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Phone: 519-539-1492

     

May Labour

I don’t know about you, but there’s something about the lengthening of the days and spring sunshine that just makes me itch to get my fingers in some soil. The month of May means pulling out my wheelbarrow and getting back in touch with the earth. Yes, I have farming in my background, perhaps in my blood? The new green of a winter wheat or rye field brings me joy. The smell of cut grass or fresh hay stops me in my tracks. Coffee, sunshine and garden centres in combination make me think of heaven. 

Green thumb or not, really, so much of life is about growing and moving forward. Whether nurturing plants or students, guiding a school and a staff, living in a family or in a faith community, we are on a growth journey. Storms, wind, rain and sunshine come in abundance or sometimes not. Conditions change and we navigate, moving forward. I plant seeds and expect sprouts. I plant seedlings and expect them to grow. But I also expect setbacks: slugs, hungry rabbits, lack of rain. As a co-worker with you in God’s service, I pray God’s strength and blessings for each of you as you plant, actually or figuratively, in all the areas of your life. 

I love this Bible passage (and wonder what the apostle Paul’s experience was with food production/gardening). It comes to mind often in my discussions and thinking at WCS: 

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.     1 Corinthians 3:6-9 NIV 

                                                                                                        Carol Verbeek, Principal

 

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Patience

Patience in waiting. Wait. Aren’t patience and waiting the same thing? Please be patient as I explain the difference: One definition of patience is: “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” Waiting is defined as “the action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens.” There is a difference if you look closely: patience highlights the act of having self-control, whereas waiting highlights a delay of any sort of action. 

I’ve found myself needing a lot of patience in my waiting; namely: waiting for this pandemic to end... or, at least to have a very minimal impact on my life. It’s difficult to do all that is required in order to keep my neighbour healthy. It’s difficult to follow the rules set out by our government when it becomes an inconvenience or annoyance to me. But when I read the news and think about why these new rules are in place; and what God says about loving our neighbours, it should be a no-brainer for me. Yet, it’s still difficult! In these times of waiting, and when stamina is needed to end well, I find myself needing to turn to God and to His word for encouragement/wisdom. I pray that everyone would be blessed with an extra measure of patience in their waiting as we (hopefully) begin to see the end of this pandemic. 

Luke 10:27: And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

               

                                                                                                                                Axel Hiemstra, Grade 5

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Prayer

PRAYER

Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV - The Armor of God  

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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth ... the breastplate of righteousness... with your feet fitted … the shield of faith … the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit...

Vs18: And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.  

Take a look at verse 18 again. Did you catch it? First you’ve been commanded to put on the various pieces of armour (makes me think about all the instructions and training this year about how to put on and take off PPE...) The armour is physical and concrete. You put it on and you can take it off. It’s a conscious decision to protect and defend. Take a stand! Stand firm.

But not without prayer. Paul directs us three times in one verse to pray. Pray in the Spirit with all kinds of prayers and keep on praying. The whole process and the fight need to be bathed in, surrounded by prayer, infused with prayer. 

Many of us leave home in the morning forgetting that we are in a spiritual battle. It's no wonder we can become overwhelmed or overcome by the trials and temptations we face. When you understand the idea of putting on the armor of God, it changes how you start your day; it strengthens your resolve to focus on and serve Jesus whole-heartedly no matter what comes your way.

Pray in the morning as a way to mindfully put on all of the armor of God. By doing so, you will be inviting the Holy Spirit to empower you, to help, to comfort, and be your strength.

(Sources: NIV,  thelife.com/armor-of-god )

                                                                                                                                        Carol Verbeek, Principal

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Talking to Youself

When you heard the news that schools would once again be moving to remote learning, what did you say to yourself?  As your children worked at home on school work these past few days, what were you saying to each other?  Were they messages such as…

This is impossible. I’ll never get it.

This is not going to work.

We can’t do this again.

Or were your inner voice and conversations more positive such as…

This is hard, but I got this.

Bring it on. I can handle a challenge.

We can do it again!

Mindsets and self talk have a powerful impact on behaviour and outcomes.  At school, we have taught students a lot about the importance of fostering a growth mindset and developing grit or being able to persevere through challenges.  Unsurprisingly, students with positive mindsets and productive self-talk are much more successful than those with negative attitudes and destructive inner messaging.  Did you know that grit and mindsets are stronger indicators of performance and outcomes than intelligence?  

For most of us, negativity can be our default, and I have to be very intentional about choosing a positive attitude. We can change our mindsets and develop grit!  I try using affirmations, or statements about who I am according to God, to foster resiliency and an accurate outlook.  I invite you to challenge yourself this week to monitor your own self talk and think about how you can foster a growth mindset in your home.  Try some of these positive affirmations…

I am a child of God.

I am loved unconditionally.

I am not a quitter and persevere through challenges.

I have been created with gifts and abilities and can learn from my mistakes.

I will do my best for God’s glory.

I am His.

                                                                                                                       Tracy Bulthuis,  Learning Support

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Armour of God: Ready Shoes

Armour of God: Ready Shoes

(Source: www.gcu.edu/blog)

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

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Armour of God: Sword of the Spirit

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

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Prayer

 

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.”

                                                                                                                              Rachel Sikma

 Reflections from the writings and quotes of Tim Challies.

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Armour of God: The Shield of Faith

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. 

 

(Reference: take-up-the-armor-of-god    crosswalk.com)

                                                                                                            Carol Verbeek, Principal

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Reflect His Image

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

 

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Time

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.  

                                                                                                                                                                                        G. Hiemstra

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The Belt of Truth

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

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Armour of God

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.

Sources: trinityruston.org/devotions/.jtdyer.com/the-helmet-of-salvation/ , wheatonbible.org/ )

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