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23 entries from October 2015

From the Archives: Feasting on God's Word

On Saturdays we continue to post from our archives. Last year starting in April I did a series about the transformed mind. I'm feeling led to rerun that series over the next fews week, my friends, and I pray it gives you more encouragement and inspiration to let the Holy Spirit transform you with the Word of God and His truths! Amen! Love you! ~Dineen

 

The Transformed Mind: Feasting on God's Word 

ThemindWhat are you thinking right now? What are you worried about? What has your heart and mind twisted in knots on a daily basis?

Do you know you have control over this? That you are not at the mercy of your thoughts and emotions?

I didn't understand this for a long time. Only recently have I come to more ably see just how much I judged my faith (and myself) by my emotions. It’s an ongoing process that I want to share with you, my friends, so we can grow together in this area—one I believe is crucial to every area of our lives and especially in our mismatched marriages. Because as we are transformed, you better believe your prebeliever is going to notice!

And what I thought would be one post has now become multiple parts. So welcome to this series about the battlefield of our minds and how we can truly have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). I’m excited to share this with you and especially excited to hear back from you about your own journey in this area.

Let’s start with faith. Faith is based upon truth—the promises found in the Word of God—whether seen or unseen (Hebrews 11:1). Our minds can take these very promises and, through the lens of the world, our past hurts and the enemy's lies, turn them into mere shadows of the truth, void of the power they are intended to have in our lives.

My friends, of all the territories God calls us to claim in our lives of faith, I believe our minds are the most crucial territory of all that we must be constantly tending and feeding. The last three months have taught me this very well.

So how do we stand and hold our place in victory over this battlefield of our minds?

I know you’ve heard this one before: read and study the Bible. A big part of how God transforms us is through His Word (Romans 12:2). You don't have to be in seminary or even in a Bible study at your church (although this can be a very helpful part, don’t be dependent upon this one way of studying God’s Word). Just make time each day to sit down and read it. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God's promises and when one speaks to you, write it down in a journal. Ask God to help you understand what it means for you and record that as well.

You can follow a reading plan, follow God's leading as to where He wants you to read, or start with a devotional and read the Scriptures before and after the main verse. Just be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's nudges as you read. If you find yourself deeply touched by a verse, stop and let it sink in. Let the God speak to you through His words on the page.

Even if you've barely read a paragraph that day, you have received gold! It's not about how much you read, but about how much you listen and take in. Don't rush. Just relax and enjoy it. Even if nothing in particular stands out, you've fed your spirit and your soul with God's truth. Remember, it’s not about how we feel, it’s about believing, it’s about faith.

One resource I've found to be very helpful is Charles Stanley's InTouch Ministries website. I have the app on my iPad and use it daily to read the devotionals and especially if I want a list of Scriptures specific to an area, like fear or purpose. (God’s Promises on InTouch Minsitries

If you have a Bible app on your phone or an iPad, do a word search and write down the Scriptures that apply and give you comfort and peace. You can even do this online at BibleGateway.com with multiple translations.

The next part of this series will be about claiming and praying these promises over our lives and I’ll even share some examples, so have at least one or two ready that you have found so you can practice. Until then, my friends, feast on God’s Word daily. It’s the most important meal of your day!

Love you dearly!
Dineen

Image credit: carlacastagno / 123RF Stock Photo

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The MIGHTY Shield Of Faith

 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comPick up the Shield of Faith

  • Raise the shield when our marriage is hanging by a thread.
  • Raise the shield when the bottom of our finances drop out.
  • Raise the shield when that prodigal child goes from bad to worse.
  • Raise the shield when you’ve said to yourself, I can’t take one more thing.
  • Raise the shield when life doesn’t make sense
  • Raise the shield even when you don’t feel like it.

SUMers, up until now the garments of Ephesians 6 are the armor pieces that every believer dawns and wears every day. But the next few portions of this armament, they are to be picked up as life circumstances demand.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. —Ephesians 6:16

When all hell breaks loose in your life, it is the day of evil and we can surely count on the arrows flying our direction and toward those whom we love. So we step into faith. But let me ask you this. Do you know what faith really is?

I’m convinced it is two things. First, belief. We believe what God is saying is truth. Even when it appears to be otherwise in our circumstances. We believe even when we don’t feel like it.

At some place in our faith walk we will come to a very interesting juncture. This place on our faith journey will come at different times in a person’s journey and sometimes more than once. But one day, you will ask yourself this question: Do I believe the Bible is true? And at some point in your growing faith, you will be able to answer something like this:

I don’t understand everything in the Word. At times there seems to be uncertainties and passages that are unexplainable and some that simply don’t makes sense. But today, I’m crossing that line and I choose to believe that God’s Word, is in fact, true. I will trust God to explain what I need as time goes by and trust that His Word is all that it says it is. I will believe it and my life will reflect this belief.

Secondly, faith is also a risk. Once we believe that God’s Word is true, you can bet that the Lord will orchestrate opportunities to prove it…. (not Him) but to yourself. God will set up circumstances where you will be required to take a risk, to step out in faith and believe for the promised outcome of His Word.

Faith is activated by a step of action, often a risk.

Read Hebrews 11 for the “actions” of faith. These men of old picked up the shield of faith and believed.

They acted on truth regardless of their circumstances or feelings. Wow!!! And guess what happened. God moved!

The enemy has an arsenal of arrows of lies. These missiles are strategic and pinpointed to our weakest areas of life. This is our spiritual warfare. But our faith, our alignment with the teaching of the Word, will protect us from great harm and eventually the devils get weary because they know they can’t get past our shield of faith.

My friends, the demons love it when we get our truth and faith from any place other than God. They love it when we tune into Oprah to hear what she has to say about a matter. They dance with glee when we say, well that’s not how my mama raised me. The demons wickedly laugh when we ask our friends for marriage advice or tune into the latest Today show or talk show host. They have nothing to fear because they know we will remain defenseless and they can shoot the arrows all. day. Long.

But when we are tuned in, dialed up, Bible reading, fire breathing scripture quoting people of God, they shiver in terror and run for cover.

For some of you, today may be your point of no return. You are standing at the juncture of faith and you realize there is a cost. You are trying to decide if you truly want this kind of belief. But you wonder what your husband will do. You worry what people might think, if you become a Jesus freak. You know that others will judge you because you are crazy for God. You dread someone naming you as a zealot, Bible thumper, crazy Christian.

But, I ask you this. Aren’t you tired of fighting the battles and losing? Aren’t you weary of the worry, anxiety and fear? Are you done with powerless faith?

If you are, then today is one of the greatest days of your life.

You are going to step out on the path of real faith and never look back. You are going to join the “crazies,” that would be Dineen and I, and many other SUMites who have discovered that living for Jesus is the best thing that will ever happened to us.

Is Jesus calling you to deeper faith this minute? Step over the line. There’s no going back but the rewards are…… OUT OF THIS WORLD!

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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Can We Hear God?

IStock_000014889792XSmallMy friends, I love our Lord so much. I sat in my quiet time yesterday morning and asked the Holy Spirit what our SUM family needed right now. What did He want me to write about next? I followed His leading and listened and He showed me that after the Abundant Life series, He wants you to know that you can and do hear God. 

Last weekend a dear friend of mine said she didn’t know what to do about her future and wasn’t hearing God. Said she couldn’t hear Him. And I so understood the cry of her heart, because I have been there. I believed that God was either silent, or I couldn’t hear Him.

SUM family, I think we all have struggled in this place at some point and some of us still do. Well today I have some biblical truths for you that will blow those lies of the enemy out of your heart and mind. You will start to hear God more and be amazed when you do.

I know this because I’m sharing my story—my testimony with you. These are the truths the Holy Spirit showed me, which increased my ability to hear Him. 

First, we need to believe He hears us. The Bible is full of verses that state this truth.

But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears. — Psalm 18:6

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. — Psalm 34:4

Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from inside the fish. He said, “I cried out to the LORD in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and LORD, you heard me! — Jonah 2:1-2

These are Old Testament references, before Jesus died for us and gave us His Holy Spirit. So, doesn’t it stand to reason that if the Spirit of God dwells in us, we will hear Him?

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one. — John 10:27

SUMites, this is the foundation of what the Holy Spirit showed me. The enemy wants us to think we can’t hear God, or that God won’t answer us. But God’s Word, which is irrefutable truth, tells us He hears us and we will hear Him. Just believing this one truth alone and praying with the expectation to hear Him has increased my ability to hear Him in powerful ways.

Belief is so crucial, my friends. Believe God’s Word, truly believe it. Don’t just speak it but truly seek to believe it. The Holy Spirit will transform our minds (Romans 12:2) with the Word of God and the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6).

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. — 1John 5:14-15

SUMites, as I continue working in the healing rooms here, the Holy Spirit shows me over and over again that lies are at the sources of so much of our pain and struggles. They drive our mind and motivations in the wrong direction and keep us from all that God has for us.

So if you have believed the lie that God doesn’t heart you, that you can’t hear Him, that He doesn’t answer you, pray this prayer with me today:

Lord Jesus, I believe that you came and died for me, therefore Your Holy Spirit dwells in me. Therefore, You are my Good Shepherd, I am your sheep and I hear Your voice. I believe that You hear every prayer and I believe that You have answers for me. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Now I want to pray this for you, SUMites:

Lord Jesus, in Your name I bind the lies that have told us we can’t hear you, and I anoint the ears of every person reading this to hear You clearly, in every way You desire to speak to them. I bless them with the ability to recognize your voice above all others. In the True and powerful name of Jesus, amen!

I love you, SUMites! Let me know if you've prayed with me today so I can stand in agreement with you. Walk in confidence that Your God hears you and He WILL answer you.
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What Does Thankfulness Do?

3KeysSUM family, we talked last week about the first two keys, forgiveness and love. On the subject of love I just want to make one more point that the Holy Spirit reminded about me over the weekend. 

We reference 2 Timothy 1:7 frequently when we talk about fear.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

We’ve been given love in our spirit. I just want to point that out in case you’re feeling like you can’t love your pre-believer or someone else in your life well enough. The truth is, on you’re own steam, you can’t, but as a child of God, you can. God’s Word says you have a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. And I love how these three are bundled up.

Love without God’s power runs out. Power without God’s love turns manipulative and self-seeking. And self-discipline without love and power is ineffective. All three are necessary and work best together. I could write even more on this subject alone, but let’s move on to our third key, thankfulness.

The Holy Spirit has been showing me how important thankfulness is to our walk of faith and the abundant life. Let me start with a story first. Several months ago, I was struggling a bit in my faith walk and couldn’t figure out why. I sat one morning in prayer and asked the Holy Spirit for help.

