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!
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 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!
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
A 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.
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.
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
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!!! ❤️
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!
My 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!)
"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 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!
That was my question in early 2006. For nearly two years I’d been writing fiction and pursuing publication along those lines and doing all the things a newbie writer was supposed to do to build craft and make connections, including blogging. Yet I felt this distinct nudge to share what God had done in my mismatched marriage to help others. That brought my next question.
How do I do that on a blog and still honor my husband?
During this same time I went to lunch with a dear friend and fellow fiction writer, Camy Tang, and poured out my heart and thoughts on the subject. My biggest concern was what could potentially happen in the comments. Could I handle that? And again, how did I do something like this and honor my husband and marriage?
Camy (who’s an amazing multi-published author now, by the way) listened with great care and made suggestions. I left our lunch date more committed to following God’s lead and belief that He would show me the way.
About a week or so later I received an email from Camy, telling me to check out this link to a blog. She’d just returned from attending the Mount Hermon’s writers’ conference that March and had met a woman there who wanted to know more about blogging. Seems she too felt the nudge and calling of the Holy Spirit to share about her mismatched marriage.
Bet you can guess who that was!
I clicked on the link and there it was. The Spiritually Unequal Marriage blog, newly started with a message of hope to encourage others living in a mismatched marriage. I was honestly floored and amazed that God was moving in someone else like He had me.
So, I crafted up an email to this Lynn Donovan and told her a little about who I was as a writer and feeling led to write about living in a spiritually mismatched marriage. I humbly (at least that’s how I remember it! LOL!) offered to write some posts for her blog on the subject.
Then hit send. I figured she’d either tell me she had it under control, or she’d welcome me with open arms. And as you know, it was the latter. I was ecstatic! God had shown me the HOW of what He was calling me to do.
My friends, when I think back to that time and my concerns over how the subject matter would be handled and comments from readers, I am even more astonished at what God has done in the last ten years. He’s created a safe place where we’ve had the freedom to be honest and grow together. God’s hand has rested mightily on our SUM Nation faithfully and continues to do so.
And we carry on, grow and have learned to thrive—the very intent of this blog all along. So, my friends, with you here today I want to say a very profound THANK YOU to my wonderful, amazing, inspiring best friend Lynn Donovan for inviting me to partner with her ten years in what would become an amazing family of God that gives Him glory every single day. And I want to thank you for allowing us to be a part of your lives. Lynn and I are so honored and amazed by that every single day. God is SO GOOD!
BUT…. This is what I learned from that experience.
I believe I was wrestling with a spirit of anger. I believe it was demonic in nature and it erupted in very rare moments as to keep me from recognizing it. And just like a volcano, when eruptions happen…. Devastation.
Later that evening when the eruption cooled and I knew things were in a bad place, I fell on my face and I begged God to forgive me. I asked Him to remove this spirit of anger from me and I promised Him I would never again let this anger be part of my life.
God did just that.
I haven’t felt that weird surge of ferocious anger since. And out of His great love, he healed everything in our family. Everything.
Our Father is so good that He delivers us, heals us even when we screw up everything in our own lives. He loves us through it and is protective.
Now I know not everything turns out like this. I look other areas of past resentment and anger with my spouse, yet my husband remains an unbeliever. God hasn’t move in him…… yet….
But what God did was reveal this area of oppression and He has completely freed me from that beast!
Hallelujah and Amen.
I’m sharing this story with you because I believe that are SUMites who are dealing with an angry spirit. Either it strikes you and/or your spouse. And if there is anger in you or your spouse, your children are vulnerable to become angry as well. Just sayin.
HOWEVER, You can pray to defeat anger.
Pray with me out loud:
In the name of Jesus, today I break any and all agreements I have with anger. I say that anger no longer has a place in my heart, soul, body, mind, will and emotions. I will live in the peace of the Kingdom of God. I declare that anger is hereby banished from my thoughts. No longer does anger have access to my mind. It must leave immediately and go into the pit and cannot return. My home is now a safe zone from the enemy and especially from the spirit of anger.
Also, in the name of Jesus, I declare the spirit of anger in my spouse must leave right now. I stand in authority over it by 1 Corinthians 7:14. My spouse in now protected and anger has no hold on my husband/wife or my children. The spirit of anger must go directly into the pit and never return. In the powerful name of Jesus. And I declare the blood of Christ over me, my spouse, my children and home. AMEN
Pray a version of this prayer every day, out loud for as long as it takes, (days, months, perhaps even a year). Personalize it with names. Pray the scripture verse out loud as well, claiming it’s truth and power over your faith and life.
And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:30-32
Okay, the next post is about dealing with ongoing annoyance, anger and our perceived unfair treatment. Then we will tackle disappointment and finally the granddaddy of them all... Fear of Man. Can't wait to get to that one.
I love you. Is this prayer helpful? Is this series helpful, let me know your thoughts about dealing with anger in your life in the comments.
I bless you with Shalom today. In Jesus name. AMEN I love you, Lynn
It’s Palm Sunday! I’ll finish up the remaining few posts about my mom’s story in April. Also in April, I’m compelled to talk about weariness. In the last few months, my heart has ached for SUMites who have told me they are weary in the waiting. Man, do I ever feel a revelation of the Spirit coming to speak to weariness in our community!! Look for that in April as well.
BUT TODAY!!!! Let’s turn our focus, thoughts and worship toward Calvary!
My friends, did you know that everything we will ever need, was accomplished through the cross! Everything, in that moment, was made available to us who believe in Jesus, the Son of God, our Redeemer!
So often the enemy gets us to look at our struggles. Our challenges. Pain. He is relentless to make sure we focus on the galactic mountain we are facing. He draws us away from the truth of our inheritance, our authority, our provision, and our faith to see the dark and thrust us into fear.
Hallelujah for the Cross!
When we remove our eyes for just a second to look clearly on the truth of the Resurrection, we see that we have everything we need to say to that mountain….. MOVE!!!
Our resurrected Jesus became a man, to show us, to model for us, exactly how to live a life of victory, love and receive our inheritance as a Child of God right now on earth as well as in eternity.
I know the very mountain that many of you are facing right now. And there are many SUMites who are facing what appears to be unsurmountable cliffs of doom that I can’t even imagine, However, our Jesus is bigger than all of it. Truly!
Today, this hour, take out your Bible. Turn to Matthew 17:20. Underline it! Write the name of the Mountain you want to move and then put 2016! And say aloud the passage.
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”— Matthew 17:20 NIV
The truth of this single verse just ROCKS my world.. Nothing will be impossible… Jesus, I dream pretty big. I pray even bigger. Lord, the SUMites aren’t cowards. We stand in the cross-hairs every day in our own homes. Jesus, MOVE OUR MOUNTAIN! We cry out. We believe. We believe. WE BELIEVE!!!!
So, today my friends, tell me, how did you come to believe? How old were you? Share your salvation experience. Together let’s thank Jesus together as we were chosen to be children of the Most High God before time began! (Ephesians 1:4) Hallelujah!!
I can’t wait to hear your story and pray over your mountain in the comments. Have an astonishing week. Make plans to attend church. Attend a Friday service if you can. Do some kind of activity with your kids that brings the significance of this week alive in their hearts. I share in our book, Not Alone, how the Resurrection Eggs, greatly impacted my young daughter. This year, I get to open each one with my granddaughter. Oh, my heart swells!
SUMites, ANOTHER profound email. What is happening in our community? Ten years of praying, believing, trusting. The fruit is ripe and I celebrate every victory in our SUMite Nation. And I continue to pray and trust for those yet to come.
Today, please meet Kim Valentine. Her story is TRULY miraculous!!!! Thank you Jesus. (Read to the end because this story is astonishing!)
One day after 18 years of marriage my husband informed me he was moving out. As soon as the words left his lips, I knew this time it wasn’t an idle threat. God immediately began revealing to me every sin I committed that degraded, emasculated and disrespected my husband. Every time I blamed, criticized, condemned or withheld intimacy was before my very eyes. The blinders were ripped off and the ugliness of my sin was repulsive to me! Here I was a Christian for 16 years, playing the part, talking the talk and holding the church positions. I felt so valued by my Christian “family” as one of Christ’s ambassadors to the world, but the witness to my own husband was like filthy rags before God.
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” James 1:26
I felt stripped bare to the core that day, but in that process God miraculously transformed my heart for my husband. I experienced an infilling of unconditional love for him that was beyond human comprehension. The persistent nagging inside my being that had to speak up and criticize my him was miraculously gone. So many things that irritated me in the past were washed away. I began to see him through God’s eyes as a precious human being created and loved by Him.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
We had become strangers in the same house living separate lives. We were more like roommates than a married couple and our lives rarely intersected. We hadn't shared a bed for over eight years but I was comfortable with that arrangement, so I didn't care to change.
Had I not realized over the years I was not treating my husband well? I could say “no” and blame other men who had hurt me, other people or society. I have to confess that deep on a spiritual level I knew my actions were damaging to my husband and our whole family. All factors may be reasons for my behavior but no excuse to treat him with disrespect he didn't deserve.
This new love for my husband welled up inside me and overflowed. I had never felt this way and I wanted him to receive this love from me, but was it too late? I had taken control and removed him as head of our family where God intended him to be all along. Would he think that my actions were nothing more than a ploy to make him stay? Regardless, I started to treat him with respect and submission the way I should have all along.
But I was not completely obedient and trusting God. I fought for control of the situation by plotting and intervening like an amateur detective. I intercepted emails and monitored his bank account justifying it because I was trying to save our marriage. God began to convict me of my intrusion and I realized it was actually an invasion of my husband’s privacy. The harsh reality was, he was leaving and there was nothing I could do to control or manipulate that outcome.
After he moved out I withdrew and began to focus on my own pain. I started to dwell on my husband’s contribution to the marriage breakdown in my own private pity party. I remember lying on my kitchen floor weeping and begging Jesus to take me Home. I felt like my heart was broken and I was in a thousand pieces. I now believe it was my own sin and lack of “control” eating me alive. One morning I woke up in tears telling the Lord that I couldn't go on any longer, I was too weak.
I turned to my devotional and the scripture verse was from 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
God wanted to heal my heart and life before He could ever heal our marriage. This journey of reconciliation wasn’t only about our marriage but also about my disconnection with the Lord. I took my eyes off Him and lived life my own way.
God used prayer and study to open my eyes and discover I was the contentious or quarrelsome woman of Proverbs. In the message Proverbs 27: 15-16 reads: A nagging spouse is like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet; you can’t turn it off, and you can’t get away from it.
“It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife.” Proverbs 21:19
God now had my complete attention and I wept in brokenness. Even though my heart had been transformed, I continued to hold on to control. I had to be obedient to the Holy Spirit, renew my mind, be accountable to the Lord for my own actions and not blame anyone else. My obsession with control destroyed our marriage.
A week after this epiphany, my husband contacted me out of the blue and asked me to go out for coffee. I hadn’t heard from him in months. The first meeting started as a casual meeting between “friends “but was actually the beginning of our restoration journey.
My husband had a new softness to him I had never before seen, so I knew his heart was changed. He is back home now and we don't just have a marriage restored but a one that's transformed. I tell people I have the husband I’ve always wanted but never allowed him to be. We are blessed to fall into a deeper love with each other. I am witness as he grows in confidence as the head of our household. There are days I still struggle with wanting control, but being aware helps me learn to surrender it to the Lord.
Learning to be a wife as God intended is counter cultural as the world dictates women be independent. We are supposed to take control in marriage and family instead of depending on the Lord but this is so counterproductive. I have new joy embracing the role God has graced me with as wife and help mate for my husband. I know that after God, my husband is my priority. This is how I honor the Lord.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2.
I have had the privilege of watching the Lord draw my husband to Him. It has been more than two years since our reconciliation and my husband has recently become a follower of Jesus Christ. I stand in awe at how the Lord is developing him into the spiritual leader in our home. It’s all about Him!
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
For many years I sought to find my identity and affirmation in education, positions and career but these pursuits became my gods. I had built my foundation on sinking sand destined to wash away. It gave me a feeling of superiority over my husband. I lost focus that my true identity is found in only in Jesus Christ and the role he has for me as His child, a wife to my husband and a mother to our children.
I am a 50-something daughter of the King, wife to one awesome husband, mother to two amazing children and one special "son in love", future grandmother and nurse. I strive to be a woman after God's own heart and walk in His steps.
"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps" 1 Peter 2:21
SUMite Nation, it appears there is a lot happening in our community. I am so thrilled to share the emails that are arriving and pray they encourage us in our faith. Today, I bring a powerful message from Janet Sommer. Janet has written for us before in the years of her unequally yoked marriage. But today she has a fantastic message that is..... well, unexpected but filled with hope and faith.
And Janet, I LOVE that you call us her at SUM, precious siblings!
Some people have such grace and joy that reflects in their words, actions and face. The ones who hear God’s power or see it, quickly they begin smiling and praising God. Not me. I first have to pick up my lower jaw off the floor, have a few rounds of recovery time and then can join the rest who are applauding God’s amazing power, mercy and grace. Even a year after my husband encountered God and accepted Jesus as his savior I still regularly am in shock and disbelief. I am confident the heavens sit back and prepare to enjoy the show my face displays.
Concert Selfie - Tobymac
After an exhausting year of relearning marriage and transitioning into an equally yoked marriage, I found myself at a concert with my family. Not only were we attendees, but my husband and I were volunteers too. (Cue a face show for the heavenlies!) It was surreal to stand there this time with my husband. At a Christian concert. For a genre that isn’t exactly his first choice. Trust me, by now the heavens are ordering extra rounds of popcorn.
And to make it even better, I unexpectedly experienced at that concert, my daughter with hands raised, and dancing the whole night away. She earned the moniker “Spirit Dancer” as she repeatedly told us she could feel something in her making her body dance.
Both my husband and I continue to keep the SUMite community in prayer. (Did you know he even joins the corporate fast? Cue an encore face show for the heavelines!!) As Tobymac performed “Move (Keep Walking)” God spoke greatly to my heart and gave me words for you, the SUMites, whom He sees, hears and knows.
I am fairly confident this is your battle cry. Your war anthem He is singing over you.
Another heartbreak day
Feels like you’re miles away
Don’t even need no shade
When your sun don’t shine, shine
Too many passin’ dreams
Roll by like limousines
It’s hard to keep believin’
When they pass you by and by
I know your heart been broke again
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left
Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so
Another Thanksgiving. Another Christmas. Another new year. Another week of corporate fasting. And now Easter is on the horizon bringing a holy holiday facing the struggle of finding balance keeping God honored and at the center. The longing and heartbreak is truly immeasurable as the same prayers are, yet again, expressed with such faith and hope.
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet
Day in and day out it is so tiring to keep enduring this walk of an unequal marriage. The Lord does not want you to stop walking. It’s a trick—a whisper from the enemy manipulating the truth. The real truth is that God is indeed your promised strength, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Even the running community even knows if you stop for a rest, you will not finish the race.
Precious siblings, keep walking. Keep growing in the Word. Keep drawing in close to the Lord. Keep making room for quiet time. Keep teetering the balance beam of honoring God and your spouse. I promise He will catch you.
This year has not been the hallmark movie I thought it would be. Far from it. My rock solid faith has been tested and shaken. I stood on days I wanted to crumble. I had ongoing quiet time when I didn’t want to. I continued with bible study when I had no desire to learn let alone open the bible. And many considered me strong in the Lord.
We have and are still facing many challenges—physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. The hardships and persecutions have come with rapid fire. Spiritually battles came as quite a shock to me. Gifts and manifestations that awed me and left me desiring them, were immediately deposited and displayed in my husband.
While some may rejoice over this obvious confirmation of transformation, I stood watching him have what I wanted. As if that didn’t rattle me a bit, daily I heard the enemy whisper to me “Look at that. You’re not really saved, but he is.”
I knew God’s character. I believed and knew Him by many names—translated and Hebrew names. I knew He was for me. In my wait I saw many miracles and answered prayers. Yet just as the enemy did to Eve, he crept in and tried every manipulation of doubt targeting my belief of salvation and God’s goodness to me.
You must move and keep walking because the enemy will come back to steal what has been gained, and even attempt to take above and beyond. And SUMites, I want nothing more than to see you wear out the enemy with your knowledge, readiness, willingness and His strength. This time, right now, is your training ground. This now is where the foundations of faith and truth are built, solidified and tested. Precious siblings, move…. Keep walking.
These lyrics could not be more fitting. We must choose to lift our head, and keep it lifted, at all times. There are days it will be a choice and not a feeling. Anytime we take our focus off Jesus we will sink just like Peter. It is not over yet. Do not let your hope get poisoned. (Proverbs 13:12) I promise it is not over yet. God promises it is not over yet.
Hold on, hold on
Lord ain’t finished yet
Hold on, hold on
He’ll get you through this
Hold on, hold on
These are the promises
I never will forget
I never will forget
He will get you through this. Just as the Israelites were fed and cared for in miraculous ways, He has miracles placed along this journey for you too. He has many promises for you. Never forgot the promises and what He has done for you in the past. (Deuteronomy 8:2, Psalm 77:11, Psalm 105:5, Psalm 143:5) Remembering the past will be essential to your ability to keep walking, to shield your ears from the deception and lies of the enemy and to keep believing His promises made over 2000 years ago are still very much alive and active for you personally today.
God spoke that some hearts have tremendous hurt. He knows. He sees your heart is broken. He knows your prayers aren’t answered yet. The Lord gave me a vision of this community locked arm in arm standing in a triangular formation. And He said, “stay in formation. Do not be distracted by who is ahead, behind or next to you.”
There are these “suddenlies” in scripture and our lives. Suddenly an earthquake shakes the prison doors loose for Paul and Silas (Acts 16:25-26). Suddenly an angel appears and gives Mary a message. Suddenly Joseph is given a message. Suddenly a cloud covered and the glory of the LORD appeared. (Numbers 16:42) Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. (Matthew 28:9) And suddenly your spouse is a believer. Suddenly. Suddenly you’re catapulted to the front lines. Those of us ahead of you, as well as Lynn and Dineen, will gladly hold your arms up to win this war. (Exodus 17:11-12)
Fight bravely and solider on, warrior.
As we continue to pray for you in great anticipation of your suddenly, please pray for us too. ~ Janet
Janet resides on the East Coast with her high school sweetheart turned husband and their three daughters. She begins and ends her day with God and strives to still be in constant dialogue with Him between.
Dear friends, our very own Ian Acheson has a wonderful post for us today about how we spend time with God. This is such a good reminder of how much our God loves just spending time with us and for us to be be in His presence. And the importance of reading and knowing God's Word. I love it!
Thank you, Ian, for sharing your wisdom and testimony with us! May we become wiser and stronger in our faith because of it. Amen!
