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17 entries from July 2014

Line by Line: Monday

Hi Gang, 

Lynn here. I am really feeling under the weather. I've been sick for three days with a terrible headache, upset tummy and a pain in my foot from jarring it in my tall shoes a few days ago. Sheesh! 

So I humbly ask you to forgive me as I won’t have a line-by-line study post for Friday. I’m just too sick to sit at my computer and do the two hours of research and study that I feel is needed in order to discuss the next section of verses. 

Today, I want to share a comment from last Friday’s post. It’s written by Lisa M. who is a regular reader and a proud SUMite!!! We have Lisa’s story included under the salvation tab on the navigation bar. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comAfter reading the comments from Monday and praying with all of you, I’m moved by the enormous challenges we face. So a testimony of God’s love and provision becomes our hope. Sharing testimonies in some way moves God’s power into our own lives. So here is Lisa: 

July 25, 2014 from Lisa M.

I've been married 27 years and the first 11 were miserable. I was a young bride and then a young mother. I had three babies one year apart and also was learning that marriage was not the fairytale I thought it would be. 

My husband worked the night shift. Twelve hour shifts as a police officer which gave him a lot of days off as his schedule was three days on and three days off. Most of his off time was spent out at a local bar or with friends. There was even a time he was keeping company with another woman. 

Throughout those 11 years I tried to make the best I could...there were times I cried, other times I yelled and other times I just felt like giving up. However, I never felt like God was releasing me. The few who knew my situation thought I was crazy for staying but they didn't understand I saw something deeper in him. 

Then when there was reason to believe he may be cheating on me, I finally felt like God was saying it was time. So I basically told my husband in not so nice words to get out. I left the house thinking he'd be gone when I got back but he wasn't. He wanted to talk.. He had also talked with my dad and my dad called me and said to give him a chance. So I said let's talk except that I would be the one talking. I wasn't that naive sweet innocent girl that he could manipulate anymore. We talked for hours and everything I had felt and wished I could say to him over the years came out. We reconciled and a few weeks later I found out I was pregnant again after seven years since my last baby. This wild scenario was all part of Gods plan and my husband felt like this baby was his second chance. I know many think but he probably was cheating on you. But to me that was just icing on the cake - that all the years of mental abuse and neglect was just as bad to me. To this day I don't know if he truly was or not but I don't care. 

So during my pregnancy and the early part of our starting over, I did a study called After Gods Heart - a story about Abigail and her abusive first husband. It was then I realized I was just as much at fault for our failed marriage as he was. Not to justify his actions but he wasn't and still isn't a Christian and I was not being the wife he needed or that God called me to be. I was too self-absorbed in my misery. 

That year was the turning point in our marriage and now my husband and I are best friends. Did I get a new husband? Well in a way I did...this 2nd 1/2 of our marriage has been so much better than the first 11 years. It's a partnership. No, he's not saved and yes, he still drinks too much as a functioning alcoholic but my kids are healthy emotionally and physically because of my choice to stay. 

God has blessed my marriage and family and I've grown so much in my spiritual walk. We are called to serve God on a daily basis not live a fairytale life... 

Lisa mMy mission field is my husband and family. This is where God has me serving Him and now God uses me in my work to minister to other woman going through these same things. Marriage is a commitment that we are to honor (unless I course there is physical abuse). It's not easy but God walks with me through it and even carries me when I need him to. I ask many women if their husband had cancer would they walk out on them? Then why, when they need us the most whatever issues they are dealing with deep down would we choose to walk out? God will use us as long as we stay true to Him.

~Lisa M. 

 

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Thanks Lisa. SUMites, I ask that you join to give praise to the Lord for the victories in the lives of our SUMite family. And I know for many of you this story may be difficult because your ending didn't turn out this way. There is no condemnation in Christ. We can celebrate those who have marched through the fire and their marriage stayed in tact and we can celebrate those who escaped the fire of marriages that were abusive and evil. Have a good weekend. Hope to be back to health as writing over the weekend for Monday's next post in our series. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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God's Preparation: Time + Honor = Fruit

10724044_sMy friends, this series about God’s Preparation continues. Last week we talked about trials and challenges, along with three key points in how Jesus moves in us and our lives during these times. If you haven’t read that post yet, click here to catch up.

This next part continues to build upon how God prepares us for the trials and challenges in our lives. We may be caught off guard by these situations that either occur as consequences of our own decisions and actions, the decisions and actions of others, and/or the enemy’s targeted attack, BUT God is not. (I’m totally getting this “but God” movement now.)

Foundational to this journey is trust in God, ever increasing trust in God. And in order to trust God more and more with all areas of our lives, we must believe that He is good. I’ve written about this before, but felt God nudging me to review this, because if we do not believe that God is good, that His purposes and plans for us are always for our good, and that He is always working for our good, then we cannot trust Him.

This is the truth of Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

"All" means ALL in the Bible and encompasses everything. Even in the worst areas of our lives, in the worst challenges, in the worst sufferings, God is working for the good of those who love Him. That is His promise and He never breaks His promises and He never fails in keeping them.

God is not capable of lying (Titus 1:2) and He never has an impure motivation. He is good, He works for our good, and His plans are good. That is His unchanging character.

If you find this is an area that you struggle with (and we all have or will at some point), I urge you to seek Him for His promises in the Bible, write them down and pray them. This is so foundational and again, connects to the transformation of our minds (as I shared in that series earlier this year).

Remember these key points all found in Romans 8:28

  1. God is good. ALWAYS.
  2. God is sovereign and has a PLAN and PURPOSE for ALL things.
  3. God is an equipper and will provide what we need to walk through every trial and challenge.
  4. God is a redeemer and will bring purpose out of every trial and challenge and will restore what we have lost in His way and His timing.

My friends, I truly believe it comes down to this. How we perceive God and His character will directly affect how we look at our circumstances. The more we seek Him in truth to know Him more, the more we will see we can trust Him, and the more we trust Him, the more we can let go and have child-like faith. I know I want that more than anything, to know Him more and to trust Him with all of my life. He is worthy and loves us so much! It amazes me that He longs for this even more than we do, and not for His gain but for ours.

In this year of intimacy, I’ve had to let go of control, or more factually, the idea of control. I do not like pain and I do not like not knowing what lays ahead of me. Can you relate?

As I have shared in the past, God told me He was preparing His vessel. I believe He is doing this in many of us right now. The more I walk in this time of preparation, the more I understand how challenging it can be. I want to walk through this stuff with a heart to learn whatever it is that God is showing me so that “at the right time, He will lift me up in honor, as I give Him all my worries and cares (1 Peter 5:6-7).

I sought God for more understanding and this is what He showed me. We are like fruit trees and if you are familiar with fruit trees, they start off small and take several years to grow and strengthen before they begin to bear fruit. The growth part is crucial to the tree's ability to produce and carry the fruit. If fruit comes too soon, it is often inedible and the branches are not ready. Or the tree tries to overproduce and the branches are weighed down and can’t hold it all. Our struggle is often our desire to produce certain fruit or quantity of fruit before our branches have grown enough. We are impatient. (I know this to be true of me!) Preparation takes time. To grow, to prune, to be fed and strengthened. To become vessels the Lord “honors.”

