79 posts categorized "Joy"

The Joy Set Before Him

30181917_sDear friends, last week I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to do a three day fast for my husband. Now fasting is not easy for me but something about this felt important...pivotal...timely. I've shared in the past how God led me to read the story of Jericho and told me four things: my husband was my Jericho, I was to march around him in prayer, the seventh year would be the most difficult, and at the end of seven years my husband would be spiritually healed.

That was fourteen years ago. I have no idea as to the delay for this word, but I have held fast to it, trusting God to do what He said. And last week, He led me to reread this story again. The very next day I read a message that was all about the story of Jericho. The author connected it to Purim and called for a three day fast to "march" into breakthroughs.

Once again the Holy Spirit connected the dots for me so I determined to fast. Prayed for the strength to do this, and waited. One phrase kept filling my mind the two days before I was to begin this fast...

The joy set before Him...

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. — Hebrews 12:2 NASB 

As the phrase continued to run through my mind, the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart...the joy set before you...

It kept ringing in my spiritual ears, begging the question what joy was set before me? What did the Holy Spirit want me to understand? The meaning became clearer. That I could find strength to run the race, to fast for these three days as I focused on the joy set before me. The "vision" of my husband as a lover of God. Seeing him come to Christ in full faith, to walk with Jesus all the days of his life. 

The joy set before me...

As I fasted and made the sacrifice I saw the joy set before me—to see Mike saved. And it spurred me on.

My friends, in this revelation came yet another one that has undone me again. I continue to think and meditate upon it and I am overwhelmed once again by the love of Jesus for us.  

​Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. — John 13:1 NLT

For in His time here on earth with His mission constantly before Him and the understanding of what was to come, He chose to come and bear the shame of the cross. 

No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” — John 10:18 NLT

Why? For the joy set before Him. What was that joy? 

We are. We are the joy set before the Lord. Each and every one of us. Every single person who has, is and will walk on this planet is His joy. 

Our pre-believers are His joy. That cantankerous neighbor is His joy. Your children are His joy. You, my dear one, are. His. Joy. 

The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! — John 4:36 NLT

It's that simple and that beautiful. 

My fasting did not save my pre-believer. Only Jesus can. But I do believe it played a part in God’s plan for my husband. And in this call of obedience, He gave me an understanding of His heart for all of us. As we pray and contend for those we love, we can set our eyes on the joy before us, knowing that as Jesus chose the cross and endured the pain and suffering, His eyes were set upon us.

Set upon our pre-believers. And remember His final words?

It is done.  

It is done. I believe Him, my friends. I believe. And I am totally undone. 

Love you so much!
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P.S. I have an interview on Stephen Scoggins blog today. He's the author of The Journey Principals and has some really good articles are many topics, like bullying and anxiety. I'm honored to be part of his new line up to feature other ministries. Hope you'll stop by! Hugs!


Reflecting Back on 2014 and Moving Forward into 2015

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He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. — 1 Thessalonians 5:24 ESV

The devotional for December 29th in The Listening Heart brought me back to this verse that I'd highlighted earlier in the year. And a sweet moment of revelation entered in with it. I thought back over this year that started out so difficult that I wondered at times how I would endure and what would I look like on the other side, and the full reality of this truth came full circle.

Anything our Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor calls us to co-labor with Him to do, He will surely do it. There can be no doubt there because that begs the question: 

Why would God call us to a place and not complete what He said He would do?

That's not His way, nor His character. Anything He has ever asked you to do, pray, think and believe has been for a reason—to benefit you at the very least and to bless others at the very most.

As I thought of 2014 and where I started to where I sit now, all that Abba spoke to my heart in those dark and light moments have come or is coming to pass. He has and is doing what He has said He would do. I merely chose to believe, to step out a little more boldly in faith, even when it didn't make sense. I chose to quit trying to make sense of it and simply trust God.

Every year I ask Abba Father for a word and Scripture for myself, my husband and daughters. My word for 2014 was "chosen" (now also the title of a book He is calling me to write). This year has been all about deeper intimacy with God, shedding lies and more fully embracing my identity in Christ. Many of us have walked in this place and now I dare to say that this isn't merely a year's goal but in full revelation the high calling to all of God's children—to seek God, to pray continuously, to wait upon Him.

It's all about our relationship with Him. Not to Him, but with Him.

And now we are about to enter 2015. I'm praying for those words and Scriptures as I reflect upon the ones from this year and what God has so faithfully done. 

  • For my oldest daughter Rachel and her husband Keith, their word was "faithfulness," to God and to each other. I've prayed this over them all year and watched their marriage continue to flourish and I even had the chance to talk to my son-in-love about worship this Christmas and what it meant to him. I learned even more about this young man's heart for God and again I am so grateful for God's faithfulness to my prayers for the "right man" to be my daughter's husband.
  • For my youngest daughter Leslie, her journey this year has been about humility and restoration, for "all things to be made new." I've watched this young woman who has endured so much step into her life and begin living it in fullness and independence. Astonishing...to think I wondered in the past if this was even possible for her.
  • For my husband...I still don't understand the full ramifications of what God gave me for him this year, but I've prayed faithfully. I believe in my heart, in my soul and deep in my spirit that 2015 will be the year of "turning" for him. The divine connections I've prayed for him are being revealed through the holes punched in his unbelief. I don't see this yet, I don't see the washing of his eyes "in the pool of Siloam" (John 9:7), but I believe he will soon "return seeing" and believing. And I do see God moving and working around him.

My friends, as we prepare for our week of fasting and praying, I encourage you to look again at all God has done for you in 2014. Ask Him to show you. You most likely will be encouraged, affirmed, and/or astonished. Sometimes we miss things.

And begin asking Him for what He has in store for you for 2015. How God communicates this to you may be very different than He does to others, so be sure to remain open to that. It doesn't have to be a specific word or Scripture. It could be an object, an image, or even an impression. Be assured that He will communicate it in a way to you that is specific to your heart and need. Don't compare to others, just receive what He has for you. It will be so much better that way.

Dear one, God has called you to this place for such a time as this. He will surely do what He has promised you. Trust Him even if you don't completely understand it all and wait on Him to move (Psalm 37:7). He will surely do it. 

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. — Psalms 62:1 ESV

We are about to embark on an amazing journey for 2015. I feel it so deeply in my spirit that it permeates my physical being with excitement. I believe 2015 will be a great year for each of us individually and as a community. We will be more united that ever and will see breakthroughs, promotions and salvations as we have never seen them before. God is standing at the door of this community as a whole and knocking with one hand as His other is fully loaded with all His goodness, gifts, grace and so much more, ready to give it to us in abundance. 

Our fast next week will be preparation for 2015—what is to come. So let’s get ready. In the comments share what you are sensing and expecting in your spirit, what you are asking Abba Father for, what you want prayer for. And if you have a story to share about how He moved in you and your loved ones through past fasts, please share that as well. More than ever before, God is calling us to share our testimonies. The enemy wants to shut us up, but from this day forward and into all of 2015, it is our time to be heard! 

My precious friends, I’m so excited and joy-filled to be on this adventure with you and with God. I know He’s about to blow us away with all He has in store for us.

Love you all so much,
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The Hope Of The World

Let’s finish this amazing letter to the church of Philadelphia/Sumites. 

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comOn Friday we discovered Jesus’ heart for all of us who have endured under great pressure and have stood upon our faith and did not deny His name. 

Today, Let’s look at the last portion of this letter. It’s amazing. Truly.

Jesus reminds us that He is coming soon and that we must stay the course. Hold on to what you have. What do we have SUMites? Our faith. Our Lord, our Spiritual gifts, our blessings and our HOPE and the LOVE of Jesus. The Kingdom of God is vast and full. And what awaits is a crown. But even more astonishing than a crown is what Jesus declares next. 

The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. A pillar is an example of a leader. Leadership in the Kingdom of God. We will never have to leave the temple. 

The next few verses which end this letter are a mind-blow. We will bear His name and that of the New Jerusalem. That means we have citizenship in this prominent city. My friends, I would be happy to just be the keeper of the horses in the new earth, but to have a mansion in the city is a great honor. 

I can only dream what the literal implications of this letter may mean for us. What I do know is this. IT’S GOOD! 

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. My friends, I’m convinced this letter is for us. Are you listening? 

Jesus sees your struggle.
He knows you have not denied His name.
He will watch as those who have been controlled by Satan come to us and acknowledge that we were right all along to believe in Jesus.
He will set our persecution right by keep us from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world.
Our reward for our perseverance is a crown. Leadership. Citizenry in the New Jerusalem. And we will bear the name of our Lord forever and ever. 

Hallelujah! 

What does this letter mean to you? 

Merry Christmas.

 

And his name will be the hope of all the world —Matthew 12:21

Dieen and I will be taking the rest of this week off to spend with our families. Enjoy your Christmas. Be back here next Monday as we get ready for our community fast. More info then. It's always amazing, powerful and God moves.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com


Disparaging Disappointment, Part 2

14511569_sSo glad you're back, my friends. The end of this series is so near and dear to my heart, because it's written with a deep love and desire for you to live in the fullness of Jesus and all He has for us. I believe we will see great tremendous breakthroughs individually and as a community in 2015 and I don't want you to miss any of it. I don't want to miss any of it either!

Now for the final part of this series. Scroll down to part one if you need to catch up. The links for the previous parts are there as well.

As I shared in part one, this journey was so unexpected for me. I had to face some dark places in my heart and mind and allow the Holy Spirit to peel back layers of lies and pain so that He could bring the healing Jesus wanted me to have. And as I faced the additional challenge of being patient in the process, the Holy Spirit gave me this prayer:

Lord, help me to be patient so I can focus on what you're doing right now instead of what You haven't done yet.

And just this week I found this nugget in Romans:

But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.— Romans 8:25 NLT

God's process will entail whatever is necessary to stop the enemy's ultimate plan to destroy our faith by stealing the one thing that he can never attain—hope.

Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God! —Psalms 42:11 NLT

In a dark moment of despair, David recognized his disappointment and saw that his hope needed to be placed again in God. And with it came his decision to praise and thank God, no matter what the circumstances around him looked like. Sadly, by destroying our hope, the enemy keeps us from being the aroma of Christ to our prebelievers.

Dear friends, we have powerful tools to fight the three Deadly Ds of doubt, disbelief and disappointment and they are:

  • God's Word
  • A thankful heart
  • Praise and worship

These are also keys to kingdom living, to the abundant life, to sustaining our hope, joy and peace.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!” — Lamentations 3:22-24 NLT

No matter what, choose every day to read God's Word, to thank Him for everything (even the bad stuff—for the good He Will bring out of it) and praise Him for what He has done, is doing and will do in your life. Jesus will meet your needs in astounding ways as you do this, because you're diving deeper in intimacy with Him.

And when your mind begins to race again with all the doubts, disbelief and disappointment, return to this place of rest and wait patiently for Him to act (Psalm 37:7). You will find yourself entering this place more frequently and easily until one day you will realize that not only have you persevered, you are now stronger than you have every been. You have defeated the enemy. You have moved to a whole new level of faith. God's anointings and gifts for you are growing stronger. You find yourself in situations (divine appointments) to now bring all that you have learned to others.

Just as I am doing right here, my friends, sharing all this with you. For that I give Abba Father, Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit all the praise and glory! As this community prays and waits for our prebelievers to come to faith, my heart and prayer for you, SUMites, is the same as Paul's was for the Philippians:

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

— Philippians 1:3-11 NLT

With deepest love and admiration for you in Jesus,
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Photo Copyright: 72soul / 123RF Stock Photo


Precious Message from a SUMite

Dear friends, our SUM sister, Darby, sent this beautiful and encouraging message this past week. I just love Darby's heart for God and the joy she is finding in her faith walk as she trusts God with her furture and especially for her husband's salvation. She is walking in a place of thriving and freedom! 
 
0420141043 (1)I would like to take a moment to personally thank both of you!  I am a SUMite subscriber, website, daily email and Facebook follower.  I also have your book Winning Him Without Words. I cannot remember when or how I stumbled upon your site over a year ago, but I DO know it has been the biggest blessing in my marriage.
 
I, like many others, have spent time in the past crying out to our Father, "Why wouldn't you want this wonderful man on your side? Why did you bring us together if not for eternity?"  I have asked, cried, prayed and asked again.  All of this took a major turn when I found the two of you, and this very powerful support group!
 
I use the tools you both provide through shared experiences, prayers and your book to march on in this day to day battle in an unequally yoked marriage.  I have a sense of peace as I pray every single day for my loving pre-believing husband first, and other pre-believers in my life after.  I pray expectantly, and gratefully.  I have learned to praise and thank our Daddy for growing and changing me in this process. I am SO grateful!!!  God has given me little glimpses along the way, showing me that things are changing....maybe ever so slightly BUT THEY ARE CHANGING!!!  I absolutely love when He gently reminds me how long it took me to come home to Him.....ahhhhh, these things that used to grow the chip on my shoulder actually set me free today!
 
I have no doubt you all get tons of emails, and I know you have to be so bombarded with words to read.....but as I sit in my quite time this morning preparing to go to church alone again I wanted you both to know how you have softened that hurt for me....I sit knowing that God has my husband in His constant care, and that is the best place he can be.  I also sit knowing that God DID bring us together for eternity, that my prayers are being heard each and every day and just as you say in your book, God is big enough to just snap His fingers and make it happen....key words, "God is big enough".  He's got this....my husband's salvation is up to God....showing him Christ's love, respecting him, cherishing this man God has blessed me with, celebrating Him, listening and obeying God on a daily basis....this is up to me.  
 
Thank you both again so VERY, VERY much!!
Darby
 
Darby, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us!
 
Abba Father, thank You for being the God of the impossible and for astounding us with Your endless and relentless love every day. Lord Jesus, I pray for every SUMite reading this to walk in this place of thriving, freedom and PEACE! Holy Spirit, I ask that You release a wave of faith on this community and that this wave would sweep up EVERY pre-believer that we are contending for. Thank You, King Jesus, that You and You alone are mighty to save! Amen!
 

O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you. — Psalm 84:12

 
Love you, SUMites!
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The Three Deadly Ds: Disparaging Disbelief

27165685_sDear friends, before Thanksgiving I started a series on the Three Deadly Ds: Dubious Doubt, Debilitating Disbelief and Disparaging Disappointment. In Part One of Dubious Doubt we talked about how the enemy comes in and plants seeds of doubt, as he did with Adam and Eve, and in Part Two I shared some examples of breakthroughs that came as a result of pushing doubt aside and re-establishing God's truth firmly in its rightful place.  

Today, let's talk about Debilitating Disbelief. And that is exactly what the enemy's intention is, to debilitate (weaken, enfeeble, enervate, devitalize, sap, drain, exhaust, weary, fatigue, prostrate; undermine, impair, indispose, incapacitate, cripple, disable, paralyze, immobilize; informal knock out, do in) our faith. Once doubt has come in like a ravaging worm, disbelief moves in to fill those empty places like a fungus or mold. 

  • Your mind is riddled with questions and you may even feel tormented at times.
  • You try to read God's Word but find yourself questioning its truth or thinking it's true for other believers but not for you. 
  • Praise and worship become difficult.
  • Your attitude of gratitude has fled the scene and his unwanted cousin, grumbling negativity, has moved in.
  • Fear subtly increases and can even move into physical manifestations such as anxiety and health issues.
  • Guilt and shame move show up like uninvited guests and make you think you've messed up and that God will never be pleased with you again.
  • You cry out to God but feel like He's abandoned you.

This is why it's so crucial to to seek God in prayer and in His Word, especially in these dark times, and in a mismatched marriage as we don't have a believing spouse to uphold us in prayer and encouragement. And, despite how we feel. The enemy will use your feelings against you to keep you from running to Abba, to our Lord Jesus, for the truth.

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. — James 1:22-24

Community becomes even more important because the enemy's final tactic is to isolate you so you'll forget who you are and Whose you are. God's Word and those who carry it are our greatest source of healing, hope and restoration.

My friends, a burden Abba seems to be asking me to carry right now is for those of you whose spouse used to walk in faith with you but has recently walked away. I've received several emails from many of you in this place and have had divine appointments with several dear women who find themselves in this painful position of betrayal. 

Let me say that I get why some walk away. Much of what I've shared today is from my own experience. The enemy tried to destroy me earlier this year and now I understand why someone would walk away, or be tempted to walk away, especially if their faith foundation is shaky or built on sand (Matt. 7:26-27).

Part of my journey to freedom came one night when the demon assigned to torment me finally revealed himself. Amazingly (to me, not God) Abba had prepared me the day before, even though I didn't realize it until after the encounter. He'd shown me more about my authority in Jesus. That night this enemy revealed himself in the darkness, with oppression and hissing. He tried to make me fearful and afraid in my semi asleep/awake state. As soon as I realized what was happening, I rebuked him and went back to sleep! To God be the glory!

What I have learned is that disbelief opens doors to the enemy, who tries to steal our divine destiny and destroy our peace and joy in the Lord. These are the tools that brought me through this dark night of the soul and taught me so much. 

  • Read the Bible every day and write down key Scriptures that speak to your spirit and soul. Go back and reread them later in the day and to start your quiet time the next morning. You’ll be surprised at how much more you receive out of God’s Word by doing this. Our bodies sleep at night but our spirit doesn’t. Give the Holy Spirit a chance to work God’s truth into your heart, soul and mind. Believe His Word—it’s true for you too!
  • Worship and worship more. There are many ways one can worship. With music, by reading Scriptures out loud (the Psalms are great for this), by speaking out praises to God about His character and who He is. Take a walk and praise Him for His creation. Pet your dog and praise Him for putting the fur baby in your life.
  • Invite that attitude of gratitude back home and boot his ungrateful cousin out!
  • Rebuke the spirits of anxiety, fear, oppression, depression and confusion (and any others the Holy Spirit brings to mind). In the name of Jesus, they must go! 
  • Plead the blood of Jesus over your mind, your thoughts and your feelings and speak God’s Word against guilt and shame (no condemnation in Jesus—Romans 8:1).
  • Know, believe, profess and remind yourself that no matter how things seem, God loves you, He always has loved you and He always will love you. His word says He will not abandon you, so believe it. He is with and for you!

I still have much to learn and continue to press forward into more of God (Phil. 3:12). My faith is stronger and I am better equipped to recognize the enemy’s darts. And this translated into helping others to be released from this spirit of torment when I’ve prayed with them in the healing rooms. The places we find freedom and victory will be the places God calls us to pray for and help others find that same freedom and victory (2 Cor. 1:3-7).

My friends, the next and last part of this series will be about disparaging disappointment. I’m waiting on Abba to give me the words and message He wants conveyed for us, His children. Please pray that I hear Him clearly amidst all the hustle and bustle of this move and Christmas. 

Remember, Jesus came to heal, to set the captives free and release prisoners. He is always on our side and always fighting for us. Amen!

And MERRY CHRISTMAS, SUMites! Love you!
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When Is It My Turn?

