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16 entries from November 2015

The Power and Blessing of Giving Comfort

ComfortGiversMy friends, today I want to talk to you about an interesting phenomenon I've observed in my own life and in others. It's a very curious thing and is quite the opposite of our "normal" tendency. And I believe it is one of the weapons of spiritual warfare that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians:

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, — 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (ESV)

We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. — 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NLT)

These verses have continued to "show up" repeatedly for me so I've been praying for Abba to show me what these spiritual weapons are. The obvious ones are God's Word, prayer, truth, love, faith and praise. SUMites, I'm sure you can add to this list as well, and please do. And I find that most of these weapons are opposite in value and in instruction to what the world teaches.

Today I have another to add to that list that I believe is probably on the extreme opposite end of what this world values and understands, though I do believe in this season of joy and celebration we catch a glimpse of it more.

This weapon is service. Specifically when we serve others when every "argument" of this world would tell us not to, that we should take care of, fix, minister to our own lives and issues first. Granted, we do need to do these things as well so that we can continue to give and serve as God calls us too, but I'm speaking of the spiritual warfare aspect of this today.

Let me give you a scenario that I think will help clarify. You're mired in confusion and anxiousness over something you really can't change at the moment. It consumes your thoughts at times and leaves you feeling depressed and even in despair at moments of deep contemplation. You know the truth of 1 Peter 5:6 that says to cast your cares on Jesus, but it's just not helping. 

Then you get a call, an email, or a Facebook message from a friend about something that's happened or that she's struggling with. You can relate to her anguish but your first thought is of your own struggle and you feel you have nothing to offer. Or you feel you have to fix yourself and/or your situation before you can help anyone else. 

So, we pull back, withdraw, and continue to focus on our own situation. I know that's our "normal" tendency, and that's the exact reaction and course of action the enemy wants us to take because he knows two things.

1.) We will miss the opportunity to encourage someone.

2.) We will miss the opportunity to be encouraged.

More often than not, God will make you aware of another person's need as an answer to your own prayer for relief, help, strength, etc. 

Think about the times you have felt the most alive and encouraged in your faith? Has it been while you were helping someone else? And while you were doing that, were you focused on your own issues?

My friends, don't let the enemy steal a blessing from you by using the false arguments against you that your needs, problems, or challenges keep you from helping others. Those very challenges and weaknesses in your life will suddenly become your strength as you give comfort and compassion to someone because you understand that need. 

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. — 2 Cor. 1:4

Astonishing things happen when we do this. As we comfort, we are comforted. As we help to give clarity, we receive clarity. As we help another make their mountains fall into the sea, our own mountains begin to tumble and fall too.

It is so contrary to what the world says, isn't it? The world says to take of yourself. God says, "Seek my kingdom first and you will receive all you need." (My translation.) My observations of others and my own behavior has show me that self-seeking leads to depression, yet selfless living with a heart for others brings such joy and excitement!

What do you think, SUM family? Share your thoughts in the comments. And even better, share your stories that come to mind as you think about this. I know you have some good ones. Our family here is full of the most giving and loving people I have ever had to privilege to meet and know. You show Jesus by your love for each other each and every day!

This week I'm in New York with my mother and a dear friend to see the city at Christmas. My mother was born and raised in Manhattan and has always wanted to show her daughter (me!) what the city looks like at Christmas. God has blessed us with the provision so that we can finally do this. So I will be back next week, dear friends, hopefully with some amazing Christmas stories from New York!

Love you!
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Are You Lonely In Your Unequally Yoked Marriage?

LonelyHello SUMite Family,

I want to talk about loneliness in marriage. I may be off in my thinking. Do we, the unequally yoked, live in a kind of perpetual loneliness? I know for me, I’ve battled against loneliness for years. I’m coming to understand some common denominators that are present in our kind of marriages. I’m coming to see how and what we use to cope with our feelings of rejection, the pain, —boredom.

I’m not sure right now what specifics to write about yet. Or even if this is an area we, as a community, need instruction or discussion.

So, today, I’m asking all of you. Do you experience loneliness in your marriage to an unbeliever? What does that look like in your life? What are the triggers or are there triggers which allow loneliness to creep in?

Do you want to talk about how we cope? Do you want to talk about the best way to cope? Can our faith help us to live —thrive— in unchangeable circumstances, of our unequally yoked marriage?

What say you?

I need to hear your voice. Is this a topic that would help you? Is this an area you have found freedom in your marriage and your voice can help the rest of us? Please share.

I will wait to read your answers and then we will see where we go with this on Friday.

My family, SUMites. We are entering into the most beautiful and loving season of the year. We KNOW the Son of God who was born of a virgin. Who heals, saves, delivers, and prospers His followers. I pray through the next few weeks, our conversations fill us up to overflowing with hope, expectancy and that we see miracles within our lives and family.

I have faith for this and thus I say, “Jesus, we believe! Bring the miracles in our homes. Salvation, healing, wholeness and whole-hearted living. In Your powerful name, Jesus. AMEN.”

