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10 Thanksgiving Bible Verses

I love Thanksgiving time!  It is a time to gather with family, cook together, eat lots of food and celebrate what we are thankful for.  This year may be a tough season for many of us.  Some of us may have experienced job loss, an unexpected illness or have financial struggles.  The list is endless of what makes our seasons tough.

There is one thing we can always count on, even in our rough seasons—God’s promises.  We may experience storms and struggles in life, but there is always something to be thankful for.  We may not want our circumstances or even like them, but God will use them for His glory and will produce the greatest blessings.

This Thanksgiving let’s give thanks to God not just for the good we are thankful for but for everything in between;  the good, the bad and the ugly.  When we do, we receive God’s greatest blessings when we are thankful in all circumstances (Thes. 5:18).   

Here are 10 Bible verse to Remind us of God’s Goodness-

1.  “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God” 2 Corinthians 4:15

2.  “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” 2 Corinthians 9:11

3.  “I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds”  Psalm 9:1

4.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”  Philippians 4:6-7

5.  “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Colossians 3:16-17

6.  “This is the day the Lord has made;  We will rejoice and be glad in it.”  118:24

7. “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever” 1 Chronicles 16:34

8.  “I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High”  Psalm 7:17

9.  “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

10.  “In that day you will say: “Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted”  Isaiah 12:4

There is always something to be thankful for.  

What are you thankful for?

What Bible verses remind you of what you are thankful for?

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A Prayer for Vision

 

Have you ever been so afraid of something it kept you from engaging in life?  It kept you from travel plans, going out with friends or being involved in relationships.  I’ve been there, allowing my fears to linger and build to the point of isolation.  Fear can be so crippling, not allowing us to live life, keeping us from God’s abundant plans.

Faith and fear cannot reside in the same heart.  Fear alters our vision making it difficult to see God’s plan for us.  God never intended for us to live in fear, but to live in the abundance of everything He has to offer.  Today I pray our eyes are opened to see a clearer vision for our lives, the way God sees us.

In 2 Kings 6, there was an ongoing war with the Arameans and Israel.  The king of Aram became infuriated when he learned Elisha the prophet warned the king of Israel of the plan to set his army’s camp by the border of Israel.  Once King Aram’s officials told him where Elisha was, he made plans to capture him.  He sent horses, chariots, and a strong force to surround the city of Dothan ( 2 Kings 6:8-13).

The next morning Elisha’s servant saw the army of horses and chariots surrounding them.  The servant asked, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?”  (2 Kings 6:15).

I love this next part.  Elisha’s response wasn’t to engage in his servant’s fears but to give him encouragement and invite him in to see what he saw.

Elisha tells his servant, 'Don't be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them' (2 Kings 6:16). Click To Tweet

Wow, I can’t imagine Elisha’s bold confidence.  His eyes saw the same thing his servant did, yet he did not waver.  His response could have only come from God Himself.  Even though Elisha saw the danger with his physical eyes, he stood firm in God’s divine power of what He is able to do.

Elisha then turned to God in prayer and said, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.”  Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:17).

Elisha’s prayer amazes me.  He didn’t ask God to help save them from the attacking enemy armies, instead asked God to open the eyes of his servant so he could see what Elisha saw.

I would surely think the next thing Elisha would ask God for was protection against the attacking enemy army.  Instead, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike these people with blindness.”  God heard Elisha’s prayer and struck them with blindness, as Elisha asked (2 Kings 6:18).

The servant witnessed firsthand the power of Elisha’s prayer for vision.  His eyes were opened to see what God and Elisha saw.  Elisha’s prayer took the focus off of the enemy/fear and prayed a prayer for vision to see God’s divine power more clearly.  We may not always see God’s bigger plan, but He is always at work behind the scenes.

Our own physical vision can limit us to focus on the circumstances that surround us, but God’s vision can free us to focus on His abilities, putting our trust in Him.  We can follow Elisha’s pattern of prayer when we feel our fears caving in.

Elisha’s Vision of Prayer:

  1.  He recognized the enemy’s plan to instill fear.  Instead of being a victim of fear, He put his hope and trust in God’s abilities of what He was able to do.
  2. He turned to God in prayer.  Instead of worrying, He sought God and prayed.
  3. He stood firm in God’s promises, his faith did not waver.

