Martha's Vineyard

Hello everyone

It's Ann here, and I want to share something that's been sitting in my journal for some time. I loved it. I hope you do too.

It was August last year, I was sat in bed armed with a mug of cocoa, pen, and journal. Absent-mindedly, I leafed through the Bible and came across the verse, "Call to me, and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" (Jer 33:3 ESV). I scribbled it down and said, "God, tell me something great that I don't already know!" SUM rocking chairs with SUM logo

That night turned out to be a little bit strange and wonderful. I could feel the Holy Spirit as I slept. I kept drifting towards wakefulness and each time it seemed He was speaking about the SUM community. There were words that I couldn't catch. Finally, as morning came a phrase landed in my head: Martha's Vineyard.

Now, I knew nothing about Martha's Vineyard. Being British and now living in New Zealand, Martha's Vineyard had never come across my path. "What is it?" I thought. Wikipedia was needed, and what did I find out?  That it is a place of mixed marriages!

Here's the story: Martha's Vineyard (a beautiful island community off the US east coast) had an especially large deaf community. They lived with an inherited deafness from generations past. The majority of these deaf were married to hearing people, hence the term 'mixed marriages'. Because of these marriages, deafness dissipated - both in the way they lived, and among future generations who now hear.

There, the deaf looked different to elsewhere. They were not treated as outcasts. Instead, they were perfectly integrated. Because of the closeness of the deaf-hearing families, sign language was spoken widely across the community, even by the hearing.

Even today, the community's citizens work hard to protect their lifestyle while extending welcome to outsiders. It is a balance that is hard to achieve. This balance makes it a warm, attractive place.  It's such a nice place that others want to live there too.

This is our SUM colony, and I think that's what this word meant -- Martha's Vineyard. I feel God wants us to celebrate our strengths and know how unique and lovely our community is. To us, those who hear less easily are not left out. We love them so much and we 'get' their perspective even though it's not ours. We use their language when speaking about faith. That skill alone is huge for the Kingdom.

Most importantly, though, Martha's Vineyard reminds us that our spouses are integral citizens. They're citizens of the SUM community, and precious citizens of God's household. They add flavor, they are sanctified, and they are part of this beautiful place.

As for us 'Marthas', the ones who work so hard to protect our own, it is interesting to me that the name Martha means 'bitter' in Hebrew and 'woman' in Aramaic - and, yes, our bitterness of soul runs deep. But I believe that God wants us to celebrate the beauty of what we're doing. If we lift our eyes we can see how lovely our island community has become. Isolated, yes, but surrounded by Him. We live in a spiritual place where the homes are beautiful, the residents are rich, and the ocean sparkles all around, bringing the promise of good things.

Lift up your eyes all around, and see:

They all gather together, they come to you;

Your sons shall come from afar, And your daughters shall be nursed at your side.

Then you shall see and become radiant,

And your heart shall swell with joy;

Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,

The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.

(Isaiah 60:4-5, NKJV)

We Marthas, the SUMites, have a beautiful vineyard: It's a place where we keep tightly hold of others, where hearts turn, and where people want 'in'.

I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts - especially from any who have been to Martha's Vineyard, or from those who have looked up and seen the beauty of our island community in more metaphorical terms! 

 

*****

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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. -click or tap the photo-

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Advent - a Season to Remember and to Anticipate

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Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We got the call that our son and his wife had left for the hospital. Our excitement increased thinking the next time we hear from them they will share the wonderful news of becoming parents for the first time. And we’d be grandparents. Yay! We went to bed believing we’d wake to receive the news.

Morning came. Still in labour.

Lunchtime. Still going.

Staying focused on anything else was pretty difficult. The anticipation was thrilling. Words of encouragement for our son as he worried for the love of his life as she so bravely persevered.

Evening came. All was quiet.

We hoped and prayed for news and that they wouldn’t enter into a second night of labour.

Just after dinner, the text arrived. How our hearts jumped into our throats.

A son. A healthy boy. And mom is doing well after such a long pre-labour and labour. Oh, and new dad is coping too. Almost nine months they had waited for this moment. A moment they’ll never forget and cherish for as long as they live.

Such a blessing. Moses Maxwell. I am the grandfather of Moses! Ha.

Remembrance and Anticipation

Most of us have been there. For many, it’s a fairly recent experience. For others like me, it’s now twenty-plus years since our last children were born. But they are still moments that we can recall vividly.

I reflected often about my two birth experiences during my son and daughter-in-law’s pregnancy. I remembered as I anticipated the birth of their child.

Advent commences this Sunday (3 December). 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, 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.

During Advent we both remember and anticipate. We remember when Jesus became man and chose to live as one of us. We don’t just celebrate that He came, but also why He came.

We also anticipate His promised return. At Christmas we celebrate Jesus, His birth, but also that He will come again to make all things new.

“Jesus Christ has come, and He is coming again. This is the heart of Advent.” (He Reads Truth)

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 the 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 experienced it, himself. He understands rejection because He lived it.

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.

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.” Join me over these next four weeks as I share some more on this wonderful season of … remembering and anticipating.

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

Grace and peace,

*****

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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. -click or tap the photo-

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Could This Be What It's Like?

Nativity 2017Hi SUMites,

On Friday I put away the Thanksgiving decorations for the season, put up the tree and the nativity on the table where my Tablecloth of Thanks sat for most of November. Mike didn’t write on it this year. Caitie wasn’t home. We went to the neighbors for dinner, so this year was different than prior years. Because of our new holiday situation, I figured he was “over it.”

Well to my delight and surprise, Mike retrieved the Thanksgiving box from the closet, pulled out the tablecloth and wrote his thanks for 2017. I was truly surprised to walk into the kitchen and there he was scribbling his thanks. Wow… My friends, take note, every effort we make to bring faith and love into our home is having an impact.

I love this time of year. It fills me with so much hope and anticipation.

Over the past few weeks, the LORD, frequently sends me to scriptures in the books of Peter. Wild. What is even stranger is that when I hear the Holy Spirit whisper a scripture verse to me, I hear it rendered in the New King James Version. Or most often a close rendering of NKJV with a mix of NIV.

This is so weird because all of my life, since the 80’s, I have only read NIV and NLT. Never King James. But scriptures will pop in my head. I hear the entire verse in New King James and on top of that, guess what. Instantly memorized. I can recall them with accuracy and on demand ….. In NKJV rendering. (Pause for astonishing gasp.) I don’t even know how to explain this. Other than I have asked to be able to memorize scripture and it’s never been easy. NEVER, EVER, I tell you.

Until now! Huzzah! Scripture rolling off my tongue in prayer. Scripture rolling about in my brain at night. I wake up with scripture verses that have meaning and are answers to my current prayers. Scripture during worship. All in NKJV and powerful.

FRIENDS…. Is this what it means to be a believer in the end times? Is this what it’s like to be a believer in The Acts 2 Church? Is this what was happening in the first century believers? Remember in Acts 2 Churchh and all that is given to us as believers. It’s a holy mind-blow.

Honestly, I hesitate to even share this because it’s so outlandish. But, if I don’t share what the Father is doing, then the very rocks will cry out and God will find someone else to pass along the message and the gift. So, start asking for your eyes and ears of your understanding to be enlightened (That’s a verse also somewhere that recently popped up.) I started praying this verse and look what happened. PS. There is more coming too because I’m wanting MORE and God wants to give MORE.

So, this leads me into the reason for the next series of posts. In the middle of the night, like I said earlier, I hear scriptures that are frequently from the books of Peter. I want to take a new look at a few passages from Peter and share the insight that I believe the LORD is sharing with me. And to punctuate that God is speaking to me about the books of Peter, our SUM FB group was discussion 1 Peter 3:1 and finally this past Tuesday, 1 Peter 3 was in my daily reading.

But before we jump into that, I want to share something else. Also at night while I’m sleeping, the LORD brings to my mind and heart many of you, the SUMite nation AND your spouses. I literally hear names of SUMites and then my foggy brain scrambles to remember spouses’ names. So while resting at night God moves my heart to bless.

I bless you by name. I bless your home. I bless your spouse by name. I speak over your marriage in my prayers. I pray protection, provision. And sometimes I pray for your children. I pray as the Holy Spirit leads me, specific for what you need. But what I realized is I don’t have a current list of SUMites and spouses.

So, today, may I ask that if you are a reader here, please drop your name and that of your spouse in the comments. I’m going to take the list with me to my room at night. I will read through it. I can’t wait to hear the prompting of Jesus as each night He highlights several for whom He wants blessing and prayers. AND I will pray for you, your spouse and will pray how Jesus leads me.

What is so cool in this process is that the LORD knows exactly what you truly need, your spouse and how to pray to release heavenly provision, angelic intervention and to bring your names before the Throne of God. (Please pop into the comments today.)

