537 posts categorized "Jesus"

Advent - A Season of Hope!

As some of you may recall I’ve been observing the season of Advent now for many years. Hi, it’s Ian from warming up Sydney.

Photo courtesy of Lil Artsy and Pixels.com

Advent means “arrival”. Interestingly, the arrival, Jesus as a babe, occurs on the last morning of Advent, ie, Christmas morning. And then of course, the season encourages us also to reflect on the Second Coming of Christ.

How do we Wait?

We know waiting, don’t we SUMites? Besides the everyday matters on which we wait, we also wait for our partners to discover Jesus. To experience their own ‘advent’ of sorts. And we wait. For some of us, it’s been a long time.

“Every good arrival is preceded by a waiting, a suspension, a liminal moment.”1

We place our hope in that good arrival. It’s fascinating that the Gospel of Luke starts with the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth. I especially love this story in Luke 1: 5-25. I’d encourage you to read it, if you haven’t recently.

Elizabeth is barren. I suspect as Zechariah was a priest, they were an esteemed couple in society. Being unable to have children would have been noticed and I imagine brought much shame upon them.

But Gabriel appears to Zechariah telling him Elizabeth will conceive and give birth to a son, whom they will name John. Gabriel’s instructions are so specific, aren’t they? The Advent story starts in darkness, in the barrenness, but God entered and healed their pain and shame.2

Darkness often gets a bad rap but remember miracles happen in the dark all the time. All of us were conceived in the dark.

Holy Anticipation

Advent reflects the hope of having a relationship with an outrageous God who comes in person, as a babe, dies after a short life, is resurrected, and walked amongst us for 40 days, before ascending to heaven. But, in leaving us, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit and in so doing, gave us the power to co-create our futures here on earth with Him. But there’s more: we have a greater future when Jesus reigns forever more.

It's an exciting story, isn’t it? And one that fills me with great anticipation for the present, these four weeks of Advent and beyond.

What are you hoping for?

Advent coincides with the end of a year and often the beginning of a new year comes with hope for something new. We may be in our own season of darkness or a season of transition, waiting for the light to be revealed and a step into a fresh new something.

May we encourage you to reflect on this over the next days. Is there something you particularly long for God to do in your life? If yes, may we encourage you to bring that to Him. May we invite you to sit picturing Jesus with you. See the light and love brightly emanating from within Him in your direction. And simply open your heart to the lover of your soul. Sit some more and let Jesus hug you and bathe you in His inexhaustible love.

Happy Advent, dear SUMites. Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and New Year. See you in 2024.

Notes: 1. Advent Meditations – Practicing the Way. practicingtheway.org 2. Ibid.

You Are Not Crazy!

1 john 4 18 smallSometimes we just need to know we aren’t crazy.

Hi, Lynn Donovan here.

Today, I want to share encouragement with you. This is for all of you who are walking the unequally yoked road. Those who are following behind me, headed toward the victorious life. All of you who have pain. The many who are facing uncertainty about their marriage and doubts about your faith life.

I’m here for you. You are not alone. And you are not crazy.

I’ll be the voice that assures you that your faith is the most valuable commodity in the world. God truly loves you. And He is listening. I will tell you that every prayer you utter is important. I will affirm that each choice you make to stand down fear and live in faith is powerful.

I will be the voice to say: RISE UP. Walk in the authority of Jesus and command evil from your home. I can lead you to know the Holy Spirit is for you and merely awaiting your invitation for Him to enter your heart, home, marriage, and circumstances. He IS the very power that raised Christ from the dead and now lives in you.

I will reaffirm that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. It is powerful and can heal, redeem, restore and create. Jesus SAVES and He is returning for His Bride and WE WILL BE READY.

You are enough, even when life hurts and circumstances are frightening. You are a victor when hurtful words are slung toward your heart. You can become a man or woman of God even in the midst of unbelief that surrounds you.

Do not doubt. Do not partner with fear. Always trust and believe. Speak the Word with faith and become a demon sniper.

Every promise in the Bible is real and God wants us to step away from the lies and walk in our promises, which are all…… Yes and AMEN!


Leave your name in the comments and I will bless you. Leaving your name is a declaration to the evil realm that clearly defines….

Who you are and

Whose you are.

I adore you. Stay strong in the Lord and let’s bring His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus name. AMEN

Love and blessings, Lynn

Leave your name and the scripture verse that is important to you today. Hugs.

Do you Un-love Yourself? I did.

Hello my dear SUMites brothers and sisters,

Galatians 5 1 Freedom Inner Healing

Lynn Donovan, with you today. I’m feeling extra empathy and compassion for all of us who have walked this road of the unequally yoked.

In a prayer session this week, I was praying with a friend, and uncovered an area of unhealed pain that needed the love of Jesus….. and needed my love.

You see, Jesus took me back to when I was newly married, within the first three years, to the moment reality came crashing in that my husband and I were at odds about this major part of my person, Jesus. I remember that moment clearly. I experienced devastation when that understanding hit me. And frankly, the reality that my husband didn’t care, or seem to care, that I was in pain the devastation increased. Ugh!

It’s difficult to be transparent about this, as it’s a deeply personal moment. However, I’ve always chosen to be real with you because we learn together how to overcome pain?

Now here is the best part.

In my prayer time, I discovered that this was the moment where I became disappointed with myself. I realized that my fairytale wasn’t going to unfold as expected. This moment was the beginning of a lie that devil began to tell me that I was a disappointment to myself.

This is the moment when I began to unlove myself.

Ugh! I didn’t even know this pain and reality was inside. It was absolutely revelation from Jesus. Jesus then arrived to love on this young girl. And through this experience, He loved on me. I forgave myself for this disappointment. For the rebellion against God and not following His written Word. I forgave myself and acknowledged the difficulties this young woman faced and the deceit she lived in at the time.

I blessed her. And Jesus blessed me.

My love of self, found healing. And this morning when I woke, I’ve been surrounded by a simple peace. I feel whole unto myself. And I realized how much I truly love my husband, Mike.

SUMite, sit down with Jesus. (NO DISTRACTIONS). Ask Him if there was a place where disappointment and unlove entered in. Ask Him to reveal any roots to this pain and forgive yourself. Forgive others if needed. Love yourself. Bless yourself.

We are so hard on ourselves over our past mistakes. One of the great things I did in this prayer session was to forgive my young self for the choices she made. As my entire life has felt the consequences of her decisions. (And I realize it’s myself I’m speaking of, but that girl….. and the woman I am today, are very different people. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ.)

