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The Book of Esther: The Position and Authority of Mordecai

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Esther, mosaic, Jerusalem-The Church of Hagia Maria Zion-The Dormition Church

For such a time as this…

Hello, my dear SUM family. I’m so excited to share this last part of the Esther series, because you are about to see something new. Something new that only God could do.

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. — Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)

Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. — Habakkuk 1:5 (ESV)

These two verses are very near and dear to my heart, my friends, because for seven years straight, God would bring these two verses to my attention around September. And every year I would take note of this and grow in expectation of this new thing God was about to do, then I’d wait all year until they showed up again!

Yet this last year, He has brought the verse from Isaiah out all over the place, and constantly. Many of you have shared this verse as well, because God has spoken it to your heart regarding His promises for you and your marriage. 

Isn’t it amazing?! And it’s getting even better.

But I want to start with the concept of authority and what it meant for Jesus and what it means for us today. This is also a key principal for our marriages as well, my friends, for I believe this is another aspect of 1 Cor. 7:14.

For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. — 1 Cor. 7:14 (NIV)

First, let me clarify a few things. A leader is defined in the dictionary as a commander. However, as I said in an earlier post, you can have a leader who is limited in their position and power, because he doesn’t have authority. For example, your husband can be the leader of the family in the natural, but won’t have authority in the spiritual aspects of the family because they haven’t received Christ yet, or haven’t chosen to step into that place yet.

Authority has to do with power or the right to give orders and influence. And power is defined as ability and influence. This is where we come in, SUMites. We walk in the authority we’ve been given as co-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). And our power in this place is more in how we influence the atmosphere of our home, because of the Holy Spirit living in us. We release this into our homes through our faith and our prayers. We have a great deal of influence, even without saying a word. More than we realize sometimes. We are truly atmosphere changers!

As the book of Esther comes to a close, we see King Xerxes was in leadership, and he had power and authority. When he promoted Mordecai, King Xerxes placed him at a new level of leadership and power, then he also gave Mordecai the royal seal (king’s ring) which gave him a new level of authority.

Now this is what the Holy Spirit showed me about authority. Before his crucifixion, Jesus was asked where His authority came from.

And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” — Matt. 21:23 (ESV)

And Jesus answered this question many times to clarify where His authority came from.

So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. — John 8:28 (ESV)

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. — John 14:10 (ESV)

Jesus didn’t work within His own authority as the Son of Man. He deferred to the authority of the Father for everything He said and did. And within that parameter He was able to give the disciples power and authority over the enemy. Think of this as more of an anointing for the commission they were sent to do.

And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. — Luke 9:1 (ESV)

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. — Luke 10:19 (ESV)

And in Luke, we see the enemy held authority as well, over the earth.

And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. — Luke 4:5-6 (ESV)

Then after the cross, everything radically changed. Jesus describes His authority in a very different way.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. — Mat 28:18 (ESV)

Before the cross, Jesus walked in the authority as a son of Man and the pre-resurrection Messiah. After the cross, He has the authority He originally walked in, all the authority on earth, which He took from the enemy through His death on the cross, AND now the authority of the Father through His resurrection and the Son of God. He holds ALL authority.

In essence like Mordecai, Jesus received the signet ring, my friends, and all the authority of THE KING. Do you see the transfer of power and authority here? Mordecai was promoted and given power and authority to act in the king’s name. Jesus Christ died and was fully revealed in His position as the Son of God with all the power and authority of the Father, because He and the Father are one.

The last chapter about the greatness of Mordecai seems almost like an afterthought, yet in fact, he is the the point of the story of Esther for us today, my friends. How is that possible?

This is what the Holy Spirit told me, and please read this very carefully. 

We have been in an Esther time, for quite a while actually. 

But now, we are moving into a Mordecai time. 

God is moving us from the level of authority we have been operating in to a higher level of authority than we have ever known.

It is the new.

And it is completely by His Spirit, SUMites. He is doing all of this. It’s astounding. It’s astonishing. And it’s absolutely amazing. This is what the acceleration we’ve been experiencing is about, and it’s going to continue as we step into completely new ways of operating in our gifts and territories. 

By His Spirit. That’s key. We must be willing to stop doing what we’ve always known to do and leave the comfort of those familiar ways. He is leading us to a new way of simply following His leading and operating under this new authority He is giving us.

So, my friends, begin asking Him what He wants to do for you right now, where He wants to take you, how He wants to lead you (that’s an especially good question), and then follow Him wherever He takes you. He will not tell you the big picture, because this is about His leading and you following. Simply trust Him for each step.

You will begin to grow in trust like you never thought you could, you will begin to hear Him like you’ve always wanted to, and you will begin to see in the natural what you have been praying into the supernatural for so long.

SUMites, we live in the most exciting of times, right now. The “for such a time as this” has come and now we are walking into the next one, a Mordecai Time. And the Father, Son and Holy Spirit  are taking you with Them.

I believe this is connected to our salvation word last year too. Last month I experienced an unexpected vision of a scroll and the seal was broken for me to read it. On it was written the word SALVATION, in all caps and in blood. As I read it, the Lord said, "The assignment's been given. Now rest in Me."

Only now as I write this post has God shown me the connection of the new level of authority we are entering to the broken seal on the scroll and the signet ring in Esther…

SUMites, we’ve been given the signet ring!

Dear friends, SUM family, I pray this absolutely encourages and stuns you. And I pray the Lord will make this clear to you in amazing ways. That you will begin to walk completely into the NEW! And I bless you with wisdom and knowledge, peace and comfort, expectation and delight! In the powerful name of Jesus, amen!

Love you dearly!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

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This IS the SUMite Nation - Survey Results

Survey with WMSUMite Nation

Thank you for walking with me through the Revelation of Love series. It’s now over. Dineen and I chatted yesterday and we are going to respond to the survey that we took back in March. We will be writing in response to your questions and topics that are of interest or need.

I was overwhelmed by the responses. First, I was astonished by the sheer number of replies and the details everyone offered. Wow, you know what that tells me? You are very much invested in this community. You genuinely feel connected in our family. You genuinely have HOPE in Jesus for your family, your marriage, your spouse and for each other who meet here daily. (I think I already knew that but it was so cool to see it confirmed in the survey.)

I asked the question: Do you visit our website Via: PC, mobile device or other. Well, it was split down the middle.

I asked:  What is your age? 20-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 60+. Did you know that our community is comprised just about equally through all the age groups, with the exception of those under thirty? And it’s likely that we have less readership in that category because of two factors. One, young people are waiting to marry until they are older. Two, it takes several years of matrimony to realize that marriage is hard and walking unequally yoked is harder. After a few years in a rough patch, a desperate believer searches for help. That is when many find us.  Praise God they find us. And many of you responded that is exactly how you found us.

Here is the question I asked and some responses: What was the approximate date Month/year you found SUM? How did you find our website?

  • 2012; googled unequally yoked or unsaved husband or something of the like
  • 2011-google search "I believe in God my husband does not"
  • 2013 I found the site by googling words associated with the site. I know God led me to you.

Many of you also found us:

  • Maybe about June of 2014? Through the book Winning Him Without Words, which I found about through a talk show on Christian radio.
  • Sept/Oct 2012 - Focus on the Family interview
  • I bought your book "Winning Him Without Words"
  • Stumbled across the blog. "GODINCIDENCE"
  • I joined in 2013. I had heard of your website in a previous year listening to a Moody radio broadcast called Family Life Today.
  • I think we go back as far as Nov. 2001. I believe I came across the ministry of Lynn & Dineen through the book my pastor recommended to me, Winning Him Without Words.

