Previous month:
December 2021
Next month:
February 2022

11 entries from January 2022

Lynn Donovan Speaking at Marriage Conference

Hi SUMite Nation. Lynn Donovan here.

I was asked to speak to at the Equipping Godly Women Conference this year. The lineup of speakers is amazing. I'm humbled to be part of it. This is an online, three-day conference, February 15-18, 2022.

Right now the conference is offering quite an incentive to register. 

Equipping Godly Women Conference Giveaway 2022

For more information and to register, visit: Thrive Marriage Conference. I'll see you there. Hugs, Lynn


Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the Darkness - That is Who You Are

Hello SUM family, Tiffany here! Joe-yates-wNOymf_yTUA-unsplash

I was overwhelmed with joy to see so many reach out for prayer earlier this week. Friends, I just love this community so much. It is amazing what a treasure chest we have in our church without walls.

There was a time when I was STRUGGLING to hold on to hope in my marriage. It got so bad at one point that I thought, "I've just dropped my kids off at daycare. I wonder what would happen if I just took a drive and kept on going." I never want to leave my family - but the lies and attacks on my life had me CONVINVED that I wasn't right for my husband and kids. I began to believe that they were better off without me. I know now that it had so much to do with how I viewed my husband. We were caught in a vicious cycle (one the I kept perpetuating with the negative I was speaking over my household).

If this is you right now - listen to me. Things CAN turn around. It may look impossible. BUT God!

For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. -- 1 Corinthians 7:14

Those who have been in the community for a while, or read Lynn and Dineen's books, would know that this verse is key to our SUM. There is a GRACE upon our marriage as we travel this unique path of life. Recently there was a post in the SUMite Sisters in Christ Facebook page. I won't share the original question but I want to share a little bit of my response:

There is no guilt or shame in the Kingdom of Heaven. We walk a tightrope, or so it feels, at times. We teeter and feel we have to watch our every step...but the grace of God is upon you. We don't have to struggle with who do I serve? We know we serve God first. But because of our SUM and our love for our spouse, there is a grace upon the things we do. This is not an excuse for sinful living but a release to honor our husband (wife) while still serving the Lord.

This is the embodiment of 1 Corinthians 7:14. Our faith, our hope and our trust in Jesus Christ speaks volumes in Heaven. We have the power and authority to intercede for our spouse and children. How we speak, whether audible or only in thought can literally alter the atmosphere around us. When we choose to bicker, harbor bitterness, be filled with contempt, hatred or rage - we are opening the door to the forces of darkness to wreak havoc on our lives.

I have been there before. I remember living in the toxic cloud of disappointment, anger, depression, hopelessness. It was HEAVY!

I've recently fallen in love with the John 16:13. This has quickly become my life verse.

"But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."

I want to give a couple of things that Holy Spirt gracefully yet clearly taught me in order to combat the toxicity of those early years.

