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11 entries from June 2023

Pray Instead of Complaining. A Guest Post by Lisa MacFarland

Pray Instead of Complaining Lisa Macfarland

The people started complaining to Moses, “Give us some water!”
Moses replied, “Why are you complaining to me and trying to put the Lord to the test?” Exodus 17:2 (CEV)

After reading Ann’s post recently about the “deliciousness of a wife”, I posted a comment about how easy it is to give our spouses the worst part of us, especially with complaining. The next morning when I turned to do my Bible study – guess what it was on? Praying instead of complaining! I guess God has more to teach me on this haha.

When we have a problem – our first response should be to go to God in prayer instead of complaining. A key fact: Complaining raises our stress level! But prayer quiets our thoughts and emotions and prepares our minds to listen.

Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you will be blameless and pure, children of God without any fault. Philippians 2:14-15 (ERV)

By complaining, we don’t give God a chance. It’s so important for us to pray and put our trust in Him to handle it. Otherwise, we miss out on the opportunity to see the wonderful things God has for us.

TRUST GOD! Always and in all things.

So then, as the Holy Spirit says, If you hear God's voice today, do not be stubborn, as your ancestors were when they rebelled against God, as they were that day in the desert when they put him to the test. There they put me to the test and tried me, says God, although they had seen what I did for forty years. Hebrews 3:7-9 (GNT)

Remember when we complain, we question God’s goodness. God wanted the Israelites to see that it was not water they needed, it was God they needed.

As I continued to study Exodus 17:2, I learned that God led the Israelites to this campsite for a reason. God wanted them to know that He is always in control – and we are dependent on Him for all things. Ephesians 1:11, James 4:15, Job 1:21 & Psalm 115:3. The Israelites could not humanly get out of this situation of no water. By complaining they were revealing where their hearts were – they didn’t trust God, and that He always wants good for us.

When we see no way out in our situations, let’s not harden our hearts but TRUST HIM. Look back at all the times He has blessed us in situations and seek God to intervene. Give Him a chance to show us that He will always provide for us. God wants to shine His light through us so…

Pray instead of complaining!

My name is Lisa MacFarland and I've been in a SUM relationship for 35 years. We have 4 adult children, one grandbaby and 2 more on the way. We live in sunny Florida on the East Coast. I have been following the Spiritually Unequal Marriage ministry for over 10 years and am so privileged and honored to be a guest writer. I pray that you are encouraged by this post. Thank you for the opportunity to share.

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

I Will Trust the Promise

Miles and TravisSing to the Lord, for He has done excellent things; this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion (Isaiah 12:5, NKJV)

My friends, thank you so much for sharing the joy with me last week over Miles's salvation. THANK YOU.

Last week while writing all that up, I happened to come across a 2019 blog post that I had written about how difficult I was finding it having teenagers who didn't go to church.

That blog post is here. In it I said something along these lines:

'My teenagers don't go to church right now, and that is really hard. I am stumped. I am fretful.

But God has told me not to worry. He has told me he will work it out. He's told me there will be a tipping point.'

My friends, when I wrote that I had no hope in sight of either of my children going to church or turning their hearts to God. It actually seemed so impossible it was a seemingly 'hopeless' situation.

Yet God had promised.

(Just as I typed that, the words 'I will trust the promise' came out of the song I was listening to).

So I type this again:

Yet God had promised.

It was September 2019 that I wrote that blog post. No hope was in sight.

Eighteen months later, the tipping point came. The Lord kept his promise to me: Miles suddenly signed himself up for church age 15. He did it out of the blue. There was nothing I did except pray and be there.

So now I say with full confidence: God keeps his promises.

(And once again, as I began to re-read this post and read the words 'cry out' at the top, the same words came out of the song I was listening to. Ok, God is in this post.)

The topic of promises and God keeping his promises is such a delicious one. To have a promise from God is quite an experience: You're asked to believe it, you have to align with it and keep nurturing it even when it seems the opposite is happening. And sometimes -- often -- you have to wait a long time. Decades even. But it is an experience.

