56 posts categorized "Unequally Yoked"

Introduction: Back to School Starts Here

NotAloneStudyImageMy friends, the Holy Spirit has been speaking to my heart the last couple months about the challenges moms and dads are facing as school starts back up. So many new teachings are being implemented in the public school systems that are complete contradictions to the truths of the Bible. Sadly, we feel helpless much of the time in how to deal with these things, as if our voice has been silenced. And the enemy has fed us the lie that we are powerless. 

The truth is, we are not. Is our God not big enough to help us with this too? I want to propose to you that just as we are mismatched in our homes, we are mismatched with our schools and culture. And the Holy Spirit has also lit a fire in my spirit for how we can help you get ready for school starting back up.

For the next five weeks we are going to pull key aspects from our book, Not Alone, and talk about how we can use the very same principles we suggest to raise Godly kids in a mismatched home in the schools they attend as well. We are raising the next generation to impact the world for Jesus just by living their faith. Now is the time to train up these future “world changers” (as Lynn so beautifully calls them) right. 

Moms, Dads and Grandparents, I firmly believe that just as we bring the aroma of Christ into our homes, we can do the same in our schools as well. We can display the love of Christ in how we handle these challenging areas to our children, to their friends, to their teachers and to those watching. I believe we are being called to rise up for such a time as this to bring kingdom atmosphere with us every time you step foot on that campus and every time you pray over your child’s day, friends, tests, challenges, etc.  

My friends, you are the voice of authority in your child’s life. What they are learning at church is great and can be built upon as well, but during the week, you’re the one who can help your child learn the truths in God’s word and how to apply them effectively to their daily world. And not only will you be helping them learn to navigate school, you will be teaching them the very skills they will need as adults too. We want our children to grow out of our faith and into their own relationship with Jesus. And during the most challenging years of teen and young adult, this foundation will help them stand strong in their faith and for Jesus.

Over the next five weeks we will: 

  • Strategically pray for our children to be equipped spiritually, mentally and emotionally for school each day.
  • Ask God for kingdom perspective of your school so you can begin to see how you can partner with your school instead of seeing it as the enemy.
  • Pray for divine appointments with your child’s teachers, other parents and the school faculty.
  • Look for ways to begin creating an “open-door” atmosphere for your child and his or her friends.
  • Pray for opportunities to show the love of Jesus and bring the Holy Spirit’s presence to the classroom.
  • Seek godly wisdom to know what battles to fight and how to speak in a way that displays the love and integrity of Christ. 

My friends, we can do this. You can do this. God is for us and has our backs. This is His heart for you and your children. If possible, get a copy of our book, Not Alone. Starting next week, we will cover key points from two chapters each week and have a coinciding discussion question to share our thoughts, strategies and opportunities 

In the comments, share the names of your children and their grade, the name of their school, principal and teachers. Lynn and I will be praying with you for your children and the people impacting their lives this year. Jump in and pray for each other too. 

My friends, I sense that this will have so much more impact on our schools and our children than we will ever fully know. Let’s be the righteous moms and dads our children need and let our prayers and faith be the greatest game changers and life builders in our children’s lives.

Today, this very hour, back to school starts here. SUMites, let’s get ready for an amazing year!

All in His love,
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Joseph: Fruitful in Challenging Places (part 2)

Blessings
Yesterday we stopped right at the point in Joseph's story where things looked pretty good. God's favor had blessed Potiphar's house greatly, but then things took a turn to the worst. Joseph was falsely accused of trying to rape Potiphar's wife and Joseph wound up in prison. What happened to God's favor?

But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed. — Genesis 39:21-23 ESV

God’s favor never left him. Despite the false accusation (sin of another person) and unfairly sent to prison (consequences due to the bad choices of others), God’s steadfast love and favor remained with Joseph, and did not change.  

A series of events (read Genesis 41) brought Joseph to the service of Pharaoh, where Joseph was given authority over an entire land and was given the name Zaphenath-paneah, which means treasure of the glorious rest.

Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. — Genesis 41:44 ESV

My friends, this struck me as so significant to the atmosphere we bring to our homes. As Lynn shared during our Peter Bible study, people have described her home is peaceful. I’ve experienced this as well. First, years back when we lived Memphis when I was a new believer, in our home in San Jose, and now in our new home in Florida—my husband’s family has told me this several times and that so encourages me that God is working for their good as well as my husband’s.

Just as God brought peace and order to all these places through Joseph, God does this through us! We walk in the favor and blessings of our Lord right in our own homes, and we become a conduit of blessings. Abba blesses our marriages, our pre-believers, our children, our finances, our work, our relationships—every good thing comes from Him (James 1:17). My friends, I know we feel lonely at times in our mismatched marriages, and we don’t always feel like our marriages are blessed, but they are. I imagine in ways we don’t even realize. God’s love and favor are not dependent upon our circumstances. They are part of His character and shared with us when we are in relationship with Him. In other words, we’re His kids! 

What I find even more profound and inspiring though it what Joseph says a few paragraphs chapters later.

Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.” — Genesis 41:52

Did you know that the Hebrew meaning for Ephraim is “double fruitful”? Not only was Joseph favored and blessed, he was fruitful too. Even in the place he called his “land of affliction” (ESV), he saw what he was able to do in such a place. He was a man who entrusted his life to God’s hands not matter what it looked like. And even in the challenging places (prison) he walked in favor and bore fruit. 

Dear friend, Joseph’s story is our story too. We are overcomers, who carry the very presence, favor and blessings of God in our homes. We produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) in these places that we stand for such a time as this. It’s up to us to decide if we will see only the “affliction,” or if we will look for the blessings and produce fruit. I want to encourage you to do the latter. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you do that. He’s a great perspective changer! 

In the comments, share your Joseph story. What blessings has God brought to your pre-believer through you? How has Abba made you fruitful in your mismatched marriage?

Can’t wait to hear your stories!
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New on myKLOVE

My friends, this week I have a video on myKLOVE that demonstrates our identity in Christ Jesus. This was truly a Holy Spirit inspired idea that I am blessed to share with the myKLOVE community and with our SUMite community here. 

If you haven't downloaded the myKLOVE app, go check it out here. Lynn and I are so thankful for the opportunity to contribute to myKLOVE. It's an amazing ministry.

So, let's be the glass God has created us to be, my friends. When we know who we are and Whose we are, we are secure and set on a firm foundation. And that is the most powerful message we have for our pre-believers, for our children and for a world that is desperate for hope and love.

I love you, SUMites! Hugs! ~Dineen


Books of Peter: Secure in the Face of Opposition (part 2)

6a00d83451ee9f69e201b8d11ef502970c-320wiDear friends, on Wednesday we talked about how it was Peter’s intent to encourage his readers to be of one mind as believers, to place loving each other as brothers and sisters in Christ above disagreements and insults. 

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures say,

“If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.” 

Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. — 1 Peter 3:8-13

I also proposed that this is our model to follow with all those we encounter, whether they believe as we do or not, and that what we have learned in our mismatched places is exactly what the world needs right now. Launching from the truths I listed on Wednesday of what we have learned and are learning in our mismatched marriages, we can:

  • seek unity with those we encounter everyday, not to adjust our beliefs but show freedom of choice as God has given us and therefore show others they too have the freedom to choose Jesus, and not feel forced.
  • love others unconditionally with tenderness and humility so they catch a glimpse of Jesus’ heart for and acceptance of them just as they are. They don’t have to clean up their act first to earn salvation.
  • use our words to bring encouragement and love to those who need it and as we do this and earn their trust, we can speak the truth of Jesus into their lives in that same love.
  • practice hospitality so that others may see what a home filled with the peace of Christ looks and feels like.
  • stand before our God and lift up the ones we know need Him and ask the Lord to bring His presence and help.
  • be alert to opportunities to help others with whatever resources we have. God always seems to provide exactly what is needed for the present situation. Remember the fish and loaves. Look at what you do have and how you can use it help. God will multiply it.
  • be a blessing everywhere you go. At the grocery store, on the phone with the insurance company representative (that’s a challenging one for me!), at your child’s school, at church, shopping at the mall, at the restaurants you frequent. Even at the park or playground. Smiles and kind greetings open doors of opportunity for us to show Jesus. Most likely it won’t happen the very first time, but the more we do it, the more those divine appointments will present themselves and we’ll be ready. 

