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308 posts categorized "Love"
My friends, your orders are coming in and books are being shipped out. Thank you! As you receive your book, look it over and take note of the many places to journal as well and places to created your own doodles as well!
If you haven't ordered your book yet, order your copy from the SUM Shop (inside the U.S.) or Amazon (outside the U.S.) by July 17th to get your book in time for our start date (July 31st). My friends, we're going to share our hearts and our pictures during this summer adventure. I can't wait to see your pages and hear your hearts! And I have some surprises in store for you too!
(If you live in the U.S. and prefer to order though Amazon, please feel free to do so.)
Dear friends, I hope you'll join me in this wonderful, new study. I've had a blast writing and illustrating it, and I know we will have a great time together as we study the truths of God's love in Romans 8.
Order your copy of You Are Loved, A Coloring Study of the Truths of Romans 8 from the SUM Shop (inside the U.S.) or Amazon (outside the U.S.) by July 17th, and you'll get your book in time for our start date, July 31st. For our financial supporters, you can expect a book in the mail as our way of saying thank you for your support of this ministry.
So order your copy and then grab some colored pencils or markers. Maybe your kiddos will let you borrow theirs and even join you! Let's decorate, delight, and discover together just how much God loves us!
Hello, dear friends! So good to be back with you this week! I couldn't wait to share this beautiful revelation from John 14. God's Word is so very present and for us now. I pray this insight brings that home to your hearts in an astounding way.
The words I am referencing:
Rooms: monē — a staying, abode, mansion, abiding, dwelling, metaphor of the God the Holy Spirit indwelling believers
(comes from menō — to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): — abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for), thine own, live, not to depart.
House: oikia — a house, an inhabited edifice, a dwelling
Way: hodos — way, journey, metaphorically a way (i.e. manner) of thinking, feeling, deciding.
And I hope this prayer blessed you and your marriage as you wait in expectancy for God to fill the "room" of our spouse's heart with the love of Jesus. Amen!
I am truly bereft in my soul.
Last week my friend, Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries, posted on her blog that her nearly 25-year marriage is ending in divorce. Eight months ago, my dear friend, Courtney Joseph, of Women Living Well, also found her family torn apart by divorce.
The woman who runs Momastrey, who until recently, wielded vast influence and a large readership in the Christian arena. She also divorced her husband following, ironically, her book release of how their marriage was healed. She is now in a spiritually mismatched marriage with another woman.
This is a hard post to write but one of reality. Within the last nine months, three, high-profile, Christian bloggers with a large number of readers, have experienced divorce. I know Lysa and Courtney personally and they are my friends. My heart and prayers are full of compassion, love and prayers for each of them and their families.
But, it's weirdly unusual these breakups are happening in such short succession.
So, in my prayer time, I asked the Lord, “What is going on in the spiritual realm? Why is this happening to these prominent and influential leaders?”
Immediately, I heard the Lord’s reply, “Witchcraft.”
When God speaks to me often I hear a single word. And immediately what comes with that words is what I can only describe as a “knowing.” It’s as though the Holy Spirit provides the answers or information and usually multiple scripture verses in response. I received a “knowing” when I asked the Lord about what is going on right now in the spiritual realm and as to why this is happening to these high-profile leaders in the Christian world.
Along with the word witchcraft, I sensed that the Lord as telling me that for the last nine months there is a specific demonic assignment on Christian leaders and it is explicit to those who write about marriage. And I believe the enemy is marching against pastors and ministry leaders and their spouses as well.
This demonic assignment is initiated and called forth from the dark realms by occult witchcraft, witches and warlocks, who are speaking incantations, spells and more to destroy Godly marriages and mar the beauty of a union of a man and woman in the holy relationship of marriage. I also sensed the Lord tell me that as believers, we need not fear BUT PRAY. We will defeat this assignment of Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
Just recognizing that there is an active assignment, decimates the enemy’s power. AND our prayers can completely demolish the works of the devil in this area.
I believe the Lord has brought this to light for three reasons. One, the SUMites can destroy these demonic assignments. Wow, did you know we can do that? We can! As believers, we have this kind of power through the name of Jesus and by the blood of Jesus…. And it’s also our calling and purpose to further the work of Christ and destroy the works of the devil. (The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the work of the devil. —1 John 3:8)
Two, this blog is a marriage ministry. We need prayer covering. The leadership here and every marriage represented by a believing spouse who is part of our community needs prayer covering. YOU need prayer covering. Three, we need to pray for the marriages of those in our sphere of influence who are our ministerial leaders. Our pastors, Bible study leaders, worship leaders and those we listen to online or through other media platforms. If you have a relationship with a Christian leader, their marriage needs a prayer covering of protection.
SUMites, we can create this covering. AND we need to ask other believers with whom we have influence to pray as well.
The person who keeps on sinning belongs to the devil. The devil has sinned from the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.— 1 John 3:8
In the name of Jesus, I stand upon the promises of the WORD of God. I speak forth John 14:14, You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. So Lord, in Jesus name, I pray and stand against any and all forms of witchcraft that is spoken in my realm of influence. It is canceled, dissolved and impotent. It must fall to the ground…. POWERLESS. In Jesus name. And instead of cursing, I release blessing (Romans 12:14). I bless the marriages, every marriage relationship, here on SUM and those of my pastor and all my church leaders. I bless them with never ending love and compassion. I bless them and my own marriage to be sealed, unbreakable, in the heavenly realms. I bless marriages and my own with commmitment, service, intimacy, monogamy, commitment, and with the love of Christ as a covering. Sealed by the blood of Jesus.
We stand against the schemes of the devil. All evil plans and efforts are powerless in our world. We pray the devil is rebuked and silenced by You, LORD. Lies must cease in marriage unions and truth and sacrifice reign supreme. We bless each marriage now with Your love and protection, Father. In the name of Jesus, the Christ, who purchased our lives with His own. Who gave us the Holy Spirit and angels, we speak forth Your purposes, protection, and favor into this world. In Jesus name. AMEN
As a side note, I fully believe my friends Lysa and Courtney did absolutely everything they could to restore their marriages. I believe they prayed and that God is carrying them forward. They were not unaware of the devil's schemes but were in fact praying and trusting. Many of you have or are also facing divorce. You have done more than God ever asked of you to reconcile. There are just times that a spouse's free will and the enemy's advances can destroy. This post is NOT condemnation but my hope is to raise awareness of the plans of the enemy, and THUS DEFEAT HIM!! (Please be kind in the comments as there are many in this painful season who need love from their brothers and sisters in Christ and not condemnation, guilt and words of hurt.)
PRAYING IN FULL FAITH AND POWER, Lynn
My friends, as you can see from the title, we tackling a very difficult and painful topic today. It’s one I think we should address as it’s something many of you are living out. And one of you even asked for this subject to be addressed on our recent survey.
Please. Please talk about spouses leaving the faith. — Kelly
So, let me first say to Kelly and all those SUMites out there in this same position that I am so sorry. The closest I can come to relate to this kind of situation is how I felt when my husband made the choice of atheism. He’d recently bought a Bible, and I was convinced he would soon join me in this faith journey. Needless to say I was devastated.
But God helped me let go of my expectations and to trust Him to bring my marriage through to a place of peace. I had a lot to learn and as the believing spouse, God started with healing my heart first.
My friends, I’ve prayerfully sought the Holy Spirit’s council on what to write and how to help those of you in this position. Though I don’t have first hand experience with this, I can imagine the pain, rejection and betrayal that rushes in to fill the gap once occupied by a united faith. And that is the place that we should start to address this kind of situation, because until all of the pain, heartache and betrayal is brought to God and addressed, the marriage is hindered and healing can’t easily begin.
Forgiveness Is a Daily Choice
As I shared from my own story, I had to let go of my expectations of what I thought my marriage would be like. That also meant I had to release my husband from those expectations. For many of you, this will mean forgiving your spouse for their choice to walk away from God and from a life of shared faith. Release them from the debt you may hold against them as well—for not meeting your expectation.
When you’ve made these decisions, make the choice not to go back into unforgiveness. That will most likely be your greatest challenge as you continue to walk in a mismatched marriage. Remind yourself that you made the choice to forgive and that you are trusting God to mend your broken heart as He promises to do (Ps. 147:3) and remind the enemy too.
Also, realize that their choice is not against you, though it may very well feel that way. That is not your burden to carry. Give that to God as well. And you didn’t cause this. You are not responsible for your spouse’s decision. God gave us each a free will to choose—or not to choose—Him.
Then move forward. Your relationship with God is your own. Continue to pursue your faith with all the fire and passion He has placed in you.
Understanding the Situation and Applying Truth
First, remember that even though your spouse stopped believing (or think they do) in God, God never stops believing in them. They may walk away for a time but God does not leave them.
If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. — 2Tim 2:13 (ESV)
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.— Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)
Not even your spouse’s choice to walk away from God will separate God’s love from him or her. God’s love is not based upon us—how we act, believe, succeed, etc. It is completely based upon Who He is. He loved us first—not in response to our love. He is love and that is His character.
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love. — 1 John 4:16a (ESV)
We love because he first loved us. — 1John 4:18 (ESV)
Second, don’t make assumptions. The biggest pitfall I can foresee here is false assumptions as to the “why” behind your spouse’s decision. Most of the time, when I delve a little deeper, seeking better understanding from the person or God (or both), I discover details I never would have known otherwise. And those specifics can make a huge difference in how you relate to your spouse.
