162 posts categorized "Relationship"

Change of Seasons

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We hit winter last week. Here in Australia, winter officially starts 1 June. We've had a mild autumn (or 'fall' for you North American folks) and it's only in the last two weeks when the temperature at night has fallen below ten degrees celsius. I typically enjoy winter as here in Sydney it's mostly mild and relatively dry. 

As I’ve grown older I’ve come to appreciate our lives, like the weather, can be full of different seasons. Typically, a new season starts when there’s a change in our circumstances. Generally, the new season comes about through some major change.

What I find interesting about such new seasons is the impact they can have on our conversations and areas of interest.

For the first time in our almost 25 years together, both my wife and I are not working in the Corporate world. We met, came to know each other and fell in love as employees of Big Business. I’ve been out of full time Corporate life for a few years now but Fiona recently elected to take some time out due to a couple of particularly difficult years with her employers.

Conversation starters

Interestingly but not surprisingly, much of our conversation involved business, Fi’s work, her challenges, employees, bosses and so on. And now for the past few months that part of our conversation has ceased.

Our sons are now young men, the eldest is married and now a dad, and I’ve noticed once again that in the past few years the boys don’t feature as much in our conversations. There are no longer the day-to-day happenings that fill a conversation.

We’re almost empty nesters, our youngest stays with us on weekends, and I see now why many couples can struggle once the children leave home. A new season of life requires new conversations.

Unprepared

The full extent of the changes a new season brings on can rarely be planned. Yes, we were able to plan for the reduced income, adjustment to morning routines and other physical aspects associated with the change. But such things as our conversations were harder to pre-empt.

Even though the physical changes are immediate, the ‘under-the-surface’ ones, like new conversations, can take a little longer to be discovered. Sometimes they become apparent as a result of unwelcome emotions.

We bumped into ours last week. And it was my grumpiness that initiated it. We’d had a few situations over a series of days where I’d got snappy about certain things and I had sensed in myself dissatisfaction about “stuff”. And then I brought it to ahead as I never enjoy it when things are strained between us.

Bring it into the light

We had a wonderful conversation about just that: the change in our conversation. Well, it took a little while to get to the “wonderful” but it was one of those wide-ranging chats that ended very positively. We shared the loss we are both grieving (hey, we both acknowledged “we still love the business world”) and recognized the need to add fresh content. 

I feel very fortunate that even though we might have disparate views on our individual purpose in life, Fi and I are able to actively engage in sharing what’s on our heart and constructively move forward. 

What we initiated the other day has provided fresh impetus and has enabled us to keep discussing what this new season has in store for us. 

How do you manage a change in seasons in your relationship or simply a change in your conversation? Be lovely to start a discussion where we can encourage each other in our various situations. 

Grace and peace dear SUMite friends,

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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The Pouring Out Of His Spirit = Breakthroughs

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

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

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

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

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

50 college

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The phone rings, I answer.

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

“Ya.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Second Week of Advent: JOY!

IMG_5524Hello, SUM Family! We’re moving closer and closer to Christmas, and like you, I want to be intentional in enjoying the details of Christmas. Yesterday morning I went into my prayer room to pray for my own family and our SUM family here. I continue to pray and declare Jeremiah 24:7 over our spouses and am praying the Scriptures written on the beams of this house over you. They are such good words!

JOY is also a very good word, my friends. And it’s the theme of the second week of Advent. As I searched for the word JOY in the Bible, I was struck by several verses that spoke of JOY. Then the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see a beautiful flow and connection in these Scriptures. 

And connection is so instrumental to our relationship with God. As you can see in my picture I’ve lit the second candle. I love taking a picture each week and sharing it with my daughters, which helps create a more intimate connection between us for Christmas as the days draw closer to their arrival. I love that we can share these traditions despite the 3,000 miles that separate us. It closes the gap.

And that is what Jesus did when He entered this world—closed the gap between God and His people and connected us together as His body, the church. What’s more, Jesus arrived with the declaration of great JOY!

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. — Luke 2:10 

Jesus entered the world as joy and to bring us joy. Joy is the status quo in Heaven. Isn’t that an amazing thought? 

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. — Luke 15:7

Our intended state of being is meant to be joyful. Like He taught us to pray, “on earth as it is in Heaven,” Jesus came to give us His joy, the JOY of the Lord to strengthen and uphold us.

While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God. — Luke 24:51-53

And here’s the connection from the cradle to the cross, my friends. It is rich with God’s love and our Savior’s heart for us.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. — Hebrews 12:1-3 

As Jesus is our joy, we are His joy—the joy set before Him as He endured the cross. In other words, as our Savior suffered and died, He had us on His mind and heart. The very same very reason He entered this world as a helpless child to save us.

I pray this resonates deeper into your spirit than my words can convey. It is a full circle story of love and salvation that is almost incomprehensible in its brilliant perfection. We could spend a lifetime and beyond learning to understand it—and that’s exactly what we get to do!

My friends, as I shared, I went into prayer, seeking the Father’s heart for us now. I waited to hear Him yet only sensed to share this beautiful picture of JOY. But as I sat down to write, the Holy Spirit’s voice broke through and this is what I heard:

He who is faithful has said a good word.

Another Scripture search ensued as I knew I’d heard this before but couldn’t remember exactly where. The Scriptures I found are the very same verses that God has been showing me over the last year or so. I was surprised and delighted to see what He’d spoken to me at separate times come together in one profound word. So like the JOY of Christ’s birth and death…

SUMites, soak these in and apply them to our SALVATION word and promise and to any other promise God has given you.

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. — 1 Thes. 5:25

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. — Heb 10:23

For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. — Psalm 33:4

The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” — Jer 1:12

My friends, He is faithful to His Word. He watches diligently to perform it.

And what struck me most powerfully in this word to us, is that it is past tense. Our Lord has “said a good word.” In my spirit I sense that to mean “it is done.” Just like His journey from the cradle led to the cross and His words…

It is finished. 

It is done.

We can rejoice!

We have JOY!

Thank You, Lord Jesus, that we are the JOY set before you. That Your JOY is intended to be ours and our natural state of heart, mind, soul and spirit. We rejoice in You. We rejoice in the promises You have given us and have already fulfilled. Even the ones we are waiting to see fully manifest here on earth as You have said a good word in Heaven. In the name of Jesus, amen!

I love you, SUM family, so much. I am overcome by the Lord’s heart and love for us. I pray you are too.
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Someone New.

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My family loves Cirque Du Soleil. They bring a production down under every couple of years and we make sure we get tickets. We celebrated our youngest 21st birthday at the latest show, Kooza, a few weeks ago. It was extra special because Jake went on stage before the performance started. If you’ve ever seen a Cirque show some of the performers roam through the audience prior to the show starting and Jake got grabbed by one of them. She put a tutu around him and had him do a few ballet steps. I was so proud of him as he wasn’t put off by the 2,000 sets of eyes staring and gave it a real go much to the audience’s appreciation. It’ll be a memory that stays with him for a long time I expect.

The trapeze

One of the standout performances was the trapeze act where a singular performer dazzled us. She didn’t have a protective net, however, was hooked up to a wire so if she did fall she wouldn’t fall far. Last week I read something that used the trapeze act as a useful analogy to compare our old life before we met Jesus and the new one we have when in relationship with Him. I’ve found in my journey that I’m juggling the two. When I’m on the old life trapeze, doing what’s ingrained in me from my years living it, old habits, sin, and so, there’s a strange comfortableness about it because I’ve got that wire holding me. The new life trapeze is always swinging next to me but there’s neither a wire nor protective net. However, Jesus is standing on the platform smiling encouraging me to hop off the old life trapeze. Take the step.

Jump!

It’s scary especially when I look down. No wire. No net.

But when I keep my eyes on Him I’m emboldened to … jump.

“Gotta keep looking at Him. Keep looking at Him, Ian. Don’t take your eyes off Jesus.”

Now I’m swinging … “Keep your eyes on Me, Ian”

Okay … now I’m standing.

You get the picture.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

You’ve probably read that verse a thousand times you know it off by heart. What I love about it is there’s no in between. It’s like being pregnant. You either are or you’re not.

We are new creations. The old us has gone. We are now filled with God. In us! He’s in us. Hallelujah.

But we still keep eyeing off that other trapeze bar and we hop back on it more often than we like. Don’t we? We get crabby at our partner, our children because we’ve had a bad day. We look enviously at the fancy new car our friends have just bought. You know the drill.

Fullness of Life

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

I’ve been studying Nehemiah recently. Here is a man who is besotted by God and by God’s purposes. So much so he does something crazy: asks the king to let him rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. The king affirms Nehemiah and off he goes, assembles helpers and despite lots of opposition they rebuild the wall in 52 days.

Nehemiah is a man who experienced life to the full. He was a man devoted to prayer, seeking the will of God and obeying it. And Nehemiah did something truly remarkable. God equipped him to do His work.