My friends, I am so moved to seek Abba for this place of security. I want to live what I picture in my mind. That when I am faced with opposition to my belief in Jesus and His Word, I can share the truth in love without feeling threatened or defensive, so that the other person will feel unthreatened and even shocked by what they see. As they see Jesus in me.

There is one final part to this, my friends, that I feel compelled to share. This place of security must be grounded in humility. As Peter says, “a humble mind.” The Greek translation uses only one word for this phrase, philophrōn, and it means to act kindly from a mind-set of personal affection.

For if pride enters in any way, then we become that clanging cymbal, because pride crowds out love. 

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. — 1 Cor. 13:1

It is a fine line that we walk, my friends, but we have a great big God who equips and guides His kids well. The beauty of this has become my simplest prayer of simply living authentic faith. As we reach the end of our study of Peter, let’s pray it together.

Lord, help us be the people You created to be so that by just being who we are and secure in Whose we are, we show our pre-believers, our children and the world Your Son Jesus. In His saving name we pray, amen.

We live it. He does it. This is the kingdom of God on Earth.

Standing with you, my friends!
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Submission - The Books of Peter

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comWives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. —1 Peter 3:1-6

When I was a young wife, this passage raised my hackles. But as I have now lived more than two decades with my unbelieving spouse, I testify to the power and truth behind this wisdom.

I know that there remains great confusion in the “church” over what Peter intends here. I’ve known women who were told to submit to men who were abusive and evil. Although I think in general, church leadership has steered away from this kind of demand in the past decade. I know that within homes, especially marriages of the unequally yoked, husbands have quoted this verse to their believing wives in order to manipulate and control them. Let me be clear, if a man quotes this to his wife he is speaking out of fear and arrogance. His intent is not love but to control.

A husband of integrity would never need to speak this verse to his wife. And a wife should never acquiesce to a man who holds scripture over her to control her. And wives you don’t get off easy either. Mutual respect and love should reign supreme in your relationship and thus a husband would never think of manipulating his wife in such a way. Love and respect must be the core of every marriage. Of course, people aren’t perfect and most of us are somewhere on the path learning to love and respect our spouse well.

Reading back through 1 Peter 3, I can only offer what I have learned in the two plus decades that I have tried to apply this passage to my life. Trying to win my husband with my words of confrontation, condemnation, conviction, manipulation, fear, and begging, well….. it just doesn’t work. Period. The end.

You know what works? The behavior of purity and reverence of my life. What does that look like? Well, my husband CANNOT deny that I believe. He sees the hours I spend with my Lord. He has witnessed my years of praying for him and our family. He sees that I am clothed with hope. He sees that I possess a relentless well spring of joy and that I am a person of profound faith.

I am adorned with a grace that allows me to forgive the unforgivable and I have modeled that to him and our children. I have been honored with an unfading beauty which is the Spirit of the Living God. My husband may not understand it, but our home is a peaceful place. It is a sanctuary that allows him, our children and myself to live authentically. I have friends who call and want to visit just because our house is and I quote, “so peaceful.” My faith changes the atmosphere of my home and often improves the atmosphere wherever I go. (More stories for another day)

I have willingly laid down many dreams and hopes in support of this one man because God said he is worth it. I’ve cried at times and then I’ve prayed with power. I’ve lived the best that I can within the love and power of Jesus. I have adorned myself with humility, most of the time *grin*, and have done the right thing by loving him with a full heart. The dreams I had as a young wife may have been lost but in return God has given me abundantly more than I could have hoped, conceived or dreamed. And God is not finished yet.

At the end of this particular passage Peter urges wives to do what is right and when we do, we will walk in the legacy of Godly women who have gone before us. How beautiful is that? I want to pass this legacy on to my daughter.

And finally Peter says, “Do not give way to fear.”

Submission is not fear. Submission is love and respect. And by the way, it goes both ways between a husband and a wife. Now, this is where the rubber meets the road: Submission is meeting the needs of our spouse. As a believer it means meeting his/her needs even when yours remain unmet. But do not fear because over time, just like me, you will discover that your husband  will begin to meet your needs and he will treat you with respect because you modeled it first. And my dear wives, if there are needs in your heart that are never met by your earthly husband, Jesus will more than meet them all.

I leave you now with a story of ultimate submission. I pray this story wrecks you in every good way because this man's submission was for us:

Jesus Christ, who, though he was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God, but laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men. And he humbled himself even further, going so far as actually to die a criminal’s death on a cross.

Yet it was because of this that God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name which is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Wives, do not fear, let Christ raise you up. Because when He does, your husband will fall to his knees and acknowledge that you were right all along and he will proclaim that Jesus is Lord! Never stop praying. Never stop hoping and never stop re-presenting Christ in your marriage, home, family and to the world!

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com Winninghim


The Books of Peter: Secure in the Face of Opposition (part 1)

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Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures say,

“If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.”

Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. — 1 Peter 3:8-13 NLT

My friends, these passages have come together with something I felt the Holy Spirit impressing upon me during my walk and pray the other day. We live in a time of opposition and daily see what that looks like all over the world. Yet it is more likely in places like our churches, on Facebook and social media, and the internet that we come in direct contact with opposition. And let’s not forget that we SUMites live with it every day as well. Whether it is spoken or not, we stand in places where our beliefs are not accepted in our very homes.

As I walked this particular day, the thought or pondering came to a question. 

What would happen if we were so secure in who we are in Jesus and what we believed that no matter what the opposition we faced, we did not feel threatened or the need to prove ourselves or God.

It starts with our identity and along with that knowledge, understanding that we are truly secure in Christ. The Bible says throughout the Old and New Testaments that God is our refuge and our safety. 

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.— Psalm 27:1 & 3

I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. — Psalm 91:2

David faced great opposition, yet stood his ground in his faith and trust in the God he knew would not fail him. That didn’t make his path any easier but the truth sustained him to keep going, to keep believing and in the end, it was God who proved him.

I remember as a new believer feeling overwhelmed by my husbands questions about my growing faith and also feeling so ill-equipped to defend it. And I am thankful for that because it thrust me into the Bible to study its truths and truly understand what I believed. That is the foundation I have now that enables me to answer my husband’s questions without feeling threatened or the need to prove myself, because I trust God to prove His presence and truth in me. Even if I must risk my husband’s opinion of me, I know I must stand on God’s truth.

Peter’s intent in these Scriptures was to encourage his readers to be of one mind as believers. He encouraged them to place loving each other as brothers and sisters in Christ above the disagreements and insults that seem inevitable as human beings who interpret everything we perceive, read and see in our own unique ways. 

Peter calls us, challenges us, to rise above and agree to disagree when needed so that we can maintain the true focus of doing good out of love for one another. Let me propose that this is our model to follow with all those we encounter, whether they believe as we do or not. We know this better than most, SUMites, and what we have learned in our mismatched places is exactly what the world needs right now.

In line with 1 Peter 3:8-13 we have learned and are learning to: 

  • seek unity in our marriages with our pre-believer.
  • love our pre-believer unconditionally with tenderness and humility in our acceptance of them just as they are, just as Jesus does.
  • hold our words with more care and speak with love and truth.
  • bring peace of Christ to our homes and maintain it through prayer.
  • stand before our God in the righteousness of Christ Jesus as we pray and seek the Lord’s face not only for ourselves but for our pre-believer and our children.
  • be zealous to do good even when we have felt limited.
  • be a blessing to our pre-believer and to bless them even in the face of opposition.

No matter what I am faced with, my friends, I want to be so secure in my knowledge of and faith in God that I can listen to another person share their beliefs and not feel threatened within my own. Because I believe when we are secure in such a place, that we can listen and not try to change their mind, they are more willing to hear what we have to say. 

It is not our job to change their mind or their heart. It is God’s. When we leave that to Him and simply share in an exchange of beliefs with another person, we allow the love of Christ to be present and begin that change of heart and perspective in a lost soul.

I will stop here for now. In the second part of this post I will share what these things we have learned look like when we apply them to the world at large and live our faith from this place of security in who are and Whose we are. My friends, it’s a place I firmly believe will have greatest impact on the world and those God is bringing into our realms to love and share Jesus. And there is an element to doing this that Peter mentions right in his words that I feel is crucial to the mix. Can’t wait to share that with you!

Love you, my friends. So thankful to be living this life with you!
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Testimony Time by Noely Watt

Hello Lynn, 

Last night I had the privilege to share my testimony in front of  a group of about 23-25 ladies in my neighborhood. I then shared an update on what God is doing in our family, especially how He has blessed us even though my husband and I are in a spiritually mismatched marriage. One of those ladies sent me your website, I am thankful. 

