387 posts categorized "#SUM Nation"

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.


Prepping for Our Fast

Ann here! Lynn Donovan Prayer & Fasting 2021

With Christmas festivities behind us, and hopefully some happy memories made, it’s time to turn our minds to our annual SUM Community Fast.

The fast will start in a week’s time, on Monday 4th January. If you haven't already, check out my video from last week.

Personally, I’m so in need of this year’s fast. Because of what we’ve been through with the pandemic, I have an especially strong desire to get before God and reflect on where we're at. When vulnerable from fasting, you just can’t help but hit the couch and listen to Him more than usual. And though fasting is very difficult, that is the benefit I know will come next week.

Every time we fast as this SUM community, at least a few of us will hear something from the Lord and post it in the comments. In fact, I look back on the years and remember many of the conversations or moments we’ve had together from these times.

Besides hearing God, fasting does something in the spirit realm and brings shifts in our homes. What power comes when a group of people does it together! We probably can't imagine this side of Heaven. Jesus said that some things from the enemy can only be removed through prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29). These shifts aren't always noticeable straight away, but sometimes they are.

So, how do you feel about going for it this year? If you're new to it, here are some tips for preparing:

  • Ask God how he would like you to fast. You could fast each day sunrise to sunset, and then have a small dinner in the evening. This is a good challenge. Another way is to just have soup for five days -- That is harder. And, if you're a seasoned faster you could try no food for five days. This one takes some mental preparation.
  • Jot down a list of questions for God, or things you’d like to talk to him about over that week, and dig out a special notebook and pen ready for the week.
  • Make sure you have plenty of drinks in the house.
  • Pray about telling your spouse, and if you want to tell them ask for God's help. It took me a few fasts before I plucked up the courage to tell my husband -- I feared he'd find it just that little bit too weird. However, when I finally did tell him he was fine. Puzzled, but fine. Last year he even took me out for a smoothie to help me keep going!
  • If you are on holiday or have guests over, plan ahead which meals you'll fast from: Setting fasting goals ahead of time seems a good strategy.
  • Don’t plan too much exercise or activity during that week. That might send you over the edge!
  • Get yourself some super comfy clothes at the ready (e.g., track-pants) so that you can hunker on the floor or on the couch for that nice time with God. Somehow, I find comfy clothes help me get through!

As for over here, I will be home quietly with my boys who are on school holidays. I plan to tell them and Bryce so that they understand my inertia that week, and I hope to do no food at all for the five days. Having attempted this a few times it's perhaps not as intimidating as it used to be. I know its power so I’m game. I’ll still have coffee and tea, juice, protein shakes, and yoghurt drinks. Some here even go further than that, doing water only. I have to say I'm building up to that still.

So, team SUM, are we up for it? Post in the comments and share what you think you’re going to do. It’s fun doing this together and we always love seeing each other’s adventures on this week.

Lynn will be posting next on Friday, and then I'll be back on Monday to kick us off with the fast.

Ann


The Once Was A Man Who Didn't Believe

It's been a number of years since I've shared this post. But it speaks to me today. I pray it speaks to you as well. Merry Christmas, Lynn

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Author Unknown

 


The Soul Redeemer - A Note From Dineen Miller

Dineen Miller 2 2010Hello SUMITES!

I’m thrilled to be here today! I’ve missed you dearly and it’s been so wonderful to continue to watch this community grow under Ann’s wonderful leadership. When Lynn asked me to share my newest book release, I was overjoyed, because it’s the conclusion to Lexie and Hugh’s story.

When I wrote The Soul Saver, my heart was to write a story to compliment Winning Him Without Words, much like the movie Fireproof and the book The Love Dare were meant to compliment each other. And over the years many have asked me if I would be writing a sequel to The Soul Saver to finish Lexie and Hugh’s story.

Well, I’m happy to share with you that The Soul Redeemer has officially released. It’s a shorter book, a novella actually, that tells the rest of Lexie and Hugh’s story.

And their story is still ours, my friends. We live it every day. 

Her artwork is guided by faith. He’s a non-believer. Will their relationship survive a demon knocking at their door?

In The Soul Saver my goal was to show the spiritual warfare we deal with in our mismatched marriages. In The Soul Redeemer my goal was to show how we win! Lexie leans to step into her authority and Hugh begins to question his atheism.

I pray this story encourages you, my friends. I’m still very much in the battle with you. As I wrote this story, my husband and I hit some really rough patches of disagreement through this pandemic and the election. Once again, the enemy came to steal, kill and destroy, but he lost again as my husband and I determined to stay in a place of love. Not easy but we made the daily decision to do it.

God’s love always wins because His love is the very essence of Who He is, the Great I Am. And He never fails.

I hope you’ll check out the rest of the story, dear friends.

I have two copies of the The Soul Redeemer I’d love to give way.

Just leave a comment and Lynn will pick the winners.

Be blessed!

Dineen

The-Soul-Redeemer-Kindle (002)About The Soul Redeemer:

Tobias is back and determined to win.

Lexie has no idea why Nate is flying back from China, only that his text said it’s urgent. His face is the one God led her to sculpt. That can only mean he’s her next assignment.

Upon his arrival, Nate is stunned to see Lexie is pregnant. He knows what she and Hugh went through when they lost their  little girl several years ago, and can only imagine what lays behind the hint of fear he sees in her eyes. But a warning has brought him back to the States—one he hates to deliver but knows he must.

Tobias is back.

Though still teetering on the edge of faith, Hugh is focused on his future as Department Chair of Physics at Stanford University and the impending arrival of their daughter. Yet he finds an astonishing ability to welcome Nate back into their lives—something he didn’t think possible after what happened in the past.

Tobias is back and determined to claim Hugh’s soul. And his plan of destruction includes putting Lexie and her unborn child in jeopardy. As Lexie and her baby girl fight live, an unexpected visitation brings hope to Lexie that her baby girl will survive. But will Lexie survive to tell Hugh about it?


Church, We Are Crossing Over!

Dear friends, Ann here! Crossing the Jordan

I had a different post planned today, but that can wait until next week. Instead, I thought I'd share a few impromptu thoughts given the present events. We're watching wide-eyed as the US election plays out, and then across the Atlantic many Europeans are entering their second lockdown. It's all pretty intense.

