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16 entries from April 2023

Headed to Israel! A Guest Post by Barb Twigg

Headed to Israel! Israel flag 2

I’m headed to Israel with 46 others from our church, one of which is my sister. But the fact this is happening is quite the God-orchestrated trip. 

Back in 2020 I had a dream that I was in the Oval Office with President Trump and all the secret service surrounding us. One guy asked me a question to which I answered "no"! He looked at the group and said “She’s the one”. Next thing I know I’m standing at the empty tomb! I’m on a rock ledge peering inside wearing a white shirt and black pants. There were women at the opening that appeared to be from Jesus' day. I then woke up. WOW! I had no idea what it all meant. 

January 2023 Lynn Donovan asks me if I’m going to Israel with my church. The thought never crossed my mind. But I said "No way in the world would Rick let me take a trip like that." You see without all the details my husband is a zero-risk taker-backpacking-tent-staying-frugal-no overspending-nothing fancy-kinda man!  I’m good with all that. Every now and then when I travel by myself I splurge on a Holiday Inn. So again I said "No way!" But the Holy Spirit said “Ask him”.  

Really? Did I hear you right? “Yep! Ask him!” So I did, and about a day later I asked if he had a chance to look over the travel brochure and what did he think about me going, to which he said “Yeah you can go. Are you sure it’s the best trip for the money?” HA! I fell outta my chair! He said yes, so I confirmed it! I paid my deposit that second! 

If you only knew what this means as to the condition of my husband's heart. Let’s put it this way. If my trip got cancelled for reasons beyond my control, I’d still be so happy! It’s the simple fact he said yes even though that wouldn’t be his nature for this kind of trip. For him to say yes is only because of Jesus in him.

At a very crucial time in my marriage one of my devotionals had a prayer at the end of every day. I’ll never forget these words by Kaylene Yoder. She prayed something like this “Lord, you have ways to make our husbands willing and able to do Your will”.  There is no way he came to this conclusion without divine intervention whose name is Jesus! And this Jesus of mine wanted me to be at the empty tomb in April 2023! Barb Twigg

I’ll see you next time with a recap of my trip.  In the mean time don’t underestimate what our God can do in your marriage. He’s got means and ways to make things happen for our good!  El Roi: the God who sees me.

Shalom! Shalom! 

Barb Twigg is wife to Rick of 33 years. They live in sunny south Florida and are enjoying retirement. She was born to teach and encourage. The Lord led her to the book 'Winning Him Without Words' and she found her beloved SUMites! She loves to encourage in the Lord and operates in the gift of faith. If you have doubt, she’ll lead you to belief! She’s always willing to learn from the Holy Spirit and God's Word then teach it to others. She is active in her church and community to reach the lost and walk out her God given assignments.

Some Nice Team News

My friends Team SUM 2

I've got some lovely news today:

Many of you know we're on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Well, happily for us, Libby Finan from the UK has agreed to be our new Content Creator for those social media platforms. Woohoo - Thank you Libby!

I know that quite a few of you know Libby already: She has been part of our community for almost ten years so knows what we're all about. And, starting next month she'll be posting some content on those platforms to help keep us encouraged and equipped. It'll be the odd thought, scripture, prayer .. and more.

I'm looking forward to this as I know Libby to be super creative and she'll bring something new and a little bit different. I also know that she has a beautiful history with God. So those things combined will make for some great content -- And we get to benefit!

Here's a little bit more about Libby so you can get to know her: Libby

She is an artist and designer with her own art and gift business called 'Created to Create', and she produces beautiful drawings and paintings in particular that capture God's word. Occasionally we've used some of those drawings in past blog posts, which has been special. I've sneakily asked 'Can I use this picture?' and she's generously said 'Sure!'

Libby lives in Birmingham, which makes her a 'Brummie' as us Brits would say, and she is married with two boys age 11 and 24. She is also a kind-hearted person and good fun!

I can say that as I've had the pleasure of visiting her house twice on my own previous visits to England. We always have the best time. On my last visit (shown in the photo here) she showed me her art-doodling book and we sat over tea poring over her pictures and talking about GOD.


So with that history, I am so happy to welcome Libby to the team, and to thank her for serving in this way. Thank you, Libby!

You're the Person Chosen to Move Your Family Forward

Dear SUMites Titanic

It's Ann here, and today I want to share a word that God has given me for us all. So, settle in for a nice read and be encouraged by this one.

It's honestly such a blessing when we hear God's voice for this community. Sometimes he gives a word to one of us writers. Other times he gives it to someone else in our community to pass on to us. But however it comes, when he gives us a word of encouragement -- which he does periodically -- it always makes me see how intensely he hovers over those of us in spiritually mismatched homes.

So with that said, I hope the following word helps you along. It's this:

Dear SUMite, you are the person who He has chosen to move your family forward.

Then he showed me this:

Your family and mine are not in a place of stagnation. This is an ever-evolving, ever-moving, ever-changing situation.

His timing is not the same as our timing. A milli-second for him is like a year for us. Family

So yes, we have to wait patiently, and watch what looks to us to be an extremely slow process. We are waiting for the one, for the two, for the three. But he is moving.

The effort of moving our whole family towards him, towards eternity, is like the process of turning around a gigantic boat. Think of the Titanic, and how slowly it would have to turn if the captain wanted to turn it 180 degrees. Think of the power needed but also the patience.

So it is with our family: It's a mammoth effort and it takes time to turn their direction completely.

They will get there, he is at the helm, and you are the person whom he has chosen to partner with him for this purpose.

So we must confidently declare the following: "I believe that God is moving my family forward."

Amen, SUMites! Be encouraged, stand strong all over again, make that statement of faith today, and just keep going! There is power in our words and power in prayer, so if you feel like doing so pop a note in the comments to say 'I believe God is moving my family forward'. I will stand with you in that declaration of faith and pray for you and your family.

With love,


Eve Led Him Away ... Eve Leads Him Back

By Ann Hutchison Eve's applie

There's a thought I often have in relation to spiritually mismatched marriages. It's this:

Eve led the man away, now she has to lead him back.

We've probably all noticed by now that when there is a spiritually mismatched marriage it is much more likely to be the woman who is the believer. Not always, of course: We do have male readers here and I know at least two guys in my personal life who are very strong believers with unbelieving wives.

But for the majority, the formula is believing wife + unbelieving husband. And that makes me wonder about the spiritual reasons for that.


Well, Eve did lead her man away, and now it seems the burden often lies on the shoulders of us women to woo some incredibly hard-won men back into Jesus' arms. 

It's amazing to see men who are full-out disciples of Jesus: That is a powerful force. But often, in contrast, some men seem to be so hard to win. For one man's soul it might take a wife decades of prayer and steadfast faith before he turns to Jesus.

And that wife has to do just what Eve did and be delicious to him! For each woman that will look different, it will have to be in a way that fits her unique marriage, husband, challenges, and style.

I do think the concept of 'delicious' is super relevant to all this. When God presented Eve to Adam, for example, there must have been such delight for Adam when he first beheld this gift from God: An image of ..... incredible deliciousness! Woman!!!!!! Adam was probably quite speechless, but he managed to declare with excitement:

This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man (Genesis 2:23)

And innately men do love women and vice versa. Unfortunately that's why there is pornography, because it got completely distorted. But in pure form women tend to be soft 'n' lovely to men - both physically and in character -- while also strong in a different way. We're comforting, perplexing, and perhaps a bit of an intrigue.

I remember being at a party once and having a deep and meaningful with a guy who lived down my road. I don't know how we got onto the topic, but he said: "Us men find women delicious." He wasn't being creepy, he said it quite factually. 

So for us women SUMites, do our husbands find us delicious? Well, sometimes we can be a complete handful to them, of course. And I know not every husband shows love well. The quality of a given marriage can get distorted, and things can fade. I know some of you are walking really hard paths there. But women remain something spiritually very important to their men, and deep-down many husbands wouldn't know what to do without their wives.

The deliciousness of a wife can be seen in the Bible too. God spoke to Ezekiel once about his wife, for example, and referred to her as the delight of Ezekiel's eyes (Ezekiel 24:16). That seems a profound truth.

So what do we do with all that?

Well, we should recognize the strength of Eve's winsomeness, strong enough to lead Adam into that fatal error -- 

And (God) said ... 'Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?' Then the man said, 'The woman who You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.' And the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?' (Genesis 3:11-13, NKJV)

And then we should also recognize that because of that we have equal strength to win our men back. 