I love you. See you in the comments. Lynn

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Praise Him Always

Happy Thanksgiving 2015

Dineen and I will be taking the next week off from writing to spend time with our families. And we know you will do the same. Take time to rest. Get up early on Thanksgiving morning and take a walk-n-pray and marvel in all that He has given!

We love you, SUMite Nation. See you on November 30, 2015 where I will share my heart about a common struggle we, the unequally yoked, share. Loneliness.

But for today, rejoice and be exceedingly glad. We KNOW the King of Kings and have been graced with every good gift. Let's share our love and joy with our friends and family this week. Buy a coffee for a stranger. Rake leaves for an elderly neighbor. Take cocoa to a young mom. Let the love of Christ shine from your heart.

I know it always does. Hugs, Lynn 

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New Resource: Scriptures for SUMites

ScriptureforSUMHello SUM family! Forgive me for being absent Tuesday. I've been dealing with a shoulder injury since April that has turned out to be a bone spur and has become quite painful. Thankfully we know the cause and surgery is scheduled for mid December. 

But I do have a new resource to share with you today. It has my favorite Scripture promises for us to know and pray over our pre-believer and our family. I pray they bless you greatly! Just click on the picture and download your copy.

And thank you again, SUM family, for making my 50th birthday so very special and blessed with so much love! I love you so much, Lynn Donovan. Can't imagine doing life without you. And SUMites, you bless me every day with your love and courage. I love you so much!
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The Sword Of The Spirit

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comGang,

Can you believe it? Today, is my last post in my Spiritual Warfare series. I truly hope that you were empowered and found yourself with more armor, more protection and greater understanding of the real battle that is at hand every day and every moment of our life.

We have talked about the Word of God, or the Sword, as our truth and it ties into all the other pieces of armament in Ephesians chapter six. My friends, the Word is our offensive weapon. It is double edged, in that when we swing it, speak it, read it, love it, believe it, follow it. Two things happen. It slices one way, upward, as it pierces into the heavenly realms to open up more of God’s favor and revelation. (Faith and belief comes by hearing the Word of God) and it also slices downward at the same time, cutting off the attacks of the dark kingdom.

And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the Word of God. —Ephesians 6:17

In the last month I’ve come to understand the Word of God in an expanding knowledge.

The WORD:

Graphe (Greek) means: Writtings. 66 books that compose the cannon of scripture.

Logos (Greek) means: The Message of the writings. When you read a passage and you understand it, you have just experienced the Logos, the message.

Rhema (Greek) means: Utterance. The spoken or declared Word of God. The spokeness of the logos (message) that you received from the graphe.

The rhema is the spirit and the power of God’s presence with you!

So what does this look like practically?

Jesus used the Word to defeat Satan during His 40 days of fasting in the wilderness – where he went to be tempted by the devil.

Devil: If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.

Jesus: It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

In Matthew chapter four, Jesus uses scripture to defeat satan twice. The above passage was in Deuteronomy chapter eight. And the second passage I find interesting is that the devil quotes God’s word to Jesus from Psalm 91. The devil knows scripture. Thus he clearly understands our authority as well as our lack of knowledge, that gives him power in our lives by default.

Devil: He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

Jesus: It is also written: Do no put the Lord your God to the test.

Followed by Jesus telling the devil: Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

Guess what happened? The devil left him.

Gang, if Jesus is quoting the Word of God to the devil, I think that it would be a very good idea for us to do the same. And we need to say more often and OUT LOUD: Away from me satan!

The devil will always tempt us with a legitimate need, just as he did in this passage with Jesus. But our defense and our offensive weapons are so powerful that we need only speak the Word to the situation and then watch as satan must flee and our Lord will take over and provide.

After this encounter angels came and attended him (Matthew 4:11) My friends, I could stand to use a few angels attending me. How about you?

I want to share a personal observation with you now. This is from my heart and from my experience in these many years of walking with God. So often, the Lord is looking for us to just take a tiny step of faith. He is watching the entire human race to see who will believe Him. He waits on the edge of His seat to see how we will respond to promptings of the Rhema as it moves in our life. His watchful eye is upon us to see if we will take one step out in courage to pray for a stranger, to share our faith with our spouse, to give to someone in need without anyone else’s knowledge, to show ourselves vulnerable but in absolute trust that God has got our back.

When I have followed God’s suggestions to go pray for a stranger or to give them the words I am hearing from the Holy Spirit, NEVER have I been left hanging in embarrassment. It IS a RISK to follow the Rhema and the prompting of the Spirit but each time that I choose to trust, I’m overwhelmed with the love of God. The great privilege is watching the love of Jesus flow into a heart and free them from fear. To be present as the Holy Spirit gently pours peace upon them and to see their countenance change. Even the shape of their face can change when they become free of the chains of fear and oppression.