Enjoy and grow in Him, SUMites! ~Dineen
Abiding… Not Just Visiting
My twenty-five-plus years in the Corporate world mostly reflected a life where I chased after my goals and fulfilling that sense of achievement that drives many of us men. Typically, my relationship with the Lord was one where I’d grab a few minutes in the Word prior to leaving home and then pray on the drive into the office.
Once I’d parked my car it was like I said to the Lord: “Thanks for that, Lord, I’ll see you back here in ten hours or so.” And off I’d go ready to dive into the rigors of the day rarely giving the Lord a thought. Or if I was feeling particularly stressed I might pop into the bathroom to have a quick chat with the Lord to seek His help.
I’d compartmentalized my life. I allowed (you kidding?) the Lord access to various parts of my life. Yes, I prayed, read the Word (well kinda) and went to church.
Then a few years ago the yearning in my heart for something more kept getting stronger. Until one morning I asked the Lord what He wanted from me.
“Ian, I want you to know Me!”
That almost flawed me. I’d been a Christian for almost thirty years, the troughs in my walk definitely outnumbering the peaks. But hey, most of my friends were experiencing much the same.
So I asked the obvious question?
“How do I do that?”
The response was immediate.
“Read my Word.”
So that’s what I started doing. Everyday. And I haven’t stopped five years on.
But I’ve learnt there’s more to it than simply reading it. Or listening to it. Or watching it.
And that’s one of the characteristics of what differentiates an abider to a visiter.
Speaking the Word
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”(Joshua 1:8)
I love that image of keeping the Word on your lips. To do that you really need to have it constantly in your mouth like a piece of gum.
I’ve found the only way to do this is to actively memorise Scripture and use it in your prayers. The Word is powerful as Lynn and Dineen’s recent posts have kept reminding us.
Only two days ago I received the perfect example of it’s power.
I stumbled across Ephesians 4:32:
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (NKJV)
Pretty simple. I’ve always thought I’m pretty good with being kind and tenderhearted but the Lord nudged me to pay more attention to the verse and commit it to memory. So I did.
The message at church that night was on the Beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful …”(Matthew 5:7). I’d recently studied the beatitudes and I figured this one came relatively naturally to me. The pastor emphasized how easy it was for us to find fault in others, to criticize and judge but a merciful heart is one that doesn’t seek to do such. It opened my eyes to another perspective on mercifulness that I hadn’t fully appreciated.
And my newly locked away memory verse kept floating through my mind as I jotted down notes to the sermon.
I went home challenged and within about half an hour of being home found fault in something Fiona did.
Don’t you love that? The first small test you get in obedience you get sprung!
We had a big day ahead the next day preparing the house so that our floorboards could be sanded and polished. I apologized to Fi and went to bed repeating, “Be kind …” and asking the Spirit to help me be kind and tenderhearted the following day.
I woke with that verse on my lips and repeated it throughout the day and we had a great day shifting the house around.
Quiet time exercise
Following on from Lynn and Dineen’s posts may I encourage you to learn a verse this week. Ask the Lord for one, if one doesn’t particularly come to mind.
And those of us who are experienced Scripture memorizers it would be a treat if you could share a little of your system for memorizing.
Blessings for a special week ahead.
Ian’s Bio Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney, Australia. Ian's first novel, Angelguard, is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.—1 Peter 3:13-16
Reading through Peter a few weeks ago, I came to this passage. And immediately I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to pose this question to all of you.
What is your answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have?
This is our testimony. If you had two minutes to share your hope, WHY you hope, with someone what would you answer?
In my early faith years I believed I didn’t have a testimony. That is a lie. EVERYONE has a testimony of God’s love, provision, faithfulness and grace. Today share yours in four paragraphs or less.
My friends, take time to do this. Write it out. Record it here in the comments. It’s a permanent record of your written words. This is a moment to bring glory and honor to God. And it’s a moment where your SUM family join to praise and worship the Lord for His goodness and love in your life.
Dear friends, on Saturday I started telling you a little bit about the dark night of the soul I walked through in 2014 and what 1 Peter 5:6-10 came to mean to me. Let’s look at those verses again and I’ll finish my story.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober- minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. — 1 Peter 5:6-10 ESV
As I said, Peters says to give God all our anxieties. And that’s where I was, in the depths of anxiety that made no sense. I would wake up shaking and spend most of the morning just trying to get a grip on my life for that one day. My quiet time with Abba was my refuge and sanctuary (my word for 2015), and worship became a weapon against the evil plan the enemy had sent against me to pull me into depression—a plague that has sickened several generations in my family. Psalm 91 became my daily declaration!
When my anxiety and depression would threaten to overwhelm me, I would stop and pray 1 Peter 5:6-7 and imagine all that dark stuff sitting my hands, then I’d lift them up and say, “Lord, it’s all Yours. I give it all to You. I am casting all this upon You.”
And you know what? He always had something to give back to me—His peace and comfort. And we need those, my friends. The peace of Christ guards our hearts and minds (Phil. 4:7), which is crucial if we are to “be sober minded.” That word in the Greek means to be calm and collected in spirit. As Peter says, the enemy prowls, seeking to devour. And he will use our emotions against us every way he can. And that is what he tried to do with me. The lie I’d bought into as a teenager was that I was at the mercy of my thoughts and feelings, but God’s Word says otherwise.
So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. — Romans 8:6 NLT
I stood on this truth and the others I’ve shared everyday, dear friends. Our greatest challenge, especially as women, is to look at our emotions first before we act upon them. If we don’t, we are just reacting. Then our emotions control us instead of us controlling and using them to our benefit. Emotions can be good in telling us when we are hurting and need something. They can also alert us to a lie we are believing when they seem out of context or alignment with God’s truth. This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through this process.
And finally in verse 10, Peter returns to the promise he started describing in verses six and seven. After we have suffered a little while…that’s the hardest part, to endure, to persevere, to trust God has a plan for it all and that He is good and that He is working for our good (Romans 8:28). Because He is. That’s Who He is. Always.
Then that good comes, the good God has been working to bring out of our trials, our suffering, our challenges. He does not leave us in these places of pain. No, His heart is to Himself, by His hand of love, to restore us. To confirm, strengthen and establish us. The Greek word for restore also means to perfect and prepare. Sound familiar? And by establishing us, He is laying our true foundation in the truth of who we are in Him, in the truth of Christ.
