Best Guests of 2016— Advent Winner!

A Thrill of Hope the Weary World Rejoices

Written by: Angela Mercer

2016 for many people has been a year they can’t wait to be over. For many it has been a year full of hardship, frustration, questions, trauma, sickness, uncertainty, challenges, possibly a crisis of faith.

Where is God? What IS He doing? Is He REALLY good? And while I am so tempted to answer all those questions and defend, I know the Lion of Judah needs no defending. But, still, it pains my heart for God to be so misunderstood and life to be so painful.

Our God is not afraid of the crisis, nor is He afraid of the questions or the doubt. In fact, He welcomes it. Why? Because without these moments of “rock bottom” how do we know if our faith really works?

You hear people time and time again say that it was through the most difficult time in their lives they sensed God in a brand new way. They experienced His peace that passes ALL understanding and they felt His love so tangibly through their church community and friends. I even heard someone once say they don’t regret what happened because of the way they experienced God. Psalm 34:18 reminds us that “He is close to the broken hearted”.

I was leading worship one evening with a group of young adults and we sang “You are good, good…. You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down…” I could see the weary faces. I could see the questions and hurt upon faces as they tried to reconcile what this world looks like and what they are personally going through while singing the lyrics of this song. It was the day after the Orlando shooting.

Is He really good? Is He good to me? WHERE is He?

And I couldn’t stop myself from yelling at the top of my lungs as tears streamed down my face: “He is good… He loves you…. He sees you… and He mourns with you”. God is here. And one day we will see Him face to face and all this will pass away and until then, as Christians, we gotta get this right because there is a weary and hurting world out there in need of the comfort of a Saviour and WE have the answer! His name is JESUS. He knows what we’re going through because He experienced it all on earth as a human. We don’t have a God that is far away and unaware. He is close. He is Emmanuel, God with us.

And so, I pray that this Christmas season you feel His love so incredibly close. I pray you experience His love in a fresh and new way. I pray that even in the midst of whatever it is you are going through, you are filled with excitement knowing that Hope is here. And I pray that even in your weariness you will begin to rejoice!

 

Angela is passionate about Jesus, women and building community. She fully believes that women are the heartbeat of the church. Angela has been married to her favourite man, Blair, for 17 years and together they pastor Gateway Church in Komoka, Ontario. When Angela is not leading worship or running some type of women’s event, you will find her doing a DIY, reading a good book, drinking her husbands amazing coffee or planning a meal with friends. One day she hopes to make pie as good as her mom’s. Angela has two incredible kids to call her own (Isaac 13, Michaela 12) who keep her quick and on her feet and enjoying every single moment of life.

Best Guests of 2016— Thanksgiving Event Winner!

Through The Fire— Jan’s Story

Written by: Jan Zinck

It was a lovely morning in Oct 2014 when I got the call. We all know how much we dread “the call” as it usually contains ominous news of some description. This was no different. He started out by saying “don’t worry the kids and I are Ok”. My mind kind of froze and raced simultaneously.

Many of us have been right here-various scenarios of course, but a- what we perceive- worst case scenario. I just never dreamt it would be happening to me for real. My home had burned down, everything lost. Life changed.

The story though isn’t really about the fire, although thats the catalyst. The real story is about a family who had placed too much stock in our home, in tangible things-in things that don’t actually matter that much. Interestingly enough, for about six months prior to the fire, God had been challenging us-Jonathan, my husband in particular- about being “stuff heavy”. We were in loose conversation about how to simplify our lives again. I think we might not have been moving fast enough for God-He helped us along in that journey-I inwardly chuckle as I write this.
Lots of people ask me if we ask “why us”. Honestly, I never asked that question-I knew the answer straight away.

The best part of the story is the blessing of God in our lives. When I say blessing, I don’t mean a bit of scraps tossed our way by a distant “God-being”.when I mean a torrential downpour by a loving, generous Heavenly Father. Our community surrounded us, our family, co-workers, and church family gave to us sacrificially and generously, and this doesn’t even feel like it begins to explain it properly or fully. I know for sure, that the fire was a God given moment in our lives.

