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20 entries from January 2014

I've Been Corrected By God

Well my friends. This is a difficult post. 

I’ve been corrected by God. And now I must share with you what happened and why. As you know I’ve been on fire about kicking the enemy’s butt. And I have learned a lot about the spirit realm in which we contend and I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned in the last year. However, this morning I spent three hours with God and He clearly corrected me about taking this path. 

Let me explain. Several weeks ago I receive an email from one of the women who attended the Open Heavens conference with me last October. The email was written by Bob Hartley who was a prophetic speaker at the conference. So, this morning (Tuesday, January 28, 2014) I was up before 6:00 a.m. to spend time with my Papa and I was prompted to pick this email up (I have a printed copy in my Bible) and read it again. Every time I read these six pages of text I’m completely wrecked (in a good way) in the spirit. 

Today was no exception. But what I read today, corrected my spirit, and humbled me. I’m going to share a specific part of this email so you can understand the course of action I’m about to take: 

Bob writes: 

• The Lord said to all of us (His children) in a very kind but very firm tone, "Stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it! Stop spreading this misery, this evil humidity that you have been spewing out that settles upon the mountains. If you cannot speak out of life, do not speak out of death. Look again from a better view, from My perspective. You are to get above the clouds. To fear Me is to see what I see."

• "It is harming, confusing and wounding My people...it puts My cities and nations under a dark cloud. It is speaking out of your own wounds...or your warfare, or your weariness, or your sense of rejection, or your isolation, or your disappointments, or your despair. I am bringing a healing model and restoring My joy to all those who have suffered pain in this life, and it is beautiful.

• "Let Me tell you how to fight with hope and love." (At this point He laughed and lightened the mood.) "Ask Me this, 'What would it be like if My servants simply focused on hope and love until the very end? What kinds of amazing solutions would I bring into this world?'"

• The Lord said, "Let's fight against this enemy together! I do not want both sweet and bitter waters to proceed from the same source. I do want to go with you! But follow Me with joy, love, hope, and adventure in your hearts. Band together and reveal to all 'The God of the Fifth Scene' and call them into the Hope Reformation...the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits." (See James 3:11; Daniel 11:32.) 

Gulp. 

Immediately my spirit was chinked. God said to me, Lynn, “Stop it! I don’t want you or the House of SUM to focus on my enemy. Lynn, what would it be like if my servants simply focused on hope and love until the very end?” 

My friends, I write with tears in my eyes. I want to be the Hope-Restorer that helps my Father bring amazing solutions into our world. I want to be His child that bands together with others in the House of SUM to reveal to all, the God of the Fifth Scene (a scene of God high and lifted up of absolute light, power, love and hope) and to be strong… and to do exploits (astonishing adventures in His Kingdom). 

So my friends, I may disappoint you in that I am not going to write about spiritual warfare and bring any kind of recognition to the very real evil spirits of this world. God affirmed to me that yes, we do battle in these realms but what we need to know is two things. One, we battle FROM victory and not FOR victory. And two, we have already won because we have been equipped will all we need to win against every enemy, in every circumstance, every day. 

God reminded me that when I faced a very real demon who came into my room one night that I won that battle. In spite of the fact that I wasn’t mature in Christ. I barely knew anything about the spirit realm and all I had was my faith and scripture (2 Timothy 1:7) You can read that story here

After my three hours with God this morning where I cried, sang, spoke in tongues, prayed… wept in repentance…. I came home from my walk-n-pray and immediately called Dineen. We talked, marveled, reasoned and laughed as we spoke. We are absolutely certain about this change and that in this House, the House of SUM, we won’t ignore evil but we will teach and focus on what defeats evil every time. The joy, love, hope, and adventure of God. Worship of Him and His powerful Son and the wisdom of His voice, the Holy Spirit. We can and will write forever about these aspects of our Great King and never run out of words that prepare us and grow us and words that adore Him. 

My friends, you are reading this on Friday morning. And as you read this Dineen and I are going into day three of a four day Prophetic conference. We are expecting God to show up and lead us into these exploits. We don’t have a clue about most of what God is doing. We only have a heart full of love and a determined devotion to follow God through whatever door He opens. So, on Monday I hope to have heard God about where we are going next here at SUM. Today I don’t know but I’m excited because I know it will be the best, mind-blowing, heart-filled, adventure yet. 

Will you today do two things for me? Forgive me if you are disappointed. And today, ask God to reveal to you how you are to join this community to become Hope-Restorers and bring God’s joy, hope, love and adventure to our homes, our marriages, our cities, our nations, to the world. Share with me what that looks like for you. I really want to know. 

 

CONVERSATION:

So, what do you think about all this? Did God move your spirit? And what does it look like to you? 

IMG_1502[1]Dineen and I love you so much… SO, SO much. Forever and ever… eternally. In the name of Jesus.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Do We Believe It?

IStock_000019658016XSmallMy friends, I’d planned to write a very different post today about two very important things we need to know—who does God say He is and who does He say we are. But I think we’ve actually talked a fair amount about how important it is for us to understand who we are in Christ (click here for a list of Scriptures that say who you are in Jesus). And the Bible is packed with full of the truth of who God is.

And if you didn’t read my post, Spread the Love, I’d like to encourage you to read it and do the exercises at the bottom. Let Abba fill your heart and mind with the truth of who He says you are.

In light of all this, I’m beginning to see the bigger challenge is to truly believe what God says about Himself and us. How many times do we hear these truths, yet somewhere in our mind or heart (or both) lurks this doubt that questions how applicable is it to us? Or, that was Jesus’ heart was for His disciples, not for me.

Let’s take a walk through John 17:20-26:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

From over 2,000 years ago, Jesus prayed for you and me. He prayed for us to believe in Him, His message of love from the Father in sending His Son to die for us, and to truly believe that He lives in us. His is ours and we are His.

May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Here again, Jesus’ heart, message and mission was for the whole world—past, present and future. We are that future, and we are also the recipients of this amazing love! That’s huge! Abba loves us as much as He loves His Son Jesus. Say that to yourself, “God the Father loves me just like He loves Jesus.”

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.

Jesus wants us with Him, so that we can see Who He is and how God’s love defines Him. And He continues to do this, to make the love of the Father known—His great love for us.

Not only does Jesus still pray for us, but He LIVES to intercede for us!

Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. — Hebrews 7:23-25

Jesus is constantly praying for us! I think I’m still wrapping my brain around that one. Now apply all this to our prebelievers too! Wow!

As fellow SUMite Ian Acheson post over at our Mismatched&Thriving site, our minds are a battlefield. This is why it is so crucial to capture every thought and bring it before Jesus, and then ask, “Is this true of You, Lord? Is this true of me?”

My friends, share in the comments one truth that is speaking to your heart right now and why. I believe we need to encourage each other with God’s truth and build each other up with His word. This is our sword and the most tool we have to walk in faith and truth. Let’s read it and believe it!

Saturday I have something to share with you that rocked my word. And guess what? It’s going to rock yours too because this is a message from Abba’s heart to us, SUMites. You are going to love it!

Live in the truth, my friends!
Dineensig

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Terrorist Training Camp 2014

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comGood Monday morning SUMites! 

Every January it seems to happen. Right after our annual fast my spirit is burning to do some spiritual, butt kicking. And this January is no exception. So, I would like to welcome you once again to the “Spiritual Terrorist Training Camp.” And once again I would like to welcome the FBI who will likely be reading this series because their computers have just detected a blog using the words Terrorist Training Camp. Welcome back guys! Hope you enjoyed last year’s posts! 

In last year’s series we dealt with recognizing spiritual warfare, discovering who are the captives and who are prisoners in the spiritual and how we can recognize our captivity and find freedom. (Find a link to that series in the sidebar) This year I want the SUMites to join me as we explore some different aspects of spiritual warfare. I want us to shine the bright light of heaven upon some very real spirits that wreak havoc in our lives and in our world. I’m praying with fervor and passion that this series leads us to two breakthroughs. 

One, we must first experience a personal breakthrough. When we recognize an enemy spirit and its work in and around us and then combat it with truth, love and the power and authority of Christ, we become free. Thus we can then begin to free others. 

Two, as newly anointed Hope-Restorers, assigned to change this generation, we are contending for our homes, and our cities and collectively our nations. We truly are going to learn to be empowered to bring change at that level. 

