Several weeks ago, I found what I’ll call a “Dream List” tucked inside my Bible. It was written on September 14, 2015. I wrote out this list in the early dawn of Rosh Hashana that year. I apparently decided to scribble down my future hopes, prayers, and aspirations that I longed to accomplish with the Lord.
I’m sharing this experience with you for two reasons.
God hears our prayers. However, we forget that He responds because our current concerns block the memory of all He has done and provided for us. This is a good day to remember His provision and goodness.
We are all blessed. God doesn’t only dream with me, but also with you.
This is my dream list: (And the answers)
I began to read down the list…. To my utter shock, many, I MEAN MANY of the dreams I’d scrawled out in long hand, had already come to pass. In four short years.
To love you with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength – ANSWERED
To walk in increasing power and authority over the demonic and sickness – ANSWERED
Provision for college for Caitie -ANSWERED (Full scholarship and they paid her to teach. Say what?
More Prayer opportunities – ANSWERED. I pray with many of you from all around the world. and recently I was promoted to Director of Freedom prayer at my local church.
A House of Prayer in the Valley – ANSWERED. I’ve watched the prayer ministry grow into exactly this! WOW! Before my very eyes!
Mike’s salvation -ANSWERED. I’m still wrapping my mind around this reality. I’m wordless to express how stunned I remain even today, at all that God did to bring this into reality. Wait until you read the book, I share the detail in there.
Loose 30 pounds. Ahem, well…. I’m still working on this one *GRIN*
I humbly ask and submit these words of my heart to You, Papa. May you show kindness and favor upon them. Your daughter, Lynn
My list is way too long to share more. I like to dream……There are dreams on that list that remain to be fulfilled but so many more have already come to pass. I’m nearly in tears as I write with such deep gratitude and humility to know our Father loves me with such depth and care that he fulfills the dreams of an ordinary blonde lady.
So, as we approach Yom Kippur, a very hold day unto the Lord, sit with the Father and dream. Write out your dream list and put it away to find it again in a number of years. You will be overwhelmed by the love and faithfulness of our good God.
He loves you that much also. Start to believe it!
Share three items on your dream list with me in the comments. Let me pray over them with you. I adore you.
Dream bigger than you dare because our God is so much bigger than we allow.
This is a short but powerful video teaching about the cycles of faith. How we join God in what He is doing and to stop fighting against Him. It's also about our current season.
In fact, Rosh Hashanah begins today at sundown. I recommend to push into the Lord in prayer and ask Him to reveal what He is doing in your life in this season and the assignments that being given after Yom Kippur. Hugs, Lynn
Sunday, September 29th is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. We've talked about this Jewish holiday over the years. In fact, the first time I'd ever been made aware of it's significance was because of a blog post from either Lynn or Dineen. For those who are not familiar or are new to this holiday, a simple "Rosh Hashanah" search on this site will provide you with a wealth of information. Feel free to check out the archives!
My prayer for us today is that we will each take away something fresh and new. Holy Spirit, reveal to us the heartbeat of God. Amen!
Rosh Hashanah isn't actually a biblical holiday but a traditional Jewish holiday. The term "Rosh Hashanah" means "head of the year" and is celebrated as the Jewish New Year. This is a two-day celebration that proceeds Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).
In the beginning of this month, the Lord really pressed upon me to watch Patty Tower's talk that was given at the SUMite Summit this last April. I decided to go back and watch it again. (I will provide a link below so you can revisit that as well. It is absolutely worth a re-watch!)
As I sat down to think about Rosh Hashanah and what I would include in this post, I went back to my notes from Patty's message. There is so much good in this message but I want to point out one theme:
Joshua 6 - God gives specific instructions about the destruction and taking of the city of Jericho. In verse 20 we see the result of following God's plan and not their own: "So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city."
Patty called us to march around our house 7 times and shout, declare, pray and praise things into existence. It was in the great shout that the walls fell flat down.
Rosh Hashanah isn't in the Bible; however, the first day of Rosh Hashanah, is. Let's take a look.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’ ” - Leviticus 23:23-25
The Hebrew word, Teruah, in Leviticus for blowing trumpets is the same word used in Joshua 6 where they shouted with a great shout. The first day of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Teruah, is a day of blowing trumpets or shouting.
Notice what else it says in Leviticus about this day - you shall have a sabbath-rest. Yom Teruah happens to fall on a Sunday. The day we, as children of God, call our sabbath!
So, why is this important for us? If we are not Jewish, what is the point of celebrating this time of year?
We've already seen in our community some amazing things worth celebrating. Many professions of faith and baptisms with our spouses, children or others we love. Libby gave us a beautiful word about the SUMite community with her picture of the mountain. The SUMite Summit where some gathered in California being at the top and from that trickle, the waters of our faith continued to pool together to create a river at the bottom.
I truly believe something was activated in the heavenlies and we have set off a chain reaction. The enemy has been stirred to anger and we have seen much push back from illness, discord with our spouses and children, financial struggles, backsliding, strongholds etc.
However, I truly believe that God is calling His children deeper. I believe that He is stirring in us a hunger and thirst that can no longer be quenched by fear, pain or opposition tactics from the enemy. I believe that NOW is the time for us to press in all the more into the God of Miracles. NOW is the time to storm the gates of Heaven for our spouses, children, our complete freedom and healing. I believe that NOW is the time for us to suit up and prepare for battle.
There is a shifting going on right now. As we are in this transition period, it is up to US if we are going to take God at His word - for our destinies, purposes, signs, miracles and wonders. We cannot afford to give up or give in. The future of generations to come hangs in the balance. It sounds intense but don't worry! Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
There is so much more I could say but I've gone on a little long.
As we approach this Jewish New Year, what are the things you are coming to the Throne of Grace for? What do you hope to see in this new season?
Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! -- Psalm 47:1 (Shout here is the root word of teruah ::grin::)
We are going to shake the heavens and the earth with our shouts! In the comments, give a mighty shout to the Lord. Thank Him for the victory you've been praying and waiting for! Decree and declare that these prayers are answered in Jesus' mighty name! Now it is up to you to take Him at His word. Trust. Believe. Wait and see. God is so good. And He is worthy of the wait. Hugs!
I don't know about you but I have really been yearning for breakthrough! It gets me fired up thinking about the breakthrough needed in my life as well as others. I am really struggling to completely detach from my old self. I am not saying that I am not growing, maturing or bearing fruit. Please hear my heart. I am talking about the hard reality that the more I press into God, the more I realize I am in rough shape and need Jesus. Can anybody relate?
I recently came across this scripture that has been really stirring in my heart:
So David went to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “The Lord did it!” David exclaimed. “He burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So he named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”). -- 2 Samuel 5:20
Some context: David is now king. He captures Jerusalem from the Jebusites and makes it his home. The Philistines find out this news and come to capture him. David goes into a stronghold and the Philistines spread out across the valley of Rephaim. It is really interesting to note that the valley of Rephaim means "the house of the giants."
David could have been afraid. Sure, he had a run in with them before (remember Goliath, their once great warrior?); however, this time they were after him!
I love the conversation that happens just one verse before:
So David asked the Lord, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The Lord replied to David, “Yes, go ahead. I will certainly hand them over to you.” (5:19)
Isn't there something so "magical" about the promises of God being fulfilled in front of your eyes? The New Living Translation sums up the child-like faith that I believe that David had - the Lord did it!
There are some things that I have been praying into for some time now - outside of salvation and surrender for Jason - full and forever breakthrough from the spirits of poverty and self-preservation in my life. There are many layers that have been broken but I still have a ways to go. It's been tough, especially with me as the toughest critic. These giants have taken camp in the valley of my heart and mind.
