219 posts categorized "Devotion"

I Am A Bummer Lamb

John 10 4  and 5
Every year as I read my way through my daily Bible, I arrive in the book of John and read the passage about Jesus, The Good Shepherd. Each time I read John 10 my heart and mind goes to a story I once heard about sheep. It overwhelms my heart every year.

Today I want to share it with you.

John 10:4b-5 He goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.

John 10:9-11 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

John 10:14-16 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

I remember the story of how every once in a while a ewe gives birth to a lamb and for some reason rejects the baby. It could be because the mother is old and just too tired to deal with the baby or perhaps she doesn’t have enough milk for twin lambs and she rejects one.

Sheep herders call those lambs, bummer lambs.

Unless the shepherd intervenes, that lamb will die. (Okay, get out the Kleenex. I’ll wait.)

So this is the amazing part of the story which fills my heart. The shepherd takes the lamb into his home. Feeds it one-on-one with a bottle and keeps it warm. He will wrap it up and hold it close so that the lamb is on his chest next to his heart. the lamb hears the shepherd’s heartbeat.

When the lamb is strong the shepherd will place it back in the field with the rest of the flock. The little lambs now can stay with the heard and they thrive.

Now this is the part of the story that gets me every time. When the shepherd goes out to check on his herd, the most amazing thing happens. He will call out to his sheep, “Sheep, sheep, sheep.” Do you know what happens?

The FIRST to run to him are the bummer lambs because they know him. They know his voice. (Waaaaa, where’s the Kleenex.)

It’s not that they are more loved — it’s just that they believe it.

My SUMites, I am a bummer lamb and so are you.

We are NOT orphans. We are not rejected, lost and unloved.  Jesus loves his bummer lambs.

Let’s actually dare to believe it.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

This story about the bummer lamb is adapted from Sheila Walsh. Thanks Sheila and Ann Voskamp!

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Line by Line: God's Thoughts on Guilt and Shame

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Good Friday Morning My Friends, 

I want to add to our summer study something that is not specific to our line by line study but something I feel as though the Lord is desperate to tell His children. 

I was talking with Dineen on Tuesday and sharing with her a discussion I had with a very close friend of mine who was tormented by shame and guilt because of past decisions in her life. I hung up the phone with Dineen after sharing the story and all of sudden The Voice of God was speaking so loudly to me in that bathroom where I was getting ready that I know I’m to share His thoughts about this subject today. 

From the conversation with Dineen we were made acutely aware of how unworthy so many of God’s children feel. How beat up, emotionally and spiritually, because of the many mistakes we have made in our lives. How we live with such deep shame over words we have spoken. We carry enormous gilt over the tremendous errors in our judgment that have brought pain into our children’s lives and into our own. 

We feel like this all the time. And on dark days the enemy snakes in and tells us all day long that we are a failure. We are stupid for making that decision. He tells us to say to ourselves, Oh, how I wish I wouldn’t Isiah 4 9have said that. I would give my life to make a different decision. I have suffered so greatly because I chose to do this instead of doing that. 

If we could see this shame and guilt upon us in the spiritual realm, it would look like enormous chains upon us, dragging behind us, sapping our energy and our love. Can anyone relate? 

So right now I want you to hear what I heard from the Father. Receive this as your truth and step into His words of freedom right now. 

 

My Sweet and Holy Child, 

Do you not understand that I know how very difficult it is to live on earth? Are you not aware that I am fully and completely sensitive of how hard it is to live there? I know the pain you face. I didn’t send you to earth as your Father, blindly-unaware of every tiny detail that you would face. 

I know it’s hard to live there. I knew that before I sent you. And I knew that you would make mistakes. You would make big mistakes. You would make choices that would affect your life adversely for the rest of your earthly life. I knew that would happen. I knew your choices would cause you pain. And choices that your parents made would cause you hurt and struggle. I knew the decisions you made would hurt your children too. 

I am fully aware my child that your words have hurt others deeply. So deeply that they have forever separated you from a loved one. And I know that words spoken to you in carelessness have been giant swords that pierced your heart and left you broken. 

I know this life is hard. It is hard from the beginning and there will be struggles until you die. But I know all about every one of your struggles, your guilt, your shame and your difficulties. And it’s all okay. 

I knew when you arrived of the planet you would struggle. And I knew you would make poor choices at times. And it’s the same for every person on earth. 

You all make bad choices at times. It’s not like you are the only person who hurt someone with a choice you made. Everyone does it. Everyone makes tremendous blunders and messes up their life and the life of others. 

It’s all okay. 

You are not worse than anyone else because they ALL MAKE mistakes. Big mistakes. 

What I want from you is simple. Admit you made them. Ask for forgiveness. I WILL FORGIVE YOU IMMEDIATELY. Make right what you can. Then FORGIVE YOURSELF. 

I expected you to make these giant mistakes because life is hard on planet earth. So live in this truth. The lie you have believed is that no one else screws up this badly. It’s a lie. Everyone messes up their life and the life of others. 

But I am your Papa of Grace. It will all work out in the end. For I use all things for the good of those who love Me. You’ll see. Give yourself grace. Grace is forgiveness and kindness and love. But grace is also empowerment to do better the next time. And you will do better the next time. 

