Where are You on Monday, Lord?

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

We see Jesus.  We see Jesus as a babe in the manger.  We see him walk on water, feed 5,000, heal the sick, give sight to the blind, make the lame to walk, challenge the religious hierarchy, cleanse the Temple, speak and teach of the Kingdom of God, raise the dead, ride a mule…We see Him praised, worshipped, rejected, forsaken, beaten, spit upon, mocked, crowned with thorns, whipped, nailed to a cross, buried, three days and RISEN!!!  Hallelujah!!!! And Hallelujah it is!!  Is that where we see Jesus? Oh, wait a minute – he also ascended.  He’s coming back…But where do we see Jesus NOW? Come with me to page 1335:                                                  Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” 2 And instantly I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it. 3 The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones—like jasper and carnelian. And the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow. … Read More

Truth or Tradition?

Carol DunfeeFaith0 Comments

I was alone in our family room with the television one summer evening in 2011. My husband was working late. The kids were in bed. On the TV screen, I witnessed story after story of abuse scandals in a group of churches. I was astounded. I had grown up hearing men from these very circles teach God’s Word. I had been told that their “standards” and “traditions” were in place to protect their relationship with God. They were to be copied as examples of true believers. After hearing of their crimes, I wondered… If their teachings were true, how could they fall into such evil? That night, I made a decision. I decided that I would re-evaluate EVERYTHING I had been taught in religious circles. Only these very few things would be held untouchable:                 Jesus is God’s Son, equal with God, born to a virgin.                 Jesus paid the price for my sin and rose again to conquer death and hell.                  The Bible is God’s Word. The rest—everything I had been taught about life, child-rearing, church, giving—would be fair game.  I would dig it up and discard it if it were found untrue. I am sure some would … Read More

Spring Cleaning

Guest BloggerFaith, Holiday0 Comments

So….. how are you all enjoying this AK weather lately? I know it isn’t Springtime yet, but it sure seems like Spring is in the air doesn’t it? Well I don’t know about you, but as soon as signs of the changing season are visible I am in the mood for some deep cleaning, renovating, remodeling, etc. Well with our odd Alaska winter, this mood has come for me quite a bit early. Even though winter may not be over the feelings are still coming. So I have already repainted our basement, worked on some wall hanging projects and started going through the ‘junk’ that piles up. The season of Spring represents a new start or another beginning. A time to begin putting a lot of care into getting something to grow and mature! This not only applies to plants, animals, our homes, etc. But we can apply it to ourselves and our walk with the Lord. I’d like to talk about a different kind of spring cleaning- spiritual cleaning and rejuvenation within ourselves. This is a great season to take this step. To maybe start fresh! Start or recommit yourself to putting more care into your growth in God’s word and … Read More

Why Failure is Actually a Good Thing

Jen CudmoreTrials0 Comments

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time.” Thomas Edison Nobody likes to fail.  When we make a mistake, no matter how big, we risk losing respect from others and often have negative consequences to deal with afterward. We worry that we’re messing up our kids, ruining our career, etc. We’re so disappointed in ourselves that sometimes we don’t know how to recover.  But life must go on. So we suck it up and put one foot in front of the other, apologizing where we must and cleaning up the mess we made, all while trying to be rid of the guilt monster clamped around our neck.  Have you ever considered that failing might actually be a goodthing? Last year I reached a place of what I would call failure. I had overcommitted and my schedule was so full I barely had time for my family. I needed to get a manuscript to my editor, write two short stories for my publisher, keep up on my blog as well as the three others I contributed to, all while working my day job and staying active at church twice … Read More

ToDAY (MONDAY) is the DAY of Salvation…

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

This is the DAY – this is the DAY – this is the DAY that the Lord hath made…Isn’t it quite something that “a” DAY was actually MADE?  I mean there was a moment when there was not a DAY – and then suddenly God MADE a day!  Wow. To-DAY, I am compelled to write from a grateful heart.  To return to the One Who reached out and touched me and thank Him ~ for He cleansed this leper’s heart and made me whole on a DAY.  It was all His doing ~ He sought me ~ He wooed me ~ He ordered the steps of my every DAY and brought me to A DAY and on that DAY opened my eyes to Who He is.  Jesus said, “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No man cometh unto the Father but by me…” (John 14:6)  Was He lying? Is He a Lunatic? Or is He the Lord?His Spirit pressed upon me and I was forced to address the evidence before me on that DAY.   Oh, how thankful I am that He continued in His pursuit of my soul. I had never heard that Jesus was God.  God.  The Creator of  DAYS ~ and of all that is in … Read More

Does God Answer MY Prayers?