Have you had a promise from God about anything in particular? Oh, how I would love to hear it. Share in the comments, or even email me if you prefer. I would love, love, love to hear about your promises.

So much love to you all today

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

Announcing Our Summer Bible Study

Hi everyone Ephesians 3

Well, it is warm and summery and beautiful for those of you in the northern hemisphere now, and it's about time for that thing we do each year here on the blog when school's out and we're in a holiday mood:

A Summer Bible Study!

Yes, this year we're going to having a study as always and have chosen to focus on ... ((drum roll)) ...

The Book of Ephesians.

It's going to be good. 

So come and join in if you can. We'll start the study on Monday 10 July here on the blog and we'll spend some time lingering over this book, chapter by chapter, over a period of two weeks. 

We can't wait. In the meantime we'll have a few other posts between now and then, but we'll be planning to start the study on 10 July.

Ann, Ian, Lynn, and 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

My Dream Came True, Part Three

Mother's DayHi, my friends! Well, it's time to finish off the story of my lovely son giving his life to Jesus.  And I think you'll like this part just as much as the other two parts. I hope so. 

Part one

Part two

Ok, we've got to the part where Miles drove me home after I found out he'd given his life to the Lord. And yes, in the car drive home I was one giddy mum. I affirmed what he'd experienced, telling him I too had had a similar experience several years ago.

So we had an interesting chat.

Once home, in true teenage fashion he disappeared off to his room.

After he went upstairs I could see Bryce was stood in the kitchen alone. So I went over to him and quietly told him. I told him the whole story, in a slightly hushed voice because it felt ... precious. He was as stunned as me! "Really?" he said, in a hushed voice back.

Then he stood in silence, as I did, taking it in and thinking about it. He acknowledged that -- for our boy -- it was a highly unusual moment and must have been a real thing. A God thing.

Honestly, seeing my husband agree with it was as beautiful as seeing Miles come to God. This whole thing was special.

That night my whole family just so happened to be out of the house at different events, and I had the house to myself. I texted our SUM team the news about Miles, they all celebrated with me, and then I hit the floor of my TV room for the rest of the night and cried. I played the song "Good, Good Father on repeat." What an evening; what thankfulness I had for God.

But there was one more surprise to come:

Three days later I was standing in the kitchen cooking dinner when Miles walked in. In a particularly grown-up deep voice he said, "Mum, I'm going out to a small group tonight."

I nearly fell over with surprise but held it together outwardly. "Oh really? That's nice! Whose house are you going to?"

He told me then that he was going to a small group with 10-12 young guys at church who are only slightly older than him. These are young guys I know: Several come to that weekly prayer meeting that recently started at my house (for that story click here). These guys are on fire for God and the perfect fit for him.

Could it get any better? Not really!

That evening, then, as Bryce and I sat at the dinner table Miles came downstairs and headed to the front door, leaving for said small group. "See you later!" he calls out. Under his arm is his Bible.

His Bible!!!! The one that's sat untouched for two years upstairs.

"Bye!" we call out, in parental fashion.

The door closes behind him. And Bryce turns to me:

"Did he have just a Bible under his arm?

"Yep!" I replied.

And we both pulled a stunned face at each other.

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

My Dream Came True, Part Two

Continuing my story ... Mother's Day

About how my son said his 'yes' to Jesus.

Three weeks ago, Miles left to attend a Christian camp for the weekend. Most of the eight kids he went with had already given their heart to Jesus.

But not my boy, not yet!

On that Sunday morning I went to church. Miles wasn't with me, of course, because he was at the camp. And here's where it gets interesting --

I was sitting at the back of church, and when the sermon finished a girl who was only a couple of years older than Miles got up, walked to just behind the back row of chairs, and threw herself on the ground sobbing. With her face pressed to the ground her shoulders heaved. Church broke up at that point, so there she was kneeling in her own world, and people began to get up and walk past her to the coffee table.

