42 posts categorized "Testimony"

Lynn's Testimony

Hi SUMite NATION:

Profile for TypepadLynn here. Last week I was honored to be interviewed on the the Debbie Chavez show. The show is now available on a podcast. It's the testimony and recap of the seven years I marched around my Jericho. 

Hope you have time to listen in. Also, I hope you will visit Debbie. She has a powerful ministry for women in faith. Have a blessed day and let's get summer rolling. Hallelujah.

Click here → Praying For Your Unsaved Husband - Debbie Chavez Show

DebbieChavez.com

Squadronofsisters.com

Also, if you want to catch up on my teaching about the Kingdom, visit  →Lynndonovan.com. Hugs, Lynn


Milestone Made Possible Because Of You

Hey SUM Family, Tiffany Here!

I have some wonderful news to share!

Today I graduated year one of ministry school. This was the first half of a two year program that will lead to ordination.

I was very surprised to receive "The Heart of David Award" along with my certificate of completion. What an honor and joy!

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The words "thank you" are not enough to express the gratitude I have for you,  my beloved family without walls. Your love, encouragement, and support  has tremendously helped carry me to this beautiful moment. Thank you to everyone who has given time, prayer, finances, Scripture and hugs. My accomplishment is your accomplishment.

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. -- 2 Thessalonians 1:11

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. -- Ecclesiastes 4:12

You all have helped me accomplish my dreams. In the comments, share something that God has laid upon your heart to accomplish. I want to pray over you and bless you today.


A Road Well Worth It

Hi friends, Ann here!

Have you ever looked in the rear-view mirror, glimpsed the road behind you, and realized that something’s changed? That happened to me recently in relation to a friend who didn't want to know about faith. I thought I'd share the story today.Rear view mirror SUM

When I first turned to God, I began to tell my friends my testimony. Little did I know how unenthusiastic they would be. In their eyes it was a ‘fairy tale’. I realize now that this is normal, but at the time I was perplexed: “How can you not believe me?" 

I had a particular friend who epitomized this. At the mention of my faith she literally had a physical reaction. She raced to the other side of the shop we were in, and starting looking at shelves with her back to me. The months that followed brought honesty about her feelings towards Christians. Then came her husband, with similar reactions. They warned me off the ‘danger of religion’, shaking their heads as if I was a weakling who’d been sucked in. It was pretty painful to be viewed this way. Nevertheless, I stayed friends: I liked them.

Eventually they moved away but recently, after a couple of years' absence, I got a surprise email: “We’re in town, can we meet?” It was a big “YES” from me, we set up a time and day, and time found us gathered round a homely kitchen table with cake and tea.

Now, my heart at this point had become quite bruised. For some time I’d been feeling like I was lying in the corner of a battlefield, enduring atheist swipes. Anti-Christ sentiments among those near and dear had become bruising thumps against my shield of faith. Bang. Bang. Bang. I was tired – I’m sure you know the feeling. Yet:

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-12 (NIV).

Indeed, that day as we sat at the same table with cake and tea, the swipes seemed to disappear and something altogether different happened. As I took a sip of tea my dear friend came out with a question that had clearly been brewing:

“Ann, tell me, are you still a Christian? If so, how has that affected your marriage?  And Bryce, how are you coping with it?”

Woah. What? Of all our friends, none have ever asked me about my faith; they don’t want to know. None have asked that honest question about our life and marriage, and Bryce and I had never, up to that point, had the opportunity to talk about this situation to someone else, side by side. In essence we were being asked to tell our shared story.

And so we talked. I gave my testimony. Bryce joined in. I put my hand on his leg. We talked about the fact that you experience it or you don’t. We talked about a sense of calling. We talked about church and denominations, churches being clubbish, relationship versus religion, about how you can’t give up your faith, about how we still love each other, and about respecting each other within a marriage.

Our boys sat munching cake. Everyone at the table had open ears, including me.

Later, tucking the boys in, some childlike wisdom came, sweet and helpful: “Mum, don’t worry about other people. If you like something, you just do it.” Good words fitly spoken. 

That day represented a shift. Someone who had been so opposed to my faith actually listened. What’s more, my husband and I sat together, talking authentically about it to others. These friends of ours would never go near a church but what they were willing to hear is our story and reality, because it is a raw and real account. In that way, we did it together, he and I. Thank God for my husband's place in all this; and yes, we feel the blows, but we also keep going because who knows where it goes!

How about you? What rear-vision experiences have you had, looking back and seeing that something shifted? 


We Raise a Hallelujah!

There has been much to celebrate in SUMite land in recent weeks. The SUMite Gathering at the beginning of April and our dear Lynn’s Mike coming to know Jesus as his Lord and Saviour being two BIG highlights.

My family received some wonderful news this morning. John, my brother, some of you may recall, has been going through treatment for lymphoma since November. Today, he received news that he is in FULL REMISSION! Hallelujah. Praise the Lord! We’re naturally excited but I’m especially pleased for my mom and dad who found the whole experience very stressful.

Like Lynn’s Mike who has stepped into a completely different ‘life’, John has also. Prior to his diagnosis he had lived a ‘quiet’ life as a Christian, so quiet that his wife and children weren’t really aware of his faith. However, in this ‘dark valley’ he discovered not just the ‘rod and staff’ of his shepherd but the Lord who led him beside still waters and to lie down in long grass. John happily told everyone who came in contact with him, whether it be the nurse administering his chemo, to the stranger who wished him well, that he simply trusted in the goodness of God.

John’s transformation has really been quite remarkable. And then my dad who I’ve never known to pray before was nightly praying with mom for healing for his eldest son.

I don’t have any real message today other than to express my heartfelt praise to our God. Who is always good, even when the news might not be. And to encourage you all to keep praying not so much for answers but to know Him better. Because when we know Him better we come to experience the Lord as our shepherd of whom we ‘shall not want’.

And to all of you who prayed for John and my family. A heartfelt thanks from us all. I wish I could hug you all. 

I’ve discovered this song recently that I keep playing and it has such a strong message about our God, who loves us so much that He simply can’t be stopped!

I hope it may uplift your spirit. Jesus tells us we are His friends and so He takes us behind the scenes of what is going on (John 15:15-17) - this is what prayer is about - praying the Father's business be done! 

Be blessed dear SUMite friends.

 

 

 


Deliverance After YEARS Of Torment! Hallelujah!

Hello SUM Family, Tiffany Here!

The last couple of months I have been sharing a bit about what I have learned from reading a book called From Dream to Destiny by Robert Morris. I was assigned to read this book in class and I am so glad that I read it! This book has been truly amazing. To read the previous two posts I've written in this "mini-series" click on the links below.

This Is Just The Pits!

Do You Want Evidence Or The Truth?

In September I began to take steps to transition into a new church. As you read this, I have now been at this new church for 3 weeks. Each and every week has been so powerful and effective. Today I want to share with you a recent experience unlike anything I've ever had. It happened a little over a week ago on October 14, 2018. The following is what I posted the next day on Facebook (sharing here as well since a lot of you may not have Facebook or seen it because we aren't "friends"):

 Worship at Hub is amazing. God is there. Holy Spirit presence is thick and tangible. We were singing a song I had never heard before. The lyrics were powerful and the words that floored me at the time were talking about laying my whole life down before Jesus our Savior. I was already worshipping on my knees but I couldn't help but crouch face down before God. I felt so heavy and overloaded. I was just crying and crying before God. My words spoken in tears and sobs. All of a sudden it was like God said, "get up." Not in an angry way but an empowering way...if that makes sense. I sat up and it was like I saw myself in the place of the woman caught in adultry that was brought before Jesus. The crowd, stones in hand set to stone her. Jesus calmly and matter of factly said, "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone." Slowly, one by one the people left. Once everyone was gone, I pictured Jesus Freedom foreverlift up my chin so I would look him in the eyes. Crouched on the ground seeing His eyes intent on mine. Looking into my soul. Just like He did with the woman that day, He said, "who condemns you?" Looking around I reply, "No one Sir." In that instant...I felt all the weight of condemnation lifted. It was like I had an hour long deep tissue massage. Every fiber of my  being, relaxed and stress free. I realized later after worship and after the service...reflecting on what happened in that moment. Those people standing and surrounding me so quick to condemn and judge...were different versions of ME. How often I have shot myself down, I have stoned myself for a mis-spoken word, a harsh tone, a forgotten task, a wrong thought...I have been stoning myself for years and as God clearly told me to get up - it was giving me my life back. It was His GRACE UPON GRACE. His mercy. His true love. He doesn't keep record of wrongs...and neither should I. NO LONGER DO I. This morning, as life went on as usual...I reacted in ways I am tyring to change (short with my daughter when she cries about everything she wears - meltown after meltdown this morning and my shortness with her, attitude from tired children, etc) but the major difference was this. No one condemns me...not even myself. I made a mistake, asked for forgivenenss and moved on. The first instance my flesh tried to condemn me I heard the words "no one Sir." Loud and clear and it reminded me of the freedom that I was given. Once and for all. I will never go back. Once that transaction was finished Jesus said, "Go and sin no more." Can you image the freedom, the joy, the apreciation she felt with that moment? I can...because I do.

 You may have to click on the picture to better see but I found the moment in worship where this exchange happened. Today I stand free from years of mental torment. As I think about this moment it still brings tears to my eyes because every moment since then has been a blessing. Please know that it doesn't mean that I am perfect or care free. I still have some struggles that God is working on in me. Holy Spirit is still pruning and I've got a lot of work to do. However, I am no longer hopeless.

I've gone a little long this time so let me wrap up with this:

I have been blessed to be a blessing. So today, I bless you with joy unspeakable; freedom from weight (even YEARS worth) of torment - mental, emotional, spiritual, physical; victory beyond belief; confidence in your Daddy; hope to weather the storm; faith, life, salvation for your spouse and loved ones; light in the darkness; advancement in the Kingdom where you feel backslidden; fire shut up in your bones; fight and fierceness; and love beyond compare.

Below is the song that brought me to the feet of Jesus and ushered me into freedom.

See you in the comments. I would love to pray over you for your own deliverance.


What Will It Take To Increase YOUR Faith?

Hey SUMites, Tiffany here!

I asked Lynn if I could do an additional post this month because I wanted to share a really cool story with you. I pray it activates and strengthens your faith to use your God given authority like it has me.

