147 posts categorized "Courage"

July 4th: Renewing Our Hope and Trust in God

4thJulyDear SUM family, Lynn and I hope and pray the series on the Books of Peter has encouraged and strengthened you. We enjoyed sharing this journey with you, and Lynn and I both feel so honored to be a part of this community and to be praying for you. Your requests Monday have moved our hearts so deeply, and we know they have moved our King Jesus' heart too. He died for us, He lives for us, He cries with us, He heals us. We believe this in the Name of Mighty Jesus, and as His Word stands,

But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them. — Isaiah 52:6 NLT

My friends, this is the truth we stand on and right now as many of are grappling with the recent supreme court ruling. Lynn and I want you to know that we are too. We have felt our own grief along with a heavy grief that we can only describe as coming from the spiritual realm. We are processing this with hearts and minds turned to Abba for wisdom and guidance, and we are determined to stand on the truth and in the great love and hope of Jesus above all.

He is faithful, my friends. As I walked and prayed on Monday, the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart that the Lord is releasing hope for His children right now. And as I looked up into the sky, I heard His still soft voice say,

"I reign supreme."

Things are shifting and changing, yes, but Our God is the same as always. 

So as we celebrate Independence Day in America, my friends, let's renew our hope and trust in God. He reigns supreme and nothing changes that. I know it's challenging right now, as many of us are walking in places of disappointment and defeat. Next week, Lynn and I have some very encouraging words to share with you, things the Holy Spirit has impressed upon us to share to encourage, uplift and strengthen you so we can persevere and run this race well together as God's family.

Lynn and I are taking the rest of the week off, but we'll still be hanging out in the comments. As of next week, I will be switching my posting days to Tuesday and Thursday and Lynn will continue to post on Monday and Friday. We feel this will better serve our community. We hope you think so too.

And just a heads up. We have something very special planned for August. Our Lord is so good. He is working to put things into place to equip you, my friends. Lynn and I are excited to share this study that we believe will help you to equip your children in navigating the waters of this changing world and stand for God's truth. Right in their schools. We will be using our book Not Alone as reference to do this.

Lots happening, SUMites. Lynn and I truly believe our SUM family is here for such a time as this. Have an amazing holiday, hug your hubby and kiddos tight and tell them how thankful you for them. Perhaps the face of freedom is shifting in this country, but our freedom in Christ is the same as ever, my friends.

We love you, SUMites! See you on Monday!
Dineen and Lynn

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Keys To The Kingdom - Part I

SUMites:

I have a thing about keys.

Last week I believe the Lord poured out revelation upon me regarding keys and their significance in the Kingdom. I also believe that the revelation was not only specific to myself but also to others.

Way back in 2009 I penciled together an idea for a book. That book was centered on 10 keys. Winning Him Without Words, was the result and the keys became profound in my life and by default, in a lot of other lives who have read the book and will read the book. Then last year I had a dream. I rarely remember my dreams but on this particular night I dreamt that Jesus handed me three keys. I could clearly see bronze skeleton keys. It was obvious to me they were tarnished and ancient. I knew somehow they were large and weighty.

That’s all I remember about the dream. I called Dineen and told her about it and that I didn’t know the purpose of the keys. It’s one of those things that you hold in your heart, just as Mary held special thoughts about Jesus in her heart. Months passed. The picture in my mind remained of these three keys. Then one day I read a passage in Romans. This passage has nothing to do with keys or at least that’s what I thought. However, the minute I read it, I just knew. These were the keys Jesus placed in my hands.

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. —Romans 14:17

The three keys are Righteousness, Peace and Joy.

Do you know what the keys unlock?

Well, it was months later after a season of prayer asking the Lord to reveal their meaning that I came to know these specific characteristics; peace, joy, righteousness, are attributes of heaven. The atmosphere of heaven! Now, I don’t fully understand the profound significance of all this. I believe I’m still uncovering how to use the keys and learning what they unlock specifically and such. But, I am living more and more in this kind of atmosphere here on earth.

Finally, in my new book I write about the combination lock which I also shared in a post here in November. And guess what? Yes, the new book is about keys!

Yep, locks, lockers, keys, unlocking and locking are prominent in my growing faith. Finally this past week, I was out in the vineyards on my walk-n-pray and that was when the Holy Spirit downloaded the revelation. I called Dineen and practically wore her out with my excitement over this revelation. But what I forgot is the reason this revelation finally came about was because of a lock I found back in January. I shared a photo of it on Facebook that day and I shared the photo again in the SUM comments on Monday. Here it is for you to see.

Master unlocked

Last week as I walked along the vineyard road, the Lord revealed the meaning of the clues. And what I failed to remember was Dineen and several others found locks around the same time that I found mine. (Side note: I found this lock sitting on the fence post, unlocked. Notice it’s old and also notice the word: Master. Joanne pointed out that little bit of intrigue to me. I hadn’t noticed it said, Master. Hmmmm) Okay, onward.

At the center of Becoming Brave is the passage Matthew 16:18-19

Jesus said: …”Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

MY FRIENDS!!!!! The implications of how all this comes together, simply freaks me out.

I came home supercharged with faith. Now let me tell you about the passage I read that morning before my walk. I’ve read the Bible through since 1999 and I haven’t remembered reading this specific passage until that morning. This passage blows my mind and was the final piece of the revelation.

Read Joshua 10:1-14 and we will pick up this story on Friday. It’s a mind-blow. And this story is for us. I will explain.

This week I want you to pray over these particular passages of scripture, Matthew 16:18-19 and Joshua 10:1-14. I’m praying along with you because I believe these passages are for us, believers right now, today. The implications are staggering and so exciting.

Leave your thoughts in the comments. See you there. Hugs, Lynn

Signature Lynn SUM

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


No More Chains

20056895_sMy friends, my post today is a kind of merging of two stories. You see, I thought they were separate, yet as I prayed for Abba's clear leading on what to write, He impressed upon my heart that they are indeed connected.

The first story is one we are very familiar with. The prodigal son. I find myself caught by the father's love for this wayward boy of his...

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. — Luke 15:20 ESV

For several days I kept reading and examining this one line, because I was so touched by the father's heart before he even embraced his son with forgiveness. It's that small little word that we can often overlook.

The son's father saw him. I looked up the Greek for this word (horaō), and it means to see with the eyes, to see with the mind, to perceive, know. It is also compared with another word that implies to be seen with wide-open eyes, as at something remarkable and signifies an earnest but more continued inspection.

In other words, this father waited and watched expectantly with love and hope for his son's return.

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. — Luke 15:24 ESV

This verse moves my heart to the realization that even though the son believed he was lost to the father, the father was never lost to the son. His father watched and waited, expected and yearned. And though the son could not "see" his father, his Father "saw" him.

Can you feel the Father's heart here? This is His heart for our pre-believers and for us, because there are times that we may feel lost, forgotten, unseen.

So, this brings me to the second part of this story. I received a letter in February, a long letter filled with the pain of a heart that feels lost. I read it for the first time just two days ago, because it  wound up in a pile of mail waiting for my return to California. I share that because I am hoping this dear woman, a fellow SUMite sister, will be reading and know she is heard. 

She didn't sign her name except for a first initial, nor did she put her name on the envelope, but her heart is all over the page in her words. She carries the heavy burdens of shame, anger, guilt and self-hatred. Her words...

I thought of writing her back privately, but I want this dear woman to know that she is seen and heard.

My friend,

I hear your heart in every painful word you shared. I want you to know that your heavenly Father sees you, even if you feel He is far away and intermittently present, He watches you with a longing heart to comfort and heal you. Please do not stay in the darkness of your suffering any longer. The chains of shame, anger, guilt and self-hatred that you feel are the lies of the enemy designed to bind you and keep you from being the influence and aroma of Jesus to your husband that you desperately want to be.

My sister in Jesus, I stand with you in the power and authority we have in Him and rebuke the spirits of shame, anger, guilt and self-hatred, in the powerful and capable name of Jesus Christ. These spirits can no longer plague you. They are bound as of this moment and cannot return. For what the Lord binds is bound and what He looses is loosed. And we stand in that same authority and stand on the same truth, that what we bind is bound and what we loose is loosed.

And in this "vacancy" left by these defeated spirits, I release the love of Jesus in all fullness and power into your heart. I release the full assurance that you, my friend, are dearly loved, chosen, accepted, adopted, blessed, forgiven and redeemed by Him. 

My dear sister in Christ, stand in the truth now and walk forward knowing that as you are loved so is your husband. That love from Jesus will be what flows from Him into you and will be revealed to your husband. No longer will the lies of the enemy dictate your place in your marriage or in your Abba Father's heart. For He sees you. He knows the pain of your heart and He has wept with you. 

But now is your time for freedom, to rise above and see your place seated in the heavenly realms. Ask Jesus to show you how He sees you, how He loves you, how He delights in you. You are a daughter of the Most High God. He is waiting for you, arms open and ready to love you, strengthen you and do more for and in you (and your marriage) than you can ask or imagine.

In the powerful name of Jesus, amen! My friend, you are loved in this community as well. I pray you will allow us to love and support you here.

SUMites, join me in these prayers for our sister in Christ. And if you are standing in a similar place right now as she is, step out of this darkness of shame, anger, guilt and self-hatred and allow us to pray for you. I have lived in this place of shame and self-hatred and Jesus delivered me of these spirits. My heart is to pass the blessing I received on to you. Let today be your freedom day, too.

I love you, my SUM family, so very much. I am contending for you! No more chains!
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*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


An Introduction to Empowered Living

Prov119-162My friends, we're already two weeks into 2015. Can you believe it? Our fasting and praying brought us into this new year (our year of freedom, remember?) in a powerful way, and I believe we will continue to see breakthroughs as we are being brought to new levels of faith and living in Christ even now. 

Before Christmas I was feeling led to write a series on Romans 8, a very powerful chapter and one that the Holy Spirit brought me to over and over again in 2014 for understanding of what walking in the Spirit means. I'm still on this journey but want to share with you some of the things I've learned as key to empowered living in Christ Jesus.

But first, I want to start with a key verse in Proverbs. I came across this nugget in my Passion Translation of Proverbs as the Holy Spirit's answer in how I should pray for my "kids" (Rachel, my son-in-love Keith, Leslie and her awesome boyfriend, Brian) in 2015. I am praying for them all to be "lovers of God" who "chase after righteousness.”

