Hello, my SUMite friends. Ian, from Down Under here. I trust everyone is holding up okay under the continued stress of the global pandemic. It has sure been an unsettling time for all of us and finding ‘peace’ can be especially difficult.
One of the blessings of the Beatitudes refers to being peacemakers. (Matthew 5:9). However, to be a peacemaker we first need to be able to receive peace. I know I often struggle to engage the peace that is already present inside us through Christ. If I’m grappling with some internal struggle or feelings of anger, fear, bitterness or lust I may hide these away instead of drawing closer to Jesus and engaging the peace that resides in me.
Jesus Walking in the Room
I love the scene in John 20, the day after Jesus’ resurrection, when the disciples are locked in the Upper Room terrified the Jewish leaders are going to break down the door and haul them away.
Let’s read it together:
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:19-23 NIV)
Jesus appears. Yes, he simply appears. He doesn’t need to open the door in his resurrected body because he has taken on his divinity that he let go of 33 years earlier.
And what are his first words: “Peace be with you.”
Put yourself in the scene. Yes, if you can listen to this scene and picture yourself as one of the terrified disciples it makes the experience even better. And God appears. Offering His peace.
Receive it. Breathe in His peace. And breathe out the stress, the worry, the whatever.
When Jesus says it for a second time, receive it. And picture yourself receiving his breath upon you as he breathes the Holy Spirit over you. Breathe it in, breathe out the worry.
What doors have you closed in your heart and mind? Let Jesus appear in them. And picture him saying those wonderful words, “Peace be with you.” Not just once, but twice.
Breathe in the peace, breathe out the shame, the anger, the fear, the worry that has been locked up in that room.
Psalm 23 is my favourite Psalm. I’m sure I’m not alone in that. And what I love most about it is the peace I receive as I meditate upon it. We have a shepherd who says ‘we want for nothing’. This is what living in his Kingdom is all about: living in continual peace, irrespective of our circumstances.
And the Kingdom is here now. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15 NIV)
May I encourage us to meditate on Psalm 23. Once again, you may enjoy listening to it. Picture yourself with Jesus, our shepherd. And after each verse, perhaps say, “I can relax”.
May I close with this blessing over us all. One we’re familiar with I’d suggest. Receive it as you read it:
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26 NIV)
Peace be with us all. In Jesus’ wonderful Name. Amen.
We have reached day 4 of the fast. It’s Thursday afternoon here in New Zealand and, remarkably, I’m still going foodless. I'm pinching myself as this is officially the longest I’ve managed to go without food. I'm praying that I can inch across the finish line tomorrow.
I will say that past fasts have resulted in many times where I've just needed to stop. If that's you just treat the next day as a fresh start and carry on as you are led. It's certainly an adventure.
Now to us: I have my communion cup and cracker at the ready, and in taking communion I'd like to share a thought about God’s faithfulness.
Recently, I searched for ‘Abraham’ in the Bible. I look at his life sometimes because he’s the ultimate promise-carrier. I relate in some ways to his process; maybe you do too.
It was fascinating to me to discover that across both the Old and New Testaments God repeatedly makes the statement ‘Because of the covenant I made with Abraham’. Centuries pass and still this covenant is raised at unexpected points within scripture. The lesson: God has a very, very long memory, and He is faithful.
Abraham’s promise came in stages. It was like unwrapping layers of a pass-the-parcel game, except every layer was a treat that was specifically made for Abraham. First he was told only a little -- "I will make you a great nation;" (Genesis 12:1-3). A few years later he was told a bit more, and so on. The story unfolded and became more specific, culminating in the ridiculous: Elderly Sarah conceiving a baby.
In the midst of that 25-year process, we see a curious anecdote: A king and priest called Melchizadek appears with bread and wine (Genesis 14:18), and Abraham is captivated enough by this encounter to give Melchizadek one tenth of all he owns. As a rich man, this would have been an astounding amount. I find myself raising my eyebrows, wondering why. Perhaps it was simply that Abraham heard God say "I want you to do this".
Straight after that radical act, Abraham heard God accurately and clearly, a blessing for his obedience: “Abraham, the heir will come from your own body” (Genesis 15:4). It's an impossible promise, as always. As for Melchizadek, that is a part of the plot that only God could have thought up. Melchizedek foreshadows Jesus (our King and Priest) offering communion.
Here are the words that Melchizadek spoke to Abraham. Perhaps as we take communion today we can receive this same blessing:
“Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God most High who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” (Genesis 14:19-20, NKJV).
Friends, we are blessed, and God will deliver our enemies into our hand. Our promises will come, and hopefully will be talked about after we’ve passed from this earth, especially if we leave a record of them. As an encouragement, we only have to look as far as Israel where many of Abraham's descendants live.
On the topic of promises, Lynn mentioned asking for a word for 2020. Like her, I always ask but usually don’t hear anything clearly. However, this time I did hear an unmistakable word. On 1 January I heard God whisper to me: ‘Lydia’. Later that morning I looked up Lydia in Acts 16. She was an early convert in Philippi. These words are about her: “And when she and her household were baptized…” (Acts 16:15) What a wonderful word to start the year off and, as you can imagine, I was encouraged. So, yes please, Lord, I’ll take it. Who knows what that means for 2020 specifically, but I will digest the life of Lydia this year and meditate on it.
How about you -- What promises are you believing? Did you receive a word for 2020, and/or what are you hoping for this coming year?
It's been nice sharing this journey with you this week. Lynn will be back for our final post tomorrow.
Hey SUM family, Tiffany Here!
Sunday, September 29th is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. We've talked about this Jewish holiday over the years. In fact, the first time I'd ever been made aware of it's significance was because of a blog post from either Lynn or Dineen. For those who are not familiar or are new to this holiday, a simple "Rosh Hashanah" search on this site will provide you with a wealth of information. Feel free to check out the archives!
My prayer for us today is that we will each take away something fresh and new. Holy Spirit, reveal to us the heartbeat of God. Amen!
Rosh Hashanah isn't actually a biblical holiday but a traditional Jewish holiday. The term "Rosh Hashanah" means "head of the year" and is celebrated as the Jewish New Year. This is a two-day celebration that proceeds Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).
In the beginning of this month, the Lord really pressed upon me to watch Patty Tower's talk that was given at the SUMite Summit this last April. I decided to go back and watch it again. (I will provide a link below so you can revisit that as well. It is absolutely worth a re-watch!)
As I sat down to think about Rosh Hashanah and what I would include in this post, I went back to my notes from Patty's message. There is so much good in this message but I want to point out one theme:
Rosh Hashanah isn't in the Bible; however, the first day of Rosh Hashanah, is. Let's take a look.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’ ” - Leviticus 23:23-25
The Hebrew word, Teruah, in Leviticus for blowing trumpets is the same word used in Joshua 6 where they shouted with a great shout. The first day of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Teruah, is a day of blowing trumpets or shouting.
Notice what else it says in Leviticus about this day - you shall have a sabbath-rest. Yom Teruah happens to fall on a Sunday. The day we, as children of God, call our sabbath!
So, why is this important for us? If we are not Jewish, what is the point of celebrating this time of year?
We've already seen in our community some amazing things worth celebrating. Many professions of faith and baptisms with our spouses, children or others we love. Libby gave us a beautiful word about the SUMite community with her picture of the mountain. The SUMite Summit where some gathered in California being at the top and from that trickle, the waters of our faith continued to pool together to create a river at the bottom.
I truly believe something was activated in the heavenlies and we have set off a chain reaction. The enemy has been stirred to anger and we have seen much push back from illness, discord with our spouses and children, financial struggles, backsliding, strongholds etc.
However, I truly believe that God is calling His children deeper. I believe that He is stirring in us a hunger and thirst that can no longer be quenched by fear, pain or opposition tactics from the enemy. I believe that NOW is the time for us to press in all the more into the God of Miracles. NOW is the time to storm the gates of Heaven for our spouses, children, our complete freedom and healing. I believe that NOW is the time for us to suit up and prepare for battle.
There is a shifting going on right now. As we are in this transition period, it is up to US if we are going to take God at His word - for our destinies, purposes, signs, miracles and wonders. We cannot afford to give up or give in. The future of generations to come hangs in the balance. It sounds intense but don't worry! Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Patty's talk at the SUMite Summit: https://www.facebook.com/SpirituallyUnequalMarriage/videos/387269661859875/
There is so much more I could say but I've gone on a little long.
Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! -- Psalm 47:1 (Shout here is the root word of teruah ::grin::)
We are going to shake the heavens and the earth with our shouts! In the comments, give a mighty shout to the Lord. Thank Him for the victory you've been praying and waiting for! Decree and declare that these prayers are answered in Jesus' mighty name! Now it is up to you to take Him at His word. Trust. Believe. Wait and see. God is so good. And He is worthy of the wait. Hugs!
Hey SUM family, Tiffany here!
I have worked for my employer for a little over three years now. I do the same thing all day everyday. Monday through Friday, eight hours a day. I see the same computer screen as I fingerprint the numerous people who come into my office. The other day Holy Spirit alerted me to listen and pay attention to people's reactions to seeing their fingerprints on the computer screen, many of them for the first time:
Wow, that is so cool!
I have never seen this before!
Sorry, I am just amazed by this!
Look at that!
Can you believe that we all have different finger prints? No two prints are the same!?
Was I looking at the same machine? It is cool to see the detail, I guess.....
There are some of us who have forgotten how to be in love with and romanced by our King. We have been on this journey for a long time. Our eyes have adjusted to the normalcy of life. We've braced for life's storms for too long that we've gone into self-preservation mode. We have forgotten what is like to have childlike faith. This isn't a rebuke but a call to see things from God's perspective. Be refreshed! Be renewed! Be invigorated again!
I felt a strong impression from our Daddy God to lavish you with love today. If anything today resonates with you, my challenge is for you to take it and meditate on it. Don't allow the familiar to blur your vision of God's great love relationship with you. Don't doubt that you aren't good enough to receive it. Don't think, "He must be talking to someone else..." This word is for you...yes YOU!
I have loved you, [insert your name here], with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. (Jeremiah 31:3)
I will make you, [insert your name here], my wife forever,
showing you righteousness and justice,
unfailing love and compassion.
I will be faithful to you and make you mine,
and you will finally know me as the Lord. (Hosea 2:19-20)
My thoughts of you are countless for you are very precious to Me. (Psalm 139:17)
You can give me all of your worries and cares. They are not meant to be carried by you. I love you so much! (1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 55:22)
I am for you. You are my beloved and I am yours. (Song of Solomon 6:3)
I will give you everything that you need. You mean that much to me. (Romans 8:31)
There is nothing that can separate you from My love. (Romans 8:38-39)
I will rescue you. I will protect you. You can trust me. When you call on Me I am there. (Psalm 91)
One of my favorite things to do is watch over you as you sleep. (Psalm 3:5)
I will show you my goodness in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)
I will never forsake you. I will never cast you off. (Psalm 94:14)
You are my masterpiece. My workmanship. I am so proud of you! (Ephesians 2:10)
You are my special treasure. You are so valuable to me! (Exodus 19:5, 1 Peter 2:9)
There is so much more that I could share. Every word in the Bible is dripping with His sweet love for you.
Beloved, stop striving. Stop trying to meet unattainable expectations of yourself...they're not from Him. Daddy God is so pleased with you. He delights in you so much that He breaks out in song over you. (Zephaniah 3:17)
I want to wrap up with this song. This is one to sit and soak in the love of your Daddy.
Let's share in the comments - sometimes life gives us a hard beating! What are some things that you do in order to remember the love God has for you? What are some things we can share with one another to fan the flames of our heart and fill us with hope? What keeps you standing firm and grounded in your relationship with Daddy God, Jesus and Holy Spirit?
Hey SUM Family, Tiffany here!
I don't know about you but I have really been yearning for breakthrough! It gets me fired up thinking about the breakthrough needed in my life as well as others. I am really struggling to completely detach from my old self. I am not saying that I am not growing, maturing or bearing fruit. Please hear my heart. I am talking about the hard reality that the more I press into God, the more I realize I am in rough shape and need Jesus. Can anybody relate?
I recently came across this scripture that has been really stirring in my heart:
So David went to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “The Lord did it!” David exclaimed. “He burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So he named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”). -- 2 Samuel 5:20
Some context: David is now king. He captures Jerusalem from the Jebusites and makes it his home. The Philistines find out this news and come to capture him. David goes into a stronghold and the Philistines spread out across the valley of Rephaim. It is really interesting to note that the valley of Rephaim means "the house of the giants."
David could have been afraid. Sure, he had a run in with them before (remember Goliath, their once great warrior?); however, this time they were after him!
I love the conversation that happens just one verse before:
So David asked the Lord, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The Lord replied to David, “Yes, go ahead. I will certainly hand them over to you.” (5:19)
Isn't there something so "magical" about the promises of God being fulfilled in front of your eyes? The New Living Translation sums up the child-like faith that I believe that David had - the Lord did it!
There are some things that I have been praying into for some time now - outside of salvation and surrender for Jason - full and forever breakthrough from the spirits of poverty and self-preservation in my life. There are many layers that have been broken but I still have a ways to go. It's been tough, especially with me as the toughest critic. These giants have taken camp in the valley of my heart and mind.
The Lord keeps impressing on my mind the idea of breakthrough and I praise Him for this recent revelation in this passage of scripture! Tiffany, I am your Daddy but I am also Jehovah Perazim. I am Your God who breaks through. Do you trust me? Do you believe it? Will you stand in faith - even when you can't see what is on the horizon?
I want to close with the song I heard for the first time today. It is so raw and honest. I can relate so well and I'm sure you can too.
If I’m honest, I don’t know what to do
With this battle that I’m going through
And how to trust you.
Every part of me, wants to figure out my own plan
Wants to take things in my own two hands
God help me to understand
You are enough, You are enough for me, for me
Take my doubts, drown them in the sea
Cause you’re more than enough for me
Every part of me, wants to figure out my own plan
Wants to take things in my own two hands
God help me to understand
Even if I lost everything, you would still be enough for me.
Even if I lost everything, oh
Even if I lost everything, you would still be enough for me.
Even if I lost everything, oh
Can you feel the breakthrough coming or has your hope been lost? Admittedly sometimes I am teetering on the fence between the two. Sometimes life is tough. But GOD! He is so so good.
Jehovah Perazim, You are our God who breaks through. You come forth against our enemies like a raging flood. There is nothing that can thwart the plans You have for us. When we are weary may we always remember that You go before us. You give us victory. When we are weary like Moses, bring others to surround us and hold us up. We can't do this alone. Thank You for this amazing community. We can all relate to the true struggle not against flesh and blood but against the forces of darkness. Thank You for always saying to us, like David, "I will certainly hand them over to you." We love you and praise you for the great big shout - You did it! We trust you. You are enough. In Jesus' name, amen.
See you in the comments! How can I intercede for you today?
Hello SUM Family, Tiffany here!
I shared with you at the conference that God has been speaking to me about cedars. I saw a vision of a tree that was my family
legacy. The deep roots were the word of God so deeply hidden beneath the soil. I wanted to share with you something that I have been working on. These are words that He has been saying about me. (To keep it from getting too long I will only expound on a few) Let's call today, "Motivation Monday." May these words be a motivation for you to believe what God says about you.
