151 posts categorized "Fasting"

God Says: 'Watch My Promises -- 123!'

Dear friends, Ann here. Cloths number 2

After we had  1 ... 2... 3... spouse-salvation 'events' last week, I've been praying about what to write about now. "What on earth do I write, Lord?" I guess I'm keeping an open mind, and my typing hands are at the ready. 

After asking that question I did receive two things from the Holy Spirit. They're unexpectedly playful things ... Two little stories of sweetness for us. I'm going to post one today, and the other on Friday. So, settle in and enjoy.

Both words come in the form of a story, and they both happen to have occurred back in January 2019 during our annual community fast, which is interesting.

So, let's step back to that week, in January 2019. We were fasting together as we do each year, Lynn was leading it powerfully, and I remember we had good conversations in the comments. My family and I also happened to be holiday in Japan during this particular fast .. So that added an element of color and memorability to the week.

Anyway, day three rolled around (aggh, hungry!) and as I woke that morning God gave me a set of three visions in a row. I grabbed my phone which was beside my bed, and blearily wrote them down. Here were the three (123!):

First, I saw a set of cloths, little folded cloths. Lots and lots .. and lots .. of little cloths. A set of little folded cloths, loads and loads, piles.

Second, I saw an absolute downpour of rain hitting the very place where I was fasting. And the words "1 2 3".

And third, I saw a man who was definitely and deliberately not a Christian falling to his knees very quickly and dramatically.

Cloths

It made no sense to me whatsoever, until later that day when were in a department store and there -- Lo and behold -- were the cloths I saw!

Well, blow me down. I literally jumped up and down, pointing at the cloths, thinking "Those are the cloths I saw!" Of course I had no-one to tell. So, I joyfully had my little God moment there in the flannel/towel department of this Japanese department store.

And of course, what made it particularly striking was the fact that not only was it piles of cloths. The top pile had the numbers 1 ... 2 ... 3 on it.

We need another photo of said cloths, so here's another. Cloths 3

So now here's what God said to me about these three visions, confirmed by the cloths:

The cloths that you photographed here, with '1 2 3' on top, represent the 1, 2, 3 men you've just seen turn. Those who were not aligned with Christ, but they have surrendered. Suddenly.

After that there'll be more ... 8, 9, 10, 11 (see the photo) ... and then more. A full array. A set.

Colourful, customized. Each cloth representing a spouse, and what I am going to do for them.

There is the sound of the abundance of rain; you do see a cloud the size of a man's hand, and a downpour is coming. 

Watch my promises! 

My friends, that is God's heart for our community as best as I can convey it, using a sweet story of cloths in a Japanese department store (so quirky, but how delicious). I don't know the timeframe, but I do believe that -- in principle -- we can walk in hope, and we can be excited about what's to come.

I know that sometimes these things have layers, so if there is anything else of meaning that you see in the cloths and the visions I shared, please do share -- That's how hearing from God works. We weigh and test, we might receive a word but it's often just part of the picture ... And we can enjoy the process while we do it. 

Much love,

Ann


A Fasting Reflection, by Vidya Rodney

Hi SUM family, Ann here!
 
Many of you will know Vidya Rodney, who sends us lovely guest posts for the blog. Today she has shared a little about how the community fast in January went for her. It's a good thing to reflect back on a fast after the event. Once we have recovered, that is! Now, over to Vidya: --
***
 
"This was my very first time fasting no solid foods for a whole week. Vidya
 
I had been looking forward to this corporate fast, as I believe in the power of community. So I made sure to pray weeks before on this. And I knew I needed to be realigned with God.
 
When the fast began, I started to hear lies that I wouldn't be able to do it. However, I started declaring "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).  I kept declaring that when I wanted to eat solid food. My refrigerator was filled with all the delicious foods you can think of, but I was determined to remain steadfast.
 
Anyway, the Lord led me on day two to Isaiah 58:6-7 which tells us all about fasting. You can read chapter 58 for yourself. But see scripture below:
 
“ (6) Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
(7) Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood" (Isaiah 58:6-7)
 
Now look at verse 7. Right away, 'feeding the hungry' stood out to me. So there I was pondering how to do this and, of course, asking the Lord.
 
Now mostly when I do groceries almost every month, I buy extra groceries and give to my local church who sets up blessing bags to give to the homeless. And I did make my husband aware of this, since he is against giving money to church. I am sure many of you face this challenge as well.
 
But after reading that verse, I was led to a Christian friend of mine who has an organization that feeds and finds shelter for the homeless. She posted on Facebook that there was a homeless mom who has four kids and lives in her car. My Christian friend was raising funds to help this mom get put up in a hotel room since she couldn't find shelter, and this mom needed food and other donations until she could get a job.
 
Now my flesh did not want to, but I know the Lord placed it on my heart to give. Apart from that, I also remember Pastor Jenezten Franklin's book on fasting talks about giving to the poor as part of fasting. So I was determined to be obedient.
 
I had some money I had received for Christmas. My Mom and I came together with some cash and I also bought some extra dried goods. I spoke to my husband about the grocery part and he seemed ok with it. So I went ahead.
 
I went into this fasting with a mindset of intentionally hearing from God and that was what he led me to do. I'm thankful that I was able to contribute to this mom who was in need of help. It breaks my heart when people are homeless and I pray in the future I may be able to do more of this.
 
I'm not looking forward to rewards for these acts, but I want to know that when I do meet Jesus, he will say "Well done, faithful servant" and I'm quite sure I'm building my home he has for me in Heaven, as every single thing we do for the Lord is counted. 
 
My friends, this is indeed a very hard season for me, but my hope and trust is in God our Father that he is going to finish what he started in me in Jesus' name (Philippians 1:6). Amen and Hallelujah!
 
I pray this story inspires you all.
 
I am Vidya Rodney. Married to my pre-believing husband Andrew for 10 years. We have a beautiful  5 year old little girl Anya. I live in St Charles, Missouri, and first accepted Jesus in 2011 after losing our only brother to suicide. I have been a lukewarm Christian for years, but now I am stepping out to find out more of what Jesus has for me.

SUM Fast Day Five: Walking with Jesus into 2021

Dear SUMites, SUM fast 2020

Ann here on our final day of the fast. We've made it!

It's Friday morning here and my brain is pretty foggy. Yesterday I began to find I could no longer construct proper sentences due to lack of food, which caused my boys a great deal of laughter. That's how hard this thing is.

Amazingly, I've managed these five days with no food. It has been quite the exercise: It has been tough doing all the usual 'Mum' activities (e.g., taking my kids places) in such a state. Still, fasting is a state where you 'afflict your soul' (Leviticus 16:29-31), so that's the deal.