SUMites, 

Let’s have a chat. 

Matthew 13 44I’m pretty sure that last week’s posts about Janet and Trish’s spouses coming to faith brought about a range of feelings in our SUM Nation. 

But today I want to speak to those of us who may feel forgotten. For those of you who read these stories and whispered, “God, when? When is it my turn? When will this happen in my life.” 

So many emotions, feelings and thoughts were made know to me in this past week. True happiness for these women. Feelings of jealously, then followed by guilt because their story seems so far from a reality in our life. Perhaps you are confused and maybe a few of us are really just MAD. Mad at God. Mad at our spouse. Mad at ourselves for being in this predicament. Anybody????? 

Can I ask you to hear me out for a minute? 

Firstly, gang, I’m right there with you. I have prayed for my husband for so long and with such passion that I’m puzzled. I ask the same question, “When God?” 

So I guess this message today is for all of you who are behind me on this rocky road of the unequally yoked path. I want to point out some things I bet that you haven’t realized while traveling this journey. There are often times that we are so intently focused on two things that we miss so much the Lord is bringing to us in our daily lives. They are: Our spouse’s salvation, our pain. 

For years I prayed with selfishness for my husband’s salvation. Those prayers were completely selfish and unproductive. My motives for his salvation, at the core, were to make my life easier. And my other prayers were the lamenting of the pain of disappointment in my marriage. Now, hear me, I’m not minimizing either. 

However, I have arrived at a place in my faith and marriage that I can share a smidgen of wisdom with you in the hopes you acquire the blessings intended for us in these unique marriages much sooner than I found them. Okay? 

Let’s be real. The unequally yoked life is hard. Compounding different world views with a spouse who struggles with an addiction or destructive behaviors is almost unbearable at times. But it’s in this real pain that we are forced to surrender our self and to lean fully into the arms of our healer, Jesus. 

I know without a doubt that I would not have the faith life I have today without the years of struggle. And you know what? God knew that too. An easily life for me would have robbed me so many miraculous encounters with the King. Because I chose to believe the Word and surrender many of my preconceived ideas over to God, I now live in great favor, tremendous joy and profound supernatural peace. I literally hear the voice of God now and I am on fire with the Holy Spirit. Knowing what I know today, I would go through it all again to receive the rare and priceless gifts I am now walking in. Today I truly understand what it is like to hold a pearl of great price in the palm of your hands. 

My friends, reflect of the lives of Janet and Trish. Janet fasted. Have you sincerely fasted for a number of days? Have you prayed night and day asking for God’s wisdom and for the salvation of your spouse? Have you surrendered your heart to God and given Him everything. That is no small task and it takes years. 

Be patient with yourself. The greatest thing you can do is to choose to see all that is right before your eyes while you think you are waiting for life to begin when your spouse comes to faith. 

God is speaking to you. Have you learned to hear Him?
Jesus is your betrothed. Have you acknowledged that He wants your heart every day?
The Holy Spirit has so much power to bring to bear in your life. Have you grieved Him? 

So this week let’s say to God, “Papa, I know I have wondered when it would be my turn. And Lord, I greatly desire to see my spouse come to faith. But teach me now, today, to be so in tune with your spirit that I don’t miss anything more that you have for me. Be gentle with me while I learn to let go of fear, pride, selfish ambition, arrogance and judgment. And fill me today with your good gifts. Let me life represent you well, Lord. In Jesus name. Amen.”

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Stay tuned as I want to finish up the series about healing on Friday. Why are some healed and others are not? 


Who Were The Pray-ers?

From Monday’s post…….However, before we leave I want to go and give a hug and thank you to each of the trio of the prayer team. I start looking all over. I can’t find them. 

Ahhhhhhh, now that is an interesting story in itself. I haven’t been able to stop considering the trio of pray-ers since I arrived home a week ago…………… 

HR2Let me pick up the story from Monday. The girls and I has sufficiently wiped our faces and we are still all smiles from ear-to-ear and remain pretty-much in shock by what has just transpired. However, we must make our way to the airport shortly. We stand and start toward the exit of the main room where there are still tons of people. 

And as I stand I’m compelled to want to say thank you one more time to the praying trio before we leave. After all, it’s not every day three people pray with you and miracles break out. So, I start looking. And looking. Head turning left to right. I turn around. I look all throughout the crowded room as I expect they are now praying with another person. 

“Where did they go? I want to say thank you again?” I ask Caitie and Gina. “I don’t see them anywhere. Do you?

“No,” Gina replies. 

“Mom, they just left.” 

“What, all three of them?” 

“Yes, I saw them go out the side door into the hallway.” 

“What? That can’t be.” 

“Why?” 

I’m in shock and puzzled. I proceed to explain to the girls, “It doesn’t make sense. I’ve worked in healing rooms myself. You volunteer. It’s only for an hour and a half. You pray and move on to the next group.” 

“Well, they probably needed to go to the bathroom.” 

“All three of them at the same time?” I respond as the preposterousness of the thought rises in me. Remember, two young men and an older, pristine white-haired woman. Would they go to the potty together???? Seriously????? 

“Well, maybe they took a break.” 

“Well, maybe but when you volunteer in the Healing Rooms with this many people waiting for prayer, you don’t break, especially since the Rooms just opened. You pray.” 

My puzzlement begins to turn to something else in my heart as if the dawn of the sunrise is happening in that moment. 

We emerge into the hallway to head to class and they aren’t there. They’re gone. 

Just like that. We never saw them again. 

Now I’m convinced that this amazing trio might be something more than three ordinary people. My daughter remains skeptical. 

But even now, I hold the possibility, the astonishing possibility, in my heart. And like Mary, the mother of Jesus, this is another treasure I will store and ponder in my heart for the rest of my life.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

 

Gang, on Monday on want to visit the reasons why God does not heal. And my suprise will have to wait another week as I'm not quite ready. Hugs.

 


Not the Answers I Expected

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Leslie with our critters. Mittens on the back of the couch and our dogs Shasta, Riley and River.

My friends, I want to give you an update on some things that have happened in my family, specifically my daughter as many of you have prayed with me for her over the years. For our newer readers I will give a brief summary of the journey we've been on with her since 2007, because I want you to see the full scope of how God moves in the most subtle and unexpected ways.

We've walked through much with my youngest daughter who will soon be 21. At 13 she was diagnosed with severe depression, then later in 2008 at age 14 we found out she had a malignant brain tumor (the clinical name for it is the length of a run on sentence!). God was very present during all this, making it clear she would be okay. The miracles He did during that time still stun me. I think even more so now that I know Him better than I did then and understand more fully the things He did.

As difficult as that all sounds, the hardest part came afterwards with the emotional fall out of all she endured, more depression, then critical decisions about her future. I confess I was so desperate for "normal" for my girl that it was very at times to recognize God's hand moving in her life, because it wasn't what I expected. Yet it always was what she needed.

And He's moved that way again. These last four years especially have been about her catching up. But God had given me promises for her—one from Micah 2:4 that she would be like a calf leaping from it's stall (Have you seen cows run in delight? Google it. It's quite astounding.)

So I prayed that diligently and have remind God of it often of His promise. And waited. And waited. And waited... (I think you get my point here.)

"Things" began to unfold several weeks ago. After two years of prayers for a job for this girl who has learned to understand her limitations in handling stressful situations and crowds she "got a job." It wasn't what I expected but it was exactly her speed, so to speak, working for a family we know, love and trust as caregiver for their little girl. Leslie adores kids, always wanted a little sister, and aspires greatly to be a mom one day.

As this unfolded, her car was totaled while parked in front of our house. Thankfully she wasn't hurt and the other driver was fine. I held little hope that we'd get much for this old car but prayed for enough at least to get her back into a decent car. God blew us away with twice what I'd expected. Leslie is now driving her favorite car—a 2002 Ford Mustang.

What I haven't shared is my family and I are moving back to Florida (from CA) in late November. The plan was for Leslie to come with us, but earlier this year she met a wonderful young man (who'd a believer) and now wants to stay in California.

I confess again that for the last two weeks as this solidified, I fell into a bit of a depression. My heart was breaking as I faced this challenge of letting go of my youngest (again as she moved to Florida to stay with family for a while a few years ago) without seeing (don't miss that I used that word) definite signs and proof that it will be okay.

God reminded me that He would be the one taking care of all her needs. And I am now more fully embracing that for my daughter, even though "things" don't look as I expected them to look. Even though the answers to all these years of prayers are unfolding not as I pictured, imagined, and expected but exactly as God knew Leslie would need them.

The final answer to so many prayers for her future comes today (it's Friday as I'm writing this). Today I am faxing in her college registration. She will be a student again (a very brave step for this girl) and pursue her certification in pet grooming. Leslie is gifted with an amazing ability to work with animals and this is part of her dream to one day have her own shop.

So I'm letting go. And trusting God to continue to bring my precious girl out from the constrains of her past to leap with joy into her future. It's not clean and tidy as there are still loose ends that will take time to complete (it’s that wait thing again). And it's not as I imagined it (did I say that already?)

But it is as it should be. As God planned it. For her.

My dear friends, I want to thank you for all your prayers. They’ve been heard and now we’re seeing the answers. The journey continues for my daughter and I both as she steps into a new life and independence, and I trust God to take care of the loose ends and this mamma’s heart that is learning to let go.

