32 posts categorized "Voice of God"

Taking Off the Badge

Hi friends, Ann here!Record

We’re currently looking at past words that God has spoken to our community. To catch up, here are the recent posts:

Part one - 'Museum of SUM'

Part two - 'God is Calling our Spouses'

Now, this next word I’m going to share is one where the Lord gave us an adjustment. In it he was encouraging us to adjust a particular aspect of our walk. It’s shared with warm humor by Lynn but when I read it I did nod and say all over again, 'Yes, Lord.' 

It happened at the conference that Lynn and Dineen attended on 12 October 2012. Lynn tells the story, which I’ve copied below. It's a longer one, so perhaps make a drink and settle in ... Then we can chat in the comments.

**

Lynn's Story, 2 November 2012

"Sometimes are you overcome and overwhelmed with the sheer love and patience God bestows upon you? 

Ya? 

Glad it’s not just me. 

His relentless persistence to get through to my heart and more, my thick-head, is astounding. In the weeks since the conference, I feel like I’m reading scripture for the first time. I’m in love with the book of Luke right now and can’t get enough. I’m reading that book like it was personally written for me. Scripture verses have new meaning, depth and POWER in my life. 

I’m not sure how long this post will be but I’m writing until the entire story is out. Because it is HIS-story and all for His glory. 

I think I mentioned in the post about Maria that God was intentionally selective about the conferees that He placed around us during the three day event. Our God did not waste one minute of the conference. He sent Helen to us at lunch and Maria next to me in the audience and Laura prayed with us in the bathroom. That story still makes me chuckle (a tale for another day, I promise). 

But God also used Heidi, Dineen and me as we spoke truth and love into each other’s lives. A bond of love formed between the three of us that is impenetrable, powerful, perfect and sealed in eternal love. I hope all of you experience this kind of Kingdom friendship and love. 

Onward. It was the last day of the conference and all throughout the day, through people like Laura, Darlene, and Helen God was trying to talk to Dineen and I. He wanted to speak about something Dineen and I wear. You see we kinda promote this badge on our chest. I’m still struggling to figure out how it comes to rest on my chest and why. But the badge we wear says this: 

I’m unequally yoked. 

Truly we have moved past wearing this badge as martyrs. It’s just easy to say, “I’m unequally yoked” because in Christian circles people always reply to our declaration with a serious nod of understanding accompanied by eyes full of concern or pity and they utter one word, “Oh.” As if to say, I see, I get it, poor you. 

Sheesh, just writing that makes my stomach turn. Onward. 

Well after three days of proudly wearing our invisible but very discernible badges around the place and after God sending people to us to speak gently about our malady of unequalness, God was sick of us. So He sent in Heidi. 

We were walking along the road to a nearby restaurant for dinner. Now I don’t recall the conversation specifics at the moment. I think we were talking about Laura and the words she prayed over us in the women’s restroom. And Heidi with trepidation in her voice says, “Did you hear what she was saying to you?” 

“Ya, I thought I did.” 

Heidi looked at me and Dineen with uncertainty in her eyes and then she ventured, “I really don’t know how to say this and I’m not saying this to be hurtful or anything but I don’t think you are hearing what God is saying to you.” 

I froze in my tracks on the side of the road with cars passing by. I stared at Heidi and Dineen was standing right there frozen as well. “I just hear God telling me to tell you this. ‘Your marriages are not mismatched or unequally yoked. Your marriages are mine. Your husbands are mine.’” 

Gulp! 

Instantly I felt chastised by our most loving and Holy God. 

Heidi rushed on, “Please don’t be mad but I hear God telling me to say to you, ‘They are mine.” 

That instant my heart broke wide open. I felt ashamed that I had not believed God about this and even more shame that for so, so long I’ve worn this stupid “spiritually mismatched” badge about my person. 

She said, “Your words have created a prison where you have held your husband in a cell.”

Pain. O, the pain. 

However the pain and shame instantly left me as I said to Heidi, “Oh Heidi, you are right. God is so right.” 

It was at the moment that I opened the doors of the prison. I tore off the badge and I surrendered it to God. I remember saying to Heidi and Dineen, “This changes everything. Even our ministry. Perhaps we are to even change our ministry name?” A million thoughts rushed into my head. And those thoughts Dineen and I are still wrangling with today. 

Out of this entire exchange what has remained profound and clear to me are three words that the Father spoke to me and Dineen, “They are mine.” 

My friends, deep calls to deep. Step into this deep with me and see if you can uncover the truth of those three words in your life. What are the implications? Why it is God would say this to Dineen and I, “They (our husbands) are mine.” 

Now I have to also be clear in this. Heidi spoke these words as they were placed upon her through the Holy Spirit and they were intended for Dineen and I. However, I also believe they are intended for our community. But there is a progression or a spiritual shift that happens within us that allows God to speak these words to those of us who live with an unsaved spouse. And it’s this development, this shift that changes everything. And I’m desperate to share this with you so that you don’t have to be hit upside the head from a close friend on the side of the road."

**

Well, that’s the story! We'll build on it in a future post, but in the meantime I'd love to hear your thoughts. See you in the comments.

Ann


A Word: God is Calling our Spouses.

Hello friends, Ann here.Record

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

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

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

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

Tell the SUMites that I am calling their spouses.

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

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

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

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

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

All I know is that God is calling. 

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

Lift up your faces!

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

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

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

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

Nice chatting!

Ann


The Museum of SUM

Hi SUMites, Ann here! Museum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What's Your Biggest Question for Jesus About Your Marriage?

Hello friends, Ann here. Question

Recently, I popped a question onto our Facebook page, asking ‘What’s your biggest question for Jesus right now concerning your spiritual mismatch?’

Many of you will have seen that post, but some won’t. I found the responses so helpful in relation to my own path, that I thought you might too. I guess I realized I have asked God every single one of those questions. And when we see others face the exact same things, we remember we are not alone.

So, here goes. From our beautiful community, here are the biggest questions we SUMites wrestle with:

How long, Lord? How much longer? When? When, Lord? I’m waiting!

Why doesn’t my spouse come back to you? What is standing in the way?

Why me?

Will my spouse ever choose you? Or, am I always to be in an unequally yoked marriage?

Show me please, what I need to do? Do I need to do anything different?

How do I know when to submit and when to stand my ground on gray areas?

How do I disciple my children in this situation?

We’re so different, how can this work?

What can I do better to sow good seed into my spouse’s life? How do I witness? How can I speak to their heart about you, Lord?

How do I wait well?

How do I love my spouse unconditionally?

***

This is just a condensed version of those questions. They represent an awful lot of 'stuff', and we can all nod our heads at the many, many topic areas that a SUM raises. I imagine any Christian who is not in our shoes would be surprised how much there is to this situation. It touches almost every area of our life.

As for questions, I believe God loves them because that's where we begin to try to hear his voice. Like a questioning child, I do go there with the Lord. In fact, it's a daily thing here: Question question question question. Question diary 2

In fact, I’ve even got a ‘question diary’. Having been given a lovely hardback diary for Christmas a couple of years ago, I thought I would use it to jot some key questions for the Lord as a record of my relationship with him. It sits on my shelf and sometimes I scribble a question in there and pop it straight back. Other times I pick it off my shelf and flick through. It’s amazing how many answers I’ve received to the quirkiest questions!

However, God sometimes leaves a question unanswered. There are some pieces of information that are just not in our best interests to know. We understand only in part. Sometimes, perhaps the Lord wants us to pursue the answer and grow wisdom rather than receiving a thunderclap response from him. He knows what is best for our souls.

My friends, it’s these questions that lead us to pursue Him. And though the above cries for answers are birthed out of our serious wilderness season, they propel us into greater wisdom.

On Monday I want to share one way that God answers questions that is specific to us as a community. I’ll be back then to chat about that - I'm looking forward to it.

In the meantime, which question is your biggest one right now?


Am I Hearing God or Is It My Imagination?

Ann here! Purple rose 3

Today I thought I would chat a little about hearing God's voice as a whisper. Often the way God speaks is through the softest of moments, much like the everyday companionship of a good friend. 

Even the prophet Elijah heard God in the still small voice rather than a dramatic fanfare (1 Kings 19:12), and that's usually how it is. The hard thing is, we have to believe it's Him, and that takes a leap.

With this in mind, I thought I'd share a testimony. So settle in, grab a drink, and enjoy. Even writing it today has warmed my spirit, so I hope it does the same for you. Here goes ...

One Easter I was walking up the hill near my house. Suddenly it seemed that every purple flower I saw was grabbing my attention. Was it my imagination? I shook my head quickly, “Don’t be stupid, Ann.” 

