155 posts categorized "Witnessing to an Unbeliver"

A Testimony by SUMite Holly Boone

Dear friends, Holly Boone (a different Holly from the one I shared about in my last post) shared this with me in an email and I asked if I could share it with our community. I pray it blesses you as it did me. I remember being in a similar place in my marriage years ago and knew that if I didn't begin trusting God to change me, my marriage would not survive.  And He did, so lovingly and with great beauty as Holly shares with us here. God is so good. Our hope and future rest in Him! Thank you, Holly, for sharing your heart with us. We love you! —Dineen

Confession 

Image1I decided to try a worksheet about sin I’d received from a faith based conference. I wasn’t sure what sin I was going to write down until I sat down and prayed about it. God began to open my eyes to an area I wasn’t even focusing on. I wrote, “I need to put to death the sin of belittling my husband and second guessing his work and parenting decisions.” 

Then, it happened. The floodgates opened from His Word and God laid out a step by step plan of how He was going to conquer this sin in me. It is so good, HE is so good. The passages He used to convict me and even the order of how I read them was a perfect plan of how to accomplish this. Amazing! 

First I read Proverbs 21:23, one of the first scriptures I memorized, He who guards His mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from trouble. After my confession my soul WAS troubled. It was deeply torn apart about what I was doing to my husband under the guise of “helping” him. I wasn’t helping, I was tearing him down each time I gave “advice” or my opinion that came from a prideful spirit and not a humble spirit. I wasn’t speaking harshly or out of anger so I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. But God!!! He opened my eyes to another sin that I committed with my mouth and reminded me to guard it closely and for me it boils down to… listen more, talk less. 

The second verse was Ephesians 4:29 – Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment so that it will give grace to those who hear. I know this verse well too, but this time when I read it I was reminded of how God had cleansed unwholesome words from my mouth before. I used to have a filthy mouth. A vulgar, dirty, mouth. Once God brought me to salvation that was a big change He did in me. Those words are no longer a part of my vocabulary, they don’t even come to my mind, and when I hear them at work they make me cringe. 

Most people at work try to be respectful of me and not say things around me, but I still hear it every day. The fact that they are offensive to me now just shows the POWERFUL cleansing God can do and will do in ALL areas we give to him. So the way I was speaking to my husband when we talked about his work or issues with our daughter was not edifying and were not necessarily needed for the moment. But God!!! He can and will cleanse me from that. So step two in the plan is ask myself, are these words needed in this moment and to ask God to remove all the words from my mouth that are not good for my husband just as He removed all of the filthy words from my mouth I used to say.

Verse three is 1 Peter 3:1 – In the same way you wives be submissive to your own husband so that even if any of them are disobedient to the Word, they may be won without a word, by the behavior of their wives. The Holy Spirit is so powerful, because I again, knew this verse well but yesterday was shown a whole new part of the word “submissive.” I need to be submissive minute by minute, not just in the big decisions. I need to be submissive about all aspects of our marriage by my attitude of humility. I wanted to be submissive except in the areas I felt I was better. Pride. 

Oh the damage pride can do in a heart. I was being rebellious, the opposite of submissive. I thought I was being submissive, because I wasn’t badgering him about our spiritual differences. I wasn’t trying to change him, so I thought. But around every corner I was there to second guess his decision and let him know what I thought he SHOULD be doing instead. How he made a sandwich, how he fed the dog, how he dressed our daughter, his relationship with his boss, his relationship with his students, when he should be on his computer, when the TV should be on, what he left in the car, what he forgot to do—so many things I point out to him about what I think he needs to do differently. The biggest area I can show my submission to my husband is how I speak to him and support his decisions, and when it is time for me to help in a decision or give some insight, it HAS to be done prayerfully and with God guiding my words, not letting my flesh guide me and spitting out all that I want to say.

The last verse Proverbs 31:10-12 – An excellent wife who can find: For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.  THIS is the sweet promise I received yesterday.  If I follow God’s plan He has promised that my husband will have “no lack of gain.”  And that I will do him “good and not evil all the days of my life.” I thought this was my desire before, I thought I was living that out, but I was so off the mark. I thank God for giving me this new desire. I WANT to do my husband good and not evil. I WANT him to have no lack of gain and God has opened my eyes on how to do that, truly. I have often described my husband as the best unbeliever there is. He supports me in many ways that a lot of husbands don’t in spiritually unequal marriages. That is a gift from God. 

But even though I say our marriage is good I think I am really thinking, “it is good enough.” For the situation I am in, it is good enough. In spite of our spiritual differences, it is good enough. Compared to others in my situation who have it a lot worse, it is good enough. But God!!! 

Yesterday after confessing sin, asking him for nothing except forgiveness what He gave me was a promise of MORE! He has so much more for my marriage than just “good.” If I follow His plan He has shown me that He has something far greater waiting for me and my husband. What a loving God we have. When I thought that we were in a good place and I had settled in to this place in our marriage, God said, “Oh no dear child, you just wait and see what I have in store for you.”  

My submission to my husband is submission to God. That is what I desire more than anything, even if I receive nothing. But God still continues to give and give and give blessings to me. A wise man recently was writing of his trial, but in the middle of it still thinking “why me God, why are you so good to me and generous with your blessings? I do not deserve it.” I often think this as well. Why me God? You are so good to me and shower me with blessing and goodness and always bring my perspective back in focus when I have wandered. The answer to why He is so good to me is because He is God. A perfect Father. A perfect example of love.

 After this encounter I could only do one thing. Get down on the ground on my knees with my head down worshipping God. I sang the chorus to one of my new favorite songs:  

Holy Spirit you are welcome here, 
come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. 
Your glory God is what our hearts long for, 
to be overcome by your presence Lord.

I was overcome by His presence. It was a glorious afternoon of worship and tears as an offering to God, and, other than the words of the song, all I could say was thank you God, thank you Father.

If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. — 1 John 1:9

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Testimony Time by Noely Watt

Hello Lynn, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Christ,
Noely Watt

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

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Pray With Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lord Jesus,

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

Lord, make us fearless.

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

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

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

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

PRAY WITH POWER. Hugs, Lynn

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A Big Word for a Little Man

23765716_sDear friends, I've finished reading the book of Luke and have one final story to share. Again I thought this was two stories, two nuggets but the Holy Spirit impressed upon me the bigger picture AND how they are linked together to my previous post about the the Kingdom of God Within Us. I just love it when He helps us make those connections!  

This time the story begins with Zacchaeus. Is that Sunday School song going through your head?

​He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 

So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 

And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” — Luke 19:1-10 EVS

This story has always fascinated me in how this "wee little man" had such a dramatic turn of heart. No doubt, the Holy Spirit was already at work, but I found a little more to this story in that one word Jesus uses.

Must. Jesus says He "must" stay at his house. I looked up the Greek meaning of this word and was astounded by the force behind it:

dei — behoved, be meet, must (needs), (be) need(-ful), ought, should, must, ought, it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper, necessity lying in the nature of the case, necessity brought on by circumstances or by the conduct of others toward us, necessity in reference to what is required to attain some end, a necessity of law. 

But this last part especially grabbed me:

necessity established by the counsel and decree of God, especially by that purpose of his which relates to the salvation of men by the intervention of Christ and which is disclosed in the Old Testament prophecies concerning what Christ was destined finally to undergo, his sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension.

After looking this word up, I understood how Zacchaeus had such a stunning and powerful transformation! This one power-packed word spoke to Zacchaeus the heart of his Savior and literally holds the promise and power of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

God's Word is powerful. It is life. Our own Joanne has been sharing this very message with us frequently in the comments, and I have a little more I want to share along these lines. We so often discount how powerful our words can be, to encourage and give life, because we think we don't have something to say, or we don't know what to say. 

Guess what? You don't have to have the words, because the One who lives in you does. Take a look at what Jesus said:

And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” — Luke 12:11-12 ESV

This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. — Luke 21:13-15 ESV

My friends, as we carry the kingdom of God within us, it makes perfect sense that the Holy Spirit will give us words of life to speak in any and every situation, whether in witnessing to a stranger or sharing our heart with our pre-believer. We can apply and expect this in every situation we encounter.

And I have a feeling you are doing this more than you realize as well. Those nudges to speak and act that we know are from the Holy Spirit are "living proof" of the Holy Spirit's presence and the fulfillment of Jesus' promise to us. Living in this understanding and awareness will open our eyes and heart to hear more and more.

Zacchaeus' big word is a powerful example of the Holy Spirit's presence in words. Pray for discernment snd believe that He's there and will teach you when and what to speak. I’m always amazed when the Holy Spirit does this. And don't be surprised if those words you wind up speaking come back to speak to your heart as well. Your faith and trust will grow too!

I love you, my friends, and I love walking this amazing faith journey with you!
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The Kingdom of God Within Us

16340768_sMy friends, the Holy Spirit is still walking me through the book of Luke and showing me specific things. And now I have a confession to make.

No longer will I make the statement, “God shows up.”

Why? Because I’m learning more fully the depths of His kingdom already present in us. It’s astounding, for sure. In many places Jesus makes the statement that the “Kingdom is near.” I’ve even written about this in the past—how when He makes this statement, it’s like He’s saying, “Here I am. I am the kingdom and I stand among you.” 

But this verse the Holy Spirit showed me takes this to a whole new level of understanding.

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” — Luke 17:20-21 ESV

The Greek meaning of the word “midst” is entos and means within, inside within you i. e. in the midst of you, within you i. e. your soul.

Wow…

My friends, this revelation astounds me and fuels my desire to see God’s kingdom present in my home. I want to see my pre-believer affected by that. My children affected…my family and friends…even strangers I meet at the park or the store. This verse and a providential message the Holy Spirit led me too is helping me walk in this new perspective.

And the possibilities it holds.

But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” — Luke 18:27

 What if we shifted our mindset to the understanding that many of the things we are praying for are already ours to walk in? For example, God’s Word says we are new creations in Christ Jesus. So instead of asking God to make us new, what if we simply thanked and praised Him for doing it already? Perhaps our prayer needs to be, “Abba, help me see myself as you see me.”

If we know His heart is for none to perish, that He sent His one and only Son for the purpose of saving all, then let’s start believing that is what He’s doing. Yes, our pre-believers still have the choice, but we serve a God whose love is beyond comprehension and draws us to Him according to His plan and timing. We didn’t choose Him, He chose us. The same goes for our pre-believers.

I find myself walking through my day and daily activities thinking of God’s kingdom within me and what I carry. I want to carry it in belief, not doubt, my friends. I’m sure you do too. The amazing thing is, as I’m walking more in this, I am starting to see shifts in the those around me. I am starting to see that when we walk in belief and trust, we “show” Jesus. Our doubts and fears are no longer shrouding His presence.  

And it goes even further to this childlike faith in the realization that it’s all Him. I don’t have to perform or “be perfect” in order for the Holy Spirit to be able to do His job. Because of His presence, we constantly carry the Kingdom within us. We carry Jesus and the Father through the Holy Spirit, and they are always present in us. This is what Jesus did when He said He did what the Father showed Him. 

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” — John 5:19

Jesus is our example of walking in faith and belief. When we believe we hold the kingdom and wait and watch to see what the Holy Spirit is guiding us to do, then listen to that nudge or leading or word and do what He says, we are revealing that kingdom in us. 

I have a feeling many of us are doing this more than we realize. We just haven’t learned to trust that it’s the Holy Spirit we are sensing, hearing and listening to. And let me just say that this is where life with God is FUN! My friends, it’s a daily adventure to watch, wait, listen and trust. Challenging too, yes, but those moments when we know He is the one who spoke through us, acted through us, worked through us—they are what I live for each day. 

His presence in us, alive and active, moving and changing the world around us, through us, and in us. Amazing! 

Lord, we want more, more, more of You and Your kingdom revealed in us everyday. Shift our perspective to see, hear, listen and believe that Your kingdom is in us because You are in us, King Jesus. Holy Spirit, teach and guide us daily how to walk in this childlike faith so that we “glow” with your light and love so brightly that every person we encounter sees You! In the mighty name of Jesus who can do all things, amen!

Live in awareness of His presence, my friends!
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Easter and our Faithful God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRACE – BIG GOD SIZED GRACE.

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

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

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

The tears we shed, He catches.

The hurt we feel, He has felt.

The love we know in Him, HE CREATED.

How could anyone else come close?

 

TRUST HIM with your husbands.   

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

Mandy, Sumite

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

 

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

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

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

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

Love, Lynn

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What Gods Love Looks Like

SUMite Family, 

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

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

The love of a Father. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God is love. —1 John 4:16

God is good. —Psalm 136:1 

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

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

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

Thoughts? 

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

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

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

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

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This IS Grace In Real Life

The following was taken from a post on the 1 Peter 3 Living Group. It's testimony from Pam Anderson. My friends, you will see Grace differently in this. Thanks Pam, Lynn & Dineen and your SUM family.

Hello Everyone, 

God has been doing an amazing work in my home, my husband and my marriage.  Let me begin by saying that the word God gave me for both 2014 & 2015 is GRACE!  I expected a new word for 2015, but that didn’t happen.  Little did I realize what AMAZING things he had planned!  Yes, AMAZING GRACE. 

To make a very long story as short as possible, since October of 2014, Grace has become a staple word in our home.  Even for my husband!  I can’t begin to tell you what a Divine move this.  My husband, Bob, is a very hard, military man (served 32 years).  He was trained to be this way; however, he has a soft heart that he rarely exposes.  That would mean he’d have to be vulnerable, and, well, we know how that is. 

We started having conversations about Grace, what it means, how it transforms.  He’s an author of action-adventure men-type books, and he even has a chapter talking about Grace.  Oh, this only made possible by HIS AMAZING GRACE… 

Then I got Max Lucado’s book, “GRACE” for Christmas.  With the help of this book, God took me to a whole new level. Grace started happening to me in a way I cannot explain (I have chills just thinking about it).  I couldn’t have ever imagined this with my limited human mind and thinking.  It completely changed how I saw my husband. I began giving Grace is a new, fresh and generous way. 

Then in January, a death occurred with one of my husband’s long, lost friends. His friend’s wife.  My husband and he had not spoken for over 20 years.  All this time, my husband harbored anger, guilt and resentment about this, because they had been very close friends.  Jim, his friend, was a very hard man as well.  So when we got the news of Jim’s wife passing away, an amazing feeling came over me.  I knew that God was going to use this to open a door to mend this relationship somehow, and bring forgiveness and Grace where there was guilt, anger, resentment.  I didn’t know how.  My husband decided he wanted to go to the funeral. This was a very hard step for him, as he didn’t know what he was getting into.  And what happened was AMAZING GRACE! 

Jim, the friend, was a totally transformed man. Yes, he had been saved, and Grace overtook him!  The way this impacted my husband, well, there are no words to describe.  He couldn’t believe it.  My husband, prior, had always thought of Christians as weak, but what he saw was Grace.  Something powerful and life changing.  He saw a man who he NEVER, EVER, would have believed would become a Christian, and had.  SUMites, this is the ONLY person in my husband’s life that could affect him this way.  It is so amazing how God works!  

When my husband returned, he was dumfounded and started calling a few of his male friends to tell them about it.  Each one talked about Grace in one way or another; maybe not the exact words, but they described GRACE!  Then I handed the GRACE book (Max Lucado’s book) to my husband and said, “If you want to know what happened to Jim, read this.”  And he has been!  

I can’t believe the change happening in my husband before my very eyes.  GRACE IS HAPPENING!  And Lynn, in regard to your post about praying for your husband differently, that’s what I began doing. I started claiming, believing and thanking God for what I’ve asked Him to do for my husband- as though all my prayers have been answered.  “Thank you Lord that your Grace is transforming my husband before my eyes. Thank you that Your GRACE is turning him upside down and evading his space, and he can’t stop it!  Thank you that GRACE is penetrating his very being—his communications, his actions, his thoughts, his emotions…  Thank you that Your Grace, through the Holy Spirit, is shaking him at his core and softening his heart to You, Lord. Thank you that Your will is being done, here in my home, my marriage, my life and my husband’s life, just as it is in Heaven!  Thank you Father that You are working all things for our good and Your glory!”  And this is what began happening. 

I became so overtaken and impacted by this fresh, new experience of Grace on my life, and seeing how me giving Grace and living Grace, before my husband was making such a difference in our home. I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss an opportunity to experience it. So I had a friend of mine who makes bracelets make me a GRACE bracelet (see attached).  It reminds me constantly throughout the day to give GRACE, often, generously and at every opportunity.  Just like Jesus did and DOES for me, daily!  I’m realizing that the degree to which I GIVE GRACE is the degree to which I RECEIVE GRACE.  I can’t explain how powerful and life changing this concept has become in my life. 

Then, on Valentine’s Day, the most amazing thing happened.  My husband and I were going to have a special, relaxed dinner at home.  We were on no timeframe.  And then GRACE appeared!  We had the most amazing conversation about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the transforming power of GRACE.  I gave my testimony, cried.  He heard it, a few tears came to his eyes.  I shared just the appropriate amount, just what God laid on my heart to say. Then, I just let GRACE happen.  I let God chase my husband down with GRACE! 

In conclusion, I need to share this.  Three years ago I took a major leap of faith.  I quit a prestigious job making a six-figure income.  I knew this was what God was telling me to do, to support my husband in his writing and his efforts.  And he gave me an assurance that what I would go through, he would use as a ministry, somehow.   If I had known what I’d face over the next three years, I would never have quit my job. I’m thankful God only shows us in small increments what he wants us to do, because in my limited human thinking, I would never have been able to do it.  Our financial situation got so dire, to a place I never envisioned I’d be.  But that’s where Grace met me, in my humbleness, in my desperation for God.  That is where I had to get.  Previously I thought I trusted God but I didn’t, I trusted my job—me. 

There’s more, but this is all I’m supposed to share for now (thank you for Grace in regard to this long email). I’m not sure where this is taking me, but God is giving me a little more clarity of His plans for me.  It’s very humbling. My friends, it’s  nothing short of AMAZING GRACE! 

In His Grace,
Pam

Pam HeadshotI recommitted my life to Christ in 2006 while my husband was serving in Iraq; 11 years into our marriage.  In April, my husband and I will be married 20 years.  This would not be possible without God’s life-changing Grace.  Grace that had to show up in me.  God has laid it on my heart that my most important mission on this earth, is to show Jesus to my husband; and I’m never more like Jesus than when I show my husband Grace and Mercy.  It’s been a very humbling and transforming process.  I celebrate the promise that my husband is sanctified through me.  I thank God it’s done!  I’m just waiting for God’s perfect timing to bring it to completion for all to see!  Glory and honor be to God!

I worked in the healthcare industry for 25 years and quit an executive position to support my husband in his writing career.  A step of faith that has taken me, and my marriage, in directions I could never have imagined or dreamed of.  This year I will be writing my first book.  A book which my husband fully supports and encourages, about how a woman’s heart is completely transformed when God’s Grace rules. How every relationship is impacted, forever changed, when Grace is applied to that relationship.  I ask for your prayers as I begin this project, that this book will be completely, and only, about bringing glory and honor to my Lord Jesus Christ.  

