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10 entries from November 2019

SUM and a Donovan Clan Update

Giving_tuesday-2019-550Hi SUM Nation,

It’s time for a Donovan Clan update. And well, it’s difficult to share that my amazing husband is still diligently job searching. It’s interesting that when your older, finding gainful employment becomes more challenging.

Hmmmm. And believe me I’ve done so much praying about all of it. I’m convinced I’ve heard the Lord, but His answer appears so impossible, that I can only cling to faith and remain in peace as I wait for the Lord to bring things into reality. And with transparency I'll tell you that it hasn't always been easy.

However, in the waiting we have exhausted our financial reserves. It’s humbling and vulnerable to share that truth. But, this is our real situation.

For over 13 years Mike’s job supported all of the financial needs for the online ministry. But this year, I’m turning to all of you.

I need you.

So, all I can do is share the expenses and ask you to prayerfully consider adopting one and cover it or a portion of an expense for the ministry?

On Tuesday, #GIVINGTUESDAY would you be prepared to give a recurring gift of $5, $10, $15, $25 or $50 a month. This recurring gift will cover the monthly expense for example the monthly expenses of mailing the post emails, $27.00 or the annual renewal of the web hosting $150.00 On Giving Tuesday Facebook and PayPal are matching contributions.

OR consider a one-time donation to apply to the Domain renewal for spirituallyunequalmarriage.com. That expense is $85. I support about nine web domains for various ministries under the Three Keys Ministries umbrella.

So, here are some of the items that are a must for this ministry to continue. All told, annually all the expenses roughly total $6,000.

RSS Feed

Domain Renewals

Web Hosting (largest expense)

Apps to support graphics

Licensed photos

Third Party supports for web design and apps

Legal Fees Federal/State

Taxes State

Documentation

Bank fees

PayPal fees

Event Insurance

 

Postage

Computer

Wifi

Paper/office supply

 

 

This is not an exhaustive list

 

It is my heart to help others. I know that is your heart also. We want others to discover what we know, Jesus makes the difference in every way and every area of our lives and marriages.

Today ask Jesus, “What could I give? What could I cover this year? How much could I pour in to help someone on the road behind me?

I’ll share more as Giving Tuesday arrives. But you can give now through the PayPal app in the sidebar of the website. And for all of you who already give, Thank you. Your faithfulness has kept the internet a blaze with hope for the spiritually mismatched. 

For those of you who can give… I love you.

For those of you who can’t….. I love you.

Thank you, Jesus as you provide through some of the most amazing believers on the planet. In Jesus name. AMEN

Give generously from your heart not because of guilt. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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.


Happy Thanksgiving - Welcome To The Table of the Divine

Family thanksgiving Table SUM

Welcome to the Table
by Lynn Donovan

Cease your struggle and worry. Put away the frantic demands upon your time and energy. Bow low, shrug off the burdens, laden with discord, competition, and foolish striving. In this season of Thanksgiving, I welcome you to My Table.

Washed and prepared, anointed with the oil of heaven, I beckon you to receive the plates of bounty I’ve placed before you. This holy encounter, an invitation from the King of Glory.

Be seated, as the meal is about to ensue, a sacred experience. As you receive to becoming full, you will be emptied.

The invitation is given. Will you accept to participate in the meal of the holy and divine?

The silver stems of the placements gleaming, reflecting a myriad of color. The golden placeware, shimmers, as alive. The table of Honor is set before you, awaiting the service of bounty of the Kingdom.

The courses prepared, angelic service at hand. The anticipation of your delight, twinkles in their lavender angelic eyes as they behold your countenance. They pause with understanding as the power of this partaking is unlike any other.

Child, raise your chalice, a tribute to your courage in the face of fear. An honor of a lifetime of treading through the battles and landmines of life. The applause of heaven breaks forth.

My child, I approve your smile as the delicacies arrive prepared specifically for you.

This is the Dinner of the Divine. Surrender on this day, a lifetime of starvation and devastation, and choose the better.

Fill your plate with peace and cast-off worry.

A slice of pure joy served before you, releases is the constraint of religion.

A portion of gladness and your broken heart is mended.

One helping of faithfulness conveys in a lifetime of confidence.

Add to your plate, My provision, as lack then must depart.

A dash of protection and fear is surrendered.

