730 posts categorized "Dineen Miller"

Walking in Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So we are to “walk”:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shine on, SUMites!
Dineen

Copyright: mikekiev / 123RF Stock Photo

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How Sturdy Is Your Seat?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not just when we go to heaven. Now.

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

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

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

Love you dearly!
Dineen

Copyright: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo

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Seeing Our Spouse Like God Does

Ecc11We live in a world that defines us by what we do, but as believers we are called to walk to the beat of a different drum. That beat is the pulse of the Father's heart and who He says we are.

SUMites, our Heavenly Father’s heart beats for our spouse too, because he has placed an eternal identity in them as well, just waiting to be unlocked, and I firmly believe we are called to partner with God to help identify, reveal and release that identity in them.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. — Ecc 3:11

I also believe this is a key part of our authority in Christ and in our marriage as the spiritual leader in the home. We are the aroma of Christ in our homes and our faith sanctifies our spouse. 

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. — 2 Cor 2:15

For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. — 1 Cor 7:14

As I’ve shared before the Greek word for ‘sanctify’ means to ‘lay a claim upon.” My friends, we not only sit in the heavenly realms with Jesus (Eph 2:6), we also sit in very real places of influence in the lives of those we love and pray for. We can speak death (negativity, blame, accusation, condemnation and even curses) or we can speak life (positive words, encouragement, affirmation, edification and blessings).

What I want to focus on is this place of influence we hold and how God wants us to sit, walk, and stand in this place of influence. I am using these words metaphorically, but there are actual biblical references to these positions of faith, which we can learn from. 

These aren’t new concepts, my friends, but I want to approach these truths from Ephesians with the goal of applying them to our mismatched marriages and how we can sit, walk and stand in faith in life and mismatchdom. And I will be addressing some of the topics you shared in the survey, in which you expressed a need, a challenge, or a desire for your marriage.

Finally, my friends, I want to share a hope that is growing in my heart and spirit. As I learn more and more about God’s heart to heal and restore His people (all people, because He sees them all from His perspective of who He created them to be), I’ve come to realize I’ve separated healing and salvation into to two categories, when they are in fact the same thing.

If you look at the Greek word for salvation (sōtēria) and save (sōzō), both include health and healing in their definitions. So, in a sense, we are praying for our pre-believers to be healed in their spirit. Salvation is so complete and so perfect in its provision from Jesus Christ. We tend to see it merely as the rescue from hell and a guarantee of heaven, but it is so much more. 

Amazingly, Jesus displays this in John 5 with the story of the invalid man waiting to be healed in the pool of Bethesda. Where the English translations use only one word for ‘healing,’ the Greek, in fact, uses four. And there is a progression in this passage that reflects not only the man’s physical healing but his spiritual healing—salvation and the revelation of his identity in Jesus—as well.

In doing word studies of the Greek text, I’ve found some precious nuggets. And I would love—and I do mean love—to share those, but I fear you would get bored. Plus I’m reaching the sweet spot of how long a good post should be in the blogosphere and don’t want to wear out my welcome. 

Suffice it to say, this progression reveals the limitations that we as humans beings place on what Jesus can do and what Jesus really can do. So I will share the best part of this exchange between Jesus and the invalid. 

In verse five where Jesus asks the man if He wants to be healed, He’s not just talking about the man’s body. Jesus means healed, saved and the understanding of who the man is to God. Notice the man doesn’t reply with a yes, only with reasons why he isn’t healed yet. He’s not comprehending what Jesus really means at this point, but it’s clear he does want to be healed.

Here’s where it gets really interesting. When Jesus says ‘get up’ in verse eight, He’s actually saying wake up and rise up out of his disease and sin. Jesus is calling him out, in a good way. What’s so interesting is that Jesus finds the man (whether by happenstance or intentionally isn’t clear, but I suspect it was very intentional), He finishes what he started in the man’s physical healing by giving the man a revelation of his new state—a transformation of the man’s thinking (Rom 12:2).

“See, you are well!” 

The Greek word for ‘see’ (ide) means behold, look. In other words, Jesus was saying, “See yourself as I do.”

And it gets even better. The Greek for ‘well’ is ginomai and means to become, come into existence, finished as with a miracle, be made.

Jesus was telling the man to see himself as the new creation (reborn) he now was, as the man God created him to be. Jesus was calling out the truth placed in the man—eternity, which is the intention of God to heal, save and deliver (sozo) and be the child of God he was always intended to be. A man of God, complete and equipped with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Eph 1:3).

My friends, this is what we can “call out” of our spouses with how we sit, walk, and stand in our faith. And that is what I’m so looking forward to exploring with you. What do you think? Is this something you’re interested in pursuing? If so, start asking the Holy Spirit to help you see your spouse through His eyes and give you a revelation of who he or she is to God. 

He may show you a small detail or give you a bigger image of who your spouse is in Jesus. Because the promise is already there, SUMites. As we are told in Psalm 139, Father God knew us before we were ever born. That is true for our spouses too. They may not know God yet, but God definitely knows them.

And that, my friends, is what I want us to partner with God to release in our spouses. Oh, this is going to be so good! Amen!

Love you so much!
Dineen

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About This Mordecai Time...

