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14 entries from October 2022

Tablecloth of Thanks -From the Archives

Hi friends, Lynn Donovan here on this brilliant November 1st as we all step into a season of giving thanks. I'm writing to you from my new home. I am so very thankful for all the Lord has provided. Below is my annual Thanksgiving tablecloth post:

Every year I share this post in November. I wrote it at 15 years of marriage. We are now married for more than 30 years. This tradition is priceless in our family. I pray all of you have one or will make one for your family this year!

Happy Thanksgiving! Love, Lynn

Imported Photos 00008Tablecloth of Thanks 

Many of you know that I am married to an unbeliever. This past March we celebrated 15 years of marriage. Our unequally yoked marriage has had its challenges to say the least. Over the years, however, our ingenious God has maneuvered us through many touchy issues. 

Our disparity becomes more apparent during the holidays. Giving thanks to our Lord in November is a treasured time for me. I name my blessings one-by-one in prayer, thanking God for His lavish abundance poured into our lives. 

Like most wives living in an unequally yoked marriage, I long for my spouse to understand there is a God. To know He is intricately involved in our lives and everything we have is provision of our creator. I have also learned that forcing God upon my husband is a surefire way to push him away. I am careful to respect my husband and simply trust Jesus to reach him in his perfect timing. 

In spite of my husband’s unbelief, I discovered a unique way to draw him into the celebration of thanks, besides through his stomach. He loves turkey. 

Four years ago, I threw a new, pristine-white tablecloth across our dinning room table two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. I purchased several colored pens and placed them on top. A new tradition was born, a Tablecloth of Thanks. It began with my daughter. I told her, “I WANT you to write on this tablecloth.” She looked at me with skepticism in her eyes, wondering if her mother had lost her mind. 

“Really,” my smiled reassured. “Write down what you are most thankful for this year. Then write the year, 2004, near your name.” 

She grinned and began to write using several different colors. I joined in and wrote my thanks directly on the beautiful tablecloth. 

Later that evening my husband noticed the scribbles on the tablecloth. I watched as he walked over to read our words. I walked to his side and took his hand. I subtly asked him if he would also write down his thanks. He smiled and said maybe later. 

Finally on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, my husband picked up a pen and wrote; I am thankful for my wonderful family, great friends, and a very happy life. 

Wow! Was he giving thanks to our Lord? I am not sure. However, every year since he has continued to write a thankful list. Last year’s entry reads; I am thankful for all of my blessings…family, friends, and the dogs. 


What? Did he use the word blessings? Small steps such as these lead to the Savior. I can’t wait to read his thankful list this year. 

The Thankful Tablecloth is one of my most prized possessions. Everyone who visits our home during the Thanksgiving holiday contributes to this permanent memorial of thanks. It is a visible praise to the King displayed in our unequally yoked home each November. 

One of my favorite thanks is this: 

2006
I am thankful
to be able to sit
on the couch and have
my people pet me.
Peanut 

Hmmmm, I wonder how the dog grew fingers and learned to write???? 

Psalm 69:30 (NIV)
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.

 

Lord God, I will name my blessings one-by-one….. Jesus… eternal life…. clean water to drink…..capacity to love…..empowerment to forgive….. just for a start….. 

It is never too late to start a new tradition. If you want to start your Tablecloth of Thanks, I have a few helpful hints.

  1. Place a sheet of butcher paper under your tablecloth. (I have a permanent smiley face on my dinning room table from the year 2005)
  2. Use colorfast fabric pens.
  3. Store your tablecloth in an airtight Ziploc bag. 

Thank you my friends for sharing this Holiday treasure with me. I wish you were with me today and could share your thankful heart on the Tablecloth of Thanks.

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverLynn, I couldn't stop reading this book!  It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean.  Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb

Jesus is King! Today and Everyday!

Jesus Jack o lantern

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverLynn, I couldn't stop reading this book!  It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean.  Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb

It's Halloween. What is a Christian to Do?

HalloweenI received a call last week from a frantic young mother who was desperate to receive help and deliverance for her very young daughter. After her description of the frightening things going on in her home and with her daughter, I lay awake most of the night praying and interceding for her child.

