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17 entries from March 2021

Resurrection Weekend

My friends, 

Tomorrow we must bring to our remembrance ALL that was accomplished in three days by our Lord, Jesus, the Christ. Good Friday always leaves me feel somber. And it is good to feel in that way because of what happened to Jesus. 

BUT.... Of for the joy set before him.....

Tomorrow I want to share some little known information about what happened on Friday and about the blood of Jesus. Tune in for a short video and allow yourself to truly apprehend the work of the crucifixion and the Cross of Christ. Hugs, Lynn

Tomb and cross


The Slithering Snakes of Holy Week

We've now got to the middle of Holy Week. Snake

My friends, one thing we see in the Gospels is that those Pharisees were an absolute pain in the backside! No, not just a pain. It's serious. Their rejection of Jesus is really, really bad. Really bad.

Jesus shares pearls of wisdom that final week. His lips drip with honey and treasure. As he reveals parables and mysteries, there is much ground to cover.

His are beautiful, beautiful words of truth. But, the Gospels also report the crowd’s response. As readers we are meant to see that the responses are just as important as Jesus's words. And the Pharisees and Sadducees -- the religious ones -- hold an important lesson for us.

Everything Jesus says, the religious ones attack. He calls them vipers. Snakes. They’re trying to catch him out like cunning weasels. They don’t want truth and they don't want to listen, they just want to win. Yet they are blind and can't see themselves. As a psychologist might say, 'They have no insight into their own condition.'

Jesus asks them a question at one point. It shows how much their own agenda drives them:

" (Jesus asked them) 'The baptism of John - where was it from? From heaven or from men?" And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say to us, 'Why then did you not believe him?' But if we say, 'From men,' we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet." (Matthew 21:25-26, NKJV).

Later in the week, the Bible includes a pointed detail: The night of the crucifixion these snakes hand Jesus over to Pilate, and yet don’t want to soil themselves by going into Pilate’s area because they are about to eat the Passover! (John 18:28). In their minds they are clean and holy.

They have murdered the Passover lamb but believe themselves holy for Passover. “We are holier than thou, Jesus!” they are saying, through their actions. This is scary. They genuinely do not see it.

The point here is that many will reject Jesus. And religious ones can sometimes be as blind as those who are not yet going anywhere near a church. That is a big statement and a whole other conversation. The rejection of the Cross and the Kingdom can take a few different forms in the church (gulp!) But it's an important message from the Gospels.

So, how do we guard our own hearts? We're religious people, after all. In my mind, keep studying the words of Jesus so that we understand his whole message. Continue to seek to understand why we need the cross, and then what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like. Mm.. I quite like that advice (which I just thought up as I typed) so I'm going to take that for myself!

As an aside, I notice that over on Lynn's page there is a series on why we need the cross. I need to catch up but am looking forward to reading that.

For now, do any thoughts come to mind for you as you read this?

Till tomorrow!

Ann


"Through My Pain, Father ..."

Dear friends,

Here on the blog we're travelling through Holy Week in Jerusalem and it's a few more days until the crucifixion. Miracle

Jesus is in emotional agony. He will eventually become so distressed that he will sweat drops of blood. And yet, he submits to its purpose, and says these words:

"Father, Glorify your name."

Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again."

Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoke to him." (John 12:27-29, NKJV)

Those words -- Father, Glorify Your Name -- are words we can say too. It is not in any way easy being a disciple of Jesus. But in it all, we can say, 'Father, Glorify Your Name'.

It's such a powerful statement, in fact, that I lit candles on Passover night in my home and put the song 'Glorify Your Name', on repeat for the evening. The following is a beautiful rendition of it. As I listened to the song I thought about two things: (1) I imagine Jesus said this all the way to the cross, and (2) I want the Father to Glorify His Name in my life. 

So friends, enjoy this song, and I send you love today.

Ann

 


Monday of Holy Week

It’s Monday of Holy Week in Jerusalem. With just three days to go before the crucifixion, Jesus is walking around Jerusalem ministering to others. In love. Miraculous, amazing Jesus. Jesus walking on water

I cannot imagine the turmoil within his soul as he dug deep to carry out those last ministry tasks, knowing what he would endure next.

At some point this week, he had stood on a hill overlooking the city and cried his eyes out. He had cried, and cried, and cried. He knew that the people of that city had no idea what they were rejecting (Luke 13:34).

He then went into the city with a few final, important things to say. Perhaps he knew his words would be recorded for all mankind in the form of a book -- The Bible. It’s hard to know what exactly he knew.