We've talked a lot about our individual purpose this week. I've so enjoyed reading your comments - Really, really enjoyed reading them.

And now, to finish off the fast how about we take communion together? Here's a photo of mine, a little glass of juice and a cracker. Perhaps at some point today we could each make ourselves a communion meal and take it. Communion

A prayer:

Lord Jesus, you are the potter and I am the clay.

I thank you for your blood shed on the cross and your body broken.

I align myself with the words of purpose you have shown me this week, and I ask you to help me walk in them.

Finally, help me be a good ambassador for you in 2021.

My SUM friends, I send you much love. Thank you for journeying on this fast this week, what a special week. I hope you thoroughly enjoy eating food again, and we'll connect again after the weekend. In my next posts I might share a little about what I seemed to hear from the Lord for 2021.

For now, do you have any final stories to share from your week of fasting? Anything that God has shown you? We'll chat in the comments.


Fast Day Four: Which Bible Character Captures Your Journey?

Ann here today, on Thursday morning, day four of our fast. SUM fast 2020

How are you all doing?

So far, I’ve had no food since Monday sunrise and am feeling doddery. Time with the Lord at this point is simply about ‘being’. I don’t have mental sharpness so am floating around the house, popping on a bit of worship music, and doing little else.

I think Bryce secretly likes this quiet wife!

Today I wanted to float a little idea, and it comes wrapped in a story of something that happened a few years ago. It's this:

If God ever gives you the name of a Bible character, it might be an indication of how he sees you and the kinds of experiences or tasks he might have ahead for you.

Now, here’s the story. A few years ago, I woke with a phrase in my head: ‘You are specifically Elizabeth’. A phrase like this is so unusual it would seem to be God, so I duly went to the story of Elizabeth in the Bible. Mm, it didn't mean anything. So I put it on the shelf and left it.

However, weeks later I was having a sick day, lying on my couch, and I put on a podcast by Graham Cooke called ‘How God speaks through scripture’. I laid back with my eyes closed and listened while Graham recounted a personal story. In this story, God had told him he was a kind of ‘Caleb’. That was interesting, but then he said this:

“If God gives you the name of a Bible character it tells you how you are known by him. Expect to have some of the same experiences as that person.”

As he said that, I sat up -- 'Ohhh - Elizabeth!'

Speedily I lifted myself from the couch, got my Bible, and devoured her story. This time it made sense. I pulled towards me a special notebook I happened to have just received as a gift, and started to write my thoughts. Notably, Elizabeth was someone who carried a promise while keeping others company. Her name means ‘God has promised’. Importantly: She had a mute husband whose mouth later opened miraculously to declare that Jesus is Lord.

‘I’ll take that!’ I said to the Lord. And it was a moment of awe. 

Months later, Bryce and I were on a plane together, and I started to drift off to sleep. My head lolled over towards his shoulder and as it did so, I heard a phrase from the Holy Spirit: ‘God remembered.’

Once home, I looked up the meaning of the name Zacharias, Elizabeth’s husband. I didn’t know it before. It means: ‘God remembered.’

Boom!

All of this has since morphed into more of a guiding word for my life. I guess I've learned to be content while I wait for my husband's faith. But ‘Elizabeth’ has helped me understand the kinds of things I enjoy talking about, and why I get connected with certain people. Often I make friends with people who have an impossible promise, like Mary, and my job is to say 'I believe you.' I LOVE that job. Made for it.

The moral, perhaps, is that there is a lifting that comes from understanding who we are in God’s eyes. It is one thing to know our identity in Jesus Christ as a son or daughter (sonship). But it is also important to understand our unique purpose. 

“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me when as yet there were none. How precious also are your thoughts towards me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake I am still with you.” (Psalm 139:17-18, NKJV)

So the question today, perhaps, for the Lord might be something along the above lines. Something to ponder. You could even ask him the following:

Lord, is there a particular Bible character that can tell me a little about how you see me?

I'm looking forward to chatting more in the comments. What has this week been like so far for you? Let's share!


FAST DAY THREE - TWO PRAYER POINTS

Prayer and Fasting 2021My SUMer friends,

I have LOVED Ann’s posts for this fast. I literally teared up yesterday. So touching.

I am thrilled to lead today’s focus for our prayer and fasting. This is the midweek stretch. It will be very difficult today. But press in. I’m finding I’m overwhelmed by tremendous fatigue. Weird. I think it’s more spiritual than physical. So, I have a large cup of tea present most of the time and I’m making myself sit with my laptop. Need to finish this next book!!! Thank you, Jesus.

Two things. I can’t ignore the significance of what is happening in America today. Please pray for America. What happens today and the weeks ahead have long lasting implication upon our world, our faith and freedom, and our future.

Today let’s ask Papa what purpose is ahead for us in 2021. Ask Him for a word. In years past my good friend, Dineen, would ALWAYS receive a word for her year. This never happened to me. However, I wrote about my first word in Marching Around Jericho.

So, let’s ask the Lord about the Word that is written over our lives right now.

Also, ask the Lord this question. Father, what is your purpose for me this year?

Please, PLEASE, write what you hear, your word, purpose and more in the comments.

I will echo each of them as a witness in the heavens. I love all of you deeply. Keep pressing in as breakthrough is imminent. Love and hugs, Lynn


Fast Day Two: The Tenderness of the Father

Ann here! SUM fast 2020

It’s the morning of day two here, and so far so good. Amazingly, my family are talking about ‘Mum’s fast’ and encouraging me along, which has been a new feature this year and it captures how things have shifted in my home. I have a little more to share on that shift below.

First, though, I want to say that it's common to set a goal with fasting and find you don't make it. It's just so hard to fast -- That's the truth of it. If that's you, don't beat yourself up and think it's a failure. It's not. Just get back on the horse and try again the next day. It's definitely worth continuing.

The truth is, our Father smiles on the heart of one who fasts. And this morning I'm reminded of a little story that seems to illustrate that:

Every Christmas, Bryce and I put pressies under the tree for our teenage boys, Travis and Miles, and that’s fun. But I’ve never encouraged my children to buy me a present or even buy their Dad a present. I just haven’t; and so they haven’t. Instead, the boys and I go out and buy something for Bryce from all three of us and we have fun doing it.

Anyway, this year, those two boys did something very nice.

I was sitting in the lounge when Miles (age 14) said to me “Mum, you haven’t yet noticed what’s under the tree.” So I got up and looked. There, under the tree was a little package, clearly wrapped by a teenage boy. Wrinkley, ragged edges, and Sellotape all over the place. It said, “To Mum, from Travis and Miles”. And there, next to it, another package: “To Dad …”. 

