48 posts categorized "Grace"

This IS Grace In Real Life

The following was taken from a post on the 1 Peter 3 Living Group. It's testimony from Pam Anderson. My friends, you will see Grace differently in this. Thanks Pam, Lynn & Dineen and your SUM family.

Hello Everyone, 

God has been doing an amazing work in my home, my husband and my marriage.  Let me begin by saying that the word God gave me for both 2014 & 2015 is GRACE!  I expected a new word for 2015, but that didn’t happen.  Little did I realize what AMAZING things he had planned!  Yes, AMAZING GRACE. 

To make a very long story as short as possible, since October of 2014, Grace has become a staple word in our home.  Even for my husband!  I can’t begin to tell you what a Divine move this.  My husband, Bob, is a very hard, military man (served 32 years).  He was trained to be this way; however, he has a soft heart that he rarely exposes.  That would mean he’d have to be vulnerable, and, well, we know how that is. 

We started having conversations about Grace, what it means, how it transforms.  He’s an author of action-adventure men-type books, and he even has a chapter talking about Grace.  Oh, this only made possible by HIS AMAZING GRACE… 

Then I got Max Lucado’s book, “GRACE” for Christmas.  With the help of this book, God took me to a whole new level. Grace started happening to me in a way I cannot explain (I have chills just thinking about it).  I couldn’t have ever imagined this with my limited human mind and thinking.  It completely changed how I saw my husband. I began giving Grace is a new, fresh and generous way. 

Then in January, a death occurred with one of my husband’s long, lost friends. His friend’s wife.  My husband and he had not spoken for over 20 years.  All this time, my husband harbored anger, guilt and resentment about this, because they had been very close friends.  Jim, his friend, was a very hard man as well.  So when we got the news of Jim’s wife passing away, an amazing feeling came over me.  I knew that God was going to use this to open a door to mend this relationship somehow, and bring forgiveness and Grace where there was guilt, anger, resentment.  I didn’t know how.  My husband decided he wanted to go to the funeral. This was a very hard step for him, as he didn’t know what he was getting into.  And what happened was AMAZING GRACE! 

Jim, the friend, was a totally transformed man. Yes, he had been saved, and Grace overtook him!  The way this impacted my husband, well, there are no words to describe.  He couldn’t believe it.  My husband, prior, had always thought of Christians as weak, but what he saw was Grace.  Something powerful and life changing.  He saw a man who he NEVER, EVER, would have believed would become a Christian, and had.  SUMites, this is the ONLY person in my husband’s life that could affect him this way.  It is so amazing how God works!  

When my husband returned, he was dumfounded and started calling a few of his male friends to tell them about it.  Each one talked about Grace in one way or another; maybe not the exact words, but they described GRACE!  Then I handed the GRACE book (Max Lucado’s book) to my husband and said, “If you want to know what happened to Jim, read this.”  And he has been!  

I can’t believe the change happening in my husband before my very eyes.  GRACE IS HAPPENING!  And Lynn, in regard to your post about praying for your husband differently, that’s what I began doing. I started claiming, believing and thanking God for what I’ve asked Him to do for my husband- as though all my prayers have been answered.  “Thank you Lord that your Grace is transforming my husband before my eyes. Thank you that Your GRACE is turning him upside down and evading his space, and he can’t stop it!  Thank you that GRACE is penetrating his very being—his communications, his actions, his thoughts, his emotions…  Thank you that Your Grace, through the Holy Spirit, is shaking him at his core and softening his heart to You, Lord. Thank you that Your will is being done, here in my home, my marriage, my life and my husband’s life, just as it is in Heaven!  Thank you Father that You are working all things for our good and Your glory!”  And this is what began happening. 

I became so overtaken and impacted by this fresh, new experience of Grace on my life, and seeing how me giving Grace and living Grace, before my husband was making such a difference in our home. I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss an opportunity to experience it. So I had a friend of mine who makes bracelets make me a GRACE bracelet (see attached).  It reminds me constantly throughout the day to give GRACE, often, generously and at every opportunity.  Just like Jesus did and DOES for me, daily!  I’m realizing that the degree to which I GIVE GRACE is the degree to which I RECEIVE GRACE.  I can’t explain how powerful and life changing this concept has become in my life. 

Then, on Valentine’s Day, the most amazing thing happened.  My husband and I were going to have a special, relaxed dinner at home.  We were on no timeframe.  And then GRACE appeared!  We had the most amazing conversation about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the transforming power of GRACE.  I gave my testimony, cried.  He heard it, a few tears came to his eyes.  I shared just the appropriate amount, just what God laid on my heart to say. Then, I just let GRACE happen.  I let God chase my husband down with GRACE! 

In conclusion, I need to share this.  Three years ago I took a major leap of faith.  I quit a prestigious job making a six-figure income.  I knew this was what God was telling me to do, to support my husband in his writing and his efforts.  And he gave me an assurance that what I would go through, he would use as a ministry, somehow.   If I had known what I’d face over the next three years, I would never have quit my job. I’m thankful God only shows us in small increments what he wants us to do, because in my limited human thinking, I would never have been able to do it.  Our financial situation got so dire, to a place I never envisioned I’d be.  But that’s where Grace met me, in my humbleness, in my desperation for God.  That is where I had to get.  Previously I thought I trusted God but I didn’t, I trusted my job—me. 

There’s more, but this is all I’m supposed to share for now (thank you for Grace in regard to this long email). I’m not sure where this is taking me, but God is giving me a little more clarity of His plans for me.  It’s very humbling. My friends, it’s  nothing short of AMAZING GRACE! 

In His Grace,
Pam

Pam HeadshotI recommitted my life to Christ in 2006 while my husband was serving in Iraq; 11 years into our marriage.  In April, my husband and I will be married 20 years.  This would not be possible without God’s life-changing Grace.  Grace that had to show up in me.  God has laid it on my heart that my most important mission on this earth, is to show Jesus to my husband; and I’m never more like Jesus than when I show my husband Grace and Mercy.  It’s been a very humbling and transforming process.  I celebrate the promise that my husband is sanctified through me.  I thank God it’s done!  I’m just waiting for God’s perfect timing to bring it to completion for all to see!  Glory and honor be to God!

I worked in the healthcare industry for 25 years and quit an executive position to support my husband in his writing career.  A step of faith that has taken me, and my marriage, in directions I could never have imagined or dreamed of.  This year I will be writing my first book.  A book which my husband fully supports and encourages, about how a woman’s heart is completely transformed when God’s Grace rules. How every relationship is impacted, forever changed, when Grace is applied to that relationship.  I ask for your prayers as I begin this project, that this book will be completely, and only, about bringing glory and honor to my Lord Jesus Christ.  


The Throne of Grace

IStock_000014923738XSmallMy friends, I’m wrestling to understand another revelation that I feel God is slowly unwrapping for me. Again, like the one about the cross being Jesus’ marriage proposal to us, this new one budded as I sat in church on Sunday. I jotted it on the note sheet with a question mark by it. 

Heart = Throne Room?

It it subtle yet stunning. Obvious yet obscured by “safe thinking” and rules that tend to separate us from “claiming” the holiness of God. Yet if we are to believe we bare the righteousness of Christ and are co-heirs, then we are holy and righteous in our redemption in Christ. Perhaps this separation is embraced more out of protection for we know pride is a great stumbling block, yet to deny what we have been given is to deny the cross itself.

I hope I am making sense. Please follow me as best you can as I get these thoughts down. I will share with you the chain of thoughts and events that are leading me to this revelation.  

Last year, my year of intimacy with God started at the throne of Grace one early morning as the Jesus woke me to come sit with him and learn more about this verse:

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. — Hebrews 4:16

This “invitation” and Proverbs 3:5-6 became crucial keys to my healing journey:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. — Proverbs 3:5-6 

What I didn’t realize until later is God told me He was doing this back in 2013. One day as I looked at a walking cane that was twisted and gnarled at the handle, yet straight to the bottom. He said, “I am making all paths straight.” 

So with that understanding, my attention was understandably grabbed again when this verse (Prov. 3:5-6) showed up again last week. One morning my Bible literally fell open to this verse. Well, you might say that is understandable especially if it is a well visited verse from the past. BUT, this is a new Bible, my friends. 

Yes, Holy Spirit, I am listening…

Back to Sunday. The thought came as our pastor spoke about being wholehearted in our faith. His second point contained a key verse. Yes, THAT one, yet again.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

I placed a star by it, unsure yet what God wanted me to understand. I realize now He was preparing me for a push in my boundaries of safety in my belief. He was asking me—reminding me—not to lean on my own understanding. He had a revelation that would push the separation of safety that I still tend to cling to.

I’d also started listening to the last in a series of messages about fear by Pastor Steve Thompson on Sunday but was unable to finish it. Monday morning on my walk and pray I resumed listening to his message. As it neared the end of this message about truly understanding that Jesus lives in us, that we carry the presence of God, Thompson asked his listeners about the throne of grace. He asked, “Where is it?” 

My notation on Sunday’s bulletin flashed in my mind: Heart = Throne Room?

Could it be that “my thought” was the Holy Spirit revealing another aspect of what I’d tried to keep separate? I believe the analogy of us having a throne to our life is valid and that to give our lives to Jesus means to relinquish this place of control to Him. That we step off the throne and give this rightful place to Him, our Savior and King. Our Lord…

And if we as believers are to pray with faith that His will be done on Earth (and in us) as it is in Heaven (right now) (Matt. 6:10), and we sit in heavenly realms with Jesus (Eph. 2:6), and as we are in Him, He is in us and is in the Father (John 17:20-23), then can this thought, this wonder, that the throne of grace is closer than I realized is valid? That as this throne of grace most certainly exists in the heavenly realms, does it also exist in us? In our hearts? 

For surely I know that throne of my heart was once dark, selfish, judgmental, jealous and fearful. Yet Jesus has come in and turned this throne into a reflection of His—a throne of grace, love, mercy, sacrificial love, beauty, acceptance, validation, identity, peace and joy.

And let me be clear that if this place exists in me it only and truly by the Grace of God, and not by anything I have done.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. — 2 Cor. 4:7 NLT

What do we know to be true? That God has given us the open invitation to come to His throne of grace—anytime. But I can’t help but think that when we see the distance is much less than we think, and realize it is Jesus who comes in search of us (and our pre-belivers), just as God came to the Garden of Eden to “search” for Adam and Eve after they had sinned (He came to them…), we come closer to fully embracing the depths of God’s love. His grace. And His grace is big and powerful.

I need His grace daily. I need His love desperately. I need God. And we know our pre-believers need Him too. So here is my final question and where I suspect God is leading us. What is our part in bringing this grace from the throne of our inner lives to our homes so that all will be saved? 

Another verse that seems to be popping up a lot this week:

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. — Acts 16:31

I believe this piece of Scripture is a promise for us today as well, and I am believing and praying it for my pre-believer. My friends, I believe we have a theme building here with Ann’s dream about “the resting of grace” along with the revelation the Holy Spirit showed me last week about the cross bring a marriage proposal, and now this one, that as believers and lovers of God, we hold the throne of grace within us. And I am asking King Jesus to let this grace flow from the throne through me to my husband. I’ve prayed this about Abba’s great love, but now I sense that this prayer about grace, this resting of grace, is an integral part of God’s next move in our SUMite community. Will you join me in this prayer?

On Saturday I will share another stunning piece of this puzzle—something God planted in front of me this morning and gave me the leading and confidence to share this post and concept with you. I look forward to hearing your thoughts, my friends.

Love you dearly!
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Reader Question

Hey ladies, 

You mentioned in your book together about how you handle media choices. Could you share some advice? Music, tv, entertainers (comedians), too much screen time overall? Also praying that pornography is not an current or future issue. 

Thanks! 
Jen

Jen’s question is such a good one, my friends, and she graciously gave me permission to answer it here on our blog.

What Choices?
My friends, as we walk in closer intimacy with Jesus, we become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Don’t be surprised if you are finding yourself unable to read, watch and listen to things you used to. 

For example, I used to love to read thrillers and watch shows like Criminal Minds. I can’t anymore—haven’t been able to for a while. In fact, just the other night, my hubby and I were watching one of our shows together (we have a handful we both can agree upon) on Hulu, which still has commercials, and an ad came on for the show “The Following” (yes, the one starring Kevin Bacon). 

