46 posts categorized "Empowered Living"

New Year - New Beginnings!

Happy New Year, dear SUMites. We trust your Christmas went well and you’ve stepped into the New Year, yes, it’s 2024, positively.

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Photo courtesy of James Wheeler and pexels.com

As a quick side note, the world often expects us to charge into the new year but after a usually busy December, I find it’s often good to gently step into it. Our souls need it. I’d encourage us all to set aside some time to meet with the Lord and simply rest in His presence. Take some time, if you are able, to simply be peaceful with the lover of our souls. Let Him replenish and refresh you as only he can.

New Beginnings

For much of December as I walked through Advent, I was reminded that when Jesus entered the world as a babe, He brought something new. Himself. And in many unexpected ways.

He continues to offer us something new. It’s in His nature.

I began to sense that newness was a theme for my 2024. And only this morning I read an email newsletter that talked about new beginnings: “Our very life here depends directly on continuous acts of beginning.”

These were words from an Irish poet/philosopher that some of you may have heard of, John O’Donohue.1 If not, look him up as he’s quite marvellous. I’ll finish this post with the poem he wrote about beginnings.

Before I do that, I wanted to share a little about what this might mean for me and what I’m doing about it. I’ve found the past year to be a frustrating one and when I reviewed the year with the Lord over the past week, I got a strong sense to not spend too much time reviewing it, simply to move on and let it go. On Boxing Day I read these words from Isaiah 43:18-19:

"Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.

I am about to do a new thing now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?"

And so I step into the future expectant. Of what, I’m not exactly sure, but the hope and anticipation that comes with venturing into something new, even if unsure what that might be. Think Abraham.

Distractions

I’ve allowed myself to get too distracted. For too long. The world throws so much at us that it is easy to use up valuable time scrolling … and scrolling some more. “Distracted people … are habitually diverted to less important things.”2

So, I’ve quit Instagram and will do similar with Twitter. Also, will stay off Facebook for the next few weeks. To abstain and to explore other areas of my ‘media’ consumption that can become all consuming.

The easiest way to change a habit is to introduce a new one. I’ll be reverting to a more structured daily schedule that typically has always worked for me. I’m a creature of structured routine.

I’m determined to finish this Angelguard trilogy this year. Jack Haines, my lead character, keeps bugging me because he wants to start something new himself. That’s where you’ll find me most days now; with Jack and Jesus.

What about You?

What might be a theme for 2024 for yourself? It’d be fun to share in the comments below, encouraging each other in exploring that theme.

A final note on our fast next week. Fasts are great ways to eliminate stuff and start new stuff. We allow Jesus greater access through abstinence. As a result, our airwaves are often clearer, enabling us to better hear Him and what He would have us do. Even a simple daily prayer like, “Lord, how can I please you today?” can become a habit which changes our days.

Know we’ll all be praying for each other as we gently step into our fast next week.

And now to O’Donohue’s poem3. I hope you might find it as inspiring as I did.

For a New Beginning

by John O’Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Warmest blessings for 2024.

Grace and peace.

Note: 1. Maria Popova, aka, The Marginalian, A Spell Against Stagnation: John O’Donohue on Beginnings, 30/12/2023, 2. Chris Hall, A Different Way (Harper Collins, New York, 2023), 274. 3. Popova, ibid


Inviting a Baptism of the Holy Spirit into Your Life

By Ann Hutchison Holy Spirit you are welcome 3

Years ago, I asked God a question: "What does it look like to walk with the Holy Spirit?" I had not read the Bible through yet, but I noted scripture mentioned gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as healing, tongues, and miracles; and I had questions for God about this.

A night or so later, I woke with a phrase in my head. The phrase was this: The voyages of Paul.

The voyages of Paul? Hmm. 

Now, I was a babe in the faith. I knew who the Apostle Paul was -- he wrote parts of the New Testament, but I didn't yet know he took voyages. "Did he take voyages?" I asked. Well, I went to Wikipedia and found that indeed he did! WOW.

Yep, that was the Holy Spirit speaking to me, and I sensed God was telling me to go and look at Paul's voyages to see how the Holy Spirit works in someone's life. When Paul took those voyages the Holy Spirit was active in his life, and his stories leave us examples of what that can look like.

Well, I still have those old notes from that day, and I'd like to share them with you now. I hope you like them. For me personally, they have refreshed me all over again, years on.

The Holy Spirit:

1. Speaks to you --

Especially when you worship and fast. He speaks through visions of the night or the day, dreams, pictures, symbols and analogies, and helps you understand scripture.

He warns you about certain things; and sometimes he gives instructions. This might be, for example, whether to step forward in a certain situation. Sometimes he will even forbid certain actions, not necessarily things that are a matter of conscience; rather, it's a 'not yet' or 'not here'.

He confirms his words to you by confirmations from others, and he says, 'Do not fear', and 'Take courage', strengthening you so that you continue in faith.

2. Helps you discern --

The Holy Spirit helps you look at a situation and know if it's God or Satan, enables you to recognize others' faith and, conversely, recognize the influence of evil in a particular situation.

3. Helps you speak --

He gives you words for others, which can greatly help them in their belief.

He enables you to speak accurately when necessary, though you will always be learning. Through him, you can speak true and rational words. You will testify to the grace of God, and he makes you God's witness.

He even might enable you to give others some divine insight, if you grow your skills in the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1).

Finally, he will enable you to speak boldly. Some still won't believe, but God does open hearts.

4. Grants signs and wonders

As you grow, the Holy Spirit will enable you to shake off the devil and be completely unharmed.

He will enable you to heal others, and even raise someone from the dead (Can I believe that? Yes I believe it).

Just as miraculously, he will enable you to open others' eyes and set people free of troubling spirits, strengthening the church as a whole, and increasing the size of the church. 

5. Strengthens you

Finally, he will have the effect of great joy on you and others and put a fervor inside you that stands up against anything on the outside.

**

WOW. How amazing, exciting and inspiring this is. All I can say is I want more and I know that it is there. This list was, after all, compiled from scripture (The Book of Acts chapters 13-28).

As for what it means for us today? Well, the Holy Spirit can come from an appropriate person laying hands on a person (see Acts 8:17-19), or by simply asking God in the quiet of one's home to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. 

To be baptized with the Holy Spirit is life-changing, and begins the above adventures. I believe God will give us only as much of the above-listed experiences as we can handle, according to our maturity and other circumstances. It's a beginning.

If you are reading this and haven't ever asked God for a baptism of the Holy Spirit, or simply want to ask him for more, you can do that in the quiet of your home. But, it would also be our honor to pray for you. If you would like, leave us a comment and we would absolutely love to pray for you! 

Love you, friends,

Ann


Running the Race

By Amanda Pace

Blog picWe often think of running a race as just that, running, as fast as you can and as hard as you can towards a finish line. Blood pumping, adrenaline nigh, excitement and anticipation pulsing through your body as you see your finish line getting closer and closer! Running a race you can see the end to is easy enough, and many people would even consider it enjoyable. It's exciting because you KNOW you are going to reach the end, often you can SEE it before you even start running. But what about the races we cannot see the end of?  What about those of us who feel like we have been running for months, years, or even decades? Towards a goal, a finish line, that we never seem to reach. This message today is for us. The ones soaked in sweat and tears, the ones who live our lives falling and getting back up, bruised and battered and heart broken. Yet still we run. We run through valleys of depression, mountains of adversity, deserts of hopelessness, winding trails of illnesses, and sometimes we run through utter darkness, with no light except the Fathers promises. His Word guiding us towards that place of rest and peace in him.  This is just another reminder, one we all need. He sees us!

When we run through the valleys of depression, he is right there to comfort us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

When we face mountains of adversity he is our peace. (Philippians 4:7)

When we find ourselves in the desert of hopelessness he reminds us of his goodness(1 Chronicles 16:12)

When we are wading through illness he is our healer! (Jeremiah 17:14)

And when we are running through that utter darkness, lost and terrified and confused HE IS OUR LIGHT! (John 8:12)

I don't know about all of you, but during some of my races I find myself looking for an easy way out. Any way that I can side step the path in front of me and take an easier one with less resistance. After all, none of us want to run a race with illness or depression. And there are times when God will show you a quick way out. Then there are times when God says, "I know this is hard, but we have to finish this one. We are taking the long way this time". Those are the races that test us, that push us to the very edge. But those are also the races that build the most endurance! Which leads to stronger faith and closer intimacy with our father!

Our precious and adoring father knows we will stumble, struggle, and even fail. He knows how exhausted we are, and how afraid, and even doubtful we can be. The good news is he loves us anyway! He is the perfect One, he is the love, grace, and mercy every human needs in their life. He will always be right there to help us back up, give us a drink of his living water, wipe our tears, take our hand, and shine a light in the darkness. Every time! 

I hope this encourages you this week my dear friends. That it gives you just a bit more endurance to keep running your race. I hope it reminds you that you are seen. You are seen by the one who matters most. The one whose heart yearns for closeness with us. 

