Previous month:
August 2018
Next month:
October 2018

16 entries from September 2018

Someone Is Going To Die!!!!!!!

Eagle SUMMy SUMite sisters and brothers. Are you weary? Are you tired of shouting down the demonic realm that surrounds to destroy you and your family? Are your prayers altering only momentary change?

Rise up and receive the gift of God, The Eagle. God is surrounded by eagles in His throne room. Let’s take note of what they offer.

Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a human being, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. — Ezekiel 1:10

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. — Isaiah 40: 31

Eagles soar for two reasons: To climb above a Thunderhead and to hunt or protect their nestlings.

They have been discovered soaring at rare altitudes of 32-37 feet. These are the altitude of jetliners. They engage and lock a specific joint in the wing, making it immovable. By circling upon the temperature differentials, they climb to such extreme heights that frost begins to cover their back and wings. They exude tiny amounts of energy, the lungs constrict thereby maintaining oxygen requirements.

They mount up the windshafts toward the brilliance of the sun. A tiny sliver in their eye shields the eye from damage, yet guides the eagle upward, fully focused on the light. Perhaps for the sheer adventure and likely for the posturing, a perspective upon all below.

Similarly, as believers, when we mount up over the circumstances of life, through a relentless focus on Jesus, our bright point, we become untouchable like eagles, because we abide in the light of intimacy of God’s Presence. Engaging the Presence with pinpoint focus we mount up and soar over every challenge. We are meant to have dominion over the circumstances of life. The Eagle represents this Kingdom principal. We engage the face of the Eagle and emulate our Father.

Eagles also soar to hunt and protect.

Were you aware that an eagle can spot a snake from more than a mile above? Eagles circle and soar, patiently watching their pray until they spot a moment of vulnerability.

Then at speeds up to nearly 100 miles per hour they steak out of the sky. Their wings and neck lock into a folded position, their feet fold back, they go completely silent, stealth. Like a missile with a laser-focused eye, an eagle descends from the light source. The high perspective above the chose, fear, scrambling, and distraction, fully committed and focused on the snake.

Upon the moment the snake realizes it’s too late, it momentarily freezes in place in a terror. A fully committed hooked-beak form of unstoppable victory is screaming toward it at an inescapable rate.

This is our perspective. Upon our departure from the Presence of God, we appear to the demonic world as a ferocious eagle in full assault. The demons scream and scramble away when we approach.

Why?

Because they know someone is going to die!

Every demonic spirit is petrified of who you are and what you carry.

Today, what are your circumstances? Illness, divorce, wayward children, loss of job, loss of hope? Rise up Child of the Most High. You are equipped with wings like eagles. Pursue the brightness of Jesus and then come back down with laser-focus and talons extended to grab those pesky demons by the neck….. As someone is going to die and it isn’t you or your family.

You carry the perspective of God. You are endued with power from On High. Filled with the Holy Spirit and rockin’ a prayer life that causes the demons to scream as they die. Descend from the Throne of Grace and let them have it. Speak life over your circumstances. Speak truth and peace. Speak to the darkness to die. In Jesus name.

Beloved, stand strong in His Word and know that Jesus has your back. I love you. Have a great week. Lynn


Going To Hell?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHello SUM Nation,

On Monday I posted a question. See below. Today, I’ll share my perspective. Hugs, Lynn

Anne M. wrote: Answering questions about the eternal fate of unsaved family members to your children, knowing that your words may be repeated to those family members. It's walking a line of truth, comfort and diplomacy.

Anne, it IS walking a line of truth, comfort and diplomacy. So true.

Let me share how I view my pre-believer spouse.

HOPE.

I will never surrender hope that God will reach my husband. I’m so utterly convinced that God will answer my 26 years of prayers, that there is no other option for me. In fact, I’m nearly convinced that the prayer Mike prayed with Joe on the driveway in front of our house, sealed the deal. (I share this story in Winning Him Without Words)

I won’t know for sure until glory, but the Lord has given me peace in this area. I continue to pray things like, encounter my husband. Protect him from the devil. Prosper him. Let Mike see you today…. These are awesome prayers that move the heart of God.

I’m not in denial that Mike has free will and that there are eternal choices at hand. However, when talking to anyone about salvation, heaven and hell, this is my perspective:

I believe that God is far greater, filled with a love to powerful and all encompassing that our mind is incapable to comprehend it fully, and His person is mercy. I believe He spends an entire lifetime reaching out to an individual to share His love and bring that person into truth. I also believe that we, the Church, tend to put God in a neat little box so that we don’t have to think about a broader possibility that God can save even the ugly, the rebellious, and those who doubt. 

My friends, I once was all of those.

He saved me.

(We want justice. But often God's justice is the opposite of ours.)

When speaking to unbelievers, I share that God is bigger than we know. He will have mercy on those He chooses. So, as long as you are breathing, there is hope. I will hope, until I’ve hoped, hoped, hoped and then hoped some more.

God likes hopeful people.

I always choose to view people as children of God. Because every person on this plant is His kid. Some are so very lost, corrupted, and on a path of destruction. But, God redeems even the worst sinners. I believe that is what Jesus said was His purpose.

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. — Luke 5:32 (NIV)

When family members ask if you think someone is going to hell, I would reply, “God is good. He is love and I just don’t know. God continually surprises me, so I remain hopeful.”

Your thoughts?


Do You Want The Evidence Or The Truth?

