65 posts categorized "Glimpses of God"

The Book of Esther: Enemies Destroyed and a New Holiday

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

For such a time as this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you, SUMites! Great things are happening!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

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The Book of Esther: The Queen Risks Everything

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

For such a time as this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

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The Book of Esther: Haman's Plot and Mordecai's Plea

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

For such a time as this…

SUMites, are you as riveted by this story as I am? The intrigue thickens as we walk into chapter three. Mordecai continues to refuse to bow to Haman or explain why to the other gate officials when asked. These men bring this to Haman's attention to see if it will be tolerated. 

Sound familiar? Everyone watched to see if former Queen Vashti's refusal of the king would be tolerated as well. All eyes are on the king waiting to see precedent set. We see the same mentality today in our own political arenas, my friends. It's like a pack mentality. 

Haman is now alert to Mordecai's ongoing refusal and is enraged. He has learned who Mordecai's people are and decides he the idea of just killing Mordecai isn't enough. He wasn't to eliminate all the Jews. 

There is history in the works here as well, my friends. Haman is described as the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, in the beginning of chapter three. It's likely this refers to King Agag, king of Amalek. The Amalekites were the ones who attacked the Israelites after they fled Egypt. Exodus 17:16 says, "The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation." 

This history no doubt influence Haman's and Mordecai's view of each, I believe. Bad blood, so to speak, raised it's ugly head and determined destruction was the only answer. In the twelfth year of King Xerxes reign (and Esther's seventh as queen), they (which is unclear who) cast the pur, which means "the lot."

Pur, or lots, were either sticks with markings or stones with symbols that were thrown into a small area and then the result was interpreted. It’s also where the name of the Jewish celebration Purim comes from, which we will discuss more later in this story. 

This is how Haman determined the exact date of the demise of the Jews. Once he did this, he manipulated the king to agree by describing the Jews scattered all over the his provinces as a threat to his reign. Haman even offers the king a large sum of money out of his own wealth to fund the cause. King Xerxes hands over his signet ring, which was used to mark official documents with the official seal and authority of the king, tells him to keep his money and "do with the people as you please." (Esther 3:11)

Then the king's scribes were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king's satraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the officials of all the peoples, to every province in its own script and every people in its own language. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king's signet ring. Letters were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces with instruction to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province by proclamation to all the peoples to be ready for that day. The couriers went out hurriedly by order of the king, and the decree was issued in Susa the citadel. And the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion. — Esther 3:12-15 (ESV)

Did you catch that last line? The entire city was thrown into confusion. Clearly this decree baffled the people with its instructions to destroy an entire people group. Can you imagine what those from other nationalities thought? Would they be next? Israel wasn’t the only nation conquered by King Xerxes. 

At the start of chapter four the news sends Mordecai into a traditional expression of grief in the Near East. He dons sackcloth and ashes and walks through the city crying and weeping loudly. And he was not the only one. Jews everywhere were doing the same thing. 

The news deeply distressed Esther, but what could she do? The king still didn’t know she was Jewish—no one did except Mordecai. She sends the eunuch Hathach (how many of these guys does one palace need?) to bring Mordecai proper clothing but he refuses them. My guess is she wanted to protect her cousin from scrutiny and further harm.

Through Hathach, Mordecai gives Esther the full picture, even to the amount of money Haman had offered the king. Speculation says the king’s initial refusal was just customary and that he did accept the money based upon Esther 4:7. But I’m thinking at this point, surely Hathach must know more about Esther’s true heritage as the go between here. In her seven-year-reign, she’s surely surrounded herself with trusted advisors and confidants. 

Now here’s where we find out two interesting details. No one, not even the queen, can go to the king without being summoned. To do so is to risk of death. If the king doesn’t want to talk to you and doesn’t extend his scepter, you are condemned to death (vs. 4:11).

We also find out Esther hasn’t seen the king in a month. They’ve been married now for seven years, remember? Could it be the king was growing tired of her? (Maybe the seven-year-itch existed even then!) How could Queen Esther not wonder if that were the case? It’s no wonder she felt her life could be at risk. 

But Mordecai, as he seems to always do, gives her the full perspective. Even though she is the queen, she is still a Jew and will not escape what is about to happen to her people. In other words, her life was already forfeited as it stood. Yet Mordecai does something genius here, my friends. He turns the perspective on end. 

Instead of declaring death over their lives, he brings a different possibility to the forefront. What if all that had happened to Esther was to bring her to a place to ultimately help her people?

For such a time as this…

And take notice here that neither Esther or Mordecai question the presence of God in this situation. They don’t even doubt His presence. It is assumed God is there, and they will do their part by fasting and praying.

At the end of chapter four we watch Esther rise to the call and tell Mordecai to gather the Jews in Susa to fast and pray for three days. Now she is the one giving the orders to Mordecai, and he is the one obeying. Esther has chosen not only to position herself in the full authority of her place as queen, but to use it to benefit her people. No matter the risk.

SUMites, we’ve talked in the past about how similar our roles are to Esther. She was most definitely mismatched in that she was married to someone who didn’t share her faith. Yet she ultimately held a great place of influence as she put her faith in God to uphold and save her. And ultimately justify her as well. At times we too stand in a precarious place, unsure whether to speak at the risk of losing the favor of our spouse, or to remain silent. But look closely, my friends, and see if there is a Mordecai there, pointing in the right direction. He can be the leading of the Holy Spirit, a timely placed person who speaks truth like a mentor, a circumstance or even a moment that clearly calls us to rise to the place God is calling us to. He speaks to our hearts and says, “Come up here!”

My friends, we see God meet Esther with strength, courage and provision so that she can rise and walk the path she is called to. God has placed her for that such a time as this moment, my friends, just as we are in the lives of our spouses and even more. So much more, SUMites. That’s part of that big revelation that I told you about. We’re almost there. You are going to love it!

Big hugs!
Dineen

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Waiting on the Promises with Hope

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My advent wreath—the first candle lit represents hope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love you all so much,
Dineen

 

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Moving Day!

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My daughter Leslie wrote this in the entry.

SUMites, today’s the big day. As you read this, hubby and I are moving into our new home. I can’t begin to tell you how excited we are. I can’t wait to pray over the Scriptures you sent as I sit in my “war room,” knowing those same words that are written on the interior beams of the house. Yes, I will have a small room that I can call my “war room,” my friends, where I can meet with God and pin my prayer concerns to a big bulletin board I can’t wait to design. Have any ideas on that? Send them to me or leave them in the comments.

I don’t fully understand what God is doing in this symbolic representation our home and our SUM family. I can only tell you that He has some crazy big kingdom purposes for this house. Already I can see people in our home for Bible study and ministry, and many coming to Christ in those times. I can see people being baptized in our swimming pool(a standard feature here in Florida) and people in our neighborhood being drawn to this home that holds the presence of the Holy Spirit, because deep in their soul they know something’s missing and they want—need—that hope. 

But you know what absolutely brings me to tears of joy? I believe this is what God is doing in all of us and all our homes. I can’t tell you how I know that, I just do. I firmly believe God’s word to me about this latter house being greater than the former is symbolic of what God is doing in the “House of S.U.M. too.”

“The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace,” declares the Lord of hosts. — Haggai 2:9

And that is a word I want to release over each of you today. 

Abba Father, thank You for the promise of Your Word. We pray in agreement that the latter glory of the House of S.U.M. and every SUMite’s home will be greater than the former. We dedicate this ministry and our homes to You for Your kingdom purposes and for Your glory alone. Lord, we ask that the heavens would open even wider over this church without walls and each of our homes to pour out more of Your presence, provision and blessings so that the world will take notice—our spouses, our children, our families and friends, and even our neighbors. And fill our homes with peace, Lord! Great peace! In the name of Jesus, amen!

SUMites, I have more hope to share with you next week. So much more! I’m praying already that it will knock your socks off. I believe it’s the next part of “moving day” and some pretty amazing things God is going to be doing.

Love you!
Dineen

Here are a few of the Scriptures written on the beams. :-)

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A Glimpse of Heaven

October 12, 2012, was THEE day.

My entire universe altered as I stood in worship at Open Heavens and experienced the Presence of God. Dineen too was forever changed that day. Our ministry was forever changed and I pray that many of you have received encouragement and have experienced a change in your life because of that day.

This year was my fifth-anniversary visit. It always amazes me that Bill remembers me and our ministry. He truly cares for all of us who walk this difficult road, the spiritually mismatched.

I want to share some glimpses of the week. And share one moment that God gifted to me.

Meet Edna, Sandy, Evelyn, Grace and Maria. These five ladies came all the way from North Carolina.

Edna Sandy Evelyn Grace Maria

They came because of Evelyn, who is on the far right, a SUMite and she had read about my adventures on the blog in years past. 

Amazing things happened with these ladies. Like when Evelyn asked for prayer for her hearing loss. As I stood next to her, waiting for the pastor to instruct us to pray, Evelyn looks up at me and says, “I feel heat on my right ear. Heat.”

I am teary with joyous excitement as I reply to her, “Your healing is happening and we haven’t even started to pray yet.” After prayer, she said she experienced a popping sound and her hearing was improved.

I remain utterly mystified how God heals but I'm undone to be allowed to pray and to be a conduit to miracles is….. well….. I have no language to explain. God just ROCKS!!! 

I share some photos below along with one personal story. It's not often that I consider the efforts of my life on earth. I serve the Lord out of love and passion, to empower and strengthen the Saints. So, I was undone on Wednesday. Let me explain. October of 2012 was my first year. In 2013, I invited a woman named Sue. Her life was forever changed. In 2014, 2015 and this year she invited more and more people. I invite people. And they joined us on the adventure this year.

During worship on Wednesday, Sue stepped back to where I was standing and whispered, “Lynn, look down these two rows of people.”

