349 posts categorized "Scripture"

The Power of Words

HeavenMy friends, on Monday we talked about our authority and place of power, that we have everything through Christ Jesus and nothing to lose because of His sacrifice for us, and that the enemy has nothing and everything to lose. That's because he's already lost.

With that I want to point to a truth that we sometimes forget to practice, because we do a fair bit of spiritual warfare in our mismatched marriages. Just after Jesus tells us about the authority He's given us, He points out where our focus and rejoicing should truly be focused.

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” — Luke 10:19-20

We are secure in Heaven! With Him! That's the promise that we have nothing to lose! And when we rest in and live from this place of security, guess what happens? The enemy loses influence, because we are filled with confident hope. That's the light that makes him flee before he can even get near us.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13 NLT

Now let's talk about the power of words. In Genesis, God spoke the world into existence with words. Much of the Old Testament where it reads God ‘said’ or ‘told,’ those words also mean to decree or to promise in the Hebrew translation. 

In Isaiah 6, Isaiah encounters the Lord and witnessed heaven in action as part of his commissioning as a prophet.

And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. — Isaiah 6:3-4

Did you catch that last line? The praises and worship of the seraphim literally shook the foundations of the thresholds (doorways) and smoke filled the house. I have to say there is something profound that occurs in worship when we sing the word ‘holy’ and the angels know it. That’s because we are declaring the presence and character of God.

Take a look at this passage from Isaiah 11 about the coming of the Messiah, Jesus:

But with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. — Isaiah 11:4-5

Let’s not forget that Jesus is described as the Word in John 1. The Word—logos—in Hebrew embodies not only the obvious meaning of words spoken, but encompasses decrees, prophecy, mandates, precepts, conception or ideas, and even even addresses the function of the mind in reasoning and our relationship to God. It is a power-packed “word.” 

And even as Jesus spoke healing over people, He spoke more to their hearts—to the person they were created to be (Ecc. 3:11)—than He spoke to the demons themselves. He would simply speak the truth and evil spirits fled—the rod of his mouth and the breath of his lips. Light always removes darkness completely. You turn on the light in a room and the darkness is gone completely. Not part way—all the way.

Truth is the light that makes the darkness flee. Thus why it is important to replace lies with the truth. Keep the room lit with the truth of God’s Word! That is the power of a transformed mind as well, my friends (Romans 12:2).

I have more to share with you about words and it has to do with a story we know well in the Bible. Since this post is long enough already and I want you to absorb what I’ve shared today, I will save that for next week. We have a clear model and example of how we are told to declare truth according to God’s Words and what that transaction does. I am looking forward to sharing that with you, my friends, and I will also share examples of how we can use this model to decree truths over our pre-believers, loved ones and ourselves.

Have an amazing weekend, SUMites. Stand in the truth that you are chosen and dearly loved by Your Papa God. And absolutely nothing can snatch you out of His Son Jesus’ hand (John 10:28).

Love you!
Dineen

 


Guest Post: The Mismatched Family by Dee Rusnak

Dear friends, I'm traveling this week and will be in Nashville for the ACFW conference. I'm thrilled to share this most encouraging post by SUMite, Dee Rusnak. How amazing to think our Lord and Savior Jesus understands our mismatched places because He lived it too. 

Thank you, Dee, for once again sharing your beautiful heart and encouraging words with us! Love you!
See you next week, SUMites!
Dineen

The Mismatched Family 
By Dee Rusnak

JesusTestedHow often have we learned that God is never in a hurry, or at least within our time frame? Or better, never in the way we expect? We read in Joshua how ripe Jericho was for the taking, but God said not so fast with the Israelites who were hungry to take the land. And, when they did, it was in such an unorthodox way (Joshua 6 - marching around the city). Why do we want to rush things and do it in our own way? For me it's so I can rest knowing my ducks are all in a row. If my entire family were saved, then peace would be upon me, or so I think. But God is drawing them in His time and according to His ways. I struggle with that.

In reading through God's Word we find that the family of Jesus didn't believe while He was among them, even to the point of sarcasm. "But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, Jesus' brothers said to Him, 'You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that Your disciples may see the miracles You do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since You are doing these things, show Yourself to the world' For even His own brothers did not believe in Him." (John 7:3-5)

Mark (3:21) recounts that His family thought "He is out of His mind!" How did Jesus handle the fact that His own family didn't believe? Matthew 13 lists them as James, Joseph, Simon and Jude, and some unnamed sisters. Jesus certainly had the power to change their hearts. After all, time was ticking and He wasn't going to be on earth much longer. Time to get Your ducks in a row here, Lord! Did Mary teach them and groom them as they were growing up, especially nearing adulthood, about their older brother as Savior? Did His true identity come as a total shock to His younger siblings? Where were they during His crucifixion? Didn't they love Him or try to defend Him? Interestingly, none of this is mentioned in God's Word.

However, we know that some were saved. In 1 Corinthians 15:5-7 Paul writes "He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of His followers at the same time...Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all He appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born." Mary and His brothers waited in the upper room for the Holy Spirit following His ascension, "They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers." (Acts 1:14) But, which brothers, if not all? Two brothers that we know of, James and Jude, were converted and wrote books in the New Testament. James later became a leader in the Jerusalem church. What about His sisters? Did He pray for His Father to draw them? Were there still family members who did not believe? Aunts? Uncles? Cousins?

If Jesus was tempted in every way just as we are, was He as concerned for the souls of His family, just as we are for those in our lives? "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:15) Jesus was quite familiar with God's ways and His timing. Never do we see Him fretting throughout His life. As Psalm 37 says "Do not fret - fretting only brings harm." Yet He entrusted God with all things, including Himself, and the salvation of His earthly family…and us!

Jesus prayed…

“I do not pray for these alone (disciples), but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (John 17:20-23)

SUMs, Jesus had a mismatched family! We are literally walking in His shoes (sandals)! When we read that He has experienced everything we go through, did you ever consider this situation? We’ve never been alone, SUMs, nor will we ever be! He’s been where we are! He gets it! In His great compassion and love for us, He has given us an example to follow of what we’re to do while we wait: Pray. Trust. Obey. Look what happened with James and Jude! Not only did they believe, but were used by God as Bible authors! Forget the ducks. Instead, together let’s listen intently to God’s very heartbeat: "who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4), and let us watch Him do what's impossible for us but is so very possible for Him!

Dee and JerryDee Rusnak and her husband of 44 years, Jerry, both retired, live in Westerville, Ohio. They have three grown sons and three adorable grandchildren, with one more on the way due Christmas Day!


Seeing the “Gold” in Our Spouse

NowenQuoteI went through my old files today and found a post I’d written about my husband’s positive qualities. The list made me think about a verse in Ecclesiastes that I absolutely love. Why? Because it’s a picture of God’s heart and how He sees us.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. — Ecc. 3:11

There are three little words in this verse—made, put and heart. But the Hebrew translation of these words holds a list of meanings that would fill a page. I’m just listing a few of them to give you a taste:

Made—to do or make in the broadest sense, become, bear, bestow, fashion

Put — give with greatest latitude, restore

Heart — feelings, will, even intellect, inner man, soul

And to think He did this with everything—everything—kind of blows my mind. He’s fashioned us with beauty and bestowed beauty upon us to grow in beauty as we resemble Jesus more and more. He’s given us eternity with the greatest latitude and restored us to Him, to His kingdom through Jesus. And He put all of this promise in our hearts, wills and souls—the very essence of who we are. 

Now take a look at this truth:

As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. — Romans 4:17

How amazing to think that the same way God called into being this “gold” He placed in us, He’d doing the very same thing with our spouses, our family members, our friends—every single person He places on our heart to pray for. In fact, that nudge should tell us He’s already in action and He’s asking us to partner with Him with our prayers.

So as we look at our spouses, think about the eternity that God has already placed into them. Ask God to show you what it looks like, to see your spouse through the eyes of God. 

Deep friendship is a calling forth of each other’s chosenness and a natural affirmation of being precious in God’s eyes. — Henri Nowen

Then as we see and treat them according to that chosenness (and pray), they begin to walk in that truth. I’m witnessing this right now with my husband.

That old post I found? Here’s part of what I wrote about him in 2007:

He’s the kindest, most loving man I have ever met. I’ve always felt cherished in our marriage. He’s a great dad, provider, and all around great guy. He’s affectionate, loves his girls to pieces, enjoys hanging out with his family, and actually saved a binky (a pacifier) from each of our girls as a memento.

He’s generous, quick to give of his resources, and wants only the best for not only us but for his extended family as well. Part of the reason I fell in love with this guy was because of his big and wonderful family. 

He’s patient, even-keeled, passionate about his interests, loves his work, and is constantly stretching his mind.

Shortly after I read this, he brought me a yellowed piece of paper with big child-like letters, written by our oldest daughter when she was about five years old. He’s still a big softy...and more. I love watching what God is doing all around my husband and how he responds without even realizing it. I see the calling on his life now and the love of God already flows through him in ways that surprise me.

