The Stirring, The Longing, The Awakening

Jen CudmoreFaith0 Comments

“I feel it in my bones – You’re about to move…” They say during autumn, the air is crisp. And it’s true. I breathe it in deep, savoring the fresh smells of the morning. The chill nips at my skin as the sky lightens with the sun. Golden leaves drift over the ground, flipping and fluttering in the breeze. All around, I can feel something stirring. It’s the sweet treasure of autumn. And it’s the anticipation of You. I think if how You yearn to come to us. Your Word says that You come to rescue us from sin and bondage. That You come when we call for help in times of trouble. That You come when Your people lift their voice in praise. That You come when to us we ask, seek and knock. But this longing … it’s different. You’ve already rescued so many of us from sin. You’ve answered cries for help. You’ve gloried in our praise. You’ve answered our prayers. And we are grateful! Yet You desire more for us. Your bridegroom heart beats wild! I see You pacing, patient and yet impatient. Ever waiting, ever watching, ever wishing to break free. The Great Lion of … Read More

The Mistakes of My Mouth: EXPOSED

Carol DunfeeFaith0 Comments

When our oldest was about 10 months old, I slipped while carrying her down stairs, landing on her tiny leg. She cried for a bit, but cheered up with a bath and a little ice cream. However, if she put any weight on her leg, she screamed in pain. We rushed her off to the emergency room where they performed x-rays on her tiny body. They found nothing wrong. We drove back home and put her to bed, but the next morning, she still wailed any time she put weight on her leg. Obviously, something WAS wrong. That morning, we took her to her pediatrician, who ordered more x-rays, finding a tiny dent-like fracture. The orthopedist put her in a cast for three weeks. While it may have delayed her walking for a bit, she was as good as new at the end of her three weeks. Our daughter obviously had an injury. We could have treated the pain with Tylenol, but that would have caused a long-term problems with an untreated fracture. Instead, we kept searching until we found the cause of her pain. When we found the cause, we were able to treat it. Isn’t this just like … Read More

Freedom in Soccer

Jewel ZymurgyFaith0 Comments

My daughter has always enjoyed the sport of soccer. I remember vividly the first season she played on a team. She had always been a scrappy little chick who ran her heart out which makes me smile as I think back on that time as she first joined team sports. She was on a recreational (a “just for fun”) all-girls team and since she was in single digits and it being the first time she played on a team, it was chaotic to say the least. I have a history of playing soccer in my past so I quite enjoyed watching as my child seemed to have the energy and reserve of an atomic energizer bunny as she chased down the ball and/or tried to score. Just remembering that time makes me laugh. However, being as young as they were it was basically a free-for-all where ever the ball happened to be. There was a lot of pushing, there were many tears and many, many times when the kids would grab the ball with their hands and throw it. Often after one of those mentioned offenses, a child would look over to their parents on the sidelines with a hurt … Read More

When Jesus Finally Made Sense To Me

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Motherhood, Trials1 Comment

Months of planning had gone into one little camping trip with friends.  It seems so silly to plan months in advance to sleep outside on the dirt, but Alaskan summers are something we long for, and time off from work is much desired during the season where the sun doesn’t set.  If you want to take a day off in the summer time, you must ask long ahead of time, otherwise you’ll blink and it will be dark and snowy again.  A two hour drive, deep into the woods was on our agenda, and I looked forward to nothing more than a raging bonfire, and s’mores shared with some of the best people I have ever know. There’s just something about quality time spent with incredible people around a fire, that renews my soul.   It was the weekend before our big camping trip when I started to miscarry. Suddenly this trip we had planned so far ahead of time, seemed a little less ideal for me.  I didn’t want to deal with that out in the middle of the woods. I didn’t want to be a mess physically or emotionally in front of anyone. I didn’t want to be away from home.  My home is my … Read More

Are You Appreciating God’s Architecture?