12 In my spare time, I love to upcycle things. Especially using license plates and 100+ year old barn wood from my grandpa's family farm. This year I really  ramped up my exposure going from doing the typical 2 -3 shows a year to 9-10 this year. On Friday afternoon, June 8th, the back power hatch when out in our suburban. It refused to open! I had to open the half window and reach through to try and get my groceries. We have a pickup truck but I can't use it for shows because we don't have a topper and I take a LOT of stuff whenever I go. I was a little worried because I was going to load the stuff up that night so that way I could just leave in the morning. My grandparents always come from Kansas City and help me with the shows. This time it was only my grandma and I.

During dinner, I told him that the hatch is broken and I was worried about it. I wanted to load the car that night so we could just leave in the morning. He said that he would take a look. Turns out the part for the hatch is a self-sustaining piece. There was no backup switch, lever, etc. to use in case of malfunction. He was frustrated as he had to figure something out and he was losing daylight. If I could brag on my husband for a second, Jason is kind of like MacGyver. He can see things and put things together in such a way that I am always mind blown. I know a lot of it is the Holy Spirit guiding and directing him because he truly is gifted in this way...oh the day he realizes this!

After a few hours of work he concocted a mechanism that would allow me to open the hatch if it refused to open when I 14 needed it to the next day. He gave a clear warning that NOTHING is to touch or lean against this lever. If it gets accidentally bumped, it could open the hatch, even if we are driving on the road. It was too late to load up the car that night so it would have to wait until morning. That morning, I made a point to hit the floor with my knees and pray. I refused to begin my day without His presence and making myself right before Him - mending our relationship. Praise God I did!


Turning out of my neighborhood onto the first main street (see below for a screenshot of Google Maps), I accelerated a little to quickly to get out the way of the oncoming traffic. This caused the stuff in the back to shift, a bump of the lever, and an opening of the hatch...as I am driving down the street! I quickly pulled to the side of the road, and my grandma and I got out of the car and scrambled to pick up the debris spread across the 4 lanes of the road. A white truck immediately pulled to the side of the road behind us and a man sent by God helped us move things to the side of the road. Another car stopped in the far left lane right behind some grid and a heavy tote and both men brought it to the side of the road. Trying to hold it together I thought, I don't even want to go anymore! Let's go home. I was overwhelmed...BUT God! He quickly swept the fear away and I was able to see with spiritual eyes the hand of God and the dispatch of angels. Grandma and I loaded the car back up as a cop car pulled up behind us down the street...making sure we were safe as we finished up. Getting in the car, I replayed that scary incident back in my mind. How is it that absolutely NOTHING got broken? How is it that there was NO traffic behind me as my car spewed out projectiles across all 4 lanes of traffic? How is it that I saw a car run over my plastic table but there was absolutely no damage to it? How is it that this cop who pulled up shortly after didn't cite me a ticket for my rigged hatch? How except for God? How except for angels on assignment?

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Beginning to cry, I held grandma's hand, gently shaking from adrenaline. Yes God did something so miraculous in that moment but now it was time to work. I prayed praised God for all that He had done. I then specifically called upon my angels and dispatched them to protect our vehicle. I said, "don't let that door open. Close the door like what was done for Daniel with the lions mouths. Keep that door closed until it is time. Don't let anything move or shift in the vehicle. Put a hedge of protection around our vehicle and get us there safely. You know what? They did! The rest of the 13.7 miles to our destination everything was smooth sailing. On our way home, same thing. With each second as I carefully drove, my faith increased as I saw with spiritual eyes the power of prayer.

  13Taken just after we arrived at the craft show at Chandler Acres Church.

Share in the comments a moment that angels were dispatched on assignment for you. This is not to praise the angels but to praise the One who created them - having you in mind when He sent them for your benefit and care.


Life Is Too Short to Live Any Way but Happy! By Lori Lyn Skipper

Welcome back to the adventures of Lori Lyn Skipper. My son, Brad, and I made it just fine after his dad left us because we had God on our side. Yes, there were definite struggles, but I had such a peace about me, Philippians 4:7 NLT: Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

The Lord called me to the ministry in 1998. I preached my first sermon in March 1999.  I eventually moved to Benton, IL by the leading of the Lord where I continued serving in the ministry. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, lupus, arthritis, and chronic degenerative disc disease.  In 2005, I almost died from these and other afflictions, such as Barrett’s esophagus and bleeding internally, but God! 

I know that by Jesus’ stripes I am healed because the Word of God tells me so in Isaiah 53:5. I have since been healed of many afflictions and diseases. There are some that I am still working on catching my healing, but it is well with my soul. I believe these are in direct relationship to the life I lived before Christ. Yes, I believe He will completely restore me, but I also believe I am suffering the consequences of my actions and need to walk some things out. I actually appreciate the miracles I’ve experienced more because of what I have to walk out.

 

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Brian & Lori Reacquaint 2009

Not only did the Lord restore my soul but He restored my relationship with Brian in March 2009. I had sent letters numerous times to Brian via his grandmother’s address and never heard from him. In mid-2008, I located him via Myspace, prayed and sent him a message. About three weeks later, I received a response from him, he said he reread all of the letters I had sent him, but he was not ready for a relationship with me. 

Finally, in Feb of 2009 he said he was ready to meet for the first time since 1993. My family had a surprise birthday party for my mom on March 8, 2009. Brian came to become reacquainted with me and the rest of my family. Since that time, Brian and I have worked on developing a relationship. He now lives in Portland, OR but we stay in touch. The best part of all of this, he came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior living in Missouri. He is currently not on fire for the Lord, but I believe he will be again one day, as well as my youngest son Brad will be also. In Jesus name!

                                  

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-06-17/c7a2b45b-2c1b-48b0-9f40-4a58cb1a6a5c.png
Brad & Lori - During Brad's service in the Marines

Fast forward to December 2015, I was not looking for a husband, but I met mine. John was not looking for a wife, but he found one. From the day we met, the Lord spoke to me that my husband was going to be an integral part in me fulfilling the dreams and calling the Lord has put on my life. My husband is a pre-believer, but I thank God every day for him. He is very supportive of me. He also encourages me in the new adventures I am on with the Lord. We have our struggles due to his life style, but I have learned when to speak up and when to let it go. I have learned to lay down boundaries and will not accept any disrespect towards me. When it has happened, I have been quick to nip it in the bud. I daily thank my husband for his support, encouragement, for his hard work to provide for our family, for his love for me and my sons, for doing dishes, taking out the garbage, whatever it may be. I thank him and let him know how much I appreciate him. It’s vital to our marriages to show love, honor, and respect.

Life is too short to live any way but happy. I have come to the place where I know who I am in Christ Jesus and I won’t accept anything less than His best for my life. I know in Whom I serve, and I don’t forget for one day Who He is or what He has done for me. 

I close with Lamentations 3:58 NKJV: “O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul; You have redeemed my life.” Amen!

 

Lynn Donovan: Thank you Lori for your heart of love for our community and for your courage to share your story. Your life brings great honor to our Father. Well done good and faithful servant.  SUMites, give a shout out to Lori in the comments for sharing her heart with us. Hugs. Lynn


The Dichotomy of A Life, by Lori Lyn Skipper - Part II

Brad son Lori Lyn Skipper June 2018Welcome back! As a quick reminder, I moved to Springfield, IL in 1990. It was there that I met my son Brad’s dad.

The birth of Brad was so very different than when I gave birth to Brian. I was instantly protective of him. On June 26, 1996 my life took a major turn. Without going into every detail, I was hit by a train that day while driving my S10 pickup truck. I broke my neck in 2 places as well as my tailbone. I had multiple bruises, bit my tongue almost off and had a concussion. God in His great mercy spared my life.

A week after the wreck, while at home, I had a flashback and had a stroke; (the doctor said it was my body trying to protect itself because my brain perceived danger). I was paralyzed on the right side of my body and could hardly talk for several days. My sons’ dad refused to take care of me or our son.  The tables had turned, it was I that was raising our son alone, my youngest son was being neglected and I was the one being abused. I was living out Galatians 6:7-8: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

For all of those years, I had sown to the flesh and I was reaping corruption.

I eventually found my way back to church in November of 1996 where I met Jesus. He became the lover of my soul in January 1997. I would love to stop here and tell you, the day I became a born-again believer my life got 100% better and it became a bed of roses, but I would be lying to you. Life became more of a struggle for a season because here I was, a new Christian, my son gave his life to Christ in June 1997 and his dad was still an unbeliever.

The day I surrendered to Christ, my personal life changed 100%, no more drinking, no more drugs, no more pornography. I was no longer the person Brad’s dad knew me to be and that brought about its own problems. He did not want to hear about my new-found faith, nor did he want to attend church with us. He was happy with his life and wanted no part of mine. I became lonely and depressed. I felt torn between being with the man I loved and going back to my ‘former’ self or pressing on with the Lord I loved.

Brads dad reached the decision to move back to Springfield, IL without Brad & I. Brad was seven-years-old at the time and is now 27 years old. He and his dad still have a strained relationship due to his dads neglect while he was a young child.

Our children do suffer when one or both of their parents’ neglect, ignore or abuse them or the other parent. Again, it is up to us to protect our children. It may look different for each person, but we MUST protect our children.  I know this is resonating with several of you out there. Please know that you are not alone. Hear me “YOU ARE NOT ALONE!” God understands, He knows your pain, your struggle. He is walking through it with you.

As I write this, Father gave me this Scripture for one (or more) of you reading this right now;

Ezekiel 16:4-14. Verses 4-8 “As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born. “And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare. “When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord God.

Hear the Word of the Lord, He has entered into a covenant with you and now is the time of love!

Stay tuned to hear about the miracles God has performed in my life! Until next time, love & blessings, Lori.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHi, Lori Lyn Skipper here! I’m happy to say I am 51 years young, married to my husband John. We have three grown children between the two of us. I have two boys and he has a daughter as well as a granddaughter. My husband and I married in June 2016. I moved to sunny Florida in 2012. I often say I’m an Illinois girl living in a Florida world. I came to meet Jesus in mid-1996 but did not accept Him as my Lord and Savior until January 1997. Let me tell you, He’s had His work cut out since I said yes to His call. I often envision God shaking His head at my antics. You know, how we do with our own children? I kind of resemble Paul, “the chief of sinners”. Well, I used to be, now I’m no longer a sinner, I’m a saint saved by grace that sometimes still sins. A couple of my passions are to see people healed, delivered, and set free by the power of Holy Spirit and the body walking in their gifts and calling of the Lord. Getting to be a part of that is so fun and such a blessing.

Lori Skipper Hosting


#fingerprintrevelations

Hey SUMnation! Tiffany here.