Hey SUM Family,

Tiffany here:

ev·i·dence -  

a : an outward sign : indication

b : something that furnishes proof : testimony; specifically : something legally submitted to a tribunal to ascertain the truth of a matter
(Merriam-Webster online dictionary)

Last post (This Is Just The Pits!) we began to take a look at the life of Joseph. We discovered that there are ten tests we must face in order to fulfill our God-given purpose (I highly suggest you read From Dream to Destiny by Robert Morris for more on this topic). I want us to really dive into the deep end of the pool as we learn more about the pit test.

First, let's continue on in the story of Joseph. At this point he was ambushed by his brothers and thrown into the pit. Changing scenes, we see what happens with his family next:

So [Joseph's brothers] took Joseph's tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in blood. Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, "We  have found this. Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?" And he recognized it and said, "It is my son's tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces" (Genesis 37:31-33).

F.E.A.RJoseph's brothers did not flat out lie and say that Joseph was killed. Jacob came to that conclusion because of their leading question, "Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?" This is what we would call fabricated (false) evidence.   Remember evidence is an indication or something that furnishes proof. This evidence in Jacob's mind was proof that his favorite son was dead - to him it was the truth.

For over 20 years, imagine Jacob as he says in v. 35, "For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning." Imagine a father so heartbroken that he was not able to be consoled. I don't know for certain but I can imagine countless nights of crying himself to sleep, restlessness, no appetite, deep depression...unable to move on. Not only that but his other sons could have easily freed him from all of it...over 20 years of seeing and living with their father. What callous and prideful hearts!

What about you? What fabricated evidence has been stacked up against you? Your marriage? Your parenting? Your identity in Christ? What lies of the pit have kept you trapped for far too long? 

We live in a sin-hardened world, and we will be tempted by fabricated evidence just as Jacob was. And like Jacob, we will suffer unnecessary grief if we allow the lies of the pit to determine what we believe.

This is very important. If you want to get out of the pit, you must learn to discern the lies of the enemy. Because when you are in the pit, you are especially vulnerable. When you are in the pit, circumstances usually don't look very favorable - and that is exactly when Satan will manipulate those circumstances in order  to deceive you. He will hold up those circumstances before you as evidence that you should believe him rather than have faith in God. But fabricated evidence is not the truth. Joseph's brothers held up a bloody coat as evidence, and that evidence looked pretty convincing. But it was fabricated evidence. It was not the truth. If you want to overcome the lies of the pit, you must learn to focus on what God has said. When you are in the pit, you must remember that nothing is too hard for God, no matter what evidence the enemy might produce...

Yet even worse than his fabricated evidence is Satan's biggest lie: "You've messed up too badly. It's too late for you. You've messed up too badly to ever fulfill God's destiny for your life." Do you realize that the Bible is a book entirely about restoration? The Bible is filled with stories of people who messed up so badly that it seemed even God couldn't do anything about it - and yet He restored every one of them. He wants you to know that nothing is impossible for Him. As long as you have breath, it is never too late to call out to God. It doesn't matter what pit you are in. If you call out to God, He can fix it. And that is the real purpose of the pit. (pp. 38-39, From Dream to Destiny, Robert Morris)

Next time I want to finish up with the hope we have - the light at the end of the tunnel - in times of experiencing the pit test. But for now, let's meet in the comments. Let me speak truth into you and pray with you as we debunk the lies of the pit. Lean into this reality that fabricated evidence, no matter how convincing or real it appears, is NOT the truth. I promise you that this assurance will transform your life and catapult you out of the pit.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

-- Colossians 2:13-15 (NLT)


Got Questions? We Have Answers!

SUM FB TopicWhat is a Spiritually Unequal Marriage Blog topic you would like to read about?

This was the question posted to the SUM FB page on May 21, 2018

Today, I would like to put forward a question to the SUM community that was asked. I know there are many wise SUMites who have walked this journey for a long season. So, let’s put forth this question and have the community chime in.

On Friday, I will add my experience and perspective.

Please, if you have an experience that releases hope to your sister or brother in Christ in this area, make time to share in the comments. We have thousands of readers who never leave comments, but they read everything.

Bless them today.

Anne M. wrote: Answering questions about the eternal fate of unsaved family members to your children, knowing that your words may be repeated to those family members. It's walking a line of truth, comfort and diplomacy.

See you in the comments. Hugs, Lynn

ALSO: 

Click on the link below to vote!  Thank you.


Where Is Your Focus

The following post is by Lori Lyn Skipper.

_____

Where is your focus?
Pic credit: Laura Mowrey

With salty tears running down my cheeks, swallowing over the lump in my throat and my heart aching, I begin this blog. 

I learned yesterday a long-time friend and co-sharer of the Gospel passed on to Glory in the morning. Upon reading the news yesterday my mind began wandering to years past. And conviction fell. And today as I was looking at her pictures, again, conviction fell.

She was one of the most beautiful, God-fearing women I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Not only was she beautiful on the outside, she genuinely had a beautiful heart and spirit.  My heart aches for her husband, her children, her brother and best friend/sister-in-law and her parents. It also aches for all those who knew her and for those that never had the great pleasure of making her acquaintance.

If you knew my friend, you would know love. Oh, she loved/loves her Lord! She loved her husband and her children, and she loved them well!! She loved her family, friends, the Body of Christ and those who have not yet made a commitment to our Savior. She exuded and amplified the Father’s love to everyone she encountered.

She was a very anointed worship leader, her and her husband. It did not matter where you would run into her, she had a genuine smile on her face. Their middle child was disabled, he was very limited in what he was able to do for himself. That in itself would have brought physical, mental and financial hardships, yet, she smiled, held onto her faith and worshipped her King through it all! (She is now reunited with him).  Even through the past months, during the battle she fought with her health, my other beautiful God-fearing friend said she still held onto faith and worshipped her King. How? Why was she able to do that? It was her focus!

