116 posts categorized "Breakthrough Living"

Do You Want The Evidence Or The Truth?

Hey SUM Family,

Tiffany here:

ev·i·dence -  

a : an outward sign : indication

b : something that furnishes proof : testimony; specifically : something legally submitted to a tribunal to ascertain the truth of a matter
(Merriam-Webster online dictionary)

Last post (This Is Just The Pits!) we began to take a look at the life of Joseph. We discovered that there are ten tests we must face in order to fulfill our God-given purpose (I highly suggest you read From Dream to Destiny by Robert Morris for more on this topic). I want us to really dive into the deep end of the pool as we learn more about the pit test.

First, let's continue on in the story of Joseph. At this point he was ambushed by his brothers and thrown into the pit. Changing scenes, we see what happens with his family next:

So [Joseph's brothers] took Joseph's tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in blood. Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, "We  have found this. Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?" And he recognized it and said, "It is my son's tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces" (Genesis 37:31-33).

F.E.A.RJoseph's brothers did not flat out lie and say that Joseph was killed. Jacob came to that conclusion because of their leading question, "Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?" This is what we would call fabricated (false) evidence.   Remember evidence is an indication or something that furnishes proof. This evidence in Jacob's mind was proof that his favorite son was dead - to him it was the truth.

For over 20 years, imagine Jacob as he says in v. 35, "For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning." Imagine a father so heartbroken that he was not able to be consoled. I don't know for certain but I can imagine countless nights of crying himself to sleep, restlessness, no appetite, deep depression...unable to move on. Not only that but his other sons could have easily freed him from all of it...over 20 years of seeing and living with their father. What callous and prideful hearts!

What about you? What fabricated evidence has been stacked up against you? Your marriage? Your parenting? Your identity in Christ? What lies of the pit have kept you trapped for far too long? 

We live in a sin-hardened world, and we will be tempted by fabricated evidence just as Jacob was. And like Jacob, we will suffer unnecessary grief if we allow the lies of the pit to determine what we believe.

This is very important. If you want to get out of the pit, you must learn to discern the lies of the enemy. Because when you are in the pit, you are especially vulnerable. When you are in the pit, circumstances usually don't look very favorable - and that is exactly when Satan will manipulate those circumstances in order  to deceive you. He will hold up those circumstances before you as evidence that you should believe him rather than have faith in God. But fabricated evidence is not the truth. Joseph's brothers held up a bloody coat as evidence, and that evidence looked pretty convincing. But it was fabricated evidence. It was not the truth. If you want to overcome the lies of the pit, you must learn to focus on what God has said. When you are in the pit, you must remember that nothing is too hard for God, no matter what evidence the enemy might produce...

Yet even worse than his fabricated evidence is Satan's biggest lie: "You've messed up too badly. It's too late for you. You've messed up too badly to ever fulfill God's destiny for your life." Do you realize that the Bible is a book entirely about restoration? The Bible is filled with stories of people who messed up so badly that it seemed even God couldn't do anything about it - and yet He restored every one of them. He wants you to know that nothing is impossible for Him. As long as you have breath, it is never too late to call out to God. It doesn't matter what pit you are in. If you call out to God, He can fix it. And that is the real purpose of the pit. (pp. 38-39, From Dream to Destiny, Robert Morris)

Next time I want to finish up with the hope we have - the light at the end of the tunnel - in times of experiencing the pit test. But for now, let's meet in the comments. Let me speak truth into you and pray with you as we debunk the lies of the pit. Lean into this reality that fabricated evidence, no matter how convincing or real it appears, is NOT the truth. I promise you that this assurance will transform your life and catapult you out of the pit.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

-- Colossians 2:13-15 (NLT)


Five Smooth Stones

Hi everyone  Somewhere over the rainbow  SUM

As I write, it’s Thursday morning here in New Zealand, and I'm a hungry girl. Each fast I do more than I did before; and yet, this fast, like my others before, has been an imperfect one.

Yesterday, for example, I went to work hungry. By 1pm it was awful. I left my office where I was putting on a cheerful front, shut myself in the toilet cubicle and said to Jesus, “HOW did you do this for 40 days?” It made me realize I hadn’t ever considered Jesus’s 40 days of no food or water.

At 2pm, I freaked, I had a class to teach: “What if I faint in front of the class?” That was it. Seizing control of my situation, I reached for my bag, pulled out a small wrapped bar called ‘one square meal’, and gobbled it up. My hunger disappeared and I missed it instantly – “Oh no, come back!!”

Fasting. What does it do?  I still don’t understand it, but this time round I’m feeling it crash me to my knees – if not physically, in my heart. In my fasting state, there are no first-world problems. I’m hungry, that’s it. I bow my knee to the Father.

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Ephesians 3:14, NKJV.

Fasting has got me thinking about the five smooth stones that God gave David to fight with. David knelt in obedience, gathered the stones, and stood up. Then he simply popped a stone into his sling, and - plop! - down went Goliath. Obviously, there were emotions around it, but the fact was he held these precious little stones in his hot hand. They were like secret treasure.  Five smooth stones

These five smooth stones were gentle weapons: small, rounded, easy to pick up, simple to hold. They make me think of fasting, rest, delight, dancing, and worshipping; things that represent a lifestyle of intimacy. Little lightweight stones.

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30, NKJV.

On Tuesday I woke with a picture of myself and my kids sinking colored pool balls by connecting with the white ball. Plop, plop, plop, went the balls. It made me think, “For victory, you have to get your connection with the white right.”  Similarly, to sink the giants, we seek first – above all else -- our connection with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That's what I'll teach my kids.

This SUM community is a place I have been learning how to do that. The example of all of you has made me grow. For that I’m enormously grateful.

“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!”

Ephesians 3:14-21, The Message

Tomorrow I’d love to take communion with you, the SUMites, who I find to be my happy place. So, if you would, come to the blog with bread and wine and we'll eat the best possible meal together.

Love to you all.

Ann


His Light Shines on a Fasting Heart

Hi SUM family  Somewhere over the rainbow  SUM

Welcome to day one of our fast, and happy new year! From what I’m hearing, we’re not the only ones who are being led to fast right now. Quite separately, even my home church is fasting and I know other Christians are too. We’re led by the same Spirit. 

This is my eighth fast with the SUM community, and every time it has been extraordinary. From these shared adventures, I now know that fasting does something very special. With that in mind, I thought I’d share my first ever fasting story. It’s a fun story, but it illustrates the fact that fasting shifts things.

It was just before I found the SUM community. I’d noticed in scripture that fasting makes the impossible possible, and so I quietly planned to try it. The opportunity finally came when my husband and boys planned a trip away, leaving me home alone. I marked it, like D-Day, on my calendar.

D-day came. I began with a coffee and my journal, and wrote down some things to talk to God about. For the rest of the day I sat on my couch and chatted to God. So far, so good.

But then -- oh the drama – things took a turn for the worse: Suddenly, my stomach twisted and lurched and I began to feel like I was going to be sick. Now this, to me, was absolute horror (I have not vomited for 19 years and don't plan to again!) I staggered to the kitchen with no small amount of distress, desperately shoved crackers down my throat, scraped myself to bed and spent the rest of the day in the fetal position, recovering. The fast, it seemed, had been an epic fail. Or had it?

Thankfully, it has never been anywhere like this bad again; it seems to get easier each time. But anyway, on with the story.

My evening in the fetal position subsided into sleep, and soon I was much better and sleeping like a baby. It was then – there in the dark – that something unusual happened: Tumbling words (in English) began pouring out of my mouth like a bubbling fountain, waking me up! I was praying, but it was certainly not my own doing. One thing that struck me was how articulate and well put together these words were.

I was left stunned.

It’s interesting how God knows just how to speak to our souls at a particular point in our lives. For me, this experience was strange, beautiful, and vividly showed me the Spirit interceding on my behalf (Romans 8:26-27). I’d been struggling to believe in God till then, but after that event I struggled much less. I kept thinking, “I cannot be atheist after what I experienced that night.”

It was the breakthrough I needed. It made me go “God is real. God really is real. Yikes, God is really, really real!!!!” In this way, my foot was lifted onto the next rung of the faith ladder, and I was able to keep on climbing.

Today, as I think about the power of fasting, I have one more lovely thing to share: This morning, as I woke, I had a little picture in my head. It was of a sharp, focused beam of light shining carefully onto a target. It made me wonder whether God is saying that when we fast, we open our heart to the light that He wants to direct onto a specific area -- and that light will surely come. In the case of my fun fasting story, that light was a healing experience that helped me overcome atheism. This time round, it’ll be something different. In any case, I will ask Him to bring His light, as He sees fit, to whatever places of my heart need it right now.

SUMites, lovely chatting today, and I’ll see you again tomorrow. In the meantime, what is your favorite fasting story?  And how has your first day gone? I look forward to hearing in the comments. 

“.. For assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:20-21, NKJV


Abiding leads to Transformation

6a00d83451ee9f69e2022ad3a65532200b-200piHello, Ian here once again.  As you probably have noticed in many of my posts in the last few years I’ve sought to desire more of God, to experience that oneness with the Father that Jesus prays for us about in John 17.  Hey, and isn’t it fabulous that Jesus, Himself, actively helps us in the process? Everyday. As He continually intercedes in prayer for us. This desire for more brought me, firstly, to writing a new non-fiction book, and then when I discovered I didn’t have sufficient material, secondly, to take up study again in participating in a Spiritual Formation course.  To date I marvel at what I’m both learning and experiencing.