Here are both the NIV and Passion translations:

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. — Proverbs 21:21 (NIV)

The lovers of God who chase after righteousness
Will find their dreams come true:
An abundant life drenched with favor, 
And a fountain that overflows with satisfaction.
—Proverbs 21:21 Passion Translation

I really like how the Passion Translation brings more understanding to what the heart of dreams are about and what makes them truly satisfying. That colon indicates that clarification of the promise is coming. The NIV holds this promise as well. Those dreams are rooted in who we are in Christ as children of God who live the abundant life Jesus came to give us “drenched” in God’s favor and overflowing like a fountain with satisfaction.

Here is the mystery revealed: When we make Jesus the focus of our lives with a desire to know and love Him, our dreams wind up shifting and falling in line with God’s heart, purposes and plans for us—His desire to delight us with an abundant life full of God’s favor so that we are fulfilled and satisfied. 

And here’s the mystery revealed for us, SUMites: In this place of fulfillment and satisfaction, which is centered in Jesus, the rest falls into place. We begin to see God work in our marriages and pre-believers to bring His will (which is always for our good) about. And He gives us strength and teaches us to rest in Him in that process.

Now that does not mean an easy life. Easy and comfortable is rarely fulfilling, my friends. Leave that misconception at the door along with the one I used to carry that as I got older, life would get easier. This is not a bad thing, it’s just how it is while we are on this earth. So, my philosophy has shifted from seeking an easier life to seeking God for a more fulfilling life. This is challenging but so worth it.

Why? Because we were never intended to be limited earthly beings. We are supernatural beings, seated in the heavenly realms with Jesus even as we walk this earth. To live in anything less than the supernatural presence and life of Jesus will never satisfy us. 

Naturally (i.e. earthly or of the flesh) the enemy will try to convince us otherwise, try to distract us from this place of truth with the lures of earthly success and satisfaction until we are living more for this life now instead of our heavenly destiny to be like Christ. Which brings me back to Romans 8 and the astounding and empowering truths that lie in this one chapter of Romans. I’m only beginning to peel back the layers of this one chapter and my heart is to share with you these foundational truths that are building blocks to living an empowered life in Christ Jesus, fueled by the Holy Sprit and by the grace of Abba Father.

Want to go on this journey with me? Yes? AWESOME! Then start by studying Romans 8 in your favorite translation and also in one other translation (more if you’re motivated to do so). Push out of the box and stretch your mind. Ask the Holy Spirit for understanding and divine revelation. He loves requests like that about God’s Word! And write down what the Holy Spirit shows you. I hope you’ll share those revelations with us too (as is appropriate). 

My friends, let’s dig into God’s Word as if digging for treasure (Psalm 119:162)!

Holy Spirit, reveal to us the treasures in God’s Word. I pray for every person reading this to know You better, for the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge to fill them so they may know Jesus better and better through the revelations in Your Word. Abba, thank You for Your promises revealed in Your Scriptures. In Jesus’ powerful and holy name, amen!

 With love in Jesus,
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*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Disparaging Disappointment, Part 2

14511569_sSo glad you're back, my friends. The end of this series is so near and dear to my heart, because it's written with a deep love and desire for you to live in the fullness of Jesus and all He has for us. I believe we will see great tremendous breakthroughs individually and as a community in 2015 and I don't want you to miss any of it. I don't want to miss any of it either!

Now for the final part of this series. Scroll down to part one if you need to catch up. The links for the previous parts are there as well.

As I shared in part one, this journey was so unexpected for me. I had to face some dark places in my heart and mind and allow the Holy Spirit to peel back layers of lies and pain so that He could bring the healing Jesus wanted me to have. And as I faced the additional challenge of being patient in the process, the Holy Spirit gave me this prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient so I can focus on what you're doing right now instead of what You haven't done yet.

And just this week I found this nugget in Romans:

But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.— Romans 8:25 NLT

God's process will entail whatever is necessary to stop the enemy's ultimate plan to destroy our faith by stealing the one thing that he can never attain—hope.

Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God! —Psalms 42:11 NLT

In a dark moment of despair, David recognized his disappointment and saw that his hope needed to be placed again in God. And with it came his decision to praise and thank God, no matter what the circumstances around him looked like. Sadly, by destroying our hope, the enemy keeps us from being the aroma of Christ to our prebelievers.

Dear friends, we have powerful tools to fight the three Deadly Ds of doubt, disbelief and disappointment and they are:

  • God's Word
  • A thankful heart
  • Praise and worship

These are also keys to kingdom living, to the abundant life, to sustaining our hope, joy and peace.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!” — Lamentations 3:22-24 NLT

No matter what, choose every day to read God's Word, to thank Him for everything (even the bad stuff—for the good He Will bring out of it) and praise Him for what He has done, is doing and will do in your life. Jesus will meet your needs in astounding ways as you do this, because you're diving deeper in intimacy with Him.

And when your mind begins to race again with all the doubts, disbelief and disappointment, return to this place of rest and wait patiently for Him to act (Psalm 37:7). You will find yourself entering this place more frequently and easily until one day you will realize that not only have you persevered, you are now stronger than you have every been. You have defeated the enemy. You have moved to a whole new level of faith. God's anointings and gifts for you are growing stronger. You find yourself in situations (divine appointments) to now bring all that you have learned to others.

Just as I am doing right here, my friends, sharing all this with you. For that I give Abba Father, Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit all the praise and glory! As this community prays and waits for our prebelievers to come to faith, my heart and prayer for you, SUMites, is the same as Paul's was for the Philippians:

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

— Philippians 1:3-11 NLT

With deepest love and admiration for you in Jesus,
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Photo Copyright: 72soul / 123RF Stock Photo

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Disparaging Disappointment

14511569_sMy friends, we’re at the last Deadly D in this series, Disparaging Disappointment. God is so faithful—He answered your prayers for Words with reminders and a special email from one of you (Thanks, Jim!). I truly thought I'd lack words for the last two parts of this series, but quite the opposite has proved true! So many words came that I will breaking this one into two parts, so be sure to come back for part two on Saturday.

In Dubious Doubt, Part One, I talked about how the enemy tries to steal our faith with his fiery darts of doubt, and in Part Two I shared some personal breakthroughs in this area (and even more came after that! God is good!). Then on Wednesday I covered Debilitating Disbelief and shared how the enemy tried to destroy my faith with a spirit of torment and gave you some tools to fight back. Now let’s talk about Disparaging Disappointment.

First, let me say that this journey was so unexpected for me. I thought I was solid in my faith but Abba used this dark night of the soul and year of intimacy to dredge up lies and expose some sandy areas in my foundation. And He has gently and faithfully restored and rebuilt my faith that is now based completely upon Him, not me. In other words, I no longer rely upon my ability to believe Him but now trust God, His Word, His promises and His truth—all this is the foundation of my faith. Not my feelings, not my interpretation and not by my strength (Zech. 4:6).

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. — Hebrews 12:2-3

Back to disappointment. Once doubt and disbelief have squatted illegally in our soul, disappointment enters in and taints the atmosphere. We aren’t believing God’s promises and sadly, we’ve lost our trust in Him along the way too. This is the place where we are faced with a pivotal choice—press in and cling to Jesus for the very life and breath of our spirit, regardless of what our soul, mind and heart are telling us. Or walk away, believing that God doesn’t care enough to move in our lives and nothing will change. 

You can imagine where the enemy is in this process—he’s on the sidelines disparaging (belittle, denigrate, deprecate, trivialize, make light of, undervalue, underrate, play down; ridicule, deride, mock, scorn, scoff at, sneer at; run down, defame, discredit, speak badly of, cast aspersions on, impugn, vilify, traduce, criticize, slur) Father God, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

This is truly the place we must die to ourselves (let go of everything, even our pain) and take a true leap of faith into the arms of Jesus. And trust me, He will catch you. This is the place where God asked me one day, "Will you trust Me with your pain?" 

For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. —Hebrews 4:10-13 NLT

A few months back I shared a series on transforming the mind that started out as the battlefield of the mind. And this is truly where the battle is, in our minds. And the enemy will use this against us. That is why it is so crucial, imperative and life saving to study and know God's Word. Without it, our lives are vulnerable to the enemy's tactics. 

Disappointment keeps us from believing and waiting expectantly for God to act (Psalm 37:7).

My friends, let me reassure you that if you are in this place, you are not alone, even if you feel like you are. The most astounding thing I learned through this journey was that I could do nothing to "fix it." God had a plan and purpose in it all along and the only thing He wanted me to do was to submit, rest in Him and trust Him to do what needed to be done.

On Saturday I will share the flip side to this place of disappointment and specific keys that restore our faith and hope. If you are in this place of disappoointment, I do hope you'll leave a comment and share your heart as much as you can. This is a place of encouragement and prayer. I have been astounded over and over again by the love and care shown here.

Until Saturday, dear friends, my heart and prayers are with you. 
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Photo Copyright: 72soul / 123RF Stock Photo

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Precious Message from a SUMite

Dear friends, our SUM sister, Darby, sent this beautiful and encouraging message this past week. I just love Darby's heart for God and the joy she is finding in her faith walk as she trusts God with her furture and especially for her husband's salvation. She is walking in a place of thriving and freedom! 
 
0420141043 (1)I would like to take a moment to personally thank both of you!  I am a SUMite subscriber, website, daily email and Facebook follower.  I also have your book Winning Him Without Words. I cannot remember when or how I stumbled upon your site over a year ago, but I DO know it has been the biggest blessing in my marriage.
 
I, like many others, have spent time in the past crying out to our Father, "Why wouldn't you want this wonderful man on your side? Why did you bring us together if not for eternity?"  I have asked, cried, prayed and asked again.  All of this took a major turn when I found the two of you, and this very powerful support group!
 
I use the tools you both provide through shared experiences, prayers and your book to march on in this day to day battle in an unequally yoked marriage.  I have a sense of peace as I pray every single day for my loving pre-believing husband first, and other pre-believers in my life after.  I pray expectantly, and gratefully.  I have learned to praise and thank our Daddy for growing and changing me in this process. I am SO grateful!!!  God has given me little glimpses along the way, showing me that things are changing....maybe ever so slightly BUT THEY ARE CHANGING!!!  I absolutely love when He gently reminds me how long it took me to come home to Him.....ahhhhh, these things that used to grow the chip on my shoulder actually set me free today!
 