So that in the end we may say "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7 NIV


"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 Word - A Sword

By Amanda Pace Sword

Hey there SUMite family! As most of you know this is my first blog post, and I am so excited to be able to share with you all what God puts on my heart! Are you ready? Because I am! Okay, lets dive right in!

As I was preparing for this new venture I sat down at my kitchen table, which tends to be my favorite prayer spot, and asked God what He wanted me to share with you all. And almost immediately I felt Him telling me to discuss the power of words. I know this is something we have covered before. But it has been a while, and this is definitely a subject we need to be refreshed in on a regular basis!

As I was beginning to write I thought it would be about our words, the affect they have, and the power they carry. But when it came down to actually writing God kept bringing to mind this verse, "For the Word of God is LIVING and EFFECTIVE and SHARPER THAN ANY TWO EDGED SWORD, penetrating as far as the separation of soul from spirit, joints and marrow."  Hebrews 4:12 (CSB). As we can see, this verse is about GODS Word and it's power. So because God knows better than I do 😉 I am writing today about the power - the WEAPON that is the Word of God. I felt especially pulled to that description of a double-edged sword. So lets dive a bit deeper into that!

What is a double-edged Sword?
A double-edged sword is, in a word, a weapon. A very powerful weapon, one that can cut from either side of the blade. When we open and USE the Word of God, speaking it out, reading it, declaring it, teaching it to our children etc. We are wielding a weapon! The mighty and powerful Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17)

What does a sword do?
First, it protects! I don't know about you, but whenever I imagine angels guarding myself and my children, I always picture them with swords. Swords, in my mind, are symbols of protection. How can we wield this weapon for protection? One way is by praying the WORD over our homes and families. Pray the Lords prayer with fresh eyes and an open heart to really hear the words you're saying, Psalm 23 is a favorite of ours right now to pray before bed. The Word is FULL of protection verses! Use them!

The next thing this double-edged sword does is defends! Use the Sword of the Spirit to defend your home from attacks of the enemy! Remember, this sword cuts from both sides, so you can attack and defend forwards and backwards! 😉 So, knowing this, march around your house declaring Gods promises, "All your children will be taught by the Lord and great will be their peace" Isaiah 54:13 (NIV)! Lay hands on your electronics and screens and rebuke temptations and addictions, anoint your home while speaking Gods blessings out loud over every room! Put on your armor every day and teach your children to do the same. Pray over your spouse while they sleep! In the past, I have seen breakthrough when I pray Ezekiel 36:26 over my husband, "I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." (CSB)

Finally, a sword deflects. Use the Word to deflect the lies spoken about you and your family. Remind yourself of His promises whenever the enemy comes knockin'. Whenever someone mentions how alcoholism runs in your family, that you are likely to get cancer, that depression is genetic, or you will never cure your anxiety ect. Even the lies your own mind tries to tell you, like you're a failure, you'll never be good enough, you can't do such and such. Knock those words back to the pit of hell where they belong with that Sword! Open that bible and FIGHT BACK!

My dear SUMites, realize when you hold, and read, and speak the Word of God you are wielding a WEAPON! That Bible you hold, it is not some flimsy piece of leather with bits of thin paper wound up in it - oh no! That Bible is MIGHTY, it is a source of TERROR to the enemy, it strikes fear into them and drives them out! We are NOT helpless my SUMite family! We are NOT alone! And we most certainly ARE NOT DEFEATED! Hold up your swords, shout a battle cry (in your heart, or out loud! 😁), and fight for your family! 

What are some practical ways you all fight for your family with the Word of God? I would love to read them in the comments!


A Question for God: What is My Sphere?

Hi everyone, hope you're having a good week.

Following my last blog post on 'These challenging times', I thought I'd share a good question we can ask God next. It comes with an interesting God story too.

Hope you enjoy this one, and let's chat in the comments.

Ann

 


Graves into Gardens

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Photo courtesy of Rob D and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dear SUMite friends, Ian from wintry Sydney here. It's just turned July 1 here and it's incredible that half the year has already passed. Who could have anticipated what would go down this year? As I've mentioned previously, the Lord put on my heart the word, 'Awakening', in January but I had absolutely no sense of what that meant. Much has occurred for me personally, but it pales compared to all the global events.

Awakening

There is an awakening happening across the globe and it's important for us to hold on to the belief that God is in charge. And good has come out of these difficult times and will continue to I expect for years to come. 

Life for all of us is going to look different for a while, isn't it. Everything we're used to (outside of our homes) is having to be adjusted, whether it's the simple things like hugging friends, attending church, schooling for our kids, working out at gyms or eating at our favourite eateries. The list goes on.

Stay Connected

Even when it's challenging to be physically close, choose each day to stay connected with friends. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Schedule at least one contact per day - ring someone, Zoom/Facetime someone and be very present with them. Switch off other devices, email, clutter all around you so you can be fully focused on your friend. And be slow to share rather ask questions seeking to listen and care for your friend. Your turn will come to share, maybe not this time but the next.
  2. Embrace solitude with God - enables us to simply pause and take some time out from the world, family. Breath deeply a couple of times and try to clear your mind. There are a lot of apps that help us do this but I'll refer you once again to John Eldredge's One Minute Pause app which I and a number of my friends have found particularly beneficial in these crazy times.
  3. Encourage someone today - I have a saying that 'everyone needs a Barnabas in their life' and I try to be one every day. It can be as simple as a smile to a passer by, a quick check in to your neighbour, a text message with a heart emoji ("I'm thinking about you") or a note to say well done. Don't seek a thank you. God knows, that's all that matters. 

Worship

Who loves singing worship songs? At home? In the car? It's good isn't it! It awakens (that word again) our hearts and pours faith and belief into us.

I expect many of us will have seen the various collaborative versions of Kari Jobe/Cody Carnes "The Blessing"; the churches down under even did a version which I love. But it's this one from Elevation Church that is particularly relevant for these times.

Sing along and believe these lyrics because our Lord does indeed "turn graves into gardens, bones into armies, seas into highways and mourning to dancing" We are living in a moment in history that God has deemed for us to live in and oh, the wonder we are going to see. 

Get ready!


Keep Playing The Christian Music

Hi friends, Ann here! Dance

If there's one passage in the Bible that brings a SUM moment to life, it's the one where David dances to the Lord, his wife Michal sees him through a window, and she 'despises him in her heart'. Gulp -- Let's take a look:

“Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart."

(2 Samuel 6:14-16, NKJV)

David then returns 'to bless his household', and Michal is not feeling it:

“How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” (v.20)

We don’t know what marriages were like in those days, but David must have felt sorely misunderstood. Nevertheless, his response shows determination:

“It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore, I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.” (v. 21-22).

To leap and dance for God like David is akin to the intimacy with God that we're currently talking about in our community. I think we all have a leap to take when it comes to intimacy, and for my own part I can say I found it ever so risky to leap towards God and trust he would catch me. Specifically, I struggled to trust that I would not lose Bryce's favor. That was a biggie.

I was helped in this area by a friend whose Dad was a pastor. I wrote to this friend one day when it was all feeling too hard. My words went something along the lines of, "I think Bryce will go off me if I keep going." My friend duly consulted the Dad, who was old and wise, then flicked me an email:

“Ann, with God, the only way to go is forward. Now that you know that God is real, what else are you going to do? Sit in a dark room with a blindfold on? The fence is too sharp to sit on. But here’s what my Dad says: The closer you get to God, the more Bryce will see the spiritual bloom on your cheek. So keep going!”

This was great advice in theory, but I struggled to believe that Bryce would see this elusive 'spiritual bloom on my cheek'. My friend was saying, “Take the leap, Ann. God will catch you!” but the lie I was believing was “If I move any closer to God I'll lose out.” 

To cut a long story short, eventually I let go of the lie. Having leapt into God's arms I truly believe now that the more you love Jesus … Well, everything blooms. As David said to Michal, God has shown himself faithful.

David's response is a good one for us. Essentially he says to Michal, “Look, there is good reason I dance for him the way I do. I am going to carry on, and I will be playing my Christian music.”

Friends, did you catch that? Michal doesn't like his Christian music! I'm laughing as I type and I can't help but wonder if God slipped that part in for humor for us. Even in David’s day, Christian music was hard to play in front of the less believing spouse. Well, nothing there has changed. Eventually, like David, perhaps we stop caring and just play it. In fact, that's been a shift for me only in the last few weeks: I slip the Christian music on, Bryce laughs but doesn't really mind, I keep it on, and as I listen to it I leap -- In my heart.

Well on that happy note, I think the story got a bit more cheerful than at first it seemed. So keep on with that Christian music, friends. And perhaps we can chat in the comments: Has intimacy with God involved a leap for you?


Soul Care

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Image courtesy of Yongkiet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hello, my dear friends. Seems ages since we’ve ‘met’. I trust 2020 has started well for you all and your hearts are in good places.