So that even if some do not obey the word [of God], they may be won over [to Christ] without discussion by the godly lives of their wives (1 Peter 3:1, AMP)

Well, there's a thought. I look forward to chatting in the comments. 

Love to you all,


A Moment of Interest ...

Friends, Ann here! He is faithful

I have a rather interesting event to tell you about, which I know you will relate to: It's of SUM flavor.

Last weekend my boys flew to England to stay with their grandparents for two weeks, which was a first for them. It was a big deal for them to travel that far by themselves, 24 hours by plane. And, while they've been gone, Bryce and I have been hanging out as a couple together again, no kids. That's been very sweet.

But here's the interesting thing that happened:

Bryce and I went to church together.

Now, I know many of you do have spouses who go to church with you, but for us this has not happened in the ten years that I've been following Jesus, nor has it been a likely scenario. Bryce has actually said to me previously that he really did not want to walk through the doors of a church any time soon. So this 'stepping over the threshold of a church' was a first.

Now, I can't exactly claim that this happened of his own choosing -- It didn't. And, dare I say it, I forced his hand a bit. Is it ok for us to do that? I always try to honor my hubby's free will, but honestly I've been so gentle with him perhaps it's ok to sometimes take matters into hand and dare to be a bit annoying, LOL.

Anyway .. What happened was, Bryce suggested that while the kids were gone we go and stay overnight with an old friend of his in a different city -- A much-loved friend from teenagehood. As it happened, this friend and his wife were Christian, and so church came up in the conversation naturally after we arrived at their house, while we were sitting around eating cake and drinking tea.

Well, at the mention of church, 'bold Ann' came into play. I decisively said: "We'll go to church with you tomorrow.

"You will?" said the friend's wife. "Oh good! We've just started going to a new one and that'll be really nice having you with us."

That night as we were getting into bed Bryce said, "So you lined me up for going to church did you?" And that was that.

Well, the next day off we went: The four of us bundled into one car and drove together to this church, chatting away as we drove. Then, still chatting, out we bundled, walked down the street and lo and behold without overthinking it Bryce and I stepped over the threshold of said church together.

How's this going to be? I thought to myself.

Well, in answer to that, all I can say is it felt 'unremarkable'. Church felt unremarkable, Bryce's reaction was unremarkable, and my experience of church also was unremarkable that day.

The church itself might have been having an 'unremarkable' day, because it was honestly the quickest and simplest service possible. Who knows, perhaps God did that on purpose. Only three songs got sung, a prayer got said, an extremely relatable short sermon got given by an equally relatable young mum in her thirties, who was standing in for the pastor. Then she said 'That's it for today', and off everyone went ... without even singing a final song. We didn't stay and talk, we walked out the door, and off we went for coffee and croissants with our friends.

"Did you cope?" I asked Bryce later. "There wasn't exactly much that was difficult to cope with," he said, and smiled.

Was it an important moment? Only God knows. 

During the service I nipped out quickly and noted the huge letters I saw written on the wall in the foyer:

God is good and his love endures forever. His faithfulness continues through all generations.

I guess that's all I need to know.

Hope you liked that story. Do you ask your spouse to come to church with you?


Teach Your Children



Hello my SUMite family, Amanda here with you on this Monday morning. I had something wonderful happen with my kids about two weeks ago and I am so excited to share it with with you all (trying hard not to say "y'all" here HAHA!). Lets jump right in!

Let me start by saying I believe in spiritual gifts, I believe we all have them in one form or another as believers. I also believe these gifts can manifest at pretty much any age, child, teenager, adult, or senior citizen. I believe this because I was given the gift of prophecy at the age of 12! God wants his people working in his gifts, and there is so much work to be done it just makes sense that some of us would start young!

Anyway, since my son was about six he has been able to sense spiritual forces. He is 10 now and can always tell me when something is not right in our home, and sometimes he even knows what was likely the cause. I have taught him how to pray and take authority over the darkness when he feels like it is trying to invade, but this last time was a little bit different.

