This Great Country

Jen CudmoreFaith, Holiday1 Comment

We live in a great country, where liberty is a comfortable way of life. We have plenty of clean drinking water and indoor plumbing. We can buy pretty much whatever we want from the grocery store. We have hundreds of different churches available for our worship preferences. We can publicly speak our mind on many topics. We can vote and get involved in politics to affect change. Yet today, I ponder how I’ve shown gratitude, or perhaps the lack of gratitude. I’ve been blessed with a home, a job, a family, and the ability to seek and enjoy my passions. In the pursuit of the American dream, have I lost sight of all that was sacrificed for our freedom, and what motivated that sacrifice? How often do I take my freedom and wealth for granted? The other day in a brief discussion with a friend, we bemoaned the inconvenience of only having one family car, and it gave me pause. So many families have a single vehicle, or none at all, and yet I was concerned about having to live that way for a few weeks. Humbled by my selfishness, I shot up a quick prayer of thanks to God … Read More

A Little Comma

Carol DunfeeHoliday, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

I generally like to fit in and fly under the radar. I don’t mind being different, but I don’t want to make a scene about it. So, when I noticed my dad saying the Pledge of Allegiance differently, I hoped no one else noticed. After all, why say it differently than the 500 other people in the building?? Everyone around him says, “One nation, under God, indivisible,” with a small pause at each comma. Dad removes one single comma. A little comma that changes everything. He says, “One nation, under God indivisible…” I asked him about it one time. He explained that you can’t separate America’s indivisibility from its relationship to God. America’s ability to remain a united nation is wholly dependent upon America’s choice to remain “under God”. By removing the comma, We recognize that without God’s grace, our nation is NOT indivisible. It is subject to being torn apart–from within and from without. We admit that our national security is dependent upon God, not politics or military might. We confess that God is not obligated to protect a nation that rejects Him. We acknowledge that God is sovereign. We humbly surrender our sins of arrogance and pride. As … Read More

Women in the Easter Story

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, Holiday1 Comment

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter!  Easter is one of my most favorite times of the year to celebrate everything Jesus did for us.  Did you know that women were present at the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus and were mentioned by name?  Women played an integral role in the Easter story.  They were vital in sending the first message of the gospel, the ones to first utter the good news, “He is risen!” The Death In John 19:25-27, at the cross stood Jesus’ sweet mother Mary who was weeping for Him.  Alongside her stood Mary’s sister, Mary wife of Clops and Mary Magdalene.  Next to Mary stood the disciple whom he loved, whom we know as John but his actual name is not mentioned.  Mark 15:40-41 mentions the women Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and Salome by name who were also present at the crucifixion of Jesus.  In all the gospels the only other person mentioned by name at the death of Jesus is the centurion. The Burial Mark 15:47 again mentions Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of Joses witnessed where Jesus was laid into the tomb. The Resurrection In Matthew 27:65-66, Pilate had ordered Jesus’ … Read More

There Is No Box

Carol DunfeeFaith, Holiday, Redemption, Womanhood1 Comment

It never ceases to amaze me how we try to squeeze God into a box. Because we cannot grasp His vastness, we build boxes and try to make God fit into them. We have denominational boxes: Baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic, Presbyterian. Then there are those who want to force God into the theological boxes of Arminiansim and Calvinism, which try to define the balance between God’s will and man’s choice. And of course, we have boxes for God’s definition of women which range from women submitting to all men to women submitting to no one. Seriously. We have a God who created the universe. Not only does He fully understand the composition and workings of this universe, but He created it all. He holds it in His hand. The earth is where he rests His feet. By comparison, we are like tiny, insignificant ants scurrying around at His feet. All we can see is the smallest part of His little toe, yet we arrogantly try to box God into the limits of our own understanding. The Jews in Jesus’ day had the same problem. They thought that the Messiah was going to come to save them from Roman oppression and set up … Read More