What did he say in those final days? It's a bit shocking to realize this, but many of his final words were warnings, even condemnations. This week his messages were tough for some to hear. For he is compassion but also righteousness personified. And love doesn't always mean being soft and cuddly. At the end of the day, he wanted as many as possible saved.

He began as soon as he entered Jerusalem, dramatically turning over the tables in the temple, and declaring that the people had made his house 'a den of thieves' (Matthew 21:13).

He then spoke severely to the Jews about how they had rejected their own Savior. And he warned those in the future about how widely His Kingdom will still be rejected (Matthew 22:1-14).

It's true. His Kingdom still is rejected. We don't have to look far to see that.

And yet in amongst it, he healed the sick. In the very temple where he turned over the tables, he turned to the poor quickly.

Finally, he spoke words about what he was about to endure, predicting his death (John 12:27-36). The audience was puzzled. They had no clue. “What is he talking about?” I wonder if at those moments he felt particularly alone. When people scratched their heads at his words, puzzled.

We know a little about that aloneness ourselves. Not that we for one minute compare ourselves to Jesus. But we are co-crucified with Him, I guess, so to a small degree we have just a taste of what he walked. He says:

“Now, my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father save me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I came to this hour.’ “ (John 12:27, NKJV)

Jesus knows this: That he will endure the most torturous pain. All we can do is thank him. And hope that we too can accept our own little purpose on earth in the same love-giving way.

Lord, we thank you with all our hearts.

See you all again tomorrow!

Ann


What Does Hosanna Mean - Passion Week Starts Now!

SUM Passion Week 2021SUM Nation. Lynn Donovan here.

Gang, it’s TRIUMPHANT ENTRY Sunday. Do you know on this day the people of Israel believed their Messiah arrived. AND INDEED HE DID.

This story is very familiar to Christians world-wide, but there is so many nuances and unsaid statements that we completely miss.

Here is one. The disciples and Jesus sat down for a Seder. We call it the last supper. Seder is Hebrew meaning Passover. Did you know that they reclined at the table to eat as a reminder that they were free, not slaves in Egypt. So many, many things have meaning and power.

Did you know there were thousands along a one-mile route into Jerusalem? They were shouting

Hoshea-na. Hosanna.

Hosanna means: SAVE US NOW!

The English spelling of Hoshea-na, means Deliver Us Now. Derived from the Hebrew root as Y’Shua, the Hebrew name of Jesus. The ending -na is something we do not have a translation for in English.

It demands, NOW! Or Please, I pray you. Or Behold!

Literally they were shouting: JESUS NOW!

The palm frond greeting was done on the sixth day of the Feast of Sukkot, welcoming the reigning Messiah to assume the throne in Jerusalem.

Every single person in that crowd knew what was happening and believe in Y’Shua as their Messiah.

_____

Who could use some saving RIGHT NOW?

Hosanna, Our King come NOW! If we don’t cry out the very rock will echo our Savior’s name.


Let’s begin the Passion week with PASSION!

What has Y’shua saved you from and what is He saving you from now? See you in the comments. We have a whole week planned. Meet us here every day. Hugs, Lyn

HE IS RISEN. HE IS RISEN, INDEED!  Hosanna!

Luke 19: 37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”


The Power Of A Praying Spouse - Shifting The Atmosphere In Your Home

Hey SUM family, Tiffany here!

I have been thinking a lot about my SUM journey. I have been married for almost 8 years now! When I look back at the "early years" I am truly amazed at how far we have come...how far I have come. This is not to say that the road traveled was easy. There were a few times that it seemed like it was all over.

Focus on love and everything else will fall into place.

God have me a word a couple of years into my marriage. I was praying over the salvation of my husband. I remember pouring my heart out about how things would be better if Jason were saved. I cried. I pleaded. It was in the stillness of my home that God spoke very tenderly - focus on love and everything else will fall into place.

I was so angry and filled with rage the first couple of years of my marriage. I am sad to say that even in the womb, my children heard my constant yelling.

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal." - 1 Corinthians 13:1

It wasn't the answer that I wanted at the time. But God knows that I needed it.

God's gentle guidance that day helped me to realize that I needed to look within. I could pray for countless hours about the state of my husband's heart. However, what good would it do if my heart was stone cold?

My prayer began as such:

Holy Spirit fill the atmosphere so full of You that we cannot help but breathe you in. Fill the atmosphere so full of You that there is no room for anything else. Make the atmosphere so thick and tangible of You that when we breathe in, we are breathing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self control. When we breathe out we are breathing out the toxins of this world. Fill the atmosphere so full of You that we cannot help but become more like Jesus.

