83 posts categorized "Easter"

The Risen Jesus Versus Our Circumstance

Hi everyone, Ann here. He has risen

After Friday's post I've had a little thought stuck in my head that's somewhat creative but it's been speaking a powerful message to me. It's this:

When attending church alone, many of us lament, naturally. This thing is tough, and even those who have attended church alone for decades will say that. For those of us women, we think about our husband: 'He is not here,' and it can be painful enough to bring tears. For the guys, the version of that is 'She is not here.'

However, what's struck me is that those words, 'He is not here', also happen to be the words that were used by the angels who announced Jesus's resurrection at the empty tomb. For them it carried a completely opposite message -- A message of victory and joy:

He is not here, He has risen! (Luke 24:6; Matthew 28:6).

Amen, amen, amen to that.

So, for us we could say we have two versions of 'He is not here' in our life. We have the version where we're looking at our spouse's spiritual condition and seeing it as a dead situation. And then there's the version where we're looking at Jesus and his resurrection, awe-struck. These are two very different things in our life.

I wonder if we can take that little 'play on words' and think about it some more. There is a real counter-truth to our pain of doing faith alone, and that counter-truth is that JESUS is fighting for us in this situation, as are the angels. Knowing that, if we say 'our spouse is not here' about a hopeless situation we can then follow it up by declaring the same words were used by the angels about Jesus: But He (Jesus) has risen! 

In other words:

He is not here (my husband, that is).

BUT, hang on, there is power working in my family:

Jesus is risen! And that means the enemy is disarmed in this situation, death has lost its sting, and the power of God is working in my family for the salvation of all my household.

How powerful is the resurrection for our life circumstance? Can we trust God to do a miracle and raise the spiritually dead? Absolutely. Yes, our spouse has free will, but we can at least know that the resurrection power of Jesus is a force as mighty as an atom bomb. 

When the women went to the tomb on that morning of the resurrection expecting to anoint a dead body with perfume and spices, they instead got the shock of their lives to encounter angels. Angels in shining garments declare to the women:

Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen! (Luke 24:6, NKJV)

And, an angel with a countenance like lightning and clothing as white as snow, says:

Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead (Matthew 28:5-7, NKJV)

That is our God! That is his truth. Whew, mighty power.

Knowing that power, I wonder if we can challenge ourselves to do the following: Next time in church when we feel that sadness of our spouse's absence, perhaps we can try to put that thought away deliberately because it is us focusing on a dead body. Instead, let's say out loud --

But, He (Jesus) is not here, he is risen! And that same power of the resurrection is working in my family.

I'd like to finish with a prayer --

Dear Jesus, thank you that you did conquer the grave and you did give us power and hope. We ask for every single person in this SUM community, that you will help us not fall into lament when we sit in church alone, but help us instead to focus on your power and the resurrection. Show us more of what your resurrection power can do in our families. Thank you, Lord.

Love you all, 

Ann


The Glorious Resurrection

My friends, today it is Resurrection Sunday, and along with the wider Body of Christ around the world we're celebrating this wonderful, wonderful event. Passion of Christ

It's funny to think about how that group of people in first-century Jerusalem (e.g., the disciples) were so normal ... And yet what they experienced that day was completely mind-blowing.

That day, that Sunday of the Resurrection, the women went to the tomb to find a stone rolled away, and men dressed in white -- Angels. One of the women, Mary Magdalene, even saw Jesus with her own eyes. Was she crazy??

Peter and John raced to the tomb to find it was indeed empty. The burial garments were lying in a pile, including the body's head covering neatly folded in a corner. What on earth had happened?

Two men were walking on a road to Emmaeus and Jesus appeared to them to explain the scriptures and what had just happened. As soon as they recognized him he vanished from their sight. "Didn't our hearts burn within us?" They said afterwards, trying to debrief with each other.

And finally, the grieving disciples were in a locked room hiding from the Jews when suddenly their beloved Master appeared from the dead in front of them! They nearly fainted with shock, but then got to touch his side, saw his hands, and sat back in awe, hearts pounding.

That was the immediate reality, though several of these people might have wondered if it was real. The Bible says many doubted, and it's not surprising. It was an extraordinary day which they would never forget.

What they couldn't possibly have imagined, however, is what would happen to the world after that. That, to me, is as big a miracle. That resurrection power swept through the world, beginning in Jerusalem, and changed individual life after individual life, eventually reaching yours and mine. It first touched people in the places where the twelve apostles took the Gospel, and then continuing to explode like an atom bomb from generation to generation, like a powerful domino effect. Signs and wonders often accompanied the message, as did a lot of prayer behind the scenes by saints past and present.

The resurrection message of Jesus had the power to spread without compulsion or force and it changed whole nations. Every authentic conversion that occurred did so by that same resurrection power that lifted Jesus from the dead.

That you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead .. (Ephesians 1:18-19, NKJV) 

Today almost one third of the world's population calls themselves Christian, and the resurrection power of Jesus Christ continues to touch individual lives, one after another. 

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. (John 21:25, NKJV)

The above verse is the very last verse of the four Gospels. Though it is speaking of all the things Jesus did in first-century Israel, it feels to me like a prophecy too. Indeed, the world truly cannot contain the number of the things that could be written about what Jesus has done ever since the Resurrection. Testimonies of changed lives are now as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore.

Amazing.

What do we do with that? Well, I'd say we must stand on the fact that the power of the resurrection is such a powerful force that it changed our world. If that is the case it can change our home too.

And that brings us to the end of our time of commemorating the passion of Christ. Dear SUMites, I hope you have a meaningful day and let's celebrate the Resurrection today with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

Love,

Ann


"It is Finished."

Dear friends Passion of Christ

It's Ann here, and we've reached Friday, the very last day of Holy Week and the day where Jesus was eventually taken to his death.

This particular year I have been thinking a lot about the visual signs of power in that last moment on the cross:

"From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened they were terrified, and exclaimed "Surely He was the Son of God!" (Matthew 27:45-54, NIV)

That picture stuns me. The brooding darkness, the rock-splitting earthquake, and the curtain in the temple being violently ripped in two. I'm picturing the shock of those who discovered or saw that curtain. Would they have registered at all what was going on?