Let me show you a funny little “truth” that God showed me. Take a look at the Scripture below:

Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. — 2 Timothy 2:20-21

The word “honor” in this verse in Greek is ti. Do you see what I saw? Looks like the English word “time,” doesn't it? And that was God's point in showing me this. Honor takes time and preparation and is done by the Master. I don’t know about you, but when I saw this, I smiled. God has an amazing sense of humor.

My friends, I know it’s hard to believe and even accept at times, but our trials and challenges DO have a purpose in them—God’s purposes that we can seek and look for if we are willing to let Him show us. This requires us to take our eyes of the “bad” and to seek the good. To seek God (and again I find it interesting that good and God are only different by one letter).

Remember these Scriptures from last week?

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. — 1 Peter 5:6-7

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. — 1 Peter 5:10

At the right time, God lifts us up in honor. This is part of His preparation so that after we have endured, He will can restore, support and strengthen us so that we are placed on that firm foundation, and bear every kind of fruit. And amazingly again, this fruit winds up being exactly what we need for the next trial or challenge.

I can think of no better way to end than with this truth:

Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. — Colossians 1:10, NLT

Amen!

SignatureGraphic2 Fruit

Copyright: kudryashka / 123RF Stock Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Line by Line: Power Prayer Against Divorce

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Line by Line….. 

My friends, after reading the comments on the post from Friday, a Holy Fire burned up and out of me that I can only explain as the righteous anger of the Lord. There have been so many of us in this community that have been ravaged by divorce. 

The enemy has weaved his deceit upon God’s people bringing his ministry to kill, steal and destroy, but NO MORE

In my own family, divorce has now reached into the fourth generation. My parents divorced, my grandparents divorced in their 70’s. I divorced and my son is heading that direction. I’m mad as ---- and I’m not going to take it anymore!!! 

Be warned devil. I’m taking away your authority to curse the generations of my family with the destruction of divorce. From this day forward I revoke your authority to even breathe one word or lie into any of my family members to a thousand generations. Today, I draw a line in the sand and stand behind my Papa, Jehovah God and by His Son, my Savior, Jesus and by His name and power I declare you have no authority to cause a divorce in my family line as of right now. 

My friends, I’m convinced that we must take action and pray as a community and as the sanctified believer in our home. So, please pray with me. Today we take the authority given to us by Jesus and free our family from the work of the devil and demons who are planting seeds of divorce. 

Pray with me now. OUT LOUD: 

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I stand with Jesus as my side, angels with me prepared to move upon my prayer and with the blessing and love of my Father, Jehovah God. 

The authority given to me in Luke 9:1-2 I declare the enemy, the devil and all demons all their works and effects are hereby silenced. They have no authority now to lie to me or any of my family members about divorce. I cancel any and all agreements that believing their lies may have allowed influence in my life or my family’s lives. 

Today, I declare the demonic must leave my home, my children and my marriage and go directly into the pit and be bound there forever. I cancel all generational curses of my ancestors that may have allow divorce to enter into my family line. I draw a line in the sand now and today. From this day forward our family line, the House of _____________(Donovan & Goodwill) is free from any evil influence, lies or past agreements with the enemy about divorce. I slam shut any doors that were open to let evil to speak lies to me or have any bearing or influence upon me or my family. 

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command all evil must depart from my home, my children and my husband and must immediately go into the pit. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, there will be no replacement of evil in our lives now and forever. 

And now Lord, I fill those spaces where evil tried to harm, I fill those places with your love. I release your Holy Spirit now to come into the hearts of our home, fill every living area with Your Presence. Open the portals of heaven and let the peace of Jesus pervade our hearts, souls and minds. Give us joy and flood every part of our home and being with Your love. Fill our home to be an overflowing fountain of living water. Let our home be a safe place for anyone and everyone who crosses the threshold. Let me stand as your son/daughter to be the person where the enemy was defeated and a new history was determined in our family line from this day forward. 

Thank you Lord. Thank you that when we pray that the demons must obey. Thank you we have that kind of power and authority because Jesus, You died and then rose to victory. We claim that victory over divorce for ourselves, our children and our children’s children to a thousand generations in accordance with Your Holy Word. 

Today we now celebrate as a mighty move of God has begun and we can’t wait to see the lives and marriages you save, just because we asked. You love us that much. 

We adore you. Let our worship destroy the enemy. Let our love shine as bright as the noon day sun to our family and our neighbors. In the Most Powerful Name Above All Names…. 

JESUS, AMEN! 


Deuteronomy 7 9I want our Bible study to be more than just gaining head knowledge. Let’s make this study personal. It is our God given right – no our God given expectation – to pray and break this evil of divorce that is devastating our families. 

Thank you for praying with me. In the comments leave the name of your Household that you prayed for and I will pray in agreement with you. And if you have more prayer needs, leave them as well. 

I’m so fired up now I want to pray down Holy fire upon addictions, pornography, alcoholism, anger, rage, and the list goes on. Let’s use this prayer and bring freedom to the captives my friends. 

And let’s replace evil with the life-changing love of our Father. It’s the most astonishing, beautiful exchange. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

 

 

 

(Friday: More Line by Line…. It’s getting good my friends. It’s really, really good. Have a great week and expect breakthroughs.)

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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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Sumite Olga Prayer Day And More....

Good morning SUMites: 

I have a few things to share today.  

Girls beads
Girls are preparing beaded bracelets as an outreach tool.

First, I hope you were able to read the posts by Olga this past week. The Lord has lit Olga’s heart on fire and she and some of her friends were inspired by our Walmart Prayer Day so Tomorrow, Sunday, they are having a prayer day as well. 

Olga emailed me and wrote: I feel that the will of God was for us to go to the children's festival instead anyways on July 27th. We have a good group of friends fired up to go out on the 27th to give out tracts, new testaments, kids tracts, candy, pray for people and share the name of Jesus.

God bless,

Olga

 

So please pray for her event. I’m hopeful she will have photos and we will share them here.Links to her articles:

Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah (Part 1)
Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah (Part 2)

Walmart Prayer Day Video for any who missed it:

Also, if you are not receiving our monthly newsletter you missed out on some powerful insights into God’s love.

 

Sign up here: Registration 

Read July, 2014 here: Mismatched And Thriving, July, 2014

 

Have a great weekend and I will see you Monday where we return to our Summer Bible Study: Line by Line, Precept Upon Precept, Unequally Yoked.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

 

 

 

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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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Line by Line: Remarriage

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Part III 

Line by line. Precept upon Precept. 

On Monday we looked line by line at 1 Corinthians 7:10-11. We managed to get through three lines. Sheesh. This takes longer that I thought. But I hope the discussion blew your mind and caused you to pray and seek God’s explanation of these verses. 

I will add to our study that there was discussion about the context of these verses and who they specifically addressed. Are they written for believer to believer marriages only? Some commentaries say yes, some no. I will tell you that I don’t know. And I think my comments on this passage on Monday were directed to the many of us who are in a place in our marriages where we are thinking we would be so much better off to divorce our spouse because of our spiritual differences. Then remarry because after all, the grass is greener with a believing spouse (sarcasm intended *grin*). 