It wasn’t like mine, I focused on the seasoned salt my husband left behind on the stovetop and this left me agitated. Or on the crusty food left on the counter where my husband cooked. Or the fact that my house had not been vacuumed for three weeks. Let us not forget that I had become overwhelmed with my business, home life, health and taking care of my mom. Those things became a burden for me. When in all truthfulness, they should have become a reason for me to be thankful! Why? It’s all about focus.

Shortly after I heard the news of my beloved friend, one of my clients emailed me not to worry about the $800 I still owed him. His reasoning, “What does $800 matter in the scheme of eternity?” OUCH!!

What does $800 matter in the scheme of eternity? That’ll make you put the brakes on really quick! $800 is not chump change, it could come in handy right now but when the focus is on ‘the scheme of eternity’, it means nothing!! (Matthew 6:24)

The things that matter in this life, on this side of eternity should be our focus. My focus should have been, “God, thank you that I have a husband, not just any husband, but MY husband. The one who loves to cook.” “God, thank you that I have a home to clean, when there are so many that are homeless.” “God, thank you for a business that allows me time to do what I want or the things You call me to do.” “Thank you for the food that I have to eat that I or my husband can leave a mess behind.” “Father, thank you for allowing my mom to move to Florida, that we can be reconciled together.”

There are souls to be saved for the Kingdom of God! There are millions who have not yet heard the wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are thousands upon thousands that are lost and looking to be found. How many there are that are sick, diseased and dying without any hope. We have the answer! It’s LOVE. Just as my friend exuded Love to everyone she met, I challenge all of us to become Love. (1 John 4:7-19).

I leave you with the question, “Where is your focus?”

Please leave a comment below so we can all pray for one another. May you know the Fathers love today greater than you’ve ever experienced it!

-----

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHi, Lori Lyn Skipper here! I’m happy to say I am 51 years young, married to my husband John. We have three grown children between the two of us. I have two boys and he has a daughter as well as a granddaughter. My husband and I married in June 2016. I moved to sunny Florida in 2012. I often say I’m an Illinois girl living in a Florida world. I came to meet Jesus in mid-1996 but did not accept Him as my Lord & Savior until January 1997. Let me tell you, He’s had His work cut out since I say yes to His call. I often envision God shaking His head at my antics, you know, how we do with our own children.

I kind of resemble Paul, “the chief of sinners.” Well, I used to be, now I’m no longer a sinner, I’m a saint saved by grace that sometimes still sins. A couple of my passions are to see people healed, delivered and set free by the power of Holy Spirit and the body walking in their gifts and calling of the Lord. Getting to be a part of that is so fun and such a blessing.


To Bless or Curse: Which Will It Be?

Destination Train 400

By Martha Bush

In my post last month, I told of a betrayal that touched the lives of all my immediate family. This betrayal, with all its false allegations, lead to a court trial.

Convinced that I had forgiven the parties involved, even before the trial began, I still had a gnawing feeling that something was still missing. I discovered that the missing link was to Take a Step Beyond Forgiveness - Bless My Enemies. Bless those who persecute you. Bless and Curse not.” (Romans 12:14)

My efforts to find out “HOW” to apply the blessing principle lead me to Numbers 6:22-27:

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron this is HOW I want my people blessed: the Lord bless and keep you, the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

You can read the meaning to this familiar Old Testament prayer here.

I knew I was onto a powerful truth with this blessing prayer, but what really sealed the deal for me came from yet another Old Testament story of Balak and Balaam. (Numbers 22)

The essence of the story is that Old King Balak wanted the Israelites cursed. The Israelites had just entered his territory, Moab, on their way to Canaan and had pitched their tents there to stay awhile. Old King Balak realized that he was outnumbered, realized how strong the Israelites were, and he was afraid of them.

So, he sends for Balaam, a soothsayer. Guess what Balaam’s orders were from Old King Balak? Call down a curse upon the Israelites.

Well, even a soothsayer knew better than to curse the Israelites. He might have been on shaky grounds himself with God, but he was no fool.

Three times Balak showed him areas where groups of Israelites were camped, and even got to the point of offering him tons of money to curse them.

Let’s listen in on one of their conversations.

Balaam: “How can I curse what God has not cursed” (Numbers 23:8)

Balaam: “I have received commandment to bless and I cannot reverse it.” (Numbers 23:20)                                                                                          

Balak: Well, if you can’t curse them; at least don’t bless them.” (Numbers 23:25 MSG)

Say what? Looks like even a pagan knew the power of the blessing.

Now, think this concept through with me:

No group of people has ever been more stubborn and stiff-necked than the Israelites, yet God had said He wanted them blessed in Numbers 6. While this may sound like an Old Testament ritual, let me hasten to say that Jesus is our high priest who continues God’s blessing upon us. In fact, the last thing Jesus did for his disciples as he was ascending up into heaven was to stretch forth his hands toward heaven and bless them. (Luke 24:50) The message becomes clearer as we read the Gospels and Paul’s writings to bless, even our enemies.

So, just like Balaam, we cannot reverse what God commanded us to do. It is a commandment: Bless and not Curse. (Romans 12:14)

Keep in mind that to bless, speak well of, does not mean we are blessing someone’s wrong deeds; it is about blessing them as a person God loves, despite their wrong doing.

