Get Your Sword Out And Start Praying

Carol DunfeePrayer & FastingLeave a Comment

I’m a hopeless book worm. E-readers have saved our house from being over-run with books. Discount e-books have saved our bank accounts from ruin. Occasionally, however, there are books that I just must have in print and paper so that I can mark them, dog-ear the pages, and simply wear them out. This blog entry is about one of those books. The book, Ferventby Priscilla Shirer, was recommended by a Facebook friend (who was my husband’s nurse after his brain surgery). Having recently seen Shirer’s powerful performance in War Room, I was immediately intrigued by the book. I immediately purchased a hard copy and counted the days until it arrived. In Priscilla’s book, she lists ten areas where Satan likes to interfere with our lives. Each chapter closes with Bible verses targeted to a particular area of attack. Remember the “dry bones” in Ezekiel? God told Ezekiel what to speak. Ezekiel said it. It happened. The bones returned to life. After praying these Bible verses over an area of life where I struggle, I experienced my biggest “A-ha’s” in prayer and Bible study.  In the chapter about passion, Priscilla explains how Satan convinces us that it’s useless to pray. He … Read More

Marriage Communication Skills: Darts Vs. Clubs

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

I’m learning to throw darts at my husband.  Yup, you heard me right. Darts. And it takes a lot of practice to hit the target every time.  Let’s face it: sometimes men don’t get us. They can’t read our minds, and they can’t take a hint. And sometimes, they make mistakes. As a life partner, wives will have to properly deal with these deficiencies. That’s what darts are for. I’m not recommending a set of darts in the physical sense. I’m recommending a change in how we approach our husbands when we need to speak with them about important issues.  How do you speak to your man? Do you smash him with clubs, or do you influence him with darts? Several months ago a close friend recommended I listen to a lesson presented by a Catholic Priest to group of wives at a retreat. The topic: Understanding Your Man. He discussed how men and women think differently, and how many men tend to be a little slow at processing the needs of their wives. Counselors and therapists agree that because men are not as verbal, they don’t stay focused on long conversations nearly as much as women. That means, wives, … Read More

Sabbotage, Traps & Opposition

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

I tried to read a book. I know. Not a big deal, if you know me at all. My free time is typically spent reading. Novels. History. Blogs. Devotions. Bible Studies. But this was different.  Because as much as I love to read, and as excited as I was about this particular treasure, I had a hard time staying focused on the words. I spilled my coffee. My nose kept running. My eyes kept watering. My phone kept ringing. Why was I having such a hard time getting through this book? Why did external noises keep bothering me? Why did I keep thinking about my next task, what my kids were doing, or even the weather? I was halfway through when I realized something was very wrong. Sabotage. A very real enemy didn’t want me to hear God speaking through the words of this book – a book which described the common tactics this same enemy uses to trip up Christians. I finished the book the next day, determined to learn what God wanted me to hear and what the devil was so determined that I never find out. We know that according to Ephesians 6:12, our battle is not … Read More

“I See Dead People”, Part 2….or Power for the War Room

Carol DunfeePrayer & FastingLeave a Comment

In part 1, I shared my story of God bringing me back to life (in the spiritual sense, of course). After hitting the “publish” button for that blog, I knew I had to return to that passage. Something was tickling the back of my mind. I listened to the video of “Come Alive (Dry Bones)” again and noticed a link to the story behind the song. The guy in that video mentioned briefly that Ezekiel had to speak to the dry bones before God brought them back to life. Hmmmm… That’s it!! That was the feather tickling my brain. Two nights later, I opened the Bible to Ezekiel 37 again. I took notes on the word, prophesy. It’s not a common word in modern English, expect for in Christian circles. Even then, it can take on ambiguous meanings. According to dictionary.com, some of the word’s definitions include: ·         “To make inspired declarations of what is to come” ·         “To speak as a mediator between God and human kind, or in God’s stead” Bingo! Those definitions certainly fit Ezekiel’s words over the dry bones. He spoke God’s words about what was to come. He spoke as a mediator between God and … Read More

“I See Dead People”

Carol DunfeePrayer & FastingLeave a Comment

I loved the movie, The Sixth Sense. The acting was superb. The plot was unique and suspenseful. It’s one of those movies that must be seen twice.Bruce Willis’s character was a psychiatrist trying to help a little boy, played by Haley Joel Osment, through the fear of his gruesome visions of dead people. The boy is troubled by the dead who beg for his help in avenging their untimely deaths. The suspenseful story ends when the doctor realizes that the only reason the boy can see him is because he himself is DEAD, a victim of his own set of tragic events.The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel saw dead people, too. God showed him a valley full of dry bones. God asked Ezekiel if these bones could live. Wisely, the prophet answered, “O Lord God, you know.” God instructed Ezekiel to tell the dry bones that they were going to be fitted back together, grow flesh and skin, and breath again. As Ezekiel talked to the bones (Seriously?), they joined together to form whole skeletons. Flesh and skin appeared on the bodies.God had more for Ezekiel to say. After God’s instructions, he then told the four winds to blow their breath … Read More

