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16 entries from April 2016

How Do We Become Free Of Offense?

SUM Nation:

This post is going to challenge you. However, working through the steps I discuss will, indeed, free you from the ugly snare of the enemy’s weapon of —offense.

Surrendering the offense is the first step. Well, perhaps recognizing that you feel offended is where you begin. Recognize it and name it. Then say, “I’m determined to give this offense to the Lord.” Then pray, pray and pray and surrender the need to respond.


Sometimes let goIt IS appropriate to respond in relationships when boundaries are crossed or broken. However, there are many times where we need to just….. let…. it…… go. Learning to discern those instances I believe comes from praying Ephesians 1:17 over our minds and heart. I have prayed this passage so many times, I’ve lost count. And I frequently pray this verse over others.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. —Ephesians 1:1 NIV

Praying for wisdom and revelation to know God’s thoughts and will in the matter is very powerful…. And extraordinarily helpful and healing.

I understand that it’s easier said than done. But with the Lord’s help, through our prayer time, we can learn to see above the situations and the people and truly let offense just roll off our backs.

Over time through prayer and forgiveness we will find we come to a place where we forgive and let go of offenses. I don’t even fully understand how this happens. It completely, doesn’t make sense especially in our culture to forgive and to release an offense. Our culture will encourage you to hate that person. Seek their demise through gossip behind their backs. To cause pain through escalating the offense and making it even more personal.

In my life as I’ve practiced recognizing and surrendering offense, I’ve discovered that forgiveness and release of the offense and offender comes more easily and quickly. And part of our freedom it to release offense as quickly as possible.

Now here is the final step. Are you ready?

Bless them.

From your heart speak into your prayers a blessing. “I bless ____________ with joy and peace and everything they need. In Jesus name. AMEN

Gulp!

Here is an example.

I pray with people through my church. And often people come in for prayer because they are really struggling in life with all kinds of emotional issues. Recently a man came in for prayer and through some prayer time and questions, we arrived at his divorce. He had been divorced for many years and assured us he had worked through forgiveness of his ex-wife. And he had.

However, he had never taken that extra step to actually release her from all the past pain, by blessing her to receive everything the Lord had for her.

So, in that moment he began to pray, out loud, and blessed his ex-wife. He blessed her with joy, happiness, contentment and everything good that the Lord has for her.

THAT was his freedom moment. His face changed. He experienced a lightness in his spirit and joy rose up from within. He was finally free.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. — Galatians 5:1 NIV

This passage says it all.

Practice releasing offense as quickly as you can. Surrender it to the Lord. Something supernatural begins to occur that empowers your heart to truly forgive and even bless.

Wow, the miracles and workings of the Kingdom of God… It simply blows my mind up at times.

SUMites, we are often the target of offense. Our own family members can speak persecution and offensive comments to us about our faith. There are times to respond and times to let go. Pray Ephesians 1:17 so that when those moments arise, you will be filled with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will know what to do and what to say, if anything.

Thus you will walk in peace. And peace, joy and righteousness is your inheritance as a child of the One True God and His son, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit.

I love you. We have some BIG surprises coming next week and throughout the month of May. I intend to discuss the fear of man challenge later this summer. Stay tuned… Much, much more coming here to the House of SUM!

It’s a blast living the believer’s life! Hugs, Lynn

*****

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The Goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living

19197771_sOn Tuesday I wrote about God’s promises and asked you to choose one promise you are standing for right now, write it on an idea card and as a prophetic act, stand on it and speak this promise over yourself, your family, or whatever the situation this promise is for.

I want to back up just a bit and be sure that our community understands just how powerful it is the speak God’s Word back to Him, to speak what came from the supernatural into the natural realm (Heb. 11:3). If if you read the Psalms, you’ll notice King David was a master at this.

Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. — Psalm 27:13

In the early years of my Christian faith, I didn’t understand this. I always read my Bible, studied Scriptures and memorized verses here and there, but it wasn’t until much later that I was taught the power of speaking God’s Word out loud, speaking it back to Him. Scripture even tells us this.

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up. These events will bring great honor to the LORD’s name; they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.” —Isaiah 55:10-13 NLT

As I’ve learned to do this more and more, I’ve seen God’s Word produce the fruit He promised. I believe we give Abba great pleasure when we trust His Word and speak it back to Him. And there are many ways you can do this, my friends.

  1. Simply read His Word out loud. As powerful as playing Christian music in your home can be to change the atmosphere, reading God’s Word out loud in your home is even more so. I know this isn’t always possible with our mismatched situations, but take advantage of the times you can. I did this quite frequently over my children’s rooms as they were growing up and I speak God’s Word over my marriage bed and room. Bless and protect!
  2. Make it a prayer. Take the Words and speak them as prayer to God with your name or a loved one’s name in it. One piece of Scripture that I used quite a bit in recent years is from Psalm 91. Here’s an example:

    “Because Dineen loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue her; I will protect her, for she acknowledges My name. She will call on me, and I will answer her; I will be with her in trouble, I will deliver her and honor her. With long life I will satisfy her and show her my salvation.” — Psalm 91:14-16 NLT

    I even did this with the entire Psalm and still personalize it as prayer of protection. This spoke to my heart and gave me comfort. And the more I heard it, the more I believed it.
    So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. — Romans 10:17 NKJV
  3. Speak it back to the Source. When we read a verse and speak it back to God as a statement of truth, again our faith is strengthened and so is our trust. And as I shared on Tuesday about God’s faithfulness, He returns that trust with His faithfulness to His Word and to us.

During a difficult time I spoke back 1 Peter 5:6-7 and 10 to God almost every day.

Vs. 6-7: Lord, I humble myself under Your mighty power, and I know that at the right time, You will me up in honor. So I give you all my worries and cares, because I know You care about me.

Vs. 10: Lord, in Your kindness You called me to share in Your eternal glory by means of Jesus Christ. So after I have suffered a little while, You will restore, support and strengthen me, and You will place me on a firm foundation.

Why did I do this? Look at verses eight and nine:

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. — 1 Peter 5:8-9

The enemy was hitting me hard at the time and this was one of many verses God led me too. Then one day while in church during worship, I heard God clearly say, “I am lifting you up today.”

God spoke back His Word to me as I had been speaking it to Him. And He did exactly what He said, my friends. I find myself wanting to do this very type of scriptural prayer more and more, because I love to hear our Great God speak it back. He’s so faithful!

SUM family, I know many of us are feeling down trodden. I am battling new discouragement over my health—I was finally feeling almost back to normal from my shoulder ordeal and now my body is having some kind of allergic reaction that is making life very unpleasant. In the last four months I wasn’t as diligent due to the pain I was in and the enemy took full advantage. Just as 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, but that doesn’t change God’s faithfulness. I am committed to praying these Scriptures and more over myself and my family. And over you, my friends. I often pray over your comments with Scriptures.

Why? Because…

“I trust You, Oh Lord, for You are my God (Psalm 31:14)! And I KNOW Your are working all this out for our good (Romans 8:28)!

