Foundations Series: An Introduction

FeetSUMites, how is your summer going? Have you seen God moving and working around you? I call those shifts because sometimes I can feel them in my spirit, like something is shifting to a new level. 

And how about those upgrades? What has God revealed to you there? What promises have you discovered? I am so excited about what God is doing in my life and yours, my friends. I wish we could all sit down together and share these amazing stories. 

Oh wait! We’ll get to do that in heaven, won’t we? And I have a feeling we’ll be too excited to sit. LOL!

We’re going to do some exploring in the month of July about foundational truths. I also have some guest posts I’m excited to share with you, a reader question about intimacy that I will share my reply and some other surprises I’m still working on. Summer fun!

The Holy Spirit has me in “expectant learning” mode, which means He wants to teach and show me specific things. The first thing He said was, “Let’s talk about hope.” I said okay, let’s talk! I’m still waiting for Him to get started on that one.

Then in the last week or so, I’ve been hearing and seeing the word “foundations” in my spirit. Holy Spirit spoke to me about it in the middle of the night, helping me understand that Abba wants us to be firmly established (grounded) in some foundational truths—His words in answer to my request for better understanding. And then the next morning He confirmed this with one of the first emails I read that had the word “FOUNDATION” in bold caps. The reference was to a font product but was clearly God’s way of leading me forward. Love it when He does that.

Later that same morning as I sat in my favorite chair by the big window in my office, coffee in hand, I asked Abba for more clarity. What did He want me to know? 

He said, “I am building foundations in every heart.” 

So today, let’s talk about what this word, foundation, means in the Bible. I researched this word in both the Old and New Testaments but felt God wanted us to focus on two more common uses in the New Testament. 

First, let’s look at one of these uses in Matthew:

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” — Matthew 25:34

In this verse, the Greek word for foundation is katabolé and holds meanings such as laying down a foundation, figuratively to conception and conceiving as with seeds (plants and animals). “Foundation” here refers to the creating of the world but also references our inheritance. We’ll come back to that as we move along in this series.

Now, let’s take a look at a familiar parable in Luke:

“Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” — Luke 6:48-49

The Greek word used here for foundation is themelios and means laid down as a foundation of a building, wall, or city. And metaphorically means beginnings, first principals as of an institution or system of truth. This is where I believe God wants to take us in “building foundations in our hearts,” my friends.

And as He’s revealed more to me, I’ve come to see He is using the house my husband and I are building here in Sarasota to help me understand His heart behind all this. He created me after all, so He knows I am a very visual person.

That cute feet picture up there is my husband and I standing on the freshly poured foundation of our house. I didn’t know then that God would tell me to pull this picture out for this series, yet as I’ve stated before, He is absolutely brilliant and awe-inspiring.

And we marked this foundations with our initials, to lay our claim, to establish our ownership (inheritance) in this place. How cool is that?

Initials
Our initials in the cement...

Well, my friends, there is something in this foundation story that includes you. It’s a surprise I’ve held for months waiting for God to tell me when to reveal it. And that is where I will continue next week with the next installment of this Foundation Series. I anxiously await for Holy Spirit to continue showing me what we are to learn in this. We will be exploring faith, hope, love, salvation and inheritance. Pray for me to listen intently and not miss anything, my friends. He’s already showed me the foundational truth about salvation. And it is amazing!

Have an amazing 4th of July, SUM family! I know our nation is in a odd place, as are many countries right now. There’s that shifting thing again. God is working in answer to our prayers to make sense of what we are seeing that doesn’t make sense right now. Remember, God said things won’t look the way we expect. I believe that applies here too. Pray faithfully in whatever place God has put you, SUMites. Your prayers are a powerful part of this change and shift!

Love you dearly!
Dineen

 

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

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Guest Post: Ripe for Harvest

Dear friends, today's post is written by our very own Dee Rusnak. Thank you, Dee, for sharing your heart with us. Have an amazing week, SUMites! ~Dineen  

Ripe for Harvest 

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Copyright: dedivan1923 / 123RF Stock Photo

Years ago, the Lord beckoned me to join a group of dancers at my church. Seriously? I’m 54 with no dance experience, not even a lesson! What was God thinking? I prayed and reluctantly auditioned, trusting the Lord would help me, and cause them to see what He sees. Let me tell you, He faithfully equips, even when we don’t know what on earth we’re doing. To my surprise, I was enthusiastically welcomed to the team! I began taking dance classes at a Christian dance center. Each class gave a recital at the end of the term with all the dancers participating in the finale.

