77 posts categorized "Glimpses of God"

How do you "hear God? (part 3)

IStock_000001262149XSmallMy friends, in light of some of the questions generated by my post yesterday, Lynn and I swapped days so I can address some of those today, specifically the mention of fortune cookies. 

First, I want you to know that my heart is for every one of you to walk in deep intimacy with God and hear His voice clearly. I want His very best for you, because I love you so much and we are family. And having that kind of relationship with God makes all the difference in our lives and especially our marriages. When we put God first, He brings order and peace to our lives even in the midst of the storms in our lives and marriages. I know I would not have the marriage I have today had I not made the decision twenty plus years ago to put God first.

But I want to clarify something. My relationship with God and how I hear Him has come from years of studying His Word, sitting under the teaching of trusted leaders, Stephen Ministry and healing rooms training, and, most importantly, a daily commitment to spend time in His presence in prayer, reading the Bible and worship. At this point in my faith journey, this can be an hour or more daily. Usually as much as two hours or more at times. This is what God has called me to do.

I'm not sharing this to brag, but to help you understand the foundation I've built with God to discern and recognize His voice. Along with my continual heart cry to know Him better, I've asked Him to keep me from being deceived in any way. 

The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. — Psalms 32:8

So if I seemed casual about the fortune cookie discussion, please understand I am very careful about things like this. When I am in doubt, I am quick to seek God for wisdom or confirmation. If it doesn’t line up with God’s Word, then it’s not truth and needs to be discarded and ignored. Especially if you are just starting on this path, it’s even more important to be filling and transforming your mind with God’s Word. 

As I replied to Taylor, my goal was to generate some conversation so we could cover those "gray" areas. I think it's important that we carefully guard our minds and hearts. Anything that can create an open door for the enemy needs to be avoided. That is something each of us has to decide for ourselves, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, as we have similar and different areas of vulnerability.

The message Tiffany's shared clearly spoke the truth of Phil 4:19 to her heart, that God would provide for her every need. She received this in the light of the truth Jesus, and what she knew to be true biblically. The confirmations I received were for moves already in place that I knew God had set in place. It was like a love nod from God saying, "you're on the right track!" 

Some things are very clearly not of God, and we can make a clear decision. Other times it’s important that we take it right to Abba and ask for clarity, confirmation, or conviction. And His answer will always be filled with His love and direction, not condemnation (Romans 8:1). Even Jesus did this.

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” — John 5:30

This is why it's so important that we are constantly reading our Bibles and spending time with God. Our spiritual foundation needs to be strong so that we know the difference between God's voice and the enemy’s.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. — Isaiah 30:21

My friends, Lynn will continue her story about her mother next Tuesday and as this post is long already, I will save my story for next Thursday. Please keep sharing how you are hearing God. The are wonderful and so encouraging! I find myself nodding as I read them and saying, “yes, yes!” SUMites, you are amazing. I know it’s challenging being the spiritual leaders in our homes, which requires us to be more diligent, but look at how much you are growing and living stronger in your faith. God is so faithful!

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. — 1 Cor 16:13-14
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How do you "hear God? (part 2)

IStock_000014889792XSmallWhen I opened my email early this morning, one of the first headlines I read was an article on Spirit Led Woman, entitled "Why You May Not Recognize God Speaking to You." I had to smile—one, because here we are talking about the very same,-much needed subject, and two, because I recognized God speaking to me indirectly at that very moment in what I like to call "a confirmation."

How so? Here's the path to this recognition:

  1. I always pray and ask Holy Spirit to tell me what I need to write about for our blog based upon what YOU, our readers need. His leading reminded me of this exercise He'd led me to just weeks earlier, which started with a Scriptural instruction from the Bible.
  2. Yesterday Lynn and I discussed the need for more teaching on this subject and decided that in May we would make this one of the topics we will cover in four one hour online teaching seminars we've already had in the works. (More information and sign-up details to come so stay tuned! We are so excited about launching this!)
  3. Then I see this article on Spirit Led Woman. Thank You, Lord, for Your leading!

By experience, I've learned to recognize this kind of confirmation as following God's lead for the universal church. Last year, His leading was focused on knowing His love. This year seems to be starting off with a clear message about knowing His voice. The Holy Spirit, Who connects us all is communicating the Father's heart in a broad spectrum for His children to hear.

And this is just one way of communication. Over the last few weeks God has used the following ways to communicate with me:

•His still small voice

•Scripture

•The counsel of a trusted friend

•Several devotionals 

•Ian's post about Lent

•Your comments on our blog

•A song on K-LOVE (a single line carried the same message I felt God impress upon my heart that morning.

•Waking up with a particular song repeating in my mind (this usually tells me what God wants me to focus on that day)

•A dream in answer to a prayer for specific wisdom and insight

•A prophetic word confirmed by the "coming soon" sign in the front yard of my CA house.

And there are even more that I could draw upon from past events and experiences. In the Bible you will see God communicating through dreams, visions, animals, rainbows, people, and more. Very often these come in combinations. For example, I will sense God's heart in my morning quiet time, telling me something specific. Then I will get a devotional or an email from a friend on that very same topic. Then on Sunday, my pastor will speak on the very same subject.

Sometimes it can be very clear to us, like a friend reaching out saying God put us on their heart and they just want us to know they're praying for us. What they don't know is that very morning we cried out to God for help because something in our life has just fallen apart. Can you relate?

Or you sense God leading you in a direction to do something that is way out of your comfort zone. Then suddenly the training, the invitation, or the steps to move forward are presented to you in an undeniable way that you know deep in your spirit that is the next step.

Lynn has shared how Mylar balloons have shown up for her and even her husband with a word so specific you just can't miss it! Tiffany shared on my Tuesday post about fortune cookie messages, which I've experienced too. (God has confirmed every one of our major moves with a cookie message. I just giggle and enjoy God’s ways.)

God has even used feathers for many of us. Sometimes these can push the boundaries of what we are comfortable with, but nothing is off limits for God to use. However, it is up to us to test what we hear and discern against the truth of God’s Word, to prayerfully consider and ask God for confirmation if we’re unsure, and to discern the source (spirit) of the word as Scripture tells us (1 John 4:1). 

The most important key to hearing God's voice, my friends, is your relationship with Him. Our intimacy with God is what opens our eyes, ears, heart and spirit to discerning, hearing and recognizing when He is speaking to us. Thus the more we seek to know Him and spend time with Him, the more you will hear Him and recognize when He is speaking because of the past experiences you are building upon.

Our daily time with Him isn't about fulfilling a duty. It's about building a relationship with our Father God, our best friend Jesus, our comforter Holy Spirit so that we KNOW Him, recognize His presence and voice, and can follow and receive from Him. 

We won't get this perfect every time. It's a trial and error learning process for sure. And thus why I so diligently (and vocally) express the importance of journaling. But it is worth the effort, my dear friends. At one dark point in this shoulder recovery the Holy Spirit told me to reread my journal. I did and was reminded of all the things God had spoken to me recently and was greatly encouraged.

I hope you’ll share in the comments how God has been speaking to you these last two days AND continue to keep a log for a couple of weeks—I have a feeling Abba is going to give you some very special words and confirmations that will increase your faith to hear more. 

Next week I will share a couple stories of how God used imagery to show me very specific details for a person I was praying for. Trust me, this blew my mind completely, yet the facts were undeniable…

And now, SUMites, let’s pray. Father God, we are Your SUMites and we stand humbly before You with a burning hunger and desire to hear and see You more. Lord, You created us to be in an intimate relationship with You, to walk in friendship with You as Abraham did. You created our senses to perceive not just the natural but the supernatural as well. Give us eyes and ears to see and hear You. Increase our faith, Lord, to hear and recognize Your holy voice, presence and intervention more and more. We love You, Lord Jesus! Thank You for sitting at the right hand of the Father and interceding for us every moment. We are so grateful. Lift our hearts, minds, and spirit to the heavenly realms so we are focused on You. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Love you, my friends. So much. Praying for you!
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Conference At Merriman in Garden City, MI

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

 

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

 

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

SUMite Pillars
Gillian, Teresa, Melissa, Heidi, Joanne

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

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

 

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

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

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

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Love these ladies. They were on the front row!!

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From Jen:

Lynn,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forever indebted and much love, Jen


Reminders That Our God Is A God Of Miracles - This is One!

Sometimes we need reminded.

Sometimes we cry out, “God, help me overcome my unbelief.”

It’s moments like I’m about to describe which will fill you with fresh hope and faith in the divine!

I want to introduce you to Keira & Kylea. (Photo below) They are seven and eleven years old. These sisters are something special and fun. These two were part of our group of friends who came from Monument, CO. Their parents gave me permission to share their story.

First let me tell you about Keira. This little girl loves to worship and dance in the isles. (So does her sister) It’s a joy to watch her in motion. Last week before the afternoon session, Eric Johnson, saw Keira who was sitting in front of me and he stopped to introduce himself. This is the gist of conversation as best as my blonde brain remembers.

Keira looking at Eric striding quickly to the front to introduce the worship says loudly, “Hi.”

Eric stops abruptly and gets on her level and asks, “What’s your name?”

“Keira.”

“How old are you?

“I’m seven.”

“Are you having fun at Open Heavens?”

Keira replies straight out “yes” and then goes on to say, “I could have gone to Disneyland but me and my sister wanted to come here instead.”

Eric smiles broadly, “Wow, I don’t know if I would have skipped Disneyland if I was your age.” I’m watching all of this and smiling so big, enthralled in the conversation.

Eric then asks, “What’s your favorite part?”

Without hesitation she announces, “WORSHIP.” He shakes her hand then goes to the front and introduces Keira to the entire church and shares the story I just told you. Neat!

BUT….. This isn’t the best part. You see, the Lord looked down upon these two little people, who hold a GIANT faith, and He did something extraordinary.

Keira and Kylea both wear glasses. Their vision is extremely poor and their prescription for correction is strong, especially Kylea's. On the last night of the conference, unknown to any of us adults, the girls were worshiping up front. Keira was asking the Lord for healing of her eyesight. She walked through the prayer line three different times after the service hoping for healing but at the end of the evening, she wasn't healed. And of course she was sad to the point of tears.

And all this is taking place kinda late by now. As usual, we are closing the place down because so much has happened and we don’t want to leave. And although it’s now late our GOD IS NEVER TOO LATE. The conference organizer sees Keira crying and gets on her level and says, “There is no sadness here, Keira, Let’s pray.” Keira begins to ask God for healing.