This child sees bugs in the bathroom and is terrified and refuses to shower. She has been drooling and talking to people who aren't there. She is under tremendous oppression and needs freedom from the Lord Jesus so much. I’ve prayed with her mother and the author of My Child Sees Monsters, has also prayed with her. I’ve referred her to a deliverance ministry in her city.

As I’ve considered this child’s terrible plight, I grow increasingly outraged with the devil.

My friends, the primary tool of the devil is FEAR. So as we are surrounded by aspects of fear in the stores, in the windows and yards of our neighbors, our children’s Halloween costumes, please consider how fear enters your life and that of your child.

Fear is a REAL spirit and at the root of so much demonic activity.

So, some quick notes of advice this Halloween.

  1. Don’t ever force your children to do something that is frightening. What I mean by this is if there is a haunted house on your block and child is afraid, don’t take them into it. Even if you believe it’s just for fun.
  2. Monitor their screen time. SERIOUSLY. I was visiting my sister last week and she put on the new Hocus Pocus movie. I had to get up a leave. The REAL witchcraft going on in that movie was too much for me.
  3. Don’t take your kids to scary movies. IN FACT, don’t YOU go to scary movies. Watching fright blocks the Holy Spirit.
  4. Pray, pray and pray on Halloween because the absolute wickedness that occurs in the early morning hours is very real.

I’m sure you can offer some advice to our community. Share in the comments. And if you have time, read what a former satanist, John Rameriz, says about Halloween.

Blessings and hugs, Lynn Donovan

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverLynn, I couldn't stop reading this book!  It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean.  Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb

New Series: How I Read My Bible

Hello SUMites How I read my Bible 2

It's Ann here and I want to quickly tell you about our next series, starting next week: How I read my Bible. The writers here at SUM are each going to take it in turns to share our personal stories about what the Bible means to us and how we go about reading it. 

I feel like I can't wait to hear what my fellow writers have to say... I've never asked them that question.

Maybe you'd like to share in the comments how you go about reading your Bible? What routines do you have? How do you tackle the trickier passages? The more comments, the merrier, we say!

Anyway, Ian will be kicking us off with that next Wednesday, so tune in for that.

I also want to say a big thank you for your survey responses so far -- I will write more on that later. It's been a joy to read your input. And, if any of you still want to complete the survey you can do so by clicking here.

That's all for today, much love,

Ann

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverLynn, I couldn't stop reading this book!  It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean.  Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb

What I Would Tell My Younger, Unequally Yoked, Self

Dear Younger SelfWhat I would tell my 30-year-old self as a newly unequally yoked woman.

My friends, Lynn Donovan, here with you for a few posts. I’ve been pondering what was the most difficult part of my loooooong unequally yoked marriage. And viewing it from 30 years of experience now, I have concluded a few things that I wish I would have known when my unequally yoked marriage began.

I believe the greatest struggle for me was dispelling all the lies I believed about faith in God. Your story may be a bit different but for me I had to struggle, alone, wrangling with doubt, unbelief and the truth. Not only did I have my own doubts about God, the Bible, Jesus and faith when I was a young woman, but I also had to fight against my husband’s unbelief.

So for many years I would make small gains in belief through my church attendance and Bible reading. And then something would happen (an evil assignment) to make me doubt that God was real. And after fighting that doubt, then to fight against the thoughts that God wasn’t really good. And on and on. Three steps forward, two back. Then forward and back.

I think many young people go through this when figuring out their faith. For many who have believing husbands, they have a partner to hold them up when they are in doubt or struggle. They have a voice in their home that is strong in faith when they feel weak. But for us who are married to unbelievers, we lack the support AND we face their doubts and unbelief as well as our own.

Would you agree with this?

Their unbelief is a double smack down to our floundering faith life.

I know for me; Mike would ask difficult questions. And I lacked answers. Or for many of us, accusations come at us like we are God and must answer for him. For example, “If God is good, then why …….. (insert a number of things here). Or I received several statements such as:

  • The Bible is a flawed ancient book. It’s been misinterpreted.
  • God isn’t real. He is only a figment of imagination that weak people need to explain the unexplainable.
  • Jesus was only a man. How could a man be God?
  • Science will one day explain away these things you believe are supernatural.