The Lord keeps impressing on my mind the idea of breakthrough and I praise Him for this recent revelation in this passage of scripture! Tiffany, I am your Daddy but I am also Jehovah Perazim. I am Your God who breaks through. Do you trust me? Do you believe it? Will you stand in faith - even when you can't see what is on the horizon?
I want to close with the song I heard for the first time today. It is so raw and honest. I can relate so well and I'm sure you can too.
If I’m honest, I don’t know what to do With this battle that I’m going through And how to trust you.
Every part of me, wants to figure out my own plan Wants to take things in my own two hands God help me to understand
You are enough, You are enough for me, for me Take my doubts, drown them in the sea Cause you’re more than enough for me
Every part of me, wants to figure out my own plan Wants to take things in my own two hands God help me to understand
Even if I lost everything, you would still be enough for me. Even if I lost everything, oh Even if I lost everything, you would still be enough for me. Even if I lost everything, oh
Can you feel the breakthrough coming or has your hope been lost? Admittedly sometimes I am teetering on the fence between the two. Sometimes life is tough. But GOD! He is so so good.
Jehovah Perazim, You are our God who breaks through. You come forth against our enemies like a raging flood. There is nothing that can thwart the plans You have for us. When we are weary may we always remember that You go before us. You give us victory. When we are weary like Moses, bring others to surround us and hold us up. We can't do this alone. Thank You for this amazing community. We can all relate to the true struggle not against flesh and blood but against the forces of darkness. Thank You for always saying to us, like David, "I will certainly hand them over to you." We love you and praise you for the great big shout - You did it! We trust you. You are enough. In Jesus' name, amen.
See you in the comments! How can I intercede for you today?
During the leader's meeting on the Friday morning before the conference I said I would share a spoken word piece during the offering time. I didn't have anything prepared at the time of volunteering. In fact I just heard the words come out of my mouth. You know those moments when you realize after the fact that you were pushed into things by the Holy Spirit? Maybe it's just me. It happens quite often. *grin*
The rest of the day seemed to fast forward pretty quickly. Filled with fellowship, food and fun. I was exhausted after the meet and greet at Lynn's house - in a good way - and went to bed shortly after everyone left. Saturday morning I wake up and realize that I didn't take time to prepare a spoken word! Out of desperation I laid flat on my back with my arms outstretched (my body in the shape of a cross) and said, "Holy Spirit, I need You to give me a spoken word for today. I want those who hear it to feel your deep love. I want them to know that they can have a close relationship with You. Give me something."
In that moment of asking Him, I could feel the atmosphere change in the room. It was like He was waiting for the invitation to share what was in the deep recesses of His heart. The following is the spoken word. I have posted it on Facebook so it may be a repeat for some. In my humble opinion, Holy Spirit really delivered!
More, Tiffany Carter, 4/6/19
Remember when I first revealed myself to you?
The relief you felt?
Just wait there’s more.
Remember when you heard me speak life into your bones?
The comfort you felt?
Just wait there’s more.
Remember when you received my loving embrace?
The warmth you felt?
Just wait there’s more.
Remember when you needed Me and cried out for help?
The deliverance you felt?
Just wait there’s more.
Remember when you sought me for clarity?
The answers you felt?
Just wait there’s more.
More. Love that is unendable.
More. Passion that is unshakable.
More. Desire that is unquenchable.
More. Joy that is uncontainable.
More. Intimacy that is unthinkable.
More. Wisdom that is unmatchable.
More. Peace that is uncontrollable.
More. Power that is undeniable.
More. Faith that is unbeatable.
Remember when you stepped into your destiny and calling?
The freedom you felt?
My beloved child…
Ephesians 3:20-21 (TPT) - Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you. Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ—and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen!
Do you want more? I know that I sure do!
Let's talk in the comments. In these weeks since the conference, what are some things that God has been showing you? How has He shown up in your life personally? In reference to Libby's visions, how have you been feeling the residual affects of the river flowing from the conference? I love you all.
Jesus tells the story to His followers of the Prodigal son in the book of Luke 15. And there is so much more going on in this story than we comprehend. I hope you have enjoyed the posts about this passage over the past few weeks.
But today, we are going to look at the Father in Luke 15. I’m so excited.
There are so many things I love about this story. I often share on radio and television my personal story about my prodigal years and how I met and married my unbelieving spouse during that season. So, when I recount my return to the Father and how I see this story in Luke as my own, I become positively emotional.
Each time I share my prodigal story, I envision my story playing out in my mind. I literally see my five-foot-two, blonde self, running as fast as possible toward my Father, God. His arms are OPEN WIDE and the smile on His face…… Well it breaks me into tears every time. His face is filled with such joy and love that I am instantly delivered from all doubt, fear and oppression. And I know, that I know, that I know, in my knower, I will see my heavenly Father one day when I cross over into the heavenly Kingdom and His arms await. Just like I envision! Halleujah!
Let’s take a look at the lessons from Luke 15 about the true nature of our Father:
God is generous. In verse 11 God not only gives the share of His estate to the younger son who demanded it but at the same time He gave the older son his portion as well. Wow, I don’t know how to process this fully. I know the lesson here is that there is a vast amount of inheritance and it’s made available to God’s kids, and available now.
God embraces the wayward son and kisses him. Our Father God is not angry with us when we fail, run, are mad at Him, or even defy Him. He is always hopeful, full of love, and accepting and forgiving of our past, no matter how horrible we think our past was or horrible we think we are.
God doesn’t hold a grudge. I will mention here that it only took the younger son to leave his deception and turn back to God and ask His forgiveness. One sentence prayer. DONE!
Our Father God, looks past the smell, the dirt and grime. I you remember the son was galivanting in the pig pins. God sees us in our worst moment and loves us and wants us so badly.
God wants us back so badly that he will send circumstances into our lives to lead us home. Take a look at verse 14. A great famine swept over the land and the son began to starve. Just ponder the numerous times God reached out to your through circumstances which trust to you to rock bottom? We often miss the outreached hand of God. Yes, indeed, how many times does God sends us a life raft, but we are waiting for a helicopter???
Sonship is restored. The GREATEST gift is a restored, reclaimed identity. With a hug and a kiss, the son is home. He is robed as a royal son. A ring that bears restored authority, power and privilege is once again upon his finger.
Finally, let’s par-tay! A giant party awaits for each of us the day we cross over. But what is even more beautiful, the day or our baptism, all of heaven sang. The day or our pre-believer’s baptism, all of heaven will celebrate!
My friends, our God is good. All the time in every way. And He has so much to give us.
Confusion about his goodness rest in the deceptions of lucifer. The Great Deceiver is responsible for the pain, trauma, hurts and confusion in life. Hear me now… learn about our enemy because we blame God for so much that is perpetrated by satan.
Jesus is the perfect reflection of the Father. He demonstrates God’s love and goodness through this story in Luke 15. It’s our truth! Period. The end.
Okay, share the goodness of God in the comments today. What other lessons are in this story and how has God turned your ashes into beauty?
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’
28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’” —Luke 15: 25-32
I wonder if you feel offense for the older brother?
After all, this man dutifully stayed at home, working hard, toiling in the land and never disobeyed his father. Honestly, if you’ve been a prodigal, you wished you had never run away, and you feel guilty that you come home and are welcomed back. You compare yourself to your brothers and sisters and feel shame. You also feel admiration that they were faithful.
What is interesting is that what the older brother doesn’t realize is that God did a few things for him that he is unable to see clearly.
The older son received his inheritance the day the younger son received his. Go back and read the passage. It’s true. Wow, I never knew this until recently. How generous, how profound is our Father? We get our inheritance now, while we are living in the world. To contemplate what that entails is so far reaching, I scarcely can take it in. I like to ask God about portions of my inheritance that are at my fingertips, but I haven’t recognized it yet. I encourage you to ask as well.