I looked down the rows at a collection of people and children. There were 31 people in our group and others around the auditorium that were in attendance because I took a chance. God heard my call, felt my hunger, for MORE of Him. And through the wildest of circumstances and convincing Dineen to go on this wild adventure with me, we came to Open Heavens in 2012 and set in motion life-change for many others.

Sue went on to say, “These rows of people who are here, experiencing healing and a renewal of their faith, Lynn, they are the fruit. The fruit of your life.”

I burst into uncontrolled sobs.

Even now a lump is in my throat. I don’t often consider the fruit of my life, but on this particular day, the Lord in His great love allowed me a glimpse. I am unraveled.

My friends, once in a while, a glimpse of our efforts is worth months and months of contending in our struggles. I pray this week that God gives you a glimpse of all that your life is pouring into others. And let me assure you of this. If you are spiritually mismatched, your life IS pouring into others.

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This is Sue. She prays for hours for people while we wait in line.

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SUMite: Evelyn recognized me coming out of a port-o-potty... A blessing indeed.

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I was praying for people in line and this wonderful woman from Australia asked me to pray for her.

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Some of our group. They came from as far as the UK. That Is SUMite, Jim Edwards, in the back.

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This is Gracie Wright.  She is an author of children's books. We were in line at O'Dark 30. Someone brought donuts.

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Lynn, Bill, Stone

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Jenn Johnson and Stone. They have a new album soon and it's awesome.

They shared several new songs from their new album that will be out in a few months. The song, He's In The Waiting, is utterly transformative. Stay tuned.  

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My travel companion this year.

 IMG_4377These girls stood up in the conference. They attended with their parents who live in Colorado. Both girls eyesight was miraculously healed last year. Girls Eyesight Healed by God.

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SUMites: Lynn and Jim Edwards

  

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FRUIT: I'm undone!

My friends, God is on the move. Hang on because we are bearing witness to the church arising, awakening and impacting our world.  

We are the church of the Most High God. And I believe we are going to quickly be the church of the book of Acts. Hang on because IT'S THE BEST RIDE EVER!!

I pray you are overwhelmed with wave after wave of His love today. Hugging you, Lynn 

*****

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The Tale of Two Houses

NewHouseMy friends, I pray you are still discovering sweet revelations and blessings from last week's fasting and praying for Rosh Hashanah. Dawn did an amazing job leading us. Thank you, my friend! We love you so much! 

And my friends, your comments were moving and inspiring. If you didn't read Ann's comment about her revelation dream for us that she posted on Thursday, please go read it in the comments. It's very encouraging and confirmed many things for me. In fact, God used her comment and Dawn's story about her house to show me what I was to share with you next. 

Can I just say, I love our Father's heart for us and our spouses? He is so passionate about us, my friends! I'm overwhelmed by His love and heart for us.

Now about our house...we are just 16 days away from closing. We have watched our house transform from a cement slab and framed walls to a nearly completed home full of details—cabinets, counters, painted walls and landscaping. My husband and I are so excited that we go by our house about twice a day just to see what new things have been done that day.

Now something happened early on in this process that came full circle just a week ago and God has show me it's a word for us. But first, I need to tell you a story of how this all began.

Back in 2004...

My husband and I decided it was time to buy a house. We'd moved back to the U.S. (to California) from Switzerland two years prior and had rented a house so we could get acquainted with the area and figure out where we wanted to settle. However, as you may or may not know, the housing prices in California were/are quite high. And the houses that were in our budget sold fast, usually through bidding wars.

One Sunday I went to church full of despair. We'd not found a house and had decided we would continue renting. I asked my Sunday school group to pray for us. We planned to check one more area that afternoon, but if that didn't pan out, we'd call our landlord and negotiate another lease.

That afternoon we drove to the area a friend had suggested but didn't find it. We had a fairly small area to work in because of our oldest daughter's high school district. When we reached that outer street, we resigned ourselves to just go home.

Just a few blocks down, we saw an open house sign on a house that was just renovated and hadn't even been officially listed yet. We debated stopping and finally did. 

My friends, I kid you not, as I walked into that house and barely saw more than just the front living area, I said to my husband, "This is our house."

We contacted our realtor, who was (is) a believer and told her to make an offer. And then we went to war. Several offers came in for that house. We'd offered the full asking price but knew the chances were slim to get it. Mike and discussed offering more and decided we'd take the risk. Our budget would be stretched, and we weren't sure how we'd do it, but my ever-optimist husband said we'd figure out a way. 

I called our realtor and asked if we should offer more. She asked for a little time to pray about it. A half hour later she called and agreed it was a good plan. Then we waited. 

The next day my husband came home with a story of his own. He'd received an unexpected raise that day, and it was exactly what we would need to afford the higher price mortgage. 

We got the house. SUMites, every time I looked at our house after that, all I saw in my mind was this big red bow around it, because it was a gift from God. We walked through a lot in that house (including the miracles of my daughter’s cancer recovery) and God us blessed us richly, even in the sale of the home to a sweet family with a little boy.

Now, fast forward to our house we are building now. As I shared in my post in July, God showed me this new house is a also a gift from His hand and that I was to rejoice in it. 

On September 8th, God led me to the book of Haggai. 

"'The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’” — Haggai 2:9 ESV

As I read this, I began to tremble, my friends. That may sound crazy, but I knew that God had spoken something very deep to my spirit. And He reminded me of two other times this Word was spoken over me in the last year and half. Now He was affirming that the house He was giving us  ow and all that He has planned and purposed for it (which He's given me just a glimpse of His kingdom plans there and let me just say, "WOW!") will be greater than our former house.

SUMites, as I have shared in this past, this new house has become a monument of God's presence, provision and plans for this community. Our SUM family.

This word, that our latter "home" will be greater than our former one is for all of us. Ann's comment last week confirmed this for me. And showed me now was the time to share it as we near the completion of this home.

But God has given me another specific word, my friends. One that starts with an event that would require me to forgive someone connected to the completion of this home for lying and breaking our trust. It's a crazy story of God's unexpected justice and protection of His provision and plans. You will be utterly amazed.

Please be sure to come back for the rest of this story on Friday and to hear God's heart for us right now. This is a message you don’t want to miss, straight from the Father’s heart.

We are on the precipice, my friends. I know it's challenging to be on the mountain top with an assuredness and determination to pray into what God reveals to us, then to wait and pray, wait and pray, wait and pray and not see any visible change. But let me be the voice of truth to you and reassure you that our God is working diligently to bring forth His promise in reply to our prayers. 

Today I'm asking you to make a new declaration in the comments that you trust the Lord for all that He has promised you because He is your God.

But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” — Psalms 31:14

Declare what you are trusting Him for too, my friends. Let's speak out into the natural what God is setting into place in the heavens! (Heb. 11:3)

I love you, SUM family. Please know that I am faithfully praying Jer. 24:7 and the Scriptures you sent me over you and your spouse. God is faithful to His Word!
~ Dineen

 

*****

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Foundations Series: A Monument for the SUMites

HouseHello SUM family! I hope your 4th of July celebration was full of fireworks, yummy food and family fun. My house was packed with close to thirty people (including my daughter Leslie who’s here for a visit!), which equated to me making a lot of hamburgers! The aroma of grilled burgers and hotdogs still lingers in the air here. How about you? 

Last week I laid the foundation (yes, pun intended) for this Foundations Series. And left you with a bit of a cliff hanger, didn’t I? Blame the fiction writer in me. It’s in my genes. Giggling just a bit here.

So, as I shared last week, my husband and I are building a house here. There is a God story behind this that is truly amazing and is part of this foundation theme. You see, roughly 26 years ago we moved away from Sarasota and family to find a better place for our growing family. At the early buddings of our careers, we couldn’t afford to buy a house. Though we loved being near our families, we didn’t see much of a future here. We moved away and lived in many places, including Switzerland for a short time.

Fast forward to the end of 2010. We (me, hubby and our girls) drove to Florida from California to spend Christmas with family. One day as I sat with my mother and my youngest daughter, we prayed a prayer that God answered so fast it made my head spin, yet would take four years to fully manifest.

I wanted to move back to Florida. My husband adamantly did not. Yet that day my mother, daughter and I prayed for God to soften my husband’s heart about moving back. Three days later hubby and I left the kids with the grandparents to run an errand and have a few minutes alone. Mike’s unusual silence told me something was on his mind. 

Suddenly he asked, “How would you feel about moving back to Florida?” 

I was so stunned I couldn’t speak a coherent word for about three minutes! Little did I know that the next four years would be filled with some tough times for us financially and would just about make me lose hope in that dream becoming a reality. Then everything “suddenly” fell into place.

So we’ve come full circle. From unable to buy a house here near our families to now building a home big enough to host family get togethers and holiday celebrations. This is part of my Jubilee year promise God gave me. (Lev 25:8-13)

In the Year of Jubilee each of you may return to the land that belonged to your ancestors. — Lev 25:13

And also why I wanted that picture of our feet on the foundation of our house. Kind of silly, kind of fun, yet packed with meaning in light of the 26 years it took to return “home.” And there is so much more coming, my friends.

As we started this house process, God was showing me eagles in the Bible. I was praying that verse in Psalm 103 about renewing our youth like the eagles. Best aging remedy I know! One day we drove to our future neighborhood to see our empty lot, and there in the middle stood a bald eagle. I kid you not. 

God spoke to my heart that day a sweet confirmation that this was from His hand, His blessing and that I was to delight in it. He is so very good. So very generous.

And we are blessed to bless others, right? That was my inspiration behind a decision to share His generosity with this beautiful SUM family. 

We’re talking about foundational truths right now and salvation is one of them. More coming on that one, as I shared. But I wanted to create a monument to this, my friends. To God’s goodness and His salvation promise to us.