During  a dark time when feelings of affection was sucked out of our marriage, I began to pray:

Holy Spirit fill the atmosphere of our marriage with joy, peace, love, grace and mercy. God help us to see each other the way that You see us. Help us to begin to appreciate one another again. Remind us of why we first enjoyed one another. Give us eyes to see the good in our marriage. Help us to love and respect one another. Remove all hostility, divisiveness, unforgiveness and hatred from the atmosphere. Tiff n Jase

It was amazing to see how God softened my husband's heart when I began to pray over the atmosphere of our home. I began to see his patience and kindness. I began to see his
empathy and compassion. I know God was softening Jason's heart but I also believe that He was opening my eyes as well.

I am so glad to say that our marriage has had such a turnaround. I praise God for His work in both of our hearts. I look forward to many more years. I know it is God's heart for my
marriage to thrive. In praying in line with God's heart - major breakthrough began to happen.

Find powerful prayers in this book by Lynn Donovan, Dineen Miller and members of our SUM community here - Winning Them With Prayer: Prayer Strategies for the Spiritually Mismatched.

Let's talk in the comments. What are some fruits that you have seen of the prayer seeds you have planted over the years? What have been your most powerful prayers?


Holy Week Here at SUM

Hi SUM family, Ann here. 

Lamb of GodThis time of year is ever so special. It’s a time when we lift our eyes collectively to the cross of Jesus.

There’s such value in faith routines, and I know many of you have routines that you follow, year after year. For me, one treasured routine is to follow the events of Holy Week, day by day, across all four Gospels. That is, I read the events of Palm Sunday on Palm Sunday, Monday’s events on Monday, and so on.

It is a bit to keep up with as a busy Mum. But I find I always see something new, and I love comparing the different accounts across Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

In the back of my Bible, there’s a ‘Harmony of the Gospels’, a table showing how the Gospels align with each other. And so I make myself comfy and settle in for more reading than usual. Harmony page final

The Jewish calendar also comes in here, as Passover falls close to the Church's commemoration of Jesus's death and resurrection. This year, Passover evening is this Saturday night, the 27th of March.

The story of Passover in Exodus 12:1-28, where the Israelites killed a lamb and painted the blood on their doorposts, always pointed to Jesus. As John the Baptist cried out,

"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the Sin of the World!" (John 1:29, ESV)

Jesus ate that lamb on the very day he was arrested and crucified -- Passover. I can't imagine how that would have felt: Eating the Passover lamb and knowing that he would be slaughtered in the same way.

Then, we have the Christian liturgy layered on top (Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and so on), showing how the Church has remembered these events for centuries. Together, what a rich picture.

With all that in mind, then, it's Holy Week here at SUM. And we are a church without walls. So, what we're going to do is have a little something each day on this blog, beginning with Palm Sunday. We might have a video or two, or a song. We'll see ... Most importantly, it's an opportunity for us to remember the crucifixion and resurrection all over again, and connect with each other as fellow Christians.

Do you have any routines that help you remember the cross at this time of year?

Love you all loads, and see you next week!

Ann


The Lord Will Meet You Right Where You Are

Hey SUM family, Tiffany here!

I want to share a brief encounter that happened at church recently.

My pastor during the end of the music portion of service felt the Lord prompt him to do an alter call of sorts. He called those who were dry in their faith, those who were seeking but it just seemed to come up fruitless, those who needed a refreshing.

I love the Lord but sometimes I get so wrapped up in responsibilities and duties of life that I end up more like Martha than Mary. I "forget" to sit at the feet of Jesus. I deplete my energy because I do not fill up with my Power Source.

Pastor called people to come forward and he likened it to when David would play his harp for Saul. Sometimes God's people just need to be ministered to with music and worship to the Lord.

I went forward and was right next to the stage. I lifted my hands and closed my eyes...praying and allowing the music to wash over me. I could feel the vibration of the music beat Hands-1566605_1920 against my clothing. It was as if I was feeling God's heartbeat. Before I knew it, I just lost it. You know those times of "ugly crying" where you just can't hold it in?

There were people crowded around me in worship and here I am sobbing so loud. I was grateful for the music to drown it out to others...except for the Father.

The crying intensified and I found myself crying to the point where it was emptying out all the air in my lungs. It was pretty intense. Let me tell you that what happened next was truly amazing! Once my lungs were empty from my bawling I found myself filling up with laughter. Have you ever been filled with the Holy Spirit with evidence of His joy? It has been so long since this has happened to me.

As I laughed, I could feel the weight of all my sorrow, apathy, grief, despair and indifference lift off of me.

I think of Jesus when He went into the wilderness for 40 days. He clung to the words of God to keep him focused. Once it was time, He came out of the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit.