THAT my friends, is worth any chance of being embarrassed. For me, I will risk it. I choose to RISK for the Kingdom because I have picked up the Rhema, the living Word, and have “experienced” Him.

John 1:1 New International Version (NIV)
The Word Became Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

God has given us everything we need to THRIVE in life. His blueprint for victorious living is in our hands. The Word, Christ Jesus and His shed blood. The living Word that heals, saves, elevates, and restores. Reading His Word is the gateway to the most glorious, fun-filled, adventurous, and triumphant life. Today, fall in love with the Word of God. Read it every day and ask God to open up the truths it holds because only good can come from its pages.

I know we could spend years in this lane of study of spiritual warfare, but for now, we have finished our tour of Ephesians chapter six. As we enter into the late fall season with Thanksgiving near and Christmas around the corner, I want us to reflect on our blessings. And we are indeed, rich!

Dineen and I have been thinking about a new series that you will love, beginning in January after our week of fasting. Until that time, we are going to be sharing what the Spirit of God leads through the holiday season.

I would love to hear any suggestions of areas in your marriage, faith-walk, raising kids, etc that you would like us to address. Leave a note in the comments.

I know that many of you have found freedom though this series. If you would, please share with me what you learned and how it’s encouraged you, healed you or how you grew in faith with me in the comments.

I love you deeply. Hugs, Lynn

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From the Archives: Claiming and Praying God's Promises

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 few weesk, 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: Claiming and Praying God's Promises

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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Happy 50th Birthday Dineen Miller

Dineen,      (please leave a birthday note for Dineen in the comments)

Today you turn the BIG 5- oh! I'm here to celebrate your life and to thank you for the many years of ministry we have walked together. So much has happened to us and between us in this journey of life with our Savior. Every memory is a treasure and your life is a rich blessing to me AND to so many others.

I don't think there is anyone else on earth who knows me as well as you and you love me in spite of that fact. You are kind, giving, lavish in your love and full of God's grace. Your heart often leads me to better understanding, as a child of God.

We have laughed together. Cried our eyes out. Traveled all over the country together. Prayed for hours and hours together. We giggle and we mourn. We love and we love some more. You are indeed, the Biblical example of a Sister in Christ.

I will never be able with mere words to convey my love and respect I feel for you. And I literally get on my face to thank our Jesus for bringing us together nearly 10 years ago. 

I pray that our Jesus blesses you today with every desire of your heart. Please know that I love you beyond words of description and I look forward to spending centuries with you as we worship together in the Great Assembly.

Happy Birthday my friend. I love you with a full heart. Lynn

Happy 50 Birthday

PS. Have you received your AARP card yet? Just kiddin around!

Here are some photos from the years together. I pray you are blessed with the memories. Hugs.

Dineen and Lynn FoF

Steve, Lynn Dineen

Donovan Lynn  Miller Dineen 2011_12_14 (2)

Lynn and Dineen 1st meeting

Regal photo on FB

Speaking at Regal Sales Conferecne 2012

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Lynn and Dineen  II Family Life

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I love you my friend.

SUMites, please wish Dineen happy birthday in the comments!!! Hugs, Lynn

 

 

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Love Conqers All

IMG_4126My friends, I am overwhelmed by the force of God's love. It is powerful, relentless, consuming and vast. It is tender, gentle, perfect and complete. It is who He is, what we long for, what the world needs, and the answer to every thing.

Love. God's love. The greatest force on earth and the conduit to faith. The longer I walk this path of the mismatched the more I am seeing—now—that love is the key. Lynn and I have said this all along and you know it, but right now in this time and place, I sense a greater call to love than I have ever discerned before.

God's love enables us to love Him and love others. All we have to do is let go and let Him do this in and through us. That's faith expressing itself through love.

What is important is faith expressing itself in love. — Galatians 5:6b

On Tuesday I put my youngest daughter on a plane to go back home. I wept to see her go, yet my heart was so full of thankfulness for all the love God has put in my life. It's not been easy at times and moving 3,000 miles away from my girls is not the direction I thought my life would go. But God has filled every aspect with His love and presence.

He showed me as a child that love is what "makes the world go round." And I am understanding more and more I that it is His love that holds all things together (Col 1:17). 

All things. Everything.

SUMites, as we enter this time of Thanksgiving, let's take stock of the love God has placed in our lives. The people He has given us to love. The ways He is has shown and is showing us to love. And the incomprehensible, relentless and unending love He has for us.

Our greatest impact on this world is our love. Let it shine, SUMites. Look upon everyone you know and meet with love. Let them see God's love shining in you and watch what happens. I’ve noticed that as I do this, as I meet people eye to eye, they hesitate at first and then smile. I’m just starting to notice this, and I know it’s the love of Jesus shining through. 

