34 posts categorized "Perseverance in Trials"

Was I Really Lamenting?

Acts 16 31I was tired. Weary. Drained.

I thought I heard from God that my spouse’s salvation was supposed to come last year. When God told me to be more specific with my prayers, I was more specific with my questions. I asked when, Lord, when?? I heard two years.

Well, those two years came to pass…nothing.

I waited a couple weeks. A couple weeks turned to two months, and two months turned into eight months.

The thing was…I did not give up on God’s promise – but I did give up my fight. I was in a stage of utter disappointment.

“Well, God! If you told me it’s going to happen, it will and I’m just going to trust it! I’m DONE praying! Done! I’m tired of being the only spiritual leader in my household. I’m tired of being the only one spiritually guiding my child! It’s not supposed to be me! I’m tired of leading! I don’t get it Lord! Whatever, it’s on You now. When it happens, it happens. After all, it’s YOUR TIMING.”

That was my justification with the Lord. I was justifying why I should stop praying.

If this is you. I urge you…DON’T stop PRAYING.

The endurance we go through praying for our spouse, the dry seasons we go through with the Lord…it’s for His glory. It’s for us to recognize the hole in our faith where we need to glean from His Strength.

The spiritual shield I once had, turned in to a cloak. I felt defeated.

Yes, it feels like a lonely battle. Yes, I have envisioned seeing my husband and I worshipping in the pews together. Yes, I want my husband to pray for me for once!

The thing is…we are not defeated. Remember if God is for us, then who can be against us?

Knowing my bitter heart, God sent me someone to tell me not to GIVE UP. This woman gave me her testimony of living through affairs, long fights, and drunkenness in her marriage. And who am I to lament or complain? The battle is not over!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

My God, I repented. I repented for my bitter heart. I praised Him for healing that hole in my heart.

It’s okay to feel disappointed. It’s okay that every once in while we feel weak. Maybe you are going through stuff in your marriage. Maybe there are times, where you are asking, “why me?” Patty Tower and Family 2017

I was in a place of losing hope! What would it be like if God lost hope in us? What would it be like if our spouses stopped fighting for us? I can’t explain the why, but I do know YOU are instrumental to your household.

They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household." Acts 16:31

If we lost hope, we wouldn’t have a reason to live. Hope is what keeps us sustained.

Are you in a season where you’re on your spiritual shield is dropping? What is helping you get by?

Sumite, Patty Tower

Patty Tower resides in Seattle, WA with her husband and 2.5-year-old son. She loves Jesus and aspires to help women thrive in their Godly lifestyle. She ministers to women of all walks of life, and helps them learn their prophetic gifting by leading a women’s prayer group. She is a blogger of pattytower.com

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Politics And My Spouse

Daniel 2 21So, ahem ya!

Not a topic that any sane person should delve into, however, I’m wondering how many of you are dealing with conflict at home because of differing views over the Presidential election in America?

Anyone?

I suspect I’m not alone. For those of you who are in harmony with your spouse over political choices, give the rest of us grace as we try to wade through this issue. And for the SUMite family who live outside of the USA, PLEASE pray for us. We need it!

I want to start this conversation by stating clearly a few things. One, I’m not supporting a specific candidate nor trying to sway anyone toward or away from a candidate. Two, we will have this conversation in this house covered by grace and without condemnation or anger. Three, I absolutely believe that God’s people should vote.

What I really want to talk about is how do we handle the election seasons with an unbelieving spouse? I want to talk about this because this issue is very personal. So bear with me if you can’t relate so much. Try to apply what I share to other areas where you have extreme conflict with your spouse, and let’s apply some wisdom to all of our lives (and politics).

Okay? We good?

Moving on…..

I’m going to share what happens in the Donovan Clan house during an election cycle and also share some personal insights. Your experience may be similar or somewhat different.

First, I’ve come to understand that every four years our home falls under a distinct tension. Mike and I have been married for nearly 25 years and I know that every summer heading to a November election, strain arises in our marriage, especially if we watch the evening national news broadcasts together which is typical for us. I can almost feel it in the air: division, anger, disgust, unbelief etc. etc. etc. and these are just my emotions. *grin*

The political process is geared to divide. Divide the country and it divides our unity in marriage. This fact makes me fume, personally.

You may ask, “Lynn, why do you let it get to you?”

Well, in the last few years, political decisions have greatly affected the moral compass and positions of our citizenry. The Supreme Court irrevocably impacted the sanctity of marriage through a ruling last June. The judges on the Federal Bench in California have ruled time and again against principals and positions that are Biblical in their truth and standing. Right now the California Legislature is poised to remove all codes of conduct from the 20 plus Christian Universities in our State. You can bet the laws they are passing right now to change the morality at the Christian universities will be drawn up against our churches in the state in a matter of months. The ramifications are disastrous for marriages and families and for people of faith.

Our voice and our votes matter.

So, you can see how I might be a little concerned about the political system.

Now here is the rub. My husband is usually a very mild-mannered, phlegmatic man, however, when it comes to politics he is as far left as you can get. He is very passionate about politics. In fact, I’ve come to realize that the DNC is his god. He gets truly fired up about his beliefs and wholeheartedly supports the direction the DNC takes regarding all issues. He is not like this about anything else. (No offense intended democratic SUMites. I’m only stating how extreme my husband is.)

So this brings me to the nightly news and what I have learned over the years. I share my hard-fought lessons with you in the hopes you won’t spend as much time and grief in the arena with your husband over politics.

One: God is on the throne no matter who is in the house (White house). Can I get an amen!

Just reading that doesn’t it bring your heart peace? My friends, I can just imagine God sitting on the throne, looking down at earth at the ceaseless whirring of the political machine. He sits back and then gives a hardy, belly-laugh about all the nonsense that is spinning on earth.

SUMites, we can take a second, catch our breath and KNOW that God isn’t up there fretting that the world seems to have gone mad. He isn’t surprised by the climate and insanity in our world. He’s actually seen it all before. It’s frustrating to say this -but history repeats itself. Mankind continues to fall away from God.

He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. —Daniel 2:21 (NLT)

This passage gives me comfort in its truth.

What I think makes God shake His head is this. His Kids, that would be us, -we don’t pray. We are a vital piece of the solution to create unity and bring Godly people and decisions to our world. Our prayers have enormous impact upon the demonic realm that is the source of all conflict, especially in politics. So, let’s pray.

I challenge you to meet with friends and pray specifically for our election and our country between now and November. Did you know that the last Great Awakening began because people in New York City began to meet in homes and businesses and they prayed. Prayer works and right now our world NEEDS another Great Awakening.

I pray with a couple of gals in my home every other Friday and Wow Wee. We set the heavenly realms ablaze with our prayers for our country. So, I ask you right now, be intentional and gather one or two around you to pray once a week or biweekly.

Now let me tell you what I think is really happening. The next Great Awakening is already underway. I know you are overwhelmed by the unrelenting evil in the world right now. But there is enormous good. The good people and good deeds and the miraculous doesn’t make the evening news but it’s happening all over the place. And you, SUMites, you are part of this Awakening. You are leaders in preparing our world for the end times. (Okay, I’m getting off topic, but God has recently shared so much with me about how He has been grooming the unequally yoked specifically for future events. I have SO MUCH to share about this. But alas, it must happen after this series.)

So, are you up for the challenge? Can you pray at home in your quiet time? Will you stick with me as we meander down this road? And did any of this help someone?

I have more. On Monday let’s look at item number two… It’s awesome. LOVE you my family, you are an amazing bunch of God’s Kids and I adore you. Hugs, Lynn

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The Promise of Christmas

IMG_4705One of my favorite traditions of Christmas is the advent wreath. I first observed this at our international church while living in Switzerland and fell in love with the candles and their meaning. Every year I’ve used or remade our wreath, searching for just the right candles each year.

But this year wound up a little different than I expected (there’s that word again). I’d actually prayed a few times over the years for a really nice wreath and candle holder. This year I wanted to find something different. These were simple desires I thought about and left unspoken.

And this is the year that Abba surprised me with a new one. The most interesting part of this story is that I wasn’t the one to find it. My husband did. How’s that for some Christmas humor and delight?

We saw this candle holder in a store and both loved it. I saw it only in the light of a decorative piece for our home. To my surprise, my husband pointed out how well it would work for an advent wreath too! Even the store clerk seemed surprised that my husband mad the suggestion.

My friends, I cherish this new piece in our home not just for it’s beauty and design, but for it’s meaning. The more I study it, the more meanings the Holy Spirit shows me. Now I will look at this candle holder—year round—and see the reminder of God’s love for me in a small detail and how He used my husband to bring it to my attention.

Sometimes our desires and hopes are met in the most surprising ways. I’d expected, looked in one direction. God showed me another one—one I never would have expected or thought of.

I find this faith walk lately to be a delicate balance of holding hope tightly and holding expectations very loosely. I don’t think it’s wrong to have expectations—the Bible even tells us to  wait expectantly on the Lord. The challenge is to have ones wrapped in hope and to not hold them so tightly that we miss other possibilities. God is the God of possibilities—He makes the impossible possible.

As I reread the Gospels telling of Jesus’ birth, the Holy Spirit has stopped me at the feet of Luke 1:45.

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” 

This verse reminded me of Jesus’ words to Thomas.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” — John 20:29 (NIV)

As believers we are asked to believe what we haven’t yet seen. To take the step of faith without proof, yet believe it will come. To persevere even when everything around us tells a different story.

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. — Hebrews 10:36 (NLT)

This verse has taken a place in my recent journal entries and I find myself returning to it frequently. And today I noticed it precedes one of the most powerful parts of Scripture in the Bible.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. — Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

Before the baby Jesus and our Messiah was ever birthed in the natural realm, He was prophesied and birthed in the spiritual. The Old Testament is the promise, the New Testament is the fulfillment.

Jesus is our greatest example of holding hope, persevering for its revelation (pregnancy), and waiting for its arrival (birth). Christmas is a yearly reminder of His revelations and the revelations to come. And we hold this hope not only for ourselves but for our pre-believers and our families, dear friends.