There are SUMites that have been with us for years and some for only days. People come and stay and others only need to be with us for a season. God brings us many and we have loved them to the best of our ability. Many of you are faithful and give monetarily, monthly, even if you walked through a divorce or other profoundly difficult life challenges. That is what family looks like.

God is teaching us about His family and how we will love and live throughout eternity. We learn about one another first through our hearts because we can’t see each other and have all that silly judgement that goes on. We come to know and love each other through words, through our heart and mind and soul… It’s a beautiful practice that will be perfected in heaven when we all meet together in the Throne Room. Hallelujah!

You know what else I discovered about our home here on the web? We have accomplished something so many in the “church” desire to do but can’t seem to figure out…. We are a united CHURCH. A church without walls but united in faith and purpose. We all meet here. Learn together, pray for each other, listen, love, respond and encourage and yet we are diverse. We are many different ages as I mentioned before, our family is located in many places across the globe. India, South Africa, United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico, European nations, and even a few readers in Asia. Say what??? God is awesome!!

I asked: Are you attending church regularly? What is your denomination affiliation?

  • Born again. I use Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa website to view weekly bible message.
  • Non-denominational Christian church.
  • Yes 4-square
  • Yes, Church of England (Anglican)
  • I go every other weekend per an agreement my husband and I made to keep peace and to rid our marriage of the fighting that was occurring every weekend over my church attendance. Praying the frequency increases and my husband begins to attend with me. I am Berean.
  • Non-denomination i guess. Protestant...i hate to use labels
  • Yes - Lutheran - I joined an ELCA congregation after leaving Missouri synod.
  • fundamental Baptist
  • yes every sun and wed(awana) Baptist
  • I belong to (and am very active in) a Lutheran church because my husband was raised Lutheran, but I don't consider myself any denomination. I am a follower of Jesus.
  • Attend church weekly, Assemblies of God
  • Yes; evangelical Christian/Nazarene.
  • Pentecostal
  • yes, The Salvation Army
  • Yes I attend regularly. Nondenominational
  • Yes, Catholic
  • Fairly regularly. I have 3 boys (12, 10 & 10) that I am trying not to drive away from the Lord, so it can be a delicate dance around church at times. The church we attend is a non-denominational Christian church.
  • I'm not, but would like to. Methodist.
  • I try and I'm Catholic
  • Yes, Free Methodist.

What I love the most about all of us is that we don’t divide over denominational differences. I asked this question and was astounded that we come from all sorts of faith practices, backgrounds, and denominations. Often believers can divide in these areas but Praise God, we don’t get hung up there.

We ARE THE CHURCH!!

A beautiful and holy Bride that fights the demonic, seizes the day with prayer, never relents in our faith that our God can overcome ALL circumstances, trials and traumas. We are strong when we feel weak. We are vigilant to bring truth to our peeps. We have a hunger for God’s holy Word and we will never let loose of the faith that abides deeply within. We are love. We are more than conquerors and we are filled with the Holy Spirit power. We take down strongholds and bind all the comes against us. We bless and release the Kingdom with our mere words! We are the SUMITES and we are marching toward heaven and taking all our loved ones with us. We stand on the promises of God in full faith and especially 1 Cor 7:14. We are the kids of the Kingdom and Christ Jesus abides within.

If God is for us who could ever be against us?

Christ in us, the hope of glory!

Hallelujah! And AMEN!

Okay, next week I’ll share some more from the survey and then tackle some of your questions. So SUMITES, if you agree with the statement above and want to declare your faith. Write AMEN or some statement of faith or a scripture you are standing on in the comments today. See you there. Woo Hoo… Lord bring the fire on all of us and let us see your power and might displayed within our very own homes, marriages, families and community.  In JESUS POWERFUL NAME. AMEN

I love you SUMites… You are MY family forever. Lynn

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Winning Him Without Words

Prayer
Lord, thank You that I am never alone. You promised
You would never leave me nor forsake me, and I will rest in
this truth. Today I am committed to restoring happiness and
hope to my marriage. Teach me to take my eyes off
my circumstances and focus completely on You. I seat You
firmly on the throne of my life.
Father, today I recommit my life and my marriage to You.
Create a powerful yearning in me to meet with You every
day. Teach me Your truths to live by and reveal Your desire
for my life and the life of my spouse. Restore optimism in my
heart for our future. Empower me to cling to my faith
when my husband is unfriendly toward You.
Bring into my life other believers who are Jesus with
“skin on.” Lord, lavish Your love on me that I may pour
it into my spouse, my family and a world desperate for a
Savior. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Winning Him Book Cover

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The Book of Esther: Enemies Destroyed and a New Holiday

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Esther, mosaic, Jerusalem-The Church of Hagia Maria Zion-The Dormition Church

For such a time as this…

SUMites, when we last left Esther and Mordecai, the king had given them Mordecai his signet ring (authority). Esther seems to hold such great favor with the king that just her explanation of her relationship to Mordecai results in this transfer of authority.  

Esther again speaks to the king, falling at his feet in tears as she pleads for the lives of her people. The king gives both her and Mordecai permission to do what they feel best to save the Jews. The king’s scribes are summoned and a new proclamation is written to “react” to the one Haman had made. Since a Persian’s king’s decree could not be revoked, this counter attack was the best way to stop the annihilation of the Jewish population. Once again, the God of the Jews is protecting them.

Take a closer look at this stunning description of what happened next:

Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. And in every province and in every city, wherever the king's command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them. — Esther 8:15-17

Did you catch that last line? Not only were the Jews saved, but people were converted to Judaism as well. God’s presence among the Jews was unmistakable. We’ve seen that in the subtle hints by the author using the number seven. What’s so interesting, my friends, is in the midst of this study, I’ve been rather fascinated by the mention of the seven Spirits of God.

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. — Isa. 11:1-2

From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, — Rev. 4:5

Now interestingly enough, in reading through Esther the Holy Spirit began pointing out the characteristics of God present in this story. Seven of them. I began to wonder if these characteristics could be linked to the seven Spirits of God. Take a look:

God of Sovereignty (Spirit of the Lord—mandates us for position): God chose specific people to put in key places—Esther, Mordecai and Xerxes. He first placed Esther in a position to be queen and then Mordecai to be in an even greater position of power.

God of Justice (Spirit of Wisdom—equips us for position): The gallows built by Haman become his own death sentence. Esther and Mordecai create decrees that uniquely counter Haman’s plot by bringing justice to the Jews.

God of Provision (Spirit of Understanding—authorizes us for position): Esther’s favor is secure throughout the story. Mordecai’s favor continues to increase. And God is generous in His astonishing provision for Esther, Mordecai and the Jews.

God of Partnership (Spirit of Council—prepares us for position): God chooses to partner with His people to accomplish His plans and purposes. Even though we are not told He is there, we see His presence at work throughout the story, especially in the council Esther receives through Mordecai and Hegai.

God of Faithfulness (Spirit of Might—reveals us for position): God continues to save Israel even in her captivity, and uses two of their people to do it through.

God of the Impossible (Spirit of Knowledge—empowers us for position): Esther was a jew living in exile, yet she is made the Queen of Persia. And she uses her position and what she has learned to save her people.