Oh my heart. I looked back at my boy and his face showed how excited he was by this little wrinkled package. Thankfully he still doesn’t mind a cuddle from his Mum, and he got one.

The two of them had clubbed together their pocket money, gone out and done it. Teenage boys aren’t always the best at this sort of thing, nor is it at all easy parenting teenagers, and so I really can’t express how it felt to see that package. It was their little gesture of love and it meant the world.

Later in bed, Bryce and I looked at each other: “How CUTE WAS THAT?” We were giggling at the wrapping job, but then we both said in all seriousness that it was pretty much the highlight of our year.

Turning back now to the heart of our Father, a friend of mine recently said to me "We may never truly understand the tenderness of the Father until we reach Heaven". Our Father is tender, and how does He feel when we – His children -- do something like fast? It’s our gesture of love, devotion, and honor to Him.

So now here's more on that shift I mentioned:

“Why do you fast?” Bryce asked me yesterday.

“Well ..  It’s a gesture of love to God. To go without food is a sacrifice.”

“Mm, now you say that I can imagine it.” he said. “Food is a big deal.”

I carried on:

“God shines his face on someone when they make a gesture like that. It might be attractive to him, so to speak. Power comes, things happen in your life then.”

And then I said a bit more:

“Jesus said certain things can only be shifted through prayer and fasting. So fasting is powerful in that way – It can help people overcome certain challenges …”

“Hmm, interesting.” He nodded and took it all in. Perfectly nice; genuine interest. What's more, I didn't feel awkward talking about it.

A lot has shifted there. We didn’t have that kind of conversation a few years ago as faith conversations used to bring this mega wedge between us. But now it’s easier. And, quite honestly, I am enthralled by that change which has happened in only the last year.

Could it be that even this conversation yesterday with my husband is a testimony that the SUM fasts have made a difference? A gentle nod from the Father's tender heart. I'll take it.

Onwards and upwards, SUM soldiers, and I wish you all the best for day two. What has day one been like for you?


Fast Day One: What is the Story God Has Written?

Dear SUMites, here we are on day one of our SUM corporate fast! SUM fast 2020

It's Ann here and I can’t help but think that this particular fast is going to be meaningful. There is so much for us to inquire from God about. Our world is literally groaning for healing, and so are we. 

So we fast.

As I write I have a cupboard and fridge full of drinks, ready to embark on a brave five days. No food from sunrise Monday to sunset Friday. I will keep you posted on how this goes. I know from our chats that many of you are doing this fast. In the spirit, then, we link arms.

During this week, one theme I hope to talk to God about is this:

Lord, what do you want the SUM community to know for this coming year?

To elaborate a little, this year the Body of Christ has been blessed by ministries that have spoken out about the time we’re in. And then, as always, there have been some counterfeit versions of that. Privately, as Christians we seek the Lord’s wisdom ourselves in prayer, and the counsel of Christian friends we trust. But the whole thing has been an exercise in discernment. It's been a year-long journey in understanding what God is asking of us.

We’ve also had to learn through our mistakes. Many of us might be looking back thinking ‘Oops – I didn’t represent Jesus accurately to every single person in my life.’ Honestly, this year has been crazily tough – Let's have grace for ourselves. Onwards.

So there’s that. 2020. In the middle of it all, we have our own little community here at SUM, and here we can ask God for a customized picture:

Lord, what is your heart for the SUM homes in 2021?

How do we walk the upcoming challenges of 2021 with our pre-believing spouses?

In my own faith life, a striking feature of 2020 has been that I have thought a lot about the story God has written for my life. He seemed to nudge me often during this COVID stress: "Come away with Me, daughter, and take your mind elsewhere for a while. Here's what I want you to think about in relation to your life." I recently chatted to Ian and know that he has been experiencing something similar. And then, over on Lynn’s new ministry blog (www.lynndonovan.org), Martha has been blogging about moving into new seasons. So, many of us are having those stirrings.

With that idea of ‘life story’ and ‘what’s next?’, I thought I might gear this week’s posts around the fact that God has a really interesting story he has written over our lives, and he wants us to find out about it.

I believe that's one of several things that Jeremiah 6:16 conveys, along with Holy living: 

Thus says the Lord: 

"Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' " (NKJV)

Perhaps you think about your own life and feel you went off God's map at some point in the past as a prodigal (so many of us have that story). So then, that’s a detour and the question for God is ‘Now what?’ Somehow, because God is awesome, beyond what we can think or imagine, and blows our minds, could it be that he will bring you, through Plan B, back into his purpose for you?

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NKJV)

My friends, how about we make a point in day one of our fast to come before the Lord and ask him some of these personal, delightful questions? 

  • Lord, what are the good works you made for me to walk in? 
  • Lord, what did you make me to be from before the beginning of time?
  • What is your purpose and will in my marriage?
  • Would you tell me something new and profound about my life story?

As for the fast, what kind of fast are you doing this week and what would you like to ask the Lord? Let's share a little about what we hope this week will look like.


Prepping for Our Fast

Ann here! Lynn Donovan Prayer & Fasting 2021

With Christmas festivities behind us, and hopefully some happy memories made, it’s time to turn our minds to our annual SUM Community Fast.

The fast will start in a week’s time, on Monday 4th January. If you haven't already, check out my video from last week.

Personally, I’m so in need of this year’s fast. Because of what we’ve been through with the pandemic, I have an especially strong desire to get before God and reflect on where we're at. When vulnerable from fasting, you just can’t help but hit the couch and listen to Him more than usual. And though fasting is very difficult, that is the benefit I know will come next week.

Every time we fast as this SUM community, at least a few of us will hear something from the Lord and post it in the comments. In fact, I look back on the years and remember many of the conversations or moments we’ve had together from these times.

Besides hearing God, fasting does something in the spirit realm and brings shifts in our homes. What power comes when a group of people does it together! We probably can't imagine this side of Heaven. Jesus said that some things from the enemy can only be removed through prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29). These shifts aren't always noticeable straight away, but sometimes they are.