Satan will always try to keep us from God’s plans by instilling fear in us.  Fear will always blind us to God’s presence.  We must recognize the tactics of the enemy, stand firm in God’s promises, seek God in prayer and trust in Him.  The closer we are to God, the more clearly we can see His vision for us and hear His voice.

Are you struggling to see past your circumstances?

Write your own prayer for vision.  Ask God to see what He sees.

Prayer-  Lord Jesus, open our eyes so we can see what you see.  We pray our vision will not blind us to your presence of voice, that we will see and hear what you want us to.  We pray we will stand firm in your promises and trust in your divine power.  You are greater.  We pray your desires will be greater than our desires.  You are our God who loves us more than anything.  We praise you and thank you for your eternal gifts.

I pray for God’s vision in your life to see more clearly what God sees.  You are loved!

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What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Pray

Have you ever sat down to pray and just didn’t know what to say? Or felt like your prayers were empty and meaningless? Or if God was even listening?

Prayer is one the most important things we can do in our lives, yet when life gets busy, its one of the first things we omit out of our daily schedules and what we give up when we do don’t see ‘our prayers working.’

Maybe one of the reasons prayer can be so difficult is because of its meaning.

In English, Pray means ‘to ask or beg.’

In Hebrew, the word for Pray Tefillah means to ‘self-examine.’ The root word for Tefillah is Tofel, which means to ‘attach, join or bind together.’

In Aramaic, the word for Pray salah means ‘to bow, worship.’

In Greek, the word for Pray proseuchomai means to ‘supplicate, to worship.’

As one can see, the definition for pray has a variety of definitions. So which definition is correct?

All of them.

Prayer is a way to worship God, it is a way to sit before God to self-examine ourselves and how we ask God to intercede on our behalf and bow before Him in His presence.

Nonetheless, prayer doesn’t have one singular definition and fit into a box. Making prayer fit one singular definition would limit God’s abundant meaning, purpose, and power for prayer. The purpose of prayer isn’t solely meant to just ask God for our own needs and personal gain, or just to ‘self-examine’ ourselves or just to worship. Prayer goes way beyond that.

Prayer is our invitation to God to open the door for His divine power to move the mountains in our lives and others. Taking our struggles to God through prayer invites Him into our lives, brings us into His presence and binds us closer together with Him.

So what do we say when we don’t know what to pray?

God doesn’t judge our prayers. They don’t have to be filled with eloquent words or with verbatim Scripture. We don’t have to be on our knees, bow our heads or even fold our hands. The prayer posture and how we pray is God’s least concern. God is more concerned about when we don’t pray and the condition of our hearts. Our prayers are a way to get our hearts right with God and communicate with Him.

If you struggle with what to say during prayer here is a prayer tool that may help.

Praise
Repent
Ask
Yield

PRAISE
If you don’t know what to say, start with the very nature of what prayer is, praise. Some of the best prayers written in the Bible are prayers of praise spoken by David in the Psalms. Start telling God everything you are thankful for. Praising God first sets our hearts and minds on our Creator and His greatness and puts us in His presence. Praise purifies and softens our hearts, so we can hear what God is saying. (James 4:6-10)

REPENT
Next comes the hard part of what prayer is—repentance. No one likes to admit their wrongs or even speak them out loud. Confessing our sins to God opens a door for His forgiveness, so we don’t allow sin to reign in our lives but allow more room for God’s truth and grace. Confession allows us to humbly come before our Lord, lay our burdens at His feet, so He can do something greater than we ever could on our own. Confession invites God in to intervene on our behalf. (Matt. 3:8, Isa. 30:15).

ASK
Next, tell God all that is troubling you. He wants to hear what is in your heart. He wants every part of you, struggles and all. Ask God for help and healing, to supply for your needs, your provision, safety, wisdom, discernment, guidance, direction. God is always bigger than our struggles and can handle anything we ask of Him. (Phil. 4:19)

YIELD
Lastly, yield to God. Submitting our ways to God to His will and way allows for God’s greater plan to happen through us. Pray for God’s desires to be your desires. At the end of the day, it’s about God’s plans, not ours. (1 Peter 5:6, James 4:7)

We may not always know what to say, but know when we are silent that is what Satan desires for us. Click To Tweet

Satan tries to limit your praying because he knows your praying will limit him. ~Zig Ziglar

Next time you pray, don’t allow Satan to keep you silent. Cutting prayer out of our lives, cuts our direct communication and relationship off with God, which is exactly what Satan wants. Your prayers matter and make a difference to God. Never stop praying, He is listening.