Deborah interrupts. “Keira, let’s use the authority that you have as God’s girl. Tell your eyes to be healed in Jesus name.” She is literally teaching her to pray in Holy Spirit power, faith and authority.

After a minute Deborah asks her to check her eyes. Nothing.

She tells Keira to pray again the same prayer. She prays again.

THIS TIME…. She looks at the large sign at the front of the building through her glasses. It’s blurry. She removes her glasses and she can see the words CLEARLY. She is healed and her sister who is standing right there is also instantaneously healed.

Now they are really bawling. We all are crying tears of enormous JOY because these two little girls were healed right in front of all of us. Hallelujah thank you Jesus.

I had the privilege to hug them and pray with them. Kylea, drew a picture of me down to the details of my glasses and my key necklaces. Kylea Thank you

These two small girls with gigantic faith are destined to be a voice to their generation. They are the youth that will lead the church in the years to come. They will walk in miracles, signs and wonders. Oh what a glorious future for the Church of Jesus Christ!

The stories of miracles and healings in the group of people I know personally, who attended the conference, are too numerous to write them all here. But every single person that attended experienced the profound and supernatural love of our living God. Hallelujah!

***** 

I believe in miracles. I’ve received healing and I believe in prayer. God LOVES to answer prayer even when they are spoken with a mustard seed of faith. Press in. Read His Word. Pray and never stop because we are overcomers as children of The Most High God. Sealed by the blood of our Redeemer – Prince Jesus and empowered to do good works by the Holy Spirit.

We have every reason to live in bold expectancy! Pray BIG! Live large and bring heaven to earth!

20151010_000251This is the conference organizer, Deborah looking down at Keira who had just run into her Father's arms. (Such a beautiful representation for us all!)

Kylea
Kylea, Scott and friends

Kylea and Keira
This photo was taken when the girls arrived home on Sunday..... Note that something is missing from their eyes..... glasses & tears!

WE LOVE YOU JESUS!!

UPDATE: Today, October 15, 2015 Kylea, whose vision was deteriorating quickly was tested by her eye doctor: 20/25 vision!!!!  Hallelujah AMEN. Our God be glorified!


What Happens When You Hunger For More Of God - Lynn's Story

This is an unlikely story.

This is a story of a God who loves one ordinary woman with such capacity and faithfulness that He would move His hand in astounding circumstances to touch her life and respond to the cry of her heart.

This is my story.

An ordinary blonde, sometimes whacky and somehow hopeful, found herself sitting in church holding her open Bible upon her lap. Her heart cry, “Lord, I believe your Word. Where are the miracles that I have read about all of my life?”

He heard me.

And a journey was set into motion.

God sent me to find the answer to my question in Grand Junction, Colorado. Yep, weird I know.

I was visiting my mother who moved there several years prior. In fact, my entire family was there that week in July of 2012. Sunday morning we had plans to travel to a Hot Springs resort and spend a few days swimming and lounging by the large pools. That morning dawned and in a very spontaneous moment I said to my mom, “Mom, let’s go to your church before we get on the road.” Everyone was still sleeping and it was evident we weren’t going to get out of town early.

Mom and I arrived at church. The worship rocked and then the pastor introduced a guest speaker, June Felhouer. June soon began to share stories of modern day miracles the kind I have read about all of my life. I was undone. I sat utterly stunned at the stories of broken legs mended, cancer healed, ears opened and more. I introduced myself to June after service and chatted briefly.

We continued on our vacation however, my heart, spirit and mind was now intrigued. Is it true that REAL miracles are happening at a church in America? An unlikely church, Bethel of Redding, CA. Arriving home I began to ask my friends who work in the Christian industry about this place of miracles. My editor said to me, “Lynn, if you ever get a chance to visit Bethel, you should do it.”

So without hesitation, I called my partner in all my God adventures, Dineen and said, “We should visit this place and see what it’s all about.” Now even more amazing, Dineen agrees. We were nuts but I was so hungry for more of God that I would have traveled far and wide.

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Dineen, Heidi and Lynn, 2012

Not knowing anything about anything, I booked us for the next available conference, Open Heavens. Little did I know that conference would forever alter the lives of two ordinary women. Dineen and I were forever changed by our experience with God at that conference.

I’ve written many of my stories of encounters with God and Jesus in that environment. Here is a link to my story of the vision I had of Jesus. The Vastness of Our God. 

Today I’m home from my fourth visit to Open Heavens. And as I look back at the extraordinary circumstances that God went through to respond to my hunger, I’m undone. And this moment of humble thanksgiving was magnified when at the beginning of the conference the Holy Spirit whispered to me something very sweet.

Looking at this photo that we had just snapped of my group of friends, the Lord whispered, “This is your legacy, Lynn. These are the children that have come to find more of me because of you.”

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You see, the next year in 2013, Dineen and I attended again. We invited Sue Louch (tall blonde in back) who was also desperate for God. She had battled cancer, shingles and fear for years. She was so desperate for God’s touch, she took this crazy journey with us. And she was fully healed! Praise Jesus.

From there Sue began inviting people. I invited more. We made friends in previous years in the line waiting to get into the building. (Some of the best things happen in line.)

Next year for the 2016 Open Heavens Conference, we are praying there are at least 40 of us gathering together to seek the face and voice of God. Forty more of our family who will receive healing from fear, anxiety. Forty in 2016 that will be healed physically and emotionally.

The legacy grows and I weep in humble praise. It’s all about our Jesus.

But as I type, I’m overwhelmed with love that my Savior would go to such great lengths to send me to Grand Junction to take me to Northern California and to bring the healing and anointing I received to this group of people.

But not only these in the photo. He graced me with so much of His love that I have poured it out here and upon hundreds of SUMites. I pray that because you have cried out for more of God, you have received a touch of love and encouragement from me and from Dineen. Two crazy women who took a chance on a outrageous journey to discover that modern day miracles are real and available for every one of us as children of God.

In the three days of the conference this year, I watched God heal hearts. I prayed for many of those. I watched as little girls danced and their eyes were healed. I saw people’s lives restored from the years of the devil’s oppression.

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Lynn, Paula, Barbara, Ruthie, while we were in line

I listened as the Lord spoke through the guest speaker to people in the audience. He called out my friend, Barbara. I met Barbara and her sister, Paula on Friday morning. God woke me at ten-til-five, that would be am. He said to me, “You can sleep when you get home. GET UP!” I crawled from bed, slurped coffee, dressed and headed over to the church to wait in line before dawn. Barbara, Paula and Ruthie stepped in line behind me and it was a divine moment in time those three hours together. Later in the evening before the entire church God spoke to Barbara about her life and encouraged her. It has changed her and her sister’s lives forever. Oh, thank you God that you woke me. I would have missed

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Ruthie in line with me at O' dark thirty!

that beautiful time with my forever sisters.

Profound and life-changing encounters happened to the people but many, many happened to those whom I knew personally.  

I will share one of those amazing stories on Friday.

Today, I want you to let me pray for your journey. Leave your prayer request in the comments.

My dear, sweet brother or sister in Christ. You are valuable. You are adored. The Lord DOES see you. He is standing before you right now with arms open, urging, pleading,

“Come to me and allow me to heal you. Allow me to set you free from the doubts, the lies of the devil and to show you a love that is unfathomable. Let me touch your face with gentleness and relieve your worry and pain. Let me speak words of kindness into your circumstances. Let me dance with you in the kitchen and kiss your children at night with you. Let me carry you when you are weak. Let me sing over you with gladness and bless you with every gift from on High. Let me love you well, my child.”

“My arms are wide open. I’m calling you to a crazy journey. The Grand Adventure of a lifetime that will heal, bless and change everything. Step into my arms of love and allow me to hold you like a protected and loved child. I adore you and will never forsake you.” 

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SUMite, Jim Edwards and me

 

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Me and Sue Louch


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Do you want to join us on this fantastic and life-changing journey? It's a journey of HOPE. It's worth every sacrifice, every penny you spend, the time away from your family and job. I PROMISE that you will find it the best thing you ever did this side of heaven. Let me know and I will email you next July when registration begins. Hugs, Lynn


What Gods Love Looks Like

SUMite Family, 

Taste and see psalm 34 8I have to share that the word “family” has taken on an entirely larger implication in my life this past week. So, to say that you are my family, please know that I’m overwhelmed with authentic love and hope for you. Let me explain. 

I’m working on a new writing project and praise Jesus, the downloads are now flowing. It’s been astonishing. I’ve waited nearly a year for this past week and the few weeks that are ahead to hear the voice of God and His heart for the assignment He’s given to me. And this week in particular, I’m writing about the love of God. 

The love of a Father. 

Well, I don’t know how in the world you can encapsulate the love of God into a single chapter. However, I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to write this out because God will figure it out for me and then, I can’t wait to read it myself!!!! *grin* Really! 

So as I’m trying to figure out what specific attributes to share and asking myself, How do I explain the love of God, the Lord decided that I need to experience His love through profound experiences all week. I am so full of the love of our Father today that when I arrived at church, I hugged everyone I could get my hands on. The Father’s love poured off of me onto people. I just couldn’t help it. And wouldn’t you know it; almost all of the worship were songs about the love of God. I just can hardly stand up under the relentless expressions of my Daddy’s love this day. 

Today I feel I am to share what I’m experiencing and learning. I pray you are wrecked by our Daddy’s love this week too. 

Last week as I prepared to write on this topic my prayer and conversation with God turned into cries to experience His love. I cried out, “Father, I want a baptism of love. I want to be overwhelmed by your love. I want to experience a love so grand, so profound that I see (things, people) as you see them.” 

Let me share some insights of my week. They are not in any particular order:

  • I’m no longer an orphan. I’m a daughter of the King.
  • I don’t need to strive for His love. I need only to rest and receive His love.
  • I am His happy thought.
  • I am His smile.
  • I’m the one He waits for in the morning when I wake because He’s missed me while I was sleeping.
  • His love is abundant living.
  • He has good gifts for His children. That means me…. and you!
  • He is fun.
  • He is hilarious.
  • He is protective.
  • Because of the love of God my finances look different. My health is different. My relationships are different. My perspective, hope, and future are different.
  • I’m released into my creative calling. I thrive living in what I was created to do since before time began.
  • I have a destiny.
  • My value, my identity, dignity and dreams are restored.
  • I am His treasure.
  • I hear His voice.
  • I know God will bless what I’m doing instead of asking God to bless what I’m doing.
  • I’m His favorite. (So are you.)
  • I have a family. 

