A Love that Never Fails

Heather GillisFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

  This post is a little different from previous posts I have written, mostly because I have written a love poem and prayer to share about God’s agapé love for us. If there was only one thing I could write about as a writer in the whole entire world, it would be about God’s love for us.  My hope and prayer is God would use the words we write on these pages to tell His story in our hearts, to shout above the noise of this world so we can hear and see how much He loves and cares for us.  I pray these pages of words tell about His goodness, His faithfulness, how He will and do anything for us.  There is nothing we could ask of God, He isn’t be able to do.  His love is the greatest of all love, an agapé love, one that can never be destroyed–one that never fails or ever leaves us. In the Bible, there are four different translations for love in the Greek language.  We can determine what type of the love the Bible is speaking of in the context it is used.  There is a term for brotherly love ‘philia,’ a term for … Read More

What Does It Mean To Surrender?

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

Surrender. What emotions does this word invoke in your heart? For some, it’s positive, stirring memories of a sweet moment with God. For others, it’s negative, bringing light to areas defiantly kept away from Him. Years ago, I recall being confused about what it means to be surrendered to God. Does it just mean that I’ve agreed to believe in Him and serve Him? Does that mean I go where He tells me to go? Does it mean I trust Him – a lot? Does it mean I follow all His Thou-shalt-not rules? According to Merriam-Webster, surrender is defined this way: 1a :  to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand b :  to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another 2a :  to give (oneself) up into the power of another to give (oneself) over to something (as an influence) Recently during our 21-Day-Fast, God brought this word to my mind. Curious, I wondered what He was prompting me to do. If you had asked me a month ago, I would have quickly agreed that Yes, I’m fully surrendered to God. But as I dug deep into my … 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

God-Sized Dreams

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

Like many Proverbs, I never understood this one. What could the plans of my heart have to do with my answers belonging to God? It was like a riddle that eluded my grasp. The New Living Translation states it like this: “We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer.” Two years ago, the founder of Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry and I were in a planning meeting together. She suddenly announced that she needed more bloggers to write for ACWM’s new website. She asked if any of us liked to write. Without a hesitation, my mouth opened and said, “Yes!” Then my brain kicked in: “Wait! I don’t write for people. I used to journal, but no one ever read an of it. And that was years ago! What did you just say, Carol?? I honestly believe God opened my mouth before my rational mind could object. Writing for ACWM has been a blessing both unexpected and profound. Blogging helped heal my heart from our family’s bout with a brain tumor. It has redeemed the pain and agony of that year, while revealing God to me in ways I never expected. Could this be an application … Read More

Our Reward for Fasting

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting0 Comments

“… and your Father who sees… will reward you.” Matt 6:18 When fasting, we’re not supposed to seek the praise of men, as the passage in Matthew explains, nor as an attempt to earn God’s blessing. Yet when we fast with pure motives, where we focus on Him and our desperation for more of Him in our lives, that’s when God sends a blessing. In Scripture, those who fasted always saw a reward. For Daniel, it was favor and position. For Esther, it was deliverance for her people. For Jehosephat, it was protection from destruction. For Nehamiah, it was the rebuilding of his hometown. For Ezra, it was guidance and protection for his people. For Anna, it was the privilege to meet baby Jesus. For Paul, it was direction in spreading the gospel. So what blessing awaits us when we fast? God does above and beyond all that we could ever ask or imagine, and His miracles come in all shapes and sizes. But this passage in Isaiah 58 will give us an idea of what He promises to those who fast properly. God says: 6“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to … Read More

God’s Love Language

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

You might have heard of the five love languages, based on a book by Gary Chapman. Some people feel love through a hug. Some feel love when their husband washes their car. Others understand love through a long conversation. Or maybe love is communicated while shoveling snow together. Or maybe it’s a sweet, sentimental note that does the trick. We all understand and receive love differently. Relationships are enriched or sucked dry depending on the language we use to communicate love. For example, some women just adore flowers. A bouquet of flowers melts their hearts into a puddle. For me? Not so much. But give me a written note expressing love and appreciation? I’m all over that! Have you ever wondered what God’s love language is? As the Creator of love, He responds to all five. He comes near when we praise Him with our words and songs. (Psalm 100:4) He appreciates our service to the “least of these”. (Matthew 25:40) He created us to spend time in His presence. (Psalm 140:13) He reveals some of His plans to us so we can join in. (John 15:15) He laid His hands on little children to bless them. (Matthew 19:13) He loves each one … Read More

