891 posts categorized "Faith"

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)


Where Is Your Focus

The following post is by Lori Lyn Skipper.

_____

Where is your focus?
Pic credit: Laura Mowrey

With salty tears running down my cheeks, swallowing over the lump in my throat and my heart aching, I begin this blog. 

I learned yesterday a long-time friend and co-sharer of the Gospel passed on to Glory in the morning. Upon reading the news yesterday my mind began wandering to years past. And conviction fell. And today as I was looking at her pictures, again, conviction fell.

She was one of the most beautiful, God-fearing women I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Not only was she beautiful on the outside, she genuinely had a beautiful heart and spirit.  My heart aches for her husband, her children, her brother and best friend/sister-in-law and her parents. It also aches for all those who knew her and for those that never had the great pleasure of making her acquaintance.

If you knew my friend, you would know love. Oh, she loved/loves her Lord! She loved her husband and her children, and she loved them well!! She loved her family, friends, the Body of Christ and those who have not yet made a commitment to our Savior. She exuded and amplified the Father’s love to everyone she encountered.

She was a very anointed worship leader, her and her husband. It did not matter where you would run into her, she had a genuine smile on her face. Their middle child was disabled, he was very limited in what he was able to do for himself. That in itself would have brought physical, mental and financial hardships, yet, she smiled, held onto her faith and worshipped her King through it all! (She is now reunited with him).  Even through the past months, during the battle she fought with her health, my other beautiful God-fearing friend said she still held onto faith and worshipped her King. How? Why was she able to do that? It was her focus!

It wasn’t like mine, I focused on the seasoned salt my husband left behind on the stovetop and this left me agitated. Or on the crusty food left on the counter where my husband cooked. Or the fact that my house had not been vacuumed for three weeks. Let us not forget that I had become overwhelmed with my business, home life, health and taking care of my mom. Those things became a burden for me. When in all truthfulness, they should have become a reason for me to be thankful! Why? It’s all about focus.

Shortly after I heard the news of my beloved friend, one of my clients emailed me not to worry about the $800 I still owed him. His reasoning, “What does $800 matter in the scheme of eternity?” OUCH!!

What does $800 matter in the scheme of eternity? That’ll make you put the brakes on really quick! $800 is not chump change, it could come in handy right now but when the focus is on ‘the scheme of eternity’, it means nothing!! (Matthew 6:24)

The things that matter in this life, on this side of eternity should be our focus. My focus should have been, “God, thank you that I have a husband, not just any husband, but MY husband. The one who loves to cook.” “God, thank you that I have a home to clean, when there are so many that are homeless.” “God, thank you for a business that allows me time to do what I want or the things You call me to do.” “Thank you for the food that I have to eat that I or my husband can leave a mess behind.” “Father, thank you for allowing my mom to move to Florida, that we can be reconciled together.”

There are souls to be saved for the Kingdom of God! There are millions who have not yet heard the wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are thousands upon thousands that are lost and looking to be found. How many there are that are sick, diseased and dying without any hope. We have the answer! It’s LOVE. Just as my friend exuded Love to everyone she met, I challenge all of us to become Love. (1 John 4:7-19).

I leave you with the question, “Where is your focus?”

Please leave a comment below so we can all pray for one another. May you know the Fathers love today greater than you’ve ever experienced it!

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image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHi, Lori Lyn Skipper here! I’m happy to say I am 51 years young, married to my husband John. We have three grown children between the two of us. I have two boys and he has a daughter as well as a granddaughter. My husband and I married in June 2016. I moved to sunny Florida in 2012. I often say I’m an Illinois girl living in a Florida world. I came to meet Jesus in mid-1996 but did not accept Him as my Lord & Savior until January 1997. Let me tell you, He’s had His work cut out since I say yes to His call. I often envision God shaking His head at my antics, you know, how we do with our own children.

I kind of resemble Paul, “the chief of sinners.” Well, I used to be, now I’m no longer a sinner, I’m a saint saved by grace that sometimes still sins. A couple of my passions are to see people healed, delivered and set free by the power of Holy Spirit and the body walking in their gifts and calling of the Lord. Getting to be a part of that is so fun and such a blessing.


This Is Just The Pits!

Josephs-Coat-of-Many-Colours Josephs-Coat-of-Many-ColoursHello Sum family!

Tiffany here:

It is very easy to see the heaviness and struggle going on in the world. Just in our own community there is a weight of illness, backsliding (in ourselves or our spouses), addictions, anger, depression, anxiety, spiritual attacks to our identity, self-worth, motivation, and will to keep going in the faith. There is bitterness and envy, there is confusion and doubt - toward others and even God Himself. It's like we have lost sight of who we REALLY are (we'll talk more about this later).

Before I continue, I want to preface that I don't believe that our SUM community is in this bad of shape. I don't believe that we are all struggling at all times. I do however, see a trend of these things happening in the ranks...and it seems to be increasing. I myself have been struggling a lot lately. I feel as though I have opened the door to anger and fits of rage again and it is running rampant and tearing apart my family as I unleash it's fury over my husband and children. I know I am not a monster and YET...that is what the evidence has been showing me lately (tune in next time to learn more about evidence - it's life changing!).

This is where the grace of God comes in. Where the Spirit of the Lord is - there is what? FREEDOM!

In these next couple of posts, I want to share some things that I have been learning recently in God's classroom and I pray that as we work through these things together, we will gain ground in our faith and also in victory over struggles.

I have been reading From Dream to Destiny by Robert Morris (you can find the book here). In this book he walks us through the life of Joseph and explains that there are ten different tests that we must go through in order to fulfill the purposes that God has on your life. Reading this book has been so insightful. I have been able to look at the life of Joseph in such a different way. The test I want to touch on is the Pit Test (chapter 2). Let's check in on Joseph:

So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan. Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. Then they said to one another, "Look, this dreamer is coming! Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ' Some wild beast has devoured him.' We shall see what will become of his dreams!" But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, "Let us not kill him." And Reuben said to them, "Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him" - that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father. So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it (Gen. 37:17-24).

 As we just saw, his brothers conspired to kill him. In verses 4 and 8 of Genesis 37 we find out that his brothers all hate Joseph because he was Jacob's favorite. It made matters worse when Joseph so shamelessly shared the dreams that he had of being bowed down to by his brothers and his parents. Morris goes into more detail throughout the previous chapter (chapter 1) of his book but essentially Joseph's pride is what mainly caused this rift in his family. Out of his pride he helped fuel the events that led him to this pit moment.

So what about us? What is the pit test? How do we end up in the pit?

Like it or not, all of us will go through some times when we feel as if things are just the pits. We may not be sure just how we got into that pit - and even less sure as to how to get ourselves out. But one thing is certain - we won't move ahead into our destiny unless we get out of that pit...Jesus knew we would have trouble because He know we would be living in a world contaminated by the effects of sin. As a consequence of sin, this world is full of  trouble - and pits are just one form of it. Pits are simply a by-product of a fallen world. (From Dream to Destiny, p.29, 31)

Next time I want to talk about the mind blowing truth I gleaned from this book about our time in the pit and how Satan schemes to keep us there. Until then, I can't wait to see you in the comments. What kind of pit are you in right now? How can we pray for you as a family to raise you up out of it?