I have no doubt you all get tons of emails, and I know you have to be so bombarded with words to read.....but as I sit in my quite time this morning preparing to go to church alone again I wanted you both to know how you have softened that hurt for me....I sit knowing that God has my husband in His constant care, and that is the best place he can be.  I also sit knowing that God DID bring us together for eternity, that my prayers are being heard each and every day and just as you say in your book, God is big enough to just snap His fingers and make it happen....key words, "God is big enough".  He's got this....my husband's salvation is up to God....showing him Christ's love, respecting him, cherishing this man God has blessed me with, celebrating Him, listening and obeying God on a daily basis....this is up to me.  
 
Thank you both again so VERY, VERY much!!
Darby
 
Darby, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us!
 
Abba Father, thank You for being the God of the impossible and for astounding us with Your endless and relentless love every day. Lord Jesus, I pray for every SUMite reading this to walk in this place of thriving, freedom and PEACE! Holy Spirit, I ask that You release a wave of faith on this community and that this wave would sweep up EVERY pre-believer that we are contending for. Thank You, King Jesus, that You and You alone are mighty to save! Amen!
 

O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you. — Psalm 84:12

 
Love you, SUMites!
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*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


The Three Deadly Ds: Dubious Doubt, part 2

21139604_sOn Wednesday I shared the first part of the first of the Deadly Ds, “Dubious Doubt.” Scroll down and read part one if you haven’t already, that way you get the full picture of how doubt can impact our faith and what happens when we start to see it and push it off, with the help of the Holy Spirit. I’m excited to tell you the rest of this story because I want you to learn this valuable lesson and begin to walk in more breakthroughs like I am, praise God!

Now the conclusion of Dubious Doubt

As a result of God lifting this shroud and showing me the full scope of what doubt does to our faith, I have been praying for Abba to remove this doubt in my mind and heart, I have chosen to believe all the things God has told me and I have begun reclaiming what the enemy has taken away from me. I believe that was lost will be restored, just as God’s Word says:

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. — 1 Peter 5:10

My friends, I have been praying this truth for months and declaring it will be done. And that is exactly what is happening as I have begun to refuse doubt and choose belief. An astonishing shift and breakthrough has come as a result.

On Tuesday I worked in the Healing Rooms in our area. Nothing was going to keep me from going—the enemy often tries to prevent me from going. Knowing that I had been praying for God to clear the way and prevent any hinderances. We are in the middle of a repipe in our house and issues have cropped up, keeping me at the house to monitor the work. And it was looking like I would have to be at the house again on this day.

But God answered my prayer in my sweet hubby, who offered to work from home so I could go. My pre believer husband stayed home so I could work in the healing rooms. How cool is that? God makes me laugh a lot at how He does stuff.

Now, I had been asking God for more for our healing room’s team and for those coming for healing. I stepped into belief as I never have before in asking God for more of His presence and healing power to be present and released in our healing rooms. If you look at the accounts of Jesus’ healings, it always says everyone was healed. Not some—everyone. I wanted that for our team and especially for all who were coming for healing.

As my teammate and I prayed for our first person (we start out knowing only if the person is male or female), God shared His heart with me about this person, much to do with His pleasure over how she carried His holiness, His plans for her (divine destiny) and a promise to do what she asked.

Then I heard “knees.” Seemed a little off track, but I wrote it down anyway. Then we brought her into the room to pray, she shared a list of health issues and finished with the one that bothered her the most.

Her knee.

We shared the precious words God had given us for her and then began to pray. As she sat there, I placed my hands on her knee, believing that Jesus would do what He said. I believed it, told Jesus since He said it, it would happen. He told me “knees,” right?

At the finish of this prayer, I asked her if she felt any difference. She again described what was wrong. I was not about to give up! I had chosen to believe what God told me was true, and I wasn’t about to back down now.

I told her to stand up. With my hands on her knee we prayed again, believing that Jesus would do what He said. But this time, I prayed for Jesus to remove all doubt. I don’t know why, but I have learned that the breakthroughs we receive become the power behind our prayers and are often the very thing God winds up calling us to pray for another person.

So I prayed in the Spirit and in faith. Jesus’ healing came down wave after wave so strong that I could barely breathe! We finished praying, then asked how her knew felt. This time she smiled, said it was much better, and not only that, God had given her a picture of the bone being restored.

Breakthrough! We continued to pray for each one of her issues and a couple more she boldly asked for healing for, including arthritis in her wrist. She moved her wrist more freely right away! Each step emboldened her to ask for more!

God gave her a special image for each part He was healing, showing her what He was doing. What’s so amazing is this was the ultimate purpose of God’s for her, because her deepest heart ache was that she felt she hadn’t heard God in a long time. Yet image after image was coming to her!

Doubt had been removed! Her faith was reaffirmed and she was encouraged!

My friends, this dear woman wasn’t the only woman who’s faith was emboldened. I saw first hand what happens when doubt is removed. Miracles happen. God showed me this clearly not only in this woman but in me.

I believed God would do what He said. And He did.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” — Mark 11:22-24

This is not a name-it-and-claim-it style of belief, or prosperity religion, or whatever you call it. I’m talking about God’s truth. This is about believing His Word and trusting Him to do what He says. All of it. What He has shown you in His Word, He will do. What He has spoken to your heart, He will do. Our God is faithful and He cannot lie.

The very next morning as I sat in my quiet time, I read this quote in my devotional book (The Listening Heart by Judy Morrow):

You have trust Him in few things, and He has not failed you. Trust Him now for everything, and see if He does not do for you exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ever have asked or thought, not according to your power or capacity, but according to His own mighty power, that will work in you all the good pleasure of His most blessed will. — Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911)

I knew right away God was saying, “See? See what happens when you refuse doubt and believe Me?”

My friends, I want to encourage you to begin a rampage on doubt, just as I am. Let’s capture every thought of doubt and bring it before the enlightened truth of God’s Word. Does it still stand? I bet you it won’t. The Holy Spirit will help us do this—I know He will.

Our God doesn’t want us to be doubters. He wants us to be His believers!

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Copyright: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Our Transforming Influence

Proverbs 124My friends, I’ve been reading and studying Proverbs the last couple weeks, specifically using the Passion translation. I’m enjoying this new translation very much and find the flow to be more poetic and inspiring. And going between translations to compare has given me more insights and appreciation of Solomon’s words of wisdom.

What I’m specifically searching and praying for is wisdom. Next to praying for Jesus’ protection that I not be deceived in any way (2 Thess. 2:3), I pray for wisdom in all areas of my life. And as you read Proverbs, you begin to discover that wisdom is inseparable from God’s love and His Son, Jesus.

Last week a verse in this translation brought me back to a conversation I had recently with my pastor about my pre-believer. It’s about a precious place we as the believing spouse hold in our loved one’s lives—a place of honor and influence that we must take before God daily to seek wisdom and unconditional love.

I’ve included three translations of Proverbs 12:4:

The integrity and strength of a virtuous wife
Transforms her husband into an honored king.
But the wife who disgraces her husband
Weakens the strength of his identity. — Passion translation

A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones. — NLT

A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. — NIV

What I love about the Passion translation is the passion and weight behind its meaning. I find it difficult to put into words (just as I did that day as I talked with my pastor) what it means to stand in this place of influence. So, I will do my best to describe what it means to me.

I see in my husband such amazing potential—that potential for eternity that God places in ALL of us (Eccl. 3:11). And I feel honored that God has called me to this place by his side to help release it. As I grow in faith and am transformed (and this is at times very messy!), my husband is affected. Even in some of the struggles I’ve walked in this year, I have seen attributes of love and faithfulness revealed in my husband that I didn’t know were there. Even though I couldn’t see it, God has been working in Mike in unexpected ways.

My friends, I know this isn’t easy, and at times we will mess up miserably. At times we just won’t feel like “doing it” anymore. But as God’s Word says, we must persevere for the prize that waits ahead. At the very least, I want to know God’s favor and pleasure in me for my faithfulness to my husband, but my expectation is based in the faith and hope I have in Jesus who can do more than I can even imagine and that expectation is that one day, my husband will choose Jesus.

Until then, I choose to walk in this place of influence to come along side and help my husband see the potential I see God has placed in him. I seek ways to affirm him in who he is (identity) and how he works and cares for his family. I am intentional to express my appreciation of him, which just recently and unexpectedly came full circle back to me in a precious card telling me he appreciated me. I look for opportunities to hear his heart and tune in to what he may not be saying. I keep asking Abba to bring him to Jesus (John 6). And everyday I thank Jesus for all the ways He presents Himself to my husband in answer to those prayers (mine and others) and affirm my belief that one day his answer will be “yes.” I love walking in this place in partnership with God and under His leadership to be that influence in my hubby’s life and heart. And I’ve watched my husband aspire step by step to be a leader of honor (the honored king) to his family, even as I wait for his full salvation transformation (i.e. preparation…just love how God works).

Let me also be clear that I am in no way perfect. In fact, I am very flawed and have learned to heed the Holy Spirit’s nudge to seek forgiveness from both God and my husband when I mess up. Amazingly, God uses it all to bring transformation not only in me but in my husband as well. That is our assurance of God’s goodness and presence always at work for our good.

Dear friends, I believe God gives us the choice to walk in this very unique place of opportunity (again, as we’ve said in the past, we do not believe God asks or expects us to stay in abusive situations) as believers empowered by the Son of God, as a calling that is part of the Great Commission right in our own homes. We can walk in it with integrity and honor that will boost our pre-believer closer to the potential God has placed in him or her. Or we can struggle in bitterness and resentment that will bring not only ourselves into despair but will waste away or hinder that potential identity in Christ just waiting to be released in our pre-believer.

We carry the very presence of God and His Kingdom through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. All the time, we bring this power and influence to our pre-believer’s life. We may not see any change or effect, but by faith (what we believe to be true and not what is seen—Hebrews 11:1) I believe something happens. And not by our efforts but by God’s love working in and through us.

So be encouraged as you continue to walk and persevere in this very special place you hold in your pre-believer’s life and Abba’s heart. You are impacting the Kingdom of God and your pre-believer every single day.

Love you dearly!
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*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Another Astounding Testimony: Mismatched, Addiction and Now...He's a Believer!

My friends, you just read about Janet's husband's transformation and a few of you even shared stories in the comments about your spouses coming to faith in Christ! Wow! Lynn and I—our heads are spinning and our hearts are jumping for joy!

AND, here is another one! Trish Fuhlendorf reached out to us a few weeks ago and shared a stunning video testimony done by her husband who is now a full time pastor. Once we saw it, we had to know more! Trish not only lived in a mismatched marriage for ten years, but also lived and dealt with her husband's addiction to alcohol as well. 