Now, please do not confuse or equate “a God given moment” with an easy moment. This was by far the most difficult thing I have ever had to negotiate. I was sad, distressed, overwhelmed-all of the descriptors one might use for such an event. I-we- needed God in ways we had never thought possible. I remember the day of the fire-totally dazed in Wal-Mart. We all needed socks and underwear, but I kept driving the shopping cart in circles because I could not think coherently enough to figure out sizes or styles or anything really.

My husband and children were absolutely amazing-the two younger kids stood on the street with my husband and watched the house burn. They both called me right away (yes they thought to grab their phones on the way out of the house) saying things like “We’re fine mom, It’s just a house” and “we are good ‘cause we’re together”. Words of life and healing-words of God from my kids. The strength and unwavering trust in a provisional, perfect God displayed by Jonathan was a-maz-ing.

So at the end of the day, I am thankful for this event-this “refining fire”. We rebuilt our house on the same property and built a stone wall using stones from the original foundation as a reminder of God’s provision in our lives. We now know for certain that life is not wrapped up in material things-it’s so much more and so much bigger. I am thankful for a God who loves me enough to bring hard stuff into my life-all the while loving me and holding me and reminding me what’s really important-I pray I have learned the lessons He needs me to learn. Mostly I pray that I don’t become ‘Stuff heavy” again-I want to be free to go and do what He will ask of me.

About Jan:

Jan is the mother of 3 amazing children, and a beautiful daughter-in-law. Jan is a RN, working in the local ER and teaching at the local college, and for the past 26 years years been involved in a variety of ministries, both locally and abroad, with her husband Jonathan.

Best Guests of 2016 — Teachers Week Winner!

Why Bible College?

Written by: Rich Janes

Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced.” (John Keats)

In part one I addressed two foundational purposes (biblical and transformational) for pursuing a Bible College education. This post continues the conversation by examining the next two reasons for why someone – who feels called by God to Kingdom work – would be well served by studying at Master’s College and Seminary.

Experiential education is fully integrated into a student’s program of study at Master’s. Contrary to popular belief, experience is not the best teacher, but rather, assessed experience is the best teacher. Evidence suggests that student services and ministry experiences are most fully leveraged for learning and growing when there is an intentional and well-designed opportunity to evaluate and reflect on these experiences under the guidance of seasoned educators and practitioners. Therefore, the staff and faculty are committed to ensuring that this aspect of a student’s experience does not occur in an administrative silo. Rather, faculty members embrace experiential learning as an essential aspect of each course, Chapel service, or Connections small group meeting; and it is a foundational element for each of our programs (Pastoral, Youth, Children’s or Worship and Creative Arts).

MCS students – either on campus or online – can attest to receiving this sort of direct assessment and coaching when they join our family. Our College/Seminary staff is committed to facilitating hands-on ministry, in-the-field learning, and intercultural study opportunities. These practical learning experiences help students discover and develop their own unique God-given gifts, passions, and sense of calling, which, when totaled together, encourages them to exercise the life and leadership skills required for passionate and proficient service in today’s world. This is not just about head knowledge, but instead also engages their hearts and their hands.

Master’s affirms that the Triune God is, by nature, a missionary God who calls, equips, and sends his people to participate in His mission to the world as witnesses to Christ in the power of the Spirit. For this reason, a missional education is the grid that undergirds all of the educational experiences (in and out of the classroom) at MCS. We are committed to providing a holistic learning environment that will effectively train future leaders (at the College) and current pastors (at the Seminary) for the realities they will face in equipping God’s people to be a faithful presence within today’s culture and society.

