Survey: TRANSFORMATION

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comSUMites,

Here are a few more responses to the survey.

Q: What have you learned or experience through SUM that has transformed your life?

  • I was searching for your website to find out how my husband can change. What I really learned is that the relationship with Christ needs to start with me.
  • I've learned about my identity in Christ, and how to use that authority in my prayers.
  • Reading other people's stories shows what God can do and gives me hope
  • Praying the word with bold faith. Covering my family...1cor7:14 (I can’t tell you how many different people and how many times I have referred people to Chapter 8 of Winning Them With Prayer. This scripture changed everything for me – Lynn)
  • Overall, I would say just the experience of being with a community of like circumstances has transformed my life the most. Up until 5 years ago, I knew no one unequally yoked---my friends all had Christian husbands and did not have a clue about this type of circumstance.  I always got the impression they thought because my husband was a good man, the spiritual side didn't matter.
  • That God can still use anyone even if they are struggling in some area of their life
  • That I'm not alone. There are literally thousands of us called to this lifestyle and blessing of having a mission-field right in our own living room!
  • A community of people going through the same circumstances and thriving; and even when they hit bumps, being transparent-asking for prayer, having dialogue with folks that truly care about them. This has caused me to be more transparent in life; to take that step out there when talking to people. It has made me brave, as I never walk alone. 
  • Trust God in the hard
  • The weekend Lynn came to speak at our church! God's love became so overwhelming!!
  • The first time I read Winning Him Without Words - I was joyfilled! It was the first book I read on SUM that lifted me up and made me want to share it with others like us.
  • That I'm not alone and Lynn, Dineen and the SUM community are my home and safe place.
  • I am not responsible for my husband's salvation, that will be in God's timing. I, however, can draw closer to God.
  • I now know that God still loves me!!
  • Too many things to narrow it down. I have been in regular contact with a new friend in Texas, however, through SUM as a prayer partner for the last 6-8 months. That has been such a blessing to share life with her and pray for a sister in similar shoes.
  • My faith has grown

I think as I read this last entry, My faith has grown. I pray this for all of us. I know that for Dineen and I, our faith has grown as we have grown up with all of you. I wish I could share each of your replies. SUMites, we are helping each other. We are learning to pray, to have powerful faith, to BELIEVE that mountains will move and to cheer on others as they battle the demonic and WIN!!!!

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. —John 14:12-14

I release the truth and power of this verse over your life, faith, marriage, home, finances and family. It is for the SUMites today. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the blood and name of Jesus Christ and by the love and affirmation of our good Father. AMEN

If you agree, type AMEN in the comments. SUMites. Today we walk in VICTORY!!  Hallelujah. AMEN. Love, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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Seeing Our Spouse Like God Does

Ecc11We live in a world that defines us by what we do, but as believers we are called to walk to the beat of a different drum. That beat is the pulse of the Father's heart and who He says we are.

SUMites, our Heavenly Father’s heart beats for our spouse too, because he has placed an eternal identity in them as well, just waiting to be unlocked, and I firmly believe we are called to partner with God to help identify, reveal and release that identity in them.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. — Ecc 3:11

I also believe this is a key part of our authority in Christ and in our marriage as the spiritual leader in the home. We are the aroma of Christ in our homes and our faith sanctifies our spouse. 

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. — 2 Cor 2:15

For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. — 1 Cor 7:14

As I’ve shared before the Greek word for ‘sanctify’ means to ‘lay a claim upon.” My friends, we not only sit in the heavenly realms with Jesus (Eph 2:6), we also sit in very real places of influence in the lives of those we love and pray for. We can speak death (negativity, blame, accusation, condemnation and even curses) or we can speak life (positive words, encouragement, affirmation, edification and blessings).

What I want to focus on is this place of influence we hold and how God wants us to sit, walk, and stand in this place of influence. I am using these words metaphorically, but there are actual biblical references to these positions of faith, which we can learn from. 

These aren’t new concepts, my friends, but I want to approach these truths from Ephesians with the goal of applying them to our mismatched marriages and how we can sit, walk and stand in faith in life and mismatchdom. And I will be addressing some of the topics you shared in the survey, in which you expressed a need, a challenge, or a desire for your marriage.

Finally, my friends, I want to share a hope that is growing in my heart and spirit. As I learn more and more about God’s heart to heal and restore His people (all people, because He sees them all from His perspective of who He created them to be), I’ve come to realize I’ve separated healing and salvation into to two categories, when they are in fact the same thing.

If you look at the Greek word for salvation (sōtēria) and save (sōzō), both include health and healing in their definitions. So, in a sense, we are praying for our pre-believers to be healed in their spirit. Salvation is so complete and so perfect in its provision from Jesus Christ. We tend to see it merely as the rescue from hell and a guarantee of heaven, but it is so much more. 

Amazingly, Jesus displays this in John 5 with the story of the invalid man waiting to be healed in the pool of Bethesda. Where the English translations use only one word for ‘healing,’ the Greek, in fact, uses four. And there is a progression in this passage that reflects not only the man’s physical healing but his spiritual healing—salvation and the revelation of his identity in Jesus—as well.

In doing word studies of the Greek text, I’ve found some precious nuggets. And I would love—and I do mean love—to share those, but I fear you would get bored. Plus I’m reaching the sweet spot of how long a good post should be in the blogosphere and don’t want to wear out my welcome. 

Suffice it to say, this progression reveals the limitations that we as humans beings place on what Jesus can do and what Jesus really can do. So I will share the best part of this exchange between Jesus and the invalid. 

In verse five where Jesus asks the man if He wants to be healed, He’s not just talking about the man’s body. Jesus means healed, saved and the understanding of who the man is to God. Notice the man doesn’t reply with a yes, only with reasons why he isn’t healed yet. He’s not comprehending what Jesus really means at this point, but it’s clear he does want to be healed.

Here’s where it gets really interesting. When Jesus says ‘get up’ in verse eight, He’s actually saying wake up and rise up out of his disease and sin. Jesus is calling him out, in a good way. What’s so interesting is that Jesus finds the man (whether by happenstance or intentionally isn’t clear, but I suspect it was very intentional), He finishes what he started in the man’s physical healing by giving the man a revelation of his new state—a transformation of the man’s thinking (Rom 12:2).

