136 posts categorized "Bible Study"

Just a Reminder...

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Hello, my friends! Just a reminder that we start our summer Bible study, You Are Loved, on Monday. Be sure to order your book this week so you can join in.

Order from the SUM Shop or Amazon.

If you want to know more, check out my video post here about the study. Lots of fun and a few surprises! I'll be doing video posts for this study, my friends, which will make it even more fun! 

Love you!
Dineen

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Digging for Truth in the Bible

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My friends, a few weeks back several of you left comments about wanting to know how I study the Bible and dig out the truths and revelations. I want to share that with you today so you can start digging deeper and seeking to know God more intimately too!

First and foremost, understand that this is how the Holy Spirit and I operate together. He leads, I follow, and He reveals truth. First, let’s start with the tools I use:

  • A journaling Bible (ESV translation)
  • A journal and pen
  • An iPad
  • The Olive Tree Bible App

In this Bible app, I have multiple translations (11 to be exact) of the Bible, several of which include the Strong’s Numbers that give you the Greek and Hebrew words and definitions. I also have three commentaries, study notes for two translations, and a cross reference.

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For example, here is a screen shot of my Bible app as I looked up the Greek word for ‘rooms’ in John 14:2, using the ESV Bible with Strong’s. By simply touching the word I want to know more about, a second window appears with the definitions and cross references for that word. 

This is where my interaction with the Holy Spirit is key. As I study the words, He makes the connections to the meanings and brings additional revelation and understanding to the meaning and intention of the words being used. 

When we dig a little deeper like this, we discover that there are multiple Greek words that are translated into one single word in the English language. The words love and healing are good examples of this. We have one word for love, but the Greek has four. This is when the intention of the word can open up the full meaning of the Scriptures. And this is where I have a lot of fun as the Holy Spirit brings the Word to life and knocks my socks off with fuller revelations and understanding of the truths in the Bible.

Also, understanding additional definitions to the word brings the fuller meaning and intention of the Words to life as well. An amplified translation is very good at doing this as well.  

What gets really fascinating is when you start to recognize words from other areas of the Bible. This is why I journal the meanings in my journal Bible (see the picture above) and can flip quickly back to them and compare. I could make notes right in the Bible app, but I’m a visual person and can remember visually easier where I’ve written certain notes. That works much better for me.

So, my friends, I hope this helps you figure out ways to study the Bible more deeply that work for you. Ask the Holy Spirit for His inspiration and leading to show you how He wants to do this with you. He’s quite brilliant at it and loves doing it with us! That’s His job after all, to reveal Who Jesus is and His truth to us. 

And now, my dear friends, I will pray the prayer over you that I have prayed over myself for years, each day as I sit down to study my Bible.

Holy Spirit, give every person reading this the wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, to know Him better through His Word. I ask that eyes of their hearts be enlightened, that they would know more deeply the hope You have called them to and the understanding that as saints, we are the inheritance of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the name of Jesus, amen! (Eph 1:17-18)

Now I pass on one finally piece of wisdom in your pursuit of God’s truths in His Word. Have fun studying your Bible. God once told me, “Don’t make Me a duty.” He wants us to seek Him joyfully and know the fullness of His delight in us. Remember, as you seek to understand the Bible better, you are actually growing closer to the Lord!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. — John 1:14

I love you, my friends!
Dineen

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You Are Loved Summer Bible Study

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My friends, your orders are coming in and books are being shipped out. Thank you! As you receive your book, look it over and take note of the many places to journal as well and places to created your own doodles as well!

If you haven't ordered your book yet, order your copy from the SUM Shop (inside the U.S.) or Amazon (outside the U.S.) by July 17th to get your book in time for our start date (July 31st). My friends, we're going to share our hearts and our pictures during this summer adventure. I can't wait to see your pages and hear your hearts! And I have some surprises in store for you too!

Love you!
Dineen
(If you live in the U.S. and prefer to order though Amazon, please feel free to do so.)

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Announcing the S.U.M. Summer Bible Study!

 

Dear friends, I hope you'll join me in this wonderful, new study. I've had a blast writing and illustrating  it, and I know we will have a great time together as we study the truths of God's love in Romans 8.

Order your copy of You Are Loved, A Coloring Study of the Truths of Romans 8 from the SUM Shop (inside the U.S.) or Amazon (outside the U.S.) by July 17th, and you'll get your book in time for our start date, July 31st. For our financial supporters, you can expect a book in the mail as our way of saying thank you for your support of this ministry. 

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So order your copy and then grab some colored pencils or markers. Maybe your kiddos will let you borrow theirs and even join you! Let's decorate, delight, and discover together just how much God loves us!
Love you!
Dineen

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The Rooms in God's House

Hello, dear friends! So good to be back with you this week! I couldn't wait to share this beautiful revelation from John 14. God's Word is so very present and for us now. I pray this insight brings that home to your hearts in an astounding way. 

The words I am referencing:

Rooms: monē — a staying, abode, mansion, abiding, dwelling, metaphor of the God the Holy Spirit indwelling believers
(comes from menō — to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): — abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for), thine own, live, not to depart.

House: oikia — a house, an inhabited edifice, a dwelling

Way: hodos — way, journey, metaphorically a way (i.e. manner) of thinking, feeling, deciding.

And I hope this prayer blessed you and your marriage as you wait in expectancy for God to fill the "room" of our spouse's heart with the love of Jesus. Amen!

Love you!
Dineen

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Knowing God's Voice

These are the Greek words from John 10 that I'm speaking about:

Know: ginōskō; a prolonged form of a primary verb; to “know” (absolutely) in a great variety of applications and with many implications (as follow, with others not thus clearly expressed): — allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know(-ledge), perceived, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand.

Nameonoma; from a presumed derivative of the base of ginōskō; a “name” (literally or figuratively) (authority, character): — called, (+ sur-)name(-d).

Truly: amēn; of Hebrew origin; properly, firm, i.e. (figuratively) trustworthy; adverbially, surely (often as interjection, so be it): — amen, verily.
(The word "amen" is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best known word in human speech. The word is directly related -- in fact, almost identical -- to the Hebrew word for "believe" (amam), or faithful. Thus, it came to mean "sure" or "truly", an expression of absolute trust and confidence. -- HMM)

Thanks for listening, my friends!
Dineen

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Standing in Truth

John11-25Welcome to June, SUMites! I know this is a very busy time for many of you as school ends and summer vacations start. I pray this summer is full of God’s peace, His rest, and that each day you feel more loved and strengthen in your faith. Our Papa God is so good and He is generous, faithful and full of surprises.

Just as a review of our “Seeing Our Spouse Like God Does” series, we’ve talked about “sitting”—where we are seated with Christ in the heavens (Eph 2:6), which is about our identity. This is the place we want to be seated at all times, remember? And we’ve discussed “walking”—the way we live our faith from our seat and walk in the truth of who we are, which reveals God’s kingdom here on earth as we walk in love as Jesus loves us (Eph 5:1). Here are the links to those posts if you’d like to review them.

Seeing Our Spouse Like God Does (intro)

How Sturdy Is Your Seat?

Walking in Love

Now this last part is about “standing” and comes from the part of Ephesians 6 about our armor. I have some really cool nuggets to share with you on this one, so let’s dig in and camp in God’s truth.