God wants to equip us to do His work to. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to do something like rebuild Jerusalem; it’s as simple as being kind to our partners and children when we really don’t want to.

We can only do that if we stay on the new trapeze bar with our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. In Colossians 3 (verses 1-5) it’s explicit that we can only let go of our old nature by looking to “things above”. It starts there.

If life’s a struggle at present for whatever reason can I encourage you to start looking at “things above”. Remember it’s not the truth that sets you free but “knowing the truth” (John 8:32)

You are a new creation.

You are one with Jesus.

Your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Know the truth in your heart, in your mind and you will be set free.

Grace and peace dear SUMite friends.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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What Does God Want From Me?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHello SUMite Nation,

The Holy Spirit is speaking the Word – PRAYER! (Don’t tune out. This is good.)

“Oh man, did she just write – PRAYER.”

Did you just whisper this under your breath?

Let me explain what I feel the Lord is impressing upon me as well as upon most of His church right now.

Prayer.

Some of you may remember that I served on staff in Women’s Ministry at my local church for years. I led Bible study groups, choose studies for our women and directed a lot of the Bible study efforts. I left that position four or five years ago as our online and book ministry began to grow.

What I always found fascinating and utterly disappointing in the years of choosing Bible studies was the fact that if we chose a Bible study about prayer, no one signed up. Yep.

Bummer! But true.

However, what I’m discovering in 2016 is that God’s people are hungry to learn about prayer and learn to pray effectively. It was evident by the online class on prayer this past Tuesday. And it seems that every time I post a prayer on Facebook, it gets shared around. I’m so truly excited about this change in the heart of the Church. Hallelujah.

So over the next few posts I want to pour more into prayer. I want to encourage all of you who attended the class with more information. And for those of you who missed it, now is your time to also gain wisdom, knowledge and anointing to pray with power for REAL results!

Sound good?

A word before we continue: Prayer is NOT a way to arm twist the Lord into doing our will. Prayer is a conversation between a Father and His child. It's learning to listen to God and then obeying His will. 

I want to look at a few keys to vibrant prayer as well as “blocks” that keep us from breakthroughs. Such as:

  • The Word of God
  • Belief
  • Confidence
  • Will
  • Courage

And finally we will discuss the “why.” When prayer remains unanswered, why?

I might throw a few extras in somewhere along the line. Also, I won’t spend too much time on discussion about praying the Word of God because that was covered in the class on Tuesday. (I hope to offer that class again in the future, for those of you who wanted to attend and couldn’t.)

You know maybe we actually need to start at the beginning. How do we create a prayer life? What do we do when we just can’t pray? How do we respond when we feel so beaten that our prayers are full of defeat and tears? Anyone?

I’ve shared many times that all I have in the Kingdom, is the result of my intentional efforts to create time and space to be with God. I know this is often THE most challenging part of prayer but even a few minutes a day will change your life. You can read about that here: Breakthrough Praying for Breakthrough Living. (Skip down to where you see the Bible and start reading there.)

Today, I pray significantly different than I did in 2008 when that post was written. I often pray about the same things but the way I pray, the words I speak and my convictions are what has changed and is also what moves heaven in response.

So, today, I challenge you that if you to create and stick to a time to read the Word and pray everyday.

Let me leave today’s post by reiterating two essential components of effective prayer.

  1. Create a time and space devoted to Bible reading and prayer.
  2. Use the Word of God in your prayers.

Okay, what might be helpful is for all of you to share how you created time and space in your life for prayer. Share in the comments. Someone reading this need to emulate what you did. Especially help mothers of young children with suggestions.

Also, share in the comments if you learned news tips from the class, Praying the Word, and how you will now pray the Word in your prayer life. Someone reading this also needs to read how you pray the Word.

SUMites, God intends to set His praying people upon a broken, dark and evil world. He expects His kids to pray and bring His Kingdom to earth. Are you ready? It’s gonna be fantastic.

I’m traveling the next couple of weeks. I will be checking in here as I am able and pop in to be part of our astounding community.

Okay, PLEASE take a minute to write what you have learned to help a SUMite on the road behind you. Love you a ton, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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My Arrogance—A lesson Learned by Pam Anderson

CoupleholdinghandsMy Arrogance—A lesson Learned

Arrogance is defined by one online dictionary as: an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people.

Recently, Lynn wrote a powerful and thought provoking post called “I Created Bitterness-A Weird Confession."  Well, I have a similar confession. A while back, God revealed to me that I had become a hindrance to my husband. I was causing him bitterness toward God.  Why?  Because of my arrogance.

You see, my husband has always been a very spiritual man, not religious, but spiritual. A seeking man. He has a very strong belief in God, but his relationship with God is different than mine.  I realize now when I recommitted my life to Christ 10 years ago, I went on a journey that didn't consider him, and the message I conveyed to my husband was that I was better than him. To him, it was devastating, and caused him great bitterness—he felt as though I left him. He felt that the rug that represented our dreams, hopes and future, had been pulled out from under him. And looking back now, I see how my actions and words caused him to feel that way.

I am thankful God has opened my eyes to my arrogance.  God has shown me that He is working not only in, but THROUGH, my husband and I need to get out of His way—Now!

So I embarked on a new journey with my husband. I’ve started asking him his thoughts on certain spiritual concepts and scripture.  I’ll say, “Do you have a minute, I’d like pass something by you and get your thoughts on it.” At first, he was surprised and skeptical; I’m sure thinking this was another way to make him wrong and try to wrangle him into seeing things “my way.” 

But God has impressed on me to listen, very closely, to what my husband is saying, assuring me that He is working THROUGH my husband! I'll tell my husband, "That's really interesting, I've never thought of it that way before," and the discussion will go into areas I never dreamed, thought, or imagined (based on Ephesians 3:20). It leads to more and more discussions.  I don't correct him; I just respect him and listen.

So recently, God reiterated this lesson He is teaching me—more like He hit me upside my head!  I had just stopped reading a book, because it said Jesus was a prophet. I thought this would be a good discussion opportunity for us, so I asked him what he thought. Are you ready for this?  My husband says, “I can’t believe you’re even asking me this.  The Bible says that Jesus is the Son of God, not a prophet—that’s who He is!” 

I just stared at my husband, in awe! But here’s the crazy part—this is what my husband has always believed. But I didn’t give it the credit it was due.  Why?   I was blinded by my arrogance! Because he was not acting the way, or saying the things, or doing the things “I” thought he should (ugggh…).

Prior to this spiritual awakening God is currently doing in ME, I was NOT being a sweet aroma to my husband. Instead of seeing me as a loving, respectful wife and friend, he saw me as judgmental and arrogant, things he wanted nothing to do with. I was on my high horse, snubbing my nose at my husband, instead of fostering his spiritual nature. Not intentionally, but I was, none the less. 

The fact that I thought my husband’s relationship with God had to look and feel like my relationship with God was arrogant.  In essence, I was setting out to make my husband in “my own image”! (Ouch, that hurt!)

We are at different places on our spiritual journeys; however, for the first time, I see us going the same direction! Why?  Because the poison of arrogance is no longer present in me. Our marriage is now peaceful and fun. I’m just letting God do his thing, His way, in our lives and marriage.  My husband calls it Spiritually Different versus Spiritually Unequal, and I love that.

This path is truly a humbling one, but it's filled with much hope, wonder and abundance.

Blessings in Christ,
Pam 

Pam HeadshotI worked in the healthcare industry for 25 years and walked away from an executive position to support my husband in his writing career and pursue our dreams together.  A step of faith that has taken me, and my marriage, in directions I could never have thought, asked, dreamed or imagined (Eph. 3:20).  I am humbled and in awe of God’s faithfulness.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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How Do You "Hear" God...For Your Spouse?

IStock_000005733150MediumMy dear friends, I hope the journaling exercise to "pay attention" to how you hear God has been a blessing and encouragement to you. Your comments have encouraged me greatly! I love how God speaks to us in many ways and specifically to our need and relationship with Him. Let’s review that verse again:

“So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.” — Luke 8:18 NLT

Today I will share that story I promised you, one that will show another form of how God can speak to us. I've had the joy of training and working in two different healing rooms (Silicon Valley and now Manatee County). In fact, just this past weekend I attended more training and had the joy of facilitating as well. 

And God has used the last several years to teach me so much about healing prayers through teachers and mentors in these places and especially through the Holy Spirit, our greatest Teacher and Mentor of all. Over time, I've learned to recognize better when He's showing me something. I believe He communicates this way with me, because I am an artist and a very visual person.