Jen CudmoreFaith0 Comments

The other day I was listening to the radio and pondering God’s architecture. Specifically, human beings, and how God is personally invested in each one He creates. The scripture says He knit us together in our mothers’ wombs. (Psalm 139:13) That means we are so much more than a plan in the back of His mind that He threw together! Architecture takes careful thought. It’s not simply about building a structure – there are aspects of art and science to consider. There is a process to planning the design and putting each piece together in the right place at the right time. The architect must be intentional in order to create a magnificent structure that can fulfill it’s purpose. God built us all strong. Sturdy. Stunning. It makes me smile big when I think of how I am a work of art shaped by an amazing Creator! That I was made – with hands of love – into something special. I’m not ordinary; I’m unique. And I’m cherished by the Master Architect!  Then my pondering turned to reflection. I felt God questioning me. Was I appreciating all His architecture?    What about that person at work who is constantly annoying, … Read More

Nothing Can Separate You from His Love

Madison RosserFaith1 Comment

Do you ever feel like obstacle after obstacle arises when you are trying to accomplish a goal? Maybe your goal is something as big as landing a new job or as “small” as getting dinner on the table before 9 p.m., but for whatever reason, life seems to be working against you. We’ve all been there. Obstacles, however, are so beautifully incapable of thwarting God’s love towards us. His love is relentless, sure, steady, and constant. I was reminded of this truth as I read through the following passage in a Bible study last week. Romans 8: 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it … Read More

The Mistakes of My Mouth

Carol DunfeeFaith0 Comments

Has your mouth ever gotten you in trouble? Have you ever wept at the utter meanness of something that just rolled off your tongue? Have your words ever wounded someone you love? I am guilty. My words have tripped me up again and again. My resolve to speak kind words melts away when the frustration builds at having my agenda thwarted once more. Before I know it, I have raised my voice to bark orders. Earlier this year, I started writing a Bible study to define womanhood from God’s perspective. Life forced me to put it on hold for several months until just recently. The topic of taming my tongue has been heavy on my heart recently, so imagine my surprise when I reopened the file to find that I had left off with this verse…. I almost laughed aloud at God’s impeccable timing! He knew exactly when I would return to the Bible study and what I would need to study. So I dug in with eagerness, hoping that God would finally deliver me from the trap of my own tongue. As I was studying for the book, I looked at James 3, which addresses the mouth that tries to … Read More

Overwhelmed By Acceptance

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Redemption, Womanhood0 Comments

Just a couple of days ago I was listening to someone read and unpack a few verses and my heart and mind were just overwhelmed to the point of tears. I’ve heard the story before… It’s just that the words didn’t seem to come alive in my mind the way that it did with me this time. …the Word shared was so incredibly personal to me… We read about the Luke 7 woman— Luke 7:36-50 “When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them off with her feet, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, … Read More

The Value Of Encouragement

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Motherhood, Uncategorized0 Comments

Encouragement

I was having one of “those” days, where everything felt like a giant “mom-fail.”   I had made plans to help a friend fix her hair for her family portraits, but I also needed to run to Costco which made me late for my visit with my friend.   I went to Costco hungry (mistake number 1) so not only was I late to help my friend, I blew the budget too.  -FAIL   My friend was willing to come over a little later than we discussed originally, which gave me just enough time to get in the door with the groceries before she arrived.  My house was a disaster already, and then the explosion of my hungry Costco loot only added to the chaos.  There were boxes, and food items all over the place, and as I struggled to hurry up and put things away, I heard her voice from downstairs.  Welcome to my mess sweet friend, welcome to my mess.   As she made her way up the stairs, my toddler met her at the gate.  My friend said hello, and my toddler growled in return.  I was embarrassed to say the least.  What kind of mom has a toddler … Read More

Gear Up: GOD’s WORD

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

Misconceptions are funny things. You don’t know you have them until they are corrected. I really thought that the armor of God was put on by saying a few words in prayer each day. Now I understand that this armor is a lifestyle of becoming more aligned with Christ’s character. It is a result of constant prayer, repentance, humility, and most importantly, of seeking the face of Jesus. The final part of our armor is unique it is the only part that is offensive. All other parts are for protection and defense, while this one is meant to attack, take ground, and cut down the forces of evil. I have always wondered why God didn’t arm us with catapults, tanks, and missiles! After all, Satan and his cohorts are relentless in their attack. Wouldn’t a few spiritual atomic bombs be more effective? What I have learned about this simple sword has convinced me otherwise… As a student, I attended schools where English grammar was a big deal. From first grade on, I remember diagramming sentences. Even in high school and college English, we had to reassemble our sentences on those lines that look like scaffolding and rocket ships. I didn’t … Read More