My friends, I want to challenge you today to make a list about your spouse. Write down all the positive qualities you see in him or her. Then hold this before God and praise Him for creating your spouse to be that person. And ask God to show you more of what He’s placed in him or her to add to your list. Don’t be surprised if this becomes new inspiration in how to pray for him or her. 

And feel free to share in the comments. We can have a little “brag-fest” and inspire one another with our hopes and prayers for our loved ones.

SUMites, we hold great hope for ourselves in our growing intimacy with God. We can hold that same hope for our spouses as well and trust God to bring them into that hope of Jesus in His perfect timing.

Lord Jesus, thank You for creating us and holding us together with Your amazing and complete love. Thank You that You do this for our spouses too. I pray for fresh eyes for every SUMite to see his or her spouse through Your lens of love and grace. Reveal the “gold” you’ve placed in them so that we can be part of calling it forth. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Love you, my friends! My prayers are joining with yours.
Dineen

(P.S. I will be in Nashville next week for the annual American Christian Fiction Writes conference. Woohoo! I get to spend the week hanging out with fun people who have characters talking in their heads (just kidding...well mostly...). See you on the 30th!)


Lord of the Harvest

15753952_sHe said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

My friends, I don’t know if you remember me sharing in June of 2013 a dream God gave me, which I believe was a precursor to our salvation word this year and what’s to come. There are several pieces to this that the Holy Spirit is showing me, and I am excited to share with you. So let’s start with a refresher of that dream and then pray in this harvest!

May 2013 (date of dream)

I was half awake, half asleep, but the dream was very vivid. I stood before a tall cornfield—taller than me. Jesus stood next to me.

He gestured to the crop and said, "This is the Great Harvest.”

I said, "Lord, I can't see past this, can you show me more?”

Suddenly I was up higher and could see tall mountains in the far distance. The crop spanned all the way to the mountains!

At the time I found it very curious that I saw corn in this dream as opposed to wheat. With some investigation and research, I discovered that the Bible references to grain can mean either corn or wheat and are often connected with oil and wine.

“From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain and bountiful new wine. — Genesis 27:28

Isaac said to Esau, “I have made Jacob your master and have declared that all his brothers will be his servants. I have guaranteed him an abundance of grain and wine—what is left for me to give you, my son?” — Genesis 27:37

“If you carefully obey all the commands I am giving you today, and if you love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and soul, then he will send the rains in their proper seasons—the early and late rains—so you can bring in your harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil. He will give you lush pastureland for your livestock, and you yourselves will have all you want to eat. — Deut. 11:13-15

Look at this Scripture from Joel, which is part of God’s promise of restoration:

The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil. — Joel 2:24

Grain and wine were such integral parts of the Israelites lives and culture that it makes complete sense that Jesus would use bread and wine to bring such powerful symbolism, connection and power to what we practice today as communion.

And harvest time is always about prosperity, provisions and promise—of abundant life. The Old Testament displayed this in the physical sense first through manna and then provision from the promised land. Jesus took this provision of physical sustenance and connected it to our spiritual need as well. 

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. — John 6:35

Now recently several SUMites have shared stories of how their spouses have walked away from their faith either on this blog or on our 1Peter3Living Yahoo group. My friends, I can’t tell you how deeply this grieved me. These are the stories that break my heart and bring me to tears before God. 

And that is what I did one day last week. It made no sense to me in light of the promises God has been sharing with me—with all of us. I went to Him in tears and asked, “Lord, what is going on? You’ve promised us salvation and even shown me this is coming. Have I missed something, not prayed enough? Is the enemy winning this battle?”

I saw only two possibilities, but our God of the impossible replied with His, “I’m revealing the greater glory.”

Dear friends, my tears turned to laughter as the Holy Spirit whispered this to my heart, “The prodigals are being called back and the unbelievers are being drawn in.”

Our Papa God is so good! He’s bringing our loved ones to His Son just as Jesus said He would. 

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” — John 6:44

SUMites, I believe this with all my heart, soul, mind and spirit! Will you pray with me?

We praise You, Mighty Lord Jesus, for You are the bread and wine to our lives, our souls and our spirits. Thank You for giving this provision to our spouses too! Lord, send the workers needed for this Great Harvest. Send people into our midst to reveal Your presence and love to our pre-believers. Reveal and show that love to them through us, for we are Your workers too, Lord! 

Lord Jesus, there is Resurrection Life in all You do. We ask for this resurrection life to be released over our pre-believers, our lives, our marriages, our children and every place in our lives where dry bones need to be called back to life. Breathe Your breath of life over all of us. We call these dry places to life, in the Saving and Life-Resurrecting Name of Jesus. 

Lord Jesus, we ask for vengeance against the enemy and the demonic for all they have stolen from us, the SUMites, from our pre-believers, from our children and even from our ancestors. We ask for full recompense and restoration of what has been lost and stolen (Isa. 35).

Lord, call in the harvest of our pre-believers and prodigals. Bring them to You, Lord, every single one of them. Lord Jesus, when You walked this earth, every person who came to You was healed. We present our prodigals and pre-believers to You like the man lowered through the roof and ask that every single one be saved and healed. In the Mighty Name of Jesus, amen!

Love you, SUMites!
Dineen


You are Powerful!

James5-16My friends, today’s post came as a complete surprise to me. Interesting way to start, isn’t it? 

Well, the Holy Spirit seems to be doing things quite differently in me these days, so I’m doing my best to follow His lead and trust He has a something already in mind even when He waits to the last minute! For this planner girl who likes her ducks in a row, that’s a bit of a stretch, but I am more than willing to walk this adventure with Him. It’s full of surprises! 

So how did this unexpected post unfold? An email. I was answering a dears sister’s plea for help about praying for her family. As I wrote to her, the verse keeps speaking to my heart right now became a key element, which then led to another verse that I’ve held dear for a while. And then in the midst of it, the Holy Spirit led me to a third piece of Scripture that bridges the two. 

When God told me He’s building bridges and making connections, I didn’t expect this kind of connection too! God is a lot fun, my friends. I think He absolutely loves it when He surprises us with new revelations of His Word, which reveals more of Who He is. 

So, that first verse comes from Jeremiah, during a conversation, or rather a revelation from God, to help Jeremiah see his calling. God had chosen him to be a prophet to the nations and a mouthpiece for His plans and intentions toward His people. And after reassuring Jeremiah that He is (present tense) with Jeremiah all the way, God gives Jeremiah words. And not only that, He tells Jeremiah what He does with His words. 

Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.” — Jeremiah 1:12

Now think about this, SUMites. Just as God gave Jeremiah His words to speak, God has given us His Words as well.

 The entire Bible. 

And just as God gave Jeremiah authority as His prophet to speak God’s Words, we’ve been given that are authority too as God’s children through the blood of Christ.

And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. — Romans 5:9-11 (Read verses 1-8 and let the fullness of God’s love wash over you too.)

Now the last Scripture that you’ve probably heard me repeat rather frequently:

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. — James 5:16b

So what’s the full connection here? We are made righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, as righteous people our prayers are powerful, effective and produce wonderful results, because God watches over His Words to perform it. 

In other “words,” when we pray Scriptures out loud, we can expect our prayers to be effective because one, we are righteous people through Jesus, and two, God is watching over those Words to perform it. Why does He do this? Because His words are full of His heart and love, so when we pray it, we are praying in alignment with His heart, will and love for us and others. And because His Word says so! 

SUMites, I want you to really think about this. The revelation of this is mind blowing if you take it in and BELIEVE it. That’s the key ingredient in this scenario is to believe it. I don’t mean have faith or bigger faith. I mean, just believe it. Know it’s the truth. How else could it be?

This is not about us trying to control or manipulate God. We are simply praying His words back to Him and His Word says: 

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. — Isaiah 55:10-11

Okay, yet another connection! I love the connections in God’s Word, my friends. They are constant, continuous, multi-layered and fascinating! 

Now if you feel you need to understand more about praying Scripture out loud or creating prayers from Scripture, be sure to sign up for Lynn’s class, Praying the Word. You don’t want to miss it!

I love you, my friends. You are more powerful and effective in the lives of your loved ones than you realize. Walk in confidence with your God and His Word. You are righteous and powerful through the blood of Jesus and in the name of Jesus! Amen!


Friday Prayer: No More Striving!

Lord Jesus, I pray in Your powerful name that the spirit of striving would be broken off every one of us in this SUM family. We declare we are free of all striving, set free by the blood of Jesus, and made and kept free by the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Holy Spirit, we give You permission to overwhelm us with Your presence and remind us anytime we begin to strive that we have nothing to prove or gain as we already have everything in our identity and inheritance in Jesus Christ. Thank You, Abba Father, that we belong to You. That we are in Christ and He is in You. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Love you so much, SUMites! You're amazing!
Dineen


Foundations Series: INHERITANCE & IDENTITY, part 2

IdentityHello, SUMites! Yesterday my hubby and I walked through our house to see the changes in just the last week or so. The drywall is up and the rooms are more defined now. As we passed through an unfinished doorway, my husband pointed a written Scripture still exposed there. He asked me, “Is this one of yours?”