Not wanting her to be so exposed, I walked over, knelt next to her and rubbed her back. She didn't even look up at me. She just sobbed and sobbed.

The sense I had was that the Holy Spirit was touching her rather than her being distressed. I think they were 'Holy Tears' -- I've had that before too. So I leaned down and said to her 'God is touching you.'

Waahhhh! She cried and cried. My hand stayed on her back, as we knelt on that floor. And the rest of the church milled around chatting.

Look after My house, I'll look after yours, God had said to me.

By rubbing her back I guess I was looking after her in some small way. But little did I know that something very similar had happened to Miles only the night before.

That Saturday night, there Miles was, sitting in a service in Matamata a couple of hours from where we live in Auckland.  Matamata is actually famous for being one of the filming locations for the Lord of the Rings films: For those who have seen Lord of the Rings they filmed the Hobbit houses in Matamata. Special little houses. 

Houses.

Look after My house, I'll look after yours. 

Anyway, I kind of digress: There was Miles, sat in a youth service in Matamata and the preacher was preaching about the prodigal son.

Now, Miles is not a crier at all. I haven't seen him cry for years. Nor does he have much teenage angst as far as I know. He's a solid kiwi bloke, as they would say. He's pretty resilient, doesn't cry, doesn't get fazed by things and is generally quite happy.

The sermon wasn't even resonating with him, he told me later. He said "It was about the prodigal son, and I was thinking meh--" When suddenly he found himself breaking down into shoulder-heaving sobs.

He was wracked with sobs! Out of nowhere!

Worship began, and that was it. All Miles could do was look down and hold tightly to his Jesus Freak brown jumper which was scrunched up in a ball in his hands, and just let those tears loose. He COULD. NOT. STOP. 

His best friend, Toby, who had given his life to Jesus a few months ago, put his arm around him. Then their youth leader noticed and joined them like a midwife, catching this baby that was being born here. That youth leader gently told Miles "God is touching you".

"Do you want to give your life to Jesus?" he said.

Miles nodded.

Perfectly timed, an altar call then happened from the front, calling forward anyone who wanted to say yes to God. And that was it. Miles shot forward instantly. And his whole youth crowd of friends jumped up and down with joy from their seats.

Miles was the only kid amongst them who had his big moment with God that weekend, and so everyone made a fuss of it.

When I picked him up two days later, they all crowded around me and said, "Ann! Miles gave his life to the Lord!" My gorgeous boy grinned at me from across the carpark as I looked over at him in AMAZEMENT. I ran to him then and gave him the biggest cuddle.

"I'll drive home," he said. "You'll be too excited, you might crash."

LOL...

And did I tell Bryce? Teehee... Stay tuned for that part of the story, that's next.

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

And So .... My Dream Came True. A Salvation Testimony.

My friends Mother's Day

My dream came true.

This is actually me, Ann, writing these words. Because one of my two children gave their life to Jesus two weeks ago now:

My son, Miles, who is 17.

... And ever since then I've been pinching myself.

I don't even know how to write about it, but I'm going to try. It is a HUGE deal. As a mother, it is the hugest of deals. And it is hard to convey that in writing.

But today, I will try to tell you about it, and all I can say is that it was all God's doing. 

This is the word of the Lord to Zerubabbel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the Lord of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubabbel you shall become a plain! (Zechariah 4:6-7, NKJV)

If it can happen to one this miraculously it will happen to the other two too. If it can happen to my son, it can happen to my husband. This thing is that miraculous.

Two years ago Miles started attending youth group and church with me, out of the blue. That was a miracle. Prior to then I had had zero success in getting any of my three family members to church and, quite honestly, I felt like a failure on that front. Even amongst those who are SUMites I always felt like I was the one doing the worst job!

Now, I shouldn't think that way, I know that, especially amongst you guys. I don't want you to think that way about yourselves either. Please don't! For God knows how hard this thing is. It's a lie: We are enough.

With that settled, here's the story:

I delighted that Miles had begun attending church with me, but for him the drawcard was really social. I could see that. I knew that he hadn't yet had his 'moment'. 