This process is inner healing. It is beautiful. It is necessary and it is FREEDOM.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

If you need inner healing, make a Healing Prayer Appointment with me. I am tender and full of compassion. Jesus will meet you where you are, and He will set you free also.

With great love and compassion, I greet you this day. Love, Lynn Donovan

Healing Prayer with Lynn Donovan

Dealing with Disappointment

Ian from sunny Sydney here. Spring is here, Down Under and the flowers are beginning to blossom as the temperature increases.

Photo courtesy of Mikhail Nilov and Pexels.com

We’re a little sad in our house at present. Fiona and I were off on a holiday last week, but I injured my back, and it didn’t make sense for us to travel. Besides the pain of the travel, I would have been limited in what I could do as my back slowly heals. This isn’t a new thing for me – as I’ve gotten older, these episodes occur every couple of years. Unfortunately, this time was particularly inopportune.

BTW, my back is slowly improving, and I have some plans in place to hopefully minimise future episodes.

Stuff Happens

We’re often disappointed, aren’t we? Things aren’t turning out the way they should be or how we hoped they would? We probably all can think of something in recent times where we’ve been disappointed. It might have been something small, or something bigger like a holiday being cancelled. Or there are the perennial ones that seem always to be in the back (or perhaps forefront of our minds) like our spouse still seemingly no closer to joining us in loving God, or one of our kids making decisions we don’t approve of, or our jobs not working out the way we want them to.

What about our dearest friendships? The intimacy we once shared has disappeared. Why, we don’t know. There’s an open wound in our heart that brings us to tears most weeks.

Why God why? It wasn’t meant to be like this!

We want our situation resolved now. We get disappointed when it doesn’t. Our hope fades. How many times have you wondered whether your spouse will ever come to the Lord? Me, too many to count!

It’s Okay to be Sad!

Too often in Christian circles we minimise disappointment and sadness. We all do it. We’re always wanting to help others in their sadness, confusion, or grief. We want to help them be happy and restore their hope. But many of us feel uncomfortable when someone we love is sad or disappointed. It’s a yucky feeling and experience, isn’t it?

But it’s okay to be sad. Remember, Jesus was sad a few times, one when he received news about John the Baptist being beheaded and when Lazarus was dead. We’re told he even wept when he arrived at Lazarus tomb. He, the creator of the universe, experienced every emotion we do. Really truly!

As Kate Bowler says, “You are okay to feel what you feel. We need freedom to acknowledge the brutality of life without minimising or pretending or justifying.”1


As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’ve been reading the Psalms continually for a few years now. I can’t get enough of them. They’ve been pivotal in my gaining a better understanding of God’s goodness, wonder and mystery. Lament psalms feature the most of any ‘category’ of the 150 psalms. Why? Because it reflects the human condition. Life doesn’t turn out the way we want, bad things happen, and there’s much we don’t understand. So, the writers of the lament psalms give us a means for expressing our feelings to God, knowing that He listens and is always offering us His love, protection and kindness.

One of the aspects of the lament psalms I love is they’re at times brutally honest. Here’s a sample:

“How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?

How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13:1-2)

These are the words Jesus cried on the Cross:

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;
And by night, but I have no rest. (Psalm 22:1-2)

Bowler writes, “But all the good things that can come from prayer – trust, acceptance, connection, occasional miracles – are there waiting for us. But first comes radical honesty. The more genuine our prayers, the more freedom there is to acknowledge the reality of all a life with God can be.”2

A Blessing for When you’re Disappointed.

I thought I’d finish with an abbreviated version of a Blessing Kate Bowler wrote about disappointment:

Blessed are you, dear one, when you are disappointed, when you have prayed and hoped and wished, and still your cry for help does unanswered. Blessed are you in the grip of the radical honesty that says, God, what are You doing? Why don’t Your answer? … Blessed are you, when you have lifted it all up to God and now must sit among the broken things and pray a one-word prayer of need. Help. Save. Come.

Blessed are you still there before God amid the unanswered prayers. For you are not alone. No. There is One who has come to feel what you feel, to suffer what you have borne. And this Jesus comes right to the heart of your pain. That’s the place he knows best. And desires to transform with the blazing light of healing love. That’s the only thing that makes the difference.

Blessed are you, sweet child. Daring to ask, God, help me trust You, even if You never tell me why. Then settling yourself into the reality that God’s hands are the safest place to be. And you pray again. Into Your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. Hide me in the shadow of You wings.”3


If you’re struggling with a particular disappointment right now, please share it with us in the comments if you feel comfortable doing so and we can pray over you. Grab a hold of the Word and draw close to Him. Let His Word minister to you. Remember He has never left you and is always working in the background. Just as He is with all our spouses.

Grace and peace, dear friends.

Notes: 1 & 2, Kate Bowler and Jessica Ritchie, Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection (Penguin Random House, New York, 2022) 135

Notes 3. Ibid, 136

Summer Bible Study - Book of Ephesians- Chapter One

Letter to ephesiansBook of Ephesians

Lynn Donovan here. SUM Nation the book of Ephesians is one of my all-time favorite books of the Bible. That’s because this is a letter to the church that has overcome. This group of believers lived in the middle of a morally bankrupt society that is filled with idol worship and every kind of debauchery. However, they found Jesus. AND they have learned how to live and thrive in difficult surroundings.

Sound familiar?

What I find fascinating is this church is powerful and faith-filled body of believers, however just a mere 30 years later, the Apostle John writes to the Ephesians and reminds them of the many miraculous things they have done and how they have persevered. Yet, he calls them out in verse 4: Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

This is the call of the Ephesians letters: Never relent, persevere and LOVE. Love God. Love people in an ever-increasing capacity of the heart.

Open your Bible to Ephesians, chapter one. I’m teaching from the NKJV. We know that the Apostle Paul is writing to the believers in Ephesus and offers these believers some astonishing reminders of what belongs to them.

Read from verse one through verse twelve. This greeting and introduction is filled with promises of completeness. What IS ALREADY accomplished for our benefit through the atonement. THIS IS OUR HEAVENLY BANK ACCOUNT. Let’s take a look:

  • Every spiritual blessing
  • Chosen, before time began to be holy, blameless and in His (Christ’s) love.
  • Adopted because it pleased our Father. (If we can wrap our head around this, we will never give into the fear of man, manipulation or deception. We KNOW who we are and whose we are.)
  • Redemption from sin, transgression and iniquity. (I could write books about this stuff. What we are redeemed from is so massive and horrendous, that most believers don’t fully understand our greatest gift is redemption.)
  • Riches of grace abounding toward us in wisdom and prudence. (Does anyone want to give an explanation of these amazing attributes in the comments? I would love to read your take.)
  • Obtained and inheritance in accordance with His will and all of this to the glory of God in Christ Jesus.

