51 posts categorized "forgiveness"

Forgiveness IS Powerful by Pam Osborn

SUMites, Lynn here. I've asked one of our long time community members to share with all of you about a forgiveness model she uses that is powerful and effective. I urge you to also try this. Having a physical anchor to ta spiritual concept is keenly helpful and significant to step into spiritual reality. This is a good one. So, take it away Pam. Hugs, Lynn

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PamOsborneI was asked to share a little about what I have learned on the topic of Forgiveness.  It seems that there is a lot more to it than just saying you’re sorry. It is actually one step in a peace-making process.

It was helpful for me to get clarity on what Biblical forgiveness is and what it isn’t.  I feel like many of us get hung up here.

One misunderstanding I had was that forgiveness was a feeling.  That I had to feel like the person deserved forgiveness before I would grant it.  Or, that I had to have a warm fuzzy feeling, a forgive and forget attitude, to make the forgiveness authentic.  However, Biblical forgiveness is not a feeling, but an act of obedience in response to the forgiveness we received for our debts.  We are called to be peacemakers and are commanded to forgive.  Forgiveness doesn’t equal trust.  Forgiveness is a gift to the other person, but Trust must be earned.

Along these same lines, I thought forgiveness was between you and the other person.  That you would extend an apology to them, and your relationship would be reconciled.  You don’t have to reconcile a relationship with someone to forgive them.  Biblical forgiveness is between you and God alone, it’s a one-way transaction. The other person does not have to be present or even still living.

If you are in my camp, you have probably resisted forgiving someone because that would mean you are forgetting the harm or offense they did to you and you are letting them off the hook.  We want to extract justice ourselves and don’t trust anyone else to carry it out.  The Bible teaches that God hates sin.  He never EXCUSED my sin; it was nailed to the Cross with Christ.

Whenever we are harmed or wounded, the offender creates a debt that is owed to us.  I was given a simple exercise that helped me work through these offenses.  We made photocopies of a cross and were instructed to write down the name of every person who hurt, wounded, or shamed us and to also list any event.  This exercise represents the act of forgiveness in that you are releasing YOUR claim for justice to God.  They no longer owe you a debt, they owe Him. It has given me a freedom to release the person and not have to carry that weight. I kept my cross and have referred back to it any time I need a reminder that justice is His.    

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Pam Osborne is employed at a law firm in her hometown of Greenville, S.C.  She is active in her community and Church, where she is a Coach in a 12-step program in the Care & Recovery Ministry.  Pam has been a part of the SUMite community for a number of years. Pam enjoys painting and DIY projects.  She is currently a semi empty-nester with her two adult children.


Marriage Devotion - Patty Tower

Forgiving My Spouse


Patty TowerForgiveness is not just an act we do for someone else, it is more so an act we do for ourselves. Unforgiveness harbors resentment, bitterness, anger, and negativity. When we harbor these emotions, the act of portraying love faints away. Is that what I want for my marriage?

I thought about what forgiving my husband looks like and it’s not me saying to him, “I forgive you.” It means to internally release all my negative emotions regarding the small battles to God.

Maybe in my mind, he’s talking to me in a demeaning tone. And instead of me snapping back, I address it. Whether he wants to fix it or argue about it, I simply…move on. If he replies back, “I wasn’t trying to talk down to you,” and instead of debating, “yes you were.” I respond, “Oh ok.” And move on.

It’s deciding in my heart to forgive him for that quick small moment and pray to God to soften his heart. Forgiveness is in the quick small moments of our everyday.  

Reflection: Think of a common small moment where you can forgive. What was in the moment that made you feel a negative emotion? Ask God to show you how to forgive or whether to address an issue. If it’s forgiveness, write it down and pray God will continue to give you a heart of humility, grace, and mercy towards your husband/wife.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32 

“As he hung on the cross – And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” – Luke 23:24 

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” – Colossians 3:13


What Did You Just Say?!

Hi SUM Family, Tiffany here! Boy pout

 

"Get away from me daddy!"

"Leave me alone!"

"Go away daddy!"

 

These are words that have recently come out of both of my kids' mouths. Yesterday from my daughter and this morning from my son.

Without any context, it would appear that they are simply being children. Easton is 6 and Elie is 5, so what is the big deal?

Let me back up a little bit. It was a Sunday morning. The kids and I had gone to church. The message was cutting straight to the heart. I've talked before about my struggle with anger. I've talked about my struggle with micromanaging and controlling tendencies. All of these things were swirling around in my mind during the sermon. Let's take a look at a few phrases I wrote down in my notes:

People see how you act; it doesn't matter how you feel it's how you act.

The best way to preach God and Jesus is to not be in a bad mood  but in a good mood.

You don't need to put your bad mood on people.

Don't only do good when you feel good. Do good when you feel good AND when you feel bad.

Sometimes our personality - who we are - have gotten us into a problem. We need to change who we are and not move away from the problem.

OUCH! These things seem very obvious; however, I have consistently failed to embody them in my marriage. As the believer in the home, I should be the one taking charge in setting a culture of love in my home. Great talking points Pastor. I will ponder them deeply!

 

I come home to the same dirty kitchen with evidence of days worth of meals consumed on numerous dishes. (#thestruggleisreal)

Instantly I begin to feel a simmer in my spirit.

My husband is sitting in his La-Z-Boy and staring at his computer screen. Has he even done anything today?

Temperature is rising.

I sit down with a loud and audible sigh. No response. Did he even hear me?

I'm clearly upset. He is ignoring me. Game on.

 

I will spare you the details; but, needless to say a fight ensued. He raised his voice to match mine. I got scared (because of past trauma and regression to those times) and began to scream, "Just go away! Leave me alone! Get out of here! JUST. GO!" All within earshot and sight of my children.

It's time for me to confess. It's time for me to admit it. I've really messed up here!

This scenario has been typical in my home. I opened the door for a foothold with the words, "Just go away! Just leave me alone!" These words spoken in defense have become an overplayed song inside the walls of my household.

Back to my kids.

Just yesterday I was arguing with my daughter about getting dressed for school. I stormed out of her room and motioned to my husband and said, "I wipe my hands of this. I'm done." My husband (who isn't a morning person) sat calmly on my daughter's bed and talked gently with her. He was trying to understand what had happened. His loving demeanor was met with, "Go away daddy! Leave me alone! I don't want you, I want mommy!"

After he had left the room and Elie had calmed down a bit, I talked sternly with her. I said, "Don't you talk to your daddy that way. He didn't do anything to you. You need to love and respect your daddy......" As I'm talking to her, the light bulb when on and Holy Spirit met me there mid sentence.

Tiffany, do you realize what you are saying to Elie? You need to listen very carefully to your words. You've modeled this to her, just a couple of days ago. OUCH! Sorry Lord. Please forgive me.

That night I read this golden nugget of Scripture:

9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. -- 2 Corinthians 7:9-11

This morning was a similar scenario. My husband was dealing with an issue with my son and the same type of words came out of Easton's mouth. As I heard this going down from the other room, I whispered quietly to the Lord. I am so sorry! Look at what I've done! Lynn always tells us that 75% of warfare is awareness. I knew it was time to cut this thing off!

Pride, ol' buddy, ol' pal. We can't be friends any more. It's best we part ways.

I brought everyone into the living room and said it's time we have a family meeting. My husband was standing next to me as we looked down at the kids sitting on the couch. I took a deep breath and apologized to Jason for yelling those horrible words to him. I apologized to the kids for setting the bad example of how to treat their daddy. I apologized for setting up the culture of demeaning my husband in the home. I told the kids I don't ever want to hear those words out of their mouths and mommy is making a choice to never do so again either. I told my husband to hold me accountable if I ever utter those words again because it is not right. I emphasized to the kids that we don't ever want daddy to leave. We want him with us. He is the man of the house. He is in charge. We respect and love daddy, no matter what.

I'm tired of saying sorry without any heart change being made. This was the first intentional step toward repentance; toward healing. For myself, my family, and for future generations.

I left the house this morning knowing that seeds of righteousness were planted in each and every heart of my household. It is only a matter of time when it will reap a crop of love (Hosea 10:12 NLT).

I've gone on far too long today, but I want to talk in the comments. What is something that you've been able to model for your children in order to honor our husband before them?

Love and hugs,

Tiffany


I Have Guilt Over My Mismatched Marriage

Instagram Questions 2 21 2019Good Friday Morning My Friends, 

A few weeks ago, this question arrived on our Instagram:

"What to do with that guilt I feel sometimes for marrying someone who is not a believer?”

A while back I had a conversation with a very close friend of mine who was tormented by shame and guilt because of past decisions in her life. Through that conversation I was made acutely aware of the unworthiness that plagues many of God’s children. Regularly the devil will beat believers up, both emotionally and spiritually, using our guilt over past mistakes we regret. We carry enormous gilt over the tremendous errors in our judgment that have brought pain into our lives, our kids and spouse. 

On dark days the enemy snakes in and whispers, failure! Shame! Worthless.  You are stupid for making that decision.

He tells us to say to ourselves, Oh, how I wish I wouldn’t have said that. I would give my life to make a different decision. I have suffered so greatly because I chose to do this instead of doing that. Marry an unbeliever.

Anyone???

If we could see this shame and guilt upon us in the spiritual realm, it would look like enormous hole in our heart that is festering and bleeding.

So right now I want you to hear what I heard from the Father. Receive this as your truth and step into His words of freedom right now. 

 

My Sweet and Holy Child, 

Do you not understand that I know how very difficult it is to live on earth? Are you not aware that I am fully and completely sensitive of how hard it is to live there? I know the pain you face. I didn’t send you to earth as your Father, blindly-unaware of every tiny detail that you would face. 

I know it’s hard to live there. I knew that before I sent you. And I knew that you would make mistakes. You would make big mistakes. You would make choices that would affect your life adversely for the rest of your earthly life. I knew that would happen. I knew your choices would cause you pain. And choices that your parents made would cause you hurt and struggle. I knew the decisions you made would hurt your children too. 

I am fully aware my child that your words have hurt others deeply. So deeply that they have forever separated you from a loved one. And I know that words spoken to you in carelessness have been giant swords that pierced your heart and left you broken. 

I know this life is hard. It is hard from the beginning and there will be struggles until you die. But I know all about every one of your struggles, your guilt, your shame and your difficulties. And it’s all okay. 

I knew when you arrived of the planet you would struggle. And I knew you would make poor choices at times. And it’s the same for every person on earth. 

You all make bad choices at times. It’s not like you are the only person who hurt someone with a choice you made. Everyone does it. Everyone makes tremendous blunders and messes up their life and the life of others. 

It’s all okay. 

You are not worse than anyone else because they ALL MAKE mistakes. Big mistakes. 

What I want from you is simple. Admit you made them. Ask for forgiveness. I WILL FORGIVE YOU IMMEDIATELY. Make right what you can. Then FORGIVE YOURSELF. 

I expected you to make these giant mistakes because life is hard on planet earth. So live in this truth. The lie you have believed is that no one else screws up this badly. It’s a lie. Everyone messes up their life and the life of others. 

But I am your Papa of Grace. It will all work out in the end. For I use all things for the good of those who love Me. You’ll see. Give yourself grace. Grace is forgiveness and kindness and love. But grace is also empowerment to do better the next time. And you will do better the next time. 

So let go of this shame and guilt. I will not condemn you because my Son stood before me with your name on His lips. He died for you and He speaks to Me often on your behalf. I love you. My Son loves you and the Holy Spirit is with you to help you do better next time. 

The best thing you can do is to follow hard after the teaching in my Holy Word, talk with me all the time, bring your life before me and let Me direct your path. I will never leave you nor forsake you my child. You can learn to walk through this very difficult life with grace, love, joy and peace. That is what I want for you for the rest of your life. 

I adore you. Please adore yourself. 

Signed, Your Papa
Abba, Father

PS. Jesus says, “Hi.”


My friends, I dare you to read this story differently today.

Jesus write in sand SUMI messed up!

I slipped up…. AGAIN….

I continue to be disappointed in myself because I have this sin, this ugly thing, that I battle on and off.

I wonder, Is God mad at me?

Is God disappointed with me?

I want God to be pleased with me, perhaps He will bless me more if I can just get this right. If I can just do more good and stop this ugly thing.

Can anyone relate?

Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves. We are quick to condemn our failures and faults and to come to a point where we want to give up because we are convinced that God is tired of our continual mess ups.

My friends, I dare you to read this story differently today.

John 8:1 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Think about this……

This woman was caught in her sin. It was the law of the Old Testament that she be stoned to death. And how quick EVERYONE gathered around to cast accusation upon her. As Jesus stood there, He didn’t deny the law, did He?

In His great wisdom, He turned the accusations back upon the accusers.

But what we miss in this story is that there was someone in the crowd who WAS WITHOUT SIN.

Do you know who it was?

Jesus!

He is the only person legitimately entitled to cast a stone of justice and punishment upon this guilty woman. What blows my mind is that Christ wasn’t the accuser. No, he was her recue.

And as this woman who looked at her liberator with a tear-stained face, trembling under the rush of adrenalin, entered into an encounter with love and forgiveness.

She encountered God!

As the accusers slipped silently away, the love from her Savior’s eyes flooded her soul. A lifetime of pain, soul wounds, rejection, and failures, also slipped away. She met grace in a moment of time and this single encounter released her from a lifetime of condemnation and shame.

She wasn’t without sin. But He loved her.

She knew the law and was in rebellion against God. But He loved her.

Her failures, her pain, her sins fell away, silent. Because He loved her.

It’s out of this revelation of His love that she departed knowing that his last words, “Go now and leave your life of sin,” wasn’t a command but a decree for her freedom.

His love and acceptance became her revelation and empowerment that she would not sin again.

Whoa!

I don’t know about you but for me, I focus too many times on the areas where I miss the mark, sin, and failure. But I’m beginning to see that our God is not just tolerating me. He is enjoying me.

The God of the Old Testament is the same God of the new Testament, reflected in Jesus. He is not reluctant to love us. Nor does He need convincing through our good works. He loves us just as we are, sin and all.

It’s out of His tremendous love that we are truly set free from our pain, addictions, tribulations and rebellion. It’s His love that leads us to repentance and not performance.

Oh Jesus,

I’m asking for the Spirit of Revelation and Wisdom to overwhelm my soul today. I ask you to encounter me with this kind of life-changing love. I ask you to reveal to me Your love in increasing measure. Let me see you as the overcomer in the dark as well as in the light. Let me release my guilt and to walk in childlike faith as a son/daughter who is loved by a good Father. AMEN

My Child,

I love you

Happy Valentines Day

Love, Your Good Father

Valentine1


Where Is Your Focus

The following post is by Lori Lyn Skipper.

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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.


Taking a Step Beyond Forgiveness

Next-step

By Martha Bush

It may happen only once in a lifetime, but sometimes you may receive the ultimate betrayal from someone resulting in a tremendous amount of emotional pain. Such was my family’s case several years ago.

When news of the betrayal was first made known, along with all of its false accusations, I knew immediately that I had to forgive the persons involved. You see, many years ago, I experienced first-hand the torture of an unforgiving heart. But one day, while at the end of my rope, I cried out to the Lord, “I forgive them, Lord, and I ask you to forgive me of all the bitterness inside of me.” That day, I began walking in a freedom like I had not experienced in years.

I made a promise to myself that I would never allow myself to be tormented in this way again. It stirred me to live my life according to: “What Christ has done for me, pass it on to others” (Colossians 3:13) I began to realize that no one could hurt me like my sins hurt Jesus when He paid the ultimate price for my salvation.

Not only that, I try to remind myself that I am not “Miss Squeaky Clean” either. There are times I hurt others also. For these two reasons, I try to forgive others quickly no matter what comes into my life.

However, months went by, and I kept thinking about my current situation. “What is going on here? If I have truly forgiven, why are their faces always before me?”

I began to sense that there was another step I needed to take beyond forgiveness. It seemed as though every time I opened my Bible to read, it fell on “Bless those who persecute you.” (Romans 12:14)

The question on my mind was “How DO I bless those who had persecuted me? What should I do to put this verse into practice?”

One day, I came across a prayer I had recited many times at the end of church services. In fact, the passage of scripture actually begins with the Lord saying to Moses: “Tell Aaron this is HOW I want my people blessed.”

Number 6:23-27: May the Lord bless and keep you. May the Lord shine His face upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.

The following is a brief summary of points I learned from several commentaries on what this scripture means and how we can use it to bless others, including our enemies.

(vs 24) The Lord Bless and Keep You

“Bless” means to speak well of, praise. This does not mean we are blessing the works or deeds of an offender of ours; we are to speak well of and give honor to God’s child whom He loves, despite their wrong doing. “Keep you” means to provide and protect.

(vs 25) The Lord Make His Face Shine Upon You and Be Gracious Unto You

“His face shine upon you” alludes to the shining of the sun upon the earth. We cannot help but be happy if we realize we are loved by God and His face is shining upon us. “Gracious” comes from the word grace, and we know that by His grace He has washed away our sins and will continue to do so.

(vs 26) The Lord Lift up His Countenance Upon You and Give You Peace

“Countenance” means facial expression or approval. This seems to allude to the smiles of a father upon his child that he approves and accepts his child.

(vs 27) And I will put my name upon the children of Israel and I will bless them

Here God gives Aaron permission to make use of His name in blessing the people, and to bless them as His people, called by His name. When we place God’s name on enemy territory, there can be no hostility, no ill feeling, only a desire to see them blessed. Though the blessing was pronounced by the lips of man, God made the promise and assurance that, “I, the Lord, will bless them.”

That passage of scripture began to take root way down deep inside of me for the ones who had betrayed my family. Had I forgiven them? Yes, but God’s desires for their future became my desires.

I sincerely wanted them:

  • to be protected from all evil
  • to experience the love of a their heavenly Father as He shines His face upon them
  • to feel loved, accepted and approved by God
  • to experience the comfort and peace within themselves, others, and God

I conclude that:

Forgiving others keeps our life free from being tormented with bitterness.

When we take a step beyond forgiveness, we become God’s mouthpiece in which the blessings flow to those who have persecuted us.  That, in itself, is an honor to be His mouthpiece. 

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What about you? Is there someone you need to forgive? Is there a step beyond forgiveness that you may need to extend to someone by calling down God’s blessings on them?


Jesus Is Brilliant - Matthew 18

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comIf another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. —Matthew 18:15

Imagine, what would happen if someone came to you personally and privately (Matthew 18) to chat about something they held against you. And you actually listened. Responded, “I’m so sorry you felt that way. It was never my intention and I would never knowingly be mean, vindictive, or harsh. I didn’t realize I hurt you. Please forgive me and let’s make this right.”

The culture of honor, where God lives and people thrive, exists through preserving respect and honor. This verse is specific to the need to privately point out the offense. On Friday,  The situation completely blew up due to the lack of a private and honest conversation between the leader and the women who were “concerned.”

By the way, I hate the word "concerned" coming out of a believer. When someone brings something to you and says, “I’m concerned.” Run for the hills. It’s never going to be a good thing. It’s a cloaked word that really means I don’t trust you. You need to prove yourself to me and if you are very, very convincing I might change my mind about the condemnation and judgement I’ve already set against you.   (Just my perspective.)

However, taking a conflict to a person and talking it out in private leaves the door open to relationship. To love. To honor and unity. Taking this action leads to the last half of Matthew 18:15. You win that person back… Back to love. Back to relationship. Back to community. Back to Kingdom!  Hallelujah.

This is the goal of Jesus words here. Unity, love, and family. This is a culture of honor.

Therefore, let us carefully consider these words spoken by Christ, and put them into practice. Sin and conflict in the church are inevitable. But, if we handle sin Christ’s way: peace, sanctification, forgiveness, the result will be the preservation of reputations and the deepening of trustful relationships. If we handle conflict and sin our way, we can expect chaos, warfare and divisions in the church.

Once again, awareness is 75% of the battle. Catching yourself in the midst of going into conflict and examining your motives then determining to bring honor to your life and the life with whom you are in disagreement, is the way to resolve these difficulties.

Okay, here is the hard part of today’s teaching. Whom are you in conflict with in your heart? Is there a possibility that you need to pray and approach that person one-on-one to seek resolution?

I know this is simplifying situations. There are relationships which are very unhealthy and so many of us have taken every step possible to seek reconciliation, but to no avail. And there are relationships that any attempt to reconcile only opens up more conflict and pain. But, today, I’m asking our Church Without Walls, is there someone in your life, online, at your local church, or in the neighborhood that you are holding an offense?

Ask the Lord if this is the season of reconciliation. Seek His wisdom before you proceed. Not all forgiveness means a restoration of a relationship. So much of forgiveness is tearing down the prison walls which we have constructed about us. Pray about it a lot. Fast and pray. Many in our SUM community are fasting today. I’m fasting for at least 24 hours. Join in.

If you are in the process, leave me a quick note (No details) just a note that you are going to seek resolution. I will pray to cover you with the wisdom of heaven and the peace and a spirit of reconciliation. In Jesus name. AMEN

See you Friday where we address what to do if one-on-one reconciliation isn’t possible.

LOVE YOU MY SUMites!!  Have a great weekP

PS: I'm chatting with Ian Atcheson this Wednesday  at 3 pm. Pacific on Facebook Live. Tune in and meet one of our long-time writers.


Life Is Too Short to Live Any Way but Happy! By Lori Lyn Skipper

Welcome back to the adventures of Lori Lyn Skipper. My son, Brad, and I made it just fine after his dad left us because we had God on our side. Yes, there were definite struggles, but I had such a peace about me, Philippians 4:7 NLT: Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

The Lord called me to the ministry in 1998. I preached my first sermon in March 1999.  I eventually moved to Benton, IL by the leading of the Lord where I continued serving in the ministry. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, lupus, arthritis, and chronic degenerative disc disease.  In 2005, I almost died from these and other afflictions, such as Barrett’s esophagus and bleeding internally, but God! 

I know that by Jesus’ stripes I am healed because the Word of God tells me so in Isaiah 53:5. I have since been healed of many afflictions and diseases. There are some that I am still working on catching my healing, but it is well with my soul. I believe these are in direct relationship to the life I lived before Christ. Yes, I believe He will completely restore me, but I also believe I am suffering the consequences of my actions and need to walk some things out. I actually appreciate the miracles I’ve experienced more because of what I have to walk out.

 

Brian Lori Adult
Brian & Lori Reacquaint 2009

Not only did the Lord restore my soul but He restored my relationship with Brian in March 2009. I had sent letters numerous times to Brian via his grandmother’s address and never heard from him. In mid-2008, I located him via Myspace, prayed and sent him a message. About three weeks later, I received a response from him, he said he reread all of the letters I had sent him, but he was not ready for a relationship with me. 

Finally, in Feb of 2009 he said he was ready to meet for the first time since 1993. My family had a surprise birthday party for my mom on March 8, 2009. Brian came to become reacquainted with me and the rest of my family. Since that time, Brian and I have worked on developing a relationship. He now lives in Portland, OR but we stay in touch. The best part of all of this, he came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior living in Missouri. He is currently not on fire for the Lord, but I believe he will be again one day, as well as my youngest son Brad will be also. In Jesus name!

                                  

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-06-17/c7a2b45b-2c1b-48b0-9f40-4a58cb1a6a5c.png
Brad & Lori - During Brad's service in the Marines

Fast forward to December 2015, I was not looking for a husband, but I met mine. John was not looking for a wife, but he found one. From the day we met, the Lord spoke to me that my husband was going to be an integral part in me fulfilling the dreams and calling the Lord has put on my life. My husband is a pre-believer, but I thank God every day for him. He is very supportive of me. He also encourages me in the new adventures I am on with the Lord. We have our struggles due to his life style, but I have learned when to speak up and when to let it go. I have learned to lay down boundaries and will not accept any disrespect towards me. When it has happened, I have been quick to nip it in the bud. I daily thank my husband for his support, encouragement, for his hard work to provide for our family, for his love for me and my sons, for doing dishes, taking out the garbage, whatever it may be. I thank him and let him know how much I appreciate him. It’s vital to our marriages to show love, honor, and respect.

Life is too short to live any way but happy. I have come to the place where I know who I am in Christ Jesus and I won’t accept anything less than His best for my life. I know in Whom I serve, and I don’t forget for one day Who He is or what He has done for me. 

I close with Lamentations 3:58 NKJV: “O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul; You have redeemed my life.” Amen!

 

Lynn Donovan: Thank you Lori for your heart of love for our community and for your courage to share your story. Your life brings great honor to our Father. Well done good and faithful servant.  SUMites, give a shout out to Lori in the comments for sharing her heart with us. Hugs. Lynn


How Sturdy Is Your Seat?

ChairMy friends, I loved your comments from my post on Monday. Several of you shared you would really like to know more about the Greek meanings of the words I’m researching, so please know that I’m thinking and praying about how to do that best. Right now I think a video would be easiest to explain and bring these treasures to life, so stay posted.

Today, let’s start talking about where we “sit” with God. Let’s take a look at Ephesians. The first chapter of Ephesians is all about our identity, who were are as new creations in Christ Jesus and what we’ve been given as our inheritance in Him. 

Many of you shared in the survey that you wanted to understand more about our identity in Christ as well. Knowing and understanding these truths is very important to the sturdiness of our “seat,” especially where and how we “sit” in our mismatched marriages. In taking these truths into our spirit by studying, praying and believing them, we will operate from a greater place of influence in our homes and marriages simply by living our lives according to these truths. 

Take a look at this list of who YOU are right from Ephesians 1.

  • Blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
  • Chosen before the foundation of the world
  • Holy and blameless before Him
  • Predestined for adoption
  • Blessed in the Beloved
  • Redeemed through His blood
  • Forgiven of all trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (not limited by yours)
  • His will and purposes made known to you with all wisdom and understanding
  • United with Him, things in heaven and things on earth

SUMites, this is what Jesus died to give us, our complete identity in Him. And not only that. He gave us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, as a seal and guarantee of our inheritance.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. — Eph 1:13-14

Christ Jesus has done all this for us so that we can be with Him and He can be with us. The veil separating man from God was both literally and figuratively torn upon His death to make this possible. Yet we still tend to think a type of physical separation remains, but God’s Word says otherwise.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. — Eph 2:19-22

Read these verses carefully. God didn’t just want to save us, He also wants us with Him. And not just in eternity, but in an abiding relationship with Him always. When we understand that we are secure in our value, worth and God’s great love for us, we become more and more Christ-like in our faith, courage, integrity and strength. We begin to reflect the very characteristics of Jesus, and if you read the gospels, He was irresistible! People were drawn to Him. They saw the hope and promise He carried and they wanted it.

My friends, this is exactly why God always starts with us, the believing spouse, in a mismatched marriage. We are a conduit of His love and grace, we are a representation of His character, and we are the source of His delight. And we don’t do any of this. He does. 

So this is where we start in releasing our spouses identity in Jesus, by living in belief and faith that we are God’s children, given the full inheritance in Christ Jesus.

Not just when we go to heaven. Now.

Every spiritual blessing, remember? My friends, as you think and pray about these truths about you, think and pray about them regarding your spouse. 

  • You are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, so now bless your spouse with the same.
  • You were chosen before the foundation of the world, and so was your spouse. Declare this truth over his or her life.
  • You stand holy and blameless before Him, so thank Jesus now that He is doing the same thing for your spouse.
  • You were predestined for adoption and so is your spouse. See him or her from this perspective, as someone God is willing to die for so that he or she can LIVE!
  • You are blessed in the Beloved and God’s heart and intention is for your spouse to be too. Again, declare this truth over him or her. If your spouse is open to hear it, tell him or her they are blessed!
  • You are redeemed through His blood and have the power and authority through this to declare the blood of Christ over your spouse—heart, soul, mind and spirit.
  • You are forgiven of all trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. That same forgiveness is for your spouse too. Live forgiven and forgive so that your spouse can see what that looks like.
  • God’s will and purposes made known to you with all wisdom and understanding. Ask God for this same revelation of your spouse. What is God’s heart for your spouse? What gifts did He place in him or her? You can even ask God to show you how your spouse may already be operating in his or her gifting without even realizing it. I see this in my husband as he becomes more and more aware of the people around him and intentionally talks and spends time with them. I see his gift of engagement and evangelism already operating. And I chuckle as I watch him not only do this but how people are drawn to him!
  • You are united with God, things in heaven and things on earth. Therefore, through your faith (sanctification, 1Cor 7:14 and marriage, Mark 10:8) so is your spouse. Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in. Then take your spouse with you to those heavenly realms in love and prayer. Think of them as there with you already. Wow!

Okay, that one just kind of blew my mind. How about you, SUMites? I hope you’re beginning to see how important you are in God’s eyes and in your marriage. Nothing is impossible for Him. And you, my friends, as a co-heir of Jesus and a co-laborer with God, are part of His possibilities.

Love you dearly!
Dineen

Copyright: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo


Emotional Healing Prayer

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
—Psalm 34:4

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comToday, let’s look at the fairly simple prayer for emotional healing. I have prayed this sequence of sentences often in the last several months. I have found that after praying, I experience relief when I recall the memory (wound).

Go into an uninterrupted place, a quiet time of prayer.

Relax! (This is a good thing) Smile.

Pray something like this and simply engage your faith (pray aloud if you can): Jesus, I ask you to be with me and walk with me through my healing. Sometimes I speak this sentence a few times and I wait as I sense the change in my heart or the room.

Father, bring Your glory. Rest Your glory upon me and in this room. Again, I may pray this aloud for a few times and allow the Lord to rest upon me.

Holy Spirit, I ask You to lead me into all truth. I give you permission to help me recall what needs healing and to protect me from any lies of the enemy during this time. Holy Spirit I trust you to bring me through my healing in peace and without fear. Heal me completely, wholly, and forever from the wounding we uncover. In Jesus name.

Prayer:

Remember a painful event in your life. After inviting the Trinity in, usually the first one that comes to mind is where the Holy Spirit wants to start to work. It is often the strongest negative emotion.

Identify the emotion you feel. (shame, grief, regret, betrayal, fear, etc.)

If this memory is a result of sin, simply confess it and ask for forgiveness. Tell Jesus you receive His forgiveness. If there is not personal sin attached to this memory, move on.

Jesus, take this emotion ___________ (name it) from me.
Jesus, I ask you to heal this wound in my soul. I believe the blood of Jesus heals this wound.

Jesus, I receive your healing. (I love this part. Linger here for a moment and just perceive what Jesus is doing. Remember how we saw Jesus standing in front of us in our prayer time. This often happens and you will sense His love, His hope for you, His healing, His joy.

Remember the event again and if there are other emotions or this one still lingers, repeat the prayer process, and ask Jesus to reveal any lies you may be believing about this event and then to reveal the truth. You want to recall the emotion without anger, pain, shame grief, pain, etc.

When you are in a place of peace, pray:

Jesus, what do You want to give me in replace of that painful emotion? (Listen. It’s also awesome to journal through this and write down what Jesus impresses upon you.)

Now, you can pray to forgive the person who created this wound. It becomes much easier to forgive from the heart when you have worked through the emotional wounding.

I offer this prayer as a testimony of what I have worked through with Jesus and what I have witnessed in the Freedom Prayer Sessions. Always, ALWAYS, remember you can’t conform Christ to a formula. It’s always about relationship. Earnest prayers from a heart that is surrendered to Him is where we need to pray from.

My friends, over the next few days, work through this. Please, PLEASE, come back and share what you have received in your prayer time. If you have a victory, SHARE IT. Testimony is how the power in the Holy Spirit is passed from one believer to another. (And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. —Revelation 12:11)

If you are still struggling, tell us. We can and will pray. Press in and pray in your quiet time. Sometimes you will be directed to pray this process over and over. The Holy spirit may direct you to a team of pray-ers for your healing. Listen to the Lord and allow Him to lead you into healing.

Jesus is desperate to heal His Bride. There is an explosion about to occur where many who are wounded and lost, will come to Him. They are going to need this healing. He is frantic to get His “Church” healed so we can bring His love and healing to others. So don’t delay. Do the hard work of healing and forgiveness because there is now a mandate upon your life to take Him and His healing to others.

Still to come: Healing prayer for marriage. Rescue back your destiny. Steps to maintain healing. The four spiritual weapons of healing. Healing assignment. Healing passages. The Blood of Jesus. Toxic shame. Anxiety, mental illness and the Church and I hope….. YOUR TESTIMONIES..(Email me or share in the comments.)

UPDATE: After writing this post, the Lord spoke to me in my quiet time on Monday, Lynn, it's time to move on. So, I'm going to wrap up this series. I may get a video together and share it next week. And I still want to share the healing prayer for marriage. But alas, I guess all the other topics will have to go into a book some day.

So starting in March.... I will be writing about what the Lord is teaching me right now....

A Revelation of Love..

I asked for a revelation of love and I can't wait to tell you what God showed me. And then we are going to press into this revelation together. 

Hallelujah. I love you and so does Jesus. Hugs, Lynn


Reaction Mode

Dear friends, the following is a post I did a few years back. The Holy Spirit has continually reminded me of this post the last week or so, but I wasn't sure if it was a needed subject at the moment. Then on Thursday as I was working on the registration details for the Hope Ignited conference our healing rooms and my church were hosting, I heard the Holy Spirit say over and over again throughout the day, "Don't take offense."

I assumed it was for me, specifically something the Holy Spirit knew I would encounter at some point over the weekend at the conference. Then our worship leader gave a word on this very subject Friday evening. I knew then it was a corporate word. And then Lynn's post yesterday confirmed that! Wow! Don't you just love how the Holy Spirit speaks to us?

God is on the move, my friends, to restore this nation to peace and righteousness. I truly believe we will be astonished in how He does this through His amazing love.

So, I present to you, "Reaction Mode," originally posted in September of 2011. I pray it speaks to your heart and encourages you. I've updated it just a bit for our community needs right now.

 

Reactions Mode

6a00d83451ee9f69e2014e8b804fe8970d-320wiAre you in reaction mode in your marriage?

I remember to this day when I made this revelation about my marriage. I stood in our home office, about to react to something my husband said. I believe at that moment the Holy Spirit stopped me and then gave me a complete picture of the situation. And it wasn’t pretty. If this pattern didn’t stop soon, my marriage would soon crash and burn.

And even more sobering (i.e. convicting)? I was the heart of the problem, because my heart was in a bad shape. Years of resentment toward my husband and unmet expectations had created a barrier between us.

What I call “reaction mode” is this highly destructive and very draining place where you and your spouse are walking in your marriage more like adversaries than partners. Every comment is scrutinized under suspicion and communication has completely broken down.

Though not always true, I find this often starts with women. We stop communicating out of unforgiveness and resentment. Or, like me, we never learned to communicate in a healthy manner.

The saddest part of reaction mode is that it leads to contempt toward one another. And where there is contempt, respect and love no longer exist. They simply can’t coexist. For example, a husband reacts back to his wife harshly, because he’s not receiving his deepest desire, which is to be respected. The wife then retreats or closes herself off, feeling unloved when her deepest desire is to be loved.

Do you see the vicious cycle? That’s the first and most crucial step to breaking reaction mode—seeing this pattern in your marriage. Whether you are male or female, this pattern will not stop until you make the first move. What does this change look like?

  1. Be Careful What You Speak.

You know, there were times that I realized my reactions to my husband bordered on the behavior of a sarcastic teenager. Not a pretty sight but very convicting when recognized. Our words have the power to build or break down. If you’re inclined to speak without thinking first, stop right now and ask God to help control your mouth. This is a biblical principle and He will help you. Trust me on that.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. — Proverbs 15:1

We can also seek the Holy Spirit for the right words to speak as well. If we choose words that are honest and without an agenda to prove we’re right or place blame, we can be instrumental to restoring peace to our marriage.

  1. Dwell on the Positive.

It’s easy to fall into this place where we think our spouse has an ulterior motive to his or her words. Even simple requests can turn into a battleground, because we’ve somehow fallen into the lie that our spouse intends to harm us. This suspicion perpetuates the reaction mode and is its fuel. Suspicion can also be fueled by lies, so the best way to combat this is to counteract with the truth. What does your spouse do well?

Make a list. My husband is great about making sure the garbage goes out every week. I appreciate this even more when he’s out of town and I have to do it. Yuck! He’s also great about going grocery shopping with me, and he’s quick to show his love and affection. Start with small things and your list will grow. Then study it whenever you fall into thinking those negative thoughts about your spouse.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. — Philippians 4:8

A negative thought feeds the enemy and breeds more negativity. This can even evolve into scenarios playing out in your mind of how your spouse could potentially hurt you. Then you wind up hurt and defensive over something that never even happened.

A positive thought feeds the spirit and releases the Holy Spirit to work in your mind for transformation (Romans 12:2). He also works in your heart to help you forgive and allow God’s love to flow more freely to and through you.

Which one do you want to grow “fatter” in your life?

  1. Respect Him Even When You Don’t Want To, Love Her Even When She’s Unlovable.

Our hubbies need to know we will still stand by them when they mess up. And they will mess up, just as we do. We need to extend that hand of grace and acceptance, just as we want it extended to us. I’ve never seen anything quite as destructive to a marriage as contempt. And it is subtle in its presence. This goes right back to number one in how we use our words.

Add to that how you sound. What is your tone? Are you speaking in a way that solicits cooperation or are you condemning and accusing? This was the biggest area that I needed to change, and I know I could not have done it without God’s help. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that our tone and words hurt those we love. Pull out that list you made and go over it again. When it’s hard to show respect to your husband, find the things you can respect and show it to him. Then watch him bloom under your praise.

… and the wife must respect her husband. — Ephesians 5:33b

And loving someone when they are unlovable is one of the most powerful and sacrificial things a person can do. I have watched a woman be astonished by the fact that my church was assisting her out of our own desire to help and we weren’t getting paid by the government to do it. I have been deeply humbled by my husband's love when I was in pain and cranky. Love speaks louder than anything. Anything! Love changes hearts, marriages, families, cities and nations.

God is love so when we love, even when a person hasn’t “earned it,” we display His heart and presence in the most powerful way possible by revealing His very nature. Love (1 John 4).

  1. Keep a “We” Mentality.

Isn’t this really the truth we forget? We enter in to marriage as two “I’s” and suddenly have to figure out what it means to be a “we.” This requires putting our spouse first, this means loving and respecting even when we don’t feel it, this means seeing our marriage truly as a team effort and pulling our weight even when we feel our spouse isn’t. God sees our heart and our efforts. Your actions to honor Him in your marriage are never wasted!

Don’t quit the team. Be the one who stands strong and keeps Christ in the middle—your faith and prayers do that (1 Cor. 7:14). Whatever issues you’re dealing with, remember that you and your spouse are a team. Blame solves nothing. Teamwork always gets the job done.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. —Genesis 2:24

Finally, remember that we can’t make these changes on our own. We need God’s help. Start with prayer and trust that God really can work in you, in your spouse and in your marriage to bring change and healing. It takes time, but when we desire God’s will for our marriage—a partnership built on love and respect—He will give us the desire of our heart (Psalm 37:4).

SUMites, I want to leave you with one final thought here (and this is a new part I'm adding). No matter where we are in our faith journey, God sees us the same way through His love and according to who He created us to be. We are His righteousness through Christ Jesus. And He never changes for He is the God of today, yesterday and tomorrow. He doesn't function within time as we do. He is present in all places—past present and future.

Now this is where it gets really interesting and may blow your mind a bit. Just as He sees us in this way, as who He created us to be, He sees our spouse the same way. He does not define them by their lack of faith but according to the measure of faith He has set aside for them. He sees them as they are intended to be, His children. I believe that is the heart of Eccl. 3:11 too. 

Father God, give us Your eyes, Your perspective of our spouse. Help us see them in the potential and in the light of eternity that You've placed within them so that we can love them according to that image and be part of releasing the truth of Your love in them. Thank You, Lord! Thank You! In the amazing name of Jesus, amen!

Love you so much, SUMites! And God loves you even better. ;-)
Dineen

 


A Tale of Vindication, Forgiveness and Obedience

Micah6-8Hello, SUMites! I left you hanging a bit on Monday with the rest of this house story and a specific Word from our Father's heart. So let's dig right in...

Early in the summer we went to check on our house and see the current progress. As we walked through unfinished doorways, we noticed the tubs had been installed. However, I was certain one of them was supposed to be a walk-in-shower. Yet when I questioned this, the building supervisor insisted this bathroom always had a tub per the design. 

When I pointed out we paid for shower doors, he told they would be added to the tub. That, in fact, they had them once in the model, which I checked and saw no evidence of this. Yet I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

My friends, I wasn't happy at all about this, because I don't like tubs. And something in all this didn't sit right with me. But out of respect for my husband's desire for peace in this issue and the apparent wall I'd hit, I let it go. And my reasoning kicked in to say, "It's just a bathroom."

But in my heart, I secretly asked God for vindication in this situation. I knew I was right. However, I also recognized that I had to let go of that need to be proven right. So I gave it to Him. Unbeknownst to me, God began moving to bring the right person and circumstances into place to reveal the truth…

Now fast forward to about two weeks ago. With the tiling now completed, it was time for shower glass to be installed. Except that bathroom with the tub? Yep, no glass doors. So I asked the new building assistant manager appointed to our house about it. He said they don't usually put doors on tubs, but he would look into it.

My friends, an anger flared up in me that burned hot as the reality that we'd been lied to began to come into clarity. And I was frustrated. I knew we'd be refunded anything we'd paid for in error, but that need in me to be proven right flared up again. I had to keep giving it to God, even when it woke me up in the middle of the night.

The next day, the assistant manager called us to say we were right, we were supposed to get a walk-in-shower. Just not in the bathroom I originally thought. Okay, well, I was mostly right, I thought. Giggle...

Then the question became, did we still want this at the risk of it delaying our closing? Our house had already taken twice as long as promised because of errors on the builders part. My friends, again, I warred in myself about this just being a bathroom, but I wanted what was promised to us. Mostly I wanted this house to be what God had planned for us. The assistant manager said he would see what he could do it get it done on time without affecting our closing date.

So, I confess here that this was where I gloated just a bit. Only to my sweet hubby who affirmed that I'd been right. Yet part of me still wasn't settled about it all. I know this sounds crazy, but it still seemed incomplete. And we still weren't sure if our closing would be delayed, which could cause problems with the whole move. We have to be out of our rental house by the end of this month.

Over the next few hours I began to process the full picture of what God was doing with the help of the Holy Spirit, of course. First, I was finally vindicated and proven right. As I praised God for working all this out for us, He reminded me of how I had prayed for this very thing months ago. 

For a bathroom. 

I know—sounds crazy, doesn't’ it? But God had a deeper plan and purpose here. As the complete picture came into view, I realized how the former building supervisor (yes, he was moved to a another subdivision) had outright lied to us. I've never been lied to like that before, SUMites. Not that I'm aware of. And it cut me deeply. 

I am quick to see the best in people and trust them. I felt a deep betrayal by this person and found myself several times going to my computer to craft a letter to make it known to our realtor and our sales rep. But God stopped me and called me to forgive. So I prayerfully asked for His help to do so and began to pray for this person too, to become a man of integrity as God was calling him to be.

The next morning, the assistant manager called again to apologize and say he'd read the plan wrong, that the bathroom I originally thought (and had asked about months earlier) was actually the one that was supposed to have a full shower. He also said they were committed to making it right and completing it on time for our closing. 

I was stunned, my friends, as I realized that was the part that had felt unfinished in my spirit. I had prayed specifically about this one bathroom. But where I thought God was done, He wasn't. He made sure it was the specific bathroom I had prayed for. Down to the detail. And I'm very aware that this part fell into place after I'd chosen to forgive and pray for this person.

SUMites, I am still stunned at the "completeness" of God's vindication. He's impressed upon me not to settle for almost done when it comes to His plans and purposes. That He is a God who completes what He says and promises all the way.

And a beautiful bonus blessing came from all this. We were so grateful for this assistant manager’s help, attention and commitment to detail—and his integrity and honesty—that we wrote a letter to the division president commending him. And now this man, who I know God clearly placed to help us, has been promoted to building supervisor! God is so amazing. I love that another person was blessed in this crazy ordeal.

And yet there is more. God always has a deeper plan and purpose in all He does. As I reviewed all that had happened, He impressed upon me that this story of a bathroom is actually one about vindication, forgiveness and obedience. One I thought would simply live in the archives of my memory, but God had a plan for it all along, to be shared. 

Abba impressed upon me a message from His heart for all of us right now, as we stand on the precipice of what He's about to do and reveal in our lives, our marriages and this community. This is what I hear God telling us right now:

The past must be forgiven—the lies, the betrayals. Know that I have seen each one for I am a God of justice. But I am also a God of forgiveness—Your Good Father, Your Savior Jesus. With the Holy Spirit, we are One in Our great love for you and your family.

For the full revelation of what I have for you, let the hurts of the past go and choose to forgive. Even let go of your regrets. What I hold for you is so much better. I promise.

Let Me be your defender and justice giver. You will see in Me a greater love in this process than you can even imagine. I make all things good. I make all things right. Trust Me. Trust me with your heart.

And someone reading this—possibly several—need to hear this from your Papa God:

I have already forgiven you, my child. Now it’s time to forgive yourself.

My friends, here's the truth I've learned in this. Our enemy is not the person who hurts us—its satan. When we don't forgive those who hurt us, we empower the enemy in our life. And we empower him in the life of the one who hurt us. 

Now here's the revelation that brought me to tears and to my knees. When we forgive, we are acting like Jesus. When we forgive, death is defeated. The enemy is literally defeated. Forgiveness is one of our greatest weapons against the enemy. This stunning truth was exhibited on the cross. Forgiveness renders the enemy utterly defeated. And there is an exchange of power in this, SUMites. When we forgive, we release the power of God just like the death of Christ released the Holy Spirit. In our lives AND in the lives of those we forgive.

SUMites, if you feel led, make a declaration in the comments that from this day forth you choose to forgive and that any ground the enemy had in your life is now restored to you. In the mighty name of Jesus, so be it! AMEN!

I love you, my friends! I’m standing and praying with you always!
Dineen

 


Offended??? Really?? Oh, Come On Already!

I’m so mad the pastor said that to me!

I can’t believe they didn’t invite my daughter to the party.

I’m so hurt that they didn’t ask me to be part of the team.

It’s unconscionable how they have taken advantage of me.

I’m furious that she is always noticed, she is always selected, everything good happens to her. I’m never seen for what I do, what I give, how I’m always left out and unappreciated.

I would like to see that woman drop into a dark hole.

 

Okay, I think you may get the idea where this post is headed……

So I know I told you last week that we would chat about disappointment. However, I happened to stumble upon and then remember I wrote an entire series about disappointment last year. And looking at those posts, they are still filled with great wisdom and power. Thus, I’m not going to write about that subject again today. If you are struggling with a spiritual block with disappointment, click on the posts and take time to read through them and work through the content. Jesus will pour back into your life all the time you spend reading. (When God Disappoints - Chronicles Continuing

OKAY, let’s get to something I think we haven’t covered and it’s really a doozy!!!

Offended???OFFENSE

Can you relate to any of the statements above? Are you offended by someone? Are you angry because someone said or did something that is perceived or truly is unfair, unjust or untrue?

Oh my goodness, Lynn Donovan (I say to myself), yes indeed to all of these. SUMites, I can become offended. And as I’ve wrestled with this issue today, I can think of several instances where I was deeply hurt and offended and these are only a few issues with my neighbors, let alone my family members. Sheesh and Holy Jesus help me!!!!

I’ve been watching a strange program of late about all these people who live alone in the bush of Alaska, far away from other people. And my friends, that is where you would need to move if you never or at least rarely want to be offended.

Offense comes with being human.

Offense is painful. It’s difficult to overcome. It can sever lifelong friendships, separate you from siblings, destroy your relationship with your parents and massacre marriages. For crying out loud, offense can ignite wars.

AND… offense is a Bazooka in the devil’s arsenal.

Offense is what leads many into the realm of indignation and anger that will cool into that bitter castle of cancer— resentment.

How do we deal with this BIG issue? Because it’s not easy.

You know the kind of offense that really gets me? When someone treats my kids unfairly and cruelly. Any of you mamas out there, do you relate?????

Offense coupled with my strong sense of justice has created many an “opportunity” to exercise Godly forgiveness. And forgive we must because unresolved offense will blow up your faith life and likely your relationships as well.

I think there are two things to consider when we begin to pray about offense.

One, we need to think about the person who offended and determine if this is a healthy relationship and one that needs repair or is it one that we need to let go. This comes to my mind specifically with my neighborhood. When we first moved in, I was desperate for friends. I joined a few of the local social evening ladies’ nights. Some of those people offended and I didn’t need to keep them in my friendship circle. And I was at complete peace with that.

However, we can’t unfriend certain people as easily as hitting the unfriend button on Facebook. You can’t unfriend your child’s teacher who has continually mistreated your daughter. Or the baseball coach or the dance teacher, or the professor. Or how about a boss, a senior manager at work, your kids or spouse or mother, or, or, or… There are so many relationships that we must learn to walk through with grace and forgiveness and yet understand where boundaries must lie.

Two, determine appropriate boundaries. Women especially seem to struggle with boundaries as we are nurturers naturally and want people to get along. But when we begin to understand that so many people are wounded. They are living with darkness as a voice and we need to be prayerful about with whom we surround ourselves. And we must establish and then enforce healthy boundaries.

No matter what, in our prayer time it’s imperative to surrender our offense to Jesus. Cry our tears, wail if needed but give over our need to be angry, mad, revengeful and hateful. Those are emotions with harming barbs that will bring sickness to our soul.

So SUMites, is this an area that the enemy is lurking in your life?

You can find freedom from all offense. Friday, I’ll tell you how I handle offense. What say you? Give me your thoughts on this topic. See you in the comments. Hugs, Lynn


Resentment Turns Into THIS... And it will hold you captive

Anger1Part I
Part II
Today is: Part III

So the weird anger explosions transpired a few years ago. And I can state fully that I haven’t had a moment of raw anger since then. Hallelujah. That doesn’t mean I don’t get mad or angry at times. Just not to the extent of a few years ago. Jesus is and was my deliverer.

So why is the Holy Spirit pointing me back to anger? Geeze. I would really like to get out of this classroom.

Remember my phone and the two words that I Googled, resentment and indignation? Well, God was pointing out unresolved anger I held that I perceived as unfair treatment.

Ugh!!

The Lord was revealing that I still had some areas of forgiveness to work though. And as difficult as it is to admit to all of you that I have issues to work through, I do. But I’m so glad the Lord is pointing out this area in my heart. Indignation is a door that if opened fully, the enemy will hurdle through to cause more havoc in my life. 

So how do we deal with resentment, indignation and anger?

Anger, especially unresolved anger when it cools hardens slowly in to resentment. Resentment is a weapon in the arsenal of the devil that he deploys through our self-talk. The devil will roll “that tape” in our heads over and over to fester in our soul, mind, heart, will and emotions to feed our resentment to birth: disgust, loathing, etc hoping we will spiral toward …. hatred.

After the resentment erects a number of emotional and spiritual walls the enemy will work hard to add layer upon layer until finally there is a castle constructed of bitterness.

BITTERNESS.

Bitterness is a cancer of the soul. And I’m convinced that bitterness held in the heart of a human can manifest as physical illnesses. (Oy vey, a post for another day.)

To rid ourselves of bitterness, resentment and anger we must start down the road of forgiveness. I wrote about this in our first book, Winning Him Without Words. It’s a journey but it is necessary for our healing and to throw out any blockage of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

I had to start praying, Lord, help me to want to forgive. And this applies to everything in our past, not just our marriages.

Then you begin to ask Jesus to flood your soul with His love, tenderness, compassion, grace and mercy. When this happens He can walk you through honest and real forgiveness.

In my life I find that ongoing forgiveness is my challenge. I don’t struggle too much with a one-time offense and usually don't hang on to resentment with people whom I don’t know very well. I can see their wondedness and it’s easy for me to have empathy. But forgiving those whom we live with day in and day out, who continue to offend or hurt us in the same manner, well that’s another realm of forgiveness.

But it’s absolutely achievable. Jesus said to forgive, seven times seven.

Do you know why He said that?

It’s not to prove our spirituality or to give us an assignment to grow our faith. It’s not that our love and forgiveness will draw others to Christ, however, it often does. No, Jesus says to forgive because when we forgive we receive healing.

Our spiritual and often physical healing comes when we truly forgive.

I see it like this. In the Spiritual realm my resentment and bitterness forge giant chains of steel around my faith life. I can’t breathe well. I’m constricted and greatly uncomfortable, maybe even in pain so I can’t hear my Father’s voice. I’m weighed down with a heavy burden that I can fully comprehend as to why. I feel sluggish spiritually and physically. I suffer for long periods of time because the weight becomes so intense. And yet because the chains grow so seductively, secretly and slow I become accustom to them. Dare I say, familiar and they can comfort me in some weird way.

Anyone???

Honest forgiveness freed me. I spent a lot of time in prayer and surrender. Bending to the scripture and to love of my Lord. I’ve received prayer from others and we need others to pray for us and with us.

I don’t want to make forgiveness appear to simplistic. In my ministry I’ve prayed for people who have been horrifically abused. Terrible, unspeakable sins were perpetrated on many who were innocent, who were children.

You can be free and forgive even the worst person on the planet. This requires some prayer that takes time. And usually you need to pray with someone who knows how to lead you into Freedom through prayer and forgiveness. If you need this kind of help, search out a healing room. Find a trustworthy pastor or friend who is strong in faith to spend time praying with you. If you live in Southern California and would like to come to my house for healing prayer, email me.

Also, I can pray for you in the comments. I’m astounded that the Holy Spirit shows up and results happen. I kid you not. The Spirit moves through this online community in ways I cannot fully comprehend but they are miraculous.

Forgiveness leads to our freedom.

Next up……. Disappointment.

How are you doing? Everyone okay? Can we pray for one another in the comments today? I love all of you so much. So very much. My heart swells as I consider your difficult lives and how in spite of it all, you press on to prize that awaits you. And your faith is strong and shines the light of Christ in this dark world!

Well done my good friends. WELL DONE!

Hugs, Lynn


Good Grief, Their's More... The Spirit of Anger (2 part-er, must read for anyone dealing with anger)

-Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

AngryOkay, ya… There’s more. 

I’m not sure what classroom I’m currently enrolled within the Kingdom. But I think the sub-title is humility, mixed with a large study of personal revelation, confession and healing. This is a good and can also be extraordinarily challenging learning season for a believer. However, when the instructor is the Holy Spirit and the personal coach is my Jesus and the school is owned by my Papa, I’m going to graduate, Summa cum laude. 

My friends, I am willing to bet there are several of you who are also in this classroom with me, or about to be enrolled or perhaps a few graduates. But, this is what the Lord is teaching me which coincidentally, dovetails with my post about bitterness on Monday.

Recently I was listening to a podcast as the pastor described the three main things he considers to be the greatest hindrances in a Christian’s faith life. These three things are “blocks” to spiritual boldness, to growth, and to walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. These hindrances are significant and binding. They restrict us from the breakthroughs we are seeking and prohibit our journey to step into further areas of faith and experiences with the Lord. They are wicked and highly EFFECTIVE weapons deployed by the demonic realm.

Resentment, disappointment, and fear of man.

Oh Boy. Yep, we are stepping into some stuff here!

So for the next few posts I want to look at these and share what God is teaching me.

I clearly remember the first time I listened to this particular podcast as the pastor mentioned these three enemies of our faith. I was seated on the couch in the family room. It set in motion an inquiry to discern if I am held back because by the "deadly three." I turned off the podcast in mid-stream to Google the exact meaning of resentment. At the time I thought I knew what resentment meant, yet when my Phone reflected this:

Resentment definition

I was hit with each word: bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.

Why is it the Lord is leading me to the word bitter?

Let me interject here. I honestly have prayed through a very long season, to be free from bitterness. I’ve asked forgiveness and have been intentional to give the Lord any bitterness over various life events, situations, people and circumstances. Ya, this process can take a long time. Anyone???

I looked at this definition and thought to myself, yep. Check. I’ve done this. I’m over bitterness. Then I don’t know how I decided to look up the definition of indignation. But this is what the IPhone said:

Indignatin definition

When this definition popped up on the phone I knew I was -toast. The word anger hit me. But at the time, I thought to myself. Yep, I’ve done that too. I’ve repented of anger. However, the Holy Spirit prompted me a bit more. I sensed the Spirit saying to me, Lynn, is their still anger harbored in your heart over what you have perceived as unfair?

Gulp!

Toast!

I tell you T-O-A-S-T!!  Double exclamation point.

I realized I’m still struggling with some amount of anger. So there are two parts to the anger issue. I want to talk about my anger in the past and how I deal with today. Let’s start with the past.

And if you don’t struggle in this area of your life or marriage over anger, would you please pray for me and all of us who do. Thank you.

I want to be vulnerable again here because I believe many who read this will absolutely be delivered from anger. I need to describe the anger I was battling and the process that freed me.

I am NOT an angry person by nature. In fact, I’m one of the happiest, positive, hopeful people I know (not bragging. I just really am because of Jesus) I deal well with challenges and I handle anger about the world and unfairness through the love of God and through the truth of the Word. However, once in a great while a burst of anger would roar out of me that would fry anyone in its path. It was rare when these outbursts would happen but on occasion this strange, angry person emerged and devastation was left in her wake.

I came to the full realization that although I have repented of anger and am mostly a happy person all the time, I had an anger problem once in a while. This revelation crystallized in a singular and utterly disastrous moment.

Some of you remember my son and wife lived with us for a while in 2014. Well to make a long story short, a disagreement went down between us and I was wronged. I cried about this. I went in my room and paced. I prayed. I mourned. I was devastated, hurt and felt betrayed. And I spent most of the day in my room. And I will tell you that it wasn’t Jesus who was in the room with me. It was the enemy of my soul. And after hours of licking my unfair wounds and letting the demonic have a foot hold in my thoughts and emotions, I emerged and proceeded to give a sound tongue lashing to both of them.

This singular outburst of anger nearly cost my son his marriage. Okay, not entirely but my anger didn’t help their marriage.

Okay, there I said it. Again. Sheesh.

I reacted so filled with anger that not only were my feelings hurt but so were theirs. It took months, they separated and finally by the grace of God, they reunited. My anger wasn’t all that contributed to this mess but it sure was the catalyst to a summer of turmoil. By the grace of God and through hours and hours of prayer, they reunited and today they are really doing great. I have a new grand baby and we are all at peace with one another. Amazing. Thank you Jesus!

BUT…. This is what I learned from that experience.....

-----

Okay, this post is already long. So on Monday, I'm going to share a POWERFUL PRAYER TO DEFEAT ANGER IN YOU AND/OR YOUR SPOUSE. I love you so much. These posts are part of our healing and deliverance -For such a time as this. 

I pray you are blessed with joy today and anger is defeated. I pray you are blessed with peace and confusion is silenced. I pray you are filled with righteousness and the devil is defeated in every way today in your life. In Jesus name. AMEN

 

And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:30-32

I'm a work in progress. You? Love you, Lynn


Do We Have to Forgive?

3KeysThe week before last I mentioned three keys to walking in the abundant life. This is about walking in more fullness in our faith, intimacy with God and the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been showing me some new insights to one of these in particular and the enemy has been determined to keep me from sharing them, which just affirms how important they are! (I just shake my head at his stupidity at times.) But I will not relent, my SUM family. As I’ve said before, I want all of us to have the life God has planned and purposed for us. 

These three keys are forgiveness, love and thankfulness. There’s a lot in the Bible about all of these and we’ve addressed the importance of forgiveness and love a fair bit in the past. It’s thankfulness that I’m learning is very instrumental to breakthroughs, but we must cover forgiveness and love to get there. These three keys build upon each other and go hand in hand.

As SUMites, I believe we have a deeper sense of what forgiveness means. We live it in profound ways every day. But just to be sure we have a firm foundation in this area, let’s look at a couple Scriptures.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. — Matthew 6:14

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him. — Luke 17:3

One of the meanings in for the Greek word to forgive (aphiēmi) means to send away. When we entertain the wrong and mull over the harm done to us, we hold onto it and it festers like a disease. I remember my daughter once being so mad at someone that she said, “I’m not going to forgive her. I don’t have to.”

I wanted so much to say, “Yes, you do. God’s Word says so,” but at the moment those words would have sounded condemning. Even though my heart was for my daughter and I understood her feelings, I didn’t want her to walk in any unforgiven state in her life. 

I’ve heard the statement frequently that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the person you are angry with to die from it. When we forgive we relinquish our right to bring justice and we give it to God. He is our justifier, my friends, and He will fight for us (Ex. 14:14). Trust Him to do so. I promise you, His way will reveal the beauty of who He created you to be. Any other way is just death—death to the heart, the spirit and the soul. And even the body if left to fester.

Forgiveness is a choice. Sometimes we can choose not to take offense when we realize the hurt was not truly targeted at us directly, but when the harm is targeted at us, it’s vital to our health, our faith, and our relationships to choose to forgive. God will work in us the moment we make that choice to bring our feelings into alignment and heal our wounded heart.

Let me share an example with you. Years ago I became so frustrated with a close friendship that I was ready to walk away from it. I will tell you that I’m a very loyal person so for me to get to the point tells you that I was carrying some deep hurts and unforgiveness from years of repetitive hurts. 

One Spring morning I sat before God looking for peace to walk away from this relationship. Instead God told me not to. He said, “I want you to pray for her.”

Here I was looking for an easy way out (what I thought was an easy way out) of this situation and instead God gave me an assignment. Grudgingly I obeyed and began praying for her every morning. At first my prayers were pretty basic, “Bless her, Lord.”

Then my prayers became more heartfelt as I began to realize that she never intended to hurt me. She hurt those around her because of her own deep hurts and wounds. I began to pray for those areas for her, for healing and deliverance from strongholds.

My friends, by the end of the summer, not only had I forgiven her for everything I had perceived as hurtful, but my heart was full of love and compassion for her. God completely turned my heart around. I was able to remain friends with this person out of the love God grew in my heart for her with some key differences.

  • My love was now empowered by God’s love.
  • My expectations were now to simply love her as she was, not according who I expected her to be as a friend.
  • I’d released my expectations of her and now sought those needs from God.

Does this sound familiar? This is so foundational to all our relationships, especially to our mismatched marriages. 

  • We love our pre-believers through the love of Jesus.
  • We see our pre-believers as Jesus sees and loves them.
  • We release our pre-believers from unrealistic expectations and seek God for those needs.

Did you catch how forgiveness leads to love? Sometimes forgiveness brings the relationship to a whole new level of growth and closeness. Other times its simply to free ourselves of the unhealthy attachment to the past or a poisonous relationship. Forgiveness is never a pardon of a wrong, and it is never a requirement to stay in a relationship with someone God is clearly leading us away from.

But forgiveness is a commandment that God has put into place for our prosperity and well being. It may take time, but every step of obedience will be rewarded by our faithful God’s favor, love and strength to keep going. 

And His healing! Plus, we are free to walk in our purposes and callings according to spiritual gifts. Unforgivenss blocks all this. God’s love creates a conduit for our inheritance in Jesus Christ to flow freely!

Wow, I guess the Holy Spirit had more in mind to share here than I realized, my friends. On Thursday, we’ll talk about more about love and hopefully thankfulness—that’s the one I can’t wait to get to and share more about. It’s powerful!

I love you, SUMites! Share your hearts in the comments. This is a safe place. Let’s pray for and encourage each other.
SignatureGraphic2 


Take Six Steps Out Of Disappointment

SUMite Family:

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

I struggled in my prayer time so I made myself write down the many past encounters, blessings, provisions and favor the Lord has poured into my life over the past 20 years. My undeniable encounter, with the power and love of Christ was on October 12, 2012. That moment changed me and everything about my life and faith. I would cling to that truth as the anchor in this dark period. Then I would write down the love notes God sends me. I wrote about some of them here and here

I would then pray.  And I’m still praying today. I walk in the vineyards, walk and pray. I sing worship songs to the King of Kings. Worship is essential to keep us from losing more ground to the enemy. I would pray honest prayers and I would keep practicing what I have always done even if my heart wasn’t fully in it, even in my doubt I continued to practice what I knew was right.

I walked through a process and I’m thankful it only took me 30 days. It is my hope that by sharing what I walked, others will walk through their struggle quickly and /or become unstuck and reach the end of their captivity.

Process to overcome Disappointment in God.

  1. Grieve – your loss, your expectations, your disappointment, your faith, your confusion.
  2. Surrender – Give Him your plans, hopes, expectations, and again your confusion. Ask for understanding even knowing you might never receive it in this life. Forgive God.
  3. Pray – begin to pray again. Gather others around you to pray. Rely on scriptures. Psalm 91 became very powerful to me. I listened to it in a song so I could memorize it. I studied it. Looked at the Greek, Hebrew translations.  I believed!
  4. Listen and wait. – I waited. I’m not patient. But I began to perceive that God wanted me to enter a season of rest. He also wanted my focus and attention in an area of my life for which I'd been asking for healing for years. So I started to understand His intent in this season was to heal ME and just be with ME. My healing was more important to Him than another book.
  5. Choose to believe - I also thanked God and remembered and relied on my past experiences with God. His faithfulness in so many areas. Years and years of faithfulness in my life is what i leaned on in my confusion.
  6. Allow Time – In the rest and waiting I discovered that He never left me. He began speaking to me about four weeks after my disappointment. I haven’t nor do I expect an explanation. But God’s not finished with me and the healing and new dreams I’m receiving are unexpected and amazing.

My friends, tomorrow I am going to share a prayer that I prayed and I continue to pray that defeats the demonic.

Through my experience can it be that God is shouting to you in your dark place? DON’T GIVE UP. Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy. Fight back with everything you have. Put on the full armor of God. Remember and trust in your past history with the Lord. Focus on every good thing Jesus brings to your life. Choose to look up and not at your circumstances. And my friends pray even when you don’t feel like it.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


Summer Study - An Ordinary People Who Have Been With Jesus

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comGang, 

As we work out way through the books of Peter, I would be remiss if I didn’t stop to share some thoughts about my last post on Friday. So, let me expand a bit on what I shared. One thing has nagged me about the post. 

I shared an example of a fictitious husband who is lost in a world of self-hatred which expresses in his life through alcohol addiction and rage. It grieves me to say that many SUMites walk in this place with an angry, drunken spouse. Because I know this, I want you to hear me now. I understand that it’s not easy or simple to forgive and love someone that behaves in destructive and hurtful patterns. 

Let me state the following: If you are living in an abusive marriage, seek help. Today, this hour. For yourself and your children. 

Pray to break off the spirit of alcohol, rage, self-hatred, etc. etc. Cast those ugly minions into the pit, never to return. In Jesus name. I will pray with you!

Learning to love people and “see” them through the eyes of Christ, however, empowers us to see past the superficial. We can ignore the annoying, the stubborn, the impossible, the arrogant and the godless people whom we live with, work with and come into contact with. The love of Christ, seats us in heavenly realms (Ephesians 2) and we can love an impossible mother-in-law, a boss who is a jerk, the neighbor who has loud parties, even the coach of the T-ball team who is ignoring our kid. 

This week I want to challenge you to do something amazing. I want you to ask God to help you “see” those who are unlovely through the lens of love. Now this is really important, pray and ask God for wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1:17) that you can perceive what is really going on in a person’s life who annoys you and then begin to pray for them. 

Let me share a Kingdom secret with you: When you pray in earnest for someone it becomes impossible to hate them. Try me on this! No try Jesus on this! 

Also, this week I want you to take a risk for the Kingdom. I want you to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. When you feel the urging of the Spirit to say something to a friend, a stranger about your faith or Jesus or pray to for them, I want you to follow through. God, has told me that He has encounters for us and this week especially, people will be open to receive a word of love from Christ, through you. Are you up for this risk? God won’t let you down if you follow through. And as one who has obeyed when God told me to speak to someone, I can tell you this. When you finish with the encounter it will be one of the most amazing things you will ever do. (Here is one of my encounter stories.)

SUMite Nation, Peter was an ordinary man and unschooled fisherman. Peter became a risk taker. He jumped out of the boat and walk on water. He was the first to speak to the new church on Pentecost. He was the one who went into the tomb to look for Jesus. Peter risked his life to preach the living Word, Jesus, to a lost and hopeless people. 

Let’s be like him this week. Let’s bring Jesus to someone who needs to be unchained from satan. 

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. —Acts 4:13 

My friends, we are ordinary people with no special training but WE HAVE BEEN WITH JESUS. This week, let's let our lives reflect this astonishing truth. 

I wanna hear your stories. I may head off to Walmart to pray again this week.

O Jesus, give all of us boldness. In Your powerful name, Jesus. AMEN

On Friday, we are going to examine suffering. You are gong to be surprised by what I have to say. But it's in the book. Get ready for some freedom!!!!

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


Chronicles of the Donovan Clan - Spring Update

Well my friends, I think it’s time finally, to give you an update on the Donovan Clan. 

If you have been a reader here for longer than a year, you will remember that my son and his family relocated from Las Vegas to California last January. They moved in with us and lived here for a little over a year. Well, except, if you remember my son and his wife separated in June. I was heartbroken and bereft over the pain in all of our lives. We all were. 

This was especially difficult as I am an advocate of marriage and to watch my son’s marriage crumble in my own home, well, it was beyond devastating. 

Time marches on. It was a difficult year. Elise was sick often. I was sick often. Now as I look back I see with clarity that the last six months of the year were steeped in spiritual warfare. I wanted to write so badly, as this book is about to explode out of me. Each time I thought I would sit down to write, bam, another illness put me on the couch for two weeks. And that would usually follow two weeks of care for a very a sick little baby. I was her primary caregiver last fall/winter as her father worked the night shift and slept during the day. That kind of care is all consuming. 

Sheesh! 

That is all I’m gonna say about that except that I’m SO glad it’s over. I’m writing now and so amazed at how Becoming Brave is coming along. Elise is well. I’m well. Jesus is awesome. 

With all this said, I want to share something for which I prayed, yet, somewhere didn’t think was likely to happen. Next week my son is heading to Las Vegas to move his wife back to California. 

A miracle indeed. 

Thank you Jesus. 

IMG_2613[1]My friends, I’m so thrilled. My granddaughter turned two on Tuesday. She is so fun and cute that she wrecks my heart each time she says, “Nana, please.” I’m just wrecked. 

I know there are many reasons that this prayer was answered. I’m glad I decided to forgive and not hold on to offense. 

My son now lives five minutes away. They come for Sunday dinner. We celebrated Elise’s birthday and were all at the beach. Life is good. This is what I was intending all along when this great adventure began over a year ago. 

I realize that there are many remaining issues but I am a praying mama. It is likely that I won’t write much about them and their lives in the future. I feel as though the Lord wants to work in their hearts and I must remain slightly at a distance. Thank you for praying for all of us. 

But it’s my glorious honor to share the answers to prayer and glorify our King. He listens to His children and He is good Father. He is always good. I love you, Lynn

Second Birthday Beach 2015 2


It's Demonic In Nature

In the past two weeks I keep hearing it. 

2 corIt whispers in the car, while in the shower, especially when I’m driving. It’s a voice that’s anything but tender, loving and kind. It’s the voice of darkness and lies. 

What is going on here? 

It’s been years since this menacing voice of condemnation has pestered me in such relentless fashion. I started to recognize what was happening after I spent an entire day squirming, blushing, paining from the ugly voice. I wonder if this happens to you? 

Let me explain. 

An old, old, embarrassing memory pops into your head and your mind rushes with embarrassment. Thirty minutes later, another memory. This time it’s a recollection of a personal and a specific situation where your actions/word hurt someone very deeply. It’s as if your mind relives the entire scenario with painful details. 

You shake your head and clear that memory and wonder, Where did that come from? Then not long after, another crappy memory of pain, where you were embarrassed, and you wish with everything within you that you could take it back. Do over. Die and be buried? (Okay, that last one is extreme, I know.) 

Anyone??? 

Is it just me? Unlikely. This is the work of a condemning spirit. It’s absolutely demonic in nature. Its purpose is to steal your mind and heart away from the progress you have made in your faith life. It’s only mission is to cause you to worship it. How can you worship a demonic spirit? By reliving painful and embarrassing memories and thus take your mind away from Jesus (idol). It wants to destroy your confidence and peace by causing you to relive sinful moments, (now get this) for which you have already been forgiven. 

Ugh!!!!

Okay, so why is this happening? Especially in the light of our recent Romans study where we learned there is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus. I can explain my circumstances and I hope that you can then see how sneaky this ugly snake can be, recognize it, and then depose it to the Abyss. 

I’ve been struggling for months to begin writing my next book. Most of you know this. Finally, and I MEAN, finally all the sickness, family drama and demands on my time ceased. (Can I just say: Nice try devil but …. FAIL). Since God has put barriers around me now to push forward, I have been actually writing well and putting words on the screen with amazing downloads from our Father. 

So the devil can’t stop me anymore by waging an outward assault, so this minion comes in and says I will start bringing up all these old memories that make her squirm and steal her thoughts, to distract her and keep her off task. 

Yep. That’s exactly what happened. Twice. 

The first time this nonsense went on all day because I didn’t catch on early enough. I fought off these painful memories nearly all day. Then once again a week later, same thing. 

However, this is where Papa’s girl finally realizes what is happening and I put an end to it, toot sweet (Is that a fitting phrase?) 

Immediately, I said something like this. And I said it out loud with conviction and full confidence in my Jesus to execute my words: In the name of Jesus, I command you, condemning spirit, to leave me and go directly into the abyss. You can never return and I will never allow you to stir up old sins for which I have been forgiven. I have confesses my part in my past and I have been fully forgiven by my Savior, Jesus. Those past sins are at the bottom of the sea. As far as the east if from the west and I stand fully justified and empowered through the authority, blood and love of Jesus. I declare you have no right to my mind. EVER! In Jesus name. Amen. 

Lord Jesus, thank you for showing me where the enemy comes to steal my life. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit that brings freedom to my mind. Thank you for your love. Thank you for the angels that are taking that enemy snake to the pit, never to return. Amen. Hallelujah. 

SUMite Nation: This week, let’s have no part of negative thinking, condemnation, revisiting of forgiven sins. Let ask the Holy Spirit to fill our minds with compassion, love and the purposes of Heaven. In Jesus name. Amen. 

I love you. Have a great week. I know many of you will have a breakthrough in this area this week because the enemy has been exposed. 

THANK YOU Jesus!!!

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


When The Church Hurts You

Hello SUMite Nation, 

I have to chuckle. Over the past few months reading through comments, Facebook posts and emails I have received, all of the “SUMite” puns. Hilarious!  SUMthings about happen. To SUM things up. Is SUMone praying? Can I just say that SUM of you are very witty and hilarious. 

It’s the little nuances such as this that make our home on the web, a family. We are a family and SUM is a place where we are loved and where we love. Thank you SUMites for how you love Jesus and how well you love one another. 

And I guess I feel this post is leading to an entirely different topic than I expected. You see over the past seven days my daughter and I have experienced some weird situations. Conflict over beliefs with other believers. 

Yikes! 

Now don’t panic. I’m not going to cause a debate in our Home on the web here. In fact, I think it’s remarkable the kind of unity that we experience in our SUM House considering all the different steams of faith represented here. And Dineen and I are very careful and intentional to focus on what unites and not on what divides. We focus on only two things.  

Love God…
Love people…. 

But what do we do when we don’t see eye to eye? My daughter and I have been living this out as of late. It’s hard enough to stand in our faith when facing harsh words from our unbelieving spouse. But it’s even more difficult to face conflict with people who are “supposed to be on our side.” 

Do you agree? 

Well, in both cases we must let love be our compass and focus on what we have in common. This works both with our pre-believers and those who have differing ideological views. And right behind love, we must walk the road of forgiveness. 

However, the most difficult to forgive are those who are in the church that wound us. 

Am I right? 

Recently I listened to Ann Graham Lotz share how she overcame pain when she was wounded by her church. She shares how she was part of a church for 15 years, raised her children in this particular church and yet on one Sunday morning the church dismissed her husband from leadership. 

THIS IS WORTH A LISTEN MY FRIENDS.

 

 

Thank you for loving Dineen and I even when we might offend, hurt or fail you. Please know we would never do so with intention. I know many times I would like to respond to the many email, comments and messages that arrive and I simply can’t do it. I might write words such as “I’m Pissed Off” and you choose not to take offense but see how I remain committed to authenticity. I pray more than anything that you see our imperfect hearts are filled with love for you. It’s the love of a perfect Father, His Son, Jesus and the love of the Spirit. That remains our highest purpose when you visit our home on the web. 

The calling in this season of the Kingdom upon the House of SUM, is to love God. Love People. Amen and AMEN!

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


Day 2: Altar Offerings

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My friends, my heart is so full of love and awe—of you! Reading your comments the last two days…I’m so touched and blown away by your prayers for Lynn and I and for each other! Wow! I can just see Abba nodding His head with pride and pointing out this online community to the heavenly host and saying, “See? This is what the body of Christ really looks like." 

Wow, wow, wow…

And it’s with that full heart that I share today what God spoke to me about our community. On Sunday as I was worshiping at church I was also praying for the words to share this week, for whatever was on Abba's heart for us.

The word "annihilation" came clearly to me. Now that's a pretty strong word and not one I use often. I asked Abba to clarify, to help me understand His heart. And this is what He revealed for our SUMite community:

Annihilation of all fear, doubt and unbelief. I am declaring a "holy war" on all fear, doubt and unbelief. 2015 will be a "Year of Freedom."

I am lifting this community up to a whole new level of strength and belief. In Me. In My Word. In My promises. No more of the old. The New is in place and now I will reveal it. My strength is yours and all you need I have already provided. Your strength is found in Me and Me alone. I am your destiny. I am your hope. I am your future. It is done. 

Believe ME. 

As I wrote this down, my friends, I began to sense that today God is asking us to put an offering on the altar, to release those things we've been holding onto:

  • Fears
  • Doubts
  • Unbelief
  • Willfulness 
  • Pride
  • Unforgiveness
  • Anger
  • Bitterness
  • Offenses
  • Pain and hurts
  • Our pre-believers
  • Our very selves

This is our holy offering, our incense to the Lord. There is significance to the offering and "the burning" (releasing) of that which we place there. This is an act of faith, a choice to let go more than we ever have and to trust God even more, a deeper trust than ever before.

It is an act of love.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. — Ephesians 5:1-2

Take time today or in the morning to sit quietly and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what God is asking you to give to Him, to trust Him with. Then make that offering. Write it in your journal, because I believe that later this year Abba will take you back to this moment and show you what He has done with your offering.

My friends, share what you are offering up to the Lord in the comments so that we may pray for each other. As I said, this is an act love, and it's also an act of faith and trust. Not an easy thing to do, but when we make the choice and offering, I believe the Holy Spirit comes to help us walk in trust and faith. We are not required to provide the sacrifice, just to have a willingness to let go and trust, just as Abraham did with his son Isaac. 

And of course, share any breakthroughs you are having and let’s be encouraged together!  

King Jesus, we offer these “things” we've held on to, our selves and our pre-believers to you today as a holy offering, sweet with the aroma of our love and adoration for You. We pray that it pleases You and brings you great glory. We praise You now for what You will do with these offerings—what only YOU can do because You are Holy and Mighty and Faithful! 

Abba Father, we believe YOU. Make us strong and raise us up as You have declared. In the Powerful name of Jesus, amen!

Love you dearly, my friends, and praying for you!
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The Combination To The Power Of Heaven

Hi My Friends,  (Combination is at the bottom. Read all the way through.) 

Isaiah 53 5
Today I want to share a few thoughts with regard to healing. Several weeks ago I shared with you a few stories about healing.  

I finally want to chat with you about a mystery, the healing power of Jesus. Firstly, always, always, Jesus is our healer. He was bruised (Isaiah 53:5) for our iniquity and upon him the stripes of His beatings were for our healing. Man, if you just allow that thought in your head…… Recently I was listening to some teaching about healing. Did you know that Jesus’ face was beaten to a point that He was unrecognizable? When I consider the suffering He bore for my healing, I refuse to let one little bit of it go unclaimed. I will not waste the torture He endured that was meant for my healing. How about you? 

Anyhoo, by this point you know that I absolutely believe in healing. Healing of the soul, spirit and of our physical body. I’ve seen it. Experienced it and believe what the Word of God says about healing. 

But today I think we need to talk about why some aren’t healed. Why people receive healing prayer and nothing happens or a partial healing occurs. I will say right up front. We don’t know. It is a complete mystery as to why some aren’t healed and some are. 

But I can also share some firm thoughts as to what can keep us from experiencing healing. Let’s start with three things.

  1. Unbelief
  2. Unforgiveness
  3. Bitterness 

Unbelief. I want to share a story from the Healing Rooms. When the three of us, myself, my daughter Caitie and Gina entered the room, we were already halfway healed. Why? Because first, we TRULY believed we would be, could be. We did NOT doubt but truly walked in child-like faith. I’m in a season right now where God is teaching me the power of child-like faith. I have witnessed more supernatural encounters since returning from Bethel than I have ever before. I am convinced it’s because I have combined three things.

  • Child-like faith (I will explain more)
  • Compassion
  • No judgment 

Man, when you put these all together in a soul, Jesus shows up with all kinds of power and love. 

Child-like faith is the opposite of unbelief. Now get this: I choose to believe. Flat out decide that God’s Word is true, and it is. This kind of faith is gained and learned through maturity. What a contradiction of thoughts. Spiritual maturity births child-like faith. Oh how like the Lord to purpose faith this way. 

Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.—1 Corinthians 1:27 

Unforgiveness which gives birth to bitterness keeps so many of us from everything of the Kingdom. I am at a place in my faith walk where I literally choose to not be offended even when I have every right to be offended. I take the offense to Jesus and ask Him to help me rid it from my heart. I choose love. I choose love. I choose love. Couple love with compassion and it’s powerful my friends. 

Which leads to judgment. Ah, now this is the place that gets in the way of most believers. We judge people so harshly. In the depths of our heart we size a person up, declare their faults and failures in our minds and then sentence them to shame, unworthiness or wickedness. And we do all that in seconds. 

What Jesus is teaching me now is some powerful lessons in choosing compassion over judgment.   

Recently I was praying and the Lord brought homeless people to my mind. And I grieved for them. I said out loud in my prayers, “Lord, I will give to them. I don’t care how they came to be homeless or that they may be drunks, druggies, lazy. I will just love them.” 

You know what God said back to me? “Lynn, if you will love these people for me without judging them, why do you judge your daughter-in-law who has left your son. She needs help right now. Will you help her too?” 

GULP! 

Ouch. I mailed her a card, a photo of Elise and money that day. Yeppers. I did. 

What I saw in the healing rooms were those who were child-like and those who were judging everything that happened. They saw God interacting with people and God can be unexpected. Things can get animated as people encounter the God of the Universe. They were skeptical and thought they knew how people should behave. These were the people who did not experience healing. They were too busy judging…. And get this- really, they were judging our God! It scares me to even think about casting judgment on God for the way He interacts with people. SCARES ME!!! 

On the way to the conference when all of us were together sitting at a restaurant for lunch, I put down one ground rule for our conference experience. I looked straight into the eyes of the teens and said, “No matter what you might see or experience this week, you cannot judge others by what they look like or what they may do. If you don't judge, you will encounter everything you are hoping for.” 

Guess what? 

They did! 

And so can you.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com
 

Monday I want to share what has been happening in these weeks since Jesus has been teaching me. I feel like He has given me the combination lock to unlock the power of heaven and voice of God. Child-like faith, compassion and absolutely NO judgment. 

I’m in awe of what He is doing. 

And I’m STILL wanting to get onto this series about how to deal with the spirit of confusion, the critical spirit and few other unwelcome and evil entities we contend with. Are you up for all of this my friends? 

Why do you think I spend so much time teaching about the truths of God and focusing on our spiritual growth instead of speaking to unequally yoked marriages? It’s because, once we have our faith walk in the thriving zone, everything falls into that zone as well. 

I love you my family on the web. Stay tuned because the breakthroughs are gaining momentum and if you are a regular here, you have one or more coming. In Jesus name. Amen.


The Ugly Word for 2014

Hi SUMers!  So, ahem, yep..... Authentic post and a challenge for the New Year. Yes, you read that right...The New Year. 

I PRAY you are set on a new path in the next few weeks…. Join me on Mondays and Fridays until Yom Kippur for we are on the edge of our seat, waiting for the King to set things in motion… 

Let’s get started, 

Habakkuk 1 5Many of you participated in our annual week of fasting as we kicked off 2014. If you are new to our community, you are in for a profound experience in January as we fast together and listen to the Lord’s voice. You will be amazed. 

Anyhoo, I know at the beginning of the year many of you, ask God for a word, a single word, for the year during this time of prayer and fasting (Dineen always receives a word for her year).

Well, I will be upfront about this asking for a “word” business. I usually don’t ask. 

My thinking; why limit what God has to say for my life to one word?? However, this past January I kinda asked God during my prayer time for a word. I just wanted to see if I would get one… Is that wrong to share? Sounds funny…. But…. 

I prayed, “God if you have a word for my year ahead, what is it?” 

Well guess what? Yep, indeedy, He answered, “Refinement.” 

Can I just say as I sit here in September….. “Man, what a bummer word!” 

And I will tell you this. Indeed it has been a year full of refinement. And this refinement of my character, thoughts, pre-conceived ideas, judgments, friendships, expectations, and pride…. Actually began last fall…. And it’s been a grueling, LONG, year. 

I experienced life-changing grief, nearly lost one of my closest friends, my son divorced while living in my home, and there were a number of other enormous mountains I faced. I haven’t cried this much in a single year since I can't remember. Sheesh! And what is interesting is that I've discovered that I'm not alone in this year of suffering. Many believers, including most of our SUM community have experienced one of the most difficult years in their faith walk as well. Makes me ponder, What is going on in the spiritual realm? 

I assure you that I will not be asking for a word again at the beginning of the year. I would rather not know. 

You are probably wondering why I’m talking about the New Year in September, right? 

Well next Friday at sundown, September 25, 2014 is Rosh Hashanah. It’s the New Year according to God’s calendar (Jewish New Year). And I’ve been particularly interested to learn that many Jewish people and some evangelicals consider this a time when every person appears before God. 

From Wikipedia: In Jewish liturgy, Rosh Hashanah leads to Yom Kippur, which is described as "the day of judgment" (Yom ha-Din) and "the day of remembrance" (Yom ha-Zikkaron). Some midrashic descriptions depict God as sitting upon a throne, while books containing the deeds of all humanity are opened for review, and each person passes in front of Him for evaluation of his or her deeds

Okay, now I don’t know about all of this because it isn’t in His Word. But I am intrigued to think that God looks upon His children at the beginning of the year and perhaps He decrees new adventures, more depth in our relationship with Him and others, growth, discovering our destiny and ministries. So, I’m praying with passion at this time in my life that Rosh Hashanah 2014 is the close of a year of refinement. I’m praying that every hardship, trial, struggle and the many tears will be redeemed in the year ahead. 

I’ve learned so much from this year of wrestling. I’ve learned to let go of offense. I know, that I know, that I know —God will be my Holy Justice. In valleys of loneliness, He is all that I need. I’ve let go of judgment and comparison. When I’m accused falsely, He will be my fortress. And that no matter how messed up relationships can get; God is in the business of restoration. 

I’ve watched God undo me and humble me, turn me around and then restore relationships that have been badly broken for years and years. He has healed hurts I have born my entire adult life and restored me to many. He has grieved my heart over broken relationships, then commanded me to see restoration and reconciliation and furthermore to pray for people who hurt me or whom I’ve hurt. Gulp! It’s been tough. But, I’m truly thankful for walking this valley. 

I will likely share some of these stories in the few posts ahead as we come closer to the “New Year.” You will be astounded. I am! 

So as the year 5,774 draws to a close, I’m trusting God that His year of refinement is accomplished and that my heart was refined through the fire.

So as we approach Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement, I want to share what I believe He is whispering to His children about our future. Stay tuned...

We, the Body of Christ, are living in the best time in the history of the world.  

It's great to be alive!

My friends, are you ready for this year to be over? Do you want a peek at what I hear God telling me is ahead for those who love Him? Stay tuned and remove your shoes for we are about to tread on Holy Ground.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com