No Longer Slaves of Fear (Sin)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for thes words that you’ve instilled on my heart. May they bring light to Your word. In Jesus’ name Amen.

I can’t take credit for the title of this blog post. It is a title of a song by Brian Johnson. The ENTIRE song has been on my heart since I first heard it at the end of January. It’s got great harmonies and a super great message that stems from Romans 8:14-16

For those led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

You’re probably thinking, great song and passage, but how does this tie into the season of Lent. Well, that’s a good thought! Lent is a time of reflection and a time to kindle/re-kindle your relationship with God. Think about it. Jesus was in the desert for 40 days being tempted by Satan. Satan thought he had the upper hand, but let’s face it, God did through Jesus. (And God being in Heaven means he does have the upper hand over Satan. ;))

Satan shows that Greed and Gluttony and Pride are what Jesus should consume or take on. He even quotes Scripture! Jesus has SO MUCH SELF-CONTROL here! More importantly, Jesus recognizes that he was sent to overcome temptation and by extension to free us from being slaves to our sin.

I am a Child of God

Sin sounds like an ugly word. It is also ugly in nature. It is usually what keeps us from getting closer to to Jesus. Jesus never succumbed to Satan’s temptations. He died for us so that we can be set free from our temptations, our sins. 

Being a slave to sin means you keep succumbing to temptations even when you know they’re wrong. Then you feel guilty for not stopping. It’s a little like when your mom has baked a fresh batch if cookies and they smell DELICIOUS!!! *mouth drools* Your mom tells you, “These are for AFTER dinner. They need to cool.” How can she not let me eat just one, you think to yourself. When she’s out of the kitchen, you sneak in and eat a cookie!!!!! You may have burnt you’re mouth if they’re still warm. (In which case you may have learned your lesson.) Or you may want another one. And then you eat one more. And another. And yet another. And then there are no cookies left and you’ve spoiled your dinner! As a result, your mom tells you “We’ll discuss your actions after dinner.” Anyway, since you won’t be eating dinner because of too many cookies, you go to your room and think about what you could have done differently or how you can ask for forgiveness. Mom comes into your room to discuss your actions. You’re sorry and she forgives you and still loves you. Kind how Jesus loves as we are but that we need to ask Him to cleanse our hearts and get rid of the yuckiness that is our sins.

Let’s rewind to when Mom says, “These are for AFTER dinner. These need to cool.” The thought of, How can she not let me eat just one, comes to your head. You go to grab a cookie, but now, a conflicting voice says, “No! Don’t do it!!!!” You retreat and go do your homework while dinner gets ready. That is the Holy Spirit acting as your good conscience; further, it is your SELF-CONTROL kicking in! Woot!!

You me, us! We are all children of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) That was a long story! Hopefully it shed some light on no longer being a slave to sin, but being a child of God. 🙂 Remember: You, me, us! We are all children of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).

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‘Tis the Season for Peace

Dear Heavenly Father,

Please allow the words of this blog post be on the readers’ hearts. Thank You for these words, Amen.

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all doing well. Have you bought all your Christmas gifts? Have you wrapped them yet? Do you have all your Christmas decorations and tree up yet? ‘Tis the season for these questions, of course. Are you feeling a little overwhelmed with all these questions lately? You don’t have to! 🙂

I still have a few Christmas presents left to buy and get all our decorations up! I’m sure Matt and I will get ourselves organize soon and well before Christmas ;).

I’ve often realized that stressin’ out over the little things such as getting the deco up and buying all the gifts is not a big deal. You know that song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy?” Or even more famously, Matthew’s Scripture passage called, “Do Not Worry (Matthew 6:25-34)?”

The reason why I don’t worry about these things is because God’s got us covered! AWE. SOME! Well, that is to say that He won’t put up the deco and buy the gifts for others for me, but He will provide what we need. Sometimes what we need is some inspiration ;).

Now, I can go on about this passage, but my friend Jill has already covered her take on it :). What I’m here to talk about is finding peace behind this season of something called Christmas. Sure, there are many things that may warrant busyness and stress. For example, spending time with your multiple families; travelling; lack of snow in some parts of Canada; the baggage retreival system they have a Heathrow; cooking your first turkey or your first big meal; making sure you have enough gifts for everyone; making sure everying is perfect; etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Yup. That is a long of list of what could stress someone out during Christmas.

Christmas is an EXCITING TIME of good news and great joy!!!! Christmas songs on the radio, decorations and gifts (eventually 🙂 ), family and friends, peace on earth and good will to men, women, kids, pets… Funny how the ads to help the poor and/or the homeless only come around Christmas time.

Peace on earth good will to men should be practiced 365/6 days of the year. NOT just at and around Christmas time. Notice I didn’t say we should have Christmas everyday ;). Why is there a greater push to serve the poor/homeless/elderly/etcetera/etcetera/etcetera around Christmas? Why is December the month of giving? To be honest, I don’t even know the answers to these questions. What I do know is that Jesus calls us to help those in need no matter what time of year it is. He tells us the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) and how everyone passed the injured man except for a Samaritan who was passing by. Another variation of this story is called The Good Muslim.

