This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

vicky kelly

Victoria Kelly, Contributor for Study 7 in Colossians Series

Study 7: Living, Acting and Praying the Good News of Jesus. Part 1

To start with, I want to start by recapping. Some good news. Something that is true in the face of uncertainty; what is good in a world that is filled with bad; what is exciting in the confusion; and what is our hope in the midst of cloud and chaos.

‘But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.’ Titus 3:4-7

We are saved, redeemed, justified and now part of God’s family. As we’ve studied Colossians this year, we have been looking again at this good news, but building on it to get us so deeply entwined with the living word of God that it consumes us. Over the next few weeks we will be expanding on this knowledge of Jesus and applying it to our lives… From the inside out! We will be focusing on: 1) Living with the good news of Jesus; 2) Acting with the good news of Jesus; and 3) Praying the good news of Jesus.

Living the good news of Jesus.

‘Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’ (Col 3:16-17)
In order to enjoy the fullness of the Spirit, we must be filled with the WORD of God, which is the message of Christ. The whole bible points to Jesus. We are instructed to have the word of God embedded in our life: richly – meaning a lot! ‘Dwell’ means to live there, we are comfortable and it is familiar. It is our home. So is it?

treeThe roots are what Col 3:16a is talking about. The shoots (the rest of the passage of Colossians 3) are going to be the evidence of us deeply in the Word. If we have a firm, deep, solid foundation of the living word and therefore the true knowledge and understanding of the salvation to be found in Jesus, then the tree, your life will be fruitful. Therefore how we go about our life and how we approach others will be different. The importance of these roots in God is so you can live out the life that God intended for you. To worship Him fully and to love others properly. So what happens when our roots aren’t in the word?

We may appear a strong, fruitful tree. But the roots of a tree are to hold it up structurally and also to feed it, giving it all the minerals and nutrients it needs. If these roots are cut off, ultimately you are not being fed, the tree will turn corrupted and rotten and eventually die. If the structural root is cut off, the tree will also die as it will easily fall to the ground, snapping the ‘feeder’ roots that were keeping it alive. It may not happen overnight, but over time, without the roots attached to the ground deeply, it will weaken and it will break away. So when turmoil crashes around you in your life, when there is chaos, storms, illness, devastation, to not be rooted in Jesus and the Word means damage will occur. Which is why it is so important we point each other constantly to the Word, the message of Christ and to dwell there.

By being in God’s word, we will know we have the gift of God’s grace; this undeserved, unconditional, sacrificial love and it changes us, because God’s grace changes everything. When we truly have this knowledge we will then be thankful. As God’s people we should be marked with thankfulness. As well as what we read in Col 3:12 where we should be clothed with, ‘compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience’, we are told to be thankful people. Verses 15-17 it is mentioned 3 times:

And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Our motivation for what Jesus has done for us should be JOY, so we give thanks to Go and we can share that message boldly with our brothers and sisters in Christ. V16 says we must ‘teach and admonish one another’. To teach means we are communicating doctrine or biblical precepts. To admonish one another -give correction/warning. But this shouldn’t come out of a place of superiority, but out of love and care for our Christian brothers and sisters. We are to lovingly point them back to the gospel, to what the bible says is right – we need Godly wisdom to do this, which we can only get when we are in the Word ourselves.

And as we continue to live out the good news of Jesus, we are now so thankful we are bursting into song as verse 16 continues: ‘through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.’ It is like the very core of us cannot contain our gratitude and praise any more. It is to our God! With singing we are sensing his majesty, but at the same time realising our own frailty and sinfulness. Worship is the result of this. We see it time and time again in the bible where people sing songs to God, in all situations (2 Samuel 6:14-15; Luke 1:46-55; Acts 16:24-26; Philippians 4:4).

A point to notice also, there are different types of songs mentioned: ‘psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit’. Which is good news for the different requirements the worship team have to encounter!! We all have preferences and all are needed! But even the fact we are instructed to sing in the first place, shows its importance. It is an outpouring of love for what He has done for us, recognising his majesty and headship.