I answered, “Yep.” And I laughed with delight inside, my friends. This was a victory for me, as I felt no concern about his reaction. I simply rejoiced in knowing what’s coming and seeing the evidence of it all around him, even though he isn’t seeing it…yet. Just like this house, seeing only the present stage, yet knowing so much more is coming and yet to be seen. The floor tiles, the walls painted, cabinets, kitchen, etc. So much more is coming…salvation. My heart dances with expectation of the coming promises.

As I thought about our Scriptures being a part of the structure of the house now, the structure that holds up the roof and defines the parts of the house, I began to see how we are like this house. As we read and learn about God’s Word and truths, they become a part of us. They transform our minds and make us stronger in our foundation and our structure. And not only that, they define us and our many parts. Like the walls define the rooms, these truths define who we are in Christ, what our spiritual gifts and purposes are and how were are to live as believers.

This is our identity. Everything God created us to be with unlimited potential. And the only things that limit us are ourselves and the enemy if we let him. I find this happens when we aren’t walking in the truth of who we are, and thus why our continual intentionality to know God and grow in intimacy with Him are so important. As we spend time with God learning about Him we are in actuality learning who we are. 

My friends, as I sought God for greater understanding about inheritance and identity, the Holy Spirit helped me understand they are very deeply interconnected. If we look at inheritance in the New Testament, we see two parts.

  1. We are Christ’s inheritance, His holy people.
    I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. — Ephesians 1:18
  2. We have inheritance in Christ as co-heirs with Jesus. And this is where our identity sits and is defined.
    So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. — Romans 8:15-17

This piece of Scripture alone tells us:

  1. We are no longer slaves to fear and have received the Holy Spirit.
  2. We belong to God and are His children.
  3. We have a heavenly Father who not only saved us but connected us directly to His Spirit. This is what happens when we accept Jesus. Our spirit is called out from the “dead” (Eph 5:14) and is united with the Holy Spirit in us. Thus why He is in us and we are in Him.
  4. As His children, we are co-heirs with Christ (not after, but with) and as His heirs, we also receive God’s glory! However, as we are reassured of receiving God’s promises as His heirs, we must also accept that persecution is going to be part of this journey and is another sign that we are God’s children. SUMites, we already understand this, which makes us unique in our experiences. I firmly believe God uses this understanding to equip us with a compassion and a heart to reach the lost in this world. 

So, who are you in Christ Jesus? That’s an excellent question and one I highly encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit. And I’m beginning to see and experience that the Holy Spirit loves questions as much as prayers, because our questions are the start of the answer to the prayer. 

Ask questions like these:

  • Lord, who am I in You? Show me how you see me so I may walk in peace and clarity of these truths.
  • What have You designed me to be and do? 
  • How have you gifted me uniquely to operate according to those truths?

My friends, identity is something we choose to believe and live as truth. Our culture has so imbedded a striving mentality in everything we do that we even apply this to our faith. As I shared in my video last week and my post on Tuesday, we can stop striving to be Christians and simply live in the truth of who we are—God’s kids!

I think we could spend weeks, even months on this topic, and that’s because it is so relevant and important that we stay aware of how we are operating in our lives. Are we operating out of a place to prove who we are, or are we living in the truth of who we already are according to Jesus? 

The amazing thing is, when we live from that place of truth, people are drawn to us, SUMites. It’s attractive, because we live in a peace and freedom the world is desperate for. So, as you live in and out of the truth of who are you are, you’r letting your light shine brightest! 

Isn’t that amazing? That’s freedom, my friends, and peaceful living. It’s so simple it’s almost ridiculous. But notice I didn’t say easy. Just ask God who you are and then live it out everyday as best you can. And when you don’t, God’s right there to help you get back into the center of that truth—Him. 

I will see you tomorrow (or rather you’ll see me—ha ha!) in my last prayer video for July. 

Love you dearly, SUMites!
Dineen


Foundations Series: INHERITANCE & IDENTITY

HeartDear friends, in this foundations series we’ve talked about the foundational truths of salvation, love, hope, faith and specifically God’s love. That one seems to be the one I keep coming face to face with. I’ve grappled with the full truth of God’s complete love for us and now God is connecting me to others that need the same truth. As desperate as I was for this truth to come to full bloom in my heart, spirit, soul and mind (something that is still happening even now), I am even more desperate for others to know it and find myself hating the enemy for stealing this truth from us. And I am not one to use the word “hate” lightly. 

SUMites, I honestly didn’t plan to write more on this subject, but it is a very near and dear subject to my heart. Most likely because this was a huge struggle for me, one that nearly made me want to give up on trying to be a Christian. And that is exactly what I’ve had to do—let go of trying to be a Christian and simply live in the truth of who I am in Christ and the truth that God really and truly loves me. It’s a very freeing place to be!

God loves us because that is who He is and He chose us. And all that God has for us comes from His love for us, including Jesus. When we struggle in that truth and continue to believe the lies the enemy throws at us that say, “God is angry with me, I can’t please God no matter what I do, or there is no way God can work through me,” we aren’t living in the truth of God’s love for us. And His love is a foundational truth of our inheritance and our identity, which are intertwined and inseparable—another mystery of God.

So, let’s talk about what these words mean, because I know my journey to understanding required a choice and a question.

  1. I chose to believe the truth of God’s Word that told me He loves me and that nothing can separate His love from me (Romans 8) and to go after the lies and the feelings that told me otherwise. As I did this, intentionally capturing every thought and bringing it before Jesus (2 Cor. 10:5), my thinking changed and the truth that was in my heart finally came to sit on the throne of my intellect. Along with Jesus!
  2. I asked what did this mean for me in terms of identity and inheritance. These are words we see used a lot, but I’m not sure we fully understand their meanings. So that is where I am now with the goal to bring deeper understanding and wisdom of what this truly means for us.

In the Old Testament, the Lord called Israel His inheritance and in Ezekiel 44 God declares that He is the inheritance and possession of the Levitical priests.

whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.” — Isaiah 19:25 (ESV)

“This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance: and you shall give them no possession in Israel; I am their possession.” — Ezekiel 44:28 (ESV) 

When God spoke to Jeremiah of His plan to restore Israel, He said of their enemies that they “have filled My inheritance with their abominations.” 

Now this I find so fascinating—when we look at inheritance in the New Testament, we see that the saints (that’s us—all believers) are Jesus’ inheritance. The Israelites were symbolic of what was to come—the fulfillment of God’s plan for a people set apart and made holy through the final blood sacrifice of the Messiah, Jesus. And as the Levitical priests were set apart, so too are we set apart as the inheritance of Jesus through salvation.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. — 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. — Ephesians 1:18 (NLT)

Again, I’m fascinated with the symbolic and prophetic connections between the Old and New Testaments. God intended to build a strong example of legacy and inheritance, because what He had in store for us was the ultimate inheritance in Jesus—our identity as children of God. The Israelites learned about inheritance through the possession of the promised land. We learn about inheritance through our “possession" of the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God. Both are given as rights of ownership (co-heirs with Christ) through the love and bequeathal of God.

Okay, my friends, I will stop here for now and let you digest this a bit. On Thursday I will continue this search for understanding of inheritance and identity and how they are so very much inseparable. Until then, be sure to come back tomorrow for a beautiful guest post from a fellow SUMite. 

And please share your thoughts in the comments. What has Jesus shown you about His love and your inheritance and identity in Him? I can’t wait to read your comments. 

Love you!
Dineen


Foundations Series: GOD'S LOVE

God's love is complete. Jesus made sure of that at the cross. So if God did that in order to love us that way, why would He be angry with us or withhold His goodness from us? Something to think about. The truth always turns the lie upside down.
Love you, my friends!
Dineen


Foundations Series: FAITH, HOPE, LOVE

GodsLoveMy friends, how are you doing? There’s a lot going on in the world right now that is discouraging and heartbreaking. The more I watch how God is working in our community here; at the healing rooms as we pray Jesus’ truth into hearts, lives and bodies; through the connections and bridges I see Him building and creating between all of us—the more I understand His heart for us to know these foundational truths. Our foundations need to be firmly built in His truth.

And, SUMites, perhaps it sounds a bit trite and cliché because it’s been said so many times, but we are not of this world. We live in it, we have a mission and a purpose here, but God’s plans, purposes and HIS PROMISES go way beyond the now and span all of eternity. In other words, He’s got us covered. We can rest in the reassurances He’s given us and walk in the truth of Who He is and who we are in Him. That’s our identity—another part of this foundation series I sense is coming.

Today’s foundational truth is found in a verse we know well, and Paul is the scribe who wrote these words of God’s truth.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. — 1 Corinthians 13:13

As I sought Holy Spirit’s help to understand what He wants us all to understand about this truth is that these three are like the Trinity—Father, Son, Holy Spirit. They cannot stand alone as they are part of the whole. 

