Can you imagine the pain in the disciple’s hearts? I can’t help but place myself in Peter’s shoes. Two days ago, I pledged to Christ that I would die for Him. And yesterday I betrayed, lied, and abandoned the author of my Life.
I feel a pit in my stomach. Not only because of Peter but the times I did the same thing. Where I failed to stand up for truth. When I could have mentioned the Healer to my neighbor but was ashamed that I would look stupid. Agh!!!
Surely, I’m not the only one.
Today: At the request of the Jewish leadership, Pilate grants a guard and sets a seal on the tomb of Jesus.
Peter and John sent to make preparation for Passover meal After sunset, eats meal with the twelve; washes disciples; Judas departs Lord's Supper instituted To Garden of Gethsemane; Jesus' agony Betrayal by Judas; arrest by Sanhedrin To house of High Priest as Sanhedrin is convened; Peter betrays Jesus
Betrayal…. Thursday is a bitter darkness. I don’t know about you, but for me, I can forgive easily …. except when I’ve been betrayed.
There is something that breaks in the core of our being when we give trust to someone who didn’t keep our life, our secrets, and our heart safe.
I find that Jesus is calling me on this Thursday, before we move toward Easter, to let go of betrayal. Enter into this place with me. It can feel like hell to surrender the hurt that is so deep that it feels like it will pull you under, never to escape.
Imagine with me, Jesus taking that pain, betrayal, into the tomb and into the pit where He leaves it chained forever. And then see Jesus giving you joy, hope and peace as a golden shining crown upon your head. It’s in this moment is where the crucifixion and resurrection become authentic and powerful!!
Aren’t you loving Lynn’s Holy Week reflections? I feel a little like an interloper with my post this week but as I sought the Lord on what to post I kept coming back to: HOPE.
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25)
Death is not the end. The story is not over on Good Friday. Jesus defeats death and is resurrected on Easter Sunday and in so doing gives us the opportunity to have relationship with the Father. Not just now but forever.
We have an eternal hope.
Desire for Connection
I’d never really considered the significant number of intimate moments that occur during this week that is often called “Passion Week”. I was drawn to them by a couple of posts I read. Let’s look at some of them:
1. Jesus washed the disciples feet (John 13:5) – what a moment this must have been. “Surely the room was filled with a holy silence as pure and sweet as Mary’s perfume.”1
Yes, the One who created these twelve men now performs an act usually performed by a slave. Of course there are strong spiritual messages here about being cleansed to be made righteous and the importance of service but for a moment reflect on the intimacy of the scene.
2. Sharing the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-30) – I love participating in communion. There’s something intimate in the ceremony. Picture yourself in the group of twelve as Jesus breaks the bread and passes you a piece and then the cup having wiped it clean before he pours some of the [real] wine in your mouth. He looks into your eyes as He says ever so tenderly: “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for the remission of sins.”
More silence. And contemplation.
3. The Garden (Matthew 26:36-38) – three accompanied Him: Peter, James and John. All three have only moments declared they would not leave Jesus (as did the other eight), no matter what happens. Jesus is troubled. No wonder. It’s almost time. He asks them to be with Him in His troubled state.
“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” (v38)
He desired and needed companionship. To know His best mates were close. I expect it gave Him strength and some degree of comfort.
4. Addressing Mary at the Tomb (John 20:11-16) – Mary returns to the tomb for a second time. She is beside herself as Jesus is gone!
After an initial interaction with a man whom she presumed to be the gardener, she’s increasingly angry thinking this man had taken Him. He sees her anguish:
What a moment. It’s like a soothing salve that calms her heart and dries her tears all with the one word: her name.
“She turned toward Him, ‘Rabboni!’”
The scales fell from her eyes, clarity came to her mind. It was Him. Her Jesus.
As we journey these last few days of Lent reflect on the hope we have in having an eternal relationship with Jesus and the opportunity for a tender, intimate walk with Him right now.
I hope you can take a little time out to simply sit in His Presence. Close the door on your world for a few minutes if that’s all you can get and linger with Him. Sit down in the tall grass beside the still waters with the lover of your soul.
Enjoy His tenderness, His soothing voice and the peace that passes all understanding.
Happy Easter, dear friends and thank you for walking through Lent with me.
Grace and peace,
Notes: 1. “The Women of Easter,” Liz Curtis Higgs, Waterbrook Publishing, 2017, p100
Tuesday's Events: Leaves Bethany Finds the fig tree withered; teaches on faith Possesses the temple and its precincts; confounds and pronounces woes upon His enemies Leaves city; Olivet Discourse on way back to Bethany Judas bargains with Sanhedrin to betray Jesus Spends the night in Bethany
On this day Jesus pours out so much teaching. Read Matthew 25 & 26. The story of the 10 talents always gives me comfort. God gives us responsibilities for His Kingdom according to our gifting and ability. He never intended for us to perform at a superior level beyond what we are capable. But only asked us to be diligent with what we have. What a relief.
Today I want to leave this passage with you:
"But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." - Jesus
Oh how true this is. Years of living has proven this over and again. I pray often, teach me to be humble and LORD, I humble myself.
It’s Monday in the Old City. Jerusalem is all a buzz that Jesus, the healer, is at the Temple. Reading through the events of Passion Week Monday, this verse, jumped out at me:
Following Jesus’ rebuke to the religious leaders where He said, “It is written, ‘My House shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a “den of thieves.’”
Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. -Matthew 21:13-14
Jesus healed them!!!! Amen and AMEN!!!
On Monday Jesus:
Leaves Bethany Curses the fig tree on the way into the city Weeps over Jerusalem Cleanses the temple for the second time in His ministry Late in day, looks into the Temple, then leaves the city Spends the night in Bethany
I wonder if we might consider an event that occurred earlier in Matthew.
Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
I wonder sometimes, I just wonder, if we need to be bold enough to put a demand on the healing power that is ours through Jesus? Or perhaps not just bold…. But desperate enough to lean into our faith and pray saying, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.”
Persistence and faith, when married together ARE the touch to the hem of His garment. Pray with belief. Pray every day expecting. Pray and ask for your healing, breakthrough, and your increased portion of the Kingdom.
I’m not naive to say that healing always happens. But, I won’t stop asking just because I’m unable to explain every why or why not. I choose to believe because I have born witness to the miraculous. And if you are waiting for your turn to bear witness, then pray and ask, placing a demand on your faith and move heaven to seek your healing and breakthrough…. It’s the season for both…
Dineen and I have decided to push the series we are writing into next week because the LORD is prompting us to lead our SUM church through a week of reflection on Easter.
The Holy Spirit impressed upon me to take this week to reflect on each day the events of the Passion Week and allow us to walk with Jesus through it. The death and resurrection of Christ split time in two. It brought about the salvation of the Gentiles and it forever took the keys of death from satan. The implications of the shed blood are freedom, deliverance, healing and protection.
So, walk this week with me as I post a few short scriptures and the events of the week. Ask Jesus to include you into this week. Let the truth of this week and Resurrection Sunday change your life.
Also, begin to pray about asking your spouse to attend church with you. Don’t pressure, pray, ask and be okay with whatever reply comes.
