77 posts categorized "Waiting on God"

The Struggle to Believe

Heb11-1My friends, the Holy Spirit has me in several places in the Bible right now. Colossians, Genesis, 1 Corinthians along with dips into James and the Psalms. In short, my head is spinning a bit, trying to put the pieces together of whatever Lord Jesus is trying to teach me. And I say try, because I’m not sure I’m getting it quite yet.  

However, I will try to share what I feel He is impressing upon me in one area. It’s a challenging one so bear with me. This piece of Scripture unfortunately has often been misused in teaching that “works” save us, so I want to be clear here that this is not what I believe, nor do I believe this is what the Bible teaches us. James was teaching a group of Jewish Christians whose background was Judaism—the Law, that by keeping the law perfectly (actions) they would be saved. 

 James wanted them to understand they didn’t need to apply this same belief system to salvation in Jesus Christ. Their actions, good works, desire to help others, etc. were the fruit that came from salvation in Christ and completed their faith. And he references Abraham to make his point: 

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”— and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. — James 2:21-24 

First let me clarify that “justified” does not mean saved. The Greek word, dikaioō means to render (i.e. show or regard as) just or innocent: free, justify(ier), be righteous. 

Therefore, our “works” do not save us but are the proof of our salvation and faith being alive and active. Our actions justify our salvation. I think most of us understand this, but as someone who has struggled with performance so much in the past (and still do at times), I want to be clear.

The part of this scriptural truth I want to try and focus on today is the completing part. James is saying that Abraham’s faith was completed by his works. What I find so interesting in this part of what James is saying is that it wasn’t the specific act of offering Isaac, his promised son on the altar (Gen. 22)—the son from whom God said he would bring Abraham more descendants than the stars or grains of sand on the beach but that Abraham believed God. 

Let me say it again. He believed God. That is what made his faith complete and his action of obeying God was that proof. He believed God and trusted Him.

Right now, I’m struggling to be in that place. I think many of us are, because we are still in this place of waiting in the delivery room. But I’m also intrigued by this. I’ve sought God for understanding and this is what He told me.

This is the great disconnect. My children ask but continue to doubt. I want to them to ask and believe. I want you to ask and believe, Dineen.

Don’t ask, then wait to believe when you see evidence. Ask and believe together. Ask and then move forward in belief and trust.

Dear friends, I share this as I feel Abba is speaking to me and my heart. I see how I have waited to believe when I saw evidence. It’s a place we can wind up in when we ask for things we know is in alignment with God’s heart over and over again (like the salvation of our spouse), yet see no evidence of an answer or change. I’m right there with you, however…

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. — Hebrews 11:1 ESV

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. — Hebrews 11:1 NLT 

So, I am inspired to continue to ask, because in this “lesson” Abba has me in, I’m seeing my impatience for something to happen opens a door for the enemy to shoot his lie that my prayers haven’t mattered, so why keep trying? Sound familiar? 

I find myself inspired by Noah who it’s estimated spent over a hundred years building the ark. I don’t know about you, but after about ten or 20 years I think I might have revisited the original convo with God and at least asked, “Did I hear you right?” 

And trust me, I have had to go back and ask Abba about several words He’s given me about my husband, my future, my girls—those things I hold closest to my heart and agonize over.

Yes, agonize. As I can only imagine Abraham did with Isaac. And I do believe “the altar” is the place to put those things we hold most dear to the point of trusting in ourselves more than God. Or anything we want more than we want God, even the salvation of a loved one. 

But the altar is not the place of death. It is the place of ultimate trust and the beginning of revelation and provision, as God defines and determines is needed. It is the place of changed perceptions and unexpected answers. It is the place where dying dreams can be reshaped or reborn. 

I have no clear solution to solve that great disconnect other that what God has told me to do. Believe and trust. And this is where I stopped my post on Monday, to simmer, pray and consider. Tuesday morning I was greeted with a devotional starting with Hebrews 11:1 and a message about raising my expectations of God. I shook my head and laughed.

Tuesday was also my day to work at the healing rooms, so I dared to pray specifically for someone we have prayed for many times for healing and deliverance from deep depression. I’ve been desperate to see this person freed. My prayer was, “Lord, I want this person healed. If today is his day of healing, bring him to the healing rooms.” 

Later that morning at the end our worship and prayer time, he walked in the door. God had big plans for him, my friends. This man was delivered of lies and darkness that have bound him for years.

I am stunned, not just for this person but for myself. God not only answered our prayers for this person, but He answered mine as well—my cry to step out in faith just a little bit more boldly and to believe God—before I saw any evidence. 

Dear friends, my faith has been strengthened through this to boldly ask for more. I know there will be times of discouragement, but I’d like to think I’ll remember to keep contending and keep pressing in. God never gives up. And neither will I. 

Holding you up with love and prayers before our Great King!
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Weary From Long-Term Issues

There is enormous insight in a well know passage in the book of Luke. If you have issues. If you are weary. If you are wondering where your breakthrough is... THIS VIDEO LOG is for you. 

I love you my friends. Have a great week. Lynn

 

 

A Woman With An Issue of Blood by: Lynn Donovan from Spiritually Unequal Marriage on Vimeo.

this is a profound story within a story from the book of Luke. Chapter Eight. Join me for several profound insights you may have missed.

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Empowered Living: Romans 8:1-4 (part two)

Psalm119-1622Welcome back to our study of Romans, dear friends. During the night the Holy Spirit pointed out to me that we are not just spiritual beings but supernatural beings. I love that verse that says we are seated in the heavenly realms with Jesus (Eph 2:4-7). The deeper I go in my relationship with Abba Father, King Jesus and Holy Spirit, the more this makes sense. The Word says He is in us and we are in Him. And Jesus is seated in the heavenly realms, thus, so are we. Amazing! That makes us supernatural beings as well.

Now back to Romans 8:3-4… When we go further into verse three, Paul gives more clarification as to why the law had failed. I so appreciate the way the Voice translation brings that understanding to the surface:

NLT: 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 

NIV: 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,

The Voice: 3 God did something the law could never do. You see, human flesh took its toll on God’s law. In and of itself, the law is not weak; but the flesh weakens it. So to condemn the sin that was ruling in the flesh, God sent His own Son, bearing the likeness of sinful flesh, as a sin offering. 

God’s law did and does serve a purpose in that it reveals sin, but it lacks the power to truly free us from the power of sin and death because of our sinful nature. Thus why Jesus says He came not to do away with the law but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17). He was the empowered solution that would restore the purpose of the law with the heart and love of the Father, that all would be saved (1 Tim 2:4-6).

What amazes me is to think of all the preparation that went into this. Have you every wondered why God chose the time that He did to give Jesus to the world? I believe God wanted to prepare us to receive Jesus in the fullness of our need. And the laws that established the animal sacrifices and brought understanding to the importance of the blood sacrifice were part of this.

As I’ve said in the past, so much of the Bible is about preparation and the Bible itself is our preparation—to understand, learn and grow from experiential stories—those we read about and those we live and learn from in our lives as we walk in faith and trust in God. These are the ones that “stick” with us because we relate to them. By setting the pattern of blood sacrifice and establishing the importance of God’s holiness in it, only then would we be able to understand the full magnitude of Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus would be and is the final blood sacrifice. 

NLT: 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

NIV: 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

The Vocie: 4 Now we are able to live up to the justice demanded by the law. But that ability has not come from living by our fallen human nature; it has come because we walk according to the movement of the Spirit in our lives.

The Message: 4 And now what the law code asked for but we couldn't deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.

Here is the rest of Paul’s point that there is no more condemnation for us who belong to Jesus. Since Christ sacrificed his life for our sins and was raised to life for our justification(Rom. 4:25-Rom. 5:1), no one, nothing and no-thing can tell us otherwise. This IS the truth, our truth. Anything that brings condemnation is not of God and is therefore of the enemy. 

My friends, the battle is truly in our minds and learning to recognize the difference between the enemy’s condemnation and the Holy Spirit’s loving correction is key. Though we are no longer identified as sinners when we know Jesus, we still sin and will need to confess and make amends as needed. This process, in the hands of the Holy Spirit, brings relief, freedom and empowers us to live godly lives (2 Peter 1:3). 

And that is the rest of verse four that we need to take note of and trust the Holy Spirit to do. He does this in us, we don’t. I find this very freeing indeed to know I don’t have to “fix” myself. Jesus did it with His death and each day the Holy Spirit is helping me to be more and more Christ-like.

The next section of Romans 8 that we’ll study will be verses 5-11. In these Scriptures we will see more insights as to what happens in our minds AND how we can relate this to our pre-believers. I’m looking forward to what the Holy Spirit has for us there!

Holy Spirit, we ask for the spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Jesus more and more. Bring the full power of God’s Word into our hearts and transform our minds. Make us hungrier than ever for more of You and Your Word. In the transforming power of Jesus, we pray and ask all this, amen! 