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When The Church Hurts You

Hello SUMite Nation, 

I have to chuckle. Over the past few months reading through comments, Facebook posts and emails I have received, all of the “SUMite” puns. Hilarious!  SUMthings about happen. To SUM things up. Is SUMone praying? Can I just say that SUM of you are very witty and hilarious. 

It’s the little nuances such as this that make our home on the web, a family. We are a family and SUM is a place where we are loved and where we love. Thank you SUMites for how you love Jesus and how well you love one another. 

And I guess I feel this post is leading to an entirely different topic than I expected. You see over the past seven days my daughter and I have experienced some weird situations. Conflict over beliefs with other believers. 

Yikes! 

Now don’t panic. I’m not going to cause a debate in our Home on the web here. In fact, I think it’s remarkable the kind of unity that we experience in our SUM House considering all the different steams of faith represented here. And Dineen and I are very careful and intentional to focus on what unites and not on what divides. We focus on only two things.  

Love God…
Love people…. 

But what do we do when we don’t see eye to eye? My daughter and I have been living this out as of late. It’s hard enough to stand in our faith when facing harsh words from our unbelieving spouse. But it’s even more difficult to face conflict with people who are “supposed to be on our side.” 

Do you agree? 

Well, in both cases we must let love be our compass and focus on what we have in common. This works both with our pre-believers and those who have differing ideological views. And right behind love, we must walk the road of forgiveness. 

However, the most difficult to forgive are those who are in the church that wound us. 

Am I right? 

Recently I listened to Ann Graham Lotz share how she overcame pain when she was wounded by her church. She shares how she was part of a church for 15 years, raised her children in this particular church and yet on one Sunday morning the church dismissed her husband from leadership. 

THIS IS WORTH A LISTEN MY FRIENDS.

 

 

Thank you for loving Dineen and I even when we might offend, hurt or fail you. Please know we would never do so with intention. I know many times I would like to respond to the many email, comments and messages that arrive and I simply can’t do it. I might write words such as “I’m Pissed Off” and you choose not to take offense but see how I remain committed to authenticity. I pray more than anything that you see our imperfect hearts are filled with love for you. It’s the love of a perfect Father, His Son, Jesus and the love of the Spirit. That remains our highest purpose when you visit our home on the web. 

The calling in this season of the Kingdom upon the House of SUM, is to love God. Love People. Amen and AMEN!

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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This Time, I Prayed Differently For My Husband -Chronicles Of The Donovan Clan

I started to pray differently. 

My friends, in the past two weeks I’ve experienced a shaking. A shaking in my prayer life, my husband has been shaken, our marriage too. God is shaking things that have been entwined in our marriage for nearly two decades. 

IMG_2511[1]
Two weeks ago I prayed for my husband and since then things have been different. I want to tell you about what happened but I want to first say, thank you for praying for me. 

Prayer matters.
Prayer is powerful.
Prayer connects us to the heart of the Father.
Prayer activates the angelic.
Prayer defeats the demonic.
Prayer changes circumstances that were unchangeable.
Prayer is our weaponry in battles big and small.
Prayer is our worship in thanksgiving.
Prayer is….. our lifeline of hope, blessing, deliverance, healing and victorious living. 

Okay, is that enough reasons to sit down in the morning with our Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit? 

I want to tell you that my personal breakthrough came because months leading up to this shift in our marriage, I was writing out scriptures specific to answered prayer. Man, there are such promises from God. I take a small sheet of paper, write the date on top, then the scripture and claim it as God’s faithful promise to me and then write down my prayer. I have slips of paper stuck in my morning Bible all over the place with these promises and these scriptures and my requests. 

I challenge you to do the same for the next 30 days. 

I’m convinced that my claiming of scriptures helped to bring a change to the way I’ve been praying for my husband’s salvation. For years I’ve prayed, “Father, save my husband. Bring him to salvation and faith in Jesus.” 

I’ve prayed every variation of this prayer for years and years. How about you???? 

About a month ago the Holy Spirit said stop praying that old way. You haven’t seen any results after more than 20 years of marriage anyway. Ouch! And instantly I knew I was to pray differently for my husband. (Thank you Holy Spirit) 

I began petitioning heaven with passion and with belief and scripture promises this prayer. “Lord, let me lay hands on my husband and pray over him. Let me BLAST him with the Holy Spirit.” 

Yep, indeedy…. That’s a different way to pray!!! But I prayed on. “Papa, just open an opportunity to pray aloud with my husband and let me lay hands on him and blast him with the power of the Holy Spirit.” 

Two weeks ago the Lord opened up that very opportunity. It was so unexpected and it came with a massive spiritual battle beforehand. And a few days prior to that, a shaking started in our marriage. And with that shaking an understanding and revelation about our relationship came to my spirit. My wine drinking was directly tied to our marriage. As soon as I prayed and broke that tie in the spiritual realm, I haven’t had a glass of wine at night since. I also was able for the first time to see (discern) some darkness lurking in his heart, fear, deception and a few others. I could see them for the first time looking into his eyes one day while he was speaking to me in the kitchen. 

And after the battle was over and I still stood in the power of Jesus. Then Mike and I talked things out for a long while. Finally I asked him if I could pray. He agreed my friends and he didn’t agree to placate me. He wanted me to pray. 

And because our God is so strong, amazing and can do all things, I gently laid both hands upon my husband and prayed with power and blasted him with the Holy Spirit. 

It’s been two weeks. And I recognize a clear shift in our marriage. He’s more attentive, kind, he’s taken me out for a date twice in two weeks. I’m not sure what is going on in him with regard to faith. And honestly, I’m not sure I’m ready to ask. But I’m a relentless pray-er and my Dad is all powerful and His promises are assured to me as His kid. 

I will never stop praying. My prayers may change through the different seasons but I remain steadfast and declaring that my man WILL come to faith one day and say to the SUMite Nation that he loves Jesus. 

I will ALWAYS have hope. I have the entire Kingdom of God at hand to walk with me. I have abundance, mercy, grace, goodness and a love from my Father that overwhelms me every day. 

I have a supernatural weapon of great power. It’s prayer.
I have an intimate relationship with the living God of the Universe. It’s through prayer.
I have watched people receive healing. Through my prayers. 

So, I have a question for you today. Could the Lord be asking you to pray differently? 

I love you so much my SUM family. It’s been a wild two weeks. In addition to many breakthroughs yesterday for the first time in months and months the Lord is now downloading words for my new book. Oh and my friends, it’s even better than I thought. I can’t wait to read it myself because when the Lord writes, things happen. Have an amazing day in His Presence. And if you want to pray in the comments, I will pray along with you. 

Quote your scripture and then pray away. Every Sumite that reads it, prays in agreement with you and it gains power in the Supernatural realm. Woo Hoo!!! 

Signature Blog feb 2015

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Guest Post by Trish Fuhlendorf: Happy vs. Holy

IStock_000016466788XSmallAfter I became a Christian, it seemed like my marriage got a little worse every day. Stu couldn’t stand the fact that I was a Christian. He hated seeing me read the Bible and if he saw me reading a paperback, he would always ask what I was reading; knowing that it would be another Christian book. Then the criticism would begin, “Is that the only thing you can read?”

In addition to the light vs. dark dynamic that was getting worse all the time, his drinking and subsequent anger were on the rise. I got to a point where I couldn’t find any commonality between us and I dreaded him walking through the door each evening.

I remember seeking counsel from a woman at my church. She suggested that I make a list of Stu’s positive attributes. This would accomplish two things, it would help me focus on the good qualities of my husband and also give me ideas of things on which I could compliment him. However, asking me to swim the English Channel would have seemed an easier task. I stared at a blank piece of paper for what seemed an eternity. Finally, I came up with 2 or 3 attributes. It was a painful and ultimately pathetic assignment.

Where was the relief? I searched the Bible for an “out clause” of my marriage, but found nothing that applied to my situation. I cried out, “I am so unhappy. Isn’t there something in the Bible that tells me that God is concerned about my happiness?” I found verses talking about the “joy of the Lord,” but nothing about me being happy. But how can God expect me to go through life unhappy?

Then He impressed upon me my role as a godly woman. I am called to live in relationship with God and that should affect all of my earthly relationships. My children will most likely be married someday. Do I want them to start their relationships with the legacy of divorce nipping at their heels? Would I ever advise them that if they’re unhappy in their marriage, they should just bail? What kind of godly example would I be if I ran to divorce just like so many in the world?

I didn’t fully comprehend what God was trying to tell me. Is God more concerned with my holiness than my happiness? Yes.

It was time for me to accept the husband that the Lord gave me, but it was also time for a change in me. This would only happen through Him.

Now, I wish there was a guarantee, that our obedience to Christ would one day be rewarded with happiness here on earth, but there is not. So, in choosing to actively love our spouses every day, even though you might think they don’t “deserve” it; remember that we do not deserve God’s grace and forgiveness, yet He gives it to us freely.

I started thinking about how much God loves my husband. I eventually thought to ask God to allow me to see my husband through His eyes. Almost instantly, I developed a profound compassion for him.

I also learned the difference between love, the feeling of affection, and love, the verb. And that love, the verb, is crucial to a successful marriage. I started enacting small, loving gestures each day toward my husband; resting my hand on his leg as he spoke to me, a kind text message in the middle of the day, a little unexpected gift, etc. These gestures were not easy at first. I had to force myself to do them, but over time they became easier and those feelings of affection returned to me.

Ultimately, God’s request for me to love my husband was not only possible, but with His help, my marriage improved tenfold. Happiness is not a goal that can be pursued or a state of being that can be lost. It is simply an emotion that we experience on and off throughout our entire lives as a reaction to our circumstances. Nine times out of ten, we have no control over the circumstances that dictate when our feelings of happiness come and go. So, the notion that a person will be happier if they trade in their current spouse for a different one is a bit ridiculous when you consider the lack of a logical foundation.

But, one thing God does tell us to pursue is joy. Joy and happiness are not the same thing. Happiness is a fickle and fleeting emotion, while joy is contentment in the presence of God. I contend that if we grow in Christ and engage his expectation for our holiness, that joy will be present regardless of whether or not happiness chooses to show up.

 

Trish headshotTrish Fuhlendorf is first and foremost a lover and follower of Jesus Christ. She is a wife, married 27 years. God saved her in her mid thirties, then her husband about 10 years later. She is a tireless advocate for the covenant of marriage and has a love and compassion for those in the bondage of addiction. She is a Regional Manager for K-LOVE and Air1, a mother of 2 adult children, loves her home state of Colorado, her 2 big dogs, cooking and exercise (to off-set the cooking).

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Day One- A Samaritan

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

On our first day of fasting I am compelled to pray for our pre-believing spouses. And to that end I want to share how Jesus reached unbelievers. It a model for all of us on how to attract people to the Kingdom, especially our spouse. 

Turn with me to John 4

This is the story where Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a water well. (Please, please pause now and go read all of the story. If you do I promise that the Lord is going to enlighten you to some possibilities you haven’t considered.) 

I want to point out quickly some details of this story. 

Vs 4:Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 

Vs 7: He asks her for a drink. He is alone and is speaking to a woman. In this culture Jews never spoke to Samaritans and NEVER to women. 

Vs 10: She is there to draw water. Her life was filled with endless trips to the well with a heavy jug on her head. (monotony, hopelessness, struggle, weariness) Jesus speaks to her in terms which she can relate…. Water. He tells her about the Living Water. 

Vs 15: The Samaritan Woman is intrigued now and asks for this living water. 

Vs 17: Jesus perceives into her life and tells her to go call her husband. She replies, “I have no husband.” And then He speaks prophetically revealing truths that only God could know and that the Holy Spirit revealed to Him. 

Vs 19: The woman has no doubt that this man before her is no ordinary man. He is a man of God. She declares, “I can see that you are a prophet.” 

She then deflects her personal marriage predicament and changes the subject to the Jews and Samaritans disputes about where to worship God. Jesus’ response is powerful in the following verses and then he arrives at an important declaration: 

Vs 23: Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 

And finally in verse 26 Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you —I am He.” (The Messiah (called Christ) 

My friends, as we contemplate our unbeliever, our unsaved family, our friends that don’t know Jesus, and a world that is in pain, suffering and sunk in the bondage of darkness, we can see in this passage the key to their freedom. 

This is the model to reach people. 

The Kingdom and our part we play often arrives when it’s inconvenient. When we are exhausted. When we are hungry or thirsty and all alone. This was Jesus as He sat by the well. 

The people God sends to us are broken and in pain. They have been abused by the world and are confused by religion. This is the Samaritan woman. Five husbands. Five deaths or divorces and her current man refuses to marry her. This woman IS pain. She is confused between the practices of the Jews and the Samaritans. 

Jesus reaches out to her through conversation that she can relate to. Water. He relates to her and speaks her language. Jesus gains her attention and her willingness to listen. 

