539 posts categorized "Hope"

Advent - A Season of Longing!

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Photo courtesy of lil artsy from Pexels.com

Hello, Ian here from sunny Sydney. It’s summertime here and we’ve had a lovely few weeks of great sunny weather. It’s incredible how quickly the year has passed as we’re now only 2.5 weeks away from Christmas.

For many of us 2022 has been a tough year, perhaps another year in a long season of tough years. As a result, many of us may be simply pushing through to Christmas with gritted teeth, avoiding the shops by making their purchases online, and hanging out for the beginning of a new year wishing for a brighter new start in 2023. It may be a real struggle to experience any real joy at present.

If this is you, may I encourage you to take some time out. Close the door behind you or go out for a walk, sit on a rock looking at something beautiful, and simply reflect on how you’re feeling. Invite God to make His presence known. He’s there with you, just waiting for you to say hi and ask Him to be present with you.

Don’t deny your weariness, it’s okay …. and invite God to be near and ask Him for the strength to walk forward. One step at a time. Remember, His words in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness” Ask for His strength, not your own.

Advent and Longing

Advent started two Sundays ago. Like Lent at Easter, it’s a season of waiting and hoping. Advent simply means ‘arrival’ or ‘coming’ and alludes to both comings of Jesus, the one of 2000+ years ago when he became like us, born in a manger, and the second where we await his promised second coming.

It's a season of longing. Longing for Jesus.

For those us feeling exhausted and beaten down by life, we long for rest, for an end to the struggle. Most of us would be longing for something. We SUMites especially long for our spouses to find Jesus, don’t we? We long for many things, healing, peace in our homes, a wayward child settling down and more.

Others of us, like myself are in seasons of transition, seeking a new beginning. I’m not far off sixty and having spent the last few years caring for my parents who have both passed in the last 12 months, I am now wondering what’s next. I long for God to give me a nudge or even a BIG shove that helps me see what He’d like us to do together in this next season of my life. It’s a season of excitement wondering what might be ahead and a little frightening for the same reason.

And we long for Jesus. For the joy of the true message of Christmas that a saviour has come, and that Jesus would come again in His victory march upon the earth.

What do we do with our Longing?

A few ideas:

1. Share it with Jesus while sitting on that rock I mentioned earlier. Invite Him into it. He knows we have such a longing.

2. Share it with another. A ‘safe’ other. Someone who will listen and not just hump to ‘solve’ your longing. And who will pray with and for you.

3. Hope. Besides being a season of waiting and longing, Advent is a season of hope. I love what Kate Bowler says about hope:

“But hope isn’t wishful thinking. It’s an anchor in the future.”

Our hope has a name. Jesus. Declare this hope over yourself and your future.

4. Stay close to Jesus. Remember all the ways Jesus has been faithful to you in the past.

An old Christmas Carol

I love Carols. It reminds me of my teen years when my youth group would walk the local streets near our church on Christmas Eve and stop at houses to sing a carol or two.

In the past week, I’ve heard/read of this one written by Charles Wesley that I wasn’t familiar with. It’s a wonderful carol/hymn that expresses our longing. I thought we could ‘pray’ the lyrics as a prayer.

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

Come, Thou long expected JesusBorn to set Thy people free;From our fears and sins release us,Let us find our rest in Thee.Israel's strength and consolation,Hope of all the earth Thou art;Dear desire of every nation,Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,Born a child and yet a King,Born to reign in us forever,Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.By Thine own eternal SpiritRule in all our hearts alone;By Thine all sufficient merit,Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

By Thine all sufficient merit,Raise us to Thy glorious throne

In Jesus’ Loving Name. Amen

Wishing all the SUMites a very blessed, joyous , peaceful and hope-filled Christmas.

Grace and peace.


What I Would Tell My Younger, Unequally Yoked, Self

Dear Younger SelfWhat I would tell my 30-year-old self as a newly unequally yoked woman.

My friends, Lynn Donovan, here with you for a few posts. I’ve been pondering what was the most difficult part of my loooooong unequally yoked marriage. And viewing it from 30 years of experience now, I have concluded a few things that I wish I would have known when my unequally yoked marriage began.

I believe the greatest struggle for me was dispelling all the lies I believed about faith in God. Your story may be a bit different but for me I had to struggle, alone, wrangling with doubt, unbelief and the truth. Not only did I have my own doubts about God, the Bible, Jesus and faith when I was a young woman, but I also had to fight against my husband’s unbelief.

So for many years I would make small gains in belief through my church attendance and Bible reading. And then something would happen (an evil assignment) to make me doubt that God was real. And after fighting that doubt, then to fight against the thoughts that God wasn’t really good. And on and on. Three steps forward, two back. Then forward and back.

I think many young people go through this when figuring out their faith. For many who have believing husbands, they have a partner to hold them up when they are in doubt or struggle. They have a voice in their home that is strong in faith when they feel weak. But for us who are married to unbelievers, we lack the support AND we face their doubts and unbelief as well as our own.

Would you agree with this?

Their unbelief is a double smack down to our floundering faith life.

I know for me; Mike would ask difficult questions. And I lacked answers. Or for many of us, accusations come at us like we are God and must answer for him. For example, “If God is good, then why …….. (insert a number of things here). Or I received several statements such as:

  • The Bible is a flawed ancient book. It’s been misinterpreted.
  • God isn’t real. He is only a figment of imagination that weak people need to explain the unexplainable.
  • Jesus was only a man. How could a man be God?
  • Science will one day explain away these things you believe are supernatural.

Can any of you relate?

As I consider all of these statements, I wish I could put my arms around my younger self and whisper in her confused ears. “Lynn, just chuckle at these statements. The Bible is absolutely true. It is the voice of God. The Words in it will lead you to a life of abundance and utter fulfilment. Lynn, you are stronger than you know. And God is always with you. Jesus adores you and the Holy Spirit is standing by to empower your beliefs.”

My young friends who are in the trenches, please feel my arms around you today. Be empowered by what I am about to speak to you.

You are stronger that you know. Pursue God as He will take care of you. He is real. He is absolutely good. His plan for your life will give you the highest and best experience here on earth. You will live a life of goodness and walk in miracles. Believe the Bible. It is true and God is all around you, every day. Choose to do the right thing and live always in hope. Pray and pray and pray because He hears and moves upon your words of faith.

Laugh at the enemy and command him out of your life, home, marriage and relationships. Stand in faith because Jesus is real. He has everything you need and more. He is glorified when you live your best life now.

I love you, my friends. Take this advice deep into your heart. It’s absolutely true and it will change your life. Blessings, Lynn


A Backyard Miracle??

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Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

Hello SUMers!!

I pray as you read this you are blessed and filled with overwhelming hope!  Jesus is King!!!!

A quick story: This morning I was sitting in my new backyard enjoying the birds and the sun. While sipping my coffee and with my Bible open on my lap, my husband emerged and sat next to me. We chatted about the millions of tasks that we are still facing as we are slowly moving in.

After that discussion, I looked down into my Bible. And I said, "Do you want me to read to you from the Word of God?"

Sheepishly, "No."

That didn't deter me. I simply began to read a passage, "Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward."

Mike then says to me, "That what you do all the time when you give a bottle of water to everyone who comes here to do any repair work on our house."

I've been doing this for years. 

I looked up, "Wow, I didn't even realize that I was doing this." I smiled BIG. It's fun to discover that God lives in you so much that you live out His will even unknowingly.

BUT, this is the BEST PART OF THE STORY: Later in the day electrician, Gregg, arrived to repair our A/C unit. We blew a fuse, darn it!

I'm in my office as Mike and Greg are chatting. Then suddenly I hear Mike say, "Can I get you a bottle of water?"

My friends, THEY ARE ALWAYS LISTENING. I took one brave moment to read the word to my husband, even when he wasn't interested.

