382 posts categorized "#SUM Nation"

The Truth about Menacing Giants

Hi friends, Ann here! Giant fighting

We're continuing today with our conversation about 'fighting giants'. Yes, those menacing things that present a huge challenge for us, whether it's sickness, financial trouble, fear of our spouse's unbelief, or any other 'very difficult battle'.

Being human, a giant will naturally look much bigger than us and make us quake in our boots:

And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him. (1 Samuel 17:4-7, NKJV)

From my internet research, six cubits and a span is apparently 9 foot 9 inches. Goliath was a whopping beast! And it's all very specific: Every part of him is menacing, from his spear, to his leg armor, to his coat. The overall impression? 'AGGH!'

In the same way, if we have a giant we're battling we can spend a lot of time looking at every part of that giant and deciding it is truly threatening. SUM team

Right then. But would you like to hear a 'giant' story? Because God gave us one at our last SUM conference - It's a story I've only just remembered today:

Two years ago you may remember we held a conference in California. Here's a photo of part of our team at the time. I can certainly share that each of these valiant women have giants they fight, none of us are alone. And they do it so well! 

After the event I was sat on Lynn's couch and she prayed for me, with Tiffany's arm round me. It was a sweet moment. 

Now, compared to others I'm short -- The opposite of a giant -- Which is an important part this story. I used to think I was 5 foot 3 but I remeasured recently and seem to have shrunk. Anyway, at that time '5-foot-3' is what I thought I was.

While praying, Lynn gave me a word. It was this: "I hear God say you're a 15-foot giant in the spirit realm." She paused, smiling ... "Does that mean anything to you?" It didn't but, hey, I liked it. Later that night I wrote it in my journal and on the plane home I asked God: "Why 15 feet?" It occurred to me then to calculate the difference between 5-foot-3 and 15 feet. And so I wrote down: 9 foot 9 inches.

Well, blow me down, that's the height of Goliath. And so it turns out I'm bigger than Goliath -- Because of Jesus. So are you, SUMites, bigger than the giant you're fighting. In David's words:

"Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? (1 Samuel 17:26, NKJV)

There's one more giant story I want to share, and I hope this one encourages you. I keep a record of my days with God by journalling. Anyway, a few days before I got smashed by this sickness God gave me a vision of the spiritual giant that I was about to battle. I didn't understand it at the time, but found it in my journal later and went "Ohh, that's interesting!" It was as if God was saying: "This is what you're about to fight and this is how you need to see it."

Now, I can tell you this giant did not look anything like Goliath. He -- Actually, it was an 'it' -- did look tall, yes, but that was the only similarity. It was skinny, grey, wispy, miserable, pathetic, and weak. Not in any way scary or intimidating.

In other words, God was saying: "This thing is not as scary as you think."

In the last post I said that I was going to share two questions we can ask God about any given giant we're fighting. Well, my writing took a different turn. So there's just one question instead and it's this:

Lord, show me how I should see this giant?

Whew, I feel stronger already just writing this. I hope you do too. Feel free to share thoughts in the comments, and let's keep chatting about this topic of giants!

Ann


Battle Series: We Won't Start With The Giant!

Hi SUMites!

Today we’re embarking on our series entitled ‘Fight that Giant!’ If you missed the introduction to this series you can catch up here.

I’m rubbing my hands together at the thought of writing these upcoming posts, for 'giants'  -- That is, spiritually difficult things in our lives -- are nasty critters. As we learn to fight, though, we become strong. Then we can give away some of that strength to others. Wonderful!Giant fighting

Last week, I said we’d start by considering the giant that we fight. Well, God hit the override button on that one. Straight after I wrote that post, He told me “No, start with Me.”

Of course. 

Lord, You are our Giant who fights for us. And we have a picture of Jesus as a giant Himself, a picture that can help us:

“And in the midst of seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;

His feet were fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

Revelation 1:13-20 (NKJV).

Last Friday, when God told me to start this series with Him, I had a rather crazy experience. I'm not even sure what you'll think of this (you may deem me nuts!) but it seems to be relevant, so hey, I'll be brave:

While feeling unwell, I’ve been having hot baths during the day to feel better; there's not much nicer than soaking in a lovely bubble bath. Anyway, last Friday after such a bath I stepped onto the plain, brown, flat bathmat and happened to look down at my feet. There was a bright golden sparkle!

I squinted and bent down. There was another. Oh, and another! In fact, there were sparkles across the whole fabric. On closer inspection they looked like little balls, but with chiseled sides like gems. When I tried to pick a couple out with my fingers they disappeared. "What is this?" I then wondered, but I really couldn't tell so eventually stood up, thinking “It must be part of the fabric and I just never noticed before.”

Hmm...

I forgot about it then, but the next day it suddenly occurred to me to get up and look at the bath mat. Well, blow me down, there was not a single sparkle on it! This started to make my heart pound … So I grabbed the mat and took it from room to room, looking at it under different lights, and rummaging among the fabric to see if I could find just one little gold ball.

Not one gold ball was to be found. The mat was brown as anything and decidedly unsparkley. Yet, the day before I saw enough of these balls to deem them ‘part of the fabric’ and to try to pick them out with my hands. 

Could there be a rational explanation? The bathmat hadn't been washed ... I concluded that I know God is real, and so, why wouldn't it be God? In any case, the message is that His Heavenly realm is in my life, in every step I take, and in those very times I need soothing.

If we consider the Kingdom of Heaven, then, in the very place where we are most embattled those sparkles speak this message:

As servants of Jesus the Glory of Heaven is all around us,

and He is with us in every step we take.

That is our Almighty. And with that settled, now we can discuss on Monday the matter of measly giants!

For now, what's your favorite time that God showed his strength in your life when you particularly needed comfort? I would love to hear some stories in the comments.

Nice chatting, friends, and see you again on Monday,

Ann


Love Suffers Long ... And We Celebrate!

Dear friends, hello! Birthday photo

It’s Ann here, writing from a sunny Auckland.

I’m smiling because this past fortnight was a treat seeing Lynn, Ian, Martha, Tiffany, and Dineen all take trips down memory lane to write about our community. Mirroring that, it was super encouraging to read the comments. Thank you!!

We celebrate the work of Jesus in these spiritually mismatched marriages. At points, we have seen some astounding things happen here. He really can bring beauty out of anything!

The past fifteen years have also shown, however, that it is a deep work that Jesus does in these marriages. And, a ‘deep work’ seems to require longevity. We can now see that from each other's testimonies. That longevity often leaves us writhing in pain wishing for a quick fix. As Lynn said in one of her books (Marching Around Jericho), she would entertain thoughts like 'If you would only turn to Jesus, my life would be a thousand percent better'. Well that one totally makes me laugh because, yep, I can relate. But Jesus wants us to know it's a seed that slowly grows into a tree. It's a work that asks of us a hefty amount of patience. Not just patience but longsuffering. For we do suffer as we walk through the complexities of a spiritually mismatched marriage. Who knew there were so much to it?

