17 posts categorized "Humility"

A Tale of Vindication, Forgiveness and Obedience

Micah6-8Hello, SUMites! I left you hanging a bit on Monday with the rest of this house story and a specific Word from our Father's heart. So let's dig right in...

Early in the summer we went to check on our house and see the current progress. As we walked through unfinished doorways, we noticed the tubs had been installed. However, I was certain one of them was supposed to be a walk-in-shower. Yet when I questioned this, the building supervisor insisted this bathroom always had a tub per the design. 

When I pointed out we paid for shower doors, he told they would be added to the tub. That, in fact, they had them once in the model, which I checked and saw no evidence of this. Yet I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

My friends, I wasn't happy at all about this, because I don't like tubs. And something in all this didn't sit right with me. But out of respect for my husband's desire for peace in this issue and the apparent wall I'd hit, I let it go. And my reasoning kicked in to say, "It's just a bathroom."

But in my heart, I secretly asked God for vindication in this situation. I knew I was right. However, I also recognized that I had to let go of that need to be proven right. So I gave it to Him. Unbeknownst to me, God began moving to bring the right person and circumstances into place to reveal the truth…

Now fast forward to about two weeks ago. With the tiling now completed, it was time for shower glass to be installed. Except that bathroom with the tub? Yep, no glass doors. So I asked the new building assistant manager appointed to our house about it. He said they don't usually put doors on tubs, but he would look into it.

My friends, an anger flared up in me that burned hot as the reality that we'd been lied to began to come into clarity. And I was frustrated. I knew we'd be refunded anything we'd paid for in error, but that need in me to be proven right flared up again. I had to keep giving it to God, even when it woke me up in the middle of the night.

The next day, the assistant manager called us to say we were right, we were supposed to get a walk-in-shower. Just not in the bathroom I originally thought. Okay, well, I was mostly right, I thought. Giggle...

Then the question became, did we still want this at the risk of it delaying our closing? Our house had already taken twice as long as promised because of errors on the builders part. My friends, again, I warred in myself about this just being a bathroom, but I wanted what was promised to us. Mostly I wanted this house to be what God had planned for us. The assistant manager said he would see what he could do it get it done on time without affecting our closing date.

So, I confess here that this was where I gloated just a bit. Only to my sweet hubby who affirmed that I'd been right. Yet part of me still wasn't settled about it all. I know this sounds crazy, but it still seemed incomplete. And we still weren't sure if our closing would be delayed, which could cause problems with the whole move. We have to be out of our rental house by the end of this month.

Over the next few hours I began to process the full picture of what God was doing with the help of the Holy Spirit, of course. First, I was finally vindicated and proven right. As I praised God for working all this out for us, He reminded me of how I had prayed for this very thing months ago. 

For a bathroom. 

I know—sounds crazy, doesn't’ it? But God had a deeper plan and purpose here. As the complete picture came into view, I realized how the former building supervisor (yes, he was moved to a another subdivision) had outright lied to us. I've never been lied to like that before, SUMites. Not that I'm aware of. And it cut me deeply. 

I am quick to see the best in people and trust them. I felt a deep betrayal by this person and found myself several times going to my computer to craft a letter to make it known to our realtor and our sales rep. But God stopped me and called me to forgive. So I prayerfully asked for His help to do so and began to pray for this person too, to become a man of integrity as God was calling him to be.

The next morning, the assistant manager called again to apologize and say he'd read the plan wrong, that the bathroom I originally thought (and had asked about months earlier) was actually the one that was supposed to have a full shower. He also said they were committed to making it right and completing it on time for our closing. 

I was stunned, my friends, as I realized that was the part that had felt unfinished in my spirit. I had prayed specifically about this one bathroom. But where I thought God was done, He wasn't. He made sure it was the specific bathroom I had prayed for. Down to the detail. And I'm very aware that this part fell into place after I'd chosen to forgive and pray for this person.

SUMites, I am still stunned at the "completeness" of God's vindication. He's impressed upon me not to settle for almost done when it comes to His plans and purposes. That He is a God who completes what He says and promises all the way.

And a beautiful bonus blessing came from all this. We were so grateful for this assistant manager’s help, attention and commitment to detail—and his integrity and honesty—that we wrote a letter to the division president commending him. And now this man, who I know God clearly placed to help us, has been promoted to building supervisor! God is so amazing. I love that another person was blessed in this crazy ordeal.

And yet there is more. God always has a deeper plan and purpose in all He does. As I reviewed all that had happened, He impressed upon me that this story of a bathroom is actually one about vindication, forgiveness and obedience. One I thought would simply live in the archives of my memory, but God had a plan for it all along, to be shared. 

Abba impressed upon me a message from His heart for all of us right now, as we stand on the precipice of what He's about to do and reveal in our lives, our marriages and this community. This is what I hear God telling us right now:

The past must be forgiven—the lies, the betrayals. Know that I have seen each one for I am a God of justice. But I am also a God of forgiveness—Your Good Father, Your Savior Jesus. With the Holy Spirit, we are One in Our great love for you and your family.

For the full revelation of what I have for you, let the hurts of the past go and choose to forgive. Even let go of your regrets. What I hold for you is so much better. I promise.

Let Me be your defender and justice giver. You will see in Me a greater love in this process than you can even imagine. I make all things good. I make all things right. Trust Me. Trust me with your heart.

And someone reading this—possibly several—need to hear this from your Papa God:

I have already forgiven you, my child. Now it’s time to forgive yourself.

My friends, here's the truth I've learned in this. Our enemy is not the person who hurts us—its satan. When we don't forgive those who hurt us, we empower the enemy in our life. And we empower him in the life of the one who hurt us. 

Now here's the revelation that brought me to tears and to my knees. When we forgive, we are acting like Jesus. When we forgive, death is defeated. The enemy is literally defeated. Forgiveness is one of our greatest weapons against the enemy. This stunning truth was exhibited on the cross. Forgiveness renders the enemy utterly defeated. And there is an exchange of power in this, SUMites. When we forgive, we release the power of God just like the death of Christ released the Holy Spirit. In our lives AND in the lives of those we forgive.

