Two Women And A Baby - A Story Of Hope For Our Children

Hey SUM family, Tiffany here! Sumites in the Bible

I want to continue our summer study with the story of Lois, Eunice and Timothy.

There isn't much in reference with Timothy's upbringing; however what is mentioned speaks volumes of these two women.

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. - 2 Timothy 1:5

But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. - 2 Timothy 3:14-15

To better relate to the characters in this story, we have to first dig a little bit into the context in which it is written. We find a bit about Timothy's heritage in Acts 16:1. Here it is discovered that his mother was Jewish and his father was Greek. During this time period there was a lot of division between the Jews and Greeks. These two people groups had different religious beliefs, cultural upbringings, and value systems. Two worlds collided; sometimes erupting in violence. This brings deeper meaning to Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew  nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

Eunice was a Jewish woman. I wonder the stigma that would have come upon her as she chose to marry this Greek man. Did it make it hard to go to the marketplace? What about the synagogue? Did she fear being disowned by Lois for an "unclean" marriage? I wonder what went through her mind as she found out she was pregnant with her son, Timothy. Did she hear that familiar lying voice, "You really screwed this up. This is not what God wanted for you. You failed. Game over."

Nothing is really mentioned about Timothy's father which would suggest that he had passed away before Paul had come into Timothy's life.  According to our scriptures above, we know that Timothy was taught the Scriptures from childhood. He was a part of a family who knew God's word. Without knowing when his father passed away, it is hard to say how much upbringing he had from his Greek side. His father must have had some say because Timothy was uncircumcised upon meeting Paul.

I love to wonder and imagine things from the Bible and this story is one of them. I can't say for sure but I like to imagine the first encounter that these two woman and a "baby" had with Paul and Barnabas. Acts 14, two men come into town. They have the ability to heal the sick and lame. Lystra, steeped in Greek culture, the residents believe that they are gods and proceed to try and offer sacrifices to them. In dismay Paul and Barnabas plead with the people - we are mere men! We come with good news about Jesus Christ! The crowd becomes angry and stones Paul; leaving him for dead. Wouldn't you know that after some prayer and intercession, Paul gets up and walks back into town.

What a movie scene that would be. This young man, Timothy, witnessing this freshly beaten man - strolling back into his hometown after a brutal beating. I can picture the awe and wonder in Timothy's mind. Can you see the powerful testimony of the good news preached some time before. Who is this Jesus? Could He be the messiah we had been waiting for?

Thankfully this story of two women and a "baby" ends in triumph. In fact, did you know that the name Eunice means "conquering well" and "good and joyous victory?" The fact that Timothy become so well respected in town shows the diligence to raise a man of character. Paul was so impressed that he asked Timothy to join him in ministry.

This is a great story of hope for you and me!

I've gone a little long so we will pause for today. On Thursday we will talk about some practical steps we can glean from these two woman and a "baby."

Let's talk in the comments. What has God been revealing to you in our summer study? What newfound hope have you found for your marriage and parenting through these stories?


The Story of David and Michal

A warm welcome to any new readers of the blog today! My name's Ann, and we are in the middle of a study of marriages in the Bible with a faith difference. I hope you enjoy it as you read along.
Sumites in the Bible

As for our regular readers, I so enjoyed reading your comments and insights on Monday's post. Keep them coming!

Now, today's couple is David and Michal. Unlike Elizabeth and Zacharias (from Monday's post), David and Michal seem to be a classic couple with a clear faith difference. If we turn to 2 Samuel 6:16-23, we see David dance to the Lord, a whirling passion that came straight from his hunger for his Lord. Michal, meanwhile, looks out of an upstairs window and despises his faith. I wrote a little about that back in March -- You can re-revisit it here.

Essentially, Michal sees David dance and comes out with a cutting comment about his worship. She was not right to do so. But today I wanted to ask the question: Could it have been avoided?