Taste the power of My Presence. Fear is banished into the darkness.

The angels dance about the table as your meal proceeds, their joy unrestrained. The transformation occurring at the Table of Grace brings all of heaven to assembly in praise.

My Beloved Child, welcome to the real Thanksgiving dinner.

You are My welcomed family. On this day receive the bounty I have waiting for you. Use the keys I’ve provided through My Word. Unlock the treasuries, the storehouses, the healing rooms of the Kingdom. Turn the Key of Love, release the latch through thankful living, raise the handle of faith to walk into the fullness of My Kingdom.

Welcome to the Table of The Divine. Happy Thanksgiving.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. —Psalm 118:1

 

*****

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 Attack Of The Grumble Bugs

Hello SUM family, Tiffany here! Family Photo Collage

Happiest of Thanksgivings from the Carter Crew!

The holidays are just around the corner. One of my favorites of the whole year is Thanksgiving Day. I love coming together with friends and family while sharing a meal and memories. I am bringing out my Tablecloth of Thanks after it being in hiding for 3 years. (You can read Lynn's post about this tradition here). I can't wait to see what everyone writes this year!

Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful time to reflect upon the goodness of the Lord and what He has done for us. As much as I love this holiday, I must admit, this is something I struggle to implement in my daily life.

At the ages of 5 and 6, my children are soaking in behaviors like a sponge. They are looking for cues from mom and dad every day. How we act and react make a lasting impression on them. They model our behavior.

Lately, I have seen so much complaining from my children. It has been a rough time in the Carter household for me. Hearing my children complain more than give thanks has become a "pet peeve" of mine. I am really struggling to show my children kindness and compassion. Lord help me!

As I really seek the Lord in how I can model Jesus to my family, I am able to see more clearly - I have set an attitude of ungratefulness in my home. ::GULP::

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky (Philippians 2:14-15)

It is natural for us to see the negative. Oh how easy it is to grumble and complain! How beautiful it is when conversing with someone who emanates gratitude. I love the genuine smile on their faces. Paul is right when he says, "you will shine among them like stars," they just seem to glow. They are people you want to be around. It truly is contagious. 

So, how do we get rid of the grumble bugs in our home?

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. (Philippians 4:4-8)

We must remember that we do not wrestle with flesh or blood (Ephesians 6). Our weapons of warfare are praise and thanksgiving. If the enemy can distract us with the grumble bugs than he can get a foothold in our lives and homes. I picture it like trying to get rid of fleas. It is not impossible but a LOT of work goes into eliminating them completely.

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High. (Psalm 7:17)

Let's talk in the comments. What are some ways you've gotten rid of the grumble bugs? I'm sure I'm not the only one who would really love some input, especially how you taught or modeled the attitude of gratitude to your children.

*****

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.


Be Like Nehemiah: Rise up and Rebuild

Rebuilding-the-wall

By Martha Bush

During this Thanksgiving season, I am so grateful for the “rebuilding blueprints” Neheniah passed down to us as he rebuilt the broken down walls of Jerusalem.

Join me today as I outline his plans for rebuilding. Let’s start in Chapter 1 and listen in on a conversation he is having with his Jewish friends.

How are the Jews getting along who have returned to Jerusalem from their Babylonian Exile?”  “Well, things are not good; the wall of Jerusalem is still torn down, and the gates are burned,” they replied (Nehemiah 1:2-3 TLB)

Nehemiah knew that the Temple in Jerusalem was being reconstructed. Now, his friends were telling him that the city had no protection from its enemies while they were rebuilding the Temple.

Weeping and fasting for several days, Nehemiah asked God to use him to save the city. God answered his prayer by softening the heart of the king who gave him permission to rebuild the walls around the city. In spite of opposition, the wall was rebuilt in 52 days.

I was drawn to this story years ago when everything in my marriage was crumbling. Even though we were spiritually unequally yoked, we had a loving marriage. But, when I followed a new direction the Lord had given me, it was as though an army invaded our home stealing, not only our relationship, but our earthly goods as well. The comfortable lifestyle we had grown accustomed to was gone. Added to this scenario, serious health problems arose. With all the devastation around us, we both wanted to vacate the premises, as in SEPARATE.

Nehemiah’s example of rebuilding was a trumpet call to me to “rise up and rebuild” the broken down walls.