He was listening. 

They are watching and listening. No pressure. Just live an authentic love with Jesus. THAT is all.

I adore you. Lynn


The GREAT Power of Our Warfare

Jesus Names of SUMThe name of Jesus.

His name can launch a war, seal the fate of nations, change the destiny of a thousand generations. His name can cast out legions of devils and free captives from the darkest depression. His name heals the blind and destroys cancer. His name can bring freedom, deliverance, new destinies and fortunes.

For an entire season of my life, I would mumble around whispering the name of Jesus. Over and over, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. His name spoken aloud changes my heart and my home. Can I share something with you that is a peek into my life? Well, ahem, even today when I wake in the night and make a trip to the bathroom, without being aware, the name of Jesus still slips from my lips. “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, you are my King. Jesus, I adore you. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

Oh, that we would all have the name of Jesus continually tumbling from our lips.

Everything changed for me when I came to wrap my mind, heart and spirit around three passages of scripture and how Jesus is at the core.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. —Ephesians 2: 6-7

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. — Colossians 1:27

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. —Colossians 3:3

SUMite Nation, come to the truth and grips with these passages. Let them dwell in you and you in them. We are seated with Christ in heaven. Christ is IN US, the hope of glory. We are hidden in Christ in God.

Who could ever touch us if these are true?

Jesus, Prince of Peace
Jesus, Prince of Peace

The weapons of our warfare: The Word of God, Worship, Blood of Jesus, The name of Jesus. And our offensive weapon is our Sword. 

Take care. I adore you. Lynn Donovan

(From the archives as I'm STILL unpacking!  grin)


The Risen Jesus Versus Our Circumstance

Hi everyone, Ann here. He has risen

After Friday's post I've had a little thought stuck in my head that's somewhat creative but it's been speaking a powerful message to me. It's this:

When attending church alone, many of us lament, naturally. This thing is tough, and even those who have attended church alone for decades will say that. For those of us women, we think about our husband: 'He is not here,' and it can be painful enough to bring tears. For the guys, the version of that is 'She is not here.'

However, what's struck me is that those words, 'He is not here', also happen to be the words that were used by the angels who announced Jesus's resurrection at the empty tomb. For them it carried a completely opposite message -- A message of victory and joy:

He is not here, He has risen! (Luke 24:6; Matthew 28:6).

Amen, amen, amen to that.

So, for us we could say we have two versions of 'He is not here' in our life. We have the version where we're looking at our spouse's spiritual condition and seeing it as a dead situation. And then there's the version where we're looking at Jesus and his resurrection, awe-struck. These are two very different things in our life.

I wonder if we can take that little 'play on words' and think about it some more. There is a real counter-truth to our pain of doing faith alone, and that counter-truth is that JESUS is fighting for us in this situation, as are the angels. Knowing that, if we say 'our spouse is not here' about a hopeless situation we can then follow it up by declaring the same words were used by the angels about Jesus: But He (Jesus) has risen! 

In other words:

He is not here (my husband, that is).

BUT, hang on, there is power working in my family:

Jesus is risen! And that means the enemy is disarmed in this situation, death has lost its sting, and the power of God is working in my family for the salvation of all my household.

How powerful is the resurrection for our life circumstance? Can we trust God to do a miracle and raise the spiritually dead? Absolutely. Yes, our spouse has free will, but we can at least know that the resurrection power of Jesus is a force as mighty as an atom bomb. 

When the women went to the tomb on that morning of the resurrection expecting to anoint a dead body with perfume and spices, they instead got the shock of their lives to encounter angels. Angels in shining garments declare to the women:

Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen! (Luke 24:6, NKJV)

And, an angel with a countenance like lightning and clothing as white as snow, says:

Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead (Matthew 28:5-7, NKJV)

That is our God! That is his truth. Whew, mighty power.

Knowing that power, I wonder if we can challenge ourselves to do the following: Next time in church when we feel that sadness of our spouse's absence, perhaps we can try to put that thought away deliberately because it is us focusing on a dead body. Instead, let's say out loud --

But, He (Jesus) is not here, he is risen! And that same power of the resurrection is working in my family.

I'd like to finish with a prayer --

Dear Jesus, thank you that you did conquer the grave and you did give us power and hope. We ask for every single person in this SUM community, that you will help us not fall into lament when we sit in church alone, but help us instead to focus on your power and the resurrection. Show us more of what your resurrection power can do in our families. Thank you, Lord.

Love you all, 

Ann


From Spiritually Mismatched to Jointly Present

By Ann Hutchison Tea and biscuits

Dear friends, I shared last week about the small group I've been attending. Well, today I want to share a very encouraging story from that group.

There's a man in that group who's a great sharer. He's jolly, enthusiastic, and loves God. He brings plenty of ideas about faith to our group chats. He's in his sixties, and he and his wife have adult children. 

One night the group was mingling as the evening was wrapping up. Some were in the kitchen, others were in the living room, and I was sat on a couch beside this particular man and his wife. She was next to me, he was on the other side of her talking to someone else, and so she and I got quietly talking.

She began to tell me her story. It went like this:

"I actually went to church on my own for years. He wasn't interested, he never came with me. I was on my own in my faith for a long time."

She smiled at me.

I peeked around her to take another look at her hubby, a bemused look on my face. Are we talking about the same man? Then I focused on her again.

"Was that hard for you?" I asked. 

"Was it ever!" she rolled her eyes.

We shared a cheeky smile.

"So what happened next?" 

"Oh, he just gradually got there. Bit by bit, slowly things changed. He's only just started coming to this group. He would never have gone to something like this before."

I peered around her discreetly at him again.

"Amazing." I said with a big smile.

"Yes, amazing." She grinned back.

Looking at that man today, all I can see is one who loves being with God first thing in the morning, attends church, reads Christian books, plays worship music in the home for his own enjoyment, and gets his wife to do devotionals with him in the morning.

Well there we go. The joy of this story is that I will get to see this visible example weekly from now on at my small group, and they are a living breathing example of a spiritually mismatched couple who had one season then another season. 

In this ministry we need these examples, as hope is an important element of our spiritually mismatched walk. God wants us to hope because he doesn't want us to label our spouse as an impossible case (he wants us to bless our spouse not curse them, James 3:10) and he wants us to believe in His magnitude. 

It's summed up well here:

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7, NKJV)

So, while we must learn to be content in our circumstance (very important) and love our spouse exactly where they are (also very important), hey let's seize stories like this so that we can hope and believe that there is a bigger possibility beyond what our circumstance looks like today.

Hope you liked that story. Love you all,

Ann


A Letter From Jesus. You Need This Today!

My Beloved Child LetterSUMites,

This post is for the weary. This post is for those who have been in the trenches and can’t feel their toes, their nose, and struggle at times to think clearly. This post is for those who feel hope draining from their future, and dreams appear dashed.

This post is for all the warriors of the Kingdom of light!

Sit down, sip your java or tea, buckle in because our Jesus is about to love on you.

My dear child, You are NOT alone. I haven’t abandoned you and left you to live a life without hope. I am in the very room with you protecting and comforting when there is conflict, discord and demonic interference. I perceive as words of condemnation fly about your mind. And yet you continue to press into the life-giving words of truth that I speak from the Holy Word of God.

Believe MY WORDS. They are life!

You have wrestled with doubt and despair but arise each morning into the newest of mercies that I purchased for you. You are on my heart. I delight in your children. I even love that ornery spouse who behaves without honor or sensibilities toward you at times.

I know you feel you fail many times. Hear me now, you don’t. You wade through the unknown and the frightening with such courage and conviction, determined to bring the best to your home, your family and your heart.

Lay down your self-criticisms and the word curses and false accusations spoken toward you by others. Hear My truth: I approve of you. You are living your best effort and as you arise every morning to face more hardship, I am holding your hand. I literally stand with you throughout the day and whisper truth, hope and love into your heart and I change your life.