He said, “You’re not being thankful.”

At His words I realized I’d done more grumbling than thanking lately. Not grumbling in the sense of complaining, though I’m sure I did some of that too, but more in the sense of continuing to ask over and over again without faith.

The Bible has a lot to say about thankfulness. Psalm 50:15 calls it a “sacrifice of thanksgiving,” which it is when we’re called to be thankful in difficult situations and times.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. — 1 Thess 5:18

And let me point out that this verse doesn’t say to be thankful for the circumstances but to be thankful in them. I do not believe we are called to be thankful for an illness, a catastrophe, poverty—things that are clearly not from the hand of a loving God. But we can be thankful in them that God’s presence is working to help us in whatever situation we are in to bring redemption and goodness from it. 

When in doubt, reread Romans 8:28. Let your world and perspective revolve around this verse and watch how dramatically your life and how you live your life will change!

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. — Rom 8:28

So back to my story. Yes, my friends, I repented of my unthankfulness and began intentionally being thankful. And I began to take notice of the effect thankfulness has on me—spiritually, mentally and even physically. These are my observations:

Being thankful:

  • Brings peace in every situation (Col 3:15)
  • Encourages and releases healing—spiritually, physically and mentally (Col 1:11-13)
  • Gives a sense of well-being (Col 2:6)
  • Brings our heart into alignment with God’s (Eph 5:20)
  • Releases the Holy Spirit to work (1 Thess 5:19)
  • Builds our faith and trust in God because as we are asking in prayer, we are then thanking him for the answer (Phil 4:6-7)

My friends, I want you to try your own experiment with thankfulness. Try one of two things: 

  • Start a thankful journal. Writing down five things every day that you are thankful for. Try not to repeat.
  • Sit in a quiet place and think about one thing that you are struggling with. Now, shift your mind to God and start thanking Him for one positive aspect of that situation. 

Perhaps your marriage—thank God for one aspect of your husband that you truly love. God designed your pre-believer just like He did you. Find the gold and appreciate it. Talk to God about this. Do this everyday and then at the end of the week, ask yourself how you’re feeling and thinking about your marriage now.

A situation at work—focus on the rest of your job that you are thankful for. Do this every day before you leave. Then email me and tell me about the day one of your co-workers commented on how you’ve changed and how positive you seem to be.   

Something inside yourself—acknowledge whatever it is you don’t like about yourself, but give yourself grace here, my friends. Sometimes the very thing we see as our weakest area is the very thing God is turning into your greatest strength. Thank Him for giving you the power and desire to do what pleases Him, because He is! His Word says so. 

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. — Phil 2:13

Even Jesus prayed with thanksgiving (Luke 10:21). Paul thanked God and drew courage from it (Acts 28:16). Now look at a these Scriptures from Colossians:

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. — Col 3:13-15

All three keys are right there! They build upon and are integral to each other. And when we are intentional to use all three in our faith walk, we are strengthened in our faith, my friends, because we living our lives rooted in the truths of Jesus Christ.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. — Col 2:6-7

There are so many verses in the Bible about thankfulness. Do you have a favorite one to share? Do you have story of how being thankful has made a difference in your faith and life? Let’s meet in the comments and keep talking! 

SUM family, I am so thankful for you, every day. I am thankful God has put me in this place for such a time as this to be a part of your lives. And thank you for being a part of mine. I love you!
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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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Our Unbelieving Spouse, The Kids and Halloween

I posted this last year, October 30, 2014

Greetings, 

Halloween 2014It’s a Thursday afternoon. I’m in my office typing, sorting and thinking. Worship music is playing softly, drifting down the hall from the kitchen. Rain is on the way. Oh, thank you Papa!!!! 

I have some thoughts about tomorrow. Halloween was always one of the highlights of my year as a child. I mean really. Come on. Free candy…. It’s a day to pretend you are someone else, costumes, parties, bobbing for apples, being scared (but not really). I know that there is disagreement about how believers should handle this day. I’m not going to judge. You need to follow the Holy Spirit as He directs your heart for your family. 

But today I want to share a prayer God has placed heavily on my spirit and with power. Because tomorrow after the kids are home sorting their candy, after the paint is washed from their faces and the jack-o-lanterns have long burned out, there is a reality. 

There is a very real enemy of God and His people. And on this night in particular as the midnight hour approaches, there is a furor of activity in the demonic realm. Witchcraft peaks and the purposes of evil are spoken over towns, cities, entire regions. 

But…… 

We are the SUMITE NATION. We are the light of God shining brightly into our realm of the Kingdom. Our light is so powerful and anointed that the curses spoken in the darkness cannot land in our home or community. I absolutely believe that because we are all strategically placed around the globe in different cities, we are those who will break the intended purposes of evil with the glory of our powerful Jesus that shines from our spirt. 

Enjoy the antics, face painting and the mounds of candy, Snickers is my personal favorite. Grace your husband with the freedom to take the kids out for trick-o-treat. But also, let’s stand together, as a united SUMite Nation of believers. We are the light that has been strategically placed into our communities around the globe. Let’s pray together and let’s pray with power. Hugs, Lynn 

Holy and all-powerful Lord, Jesus who holds the keys, and Holy Spirit who directs my words, I know that there is a very real enemy of your people and Kingdom. Lord, I also know that you are our Victorious King who sends your mighty angel armies at our request to stand for our homes and communities. 

Lord, Jesus, we are now standing with a powerful light that extends up from our spirit into the spiritual realm. We are speaking/praying against evil, witchcraft, and occult intentions that are spoken to destroy our peaceful and love-filled homes. We declare this work of evil is powerless and falls to the ground. Lord, we stand as your Royal Priests and decree that our faith and love is more powerful than all the devices of the evil one. No weapon formed against us will prosper. Curses spoken in the darkness are immobilized. They are cast back against those who speak them. Lord, release your Holy spirit with great power as we pray and shelter our valley, our city, our nation from the intentions of this night. 

And on the marrow, we will rise up into a season of joyous Thanksgiving. We will be the ordinary fathers, wives, husbands, mothers, who have a love that the enemy CAN NOT FIGHT. You reign. You are glorified. You are Holy and darkness cannot stand in Your marvelous light. 

In the powerful name above all names, Jesus. Amen

 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Have a safe week and make this fun for your kids and not scary. Hugs, Lynn

On Friday I have another post on our Spiritual Armor and on November 2nd. Dineen and I have a BIG announcement. Stay tuned family. So much is going on in the Kingdom and we all get to be part of it. Woo Hoo!!!!

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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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Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

Weekends we re-post from our archives, articles which remain relevant for the spiritually mismatched marriage.

This post is part III in this series. Click on Part I and Part II to read the precursors to this article. This was originally posted on April 20, 2012.

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Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs  

Part III

A few months ago I was emailing back and forth to a friend of mine whose husband is a reader of atheist blogs. She was in such pain and in a quandary as to how to cope. Now I don’t pretend to have all the answers for each individual situation. I can only share what has worked in my life and marriage. 

Let me say that I love this young mom and wife. She is in the midst of fiery battles daily and is yet living for Jesus under tremendous persecution from her own spouse. And to add to the dynamics of her situation is how she is hard-wired, she hates confrontation. Many of us would go to great lengths to avoid confronting anyone let alone our spouse who holds a great deal of power to hurt us. 

I shared with my friend that there comes a time when we must say to our spouse that we are partners in marriage. That what our spouse believes does not diminish what we hold true. It’s appropriate to call them out and ask for our due respect as a spouse and a partner in the relationship. We must stand up and tell them that the words they speak against our faith are disrespectful and truly not what builds a marriage relationship. I know I advised her to tell her husband that she expected him to refrain from speaking about her faith and promise him that she would do the same about his atheist beliefs. 

Okay, that’s one take. For me, my moment of truth came unexpectedly. It was many years ago and I remember it clearly still today. 

My husband was angry. He was so riled up about my growing faith that he was constantly throwing arguments up for me to discount or contradict. He told me that I was foolish and that my faith embarrassed him. He was absolutely mystified that I, an intelligent woman, would ever even consider believing in a god. 

He was adamant and determined to “prove” to me God did not exist. 

At this point in our marriage, we had been down all these roads. You know, the paths of trying to defend my faith from a science point of view. Defending the truth of the Bible. Discussing intelligent design. Debates about the fossil record. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Etc. etc. etc. 

My friends, I’ve had every conceivable conversation so if you feel like you are all alone in this, I know exactly how you feel. 

Okay, after years and years of debate, conflicts and arguments with each of us trying to convince the other of the error in their thinking, I finally gave up. 

Whew! What a relief. 

What follows is the simple conversation that seemed to finally help my husband accept my faith. Here we go. 

Me: Honey, why does it matter so much to you that I believe in God? My faith doesn’t make me stupid.

Him: I does too matter. (He states in great anger and frustration I might add.)

Me: But why? Why does it matter?

Him: Because you are living a lie.

Me: But how do you KNOW that I am wrong? You don’t know for sure. And let’s say that at the end of it all, we die and nothing happens. No heaven. No hell. We just cease to exist like you presume.

What I know is that I lived a life that was morally strong. I lived a life filled with joy. I have many friends who I love and who love me. I have given of myself to this world to make it a better place. 

Honey, my faith makes me happy. 

Him: (silence) 

Now there is likely more to this conversation but I just don’t remember what happened after that. However, the dynamics in our marriage relationship changed upon that conversation. 

Honey, my faith makes me happy……. 

The key to this kind of conversation is waiting until they are truly ready to hear it. He was ready that day. 

Pray that the Lord will give you several things to equip you to walk this journey. 

  • First, that He and YOU seal your mind, heart and soul in the truth of your identity. Know who you are in Christ. 
  • Second, pray for courage, Joshua courage to step up to the task of confronting immature behavior and words toward your faith. 
  • Three, pray for discernment and wisdom and for an opening to have a conversation with your spouse. God loves to honor those prayers. 

Identity
Courage
and an open door. 

And this very day, I also give you dominion over your delete key. Decide today that you will not allow your husband to be used by the enemy to create doubt. Reject the fiery darts of the enemy. Live in joy. As Beth Moore says, “JOY, is our birthright in Christ.” 

Live victoriously and let the enemy quake with fear and the atheist blogs go wild, because we are children of the Most High God and NO ONE CAN TOUCH THAT. 

Be blessed, Lynn

If God had picture

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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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HALLOWEEN

Halloween banner 2015

Yep, it’s that time of year.

This “holiday” is a difficult thing to write about because Christians have very different views about what to do with it. But today, in my quiet time, I was led by the Holy Spirit to share a few things that I believe we must consider in light of our Spiritual Warfare Series – Under The Umbrella.

This month there is always an increase in witchcraft. Some of you may be feeling the attacks of the enemy through oppression and opposition. Conflict in relationships, headaches, fatigue and other weird and unexpected issues in our lives. This is a season when wearing our Spiritual Armor is imperative. Also awareness of what is happening in the spiritual realm, helps us to pray and defeat any weapon formed against us because we know it cannot prosper. (Isaiah 54:7)

So here are a few thoughts I’m compelled to share. I want NO confusion in the House of SUM.

Witchcraft is real and there is no such thing as a good witch. Witchcraft, at the core, is calling upon a power other than God. Period the end. And there is only one other power and it’s the kingdom of darkness. God is clear in His word about witchcraft. (Galatians 5:9-21)

If you are currently dabbling in the following, my friends, confess and repent and remove these demonic open doors from your life. I will help you with a prayer to do this later in this post.

  • Witchcraft
  • Tarot Cards
  • Palm Reading
  • Ouija Board
  • Astrology
  • Séance
  • Rikki
  • Healing Hands
  • (These are only the few that came to mind but there is a lot more)

I recognize that in our culture these things are considered harmless and entertainment. Exactly what the demons want you to believe. Messing around with the world of the Occult releases a spirit of divination, spirit of fear and opens the door to an entire Kingdom of darkness to walk into your life.

Get these things, books, cards, candles, game boards OUT OF YOUR HOUSE. Destroy them and never allow them to return. And more difficult, remove friendship, acquaintances, and forbid family member to even talk to you about this stuff. These people are not friends of God and until you are spiritually strong, you need to remove these people from your life.

These things block the voice of God and the power of the Holy Spirit in your life and prohibits His intervention, protection, provision and purposes. Don’t listen to these voices. Don’t even give them thought.

I don’t want to shame anyone because so many people truly don’t know the evil these activities invite. But now you can KNOW clearly and become free. If you are dealing in these areas you can expect pushback. Get prayer support. Get a prayer shield around you and be determined – fully committed- to walking in the Kingdom of God.

Prayer of repentance (Say aloud): Lord, in the name of Jesus, I repent for participating in ______________. I know that I have sinned and now I fully repent and turn from all this activity and false belief that these things could somehow help me. I turn fully to You to help and protect me.

I renounce and break any spoken or unspoken covenant that I entered into because of _______________. It is now powerless and must leave my life, heart, soul, mind and body. In the name of Jesus. I cast all of it into the pit and it cannot return. In Jesus name. I declare that nothing that I invited in has power over me or my family. I declare these demonic voices cannot go to my children or family. In Jesus name.

I declare that today, me and my family, are fully covered by the Blood of Jesus. I plead the Blood of Jesus over my life, my heart, soul and my family. The power of the Blood sanctifies us and sets us free of demonic strongholds. In Jesus name.

I thank you for your redemption and for the abundant life I have in Jesus. I pledge now to rescue others from these traps of the devil and will walk in victory that was given to me at the Cross. In Jesus name. AMEN

On Monday I will share my annual Halloween post and it might surprise you.  image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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How Do We Love?

3KeysMy friends, I’d planned to talk briefly about love and then move into thankfulness, but the Holy Spirit impressed our Father’s heart on this subject upon me and I want to give that ample space. So today we will talk about love, the second key in this Abundant Life series. 

I want to tell you that this series simmered in my heart for a few weeks and at first I thought love should come first since it is so foundational to all we feel, think and do. But I realized that unforgiveness needed to be covered first because when we hold that unforgiveness we are actually trying to control a person or situation, and we have talked in the past about how love and control can’t coexist, especially in a marriage.

And your comments were so good, so honest! Never discount how much sharing your heart here ministers to others. That is one of the aspects of our community that I love so much, SUM family. You’re amazing in the love that you show!

As I prayerfully prepared for this post, the Holy Spirit told me to read Galatians. I suspected He had a nugget for me there and wow, did He. This one piece of truth from Paul in his letter to the Galatians says it all:

For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. — Galatians 5:6 (NLT)

Paul wanted the Galatians to return to the truth of their salvation in Jesus and not listen to the group of Jewish Christians who had come and was teaching they still need the Law in order to be saved. Paul’s statement was a powerful truth for the Galatians then and for us today.

Without love, we can’t represent Jesus accurately, because He is love. 

All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. — 1 John 4:15-16

This piece of truth reveals that it is because of God’s love and His love for us that we are able to love others. And not only love others, but love Him. And that is what I feel the Holy Spirit wanting us to truly embrace today about God’s love. 

You see, God designed us with a need to be loved. This need is even stronger than our need for food. I remember as a child somehow understanding that love was the answer to everything and the key to solving all problems. My understanding was limited though because I only understood love as the world defined it.

But now, as I walk closer and closer to God, I realize I was almost right. God’s love is the answer to everything—to all our needs, wants, conflicts and dreams; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

God created us to need love, to need Him. And He created us to love Him and others. Thus our primary commandments to love God and love others isn’t just a command to please God. It is basic instruction to do what we have been created to do.

God living in us means Love is in us—His love. When we let Him increase and overflow in us, we are transformed. And that ripples out to everything around us. We’re not the only ones changed. Those around us are affected, influenced and changed. Lives, communities and nations.

God’s love is the most powerful force in heaven and on earth, because it’s Him. God is love. No matter how many times I say and think it, I’m astounded by the magnitude of this truth. He is vast. No wonder we need the Holy Spirit’s help just to understand it!

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith —that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. — Ephesian 3:17-19

My friends, we will spend our entire lives here on earth and eternity learning about God’s love. And you know what? That’s what our Abba Father wants most. To love us, for us to love Him, and then to release that love into others. And it happens in that order. Faith expressing itself through love. The abundant life...

Earlier this year I prayed and asked the Lord for a key to breakthrough. He said, “Love.” And He led me to this verse, the first one that follows 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter.

Let love be your highest goal! — 1 Cor. 14:1.

Love as our highest goal…that’s so powerful, my friends. And that is the story of my marriage. I made loving my husband my highest goal. Not to change him or convince him God was real. Just to love him because I believe in God and I believe He, His love, transforms everything. And it has transformed my marriage and filled it with so much love, I’m blown away by it almost every day. That’s God, present and living and loving.

Share your thoughts in the comments, my friends. Share how God’s love has touched and changed your life. Share how loving someone changed a life, a heart—possibly yours. Because love always ricochets as a blessing.

And I love you, SUM family! With all the love God pours into my heart for you! He is love and He is GOOD!
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Do We Have to Forgive?

3KeysThe week before last I mentioned three keys to walking in the abundant life. This is about walking in more fullness in our faith, intimacy with God and the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been showing me some new insights to one of these in particular and the enemy has been determined to keep me from sharing them, which just affirms how important they are! (I just shake my head at his stupidity at times.) But I will not relent, my SUM family. As I’ve said before, I want all of us to have the life God has planned and purposed for us. 

These three keys are forgiveness, love and thankfulness. There’s a lot in the Bible about all of these and we’ve addressed the importance of forgiveness and love a fair bit in the past. It’s thankfulness that I’m learning is very instrumental to breakthroughs, but we must cover forgiveness and love to get there. These three keys build upon each other and go hand in hand.

As SUMites, I believe we have a deeper sense of what forgiveness means. We live it in profound ways every day. But just to be sure we have a firm foundation in this area, let’s look at a couple Scriptures.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. — Matthew 6:14

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him. — Luke 17:3

One of the meanings in for the Greek word to forgive (aphiēmi) means to send away. When we entertain the wrong and mull over the harm done to us, we hold onto it and it festers like a disease. I remember my daughter once being so mad at someone that she said, “I’m not going to forgive her. I don’t have to.”

I wanted so much to say, “Yes, you do. God’s Word says so,” but at the moment those words would have sounded condemning. Even though my heart was for my daughter and I understood her feelings, I didn’t want her to walk in any unforgiven state in her life. 

I’ve heard the statement frequently that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the person you are angry with to die from it. When we forgive we relinquish our right to bring justice and we give it to God. He is our justifier, my friends, and He will fight for us (Ex. 14:14). Trust Him to do so. I promise you, His way will reveal the beauty of who He created you to be. Any other way is just death—death to the heart, the spirit and the soul. And even the body if left to fester.

Forgiveness is a choice. Sometimes we can choose not to take offense when we realize the hurt was not truly targeted at us directly, but when the harm is targeted at us, it’s vital to our health, our faith, and our relationships to choose to forgive. God will work in us the moment we make that choice to bring our feelings into alignment and heal our wounded heart.

Let me share an example with you. Years ago I became so frustrated with a close friendship that I was ready to walk away from it. I will tell you that I’m a very loyal person so for me to get to the point tells you that I was carrying some deep hurts and unforgiveness from years of repetitive hurts. 

One Spring morning I sat before God looking for peace to walk away from this relationship. Instead God told me not to. He said, “I want you to pray for her.”

Here I was looking for an easy way out (what I thought was an easy way out) of this situation and instead God gave me an assignment. Grudgingly I obeyed and began praying for her every morning. At first my prayers were pretty basic, “Bless her, Lord.”

Then my prayers became more heartfelt as I began to realize that she never intended to hurt me. She hurt those around her because of her own deep hurts and wounds. I began to pray for those areas for her, for healing and deliverance from strongholds.

My friends, by the end of the summer, not only had I forgiven her for everything I had perceived as hurtful, but my heart was full of love and compassion for her. God completely turned my heart around. I was able to remain friends with this person out of the love God grew in my heart for her with some key differences.

  • My love was now empowered by God’s love.
  • My expectations were now to simply love her as she was, not according who I expected her to be as a friend.
  • I’d released my expectations of her and now sought those needs from God.

Does this sound familiar? This is so foundational to all our relationships, especially to our mismatched marriages. 

  • We love our pre-believers through the love of Jesus.
  • We see our pre-believers as Jesus sees and loves them.
  • We release our pre-believers from unrealistic expectations and seek God for those needs.

Did you catch how forgiveness leads to love? Sometimes forgiveness brings the relationship to a whole new level of growth and closeness. Other times its simply to free ourselves of the unhealthy attachment to the past or a poisonous relationship. Forgiveness is never a pardon of a wrong, and it is never a requirement to stay in a relationship with someone God is clearly leading us away from.

But forgiveness is a commandment that God has put into place for our prosperity and well being. It may take time, but every step of obedience will be rewarded by our faithful God’s favor, love and strength to keep going. 