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

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The Book of Esther: The Position and Authority of Mordecai

29555324_s
Esther, mosaic, Jerusalem-The Church of Hagia Maria Zion-The Dormition Church

For such a time as this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But now, we are moving into a Mordecai time. 

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

It is the new.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMites, we’ve been given the signet ring!

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

Love you dearly!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

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The Book of Esther: Enemies Destroyed and a New Holiday

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

For such a time as this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you, SUMites! Great things are happening!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

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The Book of Esther: The Queen Risks Everything

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

For such a time as this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

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An Astonishing Move of God and a Song

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This picture hangs above my prayer wall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He wanted me to sing the song too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you like crazy!
Dineen

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The Book of Esther: A New Queen and a Conspiracy

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

For such a time as this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But Mordecai refused.

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

Love you, SUMites!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

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Chapter One of Esther: The King Divorces Queen Vashti

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

For such a time as this...

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

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

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

The Layers of Esther

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

These layers appear to be:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seven Eunuchs

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

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

Mehuman - faith

Biztha - booty

Harbona - ass-driver

Bigtha - in the wine press

Abagtha - God-given

Zethar - star

Carkes- severe

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

Seven Nobles 

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

Carshena - illustrious

Shethar - a star

Admatha - a testimony to them

Tarshish - yellow jasper

Meres - lofty

Marsena - worthy

Memucan - dignified

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

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

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

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

Love you!
Dineen

 

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The Mystery and Wonder of Esther

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

For such a time as this...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you so much, my friends!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

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A Miller Update

Mike&Leslie
Leslie & Mike, Christmas 2016

Hello, my dear friends. I’m taking today’s post as an opportunity to update you on my daughter, Leslie. Many of you have asked me to keep you updated, which touches my heart beyond belief. Thank you. Your love and prayers fill my heart with comfort, joy and peace.

If you’re new to the site, my daughter Leslie was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at age 14 in 2008. She is 23 now and cancer free. (If you want the full story, you can do a search of her name to access the archives.) At the end of 2015 she began to exhibit side effects of her radiation treatments from 2009 and had to stop working due to pain and trembling throughout her limbs. Just as it seemed she was finally stepping into a full life, healthy.

Leslie has still not been able to go back to work. It’s been over a year now. Her pain level is still high and after a year of seeing the doctors at Stanford (not the same team who helped save her life) and not getting anywhere or any relief, she has begun to take control of her own health care.

That’s a big step. I confess that was difficult at first for this mama who can hover at times, but she has done a fabulous job pursuing her own health solutions and answers.

As a result, she’s managed to find out more with a rheumatologist nearby in just a short month. Right now the doctor’s report says she has arthritis in her tendons, her right ankle being the most damaged. 

My friends, I am going to be honest with you here. I didn’t know what to pray for as this was unfolding. I, of course, wanted a good report and prayed for that, but I was torn. I wanted answers for her so she could figure out how to manage the pain in her body and live a fuller life. 

So I am grateful for answers, but I am not coming into agreement with this diagnosis, nor will I speak it over her. I have learned in the healing rooms to pray and believe with each person at whatever level they are willing to believe God for their healing, but I have also witnessed God increase each person's faith in those moments to believe and ask God for more than they can ask or imagine (Eph 3:20).

So, I will support my sweet girl and believe with her at whatever level she is at to believe she can be restored, even through treatments and medications, which I’m not against. God clearly worked in tandem with the doctors to save her life in 2008, and it is a story full of miracles.

I believe in God’s Word that says we WERE healed by the stripes of Jesus, and that His salvation (sozo) covers our physical restoration too. And I am standing on the promise God gave me for Leslie from Isaiah:

The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. — Isaiah 58:11

My friends, I am not discouraged. Initially my heart ached, and I poured that out to my Papa God. He gave me comfort, peace and reassurance. He does not forget His promises. Quite the opposite. He constantly watches, plans and sets things in to motion to fulfill His Word out of His great compassion and in His perfect timing.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! — Isaiah 30:18

And for every promise God gives us, He gives us the provision too. So this is how I am “upgrading” how I am praying this over my daughter. 

Father God, You have given me the promise for Leslie. I speak it back to You, in faith. That You, Lord, are guiding Leslie continually, not just now but throughout her life. That you are giving her water in the dry places of her body and restoring her strength. That every provision she needs to walk in health is already in place for her. 

I declare in agreement with Your Word, Lord, that Leslie will be as a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. She will be restored in the places she has struggled and pour out great beauty, fruit and hope to others in dry places. She will be a garden that blooms and produces fruit that cries out and shouts of Your great power, love and glory, Lord. In the endless name of Jesus, amen!

SUMites, I believe now is the time for us to renew our prayers and declarations for the promises God has given us. He does not falter, nor does He step away from us. Our breakthroughs could be just a single prayer away. Let’s not give up the race now. 

Our Great God will not fail us. I believe He will move and do things in ways we have never seen before and never could have imagined. I’m already seeing Him do this in small things, and it’s absolutely stunning. I can’t even imagine what this will look like as He increases in us, our lives and circumstances and through the prayers we pray over those we uplift to Him. 

