53 posts categorized "Conflict"

From A Black Friend to My White Friends

SUMites,

UnityWe need to chat. I realize that we don’t often take on social issues here at SUM as we are trying to focus on our marriages. However, I know that so much of my marriage discord would rise to the surface because of the social climate, politics, and religion.

So, today, I am compelled to talk about what’s happening in America this week. After a long discussion with Caitie, my daughter who is 25, I’ve had to reflect on the tragedy that was the death of George Floyd. I’m grieved over all of it. I’m grieved over his death, the racism, the riots and the looting.

I’ve had to take a look at my heart again in the midst of this mess and ask some difficult questions. My friend, Kathi Lipp, directed me to a great read. I want to share it with you today. Although I don’t have all the answers, this article addresses questions that white people often ask:

  • Why did he/she do to cause the cops/another person to shoot or kill them?
  • Why do black people insist on “Black Lives Matter”? Don’t all lives matter?
  • Why do “they” try to make white people like me feel guilty? I haven’t done anything.
  • I have black friends so why are black people calling people like me racist?

The Article: From a Black Friend to My White Friends.

Barb Roose, a Christian, offers some great responses and a good video that will help move all of us forward. Take a minute to visit her blog and read through the article and watch the video. Ask yourself, what does Jesus want me to pray, to do, to feel and to respond to this week’s events and the at the center racism that continues to create division in our country.

Also, ask Jesus how to have conversations with your spouse and your children about this week’s events and the news. Let’s be the change our world needs. Isn’t that what Jesus calls us to do?

I realize that this topic is highly charged on every side. Please share your thoughts in the comments but please be respectfully, use words of love and consideration and always look to Jesus for the truth.

Blessings, Lynn


The Anti-Christ Spirit & Attack On Identity

SUM Nation,

A lasting power outage yesterday kept me from writing. So I'm sharing two videos that are worth a listen. Turn them on when doing the dishes or driving and I pray you feel the Presence of the Lord and the Spirit of Wisdom in the words. Hugs, Lynn

 

 


The Wicked Marriage Killer

Slay The Marriage KillersWhat is the Wicked Marriage Killer?

Many years ago, my mother-in-law looked at my father-in-law and quoted me to him, “Just deal with it, Caitie.”

I bet my mouth hung open. It became obvious that Carole, was teasing and poking back at her dear husband with words I’d said to my then, hmmmm I guess ten-year-old daughter.

Gulp!

We decide we are going to handle everything!

Deal with it!

I’ll just handle it!

I’ll just do it myself and then I know it will get done and done right!

I will tell you, those words stung even thought MIL didn’t mean them to be harsh. And right now, I apologize to my daughter, Caitie, for telling her to “Just deal.” Ouch!

Although there is wisdom in teaching our children there are issues that can’t be changed. We need to equip them with coping and overcoming skills.

Thinking about marriage killers brought that old MIL memory back to me. Oh, how I like to “handle things.” I’ll handle the job. I’ll just handle the kid’s teachers!!  I’ll handle my marriage. I’ve got a handle on my church commitments and I’ll handle the money. I’ll handle my life and just make everything happen according to the gospel of Lynn. Yikes!

Attitudes like this may make you feel in control most of the time but what happens when you can’t handle anymore? When you hit the wall and then nothing is handled?

Am I speaking to anyone out there?

Oh, my dear friends, indeed, we need to take responsibility for many things but what I find it that in our society, the expectation of many is to take on far more than is possible to effectively manage. And that is the wicked marriage killer.

Over commitment.

We cram so much into our lives that we leave zero margin for the unexpected. No space to “date” our spouse. We slam meals together, pack the car, throw the lunches in backpacks and then off for the day. Rushing home, homework, church work, dishes, and laundry.

We don’t get enough sleep because we stay up watching mindless tv and then up again early the next day for another round. Time with our spouse as a couple is rare and rushed and it’s no wonder in five years you look at each other and think, “Wait, what happened to the fun spouse I married?”

Just callin’ it real here!

This thinking is wrong. People change as they grow older and have children together. There must be maturity and understanding that your spouse will not be the same person in five years. AND as a couple you must insist on margin in your marriage and in your life. Don’t over commit to an education, raising small children, restoring a home or building a new business all at the same time. It’s a recipe for disaster! Something has to give.

Talk to one another. Define a date night and declare it holy. Nothing can take its place. Choose to insert margin in your daily schedule. I know my friend Joanne and her family were so tired of the endless running and schedule demands of sports practice, school, ballet, and everything, so much so, that they took a sabbatical year. They kids didn’t participate in anything. It was the best year of their lives.

Talk to Jesus. Ask Him what must be a priority and what can be tossed out. In my early years, about every six months, Jesus would tell me to prune things out. I had a tendency to over commit. When I did, it created joy and peace. And who doesn’t want more of that in their lives.

Thoughts? Hugs, Lynn


Marriage Killers - Finances- Part II

Slay The Marriage KillersSumites,

The comments on Friday’s post were fantastic. Go read some of the advice, if you need financial ideas. And the private emails I received (Wes) were also encouraging. Financial education and equipping of the Saints are definitely needs as well as a marriage saver!

Before I move on to the next Marriage Killer in this series, I want to post once more time about finances and offer you a few more helpful resources. At my home church this past Sunday, it was ironic that the pastor’s message was also on the topic of finances. (They say great minds think alike *grin*). My local church put together some resources to assist people with managing their spending plan, Financial Stewardship Ministry <- click here. I’m including the link as it offers some helpful information.

Every dollar appI also wanted to mention that our pastor and his wife use a financial application, Every Dollar. This is an app for your iPhone or Android that keeps a monthly record on your spending. It allows to budget for date night, groceries, bills, etc. When money is spent it is accounted for and BOTH, husband and wife, can view and record expenditures and are on the same page as they reach the family’s financial goals in real time. *

Wow…. I wish I had something like that in the early years. We used envelopes. So, two things this week.

  1. Practice a new response to all who ask you, “How are you?” You respond, “I’m blessed and highly favored.”
  2. Today in the comments, let’s give the LORD honor. Share a story when you were at the end of your financial rope, your prayed and a miracle provision arrived. I will share some of your stories on our FB page (no names). I can’t wait to rejoice in your Testimony as you honor Jesus.

Okay, next post…. I’ll be covering the wickedest Marriage Killer that faces a bride and groom. Stay tuned! We are living strong and thriving in our marriages! Hugs, Lynn

*Thanks John Hansen


The Pressure of This Sifting Brings a Shifting

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comDuring my prayer time, I often hear the Lord speak. This is what I’m hearing in this season. Be Blessed, Lynn

-----

Who among My people will incline an ear? Who is listening to the wisdom of the Spirit?

The pressure of this sifting, the building of the forces of strife, bear down. The character of My people, forged in the flames of contention and opposition as hell rages against them, roaring, reaching a crescendo.

Tears. The many, captured by angelic hosts. They are sealed, each one, in the store rooms of heaven. Labeled with tender care and meaning; loss, infirmity, poverty, addiction, death. Testimonies upon the shelves. Each an assignment of hell determined with an assail of weeping and destruction of My children.

The tears of the Bride sealed, recorded and waiting, each for the redemption and restoration that looms and quickly draws nigh. Each demand the recompense of the Ancient One.

This shall surely happen! The shout from heaven reverberates across the eons.

Perceive the fires which accomplish the burning away of the dross throughout the month of August. This month of refining, then turns the page to the season of surrender as September marches to its close. Many perceived losses and concluded assignments draw down to finality and closure.

Do you not perceive it, My child? Are you unaware that My hand is moving to release you into the new?

October bursts forth with decree, ALL THINGS NEW! The Kingdom of God releases the angelic multitude, wings of determined flight and missions, certain. Millions of heavenly scrolls arrive with new year assignments. The arrival is accompanied with provision for completion. Works of healing, salvation of the nations, teachings, preachings, creative blueprints of discovery. Each an intimate design to release My love, joy, peace in increasing measure.

My child, open your spirit. Take an account of the details in your current season that are drawing down to culmination. Much of what you grip in stronghold and fear of loss, is determined to hinder. Let go, for My purpose must be fulfilled in your life and the lives of others.

There is pain, sorrow, not by My hand, but by my enemy. Yet, through My compassion I will close the pain in September.

Yea, however!

The trumpet blast of Rosh Hashana decrees the end! The birth of new life, new anointings, exceptional possibilities and increase into Yom Kippur and beyond. Remain steadfast. Your awareness now, is the key named, Overcomer. It unlocks the treasuries of heaven. Behold the tears of yesterday are redeemed in new adventure and assignments and the enemy will repay, times seven, all that was lost and taken.

Prayer, faith, and conviction are your courage to press through.

I delight to give you the Kingdom. Thouest art being prepared in this season for the weighty glory to rest upon you with increased measure.

Hallelujah. AMEN!

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. —Psalm 30:5b


Conflict Is Finished. Now Jesus

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comSUMite Nation,

Well I’m feeling we are at the close of our month-long classroom regarding conflict. And you may not feel as though it was worthy of your time but in the future, the truths of how to approach conflict with other believers will return to your mind and you will walk through it Biblically, work through forgiveness and seek restoration when possible.

