Armour of God: Ready Shoes
In Ephesians 6:10-20 NIV The Armor of God passage, Paul tells us to stand firm with our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Shoes are a part of a Christian’s armour.
Can you imagine going to battle without shoes? You would most likely be in pain with every step, as you pass over all kinds of harsh landscape. Ultimately, it would inhibit your ability to fight.
So, how can the gospel of peace be related to shoes? To start, we must understand what the gospel of peace is. The word “gospel” means “good news,” referring to the sacrifice Jesus made for us so that we can be saved. As a result, this brings us peace. As Christians, we are called to share the good news of Christ with others. Having our shoes fitted with the gospel of peace allows us to do this successfully.
Our shoes equip us to walk through rough areas. In the same way, having hope in Jesus helps us walk through the trials we face. John 16:33 says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Just like having a good pair of shoes can help us walk across rough terrain, having confidence in Christ allows us to boldly proclaim His name. While we may face persecution in this life, we can rest in knowing the Savior of the world loves us and cares for us.
Having our feet fitted with the shoes of the gospel of peace allows us to be ready to share God with others at all times. As Christians, we should always be prepared, as we never know when an opportunity may arise to share the good news of the gospel with someone else. Ultimately, the shoes of peace equip us to fight for Christ in the spiritual battles we face.
Carol Verbeek, Principal
Ephesians 6:10-18 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist … Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
To be a Christian is to be a warrior. Our WCS theme verse speaks about standing firm and strong. We can expect that we will encounter difficulties while we stand our ground. Not once, but several times in our passage the apostle Paul tells us— “Stand.” As Christians, we can expect trouble and conflict, so when it comes we need to be armed, skilled, and ready. In preparing the armor of God, Christians may notice something interesting: every piece of armor (with the exception of one) is defensive. The specifically offensive piece of armor is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God - the Bible. The Bible is the supreme weapon that God has given to the Christian. With this weapon we can attack and defend. Do you remember Jesus in the wilderness fighting the adversary? He fights the adversary with Scripture. He quotes from the Old Testament three times: “It is written,” “It is written,” “It is written.” Satan comes with a temptation, Jesus parries the thrust; he takes out his sword, he defends himself with the word of God. All the pieces of the armor come from God, but the sword in particular is God himself, the Holy Spirit, the Word of God. As Christians, we need to learn as much as we can about God’s word. As we wield this sword in our hands, it protects our sincerity and our holiness and our peace. It protects our righteousness, it protects our hope.
How do we do this and how do we teach our children/students to do this? We study the Word daily. We read our Bibles, learn verses by memory, and hear sermons preached on the word, all to gain an understanding of Scripture. We ask God to reveal himself, to show us wisdom and understanding. Read the word, hear the word, believe the word, study it, pray it. Be armed and ready.
Carol Verbeek, Principal
It is a common response in our community of Christians to say to someone, “I’ll pray for you” to a person’s trial or difficulty. Some of us who do this may have a different response from our current culture when we offer to pray. We may feel “shamed” into silence because prayer is insinuated to be wasteful, insignificant, or not really doing anything. You may be told or it is suggested that prayer is a meaningless promise.
As Christians, we believe in the power of prayer and know it is our first responsive action. We have unshakable confidence in its power and effectiveness.
“There is nothing trite, nothing minimal about “I’ll pray for you.” To say, “I’ll pray for you” is to say, “I will speak with the Author and Creator of all things. He’s my Father and invites me to come to Him any time. I will speak to Him about those things. I will plead His promises. I will speak to the one Being in all the universe Who has all knowledge and all power and Who is perfectly good, and I will ask Him to help, to intercede, to grant joy and peace and meaning.”
Reflections from the writings and quotes of Tim Challies.
Scripture often refers to God, the Almighty, as our shield (Gen. 15:1; Ps. 5:12; Prov. 30:5), and we must keep this in mind as we consider Paul’s call for us to take up the shield of faith. Roman shields, depending on the type, could protect a good portion of the body especially in the Roman phalanx formation. Soldiers would stand shoulder to shoulder in files several ranks deep with interlocking shields and weapons ready. The shield protects as a defensive measure, but does a lot more than take blows from arrows and weapons. The typical Roman shield could also be offensive and push back against the enemy.
How do we see this in terms of faith?
God is our Commander in Chief giving us our war strategy. He is telling us how to conduct ourselves in battle. The shield of faith doesn’t lose hope, it doesn’t give up and it doesn’t quit. The shield of faith believes God and takes Him at His Word—no matter what the situation looks like. This heavy shield can withstand the impact of fiery strikes. We hold onto our faith like a shield. We have to deliberately choose faith in all circumstances. Faith cannot only protect us from the blows of the devil, it can help us push back against him. Second, we can extinguish arrows that Satan sends our way. Not only can faith handle the impact of them, but it extinguish false ideas and doubt. Third, when we band with other Christians, in phalanx formation, it strengthens our faith. Although God won’t shield us from tragedy or loss, he can provide us faith when we need it most.