We are established in Him, SUMites!
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Day 4: Asking Day

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In a SOZO healing session, when we give something over to God, we are directed to ask Jesus what He has in return to us. I confess, the first time I encountered this, my reaction was to wonder if this was offensive to my Lord and Savior. Did I have that right to ask? When I asked, He quickly replied with something He wanted to give me to replace what I had relinquished. Sometimes it was just an affirmation of His love. Other times, He had specific things to give me. There have even been times as I’ve prayed for myself or others that I received the word, “Ask.” Jesus was telling me or the person I was praying for that He was waiting for us to ask Him for something. His Word even tells us this:

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. — Matthew 7:7

Sometimes we forget to ask, often times, like I did and still do at times, we wonder if we have the right, but if as the children of the Most High God, we are given this right to approach the throne of grace as part of our inheritance in Christ.

So today is “asking day.” Determine one thing that you would like to ask Jesus for. I know this is challenging because you most likely have a list, but this is just for today. We have our whole lives here and beyond to continue asking and seeking.

Write down what you are asking for in your journal, and be sure to date it. Pray over it and believe two things:

One, that God hears you:

I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. — Psalm 17:6

And two, believe Him for this. It may not come as you expect, but believe that Jesus will answer this prayer in some way, shape, or form.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. — 2 Corinthians 1:20

Yesterday, in the comments, so many of you shared God’s promises and as I read them I was so moved by what God is doing in all of us. We are all hearing the same things, my friends. Think about the sheer impossibility of that by human standards. But we’re talking about our great and mighty God who transcends all that. We have corporate and universal communication going on here! Hallelujah! 

Rose shared this verse and I knew it had to be in today’s post:

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. — John 15:16

My friends, it’s asking day! Ask your Father God for the deepest desire of your heart and watch what He will do. He is telling us today to ASK!!!

Abba Father, we lift our voices up to You with great awe and love. Our hearts are so humbled that You care so much, love us so much, that You even remind us to ask You for what we need, what we long for. Lord, nothing is beyond You. Nothing! So we raise our voices to You and ask for these things and especially, Father God, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, we ask for MORE OF YOU! Today, Lord, I am asking for JOY! For me and this beautiful SUM community. In the name of mighty King Jesus, amen!

With great love,
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Day Three - The Promises Fulfilled

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Yesterday we approached the Alter. We surrendered our shame, guilt, our failures, our inadequacies, pain, disappointment, devastation ….. Our brokenness. 

Listening to our Father today, I hear Him say to me, “Lynn, you have stood upon my promises and have remained faithful. I cannot deny my own Word.” 

There have been many years in my past that all I had to grasp were God’s distant promises. But I held on to them. Sometimes shakily. Praying and willing myself to trust God’s promise, I would wake up at night and speak them out loud. I would repeat them over and over to myself. I remember a long season in my past where all I could do was to repeat, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can do all things… (Phil 4:13) This promise alone push me through many tough hours. 

His promises sustained me in the years of disappointment and disillusionment. What I’ve come to realize is that God wasn’t telling me “no” when it came to fulfilling His promises, He was preparing me to bear the weight of the glory when the promises were fulfilled. God used my struggles and my unequally yoked marriage specifically to mature my faith and develop my character. Why? So that I’m able to walk into more gifts and abundance and yet not steal His glory nor morally fail because of the treasures He has provided and is yet to provide. 

Clearly I heard the Lord say to our community, remind yourselves of who you are. And stand firm against the enemy and firmly on My promises. 

Here are a few promises that have been life-lines to me: 

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. — 2 Timothy 1:7 

I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. — Hebrews 13:5b 

Psalms 91 continues to be powerful for me. 

My friends, the Lord is preparing us for greatness. His Kingdom is rising on earth right now in a manner not seen since the time Jesus walked here. He is growing us, maturing us, loving us into a place where we can walk in wholeness, power and authority so that we can receive more and more of His glory. So that we can be people of God who bring His Kingdom to earth. 

I wonder, what promises from His Word are your life-lines in this season. And what promises are you speaking over yourself for your future? Share them in the comments and when the Lord reads these, it will move His heart. 

We are at the breakthrough part of our fast. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to speak truth and promises over our lives and into our lives. Let’s let God’s Holy Word spring forth and change us, our homes, our communities and our world. 

My Holy and Blessed Child, 

You have labored hard under a mean and ruthless taskmaster. He has stolen much from you. But today, I am listening still as you claim my promises. I have told you that my Word does not return void. Your faithfulness will be My faithfulness and you will be vindicated, healed, restored and elevated. I am already moving.

Today, my Son Jesus, stands with the Keys to the Kingdom and He is releasing my angels to battle for you as your faithfulness has reached my ears. And I will now exact payment from our enemy and restore what the locus have stolen. There will be a great out-pouring and you, my child, you have faithfully walked with me and are now ready to receive all the grandeur I have prepared for you in advance. 

I will not leave you. I will not forsake you. I will cover you with My wings. Your faithful obedience compels me. I love you. I adore you. I am for you and not against you. I am the Ancient of Days and your vindicator. —The Lord God Almighty

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Reflecting Back on 2014 and Moving Forward into 2015

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He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. — 1 Thessalonians 5:24 ESV

The devotional for December 29th in The Listening Heart brought me back to this verse that I'd highlighted earlier in the year. And a sweet moment of revelation entered in with it. I thought back over this year that started out so difficult that I wondered at times how I would endure and what would I look like on the other side, and the full reality of this truth came full circle.

Anything our Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor calls us to co-labor with Him to do, He will surely do it. There can be no doubt there because that begs the question: 

Why would God call us to a place and not complete what He said He would do?

That's not His way, nor His character. Anything He has ever asked you to do, pray, think and believe has been for a reason—to benefit you at the very least and to bless others at the very most.

As I thought of 2014 and where I started to where I sit now, all that Abba spoke to my heart in those dark and light moments have come or is coming to pass. He has and is doing what He has said He would do. I merely chose to believe, to step out a little more boldly in faith, even when it didn't make sense. I chose to quit trying to make sense of it and simply trust God.

Every year I ask Abba Father for a word and Scripture for myself, my husband and daughters. My word for 2014 was "chosen" (now also the title of a book He is calling me to write). This year has been all about deeper intimacy with God, shedding lies and more fully embracing my identity in Christ. Many of us have walked in this place and now I dare to say that this isn't merely a year's goal but in full revelation the high calling to all of God's children—to seek God, to pray continuously, to wait upon Him.

It's all about our relationship with Him. Not to Him, but with Him.

And now we are about to enter 2015. I'm praying for those words and Scriptures as I reflect upon the ones from this year and what God has so faithfully done. 

  • For my oldest daughter Rachel and her husband Keith, their word was "faithfulness," to God and to each other. I've prayed this over them all year and watched their marriage continue to flourish and I even had the chance to talk to my son-in-love about worship this Christmas and what it meant to him. I learned even more about this young man's heart for God and again I am so grateful for God's faithfulness to my prayers for the "right man" to be my daughter's husband.
  • For my youngest daughter Leslie, her journey this year has been about humility and restoration, for "all things to be made new." I've watched this young woman who has endured so much step into her life and begin living it in fullness and independence. Astonishing...to think I wondered in the past if this was even possible for her.
  • For my husband...I still don't understand the full ramifications of what God gave me for him this year, but I've prayed faithfully. I believe in my heart, in my soul and deep in my spirit that 2015 will be the year of "turning" for him. The divine connections I've prayed for him are being revealed through the holes punched in his unbelief. I don't see this yet, I don't see the washing of his eyes "in the pool of Siloam" (John 9:7), but I believe he will soon "return seeing" and believing. And I do see God moving and working around him.

My friends, as we prepare for our week of fasting and praying, I encourage you to look again at all God has done for you in 2014. Ask Him to show you. You most likely will be encouraged, affirmed, and/or astonished. Sometimes we miss things.

And begin asking Him for what He has in store for you for 2015. How God communicates this to you may be very different than He does to others, so be sure to remain open to that. It doesn't have to be a specific word or Scripture. It could be an object, an image, or even an impression. Be assured that He will communicate it in a way to you that is specific to your heart and need. Don't compare to others, just receive what He has for you. It will be so much better that way.

Dear one, God has called you to this place for such a time as this. He will surely do what He has promised you. Trust Him even if you don't completely understand it all and wait on Him to move (Psalm 37:7). He will surely do it. 

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. — Psalms 62:1 ESV

We are about to embark on an amazing journey for 2015. I feel it so deeply in my spirit that it permeates my physical being with excitement. I believe 2015 will be a great year for each of us individually and as a community. We will be more united that ever and will see breakthroughs, promotions and salvations as we have never seen them before. God is standing at the door of this community as a whole and knocking with one hand as His other is fully loaded with all His goodness, gifts, grace and so much more, ready to give it to us in abundance. 

Our fast next week will be preparation for 2015—what is to come. So let’s get ready. In the comments share what you are sensing and expecting in your spirit, what you are asking Abba Father for, what you want prayer for. And if you have a story to share about how He moved in you and your loved ones through past fasts, please share that as well. More than ever before, God is calling us to share our testimonies. The enemy wants to shut us up, but from this day forward and into all of 2015, it is our time to be heard! 

My precious friends, I’m so excited and joy-filled to be on this adventure with you and with God. I know He’s about to blow us away with all He has in store for us.

Love you all so much,
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Disparaging Disappointment, Part 2

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

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

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

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

And just this week I found this nugget in Romans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Philippians 1:3-11 NLT

With deepest love and admiration for you in Jesus,
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Disparaging Disappointment

14511569_sMy friends, we’re at the last Deadly D in this series, Disparaging Disappointment. God is so faithful—He answered your prayers for Words with reminders and a special email from one of you (Thanks, Jim!). I truly thought I'd lack words for the last two parts of this series, but quite the opposite has proved true! So many words came that I will breaking this one into two parts, so be sure to come back for part two on Saturday.