You are braver than you will ever know this side of heaven. Your prayers over power all the blackest of assignments from the hellish demons. You arise and bring with you hope for your family, your church and community.

This brings me the greatest joy!!!!!

I offer you a glimpse into your future. Hear me say unto you this day: WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANTS. Enter into the Father’s rest.

I am your Savior, your Shepherd, your Rabbi, your Bridegroom Prince. All is well my beloved. All is well!

My friends, this flew off my fingers. I’m humbled to have written it. I believe every word for myself and for you. Hallelujah.

I love you. Lynn


Freedom Marchers Join us from England

It was awesome to spend time speaking with Maria Rodrigues in London, England. Maria is the host for Woman to Woman show on Premier Christian Radio. It was a fantastic interview. Thank you, Maria. You are a woman who God loves. Hope you can listen in as Maria and I discuss the real issues related to unequally yoked marriages. Hugs, Lynn


Faith, Hope and Love

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Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What a year 2020 has been so far! Ian from wintry Sydney here. Be assured that those of us who don’t live in America are weeping for the people of that great nation and we continue to cry out to God believing for a wave of peace to sweep across that great land.

As Ann shared on Monday, it was Pentecost Sunday this past weekend. For a few months now many millions from all around the globe have been believing for a shaking, a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit and increased boldness amongst believers to share the good news of Jesus. What we do know is that more people have been praying, more people have been attending online church services and more people have been declaring Jesus as their Savior. Hallelujah.

Hope in the Waiting

“The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” 

Lamentations 3:25-26 (NKJV)

We are waiters, we Sumites, aren’t we? Most of us have been waiting for our spouses to come to know Jesus for many years. And we’ve seen some wonderful stories amongst the group in recent times of our hope bearing fruit.

For many of us, our families and our friends these past few months and perhaps even in the past few days, dreams have been dashed. I know of friends who’s special (first holiday in a decade) anniversary trips have had to be postponed, another friend told me the other day their hubby lost their job, while the scenes around the world have increased the burden on so many younger people who have real concerns about what the future looks like for them.

Deep Roots

We can draw comfort knowing that Jesus waits with us. He stands alongside us. Yes, we wonder why He doesn’t just fix it, even a little thing, but God has made a world that is self-operating and often it breaks down.

The Bible is full of nature analogies. And they’re important for us to understand. Jesus loved to consider vines, trees, roots, seeds and fruit. God made us to go deep like trees, with our roots continuously reaching through the soil for nutrients that the Spirit gives us and in persisting in faith, hope and love the fruit will naturally come.

“For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant.” (Job 14:7-9 NKJV)

If we continue in faith, hope and love as 1 Corinthians 13 exhorts us to, a touch of the Holy Spirit (nee ‘scent of water’) will produce the fruit and bring refreshment in this difficult season. The examples in the Bible are too numerous to mention and we ourselves can see evidence of fruit and refreshment when we look back at our own lives through other difficult seasons.

But the greatest of these Is Love.

Jesus isn’t simply one who loves, He is love. As Thomas Goodwin says, “Christ is love covered over in flesh.” Incredibly, in having the Holy Spirit within us we too are love covered in flesh. (Say that to yourself: ‘I am love covered in flesh’ Say it again and again and again until you believe it).

It is in these difficult seasons we can choose to grumble or be grateful, be fearful or hopeful, be angry or peaceful, and hate or love. Choose love, even if it’s through gritted teeth. Remember God is mostly interested in what’s in our heart so actions that are not initiated by love kinda don’t really count for a great deal in God’s economy.

The more we choose love, the more it becomes a habit. And the more it will become the way we act, speak and think. Jesus could only act the way He did because of what was in His heart. A heart of love. Just love. So He acted always out of love.

Besides the arrival of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2 shares with us the beginnings of the modern church. Our church. It was a church that was multi-cultural, made up of people from different socio-economic levels, men and women, who were united in declaring Jesus as Lord. In love, they wanted to share the news and so they reached out to other groups, not just those they were familiar with, and with faith and hope in their hearts they boldly declared Jesus is alive.

Dear friends, please share in the comments if there are particular needs and/or dreams that you’ve had dashed in these recent times so we as a SUMITE family can gather around you in faith, hope and love interceding for you to the Lord. We are a family spread around the globe united in our waiting and hope for each other’s spouses to come to personally know Jesus.

Keep praying, keep believing, dear friends.


Locked-Down Life: It's Renovation Time

Dear friends, Ann here! Door SUM logo

Today, as we enter our umpteenth week of staying home I thought I would share a personal story. I think I got an inkling last year about this whole Coronavirus thing, but didn't understand it. I know a couple of others who had the same thing happen. See what you think of this:

It all began when my kitchen got ripped out last October. This old kitchen was in a shocking state. Bryce and I had allowed it to go too far. However, we finally got ourselves moving, made our plans, and the day came. Builders arrived and within hours the kitchen was gone. Left in its place was a cold, dusty hole. That same day, Bryce had to leave on a week-long work trip.

“I’ll be fine without the kitchen!” I thought. After all, how hard could it be?

Day one progressed with no sink, dishwasher, or oven. Within hours this was no fun. By day two, I’m sorry to say I was unhinged. The continual rounds of washing-up water I was lugging from the bathtub did it. I'm sure many of you have been there. It is surprisingly difficult to live without a kitchen.

“I’m sorry boys,” I would say to my two kids as I tucked them in, day after day, a less-than-perfect mother. “It’s the kitchen, it's making me feel so unhinged!!”

I kept trying to remember that compared to women in centuries past I was fortunate to have running water. This should have helped, but it didn't. I really was not prepared, then, to hear the following whisper from God:

“Ann, in the near future your home is going to be spiritually renovated and you're going to feel like this for a while. Be prepared.”

Gah! Really? My reaction was "Whatever You say Lord, I'll accept it!" But my mind began to wonder and I began to ask Him more. What did it mean? A couple of days later, this came to me:

“This coming change is about people being fed.

There are many, many people to be fed.

Like a new kitchen, this new thing will give you fresh ability to feed others.”

We don’t always understand what God is saying until we look back. I carried this sense of impending change for months, but I look back today and think perhaps it was about this lock-down season. Whatever it meant, this mysterious kitchen analogy gave me a sense that a new thing was occurring. And that I would feel the same as I did during that renovation -- Under some pressure. 

So here we are, friends. Under pressure. We've all had things ripped away from us, much like the kitchen. For me it’s my freedom. How about you? I’m quickly learning to let go, and I'm understanding that I need to let God work in me during this pivotal time. All the while, my eyes are on Him. I can't take them off Him.

I say that last bit because the above words weren’t the only ones I heard. I don’t think God gives us a heads-up about tough stuff without also giving a promise. So here’s what I heard next:

You’ll cope, Ann; you have people on your side, and you have all you need: Sweet words and soothing medicine.

Sweet words. Soothing medicine. God. His words are sweet like honey is sweet and they are life. As for the new thing ahead, I think of it like my new kitchen which is now in place. Earlier today, Bryce and I were pottering there and he smiled at me, "It’s worked out, this kitchen, hasn’t it?" My reply: "I love it!"

Friends, I believe there is new stuff ahead and it's something sparkly. Will it make our hearts leap with joy? Is it Revival? Will it be our family and friends turning to God? How amazing would that be! We may well be saying, "I love it, I love it!"

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).

Bless you, SUM family! How are you doing, and what are you learning to ‘let go’ of at this time?