Today is Palm Sunday. It’s the Triumphal Entry into the city of Jerusalem. These are the events of the day. Pull out your Bible and read the account in one of the four Gospels. I love Matthew’s rendition.
Jesus' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem
Spends the night in Bethany
The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”—Matthew 21:9
Photo courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Lynn and Dineen are supplying such wonderful teaching and inspiration that I sensed the Lord simply wanted to encourage us today.
We can get caught up striving during Lent. Have you felt that pull? To be working harder at getting something more out of this season as we approach Holy Week and Easter. To feel closer to the Lord, to be different. Yes? I hear little whispers suggesting there should be something more.
Giving up things and applying greater focus to spiritual disciplines is a good thing.
“Disciplines are not the answer; they only lead us to the Answer.” (Richard Foster)
They’re helping open our heart, a spring clean if you will, so that we can experience more of Him.
Today may I suggest you spend less time focusing on the process of Lent, the giving up and doing stuff, but rather simply contemplate Jesus.
I’ve always loved this verse from Zephaniah:
“The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zeph 3:17 NIV)
Allow yourself a few moments to be delighted in. Yes, you are His beloved! And our God delights in you and rejoices in you with singing.
Picture that in your mind: Jesus and an angelic choir singing over you.
Let go of all that is going on, the madness of your day, the kiddies raging around the house desperate for something, that work deadline that is edging ever closer, or whatever.
Simply sit or lie or gaze – and allow your Lord to cherish you.
My friends, I'm compelled to share with you that my soul is sensing an urgency. We, the church, are in a divine and holy season. An unprecedented season of acceleration. I’m seeing this in my faith walk and in the faith walk of Dineen and others. Many of you, the SUMites, are experiencing this as well.
God is granting gifts to His people. (The pouring out of His Spirit) This acceleration is advancing the Kingdom in powerful ways. Hopes and dreams we have carried for years are now moving forward. Things that took years to bring to reality are now happening in months. This acceleration is also evident in the church. Gifts of the Spirit are being imparted and people are experiencing God’s love, spirit and gifting is powerful ways they never dreamed possible.
This is also a season of Holy Breakthrough. I’ve seen areas of faith change. I’ve witnessed and have participated in deliverances, healings, spiritual growth at a tremendous rate.
God is moving and as I read through Acts 2 again…… All I can say is…… IT’S HAPPENING.
So, jump in the “River” with me because it’s fantastic.
On Monday I shared about sitting in church and realizing that God has been responding to my cry for a revelation of love for weeks. Sometimes, I’m just so blonde. (I hope that makes someone reading this feel better when you miss things too. *grin*)
Anyhoo, why in the world would God respond to my cry for revelation with a passage in Acts? Well on Sunday, while sitting in church, God went on to speak to me, “Lynn, don’t you get it? I’m giving you (all my people) something that I haven’t never given another generation. I’m giving them everything in this passage. It’s profound. It’s all you have been crying out for. You are seeing things, experiencing things of the Kingdom that Saints of past centuries could only wonder about.”
***** Can I just tell you, even typing this gives me a “fear of the Lord” and tremendous excitement and anticipation all rolled up together. I feel this excitement in the middle of my stomach. I hope you have a stomach full of this as well.
Let’s look at Acts 2: In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.
I will be straight-forth with you. Up until Sunday, I didn’t think we were truly in the “Last Days.” I know that may be weird but I’m an optimist and I see so much hope in our world, even though there is tremendous darkness and evil. However, after hearing directly from the Lord, I’m now a believer *grin*.
So on Sunday, God spoke to my heart in reply to my cry for a revelation of love. He said, “Lynn, I’m pouring out My Spirit on all flesh.” People of prior centuries have read this and wondered what this could possibly mean. Well, I’m of the belief that we are NOW seeing this passage come to pass within our lifetime, before our very eyes.
IN OUR LIVES!!!!
What are the implication of this truth in our lives. What does this look like right now in 2017? AND most importantly, how do we get in on this fulfillment of this passage????
Woo Hoo!!! I can’t wait to answer these questions. So, on Tuesday, let’s chat more about it. For today, cry out in your prayer time. I’ve decided to fast the week of April 2 until Easter because I discovered how utterly powerful and how clearly, we hear God after a five day fast. Consider joining me. How hungry are you???? Pursue God hard and He answers you with love and revelation!!! And that’s a promise!
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. - Matthew 5:6
I love you Papa God, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit. I love you Saints of old and I love you Saints of today. I love you Heavenly Hosts and the Great cloud of Witnesses!!! So much awaits and is for us…. Lord I want it all. In Jesus name. AMEN
Love you SUMites. What are your thoughts about this passage? Share with me in the comments. Hugs, Lynn
Photo courtesy of James Barker/Free DigitalPhotos.net
We’re all familiar with the often-repeated comment that Jesus didn’t give the disciples a lesson on anything but how to pray. And this lesson came in amongst His great message: the Sermon on the Mount –
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”(Matthew 6:5-6 NIV)
This gave us the notion of the secret place. The place we go to meet with Jesus. For many of us we have a regular habit of going into a room (I do, my study) but this isn’t always possible for some people for whatever reason. Its essence involves getting alone with Jesus wherever that might be, in your car, on a mountain, sitting by a stream, etc.
Being Intentional about Intimacy
In our modern lives it’s very easy to be always on the go taking God with us. We all have our own versions of this depending on what particular season we’re experiencing in life. God wants to be involved in all we do and so bringing Him along as you go through your day is important. The essence of godliness is being aware of God at all times and actively engaging Him in whatever we’re doing.
“If we want to fully walk out the callings the Lord places on our lives, we must spend time with Him, cultivating intimacy in the secret place.”1
Jesus loves being with us and He so wants us to want to spend time with Him. It’s like any relationship we have quality time together leads to intimacy. Sharing our hearts draws us together. There is no shortcut to developing intimacy.
“Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting.’ … The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.” (Exodus 33:7,11 NIV)
It’s easy when reading Exodus 33 to skip over the second half of verse 11. It’s a chapter about Moses and the Glory of the Lord. It’s a BIG chapter, exciting to read, as we get a little insight into the intimacy the Lord shared with Moses. But I’ve always been fascinated by this brief mention of Moses right hand man: Joshua.
I think most of us love the book of Joshua. How Joshua succeeded his mentor, Moses, and led the Israelites into their Promised Land. Often when we think about our Promised Land we think about something physical whether it’s a place or a new career or new season of some sort. But I believe it reflects us stepping into a new season of intimacy with the Lord.
And how did Joshua achieve it?
He didn’t leave the tent. He lingered in the Presence of God.
“What’s more, when we spend time in the secret place, our passion and hunger for Jesus grow.”2
Joshua discovered that for himself when he was an apprentice. And the Lord rewarded him by giving him the responsibility of leading his people into the Promised Land.
Progress or … not?
Over the weekend I was thinking about the first two weeks of Lent and questioned what had changed. Sure, I’ve not eaten chocolate (well, most days) and not looked at FB and Instagram. But it’s a lot more than giving up something. Isn’t it?
These past few days my life unexpectedly slowed down. So I’ve spent more time in my secret place, being more intentional about sitting in His presence. And I’ve loved it. And I don’t want to leave it.