SUMites, we are blessed because believe the Lord will fulfill His promises to us. We persevere, and though at times we may falter, we continue hold hope in our hearts. 

And Jesus is that eternal hope. Merry Christmas!
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I Kick Disappointment To The Curb!

I began this series on disappointment from a place of victory. Last week I have shared my defeat, struggle in captivity of the enemy and my escape. I have told you that we face a very real enemy who is continually looked for ways to derail our faith and life in God. The enemy will work relentlessly in one area, which has proven to be quite successful. The demonic realm will try to drown you. Not in water but in problems. And if he can’t get to you directly, he will overwhelm your family.

I'm mad!!

My disappointment and oppression ended while I was visiting my mother in Colorado. Finally, the day prior to my departure, the Lord began to talk to me again. I felt the oppression lift. The Dove came home. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!!!!

I prayed with people that day with power and God showed up. But wouldn’t you know it, that day my daughter called from Cambridge bawling her eyes out about something. I was stunned. She should be having the time of her life. I spent an hour encouraging her, praying assuring her through FaceTime. Later that evening, I’m praying again with others, my son texted me with bad news and my husband told me an hour later that he had one of the worst days ever, at the office.

I kid you not.

If the enemy can’t get to you, he will come at you through your vulnerable family. I became furious. I began to pray with power and vowed that every day for the rest of my life that I would pray with power and protection around my family. I told the devil he can’t have me or my family. I walked around the vineyards, my house, on the phone with Dineen, with my prayer partners. My family is no longer open to attack because by God’s Word they are covered and sanctified through me. (1 Corinthians 7:14

I’ve been praying every day and will for the rest of my life for their protection, favor and covering. I saturated my prayers with passages of truth and promises of God’s Word. The devil must bow to the power of God’s Word and Jesus. So quote The Word of God to him my SUMites. And then I let Jesus loose on his head!!!!

My friends, I’m convinced God is raising up a great company of woman. We have been prepared for such a time as this as we enter in to the “End Times.” Our men are stressed, deceived, over-worked and broken. They NEED us gals. And at just the right time, Jesus will raise us up. The men will welcome us and we are going to do battle with powers of darkness. But we, who have been fighting in the trenches for decades, will be ready. We are already powerful. Full of faith. We swing a sword of such great power that the demonic realm trembles. When we arise, this great company of women, we will startle the world with our determination, our wisdom, love, kindness and our convictions. Our convictions and the love of Jesus in our hearts will conquer nations, restore homes, heal the people and bring the greatest glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.

So BATTLE ON WARRIORS!! We are in the trenches now. Jesus is teaching us as fast as He can so that we will walk in victory in our lives. And soon, very soon, we will bring victory to our communities, towns, our cities, to our friends and neighbors. Literally, we will be looked to for wisdom, healing …..  hope… And we, this great company of women, will point people to: The One.

The Holy King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus…. Our God, The Great I AM and the Holy Spirit. The powerful and loving Triune God. AMEN.

Let these words come forth and set us in motion Jesus. All for your Kingdom! In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Many interesting perspectives, truths and revelations have come out of this season. I realized I truly have a powerful faith. I REALLY, really believe the Bible. I also sense that the Lord is giving me a new dream:

How about a retreat or a camp where we all meet and learn to walk in the gifts together? A place where we meet and allow the Lord to have all of us. A weekend together where we let God have His way and He raises up “A Great Company of Women.” Can you imagine what will happen in our world after a weekend such as this? It’s in the planning stages. Let’s pray about it because it will take a community to make it happen.

I love you so much. Get ready, the Kingdom is advancing. And always remember this: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 ~Lynn

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Fight The Demonic

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comIn fighting against the tide of the demonic there is nothing more powerful than our words.

The tongue has the power of life and death —Proverbs 18:21a

I literally believe this. So I speak two kinds of words. Words of life - faith, belief, affirmation and truth from the Word of God over my life and family. And second, I speak words that bind, cancel, blind, silence and cast out the enemy.

If you could walk with me one morning in the vineyards, you would likely think I’m wacked. I pray out loud. I shout, wave my arms, raise my arms and let the Holy Spirit inspired words flow. The spoken Word in prayer wields great power. I tell the devil he is a liar and my God who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.

I will pray something like this:

In the name of Jesus, I command the demonic spirit of fear, confusion, sadness (any others that have been revealed to me by the Holy Spirit) I cast you into the pit. I silence you and you have no voice. I command the warrior angels sent to protect me to take you to the pit and to cut off your head. I have the authority of Jesus, my Savior, to cancel all assignments of the enemy. No weapon formed against me will prosper.

Angels, I have been given authority to trample of the enemy (Psalm 91). This very moment I trample on him and all his works and effects assigned to my life. I command the demonic into the pit along with all their works and effects. This spirit of fear, anxiety, sadness cannot go to my children nor follow any of my family line. I rebuke it and command it to leave me and my family forever. I plead the blood of Christ over my home and my family. In the name of Jesus and by His authority.

Jesus, I ask that you would surround me and my family (I name each one by name) with a hedge of protection. Place your holy angels around us. Prosper me and my family. Protect our hearts, soul and bodies. I ask for more of Your Presence and your anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Let our homes be a place of safety, freedom, love, security, peace and joy. Lord, help me to bring heaven into our home.

Papa God, thank you for your faithfulness (I name several specifics). Thank you for your blessings and your provision. I will live to publish your deeds among the nations. Let everything I do, say and think, be anointed and inspired by the Kingdom. Thank you for Your Word. I believe it. I will proclaim it. I will use it as a powerful sword to bring freedom and healing to people.

Keep me humble and always looking to You. The only thing important in this world is Your Presence. I praise you. I worship you. I will always be loyal to you. I am your daughter. In Jesus name. Amen.

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God Restores Us Too (part 2)

6a00d83451ee9f69e201b8d11ef502970c-320wiDear friends, on Saturday I started telling you a little bit about the dark night of the soul I walked through in 2014 and what 1 Peter 5:6-10 came to mean to me. Let’s look at those verses again and I’ll finish my story.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober- minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. — 1 Peter 5:6-10 ESV

As I said, Peters says to give God all our anxieties. And that’s where I was, in the depths of anxiety that made no sense. I would wake up shaking and spend most of the morning just trying to get a grip on my life for that one day. My quiet time with Abba was my refuge and sanctuary (my word for 2015), and worship became a weapon against the evil plan the enemy had sent against me to pull me into depression—a plague that has sickened several generations in my family. Psalm 91 became my daily declaration!

When my anxiety and depression would threaten to overwhelm me, I would stop and pray 1 Peter 5:6-7 and imagine all that dark stuff sitting my hands, then I’d lift them up and say, “Lord, it’s all Yours. I give it all to You. I am casting all this upon You.”

And you know what? He always had something to give back to me—His peace and comfort. And we need those, my friends. The peace of Christ guards our hearts and minds (Phil. 4:7), which is crucial if we are to “be sober minded.” That word in the Greek means to be calm and collected in spirit. As Peter says, the enemy prowls, seeking to devour. And he will use our emotions against us every way he can. And that is what he tried to do with me. The lie I’d bought into as a teenager was that I was at the mercy of my thoughts and feelings, but God’s Word says otherwise. 

So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. — Romans 8:6 NLT

I stood on this truth and the others I’ve shared everyday, dear friends. Our greatest challenge, especially as women, is to look at our emotions first before we act upon them. If we don’t, we are just reacting. Then our emotions control us instead of us controlling and using them to our benefit. Emotions can be good in telling us when we are hurting and need something. They can also alert us to a lie we are believing when they seem out of context or alignment with God’s truth. This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through this process.

And finally in verse 10, Peter returns to the promise he started describing in verses six and seven. After we have suffered a little while…that’s the hardest part, to endure, to persevere, to trust God has a plan for it all and that He is good and that He is working for our good (Romans 8:28). Because He is. That’s Who He is. Always.

Then that good comes, the good God has been working to bring out of our trials, our suffering, our challenges. He does not leave us in these places of pain. No, His heart is to Himself, by His hand of love, to restore us. To confirm, strengthen and establish us. The Greek word for restore also means to perfect and prepare. Sound familiar? And by establishing us, He is laying our true foundation in the truth of who we are in Him, in the truth of Christ. 

So from our sufferings, trials and challenges, we emerge more like the new creation He has made us to be. And that is what I have witnessed, my dear friends. I prayed and claimed these promises for over a year, tentative at first and then with growing confidence, until they became part of the established foundation of my faith. And as I have broken this “plague” off my life, I am contending and breaking it off of my daughters. Because as the enemy has lost hold of me, he has tried to insert his hold on my girls. That is NOT going to happen, because I now have the authority to speak these truths into their lives.

How do I know that? As I stood in my new church in January, worshiping God with a heart full of gratitude for how He has restored and is restoring my life, how He has and is making me steadfast, strong and firm in my faith that is now built on His truth and promises, His still small voice spoke to my heart and told me He was lifting me up that very day. And that it was time to soar. Just this past weekend, three different times He showed me a bird soaring in the sky, at the same speed and direction as the car I was in or driving.  

When I look back at all He has done, I am astounded. It could have gone very differently if I hadn’t humbled myself under His hand and trusted Him. I stepped out in what felt like a feeble and failing faith, and He met me with His faithfulness, His healing presence and sent key people to come along side and pray with me. Especially Lynn, who prayed with me, cried with me, and encouraged me greatly. 

SUMites, these promises are for all of us. Just as Jesus restored Peter, He restores us. Whatever you are struggling, battling, agonizing over, cast it upon Him. Our Great God has massive shoulders that can carry it all. And what’s so beautiful is that He WANTS us to do this. Longs for us to do this. Our God is completely for us (Romans 8:31-32)!

My friends, I have been praying these prayers for you too as I know many of you are in very difficult places right now. Share in the comments how you are casting your cares upon the Lord. I would like to pray with you and pass on the blessings and freedom Abba has given to me.