That was that. But later I was lying in bed and found myself thinking about my faith difference: “I’m scared Bryce’ll go off me if I go further with God --” Suddenly, a purple rose flashed across my mind. It could have been my imagination. But was it God saying, "Do not fear"?

Weeks later, it happened again. I was swimming in a pool this time and a thought came: "People think I'm nuts believing in Jesus --” Swoosh, a purple clover came across my mind. Was it God? Was He once again saying “Do not fear”?

It happened more. Different purple flowers would land in my head, interrupting my thoughts (usually when I was thinking an anxious thought): Thistles, forget-me-nots, bushes of small dark purple things. I began to believe it was God.

One day, I was sprawled on my floor having cleared out a cupboard. A mysterious wooden box sat in front of me. I hadn’t seen this box for years, and as I lifted its lid I smiled to see piles of letters from childhood pen-pals. But there was something else tucked in there. I reached for it and pulled it out. It was a faded piece of paper from my last day of primary school in 1987, with names and addresses of friends; It was lovely to remember them but then I stopped in my tracks. Something was written in thick black crayon in the corner of that page. It was this: Purple flowers sprouting

"And little purple flowers were sprouting."

Oh God!! I sat back, stunned. It's You. What was He saying to me through this? Perhaps that He was always there.

Fast-forward a few years and we come to my kitchen renovation which I mentioned in my last post. There, God had the sweetest purple flower waiting. But first, let me backtrack:

It sounds strange, but as a child I would daydream about having a secret room. I loved the idea of having a space within a house that was hidden. Well, now I’m grown up but I’m still that same person.

After buying our house, Bryce and I realized that our house had a hidden pocket of space behind a wall. We knew because there was a stained-glass window on the outside that wasn't on the inside. Just before the renovation, then, we said to one another "Let’s get the wall knocked down and see what’s in there!" This was last July, just as I was leaving my job, something I’d felt God wanted me to do. The day we knocked the wall down was the day I waved goodbye to colleagues and closed a 10-year chapter in my life.

Honestly, friends, my heart pounds at this one. When we knocked down the wall, guess what we found: A little secret room! And what’s more, the stained-glass window was revealed: A purple flower. Here's a photo of it. That day it was as if God said, “I love you, Ann, and I’m here as you leave your job.” All day I couldn't concentrate; I just had to keep staring at that room and window, captivated. Purple flower window

That stained glass window was put there decades ago, as was the piece of paper in that wooden box. But God knew I’d be coming across it now. The moral of the story? God speaks in mysterious ways, and life with Him is ... well ... fun!

I would so love to hear anything you would like to share about hearing God, so please, go for it in the comments. And I say let's pray for more!

Ann


I Asked God Some Questions ...

Hi friends, Ann here!Close to God

We're spending time talking over on Facebook about intimacy with God, so I thought I would follow suit in today's post. Many years ago, I observed another Christian's intimacy with God, and it was so eye-catching that it kick-started my own relationship with Him. Here’s what happened:

I was at my parents’ table in Reading, England. I live in New Zealand, so only visit once a year. On this visit I noticed that in their home ‘everything felt nice’. Even the coffee had that little ‘something special’.

Are you suspecting something? Yep, my parents were both growing in their connection with Jesus. As a non-Jesus-lover, I didn’t recognize the atmosphere for what it was, but I did notice my Dad seemed to spend a lot of time in his study. The door was closed for one or two hours, then he’d emerge for a late breakfast, cheerful.

Huh?!!

One morning at the table, I said to him: “What do you spend your time on?”

He cast me a secret smile: “Well, Ann, the only thing that matters to me these days is my relationship with God.”

Huh?!! I pulled a face but eyed him up quietly. Never heard such a thing.

Well, um, as you can tell, these days I’m a closed-door kinda girl myself with that same secret smile; it's the kind of smile that says ‘God is exciting!’ It’s funny how these things are catching. Couch

Yes, a while after asking my Dad that question, my heart got stirred and I began to do business with God on the couch in my living room. I am a couch potato, so can do time on the couch very easily, and this is where my relationship with God has happened. That couch is so meaningful to me now it’s like a family treasure. It's in the TV room, which I now term 'the prayer room' (much to the laughter of my family) and I retreat to it throughout the day -- Especially when life as a Mum gets intense.

Those years ago, on that very couch, I began to ask God some direct questions. The first one was ‘Um God, Do You Exist?’ Blow me down, He answered over a period of weeks with some extraordinary occurrences. Oh. Next question: ‘What is True?’ At this point, I bought a special notebook and started to record these questions, documenting my blossoming relationship with Him. One notebook led to another, and these days I have a pile of them. The questions seemed to open up closeness. Journals

After asking ‘What is true?’ God started to show me it was Jesus who was the Way, and there was no other. It was so compelling that all I could say was ‘Ok, this is true – I’m in.’

Then came a time I prayed a dangerous prayer, without realizing it was dangerous. By dangerous, I mean it was the kind of prayer that brings the Kingdom of Heaven near because it is completely in line with His will and you end up never the same again. Dangerous, but exciting. The prayer I prayed was this:

Align my desires with yours Lord.

I've heard of others praying something like this (e.g., Let me really know you, Lord), and I've heard them say 'Sometimes I wish I hadn't prayed that prayer because it’s not been easy.’ That's a little of how I feel about that prayer though I would never, ever want it to be different. See, after praying that prayer, I could never get God out of my head again, and then I noticed how far from Him our culture is. That was the difficult part. My head and my heart became filled to the point that I felt constantly aware of Him. It felt like He had become as real to me as the person in front of me. Real.

Align my desires with yours, God.

Align my desires with yours.

This request, simple as it was, helped me draw closer to Him. 

I've been helped vastly in years past by others on this blog -- Not only the writers but also those in the comments who've shared how they get close to God; so I hope you enjoyed this one little piece of my own story. But now I'd love to hear your stories: How much do you ask God questions, and what other things do you do to draw close to Him?


God's Voice: The Faintest Whisper

Hi friends, Ann here! Still small voice

Two Christmases ago, I was sitting alone in a spacious old church in Edinburgh enjoying a family service. I'd been visiting that city on a solo trip and it was a treat to go to a new church. I chose one to visit and as I took my seat it warmed my heart to be surrounded by a hall full of believers, though I knew none of them.

As the singing began, I got the faintest thought that there might be someone there whose spouse did not yet believe – Someone there whom, maybe, I could help. I brushed it off but as the singing continued the thought came back. I brushed it aside again and carried on singing.

Another song passed, and the tiny thought came back, now niggling me. Eventually I turned to the lady next to me and asked: “Is there someone here whose spouse doesn’t believe?” I mean there are usually plenty in churches, so there would be. I just wondered if it was someone she could point out.

Her eyes scanned the hall, going left, going right. Nope, couldn’t see anyone. She looked behind, but still couldn’t see anyone. Her brow was furrowed by this point, “I’m sure there are, I just can’t think …” And then she looked in front of her: “OH, yes –”, and pointed to the lady right in front of me, on the floor alongside her husband, watching the kids in the nativity play. “Yes, there she is with her husband. He’s very good, he comes to church with her but doesn't believe.”    

“Is it hard for her?” I asked.

“It is.” She said.

I watched this beautiful couple during that service, thinking “I feel I would know how to encourage you, if we ever chatted.”

Then another thought came: “I should tell her she’s not a second-class Christian.” It really was a fleeting thought, one that could have been my own, certainly no thunderbolt. But equally, perhaps it was the Holy Spirit. So I did it. I walked over to her straight after the service, crouched down by her seat, and told her that I just wanted to encourage her. I didn’t mention the spiritually mismatched part. I just told her that what she was doing for her family by carrying her faith strongly was making such an impact, that it was a difficult faith road she walked, and that God is pleased with her. 

Hearing God in our day-to-day is hardly ever a thunderbolt, and it is the still small voice. Nevertheless, as I walked out of the church that day I felt I wanted to know: “Was that really you speaking to me, Lord, or am I on a wild walk of the imagination here?!”

What happened next was more educative for me than I might have thought. 

Two days later I was sitting on a bus travelling through a completely different part of Edinburgh from that church. The bus stopped at a red light, and I absentmindedly watched the crowds pass on the pavement.  In my daydreaming state, however, I was suddenly startled to see none other than that lady’s husband standing on the pavement! I did the most enormous double take. What was interesting about the scene was that everyone around him was in grey or beige, but this guy, he looked so colorful – I think he was wearing a crisp yellow and the brightest blue. He stood out from the crowd.

It seemed God was saying to me there, "Yes, you did hear my voice that day."

