75 posts categorized "Thankfulness"

God's Promise For A Marriage - Thankfulness This Thanksgiving

Becky Walker Family Nov 2017
Becky and Her Two Children

Promises by: SUMite Becky Walker

I wanted to write about the Lord’s promises and explain what the Lord recently revealed to me. I encountered opposition about claiming the Lord’s promises for my husband.

My husband and I have been separated for almost three years and he actually divorced me in May 2016, but I didn’t even know about it until a year later. He has since married someone else and they have separated. I have also consulted with my lawyer who says that the divorce was not carried out legally and we could contest it. That door still has not slammed shut.

Years ago, before my husband left, the Lord promised me that my husband would return, not a slave to sin, but a brother in Christ (Philemon 1:15-16). He also promised me that He would give my husband an undivided heart and place His Holy Spirit in him, remove his stony heart and replace it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26). I have clung to these promises and claimed these promises, even in the face of opposition, because of the faith He gives me.

The Lord continues to me of His promise to keep me strong and give me the faith to make the decisions He wants me to make. I have watched my husband, (yes, I still call him that), Charlie, go from not wanting to set foot in a church to regularly attending a Bible believing church in our community. In fact, the last time he had our children, he took them to church on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Years ago, before we separated, he did not want me to pray for meals but lately he has asked my children to pray for the meal when they go out to eat. My daughter also told me that when she got into his jeep last night, he was listening to a "man talking about God." And recently he told them that he listens to pastors on the radio now. Charlie is a truck driver who travels across several states during the night, so he may be listening to hours of God’s Word. 

I have watched God do amazing things and He still amazes me every day. I do not waver in unbelief regarding the promise of God, but my faith is strengthened, and I give glory to God, being fully persuaded that He has the power to do what He has promised. (Romans 4:20-21). His promises have reminded me how to react and speak to my husband in every situation; speaking with grace so that I do not ruin my witness. His promises guided me to wait on the Lord when everyone else was telling me to divorce Charlie and move on. His promises give me the faith to make decisions that would seem foolish to the world based on my circumstances, like quitting my job as a public-school teacher to home school my children as a "single" mom. God not only provided almost all of my home school resources for free, but He has also provided an amazing job in which I'm teaching English to children in China online in the early morning hours.

The Lord’s promises are such an amazing act of grace and mercy. He could just leave us in the dark about everything that is going to happen. We could just be left to try to figure everything out on our own. People who do not follow Jesus are doing just that each day; living in the dark and trying to figure everything out on their own.

His promises are the reason we can walk by faith and not fear.

His promises are the reason we have peace and joy in the midst of storms.

We need to cling to and claim His promises, personal ones He reveals and the amazing promise of eternal life. There are over 100 promises in the Bible that we have the privilege to claim as believers. 

I was recently thinking about Joseph and the Lord’s promises to him through his dreams. I used to think that Joseph was enslaved only because he shared the dreams he had with his brothers, but the Lord recently revealed a new perspective. Since the Lord knows everything before it happens, and He knows our hearts, perhaps the dreams the Lord gave Joseph were given to Joseph because of what the Lord knew would happen. He knew Joseph’s brothers’ hearts and the way they felt about Joseph because of Jacob’s love and favor towards him. The Lord knew what the brothers were going to do to Joseph before it happened. I believe that the Lord used those dreams He gave Joseph to keep him strong during the trials the Lord knew Joseph would face; the enslavement, imprisonment, and needing to forgive His brothers. 

The Lord knows what each and every one of us needs and He does not keep us in the dark. He knows what every soul is longing for and what every person will have to endure in their lifetime because He has already seen it all play out. It is by His grace and mercy that we have the promise of eternal life and we need that to carry us through the hard times, the confusing times, the struggles.

He knew we would need His promises. We need to remember His promise of eternal life and personal promises that He reveals because He has given them to us for a reason; not just as something to hope for and patiently wait for but as a guide. We should always base our decisions, our attitudes, and our behavior on His promises and seek to follow Jesus, trusting Him that He will bring us to that promise. I know that God will fulfill His personal promise to me and my family because He has already seen it happen. But most importantly of all, I know I will have the promise of eternal life with Jesus, my Savior in His perfect timing. I will be living with Jesus in eternal light, brilliant colors that don’t even exist on Earth, a glorified body, no tears, no worries, no fears, no sickness, and no pain. I can't wait! 

It is also up to us to share that promise with everyone. Righteousness is the opposite of sin and Heaven is the opposite of Hell. We need to remember that there is also a promise of eternal damnation for those who do not follow Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If Heaven is the opposite of Hell then the eternal damnation they face is one of eternal darkness (such that we’ve never experienced before), and an eternity of tears, pain, fear, sickness and horrors we can’t even imagine. We shouldn't want anyone, not even our worst enemy, to experience that. We need to intercede in prayer and share the Gospel with words and actions.    

Thank you, Lord, for your amazing promises that are so full of grace and mercy. Do not let us forget your promises. Open   our eyes to the opportunities to share Your promise with everyone around us.  Help us to live every day of our lives in the victory of that fulfilled promise and may You receive all of the glory for everything You do and all that You are. We trust that you will do whatever it takes to draw our loved ones to Jesus Christ.

Biography:

My name is Becky Walker. I live in Greensboro, North Carolina. I am a stay-at-home mother of two children; my 8-year-old, Charlie Walker, V and my 6-year-old, Lily. I used to teach middle school Spanish but in June, the Lord called me to home school my children. I resigned as a teacher, a lateral entry position that God had amazingly provided since I don’t even have a teaching license, and later in the summer, I applied to VIPKID. I now teach English to children in China and I’ve never enjoyed a job more. I live in a house that’s owned by our church, and I recently became involved in the ESL ministry there; another door God opened. I love spending time with my children and singing in our church choir.

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Begin Thanksgiving With Thanks

The predawn light slips through the window as I sleepily rub my eyes and wait for the coffee to trickle into the pot. The aroma awakens a gentle smile. I swirl in the creamer then shuffle to my prayer room. There I gather my life-line, my Bible and the spiral binder. My Daily Bible

All is quiet. The family slumbers. It’s peaceful in this early morning hour.

My hands clasp about the cup, glad warmth seeps into my fingers. The warm air from the heater begins to circulate the room, as do the angelic. Seated under the lamp, I slowly open the pages. The precious and powerful pages that literally saved my life, changed my heart and continue to do so. These are the very pages where I met Jesus. I turn to the latter days of November. Rough and worn pages reflect scribbles of familiar writing, my thankfulness across the top, of years passing.

November 19, 2007 Praying for wisdom that comes from heaven.

November 20, 2009 My husband received offer for employment after a year of no work. Thank you, Lord!

November 22, 2004 Submitted article to magazine. Thank you, Lord.

November 22, 2007 Thanksgiving Day. Thank you Lord for your boundless mercy that God has given us the privilege of being born again.

November 26, 2006 Thank you for the new blog.

November 27, 2003 Thanksgiving Day. My Jesus, salvation, my daughter, son, time off, our home, my husband….Lord, may this year be the year of husband’s salvation.

The handwriting speaks softly to me of years gone by. Of markers of God’s provision, His love, His grace and His ever-present love in my simple life. I step into the words on the page this November 24th, 2011 and thank Him for the rich blessing of another year, a book, a chance to share the hope I have with others, a family that is healthy and under the profound protection of God Almighty.

Faithfulness. This is a record of faithfulness of a good Father in a life of an ordinary daughter.

Daniel, chapter one: I hear the LORD's voice, beckoning through the sentences, Be a woman of courage, of integrity, commitment and purpose. Serve God alone and never bow to idols of greed, gluttony, and self. In Peter chapter three: I’m met with such power. I'm wrecked and overwhelmed. It’s as if on this cold morning God is confirming once again, keep walking the walk, talking the talk, living it out the truth I hold in my heart before my unbelieving spouse. Jesus died for sinners that he might bring them safely home to God (vs 18).

Another sip of sentiment and little Peanut jumps up beside me. He paws the sleep from his eyes and waits for me as I speak tenderly to my Abba, Father.

I smile at his tawny face, pat his back. I sense he smiled.

Turning to my journal, I'm touched by the softness of the morning. The Presence of the Living God falls, heavy. Rushing to my knees, I whisper thanksgiving. Praying from the depths of my soul, filled and overflowing earnest for what truly matters in this world.

O Lord Jesus, my Savior,

Step with me before the throne of grace on this special morning. Allow me favor that I recount my blessings to our Father. Lord, You, have protected and prospered me with all the power of heaven this past year. You have saved my family and my friends from evil and sheltered from disaster. Lord you have spoiled me. I know life is unexpected. Nothing is a guarantee. Yet, today, I acknowledge that the luxuries of Your provision, exceed my dreams. I rejoice that You love me and delight to give gifts to Your children.

Father, thank you for my salvation, for knowing the truth that sets me free, for the healing of hearts, souls, and bodies. Thank you for sharing your Words with me that draw me closer to your heart and conform me to the likeness of Jesus. Thank you for my husband, my children, my home, my church, my online sisters and brothers. You know that my love for them is eternal, passionate, and sacrificing.

Thank you that ……. I am chosen.

I am chosen. I am chosen. I am chosen. Thank you that on this day day in November millions of your people pause with gratitude for Your hand. I love you Lord, your humble servant, Lynn

Moist lashes, trembling hands. The room has grown lighter. Peanut is scratching for his breakfast in the kitchen and I hear a stirring in the distant bedroom. The house is awakening. A full day awaits but for this moment on this day of thanks, I spent time with my King.

And I experienced HIM.

THAT is a perfect Thanksgiving.

Lynn

Give Thanks SUM


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Making Preparations for Thanksgiving

Picture this scene:

RockwellIt’s Thanksgiving Day.

The table has been set with Grandma’s fine China.

The turkey has been carved.

The family members pose just before the blessing is said for a Norman Rockwell portrait.

The blessing is prayed.

The partaking of the Thanksgiving meal begins.

And then it happens – Uncle Obnoxious begins his usual antics of getting securely under your skin with his big mouth. His opinionated views on politics, religion, today’s youth, the preacher, and even how the turkey was carved flows as freely as water coming out of the kitchen faucet. His very presence begins to gnaw at you, and you pray under your breath, “Lord, why did I ever decide to come to this family gathering.”

