434 posts categorized "#SUM Nation"

A Snapshot of Our Community

Dear SUMites Our church

We often describe ourselves as a church without walls -- Isn't it amazing how we manage to gather like this online? I love it!  Anyway, today I wanted to tell you a little bit about who is in our church.

As you know, we did a SUM community survey recently. Reading through those responses it was so good to see your names and a little more about your lives. 

So I thought you, too, might like to hear a little more about who your friends at SUM are. Below, I'll share a few of the questions we asked in the survey, and what the answers were.

Where does our community live?

All over! Most (70%) live in the USA, followed by a decent proportion in Europe. We have a smaller number in Australia and New Zealand, and some in Africa.  I can't express how much I love that spread -- it's so beautiful. 

And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations (Matt 24:14, NKJV)

How did our SUM community members become spiritually mismatched?

Here's what our community said:

My spouse lost their faith: 6%

I became a Christian after marrying: 27%

I thought my spouse was a Christian before marrying, but perhaps they weren't: 20%

My spouse and I have experienced different rates of spiritual growth to each other: 6%

I married a non-believer: 36%

Other: 5%

There is such a range of stories there and each of the above has its own distinct challenges, but I hope it makes you feel less alone seeing that there are at least some out there with the same story as you.

Do our spouses attend church?

About 20% of spouses do attend regularly, and a further 22% occasionally. But the rest don't, so if your spouse never attends with you, you're in good company.

How many of our spouses say they're Christian?

I was surprised by this one: 30% of spouses actually do say they're a Christian, which means that the couple is mismatched even though both are nominally Christians. The rest of the spouses, of course, don't yet say they're Christian, and we do know that quite a few spouses currently say they are atheist. I say 'currently' on purpose. These things change.

Are the spouses supportive?

Here's what our community said: 

A lot: 30%

Moderately: 40%

A little: 20%

Not at all: 10%

Again, I hadn't realized so many were that supportive. But clearly there is a need for our ministry even if an unbelieving spouse is supportive. The loneliness of the walk likely makes it so. For those whose spouses are not yet supportive I am praying for you specifically right now.

What kinds of churches do we attend?

Our community attends all kinds of denominations. The most prevalent is non-denominational or Baptist. After that, about 10% attend protestant denominations (Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Church of Ireland), 10% Pentecostal, and about 10% don't currently attend church.

How long have our people been with us?

About 15% of our readers found us less than a year ago. If that's you, welcome! This tells us it's important that we keep writing about some of those common issues such as attending church alone and raising kids in faith. However, almost half of our readers have been with us for more than five years, and many for more than ten years. Amazing! We are a community that has been together a long time.

And finally.... What does our community look like, faith-wise?

This last section really opened my eyes. We asked two questions here: Do you have regular time alone with God, and how often do you read the Bible? The vast majority of our readers said they spend daily time alone with God, and daily time reading the Bible.

That tells us something about our specific church. We are not lukewarm, we're the opposite. We are all passionate followers of Jesus Christ, and that's exactly why we need this ministry and why we gather here.

**

My friends, there's more to the survey and I'll share more eventually, but I hope that gave you more of a picture of who's here. 

What else would you like to know about us and this community? Pop any questions in the comments and I'll answer them.

We all love you!

Ann (and team)


I Have Gifts for You!!!

Giving_Tuesday 2022Friends, Lynn Donovan and Ann Hutchison here:

Do you have a mountain that MUST MOVE? (see below)

And did you find a word of hope or encouragement here in the past year? Did you discover some aspect of faith and connection with God that was new and helpful. Did you stop in and read a truth, find your heart touched by love, did you have a prayer time that changed things? Do you feel less alone in this journey?

Only once a year we bring finances before our community. It takes about $7,000 annually to pay the expenses. 

That's A LOT! 

So, Today on Giving Tuesday would you consider a one-time gift to further the ministry into 2023? More, would you consider a recurring gift.

Here is the giving breakdown and how I'm giving back to you.

Any gift of any amount and you are invited to the Zoom teaching: Five Truths Vital to every spiritually mismatched marriage. Over 30 years these are the five things we MUST know to thrive in these marriages. Donate and you are invited to the live teaching or the video.

If you give more than $100 or sign up for a recurring monthly gift, you receive a monthly email with a Ministry/Donor Update. You catch a glimpse of the behind the scenes in the ministry. I typically share the planned future training, upcoming events, some of the ministry efforts that happen that we don't write about.

