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11 entries from December 2018

Annual SUMite Community Fast

Prayer and Fasting 2019

SUMites,

I hope your Christmas was peaceful, filled with wonder and much love and laughter. I'm spending time with family this week, so I won't post again until after New Year's Day. 

But, I'm asking you to start to ask the Lord to help you fast the first full week of January. Our annual fasts are powerful. I receive so many reports of tremendous breakthrough. There are many ways to fast but a complete food fast is what we are aiming to achieve. Fasting from food breaks so many strongholds, it is also tremendously healthy to give your digestive system a break. 

Below are links about fasting. Determine to fast something. Then share your week with your brothers and sisters around the world who are fasting in the pursuit of God for 2019. 

I love you. Lynn

Campus Crusade For Christ: Personal Guide to fasting by CRU

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


There Once Was A Man Who Didn't Believe

6a00d83451ee9f69e20105365c5148970b-piThere was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused.

"That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!" So she and the children left, and he stayed home.

A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then another thump. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet.

When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn't go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.

The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It's warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside.

image from unequalmarriage.typepad.comThe geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn't seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away. He went into the house and came back out with some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumbs trail leading to the barn, but they still didn't catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe.

"Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?" He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human.

"If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud.

Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn - and one by one the other geese followed it to safety!

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind:

"If only I were a goose, then I could save them!" 

Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to be like us? That's ridiculous!"

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese - blind, lost, and perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized!

As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come.

Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: 

"Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!" 

~Author Unknown

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Because of the Manger... Birth of the King!

From my prayer time this Christmas: December 2018

From the Father:

Emmanuel God With US spirituallunequalmarriage.com In the quiet before the early light of Christmas traditions, My child, rise and sit alone with Me. Press into My heart and travel with Me through the ages, back to a tiny town in the Judean desert.

This village, Bethlehem, shelters a teenaged, soon-to-be mother, struggling in labor throughout the night. Allow your heart to perceive the paddock of bleating sheep and goats, shivering in the cold as they huddle about the tiny family. Feel the course, dry straw where Mary, the mother of God, rests as she pushes through her pain, hour-by-hour.

Breathe in the earthy smells of the animals, the feed, the dung, as the couple labor together. The shadows flicker across the beams of the manger, lit by a single candle.

Finally, the last cry and she pushes forth the child. The King of Kings, the Messiah arrives into the hands of a young Jewish man, Joseph of Nazareth. He quickly comforts the cries of the child, wiping him clean. Resting the child in the trough made for the animals, he turns to Mary, wipes her face then settles her with a sip of water. She fades off to sleep.

Wrapping the child in torn strips from Mary’s dress, the child rests. Joseph ponders the destiny of this tiny baby within his hands. He prays. He offers thanks to the Heavenly Father as he gazes into the perfect face of a babe that is the Chose One, The Christ, who has come for all people.

All of heaven responds in a culmination of majestic worship and praise echoing throughout the eons. The angles sing, hallelujah! The heavens rejoice. Time splits in two. Hope returns. Joy and Freedom is proclaimed over the people. Devils flee.

The love of God is alive upon the earth.

Immanuel —God with us!

Luke 2: 6-14 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Who Wrote the Gospels?

Hi everyone, Ann here!

This morning, I want to share a special story that happened to me last Christmas. It was an event that wowed me and as we're deep in the gospels it seems timely to share. Joy to the world

The story began when I sat sipping coffee with a favorite colleague. He’s twenty years older than me, a lovely man with a sharp mind. He also happens to have different views to me about Jesus. We agree to disagree, and we stay polite. Yet, this particular morning he couldn’t resist throwing an argument my way:

“Ann, the gospels weren’t written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.”

I did not hold the same view, but to my surprise, out of my mouth came this: “I know.”

Why on earth did I say that? As I left him to go back to work, it bothered me. Grrr. I could have engaged in a debate, but I didn’t. Perhaps I was just too fatigued by the constant pressure to not believe, pressure that was coming from so many close to me.