Amen? Amen!

Love you!
Dineen

*****

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God Keeps His Promises

1Cor1-9My friends, I want to take our theme of standing for Jesus and move to standing on His promises. What does that mean? How do we identify a promise in the Bible? How do we pray and stand upon them, especially when what we see happening in our lives or those we love or in the world around us doesn't agree?

I love God’s promises. I firmly believe and declare regular that they are my shield and protection as it says in Psalm 91. When daughter Leslie was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, I stood on every promise He gave me through that and He was faithful to His Word. God has proven His faithfulness to me mainly through my daughters and my marriage.

But I will also be honest and authentic in saying I feel like this area of my faith has been tested more in the last two years than I ever imagined they could be. Right now I can also honestly say I’m beginning to understand Job and even identify with the poor dude. My family and I are getting slammed in ways I didn’t see coming—my daughter’s and my health, a marriage in our extended family is threatened, and some other unforeseen challenges have emerged. Yet in other ways, God’s blessings have poured out in abundance and remain sure.

I remember walking and praying one day as my mind contemplated God’s miracles, specifically how we see and perceive them as opposed to our spouses. I tend to try to look at things from my husband’s perspective as well in order to understand him better—I’m still trying to figure the guy out!

And in this reflective moment I could honestly see how someone could “reason” away the evidence of God. But quicker than I could finish the thought, God stopped me in my tracks and said, “No, Dineen, everything is birthed in the supernatural first. Never forget that.”

Then He led me to Hebrews 11… 

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. — Hebrews 11:1-3

I was quite familiar with verse one, but it was verse three that He wanted me to see that day to bring His point all the way home to my heart. 

Everything starts with the word of God. 

With His Words.

With His promises.

And He’s reminded me of this for the last several days as I contemplate the chaos that seems to be swirling around my immediate and extended family. 

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises to be fulfilled. — Romans 15:4

And that’s the key, to read the Bible and ask Holy Spirit to reveal the promises we need for that moment, that day, that situation, or whatever need and challenge we are facing. Or even just the reassurance of His presence, love and protection. Because He knows we need hope and encouragement constantly to walk in faith and STAND on His promises. 

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises… — 2 Peter 1:3-5

Yes, God has given us everything we need, because He gave Himself to us through Jesus. And His Word is full of those great and precious promises. But there is a role we play in this divine exchange, my friends. It’s in that very last line of the Scriptures above, a line that captured my attention just yesterday as I sat with my Bible on my lap, searching for a much needed Word of promise, hope and encouragement.

He reminded me through Peter’s words to make very effort to respond to those promises I searched for so hungrily. There in lies our side of this divine exchange, to receive His Word as truth and stand in belief and agreement with it.

When God says He will never leave or forsake us, He will never leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:6). So when we feel like God is distant, we can claim His promise that He will never abandon us and declare this truth to make the enemy and his lies flee.

When God says He is for us, not against us (Rom. 8:31), then we can trust we have the Creator of the Universe backing us up (Isa. 58:8). All those “things” that seem to be coming against us will actually be turned around and used for our good (Rom. 8:28). 

When we wonder how we can love like Jesus and be His light in the world, we can trust that He had already told us we are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14) and also trust that He is giving us the power and the desire to be that light and do the things that please Him (Phil. 2:13).

And when we run into doubt, we can stand on His very Word that says He is faithful to do what He says, because we have entered into partnership with His Son, Jesus (I Cor. 1:9).

My precious SUM family, I want you to take one promise from the Bible—one you already know and want to stand for, or ask the Holy Spirit to show you one you need right now—and write it on an index card or piece of paper. Then as a prophetic statement, I want you to stand on it and speak that promise out loud over yourself, your family, and/or whoever or whatever it is for. Do this every day for a week, a month, or however long it takes to become your truth. 

Then when your promise is birthed from the supernatural into this earthly realm, come and give your testimony. For we are the SUMites and we stand in faith as uniquely as any church or faith based community as I have ever encountered. And I am so grateful for you, my SUM family. I am standing with you just as I know you are standing with me.

I love you so very much,
Dineen


*****

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Offended??? Really?? Oh, Come On Already!

I’m so mad the pastor said that to me!

I can’t believe they didn’t invite my daughter to the party.

I’m so hurt that they didn’t ask me to be part of the team.

It’s unconscionable how they have taken advantage of me.

I’m furious that she is always noticed, she is always selected, everything good happens to her. I’m never seen for what I do, what I give, how I’m always left out and unappreciated.

I would like to see that woman drop into a dark hole.

 

Okay, I think you may get the idea where this post is headed……

So I know I told you last week that we would chat about disappointment. However, I happened to stumble upon and then remember I wrote an entire series about disappointment last year. And looking at those posts, they are still filled with great wisdom and power. Thus, I’m not going to write about that subject again today. If you are struggling with a spiritual block with disappointment, click on the posts and take time to read through them and work through the content. Jesus will pour back into your life all the time you spend reading. (When God Disappoints - Chronicles Continuing

OKAY, let’s get to something I think we haven’t covered and it’s really a doozy!!!

Offended???OFFENSE

Can you relate to any of the statements above? Are you offended by someone? Are you angry because someone said or did something that is perceived or truly is unfair, unjust or untrue?

Oh my goodness, Lynn Donovan (I say to myself), yes indeed to all of these. SUMites, I can become offended. And as I’ve wrestled with this issue today, I can think of several instances where I was deeply hurt and offended and these are only a few issues with my neighbors, let alone my family members. Sheesh and Holy Jesus help me!!!!

I’ve been watching a strange program of late about all these people who live alone in the bush of Alaska, far away from other people. And my friends, that is where you would need to move if you never or at least rarely want to be offended.

Offense comes with being human.

Offense is painful. It’s difficult to overcome. It can sever lifelong friendships, separate you from siblings, destroy your relationship with your parents and massacre marriages. For crying out loud, offense can ignite wars.

AND… offense is a Bazooka in the devil’s arsenal.

Offense is what leads many into the realm of indignation and anger that will cool into that bitter castle of cancer— resentment.

How do we deal with this BIG issue? Because it’s not easy.

You know the kind of offense that really gets me? When someone treats my kids unfairly and cruelly. Any of you mamas out there, do you relate?????

Offense coupled with my strong sense of justice has created many an “opportunity” to exercise Godly forgiveness. And forgive we must because unresolved offense will blow up your faith life and likely your relationships as well.

I think there are two things to consider when we begin to pray about offense.

One, we need to think about the person who offended and determine if this is a healthy relationship and one that needs repair or is it one that we need to let go. This comes to my mind specifically with my neighborhood. When we first moved in, I was desperate for friends. I joined a few of the local social evening ladies’ nights. Some of those people offended and I didn’t need to keep them in my friendship circle. And I was at complete peace with that.