God of Perfection (Spirit of Fear of the Lord—seals us for position): God’s time is perfect in the orchestration of the events. Especially in how Haman’s plots are revealed and used against him. The timing is quite uncanny. And Esther and Mordecai never question whether God is present or not. They know He is there and that He will answer their pleas. For the most part, they are secure in who they are and where God has placed them.

Now, what’s even more interesting is the new holiday that emerges from these events. As you probably guessed, the name Purim comes from the pur (lots) that Haman tossed to determine the date of the Jewish annihilation. 

In chapter nine we see one of the first things Mordecai does is make a decree to all the provinces that the Jews are to keep the 14th and the 15th days of the month of Adar as a celebration of their deliverance from their enemies. They were to be days of feasting, gladness, gifts of food and gifts to the poor. 

Today that holiday is still observed with the reading of the book of Esther (Megillah) once on the even of Purim and then on the following day, the giving of money gifts to at least two poor people, sending gifts of two kinds of food to at least one person, and a Purim feast, which often includes either wine or other intoxicating beverages.

Purim is actually one of the more livelier holidays on the Jewish calendar. On the day before, it is customary to fast in commemoration of Esther’s prayer and fasting. During Purim, children and adults wear costumes and indulge in sweets like hamantaschen, a three cornered, sweet-filled pastry. (For more information on Purim, click here.

What I found most significant in my research of this holiday is what God has done just recently for the Jewish people. In the early 1950’s, Joseph Stalin had brutal plans to deal with the “Jewish problem” in the U.S.S.R. At the crisis point in 1953, he died…on Purim.

In 1991, Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded Kuwait and began firing SCUD missiles into Israel. U.S.-led forces attacked Iraq and ended hostilities…on Purim.

Fascinating, isn’t it? God continues to move “behind the scenes” even today on behalf of the Jewish Nation. So encouraging!

My friends, I have one post left in this series and it is the one I’ve been dying to share since I started this series. But the Holy Spirit has continually kept me on track to bring out key points first so that you may fully embrace what He is speaking to us right now. It is astonishing and awe-inspiring!

Love you, SUMites! Great things are happening!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

*****

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A Revelation of Love For My Husband

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comThey say.... Love is blind. But, marriage is a real eye-opener!

My friends, a few weeks ago, my husband, whom I refer to as my pre-believer, celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. As I remember through the seasons of our union, I recall the challenges, the laughter, the fun and the really hard times as well. But mostly as I consider this landmark in our marriage, I find that the difficult years have been replaced with peace. Struggles and fear have been given over to unconditional love and acceptance. We are truly living the abundant life and our marriage is sanctified through my faith, as the believer in our home (1 Corinthians 7:14).

Mike and I are planning a European Cruise this summer to celebrate and spend time alone together. But what I found interesting is that the Lord gave me a gift for our marriage anniversary. It was unexpected and delivered with power and authority and ROCKED my world.

Today, I want to give this gift to you.

When you face the seasons of struggle, disappointment, loneliness, or confusion in your own marriage, open up this gift, and read it again. Allow the LORD to pull you into His vision of your marriage.

Every January at my local church we have a weeklong series of meeting where we intentionally seek God through prayer, guest speakers and worship. It was this January, 2017 on the fourth of the five night of events, that I stood in worship. And when the music began…. The LORD spoke.

You see, I had been crying out for a fresh revelation of love from our Father for weeks. But on this particular night, God answered with a fresh revelation of love for my husband. And it changed me.

Standing next to my usual seat on the second row, I lifted my hands and suddenly God came down and began to bombard my mind and heart with a revelation of just how much I truly DO love my husband. I felt wave after wave of love, care, compassion wash over me. I LOVE this man, fully, deeply from my core, unconditionally, and with full forgiveness for any harm or offence of the past. This love revelation felt like a gushing river and a fullness at the same time that I didn’t know that I possessed.

I truly didn’t understand the depth of love I had for my husband until that moment. (Is that weird?)

Years of pain and loneliness were gone, washed away by God. Unmet expectations, disappointment, feelings of longing, all became insignificant and felt selfish, yet they too washed away under the flood of love that continued to pour into me like an epic torrent.

Then God turned it up…..

He showed me where I had hurt my husband. The years and words that landed with pain on his heart. Where I minimized him, held him back by my words, slashed is manhood, and assaulted him with humiliation. Ugh…. Hard to admit.

I began bawling under this revelation.

If this wasn’t enough, God ratcheted up the revelation and then really poured it out. I was given insight to see with spiritual eyes the little boy that resides within my husband. The small child that needs nurturing, care, tenderness and understanding. The small man who has longs and needs for me to smile with kindness toward this boy. To tell him he is good. To say they things and be the one person on earth who can affirm his worth and value that I know is God-given.

Gulp.

Did you know that our husbands need this core of their person to be nurtured? It’s a deep need within him. And he has chosen one single person to offer him this affirmation. Just one… Just one, for all of his adult life, his wife. It’s a powerful and humbling responsibility.

I was made aware of how I failed to be a wife who loved well and the vice grip of pain nearly chocked me. But God…..

BUT GOD….

He allowed me to see just how much I REALLY loved this man. I mean, I really, really love him more than any person on earth. Next to God, I love him with all of my heart. I know I didn't perceive this reality until that moment. And God also released me of my failures in the light of the authentic love I hold for him (love covers a multitude of sins 1 Peter 4:8)

Well, the service ended and I literally sprinted out of the building. Arriving home, I ran into the kitchen and into my husband’s shocked and concerned arms. His face said it all: What the heck is going on as I was still bawling. I began to repent of where I failed him. I promise to love him well for the rest of our lives. And to tell him that I love him with all that I am and with a full heart.

Challenge: I challenge you to ask God for a revelation of love for your husband. It will change your thoughts, your prayer life for him, it will change your priorities and your family dynamic. God’s kinda cool that way!

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The Book of Esther: The Queen Risks Everything

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Esther, mosaic, Jerusalem-The Church of Hagia Maria Zion-The Dormition Church

For such a time as this…

My friends, we’re moving deeper into the story of Esther where things are moving much faster and starting to heat up in a big way. We left the story with Queen Esther’s life hanging in the balance.

As chapter five opens, Queen Esther has put on her royal robes (put on her best dress) and enters the king’s throne room. We hold our breath and wait. What will her fate be? Yet we know who, I mean WHO, has her back, right? With God behind her, she is destined for victory.

Just as we are, my friends. Often, it’s all in how we look at it. Like Mordecai, we can turn every situation upside down and ask God, “What do you want to do here? What are the possibilities?”

King Xerxes extends his scepter, and she is welcomed in. And not only that. The king offers her whatever she wants, even up to half of his kingdom. My friends, here is where we see God’s heart working in a big way. He has placed Esther in even more favor in her situation, and, amazingly, displays this through the king, her husband.

Do we miss that sometimes? Do we miss how God can work through our spouses and show His extravagant love through them? I know I have. God has had to almost knock me upside the head at times, but when I see it, I am so overwhelmed. It’s unmistakable in its generosity and goodness.

Now, if you’re like me, the first time you read Esther, you probably expected her to reveal everything to the king at that moment, but instead, Esther invites the king and Haman to a banquet she prepares. And if you’re still like me, you probably asked, why is she prolonging this?

Based upon what we see in the beginning of this story with Queen Vashti, I wonder if Esther wanted to reveal who she was to the king without the presence of the king’s nobles, who clearly seemed to have a lot of power and influence over the king. In fact, King Xerxes seems like a puppet at times, allowing the opinions and ideas of those around him to rule his kingdom.

