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20 entries from February 2010

Weekend Devo — Destroying False Beliefs

859675_book___That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, "If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn't it be better for us to go back to Egypt?" And they said to each other, "We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt." —Numbers 14: 1-4

In Numbers 14 the Israelites make a huge assumption based on several faulty beliefs. First they assume there’s no way they can claim the Promised Land due to the size and numbers of the people inhabiting it.

Their assumption exposes two false beliefs. First, they believe these foreigners were stronger than God. How could they possibly overcome such a hurdle? (Numbers 13: 31-33) They hadn’t even stepped outside their camp and they already assumed the worst possible scenario. Second, they believed God meant them harm.

All this led to their assumption that God didn’t care. They assumed God’s only intention was to let them die, despite the miracles they witnessed at the Red Sea, the Jordan, water coming from a rock, etc.

At times I find myself flabbergasted with their lack of faith, but then I step back and realize how much of an Israelite I am. How many times have I done the very same thing? Things go horribly or don’t turn out as I interpreted they would according to what I think God is doing, and I despair, wondering how God could have left me in such a place of insurmountable odds.

But what if the Israelites had nurtured their relationship more with God? Spent more time in prayer, learned the true character of the God who wanted desperately to give them a land flowing with milk and honey? What if they had reflected back on those past events as reminders of how God had rescued them and provided for their needs over and over again?

Would they have turned from grumbling to thanksgiving?

We can avoid making false assumptions about God by getting to know him better, and the only way to do that is to study the Bible. When we know God’s true character and base our beliefs on that truth, the trials and indecisions of life will not shake us as badly. Because we will know without a doubt that God only wants what’s best for us. Period. Without a doubt.

How do we know that? From God’s Word. Scripture is packed with God’s good intentions to prosper us and give us a future (Jeremiah 29:11). And 1John 4 is the greatest love letter to us from God.

We have two benefits the Israelites didn’t. One, we have God’s complete Word. The second is the greatest example of God’s unlimited love for us—Jesus. Perhaps the Israelites would have saved themselves years of suffering if they’d pursued God more passionately, but what really matters is that we can learn from our brothers and sisters from the distant past.

We have the opportunity to know God more intimately than Israelites did because we have his Son living in us. This is a huge gift! One we can’t squander by letting our pastors and friends tell us what the Bible says. God gave us his Word so that we can get to know him for ourselves. This is where our faith is formed, in a relationship with God through first-hand knowledge of our amazing Creator. Based in truth, not hearsay. And I guarantee you will meet God on the pages of the Bible.

The best part of this pursuit is that it never ends and it never gets boring! Our God is so unique, multifaceted, powerful, and LOVING that getting to know him and growing closer to him is the most amazing journey we can ever take in our lives. It’s transforming and exciting. And it’s the best way to destroy false beliefs.

I’d like to invite you to join me on this fantastic journey. Just start with 5 or 10 minutes a day and seek God in his Word. First ask him to open your heart and mind to hear him. This allows the Holy Spirit to go into action to reveal the most amazing nuggets of truth.

God has a way of permeating every part of our lives with his exciting presence when we truly desire to know him better. And I can tell you from experience that walking with him never gets old.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. — Jeremiah 29:13

Praying and believing,

Partner With God and See the Wonders

Psalm 40:5 Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. 

The past couple of weeks I shared with you how I fell off the Hope Train. I have struggled just as you struggle. There are days when it appears God is absent and He remains silent, unaware of our anguish or heartbreak. 


Say this with me now, “WE SERVE THE MOST HIGH GOD.” 

I was immediately reminded of God’s faithfulness. You, my friends, jumped on the Hope Train and pulled me back on board, reminding me instantly of how selfish I am. (I mean this in a good way.) You reminded me of who I serve. You reminded me to stop looking at my circumstance and look at my God. 

Thank you! 

How dare I forget all He has done in me and around me? 

I looked at my husband a few weeks ago, convinced he was no different that when we began our unemployment journey a year earlier. Yet, I KNOW the many things the Lord did during this past year. God provided for us financially. In miraculous ways, remember the Woman and the Cow Story. That was God’s miraculous business in an ordinary woman’s life. How about my husband praying in earnest for the first time? Miracles of miracles. How about giving my husband a job and He gave me a job through our book contract AND has allowed Dineen and I to share our hope with others who don’t find us on the internet. 

The list goes on…. truly, and on and on…. The Lord, God held my hand every step of the way. The Lord, God confronted my man then set him on a journey toward heaven. How dare I let a single argument with my husband defeat or minimize the power of God in my life. 

