STOP Praying Powerless Prayers For Your Unsaved Spouse

Hi SUM Nation,

Equipped Chris BrooksLynn Donovan here. STOP praying powerless prayers for your unsaved spouse. Do you need encouragement. Practical help to THRIVE in your unequally yoked marriage? 

Listen in today, as I'm on the radio Broadcast, Equipped, with Chris Brooks. Dec 27th Noon to 1 PM CT. Here is the link: Equipped, with Chris Brooks, Guest: Lynn Donovan.

 


There Once Was A Man Who Didn't Believe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Author Unknown

 


A Date for your January Diary

Hi everyone, January

It's Ann here, and I just wanted to give you a heads up about the next thing coming up for us:

Our annual fast is happening from Monday 3 January to Friday 7 January -- And, even though fasting is challenging there's something very exciting about that week. So yes, put those dates in your diary and start to think about how you might take part.

For those new here, this fast is something we've done for a number of years and many of us find it a deeply impactful experience. One SUMite even said recently it's the spiritual highlight of her year. What we notice, I guess, is that it brings us closer to God, and we'll often have something novel happen during the fast to us personally, or to someone else in the comments. It's very much an 'in-it-together' thing. 

If you're new to fasting, a good way to start is to fast from food each day from sunrise to sunset, with a small meal each evening. But, if you've built up some fasting stamina over past years you might try a stretch further by going liquids-only for the whole week, Monday sunrise to Friday sunset. Eek, that is very challenging indeed!

However you challenge yourself, things do shift, change, and break open. Guess what happened the first time I took part in this community fast? At Friday sunset I walked into my bedroom to find Bryce lying on our bed reading a Christian book!! I couldn't believe my eyes; and yet I could because of the week I'd been through.

Jesus said to his disciples when they were trying to unsuccessfully cast out an unclean spirit, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting" (Mark 9:29). 

... And to that I say, "Right then, let's roll up our sleeves and take the plunge all over again this January, for we need this in our homes!"

After Christmas we'll write a little more about how we can prepare for the fast. But for now it'd be good to start asking God "How would you like me to fast this time?" and perhaps pray for the stamina and preparedness to do it, because it does take some thinking.

I'm really looking forward to doing this with you all again.

Much love,

Ann


A Personal Word for Next Year

Dear SUM family, Ann here. 31 Dec

We have certain routines in this community, and one of these routines is that around this time of year many of us will ask God for a word for the year. For ourselves, that is, as individuals.

Asking God questions about our own life is such a good way of drawing near to him. He so desires to be our friend and talk to us about our unique lives.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8

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

Whenever I’ve asked God for a word for the year I've actually never received it as a solitary word, though I know that some of you have. Instead, for me it’s been a concept, a phrase, or an analogy. We're all different.

One year, for example, I asked and then later received a phrase in the night: “Jesus Christ, first and foremost, all the way for me.” That year (2018) did end up being a year where I focused on Jesus and asked a lot of questions about the Gospel.

Another year I asked for a word and the next morning had a symbolic dream in the early hours. It was about moving in a boat, along with others in the SUM community, towards a new destination. That was for 2019, and a lot happened to us that year together: Most notably, Lynn's husband's baptism and a subsequent book, 'Marching Around Jericho', which was a huge shift in our ministry.

Then this past year, the word I sensed was “Crossing over.” Crossing over into what, I still do not fully know, but I know that I am crossing over into something and it certainly has been a year of personal transition. Most of my conversations with God this year have been about preparing for the 'more' of ministry in the future, and preparing for what God wants to do beyond this COVID shaking. Our world is being shaken but when the dust settles God has work for us to do. My head has been there, in the future, and it's certainly a ‘crossing over’.

So with all that said, how about we each go ahead and ask God for a word for the year? It might not be a single word that you hear back. It might be a dream, a picture/analogy that lands in your head, a concept, a phrase, or a scripture. Just ask, and see what happens.

He may give it to you immediately if you are on your knees and being quiet. Or, he might give it to you in the night hours later, even a day or week later. But ask and see if anything does come to mind straight away. Even if it feels like a fleeting whisper, I’ve often found ‘whispers’ turn out to be accurate. God's voice is usually not a dramatic thunderclap.

I do know that when we ask he delights to answer.

If you do have a word for the year, perhaps you can share in the comments? It'd be great to hear about it.

Lots of love to you all, and I hope your Christmassy count-down is going well.

Ann


The Puzzle of the Gospels

By Ann Hutchison Baby in manger

Jesus. There is so much swirling disagreement about him that my eyes sometimes widen at that. But this is all part of the package. Long ago, at Jesus's birth it was prophesied by a man called Simeon (Luke 2:34-35) that Jesus would be a "sign that would be spoken against."

And so he is. We roll with the punches.

For the first few years of my faith it seemed that I had an unusually intense group of people around me who disagreed with me about Jesus. Why did there seem to be so many?! It was pretty tough but I look back and think "Actually, those challenges to my faith were not a bad thing."

Not only did I have Bryce who was not on the same page as me but there were others in our family. Added to that, I had a friend of a different faith who expressed vehement views. And then there were two particularly interesting friends from a little social group I was part of  -- Two older men who had once been fervent Christians and had now developed a set of 'logical reasons' why they were not any more. What a crowd of influencers! 

With the two men who left their faith, I did genuinely want to hear their reasons. So I asked them. It's interesting to talk to someone about why they left their faith and it can lead to some good conversations. 

Now many of us here have spouses who also lost their faith, so perhaps you'll be familiar already with this key reason the two men gave: They said they felt the four Gospel accounts had inconsistencies. It was not clear to me how much they had asked God about this, but I decided to look carefully into it.

It's interesting, but instead of what those men saw in the Gospels, I saw something completely different. I saw nothing but a miracle when I looked at the Bible, and the Gospels in that context. It stood out to me that despite there being so many different authors, there was one thread that worked through it all: The salvation of Jesus Christ. The Gospels were, essentially, the 'big reveal' after centuries of writing. 