What is really weird is that this month, personally, I’ve worked through conflict with believers, unbelievers, family and more. Guess Jesus wanted me to be ready for the conflict that is surely ahead in my life.

I want to leave you with a portion of an email I sent out the other day. I believe it holds Biblical wisdom for us all.

I want to point out that in the Bible, Peter and Paul experienced great conflict over circumcision and food laws, so much so, that this conflict was preserved in the Holy Word. The message for us today is that Peter was raised up to speak to the Jews and Paul the Gentiles. They would not see some matters of faith the same and that was okay. It was okay to disagree. If this can happen with the Apostles of Christ, we also will have disagreements that are similar in our day and age. AND IT IS OKAY!

Today I read in my Daily Bible:

Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor;

    only fools insist on quarreling. —Proverbs 20:3

and all of God children said……….   AMEN!

Okay, beginning next week let’s talk about Jesus. I’m so excited to share with you what Jesus is doing in our world. Who Jesus is to me and hear who He is to you in your current season. Also I can’t wait to discuss the details of all that He made available  to us as followers as well as our mandates Christ has asked/commanded of us. Even typing the word, Jesus, my spirit stirs and I feel a swirl of joy in my center. I think we will poke about in the Gospels for a while.

Did you know Jesus said this? 

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. —Mark 16:17-18

I’ve experienced each of these four components of this passage recently and I can’t wait to share the story with you.

What do you think?  I bet Jesus has much to say about how we love one another, and especially how we love our spouse. I'm convinced that the best way to move ourselves away from conflict is through LOVE. And Jesus is love. 

Let's do this thing!!!!!

Hey do any of you creative SUMites have a cool graphic of Jesus that I could use during this series? If so, email it to me with your permission to use it. NEAT!!!!

I love you my family on the web. We ARE THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD. And we will impact our world for the cause of Christ Jesus. Hallelujah! SUMites Nation…. Pray on! Hugs, Lynn


An Honor Lesson Dealt In Cards.

Hello SUM family, Tiffany Here!

Lynn has asked the SUM leadership team to read the book Culture of Honor by Danny Silk for this summer series on honor. I want to share a brief  exerpt and give a real life example from my time in God's classroom. I can't say that it has been easy but I praise God that He hasn't given up on me!

"A spirit of gentleness" is an important phrase. It specifically describes the heart attitude of the one doing the confrontation. Gentleness is the perfect term to describe the attitude we must have with those who have made mistakes or failed somehow. Gentleness does not mean nice, and it doesn't mean polite. The heart of gentleness is the belief that "I do not need to control you."

Mastery of gentleness begins in our belief system. Do we believe that we can control others? Let's review the simple way to test it out. What happens to you when other people do not let you control them? Do you become angry? Do you interpret it as dishonor? Do you find a way to justify punishing them? A yes to any of these questions exposes that you still believe the lie that you can and should control people. Kingdom confrontation requires that you repent of this and begin to allow others to control themselves (p 166).

I love playing games. My grandparents taught Jason and I a card game that has been in their family for decades, several months ago. Jason and I love strategy and so this game is fun for both of us. The other night I pulled out the decks of cards, in trying to keep us disconnected with technology and spend quality time with one another after the kids had gone to bed. The difference between Jason and I is that when he loses, it is not really that big of a deal. When I lose, I get really emotionally involved. In saying this I am sure you can guess the outcome. This wasn't just a losing game for me but an absolute creaming! I was buried with no hope for resurfacing.

Dilley YahtzeeThe goal of this game is to get rid of the cards in your hand. You do this by laying down in front of you a variation of cards depending on the level. I sensed he was about to "go out" and win the current round (and thus further burying me in points against me) so in desperation I said, "Please don't go out!" He did anyway. I couldn't control him - - anger. We decided to go to bed and finish the game another time but my stinky attitude followed me into the next day.

I had failed my husband in showing him God's view of love that does not dishonor others, is not easily angered and always protects (1 Corinthians 13). One of the great things about repentance is that  it "creates an opportunity for true restoration. In fact, it is absolutely necessary in order to heal a relationship that has been hurt by sinful behavior (p. 99)."

The curriculum is far from over in this classroom I am in but I am proud to say that I am gaining victory one step at a time.

Do you struggle with the lies that you can and should control others? If yes, I assure you that I am right there with you. How can I be praying for you in your fight to create a culture of honor in your home?

See you in the comments.

 


Romans 14 - Mic Drop!

Gang, the grandkids are visiting Nana’s today and we are either at the beach or the Wild Animal Park today. Hallelujah!!

So, today I’ll leave you with wise words from  SUMite, Martha Bush:

I remember providing a woman a scripture several months ago that I try to abide by when it seems as though I might face conflict over scriptures or doctrines. I could see she was going one way, and me the other on whatever it was.  So, I just said, okay, this is the scripture I use when I see I am going in opposite directions from someone--------Romans 14. (READ THIS PASSAGE. IT’S BELOW.) 

Paul was talking about division in the church over eating meat.  "Just be fully persuaded in your own mind what you believe, and leave it there, so as not to cause division among your brethren.  I had rather, as I told her, be unified with you on what we do believe, not divided on what we don't."  She agreed with me on that.

 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comRomans 14 New International Version (NIV)

The Weak and the Strong

14 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,

‘every knee will bow before me;

    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.


Jesus Is Brilliant - Matthew 18

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comIf another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. —Matthew 18:15

Imagine, what would happen if someone came to you personally and privately (Matthew 18) to chat about something they held against you. And you actually listened. Responded, “I’m so sorry you felt that way. It was never my intention and I would never knowingly be mean, vindictive, or harsh. I didn’t realize I hurt you. Please forgive me and let’s make this right.”

The culture of honor, where God lives and people thrive, exists through preserving respect and honor. This verse is specific to the need to privately point out the offense. On Friday,  The situation completely blew up due to the lack of a private and honest conversation between the leader and the women who were “concerned.”

By the way, I hate the word "concerned" coming out of a believer. When someone brings something to you and says, “I’m concerned.” Run for the hills. It’s never going to be a good thing. It’s a cloaked word that really means I don’t trust you. You need to prove yourself to me and if you are very, very convincing I might change my mind about the condemnation and judgement I’ve already set against you.   (Just my perspective.)

However, taking a conflict to a person and talking it out in private leaves the door open to relationship. To love. To honor and unity. Taking this action leads to the last half of Matthew 18:15. You win that person back… Back to love. Back to relationship. Back to community. Back to Kingdom!  Hallelujah.

This is the goal of Jesus words here. Unity, love, and family. This is a culture of honor.

Therefore, let us carefully consider these words spoken by Christ, and put them into practice. Sin and conflict in the church are inevitable. But, if we handle sin Christ’s way: peace, sanctification, forgiveness, the result will be the preservation of reputations and the deepening of trustful relationships. If we handle conflict and sin our way, we can expect chaos, warfare and divisions in the church.

Once again, awareness is 75% of the battle. Catching yourself in the midst of going into conflict and examining your motives then determining to bring honor to your life and the life with whom you are in disagreement, is the way to resolve these difficulties.

Okay, here is the hard part of today’s teaching. Whom are you in conflict with in your heart? Is there a possibility that you need to pray and approach that person one-on-one to seek resolution?

I know this is simplifying situations. There are relationships which are very unhealthy and so many of us have taken every step possible to seek reconciliation, but to no avail. And there are relationships that any attempt to reconcile only opens up more conflict and pain. But, today, I’m asking our Church Without Walls, is there someone in your life, online, at your local church, or in the neighborhood that you are holding an offense?

Ask the Lord if this is the season of reconciliation. Seek His wisdom before you proceed. Not all forgiveness means a restoration of a relationship. So much of forgiveness is tearing down the prison walls which we have constructed about us. Pray about it a lot. Fast and pray. Many in our SUM community are fasting today. I’m fasting for at least 24 hours. Join in.

If you are in the process, leave me a quick note (No details) just a note that you are going to seek resolution. I will pray to cover you with the wisdom of heaven and the peace and a spirit of reconciliation. In Jesus name. AMEN

See you Friday where we address what to do if one-on-one reconciliation isn’t possible.

LOVE YOU MY SUMites!!  Have a great weekP

PS: I'm chatting with Ian Atcheson this Wednesday  at 3 pm. Pacific on Facebook Live. Tune in and meet one of our long-time writers.


In Every Situation Ask Yourself, Is This A Violation of Love?

“I sat down in the booth for lunch, anxious and excited to finally spend some “chat” time with the Women’s Ministry Director from my church, where I have taught Bible study for years. To my devastation, this meet up was made under false pretense because she began by sharing an accusation made against me by three women in my Bible study group. I sat stunned, my heart breaking into a thousand pieces. I was condemned and was being disciplined for something I never was asked about and was completely hit with these accusations in utter surprise. And to top it off, they were inaccurate. I was condemned, deceived and reprimanded without anyone seeking to hear my perspective.”

Matthew 18 principleI (Lynn) nearly wept as I listened to this woman share her story. She changed church association after more than 20 years because of this great error and unbiblical rendering of a verdict and punishment.

What grieves me and then makes me angry is, well, many things. The meeting's purpose, which was initiated by the PASTOR of women, was a lie. The accusations brought were made in secret by unknown accusers at the time, deemed accurate, and moved upon to punish without first speaking to the Bible study leader. What really grieves me is that even after this “so called meeting,” there was no going back even after a reasonable explanation was given. This poor woman was told that her "perceived" error had reached the highest level of church leadership.