5 Tasks While You’re Fasting

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting0 Comments

Is there something specific we must do during a fast, any action or behavior that’s required? We discussed in previous posts that fasting is more than merely abstaining from certain foods or fluids. It’s about connecting with God and proclaiming our desperation for His intervention in our lives. So how exactly do we do that? By following the example of the disciples in Acts 13: “1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers…. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” While they were worshiping – that’s when God responded. The word ‘worship’, as defined in a couple different online dictionaries, means “to show reverence and adoration; to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion“. How do we show God reverence and adoration? How do we regard Him with great respect, honor and devotion? 1) We praise Him. Not only does God deserve our gratitude for all the good He’s done in our lives, He … Read More

Praying for a City

Carol DunfeePrayer & Fasting0 Comments

I always had good intentions to become a prayer warrior like Miss Clara. My problems start when I get on my knees. I can’t think of a single thing to say. I go through all the steps of prayer and in two minutes then…nothing. Expect a random cricket. Or a creaking pipe. I was so relieved to discover that the Bible actually is full of scripted prayers and prayer outlines.  I was even more excited to learn that praying with Bible verses is some of the most effective praying we can do! This month, several women from around Anchorage (and beyond) have joined together to pray purposely and fervently. Many of us have committed to pray for our city, state, and nation. As I was writing a prayer plan in my journal, I was kind of stumped on what verses to pray over our city and state. Some of the other prayer topics came easy, but this one was hard. Suddenly, I remembered the parable about the sower. It’s one of the most commonly heard parables, but I never thought about it as a prayer guide before. “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across … Read More

Fasting and the Motives of the Heart

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting0 Comments

Before we start a fast, we must check our motives. There are a couple places in scripture where God is displeased with fasting, and it was all because of selfish heart motivation. Wrong Motive #1 – Desiring attention from people. This was the problem Jesus addressed when he said we should fast in secret (Matt 6:16-18). Because the Pharisees were making a public display of their spirituality, their fasting was all about getting admiration from others. It was no longer a means of connecting with God on a deeper level, but a matter of pride. They weren’t after God’s glory, they were after applause. This is why Jesus cautions us to fast in secret. While it’s important to keep our fasting private rather than putting on a show to get people to think highly of us, we don’t have to hide. Almost every fast mentioned in the Bible was a group of people getting together to seek God – no one hid what they were doing. That scripture was merely Jesus cautioning believers to be careful about their motives. As John Piper says, “Being seen fasting is not the same things as fasting to be seen.” Wrong Motive # 2 … Read More

Fasting: What’s the End Goal?

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting1 Comment

What is the purpose behind our decision to fast – what’s our ultimate goal? According to Isaiah 58, God’s intention for fasting is to loose bonds of wickedness, let the oppressed go free and break every yoke – He wants to do that for us. I think we can all agree we need more spiritual freedom in our lives, our families, our churches, and our cities! When the people in the Bible fasted, they brought specific requests before the Lord. Many of their goals may be the same for us today. Healing for a loved one – In 2 Samuel, David fasted when his child was sick, asking God to spare his life. Today, many of us battle physical conditions, and sometimes God may deliver us from these problems. And not just about ‘big’ health issues, like surgery, but pesky things we may have decided to accept for the rest of our lives. Instructions/Guidance – In Judges 20, the tribes fasted to ask God for direction on how to deal with the rebellious tribe of Benjamin. Today, everyone faces hard decisions and we need God to show us the right path. We need His help in making wise choices in … Read More