How about you? Have you had a recent opportunity to spend quality time in your secret place with Jesus?
BTW, where is your secret place? Be great to encourage each other by sharing where (or how) we go to our secret place.
Let me pray for us:
Jesus, we love you, we worship you. Thank you that you so desire intimacy with us. Help us to realize that the desire in our hearts is the same: to have intimacy with you. Because you put it there in the beginning. When you made us. Please show us, even if it means interrupting our lives, how to spend time with you in the secret place. In Your loving name we pray. Amen.
Notes: 1. Daily Insights to Birthing the Miraculous: 100 Devotions for Reflection and Prayer, Heidi Baker. Charisma House 2016 p32. 2 ibid.
Photo sourced from St Clare of Assisi Catholic Church
I was intrigued to read a post Christianity Today published last week based on some research conducted by Lifeway Research. It revealed 24% of Americans observe Lent, the greater majority Catholics. Interestingly, 82% of Catholics who regularly attend Church are likely to observe it while only 30% of Protestants who regularly attend church will.
The stats didn’t surprise me. I’d love to see comparable ones for Australia as I expect they’d been even lower. I’m the only person in my circle that observes it and it’s not mentioned in my church community.
So why bother with it?
I only adopted the practice in recent years having lacked understanding of what it was about. I grew up believing it was something Catholics observed and as I wasn’t Catholic it didn’t apply to me.
As I’ve come to better understand the practice I now eagerly look forward to it. Before I explain why let’s start with a recap of the basics.
What is Lent?
Lent derives its structure and themes from Christ’s forty days’ in the wilderness, where He fasted and prayed and faced Satan’s temptations. As most of us know this period occurred before His public ministry began. It commences with Ash Wednesday, which this year happens to be a Wednesday, March 1st. It’s typically six weeks in duration (some denominations calculate it differently) and ends with Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.
I particularly love Ann Voskamp’s description in a post that I read a few years ago. Ann’s chatting to her brother on the phone answering his question:
“Okay … Lent. It’s the preparing the heart for Easter. Like going with Jesus into the wilderness for forty days, that we come face to ugly face with our enemy. Our sacrificing that we might become more like Christ in His sacrifice.”
So it’s the letting go of our stuff, whatever that may be, so we can seek God with greater intensity.
“’And yet even now,’ says the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart …’” (Joel 2:12)
“The purpose of Lent is not to force on us a few formal obligations, but to ‘soften’ our heart so that it may open itself to the realities of the spirit, to experience the hidden ‘ thirst and hunger’ for communion with God.”1
This is my desire: to experience that communion with God.
Longing for God
We observe Lent so we would become more aware of our longing for God in order to see Him with all of our hearts. We adopt certain disciplines, eg, fasting, to help us see more clearly the patterns of sin and/or distraction that have weakened our passion for Him or created some distance from God.
Season of Hope
As we journey through the six weeks and draw closer to Holy Week and the Jesus at the Cross and His subsequent resurrection we can sometimes feel burdened by these Lenten disciplines. But the journey is full of such hope as we are reminded of God’s great and everlasting love for us. “In the shadow of Christ’s cross and impending resurrection we are assured that there is forgiveness and cleansing for all who turn to Him.”2 Our relationship with the Father has been restored.
What am I doing for Lent?
I usually do a few things and this year I’ll be doing:
Giving up: chocolate, FB and Instagram. And fast one day each week.
John the Baptist spoke those words acknowledging that it was time for people to focus on Jesus rather than himself. He had played his part and fulfilled the prophecy. It was now time for Jesus. I’ve found it’s a great verse to head into Lent with. Letting go of ourselves to allow more room for Jesus.
I’ll be posting each week over the next few weeks reflecting on some of the Lenten disciplines as well as my journey. I hope you’ll join me.
I read lots of different things and I expect will come across many good items on Lent so I will endeavour to share some of these to add to our understanding and open our eyes to more of Jesus. Ruth Haley Barton is a favourite of mine and I just read her introductory post on the season. I encourage you to give it a read you have a few spare moments.
What are your thoughts on Lent and do you have any plans for this season?
Notes: 1. Great Lent, Alexander Schmemann, Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1974. Page 31. 2. Lent: A Season of Returning, Ruth Haley Barton, Transforming Center, 2013, Ash Wednesday.
Lent is over. Easter has come and gone. I had mixed emotions last week after Easter Sunday. Part of me sighed as I enjoyed the cessation from fasting and commitment to serious devotional reading and meditation. But there was also a big part of me that didn’t want it to end because something happened during those six weeks.
I loved my days of courting. Oops, what an old-fashioned word. Yes, I’m showing my age. Remember those days when you’re first getting to know someone of the opposite sex and everything is exciting? And I’m not talking about the physical stuff. Your heart beating a little (or a lot) faster when you caught a glimpse of the one who’s captured all your thinking time these past few days/weeks. Remember those days?
These past six weeks reminded me a little of courting. Only the person who’d captured my imagination was Jesus. Well, not just Him but also the Father and the Holy Spirit.
And just like our old courting days I don’t want this to stop. I want more of Him. Of each of them.
Strangely, it was discipline. A greater intentionality to spend quality time with the Lord. In quiet. Listening to God. (remember Dineen’s excellent posts on hearing from God?) Praying more focused and specific prayers and speaking Scripture over myself. I really can’t stress how much praying and speaking God’s Word has enhanced my dialogue with the Lord.
When I felt a nudge from the Spirit I acted. It may have been to pray for someone or to do something. Little steps of obedience matter.
The conversation has resumed
It’s funny how we build up these seasons of celebration: Easter and Advent. When everything we acknowledge, celebrate and worship in those seasons we probably should do everyday.
We all know we needed that first Easter to take place all those years ago so we could have fellowship with God. The conversation that He longed to have with us had ceased until Jesus appeared, lived, died and was resurrected. Now we can continue that conversation.
As I was preparing some material for a men’s group I meet with, I was struck by the question, “What is He talking to me about?”
Soon after a friend, also in the group, suggested I lead the group to reflect on Philippians 3:10. Bill specifically sent through the Amplified version (the extended mix version). Read it through slowly.
“And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did];”
And then I had the answer to that question.
God wants me to want to know Him more than anything else. Anything. My health, my vocation, the salvation of my wife. Anything.
Then check out what Jesus prays the night before His death. He’s praying this for us.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23 NIV)
We may be one with Jesus … and the Father … and the Holy Spirit.
And because Jesus died and rose from the dead we can experience this oneness.
“Oneness with God is the goal of our existence.” – John Eldredge.
That’s what I want!
What’s the Lord been speaking to you about recently? What’s stirring in your heart at the moment that you think the Lord might have initiated? We’d love to read some of your thoughts in the comments.
And the final post: Miracles Still Happen Today Because of Jesus!
My mother then interrupted me to share one last story. And I share it with you now because the truth behind it is weighty for all of us. She said to me that last week she was contacted by the mother of one of her students. The student was in my mother’s Sundays school class when she was five years old. The mom of this student said that her daughter was turning 16 years old. And the best present she could give to her daughter, was, well….. her.