  1. Repent. Ask the Lord for forgiveness for anything that you personally have done to add to the contention in your marriage. This must be done in the secret place with the Father. I know there are some who are living with spouses with substance abuse, narcissism, etc. These are not things that God wants you to simply get over and force yourself to make it work. Marriage was not designed by God for an abuse of power of one over another. It was not designed for a "slave and master" scenario. Get into time with the Lord and ask of anything that is your responsibility to carry. I had to repent of so much bitterness, anger, guilt, lying, keeping secrets, manipulation, etc.
  2. Forgive. In forgiving, we release the weight off our shoulders and into the arms of the Father. In the secret place, allow Holy Spirit to reveal to you where any unforgiveness lies. Again, marriage was not designed by God for an abuse of power of one over another. In forgiving, you do NOT have to completely let your guard down. Forgiving releases you from the issue that caused you to harbor unforgiveness. It is not giving your spouse an excuse to keep on violating the boundaries of your marriage.
  3. Bless / give thanks. This was hard for me at first. Our flesh does not want to do good toward someone who has offended you. BUT, our words can speak either life or death. I had to "force" myself - meaning press past the feelings and emotions of it all - to take this step. The more I would willingly choose to do this, the more the Holy Spirit would bring to my heart and mind. Wouldn't you know that in this step, the stony stubborn layers of my heart began to melt and soften.
  4. Remind yourself (and God) of the promises that He has spoken over your marriage, husband, life. Just like the countless times in the Bible God told His people to REMEMBER...we should do the same. Begin to take notes on what God is revealing to you. Open them up and pray out those things to the Lord. God LOVES to be reminded of His word. He doesn't forget. However, coming into agreement with His word means coming into agreement with His heart.
  5. Invite Holy Spirit. This one is so important. As I mature in my faith, I realize how vital He is to my life. Holy Spirit was SENT FOR US. He is the one who is here on Earth today. Jesus and God are in Heaven. Pray something like this. I will use my husband as the example, "Holy Spirit fill the atmosphere so full of You that Jason cannot help but breathe You in. Jason cannot help but become more loving, kind, patient, wise, strong, blessed, healed, whole and restored because He is breathing You in. Holy Spirit as Jason breathes You in, He is being filled with You. There is NO room for any other spirit because You are so thick and tangible in Him. Jason is highly favored and marked for righteousness. He is clothed in victory. He is surrounded by good and perfect things from above...." Keep going as the Holy Spirit leads you.

I hope that these things have helped in some way. I would love to hear what the Holy Spirit is teaching (or has taught) you in regards to your marriage. Do you have any tools that we can be adding to our belts?

Blessings family. May you truly know and understand the depth of the love the Father has for you. I speak hope, joy, love, peace and a sound mind over you today.


Seeing the Manifestation of the Goodness of God

Hey SUM family, Tiffany here! 20220123_131539

I recently opened up my Bible to spend time with the Lord. "Somehow"  (grin...isn't God good like that?) I turned to a bible passage that I had been reading three years TO THE EXACT DATE. I wasn't even looking for this passage, nor did I remember I had taken notes on the very pages I was about to read. Let's take a look shall we?

 

I will extol You, my God, O King;

And I will bless Your name forever and ever.

Every day I will bless You,

And I will praise Your name forever and ever.

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;

And His greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall praise Your works to another,

And shall declare Your mighty acts.

-- Psalm 145:1-4

I had underlined and circled many things in these verses. My notes are as follows:

Extol - highly praised.

vv. 1-3: It isn't enough to say that God is great. How I view God will manifest in how I praise Him. To the measure that I praise Him is the measure that I believe in His greatness. He is great and worthy of praise. Period. But, do I believe it?

v. 4: Will I praise His works to my children and teach them to praise as well?

My friends, I don't know if you can sense the doubt, guilt and shame here. I know I can. I looked at these notes and it took me to the Tiffany in 2019. I could see myself in my old house - that in and of itself is prophetic, literally closing on an old house and in transition while waiting for a new one to be completed. It took me back to an insecure woman who was riddled with an orphan spirit. I was struggling with addiction to spending money, lots of money, when depressed, stressed, angry with my husband. I was stuck in a cycle of outburst of anger. All of these things compiled together in an attack of my faith and witness to my husband and children. How could I make a difference for my husband and children for God? How could I be salt and light? I was WAY too salty - spouting religion, performance. I was a white washed tomb.

Oh how I wish you could have truly seen me then. Not the Tiffany that you see here in our church without walls but the one my family saw. Day in. Day out.

Even as I type this now for you, I smile. The massive change that God has done in my life since I wrote the above notes.  I've experienced breakthrough in many amazing ways over the years. Even since first marrying Jason and having kids beginning in 2013. However, I would do what Paul warned about in Galatians 5:1, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."

