189 posts categorized "Community"

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.

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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.


Day Five - A Powerful Communion

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comFast concludes at Sundown today.

*****

Have you ever pondered the weird story in John 6 where Jesus commands his followers to eat His flesh and drink His blood? Of course, today we understand the meaning, post cross. But what if you were a follower of Christ sitting among others, prior to the cross, and this man tells you to eat his skin and drink his blood. Ick!!! Many became offended and this is why.

At the time, animal and human sacrifices were common place. The people of antiquity, Jerusalem, were aware the occult world drank human blood to increase their power on earth. This still happens in the occult world today. Followers of Christ were repelled to consider this practice because a blood covenant is/was the highest form of a covenant/agreement. When you eat/drink the flesh and blood you are taking in the essence of life, consuming everything associated with the sacrifice.

And here is Jesus saying: I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever…. (Just take that in for a minute.)

What is interesting to note is the significance of who Jesus is as He is saying this. He was born of an incorruptible seed, a virgin birth. The seed of God (Holy Spirit), not the seed of Adam (1 Peter 1:23). We are all born out of the corruptible seed, Adam, until we are born again.

My friends, each time we take into our bodies the emblems of flesh and blood, we are taking into ourselves the transformation of Christ. His incorruptible essence, ALL THINGS, connected to Him are brought into our bodies and our spirit. It is a beautiful exchange where the blood goes into our blood steam, our bodies, and His blood carries all the potential of Christ into our lives. Christ is reproduced in us and this practice is transforming us into something different.

The partaking of His body carries His divine nature, all of His essence, to conform us into His image.

Hallelujah, Jesus!

In faith, we take the juice/wine, drink it into our body and eat the bread and acknowledge that we are being changed to resemble the resurrection power and glory of Christ. It sanctifies us and makes us holy, perfected and welcomed to sit in the very presence of God.

Communion is our transformation by the blood into a powerful spiritual being becoming one in desire, purposes, will and eternal life with Christ.

This is why Jesus was adamant about eating and drinking His blood. Communion isn’t just remembering Jesus’ sacrifice, it is an emblematic gesture of faith, as the blood circulates through our system we are being transformed, glory to glory, strength to strength through our faith and obedience.

Raise your cup now. Give thanks and as you drink, allow Jesus to transform your failings into victory, your fear into faith, your loss into gain, ashes into beauty because THAT is what communion is really doing for you.

Holy mind-blow!

Partake of the flesh now and hear Jesus speak, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

Christ in us, the hope of glory!

Gang, what a fantastic amazing communion! Every time you take communion from this day forward, it’s truly a celebration and it’s a living, on-going transformation. The cup received in FAITH is changing us. Each and every time as we receive His incorruptible essence. Woo HOOOOOOOO!

By the way, I find it incredibly interesting that a few short verses later many of the disciples abandoned Jesus because they were offended by the eating and drinking of the flesh and blood. Do you know what chapter and verse this occurs?

John 6:66 (666)

Whoa!  Just Whoa!

Take communion this last day of our fast. The victories, the triumphs the answers, the intimacy that will come from this week of sacrifice, has set you up for a powerful 2018 and for LIFE -life in abundance. And that’s a promise! (John 10:10)

Thank you for walking in faith and fasting this week. Your prayers were heard. All of heaven is so proud and now step out in bold faith and bring heaven to earth. I love you. Lynn

Comments: Share your thoughts, triumphs, revelation and more about your fast this week. See you there!


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


Submission vs. Obedience Part II by Martha Bush

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comSubmission vs. Obedience

Introduction

In Part 1 of Submission vs. Obedience, I told my story of obeying the Lord’s new direction for my life, and the opposition I faced from my husband in doing so.

Today, let’s get right down to business and try to decipher what is sometimes a controversial and confusing subject.

Submission vs. Obedience

I have read so many books on “this is what submission is, this is what submission is not.” And yet, I am still left with lots of questions, as many of you have also indicated.

I personally believe in order to understand it, we have to look closely at other scriptures to see the big picture of how I Peter 3 plays out in our lives, as we try to submit, reference, honor, esteem, and appreciate our husbands as the head of the household.

So today, I want to look at two questions that keep popping up in our Sumite Family. (More to come) I will give you scripture references to think about, and you ask the Lord to reveal to you how they fit in.

Questions

  1. My husband is demanding, controlling, and harsh as the head of the household. How do I respect and give honor to that kind of treatment?

1 Peter 4:1: “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.”

Romans 5:3-4: We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope.

I don’t know about you, but there were times that I had all the character building I wanted in facing opposition and harsh words.