This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples––when they see the love you have for each other. — John 13:35 (MSG)

We change the world by loving the people in it, my friends. We are the SUMites, and we know how to do that better than most I think! You are amazing! Love you!
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A Miller Family Update: Waiting on God

21290757_sMy friends, I have a stunning story to tell you. About two weeks ago God moved in a very unexpected way in my family. There are so many pieces shifting in this giant puzzle, but I want to give you a glimpse into what is coming together as part of this Jubilee year and God reuniting us with our "kin" as He showed me He had done in Leviticus 25:10-11.

On Monday my husband received a text from his father that he was taking Mike's mom to the ER. She seemed to have caught the flu his dad had just recovered from and was dehydrated. Mike and I joined them in the waiting room, and as I sat by my mother-in-love, rubbing her leg, I silently prayed for her. After hours of waiting, a scan and assessments, the doctors admitted her with a diagnosis of a blockage and readied a surgical team. 

Yet the surgery didn't happen. It was delayed. The same thing happened the next day and the next. As I continued to pray for her healing, I emailed our 1Peter3Living group for prayers for her a well. SUMites are awesome prayer warriors!

Thursday evening came, and we could see Mike’s parents were very frustrated with the constant delays in her diagnosis and need for surgery. Yet I knew it was God. I'd seen Him do the very same thing with my youngest daughter Leslie when they said she needed a port in her chest for chemotherapy. Three different times this procedure fell through for various reasons and after the fact it turned out she didn't need it.

As we sat visiting, I could see my precious MIL was in distress. She’s a tough a cookie, yet I could see she was scared. She is a precious woman who loves her family fiercely and calls me her daughter. She’s like a second mom to me, and I so appreciate how she raised my husband to love like she does. Early on I think she thought I was a bit over the top in my faith but she never criticized me. 

What happened next totally shocked me. As I sat by her bed, she looked at my FIL and my husband and said, “I want you boys to leave so Dineen can pray with me.”

The guys left. I leaned over her bed and just held her as I prayed for her healing. I declared the blockage gone. I declared the blood of Jesus over her. I released healing and peace into her. All in the name of Jesus. Afterwards, she said she felt better already.

I went to the waiting area to get “the boys.” My father-in-love gave me a grateful smile and said thank you. We went back to my MIL’s room and Mike and I said our goodbyes.

When we stepped into the elevator, joining another couple who got off on another floor. Once the doors closed, Mike turned to me and said, “Thank you for helping my mom.”

I smiled, and said, “Of course.” 

My friends, I wish I could give you the full dialogue that ran in my head but the amazing thing was, there actually wasn’t much. I wasn’t worried, uncomfortable, or concerned about what my husband or anyone else would think. I jus did what I knew God wanted me to do.

Like Jesus, the Father showed me what to do and I simply followed His lead with His Son as my model and inspiration. God is so faithful. And I truly believed He would answer those prayers for healing.

The next day when we went up to visit, we found out the blockage was gone and no surgery was needed. Praise God! I realized the weeks of praying for my family’s protection had played a part in all this as well. And my husband witnessed God in action. He didn’t criticize in any way. He was thankful. 

SUMites, I’ve waited for a long time to see answers like these to years of praying. Today I want to encourage you to keep pressing in and praying. Believe that God hears your every prayer and if there are delays, seek God for understanding. 

Just like the delays for my daughter and my MIL were God’s hand of protecting and provision, they are for us and our pre-believers too. God is good and He has a future for us and those we cover in prayer that is good and full of His love. We may not understand the process, and often times we don’t get the timing until after the fact, but we can trust in His perfect love and purposes for us. 

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. — 2 Peter 3:9 NLT

I love you, SUMites. I know God has great plans for you, for this community and one day we will meet in heaven and see how the great puzzle all came together! In the mighty name of Jesus, amen!
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Tablecloth Of Thanks 2015

I started a Thanksgiving family tradition a few years ago quite by accident. This tradition has become my absolute favorite. I'm sharing it today, as I do every year, so that our new readers can begin this tradition in their home. This is also a Family Faith Tradition I share in our book, Not Alone.

Enjoy.....Lynn

I'ts Never Too Late!

It’s never too late to start a new tradition in your home, especially one which brings honor to the Lord. I have a story to share and a photo. I also want to give you a chance to share some of your holiday traditions or giggles.

Join in today and share a Thanksgiving holiday tradition from your home or share a funny holiday hiccup.

I will share with you that like many newly married young women, I didn’t realize the turkey was stuffed with bagged giblets. Yep, I cook the turkey with the plastic bag and the giblets still inside. We ate it anyway.

Also, three years ago, I set the oven on fire when I moved the giant bird around. I freaked out. My husband came running. The house was crazy, people were yelling, crying and freaking… Perhaps it was only me doing the yelling, crying and freaking. My calm man put the flames out and to this day, I don’t know how he did it because we didn’t own a fire extinguisher.

The next morning I rose before dawn and went shopping at The Home Depot. NO NOT FOR CHRISTMAS… For a fire extinguisher. And now, every year BEFORE I bake the turkey, I check to make sure the extinguisher is charged and ready.

Sheesh!

