread, what is that? Well it's living every day in the favor of God and this is what it looks like in an average day of my life. My story may seem silly but God just loves to spned time with me, delight me and He shows up every day in so many ways and He blows my mind. Here is an example. 

As you know I walk n pray every morning out in the wine country near my home. On rare occasions I am confronted, even charged, by domestic dogs that scare the crap out of me *ahem.* Anyhoo, there is a certain place these dogs like to linger to chase squirrels and it’s a hidden area around a bend in the road. They are rarely there but the last time I enjoyed one of these confrontations *sarcasm* was on an early Sunday morning. So last Sunday, as I’m walking and I start around this bend in the road, my anxiety rises a bit because I don’t know what or how many barking dogs might be ahead. So I pray, “Dad, I would really like it if there weren't any dogs ahead. Can you send angels to makes sure they aren’t there. And then Dad, could you just send someone who is also on a walk down the road toward me, so I know there aren’t any dogs ahead?” 

I kid you NOT. As soon as the words crossed my lips, I see an older couple walking a tiny dog coming down the road in front of me. I knew immediately that the road ahead was safe as these people weren’t rattled and the little dog was walking right beside them with his tiny feet shuffling along the road. 

God favors those who choose to believe Him. He favors those who believe His word and follow hard after Him. He favors those who pray and who love people. God favors those who love Him more than themselves. And God favors those who live in a spiritually mismatched home. 

This next year is going to be the most amazing, supernatural, and life-changing year for this community yet. Release yourself into the tender, loving arms of our Daddy and become sanctified. Because God, our Father who is always good greatly desires to give His children good things. He desires to be part of our everyday, our ordinary and make our life extraordinary.

Matthew 7:11b how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

Today, look up the following passages and pray them back to God. Ask Him to fully sanctify you , your marriage, your family and ask Him if there is anything in your heart that is not sanctified and that needs to go so God can pour more into your life.

John 17:13-19

1 Corinthians 7:14

So, today as you fast. Ask for God's favor. Ask for more of Him. Ask for an increase of His Holy spirit. Ask for wisdom and revelation. Ask for a fresh anointing of the Spirit. Ask for His Holy Fire of Sanctification.

Let me know today if you are fasting. Leave your name in the comments and one thing you are asking of God in this new year. I will pray with you.

We are walking today on Holy ground. Remove your shoes, fast, pray and watch the breakthroughs come. In King Jesus name. Amen.

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-

SUM Books 4


A Sacrifice for Freedom

6036911_sMy friends, I have to tell you that God is doing more than I expected in this week so far. (Tamara, thank you again for suggesting we do a week like this.)

In less than twenty-four hours God put the word JOY in front of me almost a dozen times. (Yes, I counted.) In two devos, the first name of a woman who requested to be friends on Facebook, the wrapper on a candy cane from last Christmas that my daughter found in the cookie jar, several Scriptures emailed to me from various places, as I ready my Bible...

I think you see what I mean. Abba wants us to be joy-filled!

And yesterday, as I prayed for Him to tell me what He wanted us to have for today, so many things went through my mind as I prayed for our community. What did we need most? First Abba reminded me of the truths in 1 John 4. Read that chapter and note specifically this verse:

We love because he first loved us. — 1 John 4:19

We are believers because God loved us first (and let that supernatural love be your “spa soak” today). He loves our pre-believers exactly the same way too. We can trust God for their salvation, and He is in pursuit of our spouses just like He pursued us.

As I stood under the shade of a tree praying for our community, God spoke this to my heart:

“Tell them to give Me their husbands.”

(For our male readers, insert wives as I believe this is for you too.)

Sumites, my heart constricted and tears sprang to my eyes, and even as I type this I am so moved by this. Because it’s not just about the obvious part—salvation. It’s about God’s heart for us to be free. Free from the worry, free from a burden we are not intended to carry, and free to love in our mismatched places without fear because we choose to trust God.

So today we are going to do two things. It may seem a little out there but this is what God showed me. Get a piece of bread and some grape juice, because communion will be part of this.

Find a quiet time and place, even a closet if you need to. Take your bread and juice with you. If you’re able, get on your knees and tell God that you release your spouse completely into His hands. That you want to trust Abba with your spouse’s future completely as well as your own, and if needed, ask Jesus for forgiveness if you sense you have made an idol of your spouse and/or his or her salvation. This is about you finding freedom and not about praying for your spouse’s salvation.

Try to visualize yourself literally placing your spouse on Abba’s altar and leave him or her there. Stay in this place as long as you need and end with taking an intimate communion with Jesus. As the Holy Spirit releases you, take note of the level of freedom you now sense in your heart. And peace.

Here’s the second part. Last week I found my trust in Abba waning a bit in one area, because my family and I walking through a very difficult time and even though I know this is more about my husband than me, I’m struggling at times. God sent me this verse last week:

But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, "You are my God!" ~ Psalm 31:14, NLT

I prayed that verse out loud and continued to pray it anytime I felt my joy slipping or worry and fear creeping in. That was it, and I am newly convinced again at the power of God’s Word when spoken out loud over ourselves. My trust grew again as did my joy.