Love is, as Paul says, there greatest of these three and represents the God-head.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. — 1 John 4:8

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  — 1 John 4:16

Hope represents Jesus, who is the hope of the world. 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. — 1 Peter 1:3

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope, — 1 Timothy 1:1

When I did a search for the word “hope” throughout the Bible, Psalms had the most references, but can you guess which book came next? The book of Job. Did you know that in the Old Testament the words hope and wait are used interchangeable because the Hebrew word is the same? And in the New Testament the definitions for the various forms of the Greek word for “hope” used always included the definition “joyful and confident expectation”?

Which then sheds a whole new light on this verse:

…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross… — Hebrews 12:2

Faith is representative of the Holy Spirit, whose highest purpose is to teach us about Jesus and grow the seed of faith we are given when we received salvation. 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. — Ephesians 2:8-10

Like the three fold cord spoken of in Ecc 4:12, faith, hope and love are intertwined and purposed to function as a whole. The real clue, amazingly, came when I looked up that fascinating word, abide

menō — to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for), to wait for.

Without love, hope and faith lack the soil for their roots to grow deep and strong. Without hope, love wanes and faith dies. Without faith, love shrivels and hope fades. My friends, as a wordsmith of sorts I find it very difficult to fully explain this mystery for a mystery it truly is.

What I do know is that God’s love is the substance, the birthing place, of miracles. That hope is a divine expectation of God’s love to overcome and save. That faith holds love and hope in the birthing room of those miracles with great tenacity and perseverance. 

The entire Bible is about these three words, because the Bible is about God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. And these three words embody the heart of God.  

Perhaps the mystery isn’t so mysterious at all and is simply and ultimately a decision to believe the Truth (Jesus) and trust and look for God in every part of our lives. We are not meant to live our faith only during our quiet time with God and church attendance, but as part of every aspect of our lives. To do otherwise keeps God in a box and leaves us disappointed. But to live the abundant life, full of God’s love, hope and faith brings joy, peace and prosperity.

Faith, hope and love. Love is the greatest, the most powerful force on this earth. And all we have to do is ask for it, my friends. Ask God to overwhelm and flood us with His love so that it pours out all around us. Ask Him to love others through us. Ask Him to show us how He loves others and do likewise. There is no set formula, no pattern, no correct way to do this. Just simply follow His lead. He’s an expert!

I love you, SUMites, with the love of God, with the hope of Jesus and with the devotion of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord drench you with His amazing love and renew your spirit. In the name of Jesus, amen!
Dineen


God is Watching Over This House!

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My daughter Leslie is visiting and helped us write Scriptures!

Hello SUMites! Today I wanted to share with you how amazing it was Saturday to write those beautiful Scriptures on the beams, doorposts and stairs. There are now over 30 Scriptures written all over this home. As we wrote, we prayed, blessed the house and even prayed over the workers who will see them as the drywall goes up. My spirit jumps for joy just thinking about the possibilities of what can happen, because God is faithful and watches over His Word.

Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.” — Jeremiah 1:12

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BFF Heather came and helped too!

I think of all those beautiful promises from God's Word that you sent and see God watching over them to perform what He has said He will do. Oh, my friends, that reaches deep into my soul and spirit and sends such excitement through me. Such great hope and expectation! I pray this encourages you and fills you with great hope. God is watching over this house, and He is watching over this SUMite home right here, our "church without walls."

Thank you again for sharing your hearts and promises and allowing me to be a part of God's heart for you. I have these Scriptures compiled now in a list with yours and your hubby's names so I can pray them over you. I am praying over our entire community, for our loved ones and for you, SUMites, to be strengthened, renewed, restored and energized for whatever God is doing in and around you. That you would be filled with great hope, peace and reassurance as you rest in the truth that He is faithful and so very good. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Love you!
Dineen

 


Foundations Series: SALVATION

SalvationHello my dear friends. I just love the Scriptures you’re sending in response to my post on Tuesday. Thank you for sharing your treasures with me. I’m so blown away by your stories of how God is moving! I will be writing these precious Scriptures on the beams of our house and holding them close in my heart and prayers as I stand with you. God is so good and so amazing! 

This next foundational truth—salvation—seems pretty obvious, my friends, but I feel like Abba wants us to understand there is more to it than what we think. So much more that we can comprehend actually. And it’s all about Him.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. — Isaiah 55:8-9

Yes, God’s thought are not ours. They are pure, perfect and all encompassing. All-encompassing—that right there blows me away when I contemplate (or attempt to) the depth of God’s heart and thoughts toward us, let alone His relentless and enduring love. How His plans are always for good and how He works things out for our good no matter how complicated they are or how many people are involved. He’s magnificent!

So, here’s what has my heart burning about the foundational truth of salvation, SUMites. We know what this word has meant to our own lives and we hold it like a hidden treasure, pursued by our prayers for our loved ones to know its precious worth as well.

First let’s take a look at another Scriptural truth (I’m a big fan of 2 Peter 3:9) that addresses God’s desire that ALL people would be saved.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. — 1 Timothy 2:1-6

The word saved here in Greek is sōzō and means to save, i.e. deliver or protect (literally or figuratively): — heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole. 

1. to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction: A. one (from injury or peril) to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health. B. to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue to save in the technical biblical sense negatively to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment, to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of the Messianic deliverance.

That’s a lot of meaning. Normally I try to bring out just the key parts but this one is so full of meaning that I find to be “all-encompassing” so I’ve included the full definition according to Strong’s.

Now here is what I sensed Abba speaking to my spirit. We wait for the moment of salvation, we pray into it, anticipate it, and at times even despair of it ever happening. Yet God waits for the heart of the one He pursues and as He waits, He builds, prepares, woos, establishes, equips, prepares, celebrates and rejoices. We may not see Him, but that doesn't mean He's not there.

In other words, my friends, salvation is so much more than a moment. And its process begins long before we are ever aware of it. As Scriptures says, it is the Father who draws us to the Son (John 6:44 & 65). This is a mystery we don’t fully understand but know to be true. Abba Father sets into motion His great plan according to His wise timing.

And looking at the full meaning of sōzō, we see something that is much more than a moment. It’s about building. It’s about preparing the ground for the framework, laying down the rebar and materials to make the foundation solid and able to support the rest of the structure—all this before the concrete is even poured. 

Yes, my friends, in our time of waiting and praying, God is working to build the foundation so that when the rest of the structure is built, it will stand with integrity and truth. It’s a process that is done with such care and intentionality.

After the foundation of our house was completed, they discovered an error in the blueprints. If not corrected the foundation under the stairs would not be sound. The process was stalled for a time to figure out how best to correct the foundation to make it right. Two areas of the cement had to be cut out, reinforced and re-poured.

At times we feel this kind of delay in our loved one’s journey to salvation. We question what’s happened so far and doubt. Wonder if we misunderstood. But what if that’s simply a time that God is reinforcing the foundation so that the structure to come will stand strong? What if we shifted our prayers along those lines, asking Abba, “What needs to be covered with prayer as the process continues?” Or to simply ask Jesus, “What are you doing now? What can I be doing to partner with You?”

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. — Philippians 2:12-13

For even after the “moment” we come to the truth of Jesus, the process must continue so that we become more and more like Him. What joy is it to walk in salvation and not reflect the image of the Gift Bearer? What sense is there in the seed of the tree that remains a seed and never reaches its full potential to grow deep roots and tall branches to bring life and shade to the world it inhabits?

My dear friends, salvation is so much more than the solution to the question of heaven or hell. It is life, the very breath of God, intended to fill us, save us, heal us, restore us and love us beyond reason. It is all-encompassing for our every need that is designed to bring wholeness to our past, present and future.

I don’t confess to full comprehend the full ramification of the word “salvation” that is simply nine letters, yet encompasses the entire heart of our Creator. He doesn’t expect us to either, my friends. He simply asks us to believe. Trust. Love.

And this is where I will leave us today, my friends, with the prayer that the all-encompassing truth will firmly solidify in the foundation of our faith and the ones we are contending for. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen!

Don’t miss my prayer video tomorrow. Next week, more foundational truths and a reader question I know will speak to your heart for your marriage. 

Love you so very, very much, SUMites!
Dineen 


Foundations Series: A Monument for the SUMites

HouseHello SUM family! I hope your 4th of July celebration was full of fireworks, yummy food and family fun. My house was packed with close to thirty people (including my daughter Leslie who’s here for a visit!), which equated to me making a lot of hamburgers! The aroma of grilled burgers and hotdogs still lingers in the air here. How about you? 

Last week I laid the foundation (yes, pun intended) for this Foundations Series. And left you with a bit of a cliff hanger, didn’t I? Blame the fiction writer in me. It’s in my genes. Giggling just a bit here.