1. Nehemiah confessed the sins of his country, himself, and his ancestors.

I’m praying day and night in intercession for your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel. And I’m including myself and my ancestors among those who have sinned against you. (Neh. 1:6 MSG)

Like Nehemiah, I first confessed my sins for the part I had played in our situation. Next, I confessed generational sins on both sides of our families.

2. Nehemiah EXAMINED every broken wall.

By night I examined the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. (Nehemiah 2:13 NIV)

I asked the Lord to show me where the walls of protection in our marriage had broken.

  • Communication: We’d never learned how to communicate effectively, so when the hard times hit, we yelled and screamed because that was the only way we knew how to communicate.
  • Finances: Our financial strain was due in part because of bad decisions we had made, but some of it was a result of the enemy using various means to steal from us.
  • Parental Influence: Though we both had great parents, we had brought their problems into our own marriage.
  • Not understanding one another’s temperaments: When Mr. Choleric and Miss Phlegmatic came together in the heat of the battle, our opposite traits produced quite an explosion.

3. Nehemiah Had a Vision.

“Face it: we’re in a bad way here. Jerusalem is a wreck; its gates are burned up. Come—let’s build the wall of Jerusalem and not live with this disgrace any longer.” (Neh. 2: 17 MSG)

Andy Stanley, author of Visionary said, “Visions are born in the soul of a man or woman who is consumed with the tension between ‘what is’ and ‘what could be.’ Vision often begins with the inability to accept things the way they are. Over time that dissatisfaction matures into a clear picture of what could be.”

Something inside me clicked. “Rise up and rebuild!”

4. Nehemiah Faced Opposition.

“What are these miserable Jews doing? Do they think they can get everything back to normal overnight? Make building stones out of make-believe?” What do they think they’re building? Why, if a fox climbed that wall, it would fall to pieces under his weight.” (Nehemiah 4:1-3 MSG)

Unfortunately, for a long time, my husband did not share the same vision for rebuilding as I did. “Do you really think God can fix this mess? You need to get your head out of the sand, and face reality! It is over!”

5. Nehemiah’s Response to Opposition.

“Hear us, O Lord God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back upon their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land! Do not ignore their sin. Do not blot it out, for they have despised you in despising us who are building your wall.” (Nehemiah 4:4-5 TLB)

Nehemiah said nothing to his opposition,  prayed, and kept on building. Jerusalem was a city worth fighting for.

I finally realized it was useless to fight back with words at the opposition. By the grace of God, my husband finally joined me, and we have restored most, (not all yet) of those broken down walls that almost destroyed our marriage. Granted it took more than 52 days to get to the place we are today - we are a stiff-necked couple. The fullness of the vision is for an appointed time.

*****

My Sumite Friends, in the comments tell us how Nehemiah’s example for rebuilding the broken down walls applies to your marriage, finances, health,  church.  Together, we can "rise up and rebuild."

 

 

 

 

*****

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.


Marriage Devotion - Patty Tower

Forgiving My Spouse


Patty TowerForgiveness is not just an act we do for someone else, it is more so an act we do for ourselves. Unforgiveness harbors resentment, bitterness, anger, and negativity. When we harbor these emotions, the act of portraying love faints away. Is that what I want for my marriage?

I thought about what forgiving my husband looks like and it’s not me saying to him, “I forgive you.” It means to internally release all my negative emotions regarding the small battles to God.

Maybe in my mind, he’s talking to me in a demeaning tone. And instead of me snapping back, I address it. Whether he wants to fix it or argue about it, I simply…move on. If he replies back, “I wasn’t trying to talk down to you,” and instead of debating, “yes you were.” I respond, “Oh ok.” And move on.

It’s deciding in my heart to forgive him for that quick small moment and pray to God to soften his heart. Forgiveness is in the quick small moments of our everyday.  

Reflection: Think of a common small moment where you can forgive. What was in the moment that made you feel a negative emotion? Ask God to show you how to forgive or whether to address an issue. If it’s forgiveness, write it down and pray God will continue to give you a heart of humility, grace, and mercy towards your husband/wife.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32 

“As he hung on the cross – And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” – Luke 23:24 

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” – Colossians 3:13

*****

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.