One finale in particular was extremely moving and prophetic. We were all dressed in different costumes of white. There was a group of dancers already on the stage carrying candles. They slowly began to form a circle, as though marching around the throne of God. As they continued moving, all the other dancers, also carrying candles, slowly streamed in from every part of the auditorium, joining these dancers on the stage. The circle grew larger and larger until the stage was completely filled as the final dancer moved in conjunction with the others.

Then suddenly we all stopped and blew out our candles, as if the call for salvation was complete. I thought about this dance when we recently determined to pray our one minute prayer for our spouses - as they are all being called by God to join His family, one by one, from every corner of the world. It also reminded me of us SUMites, earnestly in prayer, marching purposefully around the city of Jericho in anticipation for the walls to crumble. Our spouses are within those city walls thinking they are safe, tucked away from the claws of religion, while all along being deceived and kept prisoner in enemy territory.

In Key 4 of “Winning Him Without Words,” one of the questions is: “How hard is it for you to trust God for the salvation of your husband?” The question caused me to think…I’m mismatched because God saved me first. I’m on this path because that is God’s plan for me. God has His reasons why He chose me first, so, who am I to question that? Everything about God is spiritual. His kingdom is spiritual. His salvation plan is spiritual. None of us are awakened to that spiritual realm unless He Himself reveals it.

But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:10)

Is it possible for my husband, or anyone for that matter, to choose to be spiritually born or know spiritual truths without God initiating that process? Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3 comes to mind. That cemented my answer: of course I trust God! From where else does salvation come?

That evening I was reading in John 4 about the woman at the well. Following her amazing encounter with Jesus, she ran back to her town and simply said, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” That’s all she said. Short and sweet. No rehearsed verses. She spoke her heart.

What happens next is nothing short of miraculous. The people LEFT THE CITY and CAME TO HIM! Her simple words triggered such a grand response that changed their lives forever. The Holy Spirit had been working silently in their hearts beforehand without them even knowing it.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Meanwhile, Jesus was telling His disciples, “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, OPEN YOUR EYES AND LOOK at the fields! They are RIPE for harvest.”

Then, over the hill came the harvest. MANY of the Samaritans from that town BELIEVED in Him because of her testimony, and MANY MORE became believers because of His words. Our dance all those years ago portrayed people from every walk of life streaming to the throne of God – called by God Himself to be His very own. Jesus says the harvest is ripe. Perhaps we’re to open our eyes and see the harvest who lives right there in our own home, knowing His Spirit is enthusiastically preparing their hearts for His special day of their salvation!

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

 

 

 

 

 

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

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Fear Vs. God!!! WE WIN... RIGHT NOW!

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comThis past few weeks have been fantastically interesting.

Brexit – American politics – mass shootings – Stock Market crash – Zika Virus – Alligators at Disney World – Canada in turmoil – Israel – finances – kidnapping –

…..and these are just the headlines from the past couple of weeks!

Can I just say…….. Sheesh! Enough already!

FEAR has permeated just about all aspects of life.

----- My friends, I intended to write about fear and our identity but today I want to address our fears about our world. I’m so sorry to those of you who want more teaching on identity. Please forgive me as I will have to write about that very large concept in the future. Today is my last post until August 1st. I’m taking a writing break during July. I will be doing some travel and catching up on a few projects in my office during the month. The time will fly. Dineen is at the helm and she is amazing. I know she is working on some things for the month of July already.

OKAY – Back to this fear thing.

FEAR IS A SPIRIT. It is a demonic force that is highly effective to destroy mankind. What is satan’s mission? In John 10:10 – to kill, steal and destroy.

