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Ian Acheson
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Image courtesy of SawBear at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hi! Ian from wintry Down Under. Love! It tends to be something we compartmentalize, don’t we? It’s how we feel about our spouse and children, our parents and there’s this industry around romance, the books and movies. Strangely, or perhaps not so, it’s actually not talked about a lot. When asked what I’m writing about, people often give me strange looks when I mention it’s a book about love. “It’s unusual for a man to talk and write about love,” said a lady I met picking my mom up from a dental appointment when I happened to mention what I’m writing about. I will often squirm when I’m sharing it with a new group of people especially one only of men. I get these strange looks and the subject quickly changes because it’s an uncomfortable subject. Why is it something we find uncomfortable discussing... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Happy 15 years dear SUMites. Ian here from Sydney, Australia. I thought I’d share how I found this community that is very dear to me. Some of you may be familiar with my story but for all of you newbies you might find it interesting how a man from Down Under stumbled across this safe place. It was September 2012. I had always wanted to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference and having a publisher for Angelguard I thought it a useful way of building some momentum for its release a few months later. My wife and I combined it with a holiday to the US with the plan to attend the conference in DFW on our final leg before heading home. The conference had started, and I was having a ball meeting lots of fascinating authors including some of my heroes plus gaining a lot of useful... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of FAVPNG and workablequantit26 Hi Sumites, Ian here. Another Easter has passed. Ann led us through Holy Week and I thought I’d share some thoughts on one of the stories we read post Jesus’ resurrection. Thomas and his doubts When Jesus first appeared to the group of disciples in the Upper Room on Sunday night, Thomas was missing. Why? The Biblical accounts don’t tell us. In the days following, Thomas catches up with his friends, only to be informed that he missed the return of Jesus. Incredibly, he doesn’t believe them. Why would his friends mislead him? Why doesn’t Thomas trust their words? Thomas responds with his well-known statement: ““Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24 NIV) Soon after, the disciples are all assembled in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of Janpen04081986 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hello, dear SUMites, Ian from sunny Sydney. The world was turned on its head this time last year when the first people outside of China began to be diagnosed with this new virus strain which the medical community named COVID-19. The virus soon spread exponentially (a term that became part of our daily lexicon) throughout every land, borders in many countries were quickly shut and panic set in. A year later, some countries are still in the thick of it. Vaccines are being rolled out to the masses and everyone’s hoping and praying that by the end of 2021 the world might go back to normal. Lament The loss of life, both in terms of deaths but also change in daily routines, access to family and friends, loss of employment, and so on has been immense. The world has been crying out, ‘how long... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of blackzheep at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hello, my SUMite friends. Ian, from Down Under here. I trust everyone is holding up okay under the continued stress of the global pandemic. It has sure been an unsettling time for all of us and finding ‘peace’ can be especially difficult. One of the blessings of the Beatitudes refers to being peacemakers. (Matthew 5:9). However, to be a peacemaker we first need to be able to receive peace. I know I often struggle to engage the peace that is already present inside us through Christ. If I’m grappling with some internal struggle or feelings of anger, fear, bitterness or lust I may hide these away instead of drawing closer to Jesus and engaging the peace that resides in me. Jesus Walking in the Room I love the scene in John 20, the day after Jesus’ resurrection, when the disciples are locked in the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of KAZITAFAHNIZEER at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Happy New Year, dear friends. Wow, 2021 has come upon us and for many of us it hasn’t been a great start with lockdowns, restrictions and political chaos. I’ve been thinking about this post for a few weeks now. In the past few years, I’ve shared my ‘word for the year’ in this first post. And guess what I’ll be doing that again. Interestingly, it also links in well with Ann’s previous post . I hadn’t given it much thought until I happened to reflect on some of the verses I’d been reading in my Advent readings. Two in particular caught my attention: The first is from Isaiah 11: “His delight is in the fear of the Lord.” (v3a). The ‘he’ the prophet is referring to is Jesus. The second is in Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1. I’d encourage you to read Mary’s song.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2021 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
I’ve always loved December. Living in Australia, it’s summer, the end of the school year so we always had our long summer break over December/January. It’s also my birthday month and … it’s Christmas. I still recall those days approaching Christmas when the presents used to begin to pile up under the tree. Most of them were for dad, he’s a doctor and all his patients bought him presents. Every year. But my sister and two brothers were more excited by what Santa would put in the pillow slips that sat at the end of our beds. We’d struggle to sleep we were that excited. But mom always warned us that Santa wouldn’t arrive until we were fast asleep. And then when we woke, far too early for mom and dad, we’d have to wait until they arose before we could open all the goodies in those magical pillowslips. We... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles and FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hello, dear friends. Ian from sunny Sydney here. It’s a big few days in America with the election and we all around the world watch on eagerly with prayerful hearts. Recently, I came across a little-known Saint, Alphonsus Rodriguez, who lived in Spain in the 1500s. Rodriguez was in his 40s, a widower, with no children and a bankrupt, who on seeking to join a Jesuit monastery was told he was too old and too uneducated to become a priest. He was sent to a Jesuit College on the island of Majorca where he served as a porter and doorkeeper. He turned door-keeping into a sacramental duty. Every time the doorbell rang, he would say, “I’m coming, Lord!” and would then welcome the visitor as Christ himself. Many brilliant young priests passed through the college. Alphonsus welcomed each one lavishly and many of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo courtesy of Multipedia and FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hello, Ian from Down Under here. I was fascinated to read Ann's Monday post about the history of SUM. And it brought back so many memories for me that I thought I'd go back in time and share my SUM beginnings. It was September 2012. I had always wanted to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference and having a publisher for Angelguard I thought it a useful way of building some momentum for its release a few months later. My wife and I combined it with a holiday to the US with the plan to attend the conference in DFW on our final leg before heading home. The conference had started and I was having a ball meeting lots of fascinating authors including some of my heroes plus gaining a lot of useful information. There was one particular workshop titled “How to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of Dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hiya! Ian from Springtime Sydney. Yes, we in the Southern Hemisphere are beginning to experience the blooming of flowers, the tweeting of baby birds (and unwanted attacks while walking by overzealous magpies) and longer days. I was excited to know that Ann is to be leading us over the next month on a series on the great love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. Hands up, how many of us had this read at our weddings? Mine is up. Interestingly, my wife, though not a believer and hence not a reader of the Bible, thought this chapter to be such a wonderful explanation of ultimate love and therefore, was very happy to have it read at our nuptials. To be honest, by that time I was a little over 1 Corinthians 13 having read it and heard it so many times over the years. My... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hello, dear Sumites. Ian from Down Under here. In this challenging year, it’s very easy to hop on the blame bandwagon and start griping about everything and anything. Life as we know it has been turned upside down and really the ‘new normal’ is still so uncertain. What will life be like in 2021, which is less than 6 months away now? But the world has been here before. Sure, not in of our lifetimes, but in 1917-18 the Spanish flu pandemic was similarly crazy and in some places in the world, churches were shut for over a year. But they didn’t have such a thing as online church that allows us to worship at the top of our voices in our homes. Who we are God is love. That is His very essence. Love. Everything God creates is out of love. And His great mission is one of love.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo courtesy of Rob D and FreeDigitalPhotos.net Dear SUMite friends, Ian from wintry Sydney here. It's just turned July 1 here and it's incredible that half the year has already passed. Who could have anticipated what would go down this year? As I've mentioned previously, the Lord put on my heart the word, 'Awakening', in January but I had absolutely no sense of what that meant. Much has occurred for me personally, but it pales compared to all the global events. Awakening There is an awakening happening across the globe and it's important for us to hold on to the belief that God is in charge. And good has come out of these difficult times and will continue to I expect for years to come. Life for all of us is going to look different for a while, isn't it. Everything we're used to (outside of our homes) is having... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net What a year 2020 has been so far! Ian from wintry Sydney here. Be assured that those of us who don’t live in America are weeping for the people of that great nation and we continue to cry out to God believing for a wave of peace to sweep across that great land. As Ann shared on Monday, it was Pentecost Sunday this past weekend. For a few months now many millions from all around the globe have been believing for a shaking, a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit and increased boldness amongst believers to share the good news of Jesus. What we do know is that more people have been praying, more people have been attending online church services and more people have been declaring Jesus as their Savior. Hallelujah. Hope in the Waiting “The LORD is good to those who wait... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo courtesy of Suriya Kankliang and FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hello, dear friends. Ian from Down Under, here. Another month passes, another month where the majority of us are still in some form of lockdown due to COVID-19. It’s fascinating that we are all in this experience together and that God created us for this season. This is our moment. God made each one of us and our particular gifts and callings for this moment in time. As challenging as this season is, I get excited when I reflect on this season through this fresh lens. He has our Attention I saw a fabulous Instagram post a few weeks from a famous retired wrestler, Hulk Hogan. It said something along the lines of: every idol we worship (athletes, music, actors, money, business, church) has been shut down and all we’re left with is the ONLY thing that matters: Jesus, so focus on Him.... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image Courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography and Free Digital Photos.net Hi, Ian here from sunny Sydney. Wow, who could have imagined when I wrote about supernatural happenings and wilderness experiences in my last post that a few weeks later almost the entire would be thrust into wilderness. It’s scary with how fast things have moved. Our lives have been turned upside down haven’t they, normal routines (as Ann reflected yesterday) for entire households have been dramatically changed, there’s no short term certainty about many of the physical things of life: jobs, incomes, schooling, church attendance, exercise regimes and of course the health of our families, particularly those of us who are in the ‘more vulnerable bracket.’ God is Unchanging But God. He is the one certainty we have, and I also believe it is certain that this wilderness experience will end, however, none of us can be very sure either,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo supplied courtesy of imagery majestic and FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hi! Ian here. Lent began last Wednesday with Ash Wednesday. I’m observing this season once again as I enjoy being intentional about seeking more of God and Lent and Advent seem to help me do that. Yes, I ‘give up’ something (sugar and Instagram this year) as it helps me focus on the wilderness element of the season; Lent, of course, mirroring the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness. But this isn’t a post about Lent rather a sense I’ve had in the past week about stirrings within me that I thought I’d share. Recently, I’ve read a couple of short passages on the supernatural happenings of God. Abraham and Sarah only birthed Isaac through supernatural intervention. Mary and Joseph birthed Jesus only through supernatural intervention. Paul and Barnabas’ ministry work that took the Gospel to the Gentiles is attributed to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of Yongkiet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hello, my dear friends. Seems ages since we’ve ‘met’. I trust 2020 has started well for you all and your hearts are in good places. My family’s had a tough start to the year. Besides the constant trauma on the TV each night as the bushfires raged through the land Down Under (we have been gratefully spared from having it too close) which cast fear and foreboding over people’s spirits, we and dear friends have had own personal traumas. Like our nation, we are recovering and walking, a little bruised and battered, into the future with hope in our hearts. Maybe you’re in a similar place. Or maybe you’re just feeling a bit frazzled with all that’s going on: juggling being wife, mom, friend, daughter, employee or boss. It’s at these times when it’s important we take care of our souls. The Easy Yoke... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of jeswin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Dear SUMite friends, it’s Ian from sunny Sydney here. I love that Lynn’s previous post involved Mary as I too seek to dig a little deeper on one aspect of her story. Let’s quickly look at the scene once again. I’d encourage you to read it in its entirety, Luke 1:26-38. And as you read it, picture yourself in the scene. Stand alongside Mary, our teenage girl. Innocent and naïve. But one who is a committed believer in God. She has read all the stories of Abraham, Moses, the other Joseph and the like. These heroes of the faith are very dear to her. She knows God uses ordinary people to do great things. All of a sudden and out of nowhere, Gabriel arrives. Picture this mighty esteemed angel. I do wonder what he looks like. Is he a giant with wings like the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo courtesy of LiturgyTools.net The Christmas season comes around every year and for many of us it’s kind of the same-old-same-old. Yes, the specialness of the season are the traditions of it and doing the same things every year. We put up the same tree and decorations, listen to the same Christmas music, have the same family mealtimes, attend the various end of year gatherings and church services and so on. The busyness of it and the stress of battling through all the shopping crowds, the cooking of all the food and keeping the house clean can serve to distract us. We consciously decide to stay positive and not allow the stress to affect us or the awkward family moments we often experience. And before we know it, it’s over for another year. We collapse on our lounges having eaten too much and exhausted from the intensity of our family... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of Chaiwat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net I arrived at a Prayer Meeting that I was leading and one of the members was already present. This was unusual for him as he typically arrived after the first 30 minutes. But I could sense something in his spirit was bursting. It didn’t take long for my friend to share the experience he’d just come from – an impromptu morning worship time where he had ‘laid all his burdens down’ before the Lord as he lay prostrate on the floor. I envied his freedom and the heightened experience of lingering with the Lord. We had time before the others arrived for me to share that I too had experienced something similar at the Writers Conference I attended a month or so back. Both our experiences were stimulated by Spirit-enabled worship. There’s something very special when you’re completely given over to worship, whether in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of BlueSuedeBallroom.com Hello, dear SUMite friends. Ian from sunny Sydney here. I returned this morning from a whirlwind trip to San Antonio to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) annual conference. This is now my fourth conference and the reason I keep returning is that each time I go I experience a significant God-moment, writing and non-writing. My first experience of this was at the 2012 event where I met our dear friend Dineen Miller who introduced me to SUM. I’ve written about our meeting a few times but in a nutshell prior to this conference I doubted I could ever have a ministry role outside my small little world as a result of being a SUM. Dineen both at the conference and, later through her contribution to SUM, clearly demonstrated otherwise and it dawned on me that I’d allowed myself to be deceived by the enemy.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo courtesy of photo stock and FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hello, dear SUMites. Ian from Down Under here. Spring has begun and the Lord is spoiling us with some delightfully beautiful days. It was Father’s Day here on Sunday and Fiona had organized an afternoon tea with our two sons, their partners and grandchildren at our eldest son’s home. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we had a splendid relaxing time, six adults and two littlies. As you’d expect the latter received most of our attention and I rejoiced at strolling around the garden with our dear little Willow (8 months now) while two-year-old Moses entertained us with his ‘new words’ and racing around on his various tricycles. There was an interesting moment when Daniel swung his son around on a makeshift swing (Dan being the swing). It was delightful seeing the joy on Moses’ face – he kinda went into a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of thepathtraveler at FreeDigitalPhotos.net We’re a praying SUMite army, aren’t we, dear friends? Ian from freezing cold Sydney here. I trust those of you in the northern hemisphere are enjoying the warmer temperatures and having fun on summer vacations. Prayer. It’s one of those little words that we’re all familiar with, it’s a practice we all do, some of us I expect more than others and for most, if not all of us, it can be hard work. And it’s powerful. Really powerful. It changes hearts, saves people, heals people, restores people and most significantly it connects our hearts with God. The triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “Through relationship, we carry and release the Kingdom onto the earth. This is what joy-filled prayer looks like.” – Beni Johnson Prayer is Relational It’s completely relational and usually reflects the state of our connection with God. If you’re... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of anankkml via FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hello friends, Ian from cold and wintry Sydney here. For a few months now I’ve been reflecting on the first words Jesus spoke to the Galileans on His return from the 40 days in the wilderness. This is what He said: “’The time has come,’ he said. ‘The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” – Mark 1:15 (NIV) Like me you’ve probably read that verse many times and then moved on. But I’ve lingered over it for a while now and every few days it pops back into the forefront of my mind. Besides it’s simplicity of four straightforward statements, it’s interesting when you think of the words as an invitation. In fact, it’s something I discovered a little while ago that rather than looking at Jesus’ commands as that, commands, read them like an invitation. Why? Because... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
There has been much to celebrate in SUMite land in recent weeks. The SUMite Gathering at the beginning of April and our dear Lynn’s Mike coming to know Jesus as his Lord and Saviour being two BIG highlights. My family received some wonderful news this morning. John, my brother, some of you may recall, has been going through treatment for lymphoma since November. Today, he received news that he is in FULL REMISSION! Hallelujah. Praise the Lord! We’re naturally excited but I’m especially pleased for my mom and dad who found the whole experience very stressful. Like Lynn’s Mike who has stepped into a completely different ‘life’, John has also. Prior to his diagnosis he had lived a ‘quiet’ life as a Christian, so quiet that his wife and children weren’t really aware of his faith. However, in this ‘dark valley’ he discovered not just the ‘rod and staff’ of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage