138 posts categorized "Worship"

A Holy Spirit Moment

CrossMy friends, I have a fascinating story to tell you today. I shared in the past that God is changing things up a bit in how He speaks to me. Let me tell you this is both a bit frustrating and very exciting, but I absolutely love this adventure with Him. And I love His unexpected ways.

Well, He did something very unexpected just recently and right in my own kitchen. A few weeks ago I was standing at the counter, spreading refried beans on corn chips to make nachos. Yuuum!

Hubby was still in his office working. I sang along with worship music as I worked. Let me just say I am so glad I held a butter knife instead of a sharp blade. 

The Holy Spirit showed up big time. I was so overcome by His presence that I had to drop the corn chip and knife on the counter. I couldn’t do anything else except stand there and soak Him in! 

My friends, I’ve had encounters with God’s presence in my quiet time and at church. But this was so unexpected, sudden and overwhelming. It was like the Holy Spirit wanted me to understand that His showing up wasn’t dependent upon my efforts to make it happen. That is something Abba continues to work out in me and let go of as it’s a form of striving. 

So there I stood, hands out and tears running down my cheeks as I worshiped. God’s presence usually brings me to tears, because His love is so overwhelming. I knew hubby was in the house somewhere, which normally would have caused concern about what he might see and interpret, but as the thought crossed my mind I simply pushed it away. I didn’t care. I could do nothing but stand there and worship.

And then it happened. My husband walked in. Yet I remained in my worshipful state and noticed he just walked on by. Didn’t say a word.

Once the moment passed and I opened my eyes, Mike came back into the kitchen. He looked at me with concern, and asked, “Are you okay?”

As I wiped away my tears, I said, “Yes, I’m great actually. Just having a God moment.”

“Okay…He’s not being mean to you, is He?”

“No, sweetie. He’s just loving on me.”

Then he nodded and walked away. My friends, this is actually the second time my husband has expressed that concern, and it’s given me insight to understand that the God he was taught about at the private Christian school he attended as a teenager was not the loving and true God we know and love. And that breaks my heart.

Yet I rejoice in this encounter and what I learned! God is so good. I’m so excited to share this with you, because I believe it will give you insight and possibly even breakthrough in your prayers for your spouse.

  1. I experienced the presence of God without “working” for it.
  2. God’s presence and love truly do cast out fear! My concern about my husband walking in on my worshipful moment drifted away without a care and didn’t return. Thank You, Lord!
  3. My husband was able to again witness God’s love and presence working in and around me, even if he doesn’t fully understand it yet.
  4. Most importantly, I now have more insight in how to pray for my sweet hubby, and that is huge! My hubby has such a tender heart. Now I understand what his choice of atheism was truly about. It’s not so much about unbelief but a way for him to cope with the disconnect. 

SUMites, I wonder how many of our spouses are truly operating from that place of disconnect. As God showed me this, my heart swelled with even more love and understanding for my husband. And heartache too, because I can almost see with my spiritual eyes that moment he chose this path.  

So, my friends, I am praying against this tarnished mindset of Who God is that’s causing him to reject the image of a cruel god instead of knowing the One True and Loving God Almighty. I am praying for his spiritual eyes to be opened to the truth of Who God really is and to encounter the love of God all around him. That includes me too, that God’s love would pour through me even more. 

I believe God is working in amazing ways in our loved ones that we can’t even perceive yet. He’s revealing the pieces to us as well. I know that can be confusing and frustrating, but I’m learning to look at these pieces and simply ask God to show me how to connect them. And He does! 

And He will do this for you too. So my friends, I pray for greater wisdom to flood our entire SUM community. I pray that our own spiritual ears and eyes would be opened more and that we would have greater discernment to hear and see what the Holy Spirit is telling us right now. Because it’s really, really good stuff.

And Lord Jesus, we praise and worship with all our love. We give You and our hearts and lives freely as we walk this path of faith. Help us live each day in greater awareness and expectation of You. We love You so much! In the name of Jesus, amen!

I love you, SUMites! You are amazing!
Dineen

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The Power of Words

HeavenMy friends, on Monday we talked about our authority and place of power, that we have everything through Christ Jesus and nothing to lose because of His sacrifice for us, and that the enemy has nothing and everything to lose. That's because he's already lost.

With that I want to point to a truth that we sometimes forget to practice, because we do a fair bit of spiritual warfare in our mismatched marriages. Just after Jesus tells us about the authority He's given us, He points out where our focus and rejoicing should truly be focused.

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” — Luke 10:19-20

We are secure in Heaven! With Him! That's the promise that we have nothing to lose! And when we rest in and live from this place of security, guess what happens? The enemy loses influence, because we are filled with confident hope. That's the light that makes him flee before he can even get near us.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13 NLT

Now let's talk about the power of words. In Genesis, God spoke the world into existence with words. Much of the Old Testament where it reads God ‘said’ or ‘told,’ those words also mean to decree or to promise in the Hebrew translation. 

In Isaiah 6, Isaiah encounters the Lord and witnessed heaven in action as part of his commissioning as a prophet.

And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. — Isaiah 6:3-4

Did you catch that last line? The praises and worship of the seraphim literally shook the foundations of the thresholds (doorways) and smoke filled the house. I have to say there is something profound that occurs in worship when we sing the word ‘holy’ and the angels know it. That’s because we are declaring the presence and character of God.

Take a look at this passage from Isaiah 11 about the coming of the Messiah, Jesus:

But with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. — Isaiah 11:4-5

Let’s not forget that Jesus is described as the Word in John 1. The Word—logos—in Hebrew embodies not only the obvious meaning of words spoken, but encompasses decrees, prophecy, mandates, precepts, conception or ideas, and even even addresses the function of the mind in reasoning and our relationship to God. It is a power-packed “word.” 

And even as Jesus spoke healing over people, He spoke more to their hearts—to the person they were created to be (Ecc. 3:11)—than He spoke to the demons themselves. He would simply speak the truth and evil spirits fled—the rod of his mouth and the breath of his lips. Light always removes darkness completely. You turn on the light in a room and the darkness is gone completely. Not part way—all the way.

Truth is the light that makes the darkness flee. Thus why it is important to replace lies with the truth. Keep the room lit with the truth of God’s Word! That is the power of a transformed mind as well, my friends (Romans 12:2).

I have more to share with you about words and it has to do with a story we know well in the Bible. Since this post is long enough already and I want you to absorb what I’ve shared today, I will save that for next week. We have a clear model and example of how we are told to declare truth according to God’s Words and what that transaction does. I am looking forward to sharing that with you, my friends, and I will also share examples of how we can use this model to decree truths over our pre-believers, loved ones and ourselves.

Have an amazing weekend, SUMites. Stand in the truth that you are chosen and dearly loved by Your Papa God. And absolutely nothing can snatch you out of His Son Jesus’ hand (John 10:28).

Love you!
Dineen

 

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

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This Prayer Strategy Can Change Your Heart

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

Worship and Thanksgiving.

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

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

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

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

Interesting.

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

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

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

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

Essential components of effective prayer:

  1. Create a time and space devoted to Bible reading and prayer.
  2. Use the Word of God in your prayers.
  3. Believe – Hebrews 11:6
  4. Confidence
  5. Engage you Will.
  6. Courage
  7. Fasting
  8. 1 Corinthians 7:14
  9. Thankfulness & Worship

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

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Jesus is fighting for us

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Photo courtesy of pakorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It happened again on Saturday.

What you may ask?

My three strikes policy.

Huh? Three strikes policy?

Whenever I’m struck three times by a common theme or thread within a short period of time I ask the Lord for some interpretation.

On Saturday as I scanned my Facebook feed our Lynn made a comment about being under enemy attack. You may have read that update. I prayed immediately for Lynn and saw an image of Lynn dressed all in white wielding a mighty sword and being surrounded by angels who were similarly armed.