SUMite Easter Service

SUM Easter Service 2020Hello SUM Nation,

Lynn Donovan here. I wanted to let you know that our Facebook Team and I will be steaming a LIVE service on Easter Sunday. Amanda Pace, Gladys Arias, Libby Finan, Ann Hutchison and Lynn Donovan

April 12, 2020

3 PM Eastern - Noon PM Pacific USA

On the SUM main FB Page ----> SUM FB

And also on the SUM Sisters Group ----> SUM SISTERS (Request Membership)

We will worship together and then the five of us will share short messages and then I will wrap up the service. I want to share what our Good Father is doing in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak. And also tell you what God is revealing to me about what is to unfold in the months that follow our Stay-at-home weeks.

It's bigger than you think!!! Also, we will take communion so have your elements ready. A piece of bread and a grape will work. Any bread and juice. I'm going to explain something about communion that most people don't know. 

Also, have you listened to all the videos and worked through the Field Guides I created on MarchingAroundJericho.com?   Please hop over there and listen in. And if you have, consider supporting the ministry and purchase the next series of videos and Field guides. It all goes to support the ministry. 

Here is what you will learn about in the next series. And I'll tell you the Holy Spirit video is a demonstration of God's power. AND PS. God told me to demonstrate and God showed up. I'm still freaked out and it all happened to me.

  • The Power of Forgiveness
  • Spiritual Authority In Christ Jesus
  • Spiritual Power and Partnering With the Holy Spirit
  • The Power of Our Voice
  • Speaking in Tongues

All the video titles can be viewed here: Marching Around Jericho/ Equipping Warriors


SUMite Nation Checking In

Hello Sumite Nation,

Screenshot 2020-03-28 at 8.06.38 AMLynn here. I wanted to check in on everyone. Our house is feeling the strain of the shut-in as we go into week three. Two weeks and we are feeling a bit stir crazy. You?

I want to share a story with you. About a week ago I found myself sitting with my phone in the morning reading a news site that captures headlines from major news sources around the world. Here are a few from today:

  • Heart Attack? No, It Was Coronoavirus
  • Bill Gates warns lock-down could last 10 WEEKS
  • INTERNET BREAKING
  • AMAZON DELIVERY GUY DELIBERATELY SPITS ON PACKAGE
  • One dies every 17 minutes
  • Rhode Island Police Hunt Down New Yorkers Seeking Refuge

These are somewhat tame from last week. 

So here is what happened. I was reading these apocalyptic headlines and found myself growing uncomfortable, even a tiny bit fearful. Will I catch this virus? I'm not typically fearful of much, but a strange uncomfortableness began to reside within.

This week the Lord spoke to me, "Lynn, why are you reading these lies?" You know much of this is over sensationalized news to attract readers. You are reading all of this and it's affecting your soul and this weakens your immune system. Also, Lynn, AM I not your healer and YOUR TRUTH?"

What is a bummer is that I now wished I HAD STOPPED reading them last week because I broke out with a virus, Shingles, for the first time ever. SAY WHAT????? Good grief. I've nearly prayed them into submission but I believe God was providing me with real time lessons about faith. I was allowing so many lies and destructive "what-ifs" into my mind, and soul that it manifested in my body. (Lord, have mercy.)

My friend, what are you reading? 

What are you listening to?

Don't get me wrong, we need to be informed and vigilant. But do we need to add more to our soul that we can't control or healthily process? Is the INTERNET BREAKING? No, it's slower, much slower than usual. Is our world out of control? No, it's in an unprecedented time but there are smart people on task working hard. Our world is filled with dedicated doctors, nurses, grocery store personnel, brave delivery people, and everyday ordinary people who are sewing masks and checking on neighbors.

God isn't surprises by this AT ALL!

STOP allowing the doom and gloom in and protect your heart. Protect your body and strengthen your immune system. ---> This is my message to myself. Ahem! Sheesh!

Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

Put down the phone. Read the WORD. Smile, love and stand in faith. Rebuke the virus from entering into your home and touching your family. 

We will get through this. And when it ends and it will - Every game will sell out, every restaurant will have a two hour wait, every kid will be glad to be in school, everyone will love their job, the stock market will soar, every other house will get TP'd, and we'll all embrace and shake hands. 

That's gonna be a pretty good day. Rise up SUMITE Nation. Let's lean into truth and BELIEVE for the miracles that surround us today. With Love, Lynn


Advent - An Invitation to Go Deeper

3-advent-wreath-rejoice-gaudete
Photo courtesy of LiturgyTools.net

The Christmas season comes around every year and for many of us it’s kind of the same-old-same-old. Yes, the specialness of the season are the traditions of it and doing the same things every year.  We put up the same tree and decorations, listen to the same Christmas music, have the same family mealtimes, attend the various end of year gatherings and church services and so on.

The busyness of it and the stress of battling through all the shopping crowds, the cooking of all the food and keeping the house clean can serve to distract us. We consciously decide to stay positive and not allow the stress to affect us or the awkward family moments we often experience.

And before we know it, it’s over for another year. We collapse on our lounges having eaten too much and exhausted from the intensity of our family gatherings. For an introvert like myself I’m hankering to get back into my cave to recharge.

Waiting

Advent can simply be another tradition. We light the candles at the appropriate times, pick up an Advent-dedicated devotional and even perhaps follow the alternate lectionaries of Bible readings. Like any ‘practice’ we can simply go through the motions. I know I’m regularly guilty of doing exactly that.

I especially love Advent. However, I need to be very intentional to ensure it’s simply not another tradition that I ‘do’ because it makes me feel good. I don’t want to simply go through the motions.

Advent is a season of waiting. Waiting for an “arrival” (which is what the word, Advent means) of the Messiah. Waiting generally is uncomfortable, isn’t it? It’s uncomfortable because it means we’re not in control. I was only sitting on a plane today thinking we were about to take off when we’re advised that three passengers hadn’t checked in. Arggh. I just want to get home. So we wait. Fifteen minutes pass (which feels like an hour) and two of the three sheepishly head down the aisle sensing the boring eyes of every passenger they pass. We wait some more. Until finally a decision is made to go without the remaining one. I wonder how many of us spared a thought for the passenger left behind or in our hearts were simply glad to be on our way?

The Israelites were used to waiting. What 400 years before the arrival of Jesus? We SUMites are used to waiting too, aren’t’ we? Waiting for the many prayed prayers for the salvation of our dearly loved spouses to be answered. We should be experts at it, shouldn’t we?

Hopeful Expectation

We can choose to walk through Advent with hopeful expectation. Maybe Christmas will be difficult for whatever reason which makes us apprehensive. But we can keep our minds and hearts on the good news of Jesus. He is the liberator, the lover of our souls and we can choose to use these days to intentionally go deeper with Him.

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[it.” (John 1:4-5 NIV)

Jesus is the light. And as these verses tell us He shines in the darkness. May I encourage you to take a few moments today or tomorrow or the next day to identify the places in your life where you might be struggling to find God. Where are the places of darkness? These can be scary places because we worry that Jesus won’t show up. So here’s what we’ll do:

  1. Once you’ve identified a dark place, invite Jesus into it. Picture Him walking into the room, holding your hand. Every time you sense darkness, invite Jesus to come into. Our friend, Martha, actually spends each morning siting in the dark communing with God awaiting the light of the morning sunrise. It’s a wonderful practice to mirror this exercise.
  2. Be assured that He is with you. Be assured that He hears all of our prayers, all those prayers we’ve prayed for the salvation of our spouses and loved ones. Encourage yourself with the words of Psalm 56:8 –

“You keep track of all my sorrows.

You have collected all my tears in your bottle.

You have recorded each one in your book.”

Spending moments of stillness where it’s just you and God are particularly special in this season. I’ve recently started using an App that Ransomed Heart have released. It’s simply called “One Minute Pause”. Go check it out – it’s free. Here’s the link to the Apple version but there is also an Android one, just search for it in the Android app store: - https://apps.apple.com/app/id1471913620

Come, let us adore Him, Jesus that is, this season. Let’s be intentional with hope in our hearts. Blessing, dear friends. I’ll be checking in midway during the month with a second post on Advent.