AND ....If you give a one-time gift of $100 or more or create a monthly recurring gift, you will be invited to the training in January. This will cover Mark Chapter 11. Moving our mountain. I've truly learned what this passage is all about and how it's true for us now, today!

Who could do with a prayer powerful enough to move a mountain? Below is the link to give. From there you can make a one-time donation or a recurring, monthly gift. 

Donate Button

This link takes you to our not-for-profit processor, Square. 
From there you can make a one time or recurring gift. Thank you.


Give Thanks

Hi SUM Nation,

Lynn here. Take time this week to sit alone with the Lord. Write down all the good that came into your life because of His love and kindness. Thank Him for His faithfulness.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, Ephesians 1:3

Father, thank you for your goodness, faithfulness, and love. Thank you for Jesus who by His stripes heals me and my family. Thank you for every time you intervened to save me from disaster and deception. Thank you for the love of family. Thank you that you are present and care deeply about my life. I love you Love. I am humble. I am thankful. In Jesus name. AMEN

Thanksgiving 2022


And Onwards We Go!

Dear friends Bible and clock

Well, we’ve reached the end of our How I read my Bible series. I hope you enjoyed it. I always say 'God made us each as unique as a snowflake'!

Some of us have a special place where we curl up to read each day …

Some of us have a favorite book of the Bible …

Some of us have a creative method we use …

And as we read, we encounter God.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)

Ahh..

Well, with that wrapped up I'd now like to share some ministry updates:

The team is going to take a couple of weeks off while our American SUMites enjoy their Thanksgiving season. We’ll pause the ‘Let’s Talk Live’ videos too, restarting early December.

While off, I'm going to be doing some planning and praying using the feedback from the SUM community survey. I want to say a huge thank you for completing that survey and sharing your hearts with us. It painted a picture of who we are writing for, and I have to say I shed a few tears reading the responses and getting to know you a little. Sometime next month I’ll share a little more about the demographics of our community, and a summary of what our survey showed us. I think you'll find it interesting like I did.

Well, that’s all. To our USA SUMites, have a wonderful thanksgiving. To the rest of you, stay standing! And we’ll see you - fresh and raring to go -- when we're back.

Ann and the team


What I Would Tell My Younger, Unequally Yoked, Self

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

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

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

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

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

Would you agree with this?

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

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

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

Can any of you relate?

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

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

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

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

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


Are You Emotionally Mature? Your Spouse?

Emotional MaturityHi SUM Nation,

Lynn Donovan here today for a chat.

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

Ahem!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


It's Time for a SUM Community Survey!

Hello SUM family, SUM survey

One of the things we like best here at SUM is getting to know YOU, our community.

And so... we've put together a survey that we're hoping you might complete? This survey will help us get to know you and serve you by focusing our ministry on the areas you need.

Would you take a few minutes of your time to take this survey for us? If so, click on the link here to take it: 

SUM Community Survey

It will take about 5 minutes, and if you complete it you will go into a draw to win a free book of your choice from our ministry -- Either Winning Him Without Words, Raising Godly Kids, or Marching Around Jericho. The draw will be done on 31 October 2022.

We really look forward to receiving your responses, and a big thanks to you all in advance for your input, which we can't wait to read.

Love from us,

Ann, Lynn, Amanda, Ian, and Tiffany


A Holy Moment. Don't Miss It!

We Are in the In-between

It’s likely you have read or heard me speak about the Jewish holidays and specifically, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

I want to take a minute to remind you to be observant in this in-between week. I’ve found that decade after decade many things will come to an end or close out in the month of September leading up to Rosh Hashana. Then in October new relationships, adventures and holy assignments arrive that I’m to participate and further for the next 12 months.

This is why.

The The Inbetween SUMHolidays were God’s idea. He instituted them and they aren’t any less valid to Him today than the first time they were observed thousands of years ago.

Rosh Hashana is the start of the Jewish calendar, New Year. That was Sunday here in the United States. Yom Kippur, a most holy day, is Tuesday, October 4th, here in America. We are in this precious in-between period.

Anything is possible!

As I consider how many things happened in my life last year, I’m undone. It was last October (new year) that Mike and I moved from our So Cal home of 22 years and started our new adventure. We didn’t know we would face cancer, home buying challenges, find ourselves actually staying and buying in No Cal. But, as I look back on SO MUCH that happened, I see God in it.

God knew my deepest desires and brought me to a new home I couldn’t even dream up in my wildest dreams. Mike and I stared down cancer and today he is healed and whole. CANCER FREE! I learned I can do hard things. In this past 12 months I received more direct revelation from God than in any other years. And I began this week to receive the chapters of my new book about spiritual gifts.

