Asking for More

Written by: Sarah Walker

One evening, following a women’s ministry event at our church, we had finished up early with a challenge: leave the church right now, head out with a few others, and prayerfully find someone to bless with our time or finances.

A few ladies from the group went to the grocery store, bought a hundred dollar gift card, and walked up and down the aisles praying to find the right person to bless with the money that night.

After wandering for a while, they came across a mom with her two young children. As they approached her, they explained to her that they had just come from church and that they really felt like God wanted them to pay for her groceries.

This young mom was amazed; as it turns out, she had come to the grocery store that day worrying about not being able to afford her groceries. She was a single mom and was barely making ends meet. Amidst her very real worry, God was waiting to show her that He loved her and would take care of her in her struggles.

As I followed up with each of the ladies who had gone out on the mission to bless someone, they all had an incredible story to tell. Each one of them was filled with overflowing joy and amazement! As they stepped out in faith, wanting to be a blessing, God had used them to make a difference in someone’s life that night. While listening to their stories, it was like each woman had come to life with new energy, joy, love and a renewed sense of purpose!

“Even Jesus, when teaching us the Lord’s prayer, prayed for his portion: “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). If He had to pray for His portion, why would we think that we wouldn’t have to?” (Lysa Terkeust, What Happens, When Women Walk In Faith)

As I read this quote from Lysa Terkeust’s book I couldn’t help but wonder, “What would my life be like if I honestly asked God for my daily portion each day? What is my daily portion? What would it mean if I asked boldly, and then stepped out in faith, trusting that God will answer? ”
Jesus taught us to pray this way:

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:10-11)

I pray for a lot of different things each day. Amongst many things, I pray for my family, my friends and my church. I also pray a lot for myself. I pray to be the best wife, mother, and friend I can be. I want to bear the fruit of the Spirit within all my relationships. I pray to have wisdom throughout each day. I pray that God helps me with these things because without His help and guidance I know I will fall short. All of the things I pray for are good things, but I have never really asked God for my daily portion before.

You do not have because you do not ask God. James 4:2

Every day I pray for what I think I need, but God knows exactly what I need each day!

As I began to pray for God’s will to be accomplished each day. I started to become more aware of ways to show love to others each day, even in small ways like sending an encouraging note, holding the door for someone, giving a smile or taking my elderly neighbour to the grocery store.

Although all of those things seem small in the moment, they can still be difficult to walk out. When I’m having a bad day, it’s not easy to think beyond myself and offer a warm smile or an encouraging word. When I’m running short on time, taking my neighbour to the store is a sacrifice. When I’m trying to wrangle my two little ones into a store by myself, even taking a minute to hold the door for someone is not an easy task.

But I have found that when I sacrifice what I want for the sake of others, then whatever I am struggling with quickly gets replaced by joy and a sense of God’s closeness.

I have begun to see that God’ s daily bread is not just about my physical basic needs. For that young mom in the grocery store, her daily bread literally was bread! But God’s “daily bread” can also be the tools needed to carry out his will, tools like having strength, peace, wisdom, love, patience and discernment.

I believe that as I spend each day trying to walk out what God has called me to do, God will continually give me the courage and endurance to carry out his will, and I know that as I am faithful to step out in faith, God will continually fill me with his joy.

Anticipation

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

Daughters, I have a confession to make, one that will not be a huge surprise to those of you who know me well — I absolutely love Netflix!

So much variety in viewing with no commercials.  A great escape at the end of a workweek.  The indulgence of the famed “Netflix Binge.”  A time to spend with the family exploring movies; old and new alike.  The chance to sink my teeth into an informative documentary or catch up on my favourite 90’s sitcoms.

I love it all!

I particularly enjoy finding a great series and viewing it full tilt from start to finish.  I get so into the stories and characters with intrigue that before I know it I have consumed every season available to me, only to be left bereft when I realize the next season won’t be out for another six months.  Six long months!  And when the time comes for the new season I have to watch the last few episodes from the prior season just to be ready to go again!

The anticipation builds as the countdown begins for the long awaited day that my beloved series returns!  I even supplement this long awaited return with additional web surfing looking for interesting tidbits of information to whet my appetite of its immanent return.  If I find someone who equally loves the series as much as I do, we theorize about how the upcoming season will play out.

If you have and love Netflix as I do, you know full well what I am writing about!

