Dear SUMites, as you know over the last few posts we've been talking about the Holy Spirit and looking at what his activity in our lives can look like.
Well, I had one thing planned to write today but something really amazing happened this week that I need to share instead.
The following thing happened hot on the heels of us talking about breakthrough in the last post:
This week I’ve been on holiday in a town called Queenstown. A close friend and her family have been with us and, like most of the people we spend time with, they are not yet believers.
The husbands and kids took off skiing for the day, and so my friend and I grabbed tea and cake in a café.
Girl-chat ensued and she began to share some hard things she’s been through lately - Really, really hard stuff. I sat there not knowing how to help except to listen. And then she said "I can’t believe God is real, because if he were why would I be suffering like this? And if there is a God why is there suffering in the world anyway?"
"That’s a good question," I said. "I asked that a lot myself a few years ago."
We paused and looked out the window.
"How’s it all going for you anyway, Ann, that part of your life?" she asked. She's a nice friend and has always been unusually kind about my faith.
And so I shared what that looked like for me. Specifically, I described a bit about what it felt like to know his presence in my life. I began to laugh a little and told her I'm pretty far gone - God is all over me, in me, and is everything to me.
That’s when it happened. She leaned back as if in reaction to what I said, and exclaimed: “Wow, I just got a picture land in my head! It was of a flame of fire on my head.”
"WHATT?" I exclaimed. "Do you know, that’s how God speaks?"
She stared at me, stunned. She started to cry. So did I.
Instantly I thought of the disciples at Pentecost with fire on their heads in Acts 2:1-4. So I asked for clarification -
“Umm... Was the flame on your head or mine?”
“It was on mine,” she said, eyes wide.
It was on her head. Her head. Wow.
We sat back and looked at each other, and all the while my heart was quietly holding this thought: "I think God is telling me that the fire in me is going to catch and land on her, or it just has. I think she's going to be on fire for him too."
I wasn't thinking especially clearly at this point, but this came out of my mouth next:
"There’s a passage in the Bible about this: The disciples of Jesus had fire on their heads when they received the Holy Spirit. I think you've just heard something from God about something in the Bible."
"Ohh, I remember that passage from growing up in the Catholic Church..." she sat there eyeing me up, still stunned.
We reached for our forks again and took a massive gulp of cake and tea at this point. And then we talked about nothing but God for half an hour; hot drinks in hand, people around us.
Much later she texted me, "Ann, is it me or was that a really big deal, what happened there in the cafe?!”
“It was huge.” I texted back, trying to contain myself over the airwaves. I then sent her the scripture in the book of Acts and told her she'd just experienced the Holy Spirit.
By then, I was back in my hotel room. The boys were still skiing, and all I could do was put some worship music on and sit back digesting what had just happened. As I said in my last post --
Jehovah Perazim, you are the Lord of breakthrough.
I think I want to pray for more of this in our community, so much more, so shall we pray?
Lord God, we ask for more! Breathe on our relationships, and make it easy for us to share YOU with the people we love. Bring your Holy Spirit into their lives, and bring more of your fire to us, as much as we can handle. Thank you, Jesus, in your name, Amen.
Love you all, friends, and I'll see you in the comments.
How often do you tell your conversion testimony to unbelievers?
If you do it often, how do people react?
Me: I try. But writing today's post has got me thinking a whole lot more about this. Specifically, it's been making me think about how to tell a testimony effectively.
In the Book of Acts, there is a critical moment where Paul role-models how to tell a testimony. It's the end of his ministry, he's an older man, and he just goes for it. It's a wild, hair-raising story of how he became a Christian.
"Paul, you are beside yourself, much learning is driving you mad!" Someone shouts on hearing it (Acts 27:24).
"I am not mad..." answers Paul, respectfully.
We see him tell his testimony twice in quick succession: The same story, the same details, same manner of telling it. You might like to read both versions in Acts 22:1-21 and 26:4-23, they're pretty short passages.
This is all so far so good. What a wonderful testimony Paul has been given! But do they all fall over in amazement and think it's wondrous? Nope!
When Paul stands up in front of a mob of Jews in Jerusalem, he starts by saying, "I am a Jew ... I used to persecute Christians too ..." before launching into his story about how Jesus completely changed him.
"And they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!" (Acts 22:22-23, NKJV)
Not fit to live? Yikes.
After that, he quietly has the opportunity to tell his testimony to Felix, a Roman Governor of Caesarea. We don't see Paul tell the testimony here; the Book of Acts just says they talked. Felix is initially open, but then:
Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you." (Acts 24:25, NKJV)
The cross makes people feel convicted, uncomfortable. They want it to go away for a while until they have a 'convenient time.' Go away. Go away.
Undeterred, Paul has a cast-iron spirit, and he will not curl up into a defeated ball. No, he is fighting fit and ready to speak all over again. The final re-telling of the testimony is to Caesarea's new governor, Festus, and the visiting King Agrippa. Paul tells the testimony and it is Festus who shouts out:
"Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!"
But he (Paul) said, "I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason." (Acts 26:24-25, NKJV)
BUT, here comes the kind of response that makes it worth the while:
Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." (Acts 26:28, NKJV)
'Almost persuade me' is not a bad response. What if King Agrippa were to then hear ten more testimonies like this, from ten different Christians? Would he then cross the line into belief? Perhaps so. And that is what makes our testimony-telling important.
I titled this post, How to convey our personal testimony, because we can look at how Paul did it. Here are some key points:
He told his audience how he was similar to them.
He described what he used to be like.
He referred to witnesses who could attest to who he used to be.
He described the supernatural encounter that changed his mind
He described in a sentence the Christian faith. "Arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord"
And, finally, he did not give up.
My friends, all of this is making me think about prepping and practicing my own conversion testimony a little more deliberately, using the above points, and thinking a bit more carefully about what kinds of places I am to speak it out. Even at a party, or when having a casual chat with an unbelieving friend.
What do you think about this topic of personal testimony? Let's chat in the comments!
Whew, it’s been an exciting week with us hearing about two spouses’ salvations in one week. If you missed those you can catch up here and here.
Well, unbelievably, there’s more! No sooner had I uploaded Monday's post about a second salvation than I got a message from another SUM friend (a local friend): Unbelievably, her husband had just responded to an altar call this past Sunday at church.
Three in one week.
Are you pulling the same stunned face as me, I wonder?
All I could do then is play the song ‘God is on the Move’ on repeat in my living room and do some serious (uncool, Mum-looking) dancing in celebration. My teenage son, Miles, sauntered down the stairs midway through. He looked at me, smirked, shook his head, and walked on into the kitchen to get himself some toast.
Anyway, somewhere in amongst this extreme excitement, God gave me a scripture. He said, “Go and look at the passage where Elijah prays seven times before he sees a small cloud.”
So I did; and I wondered what I would see. I suppose it’s one of those stories I’d read a few times so perhaps felt ‘old’. The thing is, scripture is so full of treasure it’s never old. I should have known better and, sure enough, I saw something brand new this time.
The story of Elijah’s cloud is in 1 Kings 18:41-46, and it goes like this: There has been a desperate drought in Israel, but then Elijah proclaims to the King that rain is coming. He says to the king, "Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of the abundance of rain." In other words, "You don’t need to worry about stashing up food any more, I promise you the rain is coming!"
Truly, I feel this way about the spouses in our community. Impossible as it seems, we can know something is coming in the spirit before we see it in the natural. It's just ... There's perseverance first.
Elijah went to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” (1 Kings 18:42-43, NKJV)
Seven times, nothing.
Isn't that just like the prayer for our spouses? We pray. Nothing. Nothing. Oh, and nothing. Nothing? Nope, nothing. Nothing. Can’t see any sign of my spouse turning…. Years pass …. Nothing.
Shall I say that again for effect? Here we go, six 'nothings': Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Ok, I now hereby sign and seal this thing as officially impossible. That's not to say it won't happen; it's just it's an impossible thing that needs God. We all look at each other, nod our heads, agreeing and understanding that it will take a miracle the size of the red sea parting.
Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” (v. 44)
I wonder if even Elijah, let alone his companion, couldn't quite believe what he was seeing, even though he had sensed it in the spirit. After all, 'We're in a drought!'
So, with all that in mind, here's what just happened for us this past week:
One man’s hand goes up in surrender, ‘I say yes to Jesus’.
Another man’s hand goes up in surrender, ‘I say yes to Jesus’.
And a third man’s hand goes up in response to an altar call.
Oh, it's a cloud 'the size of a man’s hand' rising from the sea! A sign. A sign of more to come. We don't know how or when, but yes. More will come.
I am smiling here, and with that I’ll sign off for the weekend. Lynn will be here on Monday. In the meantime, for your pleasure here's 'God is on the Move'!
It seems that it's 'miracle week' here at SUM. How amazing God is, and I can't wait to share with you this next thing that happened this past Friday after I last posted on here. All I can say is that God is lavish, full of marvels, and sometimes he does things with a little fanfare -- Just so that we know it is him.
Last Friday I shared that one of our SUMite readers' husbands had got baptized. If you missed that you can read it here. The photo I used for that post was this one here -- I got this photo from the internet, as I usually do, but I loved the happy smile on this man's face as he's in the water, and I thought 'That's what it looks like for a spouse to be baptized'.
Anyway, as you'll see I have included that same photo again today, this time with the words 'Do it Again' -- For that is what today's post celebrates.