Are you kidding me?

In honesty, if this is true? Where was the pastor to meet with this woman and find the truth? Where were the elders to sort out this mess? Because this not only impacted this poor woman, but her husband, and family, everyone who was part of her Bible study group, the church she left. It’s impacted me and now thousands more are reading about this encounter.

Do you think the devil won this round?

The reality of this mess was there were three young woman who disagreed with this seasoned bible study leader about some area of doctrine. Instead of meeting with her to ask her to further explain her position, offer scripture, even talk it out and agree to disagree, all of this went down in secret conversations and back office meetings and phone calls. And the issue of doctrine in the end wasn’t really an issue. The Bible study leader wasn’t asked to leave the church. She was told that she could continue to lead but they would “supply” her content from this day forward. Was this a violation of love? 

Okay, I’m sharing this very real scenario because it happens all the time in churches all over the nation. Really, I’ve seen it happen. It’s happened in our SUM Community. Just recently a woman fired off a couple of harsh emails to tell me that I'm unequally yoked because I posted something about Mother Teresa.

We don’t need to worry about attacks from the atheists when we have this going on within our own family. And don’t think for a moment that we aren’t being raised to be a family. We are. We retain our personalities and traits in heaven, thus, on earth we MUST learn forgiveness, restoration, trust and proper conflict resolution.

Thus, Jesus taught us about conflict resolution t in Matthew 18.

Let’s take a look at the verse 15 where Jesus speaks to this very issue. (Note: this verse is specific to sin, but can be applied to this situation and many others within church.)

Correcting Another Believer (NLT)
If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. —Matthew 18:15

Did this woman’s discipline experience meet this criteria? Where is the first mistake?

Now the BIG questions. Have you suggested sin or error against someone behind their back? Or through a slanted comment on social media? Perhaps a prayer request to others that mentions another believer with whom you have a conflict?

I will assume we all have acted outside of this passage of scripture. So, on Monday let’s talk about what a healthy conflict resolution looks like and what happens if you try but can’t resolve your issues, that is in the next verse.

So, in the comments, what do you think went wrong. What do you perceive was the first right step to manage this conflict by the words Jesus taught? See you there. Hope its lively conversation because we need to figure this out. And if you have walked this passage out in success in your life, share the story. We all need positive examples of how this passage is applied to real life. Thank you.

Love you my friends. We are going to learn this process and then teach it to many, many others and transform our churches, homes, our marriages. In Jesus name. Amen.


The Destroyer Has Arrived. Do You Know Its Name?

Love over fearLove vs. Fear

Choose wisely.

SUMites, I’ve been in a new classroom with Jesus. Wow has it been interesting. ….. and timely.

And since the beginning of this blog in 2006 the Lord instructed me to share what I’m learning. So, in the next few weeks we are going to look as several aspects of our society and church relationships. We will examine conflict resolution, restoration and honor. We will look at the spiritual realm in light of the teaching and perhaps touch on a few more issues as the Lord leads.

Additionally, all of the teaching and skills we acquire through this series will have a wide affect on our homes, our church life, our social constructs, marriages but mostly in our personal relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Today, I’m just gonna jump into the deep end of the pool and hope I don’t drown or loose you. Because when you wrap you mind and heart around what is at the heart of conflict in this current season, the perspective changes your thoughts, challenges powerless faith, and realigns your prayers to become truly powerful and effective (James 5:1).

In my last post I shared how I sensed that the “Church” began to move into a new season, the Kingdom Era, here on earth. This dispensation of the Kingdom will include the fulfilment of passages such as Hebrews 2:4, Acts 4:30, Acts 14:13, & Mark 16:17-18 just to mention a few. However, the demonic realm also unleashed its weaponry to defeat the church and hold it captive. And this is what I believe has also occurred in the last couple of years.

Witchcraft through blood sacrifice and unholy covenants spoken by covens and sorcerers all over America and all western nations has stirred up an assignment of division. This is a Principality that has been released with a specific mission to divide and destroy. Its purpose is to fulfill one of the three main ministry arms of the devil; to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). It is intent to destroy any possible unification of the church, it is relentless to destroy any and all Godly identity, and to further destroy the centrality of the Kingdom which is family and marriage.

Duh! Like you didn’t already know this. But what you may not perceive is the devices the devil is using to make this happen.

Offense.

And the playground of this principality: ALL social media platforms.

The attacks are proficiently active on social media. I think that you can catch it in operation almost hour-by-hour when opening up a social media app or flicking on the news. Although I’ve seen it in churches within leadership, I see it in companies and in schools. How about our governments? Ugh!

Let me be clear here. This is a direct assault via witchcraft upon the land. And right now I see little response from the Kingdom of God. In fact, the people of God are the main targets of this black, slippery eel that nips at your nose and will lead you along until, wham, you gulped down the bait and you are tagged and bagged.

The enemy is doing everything within it’s power to cause believers to become offended. Satan broadcasts lies, scenes of hate, inflated accusations and more to cause a reaction. The enemy works relentlessly in Facebook posts, groups and messages. Twitter is a blaze with the political spirit and fueled by offense. Television, magazines, the pulpit???? Every platform where Christians gather, there is likely an assignment of the enemy and in many cases ,a real live person who is a witch, fueling the conversation and looking for a reaction. And a reaction fueled by offense quickly spirals into anger and then into hatred. It can happen so fast you don’t even know what hit you. (BTW, I’ve seen witches in church services, it’s a for real thing. I will get a pounding headache when witchcraft is active.)

However, again, I will state clearly that 75% of our victory in spiritual warfare is awareness. You are now aware. Now here is the remaining 25% to help you catch yourself and keep yourself from offense.

Several years ago, when I was learning and reading books about offense, I became very intentional in my life to start to catch myself when I felt the sting or anger of an offense rising up in me. Any area of offense is ungodly. ANY AREA. So, I would immediately realize the feeling of offense. With great determination, I would take my feelings in prayer to the Lord and then surrender, ask for forgiveness, and seek the Lord to help me navigate the situation/interaction/words with this person or persons. I would seek the Lord for HIS truthful explanations in the situation, even asking Him to show me where I failed in the scenario and where others failed. (I wrote a great deal about recovering from emotional wounding and escaping offense a few years ago. Here is a link to the first post: OFFENDED

I realize that people do things that hurt us, that are ugly, black, and from the pit-of-hell, evil. But I also know that these offenses by others are often occupied by demons of unforgiveness and bitterness. And these two actors open the door for oppression. I don’t want to be ruled by demonic lies. So, I willingly take my hurts, offenses, sins against me to my Father. I surrender them. I FORGIVE THE PERSON. I receive the healing forgiveness of Jesus and ask the Lord to help me make things as right as they can be. Restoration is broad and looks different for each situation. This is not an easy process but necessary. For more recovery tips, read the post mentioned above.

It’s time church.

We have the mind of Christ. We can choose to refuse to be offended. We can choose to stop going to places and people who stir you up. AND you can pray. Our prayers can absolutely defeat the witchcraft, the demonic realm and destroy every assignment of the devil. I know emphatically this is true.

We MUST stop playing the game. Immediately when you feel offense rising, shut it off, take it to the cross, seek forgiveness and ask the Lord for full restoration. When we stop being offended by one another this GREAT, BIG GIANT CHANCE for unity might really happen. It must start with the church.

We can be an activist. We can stand for what we believe. We can express our views in many different aspects and forums. I believe the Lord desires this of His people, but we must live above annoyance, offense, and the hatred of the world.

Because:

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. —John 13:35

And this kind of love will change a spouse, a house, a region, light revival, unify the church and usher in the greatest era of the Kingdom of God….. Heaven on Earth!!!

HALLELUJAH!

On Friday, I want to share some specifics about conflict resolution based on Matthew 18. On down the road we will look at how we develop a culture of honor. How we honor one another when we don’t agree. We will look at restitution vs. punishment and more.

Monday's Question: Who is brave enough to share how offense happened in your life and how the Lord helped you to escape?

LOVE YOU, Lynn


The New Kingdom Era

SUMites,

Lord's PrayerIt’s July 1st. Half of 2018 remains, and we are merely beginning to step into the miracles and the Presence of God that Kingdom era offers. Today, I want to share with you my thoughts about what is happening in the Kingdom of God in this season. Below is an excerpt from an email I sent to our SUM leadership team last week.

Before I share, I also want to let you know that I’m being led by Jesus to teach about Kingdom honor and dignity. I witness a great deal of wounding in the church because of accusation against another brother or sister in Christ. I’m convinced that there is great error on occasions when a believer sins. And the restoration process is what I believe, harsh, unforgiving ….. it feels like punishment. As children of the Kingdom, we must learn to handle disagreement with our church family in a new way. In a way that is truly restorative, healthy, and with honor and LOVE.

Following the July 4th weekend, I will be writing about what Godly conflict should look and feel like, based on the Matthew 18 model. I also want to teach about the differing areas of leadership and how we understand our strengths, callings, and anointings and how we are designed to fit in in our church, our region and the SUM family.  

