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July 2020

11 entries from June 2020

Graves into Gardens

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Photo courtesy of Rob D and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dear SUMite friends, Ian from wintry Sydney here. It's just turned July 1 here and it's incredible that half the year has already passed. Who could have anticipated what would go down this year? As I've mentioned previously, the Lord put on my heart the word, 'Awakening', in January but I had absolutely no sense of what that meant. Much has occurred for me personally, but it pales compared to all the global events.

Awakening

There is an awakening happening across the globe and it's important for us to hold on to the belief that God is in charge. And good has come out of these difficult times and will continue to I expect for years to come. 

Life for all of us is going to look different for a while, isn't it. Everything we're used to (outside of our homes) is having to be adjusted, whether it's the simple things like hugging friends, attending church, schooling for our kids, working out at gyms or eating at our favourite eateries. The list goes on.

Stay Connected

Even when it's challenging to be physically close, choose each day to stay connected with friends. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Schedule at least one contact per day - ring someone, Zoom/Facetime someone and be very present with them. Switch off other devices, email, clutter all around you so you can be fully focused on your friend. And be slow to share rather ask questions seeking to listen and care for your friend. Your turn will come to share, maybe not this time but the next.
  2. Embrace solitude with God - enables us to simply pause and take some time out from the world, family. Breath deeply a couple of times and try to clear your mind. There are a lot of apps that help us do this but I'll refer you once again to John Eldredge's One Minute Pause app which I and a number of my friends have found particularly beneficial in these crazy times.
  3. Encourage someone today - I have a saying that 'everyone needs a Barnabas in their life' and I try to be one every day. It can be as simple as a smile to a passer by, a quick check in to your neighbour, a text message with a heart emoji ("I'm thinking about you") or a note to say well done. Don't seek a thank you. God knows, that's all that matters. 

Worship

Who loves singing worship songs? At home? In the car? It's good isn't it! It awakens (that word again) our hearts and pours faith and belief into us.

I expect many of us will have seen the various collaborative versions of Kari Jobe/Cody Carnes "The Blessing"; the churches down under even did a version which I love. But it's this one from Elevation Church that is particularly relevant for these times.

Sing along and believe these lyrics because our Lord does indeed "turn graves into gardens, bones into armies, seas into highways and mourning to dancing" We are living in a moment in history that God has deemed for us to live in and oh, the wonder we are going to see. 

Get ready!


Announcing our Summer Study!

Hi friends, Ann here!

The sun is shining as I write from down here in New Zealand, and it’s even more summery up in the Northern Hemisphere. So, with the sun beaming I’m happy to announce we are about to launch into our annual summer Bible study.Sumites in the Bible

This year we’re going to do something a little different. Instead of doing what we normally do and taking a book to work through, this time we're going to take a trip through scripture to examine some of the spiritually mismatched marriages that lie within the pages of the Bible. Yes, we’re taking a look at SUMites in the Bible.

Were there many of them? We’ve thought up a few. And then in some cases it seems that aspects of a marriage were spiritually mismatched without it being overtly mentioned. I wonder whether any particular Bible character springs to mind for you? If so, post in the comments – We’d be interested to see who you think of.

We’ll be kicking the study off next Monday, 6 July, and Lynn, Tiffany and I will be taking it in turns to write. So, have your cups of coffee and Bibles ready, pull up a chair, and let’s have some fun with this topic.

Till then!

Ann


Freedom Marchers Join us from England

It was awesome to spend time speaking with Maria Rodrigues in London, England. Maria is the host for Woman to Woman show on Premier Christian Radio. It was a fantastic interview. Thank you, Maria. You are a woman who God loves. Hope you can listen in as Maria and I discuss the real issues related to unequally yoked marriages. Hugs, Lynn


Radio Interview with Bob Crittenden on Faith Radio

Hello Kingdom Marchers,

Faith RadioI am a guest with Bob Crittenden, of The Meeting House on Faith Radio on June 23, 2020. Bob is an amazing host and he and I chatted about my journey with my husband through the circles around my Jericho. 

Bob is a fantastic host and we covered a lot of great information about how to pray for your unsaved spouse and how to help yourself as you love and honor both God and your marriage.