Here's the thing: Michal had a raw deal. Her relationship history with David is shown in the Bible, and we can see that somewhere along the way it turned into a bit of a disaster. The day she looked out of the window and despised David might have been the culmination of a few things.

Early on she loved David (1 Samuel 18:20). These are sweet words. Perhaps he loved her too: To win her hand he was asked by King Saul (her father) for 100 Philistine foreskins (1 Samuel 18:25-27). That's some commitment. 

They started out settled, but then disaster struck: David had to go on the run from Saul; Saul married off Michal to another man. David was busy surviving for so many years, and then when he became King there were wars to fight, alliances to make. Years went by before he saw Michal again, and by that time he'd married six new wives!

Only AFTER marrying the six wives does David manage to get Michal back, snatching her from her new husband who follows her weeping (2 Samuel 3:13-16). We don't know if she loved the second husband, or what her will was; but as I write this I think to myself, 'Would any woman be happy to be one of seven, when previously she was the only one?' Biblical times were different, but I just can't imagine this being fun.

The thing is, men were meant to be husbands of one wife. God gave Adam one woman: Eve. It wasn't Adam and six women. Centuries later, admittedly the heroes of faith like David and Jacob did have more than one wife; but while God honored them for their open hearts of faith and their many acts of obedience, their sexual actions did have some dysfunctional consequences. Perhaps it was simply that they were products of their society.

My hunch, in any case, is that all this drama that Michal went through didn't help.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself." Ephesians 5:25-28 (NKJV)

Could it be possible that Michal's heart may have been hardened more than it otherwise would have been? She had the choice to receive God or reject him, as we all do, and scripture makes it clear that God made her barren because she rejected David's worship (2 Samuel 6:23). She was certainly in the wrong. But, could it have looked different?

As a man after God's own heart I imagine that David constantly grew in his honor of others, including his wives. After all, in this very story he moved straight away to bless his house after dancing for the Lord (2 Samuel 6:20). But I just wonder about that history and the brokenness it might have caused Michal. For me, I guess it's a reminder to cherish my own husband at every single turn, so that nothing I do -- oh I hope nothing -- gets in the way of his ability to love God.

Over to you, friends, for your insights. I'm looking forward to chatting more.


Welcome Listeners of Chris Brooks on Moody Radio

Marching Around Jericho Cover 3DIt’s an honor and privilege to share with the listeners on the Equipped show with Chris Books, Moody Radio, the amazing journey I took marching around Jericho and my unsaved spouse's faith journey. Chris is an amazing host and our conversation covered many aspects of living and praying for our unsaved spouses.

VISIT THE BROADCAST PAGE: Praying For Your Unsaved Spouse.
Chris Brooks & Lynn Donovan

The broadcast interview will be Tuesday, July 7 from 1 to 2 pm CENTRAL; 11-12 noon PACIFIC time. Visit the station and listen in: Moody Radio

Welcome to all who have come to this church without walls, to find love, encouragement and hope for your marriage.

If you are new, grab your copy of Marching Around Jericho, and start your march this week. Also, visit our new here page and find our community. Leave a prayer request in the comments and we will pray for you. You can connect in a number of ways through the blog comments, on Facebook, Instagram.

If you want more information and free resources to help you on your march visit, MarchingAroundJericho.com. Click on the Equipping center.

Chris brooks Equipped

I’m deeply thankful to Chris Brooks and Moody Radio for allowing me to share the hope I have. And to share that we can learn to love, live and thrive in faith and our marriages while we pray for our spouse’s salvation

Love and hugs, Lynn Donovan

Start your march today, MarchingAroundJericho.com

You can find more of my Kingdom teaching at lynndonovan.com


Summer Study: Let's Look at Elizabeth and Zacharias

Hello SUM family, welcome to our summer study! Sumites in the Bible

It’s Ann here, and this whole month we’re going to be looking at different couples in the Bible who had a faith difference. Today, I have the pleasure of kicking it off, and so let’s turn to Luke 1 to meet our first couple: Mr and Mrs Zacharias – That is, Elizabeth and Zacharias. We know the story well, but is there a SUM twist to it?