In Dubious Doubt, Part One, I talked about how the enemy tries to steal our faith with his fiery darts of doubt, and in Part Two I shared some personal breakthroughs in this area (and even more came after that! God is good!). Then on Wednesday I covered Debilitating Disbelief and shared how the enemy tried to destroy my faith with a spirit of torment and gave you some tools to fight back. Now let’s talk about Disparaging Disappointment.

First, let me say that this journey was so unexpected for me. I thought I was solid in my faith but Abba used this dark night of the soul and year of intimacy to dredge up lies and expose some sandy areas in my foundation. And He has gently and faithfully restored and rebuilt my faith that is now based completely upon Him, not me. In other words, I no longer rely upon my ability to believe Him but now trust God, His Word, His promises and His truth—all this is the foundation of my faith. Not my feelings, not my interpretation and not by my strength (Zech. 4:6).

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. — Hebrews 12:2-3

Back to disappointment. Once doubt and disbelief have squatted illegally in our soul, disappointment enters in and taints the atmosphere. We aren’t believing God’s promises and sadly, we’ve lost our trust in Him along the way too. This is the place where we are faced with a pivotal choice—press in and cling to Jesus for the very life and breath of our spirit, regardless of what our soul, mind and heart are telling us. Or walk away, believing that God doesn’t care enough to move in our lives and nothing will change. 

You can imagine where the enemy is in this process—he’s on the sidelines disparaging (belittle, denigrate, deprecate, trivialize, make light of, undervalue, underrate, play down; ridicule, deride, mock, scorn, scoff at, sneer at; run down, defame, discredit, speak badly of, cast aspersions on, impugn, vilify, traduce, criticize, slur) Father God, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

This is truly the place we must die to ourselves (let go of everything, even our pain) and take a true leap of faith into the arms of Jesus. And trust me, He will catch you. This is the place where God asked me one day, "Will you trust Me with your pain?" 

For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. —Hebrews 4:10-13 NLT

A few months back I shared a series on transforming the mind that started out as the battlefield of the mind. And this is truly where the battle is, in our minds. And the enemy will use this against us. That is why it is so crucial, imperative and life saving to study and know God's Word. Without it, our lives are vulnerable to the enemy's tactics. 

Disappointment keeps us from believing and waiting expectantly for God to act (Psalm 37:7).

My friends, let me reassure you that if you are in this place, you are not alone, even if you feel like you are. The most astounding thing I learned through this journey was that I could do nothing to "fix it." God had a plan and purpose in it all along and the only thing He wanted me to do was to submit, rest in Him and trust Him to do what needed to be done.

On Saturday I will share the flip side to this place of disappointment and specific keys that restore our faith and hope. If you are in this place of disappoointment, I do hope you'll leave a comment and share your heart as much as you can. This is a place of encouragement and prayer. I have been astounded over and over again by the love and care shown here.

Until Saturday, dear friends, my heart and prayers are with you. 
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Another Astounding Testimony: Mismatched, Addiction and Now...He's a Believer!

My friends, you just read about Janet's husband's transformation and a few of you even shared stories in the comments about your spouses coming to faith in Christ! Wow! Lynn and I—our heads are spinning and our hearts are jumping for joy!

AND, here is another one! Trish Fuhlendorf reached out to us a few weeks ago and shared a stunning video testimony done by her husband who is now a full time pastor. Once we saw it, we had to know more! Trish not only lived in a mismatched marriage for ten years, but also lived and dealt with her husband's addiction to alcohol as well. 

I love what Trish shared in her email: "I have a very small local marriage ministry here in Denver, which consists of the Lord placing Christian women, who are struggling in their marriages (many who are ready to leave), whether it be because they are unequally yoked, and/or married to an addict. Been there, done that...have both t-shirts."

Today we are sharing part one of Trish's testimony. On Friday, we will have part two up along with the video testimony her husband Stu did in a message he gave at his church. My friends, don't miss a moment of this stunning testimony. We have prayed for these testimonies and now they are streaming in! To God be ALL the glory!

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I am the youngest of six children and was raised Catholic. In a way, I am grateful for my Catholic upbringing because it did provide me with the foundation that Jesus is the Son of God. What was missing however, was the commitment to surrendering my life to Christ’s lordship. At 21, I was most definitely, lord of my life.

I met Stu May 3rd, 1986; appropriately, at a bar. We were married 11 months later as equally yoked pagans. Stu was a teacher when I met him, but decided that financially, this was not the career that would give him the life he wanted. So, we moved from Denver to San Diego so that Stu could pursue his MBA, while I worked to support us as an Aerospace engineer. It was during these two years that I was first exposed to my husband’s anger. I did not make a connection between his bursts of anger and his use of alcohol. I drank too, so his drinking was meaningless to me. I do however remember times when friends had to carry him to our car because he was so intoxicated.

After graduate school, we moved back to Colorado where Stu eventually landed his first Chief Financial Officer position at the age of 29. I gave birth to our two children and our life went on.

At about the age of 36, a friend of mine gave me a book, but said as she handed it to me, “Watch out, it will change your life!” Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to start reading it. It was “Left Behind”. About a quarter of the way into it, I realized that in the event of rapture, I would absolutely be “left behind”.

I was attending a small community church at the time and made an appointment with the Pastor to go over my laundry list of questions about Christianity. He beautifully answered all of my questions and encouraged me to attend the upcoming women’s retreat. That weekend, at the retreat, I was filled with the Holy Spirit and never looked back. This is when the fun began. Initially, I concealed my new found faith, but over time, decided that was ridiculous and I started to read my Bible openly.

“What?!? What do you mean you’re now a Christian? I thought I married a Christian!” Stu felt that since we celebrated Christmas and Easter that perhaps we were Christians.

As I grew deeper and deeper in my faith, he became angrier and angrier. Arguments were a regular occurrence and soon, we discovered that we had nothing in common.

Shortly after we married, Stu began to gain weight and over the years, ballooned to 310 lbs. His drinking was also on a steady increase. Because I didn’t have alcoholism in my family, I was not really aware of the signs. Again, since I drank, I just thought there were 2 kinds of drinkers, those that became the life of the party and those who became angry. I, unfortunately, was married to the latter.

Over time however, I noticed that the amount he consumed and the time in which he consumed it, were significantly higher than in my situation. I confronted him that he might have a drinking problem. He agreed and that began the roller coaster of trying to solve the problem.

Stu and I were now in our mid-forties. Unequally yoked, battling addiction and both miserable in our marriage. I continued to pray, attend church and do my best to be the spiritual head of our household. By this time, I had thoroughly, studied the Bible, looking for an “out clause” for my marriage. Adultery and abandonment did not apply to my situation, but I wanted out. It was at this time that the Lord showed me that my holiness was more important to Him, than my happiness. I must be a witness for the covenant of marriage. I clung to many scriptures during this time, but I think the two that had the greatest impact on me were, Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” (this was my promise) and 1 Corinthians 2:14 “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (This verse completely changed the way that I prayed for my unsaved husband...)

Be sure to "tune in" Friday for part two of Trish's amazing testimony and Stu's video testimony.
We love you, SUMites!
Dineen & Lynn

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Divine Appointments, Part 2

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I’m so glad you came back to hear the rest of this story. And I know Lynn and I will come back with more stories too. It’s the last day of the Open Heavens conference. As I write this I haven’t a clue of what God has in store for us, but I know it will be good, because He is GOOD!

Now back to the ACFW conference and the divine appointments God had planned for me. As I said, I knew there was more to hear from my new friend. I didn’t even ask God to orchestrate another meeting. I knew He would and told Him as much. This was really fun!

The next day I had an appointment with an editor. After my appointment, I took a shortcut down the hallway to get back to the registration area. This hallway can get pretty busy when people are moving between appointments, but this time it was quiet, mostly empty.

Except for one person. Yep. You guessed it. There she stood. I smiled and headed toward her. Again we laughed and hugged. Then I knew what it was I was suppose to know.

So I asked, “You are a deep woman of faith and are on the path ahead of me. What advice would you give to someone like me, coming up behind you?”

Her face grew serious and she began to share such amazing words of truth and faith. Words that confirmed things God had shown me this year and great wisdom for where I was headed. I realized this dear woman had already walked the path I was on right now in greater detail than I could have imagine. I remember standing there feeling so surreal as I grasped more full how well God had planned this.

The piece of her wisdom that stood out the most was not to live the life you think you are supposed to but to live the life God is leading you too. She done it the first way for too many years and had learned the difference.

I asked this dear woman and new friend if she minded if I kept in touch with her. I’d prayed for a long time for mentors in my life, and maybe, just maybe, God had lead me to one. To her. She told me she’d mind if I didn’t.

Our divine appointment had turned into a divine connection. My friends, I’m still in awe of how God does these things. How His timing is so significant and precise for His plans and purposes. I delight in Him so much in these moments as I stand in awe of Him.