I think at this point my mindset is, 'Let's get some proper hiking boots and pack our backpacks with all we need, for this SUM journey is a trek of kilometres and milestones!' It is our ‘process’ that God is taking us through, not just a destination. The journey is one that causes celebration when we look back, but the days themselves can feel wearying.

For many of us, then, this community feels like a parachute that’s just opened during a free-fall. It’s a relief to find others in the same boat. Once we do, it gets easier.  Parachute

Jesus has not left us stranded. He’s given us help in the form of each other. And, with that, I say Happy birthday, SUM community! The verse below captures how I feel about you. You are a gift from God to others in the same boat, a help from the sanctuary, and that will continue as others join us:

"May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion."

Psalm 20:1-2 (NKJV)

That wraps up our celebration series. Fifteen years: What an adventure. Tiffany will be back on Friday, and then we'll do something new next week -- Not sure what yet, I'm praying about it.

Love to you all,

Ann


Another Giveaway

I hope you have been enjoying the memories from all the writers. There is more coming. But today, just enter your name and favorite Bible verse in the comments to enter into any of the books or teaching below: 

 

Kingdom Conversations cover photo

Winning Him Without Words
Raising Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home
Winning Them With Prayer
Marching Around Jericho
Kingdom Conversations
My Child Sees Monsters - Release date: June 1, 2021

Or you can choose from the vast video teaching: Equipping Warriors. Take a look. These videos WILL grow your faith and challenge you into greater faith in Jesus.

Lord Y'shua, I pray for every person who has come to this place on the web. Fill them with hope. Show them TODAY how you are working in their lives, marriage and families. Reveal the miracles that surround them. Speak to them clearly and remove the evil assignments against their lives. In Your powerful name, Y'shua. AMEN

 

I LOVE YOU! Lynn


Where Are You Planted?

AdobeStock_292393919

Hello there, Sumites!

So great to be with you today to celebrate the 15th year of this beautiful ministry!

I mean, community. Because that’s what this is, more than anything.

A community.

God’s taught me a lot about unity over the years. I still remember when the Holy Spirit significantly shifted our thinking here at SUM to a “we” mentality and to seeing ourselves as family and a church without walls.

Over the last two years, God has been speaking to my heart a lot about a deeper level of community, specifically intimacy and relationship. Not just with Him but with each other. And let me tell you, that has been challenging. Why? Because I had to learn to be independent at a very young age. So I became very good at figuring out how to do things on my own.

But in God’s family, we aren’t meant to function alone. Hebrews 10:25 even encourages believers to continue to meet together. Not because it was the “right” thing to do, but because the author (most likely Paul) knew believers needed each other in order to be strong and grow.

Which brings me to a revelation God showed me just recently. It’s the story of the seeds scattered on different kinds of ground. If you’re not familiar with it, take a moment and read Luke 8:5-15. In this passage, Jesus talks about how the seeds grew (or didn’t grow) in hard ground, gravel, weeds and good soil. 

I’m sure you, like me, have read or heard this parable taught as a condition of the heart, which it is. But I’d like to propose that’s it’s also about the community in which we are planted. 

Jesus describes how the seeds became bird food on hard ground. This depicts a lack of relationship with God and people. There’s no nourishment from intimacy, and there’s no community. Just a bunch of loners being seeds and nothing more. Which means there’s no opportunity for growth or change.

He then moves on to the gravel, where the seeds start to sprout but soon die off without moisture. This is most likely a broken community or one controlled more with a relationship with the law instead of the Lord. Rough edges and fear keep true connection and intimacy from happening. Offense can be present too, as well as competition.

Next we come to the weedy place. Seems pretty good at first, this community of all kinds coming from all directions. But the intimacy we long for as children of God isn’t really found here. It might be a good social place, but in the long run, it’s not the deep nourishment we need to connect and grow in our faith and in our destiny.

Lastly, we hit the mother load. The rich soil, packed with everything we need to grow. Warmth from the sun (the Son), nutrients to bring growth (the Holy Spirit), and even a farmer (Father God). What’s really amazing in this place is the connection to others, because farmers never plant just one seed. No, they plant a multitude in hopes for a full blown crop (community).

We are meant to be in relationship not only with God but with each other. Jesus goes on to give a picture of the levels of relationship in chapter eight. 

  • Verses 16-18 speak of relationship with community.
  • Verses 19-21 speak of relationship with family.
  • Verses 22-25 speak of relationship with Jesus.
  • Verses 26-39 speak of what happens when there is no relationship. Just aloneness and isolation.

Where we plant ourselves has a huge impact on our life and our future. Our destiny as well, because without others to speak truth and life into us, we can become lost without that vision.

Even within our mismatched marriages, which can be spiritually limiting, it is vital that we plant ourselves in a faith community to be nourished and encouraged. To be real and honest about what we need, where we need to grow, and how we can do the same for those we’re sharing the vital soil with.

That’s true community. No judgement. Just encouragement and unconditional love that’s willing to be open and honest.

So my question to you today is, where are you planted? Do you have other believers to support and encourage you? Do you have key people you are willing to be open and honest with? And are you willing to receive their encouragement even when it may stretch you in a good way? 

This place, this blog, has been about this very thing for the last fifteen years. It’s a beautiful place to connect, grow, and step into the more that God has for you. And the choice is always yours, my friend.

So be planted in rich places and grow for Jesus!

~Dineen


Celebrating 15 Years! - God works in mysterious ways!

SUM 15th Birthday photoHappy 15 years dear SUMites. Ian here from Sydney, Australia. I thought I’d share how I found this community that is very dear to me. Some of you may be familiar with my story but for all of you newbies you might find it interesting how a man from Down Under stumbled across this safe place.

It was September 2012. I had always wanted to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference and having a publisher for Angelguard I thought it a useful way of building some momentum for its release a few months later.

My wife and I combined it with a holiday to the US with the plan to attend the conference in DFW on our final leg before heading home. The conference had started, and I was having a ball meeting lots of fascinating authors including some of my heroes plus gaining a lot of useful information. There was one particular workshop titled “How to Market Your Fiction Like a non-Fiction Pro” that featured four presenters: an agent who I knew of, an author who I was a fan of and two other authors who I didn’t know.

Divine Appointments

It was an excellent workshop spread over two sessions. One of the non-fiction authors shared a little of their journey on writing a non-fiction book about being married to a pre-believer. All of a sudden this workshop now had added meaning.

Yes, you guessed it that author was none other than our own, Dineen Miller. Dineen, of course, is a rarity in publishing, being both an author of non-fiction and fiction. Her award-winning novel, The Soul Saver, is tremendous.

On the workshop ending, I was on my way to an appointment with an editor when I happened to notice Dineen waiting in the same area. She was by herself so I introduced myself and shared how I too was married to a pre-believer. We chatted very briefly, Dineen mentioned the SUM community and to my delight gave me a copy of “Winning Him Without Words”. She only brought two to the conference and I was the fortunate one to receive the second one. Talk about a blessing.