Can any of you relate?

As I consider all of these statements, I wish I could put my arms around my younger self and whisper in her confused ears. “Lynn, just chuckle at these statements. The Bible is absolutely true. It is the voice of God. The Words in it will lead you to a life of abundance and utter fulfilment. Lynn, you are stronger than you know. And God is always with you. Jesus adores you and the Holy Spirit is standing by to empower your beliefs.”

My young friends who are in the trenches, please feel my arms around you today. Be empowered by what I am about to speak to you.

You are stronger that you know. Pursue God as He will take care of you. He is real. He is absolutely good. His plan for your life will give you the highest and best experience here on earth. You will live a life of goodness and walk in miracles. Believe the Bible. It is true and God is all around you, every day. Choose to do the right thing and live always in hope. Pray and pray and pray because He hears and moves upon your words of faith.

Laugh at the enemy and command him out of your life, home, marriage and relationships. Stand in faith because Jesus is real. He has everything you need and more. He is glorified when you live your best life now.

I love you, my friends. Take this advice deep into your heart. It’s absolutely true and it will change your life. Blessings, Lynn

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverLynn, I couldn't stop reading this book!  It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean.  Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb

Sorry, What Did You Just Say??

By Ann Hutchison You prepare a table for me

Friends, have you ever had a moment in your SUM when your spouse says something that makes you stop in your tracks, because it shows something has shifted?

They say something, and you think to yourself 'Sorry, what did you just say??'

Well, something like that happened to me this week.

Bryce and I have a couple in our life whom we've known for decades: Bryce grew up in church with the guy and has known him all his life. They live in a different part of the city to us so we see them rarely, but they are Christian.

Because Bryce grew up with this guy, it is normal to bring God, church, and faith into the conversation when we are together, and those sorts of conversations happen reasonably naturally. 

Anyway, on Saturday night this couple came over. Chat chat chat, we went, enjoying catching up. Then it was time to make coffee for everyone, so I left the table to go into the kitchen round the corner. As I did so I heard the guy saying something to Bryce about "Satan...." 

Now, for someone who struggles to believe, it's one leap to believe in God, but it's a whole other thing to believe in Satan. And Bryce, though growing up in church, never really believed as a teenager, so this whole thing has been a long road from teenagehood to now. "Ridiculous", I could picture him thinking. Ridiculous.

Still, I kinda grinned as I poured that coffee, thinking "Ah well, it wasn't me who raised it."

We waved goodbye to our friends eventually and looked forward to seeing them again in another six months or so. 

The next day, I noticed Bryce had headphones on while he pottered around the house doing DIY. "What are you listening to?" I asked. He told me he was listening to a particular radio host who challenges popular mindsets in today's society. Bryce has taken an interest in listening to this radio host recently.

All day he had those headphones on. I watched, affectionately. But here's where the moment came:

That night in bed he started talking to me about something this radio host had said, challenging a popular view about something. He was intrigued by seeing that so many people had a false belief about something (I can't remember what) yet they followed the crowd. And then, out of the blue, he said this:

"Satan stops people from seeing truth."

Sorry, what???

I raised my eyes and pulled a stunned face in the dark. Then a most relaxed comment seemed to come out of my mouth so naturally and calmly that perhaps it was the Holy Spirit. I said:

"Yes, Satan does use a lot of different techniques to distract people from God."

At that, my husband nodded and mm-hmmed in agreement.

I lay there in the dark after that thinking "What just happened there?!" This comment of my husband's was a new step. He had just expressed something that meant we weren't so misaligned in our beliefs. 

Having reflected on this, I note that we do have many of these sorry, what??' moments as a community. I can remember so many times that someone here at SUM has shared a moment like this - A moment of wonder. Each time it happens we know that it is a sign that something has shifted. 

Amazing.

One final note: As I was writing this post it occured to me to use a photo I had downloaded a few years ago. A photo of a dinner table. When I found it I saw that I'd labelled it 'You prepare a table for me,' from Psalm 23. Well, I can say this story speaks to me of that verse most ironically, and so here is that verse for us today --

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows (Psalm 23:5, KJV).