Some of you have heard me talk about this unique journey that the Lord has me on right now with my job. I shared this on the SUM sisters in Christ group on Facebook but wanted to reach out and share here as some of you (especially the men) may have questions about what I do as a job and how God is gifting me for ministry. I wanted to give you a quick snap shot into where I spend 40 hours a week and when my heart is prepped right and my mind focusing on the Lord I am given insight that can only come from the Holy Spirit.

 

FPWelcome to my fingerprinting station (picture left). There are two other girls that I work with in my office and we each have our own computer/desk and our own fingerprint station. For the most part my day is split between this view and the view of my desk and computer. This machine has become my "buddy" over the last year. We spend a lot of time together. Maybe I should name it. ::grin:: I have to say I have done a lot of contemplating and talking with the Lord here. In thinking of Moses and the burning bush...if I had the ability to take my shoes off here...I would. This is holy ground. Before I begin to sound sacrilegious I will continue the tour and you will see why I feel this way.

FP2Step on up to the machine! I tried to capture this as best as possible but just imagine this view from your own eyes (picture right).When I fingerprint people we are up close and personal so to speak. The customer stands in front of the fingerprinting machine called Livescan and I stand to the left of the machine. I use gloves during the time of fingerprinting someone but I essentially am holding hands with each person I print. I wish I could tell you how or when this started but my first conscious recollection was feeling a tingling sensation in my hands when fingerprinting someone when I first started doing this job over 2 years ago. I didn't understand at the time. There wasn't any actual guiding from the Holy Spirit at that point just a realization that this feeling in my hands was different than I'd ever experienced before. Eventually I had caught on that it wasn't with everyone I printed and so in the secret of my mind I would pray for those people.

FP1
Placing hand on the Livescan brings a digital print onto the screen

I began to be amazed at how much a stranger would open up to someone like me - a fingerprinter who spends maybe 10 or 15 minutes with you. The crazy thing is they had no idea that I was willing to pray for them and yet the Holy Spirit would open up this close space and meet us there. Where 2 or more are gathered together in Jesus' name - He is there. In doing this job (please let me know if this is not biblically sound) I am beginning to feel as though the where 2 or more are gathered together in His name doesn't have to mean consciously. I mean look at our community. Some of our spouses are willing to allow us to gather together in Jesus name - when our spouses let us pray over them and with them. But, for those of you who have to be more secretive about your prayer life because of hostile spouses - when you intercede on their behalf and they are in the room...my friends...Jesus still shows up whether they know it or not! As I have grown and matured (though only a small amount) in my job I have begun to view this as a ministry. When people open up it could be as simple as they need fingerprinted because they just got a new job that requires a background check. It can also be as complicated and broken as a man getting fingerprinted for a step-parent adoption. He married the love of his life who happened to be a sex abuse victim in her teens from her step-father (close to home or what??). Cancer and chemo. Military veteran who was having a second surgery on his shoulder. Widows. Gender-identity confused individuals. A man with a tattoo behind his ear with the number 666 and cartoonish devil horns and tail. Sex offenders who have been convicted of some really atrocious things. I could go on and on...and that is just from either conversation that was opened up or earthly (physical) observation/knowledge.

I have seen some really amazing things during this fascinating season of work but I have to be completely honest with you. I am sure you can relate when ministering to others that it can be really exhausting. You know that God has called you to help and has brought people into your life that you are supposed to pour into and be a light and example to...to train up and disciple...to intercede for - even for just a moment in time. It is so hard to be vulnerable because it opens up your heart to rejoice and mourn with those around you (Romans 12:15). In the past having issues with depression and anxiety I often times get overwhelmed and it is almost like a defense mechanism goes off inside of me and it says - back away, you aren't equipped to handle this. I get in slumps where I think if I avoid God than He won't ask me to do it anymore. I know this is ugly and wrong. I am the only one (that I know of...it's not like I talk to fingerprinters other than my co-workers) equipped to THIS calling. I have to press in and keep fighting. I have to keep leaning in to the Father who has gifted me for such a time as this and such a WAY as this. I have to stand in the gap for those who come my way because I may be the ONLY one who will.

I've gone a little longer than anticipated and so I want to stop here but next time I will continue on with this #fingerprintrevelations story. So much more to share as God allows. I want to talk about the amazing post and work from Libby recently.

In the comments, can you share some tips that help you overcome the heavy burden of ministering to others? Any Bible verse(s) that keep you going? Also, how has God positioned you in your own specific, unique, and powerful way to minister to those around you everyday?

See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

--Isaiah 43:19


Inside God's Cedar Chest

Cedar-chest-600

By Martha Bush

It was 4:30 A.M., April 22, 2017. My mother’s nurse tapped me on my leg while I was grabbing a short nap on the sofa down the hall from my mother’s room where she lay at the point of death.

I sat up quickly at the feel of the nurse’s soft gentle touch and immediately said, “She is gone, isn’t she?” “Yes,” the nurse nodded.

As the dawn of day lurched forward with a beautiful array of sunshine despite death all around me, funeral arrangements had to be made and relatives and friends had to be called.

A few days after the funeral, we left Georgia headed back to our home in Texas to clear my mind before I took on the task of returning to Georgia in a month to empty out my mother’s home, so I could sell it.

However, two weeks later, we received a phone call – my husband’s sister had passed away in the same small town where I had laid my mother to rest. And so it was, we rushed back for the same process to take place all over again.

It was then I felt like screaming, “Stop this train! I want off! Two deaths within two weeks; this is too much to handle!”

But, there was no time for grieving the loss of our loved ones. We now had two houses to empty and sell plus decisions had to be made on what items we would haul back to Texas to keep for our home.

As the sorting got under way, we quickly decided that among the pieces of furniture that we definitely would be keeping were two beautiful antique cedar chests that each of them had. As we peaked inside each one, a story began to unfold right before our eyes as we observed each piece of its contents.

  • their personal Bibles that had been marked and underlined on almost every page
  • Grandma and Grandpa’s Bibles
  • diaries of family history from previous generations
  • artwork from their grandchildren and great grandchildren
  • letters from family
  • picture albums upon picture albums (no pictures on computers for these ladies, 91 and 93 years young)
  • hand-crafted afghans, quilts, and beautiful works of embroidery
  • special pieces of jewelry designated for family members

I could go on and on listing things, but by now you are probably getting the picture that they had secured their most treasured possessions inside their cedar chest for safe keeping to be handed down to the next generation.

It got me to thinking, “if God had a cedar chest, what would be inside?”

And then, it suddenly dawned on me what was inside. Take a look!

For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure. (Deuteronomy 7:6 NLT)

Doesn’t that just blow your mind that the creator of the universe hand-picked us to be in His special treasure? Of all the things He has created and could have chosen, He picked us, mankind, to place inside His own cedar chest, if you please.

And yet, we sometimes don’t see ourselves as a special treasure to God.

  • Often times, we have faced so much rejection, as well as verbal, emotional, and physical abuse that it has ripped away our self-esteem, and we no longer know who we are, or believe we are special
  • Still again, the wages of our own sin hangs on us like filthy rags because we have not accepted His forgiveness. Oh yes, self-condemnation is a big one that keeps us from recognizing ourselves as a special treasure.
  • We are also prone to allow the business of the day and the storms of life that come at us from all different directions to beat us down, leaving us torn apart by the storm’s raging winds.

I believe it grieves the heart of God when we don’t see ourselves as He sees us. After all, He bought the whole world to obtain His special treasure, and He wants us to see ourselves as He sees us.

I am convinced that “How we live our lives as God’s special treasure is what we hand down to the next generation. It becomes a powerful testimony of how we used our gifts and strengths God gave us to further the Kingdom of God.”

******  

Okay, Sumite Friends: It is DECLARATION DAY!

Using my family’s cedar chest as a symbol of God’s cedar chest, what would we find inside of it that makes you special to God. Tell us about your gifts and strengths God has given you.

This is not bragging on yourself; it is declaring who you know you are in Christ, and how He has uniquely designed you that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.  (1 Peter 2:9)

In the comments, share God’s special treasure (YOU) that will be passed on to your next generation as a part of your legacy.

I can’t wait to learn more about the special treasure you are.

Martha

 Cedar-chest-600


The Orphan Spirit and Identity Crisis

Hey there SUM family, Tiffany here! 

In the first post on this new writing journey for the SUM community I talked about the feeling of being a throw-away kid. This operated in my life in many ways. I was plagued by thoughts such as -

I will never be able to do enough.  Pete Scazzero

I am not good enough.

I am just trying to get your attention.

I cannot measure up to your standards.

What more do you want/expect from me?

I can't handle these demands.

I don't deserve it / you.

I honestly haven't realized – until last week during a healing prayer session with Lynn - that these thoughts that have plagued me for years are not only from the enemy but HAVE A NAME. The Orphan Spirit operates in such feelings as abandonment, loneliness, alienation, and rejection. Ouch! Looking back on my life, this has been the major theme! I am so used to a life like this that it almost seems unnatural to operate in freedom from this. (Isn't that truly the enemy's tactic..to turn things upside down and make it seem like “normal?”) The more I look into this topic, the freer I feel. It is almost as if the scales are falling from my eyes! I am not an expert by any means but I intend on digging deeper...I see this as a chapter in Vicarious to Victorious as the Lord leads me to write this book.

Or · phan: a child deprived by death of one or usually both parents; one deprived of some protection or advantage.

I have to say that this journey of freedom has been hard. I have realized that I have to truly fight for victory and the more I gain momentum, the more I have to be on guard. I don't say this to scare anyone. The journey is long but the triumph is so much stronger than anything I have to endure. I read Romans 8 this morning in my quiet time. This is a familiar passage to me and probably for many of you. What really jumped out to me was verse 18,

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Wow, just wow. Today this familiar verse hit me like a ton of bricks. The sufferings that I am presently dealing with – the baggage and destructive mess left by the Orphan Spirit – has taken a toll on my life. My parenting. My marriage. My friendships. Everything!

I have been living with an identity crisis YEARS after trauma from father figures. The Orphan Spirit has left me deprived of protection and advantage. My identity for the longest time has been in productivity, performance, approval. These things have always been fleeting. Even if it seemed as though I was getting what I thought I wanted, said approval, I still couldn't accept it. If I could describe the labels that I allowed the Orphan Spirit to place on my life they would include such things as: worthless, unwanted, unworthy, unloved, ineffective, desperate, needy, clingy, an object not a person.

BUT God!

He has given me a new identity!

Let's look at Galatians 4:4-7:

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

This does not sound like the labels I had placed upon myself at all! Thank you God, You give us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57)!