Sound familiar to you?  Suffice it to say, most of us have an Uncle Obnoxious, or someone in our family who just sort of rubs us the wrong way. Perhaps some of you are already thinking of ways to respectfully decline this year’s Thanksgiving invitation, knowing he/she will be there.

Wait! Before you decline, may I offer you a ray of hope from my own experience that, not only brought emotional and spiritual healing into my heart, but paved the way for me to deal with all the, shall we respectfully call them “sandpaper” people in my life

You see, people like Uncle Obnoxious used to make me cringe.  In fact, I thought that I was called into the world to give “Help Tips” to my closest relatives and friends that would assist them in seeing things more positively.  And Lord knows, those legalistic people who only see things as either black or white, definitely needed my assistance in helping them balance the truth.  

Hogwash. The real truth of the matter was I was trying to mold them into what I wanted them to be, especially if I were going to have to deal with them on a regular basis. The bottom line was, instead of my help tips helping them, I was causing division.

The spiritual light bulb revelation that “changed me” instead of me trying to change others came as I listened to my mentor, the late Melba Berkeheimer teach from Romans 15:7:  Receive (accept) one another as Christ also received us to the glory of God.”

My spiritual light bulbs really went off when Melba asked:  “Did God say if you get rid of all the moles, then I will accept you?  Did God wait for you to get perfect before accepting you?”

She continued by explain that there is a big difference in accepting and approving. We sometimes think that we have to approve of someone in order to accept him/her, and that’s not true.  We have to accept a lot of things in life, but you don’t have to approve them.  We are all going to have different opinions, temperaments, and personalities.  These different types of people don’t have to be our bosom buddies, (even relatives), but we do have to accept them.

And so it was. I sat down with a pen and paper and begin to write out all those things that had gotten under my skin about a few people. I then decided that it was time to throw the list in the garbage can. I made a conscientious decision that I would now accept them just the way they are, and allow their creator to make the necessary changes in their lives if need be. 

Believe me, I am no longer stressed out around those people who used to make me cringe just to be in the same room with them. Well, not much anyway. Healing came into my life as I accepted them, as well as forgiveness for times their words hurt me. And yes, I had to ask a few, to forgive me for my interfering in their lives.  (They couldn’t believe it!)

It is a good feeling knowing I don’t have to straighten them out for their journey through life. I also walk with a confidence of knowing who I am in Christ and prayerfully walk as an ambassador for Him.

And with that, I encourage you to start preparing your heart this Thanksgiving to meet up with Uncle Obnoxious. Make a decision to love him unconditionally, warts, moles, and all—just like Christ loves and accepts you.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHappy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Martha Bush

Martha Bush grew up on a farm in Donalsonville, Georgia. She graduated from Valdosta State College, Valdosta, Georgia, with a BS degree in Business Education. After graduating from college, Martha began her teaching career that spanned grades 5-12 in both public and Christian schools. She also taught adult vocational courses in the Atlanta school system. Her love for teaching led her into areas outside the school system as she began teaching Bible study courses in jails, prisons, and at her local church.

She also writes a monthly inspirational post at Created Woman and is a contributing editor for Created Woman Magazine. In addition, Martha is a contributor to Girlfriends Coffee Hour and a member of the Orange County Christian Writers Guild.

Through her years of teaching, as well as being an avid reader of human behavior and grief counseling from noted Christian psychologists, she recognized how a team effort can help build a foundation in children at an early age that will enable them to cope with the losses in their lives. She believes this team, made of up parents, grandparents, educators, and spiritual leaders, can guide a child to healing from losses he or she might experience. They can do this simply by recognizing his pain, listening to his pain and then teaching the child how to apply the principles of God’s Word to his hurting heart.

This led her to write Helping Hurting Children: A Journey of Healing. Martha resides in Orange, Texas, with her husband, Glen. They are the parents of two grown daughters who have blessed them with three beautiful grandchildren.

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Salvation Story. God Talked With This Husband!

Hoverson
Sam & Molly Hoverson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE: 

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

Molly Hoverson 

Sam Hoverson

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Thanksgiving

SUMites, we are taking Thanksgiving week off. You should too!!! *grin*

Spend time with your families. Eat way too much food. Enjoy a slice of pie. Kiss your husband and do something adventurous and new with your kids. 

Give Thanks! We will see you right after Thanksgiving with a few announcements. Woo Hoo!! Stay tuned!

Dineen and I love you so much. We would love to see some photos of your Thanksgiving week/day. Come back here and upload a pic. We will give thanks along with you. Hugs, Lynn & Dineen.

Turkey Eat Pizza 2

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A Tablecloth of Thanks 2016

I started a Thanksgiving family tradition a few years ago, quite by accident. This tradition has become my absolute favorite. I'm sharing it today, as I do every year so that our new readers can begin this tradition in their home. This is also a Family Faith Tradition I share in our new book, Not Alone.

I have a story to share and a photo. I also want to give you a chance to share some of your holiday traditions or giggles.

Join in today and share a Thanksgiving holiday tradition from your home or share a funny holiday hiccup.

My Hiccup: Like many newly married young women, I didn’t realize the turkey was stuffed with bagged giblets. Yep, I cook the turkey with the plastic bag and the giblets still inside. We ate it anyway.

Also, three years ago, I set the oven on fire when I moved the giant bird around. I freaked out. My husband came running. The house was crazy, people were yelling, crying and freaking… Perhaps it was only me doing the yelling, crying and freaking. My calm man put the flames out and to this day, I don’t know how he did it because we didn’t own a fire extinguisher.

The next morning I rose before dawn and went shopping at The Home Depot. NO NOT FOR CHRISTMAS… For a fire extinguisher. And now, every year BEFORE I bake the turkey, I check to make sure the extinguisher is charged and ready.

Sheesh!

Today, I'm sharing one of my most favorite family traditions. Here is a post I wrote five years ago for the Internet Cafe. Hope you start a family tradition this year. It's NEVER too late to have a Tablecloth of Thanks.

Tablecloth of Thanks 

Many of you know that I am married to an unbeliever. This past May we celebrated 15 years of marriage. Our unequally yoked marriage has had its challenges, to say the least. Over the years, however, our ingenious God has maneuvered us through many touchy issues. 

Our disparity becomes more apparent during the holidays. Giving thanks to our Lord in November is a treasured time for me. I name my blessings one-by-one in prayer, thanking God for His lavish abundance poured into our lives. 

Like most wives living in an unequally yoked marriage, I long for my spouse to understand there is a God. To know He is intricately involved in our lives and everything we have is the provision of our creator. I have also learned that forcing God upon my husband is a surefire way to push him away. I am careful to respect my husband and simply trust Jesus to reach him in his perfect timing. 

In spite of my husband’s unbelief, I discovered a unique way to draw him into the celebration of thanks, besides through his stomach. He loves turkey. 

Four years ago, I threw a new, pristine white tablecloth across our dining room table two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. I purchased several colored pens and placed them on top. A new tradition was born, a Tablecloth of Thanks. It began with my daughter. I told her, “I WANT you to write on this tablecloth.” She looked at me with skepticism in her eyes, wondering if her mother had lost her mind. 

“Really,” my smiled reassured. “Write down what you are most thankful for this year. Then write the year, 2004, near your name.” 

She grinned and began to write using several different colors. I joined in and wrote my thanks directly on the beautiful tablecloth. 

Later that evening my husband noticed the scribbles on the tablecloth. I watched as he walked over to read our words. I walked to his side and took his hand. I subtly asked him if he would also write down his thanks. He smiled and said maybe later. 

Finally, on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, my husband picked up a pen and wrote; I am thankful for my wonderful family, great friends, and a very happy life. 

Wow! Was he giving thanks to our Lord? I am not sure. However, every year since he has continued to write a thankful list. Last year’s entry reads; I am thankful for all of my blessings…family, friends, and the dogs. 

Imported Photos 00001What? Did he use the word blessings? Small steps such as these lead to the Savior. I can’t wait to read his thankful list this year. 

The Thankful Tablecloth is one of my most prized possessions. Everyone who visits our home during the Thanksgiving holiday contributes to this permanent memorial of thanks. It is a visible praise to the King displayed in our unequally yoked home each November. 

One of my favorite thanks is this: 

2006
I am thankful
to be able to sit
on the couch and have
my people pet me.
Peanut 

Hmmmm, I wonder how the dog grew fingers and learned to write???? 

Psalm 69:30 (NIV)
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.

 

Lord God, I will name my blessings one-by-one….. Jesus… eternal life…. clean water to drink…..capacity to love…..empowerment to forgive….. just for a start….. 

It is never too late to start a new tradition. If you want to start your Tablecloth of Thanks, I have a few helpful hints.

  1. Place a sheet of butcher paper under your tablecloth. (I have a permanent smiley face on my dining room table from the year 2005)
  2. Use colorfast fabric pens.
  3. Store your tablecloth in an airtight Ziploc bag. 

Thank you, my friends, for sharing this Holiday treasure with me. I wish you were with me today and could share your thankful heart on the Tablecloth of Thanks.

(My friends, if you could, share this post on Facebook and Twitter. It's truly a wonderful tradition and I want so much for families to have an opportunity to share faith in this way. Thanks, Lynn  - click on the buttons below to share. Hugs)

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The Power of God’s Words

SwordCloud
"Jesus is your sword."

One of the things I love about living in Florida is the cloud formations. They are tall and fluffy, filling the sky with a terrain of fluffy like cotton. Then other times they are imposing and dark, flashing with lighting and pouring down rain. Rarely is the sky completely devoid of these puffy wonders.

One bright and humid Florida morning, I went for a walk to worship and pray. My conversation with God that day was about prayer and words. I wanted to understand more about what He seemed to be impressing upon my heart to understand.

I looked up in the sky and noticed a could that looked just like a sword, which I thought was so interesting. But what made it relevant was what the Holy Spirit spoke to me as I looked at this simple formation.

“Jesus is your sword.”

My friends, this truth clicked into place in my heart and then my mind and the Scriptures I’d ready many times seemed to take on even deeper meaning. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. — John 1:1-5

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. — John 1:14

This truth already blew my mind, SUMites, but then to think of it in terms of our spiritual armor, brings a whole new level of awe. 

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, — Ephesians 6:17

Jesus is the Word and the sword of the Spirit is God’s Word, so Jesus truly is our sword! So what does that mean?