SUMites, if you feel led, make a declaration in the comments that from this day forth you choose to forgive and that any ground the enemy had in your life is now restored to you. In the mighty name of Jesus, so be it! AMEN!

I love you, my friends! I’m standing and praying with you always!
Dineen

 

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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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I Created Bitterness - A Weird Confession - Chronicles of the Donovan Clan. Ouch!

So, I kinda feel like today is my confession.

This post is likely to be raw and vulnerable but someone needs this word. Or perhaps it’s only me?

Many times when I’m speaking people will ask me if I discern what God is doing in my husband’s faith life. I reply that unfortunately or perchance fortunately, God rarely gives me insight into my husband’s heart journey.

However, I pray for him every day, covering many aspects of his life, career, health, salvation, protection, etc. etc. I believe the Lord has instructed me through His Word to pray unceasingly for Him and to cover him with the promise of 1 Corinthians 7:14, which holds great power and authority as a believer married to an unsaved spouse.

However, on Easter Sunday morning, God opened up a big ole pile of revelation to me.

So weird.

Why on Sunday morning and especially why on Easter.

A rare event to be sure both the revelation and the fact that my husband attended church with myself and our daughter, Caitie. This is our selfie before church began.

Family photo Easter 2016

There are so many things I love about this photo. But the light shining directly on our heads is crazy and filled with brilliance. It’s actually dark in our rather large church auditorium.

Once again…. Weird. But wildly cool. Could this photo be reflecting the glory of God’s children? I don’t know but these are things I love to think about.

Anyhoo, moving along.

It was nearly the end of the service, the worship team took the stage and in an unusual event our pastor invited anyone to come forward who wanted to be touched by God. And many went forward. I stood, as the awesomeness of the music compelled me to worship. A minute later, my daughter stood.

My husband did not.

He remained seated…….

AND THAT’S WHEN IT HAPPENED.

I began to sense the Holy Spirit speaking to me about Mike. And Yikes, it was revelatory and profound and difficult.

It took me a few weeks to process what God revealed in that moment. I have wrestled with the information and I have grieved. And I have apologized.

A week or so ago, I was on the loveseat and my husband on the couch. I looked over at him and started our conversation, “I need to tell you something.” Most men panic when they hear this.

“Don’t panic. I just need to say something and can you just hear me out?”

Hesitantly, “O, -kay.”

“I recently realized that I have caused you to become bitter toward God. I didn’t mean to do it and I’m grieved that this has happened.” I watch his face; he’s listening but guarded.

“I’ve come to realize that it could be due to the ministry in which I’m leading or perhaps because of my need for healing and turning fully to Jesus in our early years of marriage, I made God the problem in between the two of us. In our early years, like most marriages, we had struggles. Unfortunately, we didn’t seek marriage counseling and in my frustration and pain, I turned to God.”

“Jesus healed me from so much and I in error believed that if only you would come to Christ, everything in our marriage would magically be made better. Sheesh! What an idiot.” I rushed on as I didn’t want to lose my courage to own and act on this revelation.

“Our problems were rarely about faith. And somehow, I may have made God the only answer. I was naive or immature, likely both. But on Easter Sunday the Lord revealed all of this to me and I’m greatly grieved over it. I ask your forgiveness. But more importantly, I ask that you would see my part in this, came out of immaturity and please, please don’t be bitter at God.”

“God loves you so much, Mike. And in spite of having a block-headed wife, please, please don’t look at God with eyes of bitterness.”

Gulp!

Okay, there it is.

I’m still processing and praying through this revelation, our conversation and the implications. Geeze. I even had to call my daughter and share and apologize. She said, “Mom, this isn’t news to me. I’ve actually talked about this very thing with a few friends.”

Good Lord, Almighty!

Why am I sharing this with you today? I want other SUMites who are on this long journey to receive a word of caution through my story. I don’t want you to become a bitter root in your spouse’s faith journey.

So, the great thing about this apology was the ensuing conversation between Mike and myself. It’s was honest, clarifying and it was hopeful. We talked about his thoughts about God and he was very honest with me. He remains undecided about it all. And my confession broke the bitterness that may have held power in our marriage and in his faith journey.

Okay, I hope all this isn’t too much. Sometimes I feel as though I must be brutally honest about my struggles as well as my victories. And in the telling of this story, healing happened and perhaps healing will happen in another marriage.

Jesus, I pray with all that I have within me, in faith, this is true. In Your name, Jesus. AMEN

*****

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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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How do you "hear God? (part 2)

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

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

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

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

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

•His still small voice

•Scripture

•The counsel of a trusted friend

•Several devotionals 

•Ian's post about Lent

•Your comments on our blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you, my friends. So much. Praying for you!
SignatureGraphic2

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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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Part 1: The Journey to Complete Abandonment

SUMites, Lynn here. I will be traveling this week. While I'm away, one of our long-time readers and Sister, SUMite Gillian Russell will be sharing a portion of her story. You may remember her and her astonishing story of traveling to meet me and Dineen in Texas. You can find her story about that adventure, here

Thank you Gill for taking time to share your faith with us. Hugs, Lynn

Although I came to my faith for the first time as a twenty year old, somehow God grabbed hold of me very early on in my journey: within a month I was completely sold out on God and I never looked back. While I struggle with many things, trusting God has rarely been an issue for me. (By this I mean for big stuff, trusting God in the little interruptions and frustrations in my day is a completely different story). Maybe it's also that I've always been impulsive, but when God says jump, I jump, (and think and ask questions later!) Honestly, it doesn't matter what it is, all I need is to hear from Him. 

So what does that mean for a mismatched marriage? It has certainly created some odd discussions but there are so many blessings that have flowed into all our lives from this obedience, because after all, God always works only for our best. 