As the conversation progresses, the Holy Spirit begins to discern the pain and some of the details of this woman’s life. This is usually how it works. I know this has been true for me. Do you remember me sharing how in the middle of an ordinary visit to a restaurant, God started talking to me about the woman behind the counter? (Read that story here.) 

God begins to reveal truth and when spoken to people, they can’t help but respond to His love. This is exactly what happened to the woman when Jesus revealed parts of her life. She then realizes that God loves her… her…. God loves her with all her pain, past, sins, and failures. He loves her enough to send a man to talk with her even when his actions are counter cultural and forbidden by the religious circles. 

And then Jesus speaks such powerful truths that she is delivered of her fears and sins. She discovers that the Father is seeking worshipers who worship in the Spirit and in truth. 

She discovers what Jesus clearly states, “I, the one speaking to you – I… AM….. HE.” 

And you know what happens next. The whole population of the town comes to Jesus. 

SUMites, this is our model of how to speak of our Jesus to the world. And our ability to discern from the Holy Spirit, such as in this story, comes out of our personal relationship and our time alone with the Father (prayer & fasting). Just like Jesus. 

This story isn’t just for Jesus. This is Jesus showing us. Telling us. Encouraging us to meet people where they are. To ignore the conventions of religion and society and to speak their language. To perceive their pain. To speak life and healing into their lives. To bring one person to meet …. I am He, The Messiah. And then a whole population will follow. 

I’m convinced that if we do this, our spouses, children, friends…. Our world will come to The One… Jesus.

Let’s fast and pray that we may step into this story and become the hands and feet of Jesus who brings healing and hope to our world. Let’s pray our spouse is fully saved in 2015. 

I love you Jesus so much. Thank you for showing me how to bring your love and hope to this world. Let me be the one who doesn’t fear what people will think or say. Let me not be held back by religion and culture but let me dare to speak to those who are in pain and who need your love. Lord I ask, and keep on asking, for the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation that I may know you better. Jesus, in Your powerful Name, I seek You. Amen. 

John 4 23 24

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We Have An Open Door. What Do We Do With It?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the doors God has opened to me over the past several years and specifically this past year. And as I read this passage once again this December, this open door given to the church of Philadelphia and the SUMite church became specific. 

On the same day I was reading a sermon by Smith Wigglesworth. Here is the excerpt: 

May God give us the hearing of faith that the power may come down like a cloud. Once I saw it (the mighty power of God) might at Stavenger in Norway — it was a great crowded place. God said to me: Ask! And I will give you every soul. It seemed too much. The voice came again. Ask! And I will give you every soul. I dared to ask. The power of God swept the meeting like a might wind. I had never seen anything like it up to that time.

 

It was as though the Spirit of God collided these two messages in my soul that morning. The open door and dare to ask. We are to ask for souls and more souls and believe we shall receive! 

I can’t articulate this better than what Libby wrote in the comments on Friday. It’s Holy Spirit inspired. Libby wrote: 

Thank you so much for this Lynn. So powerful! This has really spoken to me in many ways, I'm going to try and share the best I can. I asked the Holy Spirit what door has God opened for me that cannot be shut and the answer I got wasn't for me but for the whole SUMite community and it seems a little strange but the door that has been opened through our faithfulness is to be able to advance further into the enemy's camp and take action. Through the power of Christ, we are fighting against satan for the salvation of our pre-believers' souls. 

God often speaks to me by giving me words from worship songs and the phrase I kept getting about our SUM community is THERE'S AN ARMY RISING UP! This is from the Jesus Culture song break every chain, check out the lyrics 'There is power In the name of Jesus to break every chain!' Amen!!! EVERY chain that binds and holds us back is broken through His almighty name so we have freedom! But what I didn't realize until I listened again is the verse that talks about gates opening! 

All sufficient sacrifice
So freely given
Such a price
Bought our redemption
Heaven's gates swing wide. 

And God said yep that's what the key does! Opens Heaven's gates not just for us but for our pre-believers. Wow Holy Spirit tingles all through me! I feel like God has opened the door (whatever it may be to each of us) but it is up to us to actually WALK through it. The enemy will lie to us and tell us that door isn't really open or it is open to others but not to you but NO that is a lie. We can walk through that door with confidence and gratitude that God has honored our faithfulness and made a Way for us! 

This really is the season to believe! There is so much power in our prayers for our own and other people’s pre-believers and I really feel that although we may not be seeing the results in the physical world right now, in the spiritual world massive changes are happening and battles for souls are being won!!! This verse has been on my heart for some time for different situations but I feel prompted to share it again: Isaiah 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 

This is a season of change! It may get worse before it gets better because the enemy knows we are close to breakthrough and our loved ones salvation. But it is coming. Stay faithful. I feel massive anticipation and excitement because I know stories of breakthrough and salvation are going to be flooding these pages soon! Our Lord is so amazing and I am just floored by His unending love and compassion for us! 

Praying for strength, endurance and peace for every praying wife/husband/mother and lifting every name of our pre-believers to our almighty Lord in Jesus name. 

Love to you all, feel so honored to be part of this amazing powerful prayer army! ~Libby

 

Thank you Libby. My friends, right now in this season, let’s dare to ask! In Jesus name.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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When Is It My Turn?

SUMites, 

Let’s have a chat. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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

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

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

Trish headshot

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

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

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

Stu

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

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

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

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

2013-07-01 13.18.04

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

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

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

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

 

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

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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!

Trish headshot

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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Our Breakthrough Happened! He's a Believer!

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

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

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

BIG TIME!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Pope Said What?

Images
Photo courtesy of NBCnews.com

My friends, at the risk of opening the proverbial can of worms today, I want to talk about the statement Pope Francis made this past week about evolution and the Big Bang Theory being real. You can read the short article here.

My goal today is not to argue or prove anything but to share how this has impacted discussions between my husband and I. As I’ve shared in the past, we both love the show Big Bang Theory (I share a humorous story here.) and that alone has opened up some discussions for us over the last few years, one of which having to do with how we all came to be here.

I have many a time said to my husband that I don’t fully understand all the details, but why does it have to be faith or science? Why can’t it be both? Parts of both? Why can’t it be God who started the big bang? Who used evolution to bring man into being as described by the breath of God breathed into man’s lungs? (Yeah, that one may be a stretch, but I’m just throwing out ideas here.) Why can’t it be a God who initiated it all with His spoken words?