I continued to be bothered by my response until Christmas, when God turned that moment on its head and reminded me how genius He is compared to men. Here’s what happened:

I was lying in bed, found myself thinking about the 'gospel comment' once again, and said to God: “What would You have said to him? Can you tell me?” Then I drifted off to sleep…

The next morning, as I woke to birds singing, an inaudible voice hit me, clear as day, with these words:

"Which author wrote the Augustus books?"

“Augustus?  Augustus?” I went, rubbing my sleepy eyes. “Who’s that?” I’m chuckling as I write this, I’m probably one of the few who didn’t know. As a teenager I messed around during history lessons, missed a lot, and Roman history was never my thing. This meant I had to look Augustus up. Here’s how my Wikipedia search went:

Who was Augustus?  Augustus was Emperor of the Roman Empire during the time of Christ.

Did Augustus write any books?  Yes. He wrote a series of books about himself, a multi-volume set of memoirs.

How can I get hold of these books? The books are lost (sorry, did Wikipedia say lost?? How on earth?!) Only fragments remain. According to one website, they might have been one of the most revealing texts of Roman history, had they survived. But they didn’t.

Ok, here I paused my search: The leader of the Roman Empire, Caesar Augustus, wrote a set of memoirs, which would have been historical gold, and yet they were lost. In contrast, four biographical accounts of a homeless carpenter survived intact from the same period with this much manuscript attestation?   

In conclusion:

Who wrote the books of Augustus?  Augustus did. And they got lost.

Who wrote the four gospels?  God did.  And for that reason: 

“Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” (Romans 10:18, NKJV)

Indeed, the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Bible, is the world’s best-selling book, having spread just as Jesus prophesied when He said that the woman who broke her flask of oil over him would be celebrated throughout the world:

“Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” (Mark 14:9, NKVJ)

The four gospels are a beautiful gift to us; they are like four puzzle pieces that, when put together, bring to life the most beautiful tidings of great joy which will be to all people (Luke 2:10). Their genius is only magnified by their differences that so cleverly fit together; and I can never get enough of them.

So like the woman with the alabastar jar, I hope I never stop wasting my life on Jesus and digesting the beauty of his birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension.

No, Matthew, Mark Luke and John didn’t write the gospels. God did.  And that's why those words came out of my mouth so readily: "I know". 

"Marvellous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well." (Psalm 139:14 NKJV)

SUMites, do you have any further thoughts about these amazing gospels? Let's keep sharing our insights as we wander through the gospel together this Christmas season.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas!

Ann

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


The Difference Between Zechariah and Mary

Emmanuel God With US spirituallunequalmarriage.com We are nearing the time and the town of Bethlehem. Last week in the comments Cindy, brought forward an interesting observation. And today as I’m reading the story of Christmas from the first chapter of Luke, my eyes are drawn again and again to the angel Gabriel and his proclamation of the birth of the Messiah given to Mary, a young woman living in Galilee.

Cindy pointed out the difference between Zechariah’s questioning of Gabriel in contrast to Mary’s question put to the angel. Zach’s question was a cloak of disbelief and Mary’s???? Well as Cindy shared last week, Mary, was asking out of curiosity about how the conception and birth would come about.

This is what I believe we can receive from these two contrasts that are very similar and both prominent in the telling of the birth of the Messiah.

It’s all about the heart!

My friends, it’s our inner core, who we truly are and what we believe, that God comprehends in perfect clarity.

People are sophisticated and very clever about cloaking their full truth from others, but God understands our entire “real” self, every moment of every day. What fascinates me is that Mary proclaimed her acceptance of Gabriel’s word from the LORD in her song for Elizabeth. And within this song exists another profound truth about the human and spiritual condition of people.

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. — Luke 1:51

Our thought life is everything!

What we think matters because our thoughts birth things into our lives, good or wicked. And Mary is stating this fact upon receiving the news of the birth of her Savior. Wow!

We must purpose to capture all, ALL, negative, ugly, ungodly thoughts and images, taking them captive to Christ.