Cedars of Lebanon, Tiffany Carter, 5/31/19
Champion - (1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 Corinthians 9:24; Romans 8:37; Deuteronomy 20:4; Isaiah 6:8)
Elevator - one that lifts or raises someone/something up; exhorter - one who incites by argument, or advice; strongly urges; exultor - one who is extremely joyful; leaps for joy; rejoices); exalter - to elevate by praise; raise high; to enhance the activity of; intensify. (Deuteronomy 18:18; Proverbs 14:34; Psalm 68:3; Proverbs 27:17; Hebrews 3:13)
Deeply rooted - existing for a long time and very difficult to change; firmly established; deeply implanted. (Psalm 1:3; Colossians 2:6-7; John 15:5; Jeremiah 17:7-8; Daniel 2:22; Isaiah 45:3)
Ancient - (Jeremiah 6:16; Jeremiah 1:5; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 1:4-5)
Righteousness - (Psalm 92:12-13; Proverbs 21:21; Psalm 112:6-8; Matthew 6:33; Hosea 10:12)
Stalwart Matriarch - woman that rules or dominates her family, group or state who is marked by outstanding strength and vigor of body, mind or spirit. (Psalm 68:11; Proverbs 22:6; James 5:16; Psalm 102:18; Psalm 103:17; Proverbs 14:1)
Overarching Protector - (Matthew 6:10; Ezekiel 22:30; Proverbs 11:11; Jeremiah 29:7)
Freedom - (Psalm 18:48; Ezekiel 3:12; Psalm 119:45; Romans 6:14)
Legacy - something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past; carried over from an earlier time. (Psalm 145:4; Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Joshua 24:14-15; Proverbs 13:22; Psalm 78:2-4; Exodus 20:5-6; Deuteronomy 6:5-7; 2 Timothy 2:2)
Emanate Love - (1 Peter 4:8; 1 Corinthians 16:14; Colossians 3:14; Ephesians 5:2; Matthew 22:37-39; Hebrews 10:24-25; Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 20:6-7; 1 John 4:11; 1 John 3:16-18)
Bethel - house of God. (1 Corinthians 9:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Peter 4:1-2; Psalm 119:37; Romans 8:5-7)
Anointed - to smear or rub with oil or an oily substance; to apply oil to as part of a religious ceremony; to choose by or as if by divine election. (Isaiah 22:22; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 1 John 2:20-21; 1 John 2:27; John 15:16; Psalm 45:7; Isaiah 44:3)
Non-conforming - (2 Corinthians 3:12; Romans 12:1-2; John 17:14-16; Revelation 12:11; Luke 6:27-36)
Ornamental - one who lends grace or beauty; adorned - to enliven. (1 Peter 3:3-4; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Proverbs 31:30; Ecclesiastes 3:11; Genesis 1:27; 1 Timothy 2:9-10; 1 Samuel 16:7)
New - (Hebrews 12:24; Galatians 3:26-27; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Isaiah 43:18-19; 2 Corinthians 4:16-17; 1 Peter 1:3; Mark 2:22).
Storms, temptations and trials will come and try to divert your eyes. The deceiver will come and try to cause you to doubt if not forget these life fulfilling promises.
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lordyour God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Do whatever is necessary to remember and cling to these promises. I love making jewelry (see photo above) so this is a good tangible way for me to see His word on a regular basis.
How great of a Daddy we have that He would speak something so special and unique to you individually. Let's talk in the comments: What are some ways that you remember His promises in your own life? What helps you to keep your eyes on the prize set before you?
Hey SUM Family, Tiffany Here!
I have some wonderful news to share!
Today I graduated year one of ministry school. This was the first half of a two year program that will lead to ordination.
I was very surprised to receive "The Heart of David Award" along with my certificate of completion. What an honor and joy!
The words "thank you" are not enough to express the gratitude I have for you, my beloved family without walls. Your love, encouragement, and support has tremendously helped carry me to this beautiful moment. Thank you to everyone who has given time, prayer, finances, Scripture and hugs. My accomplishment is your accomplishment.
So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. -- 2 Thessalonians 1:11
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. -- Ecclesiastes 4:12
You all have helped me accomplish my dreams. In the comments, share something that God has laid upon your heart to accomplish. I want to pray over you and bless you today.
Well, this week something crazy but parallel happened: My children sat at a table with me, my husband and friends and this time saw persecution. Yikes!
We were at a Mexican restaurant, laughing, when suddenly my friend’s mouth opened and out came a painful comment about Christians.
It was a comment that could have been considered funny but there was no opportunity for laughter as within an instant I went rage! I shot to my feet, hands on hips, stood over my friend, blurted out tempestuous words, and left the table. When I came back I was physically shaking.
Nobody enjoyed their burritos after that, especially not my husband.
Was my reaction good or bad? We turn the other cheek often, but this time felt different. My speed of reaction felt like I was a magnet being repelled. I know Jesus got mad sometimes. He sat at tables but he also messed up (overturned) tables in rage. I’m reflecting on that.
It’s now Friday as I write, and I’m unpacking the concept of persecution. What is it about? It seems so intensely spiritual:
“As he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now." (Galatians 4:29)
The Greek word for persecution, dioko, tells us more: Persecution is an active attempt to stop something. It is anything that resists.
As I’ve looked at scripture I’ve absorbed this: It’s the deal. Jesus sweated blood and we drink the same cup. To be a Christian is to be persecuted. In others’ eyes we are, by design, the scum of the earth, a spectacle, refuse and fools (1 Cor 4:9-13). Wow, that sucks -- I guess I forgot.
Scripture also shows us the reason: It is to stop the power of the cross and to destroy the church (Gal 1:13, 5:11, 6:12). Given this, should I ever be surprised by it? Perhaps, instead, I should go with a great phrase a friend gave me: “Oh, here comes old hairy legs again!”
All week I’ve been talking to God about it and I think I have some ways forward. It starts with this:
“If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.” 1 Peter 4:14 (NKJV)
I’ve been saying to God, then, “Thank you that I was persecuted because I see what it means. The Spirit of glory and of You rests on me.”
Second, scripture gives us a core word: Endure it (1 Corinthians 4:11-13; 2 Timothy 3:10). This tells me that I may be too weary to do anything except just sit it out. Last night, then, to endure I went to bed early, made myself a cocoa and sat and re-read some of my journal from a more encouraging time.
My final insight from this week was this: I should approach the Throne of Grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in my time of need (Hebrews 4:16). I’ve got a prayer room in my house, it's our TV room. This week I retreated to it to approach that throne. I lit a candle, got into comfy clothes (fleece onesie, slipper socks) and said to Jesus: “Please minister to me. Take me to this Throne of Grace. Please comfort me. Please smother me in your peace. Help!” I sat with Him in the quiet.
A few hours later an email hit my inbox. It was an older Christian from overseas who had felt led to sit and write to me. He wrote, “I know I need to write you but I don’t know what.” He waited, then wrote a collection of statements. It turned into a couple of pages. Those pages were made just for me. It was one of those God moments.
As for my kids? Well, they’re front-row spectators of the action. It’s more than what they’d get in Sunday school, but hey.
We all have these moments and I'm smiling again now. If you happen to be struggling with this issue too, feel free to reach out in the comments and I'd love to pray for you.
Hey SUM family, Tiffany Here!
During the leader's meeting on the Friday morning before the conference I said I would share a spoken word piece during the offering time. I didn't have anything prepared at the time of volunteering. In fact I just heard the words come out of my mouth. You know those moments when you realize after the fact that you were pushed into things by the Holy Spirit? Maybe it's just me. It happens quite often. *grin*
The rest of the day seemed to fast forward pretty quickly. Filled with fellowship, food and fun. I was exhausted after the meet and greet at Lynn's house - in a good way - and went to bed shortly after everyone left. Saturday morning I wake up and realize that I didn't take time to prepare a spoken word! Out of desperation I laid flat on my back with my arms outstretched (my body in the shape of a cross) and said, "Holy Spirit, I need You to give me a spoken word for today. I want those who hear it to feel your deep love. I want them to know that they can have a close relationship with You. Give me something."
In that moment of asking Him, I could feel the atmosphere change in the room. It was like He was waiting for the invitation to share what was in the deep recesses of His heart. The following is the spoken word. I have posted it on Facebook so it may be a repeat for some. In my humble opinion, Holy Spirit really delivered!
More, Tiffany Carter, 4/6/19
Remember when I first revealed myself to you?
The relief you felt?
Just wait there’s more.
Remember when you heard me speak life into your bones?
The comfort you felt?
Just wait there’s more.
Remember when you received my loving embrace?
The warmth you felt?
Just wait there’s more.
Remember when you needed Me and cried out for help?
The deliverance you felt?
Just wait there’s more.
Remember when you sought me for clarity?
The answers you felt?
Just wait there’s more.
More. Passion that is unshakable.
More. Desire that is unquenchable.
More. Joy that is uncontainable.
More. Intimacy that is unthinkable.
More. Wisdom that is unmatchable.
More. Peace that is uncontrollable.
More. Power that is undeniable.
More. Faith that is unbeatable.
Remember when you stepped into your destiny and calling?
The freedom you felt?
My beloved child…
Ephesians 3:20-21 (TPT) - Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you. Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ—and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen!
Do you want more? I know that I sure do!
Let's talk in the comments. In these weeks since the conference, what are some things that God has been showing you? How has He shown up in your life personally? In reference to Libby's visions, how have you been feeling the residual affects of the river flowing from the conference? I love you all.
Hello, dear friends. Ian from sunny Sydney here. It seems ages since I’ve written. I trust the New Year has started well for you and you’re excited for what 2019 holds for you and your family.
Recently, I was reading something written by Will Graham, the grandson of the late Billy Graham, where he sought some counsel from his famous granddad on navigating the challenges of a ministry that required a lot of travel around the globe.
