Second Week of Advent: JOY!

IMG_5524Hello, SUM Family! We’re moving closer and closer to Christmas, and like you, I want to be intentional in enjoying the details of Christmas. Yesterday morning I went into my prayer room to pray for my own family and our SUM family here. I continue to pray and declare Jeremiah 24:7 over our spouses and am praying the Scriptures written on the beams of this house over you. They are such good words!

JOY is also a very good word, my friends. And it’s the theme of the second week of Advent. As I searched for the word JOY in the Bible, I was struck by several verses that spoke of JOY. Then the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see a beautiful flow and connection in these Scriptures. 

And connection is so instrumental to our relationship with God. As you can see in my picture I’ve lit the second candle. I love taking a picture each week and sharing it with my daughters, which helps create a more intimate connection between us for Christmas as the days draw closer to their arrival. I love that we can share these traditions despite the 3,000 miles that separate us. It closes the gap.

And that is what Jesus did when He entered this world—closed the gap between God and His people and connected us together as His body, the church. What’s more, Jesus arrived with the declaration of great JOY!

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. — Luke 2:10 

Jesus entered the world as joy and to bring us joy. Joy is the status quo in Heaven. Isn’t that an amazing thought? 

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. — Luke 15:7

Our intended state of being is meant to be joyful. Like He taught us to pray, “on earth as it is in Heaven,” Jesus came to give us His joy, the JOY of the Lord to strengthen and uphold us.

While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God. — Luke 24:51-53

And here’s the connection from the cradle to the cross, my friends. It is rich with God’s love and our Savior’s heart for us.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. — Hebrews 12:1-3 

As Jesus is our joy, we are His joy—the joy set before Him as He endured the cross. In other words, as our Savior suffered and died, He had us on His mind and heart. The very same very reason He entered this world as a helpless child to save us.

I pray this resonates deeper into your spirit than my words can convey. It is a full circle story of love and salvation that is almost incomprehensible in its brilliant perfection. We could spend a lifetime and beyond learning to understand it—and that’s exactly what we get to do!

My friends, as I shared, I went into prayer, seeking the Father’s heart for us now. I waited to hear Him yet only sensed to share this beautiful picture of JOY. But as I sat down to write, the Holy Spirit’s voice broke through and this is what I heard:

He who is faithful has said a good word.

Another Scripture search ensued as I knew I’d heard this before but couldn’t remember exactly where. The Scriptures I found are the very same verses that God has been showing me over the last year or so. I was surprised and delighted to see what He’d spoken to me at separate times come together in one profound word. So like the JOY of Christ’s birth and death…

SUMites, soak these in and apply them to our SALVATION word and promise and to any other promise God has given you.

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. — 1 Thes. 5:25

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. — Heb 10:23

For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. — Psalm 33:4

The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” — Jer 1:12

My friends, He is faithful to His Word. He watches diligently to perform it.

And what struck me most powerfully in this word to us, is that it is past tense. Our Lord has “said a good word.” In my spirit I sense that to mean “it is done.” Just like His journey from the cradle led to the cross and His words…

It is finished. 

It is done.

We can rejoice!

We have JOY!

Thank You, Lord Jesus, that we are the JOY set before you. That Your JOY is intended to be ours and our natural state of heart, mind, soul and spirit. We rejoice in You. We rejoice in the promises You have given us and have already fulfilled. Even the ones we are waiting to see fully manifest here on earth as You have said a good word in Heaven. In the name of Jesus, amen!

I love you, SUM family, so much. I am overcome by the Lord’s heart and love for us. I pray you are too.
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. 

Both books


#WonderOfChristmas -SUMites This Is Our Season

Hello SUMite Nation,

I’m going to save the Emotional Healing study for the new year. I think I need to have several uninterrupted weeks for this topic. It will be powerful.

Today, I want to share with you what the Lord is speaking to me for the month of December. And it started with a phone call to speak at my church.

Next Sunday I will be speaking at our Women’s event, Christmas Dessert. It is a great honor and I’m humbled to be asked. Truly! In preparation I went on a walk-n-pray and I asked Jesus this question, “Jesus, what do you want me to share with your girls?”

Immediately I heard Jesus say, “Lynn, tell them about Me. Tell them what it’s like to live an ordinary day with me. Tell them how to see the wonder of this season where we celebrate My birth. Tell them that I’m near to them. Even in the hard stuff. Tell them I’m filled with affection for them. Tell them I think they are funny and I laugh at their goofiness and jokes. I like to watch football with them and sit in the kitchen with them while they are making dinner. It is my favorite thing to just live life with them.”

“Lynn, tell them about me and tell them about the life we live together and tell them this wondrous life is for them as well.”

So, my friends, after I wiped the tears from my eyes, the Holy Spirit began to download what I’m to share. And as I began to organize these thought, Jesus said, Tell my SUMite family about this too. I want this kind of life for them this season.

I hope it’s okay with all of you if I share some of the wonders of this season with the hope that you will experience Jesus, the Jesus of today, in a new and wondrous way.

Okay?