What is one action step you can take today, to make prayer more meaningful and purposeful in your life?

What does prayer mean to you?

What do you pray when you don’t know what to say?

Prayer- Dear Lord, We praise you even when we don’t understand. We thank you for your greatness and power of what you are able to do. We know prayer can move mountains but can let the busyness of life to get in the way of doing what matters most—spending time with you. Forgive us, Lord, for allowing busyness and distractions get in the way of what you desire for us. Help us stay committed and devoted in prayer daily and integrate it into our lives. We praise you, in Jesus name. Amen.

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A Love That Transcends All Borders

There are some things in this life that are hard to describe unless they are witnessed firsthand.  I have been a nurse for almost 19 years and have witnessed some of life’s most amazing and devastating moments.  I would like to share with you one of those moments today that has been ingrained forever in my heart.  

This particular day, I had already finished a couple of cases in the operating room.  People who know me, know I wear a cross necklace.  As I entered the room of the next patient, he saw the cross I was wearing around my neck.  Before I had the chance to introduce myself, he held out his hands for me to hold.  He took my hands then said, “Do you believe Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior?”  I said, “Yes.”  It was obvious this patient did not speak much English.  He smiled and said in his broken English, “Then you are my sister.” 

Here was a man (probably of Russian descent) whom I’ve never met before, embracing and proclaiming me to be his sister in Christ before he even knew my name.  

As I was still holding this man’s hand, I responded back to him, “Then you are my brother.”  

What’s so amazing about this moment, it didn’t matter this man could barely speak English. It didn’t matter he didn’t know my name—he didn’t need to.  He only needed to know that I loved and accepted Jesus as my Savior.  We didn’t need to speak the same language to understand God’s love for us.  God’s love is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 NIVClick To Tweet

This man showed me it doesn’t matter if we are Catholic, Greek or Jewish.  When we accept the love of Jesus, we become the same lineage, united by the blood of Christ which makes us brothers and sisters.  In God’s love, there are no orphans left behind.  It doesn’t matter if we came from a broken home, a perfect home or don’t have a home.  The love of Jesus provides a home for everyone– his love is our home.  We are all apart of God’s one big family when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, adopted by the blood of Christ.

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”  Ephesians 1:5 NLT

Once we are adopted into God’s family, we become new citizens not of this world but of heaven.  

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;”  Philippians 3:20

God’s love is what transforms our hearts and our lives.  

“who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”  Philippians 3:21

My patient recognized I was a part of his family that day because I was wearing my cross.  What if I wasn’t wearing my cross?  How would others recognize we are apart of the same family?

Watching the news, there is so much division and hard to tell who is apart of God’s family because of our differences.  Even in our differences, God’s love is what unites us.  

His grace is what saves us.  When Christ lives in us, his loving kindness overflows from within us, allowing others to see the love of Jesus.  When we give the lovingkindness of God, others will know how much God loves them and in Christ, we are all apart of God’s holy family.

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!” Phil 4:1

There is no greater love than the love of Jesus.  God could have lived anywhere in the world but he chose to live in our hearts! (author unknown).  You are loved my sister (or brother)!

Are you apart of God’s one big family?

How can we show others we are apart of God’s family?

Want to tell others how much God loves them? Click Here For Free Valentine Printable Cards with Bible Verses!

Nothing unites us and draws us closer to God than when we read scripture together!  It’s not too late!  Join the Bible reading plan. 

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Want to know more about being apart of God’s big family?  Are you my brother or sister in Christ?  Please introduce yourself, I would love to hear from you!    Please Leave Your Comments Below.  Have a Blessed Week!


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Top 10 Things I would like to Leave Behind in 2017: A Year in Review

At the end of every year, it’s always fun to reminisce about all the fun and happy memories one has had over the year.  It is also a good time to write goals and get rid of any junk or clutter getting in the way of reaching our goals.

I don’t know about you, but I love getting rid of clutter to help clear paths to achieve goals.

I asked my family what is something you would like to leave behind this year?  What is something you do not want to take into the New Year?  Here are our Family’s responses.  (You can Probably guess which ones are our kids’ responses)

Top 10 Things to Leave Behind in 2017:
1.  Negativity–  Nobody likes a Negative Nelly.  Negativity is a sure way to a bad attitude which never leads to anywhere good.  In 2018 I want to trade negative attitudes in for positive ones.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”  (Ephesians 4:29).

2.  Fear–  Being Scared of the unknown is a sure way to get into a vicious cycle of worry and anxiety.  Who wants that?  Not me.  The best thing to trade our Fears in for is more Faith.

“Trust in the Lord with All your Heart, Lean not on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

3.  Poor use of Time–  I want to trade in any Lack of Planning in for being more intentional and purposeful with my time.  The best person to give our time to is God.  God will provide all the time we need when we give it to him.  Time spent with God is time well spent.

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

4.  Busyness–  Filling my time with busyness and distractions is a guarantee for burnout and being tired.  This year I want to let my ‘yes’ be ‘yes and my ‘no’ be ‘no’ (James 5:12) so I don’t overcommit or overextend myself.

5.  Regret–  Allowing fear to dictate actions is a good way to get into a pile of regret.  Living a life of love the way God intended us to live, helps to leave regret behind and look forward to the life that God has designed for us.

6.  Accumulating Stuff–  This year is a year to live with less.  When I have less, I have more room for what God has intended for me.

“He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)

7.  Silly Arguments–  Maybe you are a better person than me, but I would like to trade in silly arguments for positive, encouraging remarks.  Who really cares if the toilet seat wasn’t put down?  Instead of being quick to start a silly argument I want to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19).

8.  Sweating the small stuff–  Worrying about every little thing leads only to more worry.  Worry never changes the situation or the outcome, it only brings more grief and worry.  In 2018, I want to trade worry in for more Trust in God.  He’s Got it!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”  (Matthew 6:34).

9.  Disorganization–  When you consistently can’t find your keys, clutter starts to pile up and life starts to spiral out of control;  maybe it’s time to trade in the clutter and chaos for more order.  Take the time to get rid of clutter and organize your spaces.

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”  1 Corinthians 14:33

10.  Disconnected–  I have gotten into a bad habit, of spending time on social media when I should be present with whoever I am with.  Just because there is downtime doesn’t mean I have to pick up my phone.  This year I want to be present with whoever I am with, not trading face to face interaction in for screen time.

Have you made a list of things of your Fun Happy Memories from 2017?  

What would you like to leave behind in 2017?  

It is a good activity to do with your family to start with a clean slate for the New Year!

Prayer:  Dear God,

I want to start my New Year off to the right start.  Help me identify the clutter in my life, anything getting in the way of reaching my goals you desire for me.  Help me use the time you have given me wisely and keep my path clear of junk and live how you designed me!  In Jesus name.  Amen.

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May your New Year be Filled Abundantly more with God’s Blessings of Love, Joy, Peace and Freedom! I would love to hear from you.  Leave Your Comments Below.


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Where Do I Fit In?

As many of you know this summer our family embarked on a journey of traveling and new beginnings.  We trekked across Alaska, Canada, and many National Parks in our RV, until we arrived in our new home in Colorado.  Every place we move arises a lot of unknowns.  Where will we live?  Where will the kids go to school?  Which school is best for them?  Where will I work?  Who will be our friends?  What church will we attend?  What activities will we be involved in?  And mostly, will I fit in?

With each new move, I question will we have nice neighbors?  Will others be accepting of us?  Will I fit into this new life?  Do I really have to make a new life all over again?  Moving every 3-4 years in the military is just enough time to establish roots, which makes leaving so much harder.  I would never trade the amazing adventures our family has had traveling to our next assignment but would do anything to keep the friends and relationships we had, move with us.

As I get my footing in our new house, our new area we live, I can’t really just knock on someone’s door and ask ‘Will you be my friend?’  These things take time.  Moving really makes me lean and depend on God more for His provision of everything.  This new life reminds me of the parable of the new cloth and old garment.

Matthew 9:16  NKJV “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment;  for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse.”

Luke 5:36 NKJV “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one;  otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old.”

In this parable, Jesus is questioned about His actions regarding fasting.  Jesus is trying to explain the dangers of patching an old garment with a new patch of cloth.  That would be ridiculous to patch a new cloth on an old garment because when a person washes the old garment, the new patch of cloth would shrink and make the tear worse.  Jesus was challenging those questioning Him to understand, we don’t just cover up the old with the new.  He was offering a whole new meaning and message–we become new when our freedom, identity, and truth, comes from God Himself, not from following a bunch of rules.  Jesus was the new message, a fulfillment of God’s law.