But worship isn’t just about singing songs, it extends to all areas of our lives. Verse 17 says, ‘Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus’. ‘Whatever’ is not a flippant word how we may deem it today, but more like an open-ended, expanse. ALL we do. Remember we are sinners saved by grace. This should shape everything we say and do. We are living for Christ the King. As Jen Wilkin in her book ‘In His Image’ explains that:

‘Holiness (and holy living) permeates the entire Christain calling. It lies at the very center of the gospel. We are not merely saved from depravity; we are saved to holiness… Christ’s sacrifice grants us positional holiness before God. We are set apart as his children, but the Bible describes practical holiness too.’

This means that we are saved by grace and made right before God. Nothing to do with anything we have done and achieved. This is the gift of salvation. However we should act in response to this. 1 Peter 1:14-16 says, ‘As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’ We have a duty, and are called to conduct ourselves differently.

Some of you may know that my husband is in the reserves. I know he takes his role seriously. There are certain expectations of how to conduct yourself, things you can say and do or things you shouldn’t. When Paul puts on the uniform he is bearing the name of the Queen and country. He would bring dishonour to her if he was to not follow instructions or act unruly. In the same way, when we are followers of Jesus we are to wear the uniform of His name. We are representing Him in EVERY WORD AND DEED! So we need to think about this in our lives. Ask yourself, can you freely, honestly, confidently do/say________ bearing the name of Jesus as you do it? If you can’t, then don’t do it. If you can and it brings honour and glory to God and is in line with His word, then do it joyfully and thankfully!

colossiansTree[5971]Questions for Reflection: 

1) What is the message of Christ? What does it mean to you personally?
2) How do you respond to the suggestion ‘let the message of Christ dwell among you richly’? What are some practical ways we can dwell in the Word?
3) Look at the different bible passages and see how/why these people worship God in song. How is this similar/different to how you worship God in different circumstances?
a) David bring the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:14-15)
b) Mary’s song of praise: The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)
c) Paul in prison (Act 16: 24-26; Philippians 4:4)
4) As you live life, making decisions each day, how does v. 17 help guide you as you make those decisions?

Please take time to pray together over what you have learned- that it will go from your head into your hearts and change the way you live.

See you next week for part 2!

Study 6- Colossians 3:11-15: What a Church Should Actually Look Like

This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

colossiansTree[5971]READ Colossians 3:11-15 What a Church Should Actually Look Like

“11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile,[a] circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized,[b] slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”
“As member of God’s people, we must treat one another as Christ has treated us. This means that a church that is seeking to follow the Lord we will be people growing in Christ-likeness, filled with truth and love. And with absolutely no partiality along racial or social lines-because in His choosing of people, God shows no such distinction. Such a community is truly evangelistic! It is difficult to set our minds on things above, isn’t it? The heavenly worlds seems unreal because it is invisible. So a Christian needs constant reminders to see beyond the material and visible- reality is much bigger than what we see or feel! We need the Bible’s reminders, but we also need the challenges of fellow-believers who live lives that demonstrate a different set of values to others around us. Seeing someone resisting worldly ambitions or influences for the sake of Christ can make a profound impact. Solving problems of disunity must start with ourselves-are there people we need to forgive or treat gently and kindly? We must avoid being quick to assume that divisions are other people’s fault! Thinking like that could actually be part of the problem! We need to first change our own lives, rather than push the blame elsewhere.” Mark Meynell

Reflection: Are there any relationships where you know you need to put on forgiveness or patience at the moment? Who in our church needs your proactive and practical love?

Sisters, I hope this gives you a bit more insight into our study 6 for this month. We encourage you to keep setting aside time to ponder this beautiful letter.

Next week, we will go on to Study 7: Living, Acting and Praying the Good News of Jesus. Victoria Kelly is our contributor for the next three weeks. I urge you to get with your study buddy on Facetime, WhatsApp, or whichever online technology you are comfortable with. Study together the passage of scripture in Colossians 3:16-28 and 4:1-4. This will be done in three parts.

So watch this space! May we all grow to know Jesus better and love Him more!