Why am I talking about peace? Well this is a question I can answer ;). Well, as timely as this is, there is so much chaos, death and destruction in the world right now. So much concern is going into the lives of people who are in and amidst these horrible things, and rightly so. I think there is also a lot of hate, anger, and sorrow that has emerged in light of recent incidents. What good has/will come out of all the hurt, pain, and suffering? Well, the first planes of Syrian refugees have landed in Canada this past week! Praise Jesus! People are excited for this! There is hope!

Human beings can live for forty days without food, four days without water, and four minutes without air. But we cannot live for four seconds without hope. — Andy Crouch

One of my favourite Christmas songs is Peace, Peace/Silent Night. I sang this when I was a part of a children’s chorus.

Peace, peace, peace on earth and good will to all.
This is a time for joy.
This is a time for love.
Now let us all sing together,
Of peace, peace, peace on earth.

So we would all sing the first verse in usison. Then we would repeat it but have the choir split in two: one half would sing the melody and the other half would sing the harmony. Then the third time we sang this, we were split in three: Melody, harmony and the third part would sing Silent Night. Often our choir conductor would turn around and get the parents to join in on Silent Night. Having those two overlap is just so special.

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round young virgin mother and cild
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

So it ends with:
Of peace, peace, peace on earth.
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Kinda like: Sleep in heavenly peace on earth. That’s how Christmas and the rest of the year should be. How will you still your heart this Christmas and always?

Jesus is the Prince of Peace and the Hope of the world. If we are called to help those in need, we must “Go and do likewise.

Time at Camp: 2015 Edition

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for the words You’d like me to write. I also pray that these words will allow everyone to see Your awesome work! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I am soooo thankful to Jesus for making all my Camp experiences different from year to year. If they’d be the same, it would be boring, right? I mean our schedule is more or less the same every year with tweaks along the way. It’s the content and the campers and staff that change from year to year. You know, we staff like to keep you campers on your toes! 😉

Can you believe that Senior Youth Camp 2015 was just a month ago??? Wow, how time flies!!! 🙂 Well this post is to share my experience with Camp. What makes this past Camp so memorable for me is how there was a sense of teamwork and real comradery! Everyone seemed to work well with each other and that showed in our games, Memory Verses, Small Groups, and even in the Cabin Inspections!

What makes teamwork work? I believe the best thing to make teamwork work is the building each other up and not tearing each other down. Paul writes in Thessalonians about Jesus and building each other up:

He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
[ Final Instructions ] Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:10-12

At Camp, if campers weren’t sure how to play a game or do a certain thing, I saw them encouraging one another and motivating each other that they can do it! It’s so awesome to see this kind of determinism in young hearts! (Is determinism even a word? :p)

A team often times can’t soley survive on its own. It needs a leader who will be along side them showing how to play the game or do the craft along with encouraging the team members with positive affirmations. Leaders see the best qualities in team members and also their [un]qualifications, if you will. These unqualifications aren’t looked on as faults but rather, an area that could be improved on. I definitely saw leaders doing that in their Small Groups, in the activities done in Cabins, and the Outtrip with their Camp Fire skits. I know that Jesus equips those he calls the skills necessary to fill the tasks.

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.
— Ephesians 4:11-12

What was your Camp experience? 🙂

#countdowntocamp: Camp is Awesome!

Hey guys!!!

4 days and 18 hours and 0 minutes and seconds until the first day of Senior Youth Camp begins! Us staff are as excited to see what Jesus has in store for everyone at Camp!

Remember last year, we wrote/drew on some cards telling others why Camp is awesome, or we described an awesome moment at Camp to create a Camp Book of Awesome. I’ll post these awesomes here for even more everyones to share! They are scanned so it is in the original handwriting of the Campers and Staff. You may have seen some drawing renditions of some of these awesomes from Jill.

Before I get into last year’s Camp Book of Awesome, I want to share why I believe Camp is awesome. I really enjoy getting to people weather they are new or former campers and staff. I love how Jesus works in the lives of all our hearts and to see that on a Camp-wide scale is TRULY a blessing! Thanks! 🙂

Without further ado, Digital Camp Book of Awesome! Enjoy 🙂

Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome Camp is Awesome

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the blessing of Your cross and for Your words. I pray for healing and strength for everyone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Hey guys, I wanted to do something a bit different today and sharing with you what I’ve done in the past for Good Friday. It’s different in many aspects, but I do pray you enjoy and take the time to reflect on Jesus and what he has done and will do in your lives :).

Good Friday Video (I apologize for the quality ;).)

GET OUT OF THE MICROWAVE!! 

And step into a slow-cooker and just simmer 😉

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that the words you have given me touch people’s hearts. Thank You for these words! Amen.