When I uploaded that post last Friday, I scheduled it to go live for a few hours later. Well, in the few hours between it being uploaded and going live, another SUMite messaged me (not knowing what I'd uploaded). In her message she too told me that her husband had given his life to Jesus! It had happened a month earlier, she said, and she was now getting used to having a believing husband.
I know this particular SUMite. She lives in America, has followed this ministry for a number of years, and from the few conversations we've had in the past I know for sure what a miracle this is. If she feels ready to share it publicly, we'll look forward to that; but often people don't share immediately. What I can say is this one 'felt impossible' - like they all do - and yet it happened.
Two spouse-conversion testimonies in the space of 24 hours. I don't know about you, but I'm pinching myself ((Big smiles)). So much of what we do, what we fight for, is about this. Yes, it's about holding on to our own faith -- But it is also about theirs: The spouses.
So, friends, we'll keep on watching with interest and believing that nothing is impossible. I'll keep this one short and sweet, but I'm praying about what's next.
Today marks the end of our 'battling giants' series, and we're marking it in style: With a shout-out to our God.
Here on the SUM blog, Lynn, Tiffany, Ian and I tend to write about whatever it is we're going through. Usually it aligns with 'spiritually mismatched marriage', but sometimes God takes us on other journeys.
Well, as you know, last month I wrote a series on battling giants because I was a little embattled myself with a few things. In writing the series I wanted to talk about how we fight things that we find truly tough. "In this life we will have trials", said Jesus, "But be of good cheer." (John 16:33).
Ok, Lord, I can try!
Sometimes those trials are long; sometimes they are short.
A SUM journey, like the ones we're on, is often ... longgggg. Eight years for me, and counting. Twenty-seven years for Lynn before her hubby got baptized. But he got there! So will others. Other battles people face can be very long in years too. That doesn't mean the battle won't be over eventually. We keep praying; and we can keep asking the Lord for help.
As for the health battle? Well, I'm pleased to say I seem to be completely better! What a great encouragement that is for our other battles that we're fighting, and a great way to end the series. While I understand that many battles in life might last longer I hope this story serves to illustrate that, somehow, we can hold onto hope that in some way or other we will 'overcome'.
To finish, I'm keen to hear any final thoughts from you: Have you had a time where you faced a battle and then it was suddenly over?
Thanks for following along with this series - Thanks for your love and friendship. And, happy 'Fourth of July' to our American friends!
Today we begin our series on LOVE, and in a moment I have a light-hearted story to share.
But first, speaking of love, I wanted to take a minute to thank you for your loving support after Lynn's announcement this week. This community is pure joy to me and I look forward to us having more good times together. I hope you know you can reach out to any of us on the team, any time.
I'm also delighted for Lynn that she can work on some new projects after all she has poured into us. I say thank you to her. She's not leaving us, but is simply branching out a little wider. So, we cheer her on and onwards we march!
Now for today's thought:
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13:1 (NKJV)
Now, many of us have had practice at 'winning without words' in our home. So we're not usually clanging cymbals. But there was one time where maybe I was, just a bit.
One Saturday morning, shortly after I'd had my 'turning-to-Jesus-life-changing-moment', my husband and I were tucking into a lovely cooked breakfast. In those days I just couldn't help but bring up faith. And so I brought it up, and heartily began to tell him about the changes wrought in me by God. I began to list traits like ‘less anxious’, ‘more at peace’, and so on, which was fine. But somewhere among that, perhaps I mentioned that I was a little bit more humble these days. A little more kind, perhaps. I’m laughing.
“Mm.” he nodded, smiling and rolling his eyes. Here we go again. Then he let out a cough and quietly said into his hand, “Congratulating yourself.”
He was chuckling; but I stopped instantly. Of course I didn't laugh; it was all super sensitive for me. But afterwards, in a quiet moment to myself I did manage a smile. "Point taken," I thought, "Maybe I was congratulating myself a little."
What is it like for others to be on the receiving end of my faith? That is a question I ask often. Because honestly, I’ve sometimes been on the receiving end of another person's beliefs and there's been something cold or unloving about it. It's a lesson.
A clashing cymbal is a hard sound that can’t be listened to for long. I'm not saying I was being the full clashing cymbal that day; I think we learn not to be this way in our marriage. But it is a reminder that if a Christian is self-righteous that’s the sound that hurts our ears and makes us not want to partake of their table. On the other hand, other Christians are like a lapping ocean, a gentler experience. On reflection, I think the ones like that are those who have meditated on the character of Jesus and who focus on Jesus's righteousness more than their own.
I imagine the sound of love to be something like a bird singing, an orchestra playing, a mysterious wind, or a beautiful cello. It is a sound, for sure; it's not quiet. But even if it is a voice speaking unpopular truth, it won't have the self-righteous edge of a metallic, hard cymbal.
On Wednesday, Ian gave a wonderful analogy of Billy Graham, who said that he wanted people to see nothing but the cross of Jesus when they looked at him. That was exactly what was in my head as I thought about this post and my husband's little chuckle at my being 'self-congratulatory'. I suppose in our conversations with others, it can be a great thing when our verbal testimonies do this:
Point to the healing power of Jesus
Point to the cross of Jesus, and our need for it
Point to Jesus as a source of life and abundance
Point to Jesus as a real presence
Hmm, I may well practice this a little more. Next time I'm at breakfast with my husband, perhaps?
Nice chatting, friends, and here's a prayer for us today:
Lord guard my tongue, make my voice a sweet sound to others, and let every word that comes out of my mouth honor You. Season my tongue with mercy, justice and humility. Let me always be an ambassador for Love. In your name, Jesus. Amen.
Have you experienced someone who was the opposite of a clashing cymbal? What did that look like?
There’s a curious thing happening in our ministry right now: We're seeing significantly more spouse salvations than we have before. For years we’ve known it would happen, and now it's visible. We’re seeing it mentioned in emails or on closed Facebook groups; that's how we know.
It started about a year ago. Before then, we’d had the occasional salvation posted on here, and often it was a story with a wow factor. Those stories helped us keep going, which we badly needed. But what we're now seeing is a quieter kind of conversion.
What’s happening with the current shift is that the stories are not being posted because the process is intense and private. One SUMite described it as feeling like she’d finally made fire, and now she needed to cup her hands around it and protect it at all costs.
The shift comes at an interesting time. It’s a time where many are hearing God say He is bringing global revival and doing a new thing in the church. It occurs to me that revival might not be instantly visible because it happens first within hearts. For a community like ours we might be some of the first to see it because we have this online ministry and recognize change easily. What we’re seeing right now is spouses begin to turn their hearts, and a few have already been baptized. Others have publicly accepted Jesus.
From this steady trickle of salvations, I’m learning some lessons. The first is that I may have dearly wanted salvation, but it might not be as I expect. I should prepare for hiccups, stops and starts. Here's an analogy I keep thinking of:
If salvation is like a baby being born (John 3:3-5), the last bit where the baby passes through is especially tough for all involved; and then there’s the afterbirth. If we’re the midwives catching the baby, we’ll have to get to work: check the baby is breathing, give it its injections, make sure it can feed, clean up the mess. It’s serious.
On that point (thinking of midwives and their equipment), I hear God say this for us:
I’m giving you new kid gloves.
Yes, kid gloves are what we’ve used while 'winning without words' but now perhaps it’s a time for a new set that look more like pragmatic midwife gloves. Our new season will require delicacy, but instead of delicate evangelism it’s now to be delicate discipleship. Because many of our spouses are natural skeptics, it might be harder than discipling an eager churchgoer. There may also be the mess of spiritual battle. Well, friends, we are duly equipped with new kid gloves! Gloves for His new kids.
I'll share this: My own adult conversion was hard, so I feel for anyone who changes late in life. I myself faced intense doubt to the point of torment. I struggled with church culture. I had to handle issues like, "That Christian over there behaves really badly!" And then, the topic of Satan did it for me: In my mind it was just too far-fetched. However, then I realized Satan was real, and that was even worse. The day I realized demons existed was a bad day in the office. At that point I wanted to jump on the nearest boat, like Jonah, and sail away (Jonah 1:3). Except I couldn’t, which made it all the worse.
My conversion involved things like going to church, seeing people abandon their dignity just like King David did in heartfelt worship (2 Samuel 6:14) and thinking to myself, "If I go any further with God, I’ll be that.” All of these mental complexities happened while I had a prayer life with God, but it was just such a leap to go further with Him.
So as I write I'm sitting here thinking this thing won’t be a walk in the park. After all, when a person turns to God they have to respond to a call to bow their knee and to do that they have to decide if they believe it enough and want it enough. This means that they might stop for a while before carrying on. Salvation is a deep matter of the heart, and the path may be winding.
Nevertheless, it's a very exciting time for us. Now I'd love to hear from you, SUM friends -- Are you seeing it too? What do you think we can expect?
Like many of us, I’ve been watching the launch of Lynn’s new book, Marching around Jericho, with interest and am looking forward to cracking open its fresh pages.
Today, I thought I would tell you some of what I’ve seen from the side-lines. I want to attest to this book, as I've come to believe it’s a water-shed book for us, meaning it can mark a change or turning point. I believe it can change a season, and I say that because I’ve had some moments of hearing God about it. One of the things I have heard Him say is this:
A book has the power to change a season.