Today, I'm sharing one of my most favorite family traditions. Here is a post I wrote years ago for the Internet Cafe. Hope you start a family tradition this year. It's NEVER too late to have a Tablecloth of Thanks.

Tablecloth of Thanks 

Many of you know that I am married to an unbeliever. This past May we celebrated 15 years of marriage. Our unequally yoked marriage has had its challenges to say the least. Over the years, however, our ingenious God has maneuvered us through many touchy issues. 

Our disparity becomes more apparent during the holidays. Giving thanks to our Lord in November is a treasured time for me. I name my blessings one-by-one in prayer, thanking God for His lavish abundance poured into our lives. 

Like most wives living in an unequally yoked marriage, I long for my spouse to understand there is a God. To know He is intricately involved in our lives and everything we have is provision of our creator. I have also learned that forcing God upon my husband is a surefire way to push him away. I am careful to respect my husband and simply trust Jesus to reach him in his perfect timing. 

In spite of my husband’s unbelief, I discovered a unique way to draw him into the celebration of thanks, besides through his stomach. He loves turkey. 

Four years ago, I threw a new, pristine-white tablecloth across our dinning room table two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. I purchased several colored pens and placed them on top. A new tradition was born, a Tablecloth of Thanks. It began with my daughter. I told her, “I WANT you to write on this tablecloth.” She looked at me with skepticism in her eyes, wondering if her mother had lost her mind. 

“Really,” my smiled reassured. “Write down what you are most thankful for this year. Then write the year, 2004, near your name.” 

She grinned and began to write using several different colors. I joined in and wrote my thanks directly on the beautiful tablecloth. 

Later that evening my husband noticed the scribbles on the tablecloth. I watched as he walked over to read our words. I walked to his side and took his hand. I subtly asked him if he would also write down his thanks. He smiled and said maybe later. 

Finally on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, my husband picked up a pen and wrote; I am thankful for my wonderful family, great friends, and a very happy life. 

Wow! Was he giving thanks to our Lord? I am not sure. However, every year since he has continued to write a thankful list. Last year’s entry reads; I am thankful for all of my blessings…family, friends, and the dogs. 

Imported Photos 00001What? Did he use the word blessings? Small steps such as these lead to the Savior. I can’t wait to read his thankful list this year. 

The Thankful Tablecloth is one of my most prized possessions. Everyone who visits our home during the Thanksgiving holiday contributes to this permanent memorial of thanks. It is a visible praise to the King displayed in our unequally yoked home each November. 

One of my favorite thanks is this: 

2006
I am thankful
to be able to sit
on the couch and have
my people pet me.
Peanut 

Hmmmm, I wonder how the dog grew fingers and learned to write???? 

Psalm 69:30 (NIV)
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.

 

Lord God, I will name my blessings one-by-one….. Jesus… eternal life…. clean water to drink…..capacity to love…..empowerment to forgive….. just for a start….. 

It is never too late to start a new tradition. If you want to start your Tablecloth of Thanks, I have a few helpful hints.

  1. Place a sheet of butcher paper under your tablecloth. (I have a permanent smiley face on my dinning room table from the year 2005)
  2. Use colorfast fabric pens.
  3. Store your tablecloth in an airtight Ziploc bag. 

Thank you my friends for sharing this Holiday treasure with me. I wish you were with me today and could share your thankful heart on the Tablecloth of Thanks.

(My friends, if you could, share this post on Facebook and Twitter. It's truly a wonderful tradition and I want so much for families to have an opportunity to share faith in this way. Thanks, Lynn  - click on the buttons below to share. Hugs)

Also, if you have started a tablecloth already in your home, PLEASE, take a photo and share it in the comments. I would love to see them. Hugs, Lynn

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Hilarious - From The Archives!!!!!

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

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Today, I'm going to share a quick, I mean really quick video. This is from our blooper reals. Yep, I can really be blonde. (Turn on your speakers or you'll miss it! :)

Dineen and I love you SUMite Nation!!  Thanks for being part of our family. 

Lynn and Dineen - The Blooper - Laugh with Us from Spiritually Unequal Marriage on Vimeo.

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The Helmet of Salvation Defeats The Religious Spirit

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comWhat is salvation? I can bet you know the answer but the answer is so much bigger than you know.

Can I ask you a few questions? 

Do you serve in church? Attend Bible study? Watch the babies during first service? Organize the potluck? Work tirelessly to organize the Christmas event? Do you feel like you have worked yourself to exhaustion and your kids miss their mother? And let’s not mention our spouse and how he feels. Yikes!

I ask these questions, NOT to cast condemnation. I’ve done all of the things above. But what I see often in these scenarios is the Religious Spirit.

—Religion tries to tell you that if you do more, God will give you more grace. So you do more and become a tired Christian trying to earn God’s love and grace. Religion will kill you because you are trying to earn what has already been given to you. — Tony Evans, Victory In Spiritual Warfare

My friends, salvation is SO MUCH MORE than our ticket to heaven. It’s a promise and a protection and our salvation is the access to the power already provided. How cool is that?