I love what Trish shared in her email: "I have a very small local marriage ministry here in Denver, which consists of the Lord placing Christian women, who are struggling in their marriages (many who are ready to leave), whether it be because they are unequally yoked, and/or married to an addict. Been there, done that...have both t-shirts."

Today we are sharing part one of Trish's testimony. On Friday, we will have part two up along with the video testimony her husband Stu did in a message he gave at his church. My friends, don't miss a moment of this stunning testimony. We have prayed for these testimonies and now they are streaming in! To God be ALL the glory!

Trish headshot

I am the youngest of six children and was raised Catholic. In a way, I am grateful for my Catholic upbringing because it did provide me with the foundation that Jesus is the Son of God. What was missing however, was the commitment to surrendering my life to Christ’s lordship. At 21, I was most definitely, lord of my life.

I met Stu May 3rd, 1986; appropriately, at a bar. We were married 11 months later as equally yoked pagans. Stu was a teacher when I met him, but decided that financially, this was not the career that would give him the life he wanted. So, we moved from Denver to San Diego so that Stu could pursue his MBA, while I worked to support us as an Aerospace engineer. It was during these two years that I was first exposed to my husband’s anger. I did not make a connection between his bursts of anger and his use of alcohol. I drank too, so his drinking was meaningless to me. I do however remember times when friends had to carry him to our car because he was so intoxicated.

After graduate school, we moved back to Colorado where Stu eventually landed his first Chief Financial Officer position at the age of 29. I gave birth to our two children and our life went on.

At about the age of 36, a friend of mine gave me a book, but said as she handed it to me, “Watch out, it will change your life!” Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to start reading it. It was “Left Behind”. About a quarter of the way into it, I realized that in the event of rapture, I would absolutely be “left behind”.

I was attending a small community church at the time and made an appointment with the Pastor to go over my laundry list of questions about Christianity. He beautifully answered all of my questions and encouraged me to attend the upcoming women’s retreat. That weekend, at the retreat, I was filled with the Holy Spirit and never looked back. This is when the fun began. Initially, I concealed my new found faith, but over time, decided that was ridiculous and I started to read my Bible openly.

“What?!? What do you mean you’re now a Christian? I thought I married a Christian!” Stu felt that since we celebrated Christmas and Easter that perhaps we were Christians.

As I grew deeper and deeper in my faith, he became angrier and angrier. Arguments were a regular occurrence and soon, we discovered that we had nothing in common.

Shortly after we married, Stu began to gain weight and over the years, ballooned to 310 lbs. His drinking was also on a steady increase. Because I didn’t have alcoholism in my family, I was not really aware of the signs. Again, since I drank, I just thought there were 2 kinds of drinkers, those that became the life of the party and those who became angry. I, unfortunately, was married to the latter.

Over time however, I noticed that the amount he consumed and the time in which he consumed it, were significantly higher than in my situation. I confronted him that he might have a drinking problem. He agreed and that began the roller coaster of trying to solve the problem.

Stu and I were now in our mid-forties. Unequally yoked, battling addiction and both miserable in our marriage. I continued to pray, attend church and do my best to be the spiritual head of our household. By this time, I had thoroughly, studied the Bible, looking for an “out clause” for my marriage. Adultery and abandonment did not apply to my situation, but I wanted out. It was at this time that the Lord showed me that my holiness was more important to Him, than my happiness. I must be a witness for the covenant of marriage. I clung to many scriptures during this time, but I think the two that had the greatest impact on me were, Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” (this was my promise) and 1 Corinthians 2:14 “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (This verse completely changed the way that I prayed for my unsaved husband...)

Be sure to "tune in" Friday for part two of Trish's amazing testimony and Stu's video testimony.
We love you, SUMites!
Dineen & Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Our Breakthrough Happened! He's a Believer!

My friends, you know we have been praying for a breakthrough in our community for a long time. Recenlty Lynn and I have felt that a shift was coming, and we are over the moon to share with you that IT HAS HAPPENED!

Janet Sommer is a long time member of this community. Lynn and I have had the pleasure of getting to know her better over the years, and I myself am blessed to have the treasure of her friendship, encouragement and prayer. She has remained faithful to God even in challenging times and continued to pray for her husband and sow the seeds of faith. And the plow came.

A few weeks back when I shared in a video blog post that God told me things look like they're going backward, but He was about to turn them around. You could say that about Janet's situation, and God did exactly what He said He would—turned things around.

BIG TIME!

God moved and brought down walls and lies to expose a soul to the light of His saving love. Now this man has accepted faith, chosen to believe in Jesus and his transformation is tangible and visible. Read Janet's breathtaking letter as Lynn and I did, amazingly at the very same time in different parts of California. And have tissues ready because we both bawled and wound up on the phone rejoicing and praising Jesus.

My friends, this is just the beginning. We firmly believe this is the first domino that will lead to more disbelief toppling into submission to righteous faith in Jesus Christ. This is the power of testimonies, as the Bible says. Power is released and faith is increased! Amen! Thank You, Jesus!

Here's Janet's astonishing and beautiful letter...

HeadshotThe SUMites are so precious and dear to me, especially you two sisters. It was here I was convicted not to leave my pre-believer for an "easier marriage" to a *believer*. It was here I was first encouraged to try a fast thanks to Rosheeda along with the shared precious knowledge and encouragement here. It was here I learned and was challenged to pursue God despite my husband's lack of interest or pursuit. Slowly, and courageously, as I stepped out to the call of bible study, serving in various ministries and even singing in the church band I found my husband to be supportive and there, right beside me. Although divided, we were still intact.

It was here I felt an unspoken bond of the life as a spouse to a pre-believer, and the genuine love and community for those I didn't know. The list of how I grew, how I stood in my faith, how I went from discouraged to encouraged and courageous is endless. But most importantly, it was here, as you both poured out your hearts, that I learned how to hand mine to Jesus first, instead of my husband.

I am writing to you, from the sanctity of my bed, after a couple days of reflection. And I feel so conflicted. I recently sat on the bed one afternoon and was confused to watch a very sheer veil lift off my eyes, rising from the bottom to the top. My vision was crisper, sunlight was brighter and more pure. I had been texting my husband and simply commented that I felt a fog lift. He quickly texted back that he felt the exact same way.

Later it was revealed to me that was the moment he accepted what happened to him at our marriage counselor's office and yielded to faith. You see, at our marriage counselor's office, he suddenly grabbed my hand, said some hurtful things and walked out unwilling to listen to anything I said. He later shared that during that time he felt tremendous heat, felt forced & compelled to say those things to me, and then experienced wind. He says he let something behind. Then he described that something as "evil". He physically looks different; he emotionally is different. He talks about God and praying and how grateful he is that God removed evil and blinders from him. He's so kind, gentle and intentional now. He says he can't believe he had no idea of the true wife I was, but that a God has revealed that, among many other things, to him. Neither of us can believe the difference!

And as I lay here, experiencing what we all long for, I can't help but notice how it didn't happen as I thought it would. In my mind the Holy Spirit would wreck him at a church service or at a time he was standing by me supporting my involvement-- not at marriage counseling. I never even imagined we would one day sit on that cliche couch as a counselor walked us through talking about our struggles-- after a mere 22 years together. Nothing is what I imagined.... not the timing, not it actually happening, not the genuine, radical results... nothing. And I can't help but to be conflicted.... joyous for me, yet longing for you and everyone in this online family.

I am here solidly... rooted in grace, equipped with knowledge & authority... with a believing husband, because of your bravery, your boldness and your obedience to this ministry and community. It's awkward but peaceful, scary but hope-filled, cautious navigating yet easy to move forward. The life I knew and was comfortable with, after soooo many years in a UY marriage, is changing. It's beautiful... and scary. Words will never explain the treasure SUMites are to me, nor the gems you two most certainly are in my crown. A crown I'm not worthy of but have been ransomed for and deemed worthy to wear. And I can't wait for the day when my believing husband learns exactly how much it was a lot of Jesus, a lot of God, plenty of the Holy Spirit and just as much this SUMite nation that kept me waiting, with sanity, in hope for him and this new marriage we have.

On a hysterical note, he recently asked how I knew Dineen. I said through a blog. He asked which, and I reluctantly stated. He then asked if he was a case study!!! lol

I promise you every moment, every discouragement and hurt, every argument trying to obey God and find balance in respecting our spouse, every tear shed and prayer said to God is so worth seeing and living this moment. Our spouses and marriages are worth fighting for! And they say it's about "the journey", right? As I transition into this new life as a chord of three I can't help but to storm heavens gates even more for each of you, so truly it was my honor to donate to this ministry.

Much indebted and eternally grateful for this ministry.... Janet

Janet, we love you so much. We are rejoicing with you and continuing to pray for this time of transition, adjustment and wonder. The angels are cheering you on and so is this community. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story with your SUMite family. Love you so much! —Dineen & Lynn

Abba, thank You for bringing this man to Your Son, Jesus. Thank You, King Jesus, for lifting the darkness and filling him with Your saving love and light. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for filling our new brother in Christ with Your Holy Presence. Lord, protect and guide this believing couple into new realms of faith and discovery of Who You are and who they are in You. We praise You, Lord, with loud voices and joy-filled hearts for this miracle. And we humbly ask...DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN until every one of our pre-believers walks in faith! Let this community bring You great glory, King Jesus. We adore You! Amen!

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


The Unexpected Divine Appointments

11134039_sDear friends, as I walked and prayed Tuesday morning, I asked Abba for the words to share with you what I experienced at Bethel. I really wasn’t sure if I had anything definitive as God kept this visit very personal, which makes sense for this year of intimacy He’s called me to.

But as I walked the memories and words began to flow (thank You, Abba, You are so good), like a kaleidoscope of images and colors that stood unique but together created the complete story of God’s intentions.

Where to start? At the beginning of the journey. I was a bit anxious about making this trip on my own (I love road trips when hubby is in charge) and my car had been acting up a little. (I should share with you that I call my little VW Bug by the name of Gracie as she is a gift from God and never lets me down. Why did I doubt?)

I had five hours of road ahead of me each way (thankfully Lynn road with me from Sacramento to Redding on the way up) and knew I would wind up stopping frequently for breaks out of necessity. I kid you not, both up to Redding and on my way home on Saturday every place I stopped had Christian music playing. In California?!?!?

As I walked into each place, I noticed it right away! And smiled…God uses music frequently to minister to my heart. I was never alone. My Gracie carried both me and Him on this trip.

At Bethel the first evening I noticed a woman near us. Not sure why but she just stood out to me so I took notice. The next day we were introduced by a mutual friend. That seemed significant too, so I ask Abba if there was a reason, did I need to know something. I heard the name “Amanda” over and over again. Wasn’t sure why, maybe that name meant something to her. I asked Abba who this Amanda was. He said “her sister.”

Well…I wasn’t sure what to do with that, but I have seen God do this enough times to trust Him to put it into motion. I wouldn’t track this dear woman down. If I was supposed to share what I heard, I’d leave it to Him to bring her to me at the right time (just like my new friend at the ACFW conference).

The next day I was sitting on a bench and there she stood. I waved her over and asked her if the name Amanda meant anything to her. She said no, but then shared how someone else had told her she looked like someone they met in Montreal, almost identical. What stunned me is what she shared next. She’s been searching for her twin sister. They were separated and given up for adoption when they were very young.

I gave her my business card and asked her to email me when this all falls into place as I had no doubts God was hearing her heart and leading her to her sister. When that story unfolds, I will sharing it with you, my friends. God is so amazing, so good!

On the last day, Friday, I found this verse waiting for me in my inbox:

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. — Psalm 37:7

Later that afternoon, I wound up in the prayer room. It’s a small octagon shaped building that stands part from the rest of the campus and has the most stunning view of the surrounding hills and mountains, including Mount Shasta.

Immediately I felt the peace of Jesus in that room. About a dozen or so people were there either sitting by the fountain or in chairs or on the floor by the windows. I wanted to stay in this place forever. Remembering the Scripture I received that morning, I rested by the fountain for a while.

And then it happened. Words, words, and more words. It was like my creativity had suddenly been unleashed. I couldn’t stop writing in my journal. Page after page. I wasn’t sure what it all meant though.

Not until I finished. I realized I had written the ending of the book I’m going to be working on. It was not at all what I expected, but it was very much the heart of God—tender, powerful, full of love and purpose.

God had told me He had something at Bethel this time. He told Lynn too. What He gave me was His heart. So unexpected, so gentle, so quiet.

So, my friends, God was my divine appointment this trip. What’s so amazing is that He longs for us to meet with Him each day. He has so much for us. For you.

Which brings me to the end of this story. My final “divine appointment” was with you, dear SUMites. This is the prayer God lead me to pray for our community as I sat outside and looked over the hillside.

BethelBased on Psalm 67:

Lord, be gracious to Your SUMites and bless us and make Your face shine upon us so that Your ways may be known in our homes, that your salvation will rest upon our pre-believers.

Let all those in our home praise You, God; that our pre-belivers would praise You. Let us, your SUMites, be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge righteously and govern our hearts and homes.

Let us, Your SUMites, praise You, O God, let every single one of us praise You and bring You glory. Then our homes shall yield increase. God shall bless us and our loved ones. God shall bless us, and all those in our home shall fear Him.

In Your mighty name, Jesus, amen!

Rest in His promises, SUMites!

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*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Lord, Do It Again!

Psalms91-4Last week I shared a Word of Encouragement that God impressed upon me about how He’s about to turn things around. Today I want to add a little more to that message—something else God showed me this last week, but first I want to share a powerful tool.

This last week I’ve noticed Psalm 91 showing up a lot. I’m not sure why, but I know this Psalm is important right now. Read the whole thing and pray it over yourself and your family. Put your name and your loved ones’ names in verses 14-16 and claim God’s promises of protection and salvation. Here’s how I do it:

The LORD says, “I will rescue Dineen who loves me. I will protect her because she trusts in my name. When she calls on me, I will answer her; I will be with her in trouble. I will rescue and honor her. I will reward her with a long life and give her my salvation.

 

This Psalm is powerful through and through and is full of God’s promises. This verse in particular is one I hold dear:

He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection. — Psalms 91:4

I know we say it a lot here, but I’ll say it again. God is faithful! He really and truly is. And I have learned these last few months that His promises truly are our armor and protection. Thus it’s important that we know them and to know them means reading the Bible and asking the Holy Spirit to show them to us.

Now for the rest of that Word of Encouragement. As I read the book of John last week, the Holy Spirit stopped me at this verse:

I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. — John 16:20

Jesus was preparing (see? there’s that preparation thing again…) the disciples for His death AND was giving them a promise—that their grief would turn to wonderful joy.

He was telling the disciples He was about to turn things around! He did it then, and He’ll do it now.

My friends, as I read this, my heart soared and this is what started going through my mind:

Do it again, Lord! Do it again!

So, my dear friends, join me in praying:

LORD, DO IT AGAIN! Turn things around as You have done before so many times and have said You will do. You are the God of endless possibilities. We love You, Lord, and we put our trust in You, because You are our God.* In Jesus’ mighty name, amen!

Pressing in to Jesus,
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*Psalm 31:14

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


A Word of Encouragement

Hey there, SUM Family! I'm doing something a little different today. I pray this blesses and encourages you.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


The Journey of a SUMite

My friends, I want to share a comment from one of our SUMite sisters. Heather Passuello has been a long time reader here at SUM and when she first landed on our site, she was unsure of what life held for her and her marriage, let alone what God might have in mind for her. 

We have watched her grow in her faith in and love for Jesus, and now she is blooming like a prized rose of rarest varieties. I'm astounded, blessed and beyond "tickled" to see her walk this path. Heather's journey is so encouraging, because she has endured through much difficulty and many set-backs. Somehow she knew God wouldn't give up on her, so she couldn't give up on Him. That's my take anyway. 

Heather left this beautiful comment on my post last week about God's Preparation: The Cross:

10552506_263738307167069_8680552763937647092_n
Heather with her daughter.

Yes, I NEED and WANT to live in FRONT of the cross! As I was reading this a couple thoughts went through my head. 1. I am not the most intelligent person nor do I really want to be, but when I say something profound, that really is all Jesus. I could never come up with stuff like that on my own. 2. I was born for this. For serving Jesus. I have gone to college for something I wasn't even interested in because I didn't know what I wanted to to. The only thing that has ever made sense was Jesus. I love him more than I realize and that should be my focus. Listening to Him guiding my path, even when it's scary or I stand alone. I am a disciple and I am grateful for His death and love for me. Wow. My heart is wide open.

Lord Jesus, draw me into closer relationship with you so that whatever flows in me will flow right back out. I don't want a single flame in my heart, but a wildfire that cannot be contained. Help me to realize the love that you have for me so that I can love others as you do. I repent of selfishness, gossip, ill thoughts of others, and even pride. Remove these things from me so that I can be fully effective for you. I thank you Lord Jesus and I praise your name! I am NOT ashamed of you or the cross! In Jesus precious and powerful name I pray, Amen.

I love this community and regardless of where you are in your marriage, Jesus loves you and your spouse. He is and will always be the ONLY constant in your life so cling to that with EVERYTHING you have. Don't let go and don't give up.

Thank you, Heather, for sharing your life and your heart with us. You are and will be an inspiration to many. 

My friends, many of you have "bloomed" and inspired us here at SUM. I want to affirm each of you for enduring, persevering and clinging to Jesus even in the toughest times. Know that He sees your faithfulness and will return that ten-fold. I believe that. I believe our faithfulness to Him and to our marriage covenants gives Abba great delight.

And if you're sitting there thinking this doesn't apply to you, because your life is a mess, let me be a voice that points to the truth. If you are here reading and looking for answers, if you are reading your Bible searching for truth, if you are praying and calling out to our Most High God to know Him and  ask for what you need, then you are on this path of seeking. You are looking for the "more" and that delights God even more. Trust Him with all your heart (even the broken and hurting parts), don't keep trying to figure it all out on your own (even when you are desperate for answers), keep seeking Him in everything and He will lead you and keep you safe and on track (Proverbs 3:5-6).

So today, I want to celebrate each of you, my SUMite sisters and brothers, and cheer each of you on. 

Love you all dearly with the love of Jesus,
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*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


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

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


God's Preparation: Trials and Challenges

PrayerBlock2Dear Friends, one of the most extraordinary things that God is showing me of late is how interconnected things are and how often we miss it. So here is the first part of an unexpected series—I say unexpected because I'd made notes for what I thought were four different posts and then realized they are very much interconnected and make a whole. I love how God does that!

I remember years ago thinking that as I got older, "things" (i.e. life in general) would get easier, because I would be wiser, more experienced (is that redundant?) and overall have a better grip on life. In some ways that has proved true, but I'm finding that the deeper I seek to walk with God, the challenges have grown. Yes, we have a relentless enemy determined to to keep us from walking in our full destiny (remember, he can't take away our salvation, but he can make us ineffective, if we let him), but we serve and love a God who is even more relentless in His love and purposes and Who WILL NOT FAIL US. He is the one we will focus upon in this series.

Challenges and trials are part of life. I've learned to accept that and realize there is no such thing as a life free of these situations. Not on this side of heaven, anyway. Take hope in this my friends, for one day our Lord Jesus will dry our tears and we will be complete (realized, fully free, perfected to completion) in His presence in the heavenly realms.

In the meantime, the foundational truth that is crucial once again for us to embrace and understand is that God is good and that He brings purpose and redemption in each of us. Not just of who we are but also from our lives—our trials, struggles, pain and even those situations and conditions that seem so impossible to us from our limited understanding and perspective. This is the heart and truth of Romans 8:28 and a truth I believe we MUST revisit and reiterate over and over again because this is where the enemy will hit us hardest and attempt to make us doubt God's goodness.

Let's look at the story of Jesus walking on water:

When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He *came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and *said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened. — Mark 6:45-52 (NASB)

First, I want to point out a telling word in the second line, verse 48. The word “straining” in Greek is basanizō, and means to torture, battered, felt...tormented, pain, straining, torment, tormented.

These men were beyond the point of being afraid. It was somewhere between three and six in the dark morning hours, they most likely couldn’t see a thing because the storm covered the moon, and they were terrified and saw no way out. I find the use of this word, basanizō, very interesting, because it’s not one I would have expected to find in this story. Perhaps God wanted us to understand that no matter how deep our fear and suffering run, He will prevail.

But that’s not the point I want to bring out today. (Hang with me just a little longer. I actually have three points to share with you.) Jesus revealed Himself in such a way as to surpass the the terror of the storm—they thought he was a ghost and were terrified. Right away, their perspectives shifted from the storm to His awe-inspiring and fear rendering presence.