I just read about Jacob and and his Uncle Laban. Their story culminates in Genesis 31 with a pile of stones called Galeed, which means “witness pile” in Hebrew. I love monuments like these in the Bible, because they mark a moment of significance. Which is what I wanted to do with our new home, this community and our SALVATION word this year.

Package
Millers, Donovans and ENTIRE SUM NATION!

 

I printed out a copy of our 2016 SUM Word (see the sidebar if you haven’t read it) and wrote Lynn’s and my names on it along with our hubbies names too. And I wrote “The entire SUM Nation” with it. Then I tucked this along with a glass “stone” with Romans 8:28 engraved on the surface into a baggy.

This prophetic package is now part of the foundation of our house—our home. It is right at the corner of the entry to the house. 

IMG_4823The "promise package" is now a permanent part of the foundation, right at the entry to the house, under a "cornerstone."

 

Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. — Ephesians 2:20

Wow! That’s giving me Holy Spirit chill bumps! And you know what’s even more amazing about this story? My husband is the one who put it into the foundation for me. Is God astonishing or what?

Now there is one more part of this story that’s incomplete. As I was praying and worshiping last night, God showed me He wants to fill the walls of this house with Scriptures. 

From you. 

Has God given you a Scripture and promise for your spouse? Email it to me so I can write them on the beams of this “monument” house built on the foundational promise of SALVATION God has given us, set in the corner to represent Jesus as the cornerstone. I’ve already enlisted a team to help me do this too!

In late August we are scheduled to close and move into our house. But even as the walls are going up and the rest of the house is being completed, I will be walking the rooms of this house, praying the prayers you have sent me for your spouse. I don’t fully understand the meaning behind all this, but I know He is bringing us together in a powerful way and has even shown me this in a dream. What God has planned for us is glorious, my friends! Together, we are His house!

Love you so much!
Dineen

*****

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Part One: We are the SUMites

IMG_5100SUMites, today I want to remind you who you are. Holy Spirit has impressed this upon me right now in conjunction with our SALVATION word for this year. And if I sound like a broken record about that word, understand that the Lord has told me I am to continually hold this before you and remind you of it from time to time. He’s even given me specific things to do that I am waiting for Him to tell me when to share them.

But today He wants you to remember WHO you are. Who He says you are. Who He has created you to be in this time as a SUMite. 

Last April Holy Spirit had me sitting in the book of Isaiah, specifically Isaiah 60. At the end of this chapter I underlined the words and wrote “SUM” next to them. I knew that’s what God was creating us to be as community.

Today He brought me back to this verse and pointed out more that I didn’t understand last year. That’s because He is so much more brilliant than I am and has much better timing. LOL!

The smallest family will become a thousand people,and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation. At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen. — Isaiah 60:22

SUMites, I want to break this down because this will be just the first part of a series I feel—yes, very much feel—Holy Spirit is building to equip, train and prepare us for the full revelation of our salvation word. We are an army in training, so let’s get ready.

First, this is who we are as a community and what God has done and is doing in and through us.

The smallest family will become a thousand people…

We started with just a handful of “readers,” which then grew to be a community, then a family, as I shared that progression during last month’s celebration. Today that family includes over 2,000 people. God exceeded His quota, my friends. I find that incredibly fantastic and beyond what we could have asked or even imagined (Eph. 3:20).

and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation…

We hold an additional name along with SUMites—SUM Nation. A name that just seemed to fit was actually God’s plan for us. Isn’t that astonishing?

At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen.

That He did! And He is still doing it. Making us a mighty nation of women and men who have persevered in our faith and are praying, believing and standing for the salvation of our spouses. 

I believe this promise is now coming from heaven to earth. I see the progression so clearly and am excited to share that with you. In January, God gave us a corporate word—SALVATION—and specific ways to pray over our spouses and family. 

Do you remember earlier in the year when I wrote about paying attention to how we hear God and asked you to keep a journal of how and what God is speaking to you? Many of you shared you began to hear God more. And Lynn and I did the online web training last month too. What I realize now, my friends, is that was also part of God’s training and preparation for what’s coming. Isn’t that cool?

Last month we had an overwhelming response to the post about the one minute prayer, which we now have many praying for each other’s spouse and a team of intercessors who have answered God’s call to pray over the entire list. He’s united us into a mighty army of prayer warriors, my friends, and we will soon have a prayer book to prove it! 

And He’s not done. There is so much more, SUMites. I wish I could pour it into one post but it’s just too much. His promises have been put into position, and we are an important part of the realization of those promises for it is God’s nature to partner with His creation to bring into place His glorious plans.

God is not only in the process of training us, He is upgrading us. Taking us up to the next level. That is the next part of what God is showing me in Isaiah 60 and what I will share on Thursday, along with more encouragement for you regarding the increase in spiritual warfare many of us are experiencing.

I’ve started praying for testimonies to start coming in, and some have, mainly of how God has begun to move in marriages and loved ones. My friends, these are so encouraging! Please share in the comments anything God is doing in your life right now. Ask God to show you what He’s up too. The very thing you share, no matter how small, may be the confirmation another SUMite needs right now.

Lord Jesus, You have gifted us with eyes to see and ears to hear. Bless us all with more insight and wisdom to see where You are working and hear Your leading so we may join with You in this  wonder and miracle of the Great Harvest. In the mighty and saving name of Jesus, amen!

God bless you, SUMites, with great joy and wonder in Him today!
Love you!
Dineen

 

*****

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Reach for the Stars

ReachfortheStarsMy friends, we’ve already started to receive prayers from many of you for our new book, Praying for Your Unsaved Spouse. I’m hoping there are many more of you out there praying, considering and even writing your prayer story.

But if you’ve decided that’s just not something you can do, I want to tell you a little story. About a year or so after I rededicated my life to Jesus, my church started a Stephen Ministry and put a call out for participants. It was a two year commitment—a year of training and a year of service within the church. 

When I read it, I thought how wonderful that will be for our church membership, but I didn’t even consider signing up. I had two young children and a husband who didn’t share my faith at all. Didn’t seem like a good fit for me. How could I do something like that?

That same week, my pastor called me into his office to chat. He asked me if I’d considered signing up for the Stephen Ministry training. I told him honestly, no. He looked me straight in the face and asked, “Please pray about it.”

My friends, I was surprised that my pastor, who knew my situation and knew me, would think I’d be a good candidate for this. But I was very willing to pray about it. And that’s what I did the very next morning. 

I love the saying that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips those He calls. Jesus told the disciples not to worry about what to say but to trust that the Holy Spirit would give them the exact words they would need (Matt. 10:19, Mark 13:11, Luke 12:11).

That morning I sat in my favorite chair with my Bible in my lap, I began to pray about what my pastor had asked me. And before I could even finish my prayer, I heard God clearly say, “Well, what did you think I had in mind for you?”

You see, sometimes we disqualify ourselves for things because we haven’t done them before. Or we make assumptions that disqualify us that are completely contrary to God’s truth—and His plan—for us. 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. — Ephesians 2:10

My friends, if you think you are not qualified or capable of contributing to this project, please let me encourage you to seek God and ask Him. Let Him be the one to tell you what you are capable of. I have a feeling you will be very much surprised and delighted. And if you want some biblical inspiration of just how specific God can do this, read about Bezalel and Oholiab in Exodus 31. The only difference between them and you is that you already have the Holy Spirit living in you.

And I have a feeling there are prayers you haven’t thought about that have become near and dear to your heart. They don’t have to be about just salvation. How about prayers for your spouse to have favor at work or to be the best parent he or she can be with God’s help? We’ve seen God move in amazing ways through our spouses. What prayers have impacted your life as a SUMite? What prayers have impacted your marriage?

SUMites, I believe you have something to pray and say. Even if it’s something new that God inspires you with, share it! You’ll inspire more SUMites along this path than you will ever know. Like I say, God is not wasteful. He will take whatever you offer up to Him and multiply it beyond your wildest imagination (Eph 3:20)

I never imagined myself as a Stephen Minister, but God had planned it all along. And you know what’s even more amazing? All that training was part of God’s plan to bring me here too, to be a part of this beautiful SUM ministry. He’s the best equipper I know!

And I want to let you in on a little secret. As I was praying for this book and for our SUM family, Holy Spirit showed me there will be a sequel to this book—one filled with the salvation stories of our spouses! Can you imagine that, SUMites? Wow, God is on the move!

Holy Spirit, fill every SUMite praying this prayer with words and inspiration to be shared with those coming up behind us. I pray they be filled with wisdom, understanding and knowledge and with all kinds of words to express their heart and prayers. In the mighty and most able name of Jesus, amen!

Love you, SUM family!
Dineen

*****

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The Second Time We Met in Person

Imported Photos 00033Welcome back, SUMites, to our 10 Year Celebration and a walk down memory lane. In my last post I mentioned that it would be nearly three years before Lynn and I would meet in person, and the circumstances leading up to that started with you.

But let me go back a little farther in time before this second meeting. In the fall of 2008 my daughter Leslie was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Things happened fast those first few weeks with surgery dates, recovery and radiation treatments. 

During this time, Lynn was part of my support team and so was this blog and community. I found writing to be so helpful, and amazingly, it was during this time that I wrote The Soul Saver. God put that book on my heart and it was birthed out of my own life, marriage and the SUM ministry. I wanted to write that book for our community, and the front page bears a dedication to you, SUMites. I’m so thankful that was God’s plan all along too.

Not long after I finished that book, you started asking us for a Bible study about being spiritually mismatched. We listened, prayed and, boy-howdy, did God move. 

I remember being on the phone with Lynn, working out our chapters. By this time I’d written several fiction books and had an agent working on selling The Soul Saver. I’d never written a book with someone else and only dreamed of writing nonfiction at this point.

My friends, God again put all things into place. Lynn laid the foundation of the ten keys and we shared from our hearts what we felt most passionate about to write for the book. I’m still floored at how God basically placed half of that book on each of our hearts—different halves to make up the whole! 