So from our sufferings, trials and challenges, we emerge more like the new creation He has made us to be. And that is what I have witnessed, my dear friends. I prayed and claimed these promises for over a year, tentative at first and then with growing confidence, until they became part of the established foundation of my faith. And as I have broken this “plague” off my life, I am contending and breaking it off of my daughters. Because as the enemy has lost hold of me, he has tried to insert his hold on my girls. That is NOT going to happen, because I now have the authority to speak these truths into their lives.
How do I know that? As I stood in my new church in January, worshiping God with a heart full of gratitude for how He has restored and is restoring my life, how He has and is making me steadfast, strong and firm in my faith that is now built on His truth and promises, His still small voice spoke to my heart and told me He was lifting me up that very day. And that it was time to soar. Just this past weekend, three different times He showed me a bird soaring in the sky, at the same speed and direction as the car I was in or driving.
When I look back at all He has done, I am astounded. It could have gone very differently if I hadn’t humbled myself under His hand and trusted Him. I stepped out in what felt like a feeble and failing faith, and He met me with His faithfulness, His healing presence and sent key people to come along side and pray with me. Especially Lynn, who prayed with me, cried with me, and encouraged me greatly.
SUMites, these promises are for all of us. Just as Jesus restored Peter, He restores us. Whatever you are struggling, battling, agonizing over, cast it upon Him. Our Great God has massive shoulders that can carry it all. And what’s so beautiful is that He WANTS us to do this. Longs for us to do this. Our God is completely for us (Romans 8:31-32)!
My friends, I have been praying these prayers for you too as I know many of you are in very difficult places right now. Share in the comments how you are casting your cares upon the Lord. I would like to pray with you and pass on the blessings and freedom Abba has given to me.
Dear friends, Holly Boone (a different Holly from the one I shared about in my last post) shared this with me in an email and I asked if I could share it with our community. I pray it blesses you as it did me. I remember being in a similar place in my marriage years ago and knew that if I didn't begin trusting God to change me, my marriage would not survive. And He did, so lovingly and with great beauty as Holly shares with us here. God is so good. Our hope and future rest in Him! Thank you, Holly, for sharing your heart with us. We love you! —Dineen
I decided to try a worksheet about sin I’d received from a faith based conference. I wasn’t sure what sin I was going to write down until I sat down and prayed about it. God began to open my eyes to an area I wasn’t even focusing on. I wrote, “I need to put to death the sin of belittling my husband and second guessing his work and parenting decisions.”
Then, it happened. The floodgates opened from His Word and God laid out a step by step plan of how He was going to conquer this sin in me. It is so good, HE is so good. The passages He used to convict me and even the order of how I read them was a perfect plan of how to accomplish this. Amazing!
First I read Proverbs 21:23, one of the first scriptures I memorized, He who guards Hismouth and his tongue, guards his soul from trouble. After my confession my soul WAS troubled. It was deeply torn apart about what I was doing to my husband under the guise of “helping” him. I wasn’t helping, I was tearing him down each time I gave “advice” or my opinion that came from a prideful spirit and not a humble spirit. I wasn’t speaking harshly or out of anger so I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. But God!!! He opened my eyes to another sin that I committed with my mouth and reminded me to guard it closely and for me it boils down to… listen more, talk less.
The second verse was Ephesians 4:29 – Let no unwholesome word proceed from yourmouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of themoment so that it will give grace to those who hear. I know this verse well too, but this time when I read it I was reminded of how God had cleansed unwholesome words from my mouth before. I used to have a filthy mouth. A vulgar, dirty, mouth. Once God brought me to salvation that was a big change He did in me. Those words are no longer a part of my vocabulary, they don’t even come to my mind, and when I hear them at work they make me cringe.
Most people at work try to be respectful of me and not say things around me, but I still hear it every day. The fact that they are offensive to me now just shows the POWERFUL cleansing God can do and will do in ALL areas we give to him. So the way I was speaking to my husband when we talked about his work or issues with our daughter was not edifying and were not necessarily needed for the moment. But God!!! He can and will cleanse me from that. So step two in the plan is ask myself, are these words needed in this moment and to ask God to remove all the words from my mouth that are not good for my husband just as He removed all of the filthy words from my mouth I used to say.
Verse three is 1 Peter 3:1 – In the same way you wives be submissive to your own husband so that even if any of them are disobedient to the Word, they may be won without a word, by the behavior of their wives. The Holy Spirit is so powerful, because I again, knew this verse well but yesterday was shown a whole new part of the word “submissive.” I need to be submissive minute by minute, not just in the big decisions. I need to be submissive about all aspects of our marriage by my attitude of humility. I wanted to be submissive except in the areas I felt I was better. Pride.
Oh the damage pride can do in a heart. I was being rebellious, the opposite of submissive. I thought I was being submissive, because I wasn’t badgering him about our spiritual differences. I wasn’t trying to change him, so I thought. But around every corner I was there to second guess his decision and let him know what I thought he SHOULD be doing instead. How he made a sandwich, how he fed the dog, how he dressed our daughter, his relationship with his boss, his relationship with his students, when he should be on his computer, when the TV should be on, what he left in the car, what he forgot to do—so many things I point out to him about what I think he needs to do differently. The biggest area I can show my submission to my husband is how I speak to him and support his decisions, and when it is time for me to help in a decision or give some insight, it HAS to be done prayerfully and with God guiding my words, not letting my flesh guide me and spitting out all that I want to say.
The last verse Proverbs 31:10-12 – An excellent wife who can find: For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. THIS is the sweet promise I received yesterday. If I follow God’s plan He has promised that my husband will have “no lack of gain.” And that I will do him “good and not evil all the days of my life.” I thought this was my desire before, I thought I was living that out, but I was so off the mark. I thank God for giving me this new desire. I WANT to do my husband good and not evil. I WANT him to have no lack of gain and God has opened my eyes on how to do that, truly. I have often described my husband as the best unbeliever there is. He supports me in many ways that a lot of husbands don’t in spiritually unequal marriages. That is a gift from God.
But even though I say our marriage is good I think I am really thinking, “it is good enough.” For the situation I am in, it is good enough. In spite of our spiritual differences, it is good enough. Compared to others in my situation who have it a lot worse, it is good enough. But God!!!