Share your hearts and thoughts in the comments, my friends. I am standing with you in prayer for every promise, every provision, every declaration.

Love you so very much,
Dineen

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A Declaration of Salvation

IMG_0071Hello, SUMites! Can you believe we’re already in March? Time seems to keep speeding up on me, so I’ve made the decision to look forward to Christmas all year long. If this most precious season is going to keep fleeting by on me, I’m going to make the most of it the rest of the year.

Are you laughing at me? LOL! That’s fine if you are. But on a deeper note, I believe this is actually part of the journey God has me walking to know more joy and delight, especially delight in Him.

Which brings me back to Isaiah. Who would have, at first glance, thought that the book of Isaiah is one we can delight in? But it is. It is the book that holds the most prophetic words about the Messiah coming and who He would be to the Israelites. And to us…

That’s the delightfully stunning part, my friends. As this book was inspired, our Papa God was even thinking of us—you and me…and our spouses. Isaiah is a book about God’s ardent love for His people and His desire and plan for our redemption and restoration to Him. 

In fact, the name Isaiah means “the Lord is salvation.” That right there makes my heart go ka-thunk. To think our Heavenly Father’s plans and love for us span from the very beginning to the very end, well, that’s just a stunning picture of how great His love is. We truly are rooted and established in love—His love.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. — Eph. 3:16-19 (NIV)

Read those same verses in the Passion Translation:

And I pray that he would pour out over you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power.

Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life, providing you with a secure foundation that grows and grows.

18-19Then, as your spiritual strength increases, you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement, beyond academic knowledge—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God! — Eph. 3:16-19 (TPT)

SUMites, this is what is blowing my mind this morning as I write this. And this is what I feel the Holy Spirit is impressing upon me right now. The entire book of Isaiah is a passionate declaration of God’s jealousy over His people and His great love for them. And it is a book that applied to the Israelites in their current times and spans all the way to us and beyond because of the promises it holds. It was the decree of the Messiah to come and a declaration of Who our Savior Jesus is today, for us.

This is the clarity the Holy Spirit has brought to my heart for two weeks now to understand how I can—we can—apply and pray these Scriptures over ourselves and especially over our spouses. This is the clarity He brought as He showed me Isaiah 12 and placed a knowledge and understanding in my spirit of how to pray it for my husband. And this is the clarity I feel He is telling me to share with you. I’m excited to share it with you, my SUM family.

In that day you will say:
“I will praise you, Lord.
Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
and you have comforted me.
Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.

In that day you will say:

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” — Isaiah 12:1-6 (NIV)

This is how the Holy Spirit led me to pray/declare it:

On the day of your salvation, Michael, you will say:
“I will praise you, Lord.
Although your pleasure could not rest upon me,
You turned away your displeasure to pursue and love me.
I declare God is my salvation!
I will trust Him and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord Himself, is my strength and defense;
He has become my salvation.”

And on that day, Michael will say:
“I give praise to the Lord and proclaim His name;
I will make it known among the nations what He has done for me,
and proclaim that His name is exalted.
I sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things in me;
let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people!
For great is the Holy One of Israel, the Almighty God, among us!

In the saving name of Jesus, amen!

My friends, I encourage you to not only do this with Isaiah 12, but with any piece of Scripture that seems to grab you, because, I promise you, that is the Holy Spirit revealing something to you. Ask Him what it is, speak it out, mediated on it, journal it, declare it and rest in it until He tells you to move on.

And never forgot the promise of Jeremiah 1:12, that God watches over His Word to perform it. Speak it, then trust Him for the time and place for it’s fulfillment. He is faithful to His Word. SUMites, if you've prayed this for your spouse, put his or name in your comment with an amen. I want to pray in agreement with you.

I love you, my friends, and I pray that the revelation of God’s Word is astounding in your heart, your life, your marriage and to those around you. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen!
Dineen

 

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The Rains of God’s Glory

My friends, I have something very special to share with you today. It’s something I was unsure about sharing at first, but a phone convo with Lynn helped me see I should indeed share it with you. And since then, God has revealed a bit more and connected more dots.

In early 2014 God told me to pray for California. This was before our move to Florida. II was sitting on my porch one morning with my favorite mug full of coffee and my Bible. As I read and prayed, God told me to “pray a wave a faith over California.” I didn’t quite understand what that would look like, but I did what He asked and began praying this obediently for months.

Fast forward to the Spring of 2015. We’d moved part time to Florida but still spent several months in California and still owned our home there. The Holy Spirit led me to read the book of Isaiah.

One particular morning, I reached Isaiah 55 and the Holy Spirit began to point out parts that had to do with the land and water over the next several chapters. I knew in my spirit this had to do with the drought in California. I continued to read, wondering why He would even show such things to me.

Now let me preface this to say that the He’d first set me up the day before with Isaiah 52:6. I underlined it, recognizing that as new covenant believers, this was connected to the promise of the Messiah to come. And we know the name of Jesus is powerful and thus why we pray it.

Therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I.” — Isaiah 52:6 (NIV)

So the next day when He stopped me at Isaiah 59:19, I already had this reference to connect to. As you can see in the picture, I dated my notation April 28, 2015. I suspected this was related to the Holy Spirit’s instructions to pray a wave of faith over California and that this also spoke of the end of the drought. In fact, that is what I heard in my spirit, that God was decreeing an end to the drought. 

