A Little Testimony

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Hi friends, Amanda here! I don't know about you all, but I cannot get enough of stories where God fills a big need in a big way! So today I want to share a big something God did for me and my family last week.

Last week my washing machine quit working. It was mid-cycle with our large bath sheets and just gave out! Let me tell you, hauling sopping wet towels up a set of stairs should count as a week's work out! Haha! The next day I called our repairman and prayed he could fix it as he has done many times before. He showed up right after lunch and got to work looking at the inner workings of the washer. It took him no more than 10 minutes to reach a verdict. In his words, 'This machine is dead." Not only that, but because the washer and dryer were a stacked set, we would have to replace the whole thing! He was very kind and hated to give me that kind of news, but there was nothing else he could do. I thanked him, paid him, and he left.

Then I started to worry.

I wish I could say that I walked in perfect peace and stayed totally calm, but I didn't. I was wringing my hands, pacing the house, and fretting over having to tell Daniel - who was working 7 days a week - that we had a new expense... a BIG one! 

I started talking to God, "How are we going to afford this? Where are we going to wash clothes in the meantime? Where are we going to find a replacement set? God, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!"

He responded to me so calmly, "You're going to trust me."

"Okay, but God I-"

"No buts, TRUST ME!"

Every time waves of worry would wash over me, I would hear him say those two words over and over, "Trust me."

After my initial panic, I messaged a group of local homeschooling moms I have been blessed to become good friends with and let them know the situation. I also posted on good ol' Facebook asking everyone to keep their eyes open. I started scrolling Facebook Marketplace and worrying some more. The price for a decent set, even second hand, was really going to hurt us. 

Within a few hours, one of those mom friends I had contacted texted that she had found a FREE dryer for us! All we had to do was come and get it! At the same time (literally within the same hour), another friend from the same group texted and offered us a BRAND NEW washer for a fraction of a fraction of what they normally cost! Again, all we had to do was pick it up! my friend with the washer said, "My husband has been waiting to bless someone with this. He just didn't know who!"

My washer broke on Wednesday night, by Friday evening I had a whole new set!!

I could feel God smiling throughout the whole ordeal. I could practically hear him chuckling and saying, "See? I told you to trust me!"

This was a reminder I needed more than I realized. Our needs matter to him, even our regular, boring, every day, household needs! They matter! 

If there is something you are in need of this week, talk to him about it! No matter how small you think it may be. I promise you, he cares about the little things too.

If you would like, share a need in the comments so we can all pray for each other's needs! Have a blessed week my friends!


A prayer for you

Dear SUMites Heart

This Friday, I pray this for you:

In the name of Jesus,

I pray for His comfort to flood your soul.

I pray for the gift of faith for you.

I pray that your faith will be cast-iron solid, unshakeable, unmoveable, unmeltable.

I pray that He will fill the loneliness in your heart, and delight you with His romance.

I pray that your ears will be fine-tuned to hear His voice.

I pray for hope to fill your mind, and your imagination to be sanctified.

I pray that every place the sole of your foot treads, He will give you, and I pray that your faith will be catching to others like wildfire.

I pray that you will grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

And that all these same things will spread to your family.

In His name.

Amen.

**

Have a beautiful weekend, SUM family!

Ann xx


Thank you Dear Friends

THANK YOUSumites,

Some of you have been readers here for more than a decade and some only a short time. We have shared faith, our families and lives, difficult situations and so much hope in Jesus. Today, I want to say thank you. Thank you for learning with me as I grew in faith and in my marriage. Thank you for your precious time and your trust. I hold my responsibility to lead from a place of wholly relying on the Word of God, God's grace, wisdom, and the love of Jesus Christ with great reverence.

I want to thank you for every encouraging word you have spoken over me. Thank you for the emails and prayers you sent my way.

THANK YOU!