And His healing! Plus, we are free to walk in our purposes and callings according to spiritual gifts. Unforgivenss blocks all this. God’s love creates a conduit for our inheritance in Jesus Christ to flow freely!

Wow, I guess the Holy Spirit had more in mind to share here than I realized, my friends. On Thursday, we’ll talk about more about love and hopefully thankfulness—that’s the one I can’t wait to get to and share more about. It’s powerful!

I love you, SUMites! Share your hearts in the comments. This is a safe place. Let’s pray for and encourage each other.
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The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHello SUMites,

My friends, fall is in the air and in some places it’s already winter! Wacky weather! But I LOVE this time of year and I am especially fond of my pumpkin flavored coffee. Yum and eee!

Weather is a perfect metaphor of our lives. Our circumstances will and often change drastically, unexpectedly and even violently.

Loss of a job.
Divorce.
Wayward children.
Financial crisis.
Health.
Weather disasters too.

How do we walk through these life events that are often unchangeable? How do we keep ourselves from crippling fear? How do we handle life’s great challenges as believers?

SUMite Nation, we put on the SHOES!

Kingdom Shoes. We shod our feet with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace! (Ephesians 6:15)

What does this mean? How do we do this and how does this part of our armor serve in spiritual warfare?

The shoes are our steadiness for standing against the schemes of the devil. The ability to stand in what most people would consider fearful circumstances comes down to our maturity. And our maturity comes from time with God, knowing His Word and TRUSTING in Him!

And out of trust in the Lord, our peace is born. Shalom – which is completeness, wholeness and inner resting of the soul that does not fluctuate because of outside circumstances.

Let me tell you how I experienced this first hand.

Some of you may remember that my husband lost his job in January of 2009. Along with millions of others, he began to hit the employment boards, complete applications and look for work. Of course, this was a shock to us at first but I can tell you that I walked in a supernatural peace.

I prayed with conviction and earnestness, asking the Lord to give my husband a job. I considered returning to Corporate America to support our family. During this early prayer season, the Lord arranged a phone call. I received a call from a former business collogue and was offered a job over the phone. Now you would think that I would have jumped at this opportunity – out of fear. But through my prayer time, the Lord said to me, “Lynn, I can get you a job anytime. Thus the offer. I just wanted to show you that I could. Do not return to work. Let me walk this out with Mike.”

SO I TRUSTED! Even when it didn’t make sense. AND I had peace. I knew, that I knew, that I knew, in my knower that God truly had our financial situation in His hands.

I prayed.

Mike thought it would be easy to get another job as he is highly qualified, yet after six months – nothing.

I prayed.
I trusted.

Mike worried. He was completely rocked because he remained unemployed going into month nine.

I will admit in late October I was a little nervous but I remained prayerful.

Finally, almost a year later, my husband was offered a new job.

Through this experience I found I was living out this scripture: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:7

What I can’t explain is that our year of unemployment didn’t impact our financial condition. Somehow we paid off the credit card we were using within the year. Never had to touch our 401K. And I didn’t return to work.

Honestly, I cannot explain how this happened. I have vague recollections of checks arriving and there always seemed to be provision for what we needed. I learned to budget extremely well and shop frugally, which I still do today. My daughter learned to buy her own school clothes. We became an aware family of our waste, the needs of others, and thankfulness became profoundly significant in my life.

This was the year I learned to walk in trust and peace through thankfulness. And SUMites, when you wear the shoes of the readiness of the Gospel (peace & trust in Jesus), you are no longer on the defensive but on the offensive in the spirit realm.

Ephesians 6 15The shoes of peace are our stability that even Satan can’t undo!

Peace can’t be separate from trust in God. I believed God for my circumstance and I trusted Him, every day and at times every hour. I chose to believe God rather than my changing circumstances.

Meditate of the Word. KNOW God’s heart for you. Really come to believe that our Papa, God is good. All the time, good and has good gifts for us, His children. And remember it’s the devil that comes to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus came to give us the abundant life (John 10:10).

Don’t step out from under His umbrella. Trust and peace are His gifts in the midst of any scary season of life.

Quiet Time Study: (Take these questions to the Lord in your quiet time. Then listen.)

  • What are the situations that are sealing your peace?
  • Ask the Lord for His supernatural peace.
  • Pray: I say to these troubled waters of _________________. Peace be still. 

Jesus still can part the sea, calm the wind and waves and set us on a firm foundation. Let’s wear the shoes of heaven my friends because it’s the Lord’s will that we live in peace that surpasses all understanding. 

  • Community Questions (answer in the comments):
  • Can you share a moment where you experienced the supernatural peace of Christ in crazy circumstances? I know your story will encourage someone else who is struggling right now.

I love you SUMites. We are nearing the end of our wardrobe restyle. A few more items remain and then we will be released to be Holy Spirit-filled-terrorists that decimate the darkness. Hallelujah! Amen!

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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Archive Post: The Sanctified Unbeliever

My friends, today's post is from September 20, 2011 and addresses a very powerful verse for the spiritually mismatched—sanctification. This is part of our authority in Christ and a topic that needs frequent revisiting. It is a truth that is full of hope for all SUMites. Our faith plays a powerful roll in God's relentless and loving pursuit of our pre-believers. Hugging you tight, dear friends! Have an amazing weekend. ~Dineen

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The Sanctified Unbeliever

6a00d83451ee9f69e2015391bd313e970b-250wiFor 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. — 1Corinthians 7:14

This Scripture came up in my Bible study this week. A dear friend at my table said something about it that sparked my investigation mode. There’s a precious meaning to this verse that holds such encouragement for us regarding our unbelieving spouses. Hang in there with me, I think you’ll really like this.

My exploration of this verse first took me to find out what exactly “sanctified” meant in each use in this verse. The Greek word used in both places is hagiazo, which means to make holy, consecrate. Next, I went to my Bible commentary and found this wonderful explanation of what sanctified means in this context:  

“The word 'sanctified' does not refer to moral purity—Paul is certainly not teaching that the unbelieving partner is made morally pure through a believing spouse. What the word emphasizes is a relationship to God, a claim of God on the person and family to be set apart for Him. The tense of the verb stresses that the unbeliever who is in a Christian family has already become and continues to be a part of a family unit upon which God has His claim and which He will use for his service.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Abridged Edition)

The commentary goes on to even reference our children as being covered much like the children of the Israelites were included in God’s covenant with them. Jesus also makes reference to this in Acts 2:38-39 when He says salvation is a promise not just for us but for our children and “for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

This makes me wonder two things:

1. God made a covenant with the Israelites, which covered their children and each generation after. God also sees marriage as a covenant, without qualification. Does this mean we can take our marriage as a covenant with our spouse as also a “covering” for our unbelieving spouse? Could this be what Paul means when he says our unbelieving spouse is also sanctified through us, the believing spouse? I believe it does.

2. If the point above is true, this makes our marriages uniquely different from a marriage of two unbelievers. I kind of see us as that middle place between a non-Christian marriage where neither partner is a believer and a Christian marriage. Something to think about. We have an edge. If what the commentary says is true, then our unbelieving spouses have been set apart by God.

Which then brings me to this conclusion: Our place in our marriage is not just about what we pray, what we do, or what we think. It’s also about who we are. As children of God, born into the family of God through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, our very presence protects our spouses. Our faith acts like an umbrella over our family. God lays claim not only to us but to our unbelieving spouse as well.

No, that doesn’t mean they are saved by association but it does mean God has a special interest in our marriage and the salvation of our spouse that goes beyond the norm. There’s a covenant involved and we know how God feels about covenants.

So, my dear friends, we can commit our marriages into God’s hands with the full confidence that He’s laid claim to both you and your spouse. He is smack dab in the middle working. On those days that you wonder and doubt, remember this commitment and profess God’s truth—you belong to Him and through you, God claims your spouse too.

Praying and believing, 
Dineen

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Reminders That Our God Is A God Of Miracles - This is One!

Sometimes we need reminded.

Sometimes we cry out, “God, help me overcome my unbelief.”

It’s moments like I’m about to describe which will fill you with fresh hope and faith in the divine!

I want to introduce you to Keira & Kylea. (Photo below) They are seven and eleven years old. These sisters are something special and fun. These two were part of our group of friends who came from Monument, CO. Their parents gave me permission to share their story.

First let me tell you about Keira. This little girl loves to worship and dance in the isles. (So does her sister) It’s a joy to watch her in motion. Last week before the afternoon session, Eric Johnson, saw Keira who was sitting in front of me and he stopped to introduce himself. This is the gist of conversation as best as my blonde brain remembers.

Keira looking at Eric striding quickly to the front to introduce the worship says loudly, “Hi.”

Eric stops abruptly and gets on her level and asks, “What’s your name?”

“Keira.”

“How old are you?

“I’m seven.”

“Are you having fun at Open Heavens?”

Keira replies straight out “yes” and then goes on to say, “I could have gone to Disneyland but me and my sister wanted to come here instead.”

Eric smiles broadly, “Wow, I don’t know if I would have skipped Disneyland if I was your age.” I’m watching all of this and smiling so big, enthralled in the conversation.

Eric then asks, “What’s your favorite part?”

Without hesitation she announces, “WORSHIP.” He shakes her hand then goes to the front and introduces Keira to the entire church and shares the story I just told you. Neat!

BUT….. This isn’t the best part. You see, the Lord looked down upon these two little people, who hold a GIANT faith, and He did something extraordinary.

Keira and Kylea both wear glasses. Their vision is extremely poor and their prescription for correction is strong, especially Kylea's. On the last night of the conference, unknown to any of us adults, the girls were worshiping up front. Keira was asking the Lord for healing of her eyesight. She walked through the prayer line three different times after the service hoping for healing but at the end of the evening, she wasn't healed. And of course she was sad to the point of tears.

And all this is taking place kinda late by now. As usual, we are closing the place down because so much has happened and we don’t want to leave. And although it’s now late our GOD IS NEVER TOO LATE. The conference organizer sees Keira crying and gets on her level and says, “There is no sadness here, Keira, Let’s pray.” Keira begins to ask God for healing.

Deborah interrupts. “Keira, let’s use the authority that you have as God’s girl. Tell your eyes to be healed in Jesus name.” She is literally teaching her to pray in Holy Spirit power, faith and authority.

After a minute Deborah asks her to check her eyes. Nothing.

She tells Keira to pray again the same prayer. She prays again.

THIS TIME…. She looks at the large sign at the front of the building through her glasses. It’s blurry. She removes her glasses and she can see the words CLEARLY. She is healed and her sister who is standing right there is also instantaneously healed.