In Ephesians 6, Paul was most likely inspired by the armor of the Roman soldiers assigned to guard him. At this point he was under what we would call “house arrest.”  And I’ve no doubt the Holy Spirit showed him through the visual of the armor how we are protected in Christ Jesus. The astounding part of this revelation though is found back in Ephesians 1.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. — Eph 1:15-22

My friends, take a moment and read the above Scriptures slowly and prayerfully. This is one long sentence filled with some of the greatest truths we will ever come to understand as believers. In this “run-on” sentence, Paul is showing us how to pray for “the more” of God. To have the eyes of our hearts enlightened, to know the hope of Jesus, to understand the riches of our glorious inheritance in Jesus, and finally, the biggest bombshell in this passage—that the power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him in the heavenly places is the very same power we have been given in the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Don’t let that word “toward” fool you into thinking anything less. In the Greek also means into, unto, for, and among. It’s a very “large” word and encompasses a great deal. The point is, the Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead and that same Spirit and all He entails lives in us as well. That’s pretty amazing to think about, SUMites. As I say, you are way more powerful than you realize.

So from this power in us we sit, walk and stand. Let’s take a look at the stand part now. I’ve always found it so fascinating that in the midst of all this defensive armor, our only offensive piece is the sword, which is the Word of God. Yet Paul tells us to “stand” repeatedly. 

Why? Because when we stand, we stand in Truth. And Truth is a person, Jesus.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. — John 14:6

But let’s take a look at those verses in Ephesians 6

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 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,…— Eph 6:10-14

The word “stand” in the Greek is histēmi and means abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, hold up, lay, present. The form of this word is a “prolonged form” of its root word. In other words, it is a position of opposition. That is clarified in the word “withstand,” which in the Greek is anthistēmi and means to stand against, oppose, resist, withstand. The fascinating part of this word is that if you look at it closely, you see histēmi. The first part of the word, ant, is actually anti

I’m guessing you recognize that word and already know it’s meaning to be opposite to. So basically, this word it telling us to stand in opposition to evil. That we are to stand in the full power of the Holy Spirit against the enemy. 

And the only weapon we are to use is God’s Word. To know it, believe it and speak it. God recently spoke to me these words:

“Faith is transformative, but trusting and believing Me is imperative.”

Now, take a look again at Eph 5:14 again:

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Last week I pointed out the relevance of “awake.” Now I want to you to focus on that word “arise.” That word in the Greek is anistēmi and means to stand up, lift up, raise up. And its root word is histēmi, to stand.

If you’re confused, I was too. I wanted to understand the connection between the words, our place to “stand” firm as Paul says and what he’s saying in Eph 5:14, “arise from the dead.”

I asked the Holy Spirit to show me the connection, which He did the very next day in a very unexpected place. He took back to the book of John where I’ve been reading about Jesus and how He healed people—a subject you know is near and dear to my heart.

Take a look at John 11 and Martha’s confrontation with Jesus about why her brother, Lazarus, died:

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” — John 11:23-26

The word to focus on here is “resurrection.” In the Greek (anastasis) it means a standing up again, i.e. (literally) a resurrection from death, or (figuratively) a (moral) recovery (of spiritual truth): — raised to life again, resurrection, rise from the dead, that should rise, rising again.

Here’s where it gets really fun, my friends. The root of anastasis is anistēmi, which comes from histēmi. 

Resurrection, raise up, stand up.

These words are so interconnected and point us right back to Ephesian 1:19:

and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might

SUMites, we stand for a cause (our spouse) in opposition to the “anti-cause,” and we stand in the resurrection power and life of Jesus Christ, because of the Holy Spirit—God’s Spirit—lives in us. Think about that. I mean, really think about that.

Paul even tells us in Ephesians 6:10 to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Not ours. His. 

By God’s Spirit. Believe Him.

“Faith is transformative, but trusting and believing Me is imperative.”

SUMites, you stand in a great power and great protection in your marriages. The key is to know it (sit), live it (walk), and be firm (stand). God will not fail you. Let me say that again, because someone really needs to hear this.

God will not fail you. He can’t. He’s obligated to keep His promises because He said so (Jer 1:12). And the entire Bible is His promise to you. 

Jesus is His promise to you. Jesus.

I want to close with what I shared on my Facebook page this week, a truth the Holy Spirit dropped into my spirit:

“The enemy (satan, lucifer, the devil) was cast out of heaven. So when we pray as Jesus taught us, "His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven," he can't stay here either. Walk in the truth of what that means. If you are seated in the heavens with Jesus (Eph 2:6), YOU bring the heavens to earth and the enemy cannot stay! Do that and watch the enemy shrink before you to nothing without even having to say a word. Just say JESUS!”

Just say Jesus, SUMites! Jesus!!!!

Love you!
Dineen

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

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Walking in Love

WalkingLightHello, SUMites! Last week I talked about where we sit in our faith and our marriages, that we are strongest when we are firmly seated in the truth of who we are in Christ Jesus and also see our spouses from that perspective too. And wow, what an eye opener it is to think of this in terms of our marriage, that we are “one flesh” with our spouse and seated in the heavenly realms—at the same time. I’m still wrapping my brain around possibilities of that one! 

Our next position of influence and partnering with God to release what He has placed within our spouse is our “walk.” A couple of you actually shared this desire in the survey just recently:

“Loving our spouses and children. Being a light for Jesus in our mismatched marriage. How much can we truly talk to our spouses about Jesus according to I Peter 3?”  — Amanda 

“I am always seeking how to live my Christian faith before my family, husband, and grown children who have families of their own. I am looking for specific answers based on what God’s word teaches.” — Naomi 

These are excellent questions. And I believe the second part of this series will go far in answering them. Let’s first take a look at some verses from Ephesians.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.— Eph 2:9

What I love most about this verse is how clearly it shows God’s heart for us. We are not only His, we are His workmanship. So is your spouse. And you both were created in, through and by Christ Jesus (John 1:3) for good works, which He prepared (ordain, make ready) ahead of time. That you should what? Make them happen? Figure out how to do it all? Wait around for God to make it all happen?

Paul tells us we’re to “walk in them.” The Greek word for walk (peripateō) has broader meanings than just to put one foot in front of the other. It also means to walk at large, especially as proof of ability. It means to follow, as a companion. It means to make one’s way, progress and to make use of opportunities. In the Hebrew, it’s a word that means to live, to regulate life and conduct yourself. 

In other words, how you live your life. You see, our faith and how we live it (our works) were never intended to be a separate area of our lives that we pull out when we think the time is right. Paul is telling us to “walk” it out every day and every moment, all the time.

And it’s not something we have to make happen either. That leads to performance, my friends. It simply means be who God created you to be. Be a daughter or son of the Most High King and live your life according your identity and inheritance. Walk through life firmly planted in your seat. 

Yes, sitting and walking in the physical sense are impossible, but in the supernatural they are simultaneous. We walk through life on this earth from the perspective of where we’re seated and see everything from this heavenly place. God’s already done the rest. He’s given us the skills (giftings) and the good works. We get to see it, follow His lead and simply do what He’s told (or telling) us to do.

In Ephesians 4:2-3 Paul says to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

So we are to “walk”:

  • In a worthy manner
  • With humility
  • With gentleness
  • With patience with others
  • In love
  • In unity
  • In peace

In verses 14 and 15 of the same chapter, Paul says we’re no longer children tossed around in our beliefs. But rather, we’re to grow up (increase and give increase) in every way in Christ by speaking the truth in love. And that in doing so we are built up, in that very love. 

In chapter five, Paul says we are to “walk in love,” (vs. 2) walk as children of the light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.)” (vss. 8-9). 

In other words, trust what God has already placed in you. Walk in the truth of who you are and live accordingly. That is our most powerful witness and influence to those around us. And when you do have the opportunity to speak, do so in love, edification and encouragement. Let love always, always, always be your highest goal (1 Cor. 14:1). 