I also want to thank you for the many recent emails and notes about Enforcer. Many of you have shared how you've been greatly encouraged through the book. I spoke to someone last week, a precious daughter of God, who said, "My eyes were opened to what I am really facing in my marriage." So many of you have plowed through the challenging chapters to uncover areas that the Lord is now revealing where change is needed. And many of you have been galvanized into action to see the victories and promised that the Lord has for you. 

You have been so brave!

Your hunger for God, over all else, is such a beautiful gift to our King. 

Well done my family. WELL DONE. Keep marching. Swing your sword. Wear your armor. God is moving with such amazing change. Hang on as we are going to watch His hand move and destroy the evil that we have faced. And we will help as we pray and believe.

Today, I bless you with greater courage, greater awareness of the Lord's presence in your life, and with so MUCH HOPE for your future and family. In the Mighty name of Yeshua, our Lord and Savior. AMEN

Blessings and hugs, Lynn


Time for an Adventure

Hello everyone, Ann here. Ann Bryce uber

Well, while Lynn has been busy releasing her spiritual warfare book, Bryce and I have had an adventure of a different kind: We've packed up our house, have left New Zealand and, as of yesterday, have started our six-month trip overseas.

As I write, I'm in sunny Brisbane, Australia, where we're staying with Bryce's sister.

One of the themes of this trip, for me, is a desire to nurture my marriage. We're going to spend an unusual amount of time together, and I'm looking forward to talking with him about what matters to us and what our life is going to look like moving forward now that our kids are grown. I want to develop new shared routines with him, and I want to love him well. 

May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer - may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love (Proverbs 5:18-19, NIV)

This is a funny little passage: It's poetically archaic. Still, even though it's speaking of a man's feelings towards his wife, I often think of it in relation to my husband: Delight myself in the husband of my youth. And something along those lines is what I hope this trip is to look like.

While we are away, we will celebrate 25 years of marriage, and 30 years together.

I know many of you follow the lives of us writers, as we keep you company in your own struggles, so I might take the opportunity to share what the spiritual mismatch is looking like for Bryce and me at the moment:

I continue to go to church alone (Sigh -- hard. Always hard). But peace has settled between us, and the years of being spiritually stretched like an elastic band have given way to more of a non-chalance on my part. Is it ok to be non-chalant about my SUM? Well, the opposite is to be wound up like a top, and constantly stressed! So I guess God doesn't mind non-chalance.

I know God's got it all in hand.

However, even though I'm reasonably non-chalant these days, the outworkings of the SUM life are still mine to navigate: I do have hurts from being at church alone; I still gulp and experience stabs of fear or regret when I think about bringing faith to my children solo; I still wish I could give more to God, and so on.

What is perhaps a little easier is the loneliness: For some reason that has lessened. And there is less self-consciousness now when I talk about faith with Bryce. We can even speak freely about this blog: He is sitting opposite me right now, in fact, trying to be quiet so I can write.

While we are in Europe, I would love to ask him to go to church with me, so that we can meet local people. Will he?  I will keep you posted!

So yes, the whole thing has been a strangely evolving thing. How about you? Has the SUM situation evolved for you?

Well, next I'll be praying about our topics for the remainder of this week and will be back on Wednesday, still from here in Brisbane, and still in happy mode.

Much love to you all,

Ann


Ask ME the Hard Questions

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverHello SUM Nation. Lynn Donovan here.

Next week I'll offer the first of two LIVE video training sessions that expand on the teaching in Spiritual Enforcer. This will include an open Q&A at the end. April 10th at 11 am PACIFIC, I'll cover WHY we must have our stance established and what happens in the spiritual realm when we aren't firmly planted. 

Also, I'll delve into the demonic realm and why we need to know our enemy. But also, how vital it is to be in lockstep with Jesus and Holy Spirit. 

So, if you haven't read the book yet, pick it up and plow through the first couple of sections. You can buy the eBook, paperback or audio book here. 