A missional theological education arises from the recognition that mission reflects God’s nature and God’s story for the world. Central to the biblical story is God’s mission to restore the whole creation and all of human life. Thus, if God’s mission through his people is a central theme of the biblical story, a missional hermeneutic is required to interpret Scripture and necessary in shaping the Church for its mission in the world. As the people of God, the Church gathers together, is reconciled and redeemed, then equipped and sent by God in the power of the Spirit into the world as witnesses of the Gospel. Therefore, the Church is, by nature, a missionary people who are called to engage their various contexts, through word and deed, as representatives of the Kingdom of God. With this in view, a missional ethos permeates the Master’s environment and serves to prepare students for ministry by inspiring them to follow after Christ into the world as a people of Christ-like character and compassion, shaped by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

Another critical aspect of the Master’s community is the intentional opportunities that are given to church leaders from across our districts to be involved in the educational process through mentoring, developing competency and skills, nurturing character, and encouraging the development of spiritual growth practices. By creating an environment where we are intentionally connected to the local church, students are provided a practical, real-time, grassroots-learning laboratory, where Spirit-empowered leaders inspire them to live with a missional mindset and challenge them to engage in ministry contexts that can lead to cultural and community transformation.

So the question has been asked: Why get a Bible College education? These 2 posts provide the answer: Because we provide the relevant biblical, transformational, experiential, and missional education necessary to train future Pentecostal leaders for ministry. We serve our districts by being their strategic partner in providing leaders for the current 500+ PAOC churches east of the Manitoba border, along with training leaders for the church expressions yet to be launched in the years ahead. It is important for us to remember that MCS does not exist for itself, or as an entity of its own choosing, but rather finds its place and purpose within the overall strategic plans of our fellowship. In essence, we exist for the mission of the Church, and in turn for the Church to fulfill its mission.

We are proud to be this kind of Bible College – a College that educates and equips “reflective practitioners” or “thinking doers”. We will continue to work hard to earn your trust and your respect, and will strive to do whatever we can to serve each and every one of you to the best of our abilities.

So what are your thoughts about these two posts? Perhaps you may have some other words that you would use to describe the purpose of a Bible College education. If you’d like to engage the conversation, please feel free to leave a comment below.

“It is a huge honour to serve as the twelfth President of Master’s College and Seminary. I am guided by a clear vision to shape the next generation of Kingdom-minded leaders and driven to see people of all walks of life fulfill God’s call on their life. With a strong belief in the local church, a collegial leadership style, and a philosophy of partnership with ministry leaders from diverse contexts, I am deeply committed to seeing students become influencers who are passionate about leading cultural transformation. In this role as President, I am intent on leading an institution that is focused on educating and equipping students to be reflective practitioners, along with being leaders of the highest integrity and character.

Returning to work at my alma mater has truly been the privilege of a lifetime. I graduated from Eastern Pentecostal Bible College in 1995 with a Bachelor of Theology Honours Degree (Youth Major) and I’m now currently completing a Master’s in Ministerial Leadership at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. Prior to coming to MCS, we (our family) had the privilege of being involved in youth ministry for 17 years, having served in various capacities at Liberty Pentecostal Church in Bowmanville, ON (six years) and at Woodvale Pentecostal Church in Ottawa, ON (eleven years) as Pastor of Student Ministries and Parent Networking. I joined the team at Master’s in 2009 and formerly served the school as the Director of Recruiting, Communication and FIRST YEAR Program.

One of the aspects of my role that I enjoy most is visiting churches, meeting leaders, and experiencing the many diverse ways that the Kingdom of God is advanced in eastern Canada. I would be honoured to serve you and your church leadership teams, through preaching, teaching, leadership development sessions, or personal coaching/consulting. If you’re interested in having me (and possibly a MCS Student Ministry Team) visit your church, please check-out our www.mcsprodigy.com page for more information.”

Best Guests of 2016— Fathers Week Winner!

What Every Daughter Needs Most from Her Father
A tribute to the man I love and the chosen father to our beautiful, precious twin daughters.

Written by: Cindy Morrone

After countless years of infertility; still barren. After a failed adoption. Despite his desire to protect me and keep me from hurting like that ever again; he took another chance.

We eagerly welcomed into our home precious twin girlies, so small, so beautiful. With such honour we witnessed their growing; their first smiles and heard their first coos. At the time of this story, they were with us for 6 months.