SUMites, we’re called to love people, not change them. But God’s love can. 

Which brings me to the latest treasure I unearthed in God’s word that knocked my shoes and socks off. A couple years ago, God put it on my heart to pray Ephesians 5:14 over my hubby: 

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

I looked up the word “awake” and discovered that it is the very same word Jesus uses in John 5:8 when He tells the invalid to “get up.” Remember, the word “get” in Greek (egeiro) means to waken, rouse (from sleep), sitting, lying, disease, death, obscurity, nonexistence, rise up or stand. Jesus is actually telling the man to wake up and rise up out of his disease and sin.

And here is that exact word again, to be called to awaken from a state of darkness, and we can pray this, SUMites! Pray over your spouse when they’re away, “Awake, O sleeper (or spouse’s name), and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!”

Declare the truth in love, “I say to (spouse’s name)’s spirit, wake up and arise from the dead, for the light of Christ is shining on you!”

Guess what, SUMites? That light is you. Paul said we are children of the light, so you are the light shining on your spouse. You are the light shining on your children. You are the light shining on your family, in your community, at your work—even in the grocery store.

Here’s a final word of encouragement for you, dear friends. In verse 15, Paul tells us to pay attention to how we walk, “not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time.” He’s telling us to make the most of every opportunity, and we can do that by making our faith a 24/7 way of life. By living every moment in the truth of who we are. By walking in love and speaking the truth in love.

And here’s how we do it. Look at verse 18. Paul instructs us to “be filled with the Spirit.” Yes, you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, but do you ask Him daily to fill you up? There’s a difference, my friends. It’s like having the key to your car. You know you have an engine in it, but it won’t start unless you put the key in and turn it (or push a button if your car is fancy).

Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you up every day. If He needs more room to fill you up, He may show you some stuff to deal with (unforgiveness, sin, bitterness, strife, etc.), but you know what? He’ll always, always, always, speak the truth in love to your heart.

Holy Spirit, I pray that every SUMite to be filled to overflowing with Your powerful and loving presence. I pray they see opportunities every day to love those around them with affirming words and actions. I pray they will speak the truth in love and that You, Holy Spirit, give them those words. And I pray for the hearts of those they are loving on, to be receptive and ready to receive you. We say as the SUMite community to our spouses, wake up, O sleepers and arise from the dead, for Christ is giving you light! In the name of Jesus, amen!

Shine on, SUMites!
Dineen

Copyright: mikekiev / 123RF Stock Photo

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How Sturdy Is Your Seat?

ChairMy friends, I loved your comments from my post on Monday. Several of you shared you would really like to know more about the Greek meanings of the words I’m researching, so please know that I’m thinking and praying about how to do that best. Right now I think a video would be easiest to explain and bring these treasures to life, so stay posted.

Today, let’s start talking about where we “sit” with God. Let’s take a look at Ephesians. The first chapter of Ephesians is all about our identity, who were are as new creations in Christ Jesus and what we’ve been given as our inheritance in Him. 

Many of you shared in the survey that you wanted to understand more about our identity in Christ as well. Knowing and understanding these truths is very important to the sturdiness of our “seat,” especially where and how we “sit” in our mismatched marriages. In taking these truths into our spirit by studying, praying and believing them, we will operate from a greater place of influence in our homes and marriages simply by living our lives according to these truths. 

Take a look at this list of who YOU are right from Ephesians 1.

  • Blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
  • Chosen before the foundation of the world
  • Holy and blameless before Him
  • Predestined for adoption
  • Blessed in the Beloved
  • Redeemed through His blood
  • Forgiven of all trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (not limited by yours)
  • His will and purposes made known to you with all wisdom and understanding
  • United with Him, things in heaven and things on earth

SUMites, this is what Jesus died to give us, our complete identity in Him. And not only that. He gave us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, as a seal and guarantee of our inheritance.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. — Eph 1:13-14

Christ Jesus has done all this for us so that we can be with Him and He can be with us. The veil separating man from God was both literally and figuratively torn upon His death to make this possible. Yet we still tend to think a type of physical separation remains, but God’s Word says otherwise.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. — Eph 2:19-22

Read these verses carefully. God didn’t just want to save us, He also wants us with Him. And not just in eternity, but in an abiding relationship with Him always. When we understand that we are secure in our value, worth and God’s great love for us, we become more and more Christ-like in our faith, courage, integrity and strength. We begin to reflect the very characteristics of Jesus, and if you read the gospels, He was irresistible! People were drawn to Him. They saw the hope and promise He carried and they wanted it.

My friends, this is exactly why God always starts with us, the believing spouse, in a mismatched marriage. We are a conduit of His love and grace, we are a representation of His character, and we are the source of His delight. And we don’t do any of this. He does. 

So this is where we start in releasing our spouses identity in Jesus, by living in belief and faith that we are God’s children, given the full inheritance in Christ Jesus.

Not just when we go to heaven. Now.

Every spiritual blessing, remember? My friends, as you think and pray about these truths about you, think and pray about them regarding your spouse. 

  • You are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, so now bless your spouse with the same.
  • You were chosen before the foundation of the world, and so was your spouse. Declare this truth over his or her life.
  • You stand holy and blameless before Him, so thank Jesus now that He is doing the same thing for your spouse.
  • You were predestined for adoption and so is your spouse. See him or her from this perspective, as someone God is willing to die for so that he or she can LIVE!
  • You are blessed in the Beloved and God’s heart and intention is for your spouse to be too. Again, declare this truth over him or her. If your spouse is open to hear it, tell him or her they are blessed!
  • You are redeemed through His blood and have the power and authority through this to declare the blood of Christ over your spouse—heart, soul, mind and spirit.
  • You are forgiven of all trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. That same forgiveness is for your spouse too. Live forgiven and forgive so that your spouse can see what that looks like.
  • God’s will and purposes made known to you with all wisdom and understanding. Ask God for this same revelation of your spouse. What is God’s heart for your spouse? What gifts did He place in him or her? You can even ask God to show you how your spouse may already be operating in his or her gifting without even realizing it. I see this in my husband as he becomes more and more aware of the people around him and intentionally talks and spends time with them. I see his gift of engagement and evangelism already operating. And I chuckle as I watch him not only do this but how people are drawn to him!
  • You are united with God, things in heaven and things on earth. Therefore, through your faith (sanctification, 1Cor 7:14 and marriage, Mark 10:8) so is your spouse. Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in. Then take your spouse with you to those heavenly realms in love and prayer. Think of them as there with you already. Wow!

Okay, that one just kind of blew my mind. How about you, SUMites? I hope you’re beginning to see how important you are in God’s eyes and in your marriage. Nothing is impossible for Him. And you, my friends, as a co-heir of Jesus and a co-laborer with God, are part of His possibilities.

Love you dearly!
Dineen

Copyright: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo

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About This Mordecai Time...

Dear friends, just wanted to share the live Facebook video I did on Wednesday regarding my post about the Mordecai Time we are now in and how the Holy Spirit "dropped" this revelation upon me. In addition, I share a word about God's Spirit being given "without measure," right from the book of John. It's amazing, these times were are living in, SUMites! God is moving in stunning ways. Walk with Him, trust Him to do it, and watch what He does. By His Spirit! Amen! Love you! Dineen

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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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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

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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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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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The Book of Esther: A New Queen and a Conspiracy

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

For such a time as this…

I remember nearly twenty years ago studying the book of Esther and finding myself enamored with this woman of humble means and her willingness to sacrifice her life to save her people. I wondered if I could do such a thing myself. I felt (and still do) very connected the Jewish people and their story. Most likely because my birth father and my grandfather were Jewish. However, my grandfather married a Methodist woman and refused to allow his children to be raised Jewish. 