Before we step off into some pretty deep research and topics, I want to take a minute to address a few things and answer some needed questions. 

  • Spiritually Unequal Marriage is a marriage blog devoted to providing hope and practical tips to thrive in a spiritually mismatched marriage. Why in the world should we study spiritual warfare?
  1. Research indicates that more than half of believers don’t believe there is a devil, or hell or demons. So, many of you want to really know, how do you know there are demons, hell or a devil?
  2. Can a Christian be possessed? Can a Christian be oppressed? What does that mean anyway?
  3. How does an ordinary 5’4” blond mom stand up against and defeat the legions of evil? Is that even possible? 

Answers 

  1. We, the Spiritually Mismatched, are actually on the front lines of the spiritual battlefield. We stand alone to pray, to speak scripture and declare God’s power and authority in our lives. Often our very own spouse is a gateway that opens the door to evil presence and activity. However, we are so much more powerful. 

As I sit in front of my computer the Holy Spirit is flooding my soul with scripture after scripture that screams of this truth. I will share one right now and more as we work through this series. 

1 Corinthians 7:12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 

 

There is great power and authority contained in an ordinary believer. And this verse brings enormous power into our lives. 

Think about it. Verse 14…… The unbelieving husband has been sanctified. That means made Holy and brought under the umbrella of God’s covering and love because we the wife are sanctified. 

Okay… I just realized this post is ALREADY going long. So, I promise we will get to some more in the days ahead. 

CONVERSATION: 

So today, let’s discuss in the comments the four questions above and your thoughts about how 1 Cor. 7:12-14 play out in our marriage and everyday living. Do you sanctify your home? Do you know what that looks like? If you don’t, how do we bring this passage to reality in our marriage? Do you think demons are real? Have you contended with evil and prevailed? I will be in the comments with you. 

We are stepping off now into a great adventure. When we emerge on the end of this series, you can bet that you will have a knowledge and power that absolutely terrifies the dark realm. So, rise up Hope-Restorers because we have families to fight for, marriages to revive and cities to contend for. I love you so 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-

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Weekend Worship — Share Your Testimony!

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My friends, Lynn and I had a fabulous time at FamilyLife Today with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine last week. These two men have such HUGE hearts for families and marriage. What a privilege it was for us to share our hearts with them. And they asked us some really challenging questions! Good questions. As soon as we get the details of the broadcast, we will share it with you. 

SUMites, you know our hearts desire is to encourage wives and moms in their mismatched places, in ALL walks of life and circumstances. And I see that desire in so many of you too. Abba has given us so much! So much hope and strength in our mismatched places. It just bursts out of us. That's why we wrote Not Alone. And let me say how grateful we are to our publisher, Regal Books, who believed in our message and ministry. These people are dedicated to Jesus and sharing His saving hope. Amazing!

In greatest honor to our sweet Jesus, I have a couple testimonies for you. My friend, testimonies are POWERFUL (Rev. 12:11). The enemy knows this and wants to keep us quiet and will even squelch us down if he can. Trust me, I know (and will hopefully share more on this soon). That's because he knows that testimonies increase faith and hope, and release God's power in our lives, our marriages, our children and the world! As Lynn and I sat on the plane on the way home, she turned to me and said, "We need more testimonies." And I agreed.

Yesterday as I walked and prayed I asked Abba for this, for more of His miracles to be released in this community and to bring us more testimonies. He will do it!

This first one is from our book and you'll recognize Gillian's name too. She is a righteous mama contending for her kiddos! I love how she used her children's toys to teach her children! Moms, don't be afraid to ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you with ideas like this. It's fun!

1531631_10152189985277280_674821193_nI read a short story from a children’s Bible, and we sing a praise song or hymn each night at bedtime. “Jesus Loves Me” has become a favorite. Because they are very young, I sometimes use figurines and toys to act out Bible stories—it’s simple, but it really holds their attention and makes the story come to life for them—and for me. 

This is what I pray on the nights when I put my young boys to bed:

Dear Lord, thank You for _______, _______ and _______. Thank You for Your love for them and Your special plan for each of their lives. Please bless them and keep them, and lead them all their days. May they always know Your great love for them.

The last line I find especially important. That is the one thing everything hinges on, because it is when we lose sight of how much God loves us that we tend to fall away from Him. But even when life’s not fun, if we can still feel His love, it makes all the difference.

—Gillian Russell Meisner

This next testimony is one sent in by a reader. So amazing! As you read it, claim that this kind of miracle is possible for you too, becaue with God, ALL things are possible (Luke 1:37).

Hi Dineen,
I'm so sorry I missed the opportunity to join the week of fasting with the community, but I have no doubt that all will be blessed as a result.

We exchanged emails last year when I was going through a tough patch in my marriage and you gave such encouragement and wise words to me through that time.

Well, I wanted to share briefly with you the latest to encourage that God does hear our heart's cry and moves on our behalf, but He also looks for us to actively get involved too. Obedience and His power seem to go hand in hand - Father is so gracious that way, He loves to do things with us.

2013 was a tough year and continued to have challenges in my marriage right up to the end. But even I wasn't prepared for the conversation 2 weeks before Christmas that saw my husband announce the end of our 12 year marriage (and a relationship of 18 years). I was devastated but I knew that God had given me the strength to finally say no to something that was tearing us apart and was unbelievably unhealthy for our marriage and our souls.

Now my husband is a man who, when he makes his mind up, does not bend even if he is in the wrong. When he said our marriage was finished, I had no reason to doubt him. But only 5 days later he took my hand and said that this situation was very wrong, a waste of 18 years and that he didn't want to be without me.

I was stunned. Was this possible? Only with God, I would have to say! I knew that the prayers I had been praying and those of supportive Christian friends had been heard.

Then my second shock that night - I once again asked him to consider counselling. He has never agreed to counselling as he doesn't think it does any good. However, as he began his protestations, God directed me to say that surely if we wanted to save an 18 year relationship, counselling as a last resort was worth a try. He said, amazingly, that he would agree to "consider" a selection that I would provide him with. Again, this is a huge step forward.

So instead of the expected disaster of Christmas and the New Year, my beloved was just wonderfully kind to me, loving and sweet. It was the best Christmas present I could ever have.

Then, as if to add a cherry on this wonderful "cake", God brought another present to me. My husband has a sharp mind with an ability to debate and contest. I'm far more a feeling, sensing person, so he runs rings around me usually on the rare occasions we discuss Christianity.

However, the first Saturday into the new year, out of the blue we meandered through topics of conversation and ended up talking "religion." As mentioned above, I'm not very good at debating, certainly not compared to my husband but, this time, the Holy Spirit just dropped words into my mind and unbelievably my husband was arrested by them to the point that he was nearly speechless. A first in my experience!

The key moment was when, in response to one of his statements, I said I largely agreed with his comments on religion, but that faith in Jesus was actually about a relationship with a personality rather than an organisation. I was even able to share Psalm 139 with him.

Trust me when I say this was a big breakthrough. I'm not expecting my husband to become a Christian tomorrow, but I truly believe that something has been loosed in the spiritual realm to open his heart further to God. So whilst we still have a way to go, still need to get that counselling sorted and deal with our issues, I know that my Father has this marriage in His hands and that He will withhold no good thing from us for it's renewal and healing.

Amazing, amazing, AMAZING! And so GOD! As this dear woman said, God loves to do things with us. Have an amazing weekend bathed in the promises of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. He is mighty to save—ALL of us!

Be shiney for Jesus!
Dineensig

 

  

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Audio Books For Busy Wives and Moms

Hi Everyone: 

I have one more story to share about our book, Not Alone, before we launch into our next series. On Monday we are going to have a discussion about contending with the Orphan Spirit. And my friends, I can almost guarantee we have all faced this demon in some way or another. This is a must read! 

But today, as Dineen and I end our week sharing our hearts about parenting, I’m moved to share the words of our friend, Steve Smith. 

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Steve represents Oasis Audio. Oasis Audio published our books in audio and they were released about two weeks ago. Steve went way beyond inconvenience to allow Dineen and I to record the books in our own voices. The audio team worked with a couple of ordinary moms and put together audio books so that some mom out there, who is driving to work and doesn’t have time to read, can hear a word of encouragement from the Lord. 