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Corinth. 15:57

 


Inside God's Cedar Chest

Cedar-chest-600

By Martha Bush

It was 4:30 A.M., April 22, 2017. My mother’s nurse tapped me on my leg while I was grabbing a short nap on the sofa down the hall from my mother’s room where she lay at the point of death.

I sat up quickly at the feel of the nurse’s soft gentle touch and immediately said, “She is gone, isn’t she?” “Yes,” the nurse nodded.

As the dawn of day lurched forward with a beautiful array of sunshine despite death all around me, funeral arrangements had to be made and relatives and friends had to be called.

A few days after the funeral, we left Georgia headed back to our home in Texas to clear my mind before I took on the task of returning to Georgia in a month to empty out my mother’s home, so I could sell it.

However, two weeks later, we received a phone call – my husband’s sister had passed away in the same small town where I had laid my mother to rest. And so it was, we rushed back for the same process to take place all over again.

It was then I felt like screaming, “Stop this train! I want off! Two deaths within two weeks; this is too much to handle!”

But, there was no time for grieving the loss of our loved ones. We now had two houses to empty and sell plus decisions had to be made on what items we would haul back to Texas to keep for our home.

As the sorting got under way, we quickly decided that among the pieces of furniture that we definitely would be keeping were two beautiful antique cedar chests that each of them had. As we peaked inside each one, a story began to unfold right before our eyes as we observed each piece of its contents.

  • their personal Bibles that had been marked and underlined on almost every page
  • Grandma and Grandpa’s Bibles
  • diaries of family history from previous generations
  • artwork from their grandchildren and great grandchildren
  • letters from family
  • picture albums upon picture albums (no pictures on computers for these ladies, 91 and 93 years young)
  • hand-crafted afghans, quilts, and beautiful works of embroidery
  • special pieces of jewelry designated for family members

I could go on and on listing things, but by now you are probably getting the picture that they had secured their most treasured possessions inside their cedar chest for safe keeping to be handed down to the next generation.

It got me to thinking, “if God had a cedar chest, what would be inside?”

And then, it suddenly dawned on me what was inside. Take a look!

For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure. (Deuteronomy 7:6 NLT)

Doesn’t that just blow your mind that the creator of the universe hand-picked us to be in His special treasure? Of all the things He has created and could have chosen, He picked us, mankind, to place inside His own cedar chest, if you please.

And yet, we sometimes don’t see ourselves as a special treasure to God.

  • Often times, we have faced so much rejection, as well as verbal, emotional, and physical abuse that it has ripped away our self-esteem, and we no longer know who we are, or believe we are special
  • Still again, the wages of our own sin hangs on us like filthy rags because we have not accepted His forgiveness. Oh yes, self-condemnation is a big one that keeps us from recognizing ourselves as a special treasure.
  • We are also prone to allow the business of the day and the storms of life that come at us from all different directions to beat us down, leaving us torn apart by the storm’s raging winds.

I believe it grieves the heart of God when we don’t see ourselves as He sees us. After all, He bought the whole world to obtain His special treasure, and He wants us to see ourselves as He sees us.

I am convinced that “How we live our lives as God’s special treasure is what we hand down to the next generation. It becomes a powerful testimony of how we used our gifts and strengths God gave us to further the Kingdom of God.”

******  

Okay, Sumite Friends: It is DECLARATION DAY!

Using my family’s cedar chest as a symbol of God’s cedar chest, what would we find inside of it that makes you special to God. Tell us about your gifts and strengths God has given you.

This is not bragging on yourself; it is declaring who you know you are in Christ, and how He has uniquely designed you that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.  (1 Peter 2:9)

In the comments, share God’s special treasure (YOU) that will be passed on to your next generation as a part of your legacy.

I can’t wait to learn more about the special treasure you are.

Martha

 Cedar-chest-600


God Changed My Lens

 

By Ann Hutchison

“It’s excruciating”, I murmured to myself, munching on my toast and staring out the window. As usual, I was mulling over the fact that my husband and I had found ourselves in this … 'horrible' … spiritually mismatched situation. 

It happened to us late in life.  There we were hitting forty, and life had been going according to plan. Then, one day, God landed in our home – through me.  It shook us to the core. 

My husband is a good planner, so this one blindsided him. “I'm not the one who changed and this is not what I married!” He sounded almost angry. 

I couldn't blame him; I was the one who'd changed. I felt so bad.   Open

Bad, that was, until God nudged me differently. Don’t, Ann. However it looks and whatever the hiccups, this conversion will only cause home improvement (Proverbs 31:10-12). 


Ok, I really wasn’t seeing said improvement, but I took the nudge and did something symbolic: I left Proverbs 31 open on my kitchen bench and walked past it as I pottered – back and forth, back and forth. I peeked at the promises occasionally. It’s good that I changed. It's good.

That was helpful. But one night soon after, things took a terrible turn. I came back from a church event and told my husband how very up for God I was – very up for God! I wasn’t prepared for his response: “I don’t know you anymore!” he despaired, putting his head in his hands. 

That night neither of us slept. The next morning, I was resolved, and it wasn't in the right direction. “God help me,” I thought, “I need that man in my bed and I’m not going to lose him for anything.”  And so I shut myself in the bathroom, and crumpled on the floor: “God, I can’t follow you. It’s too hard. I’m out.” 

Ouch. That was an awful day. 

The problem was, I couldn't opt out that easily for I knew by then that God was real. Once you know, where else can you go? Soon after, I took a lone car journey. It gave me the chance to talk to God. As the countryside sped by, my tears flowed, and I whimpered: “I don’t really feel I have much choice here but to say yes to You. But will Bryce leave me?” To my amazement, He answered, and this is what He said:

“Your faith brushes against him like a feather.”  

Wow. I started to think about what a feather feels like: soft, gentle and nice.  And then, slowly I cracked a smile. But there was more:

“The more you love Jesus, the more your husband will love you.” 

Wow again. This was not what I saw but I could choose to trust it (Prov 3:5). 

I wish I could say my choice to follow Jesus was settled then, but it wasn’t. Soon afterwards a fiery battle hit my mind. I began to feel tormented by the fact I was ‘one’ with other Christians (1 Cor 12:27; Psalm 16:3) and with my husband (Mark 10:8). I suppose I felt like I was having an affair with a whole group of other people and that my husband would hate it. I tried repeatedly to run away from the pull of church, the pull of His body, and the pull of Jesus. That was when the Holy Spirit cut through my mess:

“Your husband doesn’t need to feel threatened by My Body.” 

BAM!  Those words came like a shot. Once again, it was a choice to trust what seemed utterly counter-intuitive: His truth. 