The older son was told by his Father that ---- now get this----- Everything the Father has, is his. Already his. He owns it. It’s given.
What the older son doesn’t know, thank God, is that he will not have to go through all the years of breaking off destructive mindsets, terrible addictions, fear, shame, and the demonic oppression that the younger son picked up while in satan’s stronghold. Hallelujah! This alone is worthy of any and all sacrifice the older son feels he made.
So gang, what are other lessons the older son missed? And what are other blessings he has coming? See you in the comments.
Next post, my favorite. Lessons about the Father….. I can’t wait. I adore you, Lynn
So, gang, let’s look at this Prodigal son and consider our spouses. They have been hoodwinked into a kingdom of darkness. And what is flabbergasting to me is this. They are convinced, passionately, that they are neutral to faith/religion. Or they are committed also with a passion in opposition to our God, in which they believe they know all about, but actually don’t know at all, and are deceived into blindness.
Sounds bleak, doesn’t it?
When I looked closely at this story, the lessons I learned in the Prodigal land were more severe than I realized. Let’s take a look. See if you relate to any of these and consider what your spouse believes is true but is actually a falsehood.
Lesson from the Prodigal Nation:
From Luke 15: About this time his money ran out. The son went to feed the pigs. The son was so hungry the pig food looked good. No one gave the son anything.
The son took on a poverty spirit. For the first time in his life he was living in abject poverty. Poverty of pocketbook, poverty of spirit, poverty of relationships and more. Think about the depression that comes with poverty.
He left the covering of his Father. Rebellion pushes God away. We walk in our own strength which is never going to protect you from lucifer and his minions.
The son then learned, shame, confusion, deception, desperation, uncleanness, etc., etc.
The son settled for less than…… Oh how many of us settle for less than what we are offered through the hand of our Father.
My dear SUMites, I can attest that this is the ultimate goal of the devil. If we don’t know who we are or whose we are, we can’t fight back. We are captured and live in bondage, oppression, sickness and are targets for greater destruction.
Now contemplate what is happening with our unbelieving spouses?
This story is in the Word for our enlightenment but also so that we can perceive the poverty spirit in our spouse. Let our understanding of where they are, push us to our knees to pray for their deliverance and restoration to our loving Father.
Okay, gang, what other lessons do people learn when they dwell in the Prodigal Nation?
March on Warriors! We can help ourselves through Jesus and help our prodigal spouses and kids! Hallelujah!
This past week the Lord surprised me. He began to show me how many promises, hopes, and dreams have been delayed. He began to speak to me about delay.
I asked the Lord about delay and He said to me that many in the SUM community are in this place along with me. During my prayer time, our Father's spoke to me about this current season. I know someone is out there who needs this word. Blessings and love, Lynn
Delay Must Depart
Beloved child, you have tarried in the waiting. Quietly trusting, believing for the promises and answers to your petitions and prayers. When met by delay, you’ve remained steadfast, never wavering from the truths I have proclaimed.
I’ve turned My ear toward you when you arrived before the Mercy Seat, beseeching the answers to your confusion and fears, longing for understanding of the deferrals. In your pain, as you walked the steady path of obedience without reward, grand preparations were underway, tutoring your soul for the greatest treasure. Unbeknownst, you gained profound wisdom of heaven and a deepening knowledge of My Presence.
Verily I say unto you, age after age, a number of My children purpose to seek out this rare gift, Wisdom of the Divine. But in their haste, they seek their own ends and thusly have forfeited this Pearl of Great Price. Forerunners surrendered their promises under the daunting pressures of delay, even as the answer is poised ready, upon the threshold of their heart.
Oh, but alas, my child, you have lingered. Your convictions and faith never wavered. You did not doubt nor relent in your patient petitions. You sought My Presence above all else. Learning My language. Pursing My holy fire. Dancing in worship. Singing praise. Surrendering all. Your obedience has unlocked the door. Wisdom and the knowledge of God, rushes in.
The long season of delay is closing. The blockage is yours to remove. Ask Wisdom the questions to open the gates for you surely, you possess the keys to glory. Invite the knowledge of the Divine to guide your steps. Speak to delay – “DEPART! The will of My Father is my will.”
Now My child, go forth! The season before you will accelerate. Prepare to move quickly. Pray without ceasing. Now behold as the promises come forth, day upon day, freedom upon freedom, healing, health, deliverance, peace, love, joy and salvations. You are a child of the Divine. Your time in the waiting has granted unto you, dominion.
I am in you. You are in Me.
Decree this day the delays are broken, engage the angelic. Then stand and behold as the darkness cracks, light breaks upon the horizon. The change you seek will come rushing in as a flood.
Delay is swallowed up in victory and shall be no more. Hallelujah!
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. — Habakkuk 2:3
I received a call that I wasn’t expecting. From my sister. It was Saturday night, two weeks ago. She was relaying some information she’d received about our brother, John.
He had been admitted into hospital that afternoon, had an MRI that found he had a ‘mass’ in his head. Oh dear. Not at all what we wanted to hear.
And so the waiting began.
Over the next week John had a bunch of tests and scans. Lots of waiting for things to happen – John dubbed it “hospital time”. All confirmed there was only the one mass. Everything else was normal except that movement in both his right arm and right leg were slightly impaired. The mass was pressing on his brain impacting a signal to those limbs.
Finally, a biopsy was to be taken. But this was no simple biopsy as they had to get into his head. And therefore, there were risks involved. Because the mass was in an area of ‘high value real estate’ we were told.
The procedure went well and there were no complications. Praise God.
And then we waited. For the results.
Three days later a simple text message arrived. From John. “Diagnosed with B Cell lymphoma. Chemo starts Monday. Sorry for the curt message.”
My heart sunk.1
A Season to Wait
Advent commenced last Sunday (2 December). Advent is a time of waiting. The name Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming” or “arrival.” Beginning each year on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, Advent commemorates the birth of Jesus and also anticipates His return. As Ann Voskamp says we are “perpetual Advent people” waiting on Christ’s return. I’d add that we are also waiting on Jesus to do work in our heart regarding life’s circumstances.
We SUMites are used to waiting, aren’t we?
He doesn’t always immediately respond to our heart cry – “God help us!” So we wait. “He teaches us to stay in the waiting.” (Ruth Haley Barton) We sit with our longings: for good biopsy results, for our pre-believing spouses, and so on.
It’s important for us to not run away from our longings, to spend time with the Lord expressing our worries and fears. We see throughout the Scriptures, particularly in the OT and the Psalms how many times people cry out to God, whether it’s Rachel in her desire for children (Genesis 30) or David in his lament (for example, Psalm 6).
Light and Darkness
When we wait we often linger in darkness. The future is uncertain and dark. We don’t know what is going to happen. We don’t know what the diagnosis will be or if our spouses will choose Jesus. We typically associate negative connotations with the darkness, don’t we? But a lot of good things happen in the dark. Remember we were created in the darkness of the womb.
Lingering in uncertainty with our longings can also be a positive experience. Because we linger with God. Even if He feels distant we can claim the promises that He has given us in the Bible. “By His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5)
Lighting candles is one of the symbols of Advent. It reflects Christ being the light of the world and coming through the darkness – “The true light that gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” (John 1:9)
During Advent we don’t just wait, we also anticipate. We anticipate the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas. And we anticipate that He will come again to make all things new.
“Jesus Christ has come, and He is coming again. This is the heart of Advent.” (He Reads Truth)
The Branch Gives us Hope
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” (Isaiah 11:1-2)
Advent is all about hope. In the who is coming.
We can believe in that hope. Because He did come 2,000 years ago on that Christmas morn, born in a food trough, son to a teenage mom and her husband.