And more came through the week. The Holy Spirit led me to sit in front of an older couple. I turned around and asked what their story was. They shared their precious lives with me, then realized they were in the wrong room. But I knew I was meant to hear their stories and God confirmed it again when I “ran” into them again the next day. We shared our hearts to spread God’s love and goodness in our stories and this sweet man had me sign his tie!

And connecting with so many hearts and hearing their stories. One of my last nights there, God brought a woman front and center to me whose husband had walked away from his faith. Such heartache. I was able to share this beautiful SUMite community with her (yes, I bragged about you!) and invited her to come and visit and let us love on her.

So you see, my SUMite family, you were part of my adventures that week. I bring you everywhere I go and boast about you all often as I praise and point to God for doing what He’s done right here in this community.

And now I’m hooked. Everywhere I go I pray for divine appointments. I know so many more are coming, for all of us. Just ask Him.

Then come and share yours. I want to hear your story.

Love you, my precious SUMite family!
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Divine Appointments, Part 1

11134039_sMy friends, as you read this, Lynn and I are making our way to the Open Heavens Conference at Bethel Church in Redding, CA. This will be our third year going and I’m already praying for diving appointments. (Please pray with us on this and for our protection and safety as we travel. Thank you!)

I prayed for this before the writers conference (American Christian Fiction Writers) I attended a couple weeks ago. And I told God it didn’t matter if they had anything to do with me or writing, I just wanted to see Him in action.

Well, my week was packed with these appointments and it was the most fun I’ve had at one of these conferences to date. And I’ve been going for ten years now! My head is still spinning to think of them all but a few stand out, and today I’m going to share just a few of them.

As head of registration I get to serve a great body of writers and authors, along side a great team of volunteers. I’m the “go-to-girl” for all the complicated questions, etc. The first day I was blessed to pray for a dear woman in distress. Loved watching how God calmed and comforted her as we prayed.

Then a little while later, an older woman humbly asked if she could still have an author ribbon (we have these label ribbons that attach to our name badges). She forgot about her book coming out in December.

“Of course!” I said and went to fetch her one. The sheer delight on her face to receive it warmed my heart beyond measure, as did her hug. Really, truly, I love doing the little things for people.

The next morning, very early and bleary eyed, God reminded me of these two women. He highlighted the woman I’d fetched the ribbon for and said, “She has a story. Listen to her story.” He whispered (probably because I hadn’t had my coffee yet) to me, “Listen to their stories.” I knew He didn’t mean what they were writing but the stories of their heart, their lives.

I told God He’d have to orchestrate that meeting if I was to hear more of her story as there was a good 500 people attending this conference in a large hotel. Later that day I turned around and there she was! Just her. I hugged her and said, “God told me you have a story. What’s your story?”

Her eyes grew wide and moist, and she smiled. She told me that just touched her heart so deeply that God had told me that about her. She then explained that she is a two time cancer survivor and battling heart disease.

Me? I’m standing there stunned, because even though I KNOW God does this stuff, I’m still floored by it.

Time ran out and she had to go. We hugged, each knowing that God had linked us together for a reason, then off she went to her next workshop. But I knew there was more. God whispered to my heart again that there was more for me to hear.

The next day during a break, I ran up to my hotel room to get something. I started to head back out but realized I needed one more thing. Then I headed out the door. Standing at the door across the hall stood this dear woman. I kid you not. We laughed, hugged and marveled at how God kept putting us together. She shared a little more and I shared a little about my daughter’s cancer miracles, but then I had to get back to my post. Even as I walked down the hall, I knew there was more and that God would put us together yet again. He’d already linked out hearts together.

But, He wasn’t done…

Dear Friends, that’s enough for today, but please come back Friday for the rest of this story. There’s more to tell, more to hear, I’m not done… ;-)

And I’m looking forward to what God has planned for Lynn and I at Bethel. I know He won’t disappoint. He’s the best divine appointment of all!

Love you!
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Intimacy Through Worship

9063688_sMy friends, your comments on Wednesday's post, Worship is More Than a Song, were amazing! You all had such great things to share about what worship means to you. Some of you even shared links to articles you had written on this very subject. I absolutely love seeing things like this, because it shows our Great God's hand moving in synchronicity through His children to bring His loving plans and purposes into place for us individually and the body of Christ. And what blows me away is that God doesn’t need our help, but by His great love and delight in us, He chooses to work His plans out through His children.

I love this line from Amanda’s post on her blog: "True worship is a kaleidoscope of every color in the spectrum that combine to make one shining, brilliant white!”

And this one from our very own Heather Passuello’s article:
 "The worship team is here to lead you into a worship experience, not prepare you or make it happen for you. You cannot be lead where you are not willing to go.”

And precious SUMite, Stacey S. shared this beautiful comment about communion:
 “He gave us Himself, to consume in the Spirit through the sacrifice of His Body and Blood in John 6:52-69. To me, every Sunday, receiving and consuming this gift of life is the most fulfilling and awe inspiring worship I can give him.”

In reading all your comments, I was so struck by the many ways we have discovered to worship God (Tanya worships as she jogs. Merlene spoke of studying God’s Word and encouraging someone) and connect with Him and hear His voice. Please keep sharing in the comments. Our sharing makes this community rich and blesses us all.

Today I want to explore more of this intimacy in worship, because I believe that this place of intimacy one-on-one with God is foundational to every other area of our lives. Let me say that again:

This place of intimacy one-on-one with God is foundational to every other area of our lives.

This is the area I'm coming to draw into more deeply as I get to know God better. This is about giving God our time and ourselves. It's about coming before Him in quiet stillness and expecting Him to be there as we wait. Not doing. Just being.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. — Psalms 62:5 NLT

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” — Psalms 46:10 NLT

This is about going into the inner sanctuary of our spirit and meeting Jesus there.

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. — Hebrews 6:19-20 NLT

It is personal, intimate and intentional. It embraces the quiet soul seeking, the longing heart singing, and the child needing to know and be known in the presence of the Father (1 Cor. 13:12). Here is where we ARE truly anchored in Him.

This is about setting time aside to invite God's presence to be with us one-on-one. Here we find direction, growth and healing through His love and the power of the Holy Spirit and His presence. His Word, worship music, time, silence, prayer walking and journaling are the precious commodities I find the most beneficial here. How about you?

God is love and I’m realizing that His love is creative, healing, inspiring and transforming. The more we desire to be in, delight in and long to be in His presence, the more we understand and experience His great love for us and we get to know Who He is.

I love Amy’s comment about God’s love: “I felt God speak to that, that when we lay down our selfishness and pride at His feet and become more self-sacrificing in the ways that Jesus was, that is true worship and how all other means of worship can freely pour out of us. And let me tell you, that is an extremely hard thing to do if I cannot or do not fully accept the powerful love that God offers and that He wants to permeate every fiber of my being and aspect of my life. It all starts there.”

I find His presence rushes in to meet me when my worship is about Who He is, not what He does for me. Thankfulness is part of worship, but first and foremost, to worship God simply for who He is opens our hearts to Him selflessly and deeply.

He is so perfect, so holy, so good, majestic, mighty, and more than enough (Eph. 3:20). He is incomprehensible in His fullness, yet astoundingly present in the smallest of details.

My friends, I think I could go on and on here and still wouldn’t capture the fullness nor the capacity that worship brings to our intimacy with God. I can only pray that the Holy Spirit will fill in the places that I have missed.

Please understand there is no pressure or expectation to perform in worship. This will hinder intimacy faster than anything else I believe. God knows us, He created us. We have nothing to prove to Him. He only desires we be with Him. That is our greatest form of worship, to be with Him as He is with us. And it can be as simple as just sitting quietly and expectantly and speaking back to Him what He says to us.

I love You.

Resting in Him,
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Not the Answers I Expected

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Leslie with our critters. Mittens on the back of the couch and our dogs Shasta, Riley and River.

My friends, I want to give you an update on some things that have happened in my family, specifically my daughter as many of you have prayed with me for her over the years. For our newer readers I will give a brief summary of the journey we've been on with her since 2007, because I want you to see the full scope of how God moves in the most subtle and unexpected ways.

We've walked through much with my youngest daughter who will soon be 21. At 13 she was diagnosed with severe depression, then later in 2008 at age 14 we found out she had a malignant brain tumor (the clinical name for it is the length of a run on sentence!). God was very present during all this, making it clear she would be okay. The miracles He did during that time still stun me. I think even more so now that I know Him better than I did then and understand more fully the things He did.

As difficult as that all sounds, the hardest part came afterwards with the emotional fall out of all she endured, more depression, then critical decisions about her future. I confess I was so desperate for "normal" for my girl that it was very at times to recognize God's hand moving in her life, because it wasn't what I expected. Yet it always was what she needed.

And He's moved that way again. These last four years especially have been about her catching up. But God had given me promises for her—one from Micah 2:4 that she would be like a calf leaping from it's stall (Have you seen cows run in delight? Google it. It's quite astounding.)

So I prayed that diligently and have remind God of it often of His promise. And waited. And waited. And waited... (I think you get my point here.)

"Things" began to unfold several weeks ago. After two years of prayers for a job for this girl who has learned to understand her limitations in handling stressful situations and crowds she "got a job." It wasn't what I expected but it was exactly her speed, so to speak, working for a family we know, love and trust as caregiver for their little girl. Leslie adores kids, always wanted a little sister, and aspires greatly to be a mom one day.