We will address this specifically as we work our way through the chapter. And it’s really, really good stuff. So hang in there. And I also want to encourage you to share your thoughts, interpretation in the comments. Our conversations, observations and thoughts in the comments on Monday were outstanding. 

Well done community!

 

Today I want to share a true story of a young woman who literally faced these verses in the face. 

Line by Line: A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. 

This young woman came for counseling at our church many years ago and the counselor came to me seeking my thoughts as she would meet with this young woman in the next week. 

Here is the scenario. This young wife, right around 25 years of age with two young children was a newly born again Christian. She came to Christ at the time her husband was sentenced to more than 25 consecutive years in the state penitentiary. He wasn’t eligible to parole for at least 25 years. The reality hit this young woman that she would be married to a man who was in prison for most of her life and the entire childhood of both of her children. (I don’t remember if He was a believer or not.) 

She came to the counseling staff and wanted a divorce. And in all truthfulness the counselor she was seeing didn’t have it in her to tell this young woman that God is calling her to remain married to her husband or divorce and remain single. The counselor, herself, was struggling to process this passage in 1 Corinthians 7. However, God’s Word is His Word. 

I remember standing in a hallway with the counselor as she described this young woman and what she knew she must say to her but in her heart she wasn’t convinced this is what God would want. The counselor didn’t know how the young mother would be able to remain single and raise her children. “How can I tell her she can’t remarry when she is so young and raising these children. She wants a home and father in her home. I don’t know if I can do it.” 

I looked into this sweet woman’s face, the counselor, and I felt exactly what she was feeling. She just needed something, anything, to help her understand how this young woman could remain single and not remarry for her entire life. 

I took this counselor by the arms and looked into her eyes and spoke directly from my own experience. And I said…… “You know that I have surrendered many of my hopes and dreams for a spouse who was on the same page as me. A spouse who attended church with me and helped me raise my children in faith. Now I know that my struggle pales in comparison but my pain and challenges were deep.” 

“What I learned is that all of my hopes and dreams of what I thought I wanted from my life on planet earth pale in comparison to the vast love of God. When I stand in His Presence and receive my inheritance, love and provision from Him, those unfulfilled hopes and dreams look like a tiny dot in the face of The Great King of the Universe. My unbelieving spouse, her incarcerated husband, are mere men. My hope, my everything, all my expectations, joy, and every fantastic adventure is centered in living fully in the grace and love of God through His Son Jesus Christ.” 

“God IS big enough, strong enough, more than enough to be my husband and fill in the missing places that I expected my earthly spouse to fill. If God will do that for me, He will do it for her. I absolutely believe that and KNOW it to be true for all of His children.” 

As I spoke to this counselor, I watched the love of God flood her soul. The vastness of the Lord and His awe and love changed her heart. I don’t know what advice she finally gave to that young mother but I expect both of them were changed in some measure by the greatness of our Lord.

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So, today I leave you with this story. I also want to tell you that no matter what this young woman chose to do for the rest of her life, God’s grace is sufficient to cover all of her choices.

 

Most of you know that I divorced in my prodigal years. I share that in our second book. That divorce was completely selfish and I ignored God’s Word thinking that I knew what was best for me. But God has forgiven my selfish choices and has blessed me and my current marriage is blessed. We are 22 years and counting. 

I want to make sure that we understand there is no condemnation in Christ. But this study and the command is in God’s Word for very good reason. As I write this, my son from my first marriage is living here. He is an adult but is still dealing with some of the ramifications of my divorce. 

It is my prayer and hope that we all learn from this study- the motives of God and why He calls us to reconciliation of marriage when possible. 

I would sure like to hear from someone who has reconciled and what that brought to your life. And again, I also believe there are some very wicked people whom separation is not only necessary but God is screaming at you to get out and find healing. 

Okay, again family. Be gentle with me in the comments even if you don’t agree. I absolutely learned a lot from the comments on Monday’s study. I love you. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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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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God's Preparation: Trials and Challenges

PrayerBlock2Dear Friends, one of the most extraordinary things that God is showing me of late is how interconnected things are and how often we miss it. So here is the first part of an unexpected series—I say unexpected because I'd made notes for what I thought were four different posts and then realized they are very much interconnected and make a whole. I love how God does that!

I remember years ago thinking that as I got older, "things" (i.e. life in general) would get easier, because I would be wiser, more experienced (is that redundant?) and overall have a better grip on life. In some ways that has proved true, but I'm finding that the deeper I seek to walk with God, the challenges have grown. Yes, we have a relentless enemy determined to to keep us from walking in our full destiny (remember, he can't take away our salvation, but he can make us ineffective, if we let him), but we serve and love a God who is even more relentless in His love and purposes and Who WILL NOT FAIL US. He is the one we will focus upon in this series.

Challenges and trials are part of life. I've learned to accept that and realize there is no such thing as a life free of these situations. Not on this side of heaven, anyway. Take hope in this my friends, for one day our Lord Jesus will dry our tears and we will be complete (realized, fully free, perfected to completion) in His presence in the heavenly realms.

In the meantime, the foundational truth that is crucial once again for us to embrace and understand is that God is good and that He brings purpose and redemption in each of us. Not just of who we are but also from our lives—our trials, struggles, pain and even those situations and conditions that seem so impossible to us from our limited understanding and perspective. This is the heart and truth of Romans 8:28 and a truth I believe we MUST revisit and reiterate over and over again because this is where the enemy will hit us hardest and attempt to make us doubt God's goodness.

Let's look at the story of Jesus walking on water:

When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He *came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and *said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened. — Mark 6:45-52 (NASB)

First, I want to point out a telling word in the second line, verse 48. The word “straining” in Greek is basanizō, and means to torture, battered, felt...tormented, pain, straining, torment, tormented.

These men were beyond the point of being afraid. It was somewhere between three and six in the dark morning hours, they most likely couldn’t see a thing because the storm covered the moon, and they were terrified and saw no way out. I find the use of this word, basanizō, very interesting, because it’s not one I would have expected to find in this story. Perhaps God wanted us to understand that no matter how deep our fear and suffering run, He will prevail.

But that’s not the point I want to bring out today. (Hang with me just a little longer. I actually have three points to share with you.) Jesus revealed Himself in such a way as to surpass the the terror of the storm—they thought he was a ghost and were terrified. Right away, their perspectives shifted from the storm to His awe-inspiring and fear rendering presence.

Point #1: God will present Himself stronger, larger and more awe-inspiring than the trial, conflict, or enemy you face.

As Jesus approached the boat, He says to “take courage; It is I, do not be afraid.” He’s telling His disciples (His friends and His children) to put faith in WHO HE IS. Not in what He can do, but to trust Who Jesus is above the storm whirling around them. Otherwise, when the storm rages longer than our first cry for help, we will think that either God hasn’t heard us, that He’s tormenting us, or that He failed. The enemy will do whatever he can to make the waves of these lies fill your boat if you let him.

Point #2: God wants your faith and trust to rest in WHO He is and not in what He can or could do in your circumstances.

And this is the part I find the most interesting and telling, my dear friends. As Jesus approached, the first thing He did was present Himself, His awe-inspiring presence. Then He got into the boat with them. And if you’ll notice, Scripture doesn’t say that Jesus made the storm go away. Only that He made the winds stop.