Bob's program can be heard online at Faith Radio between 4 pm - 6 pm (Central Daylight time).

Here is the link: Faith Radio, The Meeting House 


Oaks of righteousness by Libby Finan

Prophetic word for the SUM community - Oaks of righteousness by Libby Finan

Trees of RighteousnessWhen Lynn Donovan's husband Mike got baptized in March 2019, I was thanking God in prayer and he showed me a vision of an oak tree which represented Mike following his salvation. Fast forward to earlier this year in January, and again God reminded me of this vision, but this time He showed me a vast forest of mighty oak trees, and I knew it was not a vision just for one spouse, but for many. In this forest, there was distinct space around each tree so you could see how many trees there were, and here is the best bit...each oak tree represented a saved SUM spouse!

He led me to His promise in Isaiah 61:

"So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God], The planting of the Lord , that He may be glorified. Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up and restore the former desolations; And they will renew the ruined cities, The desolations (deserted settlements) of many generations."

Wow! The SUM spouses will be planted by the Lord, and they will display his glory. They will be mighty men and women of God and they will impact generations to come. What a promise.

ACORNS

You may be thinking my unsaved spouse is nowhere near that at all. But, there is an old English proverb that reminds us, 'mighty oaks from little acorns grow'. How amazing to think one little acorn can grow into a huge oak tree which can live for over a thousand years.

Acorns have a thick tough shell, but inside there is a single tiny seed of destiny. But in order to fulfill its potential, the acorn must first fall to the ground, just as pre-believers have to fall in surrender to Jesus. Then, the acorn must break open to release the new life - maybe things may seem to get worse before they get better - but it is all part of the predetermined life cycle.

PREPARING THE SOIL

When the acorn germinates it produces a tap root which will anchor the tree for the rest of its life. What a wonderful metaphor of faith as a lifelong anchor. God is preparing the soil so that the acorns do not fall on the path and get plucked up; or fall on the rocky ground where they can't take root and die, or fall in the weeds and thorns that stunt their growth; but fall on good fertile soil where their tap roots will flourish. He is cultivating the soil, softening it, watering it, nourishing it...He has been pulling out the weeds of addition and trauma, breaking up rocks of strongholds and unbelief, and fertilizing his good soil.

SAPLINGS

Between the acorn and the tree, comes the sapling - the young tree, the baby Christian, the new believer. They are starting to fulfill their potential, and to mature in the Lord, but this is a necessary growing process. God showed me the vulnerability of this stage in the process and how vital it is to protect these saplings. We know the enemy is roaming around looking to devour, so it is our role as the more established believer to intercede and battle and protect our spouses - to pray a hedge of protection around them as they grow.

DEAD TREES COME ALIVE

For some spouses, they have grown into trees, maybe even flourishing for many years, but they have since turned from Him. When they are no longer being fed by Him the tree withers. But His word reminds us that the tree is not dead, all is not lost, this is not the end! In the middle of a pretty desolate passage in Job, it says "For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant." Resurrection power can make all things new.

TIMING

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for AT THE PROPER TIME we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9 NIV)

It is not a race or for comparison...each acorn will grow at its own pace, and only God knows when that is - "When the time is right, I the Lord will make it happen" (Isaiah 60:22). He encourages us to stay filled with hope and faith. I truly believe that the acorns are sprouting - some are still so deep in the soil there is no physical evidence of it yet to be seen. But unseen, God is working, hearts are changing, spiritual battles are being won, eyes are opening, and progress is happening! One day you will see the tiny green shoot emerge, the new life of a sapling growing strong, and then the mighty oak tree will flourish!

(For a study into the characteristics of trees in the bible take a look at Tiffany's blog about the cedars of Lebanon and to read more about the parable of the sower and the soil, see Ann Hutchinson's blog.)


Camp Victory - Not Just For SUMmer

Hey SUM family, Tiffany here!