My story is very similar to yours and I find myself so thankful to God for how He has taken care of us and others in our situation in filling the gaps. I too made all of the typical mistakes and grew very unhappy at the fact that my husband wouldn't do what I wanted him to do, most importantly, he wasn't letting me save him, yes, I thought this way. My husband too, grew hostile of my faith and about the "new man" in my life. This changed once my attitude changed. Thank God! 

The Lord has so lovingly helped me change my outlook on things and has thought me to love my husband, to love him some more, and then to love him a little more :). It's a bit funny now when I think back at all of the things my husband had to endure because I still didn't understand many things about how God works. I eventually realized that it wasn't up to me to do the saving, Jesus doesn't need my help. I also learned that God is doing something awesome in my husband's life because God loves him more than I do. 

God continues to woo and pursue my husband and it just makes me smile knowing that in God's time, and in His way, something will happen. 

The Lord began to draw me closer to Himself, He began to enrich me with the Word and with His love to the point that my faith became alive as I saw God moving in our midst so powerfully.  

My husband has been the biggest blessing in my life because thanks to his unbelief, I had to run to My Abba Father and I learned to fully depend in Him, I found my support and refuge in Him. The Lord gave me this verse one day and I fell in love with Him all over again.

Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband- The Lord Almighty is His name- The Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the Earth. 

We have two children who have accepted Christ as their personal savior and walk faithfully with Him which is a big joy in my life. Throughout our differences of opinion and faith, God stepped in the gap for our children and He became their Heavenly Daddy. Glory be to Him always! 

1 Peter 3 is my marriage verse I live by now, I rejoice in His word and in sharing that unconditional love with others. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing and in Him, we can do all things through Him because He is our strength, what Joy! My job is to respect and love my husband. He is a wonderful guy and a loving dad to our children which I know pleases The Lord.  It just feels so wonderful to know that God has a plan for him and has him at the center of His will. 

So thank you Lynn for sharing your story through your books, Internet, TV, Radio etc. May God continue to bless you , your Family and your ministry. 

In Christ,
Noely Watt

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps."  Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)


20 Years of Parenting In Faith

SUMites,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faithfulness.

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

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

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

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

Our prayers matter.

Our prayers are powerful.

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

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

I love you. Lynn

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


Pray With Power

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI believe. I’ve decided that I believe the Bible. I believe the sun and moon stood still and there has never been a day like that before or since then. But I believe that if God tells me to command the sun, He will surely do it. And He will send the hailstones as well if that will serve His purposes.

What is mind-blowing about all this revelation in the past week about locks, lockers, keys and such is the GIANT breakthroughs in my life that came with it. Personal breakthroughs such as losing weight, a long area of defeat for me. Breakthrough in writing and other areas. I finally found a new church for which I had been praying for months. My husband attended church. I’ve prayed over him, literally saying, “I blast you with the Holy Spirit.” And this past week, in church, he raised his hand toward the platform as we prayed corporately over a family. Say What? Who is this man?

I tell you he is a man for whom I will never stop “loosing” the Kingdom over his life. I remain hopeful through the Resurrection power that one day SOON he will step into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. And I will never stop praying for that glorious day!

My friends, I’m convinced in the depths of my soul and so is Dineen that we are living in a unique period of time never seen before nor again. We as believers are positioned to be part of the greatest outpourings of His love and power on earth since the time of Christ.

If you are a reader here, you have been sent here by design. (AMEN!) I’m convinced that the Lord is holding out your key of invitation to step into this time of great preparation. Jump in with both feet. No, I say: Jump off the cliff and BELIEVE He will catch you. Take the keys from His hands and together we shall loose on earth His love and healing. We will bind lies, death, disease, marriage troubles, relationship difficulties, tears, cruelty, fear, depression, sickness and frailty as well as every other mission of the demonic realm. In Jesus name.

So let’s begin right now. Pray with me:

Lord Jesus,

Today this family on the web, who by design is strategically disbursed throughout the planet arises with Joshua courage to fight and DEFEAT the enemy. We are honored that you have trusted us with the keys of the Kingdom. Give us now your Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation to use these keys to open gates that must be opened and to shut those that must be shut upon the demonic realm.

Lord, make us fearless.

Papa, God, make us strong as we stand in faith.

Papa, Almighty God, fill us with a fierce love that knocks down every wall and releases your kingdom here on earth.

Lord, we thrill to see the daily miracles which we will be apart. We expect You to speak to us so that we know your thoughts and wishes. We pledge you our time, our heart, our life, loyalty, worship and love. Forever and ever. We ask you to heal us quickly that we may then bring your healing to the world. And they will know we are Christians by our love.

We adore you. Thank you. And stand in faith… of a mustard seed. In Jesus name. Amen.

PRAY WITH POWER. Hugs, Lynn

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


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.


Easter and our Faithful God

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comOh He is faithful.  If you’ll spare me some time, please let me share some of my story with you all.  I pray God will use it to speak life into just one of your dear hearts.

I have a confession.  I had a problem, a big problem.  This problem was masqueraded by me being responsible and wise.  I didn’t trust God.  I trusted myself, my ability to budget and plan.  I trusted in financial security.  I trusted in money.

I was blinded by this truth through college and through the first nine years of my marriage.   But God awakened me.  God has greatly used this journey of being unequally yoked to teach me how to trust and believe HIM.  HIM alone.

This story is unique to me.  But maybe there’s a parallel to you.   God allowed whatever it took to show me HIS faithfulness.   My husband and I went from being debt free (everything but the house) with a cushion in savings to barely making it paycheck-to-paycheck with accumulated credit card debt.  Oh the whirlwind!!  It was hard.  So hard!  But in the midst of all the pain, lack of control, confusion, fighting against my flesh – GOD was faithful.   

The very things God was using to break this stronghold of my trust in money, He most certainly used to pursue my husband.  It was in the beginning of this journey that I felt God speaking to my heart, saying, “I need you to trust ME and I need you to trust your husband.”

And that’s the truth.  I didn’t trust my husband.  I didn’t trust his decisions.  I wanted to control him, especially with our finances.  Me not trusting my husband was keeping him down, holding him back.   Not letting him lead.  And, it was killing our marriage.  When I shifted this budgeting and doing everything by the book burden over to God and my husband, I had peace.  Overwhelming peace.  The fruit of the Spirit – peace.    

God had work to do in me.  He showed me that I was the older brother in Luke 15.  I was a Pharisee craving a black and white faith.  I longed for control to figure it all out, instead of clinging to, and trusting in the God of the universe.

This was a radical change for me, and an unfamiliar road.  There were rocks and many unknowns.  And the u-turns frequently called me back to my place of comfort and control.  But I knew TRUSTING GOD was the most excellent way.  His Word spoke this truth to me over and over.

In 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (NKJV)  Oh how I knew the first part of this verse, but the second part pierced my heart with truth.  I was in the middle of feeling the sorrows.  There’s no way I wanted any more.

In Mark 10:23-34, “Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!”  (NKJV) Oh how I knew this verse was for me.  I was without a doubt, trusting in riches.

Oh and Psalm 52:7 “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!”  Ouch.  I was greedy.  I was couponing to save.  I cringed if someone needed new shoes.   The old me had the money.. but held onto it tight.

And 1 Timothy 6:17 “ Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (NIV) What had I been doing?!  One bad accident and everything we had could be gone.  The striving, controlling and my trust in money had to stop.  God had to be my source, my supplier, my everything.

Oh to the glory of God, He did not leave me there to perish with many sorrows.  He gently led me through His Word to freedom.  And oh the freedom in Christ!  IF you don’t know it.. seek it hard!!  I highly recommend Beth Moore’s Breaking Free.   

Proverbs 2:4-5 "if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God."

So this radical change.   This hard road of restoring my soul fully to Him has led to an amazing place.  And with such joy I share.   As God changed me, HE has saved my husband.   I proclaim, Jesus has pursued my earthly man.  This time the door of my husband's heart has swung open wide.  Welcoming a needed Savior.  Brad gave his life to Christ in February and is set for baptism this Sunday!  Raise to life with Christ our Savior.  Oh glorious day!  I cannot contain the tears of joy.  Of all the ways I’ve dreamed of this joyous time, God’s way FAR EXCEEDS them all.  HE IS FAITHFUL.