This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

colossiansTree[5971]READ Colossians 3:5-9 Giving Up the Old Way of Life
In this section, there are many expressions that talk about giving up the old way of life. (Put to death, used to walk, rid yourselves, taken off) Take time with your buddy to reflect on what these mean.
V5 makes it clear that we can’t both have life in Christ and life in sin. It doesn’t say So “negotiate with sin” or “procrastinate with sin”. No, it is drastic! Put to death! These sins listed here are out of control and tracing it to worshipping idols. When we replace the living God with idols, our life spins out of control in sin. These don’t bring life, but God’s anger. In vv8-9, there is a practical outworking in our all of our relationships. The way we deal with people is massively changed. These have no place in the Christian life. In v 9, it makes sense for us to be truth telling people since we live for Christ, who is the TRUTH.

Reflection: Why do these things not fit with life in Christ?


This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

Hi sisters!

The entirety of the notes have been downloaded on GRACE PLACE under the heading of Colossians Rooted 2019-2020

I would encourage you to do a bit at a time with your study buddy which I am outlining beginning today! Be blessed!

Colossians Study 6 – Focusing on the truth, remembering who we are and living it out
This month’s passage builds on the teaching Kathy gave us last month: we are complete and united with Christ, we need to add nothing. Christ is our reality and this frees us to live in Him. You need to bear this in mind as it is the foundation of this month’s passage which starts “Since…”
“SINCE / BECAUSE / DUE TO THIS”: Our passage only makes sense in light of the truth that he has just stated.; that Christ has done everything we need to be reconciled to God through his death on the cross.

(Note 1: It would be a great idea to read through Colossians again up to this point. The wonder of all of this is our HEARTS are changed. Our MOTIVES change. Our IDENTITY is changed. That is the only way the rest of this makes sense and is even possible!
Note 2: The following notes are in great part provided by Mark Meynell, Colossians: Confident Christianity, and Colossians and Philemon for You)

“Being rescued by Jesus and having complete assurance as the result of His finished reconciling work is no excuse for an unchanged life. He is now our Lord. He did it all in order to restore everything in the universe to its rightful place under His authority (compare 1v18). We have been raised with Christ and therefore need to live lives that reflect that (3v14). For this to happen, we need to depend on Christ all the more and work hard at serving Him and His people through everything.” Mark Meynell

READ Colossians 3:1-4 What Has Already Happened to Believers

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honour at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your[a] life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.” NLT 

This is so profound! Really take time to reflect on this! It is the driving force for our thoughts and actions. In chapter 2, Paul outlines the finished work of Jesus and the confidence a Christian can have as a result. In chapter 3, he spells out the implications this must have for everyday living. That can mean anything -from our texting, commenting on FB, how we drive our cars, how we are with others in the queue in Sainsburys, how we bring up our children, how we treat people with irritating jobs like telemarketers or airport officials. There is no part of our lives which is “hidden in Christ” that is excluded in our everyday lives.
Because we have been raised with Christ, (3v1), we should raise our sights to where He is and where one day we will be. Then we will inevitably want to live in a way that reflects where we belong (in heaven, not in this world) and to whom we belong (Jesus Christ is our master- no one else is). It is possible to know that a Christian has already been raised with Christ because of what happened at the cross and resurrection. It is now as if there is a seat reserved in heaven for each person in Christ and marked with each person’s name (3v3-4)Of course we can’t see it yet-but we trust in God’s promises supremely because of his track record in Christ. So this is the big perspective which shapes the rest of what is said in this chapter. What wonderful news! Everything in our lives is affected by this massive change in WHO WE ARE. We are called to live out a new life in Jesus Christ, both as individuals and as a church. These verses are so full of confidence and comfort in the implications of Christ’s work on our behalf and in our union with Him! So what does this look like in our everyday, Covid-19, self-distancing lives? Well

I came across this explanation of “being hidden with Christ”, which I found very helpful and want to share with you:
“At the cross, the full, unbridled wrath of God came down upon Jesus, and, in that moment of judgement, there was nowhere for Jesus to hide. No fig leaves or shade trees. No mercy, no grace, no compassion. Jesus, for us, is exposed to the all-consuming expression of sin’s cruelty and the wrath of God. No friends come to defend Him; no lamb is offered in His place; no one negotiates His release. Clothed in our shame, crowned with our thorns, and exposed to the judgement of God that we deserve—Jesus is our hiding place. Outside of Christ, there is no safe place to hide, but being found in Christ there is peace and safety. ‘Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.’” Eric Watkins -Ligonier Ministries

Reflection: Are there any routines you could develop that might help you to refocus regularly on the life that you have in Christ?

See you next Thursday with our next portion of study. XO


This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

colossiansTree[5971]Dear Sisters.

Tonight at 7:30pm, 30 March, we would have met together for our monthly Bible study, Colossians: Rooted where we share in friendship and God’s word. Of course, in the current crisis, this is not able to occur.

I thank the Lord, in this context, that we have social media/internet to stay connected and to “spur one another on in love and good deeds”, albeit in totally different ways! That being said, we encourage you to do your bible study with your buddy via phone or social media. Also, we will be providing “notes” which will contain a summarization along with assistance to understanding and application. We pray you will find it helpful and will initiate fruitful dialogue with your study buddy/family.

These notes will be downloaded on GRACE PLACE in the next few days. So watch this space!

So until then, I want to leave with you a prayer that Christ may be revealed to you this week.
“Offer to God the places of your day, the people you will meet, and the ways you will spend your time, that God may be glorified, and Christ revealed, in all you are, and all that you do.”

“Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in all the hearts that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

From all of us at CBC women’s ministry, our love and prayers, as ever,

Sovereign Over Us!

This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

colossiansTree[5971]Wow. Isn’t it amazing how the world can change so quickly? In the time that Ed and I have been away in USA visiting family, we have arrived back to daily changing world of Covid-19. Thank you for your prayers to get us home. I thank God every time I think of you, my church family, who held us up in prayer. Whew.

Concerning our Women’s Bible study on 30 March, it of course will not happen. We will keep in touch by Grace Place and our Facebook page, Captivated CBC in the coming weeks.

As God’s children we can be comforted in the sovereignty of our Creator God during these uncertain times. I was reminded of the song that Michael W Smith wrote, and want to share it with you. May we trust and serve our Sovereign and Loving God, knowing His purposes will be fulfilled.

Love and prayers to you all,
sovereign over usSovereign Over Us
Michael W. Smith
There is strength within the sorrow
There is beauty in our tears
And You meet us in our mourning
With a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting
You’re sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding
You’re teaching us to trust
Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
You’re faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us
You are wisdom unimagined
Who could understand Your ways
Reigning high above the Heavens
Reaching down in endless grace
You’re the lifter of the lowly
Compassionate and kind
You surround and You uphold me
And Your promises are my delight
Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
You’re faithful forever
Perfect in love, you are sovereign over us.
Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good
You turn it for our good and for Your glory
Even in the valley, You are faithful
You’re working for our good
You’re working for our good and for Your glory
You’re faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us


This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

colossiansTree[5971]Hi Sisters,

Just a reminder that our next bible study is on Monday, 30 March. Yay! Vicky Stephenson will be leading us.

Have you picked up your bible study at church or on the website? Still plenty of time to get with your study buddy!

Many blessings on you and yours as you grow in our Lord Jesus Christ through His Word.


This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

colossiansTree[5971]Hi sisters!
I imagine that, like me, you are now inundated with social media resources. This of course is a good thing, given our current crisis.

At the same time, I want to encourage you to proactively, intentionally, take time out from EVERYTHING and to talk to our Creator God everyday at some point….  I encourage you to sit quietly in the sunshine (those with children- while they are occupied or they are having a rest.) Enjoy the nature of birds, breeze, spring flowers. God in his kindness, has given us these days of beautiful temperature and sunshine to help us in our confinement.