The Heart

It’s a journey of the heart as the prophet Jeremiah declared: “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. (Jeremiah 24:7) I think for many years I treated it more as an exercise of accumulating knowledge and, being a passionate ‘Learner’[1], it was very easy for me to simply learn, fill many journals and my mind with lots of knowledge but didn’t feel any closer to experiencing an intimacy with the Lord. Also, being a routine-oriented person I had explored a myriad of ‘successful-people’ daily habits to try on to see if there was a fit. Once again, I kept hitting roadblocks. They helped me produce output but not the fruit I desired as expressed by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV). It’s clear now that I was confusing measuring goals and tasks with the ways of the heart. I like how Jenn Giles Kemper describes adopting “a rule of life, on the other hand, helps you become.”[2]

The vine analogy is a powerful one about becoming. In John 15, we read Jesus’ words: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (v 4-5 ESV) Heidi Baker sums up this essence of abiding: “Time spent abiding is time spent being equipped … Abiding in the vine means we are ‘plugged in’ to the resources of heaven.”[3]Abiding requires spiritual disciplines of solitude, silence, prayer and meditation. These are the disciplines of contemplation. As we fix our eyes on God in contemplation we are equipped and guided for bearing fruit. The transformational inside-out work of these disciplines serves to enable us to be secure in obeying the Word of the Lord. Foster describes this inside-out process well: “When the branch is truly integrated into the vine – united with the vine and receiving its life from the vine – then good spiritual fruit is a natural consequence. Action follows essence.”[4] This is the life Jesus modeled for us, as did the first disciples and many of the Christian greats such as Martin Luther, who had so much business to attend to he could not get on “without spending three hours daily in prayer.”

Transforming vs Conforming

Since I can remember, perhaps my favourite verses has been the classic opening two verses of Romans 12:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformedby the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

As a teenager, I wanted not to conform to the patterns of the world. I didn’t want to chase what the world did. I figured I was a bit of a misfit anyway and these verses helped show me that Jesus had a different plan for us when we asked for Him to be Lord of our life. But it didn’t take me long to get sucked into conforming.

It was this essence I lacked. I had spent too many years being religious making sure I had my daily quiet time, read more books than I can remember on how to develop a closer relationship with God and felt guilty that I wasn’t committing to enough service in my church. Action follows essence. I appreciate that now. “The [Spiritual] Disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that He can transform us.”[5] Transformation is a process, like any significant change activity. And it requires a degree of suffering just like adopting any new habit does. In fact, building bodily muscle requires the breaking of muscle fibres and interestingly, most of the restoring of the muscle is done when resting the muscle after a work out. It’s a good analogy for the spiritual transformation process as well: the disciplines of contemplation are when our spiritual muscles are restored and/or developed to enable us to step out into the action of performing good works.

I so love that image of Mary of Bethany simply sitting at Jesus feet in Luke 10. She simply sat at the Lord’s feet listening to Jesus. Jesus tells busy Martha that “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be take away from her.” (v42)

It is in abiding with Jesus we get to not just hear His voice, but His heartbeat. And the more we do it, the more His essence works its way into our hearts, transforming us from the inside out.

In all your busyness this week, please stop to spend some time sitting at Jesus’ feet. To be restored, to be replenished, to be cherished.

Be blessed my friends.

Notes:

1One of 34 ‘strengths’ identified in the Clifton StrengthsFinder® produced by The Gallup Organization, Washington, D.C. Jenn Giles Kemper, ‘Rule of Life’, Sacred Ordinary Days, undated, last accessed 18 August 2018, https://sacredordinarydays.com/pages/rule-of-life 3Rolland and Heidi Baker, Reckless Devotion: 365 Days of Inspiration, (Maidstone: River Publishing & Media Ltd, 2014) Day 134 4Richard Foster, Streams of Living Water, (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2017), 86 5Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2008), 7

 


This Is Just The Pits!

Josephs-Coat-of-Many-Colours Josephs-Coat-of-Many-ColoursHello Sum family!

Tiffany here:

It is very easy to see the heaviness and struggle going on in the world. Just in our own community there is a weight of illness, backsliding (in ourselves or our spouses), addictions, anger, depression, anxiety, spiritual attacks to our identity, self-worth, motivation, and will to keep going in the faith. There is bitterness and envy, there is confusion and doubt - toward others and even God Himself. It's like we have lost sight of who we REALLY are (we'll talk more about this later).

Before I continue, I want to preface that I don't believe that our SUM community is in this bad of shape. I don't believe that we are all struggling at all times. I do however, see a trend of these things happening in the ranks...and it seems to be increasing. I myself have been struggling a lot lately. I feel as though I have opened the door to anger and fits of rage again and it is running rampant and tearing apart my family as I unleash it's fury over my husband and children. I know I am not a monster and YET...that is what the evidence has been showing me lately (tune in next time to learn more about evidence - it's life changing!).

This is where the grace of God comes in. Where the Spirit of the Lord is - there is what? FREEDOM!

In these next couple of posts, I want to share some things that I have been learning recently in God's classroom and I pray that as we work through these things together, we will gain ground in our faith and also in victory over struggles.

I have been reading From Dream to Destiny by Robert Morris (you can find the book here). In this book he walks us through the life of Joseph and explains that there are ten different tests that we must go through in order to fulfill the purposes that God has on your life. Reading this book has been so insightful. I have been able to look at the life of Joseph in such a different way. The test I want to touch on is the Pit Test (chapter 2). Let's check in on Joseph:

So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan. Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. Then they said to one another, "Look, this dreamer is coming! Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ' Some wild beast has devoured him.' We shall see what will become of his dreams!" But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, "Let us not kill him." And Reuben said to them, "Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him" - that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father. So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it (Gen. 37:17-24).

 As we just saw, his brothers conspired to kill him. In verses 4 and 8 of Genesis 37 we find out that his brothers all hate Joseph because he was Jacob's favorite. It made matters worse when Joseph so shamelessly shared the dreams that he had of being bowed down to by his brothers and his parents. Morris goes into more detail throughout the previous chapter (chapter 1) of his book but essentially Joseph's pride is what mainly caused this rift in his family. Out of his pride he helped fuel the events that led him to this pit moment.

So what about us? What is the pit test? How do we end up in the pit?

Like it or not, all of us will go through some times when we feel as if things are just the pits. We may not be sure just how we got into that pit - and even less sure as to how to get ourselves out. But one thing is certain - we won't move ahead into our destiny unless we get out of that pit...Jesus knew we would have trouble because He know we would be living in a world contaminated by the effects of sin. As a consequence of sin, this world is full of  trouble - and pits are just one form of it. Pits are simply a by-product of a fallen world. (From Dream to Destiny, p.29, 31)

Next time I want to talk about the mind blowing truth I gleaned from this book about our time in the pit and how Satan schemes to keep us there. Until then, I can't wait to see you in the comments. What kind of pit are you in right now? How can we pray for you as a family to raise you up out of it?

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Corinth. 15:57

 


The Orphan Spirit and Identity Crisis

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 will never be able to do enough.  Pete Scazzero

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.

BUT God!

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

 

Highly favored

anointed

Filled with Your power

For the glory of Jesus’ name

 

And should this life

Bring suffering

Lord, I will remember

What Calvary

has bought for me

Both now and forever

 

To be continued...

I'll see you in the comments dear ones!

 

In His Marvelous Grace,

Tiffany


God Changed My Lens

 

By Ann Hutchison

“It’s excruciating”, I murmured to myself, munching on my toast and staring out the window. As usual, I was mulling over the fact that my husband and I had found ourselves in this … 'horrible' … spiritually mismatched situation. 

It happened to us late in life.  There we were hitting forty, and life had been going according to plan. Then, one day, God landed in our home – through me.  It shook us to the core. 

My husband is a good planner, so this one blindsided him. “I'm not the one who changed and this is not what I married!” He sounded almost angry. 

I couldn't blame him; I was the one who'd changed. I felt so bad.   Open

Bad, that was, until God nudged me differently. Don’t, Ann. However it looks and whatever the hiccups, this conversion will only cause home improvement (Proverbs 31:10-12). 


Ok, I really wasn’t seeing said improvement, but I took the nudge and did something symbolic: I left Proverbs 31 open on my kitchen bench and walked past it as I pottered – back and forth, back and forth. I peeked at the promises occasionally. It’s good that I changed. It's good.

That was helpful. But one night soon after, things took a terrible turn. I came back from a church event and told my husband how very up for God I was – very up for God! I wasn’t prepared for his response: “I don’t know you anymore!” he despaired, putting his head in his hands. 

That night neither of us slept. The next morning, I was resolved, and it wasn't in the right direction. “God help me,” I thought, “I need that man in my bed and I’m not going to lose him for anything.”  And so I shut myself in the bathroom, and crumpled on the floor: “God, I can’t follow you. It’s too hard. I’m out.” 

Ouch. That was an awful day. 

The problem was, I couldn't opt out that easily for I knew by then that God was real. Once you know, where else can you go? Soon after, I took a lone car journey. It gave me the chance to talk to God. As the countryside sped by, my tears flowed, and I whimpered: “I don’t really feel I have much choice here but to say yes to You. But will Bryce leave me?” To my amazement, He answered, and this is what He said:

“Your faith brushes against him like a feather.”  

Wow. I started to think about what a feather feels like: soft, gentle and nice.  And then, slowly I cracked a smile. But there was more:

“The more you love Jesus, the more your husband will love you.” 

Wow again. This was not what I saw but I could choose to trust it (Prov 3:5). 

I wish I could say my choice to follow Jesus was settled then, but it wasn’t. Soon afterwards a fiery battle hit my mind. I began to feel tormented by the fact I was ‘one’ with other Christians (1 Cor 12:27; Psalm 16:3) and with my husband (Mark 10:8). I suppose I felt like I was having an affair with a whole group of other people and that my husband would hate it. I tried repeatedly to run away from the pull of church, the pull of His body, and the pull of Jesus. That was when the Holy Spirit cut through my mess:

“Your husband doesn’t need to feel threatened by My Body.” 

BAM!  Those words came like a shot. Once again, it was a choice to trust what seemed utterly counter-intuitive: His truth. 

As I trusted those particular truths, the battle disappeared. It took a couple of years, but victory came. Those truths were ultimately a sword to my heart – they plunged deep, killing the old me. It was as if God gave me my way out, my victory (Rom 8:37). All I had to do was receive His lens. Now that I look back I don't just crack a feeble smile, I beam from ear to ear. And my husband is coping perfectly well too. My faith was not the marriage disaster I feared it would be. In fact, it's been quite the opposite.