Some Thoughts on Arguments Against the Bible

Ann here! Ask God about the Bible

Recently a reader posted a question for the SUM community that many of us would relate to. It seems a good one to share here, and I wonder if we could add any answers to her question in the comments?

Her question was this (paraphrased slightly):

“My husband is reading and using a particular anti-Christian book to ‘convince’ me the Bible is not the truth. Does anyone have any input, or has anyone read this book?”

The book that she attached to her question (in a photo) had words splashed across the cover, proclaiming in big letters that the Bible was full of absurdities, contradictions, and other things 'wrong'.

I spotted her question and dived in. I’ve never been an atheist, but I have been in the shoes of one reading such a book, having been agnostic and difficult to persuade. Quite honestly, it took a lot to get me over the line into full belief in God. Given that experience, here’s what I wrote back:

“Hi! 

During my process of conversion I read a lot of atheist/anti-Christian arguments and looked into them. My biggest thing to say in response to a book like this is that people can intellectualize themselves into any corner, but the only way to know what is true is to straight-out ask God if He is real and, if so, what is true. Unless people have asked that question of God directly, they haven't been sufficiently thorough. Really, they often don't want to know.

The Bible does stand up to scrutiny perfectly well, but in certain parts one has to have the Holy Spirit when reading it. Without the Holy Spirit something might appear to be an absurdity or a contradiction. WITH the Holy Spirit, that same 'absurdity' or 'contradiction' becomes a work of genius where all you can do is fall on your knees because it's so clever.”

In our current culture there’s a lot of clamor against the Bible. It can be loud and dominating (Proverbs 9:13-15). However, my question to a clamorous one would be: “Yes, but have you asked God?” After all, He promises in scripture that those who seek Him will find answers.

That process of asking God is something that takes effort, will, and integrity. It takes time on our knees. It takes thought. It is something quite different to picking a popular book off the shelf and believing one author's personal argument that God is a 'delusion' without properly questioning God open-heartedly. This effort is captured in Proverbs 9's description of wisdom, showing that there's a lot of work that goes in -- Perhaps years of work:

Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars; she has slaughtered her meat, she has mixed her wine, she has also furnished her table. She has sent out her maidens, she cries out from the highest places of the city, 'Whoever is simple let him turn in here!' As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him, 'Come eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding'.

Proverbs 9:1-6, NKJV.

At this point I might hand over to everyone else to add their thoughts. It'd be interesting to hear your comments on the following:

  • Does your spouse read these atheist books?
  • If so, how do you handle that?

Thanks everyone, and have a great weekend!

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 Day My Church Friends Came to Dinner

By Ann Hutchison

“How would you and your husband like to come for dinner?” A dear church friend threw her arm around my shoulder one Sunday, extending her hospitality. You prepare a table for me

My heart began to pound. Not this again. Inwardly, one word hit my brain. “Nooooooo!”

I smiled as best I could and said, “That’s really nice. Um. Can I just think about it?” She looked puzzled. “Sure.”

Here’s my deal: My husband loves people, and we don’t find it difficult to talk to strangers. But, when it comes to church I personally have a mountain of complexities in my head. Truth be told, the idea of us going to a church friend’s house made me feel sick with nerves. Why on earth, I wonder? This needed to be analysed, and so here’s what I realized:

‘Church’ represented something that came between me and Bryce to such a degree that it jeopardized our marriage. Since then I’ve feared bringing church people into our lives in case it jeopardizes ‘us’ again.

That’s what’s been in my head; and consequently I’ve kept that part of my life neatly separate. Non-Christians have long been my preferred dinner guests because that felt more comfortable. I always thought it was for him, but perhaps it was really about my comfort levels.

That was until a few weeks ago when a chain of events led to us welcoming into our home the pastor and his wife for dinner. This was certainly the crossing of a new frontier, and as they say in space terms, ‘a giant leap for Ann-kind’. Or SUM-kind.

The leap was sparked one night after we’d come home from dinner out with our usual friends. As always, I felt slightly sad from the evening, purely because of the unbelief. You know how it is. It’s normal these days so I didn’t say anything to Bryce, but he could tell. This particular evening, he watched me from across the kitchen and seemed to resonate more than usual. Eventually, he came out with a suggestion:

“I think we should hang out with a wider variety of people. Different kinds of people.”

