142 posts categorized "Courage"

Grace in the Waiting

Eagle

The Israelites were a people who waited. They waited for the promise of restoration to their homeland for over 70 years. My friends, we are like the Israelites. We are also a people group united in our time of waiting as we yearn and hope for the promise of salvation. And God has given grace-filled promises for every part of it.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable. — Isaiah 40:28

Nothing is unknown to Him. Every possibility is the doorway to another, yet the ultimate goal is always the same. He is the one unchanging constant in this life, my friends. He exists beyond time as we understand, as He just is. He is our Creator, our Redeemer, our Savior—His heart is to be all things to us and His power, like His love, is more than we can comprehend. He never tires, falters, or doubts. He trusts us more than we trust ourselves. He believes in us more than we believe in ourselves. And how could He not? He knows what He has given us as a deposit, as His ultimate promise—His Spirit.

He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted; — Isaiah 40:29-30

The Hebrew word for "power" is ḵôaḥ and holds meanings such as to be firm; vigor, ability, able, chameleon, force, fruits, might, power(-ful), strength, substance and wealth. It is a "power-packed" word (yes, pun intended) that attempts encompass and define His indefinable power, presence and provision. It is who He is.

Our limited power and strength never diminish or change His plans. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Our weakness is the very condition that allows His power to be revealed and perfected (2 Cor. 12:9). And He never grows weary in His own strength and He never grows weary of helping us, providing for us, sustaining us and loving us. When we see impossible, He says possible. When we see a wall, He makes a doorway. When we see the end, He says it's just the beginning of a new time, a new season, a new opportunity...

Appointed Times and Seasons

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. — Isaiah 40:31

There are two Hebrew words here that hold vital meanings to our complete understanding. The first is "wait." Other translations use "hope." That's because the Hebrew word here, qâwâ, means both to wait and to hope. It also holds meanings such as to bind together, to expect, gather (together), look, patiently, tarry, wait (for, on, upon).

To hope in the Lord means to wait expectantly upon Him to fulfill His promises to us. He knows the times and season of our lives down to the smallest detail. He is always working to fulfill what He has promises us in the best timing and seasons possible. He wants us to have the fullest benefit. 

The second noteworthy word in these verses is "walk." The Hebrew word here, yâlaḵ, and means to walk (literally or figuratively); causatively, to carry (in various senses), bear, bring, carry (away), come (away), depart, flow, follow, grow, lead (forth), let down, march, prosper, pursue, cause to run, spread, take away. Take not of the meaning "prosper" in this definition. As His children, no matter what time or season we are in, we are intended to prosper and thrive. Even in the toughest of times, God is working to help us reap our reward as we grow more like His Son Jesus.

And perhaps I'm not far off in say that is our greatest "opportunity," dear friends, to be more and more Christ-like. Our lives are a continual journey toward Jesus, to be like Him and one with Him. I used to wonder if we had to discard all that we are in order to be like Jesus, but the reality is, in doing so we become who we truly are intended and designed to be. Our identity in Jesus is a lifetime spent in revelation of our unity and inheritance in Him. And we are provided for in every way and for every aspect of that journey.

There is so much grace for us in the waiting, my friends. Both the Hebrew and Greek words for "grace" mean kindness and favor. So know that as you wait, God's grace is there providing His power, strength, hope and provision as we dwell in His great kindness and favor.

SUMites, you are greater in and through Him than you will ever know. You are destined to soar on wings like eagles!

Love you!
Dineen

*****

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Defending Our Mind

21139604_sSUMites, we’ve just come out of our week of prayer & fasting. I must say I am blown away at how powerful this year’s fast seemed to be in our community. Abba is really taking us to new levels and places this year, my friends. 

Don’t be surprised if things continue to be revealed, shift and unfold over the next several weeks. We’ve set the stage for 2017 in a powerful way and God does not disappoint.

Over the week, God revealed some truths in Scripture and connected some dots for me. One I’d like to share with you today, because it’s a new prayer strategy for me. And in light of some of the things God showed me this week and Lynn’s upcoming series on emotional healing, I believe it is timely.

We’ve studied this verse before. In fact, Lynn has a video about it over there in the sidebar. 

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. — 2 Cor. 10:5

Standing on the truth of 1 Cor. 7:14 (chapter eight in our prayer book) and combining it with Jer. 24:7, this is how the Holy Spirit led me to pray it for my husband (and children):

Lord Jesus, I stand before you in my authority as the believing wife who sanctifies her husband through her faith and repent for Mike for his unbelief, doubt and choice of atheism. And in my authority I demolish these arguments of unbelief, doubt and atheism that have set themselves up against the knowledge of God and I take captive every thought bombarding or residing in him that perpetuates or agrees with these lies and make them obedient to the truth of Jesus Christ. And I declare he is a holy man of God, has received a heart that knows God, is now therefore a son of God and will return to God wholeheartedly. In the saving name of Jesus, amen!

For me:

In the name of Jesus Christ, I destroy every argument and every pretension raised against the knowledge of God that resides in my heart, my mind and/or in my life in any way and declare them gone and done. Demolished! And I take captive every thought, doubt, or insecurity and make it obedient to the truth of Jesus. I am a child of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ, welcomed before the throne of grace and anointed by God to proclaim and speak truth. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen!

Anytime we remove an untruth (lie), it is important to replace it with truth. And based upon what I experienced last week and am sensing the Holy Spirit saying now, God has set something into motion and that which He has placed in us during our time of prayer and fasting will become powerful tools over the weeks and months ahead. Thus we must defend and protect those truths and not allow the enemy to take them away (make us forget) or muddle the truths with his lies (confusion, doubting if you truly heard God, etc.). 

On Friday I will share a bit more of what God revealed to me over the week as He connects more of the dots for me. And boy, do I need a lot more dots connected. LOL!

Love you, SUMites! Share in the comments whatever the Holy Spirit lays on your heart.
Dineen

 

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Waiting on the Promises with Hope

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My advent wreath—the first candle lit represents hope.

Hello, SUM Family! Life at the new Miller Home has been crazy busy and hectic to say the least.  We’re mostly settled in with just a few boxes here and there.My daughters and son-in-love will soon arrive to spend Christmas with us—our first Christmas in our new home. Needless to say hubby and I have been busy little bees getting things put in place and finishing some projects ourselves like towel bars and and a few light fixtures.

Then, of course, decorating the house for Christmas, gift shopping, social events…my list is growing, my friends. How about yours? I think we all share this common challenge of managing the business of the season while trying not to lose the heart and hope of what it truly means.

Christmas is all about promise. Our Messiah Jesus was/is the greatest promise given to us. The Old Testament is all about that promise. God moves and weaves Himself into the lives of His people with great care, often giving us just a glimpse into a picture too large for us to fully comprehend. But every story points to His faithfulness to His promises. 

Here’s are two translations of a verse that captured my heart this week:

This is why I wait upon you, expecting your breakthrough, for your word brings me hope. — Psalm 130:5 (TPT)

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; — Psalm 130:5 (ESV)

The first version from the Passion Translation brings to light the position of waiting, to wait expectantly for God to bring breakthrough. Sometimes we can get tired in this place of waiting and give up right before that breakthrough comes. The key here, my friends, is to be tenacious and one of the best ways to do this is to have a support system. This is one reason why having a church home, small group or prayer partner is vital. 

Last Sunday I went to church weary from a lot of spiritual warfare. The enemy targeted my daughters and family to try to undermine my choice to stand in a place of peace. I went up for prayer at the end of the service. A friend spoke wise words to my heart, “to speak what I know, not what I see.” 

In other words, I could speak the trouble and chaos I was witnessing in my children’s lives, or I would speak the truth of God’s Word and promises into the situations and into their lives. 

Both of these translations also contain “word,” which means promise. The Bible is God’s promise to us, and Jesus is the manifestation of those promises as He is the Word become flesh (John 1). That kind of blows me away, SUMites. That’s a huge promise and God fulfilled it. Nothing is impossible with Him.