So, that's my story. If yours is similar to mine and you would like prayer, please share in the comments or get in touch -- I'll gladly pray, as will others. 

In friendship,

Ann


FASTING FOR BREAKTHROUGH

Fasting 2018SUMite Nation

Next week, January 8-12, 2018… We will fast together in a Corporate expression of sacrifice and prayer. Seeking a greater intimacy with the Lord and seeking revelation for the year ahead.

Begin to think about what and how you are going to fast. Prepare your family and let them know you will be fasting. Pre-prepare meals for them and let them know that you need their support to fast.

My challenge is for you to fast an entire five days from solid foods. And for some of you who truly need a miracle, a water only fast for five days. If you can’t fast all five days, consider a sunrise to sunset fast, with dinner in the evening.

I also challenge you to fast from television and devote that time to reading the Bible or another book that will strengthen your faith.

Let me ask you this. Do you want 2018 to be better, different, to walk closer to the Lord? Then plan to fast. I’ve discovered through my personal fasting that I did in the fall of 2017, how and what happens in the spiritual realm when we fast.

It’s worth it.

I’ll share more in the days ahead.

Begin praying now for the Lord to call you into a fasting period. Ask Him to supernaturally help you to refrain from eating and to develop a hunger for more of Him.

If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you will receive what you always receive.

WE WANT CHANGE! Let’s fast and bring the power of the Spirit of God into a place of prominence in our lives. Hallelujah!!!

Love you my brothers and sisters. It's gong to be a GREAT year! Lynn


Going in His Presence

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Image courtesy of Phil_Bird at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mid-year is a big time for our church as we have a celebration dinner where all our campuses around the city come together and break bread together. It’s a night where we reflect on the good things the body has contributed across various activities both locally and overseas. Plus we look forward to the next year and share a vision for how and where the church can contribute. It’s called our Vision Builders dinner.

During the course of the week leading up to the event, I had been reading Exodus 33 where Moses on being commanded to leave Sinai demanded of God that he wouldn’t go anywhere without His presence. Let’s have a look at the passage:

“Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”

And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” (Exodus 33: 12-15 NKJV)

Who do we rely upon?

Many commentators believe the favour of God on Moses increased the very moment he said yes and only if God would go with Him. God wants us to be people who do not depend on our own ability, but upon Him.

So often we can set a vision and seek to realise it through our own efforts. Similarly, we can do likewise with the vision we have for our marriages and dealing with the struggles we mismatched ones experience. Many of us love to fix issues quickly, to resolve the struggle, to end the stress of disagreement. It’s natural: who enjoys walking around a house thinking we’re stepping on eggshells or hopping into bed grumpy/angry with our loved one. It’s a lousy feeling, isn’t it?

Even though we sometimes struggle to appreciate it usually there is a lot of stuff going on inside our partner (and ourselves) that we don’t necessarily appreciate. There’s a lifetime of “stuff” that has had an impact, positively and not-so-positively. Yes, girls your husbands who are the quiet, less communicative types still have lots going on inside. (they may not even be aware of it)

And this adds to the complexity and challenge of marriage. And as we all know we then add our “spiritually unmatched” bit and the degree of challenge just goes up.

But the Lord knows what’s going on in each of us. He knows why we are who we are. He understands how being spiritually mismatched adds another challenge to marriage.

That’s why like Moses we need to the Lord’s presence to go with us at all times in our homes and wherever else life takes us. It’s too hard otherwise.

Like Christ

“To be a Christian is to be like Christ.” (Brennan Manning)

The more I study the Gospels the more I appreciate how Jesus didn’t do stuff in his own strength.

“Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19 NKJV)

But the longer I walk this journey with the Lord the more I realise it’s all about doing it with Him. When we spend time with Him both in the secret place (Matthew 6:6) and throughout our days we can both enjoy His presence and be guided by Him.

Does this mean our marriage struggles will suddenly dissolve? No. But in revealing more of His heart for our partners and us we can step out with more confidence (shaky at first) in loving them.

“It is the relationship and intimacy that grows out of remaining in Him that allows you to know His heart …” (Heidi Baker)

If you’re going through a particularly tough time at present may I encourage you to be as bold as Moses and ask the Lord to go with you. To invade your home and heart. And when He says yes, enjoy spending time getting to know His heart for you, your partner and family.

As we know there’s power in our sharing we each other. I encourage you to share in the comments (or if you prefer the FB group) how we can pray specifically for you and your marriage.

Grace and peace, dear SUMites.


The Pouring Out Of His Spirit = Breakthroughs

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI’ve hinted for months and told everyone and anyone who will listen that this year, 2017 is a year of breakthrough and healing (emotional and physical) for the Church. I’m convinced God is healing His people to prepare them for the Great Revival and the salvation of a billion souls. This statement isn’t new to any of you if you been a reader here for a number of months.

AND NOW, the LORD is revealing to me more of his plan. You are going to be in shock and awe when I share what I have to say on the development of His plan. It’s happening right now. I will share more on Friday but for today, I want to encourage you to BELIEVE for holy breakthroughs.

Our faith is increased when we share testimony. So, I’m sharing a testimony of breakthrough that I believe you can draw upon.

My breakthroughs, anything of personal spiritual value, arrive because I’ve spent time in the “secret place.” (Psalm 91:1) The holy place of intimacy, prayer, reading of the Word and time in His Presence.

See this photo? It is a sticky note that I scribbled out on October 17, 2015. Two years ago. These were the prayer requests I was seeking of the LORD and I have had them penned and stuck to the bulletin board in my prayer room for nearly two years.

50 college

Our daughter, Caitie, started college four years ago. We had managed to save some money for her tuition and she received a small partial scholarship that covered the first two years. However, I knew we would need $50,000 for her last two years. I still gulp when I consider how impossible this number sounded as I pinned it to the bulletin board. It’s the first item on the list.

I cried out in the secret place. I pleaded. I prayed. I believed. I TRUSTED!

My friends, two years passed and provision did not arrive. I ended up withdrawing money from my 401K to fund her last two years of college. (I’m thankful, I had a 401K from my years in corporate America.)

I will admit that I felt confused, disappointed a bit and uncertain about God’s silence. But….. This isn’t the end of the story. I am a hungry believer. I have faith in the God of in the impossible. I’m a believer in persistence. I continued to press in to learn more about my King and His ways. Can I just tell you that God shows up even when we give up?

Caitie will graduated from BIOLA, a Christian University, on May 26th of this year. Certain doors opened which were providential and she decided to apply to Grad School. Her Dad and I, had no idea how she would get there and were utterly at a loss how we would pay for it.

Back to the secret place… I prayed. I also spent some time studying the Courts of Heaven, and one morning I entered those courts and made a petition to the Judge. (That experience I will share in a later teaching.)

Upon completing my prayer time, two utterly astonishing things happened THAT DAY with regard to our finances. But what I want to share with you today, happened a few weeks later.

The phone rings, I answer.

“Mom, I received a letter today from Purdue University.”

“Ya.”

“Mom, they are offering me a full ride.” I’m dumbfounded. Unable to speak. And that is a rarity for me.

“Mom, they also want me to become a teacher and teach the under-grad courses and will pay me. It will be enough to cover all my living expenses.”

I utter with astonishment swirling around me, “Wow, Caitie…. Just Wow… Praise Jesus!”

My friends, God heard my prayer back in 2015. His plan was to provide ALL of the finances. When you consider the financial benefit that Purdue offered her, it roughly totals $100,000. That is double what I had prayed for. And a side note, the money I withdrew from my 401k has been replaced because the stock it is invested, has tripled. God answered my prayer and gave us double!!! Say what??????

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If God will do this for me… He will do it for you…. Go into your secret place. Meditate on His promises. Pray them back to Him. Write them down. Tarry, pray, storm the heavens and don’t relent. Sometimes God’s answers are bigger than we can dream and often they arrive in ways we aren’t expecting or in a timing we are not anticipating.

I do want to share my experience in the Courts of Heaven because that precipitate my breakthrough. I’m thinking of doing a live class to explain it.

SUMites, we have been called by God, as critical participants in this next GREAT REVIVAL. This week God began to reveal what this is going to look like. I will be sharing about that on Friday.

Today, I am walking in the truth of Acts 2. And I declare that you are walking in His Spirit with me.

So right now, today, make your state of commitment to God’s plan in the comments. Write what you are praying for in the comments. Write out your hunger to experience the Acts 2 church. Write out your desire to be used by God to be the harvesters in this next Great Revival. Cry out for a revelation of His love.

I’m on fire!!!!!!!…. I will pray with you in the comments. I love you, my people… My church without walls, my SUM nation…. MY FRIENDS. MY DEAR, BELOVED, ETERNAL FRIENDS. I love you. Hugs, Lynn


Combating the Enemy Within

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Photo courtesy of DigitalArt/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


I’ve always been curious as to the stubbornness of my anxiety and sinful habits that nag away at me. I thought it a useful topic to discuss as we walk through this fabulous series on emotional healing.

I’ve mentioned my struggles with anxiety previously. Like many of us it’s been a regular companion for as long as I can remember. I’ve spent enough years of my life in counselors chairs that I figured it was something that would be with me all of my days. There was a self-defeatist sense of ‘oh well, it must just be part of what makes me, me.’ I know many others who struggle with it think similarly.

Some of you may be able to relate to this as you too have had anxiety as a companion or perhaps it’s some habitual ‘thing’ that just hangs around. You’ll have some days where it doesn’t make an appearance, others when it says ‘hi, don’t mind me, I’ll just sit over here,’ and other days when it just gets plain bossy and makes everything so much harder and, scarier, leaving you in despair.

“Help me, Jesus,” is a much-repeated cry on such days.

A Thorn or what?

We’re all familiar with Paul’s ‘thorn’ that he carried with him for most of his days. I know I’ve often resigned myself to thinking my anxiety is my ‘thorn’. But I’ve come to realise that’s a lie.

We talk a lot about the Devil and his role in continually badgering us. Remember John 10:10, he’s come to “steal, kill and destroy.” Yes, we’ve got a target on our backs and his aim is pretty good because he gets a lot of practice.

