869 posts categorized "Encouragement"

How God Spoke to My Heart About My Husband

Dear friends, I am on "vacation" this week. It's actually my oldest daughter, Rachel, who is on vacation and spending the week with Mike and I. We won't get to see her at Christmas this year so I am making the most of this week with my girl. I'll be back next next week.

In the meantime, this testimony from Alissa is so beautiful and powerful, of how God met her, reassured her, and even gave her revelation and insight to understand what was really at the heart of her husband's choice to be an agnostic. When I asked her if I could share her testimony here, this is what she said:

Absolutely you can use this. One thing I learned on my missions trip was the power of testimony. We learned that the word testimony, literally means 'God do it again'. So if my testimony can give someone else hope and encouragement that is really the ultimate goal, God do it again!

Thank you, Alissa! 

Be encouraged, SUMites. God has you and your spouse, right in the palm of His hand. He never lets go. Hugs! ~Dineen

 

How God Spoke to My Heart About My Husband
by Alissa Berglund

Alissa BA little back story first...  A couple of weeks ago I went on a missions trip to Romania while my husband stayed back and took care of the kids. While I was on my trip he got together with some of our friends (all unbelievers) and they got into a discussion about faith and God. Fast forward to this week. I went on a walk with my best friend who isn't a believer but is open to God and she was telling me that this discussion and taken place but didn't offer up any details, and I didn't push for the whole story, just listened to what she offered up.
 
After the walk on Wednesday night my hubby Andy and I got talking and I asked him about the conversation that had taken place. He told me that him and some of the other had arrived at the conclusion that they didn't know where they stood in terms of faith, but that he felt like he is searching for answers and "proof" of God's existence. Then he blurts out that he identifies as an agnostic.
 
I don't know what that was so hard to hear... but having him label or identify himself with a certain set of beliefs just pierced me. I started reading about agnostics and the more I read the more defeated and beat down I felt. It's like a huge mountain is before me that I have no clue how to conquer. Yesterday I was mowing the lawn and just pouring out my heart to God, just pleading with him to move in Andy's life and bring be peace about this. God was oddly silent, but just kept telling him I trusted him and it's not my job to save Andy but his. I almost got on the Summite website to ask you all for prayer because I was so discouraged.
 
This morning I was running late and I got into my car and Faith Radio was on. Usually in the mornings they talk politics so I was about to change it, when all of a sudden the host starts talking to his guest about agnostics.... WHAT??  I perked up. This guys starts explaining how some agnostics become the way they are.  He said a lot of times deep pain is the beginning of unbelief. Wouldn't you know it... Andy lost his mom to cancer at age 9 and he has always wondered why God didn't answer his prayers and heal her. Then he starts giving practical steps to impacting an agnostic for Christ, loving them, being in relationship with them, listening more talking less, not pushing the gospel on them, getting into the Word and other resources about apologetics... but most of all trusting that the Holy Spirit will move and there will come a tipping point when they experience the realness of God.
 
It was as if God was speaking directly to my heart, saying... see I heard you last night...  I haven't forgotten your struggle or where Andy is. I just was so encouraged and lifted that this isn't my battle but God's. I feel like God is preparing a prayer strategy for me that is very specific to my husband. I've been trying to pray for him consistently every day on my drive in to work since I started a new job. I just want to up my game and do my part to cover him in prayer.
 
So that's it!! Just wanted to share that with someone :)  Just remember it's not our battle alone, but God's.
 
-Alissa
 
About Alissa: 
Married to my high school sweetheart and a mom to two energetic boys. Lakeville MN is where I call home, most summer days you can find me outside taking pictures of sunsets or collecting rocks.

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Knowing God's Voice

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

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

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

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

Thanks for listening, my friends!
Dineen

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When Your Spouse Walks Away From God

Ps34-22My friends, as you can see from the title, we tackling a very difficult and painful topic today. It’s one I think we should address as it’s something many of you are living out. And one of you even asked for this subject to be addressed on our recent survey.

Please. Please talk about spouses leaving the faith. — Kelly

So, let me first say to Kelly and all those SUMites out there in this same position that I am so sorry. The closest I can come to relate to this kind of situation is how I felt when my husband made the choice of atheism. He’d recently bought a Bible, and I was convinced he would soon join me in this faith journey. Needless to say I was devastated. 

But God helped me let go of my expectations and to trust Him to bring my marriage through to a place of peace. I had a lot to learn and as the believing spouse, God started with healing my heart first.