They are God’s creation, and the Bible says that while we all were yet enemies, Christ died for all of us. He did it while were His enemy, not when we got better, not when our wrong had been set straight, but while we were yet enemies, separated from Him. (Romans 5:10)

Old Satan would try to tell us just like Balak was saying to Balaam when he refused to curse the Israelites:

  • If I can’t get you to walk in unforgiveness toward those who do you wrong
  • If I can’t get you to retaliate against them--at least don’t bless them. 

Omitting the blessing is Satan's way of saying, "If I can't get you one way, I'll try another." But the results to bless is so much more rewarding for all concerned.

I believe that the results of being God's mouthpiece for the blessing to flow through is found in Matthew 5:44-45. (KJV)

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven; for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil, and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

My Sumite friends, when we are wronged, someday, somehow, the “sun will rise on the evil, as well as the good.” Where the sun is shining, there can be no darkness.

 *****  

Back to my family: God, indeed, caused the sun to rise on the evil, and we were totally exonerated of all charges brought against us in court.

And so I ask you the question I have to ask myself when new situations arise in my life----

 To Bless or Curse: Which will it be?

Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.


THIS is What Happens When We Fast

Prayer and fastingSUMites,

Wow, this fast was amazing. I fasted food for five days. Only had an egg and a piece of bread Wednesday morning and Thursday.

Friday, day five and very hungry but determined, I sat down at my computer to write a new chapter in a new book, Kingdom Keys. Gang, I wrote stuff that was so inspired that I’m kinda freaked out. It is revelation about Simon Peter and His moment when Jesus asks a life altering question. I can’t wait to share it with you. I was covered in holy chill bumps as I finished putting these thoughts on the screen. Mike walked in and I read an entire passage of scripture and then what the Holy Spirit prompted.

Mike stood in my office and listened. Of course, he wasn’t sure how to process what I shared but he listened to his wife SPEAK THE WORD OF GOD OVER HIM.

Wowza.. and Hallelujah!!!

I am so fired up by what happened, I’m fasting tomorrow through sundown Wednesday, Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement. Many Christian leaders have powerful encounters with Jesus on this night. I’m asking for mine.

I want to thank Ann Hutchison, from the bottom of my heart, for her heart-filled leadership. What is wild is that Sunday morning, the preacher at my church also used the story children trapped in the cave during the teaching.

Say what???

There is more in that message than we know and God is trying very hard to let someone know: Your Freedom Day has arrived.

Thank you Ann!!!  I love you.

I will also remind everyone that as September closes out and our new assignments arrive in the weeks ahead, you can EXPECT push back almost immediately from the enemy. My history with God reflects this. November is when all hell would break loose in my life.

BUT, if we know that now, we can pray against it. We can ask God to move smoothly into our new season. We can tell the devil:

  • STAND DOWN
  • YOU CAN’T HAVE MY HUSBAND
  • YOU CAN’T HAVE MY KIDS
  • YOU CAN’T HAVE MY HEALTH
  • YOU CAN’T HAVE MY BLESSINGS

In Jesus name. AMEN

This week I want you to pray for your husband/wife. Ask Jesus to overwhelm him/her with the reality of His love.

I adore you Nation of powerful Warriors. Have a fantastic week. Hugs, Lynn

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. -Galatians 4: 5-7


The Finest Food and Drink

Hi everyone, on the last day of our fast - we are so close to the finish line!Somewhere over the rainbow  SUM

It’s been wonderful adventuring with you and, as always, we’ve made memories. I often think of this site as a memorial of where we’ve been. I can just imagine sitting in a rocking chair as an old lady, looking back.

Today we’re going to take communion together; it is the finest food and drink. In giving us this bread and wine, it is as if God has set us the most wonderful table; one we really cannot imagine.

In today’s post I’d like to tell you about a treasured item that frames my home. I’ll tell you about it, and then we’ll have communion.

Several years ago, when my husband and I bought our house, we decided to put in a new front door. We wanted one with a stained-glass window, and so we drew a picture and had the window made. That was before ours became a Christian home. With the window and door in place, we then moved in. It was only four months later that my heart began to turn to God. It was as if the new house came with a turning point in our family’s faith life.

WindowI’ve included a photo of the window. Maybe you’ll be like me and won’t see it straight away – In fact, I have lived with this window for six years, but only recently seen it: It’s the cross, with the blood at the bottom, and new life (green) in the middle. My husband and I, as unbelievers, agreed that picture and had it made. It was a foreshadowing: God always knew what our home - all SUMite homes -- would stand for. Now, I often sit on the couch, see colors shine through the window, and smile. 

"For as for me and my house we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Would I declare that verse so determinedly if I wasn’t a SUMite? Possibly not. For me, it has taken a great deal of resistance-training to make a declaration like that so firmly.

Now for our communion time.

His Blood

“Then He took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant., which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:27 (NKJV)

His blood, liberally poured, flows abundantly to the foot of the cross. Full of Life itself, its levels rise, overcoming all that it is meant to cover. The joy set before Him at the foot of the cross is brought to fruition.

His Body

“Jesus took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Matthew 26:26 (NKJV)

His body, resurrected, brings verdant Life to all who digest it. Like the green at the cross’s heart, it represents all things new: New creations, new growth, that ‘something new’. Like the diamond, it is the most precious of substances, and it sparkles as His covenant to His precious Church.

SUMites, have a beautiful rest of the fast, and I'd love to hear in the comments how this week has been for you. What has your experience been this time round?

In love,

Ann


Five Smooth Stones

Hi everyone  Somewhere over the rainbow  SUM

As I write, it’s Thursday morning here in New Zealand, and I'm a hungry girl. Each fast I do more than I did before; and yet, this fast, like my others before, has been an imperfect one.