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Our editor and dear friend, Kim Bangs

The chapter subjects came together seamlessly, and we put a book proposal together. Then came the waiting. And hoping. We knew God had given us that book, but the industry just didn’t seem quite ready. Until God connected Lynn with Kim Bangs, an editor at Regal Books.

Little did we know then that Kim would champion our book, we’d receive a contract, and by the grace of God, we wrote Winning Him Without Words in about four months.

Keep in mind that Lynn and I still lived hundreds of miles apart and had only met that one time. Yet we wrote a book together without any hitches! God was all over that, my friends. His Holy Spirit kept us unified and inspired us with the words.

Then in August 2010 the invitation came from our publisher to meet the team and join their marketing meeting at the offices in Ventura, CA. I flew into Ontario Airpot and guess who picked me up?

Yep, Lynn. I remember walking to her car with my suitcase, wondering how it would feel to finally spend time with her. We had a two hour car ride to the publisher’s offices, and then I would be staying with Lynn at her house overnight. Would it be weird? Awkward? I know a bunch of you out there are nodding your heads with the same questions, right?

Guess what? We didn’t stop talking the entire trip to the meeting and afterwards on the ride to her house. We didn’t stop talking at her house, or the next day when she took me back to the airport. God sure knew how to put two very different women together in a fit that’s just about as perfect as you can on this earth.

My friends, I declare today that I’ve no doubt Lynn’s and my friendship was ordained and I humbly believe it is anointed, too. For this ministry and for each other. The enemy has tried to come against us and break our unity, but we have stood together through it, and God has protected us. He’s also grown us in that friendship too, in ways that just make my heart burst. She and I say frequently that we would not want to walk this journey of the spiritually mismatched and ministry without each other. 

And that’s the heart of this community—to walk together in faith and to honor God with our lives and marriages. As Lynn shared in her video on Friday, the secret to an abundant life and a thriving marriage is about love:

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this:‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the L ord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. ’ The second is equally important:‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ’ No other commandment is greater than these. — Mark 12:29-31

And SUM Nation, I have to say we do this so very well here in our church without walls. God is in the SUM house! 

Love you!
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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The First Time We Met in Person!

6a00d83451ee9f69e201bb08f36fa0970d-320wiSee that picture? My friends, that picture represents THE very first time Lynn and I met in person. We’d been writing together for nearly a year at this point, exchanged innumerable emails and had talked regularly at the phone, but we hadn’t actually met in person yet.

Until April of 2007. We found out we would both be attending the Deeper Still event in San Francisco and excitedly made plans to meet and at least chat for a minute. With the plan in place, we both headed up the San Francisco. Separately.

Now I tend to be a little on the shy side (although a surprise post coming this Saturday may make you think otherwise) so I will admit I was a tad bit nervous to meet Lynn. But my excitement far exceeded my shy nerves. 

We connected by cell phone at the event and set a place and time to meet during a break. We didn’t have our pictures on the blog at that point (thank goodness!) and video calling wasn’t really a thing yet (did I just age myself?). So we exchanged some appearance details so we could find each other. How funny is that?

And there she was, this bubbly, “little” blonde powerhouse! I knew right away that she was a brave woman because she wore all white. I’d have to buy stock in bleach if I did that. As soon as we saw each other, we laughed and hugged. I can’t even imagine what she thought when she saw this nearly six foot woman with curly hair coming her way.

Just minutes! That’s all we had to connect and see each other person.

After that we continued to work together, write together and watched God grow this ministry He’d brought us together to lead. When I think back to that and how He continued to work and grow us together, and how He continues to do that, my friends, I am utterly undone by His wisdom and goodness.

It would be nearly three years later—three years!—before Lynn and I would meet again, and the circumstances of that meeting started with you, SUMites.

That’s the next part of this story that I’ll share on Tuesday. In the meantime, be sure to tune in for more. We have some surprises coming!

Love you, my SUM family! 
Dineen

*****

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

Covers Three Books


How Do You "Hear" God...For Your Spouse?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


How do you "hear God? (part 3)

IStock_000001262149XSmallMy friends, in light of some of the questions generated by my post yesterday, Lynn and I swapped days so I can address some of those today, specifically the mention of fortune cookies. 

First, I want you to know that my heart is for every one of you to walk in deep intimacy with God and hear His voice clearly. I want His very best for you, because I love you so much and we are family. And having that kind of relationship with God makes all the difference in our lives and especially our marriages. When we put God first, He brings order and peace to our lives even in the midst of the storms in our lives and marriages. I know I would not have the marriage I have today had I not made the decision twenty plus years ago to put God first.

But I want to clarify something. My relationship with God and how I hear Him has come from years of studying His Word, sitting under the teaching of trusted leaders, Stephen Ministry and healing rooms training, and, most importantly, a daily commitment to spend time in His presence in prayer, reading the Bible and worship. At this point in my faith journey, this can be an hour or more daily. Usually as much as two hours or more at times. This is what God has called me to do.

I'm not sharing this to brag, but to help you understand the foundation I've built with God to discern and recognize His voice. Along with my continual heart cry to know Him better, I've asked Him to keep me from being deceived in any way. 

The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. — Psalms 32:8

So if I seemed casual about the fortune cookie discussion, please understand I am very careful about things like this. When I am in doubt, I am quick to seek God for wisdom or confirmation. If it doesn’t line up with God’s Word, then it’s not truth and needs to be discarded and ignored. Especially if you are just starting on this path, it’s even more important to be filling and transforming your mind with God’s Word. 

As I replied to Taylor, my goal was to generate some conversation so we could cover those "gray" areas. I think it's important that we carefully guard our minds and hearts. Anything that can create an open door for the enemy needs to be avoided. That is something each of us has to decide for ourselves, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, as we have similar and different areas of vulnerability.

The message Tiffany's shared clearly spoke the truth of Phil 4:19 to her heart, that God would provide for her every need. She received this in the light of the truth Jesus, and what she knew to be true biblically. The confirmations I received were for moves already in place that I knew God had set in place. It was like a love nod from God saying, "you're on the right track!" 

Some things are very clearly not of God, and we can make a clear decision. Other times it’s important that we take it right to Abba and ask for clarity, confirmation, or conviction. And His answer will always be filled with His love and direction, not condemnation (Romans 8:1). Even Jesus did this.

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” — John 5:30

This is why it's so important that we are constantly reading our Bibles and spending time with God. Our spiritual foundation needs to be strong so that we know the difference between God's voice and the enemy’s.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. — Isaiah 30:21

My friends, Lynn will continue her story about her mother next Tuesday and as this post is long already, I will save my story for next Thursday. Please keep sharing how you are hearing God. The are wonderful and so encouraging! I find myself nodding as I read them and saying, “yes, yes!” SUMites, you are amazing. I know it’s challenging being the spiritual leaders in our homes, which requires us to be more diligent, but look at how much you are growing and living stronger in your faith. God is so faithful!

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. — 1 Cor 16:13-14
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*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


How do you "hear God? (part 2)

IStock_000014889792XSmallWhen I opened my email early this morning, one of the first headlines I read was an article on Spirit Led Woman, entitled "Why You May Not Recognize God Speaking to You." I had to smile—one, because here we are talking about the very same,-much needed subject, and two, because I recognized God speaking to me indirectly at that very moment in what I like to call "a confirmation."

How so? Here's the path to this recognition:

  1. I always pray and ask Holy Spirit to tell me what I need to write about for our blog based upon what YOU, our readers need. His leading reminded me of this exercise He'd led me to just weeks earlier, which started with a Scriptural instruction from the Bible.
  2. Yesterday Lynn and I discussed the need for more teaching on this subject and decided that in May we would make this one of the topics we will cover in four one hour online teaching seminars we've already had in the works. (More information and sign-up details to come so stay tuned! We are so excited about launching this!)
  3. Then I see this article on Spirit Led Woman. Thank You, Lord, for Your leading!

By experience, I've learned to recognize this kind of confirmation as following God's lead for the universal church. Last year, His leading was focused on knowing His love. This year seems to be starting off with a clear message about knowing His voice. The Holy Spirit, Who connects us all is communicating the Father's heart in a broad spectrum for His children to hear.

And this is just one way of communication. Over the last few weeks God has used the following ways to communicate with me:

•His still small voice

•Scripture

•The counsel of a trusted friend

•Several devotionals 

•Ian's post about Lent

•Your comments on our blog

•A song on K-LOVE (a single line carried the same message I felt God impress upon my heart that morning.

•Waking up with a particular song repeating in my mind (this usually tells me what God wants me to focus on that day)

•A dream in answer to a prayer for specific wisdom and insight

•A prophetic word confirmed by the "coming soon" sign in the front yard of my CA house.

And there are even more that I could draw upon from past events and experiences. In the Bible you will see God communicating through dreams, visions, animals, rainbows, people, and more. Very often these come in combinations. For example, I will sense God's heart in my morning quiet time, telling me something specific. Then I will get a devotional or an email from a friend on that very same topic. Then on Sunday, my pastor will speak on the very same subject.

Sometimes it can be very clear to us, like a friend reaching out saying God put us on their heart and they just want us to know they're praying for us. What they don't know is that very morning we cried out to God for help because something in our life has just fallen apart. Can you relate?

Or you sense God leading you in a direction to do something that is way out of your comfort zone. Then suddenly the training, the invitation, or the steps to move forward are presented to you in an undeniable way that you know deep in your spirit that is the next step.

Lynn has shared how Mylar balloons have shown up for her and even her husband with a word so specific you just can't miss it! Tiffany shared on my Tuesday post about fortune cookie messages, which I've experienced too. (God has confirmed every one of our major moves with a cookie message. I just giggle and enjoy God’s ways.)