The Ezekiel Model

In the book of Ezekiel, God tells Ezekiel to prophesy over dry bones to hear the word of the Lord. First of all, prophesy simply means to speak by inspiration. We are all call to do this and since we have the Holy Spirit living in us, it makes sense that we can do this. (That’s a whole other series best saved for another time.)

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! — Ezekiel 37:4

So Ezekiel is told by the Spirit of God to speak God’s words of life over these bones. The word ‘hear’ in Hebrew is šâma’ and holds such meanings as to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.), declare, discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to) hear(-ken, tell), listen, make (a) noise, (be) obedient, obey, perceive, (make a) proclaim(-ation), publish, regard, report, shew (forth), (make a) sound, tell, understand, whosoever (heareth), witness. And that’s the edited down version. 

In similar intensity, ‘word’ means ḏâḇâr in Hebrew and translates to such meanings as a word; by implication, a matter (as spoken of) or thing; adverbially, a cause: act, advice, affair, answer, commandment, commune(-ication), concern(-ing), confer, counsel, decree, deed, duty, effect, eloquent, errand, glory, manner, matter, message, portion, power, promise, provision, purpose, question, rate, reason, report, request. Again, the edited down version.

These are two hefty words that hold a lot of meaning and impact. Which then led me to Jeremiah 1:12 where God asks Aaron what he sees. 

Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.” — Jeremiah 1:12

Did you know that word ‘watching’ means to be alert i.e. sleepless? Now look at Isaiah 55:11

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. — Isaiah 55:10-11

My friends, this is like a double promise. God decrees (shall) His Word will not only be life giving but also powerful and effective to accomplish His purposes. So, think about this in context of praying Scriptures, which are God’s Word and are thus in alignment with His heart and purposes, and what could happen as a result of doing so. And I mean literally praying Scriptures out loud, word for word. 

For example, our salvation word this year is Jeremiah 24:7. Almost every day I am praying this:

Lord, thank you for giving every one of our SUMite spouses a heart that knows You are God. Thank You that You have declared they will be your sons and daughters and You will be their God. Thank You that they are returning to You wholeheartedly and will follow You all the days of their lives.

We can do this with any Scripture in the Bible, SUMites. Speak God’s Word out as truth. 

Lord, Your Word says that by the stripes of Jesus Christ I am healed, therefore I declare that I am healed of (name specific illnesses, diseases and conditions). (Isaiah 53:5). And I declare the blood of Jesus over my entire body and declare I walk in divine health. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Lord, you are not willing that any should be lost so I rejoice and thank You that You are pursuing my spouse, my children, my family members with your relentless love and I stand in agreement with You that me and and my entire household will be saved. In the name of Jesus, amen! (Matthew 18:14, Acts 16.31).

My friends, whenever you read your Bible and find yourself stopped or stuck on a piece of God’s Word, ask the Holy Spirit what it means, what you need to know about it, and how you are to pray into it, believe it and then decree it. 

One last story…

In my post last Friday I talked about Isaiah six and how the praises of the seraphim shook the place. Did you know this happened in the New Testament too, with the disciples? The disciples were faced with great opposition, so they joined together and prayed.

And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. — Acts 4:29-31

What did they pray for, my friends? Boldness to share His Word. They asked for healing power, miracles and wonders (what Jesus had taught and sent them out to do), all done in the name of Jesus. And what did God do? He shook the place with His presence! They prayed according to His Word (Jesus) and God answered.

So, my friends, I’m not saying that every time we pray, our houses are supposed to shake, but what if they did? What if we asked God for that kind of boldness and courage to pray and share Him with others and walked in miracles and wonders as the evidence of it? What if we already are?

I believe our prayers “shake” the heavens more than we realize. And the more boldness and courage we have, the more we shake the rafters!

O Lord, give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching Your word. Stretch out You hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. Amen!

Love you, SUMites!
Dineen

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This Prayer Strategy Can Change Your Heart

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI am excited about sharing a few thoughts about what to do when prayer remains unanswered but I think we also must focus on a key prayer strategy that is very powerful and leads to breakthrough.

Worship and Thanksgiving.

My friends, sometimes our prayers can turn into a laundry list. We pray on and on with names and needs that are truly important but we can become restlessly caught up in our pain, need and daily life that it's possible to slip into a place of prayer where we lose our perspective. SUMites, it’s imperative that our primary focus in prayer is to remain fully aware that we are having a love conversation with our Father, with our Bridegroom-Prince, Jesus.

The Lord truly knows our needs and yes, I believe we must pray and speak our concerns to His heart. But can you just take a minute here and imagine our Papa God, waiting, hoping even longing for us to approach the Throne of Grace and just hang out?  To listen to Him? To ask Him what He's doing on earth? What thrills His heart? What makes Him smile?

My friends, let’s turn our affection toward our Lord and our Father. Let’s take time to be intentional about worship and thanksgiving. In my prayer time, I try to begin with what I call my “Three thankfuls”. I write down in my prayer journal: 3 thankfuls: Followed by three things that come to my mind and simply acknowledge that everything good in my life is from my Papa.

I once heard a pastor teaching on this aspect of intimacy in prayer. He said that he rarely brings a list before the Lord but brings his affection. He said something like this, “God already knows my heart and my needs. So I am intentional to bring my affection to Him. And He usually moves on my heart requests.”

Interesting.

I believe there is a time to petition and there is also time to just be (Psalm 46:10)! It’s wisdom and discernment fueled by relationship that takes us perfectly into each.

So this week I have a challenge for you, when you lay down to go to sleep, rest quietly and turn your affection toward the Lord. In your imagination or quiet prayers, give Him your heart and then let Him love on you.

Today in the comments, share with me your three thankfuls for today:

I love you my friends. You LOVE well. You love God and you love people. Well done good and faithful servant!!!!!!!!!!!!!  See you in the comments. Hugs. Lynn

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.
  3. Believe – Hebrews 11:6
  4. Confidence
  5. Engage you Will.
  6. Courage
  7. Fasting
  8. 1 Corinthians 7:14
  9. Thankfulness & Worship

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76 Years AND My Personal Miracle

Okay, this is the LAST in the series of post I began in March about my mother's redemption. How appropriate that I finish this story up and share my own miracle on Easter Sunday.

Part I

Part II

Part III

And the final post: Miracles Still Happen Today Because of Jesus!

My mother then interrupted me to share one last story. And I share it with you now because the truth behind it is weighty for all of us. She said to me that last week she was contacted by the mother of one of her students. The student was in my mother’s Sundays school class when she was five years old. The mom of this student said that her daughter was turning 16 years old. And the best present she could give to her daughter, was, well….. her.

So they arranged to meet for a surprise breakfast for my now 76-year-old mom to meet this 16 year old girl for her birthday celebration. As my mother walked from the light into the darkened restaurant, her eyes weren’t adjusted yet to the dimmer light when from across the room a squeal was let loose and this vibrant and beautiful, sixteen-year-old girl rushed to my mom and embraced her. The love shared between this old woman and young woman was tangible in the restaurant.

My mother imparted the love of Jesus into her life when she was just a little girl and years later that young girl loves her in a way, I can’t fully grasp. The reunion was astonishingly holy and beautiful.

As I listened to my mother describe this moment, I reached for more Kleenex. I could barely whisper into the phone but I uttered the words, “Fruit, Mom.”

“This is the fruit of your life. You have poured so much of Jesus into others and today, Jesus is showing you the fruit of your labors, of your love.”

Healing.

Breakthrough.

Fruit.

Even at 76 years old our Savior never stops loving us, healing us, leading us into breakthrough and continues to reveal our fruit.

Oh my siblings, my SUMites, I have no language to describe my grateful heart. The love I feel. How utterly undone I am to be an honored witness to a life-long dance of love with a Savior of one woman’s heart.

I hung up the phone and worshiped and I knew Jesus was calling my mother, Sue, The Rose of Sharon, His beloved Bride, whom He dearly loves.

Okay wipe your eyes because there is another part to this story….. Yes, wait…. There’s more.

Remember the conference in Las Vegas? Well something else happened while we were there that week. Now the story I’m about to share is, ahem, kinda personal and delicate. I’m going to talk about some anatomy that may make some of you squirm but if I don’t share this story, I’ve robbed Jesus of a great glory and others of a testimony of power and healing.

So here we go.

On the second day of the conference, throughout the day, I began to notice some pain in my right breast. An aching pain that kinda nagged at my subconscious. With the events of the day I paid this weird pain no notice until finally at 4 a.m. I’m wide awake and the pain is pulsing in a dull throb. I roll on top of the blankets and begin to feel around to try to figure out why I’m in pain.

And then I felt it. A lump near the center of my breast. Gulp. I reexamined several times, yep it’s truly there. No doubt.

Let me tell you what happens in four in the morning when you feel a lump. FEAR. Immediately my mind screamed and my heart pounded and fear pulsed through my body. For just a minute…. And I mean that because in that minute the years of truth and training and Bible study rose up before me and conquered that fear.

I said aloud into the dark room, “No, I choose to be in faith and not in fear.”

I prayed and spoke and declared every promise I KNOW as truth into the dark in that hour. My heart rate calmed and my spirit walked in real faith. I will not walk in fear. I will walk in faith.

And I did. When my mother woke, I told her about what I found. Now remember my mother worked in oncology for more than three decades. She examined. And the look on her face alone confirmed that indeed, there is a lump.

I called my doctor from Las Vegas and set in motion a ton of appointments. Mamo, ultrasound, surgery appointment. Geeze. Even taking this action, I stood in faith and fear did not grip me. I truly promise you. I believed this lump would be healed.

That night at the conference I received prayer. I put out an APB to my intercessors and those amazing people, you know who you are, they prayed down heaven about me.

I returned home and two weeks later following my Mamo and ultrasound – NO LUMP. Nothing. Clean….

Healed!

I called my mom, who had been praying unceasingly for me and shared the miraculous new. She said, “I praise God and am so relieved. Lynn, that lump was big.”

I gulped and replied, “I’m glad you didn’t tell me that at the time.”

My SUMite friends, miracles are happening all around us. And you are not going to be left out. God is on the move with astonishing power and love. We MUST let go of our unbelief and choose to stand in faith. Kick that old familiar spirit of fear out of the house. Stand upon the promised of our King. Attend a conference where they teach healing. Let me pray for your healing. We all can love and pray for one another. The prayers of the righteous availeth much (James 5:16). I know this to be true and proven over and over again as I live and breathe.