Could I tell these men that's how I saw it? Well we would probably agree to disagree there... And that's the way it often happens. 

With the Gospels themselves, those inconsistencies are not many but they are interesting. Instead of being flawed I saw the Gospels as being like puzzle pieces that slotted together. On their own they tell one slice of the story, but when you put four accounts together up comes a richer, more comprehensive story. For me, it wasn't necessarily inconsistent, instead a fuller story.

That 'puzzling' aspect of the Gospels has become what I most enjoy about reading them. I often slot the different accounts together when looking at a particular event (e.g. the nativity narrative) and turn the details this way and that, thinking: "What else can I see here?"

The 'inconsistencies' are discussed by apologetics experts and there are explanations. But at the end of the day, I suppose I landed on the fact I did find the Bible to be a miraculous piece of work and so I settled on following Jesus. Added to that, I had some compelling personal experiences that convinced me Jesus was real.

So, back to Simeon's prophecy:

“Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35, NKJV)

My friends, I'd love to chat in the comments, as always.

Ann

p.s. The photo in today's post is of my advent calendar, where one figurine comes out a day. Hence just Jesus!


When Jesus Enters Our Home ...

By Ann Hutchison  Lion of Judah

Recently one of our SUMites sent me a lovely word that I believe is relevant to all of us and I want to share it today. It's a great analogy of the work Jesus does in our homes.

Here's what she said:

"Ann, does Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia mean anything to you?

I got a lovely picture of how he walks through and all the snow melts and things come to life. That's what I saw for your household."

That was from Libby Finan from the UK, who many of us know as she has been with our community for several years. It's always a treat when she sends something like this. Yes it was a message to me, but as I sat with it yesterday I felt "It's for us all!" So, if she's reading today, thank you Libby. And, I'm guessing most of us know the story of Aslan the lion from C S Lewis's book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardobe? If not, it's a great read.

As for the picture of Aslan that she shared above, isn't that a beautiful analogy of how Jesus works in our families?  We welcome him in, he enters our families, and things do start to change. Often the wait is far longer than we are comfortable with, but we start to see glimmers ... sparkles. It might be seen in the fact your marriage gets that little bit more harmonious. Or that your spouse begins to verbalize acceptance of your faith instead of the opposite. Lynn lion

Jesus is indeed to us like a strong, majestic lion, and He has the power over anything the enemy can throw at our families. Because of that, the following verse is such an important one for us:

And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:2o, NKJV)

Indeed shortly, shortly God crushes the enemy and he turns winter into springtime for us. But 'shortly' for God can take a while. And the work of Jesus might take the form of a gentle thawing, like the dew of Heaven lightly settling onto different areas of our lives. It's a blossoming here, a blossoming there. 

Last month one of those little glimmers happened in my own household. It might seem small but it felt big to me:

It was my birthday and I'd asked God for something nice. Why not huh (I'm smiling).. And yes, something special did happen that day. That evening our son Miles decided he'd like to go to a church social event, and Bryce offered to drive him. It was a 10-minute drive. The next thing I know I get a text from the pastor's wife: "I've just met your husband."

It turns out that when they'd arrived no one was there except the pastor and his wife and so Bryce had got out of the car to meet them. They had a lovely chat and he enjoyed it. They sound to have covered a lot of ground, including his own church background and their own sense of calling, and they chatted a while.

The sweet pastor's wife (her name is Olivia, and she is 28, so young and non-threatening) then said ever so nicely, "You'd be so welcome to come to church if you like," At which point Bryce threw his head back and laughed, "Well ...."

It was all good natured and low key, but it was the first time Bryce had actually gone near a church event and got out of the car. Further, the friendliness and ease of it all felt to me like a new blossoming. That day Bryce met 'my church' and liked them. It prompted a quiet hooray in my heart, and a thawing. Just like the Aslan picture above.

Yes, when Jesus is welcomed by us into our household, things do change. Have you found that in any area yourself, I wonder? Let's chat in the comments.

Ann

p.s. The lion painting above was done by Lynn. I thought it was a good fit!


Be Present - some thoughts on Advent

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Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve always loved December. Living in Australia, it’s summer, the end of the school year so we always had our long summer break over December/January. It’s also my birthday month and … it’s Christmas.

I still recall those days approaching Christmas when the presents used to begin to pile up under the tree. Most of them were for dad, he’s a doctor and all his patients bought him presents. Every year. But my sister and two brothers were more excited by what Santa would put in the pillow slips that sat at the end of our beds.

We’d struggle to sleep we were that excited. But mom always warned us that Santa wouldn’t arrive until we were fast asleep.

And then when we woke, far too early for mom and dad, we’d have to wait until they arose before we could open all the goodies in those magical pillowslips.

We had to wait.

The anticipation. The excitement … was electric.

Advent

The season of Advent has commenced. Advent simply means: “coming” or “arrival” – of Jesus.

But as most of us know Jesus took a long time to arrive. Four hundred years in fact. That’s how long the Israelites had to wait.

The four-week season of Advent reflects a time of waiting. We don’t like to wait, do we? Especially if it’s for something important or critical, a test result, an answer to prayer, our pre-believing spouse to meet Jesus, and so on.

“While God rarely comes at our appointed time, he comes at the right time.” (Louis Giglio)

A Different Kind of Waiting

Many of you know how I’ve spent a lot of this year caring for Mum and Dad. Dad moved into palliative care two Thursdays ago. He made that decision which was a great relief for us. At the time of writing, Dad is still with us. Over the past two weeks I’ve learnt a lot about waiting and the dying process.

Immediately after the Doctor advised me that Dad had expressed his wish to move into palliative care, I sat with Dad. I took his hand as I do each day, and he told me how he’d had a premonition a few days ago about dying. Interestingly, I said to him that a few days ago the Lord had given me this wonderful picture of many witnesses taking a hold of Dad’s frail body and carrying him to the finish line. Standing before the finish line was Jesus, ready to receive Dad and take him onto the next adventure. You see Dad isn’t really a man of faith, he has a notion of God but not Jesus.