If you study the book of Acts, you will see many descriptions of the disciples receiving images and even visions of God's leading. Just before his death, Stephen is given a glimpse of Jesus and heaven (Acts 7:55). Ananias heard the Lord instructing him in a vision to go to Saul because God had given Saul a vision of Ananias as part of Saul's conversion from a Pharisee to a believer who would be known as Paul (Acts 9:10-19). And God showed Peter through two visions that he was not to discriminate against Gentiles (Acts 10:3-33).

I love serving people in the healing rooms. We are there to pray with people for their needs, to encourage and edify them as Scripture directs, and we work in teams of three because we are stronger as a three-fold cord.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. — 1 Thess. 5:11 ESV

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. — Ecc. 4:12 NIV

On this particular day, a woman came in for prayer about the purchase of a house. She and her husband had felt clear leading to buy a specific house and had made an offer, but the inspection now showed issues that they would not be able to afford. Confusion had set in.

As our team sought God for leading in how to pray for her, I saw an image of a house in my mind. At first I simply thought it was the natural reaction of the mind to connect an image to thoughts, but as I said, I have learned through experience and practice to pay attention when I get an image, especially in this type of setting. Yet I am always careful to defer to Holy Spirit's leading to share a word of knowledge (1 Cor. 12:8). 

Our sister in Christ then joined us in the prayer room and we began to speak truth into her heart to help her refocus on God and His leading for her. I felt Holy Spirit direct me to share the image so I did. 

I described the image of the house in the detail the Holy Spirit had given me. I'm always a bit nervous to do things like this, but again I'm learning to trust Him more than myself. It's not easy. It’s a risk and an act of faith to trust in what God is doing and not what I understand or perceive is happening.

Turned out the image was the house she and her husband wanted to purchase, and sharing with her what God had shown me, along with what the other team members felt Holy Spirit telling them, confirmed and affirmed this dear woman on the God-lead path she was obediently trying to follow. She just needed reassurance that even though complications had cropped up, God was still in the lead and would provide. She left encouraged and felt even closer to God as a result. As we all do when we see, hear, feel and sense God's presence with us—we are drawn closer to Him and hunger for even more.

And I was too, as was the prayer team. These encounters never cease to astound me and draw me closer to God. I pray they never do. The end of this story is wonderful. The couple moved forward in faith and made another offer. They purchased the house for a price that gave them room to make the repairs. God did exactly what He said He would.

Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. — Deut. 7:9 NLT

My friends, the amazing thing is I am learning to apply this way of praying to my family. One night Holy Spirit showed me that I didn't believe He would show me what to pray for my family like I do in the healing rooms. I'm learning to first seek and listen before I start praying what I think my husband or daughters need. 

Sometimes our best intentions and love can keep us from hearing what God wants us to know, because we are more focused on the issue at hand instead of the answer God is waiting to give us.

Now as I pray for my husband, I wait for a leading or image to show me where God's working in him. That way I know how to pray and work with God in this transformation process. God wants me to see my husband as already saved and pray and praise accordingly. Just as God instructed Peter in his vision to not make a judgement of a person's place in God's kingdom, I feel God telling us the same thing, my friends. This verse spoke that truth to my heart this week:

Peter told them, "You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. — Acts 10:28

Right now we need to be seeking God for His heart and how He sees our spouses, our loved ones, and pray and declare in agreement. We only have a partial picture with our own perspective. God has the full picture and He knows our spouses (1 Cor. 13:12).

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6

That day of Jesus Christ is now, my friends. The Greek translation for the word "day" means the space between dark and dawn. I believe this is the time between Jesus' coming and return and we are in that time right now! So don't be discouraged! He is faithful to complete what He has told us He will do. SALVATION!

Dear friends, we live in an incredible time of witnessing God move in our spouses' lives and hearts! Be assured He is working. Seek Him, ask Him to show you and trust Him to complete the good work He has started as you join Him accordingly in prayer and trust for your spouse's salvation. Amen? Amen!

*****

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How do you "hear God? (part 2)

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

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

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

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

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

•His still small voice

•Scripture

•The counsel of a trusted friend

•Several devotionals 

•Ian's post about Lent

•Your comments on our blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you, my friends. So much. Praying for you!
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What Gods Love Looks Like

SUMite Family, 

Taste and see psalm 34 8I have to share that the word “family” has taken on an entirely larger implication in my life this past week. So, to say that you are my family, please know that I’m overwhelmed with authentic love and hope for you. Let me explain. 

I’m working on a new writing project and praise Jesus, the downloads are now flowing. It’s been astonishing. I’ve waited nearly a year for this past week and the few weeks that are ahead to hear the voice of God and His heart for the assignment He’s given to me. And this week in particular, I’m writing about the love of God. 

The love of a Father. 

Well, I don’t know how in the world you can encapsulate the love of God into a single chapter. However, I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to write this out because God will figure it out for me and then, I can’t wait to read it myself!!!! *grin* Really! 

So as I’m trying to figure out what specific attributes to share and asking myself, How do I explain the love of God, the Lord decided that I need to experience His love through profound experiences all week. I am so full of the love of our Father today that when I arrived at church, I hugged everyone I could get my hands on. The Father’s love poured off of me onto people. I just couldn’t help it. And wouldn’t you know it; almost all of the worship were songs about the love of God. I just can hardly stand up under the relentless expressions of my Daddy’s love this day. 

Today I feel I am to share what I’m experiencing and learning. I pray you are wrecked by our Daddy’s love this week too. 

Last week as I prepared to write on this topic my prayer and conversation with God turned into cries to experience His love. I cried out, “Father, I want a baptism of love. I want to be overwhelmed by your love. I want to experience a love so grand, so profound that I see (things, people) as you see them.” 

Let me share some insights of my week. They are not in any particular order:

  • I’m no longer an orphan. I’m a daughter of the King.
  • I don’t need to strive for His love. I need only to rest and receive His love.
  • I am His happy thought.
  • I am His smile.
  • I’m the one He waits for in the morning when I wake because He’s missed me while I was sleeping.
  • His love is abundant living.
  • He has good gifts for His children. That means me…. and you!
  • He is fun.
  • He is hilarious.
  • He is protective.
  • Because of the love of God my finances look different. My health is different. My relationships are different. My perspective, hope, and future are different.
  • I’m released into my creative calling. I thrive living in what I was created to do since before time began.
  • I have a destiny.
  • My value, my identity, dignity and dreams are restored.
  • I am His treasure.
  • I hear His voice.
  • I know God will bless what I’m doing instead of asking God to bless what I’m doing.
  • I’m His favorite. (So are you.)
  • I have a family. 

Do you know what it means to others and unbelievers when I truly understand that I am loved by our Father?

  • People are safe with a daughter of God.
  • I view other sons and daughters as someone with whom I used to compete and now I see them as someone I can complete.
  • I look for the gold in people and their holy destiny thus I stop treating them based on their history.
  • I celebrate sons and daughters instead of tolerate them.
  • We are lovers, warriors and ambassadors.
  • We are moving from a church (organization) to a family. 

God is love. —1 John 4:16

God is good. —Psalm 136:1 

My friends, when we truly believe these scriptures guess what happens. We see God differently. When we see God differently we then see ourselves differently. When we see ourselves differently we then see others differently. 

My family, my dear adored family, I know that our Papa’s love can touch every deep fear in our heart and leave us forever change, healed and restored. We need only to cry out and ask to see ourselves as our Father sees us. 

Taste and see that the Lord is good. —Psalm 34:8  I’ve come to believe this is one of the most powerful scripture verses in the entire Bible. Oh what a different life we can live when we step out of unbelief and truly know that we know in our knower that God is love, God is good and God has good things for His kids. 

Thoughts? 

I pray that when you read this phrase today: I love you, that you somehow hear the Father whispering the words directly to your heart. 

And finally, imagine what our pre-believers might experience if we begin to see ourselves as God sees us. A Holy mind-blow!!!!!!!!!! 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

Thanks Lief Hetland. You inspired the many affirmations of this post.

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When Is It My Turn?

SUMites, 

Let’s have a chat. 

Matthew 13 44I’m pretty sure that last week’s posts about Janet and Trish’s spouses coming to faith brought about a range of feelings in our SUM Nation. 

But today I want to speak to those of us who may feel forgotten. For those of you who read these stories and whispered, “God, when? When is it my turn? When will this happen in my life.” 

So many emotions, feelings and thoughts were made know to me in this past week. True happiness for these women. Feelings of jealously, then followed by guilt because their story seems so far from a reality in our life. Perhaps you are confused and maybe a few of us are really just MAD. Mad at God. Mad at our spouse. Mad at ourselves for being in this predicament. Anybody????? 

Can I ask you to hear me out for a minute? 

Firstly, gang, I’m right there with you. I have prayed for my husband for so long and with such passion that I’m puzzled. I ask the same question, “When God?” 

So I guess this message today is for all of you who are behind me on this rocky road of the unequally yoked path. I want to point out some things I bet that you haven’t realized while traveling this journey. There are often times that we are so intently focused on two things that we miss so much the Lord is bringing to us in our daily lives. They are: Our spouse’s salvation, our pain. 