My friends, hope you liked that story. Have you had a similar moment you'd like to share?  I'd love to hear in the comments!

Ann

 

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverLynn, I couldn't stop reading this book!  It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean.  Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb

Are You Emotionally Mature? Your Spouse?

Emotional MaturityHi SUM Nation,

Lynn Donovan here today for a chat.

I have a question to get started. Have you ever looked at someone (meaning your spouse :grin:) and wanted to say, “Grow up already!”

Ahem!

I’ve been doing a bit of research about emotional maturity, and it’s been enlightening. As I consider marriage relationships, I want to point out what Psychology Today considers markers of emotional maturity:

  1. A mature person is able to keep long-term commitments.
  2. A mature person is unshaken by flattery or criticism.
  3. A mature person possesses a spirit of humility.
  4. A mature person’s decisions are based on character, not feelings.
  5. A mature person expresses gratitude consistently.
  6. A mature person knows how to prioritize others before themselves.
  7. A mature person seeks wisdom before acting. A mature person is teachable.

As I read through this list, I realized that an emotionally mature individual is living out Biblical principles. Each of these maturity markers are biblically based.

Now here is a way to gage your emotional maturity and that of others with whom you are in relationship.

Maturity fills the salt-shakers and it wipes down the shelves in the fridge when they’re sticky. It empties the kitty litter before stalagmites form. Maturity understands that there can be one junk drawer in a house, but not 27.

Maturity doesn’t text, type, game or take calls when in conversation with others.

Maturity backs up its files, goes to a doctor or a clinic when it’s in pain, and picks up the tab when it goes out to dinner with its parents.

Maturity understands that nobody wants the back story of why something didn’t get done because it knows that what matters is the effective completion of a task.

In contrast, immaturity has an extensive list of prefab excuses for why it couldn’t make its deadline. Immaturity uses every tummy ache, flu, headache, fallen arch, hangnail or breakup as an excuse to slip the knot of accountability. Immaturity, then, doesn’t understand why life is always “so unfair, like, always” when it offers criticism instead of condolences for failure.

Immaturity whines; immaturity rolls its eyes; immaturity takes everything personally; immaturity accepts no responsibility; immaturity sprays Febreze on clothes instead of washing them; immaturity shows up late and leaves early.

In short, immaturity is spoiled. And what is spoiled doesn’t ripen. It goes bad early, gets bitter and withers on the vine. (G. Barreca at Psychology Today)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

As believers when we choose to follow the precepts from the Word, we will walk as mature sons and daughters. THAT is the entire purpose of our life on earth. Mature sons and daughters of the Most High God.

I’m so glad to have grown up with you, my friends.

If you are dealing with an immature spouse, get help. Talk with a counselor and gain skills, gain boundaries with consequences, gain confidence in your maturity. And you can stand firm in your identity that you are emotionally mature because of your faith in Christ.

Love you my friends. I bless you today. In Jesus name. Hugs, Lynn

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverLynn, I couldn't stop reading this book!  It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean.  Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb

It's Time for a SUM Community Survey!

Hello SUM family, SUM survey

One of the things we like best here at SUM is getting to know YOU, our community.

And so... we've put together a survey that we're hoping you might complete? This survey will help us get to know you and serve you by focusing our ministry on the areas you need.

Would you take a few minutes of your time to take this survey for us? If so, click on the link here to take it: 

SUM Community Survey

It will take about 5 minutes, and if you complete it you will go into a draw to win a free book of your choice from our ministry -- Either Winning Him Without Words, Raising Godly Kids, or Marching Around Jericho. The draw will be done on 31 October 2022.

We really look forward to receiving your responses, and a big thanks to you all in advance for your input, which we can't wait to read.

Love from us,

Ann, Lynn, Amanda, Ian, and Tiffany

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverLynn, I couldn't stop reading this book!  It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean.  Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb

A Culture of Honor

Happy Friday, SUM friends! Compass 2

In my last post I mulled over the difference between judging and discerning. Well, today I want to add one final layer:

Love.

