Don't Let Anyone Steal Your Crown

Crown 2

Hi SUM family, it's Ann here.

I'm on holiday at the moment in England, where I've been visiting my parents in my home town (Reading), and attending my brother's wedding. I have one more week here before flying back to New Zealand. It's been special to be with my family. 

I am finishing off this post with my Mum pottering in the next room. That's nice huh!

Now for today's post:

Today I had a catch-phrase I wanted to share -- It's something that we can speak out when feeling battered by others' unbelief. The catch-phrase is this:

I'm not going to let anyone steal my crown!

Perhaps we can even take a moment to speak that out right now, in fact, before continuing to read? Here we go: I'm not going to let anyone steal my crown!

The back story to that phrase is this:

I know there are some here who became unequally yoked because their spouse used to be a Christian, but then lost their faith. In many of those cases your spouse's faith was real, even vibrant, but now that same spouse lives in unbelief. You now hear from their mouth all the many reasons they choose not to believe.

I know a little of what's that like as I used to work with a man who lost his faith, having previously been on fire for Jesus. This man was a clever man, and he would share with me on many occasions the various reasons why he had chosen to walk away from Christianity. After spending time with this man I would often feel embattled.

God would show me all over again that Christianity is true. Nevertheless that man's voice was in my ear on a regular basis. So, which voice was going to be louder: God's or this man's?

A friend who was very strong in his faith knew I had this challenge and decided to send me some words of wisdom. They were such on-point words that I wrote them down at the time. I was greatly helped by them, and discovered them again this week so thought I would share them here.

Perhaps these words are especially for you today if you're one of those whose spouse lost his/her faith. Here goes:

"Don't let anyone steal your crown.

You sit in the heavenly realms with the Lord (Ephesians 2:6); you've been lifted. So it is that you remember the incredible position of authority and respect you have right now, and in the next life as well, even if some people have forgotten their position or have chosen to lower themselves after having once been elevated."

Amen to that. For the Bible does speak of us inheriting a crown, or crowns, and phew it will be quite the inheritance. We must hold onto it like crazy, not letting the unbelief of another person steal it from us. 

In that spirit, then, let's look at the scriptures about the crown that is laid up for us:

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away (1 Peter 5:4, NIV).

Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing (2 Timothy 4:8, NIV).

Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown (Revelation 2:10, ESV).

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him (James 1:12, NIV).

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever (1 Corinthians 9:25, NIV)

If you would like prayer for perseverance today -- That is, if you are feeling battered by the unbelief of those around you and need prayer to keep going, leave a note in the comments and we'll pray for you.

Love,

Ann


TODAY: Don't Miss It!

Let's talk live post 2023Today on, Let's Talk LIVE, I'm sharing a pretty wild story of a salvation that occurred right in front of my eyes. AND I didn't expect it. And it was truly supernatural. 

You will be in awe and wonder when you hear what happened. 3 pm pacific time, on Facebook, and YouTube.

See you soon. Lynn


Miracle Salvations, Impossible Salvations, Supernatural Salvations

On Wednesday, August 3rd at 3 pm, on Let's Talk LIVE, I'm going to share a salvation story that happened in my own living room. This story has a component of the supernatural and Holy Spirit. And what appeared to be a person totally against faith.

You will want to tune in and hear this story. Because my testimony opens the door for the salvation of those you think are impossible.

I can't wait. 

You can find the broadcast at Spiritually Unequal Marriage Facebook Page, Group, and on the YouTube page.

We are going to laugh, cry, live in awe and praise our Lord Jesus. See you then. Hugs, Lynn


Yvonne Swarbrick Salvation Testimony

We were sent this amazing story of how one husband turned to Jesus after many years of his wife waiting. We are so grateful to Yvonne Swarbrick for sharing it -- it is her story. Read, meet Yvonne, and be encouraged:Yvonne

"I became a Christian in 1985 , the Lord had been calling me a long time because I could trace back through my life when I had tried to find Him. I wasn’t aware I was searching for Him till I found him and a lot of people realize this after they become Christians.