3 Types of Fasts & How To Choose

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting0 Comments

Over the past several weeks, we’ve studied what it means to fast. We took a look at why people fasted in the Bible, the benefits of fasting, and why it’s still relevant for today. So once we decide to fast, what are the options? Before I delve into specifics, please note: It’s always best to consult a physician before abstaining from food. The ladies at ACWM and I are not health professionals and cannot give medical advice. Please be very careful when choosing to fast, especially if you have never fasted before. Just as a reminder, fasting is meant to be a sacrifice. It’s supposed to be hard. If you’re not a breakfast person, God may not honor a fast where you to skip the first meal of the day. As you consider what you wish to abstain from, be sure to take your current lifestyle into account. Types of Fasts: 1) Total Fast: No Food or Water When faced with annihilation, Queen Esther and her people completely cut out food and water for 3 days. Because the human body can’t go without water for more than 72 hours, this a more extreme, more desperate type of fast. Due to … 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

Fasting: A Few Of My Experiences

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting4 Comments

Fasting is a very personal endeavor. It’s a private matter between us and God. And yet, when He does something amazing, we have to talk about it! We’re supposed to remember and reflect on all He’s done for us (Deut 8). So today, because many people are trying to understand what fasting is all about, and because God is so awesome in how He responds, I’m going to be brave. I’ve decided to get real with you about a few of my experiences with fasting. The main point I want to convey is that every time I have fasted, I’ve developed a stronger bond with God, and He has always done something powerful in my life. Sometimes it was simply inside me, and sometimes it was in my circumstances. He didn’t always grant my request, but He was gracious to me – every time. The first time I fasted was an epic fail. I had decided to go a full day on just liquids, but I drank grape juice on an empty stomach, which had me lying on the bathroom floor for a good half hour trying not to puke. After a panicked phone call to my dad for advice, … Read More

Why Fasting Still Matters

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting2 Comments

Why don’t more churches encourage the discipline of fasting? This was one of the pressing questions I asked myself when I first began studying Biblical fasting. If it’s really important, why aren’t more people talking about it, or practicing it? As I pondered the potential reasons, I reached out to some trusted Christians to get their opinion, and this is what I came up with:  Maybe it’s because Christians assume it’s old-fashioned and no longer necessary for the church today. And yet, I’ve heard stories and experienced for myself the power of God as a result of a fast. People in both the old and new testaments fasted – including Jesus and the early Church – so there is no reason for this discipline to be ignored in today’s culture. Maybe Christians believe that only leaders or super-spiritual types need to fast. Yet the scripture doesn’t teach that at all. For example, Israel’s fast during Yom Kipper, the day of Atonement. Groups of believers fasted together many times in the Bible, so it’s clearly for every ‘ordinary’ person, not just pastors and teachers. (See my previous posts on why people fasted in the Bible.) Maybe Christians consider it such a … Read More

10 Personal Benefits of a Biblical Fast

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting4 Comments

Coming off the holiday, I am reminded that feasting is a good thing! I don’t know about you, but I certainly enjoy a good Thanksgiving meal, complete with all the trimmings! It’s good to celebrate all the things we are thankful for! And it’s also good to set aside times of self-sacrifice. Last week we reviewed why the people in the Bible fasted. This week, let’s discuss the benefits of a Biblical fast: 1) Fasting has long-term health benefits for the physical body.So much good happens inside us when we go without food for a time, which is why so many people who are not of the Church are applying this discipline apart from God. Unfortunately, fasting has become a bit of a fad to those who are zealous about their health. Scientific study shows that skipping several meals in a row clears toxins from our system, rests our organs, and sharpens our senses.2) Fasting weakens the grip of the flesh.Many Christians don’t realize the power our sinful nature has over us. We can grow complacent and give in way too often to temporary pleasures. We can become desensitized to the things of God because we’re focused on ‘feeling good … Read More

7 Reasons Why People In The Bible Fasted

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting1 Comment

What was the purpose behind Biblical fasting? Was it just an old-fashioned law that people had to follow, or was there more to it than that? A few years back, I developed a curiosity about fasting, so I spent a few weeks studying what the Bible had to say. I learned there are several reasons for fasting, many of which go hand in hand.  Why people in the Bible fasted: 1) To better hear God’s voice.When they wanted an answer, they would inquire of God and seek His instruction. It was a way to help them limit distractions and focus on His voice.Scripture References: When the tribe of Benjamin sinned and rebelled, the other tribes sought God for direction on how to respond (Judges 20). Daniel fasted often to seek God’s direction, and at one point an angel came to deliver a message (Daniel 10). After Jesus died, the Disciples sought God for direction on how to spread the gospel (Acts 13). 2) To mourn and lament mistakes.When they sinned, fasting was a way to repent of habitual sin and seek the restoration of God’s favor in their lives.Scripture References: Many times in Scripture, the Israelites turned away from God. … Read More

Curious About Biblical Fasting?