Do you know what it means to others and unbelievers when I truly understand that I am loved by our Father?

  • People are safe with a daughter of God.
  • I view other sons and daughters as someone with whom I used to compete and now I see them as someone I can complete.
  • I look for the gold in people and their holy destiny thus I stop treating them based on their history.
  • I celebrate sons and daughters instead of tolerate them.
  • We are lovers, warriors and ambassadors.
  • We are moving from a church (organization) to a family. 

God is love. —1 John 4:16

God is good. —Psalm 136:1 

My friends, when we truly believe these scriptures guess what happens. We see God differently. When we see God differently we then see ourselves differently. When we see ourselves differently we then see others differently. 

My family, my dear adored family, I know that our Papa’s love can touch every deep fear in our heart and leave us forever change, healed and restored. We need only to cry out and ask to see ourselves as our Father sees us. 

Taste and see that the Lord is good. —Psalm 34:8  I’ve come to believe this is one of the most powerful scripture verses in the entire Bible. Oh what a different life we can live when we step out of unbelief and truly know that we know in our knower that God is love, God is good and God has good things for His kids. 

Thoughts? 

I pray that when you read this phrase today: I love you, that you somehow hear the Father whispering the words directly to your heart. 

And finally, imagine what our pre-believers might experience if we begin to see ourselves as God sees us. A Holy mind-blow!!!!!!!!!! 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

Thanks Lief Hetland. You inspired the many affirmations of this post.


Our Transforming Influence

Proverbs 124My friends, I’ve been reading and studying Proverbs the last couple weeks, specifically using the Passion translation. I’m enjoying this new translation very much and find the flow to be more poetic and inspiring. And going between translations to compare has given me more insights and appreciation of Solomon’s words of wisdom.

What I’m specifically searching and praying for is wisdom. Next to praying for Jesus’ protection that I not be deceived in any way (2 Thess. 2:3), I pray for wisdom in all areas of my life. And as you read Proverbs, you begin to discover that wisdom is inseparable from God’s love and His Son, Jesus.

Last week a verse in this translation brought me back to a conversation I had recently with my pastor about my pre-believer. It’s about a precious place we as the believing spouse hold in our loved one’s lives—a place of honor and influence that we must take before God daily to seek wisdom and unconditional love.

I’ve included three translations of Proverbs 12:4:

The integrity and strength of a virtuous wife
Transforms her husband into an honored king.
But the wife who disgraces her husband
Weakens the strength of his identity. — Passion translation

A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones. — NLT

A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. — NIV

What I love about the Passion translation is the passion and weight behind its meaning. I find it difficult to put into words (just as I did that day as I talked with my pastor) what it means to stand in this place of influence. So, I will do my best to describe what it means to me.

I see in my husband such amazing potential—that potential for eternity that God places in ALL of us (Eccl. 3:11). And I feel honored that God has called me to this place by his side to help release it. As I grow in faith and am transformed (and this is at times very messy!), my husband is affected. Even in some of the struggles I’ve walked in this year, I have seen attributes of love and faithfulness revealed in my husband that I didn’t know were there. Even though I couldn’t see it, God has been working in Mike in unexpected ways.

My friends, I know this isn’t easy, and at times we will mess up miserably. At times we just won’t feel like “doing it” anymore. But as God’s Word says, we must persevere for the prize that waits ahead. At the very least, I want to know God’s favor and pleasure in me for my faithfulness to my husband, but my expectation is based in the faith and hope I have in Jesus who can do more than I can even imagine and that expectation is that one day, my husband will choose Jesus.

Until then, I choose to walk in this place of influence to come along side and help my husband see the potential I see God has placed in him. I seek ways to affirm him in who he is (identity) and how he works and cares for his family. I am intentional to express my appreciation of him, which just recently and unexpectedly came full circle back to me in a precious card telling me he appreciated me. I look for opportunities to hear his heart and tune in to what he may not be saying. I keep asking Abba to bring him to Jesus (John 6). And everyday I thank Jesus for all the ways He presents Himself to my husband in answer to those prayers (mine and others) and affirm my belief that one day his answer will be “yes.” I love walking in this place in partnership with God and under His leadership to be that influence in my hubby’s life and heart. And I’ve watched my husband aspire step by step to be a leader of honor (the honored king) to his family, even as I wait for his full salvation transformation (i.e. preparation…just love how God works).

Let me also be clear that I am in no way perfect. In fact, I am very flawed and have learned to heed the Holy Spirit’s nudge to seek forgiveness from both God and my husband when I mess up. Amazingly, God uses it all to bring transformation not only in me but in my husband as well. That is our assurance of God’s goodness and presence always at work for our good.

Dear friends, I believe God gives us the choice to walk in this very unique place of opportunity (again, as we’ve said in the past, we do not believe God asks or expects us to stay in abusive situations) as believers empowered by the Son of God, as a calling that is part of the Great Commission right in our own homes. We can walk in it with integrity and honor that will boost our pre-believer closer to the potential God has placed in him or her. Or we can struggle in bitterness and resentment that will bring not only ourselves into despair but will waste away or hinder that potential identity in Christ just waiting to be released in our pre-believer.

We carry the very presence of God and His Kingdom through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. All the time, we bring this power and influence to our pre-believer’s life. We may not see any change or effect, but by faith (what we believe to be true and not what is seen—Hebrews 11:1) I believe something happens. And not by our efforts but by God’s love working in and through us.

So be encouraged as you continue to walk and persevere in this very special place you hold in your pre-believer’s life and Abba’s heart. You are impacting the Kingdom of God and your pre-believer every single day.

Love you dearly!
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Mismatched, Addiction and Now...He's a Believer! (Part 2)

If you haven't read part one of Trish's testimony, just scroll down and read it first. Here's part two of her amazing testimony and her husband Stu's video testimony. We are so excited to share this with you, SUMites, and we hope to hear more from Trish as she shares more from her unque perspective and experience in living with an addicted spouse. We know that will minister to many of you as well. Stu's transformation not only changed his heart, it even changed his appearance too. Read on and watch...

Trish headshot

Around the time that Stu was at his heaviest, drinking the most, on medication for high blood pressure, cholesterol and depression was when God reached down and grabbed him. A conversion experience, only slightly less impressive than that of Saul/Paul!

Stu was taking his company at that time, through an initial public offering. He was on a 3 week, “road show” and was in London on the day of his salvation. He was walking down the streets of London with the CEO (an atheist) of the company and one of their investment bankers. The CEO commented about how religion was at the root of every world problem. Stu remembers thinking that this made sense to him. That night, in his hotel room he contemplated, “but what would the world be like without Jesus?” He experienced a dramatic infiltration of the Holy Spirit; he dropped to the floor and spent the night crying out to the Lord in a state of repentance.

Now you would think, after all of these years of us being unequally yoked that he would have enthusiastically shared with me the good news, but you see, prior to his conversion, Stu said that only the weak were Christians and now he was one of them. He was frightened (to say the least) about what this new life would look like, so for then, no one knew.

Stu

One day, Stu finally agreed to start attending church with me. This was the first big change that I saw, and little by little, I noticed the sermon messages started to get through to him. Then one day, and I will never forget it, Stu said to me, “Trish, I think my heart is softening.” What? Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” had manifested right before my eyes! My heart soared!

As ecstatic and grateful as I was over my husband’s salvation, our life suddenly became worse. He lost his job, his alcoholism went from drunkenness to periods of blackout, and he got a DUI. We also bought a business that went under and bankruptcy ensued. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) learned that after he and the CEO were fired from his last company, the company restated earnings from a time period when Stu was the CFO. The SEC decided to formally file charges of fraud. A four week trial ensued. Those four week, it turned out, were more painful for me than for Stu. It was actually a time for him to draw even closer to Jesus because Jesus also had been falsely accused. Stu sat right on Jesus’ lap the whole trial, drawing closer and closer to Him every day. Stu was ultimately not found responsible of the charges, but his name had been publicly dragged through the mud.

Thanks be to God, that some time before the trial; after 30 days of rehab, numerous relapses, and hundreds of AA meetings. Stu finally fully surrendered himself and the addiction to God. True sobriety is a gift only from God.

It was also about this time that Stu came to me and said, “Trish, this abundance of love that I have for Jesus, isn’t going away; I would like to go back to school for my Masters of Divinity.” So be it.

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My former non-believing husband will graduate with his Masters of Divinity this spring.  He is the Evangelism and Outreach Pastor at one of the biggest churches in Colorado and I work for K-LOVE.

The Lord has done the unimaginable. He took a couple that did not know or care for Him; reached down and saved us both (about 10 years apart). Through years of pain and suffering; He shook the shakable elements of our lives, and left only the unshakable to remain. Hebrews 12:27 “the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.” Now, our trials and our stories are used for His glory. 

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or imagine. — Ephesians 3:20
 
And now here's Stu's powerful testimony! 

Redemption - Stu Fuhlendorf - July 21, 2013 from Mission Hills Church on Vimeo.

 

Trish and Stu, thank you for your amazing testimonies and tender hearts to share tehm with us! We are so grateful and thankful God led you to us. SUMites, what an amazing story of God's redmeptive power and love! More are coming! We believe it! Get ready to tell your stories! 
Dineen & Lynn


Our Breakthrough Happened! He's a Believer!

My friends, you know we have been praying for a breakthrough in our community for a long time. Recenlty Lynn and I have felt that a shift was coming, and we are over the moon to share with you that IT HAS HAPPENED!

Janet Sommer is a long time member of this community. Lynn and I have had the pleasure of getting to know her better over the years, and I myself am blessed to have the treasure of her friendship, encouragement and prayer. She has remained faithful to God even in challenging times and continued to pray for her husband and sow the seeds of faith. And the plow came.

A few weeks back when I shared in a video blog post that God told me things look like they're going backward, but He was about to turn them around. You could say that about Janet's situation, and God did exactly what He said He would—turned things around.

BIG TIME!

God moved and brought down walls and lies to expose a soul to the light of His saving love. Now this man has accepted faith, chosen to believe in Jesus and his transformation is tangible and visible. Read Janet's breathtaking letter as Lynn and I did, amazingly at the very same time in different parts of California. And have tissues ready because we both bawled and wound up on the phone rejoicing and praising Jesus.

My friends, this is just the beginning. We firmly believe this is the first domino that will lead to more disbelief toppling into submission to righteous faith in Jesus Christ. This is the power of testimonies, as the Bible says. Power is released and faith is increased! Amen! Thank You, Jesus!