Yesterday after confessing sin, asking him for nothing except forgiveness what He gave me was a promise of MORE! He has so much more for my marriage than just “good.” If I follow His plan He has shown me that He has something far greater waiting for me and my husband. What a loving God we have. When I thought that we were in a good place and I had settled in to this place in our marriage, God said, “Oh no dear child, you just wait and see what I have in store for you.”
My submission to my husband is submission to God. That is what I desire more than anything, even if I receive nothing. But God still continues to give and give and give blessings to me. A wise man recently was writing of his trial, but in the middle of it still thinking “why me God, why are you so good to me and generous with your blessings? I do not deserve it.” I often think this as well. Why me God? You are so good to me and shower me with blessing and goodness and always bring my perspective back in focus when I have wandered. The answer to why He is so good to me is because He is God. A perfect Father. A perfect example of love.
After this encounter I could only do one thing. Get down on the ground on my knees with my head down worshipping God. I sang the chorus to one of my new favorite songs:
Holy Spirit you are welcome here, come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. Your glory God is what our hearts long for, to be overcome by your presence Lord.
I was overcome by His presence. It was a glorious afternoon of worship and tears as an offering to God, and, other than the words of the song, all I could say was thank you God, thank you Father.
If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. — 1 John 1:9
Mom and I with Lynn at the conference we did in May 2013 in southern CA. Loved having Mom (Donna) there with us!
In honor of Mother's Day, I would like to tell you the story of my mother, Donna. I love my mom. She's one of my best friends. She's the one who put me on the church bus each Sunday when I was four years old and has always encouraged me to stay true to my beliefs. Even when they may have seemed a bit different at times.
What I love about our relationship is our ability to be open with each other and share. She has allowed me to share my faith with her over years, listening to my stories of this crazy faith journey, and she reads the books I write—even the bad ones!
Years back she read the very first faith based novel I wrote—one that will never see the light of day, thank goodness. Yet I'll never forget what she told me about how it changed her perspective of God's love.
Here’s the story of a pivotal day in her faith journey. Do you remember when the Passion of the Christ first came out? One Sunday I went to see it with two friends, and when I returned home, my husband told me I needed to call my mom, and he seemed concerned.
I called and found out she'd seen it that day too! Amazing to think that even though we lived in different states, she and I sat in theaters at the same time, watching this life-changing movie.
I'll never forget that phone conversation. The movie profoundly affected her. At the end she couldn't stop crying and couldn't leave the theater. As she says, “She couldn’t leave Jesus.”
People touched her shoulder as they left the theater. She managed to finally leave and sat on a bench outside. A woman she didn't even know walked up to her, gave her a beautiful smile, and then left. I've no doubt that was an angel rejoicing in my mother's encounter with Jesus that day.
I still remember the question I asked her over the phone. "Mom, what do you think of Jesus now?"
She said with great emotion, "I looooove Jesus."
I still get emotional when I tell that story. All I did was pray, live and share my faith. God took care of the rest. He took care of her…
When I moved to Florida, I started attending her church and now it's my church home too. I love going to church on Sundays for the worship and the message, and especially because I'm there with my mother. Something I prayed and hoped for for a long time.
For her birthday last month I sent her a daily Bible, leather bound and geared for women. She has a Bible app on her iPad, but I wanted to mark this time in her faith journey with a special gift.
My friends, my mother is one of my greatest inspirations in this life. She has overcome so much in her life to guarantee her daughter was able to walk a much better path than she did. I would not be the woman I am today without her constant unconditional and sacrificial love in my life. And to know I have been able to share my faith with her and be any part of her journey to know Jesus is stunning and beautiful.
She is learning more and more about Jesus' love and healing, which she has experienced first hand. God miraculously healed a bone spur on her knee that kept her from walking more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time without great pain. We’d prayed for her healing for several months.
In March, she was like a little kid again, walking the beach with us for an hour and half, pain free. Her joy fills me with joy too! And now, she is one of the people speaking into my daughter Leslie's life about healing. She is impacting her granddaughter's faith now.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom! I love you. I am so thankful for you!
My friends, I am stunned at how Jesus moves to bring things full circle, for good and for His glory. So today, let's praise Him, let's share stories of mothers, motherhood, and how Jesus is working in the midst of it all, no matter how messy or tidy it may be. For more encouragement, read this letter, Beloved Mother, from our Not Alone book and be blessed!
And to all those moms and grandmothers reading this, Happy Mother's Day! You are pouring greatness into your children and grandchildren. Don't stop. Keep believing. Trust God. He is faithful. And the prayers of a righteous mama (and grandmama!) are powerful and affective (James 5:16). Amen!
My friends, Abba Father has Lynn and I both working on books, separate books, but we are very much involved in helping each other. I can’t tell you how much I love that, to be able to support and help her and for her to support and help me.
God impressed this book on me last year and I’ve been waiting for it to come into focus a little more. The title is Chosen, Transformed & Restored. And today I want to share a part of something that will be in the book because I believe it’s so relevant right now.
As I shared in previous posts, the Holy Spirit has had me reading the book of John and revealed some insights into two of the stories there. These insights have had me on a new tangent to understanding what it means to have a change of perspective, specifically when Jesus brings a change to our perspective and how He does this.
Let’s take a look at the story of the blind man…
Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.] A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He *said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus *said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.
Now it was the Sabbath on that day. — John 5:2-9 NASB
The first thing that struck me in this passage is that Jesus asked the man, "Do you want to get well?" As I underlined this, the Holy Spirit drew my attention to the fact that the man had been ill for a long time.
Sometimes long term illnesses and conditions become places of false comfort or an unwelcome part of our identity (i.e. Jesus calls me healthy, I call myself sick). The man answers, "I can't." He’d already decided this is how it is, who he is, and the way it is.
So Jesus first asks a key question to move the man out of this well-known and well-worn place of existence into the possibility of healing, freedom, something new. He pulls the man from his reality into the realm of possibilities, and as we know all things are possible through Jesus.
The second aspect the Holy Spirit drew into clarity is that the man perceived only one way to be healed—in the pool. Jesus, being who He is, could have very well used the pool to heal the man, but He doesn't. He brings healing to the man simply with words and a command. The man's expectation has once again been pushed to see another alternative.
And because Jesus has first posed a question to make the man question his long held expectations, He is able to open the blind man up to the impossible and consider it as possible. His spiritual eyes are opened first. Then and only then, could his perspective be changed.