It’s been three years since this has happened to me.

I have an important question for you: What is closings out of your life? Sometimes it’s a job, a marriage, a relationship, a home, etc. Even things we don’t want to let go. BUT, our good Father ALWAYS has something better ahead. It’s simply His character.

So, in this in-between, I’m praying and expecting BIG THINGS…. REALLY BIG THINGS! Bigger than I’ve ever asked for and I wait expectantly.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, talk to me.

In the comments, tell my what you have noticed that has closed out of your life and what are the really big things you are praying for. Let me be part of this amazing journey of faith.

I will believe with you.

I love you. With a full heart, Lynn Donovan


Trials -- Count it all Joy?!

Dear friends, Ann here. His word 2

Sigh, my heart is full! Yesterday morning I got up, made a pot of coffee, opened Zoom and there was Lynn along with a screen full of other SUM faces. Most were from America, one from England, and another from New Zealand.

When I see the SUM community in person like that I want to reach through the screen, pull you into my living room, and say a big hello. There's a lot of love here for you.

Most enjoyably, we sat with the Word of God for 40 minutes, then broke off into discussion groups.

My friends, if you want to join in next week or any of the following weeks, for as much or little as you can, please do. Email me at annhutch42@gmail.com. I might even be able to send you a recording of this last session (we're still working that out). I can certainly send you the Zoom link for upcoming sessions. 3pm Pacific, Wednesdays.

The Word of God. Isn't it wonderful! Since we're in the Book of James, can I encourage you to read it, even if you're not able to join on Zoom? I also will write the odd post about James on the blog as we focus on that book. Today, I want to do that, so here's a little introductory thought:

This week, a long-time friend of our community, Jim Edwards, sent me some writing that he had done about the Book of James. He wrote a book called Living and Breathing Hebrews to Jude (2008), and it's a paraphrase of the New Testament's epistles. I read the James segment and absolutely loved it. (Man, how I love the creative things God births through people in our community!) From that, here's something Jim wrote --

"James is full of one-liners: some seriously tough sound-bites. As sound-bites they can easily be misunderstood, and easily produce condemnation—beware! Each chapter has at least one. I’ve highlighted them in the notes, but you are likely to hardly notice them in my translation.

Most, however, are wonderful, direct, hard-hitting promises, where direct simple language helps the memory and adds power to the simple statement."

I'd never thought of the Book of James like that, but it's true. As you read it, you do get pummeled by the occasional 'oomph' verse that makes you gulp.

So I wanted to share the first one of those today, right from chapter 1:2. Are you ready? Here we go:

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials (James 1:2, NKJV).

Really?

The verse continues:

.. knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing

My friends, what are the trials you've been through as part of your faith walk? How hard have they been? For me, certain trials have been almost unbearable; others not quite so stark, but still trials. Today I wrote in the margin five key trials I've been through since being a Christian. One of those is the SUM. At points in my SUM I have thought "Nothing could be as hard as this." There's something about the SUM walk that is so very difficult because it involves deeply spiritual issues.

Another trial I faced was a nine-month period of illness last year - Illness that was mysterious to the doctors, and for which there was no apparent solution. That was no light thing to walk through either. Almost every day during those nine months I had a little cry to myself. It was a different kind of battle to the SUM.

Count it joy? That I can do when I'm through the battle. It's harder to do when in the battle. But I can certainly engage with the concept and think about what it means.

Here's something intriguing Lynn said today on Zoom. She said (I'm paraphrasing): "Trials show you what lies you've been believing, and help you break those lies." Not that God brings us our trials, but he uses them mightily.

So, here's a discussion question: Think back on a trial you have faced. What lies did it bring to light?

Wow, that's a deep question. I might need some time to think on that myself. I'll leave you with it, and here's to us enjoying the Book of James these next few weeks. If you want to post your answer to the question in the comments, please do!

Love you all,

Ann


Gatekeepers

7EADF9A6-E07B-437C-A163-CC6B56E73862By Amanda Pace

I had prayed about what to write and settled on this story before I watched Lynn’s amazing video on spiritual warfare in the SUMite facebook group. Isn’t God’s timing amazing! This post will also be about warfare, but it is more of a personal testimony as well as declarations I feel God wants me to share with all of you to claim for yourselves. So here we go!

