198 posts categorized "Community"

And Onwards We Go!

Dear friends Bible and clock

Well, we’ve reached the end of our How I read my Bible series. I hope you enjoyed it. I always say 'God made us each as unique as a snowflake'!

Some of us have a special place where we curl up to read each day …

Some of us have a favorite book of the Bible …

Some of us have a creative method we use …

And as we read, we encounter God.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)

Ahh..

Well, with that wrapped up I'd now like to share some ministry updates:

The team is going to take a couple of weeks off while our American SUMites enjoy their Thanksgiving season. We’ll pause the ‘Let’s Talk Live’ videos too, restarting early December.

While off, I'm going to be doing some planning and praying using the feedback from the SUM community survey. I want to say a huge thank you for completing that survey and sharing your hearts with us. It painted a picture of who we are writing for, and I have to say I shed a few tears reading the responses and getting to know you a little. Sometime next month I’ll share a little more about the demographics of our community, and a summary of what our survey showed us. I think you'll find it interesting like I did.

Well, that’s all. To our USA SUMites, have a wonderful thanksgiving. To the rest of you, stay standing! And we’ll see you - fresh and raring to go -- when we're back.

Ann and the team


A Holy Moment. Don't Miss It!

We Are in the In-between

It’s likely you have read or heard me speak about the Jewish holidays and specifically, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

I want to take a minute to remind you to be observant in this in-between week. I’ve found that decade after decade many things will come to an end or close out in the month of September leading up to Rosh Hashana. Then in October new relationships, adventures and holy assignments arrive that I’m to participate and further for the next 12 months.

This is why.

The The Inbetween SUMHolidays were God’s idea. He instituted them and they aren’t any less valid to Him today than the first time they were observed thousands of years ago.

Rosh Hashana is the start of the Jewish calendar, New Year. That was Sunday here in the United States. Yom Kippur, a most holy day, is Tuesday, October 4th, here in America. We are in this precious in-between period.

Anything is possible!

As I consider how many things happened in my life last year, I’m undone. It was last October (new year) that Mike and I moved from our So Cal home of 22 years and started our new adventure. We didn’t know we would face cancer, home buying challenges, find ourselves actually staying and buying in No Cal. But, as I look back on SO MUCH that happened, I see God in it.

God knew my deepest desires and brought me to a new home I couldn’t even dream up in my wildest dreams. Mike and I stared down cancer and today he is healed and whole. CANCER FREE! I learned I can do hard things. In this past 12 months I received more direct revelation from God than in any other years. And I began this week to receive the chapters of my new book about spiritual gifts.

It’s been three years since this has happened to me.

I have an important question for you: What is closings out of your life? Sometimes it’s a job, a marriage, a relationship, a home, etc. Even things we don’t want to let go. BUT, our good Father ALWAYS has something better ahead. It’s simply His character.

So, in this in-between, I’m praying and expecting BIG THINGS…. REALLY BIG THINGS! Bigger than I’ve ever asked for and I wait expectantly.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, talk to me.

In the comments, tell my what you have noticed that has closed out of your life and what are the really big things you are praying for. Let me be part of this amazing journey of faith.

I will believe with you.

I love you. With a full heart, Lynn Donovan


Shift our Focus - Part 4: Don't Walk Alone

Pexels-abel-tan-jun-yang-159935
Photo courtesy of Abel Tan Jun Yang at Pexels.com

Hello dear friends. Ian, from a chilly Sydney here. First day of winter and the southern part of Australia has got caught in a cold snap that’s come up from Antarctica. Brrr …

This is the final part in my little series on shifting our focus away from ourselves and setting it on Jesus.

We’ve often talked about the challenges in our situations of being active participants in a Christian community. For many years, in fact too many, I chose to minimise my engagement in Christian community. As a result, I didn’t develop any meaningful relationships with other believers. I was doing life with Jesus alone.

And it was hard work.

God’s a Community

God is communal in His very nature- three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we are formed in His image. We were made to be communal. Irrespective of whether we’re introverts and find greater enjoyment being by ourselves, the there is a deep yearning with us to become all we were made to be. This can only be realised with others. We limit ourselves, our relationship with God, and our families and friends, if we choose to walk alone.

In addition, the enemy loves those who are separated from the pack. We see it in the animal world.  We become easier pickings if we are always walking alone. There’s no natural defensive barrier that being part of a group (even a small one) provides.

Receiving Love

For a whole variety of reasons, many of us have been starved of love in our lives. As a result, we’ve never learnt how to receive it well. This often will reveal itself in us not really opening ourselves up to others because we’re unsure how we’ll be received. “What if they find out what I’m really like?” I discovered this in my own life. I had inadvertently ‘closed’ myself of from others. I wasn’t allowing others to love me.

For men this is often a challenge. The lone-wolf is so common amongst men. Yes, we connect with others on the surface about our jobs, sports and other things we do. But when it comes to sharing real ‘heart’ stuff we will often avoid it. To such extent that I know men who can’t really describe what’s going on inside. If we’ve never really shared emotionally or vulnerably before, it kinda gets harder and harder the older we get. Simply because we don’t know how.

One of the joys of a communal life is fostering a deep mutual connection. This can only be realised when both parties are willing to receive.  A willingness to open up and allow others to love us, to teach us, be willing to sit at their feet and learn. This can involve moments of tremendous vulnerability. And learning to trust.

Pentecost

Sunday marks the ‘Day of Pentecost’ when the Holy Spirit descended on the early church as promised by Jesus before He ascended to heaven. After the incredible happened as the Holy Spirit arrived as described in Acts 2, we get a picture of the beauty of true community:

“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)

The first church chose to do life together. Nothing has changed. The invitation is there for us too: to do life together. Yes, we have an added complication, don't we? The SUM life is challenging isn't it?

For a variety of reasons, I’ve found myself having stepped out of community. As church has physically returned, I’ve chosen to continue to attend online. And it’s really struck me that I’m kinda treading water. And it’s in being with others that I can move forward.

We’re invited into a God-breathed kind of life and to experience it with others.

Perhaps in the comments we can share our own experiences of joining with others, whether a handful or many, and how it compares to walking by oneself. And also, what particular challenges do each of us have in finding community or being able to participate in it. And what are some ways you've risen above the challenges.

Grace and peace, dear Sumites.


Not My Will, But Yours Be Done.

Garden picture"Then He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, knelt down, and began to pray, 'Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me - nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.' Then an angel appeared to Him, strengthening Him. Being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground" (Luke 22:39-44, CSB).

Jesus felt fear, He felt anguish, He felt overwhelmed, He felt exhaustion. We know this because of scriptures like the one above. But what did Jesus do about it? What was His response to this event He knew was causing all these feelings? Even in the face of pain beyond measure, He told the Father, "Not my will, but YOUR will be done." Jesus had human feelings. That is one of the beautiful things about conversing with Him in prayer, we can be honest with Him and take comfort in knowing He truly understands what it is like to be human. We know Jesus NEVER sinned, yet He did have feelings. It was His response to those feelings that we can learn so much from!

Jesus did not take human emotions lightly. He knew exactly how much trouble they could cause if one gave in to them. I am sure that is one of the reasons He frequently sought alone time with God. He knew He HAD to stay close to the Father, every moment of the day. This was one example He gave us of how to survive in the flesh and not fall into temptations. Constant communion with Father! He also showed us how to fight against Satan, using God's word (Matt 4:1-11), resting when we need to (Matt 8:24), and in the gathering of the disciples He showed us the importance of a supportive faith community!