A few years ago, while praying on my way home from a church event I heard these words CLEARLY in my spirit: 

Until your husband sees you, visibly different, (like my best friend saw the change) truly submitting to him, he’s not going to believe.’ That’s what it will take for him to come on board etc, radical humility. ‘Only when you are willing to lay down your will, will he be able to know Me.’ 

Gulp. 

Part 1.JPG Gill
Since then God has been helping me, one little step at a time, to lay down my wants, my desires, my way. In Texas God had taught me that I didn't need to try to run the show because He was in control, and of course He knows what's best. I was reminded of what God had told me about letting go of my will, and it was clear God needed me to stop controlling my husband, trying to get him to live his life how I wanted. 

In fact, God took it a step further by showing me clearly that as long as I was doing this, God would never be able to reach him. Like the prodigal son, my husband had to be able to live free, even free to make mistakes, and that would require my cooperation. This actually made perfect sense, so I trustingly said yes to God. 

A few days later I began to see just what that yes meant.

You see, my husband was invited to a party I did not want him to go to. Besides the fact that it was overnight and shouldn't a husband and father be home with his family, I knew that part of the festivities included strippers (Bachelor party). I knew this situation was not going to be healthy for him or for our marriage...and I wanted to put my wifely foot down, that he was NOT GOING.

Instead I had to lay that urge down, and let him make the decision himself, and look to God to get me through it. So I trusted my heart to God, only to have it broken when he chose to go anyway. I clung to God through the fears and hurt that followed, and offered up the pain I felt to God, together with the cross of Christ to win graces for my husband. Even though I couldn't see any real changes, I had to trust that God was using this to humble my husband, as he saw how his decision affected me.

I had never been so broken, but The Lord stood with me. Truly, I'd never felt so close to my Lord as I did those few days. I had given Him everything I had. 

The night before, after my husband had left for the party, I felt like Jesus alone in the garden of Gethsemane wrestling with the Father's will as my heart wrestled with surrendering this completely to God, for better or worse. Now God had taken my heart, and I had nothing left to give Him. In that place I found myself completely abandoned to His will, whatever it might be, from that moment forward.  There, kneeling by the water in full view of the cars going by, I raised my hands to the heavens in humble surrender. 

Three days later I watched God do a work of redemption in our marriage that only He could do. Afterwards I even shared with my husband a little of how God was responsible for it, because it was only because I was following God's directions that this new breakthrough happened. 

Only God could turn that place of darkness into a new dawn. Truly, the Almighty works ALL things for our good. 

Gill Intl Life
--- Stay Tuned, Part II is next--- Gill

*****

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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I Am A Bummer Lamb

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

Today I want to share it with you.

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

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

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

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

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

Sheep herders call those lambs, bummer lambs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s actually dare to believe it.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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The Day the “Sun did NOT Stand Still!” by Martha Bush

Martha F. Bush
Martha Bush grew up on a farm in Donalsonville, Georgia. She graduated from Valdosta State College, Valdosta, Georgia, with a BS degree in Business Education. After graduating from college, Martha began her teaching career that spanned grades 5-12 in both public and Christian schools. She also taught adult vocational courses in the Atlanta school system. Her love for teaching led her into areas outside the school system as she began teaching Bible study courses in jails, prisons, and at her local church. She also writes a monthly inspirational post at Created Woman and is a contributing editor for Created Woman Magazine. In addition, Martha is a contributor to Girlfriends Coffee Hour and a member of the Orange County Christian Writers Guild. Through her years of teaching, as well as being an avid reader of human behavior and grief counseling from noted Christian psychologists, she recognized how a team effort can help build a foundation in children at an early age that will enable them to cope with the losses in their lives. She believes this team, made of up parents, grandparents, educators, and spiritual leaders, can guide a child to healing from losses he or she might experience. They can do this simply by recognizing his pain, listening to his pain and then teaching the child how to apply the principles of God’s Word to his hurting heart. This led her to write Helping Hurting Children: A Journey of Healing. Martha resides in Orange, Texas, with her husband, Glen. They are the parents of two grown daughters who have blessed them with three beautiful grandchildren.

SUMite, Martha Bush, wrote to me privately and I asked her to share her story. I wept with hope upon reading her anointed words. I love you Martha! Hugs, Lynn 

 

“Better get your praying done, because we are moving from this house December 15!”  And with those piercing words to me, my husband started packing.

Did you ever just feel in your bones that something is just not right, that what is happening is not a God thing? No, the feeling goes deeper than the bones; you feel it way down deep in your spirit.

That’s the way I felt about this move.  It was just not the right thing to do, nor was it the right time.  Even my pre-believer husband, who had been so adamant about this move, had said to me, “I don’t understand you; you have never been a materialistic person, why is this move from your large beautiful home into a smaller one bothering you so much?” 

As you know, you just don’t say to your pre-believer, “Sweetheart, I just don’t feel the peace of God about this; can we pray about it more?”  Coupled with that, I felt as though he was mocking God and my faith by saying, “you had better get your praying done, because come the morning of December 15 at 9:00 A.M, the moving van is coming.”

And so, I put on the whole armour of God, and I rebuked, commanded, spoke the word over it, and exercised all the Biblical calisthenics that I knew to do.   But, alas, December 15 came, and right on cue at 9 o’clock, the moving van pulled into my driveway.  

And that’s when I pulled the Joshua thing.

Sun stand still!

God is about to place himself in front of that moving van

and turn it around; there ain’t no move taking place here today.”

But, to my dismay, the sun went down and the thing I had believed in my spirit was wrong, happened.

As the moving van was pulling out of my driveway hauling my cherished belongings to another house, I stood on the driveway saying, “Where were you, God; what didn’t you arrive before the sun went down?”  Prior to this day, I had prayed for many things, and saw God move in miraculous ways, but the day I prayed for the sun to stand still, I felt that I was at the height of my spiritual growth and faith level, but it didn’t happen.