One of the first things the Lord began to share with me was to take time to see the “wonder.” How do you see wonder? What is wonder?

Wonder: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.

A surprise, something beautiful, unexpected…. This is exactly what I believe Jesus is asking us to notice this December. It’s the small things that bring a smile to our face. It’s the unexpected beauty that shows up in some way. It’s a gift of heaven.

He wants us to experience His love this Christmas through child-like faith. Neat!!!!!!!!!!

So for the next several weeks I have a challenge. I want you to find something wondrous every day in your life. I want you to take a photo of it or write it down. Post it to your social media with the hashtag #WonderOfChristmas and tag me on FB or Twitter, or Instagram and/or post to our FB page and best of all post some of them in the comments here.

We are going to do something with these wonders later in the month. And I promise you that Jesus is going to reveal something miraculous through this endeavor. But I’m saving that for the Big surprise later.

Okay, I’ve already started and here are a few of my post #WonderOfChristmas.

Sunday, December 4: Early Sunday morning walk n pray. The flocks of geese have returned to the valley to winter. Splendor watch and listening as the fly over. #WonderOfChristmas

December 2: Facebook

Christmas unwrapped dogsCame home last night to Christmas morning-post unwrapped. The dogs had a blast under the tree while we were gone. #WonderOfChristmas. Now off to re-wrap everything.feeling festive.

December 1: Facebook

Christmas beautiesI love the wonder of this time of year. And on my walk n pray these beauties greeted me. #WonderOfChristmas

Okay, now it’s your turn. And as we travel this adventure this week. I’m going to share with you what Jesus asked of me. Are you ready? Stay tuned and ask Jesus today to show you the “wonder of Christmas.”

I love all of you so much. My heart is so full of anticipation. I’m so full of expectation that this Christmas is going to be special and an intimate time with Jesus, for each of us.

Praying a blessing of love, joy, peace, goodness and HOPE. In Jesus name. AMEN

*****

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


Waiting on the Promises with Hope

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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. 

I love you all so much,
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


The Hope in Waiting … reflections on Advent

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Photo courtesy of 9comeback/FreeDigitalPhotos.nety/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There’s something both exciting and tremendously nerve-wracking when an author presses the send button on the email that whisks their latest manuscript off to a publisher. Exciting? The project we’ve been working on has now reached a point of completion. In my case that project had consumed a lot of my mind space for the past three years.

Nerve-wracking? Will they like it? Enough to publish it? What if they don’t? What will I do then?

It’s a moment that is soon forgotten.

And then we wait.

And wait some more.

A few months later an email arrives outlining your manuscript is still in the game. Being reviewed by some others. They liked it sufficiently to pass onto others. Great.

And then we wait.

And wait some more.

As I shared with a writing friend recently: the Lord's got it in His big capable hands. Waiting helps us lean on Him more. And that's what I've tried to do. Keep writing, keep hoping, keep knowing He's looking after the situation irrespective of whether I receive a positive response or not.

We are People who Wait

Authors wait a lot. It’s part of the fabric of being an author. I expect it’s one of the reasons self-publishing has become so popular: the author takes greater control over the end product and can manage the timeline.

We SUMites wait. We know all those feelings that come with waiting. The frustration, angst, discouragement, hopelessness. We know the drill because it’s part of our lives. We wait for our beloved to receive the revelation that Jesus is their Lord. For some of us we’ve waited a long time and may continue to.

Advent is a time of waiting. The name Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming” or “arrival.” Beginning each year on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (last Sunday), Advent commemorates the birth of Jesus and also anticipates His return. As Ann Voskamp says we are “perpetual Advent people” waiting on Christ’s return.

The Branch Gives us Hope

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;


    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” (Isaiah 11:1-2)

Advent is all about hope. In who is coming.

We can believe in that hope. Because He did come 2,000 years ago on that Christmas morn, born in a food trough, son to a teenage mom and her husband.

We can believe in that hope. Because He has come to us. He is in us and we are in Him.

We can believe in that hope. Because He has told us He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5). Even when our beloved doesn’t know Him.

Christmas can be a tough season for we SUMites because we choose to celebrate Jesus and not Santa. We pop off to church on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day, alone.

But remember Jesus understands loneliness. He understands being alone. He understands rejection. He understands our SUMite situations.

He understands us. Really, truly! Because He has chosen each one of us.

Choose to remember Him when the enemy throws the darts of loneliness at you, when he tries to take away your joy in the One we celebrate. Look for the Presence of Jesus in the small moments, in the interruptions, when out shopping, wrapping those presents and chatting with your neighbour.

I hope you are able to spend some time in the next few weeks reflecting on the hope of Advent. On Jesus. Allow His Words to “dwell in your richly.”

Wishing all of my SUMite friends a blessed Advent season full of childlike hope and anticipation.

Grace and peace,

*****

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


The New Prayer Book -Sample Chapter

Hello, SUMites!