We find them living a settled life with friends and neighbors. Having each grown up in tradition they were always on the same page (Luke 1:6), but one day – Oh SHOCK– the power of the Kingdom broke in and divided them. Aggh!

That 'breaking in' involved the barren and elderly Elizabeth receiving a miracle pregnancy. The Lord put a seed of faith inside her, she conceived and, SUMites, we all know what happens next. A seed of faith comes into a marriage and it does interesting things – One spouse can respond quite differently to the other, which then has different consequences for each.

Now, Elizabeth and Zechariah were each given the opportunity to believe this miracle, but faith is belief in things unseen (Hebrews 11:1) and for Zacharias it was just such a stretch. His go-to response was to say a ‘logical’ “Yeah? ... er....  Nah.” An angel was right in front of him telling him the GOOD NEWS, and yet he questioned it. Not even the visible presence of the supernatural could crack him. I'm smiling a little at that because I know what that looks like.  

He says: “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” And he receives a response:

“I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” (Luke 1:19-20; NKJV)

Now, here's the SUM part: In the same passage, Elizabeth’s response is pointedly different. She says, “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” (v. 25), choosing to hide herself -- go deep with God -- for five months in wonder. Although it is unclear what then happened with Zacharias, the contrast between the two of them is a symbolic part of the story.

Elizabeth and Zacharias are then catapulted into strange things, and who knows how much is seen by the relatives and neighbors. Often a SUM situation is kept quietly in a home, a deeply private thing between man and wife. It’s something you often can’t explain to others. All the while, Elizabeth endures a spiritually intense time: Five months of believing something with no physical evidence is probably very difficult but does something profound to her. Emerging from her secret place (Psalm 91:1), she eventually begins to pour out the Holy Spirit:

“ ... and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice –" (Luke 1:41-42)

She speaks. He stays mute. My friends, how much is this like our life? But then the effortless way in which the Holy Spirit pours out of her is her visible reward for time spent believing.

The words Elizabeth spoke, in turn, were a banquet for the lonely teenage Mary, who had herself been divinely connected to Elizabeth for Kingdom purposes (Luke 1:26-36). Elizabeth’s faith propelled Mary into being able to understand her own difficult walk and to say: “My soul magnifies the Lord!” or, "Oh, Praise God!"

It occurs to me that God took Elizabeth on this lonely path so that she could support another. And so I ask, today, “Who am I here for, Lord, during this SUM time?” It doesn’t matter that my beloved Zacharias is on his own path; God has stuff for him ahead, but he also has stuff me to do so I will roll up my sleeves and get on with it.

I love this story and hope you enjoyed this first post in our study. Now over to you -- It would be great to chat in the comments. What thoughts would you like to share?


Hungry For More? This Video and Field Guides Are For You

SUMers, have you listened to all the videos and worked through the Field Guides I created on MarchingAroundJericho.com?   Please hop over there and listen in. And if you have, consider supporting the ministry and purchase the next series of videos and Field guides. It all goes to support the ministry. 

Here is what you will learn about in the next series. And I'll tell you the Holy Spirit video is a demonstration of God's power. AND PS. God told me to demonstrate and God showed up. I'm still freaked out and it all happened to me.

  • The Power of Forgiveness
  • Spiritual Authority In Christ Jesus
  • Spiritual Power and Partnering With the Holy Spirit
  • The Power of Our Voice
  • Speaking in Tongues

AND, want to understand our authority over the demonic? Those videos include:

  • Module Three
    Understanding the Demonic
  • Who Is Our Enemy?
  • Legal Rights
  • Generational Curses/Word Curses/Land Curses
  • The Occult
  • Witchcraft
  • Angels, The Good Guys

All the video titles can be viewed here: Marching Around Jericho/ Equipping Warriors


Graves into Gardens

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Photo courtesy of Rob D and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dear SUMite friends, Ian from wintry Sydney here. It's just turned July 1 here and it's incredible that half the year has already passed. Who could have anticipated what would go down this year? As I've mentioned previously, the Lord put on my heart the word, 'Awakening', in January but I had absolutely no sense of what that meant. Much has occurred for me personally, but it pales compared to all the global events.