Perhaps in the meantime let’s share with each other what we’re hoping for this Christmas. I’m hoping for complete healing for my brother, John, who is walking through a stem cell transplant to keep lymphoma at bay. Unfortunately, he will be spending Christmas in a hospital isolation ward.


The Enemy Cannot Handle This!

Hey SUM family, Tiffany Here!

Sunday, September 29th is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. We've talked about this Jewish holiday over the years. In fact, the first time I'd ever been made aware of it's significance was because of a blog post from either Lynn or Dineen. For those who are not familiar or are new to this holiday, a simple "Rosh Hashanah" search on this site will provide you with a wealth of information. Feel free to check out the archives!

My prayer for us today is that we will each take away something fresh and new. Holy Spirit, reveal to us the heartbeat of God. Amen!

Rosh Hashanah isn't actually a biblical holiday but a traditional Jewish holiday. The term "Rosh Hashanah" means "head of the year" and is celebrated as the Jewish New Year. This is a two-day celebration that proceeds Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

In the beginning of this month, the Lord really pressed upon me to watch Patty Tower's talk that was given at the SUMite Summit this last April. I decided to go back and watch it again. (I will provide a link below so you can revisit that as well. It is absolutely worth a re-watch!)

As I sat down to think about Rosh Hashanah and what I would include in this post, I went back to my notes from Patty's message. There is so much good in this message but I want to point out one theme:

  • Joshua 6 - God gives specific instructions about the destruction and taking of the city of Jericho. In verse 20 we see the result of following God's plan and not their own: "So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city."
  • Patty called us to march around our house 7 times and shout, declare, pray and praise things into existence. It was in the great shout that the walls fell flat down.

Rosh Hashanah isn't in the Bible; however, the first day of Rosh Hashanah, is. Let's take a look.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,  “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.  You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’ ” - Leviticus 23:23-25

The Hebrew word, Teruah, in Leviticus for blowing trumpets is the same word used in Joshua 6 where they shouted with a great shout. The first day of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Teruah, is a day of blowing trumpets or shouting.

Notice what else it says in Leviticus about this day - you shall have a sabbath-rest. Yom Teruah happens to fall on a Sunday. The day we, as children of God, call our sabbath!

So, why is this important for us? If we are not Jewish, what is the point of celebrating this time of year?

We've already seen in our community some amazing things worth celebrating. Many professions of faith and baptisms with our spouses, children or others we love. Libby gave us a beautiful word about the SUMite community with her picture of the mountain. The SUMite Summit where some gathered in California being at the top and from that trickle, the waters of our faith continued to pool together to create a river at the bottom.

I truly believe something was activated in the heavenlies and we have set off a chain reaction. The enemy has been stirred to anger and we have seen much push back from illness, discord with our spouses and children, financial struggles, backsliding, strongholds etc.

However, I truly believe that God is calling His children deeper. I believe that He is stirring in us a hunger and thirst that can no longer be quenched by fear, pain or opposition tactics from the enemy.  I believe that NOW is the time for us to press in all the more into the God of Miracles. NOW is the time to storm the gates of Heaven for our spouses, children, our complete freedom and healing. I believe that NOW is the time for us to suit up and prepare for battle.

There is a shifting going on right now. As we are in this transition period, it is up to US if we are going to take God at His word - for our destinies, purposes, signs, miracles and wonders. We cannot afford to give up or give in. The future of generations to come hangs in the balance. It sounds intense but don't worry! Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Patty's talk at the SUMite Summit: https://www.facebook.com/SpirituallyUnequalMarriage/videos/387269661859875/

There is so much more I could say but I've gone on a little long.

As we approach this Jewish New Year, what are the things you are coming to the Throne of Grace for? What do you hope to see in this new season? Shout

Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! -- Psalm 47:1 (Shout here is the root word of teruah ::grin::)

We are going to shake the heavens and the earth with our shouts! In the comments, give a mighty shout to the Lord. Thank Him for the victory you've been praying and waiting for! Decree and declare that these prayers are answered in Jesus' mighty name! Now it is up to you to take Him at His word. Trust. Believe. Wait and see. God is so good. And He is worthy of the wait. Hugs!

 

 


But God! I'm Too Broken!

Hey SUM Family, Tiffany here!

As many of you know, I have been on a journey into worship flagging.

On February 9, 2019, I received my flags in the mail. I may have been a little excited. ::grin::

Feb 9 Eek Flag ArrivalPsalm 47:7 (NKJV) says, "For God is the King of all the earth. Sing praises with understanding." On February 20, 2019, I decided to write scripture verses on my flags as a reminder of why I dance. Using this same principle, it is my goal to always dance with understanding.

Feb 20 flag with scriptureA couple of months ago, I went to a worship and prayer night at my church. I grabbed my flags to begin to worship the Lord and I noticed something odd about how they were laying in the bag. Once they were out of the bag and I began to unwrap them, I noticed that the rods were snapped in half. I felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest. I was devastated. In that moment, I asked God, "Why?!" (Isn't it interesting how quick we are to blame God for our misfortunes?)

It was in the stillness of the room, as Holy Spirit settled upon us in worship, that I heard very clearly, "Broken is still beautiful. Broken is still usable."

I tried using the flags but it just wasn't working so I figured it was word meant for someone else in the room and mentioned it to the group.

Fast forward weeks later, I had been trying to use flags that were available for worship at church. Things just weren't flowing the way they did with my own flags. I couldn't seem to adjust to how these small and inflexible flags moved. I eventually decided this was a season of no flagging. I couldn't afford to fix them or buy new ones. All the while I had people mentioning how they missed seeing me flag. The "you were made to worship" quotes were another sting in my already broken heart.

A couple of days ago while lying in bed, Holy Spirit spoke to me again, "Broken is still beautiful. Broken is still usable." I missed flagging. It helps me to focus in on the heartbeat of God. I thought, "Yes Lord, I know. You've told me." It was then that I had received messaged from two different people about flagging. One was looking to sell her flags. Another had sent me a worship flag video. I could feel Holy Spirit wooing me. "Let's dance."

I got out of bed. The rest of the house was silent and sleeping. I couldn't resist Him any longer. It was in the darkness of my living room that I took out my flags and I began to worship. With broken flags and a broken spirit I moved, I spun, I jumped, I bent and I twirled. Oh what a joy to see the shadows of my flags moving in a beautiful rhythm. Holy Spirit and I dancing and interceding together once again.

You see, the problem was not with my flags. The problem was not in the word I received from God. The problem was with my expectation. With every adjustment in life there is a period where you have to do just that - adjust. In every new season we step into, we have to realize that we cannot do things the same way we did in the previous season. The old has gone, the new has come.

God never told me to stop flagging. This was a distraction from the enemy. During those months when I did not flag, I felt heartbroken. The first issue was that I had made my flags my identity. The broken flags helped me to realize this. The second issue is that I had put a commentary on the word that God had spoken over my flagging. I assumed they were broken and therefore, I had to either replace them or quit all together. But God! Broken is still beautiful. Broken is STILL USABLE.

One thing I should mention, God told me I am not to fix my flags. This is to serve as a reminder that I am broken. I am beautiful. I am valuable. I am usable.

Let's talk in the comments. I wonder, have any of you ever heard a word from the Lord but put your own spin on it? I pray I am not alone. How did you navigate back to the word God gave you? Do any of you feel too broken to be usable? Let's pray together. I want to pour into you today.


I've Reached a Dead-End!

A Dead-End….

…Divorce…

…Failed adoption…

…Lost job…

…Friendship betrayed…

…Circumstances…

…Cancer…

Arrival on: Dead End Street


Deadend2This is a familiar road to me, perhaps to you as well. We arrive in this desolate place by many different vehicles and at various speeds.

