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!

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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! 

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What, This Day, Shall You Choose?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI never would have imagined how God has responded to my weeks of crying out for a revelation of love. What is amazing is that God responds. He really does. The implications of this alone, at times really boggles my mind. The God of the Universe responds to lil’ ole’ me. ….. and to you too!

Okay, since God’s reply to my heart, He told me He was pouring our His Spirit on all Flesh. I’ve experienced some crazy stuff in the last few weeks. And I’ve received some astonishing emails from you, the SUMites, with stories of God’s interactions and the comments of the blog.... FANTASTIC. In fact, just reading Ian’s posts and his comments, we are in the same classroom along with so many of you.

Before we go forward, can I ask you a question? Do you believe God’s Word? Can you hope and believe that Acts 2 is for us today?

Let’s look at it again.

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy,     your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. -Acts 2:17-19

So, we are in a season, right now, where we individually choose to believe and have faith or choose not to believe this passage. Faith is always a choice. God will use this generation to bring His purposes (Revival) to fruition but we MUST choose to collaborate with Him. If we let this moment pass, God will honor our choice and He will wait. He will wait for a new generation to rise that will want to partner with Him to accomplish His will on earth as it is in heaven.

What, this day, shall you choose?

Well, for me….. I’m sold out. And ever since that Sunday morning where He spoke this passage into my heart, I have believed it to be applicable to me, my faith and my life……..

And thus it is.

I’m beginning to hear from the Lord about future things. Something as simple as the LORD telling me that I will be asked to open up our workout session at my local gym in prayer. Yep, weird.. But a few weeks ago, in the middle of the night, I just somehow had a knowing that later that morning, the class instructor would ask me to pray. And the LORD told me what to pray over this group of diverse believers who stood together in a circle, both men and women, from all faiths, holding hands…

Sure enough, I walked into the gym, “Lynn, would you lead us in prayer in a few minutes.” I answered an affirmative and the smile on my face was uncontainable.

I prayed…. And I let loose all that God told me to pray. I ended with a loud, “In Jesus name. HALLELUJAH!” It was so unexpected and so filled with hope that the entire place broke into an uproar of applause. Okay, they weren’t applauding me so much, they were applauding the Holy Spirit that arrived…. Gang, this was in a secular fitness gym, IN CALIFORNIA… Say what???

I am convinced we are living in a miraculous season. The breakthroughs that are happening are amazing. The faith that is arising in God’s church is tremendous… The SUMite nation is no longer content with powerless Christianity. We want God to show up in power, in healing, in provision and with passion for truth and justice… And it is happening in our community. The hunger among you is absolutely tangible. I feel it in your words from thousands of miles away…

GOD FEELS IT IN YOUR HEART AND IN YOUR PRAYERS.

So, let’s consider a few things about this current season in which we are living. And let’s take a ponder at the timing of God’s plans for planet earth.

Okay, let’s visit this plan on Tuesday. I’ve gone on waaaaay tooooo long. What I want to leave you with today is this, decide today, do you believe Acts 2 is yours? Do you want to be the generation that partners with God to bring heaven to earth? Do you want to prophesy?

God is pouring out His love… We are alive in the most amazing time of all on planet earth. He is showing us love by giving good gifts (Matt 7:11) to His children, Acts 2. It’s time for the church to be healed and whole. It’s time that His church prophesy and bring His Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven.

What say you???????

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Lenten Reflections: Week 6 – The Great Miracle of Easter

I got inspiration for this week’s post from an article in the latest edition of Christianity Today where the writer makes the reference to the “most astonishing Easter miracle”1 in a discussion centred on identity politics.

And it got me thinking.

The resurrection is spectacular and Jesus defeated death and our sinfulness to restore our ability to have relationship with God. It is pivotal to the gospel. But 40 or so days later the Holy Spirit arrived on the day of Pentecost and with that came another great miracle: Christ living in us.

“Christ in us, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

We are united in Christ. Paul is so excited about this revelation that he uses the phrase “over 200 times in his letters.”

“The most distinctive mark of Christians is this: We are people in whom the resurrected Christ dwells (Ephesians 3:17).” 2

Wow.

Having meditated upon Colossians 3:1-17 and recited it as I walk one of our dogs each morning for the past 18 months it’s slowly sunk in who I am in Christ. We have our Creator residing in us. Check out these verses from Colossians 3 in The Message version: 

“Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.”

It’s kinda mind-boggling don’t you think?

Keeping our eyes on Him is so important. And Easter is a special time for us to do just that especially if we’ve allowed ourselves to get caught up in the busyness of life and have spent less time being with the Lord.

Look what Paul says will happen if we keep our eyes and lives focused on Him:

“Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

That’s what I want: to become more like Him so that my life becomes brighter attracting others to see what’s causing the brightness.

I hope as Holy Week approaches we all may be able to set or re-set our eyes on Jesus so that we can begin to shine (even more) brightly with His love and power.

Grace and peace, dear friends.

Notes: 1. “The Most Astonishing Easter Miracle,” Mark Galli, Christianity Today April 2017 (currently only subscribers can read it) 2. ibid

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An Astonishing Move of God and a Song

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This picture hangs above my prayer wall.

My friends, I need to just step out of our Esther series for a moment, because the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to share an astonishing story with you. 

I’ve spoken many times about my work in the Healing Rooms of Manatee, which is turning out to be a big part of why God brought us back to Sarasota. I love serving as a team trainer and having the opportunity to minister to and pray with people face to face. And what God is doing there leaves me speechless most days.

Because He is amazing. Just recently we’ve witnessed a person healed of ALS. The doctors can now find no evidence of this disease in this person’s body! Praise Jesus!

But God did something entirely different last week. He wrapped a very personal event in my life into another person’s—someone I barely even know.