Jesus: Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. - Matthew 18:18-19

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How Do You "Speak" God?

MouthMy friends, as I listened to a very gifted teacher at my recent healing rooms training I attended teach about our words, I knew right away this applied to our "how do we hear God" series, thus my title "How Do We "Speak" God?" It seems the natural progression, as Scripture says what we hold in our heart is what comes out of our mouths.

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. — Luke 6:45 NLT

God's Word also says we are created in His image, therefore we are creative beings, like our Creator. We just have different ways of expressing that creativity. God's Word shows the power of His words to create, bless and curse. And as image bearers of Christ, we are warned about the power of our very own words to give life or death:

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. — Proverbs 18:21 NIV

The more I walk this path of faith and understand the importance of studying God's Word to put truth into my heart so that it will flow from my mouth, the more aware I have become of the words I think and speak throughout my day. Our thought life is a very powerful entity, one that when full of lies and not controlled, leads to bad decisions and hurtful words. This is the heart of where our words pour out, so we must guard our hearts and minds well.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. — Proverbs 4:23 NLT

Think about that verse for few minutes. I intentionally chose the New Living Translation because of the last part of its wording—determines the course of your life. That also means it can determine the course of our marriages, of our relationships with our children, our friends, our co-workers, etc.

Let me say that again. What we choose to think and speak can determine the course of our marriages, my friends. And let me tell you, that is powerful. I will never forget the day I stood in my husband's home office and realized the words I just spoke had created a negative atmosphere between us. The thought hit me—most likely the Holy Spirit—that if I didn't change my heart and my words, my marriage would fail.

That's when God began opening doors for me to the resources I needed—books like Beloved Unbeliever and a small group for the spiritually mismatched. It started with my recognition of need and God's answer to that prayer. You are a part of the SUM family for the very same reasons. God knows your need, wants you and your marriage to thrive and has answered your prayer with support, resources and encouragement from this amazing "church without walls."

My friends, as God changed my heart, my words began to change. What I spoke to my husband became more about edification and unity. The Holy Spirit worked very hard, I'm sure, to help rein in my tongue that had learned the wrong kind of fruit to bear. And guarding my heart is something I must do constantly for I know who is prowling around with the intent to destroy my family (John 10:10). You know that too.

I once heard a woman speaking to her husband at a grocery store that brought home this truth in such a powerful way. That not only do our words "speak" but also our tone. I am sure the Holy Spirit placed me there that day to see this picture, because I've never forgotten it. With each contempt filled word, this man's head sunk lower and lower.

SUMites, we have the choice each day to use our words to build up or tear down. I have come to the place now where I am constantly looking for ways to build up my husband and our marriage. The amazing thing is this has increased my gratitude for my husband and our marriage dramatically, which has drawn him closer to me and brought more opportunities to share my faith with him. And I am eating the fruit of this in ways I never even thought possible. As a child of multiple divorces, this has changed me profoundly—in a wonderful, God-intended way. Thank You, Jesus!

And this has rippled into every area of my life. My relationships with family, friends and even strangers. This is how we become these open doors for the Kingdom of God to burst through, carrying the love of Jesus. That just blows my mind to a whole new realm. How about you?

My friends, share how you have used your words to bring change to your life, your marriage, your family, etc. Let's encourage and inspire one another right here with our words. SUMites, I've seen you in action and you are GOOD at it!  

I have a special post for Thursday in honor of Easter. I am also flying back to California on Thursday to help my daughter move and help my hubby get our house there ready to be sold (Sniffle. That house was a true gift and blessing from God, as is our new one we are building—more on that soon!)

I intend to continue this speaking series next week to expound upon the power of our words as we speak Scripture and God's promises over our lives and marriages. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help me do justice to that post! That could be an entire book right there. 

I love you, my friends. I believe in you and your hearts for your marriages. I stand with you in prayer for your marriages to be healed, to be restored and to be places of prosperity and thriving. And I am standing with each and every one of you for the SALVATION of your spouse and loved ones. That is my heart for you and the Father's too (2 Peter 3:9)!
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When I See You In Heaven - Chronicles Of The Donovan Clan

It’s today, March 14, 2016. Twenty-four years of married life. As I pondered my husband and our marriage this week, the Holy Spirit revealed something utterly unexpected and peculiar…. a letter. A letter to my husband as I see him in the future.


Mike When I see you in heaven...When I See You In Heaven

Mike, when I see you in heaven, will there be tears in my eyes?

Will I glimpse your face across the expanse of the Great Assembly of worshipers? Will I run to you? Will you run to me? When I see you in heaven, I believe we will both run, full-out, with every bit of intention and intensity, to reach one another.  

When I see you in heaven, will you have tears in your eyes? Will you wrap your arms around me in a fierce embrace? Will you pull away and place your hands on both sides of my face as you draw my eyes unto yours?

When I see you in heaven, will you whisper into my eyes through gulps of love and emotion, a breathless thank you.

At that moment will your heart expand as you fully grasp the impact of the years I prayed for this very moment? Will you utter deep groanings of intense joy knowing that I tarried for you in earnest prayer year after year?

When I see you in heaven, will you look upon my face and gently brush away the drops of joyful tears falling on my cheeks.

When I see you in that moment, I will place my finger over your lips to hush your words of thanks. I will tell you, “It’s our Father’s love that saved us. It’s our Father’s love that walked with me through our many years of married life. It’s our Father’s love that held me in the lonely moments and it’s our Father’s love that stood with you when you felt alone and weary of our quarrels.”

When I see you in heaven, I will join my hand in yours as we turn toward the throne. In that moment, our Father will look down upon us both with profound joy and love upon His face. In that singular moment, a life-time of battling the enemy will be revealed. The days and nights I called out to Jesus to protect you, to keep you from the lies of the enemy and to save you from his evil intentions, they all will flash before you. In that moment we will comprehend God’s purpose which placed me at your side as your life-long partner on earth. Under His full understanding we will comprehend that this tiny, 5 foot 2 blonde, girl was a commanding intercessor for your health and prosperity. In that instant you will bear witness to the relentless combat I engaged for our children.

When I see you in heaven, we will share in the greatest joy- your full salvation. Every harsh word ever spoken will be erased instantly, lost in the glory of our King. We will look upon one another’s face and realize that every hurt and disappointment is forever forgotten and forgiven. Our brokenness is instantly covered by the crimson blood of Jesus our King.

When I see you in heaven, I will lead you by the hand to the steps of the throne. With utter sobs I will look up into the face of my heavenly Father and tell Him, “THANK YOU. You gave me this man and I did not fail my assignment. I walked out many years of hope deferred and I did not stop for one moment and give in, give up or lose hope.”

“Father, I couldn’t have done any of it without your love, grace, mercy, kindness and wisdom and power. I’m utterly undone, Father, the faithful love You poured into my life over and over and over is evidenced today, as I see Mike in heaven.”

When I see you in heaven, I will turn toward the vast expanse of the saints and I will honor, celebrate and declare for all eternity the fathomless love of our Father before them as I grasp your hand. And Mike, when I see you in heaven standing there beside me, you will do the same.

When I see you in heaven, Mike Donovan, my heart will be full and we will have all of eternity to discover, recover and uncover things that were left undone or unfinished on earth. I’m so excited to take your hand and step into our eternal life in Jesus Christ, when I see you in heaven.

Happy Anniversary,

I love you, Lynn

Mike and Lynn 2 Nov 2011

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Praise Him Always

Happy Thanksgiving 2015

Dineen and I will be taking the next week off from writing to spend time with our families. And we know you will do the same. Take time to rest. Get up early on Thanksgiving morning and take a walk-n-pray and marvel in all that He has given!

We love you, SUMite Nation. See you on November 30, 2015 where I will share my heart about a common struggle we, the unequally yoked, share. Loneliness.

But for today, rejoice and be exceedingly glad. We KNOW the King of Kings and have been graced with every good gift. Let's share our love and joy with our friends and family this week. Buy a coffee for a stranger. Rake leaves for an elderly neighbor. Take cocoa to a young mom. Let the love of Christ shine from your heart.

I know it always does. Hugs, Lynn 

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Tablecloth Of Thanks 2015

I started a Thanksgiving family tradition a few years ago quite by accident. This tradition has become my absolute favorite. I'm sharing it today, as I do every year, so that our new readers can begin this tradition in their home. This is also a Family Faith Tradition I share in our book, Not Alone.

Enjoy.....Lynn

I'ts Never Too Late!

It’s never too late to start a new tradition in your home, especially one which brings honor to the Lord. I have a story to share and a photo. I also want to give you a chance to share some of your holiday traditions or giggles.

Join in today and share a Thanksgiving holiday tradition from your home or share a funny holiday hiccup.

I will share with you that like many newly married young women, I didn’t realize the turkey was stuffed with bagged giblets. Yep, I cook the turkey with the plastic bag and the giblets still inside. We ate it anyway.

Also, three years ago, I set the oven on fire when I moved the giant bird around. I freaked out. My husband came running. The house was crazy, people were yelling, crying and freaking… Perhaps it was only me doing the yelling, crying and freaking. My calm man put the flames out and to this day, I don’t know how he did it because we didn’t own a fire extinguisher.

The next morning I rose before dawn and went shopping at The Home Depot. NO NOT FOR CHRISTMAS… For a fire extinguisher. And now, every year BEFORE I bake the turkey, I check to make sure the extinguisher is charged and ready.

Sheesh!

Today, I'm sharing one of my most favorite family traditions. Here is a post I wrote years ago for the Internet Cafe. Hope you start a family tradition this year. It's NEVER too late to have a Tablecloth of Thanks.

Tablecloth of Thanks 

Many of you know that I am married to an unbeliever. This past May we celebrated 15 years of marriage. Our unequally yoked marriage has had its challenges to say the least. Over the years, however, our ingenious God has maneuvered us through many touchy issues. 

Our disparity becomes more apparent during the holidays. Giving thanks to our Lord in November is a treasured time for me. I name my blessings one-by-one in prayer, thanking God for His lavish abundance poured into our lives. 

Like most wives living in an unequally yoked marriage, I long for my spouse to understand there is a God. To know He is intricately involved in our lives and everything we have is provision of our creator. I have also learned that forcing God upon my husband is a surefire way to push him away. I am careful to respect my husband and simply trust Jesus to reach him in his perfect timing. 

In spite of my husband’s unbelief, I discovered a unique way to draw him into the celebration of thanks, besides through his stomach. He loves turkey. 