The reason it was educative was it confirmed to me that I should probably take note of these gentle whispers more than I do. It also showed me that if I ask God for help in figuring out whether I'm hearing Him He will come through for me.

So that's my story. What are your experiences or thoughts about hearing the still small voice even when it seems faint? I look forward to chatting in the comments.


Come Away With Me

Come Away With Me, Tiffany Carter, 4/18/2019

Come away with Me
My darling, My bride.
Revealed in the chamber
The secrets I hide.

I long for your presence Hosea
I'll wait here all day.
My love please don't tarry
There's so much to say.

I give you My heart
You hold the key.
All you must do
Is linger with Me.

No need to worry
I'm protecting your heart.
I'm faithful to you
I vow to never depart.

So come now, I'm waiting
Believe Me, it's true.
The treasures of Heaven
Are poured out for you.

The Lord is beckoning us to draw near to Him. I don't know about you but in this season I am in need of some refreshing! Will you answer His invitation?

I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel. - Isaiah 45:3

I love you dear SUM family!


You Are Making New Wine

Hey there SUM family, Tiffany here!

We are on the verge of a major breakthrough. I believe that this is both  individual and corporate for our SUM community and our families. Already we have seen a few wondrous accounts of spouses getting baptized into the faith! Hallelujah! Strongholds are breaking in our lives as well as our spouses. We are seeing addictions begin to cease. Affections returning in marriages. What a great time to be alive!

I wanted to share something that God is stirring in my heart. During the fast and even recently, I am hearing the phrase "new wine." I am barely scratching the surface of where Holy Spirit is trying to take me but I wanted to share my heart because I feel it is important. When breakthrough is upon us, there is always a push back from the forces of darkness. Freedom, identity, purpose, birthright. These are all things that scare the enemy. Satan and his minions know that when we step into the calling and purpose that God has ordained for us and we walk in our authority they are in big trouble! Is it any wonder that there are flair ups and illness, death and financial strain?

Back to new wine. Let's take a look at what Jesus had to say:

14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of
the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:14-17)

Side note: it is interesting that Holy Spirit brought me to this scripture during the community fast. John's disciples originally asked Jesus a question about fasting.

When thinking about the process of making wine in ancient Israel it always begins with a pressing and crushing of the grapes. Grapes did not last very long when harvested in the heat New wine flagand climate of the season. The farmers would instantly turn the grapes into wine and store them in the wineskins to preserve them for longer periods of time. It was actually the process of crushing the grapes that started the fermentation process. During fermentation, carbon dioxide is released so new wineskins were needed for their elasticity to allow for expansion as the gas was released.

In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit came and filled the apostles in the Upper Room during Pentacost. A crowd gathered as they heard a noise and realized that they could understand men speaking in their own native tongues. The people in the crowd were amazed and perplexed. There were also some who accused the apostles of being drunk on "new wine (NKJV)." Paul urges in Ephesians 5:18 to not be drunk on wine but be filled with the Holy Spirit.

What does this have to do with what Jesus said in Matthew 9? For us as believers today, being filled with the Holy Spirit we need to realize that He is the one who leads us into all truth - He speaks what He hears from the Father through Jesus (John 16:13). He is the new wine inside of us. We are the wineskin (vessel). Just like the fermentation process as carbon dioxide is released in the wine making process, Holy Spirit releases things in us. He is always releasing, always leading. His job is to stir in us a call to become more like Jesus. He gives us guidance and direction. As the expansion happens to a wineskin, so does the pressure in our lives.

Being the wineskin, we are the ones who decide whether or not we will allow for this movement of Holy Spirit. Will we choose to listen? Will we be flexible as He calls us into the uncomfortable? We will refuse to allow the fermentation (preservation) process?

I am being drawn into a new level of worship. One that is completely uncomfortable and will really challenge me to worship the Lord with my WHOLE body. Take a look at the video below. I would love to explain my hearts desire further, maybe for another time. This is my inspiration into the new and exciting journey of flagging.

Let's talk in the comments. I would love to hear: What are some things that Holy Spirit is challenging you to do? What areas are you being drawn into the uncomfortable - for your preservation and God's glory? 


Who Wrote the Gospels?

Hi everyone, Ann here!

This morning, I want to share a special story that happened to me last Christmas. It was an event that wowed me and as we're deep in the gospels it seems timely to share. Joy to the world

The story began when I sat sipping coffee with a favorite colleague. He’s twenty years older than me, a lovely man with a sharp mind. He also happens to have different views to me about Jesus. We agree to disagree, and we stay polite. Yet, this particular morning he couldn’t resist throwing an argument my way:

“Ann, the gospels weren’t written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.”

I did not hold the same view, but to my surprise, out of my mouth came this: “I know.”

Why on earth did I say that? As I left him to go back to work, it bothered me. Grrr. I could have engaged in a debate, but I didn’t. Perhaps I was just too fatigued by the constant pressure to not believe, pressure that was coming from so many close to me.

I continued to be bothered by my response until Christmas, when God turned that moment on its head and reminded me how genius He is compared to men. Here’s what happened:

I was lying in bed, found myself thinking about the 'gospel comment' once again, and said to God: “What would You have said to him? Can you tell me?” Then I drifted off to sleep…

The next morning, as I woke to birds singing, an inaudible voice hit me, clear as day, with these words:

"Which author wrote the Augustus books?"

“Augustus?  Augustus?” I went, rubbing my sleepy eyes. “Who’s that?” I’m chuckling as I write this, I’m probably one of the few who didn’t know. As a teenager I messed around during history lessons, missed a lot, and Roman history was never my thing. This meant I had to look Augustus up. Here’s how my Wikipedia search went:

Who was Augustus?  Augustus was Emperor of the Roman Empire during the time of Christ.

Did Augustus write any books?  Yes. He wrote a series of books about himself, a multi-volume set of memoirs.

How can I get hold of these books? The books are lost (sorry, did Wikipedia say lost?? How on earth?!) Only fragments remain. According to one website, they might have been one of the most revealing texts of Roman history, had they survived. But they didn’t.

Ok, here I paused my search: The leader of the Roman Empire, Caesar Augustus, wrote a set of memoirs, which would have been historical gold, and yet they were lost. In contrast, four biographical accounts of a homeless carpenter survived intact from the same period with this much manuscript attestation?   

In conclusion:

Who wrote the books of Augustus?  Augustus did. And they got lost.

Who wrote the four gospels?  God did.  And for that reason: 

“Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” (Romans 10:18, NKJV)

Indeed, the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Bible, is the world’s best-selling book, having spread just as Jesus prophesied when He said that the woman who broke her flask of oil over him would be celebrated throughout the world:

“Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” (Mark 14:9, NKVJ)

The four gospels are a beautiful gift to us; they are like four puzzle pieces that, when put together, bring to life the most beautiful tidings of great joy which will be to all people (Luke 2:10). Their genius is only magnified by their differences that so cleverly fit together; and I can never get enough of them.

So like the woman with the alabastar jar, I hope I never stop wasting my life on Jesus and digesting the beauty of his birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension.

No, Matthew, Mark Luke and John didn’t write the gospels. God did.  And that's why those words came out of my mouth so readily: "I know". 

"Marvellous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well." (Psalm 139:14 NKJV)

SUMites, do you have any further thoughts about these amazing gospels? Let's keep sharing our insights as we wander through the gospel together this Christmas season.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas!

Ann


When the Crowd Roars

By Ann Hutchison

“Away with Him!” roar the crowd. I open my curtains and peek out. In the crowd I see people I know: Atheists, agnostics, those who’ve left their faith, and some of other faiths.

I stand and watch for a while. My eyes scan them, person by person. Some of these people are my friends. Finally, I go back to the calm of my living room and sit on the couch. I pour myself another tea, and say: “Jesus, help me again: Show me You're real?”  Cling tenaciously  2

Sometimes, I word it differently: “God, can I check again that I'm on the right path?”  

His response always comes in some way or other:

It is Jesus.

Jesus.

Jesus.

Jesus.

Once, I had a night I'll never forget: It was a few years ago, and I'd been reading a book about another faith. I didn't know what I believed. That night, God interrupted my sleep with crystal-clear words. His voice made me sit up: Cling tenaciously to the risen Jesus Christ, your Savior. “Ok,” I whispered back; and from then on I went with Jesus. 

Like many SUMites, I’m surrounded by strong-minded people of differing beliefs. Even if they are placid, their disinterest can be strong. The whole thing requires discernment: I examine their reasons, but the most useful thing I do is go back to my couch, have another cuppa, and ask God.