But then, why would she want Haman to attend as well, if that were the case? 

The plot continues to thicken yet again, my friends. Esther continues to withhold her request by asking the king and Haman to join her for another banquet the next day, with the promise to answer the king’s question. 

We can only speculate, but my thoughts here are that she was securing her place once again in the king’s heart and hoping Haman would lower his guard enough to be exposed. After all, she surely knew the place Haman held in the king’s court as his most honored noble. Queen Esther probably wanted to ensure that her favor with the king overruled Haman’s (vss. 5:7, 7:3). 

In the meantime, Haman is doing some plotting of his own. He is so certain of his place with the king and now the queen, he orders gallows to be built for Mordecai to be hung on at the suggestion of his wife and friends. (Note: the NIV translation describes a pole and that Mordecai was to be impaled upon it.)

But as we see in the Joseph’s story, what the enemy means to harm us, God uses for our good. That very night, a sleepless King Xerxes orders the book of memorable deeds to be opened and read to him. And what do you know, the story of Mordecai exposing the plot to kill the king is read!

And the king is reminded that Mordecai was never rewarded for his act. We are now in chapter six with Haman’s plan to have Mordecai killed waiting to be initiated, yet the king has decided to honor that very same man. Talk about a clash of the Persians!

My friends, I find this part of the story somewhat hilarious as Haman walks right into his own trap. Only God could orchestrate this "just" moment. “Just” as Haman is entering the king’s court with full intentions to petition the king for Mordecai's death, the king is calling Haman to consult him about honoring Mordecai.

And Haman’s assumption and expectation to be honored by the king with his own suggestions is turned completely upside down. He winds up the one ordered to lead the very man he hates, Mordecai, around the city wearing the king’s robe and riding the king’s horse, shouting, “This is what is done to the man the king delights to honor.” 

Haman is completely humiliated. I can’t help but wonder how Mordecai felt in all this. I can’t see him sitting on that horse too comfortably and gloating. I suspect he may have been a tad uncomfortable but was wise enough to comply since it was the king’s order to honor him. 

At the end of chapter six, even Haman’s wife and wise men tell him he didn’t stand a chance. They already see his imminent fall when pitted against the Jewish people, which tells us the remnant of Israel already has a reputation of having a God who comes through for them.

And so do we, SUMites. Our God is so faithful. He comes through for us. And in the most unexpected ways! If a people group who didn’t even follow Yaweh have such an expectation, how much more can our expectation be of our God, Who gives us everything. 

And not just half the kingdom, but the entire Kingdom through His Son Jesus…

We’re entering chapter seven and the demise of Haman. At this second banquet, Queen Esther answers the king’s question, “What is your wish?” She asks for her life and reveals she is one of the very people the king has decreed to be killed. At the revelation that Haman, the king’s most valued noble, is the one behind the decree, King Xerxes becomes enraged. 

Could part of the king’s anger be a realization that he so easily gave Haman his ring and authority to make such a decree? Could we question here whether King Xerxes held much authority at this point as he seemed to allow others to make decisions for him? He certainly seems to regain some of this when he orders Hamas to be hanged on the same gallows he built for Mordecai.

Yet by chapter eight, the king has already given his signet ring to Mordecai after Queen Esther explains who he is. This happens before she pleads with him to avert the pending threat against her people. My friends, in my introduction to Esther, one of my bullet points was “the shifting of positions of those in authority and those in leadership.”

I intentionally worded it that way and you may have wondered what the difference was. This is part of what the Holy Spirit “talked” to me about one Sunday afternoon after church. Authority and leadership are not the same. You can have a leader without authority, but someone with authority will lead. He also explained that leadership without authority falls short of God’s plan.

Now here is where this discussion became very interesting. Using Scriptures, the Holy Spirit showed me there are different levels of authority. It is fascinating, my friends. Something I had wondered about in the past but now understand more clearly. This I will share with you soon and the stunning revelation that goes with it. 

In the meantime, share your hearts in the comments. We are nearing the end of Esther’s story and the beginning of another one. What parts of Esther speak to you, my friends? What revelations in this story are taking root and perhaps helping you see your situation in a different light?

Love you!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

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Sumite Prayer Partners - A Prayer of Renewal

Image James 5

Hi prayer family, Christy Edney here. Please join me in prayer,

Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment."

Father, this often quoted verse is quite familiar to us but, what if we truly lived by these words? How would your Holy Spirit impact our marriages, families and the world around us? Lord, I believe that there are no limits to your power, you can and will move in any way that you see fit. However, you have created us to be creatures of choice, free to choose the object of our focus. Today I am asking you to use this Easter season as an opportunity to realign our focus. Set your people on fire with the love of Christ, teach us to live obedient, authentic and abundant lives for the glory of our Lord and Savior. God, this sort of devotion is hard for those of us in unequally yoked marriages but, we know that your power is perfected in our weakness. Please renew us with a spirit of courage and absolute dependence on you. Embolden our leaders with a deeper sense of your presence and gift them with the knowledge that must be passed on to your children. Provide them and their families with a divine hedge of protection against the assaults of the enemy. May this renewed commitment push all of us into a deeper relationship with you. We pray and praise the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

If you would like more information on our Prayer Partnerships then click the following link to send me an email: Sumite Prayer Partners

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500th Anniversary Of The Last Great Reformation

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com500th Anniversary of The Great Reformation

Did you know that this year, 2017, is the 500th anniversary of the Great Reformation? On October 31, 1517 Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the church in Germany…. Now get this, Luther and many other church fathers of the time were looking at the corruption of the church and the government. Hmmmmm, do we today have corruption of the church and government? Likely, as there is always some degree of this in both, all the time. It just appears that the corruption is growing exponentially.

The church is moving away from centuries of teaching on sexual purity. There is so much arguing between the many streams of faith and we, the church, spend more time fighting each other than the devil and his works. Don’t even get me started on the corruption in government. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research on pedophilia and sex trafficking… It’s sickening beyond belief and I pause to wonder why God hasn’t destroyed us.

Five hundred years ago in Europe there was violence in the cities as the Peasants went to war against the elite (church and government). Good grief sounds like a script from our newspaper.

But out of this period came forth a powerful awakening of the church that birthed a new level of faith for the world. Demonstrations of God’s power changed lives. The church became transformed. Today, we benefit directly from that reformation that happened 500 years ago. Many new church movements birthed from that unrest. (On a personal note, I am expectant for something major to occur on October 31st of this year… Hopeful)

I can see the parallels of 500 years ago. Could we be on the edge of a new reformation? A new freedom in our church? Could we see the corruption defeated and humankind turn from manmade constructs of justice and truth to those of God?

Oh, I am hopeful.

The people of our world are looking for hope. So many, like our spouses haven’t found truth in our churches. But our God is THE LIVING GOD ALMIGHTY… And He is about to break upon this world with demonstrations of power and deliverance that will shake the foundations of the earth. Hallelujah!!

It will be undeniable. It will be life-changing for millions. It will be salvation for our spouses!

God is preparing the church. It is our destiny to live in our identity and to live with the Spirit of the Living God pouring forth from us.