Quite honestly, it wasn't until December 29, 2021 that I resolved in my heart to NEVER turn back again. I signed up for a healing prayer session with Lynn. I have had them before with her. This time though, I knew that something would be different. I can't put into words how to describe it. Between being fed up with the constant unhealthy cycles I would go through (think of the Israelites, I mean how many judges did God need to send? This was my life!)  and the destiny and calling on my life in THIS SEASON - I couldn't "afford" for it not to be life changing. Oh boy, did Holy Spirit meet me there. The power, the deliverance, the healing.

Can God propel you into overdrive? Can He redeem lost time? Can He expedite healing, learning? Can He set you on course to the calling on your life? Can He turn chaos and destruction the devil causes in your life and turn it into power, authority and purpose for His glory? A RESOUNDING YES! This is the season I am in right now. 

Lynn told me to ask God in my private prayer time - what does He have for me in this next season? What are the practical next steps that God wants me to do? I asked these things of Him more. I always ask a word or theme that God has for the new calendar year. This year I heard - 2022, Obedience and follow through.

I have heard from many people over the years that I hear pretty clearly from God. I've given words that He's asked me to share and over and over the response is - this is exactly what I've need to hear. This is exactly what I've asked God about. Even in my own prayer time - He always answers. Hearing hasn't been the problem. I've always struggled being obedient - saying okay God. I will do it.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. -- James 1:22

When I would be obedient to what God has asked me to do, I would fizzle out because second guessing, doubting, fear, anxiety, guilt and shame.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. -- Hebrews 12:1-3

I have been in a big fight for the children - not just mine but these next generations. It has been my passion for a long time but especially since my children became school aged. My next practical steps for 2022 is to get engaged in the school board. I have been researching the school libraries in our district. My goal is to eventually know what is in every school library in Nebraska. There are very harmful things available to our children. I believe that God will have me see the removal of many if not all of them. I recently told someone in an email regarding this endeavor, "My tenacity to research has only grown as God fills me with righteous anger for our children." I can see myself speaking to parents in other school districts about how to research and engage the school boards. I can see God using me to be salt and light in the school system and even higher forms of government. It's been confirmed on multiple occasions that I've been called to the "mountain of government."

I am like Jeremiah, "But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!" (20:9) The craziest thing that has happened since my healing prayer session, I embody this verse. When I am stirred up and passionate about the Kingdom of God, it feels as if there is a literal fire in my chest...I can actually FEEL the Holy Spirit burning inside of me. It gives me strength. It gives me courage. It gives me boldness. It gives me faith. It gives me hope. It spurs me on to keep running this very important race.

My prayer for our SUM community this that each and every one of us will truly grasp and understand how God sees us. We are powerful, set free, CHILDREN of God. There is NOTHING that can hinder the love He has for us. He is so proud of you. He has such great things in store for you. You are NOT overlooked. You are NOT too far gone. You are NOT a mistake, burden or any other lie from the pit of Hell. You may be tired and weary from the battle. But God! He has a word for you:

Listen to Me, [insert your name here],

And all the remnant of the house of Israel,

Who have been upheld by Me from birth,

Who have been carried from the womb:

Even to your old age, I am He,

And even to gray hairs I will carry you!

I have made, and I will bear;

Even I will carry, and will deliver you.

-- Isaiah 46:3-4

Let's meet in the comments, I truly would love to pray over you and give you a word of encouragement. I believe that if you would be bold enough to comment, even with a simple hand raised emoji (He knows the details of your circumstances, even if we don't in the community) - He will give a word just for you. I bless you with the fullness of understanding of WHO you are and WHOSE you are. I love you!


Entering 2022 as a Community

Dear friends 2022 2

It's Ann here, and today I want to share some thoughts about 2022 for us as a community.

At this time of year I spend some time praying about the year and asking God if there are any particular themes for us as a community. For 2022, here's what seems to be on my mind:

The SUM walk is so multi-faceted in the kinds of issues we face and the skills we have to develop in order to thrive. In fact, it's not only multi-faceted, but it is long. Some SUMites do have an experience where their spouse joins them in faith quickly, but for most of us the SUM journey is like a marathon or high-altitude mountain climb. It's high-risk, tiring, and takes endurance.

This year, I think what God is saying is, hone your skills, equip each other for the climb, and persevere

Yes, persevere.

These are just some of the complex facets we have to tackle specifically because we are in a spiritually mismatched marriage:

  • Tackle our own doubts, and hold fast to our basic belief in Jesus.
  • Understand God's heart for unbelievers and his plans for humanity
  • Stay connected to church when it feels almost impossible to do so.
  • Understand Satan and demons, and know how to fight them.
  • Take on the solo responsibility for our children's faith lives
  • Learn about prayer, including using our authority in the spirit realm
  • Learn to love our spouse well and be a great marriage partner
  • Set good boundaries within and around our marriages
  • Develop a strong devotional life 
  • Learn to hear and discern God's voice
  • Build a healthy personal community around ourselves.

Phew -- There's a lot there. And though it is the spiritual equivalent of a high-altitude mountain climb, a lot of what we go through seems to be about training ourselves in the above areas over and over. 

Now, I'm not a climber myself but my Dad was (he's still alive, but older now). As a child I remember he would go off to climb mountains in Europe, taking pick axes, ropes, pulleys, crampons, pouches of dried food, compasses, maps and more. It was serious business. He would also go in a team: Mountaineers have to work together to keep each other safe. 

That's what I feel we're going to do here in SUM in 2022. We have unmovable mountains to conquer: The mountains of our spouse's and family's unbelief. So, to face those we have to dig deep, roll up our sleeves, decide we're not going to give up, and keep equipping ourselves together.  

There's a fabulous documentary on Netflix about high-altitude mountaineering called '14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible'. It's about a Nepalese man who climbed all fourteen high-altitude peaks in the world in record time -- Within a year. These were peaks over 8,000m. He took a team of fellow mountaineers and the documentary follows all of their climbs. It is an absolute inspiration to watch. The sheer grit that he displays, the skill level, the fatigue, all of it .... Amazing. He called his feat Project Possible, because people told him it was impossible. He came out victorious, and so can we. 

"For with God, nothing will be impossible" (Luke 1:37, NKJV)

Dear SUMites, this year -- 2022 -- I'm looking forward to us becoming even stronger, even more perseverant, and even more equipped to walk out our faith in our unique marriages. 

Now here's a question for you: Which of the above issues would you particularly like to see us write about this year?

Love to you all

Ann


Seminar on the End-Times Church, 20 January

Hi everyone, Ann here. Church

You'll remember a few weeks ago on Giving Tuesday that we mentioned a seminar that Lynn would be running on the end-times church. Well, that seminar is going to be this Thursday, 20 January, at 11am Pacific time (note that's USA time -- So, it's Friday for those of us in Australia/New Zealand).

It will be a LIVE seminar, and a great opportunity to see other SUMites in person and interact. 

If you're a reader of Lynn's blog you'll likely already have seen this seminar mentioned. I've copied below a little of what she had to say about it. Note that if you donated at the time of Giving Tuesday (thank you!) your access to this is free. Lynn will send you the link to the seminar automatically and you need do nothing more. Otherwise, there's a fee of $49 and you can register by going over to Lynn's blog and signing up there. Here's the link for that.

In Lynn's words here's what the seminar will cover:

  • The initiation of the plan of God. And the Mystery of God. (Ephesians 1:9-11)
  • Lucifer's fall. I will answer this question: Why, after thousands of years serving the Lord, did Lucifer betray God. It's pride but what caused that prideful fall? I know the answer and can't wait to tell you.
  • Who is a Gentile, A Jew, the Church. and the Nepheline THESE four parts of humanity matter a great deal to the telling of the story.
  • We will cover Matthew 24, all the scriptures in the New Testament and Revelation.
  • We will gain understanding of the entire plan.
  • We will look at revelation and see how those scriptures are being fulfilled before our very eyes. 
  • We will examine the Day of the Lord, the Judgement Seat of Christ, the Day of Wrath and the antichrist.
  • We will discover the truth, based scripture upon scripture, of the last days. Understand what is to come and the purpose of the church in these days.
  • YOU WILL BE GREATLY ENCOURAGED.