I didn’t even think about my reaction, my friends. My hands flew up and covered my face and I blurted out something like, “Oh, I can’t watch that. Nope, can’t watch that.” I think I kept saying it too so I couldn’t hear the dialogue either. I’ve no idea what my hubby thought as I couldn’t see his reaction, but he did let me know when it was over. Whew! (And what a bummer that I can’t watch Kevin Bacon!)

Now if something disturbs you, it’s going to disturb your children. And saying it’s just me or it’s not a big deal is hedging away from the truth that it does make a HUGE difference as to what we allow ourselves to watch, take in and assimilate. We have more wisdom and experience than our children so it’s crucial we stand in the gap for them too. Our minds and hearts are precious to God and need to be protected as this is also where our battles begin.

This is one area that I will even go as far as to say, stand your ground no matter what. Stand for yourself and stand for your children. I know these are the times that can really create havoc in our marriages, but ultimately we are influencing our pre-believer as well. Trust God to work that out and don’t be surprised if, over time, you find your spouse’s choices influenced by yours as well. As we protect our children’s viewing choices, we can influence our spouse’s as well with love and grace. (My friends, please share what you have experienced in this area as I think it would help us all.)

Let’s look at a great Bible verse that speaks to this topic of what we put into our minds:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. — Phil. 4:8 NLT

Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious––the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. — Phil. 4:8 The Message

Once the imagery goes into our minds it’s hard to get it out. I’ve had ask the Holy Spirit to actually remove images in my mind that came from books I read and movies I watched as a teenager and young adult. He’s very good at that and you can even ask Him for positive imagery to replace it.  

Now how and where do we draw the line? I believe some of this is obvious but some isn’t as what may be okay for one person isn’t for another. For example, I’m very sensitive to things to do with the mind (evil) and sexuality. My husband is very sensitive to violence. We work together to makes choices that we both can enjoy while being sensitive to the other person.

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” — 1 Cor. 10:23-24 ESV

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “ All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.” — 1 Cor. 6:12 ESV 

NotAlone3DThis goes for music and books as well. In chapter five (Peaceful Kids) of our book Not Alone, I share how my family and I handled the Harry Potter books when they entered the scene. My husband wanted to read the first one to my oldest daughter who was around 12 at the time, but I was very concerned and expressed those feelings. We agreed we’d all read the book at the same time. This gave me an opportunity to discuss different aspects of it with her and reinforce the truth of good and evil. This option wound up working very well for our family.

And what I love especially in what Paul says is that he will not be dominated by anything. This is profound wisdom, my friends. For that is one thing we must be on guard for, that nothing would dominate in our minds and hearts to becoming an idol in place of Jesus. That which we fixate on we give control to.

How Much?
Again, I think the same principles apply as above. What works and is appropriate for you and your family? I do tend to think less is better as we can more than likely “think upon” better things. But content needs to be considered as well. There are many documentaries available today that when chosen wisely, can offer a wise use of time. Another example, my husband and I took our time watching a series about the Roosevelts and found it very enjoyable. We learned more about our country’s history and enjoyed doing this together.

I’m also a big believer in redirection. Let me explain. I find much more success in suggesting an alternative option than arguing against the current one. Too much TV watching? Suggest that you and hubby go for a walk, or suggest a game to play with the kids, indoor or out. These are great ways to stay together as a family instead of defaulting to everyone going their own way. We can be creative in how we handle these situations with the leading of the Holy Spirit, my friends. Don’t limit yourself or the Holy Spirit to give you and your loved ones another way to go. 

About the “P” Word
Jen is wise to pray against the presence and influence of pornography. Very wise indeed. My friends, follow those nudges from the Holy Spirit. He may be showing you something to pray for or against that could happen tomorrow or two years down the road. Remember, the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective (James 5:16), so follow those leadings and pray. Don't be afraid or fearful, just pray and trust Him. The more you do these things the more you will recognize your Shepherd’s voice and grow more and more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. It just takes practice. 

Thank you, Jen, for sending in your question. My friends, I would love to hear your thoughts on this as well. I’m sure many of you have some great ideas and words of inspiration for this important topic. I’m so thankful for this loving and supportive community! You all are amazing!

Love you!
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The Greatest Romance of All Time

22641640_sOn Sunday I sat in church and watched a short video clip done by an energetic young man. I can’t remember much of what he said because partway through he said something that planted a thought in my mind that bloomed into something I’m finding quite amazing. Then today (yesterday as you read this), the Holy Spirit brought me to a Scripture that opened the fuller meaning and picture of this thought. 

I am a bit undone by it. Let’s see what you think, my friends.

As women, we long to be wooed. I remember as a young girl playing with Barbies, I would stage Barbie’s wedding to Ken. It was quite something actually, at least in my mind. As a teenager, romance books replaced Barbie and Ken to feed my imagination of what romance meant. And no, not in a good way.

So, as a young adult, my hubby’s formal proposal (or lack there of) kind of left a gap in my longing for a great romance, to be swept off my feet and carried away. After all, Ken always swept Barbie off her feet. But that’s not what I want to talk about today. What I want to talk about is a different kind of marriage proposal. The greatest marriage proposal of all. 

The cross.

This the thought that came on Sunday and has mulled and simmered in my heart and mind since. The cross of Jesus Christ is a marriage proposal. And when you think of the Biblical references to us being the bride of Christ, it fits.

Christ came down (went on bended knee?) and humbled Himself, sacrificed His dignity to woo us. To call to us out of His great love. To ask, “Will you bind your life with Mine forever?”

At our yes, He presents us with a gift to hold and seal the promise of the promise to be fulfilled. The ring—the Holy Spirit.

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. — 2 Cor. 1:21-22 (ESV)

We could call our time here on earth our engagement period. We are promised to the One and we seek to know and love Him better as the romance continues in preparation for our coming life together (eternity). Or we could call our baptism (by water and/or the Holy Spirit) the wedding (a public ceremony) and our continued faith walk our “marriage” to the Lover of our soul.