First, let me explain that we operate our healing rooms much like a doctor’s office. People come in and have forms to fill out, including their prayer needs. A prayer team of three then takes this chart, prays over it and waits for the Holy Spirit to reveal what they need to know for this person and what the Holy Spirit wants to do. 

Last week as my team prayed over a chart, I felt the Holy Spirit was reminding me of a very special song, something very personal to me and my daughter, Leslie. 

You see, during the seven weeks of her radiation treatments (Dec. 2008 - Feb 2009) I would sing a song to her on our long trip home. She would be so tired and worn out, and ask me to sing to her. That song was, “You are My Sunshine.”

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

Then in 2015 during the aftermath of my shoulder surgery, I was in a great deal of pain. One night, I woke up hurting worse than ever and nothing seemed to help. I cried out to God in my pain and confusion, and suddenly I heard that song. I realized my Abba was there, singing over me, giving me comfort with His love. This was also an answer to prayer, because I’d asked Him many times to allow me to hear Him singing over me. 

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. — Zeph. 3:17 ESV

My friends, I can’t tell you what that did to my heart that night. It runs so very deep. One day in a store I saw a picture of this song title and knew I was supposed to buy it and hang it on my wall as a constant reminder that the Lord sings over me.

These are the stories the Holy Spirit brought back to my mind in a flash and told me to share it with this person we would be praying for. But here’s the clincher. 

He wanted me to sing the song too.

Needles to say I felt out of my comfort zone here and even wondered if I was hearing clearly, even though I’ve seen God do some crazy things and the results are always astounding. I hesitated to sing, my friends. But after I share my story with this person, he asked me to sing it and then he would tell me why. So I mustered my courage and belted it out. Yep, I mean belted!

Here’s where it became astonishing. After I finished the song, this person told me that several years back God had someone sing this very same song over him in a meeting for a very specific reason, but at the time he didn’t take it seriously. This time he would.

My friends, I don’t know the full story of what God was doing that day, but it has rocked my world. God has given me details for people before—names, dreams, images—that are very specific and mean something to the person I’m praying for. That in and of itself is always astounding to me because it shows how intimately God is wrapped in the details of our lives. 

But never has God done this, used a very personal detail in my life to connect and minister to another person. I am still blown away by it. In a clearly God planned moment, not only was this person’s faith increased, so was mine.

Amazingly, He had me sing over another person that evening and I did exactly what He asked without hesitation. My faith and trust had already been bolstered.

SUMites, I pray this deeply encourages you to know that the Lord will do astonishing things to let you know He is there and He is moving in your life in ways you can’t even comprehend yet. 

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. — Psalm 32:7 NIV

I pray the songs the Lord is singing over you, my friends, are loud and clear. I pray His heart is revealed to you in astonishing ways starting today and that your faith is brought to a whole new level of understanding and expectation.

And that’s the key, my friends. EXPECT HIM! He’s always faithful!

Love you like crazy!
Dineen

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The Pouring Out Of His Spirit = Breakthroughs

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI’ve hinted for months and told everyone and anyone who will listen that this year, 2017 is a year of breakthrough and healing (emotional and physical) for the Church. I’m convinced God is healing His people to prepare them for the Great Revival and the salvation of a billion souls. This statement isn’t new to any of you if you been a reader here for a number of months.

AND NOW, the LORD is revealing to me more of his plan. You are going to be in shock and awe when I share what I have to say on the development of His plan. It’s happening right now. I will share more on Friday but for today, I want to encourage you to BELIEVE for holy breakthroughs.

Our faith is increased when we share testimony. So, I’m sharing a testimony of breakthrough that I believe you can draw upon.

My breakthroughs, anything of personal spiritual value, arrive because I’ve spent time in the “secret place.” (Psalm 91:1) The holy place of intimacy, prayer, reading of the Word and time in His Presence.

See this photo? It is a sticky note that I scribbled out on October 17, 2015. Two years ago. These were the prayer requests I was seeking of the LORD and I have had them penned and stuck to the bulletin board in my prayer room for nearly two years.

50 college

Our daughter, Caitie, started college four years ago. We had managed to save some money for her tuition and she received a small partial scholarship that covered the first two years. However, I knew we would need $50,000 for her last two years. I still gulp when I consider how impossible this number sounded as I pinned it to the bulletin board. It’s the first item on the list.

I cried out in the secret place. I pleaded. I prayed. I believed. I TRUSTED!

My friends, two years passed and provision did not arrive. I ended up withdrawing money from my 401K to fund her last two years of college. (I’m thankful, I had a 401K from my years in corporate America.)

I will admit that I felt confused, disappointed a bit and uncertain about God’s silence. But….. This isn’t the end of the story. I am a hungry believer. I have faith in the God of in the impossible. I’m a believer in persistence. I continued to press in to learn more about my King and His ways. Can I just tell you that God shows up even when we give up?

Caitie will graduated from BIOLA, a Christian University, on May 26th of this year. Certain doors opened which were providential and she decided to apply to Grad School. Her Dad and I, had no idea how she would get there and were utterly at a loss how we would pay for it.

Back to the secret place… I prayed. I also spent some time studying the Courts of Heaven, and one morning I entered those courts and made a petition to the Judge. (That experience I will share in a later teaching.)

Upon completing my prayer time, two utterly astonishing things happened THAT DAY with regard to our finances. But what I want to share with you today, happened a few weeks later.

The phone rings, I answer.

“Mom, I received a letter today from Purdue University.”

“Ya.”

“Mom, they are offering me a full ride.” I’m dumbfounded. Unable to speak. And that is a rarity for me.

“Mom, they also want me to become a teacher and teach the under-grad courses and will pay me. It will be enough to cover all my living expenses.”