I'm convinced through my personal faith life of more than 30 years and through the many prayer sessions I lead, that it is possible for the demonic realm to tune into our thoughts. I’m not really sure when and how the Christian church came to the conclusion that the demons can't hear our thoughts, because nowhere in the Word that written. But I’ve had experiences in the past when in my mind thought things and I never spoke a word, yet I partnered with a lie through dark thoughts and the and I gave power to the ugly thought and it became real in my life.

Because our thought-life is critically important, it's not a coincidence that there are numerous scripture verses about our thoughts and mind.

Our thought-life creates atmospheres. They can be dark, gloom, doom, sad, and mad. Or they can create life, hope, love, peace and joy. The Holy Spirit dwells in a person’s heart who thinks upon these things. Let me give you an example. The atmosphere of worship is where the angels play in vibrant colors of green, bright purples, reds, and golds. But a dark atmosphere is shadowy, fearful, nasty, accusatory, angry and the demonic lurks.

Within the telling of the birth of Christ, smack in the middle of Mary’s declaration, I discovered the preeminent importance of our thoughts. It was true over 2,000 years ago and it’s true today. Capturing thoughts to Christ and having the mind of Christ is our daily pursuit.

Dwell upon God. Think about Him. Talk to Him. Talk to Jesus. Dance with the angelic. Live with the Holy Spirit. Ponder and let your thoughts drift toward heaven. Offer Him praise. Blast the worship music. Give Him thanks and think words that echo His character. You can change your atmosphere and those about you. One of my favorite things to do, is to walk into Walmart and change the atmosphere of the store!!

Say what??

It’s so cool!

Once again, the powerful truths that are hidden in the Christmas story are bringing hope, tools and truth to equip the Saints to slay the darkness and release the captives…

…and isn’t that why Jesus was born?

I leave you with the end of the conversation between the angel, Gabriel and Mary.

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.  

For no word from God will ever fail. —Luke 1:34-37

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


And His Name Shall......

Emmanuel God With US spirituallunequalmarriage.com I’ve read the Christmas story in the Gospels for years. In fact every January, I begin my Daily Bible with the telling of the birth of Jesus in the book of Matthew. But this year, this beautiful December, I’m reading it with a new hunger and in utter awe. What the Lord is reveling to me is creating a love for this story like I’ve never experience prior to now.

It’s peace. It’s wonder. It’s revelation. It’s JESUS!!! 

Reading the passage in Matthew chapter one, I stopped, transfixed on verse 21.

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. — Matthew 1:21 NIV

COME ON!!!  My soul stirs just reading the words. Yet, in my NIV Bible, the paper kind, which if you don’t have a paper Bible. Get one. Read from it every day. Highlight, write in the margins. It’s an entirely different experience with God on paper verses digital. Ya, I promise!

Jesus Greek Joshua Christmas 2018

In my Bible there is a tiny little footnote. I glanced down at some point in a previous year, I had underlined it: Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, which means the LORD saves. The significance was immediate. This is because I’m camped on understanding the name of God in this season of my faith life. I shared some of my recent discovery last week in my Facebook live video.

SUMites, names are extraordinarily important in the Kingdom of God. Now think about this. Why?

Why, does an angel arrive to Zechariah and tell him what name to bestow upon his son? And again, Gabriel arrives with the name of the Savior of the World, Yeshua, to christen Mary and Joseph’s child?

In the Kingdom, names carry mandates, missions, purpose, identity. And these names are gifted of God and are often accompanied by angelic support, power and authority in the Kingdom realm, abilities and spiritual and physical gifts. The name Samson is identified with strength and power. Fearlessness and courage are the spiritual covering of Caleb and Joshua. I’ve also discovered that names are also associated with the demonic, Jezebel, Leviathan, etc.

I will be real here. My husband’s name is Michael. It means: Who is like God. With this kind of mandate upon my husband’s name alone, it’s not a mystery to me that the devil has applied a concerted effort to keep him from fulfilling his Godly purpose on the earth.