Yesterday, for example, I went to work hungry. By 1pm it was awful. I left my office where I was putting on a cheerful front, shut myself in the toilet cubicle and said to Jesus, “HOW did you do this for 40 days?” It made me realize I hadn’t ever considered Jesus’s 40 days of no food or water.

At 2pm, I freaked, I had a class to teach: “What if I faint in front of the class?” That was it. Seizing control of my situation, I reached for my bag, pulled out a small wrapped bar called ‘one square meal’, and gobbled it up. My hunger disappeared and I missed it instantly – “Oh no, come back!!”

Fasting. What does it do?  I still don’t understand it, but this time round I’m feeling it crash me to my knees – if not physically, in my heart. In my fasting state, there are no first-world problems. I’m hungry, that’s it. I bow my knee to the Father.

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Ephesians 3:14, NKJV.

Fasting has got me thinking about the five smooth stones that God gave David to fight with. David knelt in obedience, gathered the stones, and stood up. Then he simply popped a stone into his sling, and - plop! - down went Goliath. Obviously, there were emotions around it, but the fact was he held these precious little stones in his hot hand. They were like secret treasure.  Five smooth stones

These five smooth stones were gentle weapons: small, rounded, easy to pick up, simple to hold. They make me think of fasting, rest, delight, dancing, and worshipping; things that represent a lifestyle of intimacy. Little lightweight stones.

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30, NKJV.

On Tuesday I woke with a picture of myself and my kids sinking colored pool balls by connecting with the white ball. Plop, plop, plop, went the balls. It made me think, “For victory, you have to get your connection with the white right.”  Similarly, to sink the giants, we seek first – above all else -- our connection with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That's what I'll teach my kids.

This SUM community is a place I have been learning how to do that. The example of all of you has made me grow. For that I’m enormously grateful.

“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!”

Ephesians 3:14-21, The Message

Tomorrow I’d love to take communion with you, the SUMites, who I find to be my happy place. So, if you would, come to the blog with bread and wine and we'll eat the best possible meal together.

Love to you all.

Ann


A Very Special Rescue

Somewhere over the rainbow  SUMHi friends 

How’s the fasting going? This one's ambitious for me – soup only for dinner has made me starry-eyed! But I'm enjoying the afternoons where I can just sit.

I hope you enjoyed yesterday's clips. Amazingly, there is a part two to that story, which I've been excited to share. I'll start with this scripture, which I believe is for us today:

“In that day, there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; ... And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea.” Isaiah 11:11 (NKJV) 

Now to the story:

Remember back in June the twelve Thai boys and their coach in the cave? People across the world, regardless of race, extended their compassion. It was a testimony of love.

When the boys were found, my tears flowed for these little children who needed to be tucked up in a warm bed by their mums and dads. I was compelled to pray, and I saw that others were too.

A week in, the Holy Spirit seemed to whisper something to me about these boys: I seemed to hear the words baptized and memorialized, and then, Adding up to twelve. I couldn’t help but quietly believe that all twelve children would be saved.

As we know, the rescue looked impossible. There was dwindling oxygen and rising flood waters. Then, suddenly, we heard “The rescue is ON!” Hours ticked by, then the news came: The first boy is out!  Half an hour later, the second boy!  Then, the third boy!  And then the fourth! 

Overnight, more would come out. Five!  Six! A seventh! More of a wait. Then: Eight! Nine! Ten! Alive alive alive!

Finally, the eleventh, the twelfth. All alive, adding up to twelve. Then came the coach, who had got them on this adventure, and endured it with them.

Just as the last rescue was completed, workers in the cave came racing out – A pump had failed and water had risen suddenly. Thinking Moses and the red sea, my ears pricked up - Coincidence, or miracle?

Later, I learned that the rescuers had first traced the boys’ path within the cave by seeing hand prints on the walls.  Something in my memory jogged and I remembered I'd had a dream about hand prints! Racing to my journal, I found that dream: It was of Lynn finding hand prints, the prints showing who had been where. There was a sense that they were like individualized fingerprints, except hand prints. The date of the dream, 23 June, was the very day the boys entered the cave. Underneath, I had written this:

“Lord, help me lead my boys to you, please give me the words. It needs a miracle. Be with me like you were with Moses.”

Wow. It sounded prophetic. Of course, it was a prayer about my own boys, but could it be these Thai boys symbolized something? See, that night, I had also dreamt of a person who was so stuck in unbelief they could not even be in the same room as Christians, so great was the distance of separation. Further, that very same night I had dreamt of people talking about their favorite recipes, foreign recipes. Well, blow me down, in the media, the boys were seen listing their favorite recipes! Just like yesterday's story, it seemed so unusual. What did it mean? Here's an initial thought:

Like these hand prints, God knows exactly how people got stuck where they are, and how to get them out. These people who are separated from Him are starving, and they may be thinking other food besides the Bread of Life is going to satisfy them. No matter, God will get them out. Indeed, He will set His hand again, and again to recover those who are left, whatever their area of difficulty (Isaiah 11:11). After all, they’re precious children, and they're loved. 

SUMites, I hope this encourages you, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. What else do you see in this story? 

Lord, help the SUMites lead our precious ones to you, please give us the words. It needs a miracle. Be with us like you were with Moses. May their story be a memorial and may many be baptized. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Take a Look

Hi everyone!  Somewhere over the rainbow  SUM

It's day two of the fast, and I hope you’re doing well. If one day you don’t manage what you set out to, don’t worry -- we just pick ourselves up and carry on.