I know this will be difficult, but ask your spouse to help you understand where they are coming from. This is where I suggest you pray first, asking God to prepare your heart and your spouse’s for this conversation. What you find out may very well surprise you. Be prepared to bring what he or she shares to God also. You are now being called to intercede for your spouse at a whole new level.
Their reasons may include things like:
- Anger at the church. Sometimes we misplace our faith in people instead of God. So when they let us down, we reject God instead of realizing that we’ve put God-like expectations on an imperfect human being. No church is perfect. And it’s very possible a spirit of religion is at work here. It’s very possible your spouse has operated more under the law instead of grace.
- Anger at God for not meeting their expectations. This is where disappointment moves in, and I believe many of us have walked this road. I know I have. What I discovered is that my expectations were based upon my own thoughts and determinations of how I thought the situation should be. Thus when it didn’t pan out that way, I was grew disappointed. This is where is it so vital that we know God’s character and that He is always working for our good (Rom. 8:28), no matter what things look like. (This one applies to us as well—we can be angry at God for what’s happened in our marriage. Be honest with Him. He can handle your anger and help you walk out of it in greater trust and faith.)
- Feeling they can never measure up so why bother. This ultimately has a lot to do with identity—who do you believe you are and who do you believe God is for you. If you don’t know God’s character and don’t understand His love for you, you fall into a place of trying to earn His love and to “get right” with God. In our own power and ability, we can’t achieve that. God knew that and thus why He sent His Son Jesus to take care of it once and for all. Grace is a gift, and salvation is all about His love and willingness to die rather than to lose us. If we don’t understand that it has nothing to do with our own efforts and merits, we struggle to fully receive God’s love and can’t walk fully into the confidence that we are truly loved.
- Deception. We know the truth of John 10:10, that the enemy prowls looking for a way to steel our Christ-given power, to kill our hopes and to destroy our faith so we are not walking in the truth of who we really are. But Jesus is greater. The rest of this verse is where you want to camp, my friends.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. — John 10:10b-11
SUMites, these reasons may very well be what keeps your spouse from even considering Christianity, church and all they believe comes with it. God has been so misrepresented by the ones who are supposed to represent Him best. But don’t lose hope. God always has a plan.
When Restoration Comes
And it will. Believe God for that. Stand for it. But most of all, don’t carry your expectations from the past into this new place. God is all about the new (Isa. 43:19), and He has a new plan of action for the both of you that way exceeds those old expectations. Don’t limit Him. Don’t limit what He can do in and through you—both of you—no matter where you are in this process. God completes everything He starts. Everything.
And He doesn’t move backwards. Even though you may feel you’ve lost ground or have been knocked off your feet, His plans for restoration always include more. He’s not going to make you start all over. Everything He set into place for you is still there and He will help you step back into it. No matter how long it takes. He’s on your side. Always.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. — Psalm 34:18-19 (ESV)
The Lord redeems the life of his servants. — Psalm 34:22a (ESV)
Yes, God not only redeems us, He redeems our lives and everything in them. He’s so good!
My friends, I’m sure there is much more to this topic than what I’ve covered here. If you are in such a place and walking this challenging road, please share what you’ve learned that has helped you move forward in faith in your marriage. I’ve no doubt your words of encouragement will reach a heart in need.
SUMites, you are amazing people of God! I love you!
My precious friends, last week God dropped this into my spirit and I've held it close, waiting for Him to tell me to share it. So read this and receive it from His heart to yours.
Love you so much!
This is My time of restoration and establishing My children in My timeline for them.
Look for the revelations of My heart, of My love. I have situated you in the midst of these revelations. One simply has to look.
There is no need or room for doubt. Remember, My love conquers all and My love lives in you—My Son. That is what makes you more than a conqueror. You are My child. Mine.
My love far outweighs the cares of this world and all the burdens you perceive. Apply My love to every one of them—to everything—like a salve. The name of Jesus and My love are one in the same. Understand this and you will have the greatest weapon, prayer strategy, comfort and peace than you have every known or realized.
Let Me reassure you of this: You lack nothing. I do not ill-equip My children. You have everything you need already. Just believe and tap into it. Ask and receive. It is My delight to give it to you.
Now is not the time to squander what I’ve given you by living in fear and doubt. Even in the remnants of your mind there can be no place for this. Not when I’ve given you everything. Everything. The very heavens are yours! Why else would I teach you to pray “on earth as it is in heaven”?
You are completely established in My righteousness. From this place you cannot fail. I’ve set you up for complete success. Be bold. Have fun. Walk in wonder.
And above all, know My goodness is perfect, unflawed—brilliant like a perfect diamond. I’m giving you jewels, my children, I’m giving you jewels.
Welcome to June, SUMites! I know this is a very busy time for many of you as school ends and summer vacations start. I pray this summer is full of God’s peace, His rest, and that each day you feel more loved and strengthen in your faith. Our Papa God is so good and He is generous, faithful and full of surprises.
Just as a review of our “Seeing Our Spouse Like God Does” series, we’ve talked about “sitting”—where we are seated with Christ in the heavens (Eph 2:6), which is about our identity. This is the place we want to be seated at all times, remember? And we’ve discussed “walking”—the way we live our faith from our seat and walk in the truth of who we are, which reveals God’s kingdom here on earth as we walk in love as Jesus loves us (Eph 5:1). Here are the links to those posts if you’d like to review them.
Now this last part is about “standing” and comes from the part of Ephesians 6 about our armor. I have some really cool nuggets to share with you on this one, so let’s dig in and camp in God’s truth.
In Ephesians 6, Paul was most likely inspired by the armor of the Roman soldiers assigned to guard him. At this point he was under what we would call “house arrest.” And I’ve no doubt the Holy Spirit showed him through the visual of the armor how we are protected in Christ Jesus. The astounding part of this revelation though is found back in Ephesians 1.
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. — Eph 1:15-22
My friends, take a moment and read the above Scriptures slowly and prayerfully. This is one long sentence filled with some of the greatest truths we will ever come to understand as believers. In this “run-on” sentence, Paul is showing us how to pray for “the more” of God. To have the eyes of our hearts enlightened, to know the hope of Jesus, to understand the riches of our glorious inheritance in Jesus, and finally, the biggest bombshell in this passage—that the power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him in the heavenly places is the very same power we have been given in the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Don’t let that word “toward” fool you into thinking anything less. In the Greek also means into, unto, for, and among. It’s a very “large” word and encompasses a great deal. The point is, the Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead and that same Spirit and all He entails lives in us as well. That’s pretty amazing to think about, SUMites. As I say, you are way more powerful than you realize.
So from this power in us we sit, walk and stand. Let’s take a look at the stand part now. I’ve always found it so fascinating that in the midst of all this defensive armor, our only offensive piece is the sword, which is the Word of God. Yet Paul tells us to “stand” repeatedly.
Why? Because when we stand, we stand in Truth. And Truth is a person, Jesus.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. — John 14:6
But let’s take a look at those verses in Ephesians 6
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore,…— Eph 6:10-14
The word “stand” in the Greek is histēmi and means abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, hold up, lay, present. The form of this word is a “prolonged form” of its root word. In other words, it is a position of opposition. That is clarified in the word “withstand,” which in the Greek is anthistēmi and means to stand against, oppose, resist, withstand. The fascinating part of this word is that if you look at it closely, you see histēmi. The first part of the word, ant, is actually anti.
I’m guessing you recognize that word and already know it’s meaning to be opposite to. So basically, this word it telling us to stand in opposition to evil. That we are to stand in the full power of the Holy Spirit against the enemy.
And the only weapon we are to use is God’s Word. To know it, believe it and speak it. God recently spoke to me these words:
“Faith is transformative, but trusting and believing Me is imperative.”
Now, take a look again at Eph 5:14 again:
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Last week I pointed out the relevance of “awake.” Now I want to you to focus on that word “arise.” That word in the Greek is anistēmi and means to stand up, lift up, raise up. And its root word is histēmi, to stand.
If you’re confused, I was too. I wanted to understand the connection between the words, our place to “stand” firm as Paul says and what he’s saying in Eph 5:14, “arise from the dead.”
I asked the Holy Spirit to show me the connection, which He did the very next day in a very unexpected place. He took back to the book of John where I’ve been reading about Jesus and how He healed people—a subject you know is near and dear to my heart.
Take a look at John 11 and Martha’s confrontation with Jesus about why her brother, Lazarus, died:
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” — John 11:23-26
The word to focus on here is “resurrection.” In the Greek (anastasis) it means a standing up again, i.e. (literally) a resurrection from death, or (figuratively) a (moral) recovery (of spiritual truth): — raised to life again, resurrection, rise from the dead, that should rise, rising again.
Here’s where it gets really fun, my friends. The root of anastasis is anistēmi, which comes from histēmi.
Resurrection, raise up, stand up.
These words are so interconnected and point us right back to Ephesian 1:19:
and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might
SUMites, we stand for a cause (our spouse) in opposition to the “anti-cause,” and we stand in the resurrection power and life of Jesus Christ, because of the Holy Spirit—God’s Spirit—lives in us. Think about that. I mean, really think about that.
Paul even tells us in Ephesians 6:10 to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Not ours. His.
By God’s Spirit. Believe Him.
“Faith is transformative, but trusting and believing Me is imperative.”
SUMites, you stand in a great power and great protection in your marriages. The key is to know it (sit), live it (walk), and be firm (stand). God will not fail you. Let me say that again, because someone really needs to hear this.
God will not fail you. He can’t. He’s obligated to keep His promises because He said so (Jer 1:12). And the entire Bible is His promise to you.