Love you all so much,
SignatureGraphic2

 

 

 

 

 


Transforming the Mind: Finding God in Worship

ThemindMy friends, we have walked this journey of transforming our minds now for six weeks. We began with Feasting on God’s Word, then continued with Claiming and Praying God’s Promises, Giving the Holy Spirit Authority, Pleading the Blood of Jesus, Thanking and Praising, and last week, Choosing Joy. This week, we will talk about finding God in worship. This is by far the most challenging to write, for two reasons. One, the enemy is very much apposed to this topic, because it is what he tried to get from Jesus in the wilderness (Matt. 4:9) and what he has wanted all along in order to be like God. And two, because it’s still growing and forming in my own life. So I will share what I have discovered thus far.

From the very beginning the plan was to worship God. Even wise men traveled from afar knowing that the only proper welcome to bring a new King was worship.

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose,* and we have come to worship him.” — Matthew 2:2

God even wrote eternity on our hearts (Ecc. 3:11) to be awakened by His call and to bring the Son glory. The pages of the Bible reveal men and women after God's own heart who stood apart from the idol worshipers to bring true worship to the One True God. Theirs are the stories we still read today and find inspiration and wisdom.

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. — Psalm 9:1-2 (a Psalm of David) Even the devil understood the intrinsic value of worship in finding the heart of God and the connection it created between creation and Creator, and sought to steal it for himself.

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.’” — Matthew 4:8-10

A few years ago, I remember talking to our dear friend Ro on the phone, asking her about her relationship with God. I longed for the intimacy she seemed to have so naturally with God, Whom she referred to affectionately as her Friend. James too spoke of Abraham as a friend of God. I wanted that—yearned for it.

Not long after this conversation, I sat in prayer, seeking God for this very thing, He told me, "You will find Me in worship."

I confess, it probably took me close to a year to begin to pursue God in this manner, to seek more understanding. The pursuit to worship God more and deeper as ensued ever since. And as I have learned more about the incredible depths of God's love, I've learned that the heart of worship resides in Jesus' two greatest commands to us:

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” — Mark 12:29-31

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And love others. The first encompasses a life of worship. Our intimacy with Him each day as we intentionally seek His presence. To view every part of our lives from the perspective of God's Word and promises and to live these out in our lives every day. Singing songs of praise to Him in corporate worship or even in our own homes as we listen to Christian music while making dinner for our family. To seek Him just for Himself, because we are are grateful and stunned that the Creator of the universe desires first and foremost to love us, to delight in us, to be in an intimate relationship with us.

The second springs from the first, for when we love and worship God, His love flows through us, intertwines with our hearts until the separation is no longer distinguishable and flows to a broken and hurting world.

It's that simple, yet that challenging as it requires commitment, intentionality, submission and obedience. Extravagant worship (what God truly deserves) must cost us something. Are we willing to lose our lives to gain them back?

My experience has been that which we gain back is usually more than we give. That's the generosity of our God. He rushes in with His love and faithfulness and gives more than we ask or can even imagine (Eph 3:20). Moses stood on a mountain and asked to see God's glory. What did God do? He hid Moses in a crevice and brought not a mighty show of His power but His goodness.

The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. — Exodus 33:19

And this is part of what Jesus came to bring us, that we would be able to experience God's goodness and worship Him anywhere, even in the realms of our minds and hearts regardless of whether we are in a church or alone.

Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” — John 4:21-24

It is the connection of spirt to the Spirit and truth to the Truth. Worshiping God becomes the expression of our lives that reveals the hope within.

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. — 1Peter 3:15

I propose that our thinking of worship has been limited to the walls of our churches and Sunday mornings, or to faith conferences that vibrate with the presence of the Holy Spirit. These are indeed vital to our growth and understanding of the power and necessity of corporate worship. I myself hunger for more of this in my life. (And I dare to say the difference between a church and a social center is the condition in which the members worship—or don’t.)

Yet with everything God gives and models for us, there is more—much more—than this one glowing facet of the jewel and prize known as worshiping the Lord your God with all your heart (spirit), soul and strength (body, perseverance, health). Just as He is three "persons" in one, we are called the worship with our three parts—spirit, soul and body. And I believe we are called to steward each part with care, that our spirits remain connect to the Spirit, that our souls are fed and cared for, that our bodies and minds are renewed and strengthened.

Worship is living our lives daily, walking in and with the Holy Spirit. Spending time in the Bible each day, seeking truth, knowledge and wisdom to know Him better. Believing His promises and claiming them for our lives. Giving Him praise and thanks everyday just for Him, for His constant love, presence, sacrifice and holiness, and for all He gives us. Choosing His joy even when circumstances make it difficult. Praying and believing He hears us and is working for our good.

He encompasses all. He is all. And He is more than worthy of all we have to offer Him. We don’t have to get our act together first. We don’t have to the perfect marriage and family. We don't have to wait until Sunday or for a conference. No prerequisites or qualifiers. He’s with us all the time. He longs for us to know Him and for us to be known by Him (1 Cor. 13:12).

When we love Him, we are worshiping Him. When we love others, we are worshiping Him. When we use our gifts, blessings and provisions to serve Him and others, we are worshiping Him.

Perhaps our greater challenge is bringing Sunday worship into everyday living. First and foremost, He desires that we be still and know Him. This is our highest form of worship and the place where He shows us His goodness.

And His glory.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. — Psalm 23:6

Praying He reveals His goodness to you today!
Dineen


Transforming the Mind: Choosing Joy

ThemindMy friends, the Transforming the Mind series is continuing. Abba keeps giving me more and more to learn and share with you. What I love so much about this is that as I teach it I’m learning it as well. Just like what it says in Romans:

You, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? — Romans 2:21

So if God calls you to teach, then do it! He will give you what you need to know and pass on. Now, back to our series which began with Feasting on God’s Word, then continued with Claiming and Praying God’s Promises, Giving the Holy Spirit Authority, Pleading the Blood of Jesus, and last week, Thanking and Praising.

The more I learn about transforming our minds (Romans 12:2), the more I see that everything starts in our minds. Everything. Sin, transformation, healing, etc. All of it. And we have more control over it than we realize. I believe this is what James talks about when he describes waves being blown and tossed by the wind. This is an untransformed mind.

Our frame of mind, way of thinking and past experiences influence how we live in, react to (or don’t react to ) and view the world, including those around us. This is what all those self help books are about—having a positive attitude. The reason they often fail is because they rely on an individual’s limited ability to change and the world’s changing standards and definitions as judgement.

But we, the family of God, have a better book—the Bible—to teach us how to see ourselves and our lives through the lens of our Creator, who’s love is constant and unchanging and holds no condemnation for us, His children (Romans 8:1).

And I believe this transformed mind is absolutely vital to thriving in our mismatched marriages. How we perceive things and what we focus on will direct the course of our every day lives. And I have learned that wherever I have a struggle, I must first look inward to first to discover if the root is within me or if I need an attitude adjustment to handle the situation. In other words, I can't change those around me, but I can choose how I will handle situations and conflicts. And sometimes we may need to face that we are the problem. But even then, we have the power that raised Christ from the dead (Eph. 1:19-20) working in us to bring transformation! That is full of hope and promise! And as we change and are transformed, we influence our pre-believer in ways we don’t even realize.

In today’s post, I want to talk to you about choosing joy. Abba has shown me much about joy in the last few months that I’m just now piecing together. The Old Testament talks about the oil of joy. This is something that He often has me pass on to others, especially when I work in the healing rooms here.

And Scripture also tells us the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10). But recently an interview article, Kay Warren on Depression, Grief and Hope, written by Amy Simpson (Today’s Christian Woman) struck me with a new understanding of what it means to choose joy.

“I realized I had completely misunderstood joy. No wonder I wasn't experiencing it! I was going after the wrong thing. I was going after an emotion. And what God wanted to give me was himself. The definition of joy I'm working with is a settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life. The quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right. And the determined choice to praise God in all things.” — Kay Warren

First let me clarify that joy and happiness are two different things. Joy is based upon the constant presence and love of our Great God and trusting Him with every detail of our lives. Happiness is contingent upon circumstances. We can have joy and choose to be joyful and joy-filled even when our circumstances make us unhappy. The danger we often run into is that when we feel unhappy, we relinquish our joy.

But we don't have to. We can choose joy even in our most challenging times. It's not easy, but I am learning to do this more and more. The new understanding I'm beginning to grasp is that instead of waiting for joy to "show up," like an emotion, we can take action and ask for and choose to accept joy as a gift from Jesus. Scripture even tells us this:

So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. — Romans 5:11
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. — 1Thess. 5:16-18
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13
“For I, the Lord, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be recognized and honored among the nations. Everyone will realize that they are a people the Lord has blessed.” 

I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. — Isaiah 61:8-10

This is our inheritance and ours to choose—to ask and pray for. And did you notice how thankfulness and gratitude are intertwined with joy as well as hope? Think of thankfulness and gratitude as the soil of our minds and joy is the seed to be planted there. What springs forth is hope. So you see, if our minds are cluttered with bitterness, unforgiveness, self-condemnation, lies from the enemy, etc., the joy of the Lord will wither and even die. And then we become hopeless. And for us to lose hope is as death. I firmly believe that is one of the most heartbreaking conditions of all to our Lord Jesus—to see people lose hope.

My friends, I don't have this completely figured out, but I do know that what we focus on and think about has profound effect on our mental, physical and spiritual health. They are all interconnected as God designed them to be.

And He has given us the ability to choose. This is powerful (even to determine our eternal destination—to choose Jesus) and when we use this power of choice out of a desire to honor God and be obedient, we have a mind controlled by the Spirit, which tells us is life and peace. That is a powerful promise from our Abba and again, it's ours to choose.

It takes practice and intentionality, but it is so worth it. The more we do this, the less we are like those waves whipped around by the waves of the world, of our challenges and circumstances, and the stronger we stand in our lives and marriages. We can allow our thoughts, feelings and emotions to control us or we can partner with the Holy Spirit to transform our minds so that those same thoughts, feelings and emotions will fall in line and be reflective of God’s truth working in us.

So I’m asking Jesus for joy. I’m asking He restore the joy of His salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me (Psalm 51:12).

I’m choosing joy.

Love you dearly, my friends!
Dineen


Walmart Update... Make Us Brave!!

Hello SUMite Nation: 

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comWell… This 5’4” blonde girl is determined! It’s been five phone calls to two different Walmart store managers combined with three visits to the Customer Service department to gain approval and what I think is a firm date for our Walmart Prayer and Random Acts of Kindness Day. 

Woo Hoo!!!! 

June 12, 2014. 10:100 am till noon. That’s a Thursday. I’ve learned a lot about the Walmart Community Calendar in the last several days. But, I’m unwavering in our cause because I believe that God will do BIG things with this community, through us, that bring His love to others and honor to His name. 

I Believe. 

I’ve had a few more thoughts. In addition to the Walmart gift cards, I want to hand out Gerbera Daisies to small children that morning. I also want to bless the cashiers and managers of the store in some way as well. And I’ve been recruiting teens, my daughter’s friends. They are going to walk around out front and in the store with large cardboard signs that say:

Free Hugs

It’s going to me a blast.

It’s going to be amazing.
People WILL ask for prayer.
Healing will take place.
People will be loved.
They will be surprised. We will be surprised!
It is a day that will not be forgotten.

I pray this one morning becomes a movement that spreads across the nation. 

If you want to give, you still can. Thank you SUMite Nation. Donations have come from all over the world. I can’t wait to place your name and city, state, country into the hand of someone who will be loved by you and loved by Jesus. 

Finally, start to pray for God’s favor on this event. Pray that the enemy is removed from disruption because he has tried very hard to stop this day from happening. Pray for the blessing of the Temecula Walmart. Pray that everything we do brings honor to Christ and builds the unity, love and faith of our SUMite Nation. 

I love you. Lynn


Reader Question: I'm the Daughter of an Unequally Yoked Marriage

Thank you for your ministry. I am the daughter of an unequally yoked marriage. My mom has recently (within the past 10 years) tried to seek godly Christian women to find support/encouragement but so far she has found none. As a result I have been the one to hear my mom vent about the struggles and pain.

My parents have been married for about 40 years and only about three years ago did my dad claim to profess faith in Christ. Today's (April 26) reader question along with listening to your interview on Focus on the Family aired on March 26 has motivated me to write this email. How can you love someone for who they are when he has told you several times over the course of the marriage and continues to say to you (even with his profession of faith) that you are the cause of his unhappiness and blames you for why he gets upset and angry? How can you love someone who unleashes his wrath and anger against you with verbal assaults and in his fits of rage will throw things towards your direction? 

There are other baggage/sin that each of my parents bring into their marriage that complicates things (of course). Regardless, you remind me of the foundational place of where we all should begin. You are right when you said on the Focus on the Family interview aired on March 27, 2012, "we need to love God more than we love ourselves. Our commitment to marriage is our commitment to Christ." 

It is hard to see past the fog. Thank you for your Biblical counsel to spouses who are in spiritually unequal marriages. Would appreciate some encouragement to pass along to my mom. I plan on sending my mom the link to your website as well as giving my mom a copy of your book, Winning Him Without Words

My friend, I am so touched by your heart for your mom. I know it hasn't been easy for you to be her sounding board. I truly believe she will find the support and encouragement she needs in our community at SpirituallyUnequalMarriage.com. Lynn and I are there blogging almost everyday and interacting with the community of believers who are walking this very same path. Yes, please direct her to our site there and here is a link our interviews page that has many of our broadcasts. I'm praying that your mom will listen and be encouraged as she listens. She is not a lone. There are many of us out there and we are stronger together.

You ask how can we love someone who does these things? We can't, not without Jesus, and the love the He has for us and our spouse flowing through us. I know I can't love my husband as I do without God's help and he's a pretty lovable guy and easy to get alone with! So with such a challenge as your mom faces, she needs Jesus even more to do this through her. The Word tells us God IS love so when we ask Him to love for us, to flow that through us, especially to those who are difficult to love, we are also transformed. I find it astonishing how God does it as I've watched Him do this in my own life.

But let me also say, my friend, that it sounds like the issues your mother is dealing with are not due to a spiritual mismatch. These are issues that can be present in even believing couples. I strongly encourage you to encourage you mom to seek Christian counseling. God doesn't desire us to live in that kind of treatment (and please forgive me if this sounds harsh but your dad's behavior toward your mom could border on being emotionally abusive) and if we don't know how to set boundaries that tell even those we love that their behavior isn't appropriate, we can become enablers for it to continue.

Your sweet mom is not in charge of making your dad happy nor is he in charge of making her happy. This is something the world tells us and it's truly built on lies. Our joy, peace and contentment come from knowing Jesus, and happiness comes in those places as well. Yet to blame another person for our unhappiness, anger and discontent is not taking responsibility for ourselves. It's not easy to look in these places and realize this. Trust me, I know. Early in my marriage before I knew Christ I blamed my husband for my unhappiness, because I didn't understand that a human being couldn't meet the needs God placed in me for only Him to meet.

That your mom is seeking encouragement is wonderful! Tell her that for us and tell her we would love the chance to get to know her better and share our hearts with her. Our SUM community is built upon two things: the love of God and that we are not alone. 

Again, let me commend you for your heart for your mom. Know that all of this is God leading her to what she needs so that ultimately she will know Him better, trust Him more and walk in the truth that He alone will supply all her needs from His amazing love (Phil 4:19).

I'm praying for you and your family, my friend. God is definitely working here even if it may not seem so. He's working through you and all your years of praying to help bring your mom to a stronger place of faith and breakthrough so that both your parents can walk in the freedom Jesus died to give us. I truly believe that and I pray it encourages you too.

Much love and lots of hugs to you!
Dineen

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Gang, still waiting to hear back from Walmart if we are approved and what date. I will give the update on Monday, Hugs, Lynn


Kingdom Miracle - Make Us Brave!

SUMite Nation: 

It’s time for another community miracle. Before I tell you this next miracle endeavor, let’s just take a minute to give honor and thanks to Jesus. Our community miracles in the past have been amazing and I am absolutely convinced God moved in our miracles and He was glorified. To read about them click on the Kingdom Miracles button in the navigation bar. 

Over the past couple of years God has been moving me out of my comfort zone. He has pressed me to pray for people in unique and often in unexpected times and places. (Remember when God told me to pray for the old woman walking down the street? That was one of those times.) 

So over the past two months this strong impression from the Lord keeps nagging me about praying for people in all places……. Wal-Mart… 

Yup. 

I believe it’s God’s heart that one day there will be lines of shoppers checking out at Walmart and there will also be a line of people waiting for prayer. So, that’s what we are going to do. 

Pray for people at Walmart. 

So how do we do that as a community? 

There are a couple of ways. 

First, I’ve contacted my local Walmart store and am in the process of confirming a date when we have the store manager’s permission to be at the front of the store. I will have that information in a day or so. I will let you know. Sometime in June. 

God showed me a picture of a table with a small sign on it that reads:

Need prayer

So, I’m committed to spending at least an hour or two out in front of the store. I’m hoping anyone, some of you, will be brave and join me in Temecula. I’m inviting you to be touched by the Holy Spirit and be part of what I think God is going to do when we begin to love on strangers at Walmart. 

The Second part is our Community is going to love on these people by giving them a $5 gift card. No questions asked. No requirements. Just unconditional love and a gift for no reason whatsoever. 

This is how I see it playing in my head. We arrive and are humble. We set up our table. We greet people gently as they enter or leave the store. Pass them a gift card and say, “Have a blessed day.” “You are loved.” If they need prayer, we will pray with them for whatever they need prayer. Let’s shock the world with unexpected love and provision… 

I know….. WILD, Hunh? 

The Second part of this is our community. I’m praying that all of you will be moved in your heart to be part of this crazy experiment. Will you consider donating a few gift cards? 

When you do we will write your name on the gift card. As we hand it to a shopper, we will say, (example) “This is from Teresa T. in Ohio.” We are going to blow the minds of these cynical and fruity Californians with love from all over the country, dare I say the world. (I will only write your first name and last initial and the state or country you reside.) 

Now I know not all of you can hop on a plane to California but if you are anywhere in the area on that day, join the SUMite Nation and let’s watch God move as we pray. Now, to take this further, if you want to do this at your local Walmart on the same day, contact me through the contact page. 

Two final things: We will have cameras there to capture God’s Community at work loving people. Still photos, videos, and I’m praying like crazy we will have some shoppers who encounter Christ, find healing, and give us a video testimony. (I pray BIG prayers) We will share with you the photos and the love that you are showering upon people with your donations. 

Please pray that God opens doors of generosity for those who can support this God encounter financially. You can give anywhere from $5 up to $20. And if you can't give, that is absolutely okay, cover us in prayer.

Start to pray now that you can come with us. Ask God for great provision that you can support with a donation. But mostly pray that the SUMite Nation represents our Jesus with love as we love on people and that they find…. HOPE. 

I love you my family. Please donate if you can. And now, tell me what you think in the comments. 

Jesus, this is a crazy thing to do but there are people that need you. They need to know they are loved. They need to see crazy faith and love lived out in ordinary people, even my neighbors. Lord, MAKE US BRAVE… Let this turn into a major encounter and a practice that is so well received by our city and it spreads across the nation. Let your name be glorified. I can’t wait to see what you do on this day in June. We love you so much. Your servants, the SUMite Nation. 

LOVE YOU, Lynn

 

 

 


Battlefield of the Mind: Pleading the Blood of Jesus

ThemindThe last three weeks we have talked about the battlefield of the mind and the transformation that the Bible speaks of in Romans 12:2, first with Feasting on God’s Word, then part two, Claiming and Praying God’s Promises and last week, Giving the Holy Spirit Authority. This week I want to talk about pleading the blood of Jesus. Through this time of breaking and rebuilding that Abba has had me in, He’s given me a deeper understanding and appreciation of the ramifications and power of the blood of Christ and what makes it so powerful.

As we travel through the Word of God, we see His ultimate plan of one perfect and final sacrifice. The Old Testament is the promise of the Messiah and the preparation of His coming. The New Testament is the revelation of the Messiah and His salvation plan for us. Sacrificial blood runs through the entire Bible.

Recently, God has bombarded me with Scriptures about the living water. First with the story of Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 where Jesus speaks to her of a water that will quench her thirst for eternity. In John 7:38 Jesus speaks again about those who are thirsty coming to Him and He refers to the Old Testament Scriptures that have declared, “Rivers of living water will flow from His heart.”

Scriptures like Isaiah 12:3, Psalm 36:9 and Revelations 21:6 led me on a trail of understanding like a blood hound sniffing out his prize (yes, perhaps pun intended). I knew God wanted me to understand the connection of the water of life to the blood of Christ as He led me to more truths in His Word.

Scripture tells us the depth of the testing of our Savior, that He experienced all of the same testings we do, so that He would understand our weaknesses (Heb 4:17-18). Only in John’s account do we see Jesus say, “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)

It is the same Greek word that is used in the other accounts where Jesus speaks of thirst. As God began putting the pieces together for me, I heard Abba say, “even unto death” and I literally shook as the revelation came. Jesus Christ didn’t just die a physical death. He died a spiritual death as well.

He spoke of thirst after He cried out to the Father, asking why He had forsaken (abandoned) Him (Matt. 27:46). Jesus’ sacrifice had to be more than just physical otherwise the animal sacrifices would have been enough. (And I dare to say also that perhaps the sour wine offered for His physical thirst was a symbol of the communion shared with His disciples just hours before and was now broken.)

His death had to reach from the physical to the spiritual and only by the shedding of the holy and powerful blood of Jesus—who first was fully God and became fully man as well—could the circle be completed. Jesus said it was finished and the man/God returned to the Father (John 13:3). I believe Paul’s statement in Ephesians 4:9 that Jesus also descended to the lower, earthly regions is part of this understanding as well.

Now think of your pre-believer’s separation from God in the light that Jesus experienced it too. He understands and knows, yet He still loves this person. As can we with His love and living water flowing through us!

(Let me interject one other piece of symbolism from Exodus 15 where Moses and the Israelites come to Marah, the place of the bitter water. What is Moses told to throw into the water to make them sweet—life giving? A piece of wood. I believe the wood symbolized the cross of Christ to come, who would by His death on those beams would release the living waters to all who thirst.)

The healing blood of Jesus is forever and eternal, and it affects us in all realms—the physical and the spiritual. Just like I prayed for the Holy Spirit to have authority in all those places in my life, I plead the blood of Jesus over those areas as well to bring healing and transformation. As the song says, there is power in the blood of Jesus. I pray something like this—not legalistically but when I feel I need it:

I plead the blood of Jesus over my mind, my heart, my body, my spirit, my soul, my will, my thoughts, my emotions and my feelings.

Or as I prayed yesterday, because this is where I felt my greatest need:

Lord Jesus, I plead your saving, holy and protecting blood over my will and my motivations. Align them with the Father’s.

Dear friends, just like a garden, our minds and emotions need daily care and feeding in order to grow, bloom and prosper. This is part of claiming our abundant life in Jesus (John 10:10), one we can look forward to daily with joy as we rest in Him (Be still and know that I am God. — Psalm 46:10). Let Him do that work He has promised to complete (Phil. 1:6).

As He is in us, we are in Him (1 John 4:13). He is the one doing the work and He will not fail (1 Thess. 5:24). All we need is a willing and seeking heart (Jer. 29:13).

The cross is His greatest testimony that He finishes everything He starts and His blood was, is and forever will be the proof of that promise.

My friends, take time to look of the Scriptures and study them for yourself. Pray for wisdom and revelation to know Him better (Eph 1:17) and that you would know the depths of His great love for you (Eph 3:18). This year of intimacy with Him is not at all what I expected. It hasn’t been easy but it has been so much more than I imagined (Eph. 3:20).

Praying all this for you!
Dineen


It's About A Wedding



Revelation 2 7I’m deeply moved on this day, Good Friday, as I consider my Betrothed. Since writing the Wedding Day series a few weeks back, and my experience meeting the Prince of Peace, I’m continually reminded that I am a bride. We, all of us believers, are a bride. We are THE bride of Christ. 

This past week while I was on my walk-n-pray, I was listening to a new song on my iPhone. This song was sent to me by a sister SUMite, Colleen Rogers. It’s title: Holy (Wedding Day) 

As the song queued up and began to play. It was very early in the morning just before the break of dawn. There were low clouds on the horizon and as I walked the sun burst through to greet me. The music swelled and I saw a picture in my mind. 

We, all of us, millions upon millions were gathered for a wedding ceremony. 

We were in heaven, it was light and bright. I could see all of us clothed in white. But I saw clearly that I was standing at the foot of the throne. I was wearing a floor-length, pristine white gown. It was belted and the cloth was soft and it almost shimmered with movement. The sleeves were long and open as they rested against my hands that were at my sides. 

The music was playing and there was to be a wedding. 

It was the marriage of the Son of God. 

Gulp…. 

And we are the Bride. All around me were my friends. You my SUMites, my husband (double gulp), my children. I wanted to press into you closely and hold your hands and link arms with all of you. I have walked this journey so long with so many of you and I LOVE YOU deeply. I felt like I just wanted to be surrounded by you as we are prepared and about to participate in the most important ceremony to ever take place throughout all history. The heavens have anticipated this very moment since before the world began. The Angels were there singing as we stood before God and the Mercy Seat. 

The Son of God steps out. He is smiling. He is filled with excitement and I’m taken back to see the love and thrill on His face for me. (I burst into tears on the trail at this point) 

The ceremony began. In my head the next thing I saw was myself stepping forward. I stood before Him and watched as my Betrothed placed a long chain necklace around my neck. At the end of the chain was a stone and my name was written upon it. I couldn’t read my name. I just knew that is what it was. (Revelation 2:17)

One by one, each of us stepped forward and received this necklace as we became the Bride in the most significant event in all eternity. 

It’s the marriage ceremony of the Lamb. 

Holy…. Holy….. Holy….. Worthy is the Lamb. 

As I take in this scene the lyrics of the song are my undoing. As I remember today that my betrothed was hung on a cross for me….. 

I am undone.

I pray you are undone today too! The Bride becoming, Lynn


Your Breakthrough Is Here - Passover

Hi SUMite Family, 

This week I’m departing from our Joshua and The Walls series. Today I want to share my thoughts and prayer about Passover. And on Friday, I’m sharing a glimpse I had of The Wedding of the Son of God and His Bride. (It’s way cool and perfect for Good Friday. Be sure to stop in then.) 

What is Passover? Passover is a festival of freedom. It commemorates the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt, and their transition from slavery to freedom. The main ritual of Passover is the Seder, which occurs on the first night. 

As believers we know we are not under the Old Testament law. We are living in the age of grace because of the blood sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus. And as a person who loves God and ponders His ways and thoughts, I’m thinking that many of the ancient feasts and celebrations that He originated still hold meaning and expectation. 

This year’s Passover holds significance to me personally. You see, since December I have been praying for many of you in this SUMite family. Many of you by name. And I mean ALL of you, even if you have never made any personal contact with me nor left your name in a comment. I have prayed for you. 

And this is why. 

Breakthrough is coming for many of you with THIS Passover. 

At the end of last year many of my brothers and sisters in Christ were in the midst of enduring and trying to just survive tremendous spiritual warfare. Many of you have battled a life that seems to have run over you. Circumstances have left you defeated and bereft of hope. And you have been in this dark pit for months now. Many of you are specifically facing crippling financial stresses. There are many who are wrangling with overwhelming anxiety, dark depression, abusive spouses and heartbreak because of wondering children and a litany of other demonic tortures. 

Well my friends, I’ve been praying for you. I’ve been contending for you. For months. I’ve sacrificed in the quiet of the early morning as I beseeched the God of the universe to silence the enemy and bring freedom to the many of you who are held captive and as prisoners of this life’s evils.

My prayers began in December and as I marched through January I began to hear the Lord tell me they will lift. There is a change, a shift, which is ordained of heaven that will happen at Passover. 

THAT’S TOMORROW! 

I’ve been praying for a breakthrough. A breakthrough for many. I’ve been contending for this shift over the home of _________________________ (insert your name because I’ve prayed it.) My breakthrough, although contended for in private and sacrificed in prayer, over the past months will also bring breakthrough to many others. MANY OTHERS. 

THAT’S how our God’s Kingdom rolls!!!!!! 

The honest prayers of one can bring breakthrough for hundreds. I earnestly believe this with all of my heart. So today my friends, if you need this breakthrough to move into a new season with the Lord, declare it now and out loud. 

Father God, I receive this breakthrough on this day. This is the day that You Passover this earth and free me from the grips of the enemy. Lord, and free others from the terror of the evil one. Today, Lord, I receive my deliverance just as you delivered our ancestors long ago. You freed them from the tyranny of slavery and gave them a land flowing with milk and honey. Today, Lord, I too declare in front of the Kingdom of God my freedom day. 

I will promise to seek you with all of my heart from this day forward. I make a new and lasting covenant to pursue you with a relentless hunger. I will also step out of my bondage and make it my life’s purpose to free others who are on the road behind me. 

Today, I rebuke and break off any stronghold or bondage of the enemy that has kept me from stepping into my rightful inheritance as a child of the Most High God. And I slam the door shut on any lies I have believed that the devil has used to tell me anything that is not truth about myself and my circumstances. 

Lord, My Holy God, I receive my freedom by the holy blood of the Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, Your Son. And I will live all of my days from this day forward, pursuing peace, joy and love. I will choose to love you with my whole heart and spend the rest of my life loving people. 

I declare and decree my deliverance, my future that is abundant, and ask today that you show me now where you have made my path straight that I may get on with bringing Your Kingdom to earth. 

In the most powerful name in all creation and the heavenly realms, Jesus, The Christ. The Passover Lamb of God. AMEN.

 

I have contended for you. I absolutely believe many of you will begin to see hints of the freedom that has just been released upon your life today. My friends, now give thanks to our Papa, Jesus and the Dove for you are been released to receive your full inheritance. In Jesus name. 

I love you. I will always contend for your lives, marriage and children. I will never stop standing in the gap when you are weak and unable. I am your friend and your prayer warrior. Your sister in Christ, Lynn

Psalm 23
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An Unlikely Family Shows Up At The Movies

Hello SUMite Family: 

SonofGodIt’s a sunny Sunday afternoon here at the Donovan Clan House as I write this post. I’ve just returned home from the movie theater where I watched the movie, Son of God

I’m in my office alone right now, a rare accomplishment these days as my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter who is almost a year old, moved in recently. It’s quiet at this moment and I’m able to hear the voice of the Lord as He is speaking so much to me. 

He’s pointing out that He just answered some long spoken prayers of my heart. Some of these deep longings I have prayed over for as long as I’ve been married. And as I sit here and consider what happened today I’m moved to tears again. Let me explain. 

Since my marriage to my “pre-believer” husband 22 years ago this Friday, I have so desperately wanted him to be part of my faith life. I’ve wanted so much to sit together in church. To discuss the Bible and learn about Jesus together. I’ve wanted to look like all the other families at church. I wanted to fit in. But for 22 years I have often felt like the odd ball, the third wheel, and like I will never rest comfortably in the family of God. 

But today….. Oh TODAY….. What God can do with an ordinary day. You see, I attended the movie, Son of God, with “my family.” A real family that loves me and who also loves Jesus. It wasn’t my husband but God sent me a family anyway. There were five of us who walked into the theater together. An eclectic group of family members who all wanted to go to the movie with me. ….. with me….. Can you believe it? 

Two of the women were 25 years old. Who knew young women wanted to hang out with a grandma. There were two women that were in their 30’s and then me… Ahem. I’m a bit older. But I am overwhelmed that God has put a family around me that wants to share my faith. Who wants to go to see a movie about Jesus. Who loves Jesus and loves me, who loves one another. God whispers to me, “Lynn, I know you have surrendered many of your hopes and wishes but I have given them all back to you and more.” 

Gulp…. And Wow.. 

And how I know they are truly my family members is because we were supposed to attend the movie last weekend but I ended up taking my daughter to urgent care last Sunday instead. 

They waited….. 

They waited for me. They waited for a woman who is twice their age. A woman who is ordinary. A woman who wants to love Jesus and love people. 

I’m undone by the love of God. I’m undone by the love of this unlikely family God has given me. I’m undone by my family here in the House of SUM. 

My friends, as I sit at my computer contemplating it all, I hear the voice of God speaking to you, “My daughter, my son, you have also surrendered many of your dreams. Your hopes have been crushed and you perceive no way out of the pit you are in. I see the sacrifices, the pain you have endured and the lost and broken family that you crave. But, I promise you that your prayers are urgent in my ears. My Son paid the price for your redemption and the redemption of your family. And I declare that by His suffering, your redemption is full. All that you have surrendered, all that has been taken from you by the enemy….. WILL BE RESTORED.” 

My friends, today is living proof that God restores. I have a family who shares my faith! 

And as I write to you now I feel as though God has opened the heavens and shouts:

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2) 

I watched the movie earlier today and nearly cried through most of it. I cried because to me, it’s not a story. It’s not just a movie. It’s real…. Jesus IS the Son of God. He is real. He lived. He was tortured, crucified, died and rose for ME… It was for the joy set before Him that He went to the cross to give us a family. A family that will be ours forever. It was for the joy set before Him that we are healed of our loneliness, our diseases, our bitterness, our broken hearts. It was for the joy set before him that he died for us and for our unsaved spouses. 

Oh Glory….. Let’s fall more in love with our Jesus. He LIVES! He is our restorer. He will pursue our unsaved family members relentlessly and He gives us a family, even an unlikely one. 

The blessings and answers to prayer often arrive in an unlikely and unexpected manner. Look around you. What is He doing in your life today? The Son of God has changed everything in my life. He is the Word. The Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End. He is my family and my redemption. 

He is my hope. 

He is love. 

I adore you my family of SUMites. I care for you. I love you. And if I knew I could save just one person from the fires of hell, I too, would go to the cross. May you today be anointed with an overflowing love and power of the Holy Spirit this very hour. Love, your unlikely family member, Lynn

 

PS. Listen in to our NEW interviews at FamilyLife. We talk about some very interesting topics. Click here.


Trade in Your Yoke

7094090_s
My friends, as Lynn shared on Monday, Abba so overwhelmed us that last day at the conference. For the spiritually mismatched to be called out and recognized in this way was deeply humbling and amazing! It brought me to tears as my heart burst for all of us here. And to be prayed for like this, ALL of us, was as if the very heavens had opened up and Jesus' light shined on every one of us.

After Stacey's prayer and another man began to pray over us and he spoke of Jesus' yoke. I heard his words, but it was Jesus' heart that spoke the loudest in my mind at that moment. This is what I heard:

"It is time for you to exchange your unequal yoke for My yoke."

Then on Monday morning, I spent a long time in prayer with my journal open and my pen in hand, seeking Jesus for more understanding of what He wanted us to know and understand. I asked Him to share His heart. This is what I heard:

"The time for striving in prayers is over. Now is the time to rest in trust in Me. I have heard every prayer and seen every tear. Trust Me. Rest in My unending love that extends not just to you but to your spouse too. Just as I have held you in My hand, I hold them as well. Trust, trust, trust Me. Now more than ever."

SUMites, I asked The Lord to help me understand what He meant about the striving in prayers to be over. Did He mean to stop praying? And what I got was this strong sense that it was now time to believe what we have asked. We are to speak it as truth over our pre-believers.

Then I went to that verse that we have all heard so many times about Jesus' yoke:

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." —Matthew 11:29-30

I knew "rest" was a key word here between what I'd heard and this verse so I compared the Greek words used in other places for "rest" and discovered the one used in Matthew is different than the others. This one means to give rest, give intermission from labor, refresh."

Dear friends, I was so blown away at how all the pieces of this fell together. And based upon some of your comments on Monday's post, I believe many of you are hearing the same thing from our great King.

The other key word in this Scripture is learn. So don't worry that you don't quite understand what Jesus is asking us to do. He will teach us. That is His intention here, to teach us about His yoke, but first we have to give Him our unequal yokes.

So do this as a symbolic gesture and pray in your own words something like this:

Jesus, today I am handing you my unequal yoke and all my broken expectations and tears as a result of it. And in it's place, I take your yoke and wear it proudly. Teach me what all this means and show me how to walk forward in my marriage from this day forward NOT as someone who is unequally yoked, but as someone who is EQUALLY YOKED with YOU. In Your Powerful and Mighty Name, Jesus, amen.

I am so excited to see what the future—the near future—holds for all of us, my dear friends. We are on a mighty journey together.

Love you!
Dineen

Image credit: hudakore / 123RF Stock Photo

 


Spread the Love!

21093836_sMy friends, I'm on a love journey. 

When I was a little girl and a teenager, I believed love was the greatest force of all. That love conquered all. Though I can look back and see that this was Abba working in my life in so many ways, I didn't know Him and defined love according to human capabilities and standards, which wound up represented and defined by the flawed human beings around me.

Thus, my definition of love was flawed. Still hope-filled but destined to disappoint. As my faith has grown I've learned that Jesus is our greatest hope, but my understanding of love had a long way to go. 

I shared with you before our week of fasting and praying that Abba had told me this would a "year of intimacy." Well, let me just say, He wastes no time. Quite honestly I'm stunned at what He shown and revealed to me already. Had no idea He'd work so fast!

So, I'm on a love journey again. I've re-embraced my young belief that love was the answer to all things and now understand that IS Jesus. As it says in 1 John 4 that God IS love, Love is our greatest answer, our greatest healer, our greatest defender, our greatest everything.

And the amazing part is that I'm hearing this from so many people all over the place. In fact, I went to an evening worship service last Sunday evening at another church and the pastor's message was all about God's love for us, that He's absolutely crazy about us. This man is on a love journey with Jesus too. 