My friends, like you there are promises that I have prayed into all year long (like my daughter’s health and restoration so she can work again) that I’m still waiting to see manifest. Those are the ones that put our faith to the test. Will we continue to contend for what God has promised us no matter how long it takes? These are the waiting places that require us to guard our hearts from doubt and encourage ourselves in the Lord. His love conquers everything! 

As Ian shared in his beautiful post Wednesday, we are a people who wait. We know this position well, my friends. SUMites, we are all standing and praying for the promise of salvation for our spouses—a promise God spoke to my heart specifically for this community at the beginning of the year. I know He continues to work in our spouses in ways we can’t even see yet. Seeds are being planted and divine appointments put in place. I believe God is “setting-up” our spouses to walk into belief in ways we can’t even imagine right now. I am contending for this for my own spouse and yours. And I have been asking God for testimonies.

Well, I have a story to share with you that I think will strengthen your faith and reenergize your prayers. Last week we received a testimony from Jamie about her marriage and her husband. This is a stunning story of God working in the most unexpected ways. All evidence pointed to this marriage ending in divorce, my friends, BUT GOD… It’s powerful, awe-inspiring and beautiful. All things are possible with God.

Read ‘God Saved Our Marriage…and My Husband’ here. I pray it encourages you and ignites a new hope in your spirit. That is the promise we hold within, the hope of Jesus, and it’s the focus of this first week of Advent.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. — Romans 5:1-5

SUMites, I bless you with a fresh anointing of hope that will ignite your faith to a whole new level as we close this year well. 

I love you all so much,
Dineen

 

*****

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The Power of God’s Words

SwordCloud
"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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Our Place of Authority and Power

IStock_000007310932XSmallDear friends, two weeks ago I wrote a post about seeing the gold in our spouses and calling it out. Since then the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me about the power of our words, which seems to dovetail perfectly with what Lynn has been teaching us, specifically about praying with confidence. And that is what I feel like the Holy Spirit has been teaching me recently.

But not in the way one would expect. (There's that word again that things won't look the way we expect them to.) As I've shared before, God seems to want to take my perceptions of the truth and turn them on end to see them in a different way. An empowering way.

I'm going to share with you what the Holy Spirit told me as I was out for a walk to worship and pray. 

"You have nothing to lose, and the enemy has lost everything."

I asked for my clarity and understanding and this is what the Holy Spirit impressed upon me, my friends. We, as God's children, have gained everything through Jesus. Thus we can't lose. No matter what the enemy wants us to think or the lies he tries to throw at us, we win. We are called the victors in this life and whatever comes our way. We are even declared to be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). 

And the enemy has everything to lose. In fact, according to Scripture, he's already lost everything.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. — Colossians 2:13-15 (NIV)

So let me say this as the complete thought the Holy Spirit impressed upon me. 

We have everything and nothing to lose. The enemy has nothing and everything to lose.

Plays with your mind a bit, doesn't it? But think about it, truly wrap your brain around this. Then think about the place of confidence and power this positions you in with your prayer life. Think about the impact your words can have when spoken out loud in prayers and in alignment with God's heart. That's empowered confidence in who we are as children of God and what He given us. As Christ said we would do the things He did and more.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. — John 14:12-14 (NIV)

SUMites, ponder this powerful truth and begin to apply it to the places in your life that you are waging war. This is what I've been doing this last week and I believe breakthroughs are coming as a result. 

But there's more to this journey I'm on that I'm looking forward to sharing with you and it has to do with our words. The power of our words and prayers. But not the way you think...not the way you expect...yes, God's turning this one upside down a bit for me too. Helping me see things in a whole new way. His way.

And in case your confused as to why I'm on the blog today instead of Lynn, we're changing things up a bit to give us more time to write and create new resources. We'll be sharing more about that in the days and weeks ahead so stay tuned. 

So tell me, SUMites, what do you think about your place of authority now? You have everything and nothing to lose.

I love you, my friends, so very much. Know that my prayers are with you for our pre-believers as we stand for God's salvation for them—Jeremiah 24:7! Amen!

Hugs!
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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What Does It Look Like To Pray With Courage?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comDo you believe God wants courageous kids?

I convinced He does. Just take a look in the Word. The Lord commands us to be courageous and to “Fear Not.”

Yep, easy to say. But what does a life of courage look like in 2016? What does it mean to pray without fear?

I’m convinced that the attributes we have studied over the past several weeks, praying the Word, belief, confidence, engaging your will, all lead up to courageous praying. Prayers that ROCK the heavens and defeat the demonic realms.

All of these attributes lead us into the supernatural realm of powerful prayers, fueled by unwavering faith.

There comes a day when you have settled your doubt and truly believe. There is a moment in time when the Word of God comes alive and is truly a sharp, two-edged sword that you wield. There is a season after walking in step with Jesus that you become a courageous, sold-out, Jesus-freak. That is the moment where love over takes fear of defeat, fear of man, fear of failure, fear of condemnation, guilt, shame and comparison. You step into the reality that you are a Child of The Most High God and are empowered and enthroned as royalty. When you speak you have the power of life and death upon your tongue. (Proverbs 18:21)

(Wow, when I grow up, I want to become this person.) I hope I’m mostly there! *grin*

Those who arrive at this place in their faith walk are intercessors clothed in humility and also of, …… great power! They are the Believers who have spent time in the Presence, in the secret place, alone with God. Believers who know the Word and how to pray it and when the Word is aptly spoken, it’s as beautiful as baskets of fruit of silver and gold (Proverbs 25:11)

You may think that these intercessors are the “Big Names” in our Christian communities such as Beth Moore and Tony Evans. And they likely are but I’m more impressed with the ordinary mom who rises early to pray for her little ones by name. I’m moved by the Dad and husband who prays every day on his way to work for his family and for the Kingdom of God to advance in his workplace. I’m undone to consider the ordinary widow who is alone at home, but not truly alone because at the utterance of her small voice, literally thousands of angels are sent on assignment to save this world and shape culture.

Oh how I want to be one of THESE believers. I want to pray and see people healed emotionally and physically. I want to pray and see America return to her Christian roots. I want to pray and see those who are tormented by fear and illness set free. I’m moved to pray and see this:

The name of Jesus, glorified!!!

If you are a SUMite, you are already headed toward this purpose. God chose you to know how to pray with power and to bear witness to the salvation of your family. You were chosen to bring love, forgiveness, healing and hope to many people through your prayers.

So, right now all you need to do is say this: I BELIEVE.

I believe in God our Father.
I believe in Christ the Son.
I believe in the Holy Spirit.
I believe I can pray with power.
I believe I can utter words and angels move.
I believe that I was born for such a time as this to bring the Kingdom of God into its rightful place in our world.
I believe God listens and loves to answer my prayers, even the outlandish stuff.
I believe I am commissioned to be an intercessory, a prayer warrior and a powerful servant of the Most High.
Today, I will pray with purpose, power, belief, using the Word, with conviction and confidence and finally with unfailing courage. I will not relent or give up or give in. I will stand for goodness, honesty, integrity and truth. I will love lavishly and forgive easily. I will offer hope and a hand to those who I can and I will always forever remain loyally in love with my Jesus.

This is my high and holy calling and I will believe nothing less. In the name of Jesus. Amen and Hallelujah!!!

Stand tall SUMite because your prayers are bringing His Kingdom to earth. Now can I get an amen in the comments? And share a courageous, outlandish prayer, dream, hope, request in the comments. And let’s pray with courage for ourselves, our families and for one another.

Woo Hoo!!!

My Prayer: I pray for every nation to come to the truth that Jesus is the son of God and through Him they have the abundant life now and for all eternity. I approach the Throne of Grace with boldness to contend for the full salvation of my husband and family members. I pray that the fire of the Holy Spirit falls on me with such intensity that I can pray for others and they are healed, delivered and receive a powerful encounter with the love of our Father. I pray for everyone here that this day, they see the goodness of the Lord in that land of the living. In Jesus name. AMEN

Let me leave today’s post by reiterating six 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.
  3. Believe – Hebrews 11:6
  4. Confidence.
  5. Engage you Will.
  6. Pray with Courage!