Wary of seeming like I didn’t love our friends I began to protest, but he pressed me again, suggesting I invite someone new over, and then these words came:

“Why don’t you ask someone from church? Just make sure it’s no one weird, ok?”

Even though I myself am reasonably weird, weirdness seems to be his main concern. So, ok, it seemed we had a deal. And I laughed.

My task was thus set and I thought I’d better do it quickly before I freak and back out. But who at church should I ask? Well, one couple seemed obvious. They had boys the same ages as ours, and the male of the family likes sport, as does my hubby. Importantly, there wasn’t a shred of weirdness there. “Right then,” I decided, drew my phone to me, and did it quickly. I texted an invite and clicked SEND.

Here’s the fun bit: That couple also happen to be the pastors of my little church. So, after they’d texted back “Yes!” I realized this could go one of two ways: Very well, or quite awkwardly.

As I write, the dinner has come and gone, and I’m pleased to report I have a smile on my face. Here’s my spiritual observation of the day: When God gave pastors to the church, they were a gift from Christ. I hadn’t really thought of this before, but on the night it was clear that these two were the perfect ones to be sitting at our table. Pastors have strong, sensitive hearts for people. They were to my right at the table. To my left, there sat Bryce, relaxed and, in true extravert form, enjoying the fact there were some new and interesting people at his table.  

Indeed, on the night of the dinner, with so many boisterous boys in the room, our guests, and my cheery husband, the air was filled with chatter. I was left feeling that ‘the church’ had done us some good. In closing, I will say I couldn’t imagine this happening any earlier. However, in God’s perfect timing things happen seamlessly. What a relief!

Now your turn: Have you socialized yet with church 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.


Thanksgiving and Kanye West

Hello SUMers!

So, around this time of year I always post about my Tablecloth of Thanks. But I’m puzzled over something that is happening right now in the church. So, let’s chat about that instead.

If you are new to SUM, please, PLEASE read about this amazing Thanksgiving tradition that also can be gently shared with an unbelieving spouse and family. It’s truly a family heirloom. My daughter has claim on ours as part of her inheritance. Read it here: Tablecloth of Thanks

Now onto Kanye.

First, I’m not a fan of his music, even his new album, Jesus is King. (No offense Kanye, just not my style.) I don’t know much about his life prior to his salvation experience other than he married Kim Kardashian. Weird that I even know that????

Jesus KingBut, I’m absolutely perplexed by the circus that is happening in the church over his recent salvation experience and the meetings he’s been holding. I receive an email daily about it all. Those who are suspect and those who are on the Kanye train. And all social media platforms are ablaze over the Kanye fracas. Sheesh!

Several years ago, what most of America missed ,was that Kanye had a complete breakdown. He was battling demons and voices and it was God who rescued him. I remember reading about this and I knew then what was happening. God was calling him. The demons, there were likely many, were putting up a ferocious fight so much so that Kanye cancelled his engagements for a year and received counseling. I believe that precipitated his entre into the Kingdom.

I keep coming back to this question. And I believe God is asking the same thing. Why do we always tear one another down? It’s no wonder the devil is laughing in his coffee. He doesn’t need to spend efforts destroying our unity, we do it ourselves. From my nearly 40 decades of faith experience, I’m of the position that we need to stop judging the salvation experience of another Christian.

Doesn’t the Word of God tell us we can determine or discern a person saved/unsaved by their fruit?

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? —Matthew 7:16

And even judging the fruit we must lean far, far toward mercy. If any of you lived with me and Mike, you would not know Mike is a believer. He hasn’t changed much since his baptism. He doesn’t attend church. But the small changes in his character and that he now prays, this speaks of his heart. His real faith. There is fruit but he absolutely does not look like what most people expect to see, a Bible thumping, church going, scripture spewing believer.

Personally, I am so very hopeful and praying for Kanye and his family. The pressure they must be under is tremendous. It’s nearly impossible to be a Christian in Hollywood and the family of God hasn’t been much kinder to Kanye.

This man could be one of God’s unexpected heroes. (God LOVES to use people like this. It makes Him look that much more amazing and wise.) Kanye could be a man of God who brings healing between the races and the love of Christ to masses that would never have listened in the first place.