So they arranged to meet for a surprise breakfast for my now 76-year-old mom to meet this 16 year old girl for her birthday celebration. As my mother walked from the light into the darkened restaurant, her eyes weren’t adjusted yet to the dimmer light when from across the room a squeal was let loose and this vibrant and beautiful, sixteen-year-old girl rushed to my mom and embraced her. The love shared between this old woman and young woman was tangible in the restaurant.
My mother imparted the love of Jesus into her life when she was just a little girl and years later that young girl loves her in a way, I can’t fully grasp. The reunion was astonishingly holy and beautiful.
As I listened to my mother describe this moment, I reached for more Kleenex. I could barely whisper into the phone but I uttered the words, “Fruit, Mom.”
“This is the fruit of your life. You have poured so much of Jesus into others and today, Jesus is showing you the fruit of your labors, of your love.”
Even at 76 years old our Savior never stops loving us, healing us, leading us into breakthrough and continues to reveal our fruit.
Oh my siblings, my SUMites, I have no language to describe my grateful heart. The love I feel. How utterly undone I am to be an honored witness to a life-long dance of love with a Savior of one woman’s heart.
I hung up the phone and worshiped and I knew Jesus was calling my mother, Sue, The Rose of Sharon, His beloved Bride, whom He dearly loves.
Okay wipe your eyes because there is another part to this story….. Yes, wait…. There’s more.
Remember the conference in Las Vegas? Well something else happened while we were there that week. Now the story I’m about to share is, ahem, kinda personal and delicate. I’m going to talk about some anatomy that may make some of you squirm but if I don’t share this story, I’ve robbed Jesus of a great glory and others of a testimony of power and healing.
So here we go.
On the second day of the conference, throughout the day, I began to notice some pain in my right breast. An aching pain that kinda nagged at my subconscious. With the events of the day I paid this weird pain no notice until finally at 4 a.m. I’m wide awake and the pain is pulsing in a dull throb. I roll on top of the blankets and begin to feel around to try to figure out why I’m in pain.
And then I felt it. A lump near the center of my breast. Gulp. I reexamined several times, yep it’s truly there. No doubt.
Let me tell you what happens in four in the morning when you feel a lump. FEAR. Immediately my mind screamed and my heart pounded and fear pulsed through my body. For just a minute…. And I mean that because in that minute the years of truth and training and Bible study rose up before me and conquered that fear.
I said aloud into the dark room, “No, I choose to be in faith and not in fear.”
I prayed and spoke and declared every promise I KNOW as truth into the dark in that hour. My heart rate calmed and my spirit walked in real faith. I will not walk in fear. I will walk in faith.
And I did. When my mother woke, I told her about what I found. Now remember my mother worked in oncology for more than three decades. She examined. And the look on her face alone confirmed that indeed, there is a lump.
I called my doctor from Las Vegas and set in motion a ton of appointments. Mamo, ultrasound, surgery appointment. Geeze. Even taking this action, I stood in faith and fear did not grip me. I truly promise you. I believed this lump would be healed.
That night at the conference I received prayer. I put out an APB to my intercessors and those amazing people, you know who you are, they prayed down heaven about me.
I returned home and two weeks later following my Mamo and ultrasound – NO LUMP. Nothing. Clean….
I called my mom, who had been praying unceasingly for me and shared the miraculous new. She said, “I praise God and am so relieved. Lynn, that lump was big.”
I gulped and replied, “I’m glad you didn’t tell me that at the time.”
My SUMite friends, miracles are happening all around us. And you are not going to be left out. God is on the move with astonishing power and love. We MUST let go of our unbelief and choose to stand in faith. Kick that old familiar spirit of fear out of the house. Stand upon the promised of our King. Attend a conference where they teach healing. Let me pray for your healing. We all can love and pray for one another. The prayers of the righteous availeth much (James 5:16). I know this to be true and proven over and over again as I live and breathe.
Jesus: Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. - Matthew 18:18-19
In my kitchen is a small house plant. It’s called a Crown of Thorns. I’ve had this particular plant for years. Regretfully, year after year it has been barren. Never producing the pink blossoms I’ve expected. For some strange reason I can’t part with it. Perhaps it's because of the name….
Indeed, this plant’s stock is thorny. And they can grow to become very large and menacing. Many grow here in Southern California and they look imperious and I cringe when I think about Jesus and Good Friday. By the way, why in the world to they call today, “Good Friday.” It was terrible….. But I always remember….
Sunday’s a comin!
They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. — Matthew 27:28-31
Do you think the Crown of Thorns is significant? Up until just recently, I always thought that the crown was of course, a mockery of His kingship or that it was in some way a spiritual representation that the devil perverted.
It’s so much more than all of that. The placement of the Crown of Thorns on the head of Christ was pointedly redemptive.
It breaks the curse placed upon the ground when Adam sinned.
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.” — Genesis 3:17-18
Everything about today! The day where Jesus mediated the New Covenant and set our redemption into place. Everything about the Crucifixion is meaningful.
This is just one of the many things the blood of Christ redeems.
Today, I received a phone call from Deborah, a Sumites from years gone by. She called me to share how she is hungry for more of God and to share all that the Lord has redeemed in her life. Today, on this day, Good Friday, I weep as I type. I’m overwhelmed as I think of the lives, that I have personally known, that have been redeemed, healed, saved because Jesus gave everything ….. TODAY, on “Good Friday.”
And as I was on the phone, I walked into the kitchen and my little plant, my Crown of Thorns, blooms. And it blooms in petals of perfect white.
I love you so much Jesus. I lack adequate language to say how your love has redeemed everything in my life and those who are part of our SUMite home. We honor you Jesus with words of worship, love and eternal loyalty. I’m so thankful we have all of eternity to love you and honor your sacrifice of this day.
My friends, I’m heading Holy Spirit’s nudge to write about the veil, which hung in the Jewish Tabernacle built by the Israelites and Moses per God's detailed specifications. I've always been fascinated with the veil and how it tore at the moment Jesus died. But let's go back to the first place the veil was established.
It stood as a physical and spiritual separation between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, an inner room that held the Ark of the Covenant, the very presence of God. Made of finely woven linen and embroidered with blue, scarlet and purple cherubim, the veil hung from gold hooks attached to four posts of acacia wood, which were also overlaid with gold (Exodus 26:31-33). And strict rules determined when and how the priests could enter this Most Holy of Places, which if not adhered to resulted in death.
The Hebrew word for veil holds one unusual definition—separatrix. In mathematics, separatrix is defined as the boundary separating two modes of behavior. Dictionary.com defines it as "something that divides or separates, as the line between light and dark areas on a partially illuminated surface."
This veil would remain in place for hundreds of years, a constant reminder of the separation that existed between man and God due to sin. Darkness on one side, light on the other...
Exodus 28:36-38 speaks of the gold medallion adorning Aaron's turban. He was required to wear this on his turban to bear any guilt of the Israelites when they consecrated their sacred offerings in order to make the people acceptable. As the animal sacrifices were a prophetic representation of the final and complete Sacrificial Lamb, this medallion held the prophetic representation of the the Cross, the finished work of Jesus.