Steve writes: 

Lynn and Dineen,

I have to tell you, I do popular big-selling inspirational books because they make money and keep our employees in jobs. When Elaine at Gospel Light showed me you titles, I thought about my mom, who fifty years ago was abandoned by my dad. My sister was five. I was two. She was fortunate enough to be a college educated woman and eventually climbed her way to the top of the corporate world, but our lives weren't easy and she did her best to be both mother and father to us. We were not aware of God in our lives until I was in junior high and my mom enrolled me in a Lutheran school because she didn't want me exposed to a public jr. high. When I saw NOT ALONE, I thought of my mom and how this book would have been very helpful to her. 

And then I looked at my own years as a youth pastor and the struggles single moms were enduring. You thanked me for serving the kingdom. I can't accept that noble honor. I made the choice because I wanted to serve women like my mom. But I think Jesus is very happy that you two wrote these books, and I am honored to publish the audio. I don't care if they aren't NY Times bestsellers. I want them to reach and help the people who need them.

 

IMG_1277[1]I about wept when I read this a few months back. I think of the years I spent working full time, driving children to school, feeling exhausted, and struggling with the demands and fears we face when raising children. Wow… 

So, today, Dineen and I humbly unveil the audio recordings of, Not Alone AND Winning Him Without Words. Please think about someone, who is a single mom who needs a word from the Lord to inspire her to stick in there and kept living her faith out in front of little eyes. A woman who needs to know she can come through the loneliness and pain of a spiritually mismatched marriage. Then if you are able, share this audio book with her. Let her know it exists and that all of us here exist to love one another and pray for each other. Buy her a CD if the Lord moves you to help her. Perhaps this woman is you? 

Thank you my friends. THANK YOU STEVE. Please know that Dineen and I continue to pray for you, your ministry and your mom. Thank you for opening another door with our message of hope and Jesus  and the value of a mother to her children. 

Hugs, Lynn & Dineen 

And, now for one more question….. Are you ready for some football strike….. Some warfare? I will make a bold promise. You are going to pray differently for yourself, your family and your marriage after we get started in the new series on Monday. And I promise… We start Monday. 

If you want to read some great posts about spiritual warfare that we wrote last January, visit the sidebar of the blog or click here: Spiritual Warfare: Terrorist Training Boot Camp

Note Alone Cover Art
Not Alone - Audio Book
WinningHim
Winning Him Without Words - Audio Book



*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Are You Being Called?

BetterTogetherMy friends, I want to tell you a story.

Right after I recommitted my life to Christ, I found a wonderful church that welcomed me and my two young daughters. I was so grateful for this place to grow in my faith, to learn more about Jesus and to see my daughters also nurtured in these areas appropriate to their age. But I felt a definite lack of connection due to my mismatched state. So I went to my pastor for guidance. His words have stayed with me ever since.

“If you don’t see what you need here, then start it.”

And that’s exactly what I did. I started a women’s ministry and connected with other women who wanted to grow in their faith. And amazingly but not surprisingly, one of the women who joined our little group turned out to be spiritually mismatched like me.

Many times in 2013 I sensed Abba was raising this amazing community up for a reason and that the Great Harvest is part of this. Many of you shared that you sensed the same things.

As 2014 has started I'm beginning to see more pieces put into place, and I think many of you are too. I want to share something I read in the last chapter of James Goll's book, Lifestyle of a Prophet, which I just finished:

"The is and will be a great move of the Holy Spirit among women. Many women will be released into the fivefold ministry and they will be used in worldwide revival and reformation, which is upon us. Ultimately, the issue will not primarily be doctrinal. It will be one of necessity due to the volume of need for laborers for the harvest. The coming period could easily be termed "The Era of Women Preachers."

When I read this I knew we were and are part of this, my friends—a "knowing" that came from the Holy Spirit and made my body tremble in the light of its truth. So much of what I'd seen, heard and sensed seemed to fall into place like pieces of a puzzle.

But the puzzle is far from finished. We, the SUMites, stand in a wonderful place of opportunity. I believe Abba is calling us to be the voices in our churches, to help our pastors, elders, deacons and our church family to see the growing need for so many like us who stand spiritually alone. We must help our church families see that to be strong in Christ, we must rally around each other and partner with God to fill the gaps.

In leading a life group in my home church, I’ve learned that we come in all shapes and situations—married, divorced, widowed, single. The enemy wants to make us think we are alone and can't find a place in church. Abba says we are stronger together, and if we don't see a place for ourselves in our church, then make one!

All that He has poured into you is not just yours alone. He intends that you share it with others who are on the same journey as you are. Help those still trapped in the enemy's lies to find the truth.

  • To replace the lie that their marriage isn't blessed with the truth that their faith sanctifies their prebelievers (1 Cor. 7:14) and that Abba truly does bless us and those we love right where we are.
  • To reject the lie that it is up to us alone to teach our children about Christ and lead them to faith. One, we partner with the Creator of the Universe and He has already invested His Son in our children (when we accept Christ, that investment pays out not only to Jesus but to us as well!). And two, as part of a community, we are supported, encouraged and mentored to help us raise godly children.

NotAloneCoverLook at this wonderful testimony from Martha (we loved it so much we included it in our book, Not Alone:

"My girls always loved church. I believe that was because of their Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, mission trips, church socials, etc. They all made such a huge impact on my girls. In fact, Heather, my youngest daughter, wrote a paper in college about the most influential person in her life, and it was her youth pastor. Imagine that—it wasn’t me (smile). All that to say, please encourage young mothers to make the effort to take their children to church, even when their husbands don’t go. I wanted so many times to give up, especially when the kids were small. But the influence of the kind of people I mentioned above is forever planted in a child’s heart. I love the song with the words, “Thank you for giving to the Lord, I am a life that was changed.” Though my kids and yours didn’t have a dad who influenced them spiritually, you and I were not alone; God sent us some help. That’s why I would scream from the rooftops to young mothers, “Get over yourself and go!”

What have I found to be true in stepping out in faith to start such a group?

  • Just as I am privileged to join with others and pray for them, I am prayed for too. I am understood and supported in ways unique to my situation, yet shared by those in my group. I "get" them and they "get" me.
  • My group helps fill that prayer partnership that I don't have (yet) with my prebeliever. I can't pray with my husband about our financial situation or the challenges with our children. But I can with my group and know that even between meetings they are praying for my needs just as I am praying for theirs.
  • As wives and mothers, we do not have to stand alone in contending for our prebelievers and our children. We have friends to stand with us, and we are stronger because we are standing for Jesus, together.

As I said, I believe we have the opportunity to make a shift in our churches that will not only bring more awareness there as we make our voices heard, but will also shift our environments from the lies of "doing it on our own" to the truths of God's love and strength rallied around us in community—communities right in our own churches that allow us to share and encourage and support just as we are encouraged and supported. This is Abba's heart for us and for the church.

If your church doesn't offer a small or life group for those who walk alone in faith, pray about starting one, especially if this is something you've wanted to see happen. Abba may be calling you to be the one, to be an Esther in your church to bring life and hope to those walking in similar places.

NewSUMSmallGroupsButtonTake what you are learning and gaining here into your church. If you don't see a group for you, pray and ask Abba if He intends you to start one. If so, know that He will equip you and we want to help you too. Lynn and I set up resources and small groups pages to help you get started. Abba has also gifted us with a wonderful helper, Sue Conklin, who has offered her years of experience and administrative gifting to help too (go to the small groups page to contact her).

If not a small group, consider mentoring a new wife or young mom. This is the model we see in Titus 2 and is part of God's plan to strengthen His church. Or partner with one or two others and commit to pray and encourage each other specifically for your marriage and parenting.

My dear friends, this is not just about our desire to live effective and empowered lives for Jesus. It’s also about how we can help build a firmer foundation for the generations to come. I want that for my daughters and especially my grandchildren to come. I want to leave a legacy that will continue to grow in the generations to come.

And please know that Lynn and I started exactly in these places of need, searching for a place in our churches. We were and are just two ordinary women who sought Jesus for our needs and He turned it into to much more. Abba doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

Are you being called?

If you are feeling a nudge to start something in your church, or you’re not sure or maybe you’re afraid, leave a comment. I want to pray for you. This is my heart’s desire for you, my friends, and for this ministry to reach more of those in need.

Be shiney for Jesus!
Dineensig

*****

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Hope For You, Mom!