My friends, I’ve prayerfully sought the Holy Spirit’s council on what to write and how to help those of you in this position. Though I don’t have first hand experience with this, I can imagine the pain, rejection and betrayal that rushes in to fill the gap once occupied by a united faith. And that is the place that we should start to address this kind of situation, because until all of the pain, heartache and betrayal is brought to God and addressed, the marriage is hindered and healing can’t easily begin.

Forgiveness Is a Daily Choice

As I shared from my own story, I had to let go of my expectations of what I thought my marriage would be like. That also meant I had to release my husband from those expectations. For many of you, this will mean forgiving your spouse for their choice to walk away from God and from a life of shared faith. Release them from the debt you may hold against them as well—for not meeting your expectation.

When you’ve made these decisions, make the choice not to go back into unforgiveness. That will most likely be your greatest challenge as you continue to walk in a mismatched marriage. Remind yourself that you made the choice to forgive and that you are trusting God to mend your broken heart as He promises to do (Ps. 147:3) and remind the enemy too. 

Also, realize that their choice is not against you, though it may very well feel that way. That is not your burden to carry. Give that to God as well. And you didn’t cause this. You are not responsible for your spouse’s decision. God gave us each a free will to choose—or not to choose—Him. 

Then move forward. Your relationship with God is your own. Continue to pursue your faith with all the fire and passion He has placed in you. 

Understanding the Situation and Applying Truth

First, remember that even though your spouse stopped believing (or think they do) in God, God never stops believing in them. They may walk away for a time but God does not leave them.

If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. — 2Tim 2:13 (ESV)

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.— Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)

Not even your spouse’s choice to walk away from God will separate God’s love from him or her. God’s love is not based upon us—how we act, believe, succeed, etc. It is completely based upon Who He is. He loved us first—not in response to our love. He is love and that is His character.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love. — 1 John 4:16a (ESV)

We love because he first loved us. — 1John 4:18 (ESV)

Second, don’t make assumptions. The biggest pitfall I can foresee here is false assumptions as to the “why” behind your spouse’s decision. Most of the time, when I delve a little deeper, seeking better understanding from the person or God (or both), I discover details I never would have known otherwise. And those specifics can make a huge difference in how you relate to your spouse.

I know this will be difficult, but ask your spouse to help you understand where they are coming from. This is where I suggest you pray first, asking God to prepare your heart and your spouse’s for this conversation. What you find out may very well surprise you. Be prepared to bring what he or she shares to God also. You are now being called to intercede for your spouse at a whole new level.  

Their reasons may include things like:

  • Anger at the church. Sometimes we misplace our faith in people instead of God. So when they let us down, we reject God instead of realizing that we’ve put God-like expectations on an imperfect human being. No church is perfect. And it’s very possible a spirit of religion is at work here. It’s very possible your spouse has operated more under the law instead of grace.
  • Anger at God for not meeting their expectations. This is where disappointment moves in, and I believe many of us have walked this road. I know I have. What I discovered is that my expectations were based upon my own thoughts and determinations of how I thought the situation should be. Thus when it didn’t pan out that way, I was grew disappointed. This is where is it so vital that we know God’s character and that He is always working for our good (Rom. 8:28), no matter what things look like. (This one applies to us as well—we can be angry at God for what’s happened in our marriage. Be honest with Him. He can handle your anger and help you walk out of it in greater trust and faith.)
  • Feeling they can never measure up so why bother. This ultimately has a lot to do with identity—who do you believe you are and who do you believe God is for you. If you don’t know God’s character and don’t understand His love for you, you fall into a place of trying to earn His love and to “get right” with God. In our own power and ability, we can’t achieve that. God knew that and thus why He sent His Son Jesus to take care of it once and for all. Grace is a gift, and salvation is all about His love and willingness to die rather than to lose us. If we don’t understand that it has nothing to do with our own efforts and merits, we struggle to fully receive God’s love and can’t walk fully into the confidence that we are truly loved.
  • Deception. We know the truth of John 10:10, that the enemy prowls looking for a way to steel our Christ-given power, to kill our hopes and to destroy our faith so we are not walking in the truth of who we really are. But Jesus is greater. The rest of this verse is where you want to camp, my friends.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. — John 10:10b-11

SUMites, these reasons may very well be what keeps your spouse from even considering Christianity, church and all they believe comes with it. God has been so misrepresented by the ones who are supposed to represent Him best. But don’t lose hope. God always has a plan.

When Restoration Comes

And it will. Believe God for that. Stand for it. But most of all, don’t carry your expectations from the past into this new place. God is all about the new (Isa. 43:19), and He has a new plan of action for the both of you that way exceeds those old expectations. Don’t limit Him. Don’t limit what He can do in and through you—both of you—no matter where you are in this process. God completes everything He starts. Everything.