Hub

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! Yes, listen and you can hear the fanfare of my shouts of praise to the Lord! Psalm 27 5-6 (TPT)

Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! Psalm 118:15 (NLT)

I really love the way The Passion Translation words these verses in Psalm 27. "He has smuggled me into his secret place..." It is as though He has taken great lengths and care to keep His location under lock and key. In His shelter, anyone hidden there is untraceable. Can you imagine the security, confidence, and REST where nothing can touch or harm you? Can you envision the emotions brought about there? Triumph. Praise. Singing. Ecstatic joy. Fanfare. I don't know about you but I could sure use some of that!

The key is God's presence - 

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

In the multitude of my anxieties withing me, Your comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:19 (NKJV)

The key is our focus -

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way. Psalm 119:37 (NKJV)

The key is our response -

But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. Psalm 59:16 (NLT)

See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. Isaiah 12:2 (NLT)

If there is anything that I've learned over the years it is this: When I fail to fill myself up with praise, thanksgiving and gratitude for the Lord; I inadvertently fill up with complaints, doubt and fear.

Let's take some time to praise the Lord in the comments. What are some things, right now - in this current season you are in, that are praiseworthy? How can you thank Him today? I would love to see the comment section blow up with shouts of honor, thanksgiving and praise today. Let's raise our HALLELUJAH!

I bless you with peace, ecstatic joy and rest in Jesus' name.


Parenting Perspective That Can Change The World

Hey SUM family, Tiffany here! Joyful

In light of all that is going on in the world, it is very clear that our society is lacking in love. Today I want to keep it short and sweet. Several years ago, the Lord told me to focus on love and everything will fall into place. Now more than ever, I am realizing how much I am failing to understand what love really is. In some ways it has been watered down. If I don't understand what love really is, how can I expect to teach the next generation?

I arose earlier than usual the other day and I wanted to spend time with the Lord. I got out of my room and was preparing to have my quiet time. I hear the sound of a door opening. It was my son. Instantly I thought, "I have a hard time getting you out of bed at normal time. How is it that when I choose to get up earlier that you are wide awake?" I took a moment to snuggle on the couch with my son and opened the Bible app on my phone. The verse of the day was part of the "famous love passage" in 1 Ccorinthians 13.

I decided to read it out aloud to him. After reading it out loud, Holy Spirit gave me an idea. What I had read (especially in NKJV) may be hard for a soon to be seven year old to understand. So, use everyday examples that he has done recently to explain what love is...and isn't.

Over the course of the last few days when I've talked to the kids and corrected them, I've done it in the context of love in 1 Corinthians 13.

Love is patient. When you are wanting to talk to mommy, you need to be patient and not interrupt my conversation.

Love is kind. Were you being kind when you pushed your sibling out of the way?

Love does not demand it's own way. Are you being loving to mommy? I said no, and now you're throwing a fit about it.

This has been really eye opening to me. Often times in the middle of correcting my children and talking about love in context to the word of God - I am being convicted myself!

Jesus said in John 13:34-35

So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you're my true followers. (TPT)

There are two key things that I've taken from this verse. 1. I cannot love others like Jesus loves me if I don't understand His love. 2. Demonstrating this love to others will show I belong to Him. It is like a sweet smelling aroma to others.

There are many more verses on God's view of love in the Bible. I am praying into how I can continue to teach my children (and learn in the process ::grin::) about how to receive and give true Biblical love.

I truly believe that love is the key that will unlock solutions that our world needs. I pray it begins with our generation; but, I am confident that we have the power to unleash the next generations - who truly understand Biblical love and how to walk it out -  on a hurting world. Our children are the answer the world has been looking for.

Let's talk in the comments. What are some lessons that you've learned about love? Parents, any advice for this barely seasoned mama? What are some lessons you can pass on? What has helped your children learn about true Biblical love?


Want Your Spouse to Be Different? Pray Different! Pay this!

SUMites, Lynn again. Some of you know that I offer Healing Prayer and Spiritual Mentoring. I was so blessed to spend some time praying with a SUMite, Vidya Rodney. I was talking with her about the power of blessings, which I write about in Marching Around Jericho. 

She put together a prayer of blessings to pray over her husband. It's FANTASTIC. If you even speak only a few of these each day in your prayer time, you will make a significant change in the spiritual over your home, marriage and husband. Try them out. 

