Decisions, Decisions

Carol DunfeeFaith0 Comments

Do you remember the first major decision you ever made on your own? My first memorable decision happened in my senior year of high school when I had to decide which college to attend. I was a typical teen, thinking I knew much more than I did…but this decision baffled me. I knew that the college I chose would affect the trajectory of the rest of my life. I struggled with the pros and cons of each college. I wondered how much my friends’ college choices should affect me. How on earth could I forsee the future enough to make the right choice. My dad came to my rescue. No, he didn’t choose for me, although I almost wished he would. But he gave me advice that I still follow today. I’m no longer worried about what college to attend, but these steps have helped my husband and I decide which car to buy, which job to take, where to live, and more. This advice even helped me choose to marry my husband! Research as much as possible. If you are looking at buying a house, research the local market. Talk to people in different neighborhoods. Listen to your realtor. Examine every finance option. … Read More

God is present…even when I don’t feel Him

Jewel ZymurgyFaith2 Comments

Earlier today I read a devotion and in all honesty it was one that I turn to when I find myself feeling as if there is no one who is for me. Today the day went by like a slow motion movie that felt as if I were just watching and not necessarily living. Conversations sounded hollow and my words seemed to echo and fade as if I were speaking into a cavern. My speed physically matched what I perceived as the unhurried pace of those around me and it took every ounce of energy to enter into what ended up being conversations that were full of tears from those whom I work with. There are days when I know where God is leading me and what I feel prompted to say and I gladly follow…and then there are days when my emotions seem to be just under the surface and my passions threaten to plow over anyone who enters into my personal space. Some of those days are like today, when I fail to see the path that I need to walk down and in my own head I ask the question…where are you, God? Those are the times … Read More

When there’s shame in your story…

Rosalynn LasleyRedemption, Trials1 Comment

Throughout this blog I’ve been slowly sharing parts of my story. One of the good things about telling my own story is that I’m able to share the parts of my story I want you to know. I can shine up my story really nice so it sounds awesome, but what about the parts of my story that won’t ever shine up? What about the parts that are so dark and ugly I wish they could be removed completely? What happens when there’s shame in your story?   The other day I was thinking about many different Bible stories and characters I’ve heard about through the years. I thought to myself, “How embarrassing to have some of your biggest, most shameful moments written down and passed along, all through history!!” Sure the stories are about more than just the things they’ve done wrong, more than just the things they’re ashamed of, but it’s still embarrassing sometimes when everyone knows your story.    I thought about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. One of Eve’s most shameful moments changed all of mankind. Her decision to disobey God was written down for all to see, and also brought sin into … Read More

Stand Firm: Total Surrender

Jen CudmoreFaith1 Comment

“If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It’s a silly saying, and yet very true. When a woman doesn’t get her way, she often makes herself and those around her miserable. Yet the trouble is, we forget that life isn’t about having everything fall perfectly into place. Life is messy. Complicated. Hard. So far in our series on standing firm against the enemy and the pressures of this world, we’ve talked about the armor of God and power in prayer. Today, the challenge is all about complete submission to our Lord and Savior. Our emotions, insecurities, and selfish hearts get us into trouble when we let them take over. Which is why, in order to stand firm in our faith and remain steady in a crazy world, we need to surrender each day, each moment, to God and let Him take care of everything. We need to be okay, when life is not okay. We can’t let ourselves get uptight, stressed out, and tossed about when there is chaos all around us. 3 Ways to Surrender: 1. Accept God’s sovereignty. He created the universe – He gets to decide how He runs it. He sits on a Heavenly throne, and … Read More

A Love Letter to Alaska

Heather GillisFaith, Uncategorized2 Comments

It comes with mixed emotions and bittersweet feelings that my stay here in Alaska has come to an end. Oh how I have loved it here, the memories we have made will last a lifetime. But it is time for this military family to embark on our next journey. It seems we have just said hello and now it is time to say goodbye. This post will be a little different from my previous ones. I hope you have enjoyed reading the Monday messages God has placed on my heart each week. This is my love letter to Alaska—between hello and goodbye. I don’t think a person could ever really say goodbye to Alaska once they experience it. It’s a place I would like to return in one way or another. Alaska has been so good to us in every way. You can see how creative God is when he made Alaska. It is like no other place I’ve ever been.   My Love Letter to Alaska: Oh Alaska, I will never forget the first time Ilaid my eyes on you. The pictures I tried to take with my phone, never gave you justice of how mighty and great your mountains … Read More