I have ambled down this road in a slow, painful progression, via a loss of a friendship. I have slammed into the road sign, leaving it flat on the pavement, after screeching to a halt. I look around bewildered at my arrival once again. Pride usually facilities this crash. I have followed Christ, with absolute certainty of His leading, only to take up residence once again next to the familiar roadblock because I didn’t trust Him completely.

Arrival on Dead-End Street brings the inevitable questions: Why? What purpose does this serve, God?

The question to ask is not why. The question to ask is, God what are you up to?

James 1:5-6 (New International Version)
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Ask Him about it. In many instances, God has future Kingdom work so intense and fantastic we would fear it and run. It is in the waiting that we are prepared to climb to the next plateau. Living on Dead-End Street forges a soul of Christlike character. Life is not about us. It is about Him. God utilizes our dead-end to magnify Himself.

Romans 11:36 (New International Version)
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

The holding pattern teaches us to set aside our ambitions and help others. God works through people. If we are flying down life’s highway screaming past the befuddled bystanders, we can’t possibly show them Jesus. God is revealed when we enrich another’s life, a child, our spouse, a stranger, and especially others stranded on Dead-End Street. If we refuse to slow down willingly, God will unquestionably find a way to do it for us.

1 Timothy 2:4 (New International Version)
4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

It is at the dead-end where God will pursue us, change us, and grow us. Are you stuck on Dead-End Street right now?

If so,
YOU ARE ON HOLY GROUND!

Jeremiah 29:11(New International Version)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Lord, we are standing on holy ground in your presence waiting. Reveal your desire for our lives and character while we abide in this desolate place. Keep our memory strong. Never allow us to forget the lessons learned here. Let us find peace in the promise that you want to give us a hope and a future. In Jesus name, Amen.


A Shiny New Legacy

Hi friends, Ann here! God what's on your heart

It’s my turn to write this week and I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you a crazy story. I hope it makes you smile.  

Back in April, after our ‘Hear the Roar’ conference, I landed home with a spinning head. So much had happened, and I had a sense that it was truly a new season in this ministry. I was also unwell during that time, so once home I spent hours in bed. Those sick days turned into quality time with God, and I lay with three great things: prayer, pen, and notepad.

On one such day I lay pondering and scribbling when suddenly God interrupted me with the most random phrase. Call me nuts, but this is what I heard:

He was called Snake but his legacy is different.

I’m smiling (Crazy or God?!) It was so random I thought I’d better write the phrase down. In fact, I wrote the phrase slap-bang in the middle of the page, surrounded by other thoughts about the new season and how we are hope carriers. 

Looking at that page now I can see I was, indeed, extremely excited. I don’t normally sit there writing random words onto a blank sheet of paper in such an enthused manner. BUT, I’d just had a free trip to California and ended up hearing Lynn’s testimony. It was a full-on time. The page had words of hope scribbled all over it and, right in the middle, that strange sentence about a changed legacy.

Back to my story. Shortly after writing that phrase down, I turned the page and promptly forgot about it. Forgot, that was, until two days later when a delightful ‘coincidence’ occurred.

I was on Facebook, accepting a friend request from a fellow believer. I closed Facebook straight after that, but then opened it later. When I opened it, there was an article she had shared, staring me in the face. I did a double take. The words in front of me said this:

“They used to call him Snake – Not any more!”

My mouth dropped open, eyebrows shot up. I shook my head, blinked, and then thought I’d better read. I carried on to see this:

“Snake Colson: Proof God can do anything. How God transformed a mean, no-good drunk into a mighty man of God.”

At this point I was beaming. This was becoming a super-cool God moment. In fact, I’m posting the link to it the article itself, so you can read it. It's a goodie: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=1905811983070894&story_fbid=2278722972446458

“Snake Colson” was, in fact, Donnie Colson, a pastor from Community Chapel Church, Illinois. “Snake” was his nickname from his years of adulthood as a troubled drunk. He was bad news, and known for it. But then he encountered Jesus, and became good news. Now he is widely loved as a mighty man of prayer.

What a great reminder that no situation is beyond change. But, dusting off my piece of paper, I wonder if there is more to learn from this? The phrase I heard from God specifically pointed me to the issue of legacy. In writing today’s post, then, it occurred to me to go back to the Facebook article and see what people had to say about Donnie Colson. Their comments reveal a man’s beautiful legacy, and one that’s celebrated. Here are a few comments, copied:

“I absolutely love him!!! He baptised me.”

“He used to drink with my dad many, many years ago and led my dad to the Lord. I just love him.”

“He is simply and quietly there for so many. His prayers are often answered.”

“He’s a fine person. He does a lot. Hospital. Daily or Weekly. He’s always there. God made him special.”

“What a man of God!”

“I’ve known this man all my life. I’m proud to be able to call him my Brother in Christ, and proud to say he is my cousin!”

“Love this pastor so much. Once had a pastor tell me no matter what time I get to the hospital to pray for the sick Donnie has already been there.”

All I can say is, Praise God! And, there are even more legacy comments on that Facebook link. When God comes into someone's life it's a new day and their whole legacy is made new. Reading his story thoroughly inspired me -- Inspired me to run this race ever better.  

How about you? How does this story speak to you?

Nice chatting!

Ann


Hold on Because Your LIFE Depends On It

Hello SUM Family, Tiffany here!

I shared with you at the conference that God has been speaking to me about cedars. Legacy pendantI saw a vision of a tree that was my family

legacy. The deep roots were the word of God so deeply hidden beneath the soil. I wanted to share with you something that I have been working on. These are words that He has been saying about me. (To keep it from getting too long I will only expound on a few)  Let's call today, "Motivation Monday." May these words be a motivation for you to believe what God says about you.

Cedars of Lebanon, Tiffany Carter, 5/31/19

Champion - (1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 Corinthians 9:24; Romans 8:37; Deuteronomy 20:4; Isaiah 6:8)

Elevator - one that lifts or raises someone/something up; exhorter - one who incites by argument, or advice; strongly urges; exultor - one who is extremely joyful; leaps for joy; rejoices); exalter - to elevate by praise; raise high; to enhance the activity of; intensify. (Deuteronomy 18:18; Proverbs 14:34; Psalm 68:3; Proverbs 27:17; Hebrews 3:13)

Deeply rooted - existing for a long time and very difficult to change; firmly established; deeply implanted. (Psalm 1:3; Colossians 2:6-7; John 15:5; Jeremiah 17:7-8; Daniel 2:22; Isaiah 45:3)

Ancient - (Jeremiah 6:16; Jeremiah 1:5; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 1:4-5)

Righteousness - (Psalm 92:12-13; Proverbs 21:21; Psalm 112:6-8; Matthew 6:33; Hosea 10:12)

Stalwart Matriarch - woman that rules or dominates her family, group or state who is marked by outstanding strength and vigor of body, mind or spirit. (Psalm 68:11; Proverbs 22:6; James 5:16; Psalm 102:18; Psalm 103:17; Proverbs 14:1)

Overarching Protector - (Matthew 6:10; Ezekiel 22:30; Proverbs 11:11; Jeremiah 29:7)

Freedom - (Psalm 18:48; Ezekiel 3:12; Psalm 119:45; Romans 6:14)

Legacy - something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past; carried over from an earlier time. (Psalm 145:4; Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Joshua 24:14-15; Proverbs 13:22; Psalm 78:2-4; Exodus 20:5-6; Deuteronomy 6:5-7; 2 Timothy 2:2)

Emanate Love - (1 Peter 4:8; 1 Corinthians 16:14; Colossians 3:14; Ephesians 5:2; Matthew 22:37-39; Hebrews 10:24-25; Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 20:6-7; 1 John 4:11; 1 John 3:16-18)

Bethel - house of God. (1 Corinthians 9:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Peter 4:1-2; Psalm 119:37; Romans 8:5-7)

Anointed - to smear or rub with oil or an oily substance; to apply oil to as part of a religious ceremony; to choose by or as if by divine election. (Isaiah 22:22; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 1 John 2:20-21; 1 John 2:27; John 15:16; Psalm 45:7; Isaiah 44:3)

Non-conforming - (2 Corinthians 3:12; Romans 12:1-2; John 17:14-16; Revelation 12:11; Luke 6:27-36)

Ornamental - one who lends grace or beauty; adorned - to enliven. (1 Peter 3:3-4; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Proverbs 31:30; Ecclesiastes 3:11; Genesis 1:27; 1 Timothy 2:9-10; 1 Samuel 16:7)

New - (Hebrews 12:24; Galatians 3:26-27; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Isaiah 43:18-19; 2 Corinthians 4:16-17; 1 Peter 1:3; Mark 2:22).