I'll bet you that our unbelievers are watching how all of this plays out. Oh how I hope they see in Kanye how a real relationship with Jesus is so important, so transformative, that even a multimillionaire, superstar is willing to throw it away for the cause of Christ.

Be patient. Did you mess up as a new Christian? How much to you still mess up after years of faith. Let's let Kanye's fruit speak and let's be merciful as our Father is merciful. 

Thoughts? Be kind! Lynn

*****

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 Wonder of Lingering

ID-10092129
Image courtesy of Chaiwat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I arrived at a Prayer Meeting that I was leading and one of the members was already present. This was unusual for him as he typically arrived after the first 30 minutes. But I could sense something in his spirit was bursting. It didn’t take long for my friend to share the experience he’d just come from – an impromptu morning worship time where he had ‘laid all his burdens down’ before the Lord as he lay prostrate on the floor.

I envied his freedom and the heightened experience of lingering with the Lord.

We had time before the others arrived for me to share that I too had experienced something similar at the Writers Conference I attended a month or so back. Both our experiences were stimulated by Spirit-enabled worship. There’s something very special when you’re completely given over to worship, whether in public or at home in your own secret place. It really feels like a touch of heaven, caught up in the arms of your lover. No words need to be uttered; no supernatural miracle of healing or prophecy or word of knowledge or other has to occur (even though they might), just the two of you wrapped in a cocoon of extravagant love.

The deepest level of communication is not communication but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words, and beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. (Thomas Merton)

God Delights

God wants us to linger. Lingering may seem a waste of time because there is so much to do, isn’t there? But it’s interesting when one looks at those others who have a deeper connection with the Lord, they’ve usually spent lots of time lingering in His presence. It doesn’t have to be with music. As Mother Teresa once said: “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.”

We all know Jesus lingered with the Father. It was a regular habit of his to disappear early in the morning before sunset to simply spend time in the presence of the Father. It served to replenish Jesus, to refill him for the day ahead.

And Joshua. The one who led the Israelites into the Promised Land knew God intimately. That’s why he was given the responsibility. How did Joshua know God so well? Let’s see what Exodus tells us:

“And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood atthe door of the tabernacle, and the Lordtalked with Moses. All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing atthe tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man inhis tent door. So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.” (Exodus 33:9-11 NKJV)

Joshua stayed behind in the tabernacle. With God.

I’ve probably referred to this verse many times over the years, as it is one of my favorites:

“Here’s the one thing I crave from God,
the one thing I seek above all else:
I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house,
finding the sweet loveliness of his face,
filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace.
I want to live my life so close to him
that he takes pleasure in my every prayer.

 In his shelter in the day of trouble, that’s where you’ll find me,
for he hides me there in his holiness.
He has smuggled me into his secret place,
where I’m kept safe and secure

out of reach from all my enemies.
Triumphant now, I’ll bring him my offerings of praise,
singing and shouting with ecstatic joy! (Psalm 27:4-6 TPT)

Oh my … The Passion Translation just takes it that one step further doesn’t it? David wrote these words; he who learnt to linger with the Lord during the long hours of solitude when the only sounds were the occasional bleats from the many sheep he shepherded for hours on end. It was how he developed a ‘heart after God.’

Busyness

The enemy knows if he can keep us busy and/or surrounded by noise and distraction, he keeps us from lingering with God. So our connection with God tends to be rushed and compromised. We will often ‘hear what we want to hear’ rather than hear what God is telling us. We only have to reflect on a similar situation with our spouses – when we only connect in busy, noisy and distracted seasons, our relationship struggles, we often simply resort to going through the motions and everything is done quickly and without passion. Until one of us breaks.

Why wouldn’t our experience be similar with our Lord? What we do know is He never leaves us and His love is always constant. He won’t break. Only we will. And He is there ready to pick us up, having forgotten about the distance we’ve kept in recent times.

I hope you are able to make some time to linger this week with the lover of you soul. “For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.” (Psalm 149: 4 NIV)

He really does. He delights in you. Believe it. Enjoy Him.

Grace and peace, dearest 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.


What Did You Just Say?!

Hi SUM Family, Tiffany here! Boy pout

 

"Get away from me daddy!"

"Leave me alone!"

"Go away daddy!"

 

These are words that have recently come out of both of my kids' mouths. Yesterday from my daughter and this morning from my son.