His simple, yet profound prayer in the garden showed us what we should all do in times of great crisis and pain, times of fear and exhaustion, times of sorrow and anguish, even in times of hope and anticipation: "Not my will, but Yours be done."

I recently had a sort of come-to-Jesus moment in my life. Emotions were running high and I was faced with a hard decision. One that would very much change my life. I could run towards this issue. Face it and work it out. Or I could run and choose the easy way. The calmer waters full of instant gratification and self righteousness. So I prayed, but it was one of those prayers where you THINK God is going to agree with you, ya know those? Well just imagine how I felt when He gave me very clear instructions to do exactly what I DID NOT want to do! Funny how that works isn't it? ;)

So, after crying my eyes out and having a little pity party, I said, "Okay, not my will, but Yours be done." And you know what? The weight of this issue, which before felt suffocating, was suddenly lighter. Peace has been filling me ever so slowly and gently as each day passes that I keep choosing to live in His will. I have not seen the fruit of this decision yet, but the obedience and trust in the Father is more important than the result itself. I know I am on the road God wants me to be on. I just need to quit thinking I know a short cut, because He has the map! ;) "Not my will, but Yours be done." Not my way, but YOUR way Lord!

Is there anything in your life to need to let go of? Or maybe even trying to let go of before God has told you to? Ask God about it today! With a humble heart and listening ears say "Not my will, but Yours be done," and see what peace comes when you walk in His will! I would love to discuss this with you all in the comments. Have a blessed Holy Week my SUM family!

Amanda


The Day I Entered the 'Small Group' Scene

Ann here! Tea and biscuits

With Bryce not attending church with me, one of the questions I've often asked myself is whether it would be a good thing for me to join a small group ... Or not, given my circumstances.

Like many churches, mine has a home-group scene where people meet weekly at each other's homes. The idea is they build connections, care for each other, encourage each other, and have stimulating discussions.

It sounds great, but I can already hear a collective sigh here because it's usually not so simple for us.

First, these groups are either full of couples, or full of singles, and we struggle to fit. Second, our spouse might feel we're already leaving them on a Sunday, and now we want to leave them for an additional evening each week. That's in addition to all the other time we spend on our faith activities.

In fact, years ago when I asked Bryce if he'd mind me attending a small group it turned into one of the worst conversations we've had. He expressed very clearly that yes, he would mind very much!! I wrote about that story recently, it was not a good day. 

Difficult as it is, we do need to be with believers regularly, we do need to build Christian friendships, and we do need to fight for that. The reason we need to fight is that our spiritual survival hangs on it. That said, church community can take many forms and a 'small group' may or may not be the right format depending on where things are at in our marriage. A regular coffee with two other Christian friends might be just as good and easier to fit with your spouse.

When I joined my new church last year I was invited to a small group and, despite all the past conversations between Bryce and me about this issue, this time it seemed right.

By then Bryce was no longer appalled by the idea. I'd worked hard over a number of years to balance church and our marriage and he, in turn, had done some thinking. He didn't miss the opportunity to tease me when he heard it was a 'small group' but I said "I love you", gave him a kiss and off I went.

So now we get to me ringing the doorbell and arriving at said small group ...

The door opens, I step in, and I get hugged by everybody: Eight couples in their fifties and sixties and one other lady on her own. There is tea, coffee and food. Yum! I'm keen, but I do wonder if I'll cope being around couples. I'm not sure if I'd have coped with this until now, in fact.

Armed with our tea, and now sitting, we start to talk about Sunday's sermon topic using discussion questions. Now I'm loving it because all I want is to talk about faith, all the time, and I'm always in need of this!

That was the first taste, and I didn't fall over from 'Coupledom misery'. But over the weeks, hearing about their faith lives in detail, I did begin to see just how different a SUM walk is to a couples faith walk. It is different.

I would find myself driving home thinking two things. (1) "I'm more intense than they are because of the SUM." And, (2) "I don't fit." 

Still, I continued, and the 'not fitting' became a lie I needed to dispel. Why? I am part of the Body of Christ. I fit.

As the months went on, I actually found surprising treasures. For one, I loved getting to see guys' faith. And, second, I noticed how different the gifts and experiences within this group are. That part broadened my view, and I began to feel I was understanding the Body of Christ better... Simply by sitting with people who are different to me. 

My verdict? Being part of a small group has been beneficial and I will continue, but it's worked because the timing and fit was right. I guess, as with anything, we just have to pray about it and always follow God's lead about what's right for our circumstances.

There's part two to this story, next. Hold onto your hats:

Christmas rolled around, it was time for the group's Christmas dinner, and up came this offer "Please do invite your husband, we would love to meet him!" What happened next I will share next time... 

Do you go to a small group, or have you done? I'd love to hear.


Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

“This isn’t what I married.” Said Bryce. “And there may come a point where I say to you enough is enough.” Rock hard place

He stood by the chest of drawers suddenly seeming distant. I sat on the bed. My heart was pounding with fear.

“Don’t you ever say to me you can’t give it up if I ask you to.”

He was talking about my church involvement. And possibly also my faith. Gulp.

One request had led to this conversation: I had told him I'd like to go to a ‘small group’ at church one evening a week. It was 2017, and I thought he was used to my faith and my church-going. But I had misread how he truly felt. As I can now see, a small group/home group is weird to someone not versed in church ways.

I was helpless and heartbroken. Helpless as to what to do; heartbroken at the fracture between us. I could not change my beliefs if he asked me to. I could change some of my behavior, but my beliefs? 

Over the next few days I scraped myself around the house, miserable. The burning in my bones wouldn’t go away. The experience of God had been too tangible for me to turn any other way except towards Him.

My friends, I'm guessing you've likely had one of these 'fracture-filled' moments at some point in your SUM? Some of us have an easier ride than others on this one, depending on how much our spouse disagrees with our faith and how much they verbalize it to us. When a spouse does verbalize displeasure at our faith it is memorably difficult and upsetting. It always calls for us to go away, think about what we can compromise on, and on what we just can't. 

Things are easier now between Bryce and me, but that day in 2017 I remember thinking to myself (crying) "I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place, the rock being Jesus and the hard place being my husband!"

What on earth do you do when you feel stuck in an impasse like this?

Well, apart from having a little cry, which is thoroughly cathartic, I'd say the most helpful thing we can do is turn our face directly towards the rock-face that is Jesus. The rock-face that our spouse is even against. There is a rock on one side, a hard place on the other. Turn our face directly towards the Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4). It has to be that way. Give some time to Jesus, go for a walk, say to Jesus 'Please minister to me in my pain,' and determine that you will keep on being a Christian.

Dear friends, if we do that (turn deliberately to Jesus), He will come through for us and change something in this situation, even if it is simply to give us strength.

Love for Jesus includes love for our spouse, so then we ask Jesus: "What does loving God but loving my spouse look like in this particular circumstance?"

I suppose the words 'rock and a hard place' aren't entirely unscriptural. After all there is a verse that says that Jesus is the rock that the builders rejected, and yet that rock became the cornerstone of the church (Acts 4:11). He is also the living stone rejected by men (1 Peter 2:4). I guess, then, if we are feeling we're in between a rock and a hard place with our Rock, Christ, being rejected by our other half, we're simply living out a scriptural truth!