During these ten days or so of Dad’s body gradually slowing down and he increasingly unable to communicate, the Lord has shown me this beautiful picture of how much He loves Dad. It’s glorious and simply irresistible. Every time I look at Dad I weep because of how beautiful he is. It's like God has let me see Dad through His eyes. His love for each one of His children is breathtaking and incredibly reassuring for those of us who wait for our loved one to pass.

Before Dad stopped communicating, we chatted about him seeing his Mum and Dad again, feasting on the best meal he’s ever eaten. And he smiled so contentedly. I believe I’ll see Dad again one day.

How do we Wait?

December is often a frantic month. Besides finishing end of year projects there is the added weight of present buying, parties to attend, gatherings with family and friends. All around us there are reminders of what is coming: the lights, the decorations, the music, the extra crowded malls and our own stress levels.

For many, December is a month full of sadness for a variety of reasons and simply getting any time to reflect only brings back sad or negative memories. And so we enjoy the busy because it keeps us from reflecting on those memories.

But what is the gift we are expecting? Or more precisely, who is the gift? Who is arriving?

Jesus.

A little challenge

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

In amongst the busyness of December may I encourage us all to find some time to sit in the Lord’s presence. And be still. Shut the door both physically but also to your inner sanctuary. “The voice of God is very gentle; we can’t hear it if we let other voices compete.” (Robyn Wrigley-Carr)

It's just you and God. Picture God, the lover of your soul, gazing at you with immense love, such love that only He can give.

And breathe it in. You don’t need to talk, say anything, perhaps invite Jesus in by whispering His name or anything else that takes your fancy. And if you start thinking about all the things you should be doing, just say ‘Jesus’ again to go back to Him and His love.

It might last two minutes, maybe five or ten. You might experience nothing. May I encourage you to do it again a few times and before long you’ll be longing to get away and sit with Jesus regularly.

We wait actively. By being present in the moment. Sitting with Jesus helps us to discover both more of Him but how to be present.

Wishing all of my SUMite friends a joyful Advent season full of Jesus wonder and anticipation of His constant presence in our lives.

PS. My family (especially Mum) are all doing okay about Dad. We’re sad but we’ve been preparing for this season for a while now. And thank you for the love (and prayers) you’ve shown me over the past year. It’s been a such blessing for me. And I've felt everyone of those prayers.


December Rhythms and Routines

Hi my dear friends, it's Ann here. Writing

Well, it's December (hooray!) and today I wanted to chat about personal rhythms and routines over Advent.

With the cosiness of Christmas in the air, I just love December. And one of the reasons for that is I have a few little special things I do to connect with God. These things are special enough to me that I start to look forward to them in November!

Centuries ago, the Western church developed a liturgy to help their congregations connect through the year with the Gospel. Specific scriptures were read on certain dates, and specific stories from scripture were celebrated. I imagine that was a very helpful thing for those who loved God but couldn't necessarily read his word. Well, these days I think we can do the same in our personal lives: We can find some special personal routines throughout our year that help us remember and connect with aspects of God.

When it comes to Advent and December, I thought I might share with you my three special practices, and I'd love to hear from you in turn if you have any special Christmas faith routines. I'm sure I'll adopt more routines as the years pass, but for now here are my three:

First of all, on 1 December I pick up my heavy leather Bible, open up its beautiful pages to the nativity sections in Matthew and Luke and start to read. I say Matthew and Luke because they're the only two out of the four Gospels that cover Jesus's birth. I take my time over them, marinating in them, piecing them together like a jigsaw puzzle, and reading one section a day. 

They are fascinating narratives; they never get old. I find I look back sometimes on the Old Testament prophecies that go with certain parts. I shake my head in wonder at the Bible and this part of it -- The nativity story. It is truly a mind-blowing thing, and also a very surprising thing that God did here: A baby in a manger. A messiah born to an 'unmarried' woman? Bemusing. Mesmerizing. Full of symbolism. 

The second thing I do is crack open my own journals for the whole past year and start to re-read them over the month of December. Now this one involves a lot of sitting around with a whole lot of coffee; which, to Bryce, does look a little lazy. But it's amazing to look back on what God has done. I find I've asked God a lot of questions and have written down everything I've prayed for, so sometimes I find myself startled to see within the pages of those journals that "Wow, Lord, you really did answer that."

And finally, as Christmas approaches I book myself a hotel room for the night and take 24 hours away with God. It's indulgent, I know, but sometimes a mother's got to do what a mother's got to do. I tell my family it's 'Mum's strategic planning day', at which they burst into laughter. But truly it's to talk to God about the coming year. 

I guess I'm writing this because the success of our walk as SUMites is so heavily driven by how deep our intimacy with God is. And now, our ability to cope with this pandemic is also going to be impacted by the same. Yes, we have at least two tough things we are enduring (the SUM, the pandemic) .. And if we have tough stuff in our lives, oh how we need Jesus like we need air!

How about you? I'd love to hear of any routines you have at Christmas time. Yours might look completely different to mine but hey, variety is just great, and so I'm looking forward to chatting about this one.

Ann


I Need A Prayer

Post A PrayerHi Friends, Lynn Donovan here:

I'm coming to you today in the midst of a very busy season and yet hopeful you will take five minutes to step along side of me and especially my husband, Mike. 

I would love to receive a short, one-to-two paragraph prayer, for healing. I want to pass these short prayers to Mike, one a day, throughout his treatment with begins December 13. Read About it here.

Please take a minute to login here and post in the comments, a SHORT prayer, from your heart, that Mike could pray to build his faith for healing. 

I am absolutely leaning on you and your love during this season. 

I love you. I feel surrounded by your goodness, your love and your faith. Hugging you with a full heart today, Love, Lynn


A GIANT THANKYOU!

GT 2021 Thank youLynn here:

I'm overwhelmed by your generosity. Your gifts and your words of encouragement are a balm to my heart this season.

I can't wait to see all of you in the seminars about the End-time church and also the Journey around Jericho.