Without any context, it would appear that they are simply being children. Easton is 6 and Elie is 5, so what is the big deal?

Let me back up a little bit. It was a Sunday morning. The kids and I had gone to church. The message was cutting straight to the heart. I've talked before about my struggle with anger. I've talked about my struggle with micromanaging and controlling tendencies. All of these things were swirling around in my mind during the sermon. Let's take a look at a few phrases I wrote down in my notes:

People see how you act; it doesn't matter how you feel it's how you act.

The best way to preach God and Jesus is to not be in a bad mood  but in a good mood.

You don't need to put your bad mood on people.

Don't only do good when you feel good. Do good when you feel good AND when you feel bad.

Sometimes our personality - who we are - have gotten us into a problem. We need to change who we are and not move away from the problem.

OUCH! These things seem very obvious; however, I have consistently failed to embody them in my marriage. As the believer in the home, I should be the one taking charge in setting a culture of love in my home. Great talking points Pastor. I will ponder them deeply!

 

I come home to the same dirty kitchen with evidence of days worth of meals consumed on numerous dishes. (#thestruggleisreal)

Instantly I begin to feel a simmer in my spirit.

My husband is sitting in his La-Z-Boy and staring at his computer screen. Has he even done anything today?

Temperature is rising.

I sit down with a loud and audible sigh. No response. Did he even hear me?

I'm clearly upset. He is ignoring me. Game on.

 

I will spare you the details; but, needless to say a fight ensued. He raised his voice to match mine. I got scared (because of past trauma and regression to those times) and began to scream, "Just go away! Leave me alone! Get out of here! JUST. GO!" All within earshot and sight of my children.

It's time for me to confess. It's time for me to admit it. I've really messed up here!

This scenario has been typical in my home. I opened the door for a foothold with the words, "Just go away! Just leave me alone!" These words spoken in defense have become an overplayed song inside the walls of my household.

Back to my kids.

Just yesterday I was arguing with my daughter about getting dressed for school. I stormed out of her room and motioned to my husband and said, "I wipe my hands of this. I'm done." My husband (who isn't a morning person) sat calmly on my daughter's bed and talked gently with her. He was trying to understand what had happened. His loving demeanor was met with, "Go away daddy! Leave me alone! I don't want you, I want mommy!"

After he had left the room and Elie had calmed down a bit, I talked sternly with her. I said, "Don't you talk to your daddy that way. He didn't do anything to you. You need to love and respect your daddy......" As I'm talking to her, the light bulb when on and Holy Spirit met me there mid sentence.

Tiffany, do you realize what you are saying to Elie? You need to listen very carefully to your words. You've modeled this to her, just a couple of days ago. OUCH! Sorry Lord. Please forgive me.

That night I read this golden nugget of Scripture:

9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. -- 2 Corinthians 7:9-11

This morning was a similar scenario. My husband was dealing with an issue with my son and the same type of words came out of Easton's mouth. As I heard this going down from the other room, I whispered quietly to the Lord. I am so sorry! Look at what I've done! Lynn always tells us that 75% of warfare is awareness. I knew it was time to cut this thing off!

Pride, ol' buddy, ol' pal. We can't be friends any more. It's best we part ways.

I brought everyone into the living room and said it's time we have a family meeting. My husband was standing next to me as we looked down at the kids sitting on the couch. I took a deep breath and apologized to Jason for yelling those horrible words to him. I apologized to the kids for setting the bad example of how to treat their daddy. I apologized for setting up the culture of demeaning my husband in the home. I told the kids I don't ever want to hear those words out of their mouths and mommy is making a choice to never do so again either. I told my husband to hold me accountable if I ever utter those words again because it is not right. I emphasized to the kids that we don't ever want daddy to leave. We want him with us. He is the man of the house. He is in charge. We respect and love daddy, no matter what.

I'm tired of saying sorry without any heart change being made. This was the first intentional step toward repentance; toward healing. For myself, my family, and for future generations.

I left the house this morning knowing that seeds of righteousness were planted in each and every heart of my household. It is only a matter of time when it will reap a crop of love (Hosea 10:12 NLT).

I've gone on far too long today, but I want to talk in the comments. What is something that you've been able to model for your children in order to honor our husband before them?

Love and hugs,

Tiffany

*****

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.