As I trusted those particular truths, the battle disappeared. It took a couple of years, but victory came. Those truths were ultimately a sword to my heart – they plunged deep, killing the old me. It was as if God gave me my way out, my victory (Rom 8:37). All I had to do was receive His lens. Now that I look back I don't just crack a feeble smile, I beam from ear to ear. And my husband is coping perfectly well too. My faith was not the marriage disaster I feared it would be. In fact, it's been quite the opposite.

So, that's my story. If yours is similar to mine and you would like prayer, please share in the comments or get in touch -- I'll gladly pray, as will others. 

In friendship,

Ann


Day Five - A Powerful Communion

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comFast concludes at Sundown today.

*****

Have you ever pondered the weird story in John 6 where Jesus commands his followers to eat His flesh and drink His blood? Of course, today we understand the meaning, post cross. But what if you were a follower of Christ sitting among others, prior to the cross, and this man tells you to eat his skin and drink his blood. Ick!!! Many became offended and this is why.

At the time, animal and human sacrifices were common place. The people of antiquity, Jerusalem, were aware the occult world drank human blood to increase their power on earth. This still happens in the occult world today. Followers of Christ were repelled to consider this practice because a blood covenant is/was the highest form of a covenant/agreement. When you eat/drink the flesh and blood you are taking in the essence of life, consuming everything associated with the sacrifice.

And here is Jesus saying: I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever…. (Just take that in for a minute.)

What is interesting to note is the significance of who Jesus is as He is saying this. He was born of an incorruptible seed, a virgin birth. The seed of God (Holy Spirit), not the seed of Adam (1 Peter 1:23). We are all born out of the corruptible seed, Adam, until we are born again.

My friends, each time we take into our bodies the emblems of flesh and blood, we are taking into ourselves the transformation of Christ. His incorruptible essence, ALL THINGS, connected to Him are brought into our bodies and our spirit. It is a beautiful exchange where the blood goes into our blood steam, our bodies, and His blood carries all the potential of Christ into our lives. Christ is reproduced in us and this practice is transforming us into something different.

The partaking of His body carries His divine nature, all of His essence, to conform us into His image.

Hallelujah, Jesus!

In faith, we take the juice/wine, drink it into our body and eat the bread and acknowledge that we are being changed to resemble the resurrection power and glory of Christ. It sanctifies us and makes us holy, perfected and welcomed to sit in the very presence of God.

Communion is our transformation by the blood into a powerful spiritual being becoming one in desire, purposes, will and eternal life with Christ.

This is why Jesus was adamant about eating and drinking His blood. Communion isn’t just remembering Jesus’ sacrifice, it is an emblematic gesture of faith, as the blood circulates through our system we are being transformed, glory to glory, strength to strength through our faith and obedience.

Raise your cup now. Give thanks and as you drink, allow Jesus to transform your failings into victory, your fear into faith, your loss into gain, ashes into beauty because THAT is what communion is really doing for you.

Holy mind-blow!

Partake of the flesh now and hear Jesus speak, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

Christ in us, the hope of glory!

Gang, what a fantastic amazing communion! Every time you take communion from this day forward, it’s truly a celebration and it’s a living, on-going transformation. The cup received in FAITH is changing us. Each and every time as we receive His incorruptible essence. Woo HOOOOOOOO!

By the way, I find it incredibly interesting that a few short verses later many of the disciples abandoned Jesus because they were offended by the eating and drinking of the flesh and blood. Do you know what chapter and verse this occurs?

John 6:66 (666)

Whoa!  Just Whoa!

Take communion this last day of our fast. The victories, the triumphs the answers, the intimacy that will come from this week of sacrifice, has set you up for a powerful 2018 and for LIFE -life in abundance. And that’s a promise! (John 10:10)

Thank you for walking in faith and fasting this week. Your prayers were heard. All of heaven is so proud and now step out in bold faith and bring heaven to earth. I love you. Lynn

Comments: Share your thoughts, triumphs, revelation and more about your fast this week. See you there!


1 Peter 3 - Same But Different

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comThank you, Martha, for your powerful post about submission vs obedience on Friday. I believe she is working on a follow up and I will post it when she sends it along.

Today, I want to continue with what the Lord was showing me a few weeks ago about 1 Peter 3. If you recall, God has me camped in the books of Peter and He suggested I read all of the chapters. Reading chapter three, I sensed the Holy Spirit focus on something we, the unequally yoked, usually miss because we are hung up on the first verse and we miss the rest. And the rest of the passage is amazing.

So, let’s look at this passage.

1 Peter 3New International Version (NIV)

3 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,

2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.

4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands,

6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

As I read through this the Lord said, “Read it differently. What if the verses were in a different order?”

Then I heard the passage like this:

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, you are (Sarah’s) daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Okay, I realize this is only my conversation with the Lord, so please understand, I am not changing scripture but as I read the scripture in this order, I felt the Lord help me to change focus.

I could feel conviction of the Lord to submit to my husband to win him to faith but ALSO to do what is right and not give way to fear. The Holy Spirit flooded my heart with understanding. Submission is a behavior of obedience to God and that kind of behavior is what will win the hearts of our husbands. Also, I realized that fear does not communicate faith to unbelievers. In fact, worldly people perceive fear as a weakness.

What I believe the Lord was trying to show me is that back in the day, when the church was new, people were converting to faith in droves for the very first time. They didn’t know how to proceed when they came to faith and found themselves in a marriage with an unbeliever. Peter, sharing under the Holy Spirit unction, is urging them/us to remain married and preserve the family. Yet, live out authentic faith without fear. When we do so, our obedient behavior to the Lord is the testimony to our unbelieving spouse. This kind of faith without fear is straight from the heart of God. And when empowered by the gifts of the Spirit, results in a beautiful submission out of love, compassion, great wisdom and the power of God to our spouse, our marriage, our family and ultimately to God for His glory.

Bold faith brings thousands to Christ. That’s a fact. Faith is NOT a weakness nor for the weak minded. It’s a powerful life of miracles, provision, protections and more. When we demonstrate that we live and believe in THAT kind of Kingdom, people are moved, changed, and want to be part of it.

After this revelation I sensed how the devil turns our hearts to believe the way to receive our husband’s approval is: Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. (vs 3)

However, lasting beauty/relationships are developed through behaviors of authenticity and vulnerability, exactly like this: Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (vs 4) when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. (vs 2)

By the way, this is what makes a marriage successful.

Wow and WOW! Okay, thank you for allowing me to share my prayer time with you. I think that 90 percent of all the decisions we make, are motivated out of fear or love. And this passage speaks exactly to the core of our beliefs. It’s a daily battle to choose love and to operate out of the gifts of the Spirit and overcome our fears.

Share your thoughts. Does this resonate with you and how can we encourage one another to operate out of love and not fear? Hugs, Lynn


Could You Walk Around Nude?