At that very moment humanity was being given free access to an intimate relationship with God. As Jesus breathed his last, he said: "It is finished." It's done.

The earth shook, the rocks split, the tombs broke open. Dead people would start waking up and coming out of their tombs days later. Can you imagine?! The sheer power of that moment leads me to ask a question of myself: What exactly does the power of the cross mean for my own life?  

I had a chat with a Christian friend last week. She told me that she was facing a distressing situation at work that was proving to be quite severe. A colleague of hers was displaying some very dark behavior and she was being challenged in a number of ways that actually seemed spiritual. She then told me God's answer to her had been this:

"Lean on the finished work of the cross."

She and I chatted a little about that, and both felt it was a somewhat elusive phrase, but nevertheless a phrase that really made us think. What does it look like, exactly?

Lean on the finished work of the cross.

In our lives, the finished work of the cross means that the enemy is disarmed. It means that good is more powerful than evil. It also means that Jesus has cleared our own sin to such a great degree that we know we are loved.

Lean on the finished work of the cross.

The finished work of the cross is power in our lives, and it means we have the kind of access to God that we otherwise never could have had. It means rock-splitting power. Resurrection power.

So, with all that said, here's a little idea: Consider sitting with the Lord to ask him about what the finished work of the cross means for your current circumstances. Share in the comments any insights you come up with.

And .. We will be back on Sunday!

Ann


The Silent Day! At Least That's What Satan Believed!

Passion Week 2022The Passion Week – Wednesday- by Lynn Donovan

The Silent Day

SUM Nation, on this Wednesday as we remember and honor the Passion of Christ, let’s focus on what happened on Wednesday leading up to the resurrection. The Bible offers little information regarding Jesus, His disciples, and their activity that day.

But we know many things were rumbling underground that day. This is when I believe satan issued his command to kill the Christ. The devil knew from the beginning who Jesus was and believed it would be catestrophic to allow him to live. Evil foresaw the future where the entire world became healed, prospered, and stepped into our original design and destiny as children of God.

The satanic evil counsels conspired plans to stir up Judas Iscariot and the Sanhedrin to torture and kill the Son of God. Their wicked laughter shook the blackened ruins of hell, as the tempters planned Christ’s death with a mere pieces of silver placed before a very broken and greedy man, Judas Iscariot. Demonic generals inhabited the religious rulers and they formed a plan to kill LIFE itself.

BUT……. If satan knew what would happen with the death of Jesus, he would have stopped it at all cost!

In the silence this is what God was doing!!!!!!  Jesus aligns fully with His destiny. He is resetting the entirety of humanity back to our original design and purpose.

  • Death is DEFEATED. 1 CORINTHIANS 15:54
  • He creates a new species of beings on earth. 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17
  • The Holy Spirit arrives in power and with comfort. ACTS 1:8
  • We become Children of God and co-heirs with Christ. ROMANS 8:17
  • Our eternity is certain. 1 JOHN 2:25
  • Daily life is covered with hope and promises. 2 CORINTHIANS 1:20
  • We reign with Christ forever. REVELATION 5:10
  • We have life abundant. John 10:10
  • We have a renewed mind, a healed heart, a firm foundation and a life of promise. ROMANS 12:2, 1 PETER 5:10, MATTHEW 7:24-27, ROMANS 10:13

In the silence of a single day, Father, saw His Son and affirmed Him. He saw His many children lost and deceived and knew they were about to experience the greatest moment of all time.

The death and the glorious resurrection of the Messiah. Yeshua, who is Christ the Lord!

Is silence your companion today? Is the enemy plotting-destroying your hope and peace? Is it a struggle to see a way forward because all is silent and dark?

My friend, stand up because Sunday is your destiny. It IS WRITTEN. IT IS ACCOMPLISHED ALREADY! And life within the Kingdom is not just a wish. IT IS OUR BEAUTIFUL REALITY!

We can do all things through Christ, because He LIVES!

Leave me your prayer requests and let’s destroy the silence and live a loud and bold life. In Jesus name. AMEN. Blessings and hugs, Lynn


Not My Will, But Yours Be Done.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amanda


Some Special Plans for Next Week

Dear SUM family, Passion of Christ

It's Ann here and I wanted to tell you about some special plans we have for next week -- Holy Week.

Next week we are going to take some time to honor Jesus by focusing on his final week on earth, his death and his resurrection.

Lynn, Ian, Tiffany, Amanda and I are going to take it in turns to write a devotional each day, and we'll walk through Holy Week together. Ian is going to kick us off on Monday, and we so hope you'll join us.

We're really looking forward to it. We all love this time of year, and it's a good chance to lift our eyes off our circumstances and onto this incredible LOVE story.

For God so loved the world that He gave his begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NKJV)

Many of you know we also have a Facebook group. That group is led by two wonderful SUMites, Gladys Arias Rosario and Barb Twigg. Well, several of the ladies in that group are going to do something special on Resurrection Sunday. They're each going to put a picture/photo on their own Facebook profile with the words 'Jesus belongs in my city'. They'll be a little creative, so no two posts will look the same. Once they're up if you'd like to take a look at these posts you can search for #Jesusinmycity, #Resurrectioninmycity and #SUM. And hey, if you feel like joining in and doing the same, please do!

Well, I will leave it there but we will see you on Monday, ready to journey through Holy Week.

Love,

Ann


How do we Shift our Focus?

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Photo by Italo Melo from Pexels

A month ago, I wrote this post about shifting focus onto Jesus. Why do we want to focus more on Jesus? Because in discovering how to continually draw close to God, we learn how to let go of control which helps us to worry less and to love more. And now I start fulfilling my commitment to you on how to do it. Well, on some ways I've found to do it. :)

Lent starts Today!

It’s significant that this post lands on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Perhaps you don’t pay much attention to Lent. And that’s okay. Lent marks the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness and perhaps more significantly, as we journey through this season, we begin to appreciate with greater understanding the gift of Jesus' death. I love Lent as it helps me shift my focus. By choosing to be intentional in fasting, taking up a new spiritual practice, and reading specific Lenten resources, I find my focus shifts. A little. And a little is good enough1.