The good news is, this particular story about my husband, me, and church has a rather amazing ending. God moved in a way that made my eyes widen with surprise. I will share that story next time I write.

For now, do you feel you're in between a rock and a hard place at the moment? If so, feel free to share in the comments and I'd love to pray for you.

With love,

Ann


I see a cloud the size of a man's hand

Hi SUM family, Ann here. Singing

Whew, it’s been an exciting week with us hearing about two spouses’ salvations in one week. If you missed those you can catch up here and here.

Well, unbelievably, there’s more! No sooner had I uploaded Monday's post about a second salvation than I got a message from another SUM friend (a local friend): Unbelievably, her husband had just responded to an altar call this past Sunday at church. 

Three in one week.

Are you pulling the same stunned face as me, I wonder?

All I could do then is play the song ‘God is on the Move’ on repeat in my living room and do some serious (uncool, Mum-looking) dancing in celebration. My teenage son, Miles, sauntered down the stairs midway through. He looked at me, smirked, shook his head, and walked on into the kitchen to get himself some toast.

So funny!

Anyway, somewhere in amongst this extreme excitement, God gave me a scripture. He said, “Go and look at the passage where Elijah prays seven times before he sees a small cloud.”

So I did; and I wondered what I would see. I suppose it’s one of those stories I’d read a few times so perhaps felt ‘old’. The thing is, scripture is so full of treasure it’s never old. I should have known better and, sure enough, I saw something brand new this time.

The story of Elijah’s cloud is in 1 Kings 18:41-46, and it goes like this: There has been a desperate drought in Israel, but then Elijah proclaims to the King that rain is coming. He says to the king, "Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of the abundance of rain." In other words, "You don’t need to worry about stashing up food any more, I promise you the rain is coming!"

Truly, I feel this way about the spouses in our community. Impossible as it seems, we can know something is coming in the spirit before we see it in the natural. It's just ... There's perseverance first.

Elijah went to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” (1 Kings 18:42-43, NKJV)

Seven times, nothing.

Isn't that just like the prayer for our spouses? We pray. Nothing. Nothing. Oh, and nothing. Nothing? Nope, nothing. Nothing. Can’t see any sign of my spouse turning…. Years pass …. Nothing.

Shall I say that again for effect? Here we go, six 'nothings': Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Ok, I now hereby sign and seal this thing as officially impossible. That's not to say it won't happen; it's just it's an impossible thing that needs God. We all look at each other, nod our heads, agreeing and understanding that it will take a miracle the size of the red sea parting. 

Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” (v. 44)

I wonder if even Elijah, let alone his companion, couldn't quite believe what he was seeing, even though he had sensed it in the spirit. After all, 'We're in a drought!'

So, with all that in mind, here's what just happened for us this past week:

One man’s hand goes up in surrender, ‘I say yes to Jesus’.

Another man’s hand goes up in surrender, ‘I say yes to Jesus’.

And a third man’s hand goes up in response to an altar call.

Oh, it's a cloud 'the size of a man’s hand' rising from the sea! A sign. A sign of more to come. We don't know how or when, but yes. More will come.

I am smiling here, and with that I’ll sign off for the weekend. Lynn will be here on Monday. In the meantime, for your pleasure here's 'God is on the Move'!

 


Another Giveaway

I hope you have been enjoying the memories from all the writers. There is more coming. But today, just enter your name and favorite Bible verse in the comments to enter into any of the books or teaching below: 

 

Kingdom Conversations cover photo

Winning Him Without Words
Raising Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home
Winning Them With Prayer
Marching Around Jericho
Kingdom Conversations
My Child Sees Monsters - Release date: June 1, 2021

Or you can choose from the vast video teaching: Equipping Warriors. Take a look. These videos WILL grow your faith and challenge you into greater faith in Jesus.

Lord Y'shua, I pray for every person who has come to this place on the web. Fill them with hope. Show them TODAY how you are working in their lives, marriage and families. Reveal the miracles that surround them. Speak to them clearly and remove the evil assignments against their lives. In Your powerful name, Y'shua. AMEN

 

I LOVE YOU! Lynn


Bind Them To the Cross of Christ

Prayer and Fasting 2019How did your first day go?

Don’t be hard on yourself if you slipped up. Start again. So much of our journey is about the effort. God blesses our effort. And He smiles with great favor when we continue to try. So push forward.

And if you sustained, get ready because fire always falls on sacrifice and the Lord feels your hunger.

Today, ask the Lord if He has a specific word for your life in 2020. For years I NEVER received a word. Not once that was until last year.

Divine Reversal. This word arrived from SUMite, Libby, who shared it with me. This word played out with giant significance in my life and in Mike’s life. I share about this in Marching Around Jericho. This word became powerful and evident the day prior to Mike’s baptism. What most of you don’t know is that Libby’s husband also had a significant year with God. He came to faith in a quiet and unusual way. But God grabbed ahold of him.

In fact, last year there were more salvations in our community than in any other year. So, we are building upon this for 2020. Because God is lavish and filled with love. It is time to see His people rise in power and faith and bring home those for whom we have prayed.

Today, I want you to pray this verse over you unsaved spouse and children.

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. —Matthew 16:19

Jesus, in your powerful name, I BIND _________________ TO THE CROSS OF CHRIST.

I WANT YOU TO PRAY THIS IN THE COMMENTS. I WILL PRAY WITH YOU. RELEASE ALL OF HEAVEN UPON YOUR UNSAVED FAMILY!! HALLELUJAH!


SUM Community FAST - DAY ONE

Prayer and Fasting 2019Let’s begin this fast with praise. In the comments, leave your words of praise to our Lord Jesus.

Take communion today and with each partaking, embrace the opportunity to say, proclaim, and confess again, “I herewith lay hold of all the benefits of Jesus Christ’s full redemption for my life; forgiveness, wholeness, strength, health, sufficiency. In Jesus name.”

When the cravings hit, that is your signal to pray. And today, I want you to pray: Then declare: Jesus, You died for ____________. I’m calling on the power of Your blood to bring him/her back to You. You sacrificed Your body for ______________, and because of that, I call him/her back from the powers of darkness.

We are claiming our family into the Kingdom of Heaven and drawing upon the heart of heaven to move upon our desire and words of prayer and praise.

I love you. March on Warriors! Our victory is certain! Lynn


This One Thing Will Change Your 2020

Prayer and Fasting 2019SUMite Nation,

As we enter into prayer and fasting sunrise tomorrow morning, begin with worship. Enter through His gates with thanksgiving and praise.

I’ve been learning about the power of communion. And it may appear counter intuitive to talk about the Lord’s supper when we are fasting but there is something here that is incredibly powerful. I believe we miss so much in the familiarity, so let me share what I’m learning.

We consume.

We were made to consume. God created us with desires. Desire, at the core was created that we would desire God above all else. But our desires are continually perverted through this fallen world.
So, I would like to redeem our desire during this fast. I ask you to prepare to consumer communion when you feel weak, feel the cravings, and want to eat.

Take a small piece of bread and juice or a cracker and a grape. Sit alone with Jesus. Thank him for giving His body to restore our desire to God. Tell Jesus that you choose to consume Him this week and Him alone. Thank Him for His broken body that HEALS your body. Take time to thank Him for His powerful blood and as you receive the juice (grape) it becomes His blood that flows in your veins restoring you to His divine DNA. These statements are powerful. Taking these emblems in faith activates the spiritual realm.