Here's Janet's astonishing and beautiful letter...

HeadshotThe SUMites are so precious and dear to me, especially you two sisters. It was here I was convicted not to leave my pre-believer for an "easier marriage" to a *believer*. It was here I was first encouraged to try a fast thanks to Rosheeda along with the shared precious knowledge and encouragement here. It was here I learned and was challenged to pursue God despite my husband's lack of interest or pursuit. Slowly, and courageously, as I stepped out to the call of bible study, serving in various ministries and even singing in the church band I found my husband to be supportive and there, right beside me. Although divided, we were still intact.

It was here I felt an unspoken bond of the life as a spouse to a pre-believer, and the genuine love and community for those I didn't know. The list of how I grew, how I stood in my faith, how I went from discouraged to encouraged and courageous is endless. But most importantly, it was here, as you both poured out your hearts, that I learned how to hand mine to Jesus first, instead of my husband.

I am writing to you, from the sanctity of my bed, after a couple days of reflection. And I feel so conflicted. I recently sat on the bed one afternoon and was confused to watch a very sheer veil lift off my eyes, rising from the bottom to the top. My vision was crisper, sunlight was brighter and more pure. I had been texting my husband and simply commented that I felt a fog lift. He quickly texted back that he felt the exact same way.

Later it was revealed to me that was the moment he accepted what happened to him at our marriage counselor's office and yielded to faith. You see, at our marriage counselor's office, he suddenly grabbed my hand, said some hurtful things and walked out unwilling to listen to anything I said. He later shared that during that time he felt tremendous heat, felt forced & compelled to say those things to me, and then experienced wind. He says he let something behind. Then he described that something as "evil". He physically looks different; he emotionally is different. He talks about God and praying and how grateful he is that God removed evil and blinders from him. He's so kind, gentle and intentional now. He says he can't believe he had no idea of the true wife I was, but that a God has revealed that, among many other things, to him. Neither of us can believe the difference!

And as I lay here, experiencing what we all long for, I can't help but notice how it didn't happen as I thought it would. In my mind the Holy Spirit would wreck him at a church service or at a time he was standing by me supporting my involvement-- not at marriage counseling. I never even imagined we would one day sit on that cliche couch as a counselor walked us through talking about our struggles-- after a mere 22 years together. Nothing is what I imagined.... not the timing, not it actually happening, not the genuine, radical results... nothing. And I can't help but to be conflicted.... joyous for me, yet longing for you and everyone in this online family.

I am here solidly... rooted in grace, equipped with knowledge & authority... with a believing husband, because of your bravery, your boldness and your obedience to this ministry and community. It's awkward but peaceful, scary but hope-filled, cautious navigating yet easy to move forward. The life I knew and was comfortable with, after soooo many years in a UY marriage, is changing. It's beautiful... and scary. Words will never explain the treasure SUMites are to me, nor the gems you two most certainly are in my crown. A crown I'm not worthy of but have been ransomed for and deemed worthy to wear. And I can't wait for the day when my believing husband learns exactly how much it was a lot of Jesus, a lot of God, plenty of the Holy Spirit and just as much this SUMite nation that kept me waiting, with sanity, in hope for him and this new marriage we have.

On a hysterical note, he recently asked how I knew Dineen. I said through a blog. He asked which, and I reluctantly stated. He then asked if he was a case study!!! lol

I promise you every moment, every discouragement and hurt, every argument trying to obey God and find balance in respecting our spouse, every tear shed and prayer said to God is so worth seeing and living this moment. Our spouses and marriages are worth fighting for! And they say it's about "the journey", right? As I transition into this new life as a chord of three I can't help but to storm heavens gates even more for each of you, so truly it was my honor to donate to this ministry.

Much indebted and eternally grateful for this ministry.... Janet

Janet, we love you so much. We are rejoicing with you and continuing to pray for this time of transition, adjustment and wonder. The angels are cheering you on and so is this community. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story with your SUMite family. Love you so much! —Dineen & Lynn

Abba, thank You for bringing this man to Your Son, Jesus. Thank You, King Jesus, for lifting the darkness and filling him with Your saving love and light. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for filling our new brother in Christ with Your Holy Presence. Lord, protect and guide this believing couple into new realms of faith and discovery of Who You are and who they are in You. We praise You, Lord, with loud voices and joy-filled hearts for this miracle. And we humbly ask...DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN until every one of our pre-believers walks in faith! Let this community bring You great glory, King Jesus. We adore You! Amen!


The Legacy of Divine Appointments

My friends, this is an astounding testimony to how far a divine appointment can reach. Our dear friend, Rosheeda, is still impacting lives through her legacy of intentional love and service to God. It is because of Rosheeda's love for us that we carry the name of "SUMites." Sometimes, perhaps more often than we realize, we discount how the smallest of opportunities to love on someone can ripple out beyond our own lives. Thank you, Kindra, for sharing this with our community! As you were blessed by this, we are too. Thank you! ~ Dineen & Lynn

Hello Ladies!

I just returned from the Designed For Life Women's Conference in Springfield, MO. There were over 7,000 women gathered to worship and praise God! The Holy Spirit was working full force and many lives were transformed. PTL! I am writing to you because I have a story from the conference that I know you will want to hear. Priscilla Shirer spoke at the conference. Priscilla is a dynamic speaker who is eager to share God's Word with her audience.

She shared a story with us about a young woman that she met at her church. The woman felt she had been called by God to quit her job in the "corporate world". Without knowing God's plan for her, the woman stepped out in obedience and did just that. While waiting for God's leading, the woman began babysitting for families at her church in order to make some money. After a year of waiting and still not knowing what God wanted her to do with her life, the woman began to get very frustrated. She shared with Priscilla that she did not understand why God would call for her to quit her job and seemingly not have a "grander" plan for her. She was still babysitting, but was desiring more from God. Then one particular evening, she went to a families home to babysit the children for the evening while the parents went out for a much needed night away. As the worn out, frazzled, hard-working mother answered the door that night and expressed her appreciation for being able to get away for the evening, the woman knew that she had been blind to God's plan for her. She realized that His plan for this season in her life was for her to be a blessing to children and their families. Her eyes were opened to God's purpose. The Holy Spirit's leading told her that she in fact had been "chosen" not "cheated" in her assignment!

Through this story Priscilla shared, we were blessed with the understanding that God has divine appointment's for all of us. In God's kingdom, no job is more important than another. God leads us where he needs us and we must be open to wherever that may be!

Now the part that gave me goosebumps....As Priscilla wrapped up her story about this faithful woman she told us that sadly she died in a car wreck last year. She also shared that her name was Rosheeda. I knew immediately that this was the sweet Rosheeda from the SUMite community. Rosheeda was a blessing to me when she was a guest writer on your site. Today, she once again blessed me and thousands of other women through the story shared by Priscilla!

Rosheeda's legacy lives on. Isn't God amazing!?

Blessings! ~Kindra


Does Jesus Heal Today?

SUMites, 

Where to begin. Let me ask you a question. Do you believe God still heals? Can He cure cancer, heal the blind restore hearing in the deaf? 

Revelation 12 11 Fall backgroudIf you are a SUMite, I know you said yes. I know you said that because we MUST believe in great miracles of God’s love and kindness. If we had little faith, we could not walk this unique walk of the unequally yoked. 

Today, I’m going to step out and share with you what transpired on Saturday. I may stumble through the story as I’m still processing it all. Get a cup of coffee or tea. Pull up a chair and I pray, I pray with all that I am, that you feel chills run all over your body as the Holy Spirit confirms His power and love for God’s people. 

You met Gina, right? We prayed for her several years ago when she was facing a melanoma diagnosis. And since that time she has recovered as is in remission. Hallelujah! Can I get a hallelujah? 

And I believe on Friday night she was further delivered from that nasty cancer right before my very eyes. That’s a story for another day. OHHHHHHHH, and it’s a good one. Stay tuned. 

Back to Saturday. Myself, my daughter, Caitie and her best friend, Gina, went to the church to receive prayer for healing. For myself, healing of my injury to my right wrist. I injured it rototilling the garden in March. Caitie wanted prayer for more of God. And as for Gina, she was complaining in the car on our way there that she couldn’t hear as my daughter was talking. She said, “Caitie, you know I can’t hear very well so talk louder.” 

I chime in from the back seat, “You know Gina, you should ask for healing of your hearing while we are here.” I didn’t think another thing about it. 

Yep, I bet you know where this is going. But let me share how this happened. 

We arrived in the sanctuary and there are people all over the place. People praying and being prayed for and those waiting for prayer. For some reason, I didn’t follow the crowd into the seating area but took myself and the two teens down toward the front of the room. We waited for only a short time and then a prayer team moved over to talk with me. I was seated, Caitie was next to me and Gina next to her. 

The prayer team approached and I stood. Before me were two young men who I think were in their mid-twenties, Andrew and Chris. With them was an older, round woman with pure white hair, Joyce. The young men made introductions. Joyce said nothing. (Remind me later to share my thoughts about their names) I explained I wanted prayer for my wrist. Christ began to share a story of a man healed of a broken arm right in front of him. I grow completely excited and shove my hand, writs, arm out to Chris and practically scream, “Oh, please pray for me.” Poor guy couldn’t even finish his story because I’m already on board and can’t wait for a touch from God. 

Chris places a hand over my wrist and a hand under. The three pray. I FEEL HEAT. At that moment, I feel a fire come over my whole body and I burst into a sweat and right behind that I burst into tears like a blathering baby girl. I’m so overwhelmed. Crying and sweating all over the boys who are now likely uncomfortable because I’m practically sobbing a river on their sleeves. Sheesh! They hand me off to Joyce. Then Chris asks me, “How does it feel?” 

Gang, I begin to move my wrist in full motion and with—out—pain. A first since March of this year. 

I start screaming. People are watching. The young men have a face full of gleeful smiles. Joyce is writing on a paper. I don’t think I ever heard her say a word. Hmmmmmm 

“No pain. No pain. Look I can move it and no pain.” More snot sobs. Andrew asks if I would give a testimony over at the testimony table. So my snot nose, healed wrist and I cross the crowed room and speak with a sweet girl who records my testimony. 

The trio leaves me and moves on to my daughter, Caitie. She is holding out her hands in front of her like you do when you want to receive something when I return from the testimony table. She is teary. I’m still freaked out and watching. Thankfully the snot subsided. I see them praying “more” for Caitie and then the four of them break. 

All smiles. Hugs all around and Caitie walks over to me. 

“What happened?” 