I heard a minister of the Gospel once say the biggest thing God will ask you when you finally meet him face-to-face is this: "Did you learn to love?"

It could be so. There is so much about love in the New Testament.

There's a lot of crazy stuff going on in the world, and sometimes in the church too. This means that we surely do need eyes of discernment so that we can keep going in the right direction. We need to keep following our true north (God), as if we're holding a compass and trying to constantly gauge his direction.

But, equally, when we discern we have to discern lovingly. And what does love look like when we're trying to discern things? Here are a few thoughts:

  • In the church, uphold a culture of honor in our interactions with others.
  • When thinking or speaking, we can ask: Am I being honoring in my tone and attitude?
  • Look first for the good in others' hearts. 
  • Remember that people are growing 
  • And finally, don't speak bad things about another Christian to their fellow brothers and sisters. It puts a wedge between relationships in the church.

If we do the above, we'll do a better job at navigating some of those tricky things that happen in churches. Churches are messy, not perfect, so we are given plenty of opportunity to practice the above.

All the while, we're meant to not condone sin as Christians, and that's a biggie. Sometimes we'll see ministers step in, for example, and stop certain behaviors in the church for the sake of the wider flock. But overall we can all still uphold a love for God in a way that is gentle and kind in manner, as far as possible.

So that was a final thought. I'd love to hear any further thoughts in the comments; and let's pray:

Lord God, help us to get a good balance in our lives between standing for truth and loving people lavishly. Give us more wisdom on this one in our personal lives, and Lord help us relate to people in the way you would have related to them when you were on earth. We love you, Jesus, thank you for being here and being ours. In Your name, we pray. Amen.

Love,

Ann

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverLynn, I couldn't stop reading this book!  It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean.  Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb

Judging vs Discerning: What's the Difference?

Ann here! Compass

Today I want to chew over a question we discussed in last week's Zoom session on the Book of James: What is the difference between 'Judging' and 'Discerning' when it comes to other people?

Have you wrestled with that one at all? 

Perhaps we can all think of times we've been faced with a Christian who's behaving in a way we wouldn't, or saying things that are harmful. Perhaps you feel they are saying things that are untrue, for example. And then you think, "Why are they saying that?" Before you know it, you're kinda judging them ...

Well, I've been there, anyway.

There are circumstances that call for discernment. For example, I've had a couple of Christians in my extended family whose words have not been right, and those words affected me. To keep my own faith on track, I had to try to discern what was going on -- With them, with me.

This is hard stuff.

If we walk round trying to be 'discerning' it can be faulty if we're not walking closely with God. Some people are downright suspicious of everything, thinking they're discerning, but suspicion and discernment are not the same thing. Any of us can also be wrong when discerning, and it's possible to be judging someone under the guise of 'discerning'. Gulp!

However, discernment is critical and valid in the Body of Christ. So, how do we figure it out? Perhaps the first step is that love must be our motive.

James says:

Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver who is able to save and destroy. Who are you to judge another? (James 4:11-12, NKJV).

And Jesus says:

Judge not that you be not judged, for with what judgment you judge, you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured back to you (Matthew 7:1-2, NKJV).

Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye (v. 5).

We start from a place of humility. Laid on the floor we say "Lord, help me see this right."

The Bible does speak of discernment as important, and we certainly see the Apostle Paul and Jesus calling people out for things that are wrong. Here are a couple of things about discernment:

(1) Sometimes God gives you the ability to discern the spirit behind something (1 Corinthians 12:10).  Namely, he will show you whether the Holy Spirit is guiding this person's words/actions, or if there is some other demonic spirit or simply their broken flesh.

The purpose of showing you that is so that you yourself can stay your course, and possibly also pray for the person. You have to know his voice to walk in this, and usually it's not to be spoken out to others. Use it instead for your prayer time, between you and God.

(2) We learn to discern good and evil, naturally, as we mature as Christians and go through various situations.

Hebrews 5:13-14 talks about mature Christians who "by reason of use have had their senses exercised to discern both good and evil". From walking with God and going through various difficult situations we get used to analyzing good vs evil, truth vs lies, and then we can look at a given situation that comes up and be discerning.