Unexpected Easter Blessings

Heather GillisFaith, Holiday, Redemption, Trials4 Comments

Have you ever received a blessing from God that was beyond measure than anything you have ever received? Easter in itself is a blessing that I cherish as a day where God gave his only son for us. But there are two Easter blessings that will forever be engraved in my heart. Last Easter, it was our second year living in Alaska. Last Easter was also my husband and I wedding anniversary. The day started out like any other day for me. I got up early intending to go to the sunrise Easter service then come back and all go together as a family. This morning however everyone got up early and somehow someway we all got dressed and made it to the sunrise service at the chapel on base on time. On this particular day it also had been snowing. I had experienced white Christmases before but never a white Easter. Have you ever had one of those amazing moments orchestrated by God? Well this day was one of those moments. As the choir started to sing, they started singing a song about how much Jesus loves us and washes our sins white as snow. It was snowing outside on Easter … Read More

Words From the Cross

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, Holiday0 Comments

How powerful are the last dying words from a person; especially when those words are from Jesus? Do you know that even in Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross he prayed for us? His last words are so telling of his undying love for us. These are the last words Jesus spoke before he died on the cross. The 7 Last Words Jesus Spoke on the Cross: 1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). It amazes me even as Jesus was ridiculed, persecuted, beaten and crucified he still prayed for those who were killing him. He even forgave one of the men on the cross who was sentenced with him. Even in Jesus death he prayed for us and still had the power to make people right with God and cared about their salvation. 2. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43 NIV). These are the words Jesus said to one of the criminals sentenced with him after the criminal said, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Can you even imagine hanging on the cross suffering and Jesus says these words … Read More

5 Powerful Prayers to Pray Over Our Goals

Heather GillisFaith, Holiday, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

  Welcome Back!  The previous week we talked about how God helps us make plans for success.  Goal setting can be tough, because it asks tough questions about ourselves. Was I successful? What did I accomplish or haven’t accomplished in the past year? I hope you will share your goals and what word you picked for the year. Picking a word helps give our year more direction, purpose and vision not only for ourself but our families as well. The word I picked for 2017 is Victory. A journey of victory is not to be enslaved by our circumstances or ways of the world but to be victorious no matter what. Victory is such a powerful word. It encapsulates all areas of life, whether it be financial victory or victory from whatever is going on in the world, it is possible to be victorious when we have Jesus. Others have shared their word with me; Presence, Hope, Believe and Restored. Whatever your word is, I pray you are able to apply it to all areas of your life to live fully in your word that God has picked for you. Goal Writing Tips: When making goals ask yourself these two important questions. 1. Are these goals adding value to my … Read More

Go And Do Likewise

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Holiday, Redemption0 Comments

Once again I’ve gotten behind with the blog.  Life seems to be on extreme fast forward lately.  Living in the land of the midnight sun means there have been very few days I have gone to bed before midnight lately. Truthfully I’m getting worn out.  Last night was no different.  As the late hours of the evening closed in, I realized I hadn’t written my blog.  I was torn between throwing something together just for the sake of accomplishing the task, and waiting until today to write.  Ultimately I decided to wait.  I figured it would be better to write nothing at all, than to just throw something together that wasn’t what God had inspired. Today on my way to work I had dozens of ideas mulling around in my head.  Some ideas are far too deep to throw together last minute, some are too surface to be meaningful, and so as I drove I prayed “Lord, guide me. Give me what you want me to write about.” I had an idea in mind and started researching scripture for the topic when something entirely different was brought to light.  In conversation with one of my best friends, God brought up … Read More

Crossing the Waters: A Book Review

Heather GillisHoliday0 Comments

Happy New Year!  What a great way to start the new year by reading a good book!  I had the wonderful opportunity to read “Crossing the Waters:  Following Jesus Through the Storms, the Fish, the Doubt, and the Seas,” by Leslie Leyland Fields. Her book has just won the Christianity Today 2017 book of the year in the Christian living/discipleship category! It is so exciting to write this review because Leslie has lived in Alaska for the past 38 years on Harvester Island, an island off of Kodiak island working alongside her family in the commercial fishing industry.  She has written most of her 10 published books right here in Alaska. As Alaskans we are familiar with the fishing industry.  For most of us, it is our livelihood our way of life, our provision for food for the year.  Every summer we fish our limit of salmon and halibut to fill our deep freezers.  Obtaining these fish is not for the faint of heart, it comes at a high cost.  It is time consuming and labor intensive, but reaps great fruit and rewards.  The fishing industry bonds families and unites communities.  However, one has to be prepared for what Alaska … Read More