Winner: The One Year Home & Garden Devotions

Jen CudmoreBook Review, FaithLeave a Comment

We’ve chosen a winner! On Tuesday we announced a giveaway for a brand new book from best-selling, award-winning author Sandra Byrd, and today we drew a name. Congrats to Carol! For more information about this inspiring book, see our previous post. And, you can purchase your own copy!  It’s now available at most book retailers, including Amazon. Blessings, Jen

What ARE We Teaching Our Kids?

Carol DunfeeMotherhoodLeave a Comment

A couple of years ago in our MOPS group, a guest speaker challenged us moms to decide what kind of adults we want our kids to be and to train them in that direction. Her words stuck with me. What DO I want for my kids? 4. I want them to be kind and loving.  3. I want them to be hardworking and responsible.  2. I want them to love Jesus and follow Him. 1. I want them to know first-hand the power available to them through the Holy Spirit.  I did not say that I want them to have many friends who make them feel comfortable and popular.  I did not say that I want them to win awards and recognition for their achievements.  I did not say that I want them to be faithful church-attenders who know how to follow rules, memorize Bible verses, and do all the socially acceptable churchy things.  I did not say that I want them to be able to state the proper doctrines of the Trinity, eschatology, atonement, etc.  BUT WAIT!!!!!  Which set of outcomes am I actually working towards??? What do they actually SEE me model? What do I reward? What do … Read More

Book Review & Giveaway: Home & Garden Devotions

Jen CudmoreBook ReviewLeave a Comment

“There is something poignant and meaningful about upcycling an abandoned planter with its well-earned patina while considering how the lines life has etched on us actually make us more appealing.” -Sandra Byrd I met Sandra at a writers’ conference in 2010 for the Christian Writers’ Guild. I was trying do decide which classes to take, and overheard several ladies discussing how sweet Sandra was, and how much they had learned in her teaching sessions. So, even though I had never heard of her, I went to one of her classes. Soon I discovered she was a bestselling author of novels for pre-teen girls. Over the next couple years, my daughter read pretty much everything Sandra had written! She also has a some award-winning historical fiction stories for women, which I read for myself. Over time, Sandra has become a great resource for me, because she is also a writing coach. She has now read through five of my novels (two of which were published). I was thrilled when she reached out to me a few months ago to tell me of her new non-fiction work, a book of devotions for women! (She also wrote a devotion book for girls.) About … Read More

So I Have a War-Room…Now What?

Carol DunfeePrayer & FastingLeave a Comment

Last week, we talked about finding a prayer-place. Many of you responded with your pictures of where you go to be alone with God. You have carved out your place…now what do you do??This is not a time to strive for perfection. Perfectionism is your enemy!! Just get started.1. Get a Bible. It can be a paper Bible, an online Bible, a Bible on your E-reader, or a Bible from an app on your phone. If you don’t have any of these resources, contact me, Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry, or a local church. We would all be happy to put a Bible in your hands.2. Get a notebook. Or paper. Or a white board. Or the notepad in your phone.  Just get something to write on.3. Go to your quiet spot.4. Read the Bible. I recommend starting in the book of Matthew if you don’t already have a reading plan. (Look it up in the table of contents.) Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and guide you as you read. Feel free to underline, highlight, and make notes in the margin. If something jumps out at you, mark it. If something really hits you hard, write that verse down … Read More

Are You A ‘Good Christian Wife’?

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

I honestly believed I was doing all the right things in my marriage.  When I finally admitted things were beginning to unravel, it was a tough pill to swallow. I didn’t think it could happen to me. After all, I had studied many books on how to be a good Christian wife, so I knew what was required of me and how to take care of my family according to Scripture. So if I was a doing all the right things, how could my marriage be falling apart? I went over the checklist in my mind. What are the actions of a good Christian wife? + Put God first – Check. I spent time with God pretty much every day, reading a devotion of some kind, praying, skimming over a few verses in the Bible, listening to sermons on my iPod. I went to church twice a week and participated in two ministries. (And occasionally I would make note to myself that I spent much more time on those things than my husband did.) + Make your husband a priority – Check. I made sure he got dinner every night and had clean clothes to wear. I watched the clock … Read More

Where Is Your “War Room”?