Years ago, I was attending my wonderful church and went up front to ask for prayer as I often did. I was feeling so weak and alone, like my life and marriage were falling apart. I was so scared of what might happen to my kids and their faith. In short, I was filled with doubt and fear. 

My pastors knew me and my situation, so I didn’t have to explain much when I came up for prayer. They knew my husband was and is an atheist, that I had two young children, and that my husband was struggling with depression and addiction. They knew I struggled with my emotions as well as my confidence at the time. So there was no shortage of things I needed prayer for!

My pastors wife (who was also Co-pastor) began to pray over me. During the prayer for strength and courage she paused, went to her seat and grabbed something, and came back. She had me open my had and put something in it. Keys. She wrapped my hand in hers and told me to remember that I am the gatekeeper of my home. That I CHOOSE who I lock and unlock the door for. I have the God-given power to kick evil out of my home! She said I am like Jeal, driving a peg into the enemies head (Judges 4:21)! Let me tell you, God showed up big time during that prayer session!

I came home feeling so emboldened with the power of the Holy Spirit! I remember going down into our basement, where my husband spent most of his time, feeling ready for battle! I swear I could have physically taken off a demons head had it shown up in the flesh at that moment! This daughter of the King was ready for WAR! But of course, this battle was not one of the flesh. So I stood there, in the darkness. The air felt thick and heavy, like the enemy knew I was there and could feel what was coming. I could feel them too. The weight of all my husbands demonic oppressors hanging over me. And I was filled with righteous anger. I began to rebuke every single spirit! I laid my hands on things I knew had been gateways and bound them up (TV, XBox, ect.). I cried out boldly, fearlessly, OUT LOUD, and in full confidence that I was working in God's will! It truly was glorious!

Some changes were immediate, and some were still a long way off. But I remember when things started to shift even my husband noticed he was changing without  intentionally trying to! I remember him asking me once, half joking, “What did you do to me?”. I just smiled. Someday he will know exactly what God did through me. And I cannot wait for the day I can discuss it with him.

I believe God brought this to mind for me to share to remind us all, yet again, that we DO hold power! Through HIM! Ladies and gents, we should walk into life every day like we are in a battle we KNOW we cannot lose! With our heads held high, confident, bold, glowing with His love! Take hold of His promises and SHOUT them out! No matter what things look like in the flesh - the flesh is a liar anyway! See with our spiritual eyes the truth that God has laid out before us! We are gatekeepers and warriors! Walk in peace and confidence because you KNOW He is walking with you!

What can you declare freedom from TODAY as the gatekeeper of your home? I would love to read about it in the comments!


Book of James: Have You Signed Up?

Team SUM, hi! Book of James

The time is fast approaching for our Fall Bible Study! Yes, we are going to study the Book of James, and it will start next week on Wednesday. I (Ann) really can't wait, and I know Lynn is super looking forward to it too.

One of the things we're most looking forward to is seeing your faces on Zoom.

So, with that in mind, if you haven't already signed up, here are the details again:

Event Timing: Wednesdays starting: September 14 through October 12, 2022

Event Address: Zoom Meeting Every Wednesday at 3:00 PM, Pacific (Check your local time zone.)
Registration is Free. You will receive a Zoom link upon the completion of your registration.

To register, click on this link below:

REGISTER NOW! Study of the Book of James (Spiritually Unequal Marriage)

There are quite a few of us signed up already, and the more the merrier we say. We truly are a church without walls.

See you next week!

Ann 


Miracle Salvations, Impossible Salvations, Supernatural Salvations

On Wednesday, August 3rd at 3 pm, on Let's Talk LIVE, I'm going to share a salvation story that happened in my own living room. This story has a component of the supernatural and Holy Spirit. And what appeared to be a person totally against faith.

You will want to tune in and hear this story. Because my testimony opens the door for the salvation of those you think are impossible.

I can't wait. 

You can find the broadcast at Spiritually Unequal Marriage Facebook Page, Group, and on the YouTube page.

We are going to laugh, cry, live in awe and praise our Lord Jesus. See you then. Hugs, Lynn


Up Coming Events

Hey SUMites!  

Lynn Donovan here. While Ann is traveling, I'm going to pop in and take the reins for a few weeks. So here is what I have planned.

First, on Wednesday, August 3rd at 3 pm pacific time, I'm LIVE on Facebook and YouTube to talk about some miraculous salvations. This talk is to explain what happened and how after 30-year friendship, Jesus shows up. AND the Holy Spirit went wild. It's a fantastic and unbelievable story that includes the supernatural.