However, we can’t unfriend certain people as easily as hitting the unfriend button on Facebook. You can’t unfriend your child’s teacher who has continually mistreated your daughter. Or the baseball coach or the dance teacher, or the professor. Or how about a boss, a senior manager at work, your kids or spouse or mother, or, or, or… There are so many relationships that we must learn to walk through with grace and forgiveness and yet understand where boundaries must lie.

Two, determine appropriate boundaries. Women especially seem to struggle with boundaries as we are nurturers naturally and want people to get along. But when we begin to understand that so many people are wounded. They are living with darkness as a voice and we need to be prayerful about with whom we surround ourselves. And we must establish and then enforce healthy boundaries.

No matter what, in our prayer time it’s imperative to surrender our offense to Jesus. Cry our tears, wail if needed but give over our need to be angry, mad, revengeful and hateful. Those are emotions with harming barbs that will bring sickness to our soul.

So SUMites, is this an area that the enemy is lurking in your life?

You can find freedom from all offense. Friday, I’ll tell you how I handle offense. What say you? Give me your thoughts on this topic. See you in the comments. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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Resentment Turns Into THIS... And it will hold you captive

Anger1Part I
Part II
Today is: Part III

So the weird anger explosions transpired a few years ago. And I can state fully that I haven’t had a moment of raw anger since then. Hallelujah. That doesn’t mean I don’t get mad or angry at times. Just not to the extent of a few years ago. Jesus is and was my deliverer.

So why is the Holy Spirit pointing me back to anger? Geeze. I would really like to get out of this classroom.

Remember my phone and the two words that I Googled, resentment and indignation? Well, God was pointing out unresolved anger I held that I perceived as unfair treatment.

Ugh!!

The Lord was revealing that I still had some areas of forgiveness to work though. And as difficult as it is to admit to all of you that I have issues to work through, I do. But I’m so glad the Lord is pointing out this area in my heart. Indignation is a door that if opened fully, the enemy will hurdle through to cause more havoc in my life. 

So how do we deal with resentment, indignation and anger?

Anger, especially unresolved anger when it cools hardens slowly in to resentment. Resentment is a weapon in the arsenal of the devil that he deploys through our self-talk. The devil will roll “that tape” in our heads over and over to fester in our soul, mind, heart, will and emotions to feed our resentment to birth: disgust, loathing, etc hoping we will spiral toward …. hatred.

After the resentment erects a number of emotional and spiritual walls the enemy will work hard to add layer upon layer until finally there is a castle constructed of bitterness.

BITTERNESS.

Bitterness is a cancer of the soul. And I’m convinced that bitterness held in the heart of a human can manifest as physical illnesses. (Oy vey, a post for another day.)

To rid ourselves of bitterness, resentment and anger we must start down the road of forgiveness. I wrote about this in our first book, Winning Him Without Words. It’s a journey but it is necessary for our healing and to throw out any blockage of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

I had to start praying, Lord, help me to want to forgive. And this applies to everything in our past, not just our marriages.

Then you begin to ask Jesus to flood your soul with His love, tenderness, compassion, grace and mercy. When this happens He can walk you through honest and real forgiveness.

In my life I find that ongoing forgiveness is my challenge. I don’t struggle too much with a one-time offense and usually don't hang on to resentment with people whom I don’t know very well. I can see their wondedness and it’s easy for me to have empathy. But forgiving those whom we live with day in and day out, who continue to offend or hurt us in the same manner, well that’s another realm of forgiveness.

But it’s absolutely achievable. Jesus said to forgive, seven times seven.

Do you know why He said that?

It’s not to prove our spirituality or to give us an assignment to grow our faith. It’s not that our love and forgiveness will draw others to Christ, however, it often does. No, Jesus says to forgive because when we forgive we receive healing.

Our spiritual and often physical healing comes when we truly forgive.

I see it like this. In the Spiritual realm my resentment and bitterness forge giant chains of steel around my faith life. I can’t breathe well. I’m constricted and greatly uncomfortable, maybe even in pain so I can’t hear my Father’s voice. I’m weighed down with a heavy burden that I can fully comprehend as to why. I feel sluggish spiritually and physically. I suffer for long periods of time because the weight becomes so intense. And yet because the chains grow so seductively, secretly and slow I become accustom to them. Dare I say, familiar and they can comfort me in some weird way.

Anyone???

Honest forgiveness freed me. I spent a lot of time in prayer and surrender. Bending to the scripture and to love of my Lord. I’ve received prayer from others and we need others to pray for us and with us.

I don’t want to make forgiveness appear to simplistic. In my ministry I’ve prayed for people who have been horrifically abused. Terrible, unspeakable sins were perpetrated on many who were innocent, who were children.

You can be free and forgive even the worst person on the planet. This requires some prayer that takes time. And usually you need to pray with someone who knows how to lead you into Freedom through prayer and forgiveness. If you need this kind of help, search out a healing room. Find a trustworthy pastor or friend who is strong in faith to spend time praying with you. If you live in Southern California and would like to come to my house for healing prayer, email me.

Also, I can pray for you in the comments. I’m astounded that the Holy Spirit shows up and results happen. I kid you not. The Spirit moves through this online community in ways I cannot fully comprehend but they are miraculous.

Forgiveness leads to our freedom.

Next up……. Disappointment.

How are you doing? Everyone okay? Can we pray for one another in the comments today? I love all of you so much. So very much. My heart swells as I consider your difficult lives and how in spite of it all, you press on to prize that awaits you. And your faith is strong and shines the light of Christ in this dark world!

Well done my good friends. WELL DONE!

Hugs, Lynn

*****

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The Call to Rest

22300078_sMy friends, my search for deeper understanding of God's call to rest has brought me to some interesting places. I'm excited to share what I have discovered with you. 

As I pondered and prayed over this, Holy Spirit brought to mind first "trust" and "strength." Specifically these pieces of Scripture.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. — Proverbs 3:5-6

Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts." — Zechariah 4:6

I then began a search for the word "rest" in the New Testament and discovered there are at least five different Greek words used for this one word. The more obvious one would be koimēsis—to rest, recline, lay down, sleep as used in John 11:13.

Acts 7:49 and Hebrews 3:11 both use katapausis, which refers to a place of rest, the heavenly blessedness in which God dwells. Hebrews 4:8-10 uses the word, sabbatismos, which you can probably guess has to to with the Sabbath. This word holds the promise of “entering now into this rest means ceasing from the spiritual strivings that reflect uncertainty about one's final destiny; it means enjoyment of being established in the presence of God, to share in the everlasting joy that God entered when he rested on the seventh day (v. 10).” — ESV Study Bible Notes

But in Matthew 11:28-29, which is about taking Jesus’ yoke, this little word gets very interesting and takes on implications such as refreshment, freedom and salvation. This word, anapausis, comes from the word, anapauō, which means to rest, refresh, take rest, to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation and is also used in Luke 11:24 about unclean spirits seeking rest but finding none. They live in constant unrest.

Now, if I haven’t lost you (and if I have, just keep reading because this next part if the good stuff). Take a look at this nugget of Scripture.