Point #1: God will present Himself stronger, larger and more awe-inspiring than the trial, conflict, or enemy you face.

As Jesus approached the boat, He says to “take courage; It is I, do not be afraid.” He’s telling His disciples (His friends and His children) to put faith in WHO HE IS. Not in what He can do, but to trust Who Jesus is above the storm whirling around them. Otherwise, when the storm rages longer than our first cry for help, we will think that either God hasn’t heard us, that He’s tormenting us, or that He failed. The enemy will do whatever he can to make the waves of these lies fill your boat if you let him.

Point #2: God wants your faith and trust to rest in WHO He is and not in what He can or could do in your circumstances.

And this is the part I find the most interesting and telling, my dear friends. As Jesus approached, the first thing He did was present Himself, His awe-inspiring presence. Then He got into the boat with them. And if you’ll notice, Scripture doesn’t say that Jesus made the storm go away. Only that He made the winds stop.

Did the storm clouds still remain? My gut says at this point, it really didn’t matter. More importantly, Jesus gave the disciples the reassurance of His presence with them. And my friends, we ALWAYS have that reassurance in us in the presence of His Holy Spirit.

Point #3: God will give us His presence, comfort and reassurance first, then will quiet the storm around us so that we can follow His leading to calmer shores.

Just as Jesus came to the disciples to rescue them with His presence, He came for us all in our tormented and storm-ridden states to save and rescue us.

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

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

I believe that in everything we walk, suffer, strive and struggle through, God has a plan and a purpose. And if you’ll notice in the Scriptures above, it’s in His timing. Wants to restore, support and strength us so that He can place us on that firm foundation—the foundation of Jesus, which is unshakable, isn’t threatened by storms and can walk on water.

Standing for Jesus!

Dineensig

 

 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Humble Confidence – Part 2

 HumbleConfident

In the first post of this series on humble confidence, we explored the humble, meek and gentle side of the Christian life. This post highlights our call to live boldly and confidently.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.—Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

There is a special need for confidence when your spouse does not share your faith. A spouse is the person with whom you normally discuss important plans and issues. But if they don’t share your faith, they may have a different definition of “good” and so you may face spiritual decisions without a sounding board and loving support. Your spouse may even be watching to challenge whether your actions align with your words. My husband shows embarrassment when he sees me talking to a homeless person or praying with a neighbor. (However, he usually tells me later that it was a nice thing to do.)

Humble not arrogant

This post started when a fellow SUMite and I discussed how humility and confidence go together. At first glance, they seem to be opposites. But I’ve come to understand that they are very well aligned. It helps to be clear about what these words do and don’t mean. See the last post for a discussion of humility.

The confidence I am talking about has to do with trusting God and his promises. It does not mean to have an excessive amount of trust in ourselves. That would be arrogance and the opposite of humility.  

For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus, and do not put confidence in the flesh— Philippians 3:3 (HCSB)

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:17

I find that when I am humble and realize how much I trust in God, I can be bold. It takes the pressure off.

How can I be confident that this is the right thing to do?

What if you have something on your heart to do but are not certain that it is from God? How can you be confident in it?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -- Romans 12:2

First, we are to constantly renew our minds to align with God’s will. We study the scriptures and focus our thoughts on joyful and loving things. But scriptures aren’t so specific to every decision that they say whether to lease or buy that new car, for example. There are scriptures about paying your debts. So if you can afford either option, just make a choice. Make a choice without fretting so much that you lose your joy.

What if I’m naturally shy?

We all have different talents and face different situations. Your need for confidence may be very different from mine. You may express it differently. But leaning on The Lord and stretching beyond yourself is a sweet thing. It is one way we can mature in faith and draw closer to God.

My Mother was naturally a shy person. Yet, she made a point to welcome visitors to church and to sit with them. For me, talking to strangers is not a big deal. But I know it took effort for Mom and I admired that in her.

Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame – Romans 10:10 (HCBS)

Hebrews 11 is referred to as the Hall of Faith. It lists people who are the superheroes of our faith – Abel, Abraham, Sarah, Noah, Rahab and others. Read that chapter slowly and reflect on the background that the Old Testament gives about these people. Except for Enoch, none of them really had picture perfect lives. Look at Gideon, for example. Hebrews heralds him as a conqueror. When we first meet him in the book of Judges, an angel called him to battle. His response was basically “Who me?” accompanied by excuses. But he got over it and led Israel to victory. He was shy about his own abilities, but drew confidence from God. A lesson that I take from this is that stretching ourselves and stepping out in confidence builds faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

What if things backfire or go horribly wrong?

The second part of the Romans 12:2 verse says that we are to test and approve what God’s will is. Sometimes we have to try things and see what happens. If it didn’t turn out well, then next time you are in a similar situation, make a different choice. I don’t mean to sound flippant, but it can be that mathematically logical. Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the working telephone, among many other things. On a recent visit to his museum, I was impressed with the number of failed inventions on display. When an experiment did not give the result he wanted, his attitude was that he learned one more way not to do it. We can learn from that. So, go ahead… witness to that neighbor, teach that class, post a scripture on Face Book, or whatever is calling on your courage today.

What if I struggle more with pride than shyness?

Some of us don’t struggle with shyness. In fact, we can forget to check in with God and take things in our own hands. This is where we need to develop humility to blend with our confidence. Remember to give God the glory.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, -- Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

… All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.” – 1 Peter 5:5b (NIV)

Prayer

Lord, I want all that you have for me in life. Help me, nudge me, if I am holding back from anything you want me to do. When I step out in faith, let me feel good that I obeyed and not to worry about the outcomes. It is all in Your hands. When I celebrate successes, let me give the glory to You.

Discussion

Where do you need courage today? Can we pray for you? There are so many scriptures about courage. Do you have a favorite to share? How do you feel about being both humble and confident?

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Reader Question: How do I defend my faith?

Dear friends, here's another reader question that really challenged me in my answer to her. Sometimes there isn't a clean cut and clear answer. And as Scripture says, we don't understand God's ways, but we do know He is always good and always faithful. Pray for our dear SUMite sister in this situation. Hugs! ~Dineen

I've been reading the blog on and off for a year, and just started reading Winning Him Without Words. The website address prompted me to come visit again. I appreciate the honesty in Tamara's letter (see post here), and it lets me know I am not alone. I feel a similar frustration but for a different issue. Yes, my husband in not a believer but it has led me to seek His truth even more so than before. I know I am not with him in error, and I hold onto the words in the Bible that advise me to stay with my unbelieving spouse unless he no longer wants to be with me.

However, for 5 years I have been trying to conceive and have tried nothing and everything we could and could not afford. I don't know how to explain to my husband that "everything is possible if you believe" when I have believed so many times, and nothing. I don't know how to answer my husbands questions because, how can I honestly say that the Lord must have something better in mind? And so I just sound like a lunatic. Yes. God is enough. God can comfort and love me, but He cannot replace a baby in my arms. This makes it very complicated to defend my faith and I understand why my husband does not believe.

My friend, I'm so sorry you are in this position. I feel your disappointment and pain. I wish I had an easy answer or explanation for you, but I don't. I've recently had to deal with something in my own life in similar fashion that didn't make sense even to me, yet I knew my only recourse was to trust God. I couldn't explain it to my husband, nor did I try to defend God. I just simply shared what I felt God was showing me through it and how God was helping me walk through it.

Sometimes all we can say is, "I don't know, but I will trust God." It's essentially what Proverbs 3:5-6 is about, to trust God and not lean on our own understanding, to seek His will and believe He'll show us the way.

These are the times that we are challenged to truly believe and hold onto the truth of Romans 8:28, that God is always good and that He is always working for our good. I know how hard that is when faced with such unexplainable circumstances.

I will offer you no pat answer or cliché of words you’ve most likely heard over and over again. But I will say, don’t let go of God. When you are confronted with these difficult questions, ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words. You may find the answer He gives you to speak will bring you comfort and peace as well.

We don’t see the full picture, but we can trust that God does, that He is on the throne and is working for not just your good but your husband’s too. I believe God can bring something beautiful and amazing from every heartache in our lives. And I am believing this for you too.

Hugging you tight with love and prayers,
Dineen

Provers 3  1-6

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Humble Confidence

Dear friends, our very own Teresa T. has a great message for us today:

HumbleConfidentThis group loves God’s word and often discusses how to best apply the scriptures. Winning Him Without Words encourages us to serve as a living testimony, rather than to badger our pre-believers with arguments and ploys. So, it is important for us to be clear in our own minds about what scriptures ask us to do.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, …. 1Peter 3:15 (NIV)

Some translations use the word “meekness” instead of “gentleness.”

Let’s explore some commandments on humility and confidence that can appear, at first glance, to be difficult to put together. How can we be both? Join me in a short series of posts to explore how we can marry these commandments together in our lives. I hope that through discussion, we will find that they fit together nicely.

Let’s start by looking at humility and meekness. Here are a few passages:

Passage

Comment

Micah 6:8 (NIV)

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
      And what does the Lord require of you?
  To act justly and to love mercy
      and  to walk humbly with your God.

I love this passage. It is good  to be humble. The Lord requires us to be humble. That’s clear.

Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly   loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

This passage is also a command. Here, humility is in good company with  other sweet characteristics that speak to the condition of our hearts. Humility is not just a rank or station in life. It is a state of being.

Matthew 20:26 – 27 (NIV)

Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become   great among you must be your servant, and  whoever wants to be first must be your slave—

What? Become the least to become the greatest? 

God’s economy just is not the same as the world’s economy. In this passage, Christ gives a terrific definition of humility.  And He tells us that He values it.

Proverbs 3:34 (HCSB)

He mocks those who mock,
  but gives grace to the humble.

Proverbs 3:34 (ESV)

Toward the scorners he is scornful,But to the humble, he gives favor.

He values humility so much. The humble get grace and favor. Sign me up.

Matthew 5:5 (NIV)

Blessed are the meek,
      for  they will inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:5 (HCSB)

The gentle are blessed,
  for they will inherit the earth.

Do you recognize the Beatitudes?

Looking at different translations can help to clarity scriptures.   Here, one translation uses the word “meek” and another “gentle.”

Humility means to be modest and to consider your own importance less than you consider the importance of others. It means to respect God and others. It means to accept God's authority. Other words that mean humble include meek, modest and unpretentious. Arrogance is the opposite of humility.

When we realize that all our strengths come from Him and He loves us in spite of our earthly faults, we can be more gentle and loving toward others.