That's a big statement, and one I'm curious about. But there's more. Two years ago, before the book was even conceived in Lynn's mind, I think God told me about this book as if to say He is in it. It was February 2018, and I woke one morning with these words:
Coming Soon – Lynn Donovan!
These words seemed to be almost my imagination but, nevertheless, I wrote them in my journal with a date beside them. I wrote, “I think maybe this morning I heard Lynn Donovan, coming soon! Maybe?"
What did it mean, I then wondered. Her husband -- Becoming Christian? As per usual, that thought sent me bouncing up and down mentally. I have quite the imagination so I thought, hey, let's believe it. Coming soon - yes.
Well blow me down, 2019 rolled round and he did. He got baptized. But is that what these words were for? I'm sure they were in part, but as soon as Mike got baptized Lynn felt God pulling her to write a book about the seven-year journey that led to that baptism. Year by year, there would be seven sections to the book. It was as if God handed her the structure on a plate and all she had to do was pick up a pen. The book was to be called Marching around Jericho.
Watching from the sidelines, then, I knew she was starting on it. As time passed, she produced a cover design, and then eventually she put an automatic footer on her emails with a photo of said cover. I’ve pasted it here –
As you can see, on the cover were the words Lynn Donovan, Coming Soon! So, every time I got an email from her over the last few months those big words have popped out at me -- Coming soon! It seemed to me that God had given me a heads-up about the book. Why? Perhaps so I could write this blog post.
At the end of the book Lynn describes how the walls of Jericho finally fell before her eyes. I won’t spoil it for you. From an early draft I read, it’s a good scene and the best ending. Lynn has shared a little of the timing -- dates and so on -- and by my reckoning those final events occurred exactly a year after I saw the words Lynn Donovan, Coming Soon.
So now we have this book. I can’t wait to work with it, and I want to say a huge 'well done' to Lynn on behalf of us all. Those who've followed this blog for a while have cheered her on from the sidelines and we’ll continue to do so.
Here's my prayer, then:
May this book be a blessing, and may it bring change to the lives of those who wait for their spouses to believe in Jesus.
Jericho might seem walled up so that no-one can come in or go out, but we see things differently.
Those walls are fragile and the fiery faith of a believing spouse who walks in partnership with Jesus brings power to the impossible.
Perhaps, like me, you'd like to share a prayer or some other thoughts about the book below. We'll chat in the comments.
Sunday, September 29th is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. We've talked about this Jewish holiday over the years. In fact, the first time I'd ever been made aware of it's significance was because of a blog post from either Lynn or Dineen. For those who are not familiar or are new to this holiday, a simple "Rosh Hashanah" search on this site will provide you with a wealth of information. Feel free to check out the archives!
My prayer for us today is that we will each take away something fresh and new. Holy Spirit, reveal to us the heartbeat of God. Amen!
Rosh Hashanah isn't actually a biblical holiday but a traditional Jewish holiday. The term "Rosh Hashanah" means "head of the year" and is celebrated as the Jewish New Year. This is a two-day celebration that proceeds Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).
In the beginning of this month, the Lord really pressed upon me to watch Patty Tower's talk that was given at the SUMite Summit this last April. I decided to go back and watch it again. (I will provide a link below so you can revisit that as well. It is absolutely worth a re-watch!)
As I sat down to think about Rosh Hashanah and what I would include in this post, I went back to my notes from Patty's message. There is so much good in this message but I want to point out one theme:
Joshua 6 - God gives specific instructions about the destruction and taking of the city of Jericho. In verse 20 we see the result of following God's plan and not their own: "So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city."
Patty called us to march around our house 7 times and shout, declare, pray and praise things into existence. It was in the great shout that the walls fell flat down.
Rosh Hashanah isn't in the Bible; however, the first day of Rosh Hashanah, is. Let's take a look.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’ ” - Leviticus 23:23-25
The Hebrew word, Teruah, in Leviticus for blowing trumpets is the same word used in Joshua 6 where they shouted with a great shout. The first day of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Teruah, is a day of blowing trumpets or shouting.
Notice what else it says in Leviticus about this day - you shall have a sabbath-rest. Yom Teruah happens to fall on a Sunday. The day we, as children of God, call our sabbath!
So, why is this important for us? If we are not Jewish, what is the point of celebrating this time of year?
We've already seen in our community some amazing things worth celebrating. Many professions of faith and baptisms with our spouses, children or others we love. Libby gave us a beautiful word about the SUMite community with her picture of the mountain. The SUMite Summit where some gathered in California being at the top and from that trickle, the waters of our faith continued to pool together to create a river at the bottom.
I truly believe something was activated in the heavenlies and we have set off a chain reaction. The enemy has been stirred to anger and we have seen much push back from illness, discord with our spouses and children, financial struggles, backsliding, strongholds etc.
However, I truly believe that God is calling His children deeper. I believe that He is stirring in us a hunger and thirst that can no longer be quenched by fear, pain or opposition tactics from the enemy. I believe that NOW is the time for us to press in all the more into the God of Miracles. NOW is the time to storm the gates of Heaven for our spouses, children, our complete freedom and healing. I believe that NOW is the time for us to suit up and prepare for battle.
There is a shifting going on right now. As we are in this transition period, it is up to US if we are going to take God at His word - for our destinies, purposes, signs, miracles and wonders. We cannot afford to give up or give in. The future of generations to come hangs in the balance. It sounds intense but don't worry! Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
There is so much more I could say but I've gone on a little long.
As we approach this Jewish New Year, what are the things you are coming to the Throne of Grace for? What do you hope to see in this new season?
Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! -- Psalm 47:1 (Shout here is the root word of teruah ::grin::)
We are going to shake the heavens and the earth with our shouts! In the comments, give a mighty shout to the Lord. Thank Him for the victory you've been praying and waiting for! Decree and declare that these prayers are answered in Jesus' mighty name! Now it is up to you to take Him at His word. Trust. Believe. Wait and see. God is so good. And He is worthy of the wait. Hugs!
What does the SUM ministry and the blue-bottle jellyfish have in common?
What a strange question, but it’s one that God gave me back in 2016 while our community was fasting. For those who are new here, we fast each year together and it’s not unheard of to hear a word or two for us all during those times.
Indeed, there I was during that fast, hungry and horizontal, when suddenly a picture of a blue-bottle jellyfish swooshed across my mind -- Flash. It was gone as quickly as it came but I promptly knew it was about the SUMites.
When something like that happens it’s an invitation to explore, so I went to Google, typed ‘blue bottle jellyfish’ and began to read. The lines progressed and, as they did, I began to link this extraordinary creature with our beloved ministry here. Some three years later I’d like to share it, it makes me smile.
First, the jellyfish itself:
Electric blue, it might look like one organism but is, in fact, a colony. It comprises numerous individuals called zooids that hang together. They need each other, and so they journey as one. In this state they have absolute power in their territory. Their tentacles are long, deep, and especially venomous. With one brush the prey is paralyzed. Predators stay away from this ‘terror of the seas’.
Interesting, but how does it link to the SUMites?
Well, journeying together like this jellyfish, we’re venomous and terrifying to the enemy. Through our situations, spiritual weaponry is a necessity and we become prayer warriors of the strongest kind. It’s what we learn. The way the jellyfish moves, though, is entirely restful. It’s through the momentum of tides and winds with propulsion coming from outside. In the same way, we here move forward through God’s strength alone.
SUM family, I love the analogy of us interconnected as this strong unit, and I might share now a little of my personal experience as an observer and beneficiary of this ministry:
I first came here in 2014, "a half-baked Christian", "crumpled", who "can’t do any of the things that Christians do." I posted these comments and received encouragement back. "You can do it, Ann, keep going!" Well, five years on I’m relieved to report I’m fully uncrumpled and there's nothing half-baked going on here. To be serious, though, the change in my mindset is marked. I’m charging on in faith.
That’s me. But what I like even more is this ministry’s wider story. It speaks to me of God’s intentionality, and it’s a story I believe many of us will be telling: It's a testimony of a whole community and what happened next.
Back in 2006, we saw one woman (Lynn), then two (Lynn and Dineen), and more, choose obedience, with tangible outcomes. Obedience shone through every one of their posts. Like Abraham taking Isaac to Mt Moriah in Genesis 22:2-8, they modeled the deepest sacrifice: “Put your spouse on the altar, risk that they won’t like you anymore, and choose to say yes to Me”. The rest of us have been doing the same. Amidst frequent anguished wails, we've been growing the fruit of the Spirit. What happens when multiple people obey God to this degree and for this long? What does obedience do? It makes the demons stumble.
Alongside Lynn and Dineen, there is a 13-year story of a community of believers becoming fearsome. It’s a colony that God has built, and a place where the fruit of the Spirit has ripened. From where I sit, there is a visible change in many I have come to know here. It's a story that shouts, ‘COME OVER HERE, TURN IN AND SEE!’ It’s not the salvation of spouses that grabs me the most, though of course we’ve had that! The most noticeable thing, for me, is what’s happened to the SUMites themselves.
We’ve gone from "How are we going to live practically and well in this situation" to "Let’s bring walls CRASHING down!" and, most importantly, "Let’s love God with all of our heart, our soul and our mind". A new book is upon us, and a new season. I'm excited.
Strong and deep as that electric-blue jellyfish, we have a lot to say next and a mutual story to tell. SUMites, I’d be keen to hear your comments. And for now, may we be the most fearsome terror of the seas together!
We are over a month post conference and boy…not only is God doing a work in me, but doing a work in my husband! Hallelujah and amen.