For years I prayed with selfishness for my husband’s salvation. Those prayers were completely selfish and unproductive. My motives for his salvation, at the core, were to make my life easier. And my other prayers were the lamenting of the pain of disappointment in my marriage. Now, hear me, I’m not minimizing either. 

However, I have arrived at a place in my faith and marriage that I can share a smidgen of wisdom with you in the hopes you acquire the blessings intended for us in these unique marriages much sooner than I found them. Okay? 

Let’s be real. The unequally yoked life is hard. Compounding different world views with a spouse who struggles with an addiction or destructive behaviors is almost unbearable at times. But it’s in this real pain that we are forced to surrender our self and to lean fully into the arms of our healer, Jesus. 

I know without a doubt that I would not have the faith life I have today without the years of struggle. And you know what? God knew that too. An easily life for me would have robbed me so many miraculous encounters with the King. Because I chose to believe the Word and surrender many of my preconceived ideas over to God, I now live in great favor, tremendous joy and profound supernatural peace. I literally hear the voice of God now and I am on fire with the Holy Spirit. Knowing what I know today, I would go through it all again to receive the rare and priceless gifts I am now walking in. Today I truly understand what it is like to hold a pearl of great price in the palm of your hands. 

My friends, reflect of the lives of Janet and Trish. Janet fasted. Have you sincerely fasted for a number of days? Have you prayed night and day asking for God’s wisdom and for the salvation of your spouse? Have you surrendered your heart to God and given Him everything. That is no small task and it takes years. 

Be patient with yourself. The greatest thing you can do is to choose to see all that is right before your eyes while you think you are waiting for life to begin when your spouse comes to faith. 

God is speaking to you. Have you learned to hear Him?
Jesus is your betrothed. Have you acknowledged that He wants your heart every day?
The Holy Spirit has so much power to bring to bear in your life. Have you grieved Him? 

So this week let’s say to God, “Papa, I know I have wondered when it would be my turn. And Lord, I greatly desire to see my spouse come to faith. But teach me now, today, to be so in tune with your spirit that I don’t miss anything more that you have for me. Be gentle with me while I learn to let go of fear, pride, selfish ambition, arrogance and judgment. And fill me today with your good gifts. Let me life represent you well, Lord. In Jesus name. Amen.”

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Stay tuned as I want to finish up the series about healing on Friday. Why are some healed and others are not? 

*****

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The Key To Powerful Prayer

Leaving 5,774 behind. Rosh Hashanah 2014. Part Deux

 Part I 

Phil 4 13I’ve learned a lot about the power of prayer this past year. My friends, this little word prayer becomes mundane in its over use in our culture. 

Prayer: entreaty, appeal, plea, request, desire, hope, wish, supplication, imploration, petition, invocation, meditation, contemplation, chant, petition… It’s all of these. Truly. Mostly, for me, it’s a little girl who talks with her Dad. 

There are days when I’m sitting in the pain of words spoken to me which should have never been birthed, that I’m a little girl, sitting on the lap of my Papa, tears dripping on His sleeve. There are other days I’m a warrior Princess, clothed in righteousness, authority, and power when I literally command the devils out of people and cast them into the Abyss. 

There are seasons I have prayed for employment for my husband, my son, my friends, and many SUMites and spouses. There are decades that I have approached the throne room pleading for the full salvation of my husband. 

And there are moments when in a second, I’m merely just pondering an idea, and BAAM, what I just pondered unfolds in the natural right before my eyes. 

My friends, it’s out of my brokenness that I have come to know a prayer life of power. I have been broken, broken, broken this year. But without brokenness I cannot take people into the depths of God. Remember, He is near to the brokenhearted. (Ps 34:18) 

So today, this is what I’m hearing the Lord whisper this to His kids: 

But out of brokenness rises a faith so unshakable, a confidence so powerful that when my humble servant rises and speaks they are praying into an already open heaven. The angels sprint into action upon your words. Commands are given in the realms. Love is released. Power is granted. The heavens shake and the hearts of men are changed. —The LORD God Almighty. 

Many of you know that my son has been actively looking for work. And earlier this spring I prayed and prayed for a potential job for which he interviewed. He didn’t get that job. My confidence in my prayer life was jumbled. Later that month my son was hired for an entry level job here in town doing something he did 10 years ago. It appeared to be a giant step backward and the move to California was by all means, a disaster. 

But God…… 

And but ……. The prayers of a righteous and broken mama availith much. (James 5:16)  What should have never happened… happened. In my prayer time I heard… Promotion, promotion, promotion.  And the first two I head in quick succession. The third followed but after some time. 

My son was told he would not be qualified to apply for any other position at the property where he worked for a minimum of six months. However, an internal management position arose and he was able to apply. More than 20 applicants interviewed. My son was one of two applicants to be interviewed and then interviewed again by the President of the large property. 

(Fervent Mama prayers ensued) 

My son will start his new position in management in the next couple of weeks. We have been suit shopping this week. (Thank you Jesus) 

Last spring I couldn’t understand why he didn’t get that job. But God…. He has something so much better. And God also wanted me to pray several more months about his employment. 

The key is you can’t look at the person or the circumstance. Your prayer of faith must be with your eyes fully and completely locked upon Jesus. Our prayer time in brokenness brings us face-to-face with our Lord, His Son and the Holy Spirit is moved. When we see Jesus and the power and love He has for our children, our pain, our financial needs. When we focus completely on Him, we step into supernatural faith. 

It’s a faith that I know, that I know, that I know, nothing is impossible with Christ (Phil 4:13). 

Oh Beloved, may God help us this afternoon to get our eyes off the conditions and symptoms, no matter how bad they may be, and get them fastened upon Him, and then we shall be able to pray the prayer of faith. —Smith Wigglesworth (1914)

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

And now I wait expectantly for the unfolding of the next two promotions. It's a blast to live the believers life. Stay tuned..... I love you, Lynn

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Worship is More Than a Song

12920277_sMy friends, few weeks ago I asked Abba for a better understanding of what worship means to Him. If we look at worship from a worldly perspective, we can easily attribute human needs and behaviors, like ego and self centeredness to God, which is completely opposite of His selfless and merciful character. So I asked Abba to help me understand, and now I sense Him moving me to share what I'm learning with you.

And as I began writing what I thought would be a single post, a series emerged. I should have know that was coming considering the way He’s showing me things lately. LOL! Let me say that I believe we are being called to a higher expectation of worship as God’s children than we have in the past. There are multiple reasons for this and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you and hearing your thoughts and input. I know I’m not the only one God has led and is leading down this path.

My journey started in church one day about two years ago as I sat in the pews still unsure if I was in the right church anymore (I’ve attended my church since 2002). I clearly heard God say, “This is your church.”

Shortly after that He began moving me to pray for our church to be a worshiping church. Not long after I found out several people in our church body had been praying the same thing. Now we are in the process of seeking to put a part time worship leader on staff. Wow! God has heard our prayers!

Now this is what I felt God has impressed upon me these last few weeks. Worship is not something He needs. We need it and our relationship with Him needs it.

Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness. You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong. — Psalms 89:15-17 NLT

And worship is one of our greatest ways to seek and find God.

If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” — Jeremiah 29:13-14 NLT
"But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him." — Deuteronomy 4:29 NLT

And just as there are many ways to hear God, I'm discovering there are many ways to worship God and all are part of an intimate relationship with our Creator.

Over the next couple weeks we will explore worship through daily living, intimacy with God, corporate worship and even spiritual warfare. I know I will learn even more as I write about this and share more.

In the meantime, think about what worship means to you and share in the comments. I may pluck a few and share them in later posts so be prepared! This is how we can grow together as a community and learn more about our amazing God and His heart for us.

I’m so excited to be on this journey with you and to see what God reveals!
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Line by Line: Remarriage

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Part III 

Line by line. Precept upon Precept. 

On Monday we looked line by line at 1 Corinthians 7:10-11. We managed to get through three lines. Sheesh. This takes longer that I thought. But I hope the discussion blew your mind and caused you to pray and seek God’s explanation of these verses. 

I will add to our study that there was discussion about the context of these verses and who they specifically addressed. Are they written for believer to believer marriages only? Some commentaries say yes, some no. I will tell you that I don’t know. And I think my comments on this passage on Monday were directed to the many of us who are in a place in our marriages where we are thinking we would be so much better off to divorce our spouse because of our spiritual differences. Then remarry because after all, the grass is greener with a believing spouse (sarcasm intended *grin*). 

We will address this specifically as we work our way through the chapter. And it’s really, really good stuff. So hang in there. And I also want to encourage you to share your thoughts, interpretation in the comments. Our conversations, observations and thoughts in the comments on Monday were outstanding. 