Wikipedia: The name Jesus is a modern-day descendant of the Hebrew name Yeshua, which is based on the Semitic root y-š-ʕ (Hebrew: ישע‎), meaning "to deliver; to rescue.

Hallelujah… Our deliverer. Our rescue. And this name is NOT a one and done. This is a day-by-day, minute-by-minute redemption that covers a lifetime on earth. Can I get an AMEN?

I speak the name of Jesus literally hundreds of times a day. I’m not kidding. I speak it in my sleep. I speak the name over situations during the day. I praise His name as I move throughout my day. The name, Jesus, pours from my lips over and over. Just ask Mike. I can’t stop it and I don’t want to.

Because…… at the name of Jesus…… every knee will bow. On the earth and under the earth. ALL THINGS must come under the dominion of Jesus Christ.

This Christmas, ask the Holy Spirit to pour upon you revelation about the name of Jesus. The name of Yahweh, the names of the disciples, the names of your family. There are mandates and missions in waiting, to be discovered, to be released to our world… Let the name Jesus pour from your lips. His name changes marriages, realigns our health, released our children into their legacy, frees us from depression, fear, regret, bitterness, failure and false identity.

Yeshua!!!  JESUS SAVES!

And his name will be the hope of all the world. —Matthew 12:21

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Give The Perfect Gift For Christmas

Gift-boxBy Martha Bush

Are you looking for that perfect gift for someone on your Christmas shopping list? Allow me to suggest a gift-giving idea that won't cost you a penny!

Take a stroll with me to the bedside of a dying father in the Old Testament by the name of Isaac as he was about to give this free gift to his oldest son, Esau.

The name of the gift - - The Blessing.

In keeping with the custom of the day, parents in the Old Testament set aside a special day to give The Blessing. On this special day, the parent spoke words of love, high value, acceptance, and words that painted a bright future into their child’s life.

And so it was, Esau had been summoned to his dying father's bedside to receive The Blessing from his father. However his brother, Jacob, had deceived their father into believing that he was Esau, and Isaac had already given The Blessing to Jacob. Unfortunately, custom also said that once the blessing was given, it could not be revoked; it stood that Jacob should keep the blessing that was intended for Esau. When Esau realized that Jacob had received The Blessing he should have gotten, he cried out: "Oh, haven't you saved even one blessing for me? Oh my father, bless me too!" (Genesis 27:36)

Can't you just feel the anguish Esau must have felt:

"Please bless me, too!"
• "I want to know you love me!”
• "I want to know you value me!'
• "I want to know you accept me!"
• "Tell me that I have potential with a bright future!"

**********  

A Family Tradition is Born 

Several years ago, I read a new slant on the story of Esau in Gary Smalley’s book entitled, The Blessing. Gary pointed out that the unfulfilled longing that Esau felt is still being heard by people that we may be rubbing shoulders with every day: a family member, friends, church members, neighbors. Many are crying out as Esau did: "Do you have one blessing for me?"

Gary encouraged readers to find ways to implement this Old Testament ritual today. I immediately felt the nudge from the Holy Spirit to follow through, starting with my immediate family.

It occurred to me that one of the gifts that my husband and I should give our married daughters and their husbands for Christmas that year should be “A Blessing Journal.” But, I also knew that it was not to be a one-time gift; it should be something we should do each year at Christmas time as a way of speaking words of love, high value, acceptance, and words that painted a bright future into their lives for the up-coming year.

So, I approached my pre-believer husband with the idea, downplaying the Biblical principal, of course. My conversation went something like this:

“How about we begin a new tradition this year? I would like to buy a journal to give to Crystal and Tim and Heather and Hoit as one of their Christmas gifts. I thought it would be nice if each of us wrote in it how much we love and value them, as well as write words of encouragement for their future. We then would ask them to bring the journal back the following year when we gather for Christmas, and at some point during the day, we could slip off to a quite corner and write more words in their journal for the up-coming year.”

He agreed to the idea, and a tradition was born. Our “kids” love it, and eagerly bring their journals back to our Christmas gathering each year for Mom and Dad to bless them for another year. Though we had always tried to show love and encourage them in their endeavors when they were growing up, it was now time to make sure we included their spouses. Also, I felt that there  is something about seeing encouraging words in writing that is a blessing within itself, as well as a keepsake for years to come. (To save time, my husband and I have carefully planned out and written down the words that we want to say before we meet with our family, and then transfer them into the journal for them to take home with them.)

*******  

My Smite friends, why not create ways to give someone on your Christmas list this year The Blessing---friends, church member, neighbors, or maybe even start your own family tradition of implementing it each year.

"It is the perfect gift, and it won't cost you a penny!”

Merry Christmas from my family to yours,

Martha

 

 

 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Because of the Manger. This One is BIG

Joseph & Jesus

I’ve been reading the Christmas story in the Gospels the past two weeks. My time in the Word has been utterly revelatory. Father, God has been speaking to me in His kind voice and uncovering treasures of the Christmas story that I didn’t even know were there. Such was the post from Friday about Zechariah.

After having my mind blow up over Zechariah, God led me to read through the first chapter of Matthew. That’s when my eyes were drawn over and over to this heading:

Joseph accepts Jesus

 

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

On the surface, nothing is noteworthy to most. However, for me. I was drawn over and over to the implications of this heading and then the passage that followed. And that’s because, in my Healing Prayer sessions, over and over again, I pray with believers to restore their voice.

So much of human misery is cloaked in lost identity, the result of rejection. This passage in Matthew 1:18-25 is about this very issue. This is the telling of Joseph’s tremendous struggle, which until today, I've never considered the enormity of what is happening here. As I read, I pondered. Why would God include the story in the Bible about Joseph’s struggle to accept an illegitimate child?

Joseph’s story is the story of humanity. We are all illegitimate. Born into a world that is harsh, unkind, brutal. And we find ourselves far away from our Father in heaven. As I mentioned, in nearly every prayer session, I help believers discover when and how their voice and identity was taken and then gently lead them through healing from a deep soul wound of voicelessness and rejection. It grieves me that many people live decades under words of pain, most often inflicted by a parent. And my friends, this is at the core of tremendous wounding in men! Most men are desperate to be accepted by their Father. 

I guess that explains why I was drawn to the words: Joseph ACCEPTS Jesus as his son. I can’t tell you how many people long for the same. We LONG for acceptance by others of our authentic self. 

I’m convinced that our good Father purposed this passage as a blueprint for family.

This man, Joseph legally and religiously was entitled, as well as expected, to walk away from Mary and the baby. Remember, Joe had already determined to divorce her. In ancient Hebrew culture, an engagement is the beginning of a marriage contract. They were considered married, yet unconsummated. As I think about Joseph, I see this play out day after day in our modern society.

Joseph was unwilling to face the shaming, the rejection of his own family (usually a controlling mother or harsh father) nor the disgrace of a marriage to a perceived “stained woman” some would say – a whore. How often are marriages doomed because of parental shaming, ignorance, misguided expectations.... the list is endless. 

Yet in a dream. A DREAM, no less! (Side note: I wonder how many times God has told us to do the right thing or answered our prayers and we didn’t recognize it was Him because He communicated in a way we refused to validate????)

Back to the dream: A nighttime visitation. The Lord said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”

Upon reading this verse, revelation then began to emerge in my mind. My dear friends, this passage is in the Word for all of us. It’s the LORD speaking. This is also our “Dream from the Lord” written in antiquity for all generations of believers.

ACCEPTANCE!

Joseph accepted wholeheartedly the enormous, life-long task of raising a child that was not his own. He willingly and with gravity, accepted the mandate upon his life to love and protect someone that society said he should reject. Isn’t this similar to our lifelong mandate in our SUM marriages? Hmmmmmm

May I ask you a question as we ponder this underlying wisdom within the Christmas story? Who is God asking you to accept? Is it a step-child? If so, decide today to no longer call that child (step) but embrace that child as son, daughter. Decide to never say the word, step, again to them or in their presence. 

