24 posts categorized "Honor"

Reaction Mode

Dear friends, the following is a post I did a few years back. The Holy Spirit has continually reminded me of this post the last week or so, but I wasn't sure if it was a needed subject at the moment. Then on Thursday as I was working on the registration details for the Hope Ignited conference our healing rooms and my church were hosting, I heard the Holy Spirit say over and over again throughout the day, "Don't take offense."

I assumed it was for me, specifically something the Holy Spirit knew I would encounter at some point over the weekend at the conference. Then our worship leader gave a word on this very subject Friday evening. I knew then it was a corporate word. And then Lynn's post yesterday confirmed that! Wow! Don't you just love how the Holy Spirit speaks to us?

God is on the move, my friends, to restore this nation to peace and righteousness. I truly believe we will be astonished in how He does this through His amazing love.

So, I present to you, "Reaction Mode," originally posted in September of 2011. I pray it speaks to your heart and encourages you. I've updated it just a bit for our community needs right now.

 

Reactions Mode

6a00d83451ee9f69e2014e8b804fe8970d-320wiAre you in reaction mode in your marriage?

I remember to this day when I made this revelation about my marriage. I stood in our home office, about to react to something my husband said. I believe at that moment the Holy Spirit stopped me and then gave me a complete picture of the situation. And it wasn’t pretty. If this pattern didn’t stop soon, my marriage would soon crash and burn.

And even more sobering (i.e. convicting)? I was the heart of the problem, because my heart was in a bad shape. Years of resentment toward my husband and unmet expectations had created a barrier between us.

What I call “reaction mode” is this highly destructive and very draining place where you and your spouse are walking in your marriage more like adversaries than partners. Every comment is scrutinized under suspicion and communication has completely broken down.

Though not always true, I find this often starts with women. We stop communicating out of unforgiveness and resentment. Or, like me, we never learned to communicate in a healthy manner.

The saddest part of reaction mode is that it leads to contempt toward one another. And where there is contempt, respect and love no longer exist. They simply can’t coexist. For example, a husband reacts back to his wife harshly, because he’s not receiving his deepest desire, which is to be respected. The wife then retreats or closes herself off, feeling unloved when her deepest desire is to be loved.

Do you see the vicious cycle? That’s the first and most crucial step to breaking reaction mode—seeing this pattern in your marriage. Whether you are male or female, this pattern will not stop until you make the first move. What does this change look like?

  1. Be Careful What You Speak.

You know, there were times that I realized my reactions to my husband bordered on the behavior of a sarcastic teenager. Not a pretty sight but very convicting when recognized. Our words have the power to build or break down. If you’re inclined to speak without thinking first, stop right now and ask God to help control your mouth. This is a biblical principle and He will help you. Trust me on that.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. — Proverbs 15:1

We can also seek the Holy Spirit for the right words to speak as well. If we choose words that are honest and without an agenda to prove we’re right or place blame, we can be instrumental to restoring peace to our marriage.

  1. Dwell on the Positive.

It’s easy to fall into this place where we think our spouse has an ulterior motive to his or her words. Even simple requests can turn into a battleground, because we’ve somehow fallen into the lie that our spouse intends to harm us. This suspicion perpetuates the reaction mode and is its fuel. Suspicion can also be fueled by lies, so the best way to combat this is to counteract with the truth. What does your spouse do well?

Make a list. My husband is great about making sure the garbage goes out every week. I appreciate this even more when he’s out of town and I have to do it. Yuck! He’s also great about going grocery shopping with me, and he’s quick to show his love and affection. Start with small things and your list will grow. Then study it whenever you fall into thinking those negative thoughts about your spouse.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. — Philippians 4:8

A negative thought feeds the enemy and breeds more negativity. This can even evolve into scenarios playing out in your mind of how your spouse could potentially hurt you. Then you wind up hurt and defensive over something that never even happened.

A positive thought feeds the spirit and releases the Holy Spirit to work in your mind for transformation (Romans 12:2). He also works in your heart to help you forgive and allow God’s love to flow more freely to and through you.

Which one do you want to grow “fatter” in your life?

  1. Respect Him Even When You Don’t Want To, Love Her Even When She’s Unlovable.

Our hubbies need to know we will still stand by them when they mess up. And they will mess up, just as we do. We need to extend that hand of grace and acceptance, just as we want it extended to us. I’ve never seen anything quite as destructive to a marriage as contempt. And it is subtle in its presence. This goes right back to number one in how we use our words.

Add to that how you sound. What is your tone? Are you speaking in a way that solicits cooperation or are you condemning and accusing? This was the biggest area that I needed to change, and I know I could not have done it without God’s help. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that our tone and words hurt those we love. Pull out that list you made and go over it again. When it’s hard to show respect to your husband, find the things you can respect and show it to him. Then watch him bloom under your praise.

… and the wife must respect her husband. — Ephesians 5:33b

And loving someone when they are unlovable is one of the most powerful and sacrificial things a person can do. I have watched a woman be astonished by the fact that my church was assisting her out of our own desire to help and we weren’t getting paid by the government to do it. I have been deeply humbled by my husband's love when I was in pain and cranky. Love speaks louder than anything. Anything! Love changes hearts, marriages, families, cities and nations.

God is love so when we love, even when a person hasn’t “earned it,” we display His heart and presence in the most powerful way possible by revealing His very nature. Love (1 John 4).

  1. Keep a “We” Mentality.

Isn’t this really the truth we forget? We enter in to marriage as two “I’s” and suddenly have to figure out what it means to be a “we.” This requires putting our spouse first, this means loving and respecting even when we don’t feel it, this means seeing our marriage truly as a team effort and pulling our weight even when we feel our spouse isn’t. God sees our heart and our efforts. Your actions to honor Him in your marriage are never wasted!

Don’t quit the team. Be the one who stands strong and keeps Christ in the middle—your faith and prayers do that (1 Cor. 7:14). Whatever issues you’re dealing with, remember that you and your spouse are a team. Blame solves nothing. Teamwork always gets the job done.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. —Genesis 2:24

Finally, remember that we can’t make these changes on our own. We need God’s help. Start with prayer and trust that God really can work in you, in your spouse and in your marriage to bring change and healing. It takes time, but when we desire God’s will for our marriage—a partnership built on love and respect—He will give us the desire of our heart (Psalm 37:4).

SUMites, I want to leave you with one final thought here (and this is a new part I'm adding). No matter where we are in our faith journey, God sees us the same way through His love and according to who He created us to be. We are His righteousness through Christ Jesus. And He never changes for He is the God of today, yesterday and tomorrow. He doesn't function within time as we do. He is present in all places—past present and future.

Now this is where it gets really interesting and may blow your mind a bit. Just as He sees us in this way, as who He created us to be, He sees our spouse the same way. He does not define them by their lack of faith but according to the measure of faith He has set aside for them. He sees them as they are intended to be, His children. I believe that is the heart of Eccl. 3:11 too. 

Father God, give us Your eyes, Your perspective of our spouse. Help us see them in the potential and in the light of eternity that You've placed within them so that we can love them according to that image and be part of releasing the truth of Your love in them. Thank You, Lord! Thank You! In the amazing name of Jesus, amen!

Love you so much, SUMites! And God loves you even better. ;-)
Dineen

 

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

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Defending the Bible

A few days ago, I received a prayer request from a new reader. As I answered her email, I realized that her situation is also similar to many of us. So, I want to share her question/prayer request and my answer.

Let me know if you are in this season of marriage and struggle and I will be so glad to pray for you. Hugs, Lynn

Provers 3  1-6From B:

My husband says he believes but every time that I open my Bible or talk about God he makes me feel like I'm wasting my time and brings up controversial issues in the bible to try to prove it’s not true. It weakens my faith because he makes really good points and it then makes me feel stupid for believing it. I don't want to feel this way and I know it's Satan trying to steal my joy and my faith and he’s using my husband to do it. So, I'm asking my sister's in Christ to be in FERVENT prayer over my husband. Thank you all.

Dear B:

Girl, do I ever know how you feel. Indeed, this was my life as well in the early years of my marriage. I will assure you it’s all real. Jesus is real and the more you grow in your faith the easier it will be for you  to walk in confidence in the truth of the Word. Also, do not feel as though you must defend your faith or the Bible to your husband. It’s impossible to make them see the truths in the Word without the Holy Spirit. It’s not a book of logic. It’s a book of faith. Faith is believing. But right now, I will be the voice to tell you it’s all real. Hold on to those words when the enemy uses your husband to shame you.

Keep walking in joy and hope because you will not be disappointed. You may need to have a conversation with your husband. Pray first for wisdom and timing. Let your husband know that you don't have every answer he is looking for but your experience and the joy in your heart outweighs the questions you have. And over time you will receive answers because God loves to reveal himself to those who are diligently looking for Him.

Ask your husband to just respect your faith because it makes you happy. Ask him not to tear you and your faith down and then promise him you won’t push your faith on him. Prayerful and hopefully this kind of conversation will develop into peace in your marriage.

In the meantime, pray…. Your prayers are utterly powerful. Claim your husband and marriage with 1 Corinthians 7:14. It is our power passage. Read about there here.

I pray for your husband and I bless you with love, a peace that passes all understanding, joy, forgiveness and more faith. In Jesus name. AMEN

Hugs, Lynn

SUMites, have you struggled like this? Do you have any words of encouragement to give to B? See you in the comments. Lynn

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

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My Arrogance—A lesson Learned by Pam Anderson

CoupleholdinghandsMy Arrogance—A lesson Learned

Arrogance is defined by one online dictionary as: an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people.

Recently, Lynn wrote a powerful and thought provoking post called “I Created Bitterness-A Weird Confession."  Well, I have a similar confession. A while back, God revealed to me that I had become a hindrance to my husband. I was causing him bitterness toward God.  Why?  Because of my arrogance.