I utter with astonishment swirling around me, “Wow, Caitie…. Just Wow… Praise Jesus!”

My friends, God heard my prayer back in 2015. His plan was to provide ALL of the finances. When you consider the financial benefit that Purdue offered her, it roughly totals $100,000. That is double what I had prayed for. And a side note, the money I withdrew from my 401k has been replaced because the stock it is invested, has tripled. God answered my prayer and gave us double!!! Say what??????

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If God will do this for me… He will do it for you…. Go into your secret place. Meditate on His promises. Pray them back to Him. Write them down. Tarry, pray, storm the heavens and don’t relent. Sometimes God’s answers are bigger than we can dream and often they arrive in ways we aren’t expecting or in a timing we are not anticipating.

I do want to share my experience in the Courts of Heaven because that precipitate my breakthrough. I’m thinking of doing a live class to explain it.

SUMites, we have been called by God, as critical participants in this next GREAT REVIVAL. This week God began to reveal what this is going to look like. I will be sharing about that on Friday.

Today, I am walking in the truth of Acts 2. And I declare that you are walking in His Spirit with me.

So right now, today, make your state of commitment to God’s plan in the comments. Write what you are praying for in the comments. Write out your hunger to experience the Acts 2 church. Write out your desire to be used by God to be the harvesters in this next Great Revival. Cry out for a revelation of His love.

I’m on fire!!!!!!!…. I will pray with you in the comments. I love you, my people… My church without walls, my SUM nation…. MY FRIENDS. MY DEAR, BELOVED, ETERNAL FRIENDS. I love you. Hugs, Lynn

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The Book of Esther: A New Queen and a Conspiracy

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

For such a time as this…

I remember nearly twenty years ago studying the book of Esther and finding myself enamored with this woman of humble means and her willingness to sacrifice her life to save her people. I wondered if I could do such a thing myself. I felt (and still do) very connected the Jewish people and their story. Most likely because my birth father and my grandfather were Jewish. However, my grandfather married a Methodist woman and refused to allow his children to be raised Jewish. 

Interesting how one person's decision can change the entire course of those who come after, isn't it? Vashti chose to refuse the king. Esther chose to risk her life. Mordecai chose to reveal a plot against a king, who would haphazardly follow the council of a wicked man bent on destroying the Jews.

So here we are, my friends, at a pivotal time in Esther's story. Her life story is changed by Vashti's choice and the king's decision to find a new queen. Makes you wonder what her aspirations may have been before this. We can only theorize based upon what we know about the culture of the time. The movie "One Night with the King" is one such venture to imagine a backstory for Esther while staying grounded biblically. (If you haven't seen it yet, plan a movie day!)

Chapter two opens with King Xerxes seemingly in a place of regret. His fury has subsided and he remembers Vashti and what he has decreed about her. Perhaps seeing his regret, his personal attendants rush in to assuage the king's heart. Let's find a new queen for the king!

And this is where the lives of the King Xerxes, Mordecai and Esther begin to intersect. Mordecai (which means "little man" or "worshipper of Mars") was captured under King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign and now holds a position of leadership. He stands outside the gates, most likely as an elder to settle disputes brought to him by respected citizens. In chapter three he is referred to as a royal official. In fact, we are introduced to him before we meet Esther. 

Esther, which means "star," is actually the daughter of Mordecai’s uncle. Perhaps her parents were killed in the invasion by Nebuchadnezzar. However, we only know Mordecai has raised her like his own. Esther is brought to the palace as a candidate for the position of queen and is about to walk into a world of which she probably knows little and become the star of the show, so to speak, though it is her humility and demure nature that begin to win her favor with those she encounters. And we continue to watch the "behind the scenes" workings of God, Who is still unmentioned. Yet from our perspective we clearly see God's hand at work, as good and evil interplay.

Esther pleases the eunuch Hegai (which simply means "eunuch") and wins his favor immediately. He provides a year of beauty treatments, special food and assigns her seven (there it is is again) female attendants selected from the king's palace. God continues to prepare this pivotal time in history to bring Esther into a constant light of favor, ultimately with the king who was more attracted to her than any of the other candidates.

And we see Esther grow in wisdom as well, as she takes with her to the palace only that which Hegai, the eunuch advises her to take. Hegai is clearly strategic in his actions to ensure that Esther will be chosen. And she continues to be obedient to Mordecai's instructions that she keep her nationality a secret.

Again we see more of the author's elusion to God's presence in the seven attendants assigned to Esther, who is brought to King Xerxes in the seventh year of his reign. What's fascinating here, as well, is the time involved in all of this. We tend to read the story and assume it unfolds quickly after Vashti's deposition, but in fact, four years have passed. And Esther sits as queen for five years before the conflict with Haman begins. 

Yet another smaller plot unfolds at the end of chapter two that seems to also be part of God's great "set-up" in this story. Two of the kings eunuchs who protected the king's private quarters have become angry for some reason and are plotting to kill the king. And Mordecai happens to be the one positioned to overhear it from his place at the king's gate. I can't help but wonder what went through Mordecai's mind when he first overheard this plot. Did he consider the implications first?

He gets word to Esther of the plot, who in turn tells the king, giving Mordecai credit as the source. The eunuchs are are hanged and the events are recorded in the book of annals right in the king's presence, yet Mordecai isn't rewarded. I find it interesting how conveniently the king forgets only to be reminded during a sleepless night in chapter six.

The intrigue continues to build, my friends. In the opening to chapter three King Xerxes honors Haman, giving him a seat higher than all the other nobles. Haman isn't even mentioned in the list of those seven nobles mentioned in chapter one, but here he is elevated to the highest position next to the king. What shifts of power have occurred during this six to seven year period of Esther's place as queen? 