God has even used feathers for many of us. Sometimes these can push the boundaries of what we are comfortable with, but nothing is off limits for God to use. However, it is up to us to test what we hear and discern against the truth of God’s Word, to prayerfully consider and ask God for confirmation if we’re unsure, and to discern the source (spirit) of the word as Scripture tells us (1 John 4:1). 

The most important key to hearing God's voice, my friends, is your relationship with Him. Our intimacy with God is what opens our eyes, ears, heart and spirit to discerning, hearing and recognizing when He is speaking to us. Thus the more we seek to know Him and spend time with Him, the more you will hear Him and recognize when He is speaking because of the past experiences you are building upon.

Our daily time with Him isn't about fulfilling a duty. It's about building a relationship with our Father God, our best friend Jesus, our comforter Holy Spirit so that we KNOW Him, recognize His presence and voice, and can follow and receive from Him. 

We won't get this perfect every time. It's a trial and error learning process for sure. And thus why I so diligently (and vocally) express the importance of journaling. But it is worth the effort, my dear friends. At one dark point in this shoulder recovery the Holy Spirit told me to reread my journal. I did and was reminded of all the things God had spoken to me recently and was greatly encouraged.

I hope you’ll share in the comments how God has been speaking to you these last two days AND continue to keep a log for a couple of weeks—I have a feeling Abba is going to give you some very special words and confirmations that will increase your faith to hear more. 

Next week I will share a couple stories of how God used imagery to show me very specific details for a person I was praying for. Trust me, this blew my mind completely, yet the facts were undeniable…

And now, SUMites, let’s pray. Father God, we are Your SUMites and we stand humbly before You with a burning hunger and desire to hear and see You more. Lord, You created us to be in an intimate relationship with You, to walk in friendship with You as Abraham did. You created our senses to perceive not just the natural but the supernatural as well. Give us eyes and ears to see and hear You. Increase our faith, Lord, to hear and recognize Your holy voice, presence and intervention more and more. We love You, Lord Jesus! Thank You for sitting at the right hand of the Father and interceding for us every moment. We are so grateful. Lift our hearts, minds, and spirit to the heavenly realms so we are focused on You. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Love you, my friends. So much. Praying for you!
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*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Conference At Merriman in Garden City, MI

Perhaps for a moment in time, just perhaps, we stood upon holy ground.

 

Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

 

I bet many of you know these ladies. They like to hang around SUM! 

SUMite Pillars
Gillian, Teresa, Melissa, Heidi, Joanne

 

Ohio Sumites
Some of the Ohio SUMites: Left to right: Judy, Mindy, Laura, Dawn, Chris

 

Fran Green
This is Beloved, Franie. This conference started in her heart last summer.

 

Lynn Donovan
The Holy Spirit moved. We laughed, cried and we were loved on by our Lord!


Skit
The skit was hilarious. I was cackling. Well done Merriman!
Conference Team
This is the amazing team of leadership that made this day possible. Thank you is inadequate but THANK YOU!

More photos are posted on our SUM Facebook page, click here.

 

The best part of the day is: WE PRAYED. I wish I had a photo to show you what happened at the end of our day. Can anyone who attended share what happened in your heart as you stepped out?

I'm overwhelmed at how the Lord moved on Saturday. Dineen was unable to make it due to her shoulder. So on Thursday I knew that I would speak the entire day. My friends, I can't perform. But I prayed and prayed that our Papa God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit would walk among us and I believe we honored our Lord and He showed up with love and power! I believe lives were touched and I'm teary reading the email messages such as the one at the bottom of this post.

If you were unable to attend, don't feel left out. You are loved and we talked about our amazing community on the web. And now let's pray that Jesus arranges another conference in your area. It would be my humble privilege to meet you, to pray with you and to love on you with our Daddy's love.

Breakfast in the gym
Love these ladies. They were on the front row!!

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From Jen:

Lynn,

I do not even know where to begin to thank you. 

I attended your workshop this past Saturday and I am moved beyond words.

When my pastor’s wife invited a small group of us to attend this together I admit I was a little apprehensive.  Not knowing whom she invited I assumed it was only sent to me (or a couple of people) and the other couple of people were nowhere close to my unequal marriage, (so I thought).  I immediately went online and bought your book and WOW!  By the end of just the intros of the both of you, I was in tears, so moved and so motivated. I thought I was the only one in this position, I was alone, I thought nobody understood my marriage, my life, I even questioned my position in my faith and how I possibly could continue to follow Jesus with an unbelieving husband, a daughter 20 years old whom has walked away from Christ and a 13-year-old daughter loving Christ, how could I keep going?

I read the first half of the book in one day and then started over so I could take notes, pages and pages of notes. Ready to register for this workshop, (alone because I figured nobody else in my bible study, church or small group of friends would ever be in the same position I am), the pastor’s wife emailed me again asking if I wanted to go and let me know there were a few others interested. I attended our bible study the next week to tell these women everything I had read and learned up to that point (which was 66% as I am an e book user 😊) and was floored to discover five out of ten women there that night were somewhat in the same position.  Then in our plans for carpooling across the border I find out there was eleven of us going from our church...eleven!!!! Seriously???? I am not alone!!!! So as soon as I got home from the workshop I went directly to your website and signed up, pinned my location and when I looked at all the other pin locations around the world, my heart swelled to see and feel the common love from all over the world.

You were not even five minutes into speaking and I was in tears.  I have come out of this past week with a new light, a renewed hope and joy that is just spilling out of my heart. I went to church this morning and together we found five women sitting alone and we all filled half a row, held hands, hugged, sang to the high heavens and supported and loved on one another like never before. One woman even had an argument with her husband before church today because he did not want to attend anymore and guess who had some loving words of advice for her?  ME!! Little old me! I walk into church today and out of church today with a new song in my heart, a skip in my step and a feeling like I belonged, and better yet, God wanted me there, He loves me! He loves me! He loves me!

So from the bottom of my heart thank you! Thank you for leading me closer to God, thank you for opening my eyes to the women near to me in the same unique position, thank you for introducing me to the thousands of women near and far that feel my pain, my joy, my love and have my back!

Forever indebted and much love, Jen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


Reminders That Our God Is A God Of Miracles - This is One!

Sometimes we need reminded.

Sometimes we cry out, “God, help me overcome my unbelief.”

It’s moments like I’m about to describe which will fill you with fresh hope and faith in the divine!

I want to introduce you to Keira & Kylea. (Photo below) They are seven and eleven years old. These sisters are something special and fun. These two were part of our group of friends who came from Monument, CO. Their parents gave me permission to share their story.

First let me tell you about Keira. This little girl loves to worship and dance in the isles. (So does her sister) It’s a joy to watch her in motion. Last week before the afternoon session, Eric Johnson, saw Keira who was sitting in front of me and he stopped to introduce himself. This is the gist of conversation as best as my blonde brain remembers.

Keira looking at Eric striding quickly to the front to introduce the worship says loudly, “Hi.”

Eric stops abruptly and gets on her level and asks, “What’s your name?”

“Keira.”

“How old are you?

“I’m seven.”

“Are you having fun at Open Heavens?”

Keira replies straight out “yes” and then goes on to say, “I could have gone to Disneyland but me and my sister wanted to come here instead.”

Eric smiles broadly, “Wow, I don’t know if I would have skipped Disneyland if I was your age.” I’m watching all of this and smiling so big, enthralled in the conversation.

Eric then asks, “What’s your favorite part?”

Without hesitation she announces, “WORSHIP.” He shakes her hand then goes to the front and introduces Keira to the entire church and shares the story I just told you. Neat!

BUT….. This isn’t the best part. You see, the Lord looked down upon these two little people, who hold a GIANT faith, and He did something extraordinary.

Keira and Kylea both wear glasses. Their vision is extremely poor and their prescription for correction is strong, especially Kylea's. On the last night of the conference, unknown to any of us adults, the girls were worshiping up front. Keira was asking the Lord for healing of her eyesight. She walked through the prayer line three different times after the service hoping for healing but at the end of the evening, she wasn't healed. And of course she was sad to the point of tears.

And all this is taking place kinda late by now. As usual, we are closing the place down because so much has happened and we don’t want to leave. And although it’s now late our GOD IS NEVER TOO LATE. The conference organizer sees Keira crying and gets on her level and says, “There is no sadness here, Keira, Let’s pray.” Keira begins to ask God for healing.

Deborah interrupts. “Keira, let’s use the authority that you have as God’s girl. Tell your eyes to be healed in Jesus name.” She is literally teaching her to pray in Holy Spirit power, faith and authority.

After a minute Deborah asks her to check her eyes. Nothing.

She tells Keira to pray again the same prayer. She prays again.

THIS TIME…. She looks at the large sign at the front of the building through her glasses. It’s blurry. She removes her glasses and she can see the words CLEARLY. She is healed and her sister who is standing right there is also instantaneously healed.

Now they are really bawling. We all are crying tears of enormous JOY because these two little girls were healed right in front of all of us. Hallelujah thank you Jesus.

I had the privilege to hug them and pray with them. Kylea, drew a picture of me down to the details of my glasses and my key necklaces. Kylea Thank you

These two small girls with gigantic faith are destined to be a voice to their generation. They are the youth that will lead the church in the years to come. They will walk in miracles, signs and wonders. Oh what a glorious future for the Church of Jesus Christ!

The stories of miracles and healings in the group of people I know personally, who attended the conference, are too numerous to write them all here. But every single person that attended experienced the profound and supernatural love of our living God. Hallelujah!

***** 

I believe in miracles. I’ve received healing and I believe in prayer. God LOVES to answer prayer even when they are spoken with a mustard seed of faith. Press in. Read His Word. Pray and never stop because we are overcomers as children of The Most High God. Sealed by the blood of our Redeemer – Prince Jesus and empowered to do good works by the Holy Spirit.

We have every reason to live in bold expectancy! Pray BIG! Live large and bring heaven to earth!