The trio moved to Gina and are praying with her. 

“Mom, I felt heat on my hands when Chris touched me. And as they prayed, Chris asked me again what I felt on my hands, as my eyes were closed. I told him more heat from his hands. He said to me, “I’m not touching your hands now.” 

“What? Oh my goodness, you had an angel touching your hands. Caitie, this is so amazing.” More tears now from the both of us. Where’s the Kleenex? 

“Mom, Chris said that as he prayed for me he saw Jesus. And Jesus was holding a bottle of wine and christening a ship. He was christening a ship because I was being launched onto a journey.” I looked into her eyes and she into mine. After what happened to her the night before we had a knowing that this was in fact — true. More on that story later. 

Oh good grief. I’m already way long on this story and I haven’t gotten to the good part yet. So, tune in on Monday as I tell you what happens next. 

My friends, I know Jesus. He is the healer and it is His purpose in our lives to give us healing in every area, health, soul, body. I give Jesus all the honor, glory and worship because He still heals His people today. 

So I have a question for you today? Do you believe? 

See you in the comments. I love you SUMites. I really love you and am praying for your full healing.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


The Unexpected Divine Appointments

11134039_sDear friends, as I walked and prayed Tuesday morning, I asked Abba for the words to share with you what I experienced at Bethel. I really wasn’t sure if I had anything definitive as God kept this visit very personal, which makes sense for this year of intimacy He’s called me to.

But as I walked the memories and words began to flow (thank You, Abba, You are so good), like a kaleidoscope of images and colors that stood unique but together created the complete story of God’s intentions.

Where to start? At the beginning of the journey. I was a bit anxious about making this trip on my own (I love road trips when hubby is in charge) and my car had been acting up a little. (I should share with you that I call my little VW Bug by the name of Gracie as she is a gift from God and never lets me down. Why did I doubt?)

I had five hours of road ahead of me each way (thankfully Lynn road with me from Sacramento to Redding on the way up) and knew I would wind up stopping frequently for breaks out of necessity. I kid you not, both up to Redding and on my way home on Saturday every place I stopped had Christian music playing. In California?!?!?

As I walked into each place, I noticed it right away! And smiled…God uses music frequently to minister to my heart. I was never alone. My Gracie carried both me and Him on this trip.

At Bethel the first evening I noticed a woman near us. Not sure why but she just stood out to me so I took notice. The next day we were introduced by a mutual friend. That seemed significant too, so I ask Abba if there was a reason, did I need to know something. I heard the name “Amanda” over and over again. Wasn’t sure why, maybe that name meant something to her. I asked Abba who this Amanda was. He said “her sister.”

Well…I wasn’t sure what to do with that, but I have seen God do this enough times to trust Him to put it into motion. I wouldn’t track this dear woman down. If I was supposed to share what I heard, I’d leave it to Him to bring her to me at the right time (just like my new friend at the ACFW conference).

The next day I was sitting on a bench and there she stood. I waved her over and asked her if the name Amanda meant anything to her. She said no, but then shared how someone else had told her she looked like someone they met in Montreal, almost identical. What stunned me is what she shared next. She’s been searching for her twin sister. They were separated and given up for adoption when they were very young.

I gave her my business card and asked her to email me when this all falls into place as I had no doubts God was hearing her heart and leading her to her sister. When that story unfolds, I will sharing it with you, my friends. God is so amazing, so good!

On the last day, Friday, I found this verse waiting for me in my inbox:

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. — Psalm 37:7

Later that afternoon, I wound up in the prayer room. It’s a small octagon shaped building that stands part from the rest of the campus and has the most stunning view of the surrounding hills and mountains, including Mount Shasta.

Immediately I felt the peace of Jesus in that room. About a dozen or so people were there either sitting by the fountain or in chairs or on the floor by the windows. I wanted to stay in this place forever. Remembering the Scripture I received that morning, I rested by the fountain for a while.

And then it happened. Words, words, and more words. It was like my creativity had suddenly been unleashed. I couldn’t stop writing in my journal. Page after page. I wasn’t sure what it all meant though.

Not until I finished. I realized I had written the ending of the book I’m going to be working on. It was not at all what I expected, but it was very much the heart of God—tender, powerful, full of love and purpose.

God had told me He had something at Bethel this time. He told Lynn too. What He gave me was His heart. So unexpected, so gentle, so quiet.

So, my friends, God was my divine appointment this trip. What’s so amazing is that He longs for us to meet with Him each day. He has so much for us. For you.

Which brings me to the end of this story. My final “divine appointment” was with you, dear SUMites. This is the prayer God lead me to pray for our community as I sat outside and looked over the hillside.

BethelBased on Psalm 67:

Lord, be gracious to Your SUMites and bless us and make Your face shine upon us so that Your ways may be known in our homes, that your salvation will rest upon our pre-believers.

Let all those in our home praise You, God; that our pre-belivers would praise You. Let us, your SUMites, be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge righteously and govern our hearts and homes.

Let us, Your SUMites, praise You, O God, let every single one of us praise You and bring You glory. Then our homes shall yield increase. God shall bless us and our loved ones. God shall bless us, and all those in our home shall fear Him.

In Your mighty name, Jesus, amen!

Rest in His promises, SUMites!

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Divine Appointments, Part 2

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I’m so glad you came back to hear the rest of this story. And I know Lynn and I will come back with more stories too. It’s the last day of the Open Heavens conference. As I write this I haven’t a clue of what God has in store for us, but I know it will be good, because He is GOOD!

Now back to the ACFW conference and the divine appointments God had planned for me. As I said, I knew there was more to hear from my new friend. I didn’t even ask God to orchestrate another meeting. I knew He would and told Him as much. This was really fun!

The next day I had an appointment with an editor. After my appointment, I took a shortcut down the hallway to get back to the registration area. This hallway can get pretty busy when people are moving between appointments, but this time it was quiet, mostly empty.

Except for one person. Yep. You guessed it. There she stood. I smiled and headed toward her. Again we laughed and hugged. Then I knew what it was I was suppose to know.

So I asked, “You are a deep woman of faith and are on the path ahead of me. What advice would you give to someone like me, coming up behind you?”

Her face grew serious and she began to share such amazing words of truth and faith. Words that confirmed things God had shown me this year and great wisdom for where I was headed. I realized this dear woman had already walked the path I was on right now in greater detail than I could have imagine. I remember standing there feeling so surreal as I grasped more full how well God had planned this.

The piece of her wisdom that stood out the most was not to live the life you think you are supposed to but to live the life God is leading you too. She done it the first way for too many years and had learned the difference.

I asked this dear woman and new friend if she minded if I kept in touch with her. I’d prayed for a long time for mentors in my life, and maybe, just maybe, God had lead me to one. To her. She told me she’d mind if I didn’t.

Our divine appointment had turned into a divine connection. My friends, I’m still in awe of how God does these things. How His timing is so significant and precise for His plans and purposes. I delight in Him so much in these moments as I stand in awe of Him.

And more came through the week. The Holy Spirit led me to sit in front of an older couple. I turned around and asked what their story was. They shared their precious lives with me, then realized they were in the wrong room. But I knew I was meant to hear their stories and God confirmed it again when I “ran” into them again the next day. We shared our hearts to spread God’s love and goodness in our stories and this sweet man had me sign his tie!

And connecting with so many hearts and hearing their stories. One of my last nights there, God brought a woman front and center to me whose husband had walked away from his faith. Such heartache. I was able to share this beautiful SUMite community with her (yes, I bragged about you!) and invited her to come and visit and let us love on her.

So you see, my SUMite family, you were part of my adventures that week. I bring you everywhere I go and boast about you all often as I praise and point to God for doing what He’s done right here in this community.

And now I’m hooked. Everywhere I go I pray for divine appointments. I know so many more are coming, for all of us. Just ask Him.

Then come and share yours. I want to hear your story.

Love you, my precious SUMite family!
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Divine Appointments, Part 1

11134039_sMy friends, as you read this, Lynn and I are making our way to the Open Heavens Conference at Bethel Church in Redding, CA. This will be our third year going and I’m already praying for diving appointments. (Please pray with us on this and for our protection and safety as we travel. Thank you!)

I prayed for this before the writers conference (American Christian Fiction Writers) I attended a couple weeks ago. And I told God it didn’t matter if they had anything to do with me or writing, I just wanted to see Him in action.

Well, my week was packed with these appointments and it was the most fun I’ve had at one of these conferences to date. And I’ve been going for ten years now! My head is still spinning to think of them all but a few stand out, and today I’m going to share just a few of them.

As head of registration I get to serve a great body of writers and authors, along side a great team of volunteers. I’m the “go-to-girl” for all the complicated questions, etc. The first day I was blessed to pray for a dear woman in distress. Loved watching how God calmed and comforted her as we prayed.

Then a little while later, an older woman humbly asked if she could still have an author ribbon (we have these label ribbons that attach to our name badges). She forgot about her book coming out in December.

“Of course!” I said and went to fetch her one. The sheer delight on her face to receive it warmed my heart beyond measure, as did her hug. Really, truly, I love doing the little things for people.

The next morning, very early and bleary eyed, God reminded me of these two women. He highlighted the woman I’d fetched the ribbon for and said, “She has a story. Listen to her story.” He whispered (probably because I hadn’t had my coffee yet) to me, “Listen to their stories.” I knew He didn’t mean what they were writing but the stories of their heart, their lives.

I told God He’d have to orchestrate that meeting if I was to hear more of her story as there was a good 500 people attending this conference in a large hotel. Later that day I turned around and there she was! Just her. I hugged her and said, “God told me you have a story. What’s your story?”

Her eyes grew wide and moist, and she smiled. She told me that just touched her heart so deeply that God had told me that about her. She then explained that she is a two time cancer survivor and battling heart disease.

Me? I’m standing there stunned, because even though I KNOW God does this stuff, I’m still floored by it.

Time ran out and she had to go. We hugged, each knowing that God had linked us together for a reason, then off she went to her next workshop. But I knew there was more. God whispered to my heart again that there was more for me to hear.

The next day during a break, I ran up to my hotel room to get something. I started to head back out but realized I needed one more thing. Then I headed out the door. Standing at the door across the hall stood this dear woman. I kid you not. We laughed, hugged and marveled at how God kept putting us together. She shared a little more and I shared a little about my daughter’s cancer miracles, but then I had to get back to my post. Even as I walked down the hall, I knew there was more and that God would put us together yet again. He’d already linked out hearts together.