Interesting how one person's decision can change the entire course of those who come after, isn't it? Vashti chose to refuse the king. Esther chose to risk her life. Mordecai chose to reveal a plot against a king, who would haphazardly follow the council of a wicked man bent on destroying the Jews.

So here we are, my friends, at a pivotal time in Esther's story. Her life story is changed by Vashti's choice and the king's decision to find a new queen. Makes you wonder what her aspirations may have been before this. We can only theorize based upon what we know about the culture of the time. The movie "One Night with the King" is one such venture to imagine a backstory for Esther while staying grounded biblically. (If you haven't seen it yet, plan a movie day!)

Chapter two opens with King Xerxes seemingly in a place of regret. His fury has subsided and he remembers Vashti and what he has decreed about her. Perhaps seeing his regret, his personal attendants rush in to assuage the king's heart. Let's find a new queen for the king!

And this is where the lives of the King Xerxes, Mordecai and Esther begin to intersect. Mordecai (which means "little man" or "worshipper of Mars") was captured under King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign and now holds a position of leadership. He stands outside the gates, most likely as an elder to settle disputes brought to him by respected citizens. In chapter three he is referred to as a royal official. In fact, we are introduced to him before we meet Esther. 

Esther, which means "star," is actually the daughter of Mordecai’s uncle. Perhaps her parents were killed in the invasion by Nebuchadnezzar. However, we only know Mordecai has raised her like his own. Esther is brought to the palace as a candidate for the position of queen and is about to walk into a world of which she probably knows little and become the star of the show, so to speak, though it is her humility and demure nature that begin to win her favor with those she encounters. And we continue to watch the "behind the scenes" workings of God, Who is still unmentioned. Yet from our perspective we clearly see God's hand at work, as good and evil interplay.

Esther pleases the eunuch Hegai (which simply means "eunuch") and wins his favor immediately. He provides a year of beauty treatments, special food and assigns her seven (there it is is again) female attendants selected from the king's palace. God continues to prepare this pivotal time in history to bring Esther into a constant light of favor, ultimately with the king who was more attracted to her than any of the other candidates.

And we see Esther grow in wisdom as well, as she takes with her to the palace only that which Hegai, the eunuch advises her to take. Hegai is clearly strategic in his actions to ensure that Esther will be chosen. And she continues to be obedient to Mordecai's instructions that she keep her nationality a secret.

Again we see more of the author's elusion to God's presence in the seven attendants assigned to Esther, who is brought to King Xerxes in the seventh year of his reign. What's fascinating here, as well, is the time involved in all of this. We tend to read the story and assume it unfolds quickly after Vashti's deposition, but in fact, four years have passed. And Esther sits as queen for five years before the conflict with Haman begins. 

Yet another smaller plot unfolds at the end of chapter two that seems to also be part of God's great "set-up" in this story. Two of the kings eunuchs who protected the king's private quarters have become angry for some reason and are plotting to kill the king. And Mordecai happens to be the one positioned to overhear it from his place at the king's gate. I can't help but wonder what went through Mordecai's mind when he first overheard this plot. Did he consider the implications first?

He gets word to Esther of the plot, who in turn tells the king, giving Mordecai credit as the source. The eunuchs are are hanged and the events are recorded in the book of annals right in the king's presence, yet Mordecai isn't rewarded. I find it interesting how conveniently the king forgets only to be reminded during a sleepless night in chapter six.

The intrigue continues to build, my friends. In the opening to chapter three King Xerxes honors Haman, giving him a seat higher than all the other nobles. Haman isn't even mentioned in the list of those seven nobles mentioned in chapter one, but here he is elevated to the highest position next to the king. What shifts of power have occurred during this six to seven year period of Esther's place as queen? 

As the spotlight shifts to Haman, which means "magnificent," he is revealed to be quite a vain and conniving person. His ego seems to only be fueled by the king's royal officials requirement to bow before him—an order from the king himself.

But Mordecai refused.

And that is where we will leave it for now, SUMites. So much more is coming as this story continues to unfold and culminates to a very unexpected revelation the Holy Spirit showed me. I'm excited to tell you about that...soon. First the pieces must all come into place to build the full picture of what God was doing in the story of Esther and what He is doing in us today. It's astonishing and mind blowing! 

Love you, SUMites!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

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Chapter One of Esther: The King Divorces Queen Vashti

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

For such a time as this...

Hello, my friends! Welcome to part one of our study of Esther! Like many of you who commented on Monday, I love the book of Esther. The more I read and study it, the more I appreciate the complexity and the multiple layers that compose this fascinating story. 

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A little glimpse of my work area as I study Esther.

And that is how I've decided to approach this amazing book of the Bible. We will go chapter by chapter in search of the truths and details of each layer. 

The Layers of Esther

When I look at stories, I tend to look for layers and how they intertwine together. Esther is rich in this kind of structure and symbolism as well. I hope you get as excited as I do when I discover these details. They truly bring the story to life in my mind, and in my heart, my friends.

These layers appear to be:

  • God's work "behind the scenes"
  • The enemy's reaction to God’s work "behind the scenes"
  • The changing and building relationships between the characters
  • The shifting of positions of those in authority and those in leadership
  • The positioning of key people to save the nation of Israel

First, let's ground our story in a relatable timeline. Esther's story begins to unfold about 15 years before Ezra would lead his expedition to Jerusalem. If you've read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, you're probably already familiar with the poor state of the temple and surrounding walls in Jerusalem and the astonishing way God moved a pagan king (Cyrus) to help the Israelites begin to rebuild it. So basically, the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther are about the restoration of Israel.

So, imagine if you will, that you are a Jew living in one of the 127 provinces ruled by King Xerxes. Your people have been in exile for some time and have settled all over these provinces. Yet you sense things are about to stir and change. You know the prophecies of the Torah and have a tenuous hold on the the promise that one day Yahweh would restore the nation of Israel and return you and your people to Jerusalem. But perhaps you're struggling to imagine how God could accomplish such a thing after the destruction of the past.

Yet right in the midst of your story, another begins to unfold. We're now peeking into the palace of King Xerxes as he closes 180 days of celebrations to display his vast wealth and the glory of his majesty. The palace is full of nobles, officials and the servants doing their bidding. And now, the king is giving a final banquet in the enclosed garden with unlimited food and drink. 

Here's where we find the first hints of God's presence, clues I believe the unknown author of this story included to show that God was always there even though He's not mentioned. We see this in the use of the number seven, which is associated with God and His creation.

  • The king's banquet was to last seven days.
  • The king commands seven specifically named eunuchs to bring Queen Vashti before him.
  • The king consults seven specifically named nobles of Persia and Media, who were considered wise and closest to the king.
  • The confrontation with Vashti occurs on the seventh day of the banquet.

What else can we glean and take not of in this first chapter of Esther's story? The celebration of Purim doesn’t exist yet, as it it a tradition direction birthed out of the events of Esther. We will explore that more as it unfolds toward the end of the book and how it continues to be a key part and celebration for Jews today.

Some speculate that the king’s request for Queen Vashti to present herself before the court may have actually meant she was to appear nude, waring only her crown. However, that is not historically or biblically supported. But it does seem she would have been in a somewhat humiliation position to be on display before men who had been drinking without limit for seven days. Yet surely she knew the risk and felt she needed to still refuse the king’s request.