Our God is immense, and we can in no way understand the full scope of our Creator. For centuries religion and science have tried to dominate and push the other away as hypocrisy and falsification. And I’m sure the enemy was the instigator.

But what we have lost sight of is that God created all the physical laws of this world as well. If I may say, He is the first and greatest scientist of all. Why wouldn’t He go to great lengths to create a fascinating world for His children to discover? A world that continues to grow and create from His spoken Word…

As I said, my goal is not to justify or prove anything, nor to argue. Mine is to ponder and celebrate. I see the Pope’s statement as the first steps of faith (not religion) and science merging to prove the truth of God’s presence, authority and power. For too long it has been one side or the other without any willingness to consider each side may have part of the story right and may need the other to more fully embrace the larger scope of creation. Nor should we expect to be able to understand completely as God’s ways are so far above what we can understand (Isaiah 55:9). But we can have fun discovering!

And at the very least, this has provided more opportunity for my husband and I talk, to discuss, to consider, to ponder and to wonder. God is so very much in every detail, even in these discussions, and I very much welcome these opportunities to bring His presence into my marriage and plant more seeds in my pre-believers heart, even if it is challenging and uncomfortable at times.

God wastes nothing. And if I am willing to listen and consider what my husband believes, then by example and action (1Peter 3) I believe he will be more willing to listen and consider what I believe.

The rest I will leave in God’s most capable hands. I don’t have to prove anything. God’s work and truth will always speak for itself.

Have an amazing weekend pondering, my dear friends!
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Throw Back Friday?

Gang, Lynn here. I'm STILL feeling under the weather. On the couch again today. Ugh!!!!! 

Not feeling up to writing much so I want to ask a couple of questions. I hope to be in my office later today to join the conversation.

Q1: How do you deal with prayer at meal times? 

Q2: How do you model prayer to your children?

I recently heard some interesting teaching about the blessing over our food. What do you know about blessing our meals that you can share?

Let's share what has worked in our spiritually mismatched homes. Perhaps your life experience will profoundly help another SUMite reader. See you in the comments. Hugs, Lynn

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

Steps of faith

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Line by Line: Sanctification of the Unbelieving Spouse

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

SUMites, we have arrived. This is a tad long but you MUST read the story at the end. 

We have arrived in our line by line study of one of the MOST powerful verses in the Bible. It’s profound and specific. Specific as it is filled with God’s power, promise and is written intentionally for us who are unequally yoked. 

Let’s read it together. 

For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. —1 Corinthians 7:14

 

My friends…. WHAT????? Can we truly wrap our heads and hearts around the power and implication of the truths behind this verse?

 

I’ve read several commentaries on this verse and they agree that this verse is not a guarantee of our spouse’s salvation, as each person much choose Christ for his or herself. However, our faith brings God’s favor, power and holiness into our home. And our faith brings with it a covering or ability to “set-apart as holy” our spouse and children. 

Whoa!!!! 

Sometimes this verse is a mind –blow. The promise and truth brings me great comfort. As the believing spouse, I know that my faith and my prayers are affecting, changing and making holy our home. My faith and prayers can and DO change the environment. I literally have watched this happen in my home. 

I have watched God change my husband over time. Through my relentless prayers and petitions I know God is moved and He takes great interest in my husband’s life. I mean really, I pray all the time for this guy. I have brought this man, to whom I’m married, into the throne rooms so many times that the angels are sick of seeing him there. *grin* 

I literally envision standing before the great throne, my Papa, extending His scepter toward me as I stand there with my husband at my side, holding his hand. I ask the Lord to surround him with His love. I ask for God’s favor upon his professional life, upon him as a man, favor for him financially as he is the provider of our home. And as his wife, God’s favor comes to me through my husband’s employment. I ask relentlessly for his salvation and for God to reveal Himself in a way my husband can experience him. 

Now get this: My prayers change the atmosphere of our home. 

My husband was once utterly hostile about my faith. We fought often about faith, Jesus and God. My husband’s words hurt in the early years and I would seldom say anything about my faith for fear of another fight. But my friends, God has changed me and over the years, drastically changed my husband’s heart from hostility to acceptance and support of my faith. Through this verse God promises to make our home, my husband and my children holy, sanctified, set apart unto the Lord thereby including my children in God’s plans on earth. 

I want to share an astonishing story that is reflective of God’s sanctification. This is what happened in our home just last Thursday. 

Last week my husband, who works in the High-tech industry was reassigned to a new project. (It’s nice to know that my husband’s employer finds him a valuable asset to the company.) My husband started his new assignment right away. He returned home on Thursday from his first week on site and as I spoke with him that night I could tell he was a bit uptight about all the work that he faced. 

Friday morning, I went on my walk-n-pray and during my prayer time as I spoke to God about Mike, I could sense there was perhaps some fear in my husband about the new assignment. He was under pressure as the assignment was enormous and the problems vast and the work load, incredibly large. But this time during my prayer, I felt God was telling me to go home, place my hands on the man, and pray for him. 

Gulp. 

Yep, I’m still not that outrageously brave to lay hands on my unbeliever, in my home, and pray for him. Out loud. I squeaked to God; Okay God, I will pray for him but you will need to make his heart open to this idea. 

Yikes. What did I just agree to? 

I went home. Still sweaty. Still hot. Walked into my husband’s home office where he was frantically working. I smiled tentatively. 

“Sweetie, I need to tell you that on my walk-n-pray, I sensed you have fear about this new project.” 

Mike looks right at me. Yep, I had his full attention now. He stared at me. 

I pushed forward quickly, “God said that I’m supposed to pray for you.” 

He responds, “Humph.” I hesitate… Because as you all know, these can be fighting words. Double yikes. 

“I just want to pray quickly and I will then get out of your office so you can get back to work.” 

“Okay, but I’m really busy so this can’t take long.” 

On that sentence of permission, I walked over to my husband, laid my hands on both of his shoulders, looked him in the eyes with love, and then …… 

Bam…. I let loose a prayer of power and the voice of the Holy Spirit upon my husband. I prayed to break fear and that this new assignment would prosper and more. In fact, the Holy Spirit was so strong upon me, that I can’t remember what else I said because the Holy Spirit inspired my words. 

“In Jesus name. Amen.” 

And the prayer was over. 

I went to the kitchen. He turned back to his computer. 

I leaned on the kitchen counter and nearly cried. You know why?????? For as long as I can remember, years and years, I’ve wanted to lay my hands on my husband and pray over him, face-to-face. 