My family’s had a tough start to the year. Besides the constant trauma on the TV each night as the bushfires raged through the land Down Under (we have been gratefully spared from having it too close) which cast fear and foreboding over people’s spirits, we and dear friends have had own personal traumas. Like our nation, we are recovering and walking, a little bruised and battered, into the future with hope in our hearts.

Maybe you’re in a similar place. Or maybe you’re just feeling a bit frazzled with all that’s going on: juggling being wife, mom, friend, daughter, employee or boss. It’s at these times when it’s important we take care of our souls.

The Easy Yoke

I’ve reflected, meditated and prayed over Matthew 11:28-30 repeatedly these past weeks. These words of Jesus have sustained me continually refilling me with hope and refreshment. Let’s have a look at them. If you don’t mind, I’m going to provide it in three versions because they each bring something extra. I’ll start with the more traditional one that most of us perhaps are most familiar with:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (ESV)

“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.” (The Message)

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me.I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and restin me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.” (The Passion Translation)

Rest and refreshment? Anyone? Yes, we all shout out in unison. But let’s not confuse this to mean life will all of a sudden be fun and games. Our circumstances may still be tough and uncompromising, but the Lord enables us to rise above the angst and pain by filling us with His peace, hope and joy.

There is so much more I could share on these three verses, as it’s a wonderful statement of Jesus’s nature (meek, gentle and lowly of heart) and He suggests we learn to be similar by “joining our life” with His. But today I just wanted to encourage us practically in how we can ‘take his easy yoke’ upon ourselves.

Invite Jesus In

Whatever you’re doing: washing the dishes, preparing school lunches, attending a meeting, having coffee with a friend, etc, etc …  may I encourage you to add these two small steps:

1. Simply invite Jesus into the situation: ”Jesus, I invite you into this …” and he’s there. Remember, he’ll never leave you. All of a sudden you’ve become aware of His presence even though you may not feel anything different. Yes, nothing may change but there'l. be situations where you'll get little nudges from Him.

Remember the story of the two disciples who walked to Emmaus with resurrected Jesus sharing the best Bible study ever that was all about Him? They didn’t recognize Him, even though He was with them for seven miles. All they had to do was ask who He was? Like Moses and the burning bush, we need to always ‘turn’ towards Jesus. Be intentional about seeking His presence.

2. While you’re doing whatever you’re doing, turn your mind towards Him. Try it, you’ll find it takes some practice so you don’t suddenly ignore your friend who’s revealing their heart to you.

It’s something I’ve been doing for a while now and it’s wonderfully freeing. I’m constantly asking God, “where are you in this?”, “what’s this about, Lord?” “give me your heart in this moment”, etc etc. I think this is what ‘learning the unforced rhythms of grace’ might sort of look like.

What’s also important is to do practical things to help yourself. Remember following Jesus is a physical act as well as a spiritual (one of the heart) act. Eat healthily, get outside and experience some natural beauty of God's creation, exercise at least moderately, try to get extra sleep, and regularly have date night (just the two of you) with your partner. And involve Jesus in each of them. 

May I encourage you to spend some time these next few days simply meditating on the verses from Matthew above. Look at other versions and talk to Jesus about His easy yoke. Ask for it. Ask Him to show you how to learn His ways in order to be refreshed and rested. 

Here's to a year of refreshment and rest.

Blessings, my friends


The Enemy Cannot Handle This!

Hey SUM family, Tiffany Here!

Sunday, September 29th is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. We've talked about this Jewish holiday over the years. In fact, the first time I'd ever been made aware of it's significance was because of a blog post from either Lynn or Dineen. For those who are not familiar or are new to this holiday, a simple "Rosh Hashanah" search on this site will provide you with a wealth of information. Feel free to check out the archives!

My prayer for us today is that we will each take away something fresh and new. Holy Spirit, reveal to us the heartbeat of God. Amen!

Rosh Hashanah isn't actually a biblical holiday but a traditional Jewish holiday. The term "Rosh Hashanah" means "head of the year" and is celebrated as the Jewish New Year. This is a two-day celebration that proceeds Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

In the beginning of this month, the Lord really pressed upon me to watch Patty Tower's talk that was given at the SUMite Summit this last April. I decided to go back and watch it again. (I will provide a link below so you can revisit that as well. It is absolutely worth a re-watch!)

As I sat down to think about Rosh Hashanah and what I would include in this post, I went back to my notes from Patty's message. There is so much good in this message but I want to point out one theme:

  • Joshua 6 - God gives specific instructions about the destruction and taking of the city of Jericho. In verse 20 we see the result of following God's plan and not their own: "So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city."
  • Patty called us to march around our house 7 times and shout, declare, pray and praise things into existence. It was in the great shout that the walls fell flat down.

Rosh Hashanah isn't in the Bible; however, the first day of Rosh Hashanah, is. Let's take a look.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,  “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.  You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’ ” - Leviticus 23:23-25

The Hebrew word, Teruah, in Leviticus for blowing trumpets is the same word used in Joshua 6 where they shouted with a great shout. The first day of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Teruah, is a day of blowing trumpets or shouting.

Notice what else it says in Leviticus about this day - you shall have a sabbath-rest. Yom Teruah happens to fall on a Sunday. The day we, as children of God, call our sabbath!

So, why is this important for us? If we are not Jewish, what is the point of celebrating this time of year?

We've already seen in our community some amazing things worth celebrating. Many professions of faith and baptisms with our spouses, children or others we love. Libby gave us a beautiful word about the SUMite community with her picture of the mountain. The SUMite Summit where some gathered in California being at the top and from that trickle, the waters of our faith continued to pool together to create a river at the bottom.

I truly believe something was activated in the heavenlies and we have set off a chain reaction. The enemy has been stirred to anger and we have seen much push back from illness, discord with our spouses and children, financial struggles, backsliding, strongholds etc.

However, I truly believe that God is calling His children deeper. I believe that He is stirring in us a hunger and thirst that can no longer be quenched by fear, pain or opposition tactics from the enemy.  I believe that NOW is the time for us to press in all the more into the God of Miracles. NOW is the time to storm the gates of Heaven for our spouses, children, our complete freedom and healing. I believe that NOW is the time for us to suit up and prepare for battle.

There is a shifting going on right now. As we are in this transition period, it is up to US if we are going to take God at His word - for our destinies, purposes, signs, miracles and wonders. We cannot afford to give up or give in. The future of generations to come hangs in the balance. It sounds intense but don't worry! Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Patty's talk at the SUMite Summit: https://www.facebook.com/SpirituallyUnequalMarriage/videos/387269661859875/

There is so much more I could say but I've gone on a little long.

As we approach this Jewish New Year, what are the things you are coming to the Throne of Grace for? What do you hope to see in this new season? Shout

Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! -- Psalm 47:1 (Shout here is the root word of teruah ::grin::)

We are going to shake the heavens and the earth with our shouts! In the comments, give a mighty shout to the Lord. Thank Him for the victory you've been praying and waiting for! Decree and declare that these prayers are answered in Jesus' mighty name! Now it is up to you to take Him at His word. Trust. Believe. Wait and see. God is so good. And He is worthy of the wait. Hugs!

 

 


Milestone Made Possible Because Of You

Hey SUM Family, Tiffany Here!

I have some wonderful news to share!

Today I graduated year one of ministry school. This was the first half of a two year program that will lead to ordination.

I was very surprised to receive "The Heart of David Award" along with my certificate of completion. What an honor and joy!

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The words "thank you" are not enough to express the gratitude I have for you,  my beloved family without walls. Your love, encouragement, and support  has tremendously helped carry me to this beautiful moment. Thank you to everyone who has given time, prayer, finances, Scripture and hugs. My accomplishment is your accomplishment.

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. -- 2 Thessalonians 1:11

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. -- Ecclesiastes 4:12

You all have helped me accomplish my dreams. In the comments, share something that God has laid upon your heart to accomplish. I want to pray over you and bless you today.


MORE From The Summit...

Hey SUM family, Tiffany Here! 

During the leader's meeting on the Friday morning before the conference I said I would share a spoken word piece during the offering time. I didn't have anything prepared at the time of volunteering. In fact I just heard the words come out of my mouth. You know those moments when you realize after the fact that you were pushed into things by the Holy Spirit? Maybe it's just me. It happens quite often. *grin*

The rest of the day seemed to fast forward pretty quickly. Filled with fellowship, food and fun. I was exhausted after the meet and greet at Lynn's house - in a good way - and went to bed shortly after everyone left. Saturday morning I wake up and realize that I didn't take time to prepare a spoken word! Out of desperation I laid flat on my back with my arms outstretched (my body in the shape of a cross) and said, "Holy Spirit, I need You to give me a spoken word for today. I want those who hear it to feel your deep love. I want them to know that they can have a close relationship with You. Give me something."