One of our SUMites, Roselind, said something helpful on last week's Zoom call. She said (I'm paraphrasing), "Judging is where you align with the accuser and start accusing the other person, whereas discernment is often used to pray for the person."

That was a great comment. Judging does not have love at its core, but discernment should, keeping the Body of Christ in truth and safety.

It is still hard to work out, but perhaps some of the above ideas can help us navigate this tricky one. And above all, we must watch those thoughts and words of ours so that everything we speak builds up the Body of Christ.

I'll continue in my next post with one more thing that we need to remember. But for now, here's a question:

Have you been in a situation where you've been tempted to judge, and/or have found yourself discerning?

Looking forward to chatting more.

Ann

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverLynn, I couldn't stop reading this book!  It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean.  Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb

Time for Rest

 

44567A4C-B159-4529-98EE-9775428692ABHello beloved SUMites! This month while I was asking God what he wanted me to write about I felt him say “REST”. I believe he is leading some of us into a time of deep rest, I know he is me! So today I am going to share with you a few things our Father has been showing me about rest. I hope it blesses you as it has me!

When our children are small we prioritize their rest. I don’t know about you, but nap time was taken pretty seriously when my kids were babies! Most days we would arrange our schedule around “rest time” to make sure we were home. During those times my house was transitioned into rest mode. I turned all the lights down low, my phone sound off, and all noise had to be kept at a low volume. Then I would read and sing to my babies while we snuggled up. They didn’t have to sleep, but they had to stay quiet and rest for some time. This was also a big part of how I maintained my sanity in those days! Haha!

So why was rest time so important? Because I knew what would happen if my babies did not get the rest they needed! The longer they went without resting the moodier, more irritable, and downright meaner they became! They would be unable to find joy in the things that usually made them happy, and they would make things harder on the people around them (ahem, me and their dad!). Rest was vital for us!

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1

We are not so different from children in our need for rest. Our bodies often crave it, but we continually deny it in an effort to be the most productive. Why don’t we prioritize rest? Why don’t we make it a point to shut off all the outside noise and just sit in silence with the Father for a few minutes each day? I believe even a small change like this could drastically change our spiritual health!

Our Heavenly Father wants rest for us in the same way an earthly parent wants rest for their baby. He sees us overloading our schedules and overstimulating our senses, and he is asking us to stop and sit with him. Just take a few moments each day to rest in him! Just as we brush our teeth every morning, resting in him should be part of our daily routine. We can steal a few moments on our lunch breaks, during the babies nap time, or even in the shower if you find that is the only place you are alone! Once you do make it a part of daily life, I believe you will start to notice a shift in your mind and spirit!

God has been calling me to a place of rest over this last year. And let me tell you, it has been  much harder than I thought it would be! I had not realized how much I had bought into the worlds idea that in order to be successful you had to “hustle”. Your schedule should be packed. That’s how you know you are doing something worth while. Oh man was I wrong! He has slowly been leading me out of my own chaos and into HIS calm. And what I am experiencing is so sweet and so precious. It took months for me to finally listen, to start lightening the load that I had burdened myself with, and fill those spaces with quiet and rest in him. 

I believe with all my heart that this is what he is calling a few of to do as well! Maybe there are some things you need to let go of, maybe you need to get better at saying “no” (this was me!). Whatever it is, I pray that you can make time for your rest with him. He sees how bad you need it, he is just waiting for you to snuggle up next to him and REST!

I would love to hear from you in the comments! What do you feel you need to change in your life in order to make room for rest? 

Love you all, Amanda 

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverLynn, I couldn't stop reading this book!  It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean.  Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb

An Escape Clause?

Hi family, Ann here.

I found this article in our archives this week, and it was so good that I decided to make it today's post. It addresses the issue of 'what if you want to escape?' The article is written by Lynn, and here it is. Hope it helps you along, and I'd love to hear your comments as always:

**

"We are going to discuss a very interesting verse, its interpretation and implications.  Line by line  precept upon precept

Are you ready??? 