Today I want to share a story with you that deeply touched me and Dineen. Below is a note I received from a young woman who is married and yet to have children. Her name is Stone. Dineen and I have come to know her and her story over the last several months as Stone lives near me here in California. Her story is horrific and also covered with redemption and love. She has faced great pain and fear and yet is finding hope. She is growing to be a Hope-Restorer. 

Let me set the stage. The note below was written to me shortly after Stone watched the 700 Club Interactive Broadcast where I talked about our new book, Not Alone. I shared the hope we have as believing mothers even in the midst of unfavorable circumstances (unbelieving father). Our hope is that we CAN raise our children well and raise them to faith in this challenging society and unconventional homes. 

She writes:

Wow Lynn!

You hit it out of the park!

That was amazing and so encouraging!

In my teens I decided that I would not have children because I did not believe that with the things I had experienced growing up that I could be a good parent and I feared bringing a child into such a fallen world. I often felt overwhelmed at the thought of having children someday because they would also have free will and would be able to choose for themselves what to believe. At that point I did not trust God enough with even the idea of having children someday. 

Now that I am married and at a place where I know Him better and we are discussing having children someday, those fears want to come in and take over again. But your chat today was so encouraging. 

I now know Him in a powerful way and I am encouraged by your words that when the time comes I can trust in Him and look for those teachable moments where I will be able to pour into their hearts and spirits, trusting in Him to work in their hearts. 

Thank you for sharing your heart and your story with us today. ~Stone 

I’m sharing Stone’s words because I believe there are so many young women who also fear raising children. There are mothers, right now, READING THIS POST, who are afraid they can’t do it. They can’t bring up kids with character and faith. 

That is a lie from the enemy my friends. 

Dineen and I have been talking a lot the last few weeks about our hope for mothers. And we feel like our book release in October was a bit swallowed up by the crazy of the holidays. So, we think we need to encourage every mother near and far with the truth: Ordinary moms who love Christ can and do raise good kids of faith. 

We are convinced that our book is filled with Holy Spirit inspired words, practical tips, parenting treasures and HOPE. We believe that the work, tears we shed, and life-experience we poured into the pages is anointed by our Lord and we want every mom to step into her high and holy calling. 

With that said, can you please help us to get the word out to moms? I’m not even sure what I’m asking other than God created this book to encourage. Just read this letter, titled Beloved Mother, which is an excerpt from the book. 

So, may Dineen and I humbly ask you to consider three things? One, if you’re a mom, please buy the book for yourself. Then pass it along to someone. Or start a small group and help other moms. 

Two, buy a copy for a mom who needs a word of encouragement. 

Three, share on social media. Help us get the word out. There are moms who need words that say, "You are enough and with God, you can raise Godly kids."

I promise we are not trying to just sell books. Dineen and I truly don’t make money on these and anything we do get is poured back into this ministry plus 10 fold. 

We are asking you, our family, who may need this word for yourself and know others who need promises that they can parent with God’s help to get your hands on a copy and share hope…. 

Why? Because we are the Hope-Restorers. And Dineen and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

 

Note Alone Cover ArtNot Alone: This is a parenting book, but it’s much more. It’s a love letter to all mothers—a message that changes our homes, our kids, and our lives. It’s about the Father’s love that impacts those around us and changes ordinary moms into women of extraordinary grace, beauty, and wisdom. 

We are ordinary moms who give Jesus to the generations.

 

Today, will you share with us how you have encouraged a mom or how you have been encouraged by someone who poured wisdom or love into you as a mother? Hugs, Lynn

*****

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Weekend Worship—Flawed for Jesus

UniquelyFlawedLast week I posted this on my Facebook page:

Total light bulb moment: "No flaw is sinful or shameful — it’s the way God wired you! ... Those flaws are part of your custom design, and God planned them for his purpose and glory." — Rick Warren This former perfectionist says, wow! I am uniquely flawed for God's glory. Not that I can live with.

(Read the full devotional, “Even Your Flaws Can Bring Glory to God.")

First let me clarify that flaws are those things or place in our live where we have imperfections and weaknesses. I’m not talking about sins. One of my flaws is my soft voice. Even in school it was an issue. Tried to talk louder but just couldn’t. Yet Abba chose me to be a speaker of all things! In my flaw, He is glorified. People who listen to me hear Him, not me.

Some days I feel like I’ve really licked this perfectionist thing but then other days, well, let’s just say the battle can wage pretty hot. I am a work in progress, for sure, and so very grateful that Abba doesn’t relent. Jesus came to set us free and He wants us to walk in that freedom—freedom from sin, addictions and our hang ups.

But this really challenged my thinking. Freed a part of me I didn’t realize was still in the cage of perfectionism. It’s the lie of, “I won’t be complete (useful, successful) in my faith until I’m free of my flaws, my hang ups.”

But Abba’s Words says this:

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; — Col. 2:8-10

The world will tell us all about our flaws. Jesus says we are complete in Him. The world will tell us we have to earn our reward. Jesus says He is our great reward and our salvation—a gift we can never earn but need only receive. The world will tell us that we must strive to overcome these places in our lives, but Jesus says, “I have overcome the world for you.”

My friends, these are our truths. This light bulb moment has created a paradigm shift in my thinking. Instead of seeing my flaws as deficits to overcome, I’m asking Jesus how He wants to be glorified in them. Which, astonishingly, has led me to ask the same thing about my husband. “Lord, show me how you want to be glorified in his flaws. Let me see him from your perspective.”

Take a moment and think about a flaw (not a sin) you wish you didn’t have. In your next quiet time, sit with Jesus and ask Him how He can be glorified by it. Ask a friend you trust who is a believer how they see this flaw in you. Maybe even ask them what they consider to be their flaws.

And what if we discover our flaw is meant to be our strength?

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. — 2 Cor. 12:9

Be complete (empowered, strengthen, emboldened, fulfilled) in Jesus!
Dineensig

*****

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2014 A Year of Hope

Hello My Friends, 

IMG_1488[1]Well there is a lot happening around here. On Monday, my son and his family, his wife and daughter, Elise, who is 10 months old will be moving in with us. They are relocating from Las Vegas, NV to start a new life here in California. 

This is great news for a grammy’s heart. But what is even better news is how this came about. 

I prayed. 

I prayed for years and years asking the Lord to bring my son near. There were seasons, years, where that hope seemed impossible. It was inconceivable that my son would move… ever… So when this all came about, quite quickly, I can only shout to the faithfulness of our God. And if you have been a reader for any amount of time here at SUM, you will know that in the past 12 months I have FINALLY received the answers to prayers prayed for years and years. 

My daughter’s school choice… And now my son is moving near. 

I’m sharing this good news for two reasons. I’m giving public thanks to my Father for answering this momma's heartfelt prayers for her kids. And I want to encourage you to continue to press forward and believe for the things you pray that are within God’s will. AMEN. 

Now on to other things. Next week, Dineen are sharing a few things about what is happening in our book writing. And then following that, we will launch into the Spiritual Warfare series and tackle the Orphan Spirit, and the Religious Spirit and more.. Way cool stuff that will truly help you battle for your family. We will stay on this topic until God moves me out. 

But HERE IS THE REALLY COOL NEWS. Dineen and I received an email from one of the speakers we heard during our conference at Bethel. This man has a prophetic voice and he shares the following about 2014. As I read it, it greatly encouraged me about the coming year. I pray it also encourages you. 

Great things await this community. I really mean this. GREAT THINGS.. 

So here is a portion of the 2014 message by Bob Hartley: 

God spoke from Psalm 67 that He is going to open up His face and His ways so that He will be seen and known, not only among His people, but also among whole cities, and even nations, that will open their gates to Him. I saw specific nations invite Him, with His gifts and building plan, into their cities. These cities will become radiant with joy and pulsate with the presence of God. They will receive and enjoy many breakthroughs in every area of life. Jesus has also shown me how thrilled He truly is that these people and places are welcoming Him to bless and lead them. 

There is so much more but 2014 is going to be a hopeful year. And we are the Hope-Restorers. So please read along with me Psalm 67 and let this passage become true here on earth as it is in heaven:

 

Psalm 67: NIV 

May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face shine on us—
so that your ways may be known on earth,
    your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you rule the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations of the earth.
May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest;
    God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still,
    so that all the ends of the earth will fear him. 