The following Wednesday, August 10th, I have another salvation story that still blows my mind. I'm sharing these stories because they release hope into your life for the salvations you are waiting for. YOU WILL BE IN AWE! Because Jesus is on the move and He uses ordinary people, like us!  

MARK YOUR CALENDAR! DON'T MISS IT!

Book of James GraphicNext Ann, Martha Bush, and I will be leading a LIVE video teaching of the Book of James. This book is all about Practical Faith. You MUST have this down to advance into greater faith practices. After this teaching, you should be able to teach this book at your church, home group, your kids, etc. More details ahead. Begins second week of September. And it will include homework. Ya, it takes work to enter the Kingdom of Heaven! 

You will be blessed. I promise.

 

Additionally, I'm pondering about doing some live teaching through Lynndonovan.com regarding healing. Physical healing that comes from Christ. I'm still pondering about when, how and if I have the capacity to handle all of this while still settling into our new home. 

I wanted to share with all of you one of the great blessings that Father has given to me in our new home. 

I love nature. And here where I live the deer roam the streets, nearly unafraid of humans. 

The other evening, I was walking from the kitchen toward our bedroom and happened to glance outside our dining room window toward the front yard. 

This is what I saw:

Doe at Window July 2022

A doe resting under the tree, eating her cud. She stared at me. I at her. I smiled. 

I'm so thankful that Father has provided this haven for Mike and myself. A lifetime of faithfulness is seen in His goodness.

Hugs, Lynn 


A Backyard Miracle??

Mark 9_41
Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

Hello SUMers!!

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

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

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

Sheepishly, "No."

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

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

I've been doing this for years. 

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

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

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

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

He was listening. 

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

I adore you. Lynn


The Different Kinds of Spiritually Mismatched Marriage

Ann here! Couple

Over recent years I've really enjoyed finding out about our community, and how different people found themselves in a spiritually mismatched situation. We truly have a vibrant mix among our readership, and you can be sure that if you're feeling alone there is someone else here who is going through the same thing as you!

There are different ways in which people suddenly find themselves 'spiritually mismatched', and I thought it might be interesting to look at those today. After all, everything we learn about spiritually mismatched marriage from each other helps us minister to others who come up behind us on the path.

So, here we go: Broadly, people get into a spiritually mismatched situation usually through one of five ways:

  1. They were a Christian who married an unbeliever.
  2. Their spouse was Christian when they married but then left the faith.
  3. They and their spouse have always been Christians, but one person's growth took off after marrying, or one became lukewarm.
  4. They married someone they thought was Christian, then found out that person wasn't.
  5. They became a Christian after getting married.

Have I missed any? Let me know if your circumstance isn't covered in the above, I'd love to hear it. 

In terms of the prevalence of this among males and females, we all know by now that it is more common for women to be the believers in a spiritually mismatched marriage. But there certainly are men too. In our readership, we do have men as well as women. The men comment less, but we meet them behind the scenes in emails.

There are specific kinds of pain that apply to each of the above cases. For example, if someone has a spouse who is outwardly Christian but behind closed doors it seems they might not be (i.e., nominally Christian but no fruit), that can be particularly lonely. It's impossible to explain to the church without 'outing' the spouse, and then that becomes a question of 'where do I find friendship and support?'

For those who chose to marry an unbeliever, many struggle with guilt and/or regret. They have to work through the question of 'What is God's view of this now?' We'll write a post on that soon.

For those whose spouses leave the faith, there is deep, almost unbearable grief, and they are forced to get used to having a completely new person as their spouse: One who is now welcoming new things into the home (often atheism), and a spouse who is particularly resistant to being persuaded that Jesus is true.

Finally, those who convert after marriage find it extremely difficult to move forward in their new faith. Their spouse is part of their old life, they are now a new creation, and so they must navigate how to build a new life with their spouse, who is often unhappy: A 'new normal' that fits them both.

What an interesting mix of things there. But, there are commonalities that apply to most, if not all, of us who are spiritually mismatched:

  • There is an aloneness in our walk. 
  • We build our relationship with Jesus by ourselves, not with our spouse.
  • We have the responsibility to lead our family spiritually, regardless of our gender.
  • It's difficult for us to connect with the church, and yet we must.
  • The spiritual warfare of our particular situation is intense, and so we are frequently embattled.
  • We must learn to forgive our spouse for their unbelief.
  • We focus deeply on the covenant of marriage.

