83 posts categorized "Freedom"

An Open Letter To My Daughter - The Shades of Mr. Grey

My Precious Daughter, Caitie.  An Open Letter Caitie

You are becoming an amazing young woman right before my eyes. As you work through your second year of college, I see your heart grow for people and God. You’ve had your first boyfriend, discovered living on your own, set your own schedule and have achieved exceptional grades from your Professors. I am proud and humbled. 

As I watch you mature, I recognize that you are stepping into this crazy world with the hope and anticipation that every college-aged woman holds. I look at you and can see some of myself, some of my past, I catch a glimpse of my young self, now however through the eyes of an aged and maturing woman. And this week, in particular, with the release of the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, I’m moved with love and hope to write to you from that perspective, a wiser and more mature wife and woman. 

The themes of this particular movie have stirred up a lot of my emotions and memories. What has been hidden in my soul has been brought to the surface and has fueled my prayers and hopes for your future marriage. This letter may be difficult to read as I will share things that sometimes moms don’t talk about with their daughters. What I have to say may be uncomfortable, you may be slightly embarrassed. However, I know you well. I know you are strong and mature and that you trust me to share what will help you and that I always pass insight to you with love and gentleness. 

Caitie, as my only daughter I want many things for your life. And in particular I want you to have a happy and fulfilled marriage. So today I want to share with you some thoughts that I pray you will consider and take deeply into your heart. 

Caitie, you know I have a past. I lived for years in the Prodigal Nation and was very far from God. It was during those dark years when I was only a handful of years older than you are now that I found myself in situations where I compromised myself, my body, my heart and soul through sex that I knew was wrong for me. Although I didn’t participate in anything even close to what the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey depict, I did just enough. And here is what I want you to hear; Today even after 23 years of marriage, I’m still affected by my experiences. 

What I want you to know and what I wish I had known all those years ago is how pornography, along with compromises in your personal limits in the bedroom will affect you at the core of your being as well as have a negative impact on your own marriage. It may not seem like a big deal right now but it’s ten years from now when you have been married for several years that you will experience deep regret and insecurity because you let images and sexual practices such that are in this movie into your soul. 

You know that I love your Dad very deeply and you know we have a strong marriage, yet even today the Lord is still revealing lies I believe that have power in my own intimacy in our marriage. I didn’t fully realize the insecurity that lingered in my heart just because I went a little past my comfort zone in my crazy and young years. 

So, today I want to tell you a few truths that I pray you will cling to in the years directly ahead of you. 1) You can’t un-see that. Explicit sexual images remain in your mind forever. They create a skewed and unholy viewpoint of intimacy in marriage. This movie creates a new acceptance of abusive sexual practices in a relationship. Caitie, it’s not normal. It’s not good. It’s harmful. And it’s ten years down the road in your own marriage, when you are pressing deeper into your faith, that these images and practices will torment you. 

2) Mr. Grey is a myth. Men like this aren’t interested in your heart and your long-term well-being. They won’t marry you and it’s likely they want more and more explicit and deviant sex. 

3) Talk in depth with your future potential husband and come to a mutual place where you can feel absolutely safe with him to be honest, naked and free from condemnation with regard to the bedroom. 

4) Don’t believe our corrupt society that this behavior in the bedroom is normal. Don’t believe the lie that all young couples are practicing these things behind Mr. Grey’s locked door. AND absolutely don’t think that if you do compromise that it won’t have a lasting impact on your self-esteem, self-respect, on your respect for your spouse and the overall health of your marriage. 

You hold a precious gift in your hand right now. Your self-respect and honor. Don’t trade it for the lies of satan. Entering into the marriage bed without all those ugly images and suggestions of bizarre sex will give you an amazing gift. A life-time of fantastic sex and intimacy with one man. That gift is more precious than all the gold in the world. 

I adore you. And I know your personal moral center would not, and has not, entertained any of this kind of cultural darkness and I pray that you always remain in that center. Thanks for reading my letter. In some ways this letter is not only for you but for a young woman of many years ago who wishes someone would have share the truth with her. 

You have my heart. And know this, I have been praying for you future spouse since you were born. I can’t wait to meet him one day. Love, Mom 

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To read my other post about Fifty Shades of Grey, click here: Shades of Grey and a Hound from Hell 

And here is one more article that I found true and timely: I Thought Watching Porn With My Partner Would Save Our Relationship 


Empowered Living: Romans 8:26-30

Psalm119-1622My friends, we are at one of my all time favorite promises of the Bible. God laid the groundwork for this truth in me before I could even read as a child. I grew up knowing it, and I remember being surprised when I read it in the Bible the first time. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself. (Cliffhanger!) We are about to get there though. First I want to start with our Scriptures and tell you a story. Go ahead and read Romans 8:26-30 below and in your preferred translation if it isn’t included. I’ll meet you on the other side…

ESV: 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

VOICE: 26 A similar thing happens when we pray. We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words. 27 Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God? 28 We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. 29-30 From the distant past, His eternal love reached into the future. You see, He knew those who would be His one day, and He chose them beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of a new family of believers, all brothers and sisters. As for those He chose beforehand, He called them to a different destiny so that they would experience what it means to be made right with God and share in His glory.

Verse 26 is profound when we think about the Holy Spirit actually speaking and praying for us. I will never forget this sound. I’ve heard it only once, and it was the night my pre-believer finally told me he’d decided he was an atheist. I was grieved deeper and ached more than I can even describe. 

As I laid down, trying to sleep after hearing this devastating news, I heard this groaning in the silence of the night. It was deep within me but didn’t come from my throat or mouth. I could hear it only in my spirit. I later came to understand that groaning was the Holy Spirit stepping in when I couldn’t, and I believe Abba Father allowed me to hear it so that I could be comforted. I don’t know what He was “groaning,” but I look forward to one day finding out how He prayed for me that dark night.

Verse 27 further expounds on this amazing gift of being “known.” My friends, I know this path we walk with our pre-believers can be lonely because we don’t feel like our spouse “gets us.” We are limited and even unable to share the depths of our relationship with our Abba Father, Savior and Friend Jesus, and the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. But know right now, this very day, that YOU ARE KNOWN BY HIM!  

Paul states this truth too:

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. — 1 Corinthians 13:12

I believe this word is specifically for several of you reading this right now. So I will say it again and if you feel a piercing in your spirit, then know that this word is for you today, my friend.

You don’t “feel” understood and “known” right now, but God knows you inside and out. He knows everything you are walking through right now and He. Is. There. He sees you. He loves you. He KNOWS you.

Wow, now I felt that one roll over me big time as the Holy Spirit guided my words. That’s from His heart to yours, my precious friend. And think about this: He’s given me this word for you and I’m writing it down hours before you even read or knew about it. See how He turns His thoughts to you (Psalm 139:17-18)?

The rest of this powerful verse describes how the Holy Spirit pleads for us, His saints (Eph 1:18), to align us with God’s will and heart. And that brings another powerful verse to mind because in this process of the Holy Spirit praying for us, to align us with the Father, we begin to delight in Him. Now look at the verse from a new perspective:

Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it. — Psalm 37:4 NASB

So we have the Holy Spirit, who knows us best, interceding for us when we don’t know what to pray, working on our behalf and aligning us with God’s plans and purposes. And now we move into that truth I told you about, that God ingrained in me as a child.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28 

And all means ALL, my friends. This is an astonishing truth that you won’t find in the world. It is the heart of the redemption message. God redeems everything. He brings good out of everything, which means we do not suffer, endure, and persevere without purpose. He is not wasteful. He will not allow us to walk through or into anything (bad or good) that He doesn’t have a plan and purpose for our good.

He knows us, He is for us, and He is good.

This is one of the most profound truths in the Bible, and when we can truly embrace it and fully believe that God is always good, then we walk in astounding freedom from sins like unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred, envy and more. How about freedom from fear?

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. — 1 John 4:18

This is also the place the place the enemy likes to hit us hard, to make us stumble and doubt. This is where I got hit last year. I’ve stood on the truth of Romans 8:28 for years and proclaimed it as my life verse. I shared it, taught it, lived it. But I’d allowed the enemy in and listened to his darts of doubt. Suddenly the very truth I’d built my life upon wasn’t standing strong. My foundation began to crumble, and the hardest part was that God allowed it.  

I questioned. I railed. Until I saw that I’d allowed these lies to be part of my faith foundation and the only way to get rid of them was to tear it apart until only the truth remained. The truth of Romans 8:28: God is always good and He is always working for our good. That’s His character and the only way He works. 

When doubt creeps in, dear friends, ask yourself this: “What do I know to be true?” Ask the Holy Spirit to show you. I promise you, He will. I love what Kris Vallotton says about the truth of Romans 8:28. “If it isn't good yet, then God’s not done.” 

And finally, verses 29 and 30. I know there is discussion and confusion about predestination, but for me, these verses spell it out clearly. What is our destiny? To be like Jesus. That’s it. It’s that simple. 

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. — Ecc. 3:11

Abba Father created us to be like His Son, Jesus, even to the point of sacrificing Him for our benefit (can I get a God is REALLY GOOD here?). That is His heart for us. And in the moment we accept that calling, we are justified and then glorified. For Him. We are His and He is ours.

Now I will close with this jewel from verse 29 in the Voice translation: 

From the distant past, His eternal love reached into the future. 

Think about this and let it soak deep into your bones. His loves reaches us from the past of the cross, carries us through the present and ushers us into eternity. It’s constant and relentless—for us and for our pre-believers.

Just one more part to this series and I just love this one too. It’s a promise that brought His bright light into some dark moments last year. I can’t wait to share that one with you too!

Love you, my friends!
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Links to previous parts to this series:

A Introduction to Empowered Living
Empowered Living: Romans 8:1-4 (part one)
Empowered Living: Romans 8:1-4 (part two)
Empowered Living: Romans 8:5-8
Empowered Living: Romans 8:9-11
Empowered Living: Romans 8:12-17
Empowered Living: Romans 8:18-25


Empowered Living: Romans 8:12-17

Psalm119-1622Happy Saturday, my friends! How are you doing? Feeling more empowered yet? Still soaking in the truths from Romans 8:9-11? I loved your comments on Wednesday, and I love that we’re on this journey together. Please keep sharing your thoughts in the comments. We inspired and encourage one another when we do that. 

Today we’ll dig into Romans 8:12-17. I’m only using the NIV and Voice translations to keep things a little less cumbersome, so pull out your favorite translation and be sure to read it there as well.  

NIV: 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

The Voice: 12 So, my brothers and sisters, you owe the flesh nothing! You do not need to live according to its ways, so abandon its oppressive regime. 13 For if your life is just about satisfying the impulses of your sinful nature, then prepare to die. But if you have invited the Spirit to destroy these selfish desires, you will experience life. 14 If the Spirit of God is leading you, then take comfort in knowing you are His children. 15 You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we would address a loving daddy. 16 Through that prayer, God’s Spirit confirms in our spirits that we are His children. 17 If we are God’s children, that means we are His heirs along with the Anointed, set to inherit everything that is His. If we share His sufferings, we know that we will ultimately share in His glory.

In this section of Romans 8, Paul brings us to a conclusion about our relationship to sin—basically that we don’t have one. We have a relationship with the Father, as we are His children. And living as such is truly living. The part I’m still wrapping my brain around completely is in verse thirteen. 

The NIV translation says, “but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

But if we look at the Voice translation, this nugget is more fully revealed: “But if you have invited the Spirit to destroy these selfish desires, you will experience life.”

The NIV translation makes it clear that we can’t put a stop to sin in our lives by our own ability, strength, or power. If we could, then the law would still stand and Jesus wouldn’t have needed to come and die for us. We need the help and power of the Holy Spirit. 

The Voice translation brings out an additional nugget of wisdom to this process though. We must invite the Holy Spirit to destroy these selfish desires, sin and strongholds. Sometimes we know exactly where the battle lies. Other times we don’t and we need to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these areas to us.

And more than likely He will show us one of two things:

  1. We are living in sin. Remember, He will not condemn us, just lovingly convict us and empower us to walk away from this sin and/or ask for help.
  2. It’s a lie that has permeated our thinking and understanding of who we think we are in relationship to who God says we are. This revelation will bring relief and, again, empowerment to overcome.
  3. The issue is actually a demonic influence. Again, this will bring relief and understanding, as well as tools (our authority in Jesus for starters) to rebuke it in the name of Jesus, and to recognize this influence if it tries to come back.

Often times the lie has allowed the enemy a foothold in our lives, or we’ve become entrenched in a lie that the enemy shot at us to begin with. Figuring out which happened first is kind of like the old chicken and egg question—which came first. But you know what, it doesn’t matter. Invite the Holy Spirit to help you identify it and show you how to root and boot it out. 

However, as it is written: 
“What no eye has seen, 
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived” —
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. — 1 Cor. 2:9-12

That help will come from Scripture and prayer, from the still small voice of our Abba (which is Greek for “Daddy”) telling us the truth, from the Holy Spirit in a clear thought or leading that we know didn’t come from ourselves, and may even come externally in a timely phone call, email, or a book or Bible study that seems to be exactly what we need at that moment.

Just tune in and you’ll see those answers to prayers to be freed from ongoing issues in your lives. Some answers come and the “fix” is immediate. Other times it will take time and we must persevere and remember that verse from 2 Corinthians 12:9 where God tells Paul that His power is made perfect in weakness. We can take comfort and place our hope in this powerful truth, that in our weakness, God’s power is exhibited to it’s full capacity and will bring us to freedom and healing, in His way and His timing.

And finally, there are more promises here, my friends. Take a look:

Vs. 14: The Holy Spirit declares us children of God. We don’t have to prove ourselves to be His children. The Holy Spirit SAYS we are. (i.e. You don’t have to earn God’s acceptance and approval.)

Vs. 15: The Holy Spirit frees us from fear and deepens our relationship with God the Father, “as we would address a loving daddy.” 

Vs. 16: The Holy Spirit confirms to our own spirit that we are God’s children. 

(Do you see in vss. 15 and 16 how the Holy Spirit tirelessly works to bring the Father to us and us to the Father?)

Vs. 17: We are God’s heirs, just like His Son Jesus, with full benefits. We will share some of His sufferings, yes, but we will ultimately share in His glory too. 

Look what He said in John 16:

Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. — John 16:20-21

The analogy of the pain of childbirth becoming joy is a perfect analogy, my friends. Many of us are feeling a bit “pregnant” with promise (I actually noticed I was waddling the other day, the way I did when I carried my girls!) and some of us are struggling to give birth to those promises, but that’s a topic for another day.

My friends, I’ll stop here. Just know that this is all building to what I consider to be two of God’s greatest promises to us near the end of this amazing, truth-packed chapter. 

Let’s chat some more in the comments! 
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Empowered Living: Romans 8:1-4 (part two)

Psalm119-1622Welcome back to our study of Romans, dear friends. During the night the Holy Spirit pointed out to me that we are not just spiritual beings but supernatural beings. I love that verse that says we are seated in the heavenly realms with Jesus (Eph 2:4-7). The deeper I go in my relationship with Abba Father, King Jesus and Holy Spirit, the more this makes sense. The Word says He is in us and we are in Him. And Jesus is seated in the heavenly realms, thus, so are we. Amazing! That makes us supernatural beings as well.

Now back to Romans 8:3-4… When we go further into verse three, Paul gives more clarification as to why the law had failed. I so appreciate the way the Voice translation brings that understanding to the surface:

NLT: 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 

NIV: 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,

The Voice: 3 God did something the law could never do. You see, human flesh took its toll on God’s law. In and of itself, the law is not weak; but the flesh weakens it. So to condemn the sin that was ruling in the flesh, God sent His own Son, bearing the likeness of sinful flesh, as a sin offering. 

God’s law did and does serve a purpose in that it reveals sin, but it lacks the power to truly free us from the power of sin and death because of our sinful nature. Thus why Jesus says He came not to do away with the law but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17). He was the empowered solution that would restore the purpose of the law with the heart and love of the Father, that all would be saved (1 Tim 2:4-6).

What amazes me is to think of all the preparation that went into this. Have you every wondered why God chose the time that He did to give Jesus to the world? I believe God wanted to prepare us to receive Jesus in the fullness of our need. And the laws that established the animal sacrifices and brought understanding to the importance of the blood sacrifice were part of this.

As I’ve said in the past, so much of the Bible is about preparation and the Bible itself is our preparation—to understand, learn and grow from experiential stories—those we read about and those we live and learn from in our lives as we walk in faith and trust in God. These are the ones that “stick” with us because we relate to them. By setting the pattern of blood sacrifice and establishing the importance of God’s holiness in it, only then would we be able to understand the full magnitude of Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus would be and is the final blood sacrifice. 

NLT: 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

NIV: 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

The Vocie: 4 Now we are able to live up to the justice demanded by the law. But that ability has not come from living by our fallen human nature; it has come because we walk according to the movement of the Spirit in our lives.

The Message: 4 And now what the law code asked for but we couldn't deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.

Here is the rest of Paul’s point that there is no more condemnation for us who belong to Jesus. Since Christ sacrificed his life for our sins and was raised to life for our justification(Rom. 4:25-Rom. 5:1), no one, nothing and no-thing can tell us otherwise. This IS the truth, our truth. Anything that brings condemnation is not of God and is therefore of the enemy. 

My friends, the battle is truly in our minds and learning to recognize the difference between the enemy’s condemnation and the Holy Spirit’s loving correction is key. Though we are no longer identified as sinners when we know Jesus, we still sin and will need to confess and make amends as needed. This process, in the hands of the Holy Spirit, brings relief, freedom and empowers us to live godly lives (2 Peter 1:3). 

And that is the rest of verse four that we need to take note of and trust the Holy Spirit to do. He does this in us, we don’t. I find this very freeing indeed to know I don’t have to “fix” myself. Jesus did it with His death and each day the Holy Spirit is helping me to be more and more Christ-like.

The next section of Romans 8 that we’ll study will be verses 5-11. In these Scriptures we will see more insights as to what happens in our minds AND how we can relate this to our pre-believers. I’m looking forward to what the Holy Spirit has for us there!

Holy Spirit, we ask for the spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Jesus more and more. Bring the full power of God’s Word into our hearts and transform our minds. Make us hungrier than ever for more of You and Your Word. In the transforming power of Jesus, we pray and ask all this, amen! 

We are established in Him, SUMites!
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Empowered Living: Romans 8:1-4 (part one)

Psalm119-1622My friends, we're embarking on our study of Romans 8 today, but first, please take a moment and pray over Lynn and her family. Her granddaughter Elise spiked a fever yesterday of a 103 and there are other challenges she is dealing with in her family. Let’s pray a mighty force and hedge of protection around her and her family, for health to reign in the Donovan home and for great wisdom and strength to flow through her and her family to handle these challenges. 

With our prayers and in the mighty name of Jesus, we declare the Donovan home will overcome ALL these challenges by the Spirit of the Lord and with great victory and glory to God. In the mighty and powerful name of Jesus, amen!

Thank you, SUMites!

Now, onward with Empowered Living. Many of your comments to my introduction on Wednesday confirmed that we are following the Holy Spirit's leading here. I so love when He does that. And many of you have already shared insights you’ve gleaned from this chapter. Awesome! So let's continue to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and also continue to pray for revelations and insights to this powerful part of the Scriptures.

Holy Spirit, You are our Counselor and Friend. Your desire is to lead us into more wisdom and knowledge of Jesus so that we know Him better, know the Father better and walk in the freedom that Jesus so selflessly came to give us. We ask for divine revelations and understanding of God's Holy Word. Breath its truth upon us. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Let's begin with Romans 8:1-4, which work together to create the foundation of this powerful chapter. I will be using multiple translations for this but will indicate each one so you are clear which translation is which. My goal is not to confuse you but to bring even more clarity and understanding to God’s Word, with the help of the Holy Spirit.

NLT: 1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

NIV: 1 ​Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

The Voice: 1 Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King,

Verse one of Romans 8 is probably one of the most quoted verses of the Bible and one of our most powerful truths against the enemy, whose mission is to condemn us and destroy our faith by tearing away our identity in Christ. Paul makes this statement after his conclusion in chapter seven where he makes the distinction of between his mind and his flesh, yet states that Jesus Christ is our answer to this dilemma. Romans 8:1 begins with “therefore” and “so now” signaling the explanation to come.

And I want to point out that there is a huge and powerful difference between the enemy's condemnation and the Holy Spirit's conviction. The first places judgement of who we are defined by our sin and without the answer of forgiveness. The latter brings light to a sinful act with the answer of forgiveness, which frees us to learn and grow more Christ-like. When we learn to recognize the difference and reject condemnation and live in grace, the enemy loses power over our minds. We begin to shed bondages and walk in freedom.

That is why verse two is so crucial to our complete understanding of verse one:

NLT: 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 

NIV: 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

The Voice: 2 because when you live in the Anointed One, Jesus, a new law takes effect

God implemented a new system or law to help us be who He created us to be—spiritual beings inhabited by the Spirit of God. We could not apply an incomplete system defined by the flesh to lives that would, in the new system, be led by the Spirit and made complete in Christ. It would be like asking the Holy Spirit to function without His power. 

And that is essentially what happens when we live by the law of sin and death (legalism—a spirit of religion that teaches we must earn grace, which then implies we can lose it by our imperfect actions) than by the law of the Spirit (it’s all about Jesus, His life, death and resurrection to bring us grace, a gift that we receive. We do nothing to “save ourselves.”) 

In legalism, we eliminate the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and no longer live empowered by grace. By definition grace and legalism are opposites but the enemy’s tactics to move us from grace to legalism are subtle. This is one way he makes us ineffective and even harmful to those around us.

My friends, I will finish verses three and four tomorrow, so please come back and see how Paul explains why there is no (and can't be) any condemnation for us who belong to Jesus.  Thank you for taking this journey with me, SUMites. I love you all so dearly!
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Breakthrough - Disappointment- Thanksgiving and More On Our Final Day Of Fasting

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Hello Sumite Family – Church Without Walls. 

Can you believe it’s already the last day of our fast? Reading through the comments has been amazing. I have prayed for all of you. This has been an amazingly sweet time with our Lord. And as I spoke to Dineen yesterday about this fast, we marveled at all God has done, the tenderness He has displayed and the answers to our petitions. 

Dineen and I paused a moment and we turned our conversation to prayer: Jesus, we sure hope Rosheeda Lee is watching our community from heaven. What she started here years ago, this annual fast, has had lasting impact on us as individuals. Lord, we know that the prayers and declarations spoken during this tender time will bring about great glory for Your name and bring many into Your Kingdom. Lord, Jesus please hug Rosheeda for us. We love and miss her. Amen. 

I know many of us are praying for breakthrough. And I have to share my breakthrough with you. It was quite unexpected. Before I do, however, I want to speak to those of you who haven’t had your breakthrough and those who feel disappointment. Perhaps, like me, breakthrough came in an area your weren’t praying about. For me personally, I received an answer for prayer that I started praying two and half years ago. So, don’t be disappointed. Instead, ask God to show you where He was working in your life this past week. 

On Thursday morning I was sitting in my backyard next to a gentle and warm fire, sipping coffee from my Broncos mug and reading my Bible and praying. All was right with the world. When all of a sudden my husband texts me and asks me if I sold some stock. 

Text Back: No, What is going on? Did someone hack our account? 

I go into full-on panic mode as this is the little bit of money I have saved for my daughter’s college education. The funds are small and only cover another semester so we can’t afford to lose a dime. After they are exhausted I have three more semesters to pay for and I haven’t a clue where the money is going to come from. 

I began praying about our lack of finances for college back when she started school in 2013. I prayed and still pray asking for provision. I trust. I look at my small account. I panic. I pray again. I trust. I mostly lean into trusting God because after all, He arranged her education. 

Well after my panic over my husband’s text, I call my husband and he reminds me that our new “finance” guy is moving things around. However, he wasn’t supposed to touch this account. So, my husband gets off the phone to contact our guy to find out what’s going on. And in THAT SPECIFIC MOMENT the Lord spoke. 

“Lynn, you have asked me to help you provide for college. So I sent you this guy.” 

Now get this. This man works with my husband. He’s absolutely brilliant. The kind of brilliant where he tests out on the IQ Test- Mensa. He works as one of the company leaders in computer technology. On top of that he’s also a Certified Public Accountant. He handles investments for about 10 people, we are one of them. And ON TOP OF THAT…. 

Now get this: He’s an ordained pastor. 

Now when God sends a guy to help you out, He doesn’t fool around. Brilliant, Computer Genius, CPA…. AND A PASTOR…. I think our college funds are in good hands and it’s all okay that he is moving funds about. 

THANK YOU DADDY!!! An answer to prayers from 2 ½ years ago. A Breakthrough. I’ve had another significant event this week but I will share that with you later. 

My friends, our Lord is good. He is lavish. He is a blast and I love Him so much. Hang on to your faith. Persist in prayer. He will work things out for your good and His glory. And don’t give the enemy an inch. I know that ugly snake tries hard to get us to blame God for stuff he is doing to kill, steal and destroy in our lives and family. 

So on our final day, LET’S GIVE THANKS. Let’s thank the Lord for what He has done this week. Share any insights you received this week. Tell me about your time with the Lord. Share answers to prayer and let’s give the Lord thanks. And can you share one other thing. Write along with your comment: Sumite since ___________. Include the month or year or even yesterday if that's when you started reading here.

When we pray, we must believe and then thank Jesus for the work that is in progress. 

This has been an amazing week. I love all of you so much. I have stormed heavens gates for you. I have fought the demonic for you. I have declared and spoken God’s Word, love and hope into your lives. (Even if I didn’t have time to type my prayers out in response to your comments.) 

I can’t wait to praise our Lord with you today. I love you with a full and expectant heart, Lynn, a Sumite since May, 2006.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

PS. yesterday in the comments Teri said this: Today I am asking for a real place to live, a home. To no longer live in my car. 

The minute I read this I knew that I wanted to send her money. If any of you want to do the same, click on the donate button in the sidebar. Thank you. 

Phil 1 4 to 6


Line by Line: Power Prayer Against Divorce

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Line by Line….. 

My friends, after reading the comments on the post from Friday, a Holy Fire burned up and out of me that I can only explain as the righteous anger of the Lord. There have been so many of us in this community that have been ravaged by divorce. 

The enemy has weaved his deceit upon God’s people bringing his ministry to kill, steal and destroy, but NO MORE

In my own family, divorce has now reached into the fourth generation. My parents divorced, my grandparents divorced in their 70’s. I divorced and my son is heading that direction. I’m mad as ---- and I’m not going to take it anymore!!! 

Be warned devil. I’m taking away your authority to curse the generations of my family with the destruction of divorce. From this day forward I revoke your authority to even breathe one word or lie into any of my family members to a thousand generations. Today, I draw a line in the sand and stand behind my Papa, Jehovah God and by His Son, my Savior, Jesus and by His name and power I declare you have no authority to cause a divorce in my family line as of right now. 

My friends, I’m convinced that we must take action and pray as a community and as the sanctified believer in our home. So, please pray with me. Today we take the authority given to us by Jesus and free our family from the work of the devil and demons who are planting seeds of divorce. 

Pray with me now. OUT LOUD: 

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I stand with Jesus as my side, angels with me prepared to move upon my prayer and with the blessing and love of my Father, Jehovah God. 

The authority given to me in Luke 9:1-2 I declare the enemy, the devil and all demons all their works and effects are hereby silenced. They have no authority now to lie to me or any of my family members about divorce. I cancel any and all agreements that believing their lies may have allowed influence in my life or my family’s lives. 

Today, I declare the demonic must leave my home, my children and my marriage and go directly into the pit and be bound there forever. I cancel all generational curses of my ancestors that may have allow divorce to enter into my family line. I draw a line in the sand now and today. From this day forward our family line, the House of _____________(Donovan & Goodwill) is free from any evil influence, lies or past agreements with the enemy about divorce. I slam shut any doors that were open to let evil to speak lies to me or have any bearing or influence upon me or my family. 

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command all evil must depart from my home, my children and my husband and must immediately go into the pit. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, there will be no replacement of evil in our lives now and forever. 

And now Lord, I fill those spaces where evil tried to harm, I fill those places with your love. I release your Holy Spirit now to come into the hearts of our home, fill every living area with Your Presence. Open the portals of heaven and let the peace of Jesus pervade our hearts, souls and minds. Give us joy and flood every part of our home and being with Your love. Fill our home to be an overflowing fountain of living water. Let our home be a safe place for anyone and everyone who crosses the threshold. Let me stand as your son/daughter to be the person where the enemy was defeated and a new history was determined in our family line from this day forward. 

Thank you Lord. Thank you that when we pray that the demons must obey. Thank you we have that kind of power and authority because Jesus, You died and then rose to victory. We claim that victory over divorce for ourselves, our children and our children’s children to a thousand generations in accordance with Your Holy Word. 

Today we now celebrate as a mighty move of God has begun and we can’t wait to see the lives and marriages you save, just because we asked. You love us that much. 

We adore you. Let our worship destroy the enemy. Let our love shine as bright as the noon day sun to our family and our neighbors. In the Most Powerful Name Above All Names…. 

JESUS, AMEN! 


Deuteronomy 7 9I want our Bible study to be more than just gaining head knowledge. Let’s make this study personal. It is our God given right – no our God given expectation – to pray and break this evil of divorce that is devastating our families. 

Thank you for praying with me. In the comments leave the name of your Household that you prayed for and I will pray in agreement with you. And if you have more prayer needs, leave them as well. 

I’m so fired up now I want to pray down Holy fire upon addictions, pornography, alcoholism, anger, rage, and the list goes on. Let’s use this prayer and bring freedom to the captives my friends. 

And let’s replace evil with the life-changing love of our Father. It’s the most astonishing, beautiful exchange. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

 

 

 

(Friday: More Line by Line…. It’s getting good my friends. It’s really, really good. Have a great week and expect breakthroughs.)


Your Breakthrough Is Here - Passover

Hi SUMite Family, 

This week I’m departing from our Joshua and The Walls series. Today I want to share my thoughts and prayer about Passover. And on Friday, I’m sharing a glimpse I had of The Wedding of the Son of God and His Bride. (It’s way cool and perfect for Good Friday. Be sure to stop in then.) 

What is Passover? Passover is a festival of freedom. It commemorates the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt, and their transition from slavery to freedom. The main ritual of Passover is the Seder, which occurs on the first night. 

As believers we know we are not under the Old Testament law. We are living in the age of grace because of the blood sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus. And as a person who loves God and ponders His ways and thoughts, I’m thinking that many of the ancient feasts and celebrations that He originated still hold meaning and expectation. 

This year’s Passover holds significance to me personally. You see, since December I have been praying for many of you in this SUMite family. Many of you by name. And I mean ALL of you, even if you have never made any personal contact with me nor left your name in a comment. I have prayed for you. 

And this is why. 

Breakthrough is coming for many of you with THIS Passover. 

At the end of last year many of my brothers and sisters in Christ were in the midst of enduring and trying to just survive tremendous spiritual warfare. Many of you have battled a life that seems to have run over you. Circumstances have left you defeated and bereft of hope. And you have been in this dark pit for months now. Many of you are specifically facing crippling financial stresses. There are many who are wrangling with overwhelming anxiety, dark depression, abusive spouses and heartbreak because of wondering children and a litany of other demonic tortures. 

Well my friends, I’ve been praying for you. I’ve been contending for you. For months. I’ve sacrificed in the quiet of the early morning as I beseeched the God of the universe to silence the enemy and bring freedom to the many of you who are held captive and as prisoners of this life’s evils.

My prayers began in December and as I marched through January I began to hear the Lord tell me they will lift. There is a change, a shift, which is ordained of heaven that will happen at Passover. 

THAT’S TOMORROW! 

I’ve been praying for a breakthrough. A breakthrough for many. I’ve been contending for this shift over the home of _________________________ (insert your name because I’ve prayed it.) My breakthrough, although contended for in private and sacrificed in prayer, over the past months will also bring breakthrough to many others. MANY OTHERS. 

THAT’S how our God’s Kingdom rolls!!!!!! 

The honest prayers of one can bring breakthrough for hundreds. I earnestly believe this with all of my heart. So today my friends, if you need this breakthrough to move into a new season with the Lord, declare it now and out loud. 

Father God, I receive this breakthrough on this day. This is the day that You Passover this earth and free me from the grips of the enemy. Lord, and free others from the terror of the evil one. Today, Lord, I receive my deliverance just as you delivered our ancestors long ago. You freed them from the tyranny of slavery and gave them a land flowing with milk and honey. Today, Lord, I too declare in front of the Kingdom of God my freedom day. 

I will promise to seek you with all of my heart from this day forward. I make a new and lasting covenant to pursue you with a relentless hunger. I will also step out of my bondage and make it my life’s purpose to free others who are on the road behind me. 

Today, I rebuke and break off any stronghold or bondage of the enemy that has kept me from stepping into my rightful inheritance as a child of the Most High God. And I slam the door shut on any lies I have believed that the devil has used to tell me anything that is not truth about myself and my circumstances. 

Lord, My Holy God, I receive my freedom by the holy blood of the Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, Your Son. And I will live all of my days from this day forward, pursuing peace, joy and love. I will choose to love you with my whole heart and spend the rest of my life loving people. 

I declare and decree my deliverance, my future that is abundant, and ask today that you show me now where you have made my path straight that I may get on with bringing Your Kingdom to earth. 

In the most powerful name in all creation and the heavenly realms, Jesus, The Christ. The Passover Lamb of God. AMEN.

 

I have contended for you. I absolutely believe many of you will begin to see hints of the freedom that has just been released upon your life today. My friends, now give thanks to our Papa, Jesus and the Dove for you are been released to receive your full inheritance. In Jesus name. 

I love you. I will always contend for your lives, marriage and children. I will never stop standing in the gap when you are weak and unable. I am your friend and your prayer warrior. Your sister in Christ, Lynn

Psalm 23
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Who Is Behind The Wall's of Jericho?

What is the Promised Land for 2014?

My Friends, 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comWe are standing on the threshold of entering the Promised Land. Let’s pause a minute to contemplate the implications. The similarities of our ancestors, the Israelites, and the implications of entering the Promised Land in our own lives is remarkable. 

Consider this: The men, women, and children who were about to cross the Jordan River (Joshua), most of them grew up in the wilderness. These children didn’t see the miracles as the Egyptians threw gold and jewelry at them begging them to leave the city as they departed from slavery forever. (Exodus 12) These children were born in the wilderness and they listened and learned from their mothers and fathers in the campground at night or on the path (how about an automobile ride?) about the power of God and His great love that rescued the Family of Abraham from slavery. 

I’m kinda blown away in how I see myself as a mother, continually pointing out, sharing, and encouraging my son and daughter in their faith pursuit in our God. We are similar to the Israelites in that my kids have yet to experience the power and miracles of heaven. My faith, my stories, my love for Christ has been the model that they will lean on when they press into their adult lives. They will rely on my lessons, voice, to give them hope and to propel them into a love relationship with God. 

Am I alone in the Holy Mind-blow here???? 

Well, Anyhoo. Let’s keep going. The Promised Land

I have to pause and ponder; do they have a clue what they will inherit in the Promised Land? Do WE have a clue about our own Promised Land in 2014? Makes a blonde girl's head ache… hmmmmm 

If you remember the Israelites received a glimpse of the  Promised Land back in Joshua’s day. The scouts of 40 years earlier shared the reports of the Land of Milk and Honey (Numbers 13:27). 

I’ve also glimpsed a tiny bit of our Promised Land of 2014. As I was listening to God during the download for this series, I was given a visual of what our Promised Land looked like. More specifically, what was the plunder behind the Walls of Jericho? Did the people of Israel know what they would find behind the walls? Do we know what is behind the walls once they come down? 

Did the Israelites even know what would happen once they began their walk around the walls? Hmmmmmm? Things to wonder??? 

So here is what I saw in my mind’s eye: As a SUMite, I found myself standing at the bottom of the walls. I’m looking up and I see my husband on the wall. He is glaring down at me. Why? Because he is captive and deceived. You see the walls protect a Kingdom. What’s behind the gates: It’s a Kingdom of darkness with a throne of an absolute heartless and evil master. This creature hates his captives. He wounded the inhabitants with arrows of pain, lies, and doubt and took them captive with his deceit. When you give careful attention you can witness the minions running about relentlessly feeding our loved ones with a toxic brew of fear, pain, anger, lies and the cancer of the soul; bitterness and offense. 

I observe further as my husband sits atop the wall throwing insults down at me. His false bravado is stirred up as the enemy provides an endless barrage of lies through his carefully crafted media machine. I can see some of the captives on the wall furiously tapping away on their laptops reading the atheist blogs. They hurl hatred and fear upon those of us below. 

Wow! ( I have an active imagination *sheepish grin) 

But you know what is also behind the walls? Promises. The promises of God. The many promises of God’s favor and provision for us, His children. Promises of abundance (John 10:10) and of a life and hope a future.  I could list at least 100 or more off the top of my head. But alas, I’m already reaching my word count limit today. *grin* 

And you know what also is behind the walls? Our loved ones wait. The release of the captives!!! (Luke 4:18) 

My friends, we are similar in so many ways to the Israelites. We catch glimpses of glory. We experience some of the Milk and Honey but don’t know with certainty what we will find behind our walls of Jericho. So just as our ancestors began to walk the walls by faith, believing what God will fulfull all of His promises. We also choose by faith to believe in the treasures that await us in this life and the next. It’s worth fighting for. It’s worthy to exert ourselves for those trapped in the Kingdom of darkness. 

And I’m beyond excited to see how God is going to move to bring us into the Promised Land. Aren’t you? 

Today, examine your heart. What is your Promised Land? What is the petition of your heart? What have you whispered for, cried out for, what is it that for decades you have waited, believing in His promises? What are you praying into and contending for? Be expectant my friends because God is about to show up! 

It’s time. It’s time. It’s time. 

It’s also scary. God may ask us to do something that appears impossible, preposterous and even embarrassing. There’s no guarantee but there is a God who goes with us and His Promised Land is better that we can conceive in our own feeble thoughts. And THAT’S A PROMISE! 

I’m ready to get on with this walking assignment. Are you?

I adore you my family of SUMites. Let’s walk this out together. Have an amazing day in His Presence. Hugs, Lynn

 


Weekend Worship — The "Year of Intimacy" Continues

HeartinCloudsMy friends, I've truly missed you this week. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I want to share more of what I'm learning from Jesus in this "year of intimacy" that He is taking me through. Some of it has been painful as more of the lies that have infiltrated my heart and mind and kept me from fully believing and trusting Abba have been exposed. And I so want all of us to be free of these lies that keep us from fully living in the abundant life that Jesus died for us to have.

What truly surprised me is how I thought I had embraced and accepted that Jesus loved me (I still remember singing that song "Jesus loves me, this I know" as a child), yet the full weight and meaning of His love hadn't really reached my heart and soul. Let me share some of those lies and then the truth Jesus is showing me. I pray it blessed and releases something in your heart as it is doing in mine so that we, "being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to measure of all the fullness of God." Eph 3:17-19

Lie #1: I'm not lovable.
Truth: Abba doesn't create anything outside of His love because He IS love (1 John 5:16). Why would He create you and not love you? And He loves you all the way, without reserve, because that's Who He is. And nothing can separate or take that away from us. Not even our own doubts or unbelief. (Romans 8:38-39) Break your agreement with this lie right now, confess your doubts and unbelief to Him, and RECEIVE His forgiveness, love, grace and peace (1 John 1:9). Any time this thought lie comes back, capture it and give it to Jesus (2 Cor. 10:5).

Lie #2: I'm not entitled or allowed to receive Abba's gifts and blessings.
Truth: Again, we are truly and deeply loved (by Jesus' great love and not our merit, Eph 2:8-9) and all that He has for us comes to us from that place of love. Just as we receive salvation as a gift that we can't earn or justify by our own ability, the same is true of His gifts and blessings. Plus we are heirs with Christ and receive a full inheritance (Romans 8:17). Again, confess and renounce this lie and CLAIM your promises, gifts and blessings! And keep claiming them.

Okay, my friends, that's enough for today. Ask for "supernatural abundant grace" as you walk through these lies and renounce them. Jesus has more than enough! As I learn more I will share it with you. Please know that I as pray for these areas in my life, I am praying for you too, my SUMite family, because I want you to walk in the fullness of God just as I want to. We are the saints God's Word refers to and we are given every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. I'm praying for all of us to understand, believe and receive these truths!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. — Ephesians 1:3-4

We are CHOSEN!
Love you all so much!
Dineen


Terrorist Training Camp 2014

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comGood Monday morning SUMites! 

Every January it seems to happen. Right after our annual fast my spirit is burning to do some spiritual, butt kicking. And this January is no exception. So, I would like to welcome you once again to the “Spiritual Terrorist Training Camp.” And once again I would like to welcome the FBI who will likely be reading this series because their computers have just detected a blog using the words Terrorist Training Camp. Welcome back guys! Hope you enjoyed last year’s posts! 

In last year’s series we dealt with recognizing spiritual warfare, discovering who are the captives and who are prisoners in the spiritual and how we can recognize our captivity and find freedom. (Find a link to that series in the sidebar) This year I want the SUMites to join me as we explore some different aspects of spiritual warfare. I want us to shine the bright light of heaven upon some very real spirits that wreak havoc in our lives and in our world. I’m praying with fervor and passion that this series leads us to two breakthroughs. 

One, we must first experience a personal breakthrough. When we recognize an enemy spirit and its work in and around us and then combat it with truth, love and the power and authority of Christ, we become free. Thus we can then begin to free others. 

Two, as newly anointed Hope-Restorers, assigned to change this generation, we are contending for our homes, and our cities and collectively our nations. We truly are going to learn to be empowered to bring change at that level. 

Before we step off into some pretty deep research and topics, I want to take a minute to address a few things and answer some needed questions. 

  • Spiritually Unequal Marriage is a marriage blog devoted to providing hope and practical tips to thrive in a spiritually mismatched marriage. Why in the world should we study spiritual warfare?
  1. Research indicates that more than half of believers don’t believe there is a devil, or hell or demons. So, many of you want to really know, how do you know there are demons, hell or a devil?
  2. Can a Christian be possessed? Can a Christian be oppressed? What does that mean anyway?
  3. How does an ordinary 5’4” blond mom stand up against and defeat the legions of evil? Is that even possible? 

Answers 

  1. We, the Spiritually Mismatched, are actually on the front lines of the spiritual battlefield. We stand alone to pray, to speak scripture and declare God’s power and authority in our lives. Often our very own spouse is a gateway that opens the door to evil presence and activity. However, we are so much more powerful. 

As I sit in front of my computer the Holy Spirit is flooding my soul with scripture after scripture that screams of this truth. I will share one right now and more as we work through this series. 

1 Corinthians 7:12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 

 

There is great power and authority contained in an ordinary believer. And this verse brings enormous power into our lives. 

Think about it. Verse 14…… The unbelieving husband has been sanctified. That means made Holy and brought under the umbrella of God’s covering and love because we the wife are sanctified. 

Okay… I just realized this post is ALREADY going long. So, I promise we will get to some more in the days ahead. 

CONVERSATION: 

So today, let’s discuss in the comments the four questions above and your thoughts about how 1 Cor. 7:12-14 play out in our marriage and everyday living. Do you sanctify your home? Do you know what that looks like? If you don’t, how do we bring this passage to reality in our marriage? Do you think demons are real? Have you contended with evil and prevailed? I will be in the comments with you. 

We are stepping off now into a great adventure. When we emerge on the end of this series, you can bet that you will have a knowledge and power that absolutely terrifies the dark realm. So, rise up Hope-Restorers because we have families to fight for, marriages to revive and cities to contend for. I love you so much. Lynn


Weekend Worship—Flawed for Jesus

UniquelyFlawedLast week I posted this on my Facebook page:

Total light bulb moment: "No flaw is sinful or shameful — it’s the way God wired you! ... Those flaws are part of your custom design, and God planned them for his purpose and glory." — Rick Warren This former perfectionist says, wow! I am uniquely flawed for God's glory. Not that I can live with.

(Read the full devotional, “Even Your Flaws Can Bring Glory to God.")

First let me clarify that flaws are those things or place in our live where we have imperfections and weaknesses. I’m not talking about sins. One of my flaws is my soft voice. Even in school it was an issue. Tried to talk louder but just couldn’t. Yet Abba chose me to be a speaker of all things! In my flaw, He is glorified. People who listen to me hear Him, not me.

Some days I feel like I’ve really licked this perfectionist thing but then other days, well, let’s just say the battle can wage pretty hot. I am a work in progress, for sure, and so very grateful that Abba doesn’t relent. Jesus came to set us free and He wants us to walk in that freedom—freedom from sin, addictions and our hang ups.

But this really challenged my thinking. Freed a part of me I didn’t realize was still in the cage of perfectionism. It’s the lie of, “I won’t be complete (useful, successful) in my faith until I’m free of my flaws, my hang ups.”

But Abba’s Words says this:

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; — Col. 2:8-10

The world will tell us all about our flaws. Jesus says we are complete in Him. The world will tell us we have to earn our reward. Jesus says He is our great reward and our salvation—a gift we can never earn but need only receive. The world will tell us that we must strive to overcome these places in our lives, but Jesus says, “I have overcome the world for you.”

My friends, these are our truths. This light bulb moment has created a paradigm shift in my thinking. Instead of seeing my flaws as deficits to overcome, I’m asking Jesus how He wants to be glorified in them. Which, astonishingly, has led me to ask the same thing about my husband. “Lord, show me how you want to be glorified in his flaws. Let me see him from your perspective.”

Take a moment and think about a flaw (not a sin) you wish you didn’t have. In your next quiet time, sit with Jesus and ask Him how He can be glorified by it. Ask a friend you trust who is a believer how they see this flaw in you. Maybe even ask them what they consider to be their flaws.

And what if we discover our flaw is meant to be our strength?

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. — 2 Cor. 12:9

Be complete (empowered, strengthen, emboldened, fulfilled) in Jesus!
Dineensig


A Fast Finish

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Untitled3And now we come to the last day of our SUMite community fast for 2014. For whatever degree you were able to participate, congratulations. I hope that this has been a good experience for you.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: — 2 Timothy 4:7

But we have an even greater finish to celebrate. We believers are living in the glorious knowledge that Christ redeemed us.

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. — John 19:30

It is finished!

Your sins are gone.

God’s indignation at our sins – past, present, and future – has been satisfied. We believers are reconciled with Him.

God tore the veil of the temple from top to bottom, exposing the Holy Place. Everyone may come into God’s presence freely. It’s an open house. All are invited.

You’re free! You’re free! The victory is won.

Woo! Hoo! Jesus paid it all. There is no more work for us to do.

Let’s celebrate. (Now, where is that chocolate that I got for Christmas?)

Conversation

In the comments below, summarize your experience with this fast or share a closing comment. Are you willing to share an insight? Is there a special meal that you are hungry for?

Prayer

Abba, Father, we praise You for sending Your Son. Help us completely trust that He did finish the job for us. Help us get our minds and hearts around that. Let us accept the gift. Let us live in the freedom You provided for us. We thank You for making Yourself accessible to us. We can come to You at any time and with any petition.  Thank You for the special time this week during our community fast and pray. We remain humbly in Your presence. Amen.

Communion

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. — Luke 22:19-20

{Dineen} Many of you were led to take communion during this fast. I know I was. Even before we started the fast, I woke one night and Abba said we were to close our week of fasting with communion. So to read your comments confirmed how Abba is working in all of us not just individually, but also as a community. A family. And His promises always seem to include family and the generations (children) to come. Did you notice that?

So to close our fast, at dusk set before you a small piece of bread and a little bit of grape juice. Let our prayers be united and be a fragrant and beautiful offering of love and gratitude for what our King Jesus has done this week in all of us—even if you aren't sure at this point, keep watching in the days to come for more revelations and realizations.

Lord Jesus, we break this bread together to remember that You gave your body for us so that we can constantly be in communion with You. You dwell in us now, because Your desire always was and always is to be with us. (Take the bread.)

And now, we take this cup that represents the new covenant, Your precious blood shed for us so that we are new creations, made new. Cover us with Your saving and healing blood, Lord Jesus, and keep our hearts pure and dedicated to You. (Take the juice.)

Lord Jesus, all praise and glory belong to You! We are holding onto You and Your great promises for us. We are stepping out in greater faith for 2014 and BELIEVING You for all things. In Your Mighty Name, Jesus, amen!


A Sacrifice for Freedom

6036911_sMy friends, I have to tell you that God is doing more than I expected in this week so far. (Tamara, thank you again for suggesting we do a week like this.)

In less than twenty-four hours God put the word JOY in front of me almost a dozen times. (Yes, I counted.) In two devos, the first name of a woman who requested to be friends on Facebook, the wrapper on a candy cane from last Christmas that my daughter found in the cookie jar, several Scriptures emailed to me from various places, as I ready my Bible...

I think you see what I mean. Abba wants us to be joy-filled!

And yesterday, as I prayed for Him to tell me what He wanted us to have for today, so many things went through my mind as I prayed for our community. What did we need most? First Abba reminded me of the truths in 1 John 4. Read that chapter and note specifically this verse:

We love because he first loved us. — 1 John 4:19

We are believers because God loved us first (and let that supernatural love be your “spa soak” today). He loves our pre-believers exactly the same way too. We can trust God for their salvation, and He is in pursuit of our spouses just like He pursued us.

As I stood under the shade of a tree praying for our community, God spoke this to my heart:

“Tell them to give Me their husbands.”

(For our male readers, insert wives as I believe this is for you too.)

Sumites, my heart constricted and tears sprang to my eyes, and even as I type this I am so moved by this. Because it’s not just about the obvious part—salvation. It’s about God’s heart for us to be free. Free from the worry, free from a burden we are not intended to carry, and free to love in our mismatched places without fear because we choose to trust God.

So today we are going to do two things. It may seem a little out there but this is what God showed me. Get a piece of bread and some grape juice, because communion will be part of this.

Find a quiet time and place, even a closet if you need to. Take your bread and juice with you. If you’re able, get on your knees and tell God that you release your spouse completely into His hands. That you want to trust Abba with your spouse’s future completely as well as your own, and if needed, ask Jesus for forgiveness if you sense you have made an idol of your spouse and/or his or her salvation. This is about you finding freedom and not about praying for your spouse’s salvation.

Try to visualize yourself literally placing your spouse on Abba’s altar and leave him or her there. Stay in this place as long as you need and end with taking an intimate communion with Jesus. As the Holy Spirit releases you, take note of the level of freedom you now sense in your heart. And peace.

Here’s the second part. Last week I found my trust in Abba waning a bit in one area, because my family and I walking through a very difficult time and even though I know this is more about my husband than me, I’m struggling at times. God sent me this verse last week:

But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, "You are my God!" ~ Psalm 31:14, NLT

I prayed that verse out loud and continued to pray it anytime I felt my joy slipping or worry and fear creeping in. That was it, and I am newly convinced again at the power of God’s Word when spoken out loud over ourselves. My trust grew again as did my joy.

So pray this verse over yourself anytime you feel your focus slipping away from Abba and onto whatever conflict you are facing. You will feel your trust grow and strengthen.

I am trusting You, Lord, because You are my God!

I want to encourage you to write down your impressions and experiences in your journal this week. I know you will want to go back and read them time and again.

My precious friends, I am standing in the gap this week praying for breakthroughs, encounters with Jesus and for the Holy Spirit to increase in us. Don't forget that tomorrow we are fasting from sunrise to sundown. I have a feeling you will hear God very specifically during this time, especially after this time of prayer and communion with Jesus. 

Love you like crazy, my sisters and brothers in Jesus!
Dineen

Image credit: jillbattaglia / 123RF Stock Photo


Weekend Worship — Trust Without Borders

WorshipFor if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. — Romans 5:17 (emphasis added).

Last week I came across this verse from Romans and the Holy Spirit had me sit on that last part for a while. I'm still processing all that it means, my friends, so I want you to encamp on this jewel and ask God what this means for you in your life and what He wants that to look like.

You see, we have received an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness—we received this when we accepted Jesus as our Savior. I wonder if we tend to camp at the cross and forget that Abba intends for us to walk in the victory, power and authority of our salvation.

We are intended to reign in our lives through Jesus, beause Jesus is alive! Amen?

The first song below is from Hillsong United's new album, Zion (Thanks, Brie! I'm loving this album too!). I love the lyrics of this song, and I am making them my prayer, especially that first line.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

This next song is a little different in sound, and I love their words. It's a wonderful call to God and us for revival! Bring it, Lord! (Thanks go to Heather P. and Gillian for both sending me this little gem.)

Have an amazing weekend worshiping our Mighty God! Let's change the atmosphere with our praises, my friends!
Love you!
Dineen

 


Our Righteous Trust Fund

9437891_sYesterday my daughter Leslie and I set out to handle transferring her trust fund into her possession. It’s such a small amount. I wish I could say as her parents that we’d managed our financial picture the best we could as there’s always room for improvement.

I didn’t think much of this small pittance. I only saw it as failure on our part. A failure to grow it more, add more, provide more. So I was totally caught off guard when she came to me in tears of gratitude. Didn’t matter that the amount was so small. She drew more from our love and intent behind the action than the result.

Sometimes we get so caught up on how things appear on the outside. Lately I’ve become very aware of how this manifests in our words and how we interact with the world. We worry about how we look in the sense of how others will perceive AND judge us. We worry about how our family appears to others, be they neighborhood or family friends or our church family—worrying how we are perceived AND perhaps judged there as well, especially when we are mismatched.

I’m learning that those things I’ve spent so much time worrying about often don't mean squat. In fact, when those thoughts or concerns creep in, I find myself saying, “I don’t care.” Or, “It doesn’t matter.” What matters is what God thinks.

And that’s what I felt like my daughter showed me yesterday. She showed me an unexpected perspective. God’s. Didn’t matter that the result hadn’t turned out the way I wanted it. She received something from it that I never expected.

Validation that she mattered..

And that’s truly what we want, isn’t it? As moms. As wives. As God’s children. We want to know that we matter, that our efforts makes a difference in the lives of those we love, like our children coming to know Jesus and walking in a faith relationship with Him that continues to grow and grow, right?

But what I’m also learning (and a bit painfully I might add) right now is that the results God has planned are so often different than what we think. At times they even seem counterproductive, like when God brings the most amazing fruit from our failed attempts.

Like when our weakness makes His strength all the more apparent.

My daughter received something much more meaningful than money from her parents’ meager attempts to provide. She received the intention in our hearts, to want only good for her.

And if that’s our hearts as parents, think about God’s heart for us, His children. When God shows up, we are validated as His children. We grow in our faith and trust, which brings us more boldness and freedom.

And His heart for our children is even bigger than ours. All those things we pray for our children—God wants them too. He wants them to know who He is. He wants them to know His goodness. He wants them to have a relationship with Him that rocks their world for Jesus.

I love what the second part of James 5:16 says:

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

My friends, we are the righteousness of Christ. That’s part of our inheritance, part of the trust fund Jesus set up when He died on that cross for us. We receive it when we ask Jesus to save us and as coheirs with Christ, we bear His righteousness.

So our prayers are powerful and effective. Statistics will try to tell us how ineffective we are, and based upon our own ability alone, they are probably true.

But the prayers of the righteous are effective because they are powerful and ongoing. The Greek word for effective is the same as the word we get energy from: energeo. And if you pay attention to the law of physics, energy continues to work. It doesn’t diminish or run out in a defined system.

In other words, our prayers don’t just peter out and fizzle. Every prayer of the righteous is ongoing, present tense and working. So in God’s system of prayer, righteousness and energeo, we are effective and our loved ones will be affected.

Those are statistics worth noticing and caring about. Ones we can believe and trust because God is the fuel behind them. And I’ve never known Him to run out.

You have my heart and prayers!
Dineen

Image credit: sqback / 123RF Stock Photo

Weekend Worship — FREEDOM!

My precious friends, since our conference I am more and more convinced that God is moving is a big way and His message is all about Hi love and freedom—the freedom that comes when we walk in faith, trusting Him for our lives and knowing who ecactly we are in Jesus.

Recently I wrote a couple posts about steps of faith and I'm seeing that same message everywhere. God is speaking the same things to people from all over the world—people who don't even know each other and it's big, big, BIG!

When I catch a glimpse of that big picture (thank you, Lord), I am awestruck and struck by God's GOODNESS. All that He does comes from His goodness. That's His nature and the only way He works. He is completely truthworthy and faithful!

I chose the lyrics version of this song from Jesus Culture because someone out there needs to see these words and accept them as God's truth for them. Let's worship together, my friends, and praise God for our freedom in Jesus and ask Him to do even more in our lives so that we can share it with others. 

Our Abba wants us FREE!

Love you so very, very much!
Dineen

 


The Path of Faith

Zv7DW5Pjtz6K9BomWNbQ2cVm8J7DiiBoxVfSTRlhkg4My precious friends, I know we're mourning the loss of Rosheeda and celebrating her new home in glory! Ro is the one who inspired me a couple years ago to surrender to God and to seek to live and understand what a surrendered life looks like. She lived and breathed it. She lived and breathed Jesus. And that's what we shared about her at the conference, that she lived an intentional life for God.

Our conference was a huge success—successful just as God wanted it to be. Lives and hearts were healed and Lynn and I were allowed to be a part of that and witness it. I'm still amazed and astonished at what He did—what He spoke to my heart would happen just before the conference. Why am I surprised? We'd prayed for it, asked for it for months, weeks, then days before.

There would be healing. And there was.

Truly amazing—I can barely find the words to describe my awestruck wonder at how God does that. We began the day in ashes and up from those burning embers rose such beauty and restoration that we could only stand in wonder and be there in any way God called us to.

God comforted, sustained and worked through us to bring His Kingdom to Earth as it is in Heaven. What a glorious tribute to God's presence among us, not only there but among this community too. So many of you prayed for the women attending and for the weekend to bring so much to their lives.

And God heard every prayer.

This community is so amazing. Our hearts are joined in so many ways, but mostly in our love for Jesus, for our Abba and by the same Holy Spirit the dwells in each of us.

This morning as I went on my walk and pray, I followed my usual path and felt God’s nudge to take several pictures of my path. Strange, but as I did He showed me what He wanted me to see and share with you.

Sometimes God asks us to change direction, yet the new path He’s telling us to follow isn’t visible. And it won’t be unless we continue forward, trusting that the path is there and that He’ll make the way clear.

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We walk a little further and the new path that was once indiscernible to our own eyes now becomes visible and makes sense. With renewed confidence, we quicken our step and continue on.

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Until we see a turn in the path. What’s around the corner? Even though it’s unexpected to us, it’s not for God, Who tells us to keep going and trust Him for what’s yet again invisible to our eyes. We remember the start of this journey and God’s faithfulness then, which has increased our faith to trust Him again and continue forward.

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And then we reach the final destination of our journey—this place God purposed us to be all along. He always knew the way and could have told us the full picture but instead He wants us to trust Him for each step as He gently guides us through each unexpected curve or those places where we have to trust the path is there even if we can’t see it.

That’s when we get to look back and see all the curve and twists that brought us to this new place, this new territory in our lives. We catch a greater glimpse than where we started of God’s faithfulness and care for us. We begin to understand that just because we can’t see the full picture, it doesn’t mean our life is out of control.

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And to see this faithfulness so clearly in our lives is to know God better, to understand His great heart for us, and to grow in trust. This is the path that births big faith within us and brings God’s presence more visible around us.

So, my precious friends, God’s heart is for you to take the next step. Whatever that may be. Trust that the path is there. Trust that God has prepared a way for you. And trust that He is walking every step of it with you.

Our SUM community is a special part of His provision along the way. We are here to cheer each other on when the journey gets tough, here to lend a shoulder to the ones too tired to keep going and here to celebrate all seasons of life, and death, with each other.

As Ro so beautifully dubbed us, we are the SUMites. 

I love you all so very much,

Dineen


Weekend Worship — I Surrender!

My precious friends, I'm still pondering the meaning of surrendering our lives to Jesus. I've always been struck by how Jesus stood before His accusors and said nothing to defend Himself. That speaks to me of a holy dignity that rises above the opinions of men and sits squarely and humbly with God. 

The Bible tells us to be holy. I beginning to think surrendering is part of being holy—a place where nothing matters at much as our Lord and Savior. Nothing compares to Him either. And we literally can't outgive God! The more we give ourselves to Him, the more He gives Himself to us! It's an amazing and beautiful exchange.

  • We let go of our self-righteousness and receive the righteousness of Jesus.
  • We give Him our man made dignity and step into royalty as co-heirs with Jesus.
  • We hand over our self and world-made identities and receive our true identity in Jesus as children of God who are accepted, adopted, blessed, chosen, cherished, forgiven, loved, lavished and redeemed.

God's economy is so much better than what the world has to offer. Don't let the enemy tell you diffently either, because he will try to convince you that you're making a huge sacrifice when in reality you're letting go of lies and walking in truth.

The TRUTH—Jesus, who is our way, our TRUTH, and our life. So keep Him belted firmly around your waist, my friends. Yep, that word—TRUTH—in John 14:6 is the same Greek word in Ephesians 6. Jesus is our belt of truth and the piece of our armor that keeps the rest in place.

Now let's worship Him together, sing our hearts out to Him in surrender and tell our Lord and Savior that we want more and more of Him. 

Love you dearly!
Dineen 

 


The Surrendered Life

7355562_sMy friends, Lynn and I are just days away from meeting some of you at the Intentional Life Conference. I am so excited to finally meet you in person and give you hugs! This community (SUMites as Ro called us!) is so precious to me. Those of you not coming, I feel like I’m carrying each of you in my heart to this conference.

These last few months we have witnessed God do some amazing things right here in our online community. I’m excitedly anticipating what God is going to do this weekend in the lives of all of the women attending. We are praying down the heavens to rest in and upon the church in Kingwood, their precious team working so hard behind the scenes to put everything in place, and for each and every woman who attends to leave on Saturday with a fresh anointing on their lives and new freedom that will manifest on a daily basis.

Just as we pray SUM community here too because Lynn and I want so desperately to see each one of you walking in this place of power and freedom in Christ because of what He's done for us and who we are in Him.

The week before Easter I was struck by the complete and pure example that Jesus presents as "surrendered." We think we “giving up” so much when we surrender to God—the world certainly thinks so and the enemy has convinced us of it too—but I’m discovering that when we surrender our lives to Jesus, that's when we WIN! We receive our complete birthright and inheritance in Him! In light of this holy dignity and His righteousness, who would want pride-based dignity before men and rights the world determines and changes on an hourly basis?

Some things we surrender once and we’re done with it because we have chosen to follow God. Some things we surrender for a time, waiting patiently and expectantly (or at least try to!) until God returns it to us in His promises and miracles. And some things we have to surrender on a daily and even hourly basis because our best choice is to trust God.

Surrendering isn’t always easy, and most definitely is always a process but the more I do it the more I embrace this amazing truth in my life.

My friends, SURRENDER = FREEDOM!

When I have surrendered my pain, God brought healing. When I have surrendered my grief, God brought comfort. When I have surrendered my expectations, God filled my needs. When I have surrendered my wants and dreams, He has given me more than I ever hoped for or imagined. When I give Him my heart, my worship and my trust by stepping out in faith, He has given me Himself.

This is the surrendered life. It’s not easy but it’s worth it. It’s not for the hero but the humble at heart. It’s not always what you want but it will always be exactly what you need most.

It’s about finding the heart of God and resting there. My friends, this is our peace that surpasses understanding in the storms of life. In this place, we can do anything and everything with and through Jesus, who’s Holy Spirit strengthens, guides, comforts and loves us, and know JOY even when everything around us is chaos.

The better I know God, the more I trust Him. And the more I trust Him, the more I am able to surrender to Him. I’m learning to leave off the “buts” and just believe.

Just believe.

Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, Father God, I pray that every woman and man who reads this prayer would receive a fresh anointing of faith. I pray that doubts would fall away, fears would flee and every day would bring new and stronger belief in You! Lord, open our eyes completely to Your presence in Your Word, the world and in us! Forgive us our unbelief and help us BELIEVE! You are the God of the impossible. Help us to walk every day with the expectation that You are present and working all around us. We stand ready to take the next step, Lord! Show us the way! In Your powerful name, Jesus, amen!

I love you all so very much, my friends, and I am praying and believing with you!

Dineen


Freedom

All that Christ did, He did so that we would be slaves no more to the law—and more than that, to our own sinful nature. Freedom guys.

1415366_heart_cross_2FREEDOM.

Christ redeemed us so that we could enjoy freedom in this life and the next.

Oh Lord, thank you for Your Son. Thank you that our redeemer chose to love us with a fierce, all consuming, never-be-the-same-again kind of love. Thank You, Messiah, for Your gift to us. We come to You today just to worship You. We come to lavish on You. To adore You. To bask in the beauty of Your presence. Thank You for the gift of freedom—freedom to experience this life on Your terms and ours alone. Freedom to believe in someone greater than ourselves, freedom from ourselves, freedom to discover Your great grace, Your mighty power, Your all consuming passion and fire. Freedom to live, to move, to be! Hallelujah Lord! Hallelujah! Hallelujah that we are free in Christ! Hallelujah! I praise You, Oh God. Hallelujah. OH JESUS! Glory to Your name, Your holy name! You are righteous, blameless, pure. Everything that I could never be, You ARE! And You gave up Your right-hand seat for me—for my mess, my foolishness, my garbage. Even as You knew that I would reject You with my actions, even as You knew that I would choose myself over You for many, many years, even as you knew that I didn't love You yet, even as You knew that I would never be able to fully comprehend or repay your sacrifice and my great debt to You—even in the face of all that, in the face of ALL THAT, You chose me. You. Chose. Me. Just so that I would be free. Oh God, I am unworthy. I praise You, Lord. Oh, how I praise You. How I worship You. How I adore You. Oh God, Abba Father, I cry out to You right now for more of You. More of You. More and more and more and more of You. Diminish me that You might increase. Live out Your passions in me. Give me new freedoms, new graces, new mercies every day. Be my passion, as I am Yours. Be my passion, Abba. Oh please, be my passion. Oh God there is a fire shut up in my bones and my very marrow cries out to be near You. Don't elude me. Don't hide from me. Fill me up. Fill me up again and again and again until I don't know where I end and You begin. Consume me. Use my freedom in You, for Your glory. Use my freedom in You for Your good pleasure. Take me God and make me free. In Christ's precious, holy, life-changing name, Amen.

—Rosheeda Lee


Weekend Devo — God Loved Us First!

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My friends, we have a wonderful week of devotions planned for next week. Rosheeda has prayfully written something for each day so that we can walk through the week with hope, faith and love planted squarely in our Jesus, and celbrate the greatest gift of this life and the next (yep, it's the gift that truly keeps on giving...). 

What I am learning (and hearing from all over the place) is that until we know who we are and whose we are, we are limping along in faith. This is where our true power, strength and freedom sits, my friends. Take it from someone who has limped along for so many years and is now beginning to understand how deeply we are loved.

One new revelation came to me just this week (from that step of faith I made!). In Mattthew 22:34-40 Jesus answers the Pharisees that the greatest commandment was to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. That was the old covenant. 

In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus said He came to fulfill the law. And He did by coming and dying for us. And 1 John 4 (and please read through this amazing chapter) is all about the truth and that God loved us first. This is the new covenant.

Now, let's connect the dots. Under the law they were commanded to love God. In the fullment of the Law (Jesus' death) we are loved by God first. When we embrace this love and begin to understand that we no longer have to perform and work to love God, His identity is released into us. Then we can't help but love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. It is profound, my friends, and yet so beautifully simple in it's truth.

This is the greatest truth I've been embracing since last fall and the process has been astounding, beautiful and so liberating. I want this and am praying for this for every single one of you.

God loves you. No ifs, ands, or buts. Jesus came for you. You don't have to do a thing to embrace that kind of love except to say yes and then to believe you are totally loved—that God can't love you anymore or any less than He already does. And nothing you do now will make you any less righteous in His eyes than the day you accepted Jesus.

Walk in this truth, my precisous sisters and brothers in Jesus. We are loved.

Loving and praying for you with the heart of Jesus!
Dineen 

 


Weekend Worship — Set a Fire!

My friends, Lynn is at a women's retreat this weekend, serving as a leader for her church. I would love to direct our prayers toward her and the women she is serving this weekend. She has such a heart for these women and wants to see them walk in freedom. We are praying for godly breakthroughs and for God to set a fire in their hearts for more of Him. That's a prayer that God delights to answer!

We are praying this for our upcoming conference in April as well. God is moving in undeniable ways that are beautiful, stunning and for our generation, my friends. Let's pray for Lynn and pray for God to set a fire down in our souls that we can't contain that we can't control because we want more of God!

Love you fiercely with the passion of Jesus!
Dineen


Special Guest Today! Please Welcome Suzie Eller!

My precious friends, today I want to introduce you to Susanne (Suzie) Eller. She's been a great support to the SUM ministry and now we get to share her with you! Suzie's message of forgiveness in her book, The Unburdened Heart is desperately needed today and by so many. I hope you find answers and comfort in her words below. 

Feel free to leave comments and pray for each other. This is a tough topic. And we'll do a random drawing from the comments for a book winner, who will receive a copy of her book.

Love you all dearly and know you are in my heart and prayers!
Hugs!
Dineen

SE13-1060-682x1024Suzanne (Suzie) Eller is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and author. She’s written six books, hundreds of articles, and writes devos with Encouragement for Today that reaches over 500,000 women. Suzie is a radio co-host with Luann Prater at Encouragement Cafe Joy FM. She encourages women through two Facebook communities reaching over 20,000 five days a week. She’s been featured on TV and radio such as Focus on the Family, Aspiring Women, 100 Huntley Street, KLOVE, MidDay Connection, The Harvest Show, and many others. Most importantly, she is a wife, mom, and “Gaga” to four beautiful grandbabies. Connect with Suzie at www.tsuzanneeller.com

 

Suzie, you’ve been listening to many stories from women who struggle to forgive. How many women struggle with forgiveness in their marriages?
 
Nearly 50% of the women who share their stories on my blog, or in person, say that their biggest struggle to forgive is in their marriage.
 
For many, it’s when a spouse is continually unkind, or says words that diminish her.
 
In this instance, many women bear their soul and are told either to get out, to seek counsel, or to submit.
 
The first leaves a woman who desires to stay and work things out because she loves her husband and wants her marriage to succeed, with a heavier burden. 
 
In the second, seeking counsel is wise advice, as long as it’s counsel that is skilled in helping a couple, with God’s help, find new ground in their marriage. Many times “counsel” can be someone who do not have those skills.
 
The third, to submit, is often shared without proper context. The word “submit” is thrown out without the beautiful framework of instructing husbands to love their wives as “Christ loved the church”. This is why wise counsel is key. Submission is respect, it’s great love, it’s working through the harder spots.
 
So, how do you begin to forgive in this instance?
 
It’s a blend of truth, grace, and confidence.
 
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that abuse is allowed to continue. However, he’s not yours to fix, and that’s where we often spend our energies.
 
What can you do then? You can speak the truth. Truth is shared, perhaps in the setting of a counselor’s office, or perhaps in a moment where it’s not heated, after prayer and with love, and with the intent of working toward a healthier relationship. Truth is coated with grace, knowing that we all fall short. It’s shared with wisdom and without accusation. And in some instances, it’s shared with healthy boundaries, not to punish, but to work toward the healthiest relationship possible. (A great book on boundaries that is both healthy and filled with wisdom is Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud and Townsend.)
 
What about unfaithfulness?
 
A percentage of that 50% wrote in that they struggled to forgive because of unfaithfulness. I shared Carlie’s story, a woman whose husband left her after 29 years of marriage. In this case, the word forgive meant that God moved into the broken and raw places of His daughter. He knew her. He knew her heart. She intentionally walked into a relationship with God during that painful time so that He could fill up her “temple”, residing in Her, healing her, moving in her in those moments when she wanted nothing more than to take revenge, or lash out. In Carlie’s case, her husband went on with his new life, but she also had new life that filled her up in the harder months ahead. She was redefined in so many ways – single mom, single woman. But her role as God’s daughter was made that much more clear and concrete.
 
Unburdened-Heart_GrassSky_smallFor those whose spouse asked for forgiveness and who desired to change, forgiving is key as you rebuild trust. But give yourself permission to be honest with your heavenly father, with the understanding that there is nothing in scripture that condones unfaithfulness. It’s not in God’s plan or His character. If He grieves over the fallen sparrow (Matt. 10:29), then He grieves over your marriage. He is big enough to handle your honesty while leading you to a new level of spiritual intimacy with Him and even tender vulnerability in your relationship with Him as you work through this harder aspect of forgiving. At this moment, it may seem impossible to forgive on your own, but are you willing? That’s the only question that you need to answer. God is a Healer, and my prayer is that your marriage goes to a new place, but also that you sense God’s hand over you as you work through this difficult place, and that one day you look back and see His tender touch over you and your marriage.
 

Read chapter one of Suzie's book.

Listen to Suzie share her journey to forgiveness.

 


Weekend Worship — Moving Forward

This weekend I'm at Lynn's—we're working on the conference coming in April. We are so excited about this event! God keeps showing us more and more of what He wants to accomplish and reveal at this conference. We are so blown away!

My friends, God sure seems to have us on a fasttrack to our Promise Land right now. Many of us are hearing the same things and feeling God's nudge to move forward because He has a whole lot more for us to see and embrace. Remember, the Israelites still had many challenges to face in their Promise Land but the promise of a land of their own did come and they were a key part to claiming each new territory.

We've had a lot to absorb this week so I'm keeping today simple with just a song to worship God together. He makes all things new, my friends! ALL THINGS! Keep taking those steps of faith and you will see Him do it!

Love you dearly!
Dineen