So today, it’s my turn to reveal something to encourage you. God is the God of wonders! 

Why do I always want to make it about me? This thing with my husband, his salvation, it isn’t about me. My roll and responsibilities when I partner with God is to do my part. Period. The end. When I do my part, then God will do the wonders. 

Read the scripture verse at the beginning of this post again then stand with me amazed. We need only to do our part and then step back and be WOWED. 

Settingsuncross  This past Sunday, I learned a couple of things we as unequally yoked spouses need to know. (thanks Pastor Josh)

  1. Discover and embrace your role in His-story. 
  2. Learn obedience by choosing faith over fear. 

My role is to live for Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less, then let Jesus to the rest. And when fear arises such as when I don’t understand why my husband still hesitates or I can’t get all my questions answered or what the end of this journey will result for him, I MUST choose faith. I know the truth and I cling to it with every part of my mind, soul, heart, and strength. 

When I do this, God shows His wonders. I am living in the Promised Land. 

A sinner set free! That would be me. 

As I sat in church Sunday, my husband joined me for the first time in many months. I glanced his way during the morning service and behold; his eyes were closed and his head bowed, and at that moment, I watched him pray in earnest. 

I see the wonders Lord. I see Your wonders. 

I love you Jesus, Lynn

It was Two Teenagers - Who Knew???

This is a story about my mother.

My mom lives in a smallish size town, in western Colorado. Grand Junction is a quaint place, hailed as the gateway to the Great Rocky Mountains. She has lived alone from more than 25 years.....

This story is about the unlikely but the amazing. Join me at Laced With Grace where I am privileged to introduce you to my Mom.  

Read the rest at Laced With Grace today. Be blessed, Lynn

Do You Have a Family Faith Record?

995732_diary As you know, Lynn and I are writing away on our book project, which wouldn’t even be possible without you, our readers, and a wonderful publisher who believes in our message.

One of the later chapters is about making a family record. If you were to imagine a day in the hopefully-not-too-distant future with your spouse as a believer who wants to know more about what he or she may have missed during his or her years of unbelief, what would you want them to know?

How your children asked to know Jesus?

How you prayed for your spouse?

What God spoke to your heart along the journey?

How God provided in difficult times or major trials?

What would it mean to you to have this journal or compilation of how God moved in your lives, yet weren’t able to share it with your spouse due to their unbelief at the time?

I know I’ve journaled a lot of this kind of stuff in the hopes of sharing it with my husband one day, but it’s scattered over several notebooks. What are some ideas you’ve used or seen to create a faith record of your family’s spiritual journey?

Can’t wait to read your comments!
Praying and believing,

In the Ditch. What are your thoughts?

Through this website, I have come to work with several others who counsel women during marriage issues. Last week one of my friends who counsels women, she and I we were discussing via email, the how and why marriages end up in the ditch. Here is a portion of what she wrote.... 

To me, it all seems to start with our beliefs...regardless of what the issue is. I personally feel both her and his beliefs have to change and she needs to seek truth and speak truth to herself and him. What do they believe about men and what do they believe about women. What do they believe about themselves? What do they believe about the other one? What do they value? What do they expect from themselves and the other? 

Most of the time it seems when there is a struggle it is based on "untrue" beliefs, which cause us to behave poorly. 

It infuriates me that women and men have lost their true identity in Christ, and that sometimes the church spends more time fighting between themselves about some doctrine than giving the people from an early age life skills based on the Principles and Promises of God. Hard for me to see the big picture but I want to be a force to bring that kind of discipleship into the church and create an atmosphere for maturity in our walk with God. 

Sometimes I think the church buries its head and gives the impression if we just pray hard enough the Holy Spirit will wave a magic wand and will be fixed. It also takes work. It takes commitment. It takes practical application of the Word of God. Sorry to rant but I am so sick of what the enemy tries and how unaware we are of his tactics. And how we don't recognize the authority we have in Him and our responsibility to choose! 

Most of all it takes us delighting in Him. The word delight means soft and pliable. Oh if we could all go back to the place of our young days and be soft and pliable in His hands instead of struggling for years with all these issues. I want the next generation to KNOW HIM, KNOW WHO THEY ARE IN HIM, KNOW WHERE THERE POWER COMES FROM! 


I have to tell you I am in strong agreement with my friends thoughts. So, I put forth these questions and ask you to share with me your thoughts. What is it we believe about men? What do we believe about women? What do we value. What untrue beliefs create constant struggles in marriage? And finally, how do we get this message to the women who are thinking about marriage and who are newly married? 