Please celebrate with me.  Please don’t stop praying for your husbands.  Thank you for all of your heart felt prayers.  This community is ALIVE with the love of God and I thank HIM – for each of you.

Please, I must share the biggest and most amazing lesson in all of this has been grace. 

GRACE – BIG GOD SIZED GRACE.

GRACE to my husband at all hours of the day, when his blinded selfishness caused such pain.

GRACE to myself when my have not’s wanted to breed into bitter resentment and snide remarks.

GRACE to my friends when they just didn’t understand.

The tears we shed, He catches.

The hurt we feel, He has felt.

The love we know in Him, HE CREATED.

How could anyone else come close?

 

TRUST HIM with your husbands.   

With so much love and faith in HIM to each of you,

Mandy, Sumite

Romans 2:4 “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (KJV)

 

Thank you Mandy. This is such a glorious testimony to our King.

Finally SUM Family. For those who have been a part of our community for a number of years, please remember with me Rosheeda Lee. Two years ago today she went home to Jesus. Rosheeda was such an amazing part of our community. She named us SUMites & SUMers. She started our community and lead us each year in our annual community week-long fast in January. She prayed for hundreds of you and was a voice of hope, always. I adore her and miss her. I can't wait to see her again and I know we will spend thousands of years together in glory.

She loved Jesus with a full heart. To read her story visit the Rosheeda Legacy Page link in our sidebar. She was amazing.

 ****

Happy Easter. TODAY IS WHY WE HAVE SO MUCH HOPE. Thank you Lord, Jesus for the cross, for your love, your examples, teaching and for the resurrection. We are looking forward to the greatest moment of all eternity the Great Wedding of the Bride and Prince Jesus. Amen.

Love, Lynn


I'm Pissed Off!!!

Can I say that on a Christian blog?

Well, at least it's a righteous anger.....

Read with me and then share with me your thoughts. Hugs, Lynn

Believing Wife – Agnostic Husband (names have been omitted for privacy) 

IMG_2524[1]Earlier in the week, Dineen and I received an email from a reader who was seeking some perspective about her husband. When Dineen and I read it, almost simultaneously on different sides of America, the same thing happened. We both were filled with emotion. Heartbreak for our sweet SUMite and also a righteous anger. Here is a portion of her email and then a portion of my reply: 

My husband, a life-long believer, has become agnostic/atheist  after reading about evolution and every book & lectures from a (well-known agnostic author), and has also become very politically liberal in his worldview.  He has been sharing with our pre-teen (still believes) and teen (says she doesn't anymore and that God isn’t real) his reasons. 

My husband says he has vastly researched, is very sure he has the truth, and will never go back to Christianity and that it is important that our kids know his view point and "the truth" because he doesn't want them to have false hope, guilt, etc, and because while the bible does have some good things to say, it is not true and Christianity (along with other religions) can be dangerous.  This is a huge change in our almost 2 decade old relationship. 

I am trying to "not fear anything frightening" but this has been very difficult on me and our marriage.  I am extremely concerned for my children as they hear these things, and for myself, and of course for my husband….. Sister Sumite 

First of all my heart breaks for you (name omitted). I am so sorry you're in this place. But I'm so glad that you reached out to me and Dineen. And I will also tell you that Dineen received this email at the same time I did. I spoke with Dineen this morning and the same thing happened to her, she rose up in a righteous anger about your situation. 

So I want to share my thoughts about your husband leaving Christianity and choosing to be agnostic. As clear as I could hear it from the Lord himself, I heard this: This man, this atheist author, may write his little atheist books but they will not be around past 50 years from now. And he may be deceiving people through his writing; however, these silly little books propagated by the demonic realm will come to nothing. And most of them will never be read after 20 years from now. 

But My Holy Word has been around for not only several centuries but two millennia. Great armies have come against My Word but they cannot stop it from reaching into people's lives and bringing my love, hope, and freedom. 

(My friend), when you put this into perspective I hope the truth of God's word rises up before you and becomes very powerful. Your husband has not treated you fairly either as a wife and mother. For him to lay down rules that everyone in the family must follow, according to his belief system, I find that absolutely reprehensible. Marriage is a partnership not a dictatorship. You and your children deserve, and should be enabled and empowered to practice and speak about your faith in your own home. I have very strong convictions about this so please read my words and pray about them. I'm praying for you to have courage to go to your husband and bring some balance back into your relationship with regard to faith matters. 

And now Sweet Sister, I want to share my thoughts about your teenage daughter. And I ask that you would read through this and take these thoughts to the Lord in prayer and ask him about what I'm going to share. When I read the sentence that your daughter, your 15-year-old daughter, has now lost her faith because of her father, I was deeply grieved in my spirit. Because teenage girls, especially a girl your daughter’s age, face some of the most difficult challenges to their identity during the teenage years. They are under a barrage from every direction that challenges their hope, their identity, and their self-worth and many other things that have lasting, lifelong, effects on their lives. And what I see your husband has done to your daughter through his doubt in God, he has stolen her hope. And right now more than ever a 15-year-old girl needs to have hope. She needs to know there is a higher power that has got her back, that will never leave her nor forsake her, that loves her for who she is and not what she looks like. I'm deeply grieved that the hope of the living God has been stolen from your daughter by her own father. Please forgive me if this seems harsh, but this is really how I felt deep in my heart. And I know this is exactly how Jesus feels right now about your daughter. And he feels the same way about you. 

My friend, let Dineen and I be the voice from Jesus that you need to hear today. God is absolutely real. I have experienced him personally and so has Dineen. He loves us. He will take care of us. And he is our hope. Every. Single. Day. My friend I ask that you might go speak to a pastor to have someone help to shore up your faith and learn to walk in this situation with courage and to stand your ground on what you know is true. Also, if your husband pushes these books by this author at you again, you can simply say I've made up my mind. I don't need to read these it doesn't make me less of a person, if I don't have an open mind to every book that you shove at me. Personally, for me, I told my husband that I don't need to explore any other faiths, religions, or books. I know in my heart that the living word of God is the absolute truth. And millions upon millions of people throughout centuries and centuries have discovered the same thing. The Bible is the blueprint for living a happy and joy filled life. 

I promise you, in 50 years, no one will be reading this atheist’s books. But in 50 years from now, millions will be reading the Bible. Love you much, Lynn and Dineen 

I wrote more to her about praying for her and I hope and pray my words encouraged her. I hope and pray now that these words reach deeply into anyone else that is walking in a journey similar.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


The Great Gifts Of The Unequally Yoked

Hello SUM Nation: 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI just wonder…… 

Can you perhaps come to understand the unique and special blessings of the unequally yoked? 

I bet someone just read this and rolled their eyes? Anybody??? 

As a woman who has walked this journey now for more than two decades, I truly understand how very difficult it can be. I have lived through the pain, rejection, fear and confusion. I know that some days it can take everything we have to hold on to hope. Yet as a veteran, I have come to realize the unique and beautiful blessings of this journey of faith. 

If you scroll through the comments from Friday’s post, you too will understand. The intercessors who prayed for this community are amazing. (Thank you Teresa, Merlene and Joanne). 

Family here on the web, you have been brought before the King of Kings by many of us here. We love you and we truly care about your life, family and your faith. Jesus stood with all of us as we brought you individually along with your pre-believer spouse, your children, family members and friends before the Mercy Seat. God listened as we petitioned for you and your loved ones. 

We SUMites have learned to pray. We have gained great faith as well. And our hope in Jesus soars above so many others who are of faith. During this season of miracles, take a minute to reflect on what gifts and goodness have been born out of your difficult marriage. 

I know that I would not have the kind of faith nor the amazing experiences I have with God if I had married a believing spouse. I just know. In fact, it is likely that most of my life I could have leaned on my believing spouse for faith and missed the hard work, perseverance and prayer that are required to move in the gifts of the Spirit that God has honored me with today. 

As I have reflected on this community and the love we have, a story that deeply touched my heart came forward and flooded my soul. So, I want to share it with you again today.

 

This is worth the time to read. 

November, 2013: (Lynn) Today I have a question for you. How many times have you set down in church and looked around the sanctuary at the couples seated together, husband and wife, and felt defeated, disappointed, and pain? 

I know this place of pain existed in my life for many years. And I really didn’t understand why God was ignoring my prayers and my pleas for the salvation of my husband. And why He didn’t see my pain and longing for a “normal” Christian home. 

That was until about two years ago and I heard a woman share her personal story and as I listened it changed everything. Today, I’m sharing this story with you so that you might understand a little more, about the heart of our Father, and His love for us, the unequally yoked. 