My friends, what does this verse mean to you? Love you. Lynn

*****

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Spread the Love!

21093836_sMy friends, I'm on a love journey. 

When I was a little girl and a teenager, I believed love was the greatest force of all. That love conquered all. Though I can look back and see that this was Abba working in my life in so many ways, I didn't know Him and defined love according to human capabilities and standards, which wound up represented and defined by the flawed human beings around me.

Thus, my definition of love was flawed. Still hope-filled but destined to disappoint. As my faith has grown I've learned that Jesus is our greatest hope, but my understanding of love had a long way to go. 

I shared with you before our week of fasting and praying that Abba had told me this would a "year of intimacy." Well, let me just say, He wastes no time. Quite honestly I'm stunned at what He shown and revealed to me already. Had no idea He'd work so fast!

So, I'm on a love journey again. I've re-embraced my young belief that love was the answer to all things and now understand that IS Jesus. As it says in 1 John 4 that God IS love, Love is our greatest answer, our greatest healer, our greatest defender, our greatest everything.

And the amazing part is that I'm hearing this from so many people all over the place. In fact, I went to an evening worship service last Sunday evening at another church and the pastor's message was all about God's love for us, that He's absolutely crazy about us. This man is on a love journey with Jesus too. 

My friends, this is Abba's heart right now. For all of us (yes, even you sitting there thinking this doesn't inlcude you. It does, trust me.) He is spreading His message of love through so many right now and asking us to share His love with others. He is LOVE and wants to be known for His love. 

Right now I want you to imagine Jesus standing in front of you. Now take every bit of condemnation, thoughts of unworthiness, beliefs of insignificance—whatever trips you up in truly believing you are loved completely by Jesus—and offer it to Him right now. Keep handing this stuff over to Him if you have to. When you're done, ask Him this:

"Jesus, what do you have in exchange for me?" Be still and wait for an answer. He will speak to you—your heart, your mind, an image, a thought—in whatever way He knows you will hear Him. Don't hurry or rush off. You don't want to miss anything, do you?

Then read these words and really receive them. This is God's Word. His truth about you. 

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." — John 15:9

"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." — John 15:11

"You did not choose me, but I chose you..." — John 15:16

SUMites, do this as often as you need to with a desire to fully embrace and understand how loved you are. I don't think we'll fully embrace it this side of heaven, but Abba sure wants us to understand a whole more than we do.

During your next quiet time, sit with Jesus. Ask Him these questions, one at a time, and wait for His answers. You may see an image or be reminded of a Scripture. Or you may be flooded with a string of words or feelings.

1. What do you think of me?

2. What do you like most about me?

3. What do you want most for me?

Then what? Tell somebody else that Jesus loves them just like He loves you! Share with them how He has shown His great love for you, and tell them Jesus wants to do the very same thing for them. Spead the love, my friends!

Spread THE Love!

Dineensig

 

 

 

Here are some more goodies I want to share with you:

698517_dancingMy post, "God's Faithfulness to a Mother's Prayers," is up over at Choose NOW Ministries. This is a story of my oldest daughter's journey of faith that culminated in a beautiful picture last May. It's the story of God's faithfulness to my prayers for my girls. I pray it encourages and blesses you!

 

Leo&LeslieI have another post over at The Koala Bear Writer that just makes me chuckle. Are you a fan of the show The Big Bang Theory? You're probably wondering how that show could possibly inspire me to write a post about being spiritually mismatched. Hop over and read my post, "The Spiritual Disconnect," and have a read and maybe a laugh. You'll even get to watch a small clip of this hilarious show!

 

LogoAnd one final goody to share. Lynn and I will be on Joy in the Morning with Naomi Cantrell at 889JoyFM.com Thursday morning between 7 am and 8 am Eastern time. We had a blast chatting with Naomi and shared some stories from our book, Not Alone. 

 

Image credit: belchonock / 123RF Stock Photo

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Hope Restorers

(Read this post all the way through because you don’t want to miss what is about to happen) 

Lynn here……It’s Sunday evening here as I write this note to you. I’m smiling as I type for two reasons. First, the Denver Broncos WON!!  All is right with the world. Second, I spent the better part of two hours reading the comments left on the fasting posts from last week. Wow. 

Your words for one another, move my spirit. They move the Lord’s heart. Words of love, encouragement, wisdom, and words that exalt and nurture each other. Words that bring honor, glory, praise and worship to our King. This community is amazing and we truly are a representative of God’s love. And because of our love, the world may know that God sent His only Son. 

The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as you loved Me. John 17:22-23 

My head is filled with so much from the past few days. God has imparted some revelation and truths. He has filled me with a fire, a burning passion, for all of you and for the work He has assigned this community. I don’t even know where to start. 

I want to write about Spiritual warfare. Post such as recognizing the enemy spirits in our lives such as defeating the Orphan Spirit, contending with the Religious Spirit, ridding our lives of the Poverty Spirit, rebuking death,and breaking a “soul tie.” I have a ton more topics in this realm rattling around in my heart and soul.   

Then I’m overflowing with posts and thoughts about healing. Learning wow our healing is declared and delivered and learning how to receive it. And I’m talking about healing in every area; emotional, spiritual, and PHYSICAL… Just astounding stuff… I tell you, I’m so excited about all that God is doing right now. 

And then there’s the really, really BIG stuff. God’s plans for 2014 and for this community. Did you know that you are part of this community by His powerful and love-filled design? He personally chose you. He has placed you here as vessels of love and compassion. Out of our deep struggles in our mismatched marriages, we are the very ones who will be the first in Kingdom’s purposes. We are the Hope-Restorers. 

WE ARE THE HOPE RESTORERS!

What does this mean? 

My friends, this is the reason that our little community was born in 2006. There is great and powerful work in the Kingdom and we have been put together to have a significant influence in this world. Influence that comes with supernatural power and compassion. We truly are an anointed vessel to bring change to our homes, our cities, our states and nations. I can’t wait to see how God is going to use us to do this but I’m completely convinced we play a powerful role in the near future, even today. (Psalm 67) 

I have more to say on this as well. But tonight as I write, I hear the Father speaking to us. He knows that we have much to do and we will experience great things in the near future but before we move forward into all of that, He just wants to love on us. So, please take a minute and step once more into your prayer time, your secret place. Allow the Father to gently place His hands on each side of your face. Feel Him gently come near, embracing your face and lifting your face with closed eyes to listen to Him speak words of love into your heart. Hear Him now as He holds your face, your very countenance, in His embrace. 

"I am delighted in all of you." 

"The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing." ~Zephaniah 3:17 


My friends, shortly after returning from Bethel, God woke me in the night. I kept hearing over and over, Zephaniah three. Over and over. I called Dineen the next morning and asked her, “Is there even a book in the Bible that is named Zephaniah?” I had some distant remembrance in my foggy brain. But why was God giving me this verse? 

IMG_1485[1]
Read the verse below as well. I will remove sorrow, He says. I will deal with all who oppressed you. Wow!

Well, finally today, I understand why. I received this verse in an email this week. The email was about God’s people becoming Hope-Restorers. And low and behold, I open my Bible up and this single verse was underlined from the time when God gave it to me months ago. It is a confirmation that God wants us to feel His love and His gladness. He will quiet us with His love and sing loudly over us. Whoa.. 

Just WHOA!! 

So, I’m not sure what I will write about first but come Friday get ready. Because we are beginning a new era at SUM. We are a body who has been chosen to bring much healing, love, and compassion to the world. And this healing, love, and compassion- He is giving them to us first. Exciting! 

I know I’ve shared a lot with you. So what do you think? Where should we get started? I love all of you so much. So very much. Pray BIG this week. Ask the impossible and then share your stories with me as you watch our Father move. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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Weekend Worship — Ascribe Unto the Lord

My friends, let's give Teresa special thanks and prayers for her work this past week. She not only wrote those amazing posts for us, but she was also writing in the comments and encouraging so many of us. Thank you, Teresa! You have served the SUMites with such grace and generosity! We are so blessed by you!

Some of us experienced great revelations and more than we expected to hear. Some of us are feeling a little disappointed that we didn't hear more and may even be feeling like we failed. But this is what I firmly believe to be true. What happened during this fast for each and every one of us is EXACTLY what Abba wanted to transpire. He knows what we need best and when we need it. Trust Him to continue to bring more revelations and understandings as the year progresses. This is why journals are so important. So we can go back and be reminded of what Abba said, which will help us stay focused and recognize when our prayers are being answered!

And I want to encourage you all to continue to seek Abba just for His presence. I'm learning first and foremost that He wants us to put our relationship with Him above all else. Not our gifts, not what we do for Him, or even how we seek to serve Him. Not even the dreams and passions He places in us. He wants to give us His heart with no strings attached. So give Him yours without any strings too. Make knowing Him your priority over serving Him.

For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” — Matthew 6:25-34

Seek Him above all else, and the "else" will come! Trust Him for this, my friends. He will not fail you!

Here are two songs that seem the perfect close to our week. The first is for our praise and worship of our King Jesus. He is our everything! Let's give Him all the glory of this week. Fill the comments with praise ans worship to Him! And the second is our statement of faith for 2014. We will not be shaken, amen? Amen!

Love you, my SUMite family so much. Be shiney for Jesus!
Dineensig

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A Fast Finish

6a00d83451ee9f69e2019b03b60213970c-320wi

Untitled3And now we come to the last day of our SUMite community fast for 2014. For whatever degree you were able to participate, congratulations. I hope that this has been a good experience for you.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: — 2 Timothy 4:7

But we have an even greater finish to celebrate. We believers are living in the glorious knowledge that Christ redeemed us.

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. — John 19:30

It is finished!

Your sins are gone.

God’s indignation at our sins – past, present, and future – has been satisfied. We believers are reconciled with Him.

God tore the veil of the temple from top to bottom, exposing the Holy Place. Everyone may come into God’s presence freely. It’s an open house. All are invited.

You’re free! You’re free! The victory is won.

Woo! Hoo! Jesus paid it all. There is no more work for us to do.

Let’s celebrate. (Now, where is that chocolate that I got for Christmas?)

Conversation

In the comments below, summarize your experience with this fast or share a closing comment. Are you willing to share an insight? Is there a special meal that you are hungry for?

Prayer

Abba, Father, we praise You for sending Your Son. Help us completely trust that He did finish the job for us. Help us get our minds and hearts around that. Let us accept the gift. Let us live in the freedom You provided for us. We thank You for making Yourself accessible to us. We can come to You at any time and with any petition.  Thank You for the special time this week during our community fast and pray. We remain humbly in Your presence. Amen.

Communion

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. — Luke 22:19-20

{Dineen} Many of you were led to take communion during this fast. I know I was. Even before we started the fast, I woke one night and Abba said we were to close our week of fasting with communion. So to read your comments confirmed how Abba is working in all of us not just individually, but also as a community. A family. And His promises always seem to include family and the generations (children) to come. Did you notice that?

So to close our fast, at dusk set before you a small piece of bread and a little bit of grape juice. Let our prayers be united and be a fragrant and beautiful offering of love and gratitude for what our King Jesus has done this week in all of us—even if you aren't sure at this point, keep watching in the days to come for more revelations and realizations.

Lord Jesus, we break this bread together to remember that You gave your body for us so that we can constantly be in communion with You. You dwell in us now, because Your desire always was and always is to be with us. (Take the bread.)

And now, we take this cup that represents the new covenant, Your precious blood shed for us so that we are new creations, made new. Cover us with Your saving and healing blood, Lord Jesus, and keep our hearts pure and dedicated to You. (Take the juice.)

Lord Jesus, all praise and glory belong to You! We are holding onto You and Your great promises for us. We are stepping out in greater faith for 2014 and BELIEVING You for all things. In Your Mighty Name, Jesus, amen!

*****

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Fast Forward

6a00d83451ee9f69e2019b03b60213970c-320wi

Untitled2Are you experiencing a special closeness to the Lord at this point in the fast? Are you gaining insight through contemplation? Have you picked one word to focus on this year (See the post from Monday.) Take notes of any insights so you can reflect on them later this year. Savor this experience.

As Christians, we are told to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23). Praying and fasting is a very tangible way to do that. After our SUMite community fast ends tomorrow, some of you may want to plan to fast independently in the future.

Recently, I have done partial fasts a couple of times a week. This schedule works for me. Many people fast on Sunday mornings so that their first meal is Communion. I think that is a lovely practice. Some may fast on rare occasions when the Spirit calls them to it.

If you are finding a particular benefit through fasting, you may be tempted to take this practice to an extreme. God does not want us to deny ourselves good nutrition. And we can’t “earn” our way into Spirituality by fasting “harder.” Jesus spoke often against legalism. Here are a couple of relevant scriptures.

Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility  and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. — Colossians 2:20-23

They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. — 1 Timothy 4:3

We are under grace, not under the law. (Romans 6:14) therefore, we don’t have to live under a set of rules. We follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. God loves to hear from us in prayer. And He loves us whether or not we are fasting.

If fasting becomes for you a show of personal will power, then stop and refocus on the Lord. If you are at the church building every time the doors are open, but your family feels neglected, then reconsider. You don’t have to prove anything to yourself or others. God wants our hearts. God loves you – period.

Keep these passages in mind as you contemplate whether to fast again in the near future. 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. — Ephesians 2:8-9

Conversation

Do you plan to fast again later this year?

What are some legalistic practices that are common today so that we can be aware of them?

Prayer

Dear Lord. Thank you for the time we spend in Your presence. How we love you. Let us accept your grace. Let us rest in You and not pressure ourselves to prove ourselves as Spiritual. You are our Sabbath rest. Amen.

*****

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Holding Fast

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UntitledHow are you feeling on day 3 of our SUMite community fast? Are you a little shaky? Hang in there. In fact (please forgive the pun), hold fast to the Lord.

If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow – to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him – then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. — Deuteronomy 11:22-23

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens – Jesus the Son of God – let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. — Hebrews 4:14-16

Jesus knows our hearts. The Sprit intercedes and He knows our every thought. He understands our situations and has been tempted as we are tempted. (Matthew 4 tells about Him being tempted after a long fast when He was physically weak. So, let’s be on the alert in case Satan tries to take advantage of our hunger this week.)  

We can trust Him. We can trust Him with our problems. We can trust Him to give us good advice. We can trust Him to give us strength.

Whatever we you are praying about during this fast, He hears you. The scripture above tells us that we can ask anything of Him. There have been times that I have not even known what to ask for… the situation was too overwhelming for me to get my head around.  You know what I did? I just took the whole situation to Him. I didn’t even ask for anything. I was too tired. I just held onto Him. (OK. I cried a lot first.) Then, I prayed something like this, “Here it is. It’s ugly. I don’t know what to do. It is tearing me up.” Our King is mighty. He has a better idea of how to handle things than I do.  Do you know what happened? The situation changed favorably in ways that I could not have imagined. Oh, what a great God we have.

Hold fast to the Lord. Think about this as we fast and pray this week. Christ also prayed for us.

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world, so I have sent them into the world. — John 17:15-18

Don’t you love knowing that Christ prays for us? And, as we mentioned yesterday with Psalm 23, He calls us to be in the world. We are sprinkled among pre-believers like lights on a Christmas tree. We just have to stay “plugged in” to the Word and God’s power.

Conversation

Please add a comment below. What helps you to hold fast to the Lord? Is this different during times of difficulty vs times that seem ordinary and routine?

What do you think about our calling to be in the world, although we are separate from it?

Prayer

Abba, Father, we praise you. Thank You for showing us such great love. Thank You for sending Christ to not only die as a sacrifice for our sins, but also as an example of how to live on this earth. Thank You for Your constant presence. We can reach out to You with a prayer at any time. This gives us such great comfort, strength, and confidence. Prepare our hearts for eternity. Help us each day to live as a shining example of Your love so that our pre-believers come to know you. 

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A Feast During Our Fast

Feast

Wasn’t it cruel of me to choose a photo of a feast during our fast? Ha. I really don’t intend to aggravate your hunger. This table, laid out with a holiday feast, relates to scriptures I want to share. Fasting from food does lead my mind to passages about food. Which of these do you relate to the most at this point in your spiritual walk?

Haggai 1:6 (NIV)

6 You have planted much, but harvested little.  You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.

This verse was written by the prophet Haggai in a passage calling on the people to be productive. They worked and worked and had nothing to show for it. They felt like they were throwing money away. They were not satisfied; they felt empty inside… and perhaps a bit ungrateful. Have you ever felt like that?

We, in the U.S., live in such a prosperous country. Yet, we still complain. We have reliable cars and complain about traffic. Our phone is 6 months old and out of date. We are employed and work hard, but feel slighted if passed over for a promotion. I complained over the holidays that I felt stuffed from too much food and chocolate. This type of complaint focuses on serving our selves. What are WE getting out of our labor?  Sure. We deserve a fair wage and God likes to delight us. Yet, it is off-balance to think that everything is about us.

The feelings of frustration and emptiness can be amplified for many in mismatched marriages, where the stakes are higher than cars, phones or promotions at our job. A different type of emptiness can creep in, although you strive to walk with the Lord. You try to raise your kids to love God, but they hear contrary messages from your spouse. Perhaps your loved one is held captive by addiction. You pray and you pray, but don’t see a change in the situation. It can grow wearisome to live by faith alone. We hunger for relief from our situation… or at least a sign.

A benefit of our fast, is that we can refocus away from ourselves and toward God. Let’s be thankful for whatever blessings that he gives us. Let’s spend time in the Word, soaking in His promises. Whatever your situation, there is a verse that can speak to you. Trust God with our burdens. Trust Him. When we can’t see a happy outcome with our human eyes, trust that God does. The Psalms can be comforting when we feel empty. So many of them start with an ache, so like our own, and lead us to praise and thanksgiving by the end of the passage. This is one way that God walks along side of us, leading us to a better place.

If we are full of spiritual food, then we will truly be full and satisfied.

Psalm 23:5 (NIV)

5 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows

Ah! This verse sounds so much more victorious than the first one doesn’t it?  This is where I want to be. There is a tone of celebration in it. The “table before me” is a feast of good things. It is something to celebrate. But notice that He doesn’t take us to some private Christian-only retreat to enjoy it. Our table is in “the presence of my enemies.” We are here in the real world. Do non-Christians look at us and see us enjoying God’s blessings? Do our pre-believers see joy in our lives?

The banquet table also alludes to the communion table. If the world beats you down or you feel that you need to be closer to God, then come to the Lord ’s Table. He will remind you that you are loved and fully reconciled with Him. You do not even have to wait until Sunday services to have communion. Consider having your own private communion service. Non-leavened bread and fruit of the vine are fairly easy to find at your grocery. Or your minister may be willing to help supply you. This is just a suggestion, but I know people who find great meaning in a private communion service.

Conversation

Please add a comment below and let us know how the fast is going for you. Can you relate to one of the scriptures above? Are you feeling empty or blessed? Please share your thoughts.  ~Teresa

Prayer

Dear Father, thank you for Your Word to guide us, comfort us and encourage us. No matter where we are in our spiritual life, You provided words that speak into our hearts. Thank You for establishing the Communion Table to remind us of Your great love and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. For us, Lord. You did it all for us. Let us hunger and thirst after righteousness rather than food or earthly rewards. Let us be thankful for our many blessings. May the joy in our lives be a testimony to others. Amen.

*****

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Prayer & Fasting - A Day of Reflection

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FastingstartDid you start the fast today? I usually find that day one or two is the most difficult. If you forgot about it over the weekend, I invite you to join us starting tomorrow. Read more about our SUMite community fast here.

The beginning of the year and the beginning of our week-long fast is a good time for some reflection. Think and consider where you are. 

This time of reflection will take you deeper into My plans and purposes for you and will reveal the places where you got off course.  You will see yourself more clearly in relationship to Me and your level of dedication in establishing My kingdom in your place on the earth.  You can now make decisions that will have far-reaching consequences, says the Lord.   

Proverbs 27:19 As in water face reflects face, so a man's heart reveals the man. 

  • Ponder an aspect of God. What is one specific characteristic of Him that you love? How do you experience Him in your life? To have a relationship with Him, we have to get to know Him personally. Pause and spend some time thinking about and praising Him. Go beyond “God is great.” How specifically is He great?
  • Ponder an aspect of yourself. Is there a strength that you would like to develop further? Is there a rough edge that you would like to soften? Is there a specific aspect of your life in which you hope God will work? Instead of making a resolution this year, consider choosing one area to concentrate upon in 2014. Choose one single word that you would like to focus upon for the year. Or listen and allow God to reveal His Word for you. When you have your word, make yourself notes and reminders that you will see often. Focus on this word throughout the year. You may be tempted to work on many things, but pray for a single word upon which you can truly focus. Expect mighty changes.
    • To learn more about this approach, I recommend the book, “My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word” Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen

While we are reflecting, I thought you would enjoy this short video that highlights of our journey in 2013. 

Turn on the sound.

 

Conversation

In the comments below, please share an attribute of God. If you are willing, share an appropriate verse and let us know how you personally experience this attribute.

Also let us know how you are feeling. Was today difficult for you? How did you overcome any challenges?

Prayer

Lord, you are almighty. We love you. Thank You for revealing yourself to us in Your word and in our lives. We raise our hands in praise and celebrate You. Thanks for adopting us and making us holy. If I have strengths, talents, or experiences that I should use in your service, lead me to do so. If I am holding on to a sinful practice, help me to overcome it. Thank You for your grace and patience with us. As we enter this new  year, let us rededicate ourselves to serving You. Let us share Your love with those around us. Amen.

 

{Lynn} Thank you Teresa for a great video. Dineen and I were teary-eyed. We love you and we love every SUMite.

 

{Lynn} On Monday afternoon Pacific Time I will be leading us through a spiritual exercise on our Facebook Page. I have an actual activation I want to release into our community. Please stop in there to be part of that. I expect what we do together will have signifcant impact on our spirit. SUM Facebook.

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

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Join Us!!!

Dineen and I (Lynn) are thrilled that one of our long-time Community members will be leading us through our annual community fast this year. You are in for some great inspiration, information and prayer. Thank you T, for all you give and have given for years to this community. It's going to be a great and holy week of prayer and fasting. Teresa's bio is at the bottom of the post.

And one more thing before we move forward. I want to dedicate this fast to Rosheeda Lee. (Thanks Bev for this dedication suggestion.) Ro was faithful to lead us through this fast for several years. She passed last April. I've especially missed her this week. Ro, keep on cheering for us up there as you speak to Jesus about us. We love you Ro. 

So, are you ready? Let's remove our shoes and prepare to trod upon holy ground.....

 

Table

 

What and When? By: Teresa Tierney

The SUMite community has a tradition of joining together for prayer and fasting during a week in January. Won’t you join us this year from sunrise to sunset each day the week of January 6 – 10.

During this time, we will restrict our food intake (or other activity) and turn our attention toward the spiritual. I’ll outline some options for how to fast a bit further down in this post.

Many of you practice fasting regularly. For some, this could be your first fast. By joining together as a group, we can encourage and support each other during this special time. We can join in praise, prayer, worship and fellowship.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

Why?

Why do we pray and fast anyway?  This spiritual discipline was practiced in both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus practiced it. The early church did it. Look up these passages that highlight some intentions surrounding it.

  • To humble ourselves before God, putting spiritual matters before physical ones (Ezra 8:21; Mathew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3)
  • To seek God’s will (Acts 13:2-3)
  • To request God’s help (2 Samuel 12:16; Esther 4:16; Ezra 8:23)
  • To turn from sin (Jonah 3:5-10)
  • To worship God without distraction (Luke 2:36-38)

When hunger pangs come during the fast, view it as a reminder to pray. We are blessed when we hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6) rather than food.

To fast and pray is also a form of exercise. If I can say “No!” to something that is good and permissible for me, then I feel more prepared say “No!” to temptations.

How?

We have some alternatives about how to fast. Consider your health and physical demands. Are you participating in a 5K? Are you on medications? Pregnant? It would be wise to talk to your doctor to find a safe option.

Have you dealt with eating disorders in the past? Perhaps computer games are more distracting to you than food. Consider fasting from some time consuming activity.

Consider a “Daniel Fast” and eat vegetables or simple foods during the fast. (Daniel 1:8-17)

If you are able to participate in a complete daytime food fast, be certain to stay well hydrated. You may want to avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks. Many people find that these make them jittery on an empty stomach.

Consider “easing” into the fast with small meals a day or two in advance. This approach will help your body to adjust.