It is a beautiful analogy, my friends. One I am still pondering as it explains to me the longings of a woman’s heart (and I am only speaking to women here as I am woman. I dearly hope we will have at least one male commenter to share his perspective of this great wooing). We long to be wooed, romanced, desired and yes, claimed in the sense of knowing to Whom we belong. And in the pure hands of Jesus, it is a beautiful and right thing. In the hands of the world and the enemy of our soul, it becomes twisted and selfish.

I had no intention of bringing up the movie 50 Shades of Grey, but as this imagery of the cross as a marriage proposal bloomed in my mind, I realized we are not much different really from the women (unbelievers and believers alike) who are flocking to this movie, for I also believe they are indeed seeking to fill this yearning. We are all God’s creatures, designed to have this longing for the eternal bond (marriage) with our Savior Jesus Christ.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. — Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)

As the bride of Christ we have found the truest longing of our hearts—a place that can never be filled by a person or romance books or a movie. For these things translated into some sort of reality for an individual will lose their glimmer and promise in the enduring light of day. The truth is always exposed. The initial satisfaction of these false imitators of the love and passion of Christ will fade because our souls are wired with that eternity Abba Father has placed in us. It recognizes the imposter and rejects him. 

And we are left broken and longing yet again. The great awakening we truly long for is in Him, who longs for us out of the purest motivations for our good—our salvation and identity in Him. This is the place of satisfaction and excitement and wonder. A place where we are loved and cherished and valued, called worthy and beautiful and identified.

The romance never dies with Jesus. He is constant in His loving pursuit of us. He does not stop once He has captured our hearts. He continues to delight and love us more and more, as much a we will allow and follow Him. And there is always more. 

That is the seal and the promise we are given. It is stunning to think that God gave us a part of His very Self to give us a guarantee of His promise. I stand in wonder at this new realization of the depth of such sacrificial love.

For me. For you. For every woman out there. And for every man. We are the center of this great wooing by the heart of Jesus, that draws us to Him without overriding our will or demanding control. It is the purest form of love that seeks nothing but to give, to save, to free.

And in the freedom we are free to love and give ourselves to our Bridegroom who has waited for us since the very beginning of time itself. I can’t think of anything in this world that can match this level of romance, my friends. 

I will close with one final thought that continues to simmer and form in my spirit: This wooing is happening to our pre-believers, whether we see it or not. 

SUMite Ann H. left a comment on Lynn’s post about waking from a dream with the words “pray for the resting of grace” and the image of my face. And yesterday I read this sentence in the book, The Elijah Task by John and Paula Sandford:

Only the Holy Spirit gives the grace of belief—otherwise nothing, neither persuasion nor miracles, will bring about true belief.

So as Jesus woos my hubby, I will be praying for the “resting of grace” upon him so that the Holy Spirit will release this grace of belief into him.  

I believe, my friends. I truly believe this will happen. Jesus said that if we have faith and don’t doubt, we can move mountains. 

I am praying and shouting “GRACE” at his mountain of unbelief, and I am ready to see it move. I am asking Jesus to show me how I can be part of this great romance for my husband’s soul.

How about you, SUMites? I’m looking forward to reading your comments and hearing your thoughts. 

Love you dearly!
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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 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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Day of Atonement

Isaiah 66 2 Day of AtonementSUMites this is a day of fasting. Sunrise to sunset.

Humble and contrite. Humble and contrite. Humble and Contrite.

What does this mean to you today?

Psalm 51:17  My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

Isaiah 66:2 Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

There are a multitue of scripture verses on humility, Visit here.

May the Lord blesS you and keep you my friends. Great is our God and great are His mercies, grace and promises. 

Lord, let us be your people who respresent you well. In the name of your Son, Jesus, we pray. Amen

 

 There is someone who needs to hear this song today. May it change your life. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


The Ugly Word for 2014

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

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

Let’s get started, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's great to be alive!

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

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


Line by Line: God's Thoughts on Guilt and Shame

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Good Friday Morning My Friends, 

I want to add to our summer study something that is not specific to our line by line study but something I feel as though the Lord is desperate to tell His children. 

I was talking with Dineen on Tuesday and sharing with her a discussion I had with a very close friend of mine who was tormented by shame and guilt because of past decisions in her life. I hung up the phone with Dineen after sharing the story and all of sudden The Voice of God was speaking so loudly to me in that bathroom where I was getting ready that I know I’m to share His thoughts about this subject today. 

From the conversation with Dineen we were made acutely aware of how unworthy so many of God’s children feel. How beat up, emotionally and spiritually, because of the many mistakes we have made in our lives. How we live with such deep shame over words we have spoken. We carry enormous gilt over the tremendous errors in our judgment that have brought pain into our children’s lives and into our own. 

We feel like this all the time. And on dark days the enemy snakes in and tells us all day long that we are a failure. We are stupid for making that decision. He tells us to say to ourselves, Oh, how I wish I wouldn’t Isiah 4 9have said that. I would give my life to make a different decision. I have suffered so greatly because I chose to do this instead of doing that. 

If we could see this shame and guilt upon us in the spiritual realm, it would look like enormous chains upon us, dragging behind us, sapping our energy and our love. Can anyone relate? 

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

 

My Sweet and Holy Child, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s all okay. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

I adore you. Please adore yourself. 

Signed, Your Papa
Abba, Father 

PS. Jesus says, “Hi.”

 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


Our Greatest Promise (Part 2)

8406391_sHappy Friday, my friends! Let’s finish what we started on Wednesday. I left off with an analogy of the Holy Spirit flowing in our lives like blood in our veins and how it’s important to keep the “flow” free of unrighteous impediments. As I said at the end of Wednesday’s post, the Holy Spirit helps us do this.

He is very good at His job of showing us places in our lives and hearts that we need to deal with, of nudging us to do the right thing, and even of reminding us of God’s love and will for our lives. Also known as godly conviction, it is done with the love and heart of God for our good. Not to be confused with condemnation either (Romans 8:1), it is relieving, freeing and healing.

Just about every day, I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything I need to confess or see in myself. I talk to Jesus about it and ask for forgiveness if I need it or for help dealing with or overcoming an issue. Then if there is nothing else, I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me and overflow in me, and that my day would bring glory and honor to Jesus.