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. —1 Corinthians 7:15 

So let’s get our head back into our discussion of this passage. Remember the Apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth in reply to some of their questions. Many members of the Corinthian church were recently idol worshipers and now they are brand-new Christians. They find themselves all of a sudden in a marriage where their faith and their old life collides. And specifically, this is very apparent and difficult in their marriage where their spouse has not come to faith. 

Oh how things change and yet they stay the same even 2,000 years later. 

Many of us in this family of SUM are walking this exact scenario. And many more of us are living with a spouse who proclaims faith but there is little to zero fruit or transformation in their lives. It’s difficult and painful. We become a believer and our world-view shifts. Our spouse’s world view continues to be worldly driven and shaped often through the media. Am I right in this? 

I wonder if we can be honest here with ourselves. Have you ever wished this verse was written like this: But if the believer wants to leave, let it be so……. 

I bet if you are honest there were days when you peaked in your Bible hoping to find a possible escape clause. But can I ask you this: If God included an easy way out. If He allowed us to abandon our unbeliever, wouldn’t you be disappointed in God? Wouldn’t it make God small and powerless? 

Why would you want to worship and serve a God like that? 

You know, for me, every hard thing, every struggle, every maddening challenge in my life has been met with God’s power and love. It’s in these struggles that my faith grew, I saw miracles, powerful answers to prayer and His Presence proved strong in my life and relationships. Yes, our High and Holy calling of marriage and parenting isn’t supposed to be easy. I really believe these ministries of our home are difficult on purpose. 

Think about this: We live for only a breath of time on this planet. But eternity is forever. And I believe with all of my heart, so fully, so boldly, that I stake my life upon it; My husband, Mike, will be saved and he will spend eternity in God’s love and presence because I chose to do the HARD things. I chose to obey God. I choose every day to love this man even when he’s unlovely, to pray for him without ceasing and to live with grace, forgiveness and hope. To live with him as his wife for as long as we both shall live. 

Any you know why? Let’s look at the very next verse. 

How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? —1 Corinthians 7:16 

That’s why! 

Eternity is a very long time. And if you have ever read anything about the horror of hell, it will move you to pray harder. For our spouse, kids and friends. 

Now don’t heap condemnation upon yourself if you struggle with the “want to.” I don’t want to stay married to this man. I don’t want to pray for him. 

I lived in that season for awhile myself…. And there were days I didn’t want to either. But on those days I prayed something like this. 

O Jesus, today I’m so very heartbroken. My dreams of a life I have held in my heart aren’t happening. They may never come true. I hurt. I have pain in my heart. So I give it all to you. Jesus come and hold me. Just hold me. Take away my pain. Make me stronger than I am to walk into my marriage with hope. Grant me Your Presence and ability to see the good and the gifts I have in this relationship. Don’t let me compare but look fully into Your face. Help me to want to love this man and remain strong and hopeful. Let me see where You are working in me and continue to change me. I love you Jesus. Fill me with more love for You and for people, especially my spouse and children. In Your powerful name, Jesus. Amen."

In his grace  Lynn

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverLynn, I couldn't stop reading this book!  It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean.  Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb

Today I Can Boldly Approach

My friends, Ann here. Boldly I approach

In this community we have times in this blog where we pause deliberately and turn our faces to JESUS. 

That is our lifeline -- Our way of surviving some of the intense things we face in a spiritually mismatched marriage.

Jesus.

Well, one way of fixing our eyes on him is to commemorate important markers in the year. We have the Christian liturgical calendar that formed in the early centuries of the church. That calendar helped early Christians commemorate the life and message of Jesus. Lent and Advent, for example, are helpful seasons there.

But then there are the Jewish holidays detailed in the Old Testament (e.g., Exodus 12, Leviticus 23), and these days symbolized what was to come. Oh, how I love those. When I look at those days I also see 'Jesus' all over them.

Today is the Day of Atonement, known as Yom Kippur by the Jews. It is all about Jesus. So I thought we could look at some aspects of that today:

The Day of Atonement, described in Leviticus 16, was a day given to the Israelites by God when they were in the wilderness, after they left Egypt, and they were told to keep it forever. It occurs once a year, and on this day the High Priest, Aaron (Moses' brother), enters the tabernacle and sacrifices a series of burnt offerings, first to clean himself, and then to 'atone' for all the people. 