I’m excited that God is opening doors of spiritual discussions between my husband I, and I’m thrilled to see where these discussions will lead. God will pave a way for my husband’s salvation, yes, but like many other women in this community realize…it comes at a price. The price of truly getting to know myself through the Savior first.
Sometimes, I have to be careful about what I ask. When I prayed, “God give me your heart and show me your ways.” You had better believe He will show you…and sometimes, it stings.
Recently, it occurred to me during in a conversation with my close sisters in Christ, that I may be too “self-righteous,” too “passionate,” and I may come on “too strong” when I talk about Jesus. The Bible encourages us to walk in holiness and righteousness, but was I really being self-righteousness? Was my righteousness the way to go?
Some thesaurus synonyms of self-righteous includes: holier-than-thou, self-satisfied, smug, priggish, pious, moralizing, preachy, superior, and hypocritical. It’s basically the opposite of humility. It’s the opposite of Jesus and what He came to earth to fight against. Those characteristics screamed of everything the religious “Pharisees” stood for in my head.
I didn’t know this about myself until now. I was having a hard time balancing my passion and spreading the gospel in a loving way. God wasn’t telling me to stop spreading the gospel, but in my pursuit to tell others of my Bible knowledge, I was pushing them away from Jesus ,rather than drawing them in.
Bible knowledge is great, but what good is knowledge if you’re not representing the true love of Christ?
I felt like I failed Him. I failed God and others by not reflecting the love of Christ.
I dug deep and asked my Father, Why am I like this? Where is it coming from?
God answered. The root of it was simple. I had this inner desire to be heard. Growing up in my household, I was rarely heard. The type of relationship I had with my parents was more like a dictatorship. “Do as you’re told…or else.”
I remember memories of me begging them to “hear me out.” I was constantly trying to “convince,” them why they ought to trust me with friendships at school or joining school sports. My opinions or what I had to say were not valued. It was “my way or the highway,” or “because I said so.” I intellectually fought them because I felt like it was the only way that would lead me to freedom outside of my home.
My family prided themselves on being right. And I honestly, I don’t care if you’re right or wrong…I just want to feel loved. To feel protected, honored, valuable...to be heard. Isn’t that why we all love Jesus? Because he provides all those things other people may not be able to?
I was intellectually convincing people why the Bible was the source of truth. When God’s only commandment to me is 1) Love God first. 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. I had to put myself in my neighbor’s shoes and ask, “Would I want to know more about Jesus hearing what I heard from myself?” The answer was no, probably not.
God forgives and He honors our mistakes. But really, I felt like one of those people standing with a sign at a public venue that says, “Believe in Jesus or you will go to hell!” You know what I mean.
In all thankfulness, I have people in my life who can hold me accountable. In God’s perfect timing, He also starts to open more spiritual discussions with my husband. If it weren’t for sisters in Christ, I probably would have vomited Bible knowledge to people who didn’t even care! They just need Jesus!
Jeremiah 9:23 says “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom…”
My most important question to Jesus was, “Other than prayer, how do I go about spreading your gospel now?” I’ve been confirmed in this season it is time my husband hears about the Lord. I’ve been “winning” him through my actions and now it’s through my voice.
The answer was simple. Testify.
Testify what God has done in your life.
Testify the goodness of God.
Testify how he healed you.
Testify the miracles you have witnessed because of Him.
Testify. Luke 8:39 says:
“’Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.’ And he went away, proclaiming through the whole city how much Jesus has done for him.”
I love you all and I’m thankful for a community like you who understands the growing pains of being more Christ-like. Thank you all for your words of wisdom and prayer.
Have you ever looked in the rear-view mirror, glimpsed the road behind you, and realized that something’s changed? That happened to me recently in relation to a friend who didn't want to know about faith. I thought I'd share the story today.
When I first turned to God, I began to tell my friends my testimony. Little did I know how unenthusiastic they would be. In their eyes it was a ‘fairy tale’. I realize now that this is normal, but at the time I was perplexed: “How can you not believe me?"
I had a particular friend who epitomized this. At the mention of my faith she literally had a physical reaction. She raced to the other side of the shop we were in, and starting looking at shelves with her back to me. The months that followed brought honesty about her feelings towards Christians. Then came her husband, with similar reactions. They warned me off the ‘danger of religion’, shaking their heads as if I was a weakling who’d been sucked in. It was pretty painful to be viewed this way. Nevertheless, I stayed friends: I liked them.
Eventually they moved away but recently, after a couple of years' absence, I got a surprise email: “We’re in town, can we meet?” It was a big “YES” from me, we set up a time and day, and time found us gathered round a homely kitchen table with cake and tea.
Now, my heart at this point had become quite bruised. For some time I’d been feeling like I was lying in the corner of a battlefield, enduring atheist swipes. Anti-Christ sentiments among those near and dear had become bruising thumps against my shield of faith. Bang. Bang. Bang. I was tired – I’m sure you know the feeling. Yet:
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-12 (NIV).
Indeed, that day as we sat at the same table with cake and tea, the swipes seemed to disappear and something altogether different happened. As I took a sip of tea my dear friend came out with a question that had clearly been brewing:
“Ann, tell me, are you still a Christian? If so, how has that affected your marriage? And Bryce, how are you coping with it?”
Woah. What? Of all our friends, none have ever asked me about my faith; they don’t want to know. None have asked that honest question about our life and marriage, and Bryce and I had never, up to that point, had the opportunity to talk about this situation to someone else, side by side. In essence we were being asked to tell our shared story.
And so we talked. I gave my testimony. Bryce joined in. I put my hand on his leg. We talked about the fact that you experience it or you don’t. We talked about a sense of calling. We talked about church and denominations, churches being clubbish, relationship versus religion, about how you can’t give up your faith, about how we still love each other, and about respecting each other within a marriage.
Our boys sat munching cake. Everyone at the table had open ears, including me.
Later, tucking the boys in, some childlike wisdom came, sweet and helpful: “Mum, don’t worry about other people. If you like something, you just do it.” Good words fitly spoken.
That day represented a shift. Someone who had been so opposed to my faith actually listened. What’s more, my husband and I sat together, talking authentically about it to others. These friends of ours would never go near a church but what they were willing to hear is our story and reality, because it is a raw and real account. In that way, we did it together, he and I. Thank God for my husband's place in all this; and yes, we feel the blows, but we also keep going because who knows where it goes!
How about you? What rear-vision experiences have you had, looking back and seeing that something shifted?
I want to release another testimony of a husband baptized. Susan Loyless sent me an email a few weeks ago and her husband went into the water!
Susan wrote me:
It got bad before it got better. In January, the elders of our church prayed for my husband in unity. I felt like we were so close to a breakthrough.
Within a few days, my husband took the kids and left me. I was not welcome in my own home. During that time, the Lord impressed on my heart....is there any place my arm cannot reach?
A few months later, my husband confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and the baptismal waters were stirred.
I love you dearly....praying for grace, favor, blessing and rest.
I also know that Tina U. shared that her husband also was baptized back in March.
Something in the water, Warriors.......
For all of you still marching along, my friend Shayla will be leading a study of, Winning Him Without Words, in May. To join that study on Facebook, at Shayla Ortiz. And if you need a book, click here and order. A small portion is sent to the ministry to further our outreach to spouses who are unequally yoked.
The comments on Friday’s post were fantastic. Go read some of the advice, if you need financial ideas. And the private emails I received (Wes) were also encouraging. Financial education and equipping of the Saints are definitely needs as well as a marriage saver!
Before I move on to the next Marriage Killer in this series, I want to post once more time about finances and offer you a few more helpful resources. At my home church this past Sunday, it was ironic that the pastor’s message was also on the topic of finances. (They say great minds think alike *grin*). My local church put together some resources to assist people with managing their spending plan, Financial Stewardship Ministry <- click here. I’m including the link as it offers some helpful information.
I also wanted to mention that our pastor and his wife use a financial application, Every Dollar. This is an app for your iPhone or Android that keeps a monthly record on your spending. It allows to budget for date night, groceries, bills, etc. When money is spent it is accounted for and BOTH, husband and wife, can view and record expenditures and are on the same page as they reach the family’s financial goals in real time. *
Wow…. I wish I had something like that in the early years. We used envelopes. So, two things this week.
Practice a new response to all who ask you, “How are you?” You respond, “I’m blessed and highly favored.”
Today in the comments, let’s give the LORD honor. Share a story when you were at the end of your financial rope, your prayed and a miracle provision arrived. I will share some of your stories on our FB page (no names). I can’t wait to rejoice in your Testimony as you honor Jesus.
Okay, next post…. I’ll be covering the wickedest Marriage Killer that faces a bride and groom. Stay tuned! We are living strong and thriving in our marriages! Hugs, Lynn
From our archives, articles which remain relevant for the spiritually mismatched marriage.
This post is part III in this series. Click on Part I and Part II to read the precursors to this article. This was originally posted on April 20, 2012.
Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs
A few months ago I was emailing back and forth to a friend of mine whose husband is a reader of atheist blogs. She was in such pain and in a quandary as to how to cope. Now I don’t pretend to have all the answers for each individual situation. I can only share what has worked in my life and marriage.
Let me say that I love this young mom and wife. She is in the midst of fiery battles daily and is yet living for Jesus under tremendous persecution from her own spouse. And to add to the dynamics of her situation is how she is hard-wired, she hates confrontation. Many of us would go to great lengths to avoid confronting anyone let alone our spouse who holds a great deal of power to hurt us.