Four years ago, I threw a new, pristine-white tablecloth across our dinning room table two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. I purchased several colored pens and placed them on top. A new tradition was born, a Tablecloth of Thanks. It began with my daughter. I told her, “I WANT you to write on this tablecloth.” She looked at me with skepticism in her eyes, wondering if her mother had lost her mind. 

“Really,” my smiled reassured. “Write down what you are most thankful for this year. Then write the year, 2004, near your name.” 

She grinned and began to write using several different colors. I joined in and wrote my thanks directly on the beautiful tablecloth. 

Later that evening my husband noticed the scribbles on the tablecloth. I watched as he walked over to read our words. I walked to his side and took his hand. I subtly asked him if he would also write down his thanks. He smiled and said maybe later. 

Finally on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, my husband picked up a pen and wrote; I am thankful for my wonderful family, great friends, and a very happy life. 

Wow! Was he giving thanks to our Lord? I am not sure. However, every year since he has continued to write a thankful list. Last year’s entry reads; I am thankful for all of my blessings…family, friends, and the dogs. 

Imported Photos 00001What? Did he use the word blessings? Small steps such as these lead to the Savior. I can’t wait to read his thankful list this year. 

The Thankful Tablecloth is one of my most prized possessions. Everyone who visits our home during the Thanksgiving holiday contributes to this permanent memorial of thanks. It is a visible praise to the King displayed in our unequally yoked home each November. 

One of my favorite thanks is this: 

2006
I am thankful
to be able to sit
on the couch and have
my people pet me.
Peanut 

Hmmmm, I wonder how the dog grew fingers and learned to write???? 

Psalm 69:30 (NIV)
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.

 

Lord God, I will name my blessings one-by-one….. Jesus… eternal life…. clean water to drink…..capacity to love…..empowerment to forgive….. just for a start….. 

It is never too late to start a new tradition. If you want to start your Tablecloth of Thanks, I have a few helpful hints.

  1. Place a sheet of butcher paper under your tablecloth. (I have a permanent smiley face on my dinning room table from the year 2005)
  2. Use colorfast fabric pens.
  3. Store your tablecloth in an airtight Ziploc bag. 

Thank you my friends for sharing this Holiday treasure with me. I wish you were with me today and could share your thankful heart on the Tablecloth of Thanks.

(My friends, if you could, share this post on Facebook and Twitter. It's truly a wonderful tradition and I want so much for families to have an opportunity to share faith in this way. Thanks, Lynn  - click on the buttons below to share. Hugs)

Also, if you have started a tablecloth already in your home, PLEASE, take a photo and share it in the comments. I would love to see them. Hugs, Lynn

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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What Does Thankfulness Do?

3KeysSUM family, we talked last week about the first two keys, forgiveness and love. On the subject of love I just want to make one more point that the Holy Spirit reminded about me over the weekend. 

We reference 2 Timothy 1:7 frequently when we talk about fear.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

We’ve been given love in our spirit. I just want to point that out in case you’re feeling like you can’t love your pre-believer or someone else in your life well enough. The truth is, on you’re own steam, you can’t, but as a child of God, you can. God’s Word says you have a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. And I love how these three are bundled up.

Love without God’s power runs out. Power without God’s love turns manipulative and self-seeking. And self-discipline without love and power is ineffective. All three are necessary and work best together. I could write even more on this subject alone, but let’s move on to our third key, thankfulness.

The Holy Spirit has been showing me how important thankfulness is to our walk of faith and the abundant life. Let me start with a story first. Several months ago, I was struggling a bit in my faith walk and couldn’t figure out why. I sat one morning in prayer and asked the Holy Spirit for help.

He said, “You’re not being thankful.”

At His words I realized I’d done more grumbling than thanking lately. Not grumbling in the sense of complaining, though I’m sure I did some of that too, but more in the sense of continuing to ask over and over again without faith.

The Bible has a lot to say about thankfulness. Psalm 50:15 calls it a “sacrifice of thanksgiving,” which it is when we’re called to be thankful in difficult situations and times.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. — 1 Thess 5:18

And let me point out that this verse doesn’t say to be thankful for the circumstances but to be thankful in them. I do not believe we are called to be thankful for an illness, a catastrophe, poverty—things that are clearly not from the hand of a loving God. But we can be thankful in them that God’s presence is working to help us in whatever situation we are in to bring redemption and goodness from it. 

When in doubt, reread Romans 8:28. Let your world and perspective revolve around this verse and watch how dramatically your life and how you live your life will change!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. — Rom 8:28

So back to my story. Yes, my friends, I repented of my unthankfulness and began intentionally being thankful. And I began to take notice of the effect thankfulness has on me—spiritually, mentally and even physically. These are my observations:

Being thankful:

  • Brings peace in every situation (Col 3:15)
  • Encourages and releases healing—spiritually, physically and mentally (Col 1:11-13)
  • Gives a sense of well-being (Col 2:6)
  • Brings our heart into alignment with God’s (Eph 5:20)
  • Releases the Holy Spirit to work (1 Thess 5:19)
  • Builds our faith and trust in God because as we are asking in prayer, we are then thanking him for the answer (Phil 4:6-7)

My friends, I want you to try your own experiment with thankfulness. Try one of two things: 

  • Start a thankful journal. Writing down five things every day that you are thankful for. Try not to repeat.
  • Sit in a quiet place and think about one thing that you are struggling with. Now, shift your mind to God and start thanking Him for one positive aspect of that situation. 

Perhaps your marriage—thank God for one aspect of your husband that you truly love. God designed your pre-believer just like He did you. Find the gold and appreciate it. Talk to God about this. Do this everyday and then at the end of the week, ask yourself how you’re feeling and thinking about your marriage now.

A situation at work—focus on the rest of your job that you are thankful for. Do this every day before you leave. Then email me and tell me about the day one of your co-workers commented on how you’ve changed and how positive you seem to be.   

Something inside yourself—acknowledge whatever it is you don’t like about yourself, but give yourself grace here, my friends. Sometimes the very thing we see as our weakest area is the very thing God is turning into your greatest strength. Thank Him for giving you the power and desire to do what pleases Him, because He is! His Word says so. 

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. — Phil 2:13

Even Jesus prayed with thanksgiving (Luke 10:21). Paul thanked God and drew courage from it (Acts 28:16). Now look at a these Scriptures from Colossians:

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. — Col 3:13-15

All three keys are right there! They build upon and are integral to each other. And when we are intentional to use all three in our faith walk, we are strengthened in our faith, my friends, because we living our lives rooted in the truths of Jesus Christ.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. — Col 2:6-7

There are so many verses in the Bible about thankfulness. Do you have a favorite one to share? Do you have story of how being thankful has made a difference in your faith and life? Let’s meet in the comments and keep talking! 

SUM family, I am so thankful for you, every day. I am thankful God has put me in this place for such a time as this to be a part of your lives. And thank you for being a part of mine. I love you!
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Disappointment -Part II

Proverbs 3 5 6Job Loss

Financial ruin

Divorce

Death

Years of sitting in church alone.

Disappointment, fear, anxiety

Rejection, pain, confusion…….. sadness

Whether we know it or not, following an unexpected disappointment, we will find ourselves at an intersection. Before us lies two paths and we choose which one to walk down. Faith or doubt. And In mid-June I was turning down a path that was purposely cultivated by the devil. My confusion turned to distrust and out of my pain I allowed an oppressive spirit access through an open door to my life.

Sigh!

Even my husband noticed I was in a really bad place.

I wrestled with, “Why Lord?” Anyone?

And once I allowed that demonic oppression in, it was hell to kick it back out of my life. (A post for later. I want you to know how to do the same.)

My friends, I will own my failings in this moment. Because what I needed to do is to focus on two “Key Truths” that I know deep within my heart.

  1. My God is good. Always!
  2. I have a lifetime (years and years) of experiencing the faithfulness of God.

It bugs me that I caved to doubt in a moment of confusion. And can I just restate very clearly. My disappointment was not about being published. Not at all. I was struggling with a lie the enemy was telling me. He wanted me to believe that God told me to do something and then He pulled the rug out from under me. The root lie: God is not good nor is His Word reliable. Just to be clear, I’m truly not needing affirmation of a published book. This was much deeper.

Even before all this went down in June, I began to hear the Holy Spirit speak this verse to me. It came in the middle of the night with whispers in my dreams. I would wake with the verse on my lips. This verse arrived in email. It was in the articles I read online. It came through many different venues.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight —Proverbs 3:5-6 (1984 NIV version. This is how I memorized it.)

God knew what was coming. He was preparing me. And because of this verse, it made it so much easier to flee the path of doubt and return to my vibrant faith walk.

But how do we pull ourselves out of the pit? I was truly under demonic oppression. I remember walking around the park and all of a sudden a great wave of sadness settled over me. I knew in the moment exactly what it was, I allowed this demonic spirit access. And even though I didn’t want it near me, I had to fight against it with all that I am.

My friends, to start climbing out of our oppression, we need prayer partners. People who will hold us up. We need community and we need people in our lives who really know us, the good, bad and ugly. We must be in transparent and authentic community. I have several people I reached out to and those women held me before the throne. They dragged my sorry butt with them every day in their intercession. They picked up my broken heart and placed it before Jesus with tears and pleading.

I THANK GOD for the Saints. I don’t often need this kind of prayer support but I’m so grateful God gave me prayer warriors. And you can bet that I have been on the other end interceding for many. I have interceded for so many of you my SUMite friends. I bring your brokenness before our Jesus with tears and pleading. I really do. And I count it a privilege to do so. And I will NEVER stop praying for those who call SUM home.

In addition, we need to have cultivated a strong faith walk over the years in order to persevere through trials. We must remember a lifetime of faithfulness and begin to give thanks, even in the confusion.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3: 5-8

Sometimes we won’t receive an explanation, at least right away. But I have experienced 30 days of life full of pigeons instead of The Dove. And can I just say….. That kind of life, well, it sucks.  

On Friday, I will share with you how I battled for my faith and how you can too.

I want to be the voice for your life today and encourage you to take a step out of fear, pain, disappointment then determine yourself to choose to remember and trust the faithfulness of God and reject the lie of doubt.