Fast forward to Good Friday, the darkest day of history that would usher in the greatest Light of all. Jesus spoke his last and released His spirit into the Father's hands.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” — Matthew 27:51-54
Not a simple tear, but a violent act from Heaven. I believe this was the first entrance of God's Kingdom come to earth. Our Heavenly Father gave His Son to remove the barrier and He wanted us to know it. Ripped from top to bottom, the symbolic act clearly tells of the fierce love of God removing the barrier. Nothing would separate God from people for the Son had become the bridge and His Holy Spirit the constant connection.
I am awestruck by this act, so violent yet full of love. A human being would have most likely torn the curtain from the bottom, clearly an act of man. Father God made it clear this tear was by His hand, from top to bottom, from Heaven to Earth. The final declaration of forgiveness and acceptance.
It shook the earth, split rocks, opened tombs and raised the dead to life. Light had invaded the darkness and brought new life, new beginnings, a new way. The Way, the Truth and the Life.
The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever! — 2 Corinthians 3:7-11
My friends, I have this image of the veil in my mind, it's weighty fabric musty and old from all the years it hung between God and man. As the ground began to shake, I imagine dust shaking loose from the aged fibers and the weighty fabric undulating gently at first from its golden hooks, then rippling more violently as the earthquake shook the ground and framework of the Tabernacle.
Then the heavens opened and perhaps a surge of light shot down from the sky, renting the cloth in two with a tearing sound as loud as thunder and startling as the earth shaking beneath it. Almost as if the fabric once thought to be holy now hung as an offense to the One who hung on the cross.
Do you see it, my friends? The tattered edges of the veil, split and rendered useless? Nothing would separate God from His creation any longer. Do you see how the passion of the Christ rendered the veil impotent and powerless?
But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. — 2 Corinthians 3:16-18
The enemy will attempt to replicate the veil in our loves ones, but even he knows the truth, that he wears the shame of defeat and the veil of lies he attempts to project cannot stand up under the light of Jesus.
And we reflect His light. We reflect His love. We reflect the heart of the Father's love that made a way for ALL to come to Him. And that is the promise of Easter! He is RISEN! He is RISEN INDEED! AMEN!
I am wondering if any of you will be asking your spouse to attend Easter services with you?
Are you feeling anxious about asking? About Him attending?
Let’s talk about that today in the comments. I’m looking for suggestions and ideas to share with our community to encourage our spouses to attend church and yet preserve the peace in our home and at church, if our spouse decides to join the family.
It’s Palm Sunday! I’ll finish up the remaining few posts about my mom’s story in April. Also in April, I’m compelled to talk about weariness. In the last few months, my heart has ached for SUMites who have told me they are weary in the waiting. Man, do I ever feel a revelation of the Spirit coming to speak to weariness in our community!! Look for that in April as well.
BUT TODAY!!!! Let’s turn our focus, thoughts and worship toward Calvary!
My friends, did you know that everything we will ever need, was accomplished through the cross! Everything, in that moment, was made available to us who believe in Jesus, the Son of God, our Redeemer!
So often the enemy gets us to look at our struggles. Our challenges. Pain. He is relentless to make sure we focus on the galactic mountain we are facing. He draws us away from the truth of our inheritance, our authority, our provision, and our faith to see the dark and thrust us into fear.
Hallelujah for the Cross!
When we remove our eyes for just a second to look clearly on the truth of the Resurrection, we see that we have everything we need to say to that mountain….. MOVE!!!
Our resurrected Jesus became a man, to show us, to model for us, exactly how to live a life of victory, love and receive our inheritance as a Child of God right now on earth as well as in eternity.
I know the very mountain that many of you are facing right now. And there are many SUMites who are facing what appears to be unsurmountable cliffs of doom that I can’t even imagine, However, our Jesus is bigger than all of it. Truly!
Today, this hour, take out your Bible. Turn to Matthew 17:20. Underline it! Write the name of the Mountain you want to move and then put 2016! And say aloud the passage.
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”— Matthew 17:20 NIV
The truth of this single verse just ROCKS my world.. Nothing will be impossible… Jesus, I dream pretty big. I pray even bigger. Lord, the SUMites aren’t cowards. We stand in the cross-hairs every day in our own homes. Jesus, MOVE OUR MOUNTAIN! We cry out. We believe. We believe. WE BELIEVE!!!!
So, today my friends, tell me, how did you come to believe? How old were you? Share your salvation experience. Together let’s thank Jesus together as we were chosen to be children of the Most High God before time began! (Ephesians 1:4) Hallelujah!!
I can’t wait to hear your story and pray over your mountain in the comments. Have an astonishing week. Make plans to attend church. Attend a Friday service if you can. Do some kind of activity with your kids that brings the significance of this week alive in their hearts. I share in our book, Not Alone, how the Resurrection Eggs, greatly impacted my young daughter. This year, I get to open each one with my granddaughter. Oh, my heart swells!
SUMite Nation, it appears there is a lot happening in our community. I am so thrilled to share the emails that are arriving and pray they encourage us in our faith. Today, I bring a powerful message from Janet Sommer. Janet has written for us before in the years of her unequally yoked marriage. But today she has a fantastic message that is..... well, unexpected but filled with hope and faith.
And Janet, I LOVE that you call us her at SUM, precious siblings!
Some people have such grace and joy that reflects in their words, actions and face. The ones who hear God’s power or see it, quickly they begin smiling and praising God. Not me. I first have to pick up my lower jaw off the floor, have a few rounds of recovery time and then can join the rest who are applauding God’s amazing power, mercy and grace. Even a year after my husband encountered God and accepted Jesus as his savior I still regularly am in shock and disbelief. I am confident the heavens sit back and prepare to enjoy the show my face displays.
Concert Selfie - Tobymac
After an exhausting year of relearning marriage and transitioning into an equally yoked marriage, I found myself at a concert with my family. Not only were we attendees, but my husband and I were volunteers too. (Cue a face show for the heavenlies!) It was surreal to stand there this time with my husband. At a Christian concert. For a genre that isn’t exactly his first choice. Trust me, by now the heavens are ordering extra rounds of popcorn.
And to make it even better, I unexpectedly experienced at that concert, my daughter with hands raised, and dancing the whole night away. She earned the moniker “Spirit Dancer” as she repeatedly told us she could feel something in her making her body dance.
Both my husband and I continue to keep the SUMite community in prayer. (Did you know he even joins the corporate fast? Cue an encore face show for the heavelines!!) As Tobymac performed “Move (Keep Walking)” God spoke greatly to my heart and gave me words for you, the SUMites, whom He sees, hears and knows.
I am fairly confident this is your battle cry. Your war anthem He is singing over you.
Another heartbreak day
Feels like you’re miles away
Don’t even need no shade
When your sun don’t shine, shine
Too many passin’ dreams
Roll by like limousines
It’s hard to keep believin’
When they pass you by and by
I know your heart been broke again
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left
Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so
Another Thanksgiving. Another Christmas. Another new year. Another week of corporate fasting. And now Easter is on the horizon bringing a holy holiday facing the struggle of finding balance keeping God honored and at the center. The longing and heartbreak is truly immeasurable as the same prayers are, yet again, expressed with such faith and hope.