One thing that I believe God adores about the SUMites is our HOPE. Like Abraham, who had a son at age 100, we have been given something unbelievable to hope for: The turning of hearts among those who would be the least likely. Holding on to this hope is pretty difficult, but if we choose it we are partnering in God’s move:

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations.” Romans 4:18 (NIV)

What is hope?

One possibility is that it's the actual picture of the victory, which we then choose to believe. It is, perhaps, the ‘different spirit’ held by Joshua and Caleb, who were sent to spy out the promised land. Instead of focusing on the scary giants, they saw the milk and the honey in the new land (Numbers 14:7-12). In their mind’s eye, the milk and honey were “flowing” – meaning, it was vivid, lively, and active to them. It was the vibrant future they would step towards.

It takes a different spirit to choose hope.

"But My servant, Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it." Numbers 14:24 (NKJV)

Like Caleb and Joshua, we can see the milk and honey when looking at our situation, never mind the giants. However, like anything, we need God’s help to do this. Today I feel He wants to gift us that help. I hear Him say today, “Tell your hearts to dream again!”

Here’s a word I’ve been holding for the SUM community, I pray that it will reignite hope for us all.

A few weeks ago (17th of August), I woke to hear the Holy Spirit say “Look!” And then this:

“LOOK among the nations and watch –

Be utterly astounded!

For I will work a work in your days

Which you would not believe if it were told you.” 

Habakkuk 1:5 (NKJV)

This is hope. LOOK. Some things look powerless, difficult, but no -- LOOK.

On that morning, this word -- ‘LOOK’ -- was followed by a vision (like a video clip playing in my head): It was of a bunch of miners in white hard hats, cheering. This was very random, but it was as if God was saying, "Go on, look at this picture".

I had no idea what to make of the vision, but later that day it occurred to me to google ‘miners’. This took me straight to a YouTube clip of a group of miners in white hard hats cheering! My mouth dropped open, and I laughed as I saw it – God is fun. But then, in all seriousness, I realized this clip was of the 33 Chilean miners who had been trapped and then rescued in 2011 – which, of course was no laughing matter at the time.

Why on earth did God point me to this?  The answer, I believe, is that He wants us to LOOK and visualize what Rescue will look like; because what is coming to us is a rescue of eye-catching and communal proportions.

"For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe if it were told you." Habakkuk 1:5 (NKJV)

I’m going to let the clip speak for itself to you – well, there were two. Here they are below. See what imagery they bring to you as you think about the rescue that God carries out and promises:

 

This, to me, is milk and honey. It's a lively picture, it's our vibrant future. It's what I’m going to choose to focus on.

Perhaps we can share in the comments what these clips say to us, what we notice in them, and what we will do with this hope.

Be encouraged, friends – I am! – and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Ann


His Light Shines on a Fasting Heart

Hi SUM family  Somewhere over the rainbow  SUM

Welcome to day one of our fast, and happy new year! From what I’m hearing, we’re not the only ones who are being led to fast right now. Quite separately, even my home church is fasting and I know other Christians are too. We’re led by the same Spirit. 

This is my eighth fast with the SUM community, and every time it has been extraordinary. From these shared adventures, I now know that fasting does something very special. With that in mind, I thought I’d share my first ever fasting story. It’s a fun story, but it illustrates the fact that fasting shifts things.

It was just before I found the SUM community. I’d noticed in scripture that fasting makes the impossible possible, and so I quietly planned to try it. The opportunity finally came when my husband and boys planned a trip away, leaving me home alone. I marked it, like D-Day, on my calendar.

D-day came. I began with a coffee and my journal, and wrote down some things to talk to God about. For the rest of the day I sat on my couch and chatted to God. So far, so good.

But then -- oh the drama – things took a turn for the worse: Suddenly, my stomach twisted and lurched and I began to feel like I was going to be sick. Now this, to me, was absolute horror (I have not vomited for 19 years and don't plan to again!) I staggered to the kitchen with no small amount of distress, desperately shoved crackers down my throat, scraped myself to bed and spent the rest of the day in the fetal position, recovering. The fast, it seemed, had been an epic fail. Or had it?

Thankfully, it has never been anywhere like this bad again; it seems to get easier each time. But anyway, on with the story.

My evening in the fetal position subsided into sleep, and soon I was much better and sleeping like a baby. It was then – there in the dark – that something unusual happened: Tumbling words (in English) began pouring out of my mouth like a bubbling fountain, waking me up! I was praying, but it was certainly not my own doing. One thing that struck me was how articulate and well put together these words were.

I was left stunned.

It’s interesting how God knows just how to speak to our souls at a particular point in our lives. For me, this experience was strange, beautiful, and vividly showed me the Spirit interceding on my behalf (Romans 8:26-27). I’d been struggling to believe in God till then, but after that event I struggled much less. I kept thinking, “I cannot be atheist after what I experienced that night.”

It was the breakthrough I needed. It made me go “God is real. God really is real. Yikes, God is really, really real!!!!” In this way, my foot was lifted onto the next rung of the faith ladder, and I was able to keep on climbing.

Today, as I think about the power of fasting, I have one more lovely thing to share: This morning, as I woke, I had a little picture in my head. It was of a sharp, focused beam of light shining carefully onto a target. It made me wonder whether God is saying that when we fast, we open our heart to the light that He wants to direct onto a specific area -- and that light will surely come. In the case of my fun fasting story, that light was a healing experience that helped me overcome atheism. This time round, it’ll be something different. In any case, I will ask Him to bring His light, as He sees fit, to whatever places of my heart need it right now.

