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11 entries from March 2022

Announcing Our New Writer!

Hello everyone Amanda and Daniel

Today we have some lovely news. Some of you will already know Amanda Pace, one of our long-time SUMites. Amanda has been with our community for about five years, and she served for quite some time as one of the leaders on our SUM Facebook group. In that role she gave lot of her time and love to our community, and we grew to know her as a woman who loves God and has a real care for those in spiritually mismatched marriages.

Anyway, Amanda has agreed to come on as one of our writers here on this blog, and you'll see her post on here once a month. The rest of us -- Lynn, Tiffany, Ian, and I -- are thrilled about this as we have a lovely new team mate. It'll be exciting to see what she writes. So, if you would, cheer her on as she steps out and starts sharing.

Amanda has been married to her husband, Daniel, for eleven years and they live with their two young children in Arkansas, USA. She says one of her passions is connecting with, interceding for and serving our SUMites, so do reach out to her if you like. She also has a love of music and worship, and has even sung once on our Facebook page -- Now that was beautiful. In fact, I couldn't resist digging it out here, it was an Easter service we did a couple of years ago.

Anyway, thank you Amanda for being willing to give us your time, and thank you to Daniel too behind the scenes for saying yes to her writing. We love you, and we cheer you on! We pray for God's blessing on your writing, on your marriage, and on your family.

Ann


A Question for God: What is My Sphere?

Hi everyone, hope you're having a good week.

Following my last blog post on 'These challenging times', I thought I'd share a good question we can ask God next. It comes with an interesting God story too.

Hope you enjoy this one, and let's chat in the comments.

Ann

 


And a Little Child Shall Lead Them

Hey SUM family, Tiffany here!

SUM Isaiah 5413Since my last writing, I had to confront some tough topics with my children. This ranged from introducing them to the LGBTQIA agenda to spirit animals to what is the electric chair. (This did NOT all stem from their public education and it was not all in one conversation.)

I don't know about you but I never thought in a million years that I would be having conversations like this with my children. Growing up (as I look back on movies and cartoons that I was exposed to when I was their age) there were some things that I encountered. However, I can definitely say that the world I was raised in was not so brazen and hellbent on the corruption of our children. The agenda is now in our faces!

Part of me wants to shelter and hide them from all outside influences. If only I could keep them from being exposed to every evil agenda that is being thrown at their generation. I would love to say that it is better for them to simply not know anything about the worlds ideologies. BUT - if I am not diligent, if I do not teach them...the world will.

You see there are very rich and evil people who influence the world system around us. This is for another day, but for reference -  the World Health Organization, the CDC, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Buffett Foundation, Planned Parenthood, the National Education Association - are all working together to corrupt our children. This has been going on for many years. We are talking over generations. It didn't happen over night. This is a full on coordinated attack against the next generations.

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train a child in the way [they] should go, and when [they] are old [they] will not depart from it."

It is our duty and responsibility as God fearing parents to tackle the awkward conversations. We need to be intentional and diligent. We cannot allow our children to be taught to think like the world.

It hasn't been an easy task. There are topics that quite honestly I need to look into for myself. I titled this post "And a Little Child Shall Lead Them" because choosing to have these conversations with my children has really sharpened my worldview and belief system. It is THEIR questions, THEIR grappling, THEIR simple view of life that has led me to dig deeper. Why do I believe what I believe? What DOES the Bible say about...? How can I present this topic to my children? Are they ready? Am I ready?

Remember John 16:13, "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." This verse is vital in my life right now. I cling to the Holy Spirit. He will lead myself and my children into ALL truth. In a world full of lies and confusion we along with our children need His truth.

The SUM life brings a whole other dynamic outside of the "normal" Christian home struggle. We have to figure out how to teach our children the truth against a world that presents lies. On top of that, we have to wrestle with the divisive spirits that will sometimes use our husbands against us. I have found that transporting the kids in the car has been our classroom. I drop off and pick up the kids from school. When headed to church or out running errands. Any time that the kids and I are alone in the car,  there is one way or another that we are having Kingdom conversations. It could be prayer. It could be questions. It could be promptings from the Holy Spirit.

When my children were younger, I was so afraid of them being influenced by the things of the world. I wasn't mature enough in my faith to have conversations to educate them. I would simply tell them that we don't do that, we don't watch that, we don't agree with that and force that to  be the end of things. Part of it is that they were too young to have in-depth conversations. For example, on Netflix, there is a show called Chip and Potato. It first aired in 2018 but I tried to watch it with my kids in 2019. I thought, how cute! A pug and her friend mouse. I took screenshots of the first episode back then because it didn't sit right in my spirit when watching this. I don't think we got past 2 episodes before I told them we would no longer be watching it.