IMG_5636

Within weeks of this revelation, several other Christian leaders in California began to say the same thing. I knew God was revealing His heart and plans for the state of California, and now we are seeing the full revelation of this.

What was predicted to take years—the return of the rains to refill the reservoirs—is happening in weeks. We are seeing God move faster than we ever have before, my friends. And He is moving in new and stunning ways. Right now it’s very important that we keep alert to these new ways and be willing to let go of the old. I believe this is also part of what He meant when He told me things wouldn’t look the way we expect and that He wants to do things differently. These are things I shared with you last year.

Now there is more to this moment in time, my friends, and it includes us. On that same day, the Holy Spirit stopped me at Isaiah 60:22. See the picture below with SUM written next to the Scripture.

IMG_5635

SUMites, we have grown from a small family and a tiny group to a mighty nation of over 2,000. I believe we are symbolic of what God is doing all over the world. He is bring up communities like ours to operate the way the church did in Acts 2. We are the new church He is bringing into place. 

Last July, I shared in a video message what I felt God was speaking about His church, that “His heart is to establish a new and holy church—not fix the old one.”

That doesn’t mean we are to abandon our churches, dear friends, it simply means God is transforming us to function in greater unity and love if we will allow Him to come in and do this in our places of worship, no matter where they are. Our church will no longer be limited and defined by physical walls and building. We will be the unified body of Christ, His bride made pure. Connections and partnerships (bridges) are being formed between churches in communities even now to work together to have greater impact in communities and cities.

My friends, I believe this also means God is working in new and significant ways in our marriages and in the hearts of our spouses. This is part of our salvation word from last year, which continues to be the seed planted that the Holy Spirit is watering. 

Let me share some of my observations and what I am seeing:

I believe the rain we are seeing in California and the overflow is symbolic of God’s glory pouring over His children and our loved ones (that they shall be saved too! Acts 16:31). I know it looks messy, but remember what I said in one of my previous messages about God’s favor. It can look messy at first (remember how God favored Mary to carry Jesus), but we can trust God to bring His plans and purposed to a good completion for His ways are always good (Rom. 8:28)

I believe we are going to see significant shifts in our homes and in our spouses, SUMites. Many of you already are. As Lynn has shared in the emotional healing series, we need to be healed so we can help those coming to faith to walk in wholeness as well. Part of the video message I shared last year was about God’s “harvest time” and the “fruit” (remember the figs), which are the many souls being called in. (Some of you may even remember the harvest dream I shared in 2013.)

I believe we are entering this time at a new level. We are stepping out of the old and into the new. We will see things happen in ways we never expected or anticipated. We will see God move faster than we thought possible. And we will see our faith increased to new levels as we step into our promises and new opportunities. 

My friends, I will stop there. I have something else from Isaiah that God is showing me to pray for my husband that I may share on Friday. I'm asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom on that first and for any more insights He wants to reveal for us. Be assured I will share as the Holy Spirit leads me. I don't know why the Holy Spirit uses the book of Isaiah like this to reveal things to me, but it is fascinating to say the least.

SUMites, we are living in exciting times! Reading this may very well bring things to mind and connect some dots for you. Please share you're thoughts and what you believe God is showing you. I can't wait to hear your hearts!

Love you, my mighty friends! You are greater in Him than you know!
Dineen

 

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Our Position in Christ

A dear friend was inspired by the Holy Spirit with this visual explanation of Christ in us, and it has spoken to my heart continually every since she shared with me, my friends. I pray it blesses you as much as it has me. 

Here are some Scripture references too:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; — 1 Cor 6:19

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. — 2 Cor. 1:22

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. — Col. 3:3

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. — John 14:20

Have an amazing weekend secure in WHO AND WHERE YOU ARE!
Love you!
Dineen

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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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Opportunities

My friends, I have an interesting story to tell you. Last Friday as I awoke, the word "opportunities" was loud and clear in my thoughts. I love it when I wake up with a word, because that usually means the Holy Spirit is setting me up for something.

So that morning I prayed for understanding of what this word was about. What did the Holy Spirit want me to learn and share? Thought the day as He continued to connect the dots, I began to understand two things.

First, let's take a look at what the word “opportunity” means in the dictionary.

IMG_5618

“A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.” This seems to imply a once-impossible situation being made possible by a set of circumstances. Could it be that we are quick to deem negative situations as impossible without considering how God may be working to make something possible? He is the God of the impossible. He makes all things possible. Jesus even said so.

But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” — Luke 18:27

Yes, I agree. That can be quite a challenge. I’m looking for the opportunity in one area of my life that I seem to go round and round with. The Holy Spirit will help me see what that is, even if it simply an opportunity to change my thinking about this very thing.

And how interesting that one of the synonyms listed is “break.” We are in a year of breakthroughs, and breakthroughs bring us new opportunities to grow, to step into new places, to deepen our intimacy with God and to have greater understanding about who we are to God and who He is for us.

Amazing how so much of what we experience is intended to be rooted in our identity. I know we talk about that here a lot, but as I grow in my understanding I realize how foundational it is to everything. (Remember the Foundation Series?) As believers who live in the present but have a forward mindset (Phil 3:14), we need to know who we are in order to understand where we are going.

Now this second one was a surprise. Throughout this same day, the Holy Spirit continued to reveal more details to me in regards to something I experienced at the healing rooms last week. It was a sweet and astonishing time of worship that gave me an "opportunity" to delight in the Lord.

He continued to connect the dots until finally He asked me with a playful tone, "Do you see where I'm going with this?" I confess, I laughed out loud when He said that. And I did see where He was going and what He wanted me to fully grasp. 

An "opportunity" is also an opportunity to delight in the Lord. This reminded me of Psalm 37:4, which tells us to delight in the Lord and He will give us the desire of our hearts. Did you know the Hebrew word for delight means to be soft or pliable? It also means to be delicate, pampered, and to be happy about.

Opportunities.

What opportunities is God putting in your life right now? What opportunities does God want us to step into right in our mismatched marriages? With the difficult and cranky neighbor down the street? With the budget that just doesn’t seem to make ends meet? With your teenaged daughter’s best friend who seems so lost sometimes you just want to reach out and hug her? Do it! Hug the kid! Bring your neighbor cookies. Remind God of His Word to provide (Phil. 4:19), then watch Him do it (I have a story on that one too.) And ask God to show you a new opportunity to love your spouse that will reveal Jesus. You may be surprised at how delightful it will be!

Opportunities. Opportunities are the gateway to breakthroughs, my friends. I firmly believe that. God wants to show us what that looks like too, because it is new and fresh and unlike anything we’ve seen so far.

SUMites, share in the comments any opportunities you are seeing in your life. Maybe in reading this post, God brought one to mind. Maybe you’re already seeing one, but you weren’t sure if it was you or God. Or maybe, you’re already in the middle of an opportunity unfolding and have a testimony to share. Let’s meet in the comments!

Love you, my friends. You are so much greater in Him than you know.
Dineen

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Destined to Succeed

Hello SUMites! On Monday I said I would talk more about God’s perception of us, how He sees us, but first I want to share a story about this picture.

Last week as I went for a walk to pray and worship, I looked up and saw this in the sky. It reminded me of the cross (in the lower left side), but it had these two lines coming out from it that seemed to just go on and on. The Holy Spirit used this image to impress upon me once again that the cross took care of the past, and its effects/benefits continue to span across our present and future.

Cross

And the Greek word for salvation (sozo) holds more meanings then I believe we realize or even claim as part of what we’ve been give.

Sozo — save, make whole, heal, preserve, well, deliver, protect

Now think of Paul’s advice to the Philippians:

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. — Phil. 2:12-13 (NIV)

Paul is telling the Philippians (and us) that salvation is a process. Transferring our permanent residence to heaven is only the beginning. And as Paul says, it is God who is working us to accomplish all this in us—being made whole, protection, healing.

Our salvation not only states where we are (seated in heavenly realms), but also comes packed with our identity—who we are in Jesus, all God created us to be, and where He is taking us in this glorious adventure! 

So here is where I want to touch on today. God doesn’t see us according to our circumstances or even how we are dealing with them. He sees us from the completed work that He created us to be, our destiny. 

Imagine you are on one end of this journey of discovery and the path is lit just enough to show you the way to go for today. Along that path is everything—and I mean everything—you will ever need to reach the end of that journey. And God is right there with you in the present (His Spirit lives in us), along the way making sure we stay on the path (He is a light to our feet. He makes our way straight), and at the end cheering us on.

And he also said, "It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega - the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.” — Revelation 21:6 (NLT)

My friends, what I’m learning to understand (and embrace) is that we already have everything we need for the journey. And as we stand in a place of trust in who God is and belief in who He created us to be, I believe we will see more and more blessings, resources, provisions and miracles.

And why not? That is God’s heart for us. He’s already given us everything, thanks to Jesus who died for us and continues to intercede for us (Rom. 8:34). 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. — Eph. 1:3

SUMites, God has set us up for success (victory), and He is continually working from the blueprint He created for each of us before we were even born, even conceived. And it’s a fail proof plan too. We may hit some bumps along the way, get off track, or find ourselves lost at times, but none of that changes who God created us to be and what He designed us to do.

That, my dear friends, is freedom. I pray from the depths of my heart and spirit that we walk in this freedom more and more each day as the Holy Spirit continually teaches us who we are and Who God is. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Love you!
Dineen

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Our Perception and God’s

17322952_sI’m fascinated by Jesus. I’m fascinated by how He interacts with people in the Bible and today. And I’m fascinated by the deeper meanings the Holy Spirit brings to us as we move closer to the truth of who we are and find healing in that process.

My friends, one such story is found in Luke 7, the story of Jesus being anointed by a sinful woman. If you have a moment, read this account in Luke 7:36-50.

As I read this story recently, the Holy Spirit answered a long-held question I had in a very unexpected way. This question came from Jesus’ statement, “But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

I asked the Lord once again, “Lord, do I have to be forgiven of a lot of things in order to love you better?”