Jesus is His promise to you. Jesus.
I want to close with what I shared on my Facebook page this week, a truth the Holy Spirit dropped into my spirit:
“The enemy (satan, lucifer, the devil) was cast out of heaven. So when we pray as Jesus taught us, "His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven," he can't stay here either. Walk in the truth of what that means. If you are seated in the heavens with Jesus (Eph 2:6), YOU bring the heavens to earth and the enemy cannot stay! Do that and watch the enemy shrink before you to nothing without even having to say a word. Just say JESUS!”
Just say Jesus, SUMites! Jesus!!!!
Chronicles of the Donovan Clan.
My friends, it’s been a long while since I’ve simply sat down and shared with your what is happening in the Donovan life. Well, today, as you read this, I’m sitting in an audience and watching my daughter, Caitie, walk across the stage to receive her degree from BIOLA University (Bible Institute of Los Angeles). She graduates summa cum laude and also with high commendations from Torrey Honors Institute.
It’s interesting to reflect as I consider the fear in my heart all those years ago when she started kindergarten. Would she grow up to know Jesus? Will her dad’s unbelief impact her for eternity? I wrangled with a hundred terrifying questions. I shared about so much of my parenting journey in our book, Not Alone. And I wrote that while she was still in high school. But here we are. She graduates from a Christian college.
I will share with you that my daughter has a solid faith. She also walks in some kind of gifting from God in prayer. She PRAYS. I will tell you at that age, I didn’t pray. I partied!! I’m so glad she is not a chip off the old block.
I will also share that her faith doesn’t look like mine. She has spent four years of study and has read most of the classics and her views can and do differ on faith from mine. Her spirit is different than mine. I’m a warrior. She’s a servant at the core. It’s beautiful and I truly learn so much from her. She challenges my ideas and my preconceived opinions about Jesus, faith and the church. It’s frustrating at times and I need it as well.
She is a wonderful and beautiful young woman now.
So, if you are parenting a child right now, remain steadfast in your faith. Your faith and your prayers are, at times, the ONLY THING that keeps the devil from them. As a mother, I cannot shout this message enough. Your faith and prayers are more powerful than you know. Just read 2 Timothy chapter one about Timothy’s mother and grandmother.
Caitie is off to Purdue in the fall for graduate work with a full scholarship. Thank you Jesus! She continues to grow and live and love Jesus. I can’t wait to read the fantastic books she will write one day.
Now about my husband, Mike. I think in some way, he’s a closet believer. Can that be a thing? I’m convinced he thinks Jesus is real. He just struggles with “religion.” Does that make sense? He is a kind man and quite gray now. He is my rock in this life, next to Jesus. I love him deeply.
I will tell you this, the Donovan Clan House is known in heaven. Our home is love. Our home and family isn’t perfect but we are moving that way only by the grace of God. We are protected and we are guided. Our Clan is blessed.
So from one ordinary woman to all of you, Be Blessed and know that you are loved by our Savior and by me. Have a wonderful weekend with your family. Hope to post photos of the graduation on my FB page. Find me there.
I love you so much. Lynn
Hello, SUMites! Last week I talked about where we sit in our faith and our marriages, that we are strongest when we are firmly seated in the truth of who we are in Christ Jesus and also see our spouses from that perspective too. And wow, what an eye opener it is to think of this in terms of our marriage, that we are “one flesh” with our spouse and seated in the heavenly realms—at the same time. I’m still wrapping my brain around possibilities of that one!
Our next position of influence and partnering with God to release what He has placed within our spouse is our “walk.” A couple of you actually shared this desire in the survey just recently:
“Loving our spouses and children. Being a light for Jesus in our mismatched marriage. How much can we truly talk to our spouses about Jesus according to I Peter 3?” — Amanda
“I am always seeking how to live my Christian faith before my family, husband, and grown children who have families of their own. I am looking for specific answers based on what God’s word teaches.” — Naomi
These are excellent questions. And I believe the second part of this series will go far in answering them. Let’s first take a look at some verses from Ephesians.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.— Eph 2:9
What I love most about this verse is how clearly it shows God’s heart for us. We are not only His, we are His workmanship. So is your spouse. And you both were created in, through and by Christ Jesus (John 1:3) for good works, which He prepared (ordain, make ready) ahead of time. That you should what? Make them happen? Figure out how to do it all? Wait around for God to make it all happen?
Paul tells us we’re to “walk in them.” The Greek word for walk (peripateō) has broader meanings than just to put one foot in front of the other. It also means to walk at large, especially as proof of ability. It means to follow, as a companion. It means to make one’s way, progress and to make use of opportunities. In the Hebrew, it’s a word that means to live, to regulate life and conduct yourself.
In other words, how you live your life. You see, our faith and how we live it (our works) were never intended to be a separate area of our lives that we pull out when we think the time is right. Paul is telling us to “walk” it out every day and every moment, all the time.
And it’s not something we have to make happen either. That leads to performance, my friends. It simply means be who God created you to be. Be a daughter or son of the Most High King and live your life according your identity and inheritance. Walk through life firmly planted in your seat.
Yes, sitting and walking in the physical sense are impossible, but in the supernatural they are simultaneous. We walk through life on this earth from the perspective of where we’re seated and see everything from this heavenly place. God’s already done the rest. He’s given us the skills (giftings) and the good works. We get to see it, follow His lead and simply do what He’s told (or telling) us to do.
In Ephesians 4:2-3 Paul says to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
So we are to “walk”:
- In a worthy manner
- With humility
- With gentleness
- With patience with others
- In love
- In unity
- In peace
In verses 14 and 15 of the same chapter, Paul says we’re no longer children tossed around in our beliefs. But rather, we’re to grow up (increase and give increase) in every way in Christ by speaking the truth in love. And that in doing so we are built up, in that very love.
In chapter five, Paul says we are to “walk in love,” (vs. 2) walk as children of the light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.)” (vss. 8-9).
In other words, trust what God has already placed in you. Walk in the truth of who you are and live accordingly. That is our most powerful witness and influence to those around us. And when you do have the opportunity to speak, do so in love, edification and encouragement. Let love always, always, always be your highest goal (1 Cor. 14:1).
SUMites, we’re called to love people, not change them. But God’s love can.
Which brings me to the latest treasure I unearthed in God’s word that knocked my shoes and socks off. A couple years ago, God put it on my heart to pray Ephesians 5:14 over my hubby:
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
I looked up the word “awake” and discovered that it is the very same word Jesus uses in John 5:8 when He tells the invalid to “get up.” Remember, the word “get” in Greek (egeiro) means to waken, rouse (from sleep), sitting, lying, disease, death, obscurity, nonexistence, rise up or stand. Jesus is actually telling the man to wake up and rise up out of his disease and sin.
And here is that exact word again, to be called to awaken from a state of darkness, and we can pray this, SUMites! Pray over your spouse when they’re away, “Awake, O sleeper (or spouse’s name), and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!”
Declare the truth in love, “I say to (spouse’s name)’s spirit, wake up and arise from the dead, for the light of Christ is shining on you!”
Guess what, SUMites? That light is you. Paul said we are children of the light, so you are the light shining on your spouse. You are the light shining on your children. You are the light shining on your family, in your community, at your work—even in the grocery store.
Here’s a final word of encouragement for you, dear friends. In verse 15, Paul tells us to pay attention to how we walk, “not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time.” He’s telling us to make the most of every opportunity, and we can do that by making our faith a 24/7 way of life. By living every moment in the truth of who we are. By walking in love and speaking the truth in love.
And here’s how we do it. Look at verse 18. Paul instructs us to “be filled with the Spirit.” Yes, you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, but do you ask Him daily to fill you up? There’s a difference, my friends. It’s like having the key to your car. You know you have an engine in it, but it won’t start unless you put the key in and turn it (or push a button if your car is fancy).
Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you up every day. If He needs more room to fill you up, He may show you some stuff to deal with (unforgiveness, sin, bitterness, strife, etc.), but you know what? He’ll always, always, always, speak the truth in love to your heart.
Holy Spirit, I pray that every SUMite to be filled to overflowing with Your powerful and loving presence. I pray they see opportunities every day to love those around them with affirming words and actions. I pray they will speak the truth in love and that You, Holy Spirit, give them those words. And I pray for the hearts of those they are loving on, to be receptive and ready to receive you. We say as the SUMite community to our spouses, wake up, O sleepers and arise from the dead, for Christ is giving you light! In the name of Jesus, amen!
Shine on, SUMites!
Copyright: mikekiev / 123RF Stock Photo
My friends, I loved your comments from my post on Monday. Several of you shared you would really like to know more about the Greek meanings of the words I’m researching, so please know that I’m thinking and praying about how to do that best. Right now I think a video would be easiest to explain and bring these treasures to life, so stay posted.
Today, let’s start talking about where we “sit” with God. Let’s take a look at Ephesians. The first chapter of Ephesians is all about our identity, who were are as new creations in Christ Jesus and what we’ve been given as our inheritance in Him.
Many of you shared in the survey that you wanted to understand more about our identity in Christ as well. Knowing and understanding these truths is very important to the sturdiness of our “seat,” especially where and how we “sit” in our mismatched marriages. In taking these truths into our spirit by studying, praying and believing them, we will operate from a greater place of influence in our homes and marriages simply by living our lives according to these truths.
Take a look at this list of who YOU are right from Ephesians 1.
- Blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
- Chosen before the foundation of the world
- Holy and blameless before Him
- Predestined for adoption
- Blessed in the Beloved
- Redeemed through His blood
- Forgiven of all trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (not limited by yours)
- His will and purposes made known to you with all wisdom and understanding
- United with Him, things in heaven and things on earth
SUMites, this is what Jesus died to give us, our complete identity in Him. And not only that. He gave us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, as a seal and guarantee of our inheritance.
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. — Eph 1:13-14
Christ Jesus has done all this for us so that we can be with Him and He can be with us. The veil separating man from God was both literally and figuratively torn upon His death to make this possible. Yet we still tend to think a type of physical separation remains, but God’s Word says otherwise.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. — Eph 2:19-22
Read these verses carefully. God didn’t just want to save us, He also wants us with Him. And not just in eternity, but in an abiding relationship with Him always. When we understand that we are secure in our value, worth and God’s great love for us, we become more and more Christ-like in our faith, courage, integrity and strength. We begin to reflect the very characteristics of Jesus, and if you read the gospels, He was irresistible! People were drawn to Him. They saw the hope and promise He carried and they wanted it.
My friends, this is exactly why God always starts with us, the believing spouse, in a mismatched marriage. We are a conduit of His love and grace, we are a representation of His character, and we are the source of His delight. And we don’t do any of this. He does.
So this is where we start in releasing our spouses identity in Jesus, by living in belief and faith that we are God’s children, given the full inheritance in Christ Jesus.
Not just when we go to heaven. Now.
Every spiritual blessing, remember? My friends, as you think and pray about these truths about you, think and pray about them regarding your spouse.
- You are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, so now bless your spouse with the same.
- You were chosen before the foundation of the world, and so was your spouse. Declare this truth over his or her life.
- You stand holy and blameless before Him, so thank Jesus now that He is doing the same thing for your spouse.
- You were predestined for adoption and so is your spouse. See him or her from this perspective, as someone God is willing to die for so that he or she can LIVE!
- You are blessed in the Beloved and God’s heart and intention is for your spouse to be too. Again, declare this truth over him or her. If your spouse is open to hear it, tell him or her they are blessed!
- You are redeemed through His blood and have the power and authority through this to declare the blood of Christ over your spouse—heart, soul, mind and spirit.
- You are forgiven of all trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. That same forgiveness is for your spouse too. Live forgiven and forgive so that your spouse can see what that looks like.
- God’s will and purposes made known to you with all wisdom and understanding. Ask God for this same revelation of your spouse. What is God’s heart for your spouse? What gifts did He place in him or her? You can even ask God to show you how your spouse may already be operating in his or her gifting without even realizing it. I see this in my husband as he becomes more and more aware of the people around him and intentionally talks and spends time with them. I see his gift of engagement and evangelism already operating. And I chuckle as I watch him not only do this but how people are drawn to him!
- You are united with God, things in heaven and things on earth. Therefore, through your faith (sanctification, 1Cor 7:14 and marriage, Mark 10:8) so is your spouse. Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in. Then take your spouse with you to those heavenly realms in love and prayer. Think of them as there with you already. Wow!
Okay, that one just kind of blew my mind. How about you, SUMites? I hope you’re beginning to see how important you are in God’s eyes and in your marriage. Nothing is impossible for Him. And you, my friends, as a co-heir of Jesus and a co-laborer with God, are part of His possibilities.
Love you dearly!
Copyright: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo
My friends, a few weeks ago, my husband, whom I refer to as my pre-believer, celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. As I remember through the seasons of our union, I recall the challenges, the laughter, the fun and the really hard times as well. But mostly as I consider this landmark in our marriage, I find that the difficult years have been replaced with peace. Struggles and fear have been given over to unconditional love and acceptance. We are truly living the abundant life and our marriage is sanctified through my faith, as the believer in our home (1 Corinthians 7:14).
Mike and I are planning a European Cruise this summer to celebrate and spend time alone together. But what I found interesting is that the Lord gave me a gift for our marriage anniversary. It was unexpected and delivered with power and authority and ROCKED my world.
Today, I want to give this gift to you.
When you face the seasons of struggle, disappointment, loneliness, or confusion in your own marriage, open up this gift, and read it again. Allow the LORD to pull you into His vision of your marriage.
Every January at my local church we have a weeklong series of meeting where we intentionally seek God through prayer, guest speakers and worship. It was this January, 2017 on the fourth of the five night of events, that I stood in worship. And when the music began…. The LORD spoke.
You see, I had been crying out for a fresh revelation of love from our Father for weeks. But on this particular night, God answered with a fresh revelation of love for my husband. And it changed me.
Standing next to my usual seat on the second row, I lifted my hands and suddenly God came down and began to bombard my mind and heart with a revelation of just how much I truly DO love my husband. I felt wave after wave of love, care, compassion wash over me. I LOVE this man, fully, deeply from my core, unconditionally, and with full forgiveness for any harm or offence of the past. This love revelation felt like a gushing river and a fullness at the same time that I didn’t know that I possessed.
I truly didn’t understand the depth of love I had for my husband until that moment. (Is that weird?)
Years of pain and loneliness were gone, washed away by God. Unmet expectations, disappointment, feelings of longing, all became insignificant and felt selfish, yet they too washed away under the flood of love that continued to pour into me like an epic torrent.
Then God turned it up…..
He showed me where I had hurt my husband. The years and words that landed with pain on his heart. Where I minimized him, held him back by my words, slashed is manhood, and assaulted him with humiliation. Ugh…. Hard to admit.
I began bawling under this revelation.
If this wasn’t enough, God ratcheted up the revelation and then really poured it out. I was given insight to see with spiritual eyes the little boy that resides within my husband. The small child that needs nurturing, care, tenderness and understanding. The small man who has longs and needs for me to smile with kindness toward this boy. To tell him he is good. To say they things and be the one person on earth who can affirm his worth and value that I know is God-given.
Did you know that our husbands need this core of their person to be nurtured? It’s a deep need within him. And he has chosen one single person to offer him this affirmation. Just one… Just one, for all of his adult life, his wife. It’s a powerful and humbling responsibility.
I was made aware of how I failed to be a wife who loved well and the vice grip of pain nearly chocked me. But God…..
He allowed me to see just how much I REALLY loved this man. I mean, I really, really love him more than any person on earth. Next to God, I love him with all of my heart. I know I didn't perceive this reality until that moment. And God also released me of my failures in the light of the authentic love I hold for him (love covers a multitude of sins 1 Peter 4:8)
Well, the service ended and I literally sprinted out of the building. Arriving home, I ran into the kitchen and into my husband’s shocked and concerned arms. His face said it all: What the heck is going on as I was still bawling. I began to repent of where I failed him. I promise to love him well for the rest of our lives. And to tell him that I love him with all that I am and with a full heart.
Challenge: I challenge you to ask God for a revelation of love for your husband. It will change your thoughts, your prayer life for him, it will change your priorities and your family dynamic. God’s kinda cool that way!
I never would have imagined how God has responded to my weeks of crying out for a revelation of love. What is amazing is that God responds. He really does. The implications of this alone, at times really boggles my mind. The God of the Universe responds to lil’ ole’ me. ….. and to you too!
Okay, since God’s reply to my heart, He told me He was pouring our His Spirit on all Flesh. I’ve experienced some crazy stuff in the last few weeks. And I’ve received some astonishing emails from you, the SUMites, with stories of God’s interactions and the comments of the blog.... FANTASTIC. In fact, just reading Ian’s posts and his comments, we are in the same classroom along with so many of you.
Before we go forward, can I ask you a question? Do you believe God’s Word? Can you hope and believe that Acts 2 is for us today?
Let’s look at it again.
In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. -Acts 2:17-19
So, we are in a season, right now, where we individually choose to believe and have faith or choose not to believe this passage. Faith is always a choice. God will use this generation to bring His purposes (Revival) to fruition but we MUST choose to collaborate with Him. If we let this moment pass, God will honor our choice and He will wait. He will wait for a new generation to rise that will want to partner with Him to accomplish His will on earth as it is in heaven.
What, this day, shall you choose?
Well, for me….. I’m sold out. And ever since that Sunday morning where He spoke this passage into my heart, I have believed it to be applicable to me, my faith and my life……..
And thus it is.
I’m beginning to hear from the Lord about future things. Something as simple as the LORD telling me that I will be asked to open up our workout session at my local gym in prayer. Yep, weird.. But a few weeks ago, in the middle of the night, I just somehow had a knowing that later that morning, the class instructor would ask me to pray. And the LORD told me what to pray over this group of diverse believers who stood together in a circle, both men and women, from all faiths, holding hands…
Sure enough, I walked into the gym, “Lynn, would you lead us in prayer in a few minutes.” I answered an affirmative and the smile on my face was uncontainable.
I prayed…. And I let loose all that God told me to pray. I ended with a loud, “In Jesus name. HALLELUJAH!” It was so unexpected and so filled with hope that the entire place broke into an uproar of applause. Okay, they weren’t applauding me so much, they were applauding the Holy Spirit that arrived…. Gang, this was in a secular fitness gym, IN CALIFORNIA… Say what???
I am convinced we are living in a miraculous season. The breakthroughs that are happening are amazing. The faith that is arising in God’s church is tremendous… The SUMite nation is no longer content with powerless Christianity. We want God to show up in power, in healing, in provision and with passion for truth and justice… And it is happening in our community. The hunger among you is absolutely tangible. I feel it in your words from thousands of miles away…
GOD FEELS IT IN YOUR HEART AND IN YOUR PRAYERS.