Well done community!

 

Today I want to share a true story of a young woman who literally faced these verses in the face. 

Line by Line: A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. 

This young woman came for counseling at our church many years ago and the counselor came to me seeking my thoughts as she would meet with this young woman in the next week. 

Here is the scenario. This young wife, right around 25 years of age with two young children was a newly born again Christian. She came to Christ at the time her husband was sentenced to more than 25 consecutive years in the state penitentiary. He wasn’t eligible to parole for at least 25 years. The reality hit this young woman that she would be married to a man who was in prison for most of her life and the entire childhood of both of her children. (I don’t remember if He was a believer or not.) 

She came to the counseling staff and wanted a divorce. And in all truthfulness the counselor she was seeing didn’t have it in her to tell this young woman that God is calling her to remain married to her husband or divorce and remain single. The counselor, herself, was struggling to process this passage in 1 Corinthians 7. However, God’s Word is His Word. 

I remember standing in a hallway with the counselor as she described this young woman and what she knew she must say to her but in her heart she wasn’t convinced this is what God would want. The counselor didn’t know how the young mother would be able to remain single and raise her children. “How can I tell her she can’t remarry when she is so young and raising these children. She wants a home and father in her home. I don’t know if I can do it.” 

I looked into this sweet woman’s face, the counselor, and I felt exactly what she was feeling. She just needed something, anything, to help her understand how this young woman could remain single and not remarry for her entire life. 

I took this counselor by the arms and looked into her eyes and spoke directly from my own experience. And I said…… “You know that I have surrendered many of my hopes and dreams for a spouse who was on the same page as me. A spouse who attended church with me and helped me raise my children in faith. Now I know that my struggle pales in comparison but my pain and challenges were deep.” 

“What I learned is that all of my hopes and dreams of what I thought I wanted from my life on planet earth pale in comparison to the vast love of God. When I stand in His Presence and receive my inheritance, love and provision from Him, those unfulfilled hopes and dreams look like a tiny dot in the face of The Great King of the Universe. My unbelieving spouse, her incarcerated husband, are mere men. My hope, my everything, all my expectations, joy, and every fantastic adventure is centered in living fully in the grace and love of God through His Son Jesus Christ.” 

“God IS big enough, strong enough, more than enough to be my husband and fill in the missing places that I expected my earthly spouse to fill. If God will do that for me, He will do it for her. I absolutely believe that and KNOW it to be true for all of His children.” 

As I spoke to this counselor, I watched the love of God flood her soul. The vastness of the Lord and His awe and love changed her heart. I don’t know what advice she finally gave to that young mother but I expect both of them were changed in some measure by the greatness of our Lord.

----- 

So, today I leave you with this story. I also want to tell you that no matter what this young woman chose to do for the rest of her life, God’s grace is sufficient to cover all of her choices.

 

Most of you know that I divorced in my prodigal years. I share that in our second book. That divorce was completely selfish and I ignored God’s Word thinking that I knew what was best for me. But God has forgiven my selfish choices and has blessed me and my current marriage is blessed. We are 22 years and counting. 

I want to make sure that we understand there is no condemnation in Christ. But this study and the command is in God’s Word for very good reason. As I write this, my son from my first marriage is living here. He is an adult but is still dealing with some of the ramifications of my divorce. 

It is my prayer and hope that we all learn from this study- the motives of God and why He calls us to reconciliation of marriage when possible. 

I would sure like to hear from someone who has reconciled and what that brought to your life. And again, I also believe there are some very wicked people whom separation is not only necessary but God is screaming at you to get out and find healing. 

Okay, again family. Be gentle with me in the comments even if you don’t agree. I absolutely learned a lot from the comments on Monday’s study. I love you. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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And The Walls Came Tumbling Down

SUMite Nation: 

Matthew 24Let’s finish this journey of Walking The Walls of Jericho. 

Remember, we are in the seven times around. I’m not sure exactly where I am, five, six, seven times around but I’ve come so very 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 awaits us?.... The sound of the Shofar... 

The Shofar: 

When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. —Joshua 6:20 

The walls crumbled. Now get this, the walls fell and the People of God didn’t lift a finger to topple this shut-tight fortress. God spoke. The Walls Fell. Period. The end. 

But my friends, there remains another blast of the Shofar. It’s the trumpet sound of the Redeemed. God speaks and His Word goes forth with power, reducing the enemy to an impotent and silent foe. 

And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. —Matthew 24:31 

The great day of the trumpet blast is ahead. It is a promise we can believe and trust and pursue this promise. In the meantime. We walk. We love. We help others. We love others. We trust. We see the miracles and we train up the generation behind us. 

As we conclude this series, I’m moved to ask you again. What is the most important verse or component of this story? Do you remember?

His Voice. 

The voice of God. It matters not what lies behind those walls. It pales in comparison the plunder, the victory, the riches, the abundance. At the end of our long journey (our years of wondering in the wilderness) only one thing matters. His Presence. 

Everything, all that we do, is in pursuit of His Presence. So consider a few thoughts with me as we continue to walk out this journey: 

  • My goal in life is not to figure out who I am, my goal in life is to figure out who He is.
  • God is always good. Always. Always. Always.
  • God has good gifts for His kids.
  • My victory is at hand because it was finished at the Cross.
  • It’s easy to pray general prayers to avoid disappointment. The Lord is looking for those who know they are servants and pray dangerously.
  • God makes me BRAVE!
  • Fear is faith in Satan.
  • The enemy loves to get us to look at ourselves either in self-criticism or self-discovery in order to keep us from looking to God.
  • Keep asking for The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation that we may know Him better.
  • Our brokenness is also our pathway to His heart.
  • People matter.
  • Perfect love casts out all fear.
  • Healing is for everyone.
  • God lavishly gives Spiritual gifts that we can give them to others.
  • Grace, grace and more grace.
  • Walking together we overcome all hindrances.
  • Peace, I give thee. I receive His peace and I thrive.
  • The Promised Land? His Presence. 

I love you so much my friends. Share your thoughts, scriptures, prayers in the comments. Our worship silences the enemy. Your sister in the Kingdom, Lynn

 

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The Movie: NOAH

Noah
Well, I don’t know about you but this past few days I’ve been reading some reviews and reports about the movie, Noah, that opened on Friday. It’s fascinating to me how many differing views there are from the Christian population alone. Honestly, I’ve been disappointed to read some of them. I will state here I haven’t yet watched the film but I’m sharing only my thoughts and perspective regarding all the hoopla! 

First, let me acknowledge that there are many who bristle that the movie is not a perfect depiction of scripture. It’s not even close as I understand. But I wonder why that gets so many people turned inside out. Many of the Christian fictions books we read by the millions also are filled with a large amount of creative license. But, that’s not what I want to consider today. 

For all of us who are married to Pre-believers, this movie may be the one movie our spouses will attend with us. I see this as an enormous opportunity to open up discussion about the real story with our spouse. This may be a chance to have an honest conversation, without fighting, about our faith. 

So, while the Christian community debate one another on this subject (which adds fuel to the atheists perspectives on Christians and our spouses, I might add), I wonder if we might have been given a gift to use to draw our faith and our spouse closer together? 

On Saturday I asked my husband if he would attend the film with me. 

“Why would I want to see that?” Ahem, yep, he’s blunt. *grin* 

I pray that some of us will give grace to the creators of the film and perhaps one spouse in our House of SUM will experience a stirring in his/her heart.

Thoughts? 

Love and hugs, Lynn 

*Please share your thoughts, even if you disagree with me, with grace and love in the comments.

 

** Congrats to Anel R. You were the winner of the Audio Book drawing. I emailed you.

Watch for another drawing soon.

 

 

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Don't Know What to Pray?

PrayerOver the years I've learned that our mismatched situations come in all shapes and sizes. When I'm asked what mismatched means I explain that it can be as clear as one spouse believes in God and the other doesn't, as gray as differing faiths or degrees of faith (i.e. a believer married to a Muslim or one spouse growing in faith but the other isn’t) or as painful as one spouse walking completely away from God. Even this description is a broad attempt to capture its meaning. But that’s not what I want to talk about today. Let’s leave that stuff to God and trust Him to make sense of it (Prov. 3:5).

Today I want to share from what I know to be true in my marriage. From my perspective, my hubby is like Fort Knox in letting anything about believing in God penetrate his fortress of atheism. I've been asked if something happened in the past to turn him away and many other questions that I can only shake my head to. I simply don't know what cranks my guy's head and heart in this direction.

But God does.

Yes, praying for him has been a challenge, because what do I pray against or for, besides the obvious, "Lord, show him You're real. Soften his heart. Don't let him miss seeing you today in his day."

Those are all great prayers (I don't think there's really a bad prayer when our heart is for our loved one to simply know Jesus, right?), but after a while, I kind felt like I wasn't having any impact at all. Now I know that just because I don't feel it or see it, that doesn’t mean nothing is happening.