The Lies of the Enemy

Up to that time, one of my struggles in church life and faith was a belief that any ministry I undertook including through my writing would not be blessed because I was in a spiritually mismatched marriage.

As I sat in the workshop listening to Dineen, I was struck by the revelation that what I’d believed for so long was a lie. The scales of deceit shattered on reading the first few chapters of Lynn and Dineen’s book.

A few weeks later having read both books and explored this community’s blog, I genuinely felt a changed man. Have you ever experienced that? A firm perception or belief that you've carried for years being zapped by the Lord as a lie of the devil?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
 and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov 3:5-6 NKJV)

The above verse took on new meaning and continues to. Our perceptions can be so misleading. I continue to meditate on these verses most days.

I’d carried that chestnut around for many years. In some ways I had come to believe my marriage and I didn’t deserve to be blessed.

God is good. Meeting Dineen and the Lord using her in that workshop and enabling us to bump into each other so soon afterwards was one of those moments I so cherish. It really was a divine appointment.

He certainly is mysterious.

15 Years

I joined (do we join?) the SUMite community almost eight years ago. I’ve always believed there is a special anointing over Lynn and this community. Even though we see less of Lynn these days, I feel Ann has received a similar anointing to carry the message of SUM into the future.

Reading the posts through the week is like an oasis. We all experience that loneliness of being the “single” one, not only in our church communities, but also often within our other various friendships and associations. Even though we’re mostly a virtual family it’s always special being able to hang out in a warm and safe place where there is much love, understanding and discernment.

On behalf of your SUM family, dear Lynn (and Dineen) and Ann, thank you. Thank you for honoring the Lord through your obedience in caring for us these 15 years. We love sharing this journey with you and each other and look forward to what the future holds.

And to all the SUMites, thank you for sharing your heart with us all. This family wouldn’t be what it is without all of us.

I so look forward to what the Lord has in store for each other of us in the years ahead.


Heavy Stones and Dry Bones – A Poem by Charumathi R. Rao  

Heavy Stones and Dry Bones – A Poem by Charumathi R. Rao

 

Stone rolled awayShe walked down the dusty path, very early on that Sunday morn,

A bag of spices in her hands, teary faced and heart forlorn.

She’d seen him stripped and beaten blue, a crown of thorns upon His head,

All He’d said had seemed so true, but then He still did end up dead.

 

A hasty burial did no justice, to a man beloved and so adored;

So, with the spices and some friends, she walked to His tomb, down that road.

A heavy stone they’d rolled across, the tomb to shut and seal it well,

They’d posted guards to add to the loss, just in case some mischief fell.

 

“Now, who shall roll that heavy stone?”, she worried as they walked along;

She knew it was a heavy stone, and they surely needed someone strong.

But when they reached the place she saw, the open tomb, an empty grave,

And in the place of a body dead, the risen Savior she found instead…!

 

A broken seal and scattered guards, the heavy stone was rolled away,

Her tears of sadness turned to gladness, joy in place of utter dismay.

Overwhelmed and hope renewed, ran Mary, to declare that day,

That no heavy stone could hold Him down, not even death could block His way…!

 

And since that day, this hopeful news, remains the same and very true;

That Christ is risen from the dead, and His love our life’s rescue…!

We too can know, as Mary learned, and John and Peter, got to glean,

Nothing can stop, our risen Lord, no matter what, the dreary scene.
 

And so, my friend, what lies upon, your burdened, weary heart today?

What is the tomb you face with fear? What worries now, hold you prey?

What heavy stone, now shuts the tomb? And in the guarded tomb what lays?

Are they crushed hopes? Dreams in repose? Or prayers that are much delayed?

 

What valley do you have to cross? What dusty dry bones do you see?

What grief has held you captive long? What cares and worries do you flee?

What red sea now, stands in your way? Or are you in, a lengthy drought?

What’s that thing, you cannot bring, yourself to hope, once more - about?

 

If He can set the captives free, the blind to see and lame to walk;

If He can calm, the stormy seas, and even cause the mute to talk;

If He can bring the kingdoms down, and sets up kings upon their thrones,

What are heavy stones for Him or a valley full of dry bones?

 

So, whatever be, the tomb you face, shut and sealed, with heavy stones,

And whatever may, your valley be – that’s now filled, with dry bones,

Come - cast your cares, upon the Lord, For He’s alive and oh so well,

He’d fight for you and guard your soul, His victories you, will live to tell.

 

If He fought for, the saints of old, and proved His power, to Ezekiel and Mary,

He’d do much more, for you and me, if we’d seek His will, pray and tarry,

For He is faithful, true, mighty and able; alive and seated on His throne;

So, what are heavy stones for Him or even a valley full of dry bones?


Resurrection Weekend

My friends, 

Tomorrow we must bring to our remembrance ALL that was accomplished in three days by our Lord, Jesus, the Christ. Good Friday always leaves me feel somber. And it is good to feel in that way because of what happened to Jesus. 

BUT.... Of for the joy set before him.....

Tomorrow I want to share some little known information about what happened on Friday and about the blood of Jesus. Tune in for a short video and allow yourself to truly apprehend the work of the crucifixion and the Cross of Christ. Hugs, Lynn

Tomb and cross


What Does Hosanna Mean - Passion Week Starts Now!

SUM Passion Week 2021SUM Nation. Lynn Donovan here.

Gang, it’s TRIUMPHANT ENTRY Sunday. Do you know on this day the people of Israel believed their Messiah arrived. AND INDEED HE DID.

This story is very familiar to Christians world-wide, but there is so many nuances and unsaid statements that we completely miss.

Here is one. The disciples and Jesus sat down for a Seder. We call it the last supper. Seder is Hebrew meaning Passover. Did you know that they reclined at the table to eat as a reminder that they were free, not slaves in Egypt. So many, many things have meaning and power.

Did you know there were thousands along a one-mile route into Jerusalem? They were shouting

Hoshea-na. Hosanna.

Hosanna means: SAVE US NOW!

The English spelling of Hoshea-na, means Deliver Us Now. Derived from the Hebrew root as Y’Shua, the Hebrew name of Jesus. The ending -na is something we do not have a translation for in English.

It demands, NOW! Or Please, I pray you. Or Behold!

Literally they were shouting: JESUS NOW!

The palm frond greeting was done on the sixth day of the Feast of Sukkot, welcoming the reigning Messiah to assume the throne in Jerusalem.

Every single person in that crowd knew what was happening and believe in Y’Shua as their Messiah.

_____

Who could use some saving RIGHT NOW?

Hosanna, Our King come NOW! If we don’t cry out the very rock will echo our Savior’s name.


Let’s begin the Passion week with PASSION!