Now let's have a little fun here. How about the names of those nobles and eunuchs? I find those fascinating as well. Names were often used to indicate the person's vocation, character, or relevance in the stories of the Bible. And remember, these were real people, SUMites.

Seven Eunuchs

First, let's quickly cover that the role of a eunuch wasn't usually voluntary. The position required the man to be castrated, which seemed to be considered an insurance of loyalty to the king and the protection of the king's property, specifically his wives and concubines. 

Here are the seven eunuchs mentioned in chapter one and their meaning:

Mehuman - faith

Biztha - booty

Harbona - ass-driver

Bigtha - in the wine press

Abagtha - God-given

Zethar - star

Carkes- severe

What's interesting is that Bigtha and Abagtha are listed together in the ESV translation, yet not in others. But that's a question for the scholars out there. 

Seven Nobles 

Here are the names and meanings of the seven nobles mentioned in chapter one:

Carshena - illustrious

Shethar - a star

Admatha - a testimony to them

Tarshish - yellow jasper

Meres - lofty

Marsena - worthy

Memucan - dignified

And it is Memucan who speaks in reply to the kings question of what to do about Vashti’s refusal of the king’s request, which they perceive to be a threat not only to the king’s authority but also to the authority of every husband in his home.  

My friends, in this first chapter alone have "watched" the positions of two roles change. The place of queen is now vacant due to Vashti's dismissal (divorce) by the king. And a new proclamation in every language has been sent to all the provinces stipulating that the husband is the ruler in his home. 

How interesting...how interesting that the voice of the women in this kingdom was silenced at this point of the story. Here we see the enemy's reaction to God's action, as if he is anticipating God's plans to bring a new voice from an unsuspecting place and person to save the remnants of Israel.

And that's where we will leave this fascinating story for today. My friends, what aspects of Esther are coming to life for you? What insights are you gleaning? Let's have some fun in the comments!

Love you!
Dineen

 

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The Mystery and Wonder of Esther

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

For such a time as this...

Hello SUMites! I mentioned last week that I was feeling led to do an series on Esther. Since then I can’t seem to stay away from this book and have poured hours of research into digging into the deeper places of this astonishing story. So consider this an introduction to Esther and what I have in store thus far to share with you. And I encourage you to read the book yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal its truths and promises to you too.

One of the most significant aspects of the story of Esther is that God is not mentioned by name once in the book. He isn’t even referred to. But He is very much implied. However, there are actually clues I believe the author put in place to make indirect references to God’s presence, something I hadn’t noticed before. So fascinating!

In researching the people highlighted in this story, I discovered the Hebrew meaning of their names to often be significant and indicators of their place in this God-driven story. And that even key attributes of God’s character are clearly yet indirectly displayed.

On a larger scale Esther is the story of the birth of a Jewish tradition and celebration (Purim) that has had significant historical impact in that last century alone that is unmistakably God’s work to save the nation of Israel. 

My friends, Esther is a very multifaceted true story that holds romance, power, intrigue and much more. I am excited to explore its depths with you and look forward to hearing your comments too. We are going to have fun with this one, SUMites, and in reading about Esther and the nation of Israel, I’ve no doubt we will discover our own stories and God-driven purposes in the lives of our spouses and our families. And in our nation as well.

So, are you with me on this one? Ready to go an adventure with me? If so, give a shout out in the comments and share anything else that’s on your heart, my friends. I know the Holy Spirit is already at work among us, the SUM Nation, stirring our hearts for “such a time as this.”

And in the mighty and saving name of Jesus, I say, AMEN!

Love you so much, my friends!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

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Combating the Enemy Within

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Photo courtesy of DigitalArt/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


I’ve always been curious as to the stubbornness of my anxiety and sinful habits that nag away at me. I thought it a useful topic to discuss as we walk through this fabulous series on emotional healing.

I’ve mentioned my struggles with anxiety previously. Like many of us it’s been a regular companion for as long as I can remember. I’ve spent enough years of my life in counselors chairs that I figured it was something that would be with me all of my days. There was a self-defeatist sense of ‘oh well, it must just be part of what makes me, me.’ I know many others who struggle with it think similarly.

Some of you may be able to relate to this as you too have had anxiety as a companion or perhaps it’s some habitual ‘thing’ that just hangs around. You’ll have some days where it doesn’t make an appearance, others when it says ‘hi, don’t mind me, I’ll just sit over here,’ and other days when it just gets plain bossy and makes everything so much harder and, scarier, leaving you in despair.

“Help me, Jesus,” is a much-repeated cry on such days.

A Thorn or what?

We’re all familiar with Paul’s ‘thorn’ that he carried with him for most of his days. I know I’ve often resigned myself to thinking my anxiety is my ‘thorn’. But I’ve come to realise that’s a lie.

We talk a lot about the Devil and his role in continually badgering us. Remember John 10:10, he’s come to “steal, kill and destroy.” Yes, we’ve got a target on our backs and his aim is pretty good because he gets a lot of practice.

But it’s not just that enemy we have to contend with. There’s the “enemy within the camp.” Our flesh. I love this definition of the flesh I read recently which provided much insight:

“… the outlook orientated towards the self, that which pursues its own ends in self-sufficient independence from God.” (Anthony Thistleton)

There’s an internal battle going on inside us. Because of the rebellion that took place at the fall, there’s been an “enormous disruption in our human nature.”1 As Hewetson contends: “the body’s desires are entirely legitimate and simply doing what they were created to do. The evil lies in the fact that because of our failure to submit to God, these desires refuse to submit to us and rebel against their lowly position.”2

Hence, the longer we’ve lived with a particular habit or perception or way of thinking, the harder it is to dislodge it. And willpower won’t be sufficient to move it out altogether. We need supernatural help.

Abundant Living

Over the past year I believe I’ve made some significant headway regarding my anxiety. One of the key steps was to acknowledge (and keep reminding myself) that God doesn’t want me to live with anxiety. It’s not in His plan. For me. Or anyone.

“Jesus came that we may have life, and that we may have it abundantly.” This is the flip side of John 10:10.

We can have confidence that in walking with Jesus we are “moving away from lingering imperfections toward more and more holiness.”3 The more we keep our focus on Jesus and the things above (Colossians 3:2) the stronger our protective walls become forcing the enemy to gradually retreat.

Another key consideration was understanding that I am a son of God. As I mentioned in my comment to Lynn’s post last week I knew this in my mind but it’s only really in the past year or so when I believe it’s sunk into my heart.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Prov 4:23 NLT)

The heart. We can rely too much on our minds and what we are thinking but God looks at the heart. He wants us to love Him with all of our heart … trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your understanding.

Heart health

How do we get heart healthy in 2017? A few thoughts on what I’ve actively been doing these past 18 months or so that I believe have helped me get to where I am now.

1. Get moving

Not just exercise – do that. But actually be positive and take action. God uses us to implement His purposes for our lives. Think of all those great OT stories, eg, Abraham had to leave home, Noah had to build a boat, etc. My anxiety has many times stopped me from starting because “where should I go? what if it isn’t the right way? What if I do it wrong?” You get the gist.

Last year I moved forward by committing to an action that I’d put off for years. Why had I put it off? Pride and fear.

I’m so pleased now that I stepped out as it has definitely helped me. Stepping out does take courage and having someone close who can encourage you, move with you even, is a good way to help take that step.

The greatest counter measure to fear is to start something.

2. Get into the Word

You’re probably tired of me saying this but golly gosh, falling in love with the Word has changed my life. The Word is a lifeline, an instruction manual, a love story, a magnificent mystery, and a supernatural book. And it’s a person.