So let go of this shame and guilt. I will not condemn you because my Son stood before me with your name on His lips. He died for you and He speaks to Me often on your behalf. I love you. My Son loves you and the Holy Spirit is with you to help you do better next time. 

The best thing you can do is to follow hard after the teaching in my Holy Word, talk with me all the time, bring your life before me and let Me direct your path. I will never leave you nor forsake you my child. You can learn to walk through this very difficult life with grace, love, joy and peace. That is what I want for you for the rest of your life. 

I adore you. Please adore yourself. 

Signed, Your Papa
Abba, Father 

PS. Jesus says, “Hi.”

 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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Weekend Worship—Flawed for Jesus

UniquelyFlawedLast week I posted this on my Facebook page:

Total light bulb moment: "No flaw is sinful or shameful — it’s the way God wired you! ... Those flaws are part of your custom design, and God planned them for his purpose and glory." — Rick Warren This former perfectionist says, wow! I am uniquely flawed for God's glory. Not that I can live with.

(Read the full devotional, “Even Your Flaws Can Bring Glory to God.")

First let me clarify that flaws are those things or place in our live where we have imperfections and weaknesses. I’m not talking about sins. One of my flaws is my soft voice. Even in school it was an issue. Tried to talk louder but just couldn’t. Yet Abba chose me to be a speaker of all things! In my flaw, He is glorified. People who listen to me hear Him, not me.

Some days I feel like I’ve really licked this perfectionist thing but then other days, well, let’s just say the battle can wage pretty hot. I am a work in progress, for sure, and so very grateful that Abba doesn’t relent. Jesus came to set us free and He wants us to walk in that freedom—freedom from sin, addictions and our hang ups.

But this really challenged my thinking. Freed a part of me I didn’t realize was still in the cage of perfectionism. It’s the lie of, “I won’t be complete (useful, successful) in my faith until I’m free of my flaws, my hang ups.”

But Abba’s Words says this:

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; — Col. 2:8-10

The world will tell us all about our flaws. Jesus says we are complete in Him. The world will tell us we have to earn our reward. Jesus says He is our great reward and our salvation—a gift we can never earn but need only receive. The world will tell us that we must strive to overcome these places in our lives, but Jesus says, “I have overcome the world for you.”

My friends, these are our truths. This light bulb moment has created a paradigm shift in my thinking. Instead of seeing my flaws as deficits to overcome, I’m asking Jesus how He wants to be glorified in them. Which, astonishingly, has led me to ask the same thing about my husband. “Lord, show me how you want to be glorified in his flaws. Let me see him from your perspective.”

Take a moment and think about a flaw (not a sin) you wish you didn’t have. In your next quiet time, sit with Jesus and ask Him how He can be glorified by it. Ask a friend you trust who is a believer how they see this flaw in you. Maybe even ask them what they consider to be their flaws.

And what if we discover our flaw is meant to be our strength?

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. — 2 Cor. 12:9

Be complete (empowered, strengthen, emboldened, fulfilled) in Jesus!
Dineensig

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Weekend Worship — Ascribe Unto the Lord

My friends, let's give Teresa special thanks and prayers for her work this past week. She not only wrote those amazing posts for us, but she was also writing in the comments and encouraging so many of us. Thank you, Teresa! You have served the SUMites with such grace and generosity! We are so blessed by you!

Some of us experienced great revelations and more than we expected to hear. Some of us are feeling a little disappointed that we didn't hear more and may even be feeling like we failed. But this is what I firmly believe to be true. What happened during this fast for each and every one of us is EXACTLY what Abba wanted to transpire. He knows what we need best and when we need it. Trust Him to continue to bring more revelations and understandings as the year progresses. This is why journals are so important. So we can go back and be reminded of what Abba said, which will help us stay focused and recognize when our prayers are being answered!

And I want to encourage you all to continue to seek Abba just for His presence. I'm learning first and foremost that He wants us to put our relationship with Him above all else. Not our gifts, not what we do for Him, or even how we seek to serve Him. Not even the dreams and passions He places in us. He wants to give us His heart with no strings attached. So give Him yours without any strings too. Make knowing Him your priority over serving Him.

For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” — Matthew 6:25-34

Seek Him above all else, and the "else" will come! Trust Him for this, my friends. He will not fail you!

Here are two songs that seem the perfect close to our week. The first is for our praise and worship of our King Jesus. He is our everything! Let's give Him all the glory of this week. Fill the comments with praise ans worship to Him! And the second is our statement of faith for 2014. We will not be shaken, amen? Amen!

Love you, my SUMite family so much. Be shiney for Jesus!
Dineensig

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A Fresh Anointing For ALL Mothers By Lynn Donovan

 

On September 26th I opened my Bible and found a note scribbled in the margin. It said:

2006: Today I was asked to be part of the writing team for Laced With Grace. 

As I read this note in my Bible, my heart soared. Seven years ago Iris Nelson found my tiny blog, Spiritually Unequal Marriage and we began an amazing friendship. We began to write, simply from our hearts about our Lord and His hand in our lives. I can’t thank Iris enough for asking me to be part of this Award winning team of writers. I left Laced With Grace a while back as our ministry grew. But my heart will always be part of this home on the web.