Awakening

There is an awakening happening across the globe and it's important for us to hold on to the belief that God is in charge. And good has come out of these difficult times and will continue to I expect for years to come. 

Life for all of us is going to look different for a while, isn't it. Everything we're used to (outside of our homes) is having to be adjusted, whether it's the simple things like hugging friends, attending church, schooling for our kids, working out at gyms or eating at our favourite eateries. The list goes on.

Stay Connected

Even when it's challenging to be physically close, choose each day to stay connected with friends. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Schedule at least one contact per day - ring someone, Zoom/Facetime someone and be very present with them. Switch off other devices, email, clutter all around you so you can be fully focused on your friend. And be slow to share rather ask questions seeking to listen and care for your friend. Your turn will come to share, maybe not this time but the next.
  2. Embrace solitude with God - enables us to simply pause and take some time out from the world, family. Breath deeply a couple of times and try to clear your mind. There are a lot of apps that help us do this but I'll refer you once again to John Eldredge's One Minute Pause app which I and a number of my friends have found particularly beneficial in these crazy times.
  3. Encourage someone today - I have a saying that 'everyone needs a Barnabas in their life' and I try to be one every day. It can be as simple as a smile to a passer by, a quick check in to your neighbour, a text message with a heart emoji ("I'm thinking about you") or a note to say well done. Don't seek a thank you. God knows, that's all that matters. 

Worship

Who loves singing worship songs? At home? In the car? It's good isn't it! It awakens (that word again) our hearts and pours faith and belief into us.

I expect many of us will have seen the various collaborative versions of Kari Jobe/Cody Carnes "The Blessing"; the churches down under even did a version which I love. But it's this one from Elevation Church that is particularly relevant for these times.

Sing along and believe these lyrics because our Lord does indeed "turn graves into gardens, bones into armies, seas into highways and mourning to dancing" We are living in a moment in history that God has deemed for us to live in and oh, the wonder we are going to see. 

Get ready!


Announcing our Summer Study!

Hi friends, Ann here!

The sun is shining as I write from down here in New Zealand, and it’s even more summery up in the Northern Hemisphere. So, with the sun beaming I’m happy to announce we are about to launch into our annual summer Bible study.Sumites in the Bible

This year we’re going to do something a little different. Instead of doing what we normally do and taking a book to work through, this time we're going to take a trip through scripture to examine some of the spiritually mismatched marriages that lie within the pages of the Bible. Yes, we’re taking a look at SUMites in the Bible.

Were there many of them? We’ve thought up a few. And then in some cases it seems that aspects of a marriage were spiritually mismatched without it being overtly mentioned. I wonder whether any particular Bible character springs to mind for you? If so, post in the comments – We’d be interested to see who you think of.

We’ll be kicking the study off next Monday, 6 July, and Lynn, Tiffany and I will be taking it in turns to write. So, have your cups of coffee and Bibles ready, pull up a chair, and let’s have some fun with this topic.

Till then!

Ann


Freedom Marchers Join us from England

It was awesome to spend time speaking with Maria Rodrigues in London, England. Maria is the host for Woman to Woman show on Premier Christian Radio. It was a fantastic interview. Thank you, Maria. You are a woman who God loves. Hope you can listen in as Maria and I discuss the real issues related to unequally yoked marriages. Hugs, Lynn


Radio Interview with Bob Crittenden on Faith Radio

Hello Kingdom Marchers,

Faith RadioI am a guest with Bob Crittenden, of The Meeting House on Faith Radio on June 23, 2020. Bob is an amazing host and he and I chatted about my journey with my husband through the circles around my Jericho. 

Bob is a fantastic host and we covered a lot of great information about how to pray for your unsaved spouse and how to help yourself as you love and honor both God and your marriage.

Bob's program can be heard online at Faith Radio between 4 pm - 6 pm (Central Daylight time).

Here is the link: Faith Radio, The Meeting House 


Oaks of righteousness by Libby Finan

Prophetic word for the SUM community - Oaks of righteousness by Libby Finan

Trees of RighteousnessWhen Lynn Donovan's husband Mike got baptized in March 2019, I was thanking God in prayer and he showed me a vision of an oak tree which represented Mike following his salvation. Fast forward to earlier this year in January, and again God reminded me of this vision, but this time He showed me a vast forest of mighty oak trees, and I knew it was not a vision just for one spouse, but for many. In this forest, there was distinct space around each tree so you could see how many trees there were, and here is the best bit...each oak tree represented a saved SUM spouse!

He led me to His promise in Isaiah 61:

"So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God], The planting of the Lord , that He may be glorified. Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up and restore the former desolations; And they will renew the ruined cities, The desolations (deserted settlements) of many generations."

Wow! The SUM spouses will be planted by the Lord, and they will display his glory. They will be mighty men and women of God and they will impact generations to come. What a promise.

ACORNS

You may be thinking my unsaved spouse is nowhere near that at all. But, there is an old English proverb that reminds us, 'mighty oaks from little acorns grow'. How amazing to think one little acorn can grow into a huge oak tree which can live for over a thousand years.

Acorns have a thick tough shell, but inside there is a single tiny seed of destiny. But in order to fulfill its potential, the acorn must first fall to the ground, just as pre-believers have to fall in surrender to Jesus. Then, the acorn must break open to release the new life - maybe things may seem to get worse before they get better - but it is all part of the predetermined life cycle.

PREPARING THE SOIL

When the acorn germinates it produces a tap root which will anchor the tree for the rest of its life. What a wonderful metaphor of faith as a lifelong anchor. God is preparing the soil so that the acorns do not fall on the path and get plucked up; or fall on the rocky ground where they can't take root and die, or fall in the weeds and thorns that stunt their growth; but fall on good fertile soil where their tap roots will flourish. He is cultivating the soil, softening it, watering it, nourishing it...He has been pulling out the weeds of addition and trauma, breaking up rocks of strongholds and unbelief, and fertilizing his good soil.

SAPLINGS

Between the acorn and the tree, comes the sapling - the young tree, the baby Christian, the new believer. They are starting to fulfill their potential, and to mature in the Lord, but this is a necessary growing process. God showed me the vulnerability of this stage in the process and how vital it is to protect these saplings. We know the enemy is roaming around looking to devour, so it is our role as the more established believer to intercede and battle and protect our spouses - to pray a hedge of protection around them as they grow.

DEAD TREES COME ALIVE

For some spouses, they have grown into trees, maybe even flourishing for many years, but they have since turned from Him. When they are no longer being fed by Him the tree withers. But His word reminds us that the tree is not dead, all is not lost, this is not the end! In the middle of a pretty desolate passage in Job, it says "For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant." Resurrection power can make all things new.

TIMING

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for AT THE PROPER TIME we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9 NIV)

It is not a race or for comparison...each acorn will grow at its own pace, and only God knows when that is - "When the time is right, I the Lord will make it happen" (Isaiah 60:22). He encourages us to stay filled with hope and faith. I truly believe that the acorns are sprouting - some are still so deep in the soil there is no physical evidence of it yet to be seen. But unseen, God is working, hearts are changing, spiritual battles are being won, eyes are opening, and progress is happening! One day you will see the tiny green shoot emerge, the new life of a sapling growing strong, and then the mighty oak tree will flourish!

(For a study into the characteristics of trees in the bible take a look at Tiffany's blog about the cedars of Lebanon and to read more about the parable of the sower and the soil, see Ann Hutchinson's blog.)