Are You Appreciating God’s Architecture?

Jen CudmoreFaithLeave a Comment

The other day I was listening to the radio and pondering God’s architecture. Specifically, human beings, and how God is personally invested in each one He creates. The scripture says He knit us together in our mothers’ wombs. (Psalm 139:13) That means we are so much more than a plan in the back of His mind that He threw together! Architecture takes careful thought. It’s not simply about building a structure – there are aspects of art and science to consider. There is a process to planning the design and putting each piece together in the right place at the right time. The architect must be intentional in order to create a magnificent structure that can fulfill it’s purpose. God built us all strong. Sturdy. Stunning. It makes me smile big when I think of how I am a work of art shaped by an amazing Creator! That I was made – with hands of love – into something special. I’m not ordinary; I’m unique. And I’m cherished by the Master Architect!  Then my pondering turned to reflection. I felt God questioning me. Was I appreciating all His architecture?    What about that person at work who is constantly annoying, … Read More

Nothing Can Separate You from His Love

Madison RosserFaith1 Comment

Do you ever feel like obstacle after obstacle arises when you are trying to accomplish a goal? Maybe your goal is something as big as landing a new job or as “small” as getting dinner on the table before 9 p.m., but for whatever reason, life seems to be working against you. We’ve all been there. Obstacles, however, are so beautifully incapable of thwarting God’s love towards us. His love is relentless, sure, steady, and constant. I was reminded of this truth as I read through the following passage in a Bible study last week. Romans 8: 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it … Read More

Be of good cheer, it is I!

Rosalynn LasleyFaithLeave a Comment

I’ve been learning a lot lately that Gods word happens upon my heart when I need it the most.  I know God promises that His word will not return void, yet somehow I’m surprised every time it happens.  God is good like that.  I have what I call those “white knuckle promises” (His promises you cling to so tightly your knuckles turn white) that are often my go-to scripture for certain things, but it’s bible stories and parables you don’t think of too often that come to heart at the perfect time that catch me by surprise.  It’s those things that remind me that He is present, He cares about what concerns me and that fill my heart with joy. Today has been a bit of a low day for me.  (I promise this isn’t an invite to a pity party so stay with me, it’s about to get good) I’ve had quite a few of those lately and it’s those days that I do a lot more praying than I normally would. I have shared in my previous posts that this season of life has been very difficult and full of many trials for our family but I’ve tried to be … Read More

“Remember Who You Are”

Carol DunfeeFaithLeave a Comment

“Remember who you are,” my dad told my older sister as she was getting ready to stretch her wings into adulthood. To my little-girl ears, it made no sense. How could someone forget who they are? Do they forget their name? Where they live? I asked my dad to explain, but I didn’t understand until I was the one venturing into adulthood. Finally, it clicked. My dad, a man of few words, was telling us to remember what he and our mom had taught us. He was telling us to remember that we represented the family. He was telling us to make him proud by being a good example of a Christ-follower. (I Timothy 4:12) I am my father’s daughter. As a child, I knew he would always provide for my needs. I didn’t have to sit outside because I knew I had the right to eat dinner at his table. I didn’t have to live as an orphan because I had a father who loved me. If I needed something, I just had to ask. Even today, he is there when I need him. Our Heavenly Father also tells us, “Remember who you are.” We have been adopted into … Read More

Prepare for Impact

Rosalynn LasleyFaithLeave a Comment

impact

Each of us have someone in the past, as well as in the present that have made an impact in our lives.  Some have had (or are currently having) an impact in small ways, some in large ways.  Some have impacted our lives in positive ways, and some in negative.  Some have impacted our lives in ways we had never imagined, and some in ways we will never ever forget.  Chances are that as you read this you’ve started mentally recalling a list of people who have previously and are currently impacting your life. But what about you? What about the impact you have in the lives of others? When you realize that you have a sphere of influence yourself, and you are currently impacting others around you it is both a powerful, and sobering thought.    What would other folks say your impact has been in their life?  Would you be surprised? Proud? Embarrassed? Ashamed? There may be some of us who would feel proud of the times where we made a positive difference in the lives of someone else. We might recall the times where we have given our all, in hopes it would make a difference.  There … Read More

Time with Him

Jewel ZymurgyFaithLeave a Comment

I was sitting to tea with a beautiful godly friend of mine and I gained the most loving perspective on how God views my obedience. So much so, I was completely thrown into a joy-filled outburst of laughter that overwhelmed me with amazement and tears for over 30 minutes.   Iced tea in hand, I shared a piece of my struggle in regard to a person I respect deeply. I didn’t understand how come so many of our conversations would stir up such strong emotions of inadequacy and rejection.   Not wanting this person to be seen in a poor light, I slowly began my attempt to share my heart. I began by reminding my friend of this person’s character, their integrity, their godliness and the way they are good by using deliberate and very intentional word choice—as if speaking slowly and purposefully would make my point better.    I spoke of a few times when I have felt rejected, the times when I have extended an invitation and I have been denied. I don’t often ask others to join me in life. It feels vulnerable to me to share myself with others.   That being said, for those that … Read More

A Love Letter to Alaska

Heather GillisFaith, Uncategorized2 Comments

It comes with mixed emotions and bittersweet feelings that my stay here in Alaska has come to an end. Oh how I have loved it here, the memories we have made will last a lifetime. But it is time for this military family to embark on our next journey. It seems we have just said hello and now it is time to say goodbye. This post will be a little different from my previous ones. I hope you have enjoyed reading the Monday messages God has placed on my heart each week. This is my love letter to Alaska—between hello and goodbye. I don’t think a person could ever really say goodbye to Alaska once they experience it. It’s a place I would like to return in one way or another. Alaska has been so good to us in every way. You can see how creative God is when he made Alaska. It is like no other place I’ve ever been.   My Love Letter to Alaska: Oh Alaska, I will never forget the first time Ilaid my eyes on you. The pictures I tried to take with my phone, never gave you justice of how mighty and great your mountains … Read More

Apology from a Church Girl

Carol DunfeeFaith, Redemption1 Comment

An apology might be the last thing you expect from a church person. After all, we have a reputation for pointing fingers at others, while holding ourselves to a different standard. We have a tendency to speak first about politics and last about compassion. We cling to our comfort zones instead of Jesus. This isn’t going to be easy. I am exposing a part of me I’d rather leave hidden. This apology is for all the people I diminished when I was lost in religion. 1. I am sorry for not thinking about your feelings. How many times have I seen a life-style, a demographic, or a “sin” and immediately made a decision about you? I forget that you are a real person with feelings just like mine. I forget that you feel rejection as painfully as I do. I’m sorry I didn’t take the time to know you. My own pain has now made me more sympathetic to your pain. I hope the next time I meet you, that I will look into your eyes and see the beautiful soul God made. I hope I will see the soul that just needs a friend to listen and weep with her. 2. I … Read More

Are You Willing To Go Where God Calls You?

Heather GillisFaith, Redemption, TrialsLeave a Comment

“God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called” quote by Mark Batterson.          Has God ever asked you do something that didn’t make sense? About 2,000 years ago Jesus was looking to qualify the called.  He was starting his ministry on earth calling His first disciples.  He saw some fisherman fishing alongside a lake.  He then told them to take the boat, out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch (Luke 5:4).   Simon, the boat owner said to  Jesus, “We’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.  But because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5).  Then something amazing happened.  Their nets began to break and their boats began to sink because they had caught so many fish (Luke 5:6-7).   Simon and all his companions couldn’t believe what they had just witnessed.  They had been fishing all night, then Jesus came along and changed everything.  Simon fell to his knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord;  I am a sinful man!”  Simon knew he had witnessed something great and felt unworthy to be in the presence of Jesus. Jesus said, “Come, follow me, and … Read More

Unexpected Easter Blessings

Heather GillisFaith, Holiday, Redemption, Trials4 Comments

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

What If?

Carol DunfeeFaith, Redemption, Trials3 Comments

The dark night of the soul. Yes, I’ve been there. In those times, I have to concentrate on each breath. Breathe in. Breath out. Put one foot in front of the other. Those moments whittle all of life down to surviving the present moment and then the next and the next. The pain is excruciating. My heart threatens to stop beating for the emotional pain, the exhaustion, wracking my body. In those dark nights, I chastise myself for not having more faith. If I were a better Christian, a better wife, a better mom, I could handle the pain better. If I were stronger, this wouldn’t be so hard. After all, my night is not a dark as hers or his. So I deny myself the luxury of pain and thus make the darkness even deeper. Looking back, I see how God brought me through these seasons of hopelessness. I can trace His hand in hindsight. So I ask, “What if?” What if our dark seasons were sent by the enemy to harm us? Maybe he sees where God is leading us and wants to stop it before we became a threat to him. Maybe he just wants to hurt God … Read More

A Holy Love That Makes Us Complete

Heather GillisFaith, Redemption, TrialsLeave a Comment

Happy Monday!  Last Monday I posted about how God’s holy love makes us new. God’s holy love has the power to transform our hearts and lives. Surrender is the first step to our transformation. Today we are taking a closer look at how God’s holy love makes us complete. We may not always like when tragedy or struggle enters our lives, but God is all-powerful and able to do so much more with our struggles than we ever could. In God’s holy love we are made perfect. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18 God’s holy love never punishes but disciplines us.  God’s love isn’t meant to get back at us but for us to have the best life ever in Him.  God knows our needs better than us–He encourages holiness. To get where God desires us, He requires our obedience and discipline. We may not always like what God desires for us, but that’s okay, we don’t have to.  The fruit of self-discipline doesn’t come from us but from God Himself and reaps great rewards … Read More

A Holy Love At The Cross

Heather GillisFaith, TrialsLeave a Comment

I hope you enjoyed the love poem and prayer of God’s agapé love for us from last week. God’s love is a holy love. One that forgives and selflessly gives eternally forevermore. There is never an end or amount of God’s love. But sometimes God’s love doesn’t feel very loving does it? Let me explain. Six years ago my husband and I endured the biggest tragedy parent’s could ever go through—the loss of our son. He was born with an undetected kidney disease that was incompatible with life. He lived only two short weeks on this earth before he went to heaven. When he died I couldn’t believe God didn’t heal our son. We prayed so hard for him to be healed, didn’t God hear our prayers? If God loved us then why didn’t He heal our son? As time went by, I went before God with this very question and His response was “I did heal your son just not in the way you asked me to. He indeed is healed and living a life that is free from disease, pain or sorrow, he is no longer suffering.” Wow, God was right, He answered every single one of my … Read More

A Love that Never Fails

Heather GillisFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

  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

TV Shows and God Moments

Jewel ZymurgyFaithLeave a Comment

The other day my daughter and I watched an older TV show when God threw in something that was unexpected and helped me get out of a negative mental funk that I was struggling with for a bit. I wanted to have a nice quiet night with my girl—watching a show that she enjoyed and sipping on some ice cold homemade limeade…what I was given was exceedingly more as I gained insight into my heart by a loving God that is constantly pursuing me! I don’t know if the reason why that episode struck a chord in my heart was because I was had heard a moving message earlier, if it was because it was the end of a long weekend of incredible insight or if it was because I have been wrestling with some pretty significant core beliefs as of late…but the episode made my heart break and release a torrent of tears that had my daughter thinking that we should probably turn of the show…which I whole heartedly agreed. However, not for any other reason than to share with her what moved my heart in that moment. The truth is that my mind and heart had been swimming … Read More

Giving God Access

Jewel ZymurgyTrialsLeave a Comment

I have shared before how the last few years of my life has been radically different from the majority of the life that I have lived prior. This last week though, God gave me a glimpse into a different plan for me than the one I had (which was to compartmentalize and keep my “following Jesus” life and my life prior to that separate). There was no miraculous booming voice nor did the waters of the Cook Inlet part to show me the way…however, the miracle that happened in my heart may just have been that big…or at least it was to me. Almost the entire time that I have been on this crazy adventure with Jesus, I have been told over and over that I need to forgive those people in my past that had hurt me so deeply; which is perfectly true and in fact biblical. Though…how do you convince someone who has been living in a world of pain and survival that the ones who hurt you the worst are in most need of forgiveness, “not for them, but for you…” The more that I was willing to know and learn and seek who God is…the more … Read More

Words We Tell Ourselves

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, RedemptionLeave a Comment

This last week I was reminded of just how important the words are that we say to ourselves. Not only do we impact others by the things that we think…we also choose the direction of our lives by the things that we choose to ruminate on. So much of what we tell ourselves has the power to create or tear down because it is the most often repeated thing that we hear and it is by far the loudest voice in our day. For many years I allowed the circumstances of the world around me to dictate my thoughts and steer the direction of my emotions. What that led to was feeling like I was on a wild roller coaster instead of living life. I was feeling as if I was constantly being thrown up and down and tossed to and fro. I felt as if all that I could do was to hold on for dear life and hope that nothing happened to me that would be bad enough to throw me out of the crazy ride! As I existed and allowed these circumstances to be the barometer of my life, I proved to be much weaker than I … 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

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