I could just hear the old devil laughing and saying, “Commanding the sun to stand still?  Really, Martha, who do you think you are? It only happened one time in the Bible.  Did you think you were going to make it happen a second time?”

Let me hasten to say that moving to another house is nothing compared to what some of you are going through.  

  • Some of you have had to face separation and divorce from your spouse, and yet you have faithfully been the believing spouse who has honored your marriage vows. 
  • Some of you have struggled financially.  You may even faithfully pay your tithes, do the Bill Ramsey book on----and got your cards all lined up..Yet, you barely can live from pay check to pay check.
  • Some live with addictions, devastating health problems, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, fear, and rejection.
  • My own beloved pastor, David Berkeheimer, preached Luke 4:18 for over 30 years.  Upon his retirement, he made many trips to California to consult with Bill Johnson and was in the process of establishing a school of supernatural ministries in Jasper, Texas, modeled after Bethel.  Yet, cancer invaded his body, and he died, leaving his life savings tied up in a healing ministry that never came to pass.  (Say what?)

Why, why, why???? Why did God not arrive before the sun went down for me, as well as for you?

My Dear Sumite friends, please spare me your Chrisitnese answers.

  • It must not have been God’s will.  (But, it says so right here in the Bible; look let me show you!)
  • If you had had faith.  (Oh, please, give me a break.  It only takes a grain of mustard seed, surely we have that.)
  • You should have spoken the word every day.  (Holy cow, I spoke it and I spoke it, and I spoke it.  How many times to you want me to speak it.  I spoke it until I am blue in the face.  Come on)

I am a former school teacher.  I stood in front of my classes many times and spouted off to students:  “If you had done steps #1, #2, #3 like I told you to, you wouldn’t have missed the problem.  You are goofing off and just not using the “right steps.” I then laid a guilt trip on them for not paying attention and focusing.  (Please tell me we don’t preach the “step plan” to our friends when things seem to follow apart in their lives?)

Can we just sometimes get real and answer the “why” question simply by saying “I don’t know why,” as Robert Koke, pastor of Shoreline Church, Austin, Texas, did when his 17 year old son was killed in an automobile accident.

In working through his grief, Pastor Koke tells the story of how he kept asking “Why, God.You could have spared his life.  I don’t understand why you didn’t.” 

Finally, he tells of the day, he came to the conclusion that helped him start moving forward:  “I don’t know why.  But, I wouldn’t exchange the things I do know about God for the things I don’t know about Him.”

  • I know He died on the cross for my salvation.
  • I know He was resurrected and rose from the grave.
  • I know I have a home in heaven and will see Him one day.
  • I know, if I allow Him, He will still give me the peace that surpasses all understanding in the midst of my trials.

Well, Pastor Koke’s answer is good enough for me, but I have to confess. I’ve got this little mischievous thing about me.  When I get to heaven, I still may just sneak up to God and try to kid with Him a little bit and say:  “By the way, God.  Not that it makes any difference now, (ha, ha, ha) but I was just wondering why didn’t the sun stand still for me like it did for Joshua.”

On second thought, I got a feeling that all my why’s will vanish and there will be only one thing I want to do.

Please take a few minutes and listen to the words of this song.

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When The Church Hurts You

Hello SUMite Nation, 

I have to chuckle. Over the past few months reading through comments, Facebook posts and emails I have received, all of the “SUMite” puns. Hilarious!  SUMthings about happen. To SUM things up. Is SUMone praying? Can I just say that SUM of you are very witty and hilarious. 

It’s the little nuances such as this that make our home on the web, a family. We are a family and SUM is a place where we are loved and where we love. Thank you SUMites for how you love Jesus and how well you love one another. 

And I guess I feel this post is leading to an entirely different topic than I expected. You see over the past seven days my daughter and I have experienced some weird situations. Conflict over beliefs with other believers. 

Yikes! 

Now don’t panic. I’m not going to cause a debate in our Home on the web here. In fact, I think it’s remarkable the kind of unity that we experience in our SUM House considering all the different steams of faith represented here. And Dineen and I are very careful and intentional to focus on what unites and not on what divides. We focus on only two things.  

Love God…
Love people…. 

But what do we do when we don’t see eye to eye? My daughter and I have been living this out as of late. It’s hard enough to stand in our faith when facing harsh words from our unbelieving spouse. But it’s even more difficult to face conflict with people who are “supposed to be on our side.” 

Do you agree? 

Well, in both cases we must let love be our compass and focus on what we have in common. This works both with our pre-believers and those who have differing ideological views. And right behind love, we must walk the road of forgiveness. 

However, the most difficult to forgive are those who are in the church that wound us. 

Am I right? 

Recently I listened to Ann Graham Lotz share how she overcame pain when she was wounded by her church. She shares how she was part of a church for 15 years, raised her children in this particular church and yet on one Sunday morning the church dismissed her husband from leadership. 

THIS IS WORTH A LISTEN MY FRIENDS.

 

 

Thank you for loving Dineen and I even when we might offend, hurt or fail you. Please know we would never do so with intention. I know many times I would like to respond to the many email, comments and messages that arrive and I simply can’t do it. I might write words such as “I’m Pissed Off” and you choose not to take offense but see how I remain committed to authenticity. I pray more than anything that you see our imperfect hearts are filled with love for you. It’s the love of a perfect Father, His Son, Jesus and the love of the Spirit. That remains our highest purpose when you visit our home on the web. 

The calling in this season of the Kingdom upon the House of SUM, is to love God. Love People. Amen and AMEN!

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The Greatest Romance of All Time

22641640_sOn Sunday I sat in church and watched a short video clip done by an energetic young man. I can’t remember much of what he said because partway through he said something that planted a thought in my mind that bloomed into something I’m finding quite amazing. Then today (yesterday as you read this), the Holy Spirit brought me to a Scripture that opened the fuller meaning and picture of this thought. 