Finally, it will be two and a half hours long, so come armed with Bible and make yourself comfy for the session.

I can't wait to see some of you there in person and I get the feeling we may continue to talk about some of these issues here on this blog over the early part of 2022.

Ann


Our Homes and Families, Fasting our Final Day

Community Fast -- The Final Day

We are very nearly there .. Oh what a great feeling! Fast and pray 2022

If you're fasting food you may be feeling somewhat out of it by now, and so relieved that we're nearly there. You've nearly done it! And however you've fasted, God honors your efforts. Hiccups and all.

Fasting afflicts our soul, sends us crashing to the floor in weakness, makes us like vulnerable newborn babies.

But equally, it's a common adventure for us as a community, and that part I love. We've been doing this together for years now, and each year we learn a little more about how to fast or we see each other try something new ... courageously.

I've learned that one person's fast is completely different to another person's; and I shouldn't expect what happens to one person to happen to me. After all, God works with us each so individually. My recent fasts, for example, have been very quiet in terms of hearing God. I've often expected some grand revelation, but it's not necessarily been like that. All I know is that it does change things. I look back at all these years of fasting now, and do believe it has strengthened many of us, enabling us to walk in victory in some quite difficult circumstances.

Spiritually, we are a powerful army when we fast like this, together. It's as if we're marching forward in ranks, side by side, not looking to the right or the left. Only forward. Only towards our God. Armored up, and focused. And while it's tough as anything, it's a pleasure to do this with you, to be part of these ranks, and to know that on all sides not only do I have the mighty hosts of Heaven, I also have my fellow soldiers in this community.

So as we march towards the finish line (yay!!) I wonder if we can do two things today just before our fast closes? I'll be doing this an hour or so before the end, and then will ease into eating gradually.

First, take communion. Before our fast Lynn shared a recipe for unleavened bread. Or, take a regular cracker, juice or wine, and then sit in the quiet and read one of the passages in the Gospels where Jesus talked about the Lord's supper. Those can be found in Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, and Luke 22:17-20. Or you could read some of John chapters 14-17. Marinate a little and thank him for the week.

And second, would you take some time to pray for the whole SUM community? That is, the SUMites, their homes, their spouses, and their children? What a lovely thing that would be for so many of us to be lifting up our voices in prayer for these homes. It'll be not unlike our recent day of worship, where our prayers will reach Heaven hour by hour, seeing as we are spread across so many time zones.

Thanks everyone, it's been a meaningful week as always. Next week I'm on holiday with my family in the South Island of New Zealand (a place called Queenstown) so the blog will be quiet. But we'll all be back again the week after.

And now it's your turn: Tell us about your fast, how has it gone? Did you experience anything spiritually? I can't wait to read the comments.

Love to you all,

Ann


A Love Letter - Prayer & Fasting 2022

SUM Fast 2022Lynn Donovan here:

Many of you don't know Rosheed Lee. She was a writer for SUM a number of years ago. It was Rosheeda who actually initiated our family fast here on the web. Ro, was tragically killed in a car crash on her way to a conference where I (Lynn) and Dineen were speaking. Ro, went home to our Father that day. Truly, she was too good for this world. In her short years on earth 22 or 23, she greatly impacted many. 

I was one of them. 

So today, I'm sharing a nostalgic post that is POWERFUL from author, Rosheeda Lee.

Rosheeda Lee:

Today’s Activity: Write a love letter to God.

Today’s Focus: Let your heart speak. Spend your time in personal reflection and prayer.

Are you a friend of God?

Is He a friend of yours?

I know this is supposed to be about a love letter. And it is. No worries. But let’s not put the cart before the horse.

Before you can successfully enjoy the intimacy of being in love, you first have to learn to trust one another as friends.