Within a matter of minutes I read Revelation 19: 11-16 which describes Jesus riding on a white horse as He sets off on His final quest to bring His kingdom to earth. Do read the passage, as it’s full of incredible imagery.

At this point I was questioning whether it was Lynn I pictured or Jesus.

And then I read Psalm 68: 17-18 (NIV)

“The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary. 

When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you received gifts from people, even from the rebellious—that you, Lord God, might dwell there.”

Once again, we see Jesus as a victorious leader of armies.

Strike 3.

Okay, okay, Lord. I get it. What’s on your heart?

And I sensed simply the words: “I’m fighting for you.”

I had been asking Him for the past few days what message He’d like me to write for we SUMites. Some ideas were brewing but then I got a strong sense that this was for us.

Jesus is fighting for us.

Alignment

We’ve come off a month celebrating this wonderful ministry and family led by our two pastors (ordained and all! Yes!) Lynn and Dineen. It’s been very special sharing in each other’s messages of how this family has so helped us all grow, irrespective of how long we might have been a part of it.

Last week I was reminded of my “different” situation to the members of my men’s group. We’d heard a panel discussion on married relationships where being aligned in purpose was put out there as being critical to a fruitful marriage.

And immediately I sensed the thrust of the enemy saying well Ian that’s a bit of a problem for you, isn’t it now?

I gave it a second’s thought and then swatted it away. Yes, yes, we have our challenges when it comes to not being aligned with spiritual purpose but as we’ve discussed many times before that doesn’t mean our marriages can’t bear fruit. Far from it.

And it’s because we have Jesus fighting for us. And for our spouses and our marriages. Believe that deep in your heart.

The power of worship

The warfare theme continued into Sunday as our pastor preached on “Speaking the Word of God into our Relationships.” The armor of God in Ephesians 6: 10-18 got a good overview. Fascinating that I’ve rarely looked at the second half of v18: “… be alert and always keep on praying for the Lord’s people.”

That’s us. And we’re doing it! How fantastic is this month of praying for each other’s spouses. I can’t wait to hear how God answers our prayers.

If things are particularly tough at the moment may I encourage you to worship. Worship isn’t simply singing a song, but as my prayer pastor said the other day, it’s the pursuit of Jesus Christ.

Worship Him. Spend time in His presence. Read His Word. Praise His Mighty Name.

And keep on worshipping.

And remember, Jesus is always fighting for our marriages and us.

Grace and peace, my dear friends.

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

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Recovering the WOW!

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Photo courtesy of Chaiwat/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As December progressed I began to meditate upon a word for 2016. Last year, my word was ADORATION. I’ve loved taking a few moments at the beginning of a day reflecting on a characteristic of God.1

Over the past couple of years I’ve felt the Lord calling me to want more of Him. So much of my life had become ‘me-focused’; even my devotional time would be spent on building me up. Fears and anxiety had dominated too much of my thinking in recent years: fears of illness, unemployability and so on have filled many a session with my counselor plus anxiety over a bevy of stuff. This was what my wife and sons were seeing: the fearful and anxious husband and father. How was I demonstrating the love and power of having Jesus as my Lord?

As my pastor said only yesterday in his message: “the number one scheme of the devil is to throw fear at you. He wants to hinder your purpose.” But God's love has no fear. 

But through soaking in Scripture I’ve begun, slowly, to believe the many promises in it. We really are His chosen people. Yes, God, the creator of everything, chose me. And you! And guess what we’re holy and dearly beloved.2 By Him! It still kinda blows my mind.

Awe

So staying on a word that helps me keep focused on Him kept percolating in my heart. One of the books sitting next to my table is titled “Awe” by Paul David Tripp. So for a week or two I bounced that one around in my mind. It clicked in my mind but something in my heart was holding back from adopting 'Awe' as my word for the year. BTW, I’ve read the first few chapters of “Awe” and it’s tremendous. BTW No 2., I love everything Paul Tripp writes. His thoughts on grace and sin are brilliant.

The New Year

January 1 came around and I’ve started working through Tim Keller’s new book on the Psalms. It’s a year long devotional where each psalm is covered. So January 1 starts with Psalm 1.

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,

But whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2)

Blessed are those who delight in the Word, so much so they meditate on it day and night. They don’t just obey it, but love it. It’s in the loving it, that we obey it.

My mind immediately went to another one of my favourite verses on “delight”, yes, you’ve guessed it:

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

For years I reflected on the second half of that verse until it dawned on me that to realise the second half you gotta do the first half.

Hmmm … delighting.

Revelation

Have you ever wondered why Jesus was able to resist temptation? He was fully human and we’re told He faced all the same temptations we do?

I have. Often. And have often asked Him.

On Sunday the third of January I was out walking and I reflected on this once again and asked Him. Then it hit me.

The reason Jesus was able to resist temptation was that communing with the Father was that much better! He spent so much time with the Father, they delighted in each other. There was a ‘knowing’ that was so much better than anything … yes, anything, that the world could offer.

That kinda blew my mind.

Still does.

And that’s what I want!

Delight

“When we live with an intense love for Him, we find our delight in fulfilling His desires.” (John Bevere)

Sorry for dragging this post out but I wanted to share the process and reflections I’d had to discover my word for 2016 – DELIGHT.

Do you have a word for the year? Don’t worry if you don’t. It’s a relatively new thing for me as up until about three years ago I’d never heard of the idea. But I like it especially as I try to start everyday doing something in relation to it. It provides a focus for my day. It can really set the day up.

I know some shared their words last week, but it would be great if we shared them. Also, please feel comfortable to share any further reflections on last week and how it might have helped shape your year. Even just a little.

Do you mind if I pray for us all:

Heavenly Father, your love is better than life so we praise you with our lips. We love you, we worship you, and we give our lives to you again this week. We desire the same communion that Jesus had with you here on earth. The knowing, the intimacy, the companionship. We declare that we are one with you, just as Jesus is one with you. Holy Spirit, lead us as we pray each day and fill our hearts afresh with the love of the Father. May your love flow abundantly through us in our homes. Help us to love our spouses as you love us. Open their hearts to your great love for them. We give you all the glory and all the honour. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Notes: 1. I found Sara Hagerty’s monthly adoration verses especially useful last year. One verse that focuses on a characteristic of God’s nature. 2. Colossians 3:12

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

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Proverbs 3 & Spiritually Mismatched Conference

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SUMites. In less than two weeks Dineen and I along with a number of you from our community will be meeting in Detroit, Michigan for a Spiritually Mismatched Conference. It’s not too late to decide to join us.

Start your new year off with a full day focused on living victoriously in a spiritually mismatched marriage. How often is there a conference specific to our unique faith lives?

The day is designed to release victory into our lives and strengthen our faith through a beautiful freedom process. The whole day builds until we reach the most beautiful encounter. The ending of the event is absolutely powerful and is anointed with the healing Presence of Jesus. Hope fulfilled!

It’s not about me or Dineen. It’s all about our kind Father, Jesus our Savior and the Holy Spirit!

If you are able to get there, get there!…. Please make your travel arrangements today. Register for the conference through Eventbright.

Okay, I truly hope a few more of you can join us. Lynn & Dineen

For today, I want to share a passage I read this past week. It has stirred my spirit. What does this passage mean to you?

My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying.

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.

Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. ---Proverbs 3: 1-6 NLT

I love you Sum family. I speak a blessing of joy, peace and goodness upon you this week. In Jesus name. AMEN 

Also, if you want a Kindness & Loyalty, Key necklace, you can order one by clicking on the Kingdom Necklace link.

Kindness Loyalty Key Necklace

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

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God Shows Up

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image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

It’s the final day of our community fast. SUM family, what an experience.

For me personally, at the beginning of the week, I was feeling far away from God. I had lost my will to pray and even reading His Word felt as a chore. I was stinging from family pain over the holidays and because of that, holding some unforgiveness in my heart. Yikes!