What has Y’shua saved you from and what is He saving you from now? See you in the comments. We have a whole week planned. Meet us here every day. Hugs, Lyn

HE IS RISEN. HE IS RISEN, INDEED!  Hosanna!

Luke 19: 37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”


Lynn Here. I'm Sorry!

SUMites,

Several of you over the past few weeks have tried to make a donation to the 501(c)3 ministry that supports this ministry. 

The PayPal button malfunctioned and created a donation amount that was not your intention. Yikes and what a pain. I promise this wasn't me.  So SO sorry. eep! I created a new Donation Button and it's now in the sidebar. 

Anyhoo, please accept my apology.

And I truly appreciate every single one of you who gives to keep this ministry going. 

Father, thank you for each person who serves, gives, logs in, who offers their financial support. Bless them today with abundance, provision, increase and their coffers overflowing with your goodness. Bless them to know that I love them and you see every penny they give to further the hope and the Gospel of Jesus Christ! AMEN

Love you, Lynn

Three Keys QR Donation Code


A Wave is Coming

Hello friends, Ann here!Record

I hope these recent words from the archives have been refreshing your souls. Don’t we need it right now! After a year of sitting through this pandemic, we certainly can do with a little spark of fresh stuff.

So, let's roll up our sleeves and carry on a little longer with these promises from God.

If you haven’t already, you might like to read the comments that three of our long-time SUMites wrote underneath my last post. I so loved hearing their gems of insight on the Harvest that we’ve been talking about.

Now, here's the next word:

We've been looking at how in mid 2013 the Lord spoke to us about ‘The Coming Harvest’ in several ways. This included the vision described in the last post. But after all those words about the harvest, there is now one more word that the Lord gave Dineen, and it's a mighty word for our community. You can read more about it here. The core word is this:

A great wave is coming.

Many souls to be claimed and collected.

Watch and see.

My heart is always for the many.

A great wave. A wave of the Holy Spirit, power and authority, perhaps. A wave of shaking as well. A wave. A wave crashing into our world.

Wave

That word about the wave was written by Dineen in 2013. So, are we seeing that wave now, with COVID? We can get on our knees and ask God about that. My understanding is that COVID is the first step. I've heard God say that COVID is a 'micro-wave' that is paving the way for the walls of Jericho to fall. The most important part is the wave of salvation power to follow, where things will change for unbelievers. And that is the part we must engage the most with.

Yep! The main -- most important -- part is the good stuff God is bringing next. Salvation to souls.

With that in mind, you might like to consider this next story:

Last week here in New Zealand we had a tsunami warning. I know several of you saw it on the news and you reached out and asked if we were all ok -- That was so nice, and thank you, I'm pleased to say we're all fine here. What may not have been evident to those overseas was the rarity of this tsunami warning: It was an unprecedented event in our nation.

What happened was we had three earthquakes in the ocean at about 2am, 6am, and 8am. The first and third were linked but the second was not, so scientists were scratching their heads, puzzled. I always think when scientists are puzzled there's something interesting going on. The newspaper headlines described it as a ‘Rare and noteable event’.

Much of the country went onto a tsunami alert, whole towns were evacuated and the whole coastline of New Zealand’s north island was under threat. Some parts severely, some less so, but every part was under some kind of 'alert'. All TV programmes were cancelled to make way for the ongoing civil defence updates. There were lines of traffic, crowds of people waiting on hills, and an alarm that went out on our phones from civil defence that sounded like something out of wartime. It was actually highly dramatic! So, all in all, a loud and clear ‘Tsunami Warning’.

Now, God speaks through signs and symbols throughout the Bible. And so, my very first reaction to this tsunami warning was: 'God is saying something through this.' And I believe that 'something' is that a wave of revival is coming. 

What do we do with this? The word above tells us: Watch. And See.

Pray. Be alert. See what happens next. And, in the meantime, reflect on the part what God says: My Heart is for the many.

My friends, as always I would love to hear your thoughts if anything particular springs to mind. For now, I just want to say 'Be encouraged!'

With love,

Ann


Jesus, I can't see past my SUM!

Happy Friday, friends -- Ann here!Record

Today, I’d like to share a vision that the Lord gave our community a few years ago. It was Dineen who received it, and she shared it on the blog -- The original article is here.

I hope when you read the vision below it will encourage you! Here’s the description of what the Lord showed Dineen (in her words):

“I was half awake, half asleep (it's possible it was a vision...I honestly don't know). I stood before a tall crop—corn I believe. 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!” 

It’s a short vision, but sometimes God speaks volumes through few words. If we take the view that Dineen represents us – the SUMites – standing and looking at this, the following are some thoughts on this encouraging picture from the Lord: Corn

We know from scripture that Jesus spoke symbolically in his parables. So here we can look at the different symbols and think about what they mean:

The tall corn in our immediate view.

The fact Jesus is next to us.

The words that Jesus says: "This is the great harvest".

The fact we say: "I can’t see past this!" And then the fact that he takes us to a higher perspective and shows us what's actually beyond.

Phew!! It's a rich picture.

What do the tall mountains in the distance represent, I wonder? I’m still mulling that over, as mountains can represent a number of things in scripture. That one I will be praying about, for I know that every symbol in a vision is relevant but sometimes we don't understand instantly. Perhaps you have an instant sense of what those mountains represent? If so, do share!

What I really believe Jesus is showing us in this vision is that this harvest -- What we’re stepping into next -- is huge!

And, there's usually some kind of call to respond that's included in a word (vision) like this. In this case, I believe what Jesus might be asking us to do is listen to these words of his: 'This is the great harvest', start to allow him to take our perspective higher, and be willing to look beyond the immediate issues of our family's salvation.

It is difficult to do that -- To see past the immediate crop of our spouse and family. But there is more beyond our SUM. And our time of labor is only the beginning.

This very week, in fact, God said this to me: "You are stepping out of this season." By that, I understood that I am going to be stepping out of this time where there's been a faith difference with my husband. This is something I have known for quite some time: That the SUM season is one stage in my faith life that opens up into something quite different. I don't know the timing (I know God is leisurely about such things!) but I receive it. Given Dineen's vision, I can't help but believe this is a wider word for our community.

I'll leave it there. What do you think of this? Do any initial thoughts come to mind from reading this vision? I hope it blessed you.

Have a lovely weekend, and we'll be back on Monday.

Ann


The Harvest - The Many!

Dear friends, Ann here! Record

One of the things I’m currently thinking about is the word 'Harvest' and how it relates to all we have been through in this community.

I guess I feel we've been prepared through some pretty gruelling training (i.e., the challenges of a spiritual mismatch), and that training has equipped us to carry the Gospel outwards more -- Soon.

Here in our little home on the web, we've been learning to love. Specifically, we have learnt how to love our spouse well, and to love the church. Our SUM has been a deeply refining experience – We can all attest to that! But now it may be that we take that love and carry it outwards more.