Two years ago I was part of the leadership team for our church’s annual women’s retreat. Prior to the retreat, the leadership team would meet once a week for eight weeks on a Wednesday evening and have Bible study together. Every other week, the team welcomed a guest speaker, an ordinary woman from our congregation. 

Well on this particular night, we welcomed Carol Mahaney. And Carol proceeded to tell her story. And it’s likely the rest of the women in the room were moved a bit by her story, but I was leveled to the ground, in my spirit. 

You see, Carol married her high school sweetheart. He was a believer. She was a believer. They attended church together every Sunday. They tithed, they studied the Bible, they prayed together, they were everything I dreamed and hoped and wanted for my own life. They raised two girls to adulthood as Christians. Carol said she had a wonderful life and she leaned on her husband for everything and she utterly adored him. She said she loved her church family she felt absolutely blessed by God. 

But in 2008, Carol’s husband unexpectedly died. She was devastated. Additionally this was the year that the economy crashed and as Carol had never managed her finances before, she was overwhelmed as her finances were in chaos. Devastated by grief and lost in a maze of paperwork, banking decisions and taxes, she hit bottom and there was no longer a husband to save her. 

Carol looked up and said, “That’s when I met Jesus.” 

I looked at Carol astonished. And I sat in my chair as my head reeled. Carol was 63 years old and she admits in front of all of us that she lived the Christian life with a believing husband for 63 years but at age 63 for the first time she met Jesus. 

What is so compelling about Carol story for me is that she had the life I thought I always wanted. She attended church with her husband, raising her kids in church, tithing, all things Christianeese but she really didn’t meet the King of Kings until she turned 63 years of age. She merely “played” church and her husband’s faith was enough for her…….. 

For 63 years….. 

Instantly, God moved my spirit. He made me realize that I could have lived a Christian life with a very shallow faith thinking I was doing all the right things but never truly “knowing” Christ. 

I know walking this unequally yoked journey is very difficult. I still have very difficult days. I struggle with my husband’s media choices, I still miss him by my side at church, etc. BUT I would choose this journey again over the life Carol had until age 63 because I truly know Jesus. 

I grieved for Carol because for 63 years she “lived” the Christian life or so it seemed. But it wasn’t until the death of her spouse and a personal crisis that brought her into of living vibrant relationship with Jesus. 

My friends, our difficulties are what God has given us to push us, pull us, help us to surrender and to seek Him out for rescue, and then to live in His Presence. As I think about Carol’s life and marriage, it isn’t worth it to have a marriage that is easy if it means that I live most of my life without truly knowing Jesus. 

I would sign up again for this unequally yoked thing, over 63 years of playing “church.” 

I’m convinced we will truly see that our challenging marriage is singularly, a divine assignment with generational ramifications, for us and our entire family and more people than we realize. 

1 John 3:1  See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 

I love you so much my friends. Today, don't doubt God loves you and that He has your life in His hands. Ask Him where you need to surrender and ask Him how to love Him more. 

God is good and His ways are always best for His children. Hugs, Lynn


A Season Of Miracles. A Great and Unexpected Story!

Hello SUMite Nation, 

My friends, it’s the season of miracles. And I have a story for you. 

Luke 2 11

Most of you know that I have been really ill. I have prayed a lot about these weird and frequent illnesses that have plagued myself and my family since August. Remember my daughter had the flu, then pneumonia and then a cold. Little Elise has been ill. My entire house was ill over thanksgiving including my poor mother who came for a visit. She saw the doctor today as well. Bronchitis…  Sheesh and good grief!!!! 

This assignment from the enemy to keep me from ministry and writing ends today. And I have received some amazing prayer support in the last couple of weeks (thank you). I’m praying from this day forward that I will never be ill again. 

And today just to affirm this prayer, God surprised me with something I’d never have expected in a million years. He’s kinda cool that way! 

I have been dealing with an eye infection and it’s been pretty bad. After a couple of weeks it still hasn’t cleared, so it’s off to the doctor’s office again this morning. My regular physician is booked so I see a new doctor. 

He greets me with a smile and a handshake. I start to tell him about this crazy thing going on in my eye. And somehow in that conversation I say, “I’ve been praying for my healing but this ornery thing is persisting. I thought a doctor should have another look at it.” 

“Oh, what church to you attend? He asks and then we launch into the most amazing conversation about faith. He asks about my writing and I tell him about my pre-believer and our book Winning Him Without Words

He tells me that it was the same for him and his wife. She came to faith and he remained and unbeliever. But because she prayed for him, he came to faith. Amen. Praise Jesus. Hallelujah! 

As we finish up our visit and he looks at my eye, then types a prescription into the computer. Then he says, “I want to pray for you now.” 

“Oh yes, Doctor, please do.” 

Dr. Casten stands, walks over to me, places his hand on my shoulder and prays with Holy Spirit power for my physical healing. Then you know what he does? 

He prays for my husband, by name, asking for his salvation! 

Hallelujah and amen! Yes, Lord Jesus. AMEN 

It’s a season for miracles. Never in a million years would I have expected my physician to pray for my healing and also for the salvation of my man. BUT I serve such a fantastic God. He delights me in fantastic and unexpected ways. 

Every day is an adventure with the King! 

And now I feel fantastic. It’s almost like I can feel the curse of sickness has broken and I’m fired up to pray like never before. 

In this season of miracles, Lord Jesus, I’m asking for every single person who leaves a name and names of unsaved loved ones in the comments, I’m asking for not only their complete salvation but that also they receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit which ignites a fire and passion in their heart. 

In the powerful and mighty name above all names. Jesus of Nazareth! AMEN! 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

SUMites I will write more about the spirit of confusion and more about our season of miracles in the days ahead. The posts may be sporadic and unscheduled but my heart is filled with love for you and a great passion to help many find healing and deliverance. AND I’m especially moved to pray for our pre-believers and all of our family who need Jesus. So just travel along with me. It’s a blast living the believer’s life! 

I love you so much. SO MUCH. Have an amazing day in His Presence. 


Our Transforming Influence

Proverbs 124My friends, I’ve been reading and studying Proverbs the last couple weeks, specifically using the Passion translation. I’m enjoying this new translation very much and find the flow to be more poetic and inspiring. And going between translations to compare has given me more insights and appreciation of Solomon’s words of wisdom.

What I’m specifically searching and praying for is wisdom. Next to praying for Jesus’ protection that I not be deceived in any way (2 Thess. 2:3), I pray for wisdom in all areas of my life. And as you read Proverbs, you begin to discover that wisdom is inseparable from God’s love and His Son, Jesus.

Last week a verse in this translation brought me back to a conversation I had recently with my pastor about my pre-believer. It’s about a precious place we as the believing spouse hold in our loved one’s lives—a place of honor and influence that we must take before God daily to seek wisdom and unconditional love.

I’ve included three translations of Proverbs 12:4:

The integrity and strength of a virtuous wife
Transforms her husband into an honored king.
But the wife who disgraces her husband
Weakens the strength of his identity. — Passion translation

A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones. — NLT

A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. — NIV

What I love about the Passion translation is the passion and weight behind its meaning. I find it difficult to put into words (just as I did that day as I talked with my pastor) what it means to stand in this place of influence. So, I will do my best to describe what it means to me.

I see in my husband such amazing potential—that potential for eternity that God places in ALL of us (Eccl. 3:11). And I feel honored that God has called me to this place by his side to help release it. As I grow in faith and am transformed (and this is at times very messy!), my husband is affected. Even in some of the struggles I’ve walked in this year, I have seen attributes of love and faithfulness revealed in my husband that I didn’t know were there. Even though I couldn’t see it, God has been working in Mike in unexpected ways.

My friends, I know this isn’t easy, and at times we will mess up miserably. At times we just won’t feel like “doing it” anymore. But as God’s Word says, we must persevere for the prize that waits ahead. At the very least, I want to know God’s favor and pleasure in me for my faithfulness to my husband, but my expectation is based in the faith and hope I have in Jesus who can do more than I can even imagine and that expectation is that one day, my husband will choose Jesus.