When the Holy Spirit can move freely in us, our lives are changed and empowered. Abba wants for us to walk in this place of righteousness and empowerment that He sent His Son Jesus to bring us. And it is the Holy Spirit that does this work in us.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. — Philippians 2:13
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. — Philippians 4:13

So often we try to fix ourselves when the best thing we can do is sit quietly before God and let Him do these great works in us. We do our part (repentance and obedience) and He does His part (saving and transforming).

And my friends, I’m discovering through this year of intimacy that the key is knowing God better and better:

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. — Colossians 1:9-14

And the motivation behind all this is always, always, always God’s pure and unconditional love. He tells us to confess our sins and be filled with His Holy Spirit not out of harshness or so that we “get it right.” His desire has been, is and always will be to connect our heart to His so that His love can flow into our hearts freely, as blood flows freely in a healthy body, as the Blood of Christ flowed freely to save us.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. — Romans 5:3-5

And when the Holy Spirit flows freely in us, we are doing what Paul called “walking in the Spirit” and we are empowered to do those things that please God, whether they are serving others, or overcoming a sin or idol in our lives, or loving the difficult ones in our lives who Abba has specifically called us to love.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. — Galations 5:16 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. — Ephesians 2:10

Our greatest challenge as believers is also our gateway to freedom and unfailing faith: is to trust and believe. As Peter says, “These trials will show that your faith is genuine” (1 Peter 1:7).

Our greatest and most important calling is to know and love Him (Deut. 6:5, Mark 12:30), to be still and know, trust and believe that He is who He says he is (Psalm 46:10), and let Him do the great work in us that He began and is faithful to finish (Phil. 1:6).

And I am finding that it is in the quiet moments when I manage to still my heart, my soul and my spirit before Him, that His loves pours freely, His wisdom comes in priceless gems, and His presence overwhelms me.

My friends, may the Lord bless you and protect you, may the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you, may the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace (Numbers 6:24-26).

Have an amazing weekend. Love you so much!
Dineen

Copyright: dirkercken / 123RF Stock Photo


Our Greatest Promise (Part 1)

8406391_sMy friends, this is part three of the salvation series Abba has been leading me to share. The first week we talked about how we are Wired for Salvation and last week, we discussed the differences in our identity before and after accepting Christ in Sinner vs. New Creation. This week we will explore our greatest promise and guarantee of eternity because of our salvation—the Holy Spirit.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. — 2 Corinthians 1: 21-22 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. — Ephesians 4:30

The Holy Spirit is our seal of ownership that we belong to God and our guarantee that we are and will be saved on the day of redemption. If you know you the Holy Spirit dwells in you, then you know you are saved and have an unshakeable eternal destination and home.

But I want to talk about “the more” of this promise, specifically the difference between being dwelling and filling. We can’t change or affect that the Holy Spirit lives in us thanks to the saving grace of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection, but we can affect how much we are filled by the Holy Spirit’s power.

First, God’s Word tell us to be filled.

Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, — Ephesians 5:18

Paul cleverly uses the comparison of wine because he wants us to understand that we are meant to be “saturated” (the Greek intention of the word drunk) with the Holy Spirit. That we are to be affected so much that His presence is seen by others—Christ in us.

Yet the one thing that impedes the flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives is sin, whether it’s intentional or not. And though there can be debate on what sin is, I am learning that it is pretty much anything that shows a lack of trust in God.

Worry, fear, anxiety are three I have battled with more in the last six months than I ever imagined I would. And if you asked me last year if these are “sins” I would have told you I wasn’t sure.

Yet now I see them in a different light, that the first entrance of these and things like anger and unforgiveness are like temptations. They enter in as possibilities and become sin in our lives when we entertain and give them place in our lives. (If you’ve described yourself as a worry wart in joking, it’s time to shake that label and tell worry to take a hike.)

Thus why this piece of truth is so vital to our mental, physical and spiritual health—to our soul, mind and spirit.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. — 1 John 1:9

Again this is not to be legalistic, but it is something we need to consider and practice on a daily basis. What unrighteousness are we carrying that impedes the flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives? 

What lie are staying in agreement with? What fear are we allowing to keep us from full accepting all that God wants to give us? Sometimes we know when it’s a sin (like lashing out at a loved one) or sometimes it’s a past hurt or wound that we are holding onto and Abba says it’s time to hand it over.

Think of it this way. Our veins are filled with blood and when the blood flows freely through our bodies, we are healthy and strong. But then there’s this thing called plaque (unhealthy build up of white blood cells or ‘sin”) that builds up in our veins and if we don’t do anything about it (change our diet and exercise, etc, in other words ‘repent’ and ‘confess’) the blood flow is impeded and our health declines.

Amazingly, the Holy Spirit helps us do this. On Friday I will explain how that happens. (Lynn has graciously given me her blogging day.) Until then, I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

Love you, dear friends!
Dineen

Copyright: dirkercken / 123RF Stock Photo


And The Walls Came Tumbling Down

SUMite Nation: 

Matthew 24Let’s finish this journey of Walking The Walls of Jericho. 

Remember, we are in the seven times around. I’m not sure exactly where I am, five, six, seven times around but I’ve come so very far and will never relent. There are promises behind those walls. There are captives to be liberated and plunder to be regained. Everything that was stolen. And there is a devil to be defeated and cast into the lake of fire. We, the saints, are the chosen to defeat the enemy with our worship. 

This is who we are. And you know what awaits us?.... The sound of the Shofar... 

The Shofar: 

When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. —Joshua 6:20 

The walls crumbled. Now get this, the walls fell and the People of God didn’t lift a finger to topple this shut-tight fortress. God spoke. The Walls Fell. Period. The end. 

But my friends, there remains another blast of the Shofar. It’s the trumpet sound of the Redeemed. God speaks and His Word goes forth with power, reducing the enemy to an impotent and silent foe. 

And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. —Matthew 24:31 

The great day of the trumpet blast is ahead. It is a promise we can believe and trust and pursue this promise. In the meantime. We walk. We love. We help others. We love others. We trust. We see the miracles and we train up the generation behind us. 

As we conclude this series, I’m moved to ask you again. What is the most important verse or component of this story? Do you remember?

His Voice. 

The voice of God. It matters not what lies behind those walls. It pales in comparison the plunder, the victory, the riches, the abundance. At the end of our long journey (our years of wondering in the wilderness) only one thing matters. His Presence. 