I am looking forward to this conversation and your advice. Be blessed, Lynn

Weekend Devo —
Guest Author, Robert Young

We have a special treat for our weekend devo today. S.U.M. friend and author Robert Young wrote the beautiful piece for us to share. Enjoy and God bless!  ~Dineen

*     *     *     *     *     *

There is never a time when He is not speaking. There is never a place where He is not present. There is never a room so dark that the ever present, ever pursuing One is not there tapping on the door of our hearts.

"Surely I am with you always, to the end of age."

"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

And its not explosions of lights. Not lightening bolts. Its just gentle light. A soft glow that brings hope into darkness.

And because we sometimes look for those explosions or the bonfire, we miss the candle. Because we listen for the shout, we miss the whisper.

But it is in burnished candles that God speaks. Through whispered promises, the warm embrace of a true friend or the touch of another's kindness is where He truly speaks.

"When you doubt, look around; I am closer than you think."

About Robert Young: Following the tragic loss of his son, Robert Young left Canada to pursue a time of healing and strength. Young spent several years renovating an abandoned plantation mansion on the Mississippi River while writing for local newspapers and magazines. During that time of healing, he penned the best selling novel, Three Days With Mary. He currently resides in the Dallas Texas area and is working on two new Christian novels as well as working with Bluefishtv Ministries.

Stinkin' Hard

I am a regular read of Lysa TerKeurst blog. A few days ago she posted the video you will find below. Her blog post was:

Sometimes Marriage is Stinkin' Hard

It is but her message is filled with so much truth. I wrote to Lysa and she said I was welcome to share the video here at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. It is a short but powerful message.

Thank You Lisa. Well said. 


You can visit Lysa at

Be Blessed, Lynn

Thankful Thursday - A New Profile Photo

Let us give thanks. It is Thankful Thursday.

We are meeting this month with Iris of Grace Alone and in March we will be at Laurie's place, Women Taking A Stand. Find Thankful Thursday back here in April.

In a few months I will be turning the big five oh. I decided that my profile photo was out of date seeing that is more than six years old. I needed a new photo and called up my friend, Prema of The PB Style

She took this ole' gal's face and captured the essence of me in some of her photos. I thought I would share a few with you today. Help me choose.

These are only the proofs. I will upload my profile photo in a few days when I receive the original on CD.

Watermark jeans jacket profile
 Fun photo
BW barnbackground
Facedown black turtleneck
Brickbackground black turtleneck
Whitebackground wm
Isn't Prema awesome? I adore her and my other photographer buddy, Iris Nelson of Grace Alone. So, I hope to update my profile photo in a couple of days. I am tired of that old one. 

I am thankful for my friend and sister in Christ, Prema. God has gifted you with an amazing talent. Hugs, Lynn

Olympic Fever

2010_winter_olympics_logosvgpn Every two years, my husband and I anticipate the Winter or Summer Olympics, our favorite being the Winter. There's just something about watching these athletes give everything they have to achieve their goal of excellence, to win a medal, to make their mark on their sport of choice.

I realized we have watched these Olympics together for 26 years. We watched them when before the split into Summer and Winter events, before the fancy camera work we now have to show us more detail, and before these athletes' lives and stories became almost as important as their performance in the spotlight.

That's the part I find most interesting, the stories behind these athletes so fiercely committed to their sport and their goal. Stories of heartache, set-backs, unfortunate accidents, and trials. Stories of going without to keep pursuing their dream, of their families sacrificing to help them get there, stories of overcoming the odds and still moving forward even when everything told them to quit.

As I watch these athletes and hear of their dedication, I find myself deeply convicted. Why not apply such dedication, such determination to our relationships? What if we put that kind of effort into our marriages—would the world see a dramatic drop in divorce rates? What if when we got married, we were told we were in the race for Olympic Gold?

I know there's a vast difference between athletic competitions and marriages, but the more I think about it, the more I see a common element between these athletes and life in general. That element is two part—choice, then commitment.

These athletes at some point make the choice to pursue their dream and then make the commitment to go after it, no matter what the cost. They are dedicated, intentional, and determined. And I think that's what marriage takes to last, to go the distance, to win the race and finish.

First, to make the choice to love and then make the commitment to stay together. The constant dedication to our spouse, the intentional awareness of the relationship and working to make it better, and the determination to do this on a daily basis.

Like these athletes, we are in training. We continually learn the right techniques and principles from God's Word (1 Cor. 13, Romans 12) and apply them as we go along. When we fall, we pick ourselves up again with the help of our Mighty Trainer, who's dedicated to seeing us through to the end.

The beauty of marriage and unlike the Olympics is this: Where we fall short and lack the strength or ability, God steps in and makes up the difference. He can even turn a failure into success. God doesn't ask us to run a perfect race. He just tells us to keep running so we finish with Him.

And that, dear friends, is gold.

Praying and believing,

I Fell Off the Hope Train

I have sat down to write a post for this Monday several different times today. I am having difficulty. 

It's Sunday evening, Valentine's Day. My husband and I had a fight earlier today. We argued over social events. This is a common theme of late in our home. So strange.

However, I am wondering if this is common in your unequally matched home as well. He wanted me to attend a BBQ with him. I didn't want to go. I wanted him to attend church with me. He didn't go.

Okay, is this real enough for you? Perhaps you didn’t want to hear all this but I can bet if you are unequally yoked, this is a common hurt in your life. I will also point out that although my husband and I have made some giant strides closer to healing a ton of our differences, our faith and social gaps still exist to some degree. I still struggle and it still hurts at times. So does he. 

It’s a bummer. I know so many of you are sitting at home on this day are also disappointed with your marriage. Valentine's Day can punctuate our feelings as it calls into sharp focus our romantic and married life. 

So this evening, I am wondering how you make it through this strange cycle we live in. First, we have hope. We see some glimmer of hope because our spouse took a tiny step closer toward God. Then we wait. 

 We wait. And we wait. And we wait…… 

Then whammy! A day like today happens and the reality of just how apart you remain, stirs to the surface and rips at your soul. Disappointment followed by disillusionment. 

So, today I want to hear how you pick yourself back up and jump back on the hope train? Thank you for sharing your life with me. Thank you for listening to me as I share the good, the bad and the ugly with you and you love me in spite of it all. Be blessed, Lynn

Hallmark Holiday

I originally posted this last year but I find it needs a re-read by me and I hope you will enjoy it again this year. I pray it helps and encourages many of you who struggle with Valentine's Day. Love and hugs, Lynn

HandhearTomorrow is such a strange day. Valentine’s Day!

This day could make me one of the happiest women alive or shatter my life. In the early years of my marriage, I had expectations of surprise trips to some warm destination. I dreamed of three dozen roses arriving at the bank which would make all my coworkers green with envy. I wanted him to sweep me off my feet because after all I deserved it. I mean really….. After all, he was lucky enough to snag me.


Don’t pretend you haven't had thoughts along these lines as a young bride. Perhaps you still might.

Well, I am writing to you today for a couple of reasons. I wish when I was young and starry eyed about love, a wise woman would have come along side me to help me get a grip on reality. I may not be the wisest woman but I care so very much about your tender heart.

My first five Valentine’s Days I was lucky in that my husband remembered to buy me a card. Many of you tomorrow won’t receive anything from your spouse. However, I wanted bouquets of flowers. I was so disappointed I cried…. Alone in the closet. Okay, Jesus cried along with me.

So, as tomorrow looms, it helps to share a heads-up. Our husband’s might disappoint us. Remember, our expectations of our men can be very selfish and our men often feel that no matter what they do, they can never make us happy. (Yikes, is anyone feeling convicted here?)

I can hear some of you saying right now…. But, why shouldn’t I expect some token of love on this day we celebrate romantic love? Well, honestly, I believe you should. However, it doesn’t always happen.

Let me share how our Valentine’s Day changed over the years. After five years of a card when “I wanted more,” I took matters into my own hands.

I began to plan Valentine’s Day and didn’t wait for my man to make dinner reservations. I made reservations or planned a candle light dinner at home. If I wanted a bouquet of flowers, I bought them. I bought lingerie then wrapped it up to give to him with a promise to model it.

I’m not sure when it started to happen but flowers began to arrive at the house around Valentine’s Day in the strangest way. I remember opening up the front door one year to a smiling FedEx driver. The driver looked at me wearing a great big smile and holding a large thin box. She said, “Mrs. Donovan, this is one of my favorite deliveries to make.” The box was filled with live fresh flowers. They were pink and beautiful and …… guess what…

I cried.

But not in the closet.

God can change any man but I bet He is gonna change you first. Don’t wait this V-day. Plan something now and make tomorrow a great day.