“See, you are well!” 

The Greek word for ‘see’ (ide) means behold, look. In other words, Jesus was saying, “See yourself as I do.”

And it gets even better. The Greek for ‘well’ is ginomai and means to become, come into existence, finished as with a miracle, be made.

Jesus was telling the man to see himself as the new creation (reborn) he now was, as the man God created him to be. Jesus was calling out the truth placed in the man—eternity, which is the intention of God to heal, save and deliver (sozo) and be the child of God he was always intended to be. A man of God, complete and equipped with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Eph 1:3).

My friends, this is what we can “call out” of our spouses with how we sit, walk, and stand in our faith. And that is what I’m so looking forward to exploring with you. What do you think? Is this something you’re interested in pursuing? If so, start asking the Holy Spirit to help you see your spouse through His eyes and give you a revelation of who he or she is to God. 

He may show you a small detail or give you a bigger image of who your spouse is in Jesus. Because the promise is already there, SUMites. As we are told in Psalm 139, Father God knew us before we were ever born. That is true for our spouses too. They may not know God yet, but God definitely knows them.

And that, my friends, is what I want us to partner with God to release in our spouses. Oh, this is going to be so good! Amen!

Love you so much!
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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Salvation Story. God Talked With This Husband!

Hoverson
Sam & Molly Hoverson

I have been a servant of our Lord and Savior since December of 2007. The man I now call my husband was instrumental in God’s plan to bring faith and the grace of God to my heart. My husband grew up in a Christian family and is well studied on the scriptures. I relied heavily on his guidance and understanding of the Bible for my own spiritual health rather than read the Bible myself, and so I remained childlike in my faith for many years.        

In 2009, shortly before we were to be married, tragedy struck and my husband. He became afflicted with a life-threatening illness while serving overseas in the Air Force. I was in college across the country at the time and unable to support him in his time of need. During this time, he struggled with his faith and felt that God had abandoned him. Soon he began to doubt even God’s existence. It was a very dark time for both of us as we struggled to maintain our long-distance relationship, school, his eventual medical retirement, and me becoming the spiritual leader of our house.

God never left us. He showed His undying love for us in many unexpected ways. After our first child was born He brought family to us to guide us (mostly me) to the church I now call home. Whenever I was weakened spiritually He always lifted me up. God softened my heart to my husband’s spiritual struggles and to give him space to grieve his lost career and find his new path in life. I was guided to Lynn Donovan and Dineen Miller and the books they wrote, which were very helpful in guiding me to be a Godly wife, as imperfect of one as I am! All the while I knew God was working slowly in my husband's heart. The scriptural questions I once asked him he would pose to me. Our fights about God, scripture, and going to church faded to respectful discussions. My husband’s borderline atheism softened to a mere uncertainty of a higher power.

Fast forward to a few months ago; we found ourselves struggling with worldly stresses. While I felt I was able to place many of my doubts and fears in our gracious Lord, my husband felt no such comfort. He was crippled by what he felt was insurmountable obstacles in his life, our house, and various other things giving him sleepless nights and stress filled days. His blood pressure went up, which caused more even more stress and I felt helpless to support him, and so prayed fervently to God to give him relief. That’s when it pleased God to answer my eight yearlong prayer for my husband!

My husband is a mailman and is often on his feet walking mail routes. One day, late in March, he finally looked to God and said, “You used to talk to people, You used to show Yourself to people, why do You not do that anymore?”

He felt God answer him “I’m still here.”

My husband told me he spent a good part of the morning in tears communing with God. He came home in the middle of the day (which never happens) to quickly tell me everything that had happened before he had to get back to his route. He said he wasn’t sure if he was losing his mind or if God was actually speaking to him. We were both pretty sure he wasn’t losing his mind. He also told me while normally he sees many people while delivering mail, that morning there was no one in sight, and he and God walked peacefully together on his route.

Ever since then we have gone to church as a family; us and our two children. We’re looking to God for our salvation, guidance and needs. I’m actually reading the Bible all the way through for the first time. We’ve stopped drinking almost entirely as we used to turn to that for stress relief. My husband is working on quitting tobacco, which has been a habit for over 20 years. We’re praying together as a family. We’re reading the Bible together. It’s truly miraculous. We’ve felt the attempts of the Devil as he tries to sneak in and create turmoil and chaos in our lives, but our protective Lord has thwarted all his advances. We are in safe hands now!

Lord willing, my husband will become a member of our church at the beginning of next month. I feel like he’s the man I met so many years ago, but wiser, calmer, and so full of faith and hope! I feel like our story is a testament to how having just a little faith, even as small as a mustard seed, can make anything possible. Amen! —Sumite, Molly

UPDATE: 

Just wanted to share our joy with you today! Sam confessed his faith and became a member of our church this morning. He also got to partake of his first communion with us. God is so good and continues to shower us with blessings! Have a blessed day!!! ❤️

Molly Hoverson 

Sam Hoverson

*****

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Guest Post by Dee Rusnak: The Chosen One

Dear Friends, today we are blessed to have a guest post by our very own Dee Rusnak. I know her words will encourage you as much as they did me. Thank you, Dee!

I'm looking forward to sharing my next post with you, possibly a series, about partnering with God to release what He has placed already in our spouse. Eternity (Etc 3:11)! But how do we do that? Stay tuned...

Love you, SUMites! ~Dineen

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The Chosen One
by Dee Rusnak

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

One of the most compelling salvation stories in the Bible is the one of the thief on the cross. It just boggles the mind that at one moment this dangerous criminal is mocking Jesus, and the next admitting to his own guilt and being saved. The Bible tells us this miracle happened within the first three hours of the crucifixion. Something major went down within those precious moments while he was in the throes of death. What, or who, broke through to his heart, and why?