20151010_000251This is the conference organizer, Deborah looking down at Keira who had just run into her Father's arms. (Such a beautiful representation for us all!)

Kylea
Kylea, Scott and friends

Kylea and Keira
This photo was taken when the girls arrived home on Sunday..... Note that something is missing from their eyes..... glasses & tears!

WE LOVE YOU JESUS!!

UPDATE: Today, October 15, 2015 Kylea, whose vision was deteriorating quickly was tested by her eye doctor: 20/25 vision!!!!  Hallelujah AMEN. Our God be glorified!

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books


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

This is an unlikely story.

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

This is my story.

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

He heard me.

And a journey was set into motion.

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

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

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

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

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

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Dineen, Heidi and Lynn, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ruthie in line with me at O' dark thirty!

that beautiful time with my forever sisters.

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

I will share one of those amazing stories on Friday.

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

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

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

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

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SUMite, Jim Edwards and me

 

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Me and Sue Louch


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

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What Gods Love Looks Like

SUMite Family, 

Taste and see psalm 34 8I have to share that the word “family” has taken on an entirely larger implication in my life this past week. So, to say that you are my family, please know that I’m overwhelmed with authentic love and hope for you. Let me explain. 

I’m working on a new writing project and praise Jesus, the downloads are now flowing. It’s been astonishing. I’ve waited nearly a year for this past week and the few weeks that are ahead to hear the voice of God and His heart for the assignment He’s given to me. And this week in particular, I’m writing about the love of God. 

The love of a Father. 

Well, I don’t know how in the world you can encapsulate the love of God into a single chapter. However, I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to write this out because God will figure it out for me and then, I can’t wait to read it myself!!!! *grin* Really! 

So as I’m trying to figure out what specific attributes to share and asking myself, How do I explain the love of God, the Lord decided that I need to experience His love through profound experiences all week. I am so full of the love of our Father today that when I arrived at church, I hugged everyone I could get my hands on. The Father’s love poured off of me onto people. I just couldn’t help it. And wouldn’t you know it; almost all of the worship were songs about the love of God. I just can hardly stand up under the relentless expressions of my Daddy’s love this day. 

Today I feel I am to share what I’m experiencing and learning. I pray you are wrecked by our Daddy’s love this week too. 

Last week as I prepared to write on this topic my prayer and conversation with God turned into cries to experience His love. I cried out, “Father, I want a baptism of love. I want to be overwhelmed by your love. I want to experience a love so grand, so profound that I see (things, people) as you see them.” 

Let me share some insights of my week. They are not in any particular order:

  • I’m no longer an orphan. I’m a daughter of the King.
  • I don’t need to strive for His love. I need only to rest and receive His love.
  • I am His happy thought.
  • I am His smile.
  • I’m the one He waits for in the morning when I wake because He’s missed me while I was sleeping.
  • His love is abundant living.
  • He has good gifts for His children. That means me…. and you!
  • He is fun.
  • He is hilarious.
  • He is protective.
  • Because of the love of God my finances look different. My health is different. My relationships are different. My perspective, hope, and future are different.
  • I’m released into my creative calling. I thrive living in what I was created to do since before time began.
  • I have a destiny.
  • My value, my identity, dignity and dreams are restored.
  • I am His treasure.
  • I hear His voice.
  • I know God will bless what I’m doing instead of asking God to bless what I’m doing.
  • I’m His favorite. (So are you.)
  • I have a family. 

Do you know what it means to others and unbelievers when I truly understand that I am loved by our Father?

  • People are safe with a daughter of God.
  • I view other sons and daughters as someone with whom I used to compete and now I see them as someone I can complete.
  • I look for the gold in people and their holy destiny thus I stop treating them based on their history.
  • I celebrate sons and daughters instead of tolerate them.
  • We are lovers, warriors and ambassadors.
  • We are moving from a church (organization) to a family. 

God is love. —1 John 4:16

God is good. —Psalm 136:1 

My friends, when we truly believe these scriptures guess what happens. We see God differently. When we see God differently we then see ourselves differently. When we see ourselves differently we then see others differently. 

My family, my dear adored family, I know that our Papa’s love can touch every deep fear in our heart and leave us forever change, healed and restored. We need only to cry out and ask to see ourselves as our Father sees us. 

Taste and see that the Lord is good. —Psalm 34:8  I’ve come to believe this is one of the most powerful scripture verses in the entire Bible. Oh what a different life we can live when we step out of unbelief and truly know that we know in our knower that God is love, God is good and God has good things for His kids. 

Thoughts? 

I pray that when you read this phrase today: I love you, that you somehow hear the Father whispering the words directly to your heart. 

And finally, imagine what our pre-believers might experience if we begin to see ourselves as God sees us. A Holy mind-blow!!!!!!!!!! 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

Thanks Lief Hetland. You inspired the many affirmations of this post.

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Our Transforming Influence

Proverbs 124My friends, I’ve been reading and studying Proverbs the last couple weeks, specifically using the Passion translation. I’m enjoying this new translation very much and find the flow to be more poetic and inspiring. And going between translations to compare has given me more insights and appreciation of Solomon’s words of wisdom.

What I’m specifically searching and praying for is wisdom. Next to praying for Jesus’ protection that I not be deceived in any way (2 Thess. 2:3), I pray for wisdom in all areas of my life. And as you read Proverbs, you begin to discover that wisdom is inseparable from God’s love and His Son, Jesus.

Last week a verse in this translation brought me back to a conversation I had recently with my pastor about my pre-believer. It’s about a precious place we as the believing spouse hold in our loved one’s lives—a place of honor and influence that we must take before God daily to seek wisdom and unconditional love.

I’ve included three translations of Proverbs 12:4:

The integrity and strength of a virtuous wife
Transforms her husband into an honored king.
But the wife who disgraces her husband
Weakens the strength of his identity. — Passion translation

A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones. — NLT

A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. — NIV

What I love about the Passion translation is the passion and weight behind its meaning. I find it difficult to put into words (just as I did that day as I talked with my pastor) what it means to stand in this place of influence. So, I will do my best to describe what it means to me.

I see in my husband such amazing potential—that potential for eternity that God places in ALL of us (Eccl. 3:11). And I feel honored that God has called me to this place by his side to help release it. As I grow in faith and am transformed (and this is at times very messy!), my husband is affected. Even in some of the struggles I’ve walked in this year, I have seen attributes of love and faithfulness revealed in my husband that I didn’t know were there. Even though I couldn’t see it, God has been working in Mike in unexpected ways.

My friends, I know this isn’t easy, and at times we will mess up miserably. At times we just won’t feel like “doing it” anymore. But as God’s Word says, we must persevere for the prize that waits ahead. At the very least, I want to know God’s favor and pleasure in me for my faithfulness to my husband, but my expectation is based in the faith and hope I have in Jesus who can do more than I can even imagine and that expectation is that one day, my husband will choose Jesus.

Until then, I choose to walk in this place of influence to come along side and help my husband see the potential I see God has placed in him. I seek ways to affirm him in who he is (identity) and how he works and cares for his family. I am intentional to express my appreciation of him, which just recently and unexpectedly came full circle back to me in a precious card telling me he appreciated me. I look for opportunities to hear his heart and tune in to what he may not be saying. I keep asking Abba to bring him to Jesus (John 6). And everyday I thank Jesus for all the ways He presents Himself to my husband in answer to those prayers (mine and others) and affirm my belief that one day his answer will be “yes.” I love walking in this place in partnership with God and under His leadership to be that influence in my hubby’s life and heart. And I’ve watched my husband aspire step by step to be a leader of honor (the honored king) to his family, even as I wait for his full salvation transformation (i.e. preparation…just love how God works).

Let me also be clear that I am in no way perfect. In fact, I am very flawed and have learned to heed the Holy Spirit’s nudge to seek forgiveness from both God and my husband when I mess up. Amazingly, God uses it all to bring transformation not only in me but in my husband as well. That is our assurance of God’s goodness and presence always at work for our good.

Dear friends, I believe God gives us the choice to walk in this very unique place of opportunity (again, as we’ve said in the past, we do not believe God asks or expects us to stay in abusive situations) as believers empowered by the Son of God, as a calling that is part of the Great Commission right in our own homes. We can walk in it with integrity and honor that will boost our pre-believer closer to the potential God has placed in him or her. Or we can struggle in bitterness and resentment that will bring not only ourselves into despair but will waste away or hinder that potential identity in Christ just waiting to be released in our pre-believer.

We carry the very presence of God and His Kingdom through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. All the time, we bring this power and influence to our pre-believer’s life. We may not see any change or effect, but by faith (what we believe to be true and not what is seen—Hebrews 11:1) I believe something happens. And not by our efforts but by God’s love working in and through us.

So be encouraged as you continue to walk and persevere in this very special place you hold in your pre-believer’s life and Abba’s heart. You are impacting the Kingdom of God and your pre-believer every single day.

Love you dearly!
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Mismatched, Addiction and Now...He's a Believer! (Part 2)

If you haven't read part one of Trish's testimony, just scroll down and read it first. Here's part two of her amazing testimony and her husband Stu's video testimony. We are so excited to share this with you, SUMites, and we hope to hear more from Trish as she shares more from her unque perspective and experience in living with an addicted spouse. We know that will minister to many of you as well. Stu's transformation not only changed his heart, it even changed his appearance too. Read on and watch...

Trish headshot

Around the time that Stu was at his heaviest, drinking the most, on medication for high blood pressure, cholesterol and depression was when God reached down and grabbed him. A conversion experience, only slightly less impressive than that of Saul/Paul!

Stu was taking his company at that time, through an initial public offering. He was on a 3 week, “road show” and was in London on the day of his salvation. He was walking down the streets of London with the CEO (an atheist) of the company and one of their investment bankers. The CEO commented about how religion was at the root of every world problem. Stu remembers thinking that this made sense to him. That night, in his hotel room he contemplated, “but what would the world be like without Jesus?” He experienced a dramatic infiltration of the Holy Spirit; he dropped to the floor and spent the night crying out to the Lord in a state of repentance.