SUMites, lovely chatting today, and I’ll see you again tomorrow. In the meantime, what is your favorite fasting story?  And how has your first day gone? I look forward to hearing in the comments. 

“.. For assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:20-21, NKJV


Rosh Hashanah Fast

Hi everyone, Ann here.  Somewhere over the rainbow  SUM

Next Monday it is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This day, also known as the Feast of Trumpets, was a festival given to the Israelites by God, commemorated by trumpet blasts (Leviticus 23:23-32). Trumpet blasts in scripture often symbolize gathering the people together for victory. To that I say, yes please! 

In past years the SUM community has honored this time by fasting together for the week. We’re going to continue the tradition this year, starting on Monday the 10th at sunrise, and finishing at sunset on Friday the 14th.

I always find this fast a beautiful time. It seems to knit us together and bring breakthrough to different parts of our community. We’ve had some amazing things happen in these fasts, and I still get a high when I look back on the comments and remember those moments.

Personally, because this time is one for reflecting on a new year ahead, I like to dig out my journals at Rosh Hashanah, read over the last year, remember things that I’d forgotten, and ask God about what’s next. Fasting, somehow, slows me down and helps me to sit at His feet, just like Ian mentioned on Wednesday.

As for the fast itself, we all fast in different ways. The most common one, for us, has tended to be a sunrise to sunset fast from food each day. I’ll be doing that, and this time I’m going to try having just soup for dinner. Each year I get a little bit braver! If this is your first time, pray about it and see what God is leading you to do. You might also find these links helpful:

Why Should You Fast

How to Fast Safely

How Long and What Type of Fast is Right for You

It'd be great to hear in the comments how/if you’re going to fast, and what is on your heart for this upcoming week. I'll be praying for you as I read your comments, and am really looking forward to this time together.

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you on Monday.

Ann

 


Abiding leads to Transformation

6a00d83451ee9f69e2022ad3a65532200b-200piHello, Ian here once again.  As you probably have noticed in many of my posts in the last few years I’ve sought to desire more of God, to experience that oneness with the Father that Jesus prays for us about in John 17.  Hey, and isn’t it fabulous that Jesus, Himself, actively helps us in the process? Everyday. As He continually intercedes in prayer for us. This desire for more brought me, firstly, to writing a new non-fiction book, and then when I discovered I didn’t have sufficient material, secondly, to take up study again in participating in a Spiritual Formation course.  To date I marvel at what I’m both learning and experiencing.

The Heart

It’s a journey of the heart as the prophet Jeremiah declared: “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. (Jeremiah 24:7) I think for many years I treated it more as an exercise of accumulating knowledge and, being a passionate ‘Learner’[1], it was very easy for me to simply learn, fill many journals and my mind with lots of knowledge but didn’t feel any closer to experiencing an intimacy with the Lord. Also, being a routine-oriented person I had explored a myriad of ‘successful-people’ daily habits to try on to see if there was a fit. Once again, I kept hitting roadblocks. They helped me produce output but not the fruit I desired as expressed by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV). It’s clear now that I was confusing measuring goals and tasks with the ways of the heart. I like how Jenn Giles Kemper describes adopting “a rule of life, on the other hand, helps you become.”[2]

The vine analogy is a powerful one about becoming. In John 15, we read Jesus’ words: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (v 4-5 ESV) Heidi Baker sums up this essence of abiding: “Time spent abiding is time spent being equipped … Abiding in the vine means we are ‘plugged in’ to the resources of heaven.”[3]Abiding requires spiritual disciplines of solitude, silence, prayer and meditation. These are the disciplines of contemplation. As we fix our eyes on God in contemplation we are equipped and guided for bearing fruit. The transformational inside-out work of these disciplines serves to enable us to be secure in obeying the Word of the Lord. Foster describes this inside-out process well: “When the branch is truly integrated into the vine – united with the vine and receiving its life from the vine – then good spiritual fruit is a natural consequence. Action follows essence.”[4] This is the life Jesus modeled for us, as did the first disciples and many of the Christian greats such as Martin Luther, who had so much business to attend to he could not get on “without spending three hours daily in prayer.”

Transforming vs Conforming

Since I can remember, perhaps my favourite verses has been the classic opening two verses of Romans 12:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformedby the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

As a teenager, I wanted not to conform to the patterns of the world. I didn’t want to chase what the world did. I figured I was a bit of a misfit anyway and these verses helped show me that Jesus had a different plan for us when we asked for Him to be Lord of our life. But it didn’t take me long to get sucked into conforming.

It was this essence I lacked. I had spent too many years being religious making sure I had my daily quiet time, read more books than I can remember on how to develop a closer relationship with God and felt guilty that I wasn’t committing to enough service in my church. Action follows essence. I appreciate that now. “The [Spiritual] Disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that He can transform us.”[5] Transformation is a process, like any significant change activity. And it requires a degree of suffering just like adopting any new habit does. In fact, building bodily muscle requires the breaking of muscle fibres and interestingly, most of the restoring of the muscle is done when resting the muscle after a work out. It’s a good analogy for the spiritual transformation process as well: the disciplines of contemplation are when our spiritual muscles are restored and/or developed to enable us to step out into the action of performing good works.

I so love that image of Mary of Bethany simply sitting at Jesus feet in Luke 10. She simply sat at the Lord’s feet listening to Jesus. Jesus tells busy Martha that “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be take away from her.” (v42)

It is in abiding with Jesus we get to not just hear His voice, but His heartbeat. And the more we do it, the more His essence works its way into our hearts, transforming us from the inside out.