Jesus was offering a whole ‘new cloth,’ one that didn’t cover up the old with the new.  In this new life I’m living I can’t try to fit my old life into my new one.  It would tear and not match up.  I can’t travel around with my life in a box and expect everything to match up wherever I go.  I have to be gentle with myself and allow for God’s timing and plan to fall into place, not my own agenda.  I am so thankful for Jesus’ message, I don’t have to try to fit in and be something I’m not.

When my freedom, identity, and truth are in Christ, I will Fit in wherever I go. Click To Tweet

FREEDOM

Galatians 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

IDENTITY

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

TRUTH

John 8:32 “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
 
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
Maybe you’re a single mom trying to fit in a married couple world.  Or maybe you’re a part-time working mom trying to fit in the stay-at-home mom world.  Maybe you struggle with temptations or sins and don’t know how to walk away and believe it’s better to keep them hidden to fit in.  Maybe you struggle with an eating disorder trying to fit into the world that says you have to be skinny to be accepted.  Maybe you struggle with addictions and don’t know how to fit in a world filled with pain.  Maybe you have stronghold reigning in your life that doesn’t allow you to fit in at all.
Where do you find your F.I.T?
Do you struggle with where you FIT in?

 

If I waited to find my acceptance and approval in the world, I may never Fit in.  Starting over can be difficult but when my F.I.T is found in Jesus, I will always FIT in wherever I go!  I don’t have to worry or fear the unknown when my F.I.T is in Jesus.  He fulfills my greater purpose, I don’t have to be something I’m not.

God’s love and grace are transformational.  We become victorious when His word is alive and active in our lives!

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A Biblical Trek Through the Great Land of Alaska

 

Moving to this great state only a couple of years ago, I can’t help to take in all of it’s greatness, it’s beauty, and magnificence. As a newcomer to this state, my fresh eyes see things that capture my attention and can’t help to notice as I venture through this great land, all the biblical references.

Alaska itself lives up to it’s name meaning, ‘the great land.‘ I can’t help to think how this great land relates to Moses and the Israelite’s wandering in the desert for 40 years, for God to lead them to ‘the promised land.’

As the looming physical darkness of our winter season approaches, there has also been a presence of spiritual darkness lurking in our great land. Every day there seems to be news of another shooting and murder. It seems that evil has taken up camp and resided here.

No matter how dark the darkness, it can never extinguish the light of Jesus. In fact, the darker it gets, the brighter his light shines. Evil can never change what God has already done. Our God is bigger and cannot be defeated.

It is true that evil is present in our state. But truth is, evil can never take away God’s presence. He is very much here with us every moment of every day. He has left us reminders in this state how one day we too will be taken to the promised land.

God’s goodness is here, present, alive within us and in this great state. Let’s imagine for a moment we are the Israelites wandering around Alaska instead of the desert.

A Biblical Trek Through the Great Land of Alaska-

It all started in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth. I think God had fun when he created Alaska. He put so much thought and detail into creating this amazing land. There are over 3 million lakes, over half of the world’s active glaciers and has 17 of 20 highest peaks in the U.S. Alaska has over 43 of the 53 active volcanoes in the U.S. It is home to the Northern Lights, and viewing of some of the most amazing constellations and stars. Alaska has over 35 species of mosquitoes, home to some of the most amazing wildlife and has some of the most stellar fishing for halibut and salmon.

This winter, look up and you will see the star lit on top of the 4,000 foot Mount Gordon. For 55 years the tradition of lighting the star every winter season, illuminates the night during our long season of darkness. I can’t help to think about the three wise men following the star to Bethlehem in hopes to see baby Jesus.

Head south towards the Kenai Peninsula and you will enter into the town of Hope. It is a town nestled amongst the mountains and at the mouth of the Turnagain arm. What a treasure to discover Hope among the mountains and deep waters.

Travel even further south and we come upon the Resurrection Bay in Seward. What a wonderful reminder of God’s plan for us. That we are not defeated by our circumstances but resurrected in Christ because of what he did for us.

Let’s travel north to the town of Bethel. Bethel means ‘house of God.’ In biblical times, this is where people went to seek counsel. It is where Jacob had his dream of a ladder to heaven and angels ascending from heaven.