Love you!
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Bible Study Interrupt

I’m going to interrupt our Bible Study today. I had prepared a post for today. It’s written and ready, however as the weekend progressed and while standing in line with my husband at Walmart, I sensed the Holy Spirit, strongly caution me to wait and pray and contemplate that particular post. (There must be more He wants to teach me.)

So, I’m going to pray about it. Stay tuned.

In place of that post, the Holy Spirit, urged me to relay a message to our community. To all of you in our amazing family on the web, our church without walls. This is the story.

This past week has been very difficult for me. And I can’t express nor explain all that transpired but I came under heavy persecution for my faith. And I guess it was to be expected as I wrote about persecution last week. I didn’t realize I would live it out in real-life, color. Sheesh!

I’ve cried a lot this past week. I’ve felt a heavy weariness -in doing good- which is difficult for me to understand. Most of the time, I’m one of the most hopeful people on the planet but this past week has challenged me numerously.

But God……

I literally cried out to God. I felt like this was what David felt and cried out when He was persecuted. But low and behold, out of the blue my hero showed up. In the form of my unbelieving husband.

Saturday morning Mike found me in my office, typical. He looks at me and says this:

“I thought we might do a few things in the yard, then have lunch and then we can go to church.” Yep, deer in headlights. He continues, “And since we are going to church on Saturday night, let’s get up and go to the early matinee of Jurassic World. Then we can go to a late breakfast. What do you think?”

I’m dumbfounded. I think my ears were ringing and I couldn’t hear anything else after he said, “We can go to church.”

SUMites, it’s late in the day Sunday afternoon and we did all of those things. Why am I sharing this with you? Because of HOPE. Just when I felt weary, God moves my husband’s heart to love on me.

God can work outlandish circumstances to love on His kids. So this message is for those who are weary. Those who can’t even comprehend a spouse saying to you, “Can we go to church.”

God can move anyone at any time.

Do I understand why my husband doesn’t surrender to Jesus? No. Do I understand why my years of praying for his salvation go unanswered? No. But my Papa, God loves me. He is with me even in the weariness, the doubt, the discouragement, the fear and He restores my hope.

Pray this with me:

I am a child of the Most High God. I am adored. I am cherished. God has planned my life and it is awesome. He has great adventures for me and every day I will seek to see His miracles, His beauty and His love.

I will never back down from my high and holy calling to live with courage, boldness and perseverance even under the great pressures of persecution. Even if the gates of hell are opened, I WILL STAND FIRM in His protection and love.

I will never relent in praying, seeking and loving others into His Kingdom. I will NOT be defeated. I will never let satan have my family and it is my life’s mission to free anyone and everyone I can from the chains of hell.

I am called, I am chosen. I have authority. I walk in the Holy Spirit power and anointing to defeat the minions and bring the love of Jesus to the broken, the sick, the lost and bereft. I am an ordinary woman but in the Kingdom, I stand 14 feet tall and wield a sword of such magnitude I terrify the darkness. I will swing that sword of truth to bring deliverance and healing through scripture and the love of King Jesus.

I am an ordinary wife, mom, believer but I will not bow down to fear, weariness or defeat. EVER!

In the Most Powerful Name – The Name above ALL NAMES, Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lord. AMEN

Thanks my family for allowing me to share even when I’m living in a vulnerable place. I adore you. Tell me how I may pray for you this week. Love, Lynn

Psalm 147 11

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Persecution - The Books Of Peter - Will The Church Go Underground?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comSo…… Ahem, ya. (long sigh)

I planned on writing about suffering. So this week I experienced persecution, first-hand. Sheesh! Why does that always happen?

Peter shares a few common themes through his two books. Today we are going to look at suffering. Specifically let’s read:

If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. —1 Peter 4:14

Most of the passages within Peter’s books focus on suffering for our faith. Persecution.

Stay tuned as we will discuss suffering and physical healing next. But today, I believe we should focus on the suffering we endure because of our faith.

It’s obvious when reading through the books of Peter that he was a persecuted man. His feelings and his charge to the churches for endurance are evident. I personally believe that persecution is the only suffering that God truly expects us to experience.

For our SUMite Nation, persecution is very real. We endure a rare and difficult persecution because we face ridicule, shaming, hatred and discord within our home. We also endure persecution in the public realm.

For me, I am equipped to handle the words that come at me from the public realm, well at least, most of the time. When an ugly email arrives or people criticize me for my faith, call me "over the top", a zealot, crazy. I’m really okay. Some of these words have been uttered by close friends and even close relatives. Sometimes it hurts. I take those hurts and their lack of understanding to the feet of Jesus. He always centers me in truth and love. Therefore, I can walk forward, certain of my identity and my purpose and forgive their ridicule.

But it’s different when your faith is mocked and you are insulted or shamed by a loved one with whom you live. That happened to me with week. Ugh!!! It’s pain and it’s hard. I cried. You cry. I get it.

But even through the pain I know I’m blessed. I remain alert and of sober mind. As the enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking to devour me. But I RESIST HIM. I STAND FIRM IN FAITH (truth). And I also know that the God of all grace who called me to his eternal glory in Christ, after I have suffered a little while, will restore me, personally and make me strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Peter 5:8-10 my paraphrase)

My friends, I believe that persecution is only going to ramp up. Today, believers are unable to be honest about their beliefs in the public realm about many issues which are clear in scripture, gay marriage comes to mind, without being called out as haters. I’m not a hater. I have gay friends and I grieve that they haven’t found their identity in Jesus yet. I grieve that this particular subject brings great grief and discord into our marriages, between our children, and between close family members.

This is where persecution “gets real.” We aren’t afforded the peace and protection that other Jesus followers have within an “all-believer” home. We remain on the front lines of the battle every day, every news broadcast, every image of Bruce Jenner, every article where a bakery is shuttered because the owners hold fast to their convictions. These moments are real flash points in our homes.

Truly, we live in confusing times. The challenges to our faith are growing. It’s difficult to walk this path of righteousness. But, we walk with the King! This current tide of public opinion didn’t take Him by surprise. He isn’t up in heaven nervously tapping His fingers, pondering, O, what should we do? He is brilliant, kind, loving, filled with mercy, and unending love. He will walk us through all of this and He stands as our defender and He will bring us through the fire with a supernatural love that overcomes words of hate, misunderstanding, fear and demonic deception.

This one thing I know, 2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials…..

So, my friend, I will cry with you when the words spoken by a loved one cuts through your heart. I will sigh as I watch the path toward the gates of hell grow ever wider. I will pray with never-failing energy, conviction and passion for you, your spouse, your children, our world. I pray and I pray. I trust and I believe. I stand firm and know that I know, in my knower, God is good. He is faithful to rescue, restore, and heal. Our God is able! Peace and love define Him!

And remember, if you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. How amazing is that? 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

*****

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20 Years of Parenting In Faith

SUMites,

Train up a ChildIt’s late in the day on Sunday, Mother’s Day. And it’s quiet now as my son and his family have left for home and my hubby of 23 years is having a Sunday afternoon snooze. I’ve waited years and cried many tears hoping for a day such as today. Mother’s Day was simple yet profound. My family attended church with me this morning and then lunch was at our house. Yep, Mike sat beside me in church again.

Yet as I’m alone in my hallway office, typing, my heart is stirring with some emotions and thoughts about you.

I know Mother’s Day can turn out to be a giant disappointment to many in our community. I want you to know right now, I’m praying for your disappointed heart, even broken heart. Often our family members don’t remember to send a card or phone. Often our husband doesn’t remember and we feel forgotten, taken advantage and hurt. We tend to have high expectations of this day that even a super human would be unable to meet. Yet, we want to be validated for the blood, sweat and tears of mothering. So, let me share some words I scribbled down about two weeks ago as I was thinking about mothering from God’s place of vision.

Two weeks ago my daughter, who will turn 20 years old next month was home from college. She was preparing an assignment for one of her classes in which she was to interview her father about his thoughts, his formative years, his beliefs and opinions. I wanted so badly to listen in but I refrained. I did hear one question from the other room however that struck a deep cord in my soul. She asked her dad, “Do you believe in God?”

I couldn’t hear his reply in the distant room. But as I sat there on the couch, 20 years of God’s faithfulness rush past my eyes. Here is my little girl, whom I prayed for like crazy, dragged to church, preached to, loved on, protected and begged Jesus to keep her heart in His hands, here is my little girl, all grown up… Now as a young woman, full of faith, brave enough to have a conversation with her Dad about faith.

It’s 20 years in the making but I’ve been blessed to see the validation of my years of mothering.

So, today, I will be the voice of hope for you today. I will tell you that the years of poop wiping, dragging kids to church, praying with them, crying with your kids, the years of soccer practice, play rehearsal, cramming for a Monday morning test, the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and on and on and on… All those efforts and thankless tasks, well mom. THEY ARE WORTH IT.

To watch this moment where my daughter, a believer in Jesus, interviews her dad about faith, this is what I poured 20 years of my life out to watch happen before my very eyes.

Faithfulness.

My friends, it’s not just God’s faithfulness but my faithfulness as a mother. We, the believing parent, absolutely impact our children’s faith decision. What we speak over them is powerful. What we model is the life they will live. What we pray matters.

So this Mother’s Day I want to share what I did as an ordinary mama beginning years ago. I prayed. I prayed for that child since before she was born. I pray for her now, by name, every day. I pray for her friends, her heart, her studies, her teachers, her mind, her faith, her concerns, triumphs and heartbreaks. I pray for her future spouse and I pray for her in-laws.

My dear SUMites, if we as parents aren’t praying for our children, who is?

We have the most profound opportunity to prepare our children for success in this world but even greater than that, we have the privilege to prepare them to live forever in the Kingdom of God.

Our prayers matter.

Our prayers are powerful.

God’s heart is moved by the prayers of a righteous mama.

Release your unmet expectations today and just know down deep, you are doing the right thing even if not one noticed today. God approves and is so very well pleased in you, Mom.

I love you. Lynn

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

*****

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A Promise For The Unequally Yoked

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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The Destruction of the Demonic Warrior

Today is a continuation of Stone’s testimony. Part I was posted on Monday. On Friday I intend to get started teaching on the power we have to defeat the demonic. Stay tuned… Now here is Part II from my friend, Stone. 