So today, Iris has allowed me to come back as a throw back post to September 2006 and share with you a devotion for Moms. This message is from the Holy Spirit for every mom whether they are walking the difficult path of being the spiritual leader of their homes or not.

Join me now and be filled with the truth of How God sees you. I love you the family of Laced With Grace.

Fire…
by: Lynn Donovan
I am filled with fire my friends. And this fire that burns in my stomach also is burning in yours. How do I know this?

Because you sacrifice!

Read the entire post and be filled with a fresh anointing of God's Holy Fire at Laced With Grace.

 

Also, leave a comment over there and be entered to receive a copy of Not Alone Trusting God To Help You Raise Godly Kids In A Spiritually Mismatched Home. 

Train Up A Child and

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God's Not Done with Us

19380103_sOn my trip home from Indianapolis, I sat next to an older couple on the plane. I could tell they'd been together for years in the way they worked together to figure out her pills. I offered my set of eyes, glad to help them choose the right one.

As we settle into our flight, I noticed his hand reach for hers. She rubbed his, then they continued to hold hands and settled into a nap.

My friends, as I sat next to them I was struck at the simplicity and sweet familiarity of their relationship. And I felt the strong affirmation of what we are working and striving toward here at S.U.M.

The long view. The big picture. And are we willing to walk the journey to get there?

I find so often our willingness hinges on whether or not we truly believe the truth of Romans 8:28 and if we are willing to trust God to be THAT GOOD in all areas of our lives.

I know we've talked about sacrifice here many times and I am walking this path right now in my own marriage. But I am discovering that as I let go of and "sacrifice" control of my needs, this releases an abundance of God's blessings like I have not experienced before. I’m learning to stop worrying about my provision and choose to trust God. I have chosen to walk this path as far as God wants me too. And I am astounded by the little things God has set in my path to provide for my needs.

And the people He has set in my path to bring them.

I shared last week that while I was in Indianapolis I had the amazing blessing of spending an hour with a fellow SUMite. I'd asked God before this conference for lots of divine appointments and He didn't disappoint. But this one blessed me so much—to sit with a sister in Jesus and share our hearts. And to discover again how similar our mismatched paths are and though we both are walking through some intense trials, we could rejoice and sit in awe of what God is doing through it all.

This is the sacrifice God calls to. To give our hearts—to Him. To relinquish control of our lives—to Him. To release the salvation of our spouse—to Him. To entrust our children—to Him.

We strain at the perceived enormity of our undertaking. We cry out at times at the seeming unfairness of what Abba asks. We yearn for deeper understanding. And there stands Jesus with His flesh and His blood poured out on our behalf, asking if we will truly taste and see that He. Is. Good.

My friends, we walk in the profound presence of God's kingdom in and around us. What we see with our human eyes and hearts is not the full picture. Will you trust Him with yours? Will you take a step of faith to the edge and ask Abba for all He has for you? Will you choose to stand even in that perceived chaos with the expectation that God will move mountains, oceans, hearts and feet on your behalf no matter how long it may take?

We stand at a pivotal time. God is moving people into places to carry and speak His truth in stunning unity. I have never seen anything like it in my lifetime. Every person we meet and every place we go is an opportunity to either receive or share God's kingdom.

Time is short but God is long in His love. Join Him, my precious friends. Ask the Holy Spirit to put a hunger in you for more of Him. Ask for His presence daily and bask in it.

I am overwhelmed and stand in awe of His goodness. He has shown me that He hasn't forgotten me, nor is He through with me. Far from it actually. And I am so thankful because even though His work in me may pinch at times, I KNOW the outcome will be good and I will be more like Jesus on the other side. And I will be closer to Him—the lover of my soul and best friend of all time.

And this is true for you, dear ones. Abba hasn't forgotten you and He is far from through with you. Taste Him deeply and see just how good He truly is.

Love you so very much!
Dineen

Image credit: obencem / 123RF Stock Photo

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Weekend Worship — God Won't Let Us Go!

My friends, how has your week been? Have you faced some "giants" this week? I know I have and I'm feeling a little battle weary, but gave me such joy through it this week. I love how our God does this, right in the middle of our circumstances. 

I want to share a little verse I stumbled upon this week and find HUGE meaning in it. 

"What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs." — Matthew 10:27

Jesus spoke this to the Twelve as part of what He instructed them to go out and do. In this I see two key truths. One, remember what we know to be true. God spoke this to my heart this week when I cried out to Him in a dark moment, "What do you know to be true." It came not as question but as a statement. This is our strength, to take the truth and speak it out. It brings God's light into the darkness. 

In this moment, I literally spoke out loud—God is good, God is in control, God is an equipper and God is a redeemer (Romans 8:28). The darkness lifted and my peace was restored.

And two, that's what I'm doing right now. I'm proclaiming the truth from the rooftops of the internet, namely our blog. We can share God's truth more easily now than ever before. We live in amazing times!

So, my friend, remember what you know to be true and go shout it from the rooftops! God won't ever let us go!

Love and treasure each of you so very much!
Dineen 

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Weekend Worship — Lay Me Down!

My precious Sumites, I love this song by Chris Tomlin because it's about the surrendered life and the JOY of living like we belong to Jesus. Because we do! We are His and He is ours. This is also what Scripture means when it says, "the joy of the Lord is our strength" (Neh. 8:10.)

