Categories
Encouragement

The Lord is With You!

Emmanuel – God with us! He isn’t just Emmanuel at Christmas time—He is with us every moment of the year.

The reason that we can be strong is because He is with us. The reason that we can live without fear is because He is with us. [1]

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Psalms 16:11

Saying the Lord is with you, is so much more than it seems.

It’s actually a love story. If you have a personal relationship with Jesus, there is a moment in time when you knew that He loved you.

A regular day—ordinary really, hands in the soapy water of the single sink in a tiny apartment. The few dishes are hardly worth the full sink of suds, but a vase is spied on the top shelf—that you have to drag a chair to in order to reach, speaks of its irregular use.

A heart simply wonders when flowers would be received again.

A supper invitation the next day.

Family, laughs, and dishes done together—time to go home. At the door, a beautiful red rose with a note attached. “I love you,” nothing else written.

It came from Jesus, He hears quiet thoughts of hearts and made a point to get a flower in the vase. Love. What is your story?

Jesus prayed for us in John chapter 17—a beautiful portion of scripture…

“I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”

John 17:23 NLT

A tiny little conjunction in bold, but absolutely important to understanding…

We don’t think about the meaning of this word, but what it means is “to the same extent or degree; equally.”

Now look back at the verse, and it should leave your mouth agape! We read about the relationship Jesus had with the Father, the closeness and intimacy, the unity, the whole book of John is filled with that special relationship.

As equally—think back to that moment of love, when you knew, when you accepted His grace and allowed His love.

The presence of the Lord brings joy, meaning, and anticipation to our lives! 2022—it is with the joy and the confidence that comes from knowing He is with you.[2]


We’ve been leaving little challenges in our January blogs—remember this well-known saying “Love God, love people?”

Here is your challenge this week…

Show love to someone on your heart. Send a card in the mail, leave a treat on a neighbours doorstep, make a call, send a bible verse, there are a thousand and one ways to show love, so let’s show ❤️ the ACOP way!


  1. https://acop.ca/facing-2022-with-confidence-anticipation/  —by Rev. Wes Mills
  2. Ibid.
Categories
Encouragement

Do Not Be Afraid!

Fear is a big subject all on its own.

In 2021 with the Covid-19 pandemic raging, surveys indicated people’s top two fears were a loved one dying, or a loved one becoming seriously ill. Other things that people are fearful of include violence, terrorism, racism, being alone, civil unrest, and not having enough money for retirement. [1]

The world likes fear, exists on fear and wants us to bow to it—five minutes of any news program, and your fear is up a notch or two.

So what do we do?

It has been said that the most often repeated command in scriptures is “fear not” or “don’t be afraid” or some variation of this command. I am not sure if it is the most repeated command, but it is found over 100 times in the King James Version of the Bible. [2]

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

1 John 4:18 NIV

Perfect love is God’s love—and God loves us unconditionally—it drives out fear! [3] Pause, pray, invite, meditate and soak up His love—it’s there for the taking, freely offered!

Made perfect in love—doesn’t that sound amazing?

Next, get ahold of your thought life. Fear is cyclical, every once in a while it catches us again, but we can control our thoughts and though feelings may come at us unbidden, we have the power to choose how we’ll react.

“Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always.”

Philippians 4:8 TPT

Fear is powerful when combined with the lie that you are alone, that maybe you’re the only one who feels this way. It leaves you guessing about what you should believe or think, wondering about what is true.

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attached and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Eccelsiastes 4:9-12 NLT

Enough said!

As we enter 2022, we need to remember that we have a good good Father who loves us unconditionally, and in the security of His love, we have nothing to fear.[4]

In 2022 let’s respond with hope rather than fear!

So here is your 2022 Challenge, step outside of your comfort zone and get involved in something bigger than you. Ignite Hope in your heart so you can ignite hope in others!

  • ECO—Learn something new, challenge your ideas, igniting hope in your heart!
  • Prayer & Beyond—Ignite hope through prayer the first Tuesday every month! (Zoom Meeting ID: 517 383 7633 | Passcode: 11111)
  • She International Cohorts—These spots sell out fast! Join and find hope in all you do, bringing others along in the journey!
  • Kairos Online—Discover God’s heart for the Nations, hope and light in this broken world.
  • Ministry Mind Leadership Podcast—catch up on your listening!

Download & Print this small gift of Bible verse reminders—Hope over Fear!


  1. https://acop.ca/facing-2022-with-confidence-anticipation/ by Rev. Wes Mills
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.

Categories
Encouragement

Be Strong!

When the pandemic began in 2020, we weren’t sure if it would be a sprint or a marathon. Twenty-one months into the pandemic, I would like to suggest that it has turned into an Ironman competition!

Whether you know it or not, you are a runner. Is that a surprise to you?