Beginning tomorrow, Ian, will be leading our community through Advent. It’s always a beautiful and special way to remain focused on the real meaning of Christmas.

On Friday, we are jumping into 1 Peter 3. It’s gonna be awesome.

I pray the peace of heaven upon you. The grace of God upon your mind and heart. I pray you see the Father smiling upon your life. And mostly that you receive a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit to fill you with joy and HOPE for all the things you are praying into and that this Christmas is the BEST EVER. In Jesus name. AMEN

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. —Hebrews 11:1 (Yep another one.)

I adore you my family. I have great affection for you, your life, your heart and the growing of your faith. 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. -click or tap the photo-

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I Credit You

Last week during my prayer time, the following words tumbled quickly from my pen. Immediately I sensed the LORD speaking these words for our community. Be encouraged! Our God sees EVERYTHING.... And He credits you! Hugs, Lynn

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Revelation 3 12I credit you with righteousness!

I credit you with faithfulness.

You have persevered under circumstances and oppression that would break many others. Yet, you have remained steadfast. The ground has shaken beneath your feet on many occasion. However, firm are your feet, as you have clung to the Cross.

Lies, accusation, swells of fear collided all around you. But your faith in Me remained untarnished, unbroken, and unwavering.

Then the fire! The blows of doubt, whispers of shame, confusion, failure licked in wicked tongues about your faith. I HEARD YOUR PRAYERS. I saw your tears and the breaking of your heart.

NO MORE!

My decree is spoken. My WORD given. The enemy is in retreat. The devil defeated.

You are credited with the gold of righteousness. You are welcomes in My Courts. You are a Pillar in my Kingdom. My Son. My daughter, you are the armies of the Living God.

Arise into the joy, purposes, and the position of your inheritance.

I credit you, Victorious!

*****

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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. -click or tap the photo-

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God's Promise For A Marriage - Thankfulness This Thanksgiving

Becky Walker Family Nov 2017
Becky and Her Two Children

Promises by: SUMite Becky Walker

I wanted to write about the Lord’s promises and explain what the Lord recently revealed to me. I encountered opposition about claiming the Lord’s promises for my husband.

My husband and I have been separated for almost three years and he actually divorced me in May 2016, but I didn’t even know about it until a year later. He has since married someone else and they have separated. I have also consulted with my lawyer who says that the divorce was not carried out legally and we could contest it. That door still has not slammed shut.

Years ago, before my husband left, the Lord promised me that my husband would return, not a slave to sin, but a brother in Christ (Philemon 1:15-16). He also promised me that He would give my husband an undivided heart and place His Holy Spirit in him, remove his stony heart and replace it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26). I have clung to these promises and claimed these promises, even in the face of opposition, because of the faith He gives me.

The Lord continues to me of His promise to keep me strong and give me the faith to make the decisions He wants me to make. I have watched my husband, (yes, I still call him that), Charlie, go from not wanting to set foot in a church to regularly attending a Bible believing church in our community. In fact, the last time he had our children, he took them to church on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Years ago, before we separated, he did not want me to pray for meals but lately he has asked my children to pray for the meal when they go out to eat. My daughter also told me that when she got into his jeep last night, he was listening to a "man talking about God." And recently he told them that he listens to pastors on the radio now. Charlie is a truck driver who travels across several states during the night, so he may be listening to hours of God’s Word. 

I have watched God do amazing things and He still amazes me every day. I do not waver in unbelief regarding the promise of God, but my faith is strengthened, and I give glory to God, being fully persuaded that He has the power to do what He has promised. (Romans 4:20-21). His promises have reminded me how to react and speak to my husband in every situation; speaking with grace so that I do not ruin my witness. His promises guided me to wait on the Lord when everyone else was telling me to divorce Charlie and move on. His promises give me the faith to make decisions that would seem foolish to the world based on my circumstances, like quitting my job as a public-school teacher to home school my children as a "single" mom. God not only provided almost all of my home school resources for free, but He has also provided an amazing job in which I'm teaching English to children in China online in the early morning hours.

The Lord’s promises are such an amazing act of grace and mercy. He could just leave us in the dark about everything that is going to happen. We could just be left to try to figure everything out on our own. People who do not follow Jesus are doing just that each day; living in the dark and trying to figure everything out on their own.

His promises are the reason we can walk by faith and not fear.

His promises are the reason we have peace and joy in the midst of storms.

We need to cling to and claim His promises, personal ones He reveals and the amazing promise of eternal life. There are over 100 promises in the Bible that we have the privilege to claim as believers. 

I was recently thinking about Joseph and the Lord’s promises to him through his dreams. I used to think that Joseph was enslaved only because he shared the dreams he had with his brothers, but the Lord recently revealed a new perspective. Since the Lord knows everything before it happens, and He knows our hearts, perhaps the dreams the Lord gave Joseph were given to Joseph because of what the Lord knew would happen. He knew Joseph’s brothers’ hearts and the way they felt about Joseph because of Jacob’s love and favor towards him. The Lord knew what the brothers were going to do to Joseph before it happened. I believe that the Lord used those dreams He gave Joseph to keep him strong during the trials the Lord knew Joseph would face; the enslavement, imprisonment, and needing to forgive His brothers. 

The Lord knows what each and every one of us needs and He does not keep us in the dark. He knows what every soul is longing for and what every person will have to endure in their lifetime because He has already seen it all play out. It is by His grace and mercy that we have the promise of eternal life and we need that to carry us through the hard times, the confusing times, the struggles.

He knew we would need His promises. We need to remember His promise of eternal life and personal promises that He reveals because He has given them to us for a reason; not just as something to hope for and patiently wait for but as a guide. We should always base our decisions, our attitudes, and our behavior on His promises and seek to follow Jesus, trusting Him that He will bring us to that promise. I know that God will fulfill His personal promise to me and my family because He has already seen it happen. But most importantly of all, I know I will have the promise of eternal life with Jesus, my Savior in His perfect timing. I will be living with Jesus in eternal light, brilliant colors that don’t even exist on Earth, a glorified body, no tears, no worries, no fears, no sickness, and no pain. I can't wait! 

It is also up to us to share that promise with everyone. Righteousness is the opposite of sin and Heaven is the opposite of Hell. We need to remember that there is also a promise of eternal damnation for those who do not follow Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If Heaven is the opposite of Hell then the eternal damnation they face is one of eternal darkness (such that we’ve never experienced before), and an eternity of tears, pain, fear, sickness and horrors we can’t even imagine. We shouldn't want anyone, not even our worst enemy, to experience that. We need to intercede in prayer and share the Gospel with words and actions.    

Thank you, Lord, for your amazing promises that are so full of grace and mercy. Do not let us forget your promises. Open   our eyes to the opportunities to share Your promise with everyone around us.  Help us to live every day of our lives in the victory of that fulfilled promise and may You receive all of the glory for everything You do and all that You are. We trust that you will do whatever it takes to draw our loved ones to Jesus Christ.

Biography:

My name is Becky Walker. I live in Greensboro, North Carolina. I am a stay-at-home mother of two children; my 8-year-old, Charlie Walker, V and my 6-year-old, Lily. I used to teach middle school Spanish but in June, the Lord called me to home school my children. I resigned as a teacher, a lateral entry position that God had amazingly provided since I don’t even have a teaching license, and later in the summer, I applied to VIPKID. I now teach English to children in China and I’ve never enjoyed a job more. I live in a house that’s owned by our church, and I recently became involved in the ESL ministry there; another door God opened. I love spending time with my children and singing in our church choir.

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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. -click or tap the photo-

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Begin Thanksgiving With Thanks

The predawn light slips through the window as I sleepily rub my eyes and wait for the coffee to trickle into the pot. The aroma awakens a gentle smile. I swirl in the creamer then shuffle to my prayer room. There I gather my life-line, my Bible and the spiral binder. My Daily Bible

All is quiet. The family slumbers. It’s peaceful in this early morning hour.

My hands clasp about the cup, glad warmth seeps into my fingers. The warm air from the heater begins to circulate the room, as do the angelic. Seated under the lamp, I slowly open the pages. The precious and powerful pages that literally saved my life, changed my heart and continue to do so. These are the very pages where I met Jesus. I turn to the latter days of November. Rough and worn pages reflect scribbles of familiar writing, my thankfulness across the top, of years passing.

November 19, 2007 Praying for wisdom that comes from heaven.

November 20, 2009 My husband received offer for employment after a year of no work. Thank you, Lord!

November 22, 2004 Submitted article to magazine. Thank you, Lord.

November 22, 2007 Thanksgiving Day. Thank you Lord for your boundless mercy that God has given us the privilege of being born again.

November 26, 2006 Thank you for the new blog.