However, many believers - friends of God -- across the world will be sitting in their living rooms asking, “What does this mean, Lord? What do you want us to know?”

Sitting … waiting … watching … seeking Him. 

"I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected."

(Habakkuk 2:1, NKJV)

We hear in part, and we put the pieces together as a body. So, in that spirit I thought I might share what I've been hearing from God these past few months. And when I say 'hearing', I can say He has spoken this particular thing to me quite a few times this past year (even before COVID began), and quite clearly. The hard part is believing it (because it feels abstract) and knowing what to do with it. It's along these lines:

The Church is crossing over to a new era like the Israelites crossed the Jordan. 

This crossing over involves moving from one era to another. From one way of being, to another. From old routines, old ways of doing church, and old mindsets to a brand new 'thing'.

Specifically, the Lord has led me repeatedly to the story of Joshua and the Israelites who crossed the Jordan river collectively. They crossed over from the wilderness to the promised land (Joshua 1:1-3:17) and this involved them completely leaving their old place. Even though it was the dysfunctional wilderness, it was what they knew so there was comfort there. The wilderness had a certain set of routines: They ate manna, for example, and they were led by Moses. In the new land, the manna stopped and Moses died just before they crossed. Their main focus was now to follow the 'new' -- Joshua -- into new battles. The whole package was completely different. And the process of crossing over took months, the river being only a small part of it.

The good part was that once they had crossed over, they experienced victory - Well, as long as they were obedient and listened to God's voice.

I believe what God is saying is that we are moving, and we need to be prepared for the same magnitude of change as the Israelites had, unbelievable as that might sound. When we emerge from this pandemic, things will be different in our faith lives and perhaps in the Church. I have no idea how, but I do believe God is asking us to prepare our hearts for that. He is asking us to be open-hearted to change, be prepared to embrace something new, be prepared to be obedient, and hold on tight to him.

Right now, the year 2020 is an experience that feels something like walking through the riverbed of the Jordan. It's hard to be straddling this in-between place, this 'no-man's land'. But in that story of the crossing over, the Ark of the Covenant went ahead to show God's people where to put their footing, for they had not been that way before (Joshua 3:3-4). In the same way, God will be leading us through this. We just need to keep talking to him -- And listening.

Here is the key scripture God has been giving me for this time, and I love it. It fills me with hope!

"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)

SUM family, let's be strong and of good courage, for God is doing something new in our midst. Hold on tight, he has us buckled in and safe!

In the meantime, how are you doing? I'd love to hear, even if you are finding it tough. Let's pull together as a community.

Love to you all,

Ann


On Shedding the 'Unequally Yoked' Badge

Hello friends, Ann here!Badge

It's been a couple of weeks since I last wrote, but in my last post I shared a story from our archives where the Holy Spirit had given us a caution about using the ‘unequally yoked’ label too much. To catch up, you can read that post here. Today I'm interested in chatting a bit more about that -- the 'unequally-yoked' badge.

I certainly can relate to the issue of using the 'spiritually mismatched' label a little much. As a woman, I share my feelings easily with others, and when I’m with other Christians I talk about my faith challenges. Well, the spiritual mismatch is the major challenge, right?

Except … it’s easy to mention this thing to any Tom, Dick or Harry at church and suddenly we’re allowing them into our marriage, which is a private space. That thought makes me sad. I think my husband would hope that doesn't happen.

I guess over the years I’ve become more wary about sharing this precious and difficult thing that Bryce and I walk. But guarding the tongue takes practice, especially if you are naturally a bit talkative!

As for the label itself, which we do use in the SUM community, what are we to make of the words that the Holy Spirit gave us (mentioned in my last post)? Let's take another look at those beautiful -- and perspective-changing -- words:

Beloved SUMites:

Your marriages are not mismatched or unequally yoked.

Your marriages are Mine.

Your husbands are Mine.

They are Mine.

Words like these are designed by the Lord to give us the mind of Christ. He always sees things differently to the way we naturally do and he will often ask us to lift our eyes above the circumstances. He wants us to walk in hope, peace and joy!

Of course, we can't deny the battle. If we were too euphemistic in our words, people wouldn't be able to find this blog and know we're here to help them deal with spiritual mismatch in marriage. The Bible uses the term ‘unbelieving wife’ and ‘unbelieving husband’ (1 Corinthians 7:14) with honesty. So, we do the same in this ministry to articulate the challenge for others who need help. Even then, I have to say I use the label cautiously (Proverbs 18:21).

Perhaps the issue is not so much about using the label as much as it's about our hearts. If the label is used to minister to other SUMites it's a different thing to us using the label widely and without respect for our spouse. So, while I'm open with SUMites I've become much more guarded when talking with other Christians. If I do talk about it I'll say something like this:

"My husband and I do have a difference in what we believe, but we're still happily married."

“My husband doesn’t go to church with me, so I tend to do that side of things by myself.”

In fact, I had this role-modelled to me a few years ago when I sidled up to an older woman at church. I wanted to ask her about her non-attending husband. All she said was this, smiling:

“You're right, he doesn't come to church. But you know what, he is the most amazing man. It's not ideal, but he's a fantastic husband.” 

I liked that.

Ultimately, what I know is that God sees the end from the beginning. This present moment is not the final answer and when God looks at our marriage he sees its final day and every day leading up to that. As he sees the bigger picture, his word on the matter is this:

Your marriage is not mismatched. It is Mine.

If we can believe these words, our job is then to 'call things that are not as though they were' (Romans 4:17). That is, we can go so far as to say verbally to others: "My husband -- He belongs to the Lord", or "My marriage -- It belongs to God", or perhaps we can even smile to ourselves and think about that declaration of the Holy Spirit: Not mismatched.

My friends, I hope you've found that interesting -- It's been food for thought for me. For now, here's a question: How do you approach this issue when talking with other Christians about your situation and your life? We'll chat in the comments.

Ann


THIS MAY STING! Sorry... Ahem, not sorry????

So, ya….. This post may sting. This is an area that I have confronted over and over again throughout my life.

Bitterness

How do we walk through life and handle the disappointments, the let downs, the betrayals without slipping down the slippery slope into the dark abyss of bitterness?