“… but be transformed by the renewing of your mind …” (Rom 12:2)

Getting the truth into our hearts truly is a strong weapon against those perceptions or deceptions that we’ve carried around with us for too long.

3. Guard your heart

We need to put a gate against all the negatives that can infect our hearts. Many of us struggle with such negatives in our marriages. The enemy uses offense to weaken Christians. Offense can bubble away inside us for years. Our pride will encourage it to convince us we are justified in feeling such and such. And then before we know it relationships are strained. Forgiveness is a powerful weapon against offense.

4. Community

Like many of us being actively involved in church happenings has been a challenge for me. But I also enjoyed being anonymous as it made it easy for me to stay uninvolved. Last year I was asked to increase my engagement in a couple of different groups. I’ve been so blessed by both and have seen my faith and love for Jesus grow as a result.

I was reminded only today of what Acts said about the first church:

“And they devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.” (Acts 2:42-43)

God loves community. He knows it’s good for us. I’ve been a laggard for too long and used my situation to stay in the shadows.

 

I’ve still got a long way to go. Anxiety pops its head up most days to remind me it’s only a few thoughts away from jumping back in. And yes, they’ve still been some tough days but I’m filled with far more hope and confidence than I was previously.

“Finding fulfillment in God is the most powerful antidote to any sin.” (Gary Thomas). Keep fixing your eyes on Jesus.

Grace and peace, dear friends. I do apologise for the too long a post. Thank you for persisting. May 2017 be a great year where we all experience release from the “stuff” that has vexed us.

Notes: 1. “Good For You. The Extraordinary life of the Ordinary Christian”, Canon David Hewetson, Barton Books, 2015. Pg25. 2. Ibid. pg 26. 3. “Taste and See. Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life.” John Piper. Multnomah Books, 2005. Pg100 Referencing Hebrews 10:14 NASB

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The Power of God’s Words

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"Jesus is your sword."

One of the things I love about living in Florida is the cloud formations. They are tall and fluffy, filling the sky with a terrain of fluffy like cotton. Then other times they are imposing and dark, flashing with lighting and pouring down rain. Rarely is the sky completely devoid of these puffy wonders.

One bright and humid Florida morning, I went for a walk to worship and pray. My conversation with God that day was about prayer and words. I wanted to understand more about what He seemed to be impressing upon my heart to understand.

I looked up in the sky and noticed a could that looked just like a sword, which I thought was so interesting. But what made it relevant was what the Holy Spirit spoke to me as I looked at this simple formation.

“Jesus is your sword.”

My friends, this truth clicked into place in my heart and then my mind and the Scriptures I’d ready many times seemed to take on even deeper meaning. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. — John 1:1-5

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. — John 1:14

This truth already blew my mind, SUMites, but then to think of it in terms of our spiritual armor, brings a whole new level of awe. 

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, — Ephesians 6:17

Jesus is the Word and the sword of the Spirit is God’s Word, so Jesus truly is our sword! So what does that mean?

The Ezekiel Model

In the book of Ezekiel, God tells Ezekiel to prophesy over dry bones to hear the word of the Lord. First of all, prophesy simply means to speak by inspiration. We are all call to do this and since we have the Holy Spirit living in us, it makes sense that we can do this. (That’s a whole other series best saved for another time.)

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! — Ezekiel 37:4

So Ezekiel is told by the Spirit of God to speak God’s words of life over these bones. The word ‘hear’ in Hebrew is šâma’ and holds such meanings as to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.), declare, discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to) hear(-ken, tell), listen, make (a) noise, (be) obedient, obey, perceive, (make a) proclaim(-ation), publish, regard, report, shew (forth), (make a) sound, tell, understand, whosoever (heareth), witness. And that’s the edited down version. 

In similar intensity, ‘word’ means ḏâḇâr in Hebrew and translates to such meanings as a word; by implication, a matter (as spoken of) or thing; adverbially, a cause: act, advice, affair, answer, commandment, commune(-ication), concern(-ing), confer, counsel, decree, deed, duty, effect, eloquent, errand, glory, manner, matter, message, portion, power, promise, provision, purpose, question, rate, reason, report, request. Again, the edited down version.

These are two hefty words that hold a lot of meaning and impact. Which then led me to Jeremiah 1:12 where God asks Aaron what he sees. 

Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.” — Jeremiah 1:12

Did you know that word ‘watching’ means to be alert i.e. sleepless? Now look at Isaiah 55:11

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. — Isaiah 55:10-11

My friends, this is like a double promise. God decrees (shall) His Word will not only be life giving but also powerful and effective to accomplish His purposes. So, think about this in context of praying Scriptures, which are God’s Word and are thus in alignment with His heart and purposes, and what could happen as a result of doing so. And I mean literally praying Scriptures out loud, word for word. 

For example, our salvation word this year is Jeremiah 24:7. Almost every day I am praying this:

Lord, thank you for giving every one of our SUMite spouses a heart that knows You are God. Thank You that You have declared they will be your sons and daughters and You will be their God. Thank You that they are returning to You wholeheartedly and will follow You all the days of their lives.

We can do this with any Scripture in the Bible, SUMites. Speak God’s Word out as truth. 

Lord, Your Word says that by the stripes of Jesus Christ I am healed, therefore I declare that I am healed of (name specific illnesses, diseases and conditions). (Isaiah 53:5). And I declare the blood of Jesus over my entire body and declare I walk in divine health. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Lord, you are not willing that any should be lost so I rejoice and thank You that You are pursuing my spouse, my children, my family members with your relentless love and I stand in agreement with You that me and and my entire household will be saved. In the name of Jesus, amen! (Matthew 18:14, Acts 16.31).

My friends, whenever you read your Bible and find yourself stopped or stuck on a piece of God’s Word, ask the Holy Spirit what it means, what you need to know about it, and how you are to pray into it, believe it and then decree it. 

One last story…

In my post last Friday I talked about Isaiah six and how the praises of the seraphim shook the place. Did you know this happened in the New Testament too, with the disciples? The disciples were faced with great opposition, so they joined together and prayed.

And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. — Acts 4:29-31

What did they pray for, my friends? Boldness to share His Word. They asked for healing power, miracles and wonders (what Jesus had taught and sent them out to do), all done in the name of Jesus. And what did God do? He shook the place with His presence! They prayed according to His Word (Jesus) and God answered.

So, my friends, I’m not saying that every time we pray, our houses are supposed to shake, but what if they did? What if we asked God for that kind of boldness and courage to pray and share Him with others and walked in miracles and wonders as the evidence of it? What if we already are?

I believe our prayers “shake” the heavens more than we realize. And the more boldness and courage we have, the more we shake the rafters!

O Lord, give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching Your word. Stretch out You hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. Amen!

Love you, SUMites!
Dineen

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The Power of Words

HeavenMy friends, on Monday we talked about our authority and place of power, that we have everything through Christ Jesus and nothing to lose because of His sacrifice for us, and that the enemy has nothing and everything to lose. That's because he's already lost.

With that I want to point to a truth that we sometimes forget to practice, because we do a fair bit of spiritual warfare in our mismatched marriages. Just after Jesus tells us about the authority He's given us, He points out where our focus and rejoicing should truly be focused.

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. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” — Luke 10:19-20

We are secure in Heaven! With Him! That's the promise that we have nothing to lose! And when we rest in and live from this place of security, guess what happens? The enemy loses influence, because we are filled with confident hope. That's the light that makes him flee before he can even get near us.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13 NLT

Now let's talk about the power of words. In Genesis, God spoke the world into existence with words. Much of the Old Testament where it reads God ‘said’ or ‘told,’ those words also mean to decree or to promise in the Hebrew translation. 