When we walk in this place of surrender and obedience, we know freedom, joy and peace. To the world it makes no sense, but we know better, don't we? And oh, my spirit longs to share this with everyone! We want everyone to know our amazing healer and comforter, Jesus. Especially in light of the horrible events this past week.

We have the Holy Spirit and God is calling us to share Him! Have an amazing weekend, my dear sisters and brothers in Jesus. May His presence fill and rest upon you, may His blessings rain down over you and your family and may His strength, courage, love, power and authority reign supreme in your life!

We adore You, Jesus! Amen!

Love you so much, my friends!
Dineen

 

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Weekend Worship — I Surrender!

My precious friends, I'm still pondering the meaning of surrendering our lives to Jesus. I've always been struck by how Jesus stood before His accusors and said nothing to defend Himself. That speaks to me of a holy dignity that rises above the opinions of men and sits squarely and humbly with God. 

The Bible tells us to be holy. I beginning to think surrendering is part of being holy—a place where nothing matters at much as our Lord and Savior. Nothing compares to Him either. And we literally can't outgive God! The more we give ourselves to Him, the more He gives Himself to us! It's an amazing and beautiful exchange.

  • We let go of our self-righteousness and receive the righteousness of Jesus.
  • We give Him our man made dignity and step into royalty as co-heirs with Jesus.
  • We hand over our self and world-made identities and receive our true identity in Jesus as children of God who are accepted, adopted, blessed, chosen, cherished, forgiven, loved, lavished and redeemed.

God's economy is so much better than what the world has to offer. Don't let the enemy tell you diffently either, because he will try to convince you that you're making a huge sacrifice when in reality you're letting go of lies and walking in truth.

The TRUTH—Jesus, who is our way, our TRUTH, and our life. So keep Him belted firmly around your waist, my friends. Yep, that word—TRUTH—in John 14:6 is the same Greek word in Ephesians 6. Jesus is our belt of truth and the piece of our armor that keeps the rest in place.

Now let's worship Him together, sing our hearts out to Him in surrender and tell our Lord and Savior that we want more and more of Him. 

Love you dearly!
Dineen 

 

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Weekend Devo — God Loved Us First!

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My friends, we have a wonderful week of devotions planned for next week. Rosheeda has prayfully written something for each day so that we can walk through the week with hope, faith and love planted squarely in our Jesus, and celbrate the greatest gift of this life and the next (yep, it's the gift that truly keeps on giving...). 

What I am learning (and hearing from all over the place) is that until we know who we are and whose we are, we are limping along in faith. This is where our true power, strength and freedom sits, my friends. Take it from someone who has limped along for so many years and is now beginning to understand how deeply we are loved.

One new revelation came to me just this week (from that step of faith I made!). In Mattthew 22:34-40 Jesus answers the Pharisees that the greatest commandment was to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. That was the old covenant. 

In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus said He came to fulfill the law. And He did by coming and dying for us. And 1 John 4 (and please read through this amazing chapter) is all about the truth and that God loved us first. This is the new covenant.

Now, let's connect the dots. Under the law they were commanded to love God. In the fullment of the Law (Jesus' death) we are loved by God first. When we embrace this love and begin to understand that we no longer have to perform and work to love God, His identity is released into us. Then we can't help but love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. It is profound, my friends, and yet so beautifully simple in it's truth.

This is the greatest truth I've been embracing since last fall and the process has been astounding, beautiful and so liberating. I want this and am praying for this for every single one of you.

God loves you. No ifs, ands, or buts. Jesus came for you. You don't have to do a thing to embrace that kind of love except to say yes and then to believe you are totally loved—that God can't love you anymore or any less than He already does. And nothing you do now will make you any less righteous in His eyes than the day you accepted Jesus.

Walk in this truth, my precisous sisters and brothers in Jesus. We are loved.

Loving and praying for you with the heart of Jesus!
Dineen 

 

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Weekend Worship — Moving Forward

This weekend I'm at Lynn's—we're working on the conference coming in April. We are so excited about this event! God keeps showing us more and more of what He wants to accomplish and reveal at this conference. We are so blown away!

My friends, God sure seems to have us on a fasttrack to our Promise Land right now. Many of us are hearing the same things and feeling God's nudge to move forward because He has a whole lot more for us to see and embrace. Remember, the Israelites still had many challenges to face in their Promise Land but the promise of a land of their own did come and they were a key part to claiming each new territory.

We've had a lot to absorb this week so I'm keeping today simple with just a song to worship God together. He makes all things new, my friends! ALL THINGS! Keep taking those steps of faith and you will see Him do it!

Love you dearly!
Dineen 

 

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Weekend Worship — Jehovah-Jireh, The Lord Will Provide

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Yep, there it is. My "new" set of wheels.

My dear friends, I've taken you on this car journey with me, first sharing my family's finanical challenges, the need to sell my "beloved" SUV, and then the search for another car. Nothing "magically" appeared but I consider God's provision in this whole scenario as pretty evident and well, just plain cool. My SUV sold in less than 12 hours, giving us much needed funds, and now I have this cute 2003 VW Beetle that reminds me of the little car I drove through high school and college. The pieces just fell into place as we found this little gem online and made a quick sale with an adorable young couple ready to part with it. Even the CarFax said it was a great buy! We kept to our budget and accomplished our goal. Thank you, Lord!