The Great Escape

Heather GillisHoliday0 Comments

It’s the day after Christmas.  Gifts have been given and presents have been opened. Just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean the story of Jesus ends. Many of us have been following along the Advent series of The Christmas story.  Last week we discovered how King Herod was at work behind the scenes trying to stop God’s divine plan.  His plan was actually Satan’s attempt to destroy Jesus.  This week we find out how God provided a way to escape the plans of the evil one. It all started with the Magi, the wisemen who were following a star that predicted the birth of Jesus, the king of the Jews.  Even though the Magi were Gentiles, they went to seek Him in Jerusalem the Jewish capital city so they could worship Him (Matthew 2:2).  But after meeting with the chief priests and teachers they discovered baby Jesus wasn’t in Jerusalem but born in Bethlehem. When King Herod heard of the news of a possible king being born, he was upset.  He called upon the Magi to tell them “Go and make a careful search for the child.  As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go … Read More

Finding Peace on Earth

Carol DunfeeHoliday0 Comments

“Peace on earth. Goodwill to men.” This is what the angels said in their announcement to the shepherds. The Messiah had come. He would bring peace. Yet just a mere 70 years later, Jerusalem fell to the Romans after a long, violent siege. The Temple was completely destroyed. Where was the peace the angels spoke of? Even today, it’s hard to see the “peace on earth”. Where is peace??? Peace certainly doesn’t fill the news headlines. Aleppo and Berlin have suffered from a lack of peace. Peace doesn’t even fill out own political scene as mobs have rioted in the streets over our recent election. Is God a liar? Was peace too hard for Him? First of all, world peace is a yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecy for the future. It will happen only when Jesus comes to reign on a new earth… “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have … Read More

The Day Everything Changed

Jen CudmoreHoliday2 Comments

Over the weekend I debated about whether to continue the series on Biblical Fasting, or take a break to honor Christmas. I had tried to tell God that December was not the best time to talk about fasting, because so many women have shopping and parties on their minds. He didn’t seem to agree with me, so I forged ahead where I felt He was leading. But for today, we put the fasting series on pause in remembrance of that first Christmas. As Jesus said in Matthew 9, there is an appropriate time to fast and mourn, but there are also times when our attention needs to be turned elsewhere. Do we really understand what Christmas is all about? Yes, part of Christmas is Advent and the Nativity, celebrating all that Jesus brought into the world; love, peace, joy. It’s about giving to others, sharing our love. We bake goodies, decorate trees, wrap gifts, stuff stockings. It’s about friends and family, gathering around tables to eat or play games. Just being together, enjoying each other. And its about serving others, helping needy families or feeding the homeless. But before all that, what was Christmas?   O Holy Night  It’s always … Read More

A Christmas Prayer

Heather GillisHoliday, Prayer & Fasting1 Comment

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”  Matthew 21:22   Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year.  There is shopping, gift giving, Christmas cards, cookies and manger scenes!  What we do at Christmas actually follows along with how they celebrated Christmas 2,000 years ago when baby Jesus was born. We have been doing a series on gifts we give and receive.  The best Christmas gifts we could ever give and receive, can’t be bought at a store or even wrapped in a box.  Gifts are apart of The Christmas story and how we show one another we care.   ​But Let’s be real, Christmas also is a busy time of the year, where there is a lot to get done in a short amount of time.  It can put a strain on you physically, emotionally and financially.   In the busyness of it all, prayer is very important not only in The Christmas story but your Christmas story as well.  Even though baby Jesus was born 2,000 years ago, each year we celebrate Christmas, it is a continuation of His story through us.  Jesus left his legacy behind and how we … Read More

Joy to the World

Madison RosserHoliday1 Comment

Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King. Several weeks ago, in preparation for advent, my pastor turned our attention to the story of preparation for Jesus’ arrival. Israel had sat in silence for years and years, wondering if God’s promised redemption would ever come. Then, one day, two humble families heard his voice again, and as people say, “the rest is history.” Elizabeth became pregnant with John the Baptist, who would declare Christ’s coming Kingdom. When Mary arrived to visit Elizabeth, baby John leapt with joy in her womb. Elizabeth immediately knew something special was at hand. I can imagine that both Mary and Elizabeth were a bit bewildered by all the messages from angels and miracle babies, but the Holy Spirit confirmed in their hearts the joy in the mystery of it all. The Messiah would arrive as a tiny babe. Though both ladies surely wondered and fretted over how it would all come to be, joy overwhelmed their reunion. I imagine them hunkered down together, Elizabeth pregnant in her old age, Mary in her chastity. Perhaps they spent their nights chatting for the months Mary stayed, baking bread together, staying up late … Read More