So, as I shared last week, my husband and I are building a house here. There is a God story behind this that is truly amazing and is part of this foundation theme. You see, roughly 26 years ago we moved away from Sarasota and family to find a better place for our growing family. At the early buddings of our careers, we couldn’t afford to buy a house. Though we loved being near our families, we didn’t see much of a future here. We moved away and lived in many places, including Switzerland for a short time.

Fast forward to the end of 2010. We (me, hubby and our girls) drove to Florida from California to spend Christmas with family. One day as I sat with my mother and my youngest daughter, we prayed a prayer that God answered so fast it made my head spin, yet would take four years to fully manifest.

I wanted to move back to Florida. My husband adamantly did not. Yet that day my mother, daughter and I prayed for God to soften my husband’s heart about moving back. Three days later hubby and I left the kids with the grandparents to run an errand and have a few minutes alone. Mike’s unusual silence told me something was on his mind. 

Suddenly he asked, “How would you feel about moving back to Florida?” 

I was so stunned I couldn’t speak a coherent word for about three minutes! Little did I know that the next four years would be filled with some tough times for us financially and would just about make me lose hope in that dream becoming a reality. Then everything “suddenly” fell into place.

So we’ve come full circle. From unable to buy a house here near our families to now building a home big enough to host family get togethers and holiday celebrations. This is part of my Jubilee year promise God gave me. (Lev 25:8-13)

In the Year of Jubilee each of you may return to the land that belonged to your ancestors. — Lev 25:13

And also why I wanted that picture of our feet on the foundation of our house. Kind of silly, kind of fun, yet packed with meaning in light of the 26 years it took to return “home.” And there is so much more coming, my friends.

As we started this house process, God was showing me eagles in the Bible. I was praying that verse in Psalm 103 about renewing our youth like the eagles. Best aging remedy I know! One day we drove to our future neighborhood to see our empty lot, and there in the middle stood a bald eagle. I kid you not. 

God spoke to my heart that day a sweet confirmation that this was from His hand, His blessing and that I was to delight in it. He is so very good. So very generous.

And we are blessed to bless others, right? That was my inspiration behind a decision to share His generosity with this beautiful SUM family. 

We’re talking about foundational truths right now and salvation is one of them. More coming on that one, as I shared. But I wanted to create a monument to this, my friends. To God’s goodness and His salvation promise to us.

I just read about Jacob and and his Uncle Laban. Their story culminates in Genesis 31 with a pile of stones called Galeed, which means “witness pile” in Hebrew. I love monuments like these in the Bible, because they mark a moment of significance. Which is what I wanted to do with our new home, this community and our SALVATION word this year.

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Millers, Donovans and ENTIRE SUM NATION!

 

I printed out a copy of our 2016 SUM Word (see the sidebar if you haven’t read it) and wrote Lynn’s and my names on it along with our hubbies names too. And I wrote “The entire SUM Nation” with it. Then I tucked this along with a glass “stone” with Romans 8:28 engraved on the surface into a baggy.

This prophetic package is now part of the foundation of our house—our home. It is right at the corner of the entry to the house. 

IMG_4823The "promise package" is now a permanent part of the foundation, right at the entry to the house, under a "cornerstone."

 

Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. — Ephesians 2:20

Wow! That’s giving me Holy Spirit chill bumps! And you know what’s even more amazing about this story? My husband is the one who put it into the foundation for me. Is God astonishing or what?

Now there is one more part of this story that’s incomplete. As I was praying and worshiping last night, God showed me He wants to fill the walls of this house with Scriptures. 

From you. 

Has God given you a Scripture and promise for your spouse? Email it to me so I can write them on the beams of this “monument” house built on the foundational promise of SALVATION God has given us, set in the corner to represent Jesus as the cornerstone. I’ve already enlisted a team to help me do this too!

In late August we are scheduled to close and move into our house. But even as the walls are going up and the rest of the house is being completed, I will be walking the rooms of this house, praying the prayers you have sent me for your spouse. I don’t fully understand the meaning behind all this, but I know He is bringing us together in a powerful way and has even shown me this in a dream. What God has planned for us is glorious, my friends! Together, we are His house!

Love you so much!
Dineen


Friday Prayer: The Armor of God

Hey there, SUMites! Here's one of those surprises! On Fridays I will post a prayer through the month of July. God's impressed upon me to share these prayers to help encourage and bless you. So here goes...are you ready? (Turn up your volume if needed. I forgot how allergy season here in Florida makes me lose my voice a bit.)

Praying on Your Armor

Lord, I am putting on the Armor of God. (Eph 6:10-17)

My belt of truth for Jesus is my way, my truth and my life. (John 14:16)

My breastplate of righteousness for I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. (2 Cor 5:21)

My shield of faith for the righteous shall live by faith. (Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11, Heb 10:38)

My sword of the Spirit—the very Word and promises of God which are my shield and protection. (Psalm 91:4)

My feet fitted in the Gospel of Peace for Jesus is my firm foundation. (Luke 6:48-49)

And my helmut of Salvation for I am covered and live in freedom under the sacrificial blood of Jesus. (Heb 10:19, Eph 1:7, Eph 2:13, Rev 1:5)

SUMites, share your favorite armor Scriptures in the comments. And pray this over your children too. Make it like a game and you will implant the truth of God's protection, their identity in Jesus, and truths about their inheritance too!
Love you! ~Dineen


Foundations Series: An Introduction

FeetSUMites, how is your summer going? Have you seen God moving and working around you? I call those shifts because sometimes I can feel them in my spirit, like something is shifting to a new level. 

And how about those upgrades? What has God revealed to you there? What promises have you discovered? I am so excited about what God is doing in my life and yours, my friends. I wish we could all sit down together and share these amazing stories. 

Oh wait! We’ll get to do that in heaven, won’t we? And I have a feeling we’ll be too excited to sit. LOL!

We’re going to do some exploring in the month of July about foundational truths. I also have some guest posts I’m excited to share with you, a reader question about intimacy that I will share my reply and some other surprises I’m still working on. Summer fun!

The Holy Spirit has me in “expectant learning” mode, which means He wants to teach and show me specific things. The first thing He said was, “Let’s talk about hope.” I said okay, let’s talk! I’m still waiting for Him to get started on that one.

Then in the last week or so, I’ve been hearing and seeing the word “foundations” in my spirit. Holy Spirit spoke to me about it in the middle of the night, helping me understand that Abba wants us to be firmly established (grounded) in some foundational truths—His words in answer to my request for better understanding. And then the next morning He confirmed this with one of the first emails I read that had the word “FOUNDATION” in bold caps. The reference was to a font product but was clearly God’s way of leading me forward. Love it when He does that.

Later that same morning as I sat in my favorite chair by the big window in my office, coffee in hand, I asked Abba for more clarity. What did He want me to know? 

He said, “I am building foundations in every heart.” 

So today, let’s talk about what this word, foundation, means in the Bible. I researched this word in both the Old and New Testaments but felt God wanted us to focus on two more common uses in the New Testament. 

First, let’s look at one of these uses in Matthew:

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” — Matthew 25:34

In this verse, the Greek word for foundation is katabolé and holds meanings such as laying down a foundation, figuratively to conception and conceiving as with seeds (plants and animals). “Foundation” here refers to the creating of the world but also references our inheritance. We’ll come back to that as we move along in this series.

Now, let’s take a look at a familiar parable in Luke:

“Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” — Luke 6:48-49

The Greek word used here for foundation is themelios and means laid down as a foundation of a building, wall, or city. And metaphorically means beginnings, first principals as of an institution or system of truth. This is where I believe God wants to take us in “building foundations in our hearts,” my friends.

And as He’s revealed more to me, I’ve come to see He is using the house my husband and I are building here in Sarasota to help me understand His heart behind all this. He created me after all, so He knows I am a very visual person.

That cute feet picture up there is my husband and I standing on the freshly poured foundation of our house. I didn’t know then that God would tell me to pull this picture out for this series, yet as I’ve stated before, He is absolutely brilliant and awe-inspiring.

And we marked this foundations with our initials, to lay our claim, to establish our ownership (inheritance) in this place. How cool is that?

Initials
Our initials in the cement...

Well, my friends, there is something in this foundation story that includes you. It’s a surprise I’ve held for months waiting for God to tell me when to reveal it. And that is where I will continue next week with the next installment of this Foundation Series. I anxiously await for Holy Spirit to continue showing me what we are to learn in this. We will be exploring faith, hope, love, salvation and inheritance. Pray for me to listen intently and not miss anything, my friends. He’s already showed me the foundational truth about salvation. And it is amazing!

Have an amazing 4th of July, SUM family! I know our nation is in a odd place, as are many countries right now. There’s that shifting thing again. God is working in answer to our prayers to make sense of what we are seeing that doesn’t make sense right now. Remember, God said things won’t look the way we expect. I believe that applies here too. Pray faithfully in whatever place God has put you, SUMites. Your prayers are a powerful part of this change and shift!