A Trouble-Free Life

I was thrilled to read Tiffany’s post of a few days ago where she wrote about shifting her focus towards a calling she believes God has put on her heart. She took her eyes off worrying about how her husband might react and turned them to her calling.

I think all of us can relate to that conundrum. Out of fear of upsetting our spouse and/or homelife, we elect to choose the safe option. I get that. I’ve lived like that most of my married life. And please don’t get me wrong, sometimes (maybe often) God will guide us to choose that safer option.

But God wants all of us. His love for us is so deep and intense, it is better than life as David says in Psalm 63. He knew it from personal experience. God knows our marriage, He’s all over it. And in always choosing the safer option as I’ve mostly done, I’m not sure it’s drawn my wife closer to meeting Jesus. Because when I've done that perhaps I’ve chosen her and my marriage over God.

I’ve come to realise God can handle our marriage and my spouse. We need to intentionally hand both over to Him in the process of shifting our focus towards Him.

In doing so, does it mean our spouses will soon discover Jesus? Possibly not? But it’s not ours to control. It’s God’s. Does it mean our troubles suddenly disappear? Possibly not. God will walk with us through each and every one of them. Because He can’t help Himself not too. It’s our choice whether to keep holding onto Him through the trouble.

Meditating on the Word

For many years of my life as a believer, I’ve been more a ‘devotional’ reader of the Word. I’ll grab a handful of verses each day, read a Psalm and then move onto my day. But I’m realising I’m limiting its power. The Word is alive, it’s living. That’s one of the many mysterious aspects of following Jesus. And Jesus is in it. He is the Word.

Learning to meditate on the Word shifts our focus. Why? For many reasons, but I’ll just share one. Because we invite God into reading it with us. And wow, it then gets really exciting.

I’m not going to say anymore other than to lead us in a little exercise. I did this yesterday and found it so powerful and know I should share it. Bill Gaultiere was the one who led me through it (well his book did2)

Here we go. We’re going to read Matthew 11:25-30. Three times. Three times slowly. And after each time you’re going to ask yourself a different question. Bill suggests you give 30 minutes for the exercise. Maybe you can't do this now. May I encourage you to set aside some time to do it in the next few days. Save it up for the weekend.

Here’s the passage. Bill used the Message version so I’ll do that too.

“Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”

Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Questions to Mediate Upon (perhaps write your responses)

  1. After 1st reading: What is one word or phrase that shimmered or stood out to you? Meditate on it.
  1. 2nd reading: Enter into the passage. What do you feel? Is there a specific situation in your life today that relates? Why not pray about it? Ask God about it.
  1. 3rd reading: Do you sense God inviting you to something specific? Write it down and pray about it with God. Wait on Him to speak to you. Or simply rest quietly with God.

That’s it. How do you feel? Perhaps we can share some of our thoughts in the comments.

BTW, this form of Bible reading is known as Lectio Divina which is simply Latin for ‘Divine Reading’. It’s not supposed to replace one’s standard Bible reading rather complement it. It’s not something we need to do every day, but perhaps it might be a new practice some of us might like to introduce, gently move towards.

I’ll be back next time with another shift enabling practice. Remember, little by little. As Kate Bowler says, ‘good enough’ is well, good enough.

Grace and peace, my friends.

1. We place too much pressure on ourselves to be the best at everything, to control and we get disappointed when we miss the mark or don’t grow in our relationship with God, our spouse or our children. Kate Bowler in her little book is teaching me how to simply be ‘good enough’. It’s what I’m reading for Lent. 2. Bill Gaultiere, “Your Best Life in Jesus’ Easy Yoke’, Soul Shepherding.org, 2016.


It's Okay to Doubt

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Image courtesy of FAVPNG and workablequantit26

Hi Sumites, Ian here.

Another Easter has passed. Ann led us through Holy Week and I thought I’d share some thoughts on one of the stories we read post Jesus’ resurrection.

Thomas and his doubts

When Jesus first appeared to the group of disciples in the Upper Room on Sunday night, Thomas was missing. Why? The Biblical accounts don’t tell us.

In the days following, Thomas catches up with his friends, only to be informed that he missed the return of Jesus. Incredibly, he doesn’t believe them. Why would his friends mislead him? Why doesn’t Thomas trust their words?

Thomas responds with his well-known statement: ““Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24 NIV)

Soon after, the disciples are all assembled in the Upper Room once again. This time, Thomas is with them. Lo and behold, Jesus turns up (not bothering to use the door. Remember, He’s fully divine now!) Jesus knows what’s going on in Thomas’ heart and not wanting him to feel left out, offers Thomas the same opportunity he gave the others the previous night: come and touch my wounds. Tellingly, he encourages Thomas to “stop doubting and believe.”

We’re all like Thomas

Jesus knew Thomas’ doubt. What does he do? Jesus knows what will eliminate that doubt: touching his wounds. Lovingly, Jesus invited Thomas to draw close, touch and believe.

We all struggle with doubt from time to time, don’t we? When will my spouse come to know the Lord? Will they ever come to know the Lord? What happens if they don’t? Why does God appear to be silent when I cry out for help: for peace in my family, for healing of an illness, for an end to this pandemic?

Like Thomas, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus had doubts. Once again, Jesus gave them the best answer he could: Himself.

Jesus knows our doubts. He knows every single one of them. And like Thomas, Jesus invites us to experience … Him. Jesus asks us to do something, well, two things: act and believe.

Thomas missed the initial opportunity to stop doubting because he had separated himself from the others. I often do this too. When I’m fearful, or doubting, or simply fed up with the journey, I retreat. I shut myself off. I get lackadaisical with prayer and Bible reading. I stop listening, I allow myself to be easily distracted and stop being present.

Reading the Word, prayer and Christian community are all examples of acting. The reason these are so important are that Jesus is in all of them. He’s present. We’ll find Jesus in the Word, when we pray (and be still to listen) and when we meet with others (“when two or three are gathered”)

May I encourage each one of us to move towards Jesus. He always has open arms, inviting us to step into them, yes, to touch his wounds and simply, experience his presence. 

Which of these three activities: Bible reading, prayer, Christian community do you find most challenging when life becomes difficult? Be wonderful if we could share with each other in the comments below.