How often do we deal with or walk into situations (both good and bad) with our minds already set upon what is possible and what is not? Then to have a question asked or an alternate idea proposed only to think and wonder how we had missed it.
The truth of God's Word is that constant question, "What is truly possible with Jesus?" And it answers the same every time. All things (Phil. 4:13, Luke 1:37).
Starting last Thursday, we’ve been sharing on Facebook SUMite Gillian Russell Meisner’s amazing story about her journey to Texas in 2013 to attend the conference Lynn and I did there. I’m including the links to her three part testimony because it too shows what happens when Jesus comes and changes our perspective. What we once though impossible truly becomes possible.
And next week I will have another story from my book to share and another link to a testimony I know will inspire you to reach beyond the limitations you perceive.
My friends, ask Jesus to change your perspective in any place where you feel stuck. Then expect Him to answer that prayer. I just watched this happen last week with a friend. It was amazing. That’s a story I’ll save for the book.
Love you, my friends. So grateful for each of you.
My friends, I want to share a precious testimony from one of our SUMites. She posted this on our 1Peter3Living Yahoo Group and when I read it, I knew right away it need to be shared. We never share anything from the 1Peter3Living group without permission first. So I emailed Becky and asked her if I could share her words here. Here is her reply:
Please do, I want it to encourage as many people as possible and I don't care if it has my name on it or not. I actually deleted my facebook account. The Lord has brought me to a place of full reliance on Him and I am so thankful for it and the faith He has given me. I'm thankful for everything He's doing and already done and I want to boast in Him and His good works. :) —Becky
Here is Becky's beautiful and inspiring testimony:
I just have to share what God is doing and has already done. The Lord has put on my heart lately the words "if only you knew" and it has made all the difference. He has given me the faith to see that He is on the other side of everything I'm going through, everything all of us are going through and His words to us are "if only you knew."
If only we knew that He has ALREADY answered our prayers and our future is a memory to Him, then we would not be afraid and trust Him with complete, reckless abandon.
If only we knew how much joy we have on the other side, we would not become discouraged and we would keep our eyes on Him.
If only we knew the plans He has for us, we would seek Him every opportunity we have so that we would not stray from the path He has planned out for us.
He revealed this to me after a fun filled morning sledding with my children. My daughter was refusing to sled down the hill in our front yard and I thought to myself "if only I could get her to understand that it's safe and she would have fun." She finally decided to get on the sled and after about 15 more times up and down the hill, she was one happy little girl.
The Lord reminded me that my situation is similar except I didn't KNOW for a fact that my daughter would be safe or that she would have fun. Anything can happen and she could've hated it. But God KNOWS what is in our future because He has already seen it and He's asking us to trust Him and seek Him in every way, every day so that we will stay on the path He has for us.
He's also asking us to have enough faith to claim His promises. But that faith is honestly a gift. I woke up this morning with a new prayer that consisted of thanking God for already making my husband a brother in Christ and restoring our marriage and that was nothing I did, but everything God did. I pray that He would give all of us the faith we need to claim His future promises as His past and thank Him for what He has already done, from His view, not in our past.
It never really made sense to me before but I feel like the Lord lifted the veil about gave me new perspective about His purposes and plans. I pray that this has encouraged someone. I am claiming right now that my husband is already a brother in Christ, our marriage is restored, and everyone we know realizes and witnesses His power. God used all of this to bring my family members to Christ, including my children. And, as it says in His Word, our household was saved (Acts 16:31).
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household. — Acts 16:31
King Jesus, today, we, Your SUMites, stand in our belief and trust in You. And we claim the promise in Your Holy Word that says if we believe, our household is saved as well. We believe, we believe, we believe! We believe You have saved us and our household too. In Your Powerful and Saving name, Jesus, amen!
Hello, my dear friends. I’m fascinated with the way God is working through this study of Romans 8 to reveal more truths to us and how to live empowered by the Holy Spirit! I even will dare to say that some answers will come for things we have been asking for breakthroughs for a long time.
Lynn talked about secret sins on Monday and many of us shared things we are struggling with. I shared my own battle with overeating (gluttony) and how that has affected my perception of my appearance and weight. I have battled with this since I was a young teen. I can look back and see how the enemy moved in during a very difficult time in my life and deceived me to believe food was my comfort and then condemned me over and over again as it affected my weight and appearance, even to the point of depression at times.
Well, you know what I say now? I am dead to that sin and I am no longer a slave to it (Romans 6:6-7). I declare the truths in Romans 8 that there is no condemnation for this anymore, that I am set free from the law of sin and death and am alive through Jesus and the law of the Spirit (Romans 8:1-2). I am empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome this issue and I will make this declaration every day, over and over again until I walk in complete freedom from it. because the more I do this, the more the truth lives in my thoughts, feelings and emotions and the less power the lie of the enemy has until it is completely defeated.
Why? Because the more I do this, the more the truth lives in my thoughts, feelings and emotions and the less power the lie of the enemy has until it is completely defeated.
Because I am now a witness to how the Word of God transforms our minds (Romans 12:2) and can testify to its power to do so. Because the Word of God transformed my mind to believe the truths and promises He has for me. Through the difficulties of last year, I stood on the truth of God’s Word, writing down Scriptures to pray and declare out loud. I did this almost every day. One in particular I am seeing happen in my life right now.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. — 1 Peter 5:6-11
Nearly a year later, God has lifted me up, is restoring me, and is making me steadfast and strong. He is doing this, not me. What did I do? I believed His Word. I prayed it over myself and claimed its truth and promises. I rested in God and believed He would do this for me. Now He is and I am stunned at the things He is doing.
My friends, if there is only one truth I ever manage to share with you clearly, then let it be this one: God’s Word will transform you. Read it, believe it, and trust Him to do it.
So let’s delve into more of God’s powerful Word and take a look at the truths of Romans 8, specifically verses 18-25. I confess I find these a bit more challenging to understand but here goes:
ESV: 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
VOICE: 18 Now I’m sure of this: the sufferings we endure now are not even worth comparing to the glory that is coming and will be revealed in us. 19 For all of creation is waiting, yearning for the time when the children of God will be revealed. 20 You see, all of creation has collapsed into emptiness, not by its own choosing, but by God’s. Still He placed within it a deep and abiding hope 21 that creation would one day be liberated from its slavery to corruption and experience the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 For we know that all creation groans in unison with birthing pains up until now. 23 And there is more; it’s not just creation—all of us are groaning together too. Though we have already tasted the firstfruits of the Spirit, we are longing for the total redemption of our bodies that comes when our adoption as children of God is complete— 24 for we have been saved in this hope and for this future. But hope does not involve what we already have or see. For who goes around hoping for what he already has? 25 But if we wait expectantly for things we have never seen, then we hope with true perseverance and eager anticipation.
Paul gives us encouragement right off the bat with verse 18. He’s reminding us to keep our eyes upward, that our present situations and sufferings can’t compare with the glory God will be revealing to us. And I love what he’s explaining in verse 19 because we catch another glimpse of our Abba Father’s heart for us. Even creation waits for us to be freed, because it will be set free too! Is that not astonishing?
If we go back to Genesis, we see God’s original plan for us to live in harmony with creation—trees, plants, animals, etc. And I personally believe when we see amazing stories of an animal rescuing a person (like a dog or a dolphin), or we see those cute home videos of a bird and a cat being buddies, or witness the comforting affects that pets have on people even to the point of healing (and I’ve witnessed this in my daughter’s life), that we are seeing a part of creation being revealed in truth. We catch a glimpse of what God intended this world to be.
Just as we long to be liberated, so does all of creation. I love how the Voice translates verse 20: “Still He placed within it a deep and abiding hope.” To think that just as we wait and hope for what is to come, so does all of creation. My friends, I find myself outside more and more when I spend time with God and pray. It’s a connection I have found growing stronger and stronger. I believe this shared hope is why. Can anyone else relate?
Verses 22 and 23 further the connection and yearning that we share with creation—our spirits recognize what is not right and what is to come. So we wait in hope and expectation for Christ’s return, when God’s plans and purposes will be complete and His will on earth will be as it is in heaven. No more sin or the enemy to create separation. No more warfare. No more sickness and disease. This the revelational promise of salvation—ETERNITY!
So, my friends, what challenges you as we walk in this place of living in the now, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and knowing there is so much more to come? What words of truth are you clinging to, praying and claiming in and over your life? How about your pre-believer? Let’s share and encourage each other! Your words of wisdom may be the very thing someone else needs to put the pieces together.
And I am so excited about the last two parts of this series. They hold two of my favorite truths and promises from our Great God. We’re almost there…
Well, I’m here. After a bout with the stomach flu. Sheesh, it’s a mystery. I experience miraculous healing in my wrist yet I continue to fight on this challenging front of colds and flues. Can I just toss this statement out there.
The Kingdom of God is often times mysterious.
I want to write more about the mysteries of God and how he answers prayer but today, I feel compelled to speak to all of us about breakthroughs. Last week Dineen and I shared our testimonies of answered prayer and healing and last Friday, Penny, shared her astounding testimony. If you missed it, click here and watch it. I’m still amazed.
But how do we walk through seasons where everyone is receiving breakthroughs, answers to prayers, even miracles and yet you remain, what appears to be forgotten? Can we talk about that today? Because I know that there are some of us walking in that place right now.
This has rested heavily on my spirit since last week. And I’ve asked Jesus to teach me about this. I think I have two thoughts I want to share.
1) Recently I was listening to a pastor and he asked a question specific to this issue: “We all can praise the Lord when it’s our turn for blessing. But, can we praise God when He blesses someone else while we are still waiting for ours?”
It’s learning to truly rejoice when another receives that builds our character. Is this easy? NO WAY. Is it possible? Of course.
I love the honesty of our SUMite Nation as this was some of our conversation last week. Thanks Lynette for saying what many were thinking. She said: “Going to be transparent here and say that while I rejoice in her miracle, part of me is jealous.”
And I love how Jim replied: “It's how you handle that, that positions you for your own breakthrough... If you can simply rejoice with Penny, and give thanks to Papa for what He's done for her, then you are positioning yourself for your own breakthrough - which will be just as wonderful, but almost certain to be different.... Just because He can! Lol!”
I agree Jim. I agree Lynette. (And Lynette, I know, that I know, in my knower *grin*, your breakthrough is in process and when you begin to see all that God has, you will be utterly astonished. Because it’s better than you could ever dream up or hope for. I absolutely believe this for you, even if you don’t or can’t see it.) I know our Daddy loves you that much.
2) Prayer. I’ve been praying, pleading and declaring until I’m blue in the face that I will not be sick again. Yet stomach flu. So badly I woke my husband up crying and begging him to drive me to the doctor. Sheesh. The doctor visit helped a ton! Yet, I’m miraculously healed of an injury that a few months ago required surgery. Say What??? Why does this happen? Healed and yet sick…..
Was I not praying correctly? Did I do something wrong? Man, I have a lot of questions. And in the last few days I’ve really questioned my many years of praying for my unbelieving spouse.
So what do I do with all this? Well I do have some thoughts to share that I think will bring hope and light. Stay tuned and we will visit this mystery of heaven…
… this thing called prayer.
I love you my friends. Stay kind, in a world that is harsh. Walk in hope, in a world that lives in despair and shine your light, because Jesus is just getting started and we are in for a ride, unsurpassed in HIS-story.
This five minutes will leave you speachless and fill you with amazing faith.
It is absolutely worth your time to watch. Dineen and I nearly bawled our eyes out in great joy and hope.
Thank you Penny for sharing your testimony. I pray that all of the SUMites experience our Providential God in miraculous ways such as you did. Hugs, Lynn
My friends, this video brings great glory to God. PLEASE share it everywhere you can. Let's make it go viral. Hugs.
I cry every time I think of how God planned THAT day. The day I was broken. The day I cried put with nothing. The day that I was read THAT passage. God is so good. He truly is a miracle worker.
God is good.
Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!”Immediately the tree withered.
When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." — John 14:12-14
Dear friends, I will resume our study of Romans with my Saturday post. I just felt so compelled by the Holy Spirit to share this with you and follow Lynn's lead in sharing a testimony. I pray you are encouraged and emboldened as I was to first hear testimony and then put it into action. Love you! ~Dineen
There is great power and faith building when we "hear" the words of testimony. I'm about to share my healing testimony with complete faith that those who hear it and are ready for healing will receive it.
Please leave your requests for healing in the comments. I will pray for you for your healing. I love you my friends. Have an amazing week in His Presence. Hugs, Lynn