Storms, temptations and trials will come and try to divert your eyes. The deceiver will come and try to cause you to doubt if not forget these life fulfilling promises.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lordyour God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

--Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Do whatever is necessary to remember and cling to these promises. I love making jewelry (see photo above) so this is a good tangible way for me to see His word on a regular basis.

How great of a Daddy we have that He would speak something so special and unique to you individually. Let's talk in the comments: What are some ways that you remember His promises in your own life? What helps you to keep your eyes on the prize set before you?

 


A Road Well Worth It

Hi friends, Ann here!

Have you ever looked in the rear-view mirror, glimpsed the road behind you, and realized that something’s changed? That happened to me recently in relation to a friend who didn't want to know about faith. I thought I'd share the story today.Rear view mirror SUM

When I first turned to God, I began to tell my friends my testimony. Little did I know how unenthusiastic they would be. In their eyes it was a ‘fairy tale’. I realize now that this is normal, but at the time I was perplexed: “How can you not believe me?" 

I had a particular friend who epitomized this. At the mention of my faith she literally had a physical reaction. She raced to the other side of the shop we were in, and starting looking at shelves with her back to me. The months that followed brought honesty about her feelings towards Christians. Then came her husband, with similar reactions. They warned me off the ‘danger of religion’, shaking their heads as if I was a weakling who’d been sucked in. It was pretty painful to be viewed this way. Nevertheless, I stayed friends: I liked them.

Eventually they moved away but recently, after a couple of years' absence, I got a surprise email: “We’re in town, can we meet?” It was a big “YES” from me, we set up a time and day, and time found us gathered round a homely kitchen table with cake and tea.

Now, my heart at this point had become quite bruised. For some time I’d been feeling like I was lying in the corner of a battlefield, enduring atheist swipes. Anti-Christ sentiments among those near and dear had become bruising thumps against my shield of faith. Bang. Bang. Bang. I was tired – I’m sure you know the feeling. Yet:

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-12 (NIV).

Indeed, that day as we sat at the same table with cake and tea, the swipes seemed to disappear and something altogether different happened. As I took a sip of tea my dear friend came out with a question that had clearly been brewing:

“Ann, tell me, are you still a Christian? If so, how has that affected your marriage?  And Bryce, how are you coping with it?”

Woah. What? Of all our friends, none have ever asked me about my faith; they don’t want to know. None have asked that honest question about our life and marriage, and Bryce and I had never, up to that point, had the opportunity to talk about this situation to someone else, side by side. In essence we were being asked to tell our shared story.

And so we talked. I gave my testimony. Bryce joined in. I put my hand on his leg. We talked about the fact that you experience it or you don’t. We talked about a sense of calling. We talked about church and denominations, churches being clubbish, relationship versus religion, about how you can’t give up your faith, about how we still love each other, and about respecting each other within a marriage.

Our boys sat munching cake. Everyone at the table had open ears, including me.

Later, tucking the boys in, some childlike wisdom came, sweet and helpful: “Mum, don’t worry about other people. If you like something, you just do it.” Good words fitly spoken. 

That day represented a shift. Someone who had been so opposed to my faith actually listened. What’s more, my husband and I sat together, talking authentically about it to others. These friends of ours would never go near a church but what they were willing to hear is our story and reality, because it is a raw and real account. In that way, we did it together, he and I. Thank God for my husband's place in all this; and yes, we feel the blows, but we also keep going because who knows where it goes!

How about you? What rear-vision experiences have you had, looking back and seeing that something shifted? 


MUST READ For SUMites Still Waiting

Proverbs 3 5 6(I wrote this prior to Martha's Post. The Lord understands and loves us so well. Hugs, Lynn)

SUMites,

My heart has been with the many who are reading here and are STILL waiting for your miracle. It may have been difficult to read about spouses coming to faith while you languish in the loneliness and deep conflicts of a mismatched marriage. I know for me, reading about happy couples was sometimes a dagger in my chest.

Several years ago, the Lord spoke to this issue.

One of the biggest tests of love is when someone else receives their miracle while you wait for yours. And the biggest sign of your maturity in Christ is your ability to genuinely celebrate with your brother or sister. Listen to me. It’s not easy to rejoice over someone else’s joy when you are asking God for the same and you’re met with silence.

In these moments the demonic will rise up and swirl the lies and confusion around you. They whisper, “See, God doesn’t listen to you. See, you are not making any progress. Yes, divorce is the answer. See, your life isn’t worth notice.”

Tell me these swirling thoughts don’t rise up? I know because these are the very wicked demons who once would whisper to me.

So, friends, TAKE CAPTIVE THOSE LIES AND SEND THEM TO THE PIT!

The truth is this:

  • You are powerful.
  • God listens to you because He is madly in love with you.
  • You are His favorite!
  • Your presence with Christ within you, changes your home for the better. If you weren’t there, O Lord have mercy, what a mess it would be.
  • Your love WINS!
  • The battle is the Lord’s. You pray. Command the demons to leave. Let the angelic do their work!

You can celebrate with your sisters because you ARE experiencing victory every day. Did you wake up breathing? Hallelujah.

Did your kids smile at you? GOD IS SOOOOO GOOD.

Did you lay down in a bed? Great is our King!

Your brothers and sisters who are walking ahead of you are PLOWING the road for you, so you don’t have to wait so long. You don’t have to endure the pain as much. Lean into what your brothers and sisters bring to the table because their victory IS YOUR VICTORY.

I love you. Don’t give up.

I bless you with courage to move forward today. I bless you with grit…. To fight for your family. I bless you with heaven’s powerful determination to pray your family into the Kingdom. I bless you to walk in integrity, maturity and in the love of Jesus. I bless you to never violate love and to let love be your highest goal, in Christ Jesus. AMEN

Be blessed, Lynn


MORE From The Summit...

Hey SUM family, Tiffany Here! 

During the leader's meeting on the Friday morning before the conference I said I would share a spoken word piece during the offering time. I didn't have anything prepared at the time of volunteering. In fact I just heard the words come out of my mouth. You know those moments when you realize after the fact that you were pushed into things by the Holy Spirit? Maybe it's just me. It happens quite often. *grin*

The rest of the day seemed to fast forward pretty quickly. Filled with fellowship, food and fun. I was exhausted after the meet and greet at Lynn's house - in a good way - and went to bed shortly after everyone left. Saturday morning I wake up and realize that I didn't take time to prepare a spoken word! Out of desperation I laid flat on my back with my arms outstretched (my body in the shape of a cross) and said, "Holy Spirit, I need You to give me a spoken word for today. I want those who hear it to feel your deep love. I want them to know that they can have a close relationship with You. Give me something."

In that moment of asking Him, I could feel the atmosphere change in the room. It was like He was waiting for the invitation to share what was in the deep recesses of His heart. The following is the spoken word. I have posted it on Facebook so it may be a repeat for some. In my humble opinion, Holy Spirit really delivered!

More, Tiffany Carter, 4/6/19

 

Remember when I first revealed myself to you?