I was brushing my teeth one evening when he comes rushing in the bathroom with wide eyes and says, "Something isn't right and I think we should pray!". I asked him what was wrong and he simply said, "I saw something.". That was enough for me! This time though, I felt like it was time to teach him and his sister about anointing and blessing in addition to rebuking. I went to the kitchen and made a very small bowl of olive oil and we took it back to his bedroom (where he said the problem was). The three of us sat on his shaggy grey carpet and I explained to them the practice of anointing with oil, blessing the house, and each other. I told them before we started on the house I was going to anoint and pray over them. So they closed their eyes and I put a drop of oil on each of their foreheads, I held my fingers there and began to pray over them with my eyes closed as well. As I prayed I felt them touching my forehead. They had dipped their own fingers in the oil and were blessing me at the same time, and when I looked up they were also blessing each other!!! It was truly one of the sweetest moments of my life! We sat there like that for several minutes, touching each others foreheads and blessing one another, all of us smiling and giggling with joy.

After that it was time to anoint the house and anything else they felt lead to anoint! Of course, both kids' first thought was, "We should anoint daddy!", who was sound asleep during all of this haha! I told them to anoint our bedroom door and I would pray over daddy before we went to bed. After that we anointed every single window, door, mirror, TV, video games, all screens, and even our dogs! Once we had finished I asked my son how he felt and he said, "peaceful" :). I tell you friends I went to bed that night bursting with gratitude and joy! Stewarding children, being chosen for this kind of work, is such a tremendous gift!

I do not want to give off an unrealistic impression though! Not every night in our house is filled with this sort of spiritual excitement, nor am I always such a patient and joyful mother! haha! Hanging on to these moments though, and never letting ourselves OR our kids forget them, WILL fuel the fire of our faith and theirs! They will get us through the mundane, the frustrating, and even the dark parts of life.

Teach your children to ACT on their faith

Teach your children to TALK about their faith

And teach your children to REMEMBER the moments that strengthened their faith!

What are some of your favorite faith strengthening memories? Please share in the comments. I would love to read them!

Meet Up Agenda

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHi Church Without Walls,

Lynn Donovan here. By now you know you have been invited to the SUMite Meet-Up in September. And I have received confirmations that people are attending from all over the place. WAHOO.

Although the meet up at my house is intended to be a relaxed, sit-by-the-pool time, and it is. Ann and I are planning some things that are significant. We want you to go home with greater faith. More tremendous tools and a Word from God.

Come expecting laughter, friendship, understanding, empathy, real tools, impartation, Prophetic word, inspiring teaching, FOOD!

Expect to meet...... FAMILY! 

So, here is the general outline for the day:

10:00 AM Muffins, coffee, tea and anything else I make for breakfast. Visiting and deer watching (hopefully they will be out back).

11:00 Ann Hutchison   Teaching 

12:00 Lunch We will have several things to eat that will fit for most diets. But if you are really picky, bring yours along and some to share!!

All afternoon is visiting. Praying for a friend. Watching some kind of God movie in the afternoon. Have any of you seen the Finger of God? Something awesome. You can also head to where you are staying and have a nap. Grab dinner before you come back. If you are staying until 7, I'll have something to munch.

7:00 Lynn Donovan Teaching

8:30 Impartation. Ann and I will give each person a prophetic word. Pray for you and your family. And lay on hands to impart greater ability in the Holy Spirit. We will pray collectively for the conference experience and for unsaved family.

All day we will honor Jesus. We will worship. AND meet face-to-face with those who we have known only on the other side of a SUMite screen.

PLEASE try to make it. Ask for God's help with finances and family. 

The closest hotel is Murieta Inn.

To learn more about the Meet-Up and have Ann add you to our list, visit: SUMite Meet-up September 2023

Let's Talk LIVE

Let's talk live post 2023Hi Gang,

Ann is taking the week off, so I'll be taking the reins of Our weekly LIVE on Facebook and YouTube

Today, Wednesday, April 12 at 3 pm pacific time, I'll tackle several questions that came from our community survey. Such as:

I get rejected by other Christians for having married a divorcee. I'll tackle church pain in general, because we all have it.

Many of the questions have the same answer. Such as:

How to respect my husband and be the best wife he can get.

Political differences. 

Disagreements on big decisions.

Just these few topics alone, I could talk your head off for three hours. I've walked through them all. But, it's only a one hours show. Please join and be in the comments and ask additional questions. Often on question, then answer leads to others. 

I love you all. See you Wednesday. Lynn

Lynn Donovan Here with a Few Things

Hi SUM Nation,

Lynn Donovan here. Hope you had an amazing Easter. Mike asked me if he could attend church with me on Saturday. He said he would like to attend as long as it wasn't the early service. GRIN     WAHOO!!