My friends, I’m telling you, this sly root of the dark realm can destroy a life, a home, a marriage, a child, a church,……. A city, how about a nation???

Recently I’ve been reading a book by Francis Frangipane, The Three Battlegrounds, and I was taken back by this short sentence:

Bitterness is unfulfilled revenge!

Wow, gulp.

ForgiveWoundedness from others, if left to fester in unforgiveness, will sink into dark bitterness. I’ve seen what this looks like in the spirit. It’s a grayish, festering, dead looking part of a person’s soul. Light goes in but doesn’t reflect back. It’s a pit of endless negative thought cycles. It’s leads a soul to where our love grows cold or non-existent.

The cure for bitterness is the love of Jesus. Honestly, we can’t forgive others from within our own strength. Some of us have been through such horrendous things that true forgiveness is impossible outside of the supernatural power and love of Jesus Christ.

I’ll tell you that through all the years of my spiritually mismatched marriage, I could have held a long list of disappointments against my husband. And they may have even been justified. But, unforgiveness is a prison of our own creation. And it’s through unforgiveness that the demonic realm seizes their greatest strongholds in our lives.

What’s fascinating to me is that many Christians think they have done the work of forgiveness but they aren’t truly free. If they were, the persistent ugly thought cycles would diminish and disappear. Now there is no condemnation here. THIS IS A MOMENT to take a pause and consider your thought cycles. Are they lining up with heaven are they:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. —Philippians 4:8

If we find ourselves standing on the event horizon of the black hole of bitterness, we MUST take action immediately. Repent, ask someone to pray with you. Confess your sins to one another ( James 5:16). Find an accountability partner to help you walk into spiritual health. Spend time with a CHRISTIAN counselor. Schedule a prayer session. Ask Jesus if there is any area where unforgiveness, cold-love or bitterness lingers. Lean on His Supernatural strength, love, and power to bring you into freedom.

Bitterness within a marriage is one of the last nails……

Now I’m not just preaching. Gang, I’ve had to live this out in my own life. With that said, it’s not easy but doable. I know it is because I was especially vulnerable to disappointment. But through the blood and love of Jesus Christ, I can forgive ALL offenses and I walk in powerful faith today.

If Jesus will do this for me, He will do it for you as well. And when you couple forgiveness with love, something wonderful lives in you! It’s the spirit of the Lord! Hallelujah! 

So, my friends, pray in the comments a simple prayer to release yourself. Or pray in the comments that your spouse is released, a child, co-workers, boss, etc. These prayers of forgiveness are absolutely the first step toward wholeness in Christ. I will echo each one.

The opposite of bitterness is:

  • magnanimity
  • sweetness
  • contentment
  • delight
  • balminess
  • warmth

Claim one of these attributes and ask the Lord to immediately supply it into your life as an affirmation of your prayer of faith.

I adore you, Lynn!


A Word: God is Calling our Spouses.

Hello friends, Ann here.Record

Today I’m continuing from my post last week about this blog being like a wonderful museum of God stories. If you missed it you can catch up here. In that post, I described how God has given our community the occasional prophetic word over the years: words of wisdom or promises specifically for us, the SUM Nation.

It’s such encouraging stuff. We have the Bible, but we also have access to hearing his voice. When we do receive a word from the Holy Spirit, it’s helpful to go back and re-examine it. For example, there might be an instruction for us in there that we'd forgotten and by reviewing his words we can make sure we're doing all we can to partner with him. 

I guess it’s all part of what it means to be in relationship with him. What an adventure!

Today, I’m smiling so much as I share with you the first prophetic word I could find on this blog. It’s from 2012, and it’s just a few words that the Lord spoke to Dineen; in fact, it was shortly before the turning point that I mentioned last week. Here are the words:

Tell the SUMites that I am calling their spouses.

You can read Dineen’s explanation more fully here. But, very simply, this is his promise to us: He is calling them. He is calling them.

Now we might be bouncing up and down, thinking, "Yes, but I’d like to know whether my spouse is going to become a Christian any time soon?" [laughing] It’s as if God asks us instead to pause, take a breath, and just listen to what he wants us to know. He wants us to know that he is calling them. [Deep breath]. So what does that mean?

As I read Dineen's write-up of the word, I understand from it that we are to trust and rest. We know that no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws them, and this thing is in motion. Our response can be: “Thank you, Father. You are calling them. And I know that in time your voice will become louder, your knock will become louder.”

The Lord will often leave space for mystery when he speaks. But sometimes he will give us a bit (as he did here) and then more later. Indeed, a few years later he gave us some clearer promises about our spouses' salvation and I will pull those out soon.

Back to 2012, a most curious thing happened next: Just three weeks after writing up that word, Dineen was driving in the center lane of an 8-lane road at 8am when out of the corner of her eye she saw a man cross the road from the opposite side. He stopped in the middle of the road, fell to his knees and lifted his arms in a gesture of worship. Here's the story. It was totally startling and strange. Could it be that it was a little extra confirmation as we look back? It was primarily a personal blessing for Dineen at the time, but for us SUMites I wonder if we could also use it as a visual of a spouse crossing over, from unbelief to belief.

All I know is that God is calling. 

Now, there was a second part to this word about God calling, an instruction for us:

Lift up your faces!

“Lift up your eyes, and look to the heavens” (Isaiah 40:26, NIV)

My friends, this is to be our way of walking, to lift up our faces and look at Heavenly things. That is something for us to ask God's help with, and perhaps we can linger there by re-reading Dineen's posts above. For now, here are some fitting words from those posts:

“What if that lift of our eyes is a constant state of awareness – constantly looking for God in our everyday lives? What if we looked for God’s hand and provision each day for the prayers we sent up just that morning. What if we waited expectantly for God to just show up in some way each and every day?”

I will leave it there. I guess I take from this that we are to marinate in the idea that God is calling our spouses, and we are to lift our faces. And perhaps we are to take a little time to chew over these two ideas. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Nice chatting!

Ann


The Museum of SUM

Hi SUMites, Ann here! Museum

Lately, I've been thinking about how much this blog is a museum full of interesting stories. I wonder if any of you find it so? And, within it there are places where God has answered some of those questions we talked about in our last post. That's what I wanted to share today. Hope you can follow me as we take a little walk through the SUM community's story.