The question sounded ridiculous to me as I wrote it in my journal, because I knew that sin is sin to Jesus and that He took care of it all on the cross. But I wanted to understand the heart of this story at a deeper level. And if the Holy Spirit was telling me to read this particular piece of Scripture, then I could be assured He had something to reveal to me that would move me closer to the truth.

He brought me back to the beginning of this story and said, “Read it again.”

I did. I read it again, repeatedly over several days. I read of the woman’s weeping and reverent treatment of Jesus. I read of Simon’s thoughts toward the woman. And I read what Jesus says of Simon and how he welcomed Jesus into his home.

Jesus saw Simon and the woman in the very same light. His love for each of them was equal and His gift of forgiveness the same. In fact, the story isn’t at all about how Jesus saw these two people at all.

It’s about how they saw themselves. The woman knew her need and saw Jesus as the answer. Though the perfume was costly, her tears and love were priceless to Jesus. Only He could receive her sacrifice with love and forgiveness.

And restore her…”Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Simon didn’t see his need. He didn’t see himself at all actually. He lived in the deception that he was good, because as a Pharisee, he’d followed all the rules, therefore keeping himself blind to his need. He saw the woman as the sinner, not himself. 

Simon saw the woman as who she used to be. 

Jesus saw the woman as who He always created her to be.

My friends, that is how Jesus sees us. He always sees us from the place of our complete identity and destiny. And everything He is doing in us right now is to reveal more and more of that, what He’s already declared us to be.

On Friday I plan to talk a little bit more about this subject and share more of what the Holy Spirit is teaching me right now about connecting our identity in Christ to our destiny and how to live it right now. It’s an adventure full of the mystery of God and abiding in Him with peace. I can’t wait to learn more!

I love you, SUMites. I see you through the eyes of God’s love and you are more amazing than you can ever imagine!
Dineen

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The Heart of God

GodsLove
Good morning, SUMites! I loved reading your prayers yesterday on Lynn’s post. I prayed in agreement with each one of you and prayed over our community for complete healing. Many of the things you prayed mirrored my own prayers too, my dear friends. I’m so glad we are taking this journey of healing together.

And that’s part of what I feel the Holy Spirit planted in my heart to share today, that some of you out there have been on a very lonely journey in your pain. You have felt alone, as if you’re the only one, in this struggle and even abandoned at times. 

Today the Lord wants you to know that is not true. You are not alone, you have never been alone. And as you walk this path of healing, you will see others walking along side you who have suffered in the same way, you will walk in a new hope and strength like never before, and you will finally reach your breakthrough.

My first breakthrough (yes, I am believing for many more!) happened last week with the help of dear friends who prayed with me, loved me and contended with me. And that is what I feel the Lord is doing in our SUM family as well—uniting us even in this time of healing to uphold one another and rejoice for each other as our breakthroughs come. This is not a journey we are intended to walk alone.

My friends, today I asked the Lord to reveal His heart for our SUM family. He showed me Jesus. He said Jesus is the full representation of His heart for us. Even unto death…

Wow, that just continues to blow my mind and bring home even more the magnitude of God’s love for us. Jesus is not only our Savior, He is our Healer. In the Bible, the Greek words for salvation (sōtēria) and saved (sozo) encompasses more than just our eternal residence but our health and wholeness as well. 

Here’s another nugget God showed me recently in Romans 8.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)

Did you notice that Paul only says present and future? No mention of the past? That’s because Jesus dealt with the past on the cross. He even said, “It is done.”

And we know what happens with today? It becomes the past, so whatever heartache or challenge we face today, tomorrow it will be the past and Jesus declares it done! And as tomorrow becomes today, we can say the same about it as it passes into yesterday. It is done! 

Jesus is the heart of God. So whatever healing we are in need of, my friends, know that the Heart of God, Jesus, says it is done. He has already set our healing in place. It’s one of His promises to us. And He’s inviting us to walk in this truth.

I’m believing this is my year to be healed of emotional eating. Whatever is at the root of this issue will be revealed and healed. This is my need and the mountain I refuse to keep circling. I believe Jesus will move it and say, “It is done!” In the name of Jesus, amen!

Love you, my friends! Contending with you.
Dineen

 

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"Watch What I Do!"

IStock_000005733150MediumWhat has God promised you, my friends? That is the place I want to start today, because I’ve discovered there is a very definitive process that occurs between the promise given and the reality (or manifestation) of that promise. And it’s in the in between time that we can get confused or even lose sight of our promise.

No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back a single word I said. — Psalm 89:34 (NLT)

I believe as a community we are on this journey right now together. As I shared last week during our prayer and fasting, this is a Year of Promises. As I walk in this place of waiting and the challenges I’ve faced, I’m finding that God’s promises are designed to bring us from one point and place in time to another and it’s very much to do with our growth as believers.

We’ve talked in the past about preparation and that is part of this promise package. God always sees us according to His plan for us—who He created us to be. He sees us from our future and therefore partners with us to direct our path accordingly. Our promises are part of that future becoming our present reality. So, in everything, God is working for our good to according to that picture. 

Yes, we do have an enemy that will do whatever he can to hinder and delay that path, but ultimately, as we continue to seek God and say yes to Him, we are assured of victory, as God’s Word says. He already sees us as victorious, therefore we are. That’s an important place to walk in faith and perseverance (Romans 8). 