I could write an essay on what a faith difference in marriage has done for my own character. Where would I begin? For me, perhaps the biggest thing has been to overcome cowardice when carrying the Gospel. People can be scary but I've become brave: Brave about stepping out for God (even if I am inwardly quaking!) For you it may be something else.

I can also say that I have come to understand why others don't believe or submit, and how to fight for another person’s soul. I’ve learnt to Win Without Words and to March Around Jericho. Phew, what a ride!

But now, several books and fifteen years of blog posts later, here we sit waiting for the dust to settle from a year-long pandemic; and perhaps we can say that we are now equipped to march forth. We are ready to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ forward, and to be used by God in whatever way he plans.

To that I say, ‘Here I am, Lord, send me!’ and I know the hearts of many here say the same.

With all that in mind, today I would like to share a quote from our archives. This is something that Dineen wrote a few years ago. She said:

“We have a unique calling that goes beyond us, beyond our marriages. As I’ve shared before God is a redeemer. He wastes nothing. We’ve been thinking and believing that our calling is right in our homes, in our marriages. And God is saying, that is just preparation for a greater movement that He is getting us ready for. God is calling us to believe Him like we never have before.”

I’d particularly like to grab these words and run with them:

We’ve been thinking and believing that our calling is right in our homes and our marriages. And God is saying, that is just preparation for a greater movement that he is getting us ready for.

Dineen then went on to say this:

“Early last year, we received an email from a reader that her husband had come to Jesus. A tearful and joyful moment to be sure. As I praised God, I heard Him speak to my spirit, “This is the first of many.” Harvest

That was Dineen. I always loved reading her words from the Lord as she had a beautiful relationship with Him. And now today I seize these words and say once again: "Yes, we believe there will be many!"

We’re waiting for many, many spouses here to receive Jesus; we’re also waiting for many children within our homes; and we’re waiting for friends and others in our lives. But I believe that God has promised us the many.

The harvest! It's exciting.

I'm smiling here, and cheer you on from my little corner. I know how deep you have dug and how tough the soil has been. So, for now, here's a question:

Do you look back on your SUM and recognize ways that it has made you more useable to God?

Sending you love today!

Ann


How To Enter Into Intimacy with Father, Jesus, Spirit ZOOM SEMINAR

Zoom Meeting Lynn Donovan comHi SUMITE NATION:

Lynn Donovan here:

So many people struggle to hear the Lord. They want their prayers answered and it feels like there isn't a response. This is often due to the fact that praying is at the core - RELATIONSHIP. If you don't know how to enter into that relationship, your prayer life will feel inadequate and a one way conversation with little satisfaction and often great frustration. 

Learning how to enter into the Presence is the Key to everything in the spiritual. 

There was a good deal of interest in the Intimacy Seminar over on my Lynn Donovan Ministry site, let's DO IT. 

In this seminar I will teach you the way to enter into the Presence of God. The teaching will include the scriptures, have your Bible ready, a pen and paper. We will cover what the blocks are that denies you access to the Presence. We will also learn about first fruits and how that passage is very powerful in our prayer life. There will be a couple of interactive activations.

The LIVE ZOOM meeting will be next Thursday, March 18th at 11 am PACIFIC TIME. I'm going to charge $10. This will help me pay for the Zoom renewal this year. THANK YOU! 

This also means that those who are really interested make an investment and will be ready to learn. WAHOO!!

If you can't make it, purchase the seminar and I'll email a link to watch after it is recorded.

I can't wait to walk beside you as you deepen your faith journey and learn to talk with God. Hugs, Lynn

Intimacy with God Seminar $10.

The Harvest Ahead

Dear friends, Ann here.Record

I mentioned on Monday that I would share some words from our archives that God gave our community.

These words are promises that we're dusting off now because they feel relevant for today. For the past months I've been hearing God that after this pandemic many of us are going to see more outward victory from the seeds we've sown. That's exciting to me. Does it mean salvations? Oh I hope so!

How are you feeling right now about this, I wonder? We reach a point where we settle in and become used to it 'not happening'. But we can now sit up and get a little more ready: We're watching something very unusual happen in our world, and things are moving. 

While we wait, one thing we must do is refresh our vision. And we can do this by reviewing some of the important things that God has said to us. In that spirit, then, I'm going to share a word below that God gave Lynn in April 2013.

Before I go on, that week was a significant week; but in a sad and startling way. One of our beloved writers and ministry partners died in a car crash on the way to a conference we were holding. Her name was Rosheeda Lee and I know some here will remember that. The SUM community celebrated Rosheeda being in Heaven with Jesus, but it also felt tragic. Especially for her parents.

I discovered something strange about that, however, last week. It was only days after Rosheeda went home that I (a future writer) heard God's voice in my living room for the first time. Shortly after, I was born again. Her seed fell to the ground that week but God wants us to know he is with our ministry.

Now we have Rosheeda in the cloud of witnesses helping us run this race (Hebrews 12:1). It is noteworthy that it was she who coined our name: SUMites, and so now she stands for us in Heaven. Beloved Rosheeda.

That week was important. And here is what the Lord now says as we continue to run this extreme and challenging SUM race:

SUMites, you are in training to be harvesters!

For here is what Lynn wrote that significant week (April 2013), and it is certainly worth us mulling over these words:

“In the last week I’ve talked to God a lot about our community and I keep hearing this passage that Jesus spoke in Luke. Harvest

He (Jesus) told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Luke 10:2 NIV

I’m convinced that this family at SUM is in training to be Harvesters. My friends, think about it. I’m convinced by the Spirit that this time period and this generation sits on the precipice of one of the greatest revivals the world has ever experienced. We have been chosen to take what we have gained through our community here to the communities, the individuals, the broken and bleeding souls around us, we are to take the Good News!!!

You may read this right now and begin nodding your head because you know this is true. You may read this and think, “Lynn, you’re crazy.” But I want you to know that if you are part of this community, you are being called to be a harvester. Especially if you feel ill-equipped when you read this. I always feel ill-equipped. It’s us ordinary people that bring great glory to God when we move in His love and power to accomplish His purposes. So, as we move forward in this series, I want you to pray about how God is already using you as a harvester and ask Him about what more He has for you in the days ahead.”

***

So, that was Lynn, and what a wonderful word. Can I suggest a little exercise for us? That we sit with God over this coming weekend and ask Him those two questions:

Lord, how are you already using me as a harvester?

What do you have for me in the days ahead?

Sometimes God takes a while to answer, but if you do sense an answer about this would you share in the comments below? I would love to hear it.

I'll pause there and continue next time. But what an adventure we are on, and a joy to be in this together! 

Ann


God's Promises from the SUM Archives

Ann here! Record

Dear SUMites, do you remember last year I said I would pull out some of the words that God has spoken to our community over the years? In particular I’ve been interested in key promises we have received from the Lord -- Corporate promises for us that we can look at together.

Here's the first post I wrote on that last year: God's promises for the SUMites, part one.