November 27, 2003 Thanksgiving Day. My Jesus, salvation, my daughter, son, time off, our home, my husband….Lord, may this year be the year of husband’s salvation.

The handwriting speaks softly to me of years gone by. Of markers of God’s provision, His love, His grace and His ever-present love in my simple life. I step into the words on the page this November 24th, 2011 and thank Him for the rich blessing of another year, a book, a chance to share the hope I have with others, a family that is healthy and under the profound protection of God Almighty.

Faithfulness. This is a record of faithfulness of a good Father in a life of an ordinary daughter.

Daniel, chapter one: I hear the LORD's voice, beckoning through the sentences, Be a woman of courage, of integrity, commitment and purpose. Serve God alone and never bow to idols of greed, gluttony, and self. In Peter chapter three: I’m met with such power. I'm wrecked and overwhelmed. It’s as if on this cold morning God is confirming once again, keep walking the walk, talking the talk, living it out the truth I hold in my heart before my unbelieving spouse. Jesus died for sinners that he might bring them safely home to God (vs 18).

Another sip of sentiment and little Peanut jumps up beside me. He paws the sleep from his eyes and waits for me as I speak tenderly to my Abba, Father.

I smile at his tawny face, pat his back. I sense he smiled.

Turning to my journal, I'm touched by the softness of the morning. The Presence of the Living God falls, heavy. Rushing to my knees, I whisper thanksgiving. Praying from the depths of my soul, filled and overflowing earnest for what truly matters in this world.

O Lord Jesus, my Savior,

Step with me before the throne of grace on this special morning. Allow me favor that I recount my blessings to our Father. Lord, You, have protected and prospered me with all the power of heaven this past year. You have saved my family and my friends from evil and sheltered from disaster. Lord you have spoiled me. I know life is unexpected. Nothing is a guarantee. Yet, today, I acknowledge that the luxuries of Your provision, exceed my dreams. I rejoice that You love me and delight to give gifts to Your children.

Father, thank you for my salvation, for knowing the truth that sets me free, for the healing of hearts, souls, and bodies. Thank you for sharing your Words with me that draw me closer to your heart and conform me to the likeness of Jesus. Thank you for my husband, my children, my home, my church, my online sisters and brothers. You know that my love for them is eternal, passionate, and sacrificing.

Thank you that ……. I am chosen.

I am chosen. I am chosen. I am chosen. Thank you that on this day day in November millions of your people pause with gratitude for Your hand. I love you Lord, your humble servant, Lynn

Moist lashes, trembling hands. The room has grown lighter. Peanut is scratching for his breakfast in the kitchen and I hear a stirring in the distant bedroom. The house is awakening. A full day awaits but for this moment on this day of thanks, I spent time with my King.

And I experienced HIM.

THAT is a perfect Thanksgiving.

Lynn

Give Thanks SUM


*****

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Making Preparations for Thanksgiving

Picture this scene:

RockwellIt’s Thanksgiving Day.

The table has been set with Grandma’s fine China.

The turkey has been carved.

The family members pose just before the blessing is said for a Norman Rockwell portrait.

The blessing is prayed.

The partaking of the Thanksgiving meal begins.

And then it happens – Uncle Obnoxious begins his usual antics of getting securely under your skin with his big mouth. His opinionated views on politics, religion, today’s youth, the preacher, and even how the turkey was carved flows as freely as water coming out of the kitchen faucet. His very presence begins to gnaw at you, and you pray under your breath, “Lord, why did I ever decide to come to this family gathering.”

Sound familiar to you?  Suffice it to say, most of us have an Uncle Obnoxious, or someone in our family who just sort of rubs us the wrong way. Perhaps some of you are already thinking of ways to respectfully decline this year’s Thanksgiving invitation, knowing he/she will be there.

Wait! Before you decline, may I offer you a ray of hope from my own experience that, not only brought emotional and spiritual healing into my heart, but paved the way for me to deal with all the, shall we respectfully call them “sandpaper” people in my life

You see, people like Uncle Obnoxious used to make me cringe.  In fact, I thought that I was called into the world to give “Help Tips” to my closest relatives and friends that would assist them in seeing things more positively.  And Lord knows, those legalistic people who only see things as either black or white, definitely needed my assistance in helping them balance the truth.  

Hogwash. The real truth of the matter was I was trying to mold them into what I wanted them to be, especially if I were going to have to deal with them on a regular basis. The bottom line was, instead of my help tips helping them, I was causing division.

The spiritual light bulb revelation that “changed me” instead of me trying to change others came as I listened to my mentor, the late Melba Berkeheimer teach from Romans 15:7:  Receive (accept) one another as Christ also received us to the glory of God.”

My spiritual light bulbs really went off when Melba asked:  “Did God say if you get rid of all the moles, then I will accept you?  Did God wait for you to get perfect before accepting you?”

She continued by explain that there is a big difference in accepting and approving. We sometimes think that we have to approve of someone in order to accept him/her, and that’s not true.  We have to accept a lot of things in life, but you don’t have to approve them.  We are all going to have different opinions, temperaments, and personalities.  These different types of people don’t have to be our bosom buddies, (even relatives), but we do have to accept them.

And so it was. I sat down with a pen and paper and begin to write out all those things that had gotten under my skin about a few people. I then decided that it was time to throw the list in the garbage can. I made a conscientious decision that I would now accept them just the way they are, and allow their creator to make the necessary changes in their lives if need be. 

Believe me, I am no longer stressed out around those people who used to make me cringe just to be in the same room with them. Well, not much anyway. Healing came into my life as I accepted them, as well as forgiveness for times their words hurt me. And yes, I had to ask a few, to forgive me for my interfering in their lives.  (They couldn’t believe it!)

It is a good feeling knowing I don’t have to straighten them out for their journey through life. I also walk with a confidence of knowing who I am in Christ and prayerfully walk as an ambassador for Him.

And with that, I encourage you to start preparing your heart this Thanksgiving to meet up with Uncle Obnoxious. Make a decision to love him unconditionally, warts, moles, and all—just like Christ loves and accepts you.

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHappy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Martha Bush

Martha Bush grew up on a farm in Donalsonville, Georgia. She graduated from Valdosta State College, Valdosta, Georgia, with a BS degree in Business Education. After graduating from college, Martha began her teaching career that spanned grades 5-12 in both public and Christian schools. She also taught adult vocational courses in the Atlanta school system. Her love for teaching led her into areas outside the school system as she began teaching Bible study courses in jails, prisons, and at her local church.

She also writes a monthly inspirational post at Created Woman and is a contributing editor for Created Woman Magazine. In addition, Martha is a contributor to Girlfriends Coffee Hour and a member of the Orange County Christian Writers Guild.

Through her years of teaching, as well as being an avid reader of human behavior and grief counseling from noted Christian psychologists, she recognized how a team effort can help build a foundation in children at an early age that will enable them to cope with the losses in their lives. She believes this team, made of up parents, grandparents, educators, and spiritual leaders, can guide a child to healing from losses he or she might experience. They can do this simply by recognizing his pain, listening to his pain and then teaching the child how to apply the principles of God’s Word to his hurting heart.

This led her to write Helping Hurting Children: A Journey of Healing. Martha resides in Orange, Texas, with her husband, Glen. They are the parents of two grown daughters who have blessed them with three beautiful grandchildren.

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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. -click or tap the photo-

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Sumite Prayer Partners

Hello Sumite sisters and brothers!  Prayer Partnerships - SUM

Please join me in reading from 2 Peter 1:3-4 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires.

Mighty God, today we rest in your provision. Through the work of Jesus Christ and continued indwelling of your Spirit, we have been given all we need to live the lives you've called us to. We look at our circumstances or the state of our world and we feel like lost sheep. Remind us that we are never more than a breath away from you. We have only to cry out to you, recommit to your will and devote our hearts again. God, challenge us to rise each morning and seek your presence first. You, mighty protector and provider, want your children to know your heart and receive all you have planned for us. Pour into us and provide the growth to the seeds planted deep in our souls. Father, we look to you and ask, what will you do in and through us today? We pray and praise in the matchless name of Jesus Christ, our savior and messiah, AMEN!

More information on our Sumite Prayer Partnerships can be found by clicking this link: Sumite Prayer Partnerships

If you are ready to receive a prayer partner then please send me an email using this link: Email Christy Edney In your email, please provide your name and your geographic location. 

If you and your partner are experiencing difficulty or you would like prayer then please email me using this link: Email Christy Edney

 

*****

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. -click or tap the photo-

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Persecution - Beatitudes- This IS WILD!

per·se·cu·tion

hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs.

Jesus sum logoI have been contemplating persecution. The “Western Church” is in the throes of change as persecutions of long-held truths are eviscerated in the Colosseum of public opinion.

SUMites, our marriages are sitting smack in the middle of this muddled and difficult social preponderance. We actively navigate our faith and those that are counter-beliefs within our home and before small eyes of impression.

My heart is greatly moved for each of you who must stand alone against an onslaught, torrent of words, falsities and then face your children and gently share Biblical principles. I have walked this path. Difficulty is our vocation but….. There is more at hand.

I listened this morning as I asked Jesus about the persecution. I asked, “How do I encourage my brothers and sisters on the path behind me? They are contesting increasing persecution of their faith more now today, than 12 months ago. How do I urge them onward in faith to realize that they are overcomers and strong enough to walk their marriage out without compromise?”

In that pristine moment, Jesus whispered, “Lynn, turn to Matthew 5. The Beatitudes are for my SUMite Church.”

WHOA!

Let me tell you what Jesus said to me about what persecution is developing in our life.

Vs. 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit.

“Lynn, you are learning that you can do nothing outside of Me. Your poverty of Spirit is actually riches in the Realm of God. For the “Poor of Spirit” have learned – Humility. Thus, my Beloved, yours is the Kingdom of heaven. It is your truest home.”

Vs. 4 Blessed are those who mourn.

“You have grieved over lost dreams in your marriage. You have cried tears of great sadness, petitioning heaven for the salvation of your spouse. You have mourned deeply the loss of years of joy and hope deferred. Your tears, each a precious jewel, saved in the bottles of heaven, bore testimony of your faithfulness to your husband, your family and especially to ME. Thus, my Beautiful Bride, Ye shall be comforted. Forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever. I love Thee!”

Vs 5. Blessed are the meek.

“You turned away from harsh words. You determined, hostility must fall by your side and you did not respond in wrath. You chose peace. You chose joy. You chose truth. You chose Me. Thus, You SHALL inherit the earth. Beauty, provision, family, tradition, home and happiness are yours, my Beloved.”

Vs 6. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

“Your Royal heritage is birthed out of a heart and hunger for more of Me. Your study of My Word. Daily meeting with Me in prayer for your family and this world. Your hunger to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of the Almighty. You have been a seeker. You have knocked on the door of understanding. You have asked the difficult questions and have determined not to settle for worldly wisdom but the wisdom of angels and saints. You have opened the gate to the Kingdom of God. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Thus, Prince/Princess of Royal bloodline, YOU SHALL BE FILLED.

Vs 7. Blessed are the merciful.

“For you have not responded in kind; hate for hate. Nay, you, offered love to anger. Hope to despair. Spoken life to the dying. Your heart has grown exponentially in gratitude and grace. You have opened yourself in the most, unkind of circumstances and displayed mercy to others. Even thouest do cause preponderance of the angelic as they marvel over the gentle and merciful heart of a maiden of God. THUS, you shall obtain mercy. You shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. You shall watch as your enemies are destroyed. Your legacy shall boom across the heavens.

“A LIFE WELL LIVED. A LIFE WELL LIVED…. A LIFE WELL LIVED.”

Vs. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart.

“Your years of torment, trouble, confusion and strife culminate in the most beautiful exchange of all that is holy. You have walked upon hallowed ground as you bring your fears before my throne. You have trodden the wine presses of wrath, tramping down words of pain, flung upon your soul. Yet your love for me and others… it did NOT FAIL. You have travailed in petitions and surrender. You determined to live in sacrifice and contrition. You turned your ear to me and chose life and truth over the lies of my enemy. You have practiced and lived out faithfulness, year after year, conflict upon conflict. Your faith and obedience has renewed all things of value in this life and the next. THUS, daughter of the Most High, ye shall see the face of God! Yea, thouest will behold HIS GLORY. You will see the future. You will be granted audience with beauty and rare purity. You shall see God!”

Vs. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers.

“In this life you GAVE. You presented your heart to Me and spent it upon others. Forsaken is selfishness and vain conceit and living for the promise of hope deferred, not fully knowing what awaits your eternity. My Glorious Bride, GREAT is your reward. The eternal is more than earthly words can contain. And in the place of self, I have poured out many blessings into your life, a foretaste of an eternity of your reward and My love. You created a more peaceful world for yourself and your family. You sewed in the nighttime hours, prayers of peace as well as warfare, the full ramification of your life impacts into centuries from now, thus is your legacy. You have given your heart to My Kingdom of Peace. You have aligned with the Divine and THUS you shall be called sons and daughters of God!”

Vs. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

“Persecution of your right-standing with God has lived within the very doors of your home. At every turn you faced decisions to love or hate, give or take, lie or truth, God or wrath. You have become joy bringers, truth tellers, powerful intercessors, prayer warriors, possessors of great wisdom. Your Spirit has developed endurance, persistence, faithfulness.

You are a person of character, intimacy, and resourceful. You are a leader, a strong voice of hope, a giver of time, possessions and prayer. You are a commander of angels and a writer of legacy. You are a strong person of faith and you have done well, My Bride. You have done so, very, well. THUS, YOURS is the Kingdom of heaven. Enter into the joy of the LORD.”

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33

*****

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Holidays and Mothers-In-Law

Mother and grandsonAs we are nearing the season where we spend time with the in-laws, I thought it appropriate to share this post from the archives.

…nearly 60 percent of all marriages suffer from tension with mothers-in-law, normally between the daughter-in-law and her husband's mother.

From the archives: In-Laws

I wonder how many of you felt your blood pressure rise at the mere mention of this topic? Well, considering the statistic above, I can bet a number of you bristle in this area of your marriage. And, to our guy readers, I can only address this topic from my perspective but would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

See if you relate to any of these statements:

"She's always telling me what to do"

"She keeps meddling"

"She wants constant companionship"

"She competes with me for my husband"

These tend to be the most common complaints of wives. But for me, I think what I struggled with was the distance. Not just the miles, more than 400 separate us, the emotional distance. 

I wanted connection and friendship. My mom-in-law wasn't so good at that. Looking back now and knowing my husband's mother is in the later stages of Alzheimer's, how I wish I could have sat at the kitchen table with her. Chatted like friends, asked questions such as, "What was he like when he was ten? What was his favorite toy and why. Did you have to get after him much?"

My mom-in-law was way to uncomfortable with intimate talk. 

Now all these years later knowing this also helps me to see why my husband struggled in our marriage to be demonstrative in his affection. I was raised in a family where we said I love you often. We hugged, kissed, held hands, wrestled on the flood, made popcorn balls on Sunday nights. We loved. We loved out loud. We were also all kinds of other dysfunction but one thing we did right was to tell and show our love.

What I would have given for some of that insight in the early years of our marriage. With this knowledge, however, comes understanding, then forgiveness, and love. And I am determined to show, demonstrate, even teach my husband how to love his daughter out loud. He's come a long way. 

As I type these words I feel a tiny bit of anxiousness as I think of my in-laws. My Father-in-law remains a staunch unbeliever. Even after reading our book, Winning Him Without Words, he called me and said, "I really enjoyed your book. You made me laugh and I found it a good book but like my son, faith isn't for me."

Ugh. 

I believe I have shared my faith with both of them. But, there are nights I lay awake and I pray for their salvation. I may have been the only one who was sent to them from God to share the truth. I pray that Jesus knows I tried. I will never stop praying for them as long as I have breath and they have life.

What are your struggles with your In-Laws? How do you work through them? Let's help each other out today and share your wisdom in the comments. Your words may be exactly what a struggling wife needs to hear today.

Hugs, Lynn

On Monday, I will give you and update about this topic. See you then.

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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Need A Gift For Your Small Group, Bible Study Ladies, Special Friend?

I was on a walk-n-pray and God came up with this idea. Really!

Every holiday season, as a Bible study leader, I would give a small gift to each of the ladies in my group at Christmas. I would give a gift to my friends at church and my neighbors, friends who I do life with. It was always a struggle to come up with a great gift and no go bankrupt.

May I offer you a suggestion. You Are Loved, Bible study and Coloring book

YAL Book Pencils Holiday II 2017

This is a short, 24, page, fully illustrated, and written Bible study by our own, Dineen Miller. And right now through the end of November, you can order it for only $9.99. Add a box of colored pencils that you can pick up cheap at a discount store for .99 cents, tie a bow and add an ornament. Awesomeness.

YAL Book Pencils Holiday 2017

I would love to receive this gift! Now think about who you know would like to receive this gift from you this year? 

I put together this bundle below and it totaled $13. Add in ribbon and the postage and they are about $15 . A truly unique and faith-based gift for Christmas. I may give some of these to the women pastors at my church and my friends at Christmas Dessert. I may even send one to Dineen for Christmas. -just kiddin'.

YAL Wrapped 2017

If you want to order the books, click on the link below. This will take you to PayPal. Order the number you need and I will get them in the mail. 

Gang, I'm not so great at wrapping and decorating, so that is your part. Don't forget to buy the pencils. 

I feel such a beauty and excitement in this season....
I BELIEVE IN MIRACLES. DO YOU? 

You are Loved Coloring Bible Study
For a limited time only $9.99 

<<<<----- click here. Hugs, Lynn

*****

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. -click or tap the photo-

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What Our Kid's Think - Part II

Survey with WMToday, I want to answer more questions that were asked through our survey: Laurie F. asked:

Q: I would love to know how adult children who grew up in mis-matched homes feel about all of the things we deal with. (Going to church and activities only with mom, not being able to pray/sing/share at home when Dad's around, worrying that Dad is not going to Heaven, etc.) I would also like to know how to answer my daughter's constant questions about those same topics.

The following is an informal Q&A between me and my daughter, Caitie, age 22:

ME: Do you worry about your Dad’s salvation?

Caitie: Yes, I worry. I do understand that my Dad is very stubborn, and he has made his choice. And yes, I’m sad about it. But I have given it over to God.

ME: Do you still pray for his salvation?

Caitie: Yes. I found it interesting that when I attended BIOLA (Christian University) and the subject of parents would come up, it would make others uncomfortable to talk about my parents differing faiths.

ME: That’s interesting. I didn’t know that. Why would it make them uncomfortable?

Caitie: Because most of the students came from two-parent believing homes. (This is true of our church experience.) It was difficult to talk to others about it and my friends would avoid talking about the challenges about being a kid in a mismatched home. However, my close friends and I would talk about it. Mom, every home has challenges. One of my roommates struggled with Father issues and he was a believer.

ME: Many, many people struggle with “Father” issues. I know that I have in the past. The devil works tirelessly to destroy the “Father.” When earthly fathers fail, it destroys our perception of a loving heavenly Father who loves and has only goodness for His kids.

Caitie: That’s true.

ME: Did you ever feel uncomfortable around your Dad about being a believer?

Caitie: No, not about my faith. Again, he was good about not stifling me and my belief. What was uncomfortable was the arguments between the two of you.

ME: Ouch. You know that most of our arguments weren’t actually about faith. It was just the dynamic and our own unhealed wounding from our childhoods, right? We’ve talked about that before.

Caitie: Yes, Mom. I do.

ME: But what is really cool, Caitie, is that your dad and I are still growing. Even after 25 years of marriage we are still finding healing and understanding. And I have prayed that all the mistakes, missteps, and the iniquity of our blood lines, are not passed along to you and your brother. I have faith that your future relationship will be free from some of the things we started with in our marriage.

Caitie: I know mom. Okay, I’ve gotta go study. I love you.

ME: Love you baby girl. Bye

*****

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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. -click or tap the photo-

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Q&A From The SUM Survey (What Our Kid's Think)

Survey with WMToday I want to answer another question that came from the SUM survey. Laurie F. asked:

Q: I would love to know how adult children who grew up in mis-matched homes feel about all of the things we deal with. (Going to church and activities only with mom, not being able to pray/sing/share at home when Dad's around, worrying that Dad is not going to Heaven, etc.) I would also like to know how to answer my daughter's constant questions about those same topics.

So, I decided to call my daughter, Caitie, age 22 who now lives in Indiana. I asked her these questions and here is her response. She gave me permission to share.

I asked Caitie: So how do you feel now that you are an adult and can look back upon your childhood, about going to church?

A: Mom, many of my perceptions and answers are specific to our individuality and family dynamic. (She’s a Com major, grin.) Because I have a great relationship with my father, I’ve never felt stifled about faith. I didn’t feel shame and, so I didn’t need to make intentional decisions to hide my faith. I do know and understand that is something that other kids have to walk through. And it must be very challenging.

I did feel a weird pressure to attend church. Dad would only go to church when I went to church. When I didn’t go (once in a while in high school when she was in a play, etc.) I would feel personally responsible to attend. I felt pressure to create some magical family ideal, all of us sitting together as a family, in church. I felt responsible to you, Mom to make you happy.

ME: I said to Caitie, you know that we have discussed this before and I have asked forgiveness for issues or events that made you feel responsible when you weren’t. And I also appreciate your love and heart for doing that for me, even if it was not a perfect situation.

Caitie: When I went away to college, that was when I began to attend church for myself. And I knew it was for me. I loved my church. And I’m still searching for a good one now in my new location.

ME: Caitie, finding church, as an adult, it is also true of families with two believing spouses. Many kids raised in church go because it’s their parents church. They move away and then they attend church for themselves. (Inset note from ME, Lynn. This is one reason we fight, insist, and work diligently to take our children to church. It’s important and it sticks when they are older.)

Caitie: Yes, that’s true.

ME: Caitie, don’t give up on church. The enemy does this to so many people. It’s difficult to find the right church and you must try out several, sometimes many, before you find the right one. And it’s exhausting to keep visiting churches. The devil knows this and will influence you to go to every “wrong” church so that you simply give up and stop attending. DON’T GIVE UP.

Caitie: I won’t.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6

Next week I’ll share more of my daughter’s responses. I hope this encourages all of you who are raising your children in faith.

Next question: Do you worry about your Dad’s salvation?

*****

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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. -click or tap the photo-

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Spending Time in the Secret Place

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Image courtesy of alex_ugalek at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s fast approaching the Christmas season when life can get especially busy. In addition, for we in mismatched marriages can have extra challenges as a result of a desire to intentionally reflect on the reason for the season. Jesus. Whether it’s attending gatherings with the church girls (or blokes), the various services our Church’s hold or even decorating our houses with symbols of our faith, we can all get a little self-conscious of doing things that our partners may not enjoy. And not to mention that we may be away from the house more often which can cause stress.

Often due to our busyness our time spent with the Lord may wane. There are only so many hours in the day, right?

The Secret Place

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6 NKJV)

 The Lord loves spending time with us. Often we think due to life’s demands spending time with our partners and family is the best solution, if only to keep the peace. But I’ve come to realize in fact that the best option is to spend time in the secret place.

“All fruitfulness flows from intimacy.” (Heidi Baker)

Check out the second sentence in the verse above: “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” The Message says “… and you will begin to sense his grace.” 

Reward. Grace. Yes, please.

I know this might be hard to read especially if home is a bit of a battlefield at the moment but I’ve learnt (and I’m sure Lynn, Dineen and others would also vouch for it too) that it’s in experiencing that intimacy with Jesus that peace does indeed come in our houses. Sometimes quite miraculously.

But the reward and/or grace shouldn’t be our motivation for spending time with God. Rather intimacy with Him. To know Him better and His deep deep love for us.

Listening to the Word

I mentioned in my comment to Dineen’s post last week that I sensed the Lord was drawing me back to His Word. My Bible study has been a little bit all over the shop in the past few months and I sensed the Lord saying to me to spend quality time in it. In John, specifically.

But before I dived into John I started reading a book on Lectio Divina that is a practice of enhanced listening and receptivity to what the Lord wants you to hear when reading His Word. I don’t want to spend time discussing the practice but more encourage you to read this passage from Hosea. Slowly. And mindfully. And receptively. And meditatively. With open hears as well as eyes.

Firstly, get somewhere quiet. Allow yourself 15 minutes, longer if you can. I appreciate those of you with little kiddies even that small amount of time can be difficult to get but I hope you might be able to grab it somehow.

Settle your heart. Take a few deep breaths so you can slow your mind down.

Ask the Lord to come close.

And read these verses twice over. Ideally, out loud. And slowly. And listen. What words jump out at you? Don’t worry if nothing does. The Lord works differently with all of us.

“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the wilderness
    and speak tenderly to her.
15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
    and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
    as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

16 “In that day,” declares the Lord,
    “you will call me ‘my husband’;
    you will no longer call me ‘my master.’

I will betroth you to me forever;
    I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
    in love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
    and you will acknowledge the Lord. (Hosea 2:14-16,19-20 NIV)

 

Now read the passage again and allow those words, phrases that grab you to fuel your imagination. Picture yourself with the Lord. Let the words speak even more deeply to you.

Share your thoughts with the Lord and if relevant connect your meditations to what’s happening in your day. Try to take your reflections with you through the day.

I hope you found this useful and I encourage you to continue the exercise with whatever your current Bible reading plan is. Perhaps reduce the number of verses you read a day and spend longer on fewer verses.

Dear loving Father, take us all further into the secret place that we might know your heart so that our lives can bring your glory. In Jesus name. Amen.

Love to read how you found it and what you heard the Lord saying to you. Please share it in the comments below if you are willing.

Grace and peace,

*****

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Advice To Those Who Are Dating An Unbeliever - Please Share Your Thoughts.

Rings SUM logo 10 2017SUMites, did you read some of the comments from last Monday’s post about friendships? Man, o man…. Good stuff. And you know what I loved most about the thread of conversations?

The LOVE. The love, compassion and caring in those words to one another. Thank you. Bless you!!!

So, I want to do this again today:

I often receive emails from men and women who are contemplating a relationship or marriage to an unbelieving partner. Answering these emails is not as easy as you might think.

Firstly, the writer has been in the relationship for a significant period of time. Translation: She is already in love. She feels a commitment and her heart and life is fully engaged with this man.

Secondly: Most who write me were raised in faith and they already know what the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14.

Third, they are seeking hope that their marriage will make it.

Let me share with you that I never write back condemningly. I was there once. I married my unbelieving spouse when I knew it was wrong. I knew what the Bible said.

But, I also think that if they could see what marriage and day-to-day living is really like when the “Honey Moon” phase ends and children arrive, they might be surprised.

So, today, would you share, with a loving and compassionate heart, your (prayer or observation) of the struggle you have faced in your mismatched marriage. Would you also share how God met you there and helped you through it or how He is helping you through it now?

Make time to do this in the comments. It may change a life or marriage, even another SUM reader because you share how to walk through the challenge in victory.

I will start:

To my dear Sister in Christ. I know your heart and I also believe that love can overcome much and change the hearts of many. God has changed my heart. I also believed before marriage, that once my fiancé and I were married, it would be less than a year that he would discover Jesus and come to faith. My dearest sister that was more than 25 years ago.

I can’t tell you that you should or shouldn’t marry someone. You must take that question to the Lord, Jesus. But I can tell you that there are two common issues that become quite large and painful that you are likely to walk through in the years of a mismatched union.

Loneliness. You will do many things alone. You will feel alone often because of your different world views. Loneliness in marriage is a difficult path to walk out. It can be done with the love of Christ alive in you. But it is not the ideal of marriage and God wants for His children.

Children: I found that so much of my angst, fear and discord in marriage arrived when we had children. You will face the reality that their salvation and church experience will rest completely upon you. Can you stand up under that full responsibility? This will be a difficult road to navigate in your marriage and with your children who need spiritual guidance.

Today, I bless you to be filled with the love of God and that you seek His face for the destiny He has prepared for you. I believe that God chose a perfect spouse for each person who wants one. I pray you seek His face first and the right person will come to you. In Jesus name. AMEN

SUMites, share your wisdom. Share it kindly and share your life experience with difference to a young heart who needs love and honesty. Love, Lynn

*****

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Love Is A Power

Greatest of These LoveThe greatest of these is love…. 1 Corinthians 13:13

I’m discovering something new about love.

Which is weird because my life’s pursuit is love.

….love of the Father.
….my husband, children and family.
….love of God’s people.

But in the past few weeks the Holy Spirit has revealed something I didn’t understand before now.

LOVE affects everything!

Love, of course, impacts people. It is what triumphs over heartbreak and is our healing. Love is our legacy and our future. But I’m discovering something utterly astonishing about love in this season.

Love is a power.

Love can change anything and everything. (Ya, you might be yawning here because you already know this, right? Tell me something I don’t know, right?)

I’ve discovered how love not only affects my human relationships but also my car, my pets, my city, well just about everything I set to purposely love.

Let me explain. Over the past several months, I began to grumble about my car. It’s more than 10 years old and I would really like to buy another one. But alas, the finances aren’t there. So, the more I grumbled, mainly to myself and my husband, the more problems incurred with my little red car. First, the transmission, then some weird and unexplained popping and clanging on the freeway, tow truck needed. (Ya, that was fun ☹) After a transmission repair and a thousand dollars later, still more problems. Thus, more grumbling.

What is also interesting is that up until a few months ago, I loved my car. After 10 years of driving, it still ROCKED, at least in my mind. It was fast (I may have a lead foot *grin*.) It remained “cool” in my eyes and I loved driving it.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I recognized all the grumbling and stopped. I began to love my car again. I thought it was “cool” once more. I would get in and bless it.

Guess what? I just returned from a road trip to visit my son in Nevada…. Absolutely no problems. It’s perfectly fine now.

Weird..

But wait, there’s more.

My city. I have lived in Temecula for nearly 20 years, but I have never truly thought of this town as mine. My home, my place, my people, my city. While out on a walk n pray God said, “Lynn, love your city. All of it. Not just the people you know.”

Wow, unhuh!

I began to pray during my walk n pray over my city. I would pray with faith, “I love my city. I bless the businesses, the government, the schools, the open spaces. I bless the children and families. I LOVE THIS CITY. It is beautiful in its uniqueness. I love this town. I am thankful to live here and serve this community.”

I prayed with a genuine heart. You know what? Something happens when you pray out loud with love as a power. All of a sudden, I truly DO love my city. I’m so thankful to be placed here and live here. And you know what happened next, God began to bless me with opportunities I’d never had before in my own city.

I will be writing devotions now for our local newspaper.

I am blessed to love on my city now through words of faith and love in our newspaper. Say what?????

My SUMite Sisters and brothers, I ask you. What do you need to love? Whom do you need to love? What are you grumbling against that actually could be changed through the power of love?

Everything changes when the substance of love is applied.

Our faith will be rewarded in eternity. Hope, will be realize when we walk through the gate, eternal. We will no longer need to tarry in faith and hope….. But LOVE. We will live in love forever.

Faith, hope and love in these we abide. But the greatest of these is LOVE!

*****

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The Year of Promises

IMG_0512Hello, SUMites! Wow…what a joy to be with you today…I’m just taking a moment to drink in God’s presence here and being with you again. Lynn asked me to share an update, specifically about my recent anniversary, and I was thrilled to do so. What I didn’t expect was the rest of the story God wanted me to share with you…

September 5th marked Mike’s and my 30th wedding anniversary. That truly blows my mind when I think about it, because the generations of my family are marked with multiple marriages (per person) that resulted in divorces. I give God all the glory, my friends. His love and blessings are the catalyst behind the unity, love and peace I have in my marriage, which are the fruit resulting from partnering with God to cultivate and protect my marriage. We are not only partners with our spouse but also with God for that very reason and outcome.

To celebrate our anniversary, Mike and I planned a vacation to drive to Vermont to see the Autumn colors. Do you remember the dream list Lynn encouraged us to make a while back? I stumbled across mine a last week when I was looking at previous words and promises the Lord had given me. One of the items on my list was to perhaps one day live in a place that displayed the beautiful colors of fall. 

As an artist, this has been a long time dream, as I’ve never lived in an area that displays these vibrant colors in the fall. And I will unabashedly say that the first sightings of these amazing colors brought me to tears. That’s just the artist in me delighting in God’s brilliance!

IMG_0561I believe this trip (which fell into place with great ease) was God’s way of giving me that dream in a way that keeps us where I know we are supposed to be (in Florida), yet to experience this longing of my heart without moving. (We’re considering making this trip every couple years.) Don’t you just love how God can surprise us with answers we never thought of? Or imagined possible?

A Year of Promises
A few weeks ago the Holy Spirit told me to go back through my journal and tab each page that I had written something down that I felt I heard from God. I sensed He wanted me to do this, because I’d begun to feel like I wasn’t hearing God as much. I knew He’d changed things up earlier in the year so I was hearing him differently, but tabbing those pages showed me I was hearing Him more than I realized. I thought that was the point of the lesson.

Yet God always seems to have much more in mind for us in those lessons than we think. An encouraging word showed up in my email a week after my tabbing session that the Holy Spirit used to lead to make a list of the promises on those pages. So I made my list, going through each one. If I hit a page that I wasn’t sure about, I added it anyway.

The best part was seeing my entry from January 1, 2017 in which I wrote “2017 will be a year of promises. Two fold: the revelation of promises already given and new ones.” I’d almost forgotten about that word, my friends. 

I believe this is a corporate directive from God for all of His people right now. Make that list of words and promises. Sew, pray, cultivate and protect them. Declare the truth of His heart in each one and trust Him to bring the harvest as He has designed it. I have no doubt that you will be surprised by the fruit that comes.

Promises Revealed
IMG_0653Like you, my family holds a big place in my heart and the promises God has given me for them. Yet the one I’ve asked God for a promise or word is my oldest daughter. I’ve asked God many times the last two years for a promise or word for her and her husband, yet nothing clearly came. So, I chose to stand on God’s Word, specifically Philippians 4:19, because they have struggled for several years financially and to get their careers off the ground. I’ve prayed it over them and with them, encouraging them to declare this verse together as well in their joint devotional time (I love that they do that!).

It’s a story longer than I have space to write, dear friends, but suffice it to say that my daughter stepped away from a difficult job and chose to trust God for their provision. Within a week of that decision, she was offered a potential full time position as an illustrator for a national cartoon, her husband’s requested raise was approved, and more opportunities are in the works that will launch their careers in astounding ways.

And as I looked at my promise list, I realized I hadn’t put this verse about God’s provision on my list, because I considered to be a direct word from God. That’s when I realized God wanted me to see that even though the promise didn’t come as I expected, in a word or leading directly from Him, it was still a promise from His Word.

IMG_0586What struck my heart further was that it’s the first one fulfilled and revealed. Not what I expected, but very clearly what God wanted me to understand. His Word, the Bible, is His promise to us. All of it. I know we’ve talked about this a lot in the past, but the truth can never be over-spoken. God is faithful to His Word (Jer. 1:12) and to His people.

I see this happening around me in this new territory where God has positioned me (healing rooms and a new school) and in the people I have the pleasure to work and do life with in these places. It’s as beautiful to see as those astounding colors of fall.

So, my friends, next time you read your Bible, read it like a hungry child feasting on food made especially for you and with an expectation to recognize a promise waiting for you to claim. Write it down. Make a list. Hold it close to your heart in prayer, trust and expectation. 

Because God has spoken to my heart about 2018, SUMites. It’s to be a “year of blessings.” I have a feeling there’s more though. With God, there usually is. 

Much love to you, dear friends!
Dineen

*****

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It's Your Turn. Share Your Wisdom

FriendsHi SUM Nation,

I'm traveling this week. I have bunch of sticks in the fire and am scrambling but it's all good. Our God is a good Father. 

I know that our "Church Without Walls" is filled with Godly and spiritually wise people. So I thought that I would invite you to impart your wisdom with one of our readers. 

Do you remember the SUMits Survey that many of you responded to months ago? I asked the question:

What topics cold we write about that we haven't covered for we could cover again to encourage you?

Here is one inquiry. I haven't written about this subject before and it is really a good question. If you have Godly wisdom and experience, please share your encouragement in the comments.

Thanks for helping a girl out! I LOVE you all so much. Hugs, Lynn

Q: One thing that hasn't been covered yet (I don't think) is friendships. I find my SuM keeps me tethered to a very secular friendship group, and I can't really easily build friendships with Christians with my husband because then he's left out of what bonds me and my Christian friends. The area of Christian and non-Christian friendships, with my SuM, is complicated for me and causes me great angst!

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Going To Church Alone

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comToday, I want to chat about another big issue. This is a re-post for our newest family members. (Jan, 2016)

GOING TO CHURCH ALONE.

Gang, can I just say – Grrrrrrrrr

This is so hard. I know that for me this was an area that was of intense and great struggle. Even today, I truly desire my husband to join me for church on Sunday. I’ve had to wrangle through all of the different aspects of church non-attendance with my husband. I’m certain many of you have as well.

First, dealing with the whole couple thing. Grrrrrr, again! Our Western society is significantly “couple” focused. Learning to do anything alone takes a ton of courage and prayer. At least it did for me and I’m usually a courageous person. But after remaining a floundering believer at home, there comes a day when your need for community outweighs fear and you timidly cross the threshold of a church.

Once conquering that fear, you then must overcome disappointment as you see other couples together in church. True that. Anyone???

My friends, I want to assure you that if you are currently in this season of walking unequally yoked and attending church alone, it does become easier. 

Think about this. As you consider your life, most of us find that God has been amazingly faithful. Even in our periods of doubt or in my case, spiritual rebellion. God never left me nor did He forsake me. EVER. Even when I ran away from Him. As I slowly returned to my heavenly Father, I realized His faithfulness and it became the strength and my backbone. I made the decision to be faithful and return to church. And I’m so glad I did.

It was within my church community, women’s Bible study, that my healing began. I know I wrote about this our book, Winning Him Without Words. But it’s good to remember that God made us for community. At the core of all we are, we are designed for community, membership, authentic living, to be known and to know others in truth.

Knowing this, church became vital. It was my weekly re-charge. And when children became part of the family, they needed church too. That foundation of training in their early lives will live on in the next generation.

I’ve attended church alone for nearly 25 years. It’s been hard and it’s been glorious. Churches are challenging. You must remember they are filled with broken and needy people who are just like you. Attending church requires us to wear forgiveness like a cloak and to cry out for God to fill us with love, every, single day that we may love people like Him.

But at the end of the day, church is a hint of our future. One day THE CHURCH, will gather in the great assembly, with pure love in our hearts and will join as one people, one voice in worship. I promise we can’t imagine the depth of love we will feel and experience. I can’t wait.

So focus on Jesus and love even the broken and messy at church. And allow others who truly care about your life, to love on you. Be authentic and allow them to serve you.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned through sitting alone in church. One, I’m not the only one. My spiritual mismatched allowed me to see many others who don’t fit in. My heart is drawn to those who are alone, even those who feel alone but ARE sitting with a spouse. And my friends, churches are filled with these kinds of people who pretend their marriage is perfect. It’s simply not true. Every marriage, including your pastor's will struggle, even greatly struggle at some point. It’s just different from yours.

Allow yourself to set aside your loneliness and pain and truly look around you. It’s likely your training here at SUM and through the Word will allow you to speak love and truth into some other misfit who is sitting in the sanctuary. And that my friends, is exactly what delights the heart of God.

BTW: Ultimately we will discover we are all misfits and that is exactly what God intends!!!

Hugs, Lynn

*****

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Sumite Prayer Partners

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Hi prayer family!! Please join me in reading from Luke and praying to our Heavenly Father!

Luke 14:25-27 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, “If you want to be my disciple, you must by comparison, hate everyone else – your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

Infinite God, these verses are hard for our human minds to comprehend. We understand Jesus as loving savior of all humanity, but yet we call him Lord. Teach us to make him the LORD of our lives and the object of our focus. Propel us into a deeper devotion that is only possible through the work of your spirit. That is what you ask of us, complete and total devotion to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Chrsit! I also ask you to cover our community with the protection of heaven’s angel army. Father, we pray and praise the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

More information on our Sumite Prayer Partnerships can be found by clicking this link: Sumite Prayer Partnerships

If you are ready to receive a prayer partner then please send me an email using this link: Email Christy Edney In your email, please provide your name and your geographic location. 

If you and your partner are experiencing difficulty or you would like prayer then please email me using this link: Email Christy Edney

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Could You Walk Around Nude?

Canaries in fig tree SUMDo you read the stories in the Bible about those who died, who gave their lives up, for the cause of Christ? What about modern martyr accounts of believers in the middle east who are being killed for their Christian faith? Do you walk in faith that you could do the same?

I often cry out in prayer, “Lord, I want more of you. Lord, make me so strong in faith that if one day I must choose to die or take the mark of the beast, that I would be willing and able to die for the cause of Christ.”

Perhaps you don’t pray like this. It’s just that for me, I sometimes wonder if I could stand on my faith and die for Jesus. After all, there are believers right now, today, who will stand for Christ and ISIS will kill them.

GULP.

Recently I was reading in the book of Isaiah. I arrived at this passage and I wept:

In the year when King Sargon of Assyria sent his commander in chief to capture the Philistine city of Ashdod, the Lord told Isaiah son of Amoz, “Take off the burlap you have been wearing, and remove your sandals.” Isaiah did as he was told and walked around naked and barefoot. Then the Lord said, “My servant Isaiah has been walking around naked and barefoot for the last three years. —Isaiah 20: 1-3

I wept out loud, “Lord, I couldn’t do this. If you told me to go around nude for three years, I COULDN’T DO IT. If I can’t do this, how in the world could I die for you?”

Geeze, as I type this is sound overly dramatic. Ahem, ya! I’m NOT nuts!

But when you cry out for more of God and tell Him you are a servant that follows hard after Him, you think about these things.

So, while on my walk-n-pray today, I asked God about all this. I prayed, “Lord, I don’t know if I could do i. But I pray that if the situation should ever arrive, I could walk through whatever you have asked of me.”

It was in that moment that I heard the Lord’s kind and gentle voice reply. “Lynn, you walk through your own challenges every day. You willingly submit to your marriage vows, even when it’s difficult. You remain steadfast and committed to praying for your spouse and family. This is immensely important to me.”

“Many, people crumble under way less that what all of you, the SUMites, live out. So many people, carelessly cast away their marriages. You choose to remain steadfast. Your faithfulness is way more important. I know you can’t perceive the end of the story but your prayers for that one man are impacting. Your lifetime of sacrifice fills my heart with a special love for you.”

I felt as though the Lord wants all of us to know that because we haven’t bailed out on a challenging marriage, He is proud. He is helping us. He hears our prayers and somehow in a way, this life-long sacrifice IS the giving of our life for the cause of Christ.

Well done SUMites! Well done!

And for those of you who are walking through divorce, there is absolutely NO CONDEMNATION in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) I spend time with so many of you who have fought with all you have to heal your marriage and yet it didn’t happen. Please know, your faith and your love in very challenging circumstances is a precious gift to our Lord!

Hugging all of you today! Lynn

Next post: I want to share from the archives:

GOING TO CHURCH ALONE.

Gang, can I just say – Grrrrrrrrr

This is so hard. I know that for me this was an area that was of intense and great struggle. Even today, I truly desire my husband to join me for church on Sunday. I’ve had to wrangle through all of the different aspects of church non-attendance with my husband. I’m certain many of you have as well…..

*****

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One Day Soon

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comOne day soon, we will behold:

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. —Revelation 20:12

Our original destination will be compared to what we actually achieved in our short time on earth. We are given so much grace. Grace and more grace to change course, to repent and do over. To mend, to heal, to serve, to grow, to laugh, to LOVE.

Will you choose love?

When we do, this is what the book says is for us:

The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. —Revelation 3:5

We are empowered to live our BEST life now. Through the love of Jesus our past is redeemed and then we are invited to rescue the lost dreams we held as children. Let us release our false identities of unworthiness, self-hatred, comparison and all the lies of satan. We were created as a perfect expression of God’s love. And because of that TRUTH, it is possible to walk in wholeness and help others to find their way to freedom as well.

So, what say you?

Thank you for walking with me through this series. I pray that it changed the perspective of our identity and our future, now and forever. Hallelujah..

We praise you Jesus for the redemptive and restorative work of the Cross. For without it we were doomed but because of your finished work, EVERYTHING, EVERYONE ON EARTH can be restored and perfected in Your love! AMEN!

Next post:

Do you read the stories in the Bible about those who gave their lives up for the cause of Christ? What about modern martyr accounts of believers in the middle east who are being killed for their Christian faith? Do you  ever wonder if your faith is strong enough to do the same?

Join me for the next post about martyrs and marriage. Things turn out differently than you might think. I love you, church family without walls. Today I bless you with joy, peace and a strong marriage and vibrant and healthy families. In the name above all names, JESUS! Amen!  Hugs, Lynn

*****

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A SINGLE LIFE Can Restore A Family Line

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comLet’s open a book today that can change everything.

The Word. The Bible, our living book of redemption and freedom. Jesus the author a perfecter of our faith.

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. —Hebrews 12:2

God then said to me, “Lynn, a single life can reset the destiny that has been corrupted for centuries. One child of mine, who decides that they will no longer live in the falsehoods of the kingdom of darkness but chooses rather to rise up and live in truth. That one person, one small young woman, a man in his fifties, a woman who was raised in horrific abuse, a child who chooses to hope over despair. That one person can break the bondage that has oppressed the generations. She can loose the angelic to fight for her freedom and that of her children. One believer can release thousands of “My perfect reflections of love” to walk in their destiny that was written and decreed over their life since before time began. To walk in their highest and best for this life, their original design.”

“You are that one person. There are many of you who choose to silence the lies and begin the hard work of walking in truth. You are that one person. Receive the truth and you will be free indeed.”

Gang, it feels as though the assignment is overwhelming. How can lil ole me fix generations of wickedness? How can I stand in the gap and change my destiny as well as my children’s and the generations to follow?

I take one intentional step at a time. I, personally, have broken the destructive demonic assignments released upon my family through my ancestor’s participation in Free Masonry. I stood in the gap and repented for their sins and broke the curses that were released upon me and my siblings, my mother. I have done the hard work of learning, reading, praying, and persevering to fight for my freedom and the freedom of others and specifically my family.

I pray relentlessly, my hunger grows every year to experience more of the Kingdom, Holy Spirit fire and gifts and to learn more from Jesus.

It is possible to restore and live out the destinies written in our books. The word that represents this effort to the greatest degree is PERSEVERANCE. It’s determination that leads to our truest self.

SUMites... Believers... Children of the Most High God.... Respond. It's your turn to take back your destiny and those of your family generations.

DECREE: Today the deception and lies stop with me. I repent for all the lies and sin of my ancestors. I ask Jesus to speak healing into my life, my family line, my children, my spouse. Today, restore the path to fulfillment of my destiny and the plans that are written in my book. In Jesus name. AMEN

If you just spoke this decree out loud, then record it in the comments as a sealed and spoken word of truth over your family. I will stand with you for the full restoration of your book and those of your family. And sign it in the comments, your name, In Jesus name. AMEN

HALLELUJAH!!!!

*****

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When The Books Are Opened

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comLet’s open the next book, shall we?

And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. —Revelation 20:12

There is a day in our linear future where every person whosoever liveth upon the earth, shall pass before the throne. The “Books” shall be opened and judgement shall be determined.

WHOA!!!  I can’t stop saying that… WHOA!!!

Astounding….. I don’t have language to express the fathom of this truth.

“As I looked,

thrones were set in place,

    and the Ancient of Days took his seat.

His clothing was as white as snow;

    the hair of his head was white like wool.

His throne was flaming with fire,

    and its wheels were all ablaze.

A river of fire was flowing,

    coming out from before him.

Thousands upon thousands attended him;

    ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.

The court was seated,

    and the books were opened. —Daniel 7:9-10

Let this passage leave you awe struck. We will be there. We will have our very own book opened. And in our book, is written our original design, our unique creation, our purposes, our assignments that were ordained and written to be fulfilled in our lifetime on earth, before time began. And in our book, will be the results.

Did we discover the truest thing about our self?…. Did we learn that we are lavishly loved. Did we come to understand that our hair color, our gender, our eye color, our imperfections were imperfectly, perfect? Did we realize our full potential and creativity that were gifted to us from heaven? Did we walk in joyous laughter and live in peace, which is our birthright (Romans 14:17)?

Did we learn to love?

Oh, how I have prayed for each and every one of you that you have all learned to love. God gave us difficult marriages so that we would learn to love like Jesus. I have tarried in the secret place for you, your children, and spouse to come to the place of your truest identity.

You are an empowered and perfect child of God!

THAT is our truth.

So, let’s tackle the why.

Why aren’t we walking in victory, true identity, and our predestined missions and assignments?

Enter stage left: Lucifer

Before time began when our books were written, there was an angel. According to Ezekiel 28:13, a probable reference to Lucifer, we learn that he is an amazing being to behold: "You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created."

His pride in his beauty and position ultimately lead him and a third of the angelic host to be cast out of heaven and down to earth.

And thus, he’s pissed off. I mean roiling mad.

He’s mad and also fully aware of the destinies that are written in our books.

Thus, the war is at hand. We are in a war for truth. The truest thing about us, the works of our lives assigned and contained within our books. As I walked through the vineyards that morning a few weeks ago, the Lord began to show me how, as people, we are destined to live on earth as it was originally intended by the Lord. And God revealed how the devil immediately went to work assaulting the destinies ordained for our lives.

God said to me that morning, “Lynn, it began years ago. Centuries and centuries, way back in families. A brother became jealous and murdered his brother. A man, an ordinary husband and father, heard a whisper from the demonic realm that perhaps he wasn’t good enough to provide for his family, he turned to stealing and alcohol. A mother leaned into a lie that she was insignificant and unworthy to be loved or respected because she was only a girl. A child grabbed hold of a lie that anger was the answer to his pain. Pride was whispered to every generation. Father after father, mother after mother, the generations began to believe the lies of the enemy and their divine books became corrupted.”

“Abuse entered into the bloodline, alcoholism, occult practices, bloodshed. The wickedness of men blotted out names,  destroyed childhoods, imprisoned generations to addictions of perversion. These wicked practices are passed to the children or gleaned from others with evil in their hearts.”

Oh Jesus, I whisper.

“But in my books, it is written that men would always love and cherish their wives. Their children were their pride and joy and the focus of their heart. Mothers were powerful and tender nurturers of the children and her husband. And together these families raised up the next generation to LIVE fully, alive and in the blessings and beautiful world that I created for them to enjoy.”

Okay, the heaviness of this is taking me over. I need a break.. Time to find Kleenex again.

Oh, My SUMites, let’s pray for the restoration of the books of our families.

See you on the next post…. It’s the BEST one of this series. I Love you, Lynn

A SINGLE LIFE Can Restore A Family Line

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SUM Nation Newsletter

Newsletter long 2013Hi Everyone,

The news from here is that we have an extra initiative underway: A new quarterly newsletter.  This is something that Lynn and Dineen used to do and had wanted to revive.  In this season of us gathering round Lynn in the ministry her number of helping hands has grown.  I'll be lending my hands by coordinating the newsletter.

The newsletter will land in your inboxes, and will be a way of saying a friendly hello and keeping you posted about what's new and coming up.  It'll be especially helpful for those times when you're busy and might miss news from the blog.

The first edition is out this coming Monday.  To receive it make sure you're signed up using the form below.

We hope you enjoy this extra way of us staying connected!

Ann 

Subscribe to our Quarterly Newsletter

 

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