We can believe in that hope. Because He has come to us. He is in us and we are in Him.
We can believe in that hope. Because He has told us He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5). Even when our beloved doesn’t know Him. Even when the diagnosis isn’t good.
Often when we’re in a season of wilderness or a battle or even the 24 days of Advent our hope is in the end, the arrival, the victory. Time and time again we see in the Bible, most often the true ‘victory’ occurs during the wilderness, or struggle or suffering. This is where we discover that God wants more of us; He wants our hearts to know Him deeply and intimately. This can only come through time with Him. I've always loved the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah, John the Baptist's parents, who lived in silence for 5 months of his gestation. During this period, Zechariah discovered the wonder of an intimate Father, and on John being born, as a result of his obedience in naming his son, Zechariah's tongue is freed and he opens by praising God (Luke 1:64)
Advent is counter cultural because it calls us to slow down from our busy schedules of Christmas parties and events to spend time waiting on Jesus, and leaning into Him as we discover and share the longings of our heart.
I hope you are able to spend some time in the next few weeks reflecting on the hope of Advent. On Jesus. Allow His Words to “dwell in you richly.”
Wishing all of my SUMite friends a blessed Advent season full of childlike hope and anticipation.
Grace and peace,
1. Note: as a write this post, John is undergoing his first chemo treatment. We don't know what is going to happen this week, in the next weeks and months, but I have real comfort because John is in a great place with the Lord as he starts this challenging season. He wants to fall more in love with Him and discover all there is to life with Jesus. If you remember, we'd cherish any prayers you may utter for John. Thank you, my dear friends.
I pray that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! This is absolutely my favorite time of year. I love gathering with family, eating fantastic food and reflecting on all of the favor, mercy, and goodness of Daddy that has happened for the year.
As I was thinking last week about what Holy Spirit wanted me to share, I fingerprinted a man with a business logo on his sweatshirt that said "Stillwater." This prompted me to look up "still water" in the Bible. The main passage that came to mind was in Psalm 23:
1 The Lordis my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside thestill waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
Reading this familiar passage again I was shocked to see verse 5, "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies..." I had completely forgotten that this verse was in this Psalm.
That is when Holy Spirit brought to my mind the song Surrounded (Fight My Battles) by Elyssa Smith from UPPERROOM. Forgive me if I've shared this song before. I love it so much. My favorite verses in this song say, "my weapons are praise and thanksgiving, this is how I fight my battles"
I have been seeing Psalm 23 all over the place since I first saw this man's sweatshirt. I know that of the Psalms, this one is so common and well known even in the secular world; however, this particular passage has not been on my radar for quite some time. Each and every time I am seeing a reference to Psalm 23 there is a different verse that is being highlighted. I think I need to dwell here for a while! I was inspired so much so that I committed this passage to memory. This is a first for me to memorize an entire passage. Woot!
I think with all of the apparent darkness and chaos going on in our community (illness, death, financial struggle, marriage breakdown, depression, chronic pain, etc) and in the world today I want us to meditate on this phrase, "I am beginning to see the darkness around me is just the shadow of Your wings." *Note: this is not my phrase, this gets me every time I listen to this song...SO SO GOOD.*
5 God has gone up with a shout, The Lord with the sound of a trumpet. 6 Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 7 For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding. (Psalm 47)
Please know that our Daddy is surrounding you with His love, presence, favor, mercy, and grace. I know we all know this but may we truly rejoice and sing praises with understanding! Understand your are highly favored. Understand you are loved. Understand you are cherished. Understand in your weakness He is strong. Understand that even in the toughest time of your life He is in control. Understand you are seated with Christ Jesus. Understand you have authority. Understand you are the victor. Understand it. Is. Finished!
Let us lift our voices in one accord today:
I don't know about you the Lord uses songs to get me through the darkest days. Share in the comments some songs that see you through tough times. Your suggestions could be healing salve and oil of joy to another. I love you SUM family.
The last couple of months I have been sharing a bit about what I have learned from reading a book called From Dream to Destiny by Robert Morris. I was assigned to read this book in class and I am so glad that I read it! This book has been truly amazing. To read the previous two posts I've written in this "mini-series" click on the links below.
In September I began to take steps to transition into a new church. As you read this, I have now been at this new church for 3 weeks. Each and every week has been so powerful and effective. Today I want to share with you a recent experience unlike anything I've ever had. It happened a little over a week ago on October 14, 2018. The following is what I posted the next day on Facebook (sharing here as well since a lot of you may not have Facebook or seen it because we aren't "friends"):
Worship at Hub is amazing. God is there. Holy Spirit presence is thick and tangible. We were singing a song I had never heard before. The lyrics were powerful and the words that floored me at the time were talking about laying my whole life down before Jesus our Savior. I was already worshipping on my knees but I couldn't help but crouch face down before God. I felt so heavy and overloaded. I was just crying and crying before God. My words spoken in tears and sobs. All of a sudden it was like God said, "get up." Not in an angry way but an empowering way...if that makes sense. I sat up and it was like I saw myself in the place of the woman caught in adultry that was brought before Jesus. The crowd, stones in hand set to stone her. Jesus calmly and matter of factly said, "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone." Slowly, one by one the people left. Once everyone was gone, I pictured Jesus lift up my chin so I would look him in the eyes. Crouched on the ground seeing His eyes intent on mine. Looking into my soul. Just like He did with the woman that day, He said, "who condemns you?" Looking around I reply, "No one Sir." In that instant...I felt all the weight of condemnation lifted. It was like I had an hour long deep tissue massage. Every fiber of my being, relaxed and stress free. I realized later after worship and after the service...reflecting on what happened in that moment. Those people standing and surrounding me so quick to condemn and judge...were different versions of ME. How often I have shot myself down, I have stoned myself for a mis-spoken word, a harsh tone, a forgotten task, a wrong thought...I have been stoning myself for years and as God clearly told me to get up - it was giving me my life back. It was His GRACE UPON GRACE. His mercy. His true love. He doesn't keep record of wrongs...and neither should I. NO LONGER DO I. This morning, as life went on as usual...I reacted in ways I am tyring to change (short with my daughter when she cries about everything she wears - meltown after meltdown this morning and my shortness with her, attitude from tired children, etc) but the major difference was this. No one condemns me...not even myself. I made a mistake, asked for forgivenenss and moved on. The first instance my flesh tried to condemn me I heard the words "no one Sir." Loud and clear and it reminded me of the freedom that I was given. Once and for all. I will never go back. Once that transaction was finished Jesus said, "Go and sin no more." Can you image the freedom, the joy, the apreciation she felt with that moment? I can...because I do.
You may have to click on the picture to better see but I found the moment in worship where this exchange happened. Today I stand free from years of mental torment. As I think about this moment it still brings tears to my eyes because every moment since then has been a blessing. Please know that it doesn't mean that I am perfect or care free. I still have some struggles that God is working on in me. Holy Spirit is still pruning and I've got a lot of work to do. However, I am no longer hopeless.
I've gone a little long this time so let me wrap up with this:
I have been blessed to be a blessing. So today, I bless you with joy unspeakable; freedom from weight (even YEARS worth) of torment - mental, emotional, spiritual, physical; victory beyond belief; confidence in your Daddy; hope to weather the storm; faith, life, salvation for your spouse and loved ones; light in the darkness; advancement in the Kingdom where you feel backslidden; fire shut up in your bones; fight and fierceness; and love beyond compare.
Below is the song that brought me to the feet of Jesus and ushered me into freedom.