I knew I needed surrender and renewal. The Holy Spirit did not disappoint. Yesterday was my breakthrough.

Yesterday Southern California, where I live, received a much needed dousing of rain. Rain has fallen steady for over 24 hours. Thank you Jesus for answered prayer.

On Thursday morning, I rose before dawn, as usual. However, pain in my knee caused me to turn around and head back to bed. When I woke a few hours later, pain-free- the sun was brilliant in the sky and the Lord beckoned me to join Him around the fire pit in the backyard. So I wrapped up in a coat, a blanket, took my coffee and my Bible.

Golden finchesThere the Holy Spirit met me. With the fire lit, I began to hear droplets gently fall around me from the branches which glistened with rainwater. The sunshine was warm upon my face. I smiled upward and then suddenly birds arrived and were everywhere in the trees. Tiny golden (yellow) finches. Their tweeting and twittering sounded as worship as they searched for breakfast.

It was glory!

I was loved on for an hour as I read my Bible, listened to the birds and the fire crackle while the sun kissed me. An hour with the Lord passed swiftly as we sat by the fire. And as I rose to head inside and start my day, the sky immediately clouded over and large rain drops began falling once again. Rain is expected all day today.

But, for an hour this morning, the Lord parted the clouds and met me there. Restoration, love, tenderness, gentleness.

His love is gently sweet that way.

I fall more in love with our Lord as the years march on. Regardless of my struggles, the challenges I face or the warfare, I AM LOVED by the Lord of the Universe. And that truth changes everything!

SO ARE YOU!

Today on this last day of the fast, let our Papa God, Jesus our Bride Groom Prince and the Holy Spirit love on you. I feel as though the Lord wants to speak personally to you. And He gave me an unexpected passage, Hosea 2: 14-21. I went to look it up and nearly wept.

So, here it is for you. (I have personalized it in the parentheses.)

My Beloved,

But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert (quiet places) and speak tenderly to her there.

I will return her vineyards (destiny) to her and transform the Valley of Trouble (struggles) into a gateway of hope (provision, joy, peace and goodness, Rom 14:17).

She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt (captivity of satan).

When that day comes,” says the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my master.’ (I long to hear this from your lips, says the Lord.)

O Israel (Beloved), I will wipe the many names of Baal (false gods, fear loneliness, lack, anxiety, depression, separation, disappointment and pain) from your lips, and you will never mention them again.

On that day I will make a covenant (promise) with all the wild animals and the birds of the sky (loved this today) and the animals that scurry along the ground so they will not harm you. (perfect peace)

I will remove all weapons of war from the land (homes, marriages, children), all swords and bows, so you can live unafraid in peace and safety. (fearless and free)

I will make you my wife (for men: Prince in the Kingdom) forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion.

I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the Lord. (forever)

“In that day, I will answer,” says the Lord. “I will answer the sky as it pleads for clouds. And the sky will answer the earth with rain. (AMEN)

Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries of the grain, the grapevines, and the olive trees. And they in turn will answer, ‘Jezreel’—‘God plants!’ (God favors, protects, increases, give s in abundance)

At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites (believers) and raise them for myself. I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ (unsaved)

I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ (Image bearers of Christ Jesus!)

And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’” (Yes, Lord, AMEN)

Community, what is the Lord speaking to you today? What has this fast meant to you? How did God meet you? I also encourage you to press through for prayers that remain unanswered. For our God loves us and it is His will to answer. Allow Him the time to set “all-things” in motion.

See you in the comments. I’m praying for you today. Love, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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Under the Umbrella of Our Amor and Identity

6a00d83451ee9f69e201b8d15b17ab970c-320wiMy friends, forgive me if my last post confused you but I promise that as I wrap this up it will all make sense. As the Holy Spirit has revealed more and more of the importance and power God’s Word plays in our lives, I am undone by it. And my prayer is that by the end of this series, you will be too. 

The Full Armor of God is representative of our identity of Christ. We’ve covered the belt (truth), the breastplate (righteousness) and the shield (faith). Let’s move on to the rest.

Our feet are to be “fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:16). This too is built upon all the other pieces of our armor and identity. We are grounded to stand (Paul repeats this word many times in Eph. 6:10-17) in truth, righteousness and faith.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” — Matt. 7:24-25

The Greek word for fall, piptō, has enough meanings to make an entire post of its own here. It covers the literal meaning of to physically fall down but also encompasses our salvation (judgement), to be overcome by terror or under attack by evil, to worship and more. This word covers literally and figuratively all ways we could “fall.”

Yet these verses tell us we won’t fall if our foundation is built upon Jesus’ words. He is Truth. He IS the Word—we’ll come back to this shortly, so hang with with me a little longer. And His peace guards our heart and our minds (Phil. 4:7). 

Our helmut of salvation is the covering of our mind. Salvation came through the sacrificial blood of Jesus, so therefore our helmut is that blood covering, cleansing and identification as a Christian. It is through His salvation that we receive His righteousness and become the righteousness of God. See how these truths continue to come full circle? 

But wait…it gets even better. The sword of the Spirit is the only only piece of armor that Paul clearly defines (Eph. 6:17). And he tells us to pray in the Spirit, which many believe has to do with praying in tongues, but I also believe it means we are to pray the Word—speak it out loud in our prayers, back to God. It is His living and breathing Word of God. And hearing it builds our faith.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. — Romans 10:17

John 1:1-14 also defines Jesus as the Word and that the Word became flesh.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. — John 1:14

by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; — 2 Cor. 6:7

If the sword of Spirit is the Word of God and Jesus is that Word, then as we stand on the Word, speak and pray the Word, believe the Word and share the Word, we are living, breathing and being as Jesus. He is in us and we are in Him (1 John 4:13). He is not only our Truth, our Righteousness, our Faith and our Salvation, He has also given us His Spirit. We are inseparable. 

The full armor of God defends and protects us, because it is who we are and reflects Whose we are. This truth comes full circle and keeps going: The Armor of God is our identity which is our armor.

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. — Psalm 91:4

My friends, I am convinced the first and most important battle we will ever fight against the enemy will be to make time to read God’s Word, because he knows that when we do, we learn who we really are and are set free from his lies. The truth, THE Truth, sets us free (Gal. 5:1). It is our greatest weapon against him. And when we learn the truth, we stay free.

SUMites, the Word of God is the answer to everything we need. It’s not just words on a page. It’s truth. It’s Jesus. It’s the key to being everything we have been created to be and to do. The Word of God will save you, heal you, release you, anoint you, empower you and love you. It will reveal who you are and who you are meant to be—your purpose and calling, divine destiny. 

How is all that possible? Because it’s alive and powerful.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. — Hebrews 4:12

The Bible is not just a book. It is a dialogue with the God who created you. This is part of the mystery of God, of how His Holy Spirit in us creates the bond and connection to the Father’s heart to know Him, to love Him, to hear Him. All through Jesus, the Word become flesh, the Truth.

Quiet Time Study:

My friends, my prayer right now is that this truth I’ve shared with you today will spark a hunger for God’s Word like never before. If you don’t have a time each day to sit and read your Bible, ask God right now to help you make that time. Tell Him you want to go deeper with Him in His Word. I promise you, He will rush in and answer this prayer if you are willing to do what He asks or shows you. 

Community Question:

Share a moment the Holy Spirit spoke to you directly through God’s Word.

As I said, I believe this is our greatest battle, to make daily time with God reading His Word, but once you “win” this one, SUMites, you will be empowered to win the rest. And as your identity becomes clearer, your armor is stronger. Pretty amazing, huh? On Thursday I will share how I pray my armor on with these truths. There’s a benefit to doing this that I don’t think we don’t realize…

Lord, my prayer today is for every SUMite who reads this to have a greater hunger for Your Word. That You would move time into alignment and opposition out of the way for each one of them to spend time reading their Bible every day. Lord Jesus, You are the Word and You are our Truth and our reality. Meet them on the pages of their Bible and show each one of them a specific truth this week that is from Your heart to theirs. In the name of Jesus, I pray, amen! 