So all in all, that's our picture. That's our community. And what an adventure to journey together in it. Despite the above challenges, I know that many of us reach the point where we say "I wouldn't change it for the world, because of what it's done for my relationship with Jesus."

In the comments I'd love to hear how you got into a spiritually mismatched marriage - And what challenges does that specifically bring?

Much love to you all,

Ann


Let's Talk Live this week

Hello friends, Ann here. Let's Talk Live

We have some nice news this week: Many of you will remember we used to do a weekly live chat on our Facebook page. Well, we're going to start that up again.

So, each Wednesday at 3pm Pacific time, I'll be hopping on to do a Live video, which will stream on our Facebook page and our YouTube channel. You'll be able to comment if you like, and we should be able to make it a little interactive. Exciting!

We'll sometimes have guests come on over the coming weeks, and we'll cover a different topic each week relating to spiritually mismatched marriage.

So, with that, I'm pleased to announce our very first guest who has kindly agreed to come online and share a little. Gladys picMany of you will have heard us mention Gladys Rosario Arias, who has been a great help to us behind the scenes and inspired a few of our events such as the 24-hour worship event. She is a long-time member of this community and an encourager to many. I can't wait to chat with her. She lives in Florida, and has a large family of adult children and grandchildren for whom she prays like crazy. Our topic for Wednesday is going to be thriving in your own faith rather than just surviving when married to a non-believing spouse.

While we're on the topic of live connection, we also want to thank you for all your feedback about our proposed Bible Study on Zoom. Lynn is going to do some planning for that, and we will keep you posted.

For now, I've got a question to ask and would love some more feedback from you: What topics would you like to see us talk about on these upcoming live videos?

Thanks in advance for your answers, and looking forward to seeing some of you in the video comments on Wednesday.

Ann


The Risen Jesus Versus Our Circumstance

Hi everyone, Ann here. He has risen

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

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

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

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

Amen, amen, amen to that.

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

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

In other words:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'd like to finish with a prayer --

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

Love you all, 

Ann


The Silent Day! At Least That's What Satan Believed!

Passion Week 2022The Passion Week – Wednesday- by Lynn Donovan

The Silent Day

SUM Nation, on this Wednesday as we remember and honor the Passion of Christ, let’s focus on what happened on Wednesday leading up to the resurrection. The Bible offers little information regarding Jesus, His disciples, and their activity that day.

But we know many things were rumbling underground that day. This is when I believe satan issued his command to kill the Christ. The devil knew from the beginning who Jesus was and believed it would be catestrophic to allow him to live. Evil foresaw the future where the entire world became healed, prospered, and stepped into our original design and destiny as children of God.

The satanic evil counsels conspired plans to stir up Judas Iscariot and the Sanhedrin to torture and kill the Son of God. Their wicked laughter shook the blackened ruins of hell, as the tempters planned Christ’s death with a mere pieces of silver placed before a very broken and greedy man, Judas Iscariot. Demonic generals inhabited the religious rulers and they formed a plan to kill LIFE itself.

BUT……. If satan knew what would happen with the death of Jesus, he would have stopped it at all cost!

In the silence this is what God was doing!!!!!!  Jesus aligns fully with His destiny. He is resetting the entirety of humanity back to our original design and purpose.

  • Death is DEFEATED. 1 CORINTHIANS 15:54
  • He creates a new species of beings on earth. 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17
  • The Holy Spirit arrives in power and with comfort. ACTS 1:8
  • We become Children of God and co-heirs with Christ. ROMANS 8:17
  • Our eternity is certain. 1 JOHN 2:25
  • Daily life is covered with hope and promises. 2 CORINTHIANS 1:20
  • We reign with Christ forever. REVELATION 5:10
  • We have life abundant. John 10:10
  • We have a renewed mind, a healed heart, a firm foundation and a life of promise. ROMANS 12:2, 1 PETER 5:10, MATTHEW 7:24-27, ROMANS 10:13

In the silence of a single day, Father, saw His Son and affirmed Him. He saw His many children lost and deceived and knew they were about to experience the greatest moment of all time.

The death and the glorious resurrection of the Messiah. Yeshua, who is Christ the Lord!

Is silence your companion today? Is the enemy plotting-destroying your hope and peace? Is it a struggle to see a way forward because all is silent and dark?

My friend, stand up because Sunday is your destiny. It IS WRITTEN. IT IS ACCOMPLISHED ALREADY! And life within the Kingdom is not just a wish. IT IS OUR BEAUTIFUL REALITY!

We can do all things through Christ, because He LIVES!