I am a bit undone by it. Let’s see what you think, my friends.

As women, we long to be wooed. I remember as a young girl playing with Barbies, I would stage Barbie’s wedding to Ken. It was quite something actually, at least in my mind. As a teenager, romance books replaced Barbie and Ken to feed my imagination of what romance meant. And no, not in a good way.

So, as a young adult, my hubby’s formal proposal (or lack there of) kind of left a gap in my longing for a great romance, to be swept off my feet and carried away. After all, Ken always swept Barbie off her feet. But that’s not what I want to talk about today. What I want to talk about is a different kind of marriage proposal. The greatest marriage proposal of all. 

The cross.

This the thought that came on Sunday and has mulled and simmered in my heart and mind since. The cross of Jesus Christ is a marriage proposal. And when you think of the Biblical references to us being the bride of Christ, it fits.

Christ came down (went on bended knee?) and humbled Himself, sacrificed His dignity to woo us. To call to us out of His great love. To ask, “Will you bind your life with Mine forever?”

At our yes, He presents us with a gift to hold and seal the promise of the promise to be fulfilled. The ring—the Holy Spirit.

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. — 2 Cor. 1:21-22 (ESV)

We could call our time here on earth our engagement period. We are promised to the One and we seek to know and love Him better as the romance continues in preparation for our coming life together (eternity). Or we could call our baptism (by water and/or the Holy Spirit) the wedding (a public ceremony) and our continued faith walk our “marriage” to the Lover of our soul.

It is a beautiful analogy, my friends. One I am still pondering as it explains to me the longings of a woman’s heart (and I am only speaking to women here as I am woman. I dearly hope we will have at least one male commenter to share his perspective of this great wooing). We long to be wooed, romanced, desired and yes, claimed in the sense of knowing to Whom we belong. And in the pure hands of Jesus, it is a beautiful and right thing. In the hands of the world and the enemy of our soul, it becomes twisted and selfish.

I had no intention of bringing up the movie 50 Shades of Grey, but as this imagery of the cross as a marriage proposal bloomed in my mind, I realized we are not much different really from the women (unbelievers and believers alike) who are flocking to this movie, for I also believe they are indeed seeking to fill this yearning. We are all God’s creatures, designed to have this longing for the eternal bond (marriage) with our Savior Jesus Christ.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. — Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)

As the bride of Christ we have found the truest longing of our hearts—a place that can never be filled by a person or romance books or a movie. For these things translated into some sort of reality for an individual will lose their glimmer and promise in the enduring light of day. The truth is always exposed. The initial satisfaction of these false imitators of the love and passion of Christ will fade because our souls are wired with that eternity Abba Father has placed in us. It recognizes the imposter and rejects him. 

And we are left broken and longing yet again. The great awakening we truly long for is in Him, who longs for us out of the purest motivations for our good—our salvation and identity in Him. This is the place of satisfaction and excitement and wonder. A place where we are loved and cherished and valued, called worthy and beautiful and identified.

The romance never dies with Jesus. He is constant in His loving pursuit of us. He does not stop once He has captured our hearts. He continues to delight and love us more and more, as much a we will allow and follow Him. And there is always more. 

That is the seal and the promise we are given. It is stunning to think that God gave us a part of His very Self to give us a guarantee of His promise. I stand in wonder at this new realization of the depth of such sacrificial love.

For me. For you. For every woman out there. And for every man. We are the center of this great wooing by the heart of Jesus, that draws us to Him without overriding our will or demanding control. It is the purest form of love that seeks nothing but to give, to save, to free.

And in the freedom we are free to love and give ourselves to our Bridegroom who has waited for us since the very beginning of time itself. I can’t think of anything in this world that can match this level of romance, my friends. 

I will close with one final thought that continues to simmer and form in my spirit: This wooing is happening to our pre-believers, whether we see it or not. 

SUMite Ann H. left a comment on Lynn’s post about waking from a dream with the words “pray for the resting of grace” and the image of my face. And yesterday I read this sentence in the book, The Elijah Task by John and Paula Sandford:

Only the Holy Spirit gives the grace of belief—otherwise nothing, neither persuasion nor miracles, will bring about true belief.

So as Jesus woos my hubby, I will be praying for the “resting of grace” upon him so that the Holy Spirit will release this grace of belief into him.  

I believe, my friends. I truly believe this will happen. Jesus said that if we have faith and don’t doubt, we can move mountains. 

I am praying and shouting “GRACE” at his mountain of unbelief, and I am ready to see it move. I am asking Jesus to show me how I can be part of this great romance for my husband’s soul.

How about you, SUMites? I’m looking forward to reading your comments and hearing your thoughts. 

Love you dearly!
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Day 4: Asking Day

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In a SOZO healing session, when we give something over to God, we are directed to ask Jesus what He has in return to us. I confess, the first time I encountered this, my reaction was to wonder if this was offensive to my Lord and Savior. Did I have that right to ask? When I asked, He quickly replied with something He wanted to give me to replace what I had relinquished. Sometimes it was just an affirmation of His love. Other times, He had specific things to give me. There have even been times as I’ve prayed for myself or others that I received the word, “Ask.” Jesus was telling me or the person I was praying for that He was waiting for us to ask Him for something. His Word even tells us this:

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. — Matthew 7:7

Sometimes we forget to ask, often times, like I did and still do at times, we wonder if we have the right, but if as the children of the Most High God, we are given this right to approach the throne of grace as part of our inheritance in Christ.

So today is “asking day.” Determine one thing that you would like to ask Jesus for. I know this is challenging because you most likely have a list, but this is just for today. We have our whole lives here and beyond to continue asking and seeking.