But, He wasn’t done…

Dear Friends, that’s enough for today, but please come back Friday for the rest of this story. There’s more to tell, more to hear, I’m not done… ;-)

And I’m looking forward to what God has planned for Lynn and I at Bethel. I know He won’t disappoint. He’s the best divine appointment of all!

Love you!
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God's Preparation: Trials and Challenges

PrayerBlock2Dear Friends, one of the most extraordinary things that God is showing me of late is how interconnected things are and how often we miss it. So here is the first part of an unexpected series—I say unexpected because I'd made notes for what I thought were four different posts and then realized they are very much interconnected and make a whole. I love how God does that!

I remember years ago thinking that as I got older, "things" (i.e. life in general) would get easier, because I would be wiser, more experienced (is that redundant?) and overall have a better grip on life. In some ways that has proved true, but I'm finding that the deeper I seek to walk with God, the challenges have grown. Yes, we have a relentless enemy determined to to keep us from walking in our full destiny (remember, he can't take away our salvation, but he can make us ineffective, if we let him), but we serve and love a God who is even more relentless in His love and purposes and Who WILL NOT FAIL US. He is the one we will focus upon in this series.

Challenges and trials are part of life. I've learned to accept that and realize there is no such thing as a life free of these situations. Not on this side of heaven, anyway. Take hope in this my friends, for one day our Lord Jesus will dry our tears and we will be complete (realized, fully free, perfected to completion) in His presence in the heavenly realms.

In the meantime, the foundational truth that is crucial once again for us to embrace and understand is that God is good and that He brings purpose and redemption in each of us. Not just of who we are but also from our lives—our trials, struggles, pain and even those situations and conditions that seem so impossible to us from our limited understanding and perspective. This is the heart and truth of Romans 8:28 and a truth I believe we MUST revisit and reiterate over and over again because this is where the enemy will hit us hardest and attempt to make us doubt God's goodness.

Let's look at the story of Jesus walking on water:

When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He *came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and *said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened. — Mark 6:45-52 (NASB)

First, I want to point out a telling word in the second line, verse 48. The word “straining” in Greek is basanizō, and means to torture, battered, felt...tormented, pain, straining, torment, tormented.

These men were beyond the point of being afraid. It was somewhere between three and six in the dark morning hours, they most likely couldn’t see a thing because the storm covered the moon, and they were terrified and saw no way out. I find the use of this word, basanizō, very interesting, because it’s not one I would have expected to find in this story. Perhaps God wanted us to understand that no matter how deep our fear and suffering run, He will prevail.

But that’s not the point I want to bring out today. (Hang with me just a little longer. I actually have three points to share with you.) Jesus revealed Himself in such a way as to surpass the the terror of the storm—they thought he was a ghost and were terrified. Right away, their perspectives shifted from the storm to His awe-inspiring and fear rendering presence.

Point #1: God will present Himself stronger, larger and more awe-inspiring than the trial, conflict, or enemy you face.

As Jesus approached the boat, He says to “take courage; It is I, do not be afraid.” He’s telling His disciples (His friends and His children) to put faith in WHO HE IS. Not in what He can do, but to trust Who Jesus is above the storm whirling around them. Otherwise, when the storm rages longer than our first cry for help, we will think that either God hasn’t heard us, that He’s tormenting us, or that He failed. The enemy will do whatever he can to make the waves of these lies fill your boat if you let him.

Point #2: God wants your faith and trust to rest in WHO He is and not in what He can or could do in your circumstances.

And this is the part I find the most interesting and telling, my dear friends. As Jesus approached, the first thing He did was present Himself, His awe-inspiring presence. Then He got into the boat with them. And if you’ll notice, Scripture doesn’t say that Jesus made the storm go away. Only that He made the winds stop.

Did the storm clouds still remain? My gut says at this point, it really didn’t matter. More importantly, Jesus gave the disciples the reassurance of His presence with them. And my friends, we ALWAYS have that reassurance in us in the presence of His Holy Spirit.

Point #3: God will give us His presence, comfort and reassurance first, then will quiet the storm around us so that we can follow His leading to calmer shores.

Just as Jesus came to the disciples to rescue them with His presence, He came for us all in our tormented and storm-ridden states to save and rescue us.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. — 1 Peter 5:6

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. — 1 Peter 5:10

I believe that in everything we walk, suffer, strive and struggle through, God has a plan and a purpose. And if you’ll notice in the Scriptures above, it’s in His timing. Wants to restore, support and strength us so that He can place us on that firm foundation—the foundation of Jesus, which is unshakable, isn’t threatened by storms and can walk on water.

Standing for Jesus!

Dineensig

 

 


Is God Good?

My Friends, 

I don’t even know where to start. So much has happened in the last seven days that I feel like every morning I wake, God has another “Holy Mind-Blow” in store for this ordinary, 5’4”, blonde girl. 

Do you remember back several months ago that I promised breakthrough. Well, boy howdy, I’ve had one. Probably SEVERAL. And likely the biggest thing that has yet to happen to me in the Kingdom is still coming. Woo Hoo!! I will be sharing this new adventure with you, step by step, as I move forward. 

But today, I have a word for all of you who worry about your kids. 

I worry about my kids. I pray, A LOT, for my kids. Today’s story has been more than a decade in the making. 

I’ve written before about my years of praying for my son who lived in Las Vegas. Since 1999 I’ve prayed years and years for God to move him to California that I may lavish God’s love upon him and help him to grow in his faith. And in February he, my daughter-in-law and my granddaughter moved here. They have lived with us since then. Well as they have stayed with us, God has revealed the areas in their lives that He is desperate to bring healing. What an astonishing answer to my mama’s prayers. But God’s not done. 

I also have been praying like a mad woman for them to find new jobs with a livable wage, jobs that they will love and have opportunity for growth. 

Now to set the scene, my son had an interview for an awesome job several weeks ago. For more than a week following that interview, I prayed with every fiber of my being, soul, heart and mind for my son to be the candidate that the company wanted. I prayed, scriptures, I prayed in faith. I prayed with conviction, belief and prayed for hours. 

My son didn’t get the job. 

I was saddened, of course, and my son was affected. However, for me, I was baffled and I will admit confused and disappointed with God. “Why, God, didn’t he get this job? Please grant me understanding as I prayed in alignment with your word and as Jesus taught.” 

Well this week the kindness of the Lord and in His tenderness, He explained the reason. 

This week I will be attending a conference in San Diego. And while out walking, God said to me, “Ask your son to go with you.” 

“But God, the likelihood he would say yes and attend is ridiculous. He would never go to a conference like this with his mother. And Lord, what about child-care. Someone needs to watch the little one. And then Lord, on top of that, my son’s wife needs to be on board with all of this because she is affected and will also need to watch the baby when she gets home from work.” 

The list of reasons why this was impossible surged in my head. But I prayed and said, “God I will ask and I trusting you to make all of the details fall into line.” 

I came home from my walk-n-pray. Sat down in the playroom with my son and with my granddaughter on my lap, I simply asked him to go to this conference with me. 

“Sure, Mom, I would like to go.” 

SAY WHAT??????? SAY WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!!! 

Every detail fell into line and this Wednesday my son, Brad and I are off to a conference that God has promised will be the beginning of his healing.

As I sat in my office later that morning, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Lynn, this is the reason your son didn’t get that job. He would have been working and unable to attend this conference.” 

God is SO MUCH MORE interested in this young man’s heart, his soul, his healing and the rest of his life. 

I cried. 

Tears of love and thankfulness. 

God has good gifts for His kids. Many, many good gifts. And God is so much more concerned for our heart, our soul our emotional health and our healing than any old job. God has a million of jobs and when the time is right, my son will receive the perfect job. 

I know this because I know the tender love and faithfulness of our Lord. 

What have you been praying for that wasn’t answered how you wanted or expected. Ask the Lord to help you have understanding. Then wait. It may take a while to get the answer to you but I absolutely believe God wants us to understand He is good. He has good for His children and He wants us to have wisdom and understanding. 

Okay, gang, Brad and I are off on Wednesday. I’m expecting miracles, healing and more. Pray for this boy. I will keep you posted. 

I love you. 

And I promise, I still have so much more about Joshua and the Walls, so keep walking with me. The journey is exciting and breakthrough is ahead for all of us. I love you. I really love you, Lynn

Ephesians 1 17
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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

 


The Gentle and Astonishing Message In The Snow

Lynn here. Today it's my great honor to share a miraculos story. Please jon me for something rare and beautiful as told by one of our own SUMites, Joanne.

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Joanne MarshWhat a privilege and honor this is for me today to be able to share with you an extraordinary event in my life. This event was the first step for me to help me realize how God can reveal His intimacy and love. 

When I lost my Golden Retriever who was like a child for me, I was devastated. Not only had I lost my canine child I lost my walking partner. I can't even begin to presume how many miles we covered together. After Jake was gone I just had to get myself back out walking again no matter how hard or how lonely it felt. I recall starting down the sidewalk that led from my front door and suddenly as if guided supernaturally, I spun around and went back to the house to grab the camera off the fridge. I do not recall being led to go back for it. Back outside and finally making progress, I felt a heavy burden weighing me down as I walked alone. As I walked, I continued in constant conversation with God. I asked Him to show me a sign that He had Jake with Him. I trusted He did but I just NEEDED to know. I needed to SEE. The grief was so deep that I needed some HOPE. I needed to see with my eyes that indeed, my boy was with God. 

As I walked I thought I was seeing some shapes in the clouds that possibly might have meant something but I finally gave up knowing I was grasping at anything to find comfort . The remainder of my walk was spent with my head hanging downward in heavy concentration on the road under my feet. "Just let me get home because my body feels like it weighs a ton." 

Joanns paw print snowSuddenly I felt as if someone behind me grabbed my head with their two hands and lifted my face up pointing me to  the left to see THIS IMAGE in the field before me. I gasped as my two hands flew to my mouth and my knees buckled. I was so stunned I didn't know whether to laugh or cry? All I knew was THIS IS IT! THIS IS THE SIGN. My Father led me down specific streets without my awareness and led me to this EXACT SPOT. This image in the snow was for me to see and KNOW. God has my boy! 

This experience is an enormous blessing I will always treasure. Because God prompted me to return for my camera, I became aware that this event was to be shared at every opportunity given. I always pray that when we share our stories where God responding to our prayers that others will find great hope. And then they in turn will begin to seek Him in a personal way. And that they will know He is here with us and also SEE He is here with us!