But, I Peter 3 places no condition on whether we honor or not. So, I came to the place of honoring my husband, but not the behavior. I left him for God to deal with on that matter.

In addition, I began to study how to respond to harsh words from every resource I could find. It paved the way for me to stop sinning in my responses to him. In short, my brass, arrogant, attitude began to improve.

  1. My husband forbids me to go to church. What does God’s Word really say about church attendance?

Quoting from Lynn on Sumite Sisters in Christ:

Hebrews 10:25: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching.

I reference this scripture and am convinced it is a directive straight from God. We become vulnerable to the enemy without community, prayer, teaching and communion.

I have great difficulty with a spouse that would forbid a wife to attend church – that is control and not love. We can respect and submit through love to our husband’s wisdom, but control is not wisdom. It’s manipulation cloaked in fear.

We NEED church. We need to meet together and learn. Church and women’s bible study saved my marriage. I’m so thankful.

After 25 years I still go by myself. It is the best part of my life. Something spiritual happens to me in corporate worship – filling, peace, joy and love.

Now there is no condemnation in Christ, because there are situations that may prohibit church attendance. I understand, but for me. I would crawl there if I had to. And the LORD has rewarded me greatly because of my lifetime of commitment to His Kingdom and to the Bride.

***** 

Food for thought: John Bevere, author of Honor’s Rewards 

Proverbs 3:9 commands us to Honor the Lord.

We are to esteem, respect, and reverence Him above anyone or anything. We dishonor Him if we value anyone or anything above Him. He is the Great King; He is worthy to receive all our respect, not just a portion.

When we compromise the will of God, as revealed in His Word, in order to honor someone, even if it’s within our own family, we in essence sin against God.

Conclude

I want to conclude with a prophecy given to me during my journey.

You’ve come through a hard testing, and your faith was what was being tried. Just like Abraham, we read about Abraham taking Isaac upon the mountain thinking he was going to have to use him as a sacrifice, and we think Abraham went up there with ease, but agony was in Abraham’s heart as he went through that testing. But, he pressed on, and he came through the testing.

I saw the agony in your heart, and I chose not to make it easy, but I chose for you to press on in because I knew that it would be of much value for you.

And because of this, there shall be much reward, for I have brought you into another realm of faith. Even this new realm shall surely be tested, but you will have that backbone within you to come through it.

***

You put me through this, Lord? Gee thanks. How much backbone do I need?

Blessings to you,

Martha

Bio: Martha lives in Orange, Texas where she leads and SUM Group.  She and her husband, Glen, are the parents of two daughters and 4 grandchildren. 


Advent - Sharing the Longing

ID-100448355
Image courtesy of 9comeback at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One Bible story that I keep coming back to each Advent season is the one that features Zechariah and Elizabeth. I hadn’t spent a lot of time reflecting upon it until a few years ago when I began to observe Advent.

Most of you will know their story is briefly told in Luke 1 before Mary’s story. I’d encourage you to read it again (v5-25) and as we’ve done in the past read it meditatively. Perhaps listen to it and put yourself into the story. Imagine you are Zechariah or Elizabeth or one of the crowd and see what the Spirit reveals to you.

Longing

This couple was probably in their late 50’s or early 60’s. He was a respected Jewish priest and would have been highly thought of within society. However, even though holding an elevated position in society they were probably looked down upon.

Why? Scripture tells us the reason: 

“But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.” (v7)

Because child bearing and, particularly a son, were so significant in those times, Elizabeth was most likely not recognised and she would have carried great shame.

Besides the shame there would have been a deep deep longing. For a child. The preceding verse describes both as being blameless before the Lord. But still no child. Imagine their heartache, the number of answered prayers that had come from both of their mouths over perhaps forty-plus years.

We too experience a similar longing. For our spouses who don’t know the Lord yet. And the different life we might lead as a Christian couple. No more shying away, no more hiding in the background, no more missed opportunities, and no more sitting alone in church.

Astonishment and Doubt

Zechariah has an experience of a lifetime. He is fortunate to be the name drawn to have the honour of burning incense in to the temple of the Lord. This would have been a great day for him. 

And then he meets an angel. Not any angel. Gabriel, “who stands in the presence of God.” That angel. Many would have fainted I suspect … his presence would have been terrifying, bewildering and just weird.

The news Zechariah receives is astonishing. After all these years of waiting and longing, answered prayer, his dearest Elizabeth would bear … a son. And not just any son; but one that “will be great in the sight of the Lord.”

Hallelujah.