And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” — Mark 6:31

This verse comes at the point when the disciples have returned from traveling and ministering to tell Jesus about all they had done. He calls them to a time of rest to refresh and to possibly reflect (anapauō). What I find very interesting in His direction is that He calls them to a desolate place (Mark 6:30-44).

Now the meaning of this word also means isolated and solitary but even still in these definitions it holds the intent of loneliness and uninhabited. It was a desert, a place uninhabited by people. Yet as they go to this place, the multitude rushes ahead and fills this "desolate" location.

I encourage you to prayerful read this part of Scripture and allow the Holy Spirit to fully bring its symbolism to your heart. I find it quite deep and exciting to reflect upon. This is what I felt Holy Spirit wanted me to see.

Even with a group of people in this place, the disciples still called it desolate. There was hunger there (not just physical), deep needs, unfulfilled desires and wants. Remember, these people lived under ether heavy religious yoke of the Pharisees. 

I can remember once years ago being with a group of people I knew yet feeling lonely in that moment and place. I believe the use of this word "desolate" was not just to describe a physical place but the spiritual state of the people thronging Jesus and the disciples. They are desperate for relief, restoration and healing in their lives.

But then something amazing happens. Jesus now tells them to do something about it. The disciples seem confused by Jesus' command, as they can only see what is there—the desolation and lack of provision.

Yet Jesus shows them that even a desolate place can be transformed to one of plenty and provision. Jesus called them to rest from their efforts and to rest in Him. They most likely expected a time to sit and physically rest. Not a lesson about true rest in Jesus, which can be so much more. That even in a time of rest, provision, growth and flourishing occurs. Healing, transformation and even miracles, such as five thousand being fed with two fish and five loaves. Just the symbolism in the bread alone, served by the “Bread of Life” is breathtaking.

And in the collection of the leftovers (vs. 43) we see that abundance. Jesus could have multiplied the fish and loaves to be just enough for the crowd, but He did more. The lesson of "rest" continued in those baskets to reveal the plenty of His provision, generosity, abundance and love. 

As the disciples served those people, I dare say they found an unexpected rest. The kind that comes from placing ourselves in the hands of our Creator and saying, "Yes, Lord, whatever you will.” That's the trust of Proverbs 3:5-6 and the strength of Zechariah 4:6 to do what we may think is beyond us—the impossible. 

So my friends, my understanding of resting in Jesus is confirmed in my heart by what I suspected and knew it to be, to trust in and rely upon Him. But now I see it as so much more. It's not just a set time apart with Him each day to grow and know Him more. It is an intentional choice to seek this constant state of mind and spirit. To trust in and rely upon Him to renew, restore, replenish, provide, guide and love us, even in our desolate places—spiritual, mental or physical—all of them.

For without Him, they are truly desolate. Jesus is the one who brings the baskets of life and love. We can bring nothing except a willing heart and spirit to receive what He has for us. Our striving can cease as we "rest" in the truth of what He has already done for us. 

And there, my friends, we find our true peace, resting in Him regardless of what conditions or situation surround us. To the naked eye the place where the five thousand ate remained a place of desolation, but the desolation in the hearts of many that day were transformed into places full of lush greenery (growth), cool waters (hope) and restoration (revival).

The Way had come into their midst to show them a better way to rest. He beckoned them then just as He beckons us today. And ours is to simply heed His call.

Love you, my friends. May we all respond to His call to go deeper with trust and a loud, “Yes, Lord!” That is my desire and longing and my heart for you.
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Seeking a Deeper "Rest" (and an update)

Fotolia_77938326_XSIn my post last week I touched on Mathew 16:24 about taking up our cross and standing for Jesus. My friends, I feel like Holy Spirit is sitting me on the subject of rest as a continuation of standing for Jesus. In fact, Abba whispered to my heart just recently. “Rest in Me, daughter.”

Now I’m on a quest to more fully understand what He is calling me to do above and beyond what I have come to understand His rest to be, to trust in Him for my provision, my life, etc. I will share that in one of the many clues He sending my way, on verse is resonating in explaining this deep stirring in my spirit.

Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me. — Psalm 42:7 NKJV

His deep is calling to my deep, dear friends. Your servant is listening, Lord! So as I seek wisdom and understanding in great depth and continue to research the Bible, share your thoughts with me, dear friends. 

How or in what way has God called you to rest in Him?

 

Miller Update!
My friends, I again want to thank you for your prayers for me and my family. My shoulder recovery is nearing the end! Yay! I’m now strength building and feeling almost back to normal. And it’s moved very quickly. Praise Jesus!

And the insurance company has approved the CT scans for Leslie. Those are scheduled for April 25th. As I said before I am standing on Isa. 58:11 for her. AND, God has given me another verse through one our SUMite sisters to continue to reassure us that Leslie will be fine.

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord ’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. — Psalm 27:13

GOD IS SO FAITHFUL! 

Lord, we stand on Your faithful promises, and they are our shield and protection! (Ps. 91) In the mighty name of Jesus, amen!

Love you, my dear friends!
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Powerful Prayer To Defeat Anger

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com
This photo CRACKS ME UP!

Continued from Friday's post....


BUT…. This is what I learned from that experience.

I believe I was wrestling with a spirit of anger. I believe it was demonic in nature and it erupted in very rare moments as to keep me from recognizing it. And just like a volcano, when eruptions happen…. Devastation.

Later that evening when the eruption cooled and I knew things were in a bad place, I fell on my face and I begged God to forgive me. I asked Him to remove this spirit of anger from me and I promised Him I would never again let this anger be part of my life.

God did just that.

I haven’t felt that weird surge of ferocious anger since. And out of His great love, he healed everything in our family. Everything.

Our Father is so good that He delivers us, heals us even when we screw up everything in our own lives. He loves us through it and is protective.

Now I know not everything turns out like this. I look other areas of past resentment and anger with my spouse, yet my husband remains an unbeliever. God hasn’t move in him…… yet….

But what God did was reveal this area of oppression and He has completely freed me from that beast!

Hallelujah and Amen.

I’m sharing this story with you because I believe that are SUMites who are dealing with an angry spirit. Either it strikes you and/or your spouse. And if there is anger in you or your spouse, your children are vulnerable to become angry as well. Just sayin.

HOWEVER, You can pray to defeat anger.

Pray with me out loud:

In the name of Jesus, today I break any and all agreements I have with anger. I say that anger no longer has a place in my heart, soul, body, mind, will and emotions. I will live in the peace of the Kingdom of God. I declare that anger is hereby banished from my thoughts. No longer does anger have access to my mind. It must leave immediately and go into the pit and cannot return. My home is now a safe zone from the enemy and especially from the spirit of anger.