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet
Day in and day out it is so tiring to keep enduring this walk of an unequal marriage. The Lord does not want you to stop walking. It’s a trick—a whisper from the enemy manipulating the truth. The real truth is that God is indeed your promised strength, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Even the running community even knows if you stop for a rest, you will not finish the race.
Precious siblings, keep walking. Keep growing in the Word. Keep drawing in close to the Lord. Keep making room for quiet time. Keep teetering the balance beam of honoring God and your spouse. I promise He will catch you.
This year has not been the hallmark movie I thought it would be. Far from it. My rock solid faith has been tested and shaken. I stood on days I wanted to crumble. I had ongoing quiet time when I didn’t want to. I continued with bible study when I had no desire to learn let alone open the bible. And many considered me strong in the Lord.
We have and are still facing many challenges—physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. The hardships and persecutions have come with rapid fire. Spiritually battles came as quite a shock to me. Gifts and manifestations that awed me and left me desiring them, were immediately deposited and displayed in my husband.
While some may rejoice over this obvious confirmation of transformation, I stood watching him have what I wanted. As if that didn’t rattle me a bit, daily I heard the enemy whisper to me “Look at that. You’re not really saved, but he is.”
I knew God’s character. I believed and knew Him by many names—translated and Hebrew names. I knew He was for me. In my wait I saw many miracles and answered prayers. Yet just as the enemy did to Eve, he crept in and tried every manipulation of doubt targeting my belief of salvation and God’s goodness to me.
You must move and keep walking because the enemy will come back to steal what has been gained, and even attempt to take above and beyond. And SUMites, I want nothing more than to see you wear out the enemy with your knowledge, readiness, willingness and His strength. This time, right now, is your training ground. This now is where the foundations of faith and truth are built, solidified and tested. Precious siblings, move…. Keep walking.
These lyrics could not be more fitting. We must choose to lift our head, and keep it lifted, at all times. There are days it will be a choice and not a feeling. Anytime we take our focus off Jesus we will sink just like Peter. It is not over yet. Do not let your hope get poisoned. (Proverbs 13:12) I promise it is not over yet. God promises it is not over yet.
Hold on, hold on
Lord ain’t finished yet
Hold on, hold on
He’ll get you through this
Hold on, hold on
These are the promises
I never will forget
I never will forget
He will get you through this. Just as the Israelites were fed and cared for in miraculous ways, He has miracles placed along this journey for you too. He has many promises for you. Never forgot the promises and what He has done for you in the past. (Deuteronomy 8:2, Psalm 77:11, Psalm 105:5, Psalm 143:5) Remembering the past will be essential to your ability to keep walking, to shield your ears from the deception and lies of the enemy and to keep believing His promises made over 2000 years ago are still very much alive and active for you personally today.
God spoke that some hearts have tremendous hurt. He knows. He sees your heart is broken. He knows your prayers aren’t answered yet. The Lord gave me a vision of this community locked arm in arm standing in a triangular formation. And He said, “stay in formation. Do not be distracted by who is ahead, behind or next to you.”
There are these “suddenlies” in scripture and our lives. Suddenly an earthquake shakes the prison doors loose for Paul and Silas (Acts 16:25-26). Suddenly an angel appears and gives Mary a message. Suddenly Joseph is given a message. Suddenly a cloud covered and the glory of the LORD appeared. (Numbers 16:42) Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. (Matthew 28:9) And suddenly your spouse is a believer. Suddenly. Suddenly you’re catapulted to the front lines. Those of us ahead of you, as well as Lynn and Dineen, will gladly hold your arms up to win this war. (Exodus 17:11-12)
Fight bravely and solider on, warrior.
As we continue to pray for you in great anticipation of your suddenly, please pray for us too. ~ Janet
Janet resides on the East Coast with her high school sweetheart turned husband and their three daughters. She begins and ends her day with God and strives to still be in constant dialogue with Him between.
Oh He is faithful. If you’ll spare me some time, please let me share some of my story with you all. I pray God will use it to speak life into just one of your dear hearts.
I have a confession. I had a problem, a big problem. This problem was masqueraded by me being responsible and wise. I didn’t trust God. I trusted myself, my ability to budget and plan. I trusted in financial security. I trusted in money.
I was blinded by this truth through college and through the first nine years of my marriage. But God awakened me. God has greatly used this journey of being unequally yoked to teach me how to trust and believe HIM. HIM alone.
This story is unique to me. But maybe there’s a parallel to you. God allowed whatever it took to show me HIS faithfulness. My husband and I went from being debt free (everything but the house) with a cushion in savings to barely making it paycheck-to-paycheck with accumulated credit card debt. Oh the whirlwind!! It was hard. So hard! But in the midst of all the pain, lack of control, confusion, fighting against my flesh – GOD was faithful.
The very things God was using to break this stronghold of my trust in money, He most certainly used to pursue my husband. It was in the beginning of this journey that I felt God speaking to my heart, saying, “I need you to trust ME and I need you to trust your husband.”
And that’s the truth. I didn’t trust my husband. I didn’t trust his decisions. I wanted to control him, especially with our finances. Me not trusting my husband was keeping him down, holding him back. Not letting him lead. And, it was killing our marriage. When I shifted this budgeting and doing everything by the book burden over to God and my husband, I had peace. Overwhelming peace. The fruit of the Spirit – peace.
God had work to do in me. He showed me that I was the older brother in Luke 15. I was a Pharisee craving a black and white faith. I longed for control to figure it all out, instead of clinging to, and trusting in the God of the universe.
This was a radical change for me, and an unfamiliar road. There were rocks and many unknowns. And the u-turns frequently called me back to my place of comfort and control. But I knew TRUSTING GOD was the most excellent way. His Word spoke this truth to me over and over.
In 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (NKJV) Oh how I knew the first part of this verse, but the second part pierced my heart with truth. I was in the middle of feeling the sorrows. There’s no way I wanted any more.
In Mark 10:23-34, “Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (NKJV) Oh how I knew this verse was for me. I was without a doubt, trusting in riches.
Oh and Psalm 52:7 “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!” Ouch. I was greedy. I was couponing to save. I cringed if someone needed new shoes. The old me had the money.. but held onto it tight.
And 1 Timothy 6:17 “ Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (NIV) What had I been doing?! One bad accident and everything we had could be gone. The striving, controlling and my trust in money had to stop. God had to be my source, my supplier, my everything.
Oh to the glory of God, He did not leave me there to perish with many sorrows. He gently led me through His Word to freedom. And oh the freedom in Christ! IF you don’t know it.. seek it hard!! I highly recommend Beth Moore’s Breaking Free.
Proverbs 2:4-5 "if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God."
So this radical change. This hard road of restoring my soul fully to Him has led to an amazing place. And with such joy I share. As God changed me, HE has saved my husband. I proclaim, Jesus has pursued my earthly man. This time the door of my husband's heart has swung open wide. Welcoming a needed Savior. Brad gave his life to Christ in February and is set for baptism this Sunday! Raise to life with Christ our Savior. Oh glorious day! I cannot contain the tears of joy. Of all the ways I’ve dreamed of this joyous time, God’s way FAR EXCEEDS them all. HE IS FAITHFUL.