These are amazing. If you dwell upon each and research their possibilities and ask God to reveal their reality in your life today, it will blow your mind. Let me give you an example.

We have every spiritual blessing. What does this mean. It means that everything in the spiritual Kingdom of God that we need or desire is already ours. It is our great privilege to learn to apprehend these spiritual blessings. Many of these blessings look like the gifts of the spirit (Galatians 5). Spiritual blessings also is angelic support and influence in the heavenly places because we are seated with Christ. It’s everything we need and more. 

Blessing aren't just spiritual. It is God's great pleasure to give us the Kingdom. Blessings in the here and now. Health, family, finances, community, weather, etc.

What does this mean practically? I don’t need to beg God for a morsel of His goodness, kindness and provision. I can believe He has provided me with all that I need to accomplish my work here on earth and thrive. I pray in support of these purposes. For example: Lord, this book I’ve been writing is creating great demonic attack, so I call upon your protection that is mine as your child. Also, Father, I need downloads of the words to write and time and the energy to write them down. I thank you that you hear my prayers as I am seated in the heavenly realms with Christ. And now I wait expectantly for your provision of words, protection and everything I need to thrive in my home and relationships as we write together. In Jesus name. AMEN

I could spend weeks unpacking all of these blessings. But alas, we must move on to the BEST PART of the entire chapter.

Paul’s prayer for the overcoming church, beginning in verse fifteen.

I’m going to pray this passage how I prayed it for months and months a number of years ago when I was in the middle of my search for my true identity and to really KNOW God. This is how I prayed this scripture:

Father, God of my Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Father of glory! I ask that you give to me the Spirit of Wisdom (read more about this spirit in Proverbs, beginning in chapter one.) that I may be wise on earth in my work, my worship, my relationship with You and others and in everything I do and say. I also ask for the Spirit of Revelation that I may really know you in a deep and abiding and powerful intimacy. Father, open my eyes to understanding and enlighten me to the amazing truth that you have a calling on my life. Reveal my calling(s) and teach me to walk in them now. Father may Your calling fill me with great hope and contentment. I also ask for understanding of the riches of glory because I have an inheritance here on earth and also in heaven. Reveal this to me.

Father, what is the exceeding greatness of power that is granted to me as a believer? Reveal this working of your mighty power in my life. This same astonishing power is made available to me which is the power that raised Christ from the dead. Teach me how to partner with Your power. And show me how to engage this power with Christ over and far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come! Hallelujah! I will defeat the Kingdom of darkness for the cause of Christ Jesus!

And I declare Jesus Christ is over all things and all things are under the power and dominion of His church AMEN and AMEN!

SUMITE, if you don’t know what to pray, pray this prayer. Open your Bible to Ephesians one and just pray the words aloud straight from the pages.

As our world darkens, I see all of us SUMites who have walked this long road of challenges to our families and faith, as Kingdom leaders who walk in all these promises of Ephesians. We, who have persevered in long crushings of worldly desires to arrive in a life of power and connection in Christ. We are those who will bring healing to many. Who will share God’s wisdom and perseverance to show the people who are deceived the truth that shall set them free.

And that truth is a person. He is Jesus.

Can I get an amen in the comments. I bless you today to perceive the spiritual blessings that are all around you and that you feel deep in your person the abiding and transforming love of our Lord and our God. Amen

I adore you, Lynn

“Do you enjoy spending time with Jesus?”

Photo provided courtesy of Lisa Folios at Pexels.com

Hi Ian from Down Under here. It’s getting colder here in Sydney. But our winters are typically pretty mild and often quite dry as well which makes them very pleasant so long as there’s a heater not too far away if the temperature suddenly drops.

I read the above question the other day. It’s a great question as it makes you think all sorts of things, doesn’t it? Things such as:

- When did I last time with Jesus?

- Have I ever spent time with Jesus?

- You mean, in church, right?

- I’m not sure how to spend time with Jesus.

- How do you answer such a question?


I expect this question would be easier to answer when we think about spending time with our spouse, our children, and our friends. Whether the answer is an affirmative or not.

“I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)

Friendship with Jesus is something I’ve been reflecting on a for a little while now. Interestingly, it’s become quite topical in the current book business as a n umber of authors have or will soon release books on the subject.

Jesus wants us to be friends. He designed us for friendship with Him. He calls us friends as evidenced by the verse above. How do we be friends with Jesus? I thought it would be interesting to explore this subject over the next few weeks.


We are creatures of habit. Annie Dillard, a favourite author of many writers, is known for saying, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” For many of us how we spend our days is built around what is important to us, or what we have determined is our purpose in life. Career, family, and relationships tend to fill most of our days and these typically reflect what is important to us.

For many men friendships aren’t something we prioritise. And even if we do, we might find people we are seeking to be friends with don’t prioritise it so it’s all a bit lopsided. The beauty of Jesus is that He places it as a priority. Isn’t that exciting?

If answering the question that prompted this post was difficult perhaps one reason for it is because we haven’t prioritised friendship (or relationship) with Him. Jesus isn’t going to bully us into a friendship with Him. If we don’t see it as being important, and don’t prioritise it, then Jesus is unlikely to force our hand.

Jesus wants to be wanted.

Knowing vs knowing!

Huh? Knowledge of God is important. Studying the Word, even going to Bible College, and listening to speakers, podcasts, reading books, etc, etc are important and good things to do.

We chose our spouses because we first got to know about them. We found we liked them because of what we learnt. We wanted to know them more and more. And through marriage and living together over the years we have become intimately acquainted with them.

Knowing about God is important. It helps us to say yes to Him. Romans 10: 17 confirms it, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

God desires us to know Him intimately, to have an experiential relationship with Him, not just a head-based knowledge. As James Bryan Smith says about God, “Jesus is as real to me as the chair I am sitting on.”

And I believe the first step in having an intimate friendship with God is to want it. To truly desire it. It’s something that gets us out of bed in the morning. God gets excited when we desire what He wants. Friendship.

We’d love to know any thoughts you might have on the question that prompted this post and/or any tips you might have for developing a close friendship with God. Please share away in the comments below.

Note: The question that is the title to this post was prompted by Faith Eury Cho's book, "Experiencing Friendship with God"

Are You This Person?

Hi SUM Nation. Lynn Donovan here.