Everything, all that we do, is in pursuit of His Presence. So consider a few thoughts with me as we continue to walk out this journey: 

  • My goal in life is not to figure out who I am, my goal in life is to figure out who He is.
  • God is always good. Always. Always. Always.
  • God has good gifts for His kids.
  • My victory is at hand because it was finished at the Cross.
  • It’s easy to pray general prayers to avoid disappointment. The Lord is looking for those who know they are servants and pray dangerously.
  • God makes me BRAVE!
  • Fear is faith in Satan.
  • The enemy loves to get us to look at ourselves either in self-criticism or self-discovery in order to keep us from looking to God.
  • Keep asking for The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation that we may know Him better.
  • Our brokenness is also our pathway to His heart.
  • People matter.
  • Perfect love casts out all fear.
  • Healing is for everyone.
  • God lavishly gives Spiritual gifts that we can give them to others.
  • Grace, grace and more grace.
  • Walking together we overcome all hindrances.
  • Peace, I give thee. I receive His peace and I thrive.
  • The Promised Land? His Presence. 

I love you so much my friends. Share your thoughts, scriptures, prayers in the comments. Our worship silences the enemy. Your sister in the Kingdom, Lynn

 

Weekend Worship — The "Year of Intimacy" Continues

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are CHOSEN!
Love you all so much!
Dineen


A Fast Finish

6a00d83451ee9f69e2019b03b60213970c-320wi

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

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

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

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

It is finished!

Your sins are gone.

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

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

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

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

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

Conversation

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

Prayer

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

Communion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fast Forward

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Untitled2Are you experiencing a special closeness to the Lord at this point in the fast? Are you gaining insight through contemplation? Have you picked one word to focus on this year (See the post from Monday.) Take notes of any insights so you can reflect on them later this year. Savor this experience.

As Christians, we are told to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23). Praying and fasting is a very tangible way to do that. After our SUMite community fast ends tomorrow, some of you may want to plan to fast independently in the future.

Recently, I have done partial fasts a couple of times a week. This schedule works for me. Many people fast on Sunday mornings so that their first meal is Communion. I think that is a lovely practice. Some may fast on rare occasions when the Spirit calls them to it.

If you are finding a particular benefit through fasting, you may be tempted to take this practice to an extreme. God does not want us to deny ourselves good nutrition. And we can’t “earn” our way into Spirituality by fasting “harder.” Jesus spoke often against legalism. Here are a couple of relevant scriptures.

Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility  and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. — Colossians 2:20-23

They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. — 1 Timothy 4:3

We are under grace, not under the law. (Romans 6:14) therefore, we don’t have to live under a set of rules. We follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. God loves to hear from us in prayer. And He loves us whether or not we are fasting.

If fasting becomes for you a show of personal will power, then stop and refocus on the Lord. If you are at the church building every time the doors are open, but your family feels neglected, then reconsider. You don’t have to prove anything to yourself or others. God wants our hearts. God loves you – period.

Keep these passages in mind as you contemplate whether to fast again in the near future. 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. — Ephesians 2:8-9

Conversation

Do you plan to fast again later this year?

What are some legalistic practices that are common today so that we can be aware of them?

Prayer

Dear Lord. Thank you for the time we spend in Your presence. How we love you. Let us accept your grace. Let us rest in You and not pressure ourselves to prove ourselves as Spiritual. You are our Sabbath rest. Amen.


A RAK Rejection, Opens My Heart

Hi Lynn! 


Kindra RAKI just wanted to share my "God encounter" from today.  I am taking you up on your challenge to perform random acts of kindness during December. I am a teacher at an elementary school.  I decided my first act would be in my school's teacher workroom.  Earlier this week, I taped a baggie containing $1.25 and the following note on the soda machine: "This soda is on me.  Enjoy!"  

The baggie has been there for two days and was still taped to the machine when I left school today.  As I drove home today, I began to think about my co-workers and their unwillingness to embrace this small blessing. It made me sad for them.  As I prayed, God made it clear to me that many of these ladies, most of which are Christians who attend church regularly, are holding back in their relationship with Him.  They have not completely surrendered their lives to the One who can bring them everlasting peace and joy.  There is a great amount of pride, unforgiveness, and even anger that many of them need to deal with. These emotions are keeping them from accepting even the smallest blessing in their lives.   

Today my eyes have been opened a little more too how God must feel when we refuse to accept the blessings He has for us each and every day.  We get caught up in our own selfish emotions.  Over and over we reject Him.  But, God does not give up on us!  He is always loving, always forgiving.  

I pray that my co-workers will come to know the abundance of blessings God has waiting for them each and every day.  As I am feeling a small amount of "rejection" from this experience, I know that God is using this as an opportunity to increase my awareness of the many blessings He has for me each and every day! 

This has not discouraged me.  I will continue to seek out opportunities to be a blessing to others.  I can't wait to see what else God wants to teach me! 

Kindra profile photoOne more thing.  When I get home from school each day, my routine is to read several devotionals and of course check-out the SUM website. ;)  I am attaching a link to a devotional that was waiting for me today.  It reinforced the exact things God was telling me as I drove home today!  WOW! 

http://encouragedinchrist.org/2013/12/surrender-and-peace-power-and-glory/

Be blessed!
Kindra Szarka


It's Community Miracle Time

Good Monday Morning Sumites,  (This is a Community Miracle of the #SUMite Nation)

I have been praying to have the heart of God for a few months now. And as we move into the month of December, I feel God asking this community to LIVE THE GOSPEL. 

How do we do that? How do we impact people around us with the Gospel? 

The answer: WE LOVE

How do we love? 

Answer: GENEROUSLY

The video below is Todd White sharing his love with strangers. If you have ever watched the movie, Father of Lights, Todd appears in the last scene and it's a Holy Mind Blow.

This video is roughly 15 minutes long but it will inspire you to lavish love and give it generously. Take the time to listen and be inspired. 

 

You may say to yourself, I'm unable to be generous like Todd. How can I give like that? Well, my friends, give what you can. Be outrageously generous with what you have.

I have an experiment to offer you this December. See this photo?

