(613) 596-9390                     

Ministries

June 2020

Be Still & Know

 

BE STILL & KNOW

Psalm 46:10 is one of my life verses and has helped to anchor me in times of great distress more often than I can count. As I say the words out loud, Be still and know that I am God, I am almost immediately taken to a place of serenity. Recently, I read that verse in the Passion translation and had a new appreciation for its impact.

Surrender your anxiety!

Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God.

I am the God above all the nations,

and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth. – Psalm 46:10 (Passion)

To my delight, several weeks ago, I learned of the change in plans for the Muskoka Bible Centre’s Women of Grace Spring Retreat when they announced they would be going virtual with a new theme based on this Psalm 46 verse. So, along with several of you (AWC women) we spent the greater part of a Saturday with hundreds of other women from around the world, at the Muskoka Bible Centre’s Women of Grace Virtual Retreat. It was a wonderful time of connecting and learning how to be still, how to study the Bible, and how to pray. I left that day feeling filled-up and strengthened in my faith.

Dr. Linda Reed was the keynote presenter and spoke about how the practice of stillness is hard for people to achieve but how useful it is in our faith. She talked about how this time of quarantine became a season for her to be still and connect with God on an even deeper level.

Can you relate to that? Have you been able to use some of this time at home to be still?

Dr. Reed’s presentation focused on the “know” portion of “be still and know”, titled: “Be Still and Know: To Know His Strengthening Power”. She spent time in Colossians which teaches us how to know Jesus (Col 1), how to know what to think and not to think (Col 2:1-3:4), how to know what to wear and not to wear (Col 3) and how to know what to say and not to say (Col 4). As she zoomed in on His strengthening power, she also shared hundreds of Scriptures on strength in the Bible. You may watch her presentation here and use this link to download a copy of the handout.

It is always encouraging to hear other women with similar roles and responsibilities share their faith journeys to give us hope as we navigate our different stages of life. I trust that you can find a bit of time, within your hectic schedules, to spend being still with God as He strengthens you to attain all steadfastness and patience. 

By: Yolande A. Knight

Our song this week is "Still" by Hillary Scott & the Scott Family

Comments
Login or Sign up to post comments.
Guest Comment 3 months ago
+1
Poor Comment Good Comment
One of my favorite scripture verses too. I also have a lot of items with that verse and I liked Linda's mug and print. I missed out on the retreat so thanks for posting the link and the handout.
Small Group Leader 3 months ago
+1
Poor Comment Good Comment
Thank you for posting the link to “Be Still and Know“. I was unable to attend the virtual event. Powerful teaching and timely. Jen

Prayer

PRAYER

Many years ago, I realized that the best part of the Bible study I attended was our time praying together. Way back in those days, I mostly listened and was intimidated to pray out loud, but I knew that was the most powerful part of our time together. It took me a long time to understand that all I really needed to do, was to remember who it was that I was talking to and to stop worrying about what others might think of my words.

I loved that group as I was a newly committed Christian and hungry to learn. I never missed our Friday night study. Now, fifty years later I am still in touch with the remaining members of that study. When we get together our conversations are still meaningful and challenging. The relationships we formed at that time are still solid and reliable. I still know that all I need to do is ask them to pray about something and they will be right there.

But we get complacent even about prayer. Up until recently, we in North America, lived in a relatively safe environment, where we lack for very little that we can’t get for ourselves. I know I’m speaking generally, and this doesn’t apply to everyone, but most of us lived busy, self-sufficient lives, where we could control much of our world. It became easy to be distracted from what is really important.

In 1998, I went on a mission trip to Haiti with other folks from Arlington Woods Church. The group was about 20 people and was led by Lenore Dunn. Prayer was an integral part of our preparation for this journey. I particularly remember one Sunday morning when the entire team went up to the prayer rail and the rest of the congregation gathered around us to ensure God’s blessing as we went. Lenore described how while she prayed for the team during her devotions, she got an image of us where she saw us in a vulnerable place. We were inside a circle of hedges made out of thorns with roaring lions outside but guarded by angels. A spiritual battle was going on and we needed to be prepared. She quoted the following scripture which God gave her and assured us that nothing could harm us, but that experience told her that we needed to be doing our part through prayer.

The scripture was Psalms 91:9-13

If you say, The Lord is my refuge,”

    and you make the Most High your dwelling,

no harm will overtake you,

    no disaster will come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you

    to guard you in all your ways;

they will lift you up in their hands,

    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread on the lion and the cobra;

    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

This scripture later became very meaningful for me, and perhaps to the others on the team. I believe, it guided us for the ten days we were away.

The battle began for me even before the trip, as my mother was rushed to hospital a little more than a month before the trip and it was touch and go if she would survive. I was back and forth to Toronto a couple of times during that period but never thought that I might have to cancel this trip. By the time we were scheduled to go she was out of hospital and back in her residence.

I had never been to a third world country before, and although my preparation involved a lot of reading about Haiti, I was still very ill prepared for the sights, sounds and circumstances we encountered as soon as we got off the plane in Port-au-Prince. It was so alien; it was almost overwhelming. I found myself very much out of my depth and shocked by things that were obviously commonplace for the citizens of Haiti.

It wasn’t very long before I found myself engaged in a serous conversation with God as I processed what I was feeling and seeing. I wasn’t sure I could cope and knew I needed His help. Don’t get me wrong, nothing very dramatic happened while we were there, but, just the same, it was another world.

Still, as I processed my surroundings and asked God about the things we saw, it was as if the spiritual battle became more and more visible as I turned to Him for reassurance and guidance. Almost daily, we witnessed God at work in the midst of difficult circumstances and we met many amazing Christians who constantly lived with great difficulties in their lives and who relied on God much more, I felt, than I did.

Since that trip, I have never looked at my Christian walk and the value of prayer in the same way. I know there is evil abroad in the land, but I have also seen God’s hand at work. I’m not sure how to describe it but the more I relied on the Lord the clearer the battle around us became. I was encouraged by the faith of the Haitian Christians we met and by how we saw God at work in Dessalines, the town where we stayed. I knew what side I was on and how dependent I needed to be on my relationship with my Saviour.

Being uncomfortable and insecure does have its upside. I was left in very little doubt of whose I was and which side I was on. Abiding in the Lord and trusting Him were only too clear.

Returning home, I have tried to maintain that awareness ever since. We live in a world where a battle is always raging between good and evil, yet we can so easily be blinded to it.

This pandemic is just the same. It too is a battle between good and evil in the spiritual realm. Our responsibility must always be to communicate with God and listen to his voice, to look around and observe what is really going on. What is God doing in our world? How does he want us to respond to make a difference? Should we be giving a cup of cold water to someone who is thirsty or is he calling us to take a stand or to just lift up one another in prayer?

He has placed us in this community, in our families, with our friends and in our country to participate in this battle. We are not here by chance. We are His hands and feet for the gospel. It is exciting to see Him at work and to be part of His plan.

I can’t wait to see what else He is going to do. Keep asking Him what part you can play in His plan and expect an answer.

In Philippians 4: 1-4, the apostle Paul said: 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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.

By: Lynne Willoughby

Photo Credit: Group photo of Haitian children provided by Lynne.

This week's song, "The Blessing", has resonated with the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 This rendition was done by churches across Canada. 

Comments
Login or Sign up to post comments.
Guest Comment 3 months ago
+1
Poor Comment Good Comment
What a great experience Lynne! Thanks for being so open and honest with your fears and concerns during your mission trip to Haiti. No doubt a life-changing experience for you and all those with you. xo

Arlington Woods Church Daily Prayer Time

ARLINGTON WOODS CHURCH DAILY PRAYER TIME

Editorial NoteBoth Larry & Janet McClung regularly lead the Tuesday night prayers at Arlington Woods Church. As Larry describes in this guest post, when COVID-19 restrictions were implemented by the Province, this led to some God-inspired creativity. We are thankful to Larry for providing this post which will be sure to inspire your prayer life.

_______________________

How do you react when God whispers, asking you to do something unusual? Something that should fail?

In mid-March we, like others, were faced with the inability to use our church building for any activity, including gathering for prayer on Tuesday evenings. Man said – just use Zoom (ignoring the fact that more than half of the people who attended had never heard of Zoom). God added – and do it every night (yes, even weekends). We chose to trust God (isn’t that why we pray, because we trust Him, and want to hear from Him?). So, starting on the following Tuesday evening (March 17), we held a Zoom-based prayer meeting that continues to meet every evening, now into June. We were pleasantly surprised when a slightly larger group than normal appeared in the Zoom windows; we were even more surprised when the numbers continued to rise on the second and third nights and, after 11 weeks, have remained higher than our former once-a-week meeting.

Traditional shut-ins can attend as easily as all of us new shut-ins. People that rely on public transit can get there just as fast as those who own cars. Parents of young children can arrive only a minute after tucking the last child into bed – or even while cuddling a fussy child, if they know how to use the mute button. People can arrive late or leave early without disrupting the meeting. And God is still in the room – every room – just as in our “normal” prayer times.

Even more satisfying, while deliberately allowing “social” time, the focus of the gathering has remained on prayer. This includes prayer that we will be protected from the debilitating effects of the pandemic, or that specific individuals will be strengthened as they face troubling situations. But a core element of the prayer time remains on praying that God will continue to break down barriers between our church and our community, taking us out into the community and bringing community members into God’s kingdom – which does not require a building.

By: Larry McClung

Listen to "One Moment" by Highlands Worship about how time spent with God changes everything!

 

Comments
Login or Sign up to post comments.
Guest Comment 3 months ago
+1
Poor Comment Good Comment
So great that prayer has continued for such a long time. It should certainly our first response to everything. Thanks Larry!

Race and Restoration in the Church

 

RACE & RESTORATION IN THE CHURCH

Like many of you, I have been saddened and deeply hurt by the incidents of injustice and racism that have flooded our airways over the past two weeks. As a Black woman, this has hit close to home because, though I do not have a son; I have nephews, and Black brothers-in-law, friends with Black young men, and male friends who are Black and I feel the angst and pain they suffer whenever their Black men leave their homes, afraid they would not return, ending up another victim.  

I recognize that many of you reading this post are white and do not understand why this pain is so real to Black people because you’ve not had encounters with racism. It’s even difficult for many of us to explicitly share our feelings because it’s hard to find the right words to express what we feel in a way that you may comprehend. Or some may even fear repercussion for being considered an “activist”. Every Black person I know, in Canada and the U.S., has had an encounter that they would classify as having racial undertones, running the gamut of outright racism to covert prejudice.

Over the past few weeks, I have gone out of my way to re-educate myself on the issues of race and inequality that permeate our society and what the church’s response should be, as I believe, the church can lead the way in fostering restoration. The Bible commands us to do so in several places (Isaiah 1:17; 58:6-7, Micah 6:8).

In fact, before we get to the so-called "Proverbs 31 Woman" found in Proverbs 31:10-31, verses 8 and 9 ask us to speak up for those being crushed. I could not escape the impact of that word “crushed” in view of the recent events in Minneapolis as the phrase “I can’t breathe” kept going through my mind.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
    ensure justice for those being crushed.
 Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
    and see that they get justice. (Prov 31:8-9 NLT)

So, I’d like to share a powerful resource with you that I believe, sheds light on the issue of racism in North America from a Christian perspective. Understanding the issue is a first step toward finding a solution. The interview was initiated by Christine Caine, a white Christian woman who founded the anti-trafficking organization, a21. Christine spoke to a Black Christian Mental Health Therapist, Dr. Anita Phillips, about how white people can help in the fight against racism as we all seek an end to injustice.

Dr. Anita, who specializes in trauma, explains that the problem is deeper than racism; it is about dehumanization – a term that may be foreign to some but that brings clarity to a complex social issue. I hope that you will take the time to listen with an open heart and be prepared to learn a few things.

Similarly, I would direct you to a recent research on the topic,What is the church’s role in Racial Reconciliation” that was conducted by Barna Group, a research firm that conducts research related to faith and values. This study was published in July 2019, 400 years after slaves were brought to America and is also an enlightening read.

Like the late Dr. Martin Luther King, I am confident that we will get to the mountaintop; I hope we do so in some of our lifetimes.  

By: Yolande A. Knight

Comments
Login or Sign up to post comments.
Guest Comment 3 months ago
+1
Poor Comment Good Comment
This is a discussion that needs to happen and not just once but on an ongoing basis. That is a powerful presentation with Christine and Anita and needs to be rewatched a few times because there is so much to learn but so worth watching! Thank you Yolande.
Guest Comment 3 months ago
+1
Poor Comment Good Comment
Thanks for such an enlightened topic, in such a time like this living in the US. It was with tears and a sense of brokenness that I listened to Dr. Anita.Though history would have taught me so much about RACISM, it was only in recent times I truly understood what it meant being a woman of color.My prayer is that the healing begins with us as a called out people, and we all take a stand to initiate the conversations that will bring about the change until all men are free everywhere!Free from the chains that divide us.May God have mercy on us.Thank you, thank you, Yolande, for sharing.Lorna.