As the spotlight shifts to Haman, which means "magnificent," he is revealed to be quite a vain and conniving person. His ego seems to only be fueled by the king's royal officials requirement to bow before him—an order from the king himself.

But Mordecai refused.

And that is where we will leave it for now, SUMites. So much more is coming as this story continues to unfold and culminates to a very unexpected revelation the Holy Spirit showed me. I'm excited to tell you about that...soon. First the pieces must all come into place to build the full picture of what God was doing in the story of Esther and what He is doing in us today. It's astonishing and mind blowing! 

Love you, SUMites!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

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Lenten Reflections: Week 5 - Slow down

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Photo courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lynn and Dineen are supplying such wonderful teaching and inspiration that I sensed the Lord simply wanted to encourage us today. 

We can get caught up striving during Lent. Have you felt that pull? To be working harder at getting something more out of this season as we approach Holy Week and Easter. To feel closer to the Lord, to be different. Yes? I hear little whispers suggesting there should be something more.

 

Heart Preparation

Giving up things and applying greater focus to spiritual disciplines is a good thing.

“Disciplines are not the answer; they only lead us to the Answer.” (Richard Foster)

They’re helping open our heart, a spring clean if you will, so that we can experience more of Him.

Meditation

Today may I suggest you spend less time focusing on the process of Lent, the giving up and doing stuff, but rather simply contemplate Jesus.

I’ve always loved this verse from Zephaniah:

“The Lord your God is with you,

    the Mighty Warrior who saves.

He will take great delight in you;

    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,

    but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zeph 3:17 NIV)

Allow yourself a few moments to be delighted in. Yes, you are His beloved! And our God delights in you and rejoices in you with singing.

Picture that in your mind: Jesus and an angelic choir singing over you.

Let go of all that is going on, the madness of your day, the kiddies raging around the house desperate for something, that work deadline that is edging ever closer, or whatever.

Simply sit or lie or gaze – and allow your Lord to cherish you.

Grace and peace, dear friends.

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God Replies To The Cry Of My Heart

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comSitting in church last Sunday, I read Acts 2 and felt the Holy Spirit cover me with revelation. God spoke to my spirit and said, “Lynn, I’m pouring out my spirit on all flesh. I’m giving people, visions, dreams and I’m empowering my servants, both men and women, with my Spirit that they would prophesy.”

It freaks me out to even type this because so many people are wary and perhaps even freighted to consider that people today can prophesy. So, I believe it is time to share some of my recent experiences with the Lord. I do this to break fear from our community about what God’s Word says here. I also, pray with all of my heart, that what God is doing in me, He is doing and will do more in your life and faith.

Why?

Because it’s awesome!

It’s astonishing, filling and miraculous to be used by God in this way.

God’s response to my cry for a revelation of love was to tell me that He is pouring out His love by giving Believers these astonishing gifts from heaven. God said to me, “Lynn, My love is being demonstrated in a new way that My people haven’t see in prior generations. I AM GIVING THEM MYSELF! I am giving them powerful gifts. I am instructing them in love. I am doing this because the time is coming that my people MUST be ready!”

Holy Astonishment, Batman!!!!!!

It is my prayer that for the past few weeks you have also been crying out for a revelation of love. Because I know God will answer you and your journey into the “more” of God is worth everything. HE IS the Pearl of Great Price!

Several years ago, I would sit in church, my Bible open on my lap. I would read passages about miracles in the Bible and I would pray, “God, I believe Your Word so why aren’t we seeing miracles. Why don’t they happen today? I don’t understand? But I truly BELIEVE. I really do. So, help me to understand.”

Gang, get ready because when you pray something like this….. Well, God will answer you and blow up your life.

God responded to my heart’s cry by sending me on a crazy journey. A faith journey and an actual trip all over the Western part of America. I hope it’s okay with you but, I feel as though I need to share this story again for the many new readers here at SUM.

In response to my prayer, asking God about the miracles in the Bible, He sent me from California to Grand Junction, Colorado. I was visiting my mother, who lives there, along with my entire family. Well on a Sunday morning the family had planned to get up early and leave town for a hot springs resort in the mountains. Well, everyone slept in except myself and my mother.

“Mom, since everyone is still sleeping, why don’t we get dressed and go to your church this morning.”

Little did I know that morning was the beginning of a journey that radically changed my life, Dineen’s life and since then…. Many others. God is brilliant!!

I attended church and a guest speaker shared that morning about witnessing miracles in a church in America. REAL physical healings, just like the Bible, the passages I’ve asked God about. Well I was undone upon hearing this. There is so much to this part of the story but I must press on.

I returned home from that encounter. I checked out the church and called some friends I trusted in the industry. They said that if I ever have a chance to go visit, Bethel, I should do it.

So, I call Dineen, my partner in crazy antics, “Dineen, I think we should go.”

Dineen is just wacky enough to go along with my adventures. So I Googled the next conference, “Open Heavens.” Little did I know that at that conference on October 12, 2012, God would show up, personally, and have a love encounter with little ole me…. And Dineen too!

THIS ENCOUNTER WAS A LIFE-CHANGING REVELATION OF LOVE WITH THE FATHER.

We were changed forever. Many of you read our stories here on the blog. And we have never been the same. On that day Dineen and I were launched into this Acts Two fulfillment. And it’s been the best five years of my life. You can read that encounter here Living In The Presence

And that is how I have arrived in the season that I am walking in now.

I’m hearing the Lord regularly, for myself and for others. I’ve prayed for people and the demons flee. I’ve received a prophetic gifting that I can hear the Lord speak to me about others. I don't even know how to explain this but...... It's the LORD!