Vidya RodneyPrayers of blessings for my husband. By Vidya Rodney

Proverbs 18:21a- The tongue has the power of life and death.

Luke 10:19- I have given you the authority to trample on all snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

Isaiah 55:11- So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and it shall succeed in the thing in which I sent it.

Job 22:28-You shall also decide and decree a thing, and it shall be established for you; and the light (of God's favor) shall shine upon your ways.

Mark 11:23- Truly I Say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “be taken up and thrown into the sea," and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Romans 4:17- As it is written," I have made you a father of many nations."-in the presence of God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Ezekiel 37:4- Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say "Dry Bones hear the word of the Lord!

A couple of weeks ago , Lynn and I had a healing meeting and I was given specific prayer strategies from heaven to declare prayers of blessings over my husband and here are my prayer declarations of blessings over my husband, me (his wife) and our marriage covenant.

My dear Sumites, I believe with all my heart that we have the power to change our circumstance with our words and declarations, so almost every day I pray these prayers of blessings and I pray it would bless you. You can edit to suit your situation.

I bless my husband with a new spirit and tender, responsive heart in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the mind, thoughts, will of the father, feelings, and purposes of Jesus Christ in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to be a man of integrity in everything he does and his hand touches in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to love me like Christ loves the church in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the perfect love of Jesus Christ that expels all fear in Jesus name.

I Bless my husband to be the man that honors our marriage covenant in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the fruits of the spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with humility and tenderhearted mercy towards me and others in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to submit his will to God the Father in Jesus name. I bless my husband to have a teachable spirit that will allow the Holy Spirit to minister to him in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to think of thoughts that are true, lovely, pure, right, honorable, admirable, and praiseworthy in Jesus name.

I bless my husband, so that his heart will be ready to receive the perfect laborer across his path in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with Godly mentors at his workplace, in his extra-curricular activities and hobbies in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to open his spiritual eyes to see how god sees and his spiritual ears to hear when Jesus speaks to him in Jesus name. I bless my husband to see Jesus at his workplace, on his YouTube videos, to encounter miraculous signs and wonders in Jesus name.

I bless his boss and his bosses’ s boss in Jesus name. I bless my husband's hands to prosper at everything he does in Jesus name. I bless him with supernatural favor at his workplace in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the abundance of financial favor to be a cheerful giver in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with supernatural protection from any form of temptation and for his spiritual ears and eyes to be heightened to walk the righteous path in Jesus name. I bless him with the spirit of discernment in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to receive revelation knowledge of Jesus as his Lord and Savior in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to receive the kingdom of god and to participate in the works and purposes recorded in his book before time began in Jesus name.

I bless to be a man of integrity in everything he does in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the angel armies with flaming swords to guard, protect and preserve his life in Jesus name.

I bless him with the holy ring of fire of protection surrounding him and keeping him from all forms of temptation in Jesus name.

I bless him to have a supernatural encounter with Jesus Christ that will change his life forever in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the wisdom of Jesus to be the husband and father God has called him to be in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to let his guard down and discover the freedom in Jesus Christ that he desperately needs in Jesus name.

I bless our marriage covenant with healthy communication, mutual respect, transparency, commitment, agape love, understanding and trust and I seal it in the heavenly realms in Jesus name.

I bless our marriage covenant with the Shalom of Heaven and seal it in the heavenly realms in Jesus name.

I bless our marriage covenant with humility, selflessness, kindness, tenderhearted mercy, quick forgiveness and with cords that cannot be broken in Jesus name.

I bless our marriage bed to be kept pure with love and intimacy.

I bless my husband to desire me and find me irresistibly attractive in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to understand how high, how deep and how wide is the Love of God for him in, Jesus name.

I bless our marriage covenant between my husband and I and I seal it in the heavenly realms in Jesus name. I bless our home with the Shalom of Heaven in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the tools, wisdom, and strength to overcome burdens and to tread on the right path in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to be a wise steward of our finances in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the courage of Jesus to stay away from uncompromising choices. I bless him with supernatural wisdom to make right decisions in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to be a wise, good, and kind father to our child in Jesus name.

I bless myself his wife to be his help meet in Jesus name.