I think my confession to you is in direct response to the sermon I heard this past Sunday in church on the soon return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  All who listened were challenged to be alert, to anticipate and to be active in watching for the Day of our Lord.  In illustration, the Pastor even named our culture’s obsession with Netflix, as I have penned above, to juxtapose the church’s lack of anticipation for His return with our appetite for worldly desires.

Ouch!

I know in my heart that Jesus will return for me, and no doubt I am ready to go with Him, but when have I sat in longing anticipation for that day?  When was the last time I uttered the words, “It could be today!”  Am I fully alert to the signs pointing to His coming on the clouds for His church?  Have I been active in watching for Him and calling all who will hear to watch for Him too?  Or have I been too distracted watching “The Crown” or “Food, Inc.” or “Fuller House” to give it any further thought?

In and of itself, Netflix is not bad.  Nor is reading fiction or fishing or going to the gym or anything we find pleasure in passing the time with.  But, it becomes an issue when it lulls us into a place of false anticipation in temporal things and not in the one thing that ensures our place in eternity with God…Anticipation of the return of our King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Lord Jesus, Please forgive me today for placing my anticipation in the things of this world and not in matters of eternal importance.  Help me to wake each morning recognizing that this day may be my last on earth and my first with you in Heaven.  Birth in me a renewed anticipation for your victorious return and may I be active in my watching for that day and in my recruiting others to join you.  I love you Lord Jesus and may I ever be ready to meet you in the clouds! Amen.     

Spirit of Fear


Written By: Nathan Hill

Are you afraid of something? You probably are; or at least you should be. If you say you are not afraid you are probably lying. Everyone is afraid of something.

For me, I am not the biggest fan of flying in an airplane. You can ask my wife what it is like…I get antsy, sweaty, thirsty, cold, cranky, hot…and that is while we are sitting at the gate. Once we take off my fear subsides a little and I settle back into my semi-comfortable chair (Air Canada really does have the most comfortable chairs!) and I wait until we can land. If we happen to hit turbulence I tend to get a little excited all over again.

Does fear control me sometimes…maybe. Should I allow it to…probably not, since my faith in God tells me that he has not given me a spirit of fear (or timidity if you use the NIV) but a spirit of love, peace and of a sound mind. That is easier said than experienced however.

In the book of Matthew Jesus preached what has become known of as the “Sermon on the Mount”. In the middle of this sermon he reminds the listeners that we need not worry about anything; today, tomorrow, our clothes, our food, our life, our future. The rationale is this: we see how the birds of the air and animals on the ground have their needs cared for; how much more will God care for our needs then? Instead of worrying or being fearful we ought to simply “seek first the kingdom of God”. We ought to have the confidence that what we do not see is still yet able to become reality. We need to realize that God our creator does love us more than we can imagine and is walking right there beside us during our fears.

Some fears are huge and some are small. Some fears are more difficult to overcome than others. Sometimes we allow fear to control our lives…and other times we realize that we can overcome not by our strength alone but with the strength of God within us.

If fear is controlling you to the point of anxiety and/or panic it has gone too far. Talk to people you trust and start the journey back to peace and joy.

Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.”

The First Focus of our Day

Written by: Christianne Williams

The house was quiet, the sun was just coming up, it wasn’t too hot and there was a nice breeze blowing in the windows.  I sat there clutching my coffee mug with all my strength.  I was staring at the wall, seemingly doing nothing, but my mind was very active.  Overly active one might say.  It was June, the beginning of summer holidays would soon be upon us, an end to a busy school schedule. But before I could enjoy the lazy days stretching before us, I had to finish a list that included many, many deadlines.

I was thinking about the exam that needed to be completed, the school grades that needed to be submitted to the Department of Education (we are a homeschool family), the gathering and packing that needed to be done for me and three of my children as we were going to camp in a week or so, the checklist that would need to be made for my husband who would have to pack for a family vacation on his own, the house that lay in shambles because my work schedule had dominated for 9 months, and on, and on, and on….