Temecula, CA
Worship In The Valley: A worship event in Temecula, CA on November 20th. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comThen I was brought back to the battlefield with a new knowledge of the enemy’s strategy and his determination to prevent me from ever setting foot on the battlefield because it is my destiny to speak into the face of darkness and command that he let God’s people go, that his captives be set free in the name of Jesus. Before this battle has begun I know and so does he that he is destined to lose his hold over God’s beloved who he has shackled with fear, depression, suicide, self-mutilation and abuse. He has been lying to them, keeping them captive to his lies for too long and God has heard their cries and is committed to them to receiving their freedom. He is going to use me to speak freedom into the lives of his beloved, His chosen and treasured people and they will receive freedom, He will speak through my wounds and years in bondage. He is going to shine through me and shine His light of life, freedom and joy into the lives of His beloved. 

Then He did something amazing! God called me to cast this spirit out of my life, He told me to command that this demonic spirit no longer has permission or authority to stand at my door and torment my nights, or speak lies into my life. I commanded this spirit, who has followed me my whole life at the command of the enemy, to go that it can’t stand beside my bed keeping me awake all night or at my door shouting at me tormenting me or come into my home at all. God assured me that He is my sword and my shield, my strength and my defender and that His hand of protection is upon me and that I am safe in His presence. He showed me that I have the authority in the name of Jesus to command that this enemy leave my home and torment me no longer. 

I am God’s chosen; His cherished and beloved daughter and I have a destiny to pursue my passion of bringing hope and freedom into the hearts and lives of the lost, the hurting, the broken. He has given me authority to speak hope and freedom into the hearts of those enslaved by suicide, depression, self-mutilation and abuse. As I look at the battlefield I know that this victory is sure, that the enemy is terrified of God’s power and passion for His people, he knows that his reign of terror over them is ending and that they will have freedom.  

Jesus is going to rain down and wash away the chains and shackles he’s been using to hold on to God’s beloved. Their freedom is coming and His people are going to run away from their captivity in waves and there is nothing that he can do to stop it. He could not destroy me, he never could but that didn’t stop him from trying, that didn’t stop him from assigning his chosen warrior to stand at my doorway and torment me, shout lies into my life and try to keep me down, convinced of my own enslavement and utter ruin. But Jesus reached out His hand released me from my chains, and carried me out of my prison of pain and suffering. Jesus led me out into a beautiful meadow and taught me to walk with Him in joy and freedom, he taught me a new song and He is singing it with me. He is with me as He always has been and always will be. 

I love you and I'm praying for healing over you and your family.

Hugs,
Stone

*****

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The Destruction of the Demonic Warrior

It’s Thanksgiving this week. And I know all of us are very busy. And I’ve been very ill again. However, James 5 was in my daily Bible this week so I went for healing prayer. And I know my full healing is now decreed. AMEN! 

This week I have family in town and will likely be crazed entertaining but loving every minute of time I have with my mom who is visiting from Colorado. My daughter will be here and her friends, my son and my granddaughter. It’s going to be a great turkey day! 

Dineen and I are going to take the week off from posting. So today and Wednesday, I want to share with you an email that arrived on Thursday evening from a young woman whom I’ve prayed for, love on, and encouraged through the many months/years of her healing process. I asked her permission to share her testimony. I know there is someone in our Sum family who needs to hear this word. 

Luke 10 19From my friend: Stone.
Temecula, CA
Worship In The Valley: A worship event in Temecula, CA on November 20th

I’ve been in a season of isolation, pain, depression and hopelessness, and yet I’ve known this whole time that it hasn’t been real, I have refused to take ownership of it as from me or a part of me. I’ve prayed against it over and over again, I’ve begged and pleaded with the Lord to free me from this painful darkness and yet it persisted. I kept my eyes on Him and continued to ask for freedom, trusting that it won’t always be like this, that hope and freedom are here and that more is coming. I know that I haven’t been betrayed or abandoned, through all of this Jesus has been right beside me and His passionate love for me has never wavered. I haven’t been alone for even one second, even though I’ve felt completely alone I’ve known that He has never left me alone and that this is not for me, this is not what my life will be like. I’ve known that a shift was coming.               

So tonight I came expecting, I struggled to get there, fighting off a cold and exhaustion from a long and trying week at work but I knew that God had something for me to receive tonight. Upon arrival I wanted to leave, and that feeling grew to where I felt like I couldn’t stand it and I knew without a doubt that it was the enemy’s desperation, his last attempt to prevent me from receiving all that I did tonight. This realization made me that much more determined, more committed to staying and receiving all that He had in store for me tonight.               

Tonight I got to see myself the way my mentors have been describing to me. Tonight I got to see myself as a warrior, a leader, strong and brave, leading a strong and mighty army into battle. This description has been terrifying me but tonight it was incredible because He also gave me a peace and an incredibly deep assurance that everyone who had come with me onto this battlefield is someone I chose because I trust them. God assured me that everyone who has joined in this army is someone I can trust. He gave me peace about the discernment He has given me and the things He has shown me over the last few years as we’ve built this tribe around me. As I followed Him into the heart of this battlefield He showed me just how sure the enemy is of his coming defeat. He knows we’re coming, that I have my eye on him and my heart set on his defeat, he knows that we’ve come for his captives; we’ve come united in Jesus to set his captives free.               

As the fire grew within me I saw into my past, but from a whole new perspective, I saw the strategy of the enemy and the power and goodness of God. I saw His hand of protection over me always, and I knew that this was all set in motion before I was born and that I’ve never been alone. As the Pastor spoke of peaceful sleep I was reminded of the years I spent my nights in terror. I remembered the nights I wept before The Lord, crying out the name of Jesus over and over for hours. As a young child I couldn’t see Him there, I begged and pleaded in what I thought was in vain, but throughout this past year Jesus has been showing me exactly where He was. As I stared into the face of darkness at the demon that the devil stationed outside my bedroom doorway Jesus stood in the doorway of my room as my shield, keeping her from entering my room and destroying me. I saw this spirit outside my room for years, I was always afraid for my life because its goal was to destroy me, convince me that I meant nothing to God, that I was completely and utterly alone, that I was unloved, betrayed and abandoned, hopeless.               

What I saw tonight was just how strategic this assignment was, God showed me that my destiny has always been to march on the enemy’s camp and demand that His captives be set free from cutting, suicide, depression and abuse and that through me He would speak into the hearts of His beloved and show them that they are free. I saw the enemy’s determination to destroy me, to crush me to a point where I would never rise up and destroy his hold on God’s children through depression and suffering. I saw that he did not have authority to kill me; it didn’t stop him from trying or keep him from trying to destroy me. He selected a strong and determined warrior to stand at my door every night for years and for years they stood outside my bedroom instilling fear, depression and lies into my heart, all night long they called out to me, shouting lies of my worthlessness, of my smallness and insignificance, threating pain, death, dismemberment and utter destruction, ruin. He sent a chosen warrior but God sent His Son. 

Jesus stood inside my bedroom every night looking into the face of this chosen warrior and spoke the truth, He spoke of the coming destruction, He reminded them that He has already won the war and He spoke truth and love into my room and over me.   —End Part I… Stone

 

Okay, my friends it gets even better. Tune in Wednesday and let this testimony set you free. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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God's Preparation: Trials and Challenges

PrayerBlock2Dear Friends, one of the most extraordinary things that God is showing me of late is how interconnected things are and how often we miss it. So here is the first part of an unexpected series—I say unexpected because I'd made notes for what I thought were four different posts and then realized they are very much interconnected and make a whole. I love how God does that!

I remember years ago thinking that as I got older, "things" (i.e. life in general) would get easier, because I would be wiser, more experienced (is that redundant?) and overall have a better grip on life. In some ways that has proved true, but I'm finding that the deeper I seek to walk with God, the challenges have grown. Yes, we have a relentless enemy determined to to keep us from walking in our full destiny (remember, he can't take away our salvation, but he can make us ineffective, if we let him), but we serve and love a God who is even more relentless in His love and purposes and Who WILL NOT FAIL US. He is the one we will focus upon in this series.

Challenges and trials are part of life. I've learned to accept that and realize there is no such thing as a life free of these situations. Not on this side of heaven, anyway. Take hope in this my friends, for one day our Lord Jesus will dry our tears and we will be complete (realized, fully free, perfected to completion) in His presence in the heavenly realms.

In the meantime, the foundational truth that is crucial once again for us to embrace and understand is that God is good and that He brings purpose and redemption in each of us. Not just of who we are but also from our lives—our trials, struggles, pain and even those situations and conditions that seem so impossible to us from our limited understanding and perspective. This is the heart and truth of Romans 8:28 and a truth I believe we MUST revisit and reiterate over and over again because this is where the enemy will hit us hardest and attempt to make us doubt God's goodness.

Let's look at the story of Jesus walking on water:

When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He *came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and *said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened. — Mark 6:45-52 (NASB)

First, I want to point out a telling word in the second line, verse 48. The word “straining” in Greek is basanizō, and means to torture, battered, felt...tormented, pain, straining, torment, tormented.

These men were beyond the point of being afraid. It was somewhere between three and six in the dark morning hours, they most likely couldn’t see a thing because the storm covered the moon, and they were terrified and saw no way out. I find the use of this word, basanizō, very interesting, because it’s not one I would have expected to find in this story. Perhaps God wanted us to understand that no matter how deep our fear and suffering run, He will prevail.

But that’s not the point I want to bring out today. (Hang with me just a little longer. I actually have three points to share with you.) Jesus revealed Himself in such a way as to surpass the the terror of the storm—they thought he was a ghost and were terrified. Right away, their perspectives shifted from the storm to His awe-inspiring and fear rendering presence.

Point #1: God will present Himself stronger, larger and more awe-inspiring than the trial, conflict, or enemy you face.