Most of us will know this ministry was started by Lynn as just a little blog. Her time of being spiritually mismatched had only just become easier when God nudged her to start writing publicly about this sensitive topic. This was a huge ask: Would her husband mind? Miraculously, Mike said yes, and fourteen years later here we are. Mike's baptism last year brought us full circle. It is truly one of my favorite stories ever.

This blog, for me, is a treasure trove of God stories. It's a living, breathing parable. A record of God's faithfulness. A story of a little one becoming a thousand (Isaiah 60:22). And, a story of a nation that God loves deeply: The SUM nation.

Last year, I decided to read through the SUM nation's story from the very beginning, starting with Lynn’s maiden post on 1 May 2006. With the spiritual equivalent of museum-curator gloves, I read carefully, post by post, turning the events over. It was as if certain threads were like specific exhibits. Hindsight adds extra insight to some of these threads.

I noticed quite a few things. One part I love is that when Dineen joined soon after the blog started, she instantly brought a strong message about Jericho. She wrote about that a lot. It was as if the Marching Around Jericho book and testimony was foreshadowed in some of her posts. God had a story here that he was writing, and we were all along for the ride. 

As I scrolled through, I was keen to read any words from the Holy Spirit that had featured in past posts. By that, I mean directly spoken words or visions that God had given to the leaders for this community. But as I read, from 2006 onwards I could not find much. In 2012 that changed. It was only after October 2012, a personal turning point where Lynn and Dineen each had a deep encounter with the Lord, that they began to receive clearer promises from the Holy Spirit for this community. They would pen these words, turning them into posts. As a reader at that time I recall how strengthening those posts were.

Hearing God speak, and then conveying his words to others, is a huge learning curve. Looking at this blog I can see that God used many ways to teach us to hear his voice. He would usually speak in the still, small whisper, a barely-there conviction; but sometimes he would give Dineen a dream, vision, or a picture; or Lynn would hear a phrase drop into her spirit. It was exciting. They grew in hearing God's voice, and so did we.

Paul said we should use these kinds of words as part of our spiritual battle:

"This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare" (1 Timothy 1:18, NKJV)

These words, then -- words from the Holy Spirit -- are powerful tools. They might include promises and/or direction and strategy, and they can completely change our outlook. Importantly, they can also answer some of those questions we have.

So with this in mind, I’m going to dig out some of these prophetic words that are sitting in our archives, some from as early as 2012. They are words of wisdom and/or prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:8-9), and their purpose is to edify, exhort and comfort us (1 Corinthians 14:3). I would describe them as gifts to help us. So, I'd like to dust them off and take a look at them again. Would you be keen? I’ll start with a couple next week, and then will revisit others here and there over the months as time permits.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your story: How long have you been reading this blog, and what has been your most memorable post, topic, or series of posts?


ANNOUNCEMENT & CONGRATULATIONS

SUMites, Lynn here.

I can't do this alone.

IMG_1841I can't run the SUM ministry by myself. I need help just as Moses had Aaron and Hur to hold up his arms when he couldn't, I've been blessed by tremendous people to assist in ministry throughout the years. 

And in the past year or longer, Ann Hutchison, from the great nation of New Zealand, has assisted me in so much. Most of you know Ann, as she is a writer and a regular broadcaster on Facebook. But I know Ann as a woman sold out for God and on fire to help others on the path of the spiritually mismatched. Truly she's wholly here because she loves you and love Jesus.

So, I'm making it official, today Ann is stepping into the Director role here at SUM. She's already been carrying this responsibility for a year or more. So, I'm way behind in acknowledging her. 

Congratulations Ann. I adore you and I know you are bringing hope and help to others through Jesus Christ.

Take a look at Ann's videos on YouTube. Also, support her on our Social Media. Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Give her a high five and encourage her as I lean more upon her to march our ministry forward. Also, I'm not going anywhere. Your stuck with me. I'm merely dividing my time between here and my Kingdom blog.

Love you SUMite Nation. You are the most courageous and love-filled people I know! WELL DONE! Hugs, Lynn

 


ANNOUNCMENT by Lynn Donovan

Martha F. BushSUMite Nation:

I have a few announcements and a few changes to let you know about.

First, I would like to thank Ann and Tiffany for the stellar Summer Bible Study series. It was fascinating to view the truths of the Bible through a different lens. Often, we can become stymied in our thoughts and beliefs in our presumptions about the Word. My experience, now over decades, leads me to know that the Word of God is living and active. There is new revelation to be found over and again.

What a blast to live in the Kingdom. It’s never boring.

I would also like to share a few changes that happened in July. First, Martha Bush stepped down from writing at SUM and has joined me to write at Lynndonovan.com. Currently I’m writing about Biblical healing, Jesus Heals the Soul, etc. You should pop over as this is where I’m writing about Kingdom concepts.

Here is the current series:

Jesus – A Study of the Triune God
Jesus – The Shepherd
Rescuing Back our Kingdom Identity
Jesus, Our Healer – Part 1
Jesus Heals the Soul

And please click on the top of the page and subscribe to receive posts in your inbox.  Thank you.

I want to thank Martha for how she served the Lord through writing her and how she continues to show up in the comments and on Social Media.

I want to thank all of you for being my friends. Thank you for stepping into this community. It’s one of the most amazing online communities in the Kingdom. Truly.

Hugs, Lynn


JESUS AND THE CHURCH ARE THE ULTIMATE MISMATCH

Wedding Supper of the LambLynn here. THIS IS FROM THE LORD!

The entirety of our years on earth are rushing, headlong toward ONE SPECIFIC DAY! A Day that’s been destined in our future for eternity. A day the has been promised before time began. The greatest day of all eternity!!!

The wedding supper of the Lamb!

And SUMITE NATION, we have been given a beautiful gift that most the rest of the world completely cannot grasp.

We have been walking this spiritual mismatch with a human spouse for years. AND, OH, WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW!

  • We understand what it feels like to be a spouse who loves in the face of pain, rejection, and disappointment. —Just like Jesus loves His Bride.
  • We feel deeply the struggle to build a moral family life, raise children and grow in our faith without the support of the one we chose to be our life partner. —Just like Jesus!
  • We pray without ceasing for our spouse of this world to be awakened and embrace the Living and True God. —Just like Jesus!
  • We sacrifice dreams of life together in harmony, church attendance, strong family and ministry with our spouse. —Just like Jesus!

WE THE UNEQUALLY YOKED. We understand Jesus. He lives in this scenario with 7.5 billion human souls that He died to save, heal, and set free. We see it so clearly. We understand Jesus. We know how He feels. He grieves over the lost and broken of this world, the spiritually mismatched Bride.

But through the long years of faithful perseverance we comprehend the heart of Christ for us, our family, our spouse, and humanity.

  • And just like Jesus, we will never surrender hope and will fight hell itself for the souls of those we love.
  • And just like Jesus, we will always believe a heart and a home can and will be redeemed and changed.
  • And just like Jesus, we know without-a-doubt that all things are working for our good to the glory of the Father.
  • And just like Jesus, we believe that it’s the goodness of God that leads to repentance.

Today, and every day, we continue to stand in the gap for a lost generation of spouses that are cloaked in darkness. And we stand alongside Jesus.

My SUMite brothers and sister, we know this better that any other person on the plant. Because we live this out every…..single…..day.

Jesus always believed for us. And in response we have followed His example in very challenging and extraordinarily difficult marriages. And in seasons when our heart breaks and disappointment vows to swallow us up, just like Jesus, WE WILL NOT RELENT! Jesus will never stop hoping, interceding, protecting and believing for us.

We can, AND WILL, do the same for a lost and broken man or woman.

AND YOU KNOW WHY? BECAUSE WE ARE THE CHURCH!!!!!!!!

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah!

For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” —Revelation 19:6-9

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect. —Hebrews 12:22-23

So what say you, Church??? Will you be at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. Will you be standing by your spouse, your children, grandchildren and their children’s children?

This is this your legacy! YOU are the one person who took one small brave step into faith and you changed an entire family line for a thousand generations. Let revelation bring this profound truth of your life’s impact for the Kingdom of God into your reality today. Then sing, praise, and walk in complete faith.

We have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony!! THAT is the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  Hallelujah!!!

I love you SUMite Nation! March ON!!!  The world is the Lords and we shall see every knee bow to the name of our beloved, Jesus Christ. Hallelujah. AMEN Hugs, Lynn


Nabal, Abigail, and David -SUMITES in the Bible- Summer Bible Study

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comWe left our story in 1 Samuel 25 with Abigail meeting David with provisions and a great big “SORRY.” Whew, that sorry and the honor she bestowed upon David saved probably more than 100 people from bloodshed. (verse 33 & 34)

She went home and arrived to ANOTHER drunken banquet. – Ugh!

Abigale was likely exhausted, angry at her mean husband, overwhelmed by the thought of what could have happened to everyone she loved on the ranch. And she came home, perhaps, somehow hoping her husband might ask her where she’d been and where she had disappeared to.

NOPE.

He was very drunk. The next morning when he sobered up and was in his right mind, she told him all about it. And the craziest thing happened.

Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone. 1 Samuel 25:37

It’s believed he suffered a stroke. Whoa! I wondered how Abigail processed this? The servants?

Then in verse 38; About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died.

Double WHOA!

The Word tells us he was struck by God. Yikes. Now, this sounds all like crazy goodness in that Abigail was rescued from a vile and evil man. It is good however, we can’t look at this story as the happily ever after we all desperately want.

We do know that David honors her request and remembers Abigail and offers her marriage, as the estate would surely not pass to her, as a woman. And she would likely be married off to Nabal’s brother. So David took her in through marriage. But her life wouldn’t have been a picnic. She left wealth to live in a camp with a bunch of hooligans. She wasn’t his only wife and David took on more wives, Bathsheba who we know he really loved. And Michal was with Paltiel.

Good grief!

So what is it about Abigail that God has included her story in the Word?

She was a believer in Yahweh. She trusted Him to save her. She was humble. She was wise. She walked in a beauty in her countenance. She was quick to react and she followed the Lord’s instructions. She was aware of her reality and what was going on around her (David and his past, present and future and what God was doing in him). She loved people and acted quickly to save them, even a wicked man.

Verse 41 & 42: She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, “I am your servant and am ready to serve you and wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” Abigail quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five female servants, went with David’s messengers and became his wife.

That’s the last we hear about our beloved, Abigail. But we know one day she will be a queen and live in a palace.

My dear friends, isn’t that what is ahead for all of us?

Where is God calling you to bow down? Where is He calling you into divine wisdom and humility? Where is the Lord asking you to wash the feet of others for a season? Is He calling you to the palace right now?

A queen in the Kingdom of God is a servant. Just as Jesus came to serve, our 80 years here are just that we are called to serve like Jesus. All we need is already provided in our King Jesus and the wedding supper of the Lamb will be our invitation just as Abigail was invited into a wedding by David.

Hallelujah! I love you, SUMites. Next time Ann will be writing about the GREATEST SPIRITUALLY MISMATCHED MARRIAGE in the Bible.

Okay, was this study of 1 Samuel 25 helpful? See you in the comments. Hugs, Lynn


Who Is Abigail? SUMites of the Bible Summer Study

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comTodays passage, 1 Samuel 25.

Abigail was married to a wicked, unbeliever, Nabal (Hebrew name means mean, base, vile, unbeliever) who denied support to the future King of Israel. And if you read through 1 Samuel 25 again today, you will notice how much this woman was a woman of deep faith. And just as it is today when we face enormous challenges and situations, that we often cannot change, it’s our faith that develops and lives strong within. Hallelujah.

Now we know David sent men to ask for supplies after protecting the House of Nabal all summer. Nabal denied all provision and insulted the men who then turned back and told David all about it. David, being a passionate man, arose, dawned a sword along with 400 of his gang and set out to kill and ransack the House of Nabal.

Fortunately, the servants, by the way the servants always know what’s really going on. That’s why it’s great to be a servant of God. Well, they servants alerted the one person who was wisest of all on the ranch, Abigail, the Godly wife of this wicked man.

Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs (=60 pounds) of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. – 1 Samuel 25:18-19

Wow, so much in these two verses. Abigail acted quickly. She “KNEW” what to do because she lives in intimacy with God and follows His voice. And interestingly she didn’t tell her husband. Could it be that there are times we just need to take action and we don’t need to pass everything we want to do for God by our unbelievers? I’m just asking?????

I’ll share my experience here. YES, there are times that I’ve made decisions to send someone money or to tithe into the Kingdom or to give something I own to someone else because it’s the right thing to do. And I didn’t run it by Mike. Now, I didn’t give away the car or our dog. But I’ve over the years I’ve chosen to give and Mike was gleefully oblivious. It’s okay. Just don’t give away the house without consulting your spouse. *humorous grin*

I love Abigail. She immediately sets out with a tremendous amount of provisions toward David. She finally meets up with him and listen to her words:

Vs. 28-31 - “Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.”

Wow, look at how her faith in God. It's at the center of her life. She knows what God is doing and is affirming her belief to David.

David responds: Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands 1 Samuel 25:32-33

There are a number of lessons we can take from the life of Abigail:

  • Abigail responded quickly. She didn’t let fear of the potential geocide nor her vile husband stop her from responding rightly and with haste.
  • She had wisdom from heaven to know what to do. She provided the supplies and the “honor” that was appropriate.
  • She took responsibility herself even though she didn’t create the toxic situation.
  • She humbled herself and sought mercy.
  • Eventually she discusses the events the following day with her husband AFTER he sobered up.
  • She did what was right without knowing there was a rescue around the corner.

My dear SUMites, is Abigail’s story in the Word just for us? Is her example our example. Is her faith our faith? Do we choose to do the right thing in our difficult marriages?

Oh the Word of God, it makes us look deep within and challenges us at the core. I love Abigail and I can’t wait to meet her in heaven one day. She isn’t merely a character in a book. She is/was a real woman who we will one day meet face-to-face. I can’t wait to sit at her feet and ask her questions. What a blast that will be.

Okay, what do you think about our Abigail? What details did I miss about her character and response. Do you agree with what she did. How do we take her example and apply it to our modern marriages and life?

Next post: What about Nabal? What happens to Abigail and where does this leave David?


Here's One For the History Books - Literally- SUMites in the Bible

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comSUMers, I could write for days about 1 Samuel, chapter 25. Whoa. There is so much in here. So, get a cup, sit down, strap in, and hold on as we jump in and learn from God’s Word. Hallelujah!

PLEASE go read the chapter, click here for the NIV version. I’m going to be teaching from the NIV as well as the One New Man Bible which is a direct rendering from the Hebrew. Ahhhhh, we are granted a rich and deeper understanding when we look at the original language.

The setting: The books of Samuel are a history of the Priesthood in Israel and the Kings of Israel. It’s the telling of how the people of God left Him as their King and turned to an earthly King. Samuel means heard of God. This was because his mother prayed for a baby and God heard her. Read that story, it’s awesome as well.

Let’s start with the couple we will be reading about today:

Nabal: The Greek meaning from the NIV, fool. Ah, yep we knew it *grin*. Hebrew: Naval, means mean, base, vile, unbeliever. (Whoa, didn’t know that. So interesting.)

Abigail: NIV describes her as an intelligent and beautiful woman. But I LOVE the Hebrew rendering of her name, Avigayil means, My Father rejoices exuberantly. And she is described as a woman of good understanding and beautiful countenance. There is a striking difference here, in that the Hebrew describes her spirit and the Greek describes her physically. Interesting. Personally, I believe her countenance is what provided her with tremendous influence and also favor with God. Her favor with God brought her great understanding and wisdom.

David: In this portion of the story David is an outlaw. Truly, he is being hunted by the King, Saul, who has been abandoned by God. What I find fascinating about David is that he led a band of marauders who ransacked entire towns, killing the people and taking all the spoils. Say WHAT??????

Does that bother anyone else?

Well, let’s add to the understanding. Most of the people of Israel know David. Remember the army watched this 12 year-old-boy defeat the Philistines as David slew Goliath. They knew Samuel anointed him to be King. They knew of his exploits in battle to defeat the enemies of the Crown. And this is all in line with God’s purpose and plans. God still intended Israel to cleanse the Promised Land of the filth of the nations who practiced divination, idol worship, and who sacrificed their own children in the fire to Molech. And if you know anything about this practice, it’s absolutely revolting. Trust me on this.

So, David’s ransacking may not have been an evil in the eyes of God. ---- Doesn’t the Bible really mess with your head?---- That’s a good thing.

Another note I find fascinating is that Nabal is described as a mean, vile, and an unbeliever with whom no one can reason. Wow, I wonder how many of us know people like that??? And in this scenario in 1 Samuel 25 he is living up to his reputation. I wonder, however, how many of us would reject helping someone because a person was an outcast of society, a law breaker, an intentional defiler of all that we adhere to? Dang, I like to ask the challenging questions. *grin*

An overall summary of this passage is David protected Nabal’s men while they shepherded the flocks during the summer. Come fall and harvest, David needed provisions and naturally assumed he would be rewarded for his service. Nabal said, “No way. I’m not giving anything to a gang of fugitives.” Even though he knew David was anointed the next King and was likely aware that he protected his men and possessions.

At the core here is absolute arrogance and greed. And likely a lifetime of little repentance, consequence, nor love for others. People of great wealth rarely face consequence. It's a travesty that leads many of wealth into a poverty of soul.

God is so patient. Even waiting for a man like Nabal to experience a change of heart. Even giving to him a wise and beautiful wife and a life of comfort. The truth surrounded Nabal each and every day. He chose to ignore the truth: David will be King and this future King had protected his possessions and servants. Nabal was selfish and felt untouchable. What is fascinating about this scenario, Nabal was going to die either way.

Now it’s easy to go down this road that my spouse looks like Nabal. Don’t do it. Most of us are married to good men and women who are honorable and love us. Even if we might think they could do a better job of it.

What the real story in the chapter is all about is Abigail. And I can’t wait to talk with you about this woman.

Okay, did I mess with your head looking into the introduction of this story? I hope so, *grin*. What do you think about the Nabal? Why is the Lord sharing so much of this man’s character, his name, his behavior? I really want to hear your opinions. There is wisdom in here. Let Jesus show you. And I’ll see you in the comments. And I can’t wait to chat about Abigail next time.