I watched a program on TV called This is The Day one Sunday morning. Me and my two daughters were getting ready for a birthday party on a canal boat, it was a Sunday. In the program there was a short sketch of the crucifixion. The tv was on in the background and I only glanced at it but it got my attention like it always does when I watch the crucifixion.

We got ready to go out and I couldn’t stop thinking all day about what I’d seen on that program. I remember as we walked down the street I felt as if something was happening to me.

That night when I got home I searched the house for a Bible. I found one but couldn’t make any sense of it. The next day I went to the library and found a book in the beliefs section called 'New Life, New Lifestyle'. I stayed up that night very late and read the whole book. There was a prayer in the middle of the book about giving your life to God and asking him to come in. I prayed the prayer and went to bed thinking nothing had happened, but as the days went by I realized I was changing.

My outlook on life changed, I had this thirst to read the Bible, I had this love in me I’d never had before. I was bursting with joy and I drove everyone around me mad.

Three months after we found out my hubby Ray had Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We'd had no idea up till then there was anything wrong. They told us not to worry and take things a day at a time. Boy was I brought back down to earth! We were in shock, I knew how bad MS could get. I knew a lady that was seriously disabled with it and I immediately thought of her. I was angry with God at first but eventually I realized He had come to my rescue. Ray would have been diagnosed and I would have felt worse if the Lord hadn’t come in to my life.

I tried to tell my hubby about the Lord but he didn’t get it. He didn’t say he was an atheist he was more of an agnostic like I had been. My friends at church encouraged me to start praying for him so I did.
Our daughters were 3 and 5, it was a busy time and we just tried to carry on as positively as possible.
Seven years later when our eldest daughter was 12 she was diagnosed with type-one diabetes and we nearly lost her as she was rushed into hospital in an emergency.

They stabilized her and she had to learn to inject herself. It felt traumatic again. More stress. I ended up with depression and anxiety. Trying to cope with my hubby deteriorating in front of me and now my daughter. Then on top of that I had Christians saying you shouldn’t get depressed as a Christian. I have since learnt a lot about anxiety and depression.

In 1996 we had to have some alterations done and moved out of the house. Ray went into a disabled unit at the hospital while it was done and we stayed with friends.

When I visited him one night he said "I think I will come to church on Sunday with you" and I was amazed! It came suddenly right out of the blue, I’d had a word from someone saying it would happen suddenly. I couldn’t believe it! I had been praying for twelve years and others alongside me. 

Ray came to church that Sunday and gave his life to the Lord. It all seemed to happen so fast. I saw him change in front of me, he became alive like he’d never been before. His whole face changed, his smile changed. He started singing in the car with me and he’d never sang in all the years I’d known him!

We became intimate on a different level, we had eye contact we’d never had before and we’d been married 26 years! Then he said he wanted to renew our marriage vows as Christians, it was so beautiful. We had our ceremony and he told the congregation that he was happier than he had ever been in his life even though he was in a wheelchair with MS.  We were on cloud nine, we fell in love all over again, it was a most wonderful time.

We had a few years of feeling blissful but the disease got worse and worse. We both got a bit beaten down with it. He retreated back into his cave and I think he was protecting me. It became harder to get him to church. I was really disappointed because I thought the Lord was going to heal him. And then we got another diagnosis of leukaemia, it was a leukaemia you could have treatment for so he started the treatment.

That was another devastating blow but we held onto God and hoped the treatment would work. He did very well, he lasted six years after the diagnosis. He died in 2016, not healed but healed spiritually and he’s with the Lord now.

I was disappointed and confused because I really believed God was going to heal him, because of the transformation of God entering his life and seeing the massive change.

But the most important thing is that he found the Lord, he had joy for a few years and I hope that made up for all the pain he went through. 

I’m writing this to encourage anyone that’s praying for their hubby. Keep praying and don’t give up. I never thought it would happen. One thing I didn’t share was someone gave me a word a long time before he got saved. They said "love him into the kingdom so I tried my best." I didn’t always manage it though! God bless all you ladies and men out there.