Carol Verbeek, Principal
In the earliest words of Scripture, God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth” (Genesis 1:26 MSG).
Embedded in these words is the most wonderful of promises: God made us to reflect his image...
Sin has distorted this image, but it has not destroyed it. Our moral purity has been tainted. Our intellect is polluted by foolish ideas. We have fallen prey to the elixir of self-promotion rather than God-promotion. The image of God is sometimes difficult to discern. But do not think for a moment that God has rescinded his promise or altered his plan. He still creates people in his image to bear his likeness and reflect his glory.
Pop psychology is wrong when it tells you to look inside yourself and find your value. The magazines are wrong when they suggest you are only as good as you are thin, muscular, pimple-free, or perfumed. The movies mislead you when they imply that your value increases as your stamina, intelligence, or net worth does. Religious leaders lie when they urge you to grade your significance according to your church attendance, self-discipline, or spirituality.
According to the Bible you are good simply because God made you in his image. Period. He cherishes you because you bear a semblance to him. And you will only be satisfied when you engage in your role as an image-bearer of God. Such was the view of King David. “As for me, I will see your face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied when I awake in your likeness” (Psalm 17:15)."
Elizabeth Martin, Music Teacher
Have you ever created a time capsule, or were part of an event that opened a time capsule? If you could create a time capsule for March 2021 and have it opened 50 years later, what would those in the future mostly see? A mask, perhaps? Whoever signed up to be a student or teacher during a pandemic? Life can be difficult at times, but it doesn’t take much to dig into other events that would have been challenging for various reasons. What was life like for the Israelites being enslaved in Egypt? What a conundrum for Joseph as he found himself in a pit or thrown into jail years later for a crime he didn’t commit! What was life like for David running away from a king who wanted nothing more than to kill him? What about life as an Israelite wandering in the desert for 40 years? I am sure the characters involved in these situations were looking forward to the future, to a time when their present difficult situation would be over.
It has been about a year now since the Government of Ontario announced that there would be no in-class sessions for students for the remainder of the school year of 2020. And it has been about a month since the announcement to postpone Spring Break until April. Everyone is trying to make the best of the situation we find ourselves in. It is for this reason that the grade 7 class is calling next week Stay-cation Week and has planned that students come to school in destination t-shirt, or flip flops (with socks), or sunglasses, or sun hat, and a picture of a vacation spot. Let’s enjoy the at-school-March-Break next week and participate in Stay-cation Week. And when there is opportunity in the future for a real vacation, my hope is that you will savour the moment of that vacation with your family.
The first piece of armour Paul discusses is the belt of truth. In Ephesians 6:14, he says, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” Of all of the pieces of the armour of God, you may be wondering why Paul started with the belt. We think of a belt as simply to hold up pants. However, for a Roman soldier, this thick belt did a lot more. It held all the most important weapons at a soldier’s disposal, as well as equipment, ropes, and food rations. A Roman’s belt also had strips of armour hanging from it to protect the lower portions of the body. If a soldier did not have this thick belt secured correctly, if it went crooked, he wagered his own life on the battlefield. Think of it, without a belt, they could not carry a weapon!
So, why does Paul associate the belt of a soldier with truth? For Christians, God’s Word is truth, and it serves as our foundation. The world we live in teaches that truth is what we make it—that good and bad are relative and that there are no absolutes, only equally valid opinions. But the Bible teaches that truth is God's Word— and that there are eternal and unchangeable absolutes, uninfluenced by opinions. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” If our beliefs are not rooted in God’s Word, we cannot expect to fight battles for Christ.
Just as a belt is worn close to the body, we should hold God’s truth close to us and allow it to surround us. When we remain in His Word, we can distinguish what is true from what is untrue. Keep that belt secure! Know and use God’s truth!
Mrs. Verbeek, Principal
Mrs. Verbeek, Principal
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17 Of all of the pieces of armour, the one we are most experienced with is the helmet. Hockey players, cyclists, snowboarders, rock climbers... we wear a helmet when we engage in these and more. Why wear a helmet? To protect your head, of course. The helmet is a key piece as it protects your skull, your brain, your vision, your thoughts… such a critical component of your body. But why, as a Christian, protect your head? The armour of a warrior is the analogy that Paul uses when he advises Jesus-followers to get ready for the conflicts and battles inevitable in life. The Helmet of Salvation protects our mind, where so many battles take place. 1 Corinthians 2:16 tells us that believers “have the mind of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 explains that those who are in Christ have divine power to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” The gift of salvation in Jesus Christ is our helmet; when we believe and profess Jesus as our Lord and Savior by grace through faith, we are outfitted with this defensive headpiece. When we are intentionally fixed upon and abiding in Christ, we suit up for battle against the enemy’s schemes and the world’s temptations.
But we must consciously put it on every day to protect our minds and to find our hope and strength. So, we learn Scripture through memory work. We read the Bible in devotions and in Bible class. We pray through and over all things. We wear the armour.
Every day, it becomes more evident that it takes a village to raise a child. Families depend on neighbours, extended family, and church communities to partner with them in nurturing their children. God created us to live in relationship. The last few months it has been hard to do this, but in due time we will be back to seeing people and oh, how we will enjoy everyone’s presence so much more!
Next week, we will be hosting an Information Evening for prospective families and it again struck me that the school community is part of the ‘village’ that nurtures and supports our children. As parents wonder whether WCS will be the school for their children, they will have a chance to listen to and learn about all the things that WCS has to offer and how we will be part of their village. Over and over again, I think how blessed we are to have such a great community and school that we can be a part of every day.
We pledge to honour each child as a child of God to develop the gifts that they have been given, to treat them with respect and dignity, to provide a safe, nurturing environment and to help them grow closer to God in all their learning. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your family’s village.
When we discuss why we do what we do at Woodstock Christian School, inevitably the word ‘equip’ comes up. When you consider the what and how of raising children in your family, I am sure you also desire to equip your kids for life beyond your family. We teach students through the lens of the Bible, who they are, whose they are, and about the wonders of creation and the brokenness in our world. We teach them about who Jesus is, and how to live as Jesus-followers in the world. We teach skills and strategies. We want to equip students with knowledge and ability for future education, for relationships, and for work.
STAND FIRM is our WCSchool theme this year based on two passages: “Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14), and Ephesians 6:10-20 where Paul speaks about putting on the whole armour of God.
In the next couple of months, we will explore these various pieces of spiritual armor, and how each of us, adults and children, can use these in our faith- and life-walk to STAND FIRM.
God provides these six aspects of the Christian life, (see the illustration here - shield, helmet, belt, sword, breastplate, shoes) plus prayer (verse 18), to strengthen and protect us and ultimately help us to triumph in our spiritual battles. Remember to pray for your children, that they will be strong, stand firm, grow and flourish.
Carol Verbeek, Principal
Reading the Word of God is a practice we as Christians try to do faithfully. At times this may be difficult, especially when our lives are so busy. A common excuse is “Not enough time.” As we are in lockdown there should be more opportunities to spend reading God’s word. There is an acronym PRESS that I came across that helps me to focus.
Prayer - Before going to God’s word, we should always pray. What do you pray for? Anything really. Sing his praises, ask for wisdom on how to analyze the passage you are about to read.
Read - Read through the scripture at least twice. Highlight any words or phrases that stand out to you. Journal about any questions or emotions you have as you read this passage.
Examine - Think about the following questions. “What do I need to know about God, myself and others?” “What do I need to change in my thoughts, attitudes, or actions?” What do I need to do in obedience to God’s leading?”
Summarize - Write down the main points or summarize what God is saying to you.
Share - Who would benefit from hearing your thoughts? Maybe a Christian brother or sister needs to be encouraged. Maybe a neighbour or coworker would benefit from hearing.
Pretty simple, right? Simple yet powerful. I hope this Bible study method provides you with some tools to help you study God’s word.
Mrs. J. Hickey
We have just come out of the Advent season, a season that marks a period of waiting - remembering the waiting for the Saviour’s coming, and waiting for the anticipated return of Jesus to make all things new. We find ourselves in many waiting situations these days, whether that be for curbside pick-up, in the Zoom waiting room, waiting for appointments, for news of new measures, for notice of return to in-person learning. We ask each other what school, work, public health will be like after the pandemic while we wait for it to run its course. We say we ‘can’t wait’ to have students back in the school again. Or ‘can’t wait’ for things to return to normal. In John 10, Jesus speaks to his audience using examples of sheep and shepherding to convey his message. His listeners are not understanding, not ‘getting’ the message, so Jesus tries another approach. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy,” says Jesus. “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus comes to bring life to His people. Jesus is in direct contrast to the thief. He provides. The thief steals. Steals joy, contentment, faith, confidence. There is much living to be done in the waiting. Do not let waiting steal life from you. Life does not pause: words need to be spoken, work needs to be done, decisions need to be made, rest needs to be taken, good news needs to be shared, moments need to be celebrated. From a Bible commentary, “The Greek word for ‘abundance,’ perissos, has a mathematical meaning and generally denotes a surplus…The abundant life is above all the contented life, in which our contentment is based upon the fact that God is equal to every emergency and is able to supply all our needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus” (Boice, commentary). Abundant life isn’t an especially long life. Abundant life isn’t an easy, comfortable life. Abundant life is a life of satisfaction and contentment in Jesus. He provides more than we can imagine.
- Carol Verbeek
(Resources: enduringword.com/commentary, Bible ESV)