If you gave during our annual giving in November, you have received an email with the Zoom invitation. If you want to attend purchase a pass; click here. 

Write down your questions. Admittingly, I don't know everything, but I've gained an enormous amount of effective strategies that truly make a difference in our faith battles. 

THIS is worth your time. THIS is worth every effort. THIS training is the real deal.

Jesus needs us, His Church, to discover our power and authority and to bring the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. I can't wait to share as I've already gained more info since the writing of this book.

Love you all. Be expectant, filled with hope and walk in joy. Love and blessings, Lynn


So What Happens Now?

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Photo courtesy of Adrian Cogua at Pexels.com

Hi everyone, Ian from Sydney here. How was your Easter? We hope it was full of goodness and happiness, especially with the wonderful message of the Resurrection. Jesus is Risen!

Easter has passed for another year. What happens now? Did the message of the Resurrection change anything in our lives? Is anything different in our hearts and/or lives since Maunday Thursday, less than a week ago?

Maybe? Maybe not?

Why not take a few moments simply to reflect on what’s going on in your heart now. Check in with yourself to see how you are? Perhaps jot a few notes in your journal or phone.

Peace is Available

I love the scene in John 20, the night of Jesus’ resurrection. The disciples are locked in the Upper Room terrified the Jewish leaders are going to break down the door and haul them away. They’re confused. Word is out Jesus is alive. But where is He?

Let’s read it together1:

“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them …”

Let’s stop there. Did you catch it? Jesus appears out of nowhere. The door is still locked. If he’s risen from the dead, surely, he’d have to use the door to enter? Wouldn’t he? Then the being standing in front of them must be a ghost?

Let’s read on … 

“and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

They’re frightened because they’re unsure who or what is standing in front of them. Jesus comforts them with “Peace be with you!” To further convince the disciples he isn't a ghost, Jesus showed them his wounds that were healed but scars were still evident.

That seemed to do the trick. The disciples were convinced. Interestingly, in another Gospel (Luke 24:41-43), Jesus asks the disciples for something to eat. Which is quite funny when you think about it, but another way of demonstrating he’s not a ghost. Never say, Jesus doesn’t have a sense of humour.

The disciples are now convinced their friend and leader is here in the flesh. What a mixed set of emotions they must be experiencing. I expect relief is one of them which would bring such a comfort at this scary time.

Breath of God.

I imagine there’s a lot of good banter going on as this group is reunited, but Jesus isn’t finished with making this night even more special for his tribe.

Let’s see what he says next:

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus offers them peace and then breathes on the group. Wow! Can you picture what a moment this is for everyone present. The breath of God is life! Remember, Adam was formed from the dust and given life by God breathing life in him.

Closed Doors

What doors have you closed in your heart and mind? Invite Jesus into them, if you're able.  And picture him saying those wonderful words, “Peace be with you.” Not just once, but twice.

And then picture Jesus, the lover of your soul, breathing into you. Breathing new life, new love, new strength, new hope, and new joy.

Receive it. All of it. Breathe in His peace. And breathe out the stress, the worry, the fear, the whatever, that has locked you up.

Now step out boldly. Spirit is with you. Spirit is never leaving for. Your heart no longer needs to be locked up.

Jesus is Risen! Holy Spirit is alive in us!

Grace and peace, dear SUMites and enjoy the peace and release.

Note 1: The Bible passage referred to is taken from John 20: 19-23 (NIV)


Who Is This Man?

Jesus Easter 2024Who is this man? (Luke 8:25)

Yeshua, the son of the living God. (Matthew 16:16)

My brothers and sisters, while in prayer, I have sat on hundreds of beaches with the Lord, and with a hurting or a hungry person who seeks and receives His love, wisdom, and healing. I’ve watched as our Savior holds the hands of a man or woman and releases them from insignificance, rejection, and false identities.