My friends, I sat in service and was astounded by the pastor's message. For the first time that I can remember on an Easter Sunday, the full message of what happened to Jesus from the Last Supper to the Resurrection was told. This is significant for several reasons. One, the Resurrection story is FILLED, I MEAN COMPLETELY FILLED UP WITH SUPERNATURAL OCCURANCES. The death to life thing comes to mind. But, because so many visitors attend on an Easter Sunday, most pastors like to introduce Jesus as the compassionate, healing and life-changing Savior. AND He IS all of that.

But what makes the resurrection story compelling is the telling of how, in the middle of the day, Jerusalem went dark. Because when he died, darkness filled the land. Utter, bitter darkness devoid of all hope. Then the most important place in the Temple the Veil, that separated God from humanity, supernaturally ripped in two, top to bottom.

AND my friends, rocks split apart. The land was rocked by an earthquake and then DEAD PEOPLE arose from the cemetery and went into town and visited with people. 

It is a fantastic story. The audience went wild. Our church experienced 26 baptisms on Friday night at the Good Friday service. I happened to prophetically paint that night. The painting is below. Please notice the beam of light shining upon the head of Jesus. I did NOT paint that and the sunlight was coming in from the opposite direction. I can't explain how a perfect the beam of light is on the Christ. It's a supernatural thing.

GOD IS DOING SOMETHING IN OUR LIFETIME. It's bigger than we know or can expect. Hold on to your hat. Claim your family for the Kingdom of God. Pray and ask for greater faith and belief because we are heading into something the world hasn't seen in over 2,000 years.


So, what say you? Want to be part of it? Pray the prayer and then say AMEN in the comments. I'll join your faith and let's bring His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. 

Hugs, and blessings, Lynn

Father, in the name of Jesus, DO NOT pass me by. I want to experience everything that your death and resurrection have provided to me and my family. I will not sit back in fear. I have the Holy Spirit and the Wisdom of Heaven to guide and protect me. I want to see the miraculous. I want to pray and watch you heal people. I will be a disciple that casts out demons and brings freedom to many. I stand upon your truth, your word and the power of the Atonement. In Your Mighty name, Jesus. AMEN

The Son April 9 2023

And So We Reach Friday: Thank You for the Blood

Friday, the day of all days! Footsteps

Matthew 26:47-27:66, Mark 14:43-15:46, Luke 22:47-23:56, John 18:2-19:37

There’s a song I heard this week for the first time called ‘Thank you Jesus for the Blood’. Well, as we come together on this little place in the web, that’s what I want to say to Jesus today

Thank you for the blood.

There was a moment from the last supper that struck me for the first time yesterday. It was the part when Jesus handed out the bread and the wine and said “I have so longed to do this –“ I could feel his emotion, as if he was saying, “Please, take this – It’s so special to me what I’m about to do for you.”

I call my young-adult sons my babies sometimes. They don’t mind, I’m silly. I call up the stairs to them sometimes: “My babies!” But in all seriousness with this last supper moment I can feel Jesus’ heart in the same way: We’re his babies. And of course he would do this for us because that’s who we are to him -- His children.

On this Passover night, beginning in the Gethsemane garden, Jesus carried out the greatest act of parental love ever seen.

He physically fell over in that garden and sweated blood, so great was his distress.

He was betrayed by those he loved, his very children. Jesus painting by Lynn

He was spat at in the face.



Mocked. Parodied.


Ganged-up on.

Falsely testified against.

"We want Barabbas!!" Shout the crowd. "Release the murderer, Barabbas!!! Crucify Jesus, he is worse than that man!!

Scourged. Over and over and over.

Stripped naked.

Punctured with the crown of thorns.

Beaten on the head with a stick.

And then nailed …

Thirsty to the point of torment.

Hung in excruciating pain.

Blasphemed against.

“But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Said Jesus; as if to say, "all is going according to plan."


As he gave up his spirit in power the sheer awe of the moment showed itself. It was a moment like no other the world has ever seen. An earthquake hit, rocks were split, pitch-black darkness descended on the daytime and the veil in the temple tore violently from top to bottom.

Those watching began to tremble. What have we done? “Truly this was the Son of God”.

Quiet awe. Fear.