And God is doing this in you too. Today in the comments, share with me what God is doing in your faith life. I don't care if you think it's a small thing. If God has healed your heart in any way. If you have witnessed Him respond to any of your prayers. If you are receiving insight into the Word, or are you possibly walking in a new spiritual gift, I WANT YOU TO SHARE. Your words bring glory to our King!

Share and let's glorify the King.... Remember God said, "I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh." Let's not doubt but believe and let Him do it!

See you in the comments. I LOVE YOU JESUS. I CAN'T SEE YOU BUT I LOVE YOU! I love you SUMites. Hugs, Lynn

FAST with me the week beginning April 2 to Easter. Break the fast with Easter lunch. I'm convinced God has much to reveal to His people in this week. We aren't the only church that will be fasting this week. Jump in and ask God for BIG Dreams!!! 

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Chapter One of Esther: The King Divorces Queen Vashti

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

For such a time as this...

Hello, my friends! Welcome to part one of our study of Esther! Like many of you who commented on Monday, I love the book of Esther. The more I read and study it, the more I appreciate the complexity and the multiple layers that compose this fascinating story. 

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A little glimpse of my work area as I study Esther.

And that is how I've decided to approach this amazing book of the Bible. We will go chapter by chapter in search of the truths and details of each layer. 

The Layers of Esther

When I look at stories, I tend to look for layers and how they intertwine together. Esther is rich in this kind of structure and symbolism as well. I hope you get as excited as I do when I discover these details. They truly bring the story to life in my mind, and in my heart, my friends.

These layers appear to be:

  • God's work "behind the scenes"
  • The enemy's reaction to God’s work "behind the scenes"
  • The changing and building relationships between the characters
  • The shifting of positions of those in authority and those in leadership
  • The positioning of key people to save the nation of Israel

First, let's ground our story in a relatable timeline. Esther's story begins to unfold about 15 years before Ezra would lead his expedition to Jerusalem. If you've read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, you're probably already familiar with the poor state of the temple and surrounding walls in Jerusalem and the astonishing way God moved a pagan king (Cyrus) to help the Israelites begin to rebuild it. So basically, the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther are about the restoration of Israel.

So, imagine if you will, that you are a Jew living in one of the 127 provinces ruled by King Xerxes. Your people have been in exile for some time and have settled all over these provinces. Yet you sense things are about to stir and change. You know the prophecies of the Torah and have a tenuous hold on the the promise that one day Yahweh would restore the nation of Israel and return you and your people to Jerusalem. But perhaps you're struggling to imagine how God could accomplish such a thing after the destruction of the past.

Yet right in the midst of your story, another begins to unfold. We're now peeking into the palace of King Xerxes as he closes 180 days of celebrations to display his vast wealth and the glory of his majesty. The palace is full of nobles, officials and the servants doing their bidding. And now, the king is giving a final banquet in the enclosed garden with unlimited food and drink. 

Here's where we find the first hints of God's presence, clues I believe the unknown author of this story included to show that God was always there even though He's not mentioned. We see this in the use of the number seven, which is associated with God and His creation.

  • The king's banquet was to last seven days.
  • The king commands seven specifically named eunuchs to bring Queen Vashti before him.
  • The king consults seven specifically named nobles of Persia and Media, who were considered wise and closest to the king.
  • The confrontation with Vashti occurs on the seventh day of the banquet.

What else can we glean and take not of in this first chapter of Esther's story? The celebration of Purim doesn’t exist yet, as it it a tradition direction birthed out of the events of Esther. We will explore that more as it unfolds toward the end of the book and how it continues to be a key part and celebration for Jews today.

Some speculate that the king’s request for Queen Vashti to present herself before the court may have actually meant she was to appear nude, waring only her crown. However, that is not historically or biblically supported. But it does seem she would have been in a somewhat humiliation position to be on display before men who had been drinking without limit for seven days. Yet surely she knew the risk and felt she needed to still refuse the king’s request.

Now let's have a little fun here. How about the names of those nobles and eunuchs? I find those fascinating as well. Names were often used to indicate the person's vocation, character, or relevance in the stories of the Bible. And remember, these were real people, SUMites.

Seven Eunuchs

First, let's quickly cover that the role of a eunuch wasn't usually voluntary. The position required the man to be castrated, which seemed to be considered an insurance of loyalty to the king and the protection of the king's property, specifically his wives and concubines. 

Here are the seven eunuchs mentioned in chapter one and their meaning:

Mehuman - faith

Biztha - booty

Harbona - ass-driver

Bigtha - in the wine press

Abagtha - God-given

Zethar - star

Carkes- severe

What's interesting is that Bigtha and Abagtha are listed together in the ESV translation, yet not in others. But that's a question for the scholars out there. 

Seven Nobles 

Here are the names and meanings of the seven nobles mentioned in chapter one:

Carshena - illustrious

Shethar - a star

Admatha - a testimony to them

Tarshish - yellow jasper

Meres - lofty

Marsena - worthy

Memucan - dignified

And it is Memucan who speaks in reply to the kings question of what to do about Vashti’s refusal of the king’s request, which they perceive to be a threat not only to the king’s authority but also to the authority of every husband in his home.  

My friends, in this first chapter alone have "watched" the positions of two roles change. The place of queen is now vacant due to Vashti's dismissal (divorce) by the king. And a new proclamation in every language has been sent to all the provinces stipulating that the husband is the ruler in his home. 

How interesting...how interesting that the voice of the women in this kingdom was silenced at this point of the story. Here we see the enemy's reaction to God's action, as if he is anticipating God's plans to bring a new voice from an unsuspecting place and person to save the remnants of Israel.

And that's where we will leave this fascinating story for today. My friends, what aspects of Esther are coming to life for you? What insights are you gleaning? Let's have some fun in the comments!