Love you dearly!
Dineen

 


Guest Post: Ripe for Harvest

Dear friends, today's post is written by our very own Dee Rusnak. Thank you, Dee, for sharing your heart with us. Have an amazing week, SUMites! ~Dineen  

Ripe for Harvest 

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Copyright: dedivan1923 / 123RF Stock Photo

Years ago, the Lord beckoned me to join a group of dancers at my church. Seriously? I’m 54 with no dance experience, not even a lesson! What was God thinking? I prayed and reluctantly auditioned, trusting the Lord would help me, and cause them to see what He sees. Let me tell you, He faithfully equips, even when we don’t know what on earth we’re doing. To my surprise, I was enthusiastically welcomed to the team! I began taking dance classes at a Christian dance center. Each class gave a recital at the end of the term with all the dancers participating in the finale.

One finale in particular was extremely moving and prophetic. We were all dressed in different costumes of white. There was a group of dancers already on the stage carrying candles. They slowly began to form a circle, as though marching around the throne of God. As they continued moving, all the other dancers, also carrying candles, slowly streamed in from every part of the auditorium, joining these dancers on the stage. The circle grew larger and larger until the stage was completely filled as the final dancer moved in conjunction with the others.

Then suddenly we all stopped and blew out our candles, as if the call for salvation was complete. I thought about this dance when we recently determined to pray our one minute prayer for our spouses - as they are all being called by God to join His family, one by one, from every corner of the world. It also reminded me of us SUMites, earnestly in prayer, marching purposefully around the city of Jericho in anticipation for the walls to crumble. Our spouses are within those city walls thinking they are safe, tucked away from the claws of religion, while all along being deceived and kept prisoner in enemy territory.

In Key 4 of “Winning Him Without Words,” one of the questions is: “How hard is it for you to trust God for the salvation of your husband?” The question caused me to think…I’m mismatched because God saved me first. I’m on this path because that is God’s plan for me. God has His reasons why He chose me first, so, who am I to question that? Everything about God is spiritual. His kingdom is spiritual. His salvation plan is spiritual. None of us are awakened to that spiritual realm unless He Himself reveals it.

But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:10)

Is it possible for my husband, or anyone for that matter, to choose to be spiritually born or know spiritual truths without God initiating that process? Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3 comes to mind. That cemented my answer: of course I trust God! From where else does salvation come?

That evening I was reading in John 4 about the woman at the well. Following her amazing encounter with Jesus, she ran back to her town and simply said, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” That’s all she said. Short and sweet. No rehearsed verses. She spoke her heart.

What happens next is nothing short of miraculous. The people LEFT THE CITY and CAME TO HIM! Her simple words triggered such a grand response that changed their lives forever. The Holy Spirit had been working silently in their hearts beforehand without them even knowing it.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Meanwhile, Jesus was telling His disciples, “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, OPEN YOUR EYES AND LOOK at the fields! They are RIPE for harvest.”

Then, over the hill came the harvest. MANY of the Samaritans from that town BELIEVED in Him because of her testimony, and MANY MORE became believers because of His words. Our dance all those years ago portrayed people from every walk of life streaming to the throne of God – called by God Himself to be His very own. Jesus says the harvest is ripe. Perhaps we’re to open our eyes and see the harvest who lives right there in our own home, knowing His Spirit is enthusiastically preparing their hearts for His special day of their salvation!

Dee and JerryDee Rusnak and her husband of 44 years, Jerry, both retired, live in Westerville, Ohio. They have three grown sons and three adorable grandchildren, with one more on the way due Christmas Day!

 

 

 

 

 


Part Four: The Promised Provision

IMG_0009My friends, are you ready for more of God’s amazing truth and love? Are you ready to have your thinking transformed a bit today? Let’s go back to the book of Jeremiah and take another look at King Zedekiah’s story.

Let’s look at the first five verses of Jeremiah 34, because this is where things get really interesting.

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all the armies from the kingdoms he ruled, and he fought against Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. At that time this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go to King Zedekiah of Judah, and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. You will not escape his grasp but will be captured and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. Then you will be exiled to Babylon.

 “‘But listen to this promise from the LORD, O Zedekiah, king of Judah. This is what the LORD says: You will not be killed in war but will die peacefully. People will burn incense in your memory, just as they did for your ancestors, the kings who preceded you. They will mourn for you, crying, “Alas, our master is dead!” This I have decreed, says the LORD.” — Jeremiah 34:1-5

I just recently listened to a faith message that presented a concept I hadn’t considered about God’s character and plans of us. Then God showed me the truth of it here in this passage in Jeremiah 34.

In every difficulty we face, there is a God-given promise. 

If you think about it, if you think about God’s nature and promises like Romans 8:28 that God works for our good in ALL things, then it makes perfect sense. That alone is the promise in a nutshell. Especially believers in Jesus who are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. God will not and cannot deny Himself.

If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. — 2 Timothy 2:13

God gave Jeremiah a message for King Zedekiah of what was going to happen, that Nebuchadneezzar would take the city of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah and there would be no escape. Yet God has made a provision for Zedekiah—a promise. Jeremiah even says, “Listen to this promise form the Lord…”

In Jeremiah 38:17-20, King Zedekiah questions Jeremiah again, and again Jeremiah repeats God’s promise. Which if you look back to what Jeremiah said in chapter 34, showed God’s intention to honor Zedekiah’s obedience with a legacy of honor and praise. Sadly, Zedekiah admits his afraid to surrender and fears King Nebuchadnezzar’s wrath more than he trusts God to keep His promise. In chapter 39 we read of his failed attempt to escape with resulted in him watching his sons be slaughtered before his enemy gouged out his eyes. 

Not pleasant, I know, but my dear SUMites, here’s the other part of this amazing thing God is showing me. That promise in our challenge is the key to our breakthrough and our victory, and we walk as conquerors. And the more we do it, the more afraid of us the enemy is! 

This is what it means to fight from victory, not for victory. A promise for every thing we face is already in place for us to find and claim. We are already victorious, already declared conquerors. Now it’s up to us to live like it.

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. — Romans 8:37

Not just partial victory, my friends. Overwhelming victory. God won the battle for us when He put our promise in place. Ask Abba what promise He has put into place for the circumstances you are struggling with. Has He already given you a Scripture or two, like He has given me for my daughter Leslie? Has He spoken a word of reassurance to you in the dark of night that you’re afraid to hope for?

My friends, this beautiful SUM family is a huge testimony of God’s faithfulness. He will not fail you. And trust me, I know how hard it can be to look for God in a situation so difficult that all we can see is the mountain of our pain, yet not a glimpse of what God is doing in the midst of it. But I know—have learned—from those very situations that He’s most definitely there. Just not how we expect Him to be. It may not make sense…yet, but it will. 

And I’m discovering that those are the most astonishing moments of God’s undeniable presence manifesting all around us. He’s always been there. I just needed to quit looking for what I expected and see Him.

I love you, my friends. Know that God is giving you the power and the desire to do whatever it is He’s asking you (Phil. 2:13) and He absolutely adores you.

Father God, bless Your SUM Nation with every spiritual blessing You have already set aside for each of us. Fill us, Holy Spirit, with wisdom and revelation to know the direction to go no matter what the circumstances around us look like or are telling us to do. We want only Your voice, Lord Jesus, our Great Shepherd, who gave everything for us to live the abundant life You’ve set before us. Fill us with great courage to take the next step, and the next and the next. Your will be done, Lord, on earth, right now as You have already declared it in Heaven. And to You, Lord, be all the glory. We love You! In the name of Jesus, we pray, amen!

Love you, SUMites!
~Dineen


Part Three: When Things Don’t Make Sense

IMG_0008Recently, I sat in a big room with about 50 people worshiping God in their own way, creating one big mass of noise. But when I closed my eyes, Holy Spirit tuned my ears to hear each individual sound—instruments, voices singing and praying. Each one was distinct and clear. Then I opened my eyes and heard God in my spirit say, “Things won’t look the way you expect.”

The next day, God brought me to Jeremiah 33-39 and sat me there for at least a week. I’m still trying to digest the full range of God’s heart in this, my friends, so I suspect more will unfold as I share with you what God is teaching me right now in this season.

So let’s start with the story of King Zedikiah of Judah and Jeremiah the prophet. There are so many details to this story so I encourage you to read these chapters yourself and study them. But let’s set the stage for the story about obedience and promises.

The attack against Jerusalem and the towns of Judah by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon is in actuality a tool God is using to discipline the Israelites who have continually disobeyed God. Yet God has made a provision for His people to still live. He’s warned His people repeatedly through Jeremiah, yet the leadership continues to refuse to do what Jeremiah is telling them. 

First he warned King Zedekiah’s predecessor and brother, King Jehoiakim, who burned the scroll recording God’s instructions and provisions to Jeremiah. Jeremiah dictates another scroll to his secretary with even more detail. Then Zedekiah is appointed king over Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, but is warned by God through Jeremiah not to believe the forces of Babylon will stay away. 

And there is a Pharaoh and an Egyptian army involved in all this but I won’t go into that. To say the least, Jeremiah is a complicated book with many pieces, people and armies coming into play. Meanwhile, God is instructing them to stop fighting against the Babylon invasion—to surrender to their enemy— so that they may live. Despite Jeremiah’s continual warnings, the kings and officials continue to resist.