If UNITY is the call of our Father in this season, we need to re-learn Godly conflict resolution. We must learn to see others through lenses of love and not fear or suspicion. It’s mandatory that we release judgement and condemnation and search out the areas where we agree, coalesce and center upon loving one another.

So, what say ye???  Ready for a powerful Word? The Lord is speaking and again, I believe He is calling the SUM Nation to this paradigm change first. We are on the leading edge of bringing the fullness of the Kingdom to earth. Hallelujah.

Okay, here is my perspective regarding our current season of the Body of Christ:

May I share what I’ve been sensing from the Kingdom. We are bearing witness to what I believe is the closing of the era of the church of man. Where mankind led people to the Lord through a relationship with church and people of a congregation. It has been a beautiful era of people loving and helping others find Jesus and grow up in faith. As with anything where people are flawed, the church is flawed and much of our denominational separation which grew out of that era was never the intent of our good Father.

So, I perceive that about two years ago the Lord began to move the people of God into what I believe is the era of the Kingdom.  We are bearing witness to the miraculous. I know that I have. Within the last few years an entire new experience has opened up to the hungry people of God. We, as a Body, are moving away from the religious rules into the prompting/guidance of the Holy Spirit. Many within our SUM Community are experiencing a shift in the gifts of the Spirit, speaking in tongues, and visions, etc. Can I just say WOW and PRAISE JESUS!!

This doesn’t mean that the church is dead or insignificant. No, we are going to see a unity in the steams of faith. We will see divisions grow softer. We will witness church done in ways we haven’t seen before. Just take a look at our SUM church, we are a church without walls. We can expect the church to be different, but also it will be powerful. No longer powerless in our faith but filled with the miraculous and more. I till you I can’t wait for this move of God. I count it the greatest work and privilege that I will participate in my entire life, to walk in this season of the Kingdom.

Thoughts SUMites??  Want in on this??? Join me. I’ll share more beginning July 9th. See you on Facebook and Instagram. Hugs, Lynn


Testimony Springboard & Powerful Conflict Tool

Hey SUMite Nation:

Today I shared two powerful perspectives on the SUM Facebook page. I want to share these with you and to celebrate 26 years of marriage and how this is important to your marriage.

Let's Talk Live is moving to Wednesdays at noon Pacific. Please make time to listen to this broadcast as it offers some powerful perspectives to THRIVE in your faith and marriage. 

I love you. Lynn

 

If you can't view this video in the email blast, click here. :)


Offense

I'm Offended

SUMites, in the last 30 days the enemy has come like a flood and with a specific weapon, offense.

In the last four weeks, I’ve had to fight for my heart with all the faith I possess in a way I haven’t in a long time. I’ve battled, fighting against pain and fear and worked relentlessly to move into joy and healing. And after walking through this season, I believe the Lord is asking me to share what I’ve learned with you. So, I think we need to chat about how to walk with Jesus through emotional pain and how to keep our hearts from moving into offense.

What do you think, is this a good idea???

The devil will use physical pain to open the door to more sinister issues such as resentment, depression and fear. The enemy also uses emotional pain in the same way but with emotional pain, the demonic will employ bitterness and even do his best to paralyze us with inaction, shock and anxiety.

The Lord is well aware that the devil uses pain, wounding and especially offense as one of his primary assaults to invade our life and spew his destruction. What I’ve come to learn is that our thought life is especially vulnerable and can lead us into defeat while in the midst of emotional pain and offense.

Today, I want to chat about how to defeat the darkness of offense.

Let me start with a story:

Not long ago, a friend of mine was searching for some healing for her life. She asked me how to receive the kind of healing she was searching for and because she lived out of state, I suggested she contact her church and ask for some healing prayer. Well, I followed up with her about a month later and she told me that she contacted the church for a session of prayer. However, because they asked her to fill out a questionnaire to facilitate her session, and the questions were quite detailed about her past, she was offended. She never went for prayer and likely still struggles with issues that could have been given to Jesus in prayer.

My friends, I need to ask you a question: WHAT OFFENDS YOU?

Sometimes we are easily offended? We can watch television and be offended. We can be offended because a stranger parked their car in front of our house. We are offended because the Women’s ministry leader didn’t include us or ask us to participate. We are offended when the train is late, someone forgets to pick up their socks, when we are cut off in traffic, etc., etc. And these are just the little things that will raise an offense in our heart.

THEN there are other offenses. We are emotionally knocked out by words from our mother, father, sister, brother, children, boss, best friend or others. And how about when our spouse speaks something hurtful and you feel like the air was knocked from your chest.

These moments of pain are even more devastating when the words spoken are released with intent to harm, humiliate and are without truth. And hurtful words are especially upsetting when spoken by those we love and trust.

In years past, following a moment of hurtful exchange my gut reaction is revenge. I want to say something to hurt back. I want to rush to my defense and just set this person back a step. I want to react with a blow to their life that would give me satisfaction.

All the years of walking with Jesus, I’ve learned it might feel good in the moment to respond at that level. However, later it never feels good to respond in revenge and give pain to the one who wounded you. But boy howdy, it is hard to respond like Jesus and turn the other cheek.

However, it IS possible. And when you work through the pain and realize that you handled the situation with integrity and maturity, you will be filled with relief and there are some amazing things that are the result when we offer a wise response.

I think in order work through offense there are two processes that are needed.

In The Moment: You may have more to add to this, but for me, in the moment of a hurtful exchange when emotions are roiling, it’s my intimacy with Christ and my years of practicing grace and restraint through the Holy Spirit that saves me from escalating a situation and restrains me from speaking words that will wound others. I remain focused on words like redemption, hope, reconciliation and grace.

Remaining conscious of who I am and whose I am, reframes conflict. I don’t need to stoop to untruths or verbal mud-flinging. I don’t need to speak words that intentionally harm, control or silence.

(Side note: There are situations when it’s appropriate to remove yourself from the conflict, i.e., hang up the phone, leave the room, etc.)

After The Moment: How we process and handle the aftermath of an emotional wounding and conflict is utterly crucial for our emotional and spiritual health.

Join me next time for After The Moment, as I will share the process of how to keep our heart and soul from falling into offense.

Today, I have some homework. In your quiet time this week, I want you to take out paper and pen and pray: Holy Spirit, I give you permission to show me where and with whom I am offended. Write down what you hear then ask the Holy Spirit how to begin to move out of offense.

If you can, share with me areas of offense where you struggle. I hope to write about how to work through them in the next few posts.

I’m in Philadelphia and NYC this week, so I’ll be in the comments sporadically. But I will check in and we will walk this out in Holy triumph my friends. Hugs, Lynn

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” -Matthew 5:38-40 (NIV)


Part 1: The Journey to Complete Abandonment

SUMites, Lynn here. I will be traveling this week. While I'm away, one of our long-time readers and Sister, SUMite Gillian Russell will be sharing a portion of her story. You may remember her and her astonishing story of traveling to meet me and Dineen in Texas. You can find her story about that adventure, here

Thank you Gill for taking time to share your faith with us. Hugs, Lynn

Although I came to my faith for the first time as a twenty year old, somehow God grabbed hold of me very early on in my journey: within a month I was completely sold out on God and I never looked back. While I struggle with many things, trusting God has rarely been an issue for me. (By this I mean for big stuff, trusting God in the little interruptions and frustrations in my day is a completely different story). Maybe it's also that I've always been impulsive, but when God says jump, I jump, (and think and ask questions later!) Honestly, it doesn't matter what it is, all I need is to hear from Him. 

So what does that mean for a mismatched marriage? It has certainly created some odd discussions but there are so many blessings that have flowed into all our lives from this obedience, because after all, God always works only for our best. 

A few years ago, while praying on my way home from a church event I heard these words CLEARLY in my spirit: 

Until your husband sees you, visibly different, (like my best friend saw the change) truly submitting to him, he’s not going to believe.’ That’s what it will take for him to come on board etc, radical humility. ‘Only when you are willing to lay down your will, will he be able to know Me.’ 

Gulp. 

Part 1.JPG Gill
Since then God has been helping me, one little step at a time, to lay down my wants, my desires, my way. In Texas God had taught me that I didn't need to try to run the show because He was in control, and of course He knows what's best. I was reminded of what God had told me about letting go of my will, and it was clear God needed me to stop controlling my husband, trying to get him to live his life how I wanted. 

In fact, God took it a step further by showing me clearly that as long as I was doing this, God would never be able to reach him. Like the prodigal son, my husband had to be able to live free, even free to make mistakes, and that would require my cooperation. This actually made perfect sense, so I trustingly said yes to God. 

A few days later I began to see just what that yes meant.

You see, my husband was invited to a party I did not want him to go to. Besides the fact that it was overnight and shouldn't a husband and father be home with his family, I knew that part of the festivities included strippers (Bachelor party). I knew this situation was not going to be healthy for him or for our marriage...and I wanted to put my wifely foot down, that he was NOT GOING.

Instead I had to lay that urge down, and let him make the decision himself, and look to God to get me through it. So I trusted my heart to God, only to have it broken when he chose to go anyway. I clung to God through the fears and hurt that followed, and offered up the pain I felt to God, together with the cross of Christ to win graces for my husband. Even though I couldn't see any real changes, I had to trust that God was using this to humble my husband, as he saw how his decision affected me.