~Joanne (SUMite)


God Used $20 To Build My Faith

IStock_000000221558SmallHappy Wednesday, SUMites! It's so good to be back! Special thanks again to Teresa T. for her amazing posts and all she shared with us.

I have a story for you today, one that happened while Lynn and I were at the prophetic conference the end of January. I've been looking forward to telling you about this one, because it was a huge moment in my faith journey.

It was Friday evening and the last speaker was Chuck Pierce. This was the first time I'd heard the man I'd heard much about speak and I was not disappointed. He spoke with great authority and power, using Scripture constantly. But what stood (and still stands out) was the call for an offering at the end of this speech. I can't even remember what the cause was, but I know it was something I wanted to help with and had something to do with children.

I pulled out my wallet and bit my lip. I had brought enough cash for food for the week and had come with the understanding that I could buy any books. Not an easy feat! I estimated quickly what I would need for the last couple days of my trip and pulled out the three one dollar bills. I would do what I could...

But as I listened to Chuck Pierce speak about trusting God and that this was what he believed to be a pivotal time to walk in that trust, I thought about the dollar bills clutched in my hand. We'd heard stories all week about how God had not only provided but even exceeded expectation. Kris Vallotton shared one story of how he gave the last $200 he had to feed his family that week to a couple who needed rent money. Later that day a man walked in his office and put $200 on his desk and explained that God told him to bring it to Kris. Wow!

I knew in my heart, I wanted to experience that kind of faith, but more importantly, I didn't want to look back at this moment and wonder if I had trusted God or myself. I didn't want any regrets. I snatched my wallet back out and exchanged the ones for a twenty, reasoning I could do without a meal or just make do with a snack. Not a problem. I would trust God. When the bucket came around, I dropped that twenty in and enjoyed a sense of peace and confidence that I'd stepped out in faith and Abba would take care of the rest.

The next morning we listened to Che Ahn. He shared amazing stories of how God provided for him, his family and the beginnings of this powerhouse of a church (HRock). He shared one of the books he wrote about breaking the spirit of poverty off of your family and I so wanted to know more. This man even generously offered it as a gift we couldn't afford to buy it.

When we came back from our lunch break I heard that Che Ahn had put many books out as gifts for attendees. I rushed over but the book I wanted wasn't there. A woman at the table said they still had it in audio book on the other table. I told her I couldn't spend the money right now and had only what I needed for meals.

I walked back toward the sanctuary. Before I got inside I felt a hand on my arm. I turned around. The woman I just spoken to smiled at me and pressed money into my hand. She said she felt she was supposed to bless me with this. I looked down and it was a twenty dollar bill!

I burst into tears. Here I held proof of God's provision. But it spoke even louder to my hungry heart of Abba's great love for me. And later that day, I this verse was specifically spoken over and to me:

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:19

My friends, you know what's so amazing in addition to these amazing ways God wants to work in our lives? The meaning behind His Holy Word. Just a week ago I was studying the names of Jesus and started with "Almighty, with a reference to a Scripture in Revelations.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “ who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” — Revelation 1:8

The word "Almighty" comes from two Greek words. The first part (Al-) is "pas" and is the same exact word used in Phil 4:19 for "all."

In other words, all means ALL in the Bible (the list of definitions alone is extensive and all encompassing) and connects to our Almighty, Jesus. That's huge!

So today, my friends, I want you to think about what ALL means for you. Speak to your Abba about your needs and ask Him to help you trust Him at a new level for whatever that need may be—financially, like mine was, or anything else that is burdening you.

As you pray, consider writing it down in a journal and dating it, and write down whatever you feel Abba impresses upon you. He keeps His word and His Word says He will supply ALL our needs according to His riches (love for us), not our limited expectations or humanly defined supply of possibilities.

That is Good News indeed! Love you dearly, my friends!
Dineen


Weekend Worship — Ascribe Unto the Lord

My friends, let's give Teresa special thanks and prayers for her work this past week. She not only wrote those amazing posts for us, but she was also writing in the comments and encouraging so many of us. Thank you, Teresa! You have served the SUMites with such grace and generosity! We are so blessed by you!

Some of us experienced great revelations and more than we expected to hear. Some of us are feeling a little disappointed that we didn't hear more and may even be feeling like we failed. But this is what I firmly believe to be true. What happened during this fast for each and every one of us is EXACTLY what Abba wanted to transpire. He knows what we need best and when we need it. Trust Him to continue to bring more revelations and understandings as the year progresses. This is why journals are so important. So we can go back and be reminded of what Abba said, which will help us stay focused and recognize when our prayers are being answered!

And I want to encourage you all to continue to seek Abba just for His presence. I'm learning first and foremost that He wants us to put our relationship with Him above all else. Not our gifts, not what we do for Him, or even how we seek to serve Him. Not even the dreams and passions He places in us. He wants to give us His heart with no strings attached. So give Him yours without any strings too. Make knowing Him your priority over serving Him.

For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” — Matthew 6:25-34

Seek Him above all else, and the "else" will come! Trust Him for this, my friends. He will not fail you!

Here are two songs that seem the perfect close to our week. The first is for our praise and worship of our King Jesus. He is our everything! Let's give Him all the glory of this week. Fill the comments with praise ans worship to Him! And the second is our statement of faith for 2014. We will not be shaken, amen? Amen!

Love you, my SUMite family so much. Be shiney for Jesus!
Dineensig


Weekend Worship — The Post I Didn’t Expect to Write

PhotoI’d expected a Christmas full of excitement and expectation, but it turned out very different than what I’d expected. My friends, I always hesitate to share this kind of stuff because I only want to be an encouragement to you. But I’m trusting that in obeying His nudge to share this weird journey Abba will encourage you greatly. Because a promise comes at the end of it.

As I said, I’d expected a very different Christmas. For a multitude of reasons that I won’t go into detail (only because they aren’t really necessary to this story) I found myself struggling to find my joy and peace during a season that’s supposed to be full of it. My smiles and laughter felt forced. And I continually cried out to Abba, “What is wrong with me?”

I pushed through, determined to enjoy Christmas as much as possible. And I did find moments of peace and joy in the presence of my family and quiet moments with Jesus. Not the best of Christmases but still good.

Now stay with me because what comes next involves you. Yes, you.

On Thursday my Bible lay open on the ottoman in front of my favorite chair. I thought I was done for the morning, but as I rose to walk away and get on with my day, these words from Joel caught my eye:

Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord. — Joel 1:14

My thoughts returned to these words throughout the rest of the day. My spiritual gut said it had to do with our community fast and that Abba had more to tell me. So I nudged my parched spirit into a place of prayerful expectation.

Friday morning I read the whole book of Joel. Not a book full of hope and joy, but it is one full of Abba’s heart and desire for His people to return to Him. And His promises.

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. — Joel 2:13

Rend our heart, not our garments... Abba’s agenda has always been about the heart—His heart for us and His desire for our hearts to be His.

I continued to read and came to those amazing verses at the end of chapter two. Joel prophesied the very thing that happened at Pentecost when Abba poured out His Holy Spirit over believers and Peter reminded the assembly of it (Acts 2:1-41).

As I finished my reading, I wrote my thoughts in my journal and ended with a question, “Abba, what is your heart in this? What do you want me to know?

My pen hovered over the page, hoping for an answer. And one came. “I will tell you on your walk.”

So out I went with leash in hand and my wacky pooch at the end of it. I listened to worship music and my still slightly parched spirit hoped the Lord would fill me with His much presence and an answer.

I came around a bend and looked up. And there it was, a sunbow. A bright circle enclosed the sun but on the left side I could see one bright spot that looked like a rocket of blue that had shot to the edge of the circle and exploded into a circle of color—rainbow colors. I hope you can see some of it in the picture above.

And as I looked at it, Abba spoke to my heart something like this: “This is the answer. Promises. That is My heart for this fast. I have promises for the SUMites.”

My friends, tears flooded my eyes and hope bloomed afresh in my spirit. Abba is so good to us. He’s so good and patient with me. Even when I feel like I'm failing Him, He rushes in and shows me His love and goodness—for me and for you.

I have a feeling our upcoming fast will be quite different than years past. I’m expecting it to be everything Abba desires it to be. I’ve already begun seeking Him for my word for 2014 and He rushed in and gave me one so very unexpected.

But alas, that is a story for next time. And I promise it too will be full of His promises.

So grateful for you, my fellow SUMites. We do not walk this journey alone!
Dineensig

 

 

 

 


How One RAK Inspired Another

My friends, a couple weeks ago I shared this post about my daughter Leslie and her amazing heart of generosity. Specifically her act of kindness in taking a Visa gift card she had received on her birthday and giving it to a homeless person.

What blows me away is how we are inspired by these acts of kindness and find ourselves moving in similar places. I'm finding this is something that I want to make a part of my daily life. It's so much fun! 

And that's Jesus in us, my friends. Read this beautiful story from Heidi and how Jesus honored her heart's desire to help someone. He led her right to this mom...

 

ImageFinally here I am, though I feel my RAK is not near as awesome as some I have read, but I promised an update anyway. As I had mentioned before I don't have access to our funds so I needed to be creative, because I really wanted to give back since God has given sooooo much to me! :-) I need to back up a bit so bare with me.

My Mom had sent me a $100 gift card for my birthday and as you can imagine I was totally excited, being that I never have money of my own, which for woman my age can be very humiliating when out with friends. Then I read the RAK post. I sooo wanted to do that leave money here and there, but I knew I would have to ask my hubby who wouldn't have allowed it.

Then I thought I wonder if I could find a way to cash it—nope that wouldn't work either. Then I thought I'll just give it away, but worried it would hurt my moms feelings. Well finally, after reading about your daughter, Dineen, and how she said " Mom, this gift is for me right? Well this is what I want, it will make me happy," I said to myself "exactally! It will make me happy, and was given to me with the idea it was mine to spend how I wished!"

My first thought was, the freezing temp here that we had, I wanted to buy blankets, search out homeless people who didn't make it into shelters and give them to them. Well finding the homeless turned out be a task in its self, and when I did, I felt I would be in danger getting out of my car alone. Also they all were covered in blankets and jackets. So I drove praying, "God if this is what you want me to do I will, I trust you will keep me safe, but I need to know if this is your idea or mine."

So I kept driving, then Wal-mart popped into my head! Hmmm, I thought, is that what I should do, Father, find someone in need there? So I told myself, I will go to Wal-Mart, and if I find someone that stands out and looks in need, then I will give them my card. If not blankets. Wal-Mart it is!

