Celebrating Advent

Madison RosserHoliday3 Comments

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 Could you imagine a time before the celebration of Christmas even existed? Or a time before a world that wasn’t filled with sin or hopelessness? Israel was waiting and wondering if the prophecy in Isaiah was really going to be fulfilled. Or was a Messiah really going to be born? Over the next 5 weeks I will be doing a series of topics about The Christmas story. Our hope and prayer from Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry is that even with the busyness of Christmas we keep Christ at the center of our Christmas celebrations. One way to keep Christ in the center is to celebrate Advent (which means coming) with our families. There are many ways to celebrate Advent and there are no right or wrong ways to celebrate. Celebrating Advent enhances The Christmas Story and carries on Jesus’ legacy He left behind. Celebrating Advent and Christmas allows the birth of Jesus story to be told and carries of His story through us. … Read More

A Thrill of Hope

Madison RosserHoliday2 Comments

A thrill of hope The weary world rejoices For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn! Advent. A season of great anticipation. We wait, hushed, in a noisy world that does not know what it’s missing. We wait in expectation for the child King’s arrival, knowing He has already come, knowing He is coming again. We wait. We hope. What is hope exactly? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hope as desiring something with the expectation of obtainment. This definition leads me to ask the question: What do we hope for? If we look around us, we see the world in a dire state, but I don’t believe these sorrows are anything new under the sun. When Israel waited for the Messiah, their nation was in a dire state too. When Jesus was born into the world, people were starving, families were broken, and nations were war-torn. Evil men ruled. Disease destroyed. Hopelessness reigned in people’s hearts. Sound familiar? Tonight’s dark is no darker than the night the holy angels appeared to the shepherds watching over their flocks by night.  Jesus’ arrival into this world, his birth, his life, his death, his resurrection, I don’t think they turned out the way people … Read More

An Unlikely, Almighty Thanksgiving Blessing

Heather GillisHoliday1 Comment

As Thanksgiving approaches this week, you may have the task of hosting dinner at your house thinking I’m in over my head!  There can be so much to prepare–the shopping, the food preparation, the table setting.   When in actuality this week is so much more than just sharing a meal and giving thanks, it’s a preparation for our hearts. Thanksgiving is an opportunity for God’s blessings to overflow within us when we “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18). This verse doesn’t tell us we need to give thanks for all circumstances, that would be silly.  God doesn’t expect us to thank Him for our suffering or pain but to give thanks in our circumstances, whether good or bad.  When we do, it allows us to see that there is always something to be thankful for even in our trials.   Our thankfulness keeps our focus on God and His goodness.   The second part of 1 Thessalonians 5:18, tells us, something happens when we give thanks even in our adversities, “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  When we give thanks in all circumstances, we become complete in Jesus by carrying out God’s perfect will. … Read More

A Song of Gratitude

Madison RosserHoliday1 Comment

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Of course, it’s always a good time to be thankful, but this time of year offers us a more structured chance to reflect and rejoice. A certain song of Israel has been running through my mind this week as I prepared to write. The song is the 136th Psalm. It begins as follows: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever; The poet repeats for emphasis, over and over– the Lord’s steadfast love endures forever! After this … Read More

Family Time

Madison RosserHoliday0 Comments

This time of year always makes me think of my family. Mine is big. loud. crazy. At most moments, slightly inappropriate. We are in each other’s business. We fight loud, and love louder. And we are weird. So weird. But we are family. I am excited to spend this upcoming Christmas with the entirety of my mom’s side of the family for the first time since the year we lost her. We will be together, and even though this part of my family now lives in Nashville, where I must travel to see them, I will feel “home” despite being far from where I reside. For several years after my mom passed, I spent the holidays in a myriad of ways as I lived overseas in Indonesia. Though I was able to return home for one Christmas, I spent three Thanksgivings and two Christmases separated from my people by the giant Pacific Ocean and a few more seas. Our holidays always looked a little different. One Christmas stands out to me in particular as something special. Living in a nation where the majority of the population did not celebrate Christian holidays, we celebrated both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at … Read More