Then declare: Jesus, You died for ____________. I’m calling on the power of Your blood to bring him/her back to You. You sacrificed Your body for ______________, and because of that, I call him/her back from the powers of darkness.

Take communion as many times as needed. Do it often. I plan to take it at least three times a day, if not more.

I’m praying for all of us. 2020 is our year!! Love and blessings, Lynn


SUM and a Donovan Clan Update

Giving_tuesday-2019-550Hi SUM Nation,

It’s time for a Donovan Clan update. And well, it’s difficult to share that my amazing husband is still diligently job searching. It’s interesting that when your older, finding gainful employment becomes more challenging.

Hmmmm. And believe me I’ve done so much praying about all of it. I’m convinced I’ve heard the Lord, but His answer appears so impossible, that I can only cling to faith and remain in peace as I wait for the Lord to bring things into reality. And with transparency I'll tell you that it hasn't always been easy.

However, in the waiting we have exhausted our financial reserves. It’s humbling and vulnerable to share that truth. But, this is our real situation.

For over 13 years Mike’s job supported all of the financial needs for the online ministry. But this year, I’m turning to all of you.

I need you.

So, all I can do is share the expenses and ask you to prayerfully consider adopting one and cover it or a portion of an expense for the ministry?

On Tuesday, #GIVINGTUESDAY would you be prepared to give a recurring gift of $5, $10, $15, $25 or $50 a month. This recurring gift will cover the monthly expense for example the monthly expenses of mailing the post emails, $27.00 or the annual renewal of the web hosting $150.00 On Giving Tuesday Facebook and PayPal are matching contributions.

OR consider a one-time donation to apply to the Domain renewal for spirituallyunequalmarriage.com. That expense is $85. I support about nine web domains for various ministries under the Three Keys Ministries umbrella.

So, here are some of the items that are a must for this ministry to continue. All told, annually all the expenses roughly total $6,000.

RSS Feed

Domain Renewals

Web Hosting (largest expense)

Apps to support graphics

Licensed photos

Third Party supports for web design and apps

Legal Fees Federal/State

Taxes State

Documentation

Bank fees

PayPal fees

Event Insurance

 

Postage

Computer

Wifi

Paper/office supply

 

 

This is not an exhaustive list

 

It is my heart to help others. I know that is your heart also. We want others to discover what we know, Jesus makes the difference in every way and every area of our lives and marriages.

Today ask Jesus, “What could I give? What could I cover this year? How much could I pour in to help someone on the road behind me?

I’ll share more as Giving Tuesday arrives. But you can give now through the PayPal app in the sidebar of the website. And for all of you who already give, Thank you. Your faithfulness has kept the internet a blaze with hope for the spiritually mismatched. 

For those of you who can give… I love you.

For those of you who can’t….. I love you.

Thank you, Jesus as you provide through some of the most amazing believers on the planet. In Jesus name. AMEN

Give generously from your heart not because of guilt. Hugs, Lynn


Our Story is His Story: History in the Making

Portugese man o war  SUMWhat does the SUM ministry and the blue-bottle jellyfish have in common?

What a strange question, but it’s one that God gave me back in 2016 while our community was fasting. For those who are new here, we fast each year together and it’s not unheard of to hear a word or two for us all during those times.

Indeed, there I was during that fast, hungry and horizontal, when suddenly a picture of a blue-bottle jellyfish swooshed across my mind -- Flash. It was gone as quickly as it came but I promptly knew it was about the SUMites.   

When something like that happens it’s an invitation to explore, so I went to Google, typed ‘blue bottle jellyfish’ and began to read. The lines progressed and, as they did, I began to link this extraordinary creature with our beloved ministry here. Some three years later I’d like to share it, it makes me smile.

First, the jellyfish itself:

Electric blue, it might look like one organism but is, in fact, a colony. It comprises numerous individuals called zooids that hang together. They need each other, and so they journey as one. In this state they have absolute power in their territory. Their tentacles are long, deep, and especially venomous. With one brush the prey is paralyzed. Predators stay away from this ‘terror of the seas’.

Interesting, but how does it link to the SUMites?

Well, journeying together like this jellyfish, we’re venomous and terrifying to the enemy. Through our situations, spiritual weaponry is a necessity and we become prayer warriors of the strongest kind. It’s what we learn. The way the jellyfish moves, though, is entirely restful. It’s through the momentum of tides and winds with propulsion coming from outside. In the same way, we here move forward through God’s strength alone.

SUM family, I love the analogy of us interconnected as this strong unit, and I might share now a little of my personal experience as an observer and beneficiary of this ministry:

I first came here in 2014, "a half-baked Christian", "crumpled", who "can’t do any of the things that Christians do." I posted these comments and received encouragement back. "You can do it, Ann, keep going!" Well, five years on I’m relieved to report I’m fully uncrumpled and there's nothing half-baked going on here. To be serious, though, the change in my mindset is marked. I’m charging on in faith.

That’s me. But what I like even more is this ministry’s wider story. It speaks to me of God’s intentionality, and it’s a story I believe many of us will be telling: It's a testimony of a whole community and what happened next.

Back in 2006, we saw one woman (Lynn), then two (Lynn and Dineen), and more, choose obedience, with tangible outcomes. Obedience shone through every one of their posts. Like Abraham taking Isaac to Mt Moriah in Genesis 22:2-8, they modeled the deepest sacrifice: “Put your spouse on the altar, risk that they won’t like you anymore, and choose to say yes to Me”. The rest of us have been doing the same. Amidst frequent anguished wails, we've been growing the fruit of the Spirit. What happens when multiple people obey God to this degree and for this long? What does obedience do? It makes the demons stumble. 

Alongside Lynn and Dineen, there is a 13-year story of a community of believers becoming fearsome. It’s a colony that God has built, and a place where the fruit of the Spirit has ripened. From where I sit, there is a visible change in many I have come to know here. It's a story that shouts, ‘COME OVER HERE, TURN IN AND SEE!’ It’s not the salvation of spouses that grabs me the most, though of course we’ve had that! The most noticeable thing, for me, is what’s happened to the SUMites themselves.

We’ve gone from "How are we going to live practically and well in this situation" to "Let’s bring walls CRASHING down!" and, most importantly, "Let’s love God with all of our heart, our soul and our mind". A new book is upon us, and a new season. I'm excited.

Strong and deep as that electric-blue jellyfish, we have a lot to say next and a mutual story to tell. SUMites, I’d be keen to hear your comments. And for now, may we be the most fearsome terror of the seas together!

In friendship,

Ann


Milestone Made Possible Because Of You

Hey SUM Family, Tiffany Here!

I have some wonderful news to share!

Today I graduated year one of ministry school. This was the first half of a two year program that will lead to ordination.

I was very surprised to receive "The Heart of David Award" along with my certificate of completion. What an honor and joy!

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The words "thank you" are not enough to express the gratitude I have for you,  my beloved family without walls. Your love, encouragement, and support  has tremendously helped carry me to this beautiful moment. Thank you to everyone who has given time, prayer, finances, Scripture and hugs. My accomplishment is your accomplishment.