I felt my eyes growing wider and my heart rate quicken, I knew I was on the verge of an all-out anxiety attack, feeling like a huge wave was crashing over me and it wasn’t waves of God’s peace.  I was called out of my place of panic by the blood curdling screams of my eight-year old who would not stop shrieking long enough to tell me what was wrong.  There I stood, with my mouth open not knowing what to say because I no idea what this was all about. After he tore his shirt off like a WWF wrestler in the hallway he managed to tell me that while holding one of the wildflowers he and his sister had gathered the day before, a giant red spider, jumped on him.  I was completely unaware that we had red spiders the size of golf balls living in our backyard.  In the seven years we’ve been here I’ve never once encountered one, but he insisted this was the case.

I inspected the kitchen and dining room, turned up no trace of the giant monster, to which I am entirely grateful, God really does protect us.  The situation was a perfect distraction, getting me off the road to the panic attack and back onto the path of being calm and ‘in control’.  I began to feel a stirring in my spirit, like God was about to show me something, and I was desperately needing to hear something from Him that would help me feel able to face all that I was being presented with.

In Matthew 14, Jesus had sent the disciples out in a boat at night, and a strong wind had come up.  Jesus went to them when He saw them straining at the oars, walking on the water.  When they saw Him they were scared, but He assured them who He was, and Peter said, “Lord if it’s You, tell me to come to You on the water”.  So Jesus told him to come, and out of the boat he got.  Now this is the part that made me think, helped me to recover my drive to get things done. Verse 30 ‘But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”’  And Jesus reached out for him and caught him, asking him why he began to doubt.  Now, when I began to get my eyes fixed on what needed to be done in an extremely short time period, I began to panic.  I became anxious.

So many times in life we fix our eyes on our circumstances, on our to- do- lists; on the things that lie ahead of us, and we become overwhelmed.  We try and try to come up with some plan, some system of organization that will help us to reach our destination, in our own strength, and I can tell you from experience that this leaves you exhausted and looking for a place to hide.  What I was reminded of that morning was this: when we fix our eyes on our Heavenly Father, He will help guide us and keep our heads above the waves.  He will help us to order our days, keep everything moving along smoothly and accomplish the things we need to have done.  My prayer for all of us is that we will make Him the first focus of our day and allow Him to help us out of those anxious places that will come our way.

Can God Really Heal our Grief?

Written by: Cindy Morrone

Too many times I’ve stood on the too bright green, artificial grass mat under the suspended coffin carrying a loved one.  Surrounded by dead silence and the others, also suppressing the loss as to not be overcome.  Frankly, one time is too many.

Frequently now, I’ve stared at an empty crib with the freshly used whimsical patterned sheet, to only have my husband dissemble it and remove it from beside our bed.

Most recently, I hang up the phone, so thankful for the chance to stay connected but so missing the nearness.

Grief comes in all sorts of ways, bitter ends, tragic losses, distant relations and inevitable change.

Despite the differences, we all experience grief.

It is difficult to write this.  To share with you and not yet fully know the answer to my own question. Can God really heal our grief?  I continue to grieve and I am not completely over the losses.  And I don’t know if I will ever be.  And I don’t know if I truly want to be.  As if holding on keeps the connection.

And yet, life continues.  It doesn’t wait for me to be fully recovered.  It moves on, changes don’t change and losses remain.

So, it’s here that I live.

As I look to Scripture for comfort, I am reminded of the story told in the gospel of John, about Lazarus’ death; a dear friend of Jesus.

‘When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in the spirit and troubled.  “Where have you laid him?” he asked.  “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.  Jesus wept.’  John 11:33-35

This story ensures me that it’s ok to be sad; to cry; to weep.  It’s ok to be moved and troubled.  That the knowing of the loss and the feeling of the loss and the response to the loss is ok.

In this same story, Jesus asks a question, that has also helped me in my own healing.

‘Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” John 11:40

And it’s here where my hope lies.  My belief in the glory of God.

It’s when I, like Mary in this story, reach out to Jesus and fall at his feet, that I know my story doesn’t end.  In prayer and in His Word, I find my comfort and the Comforter is my help.

In my sadness and loneliness and in the emptiness, there is hope.

Hope to love and be loved just as deeply still.

At Home With God

Written by: Angela Mercer

“Mom, you’ve never taught me to pray”. This was the statement that rolled off the tongue of my 12 year old. I tried to hold my facial expressions back a moment. For a child whose parents are both pastors, how could MY child say this.

Over the years we have been a very open family. Meeting together to discuss goals and our family vision have been something that is very common in our household. Family devotions are not uncommon and we have talked and prayed about many things and our kids have prayed too.