Carol DunfeePrayer & FastingLeave a Comment

I’m not a fan of most of the Christian movies I have seen in the past. The message usually isn’t strong enough to get past the mediocre acting, weak stereotypes, and trite moralism. However, War Room was different. As I watched this movie with several friends, I felt the Spirit of God prompting me to pray. The ending credits made me feel the urge to get down on my knees right there. The urge to pray more hasn’t passed almost two weeks after seeing the movie. SOMETHING about the movie made me want to pray more, harder, better, than I ever have before.   Always before when I heard about “prayer warriors”, I always pictured them as supremely-spiritual, unrealistic people who could somehow rise in the middle of the night to spend hours on their knees. I felt as though I had to be just like these super-humans who seemed to not need sleep…or my prayers would be a failure. Now I see that prayer is simply having a conversation with God as I seek Him with my whole heart. War Room inspired me to make that happen more regularly. I didn’t empty my closet and tape notes to the wall, like Miss … Read More

A 7-Day Challenge EXPANDED!!

Carol DunfeePrayer & FastingLeave a Comment

Last Friday, I challenged ACW Blog readers to ASK, LISTEN, and FOLLOW. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide us.Listen for His instructions.Follow Him. I have attempted the challenge myself. Is today’s Carol unrecognizable from last week’s Carol? No….but I can see some progress in my sin habits. It’s uncomfortable to share these with you, because these are areas that I’d rather not let the whole world see. I’d rather you see the polished person I bring out in public…but that wouldn’t help me or you. One sin God has been bringing to my attention recently is grumpiness. (Yes, there are lots more…but we’ll deal with this one today.) Before the Challenge, I often blamed my grumpiness on circumstances: the house is a mess, my to-do list is too long, the kids aren’t cooperating, etc. One morning, as I was walking the trash out to the street, I was in another grumpy frame of mind. I think it was because the kids didn’t do something they were supposed to do. God brought to mind the fruit of the Spirit. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” –Galatians 5:22 … Read More

What’s In A Name?

Sarah OlsonFaithLeave a Comment

It’s amazing to me the meaning of names. You see, in Hebrew times, names were a very powerful explanation of a child’s life path, but also how a child lived, loved, related, and was known to its family and friends – it literally DEFINED them. The playwright William Shakespeare once wrote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would still smell as sweet.” (Romeo and Juliet, Juliet, Act II, Scene ii, Lines 1-2). This is an example of an epic force in the pursuit of truth. In this classic dramatic tragedy, Juliet was trying to convince Romeo that the Capulet- Montague family feud was meaningless and that he just needed to surrender to the sweet truth before them – that they were madly in love and that he needed to “deny [his] father” so their “star-crossed” love could bloom in all its glory. Well, we all know what ends up happening. In true Shakespeare tragedy form, the two young lovers die in a confused love state of suicide, cyanide, and sword – no love life lived together, no new family to embrace. (Sorry for the spoiler literary lovers, but that’s Shakespeare for ya!). … Read More

It’s Never Too Late!

Guest BloggerFaithLeave a Comment

Photo by Erin during her prayer hike with Jesus and some friends!Symphony Lakes We face so many obstacles in our lives.  We never know what we are going to face sometimes.  One thing is for sure; it’s never too late to seek Jesus.  He is our guide, our strong one, our healer, our comforter, our deliverer, and our Almighty God. Trust in Jesus there is so much power in His name.  I know when I began to say his name, I was embarrassed.  I didn’t know how to ask for help.  In fact, I felt bad for asking for His help.  When I began to witness other people saying His name with such confidence and such admiration, I began to try out saying His name.  I never grew up in a family that would say His name on a daily basis or in general.  I did grow up in a family that believed that Jesus is the Son of God, but prayer consisted of saying grace or repeating memorized prayers.   Let me be clearer, I never had a conversation with Jesus.  I didn’t know how to.  Overtime, He began to break the walls around me and show me just how … Read More

Drowning

Jennifer BullardTrialsLeave a Comment

     Merriam-Webster defines drowning as 1: to suffocate by submersion esp. in water 2: to become drowned 3: to cover with water 4: overpower, overwhelm. Lifeguards go through hours of training on prevention of drownings and how to rescue a drowning victim. EMT’s and Firefighters are skillfully trained on resuscitation in the event of a drowning. As a mother, I am vigilant about my children’s safety when we are in the presence of water. So what do you do if someone you love is drowning? Jump in and save their life, right? What if you can’t? What if you are stuck?What if you are forced to sit on the side of the pool and watch your loved one drown? On a beautiful April evening, my niece Annie, came speeding into the world. Having received the phone call that she was on her way to meet us, I took a shower and quickly headed to the hospital. She was my sisters first baby, so I had plenty of time. WRONG! When I walked into the Labor and Delivery section of the hospital, there was her Dad proudly showing her off to the world. Bald and beautiful. She captured everyone’s heart immediately. … Read More