I want you to meet my friend.

Debbie DelNero

This is Debbie DelNero. I met her at my new church about a year ago. I was still fairly new to the congregation. She came up to me and introduced herself. Then she said something remarkable.

"I lead a small group of SUMites and we are currently studying your book, Winning Him Without Words."

I hugged her.

In her remarkable words was something that moved my heart deeply. You see, there aren't many of us. Those of us who are walking or have walked the unequally yoked path. The spiritually mismatched are often forgotten in a church body. No one truly understands the deep struggle of living in a marriage where you want to honor God and your marriage vows, even to an unbeliever. 

And even more unlikely will you find a woman who decides to seek out others and then gather them together to study and encourage them to grow in faith and hope for their unbelieving spouses.

Debbie, is brave. We all are brave but she did something that is even less common. She started and continues to lead a small group of SUMites. My heart fills with love for all of us walking out our faith in a spiritual mismatch. But my heart swells with the deepest of gratitude for her selfless efforts. 

She loves God. She loves people.

AND my heart and the heart of Jesus swells for every woman who has led a small group of SUMites. And for those who will in the future.

Also, My heart swells with deep gratitude for the SUMITE Team who writes online and those who contribute to social mead. You serve selflessly and for no reason other than to help someone and see the name of Jesus glorified. 

This month of May marks the 17th anniversary of this ministry. I am thankful for all of you. Those I never met. The many who served another SUMites, in some way, without acknowledgement. I'm thankful that the love of Jesus shines from your eyes.

I'm so thankful and I ask the Lord Jesus to bless each of you in a tremendous and REMARKABLE manner. 

I love you. Lynn

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

TreeHello all! Amanda here, I hope you had a great weekend and a wonderful Mothers Day! I have another "WOW God!" story to share with all of you (the picture is a little hint). So lets jump right in!

I have to start by saying the spiritual journey God is taking me on as a mother is nothing short of amazing. I have hard time finding the words to describe it sometimes (which, if you know me, is unusual haha!). I feel it is all at once joyful and solemn, fun and difficult, peaceful and chaotic! I am sure that is how most mothers view raising their children. I am so VERY aware that God chose me to steward these little warriors that sometimes it takes my breath way! And the event I am about to share with you was one of those breath-taking moments.

Almost every night since December we have read one chapter of the bible. It started with Luke as a way to celebrate the birth an life of Jesus nearing Christmas and we just kept going! We are in the book of Acts now and they love it! The three of us (my son, my daughter, and I) snuggle up on my daughters bed and start reading, stopping for questions and discussion along the way. It does tend to make for later bed times, but we love it! Our faith walks and connection to each other has grown deeper because of it.

On this particular night, after we had read our chapter, my daughter was looking particularly thoughtful. I could tell she was rolling something around in her mind. She has a very big imagination and she is very curious kid, so you never know what she might say! Anyway, she looked at me with the widest eyes and said "Mommy, do you ever think about how Jesus is like the stem (trunk) of a tree, reaching all the way to the top; how the disciples are the branches, and the rest of us are the leaves?". After I picked my jaw up off the floor in surprise at the wisdom my seven year old was spouting I said, "Wow June! That is very cool!'. Then she went on saying, "Yeah! And God is like the roots of the tree, and the ground is that 'thing' that separates us from God!". Again, jaw dropped haha!

Possibly the COOLEST thing about this whole conversation was the moment we all turned and looked at the tree I had painted on her bedroom wall EIGHT years ago, when I was pregnant with her, and counted the main branches coming off the trunk. Want to take a guess how want there are? Twelve...TWELVE! With a 13th that reaches the ceiling! When I painted this tree I was not attempting for it to symbolize anything! I was just planning on making a forest-themed nursery but stopped after one tree! haha! How interesting is it that it has suddenly become a symbol of something so powerful?! The three of us sat in silence for a few moments staring at the tree in awe. My son fell back on the bed giggling and saying his mind was blown, haha!

For me, this felt like a reminder, like the kindest wink and smile from Him, that He truly is in everything we do. We may not even be aware of the true significance of something we are doing at this moment, but years down the road we may see it for what it truly is! We could be lighting fires and fanning flames with no clue to what we are doing! I was simply painting my baby girls nursery, big and pregnant and so excited to meet her. I had no idea that in my joy, I was planting something so important! Now we look at that tree differently. My daughter sees our Father in her room now, and every time she looks at it she feels safer. 

God never stops amazing!

I have to wrap this up but, but I want to end by suggesting you go read John 15:1-8...Really the whole chapter, I feel, is relevant to this! I pray that our story blesses you all as it has us! God is in every detail of our lives, and He sees you beloved one!

Lynn Donovan Here with a Few Things

Hi SUM Nation,

Lynn Donovan here. Hope you had an amazing Easter. Mike asked me if he could attend church with me on Saturday. He said he would like to attend as long as it wasn't the early service. GRIN     WAHOO!!

My friends, I sat in service and was astounded by the pastor's message. For the first time that I can remember on an Easter Sunday, the full message of what happened to Jesus from the Last Supper to the Resurrection was told. This is significant for several reasons. One, the Resurrection story is FILLED, I MEAN COMPLETELY FILLED UP WITH SUPERNATURAL OCCURANCES. The death to life thing comes to mind. But, because so many visitors attend on an Easter Sunday, most pastors like to introduce Jesus as the compassionate, healing and life-changing Savior. AND He IS all of that.

But what makes the resurrection story compelling is the telling of how, in the middle of the day, Jerusalem went dark. Because when he died, darkness filled the land. Utter, bitter darkness devoid of all hope. Then the most important place in the Temple the Veil, that separated God from humanity, supernaturally ripped in two, top to bottom.

AND my friends, rocks split apart. The land was rocked by an earthquake and then DEAD PEOPLE arose from the cemetery and went into town and visited with people. 

It is a fantastic story. The audience went wild. Our church experienced 26 baptisms on Friday night at the Good Friday service. I happened to prophetically paint that night. The painting is below. Please notice the beam of light shining upon the head of Jesus. I did NOT paint that and the sunlight was coming in from the opposite direction. I can't explain how a perfect the beam of light is on the Christ. It's a supernatural thing.

GOD IS DOING SOMETHING IN OUR LIFETIME. It's bigger than we know or can expect. Hold on to your hat. Claim your family for the Kingdom of God. Pray and ask for greater faith and belief because we are heading into something the world hasn't seen in over 2,000 years.


So, what say you? Want to be part of it? Pray the prayer and then say AMEN in the comments. I'll join your faith and let's bring His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. 