Until then, I choose to walk in this place of influence to come along side and help my husband see the potential I see God has placed in him. I seek ways to affirm him in who he is (identity) and how he works and cares for his family. I am intentional to express my appreciation of him, which just recently and unexpectedly came full circle back to me in a precious card telling me he appreciated me. I look for opportunities to hear his heart and tune in to what he may not be saying. I keep asking Abba to bring him to Jesus (John 6). And everyday I thank Jesus for all the ways He presents Himself to my husband in answer to those prayers (mine and others) and affirm my belief that one day his answer will be “yes.” I love walking in this place in partnership with God and under His leadership to be that influence in my hubby’s life and heart. And I’ve watched my husband aspire step by step to be a leader of honor (the honored king) to his family, even as I wait for his full salvation transformation (i.e. preparation…just love how God works).

Let me also be clear that I am in no way perfect. In fact, I am very flawed and have learned to heed the Holy Spirit’s nudge to seek forgiveness from both God and my husband when I mess up. Amazingly, God uses it all to bring transformation not only in me but in my husband as well. That is our assurance of God’s goodness and presence always at work for our good.

Dear friends, I believe God gives us the choice to walk in this very unique place of opportunity (again, as we’ve said in the past, we do not believe God asks or expects us to stay in abusive situations) as believers empowered by the Son of God, as a calling that is part of the Great Commission right in our own homes. We can walk in it with integrity and honor that will boost our pre-believer closer to the potential God has placed in him or her. Or we can struggle in bitterness and resentment that will bring not only ourselves into despair but will waste away or hinder that potential identity in Christ just waiting to be released in our pre-believer.

We carry the very presence of God and His Kingdom through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. All the time, we bring this power and influence to our pre-believer’s life. We may not see any change or effect, but by faith (what we believe to be true and not what is seen—Hebrews 11:1) I believe something happens. And not by our efforts but by God’s love working in and through us.

So be encouraged as you continue to walk and persevere in this very special place you hold in your pre-believer’s life and Abba’s heart. You are impacting the Kingdom of God and your pre-believer every single day.

Love you dearly!
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When Is It My Turn?

SUMites, 

Let’s have a chat. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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


Mismatched, Addiction and Now...He's a Believer! (Part 2)

If you haven't read part one of Trish's testimony, just scroll down and read it first. Here's part two of her amazing testimony and her husband Stu's video testimony. We are so excited to share this with you, SUMites, and we hope to hear more from Trish as she shares more from her unque perspective and experience in living with an addicted spouse. We know that will minister to many of you as well. Stu's transformation not only changed his heart, it even changed his appearance too. Read on and watch...

Trish headshot

Around the time that Stu was at his heaviest, drinking the most, on medication for high blood pressure, cholesterol and depression was when God reached down and grabbed him. A conversion experience, only slightly less impressive than that of Saul/Paul!

Stu was taking his company at that time, through an initial public offering. He was on a 3 week, “road show” and was in London on the day of his salvation. He was walking down the streets of London with the CEO (an atheist) of the company and one of their investment bankers. The CEO commented about how religion was at the root of every world problem. Stu remembers thinking that this made sense to him. That night, in his hotel room he contemplated, “but what would the world be like without Jesus?” He experienced a dramatic infiltration of the Holy Spirit; he dropped to the floor and spent the night crying out to the Lord in a state of repentance.

Now you would think, after all of these years of us being unequally yoked that he would have enthusiastically shared with me the good news, but you see, prior to his conversion, Stu said that only the weak were Christians and now he was one of them. He was frightened (to say the least) about what this new life would look like, so for then, no one knew.

Stu

One day, Stu finally agreed to start attending church with me. This was the first big change that I saw, and little by little, I noticed the sermon messages started to get through to him. Then one day, and I will never forget it, Stu said to me, “Trish, I think my heart is softening.” What? Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” had manifested right before my eyes! My heart soared!

As ecstatic and grateful as I was over my husband’s salvation, our life suddenly became worse. He lost his job, his alcoholism went from drunkenness to periods of blackout, and he got a DUI. We also bought a business that went under and bankruptcy ensued. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) learned that after he and the CEO were fired from his last company, the company restated earnings from a time period when Stu was the CFO. The SEC decided to formally file charges of fraud. A four week trial ensued. Those four week, it turned out, were more painful for me than for Stu. It was actually a time for him to draw even closer to Jesus because Jesus also had been falsely accused. Stu sat right on Jesus’ lap the whole trial, drawing closer and closer to Him every day. Stu was ultimately not found responsible of the charges, but his name had been publicly dragged through the mud.

Thanks be to God, that some time before the trial; after 30 days of rehab, numerous relapses, and hundreds of AA meetings. Stu finally fully surrendered himself and the addiction to God. True sobriety is a gift only from God.

It was also about this time that Stu came to me and said, “Trish, this abundance of love that I have for Jesus, isn’t going away; I would like to go back to school for my Masters of Divinity.” So be it.

2013-07-01 13.18.04

My former non-believing husband will graduate with his Masters of Divinity this spring.  He is the Evangelism and Outreach Pastor at one of the biggest churches in Colorado and I work for K-LOVE.

The Lord has done the unimaginable. He took a couple that did not know or care for Him; reached down and saved us both (about 10 years apart). Through years of pain and suffering; He shook the shakable elements of our lives, and left only the unshakable to remain. Hebrews 12:27 “the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.” Now, our trials and our stories are used for His glory. 

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or imagine. — Ephesians 3:20
 
And now here's Stu's powerful testimony! 

Redemption - Stu Fuhlendorf - July 21, 2013 from Mission Hills Church on Vimeo.

 

Trish and Stu, thank you for your amazing testimonies and tender hearts to share tehm with us! We are so grateful and thankful God led you to us. SUMites, what an amazing story of God's redmeptive power and love! More are coming! We believe it! Get ready to tell your stories! 
Dineen & Lynn


An Escape Clause?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

Hello SUMites, 

My friends, I missed you while I was roaming the Rocky Mountains and all over the state of Colorado. What a crazy trip. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long, long time. I hope to share some of the many photos on my Facebook page soon. 

But I’m back in my office and I am refreshed and charged up. Let’s jump right into this study again. We are going to discuss a very interesting verse, its interpretation and implications. 

Are you ready??? 

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. —1 Corinthians 7:15 

So let’s get our head back into our discussion of this passage. Remember the Apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth in reply to some of their questions. Many members of the Corinthian church were recently idol worshipers and now they are brand-new Christians. They find themselves all of a sudden in a marriage where their faith and their old life collides. And specifically, this is very apparent and difficult in their marriage where their spouse has not come to faith. 

Oh how things change and yet they stay the same even 2,000 years later. 

Many of us in this family of SUM are walking this exact scenario. And many more of us are living with a spouse who proclaims faith but there is little to zero fruit or transformation in their lives. It’s difficult and painful. We become a believer and our world-view shifts. Our spouse’s world view continues to be worldly driven and shaped often through the media. Am I right in this? 

I wonder if we can be honest here with ourselves. Have you ever wished this verse was written like this: But if the believer wants to leave, let it be so……. 

I bet if you are honest there were days when you peaked in your Bible hoping to find a possible escape clause. But can I ask you this: If God included an easy way out. If He allowed us to abandon our unbeliever, wouldn’t you be disappointed in God? Wouldn’t it make God small and powerless? 

Why would you want to worship and serve a God like that? 

You know, for me, every hard thing, every struggle, every maddening challenge in my life has been met with God’s power and love. It’s in these struggles that my faith grew, I saw miracles, powerful answers to prayer and His Presence proved strong in my life and relationships. Yes, our High and Holy calling of marriage and parenting isn’t supposed to be easy. I really believe these ministries of our home are difficult on purpose. 

Think about this: We live for only a breath of time on this planet. But eternity is forever. And I believe with all of my heart, so fully, so boldly, that I stake my life upon it; My husband, Mike, will be saved and he will spend eternity in God’s love and presence because I chose to do the HARD things. I chose to obey God. I choose every day to love this man even when he’s unlovely, to pray for him without ceasing and to live with grace, forgiveness and hope. To live with him as his wife for as long as we both shall live. 

Any you know why? Let’s look at the very next verse. 

How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? —1 Corinthians 7:16 

That’s why! 

Eternity is a very long time. And if you have ever read anything about the horror of hell, it will move you to pray harder. For our spouse, kids and friends. 

Now don’t heap condemnation upon yourself if you struggle with the “want to.” I don’t want to stay married to this man. I don’t want to pray for him. 

I lived in that season for awhile myself…. And there were days I didn’t want to either. But on those days I prayed something like this. 