Atone: To make reparation or amends as for injury done; reconcile.

There were some extensive rituals prescribed for Aaron here. One of those things was he was to put his hand on a goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and then release it into the wilderness.

Another is that he goes alone into the tabernacle to offer the burnt sacrifices, and no other man is present. That speaks very much of the aloneness of what Jesus did.

If you have the energy, you might like to read the account of the Day of Atonement today, and see Jesus in it? It's in Leviticus 16:1-34, and it is richly symbolic.

For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.

And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father's place, shall make atonement (Leviticus 16:30 & 32, NKJV)

So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins (v. 16)

My friends, as I read the above today, I thought how grateful I am, and thought "Jesus was a high priest who was human like me, like Aaron. He knows exactly what he's interceding for on my behalf. I do not have a high priest who can't sympathize with all my weaknesses, problems and things I'm tempted by".

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:14-16, NKJV).

If we know the above passage, we likely know what comes next: We can therefore boldly approach the throne of grace in our times of need, to find mercy from God.

Thank you, Jesus.

With that in mind, here's a beautiful worship song that speaks of that ability we have to approach God because of what our high priest, Jesus, did on the cross.

Love to you all,

Ann

 

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverLynn, I couldn't stop reading this book!  It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean.  Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb

That Difficult-to-Tame Tongue

By Ann Hutchison  Tongue

"I have a husband at home, and he's not a Christian." I was standing opposite a man at church whom I'd never met. "It's all a bit new to us this whole church thing," I said, munching away on a biscuit. My companion nodded sympathetically.

It was a couple of years into my spiritual mismatch in marriage, and I was in full SUM-pain-mode, talking far too much about it to anyone who would listen. Yak yak yak, I continued, telling this man all about the situation, and how hard it was.

A short time after that God whispered to me, "Ann do you realize what you did there?" And he showed me something:

He gave me a vision of a view that you would see if you held a piece of paper up between your two eyes and then looked at the view using both eyes. Perhaps you could try it now to see what I mean? What you see with a piece of paper between your eyes is two different things at the same time, and a blur -- - Your eyes do not work together.

God explained the vision to me:

"Ann, what you've done in speaking those words about your husband to another person is construct a spiritual barrier in your marriage. By putting that barrier in place with your tongue, you have prevented Bryce from seeing spiritual truth jointly with you. Watch every word you speak about him from now on. Only speak life, not death. Then, if you do that, you will eventually see as one." Declaration Sep 1

I put my head in my hands and groaned. And I believe that as I repented that barrier dissolved. Thank God for Jesus, and the power of his restoration. Still, I learnt a serious lesson.

That vision was so instructive for me, in fact, that from then on I watched every single word I spoke about Bryce, and militantly so.

Every. single. word. My prayer is this: Lord, let my tongue promote health!

I wanted to share that story because last week in our study of the Book of James we reached the famous passage on the untamable tongue:

We put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so, the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:3-8, NKJV).

In that study Lynn shared a true story: There was a man whose way of hearing God was that he would sometimes see things in the spirit realm with his natural eyes. He was having an argument with his wife one day, spoke some thoughtless words to her that labelled her in some way, and as he did he saw a cut appear on her face as a result of his words. That's how stark this thing is. Ann and Bryce

In our marriages, this means that we have the power to speak life or death over our spouse. We want to bring life to them -- We're desperate for that -- so we need to put our tongues into the right kind of action. 

Instead of a cut on the face, I wonder what kind of visual it would be if we used words of blessing over someone. God showed me once that when I bless people with my words, it's like rainbows come out of my mouth and hit those people. I like that image!

So these days, instead of referring to someone -- anyone -- as 'atheist', 'not a Christian', 'narcissistic', 'addicted to xyz', or any other kind of label, I'll stop and think quite carefully about what I say. For that little tongue of mine is a powerful little thing.

How easy or difficult do you find it to watch the words you speak about your spouse?   

Love you all,

Ann

1 med Res Enforcer Front CoverLynn, I couldn't stop reading this book!  It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean.  Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb