Merry Christmas from Jen!

Jen CudmoreHolidayLeave a Comment

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.  

A Place of Belonging

Carol DunfeeBible Study, HolidayLeave a Comment

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 for the Lowly

Madison RosserFaith, HolidayLeave a Comment

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

When Knowledge is Divine Power

Carol DunfeeBible Study, Faith, HolidayLeave a Comment

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

The Great Escape

Heather GillisHolidayLeave a Comment

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

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

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 GillisHolidayLeave a Comment

“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

His Lavish Love

Jewel ZymurgyFaith2 Comments

Long lay the world in sin and error pining Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth. Love. The greatest gift. The one thing that will change a crayon-drawn stick figure into a painting that rivals the Mona Lisa. The one thing that can change the path of a troubled kid. The one thing that really, truly binds us broken humans together. It provides the most noble motivation, the fiercest forgiveness, the most healing balm for our souls.  A situation can be pretty dark and dire, but knowing you have someone who loves you, who is there for you, can change any situation, or at least make it endurable if circumstances stay bleak. As a teacher, I know a major (if not the number one) resilience factor for students who experience trauma is having people who love and care for them.  A little love goes a long way, and a lot of love brings a richness to life no money could buy.  Without love, what would life be but the steady steps of biology from birth to death? Love changes it all. It brings us to life. It brings us life.  We could say, it all began with love. … Read More

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

Family Time

Madison RosserHolidayLeave a Comment

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