It was God’s message to Jacob that, “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” (Genesis 29:15 NKJV). Jacob then wakes up and says “surely the LORD is in this place and I did not know it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than that house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” (Genesis 29:16-17 NKJV).

Lastly, there is an anchor in Anchorage. Chances are if you are reading this post, you are a woman in the word; a woman who prays. Prayer is what is what will anchor us through this darkness and bring the darkness to light. Together we can shine the light of Jesus brighter than any light, by staying devoted in prayer and allowing God’s light to shine through us.

“This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” Hebrews 6:19 NLT

Despite the present spiritual realms of darkness, stay focused on God’s presence, in His greatness and goodness. Don’t let the enemy fool you in putting your hope in what you see. God is at work in a bigger way than we can ever imagine.

There is an eternal hope in Alaska one that can never be extinguished by any darkness. This winter season, don’t focus on the darkness, but on how bright the stars shine, God’s purpose, intent and creation.

Am I missing anything? What other wonders in this great land of Alaska has God has showed you?

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This post was first published on www.akchristianwomensministry.com.


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The Struggle is Real

The other day I was sitting in Sunday school class and the pastor asked us questions about storms we go through as couples.  Couples raised their hands and said they had struggles with finances, loss of a job, unexpected sickness, a baby born were some of their responses.  Our pastor then asked, “How many couples have had a miscarriage or lost a baby?”  A surprising amount of us raised our hands.  No one would have ever known by looking at the couples in the room, that we had these deep struggles.  
There are so many of us that go through struggles in life that we keep hidden and in the dark. Many of us walk around with smiles on our faces but in reality, there are deep struggles going on inside.  
Some of us may have struggles that are hard to even admit.  They might be something we are ashamed of or the enemy has whispered lies that have led us so far astray we don’t know how to get back on course. 
 
The struggle is real.  We all have them.  Even godly people of the Bible had struggles.  
For example, King David had a wandering eye for another man’s wife, which got him into trouble.  One night when David was walking around his roof, he saw a beautiful woman bathing who caught his attention.  He was intrigued and sent someone to find out about her.  The messenger returned and informed King David, her name was Bathsheba wife of Uriah, one of his soldiers in command.  Even though King David knew she was married to another man, he slept with her and she conceived a child.  
To make matters worse, David covered up his mistake.  He concocted a plan for Uriah to return from the field and lay with his wife, to make him think he conceived a child with Bathsheba and not David.  When David discovered his plan didn’t work and realized his mistake would be exposed—King David had Uriah killed by putting him at the front line of battle.    
Talk about scandal!  King David’s wandering eye not only led to adultery but also murdering another man to cover up his mistake!  David had some real struggles.  
At what point do you think David should have came forward his struggle?  
If David had just opened up to God about what he was dealing with or asked someone to pray for him, the scandal could have been avoided.  Just imagine all scandals that could be avoided in our own homes and communities if we would just let someone pray for us?  Or if we would just entrust God with our struggles?
David did not go on to live the rest of his life allowing sin or his struggle to reign over him.  After being approached by the prophet Nathan, David said to him, “I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Samuel 12:13).  David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).  Through David’s repentance and turning away from his sin, is what transformed his life to become apart of one of the greatest plans ever—the bloodline to Jesus.  
David had to learn the hard way.  His choices did not come without consequence.  Nathan tells David, “The LORD has taken away your sin.  You are not going to die.  But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die” (2 Samuel 12:13).    
Scandals.  They are everywhere.  Our government.  Our homes.  Our communities.  Our schools.  Even our churches.  The very place where we think we can feel safe and entrust another in prayer, is the very place the enemy attacks the hardest. 

No one is exempt from the enemy’s trickery, even godly people, even the anointed and appointed.
Here is the Real Truth. 
“But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 1 John 1:5-7
The struggle is real.  We are all human, we all fall short and make mistakes.  (Rom. 3:23)
Behind every struggle there is an enemy force at work.  
The dark is where the enemy does his best work.  
The enemy desires to keep our struggles hidden in the dark. 
When our struggles are brought into the light, the enemy can no longer reign over us.  
Bring your struggles into the light.  
1.  The best way to expose the plans of the evil one—bring them to the light.  
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”  Ephesians 5:11 ESV
2.  No amount of darkness can ever extinguish the light of Jesus.  Keep his light inside of you.    “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” John 1:5 ESV
3.  Follow Jesus He knows the way.  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12 ESV
The enemy has us scared to believe we will be persecuted and abandoned if we expose our flaws.  He  disillusions our minds to think keeping the struggle in the dark is a better option than getting help that is so desperately needed.  