Send Me

Jewel ZymurgyFaith0 Comments

Where is your mission field

So many times I go through my days without even a consideration that everywhere I go I have the opportunity to be a light and to share the gospel. I catch myself thinking that those who are called to the mission field are those who go to Africa to build schools and feed the hungry…they go to be a loving presence to tribes of people who have never heard the name Jesus…they learn new languages and live in a place away from the home they grew up in. Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” It all seemed like such a great calling…to be one of those people who can be sent out and moves with the presence of God in those around you. To share with others about the amazing God that loves beyond measure, that provides and sustains everything we see around us. The opportunity to worship and praise a good good Father. The chance to feed, teach and love on those who otherwise would not know Him through you. To fulfill the great commission—what an incredibly gallant calling! Isaiah … Read More

Voice of God: Hindrances to Hearing Him

Jen CudmoreFaith0 Comments

Why is it so hard for some people to feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit? While part of it may be inexperience or personality, part of it may also be the things we do, whether intentional or unintentional, that can block the connection. We’ve discussed tips on how to hear His voice and knowing it was really Him talking to us. But even when we do those things properly, we can still miss His whispers in our soul. What Hinders Us From Hearing Him? The Noise of the World. We have to let go of the things of this world that seem more interesting that the things of God. Entertainment has become an idol. We want to participate in that sporting event, watch that new movie at the theater, scroll through our Twitter feed, see who is going to win that reality TV show. There are so many enticing things to grab our attention, we don’t have the time – or the desire – to pay attention to God. The Lure of Relationships. We’ve all encountered situations where we’d rather spend time with human beings than with God. People are all kinds of entertaining and exciting. Why pick up … Read More

Gear Up: SALVATION

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

When you grow up in church, you can develop an odd vocabulary compared to the rest of the world. A pew, a vestibule, and a sanctuary mean completely different things to a church goer. We might think of a sanctuary as an auditorium dedicated to worship, while a non-church-goer might picture a wild bird refuge instead. And what on earth is a vestibule anyways? Can’t we just call it a lobby? Kidding aside, “salvation” is one of those words that gets an odd meaning in church circles. We think of salvation as a person receiving God’s forgiveness from their sins. This is truly one of its meanings, but not its original meaning. To understand the next part of our armor, we need to understand the meaning of this word. The Greek word for salvation, soterios, is based on the root word, soteria, which means: defender, defense; saving, bringing salvation; hope of future salvation. To gain a broader perspective of “the helmet of salvation”, let’s look at another passage talking about helmets and salvation. So what is this salvation? What are we saved from? According to this passage, we are saved from the wrath of God upon unrepentant sinners. Jesus is our defender … Read More

Love Is In The Little Things

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Marriage, Uncategorized0 Comments

The garage door closed behind our vehicle, signaling my husbands departure for the day, but no more than 30 seconds later, my cellphone started to ring.   It was him.   He’s always my favorite phone call. I answered the call immediately, thinking he may have forgotten something (since he had just left) but it wasn’t him that had forgotten something…it was me.  His call was just to ask me, if I remembered to take my medicine for the day. UGH!!! Of course I didn’t…why can’t I remember that one simple thing?  I’m supposed to take it every morning, but mornings are hard, and often I forget.  Many days he will bring me my medicine, and my favorite jug of water, since I’m so forgetful, but he doesn’t just hand me the pills to take, he extends the straw in my direction, then drops the pills into my mouth. That day he didn’t bring me my medicine, so he called, because he loves me, and wants me to be taken care of.   His one little phone call, and his almost daily distribution of thyroid medicine remind me, that love is in the little things.   A different day, I stood barefoot on … Read More

Voice of God: Was That Really Him Talking?

Jen CudmoreFaith0 Comments

Have you ever felt confused or unsure when you thought God might be speaking to you? This happens to us all! Was it really God speaking? Did I really hear Him correctly? Last week we covered some tips for how to hear God speak.  Yet, even when we do all those things right,  it can be tough at times to really know for sure if the impression we feel is truly from the Holy Spirit, and if we understood it right. Some people can pick it up quickly, while others may be less confident. I believe it just takes a little practice! Over time as we learn to tune into the Holy Spirit, our faith is increased, we become less nervous and more excited. Our confidence grows and we recognize His voice more often. When you’re not sure if God was really speaking to you, ask these questions: Does it contradict anything in the Bible? This should always be our first question, because the enemy will do all he can to confuse us or make us quit trying to understand. God will never tell us to lie, steal or kill someone. He will never tell us to say something disrespectful … Read More