Around then we had taken a trip so I could stand in a dear friend’s wedding. While away, my parents happily agreed to take care of these precious ones. On the drive home, I started to sense….dread. It was like I couldn’t get home fast enough to them. We were to spend one more night on the road due to the distance and then arrive home the following day. I begged my husband to just drive straight through that same night, the urgency overcoming my senses. He wisely convinced me to stay so we could drive more safely.

Once home, just the joy of being reunited with them dampened the presence of that dread. But then the phone rang.
My husband answered the phone and by his face, countenance and conversation I knew that there was a real possibility that they too might not be ours to hold forever.

And then without hesitation in a sure voice he answered, “I will do whatever it takes to care for these girls. If that means fostering them their whole lives than that’s what I will do.”

In that moment he, the bravest of brave; loved sacrificially. He loved them without condition; without the promise of not losing them; and without selfish ambition.

“This is how God showed his love amoung us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:9-12

It was no longer about him or me, it was about them; our beauties and what they needed and what was best for them.
And that’s how it’s been; that’s how he has been for our precious daughters, now 13 years old.

He has bravely and courageously laid aside his own wants and drives around in a mini-van instead of a Ford F250 Lariat 4 X 4 quad cab with a 3 inch body lift and 35 inch all terrains. He has taken step-of-faith after step-of-faith to boldly follow God’s will for our family. This path has required sacrifice after sacrifice, but, he has willingly surrendered.

Thank you sweetheart for exemplifying our heavenly Father and giving our daughters what they need most from a father…sacrificial love. Happy Father’s Day! We love you!

Cindy is a daughter of the great I Am; the one ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come’. A true county girl, she has lived most of her life in the small towns of southwestern Ontario. Cindy has been married to the man God handpicked for her for 21 years. They have two amazing identical twin daughters that were hand delivered by God. Just recently Cindy has officially become a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mom. And even more recently has been obedient to the call of fostering. She has a passion for speaking and is dedicated to the youth ministry at her home church. Cindy is honoured to be a part of the, “We Are His Daughters” ministry team and counts her friendship with Mandy as one of God’s richest blessings.

Best Guests of 2016 — Mothers Week Winner!

Mama’s Hands

Written by: Darlene Ettinger

Seems only a few, short years ago but was probably 6 years ago since I joined my mother and daughters for a visit with my “Beppe” (a Frisian-Dutch name for grandmother). She was in her nineties and we treasured those times together. Before leaving that day we decided to take a picture of all of our hands in a circle, showing the difference in the generations. After she passed away, I pondered the deeper meaning of that photo. Beppe had worked hard farming, lived through war, immigrated to Canada with young children, raised her family and never wavered in leading the ongoing generations by her example of faith, love and devotion to God. Her hands were large and I could easily picture them strong enough for the life she had lived and yet now the wrinkles revealed their age, but also their beauty.

As a granddaughter, I knew them best as gentle hands that continually drew me into a warm embrace and accepted who I was. Her eldest daughter was my mama – also known to my children as “Beppe”. It’s not until one has children of their own that realization dawns as to the amount of work a mother performs.

My mama took up the torch and carried it well, leading by example and instilling onto yet another generation the joy of loving God and serving Him with incredible passion, going on to become a gifted author and speaker. Her hands were also aging, not quite as transparent yet as her mother’s hands, but still a reflection of her years. Those hands had wiped countless tears from my face, embracing me in love and acceptance repeatedly both as a child and a grown woman.

My journey took a difficult turn a decade ago, when I found myself starting over again after a marriage breakdown that followed 23 years of marriage. A pastor’s wife with 5 children– not yet fully raised. She became my dearest friend in my darkest hour. Those hands firmly took hold of me and never let go, while continuing to shine the light of God’s amazing love.

I remember after my grandmother passed away, having a desire to emulate the role of “Beppe” not only in name, but in actions also. So, I became the next generation “Beppe” to my new grandbabies. Little did I know that a few short months after I took on this title, the role would completely change. Two years ago my dear mama passed away very suddenly after just turning 70 years of age. Looking at my own hands, they didn’t look quite seasoned enough yet to accept being bumped into first position. Sure, my hands showed some age as I had worked to raise my family and re-build again from the ruins of the storm, but were they strong enough? Would the guidance and love I had received from the elder hands be sufficient to help me rise again as a leader? Would I fail for future generations?