As this unfolded, her car was totaled while parked in front of our house. Thankfully she wasn't hurt and the other driver was fine. I held little hope that we'd get much for this old car but prayed for enough at least to get her back into a decent car. God blew us away with twice what I'd expected. Leslie is now driving her favorite car—a 2002 Ford Mustang.

What I haven't shared is my family and I are moving back to Florida (from CA) in late November. The plan was for Leslie to come with us, but earlier this year she met a wonderful young man (who'd a believer) and now wants to stay in California.

I confess again that for the last two weeks as this solidified, I fell into a bit of a depression. My heart was breaking as I faced this challenge of letting go of my youngest (again as she moved to Florida to stay with family for a while a few years ago) without seeing (don't miss that I used that word) definite signs and proof that it will be okay.

God reminded me that He would be the one taking care of all her needs. And I am now more fully embracing that for my daughter, even though "things" don't look as I expected them to look. Even though the answers to all these years of prayers are unfolding not as I pictured, imagined, and expected but exactly as God knew Leslie would need them.

The final answer to so many prayers for her future comes today (it's Friday as I'm writing this). Today I am faxing in her college registration. She will be a student again (a very brave step for this girl) and pursue her certification in pet grooming. Leslie is gifted with an amazing ability to work with animals and this is part of her dream to one day have her own shop.

So I'm letting go. And trusting God to continue to bring my precious girl out from the constrains of her past to leap with joy into her future. It's not clean and tidy as there are still loose ends that will take time to complete (it’s that wait thing again). And it's not as I imagined it (did I say that already?)

But it is as it should be. As God planned it. For her.

My dear friends, I want to thank you for all your prayers. They’ve been heard and now we’re seeing the answers. The journey continues for my daughter and I both as she steps into a new life and independence, and I trust God to take care of the loose ends and this mamma’s heart that is learning to let go.

Love you all so much,
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God's Preparation: Time + Honor = Fruit

10724044_sMy friends, this series about God’s Preparation continues. Last week we talked about trials and challenges, along with three key points in how Jesus moves in us and our lives during these times. If you haven’t read that post yet, click here to catch up.

This next part continues to build upon how God prepares us for the trials and challenges in our lives. We may be caught off guard by these situations that either occur as consequences of our own decisions and actions, the decisions and actions of others, and/or the enemy’s targeted attack, BUT God is not. (I’m totally getting this “but God” movement now.)

Foundational to this journey is trust in God, ever increasing trust in God. And in order to trust God more and more with all areas of our lives, we must believe that He is good. I’ve written about this before, but felt God nudging me to review this, because if we do not believe that God is good, that His purposes and plans for us are always for our good, and that He is always working for our good, then we cannot trust Him.

This is the truth of Romans 8:28:

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

"All" means ALL in the Bible and encompasses everything. Even in the worst areas of our lives, in the worst challenges, in the worst sufferings, God is working for the good of those who love Him. That is His promise and He never breaks His promises and He never fails in keeping them.

God is not capable of lying (Titus 1:2) and He never has an impure motivation. He is good, He works for our good, and His plans are good. That is His unchanging character.

If you find this is an area that you struggle with (and we all have or will at some point), I urge you to seek Him for His promises in the Bible, write them down and pray them. This is so foundational and again, connects to the transformation of our minds (as I shared in that series earlier this year).

Remember these key points all found in Romans 8:28

  1. God is good. ALWAYS.
  2. God is sovereign and has a PLAN and PURPOSE for ALL things.
  3. God is an equipper and will provide what we need to walk through every trial and challenge.
  4. God is a redeemer and will bring purpose out of every trial and challenge and will restore what we have lost in His way and His timing.

My friends, I truly believe it comes down to this. How we perceive God and His character will directly affect how we look at our circumstances. The more we seek Him in truth to know Him more, the more we will see we can trust Him, and the more we trust Him, the more we can let go and have child-like faith. I know I want that more than anything, to know Him more and to trust Him with all of my life. He is worthy and loves us so much! It amazes me that He longs for this even more than we do, and not for His gain but for ours.

In this year of intimacy, I’ve had to let go of control, or more factually, the idea of control. I do not like pain and I do not like not knowing what lays ahead of me. Can you relate?

As I have shared in the past, God told me He was preparing His vessel. I believe He is doing this in many of us right now. The more I walk in this time of preparation, the more I understand how challenging it can be. I want to walk through this stuff with a heart to learn whatever it is that God is showing me so that “at the right time, He will lift me up in honor, as I give Him all my worries and cares (1 Peter 5:6-7).

I sought God for more understanding and this is what He showed me. We are like fruit trees and if you are familiar with fruit trees, they start off small and take several years to grow and strengthen before they begin to bear fruit. The growth part is crucial to the tree's ability to produce and carry the fruit. If fruit comes too soon, it is often inedible and the branches are not ready. Or the tree tries to overproduce and the branches are weighed down and can’t hold it all. Our struggle is often our desire to produce certain fruit or quantity of fruit before our branches have grown enough. We are impatient. (I know this to be true of me!) Preparation takes time. To grow, to prune, to be fed and strengthened. To become vessels the Lord “honors.”

Let me show you a funny little “truth” that God showed me. Take a look at the Scripture below:

Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. — 2 Timothy 2:20-21

The word “honor” in this verse in Greek is ti. Do you see what I saw? Looks like the English word “time,” doesn't it? And that was God's point in showing me this. Honor takes time and preparation and is done by the Master. I don’t know about you, but when I saw this, I smiled. God has an amazing sense of humor.

My friends, I know it’s hard to believe and even accept at times, but our trials and challenges DO have a purpose in them—God’s purposes that we can seek and look for if we are willing to let Him show us. This requires us to take our eyes of the “bad” and to seek the good. To seek God (and again I find it interesting that good and God are only different by one letter).

Remember these Scriptures from last week?

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. — 1 Peter 5:6-7

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

At the right time, God lifts us up in honor. This is part of His preparation so that after we have endured, He will can restore, support and strengthen us so that we are placed on that firm foundation, and bear every kind of fruit. And amazingly again, this fruit winds up being exactly what we need for the next trial or challenge.

I can think of no better way to end than with this truth:

Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. — Colossians 1:10, NLT

Amen!

SignatureGraphic2 Fruit

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God's Preparation: Trials and Challenges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Standing for Jesus!

Dineensig

 

 

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Reader Question: How do I defend my faith?

Dear friends, here's another reader question that really challenged me in my answer to her. Sometimes there isn't a clean cut and clear answer. And as Scripture says, we don't understand God's ways, but we do know He is always good and always faithful. Pray for our dear SUMite sister in this situation. Hugs! ~Dineen

I've been reading the blog on and off for a year, and just started reading Winning Him Without Words. The website address prompted me to come visit again. I appreciate the honesty in Tamara's letter (see post here), and it lets me know I am not alone. I feel a similar frustration but for a different issue. Yes, my husband in not a believer but it has led me to seek His truth even more so than before. I know I am not with him in error, and I hold onto the words in the Bible that advise me to stay with my unbelieving spouse unless he no longer wants to be with me.

However, for 5 years I have been trying to conceive and have tried nothing and everything we could and could not afford. I don't know how to explain to my husband that "everything is possible if you believe" when I have believed so many times, and nothing. I don't know how to answer my husbands questions because, how can I honestly say that the Lord must have something better in mind? And so I just sound like a lunatic. Yes. God is enough. God can comfort and love me, but He cannot replace a baby in my arms. This makes it very complicated to defend my faith and I understand why my husband does not believe.

My friend, I'm so sorry you are in this position. I feel your disappointment and pain. I wish I had an easy answer or explanation for you, but I don't. I've recently had to deal with something in my own life in similar fashion that didn't make sense even to me, yet I knew my only recourse was to trust God. I couldn't explain it to my husband, nor did I try to defend God. I just simply shared what I felt God was showing me through it and how God was helping me walk through it.

Sometimes all we can say is, "I don't know, but I will trust God." It's essentially what Proverbs 3:5-6 is about, to trust God and not lean on our own understanding, to seek His will and believe He'll show us the way.

These are the times that we are challenged to truly believe and hold onto the truth of Romans 8:28, that God is always good and that He is always working for our good. I know how hard that is when faced with such unexplainable circumstances.

I will offer you no pat answer or cliché of words you’ve most likely heard over and over again. But I will say, don’t let go of God. When you are confronted with these difficult questions, ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words. You may find the answer He gives you to speak will bring you comfort and peace as well.

We don’t see the full picture, but we can trust that God does, that He is on the throne and is working for not just your good but your husband’s too. I believe God can bring something beautiful and amazing from every heartache in our lives. And I am believing this for you too.

Hugging you tight with love and prayers,
Dineen

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God Makes Everything Beautiful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this journey with you, my friends,
Dineen

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Is God Good?

My Friends, 

I don’t even know where to start. So much has happened in the last seven days that I feel like every morning I wake, God has another “Holy Mind-Blow” in store for this ordinary, 5’4”, blonde girl. 

Do you remember back several months ago that I promised breakthrough. Well, boy howdy, I’ve had one. Probably SEVERAL. And likely the biggest thing that has yet to happen to me in the Kingdom is still coming. Woo Hoo!! I will be sharing this new adventure with you, step by step, as I move forward. 