Here's the scene. In the first three hours on the cross, Jesus prayed for those who crucified Him, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Many began mocking Him. “Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! Come down from the cross, if You are the Son of God!’ In the same way, the chief priests, teachers of the law and the elders mocked Him. ‘He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue Him now if He wants Him, for He said “I am the Son of God.” In the same way, the robbers who were crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him.” (Matthew 27:39-44)

In those days, robbery was not a crime punishable by death. Consequently, it was likely that these men committed a far heinous crime than mere robbery to deserve such a sentence. Their sins were then compounded by the blasphemy and unbelief they had toward Jesus. Oh, boy. No hope for them. Or was there? What happens next was quite a shock to everyone within earshot, not to mention those of us reading this account, and most likely to one of the thieves.

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at Him: ‘Aren’t You the Christ? Save Yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.’” (Luke 23:39-43)

What just happened? The salvation story plays out immediately and perfectly as two men, identical in their sinfulness, in exact proximity to Jesus, heard the same words, are affected very differently. Perhaps the prayer plea Jesus made to His Father for forgiveness came to pass as God reached down into the pit and saved one. Divine mercy. Perhaps this man contemplated Jesus’ prayer plea and it penetrated his heart. Suddenly, as one remained tenacious, wanting desperately to be rescued from the cross, the other became penitent, wanting desperately to be rescued from his sins. He took ownership of them as he was unexpectedly aware of a faith not there before, not of himself, a faith in the very One who could possibly show him mercy. The One who hung on the cross right next to his. Jesus confirmed his salvation by assuring him of eternal life. And, his wasn’t the only salvation that day. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified and exclaimed, ‘Surely He was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:54) And, not long afterward, a murderous, hateful religious leader named Saul was given new life.

Isaiah writes, “I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me.” Paul writes in Romans that “not all of them welcomed the good news.” He continues, “Consequently, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Both men heard Jesus speak. But, only one HEARD His words of forgiveness. There’s no logic to it in the human mind. It’s all of God.

What I love about this passage is that there was no formula to this man’s salvation. No prayer. No works. No Bible studies. No following Jesus. Nothing but pure response to God’s grace. We try to fathom salvation…how it’s done, to whom, where, when, the right scenario, and what it takes. This story completely shatters any notion we may have of what transpires in a heart of the one being saved. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3, “The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” David said, “All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Salvation belongs to the Lord. It is His to give, not ours to strategize.

This story of salvation should give us all great HOPE, dearest SUMites! In an instant, anyone can be transformed from dead and the most atrocious sinner into God’s very own son, presented without blemish. Let us go before His throne in earnest prayer, sitting at His feet, waiting, communicating, listening, emptying our hearts, drinking in His truths, trusting Him, resting in Him, and taking great delight in what He has planned for us and for our loved ones.

“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:25-26)

— Dee Rusnak and her husband live in Westerville, Ohio, were they spend their retirement years taking great delight in their 5 grandchildren.

*****

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Results and Prayer Time

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comThis is COOL!

You know what happened since I posted the survey results on Tuesday? Remember Tiffany, I prayed with her and so did several others. And guess what else, the books for our reader in Africa, well there were multiple donations. The grace and generosity of the SUMites, brings a great smile to the face of Jesus. Truly. AND the LORD is going to use those additional donations for books in ways that I can’t wait to tell you about. Stay tuned…. It’s awesome. But first, more results. (Read to the bottom and leave your prayer requests.)

Q: What topics, series has had an impact on your faith?

  • Healing
  • All of them in some way
  • Almost all the topics you write on have helped and the one on healing has opened my eyes to reveal the awesome power of our Lord Jesus...
  • Gods promises and His waiting room
  • Claiming things in faith. I do not remember the name of the series- just that it came right when I lost my firstborn at 5 months gestational age. It helped me not to give up and continue to claim those things which God has placed in my heart.
  • The January fasts.
  • Book series - winning him without words
  • It's been cool to watch as you start to get a revelation of healing and all the other blessings that Jesus provided with his sacrifice.
  • Fasting, Rosh Hashanah, sharing in the 'miraculous' together.
  • Identity, Forgiveness
  • Fasting, Prayer for Healing, Winning them with prayer, The Power of Gods Words, Prayer Strategy, Our place of Authority and Power, Prayer our Power Passage,
  • Truthfully - every one. It's uncanny that the topics seem to "marry" (no pun intended) into my walk, too.
  • Winning Him Without Words helped me tremendously early on. Seemed like few resources out there at the time.  The emails have been dear to my heart often and drawn me closer to the Lord.
  • Not sure.
  • Healing, speaking in tongues. My church barely mentions the Holy Spirit, so I have been searching for information and God has provided!
  • "Why Isn't My Spouse Saved Already?", "The Mismatched Family" (guest post by Dee Rusnak), and I like the perspective Ian provides.
  • I particularly love your testimonies, and your encounters

Many of the responses referenced, spiritual warfare, the fasting in January & Rosh Hashanah, Prayer, and healing. When I read these replies, I nearly fall on the floor of my office in strong emotion. The affirmation that we are walking toward heaven with you and gaining victories… well, IT FILLS MY HEART!!!

I also asked: What topics could we write about that we haven't covered or we could cover again to encourage you? We will address these with our answers and perspective in the coming months of summer. I also hope that many of you will add your wisdom because the SUMites, I’ve come to know, are wise, Godly and amazing people of love who can help others on the road behind.

Q: Have you experience a change in your faith life since joining our community? How?