I’ve been in the room when our Savior entered. His presence is overwhelming and so intense, that I tremble. His love, goodness, and power are transformative, so much so, that He realign my thoughts, my disappointments, and sets me back on my feet, steadied on the narrow path.

His voice is tender, patient with us, and when he and the father converse, they share a familiar chuckle as they smile at our progress in our faith walk.

I’ve also experienced the sheer power of Jesus. I have viewed him in his glorified state. The devil appears next to him as a flea, whom the Lord flicks with a finger and he vanishes in fear. Jesus is strong, the ultimate power and ruler overall!

Jesus is my only protector. His blood heals, realigns my DNA, forgives, and blots out the failures of my life. He delivers me from evil.

Jesus is available. He leads us into greater encounters of truth, hope, and overwhelms me with his fathomless love.

My friends, on this, Easter, Sunday, along with millions who live on earth combined with the great cloud of witnesses, who have gone before us, we collectively proclaim our belief and faith in our King!

We declare before all of heaven and earth, that we are in love with an invisible man. We believe in heaven and an afterlife. We know in our hearts that Jesus came in the flesh, died, and arose on the third day. He is seated at the right hand of God.

He is the son of God.
He is the savior of the world.
He came to set the world right and reveal the kingdom of God on earth.
He is our Lord and lead us to our father, Yahweh.

Nothing is too hard for him. There is no sickness, mental struggle, or disease, he cannot heal. No one is too far away that he cannot reach. No devil or evil spirit can defeat him. Never will he leave or forsake you or me.

This is the Jesus we know. This is the Christ we love. This is the king, who we serve now, and for all eternity. 

I’m so thankful for the cross, the whipping post, and His glorious resurrection. I’m thankful with all of my heart Jesus willingly died for me and for you.

Who is this man? Yashua, the son of the living God. He is everything we will need or desire. And finally, and most importantly,

HE is risen!!!!

Just as he said!

Mark 16: 1-7 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”


Thank You for the Blood

Dear SUMites Jesus 2

Today, Friday, the church commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus.

Today let's say to Jesus, 'Thank you for the blood.'

I wonder if, today, we could each take five minutes to get onto our knees to thank Jesus out loud for what he did for us on the cross? That is, take five minute to not move from your quiet spot, focus on what he did, and articulate our thanks to him. That would be a precious act.

I am going to go and do that now, the minute I press 'publish'.

Well, SUMites, I wish you a beautiful long weekend, and Lynn will be sharing on Sunday.

Ann


He Is My Everything

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  Hello beautiful SUMite family! Amanda here! I am so happy to get back to connecting with all of you! Ann and Ian have shared some beautiful insights this week. I am so honored to share this platform with them.

Today I would like to share with you all a bit about who Jesus is to me. But before we dive in, I have to tell you all about something that has been going on with me over the last few months. Since January I had been experiencing a bit of writers' block. I would get an idea, begin to jot down some notes, but then lose traction. Sometimes I couldn't find the right words, sometimes I would just go completely blank! If I could show you the journal where I usually write my blog ideas, you would find many half-written potential posts, or even just a few sentences before the idea just slipped away from me! I actually have a note on the bottom of one page that says, "I need to write, but I can't think!" It was getting really frustrating! But as soon as Ann asked us to write about who Jesus is to us, it was like a lightbulb came on in my head! I opened my notebook and immediately began to write. This time the words flowed freely out of me! It was as if the Holy Spirit had been waiting for this one. I think I needed this reminder more than I realized! I pray it touches some of you as much as it has me!

Who is Jesus to me? Over the course of my life Jesus has been many things for me.

When my heart has ached with the loneliness of this SUMite life. When the seat next to me on Sunday feels as though it will always be empty, and my husband's bible gathers dust. He comes in and fills the empty spaces with his love, and I no longer feel so alone. Jesus is my spiritual husband.