Canaries in fig tree SUMDo you read the stories in the Bible about those who died, who gave their lives up, for the cause of Christ? What about modern martyr accounts of believers in the middle east who are being killed for their Christian faith? Do you walk in faith that you could do the same?

I often cry out in prayer, “Lord, I want more of you. Lord, make me so strong in faith that if one day I must choose to die or take the mark of the beast, that I would be willing and able to die for the cause of Christ.”

Perhaps you don’t pray like this. It’s just that for me, I sometimes wonder if I could stand on my faith and die for Jesus. After all, there are believers right now, today, who will stand for Christ and ISIS will kill them.

GULP.

Recently I was reading in the book of Isaiah. I arrived at this passage and I wept:

In the year when King Sargon of Assyria sent his commander in chief to capture the Philistine city of Ashdod, the Lord told Isaiah son of Amoz, “Take off the burlap you have been wearing, and remove your sandals.” Isaiah did as he was told and walked around naked and barefoot. Then the Lord said, “My servant Isaiah has been walking around naked and barefoot for the last three years. —Isaiah 20: 1-3

I wept out loud, “Lord, I couldn’t do this. If you told me to go around nude for three years, I COULDN’T DO IT. If I can’t do this, how in the world could I die for you?”

Geeze, as I type this is sound overly dramatic. Ahem, ya! I’m NOT nuts!

But when you cry out for more of God and tell Him you are a servant that follows hard after Him, you think about these things.

So, while on my walk-n-pray today, I asked God about all this. I prayed, “Lord, I don’t know if I could do i. But I pray that if the situation should ever arrive, I could walk through whatever you have asked of me.”

It was in that moment that I heard the Lord’s kind and gentle voice reply. “Lynn, you walk through your own challenges every day. You willingly submit to your marriage vows, even when it’s difficult. You remain steadfast and committed to praying for your spouse and family. This is immensely important to me.”

“Many, people crumble under way less that what all of you, the SUMites, live out. So many people, carelessly cast away their marriages. You choose to remain steadfast. Your faithfulness is way more important. I know you can’t perceive the end of the story but your prayers for that one man are impacting. Your lifetime of sacrifice fills my heart with a special love for you.”

I felt as though the Lord wants all of us to know that because we haven’t bailed out on a challenging marriage, He is proud. He is helping us. He hears our prayers and somehow in a way, this life-long sacrifice IS the giving of our life for the cause of Christ.

Well done SUMites! Well done!

And for those of you who are walking through divorce, there is absolutely NO CONDEMNATION in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) I spend time with so many of you who have fought with all you have to heal your marriage and yet it didn’t happen. Please know, your faith and your love in very challenging circumstances is a precious gift to our Lord!

Hugging all of you today! Lynn

Next post: I want to share from the archives:

GOING TO CHURCH ALONE.

Gang, can I just say – Grrrrrrrrr

This is so hard. I know that for me this was an area that was of intense and great struggle. Even today, I truly desire my husband to join me for church on Sunday. I’ve had to wrangle through all of the different aspects of church non-attendance with my husband. I’m certain many of you have as well…..


Every Victory Begins With THIS!

Hi Family,

Who Am I SUMWe are a family. Being a part of something bigger than ourselves is part of our  spiritual DNA. We were created for connection. We were created to belong. To live in intimacy. Learning to love one another and learning to love our Father.

I’ve just returned from the Heaven Come conference. Three days filled with profound, life-altering worship and teaching that will live forever in my soul.

Attending an event for the Christian faith is an interesting experience. I wonder if you are like me in that you have attended many events that make you feel good about yourself and living for Jesus. However, you return home to the same-old-same-ole and quickly lose all the joy or hope that you came home with? Anyone relate?

However, each year that I attend this conference, something profound occurs. And this year I arrived home with such a powerful conviction to speak about identity.

IDENTITY.

Understanding our identity is everything to living in victory. So, I think that in the next few weeks, the Holy Spirit is urging me to lead all of us in learning about our identity.

Why?

Because out of our identity comes healing. Our understanding of our spiritual place in the Kingdom releases us into our destiny. Our identity is the core of our freedom, healing, hope and our future.

As we walk through identity, I also want to directly confront some of the societal issues that attack identity. Gender, sexuality, and more. I know these issues are controversial in the general public but also in the church. But right now, in our homes, we are trying to raise children to step into their God given calling and the enemy is doing everything to destroy them as men and women. Our spouses listens to the talking heads that shout absolute lies about who we are as people. And as SUMites, we are often shamed by our spouse who puts us down for believing in what they deem as a faith for the weak.

BUT let me be the voice of reason and truth. In the last several years, I have lived out of my full identity and I AM FREE. I am brave and I have helped others find their freedom. I have so much freedom and equipping to give the people of God. And I have insight to help you guide your children through love and not condemnation. I have wisdom, I believe, given by our Father to share how to walk in complete truth and faith in these modern days and handle the issues that confront the truths of God’s holy Word.

I also see our SUM community walking out of shame. Becoming free of condemnation and the need to “save” our spouse. Would you like to step out of shame? Would you like to silence the voice of confusion over sexual identity and know how to walk with others through this issues with love and hope?

Do you have a heart for those who are living in deception and fear? Are you living in fear and shame….. Well my dearest friend, GOD HAS HEARD YOUR PRAYERS. Let’s travel these next few weeks ahead and learn what is truth and how we can live and help our kids live in truth without being hateful or cruel.

And I ask all of you, SUMites, even if you ask the question of yourself, "Who am I" and you feel as though you have a firm identity in Christ, I ask you to walk this out because it may be that there are a few lies that remain hidden about who you are and whose you are that our Great God wants to bust wide open. 

God heals all and we are going to emerge from these weeks and guess what? Confusion will be banished. Love will be paramount. Our hearts will be filled with courage because we know the truth and truth will set you free. 

So, I enter this series with trembling and much prayer. It is scary to take a stand in social media for the Word of God but we are at a tipping point. We MUST learn the truth of our identity. We must walk in our true identity first and then we can help others discover their true identity. It’s in confronting the lies that our healing and healing of the world will happen.

Will you pray for me as I stand in the courage I’ve mustered up to share. Pray I am continually anointed by the Holy Spirit and all that I write is truth and wrapped in love.

What say you SUMites? Do you want to walk this difficult but needful path this season?

I love you. This next week is critical to launch into a the new season of God. Pray and seek His face. He has amazing assignments ahead for this new season and He wants us to be fully free and equipped to set in and behold the glory. Hugs, Lynn


You Are Loved: How Much Does God Love Us?

My friends, did you experience a breakthrough through our study together? What do you feel God did in you through the revelations of His love and promises for you? Please share your heart, your doodles and your coloring pages.

And thank you again for joining me as we walked through the truths of Romans 8 through Scriptures and coloring. I pray you are continually embraced in and transformed by God's great love for you!