I bought him a Bible, and I wrote in the cover of it ... JF1

To Miles, from Mum and Dad, 1st April 2021.

Yes, I wrote the words 'from Mum and Dad', not just 'Mum'. Because.

But then the Bible proceeded to stay untouched on his bedside table for another TWO YEARS! I didn't move it, nor did he. When I'd go up to clean his room there it would be week after week gathering dust. 

At church, the young people made sweatshirts that had the words 'Jesus Freak' on them. They were hip and lively, these young people, all of them were wearing those sweatshirts. So Miles and I bought one each.

Here's Miles, during lockdown, wearing said sweatshirt with his brother and Dad. And then scroll down a bit further and you'll see another photo of Miles and me wearing them too. 

Honestly, even wearing those sweatshirts in front of Bryce took serious guts on my part. You get that, I know. 

So that's where we got to: Two years of church attendance together, Miles and I; yet I knew that he hadn't yet been convicted by God. I kept it pretty easygoing: On the days he wanted to sleep in I made the choice not to push him at all. I also didn't verbalize to him what he *needed* to be doing spiritually.

I played it as cool as I have done with Bryce: Gently, gently does it with a teenager, just like with a husband.

Truthfully, it was actually too hard for me to say anything to him. The issue was too intense for me, just like it's been with Bryce. JF2

So the months raced by, and then we came to a baptism event a few weeks ago where two of Miles' young friends got baptized. The whole church gathered to watch the baptisms of those two young people, myself included. But a part of me battled difficult feelings. Out of love I deliberately celebrated those other teens and their spiritual 'success', but it was hard that my own child wasn't the one in the baptismal pool.

I stood and held my phone out to record the prayers that were spoken over those two teens that afternoon so I could send them to them later.

And God said back:

Look after My house and I'll look after yours.

Well, everything happens according to God's perfect timing.

My friends, I will continue the wonderful story on Monday. Be assured that what came next only God could have done. And for your part, thank you for joining in and listening to my story.

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

“Do you enjoy spending time with Jesus?”

Pexels-lisa-fotios-1655329
Photo provided courtesy of Lisa Folios at Pexels.com

Hi Ian from Down Under here. It’s getting colder here in Sydney. But our winters are typically pretty mild and often quite dry as well which makes them very pleasant so long as there’s a heater not too far away if the temperature suddenly drops.

I read the above question the other day. It’s a great question as it makes you think all sorts of things, doesn’t it? Things such as:

- When did I last time with Jesus?

- Have I ever spent time with Jesus?

- You mean, in church, right?

- I’m not sure how to spend time with Jesus.

- How do you answer such a question?

Friendship

I expect this question would be easier to answer when we think about spending time with our spouse, our children, and our friends. Whether the answer is an affirmative or not.

“I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)

Friendship with Jesus is something I’ve been reflecting on a for a little while now. Interestingly, it’s become quite topical in the current book business as a n umber of authors have or will soon release books on the subject.

Jesus wants us to be friends. He designed us for friendship with Him. He calls us friends as evidenced by the verse above. How do we be friends with Jesus? I thought it would be interesting to explore this subject over the next few weeks.

Desire

We are creatures of habit. Annie Dillard, a favourite author of many writers, is known for saying, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” For many of us how we spend our days is built around what is important to us, or what we have determined is our purpose in life. Career, family, and relationships tend to fill most of our days and these typically reflect what is important to us.

For many men friendships aren’t something we prioritise. And even if we do, we might find people we are seeking to be friends with don’t prioritise it so it’s all a bit lopsided. The beauty of Jesus is that He places it as a priority. Isn’t that exciting?

If answering the question that prompted this post was difficult perhaps one reason for it is because we haven’t prioritised friendship (or relationship) with Him. Jesus isn’t going to bully us into a friendship with Him. If we don’t see it as being important, and don’t prioritise it, then Jesus is unlikely to force our hand.

Jesus wants to be wanted.

