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
ARLINGTON WOODS CHURCH DAILY PRAYER TIME
Editorial Note: Both 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!
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