In digging deeper into God's word, and allowing the Holy Spirit to renew my mind and transform me (Romans 12:1-2) I am seeing more and more that I have the ability to see my TRUE identity. My identity isn't really in crisis at all. In fact God is using the trauma of my past to help me look forward with more confidence than before. I am not who I once was. Instead of those old labels I can rest assured that my identity looks more like: victory, confidence, powerful, effective, fierce, redeemed, helpful, compassionate, empathetic, gracious, artistic and creative, unique, valuable.

Joseph Mattera wrote for Charisma News, “The only way to break this orphan spirit is for people to be filled with a sense of the Father's love for them in Christ, which then enables them to become mature sons who serve God out of knowledge of His undeserved grace instead of trying to earn the Father's love through performance.” (You can read through the entire article by clicking HERE)

I want to close this with a chance to meditate on the newer song from Passion feat. Kristian Stanfill and Melodie Malone – God You're So Good.

As you listen focus on these words:

I am blessed

I am called

I am healed

I am whole

I am saved in Jesus’ name

 

Highly favored

anointed

Filled with Your power

For the glory of Jesus’ name

 

And should this life

Bring suffering

Lord, I will remember

What Calvary

has bought for me

Both now and forever

 

To be continued...

I'll see you in the comments dear ones!

 

In His Marvelous Grace,

Tiffany


Marriage Redemption In Real Life This Easter

I received this from Sumite, Becky Walker. It is testimony for all of us. Blessing this week. Love, Lynn

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image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comFor anyone who does not know me or what God has been doing, I want to remind everyone of God's promise to me. I wrote the following in a post around Thanksgiving: 

Years ago, before my husband left (3 years ago), the Lord promised me that my husband would return, not a slave to sin, but a brother in Christ (Philemon 1:15-16). He also promised me that He would give my husband an undivided heart and place His Holy Spirit in him, remove his stony heart and replace it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26). I have clung to these promises and claimed these promises, even in the face of opposition, because of the faith He gives me.

On January 19th, exactly a week after the end of our corporate fast, my husband, who had been separated from me for over three years, Charlie, contacted me to ask if we could have dinner as a family. It was totally unexpected since just hours earlier, he had picked up the kids like normal for the weekend. When I read the text, I was amazed and excited. I knew that God had been working but this was just the beginning, and only later would I find out just how much God has been doing behind-the-scenes.

We all had a very nice dinner at a restaurant that used to be one of our favorites and that night he contacted me some more to talk about wanting to go to counseling. What started off as one simple text and request evolved into us going out to dinner as a family about once a week and in a few short weeks, he had moved home. I sought the Lord intensely about this rapid change and the Lord kept reminding me of His promise and that it was unfolding before my very eyes.

Charlie spoke with the married adult pastor at my church, Pastor Berry. When I asked the pastor the following weekend to pray for me to have wisdom regarding my decision about such swift reconciliation, he told me "I've met with Charlie and I could tell that he has a repentant heart."

I actually had asked him to pray that I would not have the fruit of the Spirit if I'm not doing God's will because I know I can't do anything without Him. I didn't want to be deceived by the amount of joy, peace, and love I had that was overflowing onto Charlie and the kids. The pastor told me more than I even expected to hear. I was reminded that the enemy does not give peace, joy, and love; it could only be from the Lord. The Lord has also given me so much love for his son that was conceived through the other relationship. He is 19 months old and his name is Mattis.

I have been witnessing the fruit of the Spirit from Charlie as well and upon meeting our new marriage mentors. I discovered that he said he has accepted Christ as his Savior.

He has since joined a discipleship group, we are going to participate in a 10-week marriage mentoring program, and we are both looking for a bible study group to join together. I know that the Lord is still working, and he's not done yet. When the Lord blessed Job with double the amount he had before, it took time for those children to be born and for the livestock to be amassed but the Lord did it in all in His timing and that is what I am trusting him to do, not only for Charlie and his personal relationship with Jesus but with my family as well.

I am clinging to that promise as well.

We are currently waiting for the divorce to be final so that we can remarry and file for joint custody of his son. The enemy is constantly trying to make me doubt what God has done and is doing, but the Lord has taught me the spiritual disciplines I need to combat the enemy's lies and the spiritual armor I need to stay protected. I am overwhelmed by everything God has done and continues to do. Charlie and I both agree that everything that has happened is worth it because our marriage will be stronger than ever with our foundation in Jesus, and we now have a family of 5. 

I am eternally grateful for everything and I pray that our testimony encourages someone. Do not ever give up on God's promises in your life.

If you have earnestly sought the Lord about His will for your life and He continues to promise you something, no matter how seemingly impossible it is, cling to those promises. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, sovereign, in control, and His ways are beyond comprehension. Who are we to doubt His power and His will? My prayer is that all believers would be filled with peace and joy as we trust in Him and that joy would overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit. The enemy will always try to control us but if you are a child of God, you are free from that slavery and you never have to return to your old master again. Jesus gives us peace that surpasses all understanding and joy abundantly;

He is always the One we should turn to. 

With love, Becky

Read Becky's previous post: God's Promise For Marriage

Biography:

My name is Becky Walker. I live in Greensboro, North Carolina. I am a stay-at-home mother of three children; my 8-year-old, Charlie Walker, V and my 6-year-old, Lily, and my soon-to-be stepson, Mattis, who is 19 months old. I teach English to children in China through VIPKID and I’ve never enjoyed a job more. I live in a house that’s owned by our church, another blessing from God. I love spending time with my family and singing praises to God.


When Survival Is The ONLY Option...

Psalm 61.2-3First, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to share my heart with you all. I am so blessed and even more grateful for the door that God has opened for me!

The Holy Spirit has  given me many spiritual gifts but there is one that I cherish the most. He has given me the gift of vulnerability. For some of you, vulnerability does not come easy. It may seem scary, impossible and maybe even unnecessary. I used to think it was a curse growing up because in those most delicate places of our heart people can so easily wound.

However, it is also in those most delicate places that Jesus can (and desperately desires to) transform, heal and redeem. Let me assure you that Jesus is so worthy of those intimate places! In these next few posts, I am going to tell you all about myself. I am going to be very vulnerable with you. I am going to talk about some deep wounds that have pierced my heart and soul. Some of you will closely relate to my story, some of you may know someone with a story like mine.

I have to admit that this first post has been hard for me to write. I have so much to say and yet there has been this fog over my mind. Where do I start? How much of me do I share up front? I have allowed fear and pride to keep me from using the gift that I cherish so much.

Even in these moments when you feel like you just cannot find the words to say or how to go about sharing your heart – PRESS IN. I challenge you to be vulnerable with me. I implore you all to allow the Holy Spirit to speak tenderly to your heart. Allow Him to access the deepest recesses of your heart and mind. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor. 3:17). Let’s take this freedom journey together!

I attended a women’s conference this past Saturday. One of the speakers, Jennifer, began to share her story and I found myself really relating to what she was saying. In her life, she had given herself a label “the throw-away kid.” She lived in survival mode because of dysfunction and chaos in her household as a child and this led to a self-destructive mode. This label began to taint her view of herself and the world around her.

As I sat listening to her testimony I thought, “Did she somehow see a movie playing of my life?” I grew up an only child. It was just my mother and I for the longest time. My father was out of the picture before he knew my mom was pregnant. I was probably around 10 or 11 when my mom met Joseph. My mom was currently in a relationship with a man who was physically, emotionally, and mentally abusive to my mom. I won’t go into details, as it would be too lengthy, but at the time Joseph was like the “knight in shining armor.” We moved in with him and things were good for a while. It wasn’t until my mom got pregnant with my sister that things started to go downhill. I am going to talk more about myself in the next post.

I want to touch back on the idea of survival mode. Merriam-Webster defines survive as, “to remain alive or in existence.” I have been there. I can assure you that looking back on my life, I was there for most of it. Survival mode is protection of self – doing ANYTHING possible in order to continue to exist. I want to speak to all of you right now who are in survival mode. The depressed. The anxious. The fearful. The downtrodden. The throw-away kids.

Please hear me. God SEES YOU. He has walked with you your entire life. Through all the suffering and pain. He wants to meet you there. He wants to see you through it. The abundant life that Jesus came to give is INDEED FOR YOU. Hang in there with me. I have so much to share with you! In these next posts I am going to walk you through my life of suffering and healing. It is through the suffering, depression, and loneliness that I found freedom and redemption.

Sweet Jesus, thank You for this SUM community. I praise You God that you brought me here…in this community there is comfort, encouragement, wisdom, and love. May we all feel your presence and joy as we work through our own sorrow, disappointments, and discouragement. Lead us through this darkness into Your wonderful light. Amen.

I look forward to getting to know you my beautiful SUMite family. I will be writing every 4th Wednesday of the month so I'll continue to share my journey in February. I'll see you there!

Can you relate to being the throw-away kid? Maybe you feel like the throw-away kid that became the throw-away Christian. Leave your name in the comments and I want to pray for and with you.

In His Marvelous Grace,

Tiffany


This Really Happened Under My Roof

IMG_3821Meet Finn.

His mama was found wandering about Los Angeles and birthed a litter right around Christmas day. We adopted this little buddy from a Chiwawa pet rescue. We also adopted his sister, Gracie, nearly two years ago.

Finn, I’ve come to decide, is a special needs doggie. Something happened to him before our ownership that has left him with permanent pain in his back-hind quarters. He often yips and yelps and scurries along the floor like someone is chasing him because of the moments of pain he experiences. We have taken this poor mutt to the Vet several times, x-rays and exams to figure out what is causing this pain.

Nothing.

We can’t figure it out and he continues to be in pain. This causes the little pooch to be very fearful. He’s also obsessively devoted to my husband Mike. Follows him everywhere.

It breaks my heart to look upon the pup and his suffering. So much so, that I often will sit next to him and gently pet his back and pray over him saying, “I love you Finney. I bless you with peace, in Jesus name. I bless you to be healed, in Jesus name. I bless you to be free from fear, in Jesus name. I bless you with peace in Jesus name.”

I seriously have seen progress and his pain appears to be less than last year. But alas, there are good days for this little doggie and not so good days.

I suppose you are wondering why I’m sharing this story. Well, recently I was in the kitchen and I heard the dog yelp as he jumped up on the couch next to my husband. The yelping bothers Mike as well. To my astonishment, Mike pet the dog and said to him, “I bless you with peace in Jesus name.”

I stared.

Mike smiled back.

My instinct checked in and I said, “You need to bless him again because it’s persistence that is the key to heaven.”