  • Yes! I am in the Word daily, I am a prayer warrior, and I am way more eternally minded. I can't wait for Heaven!  (I’m getting the Kleenex box ready. These answers bring tears of joy and love.)
  • I am worrying less and giving it to God, and not taking it back, a whole lot more.
  • I am finding maintaining my walk with God in a non-Christian family increasingly difficult and feel I am a worse Christian each day but SUM keeps me going. (Rebecca, I speak and pray breakthrough over you today. In Jesus name.)
  • Definitely! The SUM nation has led me to have a much much deeper, intimate relationship with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.....
  • Have grown and been encouraged so much, I don't recognize myself
  • Yes - I have matured more and am trusting people more - Lynn and Dineen are truly kind humble people. (Kleenex!!! Get me Kleenex!!)
  • 1 word, Texas lol! But also having a special Christian Community that really GETS my personal struggles...this gave me the courage to walk out this difficult walk in my marriage with the man I love.
  • Yes, strange to think it, but I now actively focus on keeping my religious life alive as well as building my relationship with God. I also have more calm and constructive conversations with my husband around faith.
  • This community has made me know that I am the King's daughter and I was given my husband to love and serve!
  • A little. I have accepted my marriage and given it higher priority instead of still wondering if I did a mistake by marrying my husband.
  • Lynn has been a true mentor and has connected to me. Its so awesome. (More Kleenex)
  • Not only has my faith been strengthened, my husband has taken several steps toward his faith, too! (Praise!) We are lucky enough to have 2 husbands in our group that offered to come into our group and answer some basic questions that we have as wives. We are blessed that they were interested, and it was so insightful. (Julie, would love to hear their perspective!)
  • Yes, tremendously. It's no longer about just me and my marriage and my woes.  It's now foremost about my personal relationship with Christ (acknowledging, receiving and accepting His love) and then serving my spouse (and the world) with Christ's love and compassion.  This group has really helped change the lenses in which I view this journey - I dreaded the thought of the future and now I get a front row seat to Christ's mercies and grace!
  • Although born again approximately 18 yrs ago SUM has definitely brought something that was very much needed to my faith. A maturity that was required and an awareness of those around me and the impact my life could have on them through Christ Jesus. I have learnt to walk with Christ through adversity without fear, with confidence and without doubt. My faith is the same but it is matured. My faith is the same but it's foundation is rooted deeper. My faith is the same but with the encouragement of SUM ministry, it's branches have grown it bares good fruit.

Gang, I pray you are bearing fruit… I pray that you are witnessing the LORD moving in your life, even while waiting for the salvation of your spouse and loved ones. We are receiving more salvation stories and personally, this year the week leading up to Easter, I received my breakthrough. A decades old infirmity was lifted from my life. I am now truly free… (Decades, I tell you. I didn’t think I would ever get free. BUT JESUS!!!)

IT'S BREAKTHROUGH SEASON… Don’t give up. That is the entire purpose of the demonic realm. To wear you down with trouble. To first to get you to become weary. Then to crush your desire to read the Word, then finally stop praying and eventually, you give up on God, your faith and surrender.

The devil doesn’t care about unbelievers. He already has them. He wants you…. Persistence and unrelenting faith is the key to victory in every area of your life. Get to church and worship. Read the Word every day. Pray throughout the day, every day. And stand in a faith so powerful that what you pray, MUST come to pass. In Jesus name. AMEN

What are you praying for and won’t give up on? Tell me in the comments and I will pray AMEN along with you… Hallelujah. Claim your breakthrough. In Jesus name. AMEN

Love you, Lynn

*****

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

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About This Mordecai Time...

Dear friends, just wanted to share the live Facebook video I did on Wednesday regarding my post about the Mordecai Time we are now in and how the Holy Spirit "dropped" this revelation upon me. In addition, I share a word about God's Spirit being given "without measure," right from the book of John. It's amazing, these times were are living in, SUMites! God is moving in stunning ways. Walk with Him, trust Him to do it, and watch what He does. By His Spirit! Amen! Love you! Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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Broadening our Horizons

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Image courtesy of namakuki at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being a SUMITE is full of interesting conundrums that can at times lead to much discouragement. One of these conundrums is our commitment to various Christian communities. I use the plural here to reflect both the church we attend plus other relationships (one-on-one and group) that we may partake in.

As we’ve discussed before, sometimes our commitments can have a significant impact on our partners. Frustration, discouragement, isolation and sheer anger are some of the feelings our partners experience. These emotions naturally flow into our marriages and can cause our partners and us much stress. 

Lack of Interest

A common refrain we often hear from our partners is a lack of interest in our faith journey. So our church attendance, content shared at meetings, etc just aren’t of interest. There’s a chunk of our lives that is pivotal to us that our partners are not really interested in.

A natural flow on to this is that our partners may not enthusiastically support us in developing friendships with Christian couples, even though we may be keen to do so.

Is this something you’ve found? 

It’s another trick of the enemy. For whatever reason it’s part of the continuing blindfold that he places over our pre-believing partners eyes.

This results in the ongoing conundrum of doing life in our Christian communities in isolation to some extent. Certainly we can walk side-by-side with individuals but so much of life is done in a coupled environment, especially as we get older. 

Christian bubble

We can get caught in up in a lifestyle where all the people we associate with and conversations and so on are all Christian related. My wife raised this with me the other day. It concerns her because a big chunk of my life doesn’t involve and/or interest her. 

And I get it. So much of my time, people, books I read, the study and (at present) vocation, are to do with my faith.

So how do we ensure we don’t unknowingly ostracize our partner?

Fix our eyes on Jesus

Huh? 

But aren’t I saying I’m doing too much of that?

“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God…” (Hebrews 12: 1b-2 MSG)

Jesus spent a lot of time with His disciples but we also see how much time He spent in the world. He didn’t hang around in a Christian bubble, He went out amongst the people and associated with people that many in church frowned upon: the lepers, the prostitutes, etc.

Further, Jesus will provide us with the wisdom and discernment in our discussions with our partners and in the steps we take to manage this challenge.

It goes without saying that we also need to prioritise our time with our partners. Recently my church held its annual conference and I felt it best to not physically attend so I could be present with my wife. Yes, there were times I popped onto the live internet feed but I had discussed this with her ahead of time.

I’m not sure what changes I’ll make but I’m appreciative that my wife shared her concern and it has stimulated an ongoing dialogue about it and how we can manage a balance that both glorifies the Lord and help honor our marriage in the process.

How do you and your partner manage this balance?

Please leave your thoughts as I hope we can stimulate a really positive discussion on a tricky and at times contentious subject.

Grace and peace dear friends,

*****

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

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Treasure of The Kingdom - Survey Results

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comIt’s a beautiful treasure, the Body of Christ in this community.

I asked: What was the circumstance in your life when you joined our community?