One of the greatest lessons of 2010 for me was the value of friendship and the power that it has to help sustain love. Only a few know the real deal of this past year for me, but those who do have heard me say in very recent history that one of the greatest blessings to come of all that went terribly awry between me and Sweetheart is that through all the rubble, God uncovered a friendship we’ve never known. Being broken forced us to connect in a way that we had not managed in our entire history and today I can say that he is my best friend forever and that I am falling in love with him in a way that I doubted I’d ever know.

It’s the same with God. I couldn’t properly fall in love with Him until I was broken enough to go to Him with the truth of my heart laid bare and open for His full perusal and address. It was totally not easy. But it was the beginning of the most vibrant, most vital friendship I’ve ever known. As I learned to trust Him with my truth, He was able to woo me and lead me into deep intimacy and fellowship with Him.

He wants to do the same for you.

Friends being bff’s with God is something phenomenal, but if you think that’s amazing then you’ve just GOT to experience Him as the Lover of your soul. Let your love letter be truth – not pretention. Give Him all that you are and let Him take you deeper. Trust Him. Because He won’t abandon you, no matter how bad it gets or how much is aches. He will not let you go.

Today is the first day of the greatest love affair of your life.

Make it a great one. Ro


Play with the Father -- Fasting, Day Three

Hello my fellow fasting squad! Fast and pray 2022

How are you doing? I am thinking of you all as I potter around the house.

As I write, it's day three here. So far I've had no food for the past three days. I'm pretty woolly-headed, on 'go-slow' mode. And, it's just been a gentle time with God so far. 

Yesterday I wrote about the wilderness. Well, today I want to look at something that can be experienced within our wilderness: The playful love of the Father. And I want to tell you a lovely story from last year's fast.

One morning in July 2019 I woke with a four-digit code in my head. I grabbed my phone and wrote it down. 

A year later, July 2020, I woke with a picture in my head of a wicker basket, the size and shape of a Glory Box or trunk. Again, I wrote it down.

We then came to our community fast, January 2021. The week before, I was walking with oldest son, Travis, and I said, "You know, one thing I've always wanted is a one-person teapot, I really want one of those.." at which he laughed.

The fast rolled around and on day two I was out with my boys. We came home, and there waiting for us was a big box by the front door. It was a gift from several family members in England who had clubbed together to send us something really special. It had been due to arrive before Christmas, but was late; hence its arrival on this first week of January, and my fasting week -- Perfect timing.

The boys and I carted the box into the living room and excitement hit. Forgetting my hunger completely, I started ripping open the box, with straw flying. I cried, "No no no, I get to open it!" as the boys' hands were competing with mine to get a first look. We eventually pulled apart the cardboard to discover a glorious wicker basket, the size and shape of a glory box, a trunk! 

"Ohhh, it's the wicker basket I saw," I thought to myself.

This basket was a very big food hamper from a specialty food store in London. I love food. Not only that, the last four digits of the courier code for its delivery were the same four digits I'd woken up with back in July 2019! I knew that because I'd received a text about the package already. Those four digits had remained meaningful to me and that text had given me an inkling God was in this.

That's not all, though. I then got to open the wicker trunk, and lo and behold the first item I pulled out was ........ A one-person teapot!!

Well, by this time I had truly forgotten wilderness hunger.

The items continued to come as we dived into the trunk with our hands. There in the Glory Box were tin and cardboard packages, all containing food-related goodies. It was exquisite stuff and I was in heaven. But the final moment came when I laid out all the pieces on our piano and realized the packaging was all co-ordinated in the same colors of my special journals in which I write words from God: Fuschia pink and duck-egg blue.

"The boxes are the same color as my journals!!!!" I shouted. I was beside myself. What a gift. 

The boys were so amused they grabbed a phone, took a photo, and then roared with laughter when they took a look ... It's a funny photo, and I hope it gives you a giggle. Yep, I was excited. Ann joy

That day the Father played with me and loved me. Perhaps he was even saying "You gave up food for me. Now see my heart for you."