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

Their daughter was dead. A heartbroken mother and father had just watched their daughter take her dying breath. Her body was still. No longer did it vibrate with her infectious laughter. No longer did her smile brighten the room. Her life was gone, leaving only a decaying, empty shell behind. Then Jesus and a few disciples entered the room. He announced that she was only sleeping. Suddenly, her lifeless gray body began to show signs of life. Pink roses began to bloom in the color of her cheeks. Her chest rose and fell with each new breath.  She opened her eyes and cried “Mommy! Daddy!”  Her parents collapsed on her bed with the joy of her new life. They embraced her with a joy equal in intensity to their grief of just moments earlier. Her eyes sparkled again. She was back!! (Story found in Luke 8.) Today, we read about miracles likes these and wonder why we don’t see them happen anymore…why we don’t have the “praying power” that the apostles and early Christians had. There are many reasons why we don’t see answers to prayers. Maybe we harbor a known sin. Maybe we refuse to forgive someone who has wronged … Read More

Thirsty Mondays…

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

The Lord keeps taking me  back to Psalm 63.  I say “back” because the first time I read this Psalm the words jumped off the page and into my heart.  It was a long time ago – I was in my early thirties and I was dead on the inside.  Like a log that had been burned to charcoal…unfeeling, unresponsive, unable… I had no idea “what” was wrong with me – I knew “something” was –  I DID know what circumstances had contributed to the “what” that was wrong – but I could not define the “what” –   and true to my personal wiring – I did not care “what” was wrong – I only cared about “how” to fix “it.” ( The “it” would be ME…).  Getting from one place to the other via the shortest route is always MY goal… As I find often with God, short distances are not necessarily His goal.  Accurate footsteps are. “O God, You are my God” – the starting place is always God – recognizing WHO He is – submitting to His authority and believing what He has spoken to be true – about Himself – about me. Not my husband, nor my children, nor my friends can … Read More

Pandora’s Box

Carol DunfeeTrials0 Comments

Most of us have heard the story of Pandora’s Box. It was a beautiful box that held evil, sickness, and death. When Pandora let her curiosity overwhelm her, she opened the box and released all kinds evil into the once perfect world. Terrified with the evil pouring out of the box, Pandora snapped the lid shut, trapping hope inside.  I am no expert in mythology, but this particular myth helped me to grasp the magnitude of what happened in the Garden of Eden. God created a perfect world for us. (Genesis 1-3) He intended for us to have a perfect relationship with Him. However, He knew that if He forced us into that relationship, we wouldn’t be truly His. He gave Adam and Eve a choice: enjoy a perfect relationship with Him OR sacrifice that relationship to eat from that ONE forbidden tree. Just like Pandora in the myth, their untamed curiosity, encouraged by the tricky serpent, destroyed the perfect world God had made. Those bites of forbidden fruit opened the “Pandora’s Box” of sin and pain into our world. When I saw my friend’s anguish after losing two pre-born babies in a year, I did not believe that God … Read More

Put your oxygen mask on first!

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

This is a line that all of us hear from the flight attendants before we take to the air on a plane. I have always listened to what they are saying and I have actually thought about it a few times as they were saying it. But those times I was thinking of it as actual oxygen. I thought about it a little more and maybe even on a deeper level when I recently watched the great movie ‘Mom’s Night Out’. I’m sure many of you have seen it, if you haven’t then please do- it’s GREAT! Well, I have seen it multiple times, but for some reason when I watched it with a couple girlfriends this week and I heard the lines again, something hit me. Not really for just the ‘mom’ parts of my life, but in so many aspects of it. In the movie, the main character Ally has reached a breaking point in her ‘mommy’ life and her husband reminds her that she needs to put on her oxygen mask first. She needs her oxygen before she can help anyone else. You need your oxygen first!I need my oxygen first! Again, this does not just apply to those … Read More

The Value of Laughter

Jen CudmoreFaith0 Comments

Why did the goose cross the road? Because it was the chicken’s day off! Okay, so maybe that joke was lame, but if you didn’t laugh, I bet it at least made you want to smile.  Laughter promotes satisfaction with our lives. The Bible tells us a merry heart is like good medicine (Proverbs 17:22). Science has proven that when people laugh, endorphins  are released in the brain, similar to when we exercise. Many studies show that consistent laughter has health benefits. We literally feel better when we laugh!  I learned the value of laughter from my mother. She was one of those people who had an infectious laugh. When something tickled her, there was no stopping the stream of laughter. And the funniest part was that she usually cracked herself up, and that would start the rest of us chuckling. 3 Benefits of Laughter:  1) Laughter bonds people together. I have many fond memories of my siblings and I gathered together listening to Mama tell stories or jokes. She took twice as long as anyone else because she kept laughing, which made it more memorable for us.   Laughter breaks down barriers. It makes people open up, let their … Read More