Check out this message I sent to a Youtube influencer on 6/20/2019:

I hope this reaches you alright. I was watching a show with my children on Netflix called "Chip and Potato." It is a Netflix original and this show is set out to heavily indoctrinate our children with the LGBTQ agenda. I am reaching out to you for two reasons. 1. I am hoping you can address this on your youtube channel to warn parents. You have a further influnce than I do. 2. I am curious to know if you have any advice on how to step out and stand against these types of things. I am heartbroken. I want to raise my children (just turned 6 and soon to be 5 (in July) in the way of the Lord. All I could tell them was sorry kids we are not going to watch this show anymore. You aren't allowed. When they kept asking why...all I could say is "I don't know how to explain it to you right now because you are still a little young." I am upset at the Church for being silent my entire life. I feel like I have been left out like a sitting duck in the pond of culture...helpless to the hunt. Are there resources out there for true Bible believing followers of Christ? Who is standing in the gap of the wall in culture? How can we turn this around? I cannot stay silent on this...my children's children's children's lives depend on my action now! I have attached a few pictures from the show.

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This my friends is the difference between fear (3 years ago) and faith. This is the difference between uncertainty and identity. God placed this conviction in my heart even back then! But it wasn't until I surrendered fear of man, doubt, anxiety, orphan spirit at the feet of Jesus and picked up healing, restoration, confidence, identity, purpose and destiny that I became a daughter of Issachar - understanding the times and knowing what to do about it. 

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. - Acts 17:26

 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? - Esther 4:14

Do not be dismayed. Do not fear. Take heart - the Father chose you for THIS time, THIS place in history. He can and will use you to alter the course of this era, if only you would be bold enough to take a stand. Just like God told me He would take care of my children when He said to keep them in public school; He will take care of yours too. No matter the situation, not matter the conversation...allow Holy Spirit to lead you and your children into ALL truth.

Our children are resilient. Regardless of what it looks like in this world, I decree and declare that our children are marked with the glorious Kingdom of Heaven for signs, miracles, wonders, healings, prophesy, dreams, visions, integrity, purity, holiness, righteousness, wisdom, truth, boldness, faith and a fierce fighting spirit. In Jesus' name, amen!

See you in the comments. If you would like, share your children in the comments that we can pray over and bless them.

Love you!


Could God Be Leading Us Into A New Classroom?

Hey SUM family, Tiffany here!

275981332_10100530464777906_8053192761535430691_nI am sitting in a quiet living room. Everyone else is in bed or on their way. I can't help but smile because of the events that have transpired today (Sunday).

I am blessed to have done a couple of things that I really love. 1. Organizing and hosting an event. 2. Educating people with truth.

We The Parents FundraiserI had no idea that many things being stirred in my heart over the last 6 months would all come together tonight. Event planning, researching the public education system, networking with like-minded people stepping into a political calling, serving others. God is ordaining my steps!

My husband has been one of "don't ask, don't tell" in this endeavor. However, yesterday, I shared with my mother-in-law some quotes from books in my school district. After she read the materials I handed her, she expressed her disgust. I then said, "Do you want to look at it Jason?" He took the materials and read through them. This moment was another confirmation for why we are in this transition season. I honestly believe that if his mom wasn't in the room, he wouldn't have even taken them from me.

That night before bed I had the chance to ask him his thoughts on the materials. Listen family - we had a really good dialogue! We didn't fully agree on things - BUT WE HAD A DISCUSSION! I left that conversation in awe. Two years ago when God began stirring in my heart to get involved...it was a constant battle. We would argue and fight. Every. Time. It is ultimately what led me to back off and quit pressing in.

And now, with tenacity and resolve to never go back, I am seeing breakthroughs happen. It is no coincidence that it is happening while under someone else's roof.

This is not to say that it is always easy. I have been going to a lot of meetings lately. My kids, my daughter especially, are really missing me. The last couple of times that I have had to go - she verbally expressed her sadness. "You are always going to meetings now." I got down on her level and had to explain, "Mommy is trying to fight for you kids. Not just you but all kids."

I have had a lot of tough conversations with my kids (almost 8 and almost 9) lately. I never thought that I would be discussing things such as critical race theory, gender identity, and always telling mommy if there is something that seems a little weird or uncomfortable that happens in school. Our children are NOT growing up in the same world that we did.