As I pondered these questions, I picked up my Bible and God spoke to me through a verse I happened to read. It is found in Psalm 32:8 – I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye. (NKJV)

Oh yes! My hands didn’t need to carry the load, He would lead me, teaching me what I needed to know. His hand covers all of ours! I thought then of my daughters, hands still young and beautiful, not marred by years of work as they had yet to enter marriage, motherhood, and other challenges. Hands still being taught how to reach out in love to others and to find God but sadly, their hands had wiped each other’s tears in the years of turmoil and pain and my hands lost some precious years as they struggled. They have set-backs to overcome. The circle of life continually moves forward, not even stopping for us to sometimes catch our breath. Babies have now appeared, and little hands reach out eagerly to be held, cared for, loved unconditionally, taught the deep, abiding faith of their ancestors and be re-assured they belong.

My hands now face their greatest challenge and will earn the wrinkles that may appear during the coming years, for it is time to pick up the torch and come alongside my children and grandchildren with much prayer, offering healing, understanding, unconditional love, warmest embraces and deep, abiding and passionate faith in God.

Never underestimate the power of a mama’s touch!

Darlene EttingerWith deep gratitude, Darlene is a servant of Christ and takes great delight in following Him. God has blessed her with 2 sons and 2 daughters-in-law, 3 daughters and one son-in law, as well as 4 beautiful granddaughters. Over the years, she has been a stay-at-home mom while home-schooling her children during the years of being in church ministry throughout different parts of Canada. She is now single living in New Brunswick, working for the government and gives as much time and devotion possible to family and friends. Darlene has a love and compassion for women that are desperate or hurting, and enjoys teaching and training of God’s amazing grace and love. She knows from experience that He is the great healer and all things are possible through Him.

Best Guests of 2016 — Holy Week Winner!

Nobody Has It All Together

Written by: Cristy Price

Hi, I’m Cristy. I’m a Jesus girl, wife, mother, nurse, good friend, and great listener. I enjoy the outdoors and country living. I have this vision of a perfect day and it goes something like this:

My large family has the time to get everyone together and go for a horse ride. The ride is filled with laughter and we all get along. We spend all day on the trail and come home to wrap up the festivities with delicious country fixins and a bonfire. Someone might play the guitar, kids would be perfectly behaved, and everyone would be happy.

That’s fantasy. However, reality is…I haven’t been on a horse ride in along time and we are consumed with too much 4th grade homework every night to have time for a bonfire. I paid for guitar lessons for both of my boys when they were young but unfortunately they didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. I believe one of them likes to pluck the ukulele but he doesn’t like to perform for his mother.

I don’t know about you, but it seems like I can’t get anything to turn out the way I want it to. We have all these dreams and aspirations but no control over the outcomes. We have the weight of the world on our shoulders telling us we are not good enough moms because out kids don’t have perfect grades. We aren’t good enough wives because our waist size isn’t small enough. Our houses aren’t clean enough, we don’t have the perfect meal pre-planned, and our laundry piles are too high to be considered anyone of value.

Do you feel like you are constantly trying to keep your head above water? I know I do. Life is hard. Kids, home, work, marriage, and all of life’s other obstacles keep us buried in challenges. I can fall into a deep trap of comparing myself to the world. It seems like everyone else has it way more put together than I do. They all have perfect kids, perfect homes, perfect marriages, and drive around in spotlessly clean SUVs. When my focus starts to shift from Christ to the world is when these feelings start bubbling up. The truth is…nobody has it all together and all we need is God. God wants us to rely on him and only him. Our moral compass should not come from the girl next to us who seems to be perfect in every way because I promise you, she is not.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)