  • Married with 2 young boys. I just re dedicated my life to Christ, but am married to a believer that is hostile towards Christ.
  • I desperately needed encouragement, and I felt completely alone in my situation.
  • Just needed hope for a wayward spouse
  • Alone in my marriage
  • I am married to a pre-believer who was having an affair and wanted a divorce and the Lord told me to honour him by standing for the marriage.
  • Unhappy with my unequally yoked experience, frustrated that my husband didn't understand or even want to listen to my Christian life experiences.
  • I felt called to have a more personal relationship with God, and my hubby said he was atheist. It rocked me.
  • My heart was taking me down a dangerous path of blaming my husband for not meeting my needs. The enemy was working overtime on me and I was giving in to thoughts of divorce my husband is a wonderful man and even though we are unequally yoked I believe God gave him to me.
  • Married to a completely backslidden Christian

There are many more reasons. All of them were a heart cry and a search for the love and power of God. And many of you found the answers or at least the hope you needed and still need to walk forward in faith and marriage.

Here are some of your responses to this question: Have the SUM websites, community, resources, books helped you in your faith walk and/or marriage? How?

  • Absolutely!!!! It is such a wonderful ministry. Knowing that other women are going through the same trials gives me strength to stay in my marriage.  I have learned how to pray with power, and I have learned so much!
  • Have helped me realize I'm not alone in this walk, provided great encouragement & recognized my life and marriage can still be a blessing
  • Yes, tremendously with scriptures and knowing other people truly walking this same "crazy" walk and wonderful advice is beyond helpful and insightful
  • I'm not sure I feel a part of the community. I read the posts but I don't know what the community is. I probably need to read the books. They would probably help. (Tiffany, please email or leave a note in the comments. We will pray for you.)
  • Yes - The website opened my eyes to the fact that God calls each of us to serve right where we are.
  • Absolutely 100%! I feel welcome and at home in the community despite being geographically distant, and I feel as though Lynn and Dineen are my friends. It is a safe space for me to share and to receive encouragement, prayer and acceptance. The blog always helps me no matter the topic and I feel you are speaking my LANGUAGE! The latest book is so Powerful and an effective weapon against the enemy. I love that you take time to read and respond to my comments and it has helped me become more confident in commenting and praying for others. I have saved the prayers and prophetic words you have spoken over me and they are treasures to me as I trust and respect you both and completely receive your words.
  • Yes it has. I received a lot of understanding and it clarify so much for me, and changed my perspective. It was also something I could share with other women.
  • I live in Kenya, Africa and have been unable to buy books or contribute to our SUM church. (Anyone want to buy a set of book for this sister in Kenya, I’ll pay shipping, $25? Make a donation, use the button in the sidebar. And more than one person can give. There are others who need books. Shipping is expensive overseas so this would be a great partnership between me and you. Lynn)
  • Not yet. I'm wrestling with it all. (We understand completely! Can I get an amen?)
  • Given me hope

I wish I could share all the responses with you. The words of life, faith and HOPE ring forth. And all your responses about healing from loneliness, hopelessness and more…. It’s all because of Jesus Christ. Dineen and I just two wives along for the ride with the rest of you!

But what a GLORIOUS ride, indeed!!!

So, are you interested in the reading about the rest of the results? Or, is this boring? Not sure if I should share more?? Thoughts? I have a few more questions to share and then an exciting community event and then we are tackling the suggested topics. It’s going to be a great summer. Woo Hoo.

Buckle in because the Spirit of the Living God is being poured out and SUMites are prepared to receive Him!!!!  Hallelujah!

*****

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

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The Book of Esther: The Position and Authority of Mordecai

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

For such a time as this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But now, we are moving into a Mordecai time. 

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

It is the new.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMites, we’ve been given the signet ring!

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

Love you dearly!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

*****

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This IS the SUMite Nation - Survey Results

Survey with WMSUMite Nation

Thank you for walking with me through the Revelation of Love series. It’s now over. Dineen and I chatted yesterday and we are going to respond to the survey that we took back in March. We will be writing in response to your questions and topics that are of interest or need.

I was overwhelmed by the responses. First, I was astonished by the sheer number of replies and the details everyone offered. Wow, you know what that tells me? You are very much invested in this community. You genuinely feel connected in our family. You genuinely have HOPE in Jesus for your family, your marriage, your spouse and for each other who meet here daily. (I think I already knew that but it was so cool to see it confirmed in the survey.)

I asked the question: Do you visit our website Via: PC, mobile device or other. Well, it was split down the middle.

I asked:  What is your age? 20-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 60+. Did you know that our community is comprised just about equally through all the age groups, with the exception of those under thirty? And it’s likely that we have less readership in that category because of two factors. One, young people are waiting to marry until they are older. Two, it takes several years of matrimony to realize that marriage is hard and walking unequally yoked is harder. After a few years in a rough patch, a desperate believer searches for help. That is when many find us.  Praise God they find us. And many of you responded that is exactly how you found us.

Here is the question I asked and some responses: What was the approximate date Month/year you found SUM? How did you find our website?

  • 2012; googled unequally yoked or unsaved husband or something of the like
  • 2011-google search "I believe in God my husband does not"
  • 2013 I found the site by googling words associated with the site. I know God led me to you.

Many of you also found us:

  • Maybe about June of 2014? Through the book Winning Him Without Words, which I found about through a talk show on Christian radio.
  • Sept/Oct 2012 - Focus on the Family interview
  • I bought your book "Winning Him Without Words"
  • Stumbled across the blog. "GODINCIDENCE"
  • I joined in 2013. I had heard of your website in a previous year listening to a Moody radio broadcast called Family Life Today.
  • I think we go back as far as Nov. 2001. I believe I came across the ministry of Lynn & Dineen through the book my pastor recommended to me, Winning Him Without Words.

There are SUMites that have been with us for years and some for only days. People come and stay and others only need to be with us for a season. God brings us many and we have loved them to the best of our ability. Many of you are faithful and give monetarily, monthly, even if you walked through a divorce or other profoundly difficult life challenges. That is what family looks like.

God is teaching us about His family and how we will love and live throughout eternity. We learn about one another first through our hearts because we can’t see each other and have all that silly judgement that goes on. We come to know and love each other through words, through our heart and mind and soul… It’s a beautiful practice that will be perfected in heaven when we all meet together in the Throne Room. Hallelujah!

You know what else I discovered about our home here on the web? We have accomplished something so many in the “church” desire to do but can’t seem to figure out…. We are a united CHURCH. A church without walls but united in faith and purpose. We all meet here. Learn together, pray for each other, listen, love, respond and encourage and yet we are diverse. We are many different ages as I mentioned before, our family is located in many places across the globe. India, South Africa, United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico, European nations, and even a few readers in Asia. Say what??? God is awesome!!

I asked: Are you attending church regularly? What is your denomination affiliation?

  • Born again. I use Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa website to view weekly bible message.
  • Non-denominational Christian church.
  • Yes 4-square
  • Yes, Church of England (Anglican)
  • I go every other weekend per an agreement my husband and I made to keep peace and to rid our marriage of the fighting that was occurring every weekend over my church attendance. Praying the frequency increases and my husband begins to attend with me. I am Berean.
  • Non-denomination i guess. Protestant...i hate to use labels
  • Yes - Lutheran - I joined an ELCA congregation after leaving Missouri synod.
  • fundamental Baptist
  • yes every sun and wed(awana) Baptist
  • I belong to (and am very active in) a Lutheran church because my husband was raised Lutheran, but I don't consider myself any denomination. I am a follower of Jesus.
  • Attend church weekly, Assemblies of God
  • Yes; evangelical Christian/Nazarene.
  • Pentecostal
  • yes, The Salvation Army
  • Yes I attend regularly. Nondenominational
  • Yes, Catholic
  • Fairly regularly. I have 3 boys (12, 10 & 10) that I am trying not to drive away from the Lord, so it can be a delicate dance around church at times. The church we attend is a non-denominational Christian church.
  • I'm not, but would like to. Methodist.
  • I try and I'm Catholic
  • Yes, Free Methodist.

What I love the most about all of us is that we don’t divide over denominational differences. I asked this question and was astounded that we come from all sorts of faith practices, backgrounds, and denominations. Often believers can divide in these areas but Praise God, we don’t get hung up there.

We ARE THE CHURCH!!

A beautiful and holy Bride that fights the demonic, seizes the day with prayer, never relents in our faith that our God can overcome ALL circumstances, trials and traumas. We are strong when we feel weak. We are vigilant to bring truth to our peeps. We have a hunger for God’s holy Word and we will never let loose of the faith that abides deeply within. We are love. We are more than conquerors and we are filled with the Holy Spirit power. We take down strongholds and bind all the comes against us. We bless and release the Kingdom with our mere words! We are the SUMITES and we are marching toward heaven and taking all our loved ones with us. We stand on the promises of God in full faith and especially 1 Cor 7:14. We are the kids of the Kingdom and Christ Jesus abides within.

If God is for us who could ever be against us?

Christ in us, the hope of glory!

Hallelujah! And AMEN!

Okay, next week I’ll share some more from the survey and then tackle some of your questions. So SUMITES, if you agree with the statement above and want to declare your faith. Write AMEN or some statement of faith or a scripture you are standing on in the comments today. See you there. Woo Hoo… Lord bring the fire on all of us and let us see your power and might displayed within our very own homes, marriages, families and community.  In JESUS POWERFUL NAME. AMEN

I love you SUMites… You are MY family forever. Lynn

*****

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Winning Him Without Words

Prayer
Lord, thank You that I am never alone. You promised
You would never leave me nor forsake me, and I will rest in
this truth. Today I am committed to restoring happiness and
hope to my marriage. Teach me to take my eyes off
my circumstances and focus completely on You. I seat You
firmly on the throne of my life.
Father, today I recommit my life and my marriage to You.
Create a powerful yearning in me to meet with You every
day. Teach me Your truths to live by and reveal Your desire
for my life and the life of my spouse. Restore optimism in my
heart for our future. Empower me to cling to my faith
when my husband is unfriendly toward You.
Bring into my life other believers who are Jesus with
“skin on.” Lord, lavish Your love on me that I may pour
it into my spouse, my family and a world desperate for a
Savior. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Winning Him Book Cover

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

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The Book of Esther: Enemies Destroyed and a New Holiday

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

For such a time as this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you, SUMites! Great things are happening!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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A Revelation of Love For My Husband

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comThey say.... Love is blind. But, marriage is a real eye-opener!

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.

Gulp.

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…..

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!

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The Book of Esther: The Queen Risks Everything

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

For such a time as this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

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Sumite Prayer Partners - A Prayer of Renewal

Image James 5

Hi prayer family, Christy Edney here. Please join me in prayer,

Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment."

Father, this often quoted verse is quite familiar to us but, what if we truly lived by these words? How would your Holy Spirit impact our marriages, families and the world around us? Lord, I believe that there are no limits to your power, you can and will move in any way that you see fit. However, you have created us to be creatures of choice, free to choose the object of our focus. Today I am asking you to use this Easter season as an opportunity to realign our focus. Set your people on fire with the love of Christ, teach us to live obedient, authentic and abundant lives for the glory of our Lord and Savior. God, this sort of devotion is hard for those of us in unequally yoked marriages but, we know that your power is perfected in our weakness. Please renew us with a spirit of courage and absolute dependence on you. Embolden our leaders with a deeper sense of your presence and gift them with the knowledge that must be passed on to your children. Provide them and their families with a divine hedge of protection against the assaults of the enemy. May this renewed commitment push all of us into a deeper relationship with you. We pray and praise the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

If you would like more information on our Prayer Partnerships then click the following link to send me an email: Sumite Prayer Partners

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500th Anniversary Of The Last Great Reformation

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com500th Anniversary of The Great Reformation

Did you know that this year, 2017, is the 500th anniversary of the Great Reformation? On October 31, 1517 Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the church in Germany…. Now get this, Luther and many other church fathers of the time were looking at the corruption of the church and the government. Hmmmmm, do we today have corruption of the church and government? Likely, as there is always some degree of this in both, all the time. It just appears that the corruption is growing exponentially.

The church is moving away from centuries of teaching on sexual purity. There is so much arguing between the many streams of faith and we, the church, spend more time fighting each other than the devil and his works. Don’t even get me started on the corruption in government. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research on pedophilia and sex trafficking… It’s sickening beyond belief and I pause to wonder why God hasn’t destroyed us.

Five hundred years ago in Europe there was violence in the cities as the Peasants went to war against the elite (church and government). Good grief sounds like a script from our newspaper.