But on this particular day I needed some new directions, you know? So I ask Abba, how do I pray for this guy? I'm baffled.

Guess what? God has some really cool ideas. Imagine that! As I prayed that morning, Abba inspired me to pray for divine connections. Not with people but in his work. You see, my guy is very techy—he's a computer programmer and analyst—and he's very creative. He wrangles various computer languages to do some pretty technical and amazing stuff, much like an artist manipulates paint to create the overall illusion of parts that create a bigger image.

An artist can look at creation, and in her attempt to paint its essence, can begin to see the smallest parts and how they perfectly connect to create the whole and how that whole points to God. In that same sense, I'm praying for my hubby to see how the code and technology he is using to create a full picture reflect the perfection and synchronicity of God in our lives. My husband is surrounded by technology every day—this is the world he moves and works in so I'm basically asking God to come in and be present in a way my guy can relate to.

Sometimes it can be really challenging to keep praying for our prebelievers and even for our children, especially the challenging ones. God created each of us uniquely so it just seems to make sense that our prayers can be similar yet unique to the person. And ultimately, Abba knows what we need and what our prebelievers need before we even ask, right? (Matt. 6:8)

We don't have to have the perfect words or method to pray for those we love, because really and truly, it’s all about love—God’s for us and our prebeliever, ours for God and our prebeliever and the mysterious way God’s love transforms ours into this beautiful thing we know we could have never done on our own. But when we can understand the direction Abba is moving in that person's life and join Him there with our prayers, then we can become a part of an amazing and beautiful journey as we watch the pieces fit together and create a brand new picture.

And even in those times that we don’t know what to pray for, we never pray alone. (Romans 8:26) and “the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.” (Romans 8:27)

Jesus is pleading for us, dear friends!
Love you dearly!
Dineen

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Hope Restorers

(Read this post all the way through because you don’t want to miss what is about to happen) 

Lynn here……It’s Sunday evening here as I write this note to you. I’m smiling as I type for two reasons. First, the Denver Broncos WON!!  All is right with the world. Second, I spent the better part of two hours reading the comments left on the fasting posts from last week. Wow. 

Your words for one another, move my spirit. They move the Lord’s heart. Words of love, encouragement, wisdom, and words that exalt and nurture each other. Words that bring honor, glory, praise and worship to our King. This community is amazing and we truly are a representative of God’s love. And because of our love, the world may know that God sent His only Son. 

The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as you loved Me. John 17:22-23 

My head is filled with so much from the past few days. God has imparted some revelation and truths. He has filled me with a fire, a burning passion, for all of you and for the work He has assigned this community. I don’t even know where to start. 

I want to write about Spiritual warfare. Post such as recognizing the enemy spirits in our lives such as defeating the Orphan Spirit, contending with the Religious Spirit, ridding our lives of the Poverty Spirit, rebuking death,and breaking a “soul tie.” I have a ton more topics in this realm rattling around in my heart and soul.   

Then I’m overflowing with posts and thoughts about healing. Learning wow our healing is declared and delivered and learning how to receive it. And I’m talking about healing in every area; emotional, spiritual, and PHYSICAL… Just astounding stuff… I tell you, I’m so excited about all that God is doing right now. 

And then there’s the really, really BIG stuff. God’s plans for 2014 and for this community. Did you know that you are part of this community by His powerful and love-filled design? He personally chose you. He has placed you here as vessels of love and compassion. Out of our deep struggles in our mismatched marriages, we are the very ones who will be the first in Kingdom’s purposes. We are the Hope-Restorers. 

WE ARE THE HOPE RESTORERS!

What does this mean? 

My friends, this is the reason that our little community was born in 2006. There is great and powerful work in the Kingdom and we have been put together to have a significant influence in this world. Influence that comes with supernatural power and compassion. We truly are an anointed vessel to bring change to our homes, our cities, our states and nations. I can’t wait to see how God is going to use us to do this but I’m completely convinced we play a powerful role in the near future, even today. (Psalm 67) 

I have more to say on this as well. But tonight as I write, I hear the Father speaking to us. He knows that we have much to do and we will experience great things in the near future but before we move forward into all of that, He just wants to love on us. So, please take a minute and step once more into your prayer time, your secret place. Allow the Father to gently place His hands on each side of your face. Feel Him gently come near, embracing your face and lifting your face with closed eyes to listen to Him speak words of love into your heart. Hear Him now as He holds your face, your very countenance, in His embrace. 

"I am delighted in all of you." 

"The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing." ~Zephaniah 3:17 


My friends, shortly after returning from Bethel, God woke me in the night. I kept hearing over and over, Zephaniah three. Over and over. I called Dineen the next morning and asked her, “Is there even a book in the Bible that is named Zephaniah?” I had some distant remembrance in my foggy brain. But why was God giving me this verse? 

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Read the verse below as well. I will remove sorrow, He says. I will deal with all who oppressed you. Wow!

Well, finally today, I understand why. I received this verse in an email this week. The email was about God’s people becoming Hope-Restorers. And low and behold, I open my Bible up and this single verse was underlined from the time when God gave it to me months ago. It is a confirmation that God wants us to feel His love and His gladness. He will quiet us with His love and sing loudly over us. Whoa.. 

Just WHOA!! 

So, I’m not sure what I will write about first but come Friday get ready. Because we are beginning a new era at SUM. We are a body who has been chosen to bring much healing, love, and compassion to the world. And this healing, love, and compassion- He is giving them to us first. Exciting! 

I know I’ve shared a lot with you. So what do you think? Where should we get started? I love all of you so much. So very much. Pray BIG this week. Ask the impossible and then share your stories with me as you watch our Father move. Hugs, Lynn

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A Miracle Perhaps???

So my friends, I issued a kissing challenge on Monday. And I arrived home from traveling on Sunday and found myself with a giant cold. Achew! 

So there wasn’t any kissing happening around here. Bummer. I hope I start to feel better next week. And I have another challenge on Monday that will bring a smile to your face as it’s a challenge in our faith walk as well as our marriages. 

But today, I want to share with you a couple of fun stories from my travels this past weekend. Sometimes I’m simply overwhelmed by God’s favor. He delights showing up in the little things. I shared this particular adventure on my Facebook Page last Thursday. 

Here is what happened. 

I was traveling to Topeka, Kansas as my mother was being honored by Washburn University as an Alumni Fellow for 2013. It was a big deal and I’m glad I attended. 

I made my flight reservations and seat assignments several months ago. My mom, sister, and niece who were flying together also made reservations and seat assignments separately. The only plan was to meet in Denver and fly on the same plane to Kansas City. 

The day of the flight arrives and due to weather my flight from San Diego to Denver was late. I was barely able to make the connection and boarded the flight from Denver to Kansas City. I boarded the flight before my mom, sister and niece not knowing their seat assignment. 

Well low and behold. I’m seated waiting for the plane to fill up and looking for my mom and wondering where she will be seated when I spot her coming directly toward me. And guess what? Her seat assignment was right next to me. The very seat next to mine. My nice sat next to her and my sister was one row forward. 

Say WHAT??? 

God loves to delight me…. Every….. Single….. Day… 

And He wants to delight you too. It’s learning to give all of your life to Him and then watch as He displays His glory. 

Oh and a P.S. On my return flight, I stopped in the bathroom in the Denver airport. I stepped into the last stall in the bathroom and this is what I found on the floor. 


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All I can say….. Amen… Jesus Amen. 

Have an amazing day living in His Presence. I’m off to the couch with my cold meds. Achew! Love you… Achew! 

 

*****

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Weekend Worship — It Starts With a Willing Heart

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “ Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep." — John 21:15-17

933344_i_love_youI know I talked about this passage a while back, maybe even a couple years ago, but the depth of this interchange has deepened even more for me recently. Just to review, the first two times that Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, Jesus uses the Greek form agapao, which is a sacrificial love. And each time Peter replies with the Greek form, phileo, which is a brotherly love. The third and final time that Jesus asks this question, He switches to phileo, and again Peter replies with the same form.

I believe Jesus was asking Peter if he was ready to be sold out for Him, to love Jesus before anything else and to step fully into a life of faith and belief, to tend lambs and shepherd sheep. Jesus was speaking of people, of course. He was asking Peter to live his life sharing Jesus and helping others to know who the Great Shepherd really was.

Yet we see Peter hold back. I can only imagine how fear held him. How he may have judged himself a failure and untrustworthy based upon how he denied knowing Jesus three times, as Jesus had predicted.

What I also love about this passage is Jesus' patience and love for Peter. I believe Jesus switched to Peter's use of phileo to meet Peter right where he was. As if to say, "Okay, if that's what you feel you are capable of, let's start right there."

Such grace, such acceptance, such love.