PS. Last week I knew my husband was planning to send me flowers for Valentine’s Day in spite of the fact that we are unemployed and can’t afford it. I looked at him one afternoon last week and said, “Honey, please don’t send me flowers. Really, I mean it. I appreciate knowing that you are willing even if we don’t have the money. I don’t need them this year.”

Go figure. Never thought I would say that in a million years…. But, I did.

Have a wonderful day and don’t forget that Jesus is really the only one who can fill the hole in our hearts. Happy Valentine’s Day and may the Lord send you several tiny love notes this weekend.

Be Blessed, Lynn

How do you stay connected?

Greetings this Festive Friday Everyone: Well I understand many of you are blanketed in snow up to your eyebrows. Burrrr

Look at this amazing photo taken just outside of Washington DC on Thursday morning by a work colleague of my husbands. 

I am inspired to praise God for His majesty! Awesome!


Sigh, so pretty.

Okay, this is is where I get to share with you today is a brilliant, sunny day here in Southern California. Not a cloud in the sky and gentle breezes are brushing the palm trees here in my small town. The high is expected to be 70 degrees and near 80 on Saturday. 

So, all of you who need to get out of the cold, come on over and just ignore any earthquakes. *grin*

Now I need your help once again…. Or, should I say just like always. I am writing about the importance of staying connected to our unbelieving spouses. This can be a daunting challenge when we feel some of our needs are not met. Specifically, I am speaking to the dynamics where we have faith, our spouse doesn’t want to deal with that part of our lives, that part of us. 

In spite of this very common fact in a spiritually mismatched marriage, it is imperative that we, the unbelieving spouse, put forth the effort to fill our marriage with love and grace. I am thinking about the scripture, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and unconditional love. 

With that said, what do you do to stay connected with your spouse and share unconditional love? I can think of a few examples in my life such as sending him a text message or an email. A random and likely zany, I’m-thinking-about-you message during his workday. I am also intentional about spicing up the bedroom from time-to-time. 

Okay, all of you have been so open and honest and vulnerable in your answers in the past. This subject can be difficult to chat about but, you haven’t let me down yet. I know you won’t now. So, please share with me your thoughts. 

PS. Is Valentine’s Day a difficult “holiday” for you? Stop in tomorrow for a few words of encouragement. Hugs, Lynn699d6valentine 

Thankful Thursday - Great News!

Let us give thanks. It is Thankful Thursday.

We are meeting this month with Iris of Grace Alone and in March we will be at Laurie's place, Women Taking A Stand. Find Thankful Thursday back here in April.

Did you hear the great news? Jesus lives!  

Did you hear the other great news? Because He lives, we have the power to overcome our struggles and live the abundant life. 

Did you hear the other, other great news? The former Blogger’s Retreat renamed, Sisters of Faith ~ To The Ends Of The Earth Retreat has opened registration. *grin* 

Did you hear the old news? Attending the retreat last year was one of the most profound spiritual experience of my life. God showed up…. My husband got a job…. My relationship with my sister was healed….. My husband’s salvation journey intensified…. Dineen and I are writing a book. God did all that in two days.

I AM CONVINCED the Lord met me there and set in motion all of these events which happened within six weeks of the retreat. The women at that retreat prayed…. God heard and He was honored. 

Oh, won’t you please plan to join me there this year? Start saving. Start planning. I can’t wait to see all the Lord sets in motion. 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him for my dear friends who are giving so much to put this retreat together, Angie Knight, Susan Baldwin, Lisa Shaw, Edie Moore

Hop over to Sister’s By Heart and take a look around. Happy TT. Be blessed, Lynn

Sisters by Heart

Tough Love (i.e. Sacrificial Love)

55446_catch_the_light I find myself in the most difficult position of my life. It’s not one I ever imagined being in, yet God has deemed it wise and necessary to put me here. And my family. I don’t want to go into details because that’s not what I want this post to be about.

Some of you out there are going through some of the most difficult times in your lives, too. Many with your marriages and family situations. I am too. I’m not a tough person, nor am I confrontational. In fact, I’m quite the opposite, almost to a fault.

Yet I am forced to exhibit tough love to someone I love more than myself. It hurts. It’s exhausting. But I know if I don’t, she will never move from this place of great pain and depression to live her life completely.

This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I found myself this morning in my prayer time with such a weight in my heart for my own situation and some others that have contacted us for prayers. The words to the song “I Surrender All” flowed from my heart and lips. I could think of nothing else to do than just hand it all over to God and truly trust He has it all in control even when it seems completely out of control. Not an easy thing to do.