Apology from a Church Girl

Carol DunfeeFaith, Redemption1 Comment

An apology might be the last thing you expect from a church person. After all, we have a reputation for pointing fingers at others, while holding ourselves to a different standard. We have a tendency to speak first about politics and last about compassion. We cling to our comfort zones instead of Jesus. This isn’t going to be easy. I am exposing a part of me I’d rather leave hidden. This apology is for all the people I diminished when I was lost in religion. 1. I am sorry for not thinking about your feelings. How many times have I seen a life-style, a demographic, or a “sin” and immediately made a decision about you? I forget that you are a real person with feelings just like mine. I forget that you feel rejection as painfully as I do. I’m sorry I didn’t take the time to know you. My own pain has now made me more sympathetic to your pain. I hope the next time I meet you, that I will look into your eyes and see the beautiful soul God made. I hope I will see the soul that just needs a friend to listen and weep with her. 2. I … Read More

Common Thread of Loss

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Trials0 Comments

Grief

Life in this world has a common thread of loss. Some loss is spread out through our lifetime while others seem to take place one instance after another. In the last few weeks, it has felt like loss after loss, heartache after heartache, broken relationships, illness, difficulties, conflicts, emotional struggle, rejection…pain…it all seems to be dangerously close to burying the hope I desperately cling to. There were days, I found myself walking around in a stupor of murky confusion, allowing the ache of what I was feeling around me to encircle me like a heavy fog. In those moments, I was easily forgetting that my Savior was called a man of sorrows. Loss and grief made him weep. I am reminded that my King allowed tears to fall. John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” For one reason or another, I find myself trying to be strong or longing to numb myself from the tenderness my heart feels from the loss. In anger, I want to shield myself from my soul’s anguish of betrayal. And it seems unacceptable that people around me see tears fall. I see what bottling up that emotion does…it will come out one way or another. I can choose … Read More

From the moment I met you, I knew I was going to fall in love with you

Rosalynn LasleyMarriage0 Comments

Fall in love with you

This is one of my favorite times of the year. I say that a lot, because I have a lot of favorite times of year, but this really IS one of my most favorite times of all.  This time of year is my favorite because this is when our love story began. Next week makes 16 years since we’ve been “us” and even though I’ve loved him for more than half of my life now, it feels like it was just yesterday when he held my hand for the first time.   We were only 15 years old when our story began. We were merely two kids who knew little about life, but two kids who loved each other with a love that was solid and would withstand all that life had in store for us, even if people didn’t understand at the time.    We dated in a time before texting (imagine that) back when people talked in person or on the phone. The very first time we ever REALLY talked to each other, we talked for over 6 hours! Even now, all of these later, we could sit up and talk late into the night. We don’t even … Read More

Stand Firm: Pray Without Ceasing

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & Fasting1 Comment

“Christ actually meant prayer to be the great power by which His church should do its work…” Andrew Murray We’ve begun a series on How to Stand Firm. First, we discussed briefly why we can’t allow ourselves to be moved when the enemy attacks. Last week we reviewed the armor of God and why that is so significant in our lives. Today, we’ll discuss a tool that is seriously (and sadly) under-utilized in our world today: prayer. Previously I shared 4 ways to resist the enemy based on the scripture from James 4:7 stating if we resist, he will flee. Another way to resist is to never stop praying (1 Thes 5:16). Satan hates when believers pray. He knows that when we humble ourselves before God, the Holy Spirit and God’s glory are released on earth. The Bible tells us to ask and it will be given to us (Matthew 7), that if we remain in Him then whatever we wish will be done (John 15:7). Prayer is essential if we want to see God move. Simply put, talking with God changes things. The early church in Acts grew immensely because of the believers’ devotion to prayer. Major revivals throughout … Read More

Lessons in Love from my Mom

Madison RosserMotherhood1 Comment

Mother’s Day. It can be a sensitive day. Many women long to be a mother, but some wait in the desert of infertility wondering when life will come. Others have lost precious little ones. Some mothers are estranged from their children, and some children are disillusioned by the poor example or absence of their mother. Still others, like myself, mourn the always-too-early-loss of the woman who gave them life. I lost my mom when she was forty-four years young, but if she had been ninety-nine, I am sure my world would feel just as empty. Perhaps for you, today is sheer celebration of joy and love, as it should be. Regardless, this day spurs reflection for many. This Mother’s Day has me reflecting on what my own momma taught me in the twenty-two years I had her. My mother was a special woman, quick-tempered, but quicker to love and laugh. She taught me many things about living and loving. Three things stick out to me in particular. Love is in the details. My mom had a knack for making me and others feel special. When I was a child, it was making a favorite meal or hiding a note in … Read More

Stand and See

Carol DunfeeFaith1 Comment

The soldier was standing, but barely. The enemy rushed in from all sides, attacking with renewed ferocity. He mustered all his strength just to keep his shield up and his sword swinging. As soon as one attacker was down, another one took its place. Would it never end? He didn’t know how much longer he could stay on his feet. Behind what our eyes can see, God fights spiritual battles against the powers of darkness. As Christians, we have an important role to play. Ephesians 6:10-18 (ESV) gives us instructions for these battles raging all around us: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate … Read More

God, Help Me Bring Her Through​​

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Motherhood, Trials0 Comments

Help me God

As I am writing this moment tears well up in my eyes. I grew up in a manner that did not allow me to learn how to express my sadness or loss. Now as my child is hurting deeply from the death of a friend I feel like I finally have the room and the desire to open that door to letting God into that walled off place in my heart. Just thinking about the pain that I see my daughter experience brings tears to my eyes readily and in the span of a moment my heart feels like it is one beat away from breaking. This may be a naïve comment to make, but I never saw it coming. It took me by surprise. The loss that was so sudden and the way that it happened…took my breath away and sometimes I catch myself getting lost in the heartache of it all. There are so many times when I have felt overwhelmed and scared and unsure of what to do. This is where I find myself again…though this time with a feeling of complete powerlessness as I see my daughter grieving daily the loss of her friend. Instead of … Read More

The Journey to the Mountaintop

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

Journey Mountaintop

The Certainty of God’s Witness.  this is He who came by the water and blood – Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood.  And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.  For  there are three that bear witness in heaven:  the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit;  and these three are one.  And there are three that bear witness on earth:  The Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.  1John 5:6-8 “BEEP!  BEEP!  BEEP!”  my alarm clock screams. I arise with the sunlight creeping in through the shades polishing a shadow of the mountain I am about to conquer.  I get ready in a hurry with the electricity shooting throughout my body.  Full of the excitement and anticipation, I stare at Eureka Mountain – my place of pleasure, my place of peace, my place of solitude.  The significance of this summit lies deep within my heart; once more I step foot at the base of this mountain, but with a different purpose.  A purpose not of fear or redemption, but a purpose to see His divine creation, to listen, to hear, and to soak in … Read More

Stand Firm: The Armor of God

Jen CudmoreFaith0 Comments

“To be a Christian is to be a warrior.” CH Spurgeon Last week we introduced a new series on How to Stand Firm. We discussed that by following Christ and committing to serve Him, we make ourselves a target. Our adversary is cunning and we need to be prepared for trouble. For years I heard people mention that we must ‘put on’ the armor of God each morning. For the longest time, I thought it was merely a prayer people said each day. But it’s much more than that. The Armor of God is a series of daily choices regarding truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Bible. In Ephesians 6,  Paul explains each item in terms the people of his day could understand based on the typical armor of a roman soldier prepping for battle. This explanation emphasized how vital each concept is to the life of a believer. Belt/Girdle of Truth: The enemy is a deceiver, so to defeat him we must know the truth, which is God’s standard. We get this truth from scripture, and it has the power to set us free. The more truth we obtain through Bible study and teachings from church, the better … Read More

Are You Willing To Go Where God Calls You?

Heather GillisFaith, Redemption, Trials0 Comments

“God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called” quote by Mark Batterson.          Has God ever asked you do something that didn’t make sense? About 2,000 years ago Jesus was looking to qualify the called.  He was starting his ministry on earth calling His first disciples.  He saw some fisherman fishing alongside a lake.  He then told them to take the boat, out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch (Luke 5:4).   Simon, the boat owner said to  Jesus, “We’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.  But because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5).  Then something amazing happened.  Their nets began to break and their boats began to sink because they had caught so many fish (Luke 5:6-7).   Simon and all his companions couldn’t believe what they had just witnessed.  They had been fishing all night, then Jesus came along and changed everything.  Simon fell to his knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord;  I am a sinful man!”  Simon knew he had witnessed something great and felt unworthy to be in the presence of Jesus. Jesus said, “Come, follow me, and … Read More

When Gratitude Unlocked a Miracle

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting, Trials, Womanhood1 Comment

Last week, I wrote about giving thanks in the middle of trouble. Little did I know just how much I would need that message on the very day the blog published. A few months ago, several of us at Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry began praying about having a vendor table at a local homeschool convention. The topics of womanhood and women’s discipleship had been forefront in our minds. We were approved to teach a class about those topics at the convention. I cannot tell you how much prayer went into the preparation. I can only tell you that it was a LOT!! We prayed for the women who would attend our class. We asked God to use our class to set women free from false beliefs, to open their eyes to life-giving truth, and to release God’s favor over their lives. Our goals were big and we believed them to be God-given. The day of that class was the same day that I published the blog about gratitude. I planned to attend our middle child’s school concert that morning before heading to the convention at 10:00. As my husband and kids were about ready to head out the door for work and … Read More

Deep Tears

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Motherhood, Trials1 Comment

BrokenHearted

It was a tough, tough week. I was group leading for Beauty for Ashes, and it was day 2. It is a faith-based healing conference that looks at the harm that is caused in our past, to see how it affects our now, and make plans for a better tomorrow. My heart was tender with the sadness of the brokenness of the stories that I was already hearing in our small group. I was incredibly aware of the rising anger growing inside me at the mistreatment of these ladies as they were young. The desire inside me, to fight for them grew. I wanted to be the one who would stand against those who in their own woundedness or selfishness caused these ladies so much pain. I cried tears of deep sadness knowing that there was no one to stand in the place of protection and instead I can only say those things that I wish they would have gotten to hear or see…I felt so heartbroken. With surprising curiousness, I looked at my sensitive heart. The passion that I felt in my core that was willing to fight for people that I had just met was foreign to me. … Read More

How to deal with Loss

Guest BloggerTrials0 Comments

How to Deal with Loss

When the unexpected happens and we are faced with death, how do we deal with that? The past couple of days, I have witnessed a family member die from illness, and a tragic accident that killed a young teenager in our community. Life can be brutal sometimes.  How do we explain things like this?  How do we function? When things like this happen, it is hard not to look at our own life and make sense of these unfortunate circumstances.  For me, I have reflected on my past of when I lost my mother at a young age due to a car accident. Growing up without my biological mom, life was hard.  I do not wish that on anyone.  To this day after 31 years of not talking to her, hearing her voice, hugging her, or seeing her, makes me sad.  I do long for her and I always will.   However, I have comfort in knowing that she is alive in her new home called HEAVEN! With death there is sadness, pain, suffering, grieving, unfairness, and much more.  However,  knowing JESUS is the answer to finding COMFORT, JOY, LOVE, and getting through this ultimate LONG SUFFERING. “But the fruit of … Read More

How to Stand Firm

Jen CudmoreFaith5 Comments

They warned me. They said the more I help at church and the more I get involved in ministry, the more complicated life would get. I wasn’t about to let that scare me away. They said to be ready. They said the journey would be difficult. They said the enemy would rise against us. And they were right. God gives us dreams and passions so we can pursue His purposes. The end goal is to make disciples and bring Him glory. Yet by heeding the call, we make ourselves a target, and while some people prefer to believe Satan isn’t real, the Bible is clear that he is active on this earth. Jesus warned that there would be trouble in this world (John 16:33), yet we know that God is greater than Satan (1 John 4:4), and He give us the power to defeat the enemy (Luke 10:19). We can’t ignore our calling just because we may have hardships or setbacks. We can’t live in fear of the enemy and what he might do. We must be strong and courageous, like the Bible tells us. And we must be obedient. So how does a person prepare for these attacks? When … Read More

The Power of God’s Word

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, Marriage4 Comments

I will never forget the first time I opened my Bible to read for the first time.  I didn’t know where to start or what to read.  I felt overwhelmed and lost.  There were so many words and pages.  How did I even begin? Once I opened the Scriptures and started reading, a whole new world was open for me.  At times I put prayer and reading the Bible on the back burner.  I let life get the best of me.  I was distracted by everything the world offered me.  The truth is, I’ve been a Christian my whole life and didn’t truly see the value in opening up the Scriptures and reading them until brokenness entered my life. Nothing makes a person examine their priorities more than when tragedy enters their life (Click to Tweet).   Tragedy makes us listen and pay attention.  My brokenness exposed what was I really filling my life with?  What was the meaning and purpose of my life? The Bible took on a whole new meaning in my life once tragedy got my attention.  The Bible verses I read became living and breathing in my life.  Opening the Scriptures is where I really met Jesus.  … Read More