There is a fabulous analogy to all this, in an unlikely character of the Bible: Pontius Pilate. He might be a surprising one to compare ourselves against, but he had a real encounter. It’s an encounter like ours, in that Jesus was right there, real as anything, and yet those who had not had the encounter were exerting incredible pressure on Pilate to reject Him. Like the SUMites, Pilate's spouse was not by his side. Her conclusions were reached in a different time and place. Standing alone, then, he had a big call to make: yes or no.

I love Pilate’s process. Over and over he asks “Are you the King of the Jews?” and each time Jesus urges him on non-forcefully: "Are you speaking for yourself about this?" 

Later, Pilate brings up a valid point: “The crowd is accusing you of so many things” (Mark 15:4). It bothers him, so he goes back to the crowd: “Why are you accusing Him? What evil has He done? Help me understand!” (Matt 27:23). The crowd can only give an ill-informed answer. 

In culmination, Pilate asks the most important question a person can ever ask: “What is truth?” (John 18:38)

This story holds a gem that has helped me discern the crowd in my own life. It’s this: The crowd never once bothers to ask Jesus what is true. Instead, they only accuse, reject, and make a lot of clamor. Clamor is boisterous and grabs our attention, but it can be folly:

The woman Folly is loud;
    she is seductive and knows nothing.
She sits at the door of her house;
    she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,
calling to those who pass by,
    who are going straight on their way, (Proverbs 9:13-14, NKJV)

Like many SUMites, I sometimes face clamor in my social life. But now I ask: "Has this person asked God if He is real?" And "Have they asked God what is true?" Because if they haven’t, they've missed a crucial step. Believers have often had a different experience altogether. When the crowd roars, then, I will always go back inside and ask God. I guess I'm learning to speak for myself, regardless of the crowd's roar. 

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'we will not walk in it'." (Jeremiah 6:16, NIV)

Do you have a loud crowd in your life? If so, I'd love to hear how God has shown you He is real. Perhaps we can encourage each other with our stories.

Nice chatting!

Ann


The Pressure of This Sifting Brings a Shifting

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comDuring my prayer time, I often hear the Lord speak. This is what I’m hearing in this season. Be Blessed, Lynn

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Who among My people will incline an ear? Who is listening to the wisdom of the Spirit?

The pressure of this sifting, the building of the forces of strife, bear down. The character of My people, forged in the flames of contention and opposition as hell rages against them, roaring, reaching a crescendo.

Tears. The many, captured by angelic hosts. They are sealed, each one, in the store rooms of heaven. Labeled with tender care and meaning; loss, infirmity, poverty, addiction, death. Testimonies upon the shelves. Each an assignment of hell determined with an assail of weeping and destruction of My children.

The tears of the Bride sealed, recorded and waiting, each for the redemption and restoration that looms and quickly draws nigh. Each demand the recompense of the Ancient One.

This shall surely happen! The shout from heaven reverberates across the eons.

Perceive the fires which accomplish the burning away of the dross throughout the month of August. This month of refining, then turns the page to the season of surrender as September marches to its close. Many perceived losses and concluded assignments draw down to finality and closure.

Do you not perceive it, My child? Are you unaware that My hand is moving to release you into the new?

October bursts forth with decree, ALL THINGS NEW! The Kingdom of God releases the angelic multitude, wings of determined flight and missions, certain. Millions of heavenly scrolls arrive with new year assignments. The arrival is accompanied with provision for completion. Works of healing, salvation of the nations, teachings, preachings, creative blueprints of discovery. Each an intimate design to release My love, joy, peace in increasing measure.

My child, open your spirit. Take an account of the details in your current season that are drawing down to culmination. Much of what you grip in stronghold and fear of loss, is determined to hinder. Let go, for My purpose must be fulfilled in your life and the lives of others.

There is pain, sorrow, not by My hand, but by my enemy. Yet, through My compassion I will close the pain in September.

Yea, however!

The trumpet blast of Rosh Hashana decrees the end! The birth of new life, new anointings, exceptional possibilities and increase into Yom Kippur and beyond. Remain steadfast. Your awareness now, is the key named, Overcomer. It unlocks the treasuries of heaven. Behold the tears of yesterday are redeemed in new adventure and assignments and the enemy will repay, times seven, all that was lost and taken.

Prayer, faith, and conviction are your courage to press through.

I delight to give you the Kingdom. Thouest art being prepared in this season for the weighty glory to rest upon you with increased measure.

Hallelujah. AMEN!

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. —Psalm 30:5b


Asking for an Egg

Hi everyone, Ann here   

Recently, Lynn shared a wonderful video about how she asked God for an egg and literally got an egg!  
This story made me smile broadly. After all, if we ask for an egg God does not give us a scorpion (Luke 11:12). But it got me wondering what it means, exactly, to ‘ask for an egg’?  

EggAn egg holds life, a scorpion brings death, and if we ask for life we do not get death. That is a profound truth, but what about the times God seems silent? As I pondered this, some aspects of my past came back to me, times when an ‘egg’ was asked for. They showed me God was there all along.

To begin with, there was my mum, who prayed for me throughout my childhood. Every morning, I would rise to see her on her knees in the living room, wrapped in a robe. Sometimes I’d hear the muffled sound of prayer. But did I take notice? Nope. As a teenager, my reaction was something along the lines of whatever. 

My twenties passed without incident. I got married and had two beautiful boys. And then came Christmas Day 2010. Here's the scene:

On that day, the family gather in my brother’s tiny house in the South of England. A break in the chatter comes and Mum, who has watched me ignore God for years, jumps up and rummages for her gift. She hands me a small package and wraps me in a bone-crushing hug.

I peel back the paper to see a book on my lap: ‘Journey into God’s heart’ by Jennifer Rees-Larcombe. “Thanks, Mum,” I smile.

On the plane home, I yawn and reach into my bag. “Meh, I’ll give this a go”, I think, cracking open the book. It looks so harmless but this, it turns out, is no normal book. Ten hours later, still travelling, I have just read a life story like no other. I won’t spoil it, I’ll just say the book showed me God speaks to people.

Now comes a part I’d forgotten:

After reading that book, I snuck to the bathroom, sat down, and said this:

“God. If you’re there, can you speak to me?”

I was met with complete silence, but for the first time in my life I’d asked for an egg.

Two years passed, during which time I did not think much about God, and then came 13 April 2013. That day found me on my knees reading the Saturday morning newspaper in a fluffy robe. The scene is freakily like my mum years back, except I’m not praying. It’s like every other Saturday, except the article I’m reading happens to be about Christians, death, and life. And right there, in that moment, I hear Him:

You’ll never be the same again.

Wha- wha- what????????  I sit up with a start, and at that point know something in my life is going to change. 

I was still far from God and it is fascinating to me that even in that moment I didn’t recognize Him. I chalked it up to the universe. “The universe tells me something is going to change.”  But something did change, alright. Boy, how things changed: By December that year I found myself in a full-on, all-in-for-God space.

I still have no idea why it took two years to hear His voice.

Towards the end of that year, I started my first prayer journal. The first prayer I wrote was this:

“God, I notice that other Christians are fervent. I’m fervent for my three lovelies (my family), but I’m not fervent for you. Can you make me so?”

This time I did not have to wait years, I did not even have to wait a day. Since writing those words I have never been able to get God out of my head again.

To me, all this is what it means to ask for an egg and not receive a scorpion. Whether the answer comes instantly or decades later, it seems God answers in ways that hold Life (an egg) and negate death. None of it looks like what we expect, though -- It’s all a bit of a surprise package. Just like an egg!

So now I’m interested to hear more thoughts on the topic of asking. What adventures, delays, instant responses, or lessons have you had?   


Knowing God's Voice

These are the Greek words from John 10 that I'm speaking about:

Know: ginōskō; a prolonged form of a primary verb; to “know” (absolutely) in a great variety of applications and with many implications (as follow, with others not thus clearly expressed): — allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know(-ledge), perceived, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand.

Nameonoma; from a presumed derivative of the base of ginōskō; a “name” (literally or figuratively) (authority, character): — called, (+ sur-)name(-d).

Truly: amēn; of Hebrew origin; properly, firm, i.e. (figuratively) trustworthy; adverbially, surely (often as interjection, so be it): — amen, verily.
(The word "amen" is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best known word in human speech. The word is directly related -- in fact, almost identical -- to the Hebrew word for "believe" (amam), or faithful. Thus, it came to mean "sure" or "truly", an expression of absolute trust and confidence. -- HMM)

Thanks for listening, my friends!
Dineen


The Rains of God’s Glory

My friends, I have something very special to share with you today. It’s something I was unsure about sharing at first, but a phone convo with Lynn helped me see I should indeed share it with you. And since then, God has revealed a bit more and connected more dots.