Leave me your prayer requests and let’s destroy the silence and live a loud and bold life. In Jesus name. AMEN. Blessings and hugs, Lynn


Some Special Plans for Next Week

Dear SUM family, Passion of Christ

It's Ann here and I wanted to tell you about some special plans we have for next week -- Holy Week.

Next week we are going to take some time to honor Jesus by focusing on his final week on earth, his death and his resurrection.

Lynn, Ian, Tiffany, Amanda and I are going to take it in turns to write a devotional each day, and we'll walk through Holy Week together. Ian is going to kick us off on Monday, and we so hope you'll join us.

We're really looking forward to it. We all love this time of year, and it's a good chance to lift our eyes off our circumstances and onto this incredible LOVE story.

For God so loved the world that He gave his begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NKJV)

Many of you know we also have a Facebook group. That group is led by two wonderful SUMites, Gladys Arias Rosario and Barb Twigg. Well, several of the ladies in that group are going to do something special on Resurrection Sunday. They're each going to put a picture/photo on their own Facebook profile with the words 'Jesus belongs in my city'. They'll be a little creative, so no two posts will look the same. Once they're up if you'd like to take a look at these posts you can search for #Jesusinmycity, #Resurrectioninmycity and #SUM. And hey, if you feel like joining in and doing the same, please do!

Well, I will leave it there but we will see you on Monday, ready to journey through Holy Week.

Love,

Ann


The Word - A Sword

By Amanda Pace Sword

Hey there SUMite family! As most of you know this is my first blog post, and I am so excited to be able to share with you all what God puts on my heart! Are you ready? Because I am! Okay, lets dive right in!

As I was preparing for this new venture I sat down at my kitchen table, which tends to be my favorite prayer spot, and asked God what He wanted me to share with you all. And almost immediately I felt Him telling me to discuss the power of words. I know this is something we have covered before. But it has been a while, and this is definitely a subject we need to be refreshed in on a regular basis!

As I was beginning to write I thought it would be about our words, the affect they have, and the power they carry. But when it came down to actually writing God kept bringing to mind this verse, "For the Word of God is LIVING and EFFECTIVE and SHARPER THAN ANY TWO EDGED SWORD, penetrating as far as the separation of soul from spirit, joints and marrow."  Hebrews 4:12 (CSB). As we can see, this verse is about GODS Word and it's power. So because God knows better than I do 😉 I am writing today about the power - the WEAPON that is the Word of God. I felt especially pulled to that description of a double-edged sword. So lets dive a bit deeper into that!

What is a double-edged Sword?
A double-edged sword is, in a word, a weapon. A very powerful weapon, one that can cut from either side of the blade. When we open and USE the Word of God, speaking it out, reading it, declaring it, teaching it to our children etc. We are wielding a weapon! The mighty and powerful Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17)

What does a sword do?
First, it protects! I don't know about you, but whenever I imagine angels guarding myself and my children, I always picture them with swords. Swords, in my mind, are symbols of protection. How can we wield this weapon for protection? One way is by praying the WORD over our homes and families. Pray the Lords prayer with fresh eyes and an open heart to really hear the words you're saying, Psalm 23 is a favorite of ours right now to pray before bed. The Word is FULL of protection verses! Use them!

The next thing this double-edged sword does is defends! Use the Sword of the Spirit to defend your home from attacks of the enemy! Remember, this sword cuts from both sides, so you can attack and defend forwards and backwards! 😉 So, knowing this, march around your house declaring Gods promises, "All your children will be taught by the Lord and great will be their peace" Isaiah 54:13 (NIV)! Lay hands on your electronics and screens and rebuke temptations and addictions, anoint your home while speaking Gods blessings out loud over every room! Put on your armor every day and teach your children to do the same. Pray over your spouse while they sleep! In the past, I have seen breakthrough when I pray Ezekiel 36:26 over my husband, "I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." (CSB)

Finally, a sword deflects. Use the Word to deflect the lies spoken about you and your family. Remind yourself of His promises whenever the enemy comes knockin'. Whenever someone mentions how alcoholism runs in your family, that you are likely to get cancer, that depression is genetic, or you will never cure your anxiety ect. Even the lies your own mind tries to tell you, like you're a failure, you'll never be good enough, you can't do such and such. Knock those words back to the pit of hell where they belong with that Sword! Open that bible and FIGHT BACK!