O Jesus, today I’m so very heartbroken. My dreams of a life I have held in my heart aren’t happening. They may never come true. I hurt. I have pain in my heart. So I give it all to you. Jesus come and hold me. Just hold me. Take away my pain. Make me stronger than I am to walk into my marriage with hope. Grant me Your Presence and ability to see the good and the gifts I have in this relationship. Don’t let me compare but look fully into Your face. Help me to want to love this man and remain strong and hopeful. Let me see where You are working in me and continue to change me. I love you Jesus. Fill me with more love for You and for people, especially my spouse and children. In Your powerful name, Jesus. Amen.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

 

Gang, this concludes our study of this passage in 1 Corinthians. I'm still praying and seeking the Lord about what we should discover together this fall. See you Monday.

I want to add a statement: I absolutely believe that God DOES NOT WANT His children to remain in abusive marriages. And my writing above is specific to marriages where the main discord in the relationship is spiritual disharmony. 


Line by Line: Unbeliving Spouse

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Hello SUMites, 

Well I’m still not up to par but we are pushing forward with this summer study. If you remember we completed the study of 1 Corinthians 7:10-12. Today let’s move forward to the subject and verses. 

Verse 12: To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 

Line by Line: 

Let’s refresh our memory here. Remember Paul is writing a reply to a letter sent by the first century Christian church in Corinth. As men and women became believers, they didn’t know if choosing faith would impact their marriages. They were seeking wisdom about how to navigate their new faith in light of marriage. In the particular passage above Paul is now speaking specifically to believers who have come to faith…. and their spouse has not. 

Yep, just like us. 

It is interesting here that Paul offers his advice and it is not specifically a command from the Lord. Commentaries indicate this is because there wasn’t specific direction spoke by Jesus while on the earth. However, the offering by Paul is inspired by God. 

Question: Because Paul changes the emphasis in this passage and denotes that this verse is not a command but Paul’s wisdom, does it change its truth or power? (Share your thoughts in the comments.)

 

The verse reads specific and clearly stated and is addressing men who are married and become believers and their wife remains and unbeliever. (By the way, we have many more men readers at SUM than you think. They usually just don’t leave comments *smile*) 

What does Paul instruct this man? Well what I love about this passage is that Paul is instructing them to consider the unbelieving spouse. This is also in direct opposition to Old Testament practices where Jews (Believers) were instructed to “put away” their “heathen” spouses. Ezra 10:3. I love that major paradigm changes in life and society came with Jesus’ ministry. 

This line of scripture directs believers to consider their spouses willingness to remain in the marriage. And if she is willing then – he must not divorce her. 

Straight forward. However, we know that it’s much more complicated than this simple directive. What I find interesting is the rendering in King James: 

But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 

The translation is “pleased” in the KJV. Fascinating!!!! 

If we look to the next verse the command from Paul is identical to a woman believer living with an unbelieving husband. 

13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.

My friends, let’s place these verses in perspective. If I received a letter such as this from a newly married young woman who just found Jesus, I would encourage her just as Paul has done in his writing to the Corinthian church. 

If a couple marries and they are getting along fine, nothing more than the usual marriage challenges, and the husband is willing and pleased to remain married to his newly believing spouse, I would greatly encourage them to push forward. And we will see in the passage later why both Paul and I would encourage them to remain married. Does this make sense? 

However, Paul is not addressing marriages where there is great sin and wickedness as part of the marriage. I would venture to guess that if Paul was presented with some of the scenarios that fellow SUMites have faced, his answer may have been more involved and even very different. 

For today’s Line by line study let me say this: 

I am living out this passage in living color. I have been living it now for the past 22 years. I’ve been married to a man who is “pleased” (most of the time, ahem *grin*) to be married to me. My faith has not caused him to want to leave. We have an ordinary and beautiful marriage. I will admit that I’ve faced seasons where I wanted so badly to be married to a believer. And I will also be completely authentic that if this command was not in God’s Word, I might have left our marriage. 

However, I’m so glad I obeyed God’s Holy Word. I truly love my husband AND, the intimacy with God I’ve found came about because my husband is an unbeliever. My husband’s disregard for my faith actually pushed me to know and love Jesus more than if I had married a man of faith. I would have likely placed my faith and beliefs on the shoulders of that man…… instead of the King. 

Whoa! 

I can truly tell you I’m thankful. Thankful for this tough and at times, lonely road of the unequally yoked. It’s been difficult and challenging but also brought me into the best thing in my life. A life-transforming faith. An experience and love with God I’m still astounded by every day. And the hope of Jesus for my children and my future and for all mankind. WOW!! 

Okay, thoughts today?
See you in the comments, Hugs.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


Line by Line: Remarriage

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Part III 

Line by line. Precept upon Precept. 

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

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

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

Well done community!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

----- 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


Line by Line: The Bible and Divorce

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Hi Everyone, 

Well since Thursday I have read and re-read this particular passage we are studying, 1 Corinthians 7. I know I said we would look specifically at the verses 12-15 however, I’m feeling convinced that we must actually consider the two verses prior. So today, I’m going to tackle something I HATE to address. But these verses are directly impacting to our lives and they are in God’s Holy Word for a reason. So, I’m compelled by Jesus to walk through these, line-by-line and offer some thoughts. 

DIVORCE 

Good grief, is it just me or does this “D” word stir up great emotion in your soul? And for me personally, the “D-Word” is especially raw in my home as most of you know my son is facing a divorce in the near future. But, I think it’s a topic we must consider because if we are utterly honest, in our core, we the unequally yoked have considered divorce at one time or another. 

Okay here are the dreaded verses:
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. 

Line by Line: To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): 

Let’s remember again that Paul is writing to the church in Corinth in response to their questions about marriage. And earlier in the chapter Paul has much to say about marriage responsibilities. You should read that section because it’s really great. 

Paul is passing a command to the church that is in utter confusion because the believers are emerging from a lifestyle and belief system of Greek Mythology. They don’t have information or any reference point to know what to do or how to behave when they come to faith and are married. So they ask Paul, their spiritual leader. Remember Paul was instrumental in starting the church in Corinth in his earlier visits. As their spiritual father, Paul is ordained by God and has demonstrated that God is with him. Thus he speaks a command from God. 

Line by line: A wife must not separate from her husband. 

This statement could light our comments board on fire!!!!!

 

Let me be clear here. I believe in marriage. So does Paul and our Father in Heaven knows that marriage is the singular relationship that demonstrates God’s desire for intimacy here on earth. God loves marriage. But our Lord is good and He is kind a full of grace. There are situations where marriage is no longer a safe place for a spouse or children. There are situations that arise which are of utter evil and harm. Thus, the second line appears. 

Line by line: But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. 

Now here is the rub. If she does separate, what does God say? She has two choices as she moves forward in her life. One, she remains unmarried. Two, she reconciles with her husband. 

This is difficult for so many. Why? Because our society views marriage differently than God views marriage. In the Lord’s view when a man and a woman marry, they are making a holy “vow” to one another. They are swearing their life-long commitment before the throne of the Almighty. 

Wedding Vows
In ancient times when Jewish men went through a marriage ceremony, the men made their vows to God and God alone. They didn’t make a vow to the woman. Interesting hunh? 

In 2014, our legal system has become embroiled in what is actually a religious ceremony and you can see what disaster that has wreaked upon Biblical marriage -just read the newspaper. 

That aside, let’s return to the statement, she must remain unmarried. This is where most Christians can’t deal. God is calling women to singleness! 

Yep, singleness. 

Now let’s be utterly authentic here. Or at least I will be. There were occasions when that ugly word, divorce, entered my thoughts as a young wife. And right behind those thoughts followed something like this, I want to marry a man who is a believer. I know my life would be so much better. 

Yep, I will be honest and bet a good number of you have been on this train with me in years past. But God isn’t saying in this passage that if you leave your marriage to remarry. He calls us to singleness. 

GOOD GRIEF!!!! Why would God do this? I don’t have an answer to this question right now. But I can tell you that believers who are considering separating from their spouse for whatever reason, God is calling them/us to a lifetime of singleness. 

So this is the rub. There may be absolutely STRONG reasons for a separation. But when you consider this mandate from Corinthians to remain single, it introduces an entirely different dynamic into your decision making. 

Here is my personal thought on the matter: In my personal marriage, if for some crazy reason I became separated from my husband, I would remain single for the rest of my life unless God brought about reconciliation. I know that I know that I know this to be true in my heart and spirit. 