In that moment of asking Him, I could feel the atmosphere change in the room. It was like He was waiting for the invitation to share what was in the deep recesses of His heart. The following is the spoken word. I have posted it on Facebook so it may be a repeat for some. In my humble opinion, Holy Spirit really delivered!

More, Tiffany Carter, 4/6/19

 

Remember when I first revealed myself to you?

The relief you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

Remember when you heard me speak life into your bones?

The comfort you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

Remember when you received my loving embrace?

The warmth you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

Remember when you needed Me and cried out for help?

The deliverance you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

Remember when you sought me for clarity?

The answers you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

More. Love that is unendable. River w SUM logo

More. Passion that is unshakable.

More. Desire that is unquenchable.

More. Joy that is uncontainable.

More. Intimacy that is unthinkable.

More. Wisdom that is unmatchable.

More. Peace that is uncontrollable.

More. Power that is undeniable.

More. Faith that is unbeatable.

MORE.

 

Remember when you stepped into your destiny and calling?

The freedom you felt?

My beloved child…

Just wait.

There’s MORE.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (TPT) - Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.  Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ—and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen!

Do you want more? I know that I sure do!

Let's talk in the comments. In these weeks since the conference, what are some things that God has been showing you? How has He shown up in your life personally? In reference to Libby's visions, how have you been feeling the residual affects of the river flowing from the conference? I love you all.


You Are Making New Wine

Hey there SUM family, Tiffany here!

We are on the verge of a major breakthrough. I believe that this is both  individual and corporate for our SUM community and our families. Already we have seen a few wondrous accounts of spouses getting baptized into the faith! Hallelujah! Strongholds are breaking in our lives as well as our spouses. We are seeing addictions begin to cease. Affections returning in marriages. What a great time to be alive!

I wanted to share something that God is stirring in my heart. During the fast and even recently, I am hearing the phrase "new wine." I am barely scratching the surface of where Holy Spirit is trying to take me but I wanted to share my heart because I feel it is important. When breakthrough is upon us, there is always a push back from the forces of darkness. Freedom, identity, purpose, birthright. These are all things that scare the enemy. Satan and his minions know that when we step into the calling and purpose that God has ordained for us and we walk in our authority they are in big trouble! Is it any wonder that there are flair ups and illness, death and financial strain?

Back to new wine. Let's take a look at what Jesus had to say:

14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of
the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:14-17)

Side note: it is interesting that Holy Spirit brought me to this scripture during the community fast. John's disciples originally asked Jesus a question about fasting.

When thinking about the process of making wine in ancient Israel it always begins with a pressing and crushing of the grapes. Grapes did not last very long when harvested in the heat New wine flagand climate of the season. The farmers would instantly turn the grapes into wine and store them in the wineskins to preserve them for longer periods of time. It was actually the process of crushing the grapes that started the fermentation process. During fermentation, carbon dioxide is released so new wineskins were needed for their elasticity to allow for expansion as the gas was released.

In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit came and filled the apostles in the Upper Room during Pentacost. A crowd gathered as they heard a noise and realized that they could understand men speaking in their own native tongues. The people in the crowd were amazed and perplexed. There were also some who accused the apostles of being drunk on "new wine (NKJV)." Paul urges in Ephesians 5:18 to not be drunk on wine but be filled with the Holy Spirit.

What does this have to do with what Jesus said in Matthew 9? For us as believers today, being filled with the Holy Spirit we need to realize that He is the one who leads us into all truth - He speaks what He hears from the Father through Jesus (John 16:13). He is the new wine inside of us. We are the wineskin (vessel). Just like the fermentation process as carbon dioxide is released in the wine making process, Holy Spirit releases things in us. He is always releasing, always leading. His job is to stir in us a call to become more like Jesus. He gives us guidance and direction. As the expansion happens to a wineskin, so does the pressure in our lives.

Being the wineskin, we are the ones who decide whether or not we will allow for this movement of Holy Spirit. Will we choose to listen? Will we be flexible as He calls us into the uncomfortable? We will refuse to allow the fermentation (preservation) process?

I am being drawn into a new level of worship. One that is completely uncomfortable and will really challenge me to worship the Lord with my WHOLE body. Take a look at the video below. I would love to explain my hearts desire further, maybe for another time. This is my inspiration into the new and exciting journey of flagging.

Let's talk in the comments. I would love to hear: What are some things that Holy Spirit is challenging you to do? What areas are you being drawn into the uncomfortable - for your preservation and God's glory? 


A Table Set For Victory

Hey SUM family, Tiffany Here.

I pray that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! This is absolutely my favorite time of year. I love gathering with family, eating fantastic food and reflecting  on all of the favor, mercy, and goodness of Daddy that has happened for the year.

As I was thinking last week about what Holy Spirit wanted me to share, I fingerprinted a man with a business logo on his sweatshirt that said "Stillwater." This prompted me to look up "still water" in the Bible. The main passage that came to mind was in Psalm 23:

 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

TABLE BEFORE ENEMIES*Photo credit: Loving Grace Ministries

Reading this familiar passage again I was shocked to see verse 5, "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies..." I had completely forgotten that this verse was in this Psalm.

That is when Holy Spirit brought to my mind the song Surrounded (Fight My Battles) by Elyssa Smith from UPPERROOM. Forgive me if I've shared this song before. I love it so much. My favorite verses in this song say, "my weapons are praise and thanksgiving, this is how I fight my battles"

I have been seeing Psalm 23 all over the place since I first saw this man's sweatshirt. I know that of the Psalms, this one is so common and well known even in the secular world; however, this particular passage has not been on my radar for quite some time. Each and every time I am seeing a reference to Psalm 23 there is a different verse that is being highlighted. I think I need to dwell here for a while! I was inspired so much so that I committed this passage to memory. This is a first for me to memorize an entire passage. Woot!

I think with all of the apparent darkness and chaos going on in our community (illness, death, financial struggle, marriage breakdown, depression, chronic pain, etc) and in the world today I want us to meditate on this phrase, "I am beginning to see the darkness around me is just the shadow of Your wings." *Note: this is not my phrase, this gets me every time I listen to this song...SO SO GOOD.*

God has gone up with a shout,
The Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with understanding. (Psalm 47)

Please know that our Daddy is surrounding you with His love, presence, favor, mercy, and grace. I know we all know this but may we truly rejoice and sing praises with understanding! Understand your are highly favored. Understand you are loved. Understand you are cherished. Understand in your weakness He is strong. Understand that even in the toughest time of your life He is in control. Understand you are seated with Christ Jesus. Understand you have authority. Understand you are the victor. Understand it. Is. Finished!

Let us lift our voices in one accord today:

I don't know about you the Lord uses songs to get me through the darkest days. Share in the comments some songs that see you through tough times. Your suggestions could be healing salve and oil of joy to another. I love you SUM family.


Deliverance After YEARS Of Torment! Hallelujah!

Hello SUM Family, Tiffany Here!

The last couple of months I have been sharing a bit about what I have learned from reading a book called From Dream to Destiny by Robert Morris. I was assigned to read this book in class and I am so glad that I read it! This book has been truly amazing. To read the previous two posts I've written in this "mini-series" click on the links below.

This Is Just The Pits!

Do You Want Evidence Or The Truth?

In September I began to take steps to transition into a new church. As you read this, I have now been at this new church for 3 weeks. Each and every week has been so powerful and effective. Today I want to share with you a recent experience unlike anything I've ever had. It happened a little over a week ago on October 14, 2018. The following is what I posted the next day on Facebook (sharing here as well since a lot of you may not have Facebook or seen it because we aren't "friends"):

 Worship at Hub is amazing. God is there. Holy Spirit presence is thick and tangible. We were singing a song I had never heard before. The lyrics were powerful and the words that floored me at the time were talking about laying my whole life down before Jesus our Savior. I was already worshipping on my knees but I couldn't help but crouch face down before God. I felt so heavy and overloaded. I was just crying and crying before God. My words spoken in tears and sobs. All of a sudden it was like God said, "get up." Not in an angry way but an empowering way...if that makes sense. I sat up and it was like I saw myself in the place of the woman caught in adultry that was brought before Jesus. The crowd, stones in hand set to stone her. Jesus calmly and matter of factly said, "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone." Slowly, one by one the people left. Once everyone was gone, I pictured Jesus Freedom foreverlift up my chin so I would look him in the eyes. Crouched on the ground seeing His eyes intent on mine. Looking into my soul. Just like He did with the woman that day, He said, "who condemns you?" Looking around I reply, "No one Sir." In that instant...I felt all the weight of condemnation lifted. It was like I had an hour long deep tissue massage. Every fiber of my  being, relaxed and stress free. I realized later after worship and after the service...reflecting on what happened in that moment. Those people standing and surrounding me so quick to condemn and judge...were different versions of ME. How often I have shot myself down, I have stoned myself for a mis-spoken word, a harsh tone, a forgotten task, a wrong thought...I have been stoning myself for years and as God clearly told me to get up - it was giving me my life back. It was His GRACE UPON GRACE. His mercy. His true love. He doesn't keep record of wrongs...and neither should I. NO LONGER DO I. This morning, as life went on as usual...I reacted in ways I am tyring to change (short with my daughter when she cries about everything she wears - meltown after meltdown this morning and my shortness with her, attitude from tired children, etc) but the major difference was this. No one condemns me...not even myself. I made a mistake, asked for forgivenenss and moved on. The first instance my flesh tried to condemn me I heard the words "no one Sir." Loud and clear and it reminded me of the freedom that I was given. Once and for all. I will never go back. Once that transaction was finished Jesus said, "Go and sin no more." Can you image the freedom, the joy, the apreciation she felt with that moment? I can...because I do.