But it’s not just that enemy we have to contend with. There’s the “enemy within the camp.” Our flesh. I love this definition of the flesh I read recently which provided much insight:

“… the outlook orientated towards the self, that which pursues its own ends in self-sufficient independence from God.” (Anthony Thistleton)

There’s an internal battle going on inside us. Because of the rebellion that took place at the fall, there’s been an “enormous disruption in our human nature.”1 As Hewetson contends: “the body’s desires are entirely legitimate and simply doing what they were created to do. The evil lies in the fact that because of our failure to submit to God, these desires refuse to submit to us and rebel against their lowly position.”2

Hence, the longer we’ve lived with a particular habit or perception or way of thinking, the harder it is to dislodge it. And willpower won’t be sufficient to move it out altogether. We need supernatural help.

Abundant Living

Over the past year I believe I’ve made some significant headway regarding my anxiety. One of the key steps was to acknowledge (and keep reminding myself) that God doesn’t want me to live with anxiety. It’s not in His plan. For me. Or anyone.

“Jesus came that we may have life, and that we may have it abundantly.” This is the flip side of John 10:10.

We can have confidence that in walking with Jesus we are “moving away from lingering imperfections toward more and more holiness.”3 The more we keep our focus on Jesus and the things above (Colossians 3:2) the stronger our protective walls become forcing the enemy to gradually retreat.

Another key consideration was understanding that I am a son of God. As I mentioned in my comment to Lynn’s post last week I knew this in my mind but it’s only really in the past year or so when I believe it’s sunk into my heart.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Prov 4:23 NLT)

The heart. We can rely too much on our minds and what we are thinking but God looks at the heart. He wants us to love Him with all of our heart … trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your understanding.

Heart health

How do we get heart healthy in 2017? A few thoughts on what I’ve actively been doing these past 18 months or so that I believe have helped me get to where I am now.

1. Get moving

Not just exercise – do that. But actually be positive and take action. God uses us to implement His purposes for our lives. Think of all those great OT stories, eg, Abraham had to leave home, Noah had to build a boat, etc. My anxiety has many times stopped me from starting because “where should I go? what if it isn’t the right way? What if I do it wrong?” You get the gist.

Last year I moved forward by committing to an action that I’d put off for years. Why had I put it off? Pride and fear.

I’m so pleased now that I stepped out as it has definitely helped me. Stepping out does take courage and having someone close who can encourage you, move with you even, is a good way to help take that step.

The greatest counter measure to fear is to start something.

2. Get into the Word

You’re probably tired of me saying this but golly gosh, falling in love with the Word has changed my life. The Word is a lifeline, an instruction manual, a love story, a magnificent mystery, and a supernatural book. And it’s a person.

“… but be transformed by the renewing of your mind …” (Rom 12:2)

Getting the truth into our hearts truly is a strong weapon against those perceptions or deceptions that we’ve carried around with us for too long.

3. Guard your heart

We need to put a gate against all the negatives that can infect our hearts. Many of us struggle with such negatives in our marriages. The enemy uses offense to weaken Christians. Offense can bubble away inside us for years. Our pride will encourage it to convince us we are justified in feeling such and such. And then before we know it relationships are strained. Forgiveness is a powerful weapon against offense.

4. Community

Like many of us being actively involved in church happenings has been a challenge for me. But I also enjoyed being anonymous as it made it easy for me to stay uninvolved. Last year I was asked to increase my engagement in a couple of different groups. I’ve been so blessed by both and have seen my faith and love for Jesus grow as a result.

I was reminded only today of what Acts said about the first church:

“And they devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.” (Acts 2:42-43)

God loves community. He knows it’s good for us. I’ve been a laggard for too long and used my situation to stay in the shadows.

 

I’ve still got a long way to go. Anxiety pops its head up most days to remind me it’s only a few thoughts away from jumping back in. And yes, they’ve still been some tough days but I’m filled with far more hope and confidence than I was previously.

“Finding fulfillment in God is the most powerful antidote to any sin.” (Gary Thomas). Keep fixing your eyes on Jesus.

Grace and peace, dear friends. I do apologise for the too long a post. Thank you for persisting. May 2017 be a great year where we all experience release from the “stuff” that has vexed us.

Notes: 1. “Good For You. The Extraordinary life of the Ordinary Christian”, Canon David Hewetson, Barton Books, 2015. Pg25. 2. Ibid. pg 26. 3. “Taste and See. Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life.” John Piper. Multnomah Books, 2005. Pg100 Referencing Hebrews 10:14 NASB


BREAKTHROUGH

SUMITE Fast 2017: Monday, January 9: Day one.
New Life Chapter One
SUMites…. Who wants a new beginning? A fresh start? A year of new possibilities, promises fulfilled and a deeper walk with our Lord?

We are a people who are endowed with new starts. Believers have been given a gift of new starts and new beginnings. It’s in our nature. We experienced our first new beginning when we came to faith in Jesus. I’m convinced that the Lord gives us new beginnings, new starts over and over again throughout our life. And this fast is going to be the start of significant changes and fulfilments in our lives in 2017.

I am CONVINCED that this year is a breakthrough year. I have enough faith in this statement for all of us, even for those of you who aren’t feeling it yet. I’m convinced that God is leading us toward significant person healing. I’m convinced that there are even more prayer strategies that He is anxious to teach us in the months ahead.

So, buckle in. Set your mind on the prize (Philippians 3:14) and BELIEVE for your new beginning to become reality because Jesus loves you that much.

I’m in for the long haul. The Lord has commissioned me to fast from food the entire five days. I write that sentence in faith that God will see me through. But I’m convinced that on day three spectacular answers, breakthrough, provision will result. It’s usually on day three that a shift will happen because of our faithfulness.

Join me and fast in accord with how the Lord has called you!

Sometimes we can start a fast and say to ourselves that yes, I will pray. Then what happens is we go into our room and sit down and then think, It’s hard to pray. I don’t know what to say. What to ask. I’m bored, distracted, etc.

Anyone?

That is why we are using the prayer strategies book. You can read the prayers aloud. Ask the Holy Spirit to come and rest upon you before you start. Ask God to rest His glory upon you.

Record notes in this book. Like Sarah, she wrote notes and prayers in the margins. There is a place to write prayers in the book and I urge you to get a prayer journal.

This small book scares the devil. This small book is filled with prayers that change hearts, lives, marriages and our faith.

Today, read chapters one, two and three. Read the prayers suggested at the end of each chapter. Write your prayers in the book. Put the date next to the prayer. This is a permanent record of our petitions to the King. And one day we will look at this book again and SEE THE FAITHFULNESS OF OUR GOOD FATHER.

If you don't have a book, write in your prayer journal. NO ONE in our House of SUM is left out. Pray and write your prayers, hopes, and the words God gives you in a journal.

The Holy Spirit is with us. Jesus adores us and our Father IS GOOD, EVERY DAY, IN EVERY WAY GOOD!!! On Thursday, we will ask the Lord to reveal our divine purpose/calling. It will be a powerful day of shifting in the Spiritual realm of your life. That’s why I decided to wait until after day three.

Today in the comments, let’s encourage one another to grow in our belief (chapter three). Let’s post our thoughts. Share your struggles if you are needing prayer support. When you’re hungry, stop in and share and let someone cover you in prayer. Then pray for another SUMite. 

The devil trembles when the SUMite Nation prays!!!!

And God rejoices when we pray and He sends answers (Chapter seven.)

Woo Hoo. My excitement is electric. I will be praying for you this week. I love you so very much. Hugs, Lynn


Bearing fruit - the power of kindness

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Photo courtesy of Dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.nety/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As Dineen shared last week we both attended a writer’s conference in Nashville ten days ago. It was a tremendous few days for both of us on a number of fronts, not least hearing from the Lord regarding our writing. It was a wonderful answer to prayer for both of us. God is good.

We'll save those stories for another time.

Family

One aspect of the event that I so loved back in 2012 was a sense of the familial. Yes, even when I didn’t know the majority I felt accepted, loved and appreciated. Simply because I was sharing the same journey they were. Yes, having an Aussie accent probably helped a little too.

I experienced the same sensation this time too. Perhaps even stronger. Yes, since 2012 I’ve developed friendships with attendees (like Dineen) but it’s like any new friendship. We get excited in the early days as we learn more about each other and the yearning for more grows.

Funny, I’ve discovered in the last year or so that the more time I spend with the Lord, especially in our secret place together, and in His Word, the stronger the yearning for more of Him has grown.

Vine and Branches

We’re all familiar with this analogy Jesus uses. It’s one that I’ve meditated upon a lot in recent times. Enjoying the Lord and His presence is self-perpetuating. The time we spend with Him, the more time we want to spend with Him.

I was extraordinarily blessed on a number of occasions at the conference by the kindness of others.

Kindness. I love this word. It’s a bit old fashioned a word, isn’t it? We all intuitively understand what it means and we can often miss it when we receive it.

The keynote author gave me ninety minutes one-on-one, another author who is highly sought after by many sought after me to have dinner, and dear Dineen made a point of celebrating a successful meeting I had with my publisher. And then there were all the little moments of people stepping out of their way to say hi. One author even rode down and back up another escalator simply to say hi.

Kindness.

As I’ve mentioned to many on my return my heart is full. And still is. Even almost two weeks later.

Jesus and His Interactions

The Samaritan Woman, the adulterous woman hauled before Him by the Pharisees, and His interaction with Peter on the beach after His resurrection.

All examples of kindness. Yes, there are many other lessons to be learnt in those particular examples but in each of them we see Jesus being kind. The individual standing in front of Him had sinned and in the world’s eyes, big! Jesus didn’t focus on the sin, or their shame. He focused on their heart.

One of the first signs for me that I’ve become too self-absorbed or I’ve slightly withdrawn/disconnected from my wife is I’ve stopped being kind. I forget to make the morning smoothie or send the ‘sweet nothings’ text.