I bless myself his wife to honor and respect him with my words, thoughts, and actions in Jesus name.

I bless myself his wife, to do him good , and not harm, all the days of his life in Jesus name.

Be blessed and be blessing happy!

*****
I am Vidya Rodney. Married to my pre-believing husband Andrew for 10 years. We have a beautiful  5 year old little girl Anya. I live in St Charles ,Missouri and first accepted Jesus in 2011 after losing our only brother to suicide. I have been a lukewarm Christian for years, but now I am stepping out to find out more of what Jesus has for me.


Forgiveness IS Powerful by Pam Osborn

SUMites, Lynn here. I've asked one of our long time community members to share with all of you about a forgiveness model she uses that is powerful and effective. I urge you to also try this. Having a physical anchor to ta spiritual concept is keenly helpful and significant to step into spiritual reality. This is a good one. So, take it away Pam. Hugs, Lynn

*****

PamOsborneI was asked to share a little about what I have learned on the topic of Forgiveness.  It seems that there is a lot more to it than just saying you’re sorry. It is actually one step in a peace-making process.

It was helpful for me to get clarity on what Biblical forgiveness is and what it isn’t.  I feel like many of us get hung up here.

One misunderstanding I had was that forgiveness was a feeling.  That I had to feel like the person deserved forgiveness before I would grant it.  Or, that I had to have a warm fuzzy feeling, a forgive and forget attitude, to make the forgiveness authentic.  However, Biblical forgiveness is not a feeling, but an act of obedience in response to the forgiveness we received for our debts.  We are called to be peacemakers and are commanded to forgive.  Forgiveness doesn’t equal trust.  Forgiveness is a gift to the other person, but Trust must be earned.

Along these same lines, I thought forgiveness was between you and the other person.  That you would extend an apology to them, and your relationship would be reconciled.  You don’t have to reconcile a relationship with someone to forgive them.  Biblical forgiveness is between you and God alone, it’s a one-way transaction. The other person does not have to be present or even still living.

If you are in my camp, you have probably resisted forgiving someone because that would mean you are forgetting the harm or offense they did to you and you are letting them off the hook.  We want to extract justice ourselves and don’t trust anyone else to carry it out.  The Bible teaches that God hates sin.  He never EXCUSED my sin; it was nailed to the Cross with Christ.

Whenever we are harmed or wounded, the offender creates a debt that is owed to us.  I was given a simple exercise that helped me work through these offenses.  We made photocopies of a cross and were instructed to write down the name of every person who hurt, wounded, or shamed us and to also list any event.  This exercise represents the act of forgiveness in that you are releasing YOUR claim for justice to God.  They no longer owe you a debt, they owe Him. It has given me a freedom to release the person and not have to carry that weight. I kept my cross and have referred back to it any time I need a reminder that justice is His.    

***********************************************

Pam Osborne is employed at a law firm in her hometown of Greenville, S.C.  She is active in her community and Church, where she is a Coach in a 12-step program in the Care & Recovery Ministry.  Pam has been a part of the SUMite community for a number of years. Pam enjoys painting and DIY projects.  She is currently a semi empty-nester with her two adult children.


From A Black Friend to My White Friends

SUMites,

UnityWe need to chat. I realize that we don’t often take on social issues here at SUM as we are trying to focus on our marriages. However, I know that so much of my marriage discord would rise to the surface because of the social climate, politics, and religion.

So, today, I am compelled to talk about what’s happening in America this week. After a long discussion with Caitie, my daughter who is 25, I’ve had to reflect on the tragedy that was the death of George Floyd. I’m grieved over all of it. I’m grieved over his death, the racism, the riots and the looting.

I’ve had to take a look at my heart again in the midst of this mess and ask some difficult questions. My friend, Kathi Lipp, directed me to a great read. I want to share it with you today. Although I don’t have all the answers, this article addresses questions that white people often ask:

  • Why did he/she do to cause the cops/another person to shoot or kill them?
  • Why do black people insist on “Black Lives Matter”? Don’t all lives matter?
  • Why do “they” try to make white people like me feel guilty? I haven’t done anything.
  • I have black friends so why are black people calling people like me racist?