This experience was not just available for Jesus. My testimony from church is a modern day example. Some of you are in the wilderness right now. The concerns of life have gotten you wandering. Jobs. Marriages. Children. Loss. Hurt. Disappointment. Lack. Need.

Oh how I long to sing and dance with my worship flags over you. Oh how I long to cover you in prayer and petition. Oh how I long to hug you.

The Holy Spirit put a song in my heart. It is a work in progress. I want to share what I have so far as I feel like it will be an encouragement to you.

Let the nations hear the sound

Let the nations hear the sound

Of the Father in Heaven

With His glory reaching down

 

Bringing peace to the anxious

Bringing joy to those without

Bringing healing for the broken

Bringing comfort for the pain

 

Bringing rest for the weary

Bringing hope for the despaired

Bringing  through His Spirit

Bringing life through His Son

 

Let the nations hear the sound

Let the nations hear the sound

Of the Father in heaven

With His glory reaching down

I pray that you take the time to sit before Jesus. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. You should never feel ashamed or embarrassed to "ugly cry" before Him. I feel like someone needed to hear that. You don't need permission to do it...but I hope that it gives you encouragement today.

I was reminded of this song as while typing this blog post. Listen to it and allow the Father to wash over you.

Psalm 38:9 -

Lord, you know all my desires and deepest longings.
My tears are liquid words, and you can read them all. (TPT)

You know what I long for, Lord;
you hear my every sigh. (NLT)

Lord, all my desire is before You;
And my sighing is not hidden from You. (NKJV)

I bless you with peace in Jesus' name. I bless you with joy in Jesus' name. I bless you with love in Jesus' name. I bless you with rest in Jesus' name. I bless you with hope in Jesus' name.

Let's talk in the comments. How can we help you? How can we encourage you?


Lynn Here. I'm Sorry!

SUMites,

Several of you over the past few weeks have tried to make a donation to the 501(c)3 ministry that supports this ministry. 

The PayPal button malfunctioned and created a donation amount that was not your intention. Yikes and what a pain. I promise this wasn't me.  So SO sorry. eep! I created a new Donation Button and it's now in the sidebar. 

Anyhoo, please accept my apology.

And I truly appreciate every single one of you who gives to keep this ministry going. 

Father, thank you for each person who serves, gives, logs in, who offers their financial support. Bless them today with abundance, provision, increase and their coffers overflowing with your goodness. Bless them to know that I love them and you see every penny they give to further the hope and the Gospel of Jesus Christ! AMEN

Love you, Lynn

Three Keys QR Donation Code


Top Three Tips for Thriving in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage

Ann here! Mountain

Today I had an interesting faith conversation with a man with whom I cross paths occasionally. I know him in a professional rather than social capacity, but whenever I see him we have a good chat. So, I'll call him a 'friend-acquaintance'. 

Anyway, today I saw him for the first time in a year and we found ourselves talking about one of my favorite topics (and a topic I don't talk much about): A faith difference in marriage.

Well, who would've thought it, it turns out he’s kind of there too. He is finding himself in that place at home. And so we had a light-hearted (but on-point) chat about it.

Our conversation came about because he asked me if I was still working at the university. I said “No, these days I volunteer in Christian ministry!” “Oh!” He said, “Tell me more!” And so, I told him about this little ministry of ours on the web. I said, “Bryce and I have been through a lot there – There’s a lot to it. You have to learn how to stay happily married, and not annoy each other!”

My friend then shared that he had re-entered church and reconnected with his faith in recent years. His beloved had not. He said, it’s something he’s been wrestling with, especially recently. With that, I told him we had 1,000 + readers on our blog, and I said, “It’s a big need. It’s not uncommon. And, yes, it’s hard.”

Indeed. It. Is. Hard. The church often doesn’t know how to help us. We don’t fit the mold so we stay on the periphery. But the truth is, we’re a big segment of the church -- the Body of Christ -- and we need support. Some of us have figured out how to fit church with home life, and how to follow Jesus in our home. Others of us are still working that out.

My friend/acquaintance asked me a good question today, and one that I think is valuable for anyone new to our blog. He asked: “Ok, so what would be your top three tips for someone in this situation?”

It was on the spot, but here’s what came out of my mouth:

  • Win without words – That is, live your faith out without using a whole lot of words (1 Peter 3:1). 
  • Treat your spouse as the top human in your life. Make sure they know you prioritize that relationship.
  • Pursue your relationship with God above all else, even if your spouse doesn’t like it. You’ll get the most strength and peace if you keep moving forward towards God.

Mm... Those were my thruppence, on the spot. A few hours later I look at this and obviously would put point three at the top. Pursue God -- Jesus -- above all else and everything else will follow. But apart from that, yes those remain my top three.