Love you, SUMites!
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P.S. Check out this awesome worship song about who we are!

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Today At Church I Looked Down The Row And Was......

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHi Gang,

Well today it’s my turn to write about chapter four of Not Alone.

Churched Kids

My heart and head is full of thoughts and emotions when I consider raising our kids in church. I share a number of my thoughts and experiences in chapter four about kids and church, youth group (to go or not to go), the conflict within our homes with Dad and so on….

But in this moment as I write about our kids and church, the faithfulness of God overflows in my spirit and stirs my heart.

It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m pondering an ordinary, yet profound moment. You see, everything I’ve done to raise my daughter, all the words I’ve written about parenting culminated in this morning. I was humbled to watch the faithfulness of God unfold in front of my eyes in a beautiful moment.

I will tell you that my daughter, who was raised in a spiritually mismatched home all of her life, has been walking through a season of crisis and doubt about her faith. Several circumstances have contributed to this season. I have prayed with faith for her. I’ve talked with her. I’ve argued and there may have been moments of loud conflict between us *sheepish grin*. However THIS MORNING God showed me how very powerful “my faith and my prayers” have been in the life of this child. AND interestingly, in the lives of her friends.

Following one of our long discussions several weeks ago, I decided not to push her to attend church with me while she is home on her college summer break. So, on Saturday night I set my alarm and was heading to bed. My cell phone buzzed. It’s my daughter calling me from someplace in town where she met up with her friends for ice cream.

“Mom, I just wanted to catch you before you go to sleep.”

“Okay, I’m still awake.” She knows that I go to bed really early.

“Well, Mom, I want to go to church with you in the morning. Oh and I want to bring my friend who I plan to pick up and bring him to our house in the morning. Then can we swing by and pick up Gina because she wants to go with us too.”

“Sure thing Sweetie. I love you. See you in the morning.”

“Nite, nite Mom.

As I write this I’m an ordinary and thankful mother because God is so faithful. I sat in a row of chairs at church with my daughter who worshiped with her full heart. Her BFF, and two other young men who are her good friends were sitting with us. A row of young people who wanted to attend church. Young men and women who want to know Jesus and to walk in real faith.

I looked down the row and was overwhelmed by God’s love as I watched them all worship together.

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Mom and Dad, our kids watch us. They are looking to see if WE believe. They are looking to us to show them the way in a world that is confusing and brutal.  

We have two powerful weapons to war for our children.
We have profound influence in their lives.
AND we have the ear of the King!

Mom and Dad, your kids will choose one day to attend church on their own because you were faithful to love Jesus out loud before them. Day after day, moment after moment. Faithfully reading God’s Word. Daily praying for them by name.

THAT is what legacy is all about. That is what loving Jesus with our full heart will yield. That is what chapter four is all about…. Churched Kids, who will one day walk into a life-long faith in Jesus.

And if you are not seeing that right now, never stop praying! I believe the prodigals will be running home!

I would love to hear your thoughts about chapter four. It would bless me greatly if you would PLEASE share your stories of how you are impacting your children for the Kingdom. Please, please share because there is another mama or dad out there that needs your wisdom and your story to help them in parenting their children to faith.

I love you so much. Mom and Dad you are more powerful than you know. You are walking in a path of eternal impact. So WARRIOR ON and let’s lead our children by our love for Jesus.

Have an amazing week. Now go hug your kids and tell them that Jesus loves them!!! (An unexpected text works too) Hugs, Lynn

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

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Pentecost: Celebrating the Holy Spirit

1415366_heart_cross_2This past week my thoughts have returned over and over again to Pentecost, which is the second of the three great Jewish feasts. It’s celebrated at Jerusalem yearly, the seventh week after the Passover, in grateful recognition of the completed harvest.  

And for the body of Christ it is the anniversary of the gift of the Holy Spirit. In light of what we've been sharing here at S.U.M., I've done much reflection on what the early believers were thinking and praying over during those days between the resurrection of Christ and the reception of the Holy Spirit.

Did they question what they saw? Did they wonder what was to come? Did they to struggle to believe and to keep believing? I can only imagine how the beauty of their community continued to uplift and uphold each of them in this time of waiting. Just as we do here at S.U.M.

These believers waited as Jesus had instructed them to, and then the Holy Spirit came, full of power and fire. The Law and tradition brought them together in years past to celebrate an earthly harvest. This day, these new believers witnessed the beginning of the greatest harvest ever seen—of souls (Acts 2).

And that harvest continues to flourish and grow today. That blows my mind to think of Pentecost in this light. I feel connected to those early believers in their faith and hunger for more—to see more and to do more. To see Jesus again and His Kingdom on earth.

So, my friends, this weekend I want to celebrate this great gift we have been given in our salvation in Jesus. This last year my intimacy has grown greatly with the Holy Spirit and I love Him dearly—how He works in us and gives us the heart of Jesus and the Father constantly in this indescribable selflessness and power to bring glory to the Son, Jesus Christ. 

I've woken in the middle of the night and in the mornings with the song Holy Spirit, You are Welcome Here. One of you shared it here recently too. This song poured out from my lips at the healing rooms Tuesday, spontaneously and to my surprise (I don't normally do stuff like that). And this song seems to usher in His presence in a very special and powerful way 

Let's worship Him together, SUMites, and invite the Holy Spirit to come in greater presence and power than ever before. 

Holy Spirit, You are most welcome here in the SUMite Nation! Flood us and fill the atmosphere here in this church without walls and our homes. Move in the hearts of those we are contending for like never before. Let our homes become the places of witness and proof to the Great Harvest! In the Powerful, Living and Loving name of Jesus Christ, amen!

Joining spiritual hands with you, my SUM family, in prayer and worship! 
Dineen

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Our Authority to "Pass It On"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laughing with you, my friends, and rejoicing in Him!
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Easter Praise-A-Thon

FAITH HOPE LOVE CROSSHello SUMite Nation, 

Again!!!!!! 

You did it again! This amazing family on the web emailed and left comments for Heidi that will fill her blossom tree. THANK YOU. You wrote words of faith, hope and love. 

THAT is what the family of God looks like. THAT is unity in Christ. You loved on this woman that you didn’t know. She will be forever touched by your kind words of love, prayers and scripture verses of encouragement. 

I adore you! 

As I’m typing I hear the Holy spirit whisper into my heart, “I’m so proud of the SUMite family. This nation, each person, is stronger than they think. They are mighty in deed and power. And their love reaches far past the darkness. THEY are the unlikely world changers. I love them with a fierce love.” —The Lord Almighty 

My friends, Easter is next Sunday. Today, what I want to do is chat about Jesus. Today let’s give a love offering to Jesus. The Son of God. The redeemer of our lives. Who frees us from the demonic, heals our hearts, souls and illnesses. Jesus who gave us the keys to the Kingdom. 

So, today on Palm Sunday. Share your favorite scripture passage, share your heart, testimony about how Jesus has change your life with faith, hope and love. I CAN’T wait to read the comments this week. 

May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May He make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
May He lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

See you in the comments. Let’s make this praise-a-thon stir the heavenly host so that they join in. Watch for angels this week!!! Love you so much, Lynn

Jesus prince of peace

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The Temptation of Jesus

BibleStudy-TemptationofJesusMy friends, the Holy Spirit has me reading the book of Luke right now. Again, He seems to be pointing out particular stories and giving me deeper revelation as part of our preparation right now. These are exciting revelations and exciting times. We are hearing more and more reports of breakthroughs throughout this community and all over the world, actually.  