Write down what you are asking for in your journal, and be sure to date it. Pray over it and believe two things:

One, that God hears you:

I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. — Psalm 17:6

And two, believe Him for this. It may not come as you expect, but believe that Jesus will answer this prayer in some way, shape, or form.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. — 2 Corinthians 1:20

Yesterday, in the comments, so many of you shared God’s promises and as I read them I was so moved by what God is doing in all of us. We are all hearing the same things, my friends. Think about the sheer impossibility of that by human standards. But we’re talking about our great and mighty God who transcends all that. We have corporate and universal communication going on here! Hallelujah! 

Rose shared this verse and I knew it had to be in today’s post:

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. — John 15:16

My friends, it’s asking day! Ask your Father God for the deepest desire of your heart and watch what He will do. He is telling us today to ASK!!!

Abba Father, we lift our voices up to You with great awe and love. Our hearts are so humbled that You care so much, love us so much, that You even remind us to ask You for what we need, what we long for. Lord, nothing is beyond You. Nothing! So we raise our voices to You and ask for these things and especially, Father God, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, we ask for MORE OF YOU! Today, Lord, I am asking for JOY! For me and this beautiful SUM community. In the name of mighty King Jesus, amen!

With great love,
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Day of Atonement

Isaiah 66 2 Day of AtonementSUMites this is a day of fasting. Sunrise to sunset.

Humble and contrite. Humble and contrite. Humble and Contrite.

What does this mean to you today?

Psalm 51:17  My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

Isaiah 66:2 Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

There are a multitue of scripture verses on humility, Visit here.

May the Lord blesS you and keep you my friends. Great is our God and great are His mercies, grace and promises. 

Lord, let us be your people who respresent you well. In the name of your Son, Jesus, we pray. Amen

 

 There is someone who needs to hear this song today. May it change your life. 

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God Spoke. The Angels Sing Over The SUMites!

Isaiah 66 2 Day of AtonementWow Oh Wow… The heavens opened this morning. 

On my walk n pray this morning God just started talking. And talking. And talking…. I was so overwhelmed by all He was sharing that I had to call Dineen while I was on the trail. 

What was He saying? I’m so glad you asked because it was all about you, Sumites. 

I’m going to write out what I heard. 

First I kept hearing over and over, humble and contrite. Humble and contrite. Humble and contrite

Then He explained. 

Lynn, I know you have talked to me a lot about these letters and lists. You have brought the people who wrote them before me. But I want to tell you how I feel about these men and women. 

My heart is moved with joy and great pleasure for these, my children. 

“Why Lord?” 

Because they have given me a sacrifice of great significance. 

“How did we do this, Lord?” 

In your culture today the devil has created a frenzied pace in life. The demands on people’s time and energy are beyond what I ever intended. Culture dictates, a do, do, do mentality and shouts that you are not valuable if not busy and productive every minute of your life. I hate it. 

It is a lie, Lynn. 

But these. These precious children of mine, they have taken time to sit down with me. They talked with me and then handcrafted a letter, a list of their dreams. They made an effort. An effort to stop and think about Me and what we, together might do in this world. Do you know how that thrills my heart? 

As they sat writing out their dreams in their precious and unique handwriting style, they were with me. I was with them. I watched their faces as they wrote the words and formed the sentences. I felt the stirring in their hearts as they dared to bring me into their lives to help them accomplish and see their dreams come to life. 

Lynn, I see this very act of writing these dream lists as I saw the very first sacrifice that was given to me. You know who gave me that precious sacrifice? It was Able. His gift was a gift of love, his first fruits, a willing gift of love. 

These dream lists are so much more to me than words penned on paper; they are a gift of great love. They are a gift from children who love me. They are a message that I have priority. That I am their Lord. That I am loved by them. They are birthed of a humble and contrite heart of which I find great, great pleasure. 

Lynn, today the angels sing! They sing because I have watched this SUMite Nation and I approve. I thrill over all of you. I adore you. I am Your God and Your King. I am your Father who loves you. And Lynn, you know when a Daddy loves His children, do you know what He does? 

“Tell me Papa.” 

He moves heaven and earth to give them the Kingdom.

  

Good grief SUMites. I have a lump in my throat. 

SUMites, God went on to tell me some other amazing things. He told me that He has something for Dineen at the conference. —Can’t wait to see what that is. 

Then God showed me something. I saw a picture of a Bible open and there was a person reading it. I could only see the hands as the right hand reached up to turn the page. Now this next part astonished me. When the page was turned I saw gold shimmering dust, glory dust, float from the page and onto the person who was reading. 

Again God said to me, “See Lynn, when you spend time with me reading from the Bible, My glory comes upon you.” 

Say what? I was immediately impressed how God takes great pleasure when we simply sit down with a “paper” Bible. Literally gold dust fell on the hands and arms of the reader. 

HOW COOL IS THAT? 

Approaching The Most Holy Day in God’s calendar tomorrow, I hear a calling to understand what God sees as humble and contrite. So as we fast tomorrow, look up these scriptures in a paper Bible and let His glory dust upon you. Let His great pleasure flow and give the angels even more reasons to sing over the SUmite Nation. 

I love you all so much. I love our God, His Son, Jesus and the Spirit that empowers us and makes us one. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com
 

Isaiah 66:2 Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. 

 

My friends, God told me that it’s not too late. You can still sit down and handwrite your dream list. You can still mail it to me if you want to but it’s not about getting it to me. This is a sacrifice of love that is between you and our Papa. Make time to dream with Him. You won’t regret it.

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Powerful Teaching from Kris Vallotton

Img_small_krisMy friends, I want to share two very powerful teaching sermons by Kris Vallotton with you (I will continue the worship series on Wednesday). These are so powerful and anointed, I'm sure. And I don't you to miss the chance to listen to them (not sure how long the links will be available). 