Love you so much! 
Dineen

TWEETABLE TRUTH: 

“Jesus has the authority to condemn, but He chose another way—the way of sacrificial love. For He knew to condemn would drive us away and His desire was to be the solution to draw us near.” pg. 50 #youarelovedcoloringbiblestudy  goo.gl/qG9HBT

 

Romans8BookCover

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You Are Loved: Is God Good?

 

Remember to share what you're learning in the comments. Did you identify a struggle? What is God's promise and provision for that? For you? Share your heart, your doodles and your coloring pages! Hugs! ~Dineen

TWEETABLE TRUTH: 

“His loves reaches us from the past of the cross, carries us through the present, and ushers us into eternity. It’s constant and relentless—for us and for those we love and pray for.” pg. 46 #youarelovedcoloringbiblestudy  goo.gl/qG9HBT

You Are Loved Coloring Book Study Schedule

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

Romans8BookCover

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You Are Loved: Why Do We Wait and Hope?

Remember to share what you're learning in the comments. What is your believing statement? Share your heart, your doodles and your coloring pages! Hugs! ~Dineen

TWEETABLE TRUTH: 

“God’s Word will transform you. Reed it, believe it, and trust Him to do it—because He watches over His Word to fulfill it (Jer. 1:12).” pg. 37 #youarelovedcoloringbiblestudy  goo.gl/qG9HBT

You Are Loved Coloring Book Study Schedule

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

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You Are Loved: How Do We Live Free?

 

Remember to share what you're learning in the comments. What is God's promise for you? Share your heart, your doodles and your coloring pages! Hugs! ~Dineen

TWEETABLE TRUTH: 

What is God's promise for you? pg. 33  #youarelovedcoloringbiblestudy  goo.gl/qG9HBT

You Are Loved Coloring Book Study Schedule

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

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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

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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

 


Let's Share and Celebrate!

Rev12
My friends, I had a message planned for today, but as I prayed, asking the Holy Spirit what was on His heart for us, He inspired me to make this a day of celebration. He pointed out the encouragement received through my testimony on Monday and led me to have you do the very same thing.

So I declare this to be a day to share whatever you see God doing in your life and those you love and pray for. Even if it's the smallest of things (maybe only to you...), share it. It could very well be the catalyst to greater hope and faith for someone reading here today. You just never know what God will use through us to help someone else. He LOVES to do that. He LOVES to partner with us in helping others. He LOVES to work all things out for a GOOD and GREAT REPORT!

A TESTIMONY!

And as Revelations 12:10-11 tells us, this is how we truly defeat the enemy, by speaking out those great reports—large and small—which are declaring we are overcomers, more than conquerers, and the power-of-God-filled, children of God! The enemy is already defeated, and continues to be every time you confess who you are.

SUMites, share in the comments and let's celebrate each other and praise God for what He is doing in our lives. If you're not sure what to share, read the comments and watch how the Holy Spirit will inspire and show you what He's doing for and in you. I have a feeling many of you will be delightfully surprised!

Holy Spirit, give each of us fresh eyes and perspective to see the things of God operating and working in our lives and those we love, that are the evidence of Christ Jesus and the Goodness of God at work. In the mighty name of Jesus, and by His shed blood, we declare today that we ARE more than conquerers and the world shall know it by the word of our testimony. AMEN!!!

Love you, dear friends! Rejoicing with you!
Dineen


The Rooms in God's House

Hello, dear friends! So good to be back with you this week! I couldn't wait to share this beautiful revelation from John 14. God's Word is so very present and for us now. I pray this insight brings that home to your hearts in an astounding way. 

The words I am referencing:

Rooms: monē — a staying, abode, mansion, abiding, dwelling, metaphor of the God the Holy Spirit indwelling believers
(comes from menō — to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): — abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for), thine own, live, not to depart.

House: oikia — a house, an inhabited edifice, a dwelling

Way: hodos — way, journey, metaphorically a way (i.e. manner) of thinking, feeling, deciding.

And I hope this prayer blessed you and your marriage as you wait in expectancy for God to fill the "room" of our spouse's heart with the love of Jesus. Amen!

Love you!
Dineen


Oh, Captain…Our Captain! by Dee Rusnak

“For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” — Hebrews 2:10

When you think of a wilderness, what is the first picture that pops into your mind? Perhaps a tree-thick forest, or a breathtaking landscape of a mountain terrain, or even the soft extending sands of desert dunes? What about a wasteland? Desolation? Emptiness? Solitude? This is the biblical description for wilderness, or eremos, the place where Jesus was driven immediately following His Baptism. The Spirit of God descended upon Him and promptly began His work…launching His Son into the arid wilderness to be tested and tempted in every way for 40 days.

IMG_0083The first temptation of man took place in a plush garden with gorgeous scenery, fresh crisp air, warm comforting breezes, surrounded by the musical sounds of life. The first temptation of Jesus occurred in the dry desolate wilderness that resembled death, with the air thick, heavy and dry as the scorching heat of the sun beat down amid the deafening sounds of stillness.

Adam’s human hunger was always completely satisfied. Jesus went without food day after day for well over a month. Adam was not alone. Jesus was in solitude. Both were sinless, yet the temptations brought drastically different results. Adam had everything, even the God of all creation walking along side of him, but succumbed to wanting more. Jesus gave up everything, intentionally experiencing the sufferings of sinful man, overcoming every temptation, and defeating evil at the height of its strength. The first catapulted us into darkness, while the second transports us into His great light. The first a defeat. The second a victory.

In order to serve His suffering people, Jesus had to experience for Himself the human condition where suffering became a reality. From it He can deeply sympathize with His followers in every way. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering…stricken by God…pierced for our transgressions …crushed for our iniquities…and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:3-6) As we suffer through our hardships and trials, we begin to see our true selves and our helpless state, turning to our Captain who’s been there and can bring us through it! Accordingly, we can be there for others as well.

We cannot plead for our own cause. But, for all who believe and rely on His sacrifice, and based upon the accomplishments of His death, we have a Captain, a High Priest, who has purchased for us the Spirit and grace of God, removing the crushing weight of our own depravity upon the soul. His power bestows that same endless spiritual life, keeping us secure, while His intercession continuously presents before the Father the very reason why we should be saved. Herein lies our hope for the souls of our spouses. “But because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. Such a High Priest truly meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.” — Hebrews 7:24-26

The 19th century poet Walt Whitman composed the poem “O Captain! My Captain!” following Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. Within its stanzas, Whitman expresses the great relief following the treacheries of the Civil War, battling the storms to abolish slavery, receiving the prize of peace in the nation, and celebrating all the Captain (Lincoln) had accomplished. A Captain whose sorrow was compounded with every hardship experienced by his nation. Whitman’s Captain unexpectedly passed away to death. Our Captain purposely passed from death into life! Our Captain leads us through the battles of this life, experiencing every sorrow we endure. When the temptations come, whether in a lush garden or the darkest wasteland, His power is made available to overcome sin’s strongest hold, setting the captives free. We celebrate all that our Captain has accomplished on His cross, and what He continues to accomplish daily in us. He never leaves us to ourselves or we would surely fall. We are kept by His power and His prayer, fortified by His grace, which is sufficient as He lovingly walks us through this life and into the next. Oh, Captain…Our Captain! “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” — 2 Corinthians 12:9

DarDee Rusnak and her husband live in Westerville, Ohio, were they spend their retirement years taking great delight in their 5 grandchildren.


