Standing in the Face of the Enemy

Carol DunfeePrayer & FastingLeave a Comment

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 & FastingLeave a Comment

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

Being Present

Heather GillisFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

Have you ever been in a situation you are concerned about that causes you to start spinning the wheels of worry? That then takes you down paths of ‘What If?’ I have been there many times. I’ve discovered these paths usually lead to no where good; only add more Worry, Doubt, Fear and Anxiety. Worry creates a vicious cycle that takes away our ability to enjoy life’s present moments. Worry is our way to try to control the situation and to try to handle things on our own. Even though we know worry will never change our situation, we still do it. The only thing worry does is take away our joy and steal our ability to be present in the present. Our situations will happen whether we worry about it or not. Worrying will never add a single hour to our life (Matthew 6:27), nor will it change our circumstances. There will always be something to worry about. How we respond to our situations, will enable us to enjoy life’s present moments. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34  It is easier said then done … Read More

A Grief Observed

Madison RosserPrayer & Fasting, TrialsLeave a Comment

It has always intimidated me to discuss grief, and by always, I mean since five years ago when I experienced it first-hand with the loss of my mother. What could I possibly tell you that would help you navigate a season that seems darker than the winters of the Northland? I feel at a loss when it comes to loss. As I was thinking about the reasons behind my lack of words for others, I thought back to the books handed to me when I lost my mom. I read a grand total of 1.75 of them; 75% of one book given to me, and the entirety of another I picked from a used book-store, pages worn from another reader, written by an author I’ll always trust. The first was a little daily devotional. I don’t even remember the name. Someone gave a copy to my Nanny, my sister, and me. Somehow, the short length of each devotional and its authors’ raw acknowledgement that grief is the worst allowed me to keep turning the pages day by day. Ironically, I never finished it, perhaps symbolic of the fact I wasn’t finished grieving in 80 days. I’m still not. Pretty sure … Read More

Lessons from Hard Times

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting, TrialsLeave a Comment

Life has left me a bit weary lately. To be honest, I really didn’t feel like I had a lot to offer. Fortunately, God is never empty, dry, or uninspired. While I didn’t have a clue what to write about, the Father had other plans. As I sat down at the computer to write, I heard a song playing from my daughter’s MP3 player. It was recorded by my piano teacher, her husband who was my violin teacher, and several of their family members. It was a song that captured their journey to Jesus, their faith, and their passion. Aha!! Here is a story to be told! While I was a college sophomore, a Jewish couple from Brazil came to teach at our college under a special contract. They captured our hearts and imaginations immediately. From their melodious Brazilian accents to their mastery of instruments, these concert musicians were at once superheroes yet also irresistibly down-to-earth. I was fortunate enough to have private lessons with each of them. They each breathed life into me.From them, I learned how to persevere when times got tough. I learned that music is all about the heart you put into it. I learned that … Read More

Being Brave When The Call Is Scary

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

It seems so vast. Too immense. Nearly Impossible. This mission God has called me to. He gave me a job to do while I’m here on earth. Several, in fact. And I want to obey, because I love Him so much. I want to nail it, and make Him proud. Yet, I wonder, how can little ole me pull off something grand for the Kingdom? It’s scary, when I think about what it will take to follow Him.  I shudder as tears sting the back of my eyes. I am so small, so simple, so… unimportant. I have so few resources, so little influence. Why would He call me to do something so big? Questions rush at me from all sides, and I cringe beneath the stinging darts of doubt. Did I hear His voice correctly? Will people even listen to me when I speak? Will they come as I beckon them closer to the throne, closer to Him? What if no one likes me, believes in me, supports my efforts? I’m not glamorous, or eloquent, or wealthy. I don’t have much education. I’m not related a great leader or pastor. I didn’t have the best upbringing. I have weaknesses, … Read More

Be Alert!