And He doesn’t move backwards. Even though you may feel you’ve lost ground or have been knocked off your feet, His plans for restoration always include more. He’s not going to make you start all over. Everything He set into place for you is still there and He will help you step back into it. No matter how long it takes. He’s on your side. Always.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. — Psalm 34:18-19 (ESV)

The Lord redeems the life of his servants. — Psalm 34:22a (ESV)

Yes, God not only redeems us, He redeems our lives and everything in them. He’s so good! 

My friends, I’m sure there is much more to this topic than what I’ve covered here. If you are in such a place and walking this challenging road, please share what you’ve learned that has helped you move forward in faith in your marriage. I’ve no doubt your words of encouragement will reach a heart in need. 

SUMites, you are amazing people of God! I love you!
Dineen

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Receive This From God's Heart...

My precious friends, last week God dropped this into my spirit and I've held it close, waiting for Him to tell me to share it. So read this and receive it from His heart to yours. 

Love you so much!
Dineen

This is My time of restoration and establishing My children in My timeline for them.

Look for the revelations of My heart, of My love. I have situated you in the midst of these revelations. One simply has to look.

There is no need or room for doubt. Remember, My love conquers all and My love lives in you—My Son. That is what makes you more than a conqueror. You are My child. Mine.

My love far outweighs the cares of this world and all the burdens you perceive. Apply My love to every one of them—to everything—like a salve. The name of Jesus and My love are one in the same. Understand this and you will have the greatest weapon, prayer strategy, comfort and peace than you have every known or realized.

Let Me reassure you of this: You lack nothing. I do not ill-equip My children. You have everything you need already. Just believe and tap into it. Ask and receive. It is My delight to give it to you.

Now is not the time to squander what I’ve given you by living in fear and doubt. Even in the remnants of your mind there can be no place for this. Not when I’ve given you everything. Everything. The very heavens are yours! Why else would I teach you to pray “on earth as it is in heaven”?

You are completely established in My righteousness. From this place you cannot fail. I’ve set you up for complete success. Be bold. Have fun. Walk in wonder.

And above all, know My goodness is perfect, unflawed—brilliant like a perfect diamond. I’m giving you jewels, my children, I’m giving you jewels.

IMG_0079

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Standing in Truth

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

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

Seeing Our Spouse Like God Does (intro)

How Sturdy Is Your Seat?

Walking in Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore,…— Eph 6:10-14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resurrection, raise up, stand up.

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

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

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

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

By God’s Spirit. Believe Him.

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

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

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

Jesus is His promise to you. Jesus.

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

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

Just say Jesus, SUMites! Jesus!!!!

Love you!
Dineen

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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

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

For such a time as this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But now, we are moving into a Mordecai time. 

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

It is the new.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMites, we’ve been given the signet ring!

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

Love you dearly!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

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An Astonishing Move of God and a Song

IMG_5694
This picture hangs above my prayer wall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He wanted me to sing the song too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you like crazy!
Dineen

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Lenten Reflections: Week 5 - Slow down

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Photo courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lynn and Dineen are supplying such wonderful teaching and inspiration that I sensed the Lord simply wanted to encourage us today. 

We can get caught up striving during Lent. Have you felt that pull? To be working harder at getting something more out of this season as we approach Holy Week and Easter. To feel closer to the Lord, to be different. Yes? I hear little whispers suggesting there should be something more.

 

Heart Preparation

Giving up things and applying greater focus to spiritual disciplines is a good thing.

“Disciplines are not the answer; they only lead us to the Answer.” (Richard Foster)

They’re helping open our heart, a spring clean if you will, so that we can experience more of Him.

Meditation

Today may I suggest you spend less time focusing on the process of Lent, the giving up and doing stuff, but rather simply contemplate Jesus.

I’ve always loved this verse from Zephaniah:

“The Lord your God is with you,

    the Mighty Warrior who saves.

He will take great delight in you;

    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,

    but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zeph 3:17 NIV)

Allow yourself a few moments to be delighted in. Yes, you are His beloved! And our God delights in you and rejoices in you with singing.

Picture that in your mind: Jesus and an angelic choir singing over you.

Let go of all that is going on, the madness of your day, the kiddies raging around the house desperate for something, that work deadline that is edging ever closer, or whatever.

Simply sit or lie or gaze – and allow your Lord to cherish you.

Grace and peace, dear friends.

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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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LOVE > fear

LOVEHello, my friends. On Sunday, my pastor started us out in Isaiah, which made me chuckle—seems many of us are planted in the book of Isaiah right now. Makes sense when we tune in to see what God is doing right now…and how He’s working. 