In early 2014 God told me to pray for California. This was before our move to Florida. II was sitting on my porch one morning with my favorite mug full of coffee and my Bible. As I read and prayed, God told me to “pray a wave a faith over California.” I didn’t quite understand what that would look like, but I did what He asked and began praying this obediently for months.

Fast forward to the Spring of 2015. We’d moved part time to Florida but still spent several months in California and still owned our home there. The Holy Spirit led me to read the book of Isaiah.

One particular morning, I reached Isaiah 55 and the Holy Spirit began to point out parts that had to do with the land and water over the next several chapters. I knew in my spirit this had to do with the drought in California. I continued to read, wondering why He would even show such things to me.

Now let me preface this to say that the He’d first set me up the day before with Isaiah 52:6. I underlined it, recognizing that as new covenant believers, this was connected to the promise of the Messiah to come. And we know the name of Jesus is powerful and thus why we pray it.

Therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I.” — Isaiah 52:6 (NIV)

So the next day when He stopped me at Isaiah 59:19, I already had this reference to connect to. As you can see in the picture, I dated my notation April 28, 2015. I suspected this was related to the Holy Spirit’s instructions to pray a wave of faith over California and that this also spoke of the end of the drought. In fact, that is what I heard in my spirit, that God was decreeing an end to the drought. 

IMG_5636

Within weeks of this revelation, several other Christian leaders in California began to say the same thing. I knew God was revealing His heart and plans for the state of California, and now we are seeing the full revelation of this.

What was predicted to take years—the return of the rains to refill the reservoirs—is happening in weeks. We are seeing God move faster than we ever have before, my friends. And He is moving in new and stunning ways. Right now it’s very important that we keep alert to these new ways and be willing to let go of the old. I believe this is also part of what He meant when He told me things wouldn’t look the way we expect and that He wants to do things differently. These are things I shared with you last year.

Now there is more to this moment in time, my friends, and it includes us. On that same day, the Holy Spirit stopped me at Isaiah 60:22. See the picture below with SUM written next to the Scripture.

IMG_5635

SUMites, we have grown from a small family and a tiny group to a mighty nation of over 2,000. I believe we are symbolic of what God is doing all over the world. He is bring up communities like ours to operate the way the church did in Acts 2. We are the new church He is bringing into place. 

Last July, I shared in a video message what I felt God was speaking about His church, that “His heart is to establish a new and holy church—not fix the old one.”

That doesn’t mean we are to abandon our churches, dear friends, it simply means God is transforming us to function in greater unity and love if we will allow Him to come in and do this in our places of worship, no matter where they are. Our church will no longer be limited and defined by physical walls and building. We will be the unified body of Christ, His bride made pure. Connections and partnerships (bridges) are being formed between churches in communities even now to work together to have greater impact in communities and cities.

My friends, I believe this also means God is working in new and significant ways in our marriages and in the hearts of our spouses. This is part of our salvation word from last year, which continues to be the seed planted that the Holy Spirit is watering. 

Let me share some of my observations and what I am seeing:

I believe the rain we are seeing in California and the overflow is symbolic of God’s glory pouring over His children and our loved ones (that they shall be saved too! Acts 16:31). I know it looks messy, but remember what I said in one of my previous messages about God’s favor. It can look messy at first (remember how God favored Mary to carry Jesus), but we can trust God to bring His plans and purposed to a good completion for His ways are always good (Rom. 8:28)

I believe we are going to see significant shifts in our homes and in our spouses, SUMites. Many of you already are. As Lynn has shared in the emotional healing series, we need to be healed so we can help those coming to faith to walk in wholeness as well. Part of the video message I shared last year was about God’s “harvest time” and the “fruit” (remember the figs), which are the many souls being called in. (Some of you may even remember the harvest dream I shared in 2013.)

I believe we are entering this time at a new level. We are stepping out of the old and into the new. We will see things happen in ways we never expected or anticipated. We will see God move faster than we thought possible. And we will see our faith increased to new levels as we step into our promises and new opportunities. 

My friends, I will stop there. I have something else from Isaiah that God is showing me to pray for my husband that I may share on Friday. I'm asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom on that first and for any more insights He wants to reveal for us. Be assured I will share as the Holy Spirit leads me. I don't know why the Holy Spirit uses the book of Isaiah like this to reveal things to me, but it is fascinating to say the least.

SUMites, we are living in exciting times! Reading this may very well bring things to mind and connect some dots for you. Please share you're thoughts and what you believe God is showing you. I can't wait to hear your hearts!

Love you, my mighty friends! You are greater in Him than you know!
Dineen

 


LIVE Web Classes were a BLAST!

Lynn&Dineen

SUMites, Lynn and I had a blast with you during our LIVE Web Classes! A BLAST! Wow, does an hour go fast or what? We so enjoyed being able to pray over you, bless you and teach about hearing God's voice for yourself. And telling you stories...and the Q&A session—getting to hear you—hear your hearts—was huge. Thank you, SUMites, for spending that hour with us—two ordinary women who love to go on adventures with God. And you're part of the adventure too!

If you weren't able to attend, we plan to do more! More opportunities to participate are coming. In the comments (whether you were able to attend or not) please leave suggestions of topics you’d like to see covered so we can plan and schedule future sessions.

If you attended one of the classes today, please share in the comments which session you attended, what you learned and what you took away that helped you most. We are excited to hear your input and comments. And what you share could very well be what will minister to someone reading and in need. We see that happen all the time in this beautiful community.

We love you so much, SUMites! Thank you again for making us a part of your lives.
~Dineen & Lynn

 


How do you "hear God? (part 3)

IStock_000001262149XSmallMy friends, in light of some of the questions generated by my post yesterday, Lynn and I swapped days so I can address some of those today, specifically the mention of fortune cookies. 

First, I want you to know that my heart is for every one of you to walk in deep intimacy with God and hear His voice clearly. I want His very best for you, because I love you so much and we are family. And having that kind of relationship with God makes all the difference in our lives and especially our marriages. When we put God first, He brings order and peace to our lives even in the midst of the storms in our lives and marriages. I know I would not have the marriage I have today had I not made the decision twenty plus years ago to put God first.

But I want to clarify something. My relationship with God and how I hear Him has come from years of studying His Word, sitting under the teaching of trusted leaders, Stephen Ministry and healing rooms training, and, most importantly, a daily commitment to spend time in His presence in prayer, reading the Bible and worship. At this point in my faith journey, this can be an hour or more daily. Usually as much as two hours or more at times. This is what God has called me to do.

I'm not sharing this to brag, but to help you understand the foundation I've built with God to discern and recognize His voice. Along with my continual heart cry to know Him better, I've asked Him to keep me from being deceived in any way. 

The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. — Psalms 32:8

So if I seemed casual about the fortune cookie discussion, please understand I am very careful about things like this. When I am in doubt, I am quick to seek God for wisdom or confirmation. If it doesn’t line up with God’s Word, then it’s not truth and needs to be discarded and ignored. Especially if you are just starting on this path, it’s even more important to be filling and transforming your mind with God’s Word. 

As I replied to Taylor, my goal was to generate some conversation so we could cover those "gray" areas. I think it's important that we carefully guard our minds and hearts. Anything that can create an open door for the enemy needs to be avoided. That is something each of us has to decide for ourselves, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, as we have similar and different areas of vulnerability.

The message Tiffany's shared clearly spoke the truth of Phil 4:19 to her heart, that God would provide for her every need. She received this in the light of the truth Jesus, and what she knew to be true biblically. The confirmations I received were for moves already in place that I knew God had set in place. It was like a love nod from God saying, "you're on the right track!" 

Some things are very clearly not of God, and we can make a clear decision. Other times it’s important that we take it right to Abba and ask for clarity, confirmation, or conviction. And His answer will always be filled with His love and direction, not condemnation (Romans 8:1). Even Jesus did this.

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” — John 5:30

This is why it's so important that we are constantly reading our Bibles and spending time with God. Our spiritual foundation needs to be strong so that we know the difference between God's voice and the enemy’s.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. — Isaiah 30:21

My friends, Lynn will continue her story about her mother next Tuesday and as this post is long already, I will save my story for next Thursday. Please keep sharing how you are hearing God. The are wonderful and so encouraging! I find myself nodding as I read them and saying, “yes, yes!” SUMites, you are amazing. I know it’s challenging being the spiritual leaders in our homes, which requires us to be more diligent, but look at how much you are growing and living stronger in your faith. God is so faithful!