Love you!
Dineen

 

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The ACTS 2 Church

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comSUMite Nation, did read Acts 2????

My friends, I'm compelled to share with you that my soul is sensing an urgency. We, the church, are in a divine and holy season. An unprecedented season of acceleration. I’m seeing this in my faith walk and in the faith walk of Dineen and others. Many of you, the SUMites, are experiencing this as well.

God is granting gifts to His people. (The pouring out of His Spirit) This acceleration is advancing the Kingdom in powerful ways. Hopes and dreams we have carried for years are now moving forward. Things that took years to bring to reality are now happening in months. This acceleration is also evident in the church. Gifts of the Spirit are being imparted and people are experiencing God’s love, spirit and gifting is powerful ways they never dreamed possible.

This is also a season of Holy Breakthrough. I’ve seen areas of faith change. I’ve witnessed and have participated in deliverances, healings, spiritual growth at a tremendous rate.

God is moving and as I read through Acts 2 again…… All I can say is…… IT’S HAPPENING.

So, jump in the “River” with me because it’s fantastic.

Onward….

On Monday I shared about sitting in church and realizing that God has been responding to my cry for a revelation of love for weeks. Sometimes, I’m just so blonde. (I hope that makes someone reading this feel better when you miss things too. *grin*)

Anyhoo, why in the world would God respond to my cry for revelation with a passage in Acts? Well on Sunday, while sitting in church, God went on to speak to me, “Lynn, don’t you get it? I’m giving you (all my people) something that I haven’t never given another generation. I’m giving them everything in this passage. It’s profound. It’s all you have been crying out for. You are seeing things, experiencing things of the Kingdom that Saints of past centuries could only wonder about.”

***** Can I just tell you, even typing this gives me a “fear of the Lord” and tremendous excitement and anticipation all rolled up together. I feel this excitement in the middle of my stomach. I hope you have a stomach full of this as well.

Let’s look at Acts 2:
In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

your young men will see visions,

your old men will dream dreams.

Even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days,

and they will prophesy.

I will show wonders in the heavens above

and signs on the earth below,

blood and fire and billows of smoke.

The sun will be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood

before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

And everyone who calls

on the name of the Lord will be saved.

I will be straight-forth with you. Up until Sunday, I didn’t think we were truly in the “Last Days.” I know that may be weird but I’m an optimist and I see so much hope in our world, even though there is tremendous darkness and evil. However, after hearing directly from the Lord, I’m now a believer *grin*.

So on Sunday, God spoke to my heart in reply to my cry for a revelation of love. He said, “Lynn, I’m pouring out My Spirit on all flesh.” People of prior centuries have read this and wondered what this could possibly mean. Well, I’m of the belief that we are NOW seeing this passage come to pass within our lifetime, before our very eyes.

IN OUR LIVES!!!!

What are the implication of this truth in our lives. What does this look like right now in 2017? AND most importantly, how do we get in on this fulfillment of this passage????  

Woo Hoo!!! I can’t wait to answer these questions. So, on Tuesday, let’s chat more about it. For today, cry out in your prayer time. I’ve decided to fast the week of April 2 until Easter because I discovered how utterly powerful and how clearly, we hear God after a five day fast. Consider joining me. How hungry are you???? Pursue God hard and He answers you with love and revelation!!!  And that’s a promise!

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    For they shall be filled. - Matthew 5:6

I love you Papa God, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit. I love you Saints of old and I love you Saints of today. I love you Heavenly Hosts and the Great cloud of Witnesses!!!  So much awaits and is for us…. Lord I want it all. In Jesus name. AMEN

Love you SUMites. What are your thoughts about this passage? Share with me in the comments. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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Lenten Reflections: Week 4 - Everyday Grace

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As I’ve grown older I’ve come far more accepting of my mess. Not the physical one (I’m actually quite a tidy person) but the one in my heart and mind. We’ve all got some of it. One of the joys of Lent is intentionally spending time doing a spring-clean, self-examination in the presence of the Lord to identify areas of our life where sin and/or negative habits have taken up residence.

Sin clings

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. "(Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV)

Do you struggle with recurring sins that invade you regularly? What about the idols in your life that consume too much of your waking hours and desires? I sure have both and I take a degree of comfort from the above verses as it validates that our sins cling to us. Our sinful nature isn’t likely to walk away without a fight, hence, the reason we keep grappling with a particular issue.

My typical response

Too often I’ve found my initial response is to tackle the issue myself so I’ll research it, get some reading material and/or participate in courses to help me combat it. Now in itself I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with getting assistance so as to help change a habit or whatever.

But in many respects if we’re only seeking human intervention, we’re bound to fail. Because what we end up doing is focus too much on the sin and ourselves.

On accepting Jesus as our Lord we might think the sin issue is now sorted. We’ve acknowledged our need for Jesus and responded affirmatively to the gospel. “Yes, the power of sin has been broken, but the presence of sin still remains inside us and is being progressively eradicated by God’s delivering grace.”1

But those pesky sins keep clinging to us. It’s sin’s nature to do that as the verse above implies. One voice keeps telling us what a failure we are because we can’t get this thing under control and so we keep working in our own strength to resolve it. We ask people to keep us accountable, to check in on us and help us. And a day doesn’t go by when we ask for forgiveness and even cry out to God: “Help me, please.”

An Awakening

Once again, age (dare I say maturity?) has taught me that engaging Jesus in the spring-cleaning process is essential. As uncomfortable as sitting in one’s mess can be, having our loving Maker sitting alongside us makes it a lot more bearable.

“No mere human has ever been able to conquer its (sin) power on its own.”2

It’s taken me a long time to learn this truism. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have moments of feeling “fainthearted.”