I had never been so broken, but The Lord stood with me. Truly, I'd never felt so close to my Lord as I did those few days. I had given Him everything I had. 

The night before, after my husband had left for the party, I felt like Jesus alone in the garden of Gethsemane wrestling with the Father's will as my heart wrestled with surrendering this completely to God, for better or worse. Now God had taken my heart, and I had nothing left to give Him. In that place I found myself completely abandoned to His will, whatever it might be, from that moment forward.  There, kneeling by the water in full view of the cars going by, I raised my hands to the heavens in humble surrender. 

Three days later I watched God do a work of redemption in our marriage that only He could do. Afterwards I even shared with my husband a little of how God was responsible for it, because it was only because I was following God's directions that this new breakthrough happened. 

Only God could turn that place of darkness into a new dawn. Truly, the Almighty works ALL things for our good. 

Gill Intl Life
--- Stay Tuned, Part II is next--- Gill


Anxiety's Remedy

My Friends,

I will confess that I experienced an upside down week. On several occasions I was pulled into anxiety (fear). Can I just tell you I don’t dwell in the land of anxiety often and as I look back on the two incidents that threw me off my game, I’m now mad.

The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy our peace and joy. And many times in our unequally yoked marriages, he schemes to use our spouse and our children. Sheesh!  Does that somehow seem unfair to you as it does to me? Well, today SUMites. Let me share some truths and this next week, we will not live in anxiety but in peace and joy; the atmosphere of heaven.

Are you in?

Happiness- The root word is happenings. Our circumstances.

When our circumstances (happenings) overwhelm us and we feel all alone, isolated, distant from God. The enemy is aimed straight at your life and his goal is to keep you in anxiety fretting over all the “happenings” in your life.

Joy- is rejoicing in the Spirit. Rooted in God. The goodness and faithfulness of our Papa.

When we remain in the posture of joy, we DEFEAT the enemy. So how do we do that? It’s on our face crying out and it’s a life of thanksgiving. I’m telling you that if you spend even 20 minutes thanking the Lord for all that you have, you will change the atmosphere of your heart, your day and dare I say, even your spouse and kids.

So I challenge you. Every morning this week, take out your journal, write down in any random order the gifts, blessings and abundance you have in your life. Then watch as all of heaven rejoices with you and hell trembles.

Thankfulness is the key to open heaven’s gates and to rest in the reality of our Lord’s Presence.

Now here is your promise:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:4-7 

Now the challenge: In the comments we are going to break anxiety. Praise the Lord with Thanksgiving there. I will be praying along with you and I want to know on Friday that you experienced the power, love, peace and joy of our Father and the Kingdom of heaven.


Line by Line: Do I Divorce An Atheist?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

So Gang. Before we leave the verses from Monday’s study. I want to expand upon them. The questions I’m asking you to ponder address a very REAL scenario in SUMite homes today. I think we need some honest conversation about the topic. 

Let’s get started. 

On Monday we read: To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.—1 Corinthians 7:12-13 

Let’s place this verse into “real life” today. 

Lisa married her husband twelve years ago. She was raised in church and because she didn’t have a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus, she fell away from church and lived in the bad lands of the Prodigal Nation for an extended time. (ahem, this sounds familiar)

She married her husband who wasn’t raised in church during those years. In fact, Lisa’s husband was highly intelligent and regarded all organized religion as ridiculous, a fantasy, and absolutely the worst thing to happen to an educated society. In the early years of their marriage, Lisa didn’t pay too much attention to her husband’s caustic remarks about believers, God, Jesus, and the Bible. But as the years passed, their marriage was difficult.

Two children arrived. They both held down careers and the pressure to pay bills, manage kids and to work more than eight hours a day was overwhelming. Lisa, like most of us, was wooed back to Jesus because of her great struggles. And she secretly started to listen to podcasts, worship music, and read books about faith, never allowing her husband to catch her or find one of her books. And she absolutely hid her Bible carefully as she knew her husband’s growing atheism would bring his wrath of words down upon her.

Lisa continued to grow in her love for Jesus. But also her fear of her husband’s great hatred of religion paralyzed her. She lived in constant fear to be “found out”. She mentioned God to the kids in the car but they never attend church nor would she ever share anything about God in front of her husband.

 

Okay…… I think I’ve described this marriage enough for you to grasp an understanding. So, my friends, although we are instructed that we are not to divorce our unbelieving spouse, scenarios such as this are very real. If you are a wife and are completely terrified to talk about Jesus to your spouse, is this verse applicable? 

And if so, how do we help this young woman to find a balance between Christ’s presence in her life, home and children and her commitment to her husband? 

Now be very careful with your words my SUMite family because there are many of your SUMite sisters who are currently walking this very path. I’ve been heartbroken for so many of you who live in this very place. Confronting a hostile-atheist husband is a terrifying aspect. Don't be quick to judge but quick to love and support. How can we help women/men living in this unique aspect of the unequally yoked? 

Please, please add to this conversation as I believe the Holy Spirit want to bring some practical help, advice and encouragement to believers walking this path. Also, if you are a man/woman in this place, have the courage to add your story here. Share what you HAVE done to encourage another woman on the road behind you. Even comment anonymously if you don’t want to use your name. 

Lord Jesus, today there is someone who needs to know they are not alone walking this very difficult and painful path. Lord, give courage to have them share their story and to ask for prayer from their SUM family. Lord, I ask you to grant upon them a spirit of Joshua and Caleb courage that they will find a way to be able to express the love of Christ in their home with freedom. 

Father, I ask that you bind the spirit of atheism and the hatred that is directed at Your Children. Lord, free husbands, wives to see that the love of Jesus in their home actually brings, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Lord, release a fresh hope for these spouses and let your Holy Spirit fill them. In Jesus name. Amen.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


God's Preparation: Time + Honor = Fruit

10724044_sMy friends, this series about God’s Preparation continues. Last week we talked about trials and challenges, along with three key points in how Jesus moves in us and our lives during these times. If you haven’t read that post yet, click here to catch up.

This next part continues to build upon how God prepares us for the trials and challenges in our lives. We may be caught off guard by these situations that either occur as consequences of our own decisions and actions, the decisions and actions of others, and/or the enemy’s targeted attack, BUT God is not. (I’m totally getting this “but God” movement now.)

Foundational to this journey is trust in God, ever increasing trust in God. And in order to trust God more and more with all areas of our lives, we must believe that He is good. I’ve written about this before, but felt God nudging me to review this, because if we do not believe that God is good, that His purposes and plans for us are always for our good, and that He is always working for our good, then we cannot trust Him.

This is the truth of Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

"All" means ALL in the Bible and encompasses everything. Even in the worst areas of our lives, in the worst challenges, in the worst sufferings, God is working for the good of those who love Him. That is His promise and He never breaks His promises and He never fails in keeping them.

God is not capable of lying (Titus 1:2) and He never has an impure motivation. He is good, He works for our good, and His plans are good. That is His unchanging character.

If you find this is an area that you struggle with (and we all have or will at some point), I urge you to seek Him for His promises in the Bible, write them down and pray them. This is so foundational and again, connects to the transformation of our minds (as I shared in that series earlier this year).

Remember these key points all found in Romans 8:28

  1. God is good. ALWAYS.
  2. God is sovereign and has a PLAN and PURPOSE for ALL things.
  3. God is an equipper and will provide what we need to walk through every trial and challenge.
  4. God is a redeemer and will bring purpose out of every trial and challenge and will restore what we have lost in His way and His timing.

My friends, I truly believe it comes down to this. How we perceive God and His character will directly affect how we look at our circumstances. The more we seek Him in truth to know Him more, the more we will see we can trust Him, and the more we trust Him, the more we can let go and have child-like faith. I know I want that more than anything, to know Him more and to trust Him with all of my life. He is worthy and loves us so much! It amazes me that He longs for this even more than we do, and not for His gain but for ours.

In this year of intimacy, I’ve had to let go of control, or more factually, the idea of control. I do not like pain and I do not like not knowing what lays ahead of me. Can you relate?

As I have shared in the past, God told me He was preparing His vessel. I believe He is doing this in many of us right now. The more I walk in this time of preparation, the more I understand how challenging it can be. I want to walk through this stuff with a heart to learn whatever it is that God is showing me so that “at the right time, He will lift me up in honor, as I give Him all my worries and cares (1 Peter 5:6-7).

I sought God for more understanding and this is what He showed me. We are like fruit trees and if you are familiar with fruit trees, they start off small and take several years to grow and strengthen before they begin to bear fruit. The growth part is crucial to the tree's ability to produce and carry the fruit. If fruit comes too soon, it is often inedible and the branches are not ready. Or the tree tries to overproduce and the branches are weighed down and can’t hold it all. Our struggle is often our desire to produce certain fruit or quantity of fruit before our branches have grown enough. We are impatient. (I know this to be true of me!) Preparation takes time. To grow, to prune, to be fed and strengthened. To become vessels the Lord “honors.”

Let me show you a funny little “truth” that God showed me. Take a look at the Scripture below:

Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. — 2 Timothy 2:20-21

The word “honor” in this verse in Greek is ti. Do you see what I saw? Looks like the English word “time,” doesn't it? And that was God's point in showing me this. Honor takes time and preparation and is done by the Master. I don’t know about you, but when I saw this, I smiled. God has an amazing sense of humor.