Think about it. We live in a world where fear is everywhere. The enemy uses fear to stir up our emotions. Fear is at the heart of politics, it is prominent in religious organizations, in government, schools and fear is the primary tool in a political campaign. Fear is rampant on television. The enemy shouts fear 24/7 from ALL media sources.

Now sit back because I want to tell you the truth about fear.

Fear is a lie.

I want to debunk some of the great fears our world is currently facing. I’m sharing a side of the issues that I believe are truthful and are Kingdom inspired.

Let’s take Biexit. Currently the nation is swimming in turmoil. We have many of our own readership who live in Great Britton and are caught in this ugly and frightful tide.

After some prayer, this is what Jesus has placed upon my heart about this fantastic country.

The United Kingdom has been a proud country for many, many centuries. It has endured great wars and struggles and yet the people there, my people, have been resilient and powerful. They have been independent and sovereign and quite successful for millennia. They may have departed from a political and economic coalition today and the nation may struggle as they work to regain their sovereign state, but they are a strong people and will regain their country. They have no need to fear. Could there be challenges. Might the children be denied a similar retirement as their fathers? Perhaps but perhaps not. It may look different from today but this nation is mine. Now,….. If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

My dear, dear sisters and brothers, SUMites across the pond. We are praying for you. Jesus sees you and He will not abandon you. Keep praying.

Okay, how about the fears we have in America over the advancement of sexual sin in our country? Let me share a conversation between my daughter, Caitie who is 21 and attend a Christian college.

Me, “Caitie, I just feel enormously burdened about the direction of our country. So many of our Christian values are under attack and thwarted in the political and legal realms.”

Caitie in her blunt and surprisingly mature wisdom replies, “Mom! You are not going to save the world. Jesus will save the world. And think about this mom, none of this (meaning the legislative changes to marriage, and the pending legislation in California to discredit Christian colleges)….. Mom, none of these things happening in our culture is new to God.”

“Look at the Roman culture, mom. This kind of sexual sin has been around since the dawn of mankind. God knows what He is doing and we don’t need to be afraid.”

“You are so right, Caitie. We must continue to pray.”

SUMites, WE DON’T NEED TO BE AFRAID. How do I know? Because God is awakening the church. If you are a reader here, YOU have been called into this awakening. Things are happening in churches everywhere. God’s people are rising up to be the salt and light that the world needs. We will move in signs and wonders and even though the world grows darker and more lost, we can REST fully in the assurance that God’s Sovereign hand is upon His children. It may get rocky. But we can walk through it. Heck, we live in persecution most every day in our own homes. We the SUMites need to go out and teach the church how to endure and love those who persecute us.

SUMites, what if things get so bad that I die in some crazed war or famine or fire??? My friends, I’m not threatened by heaven. I know where I’m going so I’m determined to stand for truth.

SUMites. Let me tell you what I believe God is doing.

A Great Awakening

1857 was the beginning of the Third Great Awakening, which began in New York City following a stock market crash. Do you know how this awakening came to life? POCKETS OF PRAY-ERS. Men and women who met in homes, at the workplace on lunch hours and after hours. God’s people began to pray and it released a powerful revival. (Read more about the Great Awakenings)

Today, this is the call to the World wide church, our assignment is to gather and pray for our countries, our world and for the church to rise into power. It is a for such a time as this for Jesus Christ to take the world back through love, signs, wonders and miracles.

I meet every other Friday with women in my home. We pray. We prayed this past Friday for our county, for our world and for the advancement of the Kingdom. It was powerful and angels were sent on assignment. You can do the same thing. And today, we have the internet. God is alive and well on the net. So today, take heart. Be of GREAT courage and pray. Our world is heading for one of the largest, most amazing awakening-revivals ever to hit planet earth. It's the BEST time to be alive!!!!

Today, pray. Pray in the comments and let’s “AMEN” one another. Let’s loose heaven (Matt 18:18) and send angels on assignment. Let’s bind the devils and cripple their attempts to scare us (Matt 18:18). Let’s rise and be men and women who are: The Armies of the Living God.

Hallelujah!!! I love you. See you in the comments and again in August. BIG hugs, Lynn

*****

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

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Fear Vs HOPE

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comSUMites!