You see, my husband has always been a very spiritual man, not religious, but spiritual. A seeking man. He has a very strong belief in God, but his relationship with God is different than mine.  I realize now when I recommitted my life to Christ 10 years ago, I went on a journey that didn't consider him, and the message I conveyed to my husband was that I was better than him. To him, it was devastating, and caused him great bitterness—he felt as though I left him. He felt that the rug that represented our dreams, hopes and future, had been pulled out from under him. And looking back now, I see how my actions and words caused him to feel that way.

I am thankful God has opened my eyes to my arrogance.  God has shown me that He is working not only in, but THROUGH, my husband and I need to get out of His way—Now!

So I embarked on a new journey with my husband. I’ve started asking him his thoughts on certain spiritual concepts and scripture.  I’ll say, “Do you have a minute, I’d like pass something by you and get your thoughts on it.” At first, he was surprised and skeptical; I’m sure thinking this was another way to make him wrong and try to wrangle him into seeing things “my way.” 

But God has impressed on me to listen, very closely, to what my husband is saying, assuring me that He is working THROUGH my husband! I'll tell my husband, "That's really interesting, I've never thought of it that way before," and the discussion will go into areas I never dreamed, thought, or imagined (based on Ephesians 3:20). It leads to more and more discussions.  I don't correct him; I just respect him and listen.

So recently, God reiterated this lesson He is teaching me—more like He hit me upside my head!  I had just stopped reading a book, because it said Jesus was a prophet. I thought this would be a good discussion opportunity for us, so I asked him what he thought. Are you ready for this?  My husband says, “I can’t believe you’re even asking me this.  The Bible says that Jesus is the Son of God, not a prophet—that’s who He is!” 

I just stared at my husband, in awe! But here’s the crazy part—this is what my husband has always believed. But I didn’t give it the credit it was due.  Why?   I was blinded by my arrogance! Because he was not acting the way, or saying the things, or doing the things “I” thought he should (ugggh…).

Prior to this spiritual awakening God is currently doing in ME, I was NOT being a sweet aroma to my husband. Instead of seeing me as a loving, respectful wife and friend, he saw me as judgmental and arrogant, things he wanted nothing to do with. I was on my high horse, snubbing my nose at my husband, instead of fostering his spiritual nature. Not intentionally, but I was, none the less. 

The fact that I thought my husband’s relationship with God had to look and feel like my relationship with God was arrogant.  In essence, I was setting out to make my husband in “my own image”! (Ouch, that hurt!)

We are at different places on our spiritual journeys; however, for the first time, I see us going the same direction! Why?  Because the poison of arrogance is no longer present in me. Our marriage is now peaceful and fun. I’m just letting God do his thing, His way, in our lives and marriage.  My husband calls it Spiritually Different versus Spiritually Unequal, and I love that.

This path is truly a humbling one, but it's filled with much hope, wonder and abundance.

Blessings in Christ,
Pam 

Pam HeadshotI worked in the healthcare industry for 25 years and walked away from an executive position to support my husband in his writing career and pursue our dreams together.  A step of faith that has taken me, and my marriage, in directions I could never have thought, asked, dreamed or imagined (Eph. 3:20).  I am humbled and in awe of God’s faithfulness.

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

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God Joined Our Celebration! Let Me Explain!

Greetings SUMite Nation:

Well we are in the last week of our 10-year, month-long celebration. Can you believe it went by that fast? I’m in my office on a Sunday afternoon. I feel the Lord’s Presence and it is peaceful. I pray all of you are filled with His peace, love and joy as you read this.

My affection for our Papa God has been the highlight of all that I write, speak and share with others over the past 10 years. I love the Lord with all that I know how. But what remains utterly amazing STILL, is to be adored by Him in return.

And He continues to overwhelm and surprise me in ways I can’t even dream up.

So…. This is what He did.

The Lord knew that Dineen and I have been planning this 10-year celebration for several months. We began talking about it months ago. And wouldn’t you know, God decided to participate.

So unbeknownst to me, in March a local ministry with which I serve on the Board of Directors, well they, ahem, officially ordained me into ministry.

I’m a reverend. A for-real pastor.

Say What????

Who knew?

When they presented my ordination certificate to me I literally bawled, look for Kleenex in the purse frantically, kind of bawling. Tears of joy.

It was as if the Lord said to me, “Lynn, I have walked the long road with you. I have stood by as you faithfully served people who arrived at your website fearful, broken and lost who were seeking My love. You served and gave your time, your money and you gave your heart. You have loved my people and helped many, many who needed a voice of hope and a word of encouragement. You have faithfully served My Kingdom and my children. I want you to receive the recognition that you deserve as you reach this 10-year milestone.”

Gulp!

Hold on a moment. Where’s my Kleenex box around here, sheesh.

I’m undone. I’m utterly undone by this kind of love. I’ve been undone all month as I read through the comments and feel your love for this place, this weird church without walls, this place where we are real with one another. Where we cry over brokenness and we pray down heaven over our children. Where we pound the carpet pacing and praying in unceasing spiritual warfare for our home and spouse's soul. Where we live and love and walk toward heaven. I’m undone by the love of God in your faces, your voices and your lives.

I’m undone. In every amazing good way.

Sumites, I’m just an ordinary, broken, yet redeemed, 5 foot 4 blonde woman who is loved by Papa, God! Oh how His love redeems everything I thought was missing in my marriage, my home, my life. It was all a lie, that perfect picture of love and marriage in my head. It was a lie.

The truth is, I have EVERYTHING IN HIM. My Papa God, His Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit!

And SO DO YOU!

Thank you for walking this journey with me and Dineen. You are our forever friends. Truly

Also, this month our ministry ordained, Dineen Miller. God’s kinda cool that way!

Live for the Kingdom my friends. Live with expectation. Live with love and with purpose. It’s a blast living the believer’s life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hallelujah AMEN!

Lynn Ordination 2016
Here I am with the certificate that is on the wall in my prayer room.

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

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Breakthrough after years of.......

Part III today... Part I (click here) Part II (click here)

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Mom & Kaylee crop
Granddaughter reunion in January

But, my friends, wait as I grab tissue to dab at the tears, there is STILL MORE.

Yesterday, when my mother called to check up on my health progress, at the end of our phone call, I said, “Mom, thank you for always praying for me and my healing. But Mom, how can I pray for you?”

And this is almost the best part of the story.

She said, “You know I wasn’t going to mention it to you but since you asked, I think I’m having some kind of a spiritual breakthrough.”

“What? Oh Do tell me more. I want to hear everything.”

“Well, for some reason I am teary. I don’t know really what is happening but I’m so teary and weepy.”

OH HOLY GOD BE PRAISED!!!

“Oh Mom, I’m so glad you told me about this. I’ve been praying for you to have a breakthrough in this area for years. Mom, it’s okay to cry. It’s healthy to cry. It’s healing to cry over your pain. Mom, you know that Jesus cries. It’ right and good to cry.”

“Well, yes I know that Jesus cries.”

“Mom, do you know that on that day many years ago when you said to yourself that you would never cry again, did you know that when you said those words you made a word vow, a curse against yourself? Mom, when that happened a demon attached to it and even in later years when you wanted to cry, even needed to cry, you were unable.”

“But Mom, praise be to our Jesus because He has set you free and yes, mom, you are having a spiritual breakthrough! Mom, if you need to have a long-bawling-cry your heart out- cry, then do it. Don’t stop it up because Jesus is right there to hold you through the tears.”

“I’m afraid that if I start, I won’t stop.”

“Don’t stop this mom. Let Jesus heal you all the way. And you will be healed when you let it all go.”

“I love you so much Mom. It has been my profound privilege to be a witness to how Jesus has loved you all of your life. Through such great tragedies and heart wrenching loss, He has danced with you and loved you every day of your life. He saw you as a small child, determined to get to Sunday school to be with Him, so determined you walked alone. He has watched you train up three children in the Lord. He has stood with you as you taught Sunday school to little children four and five years old for years and years. And mom, you are still teaching those little ones today, which just inspires me.”

“Mom, Jesus would not let you leave this earthly life, without giving you these profound, healing encounters because He loves you, He sees you. He knows you honored Him and believed without wavering even when everything appeared hopeless….. But you cried out, “I believe in Jesus.”

My mother then interrupted me to share one last story. And I share it with you now because the truth behind it is weighty for all of us...... 

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Part IV on Monday my friends.

I wonder if any of you have found yourself in a place where something you swore would or would never happen again in your life and become a barrier to you. If you have, please leave me a comment, that I may pray for you. Or email me, link for my private email is in the sidebar. 

I love you my friends. I am watching the Lord move with power and freedom in many of our lives. Email me your stories. I want to celebrate with you.

Have a blessed weekend. And remember to set your clocks forward on Saturday night in America. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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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A 76-Year Love Dance With Jesus

Isaiah 46 4
My friends, can I just tell you how GLAD I am to be back at my desk and typing. I’m thrilled. After traveling in January, I came down with some serious illnesses and one in particular could have been devastating. I will share more about that as we move through the story I’m about to tell.

Already in this Jubilee Year, I’ve been utterly privileged to watch Jesus restore, heal and save. And today I’m compelled to ascribe Great Glory to our Jesus because of His endless and fathomless love, mercy and kindness. I have a testimony to share that is partly mine but mostly it’s a magnificent story belonging to my mother.

This story is a telling of a love dance between an old woman of 76 years of age and our timeless Lord Jesus. I pray I bring him honor through these words.

I’ve watched as a close up participant, and also from a distance. I have perceived and viewed from many angles, a life-long love dance between my mom and Jesus. But it’s only been in the last few months that I’ve born witness to the truly profound and supernatural moves of God in my mother’s life.

Let’s set the stage.

My mother, Sharron Sue Parks, was born in a small-town, a farming community in southern Colorado. Her childhood was wonderful and she was adored by my grandparents. My mother told me years ago that the Lord called out to her to draw her unto his love and a life of faith. On Sunday mornings as a child of eight or nine she would set out to walk to Sunday school alone. Sometimes her Aunt would take her to church because her parents didn’t attend (another story for another time). But she was drawn to Jesus and many a Sunday morning walked, by herself, to church. She grew up in the First Christian church in her small town and married by father there in 1959.