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. -- 2 Thessalonians 1:11

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. -- Ecclesiastes 4:12

You all have helped me accomplish my dreams. In the comments, share something that God has laid upon your heart to accomplish. I want to pray over you and bless you today.


MORE From The Summit...

Hey SUM family, Tiffany Here! 

During the leader's meeting on the Friday morning before the conference I said I would share a spoken word piece during the offering time. I didn't have anything prepared at the time of volunteering. In fact I just heard the words come out of my mouth. You know those moments when you realize after the fact that you were pushed into things by the Holy Spirit? Maybe it's just me. It happens quite often. *grin*

The rest of the day seemed to fast forward pretty quickly. Filled with fellowship, food and fun. I was exhausted after the meet and greet at Lynn's house - in a good way - and went to bed shortly after everyone left. Saturday morning I wake up and realize that I didn't take time to prepare a spoken word! Out of desperation I laid flat on my back with my arms outstretched (my body in the shape of a cross) and said, "Holy Spirit, I need You to give me a spoken word for today. I want those who hear it to feel your deep love. I want them to know that they can have a close relationship with You. Give me something."

In that moment of asking Him, I could feel the atmosphere change in the room. It was like He was waiting for the invitation to share what was in the deep recesses of His heart. The following is the spoken word. I have posted it on Facebook so it may be a repeat for some. In my humble opinion, Holy Spirit really delivered!

More, Tiffany Carter, 4/6/19

 

Remember when I first revealed myself to you?

The relief you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

Remember when you heard me speak life into your bones?

The comfort you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

Remember when you received my loving embrace?

The warmth you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

Remember when you needed Me and cried out for help?

The deliverance you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

Remember when you sought me for clarity?

The answers you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

More. Love that is unendable. River w SUM logo

More. Passion that is unshakable.

More. Desire that is unquenchable.

More. Joy that is uncontainable.

More. Intimacy that is unthinkable.

More. Wisdom that is unmatchable.

More. Peace that is uncontrollable.

More. Power that is undeniable.

More. Faith that is unbeatable.

MORE.

 

Remember when you stepped into your destiny and calling?

The freedom you felt?

My beloved child…

Just wait.

There’s MORE.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (TPT) - Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.  Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ—and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen!

Do you want more? I know that I sure do!

Let's talk in the comments. In these weeks since the conference, what are some things that God has been showing you? How has He shown up in your life personally? In reference to Libby's visions, how have you been feeling the residual affects of the river flowing from the conference? I love you all.


God takes our little to produce an abundance

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Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was reading the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 the other day and was challenged to reflect on it from the eyes of the boy who had the five loaves and two fish. If you wish to read along I used the version in John 6.

I don’t think I’ve really even considered it from his perspective and with the SUMite Gathering this weekend I thought there were some wonderful insights to encourage all of you who will be attending. And especially for those of you who might be nervous or a little apprehensive as is very normal before such an event.

Jesus asked the boy for his loaves and fish. Conceivably the boy could have refused the request. But he didn’t as I suspect Jesus, like he was with every child he met, was kind and considerate in making his request.

The boy as an act of love for both Jesus and all the other people hands over his goodies. He shares what is his to participate in Jesus’ mission: to feed the masses of people.

This boy’s ‘little’ gift produced over-abundance as Jesus got a hold of it and we all know what happens – twelve baskets of leftovers. Amazing.

Parable for our Lives

I was struck by how the boy’s action is a practical demonstration of what Jesus calls us to do. The strongest command in all of the gospels is simply to love.

Let’s go now to the night of the Last Supper in John 13. Jesus is sharing his last meal with the disciples in the Upper Room on the night of Maundy Thursday. A few hours later he would be arrested. Jesus starts the night by washing his friends’ feet and encourages them to do likewise in demonstrating one’s love for others by performing such menial tasks. Soon after, Judas leaves having been ‘found out’ by Jesus as to what he was about to do. Immediately thereafter Jesus states once again that he is leaving and shares with his much loved and very confused friends these words:

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13: 34-35 NRSV)

Now back to our boy. Like Jesus, his act of handing over the loaves and fish was an act of love. For Jesus and the community. And Jesus used them to fulfil his mission to feed the community.

God’s in the Multiplication Business

Love is an action. Jesus commands us to love. Very little else, in fact. To love Him and others. If we continue to abide with Him we will come to understand His mission. I suspect the boy knew what Jesus wanted to do with the loaves and fish. It would have been very normal for Jesus to tell the boy when he asked for them: “Would you help me feed all these people by giving me your loaves and fish?”

This weekend some of the SUMite community will come together in one place. Yayyy! What a blessing and an answer to so many of us who’ve prayed about it for a long time. There won’t be 5,000 but a group of people where Jesus will be amongst you fulfilling his mission. Be like the boy and simply respond to Jesus with love for Him, the Sumites who are present, those of us who can’t be there (I’m one of them) and our spouses. 

And believe that your gift (you!) will reap an abundance that will be felt around the globe in all of our homes. Expect the unexpected and step into 'our' community full of faith and boldness.

Blessings for a wonderful couple of days together, may the Lord’s presence be thick and may His Kingdom come over Southern Cali this weekend.

Grace and peace.


Fasting Expectations

Prayer and Fasting 2019SUM Nation

2019 is marching forward. And we, the Body of Christ, have tremendous assignments and moves of God in which we will participate.

In December I received a great deal of revelation from the Lord about 2019 and 2020. I will likely share what Jesus told me after our fast. But today, I want to encourage you to plan to fast.

The Community fast begins at sunrise, January 7th and end at sundown, January 11th. If at all possible, plan to fast from solid food for five days. Fasting from food is our Biblical model and Jesus modeled fasting. This next passage is our calling:

25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.

28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”

29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:25-29

I wonder how many of us are contending with the devil in areas of our life and not experiencing breakthrough?

IT’S TIME TO FAST!

IT’S TIME TO PRAY!

I am contending for so much in 2019 as the Lord has told me that this year is a year of preparation and a year of divine reversal. And I believe this is a word for our “Church without Walls.” We are being prepared for what I believe will be the Greatest move of God. And many things that the devil has been directing toward destruction will make an immediate reversal, a 180 degree, turn about. Who wants to claim these words for your life in 2019????

So here are a few hints to make your fast a success.

  1. Plan ahead. Tell your family and your husband. I always let Mike know I will be fasting. I set him up with easy-to-make meals that he can take from the freezer and sizzle up in a pan. This keeps me from being in the kitchen and temptation. Get things ready for your family and let them know that you won’t be eating during meals next week.
  2. Light a candle. Place it in the kitchen. When you see the flame, let it move you to pray. Also, when hunger pangs begin, use them also as a trigger that leads you to pray or praise.
  3. If you can’t fast from food, ask Jesus what to fast from. I bet He gives you a hint.
  4. Be certain to drink a lot of water. I also supplement my fast with some juice, broth, tea, and at times a small protein drink. So, stock up now. If you begin a fast without preparation, on day three when it becomes really challenging, you will succumb to the hunger.
  5. Try not to be overly physical.
  6. Spend time in the morning in prayer. Again, in the evening if possible.
  7. LEAVE COMMENTS. Share what is happening in your fast. Someone out there needs your words, breakthrough, struggles to help push them forward. Please share!!!

What to expect:

  1. In my experience the first couple of days are an adjustment period and the spirit realm waits to see if you are really committed.
  2. In the last half of the fast, Wednesday evening, Thursday and Friday morning, you can hear the Lord with greater clarity. I wish I could explain the “how and whys” of how this works but I just know from experience that our empty stomachs leads to a giant spiritual experience with the Lord. Most of our fasting is NOT about what we want but is truly about connecting with Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.
  3. Pray with DESIRE. Our heart’s desires are the currency in the Kingdom. And when you choose to align your desires with God’s desires, miracles begin to happen.
  4. You will be hungry but after the first half, God moves, and the sacrifice is rewarded through revelation, awareness, deeper intimacy and more.
  5. KNOW that you are fasting with thousands of SUMites all around the world. Pray for each other. Pray for me that I would have wisdom and strength to lead.

I love all of you so much. I hold each of you in my heart. If you have a prayer need, leave it in the comments and I will contend along side of you.

Also, if you plan to fast, would you leave your name and your general location in the comments. I feel led to pray for you and your town or city.

On Monday, I will have a prayer prompt for us to kick-start our prayer time.

Be blessed, Lynn


Powerful Fasting Tips

Prayer and Fasting 2019
Below are a few fasting tips I’ve scribbled down. Please share your tips and experiences in the comments. We need all the help and great ideas we can get. Hugs, Lynn

*For newbies: Begin with a sunrise to sunset fast.

*If fasting doesn’t mean anything to you, it won’t mean anything to God.

*Avoid television watching, the food commercial are of the devil, *grin.*

*Drink a gallon of purified water daily.

*Expect push-back.

*Fight through headaches and lethargy. You are detoxing your body, mind, and spirit.

*Prepare by informing your family. Set expectations and encourage them to support you and to refrain from placing temptation before you.

*Fasting can break the power of our uncontrolled appetite, nicotine cravings and alcohol and drug addictions.

*Fasting amplifies God’s voice.

*Fasting makes our Spirit sensitive to God’s heart.

*Fasting leads to greater intimacy with the Trinity.

*Fasting prepares us for new Kingdom assignments.

*Fasting is Biblical.

*Believers are called to fasting. It’s not an option.

*Jesus fasted for 40 days.

*Daniel fasted 21 days, following, he had the craziest visitation.

*Angels respond to the hyper-awareness fasting creates.

*Fasting crucifies the god - gluttony.

*Fasting means that when it’s over, you are different.

*Fasting also means when it’s over, you get a hamburger and fries 😊.

*But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. — Matthew 6:18

*And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.

    Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”   

    So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; 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. 21     However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. —Matthew 17: 18-21 NKJV

 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. —Matthew 5:6


SUMite Update - MUST HEAR VIDEO

SUMite Nation:

Sorry for the radio silence. I’ve been balancing three speaking engagements this past week and I have laryngitis. Yesterday afternoon I was going to cancel my talk: Maintaining Your Healing Following Prayer. But at 2 pm, (the meeting began at 4) the Lord said, “Get up and I will heal you as you are speaking.” WOW!

Suddenly I was filled with energy. Jumped in the shower and gave a powerful talk, equipping believers with tools to walk further into their healing. I was able to speak clearly and then prayed with several and watched God release His love and fire!!!  It was awesome.

-----

I want to let you know that the Lord said that I should hold off with the SUMite Summit registration until January. He said the momentum will be lost in the busy of the Holidays.

Following our community fast on January 14th, I will open registration. I will also provide airport information, travel websites, hotel accommodations, a Facebook travel group to coordinate airport pickups and more. I will also have the tentative agenda and the catering information. I’ve already confirmed a worship team… We are confirmed for April 5 & 6, 2019. And already most of the SUM Leadership has committed to attend Woo Hoo!! If you must make arrangements prior to January, please email me and I will give you the airport information.

The Lord said to ask each of you to be aware of how He will be bringing the funds into your life to pay for your journey (Christmas money, birthday, a gift of air-miles, ask your mom. Ask your Dad, Ask Jesus!!!!!

Already, Ann Hutchison, has a powerful story of provision that she will share in the future. Ann lives in New Zealand!!  Say what????

And, if you think it’s impossible to attend, then just listen to this story. This is Gillian Russel Meisner. Her story will blow you out of the water. She traveled from Nova Scotia to Houston, Texas, 2,499.3 mi. She traveled with a baby. She left her home and trusted God to get her there.

YOU MUST LISTEN. This will break every lie that you can’t get to our spring summit. Hallelujah!!

Also, Diane Woody, we acknowledge the passing of your husband over the weekend. Please know we are surrounding you with love and with our prayers of support and compassion in your pain. Love, Lynn and SUMite Nation


Learning to Receive Love

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Photo credit: Austin Neill

Hi everyone, Ian from Sydney here. 

For most of my SUM married life I thought I was okay doing the Christian life on my own. I’m an introvert by nature and enjoy my own company and for a number of years struggled with being in crowded situations. I still do and will usually choose to sit on the end of rows in any theatre or auditorium. This is purely a relief mechanism so that I know I can ‘get out’ quickly if I need to.

As we’ve talked about many times over the years, it’s often easier for us Christians to maintain peace in our households by not engaging too much in church activities and such like. I’ve actually been very blessed by my wife who has always actively encouraged me to attend church: she knows it’s good for me. However, I resisted for years getting involved in other activities. I typically engaged in things that could be done at home (eg, virtual prayer team) and things I could do on my own, ie, reading/studying/quiet time.

Don’t get me wrong; I particularly enjoy one-on-one conversation and rarely struggle chatting with people. I work on the principle that ‘everyone likes to talk about himself or herself’ and so very easily slip into asking people questions about their life. I can easily spend a decent amount of time with someone and know a reasonable amount about them and they’ll be none the wiser about me. I mostly go away feeling pretty content.

Fell in Love

A few years ago something changed. I feel in love. With Jesus. I’m not exactly sure of the date and time but it occurred around the time I was invited to join one of our prayer teams that involved meeting fortnightly. In addition, we were asked to attend another weekly prayer session that met for one hour each Wednesday night with an expanded group of between 15-20 people.

It was an honour to be asked to join this group. Its leader was the Prayer Pastor for my church and she has a wonderful relationship with the Lord. The group had been together for a number of years and there was this unity and connection that I soon came to desire. Not just with each other but with the Lord.

Unlearning

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m an avid learner. Everyday I seek to learn. But interestingly as I mature I realise the importance of “unlearning.” There are so many habits we develop that can only be changed by incorporating new ones and unlearning the existing ones. As I was thrust into these two groups I was learning habits of prayer and worship but at the same time having to let go or unlearn others that I had held onto for so many years.

The Power of Community

Part of this process of unlearning I’ve found requires a willingness to receive. A willingness to open up and allow others to love me, to teach me, be willing to sit at their feet and learn. This can involve moments of tremendous vulnerability. And learning to trust.

I’ve discovered that in my habits of relationship of learning lots about the other I have inadvertently ‘closed’ myself off from others. I wasn’t allowing them to love me. Yes, I expect this behaviour started in my teens and has simply continued. Habits are like that. Am I afraid of revealing myself? Sure. I must be. But it’s also brought me much frustration regarding my friendships. It takes two to tango doesn’t it? 

We were made for community. God is communal in His very nature- three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And we are formed in His image. Therefore, for us to achieve all we are to as humans we require some form of community.