Now you would think, after all of these years of us being unequally yoked that he would have enthusiastically shared with me the good news, but you see, prior to his conversion, Stu said that only the weak were Christians and now he was one of them. He was frightened (to say the least) about what this new life would look like, so for then, no one knew.

Stu

One day, Stu finally agreed to start attending church with me. This was the first big change that I saw, and little by little, I noticed the sermon messages started to get through to him. Then one day, and I will never forget it, Stu said to me, “Trish, I think my heart is softening.” What? Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” had manifested right before my eyes! My heart soared!

As ecstatic and grateful as I was over my husband’s salvation, our life suddenly became worse. He lost his job, his alcoholism went from drunkenness to periods of blackout, and he got a DUI. We also bought a business that went under and bankruptcy ensued. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) learned that after he and the CEO were fired from his last company, the company restated earnings from a time period when Stu was the CFO. The SEC decided to formally file charges of fraud. A four week trial ensued. Those four week, it turned out, were more painful for me than for Stu. It was actually a time for him to draw even closer to Jesus because Jesus also had been falsely accused. Stu sat right on Jesus’ lap the whole trial, drawing closer and closer to Him every day. Stu was ultimately not found responsible of the charges, but his name had been publicly dragged through the mud.

Thanks be to God, that some time before the trial; after 30 days of rehab, numerous relapses, and hundreds of AA meetings. Stu finally fully surrendered himself and the addiction to God. True sobriety is a gift only from God.

It was also about this time that Stu came to me and said, “Trish, this abundance of love that I have for Jesus, isn’t going away; I would like to go back to school for my Masters of Divinity.” So be it.

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My former non-believing husband will graduate with his Masters of Divinity this spring.  He is the Evangelism and Outreach Pastor at one of the biggest churches in Colorado and I work for K-LOVE.

The Lord has done the unimaginable. He took a couple that did not know or care for Him; reached down and saved us both (about 10 years apart). Through years of pain and suffering; He shook the shakable elements of our lives, and left only the unshakable to remain. Hebrews 12:27 “the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.” Now, our trials and our stories are used for His glory. 

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or imagine. — Ephesians 3:20
 
And now here's Stu's powerful testimony! 

Redemption - Stu Fuhlendorf - July 21, 2013 from Mission Hills Church on Vimeo.

 

Trish and Stu, thank you for your amazing testimonies and tender hearts to share tehm with us! We are so grateful and thankful God led you to us. SUMites, what an amazing story of God's redmeptive power and love! More are coming! We believe it! Get ready to tell your stories! 
Dineen & Lynn

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Our Breakthrough Happened! He's a Believer!

My friends, you know we have been praying for a breakthrough in our community for a long time. Recenlty Lynn and I have felt that a shift was coming, and we are over the moon to share with you that IT HAS HAPPENED!

Janet Sommer is a long time member of this community. Lynn and I have had the pleasure of getting to know her better over the years, and I myself am blessed to have the treasure of her friendship, encouragement and prayer. She has remained faithful to God even in challenging times and continued to pray for her husband and sow the seeds of faith. And the plow came.

A few weeks back when I shared in a video blog post that God told me things look like they're going backward, but He was about to turn them around. You could say that about Janet's situation, and God did exactly what He said He would—turned things around.

BIG TIME!

God moved and brought down walls and lies to expose a soul to the light of His saving love. Now this man has accepted faith, chosen to believe in Jesus and his transformation is tangible and visible. Read Janet's breathtaking letter as Lynn and I did, amazingly at the very same time in different parts of California. And have tissues ready because we both bawled and wound up on the phone rejoicing and praising Jesus.

My friends, this is just the beginning. We firmly believe this is the first domino that will lead to more disbelief toppling into submission to righteous faith in Jesus Christ. This is the power of testimonies, as the Bible says. Power is released and faith is increased! Amen! Thank You, Jesus!

Here's Janet's astonishing and beautiful letter...

HeadshotThe SUMites are so precious and dear to me, especially you two sisters. It was here I was convicted not to leave my pre-believer for an "easier marriage" to a *believer*. It was here I was first encouraged to try a fast thanks to Rosheeda along with the shared precious knowledge and encouragement here. It was here I learned and was challenged to pursue God despite my husband's lack of interest or pursuit. Slowly, and courageously, as I stepped out to the call of bible study, serving in various ministries and even singing in the church band I found my husband to be supportive and there, right beside me. Although divided, we were still intact.

It was here I felt an unspoken bond of the life as a spouse to a pre-believer, and the genuine love and community for those I didn't know. The list of how I grew, how I stood in my faith, how I went from discouraged to encouraged and courageous is endless. But most importantly, it was here, as you both poured out your hearts, that I learned how to hand mine to Jesus first, instead of my husband.

I am writing to you, from the sanctity of my bed, after a couple days of reflection. And I feel so conflicted. I recently sat on the bed one afternoon and was confused to watch a very sheer veil lift off my eyes, rising from the bottom to the top. My vision was crisper, sunlight was brighter and more pure. I had been texting my husband and simply commented that I felt a fog lift. He quickly texted back that he felt the exact same way.

Later it was revealed to me that was the moment he accepted what happened to him at our marriage counselor's office and yielded to faith. You see, at our marriage counselor's office, he suddenly grabbed my hand, said some hurtful things and walked out unwilling to listen to anything I said. He later shared that during that time he felt tremendous heat, felt forced & compelled to say those things to me, and then experienced wind. He says he let something behind. Then he described that something as "evil". He physically looks different; he emotionally is different. He talks about God and praying and how grateful he is that God removed evil and blinders from him. He's so kind, gentle and intentional now. He says he can't believe he had no idea of the true wife I was, but that a God has revealed that, among many other things, to him. Neither of us can believe the difference!

And as I lay here, experiencing what we all long for, I can't help but notice how it didn't happen as I thought it would. In my mind the Holy Spirit would wreck him at a church service or at a time he was standing by me supporting my involvement-- not at marriage counseling. I never even imagined we would one day sit on that cliche couch as a counselor walked us through talking about our struggles-- after a mere 22 years together. Nothing is what I imagined.... not the timing, not it actually happening, not the genuine, radical results... nothing. And I can't help but to be conflicted.... joyous for me, yet longing for you and everyone in this online family.

I am here solidly... rooted in grace, equipped with knowledge & authority... with a believing husband, because of your bravery, your boldness and your obedience to this ministry and community. It's awkward but peaceful, scary but hope-filled, cautious navigating yet easy to move forward. The life I knew and was comfortable with, after soooo many years in a UY marriage, is changing. It's beautiful... and scary. Words will never explain the treasure SUMites are to me, nor the gems you two most certainly are in my crown. A crown I'm not worthy of but have been ransomed for and deemed worthy to wear. And I can't wait for the day when my believing husband learns exactly how much it was a lot of Jesus, a lot of God, plenty of the Holy Spirit and just as much this SUMite nation that kept me waiting, with sanity, in hope for him and this new marriage we have.

On a hysterical note, he recently asked how I knew Dineen. I said through a blog. He asked which, and I reluctantly stated. He then asked if he was a case study!!! lol

I promise you every moment, every discouragement and hurt, every argument trying to obey God and find balance in respecting our spouse, every tear shed and prayer said to God is so worth seeing and living this moment. Our spouses and marriages are worth fighting for! And they say it's about "the journey", right? As I transition into this new life as a chord of three I can't help but to storm heavens gates even more for each of you, so truly it was my honor to donate to this ministry.

Much indebted and eternally grateful for this ministry.... Janet

Janet, we love you so much. We are rejoicing with you and continuing to pray for this time of transition, adjustment and wonder. The angels are cheering you on and so is this community. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story with your SUMite family. Love you so much! —Dineen & Lynn

Abba, thank You for bringing this man to Your Son, Jesus. Thank You, King Jesus, for lifting the darkness and filling him with Your saving love and light. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for filling our new brother in Christ with Your Holy Presence. Lord, protect and guide this believing couple into new realms of faith and discovery of Who You are and who they are in You. We praise You, Lord, with loud voices and joy-filled hearts for this miracle. And we humbly ask...DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN until every one of our pre-believers walks in faith! Let this community bring You great glory, King Jesus. We adore You! Amen!

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The Legacy of Divine Appointments

My friends, this is an astounding testimony to how far a divine appointment can reach. Our dear friend, Rosheeda, is still impacting lives through her legacy of intentional love and service to God. It is because of Rosheeda's love for us that we carry the name of "SUMites." Sometimes, perhaps more often than we realize, we discount how the smallest of opportunities to love on someone can ripple out beyond our own lives. Thank you, Kindra, for sharing this with our community! As you were blessed by this, we are too. Thank you! ~ Dineen & Lynn

Hello Ladies!

I just returned from the Designed For Life Women's Conference in Springfield, MO. There were over 7,000 women gathered to worship and praise God! The Holy Spirit was working full force and many lives were transformed. PTL! I am writing to you because I have a story from the conference that I know you will want to hear. Priscilla Shirer spoke at the conference. Priscilla is a dynamic speaker who is eager to share God's Word with her audience.

She shared a story with us about a young woman that she met at her church. The woman felt she had been called by God to quit her job in the "corporate world". Without knowing God's plan for her, the woman stepped out in obedience and did just that. While waiting for God's leading, the woman began babysitting for families at her church in order to make some money. After a year of waiting and still not knowing what God wanted her to do with her life, the woman began to get very frustrated. She shared with Priscilla that she did not understand why God would call for her to quit her job and seemingly not have a "grander" plan for her. She was still babysitting, but was desiring more from God. Then one particular evening, she went to a families home to babysit the children for the evening while the parents went out for a much needed night away. As the worn out, frazzled, hard-working mother answered the door that night and expressed her appreciation for being able to get away for the evening, the woman knew that she had been blind to God's plan for her. She realized that His plan for this season in her life was for her to be a blessing to children and their families. Her eyes were opened to God's purpose. The Holy Spirit's leading told her that she in fact had been "chosen" not "cheated" in her assignment!