Now more than ever, we MUST have conversations with our children about what God's word says. Even if things are uncomfortable for us, we must seek Holy Spirit's guidance on HOW to have these conversations with our children BEFORE they learn it from the world. It has been awkward, but I cling to the promise of Jesus - the Helper, the Spirit of truth will give us the words to say (John 15:26, Matthew 10:19-20).

With that being said, I pose this question to you. Are you interested in having discussion on how to talk to your children (or grandchildren) about hard cultural topics? I am still working through all of this - I am no expert by any means. Our children are under attack from all sides. I believe that as parents, we need to be equipped to stand in the gap. That begins with willingness to have a conversation. If you agree, I would like to use the time that I have with you to dig into the word and create dialogue that we can (and should) be having with our children.

In the comments, please let me know some topics that you would like to be able to talk to your children about. With the Holy Spirit's leading, we can gain tools in our belt to train our children up in the way they should go.

Blessings, peace, courage and joy to you in Jesus' name.


These Challenging Times: How Do We Respond?

Part One: These challenging times: What is God saying? Globe

My friends, we're currently talking about the times we're in, and today I want to tell you something intriguing that happened just before the pandemic. I'm sharing it because I believe it can give us some good guidelines for today.

COVID first appeared in December 2019, but in August I heard God say this:

"Get ready, you have no idea what's coming out of these cupboard doors --"

I had a sense that something was coming that I couldn't possibly guess at. Like the analogy of a cupboard, it was as if the doors would soon be open and this 'thing' would come out or be revealed.

I decided to tell Dineen, as I sometimes used to write to her about such things. I nearly fell off my seat when she wrote back and told me she'd heard the same thing -- That we were to get ready and something big was coming. In fact, it turned out that both she and a friend had each heard it within days of each other that very same week as me.

Well, that was amazing, but it got even more startling. Days after Dineen's email, I gave a talk at a church in Auckland that wasn't my usual church. Afterwards I got chatting to the pastor and he said, "I heard God say this week 'Get ready, and do not fear'."

He and I then talked about how striking that seemed. It seemed telling and noteworthy.

Later that August, I completely forgot I'd had the words 'Get ready', but quite separately I felt prompted to start spending my whole mornings with God. It was a real luxury -- The kids were out at school, Bryce was out at work, the house was quiet, and I had hours with God. 

All of that long-lingering-with-the-Lord was reduced, of course, when lockdown happened in March 2020 and everyone landed home (aggh!) But those few months of quiet with God were impactful; they set me up to cope when the pandemic hit. 

I share that last little story because it has something to do with 'Getting ready', and I believe that word 'Get ready' is still a key for how to respond today, just as much as it was in 2019. Further, it's not just get ready, but 'Get ready and do not fear'.

People have speculated if this is the end times. We don't know. There have been lots of crazy times in the world over the past centuries. On this topic there's perhaps always going to be some mystery --

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. Matthew 24:36 (NKJV)

What we are told instead is to always be ready. 

Therefore also you be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44 (NKJV)

What does it look like to get ready, then?

First, it's like what I did in lingering with God in those months before the pandemic. That's only an illustration, mind you. Our other responsibilities (e.g., parenting) may not allow for that much lingering, but the point is we must take care of our souls as our biggest priority in life. That's all, and that's everything. Care for your soul -- Linger a little more with the Lord.

But then there's more. Jesus gave clear guidelines in Matthew 24 about how to respond to crazy times. The things we need to do to 'Get ready' are:

1. Take care not to be deceived (Matt 24:4, 23-24)

2. Do not partner with any kind of fear (Matt 24:6)

3. Don't let our love for others grow cold (Matt 24:13)

4. Keep watching the signs (Matt 24:33, 42)

5. Keep being active in ministering to others (Matt 24:45-51).

Each of the above points deserves more conversation in terms of how it relates to the pandemic, so I'm going to do a little video or two on the above over the next few weeks. But for now a great theme for us is this:

Get ready, stay ready .... and do not fear.

I'll leave it there. But, how are you doing at the moment, and what are the challenges for you in this time? If you'd like to share, I'd love to pray for you.

Ann


What Does Victory Look Like?

Hello SUMite Nation, our Church without Walls,

Lynn Donovan here. Years ago, at a writer's conference, I heard the Lord say to me, "Yes, you are going to do this." The reference was to start this ministry and hopefully help one other person who was on the road with me in an unequally yoked marriage.