How about you, what would you have said when asked that question? How would you have worded it? Interested to hear your thoughts, as always.

Great chatting, and have a good weekend!

Ann


So, We Roll up Our Sleeves as Workers!

Dear friends, Corn

I hope the past few posts down memory lane have been interesting to you. God loves this community – His SUM family – and wants us to walk in hope!  

Wrapping up this series on past words from the archives, I guess I have a couple of thoughts:

It's so important that we never lose hope that faith can sweep into our families, and over our wider circles of friends and family. Every unbeliever in our life is a miracle waiting to happen!

And second, we are to stay alert as ‘Harvesters’, ready to do the work of spreading the Gospel. I for one am rolling up my sleeves afresh, ready for whatever God asks of me next. I'm so interested and keen to see what happens when the dust of COVID settles.

Jesus said:

"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Luke 10:2).

With all that in mind, I'm going to finish by posting a song, below. It’s an oldie, ‘These are the Days of Elijah’, but for me it’s the song of the moment. These lyrics in particular are relevant to today:

And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are all white in the world
And we are the laborers that are in Your vineyard
Declaring the Word of the Lord

I'll be back on Friday with something a little different. In the meantime, enjoy this song!

Ann

These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the word of the Lord, yeah
And these are the days of Your servant, Moses
Righteousness being restored

These are the days of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still we are the voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!

Say, behold He comes, riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun, at the trumpet's call
Lift your voice, (it's) the year of Jubilee
Out of Zion's hill, salvation comes

And these are the days of Ezekiel
The dry bones becoming as flesh
And these are the days of Your servant, David
Rebuilding the temple of praise

And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are all white in the world
And we are the laborers that are in Your vineyard
Declaring the Word of the Lord


A Wave is Coming

Hello friends, Ann here!Record

I hope these recent words from the archives have been refreshing your souls. Don’t we need it right now! After a year of sitting through this pandemic, we certainly can do with a little spark of fresh stuff.

So, let's roll up our sleeves and carry on a little longer with these promises from God.

If you haven’t already, you might like to read the comments that three of our long-time SUMites wrote underneath my last post. I so loved hearing their gems of insight on the Harvest that we’ve been talking about.

Now, here's the next word:

We've been looking at how in mid 2013 the Lord spoke to us about ‘The Coming Harvest’ in several ways. This included the vision described in the last post. But after all those words about the harvest, there is now one more word that the Lord gave Dineen, and it's a mighty word for our community. You can read more about it here. The core word is this:

A great wave is coming.

Many souls to be claimed and collected.

Watch and see.

My heart is always for the many.

A great wave. A wave of the Holy Spirit, power and authority, perhaps. A wave of shaking as well. A wave. A wave crashing into our world.

Wave

That word about the wave was written by Dineen in 2013. So, are we seeing that wave now, with COVID? We can get on our knees and ask God about that. My understanding is that COVID is the first step. I've heard God say that COVID is a 'micro-wave' that is paving the way for the walls of Jericho to fall. The most important part is the wave of salvation power to follow, where things will change for unbelievers. And that is the part we must engage the most with.

Yep! The main -- most important -- part is the good stuff God is bringing next. Salvation to souls.

With that in mind, you might like to consider this next story:

Last week here in New Zealand we had a tsunami warning. I know several of you saw it on the news and you reached out and asked if we were all ok -- That was so nice, and thank you, I'm pleased to say we're all fine here. What may not have been evident to those overseas was the rarity of this tsunami warning: It was an unprecedented event in our nation.

What happened was we had three earthquakes in the ocean at about 2am, 6am, and 8am. The first and third were linked but the second was not, so scientists were scratching their heads, puzzled. I always think when scientists are puzzled there's something interesting going on. The newspaper headlines described it as a ‘Rare and noteable event’.

Much of the country went onto a tsunami alert, whole towns were evacuated and the whole coastline of New Zealand’s north island was under threat. Some parts severely, some less so, but every part was under some kind of 'alert'. All TV programmes were cancelled to make way for the ongoing civil defence updates. There were lines of traffic, crowds of people waiting on hills, and an alarm that went out on our phones from civil defence that sounded like something out of wartime. It was actually highly dramatic! So, all in all, a loud and clear ‘Tsunami Warning’.

Now, God speaks through signs and symbols throughout the Bible. And so, my very first reaction to this tsunami warning was: 'God is saying something through this.' And I believe that 'something' is that a wave of revival is coming. 

What do we do with this? The word above tells us: Watch. And See.

Pray. Be alert. See what happens next. And, in the meantime, reflect on the part what God says: My Heart is for the many.

My friends, as always I would love to hear your thoughts if anything particular springs to mind. For now, I just want to say 'Be encouraged!'