Nervousness

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

Within each person there are approximately 90,000 miles of a nerve system all strung together. That’s an amazing fact as well as an unfathomable picture for my brain to comprehend. If you think about this long enough, you’d realize that’s 3 ½ times the circumference of the earth. Crazy, right??? So that said, is it any wonder we tend to be nervous and anxious creatures? I often find myself becoming nervous about something as simple as whether there’s enough seasoning on the chicken so my husband will like it; or something as large as if my children will be kept safe while driving from one location to another. Of course one level of nervousness/anxiousness is much more intense than the other but nonetheless it ripples through my body and consumes at least part of my consciousness. I can physically recognize the chemical reaction  in the muscles at the back of my neck, my fingers tend to fist up, my breathing becomes shallow and rapid, my brain is obsessed…..this all over seasoning??? Seriously, who does that……..well, all of us! So many times, as multitasking women, we find ourselves anxious or nervous about multiple things. What we fail to recognize is the … Read More

When the Bottom Falls Out

Carol DunfeeTrials0 Comments

It was early morning on Valentine’s Day, 2014. My husband had been out photographing the Northern Lights and had been asleep in bed for half an hour. Suddenly, his whole body went rigid and began to shake violently. I knew he was having a seizure and long-ago first aid classes kicked in enough for me to remember that I needed to clear his airway. His face was smashed into his pillow, so I struggled to roll his stiff, convulsing body just enough so he could breathe. After what seemed like an eternity, the shaking stopped. He fell into a deep sleep. His breathing was loud and awkward, but at least it assured me that he was still here. I was confused and terrified. Bryan was scheduled to perform his first wedding ceremony that night. His best childhood friend was getting married. Bryan wrote out what he was going to say at the wedding from his Emergency Room bed. He seemed calm, but I was barely holding it together. Late in the afternoon, we finally got the results of Bryan’s MRI. He had a brain tumor in his left temporal lobe. He would meet with a neurosurgeon the following week. The … Read More

How AWESOME is our God!

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place…” Psalm 8:3-4 I’m sure many of us have looked up into the sky and marveled at how great and wonderful our God is! What beautiful pictures he paints for us each and every day! What glorious little glowing lights he allows us to see each night! “Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.” Isaiah 40:26 My two oldest children are learning about space in school right now. It is a topic of conversation often on the car ride to or from school and at the dinner table. My husband is also a space fanatic and I have loved stars since I learned the constellations in 4th grade, so it’s a hot topic with all of us! We have checked out many really cool apps, watched some of our videos we have regarding the universe, looked through some amazing books and just shared the joy of this topic as … Read More

Do Your Friendships Measure Up?

Jen CudmoreTrials0 Comments

“When I grow up,” my daughter told me one day, “I hope I have a friend just like Ms. Christy.”“What do you mean?” I asked.“Because she isn’t afraid to tell you when you’re wrong. She helps you to make good choices.” I had to laugh at my daughter’s comment. I can’t count how many times my friend Christy has confronted me on a negative attitude or skewed perspective, reminding me of God’s principles. God created women to be relational, so it’s natural for us to build friendships. But are we picking the right friends? Are we being a good friend to others? And what does a healthy friendship look like?  Is it simply meeting for coffee or planning parties or going shopping together? Companionship is important, but there is more to it than that. The book of 1 Samuel states that Jonathan and David were linked at the soul. In a couple places the Bible speaks of their great love for each other. They had a unique friendship and a commitment to each other that centered around God.  That’s what we need in our lives today. In chapter 23 of 1 Samuel, Jonathan helped David “find strength in the Lord” … Read More

Late Monday’s….

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

So…were there any who may have wondered where I was today?  Or, perhaps you just wondered when the post for today was going to show up…? Well, either way, I will tell you – I was between “here” and “there” ~ and so wrapped up in the “there” that I could not break away no matter how much the “here” weighed upon me. No excuses, just real stuff in real time without the pre-arranged, exact-o control, and go ahead of yourself planning preparedness for………………Monday’s post. I spent the weekend in Kenai.  With my family. My husband. My daughter. My son-in-law. My BABY BENJAMIN !!!!  He was on my lap as many times and for as long as I could get him to stay. It was wonderful.  As I write this, I keep trying to figure out how I “SHOULD FEEL.”  About what?  The weekend? The missed work?  The late Monday post?  What?  Hmmm.  I will tell you how I DO feel… I feel renewed.  I feel loved.  I feel SO thankful for the memories made and the number of times a baby boy called me “Nonnnn – ie.”  I kissed his face. I kissed his neck.  I kissed the palms … Read More

What’s Wrong With Venting?