WinningThemWithPrayers-CoverLRBoy howdy, I’ve missed all of you so much. I have so much I want to write about. So much that I’m learning from the Lord. So much that has happened in a short 30-day window. I want to continue our conversation about boundaries and emotional healing. And I also feel as though the Lord is teaching me a great deal about how to cope and walk through weariness, defeats and relationship challenges. So, watch for a few posts about all of this in the weeks ahead.

But today, I’m humbled to share with you a chapter from the new prayer book. I will tell you that about a month ago, I went to lay down one afternoon. While in the quiet the Lord spoke to me a new title for the book and I saw the cover at the same time. Thus, the title of the book is Winning The With Prayer – Prayer Strategies for the Spiritually Mismatched.

I shared the cover design that I saw in my head with Dineen. Did you know that she is a brilliant cover designer? She designed the front and back cover to resemble exactly what I saw in my head. Amazing.

The book will officially launch January 2, 2016. We will be using it in conjunction with our annual fast that will be the week of January 9-13, 2017. Currently, we are in the final phase of production. You will be able to order through Amazon after Christmas and have it in plenty of time for our fast.

What I LOVE about this particular book is that it is a collection from many of us who meet together at SUM. The prayers are beautiful, healing, powerful and honest. I can’t wait for you to read them, pray them, speak them and watch the words change lives. THANK YOU to each of you who contributed. Thank you to each of you who spend your hear-earned dollars to buy a copy.

To read a sample chapter, click here. And below is a sample prayer written by our own Dorothy Fleming:

Praying on the Armor of God for You and Your Spouse!

By Dorothy Fleming

I often “pray on” the Armor of God (Ephesians 6) not just for me but for my husband as well.  It is very powerful to pray God’s Word back to Him, and He reminds us that His word will not return to Him void but will accomplish what He desires in us (Isaiah 55:11) and in our spouses! This is an awesome weapon against the evil one. We cover not only ourselves with God’s Armor, but provide protection for our spouses! How I pray on my armor changes as well as the verses I’m led to pray, depending upon what life circumstances I’m facing. Join me and let’s pray on the armor daily with the Lord’s power, love and protection for ourselves and our spouses!

Belt of Truth: Dear Lord, please help me to remember this day that Your Son Jesus is beside me, and You will uphold me with Your righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). You go before me and follow me (Psalm 139:5). You will show me the path where I should walk this day. You will point out the right road for me to follow. You will lead me by your truth and teach me, for You are the God who saves me. All day long my hope is in You (Psalm 25:4-5), as I trust in You for (spouse’s) salvation.

Breastplate of Righteousness: I put on the Breastplate of Righteousness to protect my heart, which belongs to Jesus. Please help me to guard my heart above all else, for I know that everything I do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23) and that my mouth will speak what fills my heart. Please help me to be a reflection of the love of Your Son Jesus to (spouse) this day, Oh Lord!

Helmet of Salvation: I pray that the Helmet of Salvation will protect my mind and my thoughts this day. That the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14). Please help me to remember that You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in You (Isaiah 26:3). Please help me to trust in You, O Lord, for (spouse’s) salvation.

Feet Fitted with the Gospel of Peace: That I may know and proclaim Your Word to those You place in my path, O Lord, especially (spouse). I pray that the Holy Spirit will be with me and that You will grant me the wisdom to recognize the opportunities placed before me this day and the courage to be obedient to Your commands. Please help me to be the aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15) to (spouse) and help me to remember that You love (spouse) more than I do. You do not want anyone to perish, for You want everyone, including (spouse), to be saved (2 Peter 3:9). I pray that You will put people of peace in (spouse’s) path today.

Shield of Faith: Please help me, Lord, to use my Shield of Faith to extinguish the flaming arrows that the devil hurls at me and (spouse). Please help me to remember that the devil has no power over me, and that You have not given me a spirit of fear and timidity but of power, love and self-discipline (1 Timothy 1:7)! I pray Your protection on us both, O Lord. Please command Your guardian angels to walk with each of us this day (Psalm 91:11). 

Sword of the Word: For me, Lord, Your word is my most powerful weapon against the devil’s attempts to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). But he has no power over me because I have been redeemed by the blood of Your Son, Christ Jesus. I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to work in me, creating an ever-burning desire to know Your word and commit it my heart that it may be ever on my lips (Psalm 34:1). Please keep me from becoming weary of doing good, for at the proper time I will reap a harvest if I do not give up (Galatians 6:9)! Please help me, O Lord, to never give up!!! Lord, I ask that You will give (spouse) a heart to know You, and You will be (spouse’s) God, and he will return to You with all his heart (Jeremiah 24:7).

About Dorothy Fleming

I live in Texas with Alan, my loving husband of 27 years! We have a furry, four-legged rescued family. I take our 80-pound dog, Teddy along with our blind cat, Iris, to visit our local nursing home several times a month. I love outdoor activities and also yoga. I love to cross-stitch or crochet while watching old movies with my husband. I have grown in my faith through participating in small church groups and studying God’s Word. In 2012, after reading quite a few books on unequally yoked marriage, I found Winning Him Without Words and have been thankful to call Lynn and Dineen friends ever since!

*****

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