So we can only mature in our relationship with the Lord in a communal context. Yes, it’s critical we develop sound disciples of solitude, silence and prayer in the secret place but we also need community. For many of us we've discovered the wonders of being members of this community and some special friendships have developed as a result.

“Grace is a community you enter.” (Bill Thrall and Bruce McNichol)

Grace is a concept that I’m only now really beginning to understand. I’ve probably limited it to the notion that it is “unmerited favour” but now I’m coming to realise it is all around us. It is what God is. Grace is always available. We’ve just got to enter into it.

Loving community is a place where grace resides. Jesus is in the centre of it.

Humility and Grace

This is another concept I’ve probably misunderstood. “Humility is trusting God and others with me. Humility is not only how you enter this community, it is how you live in it everyday.” (Thrall and McNichol)

When we trust, we open the door for grace to walk in. This activates the Lord’s power to work in our life. To change our habits, to rid us of sin, to love more generously and compassionately, and so on. I’ve witnessed this in my own life these past few weeks as I shared one of my struggles with my wife and a good friend. Almost immediately as a result of both of their non-judgmental acceptance and love, the struggle has lost much of its power.

I’d love it if others were able to share instances of when you’ve seen “grace walk in” and change elements of your life.


By Our Love

World Wide Prayer Day LogoSUMite Nation,

I just declared that TODAY IS: World-Wide Prayer Day for the SUMites!

I’m asking each of you that abide here in our humble, Church Without Walls, please leave a prayer of blessing for our community, spouses, and the Team. 

Pray against all attacks of the devil, to divide our house. Pray and bind the serpent of offense, lies, hopelessness, fear and every other bondage that the Holy Spirit brings to mind.

Release blessings upon one another and share a prayer request in the comments. Release the love of God over the House of SUM and all those who dwell within. (Pray for me today as well for wisdom and for prayer strategies for our community.)

WE ARE THE SUMITE NATION. WE ARE PRAYER WARRIORS. LET’S RELEASE THE SPIRIT OF LOVE AND BIND THE SPIRIT OF FEAR.

I adore you. Please know that I will be praying all day over you and over the comments and prayer requests. Hugs, Lynn

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. — John 13:34-35


#fingerprintrevelations

Hey SUMnation! Tiffany here.

Some of you have heard me talk about this unique journey that the Lord has me on right now with my job. I shared this on the SUM sisters in Christ group on Facebook but wanted to reach out and share here as some of you (especially the men) may have questions about what I do as a job and how God is gifting me for ministry. I wanted to give you a quick snap shot into where I spend 40 hours a week and when my heart is prepped right and my mind focusing on the Lord I am given insight that can only come from the Holy Spirit.

 

FPWelcome to my fingerprinting station (picture left). There are two other girls that I work with in my office and we each have our own computer/desk and our own fingerprint station. For the most part my day is split between this view and the view of my desk and computer. This machine has become my "buddy" over the last year. We spend a lot of time together. Maybe I should name it. ::grin:: I have to say I have done a lot of contemplating and talking with the Lord here. In thinking of Moses and the burning bush...if I had the ability to take my shoes off here...I would. This is holy ground. Before I begin to sound sacrilegious I will continue the tour and you will see why I feel this way.

FP2Step on up to the machine! I tried to capture this as best as possible but just imagine this view from your own eyes (picture right).When I fingerprint people we are up close and personal so to speak. The customer stands in front of the fingerprinting machine called Livescan and I stand to the left of the machine. I use gloves during the time of fingerprinting someone but I essentially am holding hands with each person I print. I wish I could tell you how or when this started but my first conscious recollection was feeling a tingling sensation in my hands when fingerprinting someone when I first started doing this job over 2 years ago. I didn't understand at the time. There wasn't any actual guiding from the Holy Spirit at that point just a realization that this feeling in my hands was different than I'd ever experienced before. Eventually I had caught on that it wasn't with everyone I printed and so in the secret of my mind I would pray for those people.

FP1
Placing hand on the Livescan brings a digital print onto the screen

I began to be amazed at how much a stranger would open up to someone like me - a fingerprinter who spends maybe 10 or 15 minutes with you. The crazy thing is they had no idea that I was willing to pray for them and yet the Holy Spirit would open up this close space and meet us there. Where 2 or more are gathered together in Jesus' name - He is there. In doing this job (please let me know if this is not biblically sound) I am beginning to feel as though the where 2 or more are gathered together in His name doesn't have to mean consciously. I mean look at our community. Some of our spouses are willing to allow us to gather together in Jesus name - when our spouses let us pray over them and with them. But, for those of you who have to be more secretive about your prayer life because of hostile spouses - when you intercede on their behalf and they are in the room...my friends...Jesus still shows up whether they know it or not! As I have grown and matured (though only a small amount) in my job I have begun to view this as a ministry. When people open up it could be as simple as they need fingerprinted because they just got a new job that requires a background check. It can also be as complicated and broken as a man getting fingerprinted for a step-parent adoption. He married the love of his life who happened to be a sex abuse victim in her teens from her step-father (close to home or what??). Cancer and chemo. Military veteran who was having a second surgery on his shoulder. Widows. Gender-identity confused individuals. A man with a tattoo behind his ear with the number 666 and cartoonish devil horns and tail. Sex offenders who have been convicted of some really atrocious things. I could go on and on...and that is just from either conversation that was opened up or earthly (physical) observation/knowledge.

I have seen some really amazing things during this fascinating season of work but I have to be completely honest with you. I am sure you can relate when ministering to others that it can be really exhausting. You know that God has called you to help and has brought people into your life that you are supposed to pour into and be a light and example to...to train up and disciple...to intercede for - even for just a moment in time. It is so hard to be vulnerable because it opens up your heart to rejoice and mourn with those around you (Romans 12:15). In the past having issues with depression and anxiety I often times get overwhelmed and it is almost like a defense mechanism goes off inside of me and it says - back away, you aren't equipped to handle this. I get in slumps where I think if I avoid God than He won't ask me to do it anymore. I know this is ugly and wrong. I am the only one (that I know of...it's not like I talk to fingerprinters other than my co-workers) equipped to THIS calling. I have to press in and keep fighting. I have to keep leaning in to the Father who has gifted me for such a time as this and such a WAY as this. I have to stand in the gap for those who come my way because I may be the ONLY one who will.

I've gone a little longer than anticipated and so I want to stop here but next time I will continue on with this #fingerprintrevelations story. So much more to share as God allows. I want to talk about the amazing post and work from Libby recently.

In the comments, can you share some tips that help you overcome the heavy burden of ministering to others? Any Bible verse(s) that keep you going? Also, how has God positioned you in your own specific, unique, and powerful way to minister to those around you everyday?

See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

--Isaiah 43:19


SUMites Summit on the Summit by Libby

When I was paying for the SUM community, Holy Spirit started downloading words and pictures into my soul for us! So, in prayer, I grabbed my pen and sketch pad and let Holy Spirit flow through me. This is the first time I have ever done this, and let me tell you, it was awesome and I want more!!! I really hope that the photo at the end of this post expresses it properly (best viewed on laptop/pc). I pray that God will bless you through it and reveal to you in your heart what He wants you to know :) 

I believe He is calling together an army from across the nations to join forces together against evil. In the spiritual realm we are together and we are kicking up noise! An uproar against satan and his wicked plans. The angels can hear us and they rejoice! The demons can hear us and they flee! Other believers can hear us and they join us! 