When the challenges of parenting (especially in a SUMite home) feel like they will overwhelm me. When fear and anxiety over the futures of my children start to swirl in my head. He swoops in and reminds me that they were his first. He loves them more than I can comprehend. He holds them in his arms. I do not have to carry that weight because he carries it for me. Jesus is my hope.

When a relationship (of any kind) ends, and I am left wading through the waters of rejection, self-loathing, and doubt. He reminds me in his word that I am not broken or worthless. I was bought with a price! I am cherished and loved by him. He will never leave me. Jesus is my friend!

When my health is under attack, when waves of sickness fly at me and my family like arrows. When I am overcome with fear and despair, exhaustion and even doubt. He runs in and declares that by His stripes I am healed! Jesus is my physician!

He pursues me, forgives me, waits for me, and loves me.

The risen Jesus - my sweet and precious Jesus- He is my everything!

I hoped you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it my dear friends! Jesus feels so near and real this week! In the coming holy days, I hope that you grow closer to him, open your heart and let him in to all the places you are lonely, sick, or hurting. He is just waiting. Waiting on you to let him in!

I would love to hear from you in the comments! What are some of the ways Jesus has shown up in your lives? I look forward to hearing from you all!


Love is All Around!

6a00d83451ee9f69e202c8d3aec177200dHoly Week. It’s one of my favourite weeks of the year, but also one filled with sadness. It reminds me of Lectio 365’s Lenten Evening Meditation which they title, “Bright Sadness”.

I find the week is a microcosm of life with Jesus. We journey with Him, suffer death, wait for something to happen, and then there is newness in a resurrection of some sort.

It’s good to walk gently through this week and linger. I was reminded of this when I read Ann Voskamp’s post this morning  where she writes:

“Those looking for something sacred travel slow. Those looking for the holy linger.”

Linger with Jesus. However, you do this, but reading his Word is a great place to start. I enjoy reading the week’s liturgy as they walk you through Jesus’s week. We experience him entering Jerusalem on a donkey, him clearing out the temple, Mary’s wonderfully beautiful blessing with the expensive nard, preparation for Passover, the Passover meal in the Upper Room and then Easter.

I listened to Lectio 365's morning reflection today and it mentioned how the fragrance of the nard probably lingered on Jesus as he was crucified; the soldiers would have smelt it as they nailed his hands and feet to the Cross. Amazing.

Encountering Jesus

I’ve been reflecting for several weeks how the world is saturated in love. God is love and He is always present and therefore, His love is all around.

Every day we can choose to receive this love, to step into it, in some way. Receiving love can be hard for many of us, for a variety of reasons. It typically involves us making a conscious decision to do something and often requires making ourselves vulnerable which can be hard at the best of times.

If love is really all around (as the theme of the movie  ‘Love Actually’ suggests), how do we see it or receive it?

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Photo courtesy of Pexels and Enrique

I love clouds. I’m fascinated by the variety of shapes and designs that God provides for us to view. God knows I love clouds. I talk to God about them, “what’s that shape, Lord?” I often see angel shapes which I love and varieties of other creations. I soak in His creativity up as a way of receiving His love for me. "Thank you, Lord. I know you're close!"

It might be taking the time to chat to a neighbour. Hugging someone and allowing yourself to receive the hug as well (Fiona and I are huggers, and we think they’re one of the best things ever!) It might be a grandchild hopping up into your lap and cuddling. It might simply being silent when you start to pray, allowing God to love you in the stillness and quiet of the morning.

Lingering is so important to realising the many ways God is actively present in our lives. In this special week of brightness and sadness, it’s especially relevant. God is always with us, loving us in our own unique ways, just like Martha mentioned on Monday that Jesus speaks to her in her southern language.

May I encourage you to linger this week with God and allow Him to love you.

What aspect of nature and/or God’s creation do you find stops you in your midst and makes you linger and ponder with the Lord? Why not share it in the comments as we’d all love to the encouragement.

Wishing all our SUMites a delightful Easter.

Grace and peace.