You might say to me, “Well Lynn, that is all well and fine for you but I’m young and I have young children. I want to be married and have a family why would God not want that for me?” 

Ahhhhhh, good question. And on Friday I will share a true story where a very young woman (under 25 years old) with young children faced this very dilemma. 

Again, I’m not a Biblical scholar, so please be gentle with me. Respond in love even if you disagree. My question to you SUM Family, why would God and Paul place this very firm “command” in His Holy Word? 

Can’t wait for Friday because this story is real and heart wrenching. 

And next week, we will deal with the husbands. Guys out there, you’re not getting off the hook in this line-by-line study. *grin*

Love you my friends.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah (Part 2)

My friends, here is the conclusion of Olga's beautiful post. Moms, I pray this encourages you to keep on trusting God with your little ones (and big ones like I have!), because He faithful through the generations. And that is a promise straight fromt the Bible! Hugs! ~Dineen

Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah (Part 2)

"My Father is Yahweh"

859675_book___We left off at:

After that Hezekiah rededicated the Temple unto the Lord...

So the Temple of the LORD was restored to service. And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because of what God had done for the people, for everything had been accomplished so quickly. — 2 Chronicles 29:35-36

Next, Hezekiah gave an order to celebrate the holy feast of Passover which the nation had not been able to celebrate in many years:

Hezekiah sent runners to gather people into Jerusalem for celebration. The runners went from town to town throughout Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as the territory of Zebulun. But most of the people just laughed at the runners and made fun of them. However, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.

At the same time, God’s hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the LORD. So a huge crowd assembled at Jerusalem in mid spring[c] to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. — 2 Chronicles 30:10-12

Hezekiah encouraged people to serve the Lord and to trust in His goodness, Hezekiah prayed for his nation and the Lord healed them:

Since many of the people had not purified themselves, the Levites had to slaughter their Passover lamb for them, to set them apart for the LORD. Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law. For Hezekiah said, “May the LORD, who is good, pardon those who decide to follow the LORD, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony.” And the LORD listened to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.

Hezekiah encouraged all the Levites regarding the skill they displayed as they served the LORD. The celebration continued for seven days.

There was great joy in the city, for Jerusalem had not seen a celebration like this one since the days of Solomon, King David’s son. Then the priests and Levites stood and blessed the people, and God heard their prayer from his holy dwelling in heaven. — 2 Chronicles 30:17-27

In Chapter 31 of 2 Chronicles we read that Hezekiah continued the religious reforms in the country.

In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful. — 2 Chronicles 31:21

Now remember, who Hezekiah’s father was and what kind of life he lived? Remember also who Hezekiah’s mother was and how God had used her to shape this young man into the king of Judah who would bring back the nation to Himself?

I hope God has touched all the single moms and the moms in spiritually unequal marriages through this incredible story just like He touched me, just like He always touches – with His Fatherly love, boundless power, and ever amazing grace! God has reminded me once again that He is the real Father of my child and He is in total control and He enables me to co-parent with Him leading me and empowering me by his Holy Spirit. Never underestimate how great God’s plan is for your kids raised in spiritual mismatches!

Thank you, Olga, for sharing this wonderful insight from Scripture! Such great encouragement!

Get to know Olga...
IMG_8027My name is Olga, originally from Russia, I now live in Oakville, Canada with my daughter Elizabeth. I accepted Jesus at a Campus Crusade for Christ in 1993. But in the last couple of years after a painful divorce, I have gotten to know Jesus even closer, not only as my Savior, but also as my Husband, my closest Friend, and the Heavenly Father to my daughter. 

 

 

 

 

 


Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah (Part 1)

My friends, this week I am swamped with jury duty and some design project deadlines, so I am thrilled to have one of our very own SUMites, Olga Gurina, fill in for me this week. I've so looked forward to sharing this beautiful nugget with you and this is the perfect week to do it. Part 2 will go up on Saturday. Enjoy and have an amazing week! Hugs! ~Dineen

Abijah - Godly Mother of Hezekiah

"My Father is Yahweh"

859675_book___In the last couple of days through my daily readings, the Lord was so gracious and opened my eyes to see yet another amazing story of His faithfulness to us, single moms or moms in the spiritually unequal marriages.

Reading through 2 Chronicles 26-31, some names started to pop up off the page and I saw a real drama unfold through four generations of kings of Judah.

Can you imagine being married for 16 years to a very powerful man who lives his life as described in 2 Chronicles 28:

  • He completely rejects the Lord and worships idols of all kinds (v.1-2, v,22)
  • He burns your own sons as sacrifices to idols (v.3)
  • He commits adultery with multiple prostitutes in most disgusting ways as part of idol worship (v.4)
  • He is a complete loser as a leader (v.5)
  • He instigates everybody around him to all kinds of sin and crime (v.19)
  • He shuts down the church and prohibits everybody to worship God (v.24)
  • He has obvious demonic anger outbursts, destroys anything has to do with your faith, rips/burns your Bibles, destroys worship DVDs (v. 24)
  • When he dies, he is buried with no due respect or no regret outside the city cemetery (v.27)

Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah (2 Chron 29:1) was married to this evil man and had at least one son with him. We can only imagine, but some of us can picture it very well and in great detail, what her family life might have been like with Ahaz (2 Chron 28).

Literally, THANK GOD, Abijah was not alone in this. Abijah’s name means "my Father is Yahweh” and no doubt she knew her Abba Father and He sustained her trough her most horrific marriage trials. We read that she was the daughter of Zechariah and her dad surely passed on his faith to his daughter. Zechariah was a godly influence on Uzziah (2 Chron 26), Ahaz’s grandfather. Zechariah taught him to fear God. Hebrew reads “instructed him in divine visions.”

I have no doubt Zechariah instructed his daughter Abijah in divine visions and fear of the Lord. Abijah had to cling to her Lord for salvation, protection and wisdom in all those years she was married to one of the most wicked kings of Judah. How did she end up marrying this man, we don’t know, the Scripture does not tell. But her faith and faithfulness to the Lord was richly rewarded in her son Hezekiah (2 Chron 29). Hezekiah, the son born in this spiritually unequal marriage, became the next king of Judah.

“Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became the king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2 He did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done. — 2 Chronicles 29:1-2

As we read further, we learn the Hezekiah became the “Billy Graham” ☺ of Judah of his time and lead a great spiritual revival, beginning with reopening of the Temple:

In the very first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah reopened the doors of the Temple of the LORD and repaired them. He summoned the priests and Levites to meet him at the courtyard east of the Temple. He said to them, “Listen to me, you Levites! Purify yourselves, and purify the Temple of the LORD, the God of your ancestors. Remove all the defiled things from the sanctuary. Our ancestors were unfaithful and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD our God. They abandoned the LORD and his dwelling place; they turned their backs on him. They also shut the doors to the Temple’s entry room, and they snuffed out the lamps. They stopped burning incense and presenting burnt offerings at the sanctuary of the God of Israel.

“That is why the LORD’s anger has fallen upon Judah and Jerusalem. He has made them an object of dread, horror, and ridicule, as you can see with your own eyes. Because of this, our fathers have been killed in battle, and our sons and daughters and wives have been captured. But now I will make a covenant with the LORD, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. My sons, do not neglect your duties any longer! The LORD has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him, and to lead the people in worship and present offerings to him.” — 2 Chronicles 29:3-11

After that Hezekiah rededicated the Temple unto the Lord...

Come back Saturday for part 2 and read what God showed Olga in this encouraging story right from the Bible.

Get to know Olga...
IMG_8027My name is Olga, originally from Russia, I now live in Oakville, Canada with my daughter Elizabeth. I accepted Jesus at a Campus Crusade for Christ in 1993. But in the last couple of years after a painful divorce, I have gotten to know Jesus even closer, not only as my Savior, but also as my Husband, my closest Friend, and the Heavenly Father to my daughter. 


Guest With Arlene Pelicane

I'm a guest with Arlene Pelicane today on her podcast. 

Happy-wife-rendered2Arlene: Are you and your husband on the same page spiritually?  My dear friend, author Lynn Donovan shares her story of what it’s like to be married to an unbeliever.  You are going to love her spunk and honesty.

How has she found love, peace, and happiness in a marriage that is spiritually mismatched?  Find hope for your hurtingmarriage today.

Find more help for your marriage in Lynn’s book, co-authored with Dineen Miller,Winning Him Without Words. Lynn’s story is also featured in my book 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife.

Lynn Donovan on Becoming a Happy Wife


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