Through this story Priscilla shared, we were blessed with the understanding that God has divine appointment's for all of us. In God's kingdom, no job is more important than another. God leads us where he needs us and we must be open to wherever that may be!

Now the part that gave me goosebumps....As Priscilla wrapped up her story about this faithful woman she told us that sadly she died in a car wreck last year. She also shared that her name was Rosheeda. I knew immediately that this was the sweet Rosheeda from the SUMite community. Rosheeda was a blessing to me when she was a guest writer on your site. Today, she once again blessed me and thousands of other women through the story shared by Priscilla!

Rosheeda's legacy lives on. Isn't God amazing!?

Blessings! ~Kindra

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Does Jesus Heal Today?

SUMites, 

Where to begin. Let me ask you a question. Do you believe God still heals? Can He cure cancer, heal the blind restore hearing in the deaf? 

Revelation 12 11 Fall backgroudIf you are a SUMite, I know you said yes. I know you said that because we MUST believe in great miracles of God’s love and kindness. If we had little faith, we could not walk this unique walk of the unequally yoked. 

Today, I’m going to step out and share with you what transpired on Saturday. I may stumble through the story as I’m still processing it all. Get a cup of coffee or tea. Pull up a chair and I pray, I pray with all that I am, that you feel chills run all over your body as the Holy Spirit confirms His power and love for God’s people. 

You met Gina, right? We prayed for her several years ago when she was facing a melanoma diagnosis. And since that time she has recovered as is in remission. Hallelujah! Can I get a hallelujah? 

And I believe on Friday night she was further delivered from that nasty cancer right before my very eyes. That’s a story for another day. OHHHHHHHH, and it’s a good one. Stay tuned. 

Back to Saturday. Myself, my daughter, Caitie and her best friend, Gina, went to the church to receive prayer for healing. For myself, healing of my injury to my right wrist. I injured it rototilling the garden in March. Caitie wanted prayer for more of God. And as for Gina, she was complaining in the car on our way there that she couldn’t hear as my daughter was talking. She said, “Caitie, you know I can’t hear very well so talk louder.” 

I chime in from the back seat, “You know Gina, you should ask for healing of your hearing while we are here.” I didn’t think another thing about it. 

Yep, I bet you know where this is going. But let me share how this happened. 

We arrived in the sanctuary and there are people all over the place. People praying and being prayed for and those waiting for prayer. For some reason, I didn’t follow the crowd into the seating area but took myself and the two teens down toward the front of the room. We waited for only a short time and then a prayer team moved over to talk with me. I was seated, Caitie was next to me and Gina next to her. 

The prayer team approached and I stood. Before me were two young men who I think were in their mid-twenties, Andrew and Chris. With them was an older, round woman with pure white hair, Joyce. The young men made introductions. Joyce said nothing. (Remind me later to share my thoughts about their names) I explained I wanted prayer for my wrist. Christ began to share a story of a man healed of a broken arm right in front of him. I grow completely excited and shove my hand, writs, arm out to Chris and practically scream, “Oh, please pray for me.” Poor guy couldn’t even finish his story because I’m already on board and can’t wait for a touch from God. 

Chris places a hand over my wrist and a hand under. The three pray. I FEEL HEAT. At that moment, I feel a fire come over my whole body and I burst into a sweat and right behind that I burst into tears like a blathering baby girl. I’m so overwhelmed. Crying and sweating all over the boys who are now likely uncomfortable because I’m practically sobbing a river on their sleeves. Sheesh! They hand me off to Joyce. Then Chris asks me, “How does it feel?” 

Gang, I begin to move my wrist in full motion and with—out—pain. A first since March of this year. 

I start screaming. People are watching. The young men have a face full of gleeful smiles. Joyce is writing on a paper. I don’t think I ever heard her say a word. Hmmmmmm 

“No pain. No pain. Look I can move it and no pain.” More snot sobs. Andrew asks if I would give a testimony over at the testimony table. So my snot nose, healed wrist and I cross the crowed room and speak with a sweet girl who records my testimony. 

The trio leaves me and moves on to my daughter, Caitie. She is holding out her hands in front of her like you do when you want to receive something when I return from the testimony table. She is teary. I’m still freaked out and watching. Thankfully the snot subsided. I see them praying “more” for Caitie and then the four of them break. 

All smiles. Hugs all around and Caitie walks over to me. 

“What happened?” 

The trio moved to Gina and are praying with her. 

“Mom, I felt heat on my hands when Chris touched me. And as they prayed, Chris asked me again what I felt on my hands, as my eyes were closed. I told him more heat from his hands. He said to me, “I’m not touching your hands now.” 

“What? Oh my goodness, you had an angel touching your hands. Caitie, this is so amazing.” More tears now from the both of us. Where’s the Kleenex? 

“Mom, Chris said that as he prayed for me he saw Jesus. And Jesus was holding a bottle of wine and christening a ship. He was christening a ship because I was being launched onto a journey.” I looked into her eyes and she into mine. After what happened to her the night before we had a knowing that this was in fact — true. More on that story later. 

Oh good grief. I’m already way long on this story and I haven’t gotten to the good part yet. So, tune in on Monday as I tell you what happens next. 

My friends, I know Jesus. He is the healer and it is His purpose in our lives to give us healing in every area, health, soul, body. I give Jesus all the honor, glory and worship because He still heals His people today. 

So I have a question for you today? Do you believe? 

See you in the comments. I love you SUMites. I really love you and am praying for your full healing.

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The Unexpected Divine Appointments

11134039_sDear friends, as I walked and prayed Tuesday morning, I asked Abba for the words to share with you what I experienced at Bethel. I really wasn’t sure if I had anything definitive as God kept this visit very personal, which makes sense for this year of intimacy He’s called me to.

But as I walked the memories and words began to flow (thank You, Abba, You are so good), like a kaleidoscope of images and colors that stood unique but together created the complete story of God’s intentions.

Where to start? At the beginning of the journey. I was a bit anxious about making this trip on my own (I love road trips when hubby is in charge) and my car had been acting up a little. (I should share with you that I call my little VW Bug by the name of Gracie as she is a gift from God and never lets me down. Why did I doubt?)

I had five hours of road ahead of me each way (thankfully Lynn road with me from Sacramento to Redding on the way up) and knew I would wind up stopping frequently for breaks out of necessity. I kid you not, both up to Redding and on my way home on Saturday every place I stopped had Christian music playing. In California?!?!?

As I walked into each place, I noticed it right away! And smiled…God uses music frequently to minister to my heart. I was never alone. My Gracie carried both me and Him on this trip.

At Bethel the first evening I noticed a woman near us. Not sure why but she just stood out to me so I took notice. The next day we were introduced by a mutual friend. That seemed significant too, so I ask Abba if there was a reason, did I need to know something. I heard the name “Amanda” over and over again. Wasn’t sure why, maybe that name meant something to her. I asked Abba who this Amanda was. He said “her sister.”

Well…I wasn’t sure what to do with that, but I have seen God do this enough times to trust Him to put it into motion. I wouldn’t track this dear woman down. If I was supposed to share what I heard, I’d leave it to Him to bring her to me at the right time (just like my new friend at the ACFW conference).

The next day I was sitting on a bench and there she stood. I waved her over and asked her if the name Amanda meant anything to her. She said no, but then shared how someone else had told her she looked like someone they met in Montreal, almost identical. What stunned me is what she shared next. She’s been searching for her twin sister. They were separated and given up for adoption when they were very young.

I gave her my business card and asked her to email me when this all falls into place as I had no doubts God was hearing her heart and leading her to her sister. When that story unfolds, I will sharing it with you, my friends. God is so amazing, so good!

On the last day, Friday, I found this verse waiting for me in my inbox:

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. — Psalm 37:7

Later that afternoon, I wound up in the prayer room. It’s a small octagon shaped building that stands part from the rest of the campus and has the most stunning view of the surrounding hills and mountains, including Mount Shasta.

Immediately I felt the peace of Jesus in that room. About a dozen or so people were there either sitting by the fountain or in chairs or on the floor by the windows. I wanted to stay in this place forever. Remembering the Scripture I received that morning, I rested by the fountain for a while.

And then it happened. Words, words, and more words. It was like my creativity had suddenly been unleashed. I couldn’t stop writing in my journal. Page after page. I wasn’t sure what it all meant though.

Not until I finished. I realized I had written the ending of the book I’m going to be working on. It was not at all what I expected, but it was very much the heart of God—tender, powerful, full of love and purpose.

God had told me He had something at Bethel this time. He told Lynn too. What He gave me was His heart. So unexpected, so gentle, so quiet.

So, my friends, God was my divine appointment this trip. What’s so amazing is that He longs for us to meet with Him each day. He has so much for us. For you.

Which brings me to the end of this story. My final “divine appointment” was with you, dear SUMites. This is the prayer God lead me to pray for our community as I sat outside and looked over the hillside.

BethelBased on Psalm 67:

Lord, be gracious to Your SUMites and bless us and make Your face shine upon us so that Your ways may be known in our homes, that your salvation will rest upon our pre-believers.

Let all those in our home praise You, God; that our pre-belivers would praise You. Let us, your SUMites, be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge righteously and govern our hearts and homes.

Let us, Your SUMites, praise You, O God, let every single one of us praise You and bring You glory. Then our homes shall yield increase. God shall bless us and our loved ones. God shall bless us, and all those in our home shall fear Him.

In Your mighty name, Jesus, amen!

Rest in His promises, SUMites!

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