Heather GillisFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

I will never forget the day I went hiking on a popular Alaskan trail this summer with a friend and all of our kids. It was a beautiful day. We came prepared wearing our hiking gear, brought our bear spray, filled our camelbacks with water and brought snacks for the kids. We were the first hikers of the day to set off on the trail. As we approached the pseudo summit, we had stopped to take a water and snack break. As we were looking around at the beautiful mountain, I had spotted something across the field about 500 ft. from us. I could see something pacing back and forth. At first I thought it was a dog, but then soon realized it was a wolf! Right next to the pacing wolf was another wolf!We immediately put our dogs back on their leashes and instructed the kids to get together in a huddle around us, stay together to go back down the mountain. As we were walking off the mountain we were praying for God to please keep us safe and protect us from the attack of the wolf pack! I am happy to report we made it safely off the … Read More

The Truth About the Facebook Fairtytale

Heather GillisFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

Chances are if you’re  living this day and age you are apart of the social media craze.  You have a Facebook account, Instagram, Twitter, snapchat, you name it.  You post pictures, sending messages of what you are doing in your daily life, painting a picture of what your life looks like. Facebook doesn’t always tell the whole story.  It has become more of a fairytale than the real tale of our lives.  I love Beth Moore’s quote “Facebook is Fakebook.”   Just because we see a perfectly posed family picture, a person smiling, doesn’t always mean everything is going perfectly behind the scenes.  The pictures we see are merely snap shots of what are really going on in our daily lives. Sometimes Facebook can get the best of me.  Everywhere I look there are pictures of perfect skin, perfect makeup, perfect outfits, perfectly plated dinner plates, manicured houses, perfect vacations, the list goes on.  I then become disillusioned in thinking, ‘Wow everyone has it so together,’ then realize these are the deceptive lies of the enemy.  If I’m not careful I can fall into his trap of doubting my worth by comparing myself to others or being discouraged that I have not done … Read More

Why Failing is Good For Us

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time.” Thomas Edison Nobody likes to fail.  When we make a mistake, no matter how big, we risk losing respect from others. Many times we experience negative consequences. We worry that we’re messing up our kids, ruining our career, creating a bad reputation, etc. And we quit trying. But what if failing is actually good for us? A couple years back, I hit a season where things weren’t so good. Because I had over-committed, my schedule was so full I barely had time for my family, or rest. I needed to get a manuscript to my editor, write two short stories for my publisher, and keep up on my personal blog as well as the three others I contributed to, all while working my day job and staying active at church twice a week! Then, I had to deal with some miscommunication between me and my publisher, as well as make time to assist someone with a new baby. I had also been working on maintaining a healthier lifestyle and felt guilty that I wasn’t keeping up with the new exercise … Read More

Power of an Invitation

Heather GillisFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

I will never forget the first time I attended my first Bible study in 2012.  I had been a Christian my whole life, went to church, read the Bible, but never attended a formal Bible study.  I could name a million reasons why I didn’t attend before then;  busy with motherhood, I worked during the week, I had to take care of the house, etc.  It’s funny how God has a way to always point you in the right direction.  I was at a point in my relationship with God where I knew He wanted me to take the next step towards a deeper relationship with him;  but I didn’t know how.  One day I was standing in the preschool parking lot talking with a friend, pouring out my heart to her.  I had just started to attend the same church as her.  As she was listening to me, she had opened the door to something bigger than I could have ever imagined.  She invited me to a Women’s Bible Study at the new church I was attending.  I immediately accepted the invitation.  I was excited, because I knew God had used her that day not only to invite me, but to … Read More

What’s In Your Prayer-Warrior Tool Kit?

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

She came in late, and sat beside me. I didn’t like it. She wasn’t living as she ought, according to my interpretation of Scripture, and I didn’t want to be around her. I was tired of her mistakes. She wasn’t even trying to get her life together! And that’s when God thumped me on the head. The words He spoke to my heart went something like this: “Perhaps if someone was standing in the gap, she wouldn’t have gotten so far off track. Why aren’t you praying for her?” Immediately, as I recalled the verse in Ezekiel, remorse dropped over my shoulders. Rather than my judgement, she needed my prayers, and I had withheld them. That very day I got on my face before God and lifted up my dear sister to Him. “The people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery, and they have  wronged the poor and needy and have oppressed the sojourner without justice. I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.“ Ez 22:29-30 (emphasis mine) … Read More

God’s Timing

Heather GillisFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

Have you ever been waiting on God? Waiting for Him to answer a prayer you have been praying for a long time? Have you ever wondered when is God going to answer MY PRAYER? Or is He ever going to respond? I think we all have been there—In God’s waiting room. Waiting for answers, waiting for results, waiting for the unknown. Sometimes waiting in God’s waiting room, He teaches us valuable lessons we would have never learned if we weren’t in waiting. I do think God answers our prayers; just not always in the way we may want or like. God may answer us with ‘Yes!’, or ‘No,’ or even ‘Not yet, or not now.’ But these in fact are God’s answers to what we ask of Him. Just as a parent doesn’t give a child everything their heart desires, because they know what is best for their child, is the same thing God does with us. His delayed responses or answers is not a way to punish us, but a way to help us learn what He is trying to show us. There are so many lessons we can learn from God’s timing. Here are three things I have … Read More

Is Anyone Praying?

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

“I’ll pray for you.” Has anyone ever said that to you, and you wondered if they really followed through? If they did remember to pray, was it just a quick, three-word sentence tossed into the air out of duty, or a heartfelt request surrendered at the foot of the throne? What about us? How many times have we made that promise, only to forget, or lift up a few hasty words as we rushed on with our busy day?   It’s a crippling feeling to wonder if anyone out there cares enough to pray for us.  I knew Mama always prayed, but she’s been gone for many years now. I felt her loss deeply in the spiritual realm. For quite some time, I felt like I didn’t matter to anyone in my church. No one asked me for prayer requests, and when I had a problem, no one offered to pray with me or for me.(Note: someone may have been praying – I just didn’t know about it.) Then God showed me that I could offer that security to other women so they would never feel left out or overlooked like I did. He began to teach me how to … Read More

When It’s Not Your Turn

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

The story of Joseph has always been one of my favorites, because it spans so many years. He ultimately became a great leader, but he had to endure much hardship and preparation before he arrived at that place of blessing and prominence. I can relate. Can you? I’ve shared a little of my experience at Proverbs 31 SheSpeaks conference, about the cancer of comparison and how we should cheer each other on instead, and my mishap when I fell in front of Lysa TerKeurst. There is so much more I could share, but I’ll finish my recap with one more lesson learned. I so appreciate that last post from Madison about changing seasons, because that’s what life is all about. Seasons of sorrow and seasons of joy. Seasons of simplicity and seasons of growth. Seasons of preparation and seasons of blessing. And there are seasons where God asks us to sit back so others can take the lead. Suzie Eller gave an inspiring message to close out the conference. She said that sometimes, we need to gracefully step aside. Choked with emotion, she shared how last spring, God asked her to step away from Proverbs 31 to pursue other tasks … Read More

Calculators, Kids, and Complications

Jen CudmoreFaith, Motherhood, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

“Kids are a complication.” That’s what the pastor said. Right before I whipped out my Mama Bear claws. But then I paused, because the way he explained it caught my attention. I was puzzled when he said complications are not actually bad. I had always defined complications as being negative, but he made me see that they can actually be positive, too. Like when we went to Disneyland and had to wait for an hour for the ticket counter to find our reservations. For our trouble, we were given several passes that let us skip lines, making our visit to the adventure park much better! I realized that what had complicated my day had become a blessing. But at first it felt like a problem. Taking care of children means that moms have to give up time, money, and energy. A lot of it.  Kids are loud. (You can’t talk on the phone when they are in the room because you can’t hear the other person. What’s an ‘inside voice’, anyway?) Kids make messes. (Items dropped all over the house, drinks spilled in your car, rotting food in the bottom of backpacks. Gross!) Kids interrupt. (Your conversation. Your book. Your … Read More

Who Are You Cheering For?

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

“God develops the character to match the calling.” Lysa TerKeurst  Have you ever felt ill-equipped? Like when God leads you to a certain place, but you’re scared out of your mind because you don’t feel spiritual enough or skilled enough? When God gives us a task, there is always a certain amount of preparation involved. He doesn’t just hand us a passion and send us on our way. We have to develop the necessary skills and grow in maturity in order to take on the mission. And sometimes, it can feel pretty lonely out there. For the past several years I had been wanting to attend the Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference but I just didn’t have the funds to travel all the way to the East Coast. So I was thrilled when God opened the door for me to attend the 2016 conference last month! I met with approximately 700 women in Concord, North Carolina, all hoping to become either a published author or a public speaker. In the past, I had been in various groups of ladies, Christian sisters and daughters of the King of Kings, where the atmosphere is uncomfortable instead of laden with love. We were … Read More

Power for the War Room (or “I See Dead People”, part 2)

Carol DunfeePrayer & FastingLeave a Comment

In part 1, I shared my story of God bringing me back to life (in the spiritual sense, of course). After hitting the “publish” button for that blog, I knew I had to return to that passage. Something was tickling the back of my mind. I listened to the video of “Come Alive (Dry Bones)” again and noticed a link to the story behind the song. The guy in that video mentioned briefly that Ezekiel had to speak to the dry bones before God brought them back to life. Hmmmm… That’s it!! That was the feather tickling my brain. Two nights later, I opened the Bible to Ezekiel 37 again. I took notes on the word, prophesy. It’s not a common word in modern English, expect for in Christian circles. Even then, it can take on ambiguous meanings. According to dictionary.com, some of the word’s definitions include: ·         “To make inspired declarations of what is to come” ·         “To speak as a mediator between God and human kind, or in God’s stead” Bingo! Those definitions certainly fit Ezekiel’s words over the dry bones. He spoke God’s words about what was to come. He spoke as a mediator between God and the dry bones. I’m sure that Bible scholars … Read More

A Different Perspective

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

For years I looked to others to get my example of what is good, right and true. I knew that just about every situation that I came across had to be seen and approached from a different point of view. A perspective that was so new to me that it felt like everything had to be looked at upside-down. What I always knew was right now turns out to be wrong. Those behaviors that used to be encouraged are now frowned upon…everything was foreign. A new language— A new outlook— New customs— A totally new way of life. In learning what it looked like to do things that were good, right and godly—I did what I assumed others did when they were immersed in a foreign land—I watched those around me intensely. I tried to learn the language and culture by listening to how they talked and interacted. It was in some ways easier because many words sounded the same. Though in that same way learning the language was immensely difficult because the tainted view that I previously knew; stained those words that now was being said with affection and acceptance; like love and trust. I knew that the majority … Read More

Satan’s Favorite Lies

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

Let’s start this post with some truth shall we? The truth is SATAN IS A LIAR! Not only is he a liar, but he’s the best at it, the father of deception, and he makes no apologies for it. His mission is to lie, cheat, deceive, in every way he can all the days of his existence, and none of us are immune from it. Satan has been a liar from the very beginning of time, always has been, always will be. 1Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be … Read More

Refreshing Truths About Prayer

Jen CudmorePrayer & FastingLeave a Comment

“There is nothing God loves more than keeping promises, answering prayers, performing miracles, and fulfilling dreams.” Mark Batterson Over the past couple months I’ve been studying prayer again, going over books I’ve read and notes I’ve written. Here are some refreshing truths about prayer to encourage you in your conversations with God. 1) Selfish prayers are normal, and even okay at times, because we are human. God meets us where we are, and sometimes all we have to say is selfish. He listens anyway, and doesn’t condemn – that’s what grace is all about. He gets that we have moments where emotion overrides reason. Then when we’re feeling better, He gives us that gentle nudge to pray according to His will and not ours. 2) Speaking the names of God and His attributes gets our focus off ourselves and back onto Him. So often our prayers are about what we want or think we deserve. We’re merely seeking our own personal happiness. But God didn’t call us to a life of comfort. When we tell Him how great He is, and we do it often, our fleshly desires fade into the background. 3) There’s something about praying Scriptures that gives … Read More