Random Act of Kindness

Well, how about if each of us put a $1 or $5 or even $10 in a plastic ziplock bag. Include a blank sticky note and put at least 3-5 of these prepared bags in your purse or wallet. And then ask God to bring about an opportunity to share. Then leave a note taped somewhere, hand someone the ziplock with the money, or buy someone a coffee, pay for their groceries.

I did this once. I saw a women who I knew from church. Her and her husband were both unemployed. She was in the checkout lane at Walmart with her mother. They were counting change and looking for more money in their purses. I walked up, swiped my card in front of their astonished faces. They cried, I cried, the Walmart employee stood speechless as she watched.

or just ...... Allow God to direct you. I will make a bold promise. God will reward you and this Christmas will be the Best Christmas you have ever had.

I'm headed to Virginia on Wednesday. I'm loading my purse with prepared ziplocks and I plan to be generous. Sometimes anonymously but I'm hoping to love on someone in person to share "the Gospel" of love and generosity with strangers. 

God is a generous God. He lavishes his love and provision upon His children. The more we give the more He will give us..... And the more we give. The more He gives. What a fun and cool plan. I LOVE God's ways!!

Let's meet up here again in few weeks and share photos, experiences. But let's share how we loved God' and His people by our generosity. Email me your stories and photos of where you left bags. 

Please email me.

Are you up for this? Because those who dare to participate in this love experience will be the ones God blesses generously.

Here is my sticky note. I hope people will visit our #SUMiteNation on Facebook and Twitter to find out what it's all about. 

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I love you. God is generous and wants you to experience the joy and miracles that happen when we love others with His generous and outrageous love. And people are so open to the love of God during this time of year. Hugs, Lynn


Weekend Worship — It Starts With a Willing Heart

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “ Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep." — John 21:15-17

933344_i_love_youI know I talked about this passage a while back, maybe even a couple years ago, but the depth of this interchange has deepened even more for me recently. Just to review, the first two times that Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, Jesus uses the Greek form agapao, which is a sacrificial love. And each time Peter replies with the Greek form, phileo, which is a brotherly love. The third and final time that Jesus asks this question, He switches to phileo, and again Peter replies with the same form.

I believe Jesus was asking Peter if he was ready to be sold out for Him, to love Jesus before anything else and to step fully into a life of faith and belief, to tend lambs and shepherd sheep. Jesus was speaking of people, of course. He was asking Peter to live his life sharing Jesus and helping others to know who the Great Shepherd really was.

Yet we see Peter hold back. I can only imagine how fear held him. How he may have judged himself a failure and untrustworthy based upon how he denied knowing Jesus three times, as Jesus had predicted.

What I also love about this passage is Jesus' patience and love for Peter. I believe Jesus switched to Peter's use of phileo to meet Peter right where he was. As if to say, "Okay, if that's what you feel you are capable of, let's start right there."

Such grace, such acceptance, such love.

I love Peter's story because it's my own. For a long time my own fear and feelings of insignificance kept me from saying a full yes to living my life for Jesus. I would get close but ultimately I clung to the last tendrils of self perceived control of my life. I was afraid of what Jesus would ask me to do. And afraid of how I would be perceived by those around me.

We know that we are God's children and co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17). The thing is, it's not just about being related to Jesus but having a relationship with Him. And He is so very trustworthy. He is patient and brings us along on this journey exactly like the master potter that coaxes and gently forms clay on a wheel to take form and purpose. And if you've ever done this, you know how the slightest pressure brings form, yet too much causes the piece to go out of balance and the potter must either attempt to correct the piece quickly or start over.

My friends, don't lose patience with yourself in this process. Jesus will bring you along exactly as He knows is best for you. Take another look at Peter. By the time we delve into the later chapters of Acts, he is moving and walking in the Spirit and by the time he wrote his letters he is completely sold out for Jesus.

Sometimes you may feel like you're doing everything you should yet inside, everything feels wrong. I've found those are the times that Jesus is cleaning the house—our heart. I discovered the hard way it's easier to work with Him by recognizing the issues He's dredging up, acknowledging them, then asking for forgiveness, healing, release, or for Him to change this area of your heart and life.

Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2), so it’s a part of our faith journey to grow and yield, to form and change to be more like our Creator. And when we step fully into this process with trust, we are transformed.

Since my encounter with God at Bethel Church last October, my own faith journey has exploded and I know there is no way possible I could have done any of it on my own. I never even imagined the possibilities of where God would take me when I asked for more. I was tired of feeling like an ineffective Christian and tired of myself. I knew there had to be more to this faith journey, and I wanted more!

And it is an amazing journey full of fun and delight! Yes, there are times that I quake in my boots when God calls me to stop and talk to a complete stranger, which winds up being either a time to encourage, share Jesus, or pray with them. But I always walk away awestruck and so full of God's love, because I am walking in the Spirit.

There is no better place to be, my friends! This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said He came to not only give us life but give it abundantly. This is what He wants for you too. And the absolutely and only requirement is to have a willing heart. Doesn’t matter where you are coming from, because Jesus is more interested in where He wants to take you.

When the Holy Spirit gives you that nudge, just say yes, then do what He asks. That's it. The results and outcome are not up to you. He already has that covered, just like He did for Peter.

Trust Jesus and take a step of faith. As you do this more, you will find that your fear will turn into anticipation as you begin to look for your next divine appointment. You won’t want to miss a single one—that’s my prayer now, “Lord, don’t let me miss a divine appointment.”

My precious SUMites, I want you to fully experience this kind of life and I am asking Jesus to meet each of you right where you are. Share in the comments how Jesus is meeting you and what He’s asking you to do. Now is the time to stand strong in prayer over each other because God is calling us up as a community to be part of His Great Harvest. I don’t want any of you to miss out on a single bit of it!

Love you with the passion of Jesus in my heart! 

Dineen

And now for some worship!


Weekend Worship — Trust Without Borders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Do We Practice Atheism?

I’ve been reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I’m in the middle of the book and I can say she writes like no other author I’ve read. And I’m still processing a lot. A couple of days ago I read a single sentence that messed me up….. in a good way.

So, I want to share it with you and let’s have a conversation.

 

Page 148 

If authentic, saving belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief…. Atheism. 

Anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism.