Watch for your email regarding the seminars. It's not too late to participate in either or both. Donate today. 

DONATE NOW <------

Read about the content here: Give AND Receive


Give AND RECEIVE!

Giving TuesdayMy friends, Lynn Donovan here.

I pray you found kindness here. I continue to pray that you discover more about our Father and his love for family and marriage in this church without walls on the web. 

On Giving Tuesday take a minute and ask the Lord, what should I give to help this ministry stay on the web another year?

It takes about $6K to keep all the parts moving in our ministry annually. Ann and I can't fund this alone. But we can provide value to your giving.

So, I'm offering a couple of things. Mentioned yesterday:

Offer Number One: For any donation over US$35 or any recurring donation of $5 or more, we'll give you free admission to six classes that I will be teaching in January via Zoom.

We'll advertise more about these six classes soon, but we're excited about them as they'll be a great opportunity for us to come together online a little more in person. The classes themselves will be a weekly live teaching on Zoom on a variety of topics including spiritual gifts, intimacy with God, understanding the occult, walking in your authority in Christ, and more. We'll be building on the concepts in the book Marching Around Jericho, and delving a little deeper into some of those things. It should be good.

Offer Number Two: I will teach a 2 1/2 seminar on the End-Times Church. This will be on January 20, 2022 at 11 am Pacific. Via Zoom. This seminar will:

  • Lay out the many scriptures describing the End-Times Church
  • Discuss the Philadelphia Company
  • Where we are in prophecy today
  • Is the Jab the Mark of the Beast
  • Where is the Bride
  • Where are the Jews
  • Rapture
  • The Terrible Day of the Lord
  • Live Q&A. Ask me anything!

Expect scripture-upon-scripture and to be GREATLY encouraged by truth that you can stand upon and take hope.

Any recurring donation of any amount and you are included in this teaching. Recurring donations make up the bulk of our giving. And to our current recurring givers, please think about increasing your giving and you are included in this teaching.

One-time gifts of $60 or more.  Donate $100 or more and receive both seminars.

If you are unable to attend, you will receive a link to the teaching to watch later.

Make your donation by clicking below. Make your selection on the Donation page with the link below.

Mostly please give cheerfully and because you find the love of Jesus in this house. I love you and I continue to urge you forward in faith. Love and hugs, Lynn Donovan, Founder

Donations go to Lynn Donovan/Three Keys Ministries 501(c) 3. You will receive a tax document in January, 2022.

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Giving Tuesday and a Giveaway

Hi SUM family Giving Tuesday

I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving!

If you've followed our blog for a while you'll know that on Giving Tuesday, which rolls around once a year, we take the opportunity to do a little fundraising to help cover the costs of our ministry. Giving Tuesday is tomorrow -- Tuesday 30 November 2021.

We're super grateful for all your support to date - Thank you! The ministry does cost a certain amount to run given the various technological parts involved. And then we also donate and mail out some of our books to worthy causes. So anything you give will enable us to keep at it and will be a great help.

Now from us to you: For any donation over US$35 or any recurring donation of five or more, we'll give you free admission to six classes that Lynn will be teaching in January via Zoom.

We'll advertise more about these six classes soon, but we're excited about them as they'll be a great opportunity for us to come together online a little more in person. The classes themselves will be a weekly live teaching on Zoom on a variety of topics including spiritual gifts, intimacy with God, understanding the occult, walking in your authority in Christ, and more. We'll be building on the concepts in the book Marching Around Jericho, and delving a little deeper into some of those things. It should be good.

So that's Giving Tuesday. Thank you again for your support, and we pray blessings to be poured out on you all.

Ann


The Shift Of This Generation Begins With Us. It's GO Time.

Hey SUM family, Tiffany here!

I just wanted to pop on quick and share a wonderful song with you all. In searching for the original, I found a cover by a group called the Creative Trio.

There is something prophetic about this group covering the song. I know a lot of us have young ones still at home. We pray and intercede and hope and dream for their future. I am reminded of Acts 2 - 

16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

I believe we are coming into a new era. Lynn has spoken about it before. We are no longer in the church era but in the Kingdom era. I believe that our children and their children and their children will be walking in signs, miracles and wonders.

Not only that, but I believe that OUR faith, OUR stance, OUR boldness, OUR hope, OUR prayers, OUR sacrifice, OUR worship, OUR giving, OUR tears, OUR commitment, OUR love is the catalyst for our families. WE are the generation to make the change in our family line. No matter how grown our children are, WE have the authority to turn things around.

Even though it may seem bleak...may our hope be in this. WE are equipping the next generation for an amazing move of God. The time is now. It begins with us.

We are miracles, living proof of God's glory. A type and shadow of the unconditional love that God has for His creation. The compassion, empathy, patience and mercy that Jesus has for people. We embody this as we walk in our spiritually unequal marriage. We have His heart. We are gifted with a unique perspective and strategy.

Be blessed as you listen. Dare to dream and allow Holy Spirit to show you how He will use your children for His purpose and plan.

Lastly, in the comments, let's name our children and be in prayer over them as a community. Where 2 or 3 are gathered together....


Happy Thanksgiving from Us to You

Hi SUM family, Happy thanksgiving 2

Well, it's that beautiful time of year again -- Thanksgiving time. Those in the USA are about to celebrate that, and we wish you fun and good memories.

Even though Thanksgiving is not the norm here in New Zealand, being amongst so many Americans here in this community has had an effect on me. Somewhere along the way I too took on the annual tradition of cooking up a delicious turkey with pumpkin pie over Thanksgiving weekend, and inviting some people over. So, that's what I'll be doing here too. I love it! It feels like a great excuse to be hospitable.

As for us here on the blog, we're going to take a few days off. One of the things we'll write about when we're back is Giving Tuesday, 1 December, an annual day where we raise a few funds for our ministry with some giveaways too. We're so grateful for your financial support and we'll write more about that on Monday.

Then, Advent season begins, and we'll be delving into some of those advent stories in the Gospels as we count down to celebrating the birth of Jesus.