As Jesus approached the boat, He says to “take courage; It is I, do not be afraid.” He’s telling His disciples (His friends and His children) to put faith in WHO HE IS. Not in what He can do, but to trust Who Jesus is above the storm whirling around them. Otherwise, when the storm rages longer than our first cry for help, we will think that either God hasn’t heard us, that He’s tormenting us, or that He failed. The enemy will do whatever he can to make the waves of these lies fill your boat if you let him.

Point #2: God wants your faith and trust to rest in WHO He is and not in what He can or could do in your circumstances.

And this is the part I find the most interesting and telling, my dear friends. As Jesus approached, the first thing He did was present Himself, His awe-inspiring presence. Then He got into the boat with them. And if you’ll notice, Scripture doesn’t say that Jesus made the storm go away. Only that He made the winds stop.

Did the storm clouds still remain? My gut says at this point, it really didn’t matter. More importantly, Jesus gave the disciples the reassurance of His presence with them. And my friends, we ALWAYS have that reassurance in us in the presence of His Holy Spirit.

Point #3: God will give us His presence, comfort and reassurance first, then will quiet the storm around us so that we can follow His leading to calmer shores.

Just as Jesus came to the disciples to rescue them with His presence, He came for us all in our tormented and storm-ridden states to save and rescue us.

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

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

I believe that in everything we walk, suffer, strive and struggle through, God has a plan and a purpose. And if you’ll notice in the Scriptures above, it’s in His timing. Wants to restore, support and strength us so that He can place us on that firm foundation—the foundation of Jesus, which is unshakable, isn’t threatened by storms and can walk on water.

Standing for Jesus!

Dineensig

 

 

*****

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The Truest Words From The Heart of Every Believer In A Spiritual Mismatched Marriage

Today I'm sharing a letter I received last week. I haven known Tamara for a very long time. She is likely one of our very earliest readers. She has walked in her uneuqlly yoked marriage for many years. In her short email I think she captured the truest parts of our heart. I'm not sure how this letter will affect you but I know it was tender, difficult and yet an encouragment. Lynn

Hello Dear Friend,  Hello Dear Friend

As I read your excerpts in that message – in God Sized Dreaming – I thought yes, only we, who are in that situation understand it. 

I was so sure Jack wanted to accept the Lords calling. But I was wrong. We had some very good and difficult talks and he explained very clearly: I don’t want to change. I don’t need to change. I believe enough to get me into heaven. 

So I must go alone and still be married. I am sure God will carry and lead me and I am sure I shall experience wonderful God-moments but still..... 

My marriage is a disappointment. 

This is not why I got married. I wasn’t a Christian when we married but the vision was always the same: together we walk, work, fight for the same goal.....whatever it is. But this goal of mine: JESUS,,,,,,,Isn’t his goal. So I must walk alone or fall down and I don’t like falling. 

God touched me very clearly and deeply this May and I know He will bring me safely to His harbor. I know He will give me wonderful friends, He already has, to love and comfort me and have fellowship with. But He can’t replace not having a husband at my side. 

I hope someday I will understand and see why we had to walk this very disappointing walk. We can write all we want; it doesn’t change the fact that we are alone in faith in our marriages. I love how you support and encourage at SUM. That is very important. I don’t know where I would be today without that. And then......one matures and when the hubbie doesn’t accept Christ you have to make a decision: Do I still trust in the Lord even if my husband doesn’t? Do I trust the Lord enough to stay with a person who doesn’t love my God? Do I trust Gods word that He will take care of me and all of my needs even if it doesn’t look like it?  Am I willing to decide to love this person even if he doesn’t honor my way of life? And when you can say yes to all then you know: this is what grown-up in God is like. It is painful and yet it is freedom in Christ and true worship: I have decided to follow Jesus, even if this means going alone. 

Do you know what I hope I will hear and understand too, Lynn? Why was it so difficult for our spouses to accept Christ? I look at your Mike, I don’t remember where you posted it, with your grandchild, and I thought: why is it so difficult for you to accept Christ with such a loving devoted wife? And then I realized, it is not about us it is about their own decision: Do I need Christ, or not?????     So very sad for all those lost years. 

That is also what makes me happy: either here on earth when they accept Christ or in heaven when we don’t need to think about that anymore we will look back and realize: it was only a blink of an eye in time .....in comparison of our Great God in Heaven. 

Be ever, ever, ever so blessed, you and the lovely Dineen for your loyal and great service in God, 

Loving greetings Tamara

Part II of our interview was on God Sized Dreams here. Thank you Christine Wright and team for allowing us to share the hope we have over at your home. PS. Christine is also a SUMite. I stand amazed to see all of the ministries that have arisen out of this body of Christ here in our SUMite Nation. I love you my family, Lynn

*****

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The Seven Seasons of The Walls

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com
Hello SUMite Nation: 

Today I want to share some thoughts as we continue our journey toward the Promised Land. Remember we have been talking about seasons. If we can condense the long years and seasons and see them from heaven’s view. this is what our journey truly looks like. And it’s beautiful. 

Day two is finished and were back at the camp. But you know what is happening here? With each step it’s a revelation of how to do this journey better, more effective, with confidence. We learn to find the joy as we cross the same territory. We sing to our kids along the way and share stories of hope. We tell them of the glory of God. 

On day three, we fall down. We are exhausted, confused and just plain tired. It’s our brother's and sister's turn to come along side of us, pick us up and carry the load. It’s our family, our friends, our neighbors in the tent next door. A stranger. Angels. We don’t have to do this on our own strength. We are carried and loved. Remember the story of friends bringing a man on the mat to Jesus because of their love?

Half way through we are healed because we choose to believe in the voice that spoke. There angels that guide. The strength and truth of Joshua (Jesus) His faithfulness was proven over and again as we traveled years in the wilderness. We become more and more like Jesus. 

Day – season- four.. It’s more of the same. The crowd on the walls have grown insolent. Any release or change or surrender from the kingdom behind the walls is unexpected. More of the same. More or the same. It’s along…. Long journey…. Twenty two years and counting for me. 

But step by step, we get through the season a little faster. It’s not as devastating. We know who to go to for help, encouragement and love.  Just as Joshua leads the Israelites, Jesus leads us. The Father’s love sustains us. We have a promise. We have many, many promises. And we have experienced the faithfulness of our Lord. We know His goodness. 

Day five.. We still don’t know the end of the story. We battle up! We fast, we pray. We gather the intercessors… We fight in the spirit. Spiritual Warfare intensifies. Perhaps the enemy camp sent out sentinels in the night and sabotaged our camp… Infected our children??? We pray and pray…. 

Still nothing. The walls remain…. (But something is happening we just can’t see it yet.) 

Day six… more marching. More learning. Leading others. Singing in the camp. Healing in the camp. Worship in the camp. The Presence in the camp. I wonder, have we been in the Promised Land all along????? 

Day seven… the hardest of all. Not only walking six times around (six seasons) but on this day, this season we must walk seven times around without stopping. We ask God why didn’t this get easier? The mocking from the inhabitants behind the wall increases. The determination in our will increases because we have experience the Presence. Through the six preceding days we have learned to do this walk well. We have calloused in the right places. We are fortified. Sturdied, made strong because of the walking, the pressure, the training. The we have established faith because we know God is preparing all things according to His perfect plan and purposes.

We are in the seven times around. I’m not sure where I am in this but I’ve come this far and will never relent. There are promises behind those walls. There are captives to be liberated and plunder to be regained. Everything that was stolen. And there is a devil to be defeated and cast into the lake of fire. We, the saints, are the chosen to defeat the enemy with our worship.

This is who we are. And you know what waits us now.... The sound of the Shofar... Stay tuned. That glorious moment is a head in our story. I love you my friends. Have a great week. Hugs, Lynn

 

I have so much to tell you about what is developing for our Walmart Prayer Day. It’s going to be so much more than I first glimpsed when God whispered this idea to me. I will have an update for you on Friday. But I need a prayer right now. 

I have called the store twice, paid a personal visit on Saturday trying to get a date booked on their community calendar. Would you pray that on Monday I am able to speak with Isabel and get this date finalized? Thank you for praying. …. And devil… You are not going to stop this so in the name of Jesus, Lord, please open up heaven above this store and let this date booking happen without further delay. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

*****

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Battlefield of the Mind: Pleading the Blood of Jesus

ThemindThe last three weeks we have talked about the battlefield of the mind and the transformation that the Bible speaks of in Romans 12:2, first with Feasting on God’s Word, then part two, Claiming and Praying God’s Promises and last week, Giving the Holy Spirit Authority. This week I want to talk about pleading the blood of Jesus. Through this time of breaking and rebuilding that Abba has had me in, He’s given me a deeper understanding and appreciation of the ramifications and power of the blood of Christ and what makes it so powerful.

As we travel through the Word of God, we see His ultimate plan of one perfect and final sacrifice. The Old Testament is the promise of the Messiah and the preparation of His coming. The New Testament is the revelation of the Messiah and His salvation plan for us. Sacrificial blood runs through the entire Bible.

Recently, God has bombarded me with Scriptures about the living water. First with the story of Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 where Jesus speaks to her of a water that will quench her thirst for eternity. In John 7:38 Jesus speaks again about those who are thirsty coming to Him and He refers to the Old Testament Scriptures that have declared, “Rivers of living water will flow from His heart.”

Scriptures like Isaiah 12:3, Psalm 36:9 and Revelations 21:6 led me on a trail of understanding like a blood hound sniffing out his prize (yes, perhaps pun intended). I knew God wanted me to understand the connection of the water of life to the blood of Christ as He led me to more truths in His Word.

Scripture tells us the depth of the testing of our Savior, that He experienced all of the same testings we do, so that He would understand our weaknesses (Heb 4:17-18). Only in John’s account do we see Jesus say, “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)

It is the same Greek word that is used in the other accounts where Jesus speaks of thirst. As God began putting the pieces together for me, I heard Abba say, “even unto death” and I literally shook as the revelation came. Jesus Christ didn’t just die a physical death. He died a spiritual death as well.