So, how do you feel about going for it this year? If you're new to it, here are some tips for preparing:

  • Ask God how he would like you to fast. You could fast each day sunrise to sunset, and then have a small dinner in the evening. This is a good challenge. Another way is to just have soup for five days -- That is harder. And, if you're a seasoned faster you could try no food for five days. This one takes some mental preparation.
  • Jot down a list of questions for God, or things you’d like to talk to him about over that week, and dig out a special notebook and pen ready for the week.
  • Make sure you have plenty of drinks in the house.
  • Pray about telling your spouse, and if you want to tell them ask for God's help. It took me a few fasts before I plucked up the courage to tell my husband -- I feared he'd find it just that little bit too weird. However, when I finally did tell him he was fine. Puzzled, but fine. Last year he even took me out for a smoothie to help me keep going!
  • If you are on holiday or have guests over, plan ahead which meals you'll fast from: Setting fasting goals ahead of time seems a good strategy.
  • Don’t plan too much exercise or activity during that week. That might send you over the edge!
  • Get yourself some super comfy clothes at the ready (e.g., track-pants) so that you can hunker on the floor or on the couch for that nice time with God. Somehow, I find comfy clothes help me get through!

As for over here, I will be home quietly with my boys who are on school holidays. I plan to tell them and Bryce so that they understand my inertia that week, and I hope to do no food at all for the five days. Having attempted this a few times it's perhaps not as intimidating as it used to be. I know its power so I’m game. I’ll still have coffee and tea, juice, protein shakes, and yoghurt drinks. Some here even go further than that, doing water only. I have to say I'm building up to that still.

So, team SUM, are we up for it? Post in the comments and share what you think you’re going to do. It’s fun doing this together and we always love seeing each other’s adventures on this week.

Lynn will be posting next on Friday, and then I'll be back on Monday to kick us off with the fast.

Ann


Day Five - 2020 Fast

Prayer and Fasting 2019SUMite Nation,

Can you believe another annual fast is nearly finished? Last year so much happened following the fast. I'm praying that this year is the same for me and for you.

I'll assure you that your prayers never fall on deaf ears. Rest in the faithfulness of our Father in heaven and rest in the name of Jesus, the Christ.

How did your fast go? What did the LORD reveal to you? Share your experience in the comments. 

Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. -Matthew 17:19-21

Well done SUMites! WELL DONE! Lynn


SUM Fast Day 4 - Promises and Memories

Ann here!

We have reached day 4 of the fast. It’s Thursday afternoon here in New Zealand and, remarkably, I’m still going foodless. I'm pinching myself as this is officially the longest I’ve managed to go without food. I'm praying that I can inch across the finish line tomorrow. Fasting photo 2020

I will say that past fasts have resulted in many times where I've just needed to stop. If that's you just treat the next day as a fresh start and carry on as you are led. It's certainly an adventure.

Now to us: I have my communion cup and cracker at the ready, and in taking communion I'd like to share a thought about God’s faithfulness.

Recently, I searched for ‘Abraham’ in the Bible. I look at his life sometimes because he’s the ultimate promise-carrier. I relate in some ways to his process; maybe you do too.

It was fascinating to me to discover that across both the Old and New Testaments God repeatedly makes the statement ‘Because of the covenant I made with Abraham’. Centuries pass and still this covenant is raised at unexpected points within scripture. The lesson: God has a very, very long memory, and He is faithful.

Abraham’s promise came in stages. It was like unwrapping layers of a pass-the-parcel game, except every layer was a treat that was specifically made for Abraham. First he was told only a little -- "I will make you a great nation;" (Genesis 12:1-3). A few years later he was told a bit more, and so on. The story unfolded and became more specific, culminating in the ridiculous: Elderly Sarah conceiving a baby.

In the midst of that 25-year process, we see a curious anecdote: A king and priest called Melchizadek appears with bread and wine (Genesis 14:18), and Abraham is captivated enough by this encounter to give Melchizadek one tenth of all he owns. As a rich man, this would have been an astounding amount. I find myself raising my eyebrows, wondering why. Perhaps it was simply that Abraham heard God say "I want you to do this".  

Straight after that radical act, Abraham heard God accurately and clearly, a blessing for his obedience: “Abraham, the heir will come from your own body” (Genesis 15:4). It's an impossible promise, as always. As for Melchizadek, that is a part of the plot that only God could have thought up. Melchizedek foreshadows Jesus (our King and Priest) offering communion. 

Here are the words that Melchizadek spoke to Abraham. Perhaps as we take communion today we can receive this same blessing:

“Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God most High who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” (Genesis 14:19-20, NKJV).

Friends, we are blessed, and God will deliver our enemies into our hand. Our promises will come, and hopefully will be talked about after we’ve passed from this earth, especially if we leave a record of them. As an encouragement, we only have to look as far as Israel where many of Abraham's descendants live.

On the topic of promises, Lynn mentioned asking for a word for 2020. Like her, I always ask but usually don’t hear anything clearly. However, this time I did hear an unmistakable word. On 1 January I heard God whisper to me: ‘Lydia’. Later that morning I looked up Lydia in Acts 16. She was an early convert in Philippi. These words are about her: “And when she and her household were baptized…”  (Acts 16:15) What a wonderful word to start the year off and, as you can imagine, I was encouraged. So, yes please, Lord, I’ll take it. Who knows what that means for 2020 specifically, but I will digest the life of Lydia this year and meditate on it.

How about you -- What promises are you believing? Did you receive a word for 2020, and/or what are you hoping for this coming year?

It's been nice sharing this journey with you this week. Lynn will be back for our final post tomorrow.

Ann


SUM Fast Day 3: He Gathers and Covers Us

Hi friends, Ann here. Fasting photo 2020

It is day three of our fast and we're halfway through! How is it going with you? I began the fast while on holiday with friends so ate with them on Monday evening, but apart from that I've been food-free. I’m trying to go without food until Friday, my approach being to 'just give it a go'. We'll see!

As for us all, I can’t wait to hear about your experiences. Those experiences in the comments are often my favorite part of the January fast. It is always an adventure hearing about the ups and downs of fasting and the wonderful things that follow.

Now to communion today:

I would say us SUMites identify strongly as people of covenant. We’re intentional about our connection with our spouse and with God, and the whole concept of covenant drives us deeply. Our faith difference necessitates it.

This covenant mindset helps us sympathize with Jesus’ covenant that He carried so deeply. In His case, He carried a deep commitment to His future church. In giving us His body and blood, He offered an unbreakable promise to us -- A covenant of salvation and protection.

Yesterday, in thinking about 'covenant', God seemed to point me to the passage where Jesus famously looked at Jerusalem like a mother hen:

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.' " (Matthew 23:37-39, NIV).

It took a while for me to link this to covenant and communion, but now I’ve sat with it I see Jesus anticipating two core aspects of His covenant: Gathering and covering.

My beloved children, how I long to gather you!

My beloved children, how I long to cover you!

In communion He gathers us to partake, and He offers His blood as a covering of protection. We have every opportunity to reject it. But we receive it, say ‘yes’ and shout in our hearts, like the people who welcomed Him with palm leaves on Palm Sunday.