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. — 1 Cor 16:13-14
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How do you "hear God? (part 2)

IStock_000014889792XSmallWhen I opened my email early this morning, one of the first headlines I read was an article on Spirit Led Woman, entitled "Why You May Not Recognize God Speaking to You." I had to smile—one, because here we are talking about the very same,-much needed subject, and two, because I recognized God speaking to me indirectly at that very moment in what I like to call "a confirmation."

How so? Here's the path to this recognition:

  1. I always pray and ask Holy Spirit to tell me what I need to write about for our blog based upon what YOU, our readers need. His leading reminded me of this exercise He'd led me to just weeks earlier, which started with a Scriptural instruction from the Bible.
  2. Yesterday Lynn and I discussed the need for more teaching on this subject and decided that in May we would make this one of the topics we will cover in four one hour online teaching seminars we've already had in the works. (More information and sign-up details to come so stay tuned! We are so excited about launching this!)
  3. Then I see this article on Spirit Led Woman. Thank You, Lord, for Your leading!

By experience, I've learned to recognize this kind of confirmation as following God's lead for the universal church. Last year, His leading was focused on knowing His love. This year seems to be starting off with a clear message about knowing His voice. The Holy Spirit, Who connects us all is communicating the Father's heart in a broad spectrum for His children to hear.

And this is just one way of communication. Over the last few weeks God has used the following ways to communicate with me:

•His still small voice

•Scripture

•The counsel of a trusted friend

•Several devotionals 

•Ian's post about Lent

•Your comments on our blog

•A song on K-LOVE (a single line carried the same message I felt God impress upon my heart that morning.

•Waking up with a particular song repeating in my mind (this usually tells me what God wants me to focus on that day)

•A dream in answer to a prayer for specific wisdom and insight

•A prophetic word confirmed by the "coming soon" sign in the front yard of my CA house.

And there are even more that I could draw upon from past events and experiences. In the Bible you will see God communicating through dreams, visions, animals, rainbows, people, and more. Very often these come in combinations. For example, I will sense God's heart in my morning quiet time, telling me something specific. Then I will get a devotional or an email from a friend on that very same topic. Then on Sunday, my pastor will speak on the very same subject.

Sometimes it can be very clear to us, like a friend reaching out saying God put us on their heart and they just want us to know they're praying for us. What they don't know is that very morning we cried out to God for help because something in our life has just fallen apart. Can you relate?

Or you sense God leading you in a direction to do something that is way out of your comfort zone. Then suddenly the training, the invitation, or the steps to move forward are presented to you in an undeniable way that you know deep in your spirit that is the next step.

Lynn has shared how Mylar balloons have shown up for her and even her husband with a word so specific you just can't miss it! Tiffany shared on my Tuesday post about fortune cookie messages, which I've experienced too. (God has confirmed every one of our major moves with a cookie message. I just giggle and enjoy God’s ways.)

God has even used feathers for many of us. Sometimes these can push the boundaries of what we are comfortable with, but nothing is off limits for God to use. However, it is up to us to test what we hear and discern against the truth of God’s Word, to prayerfully consider and ask God for confirmation if we’re unsure, and to discern the source (spirit) of the word as Scripture tells us (1 John 4:1). 

The most important key to hearing God's voice, my friends, is your relationship with Him. Our intimacy with God is what opens our eyes, ears, heart and spirit to discerning, hearing and recognizing when He is speaking to us. Thus the more we seek to know Him and spend time with Him, the more you will hear Him and recognize when He is speaking because of the past experiences you are building upon.

Our daily time with Him isn't about fulfilling a duty. It's about building a relationship with our Father God, our best friend Jesus, our comforter Holy Spirit so that we KNOW Him, recognize His presence and voice, and can follow and receive from Him. 

We won't get this perfect every time. It's a trial and error learning process for sure. And thus why I so diligently (and vocally) express the importance of journaling. But it is worth the effort, my dear friends. At one dark point in this shoulder recovery the Holy Spirit told me to reread my journal. I did and was reminded of all the things God had spoken to me recently and was greatly encouraged.

I hope you’ll share in the comments how God has been speaking to you these last two days AND continue to keep a log for a couple of weeks—I have a feeling Abba is going to give you some very special words and confirmations that will increase your faith to hear more. 

Next week I will share a couple stories of how God used imagery to show me very specific details for a person I was praying for. Trust me, this blew my mind completely, yet the facts were undeniable…

And now, SUMites, let’s pray. Father God, we are Your SUMites and we stand humbly before You with a burning hunger and desire to hear and see You more. Lord, You created us to be in an intimate relationship with You, to walk in friendship with You as Abraham did. You created our senses to perceive not just the natural but the supernatural as well. Give us eyes and ears to see and hear You. Increase our faith, Lord, to hear and recognize Your holy voice, presence and intervention more and more. We love You, Lord Jesus! Thank You for sitting at the right hand of the Father and interceding for us every moment. We are so grateful. Lift our hearts, minds, and spirit to the heavenly realms so we are focused on You. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Love you, my friends. So much. Praying for you!
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How do you "hear" God?

41250080_sOver the last several weeks I’ve been following along with the Lenten reading on Margaret Feinberg’s site that Ian shared with us. I feel like I’m taking a walk with Luke through his testimony of his time with Jesus and what happened after the cross. It's a fascinating way to follow the progression of events. Thank you for the recommendation, Ian!

What I want to share with you today is one verse in particular that a stopped me in my reading and became an assignment I gave myself and a few dear friends. It’s a verse I know I’ve read many times, but you know how that happens, when a verse just grabs you, one know you’ve read many a time but in that moment, Holy Spirit is saying, “pay attention to this!”?

And He literally meant “pay attention…”

“So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.” — Luke 8:18 NLT

The ESV translations reads like this:

Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away. — Luke 8:18

The first part of this verse about paying attention to how you hear God kind of surprised me, because I think most of us would express some kind of frustration or concern about hearing God. I know I have. Did I hear Him correctly? Was that Him or was that me I heard? Or we question the method or venue, wondering if God would actually communicate with us in such a way. How about you?

My friends, you know me well enough by now to know that I’m going to dig into the Greek and Hebrew meanings of words, and I did just that. As usual this one small verse holds some very fascinating gems.

The Greek word for pay attention or take care is blepō and has a long list of general meanings, such as to turn the thoughts or direct the mind to a thing, to consider, contemplate, to look at, to weigh carefully, examine. This is wise instruction for us, of course, but the one that stood our for me was to discover by use, to know by experience. The “how” part.

Over the last several years as I’ve gone deeper with God, I’ve discovered there are so many ways that God communicates with us. And sometimes I think He changes things up so we continue to seek and depend upon Him for His leading and learn more about Him and His ways. Which brings to mind another AMAZING verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. — Proverbs 3:5-6

But let’s go back to that meaning, to discover by use, to know by experience—the how. The “assignment” I felt Holy Spirit impressing upon me was to keep a log of all the ways I hear God. That’s exactly what this verse is telling us to do—to pay attention to how we hear God. Not just to the what, but to the how. The amazing this is, the more you pay attention the more you will discover other ways God is speaking to you as you experience communication with Him.

For the last several weeks I’ve simply jotted down when I heard something from God, and how He communicated it with me. It’s been a fascinating observation.

My dear SUM family, I’d like to give this assignment to you. For at least a week, simply note each time you feel God has spoken to you and how He did so. It can be something you hear, read, see, feel, smell, taste, sense, or just know. And can even be a combination of these too. On Thursday I will share some of the ways I’ve sensed and heard God speaking to me. And I hope you’ll share some of yours too!

So how about it? Are you in? Leave me a comment so I can pray for you to have “eyes to see and ears to hear” everything our precious Lord wants to tell you! And have fun, my friends! God loves to speak to us! 

Love you and praying for you every day, my SUM family!
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Seek and Listen

Jer33-3SUMites, as we prepare for our fast next week, I would like you to begin asking God for specific words and/or impressions from Him for yourself and for your family. I do this each year and God either gives me specific words or impression for me and each of my family members just about every year. I've already begun doing this and will be sharing what God is speaking to my heart about you and His heart for our SUM community for 2016. I am so excited to tell you more next week.

If this is a struggle for you, don’t stress over it. Just sit in a quiet place, pray Jeremiah 33:3 and if you “hear” a word, see a word in your mind, get an impression or feeling, write it down. I find at times what I first receive may seem unclear or confusing but as I continue to press in and pray, Holy Spirit unfolds its meaning. 

I love you, my SUM family. It is my honor and privilege to be in prayer for you too as you seek God's heart.
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How Many Ways Does God Speak?

6a012875bda851970c01bb08880261970d-250wiMy friends, I loved reading your comments on Tuesday. What a wealth of wisdom, honesty and encouragement. We are part of such an amazing community. I have no doubts that our church without walls makes our Papa God very proud.