Dear sweet Sister, please don’t feel bad. Don’t allow the devil to twist the truths in your life. I have to remind myself of this daily. God knows us and loves us more than we can even fathom. He knew us before we were born and loves us just the way we are. He knows our downfalls and loves us even on our messiest days. God is enough for me and he is enough for you too.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his daughters through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. (Ephesians 1: 4-5)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on our own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Cristy Price is a woman who was born to take care of people. She married young, only to be rejected and has been a mother her entire adult life. She has been a mother to one who wasn’t born from her own womb as well as cares for nieces, nephews, and many youth like her own. Growing up, all Cristy ever wanted to be was a mother and decided that being a nurse was the next best thing. She paid her way through college during the worst time in her life and became a cardiac nurse, only to find God calling her back to life at home. Her turbulent life has brought her to a place where she’s re-married to her best friend and living way out in the country with her loving husband, children, Lizzie the pony, Rico the dog, and some chickens. A blended family was not something she ever desired but she finds herself called to write, speak, and allow God to use her story in any way he desires.

Shoes of Peace

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14537067_10153927616821485_1196880620_oWritten by: Melissa McLaren

Sometimes when I think about Christmas, all I can think about is “poor Mary!”. I think that any women after being pregnant for nine months can’t look at the Christmas story quite the same. I can’t imagine how her body must have ached and how her back must have throbbed after hours upon hours of riding that donkey to Bethlehem simply to sign a census! And her feet! If her feet were anything like mine when I was pregnant, I’m sure Joseph would have been teased her and told her that she had canckles! (Or maybe her husband was more gracious than mine. Not that he’s not loving, he just calls himself… honest). When I was pregnant with my first born, my feet were so swollen that I had to lay on the couch for hours with my feet straight up in the air in hopes that some of the fluid would drain from my unrecognizable toes! I guess that at least I could finally see them again since I hadn’t been able to see that far down in months! Shoes had become a luxury as sandals became the choice option until my son was born.

I wonder what kind of shoes Mary wore? Did she have to keep stretching the laces on her leather sandals to get them on or did she give up on shoes altogether?? I wonder if Mary knew that her soon to be born son would come to this earth to place on the feet of all of mankind a new kind of shoe. The shoes of peace.

Ephesians 6:10-18
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

All of creation had been awaiting the coming Messiah who would save them from the eternal consequences of sin. The world was full of hopelessness and pain. Actually, it probably felt a lot like Mary’s feet!!! Aching for relief from the pain of the present and awaiting a promise that had been given, but could not yet be seen. So when Jesus finally came to earth in the surprising form of a beautiful baby boy, creation held it’s breath at the birth of it’s Saviour. For the first time since the Garden of Eden, the earth felt a peace it had not experience in a long time. That peace was our gift from a Heavenly Father who wanted share a little bit of heaven with earth. It became our inheritance.

You may be thinking to yourself that your situation right now doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of peace in it. Maybe you’re feeling the hopelessness or pain that we have talked about. You need to know that Jesus came and completely paid the price on the cross so that you could have victory over every situation you may face in your life. The problem is that you also have an enemy that doesn’t want you to experience any of that freedom and peace. He will try in any way that he can to convince you that your situation is hopeless and that it will never change.

So what is the truth? That Jesus already won the battle! But how do we receive that promise? We don’t fight the battle in the flesh. We recognize that it’s a spiritual war on our souls, and we fight it God’s way. The opposite way that would make any kind sense to our earthly minds. When humanity was waiting for a warring king to come riding in on a white horse, God sent a quiet baby to save the world. In the same way, instead of fighting our battles with our fists or with worry or words of defence, we fight our battles by putting on the shoes of peace. God simply told us to stand firm, wear shoes of peace, and let him fight the battle for us. Why? Because the battle was already won when Jesus came to this earth and died for all of mankind. Amazing isn’t it? Doesn’t it just make your shoulder’s relax a little and your tension headache release? Rest. Rest in the fact that God is sovereign and nothing takes Him by surprise. He has the whole world in His hands, even yours, and He won’t let you down.

So before you leave your house today and pull on your winter boot, why not put on the shoes of peace and praise God that he is going to fight the battle for you!

Isaiah 30:32 “Every stroke the Lord lays on them with his punishing club will be to the music of timbrels and harps, as he fights them in battle with the blows of his arm.”