Why? Because it doesn’t make sense. None of it did. I can just imagine them sitting there, remembering the promises from Jeremiah 29 about a hope and a future, and more words of provision in Jeremiah 33, and scratching their heads at the disconnect. In their mind, surrendering to their enemy seemed an impossible path to peace, prosperity and restoration—the very things God promised them if they obeyed His direction to surrender.

Like that moment in a room full of people worshiping, as I observed with my eyes, I could only discern the whole as a noisy mass. Yet when I closed my eyes and trusted the leading of the Holy Spirit, He revealed to me the details of each part and the beauty each held separately. He wanted me to understand that what I observed with my logic, assumptions, and perhaps even presumptions didn’t encompass God’s perspective, nor His plans for me that evening.

He wanted to use circumstances that made no sense to teach me something and to prepare me for what He has provided for me in the coming weeks and months. I knew then He was about to change things up big time. And He did. Basically, my friends, He’s turned my world upside down (in a good way) and changed up how I hear Him and brought new clarity to who I am in Him, how I am to function in my giftings, and what I’m called to do in this great big adventure of His. 

But I had to walk through a lot of things that didn’t makes sense and do the things He showed me that also didn’t always make sense. In some areas, He’s still leading me doing things I don’t quite understand, but I am learning to obey and trust Him to show me what I need to know when I need to know it.

This is all part of the upgrades I spoke of last week and is also His provision for what’s coming. So, my friends, I want to encourage you to dig a little deeper in the circumstances of your life that aren’t making sense. Ask God to show you want you need to know and/or do. Perhaps it’s a time for you to close your eyes and let Him separate the pieces to help you understand what He’s doing in each part to bring clarity and purpose. Read Proverbs 3:5-6, study it, make it your way of living life with God. There is such great peace in this.

In the next part of this series, we'll return to the story of King Zedekiah and Jeremiah where I will share a stunning truth about the difficulties we face—a provision for each and every one. This one’s rockin’ my world a bit—in a great way! I can’t wait to share that one with you.

Love you, SUMites! Remember God’s truth that He is ALWAYS for you and NOTHING can separate you from His love (Romans 8:31-39).
~Dineen

 


Part Two: Upgrades

UpgradesSUMites, I promised to share more of what God is showing me for our community right now. I believe this next part will be so encouraging to you and will strengthen your spirit greatly. Let’s go back to Isaiah 60. There are several parts to this chapter that God has in the works for us right now.

I will exchange your bronze for gold, your iron for silver, your wood for bronze, and your stones for iron. I will make peace your leader and righteousness your ruler. — Isaiah 60:17

This verse is about upgrades. As we grow in our faith and intimacy with God, He upgrades us to new levels of understanding (revelation) of what our calling and purposes are. He also takes our spiritual gifts to higher levels of operation to work toward and accomplish those works, which He prepared in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10). He establishes (a very important word right now) these purposes, gifts and us in Him to come from Him and—most importantly—to work with Him, because God intends all of it to operate within the boundaries of our intimacy and relationship with Him. And He equips and prepares us to step into each level. 

I know that’s a lot to chew on right now so let me put it into context. Think about the challenges and trials that have taught you to trust God more and to operate more in your gifting. For example, let’s say your gift is exhortation—you are an encourager. Yet recently you have been greatly discouraged by either external circumstances or internal conflict, which could very well be an attack from the enemy. 

Maybe you “wallow” for a day or two but then the Holy Spirit reminds you who you are and that you have skills—big skills created and gifted to you because you are God’s kid. You begin to seek Jesus for comfort and direction by praying, reading your Bible and worshiping, therefore deepening your intimacy in Him, which then results in you being encouraged. 

You’ve now learned how to encourage yourself in the Lord, which then becomes experiential for you. Let me also say there are many ways to encourage yourself in the Lord—think of David who wrote Psalms and Paul and Silas who sang hymns in the darkness of a prison cell.

Then a barely a week later a friend tells you she is struggling in the exact same thing you did and you know exactly how to encourage her through this difficult time, and because you have experienced it first hand, you realize you have authority to pray and wisdom to share in this type of situation. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself doing this many times to help others. All that is part of what God uses to bring us to each new level of how we are called to function in the body of Christ. 

Right now, God is very much on the move (yes, can’t get away from that song and I believe it’s very relevant and prophetic for right now) and things are happening, my friends. We are being upgraded to new levels according to what we have overcome and in preparation for what is coming next. It’s exciting, but I know that in some ways it’s grown more difficult. 

Some of you have shared that you feel like you’ve come under greater attack. Since the release of our corporate word in January, I came under one of the worst enemy attacks I’ve ever experienced. Many of you praying over the prayer list have shared you are experiencing more warfare than ever in your marriages. I’ve noticed this too in my own marriage over the weekend, but recognized it for what it was—the enemy’s attempt to distract and discourage—and prayed blessings and protection over all my relationships.

I want to let you in on a little secret the enemy likes to keep us blind to. The very place he attacks you repeatedly is the very place of your gifting. If you are gifted to be an intercessor, he will try to make you think your prayers aren’t making a difference, that they don’t matter, until finally you find yourself hardly praying at all. And a prayer-less believer is a powerless believer.

When you see a place in your life that the enemy is hitting you harder than normal, take stock and ask these questions:

  • Is this a place where God has called me to do something specific?
  • Is this attack in the area of my spiritual gift(s)? If it is a direct contradiction to your gift, then the enemy’s trying to keep you from doing what God has set you up to do best.
  • Is this actually an area you often feel weak and want to grow stronger? Then ask God to turn the enemy’s plans around for good. Ask Holy Spirit to show you what you need to do in that area and teach you to think differently about it (Romans 12:2). That’s when God perfects His strength in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9)

Most importantly, SUMites, don’t back down as that’s exactly what the enemy wants you to do. He only gets louder when he knows he’s losing ground. And that is what we’re doing, we are taking ground that the enemy has no legal right to in our own life and the life of our spouse and our family who are sanctified by our faith (1 Cor. 7:14). 

There is truth behind the saying it is darkest before the dawn. We are on the verge of so much breakthrough as we surround our lives, families and this community with our prayers. Here’s the exciting part of our unfolding promise of salvation from Jesus:

Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there. — Isaiah 60:18b

Look at that, SUMites! Turns out this church without walls is getting walls after all! An upgrade to walls of SALVATION! And here’s the next part of the promise I feel God wants us to know is coming.

Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. — Isaiah 61:7

This promise is about restoration. God restores what the enemy attempts to destroy. Trust Him to do this and to do it in His way and timing. I believe this is in answer to our prayers for peace and prosperity in our marriages—part of what God asked us to do in January as part of His salvation word to us. 

This is what we are heading toward, SUMites. Stay close to God, go deeper with Him. Our hearts to listen and obey His leading are an important part of what’s happening right now. And I will tell you what God spoke to me last week,

Things won’t look the way you expect.

Now that’s the next part of this series, so stay tuned. I’m looking forward to sharing that one with you. Love you so much, SUM family! I’m praying daily for each of you to be strengthened, equipped and encouraged! In the name of Jesus, amen!
~Dineen


Part One: We are the SUMites

IMG_5100SUMites, today I want to remind you who you are. Holy Spirit has impressed this upon me right now in conjunction with our SALVATION word for this year. And if I sound like a broken record about that word, understand that the Lord has told me I am to continually hold this before you and remind you of it from time to time. He’s even given me specific things to do that I am waiting for Him to tell me when to share them.

But today He wants you to remember WHO you are. Who He says you are. Who He has created you to be in this time as a SUMite. 

Last April Holy Spirit had me sitting in the book of Isaiah, specifically Isaiah 60. At the end of this chapter I underlined the words and wrote “SUM” next to them. I knew that’s what God was creating us to be as community.

Today He brought me back to this verse and pointed out more that I didn’t understand last year. That’s because He is so much more brilliant than I am and has much better timing. LOL!

The smallest family will become a thousand people,and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation. At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen. — Isaiah 60:22

SUMites, I want to break this down because this will be just the first part of a series I feel—yes, very much feel—Holy Spirit is building to equip, train and prepare us for the full revelation of our salvation word. We are an army in training, so let’s get ready.

First, this is who we are as a community and what God has done and is doing in and through us.

The smallest family will become a thousand people…

We started with just a handful of “readers,” which then grew to be a community, then a family, as I shared that progression during last month’s celebration. Today that family includes over 2,000 people. God exceeded His quota, my friends. I find that incredibly fantastic and beyond what we could have asked or even imagined (Eph. 3:20).

and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation…

We hold an additional name along with SUMites—SUM Nation. A name that just seemed to fit was actually God’s plan for us. Isn’t that astonishing?

At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen.

That He did! And He is still doing it. Making us a mighty nation of women and men who have persevered in our faith and are praying, believing and standing for the salvation of our spouses. 