So, that's all from us for a few days. Enjoy your food and family, our American friends. We love you loads, and we'll see you after Thanksgiving!

Ann, Lynn, Tiffany and Ian


A Carter Update And Prayer Request

Hey SUM family, Tiffany here!

This has been quite the transitional season for the Carter household. We have been living with my in-laws for 8-9 months now. As far as our current arrangement, time has flown by! As far as our new house being built and completed, it can't go by soon enough. I am so excited with anticipation at the new chapter ahead. I can hardly wait!

Below are a couple of my favorite photos of the house taken within the last couple of months. Please forgive the photos if they are not angled correctly...sometimes they go sideways on me. Click the pictures to see a larger view.

20210919_171036Much prayer and intercession has been sown into our beautiful house.

 

20210919_164719The bottom of the stairs leading to the basement. This is where the above inscription is hidden in plain sight.

 

20211006_074555This prayer is written on the framing of our house - overlooking the kitchen, dining room and living room. Thank you Dineen for your example! I have had this upon my heart since reading your blog post about anointing your home years ago.

 

20211006_074528 A close up...do these look familiar? I wrote a prayer over our homes not too long ago.

 

IMG_20211121_232200 Look at this beautiful surprise I found when anointing our home. This is one of the boards in between my bedroom and bathroom!

 

20211111_074525 Stone was recently put on the house. I screamed with glee when I drove up and saw this.

In the midst of covid, supply and worker shortage, and materials stuck on barges, our house is slowly coming along. When we signed papers back in January of this year, we were thinking we would be move-in ready by October. Delays in the beginning of the process has caused our projected date to be this coming February or March.

Family, please be praying with me that we do not encounter any more delays. God has called me to run for the school board. I believe the time is now. I have a deadline to meet to file to be on the ballot. I WILL run this year even if it means that I become a write-in candidate like last time. However, I know that being on the ballot will better hold me accountable to follow through - especially in the midst of adversity.

Pray that I continue to make connections with people. It is amazing the difference that one year can make. So many more people are awake to the evil agenda that is coming after our children. So many more people willing to stand and help support - even financially! I need ALL the help I can get!

Holy Spirit is chipping away layers and layers of things that are holding me back. Please also be praying with me that I keep pressing in and allowing Him to do what needs to be done. I will have no choice but to be in the limelight in this next season. Fear of man, insecurities, etc need to be burned off and the dross removed forever.

Lastly, pray that I continue to seek God and keep Him first. I know that like my house (what a great type and shadow of my life right now), if God's hand isn't in it, I am laboring in vain. I must never lose sight of the fact that He has called me. It is not of my own power, might or accord but by His Spirit. I need my Best Friend by my side.

I don't know what God has in store for me...but I know I cannot hide or run any longer. Great things are head. I can feel it.

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, - Acts 17:26

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? - Esther 4:14

And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord. - Luke 1:45

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. - 2 Corinthians 1:20

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. - Hebrews 13:20-21

And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. - Jeremiah 29:7

Thank you so much for all of your love and support. You and I both know that this SUM life can sometimes be lonely and we can often feel misunderstood. I can't express in words how much you make a difference to me. I truly love you all.

See you in the comments. Be blessed.

Tiffany


A Quick Hello on Our Day of Worship

Ann here! Libby worship art

As I write, it's late night here in New Zealand, and somewhere over the Pacific ocean, three from our community are kicking us off. What a lovely thought!

Now, don't worry if you didn't sign up -- Just jump in and worship any time during this day. You can look at the list below to see who else from our community is worshipping along with you and know that you are joined by at least one other. 

The picture accompanying this blog post was sent to me today by one of our UK SUMites, Libby Finan. She told me she had received this picture of worship from the Lord last year and had then drawn it. She had just remembered it while thinking about today. She said:

I saw how our worship ascends to heaven like rainbow colored vapors.

His word says that rivers of living water will flow from our inner being. I saw the light and heat of the Holy Spirit causing a reaction within us, and as we worship it evaporates and rises to heaven like vapors. It was as though our worship became visible to me as it is seen in the spiritual realm, and it was stunning! The worship was rainbow colored -- Each person brought a unique shade of color and they merged to form a beautiful rainbow symphony of worship to our King.

Then she gave this scripture, which perfectly captured what we're doing:

"Let my prayer be as the evening sacrifice that burns like fragrant incense, rising as my offering to you as I lift up my hands in surrendered worship!" Psalms 142:2 (TPT)

Dear friends, I hope that gives you encouragement as you worship. As Lynn said in her last post, hop into the comments and share anything from your worship. Photos, anything. And thank you, Libby, for this beautiful picture and words.

Happy worshipping!

Ann

Our worship day, Thursday 18 November, 1am Pacific to Friday 19 November, 1am Pacific.

1am Pacific (9am UK, 10pm New Zealand)  - Gladys, Robin, Teri

2am Pacific (10am UK, 11pm New Zealand) - Lucie

3am Pacific (11am UK, 12pm New Zealand) – Bonnie, Vicki

4am Pacific (12pm UK, 1am New Zealand just turned Friday) – Martha, Pam

5am Pacific (1pm UK, 2am New Zealand) -- Jeanne

6am Pacific (2pm UK, 3am New Zealand) – Libby, Gillian

7am Pacific (3pm UK, 4am New Zealand) – Angela, Christina

8am Pacific (4pm UK, 5am New Zealand) -- Mirta

9am Pacific (5pm UK, 6am New Zealand) -- Kim

10am Pacific (6pm UK, 7am New Zealand) – Jenny, Julianne

11am Pacific (7pm UK, 8am New Zealand) -- Maureen

12pm Pacific (8pm UK, 9am New Zealand) – LuAnn, Laura

1pm Pacific (9pm UK, 10am New Zealand) -- Joanne

2pm Pacific (10pm UK, 11am New Zealand) – Paula, Diana

3pm Pacific (11pm UK, 12pm New Zealand) - Shelley

4pm Pacific (12am UK, 1pm New Zealand) - Barb

5pm Pacific (1am UK, 2pm New Zealand, both now Friday) – Karen

6pm Pacific (2am UK, 3pm New Zealand) – Amanda, Karyn

7pm Pacific (3am UK, 4pm New Zealand) - Stefanie

8pm Pacific (4am UK, 5pm New Zealand) - Chrissy

9pm Pacific (5am UK, 6pm New Zealand) -- Ian

10pm Pacific (6am UK, 7pm New Zealand) -- Ann

11pm Pacific (7am UK, 8pm New Zealand) - Tiffany

12am Pacific, just turned Friday (8am UK, 9pm New Zealand) – LuAnn, Gillian

 


Do you know what happens in the Spiritual realm when we worship?