The Best Christmas Gifts Ever

Heather GillisHoliday1 Comment

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”James 1:17 Tis the Season……Everyone is getting ready for Holidays.  Preparing baked goodies, getting ready for parties and buying Christmas gifts!  It takes a lot of time, preparation and planning to find the perfect gift for that someone special.   Have you ever received a gift so perfect you remember the joy and excitement you felt when you opened it?  I bet you could tell me what the gift was and how you felt when you received and opened it.   As a parent, I bet you can remember that special gift you gave your child and the joy you received watching them open it and their reaction after receiving it.   Giving Gifts is a great way of showing another person that they are special and how much you care for them.  A gift is only a gift if it is received, accepted then opened, otherwise it’s just a box with a gift in it.  What good is a gift if it is never opened and received? I am sure many of you have … Read More

The Peace He Brings

Madison RosserHoliday3 Comments

His law is love and His gospel is peace Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother And in His name all oppression shall cease Peace. This time of year, when I think of peace, a certain image pops into my mind. The Christmas lights twinkle. Silence indeed fills the night. I sit on my couch, toasty under piles of blankets, reading an advent book (or Harry Potter, currently), with hot cocoa on the table next to me. Snow drifts whimsically down from the night sky in flakes, covering our home in the sweetest powdered sugar. The gift of time drops itself in my lap, and I am able to attend every party, enjoy quiet, intimate gatherings with close friends, and make my own family traditions as my husband and I enter our fourth year of marriage. After all, Christmas-time is made of magic, right? If people were awarded for their ability to dream up picture-perfect lives, and then be disappointed by reality, gold medals would bedazzle every wall in my house.  As for reality, piles of blankets have morphed into a pile of unmarked seventh-grade papers on my desk, whose grades will need to be entered, on, … Read More

When Christmastime Is Difficult

Rosalynn LasleyHoliday, Trials1 Comment

Christmastime is said to be the most wonderful time of the year, but there are times when Christmastime is the most difficult time of the year too. Most of us try to muster up all the jolly we can, and force a smile to carry us through this time of year, but truly, the most wonderful time of the year can sometimes be a difficult time of year too. Maybe your Christmastime comes with an ugly diagnosis, or bills you can’t pay. How are you supposed to afford gifts when you’re not sure how to put food on the table? Maybe the cupboards are bare and the lines at the food bank are long.  This isn’t how you imagined life would be right now.  Maybe there has been a recent job loss or lay-off. Maybe this means there are very few gifts under the tree this year, or no gifts or tree at all. How can you afford to light up a tree, when you’re not sure how you’re going to pay the electric bill?  Maybe your Christmastime is spent in a hospital room, or visiting a loved one in jail. That’s not an ideal way to spend Christmastime. There’s no … Read More

The Christmas Story: Three Acts of Kindness

Heather GillisHoliday0 Comments

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord”Luke 2:11 What do you think of when you think about Christmas?  If you could pick one word that describes Christmas what would it be?  When I think of Christmas I think about kindness.  It is such a perfect time of year not for just celebrating the birth of Jesus but giving kindness to others.  Christmas is filled with gifts of kindness that God gives to us.  The Christmas story begins with Mary and Joseph traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be counted for a census by order of Caesar, the Roman govenor.   When they arrive in Bethlehem, there is no room for them at the inn.  Here are 3 Acts of Kindness that Are Given Throughout the Christmas Story. Kindness Act #1 The InnkeeperEven though there were no rooms available in the Inn, the InnKeeper offered the only space available, the stable.  This is where one of the greatest events in the Bible occurred, the birth of Jesus.  The innkeeper did not have to offer them anything, but he did.  Because of his kindness, a beautiful story unfolded.Kindness Act #2 The Shepherds​An … Read More