Humility does not imply self-loathing. Humility does not require us to think we are worthless. We are not. We are created in His image (Genesis 1:27). We have heard that so often, but stop to think how powerful that is. We are created in the image of God. Wowzers. There is something good in each of us that it meant to reveal an aspect of God. And God sent His Son to die for us so that we can live an abundant life (John 3:16). He values us. Modest does not mean frumpy. Respecting others does not mean we disrespect ourselves.

I think that it takes a certain amount of self-confidence to be humble. We can put others first when we are not constantly looking for self-affirmation.

Review the verses listed in the table above once again. We are rewarded for being humble. Doesn’t that give you courage? Are you starting to see that humility and courage really do go together? The next time I post, we’ll look more closely at courage.

Prayer

Lord, soften our hearts. Let us become humble and put value on others. Help us to not seek compliments or the center of attention. Help us to lavish attention on our loved ones and invest time in them, even when we are tired. Show us how we can bless a stranger. Let us be patient, kind and caring. Amen.

Conversation

What does humility mean to you? How do you see its relationship with courage?  How does humility help you to show love? There are plenty of other verses on humility and meekness. Is there one that speaks to you? Can you think of a "role model" who exhibits this trait? Share in the comments below.

Thanks

Thanks, Lynette, for inspiring this post! I enjoy our discussions. ~ Teresa

Such a great message about humility. Thank you, Teresa! Hugs! ~Dineen & Lynn

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


#SUM Nation Walmart Day

Hi Sumites, 

Things are coming together for this Thursday, our Walmart Prayer Day. I also call this adventure one of our Random Acts of Kindness days. 

When I started this adventure all I had was a Word. A Word from God. I saw a picture in my mind of shoppers at Walmart in line to check out and shoppers in line for prayer. I didn’t know if this was a good idea, if you would support it, or if anyone would show up with me to pray.

Well of course, we won’t know the full scope of this escapade until it’s finished. But let me tell you what has happened already. You, the SUMite Nation have donated in small amounts at a time and some large amounts (a few of you) so much money that we have a ton of gift cards. I have money to purchase the flowers for the kids and enough to cover the signs and other small expenses. 

THANK YOU! 

Donations came from all over the world. Who knew? 

God did!!! 

On Thursday the crowd who is joining me continues to grow. When I started this adventure I wasn’t sure if one other person would be brave enough to stand outside of Walmart and ask people if they want prayer. But it seems that most of the people I’ve asked said yes. And as more people find out, they want to join in. I believe SUMites are coming from out-of-state. What I love is that all the volunteers are from different churches. What a beautiful way to represent the united Body of Christ to the world. I can’t wait to hug your necks and share photos. 

I’m overwhelmed by God’s people. Overwhelmed that people are willing to give their money. Give their time. Teenagers willing to walk around with signs and hug people and give them a smile. 

Our world is a tough place. In the last week alone my head spins when I consider all the shootings across America, Canada and elsewhere. BUT, there are good people in the world. And the SUMite Nation… We are the good people. We are people filled with love, the Holy Spirit and with a relentless hope. We are the people who can make a change for good and reflect love and kindness. 

I believe Thursday will reflect everything that this community is about. 

For this week will you pray for Thursday. I expect push-back from the dark realms but I know with our prayers there will be people on Thursday whose very life may be altered forever, who will be saved, or healed, because we gave, we prayed, we loved. 

Monday: Pray that the Walmart store comes under an open heaven. That the store is free from any and all dark dominion, curses or lies of the enemy. Pray for the management of the store in this way as well. 

Tuesday: Pray that God keeps our prayer team healthy and that no one is kept from attending. 

Wednesday: Pray for the people who will be shopping. Pray that God gives us boldness and courage and that the shoppers are receptive and feel safe to receive prayer.

Thursday: Pray all that morning for divine encounters, healings, angelic visitations, and for powerful miracles. Pray that people have an encounter with God. 

Friday: I will post photos and share stories. We will be posting on Thursday some photos and thoughts on our Sum Facebook page

I love you SUMites. I KNOW we hold a special place in the Kingdom. Our trials and difficulties in our mismatched marriages lead us from glory to glory. This is one of the glories!!! 

Hugging you tight. Lynn

1 Corinthians 13

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Reader Question: Struggling with Shame and Regret

Hi Lynn and Dineen,

I am writing this email because I feel an incredibly heavy burden. Right now I am struggling with a great deal of shame and an amount of regret over my decision to marry an unbeliever last year. It is tough for me to really believe that through this mistake, God will redeem any part of my situation. I love my husband, he is a good man and we have a wonderful little baby boy, but how am I really able to love him like I should when he is an ever present reminder of my disobedience? I know I am in for a long and lonely road and it seems as though every facet of my life will be affected by this.

You see, I struggled with this decision and decided to go through with it. I was incredibly confused and in hindsight I know the holy spirit was convicting me about it. But I had so many people telling me that he was the one that I should marry, and I loved him. We had a baby on the way, it was a long distance relationship of three years, and I thought that perhaps I could be a good witness to him (how many women get stuck in this trap?!?), even though my faith was and is relatively infantile despite having grown up in the church.

I see happy Christian couples everywhere and am burdened by the guilt that I am not like them. I often see warnings about dating and marrying an unequally yoked partner, and get overcome with shame and worry and fear. I do not know how to move forward.

I suppose I have issues with accepting God's love and knowing that He hasn't turned my back on me, although I know that is untrue. Any words of wisdom or advice?

My sweet friend, I so wish I could include a great big hug with this email. Lynn and I actually just talked about this the other day, how our hearts ached for those who carry shame, guilt and regret over their marriage when that is the last thing our Jesus wants for us. That's why He came and died for us, experiencing both physical and spiritual death so that when we read His Word that tells us He understands and loves us even when we fail, we can truly believe it!
 
I know that's hard to believe right now. Trust me, I've been in a similar journey of late, understanding the magnitude of God's love for us. The thing is, God has loved you passionately always—before you were even conceived. And nothing can change that or separate you from that love (Romans 8:38-39). Does Jesus continually remind you of what you did wrong? No, Scripture says there is no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1). Truly, go read Romans 8 in as many translations as you can. That one chapter alone has some of the best promises and truths from our Father God, including my favorite Romans 8:28, that He is always working things together for our good. Even the bad stuff, even our mistakes and bad choices.
 
My friend, you did not surprise God by marrying your husband, and I'm sure you have told Him already that you are sorry for disobeying Him, that you have repented of disobedience. So receive that forgiveness. If I can be that voice for you, YOU ARE FORGIVEN! And now know that God is still crazy about you! He still has a plan and purpose for you! And part of that plan is to bless you, your marriage and your husband and son. It won't be easy at times, as we still have to deal with the consequences of our bad choices. But God will even work in those to help you. You will find yourself drawing even closer to God if you let Him draw you close to Him.
 
These burdens you are feeling are from the enemy. He wants to keep you powerless especially now in your marriage so he can keep your husband in darkness. Take that power back, my friend (Luke 9:1-2). Tell the enemy to get lost and start claiming the promises in the Bible that are there for all of us. You can move forward in your marriage in the hope and great love that we have in Jesus. He will bring good out of all of this. He not only redeems us, He redeems our lives, every bit of them.
 
Don't compare yourself to others. Trust me, it's deadly and destructive. And what you see on the outside isn't always the truth of what's inside their hearts or inside their homes. There are challenges in every marriage, even marriages with two believers. And in some ways you will be more effective in your marriage because you will be more intentional to bring Jesus into your home with your love and actions, because you are there now for such a time as this (go read the book of Esther and ask God to show you the truth there for you).
 
My friend, basically in these kinds of places we have two choices: We can stay focused on what we did in the past and stay mired in the lies that we can't be forgiven, that we can't serve God, that God won't love us as much or value us as much, that the church won't want us anymore, that we are less than, that we've blown it, etc. All lies. Or we can choose to move forward in the truth of God's love and that He is the God of the impossible. That what we see as impossible, unfixable and unusable is ALWAYS an opportunity for His great love and power to shine and prevail. 
 
Go read Joshua 9 and 10. Joshua stepped into an agreement he wasn't supposed to. He made a covenant with a people God told him not to. But when Joshua was called to keep that agreement, God helped him do it and won the battle for them. Right now, God is more interested in your faithfulness to Him and to the covenant you have made with your husband. He will honor that and bless you for it as well. 
 
You see, for our great God, He is always more concerned in who we are (His children and our relationship with Him) than what we do for Him. That is why our greatest command is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Because He loves us so much, He loved us first. Then we are to love others. It's always all about His love and our relationship with Him. And your mismatched marriage does not change that.
 
My friend, I want to encourage you to walk forward in the truth of God's love and promises. There are so many just waiting for you to claim and pray. Know that God adores you, delights in you and sings over you (Zeph 3:17). He always has and He always, always, always will.
 
Praying for you to walk in hope, love and promise!
Dineen
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*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


And The Walls Came Tumbling Down

SUMite Nation: 

Matthew 24Let’s finish this journey of Walking The Walls of Jericho. 

Remember, we are in the seven times around. I’m not sure exactly where I am, five, six, seven times around but I’ve come so very far and will never relent. There are promises behind those walls. There are captives to be liberated and plunder to be regained. Everything that was stolen. And there is a devil to be defeated and cast into the lake of fire. We, the saints, are the chosen to defeat the enemy with our worship. 

This is who we are. And you know what awaits us?.... The sound of the Shofar... 

The Shofar: 

When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. —Joshua 6:20 

The walls crumbled. Now get this, the walls fell and the People of God didn’t lift a finger to topple this shut-tight fortress. God spoke. The Walls Fell. Period. The end. 

But my friends, there remains another blast of the Shofar. It’s the trumpet sound of the Redeemed. God speaks and His Word goes forth with power, reducing the enemy to an impotent and silent foe. 

And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. —Matthew 24:31 

The great day of the trumpet blast is ahead. It is a promise we can believe and trust and pursue this promise. In the meantime. We walk. We love. We help others. We love others. We trust. We see the miracles and we train up the generation behind us. 

As we conclude this series, I’m moved to ask you again. What is the most important verse or component of this story? Do you remember?

His Voice. 

The voice of God. It matters not what lies behind those walls. It pales in comparison the plunder, the victory, the riches, the abundance. At the end of our long journey (our years of wondering in the wilderness) only one thing matters. His Presence. 