The newlywed couple moved to Denver and I was born a year later. Married life was challenging from the beginning but she pressed into living for her family and marriage. Three kids later and a few moves of the family found us in Las Vegas. I was a teenager and my siblings and I were shuffled into new schools, a new culture and a new life, once again.

May things occurred over the years. My father left my mom after 25 years. Following a long and protracted divorce proceeding, she found herself alone. The night the divorce was finalize, she cried herself to sleep. When she woke the next morning, she vowed to herself that crying didn’t solve anything and that she would never cry again.

She never did. Years and years passed. Not a single tear.

My mother’s tender heart was crushed further when my brother passed away at a young age of 41, following a long illness where he battled with cancer. Her pain and emotional beating was barely survivable. But she never stopped praying. Even on the day of my brother’s passing when three demons appeared before her and said hissingly, “We’ve got him now. He belongs to us.” My mother in her darkest moment said the only truth she knew and held in her heart, “I believe in Jesus.” And the demons immediately left. (BTW, demons lie. My brother was a believer.)

Her pain increased in other life circumstances but somehow through all the pain, she still remained loved and in love with her Jesus. The same kind Savior who once walked with her to Sunday school when she was a small girl. He adored her then and never left her even in the darkest of years that passed. Even when her questions and doubts overwhelmed her faith.

Sue eventually retired from her management and nursing position in a large Oncology center. She moved back to her home state of Colorado. It was during this time she faced a life-threatening surgical complication. She virtually faced death’s door. I remember praying and praying for her life. And I clearly heard the Lord give me this passage of scripture for her:

In those days Hezekiah became sick and was near death. Isaiah the man of God, the son of Amoz, came to him and said, “The Lord says, ‘Make those of your house ready, for you will die and not live.’” 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord, 3 and said, “O Lord, I ask you from my heart to remember now how I have walked with You in truth and with a whole heart. I have done what is good in Your eyes.” And Hezekiah cried with a bitter cry. 4 Then the Word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, 5 “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘The Lord, the God of your father David, says, “I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears. See, I will add fifteen years to your life. — Isaiah: 38 1-6 NLV 

I knew the Lord intended to extend her life. God had heard the years of prayers uttered by my mother to one day be reunited with her granddaughter, her son’s only living child. She had not seen her for years following my brother’s death because there was great pain on both sides of this family when he died. Yet, in my prayer time, I KNEW, THAT I KNEW, THAT I KNEW, IN MY KNOWER, God would reunite them and all would be forgiven.

My mother didn’t have the faith for this but I did and I stood in the gap with faith for her reunion and knew God had granted her extended years to answer this old woman’s heart’s desire.

And indeed, a second and successful surgery saved her life. AMEN!

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Okay, this is the end of part one of the story.. But it's also the beginning of even more amazing testimony. Stop back on Monday as I share what happened next. I love you my SUMite family. This testimony bears witness to the love of Jesus and becomes a powerful in our own lives. My mom is 76 years of age but Jesus is moving with great power in her life right now.

Jesus never stops redeeming, healing and restoring our lives no matter how many years it takes.
Never, ever. AMEN!

See you Monday. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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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Do You Need Healing? The Books Of Peter - Suffering & Healing

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHe himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed." -1 Peter 3:24

Dineen and I chatted this morning about this very thing, our thoughts centered on Isaiah 61:1

Isaiah 61 1The Bible is clear that we will endure suffering. The books of Peter have many passages but the suffering that every believer can expect to endure is also what Jesus suffered - persecution of our faith. Believers can also suffered due to our own stubbornness, pride, and fear which can lead to poor choices. Fear and agreement with the enemy’s lies provides a chink in our armor and access to our person. Example: Bitterness, if bitterness dwells in our heart for very long, it can affect us physically in all manner of illnesses. (We become prisoners.)

Additionally, This fact is utterly unfair and difficult, however we can often be victims of other's who sin against us (captives). See the verse in the photo <---.

There are exceptions to this generality, over course, such as accidents and more. My dear SUM family, Jesus came to give us life, set us free, heal our wounds, diseases, and give us a life of abundance. The enemy does everything to kill, steal, and destroy.

Peter walked in a powerful healing ability. I’ve been reading his accounts of healing in Acts. Today I was reading the story of how he prayed and Tabitha was raised from the dead. Wow! That is why he is reminding us to follow Jesus command: Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. —Matthew 10:8

He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” — 1 Peter 2:24

So let’s talk today about healing.

There was a post in the comments from Lisa a few weeks ago. It’s powerful and adds insight into this part of the study of healing. Thanks Lisa:

What hit me again this morning was how being saved (Hebrew word "Sozo") is not a onetime decision but rather an on-going process.

Being saved (sozo) doesn’t only mean forgiveness of sins, but includes healing of the body, deliverance, and prosperity too. Unfortunately many Christians have interpreted salvation only to be forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness of our sins is certainly the centerpiece, however, at the same time Christ died to purchase our redemption from sin, He also freed us from sickness, disease, depression, and poverty.

Through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, God has provided everything we need in this life and in the life to come—forgiveness of sins, healing, deliverance, and prosperity. However, the way we receive this, is through faith, obedience and humility and that my friends comes over time as we walk daily with our God ;-) HE is so amazingly good!

Let’s hear your thoughts about healing. If you are contending for healing in your body, heart, soul or in any area, leave a comments and let’s pray for one another. Remember I believe in physical healing because I’ve been miraculously healed. (Listen to my testimony in the video in the sidebar.) I have prayed for people with cancer and other physical illness and watched Jesus heal them before my eyes. 

Our prayers can heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. If you need healing for anything, leave your request int he comments. 

Jesus you were tortured and died for our healing. We will not waste your sacrifice the price was way too high. We love you and pray that our healing will be a powerful testimony of Your love, power and hope for this lost world. In Your powerful name. Amen

I love you my SUMite Family. Hugs, Lynn

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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Guest Post by Trish Fuhlendorf: Happy vs. Holy

IStock_000016466788XSmallAfter I became a Christian, it seemed like my marriage got a little worse every day. Stu couldn’t stand the fact that I was a Christian. He hated seeing me read the Bible and if he saw me reading a paperback, he would always ask what I was reading; knowing that it would be another Christian book. Then the criticism would begin, “Is that the only thing you can read?”

In addition to the light vs. dark dynamic that was getting worse all the time, his drinking and subsequent anger were on the rise. I got to a point where I couldn’t find any commonality between us and I dreaded him walking through the door each evening.

I remember seeking counsel from a woman at my church. She suggested that I make a list of Stu’s positive attributes. This would accomplish two things, it would help me focus on the good qualities of my husband and also give me ideas of things on which I could compliment him. However, asking me to swim the English Channel would have seemed an easier task. I stared at a blank piece of paper for what seemed an eternity. Finally, I came up with 2 or 3 attributes. It was a painful and ultimately pathetic assignment.

Where was the relief? I searched the Bible for an “out clause” of my marriage, but found nothing that applied to my situation. I cried out, “I am so unhappy. Isn’t there something in the Bible that tells me that God is concerned about my happiness?” I found verses talking about the “joy of the Lord,” but nothing about me being happy. But how can God expect me to go through life unhappy?

Then He impressed upon me my role as a godly woman. I am called to live in relationship with God and that should affect all of my earthly relationships. My children will most likely be married someday. Do I want them to start their relationships with the legacy of divorce nipping at their heels? Would I ever advise them that if they’re unhappy in their marriage, they should just bail? What kind of godly example would I be if I ran to divorce just like so many in the world?

I didn’t fully comprehend what God was trying to tell me. Is God more concerned with my holiness than my happiness? Yes.

It was time for me to accept the husband that the Lord gave me, but it was also time for a change in me. This would only happen through Him.

Now, I wish there was a guarantee, that our obedience to Christ would one day be rewarded with happiness here on earth, but there is not. So, in choosing to actively love our spouses every day, even though you might think they don’t “deserve” it; remember that we do not deserve God’s grace and forgiveness, yet He gives it to us freely.

I started thinking about how much God loves my husband. I eventually thought to ask God to allow me to see my husband through His eyes. Almost instantly, I developed a profound compassion for him.

I also learned the difference between love, the feeling of affection, and love, the verb. And that love, the verb, is crucial to a successful marriage. I started enacting small, loving gestures each day toward my husband; resting my hand on his leg as he spoke to me, a kind text message in the middle of the day, a little unexpected gift, etc. These gestures were not easy at first. I had to force myself to do them, but over time they became easier and those feelings of affection returned to me.

Ultimately, God’s request for me to love my husband was not only possible, but with His help, my marriage improved tenfold. Happiness is not a goal that can be pursued or a state of being that can be lost. It is simply an emotion that we experience on and off throughout our entire lives as a reaction to our circumstances. Nine times out of ten, we have no control over the circumstances that dictate when our feelings of happiness come and go. So, the notion that a person will be happier if they trade in their current spouse for a different one is a bit ridiculous when you consider the lack of a logical foundation.

But, one thing God does tell us to pursue is joy. Joy and happiness are not the same thing. Happiness is a fickle and fleeting emotion, while joy is contentment in the presence of God. I contend that if we grow in Christ and engage his expectation for our holiness, that joy will be present regardless of whether or not happiness chooses to show up.

 

Trish headshotTrish Fuhlendorf is first and foremost a lover and follower of Jesus Christ. She is a wife, married 27 years. God saved her in her mid thirties, then her husband about 10 years later. She is a tireless advocate for the covenant of marriage and has a love and compassion for those in the bondage of addiction. She is a Regional Manager for K-LOVE and Air1, a mother of 2 adult children, loves her home state of Colorado, her 2 big dogs, cooking and exercise (to off-set the cooking).

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An Open Letter To My Daughter - The Shades of Mr. Grey

My Precious Daughter, Caitie.  An Open Letter Caitie

You are becoming an amazing young woman right before my eyes. As you work through your second year of college, I see your heart grow for people and God. You’ve had your first boyfriend, discovered living on your own, set your own schedule and have achieved exceptional grades from your Professors. I am proud and humbled. 