See you in the comments. I would love to pray over you for your own deliverance.
b: something that furnishes proof : testimony; specifically: something legally submitted to a tribunal to ascertain the truth of a matter
(Merriam-Webster online dictionary)
Last post (This Is Just The Pits!) we began to take a look at the life of Joseph. We discovered that there are ten tests we must face in order to fulfill our God-given purpose (I highly suggest you read From Dream to Destiny by Robert Morris for more on this topic). I want us to really dive into the deep end of the pool as we learn more about the pit test.
First, let's continue on in the story of Joseph. At this point he was ambushed by his brothers and thrown into the pit. Changing scenes, we see what happens with his family next:
So [Joseph's brothers] took Joseph's tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in blood. Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, "We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?" And he recognized it and said, "It is my son's tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces" (Genesis 37:31-33).
Joseph's brothers did not flat out lie and say that Joseph was killed. Jacob came to that conclusion because of their leading question, "Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?" This is what we would call fabricated (false) evidence. Remember evidence is an indication or something that furnishes proof. This evidence in Jacob's mind was proof that his favorite son was dead - to him it was the truth.
For over 20 years, imagine Jacob as he says in v. 35, "For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning." Imagine a father so heartbroken that he was not able to be consoled. I don't know for certain but I can imagine countless nights of crying himself to sleep, restlessness, no appetite, deep depression...unable to move on. Not only that but his other sons could have easily freed him from all of it...over 20 years of seeing and living with their father. What callous and prideful hearts!
What about you? What fabricated evidence has been stacked up against you? Your marriage? Your parenting? Your identity in Christ? What lies of the pit have kept you trapped for far too long?
We live in a sin-hardened world, and we will be tempted by fabricated evidence just as Jacob was. And like Jacob, we will suffer unnecessary grief if we allow the lies of the pit to determine what we believe.
This is very important. If you want to get out of the pit, you must learn to discern the lies of the enemy. Because when you are in the pit, you are especially vulnerable. When you are in the pit, circumstances usually don't look very favorable - and that is exactly when Satan will manipulate those circumstances in order to deceive you. He will hold up those circumstances before you as evidence that you should believe him rather than have faith in God. But fabricated evidence is not the truth. Joseph's brothers held up a bloody coat as evidence, and that evidence looked pretty convincing. But it was fabricated evidence. It was not the truth. If you want to overcome the lies of the pit, you must learn to focus on what God has said. When you are in the pit, you must remember that nothing is too hard for God, no matter what evidence the enemy might produce...
Yet even worse than his fabricated evidence is Satan's biggest lie: "You've messed up too badly. It's too late for you. You've messed up too badly to ever fulfill God's destiny for your life." Do you realize that the Bible is a book entirely about restoration? The Bible is filled with stories of people who messed up so badly that it seemed even God couldn't do anything about it - and yet He restored every one of them. He wants you to know that nothing is impossible for Him. As long as you have breath, it is never too late to call out to God. It doesn't matter what pit you are in. If you call out to God, He can fix it. And that is the real purpose of the pit. (pp. 38-39, From Dream to Destiny, Robert Morris)
Next time I want to finish up with the hope we have - the light at the end of the tunnel - in times of experiencing the pit test. But for now, let's meet in the comments. Let me speak truth into you and pray with you as we debunk the lies of the pit. Lean into this reality that fabricated evidence, no matter how convincing or real it appears, is NOT the truth. I promise you that this assurance will transform your life and catapult you out of the pit.
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. —Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust is at the core of our relationship with God. And from my years of perspective, it is a long journey to fully trust in God.
Today, I want to talk about trust because so many of us in the SUM Nation are at the end of our rope and we want to trust but we aren’t fully convinced that God will catch us in this disaster that we face.
Brick: I think that building trust with God is part of our process. It’s a moment by moment, brick by brick, building of an entwined love. I choose to believe God at His Word and place my husband’s salvation in His hands.
Brick: God chooses to reveal to me His favor in area of faith and I develop an authority over the spirit of fear.
Brick: I trust God to provide during our yearlong unemployment.
Another Brick: God returns my husband to his former job a year later with all benefits and seniority restored.
Brick: I choose to trust God to heal me emotionally as well as physically.
Awesome Brick: God lays down another brick and heals me emotionally, physically and then I am commissioned and trusted to bring this kind of healing to others.
It’s a process.
A relationship building process that for a long time I thought was just one sided, me trusting God. But in reality, God is trusting me just as much. Indeed, I think the Lord sits upon His throne and ponders about Lynn on earth. Is she strong enough to write vulnerably about her marriage? Can she handle public backlash? Can she sustain the momentum? Will her marriage truly model what she writes?
My faithful demonstration of these questions, then opens up the Lord to trust my character to walk in them fully and bear His name that I would bring His name glory, not shame or ridicule.
Do you see how this trust thing works?
This kind of eternal building is summarized in the passage above. Read it again… Look what happens when we choose to trust, submit our free will unto His wisdom, He will make our paths straight.
I don’t know about you, but I have veered off the road way too many times, arriving in the pits. The pit of anger. The pit of disappointment. The pit of despair. The pit of loneliness, comparison, cheap living, fear and a host of other demonic dwelling places.
The more I trust, follow His voice, walk in obedience, I find this passage is absolutely true. God really honors His word.
So my Sumite, brothers and sisters, are you tired of being a pit dweller? As I have forged a path, going before you, follow behind me. Verily, verily, I tell you the truth. Building trust is a two-way relationship and it is the way to peace and life abundant.
Let’s ask these questions of God:
Father, are you good?
Father, can I trust you?
Father, can I trust you with ____________________
Father, what area are you teaching me to trust you?
Father, where am I dwelling in the pit?
Father, today I choose to climb out. Help me. (Current circumstance. Fear, marriage, illness, etc.)
Can I pray for you today in the comments? Also, do you struggle with knowing in your knower that God is really good? If so, please hop over to the SUM Facebook page and listen to how I came to understand fully that God is absolutely good. Click here <-----
In the first post on this new writing journey for the SUM community I talked about the feeling of being a throw-away kid. This operated in my life in many ways. I was plagued by thoughts such as -
I will never be able to do enough.
I am not good enough.
I am just trying to get your attention.
I cannot measure up to your standards.
What more do you want/expect from me?
I can't handle these demands.
I don't deserve it / you.
I honestly haven't realized – until last week during a healing prayer session with Lynn - that these thoughts that have plagued me for years are not only from the enemy but HAVE A NAME. The Orphan Spirit operates in such feelings as abandonment, loneliness, alienation, and rejection. Ouch! Looking back on my life, this has been the major theme! I am so used to a life like this that it almost seems unnatural to operate in freedom from this. (Isn't that truly the enemy's tactic..to turn things upside down and make it seem like “normal?”) The more I look into this topic, the freer I feel. It is almost as if the scales are falling from my eyes! I am not an expert by any means but I intend on digging deeper...I see this as a chapter in Vicarious to Victorious as the Lord leads me to write this book.
Or · phan: a child deprived by death of one or usually both parents; one deprived of some protection or advantage.
I have to say that this journey of freedom has been hard. I have realized that I have to truly fight for victory and the more I gain momentum, the more I have to be on guard. I don't say this to scare anyone. The journey is long but the triumph is so much stronger than anything I have to endure. I read Romans 8 this morning in my quiet time. This is a familiar passage to me and probably for many of you. What really jumped out to me was verse 18,
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Wow, just wow. Today this familiar verse hit me like a ton of bricks. The sufferings that I am presently dealing with – the baggage and destructive mess left by the Orphan Spirit – has taken a toll on my life. My parenting. My marriage. My friendships. Everything!