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Our Authority to "Pass It On"

Heb10-25Dear friends, I feel like I'm on a treasure hunt through the Bible and the Holy Spirit keeps revealing these nuggets of wisdom and knowledge. In fact, I shared this verse on Facebook last week because it keeps showing up:

In him [Christ] lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. — Colossians 2:3 NLT

I have prayed into this for myself and for you, SUMites. Jesus wants to give us these treasures! We just have to ask for them.

So, this latest treasure is one that the Holy Spirit showed me builds on a truth we have talked about in the past, but builds upon it in regard to our authority in Jesus, the authority spoken of in Luke 9:1-2 and Luke 10:17. Our authority given us through our salvation in Jesus. 

But this nugget is revealing that we have specific authority, which I find fascinating. First let's start with 2 Corinthians 1:4:

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. — 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT

I've always loved this verse, because it reflects God's heart for us individually and corporately. He is our comforter and we are to pass the comfort on to others. He intends it to work that way. That is why we encounter others who are going through the same trials and difficulties we have gone through. Sometimes even as we are going through them. Abba wants to comfort us so we can comfort others, and encourage each other. This is the body of Christ working in love and unity.

But did you know that the very places that you have overcome give you special authority? Take a look at 2 Corinthians 4:17:

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. — 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV 

That word "weight" in the original Greek is baros and it means weight, burden, authority.

What does that mean? It means that the sicknesses and trials that you have overcome are now places of authority in which you can pray for others. You are essentially passing a blessing you have received to another person. It doesn't take it away from you at all or lessen its affect or presence. You are sharing it with another, which honors God because you are being obedient to His Word. And God always increases His blessings in these times.

Guess what else? It's a form of worship. An "eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison"! 

 That which we overcome gives us authority to pray for the same breakthrough for others and in combination with the glory of Jesus, it becomes an act of worship and praise.

My friends, I believe we are called to boldly pray and believe for others the very same things we have received. Remember the story of healing I shared a while back about praying for a friend's thyroid to be healed because my thyroid had been healed. And she in turn was healed! I simply passed on the blessing I'd received and was doubly blessed to see God do this in another person. See the increase?

And don't be surprised if Jesus sets you up with divine appointments to encounter people who need your prayers. It is a beautiful set-up, my friends. One that will bless you even more profoundly than the first. It's absolute nonsense to the world, but it's exactly what God will use to make Himself known (1 Cor. 1:27-30). 

My friends, I thought this post was done when I wrote the above paragraph but this morning I had an experience that so profound shows how this works. In my last post, Waiting in the Delivery Room, Holly shared an amazing encounter she had with God. I asked her to pray for me to have an encounter like that too. And she did! 

I DECLARE that you will have an encounter with the God of all creation that will be even greater and more profound than that which I testify to!! Holy Spirit please fall on Dineen with power and fill her to overflowing with Your liquid love and supernatural peace! Get her good Lord so that she is forever changed by the love of her Father!!! You are a good good Father and worthy of our praise!!! In Jesus name....AMEN!!!!!!

That prayer was answered today in a most unexpected way. I was walking around the nearby park, listening to worship music, praying and praising God. I needed this terribly too, my friends, because I’d let in some “stinkin’ thinkin’” recently. God revealed to me that my heart wasn’t thankful. 

So, I chose to walk in my authority over my heart and feelings and turn that frown upside down, to use a cliche. Halfway into my second lap, I felt something…different. I looked up at the magnificent sky and it was like the presence of God fell on me!

And guess what happened next? You won’t believe it… I burst out in laughter. Big laughter. Belly laughter. Holy laughter… And I couldn’t stop. Right in the middle of the park. My friends, I kid you not. 

Holy laughter is something I’ve been asking Abba for for a while. And today was my day. I continued to laugh the rest of my walk around the park—in sudden bursts that doubled me over! I haven’t a clue what other people there thought, and, honestly, I don’t care. 

Today, my Papa God made me laugh! And I believe that was in part a result of Holly passing on her blessing to me (thank you so much, Holly!), which came in an unexpected (and foolish to the world perhaps?) way, and I believe this was also Abba’s way of honoring my decision to be obedient to rejoice in Him, to choose joy, and to walk in that attitude. No more stinkin’ thinkin’! 

And now, my dear friends, I pray for you to experience holy laughter. 

Lord Jesus, You came to set us free and to know Your peace and joy. I ask for holy laughter for our SUMite family. You know best when and how to bring it, Holy Spirit. Do what You do best! In the JOYFUL name of Jesus, amen!

Laughing with you, my friends, and rejoicing in Him!
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Anxiety's Remedy

My Friends,

I will confess that I experienced an upside down week. On several occasions I was pulled into anxiety (fear). Can I just tell you I don’t dwell in the land of anxiety often and as I look back on the two incidents that threw me off my game, I’m now mad.

The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy our peace and joy. And many times in our unequally yoked marriages, he schemes to use our spouse and our children. Sheesh!  Does that somehow seem unfair to you as it does to me? Well, today SUMites. Let me share some truths and this next week, we will not live in anxiety but in peace and joy; the atmosphere of heaven.

Are you in?

Happiness- The root word is happenings. Our circumstances.

When our circumstances (happenings) overwhelm us and we feel all alone, isolated, distant from God. The enemy is aimed straight at your life and his goal is to keep you in anxiety fretting over all the “happenings” in your life.

Joy- is rejoicing in the Spirit. Rooted in God. The goodness and faithfulness of our Papa.

When we remain in the posture of joy, we DEFEAT the enemy. So how do we do that? It’s on our face crying out and it’s a life of thanksgiving. I’m telling you that if you spend even 20 minutes thanking the Lord for all that you have, you will change the atmosphere of your heart, your day and dare I say, even your spouse and kids.

So I challenge you. Every morning this week, take out your journal, write down in any random order the gifts, blessings and abundance you have in your life. Then watch as all of heaven rejoices with you and hell trembles.

Thankfulness is the key to open heaven’s gates and to rest in the reality of our Lord’s Presence.

Now here is your promise:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:4-7 

Now the challenge: In the comments we are going to break anxiety. Praise the Lord with Thanksgiving there. I will be praying along with you and I want to know on Friday that you experienced the power, love, peace and joy of our Father and the Kingdom of heaven.

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Powerful SUMite Testimony of Faith

My friends, I want to share a precious testimony from one of our SUMites. She posted this on our 1Peter3Living Yahoo Group and when I read it, I knew right away it need to be shared. We never share anything from the 1Peter3Living group without permission first. So I emailed Becky and asked her if I could share her words here. Here is her reply:
 
Please do, I want it to encourage as many people as possible and I don't care if it has my name on it or not. I actually deleted my facebook account. The Lord has brought me to a place of full reliance on Him and I am so thankful for it and the faith He has given me. I'm thankful for everything He's doing and already done and I want to boast in Him and His good works. :) —Becky
 
Here is Becky's beautiful and inspiring testimony:
I just have to share what God is doing and has already done. The Lord has put on my heart lately the words "if only you knew" and it has made all the difference. He has given me the faith to see that He is on the other side of everything I'm going through, everything all of us are going through and His words to us are "if only you knew."
 
If only we knew that He has ALREADY answered our prayers and our future is a memory to Him, then we would not be afraid and trust Him with complete, reckless abandon. 
 
If only we knew how much joy we have on the other side, we would not become discouraged and we would keep our eyes on Him.
 
If only we knew the plans He has for us, we would seek Him every opportunity we have so that we would not stray from the path He has planned out for us.
 
He revealed this to me after a fun filled morning sledding with my children. My daughter was refusing to sled down the hill in our front yard and I thought to myself "if only I could get her to understand that it's safe and she would have fun." She finally decided to get on the sled and after about 15 more times up and down the hill, she was one happy little girl.
 
The Lord reminded me that my situation is similar except I didn't KNOW for a fact that my daughter would be safe or that she would have fun. Anything can happen and she could've hated it. But God KNOWS what is in our future because He has already seen it and He's asking us to trust Him and seek Him in every way, every day so that we will stay on the path He has for us.
 
He's also asking us to have enough faith to claim His promises. But that faith is honestly a gift. I woke up this morning with a new prayer that consisted of thanking God for already making my husband a brother in Christ and restoring our marriage and that was nothing I did, but everything God did. I pray that He would give all of us the faith we need to claim His future promises as His past and thank Him for what He has already done, from His view, not in our past.
 
It never really made sense to me before but I feel like the Lord lifted the veil about gave me new perspective about His purposes and plans. I pray that this has encouraged someone. I am claiming right now that my husband is already a brother in Christ, our marriage is restored, and everyone we know realizes and witnesses His power. God used all of this to bring my family members to Christ, including my children. And, as it says in His Word, our household was saved  (Acts 16:31).
 
In Christ,
Becky Walker   
 
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household. — Acts 16:31
 
King Jesus, today, we, Your SUMites, stand in our belief and trust in You. And we claim the promise in Your Holy Word that says if we believe, our household is saved as well. We believe, we believe, we believe! We believe You have saved us and our household too. In Your Powerful and Saving name, Jesus, amen!
 
Walk forth boldly, SUMites, and TRUST YOUR GOD!
Love you!
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Quick Update

Hi SUMite Family, 

I will tell you that Monday morning when I woke up, I was uncertain and uneasy about what I would read in the comments. I hesitantly open up my email and cautiously took a peek and then burst into tears when the love of your words washed over me. 

Thank you. 

Please know that today and tomorrow I will be praying through all of the comments that were left and seeking breakthrough for you. And I will tell you that I’m CERTAIN I’ve finally found breakthrough in this area of my life. 

Thank you Jesus. 

This week has been an adventure. Most of you know my son moved in with us last January. Well on Wednesday he finally moved into his own place. It turned out to be a home instead of an apartment. The rent is less than apartments around here. It’s perfectly, perfect. Thank you for praying for all of us during this past year. It’s been a whirlwind. Lots of joys and great sorrows too. But I see now how God has used it all to achieve things we couldn't have expected. 

With that said, I’m going to spend my time today, praying through the comments. I plan to post on Monday an “Open Letter” that the Lord has placed on my heart. Don’t miss it. And I will resume my series on prayer because, boy howdy, have I been experiencing some answers to some distant prayers. Finally, I haven’t forgotten about the series still rolling about in my head regarding demonic spirits. Oh and man, do I have a lot to say about those ugly things. Many of you will find great freedom in that series too. 

So, stay tuned because the Lord is on the move and my friends, we have been invited to jump on the glory train. It’s going to be the ride of a lifetime. 