Yvonne Swarbrick became a Christian in 1985, she has two daughters aged 42 and 40 and three grandsons aged between 10 and 14. Now retired, she spends her time singing in a gospel choir, which she loves, and doing art, especially painting with watercolors, as well as other crafts. She recently found our community and was keen to share this part of her testimony with us.


Up Coming Events

Hey SUMites!  

Lynn Donovan here. While Ann is traveling, I'm going to pop in and take the reins for a few weeks. So here is what I have planned.

First, on Wednesday, August 3rd at 3 pm pacific time, I'm LIVE on Facebook and YouTube to talk about some miraculous salvations. This talk is to explain what happened and how after 30-year friendship, Jesus shows up. AND the Holy Spirit went wild. It's a fantastic and unbelievable story that includes the supernatural.

The following Wednesday, August 10th, I have another salvation story that still blows my mind. I'm sharing these stories because they release hope into your life for the salvations you are waiting for. YOU WILL BE IN AWE! Because Jesus is on the move and He uses ordinary people, like us!  

MARK YOUR CALENDAR! DON'T MISS IT!

Book of James GraphicNext Ann, Martha Bush, and I will be leading a LIVE video teaching of the Book of James. This book is all about Practical Faith. You MUST have this down to advance into greater faith practices. After this teaching, you should be able to teach this book at your church, home group, your kids, etc. More details ahead. Begins second week of September. And it will include homework. Ya, it takes work to enter the Kingdom of Heaven! 

You will be blessed. I promise.

 

Additionally, I'm pondering about doing some live teaching through Lynndonovan.com regarding healing. Physical healing that comes from Christ. I'm still pondering about when, how and if I have the capacity to handle all of this while still settling into our new home. 

I wanted to share with all of you one of the great blessings that Father has given to me in our new home. 

I love nature. And here where I live the deer roam the streets, nearly unafraid of humans. 

The other evening, I was walking from the kitchen toward our bedroom and happened to glance outside our dining room window toward the front yard. 

This is what I saw:

Doe at Window July 2022

A doe resting under the tree, eating her cud. She stared at me. I at her. I smiled. 

I'm so thankful that Father has provided this haven for Mike and myself. A lifetime of faithfulness is seen in His goodness.

Hugs, Lynn 


The Fire in You Will Catch!

By Ann Hutchison Coffee and fire

Dear SUMites, as you know over the last few posts we've been talking about the Holy Spirit and looking at what his activity in our lives can look like.

Well, I had one thing planned to write today but something really amazing happened this week that I need to share instead.

The following thing happened hot on the heels of us talking about breakthrough in the last post:

This week I’ve been on holiday in a town called Queenstown. A close friend and her family have been with us and, like most of the people we spend time with, they are not yet believers.

The husbands and kids took off skiing for the day, and so my friend and I grabbed tea and cake in a café.

Girl-chat ensued and she began to share some hard things she’s been through lately - Really, really hard stuff. I sat there not knowing how to help except to listen. And then she said "I can’t believe God is real, because if he were why would I be suffering like this? And if there is a God why is there suffering in the world anyway?"

"That’s a good question," I said. "I asked that a lot myself a few years ago."

We paused and looked out the window. 

"How’s it all going for you anyway, Ann, that part of your life?" she asked. She's a nice friend and has always been unusually kind about my faith.

And so I shared what that looked like for me. Specifically, I described a bit about what it felt like to know his presence in my life. I began to laugh a little and told her I'm pretty far gone - God is all over me, in me, and is everything to me.

That’s when it happened. She leaned back as if in reaction to what I said, and exclaimed: “Wow, I just got a picture land in my head! It was of a flame of fire on my head.”

"WHATT?" I exclaimed. "Do you know, that’s how God speaks?"

She stared at me, stunned. She started to cry. So did I.

Instantly I thought of the disciples at Pentecost with fire on their heads in Acts 2:1-4. So I asked for clarification -

“Umm... Was the flame on your head or mine?”

“It was on mine,” she said, eyes wide.

It was on her head. Her head. Wow.