I shared with my friend that there comes a time when we must say to our spouse that we are partners in marriage. That what our spouse believes does not diminish what we hold true. It’s appropriate to call them out and ask for our due respect as a spouse and a partner in the relationship. We must stand up and tell them that the words they speak against our faith are disrespectful and truly not what builds a marriage relationship. I know I advised her to tell her husband that she expected him to refrain from speaking about her faith and promise him that she would do the same about his atheist beliefs.
Okay, that’s one take. For me, my moment of truth came unexpectedly. It was many years ago and I remember it clearly still today.
My husband was angry. He was so riled up about my growing faith that he was constantly throwing arguments up for me to discount or contradict. He told me that I was foolish and that my faith embarrassed him. He was absolutely mystified that I, an intelligent woman, would ever even consider believing in a god.
He was adamant and determined to “prove” to me God did not exist.
At this point in our marriage, we had been down all these roads. You know, the paths of trying to defend my faith from a science point of view. Defending the truth of the Bible. Discussing intelligent design. Debates about the fossil record. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Etc. etc. etc.
My friends, I’ve had every conceivable conversation so if you feel like you are all alone in this, I know exactly how you feel.
Okay, after years and years of debate, conflicts and arguments with each of us trying to convince the other of the error in their thinking, I finally gave up.
Whew! What a relief.
What follows is the simple conversation that seemed to finally help my husband accept my faith. Here we go.
Me: Honey, why does it matter so much to you that I believe in God? My faith doesn’t make me stupid.
Him: I does too matter. (He states in great anger and frustration I might add.)
Me: But why? Why does it matter?
Him: Because you are living a lie.
Me: But how do you KNOW that I am wrong? You don’t know for sure. And let’s say that at the end of it all, we die and nothing happens. No heaven. No hell. We just cease to exist like you presume.
What I know is that I lived a life that was morally strong. I lived a life filled with joy. I have many friends who I love and who love me. I have given of myself to this world to make it a better place.
Honey, my faith makes me happy.
Now there is likely more to this conversation but I just don’t remember what happened after that. However, the dynamics in our marriage relationship changed upon that conversation.
Honey, my faith makes me happy…….
The key to this kind of conversation is waiting until they are truly ready to hear it. He was ready that day.
Pray that the Lord will give you several things to equip you to walk this journey.
First, that He and YOU seal your mind, heart and soul in the truth of your identity. Know who you are in Christ.
Second, pray for courage, Joshua courage to step up to the task of confronting immature behavior and words toward your faith.
Three, pray for discernment and wisdom and for an opening to have a conversation with your spouse. God loves to honor those prayers.
Identity Courage and an open door.
And this very day, I also give you dominion over your delete key. Decide today that you will not allow your husband to be used by the enemy to create doubt. Reject the fiery darts of the enemy. Live in joy. As Beth Moore says, “JOY, is our birthright in Christ.”
Live victoriously and let the enemy quake with fear and the atheist blogs go wild, because we are children of the Most High God and NO ONE CAN TOUCH THAT.
The passing of Billy Graham two weeks ago brought back a flood of memories for many people. No doubt you’ve seen the many tributes for Mr Graham over these past couple of weeks. And I wanted to take a moment to express my own small tribute to him.
The Year 1979
The photo at left was taken in 1979 at one of Mr. Graham’s crusade meetings held at Sydney’s largest racecourse. 1979! Oh what a year. I think back on it with great fondness. I was in Year 10 at school and I particularly loved that school year. I even did well at Science that was a first for me. It gave me a boost especially as I wanted to follow in my Dad’s footsteps and study medicine. When it came to selecting my subjects for the final two years of school, I ignored the vocational guidance tests that indicated I was more suited to arts-style courses, and chose to study physics and chemistry so as to give myself a chance of qualifying for medicine. I soon discovered in the early weeks of Year 11 that I really wasn’t cut out for either of them. Darn!
But more significantly in 1979 I met Jesus. Because of Mr. Graham.
I had been attending youth fellowship and church for about nine months when Mr. Graham’s crusade came to town. So many of us from church attended that we had buses ferry us to the other side of Sydney to Randwick Racecourse to attend each night. We had a lot of fun on those bus trips.
I attended five nights. To hear Mr. Graham speak. To hear more about this person, Jesus Christ. I responded to his alter call invitation on the first night. I remember that stirring in the gut, will I/won’t I, and then having to make a long trek from my seat in one of the stands to the front of the stage. I was met by a man, one of hundreds of volunteers, who said a few things and gave me a small book. I never heard from him again. But that didn’t matter. I’d accepted Jesus into my life. I was born again.
Just the beginning
Soon after the crusades finished I enrolled in confirmation classes at my church. Yes, we had eight to ten weeks of classes in the home of one of the great families in the church to learn more about what being a Christian meant. In addition, we were given an overview of various disciplines like prayer and reading the Bible.
I also needed to be baptized as my parents didn’t baptize any of us when we were young. This created a bit of angst with my Dad. He challenged me to consider ALL the alternatives to Christianity and even asked me to read a book written by Carl Sagan who was a recognized God-skeptic. I read it but it didn’t discourage me in my decision. Dad appreciated the fact I read the book and even though he still questioned my decision he allowed me to proceed.
It has only taken me another almost 40 years to begin to better understand who Jesus is and how much He loves me but gosh I’ve loved the journey. Certainly, there have been many valleys where I’ve struggled in my walk but I’ve come to realise the importance of communicating with the Lord, reading His Word all the time, and being in community with other believers is so important to moving forward. Most of my valleys have been times of when I’ve tried to do life on my own terms. It’s been in learning that God made us to be dependent on Him that I’ve discovered the victory we have in daily walking with Him.
Thank you, Mr. Graham, for introducing me to Jesus. There have been so many wonderful and much deserved tributes dedicated to the great man but it’s kinda special for me to know that I’m one of the many millions who carry the legacy of the incredible life he lived. I’ll always treasure his memory.
Now your turn SUMites. I'd love it if we all could share a little in the comments of someone who has played a key role in your faith walk.
My friends, I had a message planned for today, but as I prayed, asking the Holy Spirit what was on His heart for us, He inspired me to make this a day of celebration. He pointed out the encouragement received through my testimony on Monday and led me to have you do the very same thing.
So I declare this to be a day to share whatever you see God doing in your life and those you love and pray for. Even if it's the smallest of things (maybe only to you...), share it. It could very well be the catalyst to greater hope and faith for someone reading here today. You just never know what God will use through us to help someone else. He LOVES to do that. He LOVES to partner with us in helping others. He LOVES to work all things out for a GOOD and GREAT REPORT!
And as Revelations 12:10-11 tells us, this is how we truly defeat the enemy, by speaking out those great reports—large and small—which are declaring we are overcomers, more than conquerers, and the power-of-God-filled, children of God! The enemy is already defeated, and continues to be every time you confess who you are.
SUMites, share in the comments and let's celebrate each other and praise God for what He is doing in our lives. If you're not sure what to share, read the comments and watch how the Holy Spirit will inspire and show you what He's doing for and in you. I have a feeling many of you will be delightfully surprised!
Holy Spirit, give each of us fresh eyes and perspective to see the things of God operating and working in our lives and those we love, that are the evidence of Christ Jesus and the Goodness of God at work. In the mighty name of Jesus, and by His shed blood, we declare today that we ARE more than conquerers and the world shall know it by the word of our testimony. AMEN!!!
Love you, dear friends! Rejoicing with you! Dineen
Dear friends, I am on "vacation" this week. It's actually my oldest daughter, Rachel, who is on vacation and spending the week with Mike and I. We won't get to see her at Christmas this year so I am making the most of this week with my girl. I'll be back next next week.
In the meantime, this testimony from Alissa is so beautiful and powerful, of how God met her, reassured her, and even gave her revelation and insight to understand what was really at the heart of her husband's choice to be an agnostic. When I asked her if I could share her testimony here, this is what she said:
Absolutely you can use this. One thing I learned on my missions trip was the power of testimony. We learned that the word testimony, literally means 'God do it again'. So if my testimony can give someone else hope and encouragement that is really the ultimate goal, God do it again!
Thank you, Alissa!
Be encouraged, SUMites. God has you and your spouse, right in the palm of His hand. He never lets go. Hugs! ~Dineen
How God Spoke to My Heart About My Husband by Alissa Berglund
A little back story first... A couple of weeks ago I went on a missions trip to Romania while my husband stayed back and took care of the kids. While I was on my trip he got together with some of our friends (all unbelievers) and they got into a discussion about faith and God. Fast forward to this week. I went on a walk with my best friend who isn't a believer but is open to God and she was telling me that this discussion and taken place but didn't offer up any details, and I didn't push for the whole story, just listened to what she offered up.
After the walk on Wednesday night my hubby Andy and I got talking and I asked him about the conversation that had taken place. He told me that him and some of the other had arrived at the conclusion that they didn't know where they stood in terms of faith, but that he felt like he is searching for answers and "proof" of God's existence. Then he blurts out that he identifies as an agnostic.