This particular fast, one of my personal learnings has been just how fiercely protective God is of me. When He says He covers me, He really does mean that His wings and eyes are on my family. It also means He will do what it takes to make sure our spiritual lives are healthy and our souls are saved. He does that because I've invited Him in and said 'Your will be done in my family'. Because of the ways in which He has been speaking to me about covering, at this point I can say I've reached complete peace about my family's salvation: Bryce my husband, Travis my 15 year old, and Miles my little one at 13.

So, in reflecting on all this, I take my cup right now – as this post goes live - and am thinking of you all. I eat His Body and drink His Blood and I say this:

Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!

(Luke 19:38, NKJV).

Let's enjoy our communion today and thank God for His gathering of us and His covering.

Now over to you: How is your fast going and what you are learning?


Bind Them To the Cross of Christ

Prayer and Fasting 2019How did your first day go?

Don’t be hard on yourself if you slipped up. Start again. So much of our journey is about the effort. God blesses our effort. And He smiles with great favor when we continue to try. So push forward.

And if you sustained, get ready because fire always falls on sacrifice and the Lord feels your hunger.

Today, ask the Lord if He has a specific word for your life in 2020. For years I NEVER received a word. Not once that was until last year.

Divine Reversal. This word arrived from SUMite, Libby, who shared it with me. This word played out with giant significance in my life and in Mike’s life. I share about this in Marching Around Jericho. This word became powerful and evident the day prior to Mike’s baptism. What most of you don’t know is that Libby’s husband also had a significant year with God. He came to faith in a quiet and unusual way. But God grabbed ahold of him.

In fact, last year there were more salvations in our community than in any other year. So, we are building upon this for 2020. Because God is lavish and filled with love. It is time to see His people rise in power and faith and bring home those for whom we have prayed.

Today, I want you to pray this verse over you unsaved spouse and children.

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. —Matthew 16:19

Jesus, in your powerful name, I BIND _________________ TO THE CROSS OF CHRIST.

I WANT YOU TO PRAY THIS IN THE COMMENTS. I WILL PRAY WITH YOU. RELEASE ALL OF HEAVEN UPON YOUR UNSAVED FAMILY!! HALLELUJAH!


SUM Community FAST - DAY ONE

Prayer and Fasting 2019Let’s begin this fast with praise. In the comments, leave your words of praise to our Lord Jesus.

Take communion today and with each partaking, embrace the opportunity to say, proclaim, and confess again, “I herewith lay hold of all the benefits of Jesus Christ’s full redemption for my life; forgiveness, wholeness, strength, health, sufficiency. In Jesus name.”

When the cravings hit, that is your signal to pray. And today, I want you to pray: Then declare: Jesus, You died for ____________. I’m calling on the power of Your blood to bring him/her back to You. You sacrificed Your body for ______________, and because of that, I call him/her back from the powers of darkness.

We are claiming our family into the Kingdom of Heaven and drawing upon the heart of heaven to move upon our desire and words of prayer and praise.

I love you. March on Warriors! Our victory is certain! Lynn


This One Thing Will Change Your 2020

Prayer and Fasting 2019SUMite Nation,

As we enter into prayer and fasting sunrise tomorrow morning, begin with worship. Enter through His gates with thanksgiving and praise.

I’ve been learning about the power of communion. And it may appear counter intuitive to talk about the Lord’s supper when we are fasting but there is something here that is incredibly powerful. I believe we miss so much in the familiarity, so let me share what I’m learning.

We consume.

We were made to consume. God created us with desires. Desire, at the core was created that we would desire God above all else. But our desires are continually perverted through this fallen world.
So, I would like to redeem our desire during this fast. I ask you to prepare to consumer communion when you feel weak, feel the cravings, and want to eat.

Take a small piece of bread and juice or a cracker and a grape. Sit alone with Jesus. Thank him for giving His body to restore our desire to God. Tell Jesus that you choose to consume Him this week and Him alone. Thank Him for His broken body that HEALS your body. Take time to thank Him for His powerful blood and as you receive the juice (grape) it becomes His blood that flows in your veins restoring you to His divine DNA. These statements are powerful. Taking these emblems in faith activates the spiritual realm.

Then declare: Jesus, You died for ____________. I’m calling on the power of Your blood to bring him/her back to You. You sacrificed Your body for ______________, and because of that, I call him/her back from the powers of darkness.

Take communion as many times as needed. Do it often. I plan to take it at least three times a day, if not more.

I’m praying for all of us. 2020 is our year!! Love and blessings, Lynn


Community Fast & Ear Ringing Webinar

Prayer and Fasting 2019Okay, It’s almost time! Our annual SUM Community fast will be the first full week of January. We will fast sunrise, Monday, January 6th through sunset January 10th. If at all possible, please plan to fast from all solid food for five days.

We are following the example of Jesus as He fasted. And I’m especially drawn to this exchange between Jesus and His disciples:

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer. —Mark 9:28-19

There are times we MUST fast and pray. If you are facing an ongoing sin issue, this is your fast. Are you wrangling with apathy in your faith life? This is your fast.

Unsaved spouse. Yes, this is your fast.

Do you want more from your faith than powerless Christianity? THIS IS YOUR FAST.

Start today and ask the Lord to help you fast a full five days. Prepare your family. Let them know. Make plans to feed them so you can spend little time in the kitchen.

Place a fasting candle in your house so when you see the flame and when the hunger pangs hits, these remembrances drive you to prayer.

I will be sharing so much beginning with this fast. We will discover the depths and the power of communion. This fast will launch us into our Community March Around Jericho. And part of that training I want to begin on Wednesday, January 8th.

I will be offering a private webinar on Wednesday, January 8th at 1 pm PST. I want to address an issue that recently happened to me. This issue affects millions of people and pray and fasting can illuminate it from your life.

Ear Ringing.

If you want to learn more, register today. It’s open to the first 100 registrants. I’ll be sharing how chronic ear ringing is often rooted in the demonic. I’ll provide freedom tools and we will pray to remove it from our lives.

This teaching is similar to the training I will offer with the launch of Marching Around Jericho.

BATTLE WARIORS. Our victory is at hand. Jesus is on the move and we are His chosen to bring His love and healing to a lost and broken world. But we must be healed and whole first.

So, we will fast. We will learn. We will march and we will win.

I’ll share more about the fast on Friday. Hugs, Lynn

 

Ear Ringing Webinar - Registration is required.
You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Jan 8, 2020 01:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Facebook Webinar
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

The Finale!