And centuries later, here in my little back-garden shed where I’m writing from, I know that because of those events I now have eternal life. What's more, that eternal life has already begun. I can be with him even now.

Mind. Blowing.

Thursday, the Last Supper ...

Jesus spends Thursday with his disciples. Jesus painting by Lynn

Matthew 26:17--29, Mark 14:12-25, Luke 22:7-20, John 13:1-17:26

No more crowds; it's just him and them. Round an intimate table he washes their feet and tenderly gives them bread and wine. He says this is something he has longed to do: He just adores them so much, and this bread and wine is intensely special. His body, his blood -- He's giving himself to them.

He then speaks to them, for a long time, about his love for them and what it means to be a disciple.

This week I got an email from one of our British SUM friends, Jim Edwards, sharing some thoughts on the last supper. It's nice hearing other perspectives so I thought I'd share his today. He said: --


".. You will know I have very strong views on the power of our words... and hence even more on the power of Jesus' words! He used His Words like a carpenter uses a hammer and chisel - 'I say unto you 'Arise'!" 
So in that context here's an aspect of Jesus' words from the Last Supper that struck me a few years ago...
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31, NIV)
So it's in the same breath of warning Simon, that Jesus is describing something just like Job chapter 1... Satan is demanding and Jesus has been interceding for him, but...
I'm thinking that Jesus saying about Peter denying he even knew Jesus - was actually foretelling by Jesus... A Holy Spirit glimpse into what Peter would face, perhaps... Jesus' words actually 'allowed' this - it's as though He spoke this out (and no further!!!!)  And similarly with Judas - I don't think Judas could leave the table until Jesus gave him permission! Such would be the weight of Jesus' words - especially that fateful night!"
"The case with Judas is actually even more striking: Having said that someone will betray Him, Peter and John want to know who - that in itself is curious as none of the disciples had any idea! Judas didn't stand out from the others in any way!
Just look then at John 13:26-28:

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 

There was something demonic that entered Judas at that point - he couldn't get out of there fast enough...."


Indeed! There were fascinating dynamics at that dinner table. It's as if this is one enormous spiritual chess-game in which God is the chess master and victor; but there are tough moves.

How comforting, though, to know that Jesus intercedes for us, and nothing happens unless God allows it. 

I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail ....

Well, the day ended there. Jesus promised his disciples repeatedly in these last words that a Helper would come: The Holy Spirit. He talked a lot about that Helper. Noticeably so. Centuries on that comforts me too to know that we have this Helper.

They sang a song then, got up, and moved to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen next.

SUMites, I will see you tomorrow for the events of Good Friday. In the meantime, let this song bring to life the love of Jesus for you.

Wednesday, Two Days Before the Crucifixion

6a00d83451ee9f69e202b68530647d200dAnn, thank you for guiding us through Holy Week. It’s such a good practice as others have mentioned in the comments to deliberately walk through each day alongside Jesus.

Now it’s Wednesday. A quiet day. Well, it is in the Scriptures but there was still a lot of activity, some in public and some of it in secret.

A day Jesus’ enemies plot against him. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Jesus Teaches (Luke 21:37-38)

As he has done each day so far Jesus leaves Bethany to travel to Jerusalem to teach in the temple. Remember, there are millions of people in Jerusalem for the Passover Festival and Jesus is taking every opportunity to teach as many people as He can.

What do you think it would have been like in Jerusalem this week? I’m not good in crowds but the opportunity to hear Jesus would be something special, wouldn’t it?

Plotting to Kill Jesus (Matthew 26:3-5; Mark 14:1-2; Luke 22:1-2)

We’re told in Matthew that the leaders of the Sanhedrin are meeting at the home of their boss, the chief priest Caiaphas. They want to surprise Jesus by arresting him by stealth, so that there isn’t an uproar from the masses of people in the city.

The decision is made. But they must wait until the end of the Passover Festival which is tomorrow (Thursday) night. The crowds would leave the city on Friday so there’s less chance of a riot.

There is now an increasing sense of darkness in the city. The plot is hatched, they have their spy, Judas, and now they just wait for Thursday to be over.

I’ve always found it incredible that one of his followers would betray Jesus. I wonder if Judas wanted Jesus to be that messianic King who would take on the Romans and help the Israelites live a life of peace?