I walked around with an empty cart pretending to shop, even checked out the blankets to see how many I could get for $100. Finally, walking in the food section, I saw a mom and her two children with about four items in her cart and using a calculator to figure out what else she could afford. I could tell by their clothing it had been quite awhile since they had anything new.

I could hear the children pleading for something they wanted or needed. So that was it. I walked over, stuck my hand out and said, "Here this is for you."

She was embarrassed and said, "Oh no, you don't have to do that!"

I told her, "It was given to me as a birthday present, and I want to do it for you. I saw you working on your calculator. Merry Christmas."

And then Itook off! I was embarrassed too and didn't want her to feel bad by drawing attention to us, or try to give it back. I could hear her say "thank you" as I disappeared. I had planed to place God in my words in speaking with her, but didn't because I could see she was worried people would look at her.

 

Heidi, thank you so much for sharing this precious story with us. I have no doubt that mom knew our great Abba was looking out for her that day and He did it through you.

My friends, our testimonies are inspiring and when we share them with a heart to glorify and praise Jesus, we inspire others. So share your testimonies with that heart and ignore the enemy's attempt to condemn and make you think you're bragging. He would love to keep us quiet so that others won't be inspired to do similar acts of love and kindness.

And I wish you could have seen my daughter's face when I told her how her act of kindness had inspired someone to do something similar. I tell you, I literally saw her spirit expand with in her. So beautfiul and so precious. Heidi gave my daughter a gift too in her desire to help another in like manner.

Wow, wow and wow again! This is the heart of Christmas, my friends. The love of Jesus in action. Not to earn the praises of others but to share the sacrifical love that was born first as a tiny baby and came with the sole purpose to save the world. 

Jesus, our great King, Savior and Friend. The epitomy of love, Who CHOSE to dwell in us. He's in you, my friends. Let that sink in and blow you away! Then let Him shine brightly through you.

Love you so much! Be shiney for Jesus!
Dineensig


Weekend Worship — My Random Act of Kindness (RAK)

788824_dollar_billIt wasn’t an ordinary day for us. It was a landmark day. It was a day that would hold more meaning than I expected.

Our agenda that day was to get Leslie’s yearly MRI done and behind us so we could focus on Thanksgiving. It’s routine now and thankfully down to a yearly check to confirm she is still cancer free. And this was a landmark event—five years since her diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor.

We breathed a sigh of relief when it was done and headed to our next destination—the grocery story. There I bustled with my purse and shopping list, focused on what I needed to do next with my daughter along to help.

As I headed for the shopping carts, I hear a voice ask, “Can you spare some change for food?”

I follow the source and find myself looking down at a young woman sitting next to a young man about her age. They seem as average as anyone I would have passed inside the store, yet there they sat asking for food in front of a building full of it.

My friends, this is where it gets interesting and astonishing—not for them but for me!

I suddenly found myself sitting on the cement step next to them, asking about their situation—not to be nosey but to give a listening heart and ear. This young woman’s eyes grew large and a bit stunned, reflecting exactly what I was feeling inside.

Let me share a little of my inner dialogue with myself. “What are you doing? What in the world made you do that!?”

The Holy Spirit did. And I still laugh as I think about it, because something like this is way out of my comfort zone. But in that moment, it wasn’t. I didn’t even think about it, just did it.

After they shared their story of being in a program to help people get back on their feet, but that the facility didn’t have a much in their “coffers” to help them, I felt led to share with them where we had just come from. I was able to point to my daughter and say, “There stands my walking and talking miracle.”

Having very little cash in my wallet, I offered to buy them a gift card inside the grocery story. Veronica thanked me profusely and came with me. As we walked into the store, she shared how she was a cancer survivor too. Breast cancer.

The power of testimony.

My friends, God’s divine appointments never cease to stun me. In that moment I understood why I was supposed to share about Leslie and how God planned this day to remind all of us about His goodness in the past and see it front and center that day.

I felt like the one blessed more than Veronica as I shared God’s goodness to us and told her that all I was doing was passing it on. God loves us that much and wants us to share His goodness. I continued to pray for Veronica and her friend the rest of the day. And praised Abba for the chance to give. Yes, I had moments of doubt, wondering if I did the right thing, but I recognized the enemy’s attempt to discourage me from doing things like this again.

And I learned that being taken out of our comfort zone doesn’t always mean we will be uncomfortable, but we will most certainly be blessed beyond our expectations.

Keep sharing your RAKs, my friends! Can’t wait to hear more! Love you with the heart of Jesus! Dineensig


Weekend Worship — Dreams, Prophecies and Magi

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “ God with us. — Matthew 1:23

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Hello dear friends! I hope you’re enjoying this series about Joseph and Mary. Some of you left comments on Wednesday’s post with some great insights. Go check them out if you can—it’s great stuff! I’ve been looking forward to sharing all week what I felt the Holy Spirit wanted me to take notice of in Matthew 1 and 2.

Five Dreams
Joseph had a total of four dreams. The first when the angel of the Lord told him to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife (1:20). Joseph still could have walked away but it seems his desire to obey God was stronger than his fear of the imposed shame from others he most likely would face (both of them would face). I wonder if they told their parents the truth of what was really happening and if they were believed. Definitely one of those times in the Bible that I wish we knew more.

The second dream warned Joseph to escape to Egypt (2:13). The third dream told him to flee Egypt and go to Israel (2:19). And the fourth dream rerouted him to Galilee (2:22). And even the Magi were warned in a dream to not go back to Herod (2:12). They returned to their own country by another route. (I’m not sure how we wound up with three wise men because it doesn’t say how many in the Bible, but they were from the same country.)

Five Prophecies
A total of five prophecies were fulfilled in just these two chapters of Matthew alone.

  1. Matthew 1:22-23 — “Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear A Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” This was prophesied in Isaiah 7:14.
  2. Matthew 2:6 — ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a Ruler Who will shepherd MY people Israel.” This was prophesied in Micah 5:2.
  3. Matthew 2:15 — He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:“ Out of Egypt I called MY Son. This was prophesied in Hosea 11:1.
  4. Matthew 2:18 — “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.” This was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:15.
  5. Matthew 2:23 — “…and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets:“He shall be called a Nazarene.” This one doesn’t seem to have a direct mention in the Old Testament. My commentary said it may have been unrecorded or a reference to Isaiah 11:1.

Gifts of the Magi
Finally, I have always found the gifts the Magi brought so fascinating. I believe the gold represented who Jesus was—royalty. Gold is often a major part of the descriptions of heaven and Daniel 10:5 describes a man dressed in linen with a belt of the finest gold, and this man is most likely Christ in Daniel’s vision.

The frankincense represents the incense offered by the priests in the temple and over sacrifices. I believe also that this is two fold: one, of Jesus being the highest priest as in the order of Melchizedek (Hebrew 6:20) and two, that He would be the final sacrifice, the Lamb. And the myrrh seems to me to be a prophetic gift that foretells His death and what’s to come.

So, my friends, those are my observations. In two weeks (December 2) we will talk about Luke 1 and 2. So have fun reading and exploring Abba’s word for more tid bits about Jesus’ birth as we leave Matthew’s perspective from his Jewish heritage and enter Luke’s from his Gentile perspective. Fascinating stuff!

In the meantime, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I am so thankful for each and every one of you! Love you dearly, SUMites!
Dineensig

 Image credit: yupiramos / 123RF Stock Photo


Let's Walk in Mary and Joseph's Sandals

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “ God with us. — Matthew 1:23

15540148_sMy friends, can you believe Christmas is just five weeks away?!?! Right now I'm doing a series with my life group at church in preparation of Christmas this year. We're not following a book or script—we're just letting the Holy Spirit walk us through the story of Christ's birth and I'm discovering stunning details in the process. What a great way to walk into this blessed season with hearts focused on and full of the story of our Savior's expected and revelational arrival so long ago.

So, my heart is to share this with you too. It's a great way to set our sights on what really matters in the midst of all the preparations and celebrations, and I believe we will feel more like we've appreciated the truest meaning behind it all, along with valuable time with our loved ones.

Let's start with Matthew 1-2. Set aside some time and read through these two chapters and take notice of the people present and what they are doing. Who seems to be more in the forefront of the unfolding events? What is the turmoil surrounding them? How is God putting people and things into place? How is He communicating with the people involved?

As I read these chapters, I was stuck by how this time of anticipation over two thousand years ago seems so reflective of this time of anticipation that we are living in right now.

For hundreds of years, Jews had anticipated the coming of the Messiah. Their culture, rituals and the Pentateuch all pointed to this impending event. Then comes Mary and Joseph's generation and it actually happens. Take a moment and imagine what they may have felt.

Along with what I can imagine was a fair amount of doubt and wonderment, these two young people stood right in the middle of the biggest revelation of all time. All that they'd heard from their ancestors was now unfolding right in their very own lives.

The Messiah was coming?

Their anticipation was about to become a reality. Maybe not as they had imagined it—who but God would bring the Savior of the world into that same world as an infant first? Have the generations before who'd imagined His coming even contemplated this possibility? Did they assume He would arrive in full form more in a blaze of glory like Elijah left this world?

Now, bring those thoughts full swing to the here and now. This present generation stands in a time of acceleration. More things are being revealed and more signs and wonders are happening than ever before. It is entirely possible that just like Mary, Joseph and those who went before them anticipated the Messiah's coming and then witnessed it, that this generation in similar manner is anticipating the Messiah's return and could wind up witnessing that as well.

Unbelievable? Is it? I say astonishing for sure.

My friends, we stand in anticipation just as Mary and Joseph did. Who knows when Jesus will return—only Abba knows—but I find such striking resemblance right now between us and Mary. Many of us are carrying our hopes and dreams in gestation, waiting for Abba to bring them to term and birth. So let’s walk in Mary and Joseph’s sandals and stand in wonder of what this miraculous birth brought us and praise God for this and the many things He’s birthing in our lives too.

Now, go read the first two chapters of Matthew and take notes. Then come back here and share what stands out most to you. On Saturday, I’ll share some of my own insights as well. I can’t wait to read what you share! I know this will bless all of us too.

Holy Spirit, I ask for a deeper revelation of God’s Word for our community as we seek to draw nearer to Jesus during this time of remembrance and celebration of His birth. Also bring a fresh awareness and appreciation of Christmas to our hearts and inspire us with ways to share this with those around us. We love You so much, Jesus. You are truly the greatest gift we will ever receive. Amen!


Love being on this journey with you, my friends!
Dineensig

 Image credit: yupiramos / 123RF Stock Photo