So pray this verse over yourself anytime you feel your focus slipping away from Abba and onto whatever conflict you are facing. You will feel your trust grow and strengthen.

I am trusting You, Lord, because You are my God!

I want to encourage you to write down your impressions and experiences in your journal this week. I know you will want to go back and read them time and again.

My precious friends, I am standing in the gap this week praying for breakthroughs, encounters with Jesus and for the Holy Spirit to increase in us. Don't forget that tomorrow we are fasting from sunrise to sundown. I have a feeling you will hear God very specifically during this time, especially after this time of prayer and communion with Jesus. 

Love you like crazy, my sisters and brothers in Jesus!
Dineen

Image credit: jillbattaglia / 123RF Stock Photo

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


A Feast of Joy

File000638778040My friends, today begins our “Spiritual Spa Week.” Today, I want you to look at a line of Scripture that absolutely undid me last week. I was struggling to feel centered in God and feel His love and this is what broke that off of me:

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. — Luke 10:21

Jesus was full of joy! And we are meant to be too. Remember, that’s not the same as happiness, which is based on happenings. Joy comes from the Lord and is in no way dependent upon our circumstances. The joy of the Lord is also our strength too, remember?

Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” — Nehemiah 8:10

So today's focus is simple but more profound than we realize. This place of joy is not something we can do on our own, we can't manufacture it, and it is readily available to us from Abba when we ask for it. Here is the basis of our prayer today to ask for that:

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.” — Psalm 51:12.

God literally woke me one morning with this power-packed verse on my lips, and I couldn’t have even told you where it came from. I had to do a Google search for it. And now it is the prayer I go to when I sense my joy is waning. And Abba supplies, without fail. So pray this today, SUMites. Joy comes from God just as our salvation does too. So fitting that Psalm 51:12 verse clearly refers to salvation as His. And I truly sense this joy is crucial to our spiritual health and to this time we are in right now. 

Let's pray:

Lord, restore the joy of Your salvation to me and fill me with more of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus name, amen!

Just pray this prayer throughout the day, the rest of the week and anytime you fill your joy waning. Don't "work" at it. Just pray and ask. And you will be filled with His joy, my friends!

Praying for our SUMite Nation to be filled with so much of His JOY that the world can't help but notice and want what we have.
Love you all so much! 
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-

SUM Books 4


Preparing For Breakthrough

IMG_1093[1]It’s Monday. The Labor Day holiday here in America so many of you are away from your home and computer. But when you check in on Tuesday, I don’t want you to be out of the loop. Beginning tomorrow, our community is going to have a week of prayer and a day of fasting (fast is on Thursday). Tuesday through Friday with our week culminating on Saturday in worship. 

But for the next four days we are going to pray specifically for ourselves. This is not a typical prayer focus as we are Prayer Warriors so often for others. Our spouse, children, our church, neighbors, the world. However, starting tomorrow we will spend time specifically focused on praying for our needs and our soul. We will spend time just soaking in God’s Presence. 

My sincere hope for this week is that we experience a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit’s power, authority and His lavish love. And secondly that we have a breakthrough in some personal area where we struggle. I know for me, I have a GIANT thorn in my life; I’m specifically seeking healing and deliverance. 

This community will be fasting on Thursday. A daytime fast. Sunrise to Sunset. To seek God and achieve that breakthrough. This Thursday is Rosh Hashanah and I will be talking about why that is significant in our evangelical faith. (Look up the sunrise and sunset times in your area)

Get ready. Fall is approaching. Kids are back in school. The holidays will be here before we know what hit us. This week is the beginning of a beautiful season and a time when we can grow personally in our love relationship with Jesus and with others. 

Lord, anoint this time. Give us a fresh Holy Spirit fire in our hearts. Help us to pray with passion for our personal breakthroughs and pray for our personal healing and to seek Your Heart with new passion. Lord, teach us to pray so that when we speak, the heavens rattle in reply and activity because we asked for action on this earth. Lord, let us be those who bring Your Kingdom to earth. Let our prayers this week change the atmosphere in our homes, workplaces and everywhere. Let people who are around us perceive we are different and give us courage to share with them, why we are different. 

Fill us to overflowing with love so we love You more and love people. In your Son’s name, our King Jesus. Amen. 

Also, every Monday, Dineen and I will have a new blog post up at Mismatched & Thriving. And if you haven’t checked out the forums, you are missing some great stuff. Join the conversations. 

I love you. I really love you and deeply care for your heart, your spirit, your marriage and family. Hugs, Lynn

PS. For those of you who are new to SUM, this is a taste of our week of prayer and fasting that we have every year in January. There are so many wonderful things about our community and this is one of my favorites. *smile*

*****

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-

SUM Books 4