But today, I have a word for all of you who worry about your kids. 

I worry about my kids. I pray, A LOT, for my kids. Today’s story has been more than a decade in the making. 

I’ve written before about my years of praying for my son who lived in Las Vegas. Since 1999 I’ve prayed years and years for God to move him to California that I may lavish God’s love upon him and help him to grow in his faith. And in February he, my daughter-in-law and my granddaughter moved here. They have lived with us since then. Well as they have stayed with us, God has revealed the areas in their lives that He is desperate to bring healing. What an astonishing answer to my mama’s prayers. But God’s not done. 

I also have been praying like a mad woman for them to find new jobs with a livable wage, jobs that they will love and have opportunity for growth. 

Now to set the scene, my son had an interview for an awesome job several weeks ago. For more than a week following that interview, I prayed with every fiber of my being, soul, heart and mind for my son to be the candidate that the company wanted. I prayed, scriptures, I prayed in faith. I prayed with conviction, belief and prayed for hours. 

My son didn’t get the job. 

I was saddened, of course, and my son was affected. However, for me, I was baffled and I will admit confused and disappointed with God. “Why, God, didn’t he get this job? Please grant me understanding as I prayed in alignment with your word and as Jesus taught.” 

Well this week the kindness of the Lord and in His tenderness, He explained the reason. 

This week I will be attending a conference in San Diego. And while out walking, God said to me, “Ask your son to go with you.” 

“But God, the likelihood he would say yes and attend is ridiculous. He would never go to a conference like this with his mother. And Lord, what about child-care. Someone needs to watch the little one. And then Lord, on top of that, my son’s wife needs to be on board with all of this because she is affected and will also need to watch the baby when she gets home from work.” 

The list of reasons why this was impossible surged in my head. But I prayed and said, “God I will ask and I trusting you to make all of the details fall into line.” 

I came home from my walk-n-pray. Sat down in the playroom with my son and with my granddaughter on my lap, I simply asked him to go to this conference with me. 

“Sure, Mom, I would like to go.” 

SAY WHAT??????? SAY WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!!! 

Every detail fell into line and this Wednesday my son, Brad and I are off to a conference that God has promised will be the beginning of his healing.

As I sat in my office later that morning, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Lynn, this is the reason your son didn’t get that job. He would have been working and unable to attend this conference.” 

God is SO MUCH MORE interested in this young man’s heart, his soul, his healing and the rest of his life. 

I cried. 

Tears of love and thankfulness. 

God has good gifts for His kids. Many, many good gifts. And God is so much more concerned for our heart, our soul our emotional health and our healing than any old job. God has a million of jobs and when the time is right, my son will receive the perfect job. 

I know this because I know the tender love and faithfulness of our Lord. 

What have you been praying for that wasn’t answered how you wanted or expected. Ask the Lord to help you have understanding. Then wait. It may take a while to get the answer to you but I absolutely believe God wants us to understand He is good. He has good for His children and He wants us to have wisdom and understanding. 

Okay, gang, Brad and I are off on Wednesday. I’m expecting miracles, healing and more. Pray for this boy. I will keep you posted. 

I love you. 

And I promise, I still have so much more about Joshua and the Walls, so keep walking with me. The journey is exciting and breakthrough is ahead for all of us. I love you. I really love you, Lynn

Ephesians 1 17
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Standing on God’s Promises

STA_0993My friends as I sit here and write this post, my family and I are facing some pretty tall mountains. If you read the blog Saturday, you know I wound up in the ER Friday morning due to a bad reaction to a medication (thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement!). I’m grateful to be okay, but still face this challenge to find what my body needs to get back in balance.

And what I haven’t shared as of yet is that Tuesday afternoon we will see a cardiologist to get a better picture of what is going on with my youngest daughter’s heart. I share this because so many of you prayed for us when Leslie was diagnosed with a cancer in 2008. As of last month she has been cancer free for five years, praise God! So now I’m trusting Abba again with this new challenge in her health.

Sometimes the mountains in front of us can seem so large, insurmountable and impossible to climb over. Our challenges in our mismatched marriage may seem impossible to overcome (or even endless), especially when we’ve been praying and waiting for God’s promises to come for a long time. Or we fret and worry about raising our children to know Jesus in our mismatch along with a world that seems to come against us at every angle.

The thing about mountains is we see only the uphill climb we face, but we know there is another side that will take us back down to safety, normal, or whatever we are praying and hoping for. Yet God sees the whole thing. He knows the best route for us to overcome (as we are designed to be overcomers!) and He is constantly by our side to lead the way. And His promises are like that mountain. We may not see them yet. but they’re there. We can walk in that truth and believe itI know that may be hard at times to believe, because we get caught up in whether or not we feel it. But I’m learning that it’s not about whether we feel it, but whether we believe God. Two things Jesus says so often are “I tell you the truth” and “believe.”

It’s about trusting Jesus and believing His promises even when we can’t make sense of it all. In fact, the Word even tells us not to lean on our own understanding but to trust God instead. And it’s okay to have doubts. It’s what we do with them that matters. When we bring them to Jesus He is quick to respond in whatever way we need. I will share an example of how this happened a couple weeks ago.

I was walking my dog and praying to Abba about all the challenges that seem to have cropped up all at once and crying out to Him to help me understand. My nature is to analyze—even to over analyze—to find the reason and then identify a solution. There must be a solution somewhere, right? An action to take and fix it?

So far my answers had come in a simple, “Trust Me.” But I was desperate for more this particular day. I continued down a sidewalk I’d walked on hundreds of times and no longer noticed the nuances and words left in the cement from years past.

As I walked and cried out to Jesus for answers and reassurances, I heard Him again but a little more this time.

“This will end soon. I promise.”


And as I heard His those last two words, I looked down where I stood and in the cement were the words, “I promise.” (I took this picture of it and taped a copy of it in my journal.)

IMG_2665

Even when we don’t have all the answers, when we don’t understand the whys, when we can’t see the solutions, God’s promises stand stronger and taller than those mountains we face. And I’m learning what we feel (doubt, discouragement, etc.) does not diminish His promises either. Or His love and favor for us. They stand no matter what because that is who our God is.

So when you are struggling to find answers, ask Abba for His promises instead. Reach for your Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to show them to you. There are so many about His love for us, His heart for us, His care for us. I’ve been filling the pages of my journal with the ones that speak to me each day and to go back and read them reaffirms each truth and plants them deep in my spirit.

Mountains come and go, but God promises stand forever.

Love you dearly, my friends!
Dineen

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How One RAK Inspired Another

My friends, a couple weeks ago I shared this post about my daughter Leslie and her amazing heart of generosity. Specifically her act of kindness in taking a Visa gift card she had received on her birthday and giving it to a homeless person.

What blows me away is how we are inspired by these acts of kindness and find ourselves moving in similar places. I'm finding this is something that I want to make a part of my daily life. It's so much fun! 

And that's Jesus in us, my friends. Read this beautiful story from Heidi and how Jesus honored her heart's desire to help someone. He led her right to this mom...

 

ImageFinally here I am, though I feel my RAK is not near as awesome as some I have read, but I promised an update anyway. As I had mentioned before I don't have access to our funds so I needed to be creative, because I really wanted to give back since God has given sooooo much to me! :-) I need to back up a bit so bare with me.

My Mom had sent me a $100 gift card for my birthday and as you can imagine I was totally excited, being that I never have money of my own, which for woman my age can be very humiliating when out with friends. Then I read the RAK post. I sooo wanted to do that leave money here and there, but I knew I would have to ask my hubby who wouldn't have allowed it.

Then I thought I wonder if I could find a way to cash it—nope that wouldn't work either. Then I thought I'll just give it away, but worried it would hurt my moms feelings. Well finally, after reading about your daughter, Dineen, and how she said " Mom, this gift is for me right? Well this is what I want, it will make me happy," I said to myself "exactally! It will make me happy, and was given to me with the idea it was mine to spend how I wished!"

My first thought was, the freezing temp here that we had, I wanted to buy blankets, search out homeless people who didn't make it into shelters and give them to them. Well finding the homeless turned out be a task in its self, and when I did, I felt I would be in danger getting out of my car alone. Also they all were covered in blankets and jackets. So I drove praying, "God if this is what you want me to do I will, I trust you will keep me safe, but I need to know if this is your idea or mine."

So I kept driving, then Wal-mart popped into my head! Hmmm, I thought, is that what I should do, Father, find someone in need there? So I told myself, I will go to Wal-Mart, and if I find someone that stands out and looks in need, then I will give them my card. If not blankets. Wal-Mart it is!

I walked around with an empty cart pretending to shop, even checked out the blankets to see how many I could get for $100. Finally, walking in the food section, I saw a mom and her two children with about four items in her cart and using a calculator to figure out what else she could afford. I could tell by their clothing it had been quite awhile since they had anything new.

I could hear the children pleading for something they wanted or needed. So that was it. I walked over, stuck my hand out and said, "Here this is for you."

She was embarrassed and said, "Oh no, you don't have to do that!"

I told her, "It was given to me as a birthday present, and I want to do it for you. I saw you working on your calculator. Merry Christmas."

And then Itook off! I was embarrassed too and didn't want her to feel bad by drawing attention to us, or try to give it back. I could hear her say "thank you" as I disappeared. I had planed to place God in my words in speaking with her, but didn't because I could see she was worried people would look at her.