My friends, I know it’s hard to believe and even accept at times, but our trials and challenges DO have a purpose in them—God’s purposes that we can seek and look for if we are willing to let Him show us. This requires us to take our eyes of the “bad” and to seek the good. To seek God (and again I find it interesting that good and God are only different by one letter).

Remember these Scriptures from last week?

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. — 1 Peter 5:6-7

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. — 1 Peter 5:10

At the right time, God lifts us up in honor. This is part of His preparation so that after we have endured, He will can restore, support and strengthen us so that we are placed on that firm foundation, and bear every kind of fruit. And amazingly again, this fruit winds up being exactly what we need for the next trial or challenge.

I can think of no better way to end than with this truth:

Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. — Colossians 1:10, NLT

Amen!

SignatureGraphic2 Fruit

Copyright: kudryashka / 123RF Stock Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Let's Talk About Lies

Greetings My SUM Family, 

My heart has received such encouragement and joy from your words and prayers on Monday. God has worked out some amazing things in this difficult time. We are now moving forward. I’m excited to see what the Lord has for my son and our family. 

I Heart you! 

DonotlieToday however, I want to talk about lies. In the last month I’ve had to deal a lot with lies and deception. And what I’ve learned is how easily lies can trip and flow from lips. Fortunately for me God has given me a powerful discernment when someone is lying to me. I quickly recognize when I’m not getting the full or correct story. It’s like a spiritual gut check and I immediately know some things are just not right. 

My daughter has even said to her friends, in front of me, “I never lie to my mom. She ALWAYS finds out.” Well, I don’t know if she has never told me a lie but most of the time we have a very honest and open relationship. I have given her permission to tell me anything, no matter how horrible, and I will not get angry or punish her. I’ve promised that if she is honest I would want to approach the problem with full truth and would help her through it. Same goes with my son and husband. 

I also know that so many people don’t have this kind of trust. And so many of us were raised in environments where lying seemed the only way to keep yourself safe or out of trouble. So we learned as youngsters to lie to keep the peace. We lie to save ourselves from pain and difficulty. 

But, as believers we must step into God’s calling for us. He is a God of truth. Lies are from the enemy. 

So today can we be honest here? Can we have a real conversation of how we escape a lifestyle of lies? Can we ask the question is a white lie really a lie? Is it possible to break a lifetime of deceit and live in truth and peace? 

My friends, I have some thoughts to share on how I’ve escaped lies. For example, the phone rings. My husband says, “I’m not home.” I answer the phone and say hello. The caller asks for Mike. What do I reply? 

Do I say, “He’s not here?” Does it matter?? 

I would be really interested to hear someone’s story that grew up in a household where everyone lies to one another. I’ve come to realize this is actually common in family dynamics. And if you are in this kind of dynamic and want to stop the cycle of lies, will someone who has had victory in this area, PLEASE HELP US. What did you do? 

I’m looking forward to some great comments of wisdom and help. There is NO judgment in this House of SUM. If you are struggling in this area, tell us, tell me and I will earnestly pray for your transformation. 

See you my friends in the comments. Should be a really great conversation. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com
 


Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

Stacked RocksThe Chronicles of the Donovan Clan began as a continuing story line of my husband’s faith journey as well as my children. As I think back upon some of the outrageous events God has orchestrated in my pre-believer’s life, I giggle and I ponder them in my heart as Mary pondered thoughts of Jesus in her heart. 

It’s been a while since I gave an update but something curious happened yesterday that I believe is a worthy story that will encourage you as you wait for your unsaved family to find faith. 

For those of you who are new to our community, let me bring you quickly up to speed. My son, daughter-in-law and one-year-old granddaughter recently moved in with us. They are relocating to California from another state. So our house has been crazed with one year old antics, crowded living and the stresses of two married couples trying to figure out boundaries. Actually I think the transition has gone way better than expected. And this little girl… Oh my heavens, she is hilarious and a blast. But atlas those are stories for another day. 

So with this in mind, let me set the stage. Many of you know that I go on a walk-n-pray every morning for about an hour. I walk in the wine country among vineyards and open spaces, by homes and pastures. It’s divine and I meet my Papa out there and we chat, I worship, I talk with Him and He with me. It’s the best part of my life. 

Also to set the stage my husband received a new work assignment that begins Monday. He will be traveling every week until the end of the year. Out on a Monday, home on Friday. This assignment has been described to my husband as very difficult, the work environment is hostile, and the project is off course. Oh yea! (sarcasm intentional) So of course, I have been praying for my husband and this new assignment. And as I was praying yesterday I clearly heard the Spirit impress on my mind this thought. Yes, this assignment will be difficult, especially in the beginning, but your husband will make friends there and it will work out. 

Wow! 

Later that morning I found myself sitting at the kitchen table with my husband and my daughter-in-law. The chit-chat was casual as we sipped coffee. But all of a sudden the Holy Spirit reminded me about my husband’s work assignment. 

I gathered myself and I said this, “Mike, I wanted to tell you that God said to me this morning that Yes, this assignment will be difficult, especially in the beginning, but your will make friends there and it will work out.” 

NOW… This may not be a big deal to some of you. But for many who are married to unbeliever’s even mentioning God can open a door to conflict. But in our house this kind of conversation has now become common place. 

I often share with my husband what God speaks to me. Or share what happens when I go to pray at the healing rooms. I also turn on worship music in the kitchen and it plays all day while I’m in my home office and he’s in his. 

Say what??? 

I mean even ten years ago I would never do this. I was afraid of the fights. Afraid of the conflict over our music choices. Fearful and weary of battling for my faith. I wonder if any of you can relate? 

Part of my fear and hesitancy to stand in my faith at home stemmed from my own doubts. I wasn’t certain about a lot of things. And it is likely that if we are honest, many of us live in this place right now. And that’s okay. Faith is a journey. But there are two central questions of faith that when you settle them firmly in your mind and heart your mismatched journey will begin to change. 

Do you believe who God says He is?
Do you believe who God says you are? 

After may years I feel confident that I’m firmly rooted in the truth of the Word of God and I know that I know what it says about God and about me. When I settled this matter in my soul, my fear of condemnation by my spouse, by anyone fled. I’m not worried about an eye-roll from my spouse or a cruel word he might speak when I mention my faith. 

I’m sharing this change in the Donovan Clan house because if God brings about a softening in my husband’s heart, He can and will do it in your home. This process is long and patience and prayer is your ally. But I promise you that when you are consistent and filled with the love and power of the Holy Spirit, you too will sit at your kitchen table one day and share the miraculous with your spouse. 

So, you might ask how do I settle these two questions in my heart? It’s relationship. Spend time with God. Come to Him like a child and chat with Him. Carve out time and read His Word. Allow the Word to challenge your doubts and silence the voice of the enemy. Replace those old doubts with God’s love and truths. Pray and ask God to settle these questions in your soul. 

Our struggle is Identity. And today our Lord God says, “I want you to believe who I say your that you are.” 

My friends, your identity is key to thriving in your mismatched marriage. And God’s Word is full of confirmations of who you are in Christ. Visit our Resource page on Mismatched and Thriving (click here). Print this out and when you feel weak in faith, or facing conflict with your spouse, when you have doubts, or just need to feel the love of our Father wash over you, go into your room, shut the door, and read this card out loud. I’m betting you will feel a change in the atmosphere. 


As I conclude this Chronicles update, I will tell you that I don’t know what my husband does with all of the things I share with him. Does he believe I’m wacked? Does he file the miracles I share with him away in a mental file to deal with them later? Does he listen but not hear? I’m not really sure. God doesn’t allow me to see into his faith journey. But for me……. 

If I don’t share the astonishing God encounters I have with my best friend on earth, the very rocks would cry out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

"I tell you," he (Jesus) replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." ~Luke 19:40 

And I believe that as I grow in my confidence to share my faith, God is moving in my pre-believers life. 

CONVERSATION:           

Can you share with me a time you gathered your courage and shared your faith with your pre-believer? What happened. See you in the comments. 

I love you my friends. Have an amazing week in His Presence. Hugs, Lynn


Special Guest Today! Please Welcome Suzie Eller!

My precious friends, today I want to introduce you to Susanne (Suzie) Eller. She's been a great support to the SUM ministry and now we get to share her with you! Suzie's message of forgiveness in her book, The Unburdened Heart is desperately needed today and by so many. I hope you find answers and comfort in her words below. 

Feel free to leave comments and pray for each other. This is a tough topic. And we'll do a random drawing from the comments for a book winner, who will receive a copy of her book.

Love you all dearly and know you are in my heart and prayers!
Hugs!
Dineen

SE13-1060-682x1024Suzanne (Suzie) Eller is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and author. She’s written six books, hundreds of articles, and writes devos with Encouragement for Today that reaches over 500,000 women. Suzie is a radio co-host with Luann Prater at Encouragement Cafe Joy FM. She encourages women through two Facebook communities reaching over 20,000 five days a week. She’s been featured on TV and radio such as Focus on the Family, Aspiring Women, 100 Huntley Street, KLOVE, MidDay Connection, The Harvest Show, and many others. Most importantly, she is a wife, mom, and “Gaga” to four beautiful grandbabies. Connect with Suzie at www.tsuzanneeller.com

 

Suzie, you’ve been listening to many stories from women who struggle to forgive. How many women struggle with forgiveness in their marriages?
 