He was expecting some advice on how to run meetings better or how better to emphasize a point but instead received this simple message, “Pray, pray, pray” and “study, study, study.” It made good sense as this was what Will had seen his granddad doing most times he visited, praying and studying.
Abiding and Bearing Fruit
“I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me you are powerless.” John 15:5 (TPT)
We desire to make an impact, don’t we? Even in the smallest way. Often we apply ourselves to various efforts and activities in order to make an impact. But what’s clear from the impact Billy Graham had was that he knew what was required to produce it – ‘live in union’ with God.
What I find fascinating about this verse is that Jesus tells us the answer to doing life well. And the answer is very straightforward: ‘live in union’ with God.
Living in Union
You’d think we’d all be doing this, right? It sounds pretty straightforward. Okay I’ll have my time with the Lord in the morning and everything will be sweet. Right? Well, that lasted 30 minutes (add you own number here), now what do we do for the next 23.5 hours of the day? BTW, how long do we need to spend with God to be ‘living in union’ with Him?
I’m no expert at any of this and I’m also very conscious of becoming overly religious about it all but what I sense matters is it all starts with the state of our hearts. As I think I’ve mentioned before, we gotta want Him. In order to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, body and soul we gotta want to do it.
Listen to David’s heartbeat:
“Here’s the one thing I crave from God,
the one thing I seek above all else:
I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house,
finding the sweet loveliness of his face,
filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace.
I want to live my life so close to him
that he takes pleasure in my every prayer.” Psalm 27:4 (TPT)
When I read this verse last week I was challenged by David’s ‘one thing.’ What’s my ‘one thing’? This is a man after God’s own heart as David is described. It’s very clear what’s his ‘one thing’. But he stuffed up. He got fearful and anxious many times but he kept coming back to the North Star of his heart: his desire for God.
Now back to Granddad Graham. I expect the North Star of his heart was similar to David’s and he kept fuelling his desire by always praying and studying the Word. The reason we need to do both is that the Word is a key way in which the Lord speaks to us (not the only way). We can be continually reminded of God’s greatness and goodness, His immense love for us through studying the Word. In so doing it helps build up our faith and so prayer becomes easier.
(One thing a lot of us forget is the best way to enhance one’s prayer life is by building up one’s faith. The greater our passion for the Lord, the stronger the desire we have to spend time with Him.)
I struggle with being intentional about studying the Word. It’s very easy to quickly read a passage or a few verses and then move on. But I find the more time I set aside meditating and reflecting on some verses the greater my desire for prayer and reading even more of the Word becomes. As I mentioned before, one of the things I’ve done these past few years is to continuously read the Psalms (because I want what David has!) I love how they’re full of emotion: joy, anger, anxiety, fear, love and passion.
May I encourage you this year to set the North Star of your heart to more of God, not more from God, but more of Him. Dive into the Word. Try different methods, mix up which books of the Bible you read, do it with friends, journal some notes each day on what you discovered, use a commentary, listen to it in your car, etc etc.
Share in the comments something about how you study the Word as it's likely to give all of us some different ideas.
Would you mind if I finished with this blessing from the book of Numbers: (pray it over yourself :))
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” ’ (Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV)
Hi SUMites, Ann here!
I've been praying about what to write this week after our wonderful communal fast. I'm sure you're still reflecting on it as I am. Anyway, a phrase has kept coming to me for today's post, and it's this:
One of the most important things you can do, in your place of commissioning, is receive God's love.
This phrase is one that I've been carrying around for a while now. It was spoken to me by a visiting pastor who I met briefly at a university student gathering organized by some campus missionaries. At this gathering, he went person by person round the room and spoke a blessing over each of us. There were at least thirty of us, so it was a labor of love to give such personalized prayers despite not knowing any of us. It took a couple of hours and we all listened intently to each prayer. When it was my turn he paused in silence and then said:
"I seem to feel that you are surrounded by those who have very comfortable lives. In this 'comfortable' place you're going to help a lot of people - but you're going to have to be out of your comfort zone to get into their zone. It's humanitarian work."
"Too right," I thought to myself, thinking of how deeply uncomfortable I am living in a place where atheism surrounds me. But to see it as humanitarian work? That put a different lens on it. Then, the pastor finished with this:
"The main thing you must do, to make sure you don't get weary, is receive God's love. Just focus on receiving His love, and you're not going to get weary."
Ever since that day I've been chewing on what it looks like to deliberately receive His love. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this too.
One thing I started doing, after receiving that pastor's wisdom, was to look back on the year each December, re-read my journals, and jot down moments where I experienced God's love. I would reflect on what those moments told me about how God perceives me, and I would write it up into a testimony with the heading 'How God has loved me this year'. These beautiful write-ups are things I pull out and read often.
That's one way I receive God's love; but another idea might be to meditate on 1 Corinthians 13 and think about what those features mean for my relationship with Him. He is, for example, patient and kind with me, is not easily angered by me, hopes and bears all things when it comes to me, rejoices in truth around my life, and more.
It's perhaps easier to focus on what we are to do - love others, and love God (Matthew 22:37-39; James 1:27) - than it is to sit back and receive; but like any kind of love relationship the giving and receiving go hand in hand. Hebrews 4:11, for example, tells us just how important it is to enter the rest of receiving Jesus Christ, and when we make deliberate efforts to do so it will protect us from falling.
Not only that, but making room for God's love brings power to our faith walk -- Something that is desperately needed during an intense season of humanitarian work. You could say that's the season we're all in right now!
… And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19, NIV
SUMites, I'd be keen to hear more from you on how we can practice receiving His love. Feel free to share ideas in the comments, along with any other thoughts you might have.
Till next time,
Hey SUM family, Tiffany Here.
I pray that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! This is absolutely my favorite time of year. I love gathering with family, eating fantastic food and reflecting on all of the favor, mercy, and goodness of Daddy that has happened for the year.
As I was thinking last week about what Holy Spirit wanted me to share, I fingerprinted a man with a business logo on his sweatshirt that said "Stillwater." This prompted me to look up "still water" in the Bible. The main passage that came to mind was in Psalm 23:
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
*Photo credit: Loving Grace Ministries
Reading this familiar passage again I was shocked to see verse 5, "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies..." I had completely forgotten that this verse was in this Psalm.
That is when Holy Spirit brought to my mind the song Surrounded (Fight My Battles) by Elyssa Smith from UPPERROOM. Forgive me if I've shared this song before. I love it so much. My favorite verses in this song say, "my weapons are praise and thanksgiving, this is how I fight my battles"
I have been seeing Psalm 23 all over the place since I first saw this man's sweatshirt. I know that of the Psalms, this one is so common and well known even in the secular world; however, this particular passage has not been on my radar for quite some time. Each and every time I am seeing a reference to Psalm 23 there is a different verse that is being highlighted. I think I need to dwell here for a while! I was inspired so much so that I committed this passage to memory. This is a first for me to memorize an entire passage. Woot!
I think with all of the apparent darkness and chaos going on in our community (illness, death, financial struggle, marriage breakdown, depression, chronic pain, etc) and in the world today I want us to meditate on this phrase, "I am beginning to see the darkness around me is just the shadow of Your wings." *Note: this is not my phrase, this gets me every time I listen to this song...SO SO GOOD.*
5 God has gone up with a shout,
The Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
7 For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with understanding. (Psalm 47)
Please know that our Daddy is surrounding you with His love, presence, favor, mercy, and grace. I know we all know this but may we truly rejoice and sing praises with understanding! Understand your are highly favored. Understand you are loved. Understand you are cherished. Understand in your weakness He is strong. Understand that even in the toughest time of your life He is in control. Understand you are seated with Christ Jesus. Understand you have authority. Understand you are the victor. Understand it. Is. Finished!
Let us lift our voices in one accord today:
I don't know about you the Lord uses songs to get me through the darkest days. Share in the comments some songs that see you through tough times. Your suggestions could be healing salve and oil of joy to another. I love you SUM family.
I always love Lynn’s story of the Thanksgiving table-cloth, and this time it hit me even more: I seemed to hear God say ‘Get a mountain-sized table cloth ready!’ This is for us: Over time, I know our SUM community will have many thankful comments to share, many mountains that move, and many things to write. In some ways, this blog is our own communal giant tablecloth of thanks!