Judas challenges us to wonder if we have expectations of Jesus that maybe He doesn’t meet? Perhaps healing of a relative, rescuing a prodigal child, or salvation of our spouse? Why not take a moment to talk to Jesus about any hurts or disappointments you might have regarding any expectations you have of Him.

And now to Maundy Thursday we go.

Have a blessed Easter, dear SUMites. May I remind us to keep our eyes and hearts firmly focused on Jesus. He’s right here with us.

Rather than leaving you with a song as Ann has done this week, I thought I'd leave you with some reflections on this day from the pen of Ann Voskamp. I've been following Ann now for over 1o years and she has such a gentle soul for Jesus which I so admire. I trust you find Ann's words encouragement as we step into the next couple of tough days. Grace and peace, dear friends.

Tuesday, Three Days Before The Crucifixion ...

My friends, we've reached Tuesday of Holy Week.

Matthew 21:20-26:16, Mark 11:19-14:11, Luke 20:1-22:6, John 12:20-50. Sheep or goat

Honestly, so much happened on this day that it makes my head spin. It's not just the amount of things that happened; it was also the things that Jesus spoke that were particularly intense.

You'll see what I mean in a minute.

On this day, Jesus had several really intense conversations with different groups of people: The Sadducees, who didn’t believe in the resurrection, the Pharisees who were challenging him as usual, and his disciples who just had a whole bunch of confused questions. He was also asked a key question: About the end of the age.

Is it a natural human thing to think of the world ending? Maybe!

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matt 24:3, NKJV).

So Jesus told his disciples about the future. He told them that Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies, and he told them about what's known as 'the great tribulation' -- a very difficult time in the world's future. He was pointing not only to the siege of Jerusalem that would occur in 70AD, but he was also speaking of a future eschatological event: The end of the age.

He told his disciples that he would come again on the clouds, in glory. And yet he also told them, more immediately, that in three days’ time he would be crucified:

“You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” (Matthew 26:2, NKJV)

His disciples were sorrowful.

Later, in a house surrounded by those he loved, a woman who herself loved him (Mary) cracked an expensive alabaster flask of oil over him. Judas watched and, filled with the wrong spirit, became a voice of criticism:

“Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and used to take what was in it” (John 12:5-6, NKJV)

Jesus answered:

“Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial”. (v. 7)

Quietly then, Judas slipped away and started making plans for Jesus’s betrayal, receiving thirty pieces of silver to give up his friend.

What stands out most to me about this particular day is that Jesus talks repeatedly about something tough: The eternal destination of people according to their own choices. In several of these conversations he alludes unashamedly both to hell and eternal life. Some in the world will go one direction, others will go the other direction. He speaks of disobedient hearts versus faithful hearts, sheep versus goats. It's Mary contrasted with Judas. 

An alabaster flask contrasted with thirty pieces of silver.

Jesus says that in a future time of judgement he will sit on the throne of his glory and divide people: The one category (goats) will go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels; the other (sheep) will have eternal life. 


For me personally this a very difficult part of the Gospel message. I struggle to speak of hell as well as heaven, and I struggle to understand it. But I do see it there in the words of Jesus, and so I must hold that info but also trust that God is good and he knows what he is doing. 

I suppose the big lesson here is this: There is eternal life waiting for those who choose to repent and say yes to Him. For as Jesus said on this particular Tuesday, those who go into eternity will be like the angels of God in heaven.

I, for one, know where I want to be. With him, like the woman who broke that alabaster flask. So on that note, I end today’s post with the song 'Alabaster' from Rend Collective. Hope you like this one.

Ian will be writing tomorrow, so over to him next!

Love you all,


Monday, Four Days Before the Crucifixion

Hi everyone, we have reached Monday, four days before the crucifixion. Figs and canaries

Matthew 21:10-19, Mark 11:12-18, Luke 19:45-48, and John 12:20-50.

On this day, Jesus does two key things: One looks big, one looks small. We'll get to that in a minute. But first, I want to say that Jesus is feeling it. He says to his disciples on this day,

My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your Name. (John 12:27-28, NKJV).

Later in the week Jesus tells his disciples he will be crucified and betrayed. Eventually he becomes so distressed by this fate that he sweats drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane.

But first, there are several 'symbolic jobs' for him to do this week and the Father is strengthening him so that he can get through this week.