Come to the Table

Madison RosserHoliday0 Comments

Mic Jagger provided humanity with a fitting theme song when he sang, “I can’t get no satisfaction.”* If we are honest, isn’t this a tune that has matched our heart’s beat at some time in our life, if not daily? Looking for something, someone, anything that will satisfy, but left wanting something more. Our quest for contentment is in vain if we are seeking our fill from this world. Isaiah is a book written to a nation who once closely walked with God but had forgotten his faithfulness, searched for fulfillment in other gods, and lost hope in their pursuit of things apart from Him. Isaiah lays God’s message down with boldness and grace. This section has always silenced the noise I so often fill my life with. Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that … Read More

Welcoming Winter with Joy

Madison RosserHoliday0 Comments

Winter is here! Perhaps I speak too soon. With our running record, this could be the only snow we get all year. But I am crossing my fingers for more to come. (I say this knowing that all you snow haters are just gonna hate. It’s ok. I won’t judge you.) Alaska is a funny place. I like to think we have a culture all our own. That calling the rest of the states “The Lower 48” as if we are our own country has its clout. In summer, Alaskans busy themselves like baristas serving coffee to a line out the door. We fish and hunt and mow our lawns at midnight. We hike trails on Tuesday nights after a full day of work because we are afraid that Tuesday might be the only day of sunshine we will see all summer. We have a serious case of summer FOMO (fear of missing out) because once we blink, summer will be over. With only three short months, we have to pack it all in. Then fall arrives. It brings the hope of slower days, but school starts again and we still have to haul the firewood and get used to … Read More

Do You REALLY Believe in the Resurrection?

Carol DunfeeFaith, Holiday0 Comments

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is a story that church goers have heard over and over. We celebrate it each spring. We sing songs about it. We tell the story in movies, pageants, and books.  Somewhere in the two thousand years since Jesus’ resurrection, we have lost something.  Early Christ-followers were so convinced of the resurrection that they risked their lives to spread the news. They were chained in dirty, filthy prisons for speaking of Jesus in public. As soon as they were released, they spoke of Him again. They could not contain the burning fire in their souls that demanded that they speak. They saw healing, deliverance, and complete transformations as the power of Jesus’ resurrection met everyday people. When was the last time you or I saw any of those miracles? When was the last time we saw a person freed from the chains of sin after encountering Jesus? When was the last time we saw the Word of God used in prayer with dramatic results? Well, maybe we really don’t believe in the resurrection like we say we do. Maybe our churches are declining because we have never seen God’s resurrection power in action. Maybe our lack … Read More

New Years “Revelations”

Jennifer BullardHoliday0 Comments

Every December we all do it.  We think about the new year and what we need to change.  We think about exercise, diets, habits, relationships, meal planning, decluttering “that room” or “that closet”, family time, financial planning, etc.  I do it every year, and every year I fail.  It’s not that I don’t try, I really do, but life just seems to happen all the time!  This year I decided to try a different approach.  I decided to revisit things that have really worked for me in the past and revive them.  Here are a few of my New Years Revisitations! 1. Pray for the day before ever getting out of bed.   My day starts with a precious (albeit very loud) four year old climbing into bed with me and snuggling.  I wouldn’t change that for the world, but I am going to refuse to pick up my phone and scroll through Facebook with him. Instead I, am going to pray with him about our day.  By doing this, I am setting a tone for the day.  I am giving the day to God before I let the distractions take over.  I used to do this when my boys were … Read More

For the New Year…Two Words

Carol DunfeeHoliday0 Comments

The girl climbed the stairs of the old farmhouse. The house suddenly shifted beneath her feet. This was no earthquake. She paused to look out the landing window. Outside, she could see the floodwaters threatening to float the house off its foundations. Upstairs, a man was meticulously repairing flawed items in the house…banisters, woodwork, etc. The girl stared at the floodwaters in wonder. Why was no one addressing the real problem? Many bloggers have written about what is wrong with our “house”, the church. Millennials are leaving the church in droves. Some say we need more liturgy in the services. Some say we need more modern music. Some say we need to be more relevant. Others say we need to entertain less and teach more. Here is the problem. The REAL problem. Fixing the banisters won’t save the house if it floats off its foundation!This same idea applies to our individual lives. Many have created new year resolutions for losing weight, decluttering their homes, or simplifying their lives. These are great things. (I need to do some of these, myself!) However, it won’t solve the root problems causing our stress and discontent. Here are the two words for the new year: JESUS FIRST.God will … Read More

Before and After

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Holiday, Marriage0 Comments

Life is full of before and afters. I’ve learned that more and more over the last year and a half. Each person has defining moments in their life that left them different than they were before. Your before and afters may look different than the next persons, but each unique experience is the opportunity for God to shape you into who He wants you to be. Are you who you were before you finished school? Are you who you were before you met your significant other? Are you who you were before you had children? Are you who you were before they told you, you couldn’t have children? Are you who you were before you lost a child? Are you who you were before the adoption? Are you who you were before the deployment? Are you who you were before the accident? Are you who you were before the weight loss? Are you who you were before the addiction? Are you who you were before the affair or divorce? Are you who you were before the diagnosis? Are you who you were before your trust was broken? Are you who you were before they died? Chances are, you have been … Read More

Are You Giving Enough This Christmas?