Grace and peace, my friends.


Focus on Jesus, And ... Things Bloom!

Dear SUMites, Ann here. Jesus

I hope you enjoyed our little experience of walking together through Easter. I have to say it was a great discipline for me to focus solely on Jesus that week. 

On the topic of 'focusing solely on Jesus', when I first started writing for this blog a few years ago I asked Lynn "What would you say the mission of this ministry is?" Her answer: "Point the SUM community to Jesus."

Obviously, on this blog we write about all sorts of topics around that. We try to revisit practical things like financial giving or church involvement – Things that are surprisingly common challenges for us all. And then the spiritual aspect of a SUM is also a big topic for us – Things like prayer, spiritual warfare, God’s promises and so on. But primarily the key to thriving in any hard circumstance, including a spiritually mismatched marriage, is this: Focus on Jesus.

Early on, when I was really finding it difficult having this gaping faith difference in my marriage, a friend gave me some advice:

“Ann, if you focus on Jesus, Bryce will eventually see the spiritual bloom on your cheek.”

Quite honestly, at the time I felt overwhelmed by that. Only because I was all-round 'overwhelmed' anyway. I guess it was all proving too difficult to follow Jesus when there was so much resistance. I thought if I did move forward towards Jesus any more than I already was doing, my husband might even leave me. It was incorrect thinking, but it was my fear. The whole thing seemed a massive risk, and I wondered if this advice was a little … Too simple, perhaps?

But now I look at that advice and think ‘Yep!’ Spot on. Thank you to that friend. It is simple, and it is the key. Focus on Jesus.

It’s not easy to push forward towards Jesus, but the fruits do come. The joy, the peace, the love, and eventually the power. For what happens is that the more we fill ourselves up with the Spirit of Christ, what we carry becomes far stronger than what is in the world. And that is when testimonies happen!

So now, on the topic of testimonies, I have something curious to share next time I write -- Something that has happened in my home. More on that another day (I'm smiling).

For now, how easy do you find it to 'focus on Jesus' amidst your SUM circumstances? Let’s chat!


Heavy Stones and Dry Bones – A Poem by Charumathi R. Rao  

Heavy Stones and Dry Bones – A Poem by Charumathi R. Rao

 

Stone rolled awayShe walked down the dusty path, very early on that Sunday morn,

A bag of spices in her hands, teary faced and heart forlorn.

She’d seen him stripped and beaten blue, a crown of thorns upon His head,

All He’d said had seemed so true, but then He still did end up dead.

 

A hasty burial did no justice, to a man beloved and so adored;

So, with the spices and some friends, she walked to His tomb, down that road.

A heavy stone they’d rolled across, the tomb to shut and seal it well,

They’d posted guards to add to the loss, just in case some mischief fell.

 

“Now, who shall roll that heavy stone?”, she worried as they walked along;

She knew it was a heavy stone, and they surely needed someone strong.

But when they reached the place she saw, the open tomb, an empty grave,

And in the place of a body dead, the risen Savior she found instead…!

 

A broken seal and scattered guards, the heavy stone was rolled away,

Her tears of sadness turned to gladness, joy in place of utter dismay.

Overwhelmed and hope renewed, ran Mary, to declare that day,

That no heavy stone could hold Him down, not even death could block His way…!

 

And since that day, this hopeful news, remains the same and very true;

That Christ is risen from the dead, and His love our life’s rescue…!

We too can know, as Mary learned, and John and Peter, got to glean,

Nothing can stop, our risen Lord, no matter what, the dreary scene.
 

And so, my friend, what lies upon, your burdened, weary heart today?

What is the tomb you face with fear? What worries now, hold you prey?

What heavy stone, now shuts the tomb? And in the guarded tomb what lays?

Are they crushed hopes? Dreams in repose? Or prayers that are much delayed?

 

What valley do you have to cross? What dusty dry bones do you see?

What grief has held you captive long? What cares and worries do you flee?

What red sea now, stands in your way? Or are you in, a lengthy drought?

What’s that thing, you cannot bring, yourself to hope, once more - about?

 

If He can set the captives free, the blind to see and lame to walk;

If He can calm, the stormy seas, and even cause the mute to talk;

If He can bring the kingdoms down, and sets up kings upon their thrones,

What are heavy stones for Him or a valley full of dry bones?

 

So, whatever be, the tomb you face, shut and sealed, with heavy stones,

And whatever may, your valley be – that’s now filled, with dry bones,

Come - cast your cares, upon the Lord, For He’s alive and oh so well,

He’d fight for you and guard your soul, His victories you, will live to tell.

 

If He fought for, the saints of old, and proved His power, to Ezekiel and Mary,

He’d do much more, for you and me, if we’d seek His will, pray and tarry,

For He is faithful, true, mighty and able; alive and seated on His throne;

So, what are heavy stones for Him or even a valley full of dry bones?


The Story God Writes

Hi friends, Ann here.

As we consider the story of Jesus's last week, we've reached the day after the crucifixion.

And today, I've been thinking about how God is just the best story-teller!   Story

How would the disciples have felt, I wonder, during those long, long hours when Jesus was in the grave? Trauma, no doubt. Confusion, perhaps? Fear, for sure. An inkling of something good to come next, but serious difficulty believing it. If I were in their shoes I'm not sure I'd have been able to believe the good at that point.

Little did they know that every single part of that story they were living out had been pre-planned by God down to the finest detail. Later, that story would be written as part of a wonderful and coherent book. A book that starts with 'Genesis' and ends with 'Revelation'.

When Jesus had told two disciples to go to Bethphage and untie a donkey, for example, it was so that a prophecy in the Old Testament could be fulfilled.

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey." (Zechariah 9:9, NKJV)

When he told two of them to find him a room to eat the Passover, it was so that he could eat the lamb with them. This was something foreshadowed generations earlier by their Jewish ancestors when the Passover meal was first instituted. And when Judas sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, it had already been prophesied centuries ago (Zechariah 11:12-13).

It was all one exquisitely crafted story. A love story.

Just like those disciples, we -- Jesus's present disciples -- can't really see the story we're part of. God continues to write stories using our lives. These stories turn into testimonies but while we're in the midst of our own personal testimony it's hard to understand what on earth God is doing in our lives. Or to sit through it.