Nearly 50% of the women who share their stories on my blog, or in person, say that their biggest struggle to forgive is in their marriage.
 
For many, it’s when a spouse is continually unkind, or says words that diminish her.
 
In this instance, many women bear their soul and are told either to get out, to seek counsel, or to submit.
 
The first leaves a woman who desires to stay and work things out because she loves her husband and wants her marriage to succeed, with a heavier burden. 
 
In the second, seeking counsel is wise advice, as long as it’s counsel that is skilled in helping a couple, with God’s help, find new ground in their marriage. Many times “counsel” can be someone who do not have those skills.
 
The third, to submit, is often shared without proper context. The word “submit” is thrown out without the beautiful framework of instructing husbands to love their wives as “Christ loved the church”. This is why wise counsel is key. Submission is respect, it’s great love, it’s working through the harder spots.
 
So, how do you begin to forgive in this instance?
 
It’s a blend of truth, grace, and confidence.
 
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that abuse is allowed to continue. However, he’s not yours to fix, and that’s where we often spend our energies.
 
What can you do then? You can speak the truth. Truth is shared, perhaps in the setting of a counselor’s office, or perhaps in a moment where it’s not heated, after prayer and with love, and with the intent of working toward a healthier relationship. Truth is coated with grace, knowing that we all fall short. It’s shared with wisdom and without accusation. And in some instances, it’s shared with healthy boundaries, not to punish, but to work toward the healthiest relationship possible. (A great book on boundaries that is both healthy and filled with wisdom is Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud and Townsend.)
 
What about unfaithfulness?
 
A percentage of that 50% wrote in that they struggled to forgive because of unfaithfulness. I shared Carlie’s story, a woman whose husband left her after 29 years of marriage. In this case, the word forgive meant that God moved into the broken and raw places of His daughter. He knew her. He knew her heart. She intentionally walked into a relationship with God during that painful time so that He could fill up her “temple”, residing in Her, healing her, moving in her in those moments when she wanted nothing more than to take revenge, or lash out. In Carlie’s case, her husband went on with his new life, but she also had new life that filled her up in the harder months ahead. She was redefined in so many ways – single mom, single woman. But her role as God’s daughter was made that much more clear and concrete.
 
Unburdened-Heart_GrassSky_smallFor those whose spouse asked for forgiveness and who desired to change, forgiving is key as you rebuild trust. But give yourself permission to be honest with your heavenly father, with the understanding that there is nothing in scripture that condones unfaithfulness. It’s not in God’s plan or His character. If He grieves over the fallen sparrow (Matt. 10:29), then He grieves over your marriage. He is big enough to handle your honesty while leading you to a new level of spiritual intimacy with Him and even tender vulnerability in your relationship with Him as you work through this harder aspect of forgiving. At this moment, it may seem impossible to forgive on your own, but are you willing? That’s the only question that you need to answer. God is a Healer, and my prayer is that your marriage goes to a new place, but also that you sense God’s hand over you as you work through this difficult place, and that one day you look back and see His tender touch over you and your marriage.
 

Read chapter one of Suzie's book.

Listen to Suzie share her journey to forgiveness.

 


Conflict In Marriage - I Bet You Didn't Know THIS

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI heard the most astonishing story this past week. And as I’ve thought about it, I’m compelled to share it with you. I was engaged in a discussion with a few people about marriage. You can imagine this particular subject will come up often because I’m so fascinated by God’s design for marriage.

The gist of the story was about conflict in marriage. What was fascinating is what one woman said about conflict with her husband. I’m going to share the story but I don’t remember it word-for-word so here is my adaptation.

A husband and wife were in the middle of an argument. (In the Donovan house, this would be called a fight. A heated verbal exchange would be accurate around here.) Well as this exchange began to elevate between this woman and her spouse, the husband and the wife became completely at odds and couldn’t understand one another’s perspective. The yelling heightened and then…..  all of a sudden the wife could see something, like a vision in front of her.

As she looked at her husband who was angered and speaking strongly to her, the vision opened up and she saw in front of her husband a demon who was grabbing and twisting the words of her husband as they came out of his mouth. These twisted words then landed on her ears. It was at that moment she realized she was hearing something entirely different than what her husband was intending.

I stood there listening to this story and it was as if I could see this happening in my own life. It was like a slow-motion replay. Mike talking at me. Evil twisting his words as they left his mouth and then the words landing on my ears twisted and angry, carrying along with them evil intentions.

Can I just say, “YIKES.”

My friend went on to say that she stopped the conversation with her husband and said, “I think I’m hearing you say…..”

“No, that’s not at all what I meant by that..” he replied.

That was the day they realized how the enemy can deeply entwine itself in the conflicts of marriage. That was also the day the couple agreed that in a time of conflict they would begin to ask each other for clarification. They would say something like this, “I’m hearing you say….. I think you are telling me….. I didn’t understand you exactly can you tell me again….”

Wow, imagine if we stopped and thought about what is happening around us in the supernatural realm during conflict. I hope this story changes how you have an argument with your pre-believer in the future.

On Monday, I will share with you another thing we discussed. And it’s something that has happened to me in the past. Now that I see it for what it is…. It ticks me off to know I was manipulated in marital conflict. Stay tuned.

So tell me… What do you think about this story and do you think this has ever happened to you in your marriage? See you in the comments. Live in love my friends because the devil is clueless to fight against you. BIG hugs, Lynn


I Cried For You, Sunridge

So, this is a difficult post for me to write. However, I’m following the Lord’s lead as there must be one other person, in addition to me, who needs this word. 

My home church where I have served and worshiped for 12 years is teetering on the precipice of a split. And I am grieved deeply in my spirit over this. The thoughts of people whom I love possibly now hating another person in our church stabs my heart in searing pain. 

Grief has sat heavily on me now for several days as I have prayed and ponder over the people of God. So this morning as I left for an early walk in the frosty wilderness, I was contemplating our church. I was carrying the heartbreak on my soul. 

Geese in DecemberI began walking and noticed the geese feeding in the field. Such beauty. And as I turned to head down a different road, that is when all of it hit me. The full spectrum of grief I’ve been carrying over this split came upon me with such a force that I started to bawl. I full on cried, out loud, while walking by the horse pasture. Big heaving sobs complete with snot bubbles and tears dropping from my cheeks. 

As I cried, I prayed, “O Lord, I am so sorry. I am so sorry this is happening to your people. I am so sorry.” 

I walked a little further, gathering myself down to sniffles and nose wipes and it was at that point, in that moment, I thought of Paul and how he grieved over the people of Israel. And I said to God the same thing Paul said and in that moment and I was genuinely sincere, “Lord, I would die to save the unity of these people.” 

And out of the blue I heard God immediately respond, “Lynn, My Son already died to save their unity.” 

Full on bawling again. 

“O, Lord, I am so sorry. Jesus died for our unity.” At this point, it’s complete blubbering. 

Through my tears God said to me, “Unity in my people is vastly important. It is in this corporate environment that my power is amplified. Miracles, healings, restoration happens. Remember the scripture, where two or more are gather, there I am also? Well, it’s in the united hearts and souls which brings my Kingdom power to earth and hinders the devil. That is why the enemy works so hard to destroy believers who unite to serve Me. 

Then I felt the Lord calm my spirit and speak directly to me again, “Lynn, you keep your eyes on me. You are to stay so intensely focused on me that you can’t be distracted by the dialogs and discontent happening around you.” And God went on, “Lynn, don’t you ever lose perspective that any ministry given to an individual to lead, including a church, has been given by Me. 

“You must hold your own ministry very loosely. There will come a day, possibly even as early as tomorrow that I will demand the surrender of your ministry. This ministry that you started is not your empire. This ministry is and always has been Mine. There will be a day when a younger woman will come along and she will take the reins and you must step away. You may lose the leadership of your ministry through deception or it could even be stolen from you. But, you are not to fight but to depart with all the dignity and honor of which I have bestowed to you.” 

“Lynn, and if you never serve Me again in any public manner, then you MUST KNOW that I AM all you need.” 

“I Am the Great I Am. I will always take care of you.” 

I finished my walk today with understanding and yet still with a broken heart.

However, I am firm in my commitment to hold this ministry in which the Lord allows me to serve with a very lose grip.

And one thing I know that is for certain. Dineen and I WILL ALWAYS BE all about what we are “FOR” in this ministry and not what we are against. And what is it that we are “for” you ask? The two things that matter the most to God. 

We love God.
We love People. 

Thank you for allowing Dineen and I to serve you. We love you more than mere humble words can say. And for those of you who live with unbelieving husbands or wives, a church split is devastating to their salvation. It affirms every lie they been told about church, faith and God. So armor up my friends because the enemy is prowling and the wounded and bleeding are falling everywhere. 

But, we serve THE GREAT I AM. 

So enemy, you are hereby put on notice.......   Expect some serious butt kickin’. 

We are going to step into the realms of the Spiritual battles in January. I hope you plan to be part of it because we are literally going to terrorize the devil. Love you so much, Lynn

Comments have been turned off on this post.


It's a Weird Journey That We Are Traveling

Hi Everyone, 

Radio1So, it’s kinda weird for me to listen to myself talk on radio. 