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Peace I Leave With You

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Written by: Sarah Travis

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you…” John 14:27a NASB

Advent.

A time when we revisit beloved Bible stories, remember, and reflect upon the moment when peace came down and dwelt among us.

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 NASB (emphasis mine)

God is referred to as the God of peace (1 Thessalonians 5:23). It is part of His character — He IS peace. As with all characteristics, He defines peace in its purest and most perfect form. It comes as no surprise then His Son would be called the Prince of Peace and His birth ignited an anthem of praise witnessed by an unsuspecting group of shepherds, to whom an angel had appeared:

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:14 NASB (emphasis mine)

I believe the peace (Greek “eirḗnē”) God grants us, the peace we can feel in our hearts, is a quietness of our spirit, only achievable through being one with the Lord. As we grow closer to Him, abiding in His Word, peace washes over our hearts and minds allowing us to remain quiet in the midst of the unquiet of the world. God’s peace enables us to maintain a stillness in our responses when faced with oppression and persecution. His peace allows us to be the one to extend grace and love in times of confrontation. He grants His peace in the midst of uncertainty.

On that first Christmas Jesus Christ descended from Heaven to earth making it possible for peace to enter into our hearts and minds. Where John had baptized with water, Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Because of that first Christmas, the God of perfect peace, through His Son, sent His Holy Spirit to make peace possible for the ones who choose to be His children.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NASB.

Often we cannot comprehend how feeling at peace is possible in certain seasons and circumstances; but it is if we rest our minds on the Lord. Rest our minds on the perfect peace of Jesus Christ who, by humbling Himself to live among us, makes all things possible.

Four years ago I left my family in Scotland, with whom I am very close, and moved to the U.S. Each Christmas has been different and difficult in its own way. Christmas weekend last year was spent in a uHaul traveling well over 800 miles moving from one state to another. Since then, baby has been born and due to circumstances beyond our control, we have since moved 3 times (twice with baby). This pales in comparison to the trials many I know.

We all bring our own trials into the Christmas season and I know it is complete heartache for many but friends, I say this with sincere love, it is not a time to reflect on our lives, but a time to reflect on the reason for the season — Jesus, through whom we can feel at peace this Christmas! Peace is found in developing a posture of praise.

My prayer for you is to remember peace is not found in positions, people, or places; but in placing our praise and prayers in the palms of Peace.

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Sarah Travis is from Scotland, but immigrated to the U.S. in 2013 to marry Jason. She is an author, speaker, and inspirational Bible teacher passionate about helping women believe their acceptance and belonging in Christ, not in the world. “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 ESV
She would love to connect with you on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest – all @srhtrvs12, Facebook and on her blog.

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Written by: D’Anne Mullin

As I reflect on the upcoming Christmas Season, one of my favourite Christmas Carols comes to mind. Silent Night. The thought of sleeping in “heavenly peace” is one of the most beautiful thoughts I can think of. Jesus himself is known as the Prince of Peace. He came to our planet to bring peace. And according to John 14:27 he gave us one of the best gifts when he told his disciples, and all who follow him, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” After a hard day in this life, I can rest in his “heavenly peace” and settle down to a long peaceful night of slumber…such a beautiful thought!

I pen these words as encouragement to those who will read them, but as of late I have struggled with the very thought of the “heavenly peace” I pen above. This year has been one of great difficulties, unexpected changes and fear invoking experiences. If I were to be honest, I am happy 2016 is fast approaching an end. Don’t get me wrong. My God has been faithful, he has provided and he is good. BUT. I am only human and on those dark lonely nights, when life pressed in hard, sleeping in “heavenly peace” often eluded me. And if you were to be honest, you too have had moments when peace seemed like a distant reality.