Still, for those disciples something was round the corner. The same is true for our own lives. There will always be a 'something next' that God is doing.

Back tomorrow, friends, on Resurrection Sunday!

 

 

 


Resurrection Weekend

My friends, 

Tomorrow we must bring to our remembrance ALL that was accomplished in three days by our Lord, Jesus, the Christ. Good Friday always leaves me feel somber. And it is good to feel in that way because of what happened to Jesus. 

BUT.... Of for the joy set before him.....

Tomorrow I want to share some little known information about what happened on Friday and about the blood of Jesus. Tune in for a short video and allow yourself to truly apprehend the work of the crucifixion and the Cross of Christ. Hugs, Lynn

Tomb and cross


The Slithering Snakes of Holy Week

We've now got to the middle of Holy Week. Snake

My friends, one thing we see in the Gospels is that those Pharisees were an absolute pain in the backside! No, not just a pain. It's serious. Their rejection of Jesus is really, really bad. Really bad.

Jesus shares pearls of wisdom that final week. His lips drip with honey and treasure. As he reveals parables and mysteries, there is much ground to cover.

His are beautiful, beautiful words of truth. But, the Gospels also report the crowd’s response. As readers we are meant to see that the responses are just as important as Jesus's words. And the Pharisees and Sadducees -- the religious ones -- hold an important lesson for us.

Everything Jesus says, the religious ones attack. He calls them vipers. Snakes. They’re trying to catch him out like cunning weasels. They don’t want truth and they don't want to listen, they just want to win. Yet they are blind and can't see themselves. As a psychologist might say, 'They have no insight into their own condition.'

Jesus asks them a question at one point. It shows how much their own agenda drives them:

" (Jesus asked them) 'The baptism of John - where was it from? From heaven or from men?" And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say to us, 'Why then did you not believe him?' But if we say, 'From men,' we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet." (Matthew 21:25-26, NKJV).

Later in the week, the Bible includes a pointed detail: The night of the crucifixion these snakes hand Jesus over to Pilate, and yet don’t want to soil themselves by going into Pilate’s area because they are about to eat the Passover! (John 18:28). In their minds they are clean and holy.

They have murdered the Passover lamb but believe themselves holy for Passover. “We are holier than thou, Jesus!” they are saying, through their actions. This is scary. They genuinely do not see it.

The point here is that many will reject Jesus. And religious ones can sometimes be as blind as those who are not yet going anywhere near a church. That is a big statement and a whole other conversation. The rejection of the Cross and the Kingdom can take a few different forms in the church (gulp!) But it's an important message from the Gospels.

So, how do we guard our own hearts? We're religious people, after all. In my mind, keep studying the words of Jesus so that we understand his whole message. Continue to seek to understand why we need the cross, and then what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like. Mm.. I quite like that advice (which I just thought up as I typed) so I'm going to take that for myself!

As an aside, I notice that over on Lynn's page there is a series on why we need the cross. I need to catch up but am looking forward to reading that.

For now, do any thoughts come to mind for you as you read this?

Till tomorrow!

Ann


"Through My Pain, Father ..."

Dear friends,

Here on the blog we're travelling through Holy Week in Jerusalem and it's a few more days until the crucifixion. Miracle

Jesus is in emotional agony. He will eventually become so distressed that he will sweat drops of blood. And yet, he submits to its purpose, and says these words:

"Father, Glorify your name."

Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again."

Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoke to him." (John 12:27-29, NKJV)

Those words -- Father, Glorify Your Name -- are words we can say too. It is not in any way easy being a disciple of Jesus. But in it all, we can say, 'Father, Glorify Your Name'.

It's such a powerful statement, in fact, that I lit candles on Passover night in my home and put the song 'Glorify Your Name', on repeat for the evening. The following is a beautiful rendition of it. As I listened to the song I thought about two things: (1) I imagine Jesus said this all the way to the cross, and (2) I want the Father to Glorify His Name in my life. 

So friends, enjoy this song, and I send you love today.

Ann

 


Monday of Holy Week

It’s Monday of Holy Week in Jerusalem. With just three days to go before the crucifixion, Jesus is walking around Jerusalem ministering to others. In love. Miraculous, amazing Jesus. Jesus walking on water

I cannot imagine the turmoil within his soul as he dug deep to carry out those last ministry tasks, knowing what he would endure next.

At some point this week, he had stood on a hill overlooking the city and cried his eyes out. He had cried, and cried, and cried. He knew that the people of that city had no idea what they were rejecting (Luke 13:34).

He then went into the city with a few final, important things to say. Perhaps he knew his words would be recorded for all mankind in the form of a book -- The Bible. It’s hard to know what exactly he knew.

What did he say in those final days? It's a bit shocking to realize this, but many of his final words were warnings, even condemnations. This week his messages were tough for some to hear. For he is compassion but also righteousness personified. And love doesn't always mean being soft and cuddly. At the end of the day, he wanted as many as possible saved.

He began as soon as he entered Jerusalem, dramatically turning over the tables in the temple, and declaring that the people had made his house 'a den of thieves' (Matthew 21:13).

He then spoke severely to the Jews about how they had rejected their own Savior. And he warned those in the future about how widely His Kingdom will still be rejected (Matthew 22:1-14).

It's true. His Kingdom still is rejected. We don't have to look far to see that.

And yet in amongst it, he healed the sick. In the very temple where he turned over the tables, he turned to the poor quickly.

Finally, he spoke words about what he was about to endure, predicting his death (John 12:27-36). The audience was puzzled. They had no clue. “What is he talking about?” I wonder if at those moments he felt particularly alone. When people scratched their heads at his words, puzzled.

We know a little about that aloneness ourselves. Not that we for one minute compare ourselves to Jesus. But we are co-crucified with Him, I guess, so to a small degree we have just a taste of what he walked. He says:

“Now, my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father save me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I came to this hour.’ “ (John 12:27, NKJV)

Jesus knows this: That he will endure the most torturous pain. All we can do is thank him. And hope that we too can accept our own little purpose on earth in the same love-giving way.

Lord, we thank you with all our hearts.

See you all again tomorrow!