I have been living with an identity crisis YEARS after trauma from father figures. The Orphan Spirit has left me deprived of protection and advantage. My identity for the longest time has been in productivity, performance, approval. These things have always been fleeting. Even if it seemed as though I was getting what I thought I wanted, said approval, I still couldn't accept it. If I could describe the labels that I allowed the Orphan Spirit to place on my life they would include such things as: worthless, unwanted, unworthy, unloved, ineffective, desperate, needy, clingy, an object not a person.
He has given me a new identity!
Let's look at Galatians 4:4-7:
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
This does not sound like the labels I had placed upon myself at all! Thank you God, You give us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57)!
In digging deeper into God's word, and allowing the Holy Spirit to renew my mind and transform me (Romans 12:1-2) I am seeing more and more that I have the ability to see my TRUE identity. My identity isn't really in crisis at all. In fact God is using the trauma of my past to help me look forward with more confidence than before. I am not who I once was. Instead of those old labels I can rest assured that my identity looks more like: victory, confidence, powerful, effective, fierce, redeemed, helpful, compassionate, empathetic, gracious, artistic and creative, unique, valuable.
Joseph Mattera wrote for Charisma News, “The only way to break this orphan spirit is for people to be filled with a sense of the Father's love for them in Christ, which then enables them to become mature sons who serve God out of knowledge of His undeserved grace instead of trying to earn the Father's love through performance.” (You can read through the entire article by clicking HERE)
I want to close this with a chance to meditate on the newer song from Passion feat. Kristian Stanfill and Melodie Malone – God You're So Good.
His mama was found wandering about Los Angeles and birthed a litter right around Christmas day. We adopted this little buddy from a Chiwawa pet rescue. We also adopted his sister, Gracie, nearly two years ago.
Finn, I’ve come to decide, is a special needs doggie. Something happened to him before our ownership that has left him with permanent pain in his back-hind quarters. He often yips and yelps and scurries along the floor like someone is chasing him because of the moments of pain he experiences. We have taken this poor mutt to the Vet several times, x-rays and exams to figure out what is causing this pain.
We can’t figure it out and he continues to be in pain. This causes the little pooch to be very fearful. He’s also obsessively devoted to my husband Mike. Follows him everywhere.
It breaks my heart to look upon the pup and his suffering. So much so, that I often will sit next to him and gently pet his back and pray over him saying, “I love you Finney. I bless you with peace, in Jesus name. I bless you to be healed, in Jesus name. I bless you to be free from fear, in Jesus name. I bless you with peace in Jesus name.”
I seriously have seen progress and his pain appears to be less than last year. But alas, there are good days for this little doggie and not so good days.
I suppose you are wondering why I’m sharing this story. Well, recently I was in the kitchen and I heard the dog yelp as he jumped up on the couch next to my husband. The yelping bothers Mike as well. To my astonishment, Mike pet the dog and said to him, “I bless you with peace in Jesus name.”
Mike smiled back.
My instinct checked in and I said, “You need to bless him again because it’s persistence that is the key to heaven.”
SERIOUSLY. This was happening under our roof.
Mike, “I bless you with peace in Jesus name,” as he looked at Finn.
Gang,….. In Jesus name.
This man spoke it. The name to which every knee will bow….. He spoke it. (Romans 14:11)
I grinned at him. And Mike grinned back.
We went on with our day and I believe that all of my 25 years of praying, living out my faith, loving and forgiving is producing the results of every promise in the Word for me as a child of God.
The LORD recently has caused me to realize that it’s been my pain, discouragement, disappointment and unmet expectations that have been the springboard into the most amazing faith adventure.
ALL OF IT has led me into the brilliant experiences of this verse:
Christ in me, the hope of glory. —Colossians 1:27
This promise is for all of us.
Everything worthy in God’s realm is won by hard work, persistence and pounding on the doors of heaven. Every single thing. This faith walk is not for the faint of heart, nor those who will give up easily. But when you put in the years, the hard work of healing, prayer and faithfully living of God’s Word, you will see the glory.
How do I know? Never in a million years would I have thought my husband would bless anyone or anything and never ever, ever in the name of Jesus Christ.
It’s the season of miracles. Press toward the goal my friends. (Philippians 3:14) It’s worth the price.
I love you my SUMite family. I bless you today with the peace of heaven. In Jesus name. AMEN
Stay tuned as the first week of January will be our prep-week for our annual community fast. We will fast together, with new insights that I have learned about fasting, the week of January 8-12, 2018.
I’m listening to the LORD for our promises for the year. It’s going to be the best year ever.
Those words, inaudible but clear, woke me one morning, just as the birds were beginning to sing. It felt like a word from the Holy Spirit, but I struggled to understand. Only months later did a sudden ‘a-ha’ come:
I am the ‘girl who guides’ my husband, the one who spiritually leads.It’s not the way God intended. That’s why it's so hard.
God had just explained my hurting heart to me. It doesn’t sound much, but it was really helpful.
I thought that was it, but last week, quite unexpectedly, this ‘girl guide’ word unfolded into something more: A promise for our community! I feel led to post it here, and I hope it encourages you, as it has me.
Here’s what happened:
Last week, one of our SUMites, Jan, had a dream featuring boy scouts. She described it on our Facebook group and asked, ‘Does this mean anything to anyone?’ My ears pricked up (girl guides ... boy scouts), and the minute I read it a meaning came. In fact, the dream was one of two she had:
In the first dream, we (the SUMites) were diligently working away at desks. Lynn came in to meet with us, but first had an interview with CNN to complete.
In the second dream, we were at an outdoor venue and were showing a movie about Jesus. One person, a spouse, was attempting to compare Jesus and a Greek god as dying on the same day. Lynn had to leave to go to another event, but we ended up having a large group of boy scouts from Maryland show up, and we began the movie again.
The first thing I thought of was that two dreams can mean "the matter has firmly been decided by God, and God will do it soon" (Gen 41:32). Well, here we had two dreams - What fun! In both, we were working as a team, with Lynn leading us while also ministering elsewhere. These dreams, to me, seemed to address something intentional about our work.
I can't help but think we’re watching Lynn’s reach extending and expanding -- it's exciting. And perhaps these dreams suggest that the rest of us also have new work ahead! Like the outdoor movie, we evangelise outside the church walls -- and we show more than tell. We have begun that work, but our effectiveness will really bloom once our spouses join us.
Currently, our spouses issue a voice of challenge.But we do know that will change. Where the spouse in the dream was initially arguing that Jesus was no different to a myth, that sentiment can change so that our spouses declare 'the day Jesus died so did everything else false!' Just like Haman’s plans were turned (Esther 6:10-11), the voice of resistance can turn to the voice of persistence!
And the large number of boy scouts?I believe they represent our spouses, our other halves: boy scouts joining their girl guides. They will come from a place of deep intimacy, a place where people sit at Jesus’ feet (Maryland!) And once they join us, the show will really start.
Pulling it together, then, could it be that our evangelism in the home is only the start of a bigger job -- a wider evangelism -- ahead of us? A job in which we will co-labor with our spouses?
Indeed, 2017 was to be a year of promises revealed (see 9 January) and here it feels like we've gone from being told 'it's hard being a girl guide' to being told the boy scouts are on their way!
It reminds me of this verse:
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.
He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard.
He will tell you about the future (John 16:13, NLT).
As 2017 closes, have you any further thoughts on this and/or any of the other promises we've been given as a community? It'd be great to hear your thoughts!
I wanted to write about the Lord’s promises and explain what the Lord recently revealed to me. I encountered opposition about claiming the Lord’s promises for my husband.
My husband and I have been separated for almost three years and he actually divorced me in May 2016, but I didn’t even know about it until a year later. He has since married someone else and they have separated. I have also consulted with my lawyer who says that the divorce was not carried out legally and we could contest it. That door still has not slammed shut.