SERIOUSLY. This was happening under our roof.

Mike, “I bless you with peace in Jesus name,” as he looked at Finn.

Gang,….. In Jesus name.

This man spoke it. The name to which every knee will bow….. He spoke it. (Romans 14:11)

I grinned at him. And Mike grinned back.

We went on with our day and I believe that all of my 25 years of praying, living out my faith, loving and forgiving is producing the results of every promise in the Word for me as a child of God.

The LORD recently has caused me to realize that it’s been my pain, discouragement, disappointment and unmet expectations that have been the springboard into the most amazing faith adventure.

ALL OF IT has led me into the brilliant experiences of this verse:

Christ in me, the hope of glory. —Colossians 1:27

This promise is for all of us.

Everything worthy in God’s realm is won by hard work, persistence and pounding on the doors of heaven. Every single thing. This faith walk is not for the faint of heart, nor those who will give up easily. But when you put in the years, the hard work of healing, prayer and faithfully living of God’s Word, you will see the glory.

How do I know? Never in a million years would I have thought my husband would bless anyone or anything and never ever, ever in the name of Jesus Christ.

It’s the season of miracles. Press toward the goal my friends. (Philippians 3:14) It’s worth the price.

I love you my SUMite family. I bless you today with the peace of heaven. In Jesus name. AMEN

Stay tuned as the first week of January will be our prep-week for our annual community fast. We will fast together, with new insights that I have learned about fasting, the week of January 8-12, 2018.

I’m listening to the LORD for our promises for the year. It’s going to be the best year ever.

Hugs, Lynn


Need A Miracle? Testimony IS A Miracle

SUM Nation, OF THE MOST AMAZING BELIEVERS ON EARTH, you are the richest of believers!

Books of Peter Nov 2017I want you to know that I was overwhelmed by the reply to Monday’s post. Names came in through the comments, email, and Facebook. I wrote every name down by hand. And as I wrote your names, I blessed you. And in a moment as I leaned over the spiral binder to write another, the LORD urged me to understand something of profound love. As I wrote your name, those of your spouse and children, it was as though I could see the hand of God, quill on parchment, as He wrote your names down as well. They are inscribed in a sacred book of remembrance. He sees your faith. He sees your heart and your hope. Your prayers of intercession are reaching His ears. HE WROTE YOUR NAME!

(Sometimes I wish I could make a movie out of what I see when the Lord is talking to me in my prayer time. It’s way cool.)

Anyhoo, I was deeply moved in my heart and emotions for the love of God to take time to write down my little name, your names and those whom we love, He loves. It was beautiful.

Let’s move on to our study in the books of Peter.

A few weeks back the discussion in the SUM FB group regarding this passage centered upon submission, respect, boundaries etc. Regrettably, this is a passage that creates confusion, is often misquoted, quoted out of context and is used broadly and as an overreach from what, I believe, God intended. Understanding this passage requires Holy Spirit revelation so ask for the spirit of wisdom and revelation to help with interpretation and application (Eph 1:17).

Obviously, I believe the truth of 1 Peter 3:1, as our book, Winning Him Without Words, is based upon this passage. But where I think the overreach occurs is in determining the conditions of submission. Not the part about winning them without words.

I prayed and asked the LORD, what is your intent and purpose for this passage in 1 Peter 3:1? I immediately heard, “Lynn, read the entire book, the entire chapter.”

I did. In fact, I read the enter two books of Peter again, twice. Probably will read them through a few more times in the next few weeks.

1 Peter, chapter one, is a beautiful greeting to the “believers” in Asia. Peter wrote this letter to them, “The Elect.” (I love that identity.) But he also wrote it to all of us, the believers (This is our identity also).

We need to state the obvious. Believers are mandated with a different set of beliefs and instructions as pertaining to life and Godliness than those who are yet to believe. Peter is writing to a “church,” a group of believers who, until recently were Pegan, without God, without instruction, without the Holy Spirit. Peter is writing to these believers who received the truth, the Holy Spirit and salvation through the Blood of Jesus, the death and resurrection.

What I love about the first chapter of Peter it is a letter of encouragement as well as a reminder.

We need reminding.

I cannot explain why this is true, but we forget so quickly the goodness, the blessing, the victory we have experienced with God. I often think the devil interferes with our recollection to throw us into doubt and unbelief. That is why I love my Daily Bible. I see the goodness, the faithfulness of God in those pages. Years and years of God’s hand, love and provision in my life. I need those reminders to walk in my conscious when I’m waiting for the salvation of my husband. How about you?

Currently I’m contending for something so BIG that only a miracle will predicate the fulfilment of my hope and dream. It’s so LARGE of a prayer request that it even shakes my belief at times. I’ve been contending and praying, fasting and praying and seeking God in an effort that is different than all the prior seasons of prayer.

And as the time passes, I tend to want to surrender hope. Give up and give in. The devil likes to do this to my dreams God gave me in October. He shuts me down in November and I have likely surrendered too much to the devil’s schemes. NOT THIS TIME! I will be honest, I’ve battled fear. I even found myself praying out of fear and doubt. I confessed my fear and asked God’s forgiveness and have asked the Lord to help me be in peace and rest as I continue to believe for this dream.

A week ago, the fear subsided. In this process, I’ve needed miracle after miracle. AND I’ve received several. Outlandish and unexpected miracles. But I’m contending for more, as they are required to move forward.

Why am I sharing this in the study of Peter? Because we need reminding. I need reminding of God’s faithfulness.

Right now, I’ll bet that you are contending for some huge breakthroughs as well. Currently in my prayer sessions so many are battling depression, anxiety and fear. Many have giant needs, a new job. A home to live in. You are praying for a breakthrough for your kids who are in trouble, serious, life-altering stuff. You are praying for a breakthrough in your faith, your heart and physical body. Trust me, I know. I’m right there with you.

So, we need reminding that there are miracles in our past. There will be miracles in our future. And I feel the urging of the LORD that today, we are to share our remembrances with one another. In the comments, leave a few sentences or a complete story about a miracle in your life.

At Christmas time, I can’t think of a better way to offer worship to our LORD, through the sharing of our testimony of His faithfulness. Your story may be the very story that helps another SUMite to claim their miracle. Testimony is power in the Kingdom. Testimony can transfer to other believers and bring about healing, miracles and more.

Honor God in this. Pop into the comments. Write from your heart. What has God done that was a miracle in your life. Nothing is too small. If it was a miracle to you… It was GOD!

Love you. See you there. More to come on Peter. Woo Hoo!!!! Lynn


God's Promise For A Marriage - Thankfulness This Thanksgiving

Becky Walker Family Nov 2017
Becky and Her Two Children

Promises by: SUMite Becky Walker

I wanted to write about the Lord’s promises and explain what the Lord recently revealed to me. I encountered opposition about claiming the Lord’s promises for my husband.

My husband and I have been separated for almost three years and he actually divorced me in May 2016, but I didn’t even know about it until a year later. He has since married someone else and they have separated. I have also consulted with my lawyer who says that the divorce was not carried out legally and we could contest it. That door still has not slammed shut.

Years ago, before my husband left, the Lord promised me that my husband would return, not a slave to sin, but a brother in Christ (Philemon 1:15-16). He also promised me that He would give my husband an undivided heart and place His Holy Spirit in him, remove his stony heart and replace it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26). I have clung to these promises and claimed these promises, even in the face of opposition, because of the faith He gives me.

The Lord continues to me of His promise to keep me strong and give me the faith to make the decisions He wants me to make. I have watched my husband, (yes, I still call him that), Charlie, go from not wanting to set foot in a church to regularly attending a Bible believing church in our community. In fact, the last time he had our children, he took them to church on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Years ago, before we separated, he did not want me to pray for meals but lately he has asked my children to pray for the meal when they go out to eat. My daughter also told me that when she got into his jeep last night, he was listening to a "man talking about God." And recently he told them that he listens to pastors on the radio now. Charlie is a truck driver who travels across several states during the night, so he may be listening to hours of God’s Word. 

I have watched God do amazing things and He still amazes me every day. I do not waver in unbelief regarding the promise of God, but my faith is strengthened, and I give glory to God, being fully persuaded that He has the power to do what He has promised. (Romans 4:20-21). His promises have reminded me how to react and speak to my husband in every situation; speaking with grace so that I do not ruin my witness. His promises guided me to wait on the Lord when everyone else was telling me to divorce Charlie and move on. His promises give me the faith to make decisions that would seem foolish to the world based on my circumstances, like quitting my job as a public-school teacher to home school my children as a "single" mom. God not only provided almost all of my home school resources for free, but He has also provided an amazing job in which I'm teaching English to children in China online in the early morning hours.

The Lord’s promises are such an amazing act of grace and mercy. He could just leave us in the dark about everything that is going to happen. We could just be left to try to figure everything out on our own. People who do not follow Jesus are doing just that each day; living in the dark and trying to figure everything out on their own.

His promises are the reason we can walk by faith and not fear.

His promises are the reason we have peace and joy in the midst of storms.

We need to cling to and claim His promises, personal ones He reveals and the amazing promise of eternal life. There are over 100 promises in the Bible that we have the privilege to claim as believers. 

I was recently thinking about Joseph and the Lord’s promises to him through his dreams. I used to think that Joseph was enslaved only because he shared the dreams he had with his brothers, but the Lord recently revealed a new perspective. Since the Lord knows everything before it happens, and He knows our hearts, perhaps the dreams the Lord gave Joseph were given to Joseph because of what the Lord knew would happen. He knew Joseph’s brothers’ hearts and the way they felt about Joseph because of Jacob’s love and favor towards him. The Lord knew what the brothers were going to do to Joseph before it happened. I believe that the Lord used those dreams He gave Joseph to keep him strong during the trials the Lord knew Joseph would face; the enslavement, imprisonment, and needing to forgive His brothers. 

The Lord knows what each and every one of us needs and He does not keep us in the dark. He knows what every soul is longing for and what every person will have to endure in their lifetime because He has already seen it all play out. It is by His grace and mercy that we have the promise of eternal life and we need that to carry us through the hard times, the confusing times, the struggles.

He knew we would need His promises. We need to remember His promise of eternal life and personal promises that He reveals because He has given them to us for a reason; not just as something to hope for and patiently wait for but as a guide. We should always base our decisions, our attitudes, and our behavior on His promises and seek to follow Jesus, trusting Him that He will bring us to that promise. I know that God will fulfill His personal promise to me and my family because He has already seen it happen. But most importantly of all, I know I will have the promise of eternal life with Jesus, my Savior in His perfect timing. I will be living with Jesus in eternal light, brilliant colors that don’t even exist on Earth, a glorified body, no tears, no worries, no fears, no sickness, and no pain. I can't wait! 