So, all that to say, God provides. Sometimes He simply smooths the path like He did in this case. Other times His hand is more miraculous and astonishing as one story I just had the privilege to share in the new book Lynn and I are working on right now. Yes, consider that a teaser. We have some awesome stories to share in this book.

I bet you have some amazing stories too! Care to share them? What better way to worship God than to share with others His amazing goodness and presence. My MOST favorite thing on this earth is seeing God in action! There is nothing better!

So share those amazing stories right in the comments. Tell of God's amazing provision and presence! Those are the best stories to read and share, my friends. They are the proof that our God loves us, is faithful and loves to astonish us. He's spectacular! And this SUM community is amazing proof of that!

Love you all so much!
Dineen

Now let's worship our amazing LORD together!

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Weekend Worship — From a Reader

My precious friends, I don't know about you but this girl is feeling a bit scattered and off track with all the fuss of the holidays and a house full of people. And I still have my daughter's bridal shower to get ready for next weekend!

So if you're feeling the same, sit a moment and drink in this wonderful message Bridget. I just love what she has to share about God's love: 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Amplified Bible (AMP)

4 Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

5 It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

8 Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy ([a]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].

The key is LOVE, not as the world loves but as God loves. I know that I cant love in my own strength because it does not work. It always comes up short and does not satisfy. I am tapping into the source of love and I am praying that God will so reveal his love to me that I operate in a new dimension of revelation and have the heart and mind of Christ.

My prayer for Dineen, Lynn and all the woman that are trusting the Lord to move in their lives, their families and their husbands lives is that we would be able to grasp the depth, height, length and breadth of God's love. God is calling us back to our FIRST LOVE so that we can spill over with His love to those around us.

Thank you, Bridget! 
Happy New Year, my friends!
Love you all so very much!
Dineen 

(Here's our weekend worship video, thanks to Heather Passuello!)

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I Wanted to Stop Praying

I wonder if you are feeling weary? 

I know this month we are writing about love and I do have so much more rolling around in my brain to share about love. God’s love, our self-love and loving others. But, now for almost a week, I’m just not in the “mood” to write about that. 

What I’m wrangling with this season is weariness. 

It crystalized for me last week when I actually heard myself whisper out loud to the Lord, these words, “Lord, I’m just so weary of constantly fighting the battle. I’m tired of always being on the front lines. I’m exhausted hoping and waiting for the salvation of my husband. I’m fatigued as I pray almost incessantly for my children.” 

As soon as this little prayer left my lips, the words then hit my brain and then my heart. In the moment I wanted to stop praying so badly. I want to stop with my worry and cease the battling with the devil over the people I love. 

When I add to this my demanding writing schedule, travel last week, the entire “getting ready for Christmas” demands and then pile on top the shooting at Sandy Hook, well, it’s just A LOT!

My spirit feels beat up and weak. 

What do we do when it’s A LOT and there is not an end in sight? I mean there is still so much to do to be ready for Christmas. I’m traveling again on Christmas day to see my son for his 30th birthday. (Shhhhhh, It’s a surprise.) And …. and…. and… I know you KNOW what I’m talking about. 

Right now, this hour, I’m not sure I know what to “do.” And I don’t have a wonderful story to share with you that God has arrived to make my life easier. 

However, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper this verse over and over into my ears for days now. 

Galatians 6:9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith. (MSG) 

Okay, it’s kinda a pep talk and it does help me refoces a little bit. But then I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Lynn, if you stop praying for your husband, your son and your daughter, who will be covering them with prayer.” 

I respond, “O Lord, no one. NO ONE.” 

“Exactly.” 

Me again, “O Lord that’s what the devil wants, itsn't it? My family needs my covering more than anything right now. Our community of SUM, the nation, Sandy Hook, needs my prayer covering.” 

“Lynn, I know your weary and I will give you rest soon. But, you CANNOT stop your battles in the prayer realm. You must persevere. You must know that your words are impacting the people for whom you pray. I have revealed some of the astonishing results already.You must be assured that if you were to quit, setbacks might happen.” 

And THEN….. God reminded me of a few things to set my soul back in order:

He is the First and Last,
The Beginning and the End! 

He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all!
He is the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all times.
He always was, He always is, and He always will be ...
unmoved, unchanged, undefeated, and never undone!

He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom!
He was dead and brought life!
He is risen and brings power!
He reigns and brings Peace!
The world can't understand him,
The armies can't defeat Him,
The schools can't explain Him, and The leaders can't ignore Him.
Herod couldn't kill Him, The Pharisees couldn't confuse Him,  and The people couldn't hold Him!
Nero couldn't crush Him, Hitler couldn't silence Him,
The New Age can't replace Him, and the media can't explain Him away!

He is light, love, longevity, and Lord.
He is goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God.
He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure. 

His ways are right,
His word is eternal,
His will is unchanging, and His mind is on me.
He is my Savior,
He is my guide, and He is my peace!
He is my Joy,
He is my comfort,
He is my Lord, and He rules my life! 