How God Spoke to My Heart About My Husband

Dear friends, I am on "vacation" this week. It's actually my oldest daughter, Rachel, who is on vacation and spending the week with Mike and I. We won't get to see her at Christmas this year so I am making the most of this week with my girl. I'll be back next next week.

In the meantime, this testimony from Alissa is so beautiful and powerful, of how God met her, reassured her, and even gave her revelation and insight to understand what was really at the heart of her husband's choice to be an agnostic. When I asked her if I could share her testimony here, this is what she said:

Absolutely you can use this. One thing I learned on my missions trip was the power of testimony. We learned that the word testimony, literally means 'God do it again'. So if my testimony can give someone else hope and encouragement that is really the ultimate goal, God do it again!

Thank you, Alissa! 

Be encouraged, SUMites. God has you and your spouse, right in the palm of His hand. He never lets go. Hugs! ~Dineen

 

How God Spoke to My Heart About My Husband
by Alissa Berglund

Alissa BA little back story first...  A couple of weeks ago I went on a missions trip to Romania while my husband stayed back and took care of the kids. While I was on my trip he got together with some of our friends (all unbelievers) and they got into a discussion about faith and God. Fast forward to this week. I went on a walk with my best friend who isn't a believer but is open to God and she was telling me that this discussion and taken place but didn't offer up any details, and I didn't push for the whole story, just listened to what she offered up.
 
After the walk on Wednesday night my hubby Andy and I got talking and I asked him about the conversation that had taken place. He told me that him and some of the other had arrived at the conclusion that they didn't know where they stood in terms of faith, but that he felt like he is searching for answers and "proof" of God's existence. Then he blurts out that he identifies as an agnostic.
 
I don't know what that was so hard to hear... but having him label or identify himself with a certain set of beliefs just pierced me. I started reading about agnostics and the more I read the more defeated and beat down I felt. It's like a huge mountain is before me that I have no clue how to conquer. Yesterday I was mowing the lawn and just pouring out my heart to God, just pleading with him to move in Andy's life and bring be peace about this. God was oddly silent, but just kept telling him I trusted him and it's not my job to save Andy but his. I almost got on the Summite website to ask you all for prayer because I was so discouraged.
 
This morning I was running late and I got into my car and Faith Radio was on. Usually in the mornings they talk politics so I was about to change it, when all of a sudden the host starts talking to his guest about agnostics.... WHAT??  I perked up. This guys starts explaining how some agnostics become the way they are.  He said a lot of times deep pain is the beginning of unbelief. Wouldn't you know it... Andy lost his mom to cancer at age 9 and he has always wondered why God didn't answer his prayers and heal her. Then he starts giving practical steps to impacting an agnostic for Christ, loving them, being in relationship with them, listening more talking less, not pushing the gospel on them, getting into the Word and other resources about apologetics... but most of all trusting that the Holy Spirit will move and there will come a tipping point when they experience the realness of God.
 
It was as if God was speaking directly to my heart, saying... see I heard you last night...  I haven't forgotten your struggle or where Andy is. I just was so encouraged and lifted that this isn't my battle but God's. I feel like God is preparing a prayer strategy for me that is very specific to my husband. I've been trying to pray for him consistently every day on my drive in to work since I started a new job. I just want to up my game and do my part to cover him in prayer.
 
So that's it!! Just wanted to share that with someone :)  Just remember it's not our battle alone, but God's.
 
-Alissa
 
About Alissa: 
Married to my high school sweetheart and a mom to two energetic boys. Lakeville MN is where I call home, most summer days you can find me outside taking pictures of sunsets or collecting rocks.

Knowing God's Voice

These are the Greek words from John 10 that I'm speaking about:

Know: ginōskō; a prolonged form of a primary verb; to “know” (absolutely) in a great variety of applications and with many implications (as follow, with others not thus clearly expressed): — allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know(-ledge), perceived, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand.

Nameonoma; from a presumed derivative of the base of ginōskō; a “name” (literally or figuratively) (authority, character): — called, (+ sur-)name(-d).

Truly: amēn; of Hebrew origin; properly, firm, i.e. (figuratively) trustworthy; adverbially, surely (often as interjection, so be it): — amen, verily.
(The word "amen" is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best known word in human speech. The word is directly related -- in fact, almost identical -- to the Hebrew word for "believe" (amam), or faithful. Thus, it came to mean "sure" or "truly", an expression of absolute trust and confidence. -- HMM)

Thanks for listening, my friends!
Dineen


When Your Spouse Walks Away From God

Ps34-22My friends, as you can see from the title, we tackling a very difficult and painful topic today. It’s one I think we should address as it’s something many of you are living out. And one of you even asked for this subject to be addressed on our recent survey.

Please. Please talk about spouses leaving the faith. — Kelly

So, let me first say to Kelly and all those SUMites out there in this same position that I am so sorry. The closest I can come to relate to this kind of situation is how I felt when my husband made the choice of atheism. He’d recently bought a Bible, and I was convinced he would soon join me in this faith journey. Needless to say I was devastated. 

But God helped me let go of my expectations and to trust Him to bring my marriage through to a place of peace. I had a lot to learn and as the believing spouse, God started with healing my heart first.

My friends, I’ve prayerfully sought the Holy Spirit’s council on what to write and how to help those of you in this position. Though I don’t have first hand experience with this, I can imagine the pain, rejection and betrayal that rushes in to fill the gap once occupied by a united faith. And that is the place that we should start to address this kind of situation, because until all of the pain, heartache and betrayal is brought to God and addressed, the marriage is hindered and healing can’t easily begin.

Forgiveness Is a Daily Choice

As I shared from my own story, I had to let go of my expectations of what I thought my marriage would be like. That also meant I had to release my husband from those expectations. For many of you, this will mean forgiving your spouse for their choice to walk away from God and from a life of shared faith. Release them from the debt you may hold against them as well—for not meeting your expectation.

When you’ve made these decisions, make the choice not to go back into unforgiveness. That will most likely be your greatest challenge as you continue to walk in a mismatched marriage. Remind yourself that you made the choice to forgive and that you are trusting God to mend your broken heart as He promises to do (Ps. 147:3) and remind the enemy too. 

Also, realize that their choice is not against you, though it may very well feel that way. That is not your burden to carry. Give that to God as well. And you didn’t cause this. You are not responsible for your spouse’s decision. God gave us each a free will to choose—or not to choose—Him. 

Then move forward. Your relationship with God is your own. Continue to pursue your faith with all the fire and passion He has placed in you. 