Abiding and Fruit Bearing

Often we’re hurting for good reason. We’ve been let down, unfairly treated or spoken too. Or we’ve simply been ignored or we take a word out of context. Our spouse is self-absorbed in something and we’re not getting the attention we hope for or desire. So we retreat, bite back, ignore or whatever our usual modus operandi might be.

But we’re called to be kind. Even when betrayed by Peter and when hanging on the Cross (“Father, forgive them for they know not what they’re doing.”) Jesus exercised kindness.

Sure, but Jesus was special. One of a kind. (excuse the pun)

Yes, but He was also an example for us to follow. But how do we do it?

By swinging back to the vine. By abiding.

“We aren’t required to bear fruit; we are required to abide in Christ. The result of abiding in Christ is bearing fruit and that is the proof of our discipleship.”1

The struggle in our marriages, in our friendships, with our children, can be unbearably hard. We can’t bear fruit on our own. I know, I’ve tried it. And come up short too many times. That’s why we gotta keep turning up to our secret place. Every. Day. Jesus is there waiting for us.

Share your hurt, share your joy, give Him everything you got. He can take it. He wants to take it.

The fruit will come.

Believe it. Know it. His Words are true and trustworthy.

Dear Lord, thank you for pursuing us, protecting us and wanting all of us. Help us to let go of our lives and hand them over to You. Be our guide as Your Word reminds us. Give us the courage to turn up every day in our secret place and to believe that Your Word is true. May kindness flow from us into our marriages, into our children, our workplaces and our friendships. We pray in Your mighty Name. Amen.

Note: 1. “Who I am in Christ,” Neil T. Anderson, Bethany House Publishers, 2014, location 2246 (Kindle edition) 


Our Free Will Is Powerful In Prayer

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comWell, I wonder how many of you had an “opportunity” to exercise your confidence and take a step of faith in love and out of fear this past few days?

I will tell you one thing, when you pray in confidence, the devils are afraid and you bear witness to some pretty astonishing things in the Kingdom of God!

Hallelujah and AMEN!

So here is the next component of powerful prayer.

WILL

Our will. Our free will.

Christians like to debate, free will. And we, who are married to pre-believers, live daily praying that our spouse will engage their free will and turn to Jesus. But what many believers don’t realize is that our will, when engaged in prayer is powerful.

I’m struggling with how to explain this. Because it is similar to engaging confidence and belief. But there is something more.

What I believe is that as God’s kids, we are to pray heaven to earth, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. What makes powerful intercession is when His will and our will are aligned and then we stand in conviction.

We are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is the Lord’s purposes to bring about the fulfilment of your prayers. It is God’s will and thus your will to pray and see people freed and healed.

The only way I can think to explain is to provide two examples.

One: O Lord, I humbly ask that you would be kind to me. I have had a headache and it won’t go away. Lord, if it is your will, please heal me. Amen

Two: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I state clearly right now that Jesus died for my complete healing. I come before the Throne of Grace to be healed completely and permanently by the blood of Jesus. Holy Spirit right now, in Jesus name, I command this pain in my head to leave and never return. And in the place of pain I speak peace, joy and healing. I praise you Lord that you love me so much to provide my healing. I will walk in your love and healing right now. In Your powerful name, Jesus. AMEN

I wonder, can you discern the difference?

Do I believe God can and does respond to both prayers? Absolutely. Yet, I KNOW that when we pray within our authority, exerting our full conviction (our will) in belief with confidence. The heavenly realm responds. First, angels move under this kind of direction and second, demons flee as they are afraid of what you might say next and it scars the crap out of them.

When I pray and demand that the demonic leave someone for whom I’m praying or for myself, I go on to set the demons on fire and chain them in the pit, never to return. They don’t want to mess with me, my friends. *grin* (Could it be that I am a small-but giant badass in the Kingdom? Can I say that on a Christian blog? *sheepish grin*)

So, I have a question for you. Have you prayed in this manner, in full belief, with confidence and exerting your full will? Have you had someone pray over you who prays with these convictions?

Share your stories in the comments. I can’t wait to read them. And please take a minute to share because the Holy Spirit is impressing upon me that your testimonies are going to help another reader to find healing, hope and transformation.

Let’s be a community of badasses for the Kingdom of God and start kicking butts and taking names and chaining the demonic in the pit!  Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

You are amazing prayer warriors, SUMites…


What Does God Want From Me?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHello SUMite Nation,

The Holy Spirit is speaking the Word – PRAYER! (Don’t tune out. This is good.)

“Oh man, did she just write – PRAYER.”

Did you just whisper this under your breath?

Let me explain what I feel the Lord is impressing upon me as well as upon most of His church right now.

Prayer.

Some of you may remember that I served on staff in Women’s Ministry at my local church for years. I led Bible study groups, choose studies for our women and directed a lot of the Bible study efforts. I left that position four or five years ago as our online and book ministry began to grow.

What I always found fascinating and utterly disappointing in the years of choosing Bible studies was the fact that if we chose a Bible study about prayer, no one signed up. Yep.

Bummer! But true.

However, what I’m discovering in 2016 is that God’s people are hungry to learn about prayer and learn to pray effectively. It was evident by the online class on prayer this past Tuesday. And it seems that every time I post a prayer on Facebook, it gets shared around. I’m so truly excited about this change in the heart of the Church. Hallelujah.

So over the next few posts I want to pour more into prayer. I want to encourage all of you who attended the class with more information. And for those of you who missed it, now is your time to also gain wisdom, knowledge and anointing to pray with power for REAL results!

Sound good?

A word before we continue: Prayer is NOT a way to arm twist the Lord into doing our will. Prayer is a conversation between a Father and His child. It's learning to listen to God and then obeying His will. 

I want to look at a few keys to vibrant prayer as well as “blocks” that keep us from breakthroughs. Such as:

  • The Word of God
  • Belief
  • Confidence
  • Will
  • Courage

And finally we will discuss the “why.” When prayer remains unanswered, why?

I might throw a few extras in somewhere along the line. Also, I won’t spend too much time on discussion about praying the Word of God because that was covered in the class on Tuesday. (I hope to offer that class again in the future, for those of you who wanted to attend and couldn’t.)

You know maybe we actually need to start at the beginning. How do we create a prayer life? What do we do when we just can’t pray? How do we respond when we feel so beaten that our prayers are full of defeat and tears? Anyone?

I’ve shared many times that all I have in the Kingdom, is the result of my intentional efforts to create time and space to be with God. I know this is often THE most challenging part of prayer but even a few minutes a day will change your life. You can read about that here: Breakthrough Praying for Breakthrough Living. (Skip down to where you see the Bible and start reading there.)

Today, I pray significantly different than I did in 2008 when that post was written. I often pray about the same things but the way I pray, the words I speak and my convictions are what has changed and is also what moves heaven in response.

So, today, I challenge you that if you to create and stick to a time to read the Word and pray everyday.

Let me leave today’s post by reiterating two essential components of effective prayer.

  1. Create a time and space devoted to Bible reading and prayer.
  2. Use the Word of God in your prayers.

Okay, what might be helpful is for all of you to share how you created time and space in your life for prayer. Share in the comments. Someone reading this need to emulate what you did. Especially help mothers of young children with suggestions.

Also, share in the comments if you learned news tips from the class, Praying the Word, and how you will now pray the Word in your prayer life. Someone reading this also needs to read how you pray the Word.

SUMites, God intends to set His praying people upon a broken, dark and evil world. He expects His kids to pray and bring His Kingdom to earth. Are you ready? It’s gonna be fantastic.

I’m traveling the next couple of weeks. I will be checking in here as I am able and pop in to be part of our astounding community.

Okay, PLEASE take a minute to write what you have learned to help a SUMite on the road behind you. Love you a ton, Lynn


Want To Know How To Pray For Real Results?

A few weeks ago I experienced a breakthrough in my faith walk. Breakthroughs are amazing but I find in my life they usually follow a difficult season. This was true once again for me. However, the result of persevering in faith through the challenges is astonishing. So my friends, if you are in the darkest part of your valley, press in to the Father, because the breakthrough is SO worth it.

This particular breakthrough increased my belief in the prayers that I utter for others. I began to really see powerful and immediate things change when I prayed for people.

Say what?

Being filled with a fresh anointing of faith and exuberance, I posted something to my Facebook wall about breakthrough and how I was walking in a fresh anointing of Holy Spirit fire. At the end of this post I asked a simply three-word question:

Who want’s prayer?

Within minutes, prayer requests began to appear. After a few hours there were 66 requests for prayer.

I learned something from these requests. Many of God’s children are beleaguered with relentless assaults from the demonic. Terrible health issues, children with addictions, financial worries and the list went on and on. These aren’t minor things but really challenging assaults.

Reading through them I was grieved. And then I got mad. Mad, at the enemy because his relentless nit picking keeps believers tied up in their own swirling world of problems, so much so that we can’t come up for air to see the concerns and needs of our neighbors, church, community and especially our country.

Additionally, I realized that many believers truly don’t know how to pray effectively. It’s not their fault it’s just sometimes believers need to battle the demonic oppression directly and many churches don’t teach their congregants how to do this well. In fact, several wrote me to say they didn’t know how to pray and thanked me for the example I shared with them.

I believe effective prayer consists of several attributes. And on August 10th, I will be teaching a LIVE class on how to pray effectively using the Word of God and through our identity as an image bearer of Christ.

To sign up, complete the following enrollment form: Praying the Word of God with Lynn Donovan

Two LIVE classes will be offered on the 10th. 12:30 pm and 5:00 pm PACIFIC. You can attend either or both. Content will be similar but often there will be variances because I follow the Holy Spirit leading.

By the way, I prayed online for all 66 requests and I KNOW God moved upon many.

So GLAD to be back among my SUMite family. I have SO much to share with you this month. Matthew 24, Daniel 9 and Revelation have come alive for me. It’s not scary stuff and SUMites, you are more than ready for all that these books contain. Anyone interested??? Stay tuned.