Kris Valotton’s Steps to Successful Living in the Kingdom, Part 1

Kris Valotton’s Steps to Successful Living in the Kingdom, Part 2

There are two of them and I recommend you listen to them both. If you find you can only do one, then listen to part two. Kris outlines five areas of successful living in the kingdom:

  1. Be present
  2. Be thankful
  3. Have a big YES!
  4. Persevere
  5. Be humble

I found myself deeply convicted by the first one, about being present. I am definitely guilty of this one and am now commited to following the Holy Spirit's leading to change this. I learned to live in the moment through my daughter's cancer ordeal, but in the last year or so, I lost sight of this. Makes me think of Matthew 6:34:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

But it's so much more than worry. It's also about not missing out on what's right in front of you, including diving appointments. You'll understand more as you listen.

At the end, Kris gives a list of signs of humility. I typed them out and will keep them in my journal, because I know have several to work on. Here's that list:

13 Signs That You're Humble

  1. You know who you are without requiring others to acknowledge your identity.
  2. You allow others to get credit for things that should be attributed to you.
  3. You take a lower seat than you deserve.
  4. You refuse to promote yourself.
  5. You allow others to share their accomplishments without sharing yours especially when yours are greater.
  6. You have an attitude that no task is beneath you.
  7. You’re honest about your weaknesses.
  8. You admit your mistakes.
  9. You live below your means.
  10. You work to promote others.
  11. You’re teachable.
  12. You’re correctable.
  13. You’re influencable.

And I love this line that he shares: "Adversity may be the mother of invention, but humility if the father of promotion."

Such profound teaching in these two sermons, dear friends. I pray they bless you greatly, encourage you deeply, and challenge you to move and grow in your faith. That is God's loving heart for all of us.

Learning and growing with you!

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Line by Line: An Open Letter To The Fearful Young Wife

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My friends, the comments on Friday’s post were amazing. All of them. Filled with honesty and truth and HOPE. I’m choosing to share this particular comment with the community because it’s a restoration story of epic proportions. Thank you Merlene for your courage and heart to share your life with us. Now here is Merlene’s comment to the young woman who is afraid to live her faith in her home: 

This is a topic near and dear to me. My husband was raised in a Catholic home but was hurt by the church. When we married I was a Christian but not walking with God the way I should have been. We married six months to the day from our first date. I knew I should not unequally yoke myself to him but I was 25 and had never dated or had anyone show me any kind of affection. So I jumped in with both feet. 

I got better about serving God and was not afraid to show it, but he was never on the same page with me and still is not. But I have watched God slowly change this man. Living in fear is not pleasant. Living with an alcoholic is not pleasant. Never knowing if you are going to set off a time bomb is not pleasant. But knowing God is always there at your right hand - Psalm 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

 In 2008 he was transferred back to Iowa and left to get an apartment and I stayed in Illinois to sell our home. The market crashed and I eventually lost my job. Due to two DUI’s within a 13 month time frame, the distance between us became greater and greater. After 15 years of marriage it drove us apart and we divorced. It tore me up. It helped me grow closer to God that is for sure. And over time it also changed my husband. 

Neither of us would admit it at the time but we made excuses to call each other from time to time over the 3 1/2 years we were divorced. I had a tendency during our marriage to be a very zealous believer. In many ways know I had a part in pushing him away from God because I was also very bitter towards sin (his drinking and smoking) and working a different shift and failing to be the dad his children needed him to be and it all was dumped on me. (I was his step mom to 4 children of which we had custody of 2) My answer to my pain was to throw God in his face. It was not my choice to divorce. However, afterwards I realized that I had as much to do with it as he did. 

I say all that to say this. After 3 1/2 years apart and lots of digging into God's word and reading some great books on being a Godly wife, I realized I had not loved unconditionally. I realized that I had not respected my husband nor kept my vow I made to God to stay in sickness or health. Sin is a sickness. When I came to realize that, I bawled and repented. 

I had never stopped loving this man. During our time apart God had put an older gentleman in my life that I thought was going to be my Boaz. Well ladies let me tell you something. Sometimes those men of God are just as unholy as the ones that aren't men of God. I decided I would rather be with the man who does not know God yet than with the one that does know God and is very critical and judgmental and unwilling to become the man God wants him to be. Real is better than fake. 

At Christmas 2013 I stood face to face with the man I fell in love with in 1994 and confessed my part and we sat down and God showed me how he has been working to soften my husband's heart. We remarried in January and are committed to making our marriage work. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comTo this young woman with children I recommend that she not be afraid to share her faith with her husband or her children. I he doesn't like it then he has a choice to make. Don't walk in fear - 2 Tim 1:7 says God did not give you a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. Take small steps and do it in love. But let your light shine. We are all praying for you and know the path you are on.

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Thanks Merlene for your testimony. Thank you for being part of our amazing community of SUM.

My friends, can you take an honest assessment of your life and see where you have been just as much of the problem in your marriage? Ouch. Tough to do but I'm thinking God wants to burn out some of the dross in our heart with this question.

Hugs, 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

*****

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Humble Confidence – Part 2

 HumbleConfident

In the first post of this series on humble confidence, we explored the humble, meek and gentle side of the Christian life. This post highlights our call to live boldly and confidently.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.—Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

There is a special need for confidence when your spouse does not share your faith. A spouse is the person with whom you normally discuss important plans and issues. But if they don’t share your faith, they may have a different definition of “good” and so you may face spiritual decisions without a sounding board and loving support. Your spouse may even be watching to challenge whether your actions align with your words. My husband shows embarrassment when he sees me talking to a homeless person or praying with a neighbor. (However, he usually tells me later that it was a nice thing to do.)

Humble not arrogant

This post started when a fellow SUMite and I discussed how humility and confidence go together. At first glance, they seem to be opposites. But I’ve come to understand that they are very well aligned. It helps to be clear about what these words do and don’t mean. See the last post for a discussion of humility.

The confidence I am talking about has to do with trusting God and his promises. It does not mean to have an excessive amount of trust in ourselves. That would be arrogance and the opposite of humility.  

For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus, and do not put confidence in the flesh— Philippians 3:3 (HCSB)

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:17

I find that when I am humble and realize how much I trust in God, I can be bold. It takes the pressure off.

How can I be confident that this is the right thing to do?