I believe this promise is now coming from heaven to earth. I see the progression so clearly and am excited to share that with you. In January, God gave us a corporate word—SALVATION—and specific ways to pray over our spouses and family. 

Do you remember earlier in the year when I wrote about paying attention to how we hear God and asked you to keep a journal of how and what God is speaking to you? Many of you shared you began to hear God more. And Lynn and I did the online web training last month too. What I realize now, my friends, is that was also part of God’s training and preparation for what’s coming. Isn’t that cool?

Last month we had an overwhelming response to the post about the one minute prayer, which we now have many praying for each other’s spouse and a team of intercessors who have answered God’s call to pray over the entire list. He’s united us into a mighty army of prayer warriors, my friends, and we will soon have a prayer book to prove it! 

And He’s not done. There is so much more, SUMites. I wish I could pour it into one post but it’s just too much. His promises have been put into position, and we are an important part of the realization of those promises for it is God’s nature to partner with His creation to bring into place His glorious plans.

God is not only in the process of training us, He is upgrading us. Taking us up to the next level. That is the next part of what God is showing me in Isaiah 60 and what I will share on Thursday, along with more encouragement for you regarding the increase in spiritual warfare many of us are experiencing.

I’ve started praying for testimonies to start coming in, and some have, mainly of how God has begun to move in marriages and loved ones. My friends, these are so encouraging! Please share in the comments anything God is doing in your life right now. Ask God to show you what He’s up too. The very thing you share, no matter how small, may be the confirmation another SUMite needs right now.

Lord Jesus, You have gifted us with eyes to see and ears to hear. Bless us all with more insight and wisdom to see where You are working and hear Your leading so we may join with You in this  wonder and miracle of the Great Harvest. In the mighty and saving name of Jesus, amen!

God bless you, SUMites, with great joy and wonder in Him today!
Love you!
Dineen

 


Reach for the Stars

ReachfortheStarsMy friends, we’ve already started to receive prayers from many of you for our new book, Praying for Your Unsaved Spouse. I’m hoping there are many more of you out there praying, considering and even writing your prayer story.

But if you’ve decided that’s just not something you can do, I want to tell you a little story. About a year or so after I rededicated my life to Jesus, my church started a Stephen Ministry and put a call out for participants. It was a two year commitment—a year of training and a year of service within the church. 

When I read it, I thought how wonderful that will be for our church membership, but I didn’t even consider signing up. I had two young children and a husband who didn’t share my faith at all. Didn’t seem like a good fit for me. How could I do something like that?

That same week, my pastor called me into his office to chat. He asked me if I’d considered signing up for the Stephen Ministry training. I told him honestly, no. He looked me straight in the face and asked, “Please pray about it.”

My friends, I was surprised that my pastor, who knew my situation and knew me, would think I’d be a good candidate for this. But I was very willing to pray about it. And that’s what I did the very next morning. 

I love the saying that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips those He calls. Jesus told the disciples not to worry about what to say but to trust that the Holy Spirit would give them the exact words they would need (Matt. 10:19, Mark 13:11, Luke 12:11).

That morning I sat in my favorite chair with my Bible in my lap, I began to pray about what my pastor had asked me. And before I could even finish my prayer, I heard God clearly say, “Well, what did you think I had in mind for you?”

You see, sometimes we disqualify ourselves for things because we haven’t done them before. Or we make assumptions that disqualify us that are completely contrary to God’s truth—and His plan—for us. 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. — Ephesians 2:10

My friends, if you think you are not qualified or capable of contributing to this project, please let me encourage you to seek God and ask Him. Let Him be the one to tell you what you are capable of. I have a feeling you will be very much surprised and delighted. And if you want some biblical inspiration of just how specific God can do this, read about Bezalel and Oholiab in Exodus 31. The only difference between them and you is that you already have the Holy Spirit living in you.

And I have a feeling there are prayers you haven’t thought about that have become near and dear to your heart. They don’t have to be about just salvation. How about prayers for your spouse to have favor at work or to be the best parent he or she can be with God’s help? We’ve seen God move in amazing ways through our spouses. What prayers have impacted your life as a SUMite? What prayers have impacted your marriage?

SUMites, I believe you have something to pray and say. Even if it’s something new that God inspires you with, share it! You’ll inspire more SUMites along this path than you will ever know. Like I say, God is not wasteful. He will take whatever you offer up to Him and multiply it beyond your wildest imagination (Eph 3:20)

I never imagined myself as a Stephen Minister, but God had planned it all along. And you know what’s even more amazing? All that training was part of God’s plan to bring me here too, to be a part of this beautiful SUM ministry. He’s the best equipper I know!

And I want to let you in on a little secret. As I was praying for this book and for our SUM family, Holy Spirit showed me there will be a sequel to this book—one filled with the salvation stories of our spouses! Can you imagine that, SUMites? Wow, God is on the move!

Holy Spirit, fill every SUMite praying this prayer with words and inspiration to be shared with those coming up behind us. I pray they be filled with wisdom, understanding and knowledge and with all kinds of words to express their heart and prayers. In the mighty and most able name of Jesus, amen!

Love you, SUM family!
Dineen


A Past and Present Story

Hello, SUM family. I'm with Lynn in wondering how this month has gone by so fast! Here I thought I'd run out of stories only to find I needed to pick and choose the best ones, because there are so many. And I will say they are truly God's stories—the evidence of His love and presence. We all have His-stories to tell, my friends. They are our testimonies.

My story today has it’s roots in the past and is blossoming in unexpected ways today today. I never expected to be ordained. In a way that truth is still settling into my heart and mind, because it's not something I ever felt worthy to aspire to. But we know our worth is determined by what Jesus did and not what we do. I find I must remind myself of that daily. I trust God daily to free me from that performance mentality.

But you know what I love most about this. I was ordained by this ministry—our SUM ministry. I never imagined such a thing possible ten years ago. Or even five years ago! It's just “right" that it comes from this beautiful place. You know what I mean? There simply aren't words to express the joy that brings me.

And there is a humorous side to this story, SUMites. I wondered what my hubby would think of this so I explained I was going to be ordained and then asked him, "How do you feel about being married to a pastor?"

He laughed. In a good way. You know what's so funny about this story? Only a week or so before this, he and I were talking about the churches I've been visiting with a my best friend who just moved here in January. I've been helping her find a church home. The thing is, I'm still in this church search myself now that we've settled in Florida year round. I love the church I've been attending, but it's a big church and I'm not sure that's where God wants me to stay.

Do you know what my hubby said to me?

"You should start your own church."

And he was serious! SUMites, I'm just stunned at how God works in our circumstances. That is the last thing I ever expected my husband to say. 

I shared this story with my friend and what she said stopped me in my tracks. "How crazy will it be when you're both pastors of a church."

SUMites, I don't aspire to pastor a church, and I still don't. I feel like I'm already doing that right here, which still blows my mind. But that statement fueled the tiny seed simmering in my heart to one day serve God with my husband, to be united in that calling, whatever it looks like. I know you understand that dream too, because it's a hope we all hold close in our hearts.

You see, the story gets a little more interesting here. I asked God a few months ago what spiritual gift(s) he'd given my husband, and He opened my eyes to see it was evangelism. God also showed me how Mike is already operating in that gift, which is absolutely mind boggling. 

Why? When I met my husband, he was one of the shyest people I'd ever met. He didn't like crowds and kept to himself. Even in the early years of our marriage, if we went to an event, he mostly stayed with people he knew. 

Now I watch up him go up to complete strangers on the beach, in a restaurant, or a store and strike up conversations all the time. Complete strangers! And he seems totally at ease about it. I watch, and I'm in awe of how God works in our spouses even when they don't know or want it. Even when we don't know or can't see it. He does, my friends. He truly does.

SUMites, God has planted and is watering this seed in my heart—a dream of possibility. A dream I realize I'd put in the impossibility column early on, even ten years ago, and now God has moved it not just to the "all things are possible with Him" column, but to the "DREAM BIG" column as well. God has done a great work in me too on that one!

How about you, my precious SUMites? What dream is God seeding in your heart? What hope have you held close, yet been too afraid to share with your Great Big God? Share in the comments—I'd love to pray with you for this dream or for God to seed a dream in your heart.

On Friday's post, Lynn shared Karen's one minute prayer idea and 78 of you left comments with your hubby's name. Seventy-eight! Many of you replied to other SUMites that you would pray for her spouse and have partnered up. I've compiled a complete list and will continue to update it. If you'd like a copy, email me

IMG_5046
My Bible at Jeremiah 24:7. I have a hand written version of the list too. Started the list by hand and Holy Spirit impressed upon me to keep doing it. So now I have both!
 

SUMites, I am standing on the word and Scripture God gave me for our community in January, and I am placing this list in my Bible at Jeremiah 24. I declare this over our spouses nearly every day and I believe like I have never believed before that God is and going to do this.

He is faithful and He will do what He says! Amen? Amen!

Love you so much, my SUM family!
~Dineen