Zechariah is so astonished that he questions Gabriel. I think we all would under similar circumstances. And interestingly, Mary a few verses later, asks almost the identical question when Gabriel shares with her. (“Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” v34)

Doubt is part of the human condition. It is nothing to be ashamed of nor does it turn God away from us. He understands. Expressing our doubts to Him is okay. He wants us to share our doubts with Him. We only have to read the Psalms to see how David doubted.

Intercession by others

“And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.” (v10)

It’s easy to miss this verse. While Zechariah is in the temple, a multitude is praying. For him. Probably for Elizabeth. For their situation.

No doubt our couple had shared with many their sadness, their longing and yearning for a child. God doesn’t call us to journey alone. In seasons of doubt being able to share our situations can be beneficial not just to ourselves but those we share it with. When was the last time we shared our sadness about our situation with another? For most of the last twenty years, I wouldn’t say much at all unless directly asked. Recently, I mentioned it to someone in one of my prayer groups. And his first response was “that must be tough.” To which I nodded and said, “yep, it is.”

“Naming the ache of our yearnings is indeed faithful. It opens wide the gift of receiving and embracing the prayers of others.” (Enuma Okoro)

We’re blessed having this community where we can share our yearning and be praying for each other. Lynn, our ever faithful leader, a few weeks ago encouraged us to leave our spouses name in the comments so she could pray for each of us as couples. And I understand there is some wonderful sharing in the Facebook group.

If you are feeling particular sadness due to a longing in your heart or loneliness as Christmas approaches please share with us in the comments below so we can love over you with our prayers.

I had thought I’d write more on the next part of the story but I realise I’ve gone long enough so I'll leave it to next time.

Grace and peace, dear friends.


Martha's Vineyard

Hello everyone

It's Ann here, and I want to share something that's been sitting in my journal for some time. I loved it. I hope you do too.

It was August last year, I was sat in bed armed with a mug of cocoa, pen, and journal. Absent-mindedly, I leafed through the Bible and came across the verse, "Call to me, and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" (Jer 33:3 ESV). I scribbled it down and said, "God, tell me something great that I don't already know!" SUM rocking chairs with SUM logo

That night turned out to be a little bit strange and wonderful. I could feel the Holy Spirit as I slept. I kept drifting towards wakefulness and each time it seemed He was speaking about the SUM community. There were words that I couldn't catch. Finally, as morning came a phrase landed in my head: Martha's Vineyard.

Now, I knew nothing about Martha's Vineyard. Being British and now living in New Zealand, Martha's Vineyard had never come across my path. "What is it?" I thought. Wikipedia was needed, and what did I find out?  That it is a place of mixed marriages!

Here's the story: Martha's Vineyard (a beautiful island community off the US east coast) had an especially large deaf community. They lived with an inherited deafness from generations past. The majority of these deaf were married to hearing people, hence the term 'mixed marriages'. Because of these marriages, deafness dissipated - both in the way they lived, and among future generations who now hear.

There, the deaf looked different to elsewhere. They were not treated as outcasts. Instead, they were perfectly integrated. Because of the closeness of the deaf-hearing families, sign language was spoken widely across the community, even by the hearing.

Even today, the community's citizens work hard to protect their lifestyle while extending welcome to outsiders. It is a balance that is hard to achieve. This balance makes it a warm, attractive place.  It's such a nice place that others want to live there too.

This is our SUM colony, and I think that's what this word meant -- Martha's Vineyard. I feel God wants us to celebrate our strengths and know how unique and lovely our community is. To us, those who hear less easily are not left out. We love them so much and we 'get' their perspective even though it's not ours. We use their language when speaking about faith. That skill alone is huge for the Kingdom.

Most importantly, though, Martha's Vineyard reminds us that our spouses are integral citizens. They're citizens of the SUM community, and precious citizens of God's household. They add flavor, they are sanctified, and they are part of this beautiful place.

As for us 'Marthas', the ones who work so hard to protect our own, it is interesting to me that the name Martha means 'bitter' in Hebrew and 'woman' in Aramaic - and, yes, our bitterness of soul runs deep. But I believe that God wants us to celebrate the beauty of what we're doing. If we lift our eyes we can see how lovely our island community has become. Isolated, yes, but surrounded by Him. We live in a spiritual place where the homes are beautiful, the residents are rich, and the ocean sparkles all around, bringing the promise of good things.

Lift up your eyes all around, and see:

They all gather together, they come to you;

Your sons shall come from afar, And your daughters shall be nursed at your side.

Then you shall see and become radiant,

And your heart shall swell with joy;

Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,

The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.