It is also up to us to share that promise with everyone. Righteousness is the opposite of sin and Heaven is the opposite of Hell. We need to remember that there is also a promise of eternal damnation for those who do not follow Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If Heaven is the opposite of Hell then the eternal damnation they face is one of eternal darkness (such that we’ve never experienced before), and an eternity of tears, pain, fear, sickness and horrors we can’t even imagine. We shouldn't want anyone, not even our worst enemy, to experience that. We need to intercede in prayer and share the Gospel with words and actions.    

Thank you, Lord, for your amazing promises that are so full of grace and mercy. Do not let us forget your promises. Open   our eyes to the opportunities to share Your promise with everyone around us.  Help us to live every day of our lives in the victory of that fulfilled promise and may You receive all of the glory for everything You do and all that You are. We trust that you will do whatever it takes to draw our loved ones to Jesus Christ.

Biography:

My name is Becky Walker. I live in Greensboro, North Carolina. I am a stay-at-home mother of two children; my 8-year-old, Charlie Walker, V and my 6-year-old, Lily. I used to teach middle school Spanish but in June, the Lord called me to home school my children. I resigned as a teacher, a lateral entry position that God had amazingly provided since I don’t even have a teaching license, and later in the summer, I applied to VIPKID. I now teach English to children in China and I’ve never enjoyed a job more. I live in a house that’s owned by our church, and I recently became involved in the ESL ministry there; another door God opened. I love spending time with my children and singing in our church choir.


Sumite Parenting

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This weekend marked the passage of another year in my parenting journey and the turning of yet another page. My oldest child turned 14 and suddenly I realized that my sweet little goober has become more like a man and less like a boy. I say this with a twinge of sadness but also with a rush of excitement for what our future holds. Then I realize this is the perfect time to reflect and share the single most important thing that I've ever done for him and my daughter.

As a child there was no religion in my home, however, I was blessed with one set of extremely faithful grandparents. They radiated the love and kindness of Christ in every corner of their lives. Fast forward many years, I met my future husband at the age of nineteen, married by twenty one and had my son by twenty two. When he was born, I was still a child in so many ways but I knew one thing. I wanted to raise him in the home that was modeled by my grandparents and the first step toward that goal was finding a church. I asked my husband for permission to raise him in the church and he allowed it but promised never to join us. That was the beginning of my journey as a parent in an unequally yoked marriage. During those early years, I learned that simply going to church wasn't enough. I needed to learn what it meant to be made a new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17). In that moment I made the best parenting decision of my life, I dedicated all that I knew of myself to all that I knew of Christ. I know that sounds lofty but let me share the practicalities of that choice.

I began by asking God to provide us with a church-home then I committed to regular attendance and involvement outside of the worship hour. I know that's a really hard one for us but I cannot overemphasize the importance of gathering with a body of believers. It will be hard and at times you will feel like an odd duck but do not let the enemy keep you in a place of isolation. That's his favorite weapon to use against this fellowship of Christ-followers. Ask God to knock down any walls that stand in your way, ask him to soften your spouse’s heart to the idea and know that you are supported by the prayers of this Sumite community. Persevere and make church attendance a priority for you and your children. (Hebrews 10:25)

Another small change that had a gigantic impact on my progression was the decision to listen to only Christian music. I’ve learned that the Lord clearly speaks through worship artists. The lyrics often confirm messages that I’ve heard from other sources and aide in the healing of some of my deepest wounds. My pastor once said that the root of the word music is “muse” meaning to think or ponder. That is one purpose of worship music, to point our hearts and minds toward God and keep us focused on Jesus Christ.

Even more important than church attendance or choice of music is your own inner relationship with the life giving King, Jesus Christ. Perhaps begin by setting your alarm fifteen minutes earlier than you normally would. Wake up before your family and settle down with your Bible and a journal. Begin each morning with Him and allow the power of the Spirit to fill your soul. It’s also helpful to seek out a few online devotionals and begin to fill your email inbox with his word. Saturate your heart with the living words of God and he will never abandon you. John 15:4

I hope you see the point to all of this, we are called to make Christ the focus and center of our minds. I know it seems counter-intuitive for us as Sumite parents. The enemy wants us to believe that it's impossible, that we are too different, that our marriages are too hard, that we can't possibly be strong enough to raise authentic followers of Jesus Christ. I'm telling you now that the enemy is a liar and we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:31-39) If you stand up today and tell God that you want to devote your entire being to him then HIS Spirit will begin the work in your heart, taking you from lesson to lesson, transforming you into the image of Christ. In time, your husband and family will be transformed by the power of Spirit and no force on earth can stop that progression. This sold out dedication to Jesus Christ has been the most important aspect of my journey as a parent. I am a flawed and broken sinner just like every other human, so I cannot do this without the indwelling of the Spirit of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I think that God is raising a generation of believers who contain a faith, passion and obedience like no other generation. He has chosen our generation of fathers and mothers to parent these children. We are called to focus on Jesus Christ and model the same faith that Lois and Eunice modeled for Timothy. (2 Timothy 1:5) Will you choose to focus on Jesus Christ then allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through you as your faith impacts the next generation?

Raising Godly Kids in a Spiritually Mismatched Home (book)


Let's Share and Celebrate!

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My friends, I had a message planned for today, but as I prayed, asking the Holy Spirit what was on His heart for us, He inspired me to make this a day of celebration. He pointed out the encouragement received through my testimony on Monday and led me to have you do the very same thing.

So I declare this to be a day to share whatever you see God doing in your life and those you love and pray for. Even if it's the smallest of things (maybe only to you...), share it. It could very well be the catalyst to greater hope and faith for someone reading here today. You just never know what God will use through us to help someone else. He LOVES to do that. He LOVES to partner with us in helping others. He LOVES to work all things out for a GOOD and GREAT REPORT!

A TESTIMONY!

And as Revelations 12:10-11 tells us, this is how we truly defeat the enemy, by speaking out those great reports—large and small—which are declaring we are overcomers, more than conquerers, and the power-of-God-filled, children of God! The enemy is already defeated, and continues to be every time you confess who you are.

SUMites, share in the comments and let's celebrate each other and praise God for what He is doing in our lives. If you're not sure what to share, read the comments and watch how the Holy Spirit will inspire and show you what He's doing for and in you. I have a feeling many of you will be delightfully surprised!

Holy Spirit, give each of us fresh eyes and perspective to see the things of God operating and working in our lives and those we love, that are the evidence of Christ Jesus and the Goodness of God at work. In the mighty name of Jesus, and by His shed blood, we declare today that we ARE more than conquerers and the world shall know it by the word of our testimony. AMEN!!!

Love you, dear friends! Rejoicing with you!
Dineen


My Healing Testimony

IMG_0099My friends, I have something exciting and wonderful to share with you. I’ve been holding it close for several months, only because it was something I was waiting to share with my husband first. And that time recently came.

In the past I’ve mentioned a health condition I’ve had to live with for over 15 years, which required two medications so that I wouldn’t be in constant pain and discomfort. Interstitial Cystitis is something there really isn’t a cure for as they’re not entirely sure what causes it. I just was thankful to have positive results with the medications. 

Yet it’s been on my heart for a while now to be healed of this. I began asking for prayer and getting prayer for it at the first Bethel conference Lynn and I attended in 2012. And since I’ve been part of the healing rooms here in Florida, I’ve been contending for my healing there along with my wonderful sisters and brothers in Christ that I’m privileged to work with there.

So this is what happened on April 18th. As we were in our worship time at the healing rooms, I felt something “unusual” go down my back. I can only explain it as powerful and somewhat electric in sensation. As one who doesn’t easily feel things like this when it comes to God’s presence, I take very special note when I do!

As this happened I heard God speak to me in my spirit, “I have healed you.”

I confess, my first thought was, “Of what?” (I hope you’re laughing.) Why? Because there are things that I had been asking for healing for too, more to do with some past hurts and things I needed to let go of.

But in my heart, I wanted it to be for this health issue. I wanted to be medication free. I wanted to be free of the discomfort and the threat of infection that sometimes came with it. I’d continually declared divine health over my body, and I truly believed at some point, my healing would come. 

My friends, so often the battle for healing has to start in our minds first, before the physical healing comes into alignment. It’s not a test of faith but a building up of our faith so that when our healing comes, we can keep it.

You see, Christ finished it all—and I mean ALL—on the cross. Our salvation not only covers our spiritual healing and restoration but our physical one as well. The Greek meaning of this word encompasses all of it. 

Salvation: sōtēria; rescue or safety (physically or morally): — deliver, health, salvation, save, saving.

My friends, I am completely and totally healed. My symptoms did try to come back a few times that first month, but I continued to declare the truth of my healing so that my body and the enemy would be reminded. That is how we fight to attain and keep what God has for us. 

God does not take away something He’s given us. We play a part—a partnership—with Him in stewarding and keeping every truth and promise He gives us. This comes through our growing faith, our minds being transformed, and standing in the truth of our authority over the enemy and the things of this world.

More and more, the Holy Spirit is showing me the truth of Ephesians 2:4-7 and Psalm 139:13-14:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. — Ephesians 2:4-7

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. — Psalm 139:13-14

We are the rooms (remember John 14:2) that hold the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) and we are seated in the heavens with Jesus. My friends, that means we carry the Kingdom of God and the Bible is clear that disease does not exist in heaven and the enemy is now allowed!

And if by God’s design we are fearfully and wonderfully made, nothing truly has the power to change that—declare that as the truth for your body. Remind your body and soul (as it says in Ps 139:14) that you are FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made. 

So that is my testimony, dear friends. I am healed. Free of all medications. Something I could never do in the past—yes, I tried and could only manage it for a few days, yet here I am three months later and doing fine.

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to share this with my husband first. And I did. I’m sure you’re wondering what he thought. I asked him that actually, what did he think of what I told him? He believes my body just got better.

But I know a seed has been planted. I prophetic word given me not long before my healing had to do with him and the healing of this condition—that it would be a catalyst to him coming to belief. This person didn’t even know I was in a mismatched marriage. 

And I know the truth. I. Am. Healed. That is my truth now and the glory is all God’s! I thank Him almost every day for healing and restoring my body to His original design, in the name of Jesus! 

What’s next? I wish you could see my smile. I can’t wait to tell my doctor! 