 

Heidi, thank you so much for sharing this precious story with us. I have no doubt that mom knew our great Abba was looking out for her that day and He did it through you.

My friends, our testimonies are inspiring and when we share them with a heart to glorify and praise Jesus, we inspire others. So share your testimonies with that heart and ignore the enemy's attempt to condemn and make you think you're bragging. He would love to keep us quiet so that others won't be inspired to do similar acts of love and kindness.

And I wish you could have seen my daughter's face when I told her how her act of kindness had inspired someone to do something similar. I tell you, I literally saw her spirit expand with in her. So beautfiul and so precious. Heidi gave my daughter a gift too in her desire to help another in like manner.

Wow, wow and wow again! This is the heart of Christmas, my friends. The love of Jesus in action. Not to earn the praises of others but to share the sacrifical love that was born first as a tiny baby and came with the sole purpose to save the world. 

Jesus, our great King, Savior and Friend. The epitomy of love, Who CHOSE to dwell in us. He's in you, my friends. Let that sink in and blow you away! Then let Him shine brightly through you.

Love you so much! Be shiney for Jesus!
Dineensig

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I Would Sign Up Again - Unequally Yoked

Hello SUMites, 

LynnSUMprofile
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 on 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.” 

Now that is the love of our Father. And I’m convinced we will truly see that our challenging marriage is singularly, a divine assignment with generational ramifications, for not only us but our entire family and more people than we know. 

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

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A Tale of Prosperity

GodisFaithfulMy friends, I have some news to share and I’m so happy I can share it with you, especially since so many of you prayed for me and my family over our financial situation.

But let me start at the beginning of this God-filled story.

At the end of each year I begin praying for words and Scriptures for each of my family members. Then during our week of fasting here at SUM, I set time aside to pray specifically for each one and listen to what He tells me.

So, last January as I prayed for my husband, I heard the word “prosperity.” This is a word that can mean many things but in light of our financial struggles, which was part of my prayers, I felt this related to that. I kept an open mind though, because above all, I am seeking my husband’s spiritual prosperity, and I believe all of this is interrelated.

But even then, I questioned how this would be possible in light of my husband’s continued unbelief. Abba told me, “I bless him through you.”

And He didn’t stop there. He spoke to me about integrity through these Scriptures:

I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart. — Psalm 101:2b

As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, — 1Kings 9:4

I knew Abba wanted me to walk in this place of accountability and integrity as well, even though I hadn’t a clue what that would look like. But on that day on January 4, 2013, I prayed this:

Lord, I will walk in my home, in my life with integrity of heart and uprighteness. Let my heart be as Yours, Jesus, and my strength to be upright from You as well, Holy Spirit. In Your Holy Name, Jesus, amen.

Then just three days later, Abba led me to this verse:

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. — Proverbs 11:25

Little did I know how much worse our financial situation would become when we faced the loss of my husband’s job (A blessing since it wasn’t a place of integrity, and Abba opened a new door for him at a small start-up.), a wedding to pay for, and an unexpected ER visit that would bring us nearly to the breaking point. Perfect ground for Abba to come in and do miracles, right?

Well, yes, but not what I expected. I wanted Abba to come in with a big swoop and set everything right. He wanted to do things His own way so that His will would be accomplished as He planned and saw best. I can honestly tell you that though I’ve no doubt things were accomplished, as of today I only have a partial picture, because this story is still playing out.

And there were many days I wondered if I had misunderstood, days where I wondered how I would be able to pay for needed medications, pay bills, or keep food on the table. I’m still in awe as to how He did that, just enough to provide but not undo what our perseverance was accomplishing.

The waiting and the wondering have been the most challenging, as I’m sure you know. Many of us are in this place somewhere in our lives where we are waiting for God’s promise to materialize and save the day. And when conditions get worse, we find it harder to persevere and stand in place, because we wonder if we heard wrong or had we done something to mess things up. I’ve bought into that last lie a lot in the past.

And that’s what it is, a lie. Abba is not fickle with His favor, and from experience, I can truthfully say that sometimes the worst of a situation must be exposed before restoration can begin. Like an infected wound, the puss must be cleansed in order for healing to begin.

Now back to the good news. The start-up my hubby works for has been acquired by a large company and that is good for all concerned. This will enable us to recover slowly and even reach for a particular dream we have in our minds and hearts in about a year or so.

I love that Abba is doing this slowly so that we can continue to grow and be good stewards through all this as He continues to work in my hubby’s heart. I sense this is still a crucial time for growth and preparation for what’s coming down the road.

So, my friends, I hope this encourages you to continue to persevere and keep trusting God. If you feel your promise is delayed, ask Abba why. Above all remember that He does not withhold His good from us and if there’s something we’re asking for and not getting, He’s most likely protecting us or wanting to give us something better.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” — Matthew 7:9-11

Abba, I pray that You would stir our hearts and our spirits with wisdom to pray for your good gifts and give us the patience, endurance and perseverance we need in the time between our request, our thanks and our receipt of Your good and perfect gifts. Give us supernatural eyes and ears to see and hear Your presence every day. We love and praise You, King Jesus, and give You all the glory. Amen!

Love you all so much, my friends. If you have a prayer that you have been are carrying alone, share it and let’s pray for each other. Where two or three gather in His name...

Dineensig

*****

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Weekend Worship — A Holy Encounter?

My friends, on Wednesday I left you with my story about a young man Tyler who prayed over me. I want to talk more about the purpose of prophesy in the church down the road, but for now please check out 1 Corinthians 14:3 which says that prophesy is for edification and exhortation and consolation. I describe it as having a word of insight and/or encouragement for another person that is from Jesus given to us by the Holy Spirit.

Ever give an encouraging word to a friend that you just knew in your heart was God’s truth for them? And when you told them, they lit up like a kid on Christmas morning? That’s giving a prophetic word to someone that’s intended to encourage and restore hope. (And don’t confuse prophets with the prophetic gift. You can walk in this gift and not be a prophet. They don’t go hand in hand.)

Now on to more of my Bethel story.

I woke up with great anticipation of what our last day at Bethel would bring. When I did a quick check of my email, this verse was waiting for me:

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act. — Psalm 37:7
I knew in my spirit that God was telling me to expect His move, because just a few weeks ago in a simple moment of daily activity, He had spoken to me that my anointing was coming. I had no idea what that meant, but had wondered if it might happen at Bethel.

Now as I read that verse again, I sensed that today would be the day. But I wondered, doubted at times too. Had I heard Abba’s still soft voice? And what did Abba have in store for me?

We found our seats for the day’s events and wound up sitting behind two gentlemen, Matt and Marcus. As the day progressed we were blessed to learn more about these two men, who said that God sent them to various churches to pray over and encourage people. Matt shared a story that was absolutely stunning.

The year before he’d gone to the healing rooms at Bethel to be prayed over. He said the woman praying over him had her hands on his chest and when she took them away, her hands were covered in oil! Then she put her hands on his head and began to shake. She startled back and asked him, “Who are you?!”

After hearing this amazing story we asked them to pray over us and Matt jumped to it so quickly I could barely keep up. This guy prayed with fire and conviction! I can’t remember everything Matt prayed because it was so POWERFUL! He prayed anointings over Lynn and I and over this community and this ministry.

Through the day I kept thinking of that verse and wondering what Abba had in mind. Then it happened. During the worship session I felt God’s power come down on me. My lungs felt like they’d taken residence in my throat as I tried to catch my breath.

And I heard, “Your anointing is here.”

My friends, Abba intends that we walk in His anointings of power and the spiritual gifts He has for us. Look at what 2 Corinthians 1:21 says:

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

Amazing, isn’t it? I don’t understand all of it yet, but I believe it’s part of the prophetic gift God has given me and the oil of joy, which I’m still researching and and grasping. (Check out Psalm 45:7 and Isaiah 61:3.)

The next day I recorded as much as I could remember. I got to the part about Matt and Markus and suddenly felt the Holy Spirit kind of move over me. Hard to explain but with it came the thought that Matt and Marcus were like Matthew and Mark, apostles called to share the Good News and encourage the early churches. Somehow I knew that meant something.

A few days after we got back, Lynn emailed Marcus and mentioned my “crazy” thought. He wrote back that his actual given name is Mark Andrew! God is such a blast. I do believe that these two men carry the anointing of the disciples of the past, Matthew and Mark. I don’t know how I know it, but I do. There was no doubt about the power of God resting on these two men, that’s for sure. My friends, we (that means you too!) were prayed over by Matthew and Mark! :-)

So what did this all lead to? Something astonishing that I never expected. I will finish that story next week. Hang with me. This one may just rock you as much as it rocked me. It’s a story that started with tears, which led to a prophetic declaration, another round of tears and then PEACE! Abba is so good!

Can’t wait to share all that with you, my friends. In the meantime, keep asking Jesus what He has for you. He may ask you to give Him something first, like your spouse, your full heart, or maybe a stronghold that He’s desperate to see you free from. He came to set us free (Galatians 5:1), so He will not let us stay in those places—He wants us free! And the more you let go of that stuff, the more room you make in your heart and spirit for His Holy Spirit to fill you up and overflow—and that’s what changes lives and the atmosphere right in our own homes.