But out of this period came forth a powerful awakening of the church that birthed a new level of faith for the world. Demonstrations of God’s power changed lives. The church became transformed. Today, we benefit directly from that reformation that happened 500 years ago. Many new church movements birthed from that unrest. (On a personal note, I am expectant for something major to occur on October 31st of this year… Hopeful)

I can see the parallels of 500 years ago. Could we be on the edge of a new reformation? A new freedom in our church? Could we see the corruption defeated and humankind turn from manmade constructs of justice and truth to those of God?

Oh, I am hopeful.

The people of our world are looking for hope. So many, like our spouses haven’t found truth in our churches. But our God is THE LIVING GOD ALMIGHTY… And He is about to break upon this world with demonstrations of power and deliverance that will shake the foundations of the earth. Hallelujah!!

It will be undeniable. It will be life-changing for millions. It will be salvation for our spouses!

God is preparing the church. It is our destiny to live in our identity and to live with the Spirit of the Living God pouring forth from us.

Christ IN US… The hope of glory. Colossians 1:27

God is preparing us. There is a possibility that a shaking is coming. Shaking is a precursor to reformation. But I’m convinced we needn’t fear. We are being groomed and prepared now. God is growing our faith. He is giving us gifts of Acts 2 to provide knowledge and wisdom in the years ahead. In fact, I’m convinced that the SUMites will be God’s chosen, that people of the world and other faiths, will turn to for answer to their questions. They will look to us for prayer and to receive peace, joy and hope and guidance in a turbulent time.

How cool is that?

Of course, I’m just sharing some of my thoughts about what may be on the horizon for the church and the planet. I don’t know, nor has the Lord, provided prophetic promises to me about what I’ve shared in this series. I only share the signs that are there. The truths of scripture that God is highlighting. Often times the LORD prompts His people to understanding so that we will pray. We must pray to align ourselves to His will and purposes. To be the generation that will not back down but be the people to partner with God Almighty to bring His Kingdom to earth. And mostly to be the voice to those who are on the slippery path to eternal torment.

Okay, was this too much? Sheesh, sometimes the Holy Spirit gets on a roll and my fingers fly across the keys. I often am as shocked as you when I read the final result. Fun and amazing!

Next time, I will share my experience about how I was crying out for a revelation of love from the Father but first He gave me a revelation of love for my husband. I didn’t know the depths of my love until God revealed it to me. Don’t miss this one.

I adore you my friends. Can you just imagine the chats we are going to have when we all meet up in heaven and get to share what piece of the puzzle God had us working on in our location on earth. FUN!!!  I’m telling you I can’t wait for that. I love you…. Lynn

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

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

For such a time as this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For such a time as this…

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

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

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

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

Big hugs!
Dineen

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He Has Risen.... Just As He Said

Easter 2012_1280

 

 Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

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The LIGHT

Can you imagine the pain in the disciple’s hearts? I can’t help but place myself in Peter’s shoes. Two days ago, I pledged to Christ that I would die for Him. And yesterday I betrayed, lied, and abandoned the author of my Life.

I feel a pit in my stomach. Not only because of Peter but the times I did the same thing. Where I failed to stand up for truth. When I could have mentioned the Healer to my neighbor but was ashamed that I would look stupid. Agh!!!

Surely, I’m not the only one.

Today: At the request of the Jewish leadership, Pilate grants a guard and sets a seal on the tomb of Jesus. 

 

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Friday Darkness

BcrownthornIt's dark and all seems lost.  

BUT....  

Today's Events:

  • First trial, before Annas [nightime hours]; Annas is looking for an accusation, biding time till Sanhedrin is gathered at High Priestly villa
  • Second [and primary] trial before Sanhedrin, Jesus is condemned, misused
  • Third trial, immediately at dawn [meanwhile, Peter denies Jesus a third time; Jesus looks upon him]; the condemnation repeated, then Jesus taken to Romans
  • Fourth trial before Pilate [till "beginning at Galilee"]
  • Fifth trial before Herod [looks for miracle]
  • 6th trial before Pilate
  • Jesus is scourged; the city cries, "Crucify Him or we will tell Rome!"
  • Jesus is finally turned over to be crucified
  • Jesus mocked (Roman soldiers); crown of thorns
  • Judas hangs himself
  • Jesus bears His cross to gate on north of city and is crucified around 9 am
  • Jesus' Seven Sayings from the Cross
  • "Father, forgive them..."
  • "Today...with me in paradise"
  • "Woman, behold thy son..." [darkness: noon – 3 pm]
  • "My God, My God..."
  • "I thirst"
  • "It is finished"
  • "Into Thy hands..."
  • The Death of the God-Man
  • About 3 pm; veil torn, rocks rent; some graves opened and people rise [to mortality] and go into the city
  • Jesus' side pierced
  • Passover lambs slain in temple
  • Jesus buried by sundown

 It's Friday but, Sunday's a commin'!

 

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Thursday Betrayal

Thursday Events:

Peter and John sent to make preparation for Passover meal
After sunset, eats meal with the twelve; washes disciples; Judas departs
Lord's Supper instituted
To Garden of Gethsemane; Jesus' agony
Betrayal by Judas; arrest by Sanhedrin
To house of High Priest as Sanhedrin is convened; Peter betrays Jesus

BETRAYAL

Betrayal…. Thursday is a bitter darkness. I don’t know about you, but for me, I can forgive easily …. except when I’ve been betrayed.

Anyone???

There is something that breaks in the core of our being when we give trust to someone who didn’t keep our life, our secrets, and our heart safe.

I find that Jesus is calling me on this Thursday, before we move toward Easter, to let go of betrayal. Enter into this place with me. It can feel like hell to surrender the hurt that is so deep that it feels like it will pull you under, never to escape.

Imagine with me, Jesus taking that pain, betrayal, into the tomb and into the pit where He leaves it chained forever. And then see Jesus giving you joy, hope and peace as a golden shining crown upon your head. It’s in this moment is where the crucifixion and resurrection become authentic and powerful!!

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Lenten Reflections: Holy Week - Hope in His Divinity and Humanness

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Image courtesy of ikpro and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Aren’t you loving Lynn’s Holy Week reflections? I feel a little like an interloper with my post this week but as I sought the Lord on what to post I kept coming back to: HOPE.