He spoke of thirst after He cried out to the Father, asking why He had forsaken (abandoned) Him (Matt. 27:46). Jesus’ sacrifice had to be more than just physical otherwise the animal sacrifices would have been enough. (And I dare to say also that perhaps the sour wine offered for His physical thirst was a symbol of the communion shared with His disciples just hours before and was now broken.)

His death had to reach from the physical to the spiritual and only by the shedding of the holy and powerful blood of Jesus—who first was fully God and became fully man as well—could the circle be completed. Jesus said it was finished and the man/God returned to the Father (John 13:3). I believe Paul’s statement in Ephesians 4:9 that Jesus also descended to the lower, earthly regions is part of this understanding as well.

Now think of your pre-believer’s separation from God in the light that Jesus experienced it too. He understands and knows, yet He still loves this person. As can we with His love and living water flowing through us!

(Let me interject one other piece of symbolism from Exodus 15 where Moses and the Israelites come to Marah, the place of the bitter water. What is Moses told to throw into the water to make them sweet—life giving? A piece of wood. I believe the wood symbolized the cross of Christ to come, who would by His death on those beams would release the living waters to all who thirst.)

The healing blood of Jesus is forever and eternal, and it affects us in all realms—the physical and the spiritual. Just like I prayed for the Holy Spirit to have authority in all those places in my life, I plead the blood of Jesus over those areas as well to bring healing and transformation. As the song says, there is power in the blood of Jesus. I pray something like this—not legalistically but when I feel I need it:

I plead the blood of Jesus over my mind, my heart, my body, my spirit, my soul, my will, my thoughts, my emotions and my feelings.

Or as I prayed yesterday, because this is where I felt my greatest need:

Lord Jesus, I plead your saving, holy and protecting blood over my will and my motivations. Align them with the Father’s.

Dear friends, just like a garden, our minds and emotions need daily care and feeding in order to grow, bloom and prosper. This is part of claiming our abundant life in Jesus (John 10:10), one we can look forward to daily with joy as we rest in Him (Be still and know that I am God. — Psalm 46:10). Let Him do that work He has promised to complete (Phil. 1:6).

As He is in us, we are in Him (1 John 4:13). He is the one doing the work and He will not fail (1 Thess. 5:24). All we need is a willing and seeking heart (Jer. 29:13).

The cross is His greatest testimony that He finishes everything He starts and His blood was, is and forever will be the proof of that promise.

My friends, take time to look of the Scriptures and study them for yourself. Pray for wisdom and revelation to know Him better (Eph 1:17) and that you would know the depths of His great love for you (Eph 3:18). This year of intimacy with Him is not at all what I expected. It hasn’t been easy but it has been so much more than I imagined (Eph. 3:20).

Praying all this for you!
Dineen

*****

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2014 A Year of Hope

Hello My Friends, 

IMG_1488[1]Well there is a lot happening around here. On Monday, my son and his family, his wife and daughter, Elise, who is 10 months old will be moving in with us. They are relocating from Las Vegas, NV to start a new life here in California. 

This is great news for a grammy’s heart. But what is even better news is how this came about. 

I prayed. 

I prayed for years and years asking the Lord to bring my son near. There were seasons, years, where that hope seemed impossible. It was inconceivable that my son would move… ever… So when this all came about, quite quickly, I can only shout to the faithfulness of our God. And if you have been a reader for any amount of time here at SUM, you will know that in the past 12 months I have FINALLY received the answers to prayers prayed for years and years. 

My daughter’s school choice… And now my son is moving near. 

I’m sharing this good news for two reasons. I’m giving public thanks to my Father for answering this momma's heartfelt prayers for her kids. And I want to encourage you to continue to press forward and believe for the things you pray that are within God’s will. AMEN. 

Now on to other things. Next week, Dineen are sharing a few things about what is happening in our book writing. And then following that, we will launch into the Spiritual Warfare series and tackle the Orphan Spirit, and the Religious Spirit and more.. Way cool stuff that will truly help you battle for your family. We will stay on this topic until God moves me out. 

But HERE IS THE REALLY COOL NEWS. Dineen and I received an email from one of the speakers we heard during our conference at Bethel. This man has a prophetic voice and he shares the following about 2014. As I read it, it greatly encouraged me about the coming year. I pray it also encourages you. 

Great things await this community. I really mean this. GREAT THINGS.. 

So here is a portion of the 2014 message by Bob Hartley: 

God spoke from Psalm 67 that He is going to open up His face and His ways so that He will be seen and known, not only among His people, but also among whole cities, and even nations, that will open their gates to Him. I saw specific nations invite Him, with His gifts and building plan, into their cities. These cities will become radiant with joy and pulsate with the presence of God. They will receive and enjoy many breakthroughs in every area of life. Jesus has also shown me how thrilled He truly is that these people and places are welcoming Him to bless and lead them. 

There is so much more but 2014 is going to be a hopeful year. And we are the Hope-Restorers. So please read along with me Psalm 67 and let this passage become true here on earth as it is in heaven:

 

Psalm 67: NIV 

May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face shine on us—
so that your ways may be known on earth,
    your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you rule the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations of the earth.
May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest;
    God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still,
    so that all the ends of the earth will fear him. 

My friends, what does this verse mean to you? Love you. Lynn

*****

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Weekend Worship — We are Overcomers!

My friends, I just love our weekend worship time together. Today I want to share a couple things with you. The first is something God whispered to me one morning during my quiet time as I read a devo that talked about planting seeds (It's popping up everywhere! Yes, punned inteded. LOL!):

Eternity = The seeds of salvation.

Then God reminded me of this verse of Scripture that I have prayed for my husband and many unbelievers for several years:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. — Ecclesiastes 3:11

The seeds of salvation are planted in us from the very beginning. That is God's heart for us. So I'm praying for God to water and sprout those seeds in my hubby so he will be one of the many "harvested" during the Great Harvest!

The second is an article that I wrote for Today's Christian Woman called "Renewing My Marriage." I pray it's an encouragement and a blessing to you, my friends.

ArticleIcon
And finally, here are a copule more worship songs for you. The first is a special request from Lynn. God is speaking to her heart for healing with this song. It's awesome!

This next one is by Mandisa, called Overcomer. I'm betting you probably heard it on the radio already many times but I want you to listen to it this time and hear it as if it's being sung just to you. I spent a lot of time before the throne this week praying for all of you and I want you to know that you are overcomers and I believe in you! And this is God's encouragement to us too!

Love you all so much!
Dineen

*****

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A Step of Faith

IStock_000008478972XSmallMy precious friends, God has put a fire in my heart to speak to you about taking a step of faith. There is something God is calling many of us to do—something unique to our place and time and season—and He’s given you a promise that goes with this. And maybe you’ve prayed and waited for a long time for this promise but nothing is happening.

What did God call you to do first? What was His call to action? Because as we move forward in this faith journey (and we must always be maturing), our faith in action becomes more crucial to our journey forward. In other words, we will have to take a believing step of faith forward to activate the promise we’ve been given.

Let me explain this with the story of Israel crossing the Jordan in Joshua 3. First let’s set the stage with the Israelites and the Red Sea. At this point the Israelites are very “young” in their faith walk with God. They’re just getting the lay of the land, so to speak and yes, pun intended. They witness an entire ocean part before their eyes by the hand of God. This is their point of reference as they approach the Jordan, which is at its fullest at this time of the year, in this season of harvest. The Jordan is overflowing. It’s a time to claim new territory.

Amidst this picture, Joshua relays God’s instructions to the Israelites:

Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over ahead of you into the Jordan. Now then, take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man for each tribe. It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap. — Joshua 3:11-13

The Jordan is the next step (literally and figuratively) in the Israelites faith journey. This time God is not going to move the waters first. He’s calling the priests and all the Israelites to take a step of faith first—to step into the water before God moves it. God has already proven He is capable of such a feat with the feet (oh, I just couldn’t resist that one!). Now, He wants to see the Israelites grow in their faith and belief in Him—to believe God—and trust Him to do what He said He would do.

So when the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant before the people, and when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest), the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan. — Joshua 3:14-17

The priests were instructed to step first, not to wait for the waters to part. They had to take a step of faith. Any by doing so, the waters moved, just as God said they would. But God did even more with their step of faith:

  1. They crossed on dry ground. God could have left the ground wet, which most likely would have meant the priests feet would have sunk into the mud, especially under the weight of the ark of the covenant. God made a way for the priests that was complete to God’s vision of their purpose and journey. God does this for us as well. When He calls us to a direction, He prepares the way. That doesn’t mean it will be easy but with God, we will not fail.
  2. They stood in the middle, not the edge. The priests not only stood in the middle, they stood firm and in place with the ark of the covenant on their shoulders. This is the promise of God’s presence in their lives and a future with Him. The way had been prepared for them, now they prepared the way for rest of the Israelites. Think of your home as that parted river and God is asking you to stand firm with His presence in and upon you. You bear the promise for your future and the future of all who will pass with you.
  3. Israel crossed on the same dry ground. The entire nation of Israel passed through under the protection of the priests’ presence. This is part of our sanctification of our family through our faith (remember 1 Cor 7:14). We bring our spouse, our children—all those we claim under the umbrella of our home and faith—over the dry ground to the other side. This is how our unbelieving spouses and loved ones are blessed through us and by our prayers for them. As we stand firm in whatever God has called us to do, we bring those we are praying for with us.
  4. They crossed opposite Jericho with Adam a great distance away. I can’t help but wonder if Adam is mentioned as a reminder of where they came from. Where we come from. Not as a threat but to see our past sins as far away and show us how far we have come. God had them cross in the exact place and position for their next challenge and step in the promise. Each step of faith builds upon the last and prepares for the next. Jericho would be there next victory. They didn’t know this but God did.

My friends, I pray I’ve adequately conveyed this amazing truth. Whatever it is that God has told you, given you do to, or shown you, move forward and believe God! Do not hesitate or debate, because until you take a step of faith, the promise remains a mere thought.

If God is calling you to believe Him and trust Him more, do it. Anytime doubt enters your mind, boot it out and affirm the word that God has given you. Claim it as your truth and that it is done! If God is calling you to an action, do it! Even if it scary and uncomfortable, move forward with this action (just like the Priests taking that first step into the raging waters) and the promise given will be activated.