This ‘collating of God’s words to the SUMites’ has been a project of mine for some time now. I have been reading through the archives in date order, starting from May 2006, with the hope of sharing important words on here every now and then. It's a refreshing and remembering of what God is wanting us to know, I guess.

So this brings me to the next series. Starting on Friday I’m going to spend a few posts sharing some words from the archives on a key theme: What God has promised us and what he wants us to know. For this series I’m using the above picture of an old record, as these words are records of things God has spoken.

When we see that picture of the record player, I love the idea of us thinking, “For the record, God has said…”

To go back for a moment down memory lane, we know that in 2012 Lynn and Dineen (our then-leaders) both had a transformative experience with the Holy Spirit and after that they began to receive the occasional vision, dream, or message for our community. This was all part of God lifting us into a Kingdom lifestyle where we bravely welcomed in more of the Holy Spirit’s activity.

Prophetic words are part of that Kingdom lifestyle. By definition, a prophetic word is simply an inspired word from the Holy Spirit. It can come in a dream or a vision, or the still small voice, and we can learn to receive these things from the Lord by asking him to speak to us. Anyway, Lynn and Dineen both began to receive the occasional word for this community, and they would bravely write it up into a post saying “This is what God seems to be saying to us right now.” (I say brave because it is a responsibility and they would have thought carefully about it.)

Many of us have been readers here a long time. And we might even remember these words. They are part of the love story God has for us, and enable us to charge forth in hope. 

The hard part is that sometimes promises are given to us a long, long, LONG time before they happen! Psalm 105 talks about that: Joseph was given a promise but then ended up in prison for years. God's perspective on this? The word of the Lord tested him.

“He had sent a man ahead of them,
Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
His feet were hurt with fetters;
his neck was put in a collar of iron;
until what he had said came to pass,
the word of the LORD tested him.”

(Psalm 105:17-19, ESV)

So, dear friends, if you -- like me -- read promises from God on here several years ago but they haven't happened yet there's nothing wrong with that. It's just, those words have tested us. It's as if God says to us: “Will you persevere?”

Now to these upcoming posts: I’m going to share a series of words that the Lord gave to Lynn and Dineen in 2013. They wrote five posts about a particular set of promises from the Lord: Promises about where we are heading as a community, and what we are all about.

Are you ready to receive them again? I hope so. It will be exciting.

In the meantime, perhaps a question we can discuss in the comments is this: Do you have promises from God that you are holding onto tenaciously in your SUM? 

Looking forward to chatting more about this one!

Ann


Pray This Prayer For Your Family and Marriage

There are times we need to lean on other’s prayers. And today, I have a prayer that God gave me recently to pray for my home and family. Lean on it. Pray it aloud in your prayer time. Pray it often. It truly is from the Lord. Save it in your notes on your phone. Take it out and pray it as often as God reminds. Hugs, Lynn

 

Praying HandsFather, I come in the name of Jesus to Your Mercy Seat today to receive mercy and help. Today, I ask You, Father, to bless my home with the Shalom of heaven. Bless my family with divine health. Protect all of us from all evil assaults against our bodies, soul, spirit, mind, will and emotions.

Lord, decree and bless my marriage that we operate intentionally within a partnership of unity. Bless us with the spirit of mutual honor, love, respect and kindness. Bless our marriage to be filled with a spirit of cooperation and unity. Bless us to love one another with our words and our body language.

Lord bless my children with curiosity, with self-discipline and help me to also cultivate creativity, independence and self-responsibility and a hunger for God within their minds and hearts.

Bless us with a fierce protection and love for one another. Bless us to smile, to laugh and to uplift each other. Bless us with Your Presence and speak into our lives Your hope, truth and goodness.

In Jesus’ name. AMEN


A Letter From Jesus. You Need This Today!

My Beloved Child LetterSUMites,

This post is for the weary. This post is for those who have been in the trenches and can’t feel their toes, their nose, and struggle at times to think clearly. This post is for those who feel hope draining from their future, and dreams appear dashed.

This post is for all the warriors of the Kingdom of light!

Sit down, sip your java or tea, buckle in because our Jesus is about to love on you.

My dear child, You are NOT alone. I haven’t abandoned you and left you to live a life without hope. I am in the very room with you protecting and comforting when there is conflict, discord and demonic interference. I perceive as words of condemnation fly about your mind. And yet you continue to press into the life-giving words of truth that I speak from the Holy Word of God.

Believe MY WORDS. They are life!

You have wrestled with doubt and despair but arise each morning into the newest of mercies that I purchased for you. You are on my heart. I delight in your children. I even love that ornery spouse who behaves without honor or sensibilities toward you at times.

I know you feel you fail many times. Hear me now, you don’t. You wade through the unknown and the frightening with such courage and conviction, determined to bring the best to your home, your family and your heart.

Lay down your self-criticisms and the word curses and false accusations spoken toward you by others. Hear My truth: I approve of you. You are living your best effort and as you arise every morning to face more hardship, I am holding your hand. I literally stand with you throughout the day and whisper truth, hope and love into your heart and I change your life.

You are braver than you will ever know this side of heaven. Your prayers over power all the blackest of assignments from the hellish demons. You arise and bring with you hope for your family, your church and community.

This brings me the greatest joy!!!!!

I offer you a glimpse into your future. Hear me say unto you this day: WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANTS. Enter into the Father’s rest.

I am your Savior, your Shepherd, your Rabbi, your Bridegroom Prince. All is well my beloved. All is well!

My friends, this flew off my fingers. I’m humbled to have written it. I believe every word for myself and for you. Hallelujah.

I love you. Lynn


SUM Community 2021 - Marching Forward!

Dear SUM family, Ann here.Mountain

I hope you are relishing the moments from last week's community fast. I’m still smiling at it all.

And now we turn our minds towards 2021 in earnest.

As you know, I’ve been praying about this coming year for us. But somewhat surprisingly, it seems that the word God wanted me to share for 2021 takes our minds off our families a little. Perhaps the pressing issue now is that we need to cope with a challenging year ahead regardless of what is happening with our spouses. So, here is what the Lord seems to be saying right now:

SUMites, come up higher. Come and learn more from Me about being part of My remnant!

The remnant? This one is an interesting phrase. It refers to those who keep their love for God burning (Matthew 25:1-13), and who will never allow themselves to fall asleep spiritually. They hold a fire in their hearts for Jesus, are willing to go deep with the Holy Spirit, and will always try to obey the Father, however uncomfortable. It’s a heart attitude, and from it flows a strength that will fortify us in what is going to be a turbulent year.

The way God gave me this word was through a vision, so I will share a little of that. In it I saw a bird’s-eye view of his remnant spread across the Mountain of the Lord. But they were not a congregated crowd. Instead, they were in groups of two, three, or four, scattered. Further, they were dressed in dark red, the color of Jesus’s blood.

The sense I had was that the Father smiled on these ones. In his eyes they were lovely.

Then I heard the Lord speak something else alongside this vision:

"Too many Christians do not enter the inner sanctuary of holiness. They stay in the outer court of the temple because it is comfortable there for them. They prefer their own comfort over walking with me."

My friends, it’s as if God is encouraging us today: Be My remnant. And keep going. You have come so far, beloved SUMites.

In our marriages, we’ve already been so brave. We’ve dared to be Jesus’s regardless of our spouse’s views. But I guess God is leading us towards even more. Like those little clusters of two or three people in my vision, we might find we swim upstream and/or walk alone with a few other remnant friends.

What’s more, the dark red color of the remnant says this: The blood of Jesus is the message. The message of his blood is that there is no other way to salvation but by repentance. It is his blood and sacrifice that brings abundant life. Will we stand up for it?

Finally, the Lord gave me three points to think on, things that characterize his remnant. And these have really got me thinking. They are:

  • Spend time in worship – He says if we spend time in private worship, he will bring the nets full of fish in!
  • Spend time lingering with him. It is this time that will lead to us carrying a greater measure of his presence.
  • And third, an obedient heart is one thing, but so is standing in the Lord's counsel. It’s possible for any of us, as Christians, to think we are being ‘obedient’ to something, but not be within his will (yikes). God's counsel is what directs us to speak the right words at the right time and place. So we need to practice hearing his voice as well as deeply engaging with scripture, then help others do the same.

Ahh … What a challenge.

Ultimately, perhaps a key message here is: The higher we go with him, the safer we will be. And he's got us. He is going to be holding us tight this coming year.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this remnant word when you get the chance – Whether in the comments, or by just touching base on email or Facebook messenger (feel free to friend me on Facebook.) And let’s keep praying!

With love,

Ann


SUM Fast Day Five: Walking with Jesus into 2021

Dear SUMites, SUM fast 2020

Ann here on our final day of the fast. We've made it!

It's Friday morning here and my brain is pretty foggy. Yesterday I began to find I could no longer construct proper sentences due to lack of food, which caused my boys a great deal of laughter. That's how hard this thing is.

Amazingly, I've managed these five days with no food. It has been quite the exercise: It has been tough doing all the usual 'Mum' activities (e.g., taking my kids places) in such a state. Still, fasting is a state where you 'afflict your soul' (Leviticus 16:29-31), so that's the deal.

We've talked a lot about our individual purpose this week. I've so enjoyed reading your comments - Really, really enjoyed reading them.

And now, to finish off the fast how about we take communion together? Here's a photo of mine, a little glass of juice and a cracker. Perhaps at some point today we could each make ourselves a communion meal and take it. Communion

A prayer:

Lord Jesus, you are the potter and I am the clay.

I thank you for your blood shed on the cross and your body broken.

I align myself with the words of purpose you have shown me this week, and I ask you to help me walk in them.

Finally, help me be a good ambassador for you in 2021.

My SUM friends, I send you much love. Thank you for journeying on this fast this week, what a special week. I hope you thoroughly enjoy eating food again, and we'll connect again after the weekend. In my next posts I might share a little about what I seemed to hear from the Lord for 2021.

For now, do you have any final stories to share from your week of fasting? Anything that God has shown you? We'll chat in the comments.


Fast Day Four: Which Bible Character Captures Your Journey?

Ann here today, on Thursday morning, day four of our fast. SUM fast 2020

How are you all doing?

So far, I’ve had no food since Monday sunrise and am feeling doddery. Time with the Lord at this point is simply about ‘being’. I don’t have mental sharpness so am floating around the house, popping on a bit of worship music, and doing little else.

I think Bryce secretly likes this quiet wife!

Today I wanted to float a little idea, and it comes wrapped in a story of something that happened a few years ago. It's this:

If God ever gives you the name of a Bible character, it might be an indication of how he sees you and the kinds of experiences or tasks he might have ahead for you.

Now, here’s the story. A few years ago, I woke with a phrase in my head: ‘You are specifically Elizabeth’. A phrase like this is so unusual it would seem to be God, so I duly went to the story of Elizabeth in the Bible. Mm, it didn't mean anything. So I put it on the shelf and left it.

However, weeks later I was having a sick day, lying on my couch, and I put on a podcast by Graham Cooke called ‘How God speaks through scripture’. I laid back with my eyes closed and listened while Graham recounted a personal story. In this story, God had told him he was a kind of ‘Caleb’. That was interesting, but then he said this:

“If God gives you the name of a Bible character it tells you how you are known by him. Expect to have some of the same experiences as that person.”

As he said that, I sat up -- 'Ohhh - Elizabeth!'

Speedily I lifted myself from the couch, got my Bible, and devoured her story. This time it made sense. I pulled towards me a special notebook I happened to have just received as a gift, and started to write my thoughts. Notably, Elizabeth was someone who carried a promise while keeping others company. Her name means ‘God has promised’. Importantly: She had a mute husband whose mouth later opened miraculously to declare that Jesus is Lord.

‘I’ll take that!’ I said to the Lord. And it was a moment of awe. 

Months later, Bryce and I were on a plane together, and I started to drift off to sleep. My head lolled over towards his shoulder and as it did so, I heard a phrase from the Holy Spirit: ‘God remembered.’

Once home, I looked up the meaning of the name Zacharias, Elizabeth’s husband. I didn’t know it before. It means: ‘God remembered.’

Boom!

All of this has since morphed into more of a guiding word for my life. I guess I've learned to be content while I wait for my husband's faith. But ‘Elizabeth’ has helped me understand the kinds of things I enjoy talking about, and why I get connected with certain people. Often I make friends with people who have an impossible promise, like Mary, and my job is to say 'I believe you.' I LOVE that job. Made for it.

The moral, perhaps, is that there is a lifting that comes from understanding who we are in God’s eyes. It is one thing to know our identity in Jesus Christ as a son or daughter (sonship). But it is also important to understand our unique purpose. 

“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me when as yet there were none. How precious also are your thoughts towards me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake I am still with you.” (Psalm 139:17-18, NKJV)

So the question today, perhaps, for the Lord might be something along the above lines. Something to ponder. You could even ask him the following:

Lord, is there a particular Bible character that can tell me a little about how you see me?

I'm looking forward to chatting more in the comments. What has this week been like so far for you? Let's share!


FAST DAY THREE - TWO PRAYER POINTS

Prayer and Fasting 2021My SUMer friends,

I have LOVED Ann’s posts for this fast. I literally teared up yesterday. So touching.

I am thrilled to lead today’s focus for our prayer and fasting. This is the midweek stretch. It will be very difficult today. But press in. I’m finding I’m overwhelmed by tremendous fatigue. Weird. I think it’s more spiritual than physical. So, I have a large cup of tea present most of the time and I’m making myself sit with my laptop. Need to finish this next book!!! Thank you, Jesus.

Two things. I can’t ignore the significance of what is happening in America today. Please pray for America. What happens today and the weeks ahead have long lasting implication upon our world, our faith and freedom, and our future.