Prayer and Fasting 2019Day Five – The Finale

Pray: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. —Ephesians 3:20-21

Hallelujah and AMEN!!  (AMEN, means – I BELIEVE!)

Friends, I LOVE this week. Every year it’s a highlight in the lives of so many in our community. I know every effort you made to fast and pray was smiled upon by our Father. Jesus was in the room with you and the angelic have been set in motion.

In the comments, give your praise to our Lord for all He has done and what you are believing, in faith, will happen.

Here is mine (Lynn Donovan)

My Father, you are good and kind. You always listen, comfort and stand behind me even when I pray outlandish and nearly impossible things. I love you with a breadth and depth I didn’t know I had. I pledge my loyalty, love and my entire being to You. I pray that I honor Your name in my life and that in some way, I have represented You well as your daughter.

Jesus, you are my best friend, my teacher, my advocate, protector and healer. I lack language to express the love and thankfulness that dwells deep within me. Please know that You are my everything. I am utterly nothing and lost without you and your daily, moment-by-moment, Presence in my life. I can’t wait to see what you teach me this year. Oh, please let it be so crazy big that my mind is blown every week. I love you. I adore you.

Holy Spirit, the power and trust you place upon me, shatters every part of my pride and self. Thank you for always standing with me in battle, in revelation and giving your heart and trust to me as I minister to others. I cling to you Holy Spirit with my entire being.

Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I’m undone to know you chose me. Be blessed through my life. In Jesus name. AMEN

 

YOUR TURN. Share your praise. Share what happened in your fast. Share the revelation. Share your heart. I adore you my SUMite family. And what is waiting for us in the near future is beyond your wildest imagination. I’ve caught a glimpse and it’s mind bending. Hugs, Lynn


It's DECLARATION DAY!! Hallelujah!!

Prayer and Fasting 2019Thursday, January 10, 2019

There is grace.

If you didn’t quite make it, there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.

So, start again and finish strong. And for the many who have continued steadfast, press in because this is a breakthrough day for everyone!

Pray: I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. —Ephesians 3:16-19

Today is “revival day” and “divine reversal day.”

In the comments make your declaration over the areas in your life that need revival and reversal. Here are mine. (Lynn Donovan)

I declare in the Mighty Name of Jesus, my Savior and Advocate that I will advance the Kingdom of God. My husband will be saved, set free and proclaim Jesus is Lord. I declare my children and grandchildren will be sold out for Jesus and they will walk in His love and power. I declare that my writing will advance to greater levels of compassion, revelation and power, that lives are changed, and people come to know the healing and love of Jesus Christ. I declare a complete reversal of all assignments of the enemy, delays in my writing and teaching projects and decree all witchcraft and evil SHALL NOT STAND IN MY PRESENCE. I declare that I will love people with more empathy, guard my language to be salt and light and be intentional to sew goodness and reap goodness in my life and in the lives of those I interact online and in person.

I declare my Father is good. Every day, in every way. Jesus is my advocate, Rabbi, teacher, friend and healer. I stand in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring heaven to earth as proclaimed in the Lord’s prayer. In Jesus mighty and powerful name. AMEN

HALLELUJAH!

Okay, your turn. Make your declaration for all of heaven to see and the angelic to move upon. We are nearing the end of the fast but the beginning of NEWNESS in life!!  Can I get an AMEN?

Hugs, Lynn


Day Three Fasting & Prayer Prompt

Prayer and Fasting 2019Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Mid-week, and this is when fasting becomes difficult. What I want to tell you is that when you reach Friday and you remained in the fast, you will feel such a surge of accomplishment and pride in your perseverance. And the flip-side, you will be disappointed you didn’t make yourself finish strong because our next fast isn’t until September.

White-knuckle your determination. And gang, I’m saying this to me specifically. I’m staying focused on the juicy hamburger I’m going to eat on Friday at sunset. *grin*

Pray this:

I know that you will welcome me into your house,

    for I am covered by your covenant of mercy and love.

    So I come to your sanctuary with deepest awe

    to bow in worship and adore you.

Yahweh, lead me in the pathways of your pleasure

    just like you promised me you would,

    or else my enemies will conquer me.

    Smooth out your road in front of me,

    straight and level so that I will know where to walk. —Psalms 5:7-8 (Passion)

Ask Jesus these questions today and share your response in the comments.

Jesus, what area in my life are you making straight? Jesus, can I trust you to show me where to walk?


Day Two Prayer & Fasting Prompt

Prayer and Fasting 2019Tuesday, January 8, 2019

SUMites, did you wake with a hunger in your tummy? Let that hunger remind you to hunger and thirst after His righteousness. FOR THEY SHALL BE FILLED!

Today’s prayer prompt:

My child, listen to what I say,

    and treasure my commands.

Tune your ears to wisdom,

    and concentrate on understanding.

Cry out for insight,

    and ask for understanding.

Search for them as you would for silver;

    seek them like hidden treasures.

Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,

    and you will gain knowledge of God. —Proverbs 2:1-5

Answer this question in the comments today: Jesus, how are you using my marriage to increase my understanding and knowledge of the Father?

See you in the comment. March on Warriors!!  See you at the Summit! Love and hugs, Lynn


Fasting Expectations

Prayer and Fasting 2019SUM Nation

2019 is marching forward. And we, the Body of Christ, have tremendous assignments and moves of God in which we will participate.

In December I received a great deal of revelation from the Lord about 2019 and 2020. I will likely share what Jesus told me after our fast. But today, I want to encourage you to plan to fast.

The Community fast begins at sunrise, January 7th and end at sundown, January 11th. If at all possible, plan to fast from solid food for five days. Fasting from food is our Biblical model and Jesus modeled fasting. This next passage is our calling:

25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.

28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”

29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:25-29

I wonder how many of us are contending with the devil in areas of our life and not experiencing breakthrough?

IT’S TIME TO FAST!

IT’S TIME TO PRAY!

I am contending for so much in 2019 as the Lord has told me that this year is a year of preparation and a year of divine reversal. And I believe this is a word for our “Church without Walls.” We are being prepared for what I believe will be the Greatest move of God. And many things that the devil has been directing toward destruction will make an immediate reversal, a 180 degree, turn about. Who wants to claim these words for your life in 2019????

So here are a few hints to make your fast a success.

  1. Plan ahead. Tell your family and your husband. I always let Mike know I will be fasting. I set him up with easy-to-make meals that he can take from the freezer and sizzle up in a pan. This keeps me from being in the kitchen and temptation. Get things ready for your family and let them know that you won’t be eating during meals next week.
  2. Light a candle. Place it in the kitchen. When you see the flame, let it move you to pray. Also, when hunger pangs begin, use them also as a trigger that leads you to pray or praise.
  3. If you can’t fast from food, ask Jesus what to fast from. I bet He gives you a hint.
  4. Be certain to drink a lot of water. I also supplement my fast with some juice, broth, tea, and at times a small protein drink. So, stock up now. If you begin a fast without preparation, on day three when it becomes really challenging, you will succumb to the hunger.
  5. Try not to be overly physical.
  6. Spend time in the morning in prayer. Again, in the evening if possible.
  7. LEAVE COMMENTS. Share what is happening in your fast. Someone out there needs your words, breakthrough, struggles to help push them forward. Please share!!!

What to expect:

  1. In my experience the first couple of days are an adjustment period and the spirit realm waits to see if you are really committed.
  2. In the last half of the fast, Wednesday evening, Thursday and Friday morning, you can hear the Lord with greater clarity. I wish I could explain the “how and whys” of how this works but I just know from experience that our empty stomachs leads to a giant spiritual experience with the Lord. Most of our fasting is NOT about what we want but is truly about connecting with Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.
  3. Pray with DESIRE. Our heart’s desires are the currency in the Kingdom. And when you choose to align your desires with God’s desires, miracles begin to happen.
  4. You will be hungry but after the first half, God moves, and the sacrifice is rewarded through revelation, awareness, deeper intimacy and more.
  5. KNOW that you are fasting with thousands of SUMites all around the world. Pray for each other. Pray for me that I would have wisdom and strength to lead.

I love all of you so much. I hold each of you in my heart. If you have a prayer need, leave it in the comments and I will contend along side of you.

Also, if you plan to fast, would you leave your name and your general location in the comments. I feel led to pray for you and your town or city.

On Monday, I will have a prayer prompt for us to kick-start our prayer time.

Be blessed, Lynn


Powerful Fasting Tips

Prayer and Fasting 2019
Below are a few fasting tips I’ve scribbled down. Please share your tips and experiences in the comments. We need all the help and great ideas we can get. Hugs, Lynn

*For newbies: Begin with a sunrise to sunset fast.

*If fasting doesn’t mean anything to you, it won’t mean anything to God.

*Avoid television watching, the food commercial are of the devil, *grin.*

*Drink a gallon of purified water daily.

*Expect push-back.

*Fight through headaches and lethargy. You are detoxing your body, mind, and spirit.

*Prepare by informing your family. Set expectations and encourage them to support you and to refrain from placing temptation before you.

*Fasting can break the power of our uncontrolled appetite, nicotine cravings and alcohol and drug addictions.

*Fasting amplifies God’s voice.

*Fasting makes our Spirit sensitive to God’s heart.

*Fasting leads to greater intimacy with the Trinity.

*Fasting prepares us for new Kingdom assignments.

*Fasting is Biblical.

*Believers are called to fasting. It’s not an option.

*Jesus fasted for 40 days.

*Daniel fasted 21 days, following, he had the craziest visitation.

*Angels respond to the hyper-awareness fasting creates.

*Fasting crucifies the god - gluttony.

*Fasting means that when it’s over, you are different.

*Fasting also means when it’s over, you get a hamburger and fries 😊.

*But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. — Matthew 6:18

*And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.

    Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”   

    So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you     will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21     However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. —Matthew 17: 18-21 NKJV

 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. —Matthew 5:6


THIS is What Happens When We Fast

Prayer and fastingSUMites,

Wow, this fast was amazing. I fasted food for five days. Only had an egg and a piece of bread Wednesday morning and Thursday.

Friday, day five and very hungry but determined, I sat down at my computer to write a new chapter in a new book, Kingdom Keys. Gang, I wrote stuff that was so inspired that I’m kinda freaked out. It is revelation about Simon Peter and His moment when Jesus asks a life altering question. I can’t wait to share it with you. I was covered in holy chill bumps as I finished putting these thoughts on the screen. Mike walked in and I read an entire passage of scripture and then what the Holy Spirit prompted.

Mike stood in my office and listened. Of course, he wasn’t sure how to process what I shared but he listened to his wife SPEAK THE WORD OF GOD OVER HIM.

Wowza.. and Hallelujah!!!

I am so fired up by what happened, I’m fasting tomorrow through sundown Wednesday, Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement. Many Christian leaders have powerful encounters with Jesus on this night. I’m asking for mine.

I want to thank Ann Hutchison, from the bottom of my heart, for her heart-filled leadership. What is wild is that Sunday morning, the preacher at my church also used the story children trapped in the cave during the teaching.

Say what???

There is more in that message than we know and God is trying very hard to let someone know: Your Freedom Day has arrived.

Thank you Ann!!!  I love you.

I will also remind everyone that as September closes out and our new assignments arrive in the weeks ahead, you can EXPECT push back almost immediately from the enemy. My history with God reflects this. November is when all hell would break loose in my life.

BUT, if we know that now, we can pray against it. We can ask God to move smoothly into our new season. We can tell the devil:

  • STAND DOWN
  • YOU CAN’T HAVE MY HUSBAND
  • YOU CAN’T HAVE MY KIDS
  • YOU CAN’T HAVE MY HEALTH
  • YOU CAN’T HAVE MY BLESSINGS

In Jesus name. AMEN

This week I want you to pray for your husband/wife. Ask Jesus to overwhelm him/her with the reality of His love.

I adore you Nation of powerful Warriors. Have a fantastic week. Hugs, Lynn

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. -Galatians 4: 5-7


The Finest Food and Drink

Hi everyone, on the last day of our fast - we are so close to the finish line!Somewhere over the rainbow  SUM

It’s been wonderful adventuring with you and, as always, we’ve made memories. I often think of this site as a memorial of where we’ve been. I can just imagine sitting in a rocking chair as an old lady, looking back.

Today we’re going to take communion together; it is the finest food and drink. In giving us this bread and wine, it is as if God has set us the most wonderful table; one we really cannot imagine.

In today’s post I’d like to tell you about a treasured item that frames my home. I’ll tell you about it, and then we’ll have communion.

Several years ago, when my husband and I bought our house, we decided to put in a new front door. We wanted one with a stained-glass window, and so we drew a picture and had the window made. That was before ours became a Christian home. With the window and door in place, we then moved in. It was only four months later that my heart began to turn to God. It was as if the new house came with a turning point in our family’s faith life.

WindowI’ve included a photo of the window. Maybe you’ll be like me and won’t see it straight away – In fact, I have lived with this window for six years, but only recently seen it: It’s the cross, with the blood at the bottom, and new life (green) in the middle. My husband and I, as unbelievers, agreed that picture and had it made. It was a foreshadowing: God always knew what our home - all SUMite homes -- would stand for. Now, I often sit on the couch, see colors shine through the window, and smile. 

"For as for me and my house we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Would I declare that verse so determinedly if I wasn’t a SUMite? Possibly not. For me, it has taken a great deal of resistance-training to make a declaration like that so firmly.

Now for our communion time.

His Blood

“Then He took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant., which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:27 (NKJV)

His blood, liberally poured, flows abundantly to the foot of the cross. Full of Life itself, its levels rise, overcoming all that it is meant to cover. The joy set before Him at the foot of the cross is brought to fruition.

His Body

“Jesus took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Matthew 26:26 (NKJV)

His body, resurrected, brings verdant Life to all who digest it. Like the green at the cross’s heart, it represents all things new: New creations, new growth, that ‘something new’. Like the diamond, it is the most precious of substances, and it sparkles as His covenant to His precious Church.

SUMites, have a beautiful rest of the fast, and I'd love to hear in the comments how this week has been for you. What has your experience been this time round?

In love,

Ann


Five Smooth Stones

Hi everyone  Somewhere over the rainbow  SUM

As I write, it’s Thursday morning here in New Zealand, and I'm a hungry girl. Each fast I do more than I did before; and yet, this fast, like my others before, has been an imperfect one.

Yesterday, for example, I went to work hungry. By 1pm it was awful. I left my office where I was putting on a cheerful front, shut myself in the toilet cubicle and said to Jesus, “HOW did you do this for 40 days?” It made me realize I hadn’t ever considered Jesus’s 40 days of no food or water.

At 2pm, I freaked, I had a class to teach: “What if I faint in front of the class?” That was it. Seizing control of my situation, I reached for my bag, pulled out a small wrapped bar called ‘one square meal’, and gobbled it up. My hunger disappeared and I missed it instantly – “Oh no, come back!!”

Fasting. What does it do?  I still don’t understand it, but this time round I’m feeling it crash me to my knees – if not physically, in my heart. In my fasting state, there are no first-world problems. I’m hungry, that’s it. I bow my knee to the Father.

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Ephesians 3:14, NKJV.

Fasting has got me thinking about the five smooth stones that God gave David to fight with. David knelt in obedience, gathered the stones, and stood up. Then he simply popped a stone into his sling, and - plop! - down went Goliath. Obviously, there were emotions around it, but the fact was he held these precious little stones in his hot hand. They were like secret treasure.  Five smooth stones

These five smooth stones were gentle weapons: small, rounded, easy to pick up, simple to hold. They make me think of fasting, rest, delight, dancing, and worshipping; things that represent a lifestyle of intimacy. Little lightweight stones.

"Come to Me, all you 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." Matthew 11:28-30, NKJV.

On Tuesday I woke with a picture of myself and my kids sinking colored pool balls by connecting with the white ball. Plop, plop, plop, went the balls. It made me think, “For victory, you have to get your connection with the white right.”  Similarly, to sink the giants, we seek first – above all else -- our connection with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That's what I'll teach my kids.

This SUM community is a place I have been learning how to do that. The example of all of you has made me grow. For that I’m enormously grateful.

“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!”

Ephesians 3:14-21, The Message

Tomorrow I’d love to take communion with you, the SUMites, who I find to be my happy place. So, if you would, come to the blog with bread and wine and we'll eat the best possible meal together.

Love to you all.

Ann


A Very Special Rescue

Somewhere over the rainbow  SUMHi friends 

How’s the fasting going? This one's ambitious for me – soup only for dinner has made me starry-eyed! But I'm enjoying the afternoons where I can just sit.

I hope you enjoyed yesterday's clips. Amazingly, there is a part two to that story, which I've been excited to share. I'll start with this scripture, which I believe is for us today:

“In that day, there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; ... And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea.” Isaiah 11:11 (NKJV) 

Now to the story:

Remember back in June the twelve Thai boys and their coach in the cave? People across the world, regardless of race, extended their compassion. It was a testimony of love.

When the boys were found, my tears flowed for these little children who needed to be tucked up in a warm bed by their mums and dads. I was compelled to pray, and I saw that others were too.

A week in, the Holy Spirit seemed to whisper something to me about these boys: I seemed to hear the words baptized and memorialized, and then, Adding up to twelve. I couldn’t help but quietly believe that all twelve children would be saved.

As we know, the rescue looked impossible. There was dwindling oxygen and rising flood waters. Then, suddenly, we heard “The rescue is ON!” Hours ticked by, then the news came: The first boy is out!  Half an hour later, the second boy!  Then, the third boy!  And then the fourth! 

Overnight, more would come out. Five!  Six! A seventh! More of a wait. Then: Eight! Nine! Ten! Alive alive alive!

Finally, the eleventh, the twelfth. All alive, adding up to twelve. Then came the coach, who had got them on this adventure, and endured it with them.

Just as the last rescue was completed, workers in the cave came racing out – A pump had failed and water had risen suddenly. Thinking Moses and the red sea, my ears pricked up - Coincidence, or miracle?

Later, I learned that the rescuers had first traced the boys’ path within the cave by seeing hand prints on the walls.  Something in my memory jogged and I remembered I'd had a dream about hand prints! Racing to my journal, I found that dream: It was of Lynn finding hand prints, the prints showing who had been where. There was a sense that they were like individualized fingerprints, except hand prints. The date of the dream, 23 June, was the very day the boys entered the cave. Underneath, I had written this:

“Lord, help me lead my boys to you, please give me the words. It needs a miracle. Be with me like you were with Moses.”

Wow. It sounded prophetic. Of course, it was a prayer about my own boys, but could it be these Thai boys symbolized something? See, that night, I had also dreamt of a person who was so stuck in unbelief they could not even be in the same room as Christians, so great was the distance of separation. Further, that very same night I had dreamt of people talking about their favorite recipes, foreign recipes. Well, blow me down, in the media, the boys were seen listing their favorite recipes! Just like yesterday's story, it seemed so unusual. What did it mean? Here's an initial thought:

Like these hand prints, God knows exactly how people got stuck where they are, and how to get them out. These people who are separated from Him are starving, and they may be thinking other food besides the Bread of Life is going to satisfy them. No matter, God will get them out. Indeed, He will set His hand again, and again to recover those who are left, whatever their area of difficulty (Isaiah 11:11). After all, they’re precious children, and they're loved. 

SUMites, I hope this encourages you, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. What else do you see in this story? 

Lord, help the SUMites lead our precious ones to you, please give us the words. It needs a miracle. Be with us like you were with Moses. May their story be a memorial and may many be baptized. In Jesus' name, Amen.