What if you have something on your heart to do but are not certain that it is from God? How can you be confident in it?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -- Romans 12:2

First, we are to constantly renew our minds to align with God’s will. We study the scriptures and focus our thoughts on joyful and loving things. But scriptures aren’t so specific to every decision that they say whether to lease or buy that new car, for example. There are scriptures about paying your debts. So if you can afford either option, just make a choice. Make a choice without fretting so much that you lose your joy.

What if I’m naturally shy?

We all have different talents and face different situations. Your need for confidence may be very different from mine. You may express it differently. But leaning on The Lord and stretching beyond yourself is a sweet thing. It is one way we can mature in faith and draw closer to God.

My Mother was naturally a shy person. Yet, she made a point to welcome visitors to church and to sit with them. For me, talking to strangers is not a big deal. But I know it took effort for Mom and I admired that in her.

Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame – Romans 10:10 (HCBS)

Hebrews 11 is referred to as the Hall of Faith. It lists people who are the superheroes of our faith – Abel, Abraham, Sarah, Noah, Rahab and others. Read that chapter slowly and reflect on the background that the Old Testament gives about these people. Except for Enoch, none of them really had picture perfect lives. Look at Gideon, for example. Hebrews heralds him as a conqueror. When we first meet him in the book of Judges, an angel called him to battle. His response was basically “Who me?” accompanied by excuses. But he got over it and led Israel to victory. He was shy about his own abilities, but drew confidence from God. A lesson that I take from this is that stretching ourselves and stepping out in confidence builds faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

What if things backfire or go horribly wrong?

The second part of the Romans 12:2 verse says that we are to test and approve what God’s will is. Sometimes we have to try things and see what happens. If it didn’t turn out well, then next time you are in a similar situation, make a different choice. I don’t mean to sound flippant, but it can be that mathematically logical. Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the working telephone, among many other things. On a recent visit to his museum, I was impressed with the number of failed inventions on display. When an experiment did not give the result he wanted, his attitude was that he learned one more way not to do it. We can learn from that. So, go ahead… witness to that neighbor, teach that class, post a scripture on Face Book, or whatever is calling on your courage today.

What if I struggle more with pride than shyness?

Some of us don’t struggle with shyness. In fact, we can forget to check in with God and take things in our own hands. This is where we need to develop humility to blend with our confidence. Remember to give God the glory.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, -- Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

… All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.” – 1 Peter 5:5b (NIV)

Prayer

Lord, I want all that you have for me in life. Help me, nudge me, if I am holding back from anything you want me to do. When I step out in faith, let me feel good that I obeyed and not to worry about the outcomes. It is all in Your hands. When I celebrate successes, let me give the glory to You.

Discussion

Where do you need courage today? Can we pray for you? There are so many scriptures about courage. Do you have a favorite to share? How do you feel about being both humble and confident?

*****

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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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Achew! And A FIRE!

Good Monday Morning SUMites!! 


IStock_000012236885XSmallWell as I write today, Sunday afternoon, I’m sicker than a dog… Wonder where that saying comes from??? Weird.. But, what you are getting right now is raw and unfiltered. My head is filled with goo, as Dineen says. Achew! 

I’ve been asking God for the last several hours to give me words to write. And perhaps because of this nasty cold, I can’t hear as well??? Or not.. So right now I’m going to share a few things that are burning on my heart. 

Firstly, I’m on and interesting study of two words (concepts). 

Humility…….. and   Fire. 

Strange that God has camped me out on both of these. I’m moved, in that, for the first time I’ve come to realize that God is humility. He is the most humble of person (if I may reference Him in this way) to exist. And it’s men and women who are humble before Him to whom God will reveal the fire. 

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. (NIV) Matthew 7:7 

Do you know why this verse in in His Word? 

It’s because God is humble. He is a gentleman. And yet, He is powerful and filled with holy fire. It’s our relentless pursuit of Him that opens the door to receive the anointing of glory. The fire that fills us with healing power, creativity, wisdom, discernment, words of knowledge, just to name a few is what comes with the humble relentless pursuit of God. When we find the humble place, and not a false humility, but a true place of humility before God, He then turns us around and says go forth into the darkness and bring my light, the miracles, the healings because I love the people that I have created and I want all of them to be brought home into the Kingdom. 

I’m gathering scripture verses right now on humility. And it seems that I’m surrounded by believers right now who are fire-bearers. I’m learning a lot right now about both. And I’m convinced that I AM A FIRE-BEARER. Oh how I wish you were here with me because this fire that burns in me hot right now, I SO WANT TO PASS IT TO YOU. 

So pray with me. Some of you are going to receive it this hour. I absolutely believe this. Here we go. 

I declare Lord that any who has the character of humility and the hunger for Your fire, now reading this prayer, I make this declaration over them as a believer and follower of Christ Jesus, that they are now receiving the anointing of humility and fire. Lord, I don’t want to travel this road alone. I want the Nation of the SUMites to rise up and WE, humble every day, ordinary people, will be used by you to transform our homes, our cities, even the world. Lord I ask you extend your scepter to us. Grant us audience and activation of these words. We receive your fire. Let it burn away everything that is religious and let it light us so on fire that we place our hands on people and they are healed, they are wrapped in a love that is so pure and full that it changes absolutely everything. Lord, do this in us as well. Wrap us in a love that blots out the voices of darkness, then opens the great doors of heaven that belong to us this year. 

Open the heavinlies God because this nation, your children of SUM, we adore you. We serve you. We triumph over your enemies. We will bear witness to supernatural miracles. We will see people healed of disease and broken hearts. We will bear the glory of the Great King. And we will walk in humble intimacy with you. That is our heart’s desire Lord. In the name above all names, Jesus. Amen.

 

Okay, my friends, pray this prayer and give me a BIG AMEN in the comments. 

Conversation:

What is real humility?
What is false humility?
Who were humble examples from the Word? 

Love you so much, 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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