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. —Ephesians 2:8-10

Grace, through faith unto good works!

Our Helmet of salvation is our supernatural protection of our mind. It’s out of our mind that come every thought that turns into actions. The devil will go to great lengths to place lying thoughts into our mind. But when we are covered by our Helmet of Salvation, we can take those thoughts captive to Christ.

I want to share a quick video of how to take thoughts captive to Christ. I practiced this for months. As a thought entered my mind, I would do this: 

My friends, our salvation is access NOW to the Mercy Seat of Grace and to all that God has for our life on earth. We can’t earn what is already ours. God can’t love you more. He killed Jesus for you!

Wear the Helmet with new truth. You are protected and empowered to defeat the consequences of sin and change your circumstances to align with the Kingdom of God.

Now…… THAT’S SALVATION!!!!! Let’s dawn that Helmet and take every thought captive!

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How Many Ways Does God Speak?

6a012875bda851970c01bb08880261970d-250wiMy friends, I loved reading your comments on Tuesday. What a wealth of wisdom, honesty and encouragement. We are part of such an amazing community. I have no doubts that our church without walls makes our Papa God very proud.

Much of what I’m sharing with you is simply from the journey God has had me on to walking in my healing and prophetic calling. It is challenging because hearing God is crucial! I want to be like Jesus and do only what the Father does.

Sometimes we need to wait for the Holy Spirit to lead, but other times we need to just step forward in faith because of what we already know to be true about God.

For example, I know from God’s Word that Jesus healed and called use to do even greater works than He did. God has called me to work in the healing rooms, so I pray with a team for people who come in seeking God for healing either physically, spiritually, and/or emotionally. 

This experience and seeing how God works has grown my faith and belief. Now God even moves me to pray for people randomly as I’m out and about. First, it is my reassurance of what I do not see, Jesus’ healing, that motivates me to pray for others, but it’s a great step of faith for me to do this outside of the healing rooms, because I’m the one initiating the conversation. 

How do I know who and when? I listen and take note of significant elements—something I’ve learned to do by trial and yes, error at times. LOL! For example, on Monday I went to pick up my poochies from the groomer. In the parking lot I saw a man walking to his truck, and I could see walking was painful for him. I prayed silently for his healing. 

Then I “heard” a very faint voice say, “Pray for him.” To be honest, I wasn’t sure if that was God or my own desire to see this man healed. But you know what, even if I didn’t know for sure, I would still have the reassurance of Scripture that Jesus heals and He has called us to pray for healing for others. See what I’m saying? Some things we’ve already been told to do.

As this was processing in my mind, this man started his car and Christian music blasted out. I knew then this was a divine appointment. I turned around and started a conversation with this gentleman, starting with the music—we both enjoy this radio station, we are fellow believers. So then I simply asked about his leg. He explained the details (knee cartilage was gone—I say was because I am believing in his complete healing) and that he had gone to healing rooms for prayer. I simply asked if I could pray over his knee, which he was very happy for me to do.

I’m believing for Ray’s healing (please join me in that prayer, my friends), but what I want to share is what this divine appointment reveals.

  1. The Holy Spirit took my inclination to pray for this man’s healing to myself and turned it into a nudge to action. (Thoughts)
  2. God affirmed this with the music, an outside stimulus. (Hearing)
  3. The outcome of this encounter is positive no matter the result, which is in God’s hands. But both this gentleman and I were both encouraged—he for his healing and me in my faith. And amazingly, my friends, I needed a boost that day. So, again, I am in awe of the multi-purposed plans of God. And don’t you find it interesting that this happened on Monday, the day I needed to write my posts for the week and had prayed for Holy Spirit’s help to write about the ways we hear God?

There are many ways we can hear God. My example showed how the Holy Spirit spoke in my thoughts and through music. The Holy Spirit often will give me vivid picture of an event or just words that make no sense to me but turn out to be significant to the person I’m praying for. I am always astonished and encouraged when He does this and I pray that wonder never stops!

I’d like to finish this post with a short video by Pastor Kris Vallotton. This 11 minute clip completely opened up my understanding of how to hear God. It showed me that I’d put emphasis on only one way to hear God. Not only did it help me identify other ways I was hearing but also to understand they were as important as that still small voice. I pray it inspires, encourages and blows the doors wide open to greater faith in hearing God. It did for me so now I pray for that breakthrough and blessing for you too, my friends. 

Love you!
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Guest Post: Blessed are the Peacemakers

Dear friends, we have some more exciting news for you today. Our very own SUMite, Ian Acheson, has come on board with us and will be posting the first Wednesday of each month. As you know, Ian is the author of Angel Guard and has written guest posts with us periodically. We are so thankful to have him on board to give a male perspective to our mismated journeys and to our SUM family. God is so good! He knows exactly what we need! If you want to know more about Ian, check out his website too!