 You may have to click on the picture to better see but I found the moment in worship where this exchange happened. Today I stand free from years of mental torment. As I think about this moment it still brings tears to my eyes because every moment since then has been a blessing. Please know that it doesn't mean that I am perfect or care free. I still have some struggles that God is working on in me. Holy Spirit is still pruning and I've got a lot of work to do. However, I am no longer hopeless.

I've gone a little long this time so let me wrap up with this:

I have been blessed to be a blessing. So today, I bless you with joy unspeakable; freedom from weight (even YEARS worth) of torment - mental, emotional, spiritual, physical; victory beyond belief; confidence in your Daddy; hope to weather the storm; faith, life, salvation for your spouse and loved ones; light in the darkness; advancement in the Kingdom where you feel backslidden; fire shut up in your bones; fight and fierceness; and love beyond compare.

Below is the song that brought me to the feet of Jesus and ushered me into freedom.

See you in the comments. I would love to pray over you for your own deliverance.


Do You Want The Evidence Or The Truth?

Hey SUM Family,

Tiffany here:

ev·i·dence -  

a : an outward sign : indication

b : something that furnishes proof : testimony; specifically : something legally submitted to a tribunal to ascertain the truth of a matter
(Merriam-Webster online dictionary)

Last post (This Is Just The Pits!) we began to take a look at the life of Joseph. We discovered that there are ten tests we must face in order to fulfill our God-given purpose (I highly suggest you read From Dream to Destiny by Robert Morris for more on this topic). I want us to really dive into the deep end of the pool as we learn more about the pit test.

First, let's continue on in the story of Joseph. At this point he was ambushed by his brothers and thrown into the pit. Changing scenes, we see what happens with his family next:

So [Joseph's brothers] took Joseph's tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in blood. Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, "We  have found this. Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?" And he recognized it and said, "It is my son's tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces" (Genesis 37:31-33).

F.E.A.RJoseph's brothers did not flat out lie and say that Joseph was killed. Jacob came to that conclusion because of their leading question, "Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?" This is what we would call fabricated (false) evidence.   Remember evidence is an indication or something that furnishes proof. This evidence in Jacob's mind was proof that his favorite son was dead - to him it was the truth.

For over 20 years, imagine Jacob as he says in v. 35, "For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning." Imagine a father so heartbroken that he was not able to be consoled. I don't know for certain but I can imagine countless nights of crying himself to sleep, restlessness, no appetite, deep depression...unable to move on. Not only that but his other sons could have easily freed him from all of it...over 20 years of seeing and living with their father. What callous and prideful hearts!

What about you? What fabricated evidence has been stacked up against you? Your marriage? Your parenting? Your identity in Christ? What lies of the pit have kept you trapped for far too long? 

We live in a sin-hardened world, and we will be tempted by fabricated evidence just as Jacob was. And like Jacob, we will suffer unnecessary grief if we allow the lies of the pit to determine what we believe.

This is very important. If you want to get out of the pit, you must learn to discern the lies of the enemy. Because when you are in the pit, you are especially vulnerable. When you are in the pit, circumstances usually don't look very favorable - and that is exactly when Satan will manipulate those circumstances in order  to deceive you. He will hold up those circumstances before you as evidence that you should believe him rather than have faith in God. But fabricated evidence is not the truth. Joseph's brothers held up a bloody coat as evidence, and that evidence looked pretty convincing. But it was fabricated evidence. It was not the truth. If you want to overcome the lies of the pit, you must learn to focus on what God has said. When you are in the pit, you must remember that nothing is too hard for God, no matter what evidence the enemy might produce...

Yet even worse than his fabricated evidence is Satan's biggest lie: "You've messed up too badly. It's too late for you. You've messed up too badly to ever fulfill God's destiny for your life." Do you realize that the Bible is a book entirely about restoration? The Bible is filled with stories of people who messed up so badly that it seemed even God couldn't do anything about it - and yet He restored every one of them. He wants you to know that nothing is impossible for Him. As long as you have breath, it is never too late to call out to God. It doesn't matter what pit you are in. If you call out to God, He can fix it. And that is the real purpose of the pit. (pp. 38-39, From Dream to Destiny, Robert Morris)

Next time I want to finish up with the hope we have - the light at the end of the tunnel - in times of experiencing the pit test. But for now, let's meet in the comments. Let me speak truth into you and pray with you as we debunk the lies of the pit. Lean into this reality that fabricated evidence, no matter how convincing or real it appears, is NOT the truth. I promise you that this assurance will transform your life and catapult you out of the pit.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

-- Colossians 2:13-15 (NLT)


The Power to Accomplish

God wants to draw us closer to Him. He delights in using unusual and strange means to speak to us, drawing us away from the mundane routine of our lives to pursue Him. Since most of us are prone to living our lives independent of Him, He uses something unusual to catch our attention and draw us to Himself. He speaks in a cryptic fashion so that we have to seek Him for understanding. Many times He will use a vision, dream, impression, or some other phenomenon to get our attention. When we are captured by the phenomenon and begin investigating, God then speaks to us and brings us into His presence. -- Steve Thompson (You May All Prophesy! p. 52)

Hey SUM family, Tiffany again!

Over the years I have always been amazed at the God-sized things that people have done in ministry and missions. I have been overwhelmed by the time, talent, and treasure of the Church and yet I never believed that I would be able to do something as great as....fill in the blank.

5 years or so I came across a quote (for the life of me I can't remember the source) about how God doesn't set us aside as in cast us out but set us apart as believers for a greater purpose and calling. Sure, sure, I would think. I hear you, but that isn't a word for me. I am truly nothing special or unique. In looking back I have believed this lie for many years before that quote hit my eyes. Up until more recently I have been crippled by this line of thinking. What could God possibly want to do with me? I disqualified myself.

It wasn't until this last year when God really got my attention through my 40 hour a week job (one that I didn't even WANT in the first place) that I was FORCED to see how uniquely and wonderfully made I was for such a time as this. Honestly, it started with a hunger and deep desire for something more. It really is that simple. God WANTS to draw us closer to Himself. When we come hungry, begging for His presence...when we are feeding on His word and devoting time to know Him...He is so pleased!

Check this out:

Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was buringing with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, "I must turn aside now, and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up." When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush, and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." (Exodus 3:1-4 NAS).

Let me be the voice to say, don't get familiar with the mundane. Jesus didn't come for that type of life. He came to give us abundance. How amazing that we are seeing miraculous things going on in our midst! We are living in some pretty amazing times. I wonder if maybe God has been allowing such hardship and trial and suffering in our lives lately (even if lasting for a few years) to create a deeper desperation for Him. When we get too familiar with comfort, we end up getting lazy. We don't tend to fan the flame as diligently...as least I don't.

I am not sure what is coming but I get this impression of expecting...as if pregnant...expecting and waiting with anticipation for delivery. A birthing of something new, something special, something unique, something for such a time as this.

1530070820845_26738696-1529963978484I came across this verse this morning and I was absolutely blown away by the word accomplish as this is my word for the year. How blessed we are to have such talents and giftings unique to our own situation and lives. I think of the beautiful drawings/paintings, visions, dreams, renderings, hobbies etc that have been revealed in our community. 

If you are gifted to paint, by all means paint! If you are gifted to write, by all means write! If you are gifted to render images/collages, by all means do so! If you are gifted to write music or sing, by all means do so! I think it no coincidence that we are seeing so many works of art showing up and God using our talents and gifts in such a way. People are leaving the church buildings and I think we will be able to reach more and more by new ways of communication through the artistic!

Share in the comments some things that God is prompting you to do. After all, only YOU can fulfill this because it is God's purpose for your life. Lets lift each other up and spur each other on to ACCOMPLISH the callings on our lives. I'll go first: write a book called Vicarious to Victorious: stepping into the destiny that God had in mind for you; write a 30 day devotional on #FingerprintRevelations; pickup with Connecting Verses - where music and scripture collide.


I Can't Believe That JUST Happened!

Hey SUM Family, Tiffany here!