In all your busyness this week, please stop to spend some time sitting at Jesus’ feet. To be restored, to be replenished, to be cherished.

Be blessed my friends.

Notes:

1One of 34 ‘strengths’ identified in the Clifton StrengthsFinder® produced by The Gallup Organization, Washington, D.C. Jenn Giles Kemper, ‘Rule of Life’, Sacred Ordinary Days, undated, last accessed 18 August 2018, https://sacredordinarydays.com/pages/rule-of-life 3Rolland and Heidi Baker, Reckless Devotion: 365 Days of Inspiration, (Maidstone: River Publishing & Media Ltd, 2014) Day 134 4Richard Foster, Streams of Living Water, (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2017), 86 5Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2008), 7

 


You Have All You Need

Galaxy SUMFrom my prayer time. February 3, 2018.

Lynn: I’m here. I’m listening. Speak to me…..

Father: I love you with an everlasting love.

Lynn: Papa, when did you create me? My Spirit?

Father: Before time began. We created the stars and marveled at their beauty. Fathomed the universe and beheld the forming of oceans and the waves lap upon the land as it rose up out of the water.

Lynn: Dad, why does it have to be so hard and ugly on earth?

Father: It doesn’t have to be that way. You can always change it.

Lynn: But why don’t we?

Father: Fear, helplessness, selfishness, pride, laziness. (He pauses) The wickedness of satan.

My child, yet, you do not perceive all the goodness that surrounds you. Goodness is everywhere, in pockets of unrecognized love that is passed, person to person, good deed to good deed. Goodness is beheld in my love, manifesting in endless rounds of beauty in nature, hope in the human heart, provision and creativity.

The sons of perdition work through deception to infiltrate goodness and plant seeds of hopelessness, confusion, sorrow and despair.

But as a child of Mine, you are fully equipped to destroy the works of the enemy. Lynn step outside on this dazzling morning. What do you see?

Lynn: The brilliant depths of the sunrise sky, evergreen trees with bristle cones of perfection and anointed with a divine aroma. I hear the birds, O Papa, they are singing worship in an unrehearsed symphony.

Father: Ah yes, My beloved daughter, every dawning of the day, I listen as they pour their hearts out and fill the air with sound. It is the same when you pray. Melodies of love pierce My heart. Life is all about, thriving, singing, creating. The natural world is a reflection of beauty and hope of the Kingdom, eternal.

My daughter, now consider the human mind. Its capacity remains woefully untapped by most. It remains a mystery to science, complex, brilliant, creative, powerful. And the human body is a creation of vast and varying systems complete in detail and function. Ah My child, the spirit! The Spirit of God that dwells in the body. The spirit, my child, is where all things converge, intellect, wisdom, revelation, peace, divine health, power, authority…. Dominion.

I have already given you all you need for life and Godliness (2 Peter 1:3). It’s in the Spirit. For your words are spirit and they are life (John 6:63). When you turn your pursuits away from the deceiver then focus fully upon My love, My nature, My purposes and plan, Upon Me, your spirit becomes fully alive. Within unfolds the wisdom of My power. It realigns your DNA to holiness and creates the Kingdom of God within. From within flows outwardly, rivers of living water that changes destruction, heals the ugly and redirects the difficult issues of life. (John 7:37-38)

This is the truth, seek ye the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you. Pursue Me and perceive. You SHALL see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

My child, take Me with you wherever you go today, and I shall reveal My glory in the ordinary and in the divine. All my love, your Father.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 2 Timothy 1:9


God Is Bigger Than Politics

SUM Nation,

I want to provide an update on California's controversial AB 2943. The bill has been withdrawn by its author, Assembly member Evan Low.

Assembly Bill 2943 would have made it illegal to sell any service intended to change an individual's sexuality or gender identity.

"I knew this was an emotionally charged issue, so I spent the past few months traveling up and down the state meeting with a wide variety of faith leaders," Low said in a statement released on his website. "I was heartened by the conversations."

Luis Javier Ruiz, a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in June 2016 and a former member of the LGBT community, has served as a staunch opponent of AB2943 in recent months. Read the entire article here.

SUMites, although this is an outright, miracle-answer to prayer, we must continue to pray for the TRUTH that the love of God can heal every heart and unit even those who appear to be impossible to understand. When I heard the news on Friday, I couldn’t stop praying over and over, “Thank you Lord. Thank you, Jesus. O, Lord, let your love heal every heart. Thank you, Papa.”

Please MAKE time to praise our Father.

I would also like to share another social issue that I can no longer remain silent. I’m deeply grieved to read reports where a mom takes her five-year-old daughter to the doctor and during the visit the physician asks the little girl, “Do you ‘feel’ like a boy or a girl?”

SAY WHAT?

She’s five!

She doesn’t even have a full grasp of reality yet.

I grew up climbing trees, playing in fields, fishing, swimming in ditches and wearing boyish clothes. I could care less about my appearance and never wanted to wear makeup or play Princess. I was all about having outdoor fun. I was what you would call a “Tomboy.” However, I grew up and grew into my God given feminine and womanly identity. We must give our children a chance, the time, to discover their true identity.

Lately my thoughts are consumed with these questions, “Why is it NOT considered child abuse to give puberty blockers to children who are 10, 11, 12 years old? How did this utterly crazy, misguided social experiment become unleashed on our children?”

Please pray for our kids. PLEASE pray for our Nation. Pray for peace and truth and then give praise when the hand of God moves to protect and retain His truth.

Thank you for hearing my heart. I’m sharing from a place of genuine love and hope for the future of humanity.

Happy Labor Day. I love you, Lynn