I don't know what that was so hard to hear... but having him label or identify himself with a certain set of beliefs just pierced me. I started reading about agnostics and the more I read the more defeated and beat down I felt. It's like a huge mountain is before me that I have no clue how to conquer. Yesterday I was mowing the lawn and just pouring out my heart to God, just pleading with him to move in Andy's life and bring be peace about this. God was oddly silent, but just kept telling him I trusted him and it's not my job to save Andy but his. I almost got on the Summite website to ask you all for prayer because I was so discouraged.
This morning I was running late and I got into my car and Faith Radio was on. Usually in the mornings they talk politics so I was about to change it, when all of a sudden the host starts talking to his guest about agnostics.... WHAT?? I perked up. This guys starts explaining how some agnostics become the way they are. He said a lot of times deep pain is the beginning of unbelief. Wouldn't you know it... Andy lost his mom to cancer at age 9 and he has always wondered why God didn't answer his prayers and heal her. Then he starts giving practical steps to impacting an agnostic for Christ, loving them, being in relationship with them, listening more talking less, not pushing the gospel on them, getting into the Word and other resources about apologetics... but most of all trusting that the Holy Spirit will move and there will come a tipping point when they experience the realness of God.
It was as if God was speaking directly to my heart, saying... see I heard you last night... I haven't forgotten your struggle or where Andy is. I just was so encouraged and lifted that this isn't my battle but God's. I feel like God is preparing a prayer strategy for me that is very specific to my husband. I've been trying to pray for him consistently every day on my drive in to work since I started a new job. I just want to up my game and do my part to cover him in prayer.
So that's it!! Just wanted to share that with someone :) Just remember it's not our battle alone, but God's.
About Alissa: Married to my high school sweetheart and a mom to two energetic boys. Lakeville MN is where I call home, most summer days you can find me outside taking pictures of sunsets or collecting rocks.
Q: What have you learned or experience through SUM that has transformed your life?
I was searching for your website to find out how my husband can change. What I really learned is that the relationship with Christ needs to start with me.
I've learned about my identity in Christ, and how to use that authority in my prayers.
Reading other people's stories shows what God can do and gives me hope
Praying the word with bold faith. Covering my family...1cor7:14 (I can’t tell you how many different people and how many times I have referred people to Chapter 8 of Winning Them With Prayer. This scripture changed everything for me – Lynn)
Overall, I would say just the experience of being with a community of like circumstances has transformed my life the most. Up until 5 years ago, I knew no one unequally yoked---my friends all had Christian husbands and did not have a clue about this type of circumstance. I always got the impression they thought because my husband was a good man, the spiritual side didn't matter.
That God can still use anyone even if they are struggling in some area of their life
That I'm not alone. There are literally thousands of us called to this lifestyle and blessing of having a mission-field right in our own living room!
A community of people going through the same circumstances and thriving; and even when they hit bumps, being transparent-asking for prayer, having dialogue with folks that truly care about them. This has caused me to be more transparent in life; to take that step out there when talking to people. It has made me brave, as I never walk alone.
Trust God in the hard
The weekend Lynn came to speak at our church! God's love became so overwhelming!!
The first time I read Winning Him Without Words - I was joyfilled! It was the first book I read on SUM that lifted me up and made me want to share it with others like us.
That I'm not alone and Lynn, Dineen and the SUM community are my home and safe place.
I am not responsible for my husband's salvation, that will be in God's timing. I, however, can draw closer to God.
I now know that God still loves me!!
Too many things to narrow it down. I have been in regular contact with a new friend in Texas, however, through SUM as a prayer partner for the last 6-8 months. That has been such a blessing to share life with her and pray for a sister in similar shoes.
My faith has grown
I think as I read this last entry, My faith has grown. I pray this for all of us. I know that for Dineen and I, our faith has grown as we have grown up with all of you. I wish I could share each of your replies. SUMites, we are helping each other. We are learning to pray, to have powerful faith, to BELIEVE that mountains will move and to cheer on others as they battle the demonic and WIN!!!!
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. —John 14:12-14
I release the truth and power of this verse over your life, faith, marriage, home, finances and family. It is for the SUMites today. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the blood and name of Jesus Christ and by the love and affirmation of our good Father. AMEN
If you agree, type AMEN in the comments. SUMites. Today we walk in VICTORY!! Hallelujah. AMEN. Love, Lynn
My advent wreath—the first candle lit represents hope.
Hello, SUM Family! Life at the new Miller Home has been crazy busy and hectic to say the least. We’re mostly settled in with just a few boxes here and there.My daughters and son-in-love will soon arrive to spend Christmas with us—our first Christmas in our new home. Needless to say hubby and I have been busy little bees getting things put in place and finishing some projects ourselves like towel bars and and a few light fixtures.
Then, of course, decorating the house for Christmas, gift shopping, social events…my list is growing, my friends. How about yours? I think we all share this common challenge of managing the business of the season while trying not to lose the heart and hope of what it truly means.
Christmas is all about promise. Our Messiah Jesus was/is the greatest promise given to us. The Old Testament is all about that promise. God moves and weaves Himself into the lives of His people with great care, often giving us just a glimpse into a picture too large for us to fully comprehend. But every story points to His faithfulness to His promises.
Here’s are two translations of a verse that captured my heart this week:
This is why I wait upon you, expecting your breakthrough, for your word brings me hope. — Psalm 130:5 (TPT)
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; — Psalm 130:5 (ESV)
The first version from the Passion Translation brings to light the position of waiting, to wait expectantly for God to bring breakthrough. Sometimes we can get tired in this place of waiting and give up right before that breakthrough comes. The key here, my friends, is to be tenacious and one of the best ways to do this is to have a support system. This is one reason why having a church home, small group or prayer partner is vital.
Last Sunday I went to church weary from a lot of spiritual warfare. The enemy targeted my daughters and family to try to undermine my choice to stand in a place of peace. I went up for prayer at the end of the service. A friend spoke wise words to my heart, “to speak what I know, not what I see.”
In other words, I could speak the trouble and chaos I was witnessing in my children’s lives, or I would speak the truth of God’s Word and promises into the situations and into their lives.
Both of these translations also contain “word,” which means promise. The Bible is God’s promise to us, and Jesus is the manifestation of those promises as He is the Word become flesh (John 1). That kind of blows me away, SUMites. That’s a huge promise and God fulfilled it. Nothing is impossible with Him.
My friends, like you there are promises that I have prayed into all year long (like my daughter’s health and restoration so she can work again) that I’m still waiting to see manifest. Those are the ones that put our faith to the test. Will we continue to contend for what God has promised us no matter how long it takes? These are the waiting places that require us to guard our hearts from doubt and encourage ourselves in the Lord. His love conquers everything!
As Ian shared in his beautiful post Wednesday, we are a people who wait. We know this position well, my friends. SUMites, we are all standing and praying for the promise of salvation for our spouses—a promise God spoke to my heart specifically for this community at the beginning of the year. I know He continues to work in our spouses in ways we can’t even see yet. Seeds are being planted and divine appointments put in place. I believe God is “setting-up” our spouses to walk into belief in ways we can’t even imagine right now. I am contending for this for my own spouse and yours. And I have been asking God for testimonies.
Well, I have a story to share with you that I think will strengthen your faith and reenergize your prayers. Last week we received a testimony from Jamie about her marriage and her husband. This is a stunning story of God working in the most unexpected ways. All evidence pointed to this marriage ending in divorce, my friends, BUT GOD… It’s powerful, awe-inspiring and beautiful. All things are possible with God.
Read ‘God Saved Our Marriage…and My Husband’ here. I pray it encourages you and ignites a new hope in your spirit. That is the promise we hold within, the hope of Jesus, and it’s the focus of this first week of Advent.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. — Romans 5:1-5
SUMites, I bless you with a fresh anointing of hope that will ignite your faith to a whole new level as we close this year well.
My friends, I pray you are still discovering sweet revelations and blessings from last week's fasting and praying for Rosh Hashanah. Dawn did an amazing job leading us. Thank you, my friend! We love you so much!
And my friends, your comments were moving and inspiring. If you didn't read Ann's comment about her revelation dream for us that she posted on Thursday, please go read it in the comments. It's very encouraging and confirmed many things for me. In fact, God used her comment and Dawn's story about her house to show me what I was to share with you next.
Can I just say, I love our Father's heart for us and our spouses? He is so passionate about us, my friends! I'm overwhelmed by His love and heart for us.
Now about our house...we are just 16 days away from closing. We have watched our house transform from a cement slab and framed walls to a nearly completed home full of details—cabinets, counters, painted walls and landscaping. My husband and I are so excited that we go by our house about twice a day just to see what new things have been done that day.
Now something happened early on in this process that came full circle just a week ago and God has show me it's a word for us. But first, I need to tell you a story of how this all began.
Back in 2004...
My husband and I decided it was time to buy a house. We'd moved back to the U.S. (to California) from Switzerland two years prior and had rented a house so we could get acquainted with the area and figure out where we wanted to settle. However, as you may or may not know, the housing prices in California were/are quite high. And the houses that were in our budget sold fast, usually through bidding wars.
One Sunday I went to church full of despair. We'd not found a house and had decided we would continue renting. I asked my Sunday school group to pray for us. We planned to check one more area that afternoon, but if that didn't pan out, we'd call our landlord and negotiate another lease.
That afternoon we drove to the area a friend had suggested but didn't find it. We had a fairly small area to work in because of our oldest daughter's high school district. When we reached that outer street, we resigned ourselves to just go home.
Just a few blocks down, we saw an open house sign on a house that was just renovated and hadn't even been officially listed yet. We debated stopping and finally did.