Anyway, I have one piece of thanks to add today, and it’s a cool story. I hope it will encourage any of you who hope to get to this year’s SUM Summit, because – get this – two weeks ago my husband and I sat together and booked my flight there -- A trip that will not cost me a penny. True story!!
Here’s how it happened:
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!
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.
I know I’m to thank God for this, but I also feel gratitude for my husband's good heart. Today I have my thanksgiving going and am believing in more.
So, thank you, Gillian, for inspiring us with your story last week, and thank you, Alyssa, for sharing yours in last week’s comments. Both those stories help my faith in all this. These are three stories for our tablecloth of thanks representing three mountains that moved, and there will be more. “For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)
Let's keep believing! Share in the comments what you're hoping for, and let's pray for this summit.
Hello SUM Family, Tiffany Here!
The last couple of months I have been sharing a bit about what I have learned from reading a book called From Dream to Destiny by Robert Morris. I was assigned to read this book in class and I am so glad that I read it! This book has been truly amazing. To read the previous two posts I've written in this "mini-series" click on the links below.
In September I began to take steps to transition into a new church. As you read this, I have now been at this new church for 3 weeks. Each and every week has been so powerful and effective. Today I want to share with you a recent experience unlike anything I've ever had. It happened a little over a week ago on October 14, 2018. The following is what I posted the next day on Facebook (sharing here as well since a lot of you may not have Facebook or seen it because we aren't "friends"):
Worship at Hub is amazing. God is there. Holy Spirit presence is thick and tangible. We were singing a song I had never heard before. The lyrics were powerful and the words that floored me at the time were talking about laying my whole life down before Jesus our Savior. I was already worshipping on my knees but I couldn't help but crouch face down before God. I felt so heavy and overloaded. I was just crying and crying before God. My words spoken in tears and sobs. All of a sudden it was like God said, "get up." Not in an angry way but an empowering way...if that makes sense. I sat up and it was like I saw myself in the place of the woman caught in adultry that was brought before Jesus. The crowd, stones in hand set to stone her. Jesus calmly and matter of factly said, "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone." Slowly, one by one the people left. Once everyone was gone, I pictured Jesus lift up my chin so I would look him in the eyes. Crouched on the ground seeing His eyes intent on mine. Looking into my soul. Just like He did with the woman that day, He said, "who condemns you?" Looking around I reply, "No one Sir." In that instant...I felt all the weight of condemnation lifted. It was like I had an hour long deep tissue massage. Every fiber of my being, relaxed and stress free. I realized later after worship and after the service...reflecting on what happened in that moment. Those people standing and surrounding me so quick to condemn and judge...were different versions of ME. How often I have shot myself down, I have stoned myself for a mis-spoken word, a harsh tone, a forgotten task, a wrong thought...I have been stoning myself for years and as God clearly told me to get up - it was giving me my life back. It was His GRACE UPON GRACE. His mercy. His true love. He doesn't keep record of wrongs...and neither should I. NO LONGER DO I. This morning, as life went on as usual...I reacted in ways I am tyring to change (short with my daughter when she cries about everything she wears - meltown after meltdown this morning and my shortness with her, attitude from tired children, etc) but the major difference was this. No one condemns me...not even myself. I made a mistake, asked for forgivenenss and moved on. The first instance my flesh tried to condemn me I heard the words "no one Sir." Loud and clear and it reminded me of the freedom that I was given. Once and for all. I will never go back. Once that transaction was finished Jesus said, "Go and sin no more." Can you image the freedom, the joy, the apreciation she felt with that moment? I can...because I do.
You may have to click on the picture to better see but I found the moment in worship where this exchange happened. Today I stand free from years of mental torment. As I think about this moment it still brings tears to my eyes because every moment since then has been a blessing. Please know that it doesn't mean that I am perfect or care free. I still have some struggles that God is working on in me. Holy Spirit is still pruning and I've got a lot of work to do. However, I am no longer hopeless.
I've gone a little long this time so let me wrap up with this:
I have been blessed to be a blessing. So today, I bless you with joy unspeakable; freedom from weight (even YEARS worth) of torment - mental, emotional, spiritual, physical; victory beyond belief; confidence in your Daddy; hope to weather the storm; faith, life, salvation for your spouse and loved ones; light in the darkness; advancement in the Kingdom where you feel backslidden; fire shut up in your bones; fight and fierceness; and love beyond compare.
Below is the song that brought me to the feet of Jesus and ushered me into freedom.
See you in the comments. I would love to pray over you for your own deliverance.
By Martha Bush
It may happen only once in a lifetime, but sometimes you may receive the ultimate betrayal from someone resulting in a tremendous amount of emotional pain. Such was my family’s case several years ago.
When news of the betrayal was first made known, along with all of its false accusations, I knew immediately that I had to forgive the persons involved. You see, many years ago, I experienced first-hand the torture of an unforgiving heart. But one day, while at the end of my rope, I cried out to the Lord, “I forgive them, Lord, and I ask you to forgive me of all the bitterness inside of me.” That day, I began walking in a freedom like I had not experienced in years.
I made a promise to myself that I would never allow myself to be tormented in this way again. It stirred me to live my life according to: “What Christ has done for me, pass it on to others” (Colossians 3:13) I began to realize that no one could hurt me like my sins hurt Jesus when He paid the ultimate price for my salvation.
Not only that, I try to remind myself that I am not “Miss Squeaky Clean” either. There are times I hurt others also. For these two reasons, I try to forgive others quickly no matter what comes into my life.
However, months went by, and I kept thinking about my current situation. “What is going on here? If I have truly forgiven, why are their faces always before me?”
I began to sense that there was another step I needed to take beyond forgiveness. It seemed as though every time I opened my Bible to read, it fell on “Bless those who persecute you.” (Romans 12:14)
The question on my mind was “How DO I bless those who had persecuted me? What should I do to put this verse into practice?”
One day, I came across a prayer I had recited many times at the end of church services. In fact, the passage of scripture actually begins with the Lord saying to Moses: “Tell Aaron this is HOW I want my people blessed.”
Number 6:23-27: May the Lord bless and keep you. May the Lord shine His face upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.
The following is a brief summary of points I learned from several commentaries on what this scripture means and how we can use it to bless others, including our enemies.
(vs 24) The Lord Bless and Keep You
“Bless” means to speak well of, praise. This does not mean we are blessing the works or deeds of an offender of ours; we are to speak well of and give honor to God’s child whom He loves, despite their wrong doing. “Keep you” means to provide and protect.
(vs 25) The Lord Make His Face Shine Upon You and Be Gracious Unto You
“His face shine upon you” alludes to the shining of the sun upon the earth. We cannot help but be happy if we realize we are loved by God and His face is shining upon us. “Gracious” comes from the word grace, and we know that by His grace He has washed away our sins and will continue to do so.
(vs 26) The Lord Lift up His Countenance Upon You and Give You Peace
“Countenance” means facial expression or approval. This seems to allude to the smiles of a father upon his child that he approves and accepts his child.
(vs 27) And I will put my name upon the children of Israel and I will bless them
Here God gives Aaron permission to make use of His name in blessing the people, and to bless them as His people, called by His name. When we place God’s name on enemy territory, there can be no hostility, no ill feeling, only a desire to see them blessed. Though the blessing was pronounced by the lips of man, God made the promise and assurance that, “I, the Lord, will bless them.”
That passage of scripture began to take root way down deep inside of me for the ones who had betrayed my family. Had I forgiven them? Yes, but God’s desires for their future became my desires.
I sincerely wanted them:
I conclude that:
Forgiving others keeps our life free from being tormented with bitterness.
When we take a step beyond forgiveness, we become God’s mouthpiece in which the blessings flow to those who have persecuted us. That, in itself, is an honor to be His mouthpiece.
What about you? Is there someone you need to forgive? Is there a step beyond forgiveness that you may need to extend to someone by calling down God’s blessings on them?
Hey SUMnation! Tiffany here.
Some of you have heard me talk about this unique journey that the Lord has me on right now with my job. I shared this on the SUM sisters in Christ group on Facebook but wanted to reach out and share here as some of you (especially the men) may have questions about what I do as a job and how God is gifting me for ministry. I wanted to give you a quick snap shot into where I spend 40 hours a week and when my heart is prepped right and my mind focusing on the Lord I am given insight that can only come from the Holy Spirit.