Ann


What Does Hosanna Mean - Passion Week Starts Now!

SUM Passion Week 2021SUM Nation. Lynn Donovan here.

Gang, it’s TRIUMPHANT ENTRY Sunday. Do you know on this day the people of Israel believed their Messiah arrived. AND INDEED HE DID.

This story is very familiar to Christians world-wide, but there is so many nuances and unsaid statements that we completely miss.

Here is one. The disciples and Jesus sat down for a Seder. We call it the last supper. Seder is Hebrew meaning Passover. Did you know that they reclined at the table to eat as a reminder that they were free, not slaves in Egypt. So many, many things have meaning and power.

Did you know there were thousands along a one-mile route into Jerusalem? They were shouting

Hoshea-na. Hosanna.

Hosanna means: SAVE US NOW!

The English spelling of Hoshea-na, means Deliver Us Now. Derived from the Hebrew root as Y’Shua, the Hebrew name of Jesus. The ending -na is something we do not have a translation for in English.

It demands, NOW! Or Please, I pray you. Or Behold!

Literally they were shouting: JESUS NOW!

The palm frond greeting was done on the sixth day of the Feast of Sukkot, welcoming the reigning Messiah to assume the throne in Jerusalem.

Every single person in that crowd knew what was happening and believe in Y’Shua as their Messiah.

_____

Who could use some saving RIGHT NOW?

Hosanna, Our King come NOW! If we don’t cry out the very rock will echo our Savior’s name.


Let’s begin the Passion week with PASSION!

What has Y’shua saved you from and what is He saving you from now? See you in the comments. We have a whole week planned. Meet us here every day. Hugs, Lyn

HE IS RISEN. HE IS RISEN, INDEED!  Hosanna!

Luke 19: 37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”


Holy Week Here at SUM

Hi SUM family, Ann here. 

Lamb of GodThis time of year is ever so special. It’s a time when we lift our eyes collectively to the cross of Jesus.

There’s such value in faith routines, and I know many of you have routines that you follow, year after year. For me, one treasured routine is to follow the events of Holy Week, day by day, across all four Gospels. That is, I read the events of Palm Sunday on Palm Sunday, Monday’s events on Monday, and so on.

It is a bit to keep up with as a busy Mum. But I find I always see something new, and I love comparing the different accounts across Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

In the back of my Bible, there’s a ‘Harmony of the Gospels’, a table showing how the Gospels align with each other. And so I make myself comfy and settle in for more reading than usual. Harmony page final

The Jewish calendar also comes in here, as Passover falls close to the Church's commemoration of Jesus's death and resurrection. This year, Passover evening is this Saturday night, the 27th of March.

The story of Passover in Exodus 12:1-28, where the Israelites killed a lamb and painted the blood on their doorposts, always pointed to Jesus. As John the Baptist cried out,

"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the Sin of the World!" (John 1:29, ESV)

Jesus ate that lamb on the very day he was arrested and crucified -- Passover. I can't imagine how that would have felt: Eating the Passover lamb and knowing that he would be slaughtered in the same way.

Then, we have the Christian liturgy layered on top (Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and so on), showing how the Church has remembered these events for centuries. Together, what a rich picture.

With all that in mind, then, it's Holy Week here at SUM. And we are a church without walls. So, what we're going to do is have a little something each day on this blog, beginning with Palm Sunday. We might have a video or two, or a song. We'll see ... Most importantly, it's an opportunity for us to remember the crucifixion and resurrection all over again, and connect with each other as fellow Christians.

Do you have any routines that help you remember the cross at this time of year?

Love you all loads, and see you next week!

Ann


SUMite Easter Service

SUM Easter Service 2020Hello SUM Nation,

Lynn Donovan here. I wanted to let you know that our Facebook Team and I will be steaming a LIVE service on Easter Sunday. Amanda Pace, Gladys Arias, Libby Finan, Ann Hutchison and Lynn Donovan

April 12, 2020

3 PM Eastern - Noon PM Pacific USA

On the SUM main FB Page ----> SUM FB

And also on the SUM Sisters Group ----> SUM SISTERS (Request Membership)

We will worship together and then the five of us will share short messages and then I will wrap up the service. I want to share what our Good Father is doing in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak. And also tell you what God is revealing to me about what is to unfold in the months that follow our Stay-at-home weeks.

It's bigger than you think!!! Also, we will take communion so have your elements ready. A piece of bread and a grape will work. Any bread and juice. I'm going to explain something about communion that most people don't know. 

Also, have you listened to all the videos and worked through the Field Guides I created on MarchingAroundJericho.com?   Please hop over there and listen in. And if you have, consider supporting the ministry and purchase the next series of videos and Field guides. It all goes to support the ministry. 

Here is what you will learn about in the next series. And I'll tell you the Holy Spirit video is a demonstration of God's power. AND PS. God told me to demonstrate and God showed up. I'm still freaked out and it all happened to me.

  • The Power of Forgiveness
  • Spiritual Authority In Christ Jesus
  • Spiritual Power and Partnering With the Holy Spirit
  • The Power of Our Voice
  • Speaking in Tongues

All the video titles can be viewed here: Marching Around Jericho/ Equipping Warriors


Let the Fragrance of Worship Fill My House

Hi friends, Ann here! Perfume

During this time of incubation in my home, I've been reflecting on what I'm to focus my energy on. I sense it's this simple thing: Lock my eyes onto Jesus. As far as I can, I need to fix my eyes firmly on Him and steadily hold that gaze. This week, with that in mind, I’ve been marinating in small verses from the Gospels.

Today I thought I would share one little Gospel moment: The time when Jesus visited His special friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

The reason that I was drawn to this passage is that Good Friday is in a week’s time, and I noticed that the last thing Jesus did before embarking on that dramatic last week in Jerusalem was pay a visit to His friends. Maybe He just needed some camaraderie. 

“Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. They prepared a supper for Him there. Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pint of very costly ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.” John 12:1-3

This event followed the resurrection of Lazarus. Having a grateful heart fit to burst, Mary could do nothing else but show her love for Jesus, for ALL He had done.

SUMites, let that be us!