With love,

Ann


Jesus, I can't see past my SUM!

Happy Friday, friends -- Ann here!Record

Today, I’d like to share a vision that the Lord gave our community a few years ago. It was Dineen who received it, and she shared it on the blog -- The original article is here.

I hope when you read the vision below it will encourage you! Here’s the description of what the Lord showed Dineen (in her words):

“I was half awake, half asleep (it's possible it was a vision...I honestly don't know). I stood before a tall crop—corn I believe. Jesus stood next to me.

He gestured to the crop and said, "This is the Great Harvest."

I said, "Lord, I can't see past this, can you show me more?"

Suddenly I was up higher and could see tall mountains in the far distance. The crop spanned all the way to the mountains!” 

It’s a short vision, but sometimes God speaks volumes through few words. If we take the view that Dineen represents us – the SUMites – standing and looking at this, the following are some thoughts on this encouraging picture from the Lord: Corn

We know from scripture that Jesus spoke symbolically in his parables. So here we can look at the different symbols and think about what they mean:

The tall corn in our immediate view.

The fact Jesus is next to us.

The words that Jesus says: "This is the great harvest".

The fact we say: "I can’t see past this!" And then the fact that he takes us to a higher perspective and shows us what's actually beyond.

Phew!! It's a rich picture.

What do the tall mountains in the distance represent, I wonder? I’m still mulling that over, as mountains can represent a number of things in scripture. That one I will be praying about, for I know that every symbol in a vision is relevant but sometimes we don't understand instantly. Perhaps you have an instant sense of what those mountains represent? If so, do share!

What I really believe Jesus is showing us in this vision is that this harvest -- What we’re stepping into next -- is huge!

And, there's usually some kind of call to respond that's included in a word (vision) like this. In this case, I believe what Jesus might be asking us to do is listen to these words of his: 'This is the great harvest', start to allow him to take our perspective higher, and be willing to look beyond the immediate issues of our family's salvation.

It is difficult to do that -- To see past the immediate crop of our spouse and family. But there is more beyond our SUM. And our time of labor is only the beginning.

This very week, in fact, God said this to me: "You are stepping out of this season." By that, I understood that I am going to be stepping out of this time where there's been a faith difference with my husband. This is something I have known for quite some time: That the SUM season is one stage in my faith life that opens up into something quite different. I don't know the timing (I know God is leisurely about such things!) but I receive it. Given Dineen's vision, I can't help but believe this is a wider word for our community.

I'll leave it there. What do you think of this? Do any initial thoughts come to mind from reading this vision? I hope it blessed you.

Have a lovely weekend, and we'll be back on Monday.

Ann


The Harvest - The Many!

Dear friends, Ann here! Record

One of the things I’m currently thinking about is the word 'Harvest' and how it relates to all we have been through in this community.

I guess I feel we've been prepared through some pretty gruelling training (i.e., the challenges of a spiritual mismatch), and that training has equipped us to carry the Gospel outwards more -- Soon.

Here in our little home on the web, we've been learning to love. Specifically, we have learnt how to love our spouse well, and to love the church. Our SUM has been a deeply refining experience – We can all attest to that! But now it may be that we take that love and carry it outwards more.

I could write an essay on what a faith difference in marriage has done for my own character. Where would I begin? For me, perhaps the biggest thing has been to overcome cowardice when carrying the Gospel. People can be scary but I've become brave: Brave about stepping out for God (even if I am inwardly quaking!) For you it may be something else.

I can also say that I have come to understand why others don't believe or submit, and how to fight for another person’s soul. I’ve learnt to Win Without Words and to March Around Jericho. Phew, what a ride!

But now, several books and fifteen years of blog posts later, here we sit waiting for the dust to settle from a year-long pandemic; and perhaps we can say that we are now equipped to march forth. We are ready to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ forward, and to be used by God in whatever way he plans.

To that I say, ‘Here I am, Lord, send me!’ and I know the hearts of many here say the same.

With all that in mind, today I would like to share a quote from our archives. This is something that Dineen wrote a few years ago. She said:

“We have a unique calling that goes beyond us, beyond our marriages. As I’ve shared before God is a redeemer. He wastes nothing. We’ve been thinking and believing that our calling is right in our homes, in our marriages. And God is saying, that is just preparation for a greater movement that He is getting us ready for. God is calling us to believe Him like we never have before.”

I’d particularly like to grab these words and run with them:

We’ve been thinking and believing that our calling is right in our homes and our marriages. And God is saying, that is just preparation for a greater movement that he is getting us ready for.

