Merry Christmas from Jen! Ladies, the holidays are upon us and I hope you’re all having a merry time of it this year! We’re all busy baking, shopping, attending parties and prepping Christmas cards, so here is a short vlog. Do you sometimes struggle to hold onto the Spirit of Christmas? Here are my thoughts on HOPE. It’s all about Jesus.
Personal knowledge of Jesus is EVERYTHING we need for real life. Within His five works, we have the answers to every life problem, every temptation, and every blessing. Incarnate Jesus shows us that our Savior really understands the struggles of life on this earth and models how to resist temptation. Crucified Jesus paid the ultimate price to remove the sin-barrier between us and our Creator. Ascended Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live in us and empower us. Jesus, who is seated at God’s right hand, is the Name above all names, the Power above all powers. But what about the risen Jesus? How does this part of Jesus’ work affect us? Strangely, I struggled with this one. But then, I realized that I was looking too closely. I was examining a leaf when I should have been looking at the whole mountain vista. When I backed up, the whole picture became clear. The resurrection of Jesus gives power to EVERYTHING! And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life … Read More
There is something about Christmas that gives us a glimpse of how things are supposed to be. We picture loving families opening gifts by the fireside as the falling snow outside insulates them from the cares of life. We dream of a peaceful Christmas at a large family table covered with delicious ham, prime rib, mashed potatoes, and homemade desserts. The pain of Christmas is that these ideals are ridiculously unattainable for so many. Maybe a loved one is absent because of death or estrangement. Perhaps tragedy has left hearts raw and bleeding. But still that desire remains for a peaceful sense of belonging. A place where all are loving and loved. The Creator put that desire in our hearts in the garden of Eden. He created mankind to thrive in a close friendship with Him. Into each heart, He formed a void that longs for oneness with the Father. Sin may have given Adam and Eve the knowledge they desired, but it also ripped them away from their place of happiness and peace. No, that place was not the garden…their place of happiness was the Father Himself. That is why Christmas is such a nostalgic time. Our collective souls … Read More
Christmas. Much like Buddy the Elf, I have very positive feelings about the holiday. I love the glitz and glitter of this season— magic fills the air and our hearts. The fireplace roars while Bing Crosby serenades us with hopes of a white Christmas. Snow piles high on fences, matched by the whipped cream atop mugs of hot cocoa. As the old carol expresses, “Silent night. Holy night. All is calm. All is bright.” Except, judging from my own very small world of past experience, I know that it is neither calm nor bright for many people during the holiday season. The truth is, some homes will wake up Christmas morning to family members wracked by addictions. Refugees will wake up in camps with little hope in their hearts of ever returning to their own hearth-side chairs. Some people will wake up and wish for the day to pass as quickly as possible, aching for loved ones lost. In many countries people will go to work as usual without the slightest notion that much of the world has pressed pause. No western, romanticized notion of Christmas morning will bring any real hope for these circumstances. In fact, for much of … Read More
In a room filled with 1700 women, Bible teacher Beth Moore gave an assignment. As a college student, I might have groaned at the thought of a research assignment, but my current self was filled with excitement. First, Beth explained that we have everything we need for life and godliness through Jesus, according to 2 Peter 1:3. His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Anything we could possibly need to live a fruitful life is found in Jesus. Every tool to keep us from falling into sin is found in God’s Son. What an amazing concept!! It seems too good to be true. But how do we actually access this “everything”? We access it by gaining knowledge of Jesus. Read the verse again. Through knowledge of Jesus, God can give us this “everything”. The more we learn about Jesus, the more we have access to this divine power that provides all the things we need for life and godliness. We cannot claim this power until we actively search the Bible to learn all we can about Jesus. Next, Beth explained that … Read More
Every third Thursday in November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. What is Thanksgiving? It has a history – the first immigrants of America escaping religious persecutions were thankful for the fact that they survived the harsh conditions of those first few years. They were thankful their God brought them through this difficult trial and blessed them. If you look Thanksgiving up in Webster’s 1828 dictionary, it means this: “The act of rendering thanks or expressing gratitude for favors or mercies.” It continues: “A public celebration of divine goodness; also, a day set apart for religious services, especially to acknowledge the goodness of God, either in any remarkable deliverance from calamities or danger or in the ordinary dispensation of his bounties.” Let us give thanks today for the many blessings God has bestowed upon us and most importantly, let’s be thankful for Him. HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM ALL OF US AT ALASKA CHRISTIAN WOMEN’S MINISTRY!
The conference had ended, and we were hungry. On our way to lunch, we got stuck in traffic, so while we waited, we said a prayer about our travel plans home from Nashville. We knew the enemy would stalk us and try to steal our joy as we each returned to our holy callings and responsibilities. Little did we know, that pause for prayer would bring us a blessing and a friend in the form of a Vietnam Vet. We decided to gather at the Cracker Barrel, since we don’t have one in Alaska. Our waitress was a sweet young lady who had recently adopted her nephew. As she settled us at the table and collected orders, an older gentleman came in, and we couldn’t help but notice his Veteran shirt and hat. Our waitress hugged him, and we were each moved by their tender interactions. She seated him at a table beside ours. Small talk turned into stories and an invitation to sit with us. He seemed just as fascinated by us as we were with him. He mentioned his 30 years of military service, and that he had spent some time at the base in Kodiak. While we … Read More
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Wishing you a Blessed New Year from Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry!
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