I serve Him because His bond is love, His burden is light, and His goal for me is abundant life. 

I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the ancient of days, the ruler of rulers, the leader of leaders, the overseer of the overcomers, and is to come. And if that seems impressive to you, try this for size.

His goal is relationship!
He will never leave me,
never forsake me,
never mislead me,
never forget me,
never overlook me and
never cancel my appointment in His appointment book! 

When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am blind, He leads me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution, He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me!
When I face loss, He provides for me!
When I face Death, He carries me Home! 

He is everything for everybody everywhere, every time, and every way.
He is God, He is faithful. I am His, and He is mine!

Wow, it's amazing how our Great King always knows what we need.
Merry Christmas, Lynn

Wisemen

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Weekend Worship — A Testimony

IStock_000017809995XSmallMy precious friends, I can't believe Christmas is so close! As the day draws closer, I'm trying to keep my heart and mind wrapped around the miracle that God brought so long ago and keep my eyes open for the ones He's doing right now. 

I want to share one with you. My rep at a magazine publishing group that I 've worked with sent me a Merry Christmas message by email, and I almost didn't reply back out of "busyness." I'm so glad I obeyed the nudge to reply back, because it opend a dialogue for a brother in Christ to share his story and offer encouragement to our SUM community. 

My friends, read this and receive the wonderful encouragement that God, our Abba Daddy, wants to you. I know this will speak to at least one woman out there who needs to read this. My friend, God brought you here to read this today for a reason. Believe it and know that your Lord has not missed a moment of your pain or your faithfulness. Whatever He is calling you to do, trust Him for the results. Just take that first step of faith and let Him do the rest.

And thank you to Jeff for serving God so faithfully and being willing to share so openly:

I saw the Q&A you did on FamilyFiction.com and your website www.SprituallyUnequalMarriage.com. As someone that put my wife thru HECK for a number of years till I surrendered to God. My heck was not normal heck—sexual addiction, anger issues, spiritual dysfunction issues. Encourage women that no situation is too tough for God. I was so far gone, yet it was my wife’s love and prayers and tough love that got me to the place I wanted real change to happen. The result is I am in Bible school at night, and we adopted 2 kids from Ukraine in 2010. That is the fruit of a life yielded and a marriage transformed!

God is so good! Is that not amazing? 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. — Ephesians 3:20-21

Our Lord is Able!
Merry Christmas, my dear friends. I love you so very much!
Dineen 

 

Love this music video from Third Day. This song is actually based upon a true story. The song the man heard on the radio was a Third Day song!

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Weekend Worship — Let Your Love Loose!

HandHoldingCrossLike Lynn said in yesterday's post, love has the power to conquer all. As I read that a fuller impact of what it means really hit home. This is something I've known since a child. Not sure how other than God just wired me that way, but I never fully understood what kind of love can do that until I began walking with Jesus and studying the Bible.

The mind blowing part of this is the beauty in the way it works. It's part of the beautiful mystery of who God is and how He works. His love funnels down to us through His Son, Jesus, so when we invite Christ into our hearts, that love now dwells in us. 

I mean, think about it. First John 4:7-21 is one of the most powerful pieces of Scripture, my humble opinion. It says repeatedly that God is love. If Jesus is living in us, that means this powerful love, this agape love that's so strong and sacrificial that it drove Jesus to the cross to save us, lives in us as well. This is what I believe, again in my humble opinion, is meant by what Paul says in Ephesians 1:18-21 where he speaks of the very power that raised Jesus from the dead.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (emphasis mine)

That's the most powerful kind of love I can even being to comprehend! The kind of love that brings the dead back to life! A dead heart, a dead marriage...

This is the miraculous part of walking with Jesus and this is the power that lives in us—to love with a miraculous and supernatural love that defies the world, that defeats the enemy of our souls and shines like the brightest beacon in the darkest places.

So, my precious friends, let your love loose! Let that love that God has placed in you free. Ask Him to bring it on and let love flow through you to everyone in your home and everyone you meet. Do this and watch your world change and when  you change your world, you will impact those around you. 

Through God's love living in us, we have the power to change our lives, our marriages and the world. So let your love loose!

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. — 1 Cor. 16:13-14

Loving with you and loving YOU!

Dineen 

Now let's WORSHIP!

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Weekend Worship — Out They Go!

IMG_1868
My friends, our wristbands just arrived at my door Friday afternoon and with the help of my daughter and her boyfriend, they are packed and read to go! We wound up with almost 100 addresses—the latest country added was India! That makes 9 different countries now. Wow!

IMG_1869So, be on the look out for your envelope to arrive. I apologize for having to tape the bands to the back of the certificates, but that was the only way to keep from paying a package rate for each one. The difference would have been over a dollar and for almost 100—a bit costly indeed. 

I'm so excited to get these out to you! Let me know when you get them. And how cool would it be to see a "stranger" wearing one of these and finding out you are sisters in Christ?! That's a story I'd love to hear.

I am so blessed to share and walk this journey with you, my friends. I love and treasure each and every one of you!
Dineen

 

And now our worship song for the weekend:

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Weekend Worship — Keep Going!

IMG_1854A few weeks ago as I was out walking and praying, AND having one of those days that I was truly struggling with some decisions and issues in my life, I came across this garbage can on the side of the path. I read the message (which wasn't there a couple days earlier when I walked last) and smiled. 