Lion Dress ITomorrow is our “Church-without-Walls” community worship event. My friends, determining to worship together brings the Kingdom of God near.

1am Pacific, Thursday 18 November to 1am Pacific, Friday 19th

I’m convinced that worship thins the veil. Worship is an invitation into encounter, an encounter with love. An encounter with our Savior who affirms; we are worthy, we are more than enough, we are accepted…..

WE BELONG!

You BELONG HERE.

As we worship over a 24 hour period, pray, sing, dance, paint, create……. let's Love.

Consider this: Someone in New Zealand worships the King. Then they pass the baton to me, who currently lives in California. My worship builds upon the last hour. I pass the baton to New York. The next to England, then back to Florida, then to Canada, back to Washington. Imagine in your mind this beautiful weaving of his love, covering the globe.

We belong to this amazing mismatched family. We understand standing in faith. Because we do it…. every…. single…. day.

We don’t have to merely fit in. We belong. We belong to Christ. We belong to our Father. We belong to one another. It is a love, born of acceptance, that truly is eternal.

So worship this next 24 hours whether you signed up for a time or not. Join your heart to our community. Because as we worship, the heavens open. The veil thins and we will have an encounter with the Lord of the Universe.

And Worship is so beautiful. I plan to worship with praise music blaring as I paint. I’m going to paint an eagle on a black canvas. I can’t wait. (One of the four faces of God).

I feel so very loved and close to the King when I worship in the middle of creativity. Ask the Lord today, “How do you want me to worship you tomorrow? I wouldn’t be surprised if you put on the worship music blaring and you create some tasty dish in your kitchen. Or perhaps knit a beanie for someone at church or a grandchild. Blessing each stitch with love and a desire for that child to know Jesus.

Please pop in tomorrow and share pictures of your worship. Share what music you are listening to. Mostly share how your worship thinned the veil and you encountered Jesus.

Below is a link to the album I’ll be listening to… (But I may also listen to Christmas music. I just can’t help myself 😊)

I love you deeply. I'm praying you encounter the King as you thin the veil over your head.

For those following my moving adventures, I’ll post an update this Friday at lynndonovan.com/blog.

"and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." Acts 7:56

 


Announcing Our 24-Hr Worship Event

Hello everyone, Ann here. Worship pic

I'm excited to announce that next week, Thursday 18 November, we are going to worship together!

Indeed! Even though we are an online community scattered far and wide, in spirit we are truly a church and I often think of us as an army too.

One of the things God's army does is worship together. That part is seen in many places throughout scripture. And so that's what we're going to do: For 24 hours we are going to worship -- As a church, as a bunch of friends, as an army. 

How it will work is this:

We'll each choose a one-hour slot from the list of times below, and then we'll spend that one hour in our homes worshipping. Hopefully we'll get all the slots filled and our desire is that Heaven will hear us worshipping across the globe for that constant period, one by one, home by home. Beautiful!

The hour slots are listed below. It'd be helpful if you could post in the comments what slot you will take so that we can get all 24 hours covered.

I'd like to thank SUMite Gladys Rosario Arias (from Florida) for the inspiration for this event. It's something she was given by the Holy Spirit two years ago, and many of you will remember we held the first of these worship events then. It was a great success and we loved it, so we thank you, Gladys.

Finally, here are those slots and all the best signing up! I've included a few time zones to help you calculate the 'when'. Those of us in New Zealand and Australia are almost 24 hours ahead of those in California, and those in Europe are somewhere in between. Phew, it can get a little mind-bending .. So I hope it's clear below.

Ann

Thursday 18 November -- Slots for Worship

1am Pacific (9am UK, 10pm New Zealand)  Globe

2am Pacific (10am UK, 11pm New Zealand)

3am Pacific (11am UK, 12pm New Zealand)

4am Pacific (12pm UK, 1am New Zealand just turned Friday)

5am Pacific (1pm UK, 2am New Zealand)

6am Pacific (2pm UK, 3am New Zealand)

7am Pacific (3pm UK, 4am New Zealand)

8am Pacific (4pm UK, 5am New Zealand)

9am Pacific (5pm UK, 6am New Zealand)

10am Pacific (6pm UK, 7am New Zealand) Worship event

11am Pacific (7pm UK, 8am New Zealand)

12pm Pacific (8pm UK, 9am New Zealand)

1pm Pacific (9pm UK, 10am New Zealand)

2pm Pacific (10pm UK, 11am New Zealand)

3pm Pacific (11pm UK, 12pm New Zealand)

4pm Pacific (12am UK, 1pm New Zealand)

5pm Pacific (1am UK, 2pm New Zealand, both now Friday)

6pm Pacific (2am UK, 3pm New Zealand)

7pm Pacific (3am UK, 4pm New Zealand) Time zone

8pm Pacific (4am UK, 5pm New Zealand)

9pm Pacific (5am UK, 6pm New Zealand)

10pm Pacific (6am UK, 7pm New Zealand)

11pm Pacific (7am UK, 8pm New Zealand)

12am Pacific, just turned Saturday (8am UK, 9pm New Zealand)

 

 


The 'Unequally Yoked' Are Dancers!

By Ann Hutchison Dance

Hi SUM family!

I said that today I would share another word from the Lord about how he sees our carrying of the Gospel in our homes. Well, I have to say what I'm going to share next has warmed my heart over the last few days. 