Is the Lord asking you to accept and “see” the broken, the angry, those crying inside, the vulgar, the sinner, yourself?

Have you accepted who you really are? Is the LORD calling out to you, “You are Worthy of love. You are worthy to be protected. You are worthy to be cherished and nurtured.”

Forgive those who rejected the “real” you. Ask for help if needed. Fully forgive and let go of the bitterness that holds you in chains of regret and anger.

This profound story in the telling of the birth of Christ, resonates throughout the centuries and remains vitally powerful today.

Listen as our Father speaks with tenderness and truth in His voice, “I love you. I accept you just as you are. You are already perfect to Me. My favorite things about you is your quirkiness, your weaknesses, your tender heart and all the things about you that others criticized. I love YOU!”

Let’s ask the Lord a question on this day in December. Ready?

Jesus, who do I need to accept?

What did you hear?

Now let’s ask this: Jesus, how do you want me to proceed to show love and acceptance to this person(s)? Jesus, how do you want me to show love to myself?

The road to Bethlehem is filled with lessons of love and God’s wisdom. Walk we me a bit further. By December 25th it’s possible that we will have walked into a new season of powerful awareness, freedom, and healing.

And isn’t that what the birth of Jesus is all about?

Emmanuel God With US spirituallunequalmarriage.com

Share in the comments if you are able, the name you need to forgive/accept. I will pray with you.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Because of The Manger... Our Voice Is Restored!

Emmanuel God With US spirituallunequalmarriage.com While reading the Christmas story in the book of Luke on Monday, I pondered Zechariah’s story. The Holy Spirit began to speak to me about Zechariah’s angelic encounter, his response, and the significance and similarity in many believers lives today.

Let’s read it together and then I will share the revelation that could very well change the course of your life this very day. 

Let us recall that Zechariah was the High Priest serving in the Temple, in the Holies of holy. He and his wife Elizabeth were devoted to the Lord, however, they lived in shame as they were childless. Childlessness was considered a curse in ancient Biblical times.

In Luke, chapter one, Zechariah received great honor when chosen to burn incense in the Temple. While ministering to God behind the curtain the angel, Gabriel, appeared before him and said, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife, Elizabeth will bear you a son and you are to call him John….”

Gabriel continues to declare the destiny of John who becomes The Baptist. Let’s pick up in verse 18 and listen to Zachariah’s response:

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people. — Luke 1:18-25

Now this is where the Lord began to speak to me, “Lynn, I know that you are aware through your many prayer session, that many of my children have experienced this very thing.”

“Huh?” I pondered until the Lord went on to explain. “You see, many of my children’s voices have been stolen from them. They suffered much at the hands of those in authority over them who silenced their cries for kindness, consideration, and cries for help. CRIES TO BE HEARD!”

“What happened to Zachariah continues to play out in millions of lives today."

"And Lynn, it wasn’t by My Hand that Zachariah lost his voice. No. His voice was stolen by the demonic the instant Zach decided to doubt and believe a lie. He believed this miracle birth was impossible. He chose by his free will to partner with doubt and deceit, two principalities of darkness. Thus, giving the enemy an entry point to come in, snatch his voice, which was ordained to be a powerful witness of the Kingdom. He believed a lie even though my powerful angel stood before him speaking truth.”

“Stealing a believer’s voice is the goal of every demon. Your voice carries so much power to change everything in the world. But the devil tricks, swirls doubt, pain, and trauma to snuff out the realities that I offer. My children partner with deception even though they have My Word, the Holy Spirit and the testimonies of millions of believers who declare the reality of My power and love."

"Lynn, I’m so glad that you pray with My children and restore their voice.”

“I’m so glad too, Papa.”

“Lynn, but did you see what happened when Zachariah acted in faith and partnered with Me, with My son, Jesus, and with truth? The demonic stronghold was immediately broken, and Zechariah’s voice was restored. Read on!”

59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”

61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”

62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him. — Luke 1:61-66

“Meditate on this truth. Partner with Me no matter how impossible the circumstances. If I have decreed a thing. IT MUST HAPPEN!”