Allow Jesus to gently guide you to sort through your stuff. We can be tempted to run or hide. We don’t want Him to see our muck but I always find He’s so caring in these moments. He wants the best for us and often our muck has created a veil, it could be ever so slight, between us. “As painful as it is to be exposed at this level, awakening is evidence of God’s grace.”3

In “looking to Jesus” (see the Hebrews verse) He is clearing the veil and bringing us into closer union with Him.

"If repentance isn't a daily part of your life, how is grace a daily part of your life?" (Ann Voskamp)

In acknowledging that Jesus needs to be whom I turn to when I drop the ball is wonderfully re-assuring. In recognising my need for Jesus throughout every day has helped me appreciate how much I need His grace everyday.

May I encourage you to spend some time this week sitting with Jesus and reviewing aspects of your life: family, friendships, work, church, etc and ask Him to reveal anything that might be hindering your connection. And then repent.

Let’s celebrate the grace that Jesus makes available all day every day.

Notes: 1. “New Morning Mercies,” Paul David Tripp, Crossway Books 2014, March 18 Devotional 2. “Comforts from the Cross,” Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, Crossway Books, 2009, p48. 3. “Lent ‘ A Season of Returning,” Ruth Haley Barton, Transforming Resources, Week 3.

*****

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The Mystery and Wonder of Esther

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

For such a time as this...

Hello SUMites! I mentioned last week that I was feeling led to do an series on Esther. Since then I can’t seem to stay away from this book and have poured hours of research into digging into the deeper places of this astonishing story. So consider this an introduction to Esther and what I have in store thus far to share with you. And I encourage you to read the book yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal its truths and promises to you too.

One of the most significant aspects of the story of Esther is that God is not mentioned by name once in the book. He isn’t even referred to. But He is very much implied. However, there are actually clues I believe the author put in place to make indirect references to God’s presence, something I hadn’t noticed before. So fascinating!

In researching the people highlighted in this story, I discovered the Hebrew meaning of their names to often be significant and indicators of their place in this God-driven story. And that even key attributes of God’s character are clearly yet indirectly displayed.

On a larger scale Esther is the story of the birth of a Jewish tradition and celebration (Purim) that has had significant historical impact in that last century alone that is unmistakably God’s work to save the nation of Israel. 

My friends, Esther is a very multifaceted true story that holds romance, power, intrigue and much more. I am excited to explore its depths with you and look forward to hearing your comments too. We are going to have fun with this one, SUMites, and in reading about Esther and the nation of Israel, I’ve no doubt we will discover our own stories and God-driven purposes in the lives of our spouses and our families. And in our nation as well.

So, are you with me on this one? Ready to go an adventure with me? If so, give a shout out in the comments and share anything else that’s on your heart, my friends. I know the Holy Spirit is already at work among us, the SUM Nation, stirring our hearts for “such a time as this.”

And in the mighty and saving name of Jesus, I say, AMEN!

Love you so much, my friends!
Dineen

Copyright: zatletic / 123RF Stock Photo

*****

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A Revelation of LOVE - THIS IS WILD!!!

A Revelation Of Love

SUMites,

It’s Sunday afternoon here at the Donovan Clan home. It’s a beautiful spring day. The windows are open and a gentle breeze is flowing, praise and worship plays in the background and I’m feeling the Presence of the Holy Spirit.

I have to tell you what happened this morning at church. Well, for weeks I’ve been crying out, praying, pleading, asking for God to tell me what to write. You see I want to write about a Revelation of Love. I want to share how we can receive a revelation of love, a real love encounter with God. I am convinced that we can ask for these kind of encounters. And when the Lord shows up….. IT’S GLORY. It’s life changing!! 

I’ve experienced several life-changing encounters with the Father. Specifically, on October 12, 2012 my life radically changed and my faith was recalibrated. But, like all believers, I have seasons when my faith life can feel dry or distant. I’m just being real here. But, I KNOW that we can call out for “more of God.” The Lord loves to answer these kind of prayers.

In this series, I am going to share with you how I believe we can call out (pray) for a revelation of love. And I will share how I cried out and how the Lord answered me. It’s my hope that as you see how the Lord responded to me, you will be filled with hope and the tenacity to also cry out for a revelation of love from our Father.

So back to church this morning.

I remind you that I’ve been asking God for weeks about what to write. And often the Lord will wait to the last minute to share His heart with me. His delay and taking me to the last minute makes me a bit nervous. Because I knew I needed to come home and write about a Revelation of Love and hadn’t yet heard from God. And I’ll remind you that for weeks in my prayer time, walk-n-prays, and even in the middle of the night, I was praying, “God, I’m crying out for a revelation of love. Lord, I asking for a baptism of love.” And for weeks….. silence.

After worship this morning, the pastor began to speak about wisdom and we worked out way through some scriptures about wisdom. A great topic to be sure. However, in my soul, my heart spoke to God. “Lord, I’m still crying out for a revelation of love.”

Immediately, God responded!

I heard a passage of scripture. I have been hearing this scripture over and over again in response to my prayer but it was so crazy I ignored it. It was so strange I dismissed it as something I was thinking and not a reply from the Lord.

So, in the middle of church it was as if God said to me, “Lynn, I’ve been telling you and you haven’t been listening.”

*Gulp* and *Double Yikes*

So, here is what I heard. Exactly. Word-for-Word:

I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.

All of a sudden I realized that this passage of scripture, I’ve been hearing for weeks, is the response to my cry for a “Revelation of Love.”

While the pastor continued to speak, I was lost in the moment this the Lord. I am familiar with this passage and in my memory, I thought I could find it in Isaiah. I opened my Bible and looked. I started with Isaiah 60,  then 62, and other chapters….. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. It’s not there.