Also, in the name of Jesus, I declare the spirit of anger in my spouse must leave right now. I stand in authority over it by 1 Corinthians 7:14. My spouse in now protected and anger has no hold on my husband/wife or my children. The spirit of anger must go directly into the pit and never return. In the powerful name of Jesus. And I declare the blood of Christ over me, my spouse, my children and home. AMEN

Pray a version of this prayer every day, out loud for as long as it takes, (days, months, perhaps even a year). Personalize it with names. Pray the scripture verse out loud as well, claiming it’s truth and power over your faith and life.

-----

 

And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:30-32

Okay, the next post is about dealing with ongoing annoyance, anger and our perceived unfair treatment. Then we will tackle disappointment and finally the granddaddy of them all... Fear of Man. Can't wait to get to that one.

I love you. Is this prayer helpful? Is this series helpful, let me know your thoughts about dealing with anger in your life in the comments. 

I bless you with Shalom today. In Jesus name. AMEN I love you, Lynn

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Good Grief, Their's More... The Spirit of Anger (2 part-er, must read for anyone dealing with anger)

-Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

AngryOkay, ya… There’s more. 

I’m not sure what classroom I’m currently enrolled within the Kingdom. But I think the sub-title is humility, mixed with a large study of personal revelation, confession and healing. This is a good and can also be extraordinarily challenging learning season for a believer. However, when the instructor is the Holy Spirit and the personal coach is my Jesus and the school is owned by my Papa, I’m going to graduate, Summa cum laude. 

My friends, I am willing to bet there are several of you who are also in this classroom with me, or about to be enrolled or perhaps a few graduates. But, this is what the Lord is teaching me which coincidentally, dovetails with my post about bitterness on Monday.

Recently I was listening to a podcast as the pastor described the three main things he considers to be the greatest hindrances in a Christian’s faith life. These three things are “blocks” to spiritual boldness, to growth, and to walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. These hindrances are significant and binding. They restrict us from the breakthroughs we are seeking and prohibit our journey to step into further areas of faith and experiences with the Lord. They are wicked and highly EFFECTIVE weapons deployed by the demonic realm.

Resentment, disappointment, and fear of man.

Oh Boy. Yep, we are stepping into some stuff here!

So for the next few posts I want to look at these and share what God is teaching me.

I clearly remember the first time I listened to this particular podcast as the pastor mentioned these three enemies of our faith. I was seated on the couch in the family room. It set in motion an inquiry to discern if I am held back because by the "deadly three." I turned off the podcast in mid-stream to Google the exact meaning of resentment. At the time I thought I knew what resentment meant, yet when my Phone reflected this:

Resentment definition

I was hit with each word: bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.

Why is it the Lord is leading me to the word bitter?

Let me interject here. I honestly have prayed through a very long season, to be free from bitterness. I’ve asked forgiveness and have been intentional to give the Lord any bitterness over various life events, situations, people and circumstances. Ya, this process can take a long time. Anyone???

I looked at this definition and thought to myself, yep. Check. I’ve done this. I’m over bitterness. Then I don’t know how I decided to look up the definition of indignation. But this is what the IPhone said:

Indignatin definition

When this definition popped up on the phone I knew I was -toast. The word anger hit me. But at the time, I thought to myself. Yep, I’ve done that too. I’ve repented of anger. However, the Holy Spirit prompted me a bit more. I sensed the Spirit saying to me, Lynn, is their still anger harbored in your heart over what you have perceived as unfair?

Gulp!

Toast!

I tell you T-O-A-S-T!!  Double exclamation point.

I realized I’m still struggling with some amount of anger. So there are two parts to the anger issue. I want to talk about my anger in the past and how I deal with today. Let’s start with the past.

And if you don’t struggle in this area of your life or marriage over anger, would you please pray for me and all of us who do. Thank you.

I want to be vulnerable again here because I believe many who read this will absolutely be delivered from anger. I need to describe the anger I was battling and the process that freed me.

I am NOT an angry person by nature. In fact, I’m one of the happiest, positive, hopeful people I know (not bragging. I just really am because of Jesus) I deal well with challenges and I handle anger about the world and unfairness through the love of God and through the truth of the Word. However, once in a great while a burst of anger would roar out of me that would fry anyone in its path. It was rare when these outbursts would happen but on occasion this strange, angry person emerged and devastation was left in her wake.

I came to the full realization that although I have repented of anger and am mostly a happy person all the time, I had an anger problem once in a while. This revelation crystallized in a singular and utterly disastrous moment.

Some of you remember my son and wife lived with us for a while in 2014. Well to make a long story short, a disagreement went down between us and I was wronged. I cried about this. I went in my room and paced. I prayed. I mourned. I was devastated, hurt and felt betrayed. And I spent most of the day in my room. And I will tell you that it wasn’t Jesus who was in the room with me. It was the enemy of my soul. And after hours of licking my unfair wounds and letting the demonic have a foot hold in my thoughts and emotions, I emerged and proceeded to give a sound tongue lashing to both of them.

This singular outburst of anger nearly cost my son his marriage. Okay, not entirely but my anger didn’t help their marriage.

Okay, there I said it. Again. Sheesh.

I reacted so filled with anger that not only were my feelings hurt but so were theirs. It took months, they separated and finally by the grace of God, they reunited. My anger wasn’t all that contributed to this mess but it sure was the catalyst to a summer of turmoil. By the grace of God and through hours and hours of prayer, they reunited and today they are really doing great. I have a new grand baby and we are all at peace with one another. Amazing. Thank you Jesus!

BUT…. This is what I learned from that experience.....

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Okay, this post is already long. So on Monday, I'm going to share a POWERFUL PRAYER TO DEFEAT ANGER IN YOU AND/OR YOUR SPOUSE. I love you so much. These posts are part of our healing and deliverance -For such a time as this. 

I pray you are blessed with joy today and anger is defeated. I pray you are blessed with peace and confusion is silenced. I pray you are filled with righteousness and the devil is defeated in every way today in your life. In Jesus name. AMEN

 

And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:30-32

I'm a work in progress. You? Love you, Lynn

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We Stand for Jesus

1415366_heart_cross_2A week ago I shared in my post the things I am standing for. I sensed then Holy Spirit might be leading me to share a story that began in 2013 that had to do with the word and command in the Bible, to “stand.” Jesus presented it to me as a question, but its full meaning wouldn’t become clearer until almost a year later. 

Will you stand for Me?

The question came as I worshiped with over a thousand others at a faith based conference.

Will you stand for Me?

So unexpected and suddenly there. Often I would hear something and wonder, “Is that me or is that you, Lord?” This time I knew it was Jesus. 

I went to my knees. Yes, Lord, I will stand for you.

That was at the end of 2013 and before I understood that this question was the beginning of what was to come—a very challenging time that would transform my mind and restore my soul.

Months later I would come to understand that this question was part of His preparation, and a year later, He would show me a connection in His Word that brought all the pieces together.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. — Matthew 16:24 ESV

This verse showed up in my email inbox—twice in one day. I’ve learned to pay heed to such things, so I mined this verse for the nuggets it held. I’ve always wondered about and wanted to understand exactly what Jesus meant by “taking up our cross.” So I looked up the Greek translation of this word, “cross” — stauros

I found the expected definitions: a stake or post, a pole or cross, figuratively, exposure to death, i.e. self-denial, etc. But I noticed it had a root word as well, so I followed the trail to yet another word, one I recognized from another verse. Histēmi, which means “to stand.”