I'd just been praying about something that I wasn't sure how to move forward on and then I read this wonderful hand painted message in gold.

"Keep going."

I have no doubts that God put it upon this person's heart to write this message and I'm one of those it was intended for.

Sometimes that's what God asks us to do when we're walking through the more difficult challenges of life. And we can trust His message to keep going because even though we don't know how it's all going to work out or what we'll face on the other side, He does. And He's always working for our good. Always.

Forgive me for sounding like a broken record, but that's our promise in Romans 8:28. It's a truth that will change your entire life and outlook if you let it permeate your mind and heart and everything you think you know about God.

I love you, my friends, and I pray God's goodness is extremely real and present for you this weekend. Here's another song for you!

Worshiping with you!
Dineen

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Weekend Worship — Colossians 1:9-14

Let's start with a prayer...

Precious Lord, we continue to ask You to fill us with the knowledge of Your will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives us, so that we may live a life worthy of You, Lord, and please You in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of You, being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that we may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to You, Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of Your holy people in the kingdom of light. For You have rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son You love, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

I shared in an earlier post about God telling me to receive His grace. I am changed! I can't even comprehend it all yet but will share more as I understand more. In the meantime, I want to share a song that has become the song of my heart right now. Brings me to tears to think what God has done for us. Turn it up, sing along and make it your song too. We are REDEEMED!!!

Praying & praising!
Dineen 

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Weekend Worship — Psalm 150

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Praise the Lord.

1 Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.

Father God, no matter where we are, we will praise your Holy and Mighty Name. You are our Mighty Savior, our One and Only. You are ALL we need.

2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Lord, You move among us with such strength and love. We can't even comprehend how great Your love for is. It is all consuming and always GOOD! We fall to our knees before you in wonder and love.

3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,

4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,

5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Lord Jesus, let every song we sing and and word we speak bring You praise and glory. You are more than worthy of our trust, our praise and our love. We owe everything to You. We would not be able to even stand before You without Your sacrifice for us. We wear Your righteousness only by the blood You shed for us and by Your death.

6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Oh Lord God Almighty, may our every breath, every thought, every feeling glorify You! Words can not express Your greatness, nor are there adequate words to express our love and gratitude to You. May our very lives be a song of praise and worship to You. Receive our praise as sweet incense to bring you pleasure and glory. We love you, Lord Jesus! Move among us and do whatever You need to bring us closer to You. We want more of YOU!

Praise the Lord.

In Your precious Name, Lord Jesus, amen!

Below is an awesome song to sing and praise to. This is a group that's new to me too. Great find! I won't be posting next week because I'm running away with my hubby for a few days of R&R and to celebrate our anniversary. (Hee hee...) So keep on eye out for Lynn for me and don't let her get into trouble, okay? (wink!) No doubt I will have stuff to share about my trip when I get back.

Praying & worshipping with you!
Dineen 

When the Stars Burn Down (Blessing and Honor) by Phillips, Craig & Dean

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Forget the Devos. Let's Worship!

WorshipMy friends, I sensed God’s leading this week to change our Weekend Devo to Weekend Worship. We are a community bonded together by a common desire to see our loved ones know God as we do and our hearts are knitted together by a love for Jesus and each other. Lynn and I are continually blessed and blown away by you, and we have all expressed how we long to worship God in Heaven together.

Let’s start that here and now.

That is the vision God put on my heart this week, to gather here online and worship Him together. I don’t know where this will go or how it will work. I’m content to let God’s Holy Spirit guide us.

Let’s worship God together. Find a quite moment and place and read the Psalm below in prayerful worship. Add whatever comes to your heart and let the Holy Spirit guide you. I'm inserting what the Holy Spirit has put on my heart, but you pray what He puts on yours. Feel free to worship and pray in the comments—let’s worship together!

Psalm 148

1 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights above.

2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.

3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.

4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.

5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for at his command they were created,

6 and he established them for ever and ever—
he issued a decree that will never pass away.

Lord, we praise You from the earth below and give you all glory. We join our voices and hearts to those praising You above.

7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,

8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,

9 you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,

10 wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,

Lord, we marvel at your creation. Though we see only a faded representation of your true plan, we are awestruck by the notion that ever flap of wing, every wag of tail, every sway of branch, and every sway in the ocean waters is your creation singing praise to you. Lord, we add our hearts and voices to this praise. We ask that You bring Your Glory down upon us.

11 kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,

12 young men and women,
old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.

14 And he has raised up for his people a horn,
the praise of all his faithful servants,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.

Praise the Lord.

Lord, You are El Elyon, the God Most High. Bring your strength and power into our governments, into our homes, into our hearts and rule! Let us worship You in complete surrender and thanksgiving for Your Horn, Your Son Jesus, whose name we lift with our prayers and thanksgiving.

Reign in us, Lord. We give You all our praise for You alone are worthy! In Jesus’ Holy and Powerful Name, amen!

Praying & worshiping with you!
Dineen 

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Weekend Devo— What's Your Mountain Top?