(Isaiah 60:4-5, NKJV)

We Marthas, the SUMites, have a beautiful vineyard: It's a place where we keep tightly hold of others, where hearts turn, and where people want 'in'.

I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts - especially from any who have been to Martha's Vineyard, or from those who have looked up and seen the beauty of our island community in more metaphorical terms! 

 


Every Victory Begins With THIS!

Hi Family,

Who Am I SUMWe are a family. Being a part of something bigger than ourselves is part of our  spiritual DNA. We were created for connection. We were created to belong. To live in intimacy. Learning to love one another and learning to love our Father.

I’ve just returned from the Heaven Come conference. Three days filled with profound, life-altering worship and teaching that will live forever in my soul.

Attending an event for the Christian faith is an interesting experience. I wonder if you are like me in that you have attended many events that make you feel good about yourself and living for Jesus. However, you return home to the same-old-same-ole and quickly lose all the joy or hope that you came home with? Anyone relate?

However, each year that I attend this conference, something profound occurs. And this year I arrived home with such a powerful conviction to speak about identity.

IDENTITY.

Understanding our identity is everything to living in victory. So, I think that in the next few weeks, the Holy Spirit is urging me to lead all of us in learning about our identity.

Why?

Because out of our identity comes healing. Our understanding of our spiritual place in the Kingdom releases us into our destiny. Our identity is the core of our freedom, healing, hope and our future.

As we walk through identity, I also want to directly confront some of the societal issues that attack identity. Gender, sexuality, and more. I know these issues are controversial in the general public but also in the church. But right now, in our homes, we are trying to raise children to step into their God given calling and the enemy is doing everything to destroy them as men and women. Our spouses listens to the talking heads that shout absolute lies about who we are as people. And as SUMites, we are often shamed by our spouse who puts us down for believing in what they deem as a faith for the weak.

BUT let me be the voice of reason and truth. In the last several years, I have lived out of my full identity and I AM FREE. I am brave and I have helped others find their freedom. I have so much freedom and equipping to give the people of God. And I have insight to help you guide your children through love and not condemnation. I have wisdom, I believe, given by our Father to share how to walk in complete truth and faith in these modern days and handle the issues that confront the truths of God’s holy Word.

I also see our SUM community walking out of shame. Becoming free of condemnation and the need to “save” our spouse. Would you like to step out of shame? Would you like to silence the voice of confusion over sexual identity and know how to walk with others through this issues with love and hope?

Do you have a heart for those who are living in deception and fear? Are you living in fear and shame….. Well my dearest friend, GOD HAS HEARD YOUR PRAYERS. Let’s travel these next few weeks ahead and learn what is truth and how we can live and help our kids live in truth without being hateful or cruel.

And I ask all of you, SUMites, even if you ask the question of yourself, "Who am I" and you feel as though you have a firm identity in Christ, I ask you to walk this out because it may be that there are a few lies that remain hidden about who you are and whose you are that our Great God wants to bust wide open. 

God heals all and we are going to emerge from these weeks and guess what? Confusion will be banished. Love will be paramount. Our hearts will be filled with courage because we know the truth and truth will set you free. 

So, I enter this series with trembling and much prayer. It is scary to take a stand in social media for the Word of God but we are at a tipping point. We MUST learn the truth of our identity. We must walk in our true identity first and then we can help others discover their true identity. It’s in confronting the lies that our healing and healing of the world will happen.

Will you pray for me as I stand in the courage I’ve mustered up to share. Pray I am continually anointed by the Holy Spirit and all that I write is truth and wrapped in love.

What say you SUMites? Do you want to walk this difficult but needful path this season?

I love you. This next week is critical to launch into a the new season of God. Pray and seek His face. He has amazing assignments ahead for this new season and He wants us to be fully free and equipped to set in and behold the glory. Hugs, Lynn


The Journey Continues…

My friends, I have a wonderful story to share with you. It started back in 2012 when Lynn and I went to our very first Open Heavens Bethel Conference. As Lynn has shared in the past, that was a very pivotal moment in time for us and this ministry. That adventure launched us onto a journey we continue to walk even now with you.

The very first night we were there during the worship time, a deep grief overcame me. I wept so hard I nearly went down to the floor. The interesting thing though…it wasn’t my grief. I’d experienced this once before and recognized it as a burden God was placing upon me but never had I experienced it to this degree.

I asked Him what He wanted me to do with it. He replied, “Be My hands of healing.”

It was His burden for His children, and I said yes. My only requirement was that He provide the training I needed and show me how He wanted me to minister. 