Years ago, before my husband left, the Lord promised me that my husband would return, not a slave to sin, but a brother in Christ (Philemon 1:15-16). He also promised me that He would give my husband an undivided heart and place His Holy Spirit in him, remove his stony heart and replace it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26). I have clung to these promises and claimed these promises, even in the face of opposition, because of the faith He gives me.
The Lord continues to me of His promise to keep me strong and give me the faith to make the decisions He wants me to make. I have watched my husband, (yes, I still call him that), Charlie, go from not wanting to set foot in a church to regularly attending a Bible believing church in our community. In fact, the last time he had our children, he took them to church on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Years ago, before we separated, he did not want me to pray for meals but lately he has asked my children to pray for the meal when they go out to eat. My daughter also told me that when she got into his jeep last night, he was listening to a "man talking about God." And recently he told them that he listens to pastors on the radio now. Charlie is a truck driver who travels across several states during the night, so he may be listening to hours of God’s Word.
I have watched God do amazing things and He still amazes me every day. I do not waver in unbelief regarding the promise of God, but my faith is strengthened, and I give glory to God, being fully persuaded that He has the power to do what He has promised. (Romans 4:20-21). His promises have reminded me how to react and speak to my husband in every situation; speaking with grace so that I do not ruin my witness. His promises guided me to wait on the Lord when everyone else was telling me to divorce Charlie and move on. His promises give me the faith to make decisions that would seem foolish to the world based on my circumstances, like quitting my job as a public-school teacher to home school my children as a "single" mom. God not only provided almost all of my home school resources for free, but He has also provided an amazing job in which I'm teaching English to children in China online in the early morning hours.
The Lord’s promises are such an amazing act of grace and mercy. He could just leave us in the dark about everything that is going to happen. We could just be left to try to figure everything out on our own. People who do not follow Jesus are doing just that each day; living in the dark and trying to figure everything out on their own.
His promises are the reason we can walk by faith and not fear.
His promises are the reason we have peace and joy in the midst of storms.
We need to cling to and claim His promises, personal ones He reveals and the amazing promise of eternal life. There are over 100 promises in the Bible that we have the privilege to claim as believers.
I was recently thinking about Joseph and the Lord’s promises to him through his dreams. I used to think that Joseph was enslaved only because he shared the dreams he had with his brothers, but the Lord recently revealed a new perspective. Since the Lord knows everything before it happens, and He knows our hearts, perhaps the dreams the Lord gave Joseph were given to Joseph because of what the Lord knew would happen. He knew Joseph’s brothers’ hearts and the way they felt about Joseph because of Jacob’s love and favor towards him. The Lord knew what the brothers were going to do to Joseph before it happened. I believe that the Lord used those dreams He gave Joseph to keep him strong during the trials the Lord knew Joseph would face; the enslavement, imprisonment, and needing to forgive His brothers.
The Lord knows what each and every one of us needs and He does not keep us in the dark. He knows what every soul is longing for and what every person will have to endure in their lifetime because He has already seen it all play out. It is by His grace and mercy that we have the promise of eternal life and we need that to carry us through the hard times, the confusing times, the struggles.
He knew we would need His promises. We need to remember His promise of eternal life and personal promises that He reveals because He has given them to us for a reason; not just as something to hope for and patiently wait for but as a guide. We should always base our decisions, our attitudes, and our behavior on His promises and seek to follow Jesus, trusting Him that He will bring us to that promise. I know that God will fulfill His personal promise to me and my family because He has already seen it happen. But most importantly of all, I know I will have the promise of eternal life with Jesus, my Savior in His perfect timing. I will be living with Jesus in eternal light, brilliant colors that don’t even exist on Earth, a glorified body, no tears, no worries, no fears, no sickness, and no pain. I can't wait!
It is also up to us to share that promise with everyone. Righteousness is the opposite of sin and Heaven is the opposite of Hell. We need to remember that there is also a promise of eternal damnation for those who do not follow Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If Heaven is the opposite of Hell then the eternal damnation they face is one of eternal darkness (such that we’ve never experienced before), and an eternity of tears, pain, fear, sickness and horrors we can’t even imagine. We shouldn't want anyone, not even our worst enemy, to experience that. We need to intercede in prayer and share the Gospel with words and actions.
Thank you, Lord, for your amazing promises that are so full of grace and mercy. Do not let us forget your promises. Open our eyes to the opportunities to share Your promise with everyone around us. Help us to live every day of our lives in the victory of that fulfilled promise and may You receive all of the glory for everything You do and all that You are. We trust that you will do whatever it takes to draw our loved ones to Jesus Christ.
My name is Becky Walker. I live in Greensboro, North Carolina. I am a stay-at-home mother of two children; my 8-year-old, Charlie Walker, V and my 6-year-old, Lily. I used to teach middle school Spanish but in June, the Lord called me to home school my children. I resigned as a teacher, a lateral entry position that God had amazingly provided since I don’t even have a teaching license, and later in the summer, I applied to VIPKID. I now teach English to children in China and I’ve never enjoyed a job more. I live in a house that’s owned by our church, and I recently became involved in the ESL ministry there; another door God opened. I love spending time with my children and singing in our church choir.
Hello, SUMites! Wow…what a joy to be with you today…I’m just taking a moment to drink in God’s presence here and being with you again. Lynn asked me to share an update, specifically about my recent anniversary, and I was thrilled to do so. What I didn’t expect was the rest of the story God wanted me to share with you…
September 5th marked Mike’s and my 30th wedding anniversary. That truly blows my mind when I think about it, because the generations of my family are marked with multiple marriages (per person) that resulted in divorces. I give God all the glory, my friends. His love and blessings are the catalyst behind the unity, love and peace I have in my marriage, which are the fruit resulting from partnering with God to cultivate and protect my marriage. We are not only partners with our spouse but also with God for that very reason and outcome.
To celebrate our anniversary, Mike and I planned a vacation to drive to Vermont to see the Autumn colors. Do you remember the dream list Lynn encouraged us to make a while back? I stumbled across mine a last week when I was looking at previous words and promises the Lord had given me. One of the items on my list was to perhaps one day live in a place that displayed the beautiful colors of fall.
As an artist, this has been a long time dream, as I’ve never lived in an area that displays these vibrant colors in the fall. And I will unabashedly say that the first sightings of these amazing colors brought me to tears. That’s just the artist in me delighting in God’s brilliance!
I believe this trip (which fell into place with great ease) was God’s way of giving me that dream in a way that keeps us where I know we are supposed to be (in Florida), yet to experience this longing of my heart without moving. (We’re considering making this trip every couple years.) Don’t you just love how God can surprise us with answers we never thought of? Or imagined possible?
A Year of Promises A few weeks ago the Holy Spirit told me to go back through my journal and tab each page that I had written something down that I felt I heard from God. I sensed He wanted me to do this, because I’d begun to feel like I wasn’t hearing God as much. I knew He’d changed things up earlier in the year so I was hearing him differently, but tabbing those pages showed me I was hearing Him more than I realized. I thought that was the point of the lesson.
Yet God always seems to have much more in mind for us in those lessons than we think. An encouraging word showed up in my email a week after my tabbing session that the Holy Spirit used to lead to make a list of the promises on those pages. So I made my list, going through each one. If I hit a page that I wasn’t sure about, I added it anyway.
The best part was seeing my entry from January 1, 2017 in which I wrote “2017 will be a year of promises. Two fold: the revelation of promises already given and new ones.” I’d almost forgotten about that word, my friends.
I believe this is a corporate directive from God for all of His people right now. Make that list of words and promises. Sew, pray, cultivate and protect them. Declare the truth of His heart in each one and trust Him to bring the harvest as He has designed it. I have no doubt that you will be surprised by the fruit that comes.