And here we are years later. So many of you have followed my story, read the books I wrote and those I wrote with Dineen Miller. Our story is HIStory. It's a story of how an ordinary woman had a distant hope in a great BIG God.

I want to share the END OF THE STORY with you today.

March 14 was our THIRTY year wedding anniversary. WOW! Thirty years of ups and downs, fights and makeup mooching, laughing, crying, gain and loss, faith and doubt. We have lived through a life. On this 30th, Mike and I are about to close on our dream home in our New Promised Land. We found a home in a small country community in Northern California. We will move in May 1st. Just in time for my birthday. Papa is just soooo good.

I feel as though all the sacrifice and what seemed like a distant hope for years is now being fulfilled. Thirty years, a lifetime with one man. And more than that, this thirty years led me to the most important aspect of my entire existence. A powerful faith life and an intimate and consuming relationship with Father, Son and Spirit. 

I take into this new Promised Land everything I fought for. All my years of prayers and petitions and the fruits of decades of practice, belief and hope.

My friends..... This is the end game of a faithful God AND a faithful servant of Christ. There is goodness in the land of the living for the faithful. You do your part and God will do His. I KNOW it's difficult and this powerful faith isn't for the faint-of-heart, but for Kingdom children of the Most High.

After 30 years, this is the secret: Don't ever give up on the Lord. Never stop praying and believing. Always grow in faith. Let love change you, then your spouse and your family. Partner with the Lord in all you do and He will show up with miracles.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I'm humbled to think I shared a tiny part of your life and faith. I'm truly thankful. Thank you for celebrating with me. 

And for all of you still in the trenches, I now get to continually pray for you and your family. Leave your name and those you want me to bring before our Lord. I will do it with great gladness and exuberant expectation for YOUR MIRACLES!

I love you, Lynn

Photos from our new place: 

RM 3 14 2022
RM 3 14 2022
RM 3 14 2022

Lynn New Home RM 3 14 2022


These Challenging Times: What is God Saying?

Hi SUM family, Ann here. Globe

I hope you are all doing ok at the moment with what our world is going through, especially the distressing images from Europe. We are certainly in challenging times.

Today I want to talk a little about that. Specifically, what does God want us to know currently?

First, a scripture:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

My friends, one of the earliest things that I heard from God when Covid broke out was a very simple phrase: "Watch and pray."

In some ways that took the pressure off. I could certainly watch and pray easily enough. So far, so good.

But what does watching look like? Well, I'd say it means adopting a quiet spirit, taking our time to assess what's going on, looking at events while staying in the Word every day, and constantly asking God at every step: "Here's what I'm seeing. Would you tell me about this?" 

Lately what we've been seeing has been different to anything we've seen in our generation. It's been startling. We hear only in part (1 Corinthians 13:9), but here are some specific things I've heard from the Lord about this time. I hope it helps you along and gives you some points of focus:

**

1. First, this is a spiritually significant time, and the pandemic is a spiritually significant event. It's not some random event. It does reflect a movement in the Heavenlies of some sort.

2. It is a time that will pave the way for God to bring salvations. Our job is to prepare ourselves to partner with God when it's time.

3. God is using this 'shaking up' of the world and church. He is allowing certain things to be stripped away, especially in the church but also in the world. Painful as it is, this is a purifying time for the church. 

4. It's a hard truth, but parts of the Western church needed to be woken up. Parts of the church had aligned themselves with the world's morals, making sin seem ok. Universalist ideas had crept into some pulpits, watering down the truth of Jesus and what he did for us. In other parts of the church, lukewarm Christianity had taken hold. This is a serious issue.

5. God is deeply merciful and compassionate, but also righteous. Because he is righteous, reformation needs to come to His Bride (Ephesians 5:27).

6. We should be prepared for God to move in new and unexpected ways next in the church, and be open-hearted in readiness for that. 

7. We need to be on guard ourselves: The enemy is using this pandemic as an opportunity to distract believers from Jesus and from spreading the Gospel. Stay alert; be careful; go to him for every answer.

**

So yes, that summarizes what I've heard from the Spirit over the last two years. For me the Book of Jeremiah has been a great help in understanding what we've been walking through. In that book, God allowed some very difficult circumstances for his people on a national scale but he explained his perspective behind it. His intent is always to try to bring people back to him. Further, he looks after those who listen to him. But tough stuff happens because people and nations take themselves far from God. 

It would be an oversight if I didn't mention the vaccine. All I can say is I've asked God about that, and his response was "Stay focused instead on the work I have for you to do." I have never had any information from God to say that this vaccine should or should not be taken. So, that's all I can say there. 