My heart quickened and my fingers dashed over my iPad to Ephesians 6—the armor of God:

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. — Ephesians 6:11-15 ESV

And there it was. The same word, histēmi. To bear our cross for Jesus meant to stand for Him. That was the cross He’d asked me to carry, to stand for Him through a difficult time He knew had to come but I didn’t. And as I stood (though wobbly and grateful for the prayer warriors holding up my arms), He fought for me. He never left. He never forsook me, never rejected me, never judged me. Just loved me with a relentless passion that would calm, claim and heal my fractured heart.

My friends, Jesus does this for you too. He stands with us as we stand for our spouses, our marriages, our children, our family and for each other. He is our Savior, our Friend, our Advocate, our Healer. He is the source of our strength and joy.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. — Psalm 51:12 NIV

Lord Jesus, I stand with my SUMite sisters and brothers and ask that You restore the joy of Your salvation to each one and give each of them a willing spirit to sustain them in all areas of their lives. Let their hearts be comforted and filled with Your peace. Thank You, Lord Jesus, our Prince of Peace, amen!

Love you, my friends!
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No Greater Love

52448900_sMy friends, I’m so glad to be back at home in Florida. I’m still catching up with emails, writing, and unpacking boxes, but my heart is relieved to be back not only in our Florida digs (well, our temporary ones until our house is completed) and back here with you. You are my precious friends. You are my faith family. You are my sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus. And for a gal who grew up an only child wanting siblings, how cool is that?!?!

I want to tell you a quick story, or rather, tell you about an image that is emblazoned upon my mind like a photograph. I saw it while traveling cross country. I don’t remember which state we were in, but it doesn’t really matter.

What matters is what I saw. From my passenger side comfy seat I glanced up and saw an EMT vehicle. Not one of those average ambulances but one of the full blown, decked out rescue vehicles that we often send up prayers for when we see them flying down the road, lights flashing.

Except this one didn’t have its lights on. It was just cruising down the road next to us. As I glanced up, I noticed the driver had his arm resting against the window and his tattoo was pressed against the glass. Not an image but words and numbers.

John 15:13

Now I’ve seen quite a few faith-based tattoos, and they usually have an evangelistic message to them. I didn’t know this verse off hand, yet assumed it served the same purpose. But I wanted to know for sure. Love my cell phone Bible app…

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. — John 15:13

What a fitting verse for a man who risks his life to rescue others. Perhaps not every day is filled with peril, but I’d expect he leaves every day for work with that expectation. This is his life verse, his statement of purpose, the motivation behind what he does every day.

To lay down his life…

My friends, as I pondered this in the days that followed, the heart of this message expanded to you. As believers, we have laid down our lives for Jesus. As SUMites, we have laid down our lives for our spouses. As soldiers in God’s army, we day our lives for each other. Or should I say our hearts?

That’s what we do here, with every post. We love on each other, we pray for each other, we encourage each other, we empathize and often sympathize with each other. We wear each other’s shoes, so to speak.

We live the truth of John 15:13 every…single…day. 

So my dear friends, I am celebrating you this week, this month, this year—how about always? Always in my heart. I can’t think of better words than to say (and please receive them from my heart), I am so proud of you. Of us. Of what God has done in the SUM community to grow us into a church without walls.

We are coming up on 10 years for this community. We have grown so much and in so many ways. And so much more is coming. 

So much more. In the last week or so God has been showing me His great heart for us, SUMites. He is drawing us together even more in unity and purpose.

More is coming. More is coming. More is coming. I sense this deep in my spirit and my soul. We’ve walked a long journey, we’ve grown and God has prepared us. Now all that is being called into place. I don’t know what that will look like or what it means, but I just somehow KNOW it’s coming.

As we stand in faith for our spouses and with each other, God is moving. I can’t wait to see what He does next. How about you? What are you hearing Holy Spirit speak to your heart?

Love you, SUMites!
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I Created Bitterness - A Weird Confession - Chronicles of the Donovan Clan. Ouch!

So, I kinda feel like today is my confession.

This post is likely to be raw and vulnerable but someone needs this word. Or perhaps it’s only me?

Many times when I’m speaking people will ask me if I discern what God is doing in my husband’s faith life. I reply that unfortunately or perchance fortunately, God rarely gives me insight into my husband’s heart journey.

However, I pray for him every day, covering many aspects of his life, career, health, salvation, protection, etc. etc. I believe the Lord has instructed me through His Word to pray unceasingly for Him and to cover him with the promise of 1 Corinthians 7:14, which holds great power and authority as a believer married to an unsaved spouse.

However, on Easter Sunday morning, God opened up a big ole pile of revelation to me.

So weird.

Why on Sunday morning and especially why on Easter.

A rare event to be sure both the revelation and the fact that my husband attended church with myself and our daughter, Caitie. This is our selfie before church began.

Family photo Easter 2016

There are so many things I love about this photo. But the light shining directly on our heads is crazy and filled with brilliance. It’s actually dark in our rather large church auditorium.

Once again…. Weird. But wildly cool. Could this photo be reflecting the glory of God’s children? I don’t know but these are things I love to think about.

Anyhoo, moving along.

It was nearly the end of the service, the worship team took the stage and in an unusual event our pastor invited anyone to come forward who wanted to be touched by God. And many went forward. I stood, as the awesomeness of the music compelled me to worship. A minute later, my daughter stood.

My husband did not.

He remained seated…….

AND THAT’S WHEN IT HAPPENED.

I began to sense the Holy Spirit speaking to me about Mike. And Yikes, it was revelatory and profound and difficult.

It took me a few weeks to process what God revealed in that moment. I have wrestled with the information and I have grieved. And I have apologized.

A week or so ago, I was on the loveseat and my husband on the couch. I looked over at him and started our conversation, “I need to tell you something.” Most men panic when they hear this.

“Don’t panic. I just need to say something and can you just hear me out?”

Hesitantly, “O, -kay.”

“I recently realized that I have caused you to become bitter toward God. I didn’t mean to do it and I’m grieved that this has happened.” I watch his face; he’s listening but guarded.

“I’ve come to realize that it could be due to the ministry in which I’m leading or perhaps because of my need for healing and turning fully to Jesus in our early years of marriage, I made God the problem in between the two of us. In our early years, like most marriages, we had struggles. Unfortunately, we didn’t seek marriage counseling and in my frustration and pain, I turned to God.”

“Jesus healed me from so much and I in error believed that if only you would come to Christ, everything in our marriage would magically be made better. Sheesh! What an idiot.” I rushed on as I didn’t want to lose my courage to own and act on this revelation.