Knowing vs knowing!

Huh? Knowledge of God is important. Studying the Word, even going to Bible College, and listening to speakers, podcasts, reading books, etc, etc are important and good things to do.

We chose our spouses because we first got to know about them. We found we liked them because of what we learnt. We wanted to know them more and more. And through marriage and living together over the years we have become intimately acquainted with them.

Knowing about God is important. It helps us to say yes to Him. Romans 10: 17 confirms it, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

God desires us to know Him intimately, to have an experiential relationship with Him, not just a head-based knowledge. As James Bryan Smith says about God, “Jesus is as real to me as the chair I am sitting on.”

And I believe the first step in having an intimate friendship with God is to want it. To truly desire it. It’s something that gets us out of bed in the morning. God gets excited when we desire what He wants. Friendship.

We’d love to know any thoughts you might have on the question that prompted this post and/or any tips you might have for developing a close friendship with God. Please share away in the comments below.

Note: The question that is the title to this post was prompted by Faith Eury Cho's book, "Experiencing Friendship with God"

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

Swimming in troubled waters

Swimming-summer

Hello and happy Monday my friends! Amanda here, I had a little something laid on my heart last Sunday that I have been waiting to share with you all. I hope this blesses someone today!

It is summer time here in the southern U.S. and that means good food, cold drinks, nearly unbearable heat, and lots of swimming! My kids are so excited every year to get back in the water. Despite their enthusiasm neither one of them are very strong swimmers. They seem to fight the water more than anything haha!

I was driving home from church when this thought zapped me! It was like a divine download and I immediately turned on my talk-to-text and starting writing a rough draft of this post. My kids were in the car listening and they clapped when I was finished haha! I am taking that as a sign everyone needs to hear this!

The struggle of learning to swim can be a great analogy for the trials we sometimes face. 

It is often during life's trials that we have biggest the opportunity for spiritual growth. Those times when we feel we must cling to God the tightest (though we should cling to Him always) provide moments of immense grace, wisdom, empathy, and insight into His will...Only sometimes it doesn't feel that way does it? Sometimes we feel as though we have been thrown into rough waters without a life jacket and just cannot get out! No matter how hard we thrash we just can't break free from the raging current that keeps pushing against us. Intent on sweeping us away. So often during these times we scream and cry out to God to pull us out of the water. Begging him to pick us up and lay us on the dry shore where we can rest in the sunlight. And while there certainly are times when God absolutely does that, there are many times when He doesn't. 

Instead of pulling us out and letting us give up he says, "No my love, you MUST learn to swim through this. This current is here to teach you something. Do not be afraid. I will be your strength. I will show you the way, but YOU must do the swimming!". He will be there to feed us with his word so that we stay strong. Comfort and encourage us with his presence so we do not despair. And protect us from the attacks of enemy. HE is the life jacket!

Still, if the waters get rough enough, we may start to doubt Gods plan - or his goodness. We may believe the enemies lie that we are being punished, abandoned, or lose all hope that things will get better. That is when we start to sink, and we are at the mercy of the raging current. Drifting wherever it takes us. That my dear friends is one of the scariest things I can imagine, yet we do it often! We turn to "quick comforts" instead, things like food, TV, games on our phones, excessive sleep ect... Things that offer that instant gratification we so often crave. We feel comfortable, satisfied (briefly) and completely unaware of the fact that we are drowning! THIS is why we have to be vigilant!

We must keep our eyes on Him as we swim. If we listen to his instructions and his guidance. If we truly trust him. The growth and wisdom that are waiting on the other side are going to be more important and impactful than we can imagine. We will be able to not only swim farther and faster the next time we are in the water, but we will also be able to help others do the same! We will understand them on a deeper more personal level because we have been there and survived. We can help teach others to swim.

I'm going to leave you with this verse which is SO fitting for todays post, "When you pass through the waters, I WILL BE WITH YOU, and the rivers will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, and the flame will not burn you." Isaiah 43:2 CSB (emphasis mine).

I would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments!