My friends, I kid you not, as I walked into that house and barely saw more than just the front living area, I said to my husband, "This is our house."
We contacted our realtor, who was (is) a believer and told her to make an offer. And then we went to war. Several offers came in for that house. We'd offered the full asking price but knew the chances were slim to get it. Mike and discussed offering more and decided we'd take the risk. Our budget would be stretched, and we weren't sure how we'd do it, but my ever-optimist husband said we'd figure out a way.
I called our realtor and asked if we should offer more. She asked for a little time to pray about it. A half hour later she called and agreed it was a good plan. Then we waited.
The next day my husband came home with a story of his own. He'd received an unexpected raise that day, and it was exactly what we would need to afford the higher price mortgage.
We got the house. SUMites, every time I looked at our house after that, all I saw in my mind was this big red bow around it, because it was a gift from God. We walked through a lot in that house (including the miracles of my daughter’s cancer recovery) and God us blessed us richly, even in the sale of the home to a sweet family with a little boy.
Now, fast forward to our house we are building now. As I shared in my post in July, God showed me this new house is a also a gift from His hand and that I was to rejoice in it.
On September 8th, God led me to the book of Haggai.
"'The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’” — Haggai 2:9 ESV
As I read this, I began to tremble, my friends. That may sound crazy, but I knew that God had spoken something very deep to my spirit. And He reminded me of two other times this Word was spoken over me in the last year and half. Now He was affirming that the house He was giving us ow and all that He has planned and purposed for it (which He's given me just a glimpse of His kingdom plans there and let me just say, "WOW!") will be greater than our former house.
SUMites, as I have shared in this past, this new house has become a monument of God's presence, provision and plans for this community. Our SUM family.
This word, that our latter "home" will be greater than our former one is for all of us. Ann's comment last week confirmed this for me. And showed me now was the time to share it as we near the completion of this home.
But God has given me another specific word, my friends. One that starts with an event that would require me to forgive someone connected to the completion of this home for lying and breaking our trust. It's a crazy story of God's unexpected justice and protection of His provision and plans. You will be utterly amazed.
Please be sure to come back for the rest of this story on Friday and to hear God's heart for us right now. This is a message you don’t want to miss, straight from the Father’s heart.
We are on the precipice, my friends. I know it's challenging to be on the mountain top with an assuredness and determination to pray into what God reveals to us, then to wait and pray, wait and pray, wait and pray and not see any visible change. But let me be the voice of truth to you and reassure you that our God is working diligently to bring forth His promise in reply to our prayers.
Today I'm asking you to make a new declaration in the comments that you trust the Lord for all that He has promised you because He is your God.
But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” — Psalms 31:14
Declare what you are trusting Him for too, my friends. Let's speak out into the natural what God is setting into place in the heavens! (Heb. 11:3)
I love you, SUM family. Please know that I am faithfully praying Jer. 24:7 and the Scriptures you sent me over you and your spouse. God is faithful to His Word! ~ Dineen
My friends, we’ve already started to receive prayers from many of you for our new book, Praying for Your Unsaved Spouse. I’m hoping there are many more of you out there praying, considering and even writing your prayer story.
But if you’ve decided that’s just not something you can do, I want to tell you a little story. About a year or so after I rededicated my life to Jesus, my church started a Stephen Ministry and put a call out for participants. It was a two year commitment—a year of training and a year of service within the church.
When I read it, I thought how wonderful that will be for our church membership, but I didn’t even consider signing up. I had two young children and a husband who didn’t share my faith at all. Didn’t seem like a good fit for me. How could I do something like that?
That same week, my pastor called me into his office to chat. He asked me if I’d considered signing up for the Stephen Ministry training. I told him honestly, no. He looked me straight in the face and asked, “Please pray about it.”
My friends, I was surprised that my pastor, who knew my situation and knew me, would think I’d be a good candidate for this. But I was very willing to pray about it. And that’s what I did the very next morning.
I love the saying that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips those He calls. Jesus told the disciples not to worry about what to say but to trust that the Holy Spirit would give them the exact words they would need (Matt. 10:19, Mark 13:11, Luke 12:11).
That morning I sat in my favorite chair with my Bible in my lap, I began to pray about what my pastor had asked me. And before I could even finish my prayer, I heard God clearly say, “Well, what did you think I had in mind for you?”
You see, sometimes we disqualify ourselves for things because we haven’t done them before. Or we make assumptions that disqualify us that are completely contrary to God’s truth—and His plan—for us.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. — Ephesians 2:10
My friends, if you think you are not qualified or capable of contributing to this project, please let me encourage you to seek God and ask Him. Let Him be the one to tell you what you are capable of. I have a feeling you will be very much surprised and delighted. And if you want some biblical inspiration of just how specific God can do this, read about Bezalel and Oholiab in Exodus 31. The only difference between them and you is that you already have the Holy Spirit living in you.
And I have a feeling there are prayers you haven’t thought about that have become near and dear to your heart. They don’t have to be about just salvation. How about prayers for your spouse to have favor at work or to be the best parent he or she can be with God’s help? We’ve seen God move in amazing ways through our spouses. What prayers have impacted your life as a SUMite? What prayers have impacted your marriage?
SUMites, I believe you have something to pray and say. Even if it’s something new that God inspires you with, share it! You’ll inspire more SUMites along this path than you will ever know. Like I say, God is not wasteful. He will take whatever you offer up to Him and multiply it beyond your wildest imagination (Eph 3:20)
I never imagined myself as a Stephen Minister, but God had planned it all along. And you know what’s even more amazing? All that training was part of God’s plan to bring me here too, to be a part of this beautiful SUM ministry. He’s the best equipper I know!
And I want to let you in on a little secret. As I was praying for this book and for our SUM family, Holy Spirit showed me there will be a sequel to this book—one filled with the salvation stories of our spouses! Can you imagine that, SUMites? Wow, God is on the move!
Holy Spirit, fill every SUMite praying this prayer with words and inspiration to be shared with those coming up behind us. I pray they be filled with wisdom, understanding and knowledge and with all kinds of words to express their heart and prayers. In the mighty and most able name of Jesus, amen!
Hello, SUM family. I'm with Lynn in wondering how this month has gone by so fast! Here I thought I'd run out of stories only to find I needed to pick and choose the best ones, because there are so many. And I will say they are truly God's stories—the evidence of His love and presence. We all have His-stories to tell, my friends. They are our testimonies.
My story today has it’s roots in the past and is blossoming in unexpected ways today today. I never expected to be ordained. In a way that truth is still settling into my heart and mind, because it's not something I ever felt worthy to aspire to. But we know our worth is determined by what Jesus did and not what we do. I find I must remind myself of that daily. I trust God daily to free me from that performance mentality.
But you know what I love most about this. I was ordained by this ministry—our SUM ministry. I never imagined such a thing possible ten years ago. Or even five years ago! It's just “right" that it comes from this beautiful place. You know what I mean? There simply aren't words to express the joy that brings me.
And there is a humorous side to this story, SUMites. I wondered what my hubby would think of this so I explained I was going to be ordained and then asked him, "How do you feel about being married to a pastor?"
He laughed. In a good way. You know what's so funny about this story? Only a week or so before this, he and I were talking about the churches I've been visiting with a my best friend who just moved here in January. I've been helping her find a church home. The thing is, I'm still in this church search myself now that we've settled in Florida year round. I love the church I've been attending, but it's a big church and I'm not sure that's where God wants me to stay.
Do you know what my hubby said to me?
"You should start your own church."
And he was serious! SUMites, I'm just stunned at how God works in our circumstances. That is the last thing I ever expected my husband to say.
I shared this story with my friend and what she said stopped me in my tracks. "How crazy will it be when you're both pastors of a church."
SUMites, I don't aspire to pastor a church, and I still don't. I feel like I'm already doing that right here, which still blows my mind. But that statement fueled the tiny seed simmering in my heart to one day serve God with my husband, to be united in that calling, whatever it looks like. I know you understand that dream too, because it's a hope we all hold close in our hearts.
You see, the story gets a little more interesting here. I asked God a few months ago what spiritual gift(s) he'd given my husband, and He opened my eyes to see it was evangelism. God also showed me how Mike is already operating in that gift, which is absolutely mind boggling.
Why? When I met my husband, he was one of the shyest people I'd ever met. He didn't like crowds and kept to himself. Even in the early years of our marriage, if we went to an event, he mostly stayed with people he knew.
Now I watch up him go up to complete strangers on the beach, in a restaurant, or a store and strike up conversations all the time. Complete strangers! And he seems totally at ease about it. I watch, and I'm in awe of how God works in our spouses even when they don't know or want it. Even when we don't know or can't see it. He does, my friends. He truly does.
SUMites, God has planted and is watering this seed in my heart—a dream of possibility. A dream I realize I'd put in the impossibility column early on, even ten years ago, and now God has moved it not just to the "all things are possible with Him" column, but to the "DREAM BIG" column as well. God has done a great work in me too on that one!
How about you, my precious SUMites? What dream is God seeding in your heart? What hope have you held close, yet been too afraid to share with your Great Big God? Share in the comments—I'd love to pray with you for this dream or for God to seed a dream in your heart.
On Friday's post, Lynn shared Karen's one minute prayer idea and 78 of you left comments with your hubby's name. Seventy-eight! Many of you replied to other SUMites that you would pray for her spouse and have partnered up. I've compiled a complete list and will continue to update it. If you'd like a copy, email me.