So, please don’t lose hope if you’re still waiting for your breakthrough. God hasn’t forgotten you and He certainly isn’t mad at you. He’s always working for your good and putting things into place for your breakthrough. If anything, lately, I am stunned over and over again at the perfection of His timing. Trust Him to do this good thing in your life and just because you don’t see a shift or change around or in you doesn’t mean He’s not working. Just this week I was surprised by a major breakthrough that I thought God wasn’t dealing with yet, because I couldn’t see or feel any change or shift. How wrong I was…

Today I want to revisit something we’ve talked about in the past and expand upon it. Let’s look at the temptation of Jesus and four foundation areas the enemy attacks:

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 

The devil said to him, “ If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 

And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” 

And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”  

And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve. ’” 

And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,“‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and on their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. ’”

And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”  

And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. — Luke 4:1-13 

First I want to point out two things that were true of Jesus. One, he was full of the Holy Spirit as well as led by the Holy Spirit (vs. 1). This is our model of walking in the Spirit and living filled by His power. In fact, we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18) so ask Him to fill and empower you. He’s already there so get Him fired up! 

Two, Jesus endured every temptation (vs. 14). We are not shown every temptation, but we are shown four very specific areas that Jesus is tempted. This is what the Holy Spirit showed me— that these are four foundational areas for us as human beings and these needs were created specifically in us by the Father to be filled by Him.

The first one we’ve discussed already, which is identity. The enemy uses the phrase “if you are the son of God” in an attempt to create doubt in Jesus as to Who he is. Feel free to snicker here and say, “as if!” Jesus knew Who He was and Who He belonged to. And we can know this too as children of God and co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). This is the rock and foundation of our faith on which all other parts are built. If built on sand, it will crumble. If built on rock—the truth of Jesus—we will stand firm even through testings and trials. Identity’s antithesis is anonymity, which makes us ineffective believers because we are swayed and influenced more by the world and the opinion of others than the truth of who we are.

The second test shown here is about provision and trusting God to provide. The enemy tells Jesus to command the stone to become bread. We know that Jesus was hungry and in need of food. In times of need the enemy will come in and tempt us to work in our own ability to provide instead of trusting God to provide (materially, mentally, physically, spiritually, etc.) for us. Trust is so foundational to faith, because if we doubt God’s goodness and His intentions to provide and take care of us, we are not trusting Him. We then become reliant on ourselves to provide instead of God. This trust of provision’s antithesis is self-reliance, which winds up burning us out.

I also want to point out that the rest of the verse Jesus referred to in man not living by bread alone is in Deuteronomy 8:3 and says “but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” So God’s Word is one of His highest forms of provision for our needs. Chew on that for a while…

The third test is about our significance in our purposes and callings as worship of God. The enemy tempts Jesus with the very glory He already knows is His, but the enemy puts the twist of placing himself as the recipient of Jesus’ worship. When we walk in accordance to what and how God has designed and equipped us, we are worshiping and serving Him in truth. When we seek the glory for ourselves, we become self-seeking and self-motivated—self-worshiping. In this case, the antithesis of significance is idolatry. 

The fourth test we are shown is about security. We have this basic need to know we are safe and taken care of. Here the enemy is tempting Jesus to test His security in the Father. But what this really is about is God’s character. Jesus’ answer to satan clarifies this with His reply about testing God. The Hebrew word ekpeirazō implies a test or questioning of God’s character. Makes me shudder to think about it. And clearly here, the antithesis of security is insecurity.

Finally, notice how each of these areas build upon each other. When we are clear in our identity as to who we are and Whose we are, we are able to trust God to provide for all our needs and we are secure in our significance and purpose in His plans for us.

Take notice too that Jesus was weak and most likely tired. The enemy knows he hasn’t really a chance against a child of God who is strong in these areas so he hit us in our times of weakness. The thing is, he still doesn’t seem to realize that in our weakness, we are strong in Jesus (2 Cor. 12:9). So, really and truly, we choose whether to give the enemy a “a chance in hell.” We don’t always recognize his attacks but when we do, we can still stand against him and his lies and turn back to the truth. Take notice that Jesus’ greatest weapon was the Word.

And there lies my final point (yes, cue broken record here). If we aren’t reading God’s Word, we won’t know things like our identity, that we can trust God, that we are significant to His kingdom and that we are secure in Him. It’s all in the Bible, my friends, just like I’ve shown you today. Read it regularly with a pure heart (1 John 1:9) and with the Holy Spirit’s help (1 Cor 2:10).

On Saturday, our very own Joanne M. with be sharing her insights on just how “puny” the enemy really is. I am so excited for you all to read her post. In the meantime, my friends, I pray you have an amazing week basking in the truth of who you are and whose you are. Strut around your house and say, “I belong to God and He’s got me covered in every way.” 

Wonder what our pre-believers will say… ;-)

Love you like crazy!

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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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The Three Deadly Ds: Disparaging Disbelief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And MERRY CHRISTMAS, SUMites! Love you!
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The Destruction of the Demonic Warrior

It’s Thanksgiving this week. And I know all of us are very busy. And I’ve been very ill again. However, James 5 was in my daily Bible this week so I went for healing prayer. And I know my full healing is now decreed. AMEN! 

This week I have family in town and will likely be crazed entertaining but loving every minute of time I have with my mom who is visiting from Colorado. My daughter will be here and her friends, my son and my granddaughter. It’s going to be a great turkey day! 

Dineen and I are going to take the week off from posting. So today and Wednesday, I want to share with you an email that arrived on Thursday evening from a young woman whom I’ve prayed for, love on, and encouraged through the many months/years of her healing process. I asked her permission to share her testimony. I know there is someone in our Sum family who needs to hear this word. 

Luke 10 19From my friend: Stone.
Temecula, CA
Worship In The Valley: A worship event in Temecula, CA on November 20th

I’ve been in a season of isolation, pain, depression and hopelessness, and yet I’ve known this whole time that it hasn’t been real, I have refused to take ownership of it as from me or a part of me. I’ve prayed against it over and over again, I’ve begged and pleaded with the Lord to free me from this painful darkness and yet it persisted. I kept my eyes on Him and continued to ask for freedom, trusting that it won’t always be like this, that hope and freedom are here and that more is coming. I know that I haven’t been betrayed or abandoned, through all of this Jesus has been right beside me and His passionate love for me has never wavered. I haven’t been alone for even one second, even though I’ve felt completely alone I’ve known that He has never left me alone and that this is not for me, this is not what my life will be like. I’ve known that a shift was coming.               

So tonight I came expecting, I struggled to get there, fighting off a cold and exhaustion from a long and trying week at work but I knew that God had something for me to receive tonight. Upon arrival I wanted to leave, and that feeling grew to where I felt like I couldn’t stand it and I knew without a doubt that it was the enemy’s desperation, his last attempt to prevent me from receiving all that I did tonight. This realization made me that much more determined, more committed to staying and receiving all that He had in store for me tonight.               

Tonight I got to see myself the way my mentors have been describing to me. Tonight I got to see myself as a warrior, a leader, strong and brave, leading a strong and mighty army into battle. This description has been terrifying me but tonight it was incredible because He also gave me a peace and an incredibly deep assurance that everyone who had come with me onto this battlefield is someone I chose because I trust them. God assured me that everyone who has joined in this army is someone I can trust. He gave me peace about the discernment He has given me and the things He has shown me over the last few years as we’ve built this tribe around me. As I followed Him into the heart of this battlefield He showed me just how sure the enemy is of his coming defeat. He knows we’re coming, that I have my eye on him and my heart set on his defeat, he knows that we’ve come for his captives; we’ve come united in Jesus to set his captives free.               

As the fire grew within me I saw into my past, but from a whole new perspective, I saw the strategy of the enemy and the power and goodness of God. I saw His hand of protection over me always, and I knew that this was all set in motion before I was born and that I’ve never been alone. As the Pastor spoke of peaceful sleep I was reminded of the years I spent my nights in terror. I remembered the nights I wept before The Lord, crying out the name of Jesus over and over for hours. As a young child I couldn’t see Him there, I begged and pleaded in what I thought was in vain, but throughout this past year Jesus has been showing me exactly where He was. As I stared into the face of darkness at the demon that the devil stationed outside my bedroom doorway Jesus stood in the doorway of my room as my shield, keeping her from entering my room and destroying me. I saw this spirit outside my room for years, I was always afraid for my life because its goal was to destroy me, convince me that I meant nothing to God, that I was completely and utterly alone, that I was unloved, betrayed and abandoned, hopeless.               

What I saw tonight was just how strategic this assignment was, God showed me that my destiny has always been to march on the enemy’s camp and demand that His captives be set free from cutting, suicide, depression and abuse and that through me He would speak into the hearts of His beloved and show them that they are free. I saw the enemy’s determination to destroy me, to crush me to a point where I would never rise up and destroy his hold on God’s children through depression and suffering. I saw that he did not have authority to kill me; it didn’t stop him from trying or keep him from trying to destroy me. He selected a strong and determined warrior to stand at my door every night for years and for years they stood outside my bedroom instilling fear, depression and lies into my heart, all night long they called out to me, shouting lies of my worthlessness, of my smallness and insignificance, threating pain, death, dismemberment and utter destruction, ruin. He sent a chosen warrior but God sent His Son. 

Jesus stood inside my bedroom every night looking into the face of this chosen warrior and spoke the truth, He spoke of the coming destruction, He reminded them that He has already won the war and He spoke truth and love into my room and over me.   —End Part I… Stone

 

Okay, my friends it gets even better. Tune in Wednesday and let this testimony set you free. Hugs, Lynn

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The Unexpected Divine Appointments

11134039_sDear friends, as I walked and prayed Tuesday morning, I asked Abba for the words to share with you what I experienced at Bethel. I really wasn’t sure if I had anything definitive as God kept this visit very personal, which makes sense for this year of intimacy He’s called me to.

But as I walked the memories and words began to flow (thank You, Abba, You are so good), like a kaleidoscope of images and colors that stood unique but together created the complete story of God’s intentions.

Where to start? At the beginning of the journey. I was a bit anxious about making this trip on my own (I love road trips when hubby is in charge) and my car had been acting up a little. (I should share with you that I call my little VW Bug by the name of Gracie as she is a gift from God and never lets me down. Why did I doubt?)

I had five hours of road ahead of me each way (thankfully Lynn road with me from Sacramento to Redding on the way up) and knew I would wind up stopping frequently for breaks out of necessity. I kid you not, both up to Redding and on my way home on Saturday every place I stopped had Christian music playing. In California?!?!?

As I walked into each place, I noticed it right away! And smiled…God uses music frequently to minister to my heart. I was never alone. My Gracie carried both me and Him on this trip.

At Bethel the first evening I noticed a woman near us. Not sure why but she just stood out to me so I took notice. The next day we were introduced by a mutual friend. That seemed significant too, so I ask Abba if there was a reason, did I need to know something. I heard the name “Amanda” over and over again. Wasn’t sure why, maybe that name meant something to her. I asked Abba who this Amanda was. He said “her sister.”

Well…I wasn’t sure what to do with that, but I have seen God do this enough times to trust Him to put it into motion. I wouldn’t track this dear woman down. If I was supposed to share what I heard, I’d leave it to Him to bring her to me at the right time (just like my new friend at the ACFW conference).

The next day I was sitting on a bench and there she stood. I waved her over and asked her if the name Amanda meant anything to her. She said no, but then shared how someone else had told her she looked like someone they met in Montreal, almost identical. What stunned me is what she shared next. She’s been searching for her twin sister. They were separated and given up for adoption when they were very young.

I gave her my business card and asked her to email me when this all falls into place as I had no doubts God was hearing her heart and leading her to her sister. When that story unfolds, I will sharing it with you, my friends. God is so amazing, so good!

On the last day, Friday, I found this verse waiting for me in my inbox:

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. — Psalm 37:7

Later that afternoon, I wound up in the prayer room. It’s a small octagon shaped building that stands part from the rest of the campus and has the most stunning view of the surrounding hills and mountains, including Mount Shasta.

Immediately I felt the peace of Jesus in that room. About a dozen or so people were there either sitting by the fountain or in chairs or on the floor by the windows. I wanted to stay in this place forever. Remembering the Scripture I received that morning, I rested by the fountain for a while.

And then it happened. Words, words, and more words. It was like my creativity had suddenly been unleashed. I couldn’t stop writing in my journal. Page after page. I wasn’t sure what it all meant though.

Not until I finished. I realized I had written the ending of the book I’m going to be working on. It was not at all what I expected, but it was very much the heart of God—tender, powerful, full of love and purpose.

God had told me He had something at Bethel this time. He told Lynn too. What He gave me was His heart. So unexpected, so gentle, so quiet.

So, my friends, God was my divine appointment this trip. What’s so amazing is that He longs for us to meet with Him each day. He has so much for us. For you.

Which brings me to the end of this story. My final “divine appointment” was with you, dear SUMites. This is the prayer God lead me to pray for our community as I sat outside and looked over the hillside.

BethelBased on Psalm 67:

Lord, be gracious to Your SUMites and bless us and make Your face shine upon us so that Your ways may be known in our homes, that your salvation will rest upon our pre-believers.

Let all those in our home praise You, God; that our pre-belivers would praise You. Let us, your SUMites, be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge righteously and govern our hearts and homes.

Let us, Your SUMites, praise You, O God, let every single one of us praise You and bring You glory. Then our homes shall yield increase. God shall bless us and our loved ones. God shall bless us, and all those in our home shall fear Him.

In Your mighty name, Jesus, amen!

Rest in His promises, SUMites!

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Day of Atonement

Isaiah 66 2 Day of AtonementSUMites this is a day of fasting. Sunrise to sunset.

Humble and contrite. Humble and contrite. Humble and Contrite.

What does this mean to you today?

Psalm 51:17  My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

Isaiah 66:2 Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

There are a multitue of scripture verses on humility, Visit here.

May the Lord blesS you and keep you my friends. Great is our God and great are His mercies, grace and promises. 

Lord, let us be your people who respresent you well. In the name of your Son, Jesus, we pray. Amen

 

 There is someone who needs to hear this song today. May it change your life. 

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Spiritual Warfare Through Worship

19112297_sThis series started with Worship is More Than a Song, then moved into talking about Intimacy Through Worship, Living a Lifestyle of Worship and Unity Through Worship. Today, we will touch on an area I have lived very personally and hear God calling us to worship to defeat the enemy. And as I have had the pleasure of hearing Lynn say many a time, how like God to use the very thing the enemy wants most to defeat him. She is so right.

Because that is who Lucifer was. He worshipped before God. (I’ve heard said that he was even in charge of worship. Perhaps he was the very first “worship leader.”) Then his hunger to be like God and thus worshiped like Him ended his career in a blaze of lighting that cast him to the earth (Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14:12-15, Luke 10:18). And he’s been fighting to get it back ever since.

My friends, I’m here to tell you this is also one of our most powerful weapons against the enemy and makes him flee. I wondered if I would wind up sharing this story and now I hear Abba saying it is the time.

In January I was hit with sudden anxiety. It made no sense and hadn’t experienced it since I was an awkward teenager struggling with school. One morning anxiety slammed me harder than ever, my chest hurt and the panic threatened to overtake me. I began praying and, honestly, I felt desperate and had run out of words to pray. So I started a worship song that had kept going through my head (had to be the Holy Spirit) and sang with along. The next song on my playlist started, and I kept worshiping. Before I knew it, I was on my knees and almost two hours had passed. The pain in my chest and the panic I had felt were gone.

I later have come to understand that what I had experienced was a spirit of torment. After weeks of prayer and worship, this thing finally revealed itself and I commanded him to leave. He did and hasn’t come back.

Worship has become not just part of my lifestyle but part of my arsenal. It allows us to rise above the enemy’s tactics of fear and despair so we can dwell in the truth of God’s presence that gives us reassurance, love, hope, peace and strength in abundance.

There were times during this battle that I couldn’t play worship music easily because of location or if I was with my pre-beleiver. So I sang under my breath. My hubby often asked me if I said something or asked if I was singing. I said, “yep!” and kept on singing!

And I believe it is a powerful way to change the atmosphere in our homes and influence our loved ones. Lynn and I both leave radios playing Christian music playing through our homes. I read the Psalms out loud and worship God through His word. My friends, we make our homes holy with worship.

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

I don't have this all figured out, but one thing I know is true above all else. In worship, we find deeper intimacy with God and we find Him. If we are willing to trust Him with our hearts, He will show us His. He wants to. He longs to. He’s waiting to.

The enemy tries to keep us from this place and lifestyle of worship, because he knows we will lose our focus on God and live in the lie of defeat instead of the truth of victory. It’s how he keeps us and our churches ineffective.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. — 1 Corinthians 15:57
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. — Romans 8:37
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. — Colossians 2:15

But God is saying enough. He’s calling us to praise and worship now as a means to fight the enemy back. Not for His gratification but for our triumph!

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task. — 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

We are, my friends. We are.

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P.S. I will be in St. Louis next week for the American Christian Fiction Writers conference manning the registration desk with a wonderful team of volunteers. I will be back in a week, hopefully with some great stories to share! My SUM family, please pray for this week to be filled with God’s presence and protection. And especially for those attending the conference, that we would trust Him to bring fruit from the stories He gives us to write and trust Him for what that looks like. May the glory always be for Him! Love you!

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Unity Through Worship

12920277_sMy friends, I have so loved reading your comments on this worship series. You have shared your hearts and prayers. I have found myself inspired many times by what you share, have even prayed your words! And I know other have too.

We started this series with discussing Worship is More Than a Song, then moved into talking about Intimacy Through Worship and Living a Lifestyle of Worship. Today we will talk about unity through worship.

First, I want to share my first taste of corporate worship…

Anticipation buzzed in the air and the low rumble of voices. The stadium was packed. Thousands of believers stood ready and waiting to hear Third Day. Though I’d attended concerts before, this was my first Christian concert. Third Day came out, the music started, and soon, to my utter amazement, I stood, arms up like many there, not just singing to songs but worshiping God. Ten thousand strong. We didn't know each other, but we knew God.

I'll never forget that moment years ago. I felt like I had a glimpse of what Heaven would be like and I think I have sought after and hungered for more of it ever since. There is something powerful in corporate worship, about standing with our brothers and sisters in Christ and lifting our voices in song and praise. Just like Scripture says when two or more gather together, our prayers are heard, I believe when voices are raised together in true worship, we invite the presence of God to come as a community unified in love for God and each other and the desire to bring Him glory.

“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” — Matthew 18:19-20 NLT

When we worship, He is there among us! Do you believe it?

Are you willing to trust Him with your heart so He can show you His?

This is the place I sense God calling us, His children, to grow the most right now as He is moving, shifting and about to turn things around (click to read about this in my Word of Encouragement post). It's about His children coming together in unified purpose—His purpose—to release the power of God over ourselves, the nations and the world. It is about experiencing a foretaste of Heaven and witnessing the body of Christ in presence and action.

Whether spoken prayers or sung words, this is His promise and our joy to experience His presence, to call out to our God and proclaim our Savior, to honor Him and bring Him great glory. The Creator of the Universe is blessed and pleased when His creation—His children—acknowledge Him.

The exchange is intimate, yet corporate. We stand in the shadow of Heaven to come, yet in the full inheritance of our identity as His children. It is stunning. It is powerful. It is a gift.

Saturday’s post and list talked about humility. Worship is that time to humble ourselves before God to worship in truth and spirit so that we may know Him better and join Him in His purposes.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. — 1 Peter 5:6

I remember as a new believer standing in church or Bible study waiting for the music to be done so we could move on to the better stuff. Now I go to church excited, anticipating this opportunity to worship God with my church family and it is never long enough (as I shared we're in the baby stages of becoming a worshipping church).

My friends, my relationship with God and my kingdom perspective greatly expanded when I began worshiping, truly worshiping, God. I told you in the series I wrote about transforming the mind that God told me once that I would find Him in worship.

It is the truth. We find Him in astounding ways individually and, in a corporate setting, we find the power of His Presence and it is a game changer!

Again, I think I could go on and on here. Share in the comments what you have experienced in corporate worship. I know this kind of worship can be a challenge to find at times—I experience this myself, thus why I love the chance to go to faith conferences or Christian concerts. Or visit another church on occasion.

And be sure to come back Saturday for the conclusion of this series. This is one you won’t want to miss: Spiritual Warfare Through Worship. I will share a story of how I fought the enemy off with worship.

In the meantime, my SUM family, I am praying for our Great God to meet you in worship and show you His glory!
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Intimacy Through Worship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love You.

Resting in Him,
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Worship is More Than a Song

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m so excited to be on this journey with you and to see what God reveals!
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Copyright: whitestone / 123RF Stock Photo

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Transforming the Mind: Finding God in Worship

ThemindMy friends, we have walked this journey of transforming our minds now for six weeks. We began with Feasting on God’s Word, then continued with Claiming and Praying God’s Promises, Giving the Holy Spirit Authority, Pleading the Blood of Jesus, Thanking and Praising, and last week, Choosing Joy. This week, we will talk about finding God in worship. This is by far the most challenging to write, for two reasons. One, the enemy is very much apposed to this topic, because it is what he tried to get from Jesus in the wilderness (Matt. 4:9) and what he has wanted all along in order to be like God. And two, because it’s still growing and forming in my own life. So I will share what I have discovered thus far.

From the very beginning the plan was to worship God. Even wise men traveled from afar knowing that the only proper welcome to bring a new King was worship.

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose,* and we have come to worship him.” — Matthew 2:2

God even wrote eternity on our hearts (Ecc. 3:11) to be awakened by His call and to bring the Son glory. The pages of the Bible reveal men and women after God's own heart who stood apart from the idol worshipers to bring true worship to the One True God. Theirs are the stories we still read today and find inspiration and wisdom.

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. — Psalm 9:1-2 (a Psalm of David) Even the devil understood the intrinsic value of worship in finding the heart of God and the connection it created between creation and Creator, and sought to steal it for himself.

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.’” — Matthew 4:8-10

A few years ago, I remember talking to our dear friend Ro on the phone, asking her about her relationship with God. I longed for the intimacy she seemed to have so naturally with God, Whom she referred to affectionately as her Friend. James too spoke of Abraham as a friend of God. I wanted that—yearned for it.

Not long after this conversation, I sat in prayer, seeking God for this very thing, He told me, "You will find Me in worship."

I confess, it probably took me close to a year to begin to pursue God in this manner, to seek more understanding. The pursuit to worship God more and deeper as ensued ever since. And as I have learned more about the incredible depths of God's love, I've learned that the heart of worship resides in Jesus' two greatest commands to us:

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” — Mark 12:29-31

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And love others. The first encompasses a life of worship. Our intimacy with Him each day as we intentionally seek His presence. To view every part of our lives from the perspective of God's Word and promises and to live these out in our lives every day. Singing songs of praise to Him in corporate worship or even in our own homes as we listen to Christian music while making dinner for our family. To seek Him just for Himself, because we are are grateful and stunned that the Creator of the universe desires first and foremost to love us, to delight in us, to be in an intimate relationship with us.

The second springs from the first, for when we love and worship God, His love flows through us, intertwines with our hearts until the separation is no longer distinguishable and flows to a broken and hurting world.

It's that simple, yet that challenging as it requires commitment, intentionality, submission and obedience. Extravagant worship (what God truly deserves) must cost us something. Are we willing to lose our lives to gain them back?