In preparing for this piece of prose I looked up the definition of peace and was pleasantly surprised to learn that peace is a noun…and we all know from our school days a noun is a person, place or thing. Peace is not a verb. It’s not something I need to do or be, which for a Type “A” personality, struggling with life and always feeling that I must DO something to fix it, this was a relief. Peace is simply a thing to give or receive. It is truly a gift from Jesus himself. I don’t need to DO anything, but simply trust in God and rest in the “heavenly peace” he gives me.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, peace means, “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility; a state of security; freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions; cessation from strife.” WOW! These are powerful human descriptions of the peace we can receive from Jesus when we place our trust in him.

Further, coupled with one of my favourite verses in scripture, Philippians 4:6-7, I am reminded that whatever life throws me I can trust God and rest in the peace Christ offers me. “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

I think I will sleep a little more peacefully tonight. Sweet dreams my friends!

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D’Anne Mullin lives in Windsor, ON with her husband Kevin and two teenage boys Jeremey and Mitchell; the three men who have stolen her heart. She is the Executive Director of Great Beginnings, a child care agency in Windsor and has worked with young children and their families for 20 plus years in the field of Early Childhood Education. She and Kevin have been in active pastoral ministry for most of their married years and she loves to lead people in worship through music. In her spare time D’Anne enjoys reading, exercising and the occasional Netflix binge with her family.

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Peace ~ Private And Public ~ At Christmas

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Written By Sheryl Longard

One part of Christmas celebrations that evokes happiness and excitement around the world, in people of all ages, is the giving and receiving of gifts. Yet, most people experience some form of a “let-down” or disappointment, because we soon realize how shallow the happiness is from more “stuff” cluttering our homes, minds and time. True joy, on the other hand, is a stabilizer and it is gifted to us – hand in hand – with PEACE. Peace is the absence of turmoil, within and without. It can bring silence. It may bring satisfactory situations. It may be the end of a wicked war. It is well-known, that for a brief few hours on Christmas Day during WWII, an isolated troop of German and American soldiers called a truce to enjoy Christmas Day without fear of an enemy attack. They actually played chess together, sang and walked among each other’s camps in peace on neutral ground. How odd it must have felt when they had to return to war with the very men with whom they enjoyed Christmas. Obviously, it was not an enduring peace.

When Jesus’ birth was heralded by thousands of angels in the night sky, they clearly spoke of the gift of Peace that God gave to mankind that night! Luke 2:14 says, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among those on whom His favor rests.” Jesus is the gift of the Prince of Peace – as prophesied in Isaiah 9:6; however, it is clear that God’s gift of peace would not come for all humanity, but to those whom God is pleased to call unto Himself. Jesus foretold that there would be family members that would rise up against one another, due to His cause, so then, what is this perfect peace that He brings?

His peace is the way of salvation, forgiveness from sins, a way of redemption – brought to us through Christ, and it is the greatest gift that no one else could provide. We can depend upon it to be enduring, complete, and bring wholeness to our health and well-being, no matter what our external circumstances become.

The Hebrew word “Shalom” is the only word that perfectly describes the depth of its true meaning. It evokes a harmonious state of the soul & mind, facilitating internal & external powers of being. It means peaceful sleep, and prosperous relationships. And this peace speaks of a diplomacy and peace of Jerusalem, essentially unharmed. Only God is the origin of this reconciling, finishing peace. We can bring this peace, keep this peace, be at peace, live at peace, and exemplify this peace – as in the Fruit of the Spirit, for all to see.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn a nut shell, Sheryl Longard was born into a Christian family, personally surrendered to Jesus Christ as her Saviour when she was 11 years old. She married her high school sweetheart, Norman, moved to BC, they built their first house, and also helped to pioneer a new church. Her career started in the hospital, until their first son was born 3 years later, followed by 2 more boys, after which she worked part-time. In 1990, they returned to NS and family. Fast-forward to 2016: Sheryl has been happily married for 38 years, has 3 adult sons, 4 grandchildren with more on the way. She continues to work in the hospital O.R., as well as the Christian Education Director at Full Gospel Church since 1990. She studied photography at NYIP and is now a wedding photographer since 1999. This year, she is also learning to play the violin, adding musical enjoyment to playing flute and piano. And her favorite day of the week is when she takes care of her grandchildren. One other enjoyable pastime is reading books from their 5000 volume library! ☺

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