As I watch you mature, I recognize that you are stepping into this crazy world with the hope and anticipation that every college-aged woman holds. I look at you and can see some of myself, some of my past, I catch a glimpse of my young self, now however through the eyes of an aged and maturing woman. And this week, in particular, with the release of the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, I’m moved with love and hope to write to you from that perspective, a wiser and more mature wife and woman. 

The themes of this particular movie have stirred up a lot of my emotions and memories. What has been hidden in my soul has been brought to the surface and has fueled my prayers and hopes for your future marriage. This letter may be difficult to read as I will share things that sometimes moms don’t talk about with their daughters. What I have to say may be uncomfortable, you may be slightly embarrassed. However, I know you well. I know you are strong and mature and that you trust me to share what will help you and that I always pass insight to you with love and gentleness. 

Caitie, as my only daughter I want many things for your life. And in particular I want you to have a happy and fulfilled marriage. So today I want to share with you some thoughts that I pray you will consider and take deeply into your heart. 

Caitie, you know I have a past. I lived for years in the Prodigal Nation and was very far from God. It was during those dark years when I was only a handful of years older than you are now that I found myself in situations where I compromised myself, my body, my heart and soul through sex that I knew was wrong for me. Although I didn’t participate in anything even close to what the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey depict, I did just enough. And here is what I want you to hear; Today even after 23 years of marriage, I’m still affected by my experiences. 

What I want you to know and what I wish I had known all those years ago is how pornography, along with compromises in your personal limits in the bedroom will affect you at the core of your being as well as have a negative impact on your own marriage. It may not seem like a big deal right now but it’s ten years from now when you have been married for several years that you will experience deep regret and insecurity because you let images and sexual practices such that are in this movie into your soul. 

You know that I love your Dad very deeply and you know we have a strong marriage, yet even today the Lord is still revealing lies I believe that have power in my own intimacy in our marriage. I didn’t fully realize the insecurity that lingered in my heart just because I went a little past my comfort zone in my crazy and young years. 

So, today I want to tell you a few truths that I pray you will cling to in the years directly ahead of you. 1) You can’t un-see that. Explicit sexual images remain in your mind forever. They create a skewed and unholy viewpoint of intimacy in marriage. This movie creates a new acceptance of abusive sexual practices in a relationship. Caitie, it’s not normal. It’s not good. It’s harmful. And it’s ten years down the road in your own marriage, when you are pressing deeper into your faith, that these images and practices will torment you. 

2) Mr. Grey is a myth. Men like this aren’t interested in your heart and your long-term well-being. They won’t marry you and it’s likely they want more and more explicit and deviant sex. 

3) Talk in depth with your future potential husband and come to a mutual place where you can feel absolutely safe with him to be honest, naked and free from condemnation with regard to the bedroom. 

4) Don’t believe our corrupt society that this behavior in the bedroom is normal. Don’t believe the lie that all young couples are practicing these things behind Mr. Grey’s locked door. AND absolutely don’t think that if you do compromise that it won’t have a lasting impact on your self-esteem, self-respect, on your respect for your spouse and the overall health of your marriage. 

You hold a precious gift in your hand right now. Your self-respect and honor. Don’t trade it for the lies of satan. Entering into the marriage bed without all those ugly images and suggestions of bizarre sex will give you an amazing gift. A life-time of fantastic sex and intimacy with one man. That gift is more precious than all the gold in the world. 

I adore you. And I know your personal moral center would not, and has not, entertained any of this kind of cultural darkness and I pray that you always remain in that center. Thanks for reading my letter. In some ways this letter is not only for you but for a young woman of many years ago who wishes someone would have share the truth with her. 

You have my heart. And know this, I have been praying for you future spouse since you were born. I can’t wait to meet him one day. Love, Mom 

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To read my other post about Fifty Shades of Grey, click here: Shades of Grey and a Hound from Hell 

And here is one more article that I found true and timely: I Thought Watching Porn With My Partner Would Save Our Relationship 

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A Promise For The Unequally Yoked

Matthew 12 21
Good morning my friends: I know this is a crazed time of year. I pray you are getting enough rest and finding the Lord is your strength. 

Let’s pick up on our letter that the Lord has assigned to our community. Revelation 3. Remember we considered the open door that has been swung wide for us which cannot be shut. Now is the last half of verse eight: I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 

This statement alone can bring tears to my eyes. Perhaps you are like me. There were days in my early years of marriage where it seemed as though it would have been easier to deny my faith in front of my husband than to stand and fight the onslaught of arguments and efforts for me to defend Jesus. 

I remember reading this last year and it was as if Jesus, Himself, stood before me. He reached out to touch my face and speak these words to me. I know that you have little strength, (You feel weak and attacked and uncertain and weary) Yet, Lynn, you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 

Most people don’t understand just how difficult it can be to stand for faith in the face of persecution from your own spouse. Now I know the word persecution pales when we consider what is happening to believers in different parts of the globe who are murdered for their faith. But, it is emotional pain and heartbreak when your best friend on earth persecutes you and your Jesus to your face. 

BUT, Jesus bears witness to “our” faithfulness and the next verse came to me as Christ’s reward for standing for Him in the face of the intimidation. 

Verse 9: I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 

When I read this the Holy Spirit compared these Jews to the unbelievers who have stood against us. Now, I don’t think that our pre-believers belong to the synagogue of satan but let’s be clear. You are living in one camp or the other. If you aren’t a believer in Jesus, by default you fall into the enemy’s camp of bondage. The Holy Spirit impressed me by whispering, “Lynn, one day all of the spouses will fall down at their spouse's feet and acknowledge my name, Jesus and how I has loved you.” 

Our unbelieving spouses will “know” the truth. Do I understand when and how this will happen? I don’t. But it appears important to Jesus that we know this will happen. And that our reward for our faithfulness will impact our spouses. 

To further this reward, Jesus states to us: Verse 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. 

Whoa! What a promise. My friends, WHAT A PROMISE! 

On Monday, I will finish up with the amazing promises that are written to this church. Sometimes I feel very privileged and special in the Kingdom because I have walked this unique walk of the unequally yoked. 

See you Monday. Merry Christmas. I’m off to work on Christmas Cards. I hope to get them in the mail before Christmas Eve. I love you my family. I’m praying for your miracle this year. Hugs, Lynn

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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!
SignatureGraphic2

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God's Preparation: Time + Honor = Fruit

10724044_sMy friends, this series about God’s Preparation continues. Last week we talked about trials and challenges, along with three key points in how Jesus moves in us and our lives during these times. If you haven’t read that post yet, click here to catch up.

This next part continues to build upon how God prepares us for the trials and challenges in our lives. We may be caught off guard by these situations that either occur as consequences of our own decisions and actions, the decisions and actions of others, and/or the enemy’s targeted attack, BUT God is not. (I’m totally getting this “but God” movement now.)

Foundational to this journey is trust in God, ever increasing trust in God. And in order to trust God more and more with all areas of our lives, we must believe that He is good. I’ve written about this before, but felt God nudging me to review this, because if we do not believe that God is good, that His purposes and plans for us are always for our good, and that He is always working for our good, then we cannot trust Him.

This is the truth of Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

"All" means ALL in the Bible and encompasses everything. Even in the worst areas of our lives, in the worst challenges, in the worst sufferings, God is working for the good of those who love Him. That is His promise and He never breaks His promises and He never fails in keeping them.

God is not capable of lying (Titus 1:2) and He never has an impure motivation. He is good, He works for our good, and His plans are good. That is His unchanging character.

If you find this is an area that you struggle with (and we all have or will at some point), I urge you to seek Him for His promises in the Bible, write them down and pray them. This is so foundational and again, connects to the transformation of our minds (as I shared in that series earlier this year).

Remember these key points all found in Romans 8:28

  1. God is good. ALWAYS.
  2. God is sovereign and has a PLAN and PURPOSE for ALL things.
  3. God is an equipper and will provide what we need to walk through every trial and challenge.
  4. God is a redeemer and will bring purpose out of every trial and challenge and will restore what we have lost in His way and His timing.

My friends, I truly believe it comes down to this. How we perceive God and His character will directly affect how we look at our circumstances. The more we seek Him in truth to know Him more, the more we will see we can trust Him, and the more we trust Him, the more we can let go and have child-like faith. I know I want that more than anything, to know Him more and to trust Him with all of my life. He is worthy and loves us so much! It amazes me that He longs for this even more than we do, and not for His gain but for ours.

In this year of intimacy, I’ve had to let go of control, or more factually, the idea of control. I do not like pain and I do not like not knowing what lays ahead of me. Can you relate?

As I have shared in the past, God told me He was preparing His vessel. I believe He is doing this in many of us right now. The more I walk in this time of preparation, the more I understand how challenging it can be. I want to walk through this stuff with a heart to learn whatever it is that God is showing me so that “at the right time, He will lift me up in honor, as I give Him all my worries and cares (1 Peter 5:6-7).

I sought God for more understanding and this is what He showed me. We are like fruit trees and if you are familiar with fruit trees, they start off small and take several years to grow and strengthen before they begin to bear fruit. The growth part is crucial to the tree's ability to produce and carry the fruit. If fruit comes too soon, it is often inedible and the branches are not ready. Or the tree tries to overproduce and the branches are weighed down and can’t hold it all. Our struggle is often our desire to produce certain fruit or quantity of fruit before our branches have grown enough. We are impatient. (I know this to be true of me!) Preparation takes time. To grow, to prune, to be fed and strengthened. To become vessels the Lord “honors.”

Let me show you a funny little “truth” that God showed me. Take a look at the Scripture below:

Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. — 2 Timothy 2:20-21

The word “honor” in this verse in Greek is ti. Do you see what I saw? Looks like the English word “time,” doesn't it? And that was God's point in showing me this. Honor takes time and preparation and is done by the Master. I don’t know about you, but when I saw this, I smiled. God has an amazing sense of humor.