I love Peter's story because it's my own. For a long time my own fear and feelings of insignificance kept me from saying a full yes to living my life for Jesus. I would get close but ultimately I clung to the last tendrils of self perceived control of my life. I was afraid of what Jesus would ask me to do. And afraid of how I would be perceived by those around me.

We know that we are God's children and co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17). The thing is, it's not just about being related to Jesus but having a relationship with Him. And He is so very trustworthy. He is patient and brings us along on this journey exactly like the master potter that coaxes and gently forms clay on a wheel to take form and purpose. And if you've ever done this, you know how the slightest pressure brings form, yet too much causes the piece to go out of balance and the potter must either attempt to correct the piece quickly or start over.

My friends, don't lose patience with yourself in this process. Jesus will bring you along exactly as He knows is best for you. Take another look at Peter. By the time we delve into the later chapters of Acts, he is moving and walking in the Spirit and by the time he wrote his letters he is completely sold out for Jesus.

Sometimes you may feel like you're doing everything you should yet inside, everything feels wrong. I've found those are the times that Jesus is cleaning the house—our heart. I discovered the hard way it's easier to work with Him by recognizing the issues He's dredging up, acknowledging them, then asking for forgiveness, healing, release, or for Him to change this area of your heart and life.

Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2), so it’s a part of our faith journey to grow and yield, to form and change to be more like our Creator. And when we step fully into this process with trust, we are transformed.

Since my encounter with God at Bethel Church last October, my own faith journey has exploded and I know there is no way possible I could have done any of it on my own. I never even imagined the possibilities of where God would take me when I asked for more. I was tired of feeling like an ineffective Christian and tired of myself. I knew there had to be more to this faith journey, and I wanted more!

And it is an amazing journey full of fun and delight! Yes, there are times that I quake in my boots when God calls me to stop and talk to a complete stranger, which winds up being either a time to encourage, share Jesus, or pray with them. But I always walk away awestruck and so full of God's love, because I am walking in the Spirit.

There is no better place to be, my friends! This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said He came to not only give us life but give it abundantly. This is what He wants for you too. And the absolutely and only requirement is to have a willing heart. Doesn’t matter where you are coming from, because Jesus is more interested in where He wants to take you.

When the Holy Spirit gives you that nudge, just say yes, then do what He asks. That's it. The results and outcome are not up to you. He already has that covered, just like He did for Peter.

Trust Jesus and take a step of faith. As you do this more, you will find that your fear will turn into anticipation as you begin to look for your next divine appointment. You won’t want to miss a single one—that’s my prayer now, “Lord, don’t let me miss a divine appointment.”

My precious SUMites, I want you to fully experience this kind of life and I am asking Jesus to meet each of you right where you are. Share in the comments how Jesus is meeting you and what He’s asking you to do. Now is the time to stand strong in prayer over each other because God is calling us up as a community to be part of His Great Harvest. I don’t want any of you to miss out on a single bit of it!

Love you with the passion of Jesus in my heart! 

Dineen

And now for some worship!

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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.

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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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Disappointment Recovery

RecdisaptGood Monday Morning my SUMites! 

It’s Sunday afternoon as I write this note to all of you. I just went back and re-read the comments that you left for me last Monday on my post, Devastating Disappointment

I’m undone. 

By your love. Undone by of our shared tears. Humbled to the core for your prayers, your private emails, and the notes through Facebook. I’m moved by the Heart of God because so many of you also live in moments of devastation. So many of you live desiring intimacy, born of faith, with your spouse just like me. Many of you are facing life-altering changes in your home. For some, your kids are broken. Some face a spouse who is dark and seemingly hopelessly lost in the clutches of evil’s addictions, lies and self-centeredness. 

My friends, I truly KNOW how you feel. Over the past week I’ve had time to seek and discover the answers to the questions I asked of God on Monday. The answers I received were not what I exactly wanted to hear but they were the answers I NEEDED to hear from my Daddy, Father and my God. 

So, may I humbly share them with you and perhaps the answers will give you what they gave to me, hope. 

I will always hope. It is impossible for me to know God in the way that I know Him and not be hopeful, even for the seemingly impossible, my husband’s salvation and a desire for shared Sunday morning church experience. It’s impossible not to hope when I spend so much time in His Presence and I absolutely believe with everything in my heart that God’s purposes for me is to prosper me, that He desires to lavish His love upon me and to take me on an adventure that my marriage could never do in itself.   

My friends, I know all of this to be true. And I know, without doubt, that Our Lord wants all of this for you too. So before we get to the answers to the questions, I feel that some of you might be encouraged if I share with you how I have walked with God over the past two weeks as I wrestled with the pain, the loss of a dream and lost hope. 

I prayed. Yes, you knew I would say this. But, what did that really look like? 

Well, over the years I’ve learned to actually pray without ceasing. What does that mean? I enjoy an ongoing and every day conversation with God. I whisper prayers walking around the house. I mumble prayers in the car, some days when driving I have to pray A LOT because I find it difficult to love people on the road when they behave like idiots behind the wheel *grin*. Ahem…. Onward. 

So, I whispered, “Daddy, it hurts. I’m angry. I’m so disappointed. Dad, why.” 

I didn’t hear any distinct reply right away but I felt His Presence just like any other day. I also found myself out in the garden with my Daily Bible and my journal. I don’t journal too much anymore because I walk and pray after I read, however, on this particular day overwhelmed in my pain, I sat down and the words flowed on paper. Words of a broken heart. It was weird. I felt like King David when he was troubled and would write words about his enemies, troubles and then would find in his heart words of praise and thanksgiving. My words were likely to be ugly and looking back, I’m sorry I let them go for as long as I did which allowed the enemy a chink in my armor where he prolonged my pain and he tortured me with lies for a time. But they were how I felt at the time and our BIG God was up to handling my anger and disappointment. 

Currently I’m fascinated by the book of Ephesians and a couple of passages have fascinated me and become very powerful. So, I began to pray these passages to affirm my belief in the words. I prayed them morning, noon and night. I would repeat them over and over. I would say them as I drifted off to sleep and they tumbled from my lips as I woke. I was desperate to bring them into reality in my life and they were words that affirmed me and brought hope and comfort as I processed through my disappointment. 

I prayed, I proclaimed, I prophesied, I spoke aloud, “I am seated in the heavenly realms with Christ. I have the power of God, the same power that resurrected Christ. Seated in the heavenly realms, I have wisdom and revelation to see my marriage, my purpose on earth from God’s perspective.” 

The short version: I’m seated in heavenly realms. I have the power of the resurrection. 

I must have whispered this affirmation of who God says I am and literally the power I have available to me (the power that raised Christ from the dead) hundreds of times. I'm still freaked out that God has given to us the power that raised Jesus. Say What??? Freaked, I tell you. But I believe it.

Oh my friends, how speaking scripture is like the heaving of a mighty sword in the spiritual realms. Things began to happen…….. 

Amazing and fantastical, Supernatural things. Around me and in me. I’m still processing it all. 

And I will share that with you on Friday!

And I promise we will get to God’s answers to my questions. For today, please KNOW that I took every one of you with me before the throne this past week. Often and with passion, pleading for you individually and for your, life, your marriage, your spouse, your kids, whatever you asked of me. I brought you to our God seeking His favor and action in your life. I hope to reply to all of you if I have enough time this week. 

My friends, I leave you with a challenge. Read Ephesians, chapter one through chapter two, verse 10. This is a letter to the church that has overcome. This is a letter to the SUMites. We are living in the trenches and WE ARE OVERCOMERS! Let it empower you and I pray by Friday, you find you are seated in the heavenly realms and operating from heaven toward earth and not the other way around. That is our birthright as Kingdom children. 

And everyone said….. AMEN!! 

See you on our Facebook page and back here again on Friday. I love you. I truly love you with a full heart. Hugs, Lynn

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Weekend Worship — We are in Jesus! Jesus is in Us!

My friends, I've been reading in John lately and find so much in this book that continually hits me as so profound. Our Savior's heart for us is all over the pages of Scripture and though I've read this book many, many times, I wonder how I missed so much!

Here are a couple of my observations:

“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true." — John 5:30-31

Jesus states clearly here that nothing He does is outside the Father's will because He only seeks the Father's will. In fact, much of John is Jesus saying He is there to do the Father’s will and that all He does is what the Father has shown Him. Jesus shows us how crucial it is to be completely dependent upon Abba.

Yet we so often try to carry our situations on our own because we want to be strong in our faith and not waver. It’s a vicious circle though because when we attempt to do that we are essentially standing alone and separating ourselves from God’s supply of strength. Even Paul sought to do this and God told him, “My grace is sufficient for you because for My power is made perfect in weakness.”