Today I want to share another part of Isaiah as a prayer, but first I have a question for you today.

Are you battling fear?

I have a feeling there are a lot of you out there nodding your heads. In fact, I’m almost certain all of us have battled fear at some point in our lives. Fear became a very real and present challenge for me in early 2014, along with anxiety attacks that would last for hours. I’d never in my life experienced anything like it. 

But God was and is faithful. He told me then He’d be my healer and He was. And when the enemy tries to rear it up again, I know the truth, that God’s love truly does cast out all fear. 

This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. — 1John 4:17-18 (NIV)

LOVE > fear. Always.

One aspect that my pastor pointed it out is that the word ‘perfect’ in Greek means complete. So how is God’s love perfected in us? We all want to know and feel God’s love. I know I do. And we can ask for that, ask for Him to show us His love for us, reveal His presence, His heart for us. But it doesn’t stop there. When we express/show/share God’s love with another person (our spouse, friend, neighbor), God’s love is perfected in us. 

Think about it this way. God’s love is actually always in us. His Spirit is in us, therefore so is His love. We can ask for it feel more present, more alive, to operate more in it and to share it. And that’s the deal here. His love isn’t just meant to flow between us and Him. It’s also intended to be shared with others. That’s the full circle, so to speak, and what 1 John 4 is all about. 

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. — 1 John 4:19-20

And our love is our greatest weapon, whether we are giving it to God in worship or pouring it our on another person. My friends, our faith reminds the enemy of his destruction, and our love sends him running in his own fear! Fear and love simply can’t coexist. Love literally drives fear away. That is powerful! God’s love is the most powerful force on earth, because HE. IS. LOVE.

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. — Phil. 1:27-28 (ESV)

So when the enemy tries to make me afraid, I refuse him and I dwell in God’s love. I speak it out. I declare the truth. And I am set free. 

Love is the solution to fear. So next time you feel fear coming on, think about God and how much He loves you, adores you, lives as love in you and thinks on you with uncountable thoughts of love! (Psalm 139:17)

Think about your spouse and how much you love him or her, think about your children and how much you love them, or love on your pooch or kitty (I’m serious!). Ever notice how you much better you feel when you help someone in need? When we express love, fear flees!

Now about that prayer. This one is a promise from God about fear and it applies to our children too.

All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
and great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established;
you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
and from terror, for it shall not come near you. — Isaiah 54:13-14

Let’s pray it as a response and declaration like this:

Almighty Lord, thank You for teaching my children,
and for giving them great peace.
Thank You that You are establishing me, my spouse and my children in righteousness.
(also part of our 1 Car 7:14 promise)
Oppression will be far removed and we will not fear.
Fear and terror can no longer come near us.
In the mighty name of Jesus, amen!

SUMites, I leave you with these two powerful Scriptures as well.

Do everything in love. — 1 Cor. 16:14 (NIV)

Let love be your highest goal! — 1 Cor. 14:1 (NLT)

Those are my mottos, my friends! I love you, I love you, I love you. And thank you for loving me.
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. 

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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.

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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.

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“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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Guest Post: The Magnificent Vine by Dee Rusnak

Dear Friends, Dee sent me this piece she wrote and it fits so well with our healing series and who Jesus is, our vine! Thank you, Dee! Love you, SUMites! ~Dineen

 

The Magnificent Vine 

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

On our way driving through the mountains of Pennsylvania recently, I gazed at the wooded areas alongside the highway. Everything was buried in a foot of snow that had fallen just a few days before. I was drawn to the effects of the snow on the trees as they stood cold and motionless. Some trees, too weak to stand under the heaviness of the snow, had slumped into what appeared as the "arms" of other trees. It was as though these trees were there for the sole purpose of support…a band of stronger brothers catching, holding, and keeping the weaker ones close. Many had fallen completely, possibly lying there forgotten for years.

Nestled among the tall leafless trees were the pines who tell quite a different story. The wee ones resembled little children straining to keep their branches from buckling beneath the burdensome snow. However, they gave the impression they were quite determined to hold this weight….as if vying for the Guinness record. The larger more mature evergreens emerged strong and confident, as the piles of heavy snow graced their branches.

During the warmer months of summer, my grandsons visited the local state park where the ranger explained how trees communicate with one another through an underground network well hidden from the eyes of humans. Their root systems are linked together, making them stronger as they mature, feeding the needs of others, and more importantly, warning them of impending dangers.