I never really understood the whole give-chocolates-sweets-chips-etc.-up-for-Lent thing. Growing up, we just did that during Lent because we were told to do it. Mom and Dad would set the rules, right? So we just did what they told us to do. And then Easter would come and then we were allowed to eat chocolates, sweets, chips, etc. Yay, I guess. As I became closer to Jesus in my teen years, I’ve come realize that giving those things up for Lent doesn’t really satisfy me and my heart. I would get the classic question,

What are you giving up for Lent?

Often times I wouldn’t know because I wanted something meaningful. Then one day, the priest at my home church mentioned taking something on instead of giving something up. Awesome! I thought. That would work well! Well… not so much. I already do a lot of things, taking another thing on was not the best for me. So, what do I give up?

Funny you should ask ;)! Without realizing it, the past few years I’ve recluse myself from Facebook, internet, and computer at home. I do this because at work, I’m on the computer practically all day. When I’m at home, I want a break from all that technology stuff. I tend to do this at the beginning of Lent. The more I think about this, the more I’ve come to realize that being away from technology actually helps strengthen my relationship with Jesus. I have more time to focus on him and not be bombarded with status updates and the like.

Ever notice how with the improvement of technology, we’re more hurried than ever? Consider this: When we text, we expect an immediate response. We also text quickly and often make silly mistakes before hitting send. Facebook statuses are great to see what’s going on in people’s lives. Again with this, we expect immediate likes and/or comments on our statuses. Sometimes wars between people happen because of a slight misinterpretation of something we posted. And sometimes being really into technology, we end up “multi-tasking.” Online chatting, playing a game, watching a video at the same time! GET OUT OF THE TECHNOLOGICAL MICROWAVE!!!

Microwaves are a great tool to heat up our food REALLY QUICKLY. If you’re a busy person and you need to get out the door, just heat up your food in the microwave and eat it on your way out. This doesn’t bode well for healthiness. This, of course, is an extreme example.

Jesus calls us to be with Him during this Lenten season (and beyond!) and to sloooooooooooooooow dooooooowwwwn. Slow-cookers are great when you have a number of people over for food. Your meal takes the entire day to cook. Remember one of the Ten Commandments:

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

— Exodus 20:8

This commandment helps to spend a day with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, to slow ourselves down and reflect on His Word. While we do this, we are doing something we love, like hanging out with friends, enjoying the outdoors — basically doing something to just get away from the hullabaloo that is life for a day. Taking a Sabbath day is good to get re-energized for the coming days. I challenge you to take a Sabbath day every week. I think you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish by slowing down and spending a day with the Lord :).

All You Need is Love and Jesus <3

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for these words You have instilled on my heart to share with the world. Thank You for Your grace and for allowing me to be enough. In Jesus’ holy and precious name, Amen.

Hi ALL!

Hope you’re all doing great! We had lots and lots and LOTS of snow in the last few days! This means a welcomed break from the minus thirty some odd temperatures (degrees in Celsius) we’ve been having lately! 🙂 YAY!

I’m here to share with you my favourite Bible passage and why it’s my favourite. I actually have a number of verses that stand out to me and give me inspiration in any aspect of life. My true #1 Fave of the Faves would have to be 1 Corinthians 13.

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
— New International Version

This my favourite passage, not only because it was one of the passages for my and my husband’s wedding and countless other weddings before and after ours, but also for how Jesus loves us! You can’t do anything unless you have love. Whoa! That’s really important! And this passage reflects Jesus’ teachings and reminders.

Jesus reminds us of a few important things in Matthew 22:37-40:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

(I find it fitting that this is in a chapter that starts with a parable about marriage. ;)) Notice how LOVE is the very first word of the first AND second commandments! That’s pretty huge! 1 Corinthians 13 is really great in showing this three-way relationship that we NEED TO ESTABLISH. We need to love God first! Jesus is Lord and God (another topic for another day; might have already been covered). We first have to LOVE HIM in order to LOVE US and LOVE OTHERS. He clearly states this in the above passage. But GOD THE FATHER established this WAY BEFORE!!! (Read Deut. 6 and Lev. 19)

The best part of my favourite passage is that you can replace the word love with Jesus. For example:

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have Jesus, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have Jesus, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have Jesus, I gain nothing.

Jesus is patient,Jesus is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He does not dishonor others, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Jesus never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and Jesus. But the greatest of these is Jesus.

It packs a punch when you do this!!! This is also to show you that Jesus is love :). How cool is that :)? Knowing this makes me all warm. To know that we have a Saviour that is love and full of love is a marvellous thing!!! I aspire to be like my loving Jesus when I grow up ;). No but actually everyday :D.

I think calling this my favourite passage isn’t doing it justice. I absolutely LOVE this passage ;).

A good tip from a married laday to those getting married or looking for that perfect someone: 1 Corinthians 13 is a good place to start :).

Have a great day ^_^!!!