We sat back and looked at each other, and all the while my heart was quietly holding this thought: "I think God is telling me that the fire in me is going to catch and land on her, or it just has. I think she's going to be on fire for him too."

I wasn't thinking especially clearly at this point, but this came out of my mouth next:

"There’s a passage in the Bible about this: The disciples of Jesus had fire on their heads when they received the Holy Spirit. I think you've just heard something from God about something in the Bible."

"Ohh, I remember that passage from growing up in the Catholic Church..." she sat there eyeing me up, still stunned.

We reached for our forks again and took a massive gulp of cake and tea at this point. And then we talked about nothing but God for half an hour; hot drinks in hand, people around us. 

Much later she texted me, "Ann, is it me or was that a really big deal, what happened there in the cafe?!”

“It was huge.” I texted back, trying to contain myself over the airwaves. I then sent her the scripture in the book of Acts and told her she'd just experienced the Holy Spirit.

By then, I was back in my hotel room. The boys were still skiing, and all I could do was put some worship music on and sit back digesting what had just happened. As I said in my last post --

Jehovah Perazim, you are the Lord of breakthrough.

I think I want to pray for more of this in our community, so much more, so shall we pray?

Lord God, we ask for more! Breathe on our relationships, and make it easy for us to share YOU with the people we love. Bring your Holy Spirit into their lives, and bring more of your fire to us, as much as we can handle. Thank you, Jesus, in your name, Amen.

Love you all, friends, and I'll see you in the comments. 

Ann


Jehovah Perazim: Breakthrough Power Within You

Hello, dear friends, it's Ann here. Break the power within you

Last week we talked about life with the Holy Spirit. I so enjoyed those conversations.

Well, this week I want to share a couple of simple stories -- one today and one on Friday -- to describe something the Holy Spirit did on an otherwise ordinary day. In each story there is a truth for us SUMites to take away.

Are you sitting comfortably? Ok, here we go:

A few years ago, I was fast asleep in bed when I suddenly woke to feel a jolt of explosive power break out of me. KAPOW!!!  It felt like shards of diamonds had just exploded from within my innermost depths.

POW!

It was the descriptiveness of it that struck me. The sense I had was definitely of shards of diamonds. Precious stuff.

Why did I experience that, and what was God trying to say? I wasn't sure.

A few weeks later, however, he whispered this: Ann, that power was the breakthrough power within you that you carry. It will break out of you and change people and circumstances around you.

Amazing. What's more, I know that word wasn't just for me: It's for our community. For you carry the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, and I know that many of you stoke your relationship with God so fervently that this power will shift things around you eventually.

How I love this on-fire community of ours!

Christians use the word 'breakthrough' quite often to describe a change in circumstances, or even an inner change that they've been waiting for and praying for. As far as I'm aware it's not a term that's obvious in the Bible, but I do believe it's in there. Sometimes these terms catch on because a Spirit-led believer has experienced it and talked about it. 

So, where is breakthrough in the Bible? Well, I think a few tucked-away places.

First, the book of Micah describes a situation where the power of God is so great that breakthrough will occur --

He who opens the breach goes up before them; they break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king passes on before them, the LORD at their head (Micah 2:13, ESV).

Second, there's a little scripture in the story of King David where David experiences a victory and declares God the Lord of breakthrough:

And David came to Baal-Perazim, and David defeated them there. And he said, “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me like a breaking flood.” Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-Perazim. (2 Samuel 5:20, ESV)

Reading that, I actually feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as I type. That tells me God is breathing on this concept for us. Perhaps we can linger there a moment. 

Jehovah Perazim, you are the Lord of breakthrough.

And finally, there's a curious story in the book of Genesis, where Judah's daughter-in-law Tamar carries twins, and during the birth one twin miraculously breaks through out of her womb:

When the time of her labor came, there were twins in her womb. And when she was in labor, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” But as he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out. And she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” Therefore his name was called Perez. (Genesis 38:27-29, ESV)

Perez means the same as Perazim: Breakthrough. That baby, who broke through miraculously, ended up being the ancestor of Jesus. Breakthrough was in the DNA of Jesus and it's in ours too.