“Our problems were rarely about faith. And somehow, I may have made God the only answer. I was naive or immature, likely both. But on Easter Sunday the Lord revealed all of this to me and I’m greatly grieved over it. I ask your forgiveness. But more importantly, I ask that you would see my part in this, came out of immaturity and please, please don’t be bitter at God.”

“God loves you so much, Mike. And in spite of having a block-headed wife, please, please don’t look at God with eyes of bitterness.”

Gulp!

Okay, there it is.

I’m still processing and praying through this revelation, our conversation and the implications. Geeze. I even had to call my daughter and share and apologize. She said, “Mom, this isn’t news to me. I’ve actually talked about this very thing with a few friends.”

Good Lord, Almighty!

Why am I sharing this with you today? I want other SUMites who are on this long journey to receive a word of caution through my story. I don’t want you to become a bitter root in your spouse’s faith journey.

So, the great thing about this apology was the ensuing conversation between Mike and myself. It’s was honest, clarifying and it was hopeful. We talked about his thoughts about God and he was very honest with me. He remains undecided about it all. And my confession broke the bitterness that may have held power in our marriage and in his faith journey.

Okay, I hope all this isn’t too much. Sometimes I feel as though I must be brutally honest about my struggles as well as my victories. And in the telling of this story, healing happened and perhaps healing will happen in another marriage.

Jesus, I pray with all that I have within me, in faith, this is true. In Your name, Jesus. AMEN

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Could It Be A Blessing To Be Unequally Yoked?

Today I share a story that profoundly impacted my life. I can grow weary in the waiting and hope seems to fade in season of conflict but today I want you to perceive that their a GREAT blessings for those of us who are unequally yoked. 

Here is Carol's story:

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comThis is worth the time to read. 

November, 2013: (Lynn) Today I have a question for you. How many times have you set down in church and looked around the sanctuary at the couples seated together, husband and wife, and felt defeated, disappointed, and pain? 

I know this place of pain existed in my life for many years. And I really didn’t understand why God was ignoring my prayers and my pleas for the salvation of my husband. And why He didn’t see my pain and longing for a “normal” Christian home. 

That was until about two years ago and I heard a woman share her personal story and as I listened it changed everything. Today, I’m sharing this story with you so that you might understand a little more, about the heart of our Father, and His love for us, the unequally yoked. 

Two years ago I was part of the leadership team for our church’s annual women’s retreat. Prior to the retreat, the leadership team would meet once a week for eight weeks on a Wednesday evening and have Bible study together. Every other week, the team welcomed a guest speaker, an ordinary woman from our congregation. 

Well on this particular night, we welcomed Carol Mahaney. And Carol proceeded to tell her story. And it’s likely the rest of the women in the room were moved a bit by her story, but I was leveled to the ground, in my spirit. 

You see, Carol married her high school sweetheart. He was a believer. She was a believer. They attended church together every Sunday. They tithed, they studied the Bible, they prayed together, they were everything I dreamed and hoped and wanted for my own life. They raised two girls to adulthood as Christians. Carol said she had a wonderful life and she leaned on her husband for everything and she utterly adored him. She said she loved her church family she felt absolutely blessed by God. 

But in 2008, Carol’s husband unexpectedly died. She was devastated. Additionally this was the year that the economy crashed and as Carol had never managed her finances before, she was overwhelmed as her finances were in chaos. Devastated by grief and lost in a maze of paperwork, banking decisions and taxes, she hit bottom and there was no longer a husband to save her. 

Carol looked up and said, “That’s when I met Jesus.” 

I looked at Carol astonished. And I sat in my chair as my head reeled. Carol was 63 years old and she admits in front of all of us that she lived the Christian life with a believing husband for 63 years but at age 63 for the first time she met Jesus. 

What is so compelling about Carol story for me is that she had the life I thought I always wanted. She attended church with her husband, raising her kids in church, tithing, all things Christianeese but she really didn’t meet the King of Kings until she turned 63 years of age. She merely “played” church and her husband’s faith was enough for her…….. 

For 63 years….. 

Instantly, God moved my spirit. He made me realize that I could have lived a Christian life with a very shallow faith thinking I was doing all the right things but never truly “knowing” Christ. 

I know walking this unequally yoked journey is very difficult. I still have very difficult days. I struggle with my husband’s media choices, I still miss him by my side at church, etc. BUT I would choose this journey again over the life Carol had until age 63 because I truly know Jesus. 

I grieved for Carol because for 63 years she “lived” the Christian life or so it seemed. But it wasn’t until the death of her spouse and a personal crisis that brought her into of living vibrant relationship with Jesus. 

My friends, our difficulties are what God has given us to push us, pull us, help us to surrender and to seek Him out for rescue, and then to live in His Presence. As I think about Carol’s life and marriage, it isn’t worth it to have a marriage that is easy if it means that I live most of my life without truly knowing Jesus. 

I would sign up again for this unequally yoked thing, over 63 years of playing “church.” 

I’m convinced we will truly see that our challenging marriage is singularly, a divine assignment with generational ramifications, for us and our entire family and more people than we realize. 

1 John 3:1  See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 

I love you so much my friends. Today, don't doubt God loves you and that He has your life in His hands. Ask Him where you need to surrender and ask Him how to love Him more. 

God is good and His ways are always best for His children. Hugs, Lynn

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Reflections on the Apostle Paul and Life

19197771_sHello, my SUM family. I'm writing to you while on the road. An asphalt ribbon stretches before us as my hubby drives us across the United States. The U-haul attached to our trusty VW wagon holds the remainder of our possessions—at least all that we could fit. And in the backseat our 18 year old Mitty kitty rides trustfully with us to his new home. He's a good little beastie.

ImageWe have officially made Florida our home. Our daughters are now on their own adventures, living in different parts of California. As they helped us pack up the rest of our home of 11 years, my heart walked a dance of memories, both good and challenging. Yes, that house saw a lot of challenges and more importantly, a lot of love.

I will say leaving it was harder than I thought, yet in the same breath I was ready to let go. God provided that house for us miraculously (perhaps a story I'll share when we meet in eternity), and our current move and house building is by His hand of provision as well. You see, He is a faithful God who keeps His Word and promises to us.

Which brings me back to Acts and a man named Paul. Last week I wrote about his transformation. That if the man Saul, a Pharisee of high regard who made his life work to stop the believers of Jesus Christ, could be transformed to Paul, a man sold out for Jesus and determined to bring the Good News everywhere, then no one is beyond the life-changing presence of God. His desire is that all would know Him (2 Peter 3:9), and He is relentless in His pursuit of our spouses.

Paul inspires me. I want to stand for Jesus with that same determination and commitment. I'm sure you do too. Paul's continued defense would take him to Rome to present his case before Caesar, but he would endure great peril to get there. In Acts 27 we read of his journey by ship and the impending shipwreck. Once again he stands confident in God to do what He has said He will do. This time the promise is that none would perish on that ship.

So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island.” — Acts 27:25-26

Once again, my mind wanders to imagine Paul standing before a frightened crew, making a bold statement he couldn't prove except for his confidence in Jesus Christ. He must have been very convincing because the crew followed his instructions and not a single man died.