IMG_1677
This is the hilltop in the middle of a park that's in walking distance to my home. In the background you see the hills that back up behind the cluster and crowded homes in my neiborhood. This place is my mountain top where I sometimes go to walk and pray—an oasis in the middle of our busy and noisey community. This week I met a young man named Jaun who spontanteously started talking to me and we spent a half hour sharing our faith. I love God's family.

These hills hold a special place in my heart because God used them to minister to me at a very crucial time. We were on our way to get Leslie's diagnosis and we had no idea what we were about to find out. Literally, as I sat in my car at a traffic light looking at these hills, I turned on the radio and Casting Crowns "Praise You in This Storm" was playing. The first words I heard were:

I lift my eyes unto the hills

Where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord

The Maker of Heaven and Earth

So now, everytime I look a these suede-like rolling hills, I remember where my help comes from. It is a sweet reminder to me of God's faithfulness and goodness.

How about you? What's your mountain top?

Praying & believing,
Dineen 

 

Read more: CASTING CROWNS - PRAISE YOU IN THIS STORM LYRICS http://www.metrolyrics.com/praise-you-in-this-storm-lyrics-casting-crowns.html#ixzz259alUavP 
Copied from MetroLyrics.com 

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Weekend Devo — Blow Away Again...By You

WriteLetterMy dear and precious friends, 

Yesterday I read all your comments on our post from August 6th about our visit with FamilyLife Today. I am blown away and so very humbled.

To read your stories and hear your hearts in each one...I cried. My daughter walked in and asked me what was wrong. I showed her the page on my computer screen and told her how amazed and humbled and honored and blessed I am, to be used by God to help others, to be a part of this community. 

She asked, "So those are happy tears?!"

Oh, yes, very happy tears. Grateful tears. Tears of joy.

So, today I want to tell all of you how precious each and every one of you are to us. I know Lynn and I have said this before but we really do pray over all of you. At times we cry, other times we laugh and rejoice with you.

You've heard me say God blows me away. Well, you blow me away too. You may think you're not doing very well; maybe you feel like you're failing in your marriage or in your relationship with God (I feel that way at times too, btw), but just the fact that you come here to share your heart openly, that you're seeking God for wisdom and guidance, that you desire to honor God and do what He asks for the sake of your marriage and your desire to know God better...

Well, that tells me you're far from failing, dear friends. You are thriving! Did you know that? You are flourishing. You are succeeding. Victory doesn't mean easy. It's means reaching that place of overcoming and knowing God's joy and peace right where we are.

And you are there! This is our shared journey and I am so grateful and honored and humbled and blessed beyond words to be on the path with you.

Love you all so very much,
Your sister in Christ,
Dineen 

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Weekend Devo — Our Greatest Testimony

As I was walking the other day, I had what I call a dream vision. Basically this is my imagination running a little wild with possibility. In this “drimagination” I was with my husband in front of a group and we were sharing our testimony about our faith journeys, walking from a mismatched couple to now sharing a growing and vibrant marriage based in Jesus.

This may sound crazy but I choose to dream big and love to see God wow me. So, it was brief and fun, but what really hit me is the testimony part. What is our testimony now?

On my post last week I talked about how we don’t have to defend our faith and one reader left this comment:

Sometimes I think it can be tough because if prior to our salvation, we weren't addicted to drugs or worse, we feel like our testimony doesn't really matter. That is so not true. Even in the world's eyes if what God saved us from wasn't a big deal, in God's eyes it is. It doesn't even matter, He saved us from an eternity in Hell and we need to stand by that, claim it, and share it. — Heather Passuello

Heather is on to something here and the pieces of the puzzle fell in place as a result of my daydreaming.

You are on of God’s greatest testimonies. Did you know that? Each of us stand as a testimony to God’s amazing love and represent what He has done in our lives.

He saved us! He saved us from an eternity in Hell separated from Him. We are now forever adopted into the family of God and have a place in Heaven with Jesus as coheirs.

Think about it. Just as you, where you are sitting, laying, standing right now—you represent a powerful testimony of God’s love. As Heather so wisely said, let’s claim it and live in the truth that we are Children of God!

Praying & believing,
Dineen

For fun and inspiration, another Third Day song, Children of God!

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Weekend Devo — Pascal's Wager: Worth the Gamble?

220px-Blaise_Pascal_VersaillesHave you heard of Pascal's Wager? I looked it up recently and ask my husband about it. I was curious what he thought of such a theory coming from Blaise Pascal, a scientist whose been influential in his own scientific persuits and beliefs. 

From Wikipedia: It posits that there's more to be gained from wagering on the existence of God than from atheism, and that a rational person should live as though God exists, even though the truth of the matter cannot actually be known.

Here's what my hubby basically had to say in response: Christianity believes our salvation is contingent on your acceptance of God's Son Jesus so Pascal's wager still fails because just believing God exists doesn't save you unless you buy into the fallacy that good works save you.

I must say I was surprised at his clarity of the differentiation and I could see his point. My guy never stops surprising me. He understands more of my "doctrine" than I give him credit for sometimes. I'm relieved too that it's one less hurdle between him and God. I want my guy to have all the facts straight so that when the day does come that he considers Jesus, he'll know the full story and consider the cost (Luke 14:28-33).

 No wagers or gambles. Just all in for eternity.

Praying & believing,
Dineen 

 

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