The word that follows was given to me a few years ago by the Holy Spirit, but I never understood it at the time. That's because it was for today, not then. It came to me as a phrase that landed in my head, I wrote it down straight away and pondered it, but then forgot all about it. Forgot, that was, until I started writing this series on the Gospel.

The phrase was this:

The unequally yoked can dance the true Gospel.

And yes, what a cryptic word indeed! But as I've sat with it this past week, here's what I've come to understand:

In this series we've discussed whether we use words to preach the Gospel in our homes. We agreed that mostly we live it out quietly in front of our spouse. Mostly the Gospel message is 'preached' quietly. And, it's the choices we make that will get our spouse thinking.

Over the last couple of weeks I've been asking myself this: "What has Bryce seen in my choices that tell him about the Gospel over the last few years?"

The answer to that would be "quite a lot"!

And you too, I know. Even if you think you're not being effective enough. It might even be a fun exercise to take a piece of paper and jot down all the things your spouse has seen in you that tells them something about the Gospel, and, importantly, challenges them as to its truth.

In this way, the Gospel is something we dance. We make daily movements in tandem with Jesus to mime it all out. We don't stand up in front of a microphone and preach at our spouses. No, instead we dance it ... Day in, day out. 

Dance can tell a story.

Dance is mesmerizing.

Dance is visible rather than noisy.

Dance is beautiful.

And what's more, the Lord made it clear in the above word that it's not just the Gospel, it is truth. For, however much we are told by our spouse "It's not true," it is true. It is the truest thing in the world.

No one can take that truth away from us. And so, we dance. 

Now, I know nothing about dancing, but this week I spent some time on Youtube looking for examples of expressive dances that tell stories without using words (which is what dance does). I have no discernment as to what makes good dancing vs bad dancing, it is not my area, but spending time on Youtube just watching the beautiful art of dance I could appreciate a little of what it means to 'dance' the Gospel out in front of another person. 

You might like to do the same, look on Youtube at some dancing? Anyway, I say let's pick up our metaphorical dance shoes and keep on dancing that Gospel in our homes, with gusto, and in full view of our spouses!

My friends, this wraps up our time of looking at the Gospel. It's been lovely thinking about this together, and next week it's time for something new. See you on Monday!

Ann


Taking Refuge in God

ID-100609946
Image courtesy of Phil_Bird at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hi all, Ian from Sydney, Australia here once again. I’m coming off a hectic month of caring for my parents. Both have been in hospital and as lockdown restrictions eased, we’ve been able to have minimal visitation access which has been great so one or two of us can get to see them. This has also involved constant updates with doctors, social workers and keeping the rest of the family informed. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a season I treasure but it can be tiring work, simply because of its 24X7 nature. During this period, for example, I’ve received phone calls at 6am, 10.15pm and at Sunday lunch with friends.

In addition, we made the decision with Mom to move her into a nursing home, the same as Dad’s. We all agreed it’s just time. Even though Mom doesn’t want to relinquish her independence, she realised that life was getting too hard due to her frailty and chronic medical conditions. Mum will thrive in the nursing home simply because she won’t have to worry about the daily grinds of preparing meals, and other such activities plus she’ll get to be social with fellow residents which for mom will be especially delightful.

Refuge

It becomes exhausting work. Yesterday, I took mom from the hospital and checked her into the nursing home and set up her little room so she’d be comfortable for a few days while she reflects on what items she’d like from her unit as she transitions into this next season of life.

As I updated my siblings, I ended with a note that I was signing off for a few days to recharge and refuel. To bunker down, to take refuge.

I’ve been listening to the Psalms read by Dane Ortlund and the other day he read Psalm 31 which opens with David saying:

“In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame;
    deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
    come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
    a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
    for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
    for you are my refuge.
 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
    deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.” (Psalm 31: 1-5 NIV)

In these five verses alone, David mentions ‘refuge’ or ‘fortress’ four times. And how many other Psalms express similar statements. Psalms 46 and 91 are two other favourites of mine that use such terms. “God is indeed our refuge.”

What Does it Mean to take Refuge in God?

David was repeatedly surrounded, chased, harried by enemies who wanted him dead. But he kept seeking God for shelter, to be his refuge. As we know in those days, towns and cities were enclosed in walls to keep enemies out. In our modern world, such cities and towns are less common.

I found in my daily actions caring for my parents that I was often running on fumes. It was easy for me to go into ‘action’ mode, getting things done and organising everyone. And often by the end of a day I was fatigued and irritable. At the same time, we were renovating our kitchen which had its own stresses, adding to my deflated mood.

I realised I was being ‘attacked’ but NOT seeking refuge in God. I would crash in front of the TV, read a book, simply escape. But I was self-fuelling not God-fuelling. Yes, I was still drawing near to God but often in a far more rushed manner and wasn’t spending sufficient time simply waiting on Him.

Ortlund in his podcast on Psalm 31 shared a quote from Michael Jordan from his NBA Hall of Fame Induction speech, one of the greatest honours for a basketballer. It went something like this: “the game of basketball meant everything; it was my refuge when I needed comfort and peace …”

I realised I was trusting in my own strength to get me through each day and then seeking solace through pastimes like TV and books which are helpful and provide some relief until the next day when the cycle starts over again.

God is our Refuge

Look at David’s opening words from Psalm 31: “In you Lord, I have taken refuge …” His enemies didn’t suddenly disappear, they kept coming after him, but he was able to gain his strength and stability by leaning on God throughout. He stayed connected with God. We all know what happened when David chose to disconnect from God, things didn’t go well for him because he acted out of his own desires or strength rather than staying in his refuge with God.

Where do you seek refuge if not from God? Especially when you’re busy and life is hectic? Where do you get your strength and stability from? Be great if we could use the comments as a means of encouraging each other. One of the wonders of a community like this is it helps lift our gazes back to God. We all possess the divine glory of God inside but sometimes (well, often) it takes another person who loves Jesus to help activate it in our heart.