-----

Whoa, Gang!

Who knew the Christmas story could be this powerful.

This is the season of miracles and receiving gifts. Has the devil stolen your voice? Ask the Lord about your voice. Has it been silenced? Do you use your voice to bless and not curse?

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. — Colossians 4:6

For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. —Luke 6:45

Share your thoughts with me in the comments. Let me pray for you in the comments today. I love you Merry Christmas. AND, I can’t wait to discover more on our journey toward Bethlehem!

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Advent - A Season of Waiting ...

 

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Photo courtesy of 9comeback/FreeDigitalPhotos.nety/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I received a call that I wasn’t expecting. From my sister. It was Saturday night, two weeks ago. She was relaying some information she’d received about our brother, John.

He had been admitted into hospital that afternoon, had an MRI that found he had a ‘mass’ in his head. Oh dear. Not at all what we wanted to hear.

And so the waiting began.

Over the next week John had a bunch of tests and scans. Lots of waiting for things to happen – John dubbed it “hospital time”. All confirmed there was only the one mass. Everything else was normal except that movement in both his right arm and right leg were slightly impaired. The mass was pressing on his brain impacting a signal to those limbs.

Finally, a biopsy was to be taken. But this was no simple biopsy as they had to get into his head. And therefore, there were risks involved. Because the mass was in an area of ‘high value real estate’ we were told.

The procedure went well and there were no complications. Praise God.

And then we waited. For the results.

Three days later a simple text message arrived. From John. “Diagnosed with B Cell lymphoma. Chemo starts Monday. Sorry for the curt message.”

My heart sunk.1

A Season to Wait

Advent commenced last Sunday (2 December). Advent is a time of waiting. The name Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming” or “arrival.” Beginning each year on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, Advent commemorates the birth of Jesus and also anticipates His return. As Ann Voskamp says we are “perpetual Advent people” waiting on Christ’s return. I’d add that we are also waiting on Jesus to do work in our heart regarding life’s circumstances.

We SUMites are used to waiting, aren’t we?

He doesn’t always immediately respond to our heart cry – “God help us!” So we wait. “He teaches us to stay in the waiting.” (Ruth Haley Barton) We sit with our longings: for good biopsy results, for our pre-believing spouses, and so on.

It’s important for us to not run away from our longings, to spend time with the Lord expressing our worries and fears. We see throughout the Scriptures, particularly in the OT and the Psalms how many times people cry out to God, whether it’s Rachel in her desire for children (Genesis 30) or David in his lament (for example, Psalm 6).

Light and Darkness

When we wait we often linger in darkness. The future is uncertain and dark. We don’t know what is going to happen. We don’t know what the diagnosis will be or if our spouses will choose Jesus. We typically associate negative connotations with the darkness, don’t we? But a lot of good things happen in the dark. Remember we were created in the darkness of the womb.

Lingering in uncertainty with our longings can also be a positive experience. Because we linger with God. Even if He feels distant we can claim the promises that He has given us in the Bible. “By His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5)

Lighting candles is one of the symbols of Advent. It reflects Christ being the light of the world and coming through the darkness – “The true light that gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” (John 1:9)

During Advent we don’t just wait, we also anticipate. We anticipate the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas. And we anticipate that He will come again to make all things new.

“Jesus Christ has come, and He is coming again. This is the heart of Advent.” (He Reads Truth)

The Branch Gives us Hope

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;


    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” (Isaiah 11:1-2)

Advent is all about hope. In the who is coming.

We can believe in that hope. Because He did come 2,000 years ago on that Christmas morn, born in a food trough, son to a teenage mom and her husband.

We can believe in that hope. Because He has come to us. He is in us and we are in Him.

We can believe in that hope. Because He has told us He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5). Even when our beloved doesn’t know Him. Even when the diagnosis isn’t good.