I look forward to this joyful time of worship. This will be a time we turn attention to God and away from ourselves. You may wish to keep your plans private in order to avoid the temptation of bragging and hypocrisy mentioned in Matthew 6:16–18.  So how do you handle the social aspect of meal time? If you always have lunch with a loved one, you might want to clue them in on your plans so they won’t think you are avoiding them rather than food. If someone you see less often invites you to lunch, try something simple like “I’m not having lunch today” or “I have other plans.” On the other hand, the Lord may lead you to share that you are fasting as a way to open a conversation about Him. And sometimes we need to tell our families so they are aware you are not eating.

Read more Biblical passages about fasting here.

Fasting Scripture

 

Conversation 

Will you join the fast?

If you have fasted in the past, please share your experience or leave a helpful tip in the comments. If you are new to fasting, what questions or concerns do you have?

Prayer

Lord, thank You for this SUMite community. Thank You for Your word and the examples of the prophets, disciples, and saints who have gone before us. Thank You mostly for Your Son. Guide us as we determine whether to participate in this fast. Give us ears to listen to Your will. Lord, we humbly come before You to intercede on behalf of our non-believing loved ones. We know You love them even more than we do. Open their hearts. Let us serve you and grow in knowledge, wisdom, love and service. Amen.

 

Teresa tTeresa and her husband live in Ohio. They have no children, but she is the godmother to two and an aunt to many. She has been a member of the SUMite community for several years and loves the Lord. 

 


{Lynn} On Monday afternoon Pacific Time I will be leading us through a spiritual exercise on our Facebook Page. I have an actual activation I want to release into our community. Please stop in there to be part of that. I expect what we do together will have signifcant impact on our spirit. SUM Facebook.

Teresa and her husband live in Ohio. They have no children, but she is the godmother to two and an aunt to many. She has been a member of the SUMite community for several years and loves the Lord.

*****

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What Happened in 2013?

17430183_sMy friends, as we draw closer to our fast next week, I think it’s important that we look back and see what happened over the year. I love to look back at what I wrote in January before during our 2013 fast and see what promises and words Abba gave me came to fruition. And this year, I truly needed it.

Much has happened in my own personal faith walk. Abba gave me the word “worship” last year not just for me for our community too. Thus was born our Weekend Worship segments and worship has become a vital part of my faith walk this year.

But I felt like nothing had really changed in my family. Until I went back and read what Abba spoke to me last January. Two things stood out. The first one was about the word Abba gave me for husband—something He hadn’t done before.

That word was "prosperity" and came with a verse (Proverbs 11:25) that popped up many times over the year and even shifted in its relevance for us.

Let me tell you there were many times over the last year where I wondered if I’d heard right. We went through our roughest financial trial to date, and we are still recovering and will be for months. But to look back showed me that Abba did move and provide in stunning ways (even to sending the $80 I needed for medications) and opened a door for my husband professionally what will continue to open more and more over the next three years. It’s a slow process, which is exactly how it should be as we learn more and more about stewardship. Abba told me my husband would be blessed through me and that is exactly what has happened as I contended for my family this past year.

The second one my daughter Leslie helped me see. Abba told me in January that her verse for 2013 was Joshua 1:9 and that He would give her courage and strength. From my perspective, I hadn’t seen much of a change in her and have even despaired over it. Yet last week she did something stunning. She ran to Target the day after Christmas to exchange something—by herself. That may seem like a little thing but for my girl who struggles with anxiety, that was huge!

When I told her how proud I was of her, she told me she hadn’t had an anxiety attack all year long. Wow. Abba did give her the strength and courage SHE needed, not what mom thought she needed. And on New Years Day, she wanted to run to Walgreens and asked if anyone wanted to go with her. Tired lot that we were, all declined. She still went on her own and enjoyed her outing. Wow!

My friends, what about you? How has Abba moved in your life this year? And if you haven’t already, begin seeking Abba for what He wants for you in 2014. Write it down so you can go back next year and see it. Write down! I love doing this and even begin praying for my word in December so I am ready to hear it during our fast. This year before I could even finish my prayer, Abba rushed in and spoke it clearly to me.

Chosen.

Chosen, as it says in Ephesians 1, that we are chosen. When I heard this, my mind accepted it as I always have, that I am chosen by Jesus, just as you are. But Jesus wanted me to understand that there is more to this word than I thought.

I’ve always seen it as a broad word that applies to all of us across the board. But He said no, “this is not a one size fits all, Dineen. I chose you just as I created you—specifically.”

And then He impressed upon my heart that this is true for each and every one of us. True for all yet individually specific to each of us in the how, why and purpose.

So seek Jesus, my friends, for what He chose for you. Not just what you are to do to serve, but for your life and who you are. He also told me this would be a “Year of Intimacy.” I can’t wait!

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Tomorrow our very own Teresa T. will introduce us to our fast and has an amazing word for us each day next week. I’ve had the privilege to take a sneak peak and I promise you will be amazed at what Teresa has written for us. On day one she has a special gift for us that will bring you to tears so have a tissue handy. I bawled like a baby!

Get ready to be encouraged, inspired and loved by Jesus. Because He chose you. He CHOSE you.

My precious and dear friends, I can’t wait to meet you in the comments next week as we fast. I am already praying for you in many ways specific to what you have requested already and to what Abba has laid upon my heart. His love and passion for us is so deep and true and wide (Eph. 3:18).

Love you all so much!
Dineensig

 

 

Image credit: lenm / 123RF Stock Photo

*****

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A Letter From Heaven

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

My Beloved Child,

I have longed for this week ahead for many years. I’ve known that this consecrated and intensive time you have planned to spend with Me will bring about the answers to prayers you have uttered for many years. You have come to a place where you have released your desires and your control over your life and circumstances to truly allow me to be the LORD of your life. 

This is a surrendered life.
This is a life I will honor.
This is a life I will bless. 

A life-journey with Me is not for the faint of heart. It is not a life that is predictable. Often living in my Presence will stretch you and challenge you in ways and with people you thought not possible. But this journey is the BEST THING that will ever happen to you. I can be scary but I am always good. My calling and direction can bring about uncertainty. But hear Me today, My child. I am your sure foundation. I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. If you step away from Me and then remember to turn back to My face, please know that I stand assuredly beside you and will catch you if you fall. That is my promise. 

I delight in you. I sing over you in the morning. I dance above your head when you choose love over fear. ~Life over death. ~My Son over the lies of the enemy. I sit at your feet as you sleep and I whisper words of love and care into your dreams at night. I have sent blessings of provision when you didn’t know it was Me. I have opened your heart to love. I have allowed you glimpses of the supernatural and I have much, much more to give to you. I am the God who releases showers of riches, blessing, delights and mercies. 

Pray with faith and see if My Word proves true. 

I know you have toiled in long, laborious prayer for those who are lost and don’t know My love. I have listened to your words and have extended My Scepter of grace to you. You have walked in difficult relationships and yet you have not relented. Your words are a balm of oil that loosens the chains of the deceiver and opens the doors to broken and lost hearts. 

Don’t ever stop praying for them. I am at work in hundreds of ways you can’t conceive today. But, one day you will see everything I am doing to save your loved ones. It will bring tears of joy to your eyes. 

This next year is filled with promise. Make time for Me every day and allow Me to astonish you and leave you breathless. I have giant store rooms in heaven with gifts just for you. You hold the key to unlock the rooms. You have full access when you walk with Me and my Son. This year learn how to open the storehouses and discover the wealth, the healing, the laughter, the joy and the life that is the abundant life, a life lived in My Presence. 

I adore you. I sit on the edge of my seat cheering you on. I send angels to watch over you and to care for you and your family. My Son, the Glorified Prince, is your reward for a life well lived. 

So live the “real” life. It is an adventure unparalleled. You have My heart. I am eager to spend time with you this next week and reveal My work in your life. Seek the breakthroughs, relentlessly ask for more of Me and you will find….. all that you need. 

I love you with an eternal love,
Your LORD, The Almighty, The Great I Am. ~Your Papa

 

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.…

Isaiah 33:6: Isaiah 50:4;Psalm 37:4 John 10:10; Deuteronomy 31:8

****In preperation for our fast, stop in on Sunday for our preperation post. Hugs, Lynn

 

In the comments below, write out your response to our LORD.

 

 

*****

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

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