Much of what I’m sharing with you is simply from the journey God has had me on to walking in my healing and prophetic calling. It is challenging because hearing God is crucial! I want to be like Jesus and do only what the Father does.

Sometimes we need to wait for the Holy Spirit to lead, but other times we need to just step forward in faith because of what we already know to be true about God.

For example, I know from God’s Word that Jesus healed and called use to do even greater works than He did. God has called me to work in the healing rooms, so I pray with a team for people who come in seeking God for healing either physically, spiritually, and/or emotionally. 

This experience and seeing how God works has grown my faith and belief. Now God even moves me to pray for people randomly as I’m out and about. First, it is my reassurance of what I do not see, Jesus’ healing, that motivates me to pray for others, but it’s a great step of faith for me to do this outside of the healing rooms, because I’m the one initiating the conversation. 

How do I know who and when? I listen and take note of significant elements—something I’ve learned to do by trial and yes, error at times. LOL! For example, on Monday I went to pick up my poochies from the groomer. In the parking lot I saw a man walking to his truck, and I could see walking was painful for him. I prayed silently for his healing. 

Then I “heard” a very faint voice say, “Pray for him.” To be honest, I wasn’t sure if that was God or my own desire to see this man healed. But you know what, even if I didn’t know for sure, I would still have the reassurance of Scripture that Jesus heals and He has called us to pray for healing for others. See what I’m saying? Some things we’ve already been told to do.

As this was processing in my mind, this man started his car and Christian music blasted out. I knew then this was a divine appointment. I turned around and started a conversation with this gentleman, starting with the music—we both enjoy this radio station, we are fellow believers. So then I simply asked about his leg. He explained the details (knee cartilage was gone—I say was because I am believing in his complete healing) and that he had gone to healing rooms for prayer. I simply asked if I could pray over his knee, which he was very happy for me to do.

I’m believing for Ray’s healing (please join me in that prayer, my friends), but what I want to share is what this divine appointment reveals.

  1. The Holy Spirit took my inclination to pray for this man’s healing to myself and turned it into a nudge to action. (Thoughts)
  2. God affirmed this with the music, an outside stimulus. (Hearing)
  3. The outcome of this encounter is positive no matter the result, which is in God’s hands. But both this gentleman and I were both encouraged—he for his healing and me in my faith. And amazingly, my friends, I needed a boost that day. So, again, I am in awe of the multi-purposed plans of God. And don’t you find it interesting that this happened on Monday, the day I needed to write my posts for the week and had prayed for Holy Spirit’s help to write about the ways we hear God?

There are many ways we can hear God. My example showed how the Holy Spirit spoke in my thoughts and through music. The Holy Spirit often will give me vivid picture of an event or just words that make no sense to me but turn out to be significant to the person I’m praying for. I am always astonished and encouraged when He does this and I pray that wonder never stops!

I’d like to finish this post with a short video by Pastor Kris Vallotton. This 11 minute clip completely opened up my understanding of how to hear God. It showed me that I’d put emphasis on only one way to hear God. Not only did it help me identify other ways I was hearing but also to understand they were as important as that still small voice. I pray it inspires, encourages and blows the doors wide open to greater faith in hearing God. It did for me so now I pray for that breakthrough and blessing for you too, my friends. 

Love you!
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Was That God I Really Heard?

6a012875bda851970c01bb08880261970d-250wiWelcome to November, SUMites! Can you believe we are already approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas? I’m already seeing ads and decorations everywhere. These are clear “signs” of what’s coming soon.

You know, these are physical signs of the approaching holiday season. We see the evidence with our eyes. With my nose I smell the evidence every time I go to the grocery story and inhale the fragrant cinnamon brooms and pinecones for sale. And soon I’ll hear it with my ears as Christmas tunes flood the stores and radio stations.

The thing is, we would know these holidays are coming even without these evidences, because we know what time of year it is. We know these are established seasons that we witness every year. We recognize and know what to expect. We didn’t know this from birth but from experience. So in a way, you could say that our expectation in January that Thanksgiving and Christmas will come again is kind of an act of faith. We believe it, because of our experience.

Hearing God can operate in the same way at times but most of the time, it’s an act of faith first—first to believe that God speaks to us and to believe He answers.

Dawn B. shared a comment on my last post, Can We Hear God?

“My problem isn't hearing Him, it's questioning if I heard correctly.”

As our faith grows (remember, Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith so we are continually growing), we learn to trust that we are hearing the Holy Spirit and hearing Him correctly. That’s when repetition and experience confirm we are hearing correctly, and we grow more confident in what we are hearing from God and become quicker and bolder in obedience. 

For example, God used Dawn’s comment to make it clear to me this would be the next topic in this series (which I hadn’t planned to be series but God clearly did). I knew right away in my spirit that’s what God wanted. Hearing God is an act of faith, and trusting what we have heard is an act of faith as well.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. — Hebrews 11:1

Jim Edwards left a wonderful reply to Dawn’s comment that I want to share with you as well.

“I love what Bill Johnson teaches, that will help you. It's a good father's responsibility to make sure he speaks in a way that their child hears. Now Bill should know 'cause his son Eric has severe hearing loss, so whether that means speaking louder, or facing them so they can lip-read, or whatever, then this is what he does. Now our Heavenly Papa has to be a so-much-better Dad. If you're listening—He’ll make sure you hear correctly.”

Again it is an act of faith, of belief, that our Father God will makes sure we hear Him correctly. We probably won’t get it perfectly down in the beginning, if ever, my friends. We are human and things like unforgiveness, resentment, pride and fear can get in the way. But the more we take the risk, as Lynn mentioned, and step out in faith, the better we get at it. But first we must choose to believe that God will lead us.

The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand. — Psalm 37:23

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. — Prov. 3:5-6

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. — 2 Cor. 2:14

The Bible is full of verses that speak of God’s heart to lead and guide us, so I find what Jim shared to be very comforting and affirming. Our God loves us and wants us to hear Him, so it makes sense that He would make sure we hear Him correctly. And He will catch us if we stumble. 

Before Jesus came, the priests would use the Urim and Thummim to seek God and they trusted the result because they believed God controlled the outcome of this “toss of the dice” method (scholars are not entirely sure what these elements looked like). But we carry the very Spirit of God in us! Think about that. Doesn’t it makes sense that He will work in us to be sure we hear correctly? I head Pastor Eric Johnson once say, “God trusts us more than we trust ourselves.”

SUMites, you helped me write this post today. Is that cool or what? On Thursday, we’ll talk about the ways we hear God, another great point brought out in the comments on my last post, so let’s keep this ball rolling. How do you usually hear God and what affirms for you that you’ve heard Him correctly?

Can’t wait to read your comments! And be sure to check back tomorrow for another surprise we have for you… Love you!
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Can We Hear God?

IStock_000014889792XSmallMy friends, I love our Lord so much. I sat in my quiet time yesterday morning and asked the Holy Spirit what our SUM family needed right now. What did He want me to write about next? I followed His leading and listened and He showed me that after the Abundant Life series, He wants you to know that you can and do hear God. 

Last weekend a dear friend of mine said she didn’t know what to do about her future and wasn’t hearing God. Said she couldn’t hear Him. And I so understood the cry of her heart, because I have been there. I believed that God was either silent, or I couldn’t hear Him.

SUM family, I think we all have struggled in this place at some point and some of us still do. Well today I have some biblical truths for you that will blow those lies of the enemy out of your heart and mind. You will start to hear God more and be amazed when you do.

I know this because I’m sharing my story—my testimony with you. These are the truths the Holy Spirit showed me, which increased my ability to hear Him. 

First, we need to believe He hears us. The Bible is full of verses that state this truth.

But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears. — Psalm 18:6

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. — Psalm 34:4

Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from inside the fish. He said, “I cried out to the LORD in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and LORD, you heard me! — Jonah 2:1-2

These are Old Testament references, before Jesus died for us and gave us His Holy Spirit. So, doesn’t it stand to reason that if the Spirit of God dwells in us, we will hear Him?

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one. — John 10:27

SUMites, this is the foundation of what the Holy Spirit showed me. The enemy wants us to think we can’t hear God, or that God won’t answer us. But God’s Word, which is irrefutable truth, tells us He hears us and we will hear Him. Just believing this one truth alone and praying with the expectation to hear Him has increased my ability to hear Him in powerful ways.

Belief is so crucial, my friends. Believe God’s Word, truly believe it. Don’t just speak it but truly seek to believe it. The Holy Spirit will transform our minds (Romans 12:2) with the Word of God and the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6).