My heart is breaking for my daughter, and for those of you out there struggling, feeling like you are in a hopeless situation. But I refuse to believe any situation is hopeless. Nothing we are facing right now is bigger than our God. And though it may seem He’s not working, we can trust that He is.

Maybe God wants us in that position to surrender all so that He can move in full swing and accomplish much more than we can even imagine. We see only the issue on the surface, yet God sees the roots growing much deeper into our lives and into our futures. He’s not satisfied with a temporary band aide when He holds life to the fullest out to us in his scarred hand. A future full of promise and hope.

Unfortunately, it sometimes means we have to get our hands dirty and give that tough love to get there. Be willing to do the hard stuff for the benefit of our loved ones. Give the kind of love Christ gave us. Sacrificial love.

Whatever you’re facing, you can do this. We can do this. God is there, and He won’t leave us or abandon us in our greatest time of need. He wants to bring wholeness and healing into our lives, for us and for our loved ones.

If you are in this place, please let us know. Lynn and I want to be praying for you. Leave comments or use our email contact information, which is on each of our About pages. Don’t lose hope. Bring the light of Christ into your situation, full beam with the prayers of others added to yours.

We will persevere.

Praying and believing,

What do you Struggle With in your "Uniquely" Yoked Marriage?

Hi Everybody, Wondering if y’all could help me again…. You were awesome a week ago when you shared your thoughts in this post. I heart you! 

Gold silver bands  I am thinking I have never written down the unique struggles that unequally yoked spouses face. So, I thought I would ask. This may be a tough assignment because many spiritual struggles manifest themselves in many ways in a marriage relationship. But, tell me what you think is a unique marriage struggle that is specific to your faith and your spouse’s unbelief. 

This is what comes to my mind off the bat.

  • Attending church alone. 
  • Organized churches rarely provide support or teaching specific to our unique marriages. 
  • Social events (list some specifics for me on this one) such as attending a church event and what it’s like when you go with your spouse to a social event such as a Superbowl party where no one is a believer. 
  • Language (cussing and or expression)  
  • What about media choices???? 

Okay, let’s hear your thoughts on this and be real. 

We 'll take a look at some of these issues in the future and some awesome scripture the Lord has placed heavily on my mind of late. 

THANK YOU so very much for making SUM a place where we each help one another grow closer to Jesus and to honor Him through our marriages. I love you so very much. 

Be blessed, Lynn 

PS. I’m waiting for the Lord to lead me about our next series. Until He directs, watch for some randomness around here. *grin*….. and randomness can sometimes be really great. 

Have a great week. Write me if you need prayer covering. Hugs, Lynn

Weekend Devo — Get on the Hope Train

Just wanted to share this great devo from James MacDonald of Walk in the Word Ministries. HOPE you have a great weekend! Blessings! ~ Dineen


GET ON THE HOPE TRAIN by James MacDonald

"Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." - Romans 5:2-5

Article_image218b As followers of Jesus, we need to keep thinking and talking about hope. But hope in itself doesn't mean much without an object. Hope must have a target. It's not typical to hope in Jesus Christ. It is typical to hope in my finances, my family, my career, or my marriage. I can hope in a leader or cause. We put our hope in many things other than in Christ. But we learn that none of those things are worthy of our ultimate hope. None of them! The only reliable place to rest our hearts is in Jesus Christ. But that hope is not intuitive - or normal. Hoping may be a habit, but we have to learn to hope in Christ.

The word hope means "a confident expectation of something better." Hope in Christ realizes, "Hey! My best days are ahead of me. Life isn't all in the rearview mirror for me now. In Christ I've got some things I'm looking forward to - not just in this life, but in the life to come." That kind of self-talk stirs up hope within us.

It's important to recognize the battle that we're facing and practice the hope that we find in our King. Learning implies a training process. It's trial and error. You're like, "Yeah, I kind of got off the Hope Train this week." Get back on! That's why we come to church. Hope training is why we hang out with other Christians. I don't know what you are feeling today, but if you kind of got off the Hope Train, climb back on!

Now that means we intentionally exchange doubt for hope. Instead of discouragement and despair, we choose hope. I think we need to look to other people who are good models of hope. I am aware of a woman in our church who I have watched over the last couple of years. I have prayed earnestly from a distance as she has gone through an awful circumstance in her family - with no end in sight. Yet she has strengthened many people with her stalwart faith and unyielding joy in the Lord. The examples of other believers' lives are all around us. These people may not be perfect, but they challenge us to do better. And you can't know how much staying on the Hope Train will encourage others.