Christ IN US… The hope of glory. Colossians 1:27

God is preparing us. There is a possibility that a shaking is coming. Shaking is a precursor to reformation. But I’m convinced we needn’t fear. We are being groomed and prepared now. God is growing our faith. He is giving us gifts of Acts 2 to provide knowledge and wisdom in the years ahead. In fact, I’m convinced that the SUMites will be God’s chosen, that people of the world and other faiths, will turn to for answer to their questions. They will look to us for prayer and to receive peace, joy and hope and guidance in a turbulent time.

How cool is that?

Of course, I’m just sharing some of my thoughts about what may be on the horizon for the church and the planet. I don’t know, nor has the Lord, provided prophetic promises to me about what I’ve shared in this series. I only share the signs that are there. The truths of scripture that God is highlighting. Often times the LORD prompts His people to understanding so that we will pray. We must pray to align ourselves to His will and purposes. To be the generation that will not back down but be the people to partner with God Almighty to bring His Kingdom to earth. And mostly to be the voice to those who are on the slippery path to eternal torment.

Okay, was this too much? Sheesh, sometimes the Holy Spirit gets on a roll and my fingers fly across the keys. I often am as shocked as you when I read the final result. Fun and amazing!

Next time, I will share my experience about how I was crying out for a revelation of love from the Father but first He gave me a revelation of love for my husband. I didn’t know the depths of my love until God revealed it to me. Don’t miss this one.

I adore you my friends. Can you just imagine the chats we are going to have when we all meet up in heaven and get to share what piece of the puzzle God had us working on in our location on earth. FUN!!!  I’m telling you I can’t wait for that. I love you…. Lynn

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The Book of Esther: Haman's Plot and Mordecai's Plea

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Esther, mosaic, Jerusalem-The Church of Hagia Maria Zion-The Dormition Church

For such a time as this…

SUMites, are you as riveted by this story as I am? The intrigue thickens as we walk into chapter three. Mordecai continues to refuse to bow to Haman or explain why to the other gate officials when asked. These men bring this to Haman's attention to see if it will be tolerated. 

Sound familiar? Everyone watched to see if former Queen Vashti's refusal of the king would be tolerated as well. All eyes are on the king waiting to see precedent set. We see the same mentality today in our own political arenas, my friends. It's like a pack mentality. 

Haman is now alert to Mordecai's ongoing refusal and is enraged. He has learned who Mordecai's people are and decides he the idea of just killing Mordecai isn't enough. He wasn't to eliminate all the Jews. 

There is history in the works here as well, my friends. Haman is described as the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, in the beginning of chapter three. It's likely this refers to King Agag, king of Amalek. The Amalekites were the ones who attacked the Israelites after they fled Egypt. Exodus 17:16 says, "The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation." 

This history no doubt influence Haman's and Mordecai's view of each, I believe. Bad blood, so to speak, raised it's ugly head and determined destruction was the only answer. In the twelfth year of King Xerxes reign (and Esther's seventh as queen), they (which is unclear who) cast the pur, which means "the lot."

Pur, or lots, were either sticks with markings or stones with symbols that were thrown into a small area and then the result was interpreted. It’s also where the name of the Jewish celebration Purim comes from, which we will discuss more later in this story. 

This is how Haman determined the exact date of the demise of the Jews. Once he did this, he manipulated the king to agree by describing the Jews scattered all over the his provinces as a threat to his reign. Haman even offers the king a large sum of money out of his own wealth to fund the cause. King Xerxes hands over his signet ring, which was used to mark official documents with the official seal and authority of the king, tells him to keep his money and "do with the people as you please." (Esther 3:11)

Then the king's scribes were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king's satraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the officials of all the peoples, to every province in its own script and every people in its own language. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king's signet ring. Letters were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces with instruction to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province by proclamation to all the peoples to be ready for that day. The couriers went out hurriedly by order of the king, and the decree was issued in Susa the citadel. And the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion. — Esther 3:12-15 (ESV)

Did you catch that last line? The entire city was thrown into confusion. Clearly this decree baffled the people with its instructions to destroy an entire people group. Can you imagine what those from other nationalities thought? Would they be next? Israel wasn’t the only nation conquered by King Xerxes. 

At the start of chapter four the news sends Mordecai into a traditional expression of grief in the Near East. He dons sackcloth and ashes and walks through the city crying and weeping loudly. And he was not the only one. Jews everywhere were doing the same thing. 

The news deeply distressed Esther, but what could she do? The king still didn’t know she was Jewish—no one did except Mordecai. She sends the eunuch Hathach (how many of these guys does one palace need?) to bring Mordecai proper clothing but he refuses them. My guess is she wanted to protect her cousin from scrutiny and further harm.

Through Hathach, Mordecai gives Esther the full picture, even to the amount of money Haman had offered the king. Speculation says the king’s initial refusal was just customary and that he did accept the money based upon Esther 4:7. But I’m thinking at this point, surely Hathach must know more about Esther’s true heritage as the go between here. In her seven-year-reign, she’s surely surrounded herself with trusted advisors and confidants. 

Now here’s where we find out two interesting details. No one, not even the queen, can go to the king without being summoned. To do so is to risk of death. If the king doesn’t want to talk to you and doesn’t extend his scepter, you are condemned to death (vs. 4:11).

We also find out Esther hasn’t seen the king in a month. They’ve been married now for seven years, remember? Could it be the king was growing tired of her? (Maybe the seven-year-itch existed even then!) How could Queen Esther not wonder if that were the case? It’s no wonder she felt her life could be at risk. 

But Mordecai, as he seems to always do, gives her the full perspective. Even though she is the queen, she is still a Jew and will not escape what is about to happen to her people. In other words, her life was already forfeited as it stood. Yet Mordecai does something genius here, my friends. He turns the perspective on end. 

Instead of declaring death over their lives, he brings a different possibility to the forefront. What if all that had happened to Esther was to bring her to a place to ultimately help her people?

For such a time as this…

And take notice here that neither Esther or Mordecai question the presence of God in this situation. They don’t even doubt His presence. It is assumed God is there, and they will do their part by fasting and praying.

At the end of chapter four we watch Esther rise to the call and tell Mordecai to gather the Jews in Susa to fast and pray for three days. Now she is the one giving the orders to Mordecai, and he is the one obeying. Esther has chosen not only to position herself in the full authority of her place as queen, but to use it to benefit her people. No matter the risk.

SUMites, we’ve talked in the past about how similar our roles are to Esther. She was most definitely mismatched in that she was married to someone who didn’t share her faith. Yet she ultimately held a great place of influence as she put her faith in God to uphold and save her. And ultimately justify her as well. At times we too stand in a precarious place, unsure whether to speak at the risk of losing the favor of our spouse, or to remain silent. But look closely, my friends, and see if there is a Mordecai there, pointing in the right direction. He can be the leading of the Holy Spirit, a timely placed person who speaks truth like a mentor, a circumstance or even a moment that clearly calls us to rise to the place God is calling us to. He speaks to our hearts and says, “Come up here!”

My friends, we see God meet Esther with strength, courage and provision so that she can rise and walk the path she is called to. God has placed her for that such a time as this moment, my friends, just as we are in the lives of our spouses and even more. So much more, SUMites. That’s part of that big revelation that I told you about. We’re almost there. You are going to love it!

Big hugs!
Dineen

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He Has Risen.... Just As He Said

Easter 2012_1280

 

 Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

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The LIGHT

Can you imagine the pain in the disciple’s hearts? I can’t help but place myself in Peter’s shoes. Two days ago, I pledged to Christ that I would die for Him. And yesterday I betrayed, lied, and abandoned the author of my Life.