And if God is calling you to simply stand, then stand and know that your promise is on the way. God completes everything He sets in motion but He wants us to be a part of it. He will wait on us to make the first move. This is how we claim and hold new territory in our lives.

So move! Be bold! Be courageous! God never expects us to do these things on our own. He is standing right there with us through the entire journey preparing the way, strengthening us for the weight we are called to carry, entrusting us with the promise of those we bring along the way, and guarding over our path until the completion.

My friends, this message is as much for me as it is for you. In the past my fear of the unknown has kept me planted in comfortable places but at a price. We miss out on the wild adventure of living life with God in the unexpected when we do that. I'm learning to step out in faith more and more, and each time I do, God is right there showing me or doing something new in my life.

God wants this for you too! So take that step of faith, precious one. If you're not sure what this step is, ask Him. God is waiting and ready to show you!

Love you fiercely in Jesus!
Dineen

*****

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I Wanted to Stop Praying

I wonder if you are feeling weary? 

I know this month we are writing about love and I do have so much more rolling around in my brain to share about love. God’s love, our self-love and loving others. But, now for almost a week, I’m just not in the “mood” to write about that. 

What I’m wrangling with this season is weariness. 

It crystalized for me last week when I actually heard myself whisper out loud to the Lord, these words, “Lord, I’m just so weary of constantly fighting the battle. I’m tired of always being on the front lines. I’m exhausted hoping and waiting for the salvation of my husband. I’m fatigued as I pray almost incessantly for my children.” 

As soon as this little prayer left my lips, the words then hit my brain and then my heart. In the moment I wanted to stop praying so badly. I want to stop with my worry and cease the battling with the devil over the people I love. 

When I add to this my demanding writing schedule, travel last week, the entire “getting ready for Christmas” demands and then pile on top the shooting at Sandy Hook, well, it’s just A LOT!

My spirit feels beat up and weak. 

What do we do when it’s A LOT and there is not an end in sight? I mean there is still so much to do to be ready for Christmas. I’m traveling again on Christmas day to see my son for his 30th birthday. (Shhhhhh, It’s a surprise.) And …. and…. and… I know you KNOW what I’m talking about. 

Right now, this hour, I’m not sure I know what to “do.” And I don’t have a wonderful story to share with you that God has arrived to make my life easier. 

However, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper this verse over and over into my ears for days now. 

Galatians 6:9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith. (MSG) 

Okay, it’s kinda a pep talk and it does help me refoces a little bit. But then I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Lynn, if you stop praying for your husband, your son and your daughter, who will be covering them with prayer.” 

I respond, “O Lord, no one. NO ONE.” 

“Exactly.” 

Me again, “O Lord that’s what the devil wants, itsn't it? My family needs my covering more than anything right now. Our community of SUM, the nation, Sandy Hook, needs my prayer covering.” 

“Lynn, I know your weary and I will give you rest soon. But, you CANNOT stop your battles in the prayer realm. You must persevere. You must know that your words are impacting the people for whom you pray. I have revealed some of the astonishing results already.You must be assured that if you were to quit, setbacks might happen.” 

And THEN….. God reminded me of a few things to set my soul back in order:

He is the First and Last,
The Beginning and the End! 

He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all!
He is the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all times.
He always was, He always is, and He always will be ...
unmoved, unchanged, undefeated, and never undone!

He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom!
He was dead and brought life!
He is risen and brings power!
He reigns and brings Peace!
The world can't understand him,
The armies can't defeat Him,
The schools can't explain Him, and The leaders can't ignore Him.
Herod couldn't kill Him, The Pharisees couldn't confuse Him,  and The people couldn't hold Him!
Nero couldn't crush Him, Hitler couldn't silence Him,
The New Age can't replace Him, and the media can't explain Him away!

He is light, love, longevity, and Lord.
He is goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God.
He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure. 

His ways are right,
His word is eternal,
His will is unchanging, and His mind is on me.
He is my Savior,
He is my guide, and He is my peace!
He is my Joy,
He is my comfort,
He is my Lord, and He rules my life! 

I serve Him because His bond is love, His burden is light, and His goal for me is abundant life. 

I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the ancient of days, the ruler of rulers, the leader of leaders, the overseer of the overcomers, and is to come. And if that seems impressive to you, try this for size.

His goal is relationship!
He will never leave me,
never forsake me,
never mislead me,
never forget me,
never overlook me and
never cancel my appointment in His appointment book! 

When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am blind, He leads me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution, He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me!
When I face loss, He provides for me!
When I face Death, He carries me Home! 

He is everything for everybody everywhere, every time, and every way.
He is God, He is faithful. I am His, and He is mine!

Wow, it's amazing how our Great King always knows what we need.
Merry Christmas, Lynn

Wisemen

*****

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A Step of Faith

IStock_000020754228XSmallIn the last week I’ve come across two kinds of believers. The first is an older widow who has walked some challenging roads of life and loss and has become a very special influence and inspiration to me. We were discussing our loved ones who are still resisting God—my husband, her grandson. Our prebelievers.

Her answer is simply it’s a matter of time because we know we are praying God’s will. It’s as simple as that for her. No doubt, no questioning. At some point our prebelievers will step into belief because it’s God’s will.

The other is a gentleman whose wife and he have suffered more loss than I can imagine. He walks the road of faith but I see his discouragement, his despair. His wife turned away long ago. He expressed a kind of “what’s the point” perspective to me in regards to Bible study because it just seemed to make things more difficult.

I could only answer him that as we walk in this world we can know two things. One, this is not our home, and two, the closer we draw to God, the harder the enemy works to pull us away. Even Jesus said we will have trouble in this world, but I confess, at times, like this man, I have wondered how much I will have to endure.

I believe it’s normal for us to have doubts. God does not expect us to have perfect faith. Hebrews 12:2 tells us Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. And the key to running this race is the keep our eyes fixed on Him in order to persevere.

Even the man who exclaimed to Jesus that he believed asks Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief in the very same line (Mark 9:24). My translation: “I believe but I want to believe more.” I think this is the path many of us are on, or dare I say all of us?

A while back someone on Twitter replied to my tweet about Big Faith with, “I don’t need to have big faith, I have a big God.”

He’s right, but in a way, he was also wrong. I can’t fully put into words yet what this all means. And I’m not saying our degree of faith determines whether God will answer us or not. That’s completely untrue and if it were, we’d have no stories of how God has met his staunchest resisters with love and acceptance. Or saved the lost ones whom others assumed unsavable.

As I said, God does not expect us to have perfect faith but He does want us to believe Him. Not just in Him but to believe Him when His Word tells us things like not to worry, that He’s with us always and not to be afraid.

Perhaps the difference in these two kinds of believers I mentioned is where their focus is. The first is set on Jesus, the second is fixed on trials. The first is a constant reminder of promise and the second of despair.

In the end, we make the choice of what to believe and what (or Who) to focus on. Think of it like going to see a movie. We can sit in the theater watching the people around us talking or texting during the show, noticing the gum stuck to the seat in front of us, or the garbage strewn on the floor from the last showing. Or, we can focus on the movie playing on the big screen, waiting in anticipation for what’s going to happen next.

Despair or expectation.

When we focus on God we will see miracles, the impossible become possible and faith the size of mustard seeds sprout into the strongest of trees. I know it’s not easy. There are days that I seem to see more of the gum stuck to the floor than the story playing out in front of me. I am so very thankful God is patient with my times of unbelief and waits patiently for me to lift my eyes back up.

The enemy wants us to walk in despair, discouragement and discontent. Then we become the victims of our own bitterness. God desires us to walk in hopeful expectation, truth, and knowledge of Who He is. Then we are no longer defined by our trials but by the confidence of knowing we are totally loved by God and that He is in complete control.

Closing the gap between doubt and belief takes a step of faith, and when we take that step, we release the power of God’s Holy Spirit. And that, my friends, is when we begin to walk in victory and joy!

Praying & believing,
Dineen

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Taking a Walk with Nehemiah, Part 2

IStock_000001537091XSmallOn Tuesday we started our journey with Nehemiah and his calling to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. In the comments, Shelly pointed something amazing out in Nehemiah 2:

After this post I was intrigued to read Nehemiah myself with the perspective of marriage at hand. Only made it to chapter 2 but what stood out was 2:21... "The God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall (marriage). But you (those who were against him, my interpretation...satan) But you have no share, legal right, or historic claim in Jerusalem (my home)." Satan has no share, legal right or historic claim to our marriages! A powerful statement to remember when the battlefield of the mind seems to be getting the best of you.

Is that not amazing? I love how Shelly took this piece of God's Word and brought out the truth we could apply to our marriages. Make a prayer out of this, my friends, and let's put the enemy of our marriages on the run!

Now onward...

I left you with some questions to consider about doubts. After the doubts, the voice of fear chimed in next. They were threatened with death. Do you find at times that you fear the "death" of your marriage? That the current situation or constant conflict will result in this kind of loss? I know I have at times.

In verse 14 Nehemiah says something we hear repeatedly (repeated even more than God's messages of love) thought the Bible.

Do not be afraid.

Nehemiah tells them not to be afraid and to fight for their families and houses. Do these men go to battle and fight the men opposing them? No, they stand their ground and continue in the calling God has place on their hearts. That same commitment and calling spoken of in verse six when they built the wall to half its height with all their hearts.

Nehemiah then divides the men into workers and defenders. The defenders are equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. Even the workers held a weapon as they built. They didn't even take off their clothes to sleep or put down their weapons to get water. They continued to do what God asked and stood firm in the calling. Sound familiar? Isn't this the same "standing" spoken of in Ephesians 6:10?

Now think of those weapons as prayers. These men were constantly armed with weapons just as we are to be constantly armed with prayer and God's Word (there's our armor).

Now look at verse 20 where Nehemiah says, "Our God will fight for us." Who's that doing the fighting again?

God.

God did the fighting. The men did the believing. They held onto the vision of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, of seeing their home repaired and made strong for God's glory.