Hugs, and blessings, Lynn

Father, in the name of Jesus, DO NOT pass me by. I want to experience everything that your death and resurrection have provided to me and my family. I will not sit back in fear. I have the Holy Spirit and the Wisdom of Heaven to guide and protect me. I want to see the miraculous. I want to pray and watch you heal people. I will be a disciple that casts out demons and brings freedom to many. I stand upon your truth, your word and the power of the Atonement. In Your Mighty name, Jesus. AMEN

The Son April 9 2023

And So We Reach Friday: Thank You for the Blood

Friday, the day of all days! Footsteps

Matthew 26:47-27:66, Mark 14:43-15:46, Luke 22:47-23:56, John 18:2-19:37

There’s a song I heard this week for the first time called ‘Thank you Jesus for the Blood’. Well, as we come together on this little place in the web, that’s what I want to say to Jesus today

Thank you for the blood.

There was a moment from the last supper that struck me for the first time yesterday. It was the part when Jesus handed out the bread and the wine and said “I have so longed to do this –“ I could feel his emotion, as if he was saying, “Please, take this – It’s so special to me what I’m about to do for you.”

I call my young-adult sons my babies sometimes. They don’t mind, I’m silly. I call up the stairs to them sometimes: “My babies!” But in all seriousness with this last supper moment I can feel Jesus’ heart in the same way: We’re his babies. And of course he would do this for us because that’s who we are to him -- His children.

On this Passover night, beginning in the Gethsemane garden, Jesus carried out the greatest act of parental love ever seen.

He physically fell over in that garden and sweated blood, so great was his distress.

He was betrayed by those he loved, his very children. Jesus painting by Lynn

He was spat at in the face.



Mocked. Parodied.


Ganged-up on.

Falsely testified against.

"We want Barabbas!!" Shout the crowd. "Release the murderer, Barabbas!!! Crucify Jesus, he is worse than that man!!

Scourged. Over and over and over.

Stripped naked.

Punctured with the crown of thorns.

Beaten on the head with a stick.

And then nailed …

Thirsty to the point of torment.

Hung in excruciating pain.

Blasphemed against.

“But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Said Jesus; as if to say, "all is going according to plan."


As he gave up his spirit in power the sheer awe of the moment showed itself. It was a moment like no other the world has ever seen. An earthquake hit, rocks were split, pitch-black darkness descended on the daytime and the veil in the temple tore violently from top to bottom.

Those watching began to tremble. What have we done? “Truly this was the Son of God”.

Quiet awe. Fear.

And centuries later, here in my little back-garden shed where I’m writing from, I know that because of those events I now have eternal life. What's more, that eternal life has already begun. I can be with him even now.

Mind. Blowing.

Thursday, the Last Supper ...

Jesus spends Thursday with his disciples. Jesus painting by Lynn

Matthew 26:17--29, Mark 14:12-25, Luke 22:7-20, John 13:1-17:26

No more crowds; it's just him and them. Round an intimate table he washes their feet and tenderly gives them bread and wine. He says this is something he has longed to do: He just adores them so much, and this bread and wine is intensely special. His body, his blood -- He's giving himself to them.

He then speaks to them, for a long time, about his love for them and what it means to be a disciple.

This week I got an email from one of our British SUM friends, Jim Edwards, sharing some thoughts on the last supper. It's nice hearing other perspectives so I thought I'd share his today. He said: --


".. You will know I have very strong views on the power of our words... and hence even more on the power of Jesus' words! He used His Words like a carpenter uses a hammer and chisel - 'I say unto you 'Arise'!" 
So in that context here's an aspect of Jesus' words from the Last Supper that struck me a few years ago...
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31, NIV)
So it's in the same breath of warning Simon, that Jesus is describing something just like Job chapter 1... Satan is demanding and Jesus has been interceding for him, but...
I'm thinking that Jesus saying about Peter denying he even knew Jesus - was actually foretelling by Jesus... A Holy Spirit glimpse into what Peter would face, perhaps... Jesus' words actually 'allowed' this - it's as though He spoke this out (and no further!!!!)  And similarly with Judas - I don't think Judas could leave the table until Jesus gave him permission! Such would be the weight of Jesus' words - especially that fateful night!"
"The case with Judas is actually even more striking: Having said that someone will betray Him, Peter and John want to know who - that in itself is curious as none of the disciples had any idea! Judas didn't stand out from the others in any way!
Just look then at John 13:26-28:

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 

There was something demonic that entered Judas at that point - he couldn't get out of there fast enough...."


Indeed! There were fascinating dynamics at that dinner table. It's as if this is one enormous spiritual chess-game in which God is the chess master and victor; but there are tough moves.

How comforting, though, to know that Jesus intercedes for us, and nothing happens unless God allows it. 

I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail ....

Well, the day ended there. Jesus promised his disciples repeatedly in these last words that a Helper would come: The Holy Spirit. He talked a lot about that Helper. Noticeably so. Centuries on that comforts me too to know that we have this Helper.

They sang a song then, got up, and moved to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen next.

SUMites, I will see you tomorrow for the events of Good Friday. In the meantime, let this song bring to life the love of Jesus for you.

Wednesday, Two Days Before the Crucifixion

6a00d83451ee9f69e202b68530647d200dAnn, thank you for guiding us through Holy Week. It’s such a good practice as others have mentioned in the comments to deliberately walk through each day alongside Jesus.

Now it’s Wednesday. A quiet day. Well, it is in the Scriptures but there was still a lot of activity, some in public and some of it in secret.

A day Jesus’ enemies plot against him. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Jesus Teaches (Luke 21:37-38)

As he has done each day so far Jesus leaves Bethany to travel to Jerusalem to teach in the temple. Remember, there are millions of people in Jerusalem for the Passover Festival and Jesus is taking every opportunity to teach as many people as He can.

What do you think it would have been like in Jerusalem this week? I’m not good in crowds but the opportunity to hear Jesus would be something special, wouldn’t it?

Plotting to Kill Jesus (Matthew 26:3-5; Mark 14:1-2; Luke 22:1-2)

We’re told in Matthew that the leaders of the Sanhedrin are meeting at the home of their boss, the chief priest Caiaphas. They want to surprise Jesus by arresting him by stealth, so that there isn’t an uproar from the masses of people in the city.

The decision is made. But they must wait until the end of the Passover Festival which is tomorrow (Thursday) night. The crowds would leave the city on Friday so there’s less chance of a riot.

There is now an increasing sense of darkness in the city. The plot is hatched, they have their spy, Judas, and now they just wait for Thursday to be over.

I’ve always found it incredible that one of his followers would betray Jesus. I wonder if Judas wanted Jesus to be that messianic King who would take on the Romans and help the Israelites live a life of peace?

Judas challenges us to wonder if we have expectations of Jesus that maybe He doesn’t meet? Perhaps healing of a relative, rescuing a prodigal child, or salvation of our spouse? Why not take a moment to talk to Jesus about any hurts or disappointments you might have regarding any expectations you have of Him.

And now to Maundy Thursday we go.

Have a blessed Easter, dear SUMites. May I remind us to keep our eyes and hearts firmly focused on Jesus. He’s right here with us.

Rather than leaving you with a song as Ann has done this week, I thought I'd leave you with some reflections on this day from the pen of Ann Voskamp. I've been following Ann now for over 1o years and she has such a gentle soul for Jesus which I so admire. I trust you find Ann's words encouragement as we step into the next couple of tough days. Grace and peace, dear friends.

Tuesday, Three Days Before The Crucifixion ...

My friends, we've reached Tuesday of Holy Week.

Matthew 21:20-26:16, Mark 11:19-14:11, Luke 20:1-22:6, John 12:20-50. Sheep or goat

Honestly, so much happened on this day that it makes my head spin. It's not just the amount of things that happened; it was also the things that Jesus spoke that were particularly intense.

You'll see what I mean in a minute.

On this day, Jesus had several really intense conversations with different groups of people: The Sadducees, who didn’t believe in the resurrection, the Pharisees who were challenging him as usual, and his disciples who just had a whole bunch of confused questions. He was also asked a key question: About the end of the age.

Is it a natural human thing to think of the world ending? Maybe!

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matt 24:3, NKJV).

So Jesus told his disciples about the future. He told them that Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies, and he told them about what's known as 'the great tribulation' -- a very difficult time in the world's future. He was pointing not only to the siege of Jerusalem that would occur in 70AD, but he was also speaking of a future eschatological event: The end of the age.

He told his disciples that he would come again on the clouds, in glory. And yet he also told them, more immediately, that in three days’ time he would be crucified:

“You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” (Matthew 26:2, NKJV)

His disciples were sorrowful.

Later, in a house surrounded by those he loved, a woman who herself loved him (Mary) cracked an expensive alabaster flask of oil over him. Judas watched and, filled with the wrong spirit, became a voice of criticism:

“Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and used to take what was in it” (John 12:5-6, NKJV)

Jesus answered:

“Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial”. (v. 7)

Quietly then, Judas slipped away and started making plans for Jesus’s betrayal, receiving thirty pieces of silver to give up his friend.

What stands out most to me about this particular day is that Jesus talks repeatedly about something tough: The eternal destination of people according to their own choices. In several of these conversations he alludes unashamedly both to hell and eternal life. Some in the world will go one direction, others will go the other direction. He speaks of disobedient hearts versus faithful hearts, sheep versus goats. It's Mary contrasted with Judas. 

An alabaster flask contrasted with thirty pieces of silver.

Jesus says that in a future time of judgement he will sit on the throne of his glory and divide people: The one category (goats) will go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels; the other (sheep) will have eternal life. 


For me personally this a very difficult part of the Gospel message. I struggle to speak of hell as well as heaven, and I struggle to understand it. But I do see it there in the words of Jesus, and so I must hold that info but also trust that God is good and he knows what he is doing. 

I suppose the big lesson here is this: There is eternal life waiting for those who choose to repent and say yes to Him. For as Jesus said on this particular Tuesday, those who go into eternity will be like the angels of God in heaven.

I, for one, know where I want to be. With him, like the woman who broke that alabaster flask. So on that note, I end today’s post with the song 'Alabaster' from Rend Collective. Hope you like this one.

Ian will be writing tomorrow, so over to him next!

Love you all,


Monday, Four Days Before the Crucifixion

Hi everyone, we have reached Monday, four days before the crucifixion. Figs and canaries

Matthew 21:10-19, Mark 11:12-18, Luke 19:45-48, and John 12:20-50.

On this day, Jesus does two key things: One looks big, one looks small. We'll get to that in a minute. But first, I want to say that Jesus is feeling it. He says to his disciples on this day,

My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your Name. (John 12:27-28, NKJV).

Later in the week Jesus tells his disciples he will be crucified and betrayed. Eventually he becomes so distressed by this fate that he sweats drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane.

But first, there are several 'symbolic jobs' for him to do this week and the Father is strengthening him so that he can get through this week.

On this Monday, then, here are the two things that Jesus did that made it into the gospel accounts. They involve (1) the temple, and (2) a fig tree.

(1) The Temple

Jesus went into the temple and drove out those who were buying and selling in it. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said:

Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a 'den of thieves'. (Mark 11:17, NKJV)

And then after doing that he simply sat with the people, and he taught.

(2) The Fig Tree

The other thing he did on this day is seemingly smaller, but it's actually huge. He was hungry and saw a fig tree. The fig tree was not yet in season, but nevertheless he looked for the fruit on it. When he saw no fruit he said to the fig tree: "Let no one eat fruit from you ever again."

It was a seemingly passing comment. Yet the next day his disciples noticed with amazement that the fig tree had withered and died; and once again they paused in awe and thought to themselves, 'What just happened?'

See, they had seen Jesus bring someone to life -- Lazarus. Now what they were seeing was equally miraculous: With a simple spoken word Jesus had put something to death. Life and death were in his tongue.

"Lazarus, come forth!" (John 11:43, NKJV)

"(Fig tree), Let no one eat fruit from you ever again." (Mark 11:14, NKJV)

The thing he put to death was fruitlessness. In the temple he also put to death fruitlessness. And that act of speaking to the fig tree showed just how powerful his mouth was, and how he had all authority under heaven. This teaches us something about our own authority when we follow him: For we too have the power of life and death in our tongues.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21, NKJV).

For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain 'Be removed and be cast into the sea' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whateve he says.' (Mark 11:23, NKJV).

So today's lesson is that we don't want any kind of dead, fruitlessness like the religion seen in the temple. No, we want the kind of kingdom lifestyle that Jesus modeled, where our tongues bring life, and put fruitless things to death.

A hearty amen to that!

Friends, how are you enjoying walking through Holy Week so far?

I'm going to finish with one of my favorite worship songs: Glorified. I have chosen this song because Jesus on this day asked the Father to glorify His name through all that he was about to endure.