Ultimately, from all of the above I'd say our priority has to be the health of our relationship with him. Then, walk in love for others, and always be found waiting to work for Jesus. That alone will enable us to stay at peace. 

Well, phew, that was a serious post, but I hope there's been something in there for you. 

Next time I write I'll talk about about what we are to do, how we are to respond. But for now, let's chat in the comments?

Much love,

Ann


The Unbelieving Spouse's Perspective

By Ann Hutchison Husband wife chat

"Can I ask you something..?" I said to Bryce a few weekends ago at the breakfast table.

He gave one of those smiles where he could see a wifely deep-and-meaningful talk coming. In true male style he braced himself. "Go on then." 

I took a deep breath:

"You really didn't like my faith a few years ago. And now you don't mind it. What made you change your mind?"

He thought for a minute.

"Well .... Over time, you showed me you still loved me. Even though I wasn't Christian."

That was interesting. See, I wasn't sure how good a job I'd done at this. I mean it's hard being married, and it's hard being spiritually mismatched. But clearly something had worked there and had made an impact on him. What an encouragement!

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)

We continued talking, and what he said next was somewhat harder to hear. 

"Look, when you became Christian, all of a sudden that was the only thing that was shiny to you. Everything and everyone else stopped being so interesting to you. Including me. It was hard."

Ouch.

But, if that was his experience I needed to listen. Did he have a point? I think he did. The things in the world do grow strangely dim when we find out that Jesus is real. And God is shiny. He is glorious, he radiates love, and he is immensely attractive. It's understandable to find God the most interesting one in your life. He is matchless. But it shouldn't mean you stop cherishing your spouse.

... and the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear] (Ephesians 5:33, Amplified)

These days I know I do better at this, thanks in big part to this community and all the conversations we've had here about thriving in a spiritually mismatched marriage. I think that was confirmed by Bryce's final comment --

"Now you're more low key about it. You're not so obsessed any more. I suppose God is your top thing still, but you handle it better."

He smiled at this. Clearly the topic was not too painful anymore.

I smiled too, inside. I am just as fervent now as I was then. I guess I just carry it a little differently now.

I reached out my hand to him. "It's definitely hard being different like this, isn't it?" He nodded completely in agreement. And then we changed the subject.

Phew. My friends, I don't find it easy having those conversations and I know it's the same for many of you. It's often sensitive to raise. But on that occasion I'm glad I asked. For one thing, I'm going to see what I can do to make my husband feel more 'shiny' ((smiling)).

Have you ever asked your spouse what their experience of your faith is? Or, what do you think they'd say?

Lovely chatting and have a great weekend,

Ann


A Prayer for Us to Speak in Unison

Hi SUM family, Lord send revival

It's Ann here, and today I wanted to share some words that we can pray out loud for our families -- Words I'll share in a minute. 

Our families are our land, much like the land that the Israelites fought for. Like the Israelites we have to fight for them, boot the giants out, that's Satan and his minions, and bring the Kingdom to that territory.

"But the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of Heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year." (Deuteronomy 11:11-12, NKJV)

It's often a long road to fight for our loved ones, a prayer battle of years. And in battling on our knees sometimes we need new ideas, a little variety, and fresh words.

So here's a creative way that we can pray today. It actually comes in the form of a song. The song is called Lord Send Revival by Hillsong Young and Free, and its words are a prayer and plea to the God of the Heavenly Armies for a particular territory.

Can I suggest you find a quiet corner, put on the song and speak or sing it as a prayer specifically for your family? The lyrics are here, and a video of the song is below. I'll be doing that too this afternoon as this post goes live.

Happy praying, and may our joint prayers come up for a memorial before God (Acts 10:4).

Peace like a river, wash over me.

Immerse me in water as deep as the sea.

Hide me in love your healing embrace.

Peace like a river, wash over me.

 

As I worship Your majesty,

I worship Your Holy Name,

Jesus my everything,

All that I am is Yours.

 

Come Holy Spirit, rain down on me (I feel his presence as I type that!)

Break open the Heavens and drench the unseen.

Pour out Your presence as I pour out your praise

Come Holy Spirit, Lord have your way.

 

Open the Heavens, fling wide the gates

Flood every heart with mercy

Pour out your presence, inhabit our praise

As we cry Holy Holy

 

Lord send revival, Lord send it now

A move of your Spirit, Heaven break out

Come now in power, cover this land

Like you've done it before

Would you do it again.