I have a confession. These last couple months have been really hard! I have struggled with things that I haven't for a while – at least a year. Things I IMG_2558thought were long gone have resurfaced. Things that I just gained victory from – snatching up my money, time, effort, thoughts. I have to admit that it is mainly my fault. I let my guard down. I got prideful...remember what it says about this in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “If you think you are standing firm, be
 careful that you don't fall!” This is what happens when we take our eyes off of Jesus. Just like Peter stepping out onto the water and looking at the waves crashing around him – I was sinking. I lost my first love.

Funny how things can develop so quickly! Just last August I began my journey on the fast track to wisdom, spiritual blessing and gifts, a platform to
use my writing and speaking abilities to reach fellow believers. I found favor in the eyes of the Lord. I know I still do...I know that He is looking at me saying, “Get up, dust yourself off, you are still victorious. You are still redeemed. You are still loved.” However, I can't help but wonder – deep down – what happened? How could I forfeit such a beautiful love relationship because I got winded, lazy, entitled? How could I allow myself to so easily get caught up in the wind and the waves and take my eyes off of Jesus?

Maybe you didn't let your guard down. Maybe you are closer to the Lord than ever. Maybe you've been more faithful and strong. Regardless of our personal lives there has been much opposition in the spirit realm. I am seeing your struggles through conversation and prayer requests. I am seeing the things that you once struggled with have come back with a vengeance. I am seeing the things that spouses once struggled with have come back too. Oh how many times I want to plead on your behalf when I hear words like, “He has gotten bad again...”

What is going on right now that the battle is raging? I can't say for sure (please those gifted in the prophetic – dreams, visions, etc – weigh in here) but I believe that we have begun to hunger for MORE.

I believe that we have begun to stand up for our beliefs and our value and dignity.

I believe that we are beginning to truly seek out what God means when He talks about our identity IN Him.

I believe that things that once were struggles are no more.

I believe that we are seeing breakthrough, healing, community, fellowship...LOVE.

Friends, Lynn has said it before and I totally agree. We are living in some pretty amazing times! We are being prepared for whatever God has on the precipice and Satan and the forces of darkness DON'T LIKE IT!

Forgive me for my small child movie reference (we have so many at our house!) but have you seen the movie Cars 3? At the end of the movie, a girl race car (Cruz Ramirez) steps in for Lightning McQueen to finish the big race. She is really good and quickly pulls up on the ranks. She gets to 3rd place and the defending champion, Jackson Storm, pulls back to her position and begins talking down to her, “You don't belong here. You will never be a racer.” She begins to slow down. She begins to lose ground.

Lightning McQueen tells her something that is really profound, “Listen to me! You got into HIS head. Don't you understand? He would have never have done that if you didn't scare him. You are a racer. Use that.”

I want to echo his words. Don't you understand? You would not be under fire if YOU didn't scare the enemy! If you were not making your Heavenly Daddy PROUD...there wouldn't be any stress, anxiety, return of past temptation and sin. There wouldn't be opposition from spouses. There wouldn't be any struggle. When Cruz Ramirez heard this, her demeanor completely changed. I pray you hear this – straight down to the core of your being – and allow it to change yours. You have power and authority given by Jesus Christ HIMSELF. When you pray (even when you can't see results in the physical) you make a difference. When you seek the Lord, you are pleasing the Father in Heaven. When things get tough, continue to cling to the Only One who can make a difference and bring deliverance, healing, provision.

Today I started reading this book called “The Presence: Experiencing More of God” by Alec Rowlands. Let me tell you that I haven't even finished the first chapter and I am blown away. I wanted to share a little bit with you. I pray it encourages and fires you up like it has done to me.

“There's nothing safe about pursuing and being near to God, if by safe you mean being left as you are, to follow your own agenda and depend solely on your own wisdom and resources for living...The Christian life is not a game or a quiet pastime. But if you are willing to be used by him for the extension of his Kingdom here on earth, then drawing near to him is the only way to live life fully. The only things at risk are things not worth living for. And living in the daily pursuit of God's presence is the best way I know to get to the quality of life and unmatched sense of adventure with God that we desire. It is the Christian life lived the way God intended...The reason Jesus came was to open the door to this kind of intimacy with God for all humanity. It is part of the inheritance of our salvation. After Jesus ascended to the Father, he sent us the Holy Spirit expressly to facilitate our intimacy with God – in revelation, in worship, in prayer. God invites us to seek his presence. He welcomes our pursuit of him. He rewards it. And his presence will be revealed in limitless ways as he makes himself known. But there is risk. Proximity to God involves not just having a good feeling. We have to be willing to be wholly consumed by his love and to have our lives rearranged by his grace.” (pp.3-4)

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” -Matthew 6:33

The question for us all – myself included – is this:

Am I willing to be FULLY CONSUMED by his love? Even to the point that He WILL rearrange our lives by His grace?

Are you hungry for abundantly more (Ephesians 3:20-21)? I know I am.

Despite all of the hardship, trouble, backsliding, temptation, sin that has come upon you...you ARE still redeemed. You ARE still loved. You ARE still victorious. You ARE still filled with authority straight from Jesus Christ.

Bring your burdens and we will bring them before the Lord together. Respond in the comments, YES and I would love to pray over you. 

In His Marvelous Grace,

Tiffany


The Orphan Spirit and Identity Crisis

Hey there SUM family, Tiffany here! 

In the first post on this new writing journey for the SUM community I talked about the feeling of being a throw-away kid. This operated in my life in many ways. I was plagued by thoughts such as -

I will never be able to do enough.  Pete Scazzero

I am not good enough.

I am just trying to get your attention.

I cannot measure up to your standards.

What more do you want/expect from me?

I can't handle these demands.

I don't deserve it / you.

I honestly haven't realized – until last week during a healing prayer session with Lynn - that these thoughts that have plagued me for years are not only from the enemy but HAVE A NAME. The Orphan Spirit operates in such feelings as abandonment, loneliness, alienation, and rejection. Ouch! Looking back on my life, this has been the major theme! I am so used to a life like this that it almost seems unnatural to operate in freedom from this. (Isn't that truly the enemy's tactic..to turn things upside down and make it seem like “normal?”) The more I look into this topic, the freer I feel. It is almost as if the scales are falling from my eyes! I am not an expert by any means but I intend on digging deeper...I see this as a chapter in Vicarious to Victorious as the Lord leads me to write this book.

Or · phan: a child deprived by death of one or usually both parents; one deprived of some protection or advantage.

I have to say that this journey of freedom has been hard. I have realized that I have to truly fight for victory and the more I gain momentum, the more I have to be on guard. I don't say this to scare anyone. The journey is long but the triumph is so much stronger than anything I have to endure. I read Romans 8 this morning in my quiet time. This is a familiar passage to me and probably for many of you. What really jumped out to me was verse 18,

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Wow, just wow. Today this familiar verse hit me like a ton of bricks. The sufferings that I am presently dealing with – the baggage and destructive mess left by the Orphan Spirit – has taken a toll on my life. My parenting. My marriage. My friendships. Everything!

I have been living with an identity crisis YEARS after trauma from father figures. The Orphan Spirit has left me deprived of protection and advantage. My identity for the longest time has been in productivity, performance, approval. These things have always been fleeting. Even if it seemed as though I was getting what I thought I wanted, said approval, I still couldn't accept it. If I could describe the labels that I allowed the Orphan Spirit to place on my life they would include such things as: worthless, unwanted, unworthy, unloved, ineffective, desperate, needy, clingy, an object not a person.

BUT God!

He has given me a new identity!

Let's look at Galatians 4:4-7:

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

This does not sound like the labels I had placed upon myself at all! Thank you God, You give us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57)!

In digging deeper into God's word, and allowing the Holy Spirit to renew my mind and transform me (Romans 12:1-2) I am seeing more and more that I have the ability to see my TRUE identity. My identity isn't really in crisis at all. In fact God is using the trauma of my past to help me look forward with more confidence than before. I am not who I once was. Instead of those old labels I can rest assured that my identity looks more like: victory, confidence, powerful, effective, fierce, redeemed, helpful, compassionate, empathetic, gracious, artistic and creative, unique, valuable.

Joseph Mattera wrote for Charisma News, “The only way to break this orphan spirit is for people to be filled with a sense of the Father's love for them in Christ, which then enables them to become mature sons who serve God out of knowledge of His undeserved grace instead of trying to earn the Father's love through performance.” (You can read through the entire article by clicking HERE)

I want to close this with a chance to meditate on the newer song from Passion feat. Kristian Stanfill and Melodie Malone – God You're So Good.

As you listen focus on these words:

I am blessed

I am called

I am healed

I am whole

I am saved in Jesus’ name

 

Highly favored

anointed

Filled with Your power

For the glory of Jesus’ name

 

And should this life

Bring suffering

Lord, I will remember

What Calvary

has bought for me

Both now and forever

 

To be continued...

I'll see you in the comments dear ones!

 

In His Marvelous Grace,

Tiffany


You Are Loved: Who’s Really in Control?

  

Hey there, friends! I hope you enjoyed coloring 2 Cor 5:17. Like I said, I’m particularly fond of that page. And the truth it imparts to us! We are new creations in Christ Jesus. The last part of that verse says, “The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

The Greek word for come is ginomai and holds such meanings as to be made, finished of miracles, to be performed, wrought, to become. What Jesus did for us and what the Holy Spirit does in us is miraculous! I hope that brings to your heart just how important you are to God.

Remember to share what you're learning in the comments. What lie did the Holy Spirit reveal to you? What truth did He show you to replace it with? Share your heart, your doodles and your coloring pages! Hugs! ~Dineen

TWEETABLE TRUTH: 

“Look at your God in heaven and then measure every challenge and trial by His size, not by your scope of vision.” pg.26  #youarelovedcoloringbiblestudy  goo.gl/qG9HBT

You Are Loved Coloring Book Study Schedule

Aug 18: (Share pages!)
Video: How Do We Live Free?
Decorate, Delight & Discover!: Why Do We Wait and Hope? (pages 37-41)

Aug 21: (Share pages!)
Video: Why Do We Wait and Hope?
Decorate, Delight & Discover!: Is God Good? (pages 43-48)

Aug 23: Bonus Coloring Page Download

Aug 25: (Share pages!)
Video: Is God Good?
Decorate, Delight & Discover!: How Much Does God Love Us? (pages 49-53)

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

Romans8BookCover

Order from The SUM Shop or Amazon

 


You Are Loved: How Do We Live Empowered Lives?

 

Remember to share what you're learning in the comments. What lie did the Holy Spirit reveal to you? What truth did He show you to replace it with? Share your heart, your doodles and your coloring pages!
Hugs! 
Dineen

TWEETABLE TRUTH: 

“The Holy Spirit's revelations of truth, healing, strength, and growth transform our minds more and more to have the mind of Christ.” pg.20  #youarelovedcoloringbiblestudy  goo.gl/qG9HBT

You Are Loved Coloring Book Study Schedule

Aug 14: (Share pages!)
Video: Who’s Really in Control?
Decorate, Delight & Discover!: How Do We Live Free? (pages 31-35)

Aug 18: (Share pages!)
Video: How Do We Live Free?
Decorate, Delight & Discover!: Why Do We Wait and Hope? (pages 37-41)

Aug 21: (Share pages!)
Video: Why Do We Wait and Hope?
Decorate, Delight & Discover!: Is God Good? (pages 43-48)

Aug 23: Bonus Coloring Page Download

Aug 25: (Share pages!)
Video: Is God Good?
Decorate, Delight & Discover!: How Much Does God Love Us? (pages 49-53)

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

Romans8BookCover

Order from The SUM Shop or Amazon

 


Our Place of Authority and Power

IStock_000007310932XSmallDear friends, two weeks ago I wrote a post about seeing the gold in our spouses and calling it out. Since then the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me about the power of our words, which seems to dovetail perfectly with what Lynn has been teaching us, specifically about praying with confidence. And that is what I feel like the Holy Spirit has been teaching me recently.

But not in the way one would expect. (There's that word again that things won't look the way we expect them to.) As I've shared before, God seems to want to take my perceptions of the truth and turn them on end to see them in a different way. An empowering way.

I'm going to share with you what the Holy Spirit told me as I was out for a walk to worship and pray. 

"You have nothing to lose, and the enemy has lost everything."

I asked for my clarity and understanding and this is what the Holy Spirit impressed upon me, my friends. We, as God's children, have gained everything through Jesus. Thus we can't lose. No matter what the enemy wants us to think or the lies he tries to throw at us, we win. We are called the victors in this life and whatever comes our way. We are even declared to be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). 

And the enemy has everything to lose. In fact, according to Scripture, he's already lost everything.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. — Colossians 2:13-15 (NIV)

So let me say this as the complete thought the Holy Spirit impressed upon me. 

We have everything and nothing to lose. The enemy has nothing and everything to lose.

Plays with your mind a bit, doesn't it? But think about it, truly wrap your brain around this. Then think about the place of confidence and power this positions you in with your prayer life. Think about the impact your words can have when spoken out loud in prayers and in alignment with God's heart. That's empowered confidence in who we are as children of God and what He given us. As Christ said we would do the things He did and more.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. — John 14:12-14 (NIV)

SUMites, ponder this powerful truth and begin to apply it to the places in your life that you are waging war. This is what I've been doing this last week and I believe breakthroughs are coming as a result. 

But there's more to this journey I'm on that I'm looking forward to sharing with you and it has to do with our words. The power of our words and prayers. But not the way you think...not the way you expect...yes, God's turning this one upside down a bit for me too. Helping me see things in a whole new way. His way.

And in case your confused as to why I'm on the blog today instead of Lynn, we're changing things up a bit to give us more time to write and create new resources. We'll be sharing more about that in the days and weeks ahead so stay tuned. 

So tell me, SUMites, what do you think about your place of authority now? You have everything and nothing to lose.

I love you, my friends, so very much. Know that my prayers are with you for our pre-believers as we stand for God's salvation for them—Jeremiah 24:7! Amen!

Hugs!
Dineen


Foundations Series: INHERITANCE & IDENTITY, part 2

IdentityHello, SUMites! Yesterday my hubby and I walked through our house to see the changes in just the last week or so. The drywall is up and the rooms are more defined now. As we passed through an unfinished doorway, my husband pointed a written Scripture still exposed there. He asked me, “Is this one of yours?”

I answered, “Yep.” And I laughed with delight inside, my friends. This was a victory for me, as I felt no concern about his reaction. I simply rejoiced in knowing what’s coming and seeing the evidence of it all around him, even though he isn’t seeing it…yet. Just like this house, seeing only the present stage, yet knowing so much more is coming and yet to be seen. The floor tiles, the walls painted, cabinets, kitchen, etc. So much more is coming…salvation. My heart dances with expectation of the coming promises.

As I thought about our Scriptures being a part of the structure of the house now, the structure that holds up the roof and defines the parts of the house, I began to see how we are like this house. As we read and learn about God’s Word and truths, they become a part of us. They transform our minds and make us stronger in our foundation and our structure. And not only that, they define us and our many parts. Like the walls define the rooms, these truths define who we are in Christ, what our spiritual gifts and purposes are and how were are to live as believers.

This is our identity. Everything God created us to be with unlimited potential. And the only things that limit us are ourselves and the enemy if we let him. I find this happens when we aren’t walking in the truth of who we are, and thus why our continual intentionality to know God and grow in intimacy with Him are so important. As we spend time with God learning about Him we are in actuality learning who we are. 

My friends, as I sought God for greater understanding about inheritance and identity, the Holy Spirit helped me understand they are very deeply interconnected. If we look at inheritance in the New Testament, we see two parts.

  1. We are Christ’s inheritance, His holy people.
    I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. — Ephesians 1:18
  2. We have inheritance in Christ as co-heirs with Jesus. And this is where our identity sits and is defined.
    So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. — Romans 8:15-17

This piece of Scripture alone tells us:

  1. We are no longer slaves to fear and have received the Holy Spirit.
  2. We belong to God and are His children.
  3. We have a heavenly Father who not only saved us but connected us directly to His Spirit. This is what happens when we accept Jesus. Our spirit is called out from the “dead” (Eph 5:14) and is united with the Holy Spirit in us. Thus why He is in us and we are in Him.
  4. As His children, we are co-heirs with Christ (not after, but with) and as His heirs, we also receive God’s glory! However, as we are reassured of receiving God’s promises as His heirs, we must also accept that persecution is going to be part of this journey and is another sign that we are God’s children. SUMites, we already understand this, which makes us unique in our experiences. I firmly believe God uses this understanding to equip us with a compassion and a heart to reach the lost in this world. 

So, who are you in Christ Jesus? That’s an excellent question and one I highly encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit. And I’m beginning to see and experience that the Holy Spirit loves questions as much as prayers, because our questions are the start of the answer to the prayer. 

Ask questions like these:

  • Lord, who am I in You? Show me how you see me so I may walk in peace and clarity of these truths.
  • What have You designed me to be and do? 
  • How have you gifted me uniquely to operate according to those truths?

My friends, identity is something we choose to believe and live as truth. Our culture has so imbedded a striving mentality in everything we do that we even apply this to our faith. As I shared in my video last week and my post on Tuesday, we can stop striving to be Christians and simply live in the truth of who we are—God’s kids!

I think we could spend weeks, even months on this topic, and that’s because it is so relevant and important that we stay aware of how we are operating in our lives. Are we operating out of a place to prove who we are, or are we living in the truth of who we already are according to Jesus? 

The amazing thing is, when we live from that place of truth, people are drawn to us, SUMites. It’s attractive, because we live in a peace and freedom the world is desperate for. So, as you live in and out of the truth of who are you are, you’r letting your light shine brightest! 

Isn’t that amazing? That’s freedom, my friends, and peaceful living. It’s so simple it’s almost ridiculous. But notice I didn’t say easy. Just ask God who you are and then live it out everyday as best you can. And when you don’t, God’s right there to help you get back into the center of that truth—Him. 

I will see you tomorrow (or rather you’ll see me—ha ha!) in my last prayer video for July. 

Love you dearly, SUMites!
Dineen


The Light of Truth

19268965_sMy friends, I want to share a recent revelation with you. It was one of those moments that the truth of something I already knew finally hit all the way home. Have you had one of those moments—a suddenly moment—where something you thought you understood suddenly becomes clearer and more powerful? 

For me is it was as if the seed that had been planted was watered and then sprouted roots downward and grew upward to take permanent hold in my heart. And as we are in the season of Lent it is the perfect time to speak of the work of the cross. 

Though the event of the cross is in our past, I believe the work of the cross is continuous. Paul even spoke of this ongoing process:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. — Philippians 2:12-13 ESV

During some very painful and difficult moments in my recovery the enemy tried to move in and take advantage of my weakened state, just as we know he did with Jesus in His wilderness time. 

And I let him. The enemy tries to convince us first that either he doesn't exist or that he is more powerful than God. I believed the latter at a very young age and had no one to tell me otherwise, therefore I learned fear and this has been an ongoing battle for me.

But God has been dealing with this fear and lie for the last few years, and I believe a major and much-needed shift occurred just recently. I've been reading a workbook about the healing ministry and this author's description of the enemy's place in our lives clicked in my mind and heart like never before.

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. — Hebrews 2:14-15 NASB

In my own words, this is the understanding I have been meditating on that has brought this truth home fully for me. Christ's purpose in coming and dying on the cross was to save us by rendering the enemy powerless. Not mostly powerless, but completely powerless. Christ even shamed the enemy.

In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. — Colossians 2:15 NLT

My friends, I am not talking about spiritual warfare here, but the simple truth that the enemy is powerless (Our very own SUMite, Jo, has shared this with us too). He has absolutely no power of his own. At Christ's death, that power and authority was transferred from the enemy to us. 

Now this is probably repetitive, but I have a feeling some of you need this revelation as much as I needed it. It comes down to this: the presence and power the enemy holds in our own lives is because we have allowed it. For me this was the truth that finally hit home because if I have allowed it, I can disallow it. I am NOT at the mercy of the enemy. He is at my mercy, so to speak. I have to power and authority to boot him out.

Somehow this truth hit home at much deeper level, therefore disarming the enemy's power in my life, because it isn't his power! It's mine! And I am taking it back.

The challenge, my friends, is identifying the lies I have believed and replacing it with the truth. THAT is what completely boots the enemy out and keeps him from being able to come back. He can't, for God is light, and in Him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5). Truth is light.

And like the story of the house delivered of a demon, yet seven more returned, we just fill the empty place left with truth, with God's presence (Matt. 12:45). Even the evil influences brought in from our pre-believers can't hold authority over us if we don't let them, which I'm finding is as simple—and challenging—as believing they don't. Yes, they will make our lives more difficult as we live with the repercussions this influence has on our spouses, but ultimately, the enemy can't hold any power over us.

The workbook I was studying gave a perfect analogy of this using garbage and flies. Think of the garbage as the lies we believe and the flies as the demons. We can swat at those flies but they will keep coming back to the garbage (the lies). When we get rid of the lies (the garbage) the flies have nothing drawing them back. 

"If we deal with the reason the demons are there in the first place, they can be permanently removed without a battle." —Edward M. Smith

I believe the final revelation for me came with the understanding that what I choose (or not choose) to believe limits and removes the enemy's influence in my life. The transformation of our minds (Romans 12:2) is an ongoing and life-long process and one we must be diligent about to maintain, but this truth finally brings home for me that the power lies in my hands through Jesus Christ who strengthens and empowers me, therefore I can do ALL things through Him (Phil 4:13).

My friends, I pray this revelation is making sense and is doing for you what it did for me. And please understand that this is in no way judging or condemning. I still have places in my life where I seem to keep going around the same mountain over and over again. I’m now changing my prayer strategy to ask Holy Spirit to reveal the lies I am believing so that I can root and boot it out. My heart today is to help you see that the choice is in our hands. We are not powerless victims of the enemy. We have the power and we can choose to take action.

Suddenly (I'm starting to truly get these "suddenly" moments now) the fear of the enemy's power in my life is gone. I see the lie for what it is and I know the truth. I do not have to be afraid or dread his attempts to harm me (Ps. 27:1). I hold the power through Jesus Christ's finished work in me (salvation), not the enemy, and I refuse to let him hold fear over me anymore. I am not at his mercy. I am the recipient of God’s mercy and grace.

"And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” — John 8:32

I am understanding this verse on a much deeper level now, and I am determined to keep this revelation rooted deeply in my soul and spirit. SUMites, I pray for each one of us that the ever-shining light of Jesus burning in each of us will expose the lies we have taken upon ourselves to believe so that we will know the truth and be set free. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen!

Share your thoughts in the comments. I would love to “talk” more about this with you! Love you so much, my friends!
SignatureGraphic2


Conference At Merriman in Garden City, MI

Perhaps for a moment in time, just perhaps, we stood upon holy ground.

 

Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

 

I bet many of you know these ladies. They like to hang around SUM! 

SUMite Pillars
Gillian, Teresa, Melissa, Heidi, Joanne

 

Ohio Sumites
Some of the Ohio SUMites: Left to right: Judy, Mindy, Laura, Dawn, Chris

 

Fran Green
This is Beloved, Franie. This conference started in her heart last summer.

 

Lynn Donovan
The Holy Spirit moved. We laughed, cried and we were loved on by our Lord!


Skit
The skit was hilarious. I was cackling. Well done Merriman!
Conference Team
This is the amazing team of leadership that made this day possible. Thank you is inadequate but THANK YOU!

More photos are posted on our SUM Facebook page, click here.

 

The best part of the day is: WE PRAYED. I wish I had a photo to show you what happened at the end of our day. Can anyone who attended share what happened in your heart as you stepped out?

I'm overwhelmed at how the Lord moved on Saturday. Dineen was unable to make it due to her shoulder. So on Thursday I knew that I would speak the entire day. My friends, I can't perform. But I prayed and prayed that our Papa God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit would walk among us and I believe we honored our Lord and He showed up with love and power! I believe lives were touched and I'm teary reading the email messages such as the one at the bottom of this post.

If you were unable to attend, don't feel left out. You are loved and we talked about our amazing community on the web. And now let's pray that Jesus arranges another conference in your area. It would be my humble privilege to meet you, to pray with you and to love on you with our Daddy's love.

Breakfast in the gym
Love these ladies. They were on the front row!!

DSC00088

From Jen:

Lynn,

I do not even know where to begin to thank you. 

I attended your workshop this past Saturday and I am moved beyond words.

When my pastor’s wife invited a small group of us to attend this together I admit I was a little apprehensive.  Not knowing whom she invited I assumed it was only sent to me (or a couple of people) and the other couple of people were nowhere close to my unequal marriage, (so I thought).  I immediately went online and bought your book and WOW!  By the end of just the intros of the both of you, I was in tears, so moved and so motivated. I thought I was the only one in this position, I was alone, I thought nobody understood my marriage, my life, I even questioned my position in my faith and how I possibly could continue to follow Jesus with an unbelieving husband, a daughter 20 years old whom has walked away from Christ and a 13-year-old daughter loving Christ, how could I keep going?

I read the first half of the book in one day and then started over so I could take notes, pages and pages of notes. Ready to register for this workshop, (alone because I figured nobody else in my bible study, church or small group of friends would ever be in the same position I am), the pastor’s wife emailed me again asking if I wanted to go and let me know there were a few others interested. I attended our bible study the next week to tell these women everything I had read and learned up to that point (which was 66% as I am an e book user 😊) and was floored to discover five out of ten women there that night were somewhat in the same position.  Then in our plans for carpooling across the border I find out there was eleven of us going from our church...eleven!!!! Seriously???? I am not alone!!!! So as soon as I got home from the workshop I went directly to your website and signed up, pinned my location and when I looked at all the other pin locations around the world, my heart swelled to see and feel the common love from all over the world.

You were not even five minutes into speaking and I was in tears.  I have come out of this past week with a new light, a renewed hope and joy that is just spilling out of my heart. I went to church this morning and together we found five women sitting alone and we all filled half a row, held hands, hugged, sang to the high heavens and supported and loved on one another like never before. One woman even had an argument with her husband before church today because he did not want to attend anymore and guess who had some loving words of advice for her?  ME!! Little old me! I walk into church today and out of church today with a new song in my heart, a skip in my step and a feeling like I belonged, and better yet, God wanted me there, He loves me! He loves me! He loves me!

So from the bottom of my heart thank you! Thank you for leading me closer to God, thank you for opening my eyes to the women near to me in the same unique position, thank you for introducing me to the thousands of women near and far that feel my pain, my joy, my love and have my back!

Forever indebted and much love, Jen