My dear SUMites, realize when you hold, and read, and speak the Word of God you are wielding a WEAPON! That Bible you hold, it is not some flimsy piece of leather with bits of thin paper wound up in it - oh no! That Bible is MIGHTY, it is a source of TERROR to the enemy, it strikes fear into them and drives them out! We are NOT helpless my SUMite family! We are NOT alone! And we most certainly ARE NOT DEFEATED! Hold up your swords, shout a battle cry (in your heart, or out loud! 😁), and fight for your family! 

What are some practical ways you all fight for your family with the Word of God? I would love to read them in the comments!


What Does Victory Look Like?

Hello SUMite Nation, our Church without Walls,

Lynn Donovan here. Years ago, at a writer's conference, I heard the Lord say to me, "Yes, you are going to do this." The reference was to start this ministry and hopefully help one other person who was on the road with me in an unequally yoked marriage.

And here we are years later. So many of you have followed my story, read the books I wrote and those I wrote with Dineen Miller. Our story is HIStory. It's a story of how an ordinary woman had a distant hope in a great BIG God.

I want to share the END OF THE STORY with you today.

March 14 was our THIRTY year wedding anniversary. WOW! Thirty years of ups and downs, fights and makeup mooching, laughing, crying, gain and loss, faith and doubt. We have lived through a life. On this 30th, Mike and I are about to close on our dream home in our New Promised Land. We found a home in a small country community in Northern California. We will move in May 1st. Just in time for my birthday. Papa is just soooo good.

I feel as though all the sacrifice and what seemed like a distant hope for years is now being fulfilled. Thirty years, a lifetime with one man. And more than that, this thirty years led me to the most important aspect of my entire existence. A powerful faith life and an intimate and consuming relationship with Father, Son and Spirit. 

I take into this new Promised Land everything I fought for. All my years of prayers and petitions and the fruits of decades of practice, belief and hope.

My friends..... This is the end game of a faithful God AND a faithful servant of Christ. There is goodness in the land of the living for the faithful. You do your part and God will do His. I KNOW it's difficult and this powerful faith isn't for the faint-of-heart, but for Kingdom children of the Most High.

After 30 years, this is the secret: Don't ever give up on the Lord. Never stop praying and believing. Always grow in faith. Let love change you, then your spouse and your family. Partner with the Lord in all you do and He will show up with miracles.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I'm humbled to think I shared a tiny part of your life and faith. I'm truly thankful. Thank you for celebrating with me. 

And for all of you still in the trenches, I now get to continually pray for you and your family. Leave your name and those you want me to bring before our Lord. I will do it with great gladness and exuberant expectation for YOUR MIRACLES!

I love you, Lynn

Photos from our new place: 

RM 3 14 2022
RM 3 14 2022
RM 3 14 2022

Lynn New Home RM 3 14 2022


A Prayer for Us to Speak in Unison

Hi SUM family, Lord send revival

It's Ann here, and today I wanted to share some words that we can pray out loud for our families -- Words I'll share in a minute. 

Our families are our land, much like the land that the Israelites fought for. Like the Israelites we have to fight for them, boot the giants out, that's Satan and his minions, and bring the Kingdom to that territory.

"But the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of Heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year." (Deuteronomy 11:11-12, NKJV)

It's often a long road to fight for our loved ones, a prayer battle of years. And in battling on our knees sometimes we need new ideas, a little variety, and fresh words.

So here's a creative way that we can pray today. It actually comes in the form of a song. The song is called Lord Send Revival by Hillsong Young and Free, and its words are a prayer and plea to the God of the Heavenly Armies for a particular territory.

Can I suggest you find a quiet corner, put on the song and speak or sing it as a prayer specifically for your family? The lyrics are here, and a video of the song is below. I'll be doing that too this afternoon as this post goes live.

Happy praying, and may our joint prayers come up for a memorial before God (Acts 10:4).

Peace like a river, wash over me.

Immerse me in water as deep as the sea.

Hide me in love your healing embrace.

Peace like a river, wash over me.

 

As I worship Your majesty,

I worship Your Holy Name,

Jesus my everything,

All that I am is Yours.

 

Come Holy Spirit, rain down on me (I feel his presence as I type that!)

Break open the Heavens and drench the unseen.

Pour out Your presence as I pour out your praise

Come Holy Spirit, Lord have your way.

 

Open the Heavens, fling wide the gates

Flood every heart with mercy

Pour out your presence, inhabit our praise

As we cry Holy Holy

 

Lord send revival, Lord send it now

A move of your Spirit, Heaven break out

Come now in power, cover this land

Like you've done it before

Would you do it again.