 


How do we Shift our Focus?

Pexels-italo-melo-2356140
Photo by Italo Melo from Pexels

A month ago, I wrote this post about shifting focus onto Jesus. Why do we want to focus more on Jesus? Because in discovering how to continually draw close to God, we learn how to let go of control which helps us to worry less and to love more. And now I start fulfilling my commitment to you on how to do it. Well, on some ways I've found to do it. :)

Lent starts Today!

It’s significant that this post lands on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Perhaps you don’t pay much attention to Lent. And that’s okay. Lent marks the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness and perhaps more significantly, as we journey through this season, we begin to appreciate with greater understanding the gift of Jesus' death. I love Lent as it helps me shift my focus. By choosing to be intentional in fasting, taking up a new spiritual practice, and reading specific Lenten resources, I find my focus shifts. A little. And a little is good enough1.

A Trouble-Free Life

I was thrilled to read Tiffany’s post of a few days ago where she wrote about shifting her focus towards a calling she believes God has put on her heart. She took her eyes off worrying about how her husband might react and turned them to her calling.

I think all of us can relate to that conundrum. Out of fear of upsetting our spouse and/or homelife, we elect to choose the safe option. I get that. I’ve lived like that most of my married life. And please don’t get me wrong, sometimes (maybe often) God will guide us to choose that safer option.

But God wants all of us. His love for us is so deep and intense, it is better than life as David says in Psalm 63. He knew it from personal experience. God knows our marriage, He’s all over it. And in always choosing the safer option as I’ve mostly done, I’m not sure it’s drawn my wife closer to meeting Jesus. Because when I've done that perhaps I’ve chosen her and my marriage over God.

I’ve come to realise God can handle our marriage and my spouse. We need to intentionally hand both over to Him in the process of shifting our focus towards Him.

In doing so, does it mean our spouses will soon discover Jesus? Possibly not? But it’s not ours to control. It’s God’s. Does it mean our troubles suddenly disappear? Possibly not. God will walk with us through each and every one of them. Because He can’t help Himself not too. It’s our choice whether to keep holding onto Him through the trouble.

Meditating on the Word

For many years of my life as a believer, I’ve been more a ‘devotional’ reader of the Word. I’ll grab a handful of verses each day, read a Psalm and then move onto my day. But I’m realising I’m limiting its power. The Word is alive, it’s living. That’s one of the many mysterious aspects of following Jesus. And Jesus is in it. He is the Word.

Learning to meditate on the Word shifts our focus. Why? For many reasons, but I’ll just share one. Because we invite God into reading it with us. And wow, it then gets really exciting.

I’m not going to say anymore other than to lead us in a little exercise. I did this yesterday and found it so powerful and know I should share it. Bill Gaultiere was the one who led me through it (well his book did2)

Here we go. We’re going to read Matthew 11:25-30. Three times. Three times slowly. And after each time you’re going to ask yourself a different question. Bill suggests you give 30 minutes for the exercise. Maybe you can't do this now. May I encourage you to set aside some time to do it in the next few days. Save it up for the weekend.

Here’s the passage. Bill used the Message version so I’ll do that too.

“Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”

Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Questions to Mediate Upon (perhaps write your responses)

  1. After 1st reading: What is one word or phrase that shimmered or stood out to you? Meditate on it.
  1. 2nd reading: Enter into the passage. What do you feel? Is there a specific situation in your life today that relates? Why not pray about it? Ask God about it.
  1. 3rd reading: Do you sense God inviting you to something specific? Write it down and pray about it with God. Wait on Him to speak to you. Or simply rest quietly with God.

That’s it. How do you feel? Perhaps we can share some of our thoughts in the comments.

BTW, this form of Bible reading is known as Lectio Divina which is simply Latin for ‘Divine Reading’. It’s not supposed to replace one’s standard Bible reading rather complement it. It’s not something we need to do every day, but perhaps it might be a new practice some of us might like to introduce, gently move towards.

I’ll be back next time with another shift enabling practice. Remember, little by little. As Kate Bowler says, ‘good enough’ is well, good enough.

Grace and peace, my friends.

1. We place too much pressure on ourselves to be the best at everything, to control and we get disappointed when we miss the mark or don’t grow in our relationship with God, our spouse or our children. Kate Bowler in her little book is teaching me how to simply be ‘good enough’. It’s what I’m reading for Lent. 2. Bill Gaultiere, “Your Best Life in Jesus’ Easy Yoke’, Soul Shepherding.org, 2016.