A 7-Day Challenge

Carol DunfeePrayer & FastingLeave a Comment

Earlier this summer, a guest speaker at our church spoke on the Holy Spirit. Over the next several weeks, our pastor spoke at least 4-5 more times on the Holy Spirit. A friend, who I hadn’t seen in a couple years, spent some time at our house. She talked about the Holy Spirit.  Ding. Ding. Ding. I was beginning to suspect that God was trying to get my attention. I remembered a Francis Chan book called Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit . I had downloaded it to my Kindle app several years ago when Chan offered several of his books for free. Since I hadn’t read it, I decided that now just might be a good time to do that. Reading was relatively uneventful until a week ago, when I stumbled upon Chapter 6…page 127 to be exact. “…if you were in step with the Holy Spirit, listening to and obeying Him, you wouldn’t sin (Gal. 5:16). In any given moment, it is impossible to live in the power of the Spirit and sin at the same time. Sin is wholly opposed to everything that is of the Spirit. They really are mutually exclusive and totally contrary … Read More

When Needs Are Not Met In Marriage

Jen CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

“But my needs are not being met.”  I never thought I’d be one to use that phrase. And yet I reached a point in my marriage where I felt abandoned. From my perspective, my husband was not doing what I believed he should be doing for me. Then I learned a new concept. I wasn’t supposed to be going to my husband to meet my needs. Yes, he has a responsibility to me, but it’s not his job to make me feel secure and complete.   God showed me that husbands were not designed to take care of all their wife’s needs. We’re supposed to let God meet our needs.  As a consequence of the ‘Fall of humanity’ in Eden, women and men now tend to look to each other for fulfillment. Yet that was never God’s plan. When I first talked to God about how empty I felt, how my husband wasn’t taking care of me the way I wanted him to, God’s first reassurance was that my needs are legitimate. God places those needs in every human being; they are not wrong. He gave us needs, all of which were meant to point us to Him.  The need … Read More

When Plan B is Better

Carol DunfeeFaithLeave a Comment

I am a planner. I like my life to work according to my well-laid plans. However, God has a sense of humor and loves to “mess up” my neat plans.  I pictured myself marrying a guy from my “safe” Christian college. God surprised me by taking me through 7 years of college and grad school with no husband. Instead, he had something better. He led me to Alaska where I met a funny, genuine, adventurous guy who was far better than any guy I ever met in college.  I always thought we would homeschool our kids. After all, I am a teacher by profession!! When our oldest was in preschool and our second was a newborn, I joined an online homeschool group. What I intended as a resource for homeschooling turned into a long-term friendship instead. One day, I saw a request for playdates from another mom of preschoolers. We met at a park near my house. Several months later, we invited her whole family over for dinner. Seven years later, this family represents some of our best friends on earth. All because God used my desire to homeschool for something different than I intended.  I could go on and … Read More

Bring on the Faith

Guest BloggerFaithLeave a Comment

Show me how to navigate Jesus.  How do I reach the impossible?  How do I conquer and divide the many detours or distractions along the way?  No matter what I face You are always there, even when there seems no way out or a plan in place. Through prayer and ongoing daily conversations with You, Your Comfort and Peace replace any fears or doubts I may have.  I know we will face many trials, and the Faith that is established through these trials brings the Truth that You are Our Savior.  “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Eph. 6:16 8 years ago, my husband and I lost everything, our house, our jobs, our dignity, and at times our hope.  I will never forget the day my husband arrived at my work and said our landlord is evicting us. I was in complete shock.  When we arrived at our house, all of our household items where being placed in the field across the street.  I was beyond devastated, but then the Holy Spirit arrived and a great strength came over me that would last … Read More

6 Lessons I Learned About Moving

Carol DunfeeFaithLeave a Comment

We moved back to Alaska three years ago after being “outside” for ten years. During those ten years, my husband finished college, all three kids were born, and we defined who we were and what we believed. The newlyweds who left Alaska were quite different from the parents who returned with their three kids after ten years away.  Moving back to Alaska meant leaving family. It meant leaving the only home our kids remembered. It meant leaving dear friends whose kids had been growing up with our kids. It was hard, but we knew God was directing our steps. We knew He had everything under control.  Here are some things I learned about making big transitions.  1. You will be lonely. Very lonely at first. BUT you can choose to get out and make new friends. Over time, the loneliness will fade if you seek out others who need a friend as much as you do.  2. Your life will be different. Your new friends will have different personalities. Your church will have different needs. Your kids will be at a different school. You may work at a different job. It won’t be the same, but you CAN be happy … Read More