My friends, I know it’s hard to believe and even accept at times, but our trials and challenges DO have a purpose in them—God’s purposes that we can seek and look for if we are willing to let Him show us. This requires us to take our eyes of the “bad” and to seek the good. To seek God (and again I find it interesting that good and God are only different by one letter).

Remember these Scriptures from last week?

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. — 1 Peter 5:6-7

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. — 1 Peter 5:10

At the right time, God lifts us up in honor. This is part of His preparation so that after we have endured, He will can restore, support and strengthen us so that we are placed on that firm foundation, and bear every kind of fruit. And amazingly again, this fruit winds up being exactly what we need for the next trial or challenge.

I can think of no better way to end than with this truth:

Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. — Colossians 1:10, NLT

Amen!

SignatureGraphic2 Fruit

Copyright: kudryashka / 123RF Stock Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah (Part 2)

My friends, here is the conclusion of Olga's beautiful post. Moms, I pray this encourages you to keep on trusting God with your little ones (and big ones like I have!), because He faithful through the generations. And that is a promise straight fromt the Bible! Hugs! ~Dineen

Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah (Part 2)

"My Father is Yahweh"

859675_book___We left off at:

After that Hezekiah rededicated the Temple unto the Lord...

So the Temple of the LORD was restored to service. And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because of what God had done for the people, for everything had been accomplished so quickly. — 2 Chronicles 29:35-36

Next, Hezekiah gave an order to celebrate the holy feast of Passover which the nation had not been able to celebrate in many years:

Hezekiah sent runners to gather people into Jerusalem for celebration. The runners went from town to town throughout Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as the territory of Zebulun. But most of the people just laughed at the runners and made fun of them. However, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.

At the same time, God’s hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the LORD. So a huge crowd assembled at Jerusalem in mid spring[c] to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. — 2 Chronicles 30:10-12

Hezekiah encouraged people to serve the Lord and to trust in His goodness, Hezekiah prayed for his nation and the Lord healed them:

Since many of the people had not purified themselves, the Levites had to slaughter their Passover lamb for them, to set them apart for the LORD. Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law. For Hezekiah said, “May the LORD, who is good, pardon those who decide to follow the LORD, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony.” And the LORD listened to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.

Hezekiah encouraged all the Levites regarding the skill they displayed as they served the LORD. The celebration continued for seven days.

There was great joy in the city, for Jerusalem had not seen a celebration like this one since the days of Solomon, King David’s son. Then the priests and Levites stood and blessed the people, and God heard their prayer from his holy dwelling in heaven. — 2 Chronicles 30:17-27

In Chapter 31 of 2 Chronicles we read that Hezekiah continued the religious reforms in the country.

In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful. — 2 Chronicles 31:21

Now remember, who Hezekiah’s father was and what kind of life he lived? Remember also who Hezekiah’s mother was and how God had used her to shape this young man into the king of Judah who would bring back the nation to Himself?

I hope God has touched all the single moms and the moms in spiritually unequal marriages through this incredible story just like He touched me, just like He always touches – with His Fatherly love, boundless power, and ever amazing grace! God has reminded me once again that He is the real Father of my child and He is in total control and He enables me to co-parent with Him leading me and empowering me by his Holy Spirit. Never underestimate how great God’s plan is for your kids raised in spiritual mismatches!

Thank you, Olga, for sharing this wonderful insight from Scripture! Such great encouragement!

Get to know Olga...
IMG_8027My name is Olga, originally from Russia, I now live in Oakville, Canada with my daughter Elizabeth. I accepted Jesus at a Campus Crusade for Christ in 1993. But in the last couple of years after a painful divorce, I have gotten to know Jesus even closer, not only as my Savior, but also as my Husband, my closest Friend, and the Heavenly Father to my daughter. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah (Part 1)

My friends, this week I am swamped with jury duty and some design project deadlines, so I am thrilled to have one of our very own SUMites, Olga Gurina, fill in for me this week. I've so looked forward to sharing this beautiful nugget with you and this is the perfect week to do it. Part 2 will go up on Saturday. Enjoy and have an amazing week! Hugs! ~Dineen

Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah

"My Father is Yahweh"

859675_book___In the last couple of days through my daily readings, the Lord was so gracious and opened my eyes to see yet another amazing story of His faithfulness to us, single moms or moms in the spiritually unequal marriages.

Reading through 2 Chronicles 26-31, some names started to pop up off the page and I saw a real drama unfold through four generations of kings of Judah.

Can you imagine being married for 16 years to a very powerful man who lives his life as described in 2 Chronicles 28:

  • He completely rejects the Lord and worships idols of all kinds (v.1-2, v,22)
  • He burns your own sons as sacrifices to idols (v.3)
  • He commits adultery with multiple prostitutes in most disgusting ways as part of idol worship (v.4)
  • He is a complete loser as a leader (v.5)
  • He instigates everybody around him to all kinds of sin and crime (v.19)
  • He shuts down the church and prohibits everybody to worship God (v.24)
  • He has obvious demonic anger outbursts, destroys anything has to do with your faith, rips/burns your Bibles, destroys worship DVDs (v. 24)
  • When he dies, he is buried with no due respect or no regret outside the city cemetery (v.27)

Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah (2 Chron 29:1) was married to this evil man and had at least one son with him. We can only imagine, but some of us can picture it very well and in great detail, what her family life might have been like with Ahaz (2 Chron 28).

Literally, THANK GOD, Abijah was not alone in this. Abijah’s name means "my Father is Yahweh” and no doubt she knew her Abba Father and He sustained her trough her most horrific marriage trials. We read that she was the daughter of Zechariah and her dad surely passed on his faith to his daughter. Zechariah was a godly influence on Uzziah (2 Chron 26), Ahaz’s grandfather. Zechariah taught him to fear God. Hebrew reads “instructed him in divine visions.”

I have no doubt Zechariah instructed his daughter Abijah in divine visions and fear of the Lord. Abijah had to cling to her Lord for salvation, protection and wisdom in all those years she was married to one of the most wicked kings of Judah. How did she end up marrying this man, we don’t know, the Scripture does not tell. But her faith and faithfulness to the Lord was richly rewarded in her son Hezekiah (2 Chron 29). Hezekiah, the son born in this spiritually unequal marriage, became the next king of Judah.

“Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became the king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2 He did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done. — 2 Chronicles 29:1-2

As we read further, we learn the Hezekiah became the “Billy Graham” ☺ of Judah of his time and lead a great spiritual revival, beginning with reopening of the Temple:

In the very first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah reopened the doors of the Temple of the LORD and repaired them. He summoned the priests and Levites to meet him at the courtyard east of the Temple. He said to them, “Listen to me, you Levites! Purify yourselves, and purify the Temple of the LORD, the God of your ancestors. Remove all the defiled things from the sanctuary. Our ancestors were unfaithful and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD our God. They abandoned the LORD and his dwelling place; they turned their backs on him. They also shut the doors to the Temple’s entry room, and they snuffed out the lamps. They stopped burning incense and presenting burnt offerings at the sanctuary of the God of Israel.

“That is why the LORD’s anger has fallen upon Judah and Jerusalem. He has made them an object of dread, horror, and ridicule, as you can see with your own eyes. Because of this, our fathers have been killed in battle, and our sons and daughters and wives have been captured. But now I will make a covenant with the LORD, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. My sons, do not neglect your duties any longer! The LORD has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him, and to lead the people in worship and present offerings to him.” — 2 Chronicles 29:3-11

After that Hezekiah rededicated the Temple unto the Lord...

Come back Saturday for part 2 and read what God showed Olga in this encouraging story right from the Bible.

Get to know Olga...
IMG_8027My name is Olga, originally from Russia, I now live in Oakville, Canada with my daughter Elizabeth. I accepted Jesus at a Campus Crusade for Christ in 1993. But in the last couple of years after a painful divorce, I have gotten to know Jesus even closer, not only as my Savior, but also as my Husband, my closest Friend, and the Heavenly Father to my daughter. 

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Let's Talk About Lies

Greetings My SUM Family, 

My heart has received such encouragement and joy from your words and prayers on Monday. God has worked out some amazing things in this difficult time. We are now moving forward. I’m excited to see what the Lord has for my son and our family. 

I Heart you! 

DonotlieToday however, I want to talk about lies. In the last month I’ve had to deal a lot with lies and deception. And what I’ve learned is how easily lies can trip and flow from lips. Fortunately for me God has given me a powerful discernment when someone is lying to me. I quickly recognize when I’m not getting the full or correct story. It’s like a spiritual gut check and I immediately know some things are just not right. 

My daughter has even said to her friends, in front of me, “I never lie to my mom. She ALWAYS finds out.” Well, I don’t know if she has never told me a lie but most of the time we have a very honest and open relationship. I have given her permission to tell me anything, no matter how horrible, and I will not get angry or punish her. I’ve promised that if she is honest I would want to approach the problem with full truth and would help her through it. Same goes with my son and husband. 

I also know that so many people don’t have this kind of trust. And so many of us were raised in environments where lying seemed the only way to keep yourself safe or out of trouble. So we learned as youngsters to lie to keep the peace. We lie to save ourselves from pain and difficulty. 

But, as believers we must step into God’s calling for us. He is a God of truth. Lies are from the enemy. 

So today can we be honest here? Can we have a real conversation of how we escape a lifestyle of lies? Can we ask the question is a white lie really a lie? Is it possible to break a lifetime of deceit and live in truth and peace? 

My friends, I have some thoughts to share on how I’ve escaped lies. For example, the phone rings. My husband says, “I’m not home.” I answer the phone and say hello. The caller asks for Mike. What do I reply? 

Do I say, “He’s not here?” Does it matter?? 

I would be really interested to hear someone’s story that grew up in a household where everyone lies to one another. I’ve come to realize this is actually common in family dynamics. And if you are in this kind of dynamic and want to stop the cycle of lies, will someone who has had victory in this area, PLEASE HELP US. What did you do? 

I’m looking forward to some great comments of wisdom and help. There is NO judgment in this House of SUM. If you are struggling in this area, tell us, tell me and I will earnestly pray for your transformation. 

See you my friends in the comments. Should be a really great conversation. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com
 

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SUM Books 4


Reader Question: Struggling with Shame and Regret

Hi Lynn and Dineen,

I am writing this email because I feel an incredibly heavy burden. Right now I am struggling with a great deal of shame and an amount of regret over my decision to marry an unbeliever last year. It is tough for me to really believe that through this mistake, God will redeem any part of my situation. I love my husband, he is a good man and we have a wonderful little baby boy, but how am I really able to love him like I should when he is an ever present reminder of my disobedience? I know I am in for a long and lonely road and it seems as though every facet of my life will be affected by this.

You see, I struggled with this decision and decided to go through with it. I was incredibly confused and in hindsight I know the holy spirit was convicting me about it. But I had so many people telling me that he was the one that I should marry, and I loved him. We had a baby on the way, it was a long distance relationship of three years, and I thought that perhaps I could be a good witness to him (how many women get stuck in this trap?!?), even though my faith was and is relatively infantile despite having grown up in the church.

I see happy Christian couples everywhere and am burdened by the guilt that I am not like them. I often see warnings about dating and marrying an unequally yoked partner, and get overcome with shame and worry and fear. I do not know how to move forward.

I suppose I have issues with accepting God's love and knowing that He hasn't turned my back on me, although I know that is untrue. Any words of wisdom or advice?

My sweet friend, I so wish I could include a great big hug with this email. Lynn and I actually just talked about this the other day, how our hearts ached for those who carry shame, guilt and regret over their marriage when that is the last thing our Jesus wants for us. That's why He came and died for us, experiencing both physical and spiritual death so that when we read His Word that tells us He understands and loves us even when we fail, we can truly believe it!
 
I know that's hard to believe right now. Trust me, I've been in a similar journey of late, understanding the magnitude of God's love for us. The thing is, God has loved you passionately always—before you were even conceived. And nothing can change that or separate you from that love (Romans 8:38-39). Does Jesus continually remind you of what you did wrong? No, Scripture says there is no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1). Truly, go read Romans 8 in as many translations as you can. That one chapter alone has some of the best promises and truths from our Father God, including my favorite Romans 8:28, that He is always working things together for our good. Even the bad stuff, even our mistakes and bad choices.
 
My friend, you did not surprise God by marrying your husband, and I'm sure you have told Him already that you are sorry for disobeying Him, that you have repented of disobedience. So receive that forgiveness. If I can be that voice for you, YOU ARE FORGIVEN! And now know that God is still crazy about you! He still has a plan and purpose for you! And part of that plan is to bless you, your marriage and your husband and son. It won't be easy at times, as we still have to deal with the consequences of our bad choices. But God will even work in those to help you. You will find yourself drawing even closer to God if you let Him draw you close to Him.
 
These burdens you are feeling are from the enemy. He wants to keep you powerless especially now in your marriage so he can keep your husband in darkness. Take that power back, my friend (Luke 9:1-2). Tell the enemy to get lost and start claiming the promises in the Bible that are there for all of us. You can move forward in your marriage in the hope and great love that we have in Jesus. He will bring good out of all of this. He not only redeems us, He redeems our lives, every bit of them.
 
Don't compare yourself to others. Trust me, it's deadly and destructive. And what you see on the outside isn't always the truth of what's inside their hearts or inside their homes. There are challenges in every marriage, even marriages with two believers. And in some ways you will be more effective in your marriage because you will be more intentional to bring Jesus into your home with your love and actions, because you are there now for such a time as this (go read the book of Esther and ask God to show you the truth there for you).
 
My friend, basically in these kinds of places we have two choices: We can stay focused on what we did in the past and stay mired in the lies that we can't be forgiven, that we can't serve God, that God won't love us as much or value us as much, that the church won't want us anymore, that we are less than, that we've blown it, etc. All lies. Or we can choose to move forward in the truth of God's love and that He is the God of the impossible. That what we see as impossible, unfixable and unusable is ALWAYS an opportunity for His great love and power to shine and prevail. 
 
Go read Joshua 9 and 10. Joshua stepped into an agreement he wasn't supposed to. He made a covenant with a people God told him not to. But when Joshua was called to keep that agreement, God helped him do it and won the battle for them. Right now, God is more interested in your faithfulness to Him and to the covenant you have made with your husband. He will honor that and bless you for it as well. 
 
You see, for our great God, He is always more concerned in who we are (His children and our relationship with Him) than what we do for Him. That is why our greatest command is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Because He loves us so much, He loved us first. Then we are to love others. It's always all about His love and our relationship with Him. And your mismatched marriage does not change that.
 
My friend, I want to encourage you to walk forward in the truth of God's love and promises. There are so many just waiting for you to claim and pray. Know that God adores you, delights in you and sings over you (Zeph 3:17). He always has and He always, always, always will.
 
Praying for you to walk in hope, love and promise!
Dineen
WHWW 3 copy
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SUM Books 4


Chronicles of the Donovan Clan - My Son And The Conference

Hello My Friends, 

Well, last week was quite the adventure. The conference did not disappoint. I learned a lot about fear. And my friends I think I have a lot to say about that four letter word. ahem…. 

My son was able to attend two of the four days. Hey, I will take what I can get. On the first day I was worried that it might be too much and that he’d tuned out. I glanced his direction and he was furiously typing on his phone. At the next break I casually asked, “So who were you chatting to on your phone?” 

“No one.” 

“Well what was with all the typing?” 

“I was taking notes.” 

Gulp. 

He pulls out his phone and there are pages of notes from the past session. 

Can I just get an….. “AMEN”

Who knew. 

Never, ever, never, stop praying for the prodigals, and the unsaved. Because this is another living proof story that God never stops His pursuit of men. 

I think my most favorite part of the conference was the one hour drive home on the first day. My son and I talked the whole way about his faith and about many aspects of God. These are the kind of conversations believing Moms wait for all of their lives. It was divine. 

I’m so thankful. Grateful to our God. Every day, in every way, I will shout to anyone and everyone who listens…… ‘God is good and He is faithful. Even in the dark night of the soul. Even in absolute evil circumstances our God remains good.” 

And today I declare. satan you are a looser. You have no hold on me, nor my family. I will fight bloodied, bruised, but standing fearless with Jesus and legions of angels for my family and for every SUMite and their family. In Jesus name. Amen 

I have so much to share. I could write posts every day for the next four months but I won’t freak you out and overwhelm you. 

But this Friday. God has finally shared our next community miracle project. When God told me what to do, I was at first scared. But NO MORE. I can’t wait to do it. I can’t wait for you to be part of it. And you can be part of every stage if you want. More on Friday. 

Finally, it was my great honor to meet a SUMite at the conference. This is me and Carmen Mata.

Carmen Mata Lynn Donovan

I love you so much my friends. I am praying for a breakthrough for you… And I’m EXPECTING one. Just because our God is THAT good. Hugs, Lynn

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Ho Ho Ho... But I'm Not Happy. I'm Stressed Out!

Hi My SUMite Friends, 

Well if you’re anything like me, you’re in the middle of the busiest part of this Christmas season. It’s this time a year that most of us feel overwhelmed by all of our added responsibilities, such as buying gifts, wrapping gifts, shipping gifts, decorating, etc. etc. 

And for me specifically, I feel emotionally, spiritually, physically worn out. 

But this last week I discovered real power of one of the fruits of the spirit, self-control. And this is how it played out for me. Most of you know that last Wednesday, I flew to Virginia Beach to be interviewed on the 700 Club Interactive program. Prior to leaving, I met with my local critique group on Tuesday which was fun, but it turned into a late evening. I woke early the next morning to fight traffic to get to the airport in San Diego. I then boarded a flight to Atlanta, Georgia, where weather delays kept me from making my connecting flight to Virginia Beach. Therefore, I arrived finally at my destination at 11:30 PM. I think I finally went to sleep at 1 AM East Coast time. 

Jet wingI was up early to prepare for the morning interview. It was a blast. I’m completely humbled that I was allowed to share with a broad audience the hope we have as believers in Christ for our marriages and our families. Following the interview I had a quick lunch with some of the staff from CBN and then it was off to the airport for a cross-country return flight. 

I arrived in Atlanta, and wouldn’t you know it, I again had a flight delay due to mechanical issues. It’s at this point, when you’re sitting on the floor in a very busy airport waiting for a flight that the fatigue of the last two days sets in. Exhaustion overtakes and patience with people and circumstances is often stretched to the breaking point. Can anyone relate? 

It’s often at these times when my normal, cheerful, self can become short in patients with other people. But for some reason this time it was different for me. I kept hearing the word over and over in my head, self-restraint. 

Self-restraint. 

Hmmmmm, I think the Holy Spirit was speaking softly over me that entire evening. Finally, after a five hour delay, I finally boarded the plane for a five hour flight home. I retrieved my car and then it was a one hour drive on the freeway to finally arrive at home about midnight. 

What is interesting to me is that normally when I arrive home utterly exhausted, such as I was this evening I adopt an attitude that it’s okay just to let my control over my emotions go. And I don’t reign in my attitude of exhaustion and my short temper when I walk in the door. It’s as if I’ve given myself permission to be mean and ugly with my spouse, just because I’m home. 

Throughout this long trip home, while at the airport, while sitting in the seat on the flight home, I managed to maintain a smile and reign in my frustration and tiredness, determined not to take out my emotions on another person. So when I finally arrived home, I looked at the door from the garage into the house and before I entered it, I said to myself, “Self-restraint.” 

I was determined to walk into the house wearing maturity and self-restraint and to have a pleasant yet tired conversation with my husband. And I guess this self-restraint attitude was born out of my experience of returning home a few months ago exhausted from traveling. And I walked in the door, unrestrained, fight ensued, and the one who was truly hurt and even more frustrated, was me.

I walked in, I smiled. I unpacked and then kissed him on the lips. I crawled into bed. No fight. Just love....