How do we become free from fear?

We lean on the Word. The scripture verse we have covered so far in this series remain truly powerful. I shared how I first began my journey to be free from fear in a post sever years ago. At night I would wake, absolutely scared out of my mind.

I would sit up in bed and begin to whisper, aloud, the passage from 2 Timothy 7. I would repeat is over and over until my pounding heart would settle and the fear would subside. I look back on that season of learning and memorizing scriptures and how when I repeated God’s Word aloud, it would calm me down and change the atmosphere at night in my dark bedroom, that season of my life was so important in my spiritual growth.

The Word of God is LIVING and active. And my experience with 2 Timothy 1:7 is a real and powerful example. Copy me if you are in this season!!

There is another word that we need in our faith lives to defeat fear. It is:

HOPE

I find it interesting as I’m writing this series that I came to this conclusion. SUMites the devil will do utterly everything to crush our hope. To destroy our hope. To leave us hopeless.

And right now I sense the Holy Spirit instructing me to STIR UP HOPE IN THE BRETHREN. I don’t even use the word -brethren, so I know it’s the Holy Spirit. *grin*

Can we have hope in the direst of circumstances? I will answer with a resounding YES!

The minute we let hope slip away, we are doomed.

How do we stay hopeful? In the comments was a new reader who said she has been married for 44 years. I cringe to think I may wait 44 years for my husband’s salvation. I struggle to keep praying for his salvation going on 25 years as of now.

Let me tell you how we grow hope and keep it alive and thriving in our hearts even as we wade through challenges, troubles and persecution.

We center our thoughts and faith upon God’s faithfulness.

I know for me there are times when I’ve prayed or barely even prayed and God has answered me immediately. Sometime He answers even when I’m just thinking about something. He delights in showing us His love, power and that He is listening.

Our year of unemployment in 2009 was a year of astounding financial miracles. Also, I’ve been healed physically. I’ve prayed silly prayers and really crazy prayers and the Lord has delighted to answer in power, provision and in a way there was absolutely no doubt that it was God alone who answered.

Yet, I’ve prayed for more than two decades for my spouse’s salvation and He tarries.

BUT I remain filled with hope. I am hopeful because I’ve watched the Lord answer, provide, deliver, sustain, delight and prove Himself and His faithfulness in other areas over and over and over and over again.

Why does God answer some prayers and others, He doesn’t? I don’t know the full answer to that questions. But I do know that God has a process. A process for our faith and lives as well as others that interact with us. He is working out a process. In my life, many times answers to prayer was delayed because my character wasn’t strong enough to walk in integrity if He gave me too much responsibility or gifts. They would have destroyed me.

Many times the Lord delays because it’s all about His perfect timing. I wonder if that is true in my life. Would my voice to the unequally yoked remain as powerful or effective if my husband came to faith tomorrow? Hmmmmmm, things I wonder about.

BUT, through the many years I bear witness to His lavish love, His gifts, His straight out miracles and answers to prayer. I walk in peaceful hope. I am assured of hope as I KNOW in my knower, that all things work together for good for those who love Him who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)

We overcome fear with hope. And hope springs eternal (Col 1:5). Hope is a product of the Lord’s faithful love.

SET UP THE MARKERS

We need markers my friends. The Israelites would put up stone markers to remember the hand of God in their lives. I write in my Daily Bible. In the margin I write the year and how God was faithful. Each year as I read through my Bible, I revisit the markers of His faithfulness in my life.

It births fresh hope in my spirit. My hope is in my Father. My hope is in my position as a Child of the King. My hope is fleshed out knowing I am an image bearer of Christ Jesus and included in a profound and unlimited inheritance. And so much of my inheritance is available to me right now on planet earth.

Grasp your hope. Open up the gifts of your inheritance. Celebrate what the King has done and keep praying for those things, yet to happen.

This is the model to this verse: Perfect love casts out fear. —1 John 4:18

On Monday, we will look at how our identity in Christ leads us to perfect love. Have an amazing weekend.

Please share with me in the comments a “Marker” in your life. How did God answer your prayer in an unexpected and profound manner?