So, let’s consider a few things about this current season in which we are living. And let’s take a ponder at the timing of God’s plans for planet earth.
Okay, let’s visit this plan on Tuesday. I’ve gone on waaaaay tooooo long. What I want to leave you with today is this, decide today, do you believe Acts 2 is yours? Do you want to be the generation that partners with God to bring heaven to earth? Do you want to prophesy?
God is pouring out His love… We are alive in the most amazing time of all on planet earth. He is showing us love by giving good gifts (Matt 7:11) to His children, Acts 2. It’s time for the church to be healed and whole. It’s time that His church prophesy and bring His Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven.
What say you???????
My friends, I need to just step out of our Esther series for a moment, because the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to share an astonishing story with you.
I’ve spoken many times about my work in the Healing Rooms of Manatee, which is turning out to be a big part of why God brought us back to Sarasota. I love serving as a team trainer and having the opportunity to minister to and pray with people face to face. And what God is doing there leaves me speechless most days.
Because He is amazing. Just recently we’ve witnessed a person healed of ALS. The doctors can now find no evidence of this disease in this person’s body! Praise Jesus!
But God did something entirely different last week. He wrapped a very personal event in my life into another person’s—someone I barely even know.
First, let me explain that we operate our healing rooms much like a doctor’s office. People come in and have forms to fill out, including their prayer needs. A prayer team of three then takes this chart, prays over it and waits for the Holy Spirit to reveal what they need to know for this person and what the Holy Spirit wants to do.
Last week as my team prayed over a chart, I felt the Holy Spirit was reminding me of a very special song, something very personal to me and my daughter, Leslie.
You see, during the seven weeks of her radiation treatments (Dec. 2008 - Feb 2009) I would sing a song to her on our long trip home. She would be so tired and worn out, and ask me to sing to her. That song was, “You are My Sunshine.”
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away
Then in 2015 during the aftermath of my shoulder surgery, I was in a great deal of pain. One night, I woke up hurting worse than ever and nothing seemed to help. I cried out to God in my pain and confusion, and suddenly I heard that song. I realized my Abba was there, singing over me, giving me comfort with His love. This was also an answer to prayer, because I’d asked Him many times to allow me to hear Him singing over me.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. — Zeph. 3:17 ESV
My friends, I can’t tell you what that did to my heart that night. It runs so very deep. One day in a store I saw a picture of this song title and knew I was supposed to buy it and hang it on my wall as a constant reminder that the Lord sings over me.
These are the stories the Holy Spirit brought back to my mind in a flash and told me to share it with this person we would be praying for. But here’s the clincher.
He wanted me to sing the song too.
Needles to say I felt out of my comfort zone here and even wondered if I was hearing clearly, even though I’ve seen God do some crazy things and the results are always astounding. I hesitated to sing, my friends. But after I share my story with this person, he asked me to sing it and then he would tell me why. So I mustered my courage and belted it out. Yep, I mean belted!
Here’s where it became astonishing. After I finished the song, this person told me that several years back God had someone sing this very same song over him in a meeting for a very specific reason, but at the time he didn’t take it seriously. This time he would.
My friends, I don’t know the full story of what God was doing that day, but it has rocked my world. God has given me details for people before—names, dreams, images—that are very specific and mean something to the person I’m praying for. That in and of itself is always astounding to me because it shows how intimately God is wrapped in the details of our lives.
But never has God done this, used a very personal detail in my life to connect and minister to another person. I am still blown away by it. In a clearly God planned moment, not only was this person’s faith increased, so was mine.
Amazingly, He had me sing over another person that evening and I did exactly what He asked without hesitation. My faith and trust had already been bolstered.
SUMites, I pray this deeply encourages you to know that the Lord will do astonishing things to let you know He is there and He is moving in your life in ways you can’t even comprehend yet.
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. — Psalm 32:7 NIV
I pray the songs the Lord is singing over you, my friends, are loud and clear. I pray His heart is revealed to you in astonishing ways starting today and that your faith is brought to a whole new level of understanding and expectation.
And that’s the key, my friends. EXPECT HIM! He’s always faithful!
Love you like crazy!
For such a time as this...
Hello SUMites! I mentioned last week that I was feeling led to do an series on Esther. Since then I can’t seem to stay away from this book and have poured hours of research into digging into the deeper places of this astonishing story. So consider this an introduction to Esther and what I have in store thus far to share with you. And I encourage you to read the book yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal its truths and promises to you too.
One of the most significant aspects of the story of Esther is that God is not mentioned by name once in the book. He isn’t even referred to. But He is very much implied. However, there are actually clues I believe the author put in place to make indirect references to God’s presence, something I hadn’t noticed before. So fascinating!
In researching the people highlighted in this story, I discovered the Hebrew meaning of their names to often be significant and indicators of their place in this God-driven story. And that even key attributes of God’s character are clearly yet indirectly displayed.
On a larger scale Esther is the story of the birth of a Jewish tradition and celebration (Purim) that has had significant historical impact in that last century alone that is unmistakably God’s work to save the nation of Israel.
My friends, Esther is a very multifaceted true story that holds romance, power, intrigue and much more. I am excited to explore its depths with you and look forward to hearing your comments too. We are going to have fun with this one, SUMites, and in reading about Esther and the nation of Israel, I’ve no doubt we will discover our own stories and God-driven purposes in the lives of our spouses and our families. And in our nation as well.
So, are you with me on this one? Ready to go an adventure with me? If so, give a shout out in the comments and share anything else that’s on your heart, my friends. I know the Holy Spirit is already at work among us, the SUM Nation, stirring our hearts for “such a time as this.”
And in the mighty and saving name of Jesus, I say, AMEN!
Love you so much, my friends!
Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo
It’s Sunday afternoon here at the Donovan Clan home. It’s a beautiful spring day. The windows are open and a gentle breeze is flowing, praise and worship plays in the background and I’m feeling the Presence of the Holy Spirit.
I have to tell you what happened this morning at church. Well, for weeks I’ve been crying out, praying, pleading, asking for God to tell me what to write. You see I want to write about a Revelation of Love. I want to share how we can receive a revelation of love, a real love encounter with God. I am convinced that we can ask for these kind of encounters. And when the Lord shows up….. IT’S GLORY. It’s life changing!!
I’ve experienced several life-changing encounters with the Father. Specifically, on October 12, 2012 my life radically changed and my faith was recalibrated. But, like all believers, I have seasons when my faith life can feel dry or distant. I’m just being real here. But, I KNOW that we can call out for “more of God.” The Lord loves to answer these kind of prayers.
In this series, I am going to share with you how I believe we can call out (pray) for a revelation of love. And I will share how I cried out and how the Lord answered me. It’s my hope that as you see how the Lord responded to me, you will be filled with hope and the tenacity to also cry out for a revelation of love from our Father.
So back to church this morning.
I remind you that I’ve been asking God for weeks about what to write. And often the Lord will wait to the last minute to share His heart with me. His delay and taking me to the last minute makes me a bit nervous. Because I knew I needed to come home and write about a Revelation of Love and hadn’t yet heard from God. And I’ll remind you that for weeks in my prayer time, walk-n-prays, and even in the middle of the night, I was praying, “God, I’m crying out for a revelation of love. Lord, I asking for a baptism of love.” And for weeks….. silence.
After worship this morning, the pastor began to speak about wisdom and we worked out way through some scriptures about wisdom. A great topic to be sure. However, in my soul, my heart spoke to God. “Lord, I’m still crying out for a revelation of love.”
Immediately, God responded!
I heard a passage of scripture. I have been hearing this scripture over and over again in response to my prayer but it was so crazy I ignored it. It was so strange I dismissed it as something I was thinking and not a reply from the Lord.
So, in the middle of church it was as if God said to me, “Lynn, I’ve been telling you and you haven’t been listening.”
*Gulp* and *Double Yikes*
So, here is what I heard. Exactly. Word-for-Word:
I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.
All of a sudden I realized that this passage of scripture, I’ve been hearing for weeks, is the response to my cry for a “Revelation of Love.”
While the pastor continued to speak, I was lost in the moment this the Lord. I am familiar with this passage and in my memory, I thought I could find it in Isaiah. I opened my Bible and looked. I started with Isaiah 60, then 62, and other chapters….. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. It’s not there.
By this point, I’m completely freaked out and MUST know why am I hearing this passage and why is God sharing this with me in the middle of church.
I pull out my phone. I Google it. Finding the address, I open my Bible again to the passage and begin to read it.
As the Words flooded my mind, I literally began to shake under the power and love of the Father. I was trembling and revelation flooded my soul. And it was immediately clear that this revelation is for all of us.
The passage: Acts 2 - Joel 2
My mind blew up and I’m nearly trembling now as I type this message to you. SUMite Nation, God is doing things right now that we have never seen before in the history of the world. AND WE ARE INCLUDED IN HIS PLANS AND PURPOSES.
But alas this post is already WAY LOOOOOOONG!
Friday, I’m going to share why God responded to my cry for a Revelation of Love for our SUMite Nation, for me, with this strange passage of Acts 2.
I ask you right now to go look up this passage. And I want you to start praying today:
Lord, I’m asking for a revelation of love. I am hungry for more of You, Your Kingdom, Your purposes, and revelation from Your heart. In Jesus name.
In the comments, make this prayer your public declaration that you are crying out for more. Copy the prayer, type your name, and say AMEN… Then pray it every day because something miraculous happens to the heart of a believer that seeks hard after God.