As God cheers us on He also works in us so that we can walk in the fullness of our callings (destiny) and many times that means we need healing. We live in the reality of good verses evil and the imperfections of this world, so it is inevitable. 

This past week God worked this in my life in a stunning way. As I mentioned God revealed some things to me, of which one part was a deep need for emotional healing. I find it so very interesting that as Lynn is about to begin this series on emotional healing, God walks me through that very thing.

So, my dear SUMites, I want to encourage you to walk this journey with us, because it is part of the revelation of your promises this year. To fully receive what these promises are we often must grow in some way to be able to walk in them. This is part of God’s upgrade or promotion process. He wants us to benefit fully from His promises. 

Think of it in a way as professional training or learning a skill. In order to function as a lawyer in a court or as a teacher in a classroom, we have to learn things in order to fully function in those places. Our “training” or teaching can be very specialized too.

I believe that God is doing much of this in us for many reasons. For me, this means I am more emotionally healthy for two reasons. One, to walk in the broader places He is taking me in ministry and to be ready for where He is taking my husband to one day be in ministry together. Yes, He has to get me ready (prepared) for what that means. Oh boy…

And sometimes it can seem messy and painful, but as we’ve used the analogy before, a wound must be cleaned for it to heal well and without infection. Think of the lies, hurts, rejections and grudges we carry as infections, that once dealt with, our emotional wounds can be healed.

The wonderful thing about this process is that it ripples out. So often we want to fix what we see on the outside, but God works from the inside out and that is what those around us begin to see as we are healed. Those places we often struggle with externally could very well be the reflection of something inside in need of healing. This applies to our spouses too, my friends. We have the benefit of the Great Physician at work in us to help us heal, yet those who don’t know Jesus yet can only rely on their own resources or that which the world offers.

My friends, whatever God did in me this week broke and released things I have carried for years. I feel lighter, stronger, and more peaceful. And I am excited to walk in this new freedom and am expectant of the ways it will show up more in my life. I’m excited to see what God does next, and I am looking forward to what He does in all of us through Lynn’s series. 

It’s going to be good. How do I know that? God told me. Since last weekend, His still soft voice has whispered over and over to me these words.

“Watch what I do.”

And He has expanded those words for our community. This is what I feel I hear Him saying for us:

Watch what I do.

In your homes and in your marriages,

Watch what I do.

In your lives and in your government,

Watch what I do.

In your nation and in your communities,

Watch what I do.

In your minds and in your hearts,

Watch what I do.

SUMites, the choice is always ours. God loves us no matter what. He is always for us and always, always, always, working for our good. So if you feel this is something you want, then I encourage you to pray something like this in your own words:

Lord, I want everything You have written on the pages of my book in heaven to become a reality in my life. I want to let go of the pain and hurts and be healed of the emotional traumas in my heart and soul. Whatever that takes and whatever that looks like, Lord, I say yes. I am ready. I trust You. I love you and I am so grateful that You love me with such a relentless and perfect love. Lord, I am watching to see what You do! In the name of Jesus, amen!

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. — 2 Cor. 1:20 (NLT)

I love you, my SUM family. I’m so blessed to walk this journey with you and stand with you in prayer.
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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Getting Ready for Our 2017 Prayer & Fasting

Prayer&fasting
Hello, SUMites! My dear friends, I've missed you. I hope your Christmas was filled with joy and wonder, and that your new year is off to a great start, full of hope and expectation.

My time with my family over Christmas and New Years was very sweet and precious. I am so grateful for it as we only get to spend Christmas together every other year now. So thank you, my SUM family, for your prayers and blessings over my time with my daughters and son-in-love. As you can imagine, I miss them greatly. Our Papa God has comforted my melancholy heart every time I’ve run to Him. He’s so good. 

But I am ready to walk into 2017 with new expectations and new clarity for direction. And I'm "expecting" next week's prayer and fasting will be key to that. I believe many of you are too. I've loved reading your comments and praying with you about your hopes and expectations. You guys write some awesome stuff! 

Many of you shared a word God has given you for the new year. I too have been seeking God for what He has for me and my family, and what He wants to be for us in 2017. He's not only given me a word for 2017, He's challenged me. 

This word pushes me way out of my comfort zone, my friends. Why? Because it challenges me to step out further in faith and trust Him more. It's risky. I will be honest and share that I've grappled with some disappointments this last year that I'm coming to realize are more to do with my impatience than anything else. God's timing is, well, God's timing.

But this pushes me to think and dream even further out than I ever have before. This year my word is "Envision." And with it have come some pretty big possibilities—ones I can't even begin to figure out how God will accomplish them. But He is the God of possibilities, and I've learned that His ways are absolutely astonishing and so very unexpected. 

So, yes, I am challenged this year to leave the comfortable places of my thinking and allow Him to take me places I can't even imagine. I am excited and a bit anxious all at once!

SUMites, God has given me some words for us here too that I look forward to sharing during our prayer and fasting next week. They are full of hope and promise, my friends. God has so much in store for us. Yes, we will be challenged in new ways, but let's remember that God has prepared us for this time and season. We are fully equipped and complete in Him. Amen!

Here are some links to help you with types of fasts and how to fast. If fasting from food isn't an option, please don't discount yourself from participating. There are other avenues you can take and other ways to fast. Such as fasting from sweets, or one particular food item you tend to gravitate toward. Or fasting from television or social media.

Why Should You Fast

How to Fast Safely

How Long and What Type of Fast is Right for You

Eph1-18The best course here is to ask the Holy Spirit to impress upon your heart what kind of fast is best for this time and will honor and please God. Just as faith as small as a mustard seed delights our Papa God, He views even our smallest efforts with pleasure when the intent in our heart is great. He is always more interested in our hearts than results.

And now, SUM family, I want to share the words He gave me in November. They are so encouraging and uplifting. I for one am longing to go deeper with the Lord this year than ever before. I'm still learning to hear and listen to Him in this new way He's teaching me. I'm still learning to focus on Him and the journey instead of the end result. I have so much to learn!

I am establishing My kingdom as never before in the believer's heart. And it is a kingdom about My love. A Kingdom of Love.

The enemy's scare tactics are desperate—like a toddler pitching a fit over not getting his way—a last ditch attempt to wreak havoc. But he won't succeed as long as you don't acknowledge him. He is harmless.

My intentions are clear. My heart is known and true. Listen for My pulse. Listen to My heart. I am true and I am truth. With Me you will not fail. In Me you are a true victor. A true champion, for My cause.

And My cause is you, every one of My children! I am raising you up higher than ever before, My dread champions, and I am calling you forth. You carry the weapons of love, joy and peace. Wield them freely. Walk in love, walk in peace, be strengthened in My abundant joy. I am with You all the way!

Thank You, Father God! Thank You, Lord Jesus! Thank You, Holy Spirit! We are so grateful for Your great love and good intentions for us. Lord, I pray for every one of us in this SUM family, that the eyes of our hearts will be enlightened next week in order that we may know more fully the hope to which You have called us, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in the saints, and Your incomparably great power for us who believe (Eph. 1:18-19). 

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I bless this church without walls with the oil of joy. I bless every SUMite with greater peace than she or he has ever known. And I bless every one of us with a greater capacity to love than we have ever imagined. Lord, let us walk in the love You pour out upon us and share it with everyone we encounter. Make each of us a reflection and representation of Your Kingdom of Love. Amen!

I love you, SUMites! See you next week!

Dineen

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Fourth Week of Advent: Peace (and Christmas!)

Advent4Merry Christmas, SUMites! I’m finishing up my Advent series today, because Lynn and I will be taking next week off to have more time with our families. We love you and bless you with all the joy and gladness this season holds, dear friends. Enjoy your family, enjoy your friends and most importantly, ENJOY JESUS! He’s not only our Savior, but our very best friend and partner in this life and the one to come.

We are about to enter the fourth and final week of Advent this Sunday, my friends. I’ve included a picture of what my Advent wreath will look like this Sunday as I light all four candles. This last candle represents peace, and as the Word says, Jesus came to bring us peace. Not the peace the world offers, but His peace. 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. — John 14:27

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33

He overcame the world to save us and bring order to a chaotic world.

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people. — 1 Cor. 14:33

And His covenant of peace was made long ago.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. — Isa 9:6

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. — Isa 54:10

This is the heart of our Father God and why He sent us His Son, Jesus, to establish His kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. And not only did He come to bring His peace, He came to dwell within us so that His peace would “live” in us. It’s part of what we receive with the Holy Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. — Gal 5:22-23

His peace resides in us. Even when we don’t “feel” that peace, we can pray for it to bubble up and fill us, my friends. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. — Phil 4:6-7

Peace is one of God’s greatest provisions that is intended to permeate every area from our personal lives to the entire world and every place in between. Our mind, heart, soul and spirit are part of that too. So often we forget to ask for it, to pray for it to well up and increase in us. During a very difficult time I learned to call on this peace and was absolutely stunned at how I could actually feel it rush in. The Spirit of God lives in us, my friends, and that Spirit, the Holy Spirit, is our Comforter. Call on Him to comfort you as much as you need!

Ornaments
Some of my favorite ornaments...

Now, the best for last. The Christ Candle. Every year I look for a candle that speaks to my heart. Usually white with some sort of design on it. I am especially enamored with Christmas trees since last Christmas and find myself drawn to them. I realized the tree is the most important part of my family traditions because it holds so much love. Nearly every ornament holds a meaning, has a story behind it, or marks a special date. And now that my girls are grown, I find those ornaments to be a precious reminder of all the love we have shared over the years. 

ChristCandleSo this year’s Christ Candle has a tree on it and will be lit on Christmas Eve and Day. For me, this candle represents the promise of hope and a future (Jer 29:11). He is the light of the world and the light of our lives. And He has even more for us for next year. I’m already praying over 2017, my friends. Praying for words and Scriptures for my family at home and here, our SUM family. He is faithful to His Word and watches over it!

SUMites, I bless you with precious moments that touch your heart, that will remind you of how God’s love is always present and will even form a new and precious memory for years to come. And I pray the glory and favor of the Lord will increase in your lives all through 2017. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 15:13). In the glorious name of Jesus, amen!

Merry Christmas!
Dineen

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