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

Both books


Part Four: The Promised Provision

IMG_0009My friends, are you ready for more of God’s amazing truth and love? Are you ready to have your thinking transformed a bit today? Let’s go back to the book of Jeremiah and take another look at King Zedekiah’s story.

Let’s look at the first five verses of Jeremiah 34, because this is where things get really interesting.

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all the armies from the kingdoms he ruled, and he fought against Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. At that time this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go to King Zedekiah of Judah, and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. You will not escape his grasp but will be captured and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. Then you will be exiled to Babylon.

 “‘But listen to this promise from the LORD, O Zedekiah, king of Judah. This is what the LORD says: You will not be killed in war but will die peacefully. People will burn incense in your memory, just as they did for your ancestors, the kings who preceded you. They will mourn for you, crying, “Alas, our master is dead!” This I have decreed, says the LORD.” — Jeremiah 34:1-5

I just recently listened to a faith message that presented a concept I hadn’t considered about God’s character and plans of us. Then God showed me the truth of it here in this passage in Jeremiah 34.

In every difficulty we face, there is a God-given promise. 

If you think about it, if you think about God’s nature and promises like Romans 8:28 that God works for our good in ALL things, then it makes perfect sense. That alone is the promise in a nutshell. Especially believers in Jesus who are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. God will not and cannot deny Himself.

If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. — 2 Timothy 2:13

God gave Jeremiah a message for King Zedekiah of what was going to happen, that Nebuchadneezzar would take the city of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah and there would be no escape. Yet God has made a provision for Zedekiah—a promise. Jeremiah even says, “Listen to this promise form the Lord…”

In Jeremiah 38:17-20, King Zedekiah questions Jeremiah again, and again Jeremiah repeats God’s promise. Which if you look back to what Jeremiah said in chapter 34, showed God’s intention to honor Zedekiah’s obedience with a legacy of honor and praise. Sadly, Zedekiah admits his afraid to surrender and fears King Nebuchadnezzar’s wrath more than he trusts God to keep His promise. In chapter 39 we read of his failed attempt to escape with resulted in him watching his sons be slaughtered before his enemy gouged out his eyes. 

Not pleasant, I know, but my dear SUMites, here’s the other part of this amazing thing God is showing me. That promise in our challenge is the key to our breakthrough and our victory, and we walk as conquerors. And the more we do it, the more afraid of us the enemy is! 

This is what it means to fight from victory, not for victory. A promise for every thing we face is already in place for us to find and claim. We are already victorious, already declared conquerors. Now it’s up to us to live like it.

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. — Romans 8:37

Not just partial victory, my friends. Overwhelming victory. God won the battle for us when He put our promise in place. Ask Abba what promise He has put into place for the circumstances you are struggling with. Has He already given you a Scripture or two, like He has given me for my daughter Leslie? Has He spoken a word of reassurance to you in the dark of night that you’re afraid to hope for?

My friends, this beautiful SUM family is a huge testimony of God’s faithfulness. He will not fail you. And trust me, I know how hard it can be to look for God in a situation so difficult that all we can see is the mountain of our pain, yet not a glimpse of what God is doing in the midst of it. But I know—have learned—from those very situations that He’s most definitely there. Just not how we expect Him to be. It may not make sense…yet, but it will. 

And I’m discovering that those are the most astonishing moments of God’s undeniable presence manifesting all around us. He’s always been there. I just needed to quit looking for what I expected and see Him.

I love you, my friends. Know that God is giving you the power and the desire to do whatever it is He’s asking you (Phil. 2:13) and He absolutely adores you.

Father God, bless Your SUM Nation with every spiritual blessing You have already set aside for each of us. Fill us, Holy Spirit, with wisdom and revelation to know the direction to go no matter what the circumstances around us look like or are telling us to do. We want only Your voice, Lord Jesus, our Great Shepherd, who gave everything for us to live the abundant life You’ve set before us. Fill us with great courage to take the next step, and the next and the next. Your will be done, Lord, on earth, right now as You have already declared it in Heaven. And to You, Lord, be all the glory. We love You! In the name of Jesus, we pray, amen!

Love you, SUMites!
~Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

Both books