Have an amazing encounter with our King. I Love you. Lynn

Okay, your turn! Hugs.

*****

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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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Politics And My Spouse

Daniel 2 21So, ahem ya!

Not a topic that any sane person should delve into, however, I’m wondering how many of you are dealing with conflict at home because of differing views over the Presidential election in America?

Anyone?

I suspect I’m not alone. For those of you who are in harmony with your spouse over political choices, give the rest of us grace as we try to wade through this issue. And for the SUMite family who live outside of the USA, PLEASE pray for us. We need it!

I want to start this conversation by stating clearly a few things. One, I’m not supporting a specific candidate nor trying to sway anyone toward or away from a candidate. Two, we will have this conversation in this house covered by grace and without condemnation or anger. Three, I absolutely believe that God’s people should vote.

What I really want to talk about is how do we handle the election seasons with an unbelieving spouse? I want to talk about this because this issue is very personal. So bear with me if you can’t relate so much. Try to apply what I share to other areas where you have extreme conflict with your spouse, and let’s apply some wisdom to all of our lives (and politics).

Okay? We good?

Moving on…..

I’m going to share what happens in the Donovan Clan house during an election cycle and also share some personal insights. Your experience may be similar or somewhat different.

First, I’ve come to understand that every four years our home falls under a distinct tension. Mike and I have been married for nearly 25 years and I know that every summer heading to a November election, strain arises in our marriage, especially if we watch the evening national news broadcasts together which is typical for us. I can almost feel it in the air: division, anger, disgust, unbelief etc. etc. etc. and these are just my emotions. *grin*

The political process is geared to divide. Divide the country and it divides our unity in marriage. This fact makes me fume, personally.

You may ask, “Lynn, why do you let it get to you?”

Well, in the last few years, political decisions have greatly affected the moral compass and positions of our citizenry. The Supreme Court irrevocably impacted the sanctity of marriage through a ruling last June. The judges on the Federal Bench in California have ruled time and again against principals and positions that are Biblical in their truth and standing. Right now the California Legislature is poised to remove all codes of conduct from the 20 plus Christian Universities in our State. You can bet the laws they are passing right now to change the morality at the Christian universities will be drawn up against our churches in the state in a matter of months. The ramifications are disastrous for marriages and families and for people of faith.

Our voice and our votes matter.

So, you can see how I might be a little concerned about the political system.

Now here is the rub. My husband is usually a very mild-mannered, phlegmatic man, however, when it comes to politics he is as far left as you can get. He is very passionate about politics. In fact, I’ve come to realize that the DNC is his god. He gets truly fired up about his beliefs and wholeheartedly supports the direction the DNC takes regarding all issues. He is not like this about anything else. (No offense intended democratic SUMites. I’m only stating how extreme my husband is.)

So this brings me to the nightly news and what I have learned over the years. I share my hard-fought lessons with you in the hopes you won’t spend as much time and grief in the arena with your husband over politics.

One: God is on the throne no matter who is in the house (White house). Can I get an amen!

Just reading that doesn’t it bring your heart peace? My friends, I can just imagine God sitting on the throne, looking down at earth at the ceaseless whirring of the political machine. He sits back and then gives a hardy, belly-laugh about all the nonsense that is spinning on earth.

SUMites, we can take a second, catch our breath and KNOW that God isn’t up there fretting that the world seems to have gone mad. He isn’t surprised by the climate and insanity in our world. He’s actually seen it all before. It’s frustrating to say this -but history repeats itself. Mankind continues to fall away from God.

He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. —Daniel 2:21 (NLT)

This passage gives me comfort in its truth.

What I think makes God shake His head is this. His Kids, that would be us, -we don’t pray. We are a vital piece of the solution to create unity and bring Godly people and decisions to our world. Our prayers have enormous impact upon the demonic realm that is the source of all conflict, especially in politics. So, let’s pray.

I challenge you to meet with friends and pray specifically for our election and our country between now and November. Did you know that the last Great Awakening began because people in New York City began to meet in homes and businesses and they prayed. Prayer works and right now our world NEEDS another Great Awakening.

I pray with a couple of gals in my home every other Friday and Wow Wee. We set the heavenly realms ablaze with our prayers for our country. So, I ask you right now, be intentional and gather one or two around you to pray once a week or biweekly.

Now let me tell you what I think is really happening. The next Great Awakening is already underway. I know you are overwhelmed by the unrelenting evil in the world right now. But there is enormous good. The good people and good deeds and the miraculous doesn’t make the evening news but it’s happening all over the place. And you, SUMites, you are part of this Awakening. You are leaders in preparing our world for the end times. (Okay, I’m getting off topic, but God has recently shared so much with me about how He has been grooming the unequally yoked specifically for future events. I have SO MUCH to share about this. But alas, it must happen after this series.)

So, are you up for the challenge? Can you pray at home in your quiet time? Will you stick with me as we meander down this road? And did any of this help someone?

I have more. On Monday let’s look at item number two… It’s awesome. LOVE you my family, you are an amazing bunch of God’s Kids and I adore you. Hugs, Lynn

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Part Two: Upgrades

UpgradesSUMites, I promised to share more of what God is showing me for our community right now. I believe this next part will be so encouraging to you and will strengthen your spirit greatly. Let’s go back to Isaiah 60. There are several parts to this chapter that God has in the works for us right now.

I will exchange your bronze for gold, your iron for silver, your wood for bronze, and your stones for iron. I will make peace your leader and righteousness your ruler. — Isaiah 60:17

This verse is about upgrades. As we grow in our faith and intimacy with God, He upgrades us to new levels of understanding (revelation) of what our calling and purposes are. He also takes our spiritual gifts to higher levels of operation to work toward and accomplish those works, which He prepared in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10). He establishes (a very important word right now) these purposes, gifts and us in Him to come from Him and—most importantly—to work with Him, because God intends all of it to operate within the boundaries of our intimacy and relationship with Him. And He equips and prepares us to step into each level. 

I know that’s a lot to chew on right now so let me put it into context. Think about the challenges and trials that have taught you to trust God more and to operate more in your gifting. For example, let’s say your gift is exhortation—you are an encourager. Yet recently you have been greatly discouraged by either external circumstances or internal conflict, which could very well be an attack from the enemy. 

Maybe you “wallow” for a day or two but then the Holy Spirit reminds you who you are and that you have skills—big skills created and gifted to you because you are God’s kid. You begin to seek Jesus for comfort and direction by praying, reading your Bible and worshiping, therefore deepening your intimacy in Him, which then results in you being encouraged. 

You’ve now learned how to encourage yourself in the Lord, which then becomes experiential for you. Let me also say there are many ways to encourage yourself in the Lord—think of David who wrote Psalms and Paul and Silas who sang hymns in the darkness of a prison cell.

Then a barely a week later a friend tells you she is struggling in the exact same thing you did and you know exactly how to encourage her through this difficult time, and because you have experienced it first hand, you realize you have authority to pray and wisdom to share in this type of situation. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself doing this many times to help others. All that is part of what God uses to bring us to each new level of how we are called to function in the body of Christ. 

Right now, God is very much on the move (yes, can’t get away from that song and I believe it’s very relevant and prophetic for right now) and things are happening, my friends. We are being upgraded to new levels according to what we have overcome and in preparation for what is coming next. It’s exciting, but I know that in some ways it’s grown more difficult. 

Some of you have shared that you feel like you’ve come under greater attack. Since the release of our corporate word in January, I came under one of the worst enemy attacks I’ve ever experienced. Many of you praying over the prayer list have shared you are experiencing more warfare than ever in your marriages. I’ve noticed this too in my own marriage over the weekend, but recognized it for what it was—the enemy’s attempt to distract and discourage—and prayed blessings and protection over all my relationships.

I want to let you in on a little secret the enemy likes to keep us blind to. The very place he attacks you repeatedly is the very place of your gifting. If you are gifted to be an intercessor, he will try to make you think your prayers aren’t making a difference, that they don’t matter, until finally you find yourself hardly praying at all. And a prayer-less believer is a powerless believer.

When you see a place in your life that the enemy is hitting you harder than normal, take stock and ask these questions:

  • Is this a place where God has called me to do something specific?
  • Is this attack in the area of my spiritual gift(s)? If it is a direct contradiction to your gift, then the enemy’s trying to keep you from doing what God has set you up to do best.
  • Is this actually an area you often feel weak and want to grow stronger? Then ask God to turn the enemy’s plans around for good. Ask Holy Spirit to show you what you need to do in that area and teach you to think differently about it (Romans 12:2). That’s when God perfects His strength in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9)

Most importantly, SUMites, don’t back down as that’s exactly what the enemy wants you to do. He only gets louder when he knows he’s losing ground. And that is what we’re doing, we are taking ground that the enemy has no legal right to in our own life and the life of our spouse and our family who are sanctified by our faith (1 Cor. 7:14). 

There is truth behind the saying it is darkest before the dawn. We are on the verge of so much breakthrough as we surround our lives, families and this community with our prayers. Here’s the exciting part of our unfolding promise of salvation from Jesus:

Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there. — Isaiah 60:18b

Look at that, SUMites! Turns out this church without walls is getting walls after all! An upgrade to walls of SALVATION! And here’s the next part of the promise I feel God wants us to know is coming.

Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. — Isaiah 61:7

This promise is about restoration. God restores what the enemy attempts to destroy. Trust Him to do this and to do it in His way and timing. I believe this is in answer to our prayers for peace and prosperity in our marriages—part of what God asked us to do in January as part of His salvation word to us. 

This is what we are heading toward, SUMites. Stay close to God, go deeper with Him. Our hearts to listen and obey His leading are an important part of what’s happening right now. And I will tell you what God spoke to me last week,

Things won’t look the way you expect.

Now that’s the next part of this series, so stay tuned. I’m looking forward to sharing that one with you. Love you so much, SUM family! I’m praying daily for each of you to be strengthened, equipped and encouraged! In the name of Jesus, amen!
~Dineen

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The Goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why? Because…

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

Amen? Amen!

Love you!
Dineen

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God Keeps His Promises

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

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

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

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

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

Then He led me to Hebrews 11… 

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

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

Everything starts with the word of God. 

With His Words.

With His promises.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love you so very much,
Dineen


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We Stand for Jesus

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

Will you stand for Me?

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

Will you stand for Me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you, my friends!
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No Greater Love

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

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

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

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

John 15:13

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

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

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

To lay down his life…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you, SUMites!
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How Do You "Hear" God...For Your Spouse?

IStock_000005733150MediumMy dear friends, I hope the journaling exercise to "pay attention" to how you hear God has been a blessing and encouragement to you. Your comments have encouraged me greatly! I love how God speaks to us in many ways and specifically to our need and relationship with Him. Let’s review that verse again:

“So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.” — Luke 8:18 NLT

Today I will share that story I promised you, one that will show another form of how God can speak to us. I've had the joy of training and working in two different healing rooms (Silicon Valley and now Manatee County). In fact, just this past weekend I attended more training and had the joy of facilitating as well. 

And God has used the last several years to teach me so much about healing prayers through teachers and mentors in these places and especially through the Holy Spirit, our greatest Teacher and Mentor of all. Over time, I've learned to recognize better when He's showing me something. I believe He communicates this way with me, because I am an artist and a very visual person.

If you study the book of Acts, you will see many descriptions of the disciples receiving images and even visions of God's leading. Just before his death, Stephen is given a glimpse of Jesus and heaven (Acts 7:55). Ananias heard the Lord instructing him in a vision to go to Saul because God had given Saul a vision of Ananias as part of Saul's conversion from a Pharisee to a believer who would be known as Paul (Acts 9:10-19). And God showed Peter through two visions that he was not to discriminate against Gentiles (Acts 10:3-33).

I love serving people in the healing rooms. We are there to pray with people for their needs, to encourage and edify them as Scripture directs, and we work in teams of three because we are stronger as a three-fold cord.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. — 1 Thess. 5:11 ESV

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. — Ecc. 4:12 NIV

On this particular day, a woman came in for prayer about the purchase of a house. She and her husband had felt clear leading to buy a specific house and had made an offer, but the inspection now showed issues that they would not be able to afford. Confusion had set in.

As our team sought God for leading in how to pray for her, I saw an image of a house in my mind. At first I simply thought it was the natural reaction of the mind to connect an image to thoughts, but as I said, I have learned through experience and practice to pay attention when I get an image, especially in this type of setting. Yet I am always careful to defer to Holy Spirit's leading to share a word of knowledge (1 Cor. 12:8). 

Our sister in Christ then joined us in the prayer room and we began to speak truth into her heart to help her refocus on God and His leading for her. I felt Holy Spirit direct me to share the image so I did. 

I described the image of the house in the detail the Holy Spirit had given me. I'm always a bit nervous to do things like this, but again I'm learning to trust Him more than myself. It's not easy. It’s a risk and an act of faith to trust in what God is doing and not what I understand or perceive is happening.

Turned out the image was the house she and her husband wanted to purchase, and sharing with her what God had shown me, along with what the other team members felt Holy Spirit telling them, confirmed and affirmed this dear woman on the God-lead path she was obediently trying to follow. She just needed reassurance that even though complications had cropped up, God was still in the lead and would provide. She left encouraged and felt even closer to God as a result. As we all do when we see, hear, feel and sense God's presence with us—we are drawn closer to Him and hunger for even more.

And I was too, as was the prayer team. These encounters never cease to astound me and draw me closer to God. I pray they never do. The end of this story is wonderful. The couple moved forward in faith and made another offer. They purchased the house for a price that gave them room to make the repairs. God did exactly what He said He would.

Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. — Deut. 7:9 NLT

My friends, the amazing thing is I am learning to apply this way of praying to my family. One night Holy Spirit showed me that I didn't believe He would show me what to pray for my family like I do in the healing rooms. I'm learning to first seek and listen before I start praying what I think my husband or daughters need. 

Sometimes our best intentions and love can keep us from hearing what God wants us to know, because we are more focused on the issue at hand instead of the answer God is waiting to give us.

Now as I pray for my husband, I wait for a leading or image to show me where God's working in him. That way I know how to pray and work with God in this transformation process. God wants me to see my husband as already saved and pray and praise accordingly. Just as God instructed Peter in his vision to not make a judgement of a person's place in God's kingdom, I feel God telling us the same thing, my friends. This verse spoke that truth to my heart this week:

Peter told them, "You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. — Acts 10:28

Right now we need to be seeking God for His heart and how He sees our spouses, our loved ones, and pray and declare in agreement. We only have a partial picture with our own perspective. God has the full picture and He knows our spouses (1 Cor. 13:12).

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6

That day of Jesus Christ is now, my friends. The Greek translation for the word "day" means the space between dark and dawn. I believe this is the time between Jesus' coming and return and we are in that time right now! So don't be discouraged! He is faithful to complete what He has told us He will do. SALVATION!

Dear friends, we live in an incredible time of witnessing God move in our spouses' lives and hearts! Be assured He is working. Seek Him, ask Him to show you and trust Him to complete the good work He has started as you join Him accordingly in prayer and trust for your spouse's salvation. Amen? Amen!

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The Sword Of The Spirit

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comGang,

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

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

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

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

The WORD:

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

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

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

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

So what does this look like practically?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guess what happened? The devil left him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love you deeply. Hugs, Lynn

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What Happens When You Hunger For More Of God - Lynn's Story

This is an unlikely story.

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

This is my story.

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

He heard me.

And a journey was set into motion.

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

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

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

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

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

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Dineen, Heidi and Lynn, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ruthie in line with me at O' dark thirty!

that beautiful time with my forever sisters.

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

I will share one of those amazing stories on Friday.

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

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

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

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

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SUMite, Jim Edwards and me

 

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Me and Sue Louch


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

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For Such a Time as Now

Heb11For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
— Isaiah 43:19

 The Lord replied,  “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it. — Habakkuk 1:5

SUMites, these verses from Isaiah and Habakkuk have consistently shown up around September for the last seven years. I can’t help but think all that has been His way of showing us and preparing us for what is happening right now.

The more I’ve studied the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) and Joshua, the more I see a relatable pattern to how God moves us into our Promise Lands—I believe we have more than one, and that they are physical as well as spiritual places. 

As we study the Israelites, we see how God moves them to first “see.” To see this place they haven’t claimed yet as already theirs. I shared that in an earlier post, in how God told Joshua to see Jericho as already conquered despite the physical walls still standing.

This if our first call to faith, to believe what we can’t yet see (Heb. 11:1). With faith we are to move forward and claim our new Promise Land, even before we have moved into this place. 

Then we are called to occupy our Promise Land. This place now becomes a place of authority where we are to grow and navigate. Sometimes the Israelites had to clear the land and manage the animals to make it livable. Other times they literally took over the towns, houses and vineyards of the people they conquered.

Think of areas that you have had breakthrough in. You’ve “cleared the land” and made it good. These places now give you a special authority to pray for others to receive similar breakthroughs. By your example they can learn and understand how to seek God for this. 

God also gives us special giftings and anointings to operate in. We are filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit and are able to do and know things we couldn’t other wise, like having the sudden unction and courage to tell someone that God has ask you to tell them He loves them like crazy! People are desperate for God’s love! 

My friends, from here God desires us to prosper in our Promise Land. We share what we are given and blessed with. And we’ve talked about that in the past as well. That which we are blessed with is not intended just for us. We are to pass the blessing on and share it. This is how we steward our blessings and giftings, my friends. Abba watches what we do with what we are given and gives us more according to what we do with what we are given (Matt. 25:23).

And that is why I say “lands” instead of just “land.” There are many places that we are called to claim, occupy and prosper in. Our relationship with God is the first place. How will you claim, occupy and prosper in this place? This is the key to all that is to follow, SUMites. Success and increase in our marriages, families, jobs and ministries follows, and I’m sure you can see the relationship that builds as we progress from one place to another. 

And we are not leaving one place to go to another either, my friends. We are increasing our territory. 

“Enlarge your house; build an addition.
Spread out your home, and spare no expense!
For you will soon be bursting at the seams.
Your descendants will occupy other nations
and resettle the ruined cities.
“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame.
Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you.
You will no longer remember the shame of your youth
and the sorrows of widowhood.
For your Creator will be your husband;
the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
the God of all the earth.
For the LORD has called you back from your grief—
as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,”
says your God. — Isaiah 52:2-6

My friends, I am so, so excited for our community. So many things that Lynn and I have been praying for you are now moving into place. We have longed for, agonized over and rejoiced with you over so many things and places. I simply cannot express my joy to see you, SUMites, overcoming, breaking through, and claiming your Promise Lands. 

This is our time, our season, to walk in the fullness of where God has placed us for such a time as this. I truly believe that time has come and is starting right now! 

Our God is so, so good. Love you!
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Seek Him Like Never Before!

Worship…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. — Ephesians 4:14-16

My friends, I left my post last week with the promise to tell you some stories of how God is equipping and testing me. My most ardent prayer the last year has been to hear Him clearer and to know His voice better. I am stunned at how He has answered that prayer with specific training at a conference a couple weeks ago and the people He has brought into my life to speak new levels of truth and teaching. Let’s just say that Abba turned my world upside down a bit and knocked a few things into place, like bringing my body, soul and spirit into alignment with the Kingdom. I will share more on that soon as the Holy Spirit leads me.

Last week He gave me very specific words to give to people. He’s done this before but not with this clarity or detail. My heart cry along with wanting to hear Him better was so that I can help people more. On my walk and pray one morning I noticed the same woman walking in our neighborhood that I’ve seen before. God gave me a very clear message to share with her. Turned out she was a very strong woman of faith and that was my test, to step out in faith and do what He was asking me, even if it seemed a little over the top. This particular encounter took me way out of my comfort zone, and I realized afterwards He wanted to see what I would do with what He gave me—how I would steward it.

A few nights later I was at a restaurant with my family (my daughter and husband were visiting). A woman from my church, who God previously gave me a specific word for her husband, walked in with her husband. I'd seen her the week before at church but didn't want to disturb them while they were worshiping. So I left it to God to orchestrate another meeting. And He did! Even my mother-in-law commented on how they have lived there for years and never run into people they know, yet I seem to do this frequently.  

And that is what He is accelerating us into right now—orchestrated encounters with key people we need and who need us in order to move into new ministries and territories. God is releasing more spiritual giftings to us and raising us up to new levels in the ones we have already been walking in.

My friends, this is how He wants to reveal Himself to the world, and right now! Seek Him like never before. Ask Him for His heart and what He wants to show you (Jer. 33:3). And if He allows you to share it here, please do! I have listened and watched as so many of you have been released into new places already these last few weeks—new ministries, new levels of intimacy and peace in your marriages and family and even more clarity in your purpose and calling in Jesus. For our SUM community, the Holy Spirit is showing me how we are being lifted up, one by one, into new places and purposes with power, authority and spiritual giftings to move effectively in these places.

Today I fly to Dallas for the American Christian Fiction Writers conference that I attend each year. I have been blessed to man and coordinate the registration for several years now and especially blessed by the divine appointments God sets up during these events. This time, I’m asking Abba for something very specific this year, and I look forward to sharing that with you as well. 

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. — Hebrews 12:20

What about you, my friends? Where you do sense God is leading you? What has He put on your heart to think about, pray into, and seek Him for? Please share. This is a safe place to share whatever is on your heart. I want to pray with you for this calling, this divine destiny God is revealing to you.

SUMites, I am holding you close in my heart and prayers.
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He's Getting Us Ready for Our Promise Land

IStock_000008478972XSmallMy friends, through the end of 2013 up to early August of this year I've heard Abba speak of preparation over and over again. I believe we have been in this time of preparation up until now. The Holy Spirit has impressed upon me that we, the SUMites specifically, are now being shifted into a new season of equipping. And I believe He's equipping us to move into and claim our promise lands. 

What I want to share with you is the importance of stewardship, because it is a crucial part to how we move forward. And I'm not talking about money although that will be an important part for many of us as God opens the storehouses of His provision (Deut. 28:12).

What the Holy Spirit has put on my heart to share with you first is that the very first thing God asks us to steward well is His Word. Are we reading it, studying it and speaking it out loud? Are we allowing it to transform our minds and trusting and believing God through His Word more? I believe we are and will continue to grow in this area as long as we are reading our Bibles and seeking God. This is what we have been doing in our time of preparation. 

The second thing He's showing me is stewarding what we are given. This goes beyond our material provision to our spiritual provision and giftings. I didn't fully understand until recently that when we are given a word or revelation, we must steward it by praying into it (1 John 4:1), receiving it and believing it. And then take action. Sometimes the action is believing, like believing the truth of God's love for us above anything the world or even our own families may say of us. Other times, with the affirmation and direction of the Holy Spirit, we must take action and trust God to lead our steps. 

One of the most freeing revelations I have recently received is the exposure of another lie. I'd believed the enemy's ability to deceive me was greater than Jesus' power and presence to lead me. Scripture again is the key here for God's Word says, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27) (Read John 10:6-17 and you will see that this is Jesus' build up to His explanation in John 14:6 that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.) 