I feel a pit in my stomach. Not only because of Peter but the times I did the same thing. Where I failed to stand up for truth. When I could have mentioned the Healer to my neighbor but was ashamed that I would look stupid. Agh!!!

Surely, I’m not the only one.

Today: At the request of the Jewish leadership, Pilate grants a guard and sets a seal on the tomb of Jesus. 

 

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Friday Darkness

BcrownthornIt's dark and all seems lost.  

BUT....  

Today's Events:

  • First trial, before Annas [nightime hours]; Annas is looking for an accusation, biding time till Sanhedrin is gathered at High Priestly villa
  • Second [and primary] trial before Sanhedrin, Jesus is condemned, misused
  • Third trial, immediately at dawn [meanwhile, Peter denies Jesus a third time; Jesus looks upon him]; the condemnation repeated, then Jesus taken to Romans
  • Fourth trial before Pilate [till "beginning at Galilee"]
  • Fifth trial before Herod [looks for miracle]
  • 6th trial before Pilate
  • Jesus is scourged; the city cries, "Crucify Him or we will tell Rome!"
  • Jesus is finally turned over to be crucified
  • Jesus mocked (Roman soldiers); crown of thorns
  • Judas hangs himself
  • Jesus bears His cross to gate on north of city and is crucified around 9 am
  • Jesus' Seven Sayings from the Cross
  • "Father, forgive them..."
  • "Today...with me in paradise"
  • "Woman, behold thy son..." [darkness: noon – 3 pm]
  • "My God, My God..."
  • "I thirst"
  • "It is finished"
  • "Into Thy hands..."
  • The Death of the God-Man
  • About 3 pm; veil torn, rocks rent; some graves opened and people rise [to mortality] and go into the city
  • Jesus' side pierced
  • Passover lambs slain in temple
  • Jesus buried by sundown

 It's Friday but, Sunday's a commin'!

 

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Thursday Betrayal

Thursday Events:

Peter and John sent to make preparation for Passover meal
After sunset, eats meal with the twelve; washes disciples; Judas departs
Lord's Supper instituted
To Garden of Gethsemane; Jesus' agony
Betrayal by Judas; arrest by Sanhedrin
To house of High Priest as Sanhedrin is convened; Peter betrays Jesus

BETRAYAL

Betrayal…. Thursday is a bitter darkness. I don’t know about you, but for me, I can forgive easily …. except when I’ve been betrayed.

Anyone???

There is something that breaks in the core of our being when we give trust to someone who didn’t keep our life, our secrets, and our heart safe.

I find that Jesus is calling me on this Thursday, before we move toward Easter, to let go of betrayal. Enter into this place with me. It can feel like hell to surrender the hurt that is so deep that it feels like it will pull you under, never to escape.

Imagine with me, Jesus taking that pain, betrayal, into the tomb and into the pit where He leaves it chained forever. And then see Jesus giving you joy, hope and peace as a golden shining crown upon your head. It’s in this moment is where the crucifixion and resurrection become authentic and powerful!!

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Lenten Reflections: Holy Week - Hope in His Divinity and Humanness

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Image courtesy of ikpro and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Aren’t you loving Lynn’s Holy Week reflections? I feel a little like an interloper with my post this week but as I sought the Lord on what to post I kept coming back to: HOPE.

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25)

Death is not the end. The story is not over on Good Friday. Jesus defeats death and is resurrected on Easter Sunday and in so doing gives us the opportunity to have relationship with the Father. Not just now but forever.

We have an eternal hope.

Desire for Connection

I’d never really considered the significant number of intimate moments that occur during this week that is often called “Passion Week”. I was drawn to them by a couple of posts I read. Let’s look at some of them:

1. Jesus washed the disciples feet (John 13:5) – what a moment this must have been. “Surely the room was filled with a holy silence as pure and sweet as Mary’s perfume.”1

Yes, the One who created these twelve men now performs an act usually performed by a slave. Of course there are strong spiritual messages here about being cleansed to be made righteous and the importance of service but for a moment reflect on the intimacy of the scene.

2. Sharing the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-30) – I love participating in communion. There’s something intimate in the ceremony. Picture yourself in the group of twelve as Jesus breaks the bread and passes you a piece and then the cup having wiped it clean before he pours some of the [real] wine in your mouth. He looks into your eyes as He says ever so tenderly: “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for the remission of sins.”

More silence. And contemplation.

3. The Garden (Matthew 26:36-38) – three accompanied Him: Peter, James and John. All three have only moments declared they would not leave Jesus (as did the other eight), no matter what happens. Jesus is troubled. No wonder. It’s almost time. He asks them to be with Him in His troubled state.

“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” (v38)

He desired and needed companionship. To know His best mates were close. I expect it gave Him strength and some degree of comfort.

4. Addressing Mary at the Tomb (John 20:11-16) – Mary returns to the tomb for a second time. She is beside herself as Jesus is gone!

After an initial interaction with a man whom she presumed to be the gardener, she’s increasingly angry thinking this man had taken Him. He sees her anguish:

“’Mary!’” (v16)

What a moment. It’s like a soothing salve that calms her heart and dries her tears all with the one word: her name.

“She turned toward Him, ‘Rabboni!’”

The scales fell from her eyes, clarity came to her mind. It was Him. Her Jesus.

Hope

As we journey these last few days of Lent reflect on the hope we have in having an eternal relationship with Jesus and the opportunity for a tender, intimate walk with Him right now.

I hope you can take a little time out to simply sit in His Presence. Close the door on your world for a few minutes if that’s all you can get and linger with Him. Sit down in the tall grass beside the still waters with the lover of your soul.

Enjoy His tenderness, His soothing voice and the peace that passes all understanding.

Happy Easter, dear friends and thank you for walking through Lent with me.

Grace and peace,

Notes: 1. “The Women of Easter,” Liz Curtis Higgs, Waterbrook Publishing, 2017, p100

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Tuesday's Journey

Jesus cloudsTuesday's Events:
Leaves Bethany
Finds the fig tree withered; teaches on faith
Possesses the temple and its precincts; confounds and pronounces woes upon His enemies
Leaves city; Olivet Discourse on way back to Bethany
Judas bargains with Sanhedrin to betray Jesus
Spends the night in Bethany

On this day Jesus pours out so much teaching. Read Matthew 25 & 26. The story of the 10 talents always gives me comfort. God gives us responsibilities for His Kingdom according to our gifting and ability. He never intended for us to perform at a superior level beyond what we are capable. But only asked us to be diligent with what we have. What a relief.

Today I want to leave this passage with you: 

"But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." - Jesus

Oh how true this is. Years of living has proven this over and again. I pray often, teach me to be humble and LORD, I humble myself. 

 

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Busy Monday In The Temple

Jesus Woman touches hemIt’s Monday in the Old City. Jerusalem is all a buzz that Jesus, the healer, is at the Temple. Reading through the events of Passion Week Monday, this verse, jumped out at me:

Following Jesus’ rebuke to the religious leaders where He said, “It is written, ‘My House shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a “den of thieves.’”

Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. -Matthew 21:13-14

Jesus healed them!!!! Amen and AMEN!!!

On Monday Jesus:

Leaves Bethany
Curses the fig tree on the way into the city
Weeps over Jerusalem
Cleanses the temple for the second time in His ministry
Late in day, looks into the Temple, then leaves the city
Spends the night in Bethany

I wonder if we might consider an event that occurred earlier in Matthew.