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting4 Comments

Last week I asked what you would be willing to sacrifice because you love Jesus. All too often, we prefer to fulfill our fleshly desires more than we desire God himself. I issued a challenge to consider if there was something God might want you to give up. These behaviors could be anything from addictions (sugar, alcohol, pornography, etc.) to something as simple as habitual complaining, procrastination, or impulse shopping. Maybe it’s not even a habit. Maybe sometimes we skip a church service, let loose a cuss word or watch a provocative program on TV. We justify these momentary pleasures and tell ourselves it’s ‘not that bad’.  The problem comes when all these little things we label ‘not that bad’ add up and pull us away from our first love. God has shown me over the past few years that what feels good in the moment, such as lashing out when angry or overeating when stressed, actually hinders my future and my faith. While we will always struggle with our sinful nature, we don’t have to allow it to control us. What we stop feeding will eventually starve and die. One way to weaken the grip of our flesh is … Read More

When God Doesn’t Listen

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

It wasn’t planned. I hadn’t started out looking for a message like this. But there it was. When I grabbed my Bible, it opened up to where I had randomly shoved in an index card. The first verse of Isaiah 58 caught my attention. As I read further, the words jumped off the page and into my heart. They reached into the dark recesses of my soul. The words drug my sins to the surface where I cringed at their ungliness These 14 verses are the message God told Isaiah to give to the Israelites. They were paying the consequences for their disobedience of God’s laws. Strangely enough, they were full of the outward appearances of  religious fasting and praying. But they couldn’t figure out why God wasn’t listening to them. He wasn’t impressed by their false shows of piety and religion. He laid it out quite clearly… “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins! Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of … Read More

Standing in the Face of the Enemy

Carol DunfeePrayer & Fasting0 Comments

Our nation is at a crossroads. We have enemies from outside our borders that want to defeat us. They have been gathering their weapons and battle plans, waiting for the perfect moment of weakness to attack. We have enemies from within that want to erode our foundations. Our economy is stumbling. Our military is underfunded. Our families are breaking up. Our churches are asleep in blindness. We have options. Some are better than others. We can bury our heads in the sand and pretend everything is ok. We can fight external enemies with bigger weapon and better strategies. We can fight internal corruption through the legal and political system. We can fall on our knees before God and beg for His salvation. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, found himself in a similar situation. Several nations formed an alliance for the purpose of destroying Judah. The king was afraid. He recognized that the problem was bigger than his military’s resources. He could have formed more alliances of his own. He could have run away. Instead, he fell on his face before God.With fear in his heart, Jehoshaphat gathered Judah together to fast and seek God. He led them in a prayer of … Read More

Unto You

Rosalynn LasleyMotherhood, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

For me, October is a month FULL of birthdays. Both of my siblings have birthdays in October, and so do some of my aunts and uncles. I have a niece with a birthday in October, a co-worker with a birthday in October, and many dear friends with birthdays in October as well. I have friends who have babies with birthdays in October, and even my newest baby girl will turn one year old this October. October is full of birthdays, and birthdays mean life to me. I love birthdays most of the time! I mean seriously…there’s cake and ice cream, what’s not to love?! My daughter’s birthdays are always bittersweet for me. I am SO thankful that God has given me these children, but their birthdays are a reminder of how fast the years have gone. I look at my girls in awe of who they are, and with a little lump in my throat at the thought of how fast their lives have gone by. It’s true what they say, the days are long, but the years are short. I can hardly believe that my youngest baby turns one soon. At times it still feels like she was nothing more than a … Read More