Did the storm clouds still remain? My gut says at this point, it really didn’t matter. More importantly, Jesus gave the disciples the reassurance of His presence with them. And my friends, we ALWAYS have that reassurance in us in the presence of His Holy Spirit.

Point #3: God will give us His presence, comfort and reassurance first, then will quiet the storm around us so that we can follow His leading to calmer shores.

Just as Jesus came to the disciples to rescue them with His presence, He came for us all in our tormented and storm-ridden states to save and rescue us.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. — 1 Peter 5:6

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. — 1 Peter 5:10

I believe that in everything we walk, suffer, strive and struggle through, God has a plan and a purpose. And if you’ll notice in the Scriptures above, it’s in His timing. Wants to restore, support and strength us so that He can place us on that firm foundation—the foundation of Jesus, which is unshakable, isn’t threatened by storms and can walk on water.

Standing for Jesus!

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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Line by Line: The Bible and Divorce

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Hi Everyone, 

Well since Thursday I have read and re-read this particular passage we are studying, 1 Corinthians 7. I know I said we would look specifically at the verses 12-15 however, I’m feeling convinced that we must actually consider the two verses prior. So today, I’m going to tackle something I HATE to address. But these verses are directly impacting to our lives and they are in God’s Holy Word for a reason. So, I’m compelled by Jesus to walk through these, line-by-line and offer some thoughts. 

DIVORCE 

Good grief, is it just me or does this “D” word stir up great emotion in your soul? And for me personally, the “D-Word” is especially raw in my home as most of you know my son is facing a divorce in the near future. But, I think it’s a topic we must consider because if we are utterly honest, in our core, we the unequally yoked have considered divorce at one time or another. 

Okay here are the dreaded verses:
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. 

Line by Line: To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): 

Let’s remember again that Paul is writing to the church in Corinth in response to their questions about marriage. And earlier in the chapter Paul has much to say about marriage responsibilities. You should read that section because it’s really great. 

Paul is passing a command to the church that is in utter confusion because the believers are emerging from a lifestyle and belief system of Greek Mythology. They don’t have information or any reference point to know what to do or how to behave when they come to faith and are married. So they ask Paul, their spiritual leader. Remember Paul was instrumental in starting the church in Corinth in his earlier visits. As their spiritual father, Paul is ordained by God and has demonstrated that God is with him. Thus he speaks a command from God. 

Line by line: A wife must not separate from her husband. 

This statement could light our comments board on fire!!!!!

 

Let me be clear here. I believe in marriage. So does Paul and our Father in Heaven knows that marriage is the singular relationship that demonstrates God’s desire for intimacy here on earth. God loves marriage. But our Lord is good and He is kind a full of grace. There are situations where marriage is no longer a safe place for a spouse or children. There are situations that arise which are of utter evil and harm. Thus, the second line appears. 

Line by line: But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. 

Now here is the rub. If she does separate, what does God say? She has two choices as she moves forward in her life. One, she remains unmarried. Two, she reconciles with her husband. 

This is difficult for so many. Why? Because our society views marriage differently than God views marriage. In the Lord’s view when a man and a woman marry, they are making a holy “vow” to one another. They are swearing their life-long commitment before the throne of the Almighty. 

Wedding Vows
In ancient times when Jewish men went through a marriage ceremony, the men made their vows to God and God alone. They didn’t make a vow to the woman. Interesting hunh? 

In 2014, our legal system has become embroiled in what is actually a religious ceremony and you can see what disaster that has wreaked upon Biblical marriage -just read the newspaper. 

That aside, let’s return to the statement, she must remain unmarried. This is where most Christians can’t deal. God is calling women to singleness! 

Yep, singleness. 

Now let’s be utterly authentic here. Or at least I will be. There were occasions when that ugly word, divorce, entered my thoughts as a young wife. And right behind those thoughts followed something like this, I want to marry a man who is a believer. I know my life would be so much better. 

Yep, I will be honest and bet a good number of you have been on this train with me in years past. But God isn’t saying in this passage that if you leave your marriage to remarry. He calls us to singleness. 

GOOD GRIEF!!!! Why would God do this? I don’t have an answer to this question right now. But I can tell you that believers who are considering separating from their spouse for whatever reason, God is calling them/us to a lifetime of singleness. 

So this is the rub. There may be absolutely STRONG reasons for a separation. But when you consider this mandate from Corinthians to remain single, it introduces an entirely different dynamic into your decision making. 

Here is my personal thought on the matter: In my personal marriage, if for some crazy reason I became separated from my husband, I would remain single for the rest of my life unless God brought about reconciliation. I know that I know that I know this to be true in my heart and spirit. 

You might say to me, “Well Lynn, that is all well and fine for you but I’m young and I have young children. I want to be married and have a family why would God not want that for me?” 

Ahhhhhh, good question. And on Friday I will share a true story where a very young woman (under 25 years old) with young children faced this very dilemma. 

Again, I’m not a Biblical scholar, so please be gentle with me. Respond in love even if you disagree. My question to you SUM Family, why would God and Paul place this very firm “command” in His Holy Word? 

Can’t wait for Friday because this story is real and heart wrenching. 

And next week, we will deal with the husbands. Guys out there, you’re not getting off the hook in this line-by-line study. *grin*

Love you my friends.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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Humble Confidence – Part 2

 HumbleConfident

In the first post of this series on humble confidence, we explored the humble, meek and gentle side of the Christian life. This post highlights our call to live boldly and confidently.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.—Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

There is a special need for confidence when your spouse does not share your faith. A spouse is the person with whom you normally discuss important plans and issues. But if they don’t share your faith, they may have a different definition of “good” and so you may face spiritual decisions without a sounding board and loving support. Your spouse may even be watching to challenge whether your actions align with your words. My husband shows embarrassment when he sees me talking to a homeless person or praying with a neighbor. (However, he usually tells me later that it was a nice thing to do.)

Humble not arrogant

This post started when a fellow SUMite and I discussed how humility and confidence go together. At first glance, they seem to be opposites. But I’ve come to understand that they are very well aligned. It helps to be clear about what these words do and don’t mean. See the last post for a discussion of humility.

The confidence I am talking about has to do with trusting God and his promises. It does not mean to have an excessive amount of trust in ourselves. That would be arrogance and the opposite of humility.  

For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus, and do not put confidence in the flesh— Philippians 3:3 (HCSB)

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:17

I find that when I am humble and realize how much I trust in God, I can be bold. It takes the pressure off.

How can I be confident that this is the right thing to do?

What if you have something on your heart to do but are not certain that it is from God? How can you be confident in it?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -- Romans 12:2

First, we are to constantly renew our minds to align with God’s will. We study the scriptures and focus our thoughts on joyful and loving things. But scriptures aren’t so specific to every decision that they say whether to lease or buy that new car, for example. There are scriptures about paying your debts. So if you can afford either option, just make a choice. Make a choice without fretting so much that you lose your joy.

What if I’m naturally shy?

We all have different talents and face different situations. Your need for confidence may be very different from mine. You may express it differently. But leaning on The Lord and stretching beyond yourself is a sweet thing. It is one way we can mature in faith and draw closer to God.