The ointment she broke was a heartfelt act of worship. Worship doesn’t have to involve music, it’s just absolute adoration. It's casting our crowns of glory at His feet, like Mary did with her hair. When we worship Jesus, the fragrance can fill a house.

SUMites, let the fragrance of our worship fill our homes during this time!

To Jesus those girls – Mary and Martha – had many titles. They were His close friends, His collective bride, His daughters, Princesses of the Kingdom of Heaven, Priests (Revelation 1:6), and more. How many titles do we hold in His eyes, and in His name?

Then there's Judas, who stands by sneering, nitpicking Mary for her devotion. We know what his end is to be. Nitpicking another person for their hunger is easy to do, but Jesus says this:

“Leave her alone. She has kept this for the day of My burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.” (v. 7-8).

The poor are a-plenty out there – And today that word 'poor' makes me think of those who don’t know God today in this hard situation. It’s hard to reach those poor at this present moment while we're house-bound. What we do have is an opportunity for time with Him, to focus on His presence within us, in our home, and we can break open the very best of what we own, especially for Him.

SUMites, may you find treasures this coming week as we commemorate His death, burial, and resurrection!


Supernatural Happenings

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Photo supplied courtesy of imagery majestic and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hi! Ian here. Lent began last Wednesday with Ash Wednesday. I’m observing this season once again as I enjoy being intentional about seeking more of God and Lent and Advent seem to help me do that. Yes, I ‘give up’ something (sugar and Instagram this year) as it helps me focus on the wilderness element of the season; Lent, of course, mirroring the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness.

But this isn’t a post about Lent rather a sense I’ve had in the past week about stirrings within me that I thought I’d share. Recently, I’ve read a couple of short passages on the supernatural happenings of God. Abraham and Sarah only birthed Isaac through supernatural intervention. Mary and Joseph birthed Jesus only through supernatural intervention. Paul and Barnabas’ ministry work that took the Gospel to the Gentiles is attributed to supernatural means (Acts 14: 27)

And here in SUMite land we read in Ann’s previous post of some of our tribe’s spouses experiencing a revelation of God in being saved. Hallelujah! Yes, salvation requires a supernatural happening as it is not something that will occur in the natural.

How Does This Happen?

If we look at the lives of Abraham and Sarah, Mary and Joseph, Paul and Barnabas, what can we glean?

Deep intimacy with God

They all had their wilderness experiences. God uses these times to clear everything else away so we can be with Him. He wants us to let go of control so He's in charge. Interestingly, in Mary’s experience it was after she was impregnated supernaturally as we really didn’t know about her prior to her angelic encounter.  Similarly, Paul’s wilderness time was after his miraculous Damascus experience. God had to deal with his years of being a Christian terrorist before unleashing him on the Gentile world.

As frustrating and painful being in the wilderness can be, step into it. It’s a clear tactic of God’s to draw people closer to Him, so He can equip them for something more. Such seasons can involve unemployment, illness, relocation, sabbaticals and more.

Remember God wants deep intimacy with each one of us. It’s why He made us. For Himself.

This is why I love Lent because I get excited about being with God. Like one of our kids gets excited when Dad or Mom arrives home from work. Remember those days?

What do I do?

1. Soak in His Word – look at Psalm 1:

“Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
    you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
    bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
    always in blossom.” (v2-3 MSG)

I love that idea of the Word thrilling me? I want it to thrill me everyday. The Word is alive with supernatural wonder desiring to reveal Himself to us. Reflect on Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness and how He batted back the temptations Satan put before Him: He used the Word. Don’t just rely on wonderful devotionals where it’s someone else’s interpretation that fills most of the page; read God’s word in the Bible. If you’re not sure where to start, start with the Gospel of John and/or the Psalms. I’ve been reading the Psalms repeatedly for the last three or four years; I just can’t get enough of them.

2. Spend time Adoring God

Talking about the Word thrilling you, there's a lady who helps us bring the Word alive. I’ve mentioned Sara Hagerty’s before. She's been on this “Adoration” journey for over five years now. She provides a monthly one-verse a day adoration prompt. It’s how I’ve started my day for the last five years.

Sara says: “Adoration is finding a pulse behind that Word and then saying that Word back to Him, in our own dialect … it all starts with a simple conversation, a friendship that ends in our destiny: falling in love with God.”

Try it for a few days, a month. Sit and speak the daily verse back to God. Thank Him, praise Him, adore Him using the words in the verse. 

3. Spend time Listening to God

My hunch is that the modern church lacks listening skills. In some ways it goes hand-in-hand with a lack of Bible awareness, we ‘listen’ to the Word when we read it. I discovered recently that the word, obedience, comes from a Latin word which means: “to listen attentively”. My logical brain tells me that if we lack listening skills, we’re lacking in obedience. And what does Jesus tell us is the way we demonstrate our love for Him?

“If you love Me, keep My commands” (John 14:15)

Jesus tells us that the sheep know His voice. But it takes time to learn to discern His voice and that’s why knowing and meditating on the Word is so important.

May I encourage you to use some of the time you wait, perhaps it’s in the school pickup line, at the grocery store, in the medical clinic, etc just to be quiet and invite God into this moment and say hi! And ask him a question or two. He may not answer immediately, especially in the beginning, but over time you’ll be surprised to find how many times He does give you an answer.

Let me stop there.

Believe the supernatural will happen. Think how often Lynn finds balloons on her prayer walks.:) Keep being intentional connecting with God. He wants it more than anything. Believe that deep in your heart. He made each one of us so we would fall in love with Him. I'm praying that we all will develop greater intimacy with the Lord and that He is indeed birthing something in each of us and our spouses that only He can bring to life!

Anyone else observing Lent this year? If yes, what are you doing to be intentional in drawing closer to the Lord? Please share in the comments.


Strange Easter? Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

Mike Lynn Easter 2019Dear SUMites,

I pray your Easter was amazing. And no matter if you sat next to your spouse or not, it mattered a great deal to our Lord that you were present in His House. It touched His heart that you rose to be ready and dressed the kids. It mattered greatly to His heart that you joined the billions around the earth to honor the resurrection and to acclaim what became ours through a new blood covenant.

Friends, I will tell you that my Easter was strange. I attended my church on Saturday evening and was overcome by the presentation and the holiness of Jesus and what He gave to me. And then on Sunday morning, I attended my old church with Mike. It was weird and different and good.