Go well, dear SUMite friends.


When Someone Seems Impenetrable to the Gospel

Hello friends, Ann here! Stubborn dog

After our recent series on the Gospel, this week I'd like to share two specific words that God gave me a while ago about our activity in carrying the Gospel.

I'll share one of these words today, the other on Friday, and I hope they help you along as they have done for me.

Today's word is about impenetrable people. I can imagine many of you now will be nodding and saying "Oh yes, I've got one of those!" Truly, some people are so impenetrable that there's not even a chance of conversation about the Gospel. Right?

In my life, one guy in particular stands out to me. He is someone Bryce and I have known socially for years and he openly dislikes Christians. Because of this, he is a 'very difficult person' in my life.  

I often pray, "Do you want me to stay in his life, Lord?!" Well, circumstances seem to keep me there.

What I do with this guy is stay quiet about the Gospel, but love him. And when I say 'love him', it's actions not feelings; because my feelings struggle. I don't talk to him much if we're both at a social event; but 'Love' is what I try to do: In how I speak about him, and in prayer. 

With these impenetrable ones, I've found Jesus's Parable of the Sower a great help for understanding what's happening:

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matthew 13:3-9, NIV)

Then, Jesus gives the interpretation:

“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (v. 18-23)

The bolded part above tells us that what's happening when someone seems 'impenetrable': The enemy snatches the Gospel away. That's sad. But, as Jesus says, it's part of the process. Bowl of seeds

An important lesson from this parable is that the attitude of an impenetrable person is not our fault. We can too easily beat ourselves up and think we're being ineffective (I do!) But, the truth is, the seed's gone out -- It's just been snatched.

Back to the guy above, I've had heartache there. But in June God gave me a word of perspective that helped me. He said this:

"Ann, messages about the Gospel have been left with him, but never opened."

And I believe the same can be said for many others in our lives. So, to me, this is a word for us all. 

Whether those Gospel 'messages' given to this guy were quietly from me, or whether they are messages he received elsewhere, I don't know. But the point is, the Gospel has been given to him and something's stopped him -- Until now.

I actually do believe that this guy will finally open the Gospel message and take a look; but if it's the enemy snatching the message away, then I have a job to do: Pray that the enemy stops snatching the Gospel from him. 

Amen to that -- And I'll keep going! How have you carried the Gospel with an impenetrable person? Let's chat in the comments.

Ann


When The Past Comes Back To Haunt You

Hey SUM family, Tiffany here!

Today I want to talk about guilt and shame.

My children are now 7 and 8. Man how the time flies! In their earlier years (sadly even in the womb) I had some serious anger issues. I did not know how to control my temper. In many ways I was verbally abusive to my husband and children. I wouldn't call them names or intentionally tear them down. However; my volume, tone, and body language was very aggressive. I remember one day when my son was maybe 3 or 4 I yelled so loudly for him to come to me. He didn't want to because he was afraid. I continued to yell for him to "get over here right now!" He finally began walking towards me but began to cry because he was so afraid. It is in that moment that I realized that I HAD to change. I sat there crying along with him as I lovingly embraced him. It was like a shock to my system. I couldn't keep terrorizing my family anymore!

Praise God I have come a long way since then. I have repented. I have grown. I have prayed healing and pled the blood of Jesus over my children. I made many steps toward healing and healthy habits.

However, there are times when my children have some behavioral issues that guilt and shame knock me over like a huge gust of wind.

If only I wouldn't have taught them at such an early age these unhealthy behaviors. If only I was a good example for them. I'm so sorry God that I screwed up so badly. I have damaged my kids. What if they still have such deep wounds that are causing all of this? What if they struggle into adulthood because of my bad choices? Have I cursed my children to suffer and carry around wounds for the rest of their lives? God don't let them suffer for my mistakes! I pray they have a close relationship with me! I don't want them to hate or despise me.

On and on and on....

If we let them, the whispering lies of guilt and shame will "eat us alive." Every thought - every word like a stab to our heart and mind.

Rremember that it isn't Jesus that comes to steal, kill and destroy. I explain it to my children like this:

It is very important to remember what God says. If the thoughts that you have in your mind or the things that you "hear" are not what God says about you - forget it. Let it go. They are lies. Anything that goes against what God says are not from Him but from the devil.

In my last post I referenced Romans 6:14 - :For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace." Let's take a look at the New Living Translation:

Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

Let's take it a little bit further:

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

When I asked forgiveness for my sin against my husband and children and repented, Jesus took that away from me. Those thoughts that come to cripple me with guilt and shame come from a very real place. These memories were once experiences. However; if I choose to buy into the guilt trip, blame game, or woe is me routine than I am discrediting the power of God. I am putting myself back into the bondage of guilt and shame. I am giving these evil spirits authority in my life.

It is probably true that my children have some deep wounds from the trauma I submitted them to as baby/toddler. But GOD. If He has healed and strengthen me, He can do it again for my children. If He can make me whole again after years of trauma, He can do it again for my children.

I am praying for expedited healing over my children. I am praying for breakthrough in their lives at a young age. I am praying that NOTHING hinder their destiny and calling. My kids have a leg up on me because of what I've learned about intercession and prayer. Heaven is on my side - on their side.

Maybe you have been carrying around guilt and shame. Maybe your kids are young and you are worried that you have cause irreversible damage. Maybe your kids are grown and you fear that they will not come back to the Lord because they blame you for issues they have had growing up. Maybe you just can't forgive yourself for things you have done in the past.

Let me tell you that there is grace for you. There is healing for you. There is forgiveness for you. There is destiny for you. There is hope for you. There is reconciliation for you. There is peace for you. There is confidence for you. There is joy for you.

We could spend a lifetime wallowing in the past. The more we do so, the more we miss out on the opportunity to keep moving forward.

I want to end with this song. My friends, if you learn anything may it be from this song - God is TOO GOOD TO NOT BELIEVE. Do not let anyone (especially yourself) discredit the power of God.

Prayer and blessing over you. See you in the comments.

Tiffany