Welcome to my fingerprinting station (picture left). There are two other girls that I work with in my office and we each have our own computer/desk and our own fingerprint station. For the most part my day is split between this view and the view of my desk and computer. This machine has become my "buddy" over the last year. We spend a lot of time together. Maybe I should name it. ::grin:: I have to say I have done a lot of contemplating and talking with the Lord here. In thinking of Moses and the burning bush...if I had the ability to take my shoes off here...I would. This is holy ground. Before I begin to sound sacrilegious I will continue the tour and you will see why I feel this way.
Step on up to the machine! I tried to capture this as best as possible but just imagine this view from your own eyes (picture right).When I fingerprint people we are up close and personal so to speak. The customer stands in front of the fingerprinting machine called Livescan and I stand to the left of the machine. I use gloves during the time of fingerprinting someone but I essentially am holding hands with each person I print. I wish I could tell you how or when this started but my first conscious recollection was feeling a tingling sensation in my hands when fingerprinting someone when I first started doing this job over 2 years ago. I didn't understand at the time. There wasn't any actual guiding from the Holy Spirit at that point just a realization that this feeling in my hands was different than I'd ever experienced before. Eventually I had caught on that it wasn't with everyone I printed and so in the secret of my mind I would pray for those people.
I began to be amazed at how much a stranger would open up to someone like me - a fingerprinter who spends maybe 10 or 15 minutes with you. The crazy thing is they had no idea that I was willing to pray for them and yet the Holy Spirit would open up this close space and meet us there. Where 2 or more are gathered together in Jesus' name - He is there. In doing this job (please let me know if this is not biblically sound) I am beginning to feel as though the where 2 or more are gathered together in His name doesn't have to mean consciously. I mean look at our community. Some of our spouses are willing to allow us to gather together in Jesus name - when our spouses let us pray over them and with them. But, for those of you who have to be more secretive about your prayer life because of hostile spouses - when you intercede on their behalf and they are in the room...my friends...Jesus still shows up whether they know it or not! As I have grown and matured (though only a small amount) in my job I have begun to view this as a ministry. When people open up it could be as simple as they need fingerprinted because they just got a new job that requires a background check. It can also be as complicated and broken as a man getting fingerprinted for a step-parent adoption. He married the love of his life who happened to be a sex abuse victim in her teens from her step-father (close to home or what??). Cancer and chemo. Military veteran who was having a second surgery on his shoulder. Widows. Gender-identity confused individuals. A man with a tattoo behind his ear with the number 666 and cartoonish devil horns and tail. Sex offenders who have been convicted of some really atrocious things. I could go on and on...and that is just from either conversation that was opened up or earthly (physical) observation/knowledge.
I have seen some really amazing things during this fascinating season of work but I have to be completely honest with you. I am sure you can relate when ministering to others that it can be really exhausting. You know that God has called you to help and has brought people into your life that you are supposed to pour into and be a light and example to...to train up and disciple...to intercede for - even for just a moment in time. It is so hard to be vulnerable because it opens up your heart to rejoice and mourn with those around you (Romans 12:15). In the past having issues with depression and anxiety I often times get overwhelmed and it is almost like a defense mechanism goes off inside of me and it says - back away, you aren't equipped to handle this. I get in slumps where I think if I avoid God than He won't ask me to do it anymore. I know this is ugly and wrong. I am the only one (that I know of...it's not like I talk to fingerprinters other than my co-workers) equipped to THIS calling. I have to press in and keep fighting. I have to keep leaning in to the Father who has gifted me for such a time as this and such a WAY as this. I have to stand in the gap for those who come my way because I may be the ONLY one who will.
I've gone a little longer than anticipated and so I want to stop here but next time I will continue on with this #fingerprintrevelations story. So much more to share as God allows. I want to talk about the amazing post and work from Libby recently.
In the comments, can you share some tips that help you overcome the heavy burden of ministering to others? Any Bible verse(s) that keep you going? Also, how has God positioned you in your own specific, unique, and powerful way to minister to those around you everyday?
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Hey there SUM family, Tiffany here!
In the first post on this new writing journey for the SUM community I talked about the feeling of being a throw-away kid. This operated in my life in many ways. I was plagued by thoughts such as -
I am not good enough.
I am just trying to get your attention.
I cannot measure up to your standards.
What more do you want/expect from me?
I can't handle these demands.
I don't deserve it / you.
I honestly haven't realized – until last week during a healing prayer session with Lynn - that these thoughts that have plagued me for years are not only from the enemy but HAVE A NAME. The Orphan Spirit operates in such feelings as abandonment, loneliness, alienation, and rejection. Ouch! Looking back on my life, this has been the major theme! I am so used to a life like this that it almost seems unnatural to operate in freedom from this. (Isn't that truly the enemy's tactic..to turn things upside down and make it seem like “normal?”) The more I look into this topic, the freer I feel. It is almost as if the scales are falling from my eyes! I am not an expert by any means but I intend on digging deeper...I see this as a chapter in Vicarious to Victorious as the Lord leads me to write this book.
Or · phan: a child deprived by death of one or usually both parents; one deprived of some protection or advantage.
I have to say that this journey of freedom has been hard. I have realized that I have to truly fight for victory and the more I gain momentum, the more I have to be on guard. I don't say this to scare anyone. The journey is long but the triumph is so much stronger than anything I have to endure. I read Romans 8 this morning in my quiet time. This is a familiar passage to me and probably for many of you. What really jumped out to me was verse 18,
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Wow, just wow. Today this familiar verse hit me like a ton of bricks. The sufferings that I am presently dealing with – the baggage and destructive mess left by the Orphan Spirit – has taken a toll on my life. My parenting. My marriage. My friendships. Everything!
I have been living with an identity crisis YEARS after trauma from father figures. The Orphan Spirit has left me deprived of protection and advantage. My identity for the longest time has been in productivity, performance, approval. These things have always been fleeting. Even if it seemed as though I was getting what I thought I wanted, said approval, I still couldn't accept it. If I could describe the labels that I allowed the Orphan Spirit to place on my life they would include such things as: worthless, unwanted, unworthy, unloved, ineffective, desperate, needy, clingy, an object not a person.
He has given me a new identity!
Let's look at Galatians 4:4-7:
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
This does not sound like the labels I had placed upon myself at all! Thank you God, You give us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57)!
In digging deeper into God's word, and allowing the Holy Spirit to renew my mind and transform me (Romans 12:1-2) I am seeing more and more that I have the ability to see my TRUE identity. My identity isn't really in crisis at all. In fact God is using the trauma of my past to help me look forward with more confidence than before. I am not who I once was. Instead of those old labels I can rest assured that my identity looks more like: victory, confidence, powerful, effective, fierce, redeemed, helpful, compassionate, empathetic, gracious, artistic and creative, unique, valuable.
Joseph Mattera wrote for Charisma News, “The only way to break this orphan spirit is for people to be filled with a sense of the Father's love for them in Christ, which then enables them to become mature sons who serve God out of knowledge of His undeserved grace instead of trying to earn the Father's love through performance.” (You can read through the entire article by clicking HERE)
I want to close this with a chance to meditate on the newer song from Passion feat. Kristian Stanfill and Melodie Malone – God You're So Good.
As you listen focus on these words:
I am blessed
I am called
I am healed
I am whole
I am saved in Jesus’ name
Filled with Your power
For the glory of Jesus’ name
And should this life
Lord, I will remember
has bought for me
Both now and forever
To be continued...
I'll see you in the comments dear ones!
In His Marvelous Grace,
His mama was found wandering about Los Angeles and birthed a litter right around Christmas day. We adopted this little buddy from a Chiwawa pet rescue. We also adopted his sister, Gracie, nearly two years ago.
Finn, I’ve come to decide, is a special needs doggie. Something happened to him before our ownership that has left him with permanent pain in his back-hind quarters. He often yips and yelps and scurries along the floor like someone is chasing him because of the moments of pain he experiences. We have taken this poor mutt to the Vet several times, x-rays and exams to figure out what is causing this pain.
We can’t figure it out and he continues to be in pain. This causes the little pooch to be very fearful. He’s also obsessively devoted to my husband Mike. Follows him everywhere.
It breaks my heart to look upon the pup and his suffering. So much so, that I often will sit next to him and gently pet his back and pray over him saying, “I love you Finney. I bless you with peace, in Jesus name. I bless you to be healed, in Jesus name. I bless you to be free from fear, in Jesus name. I bless you with peace in Jesus name.”