At the revelation of this lie, I began affirming the truth, speaking it out and believing it. The result was stunning! My ability to hear God opened to a new level, which then brought my area of spiritual gifting up to a whole new level. This is how we steward and grow in our spiritual gifts. And this is what "equipping" is about right now.  

The third thing we are called to steward is the places He puts us. Our marriages, our homes, our churches, our places of ministry, etc. These are our Promise Lands. And just as the Israelites, we are using our spiritual weapons (our armor of God) to lay claim to the places God is establishing us in right now and moving us into. I have a sense we will be talking about this a lot in the upcoming weeks, and I look forward to sharing more of what the Holy Spirit is teaching me in this area.

So what does all this look like? Right now, look around and take notice of how much in sync the children of God are. Many of us are hearing the same things from the Holy Spirit and are even being led to read the same parts of the Bible. The Holy Spirit planted me in Joshua a couple weeks ago and last week, Ian shared this same nudge to read this book. My friends, follow these leadings. This is your Shepherd showing you the way and giving you revelation.

Lynn spoke of acceleration. Abba has spoken to me about this as well. We are being moved forward more quickly than in the past. As the Holy Spirit told me, I will tell you. Don't be afraid. And don't be afraid of how fast things may start to shift, change and move. Just trust, trust, trust God. My friends, this is not a time to suffer for religion but to delight in God! We are on a great adventure!

I'm stunned at how this is playing out in my own life, my friends. I'm hearing God in ways that I have longed to hear Him for so long. He's explaining things of the past that I see now were key to what is happening now, and He is revealing small bits of what's to come in relation to these areas.

I now understand that my move to Florida was very strategic and part of where He has placed me for this upcoming Jubilee year, even to reminding me that this move placed us back "with our clan" (see Lev. 25:10) and that I turn 50 in just a couple of months. 

He has faithfully lead me every step of the way to what I need (mentors, a church filled with the Holy Spirit, and connections to other believers who are part of this great set-up) and plugged me into the healing rooms here in such a powerful way that I'm stunned beyond words.  

Affirmations and confirmations have come with each step as well. God knew exactly what I would need. 

My friends, this is what He is doing in all of us. Now is a key time to be aware, to take note, to not discount anything but to take everything before God in humility, openness and willingness of heart to learn and do whatever He may ask. And don't be surprised by how He may test you in this.  

Next week I will share some stories with you of how God has been equipping and testing me in these new areas. God is moving in ways I never imagined possible, but just yesterday I was reminded again that nothing is impossible with God as I found out from a friend that He did something she was convinced couldn’t be done. 

Dare to believe, my friends. Ask Jesus to help you believe. He will. Then wait and watch! My friends, share in the comments what you believe God is doing or about to do in your lives. What are you sensing the Holy Spirit telling you? I would love the opportunity to pray with and for you. 

And I am believing great things are in store for each and every one of you. And yes, you as well, my dear one, even you who is thinking this isn’t for you or that God has forgotten you or left you out for some reason to do with your past or present. Let me be the voice to tell you, that’s not true. Ask Him what He has for you right now, my friend. He’s waiting…

Love you so much, my SUM family! 
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Superheroes of the Past and Present

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My friends, I have a new nugget to share with you that is so encouraging to me. I’m excited to share it with you.

First, let me set it up. I’ve tended to look at the first disciples and believers in a different way than I see us—modern day believers. I’ve made the assumption that they were more empowered and focused, because many of them actually walked with Jesus during His life, learned from Him directly and had these amazing encounters with Him even after His death and resurrection.

I guess I kind of looked at them as superheroes. (Feel free to laugh.) But as I was reading through first and second Corinthians recently, I came upon this:

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. — 2 Cor 1:8-11

Paul is open here about what they have suffered, and indeed they faced the very threat of death in persecution. But what I want to focus on is what he says about how they persevered. 

But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.

My friends, as I read this line, I saw the very same challenge in our own faith journeys today. Though their trial was great, Paul says they learned to stop relying upon themselves and to rely only on God. Don’t we often have to learn this same lesson? More than once most likely. And I think it is a lesson we learn in different areas of our lives as well. We so often have to reach the end of ourselves to grab hold of God.

But Paul goes on to say more about this process.

And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.

The result of God’s rescue brought an increase in Paul’s faith and those with them. They now can see their future confidently in God’s protection and trust Him to do it again. Such confidence and trust!

Here’s the equation I see in this:

Relying on and trusting God + God’s rescue = Increased faith and confidence in God to do it again

The disciples and early believers did this and we do too. Paul continues to show the full effect of this outward ripple not only on him and his team, but also how it affected those praying for them.

And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.

Paul is pointing out how all this worked together, that he, those with him and those praying for them were acting together as the body of Christ. It’s a beautiful example of how even our trials when shared can strengthen and unite a body of believers. 

My friends, again, I will say we are an amazing community here. I see our SUM community operating in the same way as Paul and his fellow believers did. And I find that greatly encouraging and inspiring.

And we are continuing the legacy of these early believers even today, my friends. I find that astounding and very powerful. We are more like those early believers than I realized. In a way, they are superheroes in that they inspire us to imitate them as they imitated Jesus (1 Cor. 11:1). 

SUMites, you are superheroes in the faith!

Love you, my friends!
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Joseph: Fruitful in Challenging Places (part 2)

Blessings
Yesterday we stopped right at the point in Joseph's story where things looked pretty good. God's favor had blessed Potiphar's house greatly, but then things took a turn to the worst. Joseph was falsely accused of trying to rape Potiphar's wife and Joseph wound up in prison. What happened to God's favor?

But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed. — Genesis 39:21-23 ESV

God’s favor never left him. Despite the false accusation (sin of another person) and unfairly sent to prison (consequences due to the bad choices of others), God’s steadfast love and favor remained with Joseph, and did not change.  

A series of events (read Genesis 41) brought Joseph to the service of Pharaoh, where Joseph was given authority over an entire land and was given the name Zaphenath-paneah, which means treasure of the glorious rest.

Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. — Genesis 41:44 ESV

My friends, this struck me as so significant to the atmosphere we bring to our homes. As Lynn shared during our Peter Bible study, people have described her home is peaceful. I’ve experienced this as well. First, years back when we lived Memphis when I was a new believer, in our home in San Jose, and now in our new home in Florida—my husband’s family has told me this several times and that so encourages me that God is working for their good as well as my husband’s.

Just as God brought peace and order to all these places through Joseph, God does this through us! We walk in the favor and blessings of our Lord right in our own homes, and we become a conduit of blessings. Abba blesses our marriages, our pre-believers, our children, our finances, our work, our relationships—every good thing comes from Him (James 1:17). My friends, I know we feel lonely at times in our mismatched marriages, and we don’t always feel like our marriages are blessed, but they are. I imagine in ways we don’t even realize. God’s love and favor are not dependent upon our circumstances. They are part of His character and shared with us when we are in relationship with Him. In other words, we’re His kids! 

What I find even more profound and inspiring though it what Joseph says a few paragraphs chapters later.

Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.” — Genesis 41:52

Did you know that the Hebrew meaning for Ephraim is “double fruitful”? Not only was Joseph favored and blessed, he was fruitful too. Even in the place he called his “land of affliction” (ESV), he saw what he was able to do in such a place. He was a man who entrusted his life to God’s hands not matter what it looked like. And even in the challenging places (prison) he walked in favor and bore fruit. 

Dear friend, Joseph’s story is our story too. We are overcomers, who carry the very presence, favor and blessings of God in our homes. We produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) in these places that we stand for such a time as this. It’s up to us to decide if we will see only the “affliction,” or if we will look for the blessings and produce fruit. I want to encourage you to do the latter. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you do that. He’s a great perspective changer! 

In the comments, share your Joseph story. What blessings has God brought to your pre-believer through you? How has Abba made you fruitful in your mismatched marriage?