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

I wonder sometimes, I just wonder, if we need to be bold enough to put a demand on the healing power that is ours through Jesus? Or perhaps not just bold…. But desperate enough to lean into our faith and pray saying, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.”

Persistence and faith, when married together ARE the touch to the hem of His garment. Pray with belief. Pray every day expecting. Pray and ask for your healing, breakthrough, and your increased portion of the Kingdom.

I’m not naive to say that healing always happens. But, I won’t stop asking just because I’m unable to explain every why or why not. I choose to believe because I have born witness to the miraculous. And if you are waiting for your turn to bear witness, then pray and ask, placing a demand on your faith and move heaven to seek your healing and breakthrough…. It’s the season for both…

It’s Easter!

It may be Monday, but Sunday’s commin!

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The Triumphant Entry

SUM Nation,

Triumphant EntryDineen and I have decided to push the series we are writing into next week because the LORD is prompting us to lead our SUM church through a week of reflection on Easter.

The Holy Spirit impressed upon me to take this week to reflect on each day the events of the Passion Week and allow us to walk with Jesus through it. The death and resurrection of Christ split time in two. It brought about the salvation of the Gentiles and it forever took the keys of death from satan. The implications of the shed blood are freedom, deliverance, healing and protection.

So, walk this week with me as I post a few short scriptures and the events of the week. Ask Jesus to include you into this week. Let the truth of this week and Resurrection Sunday change your life.

Also, begin to pray about asking your spouse to attend church with you. Don’t pressure, pray, ask and be okay with whatever reply comes.

Today is Palm Sunday. It’s the Triumphal Entry into the city of Jerusalem. These are the events of the day. Pull out your Bible and read the account in one of the four Gospels. I love Matthew’s rendition.

Today’s events:

  • Jesus' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem
  • Spends the night in Bethany

The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”—Matthew 21:9

AMEN! 

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What, This Day, Shall You Choose?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI never would have imagined how God has responded to my weeks of crying out for a revelation of love. What is amazing is that God responds. He really does. The implications of this alone, at times really boggles my mind. The God of the Universe responds to lil’ ole’ me. ….. and to you too!

Okay, since God’s reply to my heart, He told me He was pouring our His Spirit on all Flesh. I’ve experienced some crazy stuff in the last few weeks. And I’ve received some astonishing emails from you, the SUMites, with stories of God’s interactions and the comments of the blog.... FANTASTIC. In fact, just reading Ian’s posts and his comments, we are in the same classroom along with so many of you.

Before we go forward, can I ask you a question? Do you believe God’s Word? Can you hope and believe that Acts 2 is for us today?

Let’s look at it again.

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy,     your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. -Acts 2:17-19

So, we are in a season, right now, where we individually choose to believe and have faith or choose not to believe this passage. Faith is always a choice. God will use this generation to bring His purposes (Revival) to fruition but we MUST choose to collaborate with Him. If we let this moment pass, God will honor our choice and He will wait. He will wait for a new generation to rise that will want to partner with Him to accomplish His will on earth as it is in heaven.

What, this day, shall you choose?

Well, for me….. I’m sold out. And ever since that Sunday morning where He spoke this passage into my heart, I have believed it to be applicable to me, my faith and my life……..

And thus it is.

I’m beginning to hear from the Lord about future things. Something as simple as the LORD telling me that I will be asked to open up our workout session at my local gym in prayer. Yep, weird.. But a few weeks ago, in the middle of the night, I just somehow had a knowing that later that morning, the class instructor would ask me to pray. And the LORD told me what to pray over this group of diverse believers who stood together in a circle, both men and women, from all faiths, holding hands…

Sure enough, I walked into the gym, “Lynn, would you lead us in prayer in a few minutes.” I answered an affirmative and the smile on my face was uncontainable.

I prayed…. And I let loose all that God told me to pray. I ended with a loud, “In Jesus name. HALLELUJAH!” It was so unexpected and so filled with hope that the entire place broke into an uproar of applause. Okay, they weren’t applauding me so much, they were applauding the Holy Spirit that arrived…. Gang, this was in a secular fitness gym, IN CALIFORNIA… Say what???

I am convinced we are living in a miraculous season. The breakthroughs that are happening are amazing. The faith that is arising in God’s church is tremendous… The SUMite nation is no longer content with powerless Christianity. We want God to show up in power, in healing, in provision and with passion for truth and justice… And it is happening in our community. The hunger among you is absolutely tangible. I feel it in your words from thousands of miles away…

GOD FEELS IT IN YOUR HEART AND IN YOUR PRAYERS.

So, let’s consider a few things about this current season in which we are living. And let’s take a ponder at the timing of God’s plans for planet earth.

Okay, let’s visit this plan on Tuesday. I’ve gone on waaaaay tooooo long. What I want to leave you with today is this, decide today, do you believe Acts 2 is yours? Do you want to be the generation that partners with God to bring heaven to earth? Do you want to prophesy?

God is pouring out His love… We are alive in the most amazing time of all on planet earth. He is showing us love by giving good gifts (Matt 7:11) to His children, Acts 2. It’s time for the church to be healed and whole. It’s time that His church prophesy and bring His Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven.

What say you???????

*****

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Lenten Reflections: Week 6 – The Great Miracle of Easter

I got inspiration for this week’s post from an article in the latest edition of Christianity Today where the writer makes the reference to the “most astonishing Easter miracle”1 in a discussion centred on identity politics.

And it got me thinking.

The resurrection is spectacular and Jesus defeated death and our sinfulness to restore our ability to have relationship with God. It is pivotal to the gospel. But 40 or so days later the Holy Spirit arrived on the day of Pentecost and with that came another great miracle: Christ living in us.

“Christ in us, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

We are united in Christ. Paul is so excited about this revelation that he uses the phrase “over 200 times in his letters.”

“The most distinctive mark of Christians is this: We are people in whom the resurrected Christ dwells (Ephesians 3:17).” 2

Wow.

Having meditated upon Colossians 3:1-17 and recited it as I walk one of our dogs each morning for the past 18 months it’s slowly sunk in who I am in Christ. We have our Creator residing in us. Check out these verses from Colossians 3 in The Message version: 

“Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.”

It’s kinda mind-boggling don’t you think?

Keeping our eyes on Him is so important. And Easter is a special time for us to do just that especially if we’ve allowed ourselves to get caught up in the busyness of life and have spent less time being with the Lord.

Look what Paul says will happen if we keep our eyes and lives focused on Him:

“Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

That’s what I want: to become more like Him so that my life becomes brighter attracting others to see what’s causing the brightness.

I hope as Holy Week approaches we all may be able to set or re-set our eyes on Jesus so that we can begin to shine (even more) brightly with His love and power.

Grace and peace, dear friends.

Notes: 1. “The Most Astonishing Easter Miracle,” Mark Galli, Christianity Today April 2017 (currently only subscribers can read it) 2. ibid

*****

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An Astonishing Move of God and a Song

IMG_5694
This picture hangs above my prayer wall.

My friends, I need to just step out of our Esther series for a moment, because the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to share an astonishing story with you. 

I’ve spoken many times about my work in the Healing Rooms of Manatee, which is turning out to be a big part of why God brought us back to Sarasota. I love serving as a team trainer and having the opportunity to minister to and pray with people face to face. And what God is doing there leaves me speechless most days.