Often when we’re in a season of wilderness or a battle or even the 24 days of Advent our hope is in the end, the arrival, the victory. Time and time again we see in the Bible, most often the true ‘victory’ occurs during the wilderness, or struggle or suffering. This is where we discover that God wants more of us; He wants our hearts to know Him deeply and intimately. This can only come through time with Him. I've always loved the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah, John the Baptist's parents, who lived in silence for 5 months of his gestation. During this period, Zechariah discovered the wonder of an intimate Father, and on John being born, as a result of his obedience in naming his son, Zechariah's tongue is freed and he opens by praising God (Luke 1:64)

Advent is counter cultural because it calls us to slow down from our busy schedules of Christmas parties and events to spend time waiting on Jesus, and leaning into Him as we discover and share the longings of our heart.  

I hope you are able to spend some time in the next few weeks reflecting on the hope of Advent. On Jesus. Allow His Words to “dwell in you richly.”

Wishing all of my SUMite friends a blessed Advent season full of childlike hope and anticipation.

Grace and peace,

1. Note: as a write this post, John is undergoing his first chemo treatment. We don't know what is going to happen this week, in the next weeks and months, but I have real comfort because John is in a great place with the Lord as he starts this challenging season. He wants to fall more in love with Him and discover all there is to life with Jesus. If you remember, we'd cherish any prayers you may utter for John. Thank you, my dear friends.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Because of the Manger... Shrug Off The Ugly Sweater

SUMites,

I’m so excited for Christmas this year. I went extra crazy decorating the house. Take a look.

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Within me remains a wide-eye small girl who still marvels at the wonder and whimsy of this season. I miss the snow so much this time of year. So much so, that I created a snowscape outside of my front door. My daughter, Caitie, who is freezing in Indiana is longing for the warm afternoons of southern California.

Christmas Door 2018

I love the decorations on the tree, each tell a story of a season of our life. I love the packages and the lights. I love to wear Christmas apparel and have laughed out loud at the crazy, and weird, ugly Christmas sweaters.

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There are tiny miracles all about us if we take time to notice.

In fact, just this past week Mike asked me what church service we would be attending on Christmas Eve. Say what??? A number of years ago, that would have never happened.

But what I love so much is the retelling of the story of the birth of Jesus. So, would you travel with me in this month of December to Bethlehem, visit with Mary and Joseph, imagine the Wisemen and their need to find the new born King? Let’s behold the gift that we have because of the manger…..

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. — Luke 1:35 (KJV)

The joining of the DNA of God with humanity within a covering of the Holy Spirit. The conception of a perfect child.

Because of Christ, we have been invited to remove the ugly and become a brand-new person. We can shrug off that ugly Christmas sweater and literally put on Christ. Whoa! Read this:

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. — Romans 13:14 (NIV)

This singular conception in a tiny town of Bethlehem is also our conception as a new creation, a child of God. A man or woman endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49). The manger is our rescue from anger, fear, false beliefs, confusion, strife, and every tool of the devil.

We are offered a precious gift, to dawn and wear the love of Jesus this season and become peace bearers in our home. Love givers in our marriages. Leaders of joy in our communities. Ambassadors of purpose and destiny for our children.

SUMites, who do you want to be this Christmas. Will you choose to wear Jesus in the morning for your kids, your spouse. Will you put on the peace of Christ and bring Him with you into the workplace, into the schools and into our nations? We appear to be just an ordinary people, but that perception is a darkened deception. We are more than ordinary. Because of the manger, we the SUMites, truly impact our homes, our churches, our community, and our world.

We are love. We choose this day to wear Jesus on the outside and inside and reflect the perfection of a babe born in a manger who changed and changes everything.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. — Isaiah 9:6

Leading up to Christmas, let’s walk the road to Bethlehem. Let’s be purposeful to dwell on the greatest story ever told.

Emmanuel – God with us!

In the comments, tell me how putting on Jesus has helped you to take off the ugly in your life. And/or share your ugly sweater pic.

I adore you…. Merry Christmas!!! Lynn

Emmanuel God With US spirituallunequalmarriage.com

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This is my ugly sweater, my cute dog Finn.and my Broncos Cap! See you in the comments! BIG HUGS!

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.