Now they are really bawling. We all are crying tears of enormous JOY because these two little girls were healed right in front of all of us. Hallelujah thank you Jesus.

I had the privilege to hug them and pray with them. Kylea, drew a picture of me down to the details of my glasses and my key necklaces. Kylea Thank you

These two small girls with gigantic faith are destined to be a voice to their generation. They are the youth that will lead the church in the years to come. They will walk in miracles, signs and wonders. Oh what a glorious future for the Church of Jesus Christ!

The stories of miracles and healings in the group of people I know personally, who attended the conference, are too numerous to write them all here. But every single person that attended experienced the profound and supernatural love of our living God. Hallelujah!

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I believe in miracles. I’ve received healing and I believe in prayer. God LOVES to answer prayer even when they are spoken with a mustard seed of faith. Press in. Read His Word. Pray and never stop because we are overcomers as children of The Most High God. Sealed by the blood of our Redeemer – Prince Jesus and empowered to do good works by the Holy Spirit.

We have every reason to live in bold expectancy! Pray BIG! Live large and bring heaven to earth!

20151010_000251This is the conference organizer, Deborah looking down at Keira who had just run into her Father's arms. (Such a beautiful representation for us all!)

Kylea
Kylea, Scott and friends

Kylea and Keira
This photo was taken when the girls arrived home on Sunday..... Note that something is missing from their eyes..... glasses & tears!

WE LOVE YOU JESUS!!

UPDATE: Today, October 15, 2015 Kylea, whose vision was deteriorating quickly was tested by her eye doctor: 20/25 vision!!!!  Hallelujah AMEN. Our God be glorified!

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Guest Post: Abiding...Not Just Visiting by Ian Acheson

Dear friends, our very own Ian Acheson has a wonderful post for us today about how we spend time with God. This is such a good reminder of how much our God loves just spending time with us and for us to be be in His presence. And the importance of reading and knowing God's Word. I love it! 

Thank you, Ian, for sharing your wisdom and testimony with us! May we become wiser and stronger in our faith because of it. Amen! 

Enjoy and grow in Him, SUMites! ~Dineen

 

Abiding… Not Just Visiting

My twenty-five-plus years in the Corporate world mostly reflected a life where I chased after my goals and fulfilling that sense of achievement that drives many of us men. Typically, my relationship with the Lord was one where I’d grab a few minutes in the Word prior to leaving home and then pray on the drive into the office.

Once I’d parked my car it was like I said to the Lord: “Thanks for that, Lord, I’ll see you back here in ten hours or so.” And off I’d go ready to dive into the rigors of the day rarely giving the Lord a thought. Or if I was feeling particularly stressed I might pop into the bathroom to have a quick chat with the Lord to seek His help.

I’d compartmentalized my life. I allowed (you kidding?) the Lord access to various parts of my life. Yes, I prayed, read the Word (well kinda) and went to church.

Then a few years ago the yearning in my heart for something more kept getting stronger. Until one morning I asked the Lord what He wanted from me.

“Ian, I want you to know Me!”

That almost flawed me. I’d been a Christian for almost thirty years, the troughs in my walk definitely outnumbering the peaks. But hey, most of my friends were experiencing much the same.

So I asked the obvious question? 

“How do I do that?”

The response was immediate.

“Read my Word.”

So that’s what I started doing. Everyday. And I haven’t stopped five years on.

But I’ve learnt there’s more to it than simply reading it. Or listening to it. Or watching it.

And that’s one of the characteristics of what differentiates an abider to a visiter. 

Speaking the Word 

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”(Joshua 1:8) 

I love that image of keeping the Word on your lips. To do that you really need to have it constantly in your mouth like a piece of gum. 

I’ve found the only way to do this is to actively memorise Scripture and use it in your prayers. The Word is powerful as Lynn and Dineen’s recent posts have kept reminding us.

Only two days ago I received the perfect example of it’s power.

I stumbled across Ephesians 4:32:

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (NKJV)

Pretty simple. I’ve always thought I’m pretty good with being kind and tenderhearted but the Lord nudged me to pay more attention to the verse and commit it to memory. So I did.

The message at church that night was on the Beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful …”(Matthew 5:7). I’d recently studied the beatitudes and I figured this one came relatively naturally to me. The pastor emphasized how easy it was for us to find fault in others, to criticize and judge but a merciful heart is one that doesn’t seek to do such. It opened my eyes to another perspective on mercifulness that I hadn’t fully appreciated.

And my newly locked away memory verse kept floating through my mind as I jotted down notes to the sermon.

I went home challenged and within about half an hour of being home found fault in something Fiona did.

Don’t you love that? The first small test you get in obedience you get sprung!

Dorrrr!

We had a big day ahead the next day preparing the house so that our floorboards could be sanded and polished. I apologized to Fi and went to bed repeating, “Be kind …” and asking the Spirit to help me be kind and tenderhearted the following day. 

I woke with that verse on my lips and repeated it throughout the day and we had a great day shifting the house around.

Quiet time exercise

Following on from Lynn and Dineen’s posts may I encourage you to learn a verse this week. Ask the Lord for one, if one doesn’t particularly come to mind. 

And those of us who are experienced Scripture memorizers it would be a treat if you could share a little of your system for memorizing.

Blessings for a special week ahead.

19_Ian Acheson_22.05.12_by rasha photographyIan’s Bio
Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney, Australia. Ian's first novel, Angelguard, is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter

 

 

 

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Winning Him Audio Book On Sale

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SUMITE Nation,

Winning Him Without Words, the audio version is on sale this month through Christian Audio. 

If you commute to work or want to listen to our book while on the treadmill or just at night before bed, this is your day. You can click on the link below and download the Audiobook for $5.98. 

WHWW 1 copy

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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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A Miller Family Update: The Battle for My Family

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July 2015: My daughter Leslie and I out for a day of fun.

Dear friends, before I jump into those three keys I mentioned last week, I would like to give you an update on some interesting changes in my family—my daughter Leslie and my husband. And I want to thank Karyn for giving me a nudge to do an update on my daughter. I can’t tell you how that touched my heart too. 

This update will also demonstrate how we are to contend for words we have received from God and stand against the enemy’s attempts to take them away. It’s a little long so please read to the end.

The last I shared on my daughter Leslie was that she was showing signs of side affects on her memory from her radiation treatments, which culminated in February 2009 after her two brain surgeries in October 2008. She did well initially on the medication the doctor wanted to try to help her memory, but because of its side effects had to stop. She also feels she’s experiencing a disconnect with her vision—what she sees—and how her brain translates it.

My friends, I am standing in prayer against all of this. God told me in 2008 that she would be okay before we even knew what was wrong, so I am proclaiming His words—His promise—over her and binding these spirits of infirmity, fear and lies that are trying to tell her otherwise. I even prayed the armor of God on for her—as the spiritual authority in her life (part of the sanctifying affect of my faith), I will pray everything and every way I feel led to pray for this girl and then give it all over, including her, into the most capable hands of Jesus.

So why am I praying like this? Because the truth of what God told me and what I see Him doing in her life. He told me she would be okay and that she would one day leap as a calf freed from it’s stall. 

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well- fed calves. — Malachi 4:2

These are words (prophetic words) from our God who speaks into existence things that aren’t yet seen. 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. — Hebrews 11:1-3

What I see God doing in her life is providing her every need. She has pursued her passion for animals, studied hard and now has passed her final exam to be a certified animal groomer. She walked in such favor through this process that she excelled in her studies and has been highly regarded at the grooming shop she interned at. So much so that they saved a place for her there until she finished her final exam. This is her first week as an official groomer there and will now have her own income as well.

My friends, there was a time we thought we’d have to take care of her the rest of her life. Now she is completely healed of cancer, independent, and pursuing her career and passion for animals as God has gifted her to do (this girl can handle the difficult pets that others can’t and literally commands them to be at peace). And for this mama, to hear her daughter say, “Mom, I’m only 21 and I already have my dream job.” is the revelation of Ephesians 3:20 that says God does more than we can ask or imagine. Thank You, Lord and amen!

God has been faithful in every aspect of her life and has done what He said He would. That’s how I know this other stuff is not according to His plan and is definitely not His will. I could easily rationalize and say that she really is okay. This is just part of what we have to live with in her healing.

No! That is the enemy’s lie. Our God is not a half-way or almost there God. He more than enough and more powerful than any lie or deception the enemy throws at us. I will not settle for less than what God has promised me. The enemy is trying to steal away her promises as she’s about step into them in a powerful way. And I will fight for her future with Jesus’ help all the way. 

My friends, I want you to understand that we must at times step out in our faith and contend for what God has promised us and stand against the enemy. And God’s Word is our best weapon. And it is important to that we be discerning of what is from the enemy. God’s Word and truth stand unchanging. His promises and faithfulness will not change. So anything that comes against Him, His Word and His promises to you are from the enemy.

Now about my sweet hubby…he still thinks he’s an atheist, but for the first time since I started this mismatched journey 20 years ago, I am seeing a shift. God is softening his heart in amazing ways. This man I adore has become even more caring and generous these last few months, toward me and his extended family. I’m stunned by it, because this tenderness is making him sensitive to the things of the supernatural that the Holy Spirit is doing around him.

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Dec 2015: Family fun at the beach! (Rachel & her hubby Keith, my Mike & Leslie

Several weeks ago I realized the music he was listening to had messages in it about God, Jesus, and salvation. I was so surprised I had to ask him what he was listening to. It was secular music by artists I know he likes. My friends, I don’t know what that was, but I’ve no doubt that was God moving that day.

Then just this week my husband sent me a link to a local story about two women from Korea who worked on the same floor of one of the hospitals here. They became friends and the more they shared, the more they suspected they could be each other’s long lost sister. They were separated as children and placed in orphanages. And they are! They found each other after decades of wondering and searching, right on the same hospital floor where they both worked! (You can read the story here.)

It’s a stunning story, my friends. I came out the porch where he was sitting and he turned the newspaper to show me the front page. And picture of these two women hugging each other filled the top. “Did you read the link I sent you?”

“Yes, what an amazing story!” I stared at him, considering my next words, because I fully expected the eye roll and head shake. “That is totally God. He brought those two women together.”

He looked at me and nodded. “I can see why you’d think that.”

I was floored. Not only by his lack of skepticism and his understanding, but by a deep sense this wasn’t just a moment to notice and appreciate. The Holy Spirit impressed upon me that it was SIGNIFICANT. I believe this is was the first visible sign of the answer to my prayers and declaration over him that God would give him spiritual eyes to see and spiritual ears to hear (Prov. 20:12). And 

Stunning, absolutely stunning! I love Abba! I love Jesus! I love the Holy Spirit! I love how God delights and surprises us as we trust and delight in Him! As our faith grows, His presence and His blessings increase. Our faith is the conduit and the bigger our faith, the bigger the conduit! Praise Him from whom all blessings flow! Amen! 