See you again tomorrow,


Sunday, Five Days Before the Crucifixion ...

Hi friends,

It's Ann here and I'm looking forward to diving into our journey through Holy Week. Let's start here:

Following in Jesus’ footsteps, we find ourselves in Jerusalem five days before the crucifixion. It's Sunday. Footsteps

This day is described in Matthew 21:1-9, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19. And based on those four accounts, here's how it went:

Lazarus has just been raised from the dead in the most crazy miracle EVER. The disciples are mind-blown. Word is spreading like wildfire: "You know Lazarus from the next village over? He was raised from the dead!!!"  

"Seriously? Seriously? How do you know?"

"He was starting to stink! That's how we know."

Side note: I have a friend who has seen someone raised from the dead in a church in South Africa. I hunger to see those kinds of miracles.

Anyway, back to Jerusalem in 30AD. Rumors are circulating:

“It's that man, Jesus, from Nazareth.”

“Nazareth? Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

And, against this backdrop of frenzy, the disciples and Jesus arrive at the outskirts of Jerusalem. Crowds, meanwhile, are flocking to Jerusalem in the hope of seeing him. Belief is rising.

Because Jesus only did what the Father said, I imagine it is the Father who tells him: “Ask your disciples to get a donkey and its colt from Bethphage village.” It is a quirky request, but whenever God asks unusual things of us it has purpose. In this case the purpose was to fulfil an ancient prophecy:

Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9, NKJV)

The disciples didn’t understand the donkey until after Jesus had died. How amazing that would have been for them to uncover that ancient prophecy afterwards, and say to each other –

"Ohh, he entered Jerusalem on a donkey."

Awed silence.

"Ohh, Jerusalem did shout that day. They called him King."

Awed silence.

We know the next bit: Jesus did enter Jerusalem on that donkey and the city issued a shout:

Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!

"Who IS this?" the rest of the city wondered. And the pharisees – their nagging voice providing a constant backdrop – despaired and grew enraged. They were losing the battle and commented to each other:

You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!” (John 12:19, NKJV)

To that I say, centuries on, "Too right, Pharisees! The world has gone after him." A third of the world is now Christian, at least nominally. Our savior, Jesus, came to defeat the enemy and that Sunday was only the beginning.

I'm going to finish with a rendition of the song 'Hosanna', which was sung live on the Temple Mount a few years ago. Watching this video it's clear to see how the world has indeed gone after King Jesus.


It's All About You, Jesus

Ann here! Jesus painting by Lynn
We often say here at SUM that the very best thing we can ever do to help ourselves in our spiritually mismatched marriages is to spend our time looking at JESUS.
Beholding him!
Well, this coming week is Holy Week. It's a week when the church the world over does just that: It commemorates the events that led up to the crucifixion, and glorious resurrection.
And so we're going to do the same:
Starting on Sunday, which is known as Palm Sunday, we are going to follow the footsteps of Jesus in the last week of His life.
We're going to have a blog post each day looking at what happened day-by-day in that final week. I have a couple of worship songs to include, and together I hope we can just marinate in that story.
For today, I'm going to start off by sharing my favorite rendition of the song 'Heart of Worship', which speaks of having a single-minded focus on Jesus ... I hope you enjoy that below.
And, I'll see you on Sunday with our first post of Holy Week.

That's My King

Ann here!

This one is a short 'n' sweet post, as this week I'm not well. Nothing too serious, I am just laid up on the couch in my living room with a head-cold, but I apologize for any emails that have gone unanswered -- I will write back soon to those of you who've been in touch.

In the meantime, I thought I would share a video that has been on repeat in my house ... I can't stop listening to this one. Enjoy, and have a lovely Friday!



This Principle of Faith is a MUST for the Unequally Yoked

Principle of PersistenceHi Sum Nation. Lynn Donovan here.

I’ve been pondering the spiritual principals of the Kingdom of God. There are spiritual laws that are unbreakable and cannot be subverted. Just as there are laws in the natural (physical) realm there are principals set down by God, that when followed, result in a powerful life.

For example, the law of gravity governs our daily life and cannot be escaped.  Today, I want to bring understanding to the Kingdom Principle of Persistence.

Let me state some absolutes regarding this principle:

  1. The Principle of Persistence is real.
  2. This spiritual principle is powerful in two ways.
  3. It’s Biblical and was taught by Jesus.
  4. If followed, you will see results.
  5. It’s not easy. But anything worthwhile and powerful in the Kingdom isn’t for the weak of will or heart.

Let’s start with number one and number two. Persisting in faith, (faith = what you believe) is the key to breakthrough and powerfully answered prayer. Giving up is failure to see what you hoped and prayed for come to pass.

So, there is a positive outcome if we choose to remain steadfast in faith. And the opposite is true that our wishy-washy faith and belief will not accomplish much.

And my friend, this principle is available and at work in our unequally yoked marriages EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!

Take it from me, as I write to you today on my 31st wedding anniversary, my persistence to believe in Jesus and the Bible is what carried me through the early years and every struggle I have ever faced.

My bulldogged approach to faith, my bite down hard and will not release, give up, waver, nor backdown is what has led to my Promised Land years, where I now live and dwell.

So, today, it’s time to sit down with Jesus and ask for the gift of faith and belief and decide to stand in the Kingdom Principle of Persistence.

I would even dare you to post a prayer asking for this Kingdom gift right now in the comments. This sets a public statement to be read and I will agree with you. And it tells the demons that you won’t back down or give up.

Next time I share, I will show you where this principle is hidden, in plain sight, in the Word of God and what Jesus said about it.

Okay, right now go to the comments and make a statement of faith. I bless you in the name of Jesus to step into this Kingdom Principle today and to see the breakthroughs that will occur because you walk in faith. In the name of our Savior, Jesus, the Messiah, AMEN.

What is Jesus Doing on the Earth? READ THIS!

Jesusrevolution-1024x909Hi Friends,

Yesterday, I purchased two tickets to the movie, Jesus Revolution. Mike rarely will accompany me to church, so I was surprised that he went with me. Perhaps his miserly ways were tweaked because I'd already spent the money on two tickets?? 

We were early and after 30 minutes of commercials, the theater was mostly full. Say what? Do these people know this is a movie about Christians?

The timing of this movie that highlights the Jesus People movement in the 60's with the self-described hippies, is uncanny. Truly, it was a recap of a revival with disenfranchised people. And how us normies, those of us who are regular attenders or lifers, created a church that loves and follows Jesus. 