Perhaps the opposite of faith is not doubt. Perhaps the opposite of faith is fear. To lack faith perhaps isn’t as much an intellectual disbelief in the existence of God --as fear and distrust that there is a good God. If I don’t emotionally believe, practically believe, in the goodness of God, am I a believer? Don’t the believers have to believe? Don’t the saved have to trust the Savior? For yes, salvation from sins, but this too: the salvation from fear.

-----

My friends, such a short passage but filled up with some things to wrestle with. So what do you think? Do we more struggle as believers with trusting that God is good? Do we practice atheism when we live in fear…

and if we do... how do we move away from fear to belief. Real, life-changing belief?

Whoa… I will be back to chat with you in the comments. Hugs, Lynn


It Is Finished

Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we ARE healed. 

AwesomenessThey beat him. They pierced his body. They brutalized him and hung him on a cross. Then they watched him die.

They shamed him. Then they watched him die.

All because of me. 

And he took it. 

All because of me.

I am so convicted when I think of the cost of his love. I am just so convicted... 

But ya'll! Look at the emphasis in the verse. Just look at it. All the abuse Christ took, all the pain he bore, is in the past. It. Is. Finished. Finished. All done. Never to be done again. There is no need, because when my Jesus hung his head on that cross and died, he finished it for all eternity. 

The moment he died, he saved me. He saved you! Because he bore our pain, our shame, our torment, we are continually redeemed. We ARE healed. Are, as in, "in the present state of". It will never be taken from us, the gift of constant pardon from our overwhelming humanity... 

I type this and I am so frustrated because my words fail me. I cannot possibly convey the enormity of what Christ gave us that day on Calvary. My heart just wants to shout - one of those old down home black Baptist church shouts *grins*! And really. If anything is worth a shout, the fact that someone who didn't have to, paid for my mess - and then loved me after it - sure should be. Oh ya'll... As SUMites, this should resonate deeply and convict us beyond explanation. 

Ya'll... 

Tetelestai. It is finished. 

Lord,

I don't know what to say. I don't even know how to come to You right now. How could you ever have loved me so? How could you ever have been so passionate for me? Thank you Lord that it is finished. In Jesus' Name. Amen. 

*insert church-lady shout here* :-) 

Love you.
Ro

 


Weekend Devo — God Loved Us First!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


A Marriage of Honor

So my friends, it’s been a tough week. On Friday morning I telephoned Dineen on her cell phone and said, “I need you to pray for me. I’m really sick and can’t seem to kick this cough. It’s one in the afternoon and getting into Kaiser (our healthcare provider) will be impossible at this late hour on a Friday afternoon. The weekend is then here and I’m traveling with my daughter to BIOLA on Monday for a college interview. I can’t get in to see a doctor before Tuesday.” Whining I say, “I need to get well.”

My BFF, Dineen, was out and about at that moment and said as soon as she arrived home she would call me back and pray with me. I hung up.

I prayed myself, “Lord, heal me. Lord, heal me. Lord, just heal me.” I’m betting some of you have been in such a broken place, a place where you are physically sick, emotionally sick, spiritually sick that all you can do is pray, ‘Lord, heal me.”

I hung up the phone and heard the prompting of the Holy Spirit, “Call the doctor.” I phoned and miracle of miracles, they had an open appointment in an hour. I rushed off to the office, texted Dineen that I was on my way to the doctor and I arrived, checked in and just as I was entering the waiting area, a nurse was already calling my name. I hadn’t even sat down to wait.

God likes to show off that way at times.

The nicest Doc said I was sick. She prescribed a ton of stuff to treat a sinus infection, walking pneumonia and the sniffles. Sheesh, I didn’t know I was THAT sick. No wonder all I did for two weeks was sit on the couch.

As I write this it’s Sunday afternoon. I’ve been sick now for three weeks and I am finally starting to feel a little better. But what is fascinating to me is that my physical weakness has left me spiritually weak. And the enemy knew just when and how to hit me. Because I’ve been so sick, I haven’t been retreating to my morning wilderness walk-n-prays. I started to walk a couple times this week. Set out and walked maybe 50 yards and then turned right around and came home. This shortened my praying and lessened the time I filled my spirit to fight the battles.

Why am I sharing all this with you? Well for a couple of reasons. One: I didn’t really understand how vital it is to keep our triune person healthy. I haven’t really experienced until today how my physical weakness has greatly impacted my spiritual and emotional strength. We are made of a soul, physical body, and a mind (emotions). We must care for and feed each part of ourselves.

Two: When we are weak in one area, we can become weak in all other areas. I’ve haven’t felt this defeated in a long, long time. Let me tell you when I’m sick, I’m not a good patient. I’m grouchy, fussy, and what I hate most of all- I’m negative minded. Geeze. Ask my husband. He had to put up with me the last three weeks. Sheesh!

But you know what has bugged me most of all. How I slipped down the slippery path of this negative thinking. I became uber critical of my husband. I was short tempered and felt as though everything this man did around me irritated me. He annoyed me, disappointed me and argued with me.

For crying out loud on Saturday we argued over a load of laundry. Good grief, I looked at him and said, “Why are we arguing over laundry?”

My friends, as a believer it’s up to me to be the aroma of kindness in my home. And this past week, I was the stink. If you vomit on someone, they are going to stink like you. Now I didn’t physically throw up on my husband but I stank and it made him stink too.

So after church this morning, I asked for prayer. I’m on the road to physical health, emotional health and spiritual health. I NEVER want to be this smelly again in my marriage. I’m convinced that I set the tone of our home. Remember in 1 Corinthians 7:14 we the believer sanctify our home. So, as of today, I’m on a mission of kindness. It is my great desire to honor my husband and honor my marriage.

What does that look like?

HonsignHonor in marriage is where we celebrate who the person is without stumbling over what they are not. –Bill Johnson

I’m determined to focus on my husband’s strengths and love him with kindness and honor.

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

I’m wondering if you might want to join me on this journey? I wonder if you have been the one who like me, needs to give a little grace and receive a little grace?

If so, pray with me.

Father, stop me in my tracks if I’m not walking in the power of your kindness. Amen

 

Today, let’s focus on looking at our spouse through the eyes of honor. Have an amazing week. Hugs, Lynn