Consuming Fears About our Children

2 timothy 1 7On Friday I shared some truths about stepping out of this curse of the fear of man. Growing in our faith was the first truth I shared and leads to victorious living. Our faith growth, learning and living out of God’s Truths is what I stand upon every day. I’ve become a ROCK, a house built upon stone and not sand (Matt 7:24). Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, I spend quality time with God. There is no agenda, like completing a Bible study assignment. It’s just me, my Bible, a journal and my Lord. Ahhhhhhh, bliss!

I will never stop preaching about the absolute need to spend time alone with the Lord. It is out of my intimacy with the Trinity that I can walk in victory, laughter, adventure, joy and hope…. Every… single…. Day. Hallelujah!

With that said, I promised last week to share a little about fear we hold as parents. When I speak or pray for moms who are parenting small children, I hear this over and over again., “I’m so scared something is going to happen to them. I’m afraid they will get hurt or that I’m not doing a good job raising them. I’m terrified they will die.”

Oh how my heart breaks to see their faces distorted by this kind of fear.

This is what I say to them.

Do you believe that God loves your children more than you do?

Of course they do, however if we are being honest, they also doubt.

I can promise you that God has amazing plans for your children. Each of them. He delights when they wake up every morning and it’s God who stands with them when they are playing on the playground or in their room or at preschool. I want you to pray with me this prayer:

Jesus, today I truly place each of my kids in your hands. I ask you to surround them with warrior angels that will travel with them all of their lives to protect them and also to guide them. Jesus, today I release this fear I’ve held in my heart that something terrible will happen to them. I say I will trust you and I ask you to give me wisdom and discernment when I do need to step in to protect but that I would also know through Your Holy Spirit when I can let loose and allow them to explore, create, take risks and discover this amazing world and life You have given them.

They are your children and I will pray protection over them every day, by name. And then I will trust you to walk with them and give them the abundant life. In Your powerful name, Jesus. AMEN

You may ask me, “Lynn, what if something does happen to them?”

My friends, we can always find a million reasons to fear. But why pick up anxiety, nurse it and nurture it when we don’t need to. If a day comes and my children suffer, you can bet this praying mama will ring the ears off my Papa God in intercession for them. Listen to what Jesus says about this:

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. —Matthew 6:34

My friends, some of the worst things we will ever have to deal with are the fears about things that actually never happen. Don’t waste your time in fear. Today, pray and commit your children into the care of Christ. Then laugh with them, take them for ice cream, go outside and make mud pies or play in the sand or just be silly. Take them on adventures that they will never forget.

That’s the kind of life I live every day with my Father. Every day is a wild adventure with the King!

Have a blast. Love you, Lynn


Breakthrough after years of.......

Part III today... Part I (click here) Part II (click here)

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Mom & Kaylee crop
Granddaughter reunion in January

But, my friends, wait as I grab tissue to dab at the tears, there is STILL MORE.

Yesterday, when my mother called to check up on my health progress, at the end of our phone call, I said, “Mom, thank you for always praying for me and my healing. But Mom, how can I pray for you?”

And this is almost the best part of the story.

She said, “You know I wasn’t going to mention it to you but since you asked, I think I’m having some kind of a spiritual breakthrough.”

“What? Oh Do tell me more. I want to hear everything.”

“Well, for some reason I am teary. I don’t know really what is happening but I’m so teary and weepy.”

OH HOLY GOD BE PRAISED!!!

“Oh Mom, I’m so glad you told me about this. I’ve been praying for you to have a breakthrough in this area for years. Mom, it’s okay to cry. It’s healthy to cry. It’s healing to cry over your pain. Mom, you know that Jesus cries. It’ right and good to cry.”

“Well, yes I know that Jesus cries.”

“Mom, do you know that on that day many years ago when you said to yourself that you would never cry again, did you know that when you said those words you made a word vow, a curse against yourself? Mom, when that happened a demon attached to it and even in later years when you wanted to cry, even needed to cry, you were unable.”

“But Mom, praise be to our Jesus because He has set you free and yes, mom, you are having a spiritual breakthrough! Mom, if you need to have a long-bawling-cry your heart out- cry, then do it. Don’t stop it up because Jesus is right there to hold you through the tears.”

“I’m afraid that if I start, I won’t stop.”

“Don’t stop this mom. Let Jesus heal you all the way. And you will be healed when you let it all go.”

“I love you so much Mom. It has been my profound privilege to be a witness to how Jesus has loved you all of your life. Through such great tragedies and heart wrenching loss, He has danced with you and loved you every day of your life. He saw you as a small child, determined to get to Sunday school to be with Him, so determined you walked alone. He has watched you train up three children in the Lord. He has stood with you as you taught Sunday school to little children four and five years old for years and years. And mom, you are still teaching those little ones today, which just inspires me.”

“Mom, Jesus would not let you leave this earthly life, without giving you these profound, healing encounters because He loves you, He sees you. He knows you honored Him and believed without wavering even when everything appeared hopeless….. But you cried out, “I believe in Jesus.”

My mother then interrupted me to share one last story. And I share it with you now because the truth behind it is weighty for all of us...... 

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Part IV on Monday my friends.

I wonder if any of you have found yourself in a place where something you swore would or would never happen again in your life and become a barrier to you. If you have, please leave me a comment, that I may pray for you. Or email me, link for my private email is in the sidebar. 

I love you my friends. I am watching the Lord move with power and freedom in many of our lives. Email me your stories. I want to celebrate with you.

Have a blessed weekend. And remember to set your clocks forward on Saturday night in America. Hugs, Lynn


No Longer A Pre-believer but a Believer

Today I have another amazing story that arrived in my email box. This is from Pam Anderson who has been a SUMite for a number of years. She is sharing what is happening in her home right now. I pray you are greatly encouraged and also find these breakthroughs she is experiencing are for you as well.

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Lynn and Dineen,

I’m emailing you today about something God has placed on my heart to share with you.  I don’t know why, but here I go.

I’d first like you both to know what a blessing you’ve been.  In some of my darkest and challenging times, your prayers and words have been the encouragement I needed to hang in there and stay faithful!  When my faith was weak, yours was strong.  And I cannot thank you enough.  It amazes me how closely my life, challenges and blessings, have so closely aligned with the two of you.

Anyhow, here’s what God has wanted me to share with you.  Back in May 2014, God said it was time for me to take it up a notch in my faith walk.  It’s then he showed me that I am to ask for something in prayer once, then after that, begin thanking him for it as though it’s already happened (claiming Mark 11:24).  So I began a “thankful list” which basically converted my prayer requests into thankful prayers.  Specifically, in regard to my husband spiritually, I began speaking and declaring the following:

In the name of Jesus, I thank you Father that:

  1. My husband has turned to you, humbly asked for forgiveness and has repented of his sin’s and has named Jesus the Lord of his life.
  2. My husband accepts the Holy Spirit’s guidance in all areas of his life.
  3. My husband has been transformed by the renewing of his mind, and is living a life that brings you honor and glory.
  4. Your will is being done in my life, my husband’s life, our marriage and our home, just as your will is being done in heaven.
  5. My husband and I love you Heavenly Father with all of our hearts, soul, mind and strength.
  6. My husband is sanctified through me, his wife.
  7. You have given my husband the grace and anointing to carry his responsibility as head of our home.

These are just a sampling of the prayers that I prayed. There are others that deal with physical manifestations of changes, such as habits.  Ladies, I am in awe of what God has done!  He’s bringing my thankful list to pass in front of my eyes. He’s been faithful to moving mountains with mustard seed faith!   My faith increased and I started expanding my vision and asking/thanking.  Praise you Father in the name of Jesus for your faithfulness!

Now God is speaking this to me:   “Call your husband a believer, not a pre-believer.”  I started having this overwhelming “knowing” that by calling my husband a pre-believer I was cursing him, not blessing him.  I was locking him into that status.  God showed me that it was time to call him out of pre-believer status, into believer status.  That he’d be faithful with this as he’s been with the others thankful prayers.

So today, I ask myself, “What do I have to lose? Absolutely Nothing!”  

Beginning today, I prayed:

Prayer Request:  (Prayed one time)

Father, I ask that you bring my husband to believe in Jesus Christ as his savior and Lord, and make him a mighty force in the furtherance of your Kingdom.  In Jesus’ name I pray.

Thankful Prayer: (Will pray this daily as of today)

In the name of Jesus, I thank you Heavenly Father that my husband is a BELIEVER in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and that he is being used mightily in the furtherance of Your Kingdom! Amen!

I know God is doing more than I can possibly ask, think or imagine.  I’m keeping a daily log of all the things God is doing, his many graces.  The more I look for them, the more I find.   I’m so humbled by the whole thing.

Love you both,
Pam

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Pam HeadshotI worked in the healthcare industry for 25 years and quit an executive position to support my husband in his writing career.  A step of faith that has taken me, and my marriage, in directions I could never have thought, asked, dreamed or imagined (Eph. 3:20).  I am humbled and in awe of God’s faithfulness.


Healing The Heart Of The Spiritually Mismatched

Over the past several weeks we have covered many topics about loneliness and suffering. We have looked at these through the lens of God’s Word and our unique marriage struggles.

I feel as though it’s time to wrap up this series. So, how do we find healing?  And how do we maintain our healing as our struggle continues in a marriage between a believer and unbeliever?

Well, way back in December many of you shared exactly what has brought healing to your life. I want to share them here today. I also want you to add to this discussion in the comments. What brings healing to our hearts?

Here are the thoughts SUMites left in the comments:

  • Focus on the good and not what I don’t have.
  • Look for ways to pour love into others.
  • Set with other “married, singles – misfits. (Bible study, time at a coffee shop, on the phone, etc.)
  • Start a small group. Share, pray, study.
  • Join a Bible study.
  • Have safe people in your life who understand and don’t judge.
  • PRAY
  • Focus on Jesus.
  • Trust God for family’s salvation.
  • Visit SUM – Read an email. Read a comment left by another SUMite. Comment back and forth and encourage another SUMite and be encouraged.
  • Consider how my loneliness is actually a blessing. I’m encouraged to see other couples at church. I am believing God desires this for me.
  • Seeing Jesus as my husband – My One true love!
  • Walk in the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Recognize lies of the enemy. Example: SUMites don’t fit in anywhere at our church.
  • Cling to the promise of 1 Peter 3:1.