Yes, this is a crazy time, but I believe that God is drawing us to Him like never before. This is the perfect time to pray continually for each other with what we have been studying in Colossians 2:6-7:

Our Lord God, 
and now as we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord, help us to continue to follow You. Cause our roots to grow down into You, and our lives to be built up only in You. You promised us that as we follow you in this way, that our faith will grow strong in the truth that we were taught and that we would overflow with thankfulness. Make it so dear Lord. You are God. We know that we can trust you and You are working out your purposes in our world, in our community, in our church, in our families, and each of us individually through this crisis. Help us to honour you and to reflect Jesus. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

If we pray this from our hearts to God for each other, He will answer as we cling to Him! He will fill us with His peace, His freedom, His enabling.

Know that you are loved and prayed for. Know that nothing is wasted in God’s economy! If you need us, our team is available to you for support and prayer. Contact us on this website.

Women’s Ministry Team at Corsham Baptist Churches


This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

Excerpt from 24 February Bible Study:

We have to own our sin to be able to take in the glorious news of the Gospel! 1 John 1:8-10 “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that His word has no place in our hearts.”

What do we make of all this? In short, the law of the Old Covenant reveals to us our sins. Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. (Rom 7:7)

CHRISTThe OLD COVENANT points us to Christ, the reality.

It is drawn out in the scriptures calling it the NEW COVENANT (JESUS) with new hearts.



circumsized heartThis is the spiritual circumcision of our hearts which Paul speaks of in
Colossians 2:11. “When you came to Christ, you were ‘circumcised,’ but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision-the cutting away of your sinful nature.
Deuteronomy 30:6
“The Lord God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants so that you may love him with all your heart, and all your soul and live.” NIV

Ezekiel 36:26-27
“And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.”
Romans 2:29
“No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.”
Philippians 3:3
“For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort.”

This is the gospel which is radically counter-cultural. This is the gospel which gives us our only hope, purpose, identity, meaning. It teaches us how to love this broken world in the same way that Christ loves us through His life, through His death on the cross, and resurrection to eternal life. Amazing Love.  Let’s continually thank our Lord that we are His image bearers, and pray that we will rooted and built up in Christ, and grow in the faith that we were taught!


This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE

grace place bio photo christine

CHRISTINE COLTMAN, contributor for today’s blog post 

On Monday night, Kathy continued our studies in Colossians by speaking to us powerfully on the second part of chapter two. One section particularly resonated with me:
‘God cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.’ (verses 13-15)
Kathy pointed out that the imagery used is that of Roman triumph – the winning of a great battle, which indeed it was. Through his death on the cross, Jesus defeated sin and death once and for all.
As I grow as a Christian, I am becoming more and more aware of the spiritual battle that we are all in. I used to think of this as a battle that overseas missionaries face when they had to brave violent tribes, or hostile locals. If you google ‘spiritual battle’, the images that come up are epic, classical paintings of angel warfare against demons. But what about when you wake up with a sore back and your child just won’t put their shoes on and all you want to do is swear and shout at God for adding one more annoyance to your day? Or when yet another unexpected bill arrives at the end of the month that you haven’t accounted for and it adds to your already increasing black mood that you are making sure everyone else in the house is fully aware of?
I know that the big picture battle for our souls is real and raging – and I am realising that this happens on a moment by moment basis. It’s not a ‘once and for all’ final battle, but a slow and steady daily fight. My shield, when I am focused and ready, is God’s Word:
‘Submit yourselves then to God; resist the devil and he will flee from you.’ James 4 v 7.
I repeat this verse to myself almost hourly at the moment. God has disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. Like a chained beast, they will bite back when we stray too near, but when we rest in God’s shelter, we are safe. We studied Psalm 91 recently in our Formation Group and this verse has stuck with me:
‘Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.’ Psalm 91 v 1.
The challenge of course, is not to occasionally camp out in God’s shelter, but to live there permanently. I find the only way I can do this is to start my day with God’s Word, call out to him frequently as the trials arise, and praise Him for the ultimate victory in Jesus, finding comfort and security in that above all else. It’s not easy, but as we ‘let our roots grow down into Him…then your faith will grow strong in the truth…and you will overflow with thankfulness’ Colossians 2 verse 7.