And today it happened. It happened because I bring my man to the throne room every day. And it was today that heaven moved on earth, in my home, and I was given a gift to pray with this pre-believer in a way I’ve wanted to pray for most of our marriage. 

It was a profound and blessed moment in time. 

The cool thing is my husband can’t deny that my prayers make a difference in his work life. I’ve prayed over specifics regarding his assignments and they happen because I ask my Daddy for His favor. They happen because I am the believing spouse and my prayers move God’s heart. And I’m believing that over time, my husband’s salvation will happen. I simply believe. I trust. I pray. 

God loves us so much that He literally makes our family holy, sanctified. When you think this through it can change everything. I am so certain about this verse that I can’t help but ask myself;  What chance does a mere unbeliever stand in the light and truth of an all-powerful God??? 

SUMites, I’m not minimizing the unique challenges we face and the great difficulty in our marriages. Yet I think we underestimate God’s abilities and our faith. More than anything pray this week and ask God to make 1 Corinthians 7:14 real in your heart, life and home.

What are your thoughts on this passage? 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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Line by Line: Do I Divorce An Atheist?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

So Gang. Before we leave the verses from Monday’s study. I want to expand upon them. The questions I’m asking you to ponder address a very REAL scenario in SUMite homes today. I think we need some honest conversation about the topic. 

Let’s get started. 

On Monday we read: To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.—1 Corinthians 7:12-13 

Let’s place this verse into “real life” today. 

Lisa married her husband twelve years ago. She was raised in church and because she didn’t have a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus, she fell away from church and lived in the bad lands of the Prodigal Nation for an extended time. (ahem, this sounds familiar)

She married her husband who wasn’t raised in church during those years. In fact, Lisa’s husband was highly intelligent and regarded all organized religion as ridiculous, a fantasy, and absolutely the worst thing to happen to an educated society. In the early years of their marriage, Lisa didn’t pay too much attention to her husband’s caustic remarks about believers, God, Jesus, and the Bible. But as the years passed, their marriage was difficult.

Two children arrived. They both held down careers and the pressure to pay bills, manage kids and to work more than eight hours a day was overwhelming. Lisa, like most of us, was wooed back to Jesus because of her great struggles. And she secretly started to listen to podcasts, worship music, and read books about faith, never allowing her husband to catch her or find one of her books. And she absolutely hid her Bible carefully as she knew her husband’s growing atheism would bring his wrath of words down upon her.

Lisa continued to grow in her love for Jesus. But also her fear of her husband’s great hatred of religion paralyzed her. She lived in constant fear to be “found out”. She mentioned God to the kids in the car but they never attend church nor would she ever share anything about God in front of her husband.

 

Okay…… I think I’ve described this marriage enough for you to grasp an understanding. So, my friends, although we are instructed that we are not to divorce our unbelieving spouse, scenarios such as this are very real. If you are a wife and are completely terrified to talk about Jesus to your spouse, is this verse applicable? 

And if so, how do we help this young woman to find a balance between Christ’s presence in her life, home and children and her commitment to her husband? 

Now be very careful with your words my SUMite family because there are many of your SUMite sisters who are currently walking this very path. I’ve been heartbroken for so many of you who live in this very place. Confronting a hostile-atheist husband is a terrifying aspect. Don't be quick to judge but quick to love and support. How can we help women/men living in this unique aspect of the unequally yoked? 

Please, please add to this conversation as I believe the Holy Spirit want to bring some practical help, advice and encouragement to believers walking this path. Also, if you are a man/woman in this place, have the courage to add your story here. Share what you HAVE done to encourage another woman on the road behind you. Even comment anonymously if you don’t want to use your name. 

Lord Jesus, today there is someone who needs to know they are not alone walking this very difficult and painful path. Lord, give courage to have them share their story and to ask for prayer from their SUM family. Lord, I ask you to grant upon them a spirit of Joshua and Caleb courage that they will find a way to be able to express the love of Christ in their home with freedom. 

Father, I ask that you bind the spirit of atheism and the hatred that is directed at Your Children. Lord, free husbands, wives to see that the love of Jesus in their home actually brings, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Lord, release a fresh hope for these spouses and let your Holy Spirit fill them. In Jesus name. Amen.

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Prayer Day in Canada

Thank you for your prayers, God has answered wonderfully and beautifully. 

We were able to share the Gospel with so many kids today at the Oakville's children festival. We were making beaded bracelets on our blankets, and sharing the Gospel at the same time. After the kids finished the bracelet, each one got their copy of Jesus Christ story and sometimes also the Gospel of John and an adult tract for their parents and a ring pop candy:-) We were in the park from 1:30-4:30 and at the end estimated that we made about 90 bracelets, gave out the same number of Jesus story books and Gospel of Johns and some New Testaments. We prayed with maybe 15-20 of the kids to accept Jesus into their hearts as their Savior. 

There was no major opposition, only three parents returned the booklets and the materials to the blanket but the kids kept their faith bracelets on! "Some parents were staring from the distance as if kept by some force from entering and interrupting, although they did not look happy about what their kids were doing:-)" God put a hedge of protection around our craft area:-) 

God used our kids as they were bringing other kids to the blankets and asking them "Would you like to make a faith bracelet?" :-) Little fishers:-) 

In one of the pictures the bright light was shining in the middle as Kerri took a picture when kids were accepting the Gospels and listening to the story of Christ. 

The pictures are worth a thousand words to me...Also, the Lord held off the rain and the thunderstorm until after the event. There was a massive downpour, lightning and thunder all through the night, but there was a huge party in heaven! 

I also read this passage last night after the event, and I believe the Lord fulfilled it in the park yesterday so beautifully, as we were sitting down under this huge oak tree next to the lake and kids were tying faith bracelets on their wrists: 

Is 44 

For I will pour out water to quench your thirst

    and to irrigate your parched fields.

And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants,

    and my blessing on your children.

4 They will thrive like watered grass,

    like willows on a riverbank.

5 Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the LORD.’

    Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’

Some will write the LORD’s name on their hands

    and will take the name of Israel as their own.”

 

and Kerri also shared this Scripture with me which was fulfilled before our eyes:

 

Deuteronomy 6

6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 

God bless you and thank you so much for your encouragement and prayers!
Olga

Olga light

Olga 2

Olga 3

Olga 4

Olga 8

Olga 9

Olga 6

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Guest With Arlene Pelicane

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

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

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

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

Lynn Donovan on Becoming a Happy Wife

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

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

Hello Dear Friend,  Hello Dear Friend

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

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

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

My marriage is a disappointment. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loving greetings Tamara

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

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