We are being called to a similar place, my friends. God is calling us to stand firm for our marriages, to hold our prayers and God's Word firmly in hand and use them. As God fights for our unbelievers and our family, we are standing firm in our place to pray and believe in God's plan for our lives, our marriages and our children.

The wall of Jerusalem was completed. Can you imagine the cheers of these men when the past beam was put in place? They held fast to the vision of a completed wall and stayed faithful.

Catch the vision God has for your marriage. Ask Him to show you what needs rebuilding, repairing and reinforcement. I’m doing this myself right now. God has alerted me to places that are weak and could give the enemy entrance.

I'm standing my ground for my marriage, for my husband’s impending salvation, for the future of my family. I have my armor on and God’s Scripture in hand as I work, as I pray. The enemy tried to make me think I faced an impossible situation but God reminded me He is the one working and the very situation I feared is what He is using to bring His plan to completion. I will not be afraid.

How about you, my friend? Are you willing to stand for your marriage and let God fight for you? Let’s stand together. God is fighting for us!

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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The Stories Behind the Story

SoulSaverHello again, dear friends. First, I want to give a big hug and shout out to Lynn for letting me monopolize the blog this week to share this story with you. She rocks!

Second, I want to thank you again for sharing this with me. It’s the culmination of a dream that started in 2009 and the SUM community is a very important part of it. I’m so excited to share some additional tid bits about the birth and progression of this story with you.

How The Soul Saver turned out to be almost prophetic in my life.
When I started writing the story in 2009, it was just a glimmer in my heart and mind. I knew the basics. I knew Lexie was a believer. I knew her husband, Hugh, was an atheist and a physics professor at Stanford University. And I knew they’d lost a child to a brain tumor.

With a short synopsis and the first few chapters in hand,I went to a writers conference that September to pitch the story to some editors and see what kind of reaction I would get. I left this conference without any doubts that I was to write it. Not because of anything said by an editor, but because God made it clear that was His plan.

Here’s where it gets a little “strange.” About two weeks after I got home, we found out my youngest daughter had a malignant brain tumor. We were sent to Lucille Packard (love the folks there!) for her surgeries. Her radiation treatments were to be done at Stanford Hospital, which is attached to Lucille Packard AND Stanford University.

Because of where the tumor was, Leslie’s radiation treatments had to be designed so as to treat the area and not bombard the rest of her brain and eyes. This treatment was carefully designed by a physics professor at Stanford University.

God-bumps anyone?

And all the weeks we were driving back and forth to the hospitals became my research for the book. Can you believe it?

What made me nearly give up on Lexie’s story.
Being a writer isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work, and you get a lot of rejections. In the fall of 2010, I was so hopeful that we (my agent and I) had found a home for Lexie’s story. I believed that The Soul Saver and Winning Him Without Words were a perfect match, like Fireproof and the Love Dare. (I wished our publisher of Winning Him handled fiction, but alas they don’t. Regal and our precious editor there, Kim Bangs, have been our greatest champions in getting our message out.)

Needless to say, I was pretty upset when the rejection came. But the final blow was the suggestion this publishing house made to make the story more of a fit for them—take the spiritually mismatched element out.

I was crushed. That was the heart of my story. It needed to be told and I knew God wanted me to tell it!

God bless my wonderful agent who stood by me and encouraged me not to change the story, to just hang on a little longer.

I went to God in prayer and laid The Soul Saver and even writing fiction at His feet, asking Him to take the desire to write it away if I wasn’t supposed to. It was too painful.

Then I let it be.

A couple months later, God released me from doing any more design work—something I’d been praying about letting go so I could write full time. Up until this time, I kept hearing, “Not yet.”

So why now? It didn’t make sense. Nothing had changed. I could only assume that He had something in mind, and I would need more time for the SUM ministry and our Winning Him book coming out in a few months.

This “release” happened on a Saturday. My agent called Tuesday to give me the unbelievable news that a publisher had made an offer on The Soul Saver.

How God opened the door for The Soul Saver in a place I least expected.
Publishing houses have certain “tastes” in the kind of books they publish. The Soul Saver seems to cross genres a little with a story that fit women’s fiction, a thread of danger that fit suspense stories and a supernatural element as well. One house even said they liked the story but didn’t know how they would market it. Publishing Christian based fiction and nonfiction is a ministry AND a business.

So when the offer came from a house I had already assumed wouldn’t be interested, I was floored.

But isn’t that so like God? Like Gideon defeating 120,000 Midianites with just 300 men, God wants us to know that it’s Him who brakes down barriers and opens the door to the impossible.

Not only had God opened the door in the unlikeliest of places, He brought us to a publisher that allowed me to keep our Winning Him Without Words book in the story as part of Lexie’s journey. And not only that, they let me have a page in the back of the book so I could tell readers the Winning Him book was real and that an entire ministry existed for the spiritually mismatched. (Thank you, Becky Germany and Barbour Publishing!)

How you can help get Lexie's story out there.
This is the part I almost left out, but after seeing some of the unexpeted responses to Lexie's story already—a request for information about starting a small group like Lexie's, a comment that reading books where the husband was a believer was too hard, and newcomers finding our site!—I decided it would be okay ask for your help.

Buying or downloading the book is always good (and I am so grateful and humbled when I hear from you that you did), but also requesting it at your local bookstores and libraries goes a long way to getting it out there. The more places people see it, the more people will one, know that there are a lot of us Lexies out there, and two, reach those Lexie's who are still walking this journey alone. That just breaks my heart to think about it. (You can alos mention the Winning Him book too since they work together.)

So, my friends, that concludes this incredible week of sharing one of the greatest adventures of my life with you. I cannot thank you enough for joining me, because sharing this with you all is part of what I have looked forward to the most.

Remember to leave a comment. On Sunday, I will announce the winners!

In my book (wink), you all already are.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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

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An Open Letter To The Spiritually Mismatched

The Lord impressed upon me to share a post I wrote for Focus on the Family -The Live Forum two weeks ago. I pray you are encouraged and hear God’s voice as He speaks to all of us, the Unequally Yoked.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Sometimes people misunderstand our ministry by thinking we are in opposition to God’s Word as it commands in

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (NKJ)

As a woman who has been unequally yoked now for 20 years, I understand the truth behind God’s desire in this passage. The life of the spiritual mismatched is difficult. There were days I didn’t know if I would survive the spiritual warfare.

To read the article join me at the Internet Cafe.

AND be sure to stop back in here on Friday as I discuss a topic that is long overdue:

The Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

Have a great week. Be blessed, 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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False Security

On February 12th, something happened that seriously rocked my world. I’m not an overly brave person, I confess, but I stepped out of my comfort zone (way out) and agreed to drive cross-country from Florida to California because my daughter wanted to come back home.

It’s a trip we’ve done many times, but always with my husband. He’s a great driver, loves road trips and has always done the bulk of the driving. So, on a clear and sunny Friday, my daughter and I headed out with the intent to make our country trip in five days—a trip my husband and I have normally done in four days. I wanted to be safe and reasonable.

I wanted to be brave for my daughter and husband and do this thing. I wanted to prove to myself too that I could handle such a trip without the comfort and security of my husband.

We were doing fine for the most part, my daughter and I, swapping turns driving. Day one brought us out of Florida to Alabama without incident except for an engine light. Okay, not part of the plan but we could handle it. We lost a couple hours the next day but left the service garage with the security of knowing all was well with the engine.

Security. I like security. I like knowing what’s ahead of me, what to expect, how to prepare and be ready.

But what happened on our third day wasn’t expected. Wasn’t at all something I could have prepared for. Inclement weather we thought would clear up left a patch of ice on an overpass and in a matter of seconds, the most terrifying thing I could imagine happened.

Why? I’d prayed, asked God for protection, to bring us home safely. But it still happened. The car that had so faithfully brought us halfway across the country now sat in a center median, mangled and in despair of ever cruising a road again.

Thankfully (and praise God) my daughter and I were okay. But for this person who’d done her best to brave a new adventure, my deepest fear had materilized. We were banged up, had no car, and were out in the middle of nowhere in Texas, far from the comfort of home. Details had to be dealt with and worked out when all I really wanted to do was curl up in a ball and hide.

Where was God? I needed help. I could accept that He had a plan in all this, but I needed tangible evidence He was there helping me deal with the situation. I muddled through, we worked out arrangements, then my husband decided to come get us. I was relieved...so relieved. I didn’t have the strength to be brave anymore.

God helped me face a truth: I have a fearful spirit.

God has shown me this in the days since our accident. I’d built my security in my world based upon controllable circumstances. The minute those circumstances changed and moved completely (and I mean totally and completely) out of my control, my false security crumbled. I couldn’t do anything but look to God and wait for Him to show me the way out of this mess of mangled emotions and broken perceptions.

The more I cried out, the more I realized I was now on another journey. One that meant rebuilding and repairing certain areas of my faith. I’m on that journey now, still waiting for God to reveal more of what this is all about. What more does He want me to allow the tow truck to haul away and allow Him access to replace and rebuild?

I only know I don’t want to live in this place of fear, nor does God. It’s not going to be a pleasant process to let go of my false securities. Sometimes the thing we fear most is the very thing we need most. Doesn’t make sense but I’m starting to understand its truth.

The best cure for a fearful spirit is trusting God. That is true security because it requires relinquishing our expectations, weaknesses and fears into God’s control. Completely.

For now I’m clinging to Psalm 34:4:

I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

God brought me to this verse and it’s my prayer and comfort right now. I’m learning that even in the worst-case scenarios—the ones we never expected and wonder how we’ll walk out of with any semblance of wholeness and strength—God is really there. We may not feel like He is at times, but we can KNOW and BELIEVE it.

Lord, we seek you with our fearful spirits, ready to trust You in new ways. Hear us and deliver us from all our fears. Though the future looks so insecure at times, dry our tears with the comfort and security of your constant presence and that You are in complete and total control, working for our good—always. We cling to your Son who is our hope and proof of these truths—and our greatest security of all. Amen.

Praying and believing,
Dineen

*****

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

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