Right now, the abundant life waits for all of us—a life full of Jesus’ power, love and presence. It’s yours to claim and pursue, SUMites. Are you willing?

Love you like crazy!
Dineensig 

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His Name was Tyler...

11889899_sHello dear friends. Last week I left off with a promise that I would tell you the story of Tyler who prayed over this unsuspecting woman. I wish I had a recording of all he said. I think he spoke continuously for a good five minutes and said so much. Later I wrote down as much as I could recall. I’m so glad that Abba knows it all because I know it came from His amazing heart.

So it was late in the evening and the last worship and message of the day had ended. People were going up front for prayer for healing, many had already left, and the rest milled around talking and smiling with each other. It is truly an atmosphere so thick with God’s presence that you don’t want to leave it!

And the debate within myself continued. Should I go up for prayer? Did I truly need to? I’d been prayed over many times for my ribs and each time I’d walked away better but not completely healed. Seemed obvious to me that Jesus intended to do this in His way and timing so I had chosen to trust in that (He’s teaching me to slow down, that’s for sure).

But I kept remembering the healing training I’d attended earlier this year to work in our local rooms and what they said repeatedly there at Bethel—keep praying until the healing is complete. So went up front and felt drawn to a young man who seemed about the same age as my daughters.

I only asked for healing of my ribs, but secretly I had asked Abba for someone to speak over my life. I wanted confirmation of some things and some affirmation that I was on the right track with this prophetic gifting Abba is calling me to walk in more deeply than I’d anticipated. This was an ache in my heart that I hadn’t shared with anyone but Abba.

So there I stood in front of Tyler. He took my hands and began to pray. I closed my eyes and leaned in to hear his words above the worship music playing in the background.

And he didn’t mention my ribs once! Nope, his words were far from that and were what I’d been asking and praying for for days and weeks before the conference. Abba truly had heard my heart and used this young man to give me what I’d asked and longed for.

He affirmed my prophetic gifting and that I do more than encourage—I give courage and boldness to people. That I “roar” into people, like the Lion Judah. This was about me and my ministry.

Me? Wow, didn’t expect that. Thank You, Holy Spirit! I never told him anything about being part of a ministry so this was even more affirming than I had even asked for.

So here’s the part that made me blush at first and then laugh—he called me a powerful woman and said I would increase. Tyler also said Abba has fun when I use my gift and delights in me when I’m bold. Tyler then encouraged me to be bolder.

Me? Bold? Lord, if you only knew me... But He does. And He has moved in my heart and life to make me bolder in the last year than I even imagined I could be. And it all started with a simple prayer of, “Lord, make me bold like Paul.”

If you told me a year ago that I would sit in a restaurant with a dear friend, ministering to her heart in a time of need and would put my hand up in the air to pray out loud over her, I would have thought you were out of your mind. LOL! This is what God does! He prepares and moves us into these places to do things we never imagined ourselves doing, or thought we couldn’t do.

Or hoped and dreamed of doing... Is that you, dear one? Because that was me once too.

My friends, this is not just about me, this is about you too and what God wants to do in you and this community. Do you remember the dream I shared with you a few months back where I was standing in front of a corn field that extended all the way to these huge mountains in the background? I was standing next to Jesus who gestured to the field and said, “This is the Great Harvest.”

Last week I came across a note I had written on May 16, 2013 about Psalm 68:11:

The Lord gives the command; the women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host.

I thought at first that I had forgotten to share this then, but now I’m thinking it was supposed be now.:

This is my note:
God stopped me right here. More confirmation that God is calling out His daughters to proclaim His goodness and good news. I am so blown away by what is happening right now. Major things are about to happen. I’m absolutely stunned! (Received the harvest dream last night...)

SUMites, as I prayed over this community this weekend, I got a clear impression from Abba that this is a time of releasing gifts for us, which totally confirms what He showed me in May with Psalm 68:11.

So hear me clearly because if you’re anything like I was and sometimes still am, some of you are sitting there thinking, “God doesn’t mean me.”

Yes, He does. All of us. Look at 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

That last line is key to understanding two things. One, the Greek word for “each one” also means “every.” And two, it’s as God wills, not us. And right now HE WANTS TO GIVE THEM TO US!

So ask Him for everything He has for you. I feel so strongly right now that we are going to see a lot of things happening in the next couple of months. God is going to release these gifts to all of us in ways that will blow us away and leave us hungry for more.

I’m already seeing this happen in this community. And I want to tell our male readers that you are also part of this. I believe you already hold gifts that perhaps you aren’t aware of yet. Ask Abba to show you. Some of the men I have prayed over recently to release their divine destinies have some of the most powerful callings I’ve ever seen and they were totally unaware of it. Walk in what God has already place in you!

So I will stop here with the promise to tell you what happened the next day as Lynn and I had an encounter with Matthew, Mark and Andrew, and a new anointing that was released and what it led to! Oh my goodness, you won’t believe it. I can hardly wait to share more with you, my friends.

Above all, please please please know that our mighty God wants to do these things in your life too. Some of my most profound encounters with Abba have come when I am completely alone and praying in my quiet place, not at a conference.

Meet Him in the secret place, my friends. He’s waiting for you! Love you all so much!

Dineensig
 

 

(By the way, two days after we returned from Bethel I noticed my ribs weren’t bugging me much anymore. LOL! They are almost back to normal. Praise God!)

Image credit: altomedia / 123RF Stock Photo

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It's Bigger Than the Big Picture

IStock_000000907516XSmallMy dear friends, I have so much on my heart to share with you right now. As I sit and type this I am literally praying for words and ORDER to begin sharing what we experienced at Bethel and what I have come away with. More clearly now than ever I am grasping two things.

One, I must be intentional to share it all, share everything I have received in order for God’s work in and through me to produce fruit not only in others but in myself as well. As a person who tends to hold things in, and deeply I might add, God is moving me to an understanding of how this is not His desire. I am so thankful that Abba completes EVERY good work He starts. Amen?

And two, I can best explain from a quote from a book. In Lifestyle of a Prophet, author James W. Goll says, “It is time you come to understand not to sacrifice long-term goals to achieve short-term success.”

I’ve shared a little bit in the past about the prophetic calling that God has placed in me—a gift that is available to all of us. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:5, “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.”

And Paul’s last words there are key. It is for edification of the church. I will explain more about this soon, so take this as precursor of what will come. For now, let’s go back to my second point—sacrificing long-term goals to achieve short-term success.

We do this from a place of impatience. Sometimes we are so anxious for something to happen now that we are willing to accept a lesser result in order to satisfy our impatient nature.

When we started this ministry it was and still is about thriving in a spiritually mismatched marriage. My question for you, dear friends and I’ve asked it before, are you willing to run the race to achieve the goal set before you? (This does not include abusive marriages—we do not believe that Abba would ask you to stay in a physically or emotionally abusive marriage.) We cannot put requirements based upon our own impatience upon the plans of God. If we do, He may just let you have the lesser result so you will understand that His higher result is the better plan.

I’ve said many times I’d rather wait longer for my husband to come to know Jesus so that he is completely sold out to a faith that will not wane or fail instead of seeing him come to faith prematurely and fall away. I’m not saying I do this easily either. Some days I have to remind myself of this.

And one other truth I want you to hear today in light of what I am sharing. Never mistake your spouse and their impending salvation as a project. This is one truth I heard at Bethel last week that rang so loud in my ears I thought I would go deaf!

And this applies to every prebeliever we know, including our children. We cannot make the salvation of others our projects. We can honor God best in these places of service by seeing those who do not know Jesus yet through the Creators perspective and His love. And this is what Abba’s heart is right now. He spoke these words to me very clearly Monday morning as I walked, worshiped and prayed:

I am grieving over empty temples.

I wept when I heard His words and felt as much of His heart as He knew I could handle. My friends, Scripture is clear that we are His temples and we hold the Spirit of the Living God, Jesus, within us. And our Heavenly Father who desires all to know Him is grieving over the empty ones who do not know Him yet.

And this kind of grief only comes from intense and relentless love. Dear friends, I pray you receive this from my place of love for you and Abba’s heart for you and those you are praying for.

He is asking us to widen our perspective beyond ourselves. He wants us to see the grander pictures of not just our places but the places our children and grandchildren will hold. He desires us to partner with Him to be part of the greatest revelation of His power He has yet to release as He begins to move people into place for this Great Harvest.

Our homes and families play a crucial part to the bigger picture. God is asking us to seek His heart specifically for understanding and wisdom of what this looks like for each of us. And then to wait expectantly for Him to reveal and unfurl this within our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

As I said, God is moving me to an understanding that I must share what I am receiving. Jesus never intended His Salvation to be limited to one person, one home, one church, one city or even one nation. He died to save all. And in the Bible, the Greek word for all means ALL. We don’t just walk in mismatched marriages. We walk in a mismatched world.

SUMites, we are part of what God is doing and on the bigger scale, what He's about to do. Let Him show you how to let His heart for you overflow into your home, your neighborhood, your city and even this country. The big picture is so much bigger than we ever imagined.

Soon I will share how God has moved in my life to affect my church and city. It is a story that blows even me away, because it something I never imagined Abba would call me to do. I am not that girl, but He says I am, so I am running with Him!

Love you all so much, SUMites!
Dineen

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