A few weeks later I was speaking to a group of authors about marketing and joined them for lunch afterwards. One of the women I knew from my local writers group. As we ate lunch and chatted, she told me about the International Association of Healing Rooms and the training that was about to start in a couple weeks. I knew right away this was God showing me my next step.

Once the first part of the training was completed, I joined the team at the Healing Rooms of Silicon Valley. For the next two and a half years I grew in my giftings, became part of a wonderful community of believers, and witnessed God do some amazing things! I learned so much.

When my husband and I moved to Florida at the end of 2014, I began searching for a healing rooms in Sarasota, where we lived, or nearby, but was continually told they had closed. Then one day as I had lunch with the ladies in the women’s group I had joined, a woman mentioned the Healing Rooms of Manatee. Needless, to say I made a beeline in her direction.

My friends, that was true a divine appointment. I contacted the directors of HROM and introduced myself. They were very excited, because they’d actually been praying and asking God to send them people who were already trained. The day I walked into those doors and met these two dear women who partnered together (just like Lynn and I had!), I knew I’d found a special place.

Not long after I integrated in, they promote me to team trainer, and just a few months ago I was asked to step into the position as an associated director. In a month’s time, the Healing Rooms of Manatee will expand into the space next door so that we will have more room for our team to worship, grow and serve the community. And part of this growth is a new school. Starting in early 2018, I will be Dean of the HROM School of Transformation.

IMG_0205So yes, as you may suspect by now, I’m retiring from the S.U.M. Ministry and stepping fully into the healing ministry. God has been putting things into place and preparing not only my heart but Lynn’s too for this move. She has encouraged and cheered me on as true friend and sister in Christ. I so look forward to sharing my ongoing adventures with her and hearing about hers. 

Dear friends, I want you to know that when God made His intentions clear, I again had a stipulation. If I’m to be “promoted” it must be that the S.U.M Ministry would be promoted as well. I want His absolute best for everyone here. I believe we are seeing just the beginning of that here at S.U.M., the way the team and this community is growing. 

The best is yet to come.

Who would have thought God would bring two mismatched wives so far and bless us with so many wonderful friends here? We’ve been so blessed to share our hearts with you through books, conferences, radio interviews and most importantly, right here on this blog. I am so grateful for the friendships and connections we’ve built here.

My dear friends, I’m still a part of this community, still a SUMite. I will still read and comment on the blog, pray for this community and continue to contend for the words and promises we’ve been given. My heart and prayers are with you as always. And I am delighted to share this next part of my journey with you. 

I love you all very much, and I am so very grateful for your prayers as I embark on this new adventure.
Big HUGS!!!
Dineen

 

SUMite Nation,
IMG_2652I hope you are rejoicing with me as I am praying over Dineen's adventure. We have been ministry partners for over eleven years and have shared life. She and I have walked together through so many seasons, books, ministry, and adventures that we are forever entwined at the heart.

We are great friends and will always be so. We love one another and all of you, deeply and we are parting in ministry without any animosity. 

As for me, I remain a firebrand for the SUMite nation and am more committed than ever to encourage, pray and walk with all of you toward heaven and to one day see our spouses and children join us.

Join me in praying for her as she steps into the next great move of God. 

Love and hugs,
Lynn


You Are Loved: How Much Does God Love Us?

My friends, did you experience a breakthrough through our study together? What do you feel God did in you through the revelations of His love and promises for you? Please share your heart, your doodles and your coloring pages.

And thank you again for joining me as we walked through the truths of Romans 8 through Scriptures and coloring. I pray you are continually embraced in and transformed by God's great love for you!

Love you so much! 
Dineen

TWEETABLE TRUTH: 

“Jesus has the authority to condemn, but He chose another way—the way of sacrificial love. For He knew to condemn would drive us away and His desire was to be the solution to draw us near.” pg. 50 #youarelovedcoloringbiblestudy  goo.gl/qG9HBT

 

Romans8BookCover

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You Are Loved: Is God Good?

 

Remember to share what you're learning in the comments. Did you identify a struggle? What is God's promise and provision for that? For you? Share your heart, your doodles and your coloring pages! Hugs! ~Dineen

TWEETABLE TRUTH: 

“His loves reaches us from the past of the cross, carries us through the present, and ushers us into eternity. It’s constant and relentless—for us and for those we love and pray for.” pg. 46 #youarelovedcoloringbiblestudy  goo.gl/qG9HBT

You Are Loved Coloring Book Study Schedule

Aug 28: (Share pages!)
Video: How Much Does God Love Us?
Wrap up!

Romans8BookCover

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