My friends, this is Abba's heart right now. For all of us (yes, even you sitting there thinking this doesn't inlcude you. It does, trust me.) He is spreading His message of love through so many right now and asking us to share His love with others. He is LOVE and wants to be known for His love. 

Right now I want you to imagine Jesus standing in front of you. Now take every bit of condemnation, thoughts of unworthiness, beliefs of insignificance—whatever trips you up in truly believing you are loved completely by Jesus—and offer it to Him right now. Keep handing this stuff over to Him if you have to. When you're done, ask Him this:

"Jesus, what do you have in exchange for me?" Be still and wait for an answer. He will speak to you—your heart, your mind, an image, a thought—in whatever way He knows you will hear Him. Don't hurry or rush off. You don't want to miss anything, do you?

Then read these words and really receive them. This is God's Word. His truth about you. 

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." — John 15:9

"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." — John 15:11

"You did not choose me, but I chose you..." — John 15:16

SUMites, do this as often as you need to with a desire to fully embrace and understand how loved you are. I don't think we'll fully embrace it this side of heaven, but Abba sure wants us to understand a whole more than we do.

During your next quiet time, sit with Jesus. Ask Him these questions, one at a time, and wait for His answers. You may see an image or be reminded of a Scripture. Or you may be flooded with a string of words or feelings.

1. What do you think of me?

2. What do you like most about me?

3. What do you want most for me?

Then what? Tell somebody else that Jesus loves them just like He loves you! Share with them how He has shown His great love for you, and tell them Jesus wants to do the very same thing for them. Spead the love, my friends!

Spread THE Love!

Dineensig

 

 

 

Here are some more goodies I want to share with you:

698517_dancingMy post, "God's Faithfulness to a Mother's Prayers," is up over at Choose NOW Ministries. This is a story of my oldest daughter's journey of faith that culminated in a beautiful picture last May. It's the story of God's faithfulness to my prayers for my girls. I pray it encourages and blesses you!

 

Leo&LeslieI have another post over at The Koala Bear Writer that just makes me chuckle. Are you a fan of the show The Big Bang Theory? You're probably wondering how that show could possibly inspire me to write a post about being spiritually mismatched. Hop over and read my post, "The Spiritual Disconnect," and have a read and maybe a laugh. You'll even get to watch a small clip of this hilarious show!

 

LogoAnd one final goody to share. Lynn and I will be on Joy in the Morning with Naomi Cantrell at 889JoyFM.com Thursday morning between 7 am and 8 am Eastern time. We had a blast chatting with Naomi and shared some stories from our book, Not Alone. 

 

Image credit: belchonock / 123RF Stock Photo


How One RAK Inspired Another

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Love you so much! Be shiney for Jesus!
Dineensig


Let's Walk in Mary and Joseph's Sandals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Messiah was coming?

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

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

Unbelievable? Is it? I say astonishing for sure.

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

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

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


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

 Image credit: yupiramos / 123RF Stock Photo


Weekend Worship — Stand Strong in Jesus

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. — Ephesians 6:10-12

My friends, today I  want to encourage to continue to stand strong in your faith, marriage and family; to be patient with how God is leading and moving you forward in your spiritual gifts and trust Him in that process; and to desire above all else His presence and to rest in Him.

Right now I'm reading Daniel and Revelations side by side and see more and more how our battles really are in the spiritual realm more than we realize. Thus why we must stand firm in Jesus. He is our strength, our rest and our unending source of hope. And hope is crucial to perseverance. Amen? Amen!

Cynthia-Ruchti_green_couch-150x150Over at our Mismatched & Thriving site, author Cynthia Ruchti shares an encouraging word about hope for those surviving the fallout of people's choices. She has graciously offered two copies of her book, Ragged Hope, to our SUM community. Leave a comment over at her post, HOPE RUSH, to enter the drawing for a copy (leaving one here doesn't count. LOL!) 

Mismatched-marriageAlso, Lynn and I are blogging once a month with ChooseNOW Ministries. Click HERE to read our first post there.

And finally, dear friends, I pray your weekend is full of love and hope, I pray that the extreme GOODNESS of our Lord manifests constantly in your lives, and I pray that the Holy Spirit fills you to overflowing and floods your home with His constant presence. I love this community so much and am praying for each of you.

Be shiney for Jesus!
Dineen

 


Weekend Worship — Puppy Love

IMG_2436Let me tell you a story about a dog named Riley.

Except that wasn't his name when we first met him. This wayward pup followed my husband and I one day as we walked the park. When we attempted to get a closer look and see if he had a collar, he dashed away.

My husband and I finished our walk around the park and headed home. As we came closer to our house, we saw this pooch standing right in front of our house. I kid you not.

Our new furry friend still evaded us as we drew closer, hightailing it down the street to what we hoped was his home. The next day my youngest daughter spotted a dog hiding under some bushes in a yard across the street. She finally coaxed him out and brought him home.

Same dog. No collar. No chip. We made signs and hung them all over the neiborhood and park. We posted about him on Facebook. We listed him on our neiborhood site. No one claimed this little guy who seemed so eager just to be loved.

A few days later, I told my daughter, "God has put this dog in our lives for a reason and I'm wondering if it might have something to do with you. Pray and ask God what that's about."

Long story short, Riley—as we have dubbed him—has now come to stay with us for good. He's the most cuddlicious pooch I've had the pleasure to know. And he has the most interesting settling and peaceful effect on my husband. Very interesting...perhaps my assessment of "whom" this dog was for may have been a tad bit off. 

I've no idea what Abba is doing with this little guy, but I'm positive something's going on here. I've seen God do this before with my daughter's dog Shasta and how this pooch saved her life. I watch my husband and Riley interact with great anticipation. God's ways are so much fun!

My friends, I pray that from this day forth through this festive time of the year that Abba would put people, pets, or particulars in your life that will astound, delight you and bring great joy and peace. Let's call them "Rileys." See a "Riley" in your life already?

Keep your eyes open. Look for the "rileys" Abba is placing in your life to speak His love, care and attention to you. Especially right now as we enter a season of busy preparations. I wonder how many of these delights we miss on a daily basis. I'm praying for open eyes and ears and respective hearts to percieve more for each and every one of us. 

I love you, my friends, and truly appreciate each of you. This community is part of my joy and delight each and every day. Thank you, Abba. You give me such sweet blessings!
Dineensig 

 


A Sacrifice for Freedom

6036911_sMy friends, I have to tell you that God is doing more than I expected in this week so far. (Tamara, thank you again for suggesting we do a week like this.)

In less than twenty-four hours God put the word JOY in front of me almost a dozen times. (Yes, I counted.) In two devos, the first name of a woman who requested to be friends on Facebook, the wrapper on a candy cane from last Christmas that my daughter found in the cookie jar, several Scriptures emailed to me from various places, as I ready my Bible...

I think you see what I mean. Abba wants us to be joy-filled!

And yesterday, as I prayed for Him to tell me what He wanted us to have for today, so many things went through my mind as I prayed for our community. What did we need most? First Abba reminded me of the truths in 1 John 4. Read that chapter and note specifically this verse:

We love because he first loved us. — 1 John 4:19

We are believers because God loved us first (and let that supernatural love be your “spa soak” today). He loves our pre-believers exactly the same way too. We can trust God for their salvation, and He is in pursuit of our spouses just like He pursued us.

As I stood under the shade of a tree praying for our community, God spoke this to my heart:

“Tell them to give Me their husbands.”

(For our male readers, insert wives as I believe this is for you too.)

Sumites, my heart constricted and tears sprang to my eyes, and even as I type this I am so moved by this. Because it’s not just about the obvious part—salvation. It’s about God’s heart for us to be free. Free from the worry, free from a burden we are not intended to carry, and free to love in our mismatched places without fear because we choose to trust God.

So today we are going to do two things. It may seem a little out there but this is what God showed me. Get a piece of bread and some grape juice, because communion will be part of this.

Find a quiet time and place, even a closet if you need to. Take your bread and juice with you. If you’re able, get on your knees and tell God that you release your spouse completely into His hands. That you want to trust Abba with your spouse’s future completely as well as your own, and if needed, ask Jesus for forgiveness if you sense you have made an idol of your spouse and/or his or her salvation. This is about you finding freedom and not about praying for your spouse’s salvation.

Try to visualize yourself literally placing your spouse on Abba’s altar and leave him or her there. Stay in this place as long as you need and end with taking an intimate communion with Jesus. As the Holy Spirit releases you, take note of the level of freedom you now sense in your heart. And peace.

Here’s the second part. Last week I found my trust in Abba waning a bit in one area, because my family and I walking through a very difficult time and even though I know this is more about my husband than me, I’m struggling at times. God sent me this verse last week:

But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, "You are my God!" ~ Psalm 31:14, NLT

I prayed that verse out loud and continued to pray it anytime I felt my joy slipping or worry and fear creeping in. That was it, and I am newly convinced again at the power of God’s Word when spoken out loud over ourselves. My trust grew again as did my joy.

So pray this verse over yourself anytime you feel your focus slipping away from Abba and onto whatever conflict you are facing. You will feel your trust grow and strengthen.

I am trusting You, Lord, because You are my God!

I want to encourage you to write down your impressions and experiences in your journal this week. I know you will want to go back and read them time and again.

My precious friends, I am standing in the gap this week praying for breakthroughs, encounters with Jesus and for the Holy Spirit to increase in us. Don't forget that tomorrow we are fasting from sunrise to sundown. I have a feeling you will hear God very specifically during this time, especially after this time of prayer and communion with Jesus. 

Love you like crazy, my sisters and brothers in Jesus!
Dineen

Image credit: jillbattaglia / 123RF Stock Photo