The message at my old church was perfect for Mike. It was designed for people who aren’t churched. Those who don’t know what they don’t even know. And it was weird again to have a discussion with Mike about the service and what he liked, what I liked and what was different.

You see, we are still unequally yoked??? No, I don’t want to say that. Because for the first time sitting in church, I didn’t feel a weird tension. I wasn’t wondering if the message would finally breakthrough. I didn’t speculate if the prayer would be offensive. I actually was at peace. I didn’t care that he may not like the message. These kinds of thoughts used to ruin my church experience in years past when he would attend church with me.

So, we aren’t unequally yoked but we aren’t going to be a couple that instantly travels and preaches the gospel together to the masses. It’s not who Mike is. He will never be “that” kind of Christian. And I’m am so absolutely okay with all of it. I’m okay that Mike is quiet about his faith and doesn’t want to tell a bunch of people and have to explain it all to them.

He is a believer in Jesus Christ. It’s his faith and not mine to control or manipulate.

I think so much of our marriage and unequally yoked journey together wasn’t even about Mike. It was about me. I needed to let go of preconceived ideals and expectations that were never going to be “us.” Mike isn’t one who will grab my hands and say, “Let’s pray about it.” He doesn’t operate that way.

However, I have learned to grab his hand and just start praying. It doesn’t matter if he is ready or not. I keep it short and just speak directly to Jesus. It’s a beautiful model of everyday prayer that he is catching. And he doesn’t even know it. Oh, and by the way, I’ve been dropping faith habits into our relationship for nearly five years now. Slowly a faith statement here. A quick prayer there. A blessing over the dogs. I’ll share a conversation about a miracle while driving to Costco.

These are the everyday moments of a believing wife who lives with Jesus. Our spouses cannot help but be affected by the love we carry.

SUMite brothers and sisters, just be persistent and be patient. Keep learning, remain hungry for more of God and never cease to pray. These are the habits that change a heart and change a world!

So, my friends, may I ask you to extent patience toward me as I now sort out this new but perhaps, not so different, faith walk. I may ramble a bit in my writings. I may PREACH, just because I can’t help myself. I will praise Jesus. And I will love God, my family, and love you OUT LOUD!

Now, what is awesome it this: MY VICTORY AND TESTIMONY IS NOW YOUR VICTORY AND TESTIMONY. In your prayer time, place a demand upon your faith and talk to the Lord about the salvation of your spouse. It’s okay to say to the Lord, “You did this for Lynn and for others recently. I’m contending for the same for my family. Teach me what I need to know to move my faith forward and allow my spouse to catch it. In Jesus name. AMEN”

SUMITES, make your statement of faith today. In the comments, leave your prayer for the Lord: DO IT AGAIN LORD FOR___________________. See you in the comments.

Be blessed, Lynn


Good Friday

John 12: 24-25 Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal. ~The Message

In this passage Jesus is speaking to his disciples and He is speaking to us. He uses a wheat seed as Crosses an example to foretell His death by crucifixion which we remember today, Good Friday. Jesus explains how a solitary seed, which is useless and lifeless, will spring forth in new life once buried in the ground. It, in turn, will produce a great number of seeds.

Christ’s teaching reaches deeper as He calls us to consider what we are holding onto in this life. He asks us to consider what we treasure. Is it something which destroys the soul? Finally, He calls us to love recklessly. He calls us to let go of the world and hold on to life - real life - lived for Jesus.

Jesus died and rose again that we may live, forever, real and eternal. On this day when we reflect on Good Friday and the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus hanging on a cross, let us also remember…

SUNDAY IS COMING!

 

Family Activity:

You will need:

1 small flowerpot for each participant

1 package of radish seeds

Potting soil Prepare each pot by filling ¾ full of potting soil.

Pass out three seeds for each pot. Follow the planting and watering directions on the package of seeds. Seeds are abundant in most stores this time of year. Radish seeds germinate quickly.

Select a family member to read: John 12:24-25

Follow with: Just as this radish seed is dead. Jesus was once dead. He was buried in the earth just like this dead seed. But, after three days he came back to life. It’s kind of like these dead seeds. They will burst from the soil in a short time with new life.

Read the resurrection story: Matthew 28:1-6

God bless you and I pray this Easter will fill you with a profound sense of Christ's vast love! Be Blessed, Lynn


The Glorious Company

Easter 2012On this Monday morning following Easter, I feel as though I want to share a passage that is continually running in my soul right now. It’s the passage that Easter is leading me to comprehend. It is the message from the Holy Spirit to the church in this season.

THIS is our inheritance and expectation as a daughter or son…. Or Bride of the King of Kings.

It’s a complete, full circle, from where we started this journey with the Father asking the Israelite slaves, Will you marry me.

BEHOLD! Our destiny, BRIDE OF THE MOST HIGH GOD.

The Glorious Company

18 For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. 20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” 21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. —Hebrews 12:18-24

Hallelujah! AMEN!

SUMites, tell me about your Easter this year. Did your spouse attend church. Did you feel the love of Jesus. Did you pray and give Him thanks. Do you say, YES! I adore you, Lynn


Will You Marry Me?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comSUNDAY:

GLORY!!!!

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). —John 20:15-16

SUMites, it’s Easter morning. Hallelujah. I pray your find yourself in worship and that by a miracle of hope your spouse is seated next to you.

My friends, do you find it interesting that Mary did not recognize Jesus in the garden? She spent two years, literally, traveling with Him everywhere. She KNEW Jesus intimately. Why didn’t she know Him in this moment at the open tomb?

It was only upon hearing His voice calling her by name, that the resurrected Christ became apparent unto her.

He was changed. Different. Powerful. Regal. Authoritative. He was transformed.

But His voice of love called her name and she ran to Him.

Beloved on this day that we remember Jesus in His transformed, glorified state, let us determine to become transformed into His likeness. Because He is once again asking His Beloved:

WILL YOU MARRY ME?

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!

For the Lord our God

    the Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and exult

    and give him the glory,

for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

    and his Bride has made herself ready;

it was granted her to clothe herself

    with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” —Revelation 19: 6-9