I seriously have seen progress and his pain appears to be less than last year. But alas, there are good days for this little doggie and not so good days.
I suppose you are wondering why I’m sharing this story. Well, recently I was in the kitchen and I heard the dog yelp as he jumped up on the couch next to my husband. The yelping bothers Mike as well. To my astonishment, Mike pet the dog and said to him, “I bless you with peace in Jesus name.”
Mike smiled back.
My instinct checked in and I said, “You need to bless him again because it’s persistence that is the key to heaven.”
SERIOUSLY. This was happening under our roof.
Mike, “I bless you with peace in Jesus name,” as he looked at Finn.
Gang,….. In Jesus name.
This man spoke it. The name to which every knee will bow….. He spoke it. (Romans 14:11)
I grinned at him. And Mike grinned back.
We went on with our day and I believe that all of my 25 years of praying, living out my faith, loving and forgiving is producing the results of every promise in the Word for me as a child of God.
The LORD recently has caused me to realize that it’s been my pain, discouragement, disappointment and unmet expectations that have been the springboard into the most amazing faith adventure.
ALL OF IT has led me into the brilliant experiences of this verse:
Christ in me, the hope of glory. —Colossians 1:27
This promise is for all of us.
Everything worthy in God’s realm is won by hard work, persistence and pounding on the doors of heaven. Every single thing. This faith walk is not for the faint of heart, nor those who will give up easily. But when you put in the years, the hard work of healing, prayer and faithfully living of God’s Word, you will see the glory.
How do I know? Never in a million years would I have thought my husband would bless anyone or anything and never ever, ever in the name of Jesus Christ.
It’s the season of miracles. Press toward the goal my friends. (Philippians 3:14) It’s worth the price.
I love you my SUMite family. I bless you today with the peace of heaven. In Jesus name. AMEN
Stay tuned as the first week of January will be our prep-week for our annual community fast. We will fast together, with new insights that I have learned about fasting, the week of January 8-12, 2018.
I’m listening to the LORD for our promises for the year. It’s going to be the best year ever.
Merry Christmas SUMite Family,
My heart is deeply moved for all of you. I realize that this time of year and Christmas day, especially can create in us dreams and expectations about how we want the holiday to unfold. I know that I often felt disappointment, anger, frustration when it didn’t follow the idea I held in my heart.
Please hold the day loosely and before the Father in surrendered prayer. Realize that things will not go exactly as you hoped. And you may attend Christmas Eve service alone or a family member changes how you wanted the day to play out.
I want to give you some tools to use to walk through this day with peace and love.
Start by blessing yourself with peace. We are to model the life of Jesus, right? He blessed. Remember the sermon on the Mount? The Bible says to bless and do not curse. (Romans 12:14)
Just this morning I found myself struggling with a million things, a long to-do list, spiritual unrest (I’ll share that story later), emotional unrest. I was driving and frustrated with every motorist in front of me who was obviously moving waaaaay too slow, when the Holy Spirit said, “Bless yourself.” So immediately I said the following and I give this gift to you as well. It works. It really does:
(Say aloud) I bless myself with peace. I bless myself with peace. I bless myself with peace. (Immediately, my shoulders relaxed, and I felt the tension drain from my body and soul.) I bless myself with the attributes of heaven; peace, joy and goodness. I know that I am loved. Lynn, Jesus loves you. Lynn, Jesus loves you. Lynn, Jesus loves you. I bless the motorists around me with peace. I bless my home with peace. I bless my kids. I bless my husband. I love you Jesus. I love you Jesus. Holy Spirit fill my car. Fill my heart. Empower me to walk in your grace in this hour. Thank you, Jesus. I love you.
I want to offer you something else to ponder this season. Perhaps you can take this blessing to others. The power of blessing can change years of hurt. When I pray with people on the phone or in a Freedom Prayer session, we always come to a place where we bless those we are forgiving. We ask Jesus to bless them with what they need. And usually these people we have forgiven need a lot. So, bless them in your prayer time. Forgive and then bless.
To take this blessing a step further, at the dinner table, perhaps, you can say the blessing for the food. Or you can walk around the table and touch each shoulder and bless them with words of affirmation. Take advantage of this time when hearts are tender and share what you see as their potential.
For example, I would say something like this over Mike: I bless you today because you are a man of integrity. You are an amazing father. I bless you because you give of your heart to me and our children, and grandchildren. I bless you to be recognized at work for your long hours. Your ability to problem solve. I bless you to be respected and liked by your clients, and I bless you that bosses will love you. I bless you because you have loved me well. I bless you with the love of Jesus.
For my daughter: I bless you today because you have a heart of kindness. I bless you because you deeply care about orphans. I bless you today because you apply yourself to attain the goals set before you. I bless you with greater experiences of love with Jesus. I bless you because you are a loyal and true friend. I bless you because you carry a servant heart. I bless you to walk fully in all the Father has prepared for you. I bless you with the love of Jesus today.
These are short blessings and perhaps you can speak them out, perhaps you can only pray them in your prayer time. But, bless your family in this season. It may change the entire day, month and the years ahead.
My friend, Pam Farrel, wrote her blessing out one year and gave it to her father at Christmas, who was an alcoholic for her entire childhood. She grew up in a mismatched home. He wept. She wept. He began to ask her questions about Jesus in the months following. He gave his heart to Christ and that was the last Christmas he had on this earth.
OH, BLESS and do not curse. Love and let Jesus shine in you. Give Jesus your expectations and let Him overwhelm you with His surprises.
I love you SUMites. I truly LOVE you.
Taking the week off from here. See you after Christmas. Love, Lynn
It was August last year, I was sat in bed armed with a mug of cocoa, pen, and journal. Absent-mindedly, I leafed through the Bible and came across the verse, "Call to me, and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" (Jer 33:3 ESV). I scribbled it down and said, "God, tell me something great that I don't already know!"
That night turned out to be a little bit strange and wonderful. I could feel the Holy Spirit as I slept. I kept drifting towards wakefulness and each time it seemed He was speaking about the SUM community. There were words that I couldn't catch. Finally, as morning came a phrase landed in my head: Martha's Vineyard.
Now, I knew nothing about Martha's Vineyard. Being British and now living in New Zealand, Martha's Vineyard had never come across my path. "What is it?" I thought. Wikipedia was needed, and what did I find out? That it is a place of mixed marriages!
Here's the story: Martha's Vineyard (a beautiful island community off the US east coast) had an especially large deaf community. They lived with an inherited deafness from generations past. The majority of these deaf were married to hearing people, hence the term 'mixed marriages'. Because of these marriages, deafness dissipated - both in the way they lived, and among future generations who now hear.
There, the deaf looked different to elsewhere. They were not treated as outcasts. Instead, they were perfectly integrated. Because of the closeness of the deaf-hearing families, sign language was spoken widely across the community, even by the hearing.
Even today, the community's citizens work hard to protect their lifestyle while extending welcome to outsiders. It is a balance that is hard to achieve. This balance makes it a warm, attractive place. It's such a nice place that others want to live there too.
This is our SUM colony, and I think that's what this word meant -- Martha's Vineyard. I feel God wants us to celebrate our strengths and know how unique and lovely our community is. To us, those who hear less easily are not left out. We love them so much and we 'get' their perspective even though it's not ours. We use their language when speaking about faith. That skill alone is huge for the Kingdom.
Most importantly, though, Martha's Vineyard reminds us that our spouses are integral citizens. They're citizens of the SUM community, and precious citizens of God's household. They add flavor, they are sanctified, and they are part of this beautiful place.
As for us 'Marthas', the ones who work so hard to protect our own, it is interesting to me that the name Martha means 'bitter' in Hebrew and 'woman' in Aramaic - and, yes, our bitterness of soul runs deep. But I believe that God wants us to celebrate the beauty of what we're doing. If we lift our eyes we can see how lovely our island community has become. Isolated, yes, but surrounded by Him. We live in a spiritual place where the homes are beautiful, the residents are rich, and the ocean sparkles all around, bringing the promise of good things.
Lift up your eyes all around, and see:
They all gather together, they come to you;
Your sons shall come from afar, And your daughters shall be nursed at your side.
Then you shall see and become radiant,
And your heart shall swell with joy;
Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.
(Isaiah 60:4-5, NKJV)
We Marthas, the SUMites, have a beautiful vineyard: It's a place where we keep tightly hold of others, where hearts turn, and where people want 'in'.