Oh friends, today I've been reflecting on how tremendous God is. And with that in mind I want to end with an idea. I did this today myself:

Take a moment to quietly sit with the Father along with a paper and pen, and dream with him. Write a list of your dreams for your life, sitting consciously in his presence. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you write this list. And include your family and home in those dreams -- Well, I know you will as that is top of our minds. Keep the list somewhere special for years to come.

That's all for today. What's happened so far in your fast, and how has your day been?

Ann


While in the Wilderness - Fasting Day Two

How did day one of the Fast go for you? If you didn't manage it yesterday don't beat yourself up -- It's perfectly normal to have a few hiccups in this big exercise called fasting. Just dust yourself off, get back on the horse, and start afresh. Fast and pray 2022

Over here, so far so good. I've not eaten since Monday morning. It does make me feel unwell, though, and that's even with coffee and juices. I can't believe that Jesus did this without those kinds of aids in blazing desert heat for forty days (Matthew 4:1-4).

On that note, I feel like looking at a well-known fasting passage today:

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

Weakened, Jesus goes through more temptations from the devil in his fasting state until finally:

"The devil left him, and angels came and attended him" (v.11).

I'm reflecting today on the fact that a believer who has work to do for the Lord will be allowed to endure a wilderness season like the above.  A season, that is, where they are weakened, fragile, tempted, and embattled. Sound familiar?

A wilderness season (which may last years) lifts us from being a baby Christian to a viable, ministering-to-others, working-for-the-Lord kind of Christian. 

I wonder why Jesus fasted while also being in the wilderness and being tempted. It seemed the two came as a package: Fasting forty days, and also being tempted in a miserable wilderness. Further, he was on his own; well, without human companionship. But that whole package (fasting, temptation) lifted Jesus into a maturity that meant he could walk into the next thing God had for him: His ministry.

It's also noticeable that his wilderness time happened straight after he was baptized. And it was only after the wilderness that he went out, found his disciples, and performed his very first public miracle: The turning of water to wine at a wedding.

Do we all need to have a wilderness time after our initial conversion in order to truly be useful to the Lord? Perhaps so. For out of our pain comes our ministry to others.

For that reason, when I look back on my own SUM I can even dare to say that I wouldn't change it for the world. It's done things to my own character. Necessary things, I guess.

Our homes, our families, and our wilderness alone season... God will use it all. And we can pray "Lord, help us walk it through and see it through. Hold us up in it all."

How is your fast going so far? Any thoughts on the topic of wilderness seasons? Share anything you'd like to in the comments.

Ann


Day One of our Community Fast

Hello friends Fast and pray 2022

Ann here and it’s Monday, day one of our fast. I am so looking forward to seeing what God will do among us this week. There is always something exciting that happens.

Now, I woke this morning raring to go. However, I was nervous too. I’m going without food all week, and that's a feat for sure. But we're in it together and I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

This morning I began by sitting in my quiet prayer room. The family were still asleep, and so I opened a blank page in my journal, pen in hand, and said to God, “Our week of fasting is now here. Lord, what do I hope for this week? What shall I be praying for? And, what do I want to fast for with you?” I managed to have a couple of hours of quiet with God. It was beautiful and peaceful.

I jotted down some thoughts in those two hours. One of my main prayers, currently, is for the SUM community’s homes, and for ongoing wisdom personally.

And so, the theme of this week’s fast is going to be prayer for our homes and families. We always do pray for this, but let's do so especially this week.

On that note, today I want to share a little tucked-away story from the Old Testament. It’s from the time of King David when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem. There was a decision to be made about where the Ark of the Covenant would reside, and David was seriously scared about the sheer power of the Ark. His fear had come because someone had died from touching it (2 Samuel 6:6). In the end, someone else -- A man called Obed-Edom -- took the Ark on behalf of the nation, and safely cared for it in a respectful way.