I love you so very much.

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John 14 13

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Disparaging Disappointment, Part 2

14511569_sSo glad you're back, my friends. The end of this series is so near and dear to my heart, because it's written with a deep love and desire for you to live in the fullness of Jesus and all He has for us. I believe we will see great tremendous breakthroughs individually and as a community in 2015 and I don't want you to miss any of it. I don't want to miss any of it either!

Now for the final part of this series. Scroll down to part one if you need to catch up. The links for the previous parts are there as well.

As I shared in part one, this journey was so unexpected for me. I had to face some dark places in my heart and mind and allow the Holy Spirit to peel back layers of lies and pain so that He could bring the healing Jesus wanted me to have. And as I faced the additional challenge of being patient in the process, the Holy Spirit gave me this prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient so I can focus on what you're doing right now instead of what You haven't done yet.

And just this week I found this nugget in Romans:

But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.— Romans 8:25 NLT

God's process will entail whatever is necessary to stop the enemy's ultimate plan to destroy our faith by stealing the one thing that he can never attain—hope.

Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God! —Psalms 42:11 NLT

In a dark moment of despair, David recognized his disappointment and saw that his hope needed to be placed again in God. And with it came his decision to praise and thank God, no matter what the circumstances around him looked like. Sadly, by destroying our hope, the enemy keeps us from being the aroma of Christ to our prebelievers.

Dear friends, we have powerful tools to fight the three Deadly Ds of doubt, disbelief and disappointment and they are:

  • God's Word
  • A thankful heart
  • Praise and worship

These are also keys to kingdom living, to the abundant life, to sustaining our hope, joy and peace.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!” — Lamentations 3:22-24 NLT

No matter what, choose every day to read God's Word, to thank Him for everything (even the bad stuff—for the good He Will bring out of it) and praise Him for what He has done, is doing and will do in your life. Jesus will meet your needs in astounding ways as you do this, because you're diving deeper in intimacy with Him.

And when your mind begins to race again with all the doubts, disbelief and disappointment, return to this place of rest and wait patiently for Him to act (Psalm 37:7). You will find yourself entering this place more frequently and easily until one day you will realize that not only have you persevered, you are now stronger than you have every been. You have defeated the enemy. You have moved to a whole new level of faith. God's anointings and gifts for you are growing stronger. You find yourself in situations (divine appointments) to now bring all that you have learned to others.

Just as I am doing right here, my friends, sharing all this with you. For that I give Abba Father, Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit all the praise and glory! As this community prays and waits for our prebelievers to come to faith, my heart and prayer for you, SUMites, is the same as Paul's was for the Philippians:

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

— Philippians 1:3-11 NLT

With deepest love and admiration for you in Jesus,
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The Three Deadly Ds: Disparaging Disbelief

27165685_sDear friends, before Thanksgiving I started a series on the Three Deadly Ds: Dubious Doubt, Debilitating Disbelief and Disparaging Disappointment. In Part One of Dubious Doubt we talked about how the enemy comes in and plants seeds of doubt, as he did with Adam and Eve, and in Part Two I shared some examples of breakthroughs that came as a result of pushing doubt aside and re-establishing God's truth firmly in its rightful place.  

Today, let's talk about Debilitating Disbelief. And that is exactly what the enemy's intention is, to debilitate (weaken, enfeeble, enervate, devitalize, sap, drain, exhaust, weary, fatigue, prostrate; undermine, impair, indispose, incapacitate, cripple, disable, paralyze, immobilize; informal knock out, do in) our faith. Once doubt has come in like a ravaging worm, disbelief moves in to fill those empty places like a fungus or mold. 

  • Your mind is riddled with questions and you may even feel tormented at times.
  • You try to read God's Word but find yourself questioning its truth or thinking it's true for other believers but not for you. 
  • Praise and worship become difficult.
  • Your attitude of gratitude has fled the scene and his unwanted cousin, grumbling negativity, has moved in.
  • Fear subtly increases and can even move into physical manifestations such as anxiety and health issues.
  • Guilt and shame move show up like uninvited guests and make you think you've messed up and that God will never be pleased with you again.
  • You cry out to God but feel like He's abandoned you.

This is why it's so crucial to to seek God in prayer and in His Word, especially in these dark times, and in a mismatched marriage as we don't have a believing spouse to uphold us in prayer and encouragement. And, despite how we feel. The enemy will use your feelings against you to keep you from running to Abba, to our Lord Jesus, for the truth.

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. — James 1:22-24

Community becomes even more important because the enemy's final tactic is to isolate you so you'll forget who you are and Whose you are. God's Word and those who carry it are our greatest source of healing, hope and restoration.

My friends, a burden Abba seems to be asking me to carry right now is for those of you whose spouse used to walk in faith with you but has recently walked away. I've received several emails from many of you in this place and have had divine appointments with several dear women who find themselves in this painful position of betrayal. 

Let me say that I get why some walk away. Much of what I've shared today is from my own experience. The enemy tried to destroy me earlier this year and now I understand why someone would walk away, or be tempted to walk away, especially if their faith foundation is shaky or built on sand (Matt. 7:26-27).

Part of my journey to freedom came one night when the demon assigned to torment me finally revealed himself. Amazingly (to me, not God) Abba had prepared me the day before, even though I didn't realize it until after the encounter. He'd shown me more about my authority in Jesus. That night this enemy revealed himself in the darkness, with oppression and hissing. He tried to make me fearful and afraid in my semi asleep/awake state. As soon as I realized what was happening, I rebuked him and went back to sleep! To God be the glory!

What I have learned is that disbelief opens doors to the enemy, who tries to steal our divine destiny and destroy our peace and joy in the Lord. These are the tools that brought me through this dark night of the soul and taught me so much. 

  • Read the Bible every day and write down key Scriptures that speak to your spirit and soul. Go back and reread them later in the day and to start your quiet time the next morning. You’ll be surprised at how much more you receive out of God’s Word by doing this. Our bodies sleep at night but our spirit doesn’t. Give the Holy Spirit a chance to work God’s truth into your heart, soul and mind. Believe His Word—it’s true for you too!
  • Worship and worship more. There are many ways one can worship. With music, by reading Scriptures out loud (the Psalms are great for this), by speaking out praises to God about His character and who He is. Take a walk and praise Him for His creation. Pet your dog and praise Him for putting the fur baby in your life.
  • Invite that attitude of gratitude back home and boot his ungrateful cousin out!
  • Rebuke the spirits of anxiety, fear, oppression, depression and confusion (and any others the Holy Spirit brings to mind). In the name of Jesus, they must go! 
  • Plead the blood of Jesus over your mind, your thoughts and your feelings and speak God’s Word against guilt and shame (no condemnation in Jesus—Romans 8:1).
  • Know, believe, profess and remind yourself that no matter how things seem, God loves you, He always has loved you and He always will love you. His word says He will not abandon you, so believe it. He is with and for you!

I still have much to learn and continue to press forward into more of God (Phil. 3:12). My faith is stronger and I am better equipped to recognize the enemy’s darts. And this translated into helping others to be released from this spirit of torment when I’ve prayed with them in the healing rooms. The places we find freedom and victory will be the places God calls us to pray for and help others find that same freedom and victory (2 Cor. 1:3-7).

My friends, the next and last part of this series will be about disparaging disappointment. I’m waiting on Abba to give me the words and message He wants conveyed for us, His children. Please pray that I hear Him clearly amidst all the hustle and bustle of this move and Christmas. 

Remember, Jesus came to heal, to set the captives free and release prisoners. He is always on our side and always fighting for us. Amen!

And MERRY CHRISTMAS, SUMites! Love you!
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A Thankful Hanky Story For Thanksgiving Day

SUMites, I just wanted to give Lynn & Dineen an update on the healing hankies. I purchased one of these anointed cloths for a co-worker's daughter. When I gave it to her, you can imagine the look of doubt and skepticism.

Anyway, just last week she came to the office exclaiming how her daughter is now handling a new medication, has come down from her upstairs for family gatherings, and even driven a car. All of which she has not been able to do in years. She was raving about the medicine, but I gently reminded her that all this kind of coincided with the timing of receiving the hanky - hmmmm:)... -Pam Osborn

 

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Our Breakthrough Happened! He's a Believer!

My friends, you know we have been praying for a breakthrough in our community for a long time. Recenlty Lynn and I have felt that a shift was coming, and we are over the moon to share with you that IT HAS HAPPENED!

Janet Sommer is a long time member of this community. Lynn and I have had the pleasure of getting to know her better over the years, and I myself am blessed to have the treasure of her friendship, encouragement and prayer. She has remained faithful to God even in challenging times and continued to pray for her husband and sow the seeds of faith. And the plow came.

A few weeks back when I shared in a video blog post that God told me things look like they're going backward, but He was about to turn them around. You could say that about Janet's situation, and God did exactly what He said He would—turned things around.

BIG TIME!

God moved and brought down walls and lies to expose a soul to the light of His saving love. Now this man has accepted faith, chosen to believe in Jesus and his transformation is tangible and visible. Read Janet's breathtaking letter as Lynn and I did, amazingly at the very same time in different parts of California. And have tissues ready because we both bawled and wound up on the phone rejoicing and praising Jesus.

My friends, this is just the beginning. We firmly believe this is the first domino that will lead to more disbelief toppling into submission to righteous faith in Jesus Christ. This is the power of testimonies, as the Bible says. Power is released and faith is increased! Amen! Thank You, Jesus!

Here's Janet's astonishing and beautiful letter...

HeadshotThe SUMites are so precious and dear to me, especially you two sisters. It was here I was convicted not to leave my pre-believer for an "easier marriage" to a *believer*. It was here I was first encouraged to try a fast thanks to Rosheeda along with the shared precious knowledge and encouragement here. It was here I learned and was challenged to pursue God despite my husband's lack of interest or pursuit. Slowly, and courageously, as I stepped out to the call of bible study, serving in various ministries and even singing in the church band I found my husband to be supportive and there, right beside me. Although divided, we were still intact.

It was here I felt an unspoken bond of the life as a spouse to a pre-believer, and the genuine love and community for those I didn't know. The list of how I grew, how I stood in my faith, how I went from discouraged to encouraged and courageous is endless. But most importantly, it was here, as you both poured out your hearts, that I learned how to hand mine to Jesus first, instead of my husband.