Holy Spirit led me to this scripture for the SUMITE ARMY:

"Raise a banner on a bare hilltop, shout to them; beckon to them to enter the gates of the nobles. I have commanded those I prepared for battle; I have summoned my warriors to carry out my wrath — those who rejoice in my triumph. Listen, a noise on the mountains, like that of a great multitude! Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations massing together! The Lord Almighty is mustering an army for war. They come from faraway lands, from the ends of the heavens — the Lord and the weapons of his wrath — to destroy the whole country." Isaiah 13:2-5

Then, knowing I am a word nerd, He led me to contemplate "Sumite" and how similar it is to "Summit". I got super excited! Look at the dictionary definition of Summit and how it ties in with this scripture! 

1 - The highest point of a hill or mountain. (God is calling the Sumites to the Summit of the mountains/hills)

1.1 - The highest attainable level of achievement. (God is the highest of the highest. We are victors through him)

2 - A meeting between leaders (we are being called to converge at the Sumite Summit on the summit!!!) 

Holy Spirit then blew me away and as I prayed, it was as though He downloaded these prophetic words to me for all the Sumites:

The Sumite army is rising up! This army has been amassed from across the world, and now it is time to join together and wage war! Listen to the sound of the horn calling you! Move forward inch by inch to take back the land that the enemy has stolen! It is our land - it rightfully belongs to us through Christ - and it is time to march forward and reclaim it. We belong to God, He has called us by name, we are His chosen army. Rise up to take back land and free the captives of the enemy (our unsaved loved ones) who will then join the army and be mighty soldiers for God. Who better to make a powerful and effective fighter than one who has been held as a prisoner of war?! 

The battle is the Lord's. He goes before us and fights for us. He sends angelic armies to join forces with us. Trust Him. We fight from a position of victory! He has already overcome the enemy. Wave His banner high over you, blow the shofar, sing praises, dance and worship! The ground will shake and tremble. Mountains will crumble. Chains will be broken. Prison cells will be unlocked. We will spill the enemy's blood. Angelic armies are joining forces with us and fighting for us. Be fierce and forceful in battle, your strength comes from the Lord God Almighty and he has given us every provision we need to win. We are victors, we are overcomers, we are more than conquerors. 

Our battle plan and strategy are given through His word. Remember, put on the full armour - this is essential - and keep your shield of faith high and declare hedges of protection around your families and your households. Use your weapon - the sword of the Spirit, His anointed word, which is sharper than a double-edged sword, the most powerful weapon which no enemy can withstand. Follow Jesus' example when He was attacked and tempted by the devil - He declared the Holy Word and did not enter into negotiation. Know your enemy. Know his deceitful tricks and strategy - knowledge is power. What are your weakest points? Where is he likely to press? Is there anything that could compromise your hedge of protection?  Pray for discernment and wisdom and God will answer you and deliver you. 

We have the organization needed in our ranks: generals, officers, watchmen, gatekeepers and foot soldiers. If you are battle wounded and weary and can't be on the front line right now that is okay. But, pray for the army and you can regain your strength so that you can join the fight on the front lines. The way to stop becoming battle weary is to rest in His love and peace. Worship Him. Draw close to Him. Speak to each other in hymns and prayers. If anyone falls down, then the rest of the army should surround them and encourage them. When the generals and leaders are fatigued, foot soldiers should carry them. When a comrade is injured, tend to them. This battle is real - the Sumites are already experiencing the attacks of the enemy and some are wounded in battle. BUT, the enemy may be able to superficially wound us, but he cannot beat us or kill us and he knows it. We are each sealed by Holy Spirit and stamped through and through as God's child. Do not be afraid. Do not tremble before the enemy. God did not give you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. He has blessed you with every spiritual blessing. He has given us everything we need. Use it and put the enemy back in his place! 

The enemy is trembling, he knows his time is nearly up and he will now amass all his forces in every last ditch attempt to defeat us. But, we shall not be defeated! Stand guard. Stand firm. Press on. Know we are victors through Christ. Prepare for victory and celebration. God's glory will be sung throughout the land and our victorious cries will resound in heaven!!!

Libby xxx

Libby Finan SUM Army May 2018


I See Two of You

Ann here!  Last month I wrote about how God had been having some fun with me using figs. If you missed that post you can read it here. Well, today I wanted to share part two of that story. It includes a further promise for us SUMites. I hope you enjoy it:

One day last year it occurred to me to ask God a curious question: “Lord, what do you see when you look at my situation?” Twinbabies SUM

I'm sure God prompts such questions and, sure enough, the answer came the next morning:

I see two of you.

I'd been expecting an answer that would refer to me, but two of us? That gave me something to ponder.

A month later, on the topic of ‘two of you’, an unusual picture landed in my head. The picture was of me and my husband as babies strapped in a baby-carrier, one in front of the other. I was the one at the back, my husband was in front. Along with the picture, God seemed to say this:

Ann, you and Bryce are My two babies and I’m carrying you. Right now, you’re the one next to My chest hearing My heartbeat but he’s the one people will notice. You’re both held firmly in place but one day you might wake up and find you’ve been swapped.

For real? This is not the first time I've felt the Holy Spirit speak of the SUMites' spouses as His babies (Luke 13:34), but what this picture meant most to me was that God adores my husband, and there is some deliberate placement on the Father's part with our two separate-but-joined stories (John 6:44).

This ‘journey of two’ brings me back to our salvation promise from 2016, where God promised us that our spouses are like the 'very good' figs in Jeremiah 24:1-7. Recently, I've been thinking about that promise and especially the words ‘very good’.

Had you noticed those words are the same words used to describe the male-female partnership that God created in Genesis 1? As God created the oceans, stars, animals, and so on, He saw that each thing was good (Gen 1:1-25), but once He had created people, male and female, it was very good (Gen 1:31). With the ingredients of an Adam, an Eve, light, darkness, and free will, creation would fall. Still, it was very good.

The same words, very good, are relevant to our situations which, right now, might not look at all good. Not only does God describe our spouses as very good (Jer 24:3). He also says, “I have sent them out of this place for their own good” (v. 5) and “I will set My eyes on them for good” (v. 6). I can't help but be cheered along by what seems to be a clear promise of full restoration, back to the way He always intended things to be.

This sense of things being 'very good' for both parties in a SUM leads me to one final piece about the figs that I’ve been looking forward to sharing. It’s a phrase from the Holy Spirit that I heard:

A strong basket denotes fig season.

Hearing this phrase reminded me that the figs in Jeremiah 24 are, in fact, held by a basket, and I believe God is saying that the basket symbolizes us: A community of interwoven believers made up of many strands and carrying our spouses very deliberately.

This phrase also tells me that fig season will surely come! We've been waiting a while now, but ripening takes time as does the strengthening of the basket. When salvation finally comes our strength will denote the season, meaning that it will be a mark, sign, and characteristic of that time.

And so we are being strengthened and our spouses are being ripened, and when the perfect time has come there will two outcomes: A strong SUM community, and spouses with whole hearts for God (Jer 24:7). Those are two very good sides to one story. And that's what I believe God sees in this: Many, many stories of two.

So now I’m curious to hear: What does your story of two look like, and in what areas are you becoming strong? I'd love to ask about your spouses too, but it's hard to know what their story will be!  All in good time.