Dineen then went on to say this:

“Early last year, we received an email from a reader that her husband had come to Jesus. A tearful and joyful moment to be sure. As I praised God, I heard Him speak to my spirit, “This is the first of many.” Harvest

That was Dineen. I always loved reading her words from the Lord as she had a beautiful relationship with Him. And now today I seize these words and say once again: "Yes, we believe there will be many!"

We’re waiting for many, many spouses here to receive Jesus; we’re also waiting for many children within our homes; and we’re waiting for friends and others in our lives. But I believe that God has promised us the many.

The harvest! It's exciting.

I'm smiling here, and cheer you on from my little corner. I know how deep you have dug and how tough the soil has been. So, for now, here's a question:

Do you look back on your SUM and recognize ways that it has made you more useable to God?

Sending you love today!

Ann


How To Enter Into Intimacy with Father, Jesus, Spirit ZOOM SEMINAR

Zoom Meeting Lynn Donovan comHi SUMITE NATION:

Lynn Donovan here:

So many people struggle to hear the Lord. They want their prayers answered and it feels like there isn't a response. This is often due to the fact that praying is at the core - RELATIONSHIP. If you don't know how to enter into that relationship, your prayer life will feel inadequate and a one way conversation with little satisfaction and often great frustration. 

Learning how to enter into the Presence is the Key to everything in the spiritual. 

There was a good deal of interest in the Intimacy Seminar over on my Lynn Donovan Ministry site, let's DO IT. 

In this seminar I will teach you the way to enter into the Presence of God. The teaching will include the scriptures, have your Bible ready, a pen and paper. We will cover what the blocks are that denies you access to the Presence. We will also learn about first fruits and how that passage is very powerful in our prayer life. There will be a couple of interactive activations.

The LIVE ZOOM meeting will be next Thursday, March 18th at 11 am PACIFIC TIME. I'm going to charge $10. This will help me pay for the Zoom renewal this year. THANK YOU! 

This also means that those who are really interested make an investment and will be ready to learn. WAHOO!!

If you can't make it, purchase the seminar and I'll email a link to watch after it is recorded.

I can't wait to walk beside you as you deepen your faith journey and learn to talk with God. Hugs, Lynn

Intimacy with God Seminar $10.

The Harvest Ahead

Dear friends, Ann here.Record

I mentioned on Monday that I would share some words from our archives that God gave our community.

These words are promises that we're dusting off now because they feel relevant for today. For the past months I've been hearing God that after this pandemic many of us are going to see more outward victory from the seeds we've sown. That's exciting to me. Does it mean salvations? Oh I hope so!

How are you feeling right now about this, I wonder? We reach a point where we settle in and become used to it 'not happening'. But we can now sit up and get a little more ready: We're watching something very unusual happen in our world, and things are moving. 

While we wait, one thing we must do is refresh our vision. And we can do this by reviewing some of the important things that God has said to us. In that spirit, then, I'm going to share a word below that God gave Lynn in April 2013.

Before I go on, that week was a significant week; but in a sad and startling way. One of our beloved writers and ministry partners died in a car crash on the way to a conference we were holding. Her name was Rosheeda Lee and I know some here will remember that. The SUM community celebrated Rosheeda being in Heaven with Jesus, but it also felt tragic. Especially for her parents.

I discovered something strange about that, however, last week. It was only days after Rosheeda went home that I (a future writer) heard God's voice in my living room for the first time. Shortly after, I was born again. Her seed fell to the ground that week but God wants us to know he is with our ministry.

Now we have Rosheeda in the cloud of witnesses helping us run this race (Hebrews 12:1). It is noteworthy that it was she who coined our name: SUMites, and so now she stands for us in Heaven. Beloved Rosheeda.

That week was important. And here is what the Lord now says as we continue to run this extreme and challenging SUM race:

SUMites, you are in training to be harvesters!

For here is what Lynn wrote that significant week (April 2013), and it is certainly worth us mulling over these words:

“In the last week I’ve talked to God a lot about our community and I keep hearing this passage that Jesus spoke in Luke. Harvest

He (Jesus) told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Luke 10:2 NIV

I’m convinced that this family at SUM is in training to be Harvesters. My friends, think about it. I’m convinced by the Spirit that this time period and this generation sits on the precipice of one of the greatest revivals the world has ever experienced. We have been chosen to take what we have gained through our community here to the communities, the individuals, the broken and bleeding souls around us, we are to take the Good News!!!

You may read this right now and begin nodding your head because you know this is true. You may read this and think, “Lynn, you’re crazy.” But I want you to know that if you are part of this community, you are being called to be a harvester. Especially if you feel ill-equipped when you read this. I always feel ill-equipped. It’s us ordinary people that bring great glory to God when we move in His love and power to accomplish His purposes. So, as we move forward in this series, I want you to pray about how God is already using you as a harvester and ask Him about what more He has for you in the days ahead.”