But it’s even weirder to listen to myself talk on the radio with my husband standing right next to me. Sheesh! But, my guy did listen to the portion of the broadcast where Dennis spoke to him over the airwaves. 

Dennis said something like, “Hi Mike. It’s pretty cool that you are not threatened by your wife’s faith.” 

Then Dennis followed up with a few more statements. As I watched my husband’s face while Dennis was speaking, I felt strange. So, I stopped the recording and asked, “So what do you think about what Dennis said that there is a book titled Winning Him Without Words and that “him” is you?” 

Well my low-key husband replies, “Well it certainly is much better than badgering me.” 

Vintage Mike Donovan, folks!!!! 

I just had to laugh. I then pressed a bit further and asked him about where he is on his faith journey. THAT is always scary and I rarely ask. And as you might imagine I received a non-committal shrug. 

Ugh!!!!! 

This journey of the unequally yoked is sure an emotional one. Some days I’m convinced it’s only a matter of hours and then some days, his salvation is way, way off in the distance. 

It’s a back and forth between convinced hopefulness and disappointment. 

And I’m finding I’m not alone in all this.… There are those who have emailed me recently who are so discouraged by the victories they read about in other’s marriages. Then there are those who have emailed me recently who are discouraged because they are not reading about many victories in other’s marriages. 

I understand both and I want to hug every one of you. I think at SUM we must be real enough about the real struggles and yet we MUST continue to focus on the victories. We need people who are finding power and authority in Christ to lead us forward. In this place we will always have some at both ends of the spectrum. 

For example, a few weeks ago Dineen shared a wonderful story about her family Thanksgiving. For her it was as if she was able to catch a glimpse, a reward, for all of the hard years of pouring into her children. She experienced a new level of peace and love with her husband. Well, honestly, that was difficult for me to read. And you know why, because after my son left on Wednesday, Thanksgiving Day dawned and my husband and I launched into a fight, complete with me screaming and lots of tears. Sheesh! 

I have to say that it’s been a long, long time since we have struggled in that kind of a conflict. It surprised me. It hurt. It was awful. Thankfully, we’ve moved forward. 

Anyhow, all this to say that there is a place here for all of us. Dineen and I are far from perfected. We still struggle with our marriages, with raising our kids to faith, even in our own faith journeys at times. But, it does get easier. The pain doesn’t last as long. Mistakes are forgiven more quickly and more than anything we learn to love better, deeper through the power of Jesus Christ. 

So, today I want you to receive this special encouragement. I want you to own it. To KNOW it. To let it live inside of you with such truth and passion that the fiery darts of the enemy just bounce off because of it. 

Say this with me now:

I am treasured by God.

I am beautiful to God.

I am loved by God, His son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

God always has His best for me. I will lack nothing. I will rise above all things and soar on wings like eagles. I will taste of the good life just because I am His. I will live in victory, love, peace and will fulfill my purpose and His plans. I will be happy and will proclaim the gospel is the living hope of the world. 

My friends, we are so loved by our Lord. And I’m convinced that we must truly KNOW this in our bones. So, for the next few weeks we are going to be talking about love. It is a power that can conquer all things and we have it within us. 

Come back Monday because it’s time to talk about an area so many of us struggle with. How do we love ourselves? Ooooooh, it’s going to be good. Because when we figure this out, our husband’s unbelief loses all power and authority over us. 

And then stay tuned for January because we are going to be on the F.B.I. watch list…. *grin* More to come on that. You will love it. 

I love you my warrior friends. Choose love this day and tell someone you love them. Hugs, Lynn


God's Unexpected Healing, Part 2

WorshipMy friends, last week I shared the first part of my unexpected healing at Bethel Church and God’s gift of truth from a dear woman named Helen. Now for the rest of the story. Or rather, the results of this dramatic healing in my life that keeps playing out on a daily basis. Wow!

I really didn’t understand everything at the time that it happened. The full reality didn’t unfold immediately. With this kind of internal healing, it’s like a walk of discovery. Only as you move forward do you see the changes.

I remember when I worked as a youth minister, I loved the verse Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ set us free.” I craved that verse, wanted it to be true in my life more than anything but after a while I doubted it was possible. Seemed like my faith walk and life was an emotional roller coaster ride most of the time.

But over the years, as I submitted more and more of my heart to God, He has entered and healed as much as I allowed Him. Go back and read that sentence and see if that’s true for you. Do you limit what God has access to in your heart? Why? Keep reading and see if your answer is the same as mine was.

The conference at Bethel was the near completion (I say near because I believe we are constantly being perfected in our faith, and I in no way want to assume God is done in this area of my life) of a process that started in 2002 to free me of a past full of hurts and rejections that I’d allowed the enemy to use to hold me in bondage.

As I submitted more and asked for more freedom in my life, God was and is faithful. The process is ongoing! I am so radically changed! Sometimes we think we’ve completely submitted to God but He shows us more that He wants access to in order to show us who He created us to be through Jesus Christ, who we always were, are and are meant to be in our identity in Jesus. And very often to restore what the enemy has taken away.

My immediate proof was in the security and peace I felt. Then I noticed that I could look people straight in the eye. I didn’t dart my glance away out of shyness. I WANTED to look at them and I didn’t fear them looking back at me.

Then came our evening worship. I stood, anxious to worship God. My heart was so full of gratitude for what He’d done in me, even though I didn’t fully understand it yet, I knew He’d freed me. The music started and I can only describe it as if my spirit were dancing inside of me. I literally wanted to twirl like a little girl! Where I once used to hesitate out of fear of what others might think, I had not a care of what I looked like. It didn’t matter to me anymore.

At one point I shed the thin black jacket that I wore. Lynn was standing in the aisle a couple rows behind and says it was like witnessing my freedom come to life as I shed a mantle of darkness for God’s freedom. (I’ll let her tell that story if God leads her to.) I only know that I felt like I was dancing before God. I even remember the way I felt as a girl taking ballet lessons and losing myself in the joy of the movement. And now it was again like that elegant dance but this time, all to worship God. More proof of God’s unexpected healing.

And more kept coming. When I returned home and back to my office, all those things I’d been striving for didn’t matter anymore. And I don’t mean that they weren’t important—they are and they have their place in what God is calling me to do. They just didn’t define me anymore. My work for God no longer defined me. My relationship with Him and who He says I am now does. The rest is extra for Him and I to share together and my chance to give to others what He has so generously given me.

My entire world has changed. I used to structure my day by first starting with God, my quiet time of course, and then the rest of my day was about my work. My agenda. Now God is my agenda. I can’t figure out a better way to say it. All the work stuff—what matters gets done. But whatever God has planned for the day comes first.

I used to dread interruptions because they took me away from what I needed to get done. My agenda was priority. I truly wanted to be available to God but didn’t want it to be inconvenient. Now, as I walk through my days, I look for those interruptions! They are sweet times to see God at work in OUR lives (Not just mine. Yours too!) in a very real and tangible way and to be a part of that. To co-labor (love that word!) with God to reach the broken hearts He sets in our path at the most unexpected times.

And I will share one other place in my life that is radically changed. My fear is gone! Yes, that is the most radical area of my healing. Was your answer the same? Does your fear of what God might do or ask you to do limit Him? I know mine did.

My prayer life is very different now as well. I didn’t realize how big of a hold fear had in my life. The enemy had worked layer upon layer of fear in my life since I was a child. And that fear is what kept me from praying boldly and from understanding my authority in Jesus Christ.

Now I am learning to pray boldly in the Holy Spirit and I am seeing breakthroughs and answers to prayers. Areas of conflict in my life in which I normally would avoid rather than face, I now confront confidently and insist it be dealt with. This is an HUGE area for me!

My friends, let me emphasize that I did NONE of this! This is all God. He did this and is doing all this in me. I didn’t work at it, make a plan of action, set up a prayer regiment, or anything like that. I had been praying for God to make me bolder, like Paul. I wanted to be confident in Him and not afraid to step forward or to take a risk. I told God I was tired of being insecure and lacking confidence. What I didn’t realize is that was also part of God’s process in exposing what He wanted to heal in my life.

Please understand, this is about complete submission. My biggest prayer had been for more of God. I wanted more of Him in my life. I wanted Him to BE my life. The amazing thing is, God WANTS to do this in us and give Himself to us.

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! — Luke 11:7

The emphasis in this verse is mine because this truth just stood out to me this week. We miss this last line thinking we get what Jesus is saying, that we are to ask God for what we need. But hear me right how, Jesus is saying the Father wants to give us something better.

Himself.

God wants to give us HIS HOLY SPIRIT. Not just to indwell us as part of our salvation, Christ living in us. But his very presence!

Because He is all we truly need. The rest will come, just trust Him for it. And I promise you, that may seem like an impossible thing to do, but when we want God’s presence more than anything in our lives—I mean truly crave it—the rest just isn’t as important anymore or you are confident in God’s provision and care.

Let that truth sink in deep, my precious friends. I will have to finish this blog post next week as it seems God had so much more for me to share than I realized. And I dare say next week will have more revelations—one in particular, the mystery of God’s love.

Join me next week and I will tell you what fear and love have in common. The answer just might surprise you. I know it did me.

Know that I love you with the heart of Jesus!
Dineen