Please celebrate with me. Please don’t stop praying for your husbands. Thank you for all of your heart felt prayers. This community is ALIVE with the love of God and I thank HIM – for each of you.
Please, I must share the biggest and most amazing lesson in all of this has been grace.
GRACE – BIG GOD SIZED GRACE.
GRACE to my husband at all hours of the day, when his blinded selfishness caused such pain.
GRACE to myself when my have not’s wanted to breed into bitter resentment and snide remarks.
GRACE to my friends when they just didn’t understand.
The tears we shed, He catches.
The hurt we feel, He has felt.
The love we know in Him, HE CREATED.
How could anyone else come close?
TRUST HIM with your husbands.
With so much love and faith in HIM to each of you,
Romans 2:4 “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (KJV)
Thank you Mandy. This is such a glorious testimony to our King.
Finally SUM Family. For those who have been a part of our community for a number of years, please remember with me Rosheeda Lee. Two years ago today she went home to Jesus. Rosheeda was such an amazing part of our community. She named us SUMites & SUMers. She started our community and lead us each year in our annual community week-long fast in January. She prayed for hundreds of you and was a voice of hope, always. I adore her and miss her. I can't wait to see her again and I know we will spend thousands of years together in glory.
She loved Jesus with a full heart. To read her story visit the Rosheeda Legacy Page link in our sidebar. She was amazing.
Happy Easter. TODAY IS WHY WE HAVE SO MUCH HOPE. Thank you Lord, Jesus for the cross, for your love, your examples, teaching and for the resurrection. We are looking forward to the greatest moment of all eternity the Great Wedding of the Bride and Prince Jesus. Amen.
Dear friends, we are in the tomb waiting for the promise to be revealed. Yet we know the promise already. We know Jesus and He knows us. I told you on Wednesday that I had another nugget to share with you and this one is so tender and intimate as it shows our Savior’s heart for us long before He even came.
Let’s take a trip back in time to the book of Isaiah. The book of Isaiah is full of prophetic words and pictures of the Messiah, but this one touched my heart deeply. Our English words don’t fully bring the meaning behind it. Take a look specifically at the words I’ve italicized.
He will tend His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in His arms; He will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. — Isaiah 40:11 (ESV)
Again, I went to the original Greek translation out of curiosity and the gently nudging of the Holy Spirit and this is what I found.
Tend in the Greek translation is râ’râ and it has a list of meanings that fills a page. Among the obvious meanings in this imagery, it also means to keep company with, make friendship with, be a companion, or special friend.
I love this so much because Jesus really and truly is our best Friend. He’s your BFF for life and nothing you do will change that.
Carry in the Greek is nâśâ’ and also has a list of meanings, even longer than tend. This list is the one that blew me away because you can find almost every reason why Jesus came and died for us. Take a look:
to lift, in a great variety of applications, literal and figurative: accept, advance, arise, (able to, (armor), suffer to) bear (- er, up), bring (forth), burn, carry (away), cast, contain, desire, ease, exact, exalt (self), extol, fetch, forgive, furnish, further, give, go on, help, high, hold up, honorable (+man), lade, lay, lift (self) up, lofty, marry, magnify, needs, obtain, pardon, raise (up), receive, regard, respect, set (up), spare, stir up, swear, take (away, up), utterly, wear, yield.
to lift, bear up, carry, take: to lift, lift up to bear, carry, support, sustain, endure.
Through this one image, Isaiah captures the heart, purpose and loving intentions of the Messiah to come roughly 700 years before Jesus was born. It captures every aspect of His heart and love for us, all His intentions. His love is so vast and all encompassing! Did you see the word “marry” is in there too? Wow…
He came to be everything to us, my friends. Even for our pre-believers who aren’t seeking Him yet (hope you caught the nugget from Wednesday about that).
Happy Easter, SUMites! He is risen. He is risen indeed. He has emerged from the tomb to be our Friend, our Light, our Savior. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The abundant life that is so much more than we could ever hope or imagine.
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for being our precious Shepherd. Thank You, that Your love far exceeds anything we can hope for or imagine. Thank You, Abba Father, for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You, King Jesus, for leaving your throne and becoming One like us and sacrificing Your life to save us. We declare by the power of Your blood that we are Yours and we love You! And thank You, Holy Spirit, for being our constant Companion and Comforter. Fill and empower us for the kingdom of God. We, the SUMite Nation, are the sons and daughters of God! We have overcome by the power and the blood of the Lamb! We stand united in and by His love, a force to be reckoned with. In the name of Jesus, amen!
Jesus said: So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. ---John 13:34
Today, on Good Friday, we the SUMite Nation loved... Here are a few photos of the Easter Prayer Tree for Heidi. Read that story here. Heidi is doing well with all considering. She's going to be a few weeks in recovery and therapy before they dismiss her for home. The family promised to get a few photos of her reaction to the surprise. However, she may not want photos shared after her surgery, so we will wait and see.
THANK YOU SUMITES. I was overwhelmed, yet once more, by your love for a stranger, and yet, a sister in the Kingdom. Have a blessed Easter. I'm praying each of you experience the Resurrection power this Sunday. In Jesus name. Amen. Hugs, Lynn
He is Risen!!!
Myself and my daughter, Caitie who always helps when God puts me on task!
My friends, I have a story to tell you and a powerful nugget to share with you today. As you know God moved me my hubby and me to Florida in December. I have to say I am loving it here more than I ever imagined possible (Eph. 3:20). And I am seeing and understanding each day how this move was and is part of my word for 2015—Sanctuary.
My new church here is the setting of this story and the driving force of this story is the Holy Spirit. You see, the first or second week I came to church, He pointed out a particular person and told me to take note of her. I knew that meant at some point there would be an exchange between us. He’s done this before so I’ve learned to pay attention.
That exchanged finally happened last Wednesday, my friends, and the “nugget” I received from her was meant for the entire SUMite Nation. Don’t you just love our Papa God? He’s not only working in each of us individually not only for our benefit but for the benefit of our entire community too.
And with Easter just days away, this is a huge encouragement and hope booster. It’s one of those verses I’ve read many a time, yet this time the Holy Spirit brought it into focus with the help of a new friend.
Now read this and keep your pre-believer in clear focus as you do.
And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying, “I was found by people who were not looking for me. I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.” — Romans 10:20 (NIV)
Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” — Romans 10:20 (ESV)
Did you catch that? This is God saying that even those who don’t seek Him find Him. And that second part gives us the reason why. God shows Himself to those who don’t seek or ask for Him.
Now you know I had to dig deeper. The Greek word for shown is emphanēs and means to show openly, manifest. The definition further expounds with “God giving proofs of his saving grace and thus manifesting Himself.”
Wow! I was so blown away by this, my friends, because I have prayed this for my husband in the past, for God to show and reveal Himself to my pre-believer. And now I will pray boldly in line with this meaning that God would manifest Himself to my sweet guy.
I pray this nugget blesses you as much as it did me. The fun part of this story is I asked the Holy Spirit on Saturday to arrange another meeting with this dear woman so I could thank her again and tell her how He set us up. I kid you not, the first person I saw when I walked into church on Sunday was her, right in front of me, not more than three feet away. And she was just waiting for me to come speak to her. I am so excited to see what comes of this new friendship, my friends. Truly, God brings us the people we need exactly when we need them. Amen?