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

God's Provision: A Story

SUMites, Suitcases

Those of you who've been with us a while will remember we had our last conference in April 2019, the Hear the Roar Summit in California. Well, that was impossible for me to get to. Honestly impossible. Yet I got there.

I decided to dig out the story that I wrote on the blog at the time. For those of you who feel that God is stirring you to get our next meet-up in September, I hope this story encourages you:

**

Ann's story, from 2019:

"When Lynn first started talking about the summit, a little thought bubbled up for me that hadn’t happened the previous time there was a conference. This thought was that I was to go, and that God would provide. With a big dose of optimism, then, I went onto our Facebook group and said:

“For the summit let's believe in miracles!” 

It would take a miracle indeed. I live in New Zealand, a 12-hour flight away, and can only leave my children for a few days. That wasn’t the most difficult aspect though: How on earth would I explain to my husband that I want to fly twelve hours for this?!  In his eyes it could be weird, and given the content, even slightly offensive.

A couple of hours after writing on the Facebook page, I found myself needing to do a bank transaction. This is something I do often, but that day I noticed something I’d previously ignored. At the very bottom of the screen there was a $$$ figure with the label “True Rewards”.  My husband and I had been collecting these reward points ever since we got married almost 20 years ago but ignoring them. My jaw dropped as I realized that we had over a thousand dollars in points, I could spend them at a travel agent and I had a way to California!

Wow.

This still left a hard part, though. I had to talk to my husband about it. I looked up tickets to L.A., and my heart sank. At US$1,300 the points would cover it but it was so much money for a 2-day trip. Shouldn’t I spend it on something we could enjoy together instead?

Time passed and Lynn announced the date. At this point, out of the blue my husband started mentioning these points for the first time in years, suggesting we buy a kettle with them!  Wanting to shout “No!” at him, “Don’t spend those points!!!” I figured God was dropping me a hint to pluck up the courage and ask.

It took a few days, but I finally did it. My husband has a kind heart, but our faith difference is not an easy situation for us. Nevertheless, he looked straight back at me with an affectionate smile and said, “Sure.”  Just like that.

Later, he surprised me again, “Come on then, let’s book it now,” he said. “Okay,” I squeaked, still feeling self-conscious. This was where one more surprise awaited: We went online to see that ticket prices had halved since I last checked, now being only $600. This meant that there would be points left over for transport and accommodation for me, and – better still -- enough points for my husband to get something nice for himself. SUM Meet-Up

I know I’m to thank God for this. Today I have my thanksgiving going and am believing in more."

**

Let's keep believing!  Share in the comments what you're hoping for, and let's pray for this meet-up.

26 September 2023 -- Ranch Murieta

27-29 September 2023 -- Bethel Church, Redding

For further details, click here.

Love you, SUMites!

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

Keep on Believing for the Miracles!

Hi my friends! Suitcases

It's a public holiday here in New Zealand, so this is the teeniest little hello. But I wanted to share something that happened in church yesterday.

Yesterday in church, a girl (well, woman) I'm friendly with stood up and gave a testimony. The testimony was this:

A few years ago she felt strongly she was to go to Africa and volunteer on a particular missions programme with Iris Ministries. However, she was broke. Completely broke! She said "There's broke, and then there's how I was: Completely broke."

We all laughed at that.

The three-month trip would cost thousands and in her penniless state it was 100% impossible. Nevertheless, she strongly felt Jesus wanted her to be there, and what's more she believed he had told her the funds would come.

So she made her plans. She told her family she was going, and everyone was cheering her on. Yet as the time drew near for the trip, she still had no money in the bank and started to think, "This is going to be embarrassing, everyone thinks I'm going, and now I'm going to have to tell them I'm not".

Well, the provision came suddenly. In an instant!

Suddenly, a person she knew told her "I've been led to pay for your upcoming trip. Give me your account details and I'll pay it in."

It was NZ$11,000! About USD6,500.

So all of a sudden, she went from having no way of getting there to having the full funds in her account, and off she went to Africa. 