In Isaiah 6, Isaiah encounters the Lord and witnessed heaven in action as part of his commissioning as a prophet.

And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. — Isaiah 6:3-4

Did you catch that last line? The praises and worship of the seraphim literally shook the foundations of the thresholds (doorways) and smoke filled the house. I have to say there is something profound that occurs in worship when we sing the word ‘holy’ and the angels know it. That’s because we are declaring the presence and character of God.

Take a look at this passage from Isaiah 11 about the coming of the Messiah, Jesus:

But with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. — Isaiah 11:4-5

Let’s not forget that Jesus is described as the Word in John 1. The Word—logos—in Hebrew embodies not only the obvious meaning of words spoken, but encompasses decrees, prophecy, mandates, precepts, conception or ideas, and even even addresses the function of the mind in reasoning and our relationship to God. It is a power-packed “word.” 

And even as Jesus spoke healing over people, He spoke more to their hearts—to the person they were created to be (Ecc. 3:11)—than He spoke to the demons themselves. He would simply speak the truth and evil spirits fled—the rod of his mouth and the breath of his lips. Light always removes darkness completely. You turn on the light in a room and the darkness is gone completely. Not part way—all the way.

Truth is the light that makes the darkness flee. Thus why it is important to replace lies with the truth. Keep the room lit with the truth of God’s Word! That is the power of a transformed mind as well, my friends (Romans 12:2).

I have more to share with you about words and it has to do with a story we know well in the Bible. Since this post is long enough already and I want you to absorb what I’ve shared today, I will save that for next week. We have a clear model and example of how we are told to declare truth according to God’s Words and what that transaction does. I am looking forward to sharing that with you, my friends, and I will also share examples of how we can use this model to decree truths over our pre-believers, loved ones and ourselves.

Have an amazing weekend, SUMites. Stand in the truth that you are chosen and dearly loved by Your Papa God. And absolutely nothing can snatch you out of His Son Jesus’ hand (John 10:28).

Love you!
Dineen

 

*****

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What Does God Want From Me?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHello SUMite Nation,

The Holy Spirit is speaking the Word – PRAYER! (Don’t tune out. This is good.)

“Oh man, did she just write – PRAYER.”

Did you just whisper this under your breath?

Let me explain what I feel the Lord is impressing upon me as well as upon most of His church right now.

Prayer.

Some of you may remember that I served on staff in Women’s Ministry at my local church for years. I led Bible study groups, choose studies for our women and directed a lot of the Bible study efforts. I left that position four or five years ago as our online and book ministry began to grow.

What I always found fascinating and utterly disappointing in the years of choosing Bible studies was the fact that if we chose a Bible study about prayer, no one signed up. Yep.

Bummer! But true.

However, what I’m discovering in 2016 is that God’s people are hungry to learn about prayer and learn to pray effectively. It was evident by the online class on prayer this past Tuesday. And it seems that every time I post a prayer on Facebook, it gets shared around. I’m so truly excited about this change in the heart of the Church. Hallelujah.

So over the next few posts I want to pour more into prayer. I want to encourage all of you who attended the class with more information. And for those of you who missed it, now is your time to also gain wisdom, knowledge and anointing to pray with power for REAL results!

Sound good?

A word before we continue: Prayer is NOT a way to arm twist the Lord into doing our will. Prayer is a conversation between a Father and His child. It's learning to listen to God and then obeying His will. 

I want to look at a few keys to vibrant prayer as well as “blocks” that keep us from breakthroughs. Such as:

  • The Word of God
  • Belief
  • Confidence
  • Will
  • Courage

And finally we will discuss the “why.” When prayer remains unanswered, why?

I might throw a few extras in somewhere along the line. Also, I won’t spend too much time on discussion about praying the Word of God because that was covered in the class on Tuesday. (I hope to offer that class again in the future, for those of you who wanted to attend and couldn’t.)

You know maybe we actually need to start at the beginning. How do we create a prayer life? What do we do when we just can’t pray? How do we respond when we feel so beaten that our prayers are full of defeat and tears? Anyone?

I’ve shared many times that all I have in the Kingdom, is the result of my intentional efforts to create time and space to be with God. I know this is often THE most challenging part of prayer but even a few minutes a day will change your life. You can read about that here: Breakthrough Praying for Breakthrough Living. (Skip down to where you see the Bible and start reading there.)

Today, I pray significantly different than I did in 2008 when that post was written. I often pray about the same things but the way I pray, the words I speak and my convictions are what has changed and is also what moves heaven in response.

So, today, I challenge you that if you to create and stick to a time to read the Word and pray everyday.

Let me leave today’s post by reiterating two essential components of effective prayer.

  1. Create a time and space devoted to Bible reading and prayer.
  2. Use the Word of God in your prayers.

Okay, what might be helpful is for all of you to share how you created time and space in your life for prayer. Share in the comments. Someone reading this need to emulate what you did. Especially help mothers of young children with suggestions.

Also, share in the comments if you learned news tips from the class, Praying the Word, and how you will now pray the Word in your prayer life. Someone reading this also needs to read how you pray the Word.

SUMites, God intends to set His praying people upon a broken, dark and evil world. He expects His kids to pray and bring His Kingdom to earth. Are you ready? It’s gonna be fantastic.

I’m traveling the next couple of weeks. I will be checking in here as I am able and pop in to be part of our astounding community.

Okay, PLEASE take a minute to write what you have learned to help a SUMite on the road behind you. Love you a ton, Lynn

*****

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Lord of the Harvest

15753952_sHe said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

My friends, I don’t know if you remember me sharing in June of 2013 a dream God gave me, which I believe was a precursor to our salvation word this year and what’s to come. There are several pieces to this that the Holy Spirit is showing me, and I am excited to share with you. So let’s start with a refresher of that dream and then pray in this harvest!

May 2013 (date of dream)

I was half awake, half asleep, but the dream was very vivid. I stood before a tall cornfield—taller than me. Jesus stood next to me.

He gestured to the crop and said, "This is the Great Harvest.”

I said, "Lord, I can't see past this, can you show me more?”

Suddenly I was up higher and could see tall mountains in the far distance. The crop spanned all the way to the mountains!

At the time I found it very curious that I saw corn in this dream as opposed to wheat. With some investigation and research, I discovered that the Bible references to grain can mean either corn or wheat and are often connected with oil and wine.

“From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain and bountiful new wine. — Genesis 27:28

Isaac said to Esau, “I have made Jacob your master and have declared that all his brothers will be his servants. I have guaranteed him an abundance of grain and wine—what is left for me to give you, my son?” — Genesis 27:37

“If you carefully obey all the commands I am giving you today, and if you love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and soul, then he will send the rains in their proper seasons—the early and late rains—so you can bring in your harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil. He will give you lush pastureland for your livestock, and you yourselves will have all you want to eat. — Deut. 11:13-15

Look at this Scripture from Joel, which is part of God’s promise of restoration:

The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil. — Joel 2:24

Grain and wine were such integral parts of the Israelites lives and culture that it makes complete sense that Jesus would use bread and wine to bring such powerful symbolism, connection and power to what we practice today as communion.

And harvest time is always about prosperity, provisions and promise—of abundant life. The Old Testament displayed this in the physical sense first through manna and then provision from the promised land. Jesus took this provision of physical sustenance and connected it to our spiritual need as well. 

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. — John 6:35

Now recently several SUMites have shared stories of how their spouses have walked away from their faith either on this blog or on our 1Peter3Living Yahoo group. My friends, I can’t tell you how deeply this grieved me. These are the stories that break my heart and bring me to tears before God. 

And that is what I did one day last week. It made no sense to me in light of the promises God has been sharing with me—with all of us. I went to Him in tears and asked, “Lord, what is going on? You’ve promised us salvation and even shown me this is coming. Have I missed something, not prayed enough? Is the enemy winning this battle?”

I saw only two possibilities, but our God of the impossible replied with His, “I’m revealing the greater glory.”

Dear friends, my tears turned to laughter as the Holy Spirit whispered this to my heart, “The prodigals are being called back and the unbelievers are being drawn in.”

Our Papa God is so good! He’s bringing our loved ones to His Son just as Jesus said He would. 

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” — John 6:44

SUMites, I believe this with all my heart, soul, mind and spirit! Will you pray with me?

We praise You, Mighty Lord Jesus, for You are the bread and wine to our lives, our souls and our spirits. Thank You for giving this provision to our spouses too! Lord, send the workers needed for this Great Harvest. Send people into our midst to reveal Your presence and love to our pre-believers. Reveal and show that love to them through us, for we are Your workers too, Lord! 

Lord Jesus, there is Resurrection Life in all You do. We ask for this resurrection life to be released over our pre-believers, our lives, our marriages, our children and every place in our lives where dry bones need to be called back to life. Breathe Your breath of life over all of us. We call these dry places to life, in the Saving and Life-Resurrecting Name of Jesus. 

Lord Jesus, we ask for vengeance against the enemy and the demonic for all they have stolen from us, the SUMites, from our pre-believers, from our children and even from our ancestors. We ask for full recompense and restoration of what has been lost and stolen (Isa. 35).

Lord, call in the harvest of our pre-believers and prodigals. Bring them to You, Lord, every single one of them. Lord Jesus, when You walked this earth, every person who came to You was healed. We present our prodigals and pre-believers to You like the man lowered through the roof and ask that every single one be saved and healed. In the Mighty Name of Jesus, amen!

Love you, SUMites!
Dineen

*****

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Change The DATE - Praying The Word

OOPIE!

Yep, Lynn's back and I'm showing my blonde. 

Many of you have already registered for the LIVE online class, Praying The Word of God with me. AWESOMENESS!

However, I gave you the wrong date. The date of both classes is now scheduled for August 16th. Class times at 12:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. PACIFIC. This is the following week on a Tuesday.

If you already registered and cannot make that date, please forgive me. I hope to offer the class again later in the fall.

It's not too late to sign up. To register visit the registration page Praying the Word with Lynn Donovan. The class is FREE.

Let me ask you a few questions. Do you want to pray with power? Do you want to pray and actually know God heard you? Do you want to see the results from your prayers?

This class is intended to instruct you how to activate the angelic realm to respond to your prayers. We will look at several passages and I will teach you how to pray them with power and purposes in your life. One of my power passages is Matthew 18:18. Can't wait to teach you how to pray this with power. In this session we will also cover praying out of our identity and from the place of authority as a Child of our good Papa.

Once again sorry for the date change. Stay tuned because our prayers absolutely are intricate to the salvation and success of our spouse, children and our own lives.

Register today: Praying The Word with Lynn Donovan

*****

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Foundations Series: INHERITANCE & IDENTITY, part 2

IdentityHello, SUMites! Yesterday my hubby and I walked through our house to see the changes in just the last week or so. The drywall is up and the rooms are more defined now. As we passed through an unfinished doorway, my husband pointed a written Scripture still exposed there. He asked me, “Is this one of yours?”

I answered, “Yep.” And I laughed with delight inside, my friends. This was a victory for me, as I felt no concern about his reaction. I simply rejoiced in knowing what’s coming and seeing the evidence of it all around him, even though he isn’t seeing it…yet. Just like this house, seeing only the present stage, yet knowing so much more is coming and yet to be seen. The floor tiles, the walls painted, cabinets, kitchen, etc. So much more is coming…salvation. My heart dances with expectation of the coming promises.

As I thought about our Scriptures being a part of the structure of the house now, the structure that holds up the roof and defines the parts of the house, I began to see how we are like this house. As we read and learn about God’s Word and truths, they become a part of us. They transform our minds and make us stronger in our foundation and our structure. And not only that, they define us and our many parts. Like the walls define the rooms, these truths define who we are in Christ, what our spiritual gifts and purposes are and how were are to live as believers.

This is our identity. Everything God created us to be with unlimited potential. And the only things that limit us are ourselves and the enemy if we let him. I find this happens when we aren’t walking in the truth of who we are, and thus why our continual intentionality to know God and grow in intimacy with Him are so important. As we spend time with God learning about Him we are in actuality learning who we are. 

My friends, as I sought God for greater understanding about inheritance and identity, the Holy Spirit helped me understand they are very deeply interconnected. If we look at inheritance in the New Testament, we see two parts.

  1. We are Christ’s inheritance, His holy people.
    I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. — Ephesians 1:18
  2. We have inheritance in Christ as co-heirs with Jesus. And this is where our identity sits and is defined.
    So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. — Romans 8:15-17

This piece of Scripture alone tells us:

  1. We are no longer slaves to fear and have received the Holy Spirit.
  2. We belong to God and are His children.
  3. We have a heavenly Father who not only saved us but connected us directly to His Spirit. This is what happens when we accept Jesus. Our spirit is called out from the “dead” (Eph 5:14) and is united with the Holy Spirit in us. Thus why He is in us and we are in Him.
  4. As His children, we are co-heirs with Christ (not after, but with) and as His heirs, we also receive God’s glory! However, as we are reassured of receiving God’s promises as His heirs, we must also accept that persecution is going to be part of this journey and is another sign that we are God’s children. SUMites, we already understand this, which makes us unique in our experiences. I firmly believe God uses this understanding to equip us with a compassion and a heart to reach the lost in this world. 

So, who are you in Christ Jesus? That’s an excellent question and one I highly encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit. And I’m beginning to see and experience that the Holy Spirit loves questions as much as prayers, because our questions are the start of the answer to the prayer. 

Ask questions like these:

  • Lord, who am I in You? Show me how you see me so I may walk in peace and clarity of these truths.
  • What have You designed me to be and do? 
  • How have you gifted me uniquely to operate according to those truths?

My friends, identity is something we choose to believe and live as truth. Our culture has so imbedded a striving mentality in everything we do that we even apply this to our faith. As I shared in my video last week and my post on Tuesday, we can stop striving to be Christians and simply live in the truth of who we are—God’s kids!

I think we could spend weeks, even months on this topic, and that’s because it is so relevant and important that we stay aware of how we are operating in our lives. Are we operating out of a place to prove who we are, or are we living in the truth of who we already are according to Jesus? 

The amazing thing is, when we live from that place of truth, people are drawn to us, SUMites. It’s attractive, because we live in a peace and freedom the world is desperate for. So, as you live in and out of the truth of who are you are, you’r letting your light shine brightest! 

Isn’t that amazing? That’s freedom, my friends, and peaceful living. It’s so simple it’s almost ridiculous. But notice I didn’t say easy. Just ask God who you are and then live it out everyday as best you can. And when you don’t, God’s right there to help you get back into the center of that truth—Him. 

I will see you tomorrow (or rather you’ll see me—ha ha!) in my last prayer video for July. 

Love you dearly, SUMites!
Dineen

*****

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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