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25)

Death is not the end. The story is not over on Good Friday. Jesus defeats death and is resurrected on Easter Sunday and in so doing gives us the opportunity to have relationship with the Father. Not just now but forever.

We have an eternal hope.

Desire for Connection

I’d never really considered the significant number of intimate moments that occur during this week that is often called “Passion Week”. I was drawn to them by a couple of posts I read. Let’s look at some of them:

1. Jesus washed the disciples feet (John 13:5) – what a moment this must have been. “Surely the room was filled with a holy silence as pure and sweet as Mary’s perfume.”1

Yes, the One who created these twelve men now performs an act usually performed by a slave. Of course there are strong spiritual messages here about being cleansed to be made righteous and the importance of service but for a moment reflect on the intimacy of the scene.

2. Sharing the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-30) – I love participating in communion. There’s something intimate in the ceremony. Picture yourself in the group of twelve as Jesus breaks the bread and passes you a piece and then the cup having wiped it clean before he pours some of the [real] wine in your mouth. He looks into your eyes as He says ever so tenderly: “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for the remission of sins.”

More silence. And contemplation.

3. The Garden (Matthew 26:36-38) – three accompanied Him: Peter, James and John. All three have only moments declared they would not leave Jesus (as did the other eight), no matter what happens. Jesus is troubled. No wonder. It’s almost time. He asks them to be with Him in His troubled state.

“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” (v38)

He desired and needed companionship. To know His best mates were close. I expect it gave Him strength and some degree of comfort.

4. Addressing Mary at the Tomb (John 20:11-16) – Mary returns to the tomb for a second time. She is beside herself as Jesus is gone!

After an initial interaction with a man whom she presumed to be the gardener, she’s increasingly angry thinking this man had taken Him. He sees her anguish:

“’Mary!’” (v16)

What a moment. It’s like a soothing salve that calms her heart and dries her tears all with the one word: her name.

“She turned toward Him, ‘Rabboni!’”

The scales fell from her eyes, clarity came to her mind. It was Him. Her Jesus.

Hope

As we journey these last few days of Lent reflect on the hope we have in having an eternal relationship with Jesus and the opportunity for a tender, intimate walk with Him right now.

I hope you can take a little time out to simply sit in His Presence. Close the door on your world for a few minutes if that’s all you can get and linger with Him. Sit down in the tall grass beside the still waters with the lover of your soul.

Enjoy His tenderness, His soothing voice and the peace that passes all understanding.

Happy Easter, dear friends and thank you for walking through Lent with me.

Grace and peace,

Notes: 1. “The Women of Easter,” Liz Curtis Higgs, Waterbrook Publishing, 2017, p100

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Tuesday's Journey

Jesus cloudsTuesday's Events:
Leaves Bethany
Finds the fig tree withered; teaches on faith
Possesses the temple and its precincts; confounds and pronounces woes upon His enemies
Leaves city; Olivet Discourse on way back to Bethany
Judas bargains with Sanhedrin to betray Jesus
Spends the night in Bethany

On this day Jesus pours out so much teaching. Read Matthew 25 & 26. The story of the 10 talents always gives me comfort. God gives us responsibilities for His Kingdom according to our gifting and ability. He never intended for us to perform at a superior level beyond what we are capable. But only asked us to be diligent with what we have. What a relief.

Today I want to leave this passage with you: 

"But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." - Jesus

Oh how true this is. Years of living has proven this over and again. I pray often, teach me to be humble and LORD, I humble myself. 

 

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Busy Monday In The Temple

Jesus Woman touches hemIt’s Monday in the Old City. Jerusalem is all a buzz that Jesus, the healer, is at the Temple. Reading through the events of Passion Week Monday, this verse, jumped out at me:

Following Jesus’ rebuke to the religious leaders where He said, “It is written, ‘My House shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a “den of thieves.’”

Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. -Matthew 21:13-14

Jesus healed them!!!! Amen and AMEN!!!

On Monday Jesus:

Leaves Bethany
Curses the fig tree on the way into the city
Weeps over Jerusalem
Cleanses the temple for the second time in His ministry
Late in day, looks into the Temple, then leaves the city
Spends the night in Bethany

I wonder if we might consider an event that occurred earlier in Matthew.

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

I wonder sometimes, I just wonder, if we need to be bold enough to put a demand on the healing power that is ours through Jesus? Or perhaps not just bold…. But desperate enough to lean into our faith and pray saying, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.”

Persistence and faith, when married together ARE the touch to the hem of His garment. Pray with belief. Pray every day expecting. Pray and ask for your healing, breakthrough, and your increased portion of the Kingdom.

I’m not naive to say that healing always happens. But, I won’t stop asking just because I’m unable to explain every why or why not. I choose to believe because I have born witness to the miraculous. And if you are waiting for your turn to bear witness, then pray and ask, placing a demand on your faith and move heaven to seek your healing and breakthrough…. It’s the season for both…

It’s Easter!

It may be Monday, but Sunday’s commin!

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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The Triumphant Entry

SUM Nation,

Triumphant EntryDineen and I have decided to push the series we are writing into next week because the LORD is prompting us to lead our SUM church through a week of reflection on Easter.

The Holy Spirit impressed upon me to take this week to reflect on each day the events of the Passion Week and allow us to walk with Jesus through it. The death and resurrection of Christ split time in two. It brought about the salvation of the Gentiles and it forever took the keys of death from satan. The implications of the shed blood are freedom, deliverance, healing and protection.

So, walk this week with me as I post a few short scriptures and the events of the week. Ask Jesus to include you into this week. Let the truth of this week and Resurrection Sunday change your life.

Also, begin to pray about asking your spouse to attend church with you. Don’t pressure, pray, ask and be okay with whatever reply comes.

Today is Palm Sunday. It’s the Triumphal Entry into the city of Jerusalem. These are the events of the day. Pull out your Bible and read the account in one of the four Gospels. I love Matthew’s rendition.

Today’s events:

  • Jesus' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem
  • Spends the night in Bethany

The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”—Matthew 21:9

AMEN! 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

Covers Three Books