***

So, that was Lynn, and what a wonderful word. Can I suggest a little exercise for us? That we sit with God over this coming weekend and ask Him those two questions:

Lord, how are you already using me as a harvester?

What do you have for me in the days ahead?

Sometimes God takes a while to answer, but if you do sense an answer about this would you share in the comments below? I would love to hear it.

I'll pause there and continue next time. But what an adventure we are on, and a joy to be in this together! 

Ann


"How long, Lord?"

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Image courtesy of Janpen04081986 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hello, dear SUMites, Ian from sunny Sydney. The world was turned on its head this time last year when the first people outside of China began to be diagnosed with this new virus strain which the medical community named COVID-19. The virus soon spread exponentially (a term that became part of our daily lexicon) throughout every land, borders in many countries were quickly shut and panic set in.

A year later, some countries are still in the thick of it. Vaccines are being rolled out to the masses and everyone’s hoping and praying that by the end of 2021 the world might go back to normal.

Lament

The loss of life, both in terms of deaths but also change in daily routines, access to family and friends, loss of employment, and so on has been immense. The world has been crying out, ‘how long will this go on?’ The shock and disbelief still reverberates.

For those of us who follow Jesus it’s made many of us question where God is in all of this. “How long, Lord?”, like the Psalmist has become a common refrain along with many other cries from the heart. Lament, a passionate expression of grief or sorrow, is a very acceptable posture before the Lord. As Pete Greig states, “struggle and travail are important expressions of biblical spirituality. Lamenting is more than a technique for venting emotion. It is one of the fruits of a deepening spiritual life that has learned to stand naked before God without shame or pretense …”1

If you’re familiar with the Psalms2, you’ll most likely be aware that at least one-third of them are laments where the writer is in the midst of some unresolved pain.

If you’re grappling with some unresolved pain, may I encourage you right now to express your pain, sadness, grief, disappointment, fear or frustration to the Lord. Sit quietly and be gentle with yourself, grab some tissues and simply ask Jesus to be present. And now share whatever you’re feeling. Take your time. Jesus won’t leave.

If you expressed your emotion and feel up to it please let us know in the comments so we can join you in your lament.

Solution or a Person

I was struck the other day by two stories of lament, one Biblical (from Job) and another about a marriage breakdown. We’re all familiar with Job’s story of incredible loss that occurred suddenly. He lost his family, his possessions, his health, everything. Friends came to counsel him while Job cried out to God. And heard nothing in reply nor was his situation resolved or fixed.

I find when I’m struggling with unresolved pain, I just want God to fix it. Heal me, open a door, provide something and so on. Or at the very least an explanation. ‘Why has that friend suddenly deserted me? What have I done?’ Anyone else with me?

We want the answer, the solution, the explanation, so we can control the situation, make sense of it. When we understand something, we are able to exercise greater control over it.

But so often, nothing happens. Right? Like Job, it makes no sense. ‘How long, Lord?’ we cry for the umpteenth time.

Let’s go back to Job. After 37 chapters, God finally responds. And what a response it is. Let’s look at the first few verses, but I’d encourage you to read the rest.

‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
   Tell me, if you have understanding. 
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
   Or who stretched the line upon it? 
On what were its bases sunk,
   or who laid its cornerstone 
when the morning stars sang together
   and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? (v 4-7)

What tone do you hear in God’s voice as you read these verses? A harsh demanding one or a loving Father that speaks tenderly and honestly? The former makes God to be a critical judge that chides his impatient underling, while the latter makes Him to be a caring Father who happens to have the entire universe in His hands. Included in this universe is suffering Job.

God has never left Him. Not for a minute. Everything and everyone is in His loving care. Similarly, to Job, God hasn’t left us during this past year. He’s still very much in control.

What do we prefer? The solution or Him? The provision from His hands or His warm embrace saying He’ll never leave us or forsake us?

May I encourage us to choose to believe that our loving God is always with us irrespective of our circumstances and He wants us to continually turn to Him, for Him and not just the solution. He is always the answer! He wants us to surrender control, even if we can only do it with gritted teeth. Yes, cry out for the solution you seek, and He may well provide but most importantly He will give Himself which is the best thing we could ever hope for.

Much love, my friends.

Notes:

  1. Lectio 365 App, Tuesday 2 March 2021 “Learning to Lament” Words taken from Pete Greig’s book, ‘God on Mute’
  2. Some of the well-known Lament Psalms include: 6, 10, 38, 42-43, 130.