Why is it always me?

Today, I am thrilled to introduce one of my very dear friends, Marsha Harwood. Many of you know Marsha as she is a profound blogger in our community. I met Marsha face-to-face in October at the blogger's retreat. However, I feel like I have been her sister for many years. She loves Jesus. I just pours out of her. She and I have traveled some interesting roads together such as our experience in the Kingdom Assignment. Which by the way, God is still using today. More on that later.

Marsha writes for Exemplify Magazine and specifically about marriage. Her December 16th Q & A article was outstanding. She gave me permission to share it with you today. I bet it will resonate with you as it did me. Be blessed, Lynn

Why is it always me? By Marsha Harwood.

I’ve received several emails over the past few weeks that can basically all be lumped together.

“Why is it always ME that needs to be creative, keep our marriage alive and fresh, give the back rubs, give, give, give?  When is it HIS turn?  I just want to scream sometimes!  Our marriage is give and take; I give and HE takes!  I thought marriage was supposed to be 50/50?”

Many times in my marriage, we’re both busy, overworked, and feel taken for granted by our jobs and unfortunately, each other.  At the end of the day, it’s not a question of keeping track of who had the most stress and pressure, but how can we work as a team and build oneness in our marriage.

Four Reasons Why Marriage isn’t 50%/50%:

  1. 50/50 bases accepting our spouse on performance. If they are putting in what we think is fair, then all’s well.   Performance then becomes what  holds the relationship together and we become the performance judge.
  2. Giving is based on merit. With the “meet me halfway” approach, we give affection only when we feel  he’s earned it.
  3. Motivation for action is based on how each partner feels. As newlyweds, it’s easy to act sacrificially because the pounding heart and romantic feelings fuel the desire to please.  But what happens when those feelings fade? If you don’t feel like doing the right thing, perhaps you won’t do it at all.  Love is an action not a feeling.
  4. We have a tendency to focus on the weaknesses of  our spouse. In a 50/50 marriage,  if we were to list our spouses strengths and weaknesses, sadly we’d find the weaknesses column tipping the scale.

Think about this for a minute: If you are only giving 50% to your marriage, what are you not giving?  Which part of your vows didn’t you really mean?

Ultimately, the 50%/50%  marriage is destined to fail because it is contrary to God’s plan.

100%/100%  – The Oneness Plan

Philippians 2:3: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.”

A marriage requires a 100% effort from each of us to serve our spouse.

Matthew 22:39 tells us, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Our closest neighbor is the one we wake up to each morning.   And there’s no question about how much we all love ourselves.  Just check out our closets and all the jewelry and beauty products we buy!

The motto of the 100/100 Plan would be:  “I will do what I can to love you without demanding an equal amount in return.”

As soon as you say this, a little voice inside will say, “Yeah but….”  and name some situation that just doesn’t seem fair. It is not the voice of oneness and must be silenced!   Yes, there will be times when he appears to get the advantage in the relationship.  But love requires sacrifice.  Plus, this may be an exercise of growing in grace that the Lord has planned for you right now.  Stick with the 100%/100% Plan and you will see oneness growing in all aspects of your marriage.

Marriage is the union of two imperfect people who in their selfishness, sinfulness, and demands of each other will cause disappointment and hurt. You must put all that off and put on forgiveness, love, and Christ’s command to love even those who don’t at times appear to love you.

We live in a fallen world.  We’ll never have all our expectations met in marriage.  It’s not even Biblical to expect that of our husbands, that’s borderline idolatry.   But if we focus on living more Christ-like, we’ll find we are more and more in love with our husbands and living out our part of the marriage 100% even if he isn’t and be satisfied and content.

Marsha lives deep in the woods of western North Carolina with the love of her life Mike, their dog Lucky, and an occasional bear that comes by for a visit. Married for 35 years, they are blessed with 3children and 6 grandchildren.

She and her husband started Snowbird TEAM Ministries 12 years ago to reach the people of Appalachia for Christ. Her ministry is with at risk teen girls, pregnant teens and counseling women and children who have been abused.  She knows and understands the shame and fear that fills the hearts of abused women and children.

Usually found with a camera nearby and a song on her lips, Marsha enjoys being out in God’s creation. It is her goal in life to live simply, laugh often and to love deeply.

She can be found daily at her blog, Marsha’s Musings.  She is also the editor of Exemplify’s Marriage Channel.

Thankful Thursday - The Holy Word of God

Let us give thanks. It is Thankful Thursday.