Years on, it's a testimony she will always remember. It's a testimony of provision that she was able to tell us all about at church. And a testimony of provision that reminded me all over again that these things happen and if God wants you to be somewhere he'll make a way. There are so many other testimonies like this out there in the Christian world.

Conclusion for us SUMites: It is no big thing for God to do the same for our SUM Meet-Up this September. So keep praying: Ask him afresh if you're meant to be there, and if so ask God to make a way.

Let's keep praying!

Love you,

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

Get Over It!


Jan BSUM family, today we have a guest post from one of our long-time SUMites, Jan Bittner. I'm so happy to hear her voice on here as she has walked a great story. So now, over to Jan: 

By Jan Bittner

“Get over it,” I felt God say to me just a month after my husband revealed he no longer believed in Jesus. I remember feeling briefly amused by God’s command before pain flooded my heart again. We’d spent a long month fighting – my husband wondered why things couldn’t just continue with this one small change, and I wondered how things could possibly continue. The pain and grief were real. My marriage felt irreparably altered. Friends, it took a long time to ‘get over it,’ and in the meantime, my marriage, my children’s hearts, and my physical health were damaged as we teetered on the edge of divorce for nearly a year.

If only I’d known then what I know now! Learning that my spiritually unequal marriage is more ‘spiritual’ than anything has changed everything.

The first evidence of this was following an argument where divorce was again discussed. I prayed, “God, please give me a verse!” I felt Him say, “2 Corinthians 2:8.” “Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.” NO, I thought, I WON’T! And then…Okay, God, if I do this, you need to bless it. I then said aloud, “I affirm my love for my husband,” and within minutes, God supernaturally replaced the rage I felt with an overwhelming love for my husband! It was so remarkable, unlike anything I ever would or could have done in my own strength, that even my husband was dumbfounded. THAT IS MY GOD!

I learned that day that when I am unable to cast out bitterness, resentment, anger, and pain that I only need to be OBEDIENT to God, and He will help me. I also learned that the physical act of speaking out an affirmation of love caused a powerful shift in my heart and the spiritual atmosphere in my home.

That scripture is one that I return to, time and again, when I feel the need to set my heart right. But it's the rest of the chapter that really settles it for me:

“Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one [he] might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For to this end also I wrote, so that I might [c] put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes. (2 Cor 2:6-11 NASB)

In this letter, Paul was talking to believers who were hurt by another believer, but I think the spiritual lesson applies equally well to our SUMs. Paul basically told the believers who were hurt, “Enough is enough, get over it! If you continue to punish this person, you will cause excessive sorrow and open doors to the schemes of Satan.”

Is it possible that holding on to offense and unforgiveness against our spouses opens the door for Satan to create havoc in our families? Though we feel hurt by them, could unforgiveness cause our spouses to experience ‘excessive sorrow,’ that may spiritually manifest as sadness or depression, a desire to spend less time together, irritability, anger issues, division, self-medicating behaviors, and more? 2 Corinthians 2 8

Jesus also warns, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14–15 NLT) That’s a sobering warning. God’s forgiveness is directly related to our forgiving others. Forgiveness is that highly regarded by God, and unforgiveness is equally prized by Satan. By forgiving those who hurt us, we not only disrupt Satan’s plans, but we also wield stronger spiritual weapons. We can either partner with our Father to fight the spiritual battle for our husband’s salvation, or we can work against Him, as Paul warns, by harboring unforgiveness. 

Further, God recently revealed a bombshell! My season of unforgiveness EXTENDED my husband’s season of unbelief! Knowing this, I repented to God and apologized to my husband for my behavior. ‘Getting over it’ CAN reap supernatural rewards!

I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments.

My name is Janice Bittner, and I’ve been married to my husband for 20 years. We have two children, 19 and 15, and live in Virginia. I found the Spiritually Unequal Marriage ministry in 2014, and I am so honored to be a guest writer. I pray my story encourages you as much as the SUM ministry has blessed me.

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