And I want to thank you, my SUM family, for all the prayers you have sent up for my daughter, for me, for my husband and my family. You are a part of my journey just as I am part of yours. God in His great goodness has bought us together to be the SUMites and to be a mighty nation for Him, for His glory. He loves us so much! 

My friends, I continue to contend for my own family (especially for my Rachel and her hubby Keith—the enemy is trying to block them from God’s plans and future for them), and I am contending for our SUM family here. I pray that all that God has for each of you to manifest and come into place, according to God’s great plans and purposes for you. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Love you so much!
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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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What Happens When You Hunger For More Of God - Lynn's Story

This is an unlikely story.

This is a story of a God who loves one ordinary woman with such capacity and faithfulness that He would move His hand in astounding circumstances to touch her life and respond to the cry of her heart.

This is my story.

An ordinary blonde, sometimes whacky and somehow hopeful, found herself sitting in church holding her open Bible upon her lap. Her heart cry, “Lord, I believe your Word. Where are the miracles that I have read about all of my life?”

He heard me.

And a journey was set into motion.

God sent me to find the answer to my question in Grand Junction, Colorado. Yep, weird I know.

I was visiting my mother who moved there several years prior. In fact, my entire family was there that week in July of 2012. Sunday morning we had plans to travel to a Hot Springs resort and spend a few days swimming and lounging by the large pools. That morning dawned and in a very spontaneous moment I said to my mom, “Mom, let’s go to your church before we get on the road.” Everyone was still sleeping and it was evident we weren’t going to get out of town early.

Mom and I arrived at church. The worship rocked and then the pastor introduced a guest speaker, June Felhouer. June soon began to share stories of modern day miracles the kind I have read about all of my life. I was undone. I sat utterly stunned at the stories of broken legs mended, cancer healed, ears opened and more. I introduced myself to June after service and chatted briefly.

We continued on our vacation however, my heart, spirit and mind was now intrigued. Is it true that REAL miracles are happening at a church in America? An unlikely church, Bethel of Redding, CA. Arriving home I began to ask my friends who work in the Christian industry about this place of miracles. My editor said to me, “Lynn, if you ever get a chance to visit Bethel, you should do it.”

So without hesitation, I called my partner in all my God adventures, Dineen and said, “We should visit this place and see what it’s all about.” Now even more amazing, Dineen agrees. We were nuts but I was so hungry for more of God that I would have traveled far and wide.

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Dineen, Heidi and Lynn, 2012

Not knowing anything about anything, I booked us for the next available conference, Open Heavens. Little did I know that conference would forever alter the lives of two ordinary women. Dineen and I were forever changed by our experience with God at that conference.

I’ve written many of my stories of encounters with God and Jesus in that environment. Here is a link to my story of the vision I had of Jesus. The Vastness of Our God. 

Today I’m home from my fourth visit to Open Heavens. And as I look back at the extraordinary circumstances that God went through to respond to my hunger, I’m undone. And this moment of humble thanksgiving was magnified when at the beginning of the conference the Holy Spirit whispered to me something very sweet.

Looking at this photo that we had just snapped of my group of friends, the Lord whispered, “This is your legacy, Lynn. These are the children that have come to find more of me because of you.”

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You see, the next year in 2013, Dineen and I attended again. We invited Sue Louch (tall blonde in back) who was also desperate for God. She had battled cancer, shingles and fear for years. She was so desperate for God’s touch, she took this crazy journey with us. And she was fully healed! Praise Jesus.

From there Sue began inviting people. I invited more. We made friends in previous years in the line waiting to get into the building. (Some of the best things happen in line.)

Next year for the 2016 Open Heavens Conference, we are praying there are at least 40 of us gathering together to seek the face and voice of God. Forty more of our family who will receive healing from fear, anxiety. Forty in 2016 that will be healed physically and emotionally.

The legacy grows and I weep in humble praise. It’s all about our Jesus.

But as I type, I’m overwhelmed with love that my Savior would go to such great lengths to send me to Grand Junction to take me to Northern California and to bring the healing and anointing I received to this group of people.

But not only these in the photo. He graced me with so much of His love that I have poured it out here and upon hundreds of SUMites. I pray that because you have cried out for more of God, you have received a touch of love and encouragement from me and from Dineen. Two crazy women who took a chance on a outrageous journey to discover that modern day miracles are real and available for every one of us as children of God.

In the three days of the conference this year, I watched God heal hearts. I prayed for many of those. I watched as little girls danced and their eyes were healed. I saw people’s lives restored from the years of the devil’s oppression.

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Lynn, Paula, Barbara, Ruthie, while we were in line

I listened as the Lord spoke through the guest speaker to people in the audience. He called out my friend, Barbara. I met Barbara and her sister, Paula on Friday morning. God woke me at ten-til-five, that would be am. He said to me, “You can sleep when you get home. GET UP!” I crawled from bed, slurped coffee, dressed and headed over to the church to wait in line before dawn. Barbara, Paula and Ruthie stepped in line behind me and it was a divine moment in time those three hours together. Later in the evening before the entire church God spoke to Barbara about her life and encouraged her. It has changed her and her sister’s lives forever. Oh, thank you God that you woke me. I would have missed

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Ruthie in line with me at O' dark thirty!

that beautiful time with my forever sisters.

Profound and life-changing encounters happened to the people but many, many happened to those whom I knew personally.  

I will share one of those amazing stories on Friday.

Today, I want you to let me pray for your journey. Leave your prayer request in the comments.

My dear, sweet brother or sister in Christ. You are valuable. You are adored. The Lord DOES see you. He is standing before you right now with arms open, urging, pleading,

“Come to me and allow me to heal you. Allow me to set you free from the doubts, the lies of the devil and to show you a love that is unfathomable. Let me touch your face with gentleness and relieve your worry and pain. Let me speak words of kindness into your circumstances. Let me dance with you in the kitchen and kiss your children at night with you. Let me carry you when you are weak. Let me sing over you with gladness and bless you with every gift from on High. Let me love you well, my child.”

“My arms are wide open. I’m calling you to a crazy journey. The Grand Adventure of a lifetime that will heal, bless and change everything. Step into my arms of love and allow me to hold you like a protected and loved child. I adore you and will never forsake you.” 

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SUMite, Jim Edwards and me

 

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Me and Sue Louch


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Do you want to join us on this fantastic and life-changing journey? It's a journey of HOPE. It's worth every sacrifice, every penny you spend, the time away from your family and job. I PROMISE that you will find it the best thing you ever did this side of heaven. Let me know and I will email you next July when registration begins. Hugs, Lynn

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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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Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

Weekends we re-post from our archives, articles which remain relevant for the spiritually mismatched marriage.

I'm posting today (Saturday) as I'm out of town attending the Open Heavens Conference.  I hope to share some amazing stories from the week on Monday and then we will pick up our Spiritual Warfare series after that.

This particular article had reaching and great impact. This was originally posted on April 16, 2012. I just realized there is a part III and it will be posted in two weeks. It's the best post of all. Stay tuned.

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Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs 

Part II

As I ease into the second part of this series, I feel a compulsion to say something: To every unbeliever, including my spouse, I hold respect and empathy and love in my heart for you.

I have been writing here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage for almost six years. Over the years I have received many encouraging words from so many of you. Your thoughts and kindness are the jewels in my crown that I will toss at His feet one day. 

I have also received some not so nice comments. I have been confronted and there are always a few doubters and even haters out there that will try to rattle my resolve and commitment to this ministry and to my Lord. 

For example, several years ago I received some kind of notice through my Google Analytics or notices (I think) that my blog had been linked to another blog. I followed the link and low and behold, there splashed across the page on this prominent atheist blog was this: 

Moron blog of the week award: Spiritually Unequal Marriage 

I started cackling out loud. Woo Hoo. I wear that label with great honor. If our lil’ ole’ marriage site is stirring up the unbelievers, then Wahooooo! 

Moron blog of the week. It’s a badge I wear proudly. 

What you should know about this merely 5’4” tall blonde is that I’m not easily rattled. I have the first component that protects my heart and soul from the doubters, haters and nay sayers. 

I KNOW my identity. I KNOW without doubt who I am in Christ. 

LifeisshortMy friends when you understand that you are solidly in the palm of the Most High God, words intended to hurt, condemn or persecute will fire at you but they don’t penetrate. It’s like I see the words “moron blog” come at me and then simply melt into an impudent puddle on the floor. In fact, I actually find it’s humorous. 

My identity in Christ came about because I worked and pursued my personal relationship with Jesus with all of my passion and a deep commitment. Wow, my efforts have paid off. If you want to discover this kind of relationship with Christ, He eagerly waits for you. It takes discipline but that will soon turn to desire. You can read about how I went about it (here). And Dineen (here)

Knowing who I am in Christ has freed me from wavering in my faith while under attack. It has empowered me to see clearly and sift the ever changing values of our society through the lens of the Bible. Which by the way, never change. What freedom there is in that truth.

I have gained a strong sense of what is right and wrong. I am free to agree to disagree with my spouse because I am  confident in the truth of God. I am filled with compassion for those who are harmed by lies of the devil. I am brought to fervent prayer for the lost, broken and the nay sayers.

And one incidental side note: I also have dominion over the delete key.  *grin* 

Empower yourselves. Begin to believe who you are in Christ. Embrace it. Live it. Love it and watch as God builds your courage and the fiery darts of the enemy just melt in impudent puddle at your feet. 

The second part of responding to the Atheist blog reader is a conversation I had with my spouse years ago. Things changed for us after that. Tune in Friday for Part III Unequally Yoked and The Atheist Blogs. 

How has your relationship helped you to cope with the attacks of an unbelieving spouse?

Be blessed, Lynn

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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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Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

Weekends we re-post from our archives, articles which remain relevant for the spiritually mismatched marriage.

I'm posting today (Friday) and the follow up post, tomorrow (Saturday) as I'm out of town attending the Open Heavens Conference.  I hope to share some amazing stories from the week on Monday and then we will pick up our Spiritual Warfare series after that.

This particular article had reaching and great impact. I even heard from a few atheists (hilarious). Anyhoo, I pray you are encouraged today. This was originally posted on April 13, 2012. I will post the follow up to this post tomorrow. It's good!

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Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

Okay, Yep. I’m bugged. Warning: This is a very blunt post. Proceed with caution and forgiveness if some of my annoyance seeps out.