Promises Revealed Like you, my family holds a big place in my heart and the promises God has given me for them. Yet the one I’ve asked God for a promise or word is my oldest daughter. I’ve asked God many times the last two years for a promise or word for her and her husband, yet nothing clearly came. So, I chose to stand on God’s Word, specifically Philippians 4:19, because they have struggled for several years financially and to get their careers off the ground. I’ve prayed it over them and with them, encouraging them to declare this verse together as well in their joint devotional time (I love that they do that!).
It’s a story longer than I have space to write, dear friends, but suffice it to say that my daughter stepped away from a difficult job and chose to trust God for their provision. Within a week of that decision, she was offered a potential full time position as an illustrator for a national cartoon, her husband’s requested raise was approved, and more opportunities are in the works that will launch their careers in astounding ways.
And as I looked at my promise list, I realized I hadn’t put this verse about God’s provision on my list, because I considered to be a direct word from God. That’s when I realized God wanted me to see that even though the promise didn’t come as I expected, in a word or leading directly from Him, it was still a promise from His Word.
What struck my heart further was that it’s the first one fulfilled and revealed. Not what I expected, but very clearly what God wanted me to understand. His Word, the Bible, is His promise to us. All of it. I know we’ve talked about this a lot in the past, but the truth can never be over-spoken. God is faithful to His Word (Jer. 1:12) and to His people.
I see this happening around me in this new territory where God has positioned me (healing rooms and a new school) and in the people I have the pleasure to work and do life with in these places. It’s as beautiful to see as those astounding colors of fall.
So, my friends, next time you read your Bible, read it like a hungry child feasting on food made especially for you and with an expectation to recognize a promise waiting for you to claim. Write it down. Make a list. Hold it close to your heart in prayer, trust and expectation.
Because God has spoken to my heart about 2018, SUMites. It’s to be a “year of blessings.” I have a feeling there’s more though. With God, there usually is.
Hope. In Lynn’s last couple of posts she has shared what the Lord has been saying to her about hope. As I meditated with the Lord on what to write about He gave me a similar instruction: HOPE.
I’ve previously shared on my three-strikes rule: if I read/hear a topic 3 times in a very short space of time I realise the Lord is wanting me to pay particular attention. This happened last week and the topic was, you guessed it, Hope.
These are crazy times indeed. Both at the global level: Nth Korea, Harvey, Trump, Charlottesville, Middle East, terrorism, etc and at the individual level: depression, suicide, divorce, job loss, and so on. Yes, these are crazy times.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NKJV)
We have a God of hope.
This verse starts with urgency: Now. Yes, we can allow our circumstances to derail our hope and in no way do I want to sound like I’m underestimating the impact of anyone’s trying individual circumstances. Some of us are doing it really tough and I cry out to Jesus for His presence and supernatural peace to invade all of our lives in a new and vibrant way.
I was having breakfast this last Saturday and Fiona came in to say an ambulance was next door and things weren’t looking good. Fi had some errands to run and I was agitated by what was going on next door. I could see our friends hovering at their front door as the paramedics were doing their thing. I didn’t want to intrude as I might just be getting in the way.
But I knew there was one thing I could do and Now. Go to our God of hope and pray. He knew what was going on with our friend’s mum who’d collapsed. So I interceded for her for the next however long. After about an hour the ambulance left and I was filled with peace even though I was uncertain of the status of her life. He was in charge. He knew.
Turn to Him. Now.
Often in difficult times we try to resolve the issue ourselves, panic, run around trying to be helpful. You get the picture. But we have a God of hope who knows all things.
Pray over your situation using the promises of God. God loves hearing us repeat His Words.
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed these verses in the last ten years or so. They really are my go to verses when anxiety grabs a hold and/or my circumstances have gone pear shaped.
Something miraculous happens when we pray His promises, we get filled with hope and our faith grows. That’s why the Bible is a supernatural book. Our words have power. Perhaps our circumstances may not change immediately but our perspective will.
Dearest Father, we love you, we worship you. Thank you that you are the God of hope. We come to you now as our God declaring that no weapon formed against us and our families will prosper. For you are our God. You will strengthen us, You will help us and you will uphold us with Your righteous right Hand. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.
Oh, our neighbour’s mom is okay. She is still in hospital for a few more days but is recuperating well. Hallelujah.
Last week I wrote about HOPE. It's a weird thing when God takes you through a season of change. I discovered quickly that the enemy will pounce on every insecurity, past wounding and bring every difficulty in your life to the forefront in an effort to torment. In the past week, I've walked this out. Don't think I'm not immune to the devil’s attacks. But my years of walking in faith has helped me to quickly rebound so I don't stay in the stinkin’ pit for weeks.
Anyone want to climb out of the stinkin’ pit today? Well, this is what the Lord told me yesterday and within an hour of praying this prayer, I WAS BACK!!!!! So, everything I have learned, I pass to you today. Because I am an arm of love, supported by my Jesus, reaching into the pit and I WILL PULL YOU UP! Well, Jesus will, but I'm there with you *grin*.
Lord, align my desires with Yours.
Today, align my thoughts with Yours. Align my work to Yours. Align my heart to Your heart. Seal my life to depend upon Your life.
Align my energies and efforts to what You are doing on this earth in this season. Align the love in my soul to Your love. Align my heart to love others.
Align my eyes to see what You see, to perceive as You perceive. Align my dreams to be birthed from Your dreams about me and for me.
Align my wisdom to Divine Wisdom and to reject the voice of worldly enticements. Align my pursuit of You to be holiness, kindness, compassion, truth and righteousness.
Align myself to be a leader to others and that I would lead in humility and love. That others would then align their love to Your Presence.
Align my worship to Your heart, to bring You honor and glory. Align my words to be words that become a well-spring of hope to myself and others.
Align my mind to Your mind that I think only what You think about me.
Align my every minute of every day to offer You thanksgiving for the richest blessings of provision, protection and grace.
In Jesus name. AMEN
*I want to thank Ann Hutchison for this inspiration. She left a comment on my personal blog that was my arm of support to lift me up. Gang, we all need one another. THAT IS WHAT FAMILY IS FOR!!
SUMite Texas Update: I also want to let you know that I spoke to Martha (Debbie) and Dorothy from Texas. Their homes were spared. Hallelujah. Martha was just let back into her home on Monday. Their church is a complete mess and there is cleanup happening all over the place. Thank you Lord for your protection but we pray for those who are experiencing enormous loss. We pray comfort, peace and Lord send them every natural provision they need, times seven. In Jesus name.
I believe in God, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They are our hope. See you Friday with a powerful message of HOPE in the God of the impossible. Love you, Lynn
My friends, did you experience a breakthrough through our study together? What do you feel God did in you through the revelations of His love and promises for you? Please share your heart, your doodles and your coloring pages.
And thank you again for joining me as we walked through the truths of Romans 8 through Scriptures and coloring. I pray you are continually embraced in and transformed by God's great love for you!
Love you so much! Dineen
“Jesus has the authority to condemn, but He chose another way—the way of sacrificial love. For He knew to condemn would drive us away and His desire was to be the solution to draw us near.” pg. 50 #youarelovedcoloringbiblestudy goo.gl/qG9HBT
Remember to share what you're learning in the comments. Did you identify a struggle? What is God's promise and provision for that? For you? Share your heart, your doodles and your coloring pages! Hugs! ~Dineen
“His loves reaches us from the past of the cross, carries us through the present, and ushers us into eternity. It’s constant and relentless—for us and for those we love and pray for.” pg. 46 #youarelovedcoloringbiblestudy goo.gl/qG9HBT
You Are Loved Coloring Book Study Schedule
Aug 28: (Share pages!) Video: How Much Does God Love Us? Wrap up!