These are amazing and all of them are true, powerful and WORK in our lives. Amen Jesus, AMEN

When you begin to walk in the truths and power of Jesus Christ this is where we live everyday: Peace, joy contentment, hopeful expectant.

I love all of you so very much. I’m deeply encouraged every day by your love, devotion and pursuit of the Kingdom of God and the love of Jesus Christ. You are MY FAMILY. I love and adore you forever. Hugs, Lynn


Conference At Merriman in Garden City, MI

Perhaps for a moment in time, just perhaps, we stood upon holy ground.

 

Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

 

I bet many of you know these ladies. They like to hang around SUM! 

SUMite Pillars
Gillian, Teresa, Melissa, Heidi, Joanne

 

Ohio Sumites
Some of the Ohio SUMites: Left to right: Judy, Mindy, Laura, Dawn, Chris

 

Fran Green
This is Beloved, Franie. This conference started in her heart last summer.

 

Lynn Donovan
The Holy Spirit moved. We laughed, cried and we were loved on by our Lord!


Skit
The skit was hilarious. I was cackling. Well done Merriman!
Conference Team
This is the amazing team of leadership that made this day possible. Thank you is inadequate but THANK YOU!

More photos are posted on our SUM Facebook page, click here.

 

The best part of the day is: WE PRAYED. I wish I had a photo to show you what happened at the end of our day. Can anyone who attended share what happened in your heart as you stepped out?

I'm overwhelmed at how the Lord moved on Saturday. Dineen was unable to make it due to her shoulder. So on Thursday I knew that I would speak the entire day. My friends, I can't perform. But I prayed and prayed that our Papa God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit would walk among us and I believe we honored our Lord and He showed up with love and power! I believe lives were touched and I'm teary reading the email messages such as the one at the bottom of this post.

If you were unable to attend, don't feel left out. You are loved and we talked about our amazing community on the web. And now let's pray that Jesus arranges another conference in your area. It would be my humble privilege to meet you, to pray with you and to love on you with our Daddy's love.

Breakfast in the gym
Love these ladies. They were on the front row!!

DSC00088

From Jen:

Lynn,

I do not even know where to begin to thank you. 

I attended your workshop this past Saturday and I am moved beyond words.

When my pastor’s wife invited a small group of us to attend this together I admit I was a little apprehensive.  Not knowing whom she invited I assumed it was only sent to me (or a couple of people) and the other couple of people were nowhere close to my unequal marriage, (so I thought).  I immediately went online and bought your book and WOW!  By the end of just the intros of the both of you, I was in tears, so moved and so motivated. I thought I was the only one in this position, I was alone, I thought nobody understood my marriage, my life, I even questioned my position in my faith and how I possibly could continue to follow Jesus with an unbelieving husband, a daughter 20 years old whom has walked away from Christ and a 13-year-old daughter loving Christ, how could I keep going?

I read the first half of the book in one day and then started over so I could take notes, pages and pages of notes. Ready to register for this workshop, (alone because I figured nobody else in my bible study, church or small group of friends would ever be in the same position I am), the pastor’s wife emailed me again asking if I wanted to go and let me know there were a few others interested. I attended our bible study the next week to tell these women everything I had read and learned up to that point (which was 66% as I am an e book user 😊) and was floored to discover five out of ten women there that night were somewhat in the same position.  Then in our plans for carpooling across the border I find out there was eleven of us going from our church...eleven!!!! Seriously???? I am not alone!!!! So as soon as I got home from the workshop I went directly to your website and signed up, pinned my location and when I looked at all the other pin locations around the world, my heart swelled to see and feel the common love from all over the world.

You were not even five minutes into speaking and I was in tears.  I have come out of this past week with a new light, a renewed hope and joy that is just spilling out of my heart. I went to church this morning and together we found five women sitting alone and we all filled half a row, held hands, hugged, sang to the high heavens and supported and loved on one another like never before. One woman even had an argument with her husband before church today because he did not want to attend anymore and guess who had some loving words of advice for her?  ME!! Little old me! I walk into church today and out of church today with a new song in my heart, a skip in my step and a feeling like I belonged, and better yet, God wanted me there, He loves me! He loves me! He loves me!

So from the bottom of my heart thank you! Thank you for leading me closer to God, thank you for opening my eyes to the women near to me in the same unique position, thank you for introducing me to the thousands of women near and far that feel my pain, my joy, my love and have my back!

Forever indebted and much love, Jen


God Shows Up

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image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

It’s the final day of our community fast. SUM family, what an experience.

For me personally, at the beginning of the week, I was feeling far away from God. I had lost my will to pray and even reading His Word felt as a chore. I was stinging from family pain over the holidays and because of that, holding some unforgiveness in my heart. Yikes!

I knew I needed surrender and renewal. The Holy Spirit did not disappoint. Yesterday was my breakthrough.

Yesterday Southern California, where I live, received a much needed dousing of rain. Rain has fallen steady for over 24 hours. Thank you Jesus for answered prayer.

On Thursday morning, I rose before dawn, as usual. However, pain in my knee caused me to turn around and head back to bed. When I woke a few hours later, pain-free- the sun was brilliant in the sky and the Lord beckoned me to join Him around the fire pit in the backyard. So I wrapped up in a coat, a blanket, took my coffee and my Bible.

Golden finchesThere the Holy Spirit met me. With the fire lit, I began to hear droplets gently fall around me from the branches which glistened with rainwater. The sunshine was warm upon my face. I smiled upward and then suddenly birds arrived and were everywhere in the trees. Tiny golden (yellow) finches. Their tweeting and twittering sounded as worship as they searched for breakfast.

It was glory!

I was loved on for an hour as I read my Bible, listened to the birds and the fire crackle while the sun kissed me. An hour with the Lord passed swiftly as we sat by the fire. And as I rose to head inside and start my day, the sky immediately clouded over and large rain drops began falling once again. Rain is expected all day today.

But, for an hour this morning, the Lord parted the clouds and met me there. Restoration, love, tenderness, gentleness.

His love is gently sweet that way.

I fall more in love with our Lord as the years march on. Regardless of my struggles, the challenges I face or the warfare, I AM LOVED by the Lord of the Universe. And that truth changes everything!

SO ARE YOU!

Today on this last day of the fast, let our Papa God, Jesus our Bride Groom Prince and the Holy Spirit love on you. I feel as though the Lord wants to speak personally to you. And He gave me an unexpected passage, Hosea 2: 14-21. I went to look it up and nearly wept.

So, here it is for you. (I have personalized it in the parentheses.)

My Beloved,

But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert (quiet places) and speak tenderly to her there.

I will return her vineyards (destiny) to her and transform the Valley of Trouble (struggles) into a gateway of hope (provision, joy, peace and goodness, Rom 14:17).

She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt (captivity of satan).

When that day comes,” says the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my master.’ (I long to hear this from your lips, says the Lord.)

O Israel (Beloved), I will wipe the many names of Baal (false gods, fear loneliness, lack, anxiety, depression, separation, disappointment and pain) from your lips, and you will never mention them again.

On that day I will make a covenant (promise) with all the wild animals and the birds of the sky (loved this today) and the animals that scurry along the ground so they will not harm you. (perfect peace)

I will remove all weapons of war from the land (homes, marriages, children), all swords and bows, so you can live unafraid in peace and safety. (fearless and free)

I will make you my wife (for men: Prince in the Kingdom) 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. (forever)

“In that day, I will answer,” says the Lord. “I will answer the sky as it pleads for clouds. And the sky will answer the earth with rain. (AMEN)

Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries of the grain, the grapevines, and the olive trees. And they in turn will answer, ‘Jezreel’—‘God plants!’ (God favors, protects, increases, give s in abundance)

At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites (believers) and raise them for myself. I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ (unsaved)

I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ (Image bearers of Christ Jesus!)

And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’” (Yes, Lord, AMEN)

Community, what is the Lord speaking to you today? What has this fast meant to you? How did God meet you? I also encourage you to press through for prayers that remain unanswered. For our God loves us and it is His will to answer. Allow Him the time to set “all-things” in motion.

See you in the comments. I’m praying for you today. Love, Lynn


The Sword Of The Spirit

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comGang,

Can you believe it? Today, is my last post in my Spiritual Warfare series. I truly hope that you were empowered and found yourself with more armor, more protection and greater understanding of the real battle that is at hand every day and every moment of our life.

We have talked about the Word of God, or the Sword, as our truth and it ties into all the other pieces of armament in Ephesians chapter six. My friends, the Word is our offensive weapon. It is double edged, in that when we swing it, speak it, read it, love it, believe it, follow it. Two things happen. It slices one way, upward, as it pierces into the heavenly realms to open up more of God’s favor and revelation. (Faith and belief comes by hearing the Word of God) and it also slices downward at the same time, cutting off the attacks of the dark kingdom.

And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the Word of God. —Ephesians 6:17

In the last month I’ve come to understand the Word of God in an expanding knowledge.

The WORD:

Graphe (Greek) means: Writtings. 66 books that compose the cannon of scripture.

Logos (Greek) means: The Message of the writings. When you read a passage and you understand it, you have just experienced the Logos, the message.

Rhema (Greek) means: Utterance. The spoken or declared Word of God. The spokeness of the logos (message) that you received from the graphe.

The rhema is the spirit and the power of God’s presence with you!

So what does this look like practically?

Jesus used the Word to defeat Satan during His 40 days of fasting in the wilderness – where he went to be tempted by the devil.

Devil: If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.

Jesus: It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

In Matthew chapter four, Jesus uses scripture to defeat satan twice. The above passage was in Deuteronomy chapter eight. And the second passage I find interesting is that the devil quotes God’s word to Jesus from Psalm 91. The devil knows scripture. Thus he clearly understands our authority as well as our lack of knowledge, that gives him power in our lives by default.