Can’t wait to hear your stories!
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July 4th: Renewing Our Hope and Trust in God

4thJulyDear SUM family, Lynn and I hope and pray the series on the Books of Peter has encouraged and strengthened you. We enjoyed sharing this journey with you, and Lynn and I both feel so honored to be a part of this community and to be praying for you. Your requests Monday have moved our hearts so deeply, and we know they have moved our King Jesus' heart too. He died for us, He lives for us, He cries with us, He heals us. We believe this in the Name of Mighty Jesus, and as His Word stands,

But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them. — Isaiah 52:6 NLT

My friends, this is the truth we stand on and right now as many of are grappling with the recent supreme court ruling. Lynn and I want you to know that we are too. We have felt our own grief along with a heavy grief that we can only describe as coming from the spiritual realm. We are processing this with hearts and minds turned to Abba for wisdom and guidance, and we are determined to stand on the truth and in the great love and hope of Jesus above all.

He is faithful, my friends. As I walked and prayed on Monday, the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart that the Lord is releasing hope for His children right now. And as I looked up into the sky, I heard His still soft voice say,

"I reign supreme."

Things are shifting and changing, yes, but Our God is the same as always. 

So as we celebrate Independence Day in America, my friends, let's renew our hope and trust in God. He reigns supreme and nothing changes that. I know it's challenging right now, as many of us are walking in places of disappointment and defeat. Next week, Lynn and I have some very encouraging words to share with you, things the Holy Spirit has impressed upon us to share to encourage, uplift and strengthen you so we can persevere and run this race well together as God's family.

Lynn and I are taking the rest of the week off, but we'll still be hanging out in the comments. As of next week, I will be switching my posting days to Tuesday and Thursday and Lynn will continue to post on Monday and Friday. We feel this will better serve our community. We hope you think so too.

And just a heads up. We have something very special planned for August. Our Lord is so good. He is working to put things into place to equip you, my friends. Lynn and I are excited to share this study that we believe will help you to equip your children in navigating the waters of this changing world and stand for God's truth. Right in their schools. We will be using our book Not Alone as reference to do this.

Lots happening, SUMites. Lynn and I truly believe our SUM family is here for such a time as this. Have an amazing holiday, hug your hubby and kiddos tight and tell them how thankful you for them. Perhaps the face of freedom is shifting in this country, but our freedom in Christ is the same as ever, my friends.

We love you, SUMites! See you on Monday!
Dineen and Lynn

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Keys To The Kingdom - Part I

SUMites:

I have a thing about keys.

Last week I believe the Lord poured out revelation upon me regarding keys and their significance in the Kingdom. I also believe that the revelation was not only specific to myself but also to others.

Way back in 2009 I penciled together an idea for a book. That book was centered on 10 keys. Winning Him Without Words, was the result and the keys became profound in my life and by default, in a lot of other lives who have read the book and will read the book. Then last year I had a dream. I rarely remember my dreams but on this particular night I dreamt that Jesus handed me three keys. I could clearly see bronze skeleton keys. It was obvious to me they were tarnished and ancient. I knew somehow they were large and weighty.

That’s all I remember about the dream. I called Dineen and told her about it and that I didn’t know the purpose of the keys. It’s one of those things that you hold in your heart, just as Mary held special thoughts about Jesus in her heart. Months passed. The picture in my mind remained of these three keys. Then one day I read a passage in Romans. This passage has nothing to do with keys or at least that’s what I thought. However, the minute I read it, I just knew. These were the keys Jesus placed in my hands.

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. —Romans 14:17

The three keys are Righteousness, Peace and Joy.

Do you know what the keys unlock?

Well, it was months later after a season of prayer asking the Lord to reveal their meaning that I came to know these specific characteristics; peace, joy, righteousness, are attributes of heaven. The atmosphere of heaven! Now, I don’t fully understand the profound significance of all this. I believe I’m still uncovering how to use the keys and learning what they unlock specifically and such. But, I am living more and more in this kind of atmosphere here on earth.

Finally, in my new book I write about the combination lock which I also shared in a post here in November. And guess what? Yes, the new book is about keys!

Yep, locks, lockers, keys, unlocking and locking are prominent in my growing faith. Finally this past week, I was out in the vineyards on my walk-n-pray and that was when the Holy Spirit downloaded the revelation. I called Dineen and practically wore her out with my excitement over this revelation. But what I forgot is the reason this revelation finally came about was because of a lock I found back in January. I shared a photo of it on Facebook that day and I shared the photo again in the SUM comments on Monday. Here it is for you to see.

Master unlocked

Last week as I walked along the vineyard road, the Lord revealed the meaning of the clues. And what I failed to remember was Dineen and several others found locks around the same time that I found mine. (Side note: I found this lock sitting on the fence post, unlocked. Notice it’s old and also notice the word: Master. Joanne pointed out that little bit of intrigue to me. I hadn’t noticed it said, Master. Hmmmm) Okay, onward.

At the center of Becoming Brave is the passage Matthew 16:18-19

Jesus said: …”Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

MY FRIENDS!!!!! The implications of how all this comes together, simply freaks me out.

I came home supercharged with faith. Now let me tell you about the passage I read that morning before my walk. I’ve read the Bible through since 1999 and I haven’t remembered reading this specific passage until that morning. This passage blows my mind and was the final piece of the revelation.

Read Joshua 10:1-14 and we will pick up this story on Friday. It’s a mind-blow. And this story is for us. I will explain.

This week I want you to pray over these particular passages of scripture, Matthew 16:18-19 and Joshua 10:1-14. I’m praying along with you because I believe these passages are for us, believers right now, today. The implications are staggering and so exciting.

Leave your thoughts in the comments. See you there. Hugs, Lynn

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No More Chains

20056895_sMy friends, my post today is a kind of merging of two stories. You see, I thought they were separate, yet as I prayed for Abba's clear leading on what to write, He impressed upon my heart that they are indeed connected.

The first story is one we are very familiar with. The prodigal son. I find myself caught by the father's love for this wayward boy of his...

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. — Luke 15:20 ESV

For several days I kept reading and examining this one line, because I was so touched by the father's heart before he even embraced his son with forgiveness. It's that small little word that we can often overlook.

The son's father saw him. I looked up the Greek for this word (horaō), and it means to see with the eyes, to see with the mind, to perceive, know. It is also compared with another word that implies to be seen with wide-open eyes, as at something remarkable and signifies an earnest but more continued inspection.

In other words, this father waited and watched expectantly with love and hope for his son's return.

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. — Luke 15:24 ESV

This verse moves my heart to the realization that even though the son believed he was lost to the father, the father was never lost to the son. His father watched and waited, expected and yearned. And though the son could not "see" his father, his Father "saw" him.

Can you feel the Father's heart here? This is His heart for our pre-believers and for us, because there are times that we may feel lost, forgotten, unseen.

So, this brings me to the second part of this story. I received a letter in February, a long letter filled with the pain of a heart that feels lost. I read it for the first time just two days ago, because it  wound up in a pile of mail waiting for my return to California. I share that because I am hoping this dear woman, a fellow SUMite sister, will be reading and know she is heard. 

She didn't sign her name except for a first initial, nor did she put her name on the envelope, but her heart is all over the page in her words. She carries the heavy burdens of shame, anger, guilt and self-hatred. Her words...

I thought of writing her back privately, but I want this dear woman to know that she is seen and heard.

My friend,

I hear your heart in every painful word you shared. I want you to know that your heavenly Father sees you, even if you feel He is far away and intermittently present, He watches you with a longing heart to comfort and heal you. Please do not stay in the darkness of your suffering any longer. The chains of shame, anger, guilt and self-hatred that you feel are the lies of the enemy designed to bind you and keep you from being the influence and aroma of Jesus to your husband that you desperately want to be.

My sister in Jesus, I stand with you in the power and authority we have in Him and rebuke the spirits of shame, anger, guilt and self-hatred, in the powerful and capable name of Jesus Christ. These spirits can no longer plague you. They are bound as of this moment and cannot return. For what the Lord binds is bound and what He looses is loosed. And we stand in that same authority and stand on the same truth, that what we bind is bound and what we loose is loosed.