Jesus is our magnificent and powerful Vine from which we grow. The mighty Trunk. The solid Rock. “Abide in Me,” He beckons, “for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15) Our branch was birthed by the Vine Himself as well as producing the fruit on it. As we remain in the Vine being one with Him, we find strength, courage, wisdom, understanding…all that is necessary to mature and flourish. “He sent from above, He took me, drawing me out of many waters, delivering me from my strong enemy…I will enlighten your darkness; arm you with strength…I am your help and will never leave or forsake you…you are My servant whom I have chosen, fear not, for I am with you, I will strengthen you, yes I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand…I will give power to the weak and to those who have no might I increase strength…He delivered me because He delighted in me.” (Psalms 18, 27, Isaiah 41)

Although in this life the snow storms may initiate, the exasperating bugs may infiltrate, weakness may penetrate, disease may permeate, burdens may arrogate, we find ourselves slumped into the arms of those who are stronger because they, too, were once here and found strength in the Vine. We allow ourselves to be upheld, while on other occasions we are the ones upholding others. It’s who we are. “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) Together we take these burdens to the Cross where they’re unloaded and cast off. “Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

As we sometimes resemble shaken bystanders seeing our unsaved loved ones lay helplessly fallen, the Holy Spirit from within activates our diligent and earnest prayers which swiftly rise to His inclined ears filling our hearts with the confidence and trust that His promised help will come to pass. “Blessed be the Lord, because He has heard the voice of my supplications! The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him and I am helped; therefore, my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.” (Psalm 28:6-7)

Beneath the Vine is an extraordinary network hidden from the eyes of this world where our roots are permanently linked together by His Word, and everything we could possibly need is supplied by it. It feeds, nourishes, and transforms us into His new creation. It protects, warns of impending danger, giving wisdom, comfort, courage and strength. God uses this remarkable system to bring His message of hope to us and to this fallen world. “Establish Your word to Your servant, who is devoted to fearing You…for Your word has given me life…oh, how I love Your word! It is my meditation all the day…You are my hiding place and my shield, I hope in Your word…my heart stands in awe of Your word…all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (Psalm 119; 2 Timothy)

Dee and JerryDee Rusnak and her husband, both retired, live in Westerville, Ohio. They have three grown sons and four adorable grandchildren (with another on the way this summer)!

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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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SUMite Fast 2017: Day Three, Anointing Oil

Isa10-27
This verse has been pinned to my prayer board for weeks.

My friends, we are already on day three of our prayer and fasting. Please share what God is showing and/or telling you. Your testimony may be the very piece another SUMite needs to help her or him connect the dots of what God is revealing. I’m finding myself in that place again where God is connecting dots again and revealing answers to prayers. I’m so very encouraged especially for my children and hope to share more soon on what’s happening. 

Plus, our first night of fasting from television turned out to be such a precious time for my hubby and I. We played games and didn’t miss watching it at all. I am amazed by that, my friends. I know the Holy Spirit gave me grace for that. Plus I had time to spend in His presence later in the evening too. So so good…

And I will say I’m finally seeing breakthrough in a place I’ve been praying over for more than two years now. This and answers to prayers I received on Sunday are like cool, fresh water to my thirsty spirit. Boy howdie, my spirit was thirstier than I realized. How about you?

My friends, let’s continue to press in and contend for what God is giving us this week. Even if you aren’t seeing anything shift yet, don’t despair and don’t compare. Every breakthrough and promise from God is unique and comes in His packaging, not our expectations. Remember chapters two and three…pray, believe…

Read chapters seven through nine in Winning Them With Prayer. Lynn’s prayer using 1 Cor. 7:14 is so powerful! Our power-passage! This is our place of authority and brings power to our prayers. Remember that your prayers for your spouse sanctify them, which according to the Greek translation of that word means that God has laid a claim upon them to be set apart for Him. That is what your prayers do for spouse and loved ones, SUMites!

And now I want to leave you with a verse that has become HUGE in my life. Several weeks ago one of our directors at the healing rooms I work at gave me this verse with the instructions, “God wants you to meditate on it.”

It’s a powerful verse, my friends. That same day God told me what He wanted me to know regarding it and just yesterday, He confirmed it in a very unexpected way. Now I would like you to meditate upon it, SUMites.

It shall come to pass in that day
That his burden will be taken away from your shoulder,
And his yoke from your neck,
And the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil. — Isaiah 10:27

I love you, SUMites! I pray your week is filled with new revelations and promises from the Lord. I pray your fasting becomes joyful and a delight as you press closer to God. I pray that this week sets the stage for an entire year of breakthroughs for you, your family and this entire community. 

And Lord, I pray that very SUMite would be freshly anointed in Your holy oil. In the mighty and powerful name of Jesus, amen!

Love and hugs!
Dineen

 

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