My Mother was naturally a shy person. Yet, she made a point to welcome visitors to church and to sit with them. For me, talking to strangers is not a big deal. But I know it took effort for Mom and I admired that in her.

Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame – Romans 10:10 (HCBS)

Hebrews 11 is referred to as the Hall of Faith. It lists people who are the superheroes of our faith – Abel, Abraham, Sarah, Noah, Rahab and others. Read that chapter slowly and reflect on the background that the Old Testament gives about these people. Except for Enoch, none of them really had picture perfect lives. Look at Gideon, for example. Hebrews heralds him as a conqueror. When we first meet him in the book of Judges, an angel called him to battle. His response was basically “Who me?” accompanied by excuses. But he got over it and led Israel to victory. He was shy about his own abilities, but drew confidence from God. A lesson that I take from this is that stretching ourselves and stepping out in confidence builds faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

What if things backfire or go horribly wrong?

The second part of the Romans 12:2 verse says that we are to test and approve what God’s will is. Sometimes we have to try things and see what happens. If it didn’t turn out well, then next time you are in a similar situation, make a different choice. I don’t mean to sound flippant, but it can be that mathematically logical. Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the working telephone, among many other things. On a recent visit to his museum, I was impressed with the number of failed inventions on display. When an experiment did not give the result he wanted, his attitude was that he learned one more way not to do it. We can learn from that. So, go ahead… witness to that neighbor, teach that class, post a scripture on Face Book, or whatever is calling on your courage today.

What if I struggle more with pride than shyness?

Some of us don’t struggle with shyness. In fact, we can forget to check in with God and take things in our own hands. This is where we need to develop humility to blend with our confidence. Remember to give God the glory.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, -- Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

… All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.” – 1 Peter 5:5b (NIV)

Prayer

Lord, I want all that you have for me in life. Help me, nudge me, if I am holding back from anything you want me to do. When I step out in faith, let me feel good that I obeyed and not to worry about the outcomes. It is all in Your hands. When I celebrate successes, let me give the glory to You.

Discussion

Where do you need courage today? Can we pray for you? There are so many scriptures about courage. Do you have a favorite to share? How do you feel about being both humble and confident?

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Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah (Part 2)

My friends, here is the conclusion of Olga's beautiful post. Moms, I pray this encourages you to keep on trusting God with your little ones (and big ones like I have!), because He faithful through the generations. And that is a promise straight fromt the Bible! Hugs! ~Dineen

Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah (Part 2)

"My Father is Yahweh"

859675_book___We left off at:

After that Hezekiah rededicated the Temple unto the Lord...

So the Temple of the LORD was restored to service. And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because of what God had done for the people, for everything had been accomplished so quickly. — 2 Chronicles 29:35-36

Next, Hezekiah gave an order to celebrate the holy feast of Passover which the nation had not been able to celebrate in many years:

Hezekiah sent runners to gather people into Jerusalem for celebration. The runners went from town to town throughout Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as the territory of Zebulun. But most of the people just laughed at the runners and made fun of them. However, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.

At the same time, God’s hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the LORD. So a huge crowd assembled at Jerusalem in mid spring[c] to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. — 2 Chronicles 30:10-12

Hezekiah encouraged people to serve the Lord and to trust in His goodness, Hezekiah prayed for his nation and the Lord healed them:

Since many of the people had not purified themselves, the Levites had to slaughter their Passover lamb for them, to set them apart for the LORD. Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law. For Hezekiah said, “May the LORD, who is good, pardon those who decide to follow the LORD, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony.” And the LORD listened to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.

Hezekiah encouraged all the Levites regarding the skill they displayed as they served the LORD. The celebration continued for seven days.

There was great joy in the city, for Jerusalem had not seen a celebration like this one since the days of Solomon, King David’s son. Then the priests and Levites stood and blessed the people, and God heard their prayer from his holy dwelling in heaven. — 2 Chronicles 30:17-27

In Chapter 31 of 2 Chronicles we read that Hezekiah continued the religious reforms in the country.

In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful. — 2 Chronicles 31:21

Now remember, who Hezekiah’s father was and what kind of life he lived? Remember also who Hezekiah’s mother was and how God had used her to shape this young man into the king of Judah who would bring back the nation to Himself?

I hope God has touched all the single moms and the moms in spiritually unequal marriages through this incredible story just like He touched me, just like He always touches – with His Fatherly love, boundless power, and ever amazing grace! God has reminded me once again that He is the real Father of my child and He is in total control and He enables me to co-parent with Him leading me and empowering me by his Holy Spirit. Never underestimate how great God’s plan is for your kids raised in spiritual mismatches!

Thank you, Olga, for sharing this wonderful insight from Scripture! Such great encouragement!

Get to know Olga...
IMG_8027My name is Olga, originally from Russia, I now live in Oakville, Canada with my daughter Elizabeth. I accepted Jesus at a Campus Crusade for Christ in 1993. But in the last couple of years after a painful divorce, I have gotten to know Jesus even closer, not only as my Savior, but also as my Husband, my closest Friend, and the Heavenly Father to my daughter. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Line by Line - Precept Upon Precept - Unequally Yoked

Unequally Yoked Summer Study

Line by line. Precept upon precept…. 

Most of the time I write articles and commentary on topical subjects related to faith, marriage and parenting. But recently my love for the Word of God has grown exponentially. I am falling more in love with His Holy Word. I didn’t know that was still possible but that is how I’m feeling. And specifically I think it would be a great experience for us to study line by line the passages that are specific to living unequally yoked. 

Today I want to get started, line by line with 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 

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. 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. 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. 

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? 

I am using the New International Version translation above but we will also look at a few other translations through this summer study. 

If you have read either of our books, Winning Him Without Words or Not Alone, you will know that this particular passage has enormously impacted both my understanding and hope for my marriage as well as my children’s faith choice. So I would like to walk through this together here for a few posts. After this we will look at other passages such at 1 Peter 3 and other Biblical contexts in which we find specific information and teaching for those of us who are unequally yoked. 

Does this sound like a good idea SUMmers??? (Rosheeda coined this phrase too.) 

Let’s start then with some context. And please hear me now. I am NOT a Bible scholar. I am an ordinary wife and mom. I read the Bible and I ask God continually for the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation that I may know Him better (Ephesians 1:17) So please, this study should be considered a general study where two friends, me and you, sit down at the table, read the Word, and just talk about it. We can look to other references but the most impacting study is where we share our lives, our experiences, and we receive through the Word of God from one another. 

Okay? Okay!! Let’s go! 

Who wrote the book of Corinthians? And why was it written and to whom was it written? Why do we need to know this information? Good questions. 

Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul to the “believers” in the ancient City of Corinth that was located in Greece. I looked up Corinth on Wikipedia. It’s an interesting read if you have the time. It’s important to understand the culture and the climate of the times because you gain insight into the passages of scripture. You also understand the language and the person who was writing which helps to understand the writers intent. I know this is important because as a writer myself, I am misunderstood at times. It helps to know a person. When you understand their heart and motives, your perception of their writing becomes clearer and easier. 

The believers in Corinth were people who recently worshiped multiple gods and in fact the city was known for the temple of the goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love. So the believers did not have an understanding of the Torah, nor the Jewish customs and the faith, Judaism. Paul’s background was Pharisaical and of the strictest sect.  They are relatively new converts to “The Way” as described by Paul. (Acts 9) 

There are some key differences in the people groups that Paul wrote to in his various epistles (letters). Paul sent letters to the Jews, the Romans and the Greeks. I suppose we could do an entire study about these different cultures and the means Paul uses to communicate The Good News to each. But alas, let’s not get that heavy. *grin* Moving on. 

I realize that our first line reads: To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord). So I think we need some context for this line study. Let’s look back to the beginning of chapter 7. 

The very first part of verse one reads: Now for the matters you wrote about: Paul is obviously answering a letter that was written to him from the believers of Corinth. And now Paul is answering their questions. Much like we ask our Pastor or teacher for clarification. 

Paul is specifically addressing questions raised about marriage. You can read the chapter in its entirety by clicking here.

Paul has addressed marriage issues, sex in marriage, widows, and the unmarried as well as divorce. Wow, a lot to cover in a few verses. Then he turns to our sensitive issue; Marriage to an unbeliever. 

Let’s ponder here. Don’t you think it’s interesting that believers who were alive way back when, were also grappling with this very issue. Paul, obviously has addressed this issue before because he includes it in his reply to the church of Corinth. I don’t know about you, but for years and years I always felt like I was the only one living unequally yoked. I thought that my marriage situation was rare and new to the church because they (church leadership) never talked about it. EVER. I often felt isolated and forgotten. Being a married single person can be a difficult road to walk in a church setting. 

However, here we are in Corinth at one of the original New Testament churches and they are dealing with what we live in 2014. Oh how I love the Lord that He knew all these years later we would need His wise counsel and encouragement right from His Holy and powerful Word. 

----- 

Yikes, over a thousand words already and we are just getting to the good stuff. Okay, let’s pick up on Monday with the next line. And can you help me out? What are your thoughts about the precept upon precept study? Are you in? And can you help me with other scripture passages that are specific to living unequally yoked. Hint: There are more than you think. 

I love you my friends. Let’s let the LIVING Word change our hearts and our homes. See you in the comments.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah (Part 1)

My friends, this week I am swamped with jury duty and some design project deadlines, so I am thrilled to have one of our very own SUMites, Olga Gurina, fill in for me this week. I've so looked forward to sharing this beautiful nugget with you and this is the perfect week to do it. Part 2 will go up on Saturday. Enjoy and have an amazing week! Hugs! ~Dineen

Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah

"My Father is Yahweh"

859675_book___In the last couple of days through my daily readings, the Lord was so gracious and opened my eyes to see yet another amazing story of His faithfulness to us, single moms or moms in the spiritually unequal marriages.

Reading through 2 Chronicles 26-31, some names started to pop up off the page and I saw a real drama unfold through four generations of kings of Judah.

Can you imagine being married for 16 years to a very powerful man who lives his life as described in 2 Chronicles 28:

  • He completely rejects the Lord and worships idols of all kinds (v.1-2, v,22)
  • He burns your own sons as sacrifices to idols (v.3)
  • He commits adultery with multiple prostitutes in most disgusting ways as part of idol worship (v.4)
  • He is a complete loser as a leader (v.5)
  • He instigates everybody around him to all kinds of sin and crime (v.19)
  • He shuts down the church and prohibits everybody to worship God (v.24)
  • He has obvious demonic anger outbursts, destroys anything has to do with your faith, rips/burns your Bibles, destroys worship DVDs (v. 24)
  • When he dies, he is buried with no due respect or no regret outside the city cemetery (v.27)

Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah (2 Chron 29:1) was married to this evil man and had at least one son with him. We can only imagine, but some of us can picture it very well and in great detail, what her family life might have been like with Ahaz (2 Chron 28).

Literally, THANK GOD, Abijah was not alone in this. Abijah’s name means "my Father is Yahweh” and no doubt she knew her Abba Father and He sustained her trough her most horrific marriage trials. We read that she was the daughter of Zechariah and her dad surely passed on his faith to his daughter. Zechariah was a godly influence on Uzziah (2 Chron 26), Ahaz’s grandfather. Zechariah taught him to fear God. Hebrew reads “instructed him in divine visions.”

I have no doubt Zechariah instructed his daughter Abijah in divine visions and fear of the Lord. Abijah had to cling to her Lord for salvation, protection and wisdom in all those years she was married to one of the most wicked kings of Judah. How did she end up marrying this man, we don’t know, the Scripture does not tell. But her faith and faithfulness to the Lord was richly rewarded in her son Hezekiah (2 Chron 29). Hezekiah, the son born in this spiritually unequal marriage, became the next king of Judah.

“Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became the king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2 He did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done. — 2 Chronicles 29:1-2

As we read further, we learn the Hezekiah became the “Billy Graham” ☺ of Judah of his time and lead a great spiritual revival, beginning with reopening of the Temple:

In the very first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah reopened the doors of the Temple of the LORD and repaired them. He summoned the priests and Levites to meet him at the courtyard east of the Temple. He said to them, “Listen to me, you Levites! Purify yourselves, and purify the Temple of the LORD, the God of your ancestors. Remove all the defiled things from the sanctuary. Our ancestors were unfaithful and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD our God. They abandoned the LORD and his dwelling place; they turned their backs on him. They also shut the doors to the Temple’s entry room, and they snuffed out the lamps. They stopped burning incense and presenting burnt offerings at the sanctuary of the God of Israel.

“That is why the LORD’s anger has fallen upon Judah and Jerusalem. He has made them an object of dread, horror, and ridicule, as you can see with your own eyes. Because of this, our fathers have been killed in battle, and our sons and daughters and wives have been captured. But now I will make a covenant with the LORD, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. My sons, do not neglect your duties any longer! The LORD has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him, and to lead the people in worship and present offerings to him.” — 2 Chronicles 29:3-11

After that Hezekiah rededicated the Temple unto the Lord...

Come back Saturday for part 2 and read what God showed Olga in this encouraging story right from the Bible.

Get to know Olga...
IMG_8027My name is Olga, originally from Russia, I now live in Oakville, Canada with my daughter Elizabeth. I accepted Jesus at a Campus Crusade for Christ in 1993. But in the last couple of years after a painful divorce, I have gotten to know Jesus even closer, not only as my Savior, but also as my Husband, my closest Friend, and the Heavenly Father to my daughter. 

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Guest With Arlene Pelicane

I'm a guest with Arlene Pelicane today on her podcast. 

Happy-wife-rendered2Arlene: Are you and your husband on the same page spiritually?  My dear friend, author Lynn Donovan shares her story of what it’s like to be married to an unbeliever.  You are going to love her spunk and honesty.

How has she found love, peace, and happiness in a marriage that is spiritually mismatched?  Find hope for your hurtingmarriage today.

Find more help for your marriage in Lynn’s book, co-authored with Dineen Miller,Winning Him Without Words. Lynn’s story is also featured in my book 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife.

Lynn Donovan on Becoming a Happy Wife

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Reader Question: How do I defend my faith?

Dear friends, here's another reader question that really challenged me in my answer to her. Sometimes there isn't a clean cut and clear answer. And as Scripture says, we don't understand God's ways, but we do know He is always good and always faithful. Pray for our dear SUMite sister in this situation. Hugs! ~Dineen

I've been reading the blog on and off for a year, and just started reading Winning Him Without Words. The website address prompted me to come visit again. I appreciate the honesty in Tamara's letter (see post here), and it lets me know I am not alone. I feel a similar frustration but for a different issue. Yes, my husband in not a believer but it has led me to seek His truth even more so than before. I know I am not with him in error, and I hold onto the words in the Bible that advise me to stay with my unbelieving spouse unless he no longer wants to be with me.

However, for 5 years I have been trying to conceive and have tried nothing and everything we could and could not afford. I don't know how to explain to my husband that "everything is possible if you believe" when I have believed so many times, and nothing. I don't know how to answer my husbands questions because, how can I honestly say that the Lord must have something better in mind? And so I just sound like a lunatic. Yes. God is enough. God can comfort and love me, but He cannot replace a baby in my arms. This makes it very complicated to defend my faith and I understand why my husband does not believe.

My friend, I'm so sorry you are in this position. I feel your disappointment and pain. I wish I had an easy answer or explanation for you, but I don't. I've recently had to deal with something in my own life in similar fashion that didn't make sense even to me, yet I knew my only recourse was to trust God. I couldn't explain it to my husband, nor did I try to defend God. I just simply shared what I felt God was showing me through it and how God was helping me walk through it.

Sometimes all we can say is, "I don't know, but I will trust God." It's essentially what Proverbs 3:5-6 is about, to trust God and not lean on our own understanding, to seek His will and believe He'll show us the way.

These are the times that we are challenged to truly believe and hold onto the truth of Romans 8:28, that God is always good and that He is always working for our good. I know how hard that is when faced with such unexplainable circumstances.

I will offer you no pat answer or cliché of words you’ve most likely heard over and over again. But I will say, don’t let go of God. When you are confronted with these difficult questions, ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words. You may find the answer He gives you to speak will bring you comfort and peace as well.

We don’t see the full picture, but we can trust that God does, that He is on the throne and is working for not just your good but your husband’s too. I believe God can bring something beautiful and amazing from every heartache in our lives. And I am believing this for you too.

Hugging you tight with love and prayers,
Dineen

Provers 3  1-6

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Let's Talk About Lies

Greetings My SUM Family, 

My heart has received such encouragement and joy from your words and prayers on Monday. God has worked out some amazing things in this difficult time. We are now moving forward. I’m excited to see what the Lord has for my son and our family. 

I Heart you! 

DonotlieToday however, I want to talk about lies. In the last month I’ve had to deal a lot with lies and deception. And what I’ve learned is how easily lies can trip and flow from lips. Fortunately for me God has given me a powerful discernment when someone is lying to me. I quickly recognize when I’m not getting the full or correct story. It’s like a spiritual gut check and I immediately know some things are just not right. 

My daughter has even said to her friends, in front of me, “I never lie to my mom. She ALWAYS finds out.” Well, I don’t know if she has never told me a lie but most of the time we have a very honest and open relationship. I have given her permission to tell me anything, no matter how horrible, and I will not get angry or punish her. I’ve promised that if she is honest I would want to approach the problem with full truth and would help her through it. Same goes with my son and husband. 

I also know that so many people don’t have this kind of trust. And so many of us were raised in environments where lying seemed the only way to keep yourself safe or out of trouble. So we learned as youngsters to lie to keep the peace. We lie to save ourselves from pain and difficulty. 

But, as believers we must step into God’s calling for us. He is a God of truth. Lies are from the enemy. 

So today can we be honest here? Can we have a real conversation of how we escape a lifestyle of lies? Can we ask the question is a white lie really a lie? Is it possible to break a lifetime of deceit and live in truth and peace? 

My friends, I have some thoughts to share on how I’ve escaped lies. For example, the phone rings. My husband says, “I’m not home.” I answer the phone and say hello. The caller asks for Mike. What do I reply? 

Do I say, “He’s not here?” Does it matter?? 

I would be really interested to hear someone’s story that grew up in a household where everyone lies to one another. I’ve come to realize this is actually common in family dynamics. And if you are in this kind of dynamic and want to stop the cycle of lies, will someone who has had victory in this area, PLEASE HELP US. What did you do? 

I’m looking forward to some great comments of wisdom and help. There is NO judgment in this House of SUM. If you are struggling in this area, tell us, tell me and I will earnestly pray for your transformation. 

See you my friends in the comments. Should be a really great conversation. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com
 

*****

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God Makes Everything Beautiful

IStock_000021786064SmallThe three of us stood together, three women sharing hearts and faith. My prayer partner and I had just finished praying for our dear friend, who happens to be mismatched like me. Like you. And the weight of her yoke was sitting very heavy.

That’s when my prayer partner began to share her testimony about praying for her mother. She’d prayed for years for her mother to come to Jesus and grew very frustrated as well, thinking her prayers “availed nothing.”

But God told her one day that He heard every prayer. And answered. Each day He would put specific plans in place for her mother to encounter God. It was her mother who kept rejecting Him. From that point on, she shifted her prayers to appreciation and gratitude for each day that God pursued her mother.

As I listened, I realized I needed this message as much as the woman we’d just finished praying for. It’s hard to pray the same thing, ask the same thing over and over again. And I’m coming to believe that part of the journey is shifting from request to belief.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6-7

So I started small. Now each day I thank God for how He is pursuing my husband, for the “chance” encounters, for the evidence and details in his work, (God told me recently to pray for divine connections in his programming—how cool is that?), for how He is making my precious husband beautiful for his own time, as God has planned it.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. — Ecclesiastes 3:11

I have always loved this truth, because it says God plants eternity in our hearts. It’s there in all of us, that longing to know Him, even if we continue to push it down and ignore it. We can’t undo what God has done.

But now I’m growing to appreciate another part of this piece of enlightening Scripture as I understand that God’s timing is often longer than what we desire or perceive. I know it seems so long, too long at times. But God has a reason for that too.

And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him. — 2 Peter 3:15

And in conjunction with this, still another truth to Ecclesiates 3:11 is that we are unable to see the full scope of all that God does, because you and I, we see the now. And we we see our children too. But, God—He sees the generations to come. Even in the Bible as Jesus walked the earth and spoke to the disciples, He was thinking about us and directing His words and wisdom not only for those present but for the generations to come (John 17:20-21).

The truth of Ecclesiastes 3:11 carries the promises that we can be thankful for now and claim and believe.

I believe God is making my husband beautiful for his time to know Jesus.

Lord, thank You for relentlessly pursuing my husband and for all that You are doing to day to reveal Yourself and grab my husband's attention. Thank You for planting eternity in his heart and though I can't see all that You are doing.

And we can apply this to the believers in our lives too. I am holding onto these nuggets of truth for my daughter who continues to struggle in this life, and I struggle to watch because I want what every mother wants, to see her child reach for her potential and succeed.

Another job has passed her over and a freak accident totaled her parked car (thankfully she wasn't in it). These are the trials of life that we must navigate on a daily basis, but if I am to hold to the truth of Scriptures like Ecclesiates 3:11, He’s making everything beautiful for her as well.

Lord, thank You for the job You are putting into place for my girl. Thank You that You love her even more than I do and want her to be all You created her to be. Make her beautiful in Your time, Abba, and help me to let go of my timeline and expectations.

The longer I walk this path of faith the more I see my greatest challenge is to let go (even thought Abba keeps sending me this message over and over again!) and trust Him—for everything. Everything that He is making beautiful for its time.

Thank You, Abba, thank You for making all things beautiful for its time. Including me. I love You.

In this journey with you, my friends,
Dineen

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Reader Questions: What About Tithing?

This is a reader question from April, 2009. It's still applies today. Hugs, Lynn

This week's question is from Amanda:

788824_dollar_bill"I would love to hear how you handle giving (financially) in a SUM. I don't think it would be accurate to say that my husband is an unbeliever exactly, but he is less inclined than I am to dedicate this life to living for God. The biggest struggle we have is regarding tithing and offerings- he generally feels that the 10% is an arbitrary number that has no bearing on modern life. Any thoughts on how to handle this is greatly appreciated!"

 

Lynn's Answer: Tithing: This is a controversial issue in any marriage but this is one area where unequally yoked couples tend to be at odds frequently. What does the Bible say about tithing? Let’s take a look.

Actually the Bible has much to say about money. Jesus taught us to use our money to influence friends.

Luke 16:9 (NIV) I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?

He also said, Luke 12:48b (NIV) From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

There are many scriptures in the Old Testament which address tithing. Look in the first book of the Bible, Genesis: And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him (Melchizedek, king of Salem) a tenth of everything. Chapter 14:20.

But I want you to remember, we live in the new Age. The age of grace given to us by Christ Jesus. We are no longer subject to the law.

With that said, the following scripture is what speaks to me about tithing:

2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV) Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

So how does this play out in real-life with our spouse. From my own marriage I can tell you that my husband can get worked up about tithing. Because of the years of televangelists pleading for money then misappropriating it, my husband has a jaded view of “giving to the church.” Can I get an AMEN?

And honestly, I can understand why he might feel that way. I have been careful not to push tithing as an issue in our marriage. I give a small portion of our income. Very small. So small that it does not create discord in our relationship. Do I feel bad about this or desire to give more? YES! However, I trust God to see my heart. He knows what I would like to do. More importantly He does not want tithing to become one more issue to drive my husband away from Jesus.

So, I give of my time. I volunteer in ministry. A lot! But not so much that I neglect our home, or him or our daughter. God honors this in our life.

What God really wants is not our money. He wants our heart. First and foremost. Period. The End.

Look at the scriptures below and discover what God really wants. Hint, it is not your checkbook. Be Blessed, Lynn

Revelation 19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Psalm 29:2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

 

Dineen's Answer: Tithing is a very difficult issue to settle clearly, and I think Lynn's advice above is sound and the Scripture references are perfect. What I'm about to share is what worked for me.

About 12 years ago, the tithing issue came up big time in my marriage. I'd just recommitted my life to Christ and had joined a church I adored. And my precious hubby had made the decision for atheism. Talk about a couple going in opposite directions!

The tithing issue weighed heavily on my heart though. I wanted to do our part and worried what it would mean if we didn't. At the time I was reading a book called The Wonderful Spirit Filled Life by Charles Stanley. He tells you do this exercise where you write whatever decision you're grappling with on a note card or piece of paper. Then find a quiet place to pray uninterrupted. Ask God to make you absolutely neutral in this decision. Once you've prayed, tear it up, acknowledging your willingness to become neutral and continue praying until you are convinced you're neutral about it.

I wrote on a card that I would ask my husband what he felt we could tithe each month and that I would accept whatever he said. Once I'd prayed and felt I'd reached this place of neutrality, I went to my husband and asked what we could do. He told me a figure. Amazingly, I was fine with it. And though it was not the 10% I thought we were supposed to give, it was more than I'd hoped for. Every year since, I've asked my husband what he feels we can handle, and that's been the commitment ever since.

No, it's not 10%, but I know I'm honoring God and my husband by doing it this way, and that I can give in other ways as well, like using my graphic design skills and programs to do the church newsletter.

And as time has progressed, I've found that I'm the one tested in this. For example, roughly three years ago I started doing freelance graphic design work again. From the start I made the decision to tithe 10% of the extra money I earned. And my hubby was fine with it.

My income has slowly but steadily increased. When we've needed the money, the work has come in. When God had something more important for me to do, like take care of  my daughter when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the work literally stopped until the very last week of her treatment. I was faithful, therefor so was God. And you'll notice this had to do with me, not my husband.

So, Amanda, if we were sitting down with a nice cup of coffee and some girl-talk, I would tell you not to worry about the amount but the heart and motivation behind it. God wants us to tithe our resources happily as a way of giving thanks, and a reminder that we what have—money, skills, resources—are from his hand anyway. Ask your husband what he's comfortable with and honor it. That way he's not grumbling and neither are you. Then let God do the rest.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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Donovan Clan Update

Hello My SUMite Family, 

It was my intentions to share a little about the book, The Five Love Languages. However, I’m just not feelin’ it. So I think it’s time to let you know what has been going on in the Donovan Clan House. 

As most of you know my son and daughter-in-law moved in with us in January to relocate from Las Vegas to California. And as of today our hopes for a new life for them have turned to disappointment. I will be brief in my explanation and perhaps you can understand why I’ve been somewhat absent from the internet in the last month. 

Thank you Dineen Miller, my BFF, for covering for me during this most difficult time. 

Out of respect for my son I will share just briefly. They have separated and it looks as though their marriage will be another casualty of this broken world. It has been a difficult walk as I’ve watched this relationship struggle for a long time. 

As a proponent and a believer who stands for marriage, I’m heartbroken for everyone. I haven’t cried this much in years and years. However, I’ve also prayed and prayed for God to show us the way forward and I believe He has. He has covered us with His love and grace. 

It will take some time for me and my entire family to process all of the emotions, pain and decisions of the past month. I hope I’m able to share with you in the future how the Lord moved with grace and love in the middle of this terrible storm. 

Why am I sharing this with you, my family? Because I see three things in all of this. I truly know how many of you are feeling as you struggle in your own challenges and difficult marriages in this life. I have cried many tears for all you in my prayer time this past month. 

Two, I think some of this is spiritual attack as this all started when I began to put together my next book outline. I’m convinced this next book will have a great impact on the Kingdom, thus the enemy has thrown everything at me and my family to distract and keep me from writing. Devil when I rise from all of this I’m gonna hurt you bad!!!!! 

And three, I STILL believe in God’s Sovereignty, His love and grace for my family and I KNOW He will reveal all the good that will come out of the tears and ashes. And perhaps, God wanted to me to know that I could walk through all of this and not become offended and still love people even while enduring deep, deep pain. 

I believe I have walked through this with grace, not perfection, but with the grace and the perspective of heaven. I have spoken Ephesians 2:6 … I am seated in heavenly realms with Christ… a million times in this past month. 

The separation will be final in two weeks. For now thank you for your love. I pray you will not be disappointed with me as your leader here at SUM and I thank you for allowing me to be authentic. Thank you for your prayers. 

I sign off today and clearly state: I believe God has our family in His hands and I remain an even stronger advocate of marriage today. 

Walking in His Supernatural grace, Lynn

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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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