The part that interested me was this:

“The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite three months. And the Lord blessed Obed-Edom and all his household.” 2 Samuel 6:11 (NKJV)

My friends, our own care of the Holy presence of God in our homes is not unlike Obed-Edom's care of the Ark of the Covenant, above. And what happened to him was that blessing followed. What an honor it is to welcome God's presence into our homes. What's more, may we approach that task like Obed-Edom did, with reverence, care and due stewardship. This fasting is part of that: It is our way of showing care, love, and reverence to God. 

Indeed, when we welcome the Holy presence of the Lord into our homes, with due respect, awe, and a deep love for Him, I do believe the Lord will bless us and all our household; and this is what we as SUMites are doing. We are the caretakers of faith in our homes.

So today, my friends, perhaps we can pray this prayer:

Lord God, we welcome you into every part of our home and lives.

Lord we welcome your presence into our homes. What an honor that we know you. What an absolute honor!

Help us to be trustworthy, help us to steward the faith you have given us, and help us to safe-keep the faith seed of our families as it sits growing within our homes.

We love you, Lord, with all our hearts, all our souls, all our strength, and we pray in Your Name, our beloved Jesus. Amen.

How are you fasting this week, and what are you hoping for? Let's share in the comments.

All the best with your first day!

Ann


Community Fast & Pray January 3-7

SUM Fast 2022Fast 2022

As far back as I can remember the SUMite Nation has fasted together the first full week of January. Well, at least for more than a decade now. That's amazing!

I’m convinced that any type of fast we offer the Lord, opens up the prayer line to our Father. However, a genuine food fast, in the manner that Jesus speaks, is truly life-changing.

Today, set your mind to fast with all of us.

The fast begins Monday, January 3rd at sunup. Fasting concluded on Friday, January 7th at sundown. If at all possible, fast solid foods through the entire week. End the week with the Lord’s Supper (Recipe below).

Or offer a daily fast from solid foods from sunup to sundown, taking the Lord’s Supper at the end of the day (recipe below).

Or fast sunup and then a small meal at night with the family. And finally, I urge you, fast time away from your phone and devices. Avoid television if you can and put your phone down. Don’t take your phone into your quiet time (this is a reminder to myself, ack!!!).

Fasting is a humbling process. It’s not arm twisting the Lord. But when we are humbled, our prayers become the loudest. Humility and honor are the keys to an audience with the King.

In addition to fasting. Get a large candle. Light it each morning and leave it in a room where you will see the flame flickering often. Each time you see the flame, pray.

Prayer prompts:

Jesus, what is your favorite thing about me?

Jesus, what word are you speaking over my life in this season?

Jesus, how can I pray with more effectiveness for my family? Home, Church, City, Nation?

Jesus, what areas exist in my life that give our enemy legal rights to oppress me? My children? My Spouse? Nation?

Jesus, how to I gain freedom in these areas?

Okay, finally, in the comments, I want you to state to the enemy: I AM PRAYING AND FASTING.

Here is the recipe. Thank you for my great friend, Jeanne Ritari! Jean, you ROCK! I’ve made this bread and it truly will bring you closer to the reality of communion and the love of Jesus.

Unlevened Bread 1Unleavened Bread

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • Pinch of salt

Oven 400 F/ 200 C

Warm the milk and dissolve the honey in it.  In a medium bowl, stir the flour into the milk and add a pinch of salt.  Combine well and knead very briefly (only enough to incorporate the flour.)

Divide dough into 6 or 8 equal parts.  Form each part into a ball and pat or roll into a rough circle.  Divide into four or six triangles using a knife or pizza cutter.  Place on a baking sheet (I use parchment paper to avoid sticking.)  Repeat with all the balls of dough (you may need more than one baking sheet.)  Prick all the discs several times with a fork.

Place the baking sheet in a hot oven for 15 minutes.  Remove and let cool.  Store in refrigerator (it keeps for several days), or wrap unused portion well and freeze until needed. 

Unlevened Bread 2