A few weeks ago I Googled a common term used in Christianity. The results came back and I clicked on the top result. The website loaded and to my complete astonishment I was looking at an atheist blog.

I started to read the post. To say I was ticked was an understatement. P-off, anyone???

BrainsfalloutNow I don’t normally read atheist blogs. I don’t normally read anything that will skew or slander the inerrant truth of the Gospel. Let me be clear here. I DO NOT have an open mind about many things. I don’t succumb to the societal poo that I am intolerant because I don’t embrace every cockamamie thought out there.

I have done my study. I have tested my faith. I believe in the Lord and His son Jesus.

Period. The end.

Okay, back to the story. So I’m reading this guy’s post and it’s not about science. It’s not about Islam. It’s not about Hinduism, nor any other faith or deity, no it solely a rant about Christianity.

So, I clicked off the blog.

But since then I have been bugged by the thought that many atheist blogs aren’t about their doubts or proof against any and all faith and deities but are in fact, a direct attack against believers, that would be all of us. And why this bugs me so much is that many of our own spouses read this crap.

I will tell you now that I’m fortunate in that my spouse doesn’t participate in this arena but a number of you who I am praying for and who have written to me are dealing with a souse who reads atheist blogs and books. And the fact of the matter is that many spouses are not only unbelievers but they are pouring hatred, misinformation and all matter of hostility into their souls from these sources. Indeed we have a very threatening road to walk in some of our mismatched marriages.

I know that one of my friends who is married to a very hostile unbeliever feels the constant attack and pressure. She feels like she must always be on guard to not say the wrong thing in order to avoid the constant conflict that comes from her hostile spouse. I grieve over these situations and I know right now I am talking to a great many of you.

In the early years of my marriage when my husband was extremely hostile, he would go at me with a vengeance throwing all kinds of arguments and weird statements and questions at me to rattle me. I didn’t know at the time that his questions weren’t coming from his own mind and thoughts but were being placed there through some atheist materials he was reading.

The pain we feel when our own spouse attacks us, the shame they place on us, the doubt that it can create can set us back years in our faith walk. How do I know, I lived it. I remember my husband saying something to me one time about God and the devil that rocked my faith so hard it took me months years to get over.

Now I know that Dineen and I wrote a book, Winning Him Without Words, based on 1 Peter 3:1. And the more I live out my faith the more that this passage proves its power in my life. However, there are times when remaining silent is wrong. It’s harmful to you, your spouse and your kids. In fact, chapter seven is titled: Pick and Choose Your Battles; When to stand up or shut-up. My friends, in this case, in my marriage, I finally decided to speak up and when I did things changed.

I will share that conversation with you on Monday as this post has already gone on too long. There are two components that will prepare you for meeting an atheist blog reader. I will share both of them next week.

For today I need your input to help me next week. If you live with a spouse that reads atheist blogs or books, please leave a comment and share with me some of the experiences when confronted by your spouse.

Looking forward to the conversation today. Be blessed, Lynn

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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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Your Mismatched Marriage Isn’t a “But” (part 2)

6a00d83451ee9f69e201b8d16111a0970c-320wiMy friends, on Tuesday we started talking about seeing our marriages instead of a but, to see them as a "But God..." My heart is to encourage you to walk in God's truths and to be all that His heart and love have declared and planned for you to be. The more I work in our healing rooms here, the more I understand that God has asked me to partner with Him to help people do this, to realize their divine destiny and walk in it. And this calling He's placed on my heart is not limited to healing rooms. He puts me into action all over the place. What an adventure!

And I love, love, love that I can bring that to our SUM nation. Dear friends, Lynn and I love you so much! We are passionate for you to walk in freedom, in the truths that Jesus came and died for us to believe and live in, and experience all the fullness of a life with God. Our abundant life isn't waiting in heaven. It's starts here on earth the moment we say yes to Jesus.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. — John 10:10

Jesus does not put any qualifiers on this, my friends. No ifs or buts! We started with the truth that God is unchanged, unaffected and unmoved by our pre-believers lack of faith and neither are His plans and purposes for us. 

Now I want to look at what Jesus did for us, because I love these truths. They have given me freedom from the enemy’s lies that his influence is greater than God’s.

In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. — Col 2:15 (NLT)

The NIV translation says “he made a public spectacle of them.” God not only defeated satan, He shamed him and made a public spectacle of him. My friends, the enemy wants to transfer that shame on us because he hates it. But remember, there is no condemnation (shame) in Jesus (Romans 8:1). That’s our truth! Wow!

Therefore…

You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. — Col 2:20

We have been set free of the enemy’s power. The only way he can influence us is if we let him, if we give him our authority. Lynn will be teaching more on that.

I want to finish with a few more powerful truths from Colossians:

For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. — Col 3:3

In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free (or spiritually mismatched). Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. — Col 3:11 (with my parenthetical addition)

My friends, Christ is all that matters. He’s the “but” in our  marriages because all things are possible with Him. Lynn and I are living proof that we can walk in the fullness of our spiritual identity and callings regardless of our mismatched marriages. And I will tell you that I used to think my marriage—my husband’s unbelief—would limit what God had for me, would basically preclude me from being and doing all that God has for me, but that was another lie of the enemy that has been publicly shamed (by this ministry) and proven untrue.

At the end of Colossians, Paul says something that has had me pondering:

“Remember my chains.”

I wondered at first if this was his way of asking for prayer and perhaps it was, but I think it goes beyond that. I’ve studied Paul’s letters though the years not just for the truths he shares but to understand the man he was. I believe Paul was encouraging believers to see that despite his chains, God was still working in and through Paul to accomplish all that God had predestined (planed in advance) for this man to do (Eph 2:10).

SUMites, I’m not saying our pre-believers are our “chains,” though some days, I dare to say, many of you may feel this way. And I say that with humor! What I am encouraging you to embrace is that if we are to stand in the truth of God’s Word, which tells us that ALL things are possible with God, then let’s believe and live it right in our marriages. 

We are not defeated, and we are by no means limited as long as we believe God, believe what He has told and promised us. Let’s do as Paul tells us, to believe this truth and stand firmly in it.

In the mighty name of Jesus, amen!

Quiet Time Study: (Take these questions to the Lord in your quiet time. Then listen.)

Continue to seek God for His plans and purposes for you. Write down whatever He tells you and then start seeking Him for each step of this journey. He may start you big or He more than likely will start you with small steps, my friends. God’s great “divine plan” for us is to know Him. To just be His kid. If that’s what He’s calling you to do right now, that means He wants to take you deeper first to know Him, love Him, trust Him, so that He can move you into bigger places. 

Community Questions (answer in the comments):

No questions today, my friends. Simply share whatever is on your heart. If you want to share what God is showing you, please do! Let’s encourage and celebrate each other in whatever God is doing in each of our lives. And I want to pray over and bless each of you for whatever Papa God is revealing to you. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, feel free to email me. 

I love you, SUMites! I’m praying for you and celebrating with you, for all that God has for you. Next week, I want to share with you three keys to walking in the fullness of faith and victory. The Holy Spirit has started a new dialogue about these. I’m listening to hear more and look forward to sharing them with you. Have an amazing weekend!
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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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Your Mismatched Marriage Isn’t a “But” (part 1)

6a00d83451ee9f69e201b8d16111a0970c-320wiMy friends, I want to touch on an area that I feel the Holy Spirit has placed on my heart. I sense there are some of you out there who are reading this spiritual warfare series and seeing your marriages (regardless of how you got there) as blocks to all that God has for you. As a “but.”

Instead, I want to encourage you to think of your marriage not as a “But God…”

We’ve talked about sanctification before so I encourage you to go read this post on that subject and study and seek God for more truth and understanding of 1 Cor 7:14. That is a powerful foundational truth to understanding the influence your faith has on your marriage, your pre-believer and your children.

But today I want to talk about our places in these marriages, the truths that protect us and how this relates to spiritual warfare. First, we need to understand that our pre-believers choices and criticisms against our faith do not change these truths:

  • God is good, is good to you, and is working for your good—always (Rom 8:28). (You could say your pre-believer is the beneficiary!) 
  • God’s love for us is unchanged and unaffected by your pre-believers choices or criticisms (Rom 8:38-39).
  • God’s plans for you stand regardless of the choices and decisions of your pre-believer (Jer 33:11).
  • Just as God loves and desires to bless and delight in you, He also holds this same love and desire for your pre-believer (2 Peter 3:9 & 15).

This may seem simplistic in some ways, but I find this truth as powerful as the truth of God’s love for us. God is unchanged, unaffected and unmoved by our pre-believers lack of faith. Period. God will always pursue our pre-believers in His relentless love for all to repent and know Jesus, but this does not stop His plans, purposes and blessings for us. 

Salvation is an individual choice. In other words, our salvation and standing as a child of God with all the benefits, inheritance and blessings is in no way dependent upon any other person except for Jesus. And He already did the work. It’s done.

So, let’s talk spiritual warfare in our marriages. Yes, we may face more warfare because we are on the front lines contending for our pre-believer’s salvation, but we also are way more aware of this warfare than a lot of believing couples, SUMites. We know the enemy’s plan is to destroy marriages. We are on guard and praying against his tactics. We have skills!

Let’s start with an awesome Scripture Lynn quoted last week from Colossians and look at some others from this powerful book about our standing with God and the enemy.

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. — Col. 1:11-14 (ESV)

Our reality is that we have been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred into the Kingdom of Jesus. Paul continues to expound upon this truth in verse 22 with a word of caution:

Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it. — Col. 1:22-23 (NLT)

Paul is admonishing us to believe and stand in the truth of our salvation, which again is true regardless of what the world says about our faith, what our pre-believers think of our faith, or even what we may mistakenly believe about ourselves. Jesus has made us holy and blameless before Him without a single fault.

My friends, I'm going to stop here for now, but come back Thursday, because I have more to share with you on the spiritual warfare side of this. 

Quiet Time Study: (Take these questions to the Lord in your quiet time. Then listen.)

  • Sit down with God and ask Him how or where you have limited Him working in you or your marriage because you believed the enemy's lie that mismatched marriage disqualified you. SUMites, we serve a gentle God who adores us. He will not condemn you. He will lovingly reveal truth to you, so don't be afraid of this.

Community Questions (answer in the comments):

  • If you are comfortable sharing, what lie has the enemy led you believe regarding God's plans and purposes for you?
  • How has the Holy Spirit helped you overcome this lie or any other lie that once held you back from walking in your callings and purposes in God (divine destiny)?

I love you, my friends. I'm excite to share the rest of these truths with you and I pray they revolutionize your thinking in some way that frees you to walk in the fullness of your faith. In the name of Jesus, amen!
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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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Authority - The Believer's Responsibility

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comLast Monday we took a look at authority. The central message of this post is to clearly establish through scripture that Jesus passed His authority to His disciples, including modern day disciples. That would be us. We are commanded to follow in His teachings and to fulfil the purposes of the Kingdom of God. The Great Commission, healing, deliverance, support the poor, etc. (Luke 9:1&2)

Also we reviewed the power of our spoken words and the supporting scriptures. What I didn’t have time to share was that authority and power that the Lord shares with His people on earth can vary. And there are limitations, significant responsibilities and great expectations God places on His people with regard to authority. So let’s take a quick look at what these are.

Prayer Life/Intimacy: Nothing is available from the Heavenly Kingdom without a personal relationship with the Lord. Intimacy and prayer are central to walking in authority. In our war rooms (prayer rooms) is where we learn to discern the promptings of the Spirit. We often are led in specifics on how and whom we are to pray. And then during our prayers, we release the power of God into lives and circumstances.

We have the ability to pray and challenge the demonic in Jesus name through His resurrection. That becomes our legal right.

Authority Is Gods to share: We must steward all gifts from our Father well. Especially authority in the spiritual realm. It should never be thought of a way to manipulate or command something that is not specifically spoken to us by God and confirmed in scriptures. We must use it for the purpose that it was given.

We must remain always aware that God can give authority and remove it and that we only possess His authority because we are walking in intimacy with Christ. We cannot become prideful because we received spiritual gifts.

We are accountable to God and to others for the word we speak. And EVERYTHING we do within our spiritual warfare is to be drenched in love. And our accountability can be measured through the fruit our ministry produces.

Fear God: Great reverence for His purposes and will in our lives as we speak words to one another.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
—Proverbs 9:10 KJV

Our authority in Christ grows over time as we grow in our love for God and people. Also when our compassion for others expands as does our understanding of the Word of God, our anointing and gifts expand. It’s true in many areas of our life as we grow in our understanding of God’s will, we grow in our freedom, joy, peace and all the gifts of the spirit.

Understanding our inheritance as a child of God in the area of authority is crucial because next week we are going to look how the devil deceives us. He will come in like the rats with the trash and set up house. He walks in through open doors. So we will take a look next Monday at the gates the enemy uses to have access to our lives.  

Quiet Time Study: (Take these questions to the Lord in your quiet time. Then listen.)

  • This week I want you to take spiritual authority over your home. Walk through the house and bless the rooms and speak words of prayer for the people who inhabit the rooms. Command any unclean spirit to leave and go to Jesus, never to return or retaliate. (Name it if the Lord brings it to mind. Such as a spirit of hate, violence, pornography, addiction, perversion, etc.) Release a blessing of love, peace, joy and hope in Jesus. Change the atmosphere of your home. People will notice. I know this is true. Within the last week I’ve had a guest in my house. This young woman commented, “I love your house. There is something warm about it.” Others have said, “It’s so peaceful here.”

Community Questions (answer in the comments):

  • Can anyone share with me any changes in their lives and in the spiritual realm of your warfare? Be bold because someone out there needs to know that he/she can truly walk in the authority of Christ. They need to know that cleaning out the demonic is possible.

Love you my friends. I will be traveling to the Open Heavens Conference this week. I hope to bring back another astonishing set of encounters to share.

Hugs, Lynn

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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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The Physical Connection

Today's archival post is from August 18, 2009 and was a guest post on Patty Wysong's blog, Adding Zest. Since we've been covering spiritual warfare, this post is another aspect of the importance our armor can play in staying connected to our pre-believer. Love you, my friends! ~Dineen

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One of the most difficult parts of a spiritually unequal marriage (S.U.M.) is the aspect of spiritual warfare. You might say, as the believing spouse, we are like a missionary on the front lines. Some of us have an easier time living and sharing our faith with our spouse and family. Others must literally keep their Christianity in the shadows—books in drawers, Bibles hidden, etc.

Part of this struggle comes in the great challenge of staying connected to our spouse. God designed our emotional, physical, and intellectual characteristics to be based in our spirituality. In other words, He is to be the center of our world. And He’s the one who helps us keep these three areas balanced.

When we as the believer come from such a place, connecting to our unbelieving spouse can be very difficult and discouraging. As women we tend to look for this connection in the emotional aspect where men connect better on the emotional level through the physical aspect. Thus, I’ve noticed that sex can wind up holding a more critical place in a S.U.M.

Amazingly, in God's great plan, sex is meant to be deeply spiritual, too. I believe this is also why the Bible describes sexual immorality as a sin against ourselves, because it strikes against our spirit. This is also what makes us so vulnerable to spiritual attack in the form of sexual temptation.

So how do we fight this battle?

  1. Start with your armor. Wear it daily. (Eph 6:10-17) At times I literally pray these verses and visualize putting these physical pieces of armor on. As an artist, I’m visual by nature. This helps me to remember whose protecting me.
  2. Pray over your marriage bed. This starts before you even hit the bedroom. Pray for God to provide special times for you and your spouse to be alone and for that time to be protected. The marriage bed is sacred. Do not let anything else interfere with that.
  3. Make the effort. Did you know that mystery and anticipation are forms of foreplay? Do the set-up. If you’ve made plans for an interlude that night, spend the day thinking about your husband. Send him private messages that you’re thinking about him. Give him hints about your plans. Be creative. Build it up. Make sure you’re the only one on his mind.
  4. Let him know he’s the only man in your world. In a S.U.M. it’s not unusual for the unbelieving spouse to see God as a third party who’s taking his wife’s attention away. Without faith, they can’t see it any other way than interference. Intimacy is a great way to reassure your husband his place is secure in your life. 

Most of these principles apply to marriage in general. Staying connected to our spouse is a challenge in any kind of marriage, especially in a world ruled by an enemy whose greatest target is relationships.

In a S.U.M. connecting is even more critical, because it’s not just a relationship at stake but a soul as well. God’s called us to the front lines of battle where, most often, our actions speak louder than anything we have to say.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

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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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Let's Talk Trash!

Under The Umbrella Series IIThe Shield of Righteousness

Hello Nation of Amazing Believers!

You are conquerors. Overcomers, sealed by the blood of Jesus. You are destined for GREATNESS. You are filled with the love our Sovereign God and blessed with the power of the Holy Spirit. You are people who live in a standard of truth and righteousness. You are victorious in battle. You bring holiness into your home and sanctify your spouse and children. The promises of God are for you. Our Lord is our shield and our strong tower. AND NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST US WILL PROSPER!!

Woo Hoo! Hallelujah! AMEN!

These are the promises of God which you claimed on Monday. Lord, open up the floodgates and teach us to walk fully in all of these truths and promises. In Jesus name. Amen

Gang,

We are going to dawn a new part of our wardrobe today. The Breastplate of Righteousness. Before we get started I want to let you know that I will have a few more words about our authority in Christ on Monday. Continue to speak scriptures over your life and words of hope and promise in Jesus. I’ve already heard from some of you via email about what God is already accomplishing in your life. It’s astonishing, liberating and FREEDOM. Dineen and I are humbled that you choose to share your victories with us. We praise God for every…. single…. one. AMEN

Okay, let’s talk trash!   *grin*

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. —Proverbs 4:23

This is what it’s all about. Our heart. The heart is a physical truth and a spiritual truth. From out of our heart pumps life-blood to nourish and sustain our physical body. Also from our soul, our spiritual heart, pumps what it contains into our spirit as well as our body. Our heart is the core of our being and thus must be protected by the shield, the breastplate of righteousness.

What is righteousness? The best way I remember the definition is to think of it as: right living. And that right living is defined by God’s truth. Last week we dawned the belt of truth. Truth is the Word, it is a person Jesus and it is our identity in Him.

Righteousness is a standard. The application of God’s truth in my life. This appears fairly simple. However, in reality many of us continue to struggle with doubt, insecurity, worry and fear.

Well that’s where the trash resides.

Each summer in hot southern California I will go to the curb to retrieve my garbage cans and return them to the backyard after they are emptied. And it never fails that as I look into the black bin which held the stinky garbage, I will spot movement. Yep, maggots. Squirming by the thousands all over the inside of the can. After a shriek loud enough to wake the dead, my heart calms down and I begin the disgusting task of washing those repulsive critters from the can with the hose. Yep, summer fun at the Donovan house!

Trash attracts the maggots, the rats and the roaches. It’s the trash in our lives/hearts that attracts the demonic. For many Christians we know this is true, yet purging ourselves of the trash is difficult and we don’t know how to go about the disposal. And that’s when we move into trash management. It’s a form of godliness, but having denied the power. —2 Timothy 3:5

We sweep our stuff into a closet so when the women’s Bible study meets so they won’t see it. We hide trash in the dark and pretend it isn’t back there calling to us. And it resides in our heart at times and continues to pollute our heart which pumps it throughout our body and into our life. Yikes.

BUT my friends, here is the remedy. We take that Belt of Truth and gird our loins. We speak it over us. We meditate on the Word of God. We memorize truths and pray them back to God in our prayer time. We rehearse the truth, the unchanging & powerful truth of God into our heart/soul….. And that practice replaces worry. Worry and sin is the trash that is replaced by truth and we become transformed.

Transformation occurs when the truth of God is meditated on and righteousness is released into our spirit, our heart.

Transformation is our release of trash and washing away the maggots. Hallelujah…

The result… FREEDOM.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. —John 8:32

Ephesians 6:14  —Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place.

Let’s take out the trash and shut the open doors to the demonic. Dawn the belt of truth and shield your heart with right living. And then look out world because God will use an ordinary believer who is walking in his/her Godly wardroom to do GREAT things!

Quiet Time Study: (Take these questions to the Lord in your quiet time. Then listen.)

  • I want you to consider three issues in life and ask yourself is there trash here that God is asking you to dispose? If there is, pray and ask for His Holy Spirit power for transformation for victory.
    • Food
    • Finances
    • Sex

Community Questions (answer in the comments):

My friends, this post is not intended to cast condemnation but bring freedom. And so I’m not going to post a community question. Just pray and continue to press into truth and through your journey you will find that it becomes easier and easier to pitch the trash and then finally, the day will dawn where you are forever free from it. In Jesus name. AMEN.

I do have a fun and silly question for you. What is a funny even icky trash story from your life? Now don’t get too gross on me. But a little levity in our community today seemed like a good idea. Okay, share away? Anyone have skunks in their trash? Or has your dog eaten the trash? Other surprises in your trash cans? I CAN’T wait to hear your story? Love you a ton. Lynn

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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