All of us are running the race marked out for us from the beginning…

“We will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. We look away from the natural realm and we focus our attention and expectation onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection.”

Excerpt from Hebrews 12:1-2 TPT

Passion—This is what motivates you, gets you moving, running the race like the prophet Nehemiah said, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” —Nehemiah 8:10

Determination—You won’t quit, keep going—even when it’s hard, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”—Philippians 4:13

Attention—Focus, where your mind keeps wandering off to—”But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.” —Isaiah 40:31 MSG

Expectation—Is Jesus enough? “You love Him passionately although you have not seen Him, but through believing in Him you are saturated with an ecstatic joy, indescribably sublime and immersed in glory. For you are reaping the harvest of your faith—the full salvation promised you—your souls’ victory.”—1 Peter 1:8-9 TPT

We naturally think of our bodies when we think about being strong…

Being strong isn’t about us pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, but it is the work of the Holy Spirit in our inner being.

Rev. Wes Mills

Athletes train, and believe it or not you will find programs that will get you ready for a Triathlon in 12 weeks! It’s a mix of training that will strengthen and condition your tendons, ligaments, and endurance so you can “enjoy” your race. You work slow, building strength and it’s very important to take a day of rest each week (after training). Build and rest, build and rest…

It’s a pattern that is familiar.

In the same way that an athlete strengthens themself by training, so we strengthen our spirit by reading the scriptures and spending time in the presence of the Lord!

You, as an effective ACOP leader, are aware that spending time with the Lord is the foundation of everything you do. Build and rest!

Take a few laps with the scriptures above rattling in your mind, pray in the Spirit, build and rest. You are what the world needs—ignite HOPE!

This is your friendly reminder to take some time every day to “strengthen yourself in the Lord.”

Did you know…

As an ACOP Member, you have a library of Bible Studies and Inspiration to build up YOUR inner being?

Sign-up for Rightnow Media with ACOP—Our Free gift to you!


Categories
Encouragement

Where is Your Bethlehem?

“Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem… He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”

Luke 2:4-5

It wouldn’t have been an easy journey, especially for Mary, who was nearing the end of her pregnancy.

Why did she go? It was decreed by the government of the day that everyone had to go to their own city and participate in a census. It’s also possible that Mary was ready to leave the village of Nazareth where judgment about her pregnancy and unmarried status was in abundance.

Mary and Joseph knew they would travel far from family and into a city whose streets would be overcrowded with many people on the same journey.

Nearly nine months before their arrival in Bethlehem, Mary spoke life-changing words to God, words that were to comfort her in the many uncertain years ahead. “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

With those simple words of faith, she could endure the long journey on the back of a donkey, the cold streets of Bethlehem, the staring faces of strangers, and even the filthy smelly stable with its straw-lined manger.

Where is your Bethlehem?

The last few years have been difficult for many people and the journey has been long. Covid has changed how we live—how we interact with one another. It has put strains on marriages and relationships; pastors have had to pivot numerous times. People have been uncaring and even hurtful with their words, circumstances, and situations—difficult.

I want to assure you that when we give ourselves as servants to a loving God, we can—in quietness and confidence—add “May it be to me as you have said” no matter the place or position in which we find ourselves!

My humble prayer for you as friends, family, and community is that you would know that the overcrowded streets you walk are filled with many people on the same journey.

Although these days are uncertain, may God give you a supernatural ability to walk more confidently in the year ahead, no matter the situations or circumstances.

As you journey through the streets of your Bethlehem with staring faces of strangers and the smelly circumstances of this world, may you continue to extend grace and ignite hope in the community that God has called you to!

Categories
Encouragement

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is a special time of year. The fleeting beauty of the harvest season can cause us to reflect and rest, and we should!

These last 19 months across the world have caused many of us to feel out of place, or as though things have been taken away. Strife seems to be an everyday occurrence in the world, and we all feel loss…

But a timely reminder from one of our ACOP Pastors puts the world back into the right perspective. Step outside your door, hear the birds singing, or the chatter of squirrels. Depending on where in the world you live maybe you can hear the slap of a beaver tail or the winged noise of ducks over the water.

See and enjoy the harvest colours, painting the world, for a short time. Breathe the crisp morning air, a clean quality that isn’t enjoyed at other times of the year. Even better wrap up, with a warm mug of your favorite morning beverage, and sit with the Holy Spirit for a moment.

These are things that the world can’t take away…

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

Colossians 2:6-7 NLT

Time with God, your fingers linked with the one you love, or a grandchild crawling on your lap.

A cookie and a glass of milk with your children, a good book, a mug of hot tea, and warm sweaters. A dog running through the leaves, or a friendly chat with your neighbour as you clean the yard for winter.

Christ enables us to see the good in this world, He is the love that casts out fear. He is the anchor to our souls, the joy that comes with the morning…

Overflow with thankfulness. Happy Thanksgiving!