The relief you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

Remember when you heard me speak life into your bones?

The comfort you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

Remember when you received my loving embrace?

The warmth you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

Remember when you needed Me and cried out for help?

The deliverance you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

Remember when you sought me for clarity?

The answers you felt?

Just wait there’s more.

 

More. Love that is unendable. River w SUM logo

More. Passion that is unshakable.

More. Desire that is unquenchable.

More. Joy that is uncontainable.

More. Intimacy that is unthinkable.

More. Wisdom that is unmatchable.

More. Peace that is uncontrollable.

More. Power that is undeniable.

More. Faith that is unbeatable.

MORE.

 

Remember when you stepped into your destiny and calling?

The freedom you felt?

My beloved child…

Just wait.

There’s MORE.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (TPT) - Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.  Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ—and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen!

Do you want more? I know that I sure do!

Let's talk in the comments. In these weeks since the conference, what are some things that God has been showing you? How has He shown up in your life personally? In reference to Libby's visions, how have you been feeling the residual affects of the river flowing from the conference? I love you all.


Good Friday

John 12: 24-25 Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal. ~The Message

In this passage Jesus is speaking to his disciples and He is speaking to us. He uses a wheat seed as Crosses an example to foretell His death by crucifixion which we remember today, Good Friday. Jesus explains how a solitary seed, which is useless and lifeless, will spring forth in new life once buried in the ground. It, in turn, will produce a great number of seeds.

Christ’s teaching reaches deeper as He calls us to consider what we are holding onto in this life. He asks us to consider what we treasure. Is it something which destroys the soul? Finally, He calls us to love recklessly. He calls us to let go of the world and hold on to life - real life - lived for Jesus.

Jesus died and rose again that we may live, forever, real and eternal. On this day when we reflect on Good Friday and the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus hanging on a cross, let us also remember…

SUNDAY IS COMING!

 

Family Activity:

You will need:

1 small flowerpot for each participant

1 package of radish seeds

Potting soil Prepare each pot by filling ¾ full of potting soil.

Pass out three seeds for each pot. Follow the planting and watering directions on the package of seeds. Seeds are abundant in most stores this time of year. Radish seeds germinate quickly.

Select a family member to read: John 12:24-25

Follow with: Just as this radish seed is dead. Jesus was once dead. He was buried in the earth just like this dead seed. But, after three days he came back to life. It’s kind of like these dead seeds. They will burst from the soil in a short time with new life.

Read the resurrection story: Matthew 28:1-6

God bless you and I pray this Easter will fill you with a profound sense of Christ's vast love! Be Blessed, Lynn


I've Never Understood God In This Way Before...Have You?

*Photo credit: Arkdiscovery.com, this is the forever blackened top of Mount Sinai, where God's presence came in fire.

God is angry and full of wrath...and I want no part of that! Mt Sinai

I've heard throughout my lifetime that the God of the Bible (specifically the Old Testament) is mean and unmerciful and a murderer. I'm sure you have heard things similar...maybe even last week. There are a lot of people who hold this viewpoint. I never knew how to really answer these types of comments. Sure I could mention that Jesus died on the cross and rose again for our sins to take the wrath of God upon Himself. But I was always left confused when my heart and mind could not make the connection with all of the death and destruction in the Old Testament with a loving God. I mean after all God never changes right? (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17; Hebrews 33:8)

I would like to place a quick interjection here. Thanks to you, my loving SUM family I have been taking ministry classes with my church. I cannot thank you enough for your generous support, love, and encouragement. 6-7 months into this 2 year program and I am absolutely blown away by all the things being revealed to me. It is amazing. I say this because it is in a recent class that Holy Spirit spoke to my heart.

There are 5 major covenants that God made with His people throughout history. I won't go into detail here because there is a lot to explain (and quite frankly I am still trying to soak it all in) but suffice it to say, each and every one of these covenants was for the benefit of His people. (A covenant is simply an agreement between two parties. I say this with all sincerity. If you would like a copy of my class notes to better understand the covenants, I would love to share. This stuff is truly fascinating and has really opened up my eyes in how to read the Bible!)

The covenant made with Moses is where God introduces the law. Here is the kicker though. God did not want to give a set of rules for His people to be bound by. Did you know that the covenant relationship we have right now with God - through Jesus - is what He wanted for His people all along?

And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19)

This is the covenant that God wanted. He wanted all of Israel to priests. A holy nation, set apart from the rest of the world to be a light and represent God to the rest of the world. What? I had no idea! So what happened?

Exodus 19:8 - Israel agreed to it

Exodus 19:9-13 - God is giving them a consecration period (this is always the case where there is covenant or relationship with God)

Exodus 19:18-19 - God shows up in with lightning, fire, a loud trumpet, etc (see Deuteronomy 5:23-27 fore more details of this) which scared the Israelites.

Exodus 19:20-25 - Moses and the priests (which in that time were simply the oldest males from each family line, meaning every family was represented on the mountain) go up on the mountain and decide, now we don't want any of this. We don't want to have a face to face relationship with God. Let's send Moses as a mediator and whatever he says, we will do.

What does this mean for us today? The work of Jesus on the cross opened us up to the exact covenant that God talked about in Exodus 19:3-6. Check this out:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2)

Family, I don't know about you but understanding God's heart in Exodus 19 is absolutely wrecking me. I hope I explained it well here. I don't feel like I can do it justice. We serve a truly loving and merciful God! He has always had a heart for His people. He has always desired a face to face relationship. He has always desired to draw and woo and take good care of us. This doesn't sound like a mean, wrathful, and unmerciful God to me!

Thank you Jesus that you gave us the greatest gift we could ever have. Relationship with our Daddy God. I pray this has blessed you. I've run a little long but let's chat in the comments. How does this insight into God's Heart in the Old Testament affect your view of His heart for you today? 


I Have Guilt Over My Mismatched Marriage

Instagram Questions 2 21 2019Good Friday Morning My Friends, 

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

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

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

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

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

Anyone???

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

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

 

My Sweet and Holy Child, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s all okay. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

I adore you. Please adore yourself. 

Signed, Your Papa
Abba, Father

PS. Jesus says, “Hi.”


Because of the Manger... Birth of the King!

From my prayer time this Christmas: December 2018

From the Father:

Emmanuel God With US spirituallunequalmarriage.com In the quiet before the early light of Christmas traditions, My child, rise and sit alone with Me. Press into My heart and travel with Me through the ages, back to a tiny town in the Judean desert.

This village, Bethlehem, shelters a teenaged, soon-to-be mother, struggling in labor throughout the night. Allow your heart to perceive the paddock of bleating sheep and goats, shivering in the cold as they huddle about the tiny family. Feel the course, dry straw where Mary, the mother of God, rests as she pushes through her pain, hour-by-hour.

Breathe in the earthy smells of the animals, the feed, the dung, as the couple labor together. The shadows flicker across the beams of the manger, lit by a single candle.

Finally, the last cry and she pushes forth the child. The King of Kings, the Messiah arrives into the hands of a young Jewish man, Joseph of Nazareth. He quickly comforts the cries of the child, wiping him clean. Resting the child in the trough made for the animals, he turns to Mary, wipes her face then settles her with a sip of water. She fades off to sleep.

Wrapping the child in torn strips from Mary’s dress, the child rests. Joseph ponders the destiny of this tiny baby within his hands. He prays. He offers thanks to the Heavenly Father as he gazes into the perfect face of a babe that is the Chose One, The Christ, who has come for all people.

All of heaven responds in a culmination of majestic worship and praise echoing throughout the eons. The angles sing, hallelujah! The heavens rejoice. Time splits in two. Hope returns. Joy and Freedom is proclaimed over the people. Devils flee.

The love of God is alive upon the earth.

Immanuel —God with us!

Luke 2: 6-14 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.