All was right with the world.

"Thank you Holy Spirit." 

So in this season of perpetual joy *grin* perhaps I could share with you two little words that the Holy Spirit likes to speak: Self Restraint. Sometimes just whispering them to yourself will keep you from lighting your house on fire.

James 3:6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

On another note: I just want to thank everyone for your prayers for me as I traveled last week. I felt them. I also felt as though God allowed me to shine a light upon the thousands of us who are spiritually mismatched. There’s a growing awareness in the body of Christ, as well as pastors, and in the general church that there are many women and men who are living in a mismatched marriage. 

And what I really love the most is that they are discovering that we, the SUMites, have so much to offer the church, our families, our husbands and our communities. I stand amazed at the love of God for those of us who walk in this crazy, wacky, mixed up journey of the spiritually mismatched. I love you have an amazing day. Love and hugs, Lynn

(If you missed the boradcast, there is a link in the sidebar now.)

Photo Credit By artur84, published on 16 April 2013
Stock Photo - image ID: 100159152

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SUM Books 4


This Is For The MEN - Men of Valor

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com
My friends, today this post is for the men. There are actually more men that are readers here than you might think. And let me assure you that they are men who love Jesus and who also love their pre-believer wife. They also struggle with many of the same issues that women wrangle with in their marriages. But they often have even less support for their faith journey than we do as women. 

My heart is full for these strong men of faith. I love you and I offer all of my prayers and encouraging words of love and support for you. 

So, today, it’s time to share with you what I saw during my vision of the King of Kings, Jesus in pursuit of men. I hate to even breathe the word, Bride of Christ in context with men and their relationship with Jesus but what I’m about to describe is the bride of Christ as Jesus sees it. How He views men that are being pursued by Him. I’m sharing this visual because when I was having my vision of becoming the Bride of Christ (read that story here), I asked God, “What does this look like for men.” And God gave me a picture. So now I share it with you. 

In this picture I saw men standing in a line, shoulder to shoulder. They were being honored before a great crowd of witnesses by the Prince. They were battle weary and worn, yet filled with a vigor and vitality that caused them to be raised up, fully filled with energy, purpose, power and determination. As I looked at these men they were wearing pins and badges and ribbons upon the chest of their uniforms yet the uniforms were their everyday clothing. They were men wearing slacks, I can see a blue checkered shirt and men in jeans and shirts. Short men and tall men, men who were humble on earth and yet enormously powerful and brave in the realms of God’s Kingdom. On earth they were ordinary men. Men who held down jobs, played with their kids, mowed the lawn, who thought often about God and His ways and purposes while mowing the lawn or driving the car. 

They were men who PRAYED. 

They prayed with power and things happened on this earth because they were wise and courageous and even they dared to ask God to do the impossible. They were men who loved God and were declared destined to be Kingdom fighters. They may be perceived in the world as anything but warriors but they ARE the true warriors. 

As I watched I saw the Prince, The MIGHTY King Jesus approach this line and He passed out awards for their service. These awards were more metals for their garments. These awards were of great value and they represented words: Such as: Men of valor. Men of purposes. Men of wisdom. Men of courage and boldness. Men who were the representation of the fruits of the Spirit. 

I keep hearing the words: Men of valor. 

And then the picture changed and I was allowed to see Jesus standing up at a large table. Seated at the table were these ordinary guys about 10-12, now fully clothed in uniforms that were adorned with their metals of honor. This room, this table,…. It is the war room. 

Again, an analogy that came to me, These men had been invited into a room of great power, much like if they were invited into the situation room with the President. But, this war room was so much more. It was a position of great honor. To be invited into this room was to bestow the highest trust in these men. Because Jesus was asking these men to make decisions for Him. Jesus trusted them so highly He was placing His kingdom control, fortune and existence into their hands. 

The awe, respect, confidence and power given to these men by Jesus was something that I don’t fully understand nor do I provide a sufficient description. But, somehow I knew that Jesus had walked with these men through so much on earth, through their everyday lives, watching them remain faithful to the Kingdom and because of that Jesus is filled with love and thanks. He counts it a great honor to invite them into the most highly valued place of prominence in His dominion. 

Wow…… Just WOW!! 

Now like me perceiving myself to be the Bride (singular), it’s difficult to see yourself, SUMite men, as one of the few men in this room but you have been so highly esteemed for your love and faithfulness here on earth that Jesus has selected you to sit with Him in the war room. And this is a virile Jesus. Strong, forceful, willful and valiant. He is the King of a vast kingdom. I watched as Christ asked for these men’s opinions as they viewed maps on the table and I saw in my mind’s eye, Jesus fist-bump the guys when victories were achieved. Jesus is your best friend. You and Christ face, discern and handle everything together and He consults you for your wise advice. 

Say What???? 

After the fist-bump, the picture faded. I was left with awe. Once again awe. We are in a season of grasping the awe of God, His Son and the Spirit. 

It’s the Victorious King who holds the keys. And we are His. 

My friends, we are the body of Christ. Lynn

Psalms 33:8
Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.

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SUM Books 4


We SUMite Women Stand In the Gap for The SUMite Men

Honor….. 

This word has followed me around a lot in the last several months. And I’m coming to realize that honor is a great prize. Honor is also something I haven’t always done well. However after a recent dinner out with my husband I’ve come to realize the utter importance of honor. The honor I give to my husband and the honor I receive from him. Let me explain.

RestSeveral months back I was at dinner with my husband and another couple that we haven’t seen in a long, long time. It was an enjoyable enough evening. But something began to happen throughout our meal that really started to bug me. 

It began with subtlety but became more and more abrupt and troubling.

The diners next to us were very close to us and I noticed a man was obviously whispering something to the man next to him and then snickering as he looked toward to bar of the restaurant. This behavior increased as the wine flowed until it beame so distracting that I couldn't help but notice that this man’s growing whispers about feminine body parts and learing looks were directed toward a certain woman at the bar.

I purposed to ignore this man’s interruptions and went on to talk with my friends at the table. Dinner ended and we went home. However, for the rest of the evening I grew increasingly embarrassed for the poor woman who was obviously the wife of this man. And in an instant it was as if the Holy Spirit hit me upside the head. This woman was greatly dishonored in public by her husband. I grieved for her. 

And then immediately I realized that my husband has never dishonored me by ogling other women. As soon as the thought entered my head, I walked into the bedroom where my husband was dressing and I thanked him for honoring me in this way. 

He has always honored me in public. And I’m just now understanding what a valuable gift he has given to me. 

My friends, there are a lot of people who would say there’s nothing wrong with a little looking and admiring and it’s only normal for guys. And there are many women who like to complain to their girlfriends about every tiny thing their husband does or about the things he doesn't do. I know, because I used to be one of them. 

But, we the children of God, are called to honor. 

HONOR… 

We are called as believing husbands and wives to honor our spouse, especially in public, and to love them as Christ loves the church. 

So, for me this Father’s Day as we honor men, I think I’m seeing the man of my dreams emerge. He remains a pre-believer but God has given me a man of integrity and honor. He is an amazing father. So today, I honor you Mike Donovan. You are a man that rises far above the crowd. I’m blessed to be called by the name Mrs. Lynn Donovan. 

And to every SUMite man who stops in here from time-to-time, we honor you this day, a day we celebrate men and fathers. You walk a very difficult path with even less resources and encouragement than women who are married to unbelievers. So today, we the SUMITE women pray for you. 

Our Lord God, today we bring before you every man who is a reader here and is married to an unbelieving wife. Lord, pour upon him Your honor. Grant him Your unending love and lavish upon him great encouragement. Remind this man that You stand with him when he attends church alone. Remind him that every moment that he loves His children and shares truth with him that he is doing the right thing. Remind him that through Christ he can do all things. Hold this man up when he feels abandoned and lonely. Fill this man with a fresh anointing to keep on living in his mismatched marriage and to see that eternities are at stake. Bless this man with abundance in his job and among his coworkers, his bosses and clients. Bless him and affirm that his faith is always enough to carry him and his family through life. We the SUMites stand in the gap for him and his family this day and we love him. In the name of our King Jesus. Amen.

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SUM Books 4


An Astonished Chronicles of a Humbled Donovan

Hi My Friends, 

I feel like I’ve been away on a long trip. So much has transpired since my last post where I told you I was about to wash my husband’s feet. My daughter’s graduation was amazing and the kid just makes me smile. She graduated with honors, 444 hours of community service, two scholarships and with her sanity and more than that -with her faith still intact. I feel like I graduated as well. 

What a rich blessing this thing….. “Motherhood.” 

 

Imported Photos 00061
Caitie and my son, Brad

Caitie is my youngest child and I suppose it’s likely true with most moms, when your youngest graduates you spend some time reflecting. And as I think about the fears I faced as a young mother, some of them I shared in the last chapter of Winning Him Without Words, I just want to stand up and shout to the world…. OUR GOD IS FAITHFUL!!! (I shared the whole story here) 

 

I prayed so much for my children throughout their lives and today, this very week, God has allowed me to witness the fruition of my humble motherly prayers. And I’m watching God fulfill them in both my son and my daughter. And they are bearing fruit after years and years in the very same week. I will tell you more about these developments at a later time. 

But today, let me tell you what happened when I went to wash my husband’s feet. If you need to read the precursor to the story, click here, Chronicles of a Humbled Donovan

My husband arrived home tired as I expected and after unpacking, dinner and dawning of our PJ’s, we sat down on the couches in our usual places to watch the evening news. As I’m sitting there pretending to watch the news, I’m growing more and more uncomfortable thinking about actually washing his feet and even more fearful to talk with him about his feelings. 

I almost changed my mind. 

However, I gathered my courage and God whispered to me, “Lynn, just make this light-hearted.” So I stood up and moved to sit on the other couch next to my husband. I decided as I sat next him and cuddled into his shoulder that the actual washing of feet might be too much. After all, my husband knows a lot about the Bible and how Christ washed the disciple’s feet and more than anything I didn’t want my man to think I'm manipulating him or was practicing some ritual or that I am disingenuous. 