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. This spring is going to be amazing. I’m so blessed to walk this faith journey with all of you. Hugs, Lynn
Hello, my friends. On Sunday, my pastor started us out in Isaiah, which made me chuckle—seems many of us are planted in the book of Isaiah right now. Makes sense when we tune in to see what God is doing right now…and how He’s working.
Today I want to share another part of Isaiah as a prayer, but first I have a question for you today.
Are you battling fear?
I have a feeling there are a lot of you out there nodding your heads. In fact, I’m almost certain all of us have battled fear at some point in our lives. Fear became a very real and present challenge for me in early 2014, along with anxiety attacks that would last for hours. I’d never in my life experienced anything like it.
But God was and is faithful. He told me then He’d be my healer and He was. And when the enemy tries to rear it up again, I know the truth, that God’s love truly does cast out all fear.
This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. — 1John 4:17-18 (NIV)
LOVE > fear. Always.
One aspect that my pastor pointed it out is that the word ‘perfect’ in Greek means complete. So how is God’s love perfected in us? We all want to know and feel God’s love. I know I do. And we can ask for that, ask for Him to show us His love for us, reveal His presence, His heart for us. But it doesn’t stop there. When we express/show/share God’s love with another person (our spouse, friend, neighbor), God’s love is perfected in us.
Think about it this way. God’s love is actually always in us. His Spirit is in us, therefore so is His love. We can ask for it feel more present, more alive, to operate more in it and to share it. And that’s the deal here. His love isn’t just meant to flow between us and Him. It’s also intended to be shared with others. That’s the full circle, so to speak, and what 1 John 4 is all about.
We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. — 1 John 4:19-20
And our love is our greatest weapon, whether we are giving it to God in worship or pouring it our on another person. My friends, our faith reminds the enemy of his destruction, and our love sends him running in his own fear! Fear and love simply can’t coexist. Love literally drives fear away. That is powerful! God’s love is the most powerful force on earth, because HE. IS. LOVE.
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. — Phil. 1:27-28 (ESV)
So when the enemy tries to make me afraid, I refuse him and I dwell in God’s love. I speak it out. I declare the truth. And I am set free.
Love is the solution to fear. So next time you feel fear coming on, think about God and how much He loves you, adores you, lives as love in you and thinks on you with uncountable thoughts of love! (Psalm 139:17)
Think about your spouse and how much you love him or her, think about your children and how much you love them, or love on your pooch or kitty (I’m serious!). Ever notice how you much better you feel when you help someone in need? When we express love, fear flees!
Now about that prayer. This one is a promise from God about fear and it applies to our children too.
All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
and great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established;
you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
and from terror, for it shall not come near you. — Isaiah 54:13-14
Let’s pray it as a response and declaration like this:
Almighty Lord, thank You for teaching my children,
and for giving them great peace.
Thank You that You are establishing me, my spouse and my children in righteousness. (also part of our 1 Car 7:14 promise)
Oppression will be far removed and we will not fear.
Fear and terror can no longer come near us.
In the mighty name of Jesus, amen!
SUMites, I leave you with these two powerful Scriptures as well.
Do everything in love. — 1 Cor. 16:14 (NIV)
Let love be your highest goal! — 1 Cor. 14:1 (NLT)
Those are my mottos, my friends! I love you, I love you, I love you. And thank you for loving me.
Hello, SUMites! Can you believe we’re already in March? Time seems to keep speeding up on me, so I’ve made the decision to look forward to Christmas all year long. If this most precious season is going to keep fleeting by on me, I’m going to make the most of it the rest of the year.
Are you laughing at me? LOL! That’s fine if you are. But on a deeper note, I believe this is actually part of the journey God has me walking to know more joy and delight, especially delight in Him.
Which brings me back to Isaiah. Who would have, at first glance, thought that the book of Isaiah is one we can delight in? But it is. It is the book that holds the most prophetic words about the Messiah coming and who He would be to the Israelites. And to us…
That’s the delightfully stunning part, my friends. As this book was inspired, our Papa God was even thinking of us—you and me…and our spouses. Isaiah is a book about God’s ardent love for His people and His desire and plan for our redemption and restoration to Him.
In fact, the name Isaiah means “the Lord is salvation.” That right there makes my heart go ka-thunk. To think our Heavenly Father’s plans and love for us span from the very beginning to the very end, well, that’s just a stunning picture of how great His love is. We truly are rooted and established in love—His love.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. — Eph. 3:16-19 (NIV)
Read those same verses in the Passion Translation:
And I pray that he would pour out over you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power.
Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life, providing you with a secure foundation that grows and grows.
18-19Then, as your spiritual strength increases, you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement, beyond academic knowledge—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God! — Eph. 3:16-19 (TPT)
SUMites, this is what is blowing my mind this morning as I write this. And this is what I feel the Holy Spirit is impressing upon me right now. The entire book of Isaiah is a passionate declaration of God’s jealousy over His people and His great love for them. And it is a book that applied to the Israelites in their current times and spans all the way to us and beyond because of the promises it holds. It was the decree of the Messiah to come and a declaration of Who our Savior Jesus is today, for us.
This is the clarity the Holy Spirit has brought to my heart for two weeks now to understand how I can—we can—apply and pray these Scriptures over ourselves and especially over our spouses. This is the clarity He brought as He showed me Isaiah 12 and placed a knowledge and understanding in my spirit of how to pray it for my husband. And this is the clarity I feel He is telling me to share with you. I’m excited to share it with you, my SUM family.
In that day you will say:
“I will praise you, Lord.
Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
and you have comforted me.
Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.
In that day you will say:
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” — Isaiah 12:1-6 (NIV)
This is how the Holy Spirit led me to pray/declare it:
On the day of your salvation, Michael, you will say:
“I will praise you, Lord.
Although your pleasure could not rest upon me,
You turned away your displeasure to pursue and love me.
I declare God is my salvation!
I will trust Him and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord Himself, is my strength and defense;
He has become my salvation.”
And on that day, Michael will say:
“I give praise to the Lord and proclaim His name;
I will make it known among the nations what He has done for me,
and proclaim that His name is exalted.
I sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things in me;
let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people!
For great is the Holy One of Israel, the Almighty God, among us!
In the saving name of Jesus, amen!
My friends, I encourage you to not only do this with Isaiah 12, but with any piece of Scripture that seems to grab you, because, I promise you, that is the Holy Spirit revealing something to you. Ask Him what it is, speak it out, mediated on it, journal it, declare it and rest in it until He tells you to move on.
And never forgot the promise of Jeremiah 1:12, that God watches over His Word to perform it. Speak it, then trust Him for the time and place for it’s fulfillment. He is faithful to His Word. SUMites, if you've prayed this for your spouse, put his or name in your comment with an amen. I want to pray in agreement with you.
I love you, my friends, and I pray that the revelation of God’s Word is astounding in your heart, your life, your marriage and to those around you. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen!
The Israelites were a people who waited. They waited for the promise of restoration to their homeland for over 70 years. My friends, we are like the Israelites. We are also a people group united in our time of waiting as we yearn and hope for the promise of salvation. And God has given grace-filled promises for every part of it.
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable. — Isaiah 40:28
Nothing is unknown to Him. Every possibility is the doorway to another, yet the ultimate goal is always the same. He is the one unchanging constant in this life, my friends. He exists beyond time as we understand, as He just is. He is our Creator, our Redeemer, our Savior—His heart is to be all things to us and His power, like His love, is more than we can comprehend. He never tires, falters, or doubts. He trusts us more than we trust ourselves. He believes in us more than we believe in ourselves. And how could He not? He knows what He has given us as a deposit, as His ultimate promise—His Spirit.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted; — Isaiah 40:29-30
The Hebrew word for "power" is ḵôaḥ and holds meanings such as to be firm; vigor, ability, able, chameleon, force, fruits, might, power(-ful), strength, substance and wealth. It is a "power-packed" word (yes, pun intended) that attempts encompass and define His indefinable power, presence and provision. It is who He is.
Our limited power and strength never diminish or change His plans. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Our weakness is the very condition that allows His power to be revealed and perfected (2 Cor. 12:9). And He never grows weary in His own strength and He never grows weary of helping us, providing for us, sustaining us and loving us. When we see impossible, He says possible. When we see a wall, He makes a doorway. When we see the end, He says it's just the beginning of a new time, a new season, a new opportunity...
Appointed Times and Seasons
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. — Isaiah 40:31
There are two Hebrew words here that hold vital meanings to our complete understanding. The first is "wait." Other translations use "hope." That's because the Hebrew word here, qâwâ, means both to wait and to hope. It also holds meanings such as to bind together, to expect, gather (together), look, patiently, tarry, wait (for, on, upon).
To hope in the Lord means to wait expectantly upon Him to fulfill His promises to us. He knows the times and season of our lives down to the smallest detail. He is always working to fulfill what He has promises us in the best timing and seasons possible. He wants us to have the fullest benefit.
The second noteworthy word in these verses is "walk." The Hebrew word here, yâlaḵ, and means to walk (literally or figuratively); causatively, to carry (in various senses), bear, bring, carry (away), come (away), depart, flow, follow, grow, lead (forth), let down, march, prosper, pursue, cause to run, spread, take away. Take not of the meaning "prosper" in this definition. As His children, no matter what time or season we are in, we are intended to prosper and thrive. Even in the toughest of times, God is working to help us reap our reward as we grow more like His Son Jesus.