Everything, all that we do, is in pursuit of His Presence. So consider a few thoughts with me as we continue to walk out this journey: 

  • My goal in life is not to figure out who I am, my goal in life is to figure out who He is.
  • God is always good. Always. Always. Always.
  • God has good gifts for His kids.
  • My victory is at hand because it was finished at the Cross.
  • It’s easy to pray general prayers to avoid disappointment. The Lord is looking for those who know they are servants and pray dangerously.
  • God makes me BRAVE!
  • Fear is faith in Satan.
  • The enemy loves to get us to look at ourselves either in self-criticism or self-discovery in order to keep us from looking to God.
  • Keep asking for The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation that we may know Him better.
  • Our brokenness is also our pathway to His heart.
  • People matter.
  • Perfect love casts out all fear.
  • Healing is for everyone.
  • God lavishly gives Spiritual gifts that we can give them to others.
  • Grace, grace and more grace.
  • Walking together we overcome all hindrances.
  • Peace, I give thee. I receive His peace and I thrive.
  • The Promised Land? His Presence. 

I love you so much my friends. Share your thoughts, scriptures, prayers in the comments. Our worship silences the enemy. Your sister in the Kingdom, Lynn

 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Transforming the Mind: Choosing Joy

ThemindMy friends, the Transforming the Mind series is continuing. Abba keeps giving me more and more to learn and share with you. What I love so much about this is that as I teach it I’m learning it as well. Just like what it says in Romans:

You, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? — Romans 2:21

So if God calls you to teach, then do it! He will give you what you need to know and pass on. Now, back to our series which began with Feasting on God’s Word, then continued with Claiming and Praying God’s Promises, Giving the Holy Spirit Authority, Pleading the Blood of Jesus, and last week, Thanking and Praising.

The more I learn about transforming our minds (Romans 12:2), the more I see that everything starts in our minds. Everything. Sin, transformation, healing, etc. All of it. And we have more control over it than we realize. I believe this is what James talks about when he describes waves being blown and tossed by the wind. This is an untransformed mind.

Our frame of mind, way of thinking and past experiences influence how we live in, react to (or don’t react to ) and view the world, including those around us. This is what all those self help books are about—having a positive attitude. The reason they often fail is because they rely on an individual’s limited ability to change and the world’s changing standards and definitions as judgement.

But we, the family of God, have a better book—the Bible—to teach us how to see ourselves and our lives through the lens of our Creator, who’s love is constant and unchanging and holds no condemnation for us, His children (Romans 8:1).

And I believe this transformed mind is absolutely vital to thriving in our mismatched marriages. How we perceive things and what we focus on will direct the course of our every day lives. And I have learned that wherever I have a struggle, I must first look inward to first to discover if the root is within me or if I need an attitude adjustment to handle the situation. In other words, I can't change those around me, but I can choose how I will handle situations and conflicts. And sometimes we may need to face that we are the problem. But even then, we have the power that raised Christ from the dead (Eph. 1:19-20) working in us to bring transformation! That is full of hope and promise! And as we change and are transformed, we influence our pre-believer in ways we don’t even realize.

In today’s post, I want to talk to you about choosing joy. Abba has shown me much about joy in the last few months that I’m just now piecing together. The Old Testament talks about the oil of joy. This is something that He often has me pass on to others, especially when I work in the healing rooms here.

And Scripture also tells us the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10). But recently an interview article, Kay Warren on Depression, Grief and Hope, written by Amy Simpson (Today’s Christian Woman) struck me with a new understanding of what it means to choose joy.

“I realized I had completely misunderstood joy. No wonder I wasn't experiencing it! I was going after the wrong thing. I was going after an emotion. And what God wanted to give me was himself. The definition of joy I'm working with is a settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life. The quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right. And the determined choice to praise God in all things.” — Kay Warren

First let me clarify that joy and happiness are two different things. Joy is based upon the constant presence and love of our Great God and trusting Him with every detail of our lives. Happiness is contingent upon circumstances. We can have joy and choose to be joyful and joy-filled even when our circumstances make us unhappy. The danger we often run into is that when we feel unhappy, we relinquish our joy.

But we don't have to. We can choose joy even in our most challenging times. It's not easy, but I am learning to do this more and more. The new understanding I'm beginning to grasp is that instead of waiting for joy to "show up," like an emotion, we can take action and ask for and choose to accept joy as a gift from Jesus. Scripture even tells us this:

So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. — Romans 5:11
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. — 1Thess. 5:16-18
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13
“For I, the Lord, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be recognized and honored among the nations. Everyone will realize that they are a people the Lord has blessed.” 

I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. — Isaiah 61:8-10

This is our inheritance and ours to choose—to ask and pray for. And did you notice how thankfulness and gratitude are intertwined with joy as well as hope? Think of thankfulness and gratitude as the soil of our minds and joy is the seed to be planted there. What springs forth is hope. So you see, if our minds are cluttered with bitterness, unforgiveness, self-condemnation, lies from the enemy, etc., the joy of the Lord will wither and even die. And then we become hopeless. And for us to lose hope is as death. I firmly believe that is one of the most heartbreaking conditions of all to our Lord Jesus—to see people lose hope.

My friends, I don't have this completely figured out, but I do know that what we focus on and think about has profound effect on our mental, physical and spiritual health. They are all interconnected as God designed them to be.

And He has given us the ability to choose. This is powerful (even to determine our eternal destination—to choose Jesus) and when we use this power of choice out of a desire to honor God and be obedient, we have a mind controlled by the Spirit, which tells us is life and peace. That is a powerful promise from our Abba and again, it's ours to choose.

It takes practice and intentionality, but it is so worth it. The more we do this, the less we are like those waves whipped around by the waves of the world, of our challenges and circumstances, and the stronger we stand in our lives and marriages. We can allow our thoughts, feelings and emotions to control us or we can partner with the Holy Spirit to transform our minds so that those same thoughts, feelings and emotions will fall in line and be reflective of God’s truth working in us.

So I’m asking Jesus for joy. I’m asking He restore the joy of His salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me (Psalm 51:12).

I’m choosing joy.

Love you dearly, my friends!
Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.


Reader Question: I'm the Daughter of an Unequally Yoked Marriage

Thank you for your ministry. I am the daughter of an unequally yoked marriage. My mom has recently (within the past 10 years) tried to seek godly Christian women to find support/encouragement but so far she has found none. As a result I have been the one to hear my mom vent about the struggles and pain.

My parents have been married for about 40 years and only about three years ago did my dad claim to profess faith in Christ. Today's (April 26) reader question along with listening to your interview on Focus on the Family aired on March 26 has motivated me to write this email. How can you love someone for who they are when he has told you several times over the course of the marriage and continues to say to you (even with his profession of faith) that you are the cause of his unhappiness and blames you for why he gets upset and angry? How can you love someone who unleashes his wrath and anger against you with verbal assaults and in his fits of rage will throw things towards your direction? 

There are other baggage/sin that each of my parents bring into their marriage that complicates things (of course). Regardless, you remind me of the foundational place of where we all should begin. You are right when you said on the Focus on the Family interview aired on March 27, 2012, "we need to love God more than we love ourselves. Our commitment to marriage is our commitment to Christ." 

It is hard to see past the fog. Thank you for your Biblical counsel to spouses who are in spiritually unequal marriages. Would appreciate some encouragement to pass along to my mom. I plan on sending my mom the link to your website as well as giving my mom a copy of your book, Winning Him Without Words

My friend, I am so touched by your heart for your mom. I know it hasn't been easy for you to be her sounding board. I truly believe she will find the support and encouragement she needs in our community at SpirituallyUnequalMarriage.com. Lynn and I are there blogging almost everyday and interacting with the community of believers who are walking this very same path. Yes, please direct her to our site there and here is a link our interviews page that has many of our broadcasts. I'm praying that your mom will listen and be encouraged as she listens. She is not a lone. There are many of us out there and we are stronger together.

You ask how can we love someone who does these things? We can't, not without Jesus, and the love the He has for us and our spouse flowing through us. I know I can't love my husband as I do without God's help and he's a pretty lovable guy and easy to get alone with! So with such a challenge as your mom faces, she needs Jesus even more to do this through her. The Word tells us God IS love so when we ask Him to love for us, to flow that through us, especially to those who are difficult to love, we are also transformed. I find it astonishing how God does it as I've watched Him do this in my own life.

But let me also say, my friend, that it sounds like the issues your mother is dealing with are not due to a spiritual mismatch. These are issues that can be present in even believing couples. I strongly encourage you to encourage you mom to seek Christian counseling. God doesn't desire us to live in that kind of treatment (and please forgive me if this sounds harsh but your dad's behavior toward your mom could border on being emotionally abusive) and if we don't know how to set boundaries that tell even those we love that their behavior isn't appropriate, we can become enablers for it to continue.

Your sweet mom is not in charge of making your dad happy nor is he in charge of making her happy. This is something the world tells us and it's truly built on lies. Our joy, peace and contentment come from knowing Jesus, and happiness comes in those places as well. Yet to blame another person for our unhappiness, anger and discontent is not taking responsibility for ourselves. It's not easy to look in these places and realize this. Trust me, I know. Early in my marriage before I knew Christ I blamed my husband for my unhappiness, because I didn't understand that a human being couldn't meet the needs God placed in me for only Him to meet.

That your mom is seeking encouragement is wonderful! Tell her that for us and tell her we would love the chance to get to know her better and share our hearts with her. Our SUM community is built upon two things: the love of God and that we are not alone. 

Again, let me commend you for your heart for your mom. Know that all of this is God leading her to what she needs so that ultimately she will know Him better, trust Him more and walk in the truth that He alone will supply all her needs from His amazing love (Phil 4:19).

I'm praying for you and your family, my friend. God is definitely working here even if it may not seem so. He's working through you and all your years of praying to help bring your mom to a stronger place of faith and breakthrough so that both your parents can walk in the freedom Jesus died to give us. I truly believe that and I pray it encourages you too.

Much love and lots of hugs to you!
Dineen

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Gang, still waiting to hear back from Walmart if we are approved and what date. I will give the update on Monday, Hugs, Lynn

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

MAJ Cover 100 size Thumb

Lynn has wonderfully mapped out the steps we all need to walk through to develop and grow this vital relationship with Him. This was the Lord’s intent for her transformation journey all along, and His intent for you too. Here she has spelled out the spiritual truths behind the principles and talked us through how she applied them. These truths are universally applicable to us all, though as the details of our lives, situations and hearts will be different, we will apply them differently. - Reader Review from Barnes & Noble.