Today let’s ask Papa what purpose is ahead for us in 2021. Ask Him for a word. In years past my good friend, Dineen, would ALWAYS receive a word for her year. This never happened to me. However, I wrote about my first word in Marching Around Jericho.

So, let’s ask the Lord about the Word that is written over our lives right now.

Also, ask the Lord this question. Father, what is your purpose for me this year?

Please, PLEASE, write what you hear, your word, purpose and more in the comments.

I will echo each of them as a witness in the heavens. I love all of you deeply. Keep pressing in as breakthrough is imminent. Love and hugs, Lynn


Fast Day Two: The Tenderness of the Father

Ann here! SUM fast 2020

It’s the morning of day two here, and so far so good. Amazingly, my family are talking about ‘Mum’s fast’ and encouraging me along, which has been a new feature this year and it captures how things have shifted in my home. I have a little more to share on that shift below.

First, though, I want to say that it's common to set a goal with fasting and find you don't make it. It's just so hard to fast -- That's the truth of it. If that's you, don't beat yourself up and think it's a failure. It's not. Just get back on the horse and try again the next day. It's definitely worth continuing.

The truth is, our Father smiles on the heart of one who fasts. And this morning I'm reminded of a little story that seems to illustrate that:

Every Christmas, Bryce and I put pressies under the tree for our teenage boys, Travis and Miles, and that’s fun. But I’ve never encouraged my children to buy me a present or even buy their Dad a present. I just haven’t; and so they haven’t. Instead, the boys and I go out and buy something for Bryce from all three of us and we have fun doing it.

Anyway, this year, those two boys did something very nice.

I was sitting in the lounge when Miles (age 14) said to me “Mum, you haven’t yet noticed what’s under the tree.” So I got up and looked. There, under the tree was a little package, clearly wrapped by a teenage boy. Wrinkley, ragged edges, and Sellotape all over the place. It said, “To Mum, from Travis and Miles”. And there, next to it, another package: “To Dad …”. 

Oh my heart. I looked back at my boy and his face showed how excited he was by this little wrinkled package. Thankfully he still doesn’t mind a cuddle from his Mum, and he got one.

The two of them had clubbed together their pocket money, gone out and done it. Teenage boys aren’t always the best at this sort of thing, nor is it at all easy parenting teenagers, and so I really can’t express how it felt to see that package. It was their little gesture of love and it meant the world.

Later in bed, Bryce and I looked at each other: “How CUTE WAS THAT?” We were giggling at the wrapping job, but then we both said in all seriousness that it was pretty much the highlight of our year.

Turning back now to the heart of our Father, a friend of mine recently said to me "We may never truly understand the tenderness of the Father until we reach Heaven". Our Father is tender, and how does He feel when we – His children -- do something like fast? It’s our gesture of love, devotion, and honor to Him.

So now here's more on that shift I mentioned:

“Why do you fast?” Bryce asked me yesterday.

“Well ..  It’s a gesture of love to God. To go without food is a sacrifice.”

“Mm, now you say that I can imagine it.” he said. “Food is a big deal.”

I carried on:

“God shines his face on someone when they make a gesture like that. It might be attractive to him, so to speak. Power comes, things happen in your life then.”

And then I said a bit more:

“Jesus said certain things can only be shifted through prayer and fasting. So fasting is powerful in that way – It can help people overcome certain challenges …”

“Hmm, interesting.” He nodded and took it all in. Perfectly nice; genuine interest. What's more, I didn't feel awkward talking about it.

A lot has shifted there. We didn’t have that kind of conversation a few years ago as faith conversations used to bring this mega wedge between us. But now it’s easier. And, quite honestly, I am enthralled by that change which has happened in only the last year.

Could it be that even this conversation yesterday with my husband is a testimony that the SUM fasts have made a difference? A gentle nod from the Father's tender heart. I'll take it.

Onwards and upwards, SUM soldiers, and I wish you all the best for day two. What has day one been like for you?


Fast Day One: What is the Story God Has Written?

Dear SUMites, here we are on day one of our SUM corporate fast! SUM fast 2020

It's Ann here and I can’t help but think that this particular fast is going to be meaningful. There is so much for us to inquire from God about. Our world is literally groaning for healing, and so are we. 

So we fast.

As I write I have a cupboard and fridge full of drinks, ready to embark on a brave five days. No food from sunrise Monday to sunset Friday. I will keep you posted on how this goes. I know from our chats that many of you are doing this fast. In the spirit, then, we link arms.

During this week, one theme I hope to talk to God about is this:

Lord, what do you want the SUM community to know for this coming year?

To elaborate a little, this year the Body of Christ has been blessed by ministries that have spoken out about the time we’re in. And then, as always, there have been some counterfeit versions of that. Privately, as Christians we seek the Lord’s wisdom ourselves in prayer, and the counsel of Christian friends we trust. But the whole thing has been an exercise in discernment. It's been a year-long journey in understanding what God is asking of us.

We’ve also had to learn through our mistakes. Many of us might be looking back thinking ‘Oops – I didn’t represent Jesus accurately to every single person in my life.’ Honestly, this year has been crazily tough – Let's have grace for ourselves. Onwards.

So there’s that. 2020. In the middle of it all, we have our own little community here at SUM, and here we can ask God for a customized picture:

Lord, what is your heart for the SUM homes in 2021?

How do we walk the upcoming challenges of 2021 with our pre-believing spouses?

In my own faith life, a striking feature of 2020 has been that I have thought a lot about the story God has written for my life. He seemed to nudge me often during this COVID stress: "Come away with Me, daughter, and take your mind elsewhere for a while. Here's what I want you to think about in relation to your life." I recently chatted to Ian and know that he has been experiencing something similar. And then, over on Lynn’s new ministry blog (www.lynndonovan.org), Martha has been blogging about moving into new seasons. So, many of us are having those stirrings.

With that idea of ‘life story’ and ‘what’s next?’, I thought I might gear this week’s posts around the fact that God has a really interesting story he has written over our lives, and he wants us to find out about it.

I believe that's one of several things that Jeremiah 6:16 conveys, along with Holy living: 

Thus says the Lord: 

"Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' " (NKJV)

Perhaps you think about your own life and feel you went off God's map at some point in the past as a prodigal (so many of us have that story). So then, that’s a detour and the question for God is ‘Now what?’ Somehow, because God is awesome, beyond what we can think or imagine, and blows our minds, could it be that he will bring you, through Plan B, back into his purpose for you?

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NKJV)

My friends, how about we make a point in day one of our fast to come before the Lord and ask him some of these personal, delightful questions? 

  • Lord, what are the good works you made for me to walk in? 
  • Lord, what did you make me to be from before the beginning of time?
  • What is your purpose and will in my marriage?
  • Would you tell me something new and profound about my life story?

As for the fast, what kind of fast are you doing this week and what would you like to ask the Lord? Let's share a little about what we hope this week will look like.