We are meeting for the month of February with Iris of Grace Alone and in March we will be at Laurie's place, Women Taking A Stand. Find Thankful Thursday back here in April.

One of my passions is leading a small group of women in Bible study. I have led a bazillion Beth Moore small groups. Love our amazing Beth Moore. Also, last fall I led two groups through The Love Dare, Lies Women Believe, and several others over the years. 

To sit among 10 other gals and discover together the truths of living life with joy and abundance through the study of God's word, is one of the blessings of being a child in the Kingdom of God.

Today I am leading a group of women who are the leaders of my home church women's ministry retreat team. I feel inadequate but completely excited. We are using a relatively old study, The Celebration of Discipline. Sounds like an oxymoron, celebration and discipline in the same sentence, but I can't wait.

It will be a privilege to lead our group on the discipline of Meditation. Meditating on God's Word coupled with prayer tipped my world upside down, spun me sideways and left me breathless. It changed me forever and it was GOOD! It was life-changing!!

Can I get an AMEN?

Today I have the chance to share how our great God used His powerful word to change an ordinary gal like me. It is my hope that each of the women there will discover a fresh enthusiasm for the study, reflection, and the power available in the Holy Word of God.

For this profound privilege, I am deeply thankful. Thank you Jesus, I love you. 

Happy TT. Looking forward to reading about your week. Hugs, Lynn

It Is Well

ItIsWell I went on a trip with a friend this weekend and during our time together we each shared our favorite modern versions of the hymn “It Is Well.” (Mine is from Kutless’ new worship album by the same title, and hers is by Jars of Clay. Both are awesome!) Now I’ll be honest, this is not one of my favorite hymns to begin with, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found something very worshipful in these old songs.

But this song keeps going through my head, more as a reminder of who’s truly in control. For that I have to say I am very thankful. I needed this reminder desperately right now. Otherwise I’d drown in the present circumstances with my daughter. Though her body is healed, and the MRI shows nothing short of a miracle, this sweet child of mine still faces some of the worst trials I’ve ever seen a person go through emotionally. And if you’re a parent, you know the pain of watching your child struggle. I heard Beth Moore once say of mothers that we’re only as happy as our saddest child. Her words ring true, don’t they?

How easy it is to allow ourselves to see only the moment of despair and not the hope God holds constantly ready in his hand for our benefit. I have to remind myself on the worst of days that it’s not the true picture of what will be, because I know God’s working. The next week, the next day, even the next hour could present a completely different picture.

And the most profound thing that God has ever shared with me in our struggle to bring our family to wholeness are these words:

“There is purpose in your pain.”

These words weren’t easy to hear at first. I won’t tell you what I told him. Thank goodness God loves me despite my temper tantrums, but I recognized the truth and grabbed onto it for dear life.

Why? Because to think we go through such struggles and heartbreak in life for no reason at all is completely intolerable to my sense of justice and purpose. If I am to suffer, let it at least be for the benefit of someone, if not myself. And I suspect this has much to do with what God’s doing in my hubby’s life.

But in these words there is also comfort in knowing God only allows us to struggle for good reasons, and two, it means he’s there every bit of the way to help us through. He has the bigger picture in mind and knows what needs to happen to bring us to the places of blessing he’s just waiting bestow upon us.

So, in this time of struggle of which my flesh wants so desperately to be free, I will say that it is well with my soul. I will persevere for God because he deems this important to our future, and I will trust our future to him.

Yes, it is well.

Praying and believing,

Marriage Monday - He Still Makes My Heart Melt

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis

Hi, It's Marriage Monday.

This month the readers and contributors to Marriage Monday at Chrysalis chose this topic for our community: 

How to Celebrate February 14 Every Day of the Year. 

Imported Photos 00003It’s early Sunday afternoon and I am sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop. Across from me sits my husband with his laptop. (Are we geeks, or what?) 

“Honey, what do you think we do as a couple to celebrate April 14th every day of the year?” 

“Well, first, we were married on March 14th” 

“Oops, I meant to say, February 14th.” I flash him a sheepish grin. He knows when I am working on my laptop and am often scatterbrained. I can’t talk and type at the same time. However, I have learned to walk and chew gum simultaneously. * smirk * 

I giggle. 

He chuckles. 

“Seriously, I am going to write something about how we make our marriage like February 14th all the time.” 

He looks up and gently holds me with his eyes, “We live our love every day.” 

I melt. Heart  

Happy Valentine’s day Sweetheart. I love you! 

Hugs, Lynn

For more Marriage Monday, visit Chrysalis.