As a newbie Christian reading the Bible, I used to think Paul was just arrogant but then with maturity has come the understanding that Paul was confident in God. And as I read Pau's words in Acts 27, I too believe it will be exactly as God said.

Every promise God gives us will be as He says. He is faithful and keeps His word. We may have to endure a shipwreck to reach the full realization of His promise but, my friends, we will endure and live to see the promise of His heart to us. I believe so passionately in this, that we will see our spouses come to faith this year and beyond. 2016 is just the beginning of the harvest promised to us.

I have stood in faith and confidence that my daughter would be healed of a brain tumor and she was. I am standing once again for her health, for the promise from God that she will be as a well watered garden. And thank you for standing with me with your prayers!

I have stood in faith for twenty years now that my husband will be a man of God and will be a mighty force for the Kingdom. And I continue to stand in faith and belief for this promise to me and to each of you. (Read that promise here.)

I have stood in faith and trust that God would direct my path to achieve the purposes He put me here to accomplish. The last two years alone have challenged me greatly in this area, but I will not relent and back down from what God has called me to do. No plan of the enemy can stand against this, me, or my family. Because God said so (Isaiah 54:17).

I believe, my friends, I believe. How about you? What are you standing for? Let's share in the comments and stand in faith in our God and with each other.

As I finish writing this, we've passed through much of the United States and are nearing home. My friends, please know that I love you, I adore you and I am standing with you. Always. SignatureGraphic2

*****

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's the Lord talking to you about?

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Photo courtesy of markuso/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Lent is over. Easter has come and gone. I had mixed emotions last week after Easter Sunday. Part of me sighed as I enjoyed the cessation from fasting and commitment to serious devotional reading and meditation. But there was also a big part of me that didn’t want it to end because something happened during those six weeks.

A yearning.

I loved my days of courting. Oops, what an old-fashioned word. Yes, I’m showing my age. Remember those days when you’re first getting to know someone of the opposite sex and everything is exciting? And I’m not talking about the physical stuff. Your heart beating a little (or a lot) faster when you caught a glimpse of the one who’s captured all your thinking time these past few days/weeks. Remember those days?

These past six weeks reminded me a little of courting. Only the person who’d captured my imagination was Jesus. Well, not just Him but also the Father and the Holy Spirit.

And just like our old courting days I don’t want this to stop. I want more of Him. Of each of them.

What changed?

Strangely, it was discipline. A greater intentionality to spend quality time with the Lord. In quiet. Listening to God. (remember Dineen’s excellent posts on hearing from God?) Praying more focused and specific prayers and speaking Scripture over myself. I really can’t stress how much praying and speaking God’s Word has enhanced my dialogue with the Lord.

When I felt a nudge from the Spirit I acted. It may have been to pray for someone or to do something. Little steps of obedience matter.

The conversation has resumed

It’s funny how we build up these seasons of celebration: Easter and Advent. When everything we acknowledge, celebrate and worship in those seasons we probably should do everyday.

We all know we needed that first Easter to take place all those years ago so we could have fellowship with God. The conversation that He longed to have with us had ceased until Jesus appeared, lived, died and was resurrected. Now we can continue that conversation.

As I was preparing some material for a men’s group I meet with, I was struck by the question, “What is He talking to me about?”

Ummm …?

Soon after a friend, also in the group, suggested I lead the group to reflect on Philippians 3:10. Bill specifically sent through the Amplified version (the extended mix version). Read it through slowly.

“And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did];”

And then I had the answer to that question.

God wants me to want to know Him more than anything else. Anything. My health, my vocation, the salvation of my wife. Anything.

Then check out what Jesus prays the night before His death. He’s praying this for us.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23 NIV)

We may be one with Jesus … and the Father … and the Holy Spirit.

And because Jesus died and rose from the dead we can experience this oneness.

“Oneness with God is the goal of our existence.” – John Eldredge.

That’s what I want!

What’s the Lord been speaking to you about recently? What’s stirring in your heart at the moment that you think the Lord might have initiated? We’d love to read some of your thoughts in the comments.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Are You Weary In The Waiting?

Hello SUMite Nation,

I’ve been traveling and so has Dineen. So Monday’s post is waaaaaay late and likely to show up in mail boxes on Tuesday. But, I’m moved to share a quick word of encouragement.

Kathy Sweetman group two
Winning Him Without Words Study Group


Over the past several weeks, I’ve been privileged to meet many of you face-to-face. Kathy Sweetman’s church in San Diego has two groups each are studying our books. I visited their study group night and it was simply amazing. I SO wish I was able to do this with every group. (Lord, provide the money and this girl will travel *grin*)

I have been speaking quite a bit locally, and everywhere I go lately I am meeting women who are unequally yoked. Even this weekend a young woman sitting next to me at a retreat mentioned her unbelieving husband. My heart is deeply moved as I see the pain in their faces.

I hug their neck. I look deeply into their eyes and say, “I get it. I know what you are living through. I know how very difficult this walk truly can be. But, I will be the voice to tell you that YOU CAN DO THIS.”

Kathy Sweetman group one
Not Alone Study Group


Of late there seems to be a common issue within our community. I even remember a young woman at our Detroit retreat mention this issue.

“I’m weary.”

Right now the weariness of the loooooong journey is upon many shoulders here and feels like an unrelenting 20-pound sack of pain and burden. My heart breaks over the faces that look at me with tears just about to roll down cheeks, “I’m so weary of the waiting. I’m so tired of the conflicts. I’m so weary that there isn’t any change in my husband.”

I will be the voice to all of you today. The voice of the Holy Spirit as He SHOUTS, “He is worthy of it all! Change will come. I’m working things out behind the scenes that you cannot begin to conceive. My plans are in motion but I’m depending and preparing other people in this process. And moving people and events into place takes time. And I’m preparing you in multiple ways as you step into your Kingdom identity and destiny.”

What do we do in the waiting? We cry. We tell our Jesus all about it. We stay in the Word! We write our prayers in our journals. We read some good books. (I have suggestions, leave a comment and I will offer recommendations.) We reach out. Leave me a comment that I may carry you in prayer. Reach out to your small group at church. Be willing to be honest and tell them you need intercession. Then pray for someone else.

I discovered that when I changed my prayers to focus on another’s needs, my prayer time was much more fulfilling. We need to pray for ourselves and our family. Every day, each person by name. But then pray for others who are feeling weary. Suggestion: Pray for them now in the comments.

I will remind you that our unique journey is very difficult in seasons but it is also filled with riches of the Kingdom that other married believers will never experience. I’m reminded of the story of Carol who married her husband who was a believer. She seemed to have the life I always wanted. They attended church together, raised their kids Christian, etc.

BUT….. There is so much more to this story and I will share it again on Friday.

I love you. I’m praying for you and we are seeing breakthroughs. Press into the Father’s heart and keep contending for yours. Hugs, Lynn

Galatians 6 9

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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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