I simply picked up one of his feet and said, “I’m just going to rub your feet.” So as we watched the news I removed his socks, rubbed his feet, applied lotion and finally returned him to his socks. Then I became completely uncomfortable. How do I start this conversation? Actually what transpired next was my fumbling about with a few words but I started the sentence. 

I paused the news broadcast and then….. 

I remember saying something about how I may have withheld a portion of myself out of stupidity and selfishness because of our early years of pain. And that I’m truly sorry. And I asked him, “Do you feel that I haven’t loved you or that you haven’t felt loved in the way you need?” 

Let me tell you that asking a question like this takes a ton of courage but I’m in a place with my Lord to receive whatever answer comes because I honestly want to love this man better. 

He replied, “No honey, I really feel loved by you.” 

Wow, so much better than I expected…….

 ----- 

My friends, I wonder if you are like me? Perhaps we are doing a better job at this marriage thing than we give ourselves credit. After all, we have the Master of the Universe walking every minute with us. Loving us. Teaching us. Loving through us. If God is in our house, then love is lavished upon all that reside there. (1 Corinthians 7:12-14 – read this today and let it fill you up.) 

I love you. Now I leave you with a question. Is it time to wash your spouse’s feet? 

Have an amazing day living in The Presence. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Chronicles Of A Humbled Donovan

Okay….. So, ahem…

You know what ALWAYS happens when I share teaching with you. I live it out… Well, this series on taking a step into the Jordan is no exception.

So today I’m going to share with you an experience that has opened up a giant hole in my heart that only our merciful and loving God can fill. And I wonder if some of you will find this hole exists in your heart as well? Travel this path with me today because I bet it reveals something within you that you didn’t know existed.

Let me set the stage. Many of you know my friend, Maria. I’ve introduced her here before. She has a healing and deliverance ministry through a large church in San Diego where they help women who are emerging from the adult films industry. Pornography is, of course, an open door to demonic oppression. Maria prays and delivers many of these women and they find healing and wholeness in Jesus. AMEN.

I had lunch with Maria this week. This woman is quite insightful and we began a discussion about rejection. She and I have talked a lot about this aspect of pain because we are convinced so much of our hurts, and the lies we believe, our spiritual struggles exist because we have been rejected by someone whom we wanted to love us.

Much of our teaching at retreats and conferences center around this very aspect. And we lead women to discover the truth and identity in Christ and obtain healing.

What I didn’t expect at this lunch with Maria, which by the way included a two and half hour discussion, with prayers, healing and tears (on my part) was that I needed to hear a truth.

Gulp.

This truth hit me so hard when Maria spoke it I literally felt pain in my soul (heart) and I cried right there at the table in Macaroni Grill. Sheesh! I'm sure our poor waiter was thoroughly freaked out. Oh well.

Okay, So let me loosely recap our conversation:

“Maria, I want you to pray for me about an area in my life where I struggle.” I asked. (Yes, I struggle with stuff in my life, just like all of you.)

So, I explained to Maria my struggle, It’s too long to write it out here.

Wouldn’t you know it; Maria turns this whole rejection thing around on me. Ouch!

“Lynn, is this struggle rooted in rejection?”

I think for a minute and then it hits me. “Ah, yes.” I stammer staring at her across the table. You see the light of the Holy Spirit just went on in my heart.

“Maria, I guess I still hold pain in my heart because my husband was not capable of loving me how I needed to be loved.” i.e…. Rejection of my faith…. And likely other areas too. (Just being authentic here.)

Now this is where my world split open.

“Lynn, he likely was never loved in the way you want to be loved. Lynn, it’s most likely that he was rejected way back in his life somewhere, perhaps parents? I don’t know. But Lynn,

He’s hurting.”

How come I’ve never considered the pain and rejection he may be carrying and that he conceals from me? Sometimes God shows me just how utterly selfish I can be.

 

I could bawl my eyes out just typing this.

In an instant God opened up a door into my heart and revealed something that brings me pain and shame. I knew in that instant that I’ve withheld a small part of my love, genuine love, kindness and compassion from my husband. I withheld it out of rejection. Out of some twisted belief that because he didn’t love me how I needed to be loved, that I was justified to withhold part of my love that I could have given him.

“Oh Maria, he IS hurting.” It’s all I could say.

Maria, doesn’t judge me. She loves me. She prays over me. I release my bitterness, the past rejection. Then a new love floods my heart for my hurting husband who has likely never been fully loved and accepted himself.

EVER!

So, that happened on Wednesday. As I write this it’s Thursday morning. My husband is away on a business trip and will arrived home this evening after a grueling work week. He is going to come home to his safe haven, our home. But when he walks in the door tonight, his wife is different.

It is my life’s goal from this day forward to love that man with unconditional and a full and accepting love. My friends, I don’t even know what that looks like right now.

But, I do know what that feels like. My Papa, Daddy, loves me like that. And living in His Presence, His love, is a place where EVERYTHING is okay, good, grace covered and happy. My husband needs to experience this kind of love. It is the very least and the very best that I can give to him.

So as I prayed about all of this today God opened up his Word to me and this is what I read:

FewaJohn 13: 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 

7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 

8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” 

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 

9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. 

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 

I sat stunned in my chair. God immediately said to me, “Wash his feet.” And God means this literally as well as to serve my husband with a new love and affection.

So, tonight after my husband’s long business trip as he sits down to watch television, I’m going to quietly kneel before him, remove his shoes, wash his feet, cover them with lotion and place slippers on his feet. I will rise and then kiss him on the lips and tell him how much I love him. I’m going to thank him for working so hard. I will tell him I could love him better and to forgive me for not doing so before now. And I will assure him that I’m going to be better at it in the future. And promise him I will try to do it better and better every day for the rest of our lives.

I’m not sure what will happen but I KNOW that my Daddy is proud. And after all, God does this for me…. every…… single….. day…

Signed, a humble and ever learning servant, Lynn

*****

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-

SUM Books 4


Beauty For Ashes

My friends, below is a precious letter from Rosheeda's parents. They have reached out to Lynn and I and have expressed their desire to be a part of this community. Even in their grief, God's love shines so profoundly through them. Such beauty rising up from ashes...

If you scroll down in the side bar, you'll now see "Rosheeda Lee Legacy Page." This is in memory of Rosheeda and all she gave to our community, including our name, Sumites. Our desire and prayer is to honor her and share her legacy with others who come to this site down the road.

Now it's my pleasure to introduct Sheila and Roderick Lee:

 

Hello. I sat a while ago and re-visited the comments from the SUM community and cried and smiled at the many statements from so many people God allowed to be loving, encouraging and inspirational to my daughter. Somehow in this life we become focused on what we receive and don't realize what we give in return when we acknowledge our recognition of God's personal attentiveness to us through whomever it might be at the time.

149549_1718064274966_3616516_nMy wife and I were privileged to have 2 children—1 daughter and 1 son. Rosheeda was oldest. Over the years we chose to teach them what we believed to be Godly principles regarding your service to Lord. One of the most important things revolved around the personal relationship between you and The Living God and how your service to Him is private. No accolades unless He chooses to expose your submission to the gifts provided through His Spirit. In saying this I am saying that neither my wife nor myself knew of her choice to be involved in the SUM Ministry. We are however so humbled that she chose to submit to God's leading in such a necessary ministry.

I cannot claim to understand the grief and anguish Our God must have felt when Jesus prayed so fervently to Him in the garden. But I do know the scriptures said "an Angel from Heaven appeared to him and STRENGTHENED Him, and being in ANGUISH HE PRAYED MORE FERVENTLY AND HIS SWEAT BECAME LIKE DROPS OF BLOOD FALLING TO THE GROUND. Our God provided MORE for His own Son to fulfill His plan for our salvation. My wife and I daily seek him to provide for us the same strength to Glorify Him in our lives as our daughter did.

Rosheeda had such a commitment in everything she chose to do... She understood that ministry isn't an act it's what we live everyday. As necessary as breathing.

My daughter shared a bond with us as unique as men are from women. However, the bond between she and I can only be compared to the Love of Our Heavenly Father and the Son he gave for us. Rosheeda lived in a way that was a likeness to her mother and a jewel in the Crown of her grandmother's. As she did for the "SUMites" she also coined a phrase for her Niece regarding the conduct of a "Lee Woman".

I won't tell you Sheila and I are good, I will tell you that we LOVE the God we serve and we are prepared to wake up everyday and Glorify Him because he is WORTHY.

We are humbled to be recognized as the parents of such a wonderful, dignified young woman. As often as we think of her we will think of each of you by name or need because she loved you all so.

Under His grace
Sheila and Roderick Lee
902 Cambridge drive
Duncanville, Texas 75137

 

Mr. and Mrs. Lee included their contact information for you, my friends. Reach out them as you feel led either here in the comments or with the information they provided or both. 

Love you so very much!
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-

SUM Books 4


Honor and a Little Humor in Marriage

Yesterday Mike and I celebrated our 21 wedding anniversary.

Because all of you know how challenging a spiritual mismatch can be, I just marvel at all God has brought about in me, my husband, our children and all through our marriage covenant. 

Miracles abounding around here. May I just say, "Honey, I love you and I'm looking forward to the next 21 years."

I've been thinking a lot about honor and marriage. I've been pondering the qualities of my husband that are honorable. And today, just for fun, I want to share a hilarious video that points to an amazing quality my man possesses.

My guy can find the perfect anniversary, birthday and any-kind-of-card-day for me. 

Mike Donovan IS the guy in the video who seeks the perfect card for his wife. He spends an hour at Hallmark. I spend 10 minutes at Wal-Mart. Sheesh! He is SO much better at this than me.

Thank you Mike, you are so amazing and able to find the perfect card.

Okay enjoy. And today think about one area in your spouse that is honorable. Is he a good father? A good provider? When you type his honorable qualities in the comments it becomes a written record for the Kingdom. So today, honor your spouse and then watch as God honors you. Hugs, Lynn

 

*****

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-

SUM Books 4