My experience has been that which we gain back is usually more than we give. That's the generosity of our God. He rushes in with His love and faithfulness and gives more than we ask or can even imagine (Eph 3:20). Moses stood on a mountain and asked to see God's glory. What did God do? He hid Moses in a crevice and brought not a mighty show of His power but His goodness.

The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. — Exodus 33:19

And this is part of what Jesus came to bring us, that we would be able to experience God's goodness and worship Him anywhere, even in the realms of our minds and hearts regardless of whether we are in a church or alone.

Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” — John 4:21-24

It is the connection of spirt to the Spirit and truth to the Truth. Worshiping God becomes the expression of our lives that reveals the hope within.

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. — 1Peter 3:15

I propose that our thinking of worship has been limited to the walls of our churches and Sunday mornings, or to faith conferences that vibrate with the presence of the Holy Spirit. These are indeed vital to our growth and understanding of the power and necessity of corporate worship. I myself hunger for more of this in my life. (And I dare to say the difference between a church and a social center is the condition in which the members worship—or don’t.)

Yet with everything God gives and models for us, there is more—much more—than this one glowing facet of the jewel and prize known as worshiping the Lord your God with all your heart (spirit), soul and strength (body, perseverance, health). Just as He is three "persons" in one, we are called the worship with our three parts—spirit, soul and body. And I believe we are called to steward each part with care, that our spirits remain connect to the Spirit, that our souls are fed and cared for, that our bodies and minds are renewed and strengthened.

Worship is living our lives daily, walking in and with the Holy Spirit. Spending time in the Bible each day, seeking truth, knowledge and wisdom to know Him better. Believing His promises and claiming them for our lives. Giving Him praise and thanks everyday just for Him, for His constant love, presence, sacrifice and holiness, and for all He gives us. Choosing His joy even when circumstances make it difficult. Praying and believing He hears us and is working for our good.

He encompasses all. He is all. And He is more than worthy of all we have to offer Him. We don’t have to get our act together first. We don’t have to the perfect marriage and family. We don't have to wait until Sunday or for a conference. No prerequisites or qualifiers. He’s with us all the time. He longs for us to know Him and for us to be known by Him (1 Cor. 13:12).

When we love Him, we are worshiping Him. When we love others, we are worshiping Him. When we use our gifts, blessings and provisions to serve Him and others, we are worshiping Him.

Perhaps our greater challenge is bringing Sunday worship into everyday living. First and foremost, He desires that we be still and know Him. This is our highest form of worship and the place where He shows us His goodness.

And His glory.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. — Psalm 23:6

Praying He reveals His goodness to you today!
Dineen

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

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The Seven Seasons of The Walls

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Hello SUMite Nation: 

Today I want to share some thoughts as we continue our journey toward the Promised Land. Remember we have been talking about seasons. If we can condense the long years and seasons and see them from heaven’s view. this is what our journey truly looks like. And it’s beautiful. 

Day two is finished and were back at the camp. But you know what is happening here? With each step it’s a revelation of how to do this journey better, more effective, with confidence. We learn to find the joy as we cross the same territory. We sing to our kids along the way and share stories of hope. We tell them of the glory of God. 

On day three, we fall down. We are exhausted, confused and just plain tired. It’s our brother's and sister's turn to come along side of us, pick us up and carry the load. It’s our family, our friends, our neighbors in the tent next door. A stranger. Angels. We don’t have to do this on our own strength. We are carried and loved. Remember the story of friends bringing a man on the mat to Jesus because of their love?

Half way through we are healed because we choose to believe in the voice that spoke. There angels that guide. The strength and truth of Joshua (Jesus) His faithfulness was proven over and again as we traveled years in the wilderness. We become more and more like Jesus. 

Day – season- four.. It’s more of the same. The crowd on the walls have grown insolent. Any release or change or surrender from the kingdom behind the walls is unexpected. More of the same. More or the same. It’s along…. Long journey…. Twenty two years and counting for me. 

But step by step, we get through the season a little faster. It’s not as devastating. We know who to go to for help, encouragement and love.  Just as Joshua leads the Israelites, Jesus leads us. The Father’s love sustains us. We have a promise. We have many, many promises. And we have experienced the faithfulness of our Lord. We know His goodness. 

Day five.. We still don’t know the end of the story. We battle up! We fast, we pray. We gather the intercessors… We fight in the spirit. Spiritual Warfare intensifies. Perhaps the enemy camp sent out sentinels in the night and sabotaged our camp… Infected our children??? We pray and pray…. 

Still nothing. The walls remain…. (But something is happening we just can’t see it yet.) 

Day six… more marching. More learning. Leading others. Singing in the camp. Healing in the camp. Worship in the camp. The Presence in the camp. I wonder, have we been in the Promised Land all along????? 

Day seven… the hardest of all. Not only walking six times around (six seasons) but on this day, this season we must walk seven times around without stopping. We ask God why didn’t this get easier? The mocking from the inhabitants behind the wall increases. The determination in our will increases because we have experience the Presence. Through the six preceding days we have learned to do this walk well. We have calloused in the right places. We are fortified. Sturdied, made strong because of the walking, the pressure, the training. The we have established faith because we know God is preparing all things according to His perfect plan and purposes.

We are in the seven times around. I’m not sure where I am in this but I’ve come this far and will never relent. There are promises behind those walls. There are captives to be liberated and plunder to be regained. Everything that was stolen. And there is a devil to be defeated and cast into the lake of fire. We, the saints, are the chosen to defeat the enemy with our worship.

This is who we are. And you know what waits us now.... The sound of the Shofar... Stay tuned. That glorious moment is a head in our story. I love you my friends. Have a great week. Hugs, Lynn

 

I have so much to tell you about what is developing for our Walmart Prayer Day. It’s going to be so much more than I first glimpsed when God whispered this idea to me. I will have an update for you on Friday. But I need a prayer right now. 

I have called the store twice, paid a personal visit on Saturday trying to get a date booked on their community calendar. Would you pray that on Monday I am able to speak with Isabel and get this date finalized? Thank you for praying. …. And devil… You are not going to stop this so in the name of Jesus, Lord, please open up heaven above this store and let this date booking happen without further delay. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

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

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Weekend Worship — Letter of Love

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My friends, I want to give you some updates on the Miller household as there has been a lot going on lately. Praise God, we now know my daughter’s heart issue is due to her thyroid. She and I share the same issue and now we’re both on the right track to feeling better in this area. She is now on medication for this, and I’m on a new one that seems to be working better so far. Thank You, mighty Jesus that Your healing comes in so many ways.

I also want to share with you that God told me toward the end of last year that He was “preparing His vessel.” I see now this was part of His plan for this year of intimacy. What I now understand even more is that it can be quite painful. Forgive me for not being as active as much these last few weeks but Abba has me dealing with some things I’ve kept pushing way for when there was time until finally He said, “It’s time.”

My family and I have been through a lot the last seven years or so (cancer, death, financial upheavals, etc. along with some issues from my past) and I thought I was dealing with most of it okay, but when God wants to move us to new places (prepare the vessel) it means the old and lingering crud must be scraped out so that His glory can be better held and reflected.

So that is what I’ve been walking through and Lynn has been my cheerleader and prayer warrior, along with some very specific friends God has called to walk along side me in this (really and truly amazing to suddenly get a call or text from a friend who says, God told me to call and pray with you).

And even more surprising has been watching my husband come along side me in this time as I never imagined but had longed and hoped for. He’s been my comforter and my hero. So unexpected and so amazingly God—the proof I needed that Abba is working in my guy even when I can’t see it.

I’m so grateful for my family at home and for you, my SUM family. Abba has promised me this time of preparation is about to end, and I hope that means I will get to share more of what He does and is doing when He tells me it’s okay to do so.

In the meantime, know that I am here, that I love you all so very much and I am praying for this amazing family of God.

Love you so much,
Dineen

(Here are some songs that have greatly ministered to me this week.)

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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

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