Jen CudmoreHoliday0 Comments

There I go again.Playing the comparison game.Only this time, I’m wondering if I’ve been giving enough this Christmas season. When do I know I have given enough – how do I measure giving?  With Christmas comes commercialism, the hustling and bustling shop-til-you-drop mentality. The rush to get the best deal on the perfect item. Running up credit cards, or working extra hours to pay for it all. Plus, multiple holiday parties to attend. Sometimes thinking about it can be exhausting, or even depressing. But what also keeps us busy is G_I_V_I_N_G. Despite all the focus on buying and selling, people do like to give. They donate clothing and blankets to shelters. They collect toys for underprivileged children. They pass out meals at the soup kitchen. They randomly purchase gifts for strangers in a store. I see people around me donating to the Children’s hospital and Toys for Tots. I see people ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. And I think of the Christmas programs at all the churches, and the people who help make those happen. And I feel a little small that I am not participating.  As I watch my friends and family busy donating their time and … Read More

A December Birthday

Carol DunfeeHoliday, Motherhood0 Comments

Our youngest child, a boy, has his birthday this month. He was expected to be a January baby, but he gave us our best Christmas present ever when he arrived before Christmas.  Christmas was a little different that year.  On Christmas Eve, we drove forty miles to the new church we were helping with audio and music. It was in a small, picturesque business district of a small town. The church met in an old rented theater. The whole scene had the feel of a Norman Rockwell painting. In the service that night, my husband ran the sound board and our good friends led us in worship, while I sat in awe holding our newborn baby boy.  Suddenly I had the tiniest glimpse of what Mary might have felt on that first Christmas morning. The heartfelt music painted a picture in my mind. I could see Mary snuggling her newborn, sad to be away from her home, thankful for Joseph’s presence, and relieved at her baby’s safe delivery.  The baby I held was only human, but his sweetness took my breath away. Imagine how much more Mary must have felt, knowing that her sweet little baby was truly, perfectly God.  … Read More

Unexpected Gratitude

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Holiday0 Comments

The other night I wearily laid our newborn baby into her bed. She still sleeps in our room and probably will for quite a while. As I pulled back the covers and poured myself in to bed as well, I heard a gentle voice say “thank you for being the mom you are, and for doing all that you do for our family.” That simple, unexpected expression of gratitude meant so much to me. A simple thank you from my husband was like a soothing salve to my weary heart. I chose this part of life. Actually I begged for it. I plead with my husband and the Lord, for several years prior to now. I wanted another child so desperately it was pretty much all I could think about. I wanted the sleepless nights. I wanted to nurse for hours on end if I needed to. I wanted to dance around the house at all hours of the night in a desperate attempt to soothe a restless infant.  I said “I would give ANYTHING to be this tired!” And I meant it. So to be thanked for doing something I expected to do, I’m supposed to do, was a … Read More

No greater love

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Holiday0 Comments

Today is Veterans Day, a day we honor our soldiers. We recognize those who have served and currently serve our country. I am blessed to know many veterans both young and seasoned and I don’t think a few words typed into a blog will ever convey my gratitude. Our soldiers have joined the military for a multitude of reasons. Some joined because they wanted to serve, some were drafted and served because they were needed. Some joined because of the education available. Some joined because they had the opportunity to see the world but regardless of why our soldiers have joined and served, their service and sacrifice is something many of us take for granted. Our soldiers have experienced fear we will never comprehend. Our soldiers have had to say goodbye in faith they will get the chance to say hello again. Our soldiers have missed births, birthdays, holidays, and even deaths. They have had children grow up in their absence and prayed to get the opportunity to hold them again. Our soldiers have spent many sleepless nights alone, and longing to be home. Our soldiers have been shot at, bombed, and hated for the uniform they wear, the flag … 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