I'm blown away that we are positioned, right on the edge of an unprecedented NEW REVIVAL. The Asbury movement has spread to other campuses, as far as other countries. 

I believe we are going to push out all the divides and cling together with those whom we may not normally hang with to welcome the Holy Spirit into our world and that we would experience Holy Spirit and Jesus in a unifying and healing manner.

For me, I don't want to be left out. I want more. I want the miracles. I want the unexplainable. I want people you wouldn't expect to go to Christian movies, attend church and find that.....


Let's pray this movement forward. Jesus is moving. Be the new wine in new wine skins.

Blessings and hugs, Lynn

Jesus, we bow and humble ourselves. Your will be done. We live to love you. We live to bring you and the Kingdom of our Father great glory!!!  In Your Mighty name, Jesus. AMEN

PS. Mike and I have had several conversations since watching the movie. Who knew??? 

There Once Was A Man Who Didn't Believe

There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

Snow_church One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused.

"That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!" So she and the children left, and he stayed home.

A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then another thump. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet.

When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn't go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.

The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It's warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside.

The geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn't seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away. He went into the house and came back out with some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumbs trail leading to the barn, but they still didn't catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe.

"Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?" He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human.

"If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud.Geese winter

Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn - and one by one the other geese followed it to safety!

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind:

"If only I were a goose, then I could save them!"

Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to be like us? That's ridiculous!"

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese - blind, lost, and perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized!

As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come.

Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer:

Mangercross "Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!"

~Author Unknown


Are You Emotionally Mature? Your Spouse?

Emotional MaturityHi SUM Nation,

Lynn Donovan here today for a chat.

I have a question to get started. Have you ever looked at someone (meaning your spouse :grin:) and wanted to say, “Grow up already!”


I’ve been doing a bit of research about emotional maturity, and it’s been enlightening. As I consider marriage relationships, I want to point out what Psychology Today considers markers of emotional maturity:

  1. A mature person is able to keep long-term commitments.
  2. A mature person is unshaken by flattery or criticism.
  3. A mature person possesses a spirit of humility.
  4. A mature person’s decisions are based on character, not feelings.
  5. A mature person expresses gratitude consistently.
  6. A mature person knows how to prioritize others before themselves.
  7. A mature person seeks wisdom before acting. A mature person is teachable.

As I read through this list, I realized that an emotionally mature individual is living out Biblical principles. Each of these maturity markers are biblically based.

Now here is a way to gage your emotional maturity and that of others with whom you are in relationship.

Maturity fills the salt-shakers and it wipes down the shelves in the fridge when they’re sticky. It empties the kitty litter before stalagmites form. Maturity understands that there can be one junk drawer in a house, but not 27.

Maturity doesn’t text, type, game or take calls when in conversation with others.

Maturity backs up its files, goes to a doctor or a clinic when it’s in pain, and picks up the tab when it goes out to dinner with its parents.

Maturity understands that nobody wants the back story of why something didn’t get done because it knows that what matters is the effective completion of a task.

In contrast, immaturity has an extensive list of prefab excuses for why it couldn’t make its deadline. Immaturity uses every tummy ache, flu, headache, fallen arch, hangnail or breakup as an excuse to slip the knot of accountability. Immaturity, then, doesn’t understand why life is always “so unfair, like, always” when it offers criticism instead of condolences for failure.

Immaturity whines; immaturity rolls its eyes; immaturity takes everything personally; immaturity accepts no responsibility; immaturity sprays Febreze on clothes instead of washing them; immaturity shows up late and leaves early.

In short, immaturity is spoiled. And what is spoiled doesn’t ripen. It goes bad early, gets bitter and withers on the vine. (G. Barreca at Psychology Today)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

As believers when we choose to follow the precepts from the Word, we will walk as mature sons and daughters. THAT is the entire purpose of our life on earth. Mature sons and daughters of the Most High God.

I’m so glad to have grown up with you, my friends.

If you are dealing with an immature spouse, get help. Talk with a counselor and gain skills, gain boundaries with consequences, gain confidence in your maturity. And you can stand firm in your identity that you are emotionally mature because of your faith in Christ.

Love you my friends. I bless you today. In Jesus name. Hugs, Lynn

Today I Can Boldly Approach

My friends, Ann here. Boldly I approach

In this community we have times in this blog where we pause deliberately and turn our faces to JESUS. 

That is our lifeline -- Our way of surviving some of the intense things we face in a spiritually mismatched marriage.


Well, one way of fixing our eyes on him is to commemorate important markers in the year. We have the Christian liturgical calendar that formed in the early centuries of the church. That calendar helped early Christians commemorate the life and message of Jesus. Lent and Advent, for example, are helpful seasons there.

But then there are the Jewish holidays detailed in the Old Testament (e.g., Exodus 12, Leviticus 23), and these days symbolized what was to come. Oh, how I love those. When I look at those days I also see 'Jesus' all over them.

Today is the Day of Atonement, known as Yom Kippur by the Jews. It is all about Jesus. So I thought we could look at some aspects of that today:

The Day of Atonement, described in Leviticus 16, was a day given to the Israelites by God when they were in the wilderness, after they left Egypt, and they were told to keep it forever. It occurs once a year, and on this day the High Priest, Aaron (Moses' brother), enters the tabernacle and sacrifices a series of burnt offerings, first to clean himself, and then to 'atone' for all the people. 

Atone: To make reparation or amends as for injury done; reconcile.

There were some extensive rituals prescribed for Aaron here. One of those things was he was to put his hand on a goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and then release it into the wilderness.

Another is that he goes alone into the tabernacle to offer the burnt sacrifices, and no other man is present. That speaks very much of the aloneness of what Jesus did.

If you have the energy, you might like to read the account of the Day of Atonement today, and see Jesus in it? It's in Leviticus 16:1-34, and it is richly symbolic.

For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.

And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father's place, shall make atonement (Leviticus 16:30 & 32, NKJV)

So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins (v. 16)

My friends, as I read the above today, I thought how grateful I am, and thought "Jesus was a high priest who was human like me, like Aaron. He knows exactly what he's interceding for on my behalf. I do not have a high priest who can't sympathize with all my weaknesses, problems and things I'm tempted by".

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:14-16, NKJV).

If we know the above passage, we likely know what comes next: We can therefore boldly approach the throne of grace in our times of need, to find mercy from God.

Thank you, Jesus.

With that in mind, here's a beautiful worship song that speaks of that ability we have to approach God because of what our high priest, Jesus, did on the cross.

Love to you all,



A Backyard Miracle??

Mark 9_41
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)