On this Monday, then, here are the two things that Jesus did that made it into the gospel accounts. They involve (1) the temple, and (2) a fig tree.

(1) The Temple

Jesus went into the temple and drove out those who were buying and selling in it. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said:

Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a 'den of thieves'. (Mark 11:17, NKJV)

And then after doing that he simply sat with the people, and he taught.

(2) The Fig Tree

The other thing he did on this day is seemingly smaller, but it's actually huge. He was hungry and saw a fig tree. The fig tree was not yet in season, but nevertheless he looked for the fruit on it. When he saw no fruit he said to the fig tree: "Let no one eat fruit from you ever again."

It was a seemingly passing comment. Yet the next day his disciples noticed with amazement that the fig tree had withered and died; and once again they paused in awe and thought to themselves, 'What just happened?'

See, they had seen Jesus bring someone to life -- Lazarus. Now what they were seeing was equally miraculous: With a simple spoken word Jesus had put something to death. Life and death were in his tongue.

"Lazarus, come forth!" (John 11:43, NKJV)

"(Fig tree), Let no one eat fruit from you ever again." (Mark 11:14, NKJV)

The thing he put to death was fruitlessness. In the temple he also put to death fruitlessness. And that act of speaking to the fig tree showed just how powerful his mouth was, and how he had all authority under heaven. This teaches us something about our own authority when we follow him: For we too have the power of life and death in our tongues.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21, NKJV).

For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain 'Be removed and be cast into the sea' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whateve he says.' (Mark 11:23, NKJV).

So today's lesson is that we don't want any kind of dead, fruitlessness like the religion seen in the temple. No, we want the kind of kingdom lifestyle that Jesus modeled, where our tongues bring life, and put fruitless things to death.

A hearty amen to that!

Friends, how are you enjoying walking through Holy Week so far?

I'm going to finish with one of my favorite worship songs: Glorified. I have chosen this song because Jesus on this day asked the Father to glorify His name through all that he was about to endure.

See you again tomorrow,


Sunday, Five Days Before the Crucifixion ...

Hi friends,

It's Ann here and I'm looking forward to diving into our journey through Holy Week. Let's start here:

Following in Jesus’ footsteps, we find ourselves in Jerusalem five days before the crucifixion. It's Sunday. Footsteps

This day is described in Matthew 21:1-9, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19. And based on those four accounts, here's how it went:

Lazarus has just been raised from the dead in the most crazy miracle EVER. The disciples are mind-blown. Word is spreading like wildfire: "You know Lazarus from the next village over? He was raised from the dead!!!"  

"Seriously? Seriously? How do you know?"

"He was starting to stink! That's how we know."

Side note: I have a friend who has seen someone raised from the dead in a church in South Africa. I hunger to see those kinds of miracles.

Anyway, back to Jerusalem in 30AD. Rumors are circulating:

“It's that man, Jesus, from Nazareth.”

“Nazareth? Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

And, against this backdrop of frenzy, the disciples and Jesus arrive at the outskirts of Jerusalem. Crowds, meanwhile, are flocking to Jerusalem in the hope of seeing him. Belief is rising.

Because Jesus only did what the Father said, I imagine it is the Father who tells him: “Ask your disciples to get a donkey and its colt from Bethphage village.” It is a quirky request, but whenever God asks unusual things of us it has purpose. In this case the purpose was to fulfil an ancient prophecy:

Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9, NKJV)

The disciples didn’t understand the donkey until after Jesus had died. How amazing that would have been for them to uncover that ancient prophecy afterwards, and say to each other –

"Ohh, he entered Jerusalem on a donkey."

Awed silence.

"Ohh, Jerusalem did shout that day. They called him King."

Awed silence.

We know the next bit: Jesus did enter Jerusalem on that donkey and the city issued a shout:

Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!

"Who IS this?" the rest of the city wondered. And the pharisees – their nagging voice providing a constant backdrop – despaired and grew enraged. They were losing the battle and commented to each other:

You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!” (John 12:19, NKJV)

To that I say, centuries on, "Too right, Pharisees! The world has gone after him." A third of the world is now Christian, at least nominally. Our savior, Jesus, came to defeat the enemy and that Sunday was only the beginning.

I'm going to finish with a rendition of the song 'Hosanna', which was sung live on the Temple Mount a few years ago. Watching this video it's clear to see how the world has indeed gone after King Jesus.