The Article: From a Black Friend to My White Friends.

Barb Roose, a Christian, offers some great responses and a good video that will help move all of us forward. Take a minute to visit her blog and read through the article and watch the video. Ask yourself, what does Jesus want me to pray, to do, to feel and to respond to this week’s events and the at the center racism that continues to create division in our country.

Also, ask Jesus how to have conversations with your spouse and your children about this week’s events and the news. Let’s be the change our world needs. Isn’t that what Jesus calls us to do?

I realize that this topic is highly charged on every side. Please share your thoughts in the comments but please be respectfully, use words of love and consideration and always look to Jesus for the truth.

Blessings, Lynn


Faith, Hope and Love

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Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What a year 2020 has been so far! Ian from wintry Sydney here. Be assured that those of us who don’t live in America are weeping for the people of that great nation and we continue to cry out to God believing for a wave of peace to sweep across that great land.

As Ann shared on Monday, it was Pentecost Sunday this past weekend. For a few months now many millions from all around the globe have been believing for a shaking, a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit and increased boldness amongst believers to share the good news of Jesus. What we do know is that more people have been praying, more people have been attending online church services and more people have been declaring Jesus as their Savior. Hallelujah.

Hope in the Waiting

“The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” 

Lamentations 3:25-26 (NKJV)

We are waiters, we Sumites, aren’t we? Most of us have been waiting for our spouses to come to know Jesus for many years. And we’ve seen some wonderful stories amongst the group in recent times of our hope bearing fruit.

For many of us, our families and our friends these past few months and perhaps even in the past few days, dreams have been dashed. I know of friends who’s special (first holiday in a decade) anniversary trips have had to be postponed, another friend told me the other day their hubby lost their job, while the scenes around the world have increased the burden on so many younger people who have real concerns about what the future looks like for them.

Deep Roots

We can draw comfort knowing that Jesus waits with us. He stands alongside us. Yes, we wonder why He doesn’t just fix it, even a little thing, but God has made a world that is self-operating and often it breaks down.

The Bible is full of nature analogies. And they’re important for us to understand. Jesus loved to consider vines, trees, roots, seeds and fruit. God made us to go deep like trees, with our roots continuously reaching through the soil for nutrients that the Spirit gives us and in persisting in faith, hope and love the fruit will naturally come.

“For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant.” (Job 14:7-9 NKJV)

If we continue in faith, hope and love as 1 Corinthians 13 exhorts us to, a touch of the Holy Spirit (nee ‘scent of water’) will produce the fruit and bring refreshment in this difficult season. The examples in the Bible are too numerous to mention and we ourselves can see evidence of fruit and refreshment when we look back at our own lives through other difficult seasons.

But the greatest of these Is Love.

Jesus isn’t simply one who loves, He is love. As Thomas Goodwin says, “Christ is love covered over in flesh.” Incredibly, in having the Holy Spirit within us we too are love covered in flesh. (Say that to yourself: ‘I am love covered in flesh’ Say it again and again and again until you believe it).

It is in these difficult seasons we can choose to grumble or be grateful, be fearful or hopeful, be angry or peaceful, and hate or love. Choose love, even if it’s through gritted teeth. Remember God is mostly interested in what’s in our heart so actions that are not initiated by love kinda don’t really count for a great deal in God’s economy.

The more we choose love, the more it becomes a habit. And the more it will become the way we act, speak and think. Jesus could only act the way He did because of what was in His heart. A heart of love. Just love. So He acted always out of love.

Besides the arrival of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2 shares with us the beginnings of the modern church. Our church. It was a church that was multi-cultural, made up of people from different socio-economic levels, men and women, who were united in declaring Jesus as Lord. In love, they wanted to share the news and so they reached out to other groups, not just those they were familiar with, and with faith and hope in their hearts they boldly declared Jesus is alive.

Dear friends, please share in the comments if there are particular needs and/or dreams that you’ve had dashed in these recent times so we as a SUMITE family can gather around you in faith, hope and love interceding for you to the Lord. We are a family spread around the globe united in our waiting and hope for each other’s spouses to come to personally know Jesus.

Keep praying, keep believing, dear friends.