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. — 1John 5:14-15

SUMites, as I continue working in the healing rooms here, the Holy Spirit shows me over and over again that lies are at the sources of so much of our pain and struggles. They drive our mind and motivations in the wrong direction and keep us from all that God has for us.

So if you have believed the lie that God doesn’t heart you, that you can’t hear Him, that He doesn’t answer you, pray this prayer with me today:

Lord Jesus, I believe that you came and died for me, therefore Your Holy Spirit dwells in me. Therefore, You are my Good Shepherd, I am your sheep and I hear Your voice. I believe that You hear every prayer and I believe that You have answers for me. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Now I want to pray this for you, SUMites:

Lord Jesus, in Your name I bind the lies that have told us we can’t hear you, and I anoint the ears of every person reading this to hear You clearly, in every way You desire to speak to them. I bless them with the ability to recognize your voice above all others. In the True and powerful name of Jesus, amen!

I love you, SUMites! Let me know if you've prayed with me today so I can stand in agreement with you. Walk in confidence that Your God hears you and He WILL answer you.
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Seek Him Like Never Before!

Worship…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. — Ephesians 4:14-16

My friends, I left my post last week with the promise to tell you some stories of how God is equipping and testing me. My most ardent prayer the last year has been to hear Him clearer and to know His voice better. I am stunned at how He has answered that prayer with specific training at a conference a couple weeks ago and the people He has brought into my life to speak new levels of truth and teaching. Let’s just say that Abba turned my world upside down a bit and knocked a few things into place, like bringing my body, soul and spirit into alignment with the Kingdom. I will share more on that soon as the Holy Spirit leads me.

Last week He gave me very specific words to give to people. He’s done this before but not with this clarity or detail. My heart cry along with wanting to hear Him better was so that I can help people more. On my walk and pray one morning I noticed the same woman walking in our neighborhood that I’ve seen before. God gave me a very clear message to share with her. Turned out she was a very strong woman of faith and that was my test, to step out in faith and do what He was asking me, even if it seemed a little over the top. This particular encounter took me way out of my comfort zone, and I realized afterwards He wanted to see what I would do with what He gave me—how I would steward it.

A few nights later I was at a restaurant with my family (my daughter and husband were visiting). A woman from my church, who God previously gave me a specific word for her husband, walked in with her husband. I'd seen her the week before at church but didn't want to disturb them while they were worshiping. So I left it to God to orchestrate another meeting. And He did! Even my mother-in-law commented on how they have lived there for years and never run into people they know, yet I seem to do this frequently.  

And that is what He is accelerating us into right now—orchestrated encounters with key people we need and who need us in order to move into new ministries and territories. God is releasing more spiritual giftings to us and raising us up to new levels in the ones we have already been walking in.

My friends, this is how He wants to reveal Himself to the world, and right now! Seek Him like never before. Ask Him for His heart and what He wants to show you (Jer. 33:3). And if He allows you to share it here, please do! I have listened and watched as so many of you have been released into new places already these last few weeks—new ministries, new levels of intimacy and peace in your marriages and family and even more clarity in your purpose and calling in Jesus. For our SUM community, the Holy Spirit is showing me how we are being lifted up, one by one, into new places and purposes with power, authority and spiritual giftings to move effectively in these places.

Today I fly to Dallas for the American Christian Fiction Writers conference that I attend each year. I have been blessed to man and coordinate the registration for several years now and especially blessed by the divine appointments God sets up during these events. This time, I’m asking Abba for something very specific this year, and I look forward to sharing that with you as well. 

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. — Hebrews 12:20

What about you, my friends? Where you do sense God is leading you? What has He put on your heart to think about, pray into, and seek Him for? Please share. This is a safe place to share whatever is on your heart. I want to pray with you for this calling, this divine destiny God is revealing to you.

SUMites, I am holding you close in my heart and prayers.
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Don't Over-Schedule Your Kids

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My friends, what are your thoughts about this study so far? Is it helping you? Are there areas you want to talk about that we haven’t addressed yet? Let us know if you have more specific issues that we can address through this study.

Today I want to talk about helping our kids choose between good and God's best. I noticed way back when we first moved to California (Silicon Valley) when my daughters were in elementary and middle school. My oldest daughter found her footing in her new school quickly and made friends easily, thank goodness. She’d had a rough time in this area while we were living in Switzerland. My youngest, who had an easy time doing this during our time there, found herself struggling in her new CA school. 

And part of the problem wasn’t even in her realm of control. It was the parents. Many of Leslie’s classmates went from school to homework as well as many other “scheduled activities” during the day, like music, language and even additional tutoring. These weren’t students who were struggling academically either. None had time to schedule a play date during the week and many weren’t allowed to do so on weekends either, because they had to keep to their work and studies. This was third grade and the pressure on these kids increased as they got older.

This phenomenon was a growing epidemic in Silicon Valley, which is very multi-cultural, and still continues as the norm. I believe it affects much of society today too as part of the “get ahead” mentality. Unfortunately, these kids are growing up knowing all work and no play. They have no concept of what it means to relax, play and rest. And they’re growing up to be adults who find it difficult to enjoy times of rest and challenging to enjoy life without constant activity. 

I’m not saying these activities are bad for our children. What I’m saying is, we need to leave some room for them to rest, to be in God’s creation, to be kids. And the younger they grasp this, the better they will be at finding balance in their lives as teenagers and adults. 

Just this week I listened to a speak say we’ve lost about ability to discern in the church. That nailed it on the head and it’s one of the enemy’s most successful tactics. If he can keep us too busy to listen to God, we lose our ability to discern too. When we forget how to relax and rest our mind, we have a hard time hearing God, making wise decisions and we even hamper our creativity. 

Our children need down time to understand and learn how to listen for God’s quiet voice. They need to know that God is responsive to those who seek Him with an open heart, and they need to hear and see examples of how God answers. Our children need time to be still and know God (Psalm 46:10).

In this day and age, our children seem required to do more in order to keep up with the world as they get older, but let’s not do that at the expense of their spirituality. More than anything they need in this world, they need to understand the value of eternity and kingdom living—that these are the better pursuit, which will ultimately provide in this life as well as the next.

As parents we are legacy builders. We want our children to launch into this world with a strong faith and a hunger for God that will continue to grow and impact those around them. I know a lot of this we have to discover as we go, but I’d love to see my daughters and grandchildren learn some of this a lot sooner than I did.

So how do we do this, you’re probably asking and wondering. First, Moms and Dads, you set the pattern. Are you doing this yourself? Do you have a time that you spend to just be quiet with God and pray? If you find your day is too packed, ask God to show you where to make room. Be willing to let go of something if necessary, but above all, trust God to show you time during your day to meet with Him. A wise woman once told me that if you “tithe” 10% of your time to Him, He’ll make sure you get the rest done in the 90% that’s left. 

She was right. Didn’t make sense at all at first, but over the years this has proven true time after time. God even told me once in detail how to change my schedule to make it work. He’ll do this for you too, my friends. And why wouldn’t He want to and do whatever necessary to help you make it work? He’s your Abba, Father, and loves spending time for you. He’ll move heaven and earth to do it too.

He’ll do this for your kids too. So as school starts and the list of activities begin to grow, as more and more opportunities present themselves, as your budding daughter and son seems to have a growing social life, help them see that even in the midst of a see of good things, we need to choose wisely so that we can enjoy fully what is God’s best for us instead of being spread so thin that we’re just tasting the tip of His goodness for us. 

Two great activities clearly shaped for our child’s unique gifting and design is WAY better than four okay activities that they do because they think they have to.

They’ll need your help to discern (there’s that word again) the difference, but if you’re setting the example of saying, let’s take a moment and pray into this and trust God to give us an answer by the morning—or the end of the day, week, etc.—you will be teaching your child to take time to pray, to seek wisdom and to discern God’s voice. 

And that is by far a greater gift you can give them than anything else they would attain in this world, my friends. Greater by far.

Question: Consider your child’s daily schedule (yours too, Moms and Dads). What seems to be the priority most days? Do adjustments need to be made? What do you think God is telling you about it?

Prayer: Lord, give me courage and guidance to follow Your leading as I pray for wisdom, words and strength to teach my children to make good choices. Equip me each day to walk faithfully in my calling as a parent, and show me how to rely on Your strength, Lord, and not my own. Show me the unique gifts that You have given my children, and help me lead them in how to use those gifts for Your glory. Help me to recognize the potential You have placed in my children and to inspire them to be who You created them to be. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen!

SUMites, hug your kids and tell them they are AWESOME! Tell them you are with them all the way and so is God! 

All in His love,
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