I am writing to you, from the sanctity of my bed, after a couple days of reflection. And I feel so conflicted. I recently sat on the bed one afternoon and was confused to watch a very sheer veil lift off my eyes, rising from the bottom to the top. My vision was crisper, sunlight was brighter and more pure. I had been texting my husband and simply commented that I felt a fog lift. He quickly texted back that he felt the exact same way.

Later it was revealed to me that was the moment he accepted what happened to him at our marriage counselor's office and yielded to faith. You see, at our marriage counselor's office, he suddenly grabbed my hand, said some hurtful things and walked out unwilling to listen to anything I said. He later shared that during that time he felt tremendous heat, felt forced & compelled to say those things to me, and then experienced wind. He says he let something behind. Then he described that something as "evil". He physically looks different; he emotionally is different. He talks about God and praying and how grateful he is that God removed evil and blinders from him. He's so kind, gentle and intentional now. He says he can't believe he had no idea of the true wife I was, but that a God has revealed that, among many other things, to him. Neither of us can believe the difference!

And as I lay here, experiencing what we all long for, I can't help but notice how it didn't happen as I thought it would. In my mind the Holy Spirit would wreck him at a church service or at a time he was standing by me supporting my involvement-- not at marriage counseling. I never even imagined we would one day sit on that cliche couch as a counselor walked us through talking about our struggles-- after a mere 22 years together. Nothing is what I imagined.... not the timing, not it actually happening, not the genuine, radical results... nothing. And I can't help but to be conflicted.... joyous for me, yet longing for you and everyone in this online family.

I am here solidly... rooted in grace, equipped with knowledge & authority... with a believing husband, because of your bravery, your boldness and your obedience to this ministry and community. It's awkward but peaceful, scary but hope-filled, cautious navigating yet easy to move forward. The life I knew and was comfortable with, after soooo many years in a UY marriage, is changing. It's beautiful... and scary. Words will never explain the treasure SUMites are to me, nor the gems you two most certainly are in my crown. A crown I'm not worthy of but have been ransomed for and deemed worthy to wear. And I can't wait for the day when my believing husband learns exactly how much it was a lot of Jesus, a lot of God, plenty of the Holy Spirit and just as much this SUMite nation that kept me waiting, with sanity, in hope for him and this new marriage we have.

On a hysterical note, he recently asked how I knew Dineen. I said through a blog. He asked which, and I reluctantly stated. He then asked if he was a case study!!! lol

I promise you every moment, every discouragement and hurt, every argument trying to obey God and find balance in respecting our spouse, every tear shed and prayer said to God is so worth seeing and living this moment. Our spouses and marriages are worth fighting for! And they say it's about "the journey", right? As I transition into this new life as a chord of three I can't help but to storm heavens gates even more for each of you, so truly it was my honor to donate to this ministry.

Much indebted and eternally grateful for this ministry.... Janet

Janet, we love you so much. We are rejoicing with you and continuing to pray for this time of transition, adjustment and wonder. The angels are cheering you on and so is this community. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story with your SUMite family. Love you so much! —Dineen & Lynn

Abba, thank You for bringing this man to Your Son, Jesus. Thank You, King Jesus, for lifting the darkness and filling him with Your saving love and light. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for filling our new brother in Christ with Your Holy Presence. Lord, protect and guide this believing couple into new realms of faith and discovery of Who You are and who they are in You. We praise You, Lord, with loud voices and joy-filled hearts for this miracle. And we humbly ask...DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN until every one of our pre-believers walks in faith! Let this community bring You great glory, King Jesus. We adore You! Amen!

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God Makes Everything Beautiful

IStock_000021786064SmallThe three of us stood together, three women sharing hearts and faith. My prayer partner and I had just finished praying for our dear friend, who happens to be mismatched like me. Like you. And the weight of her yoke was sitting very heavy.

That’s when my prayer partner began to share her testimony about praying for her mother. She’d prayed for years for her mother to come to Jesus and grew very frustrated as well, thinking her prayers “availed nothing.”

But God told her one day that He heard every prayer. And answered. Each day He would put specific plans in place for her mother to encounter God. It was her mother who kept rejecting Him. From that point on, she shifted her prayers to appreciation and gratitude for each day that God pursued her mother.

As I listened, I realized I needed this message as much as the woman we’d just finished praying for. It’s hard to pray the same thing, ask the same thing over and over again. And I’m coming to believe that part of the journey is shifting from request to belief.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6-7

So I started small. Now each day I thank God for how He is pursuing my husband, for the “chance” encounters, for the evidence and details in his work, (God told me recently to pray for divine connections in his programming—how cool is that?), for how He is making my precious husband beautiful for his own time, as God has planned it.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. — Ecclesiastes 3:11

I have always loved this truth, because it says God plants eternity in our hearts. It’s there in all of us, that longing to know Him, even if we continue to push it down and ignore it. We can’t undo what God has done.

But now I’m growing to appreciate another part of this piece of enlightening Scripture as I understand that God’s timing is often longer than what we desire or perceive. I know it seems so long, too long at times. But God has a reason for that too.

And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him. — 2 Peter 3:15

And in conjunction with this, still another truth to Ecclesiates 3:11 is that we are unable to see the full scope of all that God does, because you and I, we see the now. And we we see our children too. But, God—He sees the generations to come. Even in the Bible as Jesus walked the earth and spoke to the disciples, He was thinking about us and directing His words and wisdom not only for those present but for the generations to come (John 17:20-21).

The truth of Ecclesiastes 3:11 carries the promises that we can be thankful for now and claim and believe.

I believe God is making my husband beautiful for his time to know Jesus.

Lord, thank You for relentlessly pursuing my husband and for all that You are doing to day to reveal Yourself and grab my husband's attention. Thank You for planting eternity in his heart and though I can't see all that You are doing.

And we can apply this to the believers in our lives too. I am holding onto these nuggets of truth for my daughter who continues to struggle in this life, and I struggle to watch because I want what every mother wants, to see her child reach for her potential and succeed.

Another job has passed her over and a freak accident totaled her parked car (thankfully she wasn't in it). These are the trials of life that we must navigate on a daily basis, but if I am to hold to the truth of Scriptures like Ecclesiates 3:11, He’s making everything beautiful for her as well.

Lord, thank You for the job You are putting into place for my girl. Thank You that You love her even more than I do and want her to be all You created her to be. Make her beautiful in Your time, Abba, and help me to let go of my timeline and expectations.

The longer I walk this path of faith the more I see my greatest challenge is to let go (even thought Abba keeps sending me this message over and over again!) and trust Him—for everything. Everything that He is making beautiful for its time.

Thank You, Abba, thank You for making all things beautiful for its time. Including me. I love You.

In this journey with you, my friends,
Dineen

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The Miracles of Walmart Prayer Day

Hello SUM Nation: 

I hope you watched the video from our Walmart Prayer Day, if not click here and get ready to smile. 

My friends, the Lord surely showed up and heaven opened over that store. Let me share some of the details that touched my heart. 

Imported Photos 00155There were 10 Team members including the Teen-Brigade, as they have become known, who were the sign holders and photographer. Thank you: Heidi Holmes, my sweet sister Sumite, who drove from Nevada to participate. And Jodie, Bob, Sue, Lindsay, Lynn, Felicia and grandbaby Elise. Gina, Caitie Erich and Karamia. 

Ten people from different churches and streams of faith. NOW THAT is unity in the Body of Christ. 

John 17:20-23

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 

I watched scripture come to life!!! 

But you know what is even cooler than that?? 

The gifts came from all of you. Believers from all ages, societies, different faith streams and nationalities….. This event was the most beautiful examples of the unified Body of Christ in action THAT I HAVE EVER WITNESSED! 

Our Papa, Lord is so well pleased with the people of the SUM Nation. 

I prayed for at least 10 people myself. Four people asked for prayer for back pain. Several for healing from cancer. 

One man in particular emerged from the store. I held out my hand with a gift card for him. I said, “I have a gift card for you. And could you use prayer?” 

He looked me in the face with eyes very serious and said, “I don’t want your card. I want prayer.” I still tear up just thinking about this man so desperate for prayer. His name was Marsh. I prayed for his back pain and surgery. My friends, today please pray that Marsh is so touched by God that surgery isn’t necessary. Let’s pray for his miracle. 

Heidi told me that a woman came back to her and told her how she spent the gift card. The woman said to Heidi, “I bought pajamas for my sister. Her husband just left her and the kids.” 

I was astounded by the number of men in their 30’s and 40’s who wanted prayer and who were prayed for. It became clear to me that men often want prayer but they don’t ask for it. I’m grieved in my heart for the men of this world who carry great burdens and don’t have people in their lives to pray with them. (Our unbelieving spouses also come to mind). 

We had a few hilarious moments. I prayed for a woman’s hands. She crochets often. Her name was Rosie Posey.. She was a fire cracker and a hoot. Sue and Lindsey contended with a cantankerous lil’ ole’ lady but in the end, this woman who didn’t want a hug embraced Sue. LOVE WINS!!! 

One story came to me hours after the event. I received a message through FB from a friend of mine. She wrote: Were you outside Walmart giving hugs and gift cards? I saw a post on a Temecula group of someone who received one. She loved the gift card, but the comment that got my attention was when she said she hadn't had a hug in 7 months

As we were leaving that morning, a man who was leaving the store said, “Thank you so much. Thank you so very much. It was a really great thing that you did today.” And right after that a man in the parking lot shouts over to me, “I will pay this forward.” I smiled and nodded. He said louder and with conviction, “I will pay this forward.” 

I smiled broader and said, “Thank you.” (He wanted to make sure I knew he meant it (smile)). 

Oh my friends, our world needs love. Our world needs Jesus. Last Thursday many people experienced that love. I’m still astounded at how many people wanted prayer. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I KNOW ALL OF YOU stood in love, with prayers and in agreement with us on Thursday. Your prayers were powerful. That is why the morning went so smoothly. 

I know there will be more that comes from this day and I will surely keep you up to date as we continue to receive feedback. 

I love you my dear and eternal sisters and brothers here at SUM. I gave your love away to strangers and they were touched. 

Here are some more photos. Have a great week. 

If you want more information on how to organize a Walmart Prayer Day in your home town, leave me a note in the comments.

Lynn and man praying

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Rosie Posie
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Lindsay E.
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Jodie T.

 

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I literally do not know how I came to have this photo. BUT I'm so glad I do.
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Sue L.

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