Love you, SUMites!
Dineen


How God Spoke to My Heart About My Husband

Dear friends, I am on "vacation" this week. It's actually my oldest daughter, Rachel, who is on vacation and spending the week with Mike and I. We won't get to see her at Christmas this year so I am making the most of this week with my girl. I'll be back next next week.

In the meantime, this testimony from Alissa is so beautiful and powerful, of how God met her, reassured her, and even gave her revelation and insight to understand what was really at the heart of her husband's choice to be an agnostic. When I asked her if I could share her testimony here, this is what she said:

Absolutely you can use this. One thing I learned on my missions trip was the power of testimony. We learned that the word testimony, literally means 'God do it again'. So if my testimony can give someone else hope and encouragement that is really the ultimate goal, God do it again!

Thank you, Alissa! 

Be encouraged, SUMites. God has you and your spouse, right in the palm of His hand. He never lets go. Hugs! ~Dineen

 

How God Spoke to My Heart About My Husband
by Alissa Berglund

Alissa BA little back story first...  A couple of weeks ago I went on a missions trip to Romania while my husband stayed back and took care of the kids. While I was on my trip he got together with some of our friends (all unbelievers) and they got into a discussion about faith and God. Fast forward to this week. I went on a walk with my best friend who isn't a believer but is open to God and she was telling me that this discussion and taken place but didn't offer up any details, and I didn't push for the whole story, just listened to what she offered up.
 
After the walk on Wednesday night my hubby Andy and I got talking and I asked him about the conversation that had taken place. He told me that him and some of the other had arrived at the conclusion that they didn't know where they stood in terms of faith, but that he felt like he is searching for answers and "proof" of God's existence. Then he blurts out that he identifies as an agnostic.
 
I don't know what that was so hard to hear... but having him label or identify himself with a certain set of beliefs just pierced me. I started reading about agnostics and the more I read the more defeated and beat down I felt. It's like a huge mountain is before me that I have no clue how to conquer. Yesterday I was mowing the lawn and just pouring out my heart to God, just pleading with him to move in Andy's life and bring be peace about this. God was oddly silent, but just kept telling him I trusted him and it's not my job to save Andy but his. I almost got on the Summite website to ask you all for prayer because I was so discouraged.
 
This morning I was running late and I got into my car and Faith Radio was on. Usually in the mornings they talk politics so I was about to change it, when all of a sudden the host starts talking to his guest about agnostics.... WHAT??  I perked up. This guys starts explaining how some agnostics become the way they are.  He said a lot of times deep pain is the beginning of unbelief. Wouldn't you know it... Andy lost his mom to cancer at age 9 and he has always wondered why God didn't answer his prayers and heal her. Then he starts giving practical steps to impacting an agnostic for Christ, loving them, being in relationship with them, listening more talking less, not pushing the gospel on them, getting into the Word and other resources about apologetics... but most of all trusting that the Holy Spirit will move and there will come a tipping point when they experience the realness of God.
 
It was as if God was speaking directly to my heart, saying... see I heard you last night...  I haven't forgotten your struggle or where Andy is. I just was so encouraged and lifted that this isn't my battle but God's. I feel like God is preparing a prayer strategy for me that is very specific to my husband. I've been trying to pray for him consistently every day on my drive in to work since I started a new job. I just want to up my game and do my part to cover him in prayer.
 
So that's it!! Just wanted to share that with someone :)  Just remember it's not our battle alone, but God's.
 
-Alissa
 
About Alissa: 
Married to my high school sweetheart and a mom to two energetic boys. Lakeville MN is where I call home, most summer days you can find me outside taking pictures of sunsets or collecting rocks.

Salvation Story. God Talked With This Husband!

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Sam & Molly Hoverson

I have been a servant of our Lord and Savior since December of 2007. The man I now call my husband was instrumental in God’s plan to bring faith and the grace of God to my heart. My husband grew up in a Christian family and is well studied on the scriptures. I relied heavily on his guidance and understanding of the Bible for my own spiritual health rather than read the Bible myself, and so I remained childlike in my faith for many years.        

In 2009, shortly before we were to be married, tragedy struck and my husband. He became afflicted with a life-threatening illness while serving overseas in the Air Force. I was in college across the country at the time and unable to support him in his time of need. During this time, he struggled with his faith and felt that God had abandoned him. Soon he began to doubt even God’s existence. It was a very dark time for both of us as we struggled to maintain our long-distance relationship, school, his eventual medical retirement, and me becoming the spiritual leader of our house.

God never left us. He showed His undying love for us in many unexpected ways. After our first child was born He brought family to us to guide us (mostly me) to the church I now call home. Whenever I was weakened spiritually He always lifted me up. God softened my heart to my husband’s spiritual struggles and to give him space to grieve his lost career and find his new path in life. I was guided to Lynn Donovan and Dineen Miller and the books they wrote, which were very helpful in guiding me to be a Godly wife, as imperfect of one as I am! All the while I knew God was working slowly in my husband's heart. The scriptural questions I once asked him he would pose to me. Our fights about God, scripture, and going to church faded to respectful discussions. My husband’s borderline atheism softened to a mere uncertainty of a higher power.

Fast forward to a few months ago; we found ourselves struggling with worldly stresses. While I felt I was able to place many of my doubts and fears in our gracious Lord, my husband felt no such comfort. He was crippled by what he felt was insurmountable obstacles in his life, our house, and various other things giving him sleepless nights and stress filled days. His blood pressure went up, which caused more even more stress and I felt helpless to support him, and so prayed fervently to God to give him relief. That’s when it pleased God to answer my eight yearlong prayer for my husband!

My husband is a mailman and is often on his feet walking mail routes. One day, late in March, he finally looked to God and said, “You used to talk to people, You used to show Yourself to people, why do You not do that anymore?”

He felt God answer him “I’m still here.”

My husband told me he spent a good part of the morning in tears communing with God. He came home in the middle of the day (which never happens) to quickly tell me everything that had happened before he had to get back to his route. He said he wasn’t sure if he was losing his mind or if God was actually speaking to him. We were both pretty sure he wasn’t losing his mind. He also told me while normally he sees many people while delivering mail, that morning there was no one in sight, and he and God walked peacefully together on his route.

Ever since then we have gone to church as a family; us and our two children. We’re looking to God for our salvation, guidance and needs. I’m actually reading the Bible all the way through for the first time. We’ve stopped drinking almost entirely as we used to turn to that for stress relief. My husband is working on quitting tobacco, which has been a habit for over 20 years. We’re praying together as a family. We’re reading the Bible together. It’s truly miraculous. We’ve felt the attempts of the Devil as he tries to sneak in and create turmoil and chaos in our lives, but our protective Lord has thwarted all his advances. We are in safe hands now!

Lord willing, my husband will become a member of our church at the beginning of next month. I feel like he’s the man I met so many years ago, but wiser, calmer, and so full of faith and hope! I feel like our story is a testament to how having just a little faith, even as small as a mustard seed, can make anything possible. Amen! —Sumite, Molly

UPDATE: 

Just wanted to share our joy with you today! Sam confessed his faith and became a member of our church this morning. He also got to partake of his first communion with us. God is so good and continues to shower us with blessings! Have a blessed day!!! ❤️

Molly Hoverson 

Sam Hoverson


An Astonishing Move of God and a Song

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This picture hangs above my prayer wall.

My friends, I need to just step out of our Esther series for a moment, because the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to share an astonishing story with you. 

I’ve spoken many times about my work in the Healing Rooms of Manatee, which is turning out to be a big part of why God brought us back to Sarasota. I love serving as a team trainer and having the opportunity to minister to and pray with people face to face. And what God is doing there leaves me speechless most days.

Because He is amazing. Just recently we’ve witnessed a person healed of ALS. The doctors can now find no evidence of this disease in this person’s body! Praise Jesus!

But God did something entirely different last week. He wrapped a very personal event in my life into another person’s—someone I barely even know.

First, let me explain that we operate our healing rooms much like a doctor’s office. People come in and have forms to fill out, including their prayer needs. A prayer team of three then takes this chart, prays over it and waits for the Holy Spirit to reveal what they need to know for this person and what the Holy Spirit wants to do. 

Last week as my team prayed over a chart, I felt the Holy Spirit was reminding me of a very special song, something very personal to me and my daughter, Leslie. 

You see, during the seven weeks of her radiation treatments (Dec. 2008 - Feb 2009) I would sing a song to her on our long trip home. She would be so tired and worn out, and ask me to sing to her. That song was, “You are My Sunshine.”

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

Then in 2015 during the aftermath of my shoulder surgery, I was in a great deal of pain. One night, I woke up hurting worse than ever and nothing seemed to help. I cried out to God in my pain and confusion, and suddenly I heard that song. I realized my Abba was there, singing over me, giving me comfort with His love. This was also an answer to prayer, because I’d asked Him many times to allow me to hear Him singing over me. 

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. — Zeph. 3:17 ESV

My friends, I can’t tell you what that did to my heart that night. It runs so very deep. One day in a store I saw a picture of this song title and knew I was supposed to buy it and hang it on my wall as a constant reminder that the Lord sings over me.

These are the stories the Holy Spirit brought back to my mind in a flash and told me to share it with this person we would be praying for. But here’s the clincher. 

He wanted me to sing the song too.

Needles to say I felt out of my comfort zone here and even wondered if I was hearing clearly, even though I’ve seen God do some crazy things and the results are always astounding. I hesitated to sing, my friends. But after I share my story with this person, he asked me to sing it and then he would tell me why. So I mustered my courage and belted it out. Yep, I mean belted!

Here’s where it became astonishing. After I finished the song, this person told me that several years back God had someone sing this very same song over him in a meeting for a very specific reason, but at the time he didn’t take it seriously. This time he would.

My friends, I don’t know the full story of what God was doing that day, but it has rocked my world. God has given me details for people before—names, dreams, images—that are very specific and mean something to the person I’m praying for. That in and of itself is always astounding to me because it shows how intimately God is wrapped in the details of our lives. 

But never has God done this, used a very personal detail in my life to connect and minister to another person. I am still blown away by it. In a clearly God planned moment, not only was this person’s faith increased, so was mine.

Amazingly, He had me sing over another person that evening and I did exactly what He asked without hesitation. My faith and trust had already been bolstered.

SUMites, I pray this deeply encourages you to know that the Lord will do astonishing things to let you know He is there and He is moving in your life in ways you can’t even comprehend yet. 

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. — Psalm 32:7 NIV

I pray the songs the Lord is singing over you, my friends, are loud and clear. I pray His heart is revealed to you in astonishing ways starting today and that your faith is brought to a whole new level of understanding and expectation.