I emphasized “for you,” because that statement would stand alone fine without it. Yet God directed it at Paul, I believe, because that’s how personal Abba is with us. When we are weak, God’s power is perfected. So let’s be weak! Lord, perfect Your mighty power in our weakness!

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. — John 13:1

Did you catch those two phrases? “Having loved His own” and “He loved them to the end”? I believe that we are part of this, my friends. We are part of Jesus’ own and I make that argument from two places. One, Jesus IS the resurrection (as He tells Martha after Lazarus died), meaning He did it once and did it for all of us. When He was on that cross it wasn’t just His disciples He was seeing. It was all of mankind.

And two, take a look at how Jesus prayed for us in John 17:20-23:

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”

It's absolutely astonishing to read those words and begin to understand that Jesus is in us and we are in Him, Who is in the Father. Yesterday as I continued to study in John, the Holy Spirit put the pieces together for me. This is what I shared on Facebook:

"As Christians we spend so much time trying to be like Jesus that we forget the work is done. Christ saved us and dwells in us. We walk in Abba's favor and His love in us is a mighty force waiting to be released on the world. Let's walk like we believe this. Let's be Believers!"

Lord Jesus, help us to truly take this truth in and live in it every day! Everything that truly matters in this life is our place in You, Jesus, and that You are in us. Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing such an amazing work in each and everyone of us. We love You so much! Let our lives bring You glory, Jesus! Amen!

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!
Love you all so much!
Dineen

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God is in the Details

17279092_sHello my dear friends! This week I'm working through my portion of the edits on our book, Not Alone (Lynn gets to do hers next week). I was so focused on this yesterday that I totally forgot to write a post for today! So sorry about that. I can't sit at my desk for really long periods right now either. Seems that nasty cold I caught before my daughter's wedding left me with a case of costochondritis. Sounds like an addiction to Costco, doesn't it? I wish. It's an inflammation of the cartilage of rib cage. No fun!

So this post will be short and sweet, but you know, some of the best truths we have from God are short and sweet, like my favorite, Romans 8:28.

I'm going to share a little story I've been saving. While Lynn and I were at the conference we spoke at in May, I was so impressed with all the work the ministry team put into every part of this conference. Even the decorations in the ladies room!

I said as much to one dear sister in Christ and she said this, "Well, you know what they say, God is in the details."

I don't know how to explain what happened next, but it was like the Holy Spirit jumped up and took over. You know how that happens when you say something you know didn't come from you?

What came out of my mouth was this, "And you know what the best part is? We're His details!"

Wow. I just love that! My friends, we are God's details. Abba spoke everything on this earth into existence, but us, He formed with His hands (like the potter!). Think about the love and care He took to do so, think about His heart for us, think about how all that translates into His desire to have a personal and intimate relationship with us, because, speaking as an artist, when I fashion something well, I take great pleasure gazing upon and appreciating my work.

God’s love is overwhelming! And this makes so much sense when you think of it in terms of Christ in us. God fashioned us from the very beginning to be vessels for His Holy Spirit.

Christ in us—God is in the details.

For the rest of this week, anytime a negative thought about you crosses your mind or someone speaks unkindly to you, I want you to stop and praise God out loud, "Abba, thank you that I am one of your details. Thank you for planning and forming me with such love and care" (Psalm 139).

Countering lies with His truth is our sword and God's love is the edge on that blade. So wield it!

Love you all so very, very much, my fellow details!
Dineen

Image credit: grthirteen / 123RF Stock Photo

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Honor and a Little Humor in Marriage

Yesterday Mike and I celebrated our 21 wedding anniversary.

Because all of you know how challenging a spiritual mismatch can be, I just marvel at all God has brought about in me, my husband, our children and all through our marriage covenant. 

Miracles abounding around here. May I just say, "Honey, I love you and I'm looking forward to the next 21 years."

I've been thinking a lot about honor and marriage. I've been pondering the qualities of my husband that are honorable. And today, just for fun, I want to share a hilarious video that points to an amazing quality my man possesses.

My guy can find the perfect anniversary, birthday and any-kind-of-card-day for me. 

Mike Donovan IS the guy in the video who seeks the perfect card for his wife. He spends an hour at Hallmark. I spend 10 minutes at Wal-Mart. Sheesh! He is SO much better at this than me.

Thank you Mike, you are so amazing and able to find the perfect card.

Okay enjoy. And today think about one area in your spouse that is honorable. Is he a good father? A good provider? When you type his honorable qualities in the comments it becomes a written record for the Kingdom. So today, honor your spouse and then watch as God honors you. Hugs, Lynn

 

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Special Guest Today! Please Welcome Suzie Eller!

My precious friends, today I want to introduce you to Susanne (Suzie) Eller. She's been a great support to the SUM ministry and now we get to share her with you! Suzie's message of forgiveness in her book, The Unburdened Heart is desperately needed today and by so many. I hope you find answers and comfort in her words below. 

Feel free to leave comments and pray for each other. This is a tough topic. And we'll do a random drawing from the comments for a book winner, who will receive a copy of her book.

Love you all dearly and know you are in my heart and prayers!
Hugs!
Dineen

SE13-1060-682x1024Suzanne (Suzie) Eller is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and author. She’s written six books, hundreds of articles, and writes devos with Encouragement for Today that reaches over 500,000 women. Suzie is a radio co-host with Luann Prater at Encouragement Cafe Joy FM. She encourages women through two Facebook communities reaching over 20,000 five days a week. She’s been featured on TV and radio such as Focus on the Family, Aspiring Women, 100 Huntley Street, KLOVE, MidDay Connection, The Harvest Show, and many others. Most importantly, she is a wife, mom, and “Gaga” to four beautiful grandbabies. Connect with Suzie at www.tsuzanneeller.com

 

Suzie, you’ve been listening to many stories from women who struggle to forgive. How many women struggle with forgiveness in their marriages?
 
Nearly 50% of the women who share their stories on my blog, or in person, say that their biggest struggle to forgive is in their marriage.
 
For many, it’s when a spouse is continually unkind, or says words that diminish her.
 
In this instance, many women bear their soul and are told either to get out, to seek counsel, or to submit.
 
The first leaves a woman who desires to stay and work things out because she loves her husband and wants her marriage to succeed, with a heavier burden. 
 
In the second, seeking counsel is wise advice, as long as it’s counsel that is skilled in helping a couple, with God’s help, find new ground in their marriage. Many times “counsel” can be someone who do not have those skills.
 
The third, to submit, is often shared without proper context. The word “submit” is thrown out without the beautiful framework of instructing husbands to love their wives as “Christ loved the church”. This is why wise counsel is key. Submission is respect, it’s great love, it’s working through the harder spots.
 
So, how do you begin to forgive in this instance?
 
It’s a blend of truth, grace, and confidence.
 
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that abuse is allowed to continue. However, he’s not yours to fix, and that’s where we often spend our energies.
 
What can you do then? You can speak the truth. Truth is shared, perhaps in the setting of a counselor’s office, or perhaps in a moment where it’s not heated, after prayer and with love, and with the intent of working toward a healthier relationship. Truth is coated with grace, knowing that we all fall short. It’s shared with wisdom and without accusation. And in some instances, it’s shared with healthy boundaries, not to punish, but to work toward the healthiest relationship possible. (A great book on boundaries that is both healthy and filled with wisdom is Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud and Townsend.)
 
What about unfaithfulness?
 
A percentage of that 50% wrote in that they struggled to forgive because of unfaithfulness. I shared Carlie’s story, a woman whose husband left her after 29 years of marriage. In this case, the word forgive meant that God moved into the broken and raw places of His daughter. He knew her. He knew her heart. She intentionally walked into a relationship with God during that painful time so that He could fill up her “temple”, residing in Her, healing her, moving in her in those moments when she wanted nothing more than to take revenge, or lash out. In Carlie’s case, her husband went on with his new life, but she also had new life that filled her up in the harder months ahead. She was redefined in so many ways – single mom, single woman. But her role as God’s daughter was made that much more clear and concrete.
 
Unburdened-Heart_GrassSky_smallFor those whose spouse asked for forgiveness and who desired to change, forgiving is key as you rebuild trust. But give yourself permission to be honest with your heavenly father, with the understanding that there is nothing in scripture that condones unfaithfulness. It’s not in God’s plan or His character. If He grieves over the fallen sparrow (Matt. 10:29), then He grieves over your marriage. He is big enough to handle your honesty while leading you to a new level of spiritual intimacy with Him and even tender vulnerability in your relationship with Him as you work through this harder aspect of forgiving. At this moment, it may seem impossible to forgive on your own, but are you willing? That’s the only question that you need to answer. God is a Healer, and my prayer is that your marriage goes to a new place, but also that you sense God’s hand over you as you work through this difficult place, and that one day you look back and see His tender touch over you and your marriage.
 

Read chapter one of Suzie's book.

Listen to Suzie share her journey to forgiveness.

 

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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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