My Bible at Jeremiah 24:7. I have a hand written version of the list too. Started the list by hand and Holy Spirit impressed upon me to keep doing it. So now I have both!
SUMites, I am standing on the word and Scripture God gave me for our community in January, and I am placing this list in my Bible at Jeremiah 24. I declare this over our spouses nearly every day and I believe like I have never believed before that God is and going to do this.
He is faithful and He will do what He says! Amen? Amen!
In joining in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the SUM blog, I would like to share with you my experience of how I became part of this amazing SUM family.
It was January 2013 when I found the website. I was struggling in my marriage due to a spiritual issue I had been dealing with for some time. I was carrying a very heavy burden. Satan was attacking me 24/7. I needed help. I needed wisdom. I needed God to show me what to do.
Then one day, Lynn wrote a blog post. Honestly, I don’t remember what it was about, but I remember her saying that she felt God prompting her to offer that if anyone needed to email her privately, and ask for prayer, to please do so; and she provided the link to email her.
I knew this was meant for me. I emailed her, asking for prayer. I shared with her what the issue was. I was in such pain and so desperate—it apparently came through in my words. I was amazed at her response. She was an angel sent from God. She said that she could feel my burden, that she could tell I was feeling so oppressed, and this was not of God. She told me that God was leading her to pray with me, and asked when she could call me so she could pray over me.
I was so taken back by this response. Really? This woman was going to take time out of her busy schedule, her ministry, her family—to pray for me? We set up a time over the next few days, and just as she promised, she called.
Honestly, I was a little embarrassed, feeling as though I “shouldn’t” be so transparent, that if I was a good Christian, I should be able to pray for myself. (Get thee behind me satan!) But God told me to trust her, that she was the answer to prayer I was asking for. (Wow!) She prayed a powerful prayer for me, to be released from Satan’s shackles, to be released from his stronghold and be set free and walk in the victory that was waiting for me.
And that was the beginning of victory for me. Not overnight, but over time. Along with the prayers and wisdom from the other SUMites through the blog and the 1Peter31 Yahoo group, and other believers, I received the encouragement I needed to finally take God at His word. I began moving from a shackle-bound life, to a life of victory, the life God intended for me.
And now, in 2016, God has blessed me with so much knowledge of Him. I asked for it, and He’s was faithful to answer. He’s shown me how I’ve been limiting Him through fear. And now, I see through satan’s lies, and it pains me to see Believers living in condemnation and shackles. I’m thankful God has used this group to help show me that all things are truly possible with God—through prayer. To stop believing lies and believe and accept this truth: God is pleased with me, He’s crazy about me, and loves me more than I could possibly wrap my head around.
I pray that every human being living on this earth will seek to find the limitless life that is possible with God, through His Son Jesus Christ—for if we seek, we will find!
Thank you Lynn, Dineen and SUMites! May God bless each of you, and your marriages, with His favor and overflowing abundance! -Pam
I worked in the healthcare industry for 25 years and walked away from an executive position to support my husband in his writing career and pursue our dreams together. A step of faith that has taken me, and my marriage, in directions I could never have thought, asked, dreamed or imagined (Eph. 3:20). I am humbled and in awe of God’s faithfulness.
SUMite Nation, it appears there is a lot happening in our community. I am so thrilled to share the emails that are arriving and pray they encourage us in our faith. Today, I bring a powerful message from Janet Sommer. Janet has written for us before in the years of her unequally yoked marriage. But today she has a fantastic message that is..... well, unexpected but filled with hope and faith.
And Janet, I LOVE that you call us her at SUM, precious siblings!
Some people have such grace and joy that reflects in their words, actions and face. The ones who hear God’s power or see it, quickly they begin smiling and praising God. Not me. I first have to pick up my lower jaw off the floor, have a few rounds of recovery time and then can join the rest who are applauding God’s amazing power, mercy and grace. Even a year after my husband encountered God and accepted Jesus as his savior I still regularly am in shock and disbelief. I am confident the heavens sit back and prepare to enjoy the show my face displays.
Concert Selfie - Tobymac
After an exhausting year of relearning marriage and transitioning into an equally yoked marriage, I found myself at a concert with my family. Not only were we attendees, but my husband and I were volunteers too. (Cue a face show for the heavenlies!) It was surreal to stand there this time with my husband. At a Christian concert. For a genre that isn’t exactly his first choice. Trust me, by now the heavens are ordering extra rounds of popcorn.
And to make it even better, I unexpectedly experienced at that concert, my daughter with hands raised, and dancing the whole night away. She earned the moniker “Spirit Dancer” as she repeatedly told us she could feel something in her making her body dance.
Both my husband and I continue to keep the SUMite community in prayer. (Did you know he even joins the corporate fast? Cue an encore face show for the heavelines!!) As Tobymac performed “Move (Keep Walking)” God spoke greatly to my heart and gave me words for you, the SUMites, whom He sees, hears and knows.
I am fairly confident this is your battle cry. Your war anthem He is singing over you.
Another heartbreak day
Feels like you’re miles away
Don’t even need no shade
When your sun don’t shine, shine
Too many passin’ dreams
Roll by like limousines
It’s hard to keep believin’
When they pass you by and by
I know your heart been broke again
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left
Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so
Another Thanksgiving. Another Christmas. Another new year. Another week of corporate fasting. And now Easter is on the horizon bringing a holy holiday facing the struggle of finding balance keeping God honored and at the center. The longing and heartbreak is truly immeasurable as the same prayers are, yet again, expressed with such faith and hope.
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet
Day in and day out it is so tiring to keep enduring this walk of an unequal marriage. The Lord does not want you to stop walking. It’s a trick—a whisper from the enemy manipulating the truth. The real truth is that God is indeed your promised strength, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Even the running community even knows if you stop for a rest, you will not finish the race.
Precious siblings, keep walking. Keep growing in the Word. Keep drawing in close to the Lord. Keep making room for quiet time. Keep teetering the balance beam of honoring God and your spouse. I promise He will catch you.
This year has not been the hallmark movie I thought it would be. Far from it. My rock solid faith has been tested and shaken. I stood on days I wanted to crumble. I had ongoing quiet time when I didn’t want to. I continued with bible study when I had no desire to learn let alone open the bible. And many considered me strong in the Lord.
We have and are still facing many challenges—physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. The hardships and persecutions have come with rapid fire. Spiritually battles came as quite a shock to me. Gifts and manifestations that awed me and left me desiring them, were immediately deposited and displayed in my husband.
While some may rejoice over this obvious confirmation of transformation, I stood watching him have what I wanted. As if that didn’t rattle me a bit, daily I heard the enemy whisper to me “Look at that. You’re not really saved, but he is.”
I knew God’s character. I believed and knew Him by many names—translated and Hebrew names. I knew He was for me. In my wait I saw many miracles and answered prayers. Yet just as the enemy did to Eve, he crept in and tried every manipulation of doubt targeting my belief of salvation and God’s goodness to me.
You must move and keep walking because the enemy will come back to steal what has been gained, and even attempt to take above and beyond. And SUMites, I want nothing more than to see you wear out the enemy with your knowledge, readiness, willingness and His strength. This time, right now, is your training ground. This now is where the foundations of faith and truth are built, solidified and tested. Precious siblings, move…. Keep walking.
These lyrics could not be more fitting. We must choose to lift our head, and keep it lifted, at all times. There are days it will be a choice and not a feeling. Anytime we take our focus off Jesus we will sink just like Peter. It is not over yet. Do not let your hope get poisoned. (Proverbs 13:12) I promise it is not over yet. God promises it is not over yet.
Hold on, hold on
Lord ain’t finished yet
Hold on, hold on
He’ll get you through this
Hold on, hold on
These are the promises
I never will forget
I never will forget
He will get you through this. Just as the Israelites were fed and cared for in miraculous ways, He has miracles placed along this journey for you too. He has many promises for you. Never forgot the promises and what He has done for you in the past. (Deuteronomy 8:2, Psalm 77:11, Psalm 105:5, Psalm 143:5) Remembering the past will be essential to your ability to keep walking, to shield your ears from the deception and lies of the enemy and to keep believing His promises made over 2000 years ago are still very much alive and active for you personally today.
God spoke that some hearts have tremendous hurt. He knows. He sees your heart is broken. He knows your prayers aren’t answered yet. The Lord gave me a vision of this community locked arm in arm standing in a triangular formation. And He said, “stay in formation. Do not be distracted by who is ahead, behind or next to you.”
There are these “suddenlies” in scripture and our lives. Suddenly an earthquake shakes the prison doors loose for Paul and Silas (Acts 16:25-26). Suddenly an angel appears and gives Mary a message. Suddenly Joseph is given a message. Suddenly a cloud covered and the glory of the LORD appeared. (Numbers 16:42) Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. (Matthew 28:9) And suddenly your spouse is a believer. Suddenly. Suddenly you’re catapulted to the front lines. Those of us ahead of you, as well as Lynn and Dineen, will gladly hold your arms up to win this war. (Exodus 17:11-12)
Fight bravely and solider on, warrior.
As we continue to pray for you in great anticipation of your suddenly, please pray for us too. ~ Janet
Janet resides on the East Coast with her high school sweetheart turned husband and their three daughters. She begins and ends her day with God and strives to still be in constant dialogue with Him between.