And that’s the key, my friends. EXPECT HIM! He’s always faithful!

Love you like crazy!
Dineen


Expecting Perfection

QuestionMy friends, I’m finally settled (mostly) in our new home and writing my first post for the blog from my new office. I am so excited about one part in particular. Why?

I have doors. 

Yep, doesn’t take a whole lot to make this gal happy. I can now close the doors of my office and play worship music whenever I want and speak privately on the phone on the occasions when I’m blessed to minister to someone. 

And I’m learning some new lessons in this season about expectations. Specifically my expectations of God. Early on God made it clear this home was a blessing from His hand and I was to receive it as such. 

But what I didn’t expect were the complications that came. Foundation issues, mistakes (the tub vs. the shower) and a backed up sewer line on our fourth day, just to name the big ones. I expected the little ones, like an unfinished wall behind a toilet that went unnoticed until the toilet backed up. Yet, I assumed that since God was clearly behind it all, we’d not have so many big hitches that turned an expected four to six month build into a year.

So not true.

Those are the moments that make you stop, pause and wonder. Don’t you think? If God is clearly the force behind the event, then why do we still hit complications that threaten to take us off track?

This is what I’m discovering and please add your own thoughts and wisdom in the comments, my friends.

  1. The obvious first answer is the enemy. We do have an enemy intent upon destroying God’s kingdom and all that it entails. John 10:10 tells us that. I have to say, I scratch my head at that one and wonder why he bothers when he knows he’s already lost, but he’s just a bully and a trouble maker. So, it makes sense that he’d try to come against this home in light of the kingdom plans God has for it. Most of it, my friends, it just inconveniences that could easily keep me frustrated if I didn’t continually turn them over to God. He’s the burden (yoke) carrier. I get to be His kid and stand in confidence that He’s got it covered. Yet the more serious side of this is to remember that the enemy will hinder us to order to keep us from reaching the lost. He may have lost the war, but he’s still battling for souls. And we are part of God’s army to defeat him. Amen? Our godly and kingdom inspirations will meet opposition.

  2. Which brings me to a little “ditty” I created and have written on a piece of paper that I keep on my desk right above my keyboard.

    “For every trial and conflict we face, God has already put a promise and provision in place.”

    Our challenge as God’s children is to remember to look for it, ask for it, and/or pray for it. God not only has a solution, He is the solution.

  3. Sometimes we perceive a complication or delay as the enemy when, in actuality, it is God’s hand of protection. The biggest example I’ve witnessed Him do this is one I’ve shared in the past. When my daughter was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, the procedure to put a port in her chest for her chemo treatments fell through three times. It was ridiculous. What I didn’t understand at the time was that God had a plan to literally change the chemistry of that tumor. After her surgery they reassessed the tumor to be a grade 3 instead of a grade 4. They even sent it to another hospital in another state to be sure. If they’d put the port in her chest, they would have had to take it right back out. She didn’t need it, because she didn’t need chemo after all. Praise Jesus!
    SUMites, I imagine you can think back to at least one of those stories yourself. They are powerful testimonies of God’s protection and presence!

  4. There is no such thing as perfection in this world. Though we seek it, want it, even long for it, we won’t find it here. And that longing is just a sign of our deep and true longing for our real home in heaven. So in the waiting, I believe God calls us to look for the beauty in those imperfections, because then we can witness His presence and power at work. He does the perfecting (2 Cor. 12:9). And there is always a good to be found in everything, because God is working in everything to reveal it. That’s one of our greatest promises in the Bible and one of my favorites, Romans 8:28. He turns every negative into a positive. Amazing!

My friends, sometimes we will see the reason or the good in the trial or complication quickly. Other times we will scratch our heads in confusion every time we think about it. Those are the times we must rely on faith and trust in our God that His ways, thoughts and plans are much higher and grander than we can imagine. And just because we can’t see Him working doesn’t mean He isn’t there. I think we, as SUMites, have an advantage of experience in this area. We live in this level of faith every day as we wait for our spouses to come to faith. God is faithful and relentless in His pursuit of everyone to know Him (2 Peter 3:9).

So, my friends, these are some of the things God is teaching me at the moment. How about you? What are you seeing and witnessing God doing in you, around you, in your family, etc.? 

And one final thought. Our best stance is abiding and resting in Him (a.k.a. trusting Him). Because that’s when Abba does His best work. Why? Because we get out of the way. LOL! Amen? Amen!

Love you!
Dineen


A Stunning Revelation of My Authority

LOVE
My friends, today I want to share a something God is showing me in my own life. And as God is so perfect in His ways, this ties into the series I’ve been writing about regarding words, the power of God’s Word, and the authority we walk in as His children. And I’ve no doubt this is something many in our community here (and this country) need to know as it’s something that affects the majority of women today in all ranges of ages.

First, let me set the stage. Last week I was listening to a podcast by a pastor and teacher I very much respect and he said something that I knew was true but didn’t fully understand in the moment how very deeply this truth can run.

His words were, “We can’t take authority over what we don’t love.”

When I heard it, my heart, soul, mind and spirit nodded in agreement. I believe God has planted the truth of 1 Corinthians 14:1 deep inside me since I was a child.

Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy. — 1 Corinthians 14:1

Love must always be our motivator, sustainer and final goal. I firmly believe that. And hearing these words from this pastor brought this truth to a whole new level for me. It’s also made me examine the places where I have have taken authority in my prayers, yet haven’t seen a shift or change. 

As Lynn shared Friday, there can be things that block our prayers, and perhaps this could be one of them. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If our heart isn’t filled with love for what we’re praying for, how can our prayers be? And I do believe this kind of love has to come from our Lord Jesus and our intimacy with Him. He pours His love into and through us.

So, what did I discover? I can best explain by sharing how this translated into a revelation for me the very next day.

I have had a love hate relationship with food, my weight and my appearance for as long as I can remember. God has brought me a long way over the years, but I still long for complete freedom. I know there are many of you reading this right now, SUMites, that get this. You’ve most likely struggled with it in some way, shape or form too.

And I am determined. I know my prayers are powerful, so I have blessed my body with divine health, perfect function as God designed my body to work and blessed areas that I know I need healing physically. But I’m not seeing the results I so desire. 

As I said, the application of this pastor’s words that the Holy Spirit wanted me to grasp came the next day. He showed me that yes, I have attempted to take authority over my body, but how can I stand in that authority when I don’t love my body and the way God created me?

I have whined and complained about my appearance, my health issues and weight for a long time. I have spoken and thought negatively about myself in more ways than I probably know. And please forgive me if I’m being a little too real and honest here, but I am compelled by the Holy Spirit to share this, because I do believe it is the answer I have sought for a long time to understand what the core issue is.

So now I am changing this. I am seeking God daily to help me love myself in all ways. I’m not talking about anything bordering on vanity or pride here. Just simple appreciation and acceptance of who God created me to be and look like. (Psalm 139:13-18, Luke 12:7, Ephesians 2:10—share more verses in the comments!)

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. — 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Because I firmly believe that this issue begins in the heart and mind. And I believe as I partner with the Holy Spirit to transform my mind in this area and break old thought patterns too, I will begin too see the results of a healthy mind and body manifest more and more. 

As a person thinks, they are and do, right? (Proverbs 23:7 NKJV)

My friends, can you relate to this? Is this a truth you’ve wanted or needed and didn’t even realize it, like me? What area can you see applying to your life right now? Please share if you’re able. I truly sense this will be a revelation day for many of us and the beginning of new healing and freedom in places we have prayed and longed for.

I love you, SUMites. So very much. I want all God has for you, every single thing He has written down in the pages of His book about you—I pray He pours out every word, blessings, gift and provision He has written down for you today and that His presence is the greatest gift He reveals to you. I pray for more revelation of who you are to Him and who He created you to be, so that you walk in complete confidence in your identity and relationship with your Papa God. In the blessed name of Jesus, amen!

He loves us, my friends. Oh how He loves us…
Dineen

(P.S. Later the same day I noticed the toenail on my left foot—I have unsuccessfully treated it for three years so I began blessing it weeks ago—is now clearing up and growing normal again. Thank You, Lord, for Your sweet confirmations! You are so holy and wonderful!)


Guest Post: Glowing in the Dark

Fireflies"For so the Lord has commanded us: 'I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.'" — Acts 13:47

I could hear the explosion of fireworks near my house on the night of July 4th. I peered out my back window, but too many large trees were in the way to see anything in the sky. I could see, though, a continual sparkle of light coming through the branches. Wow! The remnant of the fireworks!

Then at closer look, those weren't fireworks at all. They were fireflies (or a.k.a. lightning bugs)! Hundreds upon hundreds of them! I was mezmerized by their beauty as they quickly flashed in the dark of night, putting on a show much grander, and quieter, than the fireworks themselves. But in reality, they were just doing their thing, being who they are.

I found some interesting information on the Mother Nature Network website listing "the 12 things you didn't know about lightning bugs." A chemical inside their abdomin/tail called luciferin (yes, oddly enough the same latin root as Lucifer - is this why he's known to appear as the "angel of light?") mixes with oxygen, calcium and adenosine triphosphate causing a chemical reaction to create their spectacular light.

There are more than 2,000 species of lightning bugs, but only some come equipped with the ability to glow. The light these bugs generate is the most efficient light ever made! Almost 100% of the energy in the chemical reaction is emitted as light. In comparison, an incandescent light bulb only emits 10% of its energy as light, while the other 90% is lost as heat. Each species of the lightning bug has a specific pattern of light flashing, and males use this pattern to draw the ladies to create that perfect match. Some species actually synchronize their flashes creating a beautiful light show, such as the one I had seen out my window.

"For God, who said, 'Let there be light in the darkness,' has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ." — 2 Corinthians 4:6

Do you see yourself in this description? We glow because that’s who we are and what we do naturally! Jesus is our light, and recently our SUM family synchronized our lights to be in earnest prayer for our spouses, not to mention how we continually uplift, encourage and support one another. What a spectacular show that must appear to the heavenly hosts as our prayers rise to the One in whom we place our hope and trust.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." — Matthew 5:16

Sharing our wounds, our brokenness, and our flaws actually attract the lost. Here’s a light they can relate to and be drawn to. In this world of darkness, the lost don't even realize how desperate they are to see light. Sweet SUMite family, may we simply be who we are, shining Christ's light, not as a pest, but as a magnificent wonderment so the fireworks of salvation may take place in our very own homes. Not that our spouses would behold us, but behold the ONE who is the giver of that light

"Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." — Ephesians 5:14

 

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