Hugs, Lynn


Welcome Listeners of Chris Brooks on Moody Radio

Marching Around Jericho Cover 3DIt’s an honor and privilege to share with the listeners on the Equipped show with Chris Books, Moody Radio, the amazing journey I took marching around Jericho and my unsaved spouse's faith journey. Chris is an amazing host and our conversation covered many aspects of living and praying for our unsaved spouses.

VISIT THE BROADCAST PAGE: Praying For Your Unsaved Spouse.
Chris Brooks & Lynn Donovan

The broadcast interview will be Tuesday, July 7 from 1 to 2 pm CENTRAL; 11-12 noon PACIFIC time. Visit the station and listen in: Moody Radio

Welcome to all who have come to this church without walls, to find love, encouragement and hope for your marriage.

If you are new, grab your copy of Marching Around Jericho, and start your march this week. Also, visit our new here page and find our community. Leave a prayer request in the comments and we will pray for you. You can connect in a number of ways through the blog comments, on Facebook, Instagram.

If you want more information and free resources to help you on your march visit, MarchingAroundJericho.com. Click on the Equipping center.

Chris brooks Equipped

I’m deeply thankful to Chris Brooks and Moody Radio for allowing me to share the hope I have. And to share that we can learn to love, live and thrive in faith and our marriages while we pray for our spouse’s salvation

Love and hugs, Lynn Donovan

Start your march today, MarchingAroundJericho.com

You can find more of my Kingdom teaching at lynndonovan.com


Hungry For More? This Video and Field Guides Are For You

SUMers, have you listened to all the videos and worked through the Field Guides I created on MarchingAroundJericho.com?   Please hop over there and listen in. And if you have, consider supporting the ministry and purchase the next series of videos and Field guides. It all goes to support the ministry. 

Here is what you will learn about in the next series. And I'll tell you the Holy Spirit video is a demonstration of God's power. AND PS. God told me to demonstrate and God showed up. I'm still freaked out and it all happened to me.

  • The Power of Forgiveness
  • Spiritual Authority In Christ Jesus
  • Spiritual Power and Partnering With the Holy Spirit
  • The Power of Our Voice
  • Speaking in Tongues

AND, want to understand our authority over the demonic? Those videos include:

  • Module Three
    Understanding the Demonic
  • Who Is Our Enemy?
  • Legal Rights
  • Generational Curses/Word Curses/Land Curses
  • The Occult
  • Witchcraft
  • Angels, The Good Guys

All the video titles can be viewed here: Marching Around Jericho/ Equipping Warriors


Freedom Marchers Join us from England

It was awesome to spend time speaking with Maria Rodrigues in London, England. Maria is the host for Woman to Woman show on Premier Christian Radio. It was a fantastic interview. Thank you, Maria. You are a woman who God loves. Hope you can listen in as Maria and I discuss the real issues related to unequally yoked marriages. Hugs, Lynn


Want Your Spouse to Be Different? Pray Different! Pay this!

SUMites, Lynn again. Some of you know that I offer Healing Prayer and Spiritual Mentoring. I was so blessed to spend some time praying with a SUMite, Vidya Rodney. I was talking with her about the power of blessings, which I write about in Marching Around Jericho. 

She put together a prayer of blessings to pray over her husband. It's FANTASTIC. If you even speak only a few of these each day in your prayer time, you will make a significant change in the spiritual over your home, marriage and husband. Try them out. 

Vidya RodneyPrayers of blessings for my husband. By Vidya Rodney

Proverbs 18:21a- The tongue has the power of life and death.

Luke 10:19- I have given you the authority to trample on all snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

Isaiah 55:11- So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and it shall succeed in the thing in which I sent it.

Job 22:28-You shall also decide and decree a thing, and it shall be established for you; and the light (of God's favor) shall shine upon your ways.

Mark 11:23- Truly I Say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “be taken up and thrown into the sea," and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Romans 4:17- As it is written," I have made you a father of many nations."-in the presence of God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Ezekiel 37:4- Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say "Dry Bones hear the word of the Lord!

A couple of weeks ago , Lynn and I had a healing meeting and I was given specific prayer strategies from heaven to declare prayers of blessings over my husband and here are my prayer declarations of blessings over my husband, me (his wife) and our marriage covenant.

My dear Sumites, I believe with all my heart that we have the power to change our circumstance with our words and declarations, so almost every day I pray these prayers of blessings and I pray it would bless you. You can edit to suit your situation.

I bless my husband with a new spirit and tender, responsive heart in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the mind, thoughts, will of the father, feelings, and purposes of Jesus Christ in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to be a man of integrity in everything he does and his hand touches in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to love me like Christ loves the church in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the perfect love of Jesus Christ that expels all fear in Jesus name.

I Bless my husband to be the man that honors our marriage covenant in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the fruits of the spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with humility and tenderhearted mercy towards me and others in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to submit his will to God the Father in Jesus name. I bless my husband to have a teachable spirit that will allow the Holy Spirit to minister to him in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to think of thoughts that are true, lovely, pure, right, honorable, admirable, and praiseworthy in Jesus name.

I bless my husband, so that his heart will be ready to receive the perfect laborer across his path in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with Godly mentors at his workplace, in his extra-curricular activities and hobbies in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to open his spiritual eyes to see how god sees and his spiritual ears to hear when Jesus speaks to him in Jesus name. I bless my husband to see Jesus at his workplace, on his YouTube videos, to encounter miraculous signs and wonders in Jesus name.

I bless his boss and his bosses’ s boss in Jesus name. I bless my husband's hands to prosper at everything he does in Jesus name. I bless him with supernatural favor at his workplace in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the abundance of financial favor to be a cheerful giver in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with supernatural protection from any form of temptation and for his spiritual ears and eyes to be heightened to walk the righteous path in Jesus name. I bless him with the spirit of discernment in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to receive revelation knowledge of Jesus as his Lord and Savior in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to receive the kingdom of god and to participate in the works and purposes recorded in his book before time began in Jesus name.

I bless to be a man of integrity in everything he does in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the angel armies with flaming swords to guard, protect and preserve his life in Jesus name.