Understanding the Situation and Applying Truth

First, remember that even though your spouse stopped believing (or think they do) in God, God never stops believing in them. They may walk away for a time but God does not leave them.

If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. — 2Tim 2:13 (ESV)

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.— Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)

Not even your spouse’s choice to walk away from God will separate God’s love from him or her. God’s love is not based upon us—how we act, believe, succeed, etc. It is completely based upon Who He is. He loved us first—not in response to our love. He is love and that is His character.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love. — 1 John 4:16a (ESV)

We love because he first loved us. — 1John 4:18 (ESV)

Second, don’t make assumptions. The biggest pitfall I can foresee here is false assumptions as to the “why” behind your spouse’s decision. Most of the time, when I delve a little deeper, seeking better understanding from the person or God (or both), I discover details I never would have known otherwise. And those specifics can make a huge difference in how you relate to your spouse.

I know this will be difficult, but ask your spouse to help you understand where they are coming from. This is where I suggest you pray first, asking God to prepare your heart and your spouse’s for this conversation. What you find out may very well surprise you. Be prepared to bring what he or she shares to God also. You are now being called to intercede for your spouse at a whole new level.  

Their reasons may include things like:

  • Anger at the church. Sometimes we misplace our faith in people instead of God. So when they let us down, we reject God instead of realizing that we’ve put God-like expectations on an imperfect human being. No church is perfect. And it’s very possible a spirit of religion is at work here. It’s very possible your spouse has operated more under the law instead of grace.
  • Anger at God for not meeting their expectations. This is where disappointment moves in, and I believe many of us have walked this road. I know I have. What I discovered is that my expectations were based upon my own thoughts and determinations of how I thought the situation should be. Thus when it didn’t pan out that way, I was grew disappointed. This is where is it so vital that we know God’s character and that He is always working for our good (Rom. 8:28), no matter what things look like. (This one applies to us as well—we can be angry at God for what’s happened in our marriage. Be honest with Him. He can handle your anger and help you walk out of it in greater trust and faith.)
  • Feeling they can never measure up so why bother. This ultimately has a lot to do with identity—who do you believe you are and who do you believe God is for you. If you don’t know God’s character and don’t understand His love for you, you fall into a place of trying to earn His love and to “get right” with God. In our own power and ability, we can’t achieve that. God knew that and thus why He sent His Son Jesus to take care of it once and for all. Grace is a gift, and salvation is all about His love and willingness to die rather than to lose us. If we don’t understand that it has nothing to do with our own efforts and merits, we struggle to fully receive God’s love and can’t walk fully into the confidence that we are truly loved.
  • Deception. We know the truth of John 10:10, that the enemy prowls looking for a way to steel our Christ-given power, to kill our hopes and to destroy our faith so we are not walking in the truth of who we really are. But Jesus is greater. The rest of this verse is where you want to camp, my friends.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. — John 10:10b-11

SUMites, these reasons may very well be what keeps your spouse from even considering Christianity, church and all they believe comes with it. God has been so misrepresented by the ones who are supposed to represent Him best. But don’t lose hope. God always has a plan.

When Restoration Comes

And it will. Believe God for that. Stand for it. But most of all, don’t carry your expectations from the past into this new place. God is all about the new (Isa. 43:19), and He has a new plan of action for the both of you that way exceeds those old expectations. Don’t limit Him. Don’t limit what He can do in and through you—both of you—no matter where you are in this process. God completes everything He starts. Everything.

And He doesn’t move backwards. Even though you may feel you’ve lost ground or have been knocked off your feet, His plans for restoration always include more. He’s not going to make you start all over. Everything He set into place for you is still there and He will help you step back into it. No matter how long it takes. He’s on your side. Always.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. — Psalm 34:18-19 (ESV)

The Lord redeems the life of his servants. — Psalm 34:22a (ESV)

Yes, God not only redeems us, He redeems our lives and everything in them. He’s so good! 

My friends, I’m sure there is much more to this topic than what I’ve covered here. If you are in such a place and walking this challenging road, please share what you’ve learned that has helped you move forward in faith in your marriage. I’ve no doubt your words of encouragement will reach a heart in need. 

SUMites, you are amazing people of God! I love you!
Dineen


Receive This From God's Heart...

My precious friends, last week God dropped this into my spirit and I've held it close, waiting for Him to tell me to share it. So read this and receive it from His heart to yours. 

Love you so much!
Dineen

This is My time of restoration and establishing My children in My timeline for them.

Look for the revelations of My heart, of My love. I have situated you in the midst of these revelations. One simply has to look.

There is no need or room for doubt. Remember, My love conquers all and My love lives in you—My Son. That is what makes you more than a conqueror. You are My child. Mine.

My love far outweighs the cares of this world and all the burdens you perceive. Apply My love to every one of them—to everything—like a salve. The name of Jesus and My love are one in the same. Understand this and you will have the greatest weapon, prayer strategy, comfort and peace than you have every known or realized.

Let Me reassure you of this: You lack nothing. I do not ill-equip My children. You have everything you need already. Just believe and tap into it. Ask and receive. It is My delight to give it to you.

Now is not the time to squander what I’ve given you by living in fear and doubt. Even in the remnants of your mind there can be no place for this. Not when I’ve given you everything. Everything. The very heavens are yours! Why else would I teach you to pray “on earth as it is in heaven”?

You are completely established in My righteousness. From this place you cannot fail. I’ve set you up for complete success. Be bold. Have fun. Walk in wonder.

And above all, know My goodness is perfect, unflawed—brilliant like a perfect diamond. I’m giving you jewels, my children, I’m giving you jewels.

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Standing in Truth

John11-25Welcome to June, SUMites! I know this is a very busy time for many of you as school ends and summer vacations start. I pray this summer is full of God’s peace, His rest, and that each day you feel more loved and strengthen in your faith. Our Papa God is so good and He is generous, faithful and full of surprises.

Just as a review of our “Seeing Our Spouse Like God Does” series, we’ve talked about “sitting”—where we are seated with Christ in the heavens (Eph 2:6), which is about our identity. This is the place we want to be seated at all times, remember? And we’ve discussed “walking”—the way we live our faith from our seat and walk in the truth of who we are, which reveals God’s kingdom here on earth as we walk in love as Jesus loves us (Eph 5:1). Here are the links to those posts if you’d like to review them.

Seeing Our Spouse Like God Does (intro)

How Sturdy Is Your Seat?

Walking in Love

Now this last part is about “standing” and comes from the part of Ephesians 6 about our armor. I have some really cool nuggets to share with you on this one, so let’s dig in and camp in God’s truth.

In Ephesians 6, Paul was most likely inspired by the armor of the Roman soldiers assigned to guard him. At this point he was under what we would call “house arrest.”  And I’ve no doubt the Holy Spirit showed him through the visual of the armor how we are protected in Christ Jesus. The astounding part of this revelation though is found back in Ephesians 1.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. — Eph 1:15-22

My friends, take a moment and read the above Scriptures slowly and prayerfully. This is one long sentence filled with some of the greatest truths we will ever come to understand as believers. In this “run-on” sentence, Paul is showing us how to pray for “the more” of God. To have the eyes of our hearts enlightened, to know the hope of Jesus, to understand the riches of our glorious inheritance in Jesus, and finally, the biggest bombshell in this passage—that the power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him in the heavenly places is the very same power we have been given in the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Don’t let that word “toward” fool you into thinking anything less. In the Greek also means into, unto, for, and among. It’s a very “large” word and encompasses a great deal. The point is, the Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead and that same Spirit and all He entails lives in us as well. That’s pretty amazing to think about, SUMites. As I say, you are way more powerful than you realize.

So from this power in us we sit, walk and stand. Let’s take a look at the stand part now. I’ve always found it so fascinating that in the midst of all this defensive armor, our only offensive piece is the sword, which is the Word of God. Yet Paul tells us to “stand” repeatedly. 

Why? Because when we stand, we stand in Truth. And Truth is a person, Jesus.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. — John 14:6

But let’s take a look at those verses in Ephesians 6

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore,…— Eph 6:10-14

The word “stand” in the Greek is histēmi and means abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, hold up, lay, present. The form of this word is a “prolonged form” of its root word. In other words, it is a position of opposition. That is clarified in the word “withstand,” which in the Greek is anthistēmi and means to stand against, oppose, resist, withstand. The fascinating part of this word is that if you look at it closely, you see histēmi. The first part of the word, ant, is actually anti

I’m guessing you recognize that word and already know it’s meaning to be opposite to. So basically, this word it telling us to stand in opposition to evil. That we are to stand in the full power of the Holy Spirit against the enemy. 

And the only weapon we are to use is God’s Word. To know it, believe it and speak it. God recently spoke to me these words:

“Faith is transformative, but trusting and believing Me is imperative.”

Now, take a look again at Eph 5:14 again:

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Last week I pointed out the relevance of “awake.” Now I want to you to focus on that word “arise.” That word in the Greek is anistēmi and means to stand up, lift up, raise up. And its root word is histēmi, to stand.

If you’re confused, I was too. I wanted to understand the connection between the words, our place to “stand” firm as Paul says and what he’s saying in Eph 5:14, “arise from the dead.”

I asked the Holy Spirit to show me the connection, which He did the very next day in a very unexpected place. He took back to the book of John where I’ve been reading about Jesus and how He healed people—a subject you know is near and dear to my heart.

Take a look at John 11 and Martha’s confrontation with Jesus about why her brother, Lazarus, died:

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” — John 11:23-26

The word to focus on here is “resurrection.” In the Greek (anastasis) it means a standing up again, i.e. (literally) a resurrection from death, or (figuratively) a (moral) recovery (of spiritual truth): — raised to life again, resurrection, rise from the dead, that should rise, rising again.

Here’s where it gets really fun, my friends. The root of anastasis is anistēmi, which comes from histēmi. 

Resurrection, raise up, stand up.

These words are so interconnected and point us right back to Ephesian 1:19:

and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might

SUMites, we stand for a cause (our spouse) in opposition to the “anti-cause,” and we stand in the resurrection power and life of Jesus Christ, because of the Holy Spirit—God’s Spirit—lives in us. Think about that. I mean, really think about that.

Paul even tells us in Ephesians 6:10 to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Not ours. His. 

By God’s Spirit. Believe Him.

“Faith is transformative, but trusting and believing Me is imperative.”

SUMites, you stand in a great power and great protection in your marriages. The key is to know it (sit), live it (walk), and be firm (stand). God will not fail you. Let me say that again, because someone really needs to hear this.

God will not fail you. He can’t. He’s obligated to keep His promises because He said so (Jer 1:12). And the entire Bible is His promise to you. 

Jesus is His promise to you. Jesus.

I want to close with what I shared on my Facebook page this week, a truth the Holy Spirit dropped into my spirit:

“The enemy (satan, lucifer, the devil) was cast out of heaven. So when we pray as Jesus taught us, "His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven," he can't stay here either. Walk in the truth of what that means. If you are seated in the heavens with Jesus (Eph 2:6), YOU bring the heavens to earth and the enemy cannot stay! Do that and watch the enemy shrink before you to nothing without even having to say a word. Just say JESUS!”

Just say Jesus, SUMites! Jesus!!!!

Love you!
Dineen


Chronicles of the Donovan Clan - A BIG Event

Chronicles of the Donovan Clan.

17333953_1872976652728453_845499543834329088_nMy friends, it’s been a long while since I’ve simply sat down and shared with your what is happening in the Donovan life. Well, today, as you read this, I’m sitting in an audience and watching my daughter, Caitie, walk across the stage to receive her degree from BIOLA University (Bible Institute of Los Angeles). She graduates summa cum laude and also with high commendations from Torrey Honors Institute.

It’s interesting to reflect as I consider the fear in my heart all those years ago when she started kindergarten. Would she grow up to know Jesus? Will her dad’s unbelief impact her for eternity? I wrangled with a hundred terrifying questions. I shared about so much of my parenting journey in our book, Not Alone. And I wrote that while she was still in high school. But here we are. She graduates from a Christian college.

I will share with you that my daughter has a solid faith. She also walks in some kind of gifting from God in prayer. She PRAYS. I will tell you at that age, I didn’t pray. I partied!! I’m so glad she is not a chip off the old block.

I will also share that her faith doesn’t look like mine. She has spent four years of study and has read most of the classics and her views can and do differ on faith from mine. Her spirit is different than mine. I’m a warrior. She’s a servant at the core. It’s beautiful and I truly learn so much from her. She challenges my ideas and my preconceived opinions about Jesus, faith and the church. It’s frustrating at times and I need it as well.

She is a wonderful and beautiful young woman now.

So, if you are parenting a child right now, remain steadfast in your faith. Your faith and your prayers are, at times, the ONLY THING that keeps the devil from them. As a mother, I cannot shout this message enough. Your faith and prayers are more powerful than you know. Just read 2 Timothy chapter one about Timothy’s mother and grandmother.

Caitie is off to Purdue in the fall for graduate work with a full scholarship. Thank you Jesus! She continues to grow and live and love Jesus. I can’t wait to read the fantastic books she will write one day.

Now about my husband, Mike. I think in some way, he’s a closet believer. Can that be a thing? I’m convinced he thinks Jesus is real. He just struggles with “religion.” Does that make sense? He is a kind man and quite gray now. He is my rock in this life, next to Jesus. I love him deeply.

I will tell you this, the Donovan Clan House is known in heaven. Our home is love. Our home and family isn’t perfect but we are moving that way only by the grace of God. We are protected and we are guided. Our Clan is blessed.

So from one ordinary woman to all of you, Be Blessed and know that you are loved by our Savior and by me. Have a wonderful weekend with your family. Hope to post photos of the graduation on my FB page. Find me there.

I love you so much. Lynn