And I am undone again at the promises God has for us right in His Word. I have another one to share with you on Saturday that I think you will find most precious as it exemplifies our Jesus’ great love for us before He ever came to die for us—a prophetic word about Jesus, our Shepherd.
In the meantime, please keep my, my hubby and our two poochies (River and Riley) in your prayers for a smooth and safe trip. Today we are on our way back to California for a few months. I have to say it’s challenging me to leave right now, especially since things are just starting to happen in the spiritual realms in my new church. I’m seeing now that this is the place God had in mind all along and He’s putting all things into place, just as He promised me He would. Plus He’s telling me to trust Him for what He has in store for me in San Jose too, so I will trust Him and wait expectantly to see where He’s leading so I can follow. I so appreciate your precious prayers.
And I love you so much, my friends. My spirit just jumped for joy at this insight into Romans 10:20, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you! I’m looking forward to reading your comments about this revelation God has given us and hearing how it has inspired you. God is so GOOD!
You did it again! This amazing family on the web emailed and left comments for Heidi that will fill her blossom tree. THANK YOU. You wrote words of faith, hope and love.
THAT is what the family of God looks like. THAT is unity in Christ. You loved on this woman that you didn’t know. She will be forever touched by your kind words of love, prayers and scripture verses of encouragement.
I adore you!
As I’m typing I hear the Holy spirit whisper into my heart, “I’m so proud of the SUMite family. This nation, each person, is stronger than they think. They are mighty in deed and power. And their love reaches far past the darkness. THEY are the unlikely world changers. I love them with a fierce love.” —The Lord Almighty
My friends, Easter is next Sunday. Today, what I want to do is chat about Jesus. Today let’s give a love offering to Jesus. The Son of God. The redeemer of our lives. Who frees us from the demonic, heals our hearts, souls and illnesses. Jesus who gave us the keys to the Kingdom.
So, today on Palm Sunday. Share your favorite scripture passage, share your heart, testimony about how Jesus has change your life with faith, hope and love. I CAN’T wait to read the comments this week.
May the Lord bless you and keep you; May He make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; May He lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.
See you in the comments. Let’s make this praise-a-thon stir the heavenly host so that they join in. Watch for angels this week!!! Love you so much, Lynn
This week I’m departing from our Joshua and The Walls series. Today I want to share my thoughts and prayer about Passover. And on Friday, I’m sharing a glimpse I had of The Wedding of the Son of God and His Bride. (It’s way cool and perfect for Good Friday. Be sure to stop in then.)
What is Passover? Passover is a festival of freedom. It commemorates the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt, and their transition from slavery to freedom. The main ritual of Passover is the Seder, which occurs on the first night.
As believers we know we are not under the Old Testament law. We are living in the age of grace because of the blood sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus. And as a person who loves God and ponders His ways and thoughts, I’m thinking that many of the ancient feasts and celebrations that He originated still hold meaning and expectation.
This year’s Passover holds significance to me personally. You see, since December I have been praying for many of you in this SUMite family. Many of you by name. And I mean ALL of you, even if you have never made any personal contact with me nor left your name in a comment. I have prayed for you.
And this is why.
Breakthrough is coming for many of you with THIS Passover.
At the end of last year many of my brothers and sisters in Christ were in the midst of enduring and trying to just survive tremendous spiritual warfare. Many of you have battled a life that seems to have run over you. Circumstances have left you defeated and bereft of hope. And you have been in this dark pit for months now. Many of you are specifically facing crippling financial stresses. There are many who are wrangling with overwhelming anxiety, dark depression, abusive spouses and heartbreak because of wondering children and a litany of other demonic tortures.
Well my friends, I’ve been praying for you. I’ve been contending for you. For months. I’ve sacrificed in the quiet of the early morning as I beseeched the God of the universe to silence the enemy and bring freedom to the many of you who are held captive and as prisoners of this life’s evils.
My prayers began in December and as I marched through January I began to hear the Lord tell me they will lift. There is a change, a shift, which is ordained of heaven that will happen at Passover.
I’ve been praying for a breakthrough. A breakthrough for many. I’ve been contending for this shift over the home of _________________________ (insert your name because I’ve prayed it.) My breakthrough, although contended for in private and sacrificed in prayer, over the past months will also bring breakthrough to many others. MANY OTHERS.
THAT’S how our God’s Kingdom rolls!!!!!!
The honest prayers of one can bring breakthrough for hundreds. I earnestly believe this with all of my heart. So today my friends, if you need this breakthrough to move into a new season with the Lord, declare it now and out loud.
Father God, I receive this breakthrough on this day. This is the day that You Passover this earth and free me from the grips of the enemy. Lord, and free others from the terror of the evil one. Today, Lord, I receive my deliverance just as you delivered our ancestors long ago. You freed them from the tyranny of slavery and gave them a land flowing with milk and honey. Today, Lord, I too declare in front of the Kingdom of God my freedom day.
I will promise to seek you with all of my heart from this day forward. I make a new and lasting covenant to pursue you with a relentless hunger. I will also step out of my bondage and make it my life’s purpose to free others who are on the road behind me.
Today, I rebuke and break off any stronghold or bondage of the enemy that has kept me from stepping into my rightful inheritance as a child of the Most High God. And I slam the door shut on any lies I have believed that the devil has used to tell me anything that is not truth about myself and my circumstances.
Lord, My Holy God, I receive my freedom by the holy blood of the Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, Your Son. And I will live all of my days from this day forward, pursuing peace, joy and love. I will choose to love you with my whole heart and spend the rest of my life loving people.
I declare and decree my deliverance, my future that is abundant, and ask today that you show me now where you have made my path straight that I may get on with bringing Your Kingdom to earth.
In the most powerful name in all creation and the heavenly realms, Jesus, The Christ. The Passover Lamb of God. AMEN.
I have contended for you. I absolutely believe many of you will begin to see hints of the freedom that has just been released upon your life today. My friends, now give thanks to our Papa, Jesus and the Dove for you are been released to receive your full inheritance. In Jesus name.
I love you. I will always contend for your lives, marriage and children. I will never stop standing in the gap when you are weak and unable. I am your friend and your prayer warrior. Your sister in Christ, Lynn
Rejoice in the Lord always! And
again, I say rejoice!
He IS risen!
I don't know about you, but that
reality makes me wanna party like a rock-star (a holy rock-star, of course!).
He is due worship and praise and
adulation beyond your wildest imaginations.
Give Him his due today, guys! :-)
Celebrate the miraculous truth that Christ lives!
I come before you with such
excitement! Such grateful, thankful, overwhelming excitement! My savior lives!
He lives! He rose up and left his grave clothes behind! He lives, so that we
can too. With You. For all eternity. We worship You, Holy One. We praise Your
mighty, matchless name! Thank you Lord that You gave us a sin-bearer and that
he willingly took the cup You placed before him. Oh Father we adore you! May we
take the spirit of Easter with us every day. May we daily live our lives in
remembrance of the sacrifice and in the great freedom of the new covenant of
grace. We thank you and we praise you Lord. In Christ's name. Amen.