What do we do with all this? I think we are to just know about it. That is, we're to know that's what we carry, even if we can't see it with our natural eyes. What's more, we'll carry more of it the more time we spend with him. And, those around us will be changed by that, including our families.

We have the God of breakthrough intimately with us.

Whew, what a thought. Do you have any thoughts to share in the comments? I'll see you there.

Love,

Ann 

 


How God Speaks to People

We've been talking this week about the Holy Spirit. He is our comforter and a genius in our lives.

Well, that topic led me to make this week's live video about how God speaks. Sometimes he really does speak to us creatively! If you haven't seen it already, hope you enjoy this.


Inviting a Baptism of the Holy Spirit into Your Life

By Ann Hutchison Holy Spirit you are welcome 3

Years ago, I asked God a question: "What does it look like to walk with the Holy Spirit?" I had not read the Bible through yet, but I noted scripture mentioned gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as healing, tongues, and miracles; and I had questions for God about this.

A night or so later, I woke with a phrase in my head. The phrase was this: The voyages of Paul.

The voyages of Paul? Hmm. 

Now, I was a babe in the faith. I knew who the Apostle Paul was -- he wrote parts of the New Testament, but I didn't yet know he took voyages. "Did he take voyages?" I asked. Well, I went to Wikipedia and found that indeed he did! WOW.

Yep, that was the Holy Spirit speaking to me, and I sensed God was telling me to go and look at Paul's voyages to see how the Holy Spirit works in someone's life. When Paul took those voyages the Holy Spirit was active in his life, and his stories leave us examples of what that can look like.

Well, I still have those old notes from that day, and I'd like to share them with you now. I hope you like them. For me personally, they have refreshed me all over again, years on.

The Holy Spirit:

1. Speaks to you --

Especially when you worship and fast. He speaks through visions of the night or the day, dreams, pictures, symbols and analogies, and helps you understand scripture.

He warns you about certain things; and sometimes he gives instructions. This might be, for example, whether to step forward in a certain situation. Sometimes he will even forbid certain actions, not necessarily things that are a matter of conscience; rather, it's a 'not yet' or 'not here'.

He confirms his words to you by confirmations from others, and he says, 'Do not fear', and 'Take courage', strengthening you so that you continue in faith.

2. Helps you discern --

The Holy Spirit helps you look at a situation and know if it's God or Satan, enables you to recognize others' faith and, conversely, recognize the influence of evil in a particular situation.

3. Helps you speak --

He gives you words for others, which can greatly help them in their belief.

He enables you to speak accurately when necessary, though you will always be learning. Through him, you can speak true and rational words. You will testify to the grace of God, and he makes you God's witness.

He even might enable you to give others some divine insight, if you grow your skills in the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1).

Finally, he will enable you to speak boldly. Some still won't believe, but God does open hearts.

4. Grants signs and wonders

As you grow, the Holy Spirit will enable you to shake off the devil and be completely unharmed.

He will enable you to heal others, and even raise someone from the dead (Can I believe that? Yes I believe it).

Just as miraculously, he will enable you to open others' eyes and set people free of troubling spirits, strengthening the church as a whole, and increasing the size of the church. 

5. Strengthens you

Finally, he will have the effect of great joy on you and others and put a fervor inside you that stands up against anything on the outside.

**

WOW. How amazing, exciting and inspiring this is. All I can say is I want more and I know that it is there. This list was, after all, compiled from scripture (The Book of Acts chapters 13-28).

As for what it means for us today? Well, the Holy Spirit can come from an appropriate person laying hands on a person (see Acts 8:17-19), or by simply asking God in the quiet of one's home to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. 

To be baptized with the Holy Spirit is life-changing, and begins the above adventures. I believe God will give us only as much of the above-listed experiences as we can handle, according to our maturity and other circumstances. It's a beginning.

If you are reading this and haven't ever asked God for a baptism of the Holy Spirit, or simply want to ask him for more, you can do that in the quiet of your home. But, it would also be our honor to pray for you. If you would like, leave us a comment and we would absolutely love to pray for you! 

Love you, friends,

Ann