I bless him with the holy ring of fire of protection surrounding him and keeping him from all forms of temptation in Jesus name.

I bless him to have a supernatural encounter with Jesus Christ that will change his life forever in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the wisdom of Jesus to be the husband and father God has called him to be in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to let his guard down and discover the freedom in Jesus Christ that he desperately needs in Jesus name.

I bless our marriage covenant with healthy communication, mutual respect, transparency, commitment, agape love, understanding and trust and I seal it in the heavenly realms in Jesus name.

I bless our marriage covenant with the Shalom of Heaven and seal it in the heavenly realms in Jesus name.

I bless our marriage covenant with humility, selflessness, kindness, tenderhearted mercy, quick forgiveness and with cords that cannot be broken in Jesus name.

I bless our marriage bed to be kept pure with love and intimacy.

I bless my husband to desire me and find me irresistibly attractive in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to understand how high, how deep and how wide is the Love of God for him in, Jesus name.

I bless our marriage covenant between my husband and I and I seal it in the heavenly realms in Jesus name. I bless our home with the Shalom of Heaven in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the tools, wisdom, and strength to overcome burdens and to tread on the right path in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to be a wise steward of our finances in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the courage of Jesus to stay away from uncompromising choices. I bless him with supernatural wisdom to make right decisions in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to be a wise, good, and kind father to our child in Jesus name.

I bless myself his wife to be his help meet in Jesus name.

I bless myself his wife to honor and respect him with my words, thoughts, and actions in Jesus name.

I bless myself his wife, to do him good , and not harm, all the days of his life in Jesus name.

Be blessed and be blessing happy!

*****
I am Vidya Rodney. Married to my pre-believing husband Andrew for 10 years. We have a beautiful  5 year old little girl Anya. I live in St Charles ,Missouri and first accepted Jesus in 2011 after losing our only brother to suicide. I have been a lukewarm Christian for years, but now I am stepping out to find out more of what Jesus has for me.


Forgiveness IS Powerful by Pam Osborn

SUMites, Lynn here. I've asked one of our long time community members to share with all of you about a forgiveness model she uses that is powerful and effective. I urge you to also try this. Having a physical anchor to ta spiritual concept is keenly helpful and significant to step into spiritual reality. This is a good one. So, take it away Pam. Hugs, Lynn

*****

PamOsborneI was asked to share a little about what I have learned on the topic of Forgiveness.  It seems that there is a lot more to it than just saying you’re sorry. It is actually one step in a peace-making process.

It was helpful for me to get clarity on what Biblical forgiveness is and what it isn’t.  I feel like many of us get hung up here.

One misunderstanding I had was that forgiveness was a feeling.  That I had to feel like the person deserved forgiveness before I would grant it.  Or, that I had to have a warm fuzzy feeling, a forgive and forget attitude, to make the forgiveness authentic.  However, Biblical forgiveness is not a feeling, but an act of obedience in response to the forgiveness we received for our debts.  We are called to be peacemakers and are commanded to forgive.  Forgiveness doesn’t equal trust.  Forgiveness is a gift to the other person, but Trust must be earned.

Along these same lines, I thought forgiveness was between you and the other person.  That you would extend an apology to them, and your relationship would be reconciled.  You don’t have to reconcile a relationship with someone to forgive them.  Biblical forgiveness is between you and God alone, it’s a one-way transaction. The other person does not have to be present or even still living.

If you are in my camp, you have probably resisted forgiving someone because that would mean you are forgetting the harm or offense they did to you and you are letting them off the hook.  We want to extract justice ourselves and don’t trust anyone else to carry it out.  The Bible teaches that God hates sin.  He never EXCUSED my sin; it was nailed to the Cross with Christ.

Whenever we are harmed or wounded, the offender creates a debt that is owed to us.  I was given a simple exercise that helped me work through these offenses.  We made photocopies of a cross and were instructed to write down the name of every person who hurt, wounded, or shamed us and to also list any event.  This exercise represents the act of forgiveness in that you are releasing YOUR claim for justice to God.  They no longer owe you a debt, they owe Him. It has given me a freedom to release the person and not have to carry that weight. I kept my cross and have referred back to it any time I need a reminder that justice is His.    

***********************************************

Pam Osborne is employed at a law firm in her hometown of Greenville, S.C.  She is active in her community and Church, where she is a Coach in a 12-step program in the Care & Recovery Ministry.  Pam has been a part of the SUMite community for a number of years. Pam enjoys painting and DIY projects.  She is currently a semi empty-nester with her two adult children.


From A Black Friend to My White Friends

SUMites,

UnityWe need to chat. I realize that we don’t often take on social issues here at SUM as we are trying to focus on our marriages. However, I know that so much of my marriage discord would rise to the surface because of the social climate, politics, and religion.

So, today, I am compelled to talk about what’s happening in America this week. After a long discussion with Caitie, my daughter who is 25, I’ve had to reflect on the tragedy that was the death of George Floyd. I’m grieved over all of it. I’m grieved over his death, the racism, the riots and the looting.

I’ve had to take a look at my heart again in the midst of this mess and ask some difficult questions. My friend, Kathi Lipp, directed me to a great read. I want to share it with you today. Although I don’t have all the answers, this article addresses questions that white people often ask:

  • Why did he/she do to cause the cops/another person to shoot or kill them?
  • Why do black people insist on “Black Lives Matter”? Don’t all lives matter?
  • Why do “they” try to make white people like me feel guilty? I haven’t done anything.
  • I have black friends so why are black people calling people like me racist?

The Article: From a Black Friend to My White Friends.

Barb Roose, a Christian, offers some great responses and a good video that will help move all of us forward. Take a minute to visit her blog and read through the article and watch the video. Ask yourself, what does Jesus want me to pray, to do, to feel and to respond to this week’s events and the at the center racism that continues to create division in our country.

Also, ask Jesus how to have conversations with your spouse and your children about this week’s events and the news. Let’s be the change our world needs. Isn’t that what Jesus calls us to do?

I realize that this topic is highly charged on every side. Please share your thoughts in the comments but please be respectfully, use words of love and consideration and always look to Jesus for the truth.

Blessings, Lynn