I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts - especially from any who have been to Martha's Vineyard, or from those who have looked up and seen the beauty of our island community in more metaphorical terms!
The LOVE. The love, compassion and caring in those words to one another. Thank you. Bless you!!!
So, I want to do this again today:
I often receive emails from men and women who are contemplating a relationship or marriage to an unbelieving partner. Answering these emails is not as easy as you might think.
Firstly, the writer has been in the relationship for a significant period of time. Translation: She is already in love. She feels a commitment and her heart and life is fully engaged with this man.
Secondly: Most who write me were raised in faith and they already know what the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14.
Third, they are seeking hope that their marriage will make it.
Let me share with you that I never write back condemningly. I was there once. I married my unbelieving spouse when I knew it was wrong. I knew what the Bible said.
But, I also think that if they could see what marriage and day-to-day living is really like when the “Honey Moon” phase ends and children arrive, they might be surprised.
So, today, would you share, with a loving and compassionate heart, your (prayer or observation) of the struggle you have faced in your mismatched marriage. Would you also share how God met you there and helped you through it or how He is helping you through it now?
Make time to do this in the comments. It may change a life or marriage, even another SUM reader because you share how to walk through the challenge in victory.
I will start:
To my dear Sister in Christ. I know your heart and I also believe that love can overcome much and change the hearts of many. God has changed my heart. I also believed before marriage, that once my fiancé and I were married, it would be less than a year that he would discover Jesus and come to faith. My dearest sister that was more than 25 years ago.
I can’t tell you that you should or shouldn’t marry someone. You must take that question to the Lord, Jesus. But I can tell you that there are two common issues that become quite large and painful that you are likely to walk through in the years of a mismatched union.
Loneliness. You will do many things alone. You will feel alone often because of your different world views. Loneliness in marriage is a difficult path to walk out. It can be done with the love of Christ alive in you. But it is not the ideal of marriage and God wants for His children.
Children: I found that so much of my angst, fear and discord in marriage arrived when we had children. You will face the reality that their salvation and church experience will rest completely upon you. Can you stand up under that full responsibility? This will be a difficult road to navigate in your marriage and with your children who need spiritual guidance.
Today, I bless you to be filled with the love of God and that you seek His face for the destiny He has prepared for you. I believe that God chose a perfect spouse for each person who wants one. I pray you seek His face first and the right person will come to you. In Jesus name. AMEN
SUMites, share your wisdom. Share it kindly and share your life experience with difference to a young heart who needs love and honesty. Love, Lynn
But I want to focus on just a few today.
And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. —Matthew 14:14
Can you imagine this scene with me? Jesus just left a secluded place where He was praying to our Father. He comes from that intimate place and looks out over the vast crowd. The multitudes are broken, in pain, demonized, terrorized, hurting and sick. I love this scripture for so many reasons but I’m moved that He had compassion. He had compassion for the crowds. For the broken and those who were far from perfect. For the sick, not the strong. For the paralyzed and forsaken. For the demonized and those who live in fear and pain.
He had compassion.
He has compassion for us today. His compassion was vast. So much so that He became a man, died for us then rose again to bring us everlasting life. Pow!!! Just truly take this truth in again and view it with freshness in your heart. His mission was salvation and the healing of our body, mind, and our soul. It was His heart to bring healing to the crowds.
Jesus still heals today. The same compassion moves Him to touch and heal! I will acknowledge that there are Bible believing churches who don’t believe in modern-day healing. I was once in that camp. That was until October 12, 2012 when I had an encounter with the love and power of our living God. Everything changed that day and every day since. I can’t debate theology. But I can bear testimony that is absolute truth, I have been healed in every way through the Trinity. My soul, my mind, my emotions, and my physical body (through a miraculous healing prayer). Dineen and many others can bear testimony to this statement.)
If you have been a reader here for long, you will know that I share openly my life with Jesus. I pray you know that I speak with truth and that you can bear witness to the reality of how my life has transformed in every area because of the healing power of Jesus. If your new and still not certain about all this healing stuff, what have you got to lose? Stay tuned and press into His love and seek healing.
… and He healed their sick!
I want to share the first of the four weapons of healing that I mentioned on Monday. Ready???
The name of Jesus.
There is power in the spoken name of Jesus.
Have you ever listened to the song, There Is Power In the Name of Jesus? The lyrics continue…. To break every chain, break every chain, break every chain.
When you speak the name of Jesus you don't have to say anything else. Because when he comes, he brings with him everything you need.
In the name of Jesus, the deaf will hear (mark 7:33)
In the name of Jesus, the blind see (Mark 8:23)
In the name of Jesus arthritis must leave (Luke 13:12)
In the name of Jesus, devils are powerless (Luke 10:17)
In the name of Jesus, demons are casted out (Mark 16:17-18)
In the name of Jesus healing is available (Acts 3)
In the name of Jesus, salvation comes (Acts 4)
In the name of Jesus I have peace, joy, and goodness (romans 14:17)
In the name of Jesus, I have hope (Romans 5:27)
In the name of Jesus, we are baptized (Matthew 28:19)
In the name of Jesus, we are forgiven (1 John 1)
In the name of Jesus, we are justified (1 Cor 6:11)*
So here is my assignment this week: Speak the name of Jesus. Often. Bless yourself and others in the name of Jesus. Speak the name of Jesus when you are driving, doing the laundry, while giving the kids a bath. Bless your kids with joy while you are getting them dressed in the morning. Bless yourself with joy and hope. Bless your home with the presence of angels and the glory of God. Bless your husband to thrive at work. Bless him to be a man of integrity, one of honor, a great father. Bless him to learn to love you well. Speak these blessings aloud and in the name of Jesus.
Bless your mind and emotions with the healing of Jesus!
I’ve shared with you before about how I blessed my infected eye. After a week an old contact lens popped out on my finger. I’ve blessed away weird little bumps on my face. I’ve blessed myself into health. I’ve blessed myself with supernatural weight loss. I’ve blessed my car engine and more. Big blessings and small. All things covered by the name of Jesus can change and come under His authority.
Nearly every day, I bless my son, grandkids, and my daughter along with myself, my husband and our home. Why? BECAUSE THERE IS POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS!!
Use His name in faith and watch things change as you are consistent. It’s one of our most powerful weapons to release the power and glory of God upon our world! Hallelujah!!!
Break Every Chain:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtyVdC7E6Wo
*Thank you James Franz for sharing.
A few days ago, I received a prayer request from a new reader. As I answered her email, I realized that her situation is also similar to many of us. So, I want to share her question/prayer request and my answer.
Let me know if you are in this season of marriage and struggle and I will be so glad to pray for you. Hugs, Lynn
My husband says he believes but every time that I open my Bible or talk about God he makes me feel like I'm wasting my time and brings up controversial issues in the bible to try to prove it’s not true. It weakens my faith because he makes really good points and it then makes me feel stupid for believing it. I don't want to feel this way and I know it's Satan trying to steal my joy and my faith and he’s using my husband to do it. So, I'm asking my sister's in Christ to be in FERVENT prayer over my husband. Thank you all.
Girl, do I ever know how you feel. Indeed, this was my life as well in the early years of my marriage. I will assure you it’s all real. Jesus is real and the more you grow in your faith the easier it will be for you to walk in confidence in the truth of the Word. Also, do not feel as though you must defend your faith or the Bible to your husband. It’s impossible to make them see the truths in the Word without the Holy Spirit. It’s not a book of logic. It’s a book of faith. Faith is believing. But right now, I will be the voice to tell you it’s all real. Hold on to those words when the enemy uses your husband to shame you.
Keep walking in joy and hope because you will not be disappointed. You may need to have a conversation with your husband. Pray first for wisdom and timing. Let your husband know that you don't have every answer he is looking for but your experience and the joy in your heart outweighs the questions you have. And over time you will receive answers because God loves to reveal himself to those who are diligently looking for Him.
Ask your husband to just respect your faith because it makes you happy. Ask him not to tear you and your faith down and then promise him you won’t push your faith on him. Prayerful and hopefully this kind of conversation will develop into peace in your marriage.
In the meantime, pray…. Your prayers are utterly powerful. Claim your husband and marriage with 1 Corinthians 7:14. It is our power passage. Read about there here.
I pray for your husband and I bless you with love, a peace that passes all understanding, joy, forgiveness and more faith. In Jesus name. AMEN
SUMites, have you struggled like this? Do you have any words of encouragement to give to B? See you in the comments. Lynn