Devil: He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

Jesus: It is also written: Do no put the Lord your God to the test.

Followed by Jesus telling the devil: Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

Guess what happened? The devil left him.

Gang, if Jesus is quoting the Word of God to the devil, I think that it would be a very good idea for us to do the same. And we need to say more often and OUT LOUD: Away from me satan!

The devil will always tempt us with a legitimate need, just as he did in this passage with Jesus. But our defense and our offensive weapons are so powerful that we need only speak the Word to the situation and then watch as satan must flee and our Lord will take over and provide.

After this encounter angels came and attended him (Matthew 4:11) My friends, I could stand to use a few angels attending me. How about you?

I want to share a personal observation with you now. This is from my heart and from my experience in these many years of walking with God. So often, the Lord is looking for us to just take a tiny step of faith. He is watching the entire human race to see who will believe Him. He waits on the edge of His seat to see how we will respond to promptings of the Rhema as it moves in our life. His watchful eye is upon us to see if we will take one step out in courage to pray for a stranger, to share our faith with our spouse, to give to someone in need without anyone else’s knowledge, to show ourselves vulnerable but in absolute trust that God has got our back.

When I have followed God’s suggestions to go pray for a stranger or to give them the words I am hearing from the Holy Spirit, NEVER have I been left hanging in embarrassment. It IS a RISK to follow the Rhema and the prompting of the Spirit but each time that I choose to trust, I’m overwhelmed with the love of God. The great privilege is watching the love of Jesus flow into a heart and free them from fear. To be present as the Holy Spirit gently pours peace upon them and to see their countenance change. Even the shape of their face can change when they become free of the chains of fear and oppression.

THAT my friends, is worth any chance of being embarrassed. For me, I will risk it. I choose to RISK for the Kingdom because I have picked up the Rhema, the living Word, and have “experienced” Him.

John 1:1 New International Version (NIV)
The Word Became Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

God has given us everything we need to THRIVE in life. His blueprint for victorious living is in our hands. The Word, Christ Jesus and His shed blood. The living Word that heals, saves, elevates, and restores. Reading His Word is the gateway to the most glorious, fun-filled, adventurous, and triumphant life. Today, fall in love with the Word of God. Read it every day and ask God to open up the truths it holds because only good can come from its pages.

I know we could spend years in this lane of study of spiritual warfare, but for now, we have finished our tour of Ephesians chapter six. As we enter into the late fall season with Thanksgiving near and Christmas around the corner, I want us to reflect on our blessings. And we are indeed, rich!

Dineen and I have been thinking about a new series that you will love, beginning in January after our week of fasting. Until that time, we are going to be sharing what the Spirit of God leads through the holiday season.

I would love to hear any suggestions of areas in your marriage, faith-walk, raising kids, etc that you would like us to address. Leave a note in the comments.

I know that many of you have found freedom though this series. If you would, please share with me what you learned and how it’s encouraged you, healed you or how you grew in faith with me in the comments.

I love you deeply. Hugs, Lynn

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Guest Post: Blessed are the Peacemakers

Dear friends, we have some more exciting news for you today. Our very own SUMite, Ian Acheson, has come on board with us and will be posting the first Wednesday of each month. As you know, Ian is the author of Angel Guard and has written guest posts with us periodically. We are so thankful to have him on board to give a male perspective to our mismated journeys and to our SUM family. God is so good! He knows exactly what we need! If you want to know more about Ian, check out his website too!

Thank you, Ian! We are excited to see what God has planned for you here and we are blessed to receive your wisdom and authenticity. Lord Jesus, bless Ian and equip him with more knowledge and wisdom in You. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Blessed are the Peacemakers

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Photo courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lynn wrote a wonderful post two weeks ago encouraging us to always put on the shoes of peace. I've been meditating on the Beatitudes for the past few months and providentially my church has just completed a sermon series on them.

Anxiety has filled my heart for too much of my life. I’m blessed to be a twin and since I can remember mom always described me as the “anxious one” while Peter, my brother, was the relaxed one. I put it down to the fact he sat on me for nine months. Yes, I was first out and Pete took another twenty minutes before he realized he was missing his older brother.

Peace is inside us

Neither the enemy nor the world can bring us peace. But God is peace and the words of Romans 5:1 remind us that in believing in Jesus we have peace. As Lynn reminded us we have to actively choose to believe that peace is within us by putting on our shoes.

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” (James 4:1)

Anxiety and strife begin in our heart. If we’re anxious we step into any situation, anxious. Only this weekend Fiona and I were discussing Christmas and how we’d manage having separate lunches for each of our families. Even though Fiona will do most of the cooking, she was the one who brought peace to our discussion. I brought the anxiety.

We can only be a peacemaker when we're at peace. 

Distraction steals peace

We live in a world of distraction. We only need to look at the story of Martha and Mary when Jesus comes to visit. Look at what Jesus says to Martha, “Martha, Martha (ouch …not a good sign) you are worried and troubled about many things …” (Luke 10:41)

Martha wants everything to be just right. Heck, it’s Jesus. She’s cooked him a three-course meal while making their house spotless. And she’s exhausted.

Mary, on the other hand, is single-minded. On Jesus.

We can learn two valuable lessons here on dealing with distraction:

  1. Make decisions about what your priorities will be. For example, read your Bible every day, go to church every Sunday. Don’t wait to decide on the day. Lock it in.
  2. Actively eliminate things from your life, whether that’s one or two regular commitments, some of the email newsletters you subscribe to, or stuff that is causing clutter in your house.

Source of peace

Remember that post I wrote a few weeks ago about the power of memorizing Bible verses? One verse that I’ve locked away since then is the following:

“You will keep in perfect peace
 those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” (Isaiah 26:3-4)

That’s what Mary did. She kept her mind fixed on Jesus.

As I mentioned last time, for too much of my time as a Christian I’ve been too casual in my commitment to Jesus. I haven’t wed myself to His Word rather simply grabbing snippets. Guess what? My anxiety continued unchecked.

“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” (Psalm 119:165)

My pastor mentioned this verse a few weeks ago. What a great verse. Fall in love with the Word. Read it, devour it, mark it up, memorize it, live it.

I know in making a stronger commitment to spending time in the Word and in prayer this year my level of anxiety has reduced and I realize God’s peace is truly accessible.

This morning as I scanned my Instagram feed there was a photo of an underlined passage of the Bible from someone I follow. She mentioned her sister has been struggling with much opposition but “reading God’s words are the only time my mind and world quit spinning.”

It reminded of something my pastor would say: “If your Word level is out of whack with your circumstances, you will be susceptible to those circumstances.”

As a group let’s encourage each other to stay in the Word and in so doing we will experience peace. Then we can be the peacemakers in our marriages, our families, our friendships and all situations.


I Kick Disappointment To The Curb!

I began this series on disappointment from a place of victory. Last week I have shared my defeat, struggle in captivity of the enemy and my escape. I have told you that we face a very real enemy who is continually looked for ways to derail our faith and life in God. The enemy will work relentlessly in one area, which has proven to be quite successful. The demonic realm will try to drown you. Not in water but in problems. And if he can’t get to you directly, he will overwhelm your family.

I'm mad!!

My disappointment and oppression ended while I was visiting my mother in Colorado. Finally, the day prior to my departure, the Lord began to talk to me again. I felt the oppression lift. The Dove came home. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!!!!

I prayed with people that day with power and God showed up. But wouldn’t you know it, that day my daughter called from Cambridge bawling her eyes out about something. I was stunned. She should be having the time of her life. I spent an hour encouraging her, praying assuring her through FaceTime. Later that evening, I’m praying again with others, my son texted me with bad news and my husband told me an hour later that he had one of the worst days ever, at the office.

I kid you not.

If the enemy can’t get to you, he will come at you through your vulnerable family. I became furious. I began to pray with power and vowed that every day for the rest of my life that I would pray with power and protection around my family. I told the devil he can’t have me or my family. I walked around the vineyards, my house, on the phone with Dineen, with my prayer partners. My family is no longer open to attack because by God’s Word they are covered and sanctified through me. (1 Corinthians 7:14

I’ve been praying every day and will for the rest of my life for their protection, favor and covering. I saturated my prayers with passages of truth and promises of God’s Word. The devil must bow to the power of God’s Word and Jesus. So quote The Word of God to him my SUMites. And then I let Jesus loose on his head!!!!

My friends, I’m convinced God is raising up a great company of woman. We have been prepared for such a time as this as we enter in to the “End Times.” Our men are stressed, deceived, over-worked and broken. They NEED us gals. And at just the right time, Jesus will raise us up. The men will welcome us and we are going to do battle with powers of darkness. But we, who have been fighting in the trenches for decades, will be ready. We are already powerful. Full of faith. We swing a sword of such great power that the demonic realm trembles. When we arise, this great company of women, we will startle the world with our determination, our wisdom, love, kindness and our convictions. Our convictions and the love of Jesus in our hearts will conquer nations, restore homes, heal the people and bring the greatest glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.

So BATTLE ON WARRIORS!! We are in the trenches now. Jesus is teaching us as fast as He can so that we will walk in victory in our lives. And soon, very soon, we will bring victory to our communities, towns, our cities, to our friends and neighbors. Literally, we will be looked to for wisdom, healing …..  hope… And we, this great company of women, will point people to: The One.

The Holy King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus…. Our God, The Great I AM and the Holy Spirit. The powerful and loving Triune God. AMEN.

Let these words come forth and set us in motion Jesus. All for your Kingdom! In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Many interesting perspectives, truths and revelations have come out of this season. I realized I truly have a powerful faith. I REALLY, really believe the Bible. I also sense that the Lord is giving me a new dream:

How about a retreat or a camp where we all meet and learn to walk in the gifts together? A place where we meet and allow the Lord to have all of us. A weekend together where we let God have His way and He raises up “A Great Company of Women.” Can you imagine what will happen in our world after a weekend such as this? It’s in the planning stages. Let’s pray about it because it will take a community to make it happen.

I love you so much. Get ready, the Kingdom is advancing. And always remember this: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 ~Lynn

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com
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