What I would learn through conversation was that my daughter was asked to pray out loud with other adults at a meeting for our children’s program and her nerves got the best of her. She was afraid of what might come out of her mouth and wasn’t sure if what she was about to pray would be good enough or even acceptable.

What a great conversation that was able to take place. How often do many of us make prayer about way more then it actually is. I don’t care about how my children approach me in conversation. I don’t worry about the words they use and if it is perfect grammar and spoken with great eloquence. No! I just want to be with my kids.

That, my friends, is the heart of our Heavenly Father. He just wants to be with us.

One of my favourite scriptures is the vine and the branches and Eugene Peterson in the Message talks about our being in God’s presence as “home”. I love that imagery so much as home is supposed to be the most comfortable place. When you get home you take your shoes off and put your track pants on (or is that just me ;)). You pour a cup of coffee or tea and you snuggle with a blanket in your favourite chair. There is no pretense at home. There is no fussing. When you are together as family you let your guard down. You are safe.

“But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.” John 15

I love home décor but my rule is that it still has to look comfortable and lived in. I want people to relax and feel at home. But there are those houses that look like a magazine and everything is absolutely perfect. The pillows are puffed and perfectly placed and you’re not really sure where to sit. So you sit propped up on the edge of the couch, you feel nervous, a little, as you aren’t sure what to do. They offer you a drink and instead of saying “yeah that’d be great” you say “Yes, that would be wonderful. Thank you”. You don’t dare sit back or even worse put your feet up on the coffee table.

But I believe God wants you to do just that. Put your feet up. Snuggle in close. Throw off the days demands and expectations and just be with him. Don’t think about your “list” of things you need to pray for. Don’t hurry through to the next thing. Be with Him. Just sit and pause for a minute or two.

I love the heart of my little girl. She and Jesus actually have such a sweet friendship and she really hears from Him. She doesn’t overthink it. It’s just a natural outflow of her faith. There are many times when she inspires me the way she hears God speak to her.

I encourage you today, wherever you are in your relationship to God, to make yourself at home in God. Do whatever you need to do to create a space where you can just relax and be yourself. Pick a chair or the couch, I like to light a candle and snuggle in a blanket. If you like to journal, buy a new one and write down your thoughts or prayers. There are so many great devotionals out there to get to the conversation going. But take the time to get to know God. He has so much to say to you and wants to overwhelm you with His love if you will just stop and lean in. Over time, I pray your moments with God will become like those characteristics of home.

Six Ways To Encourage Your Husband

Written By: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:10-12

I forget sometimes, just how important it is to encourage my husband.

I too often take for granted his need for affirmation and assume he knows my heart. I remember back to moments full of gratitude and joy when my husband affirmed me, and feeling hypocritical for the times my expectations for such praise were unmet and I was anything but kind.

How can we do a better job of encouraging our husbands, friends?! I have come up with a list of six suggestions on how to do just that:

1) Affirm him.
Tell him just how much you appreciate his hard work for your family. Compliment his looks publicly and privately. Tell him often the things that you appreciate and love about him.

2) Appreciate him.
Thank him often for helping you, for sharing life with you; for loving you.

3) Ask him.
Ask for his advice and for his wisdom. I think its easy to assume that you “know” what your husband will say or what advice he will give, but “ask him” anyway. You might get the response you were thinking, but you might just be surprised by his answer instead. I’ll bet either way, he will be encouraged that you asked.

4) Admire him.
Appreciate his leadership over your home and your family. Stray from the desire to solve every problem yourself and respectfully follow the guidance and decisions that your husband suggests.

5) Assist him.
Ask him often how best you can help him. Is there something a little extra that you may do to share his load and lessen his burdens?

6) Always pray for him.
Always pray for him. Ask if there are any specific things he needs prayer for, and if not, pray peace and joy over his life everyday!

Father God, thank You for my husband. Thank You for the fun times we share, for the love that grows daily and for the romance you’ve ignited between us. Please, constantly show me as his wife how to best cultivate and grow my relationship. Please remind me everyday of ways that I can best bring encouragement to him. I ask all these things in your precious name, Jesus, amen.