Thank you, Ian! We are excited to see what God has planned for you here and we are blessed to receive your wisdom and authenticity. Lord Jesus, bless Ian and equip him with more knowledge and wisdom in You. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Blessed are the Peacemakers

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Photo courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lynn wrote a wonderful post two weeks ago encouraging us to always put on the shoes of peace. I've been meditating on the Beatitudes for the past few months and providentially my church has just completed a sermon series on them.

Anxiety has filled my heart for too much of my life. I’m blessed to be a twin and since I can remember mom always described me as the “anxious one” while Peter, my brother, was the relaxed one. I put it down to the fact he sat on me for nine months. Yes, I was first out and Pete took another twenty minutes before he realized he was missing his older brother.

Peace is inside us

Neither the enemy nor the world can bring us peace. But God is peace and the words of Romans 5:1 remind us that in believing in Jesus we have peace. As Lynn reminded us we have to actively choose to believe that peace is within us by putting on our shoes.

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” (James 4:1)

Anxiety and strife begin in our heart. If we’re anxious we step into any situation, anxious. Only this weekend Fiona and I were discussing Christmas and how we’d manage having separate lunches for each of our families. Even though Fiona will do most of the cooking, she was the one who brought peace to our discussion. I brought the anxiety.

We can only be a peacemaker when we're at peace. 

Distraction steals peace

We live in a world of distraction. We only need to look at the story of Martha and Mary when Jesus comes to visit. Look at what Jesus says to Martha, “Martha, Martha (ouch …not a good sign) you are worried and troubled about many things …” (Luke 10:41)

Martha wants everything to be just right. Heck, it’s Jesus. She’s cooked him a three-course meal while making their house spotless. And she’s exhausted.

Mary, on the other hand, is single-minded. On Jesus.

We can learn two valuable lessons here on dealing with distraction:

  1. Make decisions about what your priorities will be. For example, read your Bible every day, go to church every Sunday. Don’t wait to decide on the day. Lock it in.
  2. Actively eliminate things from your life, whether that’s one or two regular commitments, some of the email newsletters you subscribe to, or stuff that is causing clutter in your house.

Source of peace

Remember that post I wrote a few weeks ago about the power of memorizing Bible verses? One verse that I’ve locked away since then is the following:

“You will keep in perfect peace
 those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” (Isaiah 26:3-4)

That’s what Mary did. She kept her mind fixed on Jesus.

As I mentioned last time, for too much of my time as a Christian I’ve been too casual in my commitment to Jesus. I haven’t wed myself to His Word rather simply grabbing snippets. Guess what? My anxiety continued unchecked.

“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” (Psalm 119:165)

My pastor mentioned this verse a few weeks ago. What a great verse. Fall in love with the Word. Read it, devour it, mark it up, memorize it, live it.

I know in making a stronger commitment to spending time in the Word and in prayer this year my level of anxiety has reduced and I realize God’s peace is truly accessible.

This morning as I scanned my Instagram feed there was a photo of an underlined passage of the Bible from someone I follow. She mentioned her sister has been struggling with much opposition but “reading God’s words are the only time my mind and world quit spinning.”

It reminded of something my pastor would say: “If your Word level is out of whack with your circumstances, you will be susceptible to those circumstances.”

As a group let’s encourage each other to stay in the Word and in so doing we will experience peace. Then we can be the peacemakers in our marriages, our families, our friendships and all situations.

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Was That God I Really Heard?

6a012875bda851970c01bb08880261970d-250wiWelcome to November, SUMites! Can you believe we are already approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas? I’m already seeing ads and decorations everywhere. These are clear “signs” of what’s coming soon.

You know, these are physical signs of the approaching holiday season. We see the evidence with our eyes. With my nose I smell the evidence every time I go to the grocery story and inhale the fragrant cinnamon brooms and pinecones for sale. And soon I’ll hear it with my ears as Christmas tunes flood the stores and radio stations.

The thing is, we would know these holidays are coming even without these evidences, because we know what time of year it is. We know these are established seasons that we witness every year. We recognize and know what to expect. We didn’t know this from birth but from experience. So in a way, you could say that our expectation in January that Thanksgiving and Christmas will come again is kind of an act of faith. We believe it, because of our experience.

Hearing God can operate in the same way at times but most of the time, it’s an act of faith first—first to believe that God speaks to us and to believe He answers.

Dawn B. shared a comment on my last post, Can We Hear God?

“My problem isn't hearing Him, it's questioning if I heard correctly.”

As our faith grows (remember, Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith so we are continually growing), we learn to trust that we are hearing the Holy Spirit and hearing Him correctly. That’s when repetition and experience confirm we are hearing correctly, and we grow more confident in what we are hearing from God and become quicker and bolder in obedience. 

For example, God used Dawn’s comment to make it clear to me this would be the next topic in this series (which I hadn’t planned to be series but God clearly did). I knew right away in my spirit that’s what God wanted. Hearing God is an act of faith, and trusting what we have heard is an act of faith as well.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. — Hebrews 11:1

Jim Edwards left a wonderful reply to Dawn’s comment that I want to share with you as well.

“I love what Bill Johnson teaches, that will help you. It's a good father's responsibility to make sure he speaks in a way that their child hears. Now Bill should know 'cause his son Eric has severe hearing loss, so whether that means speaking louder, or facing them so they can lip-read, or whatever, then this is what he does. Now our Heavenly Papa has to be a so-much-better Dad. If you're listening—He’ll make sure you hear correctly.”

Again it is an act of faith, of belief, that our Father God will makes sure we hear Him correctly. We probably won’t get it perfectly down in the beginning, if ever, my friends. We are human and things like unforgiveness, resentment, pride and fear can get in the way. But the more we take the risk, as Lynn mentioned, and step out in faith, the better we get at it. But first we must choose to believe that God will lead us.

The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand. — Psalm 37:23

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. — Prov. 3:5-6

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. — 2 Cor. 2:14

The Bible is full of verses that speak of God’s heart to lead and guide us, so I find what Jim shared to be very comforting and affirming. Our God loves us and wants us to hear Him, so it makes sense that He would make sure we hear Him correctly. And He will catch us if we stumble. 

Before Jesus came, the priests would use the Urim and Thummim to seek God and they trusted the result because they believed God controlled the outcome of this “toss of the dice” method (scholars are not entirely sure what these elements looked like). But we carry the very Spirit of God in us! Think about that. Doesn’t it makes sense that He will work in us to be sure we hear correctly? I head Pastor Eric Johnson once say, “God trusts us more than we trust ourselves.”

SUMites, you helped me write this post today. Is that cool or what? On Thursday, we’ll talk about the ways we hear God, another great point brought out in the comments on my last post, so let’s keep this ball rolling. How do you usually hear God and what affirms for you that you’ve heard Him correctly?

Can’t wait to read your comments! And be sure to check back tomorrow for another surprise we have for you… Love you!
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Meet Lynn & Dineen In Person

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Okay, our BIG announcement may not be a complete surprise but today we are making an official announcement and launch of a Spiritually Mismatched Conference. Wahoo!!!

THRIVING In His Presence Conference

Garden City (Detroit area), Michigan
Saturday, January 23, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM (EST)

Lynn & Dineen present:
THRIVING in His Presence Conference

*Revive your heart
*Restore your marriage
*Rejuvenate HOPE
*Recognize your divine destiny and live it fully
*Reach for the impossible
*Risk for the Kingdom
*Run in His Freedom

Register through Eventbright

Dineen and I are beyond psyched to be guests of the amazing team of Girlfriends of Grace Women's Ministry of Merriman Road Baptist Church. This is a group of women who are familiar with the unique and challenging circumstances of living with a pre-believer. They have a heart to bring hope to others and have organized a fantastic opportunity for us to meet together, pray together, learn together and allow the love of Jesus to change us all.

Merriman is located about eight miles from the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. The team is working on bringing other believers together from the Detroit area. They also are hopeful many of our SUMite community can attend. 

So here's the deal. Pray... If the Lord is leading you to join this special day, then ask Him to provide the means and the way. You can book a flight in on Friday, January 22, 2016 and depart after the conference on Saturday, January 23, 2016. Book your flight later into the evening to allow time to meet us following the event. 

You can also book a hotel room. I've done a search of hotels that are near the airport as there is not a hotel near the church. Click here to see the options and information from reviews on Tripadvisor. I'm trying to figure out if there is a hotel that will shuttle to the church. Most of these hotels will shuttle you to and from the airport. I'll let you know if we can sort out some way to get you to and from the hotel to the church and then back to the airport following the event. Stay tuned.

Registration for the event is through Eventbrite. If you are attending, please register and then let me know. Dineen and I are going to choose two people to receive a free registration. We will choose two,   in a random drawing, in early January and then reimburse you for your registration. 

Additionally, we have formed a closed "travel" group on Facebook. I'm hoping that through this group we can arrange some travel together and save money. Ask me to join that group if you are planning to attend. Email me.

We expect this single day to change many. We expect the Holy Spirit to show up with power. We expect women to return home filled with fresh hope, a fresh anointing, fresh perspective and a powerful love. We expect you to be loved on and filled with scriptures that revive and restore. We expect Jesus to change us all.

Oh how I do hope that many of our SUM family can make their way toward a reunion in the flesh. January isn't all that far away and what a fantastic way to start your new year, with your SUM family the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and our good, good Father.

Pray and let me know your thoughts. If I left something out that you need to know, please ask in the comments. 

A word of advice that the team of ladies who live in Michigan gave this southern California girl about visiting the grand state of Michigan in January: "Lynn, wear everything you've got!!!!"

Hilarious. I can't wait to wear my boots and gloves and throw a snowball at Dineen. (Love ya girl! *grin.*) Join the fun and let's have a cup of anything hot together in January! BIG hugs. Lynn

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