Imagine what our world would look like if we were free from the reign of the enemy and exposed his evil plan by illuminating it with light?  Suicide wouldn’t be an option.  Abortions would not occur.  Divorce would be non-existent.
We don’t have to learn the hard way, like David did.  We can put an end to the enemy attacks, by allowing someone we entrust to pray for us.  Allowing their prayers to intercede on our behalf.  By surrendering our struggles to God and getting the help we need before it leads to our destruction.  
Hold onto God’s promises.  Stay in His Word.  Stay faithful in prayer!  This will allow our struggles to be brought to the light and allow God’s divine power to fight our battles for us.  
 
Do you have an an accountability/prayer partner that can help you get through your struggles?  
 
Do you have a pastor you can entrust? 
 
Do you take your struggles to God and allow Him to fight your battles?
 
I pray and hope this post is an encouragement to you.  If you are struggling with something, please don’t keep it hidden in the dark, bring it into the light.  Don’t let the enemy silence you.  Entrust another to pray for you, take it to God.  Allow God to fight your battles for you.  
 
Keep praying our hearts and minds will be guarded against the evil one, before it is the death of us.  The enemy is relentless and won’t stop until he has destroyed our lives, our families, our marriages, bank accounts, it is endless. 

Did you enjoy this blogpost? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!

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This post was first published on www.akchristianwomensministry.com


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First Encounter OR Second Hand Faith?

Today’s post is written by blogger Carol Dunfee.  This post was first published on www.caroldunfee.com.
I grew up hearing stories about my grandpa. He passed away when I was a newborn, so I never got to meet him. My mom has told me that he was fun-loving. He treasured his two daughters. He loved music and often entertained his family with his guitar, his harmonica, and his singing. My mom has fond memories of singing along with him. She honored his love of music by singing with me when I was little. She encouraged me to dance and sing to the music playing in our house.  My grandpa had an indirect effect on me even though I never knew him.
Then there was Gramma. I didn’t have to rely on stories to learn about her. I got to meet her in person. She was my hero. She made everyone around her feel special and loved. She worked hard tending her enormous garden, canning fruits and vegetables, sewing her own clothes, and preparing the most amazing meals. She loved God with all her heart. I wish I had recordings of all our late-night conversations where she told me about her history and about her God. I knew her FACE TO FACE.
Many of us who are “religious”, know Jesus as I know my grandfather. I have heard wonderful things about him, but I never got to KNOW him personally. Religion tells us stories about the great things Jesus did while He was here on earth. It tells us that He is God’s Son and that He died on the cross and rose again to pay the price for our sins. It tells us that if we confess our sins and accept Him as Savior, then He will give us a home in heaven when we die.
Second-hand stories are great. They connect us to those we could never meet otherwise. I know who my grandpa was because my mom told me about him. Many of us learn about God through second-hand stories. These stories help shape our morals and values. They give us an anchor.
However, I don’t want to know my Creator only through second-hand stories. I want to KNOW Him first-hand. I want to hear His voice speak to me as I read the Bible and as I ask Him for guidance. I want to see His hand working in my family. I want to have His abundant life NOW!
He is not a list of rules or traditions. He is not defined by organized religion. He can work through those things, but He is not confined by them.
I want my children to know that He is real and available RIGHT NOW. How will they know if I don’t show them? I need to tell them the stories, but I also need to go a step further. I need to let them see that He is real in my everyday life. I need to continue to pray that they encounter His love and power for themselves.
Jesus is a real person. He loves you. Don’t take my word for it. Don’t take your pastor’s or priest’s word for it. Search for Him yourself.
“But if from there you seek the LORD your God,
you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  Deuteronomy 4:29 NIV
A note from Heather:  I hope Carol’s message today challenged you to not settle for second hand faith but to get your own personal encounter with Jesus.  When I think of first encounters, I think of Paul and Silas when they were beaten and thrown into the inner prison in Macedonia (which is the lowest, darkest, grotesque of all prisons) with shackles fastened to their feet.  They were imprisoned in a deep dark pit for healing a girl who was possessed.
Despite being persecuted and beaten for their beliefs they started to pray and sing hymns of praise to God while they were in this deep dark pit of a prison!  Their prayers and songs of praise echoed throughout the prison.
Suddenly an earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. All the doors were opened and their chains fell off (Acts 16:26).  The guard keeping watch trembled at the sight of this and asked “What must I do to be saved?”  Paul replied “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31).  In verses 33-34, it goes on and says this man took the prisoners home and washed their wounds.  Immediately he and his whole household were baptized.  The jailer then brought them a meal and was filled with joy because he and his whole household believed in God.
Talk about First Encounters!  We can’t just take the world’s word for who God is, we have to seek him ourselves to obtain our own testimonies.  When we have our own personal encounter with God, we believe because of our FAITH, not because of what someone tells us.

Have you had a first encounter with God?

Do you have your own personal relationship with God?

Do you have a personal testimony to share with others?

Meet Carol

 

I am a wife, mom, piano teacher, and blogger for Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry.  When I am not teaching piano, I live the crazy life of a wife and mom of three. I love it when life is neat and organized, but I find that rarely happens. I am learning to love the chaos.  To read more about Carol visit her blog at www.caroldunfee.com.

 

Did you enjoy this blogpost? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!

 

I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!

 

A version of this post was first published on www.akchristianwomensministry.com.

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Yes Lord

“God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called” quote 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 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 I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.”  Matthew 4:18-20

In just three words Jesus changed the lives of these fishermen forever.  The disciples were busy making a living catching fish, then Jesus came along and said, “Come follow me,” you are now going to catch men.  Without hesitation in the both gospels of Matthew and Luke, the men dropped their nets, pulled in their boats to shore, left everything (their families, their businesses) to go follow Jesus.  

I have thought about this scenario many times. 

Why do you think God allowed these men to experience what it was like to catch the biggest catch of fish ever in their lives, to then tell them to drop their nets and walk away from everything they once knew?

This amount of fish could have made lots of money to feed their families and then some.  The fishermen prior to this had only been loosely associated with Jesus.  Jesus allowed the disciples to have a taste worldly abundance, so they would know nothing in this life could ever bless them more abundantly than what God could provide.  Dropping their nets and walking away led to the most extraordinary life ever in Jesus. 

What would you do if Jesus came along and asked you to drop everything to come follow Him?  Would you say ‘yes’?  

What courageous faith, trust and obedience these men had to just walk away.  We may not always know what lies ahead but God does. 

I can so relate to the disciples.  Three years ago God asked my husband and I, “Will you walk away?”  He said, “I know your life is comfortable, but will you leave all of your family, friends, your jobs and your life, to come follow me?”  

I’ll be honest at first, our response was ‘wow God that’s asking a lot.’  There were a lot of unknowns, where would we go?  Where would we live?  Where would we work?   When God asked us to walk away, He already orchestrated the plan, we just had to follow.  

Once we said ‘Yes Lord,’ God started opening the doors to where He was leading us.  We didn’t need to know how every detail was going to work out, because God had it under control.  We knew where God was leading us may be uncomfortable at first learning how to live in our new life.  But, we knew whatever abundant blessings we had in our comfortable life couldn’t compare to what God had in store for us.  Saying ‘yes’ to Jesus was the best decision we ever made.

His abundant blessings are always greater.  

Saying ‘Yes Lord,’ allows for God’s biggest blessings to overflow within our lives. 

Saying ‘Yes Lord,’ to whatever He is asking us to do will always leads to the most extraordinary life in Him.

Has God ever asked you to walk away and come follow Him?  

God is calling all of us to have the most extraordinary life in Him.  We don’t have to be extraordinary to do what God is asking us to do, we just have to be ready. 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:3

Coming Soon!  Some new changes to the website.  I will be doing a 4-part series of Meeting Jesus.  We will be meeting Jesus in the scriptures, our struggles, our storms and everyday lives.    

It’s all about meeting Jesus right where we are.  In Him we will have life to the full that is complete and everlasting.  Have a blessed week!

Did you enjoy this blogpost? Please share with others!  Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox?  Subscribe to my blog and receive a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts. I would love to hear from you!  Leave your comments below!

Celebrate Easter with Jesus with this Family Bible Reading Plan!