By this point, I’m completely freaked out and MUST know why am I hearing this passage and why is God sharing this with me in the middle of church.

I pull out my phone. I Google it. Finding the address, I open my Bible again to the passage and begin to read it.

As the Words flooded my mind, I literally began to shake under the power and love of the Father. I was trembling and revelation flooded my soul. And it was immediately clear that this revelation is for all of us.

The passage: Acts 2  - Joel 2

My mind blew up and I’m nearly trembling now as I type this message to you. SUMite Nation, God is doing things right now that we have never seen before in the history of the world. AND WE ARE INCLUDED IN HIS PLANS AND PURPOSES.

But alas this post is already WAY LOOOOOOONG!

Friday, I’m going to share why God responded to my cry for a Revelation of Love for our SUMite Nation, for me, with this strange passage of Acts 2.

I ask you right now to go look up this passage. And I want you to start praying today:

Lord, I’m asking for a revelation of love. I am hungry for more of You, Your Kingdom, Your purposes, and revelation from Your heart. In Jesus name.

In the comments, make this prayer your public declaration that you are crying out for more. Copy the prayer, type your name, and say AMEN… Then pray it every day because something miraculous happens to the heart of a believer that seeks hard after God.

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. This spring is going to be amazing. I’m so blessed to walk this faith journey with all of you. Hugs, Lynn

 

*****

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Lenten Reflections Wk 3: the Secret Place

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We’re all familiar with the often-repeated comment that Jesus didn’t give the disciples a lesson on anything but how to pray. And this lesson came in amongst His great message: the Sermon on the Mount –

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”(Matthew 6:5-6 NIV)

This gave us the notion of the secret place. The place we go to meet with Jesus. For many of us we have a regular habit of going into a room (I do, my study) but this isn’t always possible for some people for whatever reason. Its essence involves getting alone with Jesus wherever that might be, in your car, on a mountain, sitting by a stream, etc.

Being Intentional about Intimacy

In our modern lives it’s very easy to be always on the go taking God with us. We all have our own versions of this depending on what particular season we’re experiencing in life. God wants to be involved in all we do and so bringing Him along as you go through your day is important. The essence of godliness is being aware of God at all times and actively engaging Him in whatever we’re doing.

“If we want to fully walk out the callings the Lord places on our lives, we must spend time with Him, cultivating intimacy in the secret place.”1

Jesus loves being with us and He so wants us to want to spend time with Him. It’s like any relationship we have quality time together leads to intimacy. Sharing our hearts draws us together. There is no shortcut to developing intimacy.

“Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting.’ … The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.” (Exodus 33:7,11 NIV)

It’s easy when reading Exodus 33 to skip over the second half of verse 11. It’s a chapter about Moses and the Glory of the Lord. It’s a BIG chapter, exciting to read, as we get a little insight into the intimacy the Lord shared with Moses. But I’ve always been fascinated by this brief mention of Moses right hand man: Joshua.

I think most of us love the book of Joshua. How Joshua succeeded his mentor, Moses, and led the Israelites into their Promised Land. Often when we think about our Promised Land we think about something physical whether it’s a place or a new career or new season of some sort. But I believe it reflects us stepping into a new season of intimacy with the Lord.

And how did Joshua achieve it?

He didn’t leave the tent. He lingered in the Presence of God.

“What’s more, when we spend time in the secret place, our passion and hunger for Jesus grow.”2

Joshua discovered that for himself when he was an apprentice. And the Lord rewarded him by giving him the responsibility of leading his people into the Promised Land.

Progress or … not?

Over the weekend I was thinking about the first two weeks of Lent and questioned what had changed. Sure, I’ve not eaten chocolate (well, most days) and not looked at FB and Instagram. But it’s a lot more than giving up something. Isn’t it?

These past few days my life unexpectedly slowed down. So I’ve spent more time in my secret place, being more intentional about sitting in His presence. And I’ve loved it. And I don’t want to leave it.

How about you? Have you had a recent opportunity to spend quality time in your secret place with Jesus?

BTW, where is your secret place? Be great to encourage each other by sharing where (or how) we go to our secret place.

Let me pray for us:

Jesus, we love you, we worship you. Thank you that you so desire intimacy with us. Help us to realize that the desire in our hearts is the same: to have intimacy with you. Because you put it there in the beginning. When you made us. Please show us, even if it means interrupting our lives, how to spend time with you in the secret place. In Your loving name we pray. Amen.

Notes: 1. Daily Insights to Birthing the Miraculous: 100 Devotions for Reflection and Prayer, Heidi Baker. Charisma House 2016 p32. 2 ibid.

*****

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Sumite Prayer Partners - A Prayer of Praise

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Hello brothers and sisters in Christ, Christy Edney here. Today I would like to lift up prayers of thanksgiving and praise. Please open your Bible, read all of Psalm 65 then join me in the following prayer.

Let all that I am praise God the father and our Lord, Jesus Christ! If I have but only one remaining breath then let it be used to praise the life giving king of all. For He is worthy of all my praise. Though I stumble and trip over the nature of my sin, You go before me and plan ahead for my failures. Father, your grace and mercy go beyond human understanding. Such mercy and grace awaits each person who would declare the name of Jesus Christ and put their faith in him. Mighty God, thank you for pursuing those who would attempt to run from you. We thank you for the work that you have done in these hearts and the work that we know you will do. Lord, you are the object of our faith, the source of our peace, joy and hope. Thank you for being our provider, protector and so much more than my words can capture. In the matchless name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen!

If you would like to receive a prayer partner then please click this link to send me an email: Sumite Prayer Partners

If you and your partner have hit a roadblock in your relationship then please click this link to send me an email: Sumite Prayer Partners

Love and prayers!

*****

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