Because He is amazing. Just recently we’ve witnessed a person healed of ALS. The doctors can now find no evidence of this disease in this person’s body! Praise Jesus!

But God did something entirely different last week. He wrapped a very personal event in my life into another person’s—someone I barely even know.

First, let me explain that we operate our healing rooms much like a doctor’s office. People come in and have forms to fill out, including their prayer needs. A prayer team of three then takes this chart, prays over it and waits for the Holy Spirit to reveal what they need to know for this person and what the Holy Spirit wants to do. 

Last week as my team prayed over a chart, I felt the Holy Spirit was reminding me of a very special song, something very personal to me and my daughter, Leslie. 

You see, during the seven weeks of her radiation treatments (Dec. 2008 - Feb 2009) I would sing a song to her on our long trip home. She would be so tired and worn out, and ask me to sing to her. That song was, “You are My Sunshine.”

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

Then in 2015 during the aftermath of my shoulder surgery, I was in a great deal of pain. One night, I woke up hurting worse than ever and nothing seemed to help. I cried out to God in my pain and confusion, and suddenly I heard that song. I realized my Abba was there, singing over me, giving me comfort with His love. This was also an answer to prayer, because I’d asked Him many times to allow me to hear Him singing over me. 

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. — Zeph. 3:17 ESV

My friends, I can’t tell you what that did to my heart that night. It runs so very deep. One day in a store I saw a picture of this song title and knew I was supposed to buy it and hang it on my wall as a constant reminder that the Lord sings over me.

These are the stories the Holy Spirit brought back to my mind in a flash and told me to share it with this person we would be praying for. But here’s the clincher. 

He wanted me to sing the song too.

Needles to say I felt out of my comfort zone here and even wondered if I was hearing clearly, even though I’ve seen God do some crazy things and the results are always astounding. I hesitated to sing, my friends. But after I share my story with this person, he asked me to sing it and then he would tell me why. So I mustered my courage and belted it out. Yep, I mean belted!

Here’s where it became astonishing. After I finished the song, this person told me that several years back God had someone sing this very same song over him in a meeting for a very specific reason, but at the time he didn’t take it seriously. This time he would.

My friends, I don’t know the full story of what God was doing that day, but it has rocked my world. God has given me details for people before—names, dreams, images—that are very specific and mean something to the person I’m praying for. That in and of itself is always astounding to me because it shows how intimately God is wrapped in the details of our lives. 

But never has God done this, used a very personal detail in my life to connect and minister to another person. I am still blown away by it. In a clearly God planned moment, not only was this person’s faith increased, so was mine.

Amazingly, He had me sing over another person that evening and I did exactly what He asked without hesitation. My faith and trust had already been bolstered.

SUMites, I pray this deeply encourages you to know that the Lord will do astonishing things to let you know He is there and He is moving in your life in ways you can’t even comprehend yet. 

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. — Psalm 32:7 NIV

I pray the songs the Lord is singing over you, my friends, are loud and clear. I pray His heart is revealed to you in astonishing ways starting today and that your faith is brought to a whole new level of understanding and expectation.

And that’s the key, my friends. EXPECT HIM! He’s always faithful!

Love you like crazy!
Dineen

*****

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The Pouring Out Of His Spirit = Breakthroughs

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI’ve hinted for months and told everyone and anyone who will listen that this year, 2017 is a year of breakthrough and healing (emotional and physical) for the Church. I’m convinced God is healing His people to prepare them for the Great Revival and the salvation of a billion souls. This statement isn’t new to any of you if you been a reader here for a number of months.

AND NOW, the LORD is revealing to me more of his plan. You are going to be in shock and awe when I share what I have to say on the development of His plan. It’s happening right now. I will share more on Friday but for today, I want to encourage you to BELIEVE for holy breakthroughs.

Our faith is increased when we share testimony. So, I’m sharing a testimony of breakthrough that I believe you can draw upon.

My breakthroughs, anything of personal spiritual value, arrive because I’ve spent time in the “secret place.” (Psalm 91:1) The holy place of intimacy, prayer, reading of the Word and time in His Presence.

See this photo? It is a sticky note that I scribbled out on October 17, 2015. Two years ago. These were the prayer requests I was seeking of the LORD and I have had them penned and stuck to the bulletin board in my prayer room for nearly two years.

50 college

Our daughter, Caitie, started college four years ago. We had managed to save some money for her tuition and she received a small partial scholarship that covered the first two years. However, I knew we would need $50,000 for her last two years. I still gulp when I consider how impossible this number sounded as I pinned it to the bulletin board. It’s the first item on the list.

I cried out in the secret place. I pleaded. I prayed. I believed. I TRUSTED!

My friends, two years passed and provision did not arrive. I ended up withdrawing money from my 401K to fund her last two years of college. (I’m thankful, I had a 401K from my years in corporate America.)

I will admit that I felt confused, disappointed a bit and uncertain about God’s silence. But….. This isn’t the end of the story. I am a hungry believer. I have faith in the God of in the impossible. I’m a believer in persistence. I continued to press in to learn more about my King and His ways. Can I just tell you that God shows up even when we give up?

Caitie will graduated from BIOLA, a Christian University, on May 26th of this year. Certain doors opened which were providential and she decided to apply to Grad School. Her Dad and I, had no idea how she would get there and were utterly at a loss how we would pay for it.

Back to the secret place… I prayed. I also spent some time studying the Courts of Heaven, and one morning I entered those courts and made a petition to the Judge. (That experience I will share in a later teaching.)

Upon completing my prayer time, two utterly astonishing things happened THAT DAY with regard to our finances. But what I want to share with you today, happened a few weeks later.

The phone rings, I answer.

“Mom, I received a letter today from Purdue University.”

“Ya.”

“Mom, they are offering me a full ride.” I’m dumbfounded. Unable to speak. And that is a rarity for me.

“Mom, they also want me to become a teacher and teach the under-grad courses and will pay me. It will be enough to cover all my living expenses.”

I utter with astonishment swirling around me, “Wow, Caitie…. Just Wow… Praise Jesus!”

My friends, God heard my prayer back in 2015. His plan was to provide ALL of the finances. When you consider the financial benefit that Purdue offered her, it roughly totals $100,000. That is double what I had prayed for. And a side note, the money I withdrew from my 401k has been replaced because the stock it is invested, has tripled. God answered my prayer and gave us double!!! Say what??????

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If God will do this for me… He will do it for you…. Go into your secret place. Meditate on His promises. Pray them back to Him. Write them down. Tarry, pray, storm the heavens and don’t relent. Sometimes God’s answers are bigger than we can dream and often they arrive in ways we aren’t expecting or in a timing we are not anticipating.

I do want to share my experience in the Courts of Heaven because that precipitate my breakthrough. I’m thinking of doing a live class to explain it.

SUMites, we have been called by God, as critical participants in this next GREAT REVIVAL. This week God began to reveal what this is going to look like. I will be sharing about that on Friday.

Today, I am walking in the truth of Acts 2. And I declare that you are walking in His Spirit with me.

So right now, today, make your state of commitment to God’s plan in the comments. Write what you are praying for in the comments. Write out your hunger to experience the Acts 2 church. Write out your desire to be used by God to be the harvesters in this next Great Revival. Cry out for a revelation of His love.

I’m on fire!!!!!!!…. I will pray with you in the comments. I love you, my people… My church without walls, my SUM nation…. MY FRIENDS. MY DEAR, BELOVED, ETERNAL FRIENDS. I love you. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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