Jen CudmoreTrials0 Comments

How do you respond when something goes wrong? All too often when someone mistreats us or something doesn’t go our way, our first impulse is to scream and yell. Whine and cry. Protest and complain.  So we seek out a sympathetic ear – or many sympathetic ears.  Most people believe that venting frustrations is healthy. And truthfully, sometimes it does feel good to release a bit of stress to someone who really understands. However, what we forget is that complaining breeds discontent, which is probably why God tells us not to do it (Phil 2:14). Venting to another human being may be necessary in some situations, but then we have to let it go.  We must choose carefully when  sharing our frustrations with others. Even well-meaning Christians can encourage us to stay mad about issues that are better left alone. Our friends understand our perspective and feel bad when we’re put in tough situations. They give us platitudes and condemn the other people involved. Isn’t that what a good friend does – takes our side and tells us we were right all along? God cares about how we respond to situations we don’t like. He uses all kinds of negative … Read More

Does Our Choice of Entertainment Really Matter?

Jen CudmoreCurrent Events, Faith0 Comments

Is there any truth to the term “garbage in equals garbage out”? You bet! When believers “backslide”, it’s a slow fade, and it typically starts with where we’re spending our time. We have to be intentional with each moment in our day, and that includes our choice of entertainment. The things of this world may sometimes feel harmless, but in large doses they are detrimental. A rule we try to stick to in our house is participating in more “Christian” entertainment than secular. We try to keep our exposure to godly influences higher than that of worldly influences. We get enough of that junk outside the house (a great reason to be in church often!) Our homes should be a sanctuary, a place where our families feel safe and loved. We must not let our entertainment steal that away from us! Take a moment to ponder how you spend your free time: 1) Do you choose music that uplifts? While secular music has its place (I listen to tons of love songs when I’m writing my novels!), we are better served by keeping it to a minimum if we want to stay connected with our God. Christian music, along with … Read More

We Are Here Again ~ It’s Monday

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

Last Monday to this Monday – how’s it going?  It was a quick jump from one to the other, was it not? Nevertheless, I ask myself the only really important question that exists between those two points in time – “How’s my walk with Jesus? Did I talk to Him; did I spend time with Him?” After all, I did choose Him; well He chose me; drew me; convicted me; saved me…and I did mean to make Him a priority… I did listen to some Christian music in my car.  I went to church on Wednesday and twice on Sunday.  Good, good.  I read some stuff other people wrote about Him.  I even “liked” some FB posts and “shared” a couple of posts that “spoke” to me… However…”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” (John1:1).“The Word came and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14) The Word.  Jesus and The Word are One in the same.  “The Word” is Who created the world – and the world was created by The Word.  In John 17:17, Jesus says “thy Word is Truth.”  In John 14:6, He said “….I AM the Way, the Truth…” The Truth … Read More

It’s Monday.

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

It is Monday morning and half the planet faces the beginning of another week. It’s time to leave the weekend and roll into the routine that will undoubtedly frame the next five days. Most of us feel a bit of an “ugh” at the required shifting of gears. It’s Monday morning. I want it to be a “good” week.  But I lack the “positive attitude” that everybody says I should have.  All those mental hoops to jump through – honestly I do not have the energy or the will power to convince myself that I am where I want to be (unless where I am is on a beach in Hawaii – which is, unfortunately NOT where I am). Well, in all the years I have lived (and I have lived a few), I have never found an answer to the dilemma of feeling defeated before you even start.  Except for Jesus. Jesus is beautiful and worthy. Jesus is kind and loving. Jesus knows me and wants me to know Him – more. Jesus is The Only One who never tires of my quirky-ness.  He understands me better than I understand myself and He has taken the time to order my steps.  He wants … Read More

Be Real

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

I’m BEYOND excited to be a writing contributor for this blog! I hope the ways God is working in my life that I share will encourage you all on your walk with Him. ‘Being Real’ sounds pretty easy, right? Well I honestly hadn’t really thought much about how difficult this truly has been for me in my life until I was preparing a short message for a recent women’s gathering at my church. I have been a person of honesty, integrity, etc. but I wasn’t being completely ‘real’ with myself about some things God was presenting in my path and even worse, I wasn’t being real with Him. Thankfully, the Lord helped me work through the process of getting real with myself and ultimately being real in my relationship with Him and following in the path He was leading. When some people think of moving into a ministry position it might give them anxiety. I am not that person. I have always been drawn to leadership positions with not much hesitation. The Lord had called me into women’s ministry and I jumped in with both feet. Little did I know, He had a BIG plan that I wasn’t prepared for. … Read More