And perhaps I'm not far off in say that is our greatest "opportunity," dear friends, to be more and more Christ-like. Our lives are a continual journey toward Jesus, to be like Him and one with Him. I used to wonder if we had to discard all that we are in order to be like Jesus, but the reality is, in doing so we become who we truly are intended and designed to be. Our identity in Jesus is a lifetime spent in revelation of our unity and inheritance in Him. And we are provided for in every way and for every aspect of that journey.
There is so much grace for us in the waiting, my friends. Both the Hebrew and Greek words for "grace" mean kindness and favor. So know that as you wait, God's grace is there providing His power, strength, hope and provision as we dwell in His great kindness and favor.
SUMites, you are greater in and through Him than you will ever know. You are destined to soar on wings like eagles!
My friends, I have an interesting story to tell you. Last Friday as I awoke, the word "opportunities" was loud and clear in my thoughts. I love it when I wake up with a word, because that usually means the Holy Spirit is setting me up for something.
So that morning I prayed for understanding of what this word was about. What did the Holy Spirit want me to learn and share? Thought the day as He continued to connect the dots, I began to understand two things.
First, let's take a look at what the word “opportunity” means in the dictionary.
“A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.” This seems to imply a once-impossible situation being made possible by a set of circumstances. Could it be that we are quick to deem negative situations as impossible without considering how God may be working to make something possible? He is the God of the impossible. He makes all things possible. Jesus even said so.
But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” — Luke 18:27
Yes, I agree. That can be quite a challenge. I’m looking for the opportunity in one area of my life that I seem to go round and round with. The Holy Spirit will help me see what that is, even if it simply an opportunity to change my thinking about this very thing.
And how interesting that one of the synonyms listed is “break.” We are in a year of breakthroughs, and breakthroughs bring us new opportunities to grow, to step into new places, to deepen our intimacy with God and to have greater understanding about who we are to God and who He is for us.
Amazing how so much of what we experience is intended to be rooted in our identity. I know we talk about that here a lot, but as I grow in my understanding I realize how foundational it is to everything. (Remember the Foundation Series?) As believers who live in the present but have a forward mindset (Phil 3:14), we need to know who we are in order to understand where we are going.
Now this second one was a surprise. Throughout this same day, the Holy Spirit continued to reveal more details to me in regards to something I experienced at the healing rooms last week. It was a sweet and astonishing time of worship that gave me an "opportunity" to delight in the Lord.
He continued to connect the dots until finally He asked me with a playful tone, "Do you see where I'm going with this?" I confess, I laughed out loud when He said that. And I did see where He was going and what He wanted me to fully grasp.
An "opportunity" is also an opportunity to delight in the Lord. This reminded me of Psalm 37:4, which tells us to delight in the Lord and He will give us the desire of our hearts. Did you know the Hebrew word for delight means to be soft or pliable? It also means to be delicate, pampered, and to be happy about.
What opportunities is God putting in your life right now? What opportunities does God want us to step into right in our mismatched marriages? With the difficult and cranky neighbor down the street? With the budget that just doesn’t seem to make ends meet? With your teenaged daughter’s best friend who seems so lost sometimes you just want to reach out and hug her? Do it! Hug the kid! Bring your neighbor cookies. Remind God of His Word to provide (Phil. 4:19), then watch Him do it (I have a story on that one too.) And ask God to show you a new opportunity to love your spouse that will reveal Jesus. You may be surprised at how delightful it will be!
Opportunities. Opportunities are the gateway to breakthroughs, my friends. I firmly believe that. God wants to show us what that looks like too, because it is new and fresh and unlike anything we’ve seen so far.
SUMites, share in the comments any opportunities you are seeing in your life. Maybe in reading this post, God brought one to mind. Maybe you’re already seeing one, but you weren’t sure if it was you or God. Or maybe, you’re already in the middle of an opportunity unfolding and have a testimony to share. Let’s meet in the comments!
Love you, my friends. You are so much greater in Him than you know.
I’m fascinated by Jesus. I’m fascinated by how He interacts with people in the Bible and today. And I’m fascinated by the deeper meanings the Holy Spirit brings to us as we move closer to the truth of who we are and find healing in that process.
My friends, one such story is found in Luke 7, the story of Jesus being anointed by a sinful woman. If you have a moment, read this account in Luke 7:36-50.
As I read this story recently, the Holy Spirit answered a long-held question I had in a very unexpected way. This question came from Jesus’ statement, “But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
I asked the Lord once again, “Lord, do I have to be forgiven of a lot of things in order to love you better?”
The question sounded ridiculous to me as I wrote it in my journal, because I knew that sin is sin to Jesus and that He took care of it all on the cross. But I wanted to understand the heart of this story at a deeper level. And if the Holy Spirit was telling me to read this particular piece of Scripture, then I could be assured He had something to reveal to me that would move me closer to the truth.
He brought me back to the beginning of this story and said, “Read it again.”
I did. I read it again, repeatedly over several days. I read of the woman’s weeping and reverent treatment of Jesus. I read of Simon’s thoughts toward the woman. And I read what Jesus says of Simon and how he welcomed Jesus into his home.
Jesus saw Simon and the woman in the very same light. His love for each of them was equal and His gift of forgiveness the same. In fact, the story isn’t at all about how Jesus saw these two people at all.
It’s about how they saw themselves. The woman knew her need and saw Jesus as the answer. Though the perfume was costly, her tears and love were priceless to Jesus. Only He could receive her sacrifice with love and forgiveness.
And restore her…”Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Simon didn’t see his need. He didn’t see himself at all actually. He lived in the deception that he was good, because as a Pharisee, he’d followed all the rules, therefore keeping himself blind to his need. He saw the woman as the sinner, not himself.
Simon saw the woman as who she used to be.
Jesus saw the woman as who He always created her to be.
My friends, that is how Jesus sees us. He always sees us from the place of our complete identity and destiny. And everything He is doing in us right now is to reveal more and more of that, what He’s already declared us to be.
On Friday I plan to talk a little bit more about this subject and share more of what the Holy Spirit is teaching me right now about connecting our identity in Christ to our destiny and how to live it right now. It’s an adventure full of the mystery of God and abiding in Him with peace. I can’t wait to learn more!
I love you, SUMites. I see you through the eyes of God’s love and you are more amazing than you can ever imagine!
Copyright: semisatch / 123RF Stock Photo
Good morning, SUMites! I loved reading your prayers yesterday on Lynn’s post. I prayed in agreement with each one of you and prayed over our community for complete healing. Many of the things you prayed mirrored my own prayers too, my dear friends. I’m so glad we are taking this journey of healing together.
And that’s part of what I feel the Holy Spirit planted in my heart to share today, that some of you out there have been on a very lonely journey in your pain. You have felt alone, as if you’re the only one, in this struggle and even abandoned at times.
Today the Lord wants you to know that is not true. You are not alone, you have never been alone. And as you walk this path of healing, you will see others walking along side you who have suffered in the same way, you will walk in a new hope and strength like never before, and you will finally reach your breakthrough.
My first breakthrough (yes, I am believing for many more!) happened last week with the help of dear friends who prayed with me, loved me and contended with me. And that is what I feel the Lord is doing in our SUM family as well—uniting us even in this time of healing to uphold one another and rejoice for each other as our breakthroughs come. This is not a journey we are intended to walk alone.
My friends, today I asked the Lord to reveal His heart for our SUM family. He showed me Jesus. He said Jesus is the full representation of His heart for us. Even unto death…
Wow, that just continues to blow my mind and bring home even more the magnitude of God’s love for us. Jesus is not only our Savior, He is our Healer. In the Bible, the Greek words for salvation (sōtēria) and saved (sozo) encompasses more than just our eternal residence but our health and wholeness as well.
Here’s another nugget God showed me recently in Romans 8.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
Did you notice that Paul only says present and future? No mention of the past? That’s because Jesus dealt with the past on the cross. He even said, “It is done.”
And we know what happens with today? It becomes the past, so whatever heartache or challenge we face today, tomorrow it will be the past and Jesus declares it done! And as tomorrow becomes today, we can say the same about it as it passes into yesterday. It is done!
Jesus is the heart of God. So whatever healing we are in need of, my friends, know that the Heart of God, Jesus, says it is done. He has already set our healing in place. It’s one of His promises to us. And He’s inviting us to walk in this truth.
I’m believing this is my year to be healed of emotional eating. Whatever is at the root of this issue will be revealed and healed. This is my need and the mountain I refuse to keep circling. I believe Jesus will move it and say, “It is done!” In the name of Jesus, amen!
Love you, my friends! Contending with you.
What has God promised you, my friends? That is the place I want to start today, because I’ve discovered there is a very definitive process that occurs between the promise given and the reality (or manifestation) of that promise. And it’s in the in between time that we can get confused or even lose sight of our promise.
No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back a single word I said. — Psalm 89:34 (NLT)
I believe as a community we are on this journey right now together. As I shared last week during our prayer and fasting, this is a Year of Promises. As I walk in this place of waiting and the challenges I’ve faced, I’m finding that God’s promises are designed to bring us from one point and place in time to another and it’s very much to do with our growth as believers.
We’ve talked in the past about preparation and that is part of this promise package. God always sees us according to His plan for us—who He created us to be. He sees us from our future and therefore partners with us to direct our path accordingly. Our promises are part of that future becoming our present reality. So, in everything, God is working for our good to according to that picture.
Yes, we do have an enemy that will do whatever he can to hinder and delay that path, but ultimately, as we continue to seek God and say yes to Him, we are assured of victory, as God’s Word says. He already sees us as victorious, therefore we are. That’s an important place to walk in faith and perseverance (Romans 8).
As God cheers us on He also works in us so that we can walk in the fullness of our callings (destiny) and many times that means we need healing. We live in the reality of good verses evil and the imperfections of this world, so it is inevitable.
This past week God worked this in my life in a stunning way. As I mentioned God revealed some things to me, of which one part was a deep need for emotional healing. I find it so very interesting that as Lynn is about to begin this series on emotional healing, God walks me through that very thing.
So, my dear SUMites, I want to encourage you to walk this journey with us, because it is part of the revelation of your promises this year. To fully receive what these promises are we often must grow in some way to be able to walk in them. This is part of God’s upgrade or promotion process. He wants us to benefit fully from His promises.
Think of it in a way as professional training or learning a skill. In order to function as a lawyer in a court or as a teacher in a classroom, we have to learn things in order to fully function in those places. Our “training” or teaching can be very specialized too.
I believe that God is doing much of this in us for many reasons. For me, this means I am more emotionally healthy for two reasons. One, to walk in the broader places He is taking me in ministry and to be ready for where He is taking my husband to one day be in ministry together. Yes, He has to get me ready (prepared) for what that means. Oh boy…
And sometimes it can seem messy and painful, but as we’ve used the analogy before, a wound must be cleaned for it to heal well and without infection. Think of the lies, hurts, rejections and grudges we carry as infections, that once dealt with, our emotional wounds can be healed.
The wonderful thing about this process is that it ripples out. So often we want to fix what we see on the outside, but God works from the inside out and that is what those around us begin to see as we are healed. Those places we often struggle with externally could very well be the reflection of something inside in need of healing. This applies to our spouses too, my friends. We have the benefit of the Great Physician at work in us to help us heal, yet those who don’t know Jesus yet can only rely on their own resources or that which the world offers.
My friends, whatever God did in me this week broke and released things I have carried for years. I feel lighter, stronger, and more peaceful. And I am excited to walk in this new freedom and am expectant of the ways it will show up more in my life. I’m excited to see what God does next, and I am looking forward to what He does in all of us through Lynn’s series.
It’s going to be good. How do I know that? God told me. Since last weekend, His still soft voice has whispered over and over to me these words.
“Watch what I do.”
And He has expanded those words for our community. This is what I feel I hear Him saying for us:
Watch what I do.
In your homes and in your marriages,
Watch what I do.
In your lives and in your government,
Watch what I do.
In your nation and in your communities,
Watch what I do.
In your minds and in your hearts,
Watch what I do.
SUMites, the choice is always ours. God loves us no matter what. He is always for us and always, always, always, working for our good. So if you feel this is something you want, then I encourage you to pray something like this in your own words:
Lord, I want everything You have written on the pages of my book in heaven to become a reality in my life. I want to let go of the pain and hurts and be healed of the emotional traumas in my heart and soul. Whatever that takes and whatever that looks like, Lord, I say yes. I am ready. I trust You. I love you and I am so grateful that You love me with such a relentless and perfect love. Lord, I am watching to see what You do! In the name of Jesus, amen!
For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. — 2 Cor. 1:20 (NLT)
I love you, my SUM family. I’m so blessed to walk this journey with you and stand with you in prayer.
My time with my family over Christmas and New Years was very sweet and precious. I am so grateful for it as we only get to spend Christmas together every other year now. So thank you, my SUM family, for your prayers and blessings over my time with my daughters and son-in-love. As you can imagine, I miss them greatly. Our Papa God has comforted my melancholy heart every time I’ve run to Him. He’s so good.
But I am ready to walk into 2017 with new expectations and new clarity for direction. And I'm "expecting" next week's prayer and fasting will be key to that. I believe many of you are too. I've loved reading your comments and praying with you about your hopes and expectations. You guys write some awesome stuff!
Many of you shared a word God has given you for the new year. I too have been seeking God for what He has for me and my family, and what He wants to be for us in 2017. He's not only given me a word for 2017, He's challenged me.
This word pushes me way out of my comfort zone, my friends. Why? Because it challenges me to step out further in faith and trust Him more. It's risky. I will be honest and share that I've grappled with some disappointments this last year that I'm coming to realize are more to do with my impatience than anything else. God's timing is, well, God's timing.
But this pushes me to think and dream even further out than I ever have before. This year my word is "Envision." And with it have come some pretty big possibilities—ones I can't even begin to figure out how God will accomplish them. But He is the God of possibilities, and I've learned that His ways are absolutely astonishing and so very unexpected.
So, yes, I am challenged this year to leave the comfortable places of my thinking and allow Him to take me places I can't even imagine. I am excited and a bit anxious all at once!
SUMites, God has given me some words for us here too that I look forward to sharing during our prayer and fasting next week. They are full of hope and promise, my friends. God has so much in store for us. Yes, we will be challenged in new ways, but let's remember that God has prepared us for this time and season. We are fully equipped and complete in Him. Amen!
Here are some links to help you with types of fasts and how to fast. If fasting from food isn't an option, please don't discount yourself from participating. There are other avenues you can take and other ways to fast. Such as fasting from sweets, or one particular food item you tend to gravitate toward. Or fasting from television or social media.
The best course here is to ask the Holy Spirit to impress upon your heart what kind of fast is best for this time and will honor and please God. Just as faith as small as a mustard seed delights our Papa God, He views even our smallest efforts with pleasure when the intent in our heart is great. He is always more interested in our hearts than results.
And now, SUM family, I want to share the words He gave me in November. They are so encouraging and uplifting. I for one am longing to go deeper with the Lord this year than ever before. I'm still learning to hear and listen to Him in this new way He's teaching me. I'm still learning to focus on Him and the journey instead of the end result. I have so much to learn!
I am establishing My kingdom as never before in the believer's heart. And it is a kingdom about My love. A Kingdom of Love.
The enemy's scare tactics are desperate—like a toddler pitching a fit over not getting his way—a last ditch attempt to wreak havoc. But he won't succeed as long as you don't acknowledge him. He is harmless.
My intentions are clear. My heart is known and true. Listen for My pulse. Listen to My heart. I am true and I am truth. With Me you will not fail. In Me you are a true victor. A true champion, for My cause.
And My cause is you, every one of My children! I am raising you up higher than ever before, My dread champions, and I am calling you forth. You carry the weapons of love, joy and peace. Wield them freely. Walk in love, walk in peace, be strengthened in My abundant joy. I am with You all the way!
Thank You, Father God! Thank You, Lord Jesus! Thank You, Holy Spirit! We are so grateful for Your great love and good intentions for us. Lord, I pray for every one of us in this SUM family, that the eyes of our hearts will be enlightened next week in order that we may know more fully the hope to which You have called us, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in the saints, and Your incomparably great power for us who believe (Eph. 1:18-19).
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I bless this church without walls with the oil of joy. I bless every SUMite with greater peace than she or he has ever known. And I bless every one of us with a greater capacity to love than we have ever imagined. Lord, let us walk in the love You pour out upon us and share it with everyone we encounter. Make each of us a reflection and representation of Your Kingdom of Love. Amen!
I love you, SUMites! See you next week!
Hello, SUMites! We’re less than two weeks away from Christmas. Can you believe that? I’m almost done with my Christmas shopping…I think. How about you? And what’s on the menu for Christmas Day? What do I need to make? Who’s coming over? Need more lights up outside. I hope my mother loves her gift…
I bet your mind is filled with thoughts like these, one after another tumbling after each other like dominoes. It’s totally normal, right? We do this every year and we go into it all with the best intentions. Doesn’t always work out perfectly, but we hope for the best.
So what’s at the heart of all that?
We love our families and friends. We want the very best for them. And we want to enjoy them during the celebrations too. Doesn’t take much in my book. So far my favorite gift for a friend cost $3.95. Can’t wait to see the surprised delight on her face when she opens it. For me it’s an act of love that says, “I get you. I love you. I think you’re special.”
As you can see I’ve lit our third candle on the Advent Wreath—just one more to go and then I’ll be lighting the Christ candle in the middle on Christmas. I love Christmas traditions. They remind me of my childhood and my children’s childhood. And I love remembering the love that infuses those memories too. Dancing around the kitchen as we baked cookies, making a snowman together, hugs and hot cocoa—more precious acts of love.
Love is the theme for this third week of Advent. As I sat and contemplated and prayed, another stream of Scriptures come to mind. I’ve shared in the past that I’ve known since I was a small child that “love makes the world go round.” I knew love was the biggest game changer in this world, just didn’t know the source.
Now I do and I still believe in love. And as the Bible says, God is love, so I believe in God. And I believe God. The first statement defines my faith, the second defines my relationship with Him.
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. — 1 John 4:16-17 NLT
And God’s motivation has always been love, hasn’t it?
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 NIV
Not to condemn us, but to love us. Jesus walked this earth as the embodiment of God’s love and displayed it brilliantly. With just a look, a word, a thought—people’s lives were changed, healed, restored. He’s our greatest example of how to love.
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” — Mark 10:21 NIV
My friends, He is faithful, true and loyal to the end, our Jesus. He is my inspiration. And my greatest prayer is for Him to help me love well every person He puts before me, whether at the healing rooms, at home, in a store or right her online. This my goal!
Let love be your highest goal! — 1 Cor. 14:1 NLT
I love you, SUMites. You are fierce in your love, faith and faithfulness. You walk a path many will never understand. But God does. He gets you. He loves you. He’s thinks your super special.
Merry Christmas, my friends. May the love of God be more real to you right now than ever before. May He fill the stockings of your heart with His overflowing gift of love. In the name of Jesus, amen!