How God Used My Anxiety

Written by: Neely Savard

It started during my 7th pregnancy. This feeling I had never experienced before. I didn’t have a name for it. All I knew was that it scared me. Every evening without fail this feeling would begin and I would start to panic. My first reaction was to call friends. “Help me!” I would say. “I don’t know what is happening to me. I feel fear but I don’t know what the fear is about.”

My life was about to change.

My anxiety got worse to the point that I wasn’t sleeping. My terror got worse and my husband had to take a leave from work. I was no longer capable of running our house and caring for our 6 children. Not once do I remember calling out to God. Sure I have always had a relationship with God but He was not first. He was not my rock. He needed to be my rock.
I was struggling so much with life that I went to emerg. I needed help. I saw a phsychiatrist and he prescribed me pills to help temporarily until I had our baby. I still had my anxiety but it was now manageable.
After giving birth to our son my anxiety heightened. I went back to the psychiatrist and he prescribed me an anti-depressant.
I had 3 days of absolute terror.
The pills were not the right ones for me. During this 3 days of terror was when I fell on my knees and surrendered myself to God.

“2 Corinthians 12:9”
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

In the midst of this struggle I did not understand. I cried out to God to help me. I clung to Him like I never did before. I no longer wanted a back seat faith. I wanted Jesus’s arms wrapped around me.

“Psalm 57:1”
“Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.”

And I needed those big, strong beautiful wings as my refuge. I needed them.

“Luke 11:9-10”
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

I asked and it was given to me. I did seek and I did find. I knocked and the door was opened for me. I am now coming out on the other side. My anxiety is leaving. I owe it all to God. All of his promises were true. He has taken a passive Christian to one who seeks. One who craves. One who needs. He has stretched and shaped me all while holding me close. God comes first in my life now. Yes, I am taking medication to help with my imbalance for a while but God allowed that to happen. He knew what I needed.

I would like to share how God has shaped me. The most important is how close I am to Him. I finally trust in Him. I trust those wings, those promises. I follow the Lord in all that I do and pray on every decision. I feel safe in Him and want to sit in the front seat now.

This brings me to another amazing positive. I now can help lead my children in Christ. When they cry out I can help them cry out to God. 7 young children will benefit from my struggle.

My husband and I are the closest we have ever been. He held me at my worst. He encouraged me and never left my side. I thank Jesus for this incredible man and for opening my eyes to the gift that has been given me.

I have never been in the here and now. My whole life I was looking to the next. The next exciting moment. Marriage. Having a baby. Moving. Having a baby. Moving. Having a baby…. Fostering/Adoption. I was never content where I was. I was missing something. I always knew this but I continued to rush ahead with the next new thing. I am now here. I am seeing God’s beauty around me. Washing my 6 year old’s face slowly and looking at the beautiful features on her face. Wild flowers on the side of the road. A door held open. All of these special moments that I was looking past. I notice them now and I feel joy. I feel thankful. I am focusing on what is good and pure. Surrounding myself with positivity and what a beautiful feeling it is!

“Philippians 4:8” “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”

What we need in life is all right there in scripture! How blessed are we?
I reached out and so many people were there. God sent food. God sent scripture. God sent friends with bowed heads in prayer for me. God sent flowers and encouragement. All because I asked for help. Thank you, God for sending all of those special people in my time of need.

I feel very strongly (which I now know is God’s voice speaking into me) that I need to help others with anxiety. There are many people who suffer in silence. You don’t need to. Until I struggled I had never heard of anyone with anxiety. That was why I didn’t know what was happening to me. Now that I am speaking to others I have met dozens of people with the same struggle. God is calling me to speak out about my anxiety and in turn help others. God is using my hands and I will listen and follow His lead. I have learned to trust that He knows best and I give my all to Him.

I would like to close with a couple of scriptures that has helped/is helping me through.

“Psalm 34:4” “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; He delivered me from all of my fears.”

“Psalm 34:19” “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”

“Philippians 4:6” “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

On my bedroom door I have a little wooden sign made by a friend. It says Be Still. Many, many times I have looked at that sign and felt Jesus saying, “Be Still. I am here. I’ve got this. You are safe. Rest in me.” Lord, I give my all. I give myself. I am still.

 

Neely is a homeschooling mom of 7 children who are the lights of her life. She has been married to her amazing husband for 16 years. Their family has been called to foster children who need a loving home.
Her interests include watching her children have fun, reading and growing in her relationship with God.

Thankfulness

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

Thanksgiving is just around the corner!  It is one of my most favourite times of the year!

The weather becomes crisp, the leaves turn many brilliant colours, and the sky seems bluer against the orange backdrop.  The promise of turkey dinner and pumpkin pie is mouth-watering moments away.  Time to spend with family and friends is greatly anticipated, as is the homestretch countdown until Christmas.

I particularly enjoy the time to reflect on the last year and to give thanks to the Lord for all He has done, both in the ups and downs of life.  He is faithful and good and loving.  He is ever present and watchful and caring.  He is protective and graceful and encouraging.  Oh how He loves His children, of which I am humbled to be one!

As I reflect back on this past year, and ‘Count My Blessings’ as the old hymn beckons me to do so, I realize that despite a difficult year filled with its ups and downs, twists and turns, I have so very much to be thankful for.  God has had His hand on every moment and I am beginning to see His plan amidst the chaos.

I can see where He has been the one driving the car and steering us where He chooses, for our good and for His purposes.  I have recognized that despite my frustration and wandering, He has been unbelievably faithful and gracious.  He has kept my family together and serving Him, and for that I am beyond thankful!

And, Daughters, the more thankful I become, despite life and its fury, the more joy I find!  In fact, I was recently reading in a devotional that the word “Joy” occurs 181 times in scripture and the theme of thanksgiving is woven throughout the fabric of these verses.  God wants to hear all about our doubts, fears, concerns and questions, but wants us to give Him thanksgiving and praise despite!  He seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth!

Psalm 92:1-2 says, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name…to declare Your loving-kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness at night.” 

Psalm 119:62 says, “At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, because of Your righteous judgements.” 

Romans 14:6 says, “He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks.” 

Colossians 4:2 says, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” 

Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

All these verses point to one thought. Thankfulness! Whenever we rise in the morning or head to bed at night, if we are sleepless at midnight, whenever we eat, every time we pray, and in all our words and deeds, all should be tinged with thanksgiving to our God, which will bring forth a harvest of joy in our hearts!

Finally, we must give thanks at all times, both now and all through eternity. Ephesians 5 tells us that when the Spirit of God fills our lives, we will be thankful to God in all situations.  The Spirit reveals to us just where Christ saved us from, and that alone is enough to give thanks to God for his incredible mercy both today and on into eternity when we will one day be reunited with our Lord!

So I challenge you to go deeper in your thanksgiving experience this year, as you reflect on all that God has done in and through and for you, for His glory and honour and praise!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Life on Purpose: God’s Presence

Written by: Emily Pelley

This fall marks an important change for our family. We are a part of a team here in Halifax that is planting a new church, and we have just begun our weekly meetings last month. We are passionate about reaching people in our city with the hope and love of Jesus, and we are excited about what this next chapter will bring!

Mark 16:15 in The Message says,

“Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all.”

I am excited for the churches in Halifax, for the people who are busy loving God and loving our communities. The heartbeat of our God is to see broken people restored and brought into a beautiful relationship with Jesus. And any way we can be a part of that is a huge blessing.

I want to challenge you today, wherever your journey has brought you, to not shy away from what you feel God has asked you to do. Being brave enough to step away from the comfortable or familiar is necessary for us to truly trust God. How else can He get all the glory from our lives? He is with us every moment, and asks us to get our strength, our peace and our hope from His alone. We need to be careful what we embrace in life. If we embrace security or comfort, it will not give us the strength we need. We must embrace Jesus- build our relationship with Him by reading His word and spending time with him.

I do not believe that the purpose of God’s presence with us is for Him to be some silent, passive observer. I do not believe that Jesus came to earth to die just so that we could have something to do on a Sunday morning. Jesus came to earth to change EVERYTHING. He opened up our access to God (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 1:17). Ephesians 3:12 says,

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.

Jesus changed our future, giving us a glorious destiny (Ps 73:24). Such amazing grace calls for more than polite reverence or passive acknowledgement. Jesus laid it all down for us and promised that if we do the same, we will inherit the earth (Matt 19:29). Your church, your family, your community needs you to be exactly the person God has made you to be. Be one who lives life on purpose- who does not shy away from the uncomfortable.

“Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”      (Joshua 1:9 MSG)

PS- I ask you all to pray for my church. It is called Nova Church. Here is the website with all the details: http://novachurch.ca/