And in this "vacancy" left by these defeated spirits, I release the love of Jesus in all fullness and power into your heart. I release the full assurance that you, my friend, are dearly loved, chosen, accepted, adopted, blessed, forgiven and redeemed by Him. 

My dear sister in Christ, stand in the truth now and walk forward knowing that as you are loved so is your husband. That love from Jesus will be what flows from Him into you and will be revealed to your husband. No longer will the lies of the enemy dictate your place in your marriage or in your Abba Father's heart. For He sees you. He knows the pain of your heart and He has wept with you. 

But now is your time for freedom, to rise above and see your place seated in the heavenly realms. Ask Jesus to show you how He sees you, how He loves you, how He delights in you. You are a daughter of the Most High God. He is waiting for you, arms open and ready to love you, strengthen you and do more for and in you (and your marriage) than you can ask or imagine.

In the powerful name of Jesus, amen! My friend, you are loved in this community as well. I pray you will allow us to love and support you here.

SUMites, join me in these prayers for our sister in Christ. And if you are standing in a similar place right now as she is, step out of this darkness of shame, anger, guilt and self-hatred and allow us to pray for you. I have lived in this place of shame and self-hatred and Jesus delivered me of these spirits. My heart is to pass the blessing I received on to you. Let today be your freedom day, too.

I love you, my SUM family, so very much. I am contending for you! No more chains!
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An Introduction to Empowered Living

Prov119-162My friends, we're already two weeks into 2015. Can you believe it? Our fasting and praying brought us into this new year (our year of freedom, remember?) in a powerful way, and I believe we will continue to see breakthroughs as we are being brought to new levels of faith and living in Christ even now. 

Before Christmas I was feeling led to write a series on Romans 8, a very powerful chapter and one that the Holy Spirit brought me to over and over again in 2014 for understanding of what walking in the Spirit means. I'm still on this journey but want to share with you some of the things I've learned as key to empowered living in Christ Jesus.

But first, I want to start with a key verse in Proverbs. I came across this nugget in my Passion Translation of Proverbs as the Holy Spirit's answer in how I should pray for my "kids" (Rachel, my son-in-love Keith, Leslie and her awesome boyfriend, Brian) in 2015. I am praying for them all to be "lovers of God" who "chase after righteousness.”

Here are both the NIV and Passion translations:

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. — Proverbs 21:21 (NIV)

The lovers of God who chase after righteousness
Will find their dreams come true:
An abundant life drenched with favor, 
And a fountain that overflows with satisfaction.
—Proverbs 21:21 Passion Translation

I really like how the Passion Translation brings more understanding to what the heart of dreams are about and what makes them truly satisfying. That colon indicates that clarification of the promise is coming. The NIV holds this promise as well. Those dreams are rooted in who we are in Christ as children of God who live the abundant life Jesus came to give us “drenched” in God’s favor and overflowing like a fountain with satisfaction.

Here is the mystery revealed: When we make Jesus the focus of our lives with a desire to know and love Him, our dreams wind up shifting and falling in line with God’s heart, purposes and plans for us—His desire to delight us with an abundant life full of God’s favor so that we are fulfilled and satisfied. 

And here’s the mystery revealed for us, SUMites: In this place of fulfillment and satisfaction, which is centered in Jesus, the rest falls into place. We begin to see God work in our marriages and pre-believers to bring His will (which is always for our good) about. And He gives us strength and teaches us to rest in Him in that process.

Now that does not mean an easy life. Easy and comfortable is rarely fulfilling, my friends. Leave that misconception at the door along with the one I used to carry that as I got older, life would get easier. This is not a bad thing, it’s just how it is while we are on this earth. So, my philosophy has shifted from seeking an easier life to seeking God for a more fulfilling life. This is challenging but so worth it.

Why? Because we were never intended to be limited earthly beings. We are supernatural beings, seated in the heavenly realms with Jesus even as we walk this earth. To live in anything less than the supernatural presence and life of Jesus will never satisfy us. 

Naturally (i.e. earthly or of the flesh) the enemy will try to convince us otherwise, try to distract us from this place of truth with the lures of earthly success and satisfaction until we are living more for this life now instead of our heavenly destiny to be like Christ. Which brings me back to Romans 8 and the astounding and empowering truths that lie in this one chapter of Romans. I’m only beginning to peel back the layers of this one chapter and my heart is to share with you these foundational truths that are building blocks to living an empowered life in Christ Jesus, fueled by the Holy Sprit and by the grace of Abba Father.

Want to go on this journey with me? Yes? AWESOME! Then start by studying Romans 8 in your favorite translation and also in one other translation (more if you’re motivated to do so). Push out of the box and stretch your mind. Ask the Holy Spirit for understanding and divine revelation. He loves requests like that about God’s Word! And write down what the Holy Spirit shows you. I hope you’ll share those revelations with us too (as is appropriate). 

My friends, let’s dig into God’s Word as if digging for treasure (Psalm 119:162)!

Holy Spirit, reveal to us the treasures in God’s Word. I pray for every person reading this to know You better, for the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge to fill them so they may know Jesus better and better through the revelations in Your Word. Abba, thank You for Your promises revealed in Your Scriptures. In Jesus’ powerful and holy name, amen!

 With love in Jesus,
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Disparaging Disappointment, Part 2

14511569_sSo glad you're back, my friends. The end of this series is so near and dear to my heart, because it's written with a deep love and desire for you to live in the fullness of Jesus and all He has for us. I believe we will see great tremendous breakthroughs individually and as a community in 2015 and I don't want you to miss any of it. I don't want to miss any of it either!

Now for the final part of this series. Scroll down to part one if you need to catch up. The links for the previous parts are there as well.

As I shared in part one, this journey was so unexpected for me. I had to face some dark places in my heart and mind and allow the Holy Spirit to peel back layers of lies and pain so that He could bring the healing Jesus wanted me to have. And as I faced the additional challenge of being patient in the process, the Holy Spirit gave me this prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient so I can focus on what you're doing right now instead of what You haven't done yet.

And just this week I found this nugget in Romans:

But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.— Romans 8:25 NLT

God's process will entail whatever is necessary to stop the enemy's ultimate plan to destroy our faith by stealing the one thing that he can never attain—hope.

Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God! —Psalms 42:11 NLT

In a dark moment of despair, David recognized his disappointment and saw that his hope needed to be placed again in God. And with it came his decision to praise and thank God, no matter what the circumstances around him looked like. Sadly, by destroying our hope, the enemy keeps us from being the aroma of Christ to our prebelievers.

Dear friends, we have powerful tools to fight the three Deadly Ds of doubt, disbelief and disappointment and they are:

  • God's Word
  • A thankful heart
  • Praise and worship

These are also keys to kingdom living, to the abundant life, to sustaining our hope, joy and peace.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!” — Lamentations 3:22-24 NLT

No matter what, choose every day to read God's Word, to thank Him for everything (even the bad stuff—for the good He Will bring out of it) and praise Him for what He has done, is doing and will do in your life. Jesus will meet your needs in astounding ways as you do this, because you're diving deeper in intimacy with Him.

And when your mind begins to race again with all the doubts, disbelief and disappointment, return to this place of rest and wait patiently for Him to act (Psalm 37:7). You will find yourself entering this place more frequently and easily until one day you will realize that not only have you persevered, you are now stronger than you have every been. You have defeated the enemy. You have moved to a whole new level of faith. God's anointings and gifts for you are growing stronger. You find yourself in situations (divine appointments) to now bring all that you have learned to others.

Just as I am doing right here, my friends, sharing all this with you. For that I give Abba Father, Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit all the praise and glory! As this community prays and waits for our prebelievers to come to faith, my heart and prayer for you, SUMites, is the same as Paul's was for the Philippians:

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

— Philippians 1:3-11 NLT

With deepest love and admiration for you in Jesus,
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