Voice of God: Tips for Hearing Him

Jen CudmoreFaith0 Comments

How do we know when God is speaking to us? Everyone’s experience will be different, based on needs and personality, and it may feel daunting in the beginning. When I first started trying to hear Him, I found that learning to recognize His voice wasn’t as hard as I expected. I began to pray that He would teach me to hear Him, and soon discovered that He spoke more often than I realized – I labeled it as my own conscience. Over time, I have learned to pick out the subtle differences between a prompting of the Holy Spirit, and a prompting from my own conscience. The first time I remember distinctly hearing an exact phrase from the Lord was several years back when my daughter had head lice. She caught it 3 times in less than a year and a half, and I was quite upset. I may have even yelled at God a little bit. Yet His answer was perfectly clear. His exact words to me were “I have been trying to get your attention, and you are not listening.” Yes, I reluctantly admit, my first real encounter with the voice of God was a reprimand! The single … Read More

Balancing Rest and Rigor

Madison RosserFaith0 Comments

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23. Balance has never been my thing. Whether it’s a yoga pose or balancing my schedule, I always seem to topple over. At the same time, I love to work hard, to take risks, and to try new things, even if it means exhaustion, and if I choose to commit to something new, I’m all in. Do you see where “balance” gets lost in all of this? These past three weeks of starting school, coaching athletes, preparing for teaching in my classroom and the church, and loving family has left me sleep deprived and a bit stressed. When I committed to some new roles this year, I knew what I was stepping into; however, I have had my moments of doubt as I’ve let morning runs escape me, drank way too much coffee, and seen my husband for fewer moments than I’ve seen the mounds of paper chaotically spread across my classroom. The good news is: I know this season is brief while I adjust to a new schedule and finish out some short (but time-consuming) commitments. I know I am not the only one who … Read More

Blessing in a Rough Day

Jewel ZymurgyFaith1 Comment

Yesterday I was so tired. My body was just spent from me pushing it too late into the evening and rising up too early for a decent sleep. When I got off of a mentally grueling day at work (only 8 hours mind you) my mind and body screamed for reprieve. It was 1:30 in the afternoon and I had so much that I could be doing. There was laundry needing to be washed and a load on the couch that needed to be folded. There was mail to go through. Things that were in the hallway and living room that needed to get put away. Emails that needed to be read. Dinner for my daughter before I went to my bible study small group (which I hadn’t even thought about). School paperwork to be read and signed. Purchases that needed to be budgeted for. Appointments to be made…and the list goes on and on. Feeling super overwhelmed at the clutter that is everywhere that I rendered me defeated by looking around and thinking that it was all too much! I just want to be sitting in a clean living room/kitchen and as cliché as it may sound…I want to … Read More

Gear Up: FAITH

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

We are in active spiritual warfare. The attacks come from media, culture, and history revisionists…not to mention our own temptations, desires, and lusts. Knowing this, I pray through Ephesians 6, carefully mentioning each part of my spiritual armor as though I can manufacture them by my words. I am slowly learning that, while this is a good place to start, our armor goes much deeper than that. It is NOT something we can instantly produce. Rather, it is something God produces for us as He helps us walk in a life of obedience. The next part of our armor is the shield of FAITH. The modern church seems to struggle with this one. In the days of the early church, Christians saw miracles left and right. The blind received their sight. The dead were brought back to life. The lame received strength to walk. Few of us see those faith-building miracles today. They seem to be relegated to the missionaries who spend their lives in the deep jungles of foreign continents. But whose fault is that? Did God stop delivering? Or did we stop asking? We must ask for faith. In Jesus’ earthly ministry, people flocked to Him for healing … Read More

The Kind Of Friend We All Need

Rosalynn LasleyFaith0 Comments

Friends

I hadn’t left my bed in days, aside from the essential trips to the bathroom, or to sit in the shower until the hot water ran out, only to return back to bed, and repeat again in a few hours. My heart was much to broken, to do anything more than that. My family had just left for the Sunday evening church service, when a familiar voice gently spoke out from downstairs, letting me know I was no longer alone.   I remember the day, as though it happened just yesterday. She was dressed beautifully, a white skirt with a delicate floral pattern, while I laid there with wet hair, and yesterday’s pajamas. I was so surprised to see her, and somewhat embarrassed about my current appearance and emotional state. I was in no condition for company, but she never seemed to mind.   “You’re missing church!” I said, as my voice cracked and tears welled up in my eyes.   “The Lord understands…” She replied, as she gently climbed up into my bed, and rested herself right beside me. She didn’t care that my hair was wet, or that I was still in my pajamas, she simply reached her … Read More